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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Slams Media Anchors; House Immigration Bill; FBI Finds Car Linked to Missing Student. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 29, 2017 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[09:32:19] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we want to read you a statement just made by the president of the United States. And we want to warn you about its context and content because it's cruel and very unusual words from a president of the United States, and he's commenting on media figures here. I'm just going to read it to you.

He goes, "I heard poorly rated 'Morning Joe' speaks badly of me. Don't watch anymore. Then how come low IQ crazy Mika along with psycho Joe came to Mar-a-Lago three nights in a row around New Year's Eve and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from the face-lift. I said no."

All right, joining us now, CNN political analyst April Ryan, Matt Lewis and David Drucker.

Thanks all for being with us.

Look, at the risk of getting involved in the president's bizarre media criticism here, what he says here, April, and the way he says it is something that no other president would say. No other president would be let off the hook for saying it the way he said it. I don't know how it benefits the United States of America, but can I get your reaction?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: John, I've covered four presidents now. This one is very unique in his language, in how he communicates with the American public. This is no different.

But, you know, when you think of being presidential, you think of being above the fray and not getting involved in -- in, I guess, gutter fights or what have you. This is -- this is very interesting. We see that he's letting out secrets or letting out what's happened in his life, and throwing people under the bus at that. So it's very different.

But, you know, Sean Spicer, White House press secretary, did say just a few weeks ago, these tweets are official from the president. So this is his official word.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: OK. So the official statement from the president of the United States this morning is a statement that objectifies women and, Matt Lewis, that is the direct attack on a woman's appearance, not to mention using words like "crazy" and "psycho" to describe these people. Your take?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think that this does several things. It's a window into the soul. And I think that on one hand you're right, I think that this just confirms or reinforces perceptions about how he thinks about women, how he treats women. I was defending him on CNN last night for complementing an Irish journalist on her smile, and some people thought, well, what he said was sexist, it was inappropriate for him to do that. Well, this morning I think this just reinforces some -- some, you know, some not terribly pleasant, you know -- the way that he treats women.

[09:35:04] The other thing is obviously the media. He has made it a concerted effort to try to diminish and attack the media, specifically his critics, which "Morning Joe" has now become. And then, lastly, I think this is a reflection of a course in culture of a cultural degradation. I mean the fact that we have a president who talks this way and that the public isn't more outraged and that he -- yet his supporters, obsessively people who were supposed to be conservative applaud that is quite telling about -- just as much about us as it is about him.

BERMAN: You know, David Drucker, for a long time, I mean for a long time, you know, during the campaign, there was the debate, does this help him, does it hurt him, i this the one that finally went too far? Well, maybe that's the wrong framework here. It's not about whether or not it helps or hurts him, it's about whether or not it is good or bad for the United States of America. I mean he is the president of the United States of America.

HARLOW: Right because -- it's different than campaigning. That was, does it helped him or hurt him. Now he is president. How can this do anything but hurt America, David?

DAVID DRUCKER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I mean I think part of the issue here is that, you know, for Republicans, which is the only -- look, he is a Republican and so for any of this to have any impact on him politically in a negative sense, there would have to be a backlash from Republican voters, which would causes Republicans on Capitol Hill to finally try and ask them to put the brakes on this. But it's been built into the price of admission for President Trump and we've heard worse from him, and he still won the presidency as voters made a choice that between his opponent and him, they preferred him. And whenever you have a president win election doing whatever it is they did, they always figure that it worked and so they're going to keep doing what works until it's proven that it doesn't work.

Does it help him govern? No. Does it help him work with Democrats at some point? No. But I don't think that what we've seen from him indicates that that's really what he's interested in doing. I don't think that given the tribal nature of our politics, that's what either of the parties are interesting in doing.

Over the long term, it probably isn't healthy for the country. But I think right now that's not what most people are that concerned about in terms of they are making different political calculations. And -- and one thing that it does is, from the president's point of view, continue to keep the focus on the media and continues to set him apart from his adversaries. And that allows him, in his mind, and I think there's some proof to this, to cast doubt on any critical media coverage that is out there because is -- and if people doubt the critical media coverage, they won't believe anything critical about him. And as long as he does that, he holds his base and he holds his party.

