tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN July 11, 2019 8:00am-9:00am PDT
morning. i'm poppy harlow. at this how are with kate bolduan starts right now. >> hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. thanks so much for joining me. we are right now to hear from house speaker nancy pelosi. what does she do about her own democratic caucus right now? more a question now than ever after a closed-door meeting with her party yesterday where she made a passioned pitch, i'm told for unity. here was part of her pitch. you've got a complaint, come and talk to me about it, but do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just okay. who was the speaker talking about? four very outspoken freshmen liberal democrats, alexandria ocascio-cortez, e lan oh mar, ra she'd da tlaib and pressly.
and responses to what has been said, alexandria ocascio-cortez spoke to the "washington post," saying this in part, quote, it's outright disrespectful. so is that what unity sounds like this morning? does this threaten the democrats majority? we will soon found out. we will hear from nancy pelosi. we are watching two other moves from the white house. the president is expected to announce this afternoon executive action in the ongoing fight over the census and a government official confirming to cnn also that ice is planning mass raids to pick up and deport thousands of undocumented migrants this weekend. two big moves, big moves that are both likely to be challenged in court. but they're also big moves that aren't just policy. they are also, too be clear, blatant political plays. moves that play directly to the president's base, even if he's not successful. so let's get to all of this.
first the census and the citizenship question about it all. abby phillip is at the white house. she's joining me now. abby, the supreme court blocked the administration's attempt here. it's still being fought out in lower courts. what then are you learning about this next move? >> well, kate, this is the culmination of a week's worth of scrambling on the part of the president's team and the department of justice to figure ot how they can potentially get the citizenship question onto the 2020 census, despite the fact that this has already gone to the supreme court and the court has said their reasons for wanting to include it to contrived. to president trump today, our understanding, is that he's going to issue some kind of executive act. it may not be an executive order. it may be something like a presidential memorandum, which is a little bit different and has a little bit perhaps less force. but either way, this is all going to end up back in the courts. the citizenship question has already been blocked from the court, so if the president tries to do this, it's not even clear
that he will be successful. it's not clear that the question will then be placed onto the 2020 census. more likely is that it's going to kick off another round of litigation, pushing this issue back to the supreme court yet again. and then the question becomes is there enough time for this to be sorted out so that the census can be print in time for 2020? this is not an optional thing for the administration. it is in the constitution that she have to do this every ten years. so we will learn more this afternoon about what kind of force, if any, this presidential action will have, that president trump will take this afternoon. but it's coming this evening, i should note, right after he has the social media summit with his supporters, who he says have been discriminated against on social media. it's possible that those very same possible could be watching president trump as he issues this presidential executive action. this is the audience for this effort, kate. his base, the people that he's trying to reach are just his
supporters who he's saying i'm still working on this, i'm not giving up on it. >> abby, thanks so much. and to the other big political play coming from the president and the administration today, cnn has learned from the immigration raids that were planned, then put on hold by president trump last month, are back on for this sunday. according to a u.s. official, ice is preparing an operation to pick up some 2,000 undocumented families this weekend. "the new york times" first started the news and also quotes a homeland security sources as saying that ice might even detain immigrants who happen to be on the scene, even though they are not targets of the raids. so-called collateral deportations. listen here to a top immigration official just yesterday. >> they're absolutely going to happen. there's approximately a million people in this country with removal orders. and of course that isn't what ice will go after in this, but that's the pool of people who have been all the way through the due process chain.
