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A New Executive Order Part Two; Stricter Laws Frighten Immigrants; Keeping Campaign Promises. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired February 21, 2017 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[22:00:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Number of people being deported as protestors fly their flag from Lady Liberty with a new executive order on immigration due any day now.
Meanwhile, congressional republicans facing heated town hall crowds in their home districts.
Plus, the fall of an equal opportunity offender. Milo Yiannopoulos resigns as an editor of Breitbart News. And you know you've gone too far when you're too much for Breitbart.
But why was a man who spouted so much hate ever a darling of conservatives in the first place? That's a good question. And we'll answerthat for you this evening.
Let's get right to CNN senior White House correspondent to Mr. Jeff Zeleny with the breaking news of the evening. The newest thing that we have.
So, Jeff, let's talk about the president now signaling an expansion of deportations of undocumented immigrants in this country. What exactly is the White House saying?
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He is indeed, Don, They really sent two memorandums to the Department of Homeland Security today, basically saying they are going to enforce existing U.S. law. Virtually anyone who is in the country as undocumented immigrant could be subject to being arrested.
And this is different from the Obama administration that was generally reserved for criminals, someone who is a, you know, a violent criminal here. They simply didn't have the bandwidth to go after everyone.
But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer today made clear that everyone undocumented could now be at risk.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, UNITED STATES PRESS SECRETARY: Everybody who is here illegally is subject to removal at any time. That is consistent with every -- with every country, not just ours. If you're in this country in an illegal manner, that obviously that there's a provision that could ensure you be removed. But the priority that the president has laid forward and the priority
that ICE is putting forward through DHS's guidance is to make sure that the people who have committed crime or pose a threat to our public safety are the priority of their efforts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZELENY: And to make clear the White House is saying indeed, that criminals, people who have records and other things are the top of the priority list here to be deported. But simply, you know, making these suggestions that all laws will be enforced is causing alarm throughout immigrant communities tonight, Don.
And this is just simply the first of a few steps. We're still waiting this week for a new executive order here for the travel ban that we've been talking about for weeks here. That could come tomorrow or as the week goes on.
LEMON: And Jeff, tell us about the, what about the dreamers, the young immigrants who were brought to this country as children.
ZELENY: Well, Don, that was one of the executive orders that President Obama signed into law, basically saying that any young person who comes to this country illegally or not could stay. And this was, they are called the dreamers, the DACA Act, if you will.
And President Trump, this administration is not touching that for now at least. They say they are prioritizing criminals and others. They're not -- you know, even -- you know, even looking at dreamers. But it's clear that this is a -- for now.
It's unclear what will be happening in the months and years to come here. But for now, the dreamers are off the table and this is something that immigration hardliners will actually be raising questions against administration on this. Because they believe that they are breaking the law, too, regardless of their age, Don.
LEMON: And you asked Sean Spicer, Jeff, about how much authority the president's new national security adviser Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster will have. What did he have to say about that?
ZELENY: Well, Don, that is the other big thing going on here as they begin the second month of this White House. The new national security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, a long time army strategist he is now in charge of all of this.
So, I asked Sean Spicer today at the White House briefing if he would have the ability to put his own, sort of advisers in the National Security Council. And Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary said, absolutely, he has full authority to do so.
But the question is Steve Bannon. If you remember from a month or so ago, the chief strategist of the White House, Steve Bannon was made part of the principals committee of the National Security Council. That's aligned with the secretary of state, the defense secretary, the attorney general, and others. Usually there's not a political adviser at the table like this. So, we
asked the White House if the new national security adviser will be allowed to make a recommendation on that.
Sean Spicer, the White House Press Secretary said he would indeed it would be up to the president to make that determination. But it's unclear if we need changes on that at this point. The new national security advisor met with his council tonight for the first time in situation room, Don.
So, unclear how this is all going to be going forward but he isn't, sort of building a new team here and this is the beginning or the continuation of this reboot as we head into the second month.
LEMON: Jeff Zeleny is talking with us at the White House tonight. Jeff, thank you very much.
[00:04:59] I want to bring in now Bill Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, Gloria Borger, CNN chief political analyst, Van Jones, CNN political commentator, and Jan Brewer, the former Governor of Arizona.
Gang is all here. Thank you so much for joining us.
Gloria, I'm going to start with you. We're seeing a fundamental shift in U.S. immigration policy expanding the number of individuals who can be deported or detained. As controversial as just maybe, the bottom line is we're seeing President Trump fulfill a key campaign promise.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He is. This is what he said he would do. Aside from dreamers when he has said I'm going to keep President Obama's policy on dreamers, as Jeff was -- as Jeff was pointing out.
