tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN March 31, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
hello, again, everyone, thanks for being with me, i'm fredricka whitfield. on the heals of a 2020 presidential run, joe biden is defending himself against allegations that he made a woman feel uneasy by allegedly kissing her. former nevada assembly woman says biden approached her from behind and kissed the back of
her head. she recounted her interaction with our own jake tapper this morning. >> well, it happened all so suddenly, anyone who's ever been at a rally recognizes there's chaos, there's a lot of energy, everyone's running back and forth. eva longoria was there, we were all lined up next to the stage. eva was in front of me, joe was behind me. i'm preparing my search to give these remarks. and very unexpectedly and out of nowhere i feel joe biden put his hands on my shoulders, get up very close to me from behind, lean in, smell my hair and plant a slow kiss on the top of my head. and that in and of itself may not sound like a big thing. it may sound innocent and well
intentioned. as a person who had no relationship with him afterwards, a candidate who was preparing to make my case for why i should be elected the second in command of that state, to have the vice president of the united states do that to me so unexpectedly and just kind of out of nowhere, it was shocking. you don't expect that intimate behavior or that kind of intimacy from someone so powerful and someone who you have no relationship whatsoever to touch you and to feel you and to be so close to you in that way. i frankly just didn't even know how to react. i was shocked, i felt powerless i felt like i couldn't move. my bigger point i've been making, in these power dynamic situations, and women are suggested to this in the political setting, but in work
settings all the time. that you just kind of process it and you move on. you have a job to do. frankly, what do you say? who do you tell, there just isn't really a mechanism to deal with it, that's what i did, i went on and a made my case. and campaigned and frankly went on with my life. what do you do? >> for the first time, biden addressed the situation saying in part in my many years on the campaign trail and public life, i have offered countless handshakes, hugs, supporting comfort and not once ever did i believe i acted inappropriately. if it is suggested i did so, i will listen respectfully, but it was never my intention. let's bring in rebecca buck who is getting reaction from the campaign trail, rebecca? >> multiple 2020 candidates reacting to these allegations against joe biden, saying they believe lucy flores, but
stopping short of saying the allegations disqualify joe biden from running in 2020. i want you to take a listen to these reactions. >> i think that's a decision for the vice president to make, i'm not sure that one incident alone disqualifies anybody, but her point is absolutely right. this is an issue not just for the democrats and republicans, the entire country has got to take seriously. it's not acceptable that when a woman goes to work, that she feels anything less than comfortable and safe. this is an issue the entire country has got to work on. >> i have no reason not to believe her, jonathan. and i think we know from campaigns and from politics, that people raise issues, and they have to address them, and that's what he will have to do with the voters if he gets into the race. >> i don't know, aside from this one issue, i haven't -- even this issue, i don't know all the details, that's why we have an
election. that's that process, it's very disconcerting, and i think women have to be heard and we should start by believing them. >> i believe lucy flores, and joe biden needs to give an answer. >> should he not run as a result? >> that's for joe biden to decide. >> i believe lucy flores, we need to live in a nation where people tell their truth. >> you can see from those reactions, just how different this is in the post me too era, when an allegation like this comes out, biden's team taking it seriously. that's why he himself put out a statement in his name, they're not taking for granted this will just blow over.
>> thank you so much. there are questions about the motive and timing of miss florez' accusations, she answered that question this morning. >> you write in your piece that you wrote for the cut, that you know that people might accuse you of being politically motivated here. we should point out, you attended a beto o'rourke campaign event yesterday, you told us you haven't endorsed any candidate yet. you shouldn't decided who you want to support. how would you respond to someone out there who is attending a beto rally, politics might be at least partially motivating you here, what would you tell those people? >> i would say politics was the impetus. the reason why we're having these conversations about joe biden is because he's considering running for president. the reason i felt compelled to finally say something, is because over the years as this
behavior was documented as it was dismissed by the media and not taken seriously, that conversation was not coming up in the discussions about whether or not he would -- in a complete analysis of his history of his record as we go through the betting process for all these candidates. that important aspect was being left out. >> let's bring in lynn sweet for the chicago sun times. good to see you guys. do you agree that it's been over looked for a long time? it should not be dismissed. >> no woman's accusation should be dismissed, but the only hope i have when we talk about these kapgss is to distinguish that everything is not the same.