BERMAN: Let's -- we have some reaction just in right now from Senator John McCain, who is a Republican, we should note. You were talking about --

HARLOW: It's from Meghan McCain.

BERMAN: Meghan McCain. I'm sorry, I said John McCain. It's from Meghan McCain, the daughter of John McCain. I didn't quite hear that right. Let's put it up on the screen right now if we have it.

"I do not think making fun of a woman's looks is acceptable. I get it every day of my life. I think that tweet is cruel and un- presidential."

April Ryan.

RYAN: Wearing my reporter hat, you know, it's interesting to watch the back and forth. But you have to remember, this president received a large number of votes from women. And, you know, the -- I guess the signs were there that these kinds of things could happen. We saw the fight with the president -- well, then candidate Trump, with Rosie O'Donnell and others, and Carly Fiorina, you know, on that stage talking about her looks. So this president -- this president -- this goes to what people are saying, you know? Some of the -- some of his critics are saying the president's just thin-skinned. Well, you know, for him to tweet about Mika's look and talk about Joe, that goes to the point that this president, whenever he gets upset, he goes and goes for the jugular.

Attacking a woman is wrong, but also at the same time I can, in my mind, I can already see what -- how the white House is trying to spin this to justify the president's tweets this morning, saying that they attacked him so he went on attack. I can see that right now.

HARLOW: You know, I remember a little over a year ago sitting down with Ivanka Trump for this interview, and she was talking about the book she was writing, about working women and we talked a lot about women and this president. And she told me, he will be a great president for women. Well, Meghan McCain also tweeted this directly to Ivanka Trump this morning. Can we pull that up? "What does Ivanka -- we don't have it ready, but she tweeted, Meghan McCain, "what does Ivanka think about this?"

Matt Lewis, Ivanka Trump has put herself as a very important person in this administration.

BERMAN: Right.

HARLOW: Very close to the president, who has written extensively about women, spoken about her father as a great president for women. Does she have a responsibility now, in light of this, to come out on this? What should she say?

[09:40:08] LEWIS: Well, she's in a tough spot but I do think that -- that she is somewhat -- she can't hide from this. I think that there were people who were reluctant to support Donald Trump, but -- but his daughter provided a bit of cover. People said he raised this very, you know, successful and eloquent and, you know, composed daughter. He must have done something right. And she's vouching for him. She's saying that, look, he's got this, you know -- this gruff exterior. Sometimes he says things he doesn't really mean, but he's actually a good guy deep down. So she vouched for him. She kind of co-signed for him.

And I think that because of that, because she put her credibility on the line, it's now fair to hold her accountable to a certain degree, I mean for -- for the things that he does and says. And you and I, we know that no matter how this presidency ends, Ivanka Trump is going to try to go forward and to brand herself as this, you know, liberal who is a feminist and that's part of her business model, and I think that that -- we should call that into question when that happens because she has empowered I think and enabled some of this presidency, some of the things that he said about women.

BERMAN: All right, guys, April Ryan, Matt Lewis, David Drucker, sorry to spring this on you at the last minute. You know, I think we wanted to talk about --

HARLOW: IT is not the segment we had planned, but we think it's that important.

BERMAN: Yes. Well, we wanted to talk about health care. Maybe that was the plan to talk about something other than health care, a distraction here. But I will say this, you know, had anyone else written this, any other president, any other politician, we would have ignored it. So you simply can't ignore it for this president.

HARLOW: Absolutely not.

BERMAN: All right, the House of Representative set to vote on bills that could deal with the president, his immigration agenda. Up next, we're going to hear from people who will be directly affected by these policies.

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[09:46:01] HARLOW: In just a few hours, President Trump's immigration agenda is expected to get a bit of a boost. The House set to vote on two bills. One targets sanctuary cities. The other would enact tougher penalties for repeat illegal entry into the United States.

BERMAN: Meanwhile, the city of Sacramento, the capital of California, has been preparing for this federal crackdown. That city reaffirmed its status as a sanctuary city -- a so-called sanctuary city and set aside public funds to help protect its undocumented population. CNN's Stephanie Elam has spoken to one family in the city who was so afraid of being targeted by the Trump administration, they asked not to be identified.