But this, look, this is what he promised in the campaign. And, however, there are lots of questions tonight. The president's executive order calls for the hiring of 10,000 new enforcement agents. That could cost anywhere, I just looked at estimates between $1 and $4 billion, add to the cost of the wall, over $20 billion.
And you have to wonder how this is going to be paid for. And how long it's going to take for all of these changes to take effect. The administration said this isn't changes, this is just the kind of strong enforcement that the nation should have had all along.
But there are lots of immigration experts who say you know what, by adding this huge police force here, you're giving people broad authority to detain, arrest and deport that they never had before.
LEMON: How different is it though, Gloria, before I get to the other folks, than the previous administration's deportation policy.
BORGER: He did.
LEMON: Because I know, they called President Obama the deporter in chief. BORGER: Right. Because he deported two million people. But what
President Obama did was he said that illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes should be the priority here for deportation.
Now Customs and Border Control can remove anyone convicted of a crime and the question is, what's the crime?
BORGER: Is a crime -- is a crime a DUI? Is the crime tax evasion? You know, it seems that everything is going to be lumped together.
LEMON: And they don't know yet. It's not exactly spelled out.
LEMON: So we have to see as it is implemented and who gets deported and what is constituted as a crime, or at least as serious enough crime to be deported.
Van Jones, the White House says that the goal is not mass deportation, but these guidelines is going to make is easier to deport people. What's your biggest concern here?
VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think if you just take a step back, it's very easy to get way down into the weeds of all this thing and that thing. It sends a signal that America is a less friendly and a less welcoming place. And you can't actually calculate what that means to the country.
In other words, you got a lot of people who are here right now who are going to be afraid, they're going to be less willing to cooperate with law enforcement. If they see a crime, they might be afraid to call the cops, they may afraid to do a number of things.
But also, there are people when they look at the ban on the seven Muslim countries and they look at this they might think to themselves, you know what, I used to want to come to the United States, I used to want be part of that country, I don't think they want me. So I'm going to keep my genius to myself, I'm going to try another way.
And you could literally be suffering from -- you know, we had a brain drain to our favor, so many great people wanted to come here. I'm afraid that some of the great people are going to want to leave here.
LEMON: Well, lot of Americans, Van, they're OK with that.
JONES: Well, I think that sometimes we think that Americans are great because so many Americans who are born here are great. Remember your high school class, got a lot of Americans that are kind of mediocre. But we attract a disproportionate number of amazing people to the country. And that's really what gives us that edge. If you throw that away, you just don't know what the consequences are on long-term. LEMON: Yes. Governor Brewer, I want you to weigh in now, but I know
that you're pleased with what you're hearing from the president. We've heard you speak so much about illegal immigration in your state. But specifically on the dreamers, governor, the White House says that they are safe for now. How do you feel about that?
JAN BREWER, FORMER ARIZONA GOVERNOR: Well, you know, first of all, Don, I would like to say that what he proposed today is simply enforcing existing laws. We that live in America, I think we all want to believe that we all are living under the laws. And if we don't like the laws, then change the laws.
But dealing with illegal immigration is a very difficult situation because it has a lot of issues connected to it. But first and foremost, he wants to deport a convicted illegal immigrants. People that have been charged and convicted. That's the number one priority.
[22:09:58] And he is not doing anything different than what he promised the people of America and he won that election. And people of America support him in that direction.
LEMON: We agree with you. And that's to Gloria, my first question to Gloria. But specifically about the dreamers. He said the dreamers are OK. How do you feel about that, Governor?
BREWER: Well, personally, you know, I don't believe it's a top priority. I know that they are here and that they probably have lived here for a long time and that came for reasons that their parents probably brought them so they'd have a better life.
But the bottom line is that they, too, are illegal. I don't think that they are going go door-to-door and have major raids on the dreamers. The fact of the matter is, is that if they wanted to do that, they would have already done it and they're not going to...
LEMON: Do you think they should be able to -- do you think they should do it?
BREWER: I think the law says that they can do it. Yes, sure.
LEMON: Yes. I want to bring Bill...
BREWER: But I think there's a -- I think there's a human -- there's a human instinct that, you know, we understand there's an issue there. But first and foremost, Don, and I think everybody will agree, we have a lot of issues to deal with. We first and foremost we got to get our border secured.
BREWER: But to sit here and the sky is falling, the sky is falling because we're going to enforce the law, come on. I mean, it is the law. It is...
LEMON: I don't think anyone has said that on this panel. Is there anyone said the sky is falling.
