Return to Transcripts main page
New Info Emerges on Whitey Bulger's Death; Roger Stone and WikiLeaks; Trump Accused of Tweeting Racist Ad; Oprah Winfrey Campaigns for Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate. Aired 3-3:30p ET
Aired November 1, 2018 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Pence will be holding a second rally, this one being in Augusta, Georgia, for Kemp.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Brian Kemp is getting the support of all kinds of hardworking, good people all across Georgia.
And Stacey Abrams being bankrolled by -- by Hollywood liberals.
PENCE: Sending their support into the state, and some of them come into the state. Like, I heard Oprah's in town today.
PENCE: And I heard Will Ferrell was going door to door the other day.
PENCE: Well, I would like to remind Stacey and Oprah and Will Ferrell, I'm kind of a big deal too.
And I got a message. I got a message for all of Stacey Abrams' liberal Hollywood friends. This ain't Hollywood. This is Georgia.
OPRAH WINFREY, EXECUTIVE/TALK SHOW HOST: We, as women people, need to stand united and vote our values. Vote your values. Vote your conscience.
All this noise, all the noise, you just can't get away from it. You turn on the TV on the way, it's so much noise and crazy talk, all the vitriol in the ads. You know what? They are designed to confuse and confound you with fear.
That's what they've done. They're designed to confound you with fear. They are not designed for people with discernment, women people, we have discernment.
When we all unite, I know for sure a change is going to come. (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
WINFREY: So I'm here today to support a change-maker. She's a woman who dared believe that she could change the state of Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Let's go to Georgia to CNN's Kaylee Hartung, who is in Decatur, where Oprah's next event for Stacey Abrams will soon get under way.
And so, Kaylee, we heard some of Oprah's message. What else did she say?
KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, as soon as she took the stage, she told the Georgia voters in the audience, you are on the precipice of a historical election. She said, no one paid her to be here. Nobody even asked her to come here.
But she connected with that audience in a way that Oprah is uniquely capable of doing and telling them that her decision to come here was very personal, because she feels Stacey Abrams and her values are aligned.
And so she called up Stacey Abrams and told her she wanted to come down here to stand by her side. She said, when she made that phone call, Abrams said, let me pull over to the side of the road. We got to talk more about this.
HARTUNG: But as you see Oprah come down here, among the many big names that both candidates are getting down here, you understand the national attention, the national focus and investment that this race is getting, because, here in Georgia, you don't just need a plurality to win. You need a majority. You need 50-plus-one.
And that's why you see someone like Oprah, this transcendent and inspirational personality, coming down here to plead with voters here to exercise their right to vote, but also to cast their vote for Stacey Abrams.
Oprah made a point of saying she is a registered independent. She said this was not a partisan decision for her. She said, I am an independent woman. I do what I want. I do when I want. I have earned that right.
And she encouraged women of all colors to do the same. Brooke, here in Georgia, there is such excitement about this race, such energy, but you're seeing it from both sides, as you also heard from Vice President Pence with Brian Kemp down the road.
BALDWIN: No, you can feel it from here.
Kaylee, thank you so much in Georgia. Meantime, President Trump has a jampacked campaign schedule. He is
off to Missouri later today, one of 10 rallies planned over the next couple of days. And before he leaves, he is set to break some news, announcing changes to his asylum policy for those arriving at the U.S. border.
So, let's go to the White House and CNN's Boris Sanchez.
And, Boris, what are those changes?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Brooke.
Yes, the administration appears to be trying to make it tougher for asylum seekers to apply for asylum while entering the United States. According to multiple sources who've spoken to CNN, the president is set to propose a change to a rule today in just about an hour or so that would make it so that migrants would have to apply for asylum at legal ports of entry, and not if they are intercepted by law enforcement trying to enter the country or if they are already in the United States illegally.
We should point out it's not the first time that the administration has tried to change the process or criteria for asylum seekers. In the summer, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the baseline criteria would change, so that victims of gang violence or domestic violence would no longer be able to apply for asylum.
The timing of this, of course, is notable, not only because the president has railed and rallied against this caravan of migrants getting closer to the United States. They're still more than a month away, but, of course, the midterm elections are just in about five days.
And the president is seeking to make this a central issue, not only going after the migrants in that caravan, but also Democrats who he has suggested have an open-borders policy.
The main thing to take from this is that the president is trying to make this closing argument for the 2018 midterms, and it's essentially the same argument that he made in 2015 when he headed down that escalator Trump Tower, his opening argument, when he called Mexicans rapists and thieves -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: He did. He did, indeed. Boris Sanchez, thank you.
When it comes to talk of immigration, though, President Trump has hit a new low, showing just how high the stakes are for Tuesday's elections.
The president has tweeted this new political ad being called the most racist campaign message seen in a generation. And, once again, Trump is focusing on undocumented immigrants.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will break out soon and I will kill more.
See, the only thing that I (EXPLETIVE DELETED) regret is I (EXPLETIVE DELETED) just killed two. I wish I (EXPLETIVE DELETED) killed more of those (EXPLETIVE DELETED). I'm going to kill more cops soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: For the record, the ad singles out a convicted murderer who did receive the death penalty.
And regarding the caravan shown in this ad, our CNN crews there on the ground report of mothers and children among many others seeking haven from criminals in their own country and trying to flee the threats in their own lives.
