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NEW DAY SATURDAY
Trump on Abortion: Laws are Set, For Now; Clinton, Sanders in Campaign in Wisconsin; Obama: Trump "Doesn't Know Much" About the World; Trump Campaign Clarifies Abortion Stance; Sanders Campaign Seeks Apology from Clinton; NYT: N.C. Could Lose Billions in Federal Aid. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired April 2, 2016 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[07:01:11] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to Saturday at 7:00. I know it's kind of early for a weekend. We're so grateful to have you here, though. I'm Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Good to be with you.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his stance on abortion possibly. He now says abortion law should remain unchanged. Now, that comes after his comments earlier this week that women who get abortions should be punished.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN DICKERSON, CBS: You told Bloomberg in January that you believe abortion should be banned at some point in pregnancy. Where would you --
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First of all, I would like to have seen, you know, would this be a state's rights. I would have -- I would have prepared it's state's rights. I think it would have been better if it were to the states. But right now, the laws are set, and that's the way the laws are.
DICKERSON: But do you have a feeling how they should change? There are a lot of laws you want to change. You talked about from everything from libel to torture. Anything you'd want to change on abortion?
TRUMP: At this point, the laws are set and I think we have to leave it that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Well, now, the Trump campaign has issued this statement. Quote, "Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now until he is president. Then, he'll change the law through his judicial appointments and allow the states to protect the unborn. There's nothing or different here," unquote.
BLACKWELL: Let's bring back Ben Ferguson, CNN political commentator, and Ted Cruz supporter, and welcome, Scottie Nell Hughes, national political commentator for USA Radio Networks and a Trump supporter as well.
Good to have both of you with us this morning.
BEN FERGUSON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning.
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES, USA RADIO NETWORKS: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So, Scottie, I want to start with you. I want to start with you the way I started in the last hour, can you concisely clearly give me just what Donald Trump has not been able to give the public, a concise sentence on Donald Trump's views on abortion laws?
HUGHES: Donald Trump is 100 percent pro-life and he will appoint judges as president of the United States that support his pro-life views. Simple.
BLACKWELL: Why can't Donald Trump say that?
HUGHES: You know what? Ask Mr. Trump. He's obviously available to the media. You can ask him that.
But when it comes down that that, that's exactly what his views are. I think it goes to the fact that a lot of times when he's asked these questions, as we saw with the Chris Matthews interview, there are several different elements that are introduced into it. So, a simple question gets a simple answer. A hypothetical question gets a very complex hypothetical answer.
BLACKWELL: But the hypothetical answer, he gave the answer earlier in the week that women should be punished, he wouldn't say how. But he came back with a reversal of that hypothetical, and now, four days later, there's a fourth answer as it relates to laws. Not abortion but abortion laws.
HUGHES: It does. And like I said, each time each question has been asked in a different way, been phrased a different way. But ultimately when it comes down it, it just comes to his base that he is 100 percent pro-life and that's the most important question.
BLACKWELL: Ben, to you.
FERGUSON: Yes, I actually -- I actually feel sorry for Scottie and other Trump supporters who are trying to figure out what their candidates saying here. It's got to be a terrible day when you had to go on TV and defend someone who changes their opinion four times in a couple of days.
HUGHES: He didn't change his opinion. He's always said he's pro- life, Ben.
FERGUSON: He did -- first of all, he's not always been pro-life. (CROSSTALK)
BLACKWELL: Let him finish, I'll come to you in a second. Come on. Go ahead, Ben.
FERGUSON: You cannot say Donald Trump has always become pro-life. He's recently become pro-life. In 1999, he was defending abortion, including partial birth abortion. You now have a candidate that does not understand the pro-life idea. He doesn't understand -- he's faking it.
I mean, when you sit there and you say yesterday, well, the law is the law, so it's not going to be changed. That's not what Republican conservative voters that are pro-life want to hear. They want to hear that a president understands the issue first of all. But it isn't going to change his opinion four times on abortion.
Abortion is an issue in a Republican primary as simple as what is your name or your date of birth, and you should know it and you should know why you believe it because it's a moral issue.
[07:05:03] This is the reason why Donald Trump is having problems connecting with many evangelical Christian conservatives. He does not know who he stands for on abortion. He doesn't even know his own opinion.
