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tv   Democracy Now  PBS  March 28, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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03/28/18 03/28/18 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> if this question is on the census, it will massively depressed responses among immigrant groups and shift power even more to republican areas that are whiter and more conservative. so this has very, very, very profound applications for our democracy. amy: are you a u.s. citizen? that is the question he trump administration has added to the 2020 u.s. census, despite widespread criticism. we will speak to ari berman of mother jones about how donald trump is reading the census.
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then to louisiana. the state has just announced two white police officers will not face charges for the 2016 killing of alton sterling, an african-american father of five. >> the way they killed him was in cold blood. you know it. i know it. yes, the system has failed us. amy: as we continue our exclusive conversation with army whistleblower and u.s. senate candidate chelsea manning. >> ben cardin has been in politics in maryland for 40 years. he is been behind a desk that whole time. what experience can he bring to the table? i mean, i have life experience. i have been out there. i have been homeless. i have been to prison. i have been to war. these are what i consider experience. amy: all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman.
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in a historic surprise that was kept under wraps for days, north korean leader kim jong traveled to beijing the armored train and met with chinese president chi jen king. it was the north korean leader's first foreign trip since taking office in 2011. during the four daytrip, the two leaders talked about denuclearization, with kim reportedly saying he was willing to give up north korea's nuclear weapons. kim also invited president xi to visit pyongyang, north korea. it was the first of three potential historic meetings for kim jong-un. next month, he's slated to met with south korean president moon jae-in. he's also slated to meet soon with president trump, in what would be the first ever meeting between a sitting u.s. president and a north korean leader. a recent poll shows two-thirds of americans support trump's plan to meet with kim jong-un. louisiana attorney general jeff landry has announced the state will not bring charges against two white police officers for the 2016 killing of alton
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sterling, an african-american father of five. bystander video shows sterling was pinned to the ground outside a baton rouge convenience store by the two police officers when they shot him. this is alton sterling's aunt, veda washington-abusaleh, speaking on tuesday. whitewas murdered by two racist police officers. he was martyred like an animal. and they say they don't see nothing wrong. they say they did not see anything wrong. they saw the videos, but they say they did not see nothing wrong. i can't understand it. amy: alton sterling's killing sparked nationwide protests. it's the latest case in which authorities have refused to bring charges against officers for killing civilians, despite video evidence of the killings and mass protests demanding accountability for the death. we'll speak with chris stewart, the attorney for alton sterling's children, later in the broadcast. in sacramento, california,
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widespread protests continue over the fatal police shooting of stephon clark, an unarmed african-american man who was shot by police officers 20 times in his own backyard. on tuesday, hundreds of protesters disrupted the sacramento city council meeting. they were led by stephon clark's brother, stevante clark, who rushed into the council chamber and jumped onto the desk of mayor darrell steinberg. >> stephon clark! stephon clark! stephon clark! stephon clark! clark! amy: on tuesday, mass protests demanding justice for stephon clark also blockaded the doors of the golden 1 center during the sacramento kings basketball game, barring some fans from entering the arena. at least 12 states say they will sue the trump administration
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over its plans to add a question about citizenship on the upcoming census. voting rights activists say the question will deter immigrants from participating in the census, which is used to allocate public funds and draw congressional districts. this is white house spokesperson sarah huckabee sanders speaking tuesday. >> once again, i would argue that this has been the practice of the united states government will step the purpose is to determine individuals who are here. it has also helped to comply with the voting rights act. without information, it is hard to make those determinations. that information needs to be gathered and it has been part of the united states insists every time we have had a census instead to 65, with the one exception of the 2010 census. amy: her statement was patently false. in fact, the census has not included a citizenship question since 1950. we'll have more on the brewing battle over the 2020 census after headlines. "repeal the second amendment."
