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Trump Campaign Puts Out Racially Charged Video on Immigrants; Trump Announces He'll Speak on Immigration This Afternoon; ; Trump Wants to Send 15,000 Troops to U.S./Mexico Border; Trump Says Blue Wave Dead, Pelosi Says Dems Will Win House. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 1, 2018 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:11] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

Remember, just five days ago, when the president called for unity after the horrific shooting massacre in Pittsburgh? In a different context, he called for the very same just last night, speaking to ABC News.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm looking to unify. I always like to unify. We will certainly try.


BOLDUAN: To unify. Well, this is the opposite of that. A campaign video sent out by the president to his millions of Twitter followers. It could be the most racially charged and divisive campaign video in decades, painting immigrants as violent criminals.





BOLDUAN: The intent, he's clearly trying to divide. The intent, he's clearly trying to scare. Is it going to work? That's what remains to be seen.

Let's go to CNN's Abby Phillip at the White House with much more on this.

Abby, the president puts out that video, but also just has announced he's going to be speaking about immigration this afternoon. What are you hearing from there? What's going to happen?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Day by day, the White House is pushing this message on immigration. And today, the president is going to deliver remarks in the Roosevelt Room at the White House around 4:00 on immigration. This was not originally on his schedule, and it's now going to happen just minutes before he departs for Missouri where he's having a campaign rally.

But the central issue that we're hearing from our sources is asylum. This is something that the president has taken issue with because it is what those Central American migrants are seeking as they make their way, hundreds of miles, through Mexico to the U.S. southern border.

But as you pointed out, this ad has become part of a broader strategy here. It is all about the midterm elections just days away. And according to one other source who spoke to CNN in the last day, this ad is an attempt to move the conversation away from family unification to this issue of invasion that President Trump has talked so much about.

But as he departs for Missouri tonight, it is also worth noting that President Trump is working his base, he's working these red states, but there are some places that he simply cannot go. Nevada and Arizona are two of them, according to our sources. You know, the strategist in those states are saying these are states where there are large populations of Hispanic voters who might be turned off by the very same messages that the president is pushing in that ad that you played earlier today. The Republican candidates in those races have asked the president basically to stay away -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right, Abby, thanks so much. Great to see you.

Joining me now to discuss this, and really the state of things, CNN senior political commentator, former Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum. And former Democratic Senator from Indiana, Evan Bayh.

Thank you both for being here.

Senator Santorum, as Abby was just saying, sources are telling CNN that the point of this video, and probably maybe the point of this announcement, whatever his remarks that he's going to make this afternoon, is to change the conversation, to change the argument on immigration from family unification to invasion. Is that what Republicans need right now, to change the conversation five days out from the election?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, look, both sides have their take on what this caravan is all about. I mean, you hear people on the left saying, oh, these are women and children, and we're trying to bring families together. And part of that is true. And then you have folks on the other side saying these are people, you know, in that group will be some dangerous people, and most of the people in this group are males and there are a whole host of issues that come with that. And look, some people have come into this country illegally, like the man depicted on the ad, and who have done horrible things. And there may be people who do that, too. So each side putting the spin on it, and that's frankly nothing new when it comes to doing an election. You each have their own perspective.

BOLDUAN: Nothing new, maybe, that both sides are putting spin on something, Senator Santorum, but this is new. That campaign video that the president put out is something we haven't seen in decades, in the tone, the tenor, just the racist overtones of it all. Are you supportive of that?

SANTORUM: No, look, I just -- quit doing this, Kate. This happens on this network just way too much. That anybody that disagrees on a public policy issue is a racist. You can be against illegal border crossings and protecting our border --

BOLDUAN: Senator?

SANTORUM: -- and not be a racist.

BOLDUAN: That is 100 percent true. And come on, you and I have known each other for a long time. Don't paint me with broad brush strokes like that.

[11:05:03] SANTORUM: Well, but the reality is that man --


BOLDUAN: Every time there's a policy discussion, I'm not calling Republicans -- I'm not calling Republicans racist.

EVAN BAYH, FORMER INDIANA SEANTOR: Kate, can I step in here?

BOLDUAN: I'm not calling Republicans racist at all.

BAYH: Can I step in here?

BOLDUAN: Evan, Senator Bayh, go ahead.

BAYH: Kate is originally from Ft. Wayne, Indiana. That means, by definition, she's a good person.

SANTORUM: I agree. She is a good person.

