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Trump's Political Rallying Cry; Dems Distance from Party; Trump Blames Democrats; DOJ Investigating Diocese. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired October 19, 2018 - 09:30   ET



[09:30:23] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump has declared that immigration is now one of the leading issues of the November midterm elections. And during his third visit to Montana in just three months, he rolled out a fine-tuned campaign message to the crowd.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This will be an election of Kavanaugh, the caravan, law and order and common sense. That's what it's going to be. It's going to be an election of those things.

The choice could not be more clear. Democrats produce mobs. Republicans produce jobs.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So will that refrain work? I'm sure you'll hear it a lot between now and the midterms.

Harry Enten is with us, our senior political writer and analyst.

So that's the rallying cry. It's right there from the president. Democrats create mobs. Republicans create jobs. You know, facts aside here, will it work?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: Well, it -- he's certainly interested in motivating his base. I think that's the number one fear that Republicans have is that people who voted for Donald Trump two years ago won't turn out and vote. That is not a message that's aimed at the middle of the electorate. But I guess the president feels that the real thing that can help put Republicans over the top is by getting those Republican voters out. And it certainly would help in a state like Montana, that voted overwhelmingly for the president. The question is whether or not it works in the suburbs of Philadelphia, for example.

HARLOW: Right, an important point.

SCIUTTO: Right. When you look at the issues that voters are listing as voting issues this year, is immigration close to the top of the list? ENTEN: For Republicans it is. It's not necessarily for Democrats. And

it's one of those issues, remember, if you go back to 2016, that Donald Trump basically rode to the presidency, right? It helped him win the Republican primary and then it helped motivate Republicans to come out and vote for him in the general.

HARLOW: One that I think is fascinating is some of these Democrats who are trying to hang on to their seats or win seats in states like Indiana or in Arizona are splitting from the Democratic Party. I mean just listen to Joe Donnelly, incumbent in Indiana, in this ad.


JOE DONNELLY (D), INDIANA: I split with my own party to support funding for Trump's border wall. The liberal left wants to chop defense spending. No way.


HARLOW: That could be -- I mean, that could be an ad for the most conservative of conservative Republicans, and it's for a Democrat trying to hang on to his seat in Indiana.

ENTEN: It's certainly not an ad that would be filmed in New York City.


ENTEN: Look, Indiana was a state that voted for the president by nearly 20 percentage points. Of course Joe Donnelly wants to make sure that he is separated from the liberal left. But, again, the Senate map is so much different from the House map, right? I mean the Senate map has so many red state incumbents that are running on it, versus the House map, which is taking place in the suburbs in much more liberal and Democratic leaning territories.

SCIUTTO: Donnelley voted, I believe, against Kavanaugh, though, right? So -- so hasn't been --

ENTEN: Yes, he did.


On the issue of the Democratic side. So the president, mobs and jobs. I mean a lot of rhyming. A lot of alliteration in his campaign.

ENTEN: I remember it.

SCIUTTO: (INAUDIBLE). Do the Democrats have an equally catchy message or rallying cry?

ENTEN: I think no, but I'm not sure that's necessarily a bad thing. Remember, midterms tend to be about the president. I would say, if they have one rallying cry it's certainly about health care, pre- existing conditions, holding on to Obamacare, which is much more popular than it used to e, but I don't think that they have one person coordinating the message like they have with the president on the Republican side.


HARLOW: Yes, which the president tried to state last night. He said, look, I'll protect pre-existing conditions, not considering what the Justice Department --

ENTEN: Right. And I think that that's a key sort of factor in all of this is the polling clearly indicates on the health care issue, more Americans are on the Democratic side, and so Republicans are trying to co-op that message.

HARLOW: There you go. Thanks, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Harry Enten, thanks as always.

The president says Democrats are to blame for the thousands of Honduras migrants heading to the U.S. border right now. Reaction from a top Democrat in Texas coming up next.


