Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Secures Trade Deal with South Korea; Trump Floats Idea of Military Paying for Wall; Pence Makes Bold Promise on Wall; Citizenship Question Added to Census; Protest in Sacramento over Police Shooting; Ransom Demanded in Atlanta Cyberattack; Ohio Fertility Clinic Loses 4,000 Embryos, Eggs. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired March 28, 2018 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: So who is going to pay for the president's border wall? If you asked him during the campaign, it was Mexico, right? Now he's suggesting that the U.S. military foot the bill.


[11:35:01] KEILAR: The Trump administration is touting a new deal with South Korea as proof of President Trump delivering on his promise to negotiate better trade deals for the U.S.

It comes as the president appears to be shifting bigly on his promise to have Mexico pay for his border wall. He's privately floated the idea of having the U.S. military foot the bill.

CNN White House reporter, Jeremy Diamond, is here.

Jeremy, let's start with the first trade deal. What's in this?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Brianna. We've seen the president shift his focus to trade issues over the last several months. He's finally secured his first major bilateral trade renegotiation with -- between the United States and South Korea. This is something that U.S. officials have been working on for a few months now.

What it's going to deliver primarily, first of all, it's going to help the U.S. automakers and double the number of cars that U.S. automakers can export to South Korea. And it's also going to protect some of the U.S. Automakers from some of the exports from South Korea into the United States. And crucially, the steel tariffs were the background for these renegotiations, the steel and aluminum tariff that's the president leveled against exporters just recently. It's going to exempt South Korea from those steel tariffs but is going to limit their imports of steel to the United States to about 70 percent of the current average exports of steel. That's going to help steel makers, but it also relieves some of the pressure there that South Korean steel makers were feeling in the wake of these tariffs.

There is also a side agreement on currency manipulation here. But the problem, Brianna, with that, there's really no enforcement mechanism. It's looking to protect U.S. manufacturers essentially from these currency devaluations we see around the world. But there's no enforcement mechanism to really make sure that that goes into effect.

KEILAR: Separate from that, Jeremy, the vice president is making a bold promise on the border wall after the president inquired about having the U.S. military and not Mexico pay for it. What's going on here?

DIAMOND: That's right. The vice president was yesterday in North Dakota and we'll let him speak for himself.



MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me make you a promise, when it comes to building the wall, we're going to build it all.



DIAMOND: And these comments come after President Trump, we recently learned, have been privately trying to find ways to pay for the border wall. Mexico refused to pay for the wall, so the president recently has privately floated the idea, including to House Speaker Paul Ryan, of trying to get funding out of the defense budget. The president and administration have been touting this $1.6 billion for border security funding that's included in the omnibus spending bill. But we should note, Brianna, none of that goes to build any kind of new wall. It will go to repair existing fencing and build new fencing, but it's the president who repeatedly said during the campaign, this won't be a fence, folks, it will be a wall. Still, some questions remain as to how the president and vice president will go through with that campaign promise -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Jeremy Diamond, at the White House, thank you.

Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, of Washington State, is with us.

Congresswoman, thanks for being with us.

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL, (D), WASHINGTON: Thanks, Brianna. Great to be here.

KEILAR: You're on the House Budget Committee and House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security. You, of course, do not support building a wall. But just from an appropriations standpoint, is it possible, right, it seems like it is, for the Defense Department to pay for it?

JAYAPAL: No, I don't think it is. The president continues to engage in these deceits and fantasies with the American people, first, telling them that Mexico would build the wall now saying we're going to take it out of the military budget --

KEILAR: Why isn't it possible -- why isn't it possible for the military?

JAYAPAL: They would have to come back to the appropriations committees in both the House and Senate and actually get agreement because what Congress signed with the omnibus bill is money that goes to specific things. That does not include building more of the wall than was already agreed to. And Donald Trump is upset because he didn't get his full wall but that is what Congress appropriated for the wall, is that small amount of money. And so if he wants to change that, he can't just move things around unilaterally. He has to come back to Congress, ask for the ability to do that. And that, I think, would be a very tough sell because this budget was agreed to with a lot of Democratic support. And Democrats have been clear on holding the line and saying, look, Mr. President, you promised your base this but that doesn't make it realistic or good policy. And so I don't think they are going to be able to do this without a big fight. I'm not sure that they want to take on that fight, frankly, because, you know, it may be good for their base politics but there are other things that they need to get done in Congress. And I think it's going to jam everything up all over again.