BREWER: We debate it.
LEMON: Well, of course. I mean, there's a new immigration -- it's a new immigration policy. We should be debating it. But no one is saying the sky is falling. That's what you do when there is something...
BREWER: It's not new a immigration.
BREWER: It's not a new immigration policy. He's enforcing the existing laws. And they are...
JONES: That's what new policy is.
LEMON: That's what -- that's what -- yes.
JONES: Well, listen. The policy is way...
LEMON: There is nothing -- I don't understand why you're saying it's a -- you know, we should be debating this. This is -- we're Americas. That's what we do. This is what we do in the media, why we have a free media, that's why you're here we want to get your side. But I haven't heard...
BREWER: Do you agree...
LEMON: I haven't heard -- hold on, Governor, I'm going to let you in. But I haven't heard anyone here say the sky is falling, we're simply talking about this new plan that the White House proposed today and we're trying to make heads or tails of it. That's it. And no one is saying the sky is falling.
BREWER: That he's -- that he's going to enforce the existing laws. Everybody seems to think -- I mean, the federal laws...
LEMON: You made that point, Gloria made that point as well.
BREWER: Well, I mean, and then, and you don't want to think that it's illegal. I mean, if you want the law changed, then change the law. LEMON: OK.
BREWER: But in the meantime, we have illegal immigration coming across our borders.
LEMON: OK. I want to get Bill Kristol.
BREWER: And we have to deal with it.
LEMON: And Bill is sitting here patiently, Governor. I'm sorry. Go ahead.
BILL KRISTOL, THE WEEKLY STANDARD EDITOR: Well, it doesn't deal with anyone coming across the borders. And maybe deters some people from coming because they think they will be deported more quickly.
So in that respect, so much of the Trump campaign rhetoric was about the wall. So far, no wall. Secondly, I would say the main republican objection to what President Obama did was partly his lax enforcement of the laws and now Trump is strict enforcement of the law. That's a policy debate that's reasonable.
LEMON: That he is promising.
KRISTOL: But he is ordering DHS to go ahead. We will see if that happens...
LEMON: I want to get your point...
KRISTOL: Let me just add one point on the thing that people on that before. The dreamers, that was the complaint. I mean, the republican complaint was that President Obama did something the legislation did not authorize him to do with that executive order.
Remember, President Obama earlier said I would need legislation to do that. Then 2014 he goes and hasn't does it. Republicans scream and yell. Trump makes it the centerpiece of his campaign speeches he's going to reverse those executive orders, he's not doing that. I think that's interesting.
And so the question for me is, this is what's so hard to tell about Trump. Ultimately, is he going to pursue fairly moderate policies?
KRISTOL: Look at Governor Brewer, she's defending him. He's just enforcing the law, he's not even changing anything.
KRISTOL: With sort of a certain amount of bravado and a certain amount of appealing to his base. BREWER: Well...
KRISTOL: I'm getting tough. I'm getting tough. But guess what, the dreamers stay. Guess what, I'm just enforcing the law a little more. Or is he, as Van suggested, fundamentally changing our attitudes towards immigrants, legal and illegal.
LEMON: Help me understand...
KRISTOL: In which case I think it is more fundamental.
LEMON: Because we're saying that he's just enforcing the law. And that's what Governor Brewer is saying, we're just enforcing the law.
The former president was called the deporter in chief because he deported so many different people. But I heard people on this network and others saying, well, the administration failed us before, can you really say those two things at the same time if you...
KRISTOL: I think President Obama that most of the deportations before he modified his instructions to and how to enforce the law to DHS, with the prosecutorial discretion and all of that. But look, I do think it's a very interesting question. And a lot depends on how it's implemented. And this is true for a fair number of Trump's policies, foreign policy, and domestic policy.
There is a lot of talk and bravado and keep the base happy, and then at the end of the day you have a fairly normal...
BREWER: I don't think.
KRISTOL: ... somewhat more conservative administration than President Obama's obviously. Or is it a fundamental change in American policy with all kinds of implications? I personally would relieve if it were the first. I'm worried that it's the second.
And I think Van's point is important. I've been fairly hawkish on immigration but you do want to send the signal that we are scared of people coming in, that we think the situation in the U.S. right now is unmanageable.
KRISTOL: That the borders are being overrun, that and cities are teeming with people who are here illegally and we've got to panic. I do think that's not true and I think not a healthy thing for the president to convey to the degree he's conveying this.
