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Trump Vacillates On Sending Terror Suspect To Gitmo; House Intel Committee Releases Russian-Linked Facebook Ads. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired November 2, 2017 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:00:00] JOE DARGER, MEMBER FOR PLURAL FAMILY: And I don't think that holds the muster on the way things are today.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Valerie, why is it better to allow this? Must be one of the 24 kids that you have wanting to get you, Joe. I am sure that thing is always ringing off the hook. So Valerie, I want to get you in here, though. What do you want people to know about how you live, because they are going to come at it judgmentally, especially in this situation, because we hear very little good stories that come out of plural families? What do you want people to know?
VALERIE DARGER, MEMBER FOR PLURAL FAMILY: Right. I think the hard part is they are criminalizing adult consensual behavior. So for us, because we choose to be together and we choose to raise our family together and we view it as a very beautiful thing, our kids get to grow up and have brothers and sisters and have four parents, right, and we as parents get to have a whole unit to draw from, and then we raise the kids together. And I think that's the thing that people miss. They get hung up on the sexual part of it, or that there's some abuse or oppression, which is simply not the case for us and many families that we know.
CUOMO: As you know, when people see you the questions start popping. My phone is hot, I can barely hold it because I am sure my Twitter feed is blowing up with how this works and why it is that you each want this. They will find out in our story. You are not the main focus because this is what is going on in FLDS, but it was important for you to show another side. Thank you for doing it on NEW DAY this morning. I hope you are well.
JOE DARGER: Thank you.
VALERIE DARGER: Thank you for having us.
CUOMO: All right, so you have to watch tomorrow night. It is "Secret Lives, Secret Places," tomorrow 9:00 p.m. eastern on HLN. You are going to see a place that you can't believe it exists, and you will see how the Dargers live and why they say they are different.
We have big headlines this morning. Let's get after it. Good morning to you. Welcome to your NEW DAY if you are just joining us. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow joining me. Always a pleasure to have you and I need you this morning. Up first, President Trump declaring the New York terrorist suspect
should be executed. This morning the president seems like he's been watching the show because the idea of wanting to send somebody to Guantanamo which he said yesterday doesn't really bear out in the reality of prosecutions, and now he's saying that it is unrealistic, and that the terrorist should stay in New York to face justice. But the president he did call America's judicial system a joke and a laughingstock. So which is it, why does he want it if he thinks it's so bad?
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: You'll know by the end of this hour. Stay with us.
We are also learning pretty stunning new details about the horrific attack in this city. The prosecutors say the suspect was inspired by ISIS. The plot was in the works for a year, also that he planned to continue this murderous rampage all the way down over the Brooklyn Bridge and beyond. We have it covered this morning. Let's go to the White House first. That's where we find our Joe Johns. Joe, this is a stunning about-face from a president who doesn't do that very much. Yesterday it was Gitmo, today it's nope, stay here in the criminal courts, federal courts here in New York.
JOE JOHNS, CNN ANCHOR: It is, Poppy, and it's really fascinating. We have seen this before from President Trump, how he is sort of letting the public read his mind as he tries to make up his mind about the issues. And picking up on yesterday's themes about the death penalty for the suspect in New York and sending him to Guantanamo Bay, let's just read the tweets.
The first one that came out just a few minutes ago, "Would love to send the New York City terrorist to Guantanamo, but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the federal system." And then the second tweet, "There is also something appropriate of keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast, death penalty," the president writes. So this all follows on quite a day yesterday when the president really talked about all the issues surrounding what happened in New York, the terrorist attack, and even called out the Democrats into a debate over immigration.
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Diversity lottery, sounds nice. It's not nice.
JOHNS: Overnight President Trump tweeting that the suspect in New York City's terror attack should get the death penalty. The president also saying he would consider the suspect, labeled an enemy combatant by the White House to the controversial prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
TRUMP: Send him to Gitmo. I would certainly consider that, yes.
JOHNS: Mr. Trump continuing to politicize Tuesday's tragedy to advance his immigration policies.
TRUMP: We want to immediately work with Congress on the diversity lottery program, on terminating it, getting rid of it.
JOHNS: The president calling for an end to the diversity visa lottery program, a program that allowed the New York City terror suspect to gain entry into the U.S. in 2010, and demanding Congress get tougher on vetting for immigrants coming to the U.S., shifting the country away from a family-based system toward a merit-based one.
[08:05:12] TRUMP: We have to get much less politically correct. We are so politically correct we are afraid to do anything.
JOHNS: The president blaming New York's Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer for implementing the program and endangering the country. Schumer helped craft the bill that was signed into law by president George H.W. Bush in 1990, but in 2013 Schumer was also part of a bipartisan group known as the gang of eight that pushed to end the diversity program.