there's a difference between going 4 miles, 5 miles over the speed limit and 100. i think a proportional response is what's called for. of course i want to be, and everyone wants to pay attention to an accuser, we have gone through this painful learning curve, but the story she has to tell, will this hurt joe biden, coupled with his treatment of anita hill back in the day. had is all part of what may be a narrative and a tougher start for him than he anticipated if he runs for president. the timing, i take her at her word that she wanted this out before he decided to run. >> the former vice president's response that he didn't have any intention, does that clear
things up, make matters worse? where does this go from here? >> what's interesting to me is that biden's team has been sort of gaming out his announcement, if he makes one as this explosion of a buildup of intrigue of sorts. this complicates that, not only is it difficult for him to respond to the allegation itself, but to put that statement in the delicate context of whether or not he's going to run for president. that's a dance they're having to take right now. to kind of remember that ralph northam is somebody that would have tory sign in the wake of revelations that he wore black face in his yearbook. the fact that we don't talk about him any more. you have to wonder whether we're going to be speaking about this next week? >>. >> the even difference is,
northam had already been elected he was in a better spot than biden who probably didn't -- i mean, this is another complexity as you've just mentioned in launching a presidential campaign. and you want a candidate to run against trump if you're a democrat who has the least amount of baggage, and that's part of what this big primary field has to be going through now, this kind of vetting, is who is going to be the strongest just to win. >> as you bring up, are we in a different time, whether it's the news cycle, et cetera, the current -- the sitting president, i mean, that was quite the bombshell of the access hollywood tape, he admitted to sexually assaulting women, grabbing women, you know, between their legs and that didn't seem to make a difference, is the point that you're making that because even
of this allegation, it may not make a difference for a joe biden? i mean, are these allegations and admission to be compared. will they be measured in the same way? >> well, i think that's why it's extremely important in the post metoo era, we tend to view things in a black and white sense. there's no gray scale when it comes to assessing different allegations. if joe biden runs, this will be up to 3r50iprimary voters. the trend we're seeing is not as lynn said, vetting these candidates for who might be best equipped to be trump that could change next week. i don't think that voters in the democratic base at this point are assessing candidates to see who may be the most pragmatic and reasonable feature to take on donald trump in 2020. >> unless the body politics of
democrats aside the person is the strongest to take on trump, i would be surprised if that's what evolves as a winning formula, both things could be true at the same time the democrats are vetting as they're looking to fit into a political frame. >> might this be a division within the democratic party? last hour we were talking about this, two democrats and one republican. the two democrats saw things differently, they said there may be a generational thing about that, you know, whereas one generation is saying, we're familiar is it with some of joe biden's style, the other one is saying, just because he got a pass, it may not be acceptable today.
>> fracture is something that's going to be the big story moving forward. the thing about congress controlled by republicans is we report ad nauseam about the gop civil war, whether that's been festering in the democratic party is finally getting the air time it deserves, so it will be worth paying attention to that as we move ahead. >> when we talk about style, we're talking about the touchy feely, people acknowledging that joe biden is touchy feely, a little different than what the allegations are now. >> who doesn't think twice now, who might just greet someone with a hug that might have been acceptable a few years ago. >> the hands on the shoulders. >> people are careful. and that's a self-regulator on
people that didn't exist a few years ago. >> we'll leave it there for now, thank you so much. overwhelmed at the border, customs and border protection says their facilities are well over capacity, and the trump administration wants to cut aide to three central american countries. will that make matters worse? ♪ ♪ there's no escape ♪ you better get moving ♪ ready or not ♪ it's about to go down here it comes now ♪ ♪ get ready ♪ oh oh oh oh ♪ oh oh oh oh ♪ get ready ♪ moving ♪ ready or not ♪ get ready ♪ oh oh oh oh oh ♪ hey
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to blame. >> look, there's a lot of good ways to help solve this problem, congress can do it, but they're not going to. mexico can help us do it, they're going to need to do a little more. if we're going to give these countries hundreds of millions of dollars, we would like them to do more. that i would submit to you is not a reasonable position. we could prevent a lot of what's happening on the southern border by moving into mexico in the first place. >> border officials say they're at a breaking point. let's go to brownsville texas. martin savage is at a bus station. >> this is an area that's turning into an issue that will have to be dealt with in
brownsville. essentially what happens is, there's a handoff. federal officials bring the migrants here, drop them off by the busload, where they're accepted in, and processed by the city officials as well as by county officials. all of this is designed to work as humanely and as quickly as possible. first they try to ascertain what documents these people may have. second, they try to put them in contact with 23578ly members or others they may have connections to in the united states. and then they want to begin the traveling process. the key is that brownsville does not want to become a dissension and it didn't want to become a holding center. they've been dealing with hundreds on a daily basis that could handle up to 1,000 a day. so far, it's working. here's the mayor, tony martinez. >> i'm comfortable because what happened is, i've dealt with this issue for a long time now. i'm not talking about decades, i'm talking about a little more than a year. everything they've sent our way,
we've been able to handle and i'm proud to be honest with you, of my volunteers, my people, the city people, the community. >> transportation is not the only thing this community has to worry about. on top of that, say some of these migrants aren't able to transport right away. they have to be housed. there are shelters that they're opening up to take care of them. screening for the migrants themselves, protecting the community at large in brownsville. and it all costs money, money right now, brownsville is spending on their own, fred? >> martin savage, thank you so much. it could become one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. georgia's controversial heartbeat bill is heading to the governor for his signature. democrats in hollywood are taking a stand. more right after this. how's your cough? i'm good. i took 12-hour mucinex and sent it far away.
