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Growing List of Elected Officials Decline Invitation to Join Trump in Pittsburgh; Trump's Misleading Claims on Caravan, Birthright Citizenship Dominate Midterm Message; Anti-Semitism Has Spiked in the Last 2 Years; Anti-Semitism Rises on Social Media; Indonesia Orders All 737-Max Airlines Checked After Crash. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired October 30, 2018 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And others saying still, they don't want the president to come at all in their time of grieving.


REP. RYAN COSTELLO, (R), PENNSYLVANIA: COSTELLO: So, yes, I would say -- I would say --

BOLDUAN: If there's that -- if there's that divergence of opinion, what do you think -- what do you think the president should do?

COSTELLO: I would be in the middle category, which is let services be completed, let the community mourn, and then come. This notion that he shouldn't be there because some folks don't like the president or certain things he says, that doesn't -- that doesn't persuade me. Nor do I think that he needs to immediately rush there today. So I would be in the middle category.

BOLDUAN: When you hear, you know, congressional leadership, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, including Senator Pat Toomey, they're all invited by the White House to join the president in Pittsburgh today, they all declined. Are they doing the right thing?

COSTELLO: I don't think there's anything wrong with them declining. I wouldn't read too much into that. Like I said, all of them probably are barnstorming the country for particular candidates. And I know all of them have issued statement ss reflecting on the loss of life there. So I don't draw too much from that.

BOLDUAN: As a member of the Pennsylvania delegation, were you invited by the White House?

COSTELLO: I don't believe so, no. If I was, then my staff didn't alert me to that, so no.


COSTELLO: I'm on the other side of the state, as you know.

BOLDUAN: Right, but in a moment like this, I know that you would be more than happy to drop -- I would assume you would be happy to drop everything you're doing in order to be there to show solidarity with those in the community and your state.



BOLDUAN: If the White House had invited you, would you have wanted to go with the president today?

COSTELLO: Yes, I probably would have. But I would also say that in any community that's grieving, sometimes whether or not -- you know, I say this pejoratively -- but whether or not a bunch of politicians show up or not is so insignificant to those --

BOLDUAN: I hear you.

COSTELLO: Yes, yes.

BOLDUAN: I definitely hear you on that. I said that at the top of the show, whether or not some politician comes to town is the furthest thing from the minds of those families who are laying to rest one of their loved ones.

But at a moment like this, traditionally, right, the country looks to the president of the United States for leadership. Do you look to the president for leadership at times like this right now? You have been very candid in your feelings on the president.

COSTELLO: Yes. I don't -- if the president hits the nail on the head and says the right thing with what I feel, I will accept it as that and be thankful. But there are just many times where he misses the mark. I tend -- I think in any moment of really difficult times, it's amazing, sometimes the most precisely on point thing comes from somebody that isn't even an elected official or is a member of the clergy or is a community leader. And I think that, as a country, that's where -- we have to find wisdom and compassion wherever it is that we can find it. And it's unfortunate that the president at times doesn't channel, I think, the right message at the right time or finds himself contradicting things, you know, later in the day or the next morning by tweet or what have you. I think that's very unfortunate.

I think Republicans and Democrats alike, even if many Democrats don't support him, I think wish that he would get it right because it's a real source of frustration. And I think it's a loss of those unifying moments where we are reminded that we're all in this together and that when a community suffers, we all suffer. And we do want to look to that one voice to lift us up and remind us that we have a lot more in common than we have in difference.

BOLDUAN: I want to ask you, because the president is continuing kind of on this final campaign blitz, 11 stops in the next week, and he's made very clear what his closing argument, what he wants it to be, even in the wake of the massacre. That's why this is relevant to discuss. I mean, from last week, the warning of an invasion at the southern border, which is not true. Sending troops to the border when the migrant caravan is still 1,000 miles away. Today, talking about ending birthright citizenship through executive order, which he can't do. The president is making immigration a wedge issue in this final week. Will it work, Congressman?

[11:34:46] COSTELLO: I don't like it. I don't think it will, not in House seats. Maybe in a Senate seat or two. I don't know. I don't know how much political calculus he's put into this. I think he thinks maybe there is. My point is I don't like it. I don't think it's effective. It's not good for our country. There are a lot of my colleagues -- I'm a Republican -- very thoughtful, hard-working Republican members of Congress who actually voted on a compromise bill to solve a lot of the vexing immigration challenges that we have. We had a tax bill that stimulated the economy. We put more money into veterans' care, NIH funding, battling the opiate epidemic. We should talk about those issues and we should be reminding voters of the positive things we have done, not doing this, you know, doom-and-gloom immigration stuff. I just don't think that it's smart politically. And I don't feel that it reflects the positive values and contributions that a lot of my colleagues and I have made over the past two years.