[09:38:13] HARLOW: Right now thousands of Honduran migrants are headed toward the U.S. border. You've heard the president calling for the so- called caravan to turn around. Well, now he is placing blame. Listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As you know, I'm willing to send the military to defend our southern border, if necessary, all (INAUDIBLE) because of the illegal immigration onslaught brought by the Democrats because they refuse to acknowledge or to change the laws. They like it. They also figure everybody coming in is going to vote Democrat.


HARLOW: Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas. He serves on the House Foreign Affairs and House Intelligence Committees.

Good morning and thank you for being here.

And let's just begin with your reaction to the president. He says it is your fault. It's the Democrats that are driving these migrants to this country so that they can vote for Democrats. You say?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: Yes, I mean, look, the president again and again basically acts like a six or seventh grader. None of these folks are able to vote in the United States. This is not a situation for the military. It's a humanitarian situation. These people are fleeing, literally, some of the deadliest countries on earth. And the last time there was a caravan like this, I don't believe it even came up to the U.S.-Mexico order. And so he's using this as an issue to -- probably to stir up his base because he thinks that's what people want to hear, but also to divide Americans. And he's done it time and time again.

HARLOW: So, congressman, one thing that it shows is that it seems like it is working for some Americans and for his base. When you look at the overall polling, not just of Republicans, overall his approval rating on immigration, it's low, but it's gone from 35 percent up to 39 percent most recently.

The rallying cry was so clear last night, right? He -- and he and other Republicans are echoing it. He says Democrats create mobs. Republicans create jobs. OK?

[09:40:05] Now, if you look at the numbers, you see a lot of job creation at the end of the president -- President Obama's term and at the beginning and now in President Trump's term. But the cry, right, the rallying ability, do you believe that your party has that right now 18 days out from the midterms. And, if so, what is it?

CASTRO: Well, the first thing is that I wish that he wouldn't talk about fellow human beings and folks who are in desperate situations in that way and use them as scapegoats to fear monger and to try to win in the midterms. But, yes, I think there's a lot of energy on the Democratic side. I think that this election, in many ways, is going to be concussive for Donald Trump and the Republican Party because what you see in poll after poll is that America's rejecting this politics of division. I'm not saying that every American is rejecting it or that there isn't a crowd of folks who eat up what the president is saying. But by and large the majority of Americans believe that we need to go another way. They're tired of the corruption of this administration and they want to see something else.

HARLOW: So what's the rallying cry? What is the Democrats' rallying cry in a sentence or a word?

CASTRO: Opportunity for all Americans. We want to make sure that every single American can pursue their American dreams.

HARLOW: So here's --

CASTRO: Whether it's health care and being able to afford health care, getting a good education for your kids, being able to buy a home, all of these things that make for opportunity in this country.

HARLOW: Here's the economy, though, that Democrats are running in, right, and trying to retake both chambers in. An economy where unemployment is at a 69-year low. An economy where this week we heard that wages rose 3.3 percent in the third quarter, beating inflation. And that was sort of the last leg, right? That was the cry that Democrats were making. But wages aren't going up. Well, now they are. How do you run against a Trump economy right now?

CASTRO: You're right. President Obama basically left a great economy for this president and for the benefit of the nation this president has upheld that economy. But there are also millions of Americans who feel as though, yes, they have a job, but they feel like that job is not taking them anywhere. Like, they don't see a great future for themselves. They don't see a career for themselves. A lot of people feel stuck in place under Trump's economy.

HARLOW: What is the best way to run right now, 18 days out, right, when you're running in this economy, for example, and you're running against that rallying cry from the president? Is it Michelle Obama's go high or is it former Attorney General Eric Holders kick them?

CASTRO: I do think that you've got to stand up to the president and to other candidates when they tell lies, when they try to smear you or when they -- when they say things that are false. But I also think that in all of that you -- you can't root out darkness with darkness as is said. You've got to have a positive message. There's got to be something more in this country than just two politicians or candidates in a race or both political parties that are just talking in darkness. There's got to be something more.

