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Rep. Seth Moulton Announces Plan To Restore Rights To LGBT Veterans; Last Surviving African American D-Day Combat Vet; Homeless Population Surging In Los Angeles. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 6, 2019 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is something that I'm just releasing this week, which is to say that if you were kicked out of the service because you were gay or you engaged in homosexual activity, then we're going to right that wrong and we're going to restore your discharge -- upgrading it to an honorable discharge if you received an other than honorable -- a dishonorable discharge because of just who you are.

You know, it takes a lot of courage to fight. I think it takes even more courage to fight while hiding a part of who you are, and that's what so many gay and bisexual veterans had to do for generations.

Since World War II, there have been about 100,000 American heroes kicked out of the service just for being gay and the government has never really righted that wrong. We've changed the policy but we haven't gone back to fix the discharges of those people who were kicked out. They're not getting the benefits they deserve, they're not getting access to the G.I. bill.

Their legacy for the families for those who have passed on is tarred by this government -- by this American mistake. So I'm going to fix that if elected president.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: If I can, and we haven't had much of a chance to talk about it this morning because we've been watching what's going on in Normandy, but there is an interesting development in the Democratic race for president, which is that Joe Biden, the former vice president who is the frontrunner right now, has continued to say that he supports the Hyde Amendment, which has been in place since the late 70s, which bans federal funding for abortions except in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother.

Joe Biden has been clear on his support of the Hyde Amendment throughout his career. The Democratic Party platform has gone against that, starting in 2016, but Joe Biden hasn't changed his position.

What's your opinion of that?

MOULTON: I think he should change his position. I think it's wrong.

It disproportionately attacks women who don't have the private means to afford abortion. And it's sort of like saying I support the troops but I don't want to pay for -- pay them. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well --

MOULTON: That's the analogy here and I -- and I -- and I think it's wrong. I mean, he says he's pro-choice. He says he supports a woman's right to make this decision with her doctor. And yet, he refuses to support federal funds for it.

I think it's another example of why it's time for a new generation of leadership in our party in our country. A new generation of leadership on national security, as I've been talking about a lot on the campaign trail, in women's rights, and so many things.

CAMEROTA: But on the flip side, the public polling is more where he is. The position of the public polling is more where he is than where you are because people who don't believe in abortion don't want their taxpayer dollars going to fund them.

MOULTON: Leadership is not following the polls, it's changing public opinion to do the right thing. That's what leadership is all about and that's what we should expect of our next president.

BERMAN: Do you think that a politician could be fully pro-choice and support the Hyde Amendment at the same time?

MOULTON: It's -- in my opinion, no. Because like said, it's like saying you support the troops but you don't want to pay them.

You support a woman's right for an abortion but you don't think that we should fund those who can't afford it themselves, and that's just wrong. So, this is a place where we need to change public opinion.

I think a better way to put it is leaders don't follow polls, polls follow leaders.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Seth Moulton, thank you very much for being with us on this really significant day, and thank you so much for your service.

MOULTON: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right.

Here at home, the battle over tariffs on Mexico is heating up. What Senate Republicans want before they go into effect, that's next.


[07:38:03] CAMEROTA: President Trump says there is progress but no deal in talks with Mexican authorities on immigration and tariffs. The president is vowing, as you know, to impose those tariffs on all imports from Mexico this Monday, which is leading to a revolt among Republican senators.

So, CNN's Lauren Fox is live on Capitol Hill with more. What is the latest at this hour, Lauren? LAUREN FOX, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, CNN POLITICS: Well, Alisyn, the president, of course, overseas this morning. But back home, a rift with his own party over these tariffs, which could potentially be put into action on Monday, continues to grow.


FOX (voice-over): President Trump pressing ahead, moving one step closer to imposing tariffs on all imports from Mexico.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've told Mexico the tariffs go on, and I mean it, too. And I'm very happy with it.

FOX (voice-over): With pressure growing inside the White House and backlash from Republicans lawmakers, the president slamming members of his own party.

TRUMP: A lot of people, senators included, they have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to tariffs. They have no -- absolutely no idea.

When you have the money, when you have the product, when you have the thing that everybody wants, you're in a position to do very well with tariffs.

FOX (voice-over): Trump says his move is a threat to force the Mexican government to help stop Central American migrants from crossing into the United States. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection reports nearly 133,000 apprehensions at the southern border last month, the highest monthly total in 13 years.

This, as top Trump administration and Mexican officials meet for a second time today after the group led by Vice President Mike Pence failed to reach a deal Wednesday. A senior White House official tells CNN there's, quote, "a very small chance President Trump's tariffs won't happen."

If they take effect, starting on Monday, a five percent tariff would be slapped on all Mexican goods entering the U.S., and it could reach as high as 25 percent by October.

[07:40:02] President Trump falsely claiming that the tariff hikes won't affect American consumers.

