tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN August 9, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT
but before he goes he'll face questions. first on the possibility of new gun control legislation. emphasis on possibility. the president says discussions are under way, weighing in just minutes ago with two tweets. even senate majority leader mitch mcconnell says that certain gun control measures are important, even urgent in his words, just not urgent enough to end the august recess early. the president also facing criticism this morning after his visits with shooting survivors in el paso and dayton. the visits were closed to the press but cellphone video shows the president in front of those doctors, injured victims of the shooting bragging about crowd sizes. all this inside the texas hospital where those victims were being treated. cnn's senior washington correspondent joe jaunz is live at the white house. and joe, let's begin on gun control. forgive me, we've been here before. the the president has raised the possibility of significant gun control measures in the past, always pulled back concerned about his base's
reaction and the nra. is this any different? >> million dollar question and hopefully we'll get a little bit of an answer when the president steps out on the lawn in just a few minutes to go out to these fund raisers. but, look, you're chutely right, jim, this president has been down this road more than once and he stopped short of really pushing through anything significant. interesting when you look at those tweets this morning the president essentially indicating that there are talks going on about gun control, specifically background checks and we know that because some of the people the president has talked to effectively have said publicly their talking with the president. that's mitch mcconnell, the democratic leader chuck schumer as well as house speaker nancy pelosi. the question of course is where is all this going? we do know also there's been some talk about executive
action, but what kind of executive action, anyone's guess. so the president's tweets this morning indicating, yes, there have been talks and making also the very important point, i think, that the friction in all of this is the national rifle association, the nra, the president calling on the nra to understand he says he is the biggest second amendment supporter of them all, also says something has to be done for the good of the country. that's the president's perspective. we also have the issue, of course of the president's video that came out after his visits with some of the doctors, and that's problematic certainly because many presidents and many white houses in the past have had to deal with human tragedy, andthone has been probably the most important thing to deal with, not to make it look political. in this case, of course, the president was upset about his coverage and the result was we got some video that perhaps they
wished they didn't send out. look. >> we had twice the number outside and then you had this crazy beto. beto had like 400 people. >> so anyway, also important to say to make clear they did not send that video out. nonetheless, it's the type of video that causes problems and not just for trump but also for the office of the presidency and how things like this have been handled in the past, jim. >> and that video he went on longer than that in fact talking about his crowd size. let's discuss now. i'm joining now by julie pace, and lizza collins. the forces are aligned like this. you've got the american public even republican support measures such as universal background checks. you certainly have democrats. you even have some republicans
coming out and saying this. wayne lepierre tells the president your base won't like this. which wins out? >> the public has been in a place where it's one of the few issues where you have the overwhelming majority of americans that support stricter gun control laws, and yet the nra continues to remain this powerful force. they fund a lot of republican presidential campaigns. they have a massive membership and we all know trump cares deeply about where his base is. if he's going to be hearing from some republicans he will risk losing that base if he takes this step, he tends to go with where his base is. so it is possible certainly over the next couple of weeks, though, we could see some shifts in this development but we have
seen a version of this story, sadly, play out before. it is a base play and that's what he has. >> on the nra, too, let's distinguish between the nra leadership and membership because a majority of the nra members actually support universal background checks as do a majority of republicans. mitch mcconnell, of course, is very important in this. he can basically determine whether the senate will even consider one of these measures. listen to his comments this morning speaking to an interviewer in kentucky on the radio and i want to get your reaction. listen. >> there's also been some discussion about background checks. that's an issue that's been around for a while. a lot of support for that, and there's a bipartisan bill in the senate. pat toomey of pennsylvania, a republic republican, and joe manchin of west virginia, a democrat, so those are two items for sure will be front and center as we see what's we can come together on and pass. >> so i wonder if that's a
