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White House No Apologizing About An Aide's Comment Against Senator John McCain; Group Of Rebel Republicans Are Pushing To Save DACA With A Highly Unusual Move; Call For Boycott Of Waffle House Are Growing Louder; ISIS claiming responsibility for today's stabbing attack in Paris. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired May 12, 2018 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:14] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Ana Cabrera. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Our breaking news tonight, ISIS claiming responsibility for today's stabbing attack in Paris that left one dead and four others injured, two of them seriously. The terror group's media wing published a statement saying quote "the person who executed the stabbing in Paris is a soldier of the Islamic state. Though it provided no proof to substantiated claim, this happened near the Paris opera house a short distance from the Louvre museum. And according to the Paris prosecutor, the attacker shouted Allah Akbar during this attack. French president Emanuel Macron hailed the actions of police who killed the attacker.
Jim Bittermann is joining us now from Paris.
Jim, what are officials saying about this new claim that ISIS was responsible?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, this is now been officially branded a terrorist attack. It is a place just behind me on the street here, a 100 yards or so down that street. It's a street where it could.
And this is a very heavily populated area on a Saturday night near the opera, near the Louvre. What happened apparently, according to the police sources who said the attacker came at some passers by. He managed to kill one of the passersby and seriously wound two and likely wounded another two. And then police responded. Apparently very quickly and were able to kill him.
At first, however, they did try to tase him. They used taser on him. And apparently, they were proved ineffective, and this from a source, and as a consequence, they went ahead and shot him dead.
Now that's causing something of a delay and sort of what people know about this because the fact is that he was, the attacker according to police sources was not carrying any kind identification. So the police are going to have to first identify who the attacker is and then kind of work back upstream to find out who his friend's family might be and what kind of things he may have been doing on the internet or whatever to get back to sort of see what this background is and why he might have committed this attack. But they are now branding it a terrorist attack because he shouted Allah Akbar. And according to the Paris prosecutor and that's enough for the prosecutor to get involved and to brand this a terrorist investigation.
CABRERA: All right. Jim Bittermann in Paris for us. Thank you. We know you will continue to bring us any updates as new information comes in.
Let's talk more about this stabbing attack in Paris with our analyst. Joining us now is Josh Campbell, former FBI supervisor, special agent and Juliette Kayyem, former assistant secretary within the department of homeland security.
Josh, ISIS coming out claiming responsibility for today's attack. How does that impact or shape the investigation on the ground in these early hours.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: So there are a lot of data points here that investigators are now starting to collect. Obviously, in the wake of an attack like this, there's a lot you don't know. But as information continues to come in, they are going to gather witness testimony. They are going to gather information that they may get through their own holdings.
And as they dig into this person's life, they are going to be gathering information and, you know, as they look at the social media, they look at his residence, and really build up that full picture of who this person is.
As we listen to these claims of responsibility, I'm of the mind set of someone who kind of pumps or breaks a little bit because ISIS and a lot of these troops will come out and claim responsibility sometimes without even knowing who these people are.
And you know, as I listen to some of the details that we have seen come in, obviously, and you know, we are in a time and place and Juliette knows this, working homeland security, that you know, we now have to talk about things in comparison to how deadly they could have been then you think about a lot of the types of attacks that we have seen recently with vehicles. Obviously, here, using a knife is something that is a different caliber.
But investigators will continue to learn, you know, more about the individual as they can. I'm just, again, one of those who would caution, you know. I don't know if ISIS knows who this person is, let alone investigators right now. But that will come out of the investigation.
CABRERA: Juliet, does it surprise you that ISIS is claiming responsibility so quickly?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: No. And sometimes they do and sometimes they don't. I mean this sort of rhythm of their decisions to acknowledge something, I mean they are online. They certainly know the statements that he made in the midst of the attack. It may just be wanting to sort of assert some publicity for essentially for them to sort of stake a claim that they are still relevant given some of the challenges and some of the back stepping that has occurred in of course Iraq and Syria.