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welcome back. georgia lawmakers have passed a controversial anti-abortion law known as the heartbeat bill. it would ban abortions once doctors detect a fetal heartbeat. many women don't know they're pregnant at that time. according to the cdc, the latest data shows in 2015, the abortion rate just over 11 abortions per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44. that amounts to just over 1%.
the governor says he will sign the legislation and that is already sparking backlash. here with christi paul. >> this house has agreed to the senate's substitute. one of the motion's restrictive abortion bills to the governor's desk to be signed into law. >> you do not need to sign this bill, you did this in your first year because you know you are done. you signed the bill, you are done. >> known as the heartbeat bill, the measure makes it illegal for doctors to perform an abortion once the heartbeat is detected. many women don't know they are pregnant under six weeks. victims of rape or incest would be able to receive an abortion up to 20 weeks if they file an official police report about.
>> what gives them the right to substitute their choices for the women who will bear the scars and consequences and face death and now likely prison. >> it is not for the government or the men of this chamber to insert itself in the most personal and private decisions. >> the governor said he will sign the bill into law. georgia values. we stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. the bold action reinforces our values. the film industry is now integral to our economy. if the governor signs the bill into law as he said he would. the state faces backlash from hollywood.
rosie o'donnell, mia farrow and sean penn joined over 40 others in opposition to the measure, sending a letter to the governor, urging him to veto the bill we cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in georgia if hb-481 becomes law. >> democrats are mobilizing against the state gop. the aclu will go to court if governor kemp signs the bill. no other state has been able to put a heartbeat bill into practice. an iowa judge struck down that state's fetal heartbeat bill calling unconstitutional. with me now, a georgia state senator, the first vice chair of the georgia democratic party. thank you for being with me.
>> now the chairman of the democratic party? >> and the chair woman. have you so many titles, hard to keep up. you oppose this bill, why? >> i do, i know no two pregnancies are the same. i know what it's like to be a pregnant woman and not knowing that i was pregnant at six weeks. one in four women before the age of 45 will decide to have an abortion. they chose this for different reasons and it's not my place or the government's role to insert themselves in a personal, private medical decision. we need to make sure we're giving women more access. georgia has the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. half of our counties have no obgyn. and we want to force the government's role into a personal private medical decision. >> the government has yet to sign this, the aclu has launched
a lawsuit, they are challenging this in court. is that what you and other opponents are counting on? >> we're still rallying our troops, i know that advocacy matters. i'm a firm believer when people tell you who they are, we should believe him, i have no doubt he's going to sign this law into this measure into law, and we're going to be ready, to make sure women still have access. >> he promised to have a stiff piece of legislation as it pertains to abortion or something of this caliber. now you've got a huge industry in georgia. the film industry speaking out. hollywood stars speaking out. and you also have alyssa milano who tweeted this after the bill passed, there are over 20 productions shooting in georgia, and the state just voted to strip women of their bodily
autonomy. do you think that is going to be leverage for this state? >> we saw when north carolina passed measures that the ncaa pulled out of the state and the other industry pulled out. giorgians should be very afraid, and i hope governor kemp is listening. if we're the number one state to do business, we need to make sure we're welcoming. >> the industry, and speaking out in this manner tweet other statements would need to influence the governor about do you think he could be influenced by an industry that has grown in georgia, that is one of the -- really has helped the economy. >> we've given georgia tax credits year after year to the georgia tax industry.