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that's the demand outlined by retired supreme court justice john paul stevens in a "new york times" op-ed published tuesday. he praises the youth protesters who staged saturday's massive worldwide marches, the march for our lives. he also writes -- "a constitutional amendment to get rid of the second amendment would be simple and would do more to weaken the nra's ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option." again, the quote the former supreme court justice john paul stevens. the lawyer for adult film actress stephanie clifford -- better known as stormy daniels -- is asking a california judge for permission to depose president trump and his personal lawyer michael cohen about the $130,000 nondisclosure agreement clifford signed in the days before the 2016 presidential election requiring her to stay quiet about an alleged 2006 affair with trump. her lawyer says he's seeking to question both trump and cohen to find out what trump knew about
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the agreement and whether he consented to it. her lawyer also says at least eight other women have come forward with similar accusations against the president, with at least two saying they were also paid to keep quiet. "the new york times" is reporting president trump is hoping to bring back to the white house his disgraced former aide rob porter, who resigned after photos surfaced showing evidence of his physical abuse against his ex-wife. trump has reportedly stayed in contact with porter since his resignation in february. the white house was aware his two ex-wives had accused him of physical and verbal abuse. but he was allowed to continue to serve in the administration until a photo surfaced showing porter's first wife, colbie holderness, with a black eye. all 22 female senators, both democrat and republican, have written a letter to the senate leadership demanding sexual harassment legislation move forward on capitol hill. early last month, the house of representatives passed a bill overhauling the secretive process for reporting sexual harassment in congress. the legislation would bar lawmakers accused of sexual
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harassment or assault from using taxpayer money to settle lawsuits and would provide legal representation to those alleging they have been sexually harassed. since then, there's been no action in pushing the legislation through the senate. the office of government ethics says the white house is investigating whether $500 million in loans to jared kushner's family real estate business violated any criminal laws or regulations. jared kushner is trump's senior advisor and his son-in-law. the investigation comes after "the new york times" reported kushner's family business received loans from citigroup and private equity firm apollo global management after kushner met with top executives at citigroup and apollo while serving in his official capacity for the white house last year. facebook ceo mark zuckerberg says he'll testify before congress in the coming weeks amid the burgeoning scandal about how the voter-profiling company cambridge analytica harvested the data of more than 50 million facebook users, without their permission, in efforts to sway voters to
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support president donald trump. this comes as facebook has been slapped with a new lawsuit by fair-housing groups who accuse facebook of allowing employers and housing brokers to discriminate in their targeted advertising. the lawsuit says some of facebook's advertisers do not show job or housing listings to african americans, women with children. the white house says its ending temporary protected status protections, known as tps, for thousands of liberians who have been living in the united states for decades. the move gives about 4000 liberians one year to adjust their immigration status or to face deportation. the trump administration has also ended tps protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants from haiti, el salvador, nicaragua, and sudan. in california, orange county has announced it will defy california's new statewide sanctuary law by publishing information on when inmates are to be released from custody in order to assist ice agents in apprehending undocumented people as they are freed from jail.
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orange county has also voted to join attorney general jeff sessions' lawsuit against california's sanctuary law, which limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration agents. the former dean of michigan state university's osteopathic medical school has been charged with criminal sexual conduct, including harassing and physically assaulting his students. dr. william strampel was also the longtime supervisor of dr. larry nassar, the former michigan state university and usa gymnastics team doctor who was convicted of sexually abusing hundreds of women and girls. a new report by the rainforest action network has revealed that investments in extreme fossil fuels have skyrocketed to $115 billion globally amid president trump's first year in office. investments in tar sands, one of the dirtiest fossil fuels, have more than doubled. the report details how many investors and banks began increasing their fossil fuel investments after president trump promised to pull the united states out of the landmark paris climate accord.
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in massachusetts, a judge has found 13 protesters not responsible after they temporarily halted a pipeline's construction by nonviolently laying down in a trench being dug by spectra energy to carry fracked gas through west roxbury. district judge mary ann driscoll made her ruling after the protesters argued the necessity defense, saying their civil disobedience was justified by the urgent need to stop climate change. among those arrested in the civil disobedience was karenna gore, the daughter of vice president al gore, who spoke on tuesday after the ruling. >> what happened today was really important. a long and winding road but essentially, the people that put themselves in the way of building this fossil fuel pipeline were found not responsible by reason of necessity. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and
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peace report. i'm amy goodman. a new battle is brewing over the 2020 u.s. census. at least 12 states are moving to sue the trump administration over plans to add one question -- "are you a u.s. citizen?" to the upcoming census. voting rights activists fear the question will deter immigrants from participating in the census leading to a vast undercount in states with large immigrant communities. this could impact everything from the redrawing of congressional maps to the allocation of federal funding. this is california's attorney general becerra, >> including the question, the census will not be able to fulfill its constitutional duty to count everyone. amy: on tuesday, white house spokesperson sarah sanders said the decision to add a citizenship question was "necessary for the department of justice to protect voters."