BAYH: Let's stipulate that for the record.


BOLDUAN: Goshen, Indiana, but I played volleyball in Ft. Wayne.


BOLDUAN: Senator Bayh --


BOLDUAN: -- you will be OK to continue going.

BAYH: Well look, I think a couple thoughts, Kate. First, when President Trump first descending the escalator at Trump Tower, one of the first things he talked about were allegedly rapists and murders coming across from Mexico, across the border. So trafficking in this sort of fear and these kinds of issues really is nothing new. It's at the foundation of his political career. That's number one. Number two, I think we need to separate the politics from the substance. Some of us think that we should enforce the laws and enforce the border and we shouldn't have thousands of people in this caravan coming across into the United States, that we should have an orderly process. I happen to believe that, but I don't think we should exploit it cynically and divisively for political gain. I think it's wrong when the right uses it, when the president plays that card. I think it's wrong the left uses class divisions. We should expect more from our leaders, particularly our president. There are a lot of people who traffic, as Rick was saying, in spin and crass cynical politics. We don't expect our presidents to do that.

BOLDUAN: Senator Bayh, on the issue of -- we can see from how the president has been talking that he seems very focused right now on the Senate. Not as much on the House. If you are a Democrat up for re- election in a red state in a tough re-election, something that you have experienced -- something you have experienced yourself -- is the president with this, where he wants to take the conversation, is he making these Democrats, their lives easier or harder right now?

BAYH: Well, he's making their lives harder, Kate. They're doing this for a reason. It tends to work. We're in a -- there aren't a lot of undecided voters at this particular moment in time, so both sides are trying to motivate their base. This is a proven base motivator, particularly for non-educated white folks in red states. I think that's why they're doing it. It probably will help the Republicans gain a seat or two in the United States Senate. I don't think it will play nearly as well in the House because the districts that are swing districts in the House, this issue is not that much of a motivator. Probably help in the Senate. Probably not much impact in the House. The reason they're doing it is it's been proven to work.

BOLDUAN: Senator Santorum, sources are also telling CNN the point of putting out the video is also -- here is the quote, I think it was told to one of my colleagues, "We're talking about it, this, and not health care."

The country is still talking about health care, of course, but ask voters who tell pollsters over and over again that it is the top issue that they care most about in the election. Does this actually say more, this focus, on how vulnerable Republicans are on the very issue of health care, though?

SANTORUM: Yes, well, look, I think the Republicans are vulnerable. They don't need to be. Here's the reality. The Democrats are running ads on pre-existing conditions, which is one paragraph in a 2,000-page bill. The rest of the bill has been a disaster for America, and that's being ignored by Democrats. And frankly, not talked about by Republicans. Why? Because Republicans couldn't get their act together and pass a bill that actually would create a better system.

You know, I have been working on something, and I'm hopeful that if Republicans maintain control, they can pass something. But look, they have a huge vulnerability because they did not -- we're not prepared to take control and have a president to be able to pass a bill, and they didn't. Now they're paying the price for it.

BOLDUAN: Senator Bayh, you have Republicans now running on protecting pre-existing conditions. Some who voted for taking away those pre- existing conditions previously. If that's what they're running on and pledging now in these campaign ads, are they in some ways successfully taking away a key issue for Democrats?

BAYH: That's their hope, Kate. And again, in red states, it may work. What happens today, it's kind of ironic, Rick is correct, Obamacare was not perfect, but one of the good things in it for sure and one of things I support is the prohibition against taking people's health insurance away from them simply because they had cancer or heart disease or some other pre-existing condition. That didn't make them bad people. That meant they had been sick. So that's a good thing. And by voting to repeal Obamacare without a replacement to protect those people, they were voting to do away with pre-existing conditions. But now -- protections for pre-existing conditions, but now, what they're hoping to do is muddy the waters and throw all these ads up there, and the good folks at home don't know who to believe. And in red states, they say, well, I don't know who to believe, I don't like any of them, none of them are telling the truth so I'll vote my own underlying base preference, which in red states tends to be Republicans. Again, they're trying to muddy the waters enough that that issue won't work, and that's been proven to be effective.