So like Josh, I sort of -- I put thon one side. It is relevant. It is a data point, but it's not going to be conclusive. Neither in fact is the fact that the assailant said, you know, whatever he said in terms of during the attacks. I suspect since he is in -- he is dead, and they know, I suspect, they know who he is and that they know that he had some background or was working with ISIS or had been online. So I would not be surprised because this happens in most of these cases. That we are going to learn that authorities knew something about him. But did not view him as a serious threat that would f justify detention or some arrest.
[19:05:32] CABRERA: Juliette, Paris has been somewhat a target in recent years. It's been under security, especially the Charlie Hebdo attacks, the Paris Bataclan attack, both were in 2015. Why is Paris such a target?
KAYYEM: Well, there was a number of reasons. And this is true in a lot of western European countries. There's a, you know, terrorist is a big question, but obviously either will figure out who he is, but was he in Syria, did he go through Turkey, who is this individual. Part of it has to do with radicalization process online that is very easy in any western European country. Isolation depending on what his background is. Did he feel not assimilated to his community? And that happens throughout Western Europe and every once in a while, of course, here in the United States.
But what we have seen and that it is just what we are saying is, to pick up on what Josh said, we have to measure the success of terrorist attack also by what didn't happen at this stage. And so because guns were not utilized. This is a little fatality rate terrorist attack. Because the police were so good in their training, which Paris has been working on a lot, they were able to essentially stop him from doing any more harm. That doesn't mean to say, you know, this is not good news. There is no question about that. It's just that in police forces and in homeland security, we are now judging you know, can you limit the harm that these kinds of individuals cause because you can't close down Paris. You can't close down London. You can't close down New York. They are always going to be vulnerable.
CABRERA: Right. Josh, at the top also happened in touristy area, about a ten-minute walk from the main Paris opera house, also not far from Louvre museum. Pretty high profile part of Paris. What sort of security challenges does an area like this present?
CAMPBELL: Unfortunately, with these experiences and, you know, with the distance of time, we continue to learn those in law enforcement, the security industry, that when you are in a highly populated area like this, you are going to want to station officers in close proximity that can respond if necessary based on the facts that we have been reporting throughout the day. Looks as though law enforcement officers sprang into action very quickly and neutralized the subject, determining that, you know, he continued to pose a continuing threat, imminent threat to those around them to the public so they took him down.
One thing that is interesting in this case is the weapon that was used. And that is something that I think is going to be of interest in this investigators and those who look back in saying, you know, how do we prevent these types of things?
There are two aspects to utilizing a knife. The first is physical. The second is more of the psychological aspect.
First, the physical. Now, knives are obviously easier to obtain. They are easier to conceal. But you know, fortunately, they don't result in these large mass casualty type of situations we typically see. That's not to say that they are not dangerous. Obviously, we had one deceased today. But then that leads us to the psychological aspect, why would someone utilize a device like this? We have seen cases here on the streets in the United States of, you know, people with mental health issues. Who will attack people and they use whatever weapon that they might have involving a knife.
When you flip to the terrorism aspect, as you look at different devices and different weapons that are available to terrorist to perpetuate these attacks, there is, you know, rare would you find a more personal type weapon, a more personal type assault than walking up to someone and stabbing them. You know, obviously, you know, shootings are very dangerous and, you know, using vehicles, obviously, very dangerous, but there's a very personal aspect psychologically to going up which tells me at least that, you know, in absent some type of mental health concern. This is someone who has some type of personal agreement that he was then acting upon.
CABRERA: Well, we will, of course, learn a lot more in the hours and days to come.
Josh Campbell and Juliette Kayyem, thank you both for joining us.
A group of moderate housed Republicans are trying to use a long shot maneuver to force a vote on immigration legislation. They would be in defiance of speaker Paul Ryan and other leaders. I will speak to one congressman who is leading this effort when we come back.
[19:13:39] CABRERA: Welcome back. A group of rebel Republicans are pushing to save DACA with a highly unusual move. They want to force a vote on the House floor. This move defies house speaker Paul Ryan who has refused to formally introduce immigration legislation.