And to prove my point, his own son was contradicting himself on TV while the Trump campaign was sending a press release changing Donald Trump's opinion. His own son doesn't know what he thinks on abortion, much less anyone else in his campaign, and this is a guy that says, I think I want to hear this, and so I'm going to say to punish women, there has never been a conservative presidential candidate that has ever advocated for punishing women for having an abortion. Donald Trump faked it.
BLACKWELL: All right. Scottie, let me --
FERGUSON: He thought that's what people wanted to hear and he got it wrong.
BLACKWELL: Scottie, let me come to you. After the 2012 primary, the Republican Party found that they would have to change some of their rhetoric as it relates to issues like abortion and birth control. Having this conversation now, does that fly in the face of that? Does that jeopardize down ballot races, not just Donald Trump's primary, his chances moving forward, but all the Republicans who are going to be running for House and Senate seats?
HUGHES: Well, listen, the GOP has always had some sort of issue with it. Remember, Mitt Romney put all that in a binder and because of that in 2012, he only received 44 percent of the vote.
And let me go back real quick something Ben just said. You know, this week was the first time I ever heard the pro-life movement and several organizations come out and say the woman who chose to have an abortion was a victim. I've never heard that mantra before, because I remember right, if you look at outside a Planned Parenthood at this protest, the protesters are saying, calling these women murderers when they walked in and out of Planned Parenthood. So, there is some sort of complexity right now.
BLACKWELL: Is that something you agree with?
HUGHES: That's not as simple as you're making it out to be. I've never heard this version that women who choose to have an abortion are victims. I've never heard that before --
BLACKWELL: Scottie, let me ask you. Is that something you agree with that Donald Trump told Chris Matthews that should be punished?
HUGHES: Well, you're -- he was talking about a hypothetical, if the law was reversed, which he has time and time again, as the law stands right now, women are not committing an illegal act when they have an abortion. Therefore, they're not breaking the law. Therefore, they're not punished. So, you know, like I said, this is a whole hypothetical situation that was being meant at that point.
BLACKWELL: All right. Ben?
FERGUSON: This drives me absolutely insane. Every question --
HUGHES: So you don't believe it's murder? Do you not believe abortion is murder?
BLACKWELL: Hold on, Scottie. Go ahead.
FERGUSON: The idea that somehow Donald Trump while running for president should not be asked hypothetical questions and therefore they're an unfair question to him, every question when you're running for president is a hypothetical because you're not the president. It's about what you would do in those situations.
The Trump campaign, you guys act like it's unfair that someone asked him a question and challenged him on a stance on abortion. When you're running for president, every situation, nuclear questions, tax questions, health care questions, Obamacare, defunding it or getting rid of it or rewriting the law, they're all hypothetical.
This question -- hold on real quick. If this question is real tough for Donald Trump to answer and you guys have to use the defense that Donald Trump was asked a hypothetical is unfair. He's not fit to be president and he's also not prepared to be president. The entire issue is --
BLACKWELL: I've got it.
Scottie, hold on a second. You put a question to Ben asking if he believes abortion is murder. John Dickerson put that question to Donald Trump. Listen to what Donald Trump said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DICKERSON: Do you think it's murder, abortion?
TRUMP: I have my opinions on it, but I'd rather not comment on it.
DICKERSON: You said you're very pro-life. Pro-life views that it's abortion -- abortion is murder.
TRUMP: I mean, I do have my opinions it. I'd rather -- I just don't think it's an appropriate forum.
DICKERSON: But you don't disagree with that proposition that it's murder?
TRUMP: What proposition?
DICKERSON: That abortion is murder.
TRUMP: No, I don't disagree with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Again, you put that question to Ben, why can't Donald Trump answer that question one way or the other with a yes or no?
HUGHES: That's for him to resolve. That is his question. You know, I don't always --
BLACKWELL: But you're here as Trump supporter. I mean, to be fair, Scottie --
HUGHES: I am a Trump supporter, but that doesn't mean --
BLACKWELL: -- every question I ask, you can't respond by saying, well, go ask Donald Trump. You came here as a Trump supporter.