signal to the president there because practically we know mcconnell won't bring that before the senate unless he's confident the president backs him. that's really -- it's in the president's hands, is it not? >> i think it is a signal to the president that he has seen support grow on this issue, and he's saying he's going to bring it to the floor which is actually very significant for mitch mcconnell, because he controls the floor and he does not bring up things he thinks the president will not support or he doesn't think will be helpful to his republican party. the fact he's saying it will be part of the discussion is significant, but he's not saying it will pass or even saying he'll promise to bring it up for a vote. i think he's sending out a signal, there's this bill, it is bipartisan and being discussed. but he's being very careful with his word choice here. democrats in the house did pass a bill earlier this year, two bills actually that would extend background checks. it is note worthy he's saying
it's part of the discussion. >> no question there's a lot of daylight between those two. after parkland, again, it was a ground swell of public support even among republicans because so many children had died. of course that disappeared. listen to the president then when he was describing the nra. have a listen. >> i'm a big fan of the nra. these are great people, these are great patriots, they love our country. but that doesn't mean i have to agree on everything. it doesn't make sense i have to wait i will i'm 21 to get a hand gut but i have to wait until i'm 18 for this weapon. >> we didn't address it mr. president. >> who sels is afraelse is afra? >> we all know what happened after those comments. nothing got done. and the president's rhetoric on this can really change. and they need to know if they're going to take a risk, and it
remains a risk for republicans to back stricter gun legislation, they need to go is he going to have their back, would he even just sign the legislation? his approach to politics leaves them with very few examples of when he has been consistent and backed his own party when they've taken a vote for him. >> yes, they worry he pulls the carpet out from under them, blames them. he's either for passing it or nothing happening. i want to get to this other issue, joe johns discussed, the president's visit to el paso and dayton. he promise today speak about unity, comfort the victims, et cetera. you see the video from inside there, and of course the white house did not allow these to come out. to see him spending so much time on the size of his crowd at an el paso rally to the people who are treating the victims, tell us how much of a problem that is for the white house at this
point? >> well, the white house wanted him to be out front on this issue. there were three massacres in a week. this is a time the president should not be partisan and out there, are and it should be a fairly easy thing to go out to provide comfort. when there are videos like this it undermines that and it helps these democrats who are out there saying he's part of this problem, he's causing division. and so instead of just saying, no, he was out there being not political, he was helping, these videos, democrats will be able to point to them. >> really and i was down in el paso and dayton, these are communities reeling from this. there's not a lot really you need to say except i'm here, i feel your pain, tell me what i can do to help you. but the president reverted to greatest hits, right, talking about crowd size. thanks very much. this is just in to cnn, sources telling cnn that the alleged killer in el paso told
investigators that one of the reasons he targeted el paso was because he thought it would be wrong to carry out the attack in his hometown, closer to dallas. let's get to cnn's ed lavandera who just broke the story to cnn. ed, what more can you tell us? >> reporter: this is some insight into what we already knew investigators were talking, and that this suspect, 21-year-old suspect was talking to investigators and has been since he was taken into custody saturday afternoon. and according to these sources with knowledge of the investigation that the suspect had to mention that one of the reasons that he had targeted el paso was a reticence and a shame of carrying out this kind of attack closer to his hometown in allen, texas, that suburb of dallas more than 600 miles away and a 10-hour drive from here, and that that was one of the reasons why the suspect was looking for somewhere else to carry out this attack, that on some level he believed if he
were to do this away from his hometown, his family and friends wouldn't know he was the one that had carried out this attack, as preposterous as that might sound. that the reason was that he carried out this attack was this fear of a hispanic invasion of texas, it doesn't change all of that, but it does offer some insight into what investigators have been hearing from this 21-year-old. >> no question, a cold killer there. ed lavandera on the scene. thanks very much. the country of course already on edge after these two mass shootings in a single weekend. three in a week. so when a man was seen walking through a missouri wal-mart in body armor carrying a rifle and a number of rounds, the manager understandably pulled the fire alarm. now the firearm cleared the store and an armed bystander
held the man for police. a picture there with his face blurred. was a crisis averted? we're going to learn more. cnn national correspondent omar -- joins us. tell us what we're hearing about him, what his intentions were, do we know? >> reporter: yeah, jim, at this point that is something the springfield police department are investigating right now. what were his intentions when he walked in dawnionning some of t body armor and doing so just five days after that el paso shooting. now, one of the things he was doing when he first walked in according to bystanders who was recording into a cellphone and pushing a shopping cart and that was when the manager in what we can imagine was out an of an abundance of caution pulled the firearm to get those people out. and this man exited as well and was approached by an armed off-duty firefighter and held up