These Republican lawmakers who are spearheading the effort include Congressman Jeff Denham of California, Congressman Will Herd of Texas and Congressman Carlos Curbelo of Florida.
At last check, their petition to force the vote has 19 Republicans. Even if all 193 Democrats sign it, they still need eight more Republicans in order to hit that 218 house majority.
So let's discuss with Congressman Jeff Denham joining us now. Congressman, good to have you with us. To call this move highly
unusual may be an understatement. First, do you have the numbers? Will we see a vote in the House on immigration legislation?
REP. JEFF DENHAM (R), CALIFORNIA: It is highly unusual. This is not something that either party has used. First, I introduced a rule, which is a parliamentary move to be able to get members on record with this and really show the speaker, empower the speaker to bring something up.
When nothing came up, we then discharged this so we have done a rule and a discharge. Two technical ways to actually force a vote. Do we have the numbers? Absolutely we do. And next week, we are going to be signing more Republicans and more Democrats up.
[19:15:01] CABRERA: And you will recall, the speaker of the House had previously expressed empathy with the DACA situation, to Dreamers. Here's what he said at a town hall last year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think that I should be deported and many families in my situation should --
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: No. First of all, I can see that you love your daughter and you are a nice person who has a great future ahead of you. And I hope your future is here. I will even repeat the sentiment that our incoming President says, that's the problem he wants to focus on. This is not the focus. And so, what we have to do is find a way to make sure that you can get right with the law and we got to do this in a good way so that the rob (ph) doesn't again pulled up from you and your family don't get separated. That's the way we feel --.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Yet congressman, speaker Ryan does not support your effort. The speaker says your plan amount to a spectacle that will fail. What's your response?
DENHAM: It is just ridiculous. First of all, we were very creative in how we brought this up. We are not just pushing our piece of legislation. While I fully support the USA act, I think that's the most bipartisan bill.
We also give deference to the Judiciary Committee. Bob Goodlatte, the chair of that committee has his own bill. And there are many members of the freedom caucus that have said bring that one up for a vote, whether it fails or not. And you know, when the speaker says that this may be something that gets vetoed, well, the speaker has a bill on this as well that he could put the President's own language in.
The whole point of this is let's bring it up for debate. You know, both parties have talked about this for well over a decade now. The Dreamers have been held in the balance here. And then to have a March 5th deadline and just bypass that altogether, I'm willing to empower the speaker to push for this, to make sure that we actually do have a vote on the floor.
This is something we should be doing in front of the full transparency of the American public. We are doing it in regular order following house rules. But it's not something we are going to back down on.
CABRERA: And yet, congressman, it's not just Republicans you have to convince. You will need Democrats to pull this off. If all Democrats agree, the majority of Republicans don't, what have you really accomplished?
DENHAM: Well first of all, the biggest thing we can accomplish is show the American public that we want to debate on this. That we want a debate, a full debate on each of these different issues and let the American public decide, district by district.
But ultimately, we feel if we bring this up, not only will we be able to pass a bipartisan bill that not only has a permanent solution for Dreamers, but a border security fix. Something the President asking for and something we feel confident he will sign.
So, you know, we don't want to go through the same thing the Senate did and just how a debate. We actually want to pass legislation to the Senate that can get 60 votes, that will fix our border and also provide a permanent fix for Dreamers.
CABRERA: I mean, the White House though this week has expressed more hard line immigration rhetoric. We have the reporting of a blow up between President Trump and homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen over immigration. Trump being frustrated telling her she wasn't doing enough to secure the border.
Also we understand according to the "New York Times," that much of the confrontation had to do with separating families at the border. Does that sound like someone who would sign a DACA bill?
DENHAM: Sounds like somebody who is very frustrate as we are. You know, Democrats pandered (ph) on this when they had controls of both Houses and presidency. They have not made it a top priority when it has come to each of these funding issues. And Republicans have plenty of blame here as well.