HUGHES: But let me say this. Just because I'm a supporter of a candidate does not mean I have to 100 percent agree with everything he says. I am 100 percent pro-life --
BLACKWELL: I'm not asking you do you agree. I'm asking, why can't he answer one way or the other.
HUGHES: I agree. He needs to have a simpler -- a better, simpler -- a better answer for that. That's much more simple than going on and on around it. But I think --
FERGUSON: Scottie, you just asked question --
HUGHES: And you haven't answered it yet, Ben Ferguson.
BLACKWELL: Hold on. Hold on, Ben.
FERGUSON: It's a perfect example.
BLACKWELL: Ben, hold on, hold on. Let her finish. Let her finish.
You asked Ben that question and --
HUGHES: And I asked you that question and you went off on another tirade just like Mr. Trump did.
FERGUSON: No, I did not.
HUGHES: Yes, you did. You haven't answered it --
BLACKWELL: All right. We've got to wrap it now.
[07:10:00] FERGUSON: I believe that abortion is murder. The fact that Donald Trump cannot answer that question tell me he's not fit to be president. He does not understand this issue. It's a simple question.
BLACKWELL: Ben Ferguson, Scottie Nell Hughes, we've gone for eight minutes, more time than we've gotten for a lot of interviews in this show. But thank you so much. We'll continue the conversation throughout the morning.
HUGHES: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Also later this hour, President Obama, his criticism of Donald Trump's views of foreign policy and nuclear proliferation. So, we'll talk about that at the bottom of the hour.
PAUL: Next on NEW DAY, we're focusing on the Democrats, Bernie Sanders going after Hillary Clinton and demanding an apology from her.
Also, new this morning, President Obama makes the stunning admission about U.S. drones killing innocent civilians.
And a controversial new law in North Carolina involving gay and transgender rights could now cost the state billions of dollars in federal aid. This is according to a new report. We have a lawyer defending the law joining us in just a bit to make the case.
PAUL: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders taking their campaigns to Wisconsin today. Sanders likely to renew his demand for an apology from Hillary Clinton after she claimed the Sanders campaign was lying her donations from the oil and gas industry. Take a look here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST: If you protect -- with climate change, will you act on your word and reject fossil fuel money in the future in your campaign?
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do not, I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies. I am so sick, I am so sick of the Sanders' campaign lying about that. I'm sick of it!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: CNN correspondent Chris Frates is following the story from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in the snow in April.
PAUL: Chris, I know that's a bit of a distraction, hour, what are you hearing that voters are going to hear today from these two?
CHRIS FRATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christi. You're exactly right. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton crisscrossing the Cheese State ahead of the crucial primary on Tuesday.
[07:15:03] And both Sanders and Clinton are going to be in the same places today. They're coming to this winter wonderland of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in the northern part of the state earlier in the day, and then they're headed to Milwaukee for a Democratic dinner there. And Hillary Clinton trying to downplay expectations all week in Wisconsin arguing that in 2008 she lost Wisconsin to Barack Obama by double digits.
You know, that's no surprise because she's still taking the fight to Bernie Sanders, arguing that he lied about her record-taking campaign contributions from financial contributors. Bernie Sanders firing back yesterday saying that Hillary Clinton owes him an apology because the facts are on his side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: According to an analysis done by Greenpeace, Hillary Clinton's campaign and her super PAC have received more than $4.5 million from the fossil fuel industry.
In fact, 57 oil, gas, and coal industry lobbyists have directly contributed to her campaign with 43 of them contributing the maximum allowed for the primary. And these are not just workers in the fossil fuel industry. These are paid registered lobbyists. Secretary Clinton, you owe our campaign an apology. We were telling the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FRATES: Now, Hillary Clinton's campaign saying essentially there's no way that he's going to get that apology. They're arguing that he's grocery distorting the facts here, and they point out that he's gotten about 50,000 dollars worth of contributions from individuals on that same Greenpeace list, and they're not arguing that he's beholden to those donors. He shouldn't be arguing that she's somehow beholden to special interest.
But Wisconsin is going to be huge for Bernie Sanders, if he wants to try to continue to catch Hillary Clinton. Remember, he's down by about 240 delegates here. So, he needs all 86 delegates, as many of those delegates as he can get, and he needs 75 percent of the remaining delegates at stake to clinch that nomination, 75 percent. That's a really high number.