georgia state senator, thank you for coming in. >> thank you. >> she's one of president trump's top advisers. kellyanne conway can't seem to shake questions about her husband, george conway. the latest response next. run with us. on a john deere x300 series mower. because seasons may change... ♪ ...but true character doesn't. ♪ wow, you've outdone yourself this time. hey, what're neighbors for? it's beautiful. nothing runs like a deere™. run with us. save $200 on x330 and x350 select series lawn tractors. at participating john deere dealers. ♪ so, recently my son's band was signed by a record label. a record deal? unbelievable. whenever we're about to get on a stage for a huge audience,
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>> more people ask me to ask you about this than any other question. you know where i'm headed here. >> i don't. >> yes, you do. this is the state of your marriage with george conway. i'm going do put up some of the things that your husband has said about president trump. just this month, march 5th, wherever i goes and whatever he does, trump will always be summa cum liar. once someone understands narcissistic personality disorder, they understand you. if the charge were on fitness for office the verdict would already be in, guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. here's how the president responded. >> i don't know him. he's a whack job, no question about it about i call him mr. kellyanne. the truth is, he's doing a tremendous disservice to a wife and family. she's a wonderful woman.
>> why is your husband attacking your boss? >> you can ask my husband. my job it to be counsel to the president and do the best job i can do. >> do you think that he is -- come on, you've obviously thought about this, do you think he's cyber bullying you to try to get you to quit? do you think he's jealous of your high profile? >> some people think that, they certainly do, my first line of protection in this world is and will always be my four children. >> and you have said that believe this has hurt your four children and understandably, no one would want to see their mom and dad fighting out in public. >> that's not true, some people would like us to fight. some people take a little too much glee in this situation. >> the question i have to ask is, has this hurt your marriage? >> chris, what are you, oprah now? what am i on a couch and you're a psychiatrist? i think that's a really
inappropriate question, here's why, that's the line over which nobody should have crosses. if you want to talk about policy issues, policy disagreements, the fact that my -- george conway my husband would prefer i not work in the white house, i guess can you ask those questions. the president has weighed in, i've weighed in, as modestly as i can. you're asking a personal question, and i should say to you, you should ask it of many people. i've seen messy lines living in glass houses all over both cities in which i -- >> i would only point out, this is not something i'm comfortable talking about. >> i'm surprised you would ask about it. >> your boss called him the husband from hell. >> i'm surprised people would ask that question. i have seen home wreckers on tv, as marital experts all of a sudden. i think people know they crossed the line when they're talking about people's marriages, all of this stuff about leave us alone in my private life. my family has a right to our
private life also. the reason this gets so much coverage is because george conway now agrees with them, he shares their views -- >> kellyanne -- >> -- about president trump and their goals. if you read his op ed, the headline doesn't match the op ed, people should have thought thrice before they crossed a line. >> kellyanne as i said, i'm not comfortable asking it. it is what people are talking about, if i offended you, i'm sorry. >> i'm sure. >> oh, man. ouch! that is so uncomfortable, isn't it? >> george conway is putting it out there. i mean, yes, they are public people and they have their privacy, but when he continues to tweet, you know, kellyanne conway is arguing it's inappropriate to go there. is it?
>> not that anyone should take their eyes away from this incredible segment we're doing here, but conway just tweeted again, 49 minutes ago, taking on trump with another round. whatever was the impact of the latest interview of his wife, it did not stop him. so we have so many things we could go here, which is, i do think it's fascinating, i thought kellyanne conway handled herself well. reporters are supposed to ask touch questions. we do it all the time. i thought that chris did a fine job of going there because they are public figures. and public figures are asked personal things all the time. >> what is it like to be them? wouldn't we want to be a fly on the wall? >> right. i don't know, there were a lot of things to pick up on there, elena. she kept referring to him not only as my husband george
conway. is george conway attacking the president solely or is he also attacking her? >> taking steps at her boss, i mean, the president of the united states. and rather undermining her role. >> i think you hit the nail on the head, as to why this story is important, and not just sort of side show gossip, at this point we've the president of the united states, the leader of the free world weighing in on the marriage of his counselor and her husband. i mean, this had is something that clearly is taking up head space for him, and something that journalists should be paying attention to. i think questions like that from chris wallace are fair. as to who george conway is actually attacking, i don't think any of us are going to know the answer to that, i do think it gets to the crazy mechanisms of the beltway, when you talk to sources in the white
house and they even speculate to me that this might be just a way for kellyanne to redeem herself after the trump white house to have an ally on the other side, if you will, but those -- that's sort of the information that accompanies stories like this. when it comes to what the president is talking about at the moment, that should be most interesting to people. >> washington is loaded with many power couples. i mean, it wasn't necessarily -- the parting of the sea as a result of president trump. is there -- i mean, does kellyanne conway have to poise herself with a different way in which to handle it? she has to expect that more questions are going to come as active as her husband continues to be. >> right, so every interview
that kellyanne conway gets isn't always about deep substance and policy, she knows that. she was very good and is very good at deflection. she is a totally great at deflecting questions. she engaged a little bit this is a couple who come out of a common conservative republican millieu. this is different, because this specifically is calling out president trump. not because of a difference of a position or ideology or -- and she is in a position of defending the president. whether it's his policy, his behavior, everything. all of it, she's out there on the front line for the president, and george conway is essentially -- he's critical of the president. she has to spin it. >> and go home to it every night.