Both parties need to come together. Our biggest challenge though is bringing it up for a debate. There is no timeline with this like there are on every other piece of legislation that we deal with. We have got to force that timeline. We unfortunately missed the March 5th deadline, so we are creating one of our own.
I think the President has word on his principles. He said 1.8 million and 25 billion for the wall. We are trying to work somewhere into those parameters because obviously we want a real fix on this.
CABRERA: OK. I got you. But again, if just having a debate doesn't lead to that real fix. I hope you are right. Let's listen to what chief of staff John Kelly said this week about immigrants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHN KELLY, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Let me step back and tell you that the vast majority of the people that move illegally into the United States are not bad people. They are not criminals. They are not MS-13. But they are also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States. They are overwhelmingly rural people in the countries they come from, fourth, fifth, sixth grade educations are kind of the norm. They are coming here for a reason and I sympathize with the reason, but the laws are the laws.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: So Congressman, Kelly there suggesting that undocumented immigrants can't hack it in this country because they are uneducated. That they are from rural areas. They don't have the skills to assimilate in the U.S., on top of the other comments that have sparked controversy, the s-hole countries comment. Kelly previously saying or implying that some DACA recipients are lazy. Are you OK with the rhetoric coming on immigration from this administration?
[19:20:17] DENHAM: All I can do is push back. We are a nation of immigrants. We are a country of laws. We have got to follow the rule of law, but unfortunately, we have had too many Dreamers that have been stuck in limbo after graduated from our high schools and some not even realizing they are Dreamers until they are trying to get a job or they are trying to go to the military or they are trying to file for college entrance.
So we have got to actually show -- I mean, these immigrants have great American story of building families here. Building jobs and don't forget, a large percentage of these DACA recipients have come from other countries outside of our southern border.
CABRERA: Right. But we are hearing from this immigration, from this administration, doesn't sound as pa pathetic as you sound. Is that OK with you? Is it acceptable what they are saying?
DENHAM: No, I don't like some of the comments that have come out. I have coming from a community of very diverse backgrounds. I'm somebody that pushes back and focuses on solutions. I'm somebody who brings both parties together on this issue.
But you know, whether or not the President would sign or veto, it's our job to act. It is our job to actually put something on his desk. Until we do that, I mean, I think there's -- the question of him vetoing it, I think we will leave that to the President. Let's get something to the Senate that can get 60 votes and put it on his desk.
CABRERA: Congressman Jeff Denham, thank you so much for joining us.
DENHAM: Ana, thanks for having me.
CABRERA: I appreciate it.
Coming up, President Trump's personal attorney is again forced to walk back his comments about the President. This time about his involvement in the AT&T/Time Warner merger. The changing story, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
[19:26:30] CABRERA: Also tonight, the man charged with getting the President out of the legal crosshairs giving President Trump's opponents new ammunition. As the White House struggles to get its own house in order.
Rudy Giuliani raising eyebrows on a Friday interview when he told the "Huffington Post," the President did put his thumb on the scale and quote "denied" the mega merger between AT&T and Time Warner. That is something the White House has repeatedly said did not happen. Giuliani is now walking back those comments.
Meantime, the White House press secretary is reprimanding her staff over something she wishes never got out. Sources tell CNN, Sarah Sanders dressed down White House aides after someone leaked a White House aide's heinous joke at the expense of Senator John McCain.
CNN's Boris Sanchez joins me now from the White House.
Boris, take us inside this meeting between Sanders and her staff. What do sources say happened?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, there, Ana.
Yes. According to sources, this meeting took place yesterday among communications staff and Sarah Sanders apparently admonished them, not for the substance of the statement that was apparently said by Kelly Sadler, but rather for the existence of the leak itself. Well, one source telling CNN she was upset about the idea that someone on the team leaked this to the press in order to embarrass Sadler.