[22:15:01] LEMON: This is a very good conversation and I want to -- I wanted to talk about, you know, the president African-Americans visiting anti-Semitism and all that visiting the African-American museum in history in Washington today. But I want to continue on with this just a little bit and then talk about that. And we'll do it after the break. The cost of this. The cost of this, is it worth it? And then we'll talk about the other thing when we come right back. We'll be back.
LEMON: Back now with my panel. So, Gloria Borger, you first. I believe you brought up the cost of this if I'm not mistaken in the last. So the administration wants to hire more border agents, more detention facilities and we're talking about the wall, I think you said like $20 billion or what have you.
Now I heard and this is just from critics who say this is not the biggest problem facing our country. That $20 billion or that however billion dollars he is going to, you know, he wants to use to hire more border enforcement agents and to build the wall can be spent in better places.
And number two, Congress has to appropriate that money, how does all that happen?
LEMON: How are we -- how are going to -- how is this going to paid for?
BORGER: Well, don't forget Mexico is going to pay for the wall eventually, right?
BORGER: That's what -- that's what President Trump says. Look, I think that's a -- I think that's a problem. But republicans control the Congress, they are going to have to figure out the money. Because not only did President Trump campaign on this but republicans campaigned on this.
And I think that if you're going to -- if you're going to enforce border security, as the governor says, and you're going to expand the pool of people that you are looking at and that you are arresting, detaining and potentially deporting, you are going to need these 10,000 agents.
[22:20:08] And the estimates on that are between somewhere $1 and $4 billion, so add to the cost of the wall, and you're talking real money.
KRISTOL: There's another cost. Don, I live in district with republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock...
KRISTOL: She didn't campaign on spending $20 billion on building a wall.
KRISTOL: I think people are overestimating how easily the Congress is going to go along with everything Donald Trump says on this issue and another issues. They're going along with him for now, they're confirming his cabinet nominees, that's a very strong tradition of deferring to cabinet picks by a president of your party.
When it comes to actual legislation and actual budgets, and actual spending, congressmen and women and senators they can have their own minds. And I think that's the big next development that people are not anticipating.
BORGER: Well, that's my point. That's my point. Because you have conservative republicans who don't want to spend this kind of money and they've also got to figure out what they are going to do with Obamacare and everything else.
And so, the question is, what's the priority in the Congress? What is the priority of the republicans in the Congress versus the priority of President Trump?
LEMON: That's my first question to you, Gloria, what's the priority here. So, quickly, Van, because I have so many more things to talk about. We've spent a lot of time on this. Go ahead.
JONES: Yes. I just want to say there's another cost. The human cost which I think people talk about. There's also the economic cost. People act as if on the undocumented population is just kind of, you know, sitting around, you know, hoping they don't get deported.
These people work every day, they catch their early bus. They work in the service sector, they work in the agriculture sector, they work in the manufacturing sites, the building trades. You start chasing all these people out. What you wind up doing is you drive up costs to everybody else for everything.
These are pillars of our economy. And I think that part of the reason that there's concern here is we've stopped telling ourselves the truth about how our country works. These people -- the undocumented community is contributing tremendously to America. You knock out those pillars and you're going to have unintended consequences, economically as well as morally.
LEMON: OK. We're not going to solve it all in this one segment because I want to move on and talk about other things, can we? So, the president today, while at the museum of African-American history in Washington pledged to united -- to unite a divided country. How do you see the president's actions today on immigration and another travel ban impacting that? First, Van Jones and the rest of the panel.
JONES: Well, I don't think it helps very much. And listen, I see this president struggling with himself. On the one hand, I think he really does not want to be a divider, to be seen as someone who has hatred in his heart.
On the other hand, some of the things that he's done and the things he said has incited in our country -- at least given I think comfort to people in this country who deserve no comfort. Including this whole alt-right thing, this basically rebranded neo-Nazis.
I think the president now has an extra burden. It's unfair but he does have an extra burden to really speak out even more boldly against some of these folks who are trying to ride his coattails, he should slap them off his coattails every day. It shouldn't take a week to give this speech. You should do it every day because they are vocal online and horrific online every day.
LEMON: Governor, onto another subject. We have seen republicans -- I want you -- else -- everybody else to weigh in but I don't have time.
Governor, we have seen republicans face rowdy crowds at town halls across the country. Now the president is weighing in, he said "The so- called angry crowds in home district of some republicans are actually in numerous cases planned out by liberal activists. Sad." What's your response to these town halls, Governor?
BREWER: Well, you know, Don, there's people out there that are angry, they want answers. And they're afraid. I assume you're talking about the Obama healthcare issue right? And you know, it is -- it is a concern of a lot of people. They got to come up with a solution. I don't know exactly what they're going to do.