>> let's get more on this right now. cnn's nick valencia is in el paso, texas for us. what are you hearing there? >> kate, this is very targeted interior enforcement according to an ice official of 2,000 undocumented immigrants who recently arrived to the united states crossing a southern border and are under removal orders. we may also see some collateral arrests, meaning undocumented immigrants that are not the target and happen to be on the scene of an ice raid, may also be arrested by ice. this is very similar to what we first heard in june, when afterwards, closely after we expected to this happen. president trump in an unprecedented announcement called them off. now they're back on. expected to start on sunday. and we're getting reporting from cnn's maria santana about the cities where this will happen. they include baltimore, chicago, denver, houston, los angeles, miami, new orleans, new york and san francisco. the concern we've heard from
officials inside ice, ice concerned about safety. of course a concern is if these undocumented immigrants that they're targeting are still at the same addresses. they have called rhetoric surrounding this heartless and they say it's a political move from the trump administration. >> thanks so much. really appreciate it. an important programming note for all of you, tomorrow at 10:00, and we're talking about this very issue. tomorrow at 10:00 eastern we have a cnn special report, it's called the hitten workforce, it gives a behind-the-scenes look at how immigrants keep the workforce running in the shadows. tomorrow tonight at 10:00. don't want to miss that. let's talk about the census issue. joining me right now the political analyst and white house reporter for politico, and the deputy director of the aclu immigrants rights project which is suing the trump
administration over several of the policies, as well as aclu taking over the administration on the census question. thank you both for being here. leig lee, first on the raids that we're getting reporting on, what are you hearing from -- what are you hearing from migrants that you're working with about these raids? >> i think they're scared. this administration has been terrorizing immigrant communities for years and i think this is more of the same, where they're living under toxic stress. imagine being a child constantly hearing your mother may be taken away or you may be deported. imagine if you're a u.s. citizen child living with a mixed status family and all of a sudden your parents are going to be deported and you're going to have to live in a country you've never been to or be separated from your families. that's why the administration itself is saying we shouldn't be going after these families. >> lee, are you hearing from families? there's like a heads-up last month and then it was delayed.
>> right. >> now it's gotten out and there's a heads-up again it's coming sunday. what are they doing? >> we'll see what they do. i mean, there's a little bit of a tricky situation, because you don't want to panic people unnecessarily. but now it looks like the raids are actually going to come. and so what we're trying to do is mobilize not just immigration advocates, but even big law firms are starting to mobilize and we want people to understand their rights. that they don't have to open the door if there's not a warrant and all those types of things. but ultimately this is going to be horrible. notice who the administration is going after, families from central america. and so i think there's going to have to be immobilization. this is about as bad as it can get with raids, going after families specifically. >> hold on for just a second. i do want to get your take. when you look at this move, along with the expected executive action on the census coming from the white house, is there another way to view it
other than a blatant political play to his base? i mean, the fight -- the fight is the whole ball game. if that's the case, should folks be taking these moves seriously? >> i think you can look at it in two ways. the president has often been more bark than bite when it comes to actions on immigration and towards mexico. he talked about closing the border, he talked about imposing tariffs on mexico and he's announced these raids once. none of those things have happened. so let's see how aggressive these raids are if they do happen. it's atypical to announce raids, because it makes them less effective. people have time to prepare for them. but as you mentioned, kate, simply the rhetoric is something that tends to energize the president's base and the citizen question, if it goes forward, would be something with a real impact. and that does look like something the president is ready
to take action on. so yes, i think you can say that the president is looking ahead to his reelection and whether these things are real or merely rhetoric doesn't matter that much. he does view it as a useful political issue. >> lee, on the census, the aclu is leading the legal fight against the trump administration on this as well. if he announces an executive action, it's still unclear what is going to be said when he comes to the rose garden. but if executive action is announced, what is the aclu's responses? >> we'll be back in court. obviously we want to see what he does. but we'll be back in court. the supreme court has already said the reasons they've given previously were contrived. i think it's going to be more con strived and the census is part of the whole anti-immigrant agenda. fortunately the supreme court put a stop to it initially. we'll see what the president does this time. but i think it will be more con strived than initially.
>> what do you make of on the threatened happening raids over the -- coming this weekend with "the new york times" reporting that there's going to be these collateral deportations with these raids, that authorities may detain immigrants who are just on the scene that aren't actually the targets of the raids? i mean, what does that really mean? >> right. i think it means that they're just going to sweep in any central american they can find who are living with these families. and one of the things people should know is if they're claiming a lot of these people didn't show up for their hearings, the notice system they've devised is completely defunct. >> tell me. >> because people don't get notice in time or it gets sent to the wrong address or the notice is sent right before the hearing so they can't get there. you know, there's going to be -- >> so there's more to this? >> there's absolutely more to this. and so it's horrible that they're going after families, but also we want to make sure that people have the right to go in and say, well, i missed my hearing if that's why they're being deported, because of the notice problems.