We also heard from multiple sources that during this meeting, Sanders said that it was an inappropriate joke. And frankly that comment made in private is much farther than we have heard the White House go in public where as you recall, just yesterday, Sarah Sanders stood at the podium here and said that she wouldn't validate that leak with a response, saying that she didn't want to get into a back and forth about who said what when she was asked specifically if the White House would apologize for that comment directed at Senator John McCain, sort of disparaging his frail state.
We should point out there are a number of White House officials now who have come out in defense of Kelly Sadler. Notably, the budget director, Mick Mulvaney, was on a talk show earlier today on cable news and said that because that joke, though inappropriate, happened in a private conversation in a private meeting, Sadler has the right to be candid in that situation and therefore, she shouldn't lose her job. Something that relatives of senator McCain and others have called for.
Sources have told us though, Ana, that it appears that Kelly Sadler is safe in her position for the time being.
CABRERA: OK. So, let's talk about Rudy Giuliani, also creating some new questions about the President's role in the AT&T and Time Warner merger.
SANCHEZ: That's right. This was a conversation that Rudy Giuliani was having with the "Huffington Post" published yesterday. Giuliani was talking about the payments made to the President's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, by AT&T, to sort of help the company move forward in its attempted merger with Time Warner which we should point out is the parent company of CNN.
Now, Giuliani was essentially arguing that corporate payment didn't work because the President intervened and got in the way of that merger happening. Of course, the problem with that statement is that it contradicts everything we've heard from the White House so far on the President's role and department of justice opening up litigation against AT&T to try to block that merger from happening.
Sarah Sanders put out a statement saying it was the department of justice that made the decision, not President Trump. Shortly after, about an hour later, we heard from Rudy Giuliani walking back his comments, saying the President told him specifically he didn't intervene. Though we have seen the President publicly weigh in on this merger before, voicing his opposition to it. It does call into question what Rudy Giuliani's role is now on the President's legal team. Consider the fact that he was brought on to try to help defend the President in light of the special counsel's investigation. And to what's collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. And he is continuously discussing things not related to that and having to clarify those remarks later, Ana.
[19:30:17] CABRERA: It just creates more questions about what is the truth.
Boris Sanchez, thanks.
Another day, another disclosure about President Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen. We are now learning Cohen tried to pitch his access to the President to yet another big company. So was there any criminal activity involved? We will discuss, next.
[19:34:58] CABRERA: Welcome back.
Rudy Giuliani's media blitz might be having the opposite effect of what the President wanted when he hired Giuliani. Giuliani yesterday, again, undercutting what has long been the White House's story that the President play no role in justice department's decision to sue to stop the AT&T and Time Warner merger.
So let's discuss all of this. Former federal prosecutor Joseph Moreno is with us and CNN political commentator Catherine Rampell. She is also a columnist at "the Washington Post."
So Joseph, good to have you. And you, Catherine, as well, with us.
Let me ask you about the controversial Giuliani comments and the legal implications. If the President personally denied the AT&T/Time Warner merger as Giuliani originally said, what does that mean legally?
[19:35:44] JOSEPH MORENO, FORMER DOJ PROSECUTOR: Well, I mean, it could be a good thing, right. I mean, Rudy Giuliani is clearly using this media blitz to try to untangle some inconvenient knots in the public story here. And so, what he is doing is he is trying make it sound like even if something happened on the front end, there was no harm because it was undone on the back end. And so therefore, there is nothing here, right.
And it makes sense why you would want to do a media blitz. Whether you're a prosecutor or defense counsel. It can be a really savvy strategy to try to get out front of bad facts in the case. Whether it's the judge, the jury or the American people. The problem is, a strategy like that comes with significant risks. The biggest one of which is you could actually create more harm for your clients. So as you are digging into this hole, trying to clean up some facts, you could open up others that you really don't want to do. So, if the option is to kind of get out front and take this risky strategy versus keep quiet, maybe keeping quiet is a better strategy this time around.