Hillary Clinton on the other hand, she's just 35 percent. So, even if she can't win here in Wisconsin, if she can hold him close in the polls here -- a poll out earlier this week showing she was just about four points down, that's good for her. So, she can pick up delegates going into the big home state contest in New York and just two weeks, Christi.
PAUL: Nick, good point. All right. Chris Frates, stay warm there, my friend. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
FRATES: I'll try.
PAUL: I want to bring in Errol Louis. He's a CNN political commentator, of course, and political anchor of Time Warner Cable News.
Errol, good to have you back. Thanks for sticking with us here.
So, watching this fight, according to the report from the Federal Election Committee, yes, PAC contributions and contributions from individuals giving more than $200, Hillary Clinton has received $307,000-plus. Bernie Sanders, $53,760 himself plus. Is the argument he making disingenuous because he has received money, it seems.
ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I wouldn't call it disingenuous. I would say it's incomplete, because let's say their worst fears are actually true. If green peace's fears are true which is that Hillary Clinton is taking fossil fuel industry money and then therefore foreign policy and advocating for laws and other regulations that are going to be adverse to the environment, you're got to sort of -- you got to close that loop. You've got to do what a journalist would do frankly and say, OK, she took the money on Monday, on Wednesday, she sent out an e-mail saying what she was going to do, and on Friday, she reversed her positions.
And I haven't heard Bernie Sanders or any of his surrogates really make that case, including Greenpeace. I mean, if she arrived a the same position as Senator Sanders, for example, on fracking and they both want to ban fracking, but if she took too long, they're saying because she has this fossil fuel money and has to consider their industry point of view a little bit more closely, that's a pretty abstract argument, you know?
I mean, if they think she's being swayed, if they think she's being corrupt in some sense, they really should give us the proof, you know? I mean, journalists will continue to dig. I've certainly been doing some looking. But if you can't prove it, you really can't make the accusation stick.
PAUL: OK. Let's move on to Wisconsin here because last hour, Clinton's former campaign manager said that Sanders is likely. It was kind of a concession, it's likely to win Wisconsin. Is there any indication that what happens in Wisconsin will affect in any way what happens in New York?
LOUIS: As a New Yorker, I can't tell you that. I can't even imagine how it would.
Now, the Sanders supporters are going to get -- let's say he wins, and let's say he wins convincingly in Wisconsin.
[07:20:01] They'll have a much needed shot in the arm. They'll have some momentum, they'll have a morale boost, they'll have a few more delegates and they'll be able to send out a bunch of e-mails, not just to raise money but to tell people, hey, we were at around 239 delegates behind Hillary Clinton and now we're closing the gap. He will be able to say all of those things if he can win on Tuesday. And I imagine his campaign very much wants to be able to say.
On the other hand, he's got some very hard math that was just alluded to that he's got to do very, very well in New York and every subsequent state at this point, and that's a pretty tough road he has to walk down.
PAUL: All right. Errol Louis, always appreciate your perspective. Thank you, sir.
LOUIS: Thanks, Christi.
PAUL: Of course.
And a programming note for you: just stay with CNN for full coverage of the Wisconsin presidential primaries for both Republicans and Democrats. All day coverage begins this Tuesday, right here on CNN.
BLACKWELL: Next on NEW DAY, President Obama says Donald Trump has no idea what he's talking about when it comes to foreign policy. We've got details on what Trump said that led up to those comments. Also, the president's views on what Trump said about nuclear issues across the world.
Plus, a controversial new law in North Carolina involving gay and transgender rights could now cost the state billions of dollars in federal aid. That's according to a new report. We'll talk to a lawyer who hopes to defend the law.
BLACKWELL: New this morning, sharp words from President Obama slamming Donald Trump's recent call for Japan and South Korea to potentially develop nuclear weapons.
[07:25:00] PAUL: Yes. The president, after speaking to world leaders at a nuclear security summit in Washington took aim at the Republican front-runner's foreign policy experience as well. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The person who made the statements doesn't know much about foreign policy or nuclear policy or the Korean Peninsula or the world generally. It came up on the sidelines. I've said before that, you know, people pay attention to American elections. What we do is really important to the rest of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: This, of course, all coming amid new tensions on the Korean peninsula. A North Korean envoy telling the U.N. yesterday that all the talk in Washington will not stop its development of a nuclear and missile program.