HARLOW: I'm sure you saw this, but I'd like your reaction. A Republican congressman, Steve King of Iowa, said recently about you and your brother, that you learned Spanish, quote, to qualify as retroactive Hispanic.

CASTRO: Yes, I did.

HARLOW: I have no idea what he means. Do you know what he means? Have you spoken to him about it, and what's your reaction?

CASTRO: I -- you know, Steve King is one of the few people in Congress that I have actually not spoken to and really have not had the --


CASTRO: I have not, no. I have not had the desire to speak to him because you've got to -- I mean Steve King has talked about Mexican immigrants having cabs the size of cantaloupes because they're running drugs. I mean this is a person who basically has made comments that border on white supremacy. And so, you know, this is kind of consistent with what he does.

Again, unfortunately, I think that he thinks that in Iowa, in that district, it benefits him. But I think there's a good chance that Steve King doesn't come back to Congress in January.


Before we go, we'd like your take on the apparent murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Republican Senator Bob Corker, who, of course, chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that he is being blocked by seeing some of the key intelligence. He says there has been a clampdown on further intelligence updates to senators. The White House respondent saying, look, that's not for us. I know that you're not in session right now, and that you haven't had a chance --

CASTRO: Right. HARLOW: Correct me if I'm wrong, to see this intelligence that he's talking about, but what is your reaction to that concern from your Republican counterpart?

CASTRO: I know, Poppy, that there's been a lot of discussion about this. There will be more discussion on CNN and all the other networks today. Let me get to the point that I think is most disturbing right now. The reporting that Jared Kushner may have, with U.S. intelligence, delivered a hit list, an enemy's list to the crown prince, to MBS, in Saudi Arabia, and that the prince then may have acted on that and one of the people that he took action against was Mr. Khashoggi. And if that's the case --

[09:45:02] HARLOW: Just to be clear, congressman, we don't have -- I just want to be clear for our viewers, we do not have that reporting. I'm sure where you're getting that from, but you --

CASTRO: But there has been reporting to that effect, sure.

HARLOW: All right, not CNN reporting.

CASTRO: I have seen reporting to that effect, sure. But the long and short of it is that that needs to be investigated. This entire -- the entire timeline of what happened of any sharing of American intelligence with the Saudis and how they may have used that intelligence needs to be investigated by the Intelligence Committees in the House and in the Senate.

HARLOW: Do you feel -- finally, do you find any comfort in the president last night saying that whomever has carried this out, the consequences have to be, quote, very severe?

CASTRO: Yes, I'm glad that he's spoken up. I'm glad that he's indicated that there will be consequences. I think that we should apply sanctions, that we should use the Global Magnitsky Act and that we could take action.

But, once again, he's waiting on a Saudi investigation. Since when do we rely on the murders to do the investigation, the suspects to do the investigation?

HARLOW: OK. I hear you. He's also waiting on the investigation from the Turks, a NATO ally.

Congressman Joaquin Castro, thanks for your time this morning.

CASTRO: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: The Justice Department has subpoenaed catholic diocese in Pennsylvania and Buffalo, New York, as part of an investigation into alleged abuse by priests. A live update is after this.


[09:50:53] SCIUTTO: The Justice Department is demanding records from catholic diocese across Pennsylvania and one here in New York state. It is launching its own investigation into accusations of rape and sexual abuse by priests.

HARLOW: Investigators have subpoenaed records from seven of the eight catholic diocese in Pennsylvania and also the diocese of Buffalo, New York. The subpoenas come on the heels of that grand jury report in Pennsylvania that allege just heinous, heinous child abuse, rape, sexual assault of children by predator priests.

Our Rosa Flores joins us now with more.

