tv CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar CNN April 5, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PDT
it would mean a drastic change in senate rules and it would allow democrats to pass sweeping bills with a simple majority if they controlled the senate in the future. thanks for joining us. don't go anywhere. a lot of news to cover. blow a brianna keilar starts right now. >> i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. under way right now, up first, it's not a laughing matter. joe biden says he gets it but he almost immediately proves he doesn't get it. this happened a few minutes ago. he was hoping he might diffuse the comments. this was at a speech. >> put your hands together and give a warm welcome to the 47th vice president of the united states joe biden.
♪ >> i just want you to know i had permission to hug lani. all those kids who want to come up on the stage, it's okay. come on up. by the way, he gave me per mgs to touch him. >> cnn political reporter arlette sainz was in the ream. tell us about the reaction inside the room but the impact this could have outside of the room. >> reporter: well, brianna, as you heard in those clips, people in the room were laughing after joe biden made that joke, but it was very clear to the former vice president and his team that maybe those remarks didn't sit well outside of the room and joe biden came out and did a little impromptu gaggle and came over to talk to reporters saying he didn't mean to make light of
anyone's feelings and their interactions to them. tack a listen to what he had to say. >> it is important that i and everyone else is aware that any woman or man who feels uncomfortable should have a right to say, hey, i'm uncomfortable with that or hopefully we'll get to the point even before that to say i'm uncomfortable. no matter what. and i really do understand it. but it's -- you know, one of the thing things that -- for skpaexample, wunl joking. the president of the union put his arms around me. that's how people react. >> do you think you owe these women a direct apology who have
come forward? >> look. the fact of the matter is i made it clear. if i made anyone feel uncomfortable about that, i feel badly about that it was never my intention. >> for those who want to hear i'm sorry, are you sorry? >> i'm sorry i didn't understand more. i'm not sorry for any of my intentions. i'm not sorry for anything i have never done. i have never been disrespectable intentionally to a man or a woman. you know, that's not the reputation i've had since high school, for god's sake. >> is this going to change how you cam feign. >> it's going to have to change how i campaign. >> reporter: so now the question is going to be you have biden talking a bit more about his behavior and the allegations that made people feel uncomfortable. but the question is this going to be enough for some women who
did not feel he had gone far enough in his expression of regrets. one other thing that i had the chance to ask him about is when is he going to enter the 2020 race, and he says he has to be very careful with what he says, that the lawyers have advised him to be mindful of his words related to 2020. that decision is going to come very soon but this is going to unfold as he's grappling with these allegations, brianna. >> arlette, thanks so much for bringing us the interview. we have s.e. cupp, senior political reporter nia malik henderson and political director david jell ran. s.e., i know you were having quite a reaction to biden's approach as you were listening to all of that. what do you think? >> part of me is taken back to the joe biden we know from a campaign trail, right?
he is gaffe-prone. another part of me was listening to that, and i thought, oh, man, it's too soon to joke about something that you want me to believe you really understand and if you really get it as he said he did and wants to take a difference approach and learn from this moment, you don't joke about it the very next public opportunity. but i also think joe biden is still playing by the old rules and he doesn't know really that the rules have changed. for him to come out and say it wasn't my intention, those are old rules. your intention doesn't matter. your bafb matters. you need to take accountability for it, you need to accept it, and you need to say, i'll never do it again. he didn't create them. he doesn't seem to grasp the new setting he's in.