It's going to affect Arizona in some manner because Arizona has a different type of health plan were capitated. And it's the gold standard for the country, but if they do block granting we will lose a lot of money with that. So, we have weighed in from Arizona and hopefully to help be part of the solution.
Certainly I know that the majority of people out there realize that health insurance is important to each and every person whether you're healthy or you're not healthy, you want insurance just in case. That's why called insurance. So, they're going have to come up with a solution.
And I am watching very carefully. I have get some -- I never supported Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act but when it got enacted, I expanded Medicaid and people are very grateful for that, people's lives were safe with that.
LEMON: And they're worried about that being taken away. And rightfully so, right.
BREWER: They are.
BREWER: They are.
LEMON: Bill, I want to get your reaction to President Trump speaking out against anti-Semitism today following a rash of bomb threats and vandalism against Jewish sites across the country. Here's the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[22:25:06] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This Jewish is a meaningful reminder of why we have to fight bigotry, intolerance and hatred in all of its very ugly forms.
The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible, and are painful. And a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So the question is, Bill, he did do it. But people are asking what took the president so long. Why do you think it took the president so long and what did you think if he had to about what he had to say?
KRISTOL: I have no idea if maybe should have said it earlier but I thought what he said was appropriate and I hope we hear a lot more personally, that we hope -- I hope we hear a lot more of that Donald Trump and little less of the tweeting Donald Trump and the incendiary Donald Trump, and the divisive Donald Trump President's.
The tone does matter as Van was saying. And think this was an appropriate turn -- tone.
Can I just say one word about what Jan Brewer said, which was really quite interesting. She is a very conservative governor with pretty conservative state of Arizona, she was basically saying just now I'm worried about the republican plan which would to block grant Medicaid because it will reduce payments to -- for Arizona.
It shows that governing is hard, you know. The idea that he's got a republican majority, they've just ram through the replacement for Obamacare, that's where the Trump administration the rubber will hit the road. That will be the test. Can he govern successfully?
LEMON: That's going to be the last word on this. We'll continue on. We'll see you, guys soon right back here on the show. Thank you very much.
Just ahead, President Trump finally condemning anti-Semitism today. But the reaction was not 100 percent positive. We're going to talk about that next.
[22:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[22:30:00] DON LEMON, CNN HOST: The president today speaking out against growing anti-Semitism in America.
I want to talk that about that now with Fareed Zakaria, the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS right here on CNN. Thank you for joining us. You know, the president has asked about anti-Semitism twice. He never answered the question. And then take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To say to those among the Jewish community in the States and in Israel and maybe around the world, who believe and feel and that your administration is playing with xenophobia and maybe racist tones.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I just want to say that we are, you know, honored by the victory that we had, 306 Electoral College votes.
As far as people, Jewish people, so many friends, a daughter who happens to be here right now, a son-in-law, and three beautiful grandchildren. I think that you're going to see a lot different United States of America over the next three, four or eight years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's been a report out that 48 bomb threats have been made against Jewish centers all across the country in the last couple of weeks. There are people who are committing anti-Semitic acts or threatened to...
TRUMP: You see he said he's going to ask a very simple easy question. And it's not. It's not. Not a simple question, not a fair question. OK. Sit down. I understand the rest of your question.
So, here's the story folks. Number one. I am the least anti-Semitic person that you've ever seen in your entire life. Number two, racism, the least racist person. See he lied about and he was going to get up and ask a very straight simple question. So, you know, welcome to the world of the media. But let me just tell you something. That I hate the charge, I find it repulsive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So Fareed, why denounce now? Was it political pressure?
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: I'm sure it was political pressure. Look, I take Donald Trump at his word that he is absolutely not an anti-Semite and he is offended that people ask him this question. But I think he needs to understand why it is coming up.
It is coming up against a backdrop of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and the United States. Now part of this is sadly a virus that exists within the Muslim and Arab communities, particularly in Europe. But there's another whole piece to this, which is an alt-right white supremacist movement that has flirted with anti-Semitism historically more than flirted and even does so now.
And given that so many of these people have supported Donald Trump, David Duke celebrates Donald Trump, they were -- you know, people were asking Trump, what, can you say something about this, can you forthrightly disavow it? So that's the context in which it's happening. I don't think anyone
thinks Donald Trump is an anti-Semite, but there is this very disturbing real rise of anti-Semitism and it's important to condemn the part of it that that is coming out of Middle Eastern communities.
But there is another part of it which, you know, does have this association with having supported Trump. And People are looking to him to say I do not want your support if you're an anti-Semite.
