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Political Newcomer Ousts Powerful 10-term Democratic Congressman; Interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; FBI Agent Who Sent Anti-Trump Texts To Meet With Lawmakers Today; East Pittsburgh Officer Charged In Shooting Death of Antwon Rose. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired June 27, 2018 - 09:00   ET

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


[09:00:00] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: -- Trump backed candidate continue including an easy win for Mitt Romney in Utah.

Our Harry Enten is with me now.

And Harry, you've, A, been up all night so thanks for being with us.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: It's primaries.

HARLOW: It's primary night. You get so excited. But when you look at this, I mean, one reporter phrase it, a 28-year-old socialist Latina beating a 56-year-old white man is the most 2018 thing to happen in this cycle, right?

ENTEN: Yes, I mean, look, everything to me is 2018. I expect the unexpected this cycle for sure.

HARLOW: OK. Tell me about this.

ENTEN: You know, to me, she was a good fit for this district and Joe Crowley simply wasn't. Joe Crowley was a white man representing a district that citizen age voting population 68 percent nonwhite. Joe Crowley was to the left but he wasn't far enough to the left in the Democratic Party that's becoming more liberal. In the year of the woman, Joe Crowley was obviously a man. And more than that, Joe Crowley was an old man in a party that is becoming younger and younger. 18 to 29-year-old are becoming larger share of the Democratic Party.

HARLOW: There are some who point to this and say look, this is an anomaly, this is about, as you said, her district, she's a better fit for this district, but this is not sort of a preview of what is to come for the party as a whole. Do you agree with that analysis or do you agree that this is a huge wakeup call for the party and the leadership?

ENTEN: Well, look, district specific factors obviously played a hand at here. But look at the Maryland governor's race, Ben Jealous with Bernie Sanders' endorsement won there.

HARLOW: Yes.

ENTEN: Yvette Clarke in New York 9th, a longtime congresswoman, she faced a heavy challenge from a lot. So it did seem to me that progressive challengers really could have a good night last night.

HARLOW: She ran on a platform of universal health care, a federal job guarantee, abolishing ICE, right, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. A lot of what she said sounds a lot like what Bernie Sanders said. She also, for example, ran on small donations largely from people in her districts just like Bernie Sanders.

When you're looking at the party as a whole and you look at people like a Kamala Harris or a Kirsten Gillibrand, or, you know, an Elizabeth Warren and you're looking at -- waking up this morning, are you taking any indication from this about what this might mean for you come 2020 if you run?

ENTEN: Absolutely. I take it as a big warning sign that the left part of the Democratic Party is alive and well, and to me, it's a definite single that you need -- you know, Bernie Sanders got over 40 percent of the primary vote in 2016. We should've known that but now we really, really know that.

HARLOW: Right. And finally, on Utah, the president tweeting sort of Kumbaya from the president on the Mitt Romney win in Utah, and they have not been on the same page on a lot of things but he says there's so much good to do a great and loving family will be coming to D.C.

ENTEN: Isn't that so nice that they're together now? I mean, look, Mitt Romney is going to be the most anti-Trump Republican in the Senate and Mitt Romney has permission to do so in a state like Utah where he won by nearly 50 points --

HARLOW: Right.

ENTEN: -- while Donald Trump only won by about 20 points.

HARLOW: Harry Enten, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

HARLOW: Nice to have you. Appreciate you staying awake for us this morning.

Joining me now, Mark Preston, CNN senior political analyst, and Perry Bacon, senior political writer at FiveThirtyEight.

Gentlemen, nice to have you. In Ocasio-Cortez's, you know, bio and also in one of the ads she ran, running, she said, quote, "Women like me," Mark, "aren't supposed to run for office." She is Latina, she's a woman, she's 28 and she won.

What should Democrats be hearing loud and clear this morning?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, a couple of things. This has been a story that, you know, I think the four of us all can agree on -- you know, Harry as well -- when you're talking about the changing demographics of the Democratic Party. You're talking about a Democratic Party now that is pushing back against the establishment. There's been so much focus on President Trump and what he tweets in the early morning hours all throughout the day that the Democratic Party in many ways has had a pass, meaning they haven't had to air their dirty laundry out in the public and when it has been aired out in the public, Poppy, it doesn't get as much attention.

