Return to Transcripts main page


Trump's Hypocrisy on Chain Migration as First Lady's Parents Become Citizens; North Korea Calls U.S. Proposals "Gangster Like," Says U.S. "Stirring the Pot"; Trump Doubles Tariffs on Turkey in Dramatic Standoff; PBS "Frontline" Documentary Reflects on Charlottesville Riots; Kobach Recuses as Voter Discrepancies Arise in Kansas Gubernatorial Race. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 10, 2018 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: So just yesterday, his mother and father-in-law from Slovenia became citizens by taking advantage of that have same family based immigration program. Alan, how is that not hypocritical?

ALAN GOMEZ, IMMIGRATION REPORTER, USA TODAY: It's really fascinating. If you look at the White House proposals, what they sent to Congress to try to get them to implement into law is removing the ability of a U.S. citizen to sponsor their parent to come into the country and get a green card. And it's part of a much broader effort by the Trump administration to limit legal immigration in so many ways, as we saw with the asylum case, we're trying to limit it there, as we're seeing with their attempts to limit family based migration, which they referred to as chain migration. It just shows how many different ways they're trying to limit legal immigration, even though the president ran a campaign against illegal immigration.

BALDWIN: Alan Gomez, thank you.

GOMEZ: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up next, is diplomacy with North Korea beginning to unravel? North Korea now calling the latest U.S. proposals "gangster- like," which Kim Jong-Un demanding the U.S. do first.

And why is President Trump now playing hard ball with NATO ally, Turkey? Dramatically doubling import tariffs against Turkish steel and aluminum. How Turkish President Erdogan is responding.


[14:35:24] BALDWIN: North Korea is outright rejecting the Trump administration's proposals in their high-stakes nuclear talks, calling one of the proposals "gangster like." The Kim Jong-Un regime suggesting that the U.S. is stirring the pot by piling on sanctions and diplomatic pressure.

Let's go to Michelle Kosinski, our CNN senior diplomatic correspondent, on that, and Elise Labott, our CNN global affairs correspondent on what's happening with the U.S. and Turkey and these tariffs. Michelle, to you, on North Korea, we know that North Korea continues to reject any and all denuclearization proposals from the U.S., so what is it that Kim wants?

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRSPONDENT: So we're learning from diplomat sources, high ranking sources that the U.S. has now made multiple, repeated, very specific proposals to North Korea to get started and then continue on the road to complete denuclearization. So this includes things like a time frame for doing so, how exactly this would happen. These are proposals that are, at least to some degree, spelled out for how this can actually happen. All of these we're told have been rejected thus far by North Korea, which considers them to be, quote, gangster-like. We know the U.S. is looking for a big gesture on the part of North Korea, for it to give up a significant part of its nuclear arsenal within the short-term. Kim Jong-Un, though, is not prepared to make any move. He's insisting that the U.S. first take a bigger step that would likely have to be something like a peace agreement for the Korean peninsula and until that happens we're told by these sourced that's he's not planning on doing anything. This comes at a time when each side has been criticizing the other for not doing enough and for doing the wrong thing, so this looks like it's going to continue to be stalled unless somebody makes one of these big gestures or there's some compromise -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: OK. So stalled there for now.

Elise, what about Turkey? A significant move by President Trump today involving Turkey. He has now doubled steel and aluminum tariffs saying that the relations between the two NATO nations are, quote, "not good." Why is he doing this?

ELISE LABOTT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, there's been a lot of dissatisfaction with Turkey over the years but this is really centered on Pastor Andrew Brunson. You rememb3er a couple of weeks ago there was this kind of deal that the U.S. would release someone in Turkish custody and then as well as someone in Israel had a Turkish citizen in their custody in exchange, Andrew Brunson would come home. He was released from prison but not released from House arrest and allowed to come back home. President Trump thought that that was reneging on the deal he had with President Erdogan. Mike Pompeo has been working with the foreign minister and other officials. This is not been working. You saw last week that the U.S. put sanctions on the justice minister and I think in some ways President Trump really feels that his will is being tested, which is why he's launching all of these actions, but you would think -- usually the State Department and the pentagon says that this is a very difficult thing for the relationship. You don't hear that, Brooke, right now, and that is because there's not a lot of sympathy for Turkey. Its actions over the last year or so since the attempted coup on President Erdogan, a lot of concern that he's been moving toward being an authoritarian leader. He's detained three employees at the U.S. embassy, and they're still in jail -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Ladies, thank you.

Next, this.


