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Democratic Primary Debate; Supreme Court to take up DACA; Trump Meets with China's President; Harris Confronts Biden on Race. Aired 9:30-10a

Aired June 28, 2019 - 09:30   ET



[09:30:06] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back.

If you didn't stay up to watch the debate, here are the recaps of the highlights. Senator Kamala Harris is not the only one who took a risk last night. Mayor Pete Buttigieg took ownership of the issues surrounding a recent deadly police shooting of an African-American man in South Bend, Indiana. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The police force in South Bend is now 6 percent black in a city that is 26 percent black.

Why has that not improved over your two terms as mayor?

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because I couldn't get it done. My community is in anguish right now because of an officer involved shooting.

It's a mess. And we're hurting. And I could walk you through all of the things that we have done as a community. All of the steps that we took from bias training, to de-escalation, but it didn't save the life of Eric Logan.


HARLOW: Let's talk about this. Eliana Johnson, White House reporter for "Politico" joins me, along with CNN's senior political analyst Mark Preston is back.

Eliana, his words just this, you know, contrition, humility, I couldn't get it done. How is that going to resonate?

ELIANA JOHNSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, Buttigieg really came into this second debate under siege. He had been off the campaign trail dealing with this tragedy back in South Bend. And I think his answer, it was a great answer, and it was certainly enough to stop the bleeding from this issue.

I don't think it was enough for him to continue the momentum he's really had that vaulted him from a virtual nobody into the top tier candidates. So while Buttigieg certainly didn't hurt himself last night, I don't think he helped himself. It was really -- I think everybody's performance last night was really surpassed by Kamala Harris and all eyes are now on her.

HARLOW: A lot of eyes for sure are on her.

Before we move on from Buttigieg, though, Mark Preston, I want you to listen to this moment because I was so struck as I was watching this last night, Buttigieg's first answer and his last answer of the night, he intentionally brought up the fact that he is gay and he is married to a man. Listen to this.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: College affordability is personal for us. Chasten and I have six figure student debt.

Nothing about politics is theoretical for me.

I've experienced being in a marriage that exists by the grace of a single vote on the U.S. Supreme Court.


HARLOW: He is betting, Mark, that America is ready for a gay president.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, what an amazing moment for this reason and this reason alone. Very authentic, talking about the struggles he's feeling. And it's not from a quote/unquote traditional marriage, which you would hear on a debate stage. Guess what, not everybody is in a traditional marriage. And, guess what, America is changing. And Pete Buttigieg really explained that in a way last night that I thought was very, very compelling.

You know, I go back to a town hall that we did down with Pete Buttigieg, which everyone says launched him.


PRESTON: And he talked about his marriage and his relationship and being a gay man. And I remember the outpouring from folks in the -- you know, in the LGBTQ community saying, wow, I can't believe that just happened on national television. It almost gives you chills.

HARLOW: It's a -- it's big. I mean just, Eliana, over the last two nights, transgender rights came to the floor on the first night, and then what we just played from Pete Buttigieg came to the floor. I mean it just speaks to how different a moment this is and how America is changing and how, you know, presidential candidates are talking about this more openly and making it a bigger issue.

JOHNSON: That's absolutely right. You know, it was not so long ago that Barack Obama, in 2008, campaigned against gay marriage.


JOHNSON: And it was controversial when his vice president, Joe Biden, got out ahead of him and said he now supported this.


JOHNSON: You know, all of that -- that happened all in our adult lifetimes. And it just, I think, really shows you how much the Democratic Party has transformed just in, you know, in the past decade.

HARLOW: Yes, that's a great -- that is a great point about Obama. I hadn't thought about that.

So, guys, listen to this moment from former Vice President Joe Biden. It's short, but it was striking. Listen.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We, in fact, allow people --


BIDEN: My time's up.

Anyway, my time's up. I'm sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, vice president.



So, Mark, I'm out of time, I'm sorry. No one cut him off there. Why -- two questions. Why would you stop yourself? And was it metaphorical for, my time has passed?


HARLOW: Like, it's past my time. I'm out of time.

PRESTON: That's a -- certainly for Democrats who think it is past his time, and -- and -- and there is a strong contingent -- a strong contingent on the liberal wing who believe that.

What a generational difference when you have him look at -- look and try to follow, quote/unquote, the rules. But having said that, I wonder -- and we don't know this, and perhaps we'll find this out, was he catching himself, Poppy?

[09:35:02] HARLOW: Yes, I don't -- I don't know.