CNN foreign affairs editor Elise Labott joining us now.
So, we just heard the president there saying people talk about American politics even at the summit. What were they saying?
ELISE LABOTT, CNN FOREIGN AFFAIRS EDITOR: That's right, Christi.
Well, certainly, those comments right before the leaders were to meet with Donald Trump that Japan and South Korea should possibly have nuclear weapons to use against North Korea or perhaps that he might use nuclear weapons in Europe really startled a lot of leaders. And I think the fact that the president was at this nuclear summit and this is really one of his cornerstone issues, really rattled a lot of people and the fact that this is the gravest responsibilities that a U.S. president has, is to hold those nuclear codes and make the decision when to use nuclear weapons.
And I think what President Obama was trying to say is that a cavalier statement is how he thought it was, and that definitely was not something that leaders around the world are looking to hear from the president of the U.S. who's not just really making policy on behalf of U.S. national security but is really seen as the leader of the free world and leaders look to the United States for leadership on national security issues to keep the whole world safe.
PAUL: And ISIS, I know, was one of the -- one of the groups heavily discussed, particularly in regards to them possibly wanting to obtain nuclear weapons. What was accomplished at the suit that might address that?
LABOTT: Well, certainly the threat of nuclear terrorism was really looming over the summit, especially after the Brussels attacks. And if you remember, this ISIS cell that is believed to be responsible for the Brussels attacks, also the Paris attacks, one of the raids of the home of the suspected planner of the Paris attacks, they found surveillance video of a top Belgian nuclear scientist which led U.S. and Belgian investigators to believe that ISIS is trying to get some of the civilian nuclear material for its so-called dirty bomb.
And that's why there was a special session yesterday particularly to address how to keep nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists, because a dirty bomb in major city could cause economic, environmental, political, catastrophic damage for years to come, and so, one of the things that the leaders were talking about is how to safeguard nuclear civilian material that's in hospitals, commercial industrial plants, how to safeguard it in the plant, how to make sure that it's -- when it's transported, safeguard, and how to vet personnel to make sure that there are no extremists in there or that people are not radicalized and they could be able to use that material.
PAUL: Right. Exactly. All right. Elise Labott, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: Still ahead this morning, the fighting continues over a controversial North Carolina law regarding gay and transgender rights. According to a new report, the Obama is considering cutting federal funding to the state if there is some inconsistency there. Next, we'll talk with a lawyer who says he'll defend the state for free.
[07:30:54] PAUL: Mortgage rates are slightly down this week. Here's your look.
PAUL: In the next half hour, Donald Trump is attempting to clarify his remarks on abortion, some of which included the fact that he said federal laws should not be changed to ban abortion. The campaign announced this morning saying Trump who's only speaking about the law today and what he intends to do as president to change exiting laws through appointment. He's trying to expound on that.
Now, the Sanders campaign meanwhile wants an apology from Hillary Clinton for accusing that campaign about lying about her. You saw this. She angrily lashed out when a Greenpeace activist asked about taking donations from people on the oil, gas, and coal industries.
Now, although Greenpeace has not endorsed a candidate, Secretary Clinton replied that she was sick of lies from her opponents. The Sanders campaign says its statements about Clinton are truthful and factual and that she owes them an apology. No indication they will get one.
BLACKWELL: All right. There's a slight possibility that the state of North Carolina could lose billions of federal dollars in funding if they don't repeal a law that critics say limits the rights of transgendered people across the state.
Now, according to "The New York Times", the Obama administration is studying a state law that says the transgendered people have to use the public restroom that correspondents with the gender listed on their birth certificate. "The Times" found that the federal Departments of Transportation, Education, and Housing are reviewing whether that law makes the state ineligible for federal funding.
Now, the state law was passed in response to a Charlotte ordinance that allowed people to use the public restroom that as a sign to the gender with which they identify.
Attorney Mat Staver represented Kim Davis in the Kentucky fight over marriage certificates and he joins us this morning.
Mat, good to have you back.
MAT STAVER, FOUNDER, LIBERTY COUNCIL: Good to be with you, Victor.