TRUMP: The people aren't going to have to worry about paying the tax because the companies are going to move back into the United States. There won't be any tariffs.

FOX (voice-over): The tariffs could raise the prices of products from produce to automobiles, and could also cost over 400,000 U.S. jobs, according to an economic consulting firm.

Some Republican senators say the tariffs aren't the way to solve the issue.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Right now, what we're seeing -- this is like a giant game of chicken. This is the wrong solution to the crisis.

SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): I don't particularly favor the tariffs. I'm afraid that it might endanger some American jobs.

FOX (voice-over): Democrats also urging the president to find another way to work with Mexico on immigration.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think that this is dangerous territory. This is not a way to treat a friend. It's not a way to deal with immigration.


FOX: Now, behind the scenes and publicly, Republicans are calling for President Trump to brief them in person before he imposes these tariffs.

Of course, if the president continues to go through with them, what we can expect is Republicans may have to take a vote. And the biggest question will be how many Republicans stick with the president versus how many vote against these tariffs -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Lauren Fox for us on Capitol Hill. Lauren, thank you very much.

We have a CNN exclusive this morning. A new inspector general's report reveals shocking conditions inside four ICE facilities.

CNN's Jessica Schneider is live in Washington with the exclusive details. Jessica, what have you learned?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the inspector general's report really puts it bluntly, saying that at two ICE detention facilities, in particular, they found immediate risks and egregious violations when they inspected there -- a surprise inspection back in 2018.

Now, these investigations were prompted by calls to the inspector general's hotline and concerns raised by immigrant rights groups.

And in this report, the I.G. stresses here that these detainees - they're not prisoners and their detention is not supposed to be punitive.


SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Improperly-packaged raw and leaking meat, overflowing toilets, and moldy shower stalls -- and braided bed sheets referred to as "nooses" that have sometimes been used for attempted suicides.

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general says that these are some of the immediate risks and egregious violations found at multiple ICE detention facilities in unannounced visits over six months late last year -- the worst in New Jersey and California. The inspector general's investigation began after a tip about terrible conditions on its hotline. The I.G. made unannounced visits to four facilities in California, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Colorado.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement responded to the violations and said in an addendum to the report that it has "completed significant corrective actions to address identified issues."

ICE even attached pictures of improved bathroom and shower conditions at its California location, but the conditions were dangerous and unsanitary for the nearly 5,000 detainees held in total at the four facilities.

The I.G. stressing, "All ICE detainees are held in civil, not criminal, custody, which is not supposed to be punitive."

Nevertheless, the inspector general found detainees at the New Jersey and Colorado facilities essentially trapped inside. Detainees were not allowed proper access to outdoor recreation and forced to make do with the so-called recreation yard that had a partial-covered roof or mesh cages on the glass enclosures.

The I.G. also found the food handling situation so bad at the New Jersey detention center that the kitchen manager was replaced during the inspection. They saw open packages of raw chicken leaking blood; slimy, foul-smelling lunch meat; and moldy bread.

But the problems could get worse given the record numbers of migrants now in government custody. ICE's new acting director, Mark Morgan, said Monday that there are currently around 52,000 single adults in ICE custody. That's an all-time high and exceeds funding levels, yet again.

And the numbers across immigration facilities are expected to grow as more and more migrants cross the border. Last month, more than 144,000 migrants were apprehended or encountered at the southern border, the highest monthly total in 13 years.


SCHNEIDER: And it's important to note that all of these violations were found over a 7-month period in 2018 and ICE has reported many fixes to the inspector general. But, the I.G. is still insisting on more documentation confirming that follow-up inspections and other corrective actions have been completed -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Jessica. That is horrid. Thank you very much for the reporting.

All right.

He is a living legend and an American hero. Meet the man believed to be the last surviving African American D-Day combat veteran, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [07:49:04] BERMAN: On this 75th anniversary of D-Day, we have a salute to an American hero. D-Day combat veteran Henry Parham has been alive for nearly a century. And while that alone is noteworthy, it isn't what sets him apart.

Gary Tuchman has the story.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-one- year-old Henry Parham worked as a bus porter in Virginia when he entered the U.S. Army. Today, he's an American hero and living history. That's because Henry Parham is believed to be the last surviving African American D-Day combat veteran.

TUCHMAN (on camera): You're going to be 98 in November.


TUCHMAN (on camera): That's almost a century.

H. PARHAM: Oh, yes.

TUCHMAN (on camera): And you've seen a lot.

PARHAM: Yes, I have.

ETHEL PARHAM, WIFE OF HENRY PARHAM: No, you don't want to go around the steps.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Henry Parham, who lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Ethel, vividly remembers fellow soldiers drowning off Omaha Beach and the Nazi air bombardments.

H. PARHAM: Of course, I feared for my life -- sure.

[07:50:00] TUCHMAN (voice-over): He was part of a most-unique Army combat unit, the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion. The mission, to launch huge hydrogen-filled balloons from the beaches of Normandy to protect Allied troops on the ground from enemy aircraft.