there until police arrived just moments later. so obviously a very scary scene for the bystanders. and here's how police described it again when they arrived at the scene just about three minutes later. >> he walked in here heavily armed with body armor on in military fatigues and caused a great amount of panic inside the store. so he certainly had the capability and potential to harm people. he was compliant with us. but his intent was not to cause peace or comfort to anybody that was in the business here. in fact, he's lucky he's alive still, to be honest. >> reporter: now, it should be noted missouri is an open carry state for anyone who's at least 19 years old. but it is illegal to carry a weapon with lethal capacity in any threatening manner. and i think it is safe to say at least the people there did feel threatened in that moment. and again with this just being
five days after the shooting at the el paso wal-mart and even earlier this week when people ran in times square from a motorcycle that back fired, i think it's very safe to say what happened this past weekend and beyond still very much on the minds of people here. >> you can imagine their reasonable fear to see that. still to come this hour, children separated from their parents after i.c.e. raids targeting nearly 700 undocumented immigrants in the state of mississippi. all on the first day of school. we're going to have some of their emotional stories next. plus the chairman of the house jow dishiary committee jerry nadler says his committee is already doing formal impeachment proceedings. what exactly does he he mean by that? and nearly every democratic candidate is in iowa this weekend for the all important iowa state fair. how are they responding to president trump's difficult week? with retirement planning and advice for what you need today and tomorrow.
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custody, this after wednesday's massive sweep at seven mississippi food processing plants. at least 680 people were rounded up, many of them parents to young children. wednesday was also the first day of school in these communities leaving many of the children returning home to no parents at all. joining me now is cnn's natasha chen live in camden, mississippi. so how are these communities dealing in the wake of these raids particularly when you have children it seems with no one to take care of them? >> jim, it's still a lot of anxiety here. we talked to those families, those kids. we were struck with how much they wanted to speak out and tell us what their day was like. many of them on their first, second day of school finding out their parents weren't going to come home to them. some of those parents were taken from facilities like the one behind me, the food processing plant. we talked to an employee here who's not an immigrant but she
witnessed the agents she said rushing the property and she said she felt angry to see this happening to her coworkers. we talked to one man who was detained and released. he was wearing an ankle bracelet when he told us it was like, he said hispanics on one side and everyone else on the other side. we spoke to this man's daughter as well. she was on her second day of high school for the year. she said she found out her dad was taken. she was the one having to make phone calls to the hot line to navigate the system of finding out where her dad was because this u.s. born child has the best english language skills in her family so these teenagers taking on very adult responsibilities. here's what the kid said to me. >> they didn't want to give me any information. they kept telling me he didn't know he was at, they were telling me information i in my head i was like i know more stuff than y'all do. >> they took him away to
louisiana, i believe. >> reporter: have you been able to talk to your dad on the phone? >> no. the last time he said something he said to my mom take care of the kids because the immigration has now captured me and i might be going back home. >> 12-year-old randy right there, his mom did come home after 10:00 p.m. that night but he still doesn't know exactly where his dad is. he was trying that day he said to feed his little brother and try and get help from other adults. we want to point out we also spoke to a 19-year-old who did not want to go on camera but told my colleague he had a copy of his work permit at work to show that he had the right to be there, but he was detained anyway, he said for 16 hours. and we have reached out to i.c.e. for comment on that situation, jim. >> natasha chen, thanks very
much. let's discuss now with the vice president of advocacy for fwd, focused on immigration and criminal justice reforms. thank you for joining the broadcast this morning. >> thanks for having me, jim. >> first let's talk big picture here. they targeted these food processing plants picking up nearly 700 undocumented workers or some they claimed to be although some had their documents. no penalty for the employers, just to focus on the employees. tell me about that strategy here and what that means. >> well, i think what we've seen whether it be the repeal of daca, whether it be the imprisonment of young children and families at the border or remain in mexico policy or the raiding of these families with no notification where children were left to sleep-in gyms and still unable to find their parents, that the chaos and cruelty of this administration's immigration policies are the