there are also people who have asylum claims who need to be able to raise those. so i think you're going to see a huge mobilization around these raids. but ultimately if the administration says we're really focused on criminals and national security threats -- >> and these people have removal orders on their heads and they're not -- >> but note that they're going after families, not people with serious criminal histories or national security threats, central american families. and it's part and parcel of the issues you've been covering at the border, going after central american families who are asylum seekers, separating central american families. >> you take it seriously that it would be happening this sunday? >> we have to take it seriously until it doesn't happen. >> does this get democrats -- this threat, this move, this raid, if they happen, does it get democrats back to the table to talk immigration? because that's what the president said that he wanted the first time that he threatened ice raids in american cities, and then they delayed
it. >> i think it's likely to have the opposite effect. i think it's very difficult at this point to get democrats negotiating with the president on this issue, because often his extreme tactics, i think, alienate democrats and make them say this is not somebody we can negotiate with. particularly the left frank of the democratic party, which has really been a thorn in the side of speaker nancy pelosi and i think they're likely to point to akdss like this and say you cannot sit down at the table with a president who is taking these sorts of actions. >> it's an sinteresting point. and what we're waiting to hear this hour is from nancy pelosi, because you know she will be asked at this press conference what is happening in the caucus and specifically with the left flank. thank you very much for being here. coming up, millions of americans are under risk right now of massive flooding as a monster flood is churning in the gulf of mexico. hurricane season is already
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year starts to bear down on the gulf coast. barry was officially named the tropical storm a few minutes ago. it could make land fall as a hurricane this weekend in louisiana. but even ahead of that, it's already showing its strength with damaging wind and rain in parts of the region. at least two parishes in louisiana are already under mandatory evacuation orders and dozens of flood gates have been closed in the new orleans area. to give you an idea of how big and nasty the system is looking to be right now, check this out. what it did to a play set. and this is hundreds of miles inland near ft. worth texas. chad myers is watching the forecast in the cnn severe weather center. natasha is on the grounds in new orleans. natasha, first to you. what are you seeing. >> we're just hearing from city officials in new orleans just a few minutes ago talking about the pumps in the city. they said all but two of them are working so they have 120
total so, 118 of them are fully functional right now. they said the two that are down are smaller and are in places are other pumps are functioning. we also know that the flood gates are being closed, dozens of them, in prepartion for the weather to come in. the worst of it, of course, being saturday. flood gates including this one at the port of new orleans where we're standing. this one will be closed by 5:00 p.m. eastern time. they've been closing pedestrian gates as well by the spanish plaza and the liver walk and the hilton hotel area. places that tourists like to come here. the city hall was closed yesterday and will remain closed for the next couple of days. as you mentioned, there are mandatory evacuations in certain cities and neighborhoods of two parishes. there are another two parishes that are preparing people for voluntary evacuations. everyone is really tracking the system and keeping a watchful eye. there is a storm surge watch, as
well as a flash flood watch. it's hard to tell from the sunny weather we're having right at this moment. yesterday there was a torrential down pour and we're expecting more of that to come in later today and possibly tomorrow. >> we're going to stick close to you. thank you so much. let's go over to chad now. you've been watching it. what can we expect from the storm? what is it looking like? >> it's looking bad, not organized bad. good for us and bad for it. barry looks very disorganized. i have a friend named barry in houston and we don't appreciate that. anyway, here is the tropical storm warning that was just posted. that's the blue area. watch the still in yellow and pink. otherwise, though, this is the storm. there is the low. where are the storms? not near the center. >> can i cut you off? we need to jump over the capitol hill. nancy pelosi is speaking right now. >> i've said what i'm going to say in the caucus.