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>> the purpose is to determine individuals that are here. it has also helped to comply with the voting rights act. amy: at least five former directors of the census bureau who served under republican and democratic presidents have written a letter opposing the citizenship question. for more, we are joined now by ari berman, a senior writer at mother jones and author of "give us the ballot: the modern struggle for voting rights in america." his new piece just out today is headlined "hidden figures: the 2020 census will shape the future of our democracy." this is a stunning development, ari. that simple question, are you an american citizen, u.s. citizen. talk about the significance. >> it is one question, but it is a huge question on a huge issue because the census affects everything in american life. it affects a hundred $75 billion in federal funding is allocated to states and localities. it affects how many congressional seats and
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electoral votes states get. it expects a local and federal districts are drawn. it affects the data that every stitch you should an american from corporations to universities to the military uses to understand their populations. so if the census is rigged, is the census is manipulated, then all of american democracy is rigged and manipulated as a result. there has always been a tremendous undercount of people of color by the senses. in the 2010 census, 1.5 million people of color were undercounted, were not counted by the census bureau. that undercount could be dramatically larger now under trump because immigrants are going to be afraid to respond to the census now. what donald trump is doing is turning the senses, which is a constitutionally mandated act every 10 years, he is turning it into a tool of voter suppression of nativist
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resentment. that is so shocking for our democracy. amy: i want to go back to the white house spokesperson sarah huckabee sanders who attempted to of defend the census citizenp question. let's go back to her comments. >> once again i would argue this has been the practice of the united states government. the purpose is to determine individuals that are here. it also has to comply with the voting rights act. without it that information, it is hard to make those determinations. that information is to be gathered and it has been part of the united states insists every time we have had a census since 1965 with the one exception of the 2010 census. amy: what about what she said? >> there are two unbelievable lies she told. the first lies you told is the citizenship question has been asked every senses since edge and 65. it is not been asked to its 1950 a segregatedwas jim crow society. it has not been asked for nearly
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70 years. secondly, she said it was removed in 2010 -- amy: it was not asked during reagan, bush. >> no, not since 1950. the question was removed in 1950. amy: reagan and bush competed to see who was more pro-immigrant. >> exactly. it is never been used as much as donald trump. the second thing, this is totally unnecessary to enforce the voting rights act. a question about citizenship has 1965 whensked since the voting rights act was passed. it is hilarious to her the trump there suddenly concerned about enforcing the voting rights act. this is the administration that is hostile to voting rights and has not how the civil suit to enforce the voting rights act, that has backed away from opposing laws like texas' voter id laws that courts have found violate the butter rights act. you have the administration that is hostile to the voting rights act turning round in same we need this data to enforce the
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voting rights act. to getn obvious ruse this data for other purposes. amy: let's go to caliphate as secretary of state alex padilla. >> the trump administration's decision last night rolls back the clock on civil rights and voting rights in america. ever 27t is the latest towards the already underfunded and understaffed and leaderless census. questioning the citizenship status of every person in america is just a continuation of their presence blatant agenda to fend the flames of anti-immigrant hostility in our nation. amy: ari berman, take it from there. >> what you heard alex padilla say is just how big of a deal this question could be for states that have large immigrant populations. california has a larger number
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residents anrn undocumented immigrants than any other state in the country. $1900 per could lose person in federal funding. over $20 billion in federal funding if immigrants do not respond to the census. they could lose multiple congressional seats and electoral votes. there is only 435 electoral votes in the country, amy. so if california loses two congressional votes and let's say a state that is more white more conservative gains electoral votes, that is going to affect the entire presidential election. the census will affect redistricting was 2020, which will be a huge fight. it will affect basically everything in america. abouts not just immigrants or noncitizens, but about the fact the trump administration is trying undercut one of the central pillars of democracy. amy: explain why the census is so related to voting and redistricting. >> it basically forms the basis
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for redistricting and for how voting distric are drawn. the data is used to draw districts. every 10 years we take these senses. after that, we reapportion states in terms of how much electoral votes and congressional seats they get and use that data to draw districts around the country. in 2021 after the 2020 census occurs, state legislatures across the country will come into session and they will draw new districts. the census will form the basis for those districts. if the census is skewed and over counts, for example, a white population and undercounts people of color, that means when districts, drive new people of color and immigrants are going to be underrepresented. , what he said of those who say undocumented people should not be represented in congress and undocumented people should not be getting federal funding. >> it is been a case that districts have been drawn based on total population, not citizenship. this just want to the supreme court a few years ago.