CHARLES SCHUMER, (D-NY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The president ought to stop tweeting and start leading. It's less than a day than after it occurred and he can't refrain from his nasty divisive habits. He ought to lead.
JOHNS: President Trump venting his frustration at U.S. courts insisting they are too slow and too lenient.
TRUMP: We also have to come up with a punishment that's far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now, because what we have right now is a joke, and it's a laughingstock.
JOHNS: Press Secretary Sarah Sanders mischaracterizing the president's remarks when asked by a reporter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said the system of justice --
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He said the process. He said the process has people calling us a joke and calling us a laughingstock.
JOHNS: The president's comments and tweets after the New York attacks starkly different from his response to the mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and injuring hundreds more. The president then dismissing the idea of discussing gun control as inappropriate.
TRUMP: We will not talk about that right now.
JOHNS: It took 24 hours for the president to reach out to New York's leaders after the attack, but the governor making clear the president's tweets are a distraction.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: The president's tweets, I think, were not helpful. I don't think they were factual. I think they tended to point fingers and politicize the situation.
(END VIDEOTAPE) JOHNS: Today is expected to be another big day here at the White House. The top item on the agenda is the rolling out of the president's Federal Reserve chairman. Chris and Poppy, back to you.
CUOMO: All right, Joe, thank you very much.
Let's bring in CNN political analyst David Gregory and Karoun Demirjian, and CNN law enforcement analyst James Gagliano. But first, let us celebrate. Raise your mug and clink it. It finally happened.
HARLOW: What's in your mug?
CUOMO: You don't want to know. You can't have it. You have a baby.
CUOMO: So here's something that we have not seen happen but we've been hoping would happen. We know the president often watches this show, and we are grateful for his attention. We have been pounding on the facts about the idea that it sounds good to want to punish this animal, this savage who did what happened in New York City. Everybody feels like that if your heart is pumping. But the idea of sending him to Gitmo only fed a misperception of vengeance. That's what it was about. It doesn't make sense practicality. All the stats that we'll show you prove that.
The president said it, though, because he was playing to feelings. But hopefully after watching this morning and realizing he said something else. Put up his most recent tweet, please. All right, "Would love to send the NYC terrorist to Guantanamo but statistically that process takes much longer than going through the federal system. There's also something appropriate about keeping him in the home of the horrible crime he committed. Should move fast. Death penalty." All right, so good for the president, but this is a big change. Listen to what he said yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you want the assailant from New York sent to Gitmo.
TRUMP: I would certainly consider that, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you considering that now, sir?
TRUMP: I would certainly consider that, send him to Gitmo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Saying it then, it feels good. The feelings of anger and outrage, and often that's what we see in a leader harnessing that.
HARLOW: But he changed overnight.
CUOMO: He changed because the facts defy the intentionality. If you want to punish this guys, don't send him to Gitmo. But then he said something else about the death penalty. Now, let's talk about that. James, you've been around a lot of these cases. There is little question that this particular perpetrator checks at least two of the boxes of the 1994 federal death penalty law, but saying it that way really made prosecutors upset. Why?
JAMES GAGLIANO, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: You never want an investigation and a subsequent prosecution to be tainted with things that are prejudicial. And when a president weighs in, and a lot of people were critical when President Obama weighed in on the Skip Gates, the Harvard, the Cambridge professor they arrested there, and they said, hey, a president, when you weigh in on that, it's difficult then to get a jury that hasn't heard that when you're trying to get a fair and impartial jury.
[08:10:00] You always tell me to put on my professor hat, Chris. When you look at the term "enemy combatant," and how we treat that. Attacks on the United States by foreign actors going back to the Revolutionary War, of course, we go to 1812, the British burn the White House in 1814. We go to the war between Mexico and the United States in 1846, and then you go basically to 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor. There's a definite distinction between a state actor that attacks us and a person.
And again, the global war on terror, there's this nebulous view on how we treat these folks. Are they enemy combatants? You can argue that. But they don't hew to a state. They hew to an ideology.
HARLOW: So Karoun, the president did reverse course and follow facts, which is great to see something based on fact. That's important. However, he still potentially tainted the jury pool and he still discredited the justice system in this country and due process. That doesn't go away, and that's significant.
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": It's also not the first time that we have seen this president has a fairly small level of patience when it comes to the judicial system. It has been a thorn in his side in many ways. We have seen that with the various immigration orders that he's tried to get across that courts have held him up. We've seen that in the various tweets such as this morning's tweet storm. The Gitmo thing plays into that, too. He doesn't like the slower pace of the judicial system.
The fact that we have that slower paced judicial system is kind of what sets America apart from a lot of other countries where presidents have a lot more power to have their will stated and then executed by judges. We have separations of powers for a reason, and that has become a frustration to the president.