BLACKWELL: I want to start here by listening to the attorney who's already on the job of defending North Carolina, and the laws there. The attorney general, Roy Cooper, here's what he said about the new law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROY COOPER, NORTH CAROLINA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Not only is this new law a national embarrassment, it will set North Carolina's economy back if we don't repeal it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: We should also say that Cooper is running for governor in North Carolina. He has said that if it's challenged, this law, he will not defend it in court. You have volunteered, your firm, to defend it for free. Why?
STAVER: Because it's a common sense law and it's constitutional. First of all, there's absolutely no chance that federal funds will be taken from this particular state for this law. We have to go back and look what the law actually did.
Let's start with the Charlotte ordinance. The Charlotte ordinance did not regulate employment. In fact, the Charlotte ordinance specifically says that employment is a statewide issue. What it did was open up the men's and women's bathrooms to people of the opposite sex so that men could use women's restrooms. Other than the limited --
BLACKWELL: Let me stop you here, Mat, and I don't make a habit of interrupting guests, but in the discussion of transgendered men and women, they are men and women. It's not as if this is --
STAVER: No, they're not. A man in this particular situation in the Charlotte ordinance, a man who's biologically a man could use the women's shower room and locker rooms. In fact, we've seen this happen in other places.
BLACKWELL: We're talking about the state law here --
STAVER: It's happened in Georgia.
BLACKWELL: -- in which the state legislature and the governor added the word biological to their discrimination laws here. Previously this was race, origin, there should be no discrimination, sex or handicap. They added the word "biological."
That's what this law -- STAVER: They added the word "biological" what's on your birth
certificate. But, you know, in North Carolina, you can change your birth certificate. There's a way to change your birth certificate from male to female or female to male. So, if you change your birth certificate, then, yes, you can use any restroom under the North Carolina law.
North Carolina allows for that change. So, frankly, nothing has changed differently than what was before or after April 1. The Charlotte law was going to allow in Charlotte men to use women's restrooms. Women to use men's rest rooms. It didn't regulated employment, so it's not something that deals with employment.
Employment is the same before and after the state law. And even under the state law, the state law still is compatible with another North Carolina law that frankly allows someone to use a different restroom if you change that on your birth certificate.
So, if you've gone through surgical procedures or if we had some mistake on your birth certificate, you can change that and you can use the other restroom if in fact that's what your birth certificate.
BLACKWELL: Why is that --
STAVER: But what we have now is back to common sense. And that is a man who's biologically a man, and that's what it says on their birth certificate, they can't go into a woman's locker where showers -
BLACKWELL: But tell me, why is that the state's business if a person goes through a procedure to change genitalia. Why is that the state's business?
STAVER: Well, you know, just within a week go, we had a 51-year-old cross-dressing male who went into a woman's restroom and exposed himself and now he's being charged in that situation. A few weeks ago, we had a 15-year-old boy go into a girl's locker room in Minnesota. They -- five girls were in a state of undress preparing for basketball, and that's the problem that we have.
BLACKWELL: Is that not regardless of one's gender? If a man walked into a restroom and exposed himself to another man, would that not still be a crime? It has nothing to do with one's gender.
STAVER: No, no. If a map goes into a woman's restroom, it makes women and girls certainly feel that their privacy has been invade and certainly it puts them at risk. You can have someone in their own mind thinking they're male but they want to be female, they go in there. But you can have someone else who's male and just wants to go in there.
You're not going to be able to go through the recesses of their mind to figure out what they're really thinking, but both of them you have to allow. Meaning that girls' shower facilities just like it happened in Minnesota with the 15-year-old girls, will be open to boys who just simply want to come in there and observe them in a state of undress. That is a common sense law that North Carolina passed. Frankly, it's
law that's in virtually every state. Indeed, if you go into New York where Governor Cuomo said he's going to boycott North Carolina, his own state doesn't have a law that allows men to use women's restrooms.
BLACKWELL: Let me ask you this. There have been concerns of security that have been put forward by supporters of the changes in this new HB2, this law in North Carolina. There will be because of this law, transgendered men who are forced to go into a women's restroom and transgendered women who will be force god into a men's restroom or shower or change facilities. Does that not put them in danger of physical harm as well?
