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Trump Rushes to Name Justice Pick, Court Red State Democrats; Obama Gives Tough Love to Democrats: "Enough Moping"; Hannity Denies Linking Maxine Waters to Newspaper Shooting in Annapolis; Lawmaker Arrested in Child Separation Protest Speaks Out. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired June 29, 2018 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:30:00] WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Joining us now, Shannon Pettypiece, White House reporter for "Bloomberg News," April Ryan, CNN political analyst, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, and Michael Eric Dyson, of Georgetown University, and is the author of the new best seller, "What Truth Sounds Like." There you see the book jacket right there.
Shannon, let me start with you.
Three red-state Democrats, who voted for President Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, who is now an associate justice of the Supreme Court, Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp and Joe Donnelly, all them are up for reelection this year in states that Donald Trump won pretty impressively. They voted for Neil Gorsuch. How much pressure are they under this time?
SHANNON PETTYPIECE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, BLOOMBERG NEWS: A lot of pressure. This is a difficult need for leadership to thread. Yes, you can really tighten the screws on these members in these red- leaning states to fight, fight, fight with all they've got against this pick, which is what the Democratic base really wants. There's a lot of enthusiasm from the Democratic base to fight on this one. But you risk losing them for every other legislative issue you might want to have between now and the next election. So do you risk Joe Manchin not being in the Senate and having a Republican there instead so you can fight on this battle and potentially not even win. Because the chances for the Democrats winning on this one are pretty slim.
BLITZER: They want to keep those stakes in the Democrats' hands in the U.S. Senate.
April, Republican Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, has been talking about her support for abortion rights for women, Roe v. Wade, and how it could tie into her support for an eventual Trump court nominee. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R), MAINE: One of the questions I always ask is, do they respect precedent? What is their view towards precedent? From my perspective, Roe v. Wade is an important precedent and it has settled law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: So do you think, April, there's a chance that Senator Collins could potentially vote against the Trump nominee?
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Wolf, there's always a chance, but you have to remember a vote isn't cast until it's cast. This is something that's not just about party. It's about women, it's about religion. It's a tough issue that's been hard fought for a very long time. But, Wolf, when you think about the issue of abortion rights and abortion and Roe v. Wade. Roe v. Wade, the key principles about it is the timeline. How long does a woman have before she is allowed to have an abortion? That is the piece saying it's not just about having an abortion, it's about a timeline.
People are not putting that on the table. But it's also about this Senator, who is a woman, this Senator who believes in a woman's right to her own body. So you have to look at a lot of different things, but you also have to look at her constituency and the Trump base. And you have to remember, 51 percent of married women voted for President Trump. So this is something that's going to be hard fought. She's probably going to go through a lot of back and forth in her mind until she casts that vote.
BLITZER: Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, as well. Remember, 51 Republicans in the Senate, 49 Democrats. You need at least 50 because the vice president of the United States is the president of the Senate and the vice president can break a tie. We'll see what happens on that front.
Michael, as you know, the former president, Barack Obama, stepped back into the political fray, at least a bit, at a Democratic fundraiser. He dished out some tough love to his fellow Democrats, telling them, enough moping, they need to get out and get things done. Is that what the party needs right now, someone like the former president to light a fire under them?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY & AUTHOR: Sure. Gird up their loins, look squarely into the future and assert your obligation to address these issues in real time. I wish he would have done it earlier. I'm glad the president is out there making Netflix deals. But what he has to do even more is leverage the authority he gained, the incredible moral authority he possesses as a result of being a two-term Democratic president in the midst of a Republican resurgence and onslaught that has revisited every trace of his incredible presidency, or at least many of them over the last eight years.
So finally, Barack Obama emerges from his cave to speak. And, yes, his message is right on. Be able to address these issues in a powerful way, show some backbone in leadership. He could take a bit of that lesson himself. Stand up. Go out and help some of these people get reelected. Show up at some of these campaigns for these Democrats.
Look what happened in New York. With a Barack Obama centrist legacy, she leveraged centralist intensity in New York and unseated a 10-term congressman who was the heir apparent to the speaker of the House job that Nancy Pelosi occupied. So, yes, Barack Obama has to catch up to his people to assert leadership, but I think it's a perfect message, a powerful message, and one that we need to hear.
[13:35:11] BLITZER: Very quickly --
RYAN: Can I comment on that really fast?
BLITZER: April, go ahead. I have something else I want to ask Michael.
RYAN: Yes. I think Michael made a very powerful point. But I believe Barack Obama is following the lead of the man who ushered him into the White House, George W. Bush, a republican. George W. Bush was quiet. He wanted to respect Barack Obama and his presidency and his authority, because he knew Barack Obama was behind the curve, one, being the first black president in a male-dominated, a white male- dominated town. And I believe that Barack Obama tried to do the same thing that George W. Bush did.