that's where this is appropriate, and i said what i'm going to say in the caucus. they took offense because i addressed, at the request of my members, an offensive tweet that came out of one of the member's offices that referenced our blue dolls and our new dems essentially as segregationists. our members took offense at that. i addressed that. how they're interpreting and carrying it to another place is up to them. but i'm not going to be discussing it any further. yes, ma'am. >> if i could just follow up briefly, you talk a lot about civility in the caucus. is this is a message that you preached yesterday. but many of those fesh men members who have taken offense have found it -- >> i'm going to say with all due respect -- maybe you didn't hear what i said. i said what i'm going to say on the subject. what i said in the caucus yesterday had an overwhelming responses from my members,
because they know what the facts are and what we're responding to. we expect the value of every member of our caucus. the diversity of it is a wonderful thing. diversity is our strength. unity is our power. and we have a big fight and we're in the arena and that's all i'm going to say on the subject. if you want to waste your question, you can waste your question. >> on the ice raids that you mentioned in your opening statement, the president gave congress two weeks to come to some sort of deal on immigration, especially on the asylum laws in our country. do you see any momentum to change the asylum laws or to sit down and work towards the immigration -- >> well, asylum laws are what they are. in other words, it's important for people to understand what they are. we're part of a global society. and when someone comes to a country seeking asylum, they are not breaking the law coming into
the country and they have to prove their case, that they have a well-founded fear of persecution. so it's not a question of saying we're going to change the global human rights dynamic that exists. there are some initiatives that suggest that some review of asylum seekers status could be done in country instead of traveling here, and that's one thing that i think would be appealing to the administration. that doesn't necessarily mean you change the law. you just have to allocate resources to do it. in terms of comprehensive, i think there's real need for it. my understanding is that people don't even like that term anymore, so we're talking about
dream promise and beyond where we go with it. and i think that is something that we have to do. it's not something you can do in two weeks. >> will you appeal to the president to put off the raids? >> i'm going to appeal to the people of faith, the faith-based organizations to appeal to the president. i think that they put him in office and they have a better voice for this. i did appeal to some of them to help with the conditions for the children when we were having the back and forth before the break, but they were given the short shift by mitch mcconnell. it was just like he wasn't interested in their appeals as to what would be needed. but it's a longer thing. the possibilities are there. he sent -- you know this, i think it's in the public domain, so i'll be confirming it. he sent -- the chairman, i guess
he is the chairman of the judiciary committee bram, to my office to talk about some things that we could do and there may be some possibilities of some things that we can do. it may not be the total comprehensive, but it would address some of the points. we have to do that. i mean, we have principles that we've always put forth. we want to secure our borders, we want to be respectful of immigration policy that is fair to the american people and to new comers coming to our country. we want to again have a path to citizenship. and i always like quoting ronald reagan who said we cannot close the door. so recognizing that we're not deporting 11 million people because of status of their documents or lack thereof. we did have that initial conversation. and there may be some
possibilities. but every time you think you've made progress, then it doesn't necessarily happen. but we are having conversations about it, yeah. >> reporter: can the president do a census question by executive order? >> well, i don't know. there's an injunction that he just has to overcome. it's an injunction against putting citizenship on the ballot. we have been printing the census forms. june 30th was the deadline. so we're printing the forms. we fully expect the census to go forward. the president's effort to put the citizenship question on the census will continue to be challenged in court. the supreme court destroyed the administration's argument that the question was needed to support the voting rights act. including their rationale was based on a contrived pretext. next week the house will vote on a resolution of criminal
contempt on attorney general barr and will ber ross so we can enforce the subpoenas and get the facts. so he'll try all kinds of things but we'll have to get around the injunction. in the meantime, we're printing the forms. and by the way, one of the issues in lifting the caps is more money for the census. thank you all. >> all right, you were listen to house speaker nancy pelosi speaking on quite a few topics. let me bring in cnn's chief political krpt dana bash on this. dana, let's start with what nancy pelosi very clearly did not want to talk about. we talked about at the top of the show, but this is -- what is happening between leaders, moderates and the left flank of the democratic party after a closed-door meeting of the caucus last night, where nancy pelosi made this impassioned pitch for unity in the caucus, and that is not what we are seeing play out publicly when