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the supreme court two years ago world unanimously that districts should be drawn based on total population and not citizenship because they said everyone who is here deserves citizenship, meaning theizenship ability to be represented, whether they are or are not a citizen. when there is a fire, the fire department goes to your house whether or not your documented or undocumented. when you go to the hospital, they treat you whether you are documented or undocumented. the census says clearly in the constitution it is a numeration of the actual population, not of citizens. if you go down this road to excluding people from representation, to excluding people from counting come you are going to exclude millions of people from the democratic process who should be counted. amy: talk about the census department, the kind of funding it has, who is heading it come is it ready? and also, computerized census for the first time. >> the citizenship question is
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such a big deal because the census is already facing a perfect storm of problems. the budget has been cut for years by the republican congress and the trump administration. it is using internet technology for the first time, so it is asking basically everyone to respond online as opposed to on a paper form. suddenly now, everyone is going to get a postcard telling them to respond online in an era of internet hacks and there will be a question of u.s. citizenship on the form. that is what a freak out a lot of people. a lot of citizens who might not care about the citizenship question are not going to want to respond online because of the fear of russian hats and other things like that in this day and age. there is no leadership at the census bureau. there has been no permanent replacement. underneath the director of the census bureau, there are a bunch of republican appointees with very conservative backgrounds. a senior advisor, for example,
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is the former director of research for kellyanne conway's pulling -- hole in form, one of the presidents leading advisors. even before the citizenship question, there's a question about whether the census was an accurate count. on right nowgoing it comes to elections, you give an example in mother jones in her piece about australia and what happened. >> when australia did in online senses, it was hacked. it went down for 40 hours as a result. can you imagine in april 2020 in the middle of donald trump's reelection campaign if the census goes up, hacks, and then it goes down for a period of time? nobody will want to respond to it after that. uctant are already rel
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because of several security fears, the climate in the country because people do not trust the trump administration with their data. you have this question on top of anand you are facing unprecedented level of problems for the census bureau. amy: who is thomas rhett no? >> an expert at republican gerrymandering. he withdrew but it is clear that the trump administration is now filled with people who want to manipulate, corrupt the 2020 census for partisan purposes. they want to take a constitutionally mandated act and turn it into a weapon of voter suppression, into a weapon of nativist sentiment. amy: what if you don't answer that question, "are you a u.s. citizen?"? where peopleing to will not respond but respond to the form. the question is, will that lead to an accurate census? will they count those forms? what will happen?
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it is tough because if you're udocounted by the census, get federal funding, you don't count toward representation. there are a lot of reasons why you should respond to the census but at the same time -- amy: but if you just don't answer the question? >> i think the form will still count, but this will be one of the many things litigated in court. amy: what if everyone answered no? >> it would basically mean there's a lot more noncitizens that we thought there were in the country. amy: but in terms of what it means for voting and every thing would be the same? >> it would not be because one of the things they want to do is draw districts aced on the number of citizens in the district. suddenly, everyone says "i'm not a citizen," they will say, "none of you guys cover representation." so places like new york city, los angeles, san francisco are going to be harmed if they decide to draw districts based on citizenship if suddenly people say "we don't want to be counted as citizens," that will further reduce representation
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for these areas. amy: we will continue to follow this issue. is it a done deal? >> it is in terms of the question, but it will be a tremendous amount of litigation around it. amy: that could stop the question from being on the census? >> yes. amy: ari berman, senior writer at mother jones, a reporting fellow at the nation institute, and author of "give us the ballot: the modern struggle for voting rights in america." his new piece just out today is "hidden figures: the 2020 census will shape the future of our democracy." we will link to mother jones at democracynow.org. when you come back, part two of our exclusive with chelsea manning. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we continued our exclusive conversation with army whistleblower and transgender activist chelsea manning. on tuesday, we spoke to chelsea manning in her first live tv interview. she was released from prison last may after serving seven years for leaking a trove of documents about iraq and the afghan wars and the state department to wikileaks in 2010. manning is now running for u.s. senate in maryland.
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i began part two of interview by playing a clip of john bolton, who the president has named to be his next national security adviser. he was asked about manning in the 2012 bbc film "wikileaks: the secret life of a superpower." >> what you think of bradley manning? >> i think he committed treason and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. >> >> what does that mean? >> well, treason is the only crime defined by our constitution, and it says treason shall consist only of levying war against the united states or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. and he gave our enemies a lot of aid and comfort. >> so what should happen to him? >> well he should be prosecuted. and if he's found guilty, he should be punished to the fullest extent possible. >> and what is that? >> death. >> you think he should be killed. >> yes. amy: that was john bolton, the next national securityisisis adr for president trump, speaking in 2012. i asked chelsea manning if she felt threatened by his
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statement. >> i felt threatened, but as any other person should feel threatened. are these positions uprising? no. anybody who challenges these people, anybody who challenges their power, is a threat to them. and so, yeah, they're going to go after people, and they're going to say that everybody deserves the death penalty. i mean, it's going to be this expanding, broadening net, you know. john bolton, as u.n. ambassador, bolstered the neoconservative movement in building, you know, the -- this was during the time of the cia and expanding into torture. like, they're trying to cover themselves up, and they're trying to protect themselves, and they're trying to -- of course they're going to -- they're going to claim that anybody who challenges them is a traitor. everybody who goes against them is against, you know, the state. and anybody who's against them
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is worthy of, you know, going away. amy: well, let's go to vice president pence, just last year, describing you as a traitor on fox news. vice president-elect mike pence: private manning is a traitor and should not have been turned into a martyr, as senator cotton said. private manning's actions compromised our national security, endangered american personnel down range, compromised -- compromised individuals in afghanistan who were cooperating with our forces, by leaking 750,000 documents to wikileaks. amy: your response to vice president pence? saying you endangered people? been usingrnment has this rhetoric for seven years. her three and a half years, they said it and they had to do with the courtroom and they could not bring a shred of evidence to the courtroom also said they merely said, could have. it was all hypothetical.
