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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  February 17, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PST

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e" into your voice remote and see how you can have an even better x1 experience. simple. easy. awesome. hello, everyone. thank you so much for joining me this sunday. i'm frederica whitfield. the legal battle lines are being drawn following the president's declaration of a national emergency at the southern border. democrats are vowing to fight the declaration in congress and in court. and republicans divided on the president's move to bypass g congress to fund his border wall. democrats say the president's national emergency is unconstitutional. >> this is the first time a president has tried to declare an emergency when congress
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explicitly rejected funding for the particular project that the president is advocating. and in saying just the other day that he didn't really need to do this, he just wanted to do it because it would help things go faster, he's pretty much daring the court to strike this down. >> all i know is this is a serious situation. this is crisis. look at the drug problem, the human trafficking problem, the gang violence problem. that's why we need to the border security wall, and that's what the president is committed to making sure happens. >> sarah westwood in west palm beach florida, not far from where the president is spending the weekends. what is the white house saying about all these challenges in court and in congress. >> reporter: well, the white house is saying that they are prepared to fight legal battles against these expected challengers from capitol hill and courts of law. white house aides knew these battles would be almost inevitable since they started focusing on the national
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emergency declaration as a potential strategy. there's still resistance among some republicans who don't like the legal precedent that a national emergency might set and some democrats who have been opposed to the border wall since day one. house democrats are preparing what's known as a resolution of disapproval, a way to try to block this emergency declaration from moving forward. and that bill could have enough support in the senate to pass. so top trump advisor steven miller saying today, hinting tat the president might be willing to use his veto power to try to stop that resolution from moving forward. take a listen. >> will the president veto that, which would be the first veto of his presidency? >> well, obviously the president is going to protect his national emergency derk lrclaration, chr. he's going to protect his national emergency declaration guaranteed. this is statutory issue and statutory delegation that
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congress made. but again i want to make this point. this is a deep intellectual problem that is plaguing this city, can is we've had thousands of americans die year after year after year because of threats crossing our southern border. we have families and communities left unprotected and undefended. this is threat in our country. not overseas, not in afghanistan or syria or iraq, but right here. and if the president can't defend this country, hen he cannot fulfill his constitutional oath of office. >> now, steven miller in that same fox news interview saying that the president while he made the remarks that he didn't need to do the national emergency declaration was simply saying that he could have chosen to ignore the emergency but didn't, chose to declare the national emergency. there had been some critics wondering whether the president undercut his own argument by saying he didn't need to declare that national emergency. now the trump administration also set to face a number of other roadblocks in court from
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groups challenging the constitutionality of that order. from landowners who don't want the government to seize their land to build this wall. a lot of threats facing this before they ever see a penny. >> sarah westwood, thanks so much. so with so many republicans on capitol hill divided on the president's national emergency, the white house is pushing its case about why the president has the constitutional power to make that declaration. >> i guarantee you this, if donald trump had said he's invoking the national emergency military construction authority to build a security perimeter in iraq or afghanistan or around a military installation in syria there would not have been one word of objection from congress. this is defending our own country. >> okay. here's article 1, section 9, clause 7 of the constitution as written. no money shall be drawn from the
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treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law. isn't what president trump wants to do a clear violation of what the founders, of what james madison talked about as giving congress the power of the purse? >> no because congress in 1976 passed a national emergencies act and gave the president the authority as a result of that to invoke a national emergency in many different circumstances but among them for use of military construction times. and that was the point i was making earlier, if the president were to say we're going to use military construction funds to say we're going to increase the perimeter around a base in syria, no one would say anything about it. we have 4,000 troops on the border right now and they need to secure those areas they're patrolling. >> with me now is lynn sweet, sabrina siddiqui, and michael zeldi