point. there is no plan. it is intended on harming young people, and there's complete disregard for the traumatizization of children as they implement these pall es. >> and there have been comments saying deterrence is as you say part of the objective here, but do you see it as being inherently unfair the focus is on solely on the undocumented workers as opposed to the employers employing them, you know, presumably without proof of documentation? >> well, right, we are traumatizing children and the employees, but if anybody has a chicken salad today it is likely that your chicken may have been processed by these families. and so we are all complicit both as americans and an administration and employers. but the issue is not necessarily how do we kick these immigrants
out of the work force but how do we put them on the pathway to citizenship so they are able to lawfully contribute to working in the united states because they are long time community members. >> tell us about these families now because viewers have been seeing pictures of these young children crying as their parents are taken away. how is the community handseling children who may have lost one parent or possibly two parents as the school year is beginning? who's taking care of those kids? >> well, i think right now at least the reports i'm hearing from advocates on the ground is that this mess the administration has created is left for the ngos, the teachers, the faith leaders, the churches to pick up the pieces. and people still don't know where their parents are. so when this happens they take the parents to a military base and then they transport them all across the country to wherever they have i.c.e. detention facilities. and so it's not like the parents are right down the street in mississippi. some parents are already been moved across state lines. so it's utter chaos.
you know, these are rural neighborhoods, and it's demanding a massive response both in legal services and humanitarian aid. and there's a large group of advocates from the mississippi immigrant rights alliance and justice center and others that are scrambling to try to fix this the best they can. >> there was a great deal of outrage even among republicans and others to the trump administration's family separation policy at the border a number of months ago. and the president ostensibly backed off that policy although there's been evidence family separation is still taking place at the border. do you view these raids in a context, in effect is that a continuation of a family separation policy? >> 100%. whether the separation is happening at the border or in the interior of the united states, what we are doing are ripping apart families without regard to the long-term traumatization of the children, to the pain of the parents and
spouses and community members. you know, i'm an american citizen but i have a number of undocumented friends who have either had parents deported or parents currently detained. and the pain and the trauma of that lasts for decades. and so this is just day three of this happening. >> i met a family in el paso who was there one whose husband had been deported and living on two sides of the border. what do you suggest is the right path, then, for authorities to deal with folks who don't have documentation, who entered illegally and who the administration claims has not shown up for their court mandated hearings, et cetera? what should be the process for them? >> well, the majority of the american public actually supports putting the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the united states on a process to citizenship. it's up to the united states congress to stop twiddling their thumbs and actually pass policies that would do this. >> thanks for joining us this
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in support of impeaching president trump. he joined some 120 other house democrats, many calling for nadler's committee to open, formally open an impeachment inquiry. nadler says it's a moot point because his panel is basely in his view already doing that. >> this is formal impeachment proceedings. we are investigating all the evidence, we gather the evidence, and we will at the conclusion of this hopefully by the end of the year vote to -- vote articles of impeachment to the house floor or we won't. that's a decision we'll have to make, but that's exactly the process we're in right now. >> joining me now to discuss is democratic congressman al green from texas, one of the first to call for the president's impeachment. >> i greatly appreciate this opportunity and i if may say so
i send my condolences. >> i was down there and the people need that and they'll need it for some time. on congressman nadler's statement there, was that notable to you? do you agree with him in effect an impeachment inquiry has already started? >> i think impeachment should not be esoteric. i think it should be open. and i think it's a meaningful step congress embarks upon such an adventure and i think we should say it in clear and concise words so there's no question what we're doing because there's a meaningful step the constitution has afforded us. and i may say this, i appreciate what he's doing but it is not enough. i've since learned now it would
be more important and worthwhile to impeach him for the bigotry he's imposing upon stay stoi that is harming people. we now know that bigotry kills. the manifesto from the person who went some 600 miles to el paso to take the lives of people clearly indicates there was a connectivity between the presidency and his actions. >> let me ask you this because as you know the house speaker, nancy pelosi, has been skeptical of moving to formal impeachment inquiry. you've introduced legislation to impeach president trump three separate times going back to 2017. are house leaders dragging their feet on this? >> this is not about any one person. this is about democrats in the main. and i think speaker pelosi would be the first to say she's but one person with one voice. democrats have to make up their minds. the radical republicans impeached andrew johnson for his bigotry. we can do the same thing for