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these are just talking points. they are just hot air. amy: i wanted to read from buzzfeed. "in the seven years since wikileaks published the largest leak of classified documents in history, the federal government has said they caused enormous damage to national security. but a secret, 107-page report, prepared by a department of defense task force and newly obtained by buzzfeed news, tells a starkly different story. it says the disclosures were largely insignificant and did not cause any real harm to u.s. interests." chelsea manning? >> i mean, that's what we've been saying this whole time. you know, they agreed with us. but instead, during the trial, they said "could have." it was all about maybe. you know, what crime is it where you could have? you know, if i threw this rock, i could have broken a window. you know, and of course it wasn't going to cause any damage.
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and the whole notion of national security, it's a word that gets -- it's a phrase that gets used a lot in politics. but do you know what the definition of "national security" is? the definition of "national security" is that -- anything of and relating to the national defense, meaning the military, or foreign relations, meaning the state department. anything can be construed as being national security. those are -- that's an incredibly broad definition. and "interests" is -- what is "interests"? interests is whatever they want. so, if it's whatever these institutions want and it's against their interests, which is against our interests as people, then it's a threat to national security. so, in a sense, everyone who goes against them is a threat to national security. juan: i'm wondering, subsequent
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to your revelations, there was the revelations of edward snowden, the enormous impact it had on the american public in terms of understanding the surveillance state. your advice to other people who are in network securities in other parts of the world in terms of potentially being whistleblowers, and the importance of being a whistleblower -- >> yes. juan: -- when you believe that something is unjust or is wrong, that an institution that they're associated with is committing? what would be your advice to potential whistleblowers? >> you know, you're in a better position to understand what the issue is and what you have to do. i can't give people specific advice. what i can say is that there's a lot of -- and a lot of people in government and a lot of people in these positions already know that there are no safe channels to go through. like we've had -- you know, like i have a friend of mine, you know, jesselyn radack, who's been on this show a lot, who has
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definitive people who have gone through the proper channels from prosecution and from being targeted. the insider threat program, whenever you -- whenever you raise a concern, you are automatically listed under the insider threat program as a potential threat and placed under surveillance, under electronic surveillance or surveillance by your supervisors. that said, there are no safe channels. you have to make a decision as to what to do. and that's my advice. amy: i want to turn to tackle ratner the late michael ratner, , one of the founders of the center for constitutional rights, who appeared on democracy now! in 2013, shortly after attending part of your court martial when you accepted responsibility for leaking information when leaking documents to wikileaks. >> it was one of the more moving days i've ever spent in a courtroom. you've heard from bradley manning once before, which was when he testified about the torture that happened to him. i was crying through that. this was amazing.
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i mean, he actually didn't stand. he sat at the defense table. and he read his 35-page statement, which, sadly, we do not have a copy of, even though there's nothing classified about that statement. and hopefully, we will get it because that is something that should be taught in every school in america. he went through each of the releases that he took responsibility for, that you mentioned on the air, and he told us why he did it. and in each case, you saw a 22-year-old, a 23-year-old, a person of incredible conscience, saying, "what i'm seeing the united states do is utterly wrong. it's immoral. the way they're killing people in iraq, targeting people for death rather than working with the population, this is wrong." and in each of these -- each of these statements tells you about how he was doing it politically. amy: that was the late michael ratner, one of the founding attorneys of the center for
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constitutional rights, in 2013, coming from your trial and coming on democracy now! the next day. your thoughts on what michael said? and would you do this again, if you had the chance? >> look, i can't go back and change history. i can't reflect on every single moment that i've gone through my entire life. and i reflect a lot on all kinds of decisions throughout my life, mostly to do with relationships that i've had and jobs that i've held in the past and decisions that i've made, especially in regards to college. should i have stayed in college? should i have stayed at starbuck's? that said, this couldn't have happened any other way. it happened because of who i am and the values that i have and the time that i had and the means, the technology, that was available. and also, it almost didn't
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happen. you know, i tried to -- i tried to reach out through conventional journalists, if you will. and, you know, the technical happen. complexities, they just couldn't work around. amy: well, wait for one second. could you explain exactly what you did, for people who aren't familiar with your course? when you were in iraq, you got a hold of these documents. you saw what you described as the horror documented in the government's own pages, and wanting to get it out, coming back to the united states. it wasn't wikileaks you went to first. >> right. of course not. i mean, you know, they weren't a thing yet. they weren't a name. and, i mean, like i ran out of time. i didn't have a whole lot of time. i had about 12 days, and three of those days were taken out by a snowstorm. amy: before you were going back to iraq. >> correct. any go so you turn to "the new york times." >> well, i reached out to the washington post first.