PRESTON: Was he catching himself? I mean that's the metaphor -- was he catching himself before he went too far because he knew that if he continued things could have perhaps got even uglier. We just don't know. But what a strange moment that was. HARLOW: It was. It struck me a lot.

OK, guys, we have to cut it short. We do have breaking news out of the Supreme Court.

Jessica, everything didn't end yesterday. Jessica Schneider joins us outside of the high court. So this is what we were wondering, is the court going to take up the DACA case next term?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And the answer is, yes, Poppy, the Supreme Court just announcing that it will, in fact, hear arguments on the Trump administration's decision to wind down the DACA program. Of course that's the program that was instituted by President Obama that protects these approximately 700,000 so-called dreamers. These are the young immigrants who came here as children. It protects them from deportation.

The Trump administration, in 2017, shortly after the president took office, decided to wind down this program, but it was blocked at the lower courts. The lower courts said you -- you were doing this in an arbitrary and capricious manner and you can't do it. So they stopped the wind down. That allowed those dreamers to continue their protections, continue their renewals. The Trump administration, though, has been blasting these decisions, saying that it's inappropriate for these lower court judges to issue these nationwide injunctions on their policies. So they've been pushing for the Supreme Court to take case this. The attorney general, Bill Barr, has been particularly outspoken about the improper nature of these nationwide injunctions. So finally the Trump administration will, in fact, be getting its day in court, something that they've been pushing for. We've been waiting for a decision like this to determine if the Supreme Court would take it for weeks.

And what's interesting about this is the timing here. The Supreme Court, of course, ended their term yesterday, Poppy, but they will be back at it in October for their next term. That is when they will hear this DACA case. That means the arguments will be at the height of the election and campaign season and then the decision will come out likely just months before the election itself.


HARLOW: Exactly what I was thinking. Attorney General Bill Barr has lamented these injunctions. Now they get their day in court and -- and the decision comes in the height of the election, Jess, you're totally right. Thank you for that. We appreciate it.

All right, hours from now, a high stakes meeting between President Trump and China's Xi Jinping. Can they seal a deal, a trade deal, or will they just leave further apart, next.


[09:41:48] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again from Osaka, Japan.

Hours from now, another major bilateral meeting here at the G-20 Summit. President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping sit down as trade -- tensions between the two countries boil. This morning, China is pushing for a, quote, positive outcome, saying its hopeful the U.S. will meet it halfway. President Trump denies that he promised Xi the U.S. would hold off on new tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of Chinese goods as a precondition for their meeting tomorrow.

Let's discuss now with Todd Mariano. He is the U.S. director at Eurasia Group.

Todd, good to have you on this morning.

So, "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting this morning that President Xi Jinping is planning to present President Trump with a list of preconditions for continuing these trade negotiations. And one of these is very crucial because the Chinese president wants the U.S. to stop this threatened ban on Huawei, a major Chinese producer of hi- tech goods, particularly networking goods, routers, et cetera. A big part of mobile phone networks. That's quite a precondition for the Chinese president to demand.

Is that one that the U.S. president is willing to deal on?


I think that's one of the biggest questions facing this Trump-Xi meeting at the G-20 is the fate of Huawei. There's -- there's an opinion on the -- on the White House side that Huawei could be a bargaining chip for the U.S. in trying to get to a trade deal with China. I think it's going to be a far more difficult one to actually use because if the president exceeds to China's demands here that Huawei is given a lifeline or, you know, allowed to continue to using U.S. components in its networking gear and other products, then I think that Trump is going to face a backlash back here in Washington for having given away possibly one of the -- one of the biggest cards that the U.S. has to play here. And it's something of particular importance to the more hawkishly inclined on Capitol Hill who are seeking to confront China and secure the U.S.' place in 5G. This is a -- this is a race for the future and even the president's own party is not necessarily aligned on using Huawei in that way.

SCIUTTO: Right. Well, I mean the difficulty here is that the U.S. claims this is a national security issue that Huawei products are just not safe. So for the president to back off, you would have to come up with some explanation, say it's no longer a national security risk.

I'm curious, though, because that's not the only issue of disagreement here. The U.S. wants freer access to Chinese markets. It wants China to stop stealing U.S. intellectual property, U.S. state secrets. I mean, in effect, President Trump is demanding that China end an economic model which, while unfair, is one that China views as necessary for its country's prosperity. I'm just curious what the middle ground is here because both sides will have to give but where?