this president. he is the andrew johnson of our time. so i would call upon democrats to invoke your consciences and do not assume that the speaker speaks for you. i don't think she speaks for you or in the sense she's telling anyone what to do. in fact, she said every person should vote their conscience when it comes to these issues. so i think this is bigger than the speaker. it's about all of us. and i say from my heart, we're making a mistake by being at home and watching these things on television. we meaning the democratic members of congress. we should be in congress, we should be on the floor of the house, we should be debating gun violence. we should be debating bills to deal with assault-like weapons that are killing people across the width and breadth of this country. the optics of that can impact public opinion. they need to see democrats doing the right thing and passing it onto republicans in the senate who will do the wrong thing. >> hold on that thought because
i do want to ask you about gun control measures. but before i get there, and these are numbers nancy pelosi certainly conscious of. a majority of americans and we'll put those up on the screen oppose impeaching the president, 60%, that's two to one. are democrats out of step with the american public on this question? >> the question is are democrats and others in sync with righteousness? are we in sync with what the constitution allows and what duty mandates? the question is will we do what dr. king said when he indicated the time is always right to do what is right? this is clearly the right thing to do given the harm this man has caused this country. we will bring the public along as we do our jobs. dr. king said you can either drive public opinion or be driven by it. we ought not to be driven by public opinion when we know that this is the right thing to do.
this president must be impeached. he must be. >> okay, back to gun control. as you know certainly republicans have stood in the way of gun control measures in the past. but democrats as well have been loathe to anger the nra, loathe to face challenges from republicans in their districts, and some of them look back to 1994, the crime bill which also had the assault weapons ban as part of the reason democrats got soaked in the '94 mid-term elections here. what are democrats going to do differently this time to make sure something happens? >> well, i'll tell you what we should be doing. we should be letting the world know from the floor of the house of representatives that we're taking up the assault weapons ban. these weapons have to be banned. and if democrats don't want to vote to do this, then let them vote and let history judge us all.
but those of us who believe it should be done often have the opportunity to let the optics of it be presented to this country. the people in this country want to do something about these assault-like weapons that are killing people. and we cannot sit on our hands at home and watch television while people are being murdered, slaughtered, if you will, and simply say it's the republicans fault. we have a duty, a responsibility and an obligation to go back to washington, d.c. and take up assault weapons. that's what people are crying for. some efforts to deal with these assault weapons -- by the way, i support the background checks. i support red flags. all of these things are important, but the weapons that were used are an instrumentality that will impose great lethality. and by the way we ought to deal with these gun manufacturers. we need to take that immunity from them so they can be civilly
sued and i guarantee you you'll see some changes in the way guns are manufactured. you'll probably see some smart guns on the market as opposed to these gun guns that create violence by virtue of the lethality they impose, create death and destruction would be a more appropriate way to say it. >> well, we will
see if those measures get through congress and crucially does the president this time, he hasn't in the past, backed them. congressman al green, thank you for joining us. just day fr business she was set to take over as the acting director of national intelligence, the highest ranking intelligence official in the country. the president says the nation's number two intelligence officer is leaving her post. oh! oh! oh!
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there are yet more shakeups at the top of u.s. intelligence and intelligence agencies. the nation's number two intelligence official stepping down. president trump making the announcement on twitter writing, sue gordon is a great professional with a long and distinguished career. i've gotten to know sue over the past two years and have developed great respect for her. meanwhile within hours trump naming joseph mcgwire as his pick for acting director of national intelligence. yet one more acting head of agencies in this government. alex marquart with me now. so tell me about sue's departure because it does not sound this was voluntary. >> we were sitting here talking about who's the next director of national intelligence and now we're asking who's going to be that person's number two. it was clear that departure was not her choice. the reason we know that is because of a hand written note she left with her letter of resignation for the president.