But as we've seen before and we're seeing again, he makes his opinion known, and he is, you know, not inclined necessarily to see that distinction between the branches of government and say, oh, I shouldn't really weigh in on this, because when he has strong feelings about something, he just says it. And especially when it has to do with a policy of his or a moment of crisis in the country, he's not one if he has got a strong opinion about it to keep his counsel. CUOMO: So what does that tell us, David, about Las Vegas? We still
don't know what the motive was there. There were some really big issues to be discussed. James and I were standing next to each other out there in Las Vegas, and the bump stock was staring us all in the face as something that's absurd to allow, and they said not now, not now, respect the victims. Here we have a terror attack, the president doesn't come out of the box and address the victims. He addresses the politics of the visa policy and blames it on Democrats. What's the play?
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's sad to look at the distinction. When we have the actors that commit mass shootings who are Americans, we seem to have limits on what we are really willing to do as a country and what our political system is willing to do to try to get to answers and try to really prevent them from happening again.
Here there's such a focus, and that has been true since 9/11, on taking extreme action on the part of the government from war to immigration controls to torture to try and crack down on terrorists even though their impact is comparatively smaller outside of 9/11.
I think the real focus now for the administration, for Congress, is to look at the phenomenon here. Someone who comes here legally, who gets radicalized when in the United States, that is still incredibly rare because America is a great country and people love to live here, and life is good. It's hard to become a fanatic here, and that's because of who we are as a country and that's something we have to bear in mind.
They're trying to do a better job monitoring someone who can be acting alone, motivated not by a state but by an ideology, that's where the focus ought to be. And unfortunately the president really just kind of thinks out loud. And when you are president, you should be much more reasoned.
And I, for one, both as a journalist and a citizen, am offended to have to listen to the White House spokespersons come out and be untruthful about what the president has just said and waste all of our time because they are in a tough position where they have to explain the fact that the president said something that was outlandish.
HARLOW: Let's remind our viewers of the stark difference between the way the president responded to questions about the gun control and what could be done in the wake of the Las Vegas attack to how he responded and jumped into the political fight just hour after the attack in New York City. First Las Vegas, look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We'll be looking into that. I am going to ask Congress to immediately initiate work to get rid of this program. Diversity lottery, -- diversity lottery, sounds nice. It's not nice, it's not good.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: The White House insisted, James, time and time again now is not the time to have the situation about gun control, why don't you, the media, respect the victims? Isn't finding solutions the ultimate respect for victims? They wouldn't debate it because it wasn't politically expedient. This is politically expedient. They're all over it.
GAGLIANO: I think for even ardent supporters of the president, it is hard not to see the stark contrast. Chris and I in Vegas had conversations about this. That Vegas shooting, which happened on October 1st, and we just had the terror attack in New York on October 31st, one month apart.
It took 58 lives, 500 casualties, and I have maintained, again, Chris, Professor (inaudible). I've maintained it. With that bump fire stock, that shooter out in Vegas was able to basically do an equal amount of damage to the most dangerous, the most casualty-causing conflict that we fought in Iraq, which was the battle of Fallujah November to December of 2004, 82 dead, 600 casualties, versus 58 dead in 10 minutes, 500 casualties.
It's unconscionable how you can look and draw such a stark contrast between the reactional way to that, which is let's sit back, let's wait, let's not rush to judgment to now in the wake of this terror attack on the Westside Highway where it's right away screaming death penalty. We all feel that way. Most people in law enforcement cued to the conservative side. We don't want our president getting ahead of the prosecution.
HARLOW: Just on that point, just one thought. He's going overseas to Asia, big important trip, one of the people he is going to meet there is Duterte, right, the strong man, who has taken justice into his own hands. So, he's done everything that is the antithesis of due process like we have in the United States. What will he read from the president discrediting our system?
CUOMO: We will see. Actually, we will see it play out in real time. Poppy, thank you. Professor, appreciate it. David, Baron, thank you.
Congress releasing some of the social media ads bought by a Russian troll farm and often paid for in rubles. How many Americans saw these images meant to divide our country? How aware were these big social media platforms of what they were allowing on their sites? The ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee takes it on and what to do what about it next.
CUOMO: President Trump acknowledging facts this morning that sending a terror suspect to Guantanamo may sound tough, but it's unrealistic and probably ineffective. Now he tweeted that he amends his position, he thinks the New York City terror suspect should stay in New York and face justice. This comes after a late-night tweet in which he did call the New York City terror suspect, called for his execution, and also said that our justice system is a joke.
Let's discuss with Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intel Committee. Let's start with that idea. The president is just wrong about Guantanamo Bay being a better way to get quick prosecutions of terror suspects than the federal judiciary system, every metric proves that. Are you surprised that he actually changed a position to face facts?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, I am not surprised that his initial outburst proved to be wrong-headed and ill considered. It's sometimes surprising to see him recognize that, although, I am sure he would tell you that's not why he changed his view on it.