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amy: and they did not want the documents? >> secure drop is something that came out of all of this. it is now possible to reach out to "the washington post" and use these tools. really do not have an understanding to the technical problems. amy: what you could not just in the by regular email. why "the washington post" did you go to? >> "all the presidents men." amy: exposing watergate. >> well, that was my reference, was a movie. amy: one of the stories we have covered for years was the battle against the prison authorities around their treatment of you as a trans woman. talk about what happened, how they treated you, and the whole issue of health care for trans prisoners around the country. >> right.
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so systems, like prison and the military and police, treat trans people -- i mean, governments do this as a whole. they treat us as an minister at a problem to be solved somehow. and it's at the whim of some -- you know, usually some authority or some legal position that we have our entire lives be policed. you know, there's what uniforms you wear, what type of clothing you have access to, how much healthcare you get. and these are all determinations that are being made arbitrarily, whether it's, you know, giving us healthcare and telling us which types of healthcare are available or, you know, what that is. so the problem is is that these are systemic problems. and one of the more deeper systemic problems is the fact that trans people are disproportionately imprisoned. you know, we're one of the most targeted groups, usually for
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petty offenses, like sex worker-related offenses and just the -- we're policed based on gender and how we look and how we act -- you know, the walking while trans, if you will. and we need to stop -- like that these to be more of a focus. like why do we have so many trans people in our prison system? why do we have so many people who are trans in jail? and, you know, why don't we focus on dismantling the prison system, that is -- in which we're placed in these situations? amy: can you explain your own experience, what you were fighting for? you were held in an all-male prison. is that right? at fort leavenworth. >> right. and most trans people are held in one of -- that differs from their true gender. amy: you were fighting for hormone therapy. talk about that battle and ultimately winning it.
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>> i mean, well, i barely won it. you know, i got access to or months but, i mean, it was arbitrary. to hormones,ss but, i mean, it was arbitrary. it was based on some signature, you know, and only after a major lawsuit. you know, it wasn't really a victory, in the sense of, you know, i get access to something, but i had to fight for it. i had to fight tooth and nail for it. and so many people still have to fight to get just basic access, basic access to healthcare, especially in prison. amy: what about the clothes you were forced to wear in prison, and also the length of your hair and why this mattered so much to you? >> well, because, i mean, i couldn't grow my hair. so i have always wanted to grow out my -- i've always wanted to grow out my hair. grow out my hair. it's always been shortly cropped, but i was kept at a military standard. but it was also the notion of like an institution telling me, "hey" -- you know, because it was like this notion of like, "yeah, we know you're pretending
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to be a woman so we're giving you some things, because we're legally required to do so. but we're going to make it -- we're going to do everything that we can, in other regards, to make sure that you're not treated as who you actually are." so it is this notion of value. like, i value who i and i value am my identity, and as all of us should. and we should be able to defend ourselves and fight back. and that is what drove me day-to-day while i was in these circumstances and, you know, the clothing and whatever. but yeah, like, you know, and a lot of this is stuff in the past for me. a lot of this is things that -- where i've come from. but, you know, i'm more focused on what -- i'm more focused on what's facing us today -- amy: right. >> what we're facing right now. amy: well, certainly, that would be something that trans prisoners are faced with and that you would, hopefully, make a difference in, if you became senator of the united states. >> i mean, i'm hoping to get trans people out of pris. that's the objective.
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it's not about making conditions better. it's not about making more or better prisons. it's about making -- closing them down and releasing people. so we should be releasing trans prisoners. juan: you've talked about you looking to get criminal justice reform, anti-military -- >> not reform, dismantling the criminal -- we need to restructure and dismantle the criminal justice system. juan: dismantling the criminal justice system and ending the military involvements around the world, and also immigration. could you talk about some of the other issues that you would consider -- you'd want the voters to consider when they vote for you? >> healthcare. we need to have basic access to healthcare for everyone. and we shouldn't have our healthcare policed by the state, either. you know, we've seen this in -- we have seen people who are afraid to go to hospitals, because of who they are or what
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their background is or what their legal status is. so we need to remove -- we need to provide healthcare for everybody. it should be free. it should be accessible. it should be -- and there should be a doctor-patient relationship that is unaffected by -- you know, the state should not be intervening into the -- you know, into who you are and why. you know, you should just be getting access. amy: healthcare for all. >> healthcare for all, but unconditionally. it's not -- you don't have to fill out forms or get -- or have the state police you based on -- you know, like you should feel safe to go to a hospital or to get healthcare. amy: can you talk about your activism around into fascism and also how you're going to conduct her campaign. the primary is coming up soon in june. what are you going to do to run throughout maryland to get your name out there in your positions out there throughout the state? not that your name isn't known, but as a senator from maryland.