liberal members are coming out saying that it's outright disrespectful how nancy pelosi has been speaking about them. and she said very clearly basically i'm not going to talk about it. i said what i said in the caucus and that's it. >> that's right, and to be specific, the latest is that aoc, alexandria ocascio-cortez, said to the "washington post" and then doubled down with our colleague manu raju this morning, saying that the speaker is going after members of color and that that is a pattern. she said that first to the "washington post" again. and this morning when she doubled down with manu, manu said are you suggesting that's rasism? she said no, no, absolutely not. look, it's getting ugly. and the fact is, the speaker, as you heard, she said she didn't want to talk about it, but then she did explain herself a little bit saying that her argument was that the progressives need to be careful in how they criticize
the moderates just as it should be considered vice-versa. it's hard to be any leader of a very diverse -- eye dee logically diverse caucus. i was thinking as i was watching this, kate. i'm not sure if you felt this as well. i was thinking it's easy for people to look at this and say it's women fighting amongst each other. but i could easily see this kind of dynamic going on with john boehner, paul ryan and -- >> 100 percent. >> it happened. different players, different topics, but similar dynamics of leaders trying to make people get along and keep people in the fold. and it is a very big challenge. we knew it was going to be a challenge for nancy pelosi and other democratic leaders coming into this new majority, because
the freshmen -- they call themselves the squad, aoc being one of the four she was talking about. they're marching to their own drum and they have a huge following on social media, they have a huge following beyond that and they feel em powered and emboldened by that and there are very big differences. i'm talking to people in the caucus this morning, differences of opinion on whether or not aoc has gone too far, and frankly whether pelosi has gone too far. and i think for the most part people just want it to stop. >> yeah. especially people inside that caucus, i'm sure that's exactly what we're hoping for right now. let get sun lin. you asked one of the questions of the speaker about this exact thing when they throws out with all due respect, we know she's definitely not going to be answering your questions. but it does seem -- some of the reporting was that behind closed doors nancy pelosi, part of her impassioned plea was that she was making the case that a
majority is a fragile thing. and that seems to be part of her warning, if this continues to play out. what do you think about this? >> absolutely, kate. i think the word warning is a perfect way to describe that message. she was framing in that closed-door meeting yesterday, she made this impassioned plea for civility, don't attack each other and other democrats. and very clear, although she did not want to touch this controversy which has been simmering for months now and boiled over this week, that she didn't want to touch it. she wants to take the oxygen out of the room. but very clear that she also had a message for those freshmen today, her being very vocal in their criticism this week. i thought it was interesting that she used the word interpret twice when she was answering the question and she emphasized, when i pushed her on it, she said diversity is our strength, unity is our power. her specifically saying diverse toy is a veiled responses to
what congresswoman alexandria ocascio-cortez was saying in the interview with the "washington post" when she says she believes the freshmen women of color specifically have been singled out by pelosi. so i felt there was some responses there from pelosi trying to of course emphasize diversity and unit as she did behind closed doors. but they're not wanting to engage specifically and directly on this today. she's again trying to take the oxygen out of this controversy, but that very likely will not happen as this is certainly on the minds of many freshmen members up here on the hill. >> dana, give me your take real quick on the issue of what speaker pelosi, the warning that she's offering on the caucus behind closed doors. do you think that is the case, that this kind of, you know, inside fighting that spills out -- spills into the public and even if it continues in the public, do you think that -- does that threaten democratic majority? >> you know, i think that we don't know the answer to that.
>> that's kind of where i am. you can see it, but it's something of a little bit of a leap, right? because diversity of opinion is what we have seen in many majority in the past. >> well, i think the bigger concern for nancy pelosi and other democratic leaders is the content and the perspective of the criticism, that you have the loudest -- some of the loudest, most popular, frankly, voices, most well-known voices are the most progressive in this caucus. and the conservatives, the moderates, were the majority makers. they were the ones who beat the republicans. so that is her north star politically. that is what she needs to keep in mind. and also more broadly, that if those more liberal voices drown out the moderates, then that is going to be the perception of the democratic party. now, the freshmen say okay, that's our point. we want this to be the
perception of the democratic party. there's nothing wrong with being as progressive as we are. but even though she's a liberal from san francisco, she understands there are a lot of majority makers who are elected from the middle of the country, not the coast like new york city and san francisco. >> it's a great point. and we're watching it play out in real time. great to see you, thank you so much. great job and thanks for popping up. so coming up for us still, migrant communities across the country are in fear today as the trump administration is planning to launch raids to round up thousands of undocumented immigrant families this weekend. the democratic member of congress, the democratic congresswoman from florida joins us next. super soft? with the sleep number 360 smart bed you can both adjust your comfort with your sleep number setting. so, can it help us fall asleep faster? yes, by gently warming your feet. but can it help keep me asleep? absolutely, it intelligently senses your movements and automatically adjusts to keep you both effortlessly comfortable.