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zeldin,. good to see all you. you heard steven miller's argument there talking about the ways the emergency declaration should be used and have been. there have been 58 in all used, most of them pertaining from foreign countries in yemen to sudan and even russia and domestic including 9/11. but how does this securing of the border, which is the argument of the white house right now, how does that fall into these arguments? >> it depends on your political perspective. the reality is, i think, that the president under the national emergency act has the power to make this declaration. that's within his authority. congress then has 15 days to respond. they can issue a resolution of disapproval if it has to pass both houses for it to then go to the president for a veto or signature. if it's vetoed then congress can override it. if they don't override it, then it will go to the courts and in all likelihood to challenge the
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question that was raised by mr. wallace on the sunday morning show about whether this violates the aappropriation clauses under article i of the constitution. >> by going around congress after they've already voted on whether money should be allocated or not. democrats have been threatening to file these lawsuits. and today california's attorney general guaranteed a court filing. listen. >> mr. attorney general,let me ask you, can you say definitely california will be filing a lawsuit and when that will happen? >> martha, definitely and imminently. >> and imminently monday nothing will stop you? >> no reason. we are prepared. we knew something like this might happen. and with our sister state partners we are ready to go. >> lynn, this is one of many lawsuits the president is likely to face. and, you know, the president has already said he's expecting, you know, the lowercases -- courts
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rather to rule on it, and it possibly going all the way up to the supreme court. it seems as though the president is banking on hoping that the supreme court might see things in his favor. >> that's true. and no matter how many lawsuits are filed, they will end up being consolidated in one case before the supreme court. it will be interesting to see if the supreme court considers this emergency issue an emergency for them to handle. but this is in coming in the context then of not one but two places where congress can react. one by being supportive in some way or the other or not criticizing outright the lawsuits that have been and will be turned, and also to get this issue of this resolution of disapproval i think it will come first, it will be dramatic. and it will give trump a choice of whether or not he'll veto it. because if the house passes it it will go first and then i believe the senate has to take
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it up. it's not one of these measures mcconnell can bury i believe. and if that's the case then it'll be interesting to see if there's a vote to send it to the white house because then trump will have to -- we know how the story ends, right? he will declare victory no matter what, but maybe just maybe it will take some republicans to say, you know, mr. president let's let congress do its job and you do your job, and, you know, we'll get this thing built just not under an emergency declaration. >> how would it look if it makes it as far as the senate. >> that's a big question. because you've had republicans express skepticism over the president declaring a national emergency for some time now. they've spoken publicly how they believe this sets a dangerous precedent. where what's to now stop a future democratic president from declaring a national emergency on climate change to pursue environmental policy or on gun
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violence to enforce stricter gun laws. but the question is whether or not they're going to follow up those words with concrete action. so that's why this issue will certainly be put out in the courts, but democrats also in tandem want to move forward this resolution of disapproval. because that would really force republicans to go on the record with actual action that could curtail the president's authority. and it's also worth noting the president himself has said that he could have built this wall over time. he has openly suggested that it's a political move because he didn't get what he wanted out of his funding fight. so it's also an open ended question as to whether that's going to undermine his authority as the courts weigh the legally of his decision. >> you have to wonder what kind of signals are being sent immediately after the president's announcement. six high profile ones said this is regrettable, not a good idea he did that. i wonder if that's kind of given
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a green light or an indicator there just might be more republicans particularly in the senate who are willing to show their disapproval. >> well, there's two ways of showing it. one, if there's just a lack of a majority to embrace -- you need a super majority just to approve it and at least two thirds to override veto. i might be a little rusty on this, forgive me, everyone. but the point being you'll probably need more republicans onboard to really send a message to the president because the names you have so far are what i think president trump would consider the usual suspects. so they could vote in the way they do, but i don't know if it will have the impact that you might have politically if other republican senators got onboard. because we do know that the president was able to pressure the senate leader mitch mcconnell into saying that he approved, and he backed trump on this emergency declaration. >> michael, do you see it's
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likely to make it all the way to the supreme court? because it sound like it, he's hoping that will be the case. >> well, i'm not sure what the politics of that desire is on his part. i know this, that there are two sort of challenges here that will be available or multiple parties have various cases they could bring. the first is, is the president within his legal right to declare a national emergency? and secondly, if he is in his rights to do so, when they start appropriating money or moving money previously appropriated for other things to fund the wall, which is the need that he assesses for this emergency, whether those uses of funds will be lawful. so you've got the two parts to this thing. the declaration and then the funding. and i think it'll be in the courts for a long time. and if we see this following the, you know, sort of path of the muslim ban, you get a stay