this was a note released as you can see released by the white house, and she says in part i offer this letter as an act of respect and patriotism, not preference you should have your team. so it was not her preference to leave. the president was saying this might happen. now they will be leaving together on next thursday. this is real blow to the intelligence community. she has three decades in the community. she's widely respected and called by her colleagues the consummate professional, that cleary was not what president trump was looking for. >> he seem tuesday have a distaste for career officials, career is somehow a negative as
opposed to a positive. >> just as an acting. he's kind of career establishment himself. he's coming from the office of director of national intelligence. he's a long time officer, 36 years in the navy. he was a navy s.e.a.l. he led the navy special warfare command. he's been around a long time not directly in the intelligence world but working along side it. what you're going to be hearing from intelligence officials if not sue gordon it's great to have someone like this in there. i was speaking to a former intelligence official this morning and he said he doesn't imagine in this shuffle of leadership it will really impact. >> he's just an acting for now and there's a lot of acting in this administration. senator kamala harris
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fried food, butter, cows and politics. what could be a better combination? iowa, center stage this weekend as the 2020 presidential hopefuls make their pitch to voters, more than 20 democrats are holding events today in every corner of the hawk eye state. you can barely fit all their faces in. six months may seem like a long time from now, but this is an early battleground state and these candidates are looking to
make moves. >> looking to make moves and the people here in iowa are certainly listening. these candidates are crisscrossing the state. everywhere you look there are candidates. they're even bumping into each other in different cities. there is the iowa state fair going on and this evening the big highlight is the wing ding dinner. 21 2020 hopefuls are expected to show up. all of them will speak to a large audience. this is a fundraiser for democrats. one of the people speaking tonight is senator kamala harris. she is on day two of the bus tour of the state. something she's calling river to river. we joined her yesterday for a wide-ranging interview talking about a number of topics. one of them is whether or not she believes after these shootings whether mitch mcconnell will actually do something as far as bringing legislation to the floor. here's what she said. >> senate leader mitch mcconnell
has signaled that he will at least talk about background checks, the red flag laws. as a member of the senate body. what do you think about his shift? >> i think he needs to put the bill on the floor for a vote and call all of us back to washington, d.c. to vote on it right away. he doesn't want to call people make. >> but he says he will make it front and center. >> we have to judge everyone on their conduct, not just on their words. >> reporter: so essentially saying she'll believe it when she sees it. we'll also asked her the question of white supremacy. elizabeth warren and beto o'rourke going there, saying that they are going to label president trump a white supremacist. here's what she said. >> there is just a long list of statements and tweets and behaviors from this president that make it very clear that he possesses hate, and that he is
divisive and a racist. he is someone who em powers white supremacists and who c condones their behavior and that is not the kind of president that i think most americans can be proud of, much less support. >> reporter: similar to joe biden, senator harris deciding to not go there, focusing not on a label, she says, but on the behavior and the actions of this president. jim. >> pretty remarkable. we have half a dozen candidates for president of the united states identifying the sitting u.s. president as a white supremacist. it's remarkable in the midst of it. thank you for being on the story for us. right now president trump speaking to reporters outside the white house ahead of his week-long vacation. we're going to bring you those remarks shortly, as soon as we get them. this is nice.
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a very good friday morning to you. i'm jim sciutto in washington. poppy harlow is off today. president trump is on his way to a vacation after a stop in the hamptons for two fundraisers there. before he leaves, he is answering questions right now as we speak. we're going to bring you that tape in just a moment.
this morning on twitter the president saying that discussions are underway regarding some form of gun control, but for now that's all there is. no promises of legislation or even a vote on legislation. of course the president has backed off on similar promises before. the president also facing criticism this morning after he was seen bragging about crowd sizes, this inside the texas hospital where shooting victims were still being treated. that was supposed to be the function of this visit there. the president's own aides are now conceding that his visits to the two cities in mourning, dayton, ohio, el paso, texas, did not go as planned. cnn's senior washington correspondent joe johns is live at the white house. really the question here, joe, is the president serious when he tweets about the possibility of genuine gun control measures when he has said similar things in the past and always backed off? >> that's right, and impossible to predict what the