my final take, though, is he's playing not for those women, not for millennials, not for a me too generation but for his generation and he is saying to a lot of people who think that democrats have embarked on an apology tour for the fragile he's saying i'm just like you. i think some of this is nonsense and let's get back to a better time when you could give your buddy a hug or a hug was a sign of affection and not an invas n invasion. it's a strategy perhaps he's embarking upon. >> well, look. instead of an apology tour, does he need to go on a listening tour to better understand what it is he says that he gets? >> what i would add to what se is saying, it's not just about
the need of the parties and all the different factions to get their voices heard here. it's also an ideological composition that joe biden was asked about in the press conference that he done believe the party has moved as far left as some others think. so what was so intriguing to me, his choice to have a lighthearted moment about it in his first public appearance and then to talk to the press and clean it up and then to express these thoughts that he's not necessarily convinced that the party has moved as far as some other analysts have sachltd a all of that suggests to me that joe biden may actually have a clear-eyed view of where the broader electorate is on this and be out of touch with the s base is all at the same time. >> is he also trying to navigate between he did something like --
not that he necessarily feels was inappropriate, but to make a distinction if we will between joe biden's beige and then the range of behavior that's been discussed in the me too moment and the discussions about consent, the idea of violating someone's personal space and making them feel very uncomfortable as we've heard women saying and then you have president trump who's talking about sexually assaulting women and these are not all of the sapg thing but are the rules the same for all of these? >> i do think he's trying to make some distinction there, and he does seem to be so proud of his record, right, in terms of the violence against women's act. he's the face of it's on us now, which is a group that was formed under the obama administration that looks at sexual assault on campuses and tries to change people's behavior around that particularly male behavior around that. i do think to david's point he
is trying to do those two things, right? on the one hand sort of acknowledge this era of the democratic party and then a woke a tooous party. there are races across the south, the midwest and across the country and you saw it with the reaction of people laughing. part of it is people laughing and the me too movement, nodding to both of those. the question is can he navigate it? is the base that he has enough to get him through the democratic primary? >> it's interesting that the first woman who complained about biden's actions actually responded to his comments. she tweeted this. it's clear joe biden hasn't reflected at all on how his in appropriate and unsolicited
touching made women feel uncomfortable. it degrades the conversation women everywhere are courageously trying to have. i find and i wonder, se, what you think about this, this concept of consent is something that especially -- there's a big conversation going on about it, and i think it's an area where it's divisive in that some people do not understand it and other people feel that it is very important and there's really a lack of understanding. >> there is. and part of it is generational. if you have to ask someone before you hug them, to some that sounds preposterous. a lot of people vote in elections. in my generation, i've been uncomfortably grabbed. i don't think joe biden's hugging is malicious and i don't
think it's harassment but i think it's a good reminder, our bodies are not up for grabs. you can't grab parts of them, all of them. i think there's two sort of generations moving at the same time. i don't know that you can be all things to all people, and so if david is right that he's trying to be both woke and sort of nostalgic nod to the past, eventually those things are going to collide and not make much sense together. >> the rules by se cup. thank you so much. nia and david as well. you can catch se cup on saturday at 6:00 p.m. eastern. they sate ooh is going to be a long hart feed. plus my chat with julian castro. with so many candidates already in the race, where's his path to victory. did i have after business school?
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now to the fight over the president's tax returns and the demand from the chairman of the house ways and means committee, the president again claiming he's under audit which is a dubious claim. he also said the law is 100% on his side. but the law says he has to turn over those returns. we should also mention the president placed an ally with ties to the trump organization into the hierarchy of the administration. so take us through this fight for the president's tax returns. >> well, certainly there has been just sort of this dynamic explosion over the last couple of days as the trump
administration trials to scramble for a response to richard kneneal's request for ax return. we don't expect them to comply within a week and then i'm told richard neal is going to send a letter asking for the president's tax returns. after that it gets very murky. when i talk with tax experts about the next step they say we certainly don't know because this law has never been tested before. so what happens next is kind of anyone's guess. now, we do know that there's a lot of hope that the president's tax returns would be publicly disclosed, but, again, you know, we have a long legal fight ahead of us and at the end of the legal fight even if richard neal got the tax returns, there are a lot of rules on who can have that information. essentially the committee would have to have a private vote. they would have to decide
whether or not to discuss this. it's very unclear whether or not the public would ever see the president's tax returns and if we ever even get to that point. >> lawrence fox, thank you so much for taking us through that. a choreographed charade between the president trump and his hand picked attorney general. that's what we're seeing on the extremely limited access to the mueller port. congressman, thank you for being with us. it's important to note you're on the committee. jerry nadler is asking for all communications. do you think he should subpoena those? >> of course, he should, and he will have to because i don't think -- you know, bill barr's job is not to cooperate with divulging information. it would be harmless to president trump. and it's clear there's information that's harmful. he's had two weeks to report.