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of the court of any proceedings until it's resolved. so this could take a while before it gets resolved. and the muslim ban about a year or more to get finally resolved. so in some sense there's an exercise in sort of showmanship here but not reality. if this thing is really not going to go forward at least for the next 18 months, so we'll see. >> and sabrina, how concerned might republicans be about how all of this spills over into 2020? >> well, i think there's a great deal of concern particularly because they for the longest time have warned about overreach, and that was a big criticism they made of president obama when he took executive action on immigration. but at the same time they've been very reticent to take on this president, and for the most part they've lined up behind him as he pursues what is very
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draconian line on immigration. the president has not successfully built the case that there is in fact the true emergency at the border. the rate of illegal immigration has fallen dramatically over the course of a decade. in fact, last year the number of undocumented immigrants in the u.s. hit a 12-year low. there are new studies that show immigrants are less likely to commit violent crime than the native born population. but a lot this has to do with the politics around immigration, which is one of the most polarizing issues facing this country. so i think both sides are going to try and use it to their advantage, and we don't know how that's going be resolved in the 2020 election. >> thanks so much. still ahead, all eyes are on "empire" star jussie smollett as police uncover new evidence they say the actor orchestrated his
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when you bundle home and auto... run, alan! get more than just savings. you get 'round-the-clock protection. welcome back. authorities say they have new evidence suggesting actor jussie smollett staged a hate crime assault against himself. the star of fox's "empire" is denying the allegations, but law enforcement sources tell cnn that chicago police believe smollett paid two men to orchestrate the attack. smollett initially told authorities the men yelled out racial and home phobic sluophob put a rope around his neck. the men are now cooperating with the investigation. >> at the end of the day as i said before innocence prevails, right? my guys are walking home. they're not charged. they are not suspects in this case. >> chicago police want to speak with smollett again as soon as
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possible. cnn's ryan young is in chicago. so what more is being learned here? >> reporter: two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation tells cnn that chicago police believe jussie smollett paid two men to orchestrate the assault late last month. the men who were brothers were taken into custody late wednesday night and released without charges friday after police cited discovery of new evidence. sources tell cnn that the two men are now cooperating fully with law enforcement and smollett told authorities he was attacked early january 29th by two men who were yelling out racial and homophobic slurs. he said one attacker put a rope around his neck and poured an unknown chemical substance on him. and one of the attackers shouted out this is maga country during the esalt. the sources told cnn there are records that show the two brothers purchased the rope found around smollett's neck at a hardware store in chicago. police tell us one of the brothers has empired on the show
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in "empire." in a statement he wrote in part, as the victim of a hate crime who has cooperated fully with police investigation jussie smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that perpetrators and the individuals that he's familiar with that he has now been further victimized by the claims to theseologed perpetrators that jussie played a role in his own attack. nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying. smollett gave his first detailed account of what he suz was a hate crime against him in an interview with good morning america that aired thursday. and smollett identified the person of interest as the attackers, the people we now know are cooperating with police. >> have you seen that image and do you believe they could possibly be the attackers? >> i do. >> what is it about their size or what do you feel it could possibly be? >> because i was there. for me when it was released i
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was like, okay, we're getting somewhere. i don't have any doubt in my mind that that's them. never did. >> reporter: late last night chicago police did confirm to us the information received from the brothers has in fact quote shifted the trajectory of the investigation, adding they have reached out to the actor's attorney to request a follow-up up interview. so at this point they're not talking about whether or not he's a victim or not, but they do want to talk to him. again, fred, they have to see how this plays out for the rest of the week. >> really quickly. if the tables have turned and if it appears that chicago police are going on their instinct that indeed smollett would have orchestrated, does that mean he could potentially be facing charges? if it gets to that -- >> there's so many questions in that. with 12 detectives working on it, he hasn't really signed the complaint against the two men.
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so so many legal questions. you have to think with all the man power they used on this one he would probably face something. but we don't know what that is right now. so many more questions in terms of what could happen next. >> ryan young, thank you so much. still to come, president trump presents america's allies with a bold ultimatum. to the isis fighters the u.s. captured in syria on trial or the u.s. will release them. ♪ ♪ t-mobile will do the math for you. join t-mobile and get two phones plus two unlimited plans for just one hundred bucks a month.