LEMON: Because he's the leader of the free world. And there's disconnect here, because when you ask him about or some of his people about not denouncing it, the Semitism. Like, he's not anti-Semitic. That's not the question whether he's not anti-Semitic.
I don't think people believe that. I think that the question is why can he be more forceful and clear with his denouncement. Why can't he do it as much as he denounces some other things or talks about the media or other...
ZAKARIA: It's question of moral leadership. Somebody did an analysis of Donald Trump's major speeches and pointed out that almost uniquely as an American president and as an American presidential candidate, the words that rarely appear in Donald Trump's vocabulary when on the campaign trail in his inaugural and forth, are words like democracy, liberty, justice.
You know, the things that often as seen as the American president setting a certain moral tone, setting a certain aspirational idealism. So this is part of it. This is a kind of statement of moral leadership. And nobody is saying, you know, you're anti-Semite. The question is, can you -- can you raise the dialogue, condemn evil and celebrate virtue.
[22:35:10] LEMON: And stop taking it as personal attack. And when you're the president of the United States it's about the American people, not about you.
ZAKARIA: Yes. And there is that very disturbing thing he does with the media, I thought this was going to be a good question. You know, good questions are questions that the public needs information on, the public needs to know your opinion on.
LEMON: And that gentleman that reporter wanted...
ZAKARIA: Good questions are not softball questions.
ZAKARIA: That's not how you should define a good question.
LEMON: Fareed, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect said the president's effort were too little and too late.
Here's the statement from its executive director writes in part. "The president's sudden acknowledgment is a Band-Aid on the cancer of anti- Semitism that has infected his own administration. The statement today is a pathetic asterisk of condescension after weeks in which he and his staff have committed grotesque acts and omissions reflecting anti- Semitism, yet say after say refused to apologize and correct the record."
With the president's comments today do you think that they were just a Ban-Aid? I think people were really grateful and they were happy and he finally said it. Do you think it should be -- I don't know it it's reduced as a bad term to say, but it should be put in that context that it was a Band-Aid?
ZAKARIA: That's I don't -- I don't know exactly what that statement is referring to. And I think as a fairly -- if you're going to make charges that serious about the president and the administration, you need to provide clear evidence.
I haven't seen evidence of any anti-Semitism coming out of the Trump white house. I think there's that one issue of the Holocaust Remembrance Day statement that took out the reference to Jews And that was unfortunate. But I think that that seems wildly overdrawn honestly, but again, if there is a charge issue be specific, don't have this kind of general characterization.
LEMON: General or maybe to some hyperbolic statement.
LEMON: So, I want to get your response on the new immigration policy. The administration is expanding the number of individuals who can be deported or detained. What do you think?
ZAKARIA: Look, I think that this is what Donald Trump had promised on the campaign trail. And I think that if they're going to do it, they will recognize that the United States is made of -- is a country of immigrants. That these people are rooted in the fabric of the society.
That in many cases these are people who many employers, many communities have tacitly integrated. You know, in other words, we are as culpable as they are in terms of wanting their labor, wanting their involvement.
I think will be more wrenching more disruptive than people realize. You know, I think that the best solution to the immigration problem is to try to figure out how do we make -- how do we make this work going forward so that we don't have a situation where people are pouring across the border illegally.
But to be rounding up people and deporting them for often minor offenses, there's something about it that feels very wrong about. You know, it feels different from the America that we've known. If you think about it for, you know, decades and decades, we haven't done this.
LEMON: Yes. ZAKARIA: There have been debates about immigration but you have -- I mean, I mean, if you're talking about actually deporting over a million, two million people, which is what he talked about during the campaign.
ZAKARIA: That's a very different America.
LEMON: I think we really need a transparent study and maybe even a bipartisan study on actually if the wall will do anything. Because I hear so many people saying, you know, there's already a fence there and that this is $20 billion that could be used elsewhere, there are other solutions.
ZAKARIA: I think the evidence is pretty clear the wall won't do anything. For one thing, Don. Literally like generals say, we're fighting the last war.
ZAKARIA: I can't say this statistic enough because it's important to understand. Net migration from Mexico today is below zero. Meaning there are more people in America or Mexicans going back to Mexico than Mexicans coming.
So, we're fighting a problem that doesn't exist anymore.
ZAKARIA: Secondly, as you said, we already have a wall. A President named Barack Obama built it. It was built over the last 10 years; about I think 700 miles of wall. The parts that don't have wall are either water or very rugged terrain, it's not clear that is really the key impediment. The key impediment is good border patrolling.
ZAKARIA: So, this will be a very expensive. You know, we used to talk about, republicans talked about the bridge to nowhere, this is the wall to nowhere.