BOLDUAN: And of course, the question remains, will politicians running on positive optimism or civility or bipartisanship, will those politicians be rewarded? That's a key question --


COSTELLO: I hope so. I hope so.

BOLDUAN: Here's hoping.

Great to see you, Congressman. I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

COSTELLO: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, social media's struggle to really contain hate, to try and contain hate. Racist, anti-Semitic posts surging after the synagogue massacre. What can be done? That's next.


[11:40:55] BOLDUAN: The synagogue massacre, the deadly and senseless violence Saturday in Pittsburgh, didn't suddenly erupt out of the blue. Anti-Semitism in the United States has spiked dramatically over the past couple years. Why is this happening?

Here is CNN's Sara Sidner.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Investigators say Robert Bowers wanted all Jews to die. The suspect using his arsenal of weapons to try and kill as many Jews as he could. Now facing a myriad of hate crime and murder charges. In Squirrel Hill, the center of Jewish life in and around Pittsburgh,

resident, Halle Goldstein, says fear was never part of the equation until now.

HALLE GOLDSTEIN, PITTSBURGH RESIDENT: Before, everyone was just saying how they felt stronger and they felt braver. I don't feel brave. I just feel scared.

SIDNER: Now there's reason to fear. Eleven people were just slaughtered in a synagogue in America.

For years, incidents of anti-Semitism were on the decline in America. Then came the 2016 presidential election. Since then, a meteoric rise, 34 percent increase in 2016, a 57 percent increase in 2017, according to the Anti-Defamation League that tracks it.

JONATHAN GREERBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: That's the single largest surge we have ever seen since we started tracking this data.

SIDNER: Nothing is sacred. Not human life or places of worship or even where the dead are buried.

In Omaha, Nebraska, a veterans' memorial scarred with a swastika. In Indiana, a synagogue desecrated. In Sacramento, California, fliers targeting Jewish students on campus.

MICHAEL GOFMAN, STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT, U.C., DAVIS: It screams of the same type of graphics and the same type of designs that Nazis used.

SIDNER: This is in Pennsylvania just a few months ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my country.

SIDNER (on camera): It's great. This is also my country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You guys didn't win the culture war.

Good get the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of here now!

SIDNER (voice-over): And no one can forget the torch-bearing men in Charlottesville, Virginia, spewing their hate-filled rhetoric.


SIDNER: What is behind all this? The ADL and those who track hate say there's no doubt political rhetoric is in part to blame. That rhetoric can be subtle or in your face, like U.S. Representative Steve King, for example, retweeting messages from a known Nazi sympathizer.

REP. STEVE KING, (R), IOWA: I'm not deleting that because then you all pile on me and say King had to apologize, he was wrong, he knows he's guilty. I'm not. I don't feel guilty one bit. I'm human.

SIDNER: This Trump political ad raised eyebrows, featuring prominent Jews to target global special interests. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- to the global

special interests.

SIDNER: While those accused of anti-Semitism for years, like Louis Farrakhan, continue to tweet and make inflammatory statements.

GREENBLATT: When Jews are literally under attack, we should have a zero-tolerance policy on intolerance. It's unacceptable that anyone, from the president to Minister Farrakhan to anyone in between, should make comments and all of it should be called out. All of it should be unacceptable.


BOLDUAN: That was CNN national correspondent, Sara Sidner, reporting.

So from there, where this sudden rise in anti-Semitism seems most obvious, social media.

Joining me right now, tech reporter from "The Daily Beast," Will Sommer, and CNN Business senior technology correspondent, Laurie Segall, to talk about this.

Guys, thank you so much for being here.

Laurie, how bad is it right now? Is social media becoming the primary platform to spread hate right now?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR TECHNOLOGY CORRESPONDENT: I think it's really bad. I have been covering tech for almost nine years. I haven't seen anything like this. I just got back from San Francisco, and there's talk of this town square, the idea the Internet is the town square where we could go and people could say good and bad things and it would be a place where people can have a discussion. That no longer seems to be the case. It seems it's overrun by misinformation and bots.

And something that really struck me, a behavioral psychologist said this to me about a year ago -- and I thought about this as a lot of us were outside the Time Warner Center when an explosive device was removed -- he said, our world is beginning to resemble a chat room and we're becoming avatars. This hate is spreading offline. I think that these tech companies have not been able to do a good enough job of getting ahead of this. These are complicated problems, of course, but they haven't been -- you hear the Facebook line, we didn't take a long enough view, we didn't anticipate this. They're in turbo mode right now. I just spent the last month in San Francisco. But as we see from this last week and a lot of clues that came up on the Internet and on social media that weren't detected or that were flagged and not detected, they're not doing enough.