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in just a few hours the next round in the battle over the 2020 census is likely to begin. president trump is expect to announce an executive action of some sort on the census, something that he's been hinting at for a while now as a way to get around the courts to put a citizenship question on the survey. the supreme court rejected the administration's reasoning, and there are still ongoing court battles going on about this as we speak and opponents of adding the question which call it a blatant political maneuver to target immigrant communities. they've vowed to take any executive action to court.
listen. >> it really doesn't make any difference if it's an executive order or a decision by commerce secretary wilbur ross, anything can be challenged in court. >> so now what? joining me right now democratic congresswoman from florida. she's with me. thank you for being here. >> great to be with you, kate. >> thank you. so if the president announces today as he's expect to that he's issuing an executive action to add the citizenship question to the census, what do you say to that? >> well, this is just -- i think you comment this is a political move. the background of this, which was found coincidently, is a republican operative died and his estranged relative found papers which he actually outlined that the way for republicans to get an advantage in the next redistricting, the
reapportionment, which is how we determine what the different congressional districts will look like, was by adding a census question. so it's obviously a political move that the president just will not take no for an answer. >> let me ask you about the ice raids that we are learning about. u.s. officials are confirming to cnn, congresswoman, what "the new york times" first reported, which is that ice is expected to conduct raids this sunday to round up and deport thousands of immigrant families facing deportation orders. what are you hearing about this? >> well, i can tell you that folks where i live -- i live in south florida, are terrified. the president is a vile, inhumane way of handling immigration. we need to have real immigration reform. and he's about to break up a lot of good families, people who are
hard working. and this should not be a substitute for congress, with the president, doing our job to pass immigration reform. >> congresswoman, these raids were planned once before. they were planned last month and the president delayed them because folks -- well, quite frankly because folks caught wind of it ahead of time. and it looks like this is happening once again. what impact -- i mean, even the heads up of this, what impact does this have on migrant communities like those in your district? >> well, for example, not sending -- the summer is out, but if it was a school year we would not be sending children to school. it might be not even going to the grocery store. it means people who are working may have to just be hiding out. it's going to be a lot of people going underground, and that has a ripple effect. it will have a ripple effect on our economy and people's
businesses. >> you also represent -- there's a lot to ask you about today. you also represent the district where sex offender jeffrey epstein was first arrested and investigated for abusing underage girls decades ago that ended with a swaet heart deal by alexander acosta. you are calling for acosta to resign his position. acosta defended his handling of the case yesterday in speaking to the press. let me play for you what he said. >> i understand what the victims say. and i'm not here to try to say that i can stand in their shoes for that i can address their concerns. i'm here to say we did what we did because we wanted to see epstein go to jail. he needed to go to jail. >> the case that he made throughout that press availability is that they did the best they could at the time.
what's your reaction to that? >> well, i'll say very respectfully, i believe that's a lie. and i will tell you as chair of the women's caucus and also as a representative of the area where this occurred, we've been following this for many, many months now, and i personally have talked with attorneys for the victims. i talked with the police chief of palm beach, the then police chief who started this investigation. and this was very -- it's been very clearly laid out by the "miami herald." but the fact is this. there were dozens of girls who were harmed by jeffrey epstein. they were all telling the same story. the police had his own diary that confirmed the dates of many of these massage -- so-called massages, and there were staff that witnessed this that could have been subpoenaed, given immunity to testify against him. so for mr. acosta to say that
there was not enough evidence or that there's something new, i don't think that is truthful. the fact of the matter -- this seems to -- it's sort of a mistery to me. it seems to be a case where power and wealth overwhelm the justice system and we really need to get to the bottom of, in the end, why was this deal made? >> you think that there's something out there we don't yet know of why this deal was made. is that what you're saying? >> yes. and i will tell you this. what else i gleaned, there was a lot of witness intimidation. there was intimidation of prosecutors. there were law enforcement working on this actually themselves that were surveilled. a lot of crazy things going on and we're going to get to the bottom of this. first of course the criminal case has to play out. but i feel pretty good that our oversight committee here will
take action once that is over, be able to subpoena some of these outside witnesses, and get the truth. >> congresswoman, thank you for being here. we'll follow up and see what comes of that. thank you so much. coming up for us, we're going to hear from an attorney for three of jeffrey epstein's victims for exactly the time period i was just talking about with the congresswoman. he is going to join me next to give his reaction to where things stand right now. we'll be right back. i didn't have to call 911.help. and i didn't have to come get you.