[11:10:22] One point I would like to make is --


SANTORUM: Yes, is that when Republicans did have a chance finally to put forth a bill, it did cover pre-existing conditions. The House passed it, and you know, it went over to the Senate. The Senate passed -- tried to pass versions of their health care bill. They didn't do it. But Kate, in all of those cases, they did indeed cover pre-existing conditions. So --


BOLDUAN: But you do know --


BOLDUAN: Yes, but you know from the evolution of where this has gone from 2008 to now, it is noteworthy when you have folks like Dana Rohrabacher running ads on protecting pre-existing conditions. On the face of it, like, come on.

SANTORUM: Yes, look, there was never a big controversy around pre- existing conditions. Most Republicans even way back when supported providing protections for that. The reality is they did vote to straight out repeal. It was a political vote. They knew it wasn't going to pass. The president was never going to sign it. So it was a political vote. I think, in retrospect, they might have thought more carefully about it instead of doing a straight repeal. But the reality is, Democrats know this is not a controversial issue. I don't know of any Republican for the last several cycles who is out there saying we shouldn't cover people with pre-existing conditions. They have the opportunity because Republicans didn't get their act together and pass a bill to show what they were for.

BOLDUAN: Senator Santorum, Senator Bayh, thank you

SANTORUM: Thank you.

BAYH: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Coming up for us, we have 14,000 troops in Afghanistan. The president of the United States says he might send even more troops, though, to the U.S./Mexico border. Details on that ahead.

Plus, President Trump says the blue wave is dead. Why Nancy Pelosi -- while Nancy Pelosi is predicting victory come next week. Where do things stand right now? We have brand-new numbers coming in. Stay with us.


[11:16:27] BOLDUAN: You know the migrant caravan President Trump keeps talking about. Estimates were that it grew to about 7600 people. Now, it is shrinking as they make their way toward the U.S. border. And the caravan is still more than 800 miles away from that border.

Regardless, President Trump continues to say that it's an immediate crisis and national emergency. And he wants to send up to 15,000 troops to the U.S./Mexico border because of it.


TRUMP: As far as the caravan is concerned, our military is out. We have about 5,000. We'll go up to anywhere 10,000 to 15,000 military personnel on top of Border Patrol, ICE, and everybody else at the border.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Ryan Browne is joining me now from the Pentagon.

Ryan, what are you hearing about this plan?

RYAN BROWNE, CNN PENTAGON REPORTER: Well, Kate, we're told, as of now, the U.S. military has identified over 7,000 troops that are going to take part in this mission. That's in addition to the 2,000 National Guard troops that were sent earlier in the administration that are already on the border. So that brings you to 9,000, getting close to 10,000 troops working on border security.

Now, most of these troops are support forces. There's engineers, planners, Logisticians, helicopter crews that can fly Border Patrol agents to various spots along the very large border. But again, you're starting to see a very significant increase in the number of troops that will not be dealing with migrants themselves but will be in support, building fencing, vehicle barriers, roads, that kind of thing. But a large contingent, none the less. Very similar to the size of U.S. forces, combat forces in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

Now, we don't know how much this operation is going to be costing. Military officials say they don't have a dollar figure yet and they haven't even identified where the funding is going to come from. This is still something that needs to be worked out. Now, they can send these troops before they have worked that out, but they're going to need to identify who's going to pay for this and how is it going to be paid for.

But the military pushing back very strongly on the ideas that this deployment is some kind of political maneuver, political stunt ahead of the midterms, with Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis strongly pushing against this yesterday at the Pentagon.


GEN. JAMES MATTIES, DEFENSE SECRETARY: The support that we provide to the secretary for Homeland Security is practical support based on the requests from the commissioner of customs and border police. So we don't do stunts in this department.

Thank you.


BROWNE: Now, despite those comments, it remains to be seen whether or not the perception of this deployment coming so close to the midterms will be seen as a political maneuver -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Yes, Ryan, thanks so much.

Joining me right now is retired Lieutenant Colonel Mark Hertling, CNN military analyst. He led the First Armor Division during the surge in Iraq. He served as a commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe.

General, thanks so much for coming in.


BOLDUAN: The defense secretary -- you heard Mattis -- he says it's not a political stunt. We don't do stunts. I know you would agree with that and how the Pentagon operates. Do you agree with when it comes to what the president is proposing and wants now?

[11:19:50] HERTLING: I agree with Secretary Mattis in that the Pentagon and military forces do not do stunts. That's certainly true. But I think Secretary Mattis missed an opportunity yesterday to be a little more transparent, to say what the military forces were going to do.