A.C. THOMPSON, REPORTER, PROPUBLICA & CORRESPONDENT, PBS FRONTLINE & DOCUMENTARY FILM PRODUCER: The Charlottesville rally was supposed to be about a Confederate monument.


THOMPSON: But anyone who was paying attention could see that it was about more than a single statue.


THOMPSON: It felt like a national reckoning around race was coming.


THOMPSON: And being here would help me understand it.


[14:39:32] THOMPSON: My next guest, the voice you just heard there, the correspondent behind this powerful "Frontline" documentary, reflects back on Charlottesville now one year later.


BALDWIN: The city of Charlottesville, Virginia, is in a state of emergency one year after the violence involving white supremacist that then erupted into a race riot that killed Heather Heyer after a driver violently plowed in a crowd of protesters.

Just a warning, the images are disturbing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, go, go, go, go!



BALDWIN: One year later, "PBS Frontline" and "ProPublica" have conducted a joint investigation called, "Documenting Hate in Charlottesville." It is streaming now on Here's a clip.



[14:45:13] THOMPSON: Charlottesville, Virginia, August 12th, 2017. I'd been tracking hate crimes since the 2016 presidential election and I could see that something was happening in this country.


THOMPSON: The Charlottesville rally was supposed to be about a Confederate monument.


THOMPSON: But anyone who was paying attention could see that it was about more than a single statue.


THOMPSON: It felt like a national reckoning around race was coming.


THOMPSON: And being here would help me understand it.


BALDWIN: A.C. Thompson is a "ProPublica" reporter and correspondent for PBS "Frontline" and one of the producers of the film.

A.C., thank you for coming on with me.

THOMPSON: Thanks for having me on.

BALDWIN: So, what's interesting to me in reading so much about your film is that you really dig deep on some of these members in some of these violent white power gangs so I want you to tell me about these two men, one of whom you traced to the military, another as a defense contractor. Who are they? What did you learn about them?

THOMPSON: So the first guy and at the time when we started doing our reporting on him, he was a lance corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps.. During the Charlottesville rallies he was in the Marine Corps. And he was carrying around a big wooden stick with a -- basically a Nazi flag on it and beating people with it and posting pictures of himself in private chats attacking people with it. We obtained video and photos. We obtained a whole range of evidence showing that he was engaged in these violent altercations in Charlottesville. What was more disturbing about him, though, even than the violence on that day was that he was a member at the time of a white power Neo-Nazi terror group called the Atomwaffen Division that's linked to five murders, a bomb plot, and specifically wants to overthrow the U.S. government through force of arms. You've got a guy in the Marines getting military training, has access to weapons, and is simultaneously involved with the group that's trying to overthrow the government and start a race war.

The other guy we profiled was a guy, Michael Miselus. He was a member of the group called the Rise Above Movement, a new generation white power, white supremacist group out of California. He also had a government-issued security clearance to work. The defense contractor on next generation aviation technology.

BALDWIN: Wow. So these are the kinds of people who rolled up in this quaint college town in Charlottesville a year ago and, you know -- I watched what you said. You were stunned because police were not prepared. And after the fact they did this whole mega, you know, internal investigation and issued this huge report essentially confirming what you saw. And I'm wondering, looking ahead, A.C., are police prepared for this level of protest in this country today?

THOMPSON: There's a couple things. The first thing is that most cities have gotten a lot better about policing these events since Charlottesville because none of them want to be the next Charlottesville. In the run-up to Charlottesville, a lot of them were really not very good at this. You had three people stabbed in Anaheim at a Klan rally. Seven people stabbed at a Nazi event in Sacramento. Dozens of people hurt in Berkeley, California. Then you had Charlottesville. Now, the police have gotten a lot better across the country of policing these kinds of events.

The second thing is this. I think this weekend is going to be low turnout. I think probably the white nationalists, white supremacists are not even going to be in D.C. I think there's a strong chance they'll show up somewhere else and that D.C. is a bait and switch. So I think we're not going to see the kind of scenes we saw last year in Charlottesville.

BALDWIN: Good. Good.

A.C. Thompson, thank you so much. And we'll be watching your film on "Frontline." Thank you.

THOMPSON: Thank you.

[14:49:37] BALDWIN: Coming up next, the situation getting even more tense in Kansas. Look at all these numbers. Just 116 votes separating these two candidates in the gubernatorial race. A voting discrepancy has already been detected. Now the Democratic is telling his Republican rival to stop giving advice to election officials. What is going on there? The Kansas assistant secretary of state joins me next.