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>> so, yeah, so i've been -- i've been, you know, meeting with activists and organizers locally. i've been more on a listening tour because i want to hear their -- what they have to say, what their positions are, what the concerns are, and -- before i started to publicly, you know, like roll out there. i would say that my activism and who -- and like how i'm running are hand-in-hand. i mean, i'm running as an activist. like this is -- like, i'm not running to have a career as a senator. i'm here as a continuation of my career as an activist who pushes against these systemic problems and these systemic structures. you know, i'm not willing to get entrenched into the circle of lobbying and the network of, you know, revolving-door politics. i mean, i've already been excluded.
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the language that they use excludes me by default. you know, the i'm not -- you know, i'm inexperienced, or i'm -- you know, think about that for a second. inexperienced. like ben cardin has been in politics, maryland politics, for 40 years. he's been behind a desk that whole time. what experience can he bring to the table? i mean, i have life experience. i've been out there. i've been homeless. i've been to prison. i've been to war. these are what i consider experience. so we need to start pushing back. and the way we do that is by focusing on the systemic problems, like the criminal justice system, immigration and healthcare. amy: what would you do with the prisons of the united states? >> we need to start closing them. we need to start closing prisoners -- we need to start releasing prisoners and then closing prisons down. no more of -- we should put a moratorium on construction,
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first off, and then start closing prisons. juan: and in terms of immigration, what would you do? >> abolish ice. abolish the cbp. amy: and our borders? >> i mean, borders are imaginary lines. they're something that we draw, you know, through the middle of a desert. we invented the border. it wasn't there previously. people should be able to move freely about the world. amy: would you abolish the nsa? maryland, the state you would represent a senator, represents the largest intelligence agency, far, for larger than the cia, the national security agency, where you are actually court-martialed. >> >> right. you know, and the national security agency collects an enormous amount of data and information, but it is more of these policing agencies that i'm focused on. you know, ice is -- ice has more law enforcement power than any other federal law enforcement
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agency. and it's only a matter of time. and we've already seen people who are assisting, you know, people crossing the border and assisting people that, you know, be arrested and charged with federal offenses. they're going to expand the net of their federal law enforcement powers over the next few years. they've already said that they're going to do this. ice didn't exist 15 -- or ice didn't exist 18 years ago. it's a brand-new institution. it didn't exist whenever i was a teenager. it should go away. we don't need ice. we don't need a lot of these gigantic, you know, police agencies that are singularly focused on deporting people. amy: if you were a senator of the united states and even not as a senator of the united states, as an activist, what are you pushing for when it comes to the military? $600 billionlmost year on our defense budget. there is various other portions that go into the paramilitary portions of our government.
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we need to spend this money somewhere else. it needs to be -- you know, we have other issues. we don't need to have 800 bases all across the world. we don't need to have the -- we already have the largest system in the world. we don't need more. and they're always asking for more. isn't that funny? like, it's already the largest. we're already spending $600 billion a year. and yet, you know, it's on boondoggle projects, like the f-35, you know? we're going to stop that. i'm going to do everything i can to make sure that defense funding bills for more stuff don't happen. amy: what gives you hope, as we wrap up this interview? >> what gives me hope is the people i have to my left and right, the people that i'm in solidarity with, when i'm -- especially when i'm doing activism and especially whenever i'm in these meetings, the people who have been with me this whole time, the people who are fighting with me and the people that i know will be by my side, whatever happens.