we've found out that -- the norm times have said -- personnel have said there were sin on cease, summaries for each section that were basically clean of grand jury information, and that could be released. i've said it so many times and i've been right and i'll be proven totally right. barr was hired to be his fixer, and that's what he's doing. he's hurting the didn't of justice, america's reputation regarding rule of law and a kun tra that's open and public. this is the public's information and they need to know what's in that report and congressmen need to know. >> you tweeted out that, quote, people deserve to see the full report. what do you say not just to republicans but there are also nonpartisan legal experts out there who say it's irresponsible
to give all of that information to the general public because it would include unsubstantiated information and grand jury secrets. >> secrets should. be released, of course. that can go to members of congress and i don't think barr wants that to go to us and we all have classified clearances. grand jury information after an investigation is over is not up to the president. it's been done in terms of previous requests and the president. when you're dealing with someone as important as the president of the united states and his campaign administration get involved with russians? american people need to know.
and there e's no -- we're adult and i think the american public has a right to that information, and obviously trump doesn't want the american public to know, just like he doesn't want people to know about his taxes which involve his finances and possible connections to oligarchs, just like he doesn't want people to know his grades. the stable genius has threatened the schools if they release his grades with penalties and legal action. there's so much he's hiding mg he's not adequately morally intellectually and passionately to be president of the united states. >> in a letter to lawmakers you feel barr is the president's fixer, but his former fixer michael cohen, his attorneys say they found a hard drive with
millions of doumds. they're asking congress to help delay his prison sentence schl that something that's in congress's purview? >> it seems like pruzen is getting closer and closer for michael cohen. he's going more desperate to keep him out of prison. it's an awful prospect. it's not something we generally get involved with with a man or woman who's looking at prison time. >> congressman steve cohen, thank you so much. >> you're welcome, brianna. right now president trump is headed to calexico, california, for a bit of a photo op near some newly installed fencing near the southern border. his visit comes after plans to close the border, at least for now. and my interview with julio
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president did not seem too worried. >> oh, i don't know. that's up to whoever handles it. hey, i'm under audit, but that's up to whoever it is. from what i understand, the law is 100% on my side. >> all right. well, let's bring in the person who can tell us if that's true. mark ee veryson who served as commissioner from 2003 until 2007 under president bush. he's kurnlly chairman of the alliance group. okay. so, mark, is this law 100% in the president's favor as he says in is. >> i don't think so. >> okay. >> it's pretty clear it says if the attorney of was and means or house committee or finance which is the senate committee asks for a tax return, it shall -- the word is "shall" -- shall be provided. most of the obligation runs to the secretary of the treasury
and that's the way it works and it's an authority that's been routinely used over the years to allow the congress to look at are there emerging problems in the tax code or has the irs handled something properly or not. but it hasn't been used in this manner before. >> so and this is this little known tax code from 1924 that gives the chairman of the house was and means committee and the senate fitness committee the power to request the tax returns of any-american. we heard from reporter lauren fox who's been covering this every step of the way, and she says one of the questions is even if neal is able to get the talt returns, there's a question on who else would have access to it. what's your understanding there? >> well, i don't think that's clear at all that they would have the authority to release it more broadly, and i wouldn't want them to do that. i would say, brianna, i'm concerned about the request at
all. let me say this. i was on record as saying that the president when he was a candidate should have released the returns. i think that's very important. but i don't want the independence of the irs to be compromised through what is being a political process. it's being justified to see that the irs is doing the job it's doing. i'm not aware that anyone asked for an audit of barack obama or george w. bush. they're drawing the line after everybody is saying not to see what the irs is doing but the president's dealings with russia or other players and that's not the stated purpose of the inqui inquiry. i think they've mixed it up here. once they have the returns i would be curious if they get it broadly make it public.