But the times are different. We have a different arc of justice, arc of power, if you will, and people are looking for leadership on that other side because things are so polar opposite from 100 years ago and even eight years ago. I believe Michael is right to a certain extent. But Barack Obama is now civilian Barack Obama. He's trying to afford Donald Trump the chance to rise and fall on his own.
BLITZER: I want to get to Michael again in a moment, but I want to get Shannon to weigh in.
Do we anticipate we'll see a lot more on the political front from the former president?
PETTYPIECE: That's the indication we're getting from our reporting. He is very effective at raising money, so messaging is great, but you also need someone effective at raising money and he's very helpful to Democrats on that. The concern is, though, Trump is best when he has a strong opponent. And with Democrats out of power, he really hasn't had much of a strong opponent.
That could change in 2018 if Democrats take back the House and, all of a sudden, he can blame Democrats for everything that goes wrong. If Obama reemerges, that could give him someone to punch back at, and that is one of his strengths at this point. But he has never been very effective at tearing down Obama like he has some of his opponents. So Obama could be the best person Democrats have put out there. We haven't seen very effective attacks from Trump.
BLITZER: That's a good point.
Michael, a quick question. I know you're in Dallas today. You're filling in for Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters because she reportedly -- and you know more of this than I do -- has been receiving some death threats? Let me play for you a bit of what conservative talk show host, Sean
Hannity, said about her. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST, HANNITY: I've been saying now for days that something horrible is going to happen because of the rhetoric. Really, Maxine, you want people -- call your friends. Get in their faces. Obama said that, too. Get in their faces. Call them out. Call your friends. Get protesters. Follow them into restaurants and shopping malls and wherever else she said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Hannity has denied he was tying Maxine Waters' comments to the newspaper shooting in Annapolis, Maryland.
But I want to get your reaction. Tell us what you know about the death threats and why you're filling in for her in Dallas today. What do you make of what Sean Hannity said?
DYSON: Well, first of all, I'm filling in because the great and brave Auntie Maxine, Maxine Waters, received credible death threats. The FBI did not want her to come here. There was a credible threat of lynching and other forms of assault and attack upon her body here in Dallas, Texas. I, therefore, was invited to come speak in her place. And I do so with great honor and reverence for her extraordinary leadership as a moral voice that we need here.
Sean Hannity is irresponsible. White supremacy predates what is happening here. This is not just about a different methodology and modality about asserting your right as a protester, which Hannity is quite able to disagree with. What we're talking about here is the inability to hear a different side of an equation and, therefore, want to assault and attack somebody.
And to blame anybody? Let's blame the president of the United States of America, who has constantly and consistently assaulted the state, who has constantly said you are wrong, that you are trash and garbage and you are not need.
So if anybody is to be held to account for the vicious attack in Annapolis and other places, upon not only on media people but American citizens who dare raise their voice, it's this eviscerating, incompetent and amazingly un-American, unpatriotic president, who occupies the highest office in the land. This man has repudiated the very basis of democracy, has continued to expose the incompetency. And also the fact that this is a fascist attempt to suppress free speech.
So I think what Donald Trump needs to do is to examine the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and read again in a fifth-grade civics class what American democracy is all about. Maxine Waters is the best at that. Sean Hannity ought to be ashamed of himself. And the president of the United States of America ought to go back to school to learn what the presidency is all about. [13:40:00] BLITZER: Michael Eric Dyson, thanks very much.
Shannon, April, ladies, thanks to you as well.
We're going to continue to follow all this up.
Coming up, a European official says Europe has a special place in Trump hell. You'll hear what's behind this explosive remark.
BLITZER: July is a month of high-profile international meetings for President Trump, but as the days tick down to the NATO summit and the meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, concerns mount over his potential moves in the runup to those significant events.
Let's bring in CNN global affair analyst, Max Boot. He's also a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a columnist for the "Washington Post."
Max, let's go through some of these potential moves. There's a new report from Axios saying that President Trump has been privately been suggesting he wants the U.S. to leave the World Trade Organization. What would happen if the U.S. were to pull out?
[13:45:15] MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think that would be international trade chaos, Wolf, because the WTO is really the underpinning of the entire global trade system, and it has been for decades, going back to the days it was the general agreement on tariffs and trade. The good news is it may take an act of Congress to actually pull the U.S. out, so it may not be as easy as Trump deciding he wants to get out.
BLITZER: These concerns, you know, Max, are compounded by the president's announcement of tariffs, European allies, the Trans- Atlantic alliance going after NATO, the whole notion of the future of NATO now somewhat questionable. One European official tells CNN, there's a Trump's hell where NATO is as bad as NAFTA and the E.U. is worse than China, adding, and I'm quoting now, "We now have a major crisis." What do you think about those fears?