When I talk about the dirty laundry, it really is about the direction, the future direction of the party 10 years from now but that fight is taking place right now. Not only in these congressional contest that we're seeing like we saw last night. This huge upset, but we're also seeing it amongst the party structure and the party leadership. And, you know, you just go back about a month ago, there's talk that Bernie Sanders, his movement, wasn't seeming to catch cold. Well, clearly, whoever was talking about that about a month ago was not right.

HARLOW: Right. You know, Perry, she worked for Bernie Sanders in 2016. She ran on a very similar if not more left, more progressive platform even than he did but that's a platform that has not brought up until now a lot of wins so far, right, this primary season. Do you think that this changes that, meaning is this the beginning of a trend or is this a one-off?

PERRY BACON, SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: I tend to think it's a one-off. The vast majority of primaries this year and unsurprisingly the incumbents have won. In general, until last night I would say the Sanders wing of the party has not been doing particularly well in these primaries themselves. A lot of the more establishment, more DCCC, more sort of party candidates have won.

So I do think last night might be like it's a part of the demographics of the district and may also tell us, though, that Crowley particularly was maybe (INAUDIBLE) to the district, maybe sort of -- got caught off guard.

[09:05:04] Maybe she was a particularly good campaigner. I do think maybe we should think about this race as a little bit of a one-off and maybe she was a particularly good candidate. He was a particularly poor one.

HARLOW: Guys, listen to what she said just this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL NOMINEE: Working-class Americans and voters here have been waiting for an unapologetic champion for academia, social and racial dignity in the United States and we provided a very direct message, a very clear message.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: A very clear, very direct message and being an unapologetic champion for economic, social and racial dignity.

Mark Preston, is she saying the Democratic Party as it stands now is not that?

PRESTON: Yes. That's what the struggle is right now in many ways. They don't feel that the Democrats are pushing hard enough back against President Trump. That they don't feel like they're doing enough in Congress, when I say that I mean, the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party, that they are not laying it all out on the field to try to get things done.

What we should note, though, is that when she said it was a very direct message, it was a very tailored message that she delivered last night to a very tailored constituency that is going to embrace that message. That message is not going to be embraced in the middle of Missouri. That message is not going to be embraced in the middle of Arizona, let's say.

So while we are looking at her now as saying, wow, she -- this anomaly, you know, this rock star, this breakout candidate, after November, assuming she's going to win, she's going to go to Congress and become one of 435 members.

HARLOW: All right, gentlemen, I hate to cut you short but I have a very important woman joining me next. Thank you both for being here.

Joining me now is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Congratulations. What a night.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you. Thank you very, very much, Poppy.

HARLOW: I don't know what I did by 28 years old but it certainly wasn't this. So congratulations to you. You said leading up to last night in the election, women like me aren't supposed to run for office. You did, you won. You were outspent 10 to 1, why did you win?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think that really -- I mean we won because we organized. We won because I think we had a very clear, winning message and we took that message to doors that had never been knocked on before. We spoke to communities that had typically been, I think, dismissed and they responded.

You know, when people feel like they are being spoken directly to, I do feel like they are willing -- they'll do things like turnout in an off-year midterm primary.

HARLOW: You are clearly saying that your party -- that the Democratic Party has dismissed factions of society, has dismissed groups of people. Who is that?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think what we really need to talk about it is we need to be talking about reaching out to young people, people that we think are usually nonvoters, communities of color, people who speak English as a second language, working class people, people with two jobs that usually are too busy, quote-unquote, "to vote." People who have never voted before. A lot of time --

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: But is the Democratic Party not doing that? Is the Democratic Party not doing that? Is that what you're saying?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think that -- I think that here in New York, the historical wisdom is to go after your triple prime and you know, nationally I think there are probably some folks doing some good work and some really exciting candidates like Ayanna Pressley out of Massachusetts doing that work, but here in New York and here in this district, I feel like it wasn't being done.