[11:40:00] KEILAR: So you disagree and say that the DOD really has no discretion on how they can do this. I wonder, because you look at -- there are agencies and departments that have discretion. I think of, for instance, Obamacare. There was a lot of discretion at the department level on how money was going to be moved for certain things. It was one of the things that Republicans were very frustrated by. So you disagree that DOD has discretion to do this?

JAYAPAL: That's right. We obviously have to look into exactly what mechanisms they are looking at, and I think they are trying to play games with the budget. But DOD is separate from Homeland Security. And the wall and appropriations for Homeland Security are in a different category than military spending.

Now, I don't -- I would love to see some of that military spending go for all kinds of things that I think are domestic and security priorities like education and transportation. But I don't get to just move that stuff around. You have to get agreement from Congress. You can't move money from one committee and one segment of the budget to another committee and segment of the budget. There is sometimes the ability to move things around within line items and within a department's budget. It's called transfer authority. But that is -- that does not apply across appropriations committees, and Homeland Security is a different appropriations committee than the military.

KEILAR: You have long been critical of the Trump administration for adding a question on U.S. citizenship to the 2020 census. They say that this information is going to allow the administration to protect voting rights. If they know how many eligible voters are in a community, they can identify potential voter suppression. What's your response to that?

JAYAPAL: It's a naked political ploy to depress participation in the census. And it's really outrageous to me. I was hoping that Wilbur Ross would have a much more nuanced view and be able to come out and say the most important thing is that we do a very good census. The Constitution says that you need to innumerate people for the census. That leaves, Brianna, as you very well know, to how federal dollars get allocated and how congressional districts are apportioned, and it leads to how many Electoral College votes different states have. This is a very, very important tool for us to determine all kinds of things. And to put a citizenship question in there will absolutely depress turnout, will depress participation. And is overturning -- since 1960, we haven't had a census -- a citizenship question as a central part of the census. So if --


KEILAR: If undocumented immigrants aren't counted, then states who have large immigrant populations, states general more likely to elect Democrats, could lose seats in Congress. That's something that it seems would disproportionately affect your party. Is that your concern?

JAYAPAL: It's my concern that we don't count every person. There are people across the country that are not going to come out. It's not just undocumented citizens. There are mixed status families in districts red and blue, and what we always need to make sure of is that everybody feels as comfortable as possible participating. And before I came to Congress, I actually worked on helping to get immigrant families, both of undocumented status and those of legal status who are very afraid of turning that information over to the government if citizenship was a question, because they had undocumented members that were part of their families, even if they were citizens. So this is an enormous problem. It was always a challenge to get people to participate. This will make it much, much worse. And it is a naked political ploy to depress turnout in blue states, but also to reallocate voting and federal dollars in a way that is, in my opinion, unconstitutional. And we'll see the attorneys general, including Bob Ferguson of Washington State, have filed lawsuits around the question. And it's unfortunate that Wilbur Ross threw partisanship into what is a very important democratic tool for apportionment and for dollars in the country.

[11:44:23] KEILAR: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you so much. Joining us from Seattle.

Up next, the mayor of a major U.S. city says it's being held hostage by cyberhackers. Some basic services like paying water bills online have been crippled for days. What the hackers are demanding, next.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As you point this to our council, does this look like a gun?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chief of police got my brother killed. He didn't even care. He shows no emotion at all.


KEILAR: Protesters in Sacramento disrupting a city council meeting, voicing their outrage, their anger and pain over police killing a 22- year-old unarmed black man in his grandmother's yard earlier this month. Officers say they believed Stephon Clark had a gun, but police say no weapons were found at the scene, only his cell phone. Clark's brother and residents are demanding change from city county members.

In the meantime, Clark's wake will be held today, and the city council will not meet out of respect for the Clark family.

CNN's Dan Simon joining me now.

Dan, the outrage over this shooting apparently is not going away. Give us a little bit more information about the protest and explain why the Sacramento Kings closed doors early last night.

[11:50:04] DAN SIMON, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Well, Brianna, as far as the protests are concerned, what we saw last night was the most dramatic thing we have seen thus far. I was actually in that city council meeting, and when you put that much passion and that much anger in one room, you're bound to have some issues. And we saw that with Stephonte Clark (sic) -- Stephon Clark's brother. At one point, the mayor basically had to take a recess because things got out of control. You had all these people outside the meeting trying to get in because the meeting -- the room can only hold so many people. So the only thing that was holding those folks back were police in full riot gear. Then you had people pounding on the windows, and it just became this spectacle.