BOOT: I think those fears are completely warranted in light of the president's comments, his body language, his actions. Everything he says and does suggests that he has boundless animosity for our democratic allies, for our alliances, for our trade partners. And at the same time he has almost limitless affection for our enemies. Look at the way he, just a few weeks ago, went to war with our allies at the G-7 summit. He insulted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, of Canada, calling him very dishonest and weak. And then he turned around and slobbered all over Kim Jong-Un, of North Korea, saying he was smart, great personality, loves his people. I think we have to wonder what's going to happen if there's a repeat of this performance next month with an acrimonious meeting at NATO followed by a love-in between Trump and Putin, on top of all these tariffs he's putting in and that our allies and trade partners are retaliating against. This is the direst situation I've seen for the Atlantic alliance that was formed in the late 1940s. If the Atlantic alliance in its current form survives the Trump presidency, it's going to be a miracle.
BLITZER: We'll see what happens at the NATO summit and then on July 16th in Helsinki and at the Trump-Putin summit. A lot is happening next month.
Max, thank you very much.
BOOT: Thank you.
BLITZER: Up next, a very emotional moment when a mother and son separated at the U.S.-Mexico border are reunited as thousands of children are still separated from their parents.
[13:51:44] BLITZER: It may seem hard to believe, but children as young as 3 are being forced into courtrooms in the United States without their parents to justify to a judge why they are in this country. It's a by-product of the administration's so-called zero- tolerance decision that separated thousands of kids from their moms and dads. A federal court ordered the reunification of families.
Joining us from Capitol Hill, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington State, a member of the Judiciary Committee. She's also on the Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
Thanks so much for joining us.
I know you were among those arrested during a Capitol Hill protest this week. I want to get to that in a moment.
But first, do you believe the Trump administration has a policy to reunify the children with their parents?
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, (D), WASHINGTON: I do not believe they have any strategic organized effort to get these kids back with their parents. They will have to put that in place. A federal judge has ordered them to do so.
But I can tell you, Wolf, I met with moms in a federal prison south of Seattle, and they showed me slips of paper they had been given by Homeland Security or ICE, I'm not sure which, that had their names, their E-numbers, their identification number in the immigration system, and supposedly the names of their children, except these mothers were pointing at their slips and saying these are not my children. We don't believe and we are very, very concerned that the administration has not been keeping track of which children belong with which parents, and really don't have a way to reunite the kids with their parents, in spite of the court order. This is a huge concern, something that we have been asking on Judiciary Committee. I requested, publicly requested Chairman Goodlatte to have a hearing, to bring the Secretary Nielsen and the secretary of HHS before us so we can talk about things that we're hearing directly. These aren't just reports. But hearing directly moms don't know where their kids are and we're not sure the administration does either. BLITZER: Do you believe, Congresswoman, that ICE, Immigration and
Customs Enforcement Agency, should be abolished? We are hearing from more Democrats that are specifically calling for that.
JAYAPAL: Well, I have been working on immigration issues for 20 years. Enforcement functions, which need to be here in a country as ours, we have immigration laws, they need to be enforced, but those functions don't need to be in an agency that's become a rogue agency that literally has no accountability to Congress around the hundreds of millions of dollars that we spend. Most of that money is contracted out to private contractors. And we have had a heck of a time trying to get any answers from ICE and Border Patrol about those facilities, about the conditions and standards under which we hold people. We don't want federal dollars to go into a mass deportation force. Yes, I believe we can get rid of ICE as it stands and move those enforcement functions into a different frame so that we can actually make sure federal taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and that we are humane and adhering to human rights conditions. We're working on a bill right now to set up a commission to look at those alternatives.
[13:55:02] BLITZER: We don't have a lot of time. Quickly, I want to ask you about your arrest at a protest inside Capitol Hill office building this week. Hundreds of people were arrested. What happened and why did you decide to sit in?
JAYAPAL: Well, it was in the Senate Hart Building. And 2500 women came to put their moral outrage on the line, and 650 of them engaged in peaceful, civil disobedience. I am a fan of that. I think it is an important tactic. I was proud to join them to show the moral outrage around the fact that we are keeping kids in cages and parents seeking asylum in prison. That's wrong. That's what we are out to change and the zero-tolerance policy.
BLITZER: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you for joining us.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Appreciate it very much.
We'll have more on the breaking news. Very disturbing developments in the attack on a newspaper office in Maryland. We're now hearing about the suspect's plan, including how he barricaded the back door to prevent journalists from escaping. New details coming up.