HARLOW: So you have called for a number of things, one of them being to abolish ICE and you recently traveled to the border, to Tornillo, Texas, to see the shelters, to see where some of these separated families are being held. What would you replace ICE with and do we not need protection at the border?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, we absolutely do need to make sure that our borders are secure, to make sure that people are safe in passage, but what we need to realize and remember is that ICE was established in 2003 right at the same time as the Patriot Act, the AUMF, the Iraq war, and we look back at a lot of that time and legislation as a mistake now and I think that ICE is right there as a part of it. It has -- its extrajudicial nature is baked in to the structure of the agency and that is why they're able to get away with black -- you know, with black sites at our border with the separation of children.

We are committing human rights abuses on this border in separating children from their families and that, you know, is part of the structure of the agency. We can replace it and we can replace it with a humane agency that is directed towards safe passage instead of the direction of the criminalization.

HARLOW: What do you mean black sites? What do you mean by black sites?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Pardon?

HARLOW: What do you mean about black sites?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well -- so I was just -- yes. Yes, so actually we're just hopping off MSNBC and they were talking about it. Basically, what we have is that people are not able to access, even our own members of Congress are not able to access what is happening in these sites.

[09:10:06] And that in and of itself, the secretive nature, I mean, we know that children are being kept and that human rights abuses are happening and without any sort of transparency or accountability, that is where we're at right now. That is simply what is happening.

HARLOW: I would note those facilities run by HHS but I know some of the lawmakers who have even gotten inside have not been able to see some of the children.

Let me ask about a few things that if you make it to Washington, if you win in November, would you support Nancy Pelosi for House speaker should the Democrats take control of the House? OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think it's far too early to make those kinds of

commitments right now. I think we just need to look at what the options are. You know, it's entirely possible but we also just need to see what the landscape of -- of the leadership, and I think we need to just focus on winning November first and then we'll have this conversation about our leadership.

HARLOW: That's not -- you know, certainly anything but a resounding yes. It sounds like you have some questions about the Democratic Party's leadership overall right now?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think -- I think really what this is just about is we need to see what Congress we elect in November. And it's entirely possible that she -- that her leadership may stay but it's also entirely possible that we can look at other options. I just don't think that -- I think it's far too premature to have this conversation.

HARLOW: You -- look, it's notable that you defeated a man, Representative Crowley, that was the heir apparent, right, to Nancy Pelosi. There are some Democrats as you know who have been pushing for impeachment proceedings against the president should Democrats retake the House in November.

There are other Democrats like Representative Jerry Nadler of New York as well who have warned against that, and said that is a dangerous path for Democrats to run on. Where do you fall? Would you push for a Trump impeachment should you win?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I would -- I would support impeachment. I think that, you know, we have the grounds to do it. I think what really we need to focus on is making sure that we are advocating for the policies to win in November, but ultimately I think that what we need to kind of focus on is insuring that we can -- you know, when people break the law, potentially break the law that we have to hold everyone accountable and that no person is above that law.

HARLOW: Do you see yourself, Alexandria, as more of a Democrat or a progressive? Would you say I am a member of the Democratic Party this morning?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I'm absolutely -- I'm proud to be a Democrat. I was raised in a Democratic family with Democratic values but it also means that the Democratic Party is a big tent and there are so many ways to be a Democrat and I'm proud to bring to Congress an additional perspective and a lens towards what the future of the Democratic Party may be.

HARLOW: In 2020, should you win in November, in 2020, can you say right now that you will unequivocally back the Democratic nominee in opposition to President Trump? Meaning, you know, if this were 2016 --

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes.

HARLOW: Would it be a guarantee that Hillary Clinton would have gotten your vote?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes.

HARLOW: Or do you foresee a reasonable scenario in which that wouldn't happen?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: No. I mean, I think that we're just at a moment where we absolutely have to support the Democratic nominee against President Trump, absolutely, without question.

HARLOW: Here in New York as you know there is a gubernatorial race that's getting a lot of attention. Governor Andrew Cuomo running against Cynthia Nixon. She's called for some similar things as you. She's called for the abolition of ICE as well. Who are you backing? Who should win?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Oh, well, I was proud to receive the endorsement of Miss Nixon yesterday and in return that support, you know, I think that there were a few people that took major, major risks in supporting this campaign and in charting that path forward and she was one of them, Zephyr Teachout was another, and, you know, they really took a major risk and I think that that is -- you know, it's a great form of leadership.