>> that's interesting. i wonder then what you think about this new report "the new york times" first reporting that president trump had pushed for the nomination of the irs chief counsel even before he was pushing for the process, the confirmation process for his now attorney general bill barr and that this is someone who actually had done work for the trump organization before the president trump became president. what you do think about that and the potential implications of politicizing the process through this move? >> i worked with michael desmond. he was at the treasury department when i was the commissioner, and there's a rivalry if you will as a constructed tension between treasury text policy and the irs. i have the highest regard for december mind i think he was an outstanding nomination for president. what i read is there was a small
matter, limited amount of work he did. i'm sure if he fell it was somehow -- would compel him to recuse himself, he would do that. he has the utmost integrity. the fact of the matter is this job needed to be fulfilled. the landmark designation came in in the end of 2017. the chief official is the one charged with riding out all the regulars in terms of the law. he needed to get in there. he was held up by a single senator for well over half a year. that's a problem. now, any call between the pr d president and the leader, i don't know any of that obviously. but my understanding from reporting is that michael could have said i've had enough of this, i'm going back to the practice of law. it would have been bad for our country. >> it's interesting to hear your perspective. michaek
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a book that you're ready to share with the world? get published now, call for your free publisher kit today! president trump is on his way to the southern border right now as he backs off his threat to shut down the border with mexico. just listen to what he said as he left the white house this morning. >> i never changed my mind at
all. i may shut it down at some point. i'd rather do tariffs. mexico has been very, very good, you know that, over the past four days since talking about shutting down the border. if they continue that, everything will be fine. if they don't, we'll tariff their cars coming into the united states, 25%. every time they make a car, it will be a 25% tariff. that worked. if it didn't work, i'll close the border. i'm also looking at an economic penalty for all the drugs coming in through the southern border and killing our people. >> white house correspondent kaitlan collins is insanya see droe, california. it's sort of like following the bouncing ball. what is it like? >> reporter: you would think so. the president said unless something dramatic happened he was going to follow through on
the threat to close the border. that comes after days of not only business officials but republican lawmakers calling the president and telling him what a bad idea it would be to close the border, close ports of entry behind me. even after the call from mitch mcconnell who said it would be catastrophic economically if the president did close the border in the way he was threatening. they decided to work on backup plans where he could threaten mexico and make comments but not hurt himself by closing parts of the borderer, do things that would be devastating to the economy. they came up with other ways like he could threaten automotive tariffs, threaten certain parts of trade and ports of entry instead of saying he would close down the entire southern border. >> tell us about the president
withdrawing his number knee for i.c.e. director. what happened? >> reporter: so this happened really suddenly last night and it caught a lot of people off guard. this is somebody who had been leaving i.c.e. they were looking at his past social media posts but then suddenly the white house announce they'd were withdrawing his nomination. it caught people off that officials thought it was a clerical error. actually the president's chief immigration adviser stephen miller went directly to president trump and told him he believed he should pull his nomination because he wasn't fully in favor of the president closing the southern border. the president tongue that to heart. they did withdraw the nomination. it was so sudden and caught so many off guard that even the dhs