CABRERA: But when I asked you about the legal complication, here is where I am coming from, isn't there supposed to be b a separation here between the DOJ and the White House as DOJ is suing the AT&T and Time Warner merger, trying to stop that from happening. And the President initially said he had nothing to do with the DOJ taking this action even though we know how much (INAUDIBLE) has for CNN which was one of the initial arguments for AT&T that was pushing back against this legal action of the DOJ took. I mean, isn't that now kind of messing up with the DOJ's litigation, their side of the case?
MORENO: It's a delicate dance, right, because on the one hand, the White House is supposed to be politically independent from its subordinate agencies, right. So you are not supposed to have political influence over decisions by the department of justice and other agencies.
CABRERA: Right. And -- here we have Giuliani coming out saying, oh, yes, the President is the one who denied this merger.
MORENO: Well, on the other hand, you know, he was trying to keep politics separate from enforcement policy. On the other hand, though, the department of justice is part of the executive branch. And the President heads the executive branch. And ultimately, decision making comes to him. So it is this delicate dance.
Now, you hope that the executive makes these decisions based on the advice of his counselors. And his advisors, the attorney general, the executives at the department of justice. Not supposed to be a political decisions.
MORENO: So while he might think this is helping him, maybe in the public domain, but legally, this is kind of does, it messes things up. It makes things more complicate. I don't think he is doing his clients any good here by saying these things. CABRERA: So Catherine, how short a leash do you think Giuliani may be
on here? Because this isn't the first time in the past couple of weeks that he has put his foot in his mouth.
CATHERINE RAMPELL, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Oh, absolutely not. And Giuliani has basically come out and said, well, you know, I don't really know what I'm talking about. I'm still learning the facts here. I think he said he was halfway up to speed with -- on one of the Sunday shows last weekend which reminded me of this famous (INAUDIBLE) quote, you know, that I know half of my dollars are spent, I just don't know which half. It is like he knows half of what he says is wrong. He just doesn't know which half.
So he is clearly trying to get -- trying to put out a disclaimer for the fact that he keeps on getting things wrong. Keeps on putting his foot in his mouth. Trump doesn't seems to mind, you know. He keeps on sending him out there. Presumably, Giuliani wouldn't be going on TV without the President's blessing. But Trump maybe isn't really not thinking forward to what the implications could be for a litigation like this, what the implication could be for the Cohen case and whether this could muddy the waters there. So, you know, if Trump is still letting him go out there, I'm not sure if that's the wisest decision.
CABRERA: Let me have -- to this other news from the "Wall Street Journal" just in. Now reporting the special counsel asked for motors company for some documents related to Michael Cohen's overtures to the company offering them consulting services. What would the special counsel want with those documents especially pertaining to the Russia probe?
MORENO: Well, I mean, it doesn't -- don't these things always come down to follow the money, right. I mean, money motivates behavior. So it makes perfect sense that in this special counsel's purview, right, in the parameters of what he is looking for, he is looking for influence, right. He is looking for influence on decision making at the White House level. And so, it makes sense that he would be looking for money flowing through individuals potentially, you know. Individuals associated with President Trump. And he want to get the bottom of that.
So it actually -- it makes perfect sense from the premise of a very comprehensive, white collar, financial based investigation, which we also knew Bob Mueller would do because that is the background he comes from. He is very methodical. He is very thorough and he is going to follow the evidence wherever it leads.
[19:40:23] CABRERA: Catherine, what we have been discussing this week when we learn of these Cohen connections to these companies, is that what he did, selling his insights, his connections, isn't necessarily, one, illegal, two, that uncommon, when it comes to this sort of thing in Washington.
RAMPELL: Yes, influence peddling certainly predates this administration. I think that there is something unusual about this particular set up and that Michael Cohen was basically selling influence to his own clients, right. It's not only that he is a lobbyist, which he was not registered as and, you know, I'll let the lawyers determine whether he was illegally lobbying. I don't know enough about the law there.
But in any case, it's not only that he is saying I'm going to, you know, I'm going to provide some insight and I'm going to provide some influence, which is presumably what these companies will think, but it was with his own client.
