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Lindsey Graham Reacts to Trump's Mocking of Blasey Ford; Donald Trump Jr Campaigns for Ted Cruz in Texas; DHS Inspector General: Trump Administration Poorly Planned, Poorly Executed Zero-Tolerance Policy. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 3, 2018 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We will deal with it now here, and at this moment, sifting through this multi-page, thousands of word investigation from the "New York Times." It's just part of the truth right now.

Great to see you. Thank you very much, guys.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up, how worried is Ted Cruz about his reelection bid? Worried enough to call in Donald Trump Jr for help. Can the president's son help keep the Lone Star state in the red column? What does it mean for the balance of power in the Senate? Taking a look, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:35:02] BOLDUAN: More reaction, fresh reaction coming in right now to Donald Trump's mocking of Christine Blasey Ford before thousands of people at a campaign rally last night.

Just moments ago, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, Trump's sometimes foe, sometimes allyl recently quite an ally of the president's when it comes to Brett Kavanaugh, he spoke out at the Atlantic Festival. Let me play what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: So President Trump went through a factual rendition that I didn't particularly like. I would tell him knock it off. You're not helping. But it can be worse. You can actually kill somebody's cat and puncture their tires to get them to shut up. So, you know, what he said --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't understand what that means.

(LAUGHTER)

GRAHAM: Well, you don't remember Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick so you don't. I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't remember anything about the cat.

GRAHAM: Well, her cat --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But what is the point? The point is that Donald Trump could have said something worse so we should be thankful?

GRAHAM: No. The point is, we have come a long way. We've come a long way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. All right.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. All right. It's fine. It's fine. It's fine.

GRAHAM: No. Wait a minute. Whether you like it or not, I really don't care. Here's the point. I have seen what happened to these women in 1998 that came forward. I don't like what the president said last night. I'm the first person to say, I want to hear from Dr. Ford. I thought she was handled respectfully. I thought Kavanaugh was treated like crap.

(BOOING)

GRAHAM: Yes, well, boo yourself.

Here's --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Joining me right now, Democratic Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

Congresswoman, that was the first time I heard that, as it just happened. That is Lindsey Graham reacting to the president last night.

What do you say?

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, (D) DELEGATE TO U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Senator Graham should have left it with "the president shouldn't have said that." That would have been enough. What we saw last night, what the country saw and what the world saw was a mean, disgusting attack on a sexual assault victim. Now, it reminds me of the kind of attack that the president did on the disabled person when he was running. It looks like he gets some joy out of attacking helpless people. As Lindsey Graham said, it didn't help his cause any. I think it hurt his cause. Remember, it was this president who, after Dr. Ford's testimony, said that he found her credible because the testimony was so compelling. Perhaps he wants to criticize him now upon thinking of things she might have said or shouldn't have said or couldn't remember. There's a way to do that without attacking her. That's what that was, a straight-out mean attack on her that didn't help him one bit. BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, you literally marched over from the House to

the Senate back in '91 to call, demand that your Senate colleagues allow Anita Hill to speak out and testify against Clarence Thomas, then nominee, now Justice Clarence Thomas. Back in '91, Anita Hill was dragged through the mud, but not by the president. If Anita Hill was such a defining moment, if you will, in the cultural conversation about sexual harassment, what does this moment define?

HOLMES NORTON: This moment is more than deja vu all over again. Remember, Anita Hill accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. This time, the accusation is a felony, certainly at the time it would have been. It's far more serious an accusation. I wonder whether the Senate has learned anything from 1991 and that ordeal.

I can tell you this, yes, Clarence Thomas did go on to the Supreme Court. Perhaps Kavanaugh will go on to the Supreme Court. But the Republicans paid a terrible price. That, too, was an election year. It became the year of the woman. I'm not here to make predictions, but I see that coming again, whether or not Kavanaugh goes on to the court.

BOLDUAN: Lindsey Graham said just now that he wanted Christine Blasey Ford to be heard. He said she was treated with respect inside that hearing. Outside the hearing, I think we can say it is a different story. Inside that hearing, treated with respect. He said, inside that hearing, Kavanaugh was treated like crap. Do you agree with that?

HOLMES NORTON: I certainly don't. Kavanaugh himself, however, came forward in such a way that he ruined his own testimony by coming on as if he were a political figure appearing before a committee rather than a judge. He lost his judge cloak, his demeanor as a judge. So now we are headed towards a -- everyone is lying in wait for this report. But for what purpose? It looks like we just checked off a box. Been there, done that, let's vote.

[11:40:28] BOLDUAN: Do you think that is also on the part of some Democrats?

HOLMES NORTON: Some Democrats did what?

BOLDUAN: You think that is also Democrats have already reached their conclusion regardless of what --

HOLMES NORTON: Not reaching their conclusions. The public is going to want to know, what did the report say. I understand that the witnesses have to be protected, but we are not getting any FBI report. We're not getting any summation. Even one of the Republicans said there might be a way to do a summary. As far as I can see, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have had an almost-week pause for a report and then the public is left wondering, so what because --

(CROSSTALK)

# Are you going to accept the FBI's summary? Whatever you get, the report that you hear from Senators, will you accept that as a final word?

HOLMES NORTON: This is a problem I'm going to have with what is happening to the FBI. They retain my respect. What has happened is they have been hog tied. We know of 40 witnesses that have not been called. In fact, Dr. Blasey Ford, why hasn't she been interviewed? What about the 20 witnesses she asked to be interviewed? What I think has happened is the president, talking out of both sides of his mouth, promised a wide-open investigation by the FBI, and then told the FBI to sequester exactly what would happen. And so we know that very few witnesses have been interviewed and there has been no follow up. So the FBI, the full week seems to have been for nothing.