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delivering an ultimatum to european allies. telling them to take back more than 800 isis fighters captured by the u.s. in syria and put them on trial or else the u.s. will be forced to release them. trump also adding the u.s. is pulling out after 100% caliphate victory. his words. trump has said u.s. forces could be redeployed in syria if isis or another terror group regains strength. cnn's senior international correspondent ben wedemen is live for us in eastern syria. so, ben, is isis still very much a force in syria? is the caliphate 100% gone? >> reporter: no, it's not. in fact, the caliphate or rather isis as a terrorist insurgency is very much alive. yesterday morning at 10:00 local time very near to here there was an attack it's believed by an isis sleeper cell that left two soldiers with the u.s. backed
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syrian democratic forces dead. and that's just the latest in a series of such attacks that have been going in north eastern syria now for well over six months. and as far as that last enclave of land still held by isis, it's now down to just one half square mile with about 1,000 people inside. some fighters but most of them civilians being held as human shields. but nonetheless even though they control such a small area, the battle isn't over yet. in its dying da days isis fighto the bitter end. the small remote and unremarkable town on the banks of the river where it is now finally cornered, reduced to a pinprick shadow of its former
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self. by a combination of kurdish and iranian soldiers backed by british, u.s. and special forces. it has been hard going with repeated isis counter attacks using their usual tactics, booby traps, suicide car bombs and human shields. and now at the end after years of war isis' foes have scores to settle. syrian democratic forces commander has fought isis known here as daj across syria. daj is finished, he says. we're avenging our martyrs. it's black banner now in his hands. the battle like the bombing
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continues around the clock. these airborne tribal fighters preparing to take open ground on the edge of town. the commander gives the final orders before they move out. an armored bulldozer designed to take the impact of improvised explosive devices leads the way and the troops follow. flares illuminate the skies. the sounds of battle echo in the distance. the final battle is in its final days. ben wedemen, cnn, eastern syria. and commanders say that they will be able to declare victory in this battle in the next few days. but it's just a battle and this is a war. >> thank you so much in syria. all right, next, race in america. democratic presidential hopefuls
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are forced to answer questions about their race and gender. is there a different standard for some candidates? this is dell cinema technology enhanced with cinemastream for less buffering and smoother streaming. cinemasound for audio up to 60% louder with 260% more perceived bass. and cinemacolor with dolby vision to bring your entertainment to life with ultra vivid colors and stunning contrast. experience the incredible color, sound and streaming of dell cinema. shop the biggest presidents day ever at ♪
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the most common side effect is bone and muscle ache. ask your doctor about neulasta onpro. pay no more than $5 per dose with copay card. welcome back. five women and people of color are in the 2020 democratic presidential field, making it the most diverse in history. and sadly it also means it's attracting age-old criticisms based on sex and race. we've been discussing how the five women are already being held to a different standard than men, having to field comments on their appearance, how they sound, or if they are too mean. >> several stories have come out in the last week, high staff turnover in the senate. what do you think is fair about that criticism, and what have you learned from it in. >> well, first of all i love my
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staff. i wouldn't be where i am and we wouldn't be able to pass all those bills and do all that work if we didn't have great staff. i am tough. i push people, that is true. but my point is i have high expectations for myself, i have high expectations for the people that work for me, and i have high expectations for this country. >> and this week we're examining how candidates are managing questions about race. >> i don't have any advantage running for president as a white man, which i would have across history. right, so the way i look at it right now i think the democratic party voters are going to elect the person who they think is the best leader and they're not going to think about all this other stuff. >> another meme is kamala harris is not african-american and she was raised in canada, not the united states. and it's a fact, that's what the meme said. >> and raised in the united
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states except for the years i was in high school in montreal, canada. and look, this is the same thing they did to barack. this is not new to us, and so i think we know what they're trying to do. they're trying to do what we know has been happening over the last two years which is powerful voices trying to sow hate and division among us. so we need to recognize when we're being played. >> as someone who grew up in a diverse background as a young boy in the projects i didn't see color as a young boy and and i don't see color now. >> now all with a common denominator, race. let's go down some of the list here. does this sort of sow an anxiety among voters that instills, you know, some resentment? >> well, i think we need to be clear about this.
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any predictions about the death and demise of male or race privilege in the presidential election are premature and greatly exaggerated. there are approximately 20 or so would-be presidential candidates in the wings. most of them are white and male. so there's still some advantage to being male and probably some advantage -- not probably. there is an advantage to being white. but what's important here is we are fielding the most diverse field, if you will, in american history in terms of african-americans, in terms of one hindu running, in terms of women running. that is in fact a good thing. and it allows people to focus on the character, the competence, the abilities and track record of those who are stepping forward to assume the highest office in the land. that's in fact a good thing. but make no mistake our race is always both text and subtext
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particularly in this campaign. >> and then you've got kamala harris, julian castro. they're going through something, you know, collectively similar. having to justify their experiences of being either black enough or latino enough. you heard harris, you know, on this week's breakfast club radio show. and then it was last october actually before declaring his candidacy that julian castro addressed how often it does come up. listen. >> there's no one way to categorize like whether you're latino or latina. it's not just do you fluently speak spanish or do you have brown skin. people come in all different
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