I think that raises the ethical concerns to a whole different level from what we have seen from previous administrations, from the rest of the swamp, you know, which again, predates this administration and is not unique to this influence peddling, it is not unique to this particular White House.
CABRERA: Catherine and Joseph, thank you both. So great to have you both with us. Thanks.
MORENO: Goo to be here.
CABRERA: Coming up, live in the CNN NEWSROOM, call for boycott of waffle house are growing louder after this disturbing video surface showing an officer choking and slamming a black man against the restaurant's wall. This story and more, next.
[19:46:13] CABRERA: Waffle house is now responding to a tweet from Martin Luther King's daughter, Bernice, calling for a boycott. Bernice King's tweet came after this video circulated showing an officer choking and slamming a young black man against a wall outside a waffle house in Warsaw, North Carolina.
Now the police officer was called after the young man, Anthony Walls, got into an argument with a waffle house employee. Walls admits he was wrong for the argument, but says the police officer went too far.
Waffle House says quote "we believe there is more to these stories than the short videos that have been posted might suggest. For example, in the Warsaw North Carolina incident, Mr. Wall told WDTV in Raleigh that he takes full responsibility for his interaction with waffle house employees inside our restaurant."
A police in North Carolina are investigating that incident, but the mayor who is black himself has released a video defending the officer involved. In that instance, police were called because the student was arguing with an employee. But other videos taken in the last month show several incidents of police being called on people of color for seemingly no reason.
Take a look at what happened at Yale University this past week. Now, this is where police were called on a black student who was spotted napping in her dorm's common area. That student recorded video on her phone of police asking her to show proof that she attends the school.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to go back to the -- writing my paper.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's -- you got your ID on you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I do.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we see that?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got a police call for you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to make sure --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Let me open my apartment for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we just have your ID, ma'am?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You just said if you prove that I live here, you would leave.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: There's another example of this happening in Philadelphia. That's where two black men were arrested at Starbucks after the manager called 911 because the men didn't order anything.
Another example all the way across the country in California where police were called on three black women in the city of Rialto as they were leaving their Airbnb rental. The woman say a neighbor called 911 because she got scared after they wouldn't wave at her. They also said the police didn't believe that they were renting the Airbnb,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY FYTTE-MARSHALL, FILMMAKER: Once the sergeant came, the mood, the mood and energy changed completely. He didn't believe anything we were saying. He didn't believe airbnb app that we have shown. He didn't believe the landlord that we had called.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: In New Jersey, another incident. Two black men had called, had police called on them and they were kicked out of an L.A. fitness because employees didn't think they were members.
There were other high profile events in Missouri where employees at a Nordstrom rack called police on three black teens they thought had shoplifted. Police found the teens had done nothing wrong. They were simply shopping for prom.
In York County in Pennsylvania, a golf course called officers on five black women for playing too slowly.
Again, all of these incidents have happened within just the last few weeks. All of them causing outrage online forcing uncomfortable conversations but conversations that need to be had.
So let's have one of those now. Joining us to discuss, Cedric Alexander and Marc Lamont Hill.
Mark, is it wrong to conflate these incidents or do you think that they all had something to do with the color of skin?
MARC LAMONT HILL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, you can never get inside the mind of the person making the phone call, but when I look at the reasons that they gave, it definitely points to race.
When you hear things like oh, I was afraid or they didn't wave at me. Plenty of white people don't wave. Plenty of white people walk into coffee houses and don't pay. White collar students fall asleep. I'm a college professor. Some fall asleep in class. I don't call law enforcement.
You know, these are normal things for most Americans. But for black people they suddenly stand out and they create a kind red flag that produces the kind of anxiety that did make them call law enforcement. So race to me is at the center of these incidents.
[19:50:16] CABRERA: Cedric, the video showed the young man being choked by an officer at a waffle house. Have you ever taken down a suspect like that?
CEDRIC ALEXANDER, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Not in those particular circumstances. And certainly not by choking anyone. That is just something that police officers don't do today. And you will find in many departments across the country, choking someone is certainly not part of their policy.