CUOMO: Let's take the words on their face. Do you think he deserves a little bit of love? You know, sometimes you support somebody doing the right thing, you get more of that same type of behavior.
SCHIFF: Well, I don't think he deserves much love for saying that the U.S. justice system is a joke and a laughing stock, and this is not the first time that he has taken pot shots at our justice system. Of course, when judges have ruled against him on the Muslim ban, he's called them only so-called judges.
He's trying to discredit the justice system. He has also tried to discredit the media and these assaults on our mainstream institutions are having an effect. They are eroding confidence and I think that's a tremendous disservice. So, no, I don't particularly think he deserves a lot of love for this.
CUOMO: Yes. That seems pretty clear. All right. So, let's go to what he's saying about your investigation, which he still sees as largely a hoax. He also said to the "New York Times" I'm not under investigation, as you know, this has nothing to do with me. Is that true?
SCHIFF: I can't comment on who is under investigation. I will leave that to Bob Mueller to disclose or not disclose.
CUOMO: Why not? Why can't you talk about it?
SCHIFF: Well, I am not permitted to talk about it. All I can tell you, Chris, is that the people that were indicted, Manafort and Gates, obviously played deep roles within the Trump campaign. George Papadopoulos, I think the allegations that he pled guilty demonstrate that for all the president's talk that there's no evidence of any collusion, there's no interest, suggestion of a conclusion, just don't stand up in the face of this guilty plea.
CUOMO: Is he under investigation by your committee?
SCHIFF: Mr. Papadopoulos was one of the witnesses on our list. We had intended to bring him in. We still intend to bring him in. It's my hope that the cooperation agreement that he's reached with the government will require not only his cooperation with Mueller's team but with congressional investigators as well. I think there's a lot that he could tell us.
CUOMO: I'm asking about the president, is he under investigation by your committee?
SCHIFF: Well, our committee is not investigating people in a sense of bringing about a prosecution, that's not our role. But we are looking at the whole range of actors in terms of what kind of relationship did they have with the Russians, was there any coordination of their efforts with the Russians?
So, we are not excluding anybody from that. We are determined, at least on our side of the aisle we certainly are to follow the facts where they lead. We hope Republicans are as well. Mueller has a very different responsibility obviously.
And there's a specific connotation to being a suspect in a criminal investigation as opposed to a witness or person of interests, and I will have to leave it to Mr. Mueller to answer those kind of questions.
CUOMO: All right. The ads that were all over social media, we now know that the exposure was certainly in excess of 100 million Americans. We are looking at some of them right now. A couple points, one is, do you believe they are being forthcoming, the operators of these sites in terms of how many ads they are sharing and their desire to do something about it?
SCHIFF: I think they are certainly providing us with the evidence that they have obtained and what they have discovered on their platforms. I think many of us feel because initially they didn't think there was any Russian advertising, and then there was some and then there was more.
[08:25:01] I think many of us feel that there's probably more yet to come. The advertising, of course, is only one small subset. The far bigger impact was what's called the organic material, the fake pages that got people to like them, and then encouraged people to protest or rally.
CUOMO: What can they do about it? This is one of those things that looks good on its face, yes, shut it down, none of this fake stuff? How do you define what's fake? How do you define what's real? How do you see it as a balance with the First Amendment? These sites are all about giving people opportunity. Now you are asking them to sensor? I get that people like the feel of it, but this is a tricky thing to do, is it not?
SCHIFF: Well, it is tricky, and there's some very difficult questions here, but there are also some pretty simple questions. One of the simple questions is, should we require that political ads carry a disclaimer the way they do when they are on your show or in print media, and I think the answer is yes.
I think we are going to require that. There's a case where there's an easy bright line in terms of ferreting out foreign government content particularly that which is aimed at our elections.
Now while that's an easy legal line to draw, the tech companies can use our help in terms of the intelligence community when we identify Russian troll farms, if we can provide that information to these companies, it will facilitate their taking down this propaganda.
There are more difficult questions that come up when you are talking about ordinary citizens, ordinary Russians or ordinary people of other countries, who ought to be able to participate on social media.
How do you draw the lines then when those foreign parties that are trying to influence our election outcomes in violation of our system? That's a more difficult thing to police and I'll mentioned one other issue, Chris, and that is far from just this being a Russia issue, what about the effect of these algorithms on our society?
Algorithms that get us to focus on the platform, but may do so because they have content that goes viral easily, which makes us angry or fearful or divides American from American, what is the societal obligation of this platforms?
CUOMO: I hear it, but it is sticky in the confines of the law. We look forward to seeing a path ahead on this. Congressman, thank you for being with us, as always.
SCHIFF: Thank you.
HARLOW: All right. So, why is the president taking on the U.S. judicial system in response to the New York City terror attack? By all accounts, it's working exactly as it should. Republican Congressman Peter King with his perspective ahead.