From there, you had the protesters go to the Golden One Arena, where the Sacramento Kings play. They blocked all the entrances to the arena. It's the second time they've done so in a week. Police basically just stood back. For safety concerns, the Kings personnel, the security there, just said, we're not going to let any fans in. But the basketball game still took place, but the fans couldn't get in, the stands were empty -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Dan Simon, thank you so much, in Sacramento for us.

Cyberattackers holding the city of Atlanta hostage for nearly a week by locking employees out of their computers and pretty much shutting down the city's online system. Municipal courts are still affected, and some online services aren't available. The hackers are reportedly refusing to let up until the city pays a ransom.

CNN's Victor Blackwell has all the details.

Who's behind the attack? Do they know at this point, Victor?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, if they know, they're not saying. Indications that city officials know. We have to remember, this is an open investigation, so quite possibly some of the details on leads and motives may be held pretty close to the vest.

But this is now day seven of this cyberattack nightmare for the city of Atlanta. City leaders are now learning just how deeply and broadly this cyberattack, this ransomware attack permeated the city government. On Tuesday, employees were told for the first time since this attack last week to turn their computers on. A city spokesperson now tells us that the majority of the computers across city government have been affected.

Now, the mayor and city officials, they don't know a lot about this and how it happened. But what we do know is on Thursday, March 22nd, hackers attacked the city government with a ransomware cyberattack. What does that mean? That means that hackers are holding hostage essentially the computer systems across the city until the city government pays a ransom. Now, the mayor says that there have been communications in writing from these hackers. They've mentioned $51,000, but, so far, no specific amount of what the ransom will be to unlock all those city computers.

KEILAR: Is there a concern that this is going to happen in other cities?

BLACKWELL: Well, it certainly is a concern that it will happen in other cities. It has happened in other cities. In Davidson County, in North Carolina, the same week that Atlanta was under attack, they announced that, after a month, they are now getting back up to speed. But this is affecting water bills not being paid online, parking tickets, municipal court proceedings of people who are not in custody are at hold. We know safety services, police, fire, 911, unaffected. The city's international airport unaffected.

But the FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security, and a private company here all now on the job to figure out how this happened and how to prevent it from happening in the future.

KEILAR: Victor Blackwell, in Atlanta, thank you so much.

Still ahead, we're learning that the number of eggs and embryos lost at a fertility clinic in Ohio is double what was first thought. What the clinic is saying to the affected families, next.


[11:58:12] KEILAR: A Cleveland fertility clinic's freezer failure is turning out to be much worse than the hospital originally believed it was. University Hospital says more than 4,000 eggs and embryos were affected after a freezer malfunctioned. That is double the number previously thought. All of them are likely no longer viable.

CNN national correspondent, Brynn Gingras, here with us on this story.

This is pretty bad.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's really bad, Brianna. Like you said, double the amount the clinic initially thought when the clinic announced this issue earlier. Now we're talking about roughly 950 families affected, up from 700. This is all due to a freezer malfunction where the embryos were stored in this Cleveland facility. Now, take a look at this. In a letter, University Hospital officials

updated these families. This is what that letter said: "The technical manner in which the eggs and embryos are stored in these freezers complicated our initial determination of how many patients and specimens were affected. We are heartbroken to tell you that it's unlikely any are viable."

Now, there was some hope that some would be viable, but not any longer.

So how did this happen? According to the hospital, temperatures fluctuated inside the liquid nitrogen tanks where these eggs and embryos are stored. The tanks do have a remote alarm system to alert staff when this happens, but for some reason, the alarm had been switched off. That was complicated by the fact that temperatures rose over the weekend when the lab isn't staffed. And this particular tank, the hospital admits, was having technical issues for several weeks. They were in the process of actually fixing the problem and moving the embryos, but that had not happened yet when this malfunction occurred.

University officials have offered free services to its patients. They've waived storage fees for several years. But, Brianna, you can imagine lawsuits were flooding in before this update came. Now there's going to be even more.

KEILAR: Of course.

Brynn Gingras, thank you so much.

And the next hour of news starts right now.

[12:00:12] I'm Brianna Keilar, in Washington. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King --