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epstein go to jail. that is the defense from labor secretary alex acosta, who is fighting back against criticism of his role in brokering a secret plea deal for sex offender jeffrey epstein over a decade ago. he claims he did what he could to make sure epstein was punished for assaulting dozens of underage girls. joining me now is an attorney who represented three of jeffrey epstein's victims during the 2008 case in florida. thank you for being here. >> thank you for having me. good morning. >> you represented three of the victims in this original case. what have you heard from them since these new charges, the new york charges have been filed? >> i can tell you that they're ecstatic that he's now behind bars but they're also skeptical because of what they went through as to what the system is going to actually do with him this time. they're hopeful they will do the right thing but because of the way the system has failed them
in the past, they're very skeptical. >> we just spoke with congressman lois frankel who represents the district where this all played out in florida. she said she has heard of witness intimidation taking place back during the original case of epstein. were your clients intimidated? have they ever mentioned anything like that to you? >> yes. it was actually unbelievable what was occurring at the time. he had black tahoes following these young women and their family members. he would reach out and have his investigators interview boyfriends, ex-boyfriends. he would subpoena through his attorneys medical records, ask unbelievably intimidating questions through his lawyers and hide behind his investigators. people were being followed. people and their families were being questioned. it was incredibly intimidating. you have to remember these girls were 14 and 15 at the time that this was happening. >> and had you also -- she also mentioned that she had heard of prosecutors facing intimidation.
have you heard that? because lois frankel is pointing to there was a lot more going on than to see what led to this plea deal. >> yes. i don't think it was direct intimidation that was occurring, but just the fact that he's hiring some of the most powerful criminal defense attorneys in the united states to be able to prosecute his case, i think that there was, i guess how should we say it, outgunned mr. acosta's office felt outgunned with respect to the amount of legal power behind mr. epstein at the time. they just folded under the pressure. >> let's talk about acosta. the renewed focus on epstein has put a new spotlight on alex acosta and his role in inking this deal. in his press conference he held yesterday, he said a lot. let me play you what his message he said was to the victims. >> what's your message specifically to those who did come forward and felt let down by you? >> they came -- look, the
victims came forward. there were several victims. i believe that in one of the filings, the department of justice talked to several of the victims. some of the victims just didn't want any public notoriety. if we went to trial and it became clear that they were going to receive money if he was convicted, how that would impeach their credibility. and today that would proceed very differently because victim shaming is just not accepted. but the circumstances of trials and what juries would consider 12 years ago was different. >> he says 12 years ago things looked a lot differently than they do today. he said that he did everything that he could. what do you say? >> there are so many things wrong with his statement. number one, he's picking one or two of the victims that may have been hesitant to come forward. i can tell you that at least two of my three clients were not only willing to come forward but they subjected themselves to a
deposition through his attorneys that were incredibly harsh with them. they wanted to step forward and testify. second, you know, he's saying victim shaming is not okay today but it was apparently okay 12 years ago? i don't believe that. that's just not the way that the world works. and the fact that my clients may have received money to help take care of their psychological bills and to compensate them fairly for what occurred to them, it's unbelievable. >> real quick on that note, are your clients will to testify in this new case in new york? have you talked to them about it? >> i've spoken with one who said that she is willing to step forward if the southern district of new york would like to speak with her. she's ready, willing and able to talk to them. she's declined any and all press interviews and only wants to talk to the people that matter. to her that is only the fbi or the u.s. attorney's office up in new york. but she wants to be a part of this and she wants to see him
behind bars. >> mr. kuvin, much more to come. thank you so much. we'll be right back. >> thank you. ♪ applebee's all you can eat is back. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. hdo you like stranger things? tsure you do. that's why netflix is on us. and here's another reason to join. bring in your discount, and we'll match it. that's right. t-mobile will match your discount.
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welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. president trump's re-election strategy is in overdrive today. his plan to force a citizenship question on the 2020 census. before that a so-called white house social media summit whose guest list includes far-right conspiracy theorists and smear artists. plus flip, flop, flip. amy mcgrath was against brett kavanaugh's supreme court nomination, then for it, now against it again. a very rough start for the kentucky democrat. party leaders here in washington say is the best challenger for majority leader mitch mccaonnec. alexandria ocasio-cortez says speaker pelosi is disrespecting the new liberal women of color in the democratic house. just moments ago the speaker defended her leadership, but chose not to respond directly. >> i said what i