HARLOW: So that's an endorsement for Cynthia Nixon? Correct? Let's go back to the question.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes.

HARLOW: You said, you're a Democrat who said I would -- I would favor proceeding with impeachment against the president, Articles of Impeachment against President Trump if you win in November. On what ground should the president be impeached?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think that there are serious grounds in violations of the emoluments clause from day one. And, you know, I think that that is first and foremost one of the basic elements and violations on that and then -- you know, once again, it's hard to predict what's going to happen over the next few months. There are several investigations -- one or more investigations happening, but I think from day one we had violations of the emoluments clause here in -- with the presidency.

[09:15:00]

HARLOW: As we know there is not equality, gender equality or equality on the base of race when it comes to representation in Congress and that is slowly changing, but I just wonder if you could reflect a bit on your win as a woman, as a 28-year-old Latino woman and the year we're in, the #MeToo movement, sort of what you believe this says about the country?

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I think it says right now that women are at a time where they are feeling emboldened and that we know that justice and we know that representation is not going to be handed to us. We have to fight for it. We have to earn it. We have to fight for every single vote, every single scrap. And not only is that necessary, but that women are ready to do that this year now more than ever.

HARLOW: Finish this sentence for me, Alexandria. Should I be elected to Congress in November, I will accomplish blank?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes. So, I think should I be elected to Congress in November, I'm hoping to accomplish not just my own election, but a caucus of progressives in the primaries to come, so that we can come in to this legislation - I mean, come into Congress and be able to cosponsor really a profound legislation that not only fights for economic and social and racial dignity for all Americans, but advances healthcare as a human right, advances higher education, the expansion of higher education, including trade schools to all working class Americans and more.

HARLOW: All right. And the name that is top of mind for you when it comes to the Democrat you think should run against President Trump in 2020? I want one name, what is it?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Man, I do not have one right now. There are a lot of great ones.

HARLOW: That's a problem. That's a problem for your party, isn't it, that you don't have a name?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: I mean, I think healthy - we're used to voting for the lesser of two evils instead of the better of the two options. And I hope that, in the future, in 2020, we realize that having more than one amazing candidate is not a problem.

HARLOW: Is there a better option? I mean, not a lesser of two evils. I mean, if you think of a Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand, are any of those names top for you right now? Do you think they can and should win against President Trump?

OCASIO-CORTEZ: For me, I think that any candidate right now in 2020, my bar, my first bar is the rejection of corporate lobbyist PAC money in financing our campaigns. I think we have several excellent candidates that have taken that important bold first step.

And I'm looking forward to seeing how their policies evolve and develop. I think there's a lot of jockeying over the names, but we need to really take a look at some of the policies and the proposals that earn that kind of front-runner status.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, congratulations. Let this soak in for a moment.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you.

HARLOW: Thanks for being with me. Thank you.

HARLOW: Breaking news. The officer who shot and killed an unarmed 17-year-old Antwon Rose in East Pittsburgh is under arrest facing criminal homicide charges this morning. Also, a federal judge cracks down on the administration ruling families must be reunited and separations at the border must end. We have the latest.

And new video of a high stakes meeting in Moscow today between National Security Adviser John Bolton and Russian President Vladimir Putin as Bolton lays the groundwork for a possible summit between Putin and President Trump.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:22:40] HARLOW: In just a minute, the senior FBI agent who sent those anti-Trump text messages during the campaign will appear on Capitol Hill. Peter Strzok once worked on the Russia investigation and on the Clinton email probe.

Our Manu Raju is live on Capitol Hill. And, Manu, the inspector general said, he could not conclude, right - could not conclude that Strzok's decisions were free from bias. That doesn't mean the investigation was biased, but he was concerned that it - there was a cloud cast over the entire investigation because of these texts. How significant is today's hearing?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is the first time that Peter Strzok is coming before any committee in Congress. A number of Republican chairmen of key committees have been eager to talk to Peter Strzok in light of the thousands of text messages that he did exchange with former FBI attorney Lisa Page with whom he was having an extramarital affair at the time and they exchanged messages including anti-Trump messages as part of a number that they have exchanged over some time.