[11:45:27] BOLDUAN: And, Will, you have been reporting on this hate on even Instagram. What is it about Instagram? Honestly, to me, Instagram was kind of like the safe place, the friendly platform to head to. WILL SOMMER, TECH REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Sure, and I think that's

part of the problem is they're not really used to in the same way dealing with perhaps Twitter is with dealing with these really incendiary figures. I wrote a story this morning for "The Daily Beast" about how Instagram has become a surprising place for right- wing figures to find refuge after they have been kicked off places like Twitter. In the case of Alex Jones, who even had his accounts banned from Facebook, which owns Instagram, he nevertheless still has accounts on Instagram.

BOLDUAN: And as you said, Laurie, you spent a lot of time talking about tech and ethics, where the line is, if there's a line, and where they're starting to learn where the line maybe should be. You talked to these top people. You talked to Mark Zuckerberg about this. Where do they see their role? Do they see their role as changing or are they still taking this kind of hands-off approach of, like, we created the platform and we just create the space for you guys to -- you make of it what you will? We created the platform for you.

SEGALL: That's changed in the last couple years. It's always been we're just the pipes, we're the platform, we're not responsible for the content that goes through us. That has had to change. You talk to different tech leaders. I interviewed the CEO of Uber and said what is the most ethical issue facing tech. And he said, will our tech leaders do the right thing. He said something that struck me. He said, we didn't prepare for this in business school. This isn't, to take a moral stance in many different ways, and it's very -- it's a complicated problem. And I spoke to Mark Zuckerberg recently and I said, how does it feel to be editor-in-chief of Facebook. I don't think that's a question that he wanted to hear because this is -- they don't want to be responsible for the content. And there's oftentimes a fine line between free speech and censorship. That being said, they have to invest more in helping to detect this. They did that with terrorism. You know, they have been able to get on top of ISIS and a lot of the content on there. But they have overlooked and haven't been able to take a good stance on what we're seeing that's manifested itself even in the last week in real life.

BOLDUAN: Millions and millions of people use your platform. There's a responsibility there. There just is when you're that big with that big of a reach.

Will, when Twitter started cracking down and people looking to spread hate, they found another place to go. Is it inevitable they'll just find another place to go, other platforms to go to?

SOMMER: It's an interesting question. You know, certainly, there are an endless number of similar sites, sort of mirror images of everything we know, like YouTube, there's a long line of other video hosting sites. On the other hand, there's just a couple sites that have real reach. So in the case of Alex Jones, for example, once he got kicked off YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, then he said, well, you know, this is only making me more powerful. In fact, if you look at his video numbers on the other sites he ended up going to, they're fractions of fractions of what he originally had on the larger platforms. BOLDUAN: That's an important lesson today.

Great to see you guys. I really appreciate it.

Thank you, Will.

Thank you, Laurie.

Thank you so much.


BOLDUAN: Coming up, a new Boeing 737 crashes off the coast of Indonesia. Now officials want to inspect all aircraft from that same line. How many planes are we talking about? What does this mean? That's next.


[11:53:08] BOLDUAN: A 24-hour search-and-recovery effort is now in its second night off the coast of Indonesia. So far, only the bodies of some victims from the Lion Air jet have been found. The plane involved was new, just delivered in August. Now, Indonesian authorities want to make sure all of the models like it are safe.

CNN's Ivan Watson is in Indonesia and joining me right now.

Ivan, what are you hearing? What is the latest on this investigation right now?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERANTIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The recovery effort is under way. As you can see, this is part of the hub behind me where you have more than 30 ships and aircraft and hundreds of people, including divers and submersibles, using sonar and trying to locate the main wreckage of this plane that went down on Monday morning. It was supposed to be a 70-minute domestic flight. And every hour or so, another ship comes in, bringing in these gruesome deliveries of debris scooped up from the Java Sea or the plane and human remains. Authorities have said they don't believe anyone survived of the 189 passengers and crew. In fact, they are bringing in pieces of remains for the very difficult work of identifying the victims, and have collected DNA for more than 100 relatives as part of that very delicate process -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Just horrible. What are you hearing about inspections of the entire line of these Boeing 737s?

WATSON: Right. They still haven't found the black box, the flight data recorder. They are still looking for it. It's not pinging to help them locate it. That's a major problem.

As far as the investigation goes, we don't have an explanation for why the plane went down so soon after takeoff when this Boeing 737 was less than a year old. They are inspecting all of the 737 Max-8 Boeings in Indonesia's aviation industry as a precaution right now, but no answers yet for this terrible mystery -- Kate? [11:55:16] BOLDUAN: Still unfolding, as we see.

Ivan, thank you so much.

Coming up still, President Trump is heading to Pittsburgh very soon. But a growing list of elected officials are saying they will not be joining him, are declining the White House's invitation.

This, as the first funeral services are under way for those who died on that horrific day, killed for just being Jewish.