And most notably, all the soldiers of the battalion were black. Only a relatively small number of black troops were able to be part of the D-Day invasion. The U.S. military still segregated and discriminatory.

H. PARHAM: That's the worst thing in the world. We were separated from the white and black, but I was doing my duty.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): He has always tried to focus on the positive.

TUCHMAN (on camera): When you came back home after the war, fighting for Americans' liberty, fighting for freedom, and realizing when you got back you still didn't have the same liberty and same freedom that white American had, were you disappointed, were you surprised or did you expect that?

H. PARHAM: Well, no, I wasn't disappointed because I grew up under those conditions.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): His wife of 45 years says her husband's optimism has served him well.

E. PARHAM: And I think it's a great honor that he sacrificed to make this world a better place for every one of us.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): The author of this book about the black soldiers of the 320th says there were 621 troops in the battalion and that Henry Parham is the last surviving member.


TUCHMAN (voice-over): After being modestly quiet about his World War II experiences for decades, Henry Parham has now received accolades and medals, including the prestigious French Legion of Honor award.

E. PARHAM: I thank God that with all the accolades that are going around that he's alive to witness it.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Henry Parham knows he was fortunate to survive D-Day.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Were you afraid you were going to drown?

H. PARHAM: No, because I prayed to the good Lord to save me.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Did you know how to swim?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): Despite the hardships before, during, and after the war, Private First Class Parham is very grateful to have served.

H. PARHAM: I did my duty. I did what I was supposed to do as an American.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): An American hero.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Pittsburgh.


CAMEROTA: Oh my gosh, that's beautiful. I mean, that -- they are so -- he and his wife -- what are they eating?

BERMAN: I know. And again, our thanks to Henry Parham for everything he's done and I just love it.


BERMAN: It was an amphibious landing and he wasn't afraid of drowning. Could he swim? CAMEROTA: No.


CAMEROTA: I'm so glad we did that profile.

All right, to politics now. Could Texas be a swing state in 2020? The new poll that has Democrats taking a longer look at the Lone Star State, next.


[07:56:56] BERMAN: Staggering new numbers reveal a sharp increase in the number of homeless people in Los Angeles despite the millions of dollars the city has spent to address the issue.

CNN's Stephanie Elam spoke to the mayor there to find out why these numbers are spiking.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tents, sleeping bags, panhandling. From West L.A. to Hollywood, to downtown, homeless people can be found throughout Los Angeles.

Many Angelinos already suspected the housing crisis is getting worse. Now, there's data to prove it.

New numbers from the city's annual homeless count estimate more than 36,000 people in the city are homeless. That's up 16 percent from last year. In all of L.A. County, the rise is 12 percent to nearly 59,000 people.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: It's high rents, it's low wages, it's mental health, it's addiction. It's actually all of those transpiring together.

ELAM (voice-over): Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is under fire for the homelessness issue, a problem he says he owns.

GARCETTI: People do think there's a silver bullet to this -- there isn't. But a dedicated campaign with funding that continues through and patience in the first two or three years to get the machine working because you can't just shelter people randomly -- that will produce a system that not only ends homelessness on our streets but builds a sustainable system.

ELAM (voice-over): Despite getting more people into housing last year than ever before, the city and county haven't been able to keep up with the number of people falling into homelessness. Nearly a quarter of those living on the street said they became homeless for the first time last year.

In 2016, Los Angeles voters approved usage of $1.2 billion for permanent housing. Garcetti's goal is 10,000 permanent supportive housing units over the next 10 years. ELAM (on camera): Has any of the $1.2 billion, at all, gone to the homeless problem yet?

GARCETTI: Oh, yes. No, we have already about $400 million of it funded. We will spend that $1.2 billion early. I mean, long before the 10-year span.

ELAM (voice-over): The mayor's critics, however, are skeptical and call for more innovation.

JILL STEWART, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COALITION TO PRESERVE L.A.: The mayor has this dramatic plan and he's not breaking away from it. It's taking forever, it's a huge waste of money, and it's turning into a disaster for the homeless.

GARCETTI: I get that frustration because I, like anybody out there, wants this to be something we can snap our finger and in a year or two see go away. It's been decades in the making and it will be years coming out.

ELAM (voice-over): That frustration is also shared by L.A.'s homeless.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not zoo animals. We are human beings that happen to be living on the street.

ELAM (voice-over): Stephanie Elam, CNN, Los Angeles.


CAMEROTA: All right.

President Trump is about to meet with the French president one-on-one after a very solemn day commemorating 75 years of D-Day.

NEW DAY continues right now.

CAMEROTA: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to a special edition of NEW DAY.

It's been quite a morning here because President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron met. They spoke at this beautiful D-Day celebration and commemoration.

You're looking live now at pictures because Emmanuel Macron and the president.