STAVER: No. Have we had any reports of that being in physical harm?
[07:40:00] We have zero reports. There was no information that was ever presented to any of these discussions.
BLACKWELL: But I'm asking you to say critically here. If you have a transgendered man walk into a female restroom, or shower changing facility, or you have a transgendered woman walk into a men's restroom, does that not -- just thinking critically here -- put them in some physical harm or jeopardy of harm?
STAVER: Let's put it this way. How many people you do see walking into women's restrooms like that versus how many women walk into a women's restroom? And so, now, you're going to put all these women at risk because someone their mind they're a woman and they want to go in the women's restroom.
You know, frankly, in North Carolina, you can change that if you want to and it's available right there in the state law to change it on your birth certificate. If you don't change it, then essentially, it says if you're a man, you've got to use the men's restroom. It's a fairly common sense procedure and, in fact, it's not unusual for the rest of the country.
Almost every state has law that's very similar. This is nothing unusual. What we've seen is a lot of histrionics and a lot of misrepresentation over a common sense law that frankly a lot of people would support and the majority of states -- the vast majority have in their legislative schemes as well.
BLACKWELL: Mat, I've been told I've got to wrap it up, but I would be remiss if I didn't ask you this last point about this law. It adds, as I said, to the discrimination segment here, adding biological before sex, and there are no specific protections here against discrimination and hiring against LGBT residents of North Carolina. Should there not be some protections for the LGBT community?
STAVER: Well, there was never any listing of sexual orientation in the law before, so that's never been changed. So, the law is not changed at all.
BLACKWELL: If the law has changed -- I'm actually holding it here where it says, "Employment without discrimination or abridgement on account of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap," but the word biological was added before sex, which takes out the LGBT community.
STAVER: Right. But that's dealing with the transsexual issue, the transgender issue, the sexual orientation. That's never been changed.
BLACKWELL: But should there not be some protections?
STAVER: Employers can have their own policies on this issue, but it's never been changed. It's never been an issue and it's never been an issue that results in significant discrimination, thus needing legislative intervention. What this does is makes it uniform across the state that men have to use women's -- men's restroom and women men. Women's have to use women.
It's common sense piece of legislation that makes a statewide uniform law and it doesn't allow Charlotte to just simply allow men to go into women's restrooms or shower facilities.
BLACKWELL: Mat Staver, thank you so much for spending time with us this morning. I think we got some clarity on the issue here, and hopefully, we can talk to you again soon.
STAVER: Thanks, Victor. Good to be with you.
PAUL: All right, a lot being covered there. And next, the political and legal consequences of this very controversial bill. What can be done?
Well, stay close. We're back in a moment.
[07:46:32] PAUL: Forty-six minutes past the hour. And before we took this break here, we heard from an attorney who is in favor of North Carolina's controversial new law and protests have been raging in that state because critics say the law limits the rights of the gay and the transgender.
We want to talk now about the challenges that are facing that legislation and what's being done about it.
Political science professor Jason Johnson here with us.
Jason, first of all, we're in the middle of this campaign. This has been going on for a good, what, week, maybe two. We haven't heard any of the candidates talk about this yet. Why is that?
JASON JOHNSON, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: Well, they haven't talked about this specifically. Ted Cruz said he's in favor of laws like this. Donald Trump actually hasn't said much about LGBT issues throughout his campaign. He has talked about everybody else but not the LGBT and gay community. And John Kasich, again, has sort of taken, well, it should be a state-by-state basis. So, I don't think any of them want to draw any addition attention with
Wisconsin being so close. We may hear more about it after Tuesday.
PAUL: But what do you think we need to hear from these candidates?
JOHNSON: Well, I think any American voter -- look, if you're in favor of what's happening in North Carolina, if you're in favor of what's happening in Mississippi, then you want to hear them all come out and say, hey, look, I'm in favor of these bills, we need to have restrictions, we need to protect religious liberty.
It's pretty clear what the Democrats positions are going to be on this, and therefore, you know, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders can just use to say that they're dividing the country, et cetera, et cetera. But I think in many cases, this is just another example of issues that candidates don't really want to focus on when they're in a tight race.
PAUL: This is an issue, you know, as Victor got into of safety.