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STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump has made it clear how he feels about undocumented immigrants in America.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is so important to me. From day one I've said it, and I mean the immediate removal of criminal aliens, they're going to be gone, fast.

ELAM: For this Mexican woman, the president's rhetoric is cause for alarm. Undocumented, she has lived in the united states for 15 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: I'm really scared and I say, oh, I have to do something.

ELAM: Do something, not just for her, but for her husband and two teenage daughters. This daughter was just two years old when she came to the states. She barely remembers the country of her birth and feels like any other American teen. But she worries about her parents.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE, UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT: It's just that tiny thought in the back of my head that, you know, they might get deported, they might be gone and then -- what will I do then? What will me and my sister do then?

ELAM: To help families like this one, Sacramento reaffirmed its status as a sanctuary city.

ERIC GUERRA, SACRAMENTO CITY COUNCIL: We made it clear, we are in conformance with the constitution and current federal public law, but also to protect our current immigrants. Nearly 20 percent of our region here is undocumented and that 20 percent contribute about $60 million to our general fund in Sacramento County alone.

ELAM: The city council also unanimously voted in favor of setting aside $300,000 of its general funds to help pay for the education and legal defense of its undocumented residents. The money will fund the Sacramento Family Unity, Education and Legal Network for Immigrations, or FUEL, which will pool the resources of community groups, law schools and local immigration attorneys.

LUIS CESPEDES, SACRAMENTO SAFE HAVEN TASK FORCE: We need to have a rapid response so we can help people who may be separated from their families. Number two, we need to educate people about their constitutional rights. The third component is to train lawyers.

ELAM: With the help the California's capital city, the mother and her family applied in January for a U visa, reserved for undocumented applicants who are victims of a crime. The daughters are now permitted to be here under the federal government's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA. The family wants nothing more than to become citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My family I think is a good family and I don't think -- I do nothing wrong for, like, you know, for the country. ELAM: While sanctuary cities are working to protect their residents,

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says they undermine the nation's security.

JEFF SESSIONS, ATTORNEY GENERAL: When cities and states refuse to help enforce immigration laws, our nation is less safe.

ELAM (on camera): Do you think because of that, the Trump administration may target California and cities like Sacramento to make an example of them?

CESPEDES: When it comes to both attorney general sessions and President Trump is, we have to take them by their word, and they are coming.

ELAM (voice-over): It's a battle that the city of Sacramento is prepared to fight.

Stephanie Elam, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: Stephanie, thank you for the reporting.

[09:49:34] Up next for us, the search is on right now for a missing graduate student in Illinois. The FBI has just uncovered a big piece of evidence in the case. A live report on that, next.

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HARLOW: A search underway right now for a missing graduate student from the University of Illinois. Yingying Zhang was last seen on June 9th. This week, the FBI announced it found her car, that it was seen on video, the last car that she got into.

BERMAN: Yes, her disappearance has put an entire community on edge.

CNN correspondent Kaylee Hartung has all the details for us.

Kaylee.

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN NEWS CORRESPONDENT: John, Poppy, Yingying Zhang's disappearance now being investigated as a kidnapping by the FBI. This story has shook the community here at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus and its resonated in China as there are more than 300,000 Chinese students and scholars currently studying in America, the largest population of them here on this campus, 5,600 currently enrolled.

[09:54:57] Now, Zhang last seen nearly three weeks ago as she got into a black Saturn hatchback on the north end of this campus. The first big break in this case coming as the FBI have located that black Saturn, but they won't tell us where they found it or who it belonged to. The FBI very tight lipped as this investigation is ongoing. But we do know, with the help of video surveillance cameras, that there was a white male driving the car that day. There were reports of that car driving around that area of campus before coming into contact with Zhang.

Zhang, a 26-year-old, had only been on this campus for about six weeks before she went missing. The concern very heightened right now. John and Poppy, we'll talk with her father and boyfriend who have traveled here from China as the search continues.

BERMAN: All right, Kaylee Hartung, keep us updated on that. Thank you so much.

Happening now, an astounding back and forth with the president of the United States, with a representative or a major company just saying, never imagined a day when I would think to myself, it is beneath my dignity to respond to the president of the United States. What's going on here? We'll explain, coming up.

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