BOLDUAN: We just don't know at least quite yet.

Congresswoman, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

HOLMES NORTON: My pleasure.

BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[11:47:58] DONALD TRUMP JR, SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: Do you have a leader that actually has resolve? That actually stands up for what you believe in? That will actually fight?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That is actually a preview of what voters in Texas could hear today when the president's son, Don Jr, stumps for Senator Ted Cruz. Cruz is in the fight of his life against Democratic Congressman Beto O'Rourke, reigniting the perennial Democratic dream to turn Texas blue. How real is that dream?

Let's bring in CNN senior political writer and analyst, Harry Enten.

I got it right.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER & ANALYST: You got it right today. Congratulations.

Things are looking up.

How real is this?

ENTEN: I mean, it's realer than it probably has been in a while. Democrats have forever been saying that, oh, we will change Texas blue, the demographics are on our side. But the fact of the matter is Ted Cruz is still favored in this race. Is it a three-point race, four-point race, five-point race, I'm not sure exactly. My forecast has it closer to three. O'Rourke is close but Cruz has led consistently throughout.

BOLDUAN: If O'Rourke is going to pull it off in the end, who are the voters he has to turn out?

ENTEN: I think there are two he has it to turn out. Number one, Latino voters don't seem to be, at least in polls, turning on as high numbers as we might expect. That's number one. Latino voters are more Democratic leaning.

BOLDUAN: Right.

ENTEN: Number two, white college voters in the suburbs of Houston and Dallas. Those are key voters who switched over to Clinton's side from Romney's side I 2012 to 2016. You see it in the district polls taken around those two places we see that O'Rourke is leading but is he leading by enough?

BOLDUAN: Ted Cruz thinks he needs Donald Trump's name to help him get elected. Donald Trump Jr going out there to stump for him today. What does Trump's approval rating tell you about Cruz's path?

ENTEN: Number one, I think it is so nice that Cruz has made up with Donald Trump. I remember the fights in 2016.

(CROSSTALK)

ENTEN: Yes. Isn't it weird? Politics makes strange bed fellows.

I would say Cruz needs to make sure is he gets the voters in rural areas that Trump is popular among. He can get a large turnout there, that can overcome any strength O'Rourke has in the suburbs.

BOLDUAN: Texas, let's see.

ENTEN: We'll see.

BOLDUAN: We'll see.

Great to see you, Harry. Thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

[11:49:16] BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, officials were not prepared for families ripped apart at the border, children in cages. A federal watch dog group confirms that the Trump administration poorly planned and poorly executed its zero-tolerance policy. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: Poorly planned, poorly executed and not prepared. That is now a new report from Homeland Security's internal watch dog describes the Trump administration's family separation policy, which you will remember resulted in thousands of children being taken away from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, hundreds of which are still separated despite a month-old judge's order that the government reunite them with their parents. This, as there are now reports of hundreds of migrant children being moved into a tent city in Texas.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher takes a closer look at it all. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(CHANTING)

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The chaos.

(CRYING)

GALLAGHER: The crying. The court cases. Images now associated with the Trump administration's controversial zero-tolerance policy.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We believe in strong borders and no crime. It is very simple.

(CHEERING)

GALLAGHER: Now an internal report from the Department of Homeland Security inspector general says that DHS was, quote, "not fully prepared to implement the administration's zero-tolerance policy or to deal with its after effects."

Democrats, already critical, seized on the findings.

SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D), ILLINOIS: Secretary Nielsen needs to accept responsibility and resign. This is a sorry chapter in American history. And she was one of the engineers.

GALLAGHER: The review describes the rollout marred by poor communication and bad information.

DURBIN: This was not only a shameful policy, it was a clear case of incompetence.

GALLAGHER: During the summer, officials attempted to downplay images of children in cage-like enclosures at Customs and Border Protection processing centers, saying the law only allowed them to be there for 72 hours. But the report found at least 860 kids in Texas were held beyond the legal limit. Including one child detained for 25 days, more than eight times what the law allows.

MARK WEAVER, HHS SPOKESMAN: We know where they are, we know their age, we know their sex. Again, I will emphasize we know where their parents are.

GALLAGHER: On June 23rd, DHS announced that it had a central database that contained information on separated children and parents. But according to the report, the OIG found no evidence that such a database exists. In a statement, a DHS spokesperson pushed back against the report's conclusion, saying, in part, "The findings of OIG report illustrates the difficulties in enforcing immigration laws that are broken and poorly written."

Immigration advocates, like Linda Reyes, point out that is not just zero-tolerance that is creating problems.

[11:55:10] LINDA REYES, IMMIGRATION ADVOCATE: It is in our own backyard. It's just a glaring reminder of the failures of this administration.

GALLAGHER: From above, you can see the expansion of the tent city shelter, which is supposed to be temporary, compared to the video CNN shot there three months ago. The population of unaccompanied teens has quadrupled to roughly 1600.

LEE GELERNT, ACLU LAWYER: We may just be at the beginning of trying to figure out, how did this happen in the United States.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BOLDUAN: That was Dianne Gallagher reporter for us from Texas.

Dianne, thank you so much.

Coming up, President Trump fired up and lashing out against Christine Blasey Ford. Members of his own party now speaking out calling it just plain wrong. Does this impact key votes though in Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation? The calculation, the speculation, that is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)