secretary, kirsten knell kirsten knell senn was caught off guard. julian castro says illegal entry into the u.s. should be treated as a civil and not a criminal violation. he's here with us now to discuss a hallmark issue of his campaign. secretary, thank you so much for joining us. >> great to be with you. >> so your plan calls for a path to citizenship for dreamers and other undocumented individuals and families and for an increase in refugee admissions. first i want to focus on the real effects of yours of entering into the u.s. as a civil instead of a criminal vie lag. how would that not incentivize people to come and enter the u.s. in what is already what we can see at the border a system not equipped to handle the flow of people and the makeup of people, more women and children
that we're seeing coming in. >> well, in truth, a lot of the problems that we're having right now are due to the fact that we have criminalized the actions of these women and children and families that are coming to our southern border, and many of them seeking asylum. this family detention problem that we've had, the fact that you have people that are literally fenced in like animals under this overpass in el paso, if you'll remember, brianna, and the folks watching will remember, about a year ago the trump administration basically told us as americans if we could just be cruel enough to separate little children from their parents, that it would deter more families from coming. and, in fact, the opposite is true. and so instead of choosing cruelty and criminalization, i want to choose compassion and go back to the way these things were actually handled from the
late 1920s to about 2004 when they were treated as a civil matter and not a criminal matter. that would actually allow us, i believe, to handle this a lot better, to clear out that backlog, to make sure we can still have a secure border, but without the chaos that exists right now. >> so how does that work? because when you think of people coming in illegally, it would be an illegal border crossinging whereas a lot of families coming in, women and children coming in, are actually reporting and applying for asylum status. how would that civil versus criminal work? would it have anything to do with them, or are you talking about people illegally crossing the border? >> well, i don't believe that people seeking asylum should be treated as criminals. and i believe also that somebody here who's undocumented, it should be treated as a civil matter as well. in my immigration plan i put
forward ways to make sure people stay in the system, that they report back. we're not saying, for instance, that there are going to be no deportation. we're not say as some have suggested that there would be an open border. you know, we have personnel at our border. we have airplanes, we have helicopters, we have security cameras, we have boats that are patrolling our border. and so we have right now a border that is more secure than it's ever been. the thing is that this president wants us to believe that we have to choose between a secure border and compassion. his cruelty has failed, and i believe we should choose compassion and still have a secure border. >> you talk in your media posts about rhetoric and how that has sort of shaped the debate especially with president trump. you can't really deny there's a crisis at the border, but there's this great span in how
the crisis and solutions to it are being characterized and what you're talking about. let's listen to president trump. >> congress has to act. they have to get rid of catch-hachcatch h catch-and-release, chain migration, vesa requirements. they have to get rid of the whole system because it doesn't work. and, frankly, we have to get rid of judges. you can't have court cases every time somebody steps foot on our ground. >> what is your reaction to the president using that kind of language. >> i'd just ask americans to think about what this president is saying. the united states has been a leader for generations as place that people from around the world see as a beacon of hope. people come here seeking asylum. refugees who apply in their home countries want to come to the united states. so many families that have built up this country were immigrant
families. what he does is turns everybody back to immigration and scapegoats immigrants. it's the same play over and over and over again. i'm done buying the b.s. narrative that young women, children, and families present a national security threat to our country, they do not. >> you said you're going to release yours. quickly, when and how many returns is that going to be? >> i'm going to release ten years of tax returns with plenty of time for people who are going to go caucus in iowa. and then, of course, everybody who's going to vote after that to digest them. yes, this president and candidates should release their tax returns. i think americans should have the opportunity to see those tax returns. i also hope that congress gets ahold of this president's tax returns. what do you think he is hiding? why do you think that he is so determined to hide what is in his tax returns?