the marriages are things that only -- it's often said that only people in them really understand each other, and the question, when you looked at her answers today, is this something that she really is irritated at? i got a little bit of that vibe, didn't you? >> i did. it wasn't my husband. not my sweetie, my hubby, whatever. >> it hit a nerve. >> thanks so much. good to see you ladies. >> thank you. >> tonight find out the answer to the question, who is tricky dick? catch an all new episode of "tricky dick" tonight 9:00 right here on cnn. ♪ there's no escape ♪ you better get moving ♪ ready or not ♪ it's about to go down here it comes now ♪ ♪ get ready
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two marine pilots have been killed in a helicopter crash near yuma, arizona. both were on a routine training mission. their names are being withheld for now, the cause of the crash still under investigation. the southern poverty law center is known for championing social justice, tracking hate groups defending civil rights and taking the kkk to court. the group is facing its own internal struggles. a co-founder was fired and now the president is stepping down amid accu sakss of discrimination. here's cnn's nick valencia. >> this goes to show you that no one is immune from these types of allegations not even the
southern poverty law center. hit a boiling point when earlier this month, a highly respected african-american attorney resigned. according to a source, the legendary organization that for decades has fought for equal rights in america, couldn't even guarantee those equal rights for its own staff. >> jews will not replace us! >> since its inception, the group has fought for equal right s against groups like the kkk. the southern pov hert law center fell short to guaranteeing quality for its own staff. the employees we spoke to would not go on camera out of fear of retaliation. but one told cnn the fplc suffers from a systemic culture of racism and sexism within its workplace. a second employee agreed. it's an environment where black
employees are not being promoted. a woman is made to feel she is not seen or heard. said one employee, my boss only hires white people. some employees say the group has to practice what they preach. it's bad, the rank and file are deeply divided. the employee describes the current upheaval as a resolution against the long time leadership, initiated by employees. tired of seeing the pervasive culture exists. the fblc declined cnn's request for an interview. we acknowledge and take seriously the significant concerns that are talented and -- >> at the law center we see the resolution as not simple. the claims come after the firing of morris dees.
the 82-year-old was terminated after two separate investigations of alleged misconduct. they would not be more specific citing personnel matters. dees did not respond to events about his termination. in a statement regarding his firing. no one will be exempt from scrutiny and accountability. richard cohen the long time president of the organization. cohen did not return calls. he stepped down after 16 years at the helm. we heard from our staff we must espouse truth, justice. they acknowledged that the organization has done important work in shedding light on extremism. cnn spoke to one woman who said, a lot of the claims were greatly exaggerated. i'm completely happy here.
we have many women in leadership. the female legal director also resigned but she would not comment. >> one current employee that we spoke to cited the recent hiring by the board of directors as a step in the right direction. chen will investigate all aspects and operations at the splc and is said to be an expert on counseling companies, sexual harassment and lack of diversity in the workplace. we understand from those sources that the meetings in montgomery alabama are already underway. let's meet this week's cnn hero. carrie brody. >> what we're teaching our students isn't just knife skills and it isn't just cooking. the idea that you are human and have value. that's what people have tried to strip away from others for such a long time. >> what are you cooking up? >> sabote.
>> seeing our students come into their own inspires me. >> and to learn more about carrie's policeman and to nominate someone you think should be a cnn hero, go to cnn heroes.com. thank you so much for being with me this weekend. we have so much more straight ahead in the newsroom. and it all starts right after this. (woman) what should we do with it first? (man) road trip. (woman) yes. (woman) off-road trip. (couple) [laughter] (couple vo) whoa! (man) how hot is the diablo chili? (waitress) well. you've got to sign a waiver. [laughter] (ranger) you folks need bear repellent? (woman) ah, we're good. (man) yes. (vo) it's a big world. our new forester just made it even bigger. (woman) so what should we do second? (vo) the 2019 subaru forester. the most adventurous forester ever.
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