But let me say this to what Marc just said, and that is this, is that, if you look at the circumstances of all of these events, they weren't racially motivated. But the worst part of it is I have a great deal of concern about, as a city leader and former police executive myself, is the fact that you have people now who are calling the police merely because they get into a mild argument with someone that they don't agree with or someone don't appear like they belong in their neighborhood. That is straight out of the racism book. And it is exactly what it is. And I don't use that term loosely.
But when police are brought into these types of situations, trust me, they don't want to be, because they really could be resolved by those businesses and those individuals themselves. But calling the police, we have got to find a way to stop this, because this is not helpful.
CABRERA: I mean, there is the other side of the coin, though, Cedric, because see something, say something has been ingrained into us. So if people were genuinely concerned, how do you juggle that now with this growing awareness, as we are discussing, that some of our suspicions, perhaps if you give these people calling the police the benefit of the doubt, that their suspicion may be simply the result of implicit bias and perhaps unwarranted?
ALEXANDER: Well, great question. And I will answer it the same way we have been asking police officers to respond in making sure that when they stop someone, it's not solely based on race. We ask our police officers to go out there and patrol our communities. And if you have to stop someone, stopping them basically on race, solely on race is unconstitutional.
What we have to teach our American citizens is that, yes, we want you to say something if you see something. But if it's going to be based totally on race, then that is not right. What are the other circumstances or what are the other things that you are seeing that suggest someone might be of suspicion before you make that phone call? Because if it's solely on race, then you need to go inside yourself and ask yourself some serious questions.
HILL: And that's where it gets really tricky, because of course the person who calls at Starbucks or the person who sees someone leaving an airbnb will say, it wasn't race. It was suspicious behavior. They looked angry. They looked untrustworthy. They looked like they were going to steal something. They never say it is on race. They use these other factors.
The problem is those other factors are often a proxy for race. Because what we end up doing is normalizing irrational white fears of black bodies. So yes, for example, back in the day, George Zimmerman kills Trayvon Martin. And people say, George Zimmerman probably was scared. And he gets off from a jury because jury said, yes. If I were George Zimmerman I would be scared of Trayvon Martin too. That's all true. I'm sure he was scared. The problem is that there was no rational reason for it.
I'm sure in Starbucks thought those guys were causing trouble. The problem is there was no rational reason for it. Airbnb, someone leaving airbnb, they had suitcases. That what people on vacation have. But when black people have suitcases, they become something else.
Hoodies, t-shirts, Arizona -- whenever black people carry, they somehow becomes criminal tools. So part of we have to do is not just say when you see something, say something. We have to ask on a deeper level, what is it about racism, what is it about white supremacy that makes them see something even when there really isn't anything there?
CABRERA: I also want to ask you guys about this new music video that Childish Gambino just released. And it's about this issue specifically in many ways. It's called "This is America." And I want to play a clip. For some of those at home, watch the background carefully here.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)
CABRERA: So there at the end you heard him say this is a (INAUDIBLE) the video pans up to four men who are filming on their cellphone. Cedric, what was your takeaway from this video? ALEXANDER: Well, unfortunately where I am here in Pensacola, Florida,
I can't see it. But let me say this very quickly, Ana, is that one thing that has to happen, I certainly do agree with Marc on a lot that he said there. But one thing is going to have to happen. We have got a bigger societal problem around race. And as long as we do, we are going to continue to be confronted with these types of calls to police. And what I will say to police officers and departments out there across the country is that when you approach these situations very cautiously, we want to make sure that law enforcement is not being used in order to satisfy someone else's thirst for dislike of a particular group of people.
CABRERA: Yes. Cedric Alexander, Marc Lamont Hill, I appreciate you both. Thank you so much for the thoughtful conversation.
That is going to do it for me. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thank you for watching. I'm back tomorrow at 5:00 eastern here in the NEWSROOM.
And CNN Special Report, "A Royal Match, Harry and Meghan Markle" starts right after a short break.