you know, if folks still support him, maybe they can come up with a good answer for that. i don't think that somebody tries to hide those tax returns for a good reason. he clearly doesn't want us to see something there. and hopefully congress will be able to get ahold of them. >> and the democratic committee has set a holding for the first debates to begin in june. have you met those requirements, and how do you make sure you'll be on stage? >> i've met the polling requirement, but i haven't met the requirement of 65,000 donations. folks can still contribute and i'm confident that with the support of a lot of americans out there, that i will be on the debate stage in late june. >> all right. secretary castro, thank you so much. we really appreciate you being with us. >> thank you. former vice president joe biden under fire over
allegations of being inappropriate, somewhat touchy feely, and he's now saying today he won't apologize for his intentions, that he's never intended to be disrespectful to any man or woman. biden was asked questions about this exchange during a union speech in washington. >> put your hands together and give a warm iebw welcome to the former vice president of the united states, joe biden. ♪ >> i just want you to know i had permission to hug lonny. hey, all you kids who want to come up on stage, it's okay. come on up. by the way, he gave me permission to touch him. >> joininging me on the phone to talk more about this is jen stocky, former white house communications director under president obama, she's also a
cnn political commentator. jen, you've been watching this. what did you think of joe biden's comments today? >> hi, brianna. thanks for having me on over the phone. even those of us who have a lot of love for joe biden and i'm certainly one of them, i would say humor was a miscalculation at his speech today. what's clear, what we also heard from him is he said, i'm sorry i didn't understand more. i think as he's starting to speak more in to play out. that doesn't change the fact that what we've what we're talk about here is a misunderstanding of the fact that he needs to be more mindful of personal space and how women expect to be treated. and that's something he's acknowledged he needs to work harder on. that doesn't change his record, which he also talked about, and this does not link this in any way -- which i know you're not saying -- to the me too movement
or many valid accusations, and i think it's important to difference yat between the two as well. >> he's struggling to navigate this. i if it's this fear of being lumped in with a lot of people who have been accused of things in this me-too movement, there is say lot of people who have been accused of sexual assault for instance and then there is this range of actions that maybe fall under an umbrella but these are not apples to apples. what joe biden is accused of doing and what others have been accused and when it comes to sexual assault, is that part of the difficulty she's having in negotiating here. what do you think? >> i think that is a important differentiation and this is important for us to talk about of all ages but it is not a strategic cunning approach here by joe biden, this is him being
him. anyone who spent time with him on the campaign trailer over the year and i traveled with him and with him in a bunch of meetings, he's a spoken guy and he loves people and kids and i think he's just feeling it out out there. but that is going to be a tricky thing to navigate because while it is very different, there are still some people, including many on the right and many who are opponents of his who are trying to lump them together and i think there is no way he's not causing some of that and aware of it. >> jen psaki, thank you very much. and forler vice president will get plenty of counsel like yours as he tries to navigate this unforced error today. and joni ernst and maggie -- helping to get the veterans the help they need and deserve. cramped and uncomfortable. we can arrange a little upgrade. which is why i wear skechers... wide fit shoes.
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today in my cnn.com column homefront where we try to bridge the civilian military divide and bring you stories of military families we're talking about an effort to save veterans at risk of suicide. you've heard of the amber alert, emergency broadcast system for millsing children but i spoke to one woman with a green alert in wisconsin last year after her son went missing and was found dead. now two senators here in washington, iowa republican and combat veteran joni ernst and new hampshire democrat maggie hassen want to create a nationwide green alert system because only three states have created them so far. >> as a combat veteran this is
an issue that means a lot to me. we 20 to 22 veterans that take their life every single day and if we could find a way to prevent that, we need to explore those options. >> there are alerts that exist out there, an amber alert when a child is missing, a silver alert when an elderly person is missing so senators and i are working on a bill together, she brought the bill to me and said what do you think about a green alert and i said, wow, it sounds like a great idea. so a green alert if we have a veteran that is missing. >> our job as civilians from my perspective is to work every day to make our country worthy of the sacrifices that our servicemen and women have made for us, and so i was approached by a special services general, don boldock in stratham, new hampshire, who identified the issue saying often veterans go missing and we were just talking about they'll be active on
social media and then all of a sudden you don't see their presence any more, they are just gone. and in wisconsin the impetuous for wisconsin green alert system, they have one up and running was a veteran named cory adams who went missing and wasn't found for 18 days and was found deceased. and we want to prevent tragedies like that from happening and we need to have a system tailored -- the states need to tailer it but what our bill would do is put together a commission so we can help states get the best practices to do this. we need a system to deploy because we know it is critical to find an at-risk veteran who is gone missing as quickly as possible. >> i also talked with senators ernst and hassan about sexual assault in the military and how pollicization of the military is contributing to ptsd of service members and read the column at cnn.com/homefront and share your
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