LEMON: The wall to nowhere. And remember, you can always tunnel under.
ZAKARIA: Well, as Donald Trump once pointed out, he said nothing will ever stop anybody from getting over the kind of wall I'm talking about, which is a 30 foot wall, and then he pauses and said, except maybe a 31 foot ladder.
LEMON: And then a tunnel.
ZAKARIA: He answered his own question.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Fareed Zakaria. I appreciate that. Don't miss Fareed Zakaria GPS Sunday 10 a.m. and then 1 p.m. Eastern.
You heard President Trump condemn anti-Semitism today, but when we come back, why are threats and attacks on the rise?
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LEMON: America has seen a shocking rise in anti-Semitic threats and crimes. But what's behind it?
Let's discuss now. Alan Dershowitz is here, he's the author of "Electile Dysfunction, a Guide for Unaroused Voters," Frederick Lawrence, a former president of Brandeis University, and David Benkof, columnist for the Daily Caller.
It's so good to have all of you here. And each has such great perspectives on this. It's good to have you here. Good evening.
Alan, you first, In January a Jewish community center received this call from a caller with a disguised voice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And in a short time a large number of Jews are going to be slaughtered. Their heads are going to be blown off from the shrapnel. There's a lot of shrapnel, there's going to be a bloodbath that's going to take place in a short time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, the threat, Alan, turned out to be a hoax. In fact, so far all threats are hoaxes. Seventy reported bomb threats affecting 54 Jewish community centers in 27 states this year, this year alone, but they cause real chaos and fear. And then a Jewish cemetery was desecrated in St. Louis this weekend. Are you worried that the hoaxes could escalate into real violent incidents?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, "ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION" AUTHOR: Well, no question. That happened in Europe. We saw it happened in France, in a number of places in France. It happened in other parts of Europe. Yes, they certainly can escalate.
Look, there are two types of threats that are coalescing at the same time, threats from the alt-right that manifest themselves by these calls and maybe even some violence but equally important are threats from the hard left, that particularly on college campuses.
[22:45:05] Jewish students today, pro-Israel students don't feel comfortable on many campuses. I just a saw a film today called "Hate Spaces" that showed what's going on so many college campuses today.
So we have to be nonpartisan about this. And it's easy for republicans to say the democrats tolerate anti-Semitism, it's easy for the democrats to say Donald Trump tolerates anti-Semitism. We have to get together in a bipartisan way...
(CROSSTALK) LEMON: Right. OK.
DERSHOWITZ: ... and condemn anti-Semitism from the right and the left equally.
LEMON: OK. Fred, why are hate crimes so unsettling to this community and why is this community being targeted now?
FREDERICK LAWRENCE, FORMER PRESIDENT OF BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY: Well, this community is being targeted, Don, for a number of reasons but a lot of it has to do with people who are scared, people who feel powerless and so they act out in a way against someone they think of as in other.
And that really calls for a strong leadership condemning that in the strongest terms. But makes hate crimes are different from other kinds of crimes is that it not only affects the individual victims but it affects the whole target community. That explains why people who live across town or even across the country don't just feel sorry for the victims, they feel as if they themselves are victims.
We see in racial incidents, in anti-Semitic incidents and homophobic instances. And it also affects the whole community. That's why we feel this tear in the fabric of America, the genius of America has been the sense of out of many are one. So that get torn apart by hate crimes which is what makes this particularly pernicious.
LEMON: David, to you now, President Trump spoke today at the National Museum of American History, and clearly condemned anti-Semitism, the president has gotten a lot of criticism for not speaking out sooner. Do you think his statements help with this issue does it put to rest by any measure?
DAVID BENKOF, THE DAILY CALLER COLUMNIST: Yes, I think it's perfectly adequate but I wish he didn't feel he had to. Because I think it's unreasonable to demand that he condemn something when there's no evidence that he was in favor of it.
I want to tell you. I'm from St. Louis. I'm a Jewish St. Louis and two of my grandparents -- and two of my great grandparents are buried in the cemetery that was vandalized. This is threatening. This is scary but to put the blame at someone who there's no evidence that he is blameless, I think is a serious problem.
LEMON: What do you say to that, Alan?
SERSHOWITZ: I don't think -- well, I think that he has a special responsibility for two reasons. One he's the president. Second of all, he has somebody who is his chief of staff who has in fact said that he came from an organization that was spokesperson for the alt-right.