BALDWIN: Trump ally and Secretary of State Kris Kobach is dodging the major of conflict of interest he was facing in his run for governor. Kobach, on the left, says he will recuse himself from the recount process in the Republican primary after first saying he would not. His opponent is the Republican Governor Jeff Colyer. As secretary of state, Kobach oversees elections.


KRIS KOBACH, (R), KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE & KANSAS GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: We'll be formally answering his requests tomorrow. But I'll give you a heads-up, yes, we'll be -- I'll be happy to recuse myself. But as I say, it really doesn't make any difference. My office doesn't count the votes. The counties do.


[14:55:07] BALDWIN: Kobach's lead over Governor Colyer is razor thin right now. It just shrunk as of lunchtime. After miscounts in two counties, Kobach is leading by just 116 votes.

With me now, from the state capital, Topeka, is Bryan Casey (sic). He is the director of elections and he is assistant secretary of state, so he works under Kris Kobach.

Bryan, thanks so much.

BRYAN CASKEY, KANSAS ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE & DIRECTOR OF 3ELECTIONS: Thank you very much, Brooke. The last name is Caskey, C- A-S-K-E-Y.

BALDWIN: Caskey. Thank you for correcting me.

Bryan, let me first get your reaction to Secretary Kobach recusing himself from the governor's race count.

CASKEY: Well, I saw the news report last night. I've not personally talked to the secretary since then. I keep anticipating there will be a formal release sometime today. But as of this time, I have not heard one.

But the gist of what he said is correct. Yes, he is the secretary of state, but he is not involved in the day-to-day operations of managing the election results or of conducting the possible recount. As the director of elections, it is my job to oversee the day-to-day operations and we work extensively with 105 county election offices throughout the state. He's also correct that in the event of a recount, and to this point in time, this office never touches a ballot. Each of our counties are exclusively responsible for counting the votes in their local offices. They report the results to the secretary of state's office, but we are not directly involved in handling any ballots at any point in time.

BALDWIN: OK. Let me get you to respond to this. CNN has learned there are vote total discrepancies in the two counties, Wyandot County and Haskell County. The county sites showed slightly different results than the secretary of state's corresponding results. Can you explain the discrepancies?

CASKEY: Yes, I can. There's actually a couple more counties than that as well that I can confirm. So the process is, on election night, the polls close and then we receive results from all 105 counties. They transmit them to us and we input them into our system that then displays results on election night. At the end of that process, when we receive the last report, which in this case was about 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, then we re-validate with every county, "This is the number that we have, please verify that." During the course of that validation, each of these counties verify that the number we have was incorrect for a variety of reasons. In one case, our office made a typographical mistake. In another case, the county uploaded precinct results more than one time. These mistakes are mistakes, but it's one reason why we emphasize so much that election nights are unofficial. We need time to proofread and validate things. And so each of these mistakes was caught during our validation check the next day.

BALDWIN: So then, given those multiple counties, then, what do you have as the vote tally difference between these two men?

CASKEY: When I came over here to do the interview, the vote total difference was about 217.

BALDWIN: So, 217.

CASKEY: I want to talk a little about that. Our office today basically is collecting election results from all 105 counties, again, to account for any discrepancy between election night and now. And also because Kansas has a law where you can mail your ballot with a postmark or other identification from the post office. It was -- if it was transmitted on or before election day, it can be received Wednesday, Thursday, or today. These are legally cast ballots. So our office is collecting those results and posting them on our Web site today to provide the public an additional look at our unofficial results.

BALDWIN: OK. So, unofficially 217 as of this moment.

What about this, Bryan? We know that Colyer campaign spokesman, Kendall Marr, told the "Kansas City Star" this, "We have received countless reports that voters experienced issues when they voted on Tuesday. Many Colyer voters had difficulties finding his name on the ballot. Were forced to vote on provisional ballots or were turned away outright for unknown reasons."

Have you received reports on this? Can you explain that?

CASKEY: On any Election Day, I receive reports of any problems across the state. So, yes, I've received some of these. I have not had any conversation with any representative of the governor's office at this time. I hope that they share that information with us so we can look. But I can address some of those. In a press conference prior to Election Day, the secretary of state's office alerted voters to the fact that we have seven candidates for governor, and seven candidates for U.S. House district, two on the Republican side. With many of our voting machines, with our touchscreen voting machines, there were simply too many candidates to appear on one page. So the machines, you had to go to a second page to view all candidates. We alerted the voting public of that prior to the -- prior to Election Day, and also noted that each type of machine, no matter what type of brand, tells the voter they have not yet looked at all candidates.

[15:00:14] BALDWIN: OK.