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amy: army whistleblower and manningtivist chelsea free from military prison after seven years last may. her 35 year sentence was commuted by president obama. she is now running the democratic primary for u.s. senate in maryland. go to democracynow.org for part one of our exclusive interview, the full broadcast yesterday. when we come back, charges will not be brought against the two white officers who killed alton sterling. we will speak with his children's lawyers. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
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amy: "these stars collide" by cleveland, ohio band mourning a blkstar performing here on our democracy now! studio. to see their full performance go to democracynow.org. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. louisiana attorney general jeff landry has announced the state will not bring charges against two white police officers from baton rouge for the 2016 killing of alton sterling, an african-american father of five. bystander video shows sterling was pinned to the ground by the two police officers when they shot him. a warning to our television audience, this video is graphic. amy: alton sterling's killing
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sparked nationwide protests. it's the latest case in which authorities have refused to bring charges against officers for killing civilians, despite video evidence of the killings and mass protests demanding accountability for the death. quinyetta is the mother of alton sterling's eldest son, cameron. she condemned the decision not to bring charges. >> i would not allow cameron to be here today. we have nothing else in us to cry about because guess what? we all knew what it was, just like you all knew what it was going to be. alton can tell his story. there's no more coming back. there's no amount of money on this earth, in this world that can give those kids back their father. they took a human away. they took a father away.
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they took some of the way that did not deserve to be away. the way they killed him was in cold blood. you know it. i know it. failed, the system has us. amy: we go to atlanta, georgia, to speak with mr. it, an attorney for alton sterling's children. welcome to democracy now! can you talk about the attorney general's decision not to bring charges against the two white police officers? >> yes. thank you for having me. we went to a private meeting yesterday with attorney general landry and he informed us that he was not going to bring charges. but there were a few interesting things that he set in that meeting. one thing that he told us was he did not take into a grand jury because he was not sure if he could win. and that was key to myself because that told me that, well,
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you do think there is a possibility that you could get a prosecution in this case, but it just takes courage to hold political office and be a prosecutor, and we did not get that in this case. amy: so he just decided personally? >> yes. he did not take it to a grand jury at all. amy: and what is your response and the family's response and what are you demanding now? >> it really wasn't very surprising for the family or myself. i handle a lot of these cases across the country. it is very rare where we get someone that is bold and strong enough to move forward with prosecution in an officer-involved shooting. and when we do, the community finally make it justice. but a lot of times, the people, due to political pressure and general public, they just fail to prosecute. amy: can you talk about the significance of the two videotapes?
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we just watch this with our own eyes. there was one from the convenience store and another that was filmed right nearby. >> it is a sad state of affairs that even with the videotapes nowadays, you rarely get justice. i represent walter scott in south carolina who was running from the officer and got shot in the back six times. and we had videotape in that that was clear as day that there was no fight, the officer lied, that walter did not take his taser. we still got a hung jury the first time and had to try him again. amy: what about the additional video that the police are going to release? >> that is going to be key. we believe that may be released by friday. our understanding, the first time we met with the doj when they decided to not prosecute, they told us the video that
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nobody has seen is very disturbing. they said that officer blane salamoni in the daily gets out of his vehicle, walks over to mr. sterling, pulls out a gun and puts it to his head, and uses profanity and threatens to kill him. amy: i want to turn back to 82016 press conference right after alton was killed, with quinyetta mcmillan, the mother of sterling's son, cameron. at the beginning of the event, 15-year-old cameron consoled his mother as she spoke. but after a few minutes, he broke down into the arms of supporters standing behind the two of them. >> the individuals involved in his murder took away a man with children who depended upon their daddy on a daily basis. my son is not the youngest. he is the oldest of his siblings. he is 15 years old.
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this. to watch this was put all over the outlets. and everything that was possible to be shown. amy: that was cameron just weeping twos ago. you heard quinyetta saying she could not even bring him yesterday when it was announced that the charges had not been brought. is the police department holding hearings? >> yes. thankfully, the chief is reviewing whether they're going to keep their job with the baton rouge police department. and from the most recent news, looks like blane salamoni will be terminated. amy: so they have been on the job since his killing? >> yes. his lawyers said they believe he
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is going to be terminated by weeks end. amy: and how do you respond to them saying there was evidence of drugs and alton sterling's system? >> that is the amazing thing about these cases whenever it is a person killed by a police officer, especially if they happen to be black. the first thing they do every time if you know this is they report negative information about the victim. information that has definite do with the shooting, but they will go back to crimes they were arrested for years or decades ago. they will talk about them not having a job. they will say if they had trace amounts of marijuana or something in their system. anything to get all of you watching right now to hate the victim or to not like them or to not make a fuss about them. that is the first thing they do. they don't report on the officers bad history of behavior
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force complaints. they report on the victim. and that is a strategy to get people to not care. amy: are you suing the police department and the officers? >> yes. we filed suit already in this case, and we're still battling in that situation. now that this video is going to be released, that should be very helpful to our case. but in these situations, even if we do when in the end, no amount of money is going to bring alton back. it won't bring cameron's father back. i talked to cameron all the time. he is having a rough time dealing with this, as all of his children are. it just should not have happened these officers escalated the entire situation. amy: chris stewart, thank you for being with us attorney for , alton sterling's children. that does it for our broadcast. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to
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democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
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