We know a lot of people from the alt-right praised the election of Donald Trump. Therefore he has obligation to get up there and say I don't want your support. If you're an anti-Semite, I don't want you supporting me. So I'm critical of what he said but not as critical as this tiny
little fringe organization that's getting so much publicity now, the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect that nobody ever heard of until today, and that is not representative of the Jewish community.
And he went way, way overboard. This is not the most anti-Semitic administration in modern history. President Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt's administration was far more anti-Semitic. He purposely put anti-Semites in the State Department to keep Jews out.
So, let's keep this in perspective. And let's not give 15 minutes of fame to an organization nobody ever heard of because he's willing to go over the top and condemn Donald Trump for doing something that was good thing to do.
LEMON: Our conversation continues on the other side of the break.
[22:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: All right. Back now with my panel. Panel, we have limited time so if we can be quick here.
Fred, the question is, is Steve Bannon behind the president what people think is a tone deaf message or messaging on Jewish issues. Is he putting forward anti-Semitic messages do you think?
LAWRENCE: I don't know that they are anti-Semitic messages per se, but I think it gives a kind of comfort to that. And that's why what the president did today I think was a good start. But it's very important to make clear that that has no place in this administration and that anti-Semitism should get a full-throated kind of rejection.
LEMON: And what do you think about that, David?
BENKOF: Look, I'm a conservative republican who voted for Hillary, I'm not a supporter of this president. I don't he's good for America. But if we're going to complain about him, let's complain about things that are real.
You can't produce any specific evidence of anti-Semitism. Alan was right. This fake Holocaust organization that said he had done grotesque acts of anti-Semitism, isn't less any because there aren't any.
DERSHOWITZ: I think that's right. But I think he can do more. First of all I think the Justice Department should establish a task force to vigorously investigate all these phone calls that are coming in to see if any of them will turn real.
But second, look, I think the democrats are going to create a problem for themselves tomorrow or this week if they pick Keith Ellison to head the Democratic National Committee, a man who had close associations with Farrakhan and then he didn't even recognize that he was anti-Semitic. Now to his credit, Ellison tweeted something today that supported
Trump saying what he did but it is still little too late. I think the democrats have to be very careful about not encouraging kind of bigotry from their hard left just as republicans have to be careful not to encourage it from their hard right.
LEMON: Here's what Keith Ellison -- he is running to lead, as Alan said the Democratic Party. He tweeted today, he said, "Why does taken Donald Trump so long to even say the word anti-Semitism, perhaps it has something to do with placating his base."
DERSHOWITZ: But you know, that's easy to say. How about him placating his base? His base are hard left people on college campuses. I want to hear Ellison condemn anti-Semitism on college campuses then I want to hear republicans...
LEMON: But hasn't he apologized for his remarks that are -- that are at question now?
DERSHOWITZ: Yes, but that's easy, too. What he has to do is he has to condemn his base, he has to go after people on the left. That's what takes courage and that's what I see lacking on both sides. Courage.
LEMON: Go ahead.
BENKOF: Don, when Donald Trump answers questions, Heme Anders (Ph), he talks about this or that and all the complaints about he refuses to condemn, or he's asked a question and he talks about everything, this is not a focused president. And to use that as evidence that he's got some kind of agenda is just not fair.
LEMON: There has been...
[22:54:55] LAWRENCE: Look, I think the point -- Don, I think the point here is not whether he is or isn't anti-Semite or he's done anything anti-Semitic is that it should be an easy thing to criticize, it should be an easy thing to condemn. Racism should be an easy thing to condemn. And that's what being looked for.
LEMON: Hey, I've got a quick minute here, Alan, I specifically wanted to get your response to this, too, Milo Yiannopoulos, and what has happened to him over the last couple of days. Because he was a darling of conservatives until yesterday and today.
DERSHOWITZ: Well, you know, he supported free speech and he was the darling of conservatives because he's being banned on college campuses, and then the conservatives actually listened to what he had to say and it was pretty outrageous.
I don't think he should can been cancelled. I don't think you cancel speakers, but I certainly wouldn't invite him base on his speech to come and speak. Anywhere where I was he has outrageous views, and if he wants to have a soft facts or a blog, fine. But no university has an obligation to invite him. But nobody should cancel, that sounds too much like censorship.
LEMON: And it also sounds like the conservatives who were supporting him didn't necessarily do their homework. It's all out there on the internet what he said.
DERSHOWITZ: That's right. That's right.
LEMON: All they need to do is look for it.
All right. Thank you, Alan. Thank you, Fred. Thank you, David. Fascinating conversation. We'll have you all back. I'll see you next time.
When we come right back, congressional republicans are getting an earful from angry constituents at town halls across the country where President Trump says it's all the fault of activists.
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