So what are investigators looking at here?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Poppy, from the -- what we know from a source in New York, we know that there they're looking for pornography and also for the misuse of cell phones. In Pennsylvania, it's unclear. It's still unclear as to what the focus of that probe is. But here's the deal, this is a very big thing for survivors because they have been asking the U.S. DOJ to investigate for years and now we have confirmation that they are investigating the catholic church in two different states in the United States, in Pennsylvania and in New York.

Let me start with New York because a source there that is familiar with that federal subpoena that was issued to the diocese of Buffalo tells us that the documents that were requested were for the following -- pornography, taking victims across state lines, inappropriate use of cell phones, and social media. Now, from internal e-mails obtained from CNN, we've learned that that diocese did in fact comply by the deadline with the U.S. DOJ.

Now to Pennsylvania. There are seven of the eight diocese, including two of the biggest, Pittsburgh and Philly, received subpoenas yesterday. And while it's unclear exactly what the probe is there, we are getting comments from those dioceses. Here's what the Greensburg diocese had to say. Quote, this subpoena is no surprise considering the horrific misconduct detailed in the state-wide grand jury report. Survivors, parishioners and the public want to see proof that every diocese has been sweeping, decisive and impactful action to make children safer.

Now, U.S. attorneys in both Pennsylvania and New York are not confirming or denying that an investigation is actually going on, but the diocese themselves are saying that they are cooperating with authorities and the diocese in Buffalo going a step further saying that they believe -- they don't believe that their investigation is related to the one in Pennsylvania.

But, Poppy and Jim, this is huge news for survivors because they've been asking for this for years and finally they feel like there is some chance for justice, but they also are asking that the U.S. DOJ not stop at these two states because there are survivors in every state in this nation.

SCIUTTO: Rosa, is the implication here that this request for documents, et cetera, is going to lead to new charges against alleged perpetrators? FLORES: You know, that's what they're hoping for. Survivors have been

telling me that, you know, the statute of limitations at the state level is so short, and nothing has been done for so long, Jim and Poppy, that a lot of those statute of limitations, as we learned from the Pennsylvania grand jury report, have lapsed.

HARLOW: Right.

FLORES: And so the hope here is that the feds, that the federal government can do something, hoping that those statute of limitations are a little longer so that justice can also -- can actually happen.

SCIUTTO: Well, they deserve justice.


SCIUTTO: Rosa Flores, thanks very much.

HARLOW: The president praises a congressman last night. Why? For assaulting a reporter. Yes, this happened. As the world waits for answers on the disappearance and apparent murder of another reporter, a "Washington Post" journalist, Jamal Khashoggi. We'll discuss ahead.


[09:58:57] HARLOW: No surprise here we're counting. Eighteen days until the midterms. And we want to know every day what's motivating you to get out to the polls this November.

SCIUTTO: We've been asking people all over the country to share their reasons for a segment we call "Why I'm Voting." Take a listen to today's episode.


JONAH STILLMAN, VOTER FROM MINNEAPOLIS: I will be voting in the upcoming midterm elections because I believe that every student should not only be motivated to go to school and learn, but should feel safe while doing so.

LAUR BAIRD, VOTER FROM FAIRFAX, VIRGINIA: Climate change and pollution will only get worse if we don't put a stop to it. And we, as young people, have the power to make that change by voting in people who care about the environment and by making the change ourselves.

MALICK MERCIER, VOTER FROM NEW YORK: Young people are saying that it's not about party, it's about policy, it's about the issues that matter to us. And I feel like that is something that's so pivotal to our democracy that we're not just voting down the ballot Democrat or down the ballot Republican or another party, but that we're actually voting by person.

JONAH BRYSON, VOTER FROM CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS: I'm voting so that everyone, women, men, gays, straight, immigrants, disabled, everyone can be treated equally in America.


SCIUTTO: Those are some thoughtful young voters.

[10:00:00] HARLOW: First time voters, yes.

SCIUTTO: So tell us why you're voting. You can weigh in on the conversation. All you've got to do is post a video to Instagram telling us what's pushing you to the polls. Just make sure to use the hash tag #whyivotecnn.