PAUL: I actually spoke with a dad this week of three girls, and he supports transgenders. He supports the rights of the LGBT. But he was concerned about his three girls going into a bathroom.
PAUL: How do you find the balance not only for as the attorney there even said, there could be some people out there who try to manipulate this law for their own purposes in a criminal manner or for the safety of the transgender person who is now forced. How do you balance that?
JOHNSON: It's extremely difficult to do. In fact, I think it's reasonable to take into consideration the religious concerns of people. We can't treat people who have certain faith difficulties with the LGBT and gay community. They're not all bigots. They're not all homophones.
I think what's important here, though, is this kind of reminds me of voter ID laws. You have to be able to demonstrate that this has been a problem that makes this law necessary. If we had case after case after case of transgender people being attacked for going into different kinds of bathrooms or instances of people abusing it, then I would see this legislation as being necessary. But that's not what's been demonstrated here. We haven't seen a lot of cases of it being a problem.
And, therefore, I think this is a much more aggressive legislative response than necessary.
PAUL: Is the third bathroom the answer?
JOHNSON: It may be one day, but I also think that becomes extremely expensive and an accommodation that's not necessary. I don't know, again, that you have that many cases of someone saying, hey, don't come in here because I recognize you or don't recognize you. I just think it's necessary. I think that state buildings and school buildings can probably come up with their own rules. Most people aren't going to be that concerned.
PAUL: All righty. Jason Johnson, always appreciate your voice.
PAUL: Thank you so much for being here.
Listen, when we come back, the legal ramifications of this issue. Stay close.
[07:53:32] PAUL: Lots of conversations this morning about this new bill in North Carolina. Let's talk about the legal, as we just talked about, the political ramifications.
Atlanta Attorney Page Pate with us here.
So, I want to address something in "The New York Times" today, that this report that says federal funding could be pulled from North Carolina because of the bill that they have going on there, and our last guest or one of our last guest, Mat Staver, said there's no chance. There is no chance money is going to get pulled.
We're talking about billions of dollars in federal funding for education, for school, for transportation. What is the protocol here when it comes to the passage of a bill like this and the federal government's responsibility fiscally?
PAGE PATE, ATTORNEY: Well, the federal government has a responsibility to make sure that any money it sends states is used in a non-discriminatory fashion. That's true for education or anyway they may use federal dollars. So, while the federal government cannot change North Carolina law, they can use money to influence North Carolina law.
So, if I'm with the federal government, I'm in control of an agency, Department of Education so to speak, I've got an obligation to make sure any federal dollars I'm putting into North Carolina do not result in the discriminatory treatment of any student. So if I think this particular legislation is going to have a discriminatory impact, I can withhold that money.
[07:55:00] Now, it's not an easy process. Nothing like this has been done to this to level that we heard mentioned just yesterday. So, it would be very new and very different and a lot of court challenges, no question from both sides.
PAUL: Well, but do you see an open door for the challenge to be there with this bill?
PATE: I do. But more importantly to me, I see a constitutional challenge right out of the gate. I think this North Carolina law, and the Mississippi law as well completely unconstitutional just the way it's written. You don't even have to wait to try to put this law into effect to realize it's not going to survive a constitutional challenge.
But I don't think the proponents of these laws really care. I think the whole point is to try to send a political message because legally, they cannot believe that these laws are going to withstand challenge. I mean, Victor mentioned earlier about the attorney general in North Carolina refusing to defend this law.
PATE: That is a huge step. The attorney general's primary job -- it's true in Georgia, North Carolina and most states -- is to defend the state and its laws under attack. He's basically said this law is so bad, I'm not going to do it. That is unusual.
PAUL: Very unusual. Yes, he has been very local about it, certainly.
PAUL: All right. Page Pate, thank you. We appreciate it so much.
BLACKWELL: All right. Ahead on NEW DAY, Donald Trump's latest answer on abortion laws, the fourth in as many days. Why they are making headlines now.
Also, new hints on why Trump is not ruling out a third party bid again. How this may really affect the GOP.
PAUL: Well, good morning. Eight o'clock, just about on a Saturday. I'm Christi Paul.
BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Always good to be with you on a Saturday morning.
And new this morning, in just a few hours, Donald Trump will be at a rally in Wisconsin.