You know, this is a request from the Department of Homeland Security. They do that. I was involved in one of these kinds of missions early in my career. So this is all legal. Posse Comitatus to sustain the conversation that's going on will not be violated. These forces, as Ryan Browne just talked about, are almost exclusively enablers. What I mean by that is engineers to build things, construction engineers, military policemen to guard things, logisticians to supply things, and aviators to move people around. There are no trigger pullers in this contingent or at least not the one that's been deployed so far. And what I mean by that is infantry, armor artillery, the killers, if you will. This is not going to be a guard force on the borderer itself.

This where we get into the conversation, the difference between what FOX News and the president are saying, which is hyperbole and scare tactics, versus the facts on the ground. These are enablers for the Department of Homeland Security to continue with their mission. That's the important thing to remember. The legal and process-driven part by the Pentagon is up and up. It's above board. Now, is it smart? That's up for debate. Will it be expensive? You bet, it will be plenty expensive.

BOLDUAN: Well that's kind of --

HERTLING: And in fact they're still trying to figure out how much tells me it's going to be more than they think.

BOLDUAN: Or the estimate could come out pretty quick, one would assume.


BOLDUAN: I want to ask you, in the support role, in supporting the job at the border and in a support role, there's nothing wrong with that.

HERTLING: No, not at all.

BOLDUAN: Right. But my question is, so sending 15,000 people down there, you don't think is a bad thing? You think --


HERTLING: I didn't say that. I did not say that. I say it's not an illegal thing. Is it a good thing? I don't know. There may be intelligence. And this is the important part, Kate. There may be intelligence saying they're needed here. I have yet to see that. The early deployment orders, where you have seen their course of action development that "Newsweek" printed, it says there's a most likely course of action, which says here's what we think is going to happen, and there's a most dangerous course of action. And even the most dangerous course of action is something that military planners do all the time. It usually has a hyperbole and you normally throw that away and go with the most likely course of action. But you prepare for the most dangerous.

But the kind of conversations we have been hearing where these caravans have, first of all, they're criminals. They have disease. There's no intelligence to back that up. Those are the kind of things that people on FOX News are making up, and the president is continuing to spread. And truthfully, they're lies. They have no intelligence on that because the Intelligence Community hasn't given them intelligence on that. They don't know what is inside these caravans. And they only know as they get closer to the border they're going to disperse more and attempt to apply for asylum.

BOLDUAN: When you add them together, it's more troops than we're seeing in Syria and Afghanistan and --

HERTLING: Well, I caution using that analogy because it is in terms of numbers, in many of those combat places, but it's apples and oranges in terms of types of troops. They truly are the logisticians and the border troops going to the border, versus the trigger pullers and the killers in some of the combat zones. We can't compare and contrast that. It's unfortunate the way some media are doing that.

BOLDUAN: But so important to point out the perspective you're offering, general. That's why we bring you on.

I appreciate it. Thank you, General.

HERTLING: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Really appreciate it. Important to hear that.

[11:23:44] Coming up for us, President Trump claims the so-called blue wave is dead. Well, Nancy Pelosi declared Democrats will take back the House. Should anybody be in the business of making such bold predictions right now? New numbers on the state of the race next.


[11:28:44] BOLDUAN: We're less than a week now to election day, 2018, and it looks like people still haven't learned the lesson of 2016, which is big and bold predictions really have no place anymore. But they're all over the place. Nancy Pelosi declaring, quote, "We will win the House." Donald Trump, quite the opposite. Here he is speaking to the Christian broadcasting network.


TRUMP: I think the blue wave is dead, frankly. And I think we're doing very well. I think we'll win the Senate. I think we'll do well in the House.


BOLDUAN: Joining me now, the man in charge of getting Democrats elected to the House, Congressman Lujan, of New Mexico.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

REP. BEN RAY LUJAN, (D), NEW MEXICO: Kate, good to be with you today.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

There's a new "Washington Post" poll out of likely voters in battleground districts. It's the same poll that tracked these key districts in the final few weeks. It shows the fight for the majority of the House is too close to call. Dems are plus-four in their poll. But a margin of error of 3.5 percent. Look at that, how confident are you today?

[11:29:44] LUJAN: Kate, while I never look at just one poll, I'm confident that the trends are pointing in our direction. And also, in just five short days, I'm confident Democrats will win back the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. We built a strategy surrounding our candidates, built around our candidates. We're investing in over 80 seats as of today and counting.