[09:45:00] MARIANO: I agree. I think finding the middle ground is not only difficult in itself, but also remaining on the middle ground. Enforcement and proper implementation is something that has bedeviled U.S.-Chinese agreements for a long time, long before President Trump was -- was on the scene in American politics. So that's clearly really where the rubber meet the road. I think that even if they can find middle ground, first of all, it's not going to be at the G-20. It's very unlikely that they can do more here than come up with some sort of truce. You know, an agreement to keep talking. Even if they are then able to come up with a 30, 60, 90-day window in which they're trying to complete a more fulsome agreement, I think clearly the issue is enforcement. And as we saw last night in the Democratic debate, this is steadily going to become a 2020 issue for Trump as well.

SCIUTTO: Well, it's interesting. As you described the status of the talks, just kind of an agreement to keep talking, it sounds very much like the nuclear negotiations with North Korea. A lot of talking, a lot of dependence on a personal relationship, but so far, on those talks, and so far on the Chinese trade talks, no actual progress in the negotiations.

Todd Mariano, good to have you on to help us frame this important meeting between Xi and Trump. That's coming up next here at the G-20.

More explanations from the former vice president, Joe Biden, concerning race and his past work in the Senate with segregationists. Coming up, the letters Biden wrote to a segregationist senator in his fight to stop bussing.


[09:51:06] HARLOW: All right, the most talked about moment at last night's debate came when Senator Kamala Harris confronted former Vice President Joe Biden about his fight against bussing regulated through the Department of Education to desegregate schools. Now, the exchange was not only intense, it was very personal, with Harris explaining how Biden's stance on busing impacted her when she was a little girl growing up in Oakland, California.

Our Jeff Zeleny walks us through the history.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not believe you are a racist. And I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice over): With those words, Senator Kamala Harris confronting former Vice President Joe Biden and his long record on race in the most dramatic exchange in the first Democratic debate Thursday night in Miami.

HARRIS: There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools. And she was bused to school every day. And that little girl was me.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact is that in terms of busing, the busing -- I never -- you would have been able to go to school the same exact way because it was a local decision made by your city council. That's fine. That's one of the things I argued for, that we should not be -- we should be breaking down these lines.

HARRIS: Vice President Biden, do you agree today -- do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then?

BIDEN: No --

HARRIS: Do you agree?

BIDEN: I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education.

ZELENY: That moment shining new light on a long ago chapter of Biden's life, from his earliest years in the Senate, when he strongly opposed mandatory school busing that was designed to achieve integration and a more equitable education.

It was the mid-1970s. Biden favored desegregation, but not through busing. What's less known is how he followed the lead of some of the Senate's most fervent segregationists. In a series of never before published letters reviewed by CNN, the strength of Biden's opposition to busing comes into sharper focus.

On March 25, 1977, Biden wrote, my bill strikes at the heart of the injustice of court-ordered busing. It prohibits the federal courts from disrupting our educational system.

Biden sought and received support from Mississippi Senator James Eastland, the Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee and a leading symbol of southern resistance to desegregation. He frequently spoke of blacks as, quote, an inferior race.

Biden reflected on that era earlier this year.

BIDEN: They're a bunch of racists. In other words, you know, James O. Eastland of Mississippi, Strom Thurmond and so on. There were nine guys and -- who were in the caucus that were, you know, I ran against in the civil rights movement.

ZELENY: But he did not say that Eastland and others were partners on several of Biden's anti-busing bills.

On June 30, 1977, Biden wrote, Dear Mr. Chairman, I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week's committee meeting in attempting to bring my anti-busing legislation to a vote.

Then in 1978 Biden again asked Eastland to put his anti-busing bill before the full Senate, writing, your participation in floor debate will be welcomed.

Four decades later, after building a strong civil rights record, Biden stands by his opposition to busing, arguing it did not address institutional racism. Most busing programs in America were later abandoned after bringing more hardship than equal opportunity to all students.

BIDEN: But -- so the bottom line here is, look, everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights. I continue to think we have to make fundamental changes in civil rights.

ZELENY: Jeff Zeleny, CNN, Miami.


HARLOW: Really important reporting there from Jeff. Thank you so much for that.

[09:54:48] In just a few hours, we are going to see Joe Biden for the first time since the debate last night. He will meet with Reverend Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Push Coalition. I'll speak with the Reverend Jackson next.


HARLOW: All right, it is the top of the hour. Welcome, everyone.

This morning, Senator Kamala Harris is following up on an emotional moment at the debate last night where she called Joe Biden's earlier stance on school bussing, quote, hurtful. With another emotional moment this morning, this one at an immigrant detention facility in Homestead, Florida.

[10:00:03] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Families belong together. And babies deserve to have their parents with them.