Now, in that inspector general report, it was sharply critical of his conduct, said it did cast a cloud over the bureau and also it raised concerns about whether his decision to help focus on the Russia investigation, rather than reopening that Clinton investigation in late 2016, whether that was "free from bias" and that's something that Peter Strzok's attorney has rejected, said it was not - it was completely just a miscommunication and nothing to do about bias whatsoever.

But, overall, the inspector general said that the ultimate decisions reached by the - to not prosecute Hillary Clinton was not affected by anyone's political views and Strzok himself was not at the center of making all the decisions. There was a whole group of people who were making the decisions.

But, nevertheless, expect lawmakers behind closed doors today to press him on a lot of these things, the text messages especially, the ones that were revealed in the inspector general report, including one that said Trump's not ever going to become president. That was a question from Lisa Page. The response from Peter Strzok was, no, no, he won't, we'll stop it.

Now, Poppy, this comes as these two committees meeting behind closed doors have actually announced this investigation back in last October and Peter Strzok is just a fifth witness to be interviewed as part of this investigation about the FBI's actions in 2016.

[09:25:00] And I can tell you, a number of conservatives who sit on these panels are just dissatisfied with the chairman of these committees by not pursuing this investigation fast enough.

And one person who is also not satisfied, President Trump, who said that Peter Strzok's testimony today should be in public, not behind closed doors.

Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the committee, does want eventually to bring him out into public, but that's part of the internal debate that's happening among the Republican side about whether or not to fight, push harder on this investigation.

But Peter Strzok's testimony, one big witness coming before this committee that started this investigation last fall, Poppy.

HARLOW: Right. Goodlatte did say - I think he tweeted back at the president, saying we're working on that, we're working on having a public hearing. Thank you, Manu. Appreciate it.

We have breaking news this morning. Breaking news, East Pittsburgh police officer who shot and killed 17-year-old Antwon Rose has been arrested and charged with criminal homicide.

Last week, officer Michael Rosfeld shot Rose three times while he was running away from police. Rose's death has sparked several days of protests in Pittsburgh. Demonstrators demanding justice and accountability.

Our correspondent Athena Jones has been on this story. She joins me live in Pittsburgh with the latest. So, we know that he was - this officer was, temporarily at least, suspended of his duties. Now, these official criminal charges.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Poppy. That's right. One count of criminal homicide. I want to read to you from the criminal complaint we've obtained.

It says the actor, meaning Michael Rosfeld, the officer, intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently caused the death of Antwon Rose, another human being.

We know from the criminal docket that officer Rosfeld was arrested and fingerprinted today and we know that his first preliminary hearing is scheduled for next Friday, July 6th. We expect to learn more information at 11 o' clock when the Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala briefs the media.

Now, that name is a name that has been on the protesters lips for days. They have been marching in the streets, demanding that the district attorney bring charges in this case. This is exactly what protesters have wanted to see and what Antwon Rose's family has been wanting to see.

And we have a reaction from Lee Merritt, who is the attorney for Antwon Rose's family. He tweeted, "Michael Rosfeld has been charged with criminal homicide in the murder of Antwon Rose. This is a small stride toward justice, but we have a very long road ahead."

And I should mention, Poppy, that many of the protesters I spoke to, of course, they want to see an indictment, but if we talk to people in Antwon Rose's family, like his aunt who spoke passionately at yesterday's demonstration, she said she won't rest until there is a conviction in this case.

And so, there's a long way to go before this case goes to trial, but this is what protesters have been demanding and Antwon Rose's family's attorney calling this a good first step. Poppy?

HARLOW: Athena Jones live for us in Pittsburgh on this story. Thank you for the reporting.

Ahead for us, the Trump administration's immigration policy takes a major blow when a federal judge orders the government to stop most family separations at the border and also to reunite these families within 30 days. What he's requiring federal officials to do immediately.

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