Condemnation is coming in from both sides of the aisle, including my next guest, who once chaired the Florida Republican Party. He is Al Cardenas. He's also a contributor to our sister network, CNN Espanol.
Al, always a pleasure to see you. Welcome.
AL CARDENAS, CNN EN ESPANOL CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Brooke. Likewise.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
CARDENAS: Tough day.
BALDWIN: Let's get to that, because you obviously saw the ad and jumped straight to Twitter. You wrote: "You are a despicable divider, the worst social position -- poison, rather -- "the worst social poison to afflict our country in decades. This ad and your full approval of it will condemn you and your bigoted legacy forever in America's history books."
And, Al, I know you have since deleted that tweet, but wow. Tell me about the feeling, the passion, the anger behind those words.
CARDENAS: Yes, I deleted that tweet because I have been pleading for lowering the tensions on both sides of the aisle, given the violence that we're seeing in America in so many different ways.
But it doesn't detract from my feeling. The truth of the matter is that I have never seen a community under attack like I have seen it now. It started out with those 1,500 parents that were torn away from their little babies, little children who were sent to cages; 500-some have never been reunited again, telling the -- the president telling the country he's going to send 10,000 to 15,000 of our troops to the border.
That's more people that we have in Afghanistan, and, what, to face these -- these armless women and children and people weakened by 4,000 kilometers of travel? For what? If they don't apply -- if they apply for asylum, are not granted asylum, that's one thing.
But to have this kind of show of force to intimidate people in America, this issue about children born in our country not having a right to citizenship, this video now, I mean, I know of thousands of cases of people who are stopped in shopping centers and abused verbally and otherwise by others.
What's going on in our country now, it's -- we're going back to the '50s and '60s in terms of civil rights.
BALDWIN: Do you think Trump just doesn't care about being called a racist, that his eyes are on the prize, he wants more votes?
CARDENAS: I don't -- I don't know what what's in his heart, but I haven't seen a word of compassion. That's -- but my concern is, this kind of conversation, this kind of rhetoric is leading a violence in our country.
It's leading to divisiveness. It's making us the worst we can possibly be, instead of the best we can be. It was never this way before. Leaders in both parties knew their boundaries. There are no boundaries with this White House.
And it hasn't stopped. And the violence continues. It gets worse. And I don't know where this will end, but this is just pathetic. And, frankly, I'm so saddened and angered at the same time. And I fear for those who are facing the consequences.
Look, the voting by Hispanics in this election is going to be depressed. It's going to be depressed because of fear of going to the polls, fear for what they're going to confront, fear of intimidation maybe by officers of ICE. And it's being felt all over my community.
BALDWIN: Flash-forward with me, Al, to next Wednesday morning, day after the election, and all this talk leading up about the caravan and, to quote the president, bad thugs and invaders, will turn to this.
You hear that? It's the sound of silence.
BALDWIN: It's the sound of silence, because I'm going to bet you that those warnings will fade, and instead get ready for more attacks on Robert Mueller and the media. Do you agree?
CARDENAS: I agree. I agree with that.
It's a matter of what he thinks will rile up shrinking troops, frankly. And between you and I, in purple states like Florida, I don't get -- I don't get the rhetoric. And, frankly, there's 60 spots in the Congress that are in very close races, most of them purple House seats, some in South Florida. How do you think that rhetoric is going to play? It's almost like
he's giving up the House of Representatives in order to make a personal point. And I don't get the politics. I don't get the divisiveness.
I don't get what he's doing. We're more likely going to have -- it's 80 percent chance Republicans will keep the Senate, 80 percent chance the Democrats will keep the House. How we move forward the next couple of years will depend in a great part on how the president reacts.
I don't think at his age and under his circumstances, he's going to change. And I'm concerned for America.
BALDWIN: Al Cardenas, thank you for your candor. Appreciate it. Good to see you.
CARDENAS: Thank you, Brooke. Thank you.
BALDWIN: Coming up next, we are getting our first look at some of the e-mails exchanged between Roger Stone and Steve Bannon during the 2016 presidential campaign. And what about them might be of interest to the special counsel? We will pass that along.
Also, new details about how journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered, "The Washington Post" reporting his body may have been dissolved in acid. Hear where that investigation stands.
And, later, a potentially game-changing innovation in medicine, the FDA approving the first medical marijuana drug to come to market. We have details on what condition it'll help treat.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.
BALDWIN: We're sorting through all kinds of developments that could further tie the Trump campaign insiders like Roger Stone and Steve Bannon to the WikiLeaks release of hacked e-mails from the Hillary Clinton campaign.
Roger Stone today revealing an e-mail exchange from before the election in 2016, and it shows this communication between Stone and the Trump campaign chairman, Steve Bannon, about the upcoming release of those stolen e-mails
So let's go to Kara Scannell. She's our CNN reporter. And also with us, CNN legal analyst Paul Callan.
And so, Kara, tell me more about the e-mail exchange.
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right.
So Roger Stone released this e-mail exchange. It seemed to maybe preempt "The New York Times"' story that goes into much greater detail about Stone's relationship with the campaign.
But based on that e-mail exchange, I mean, we understand that this is really the first indication that Roger Stone was in touch with anyone, any senior members of the Trump campaign about WikiLeaks. The timing of that exchange comes after Assange had promised a Clinton-related document dump, which didn't occur.
So Bannon is following up asking him what was going on. So, our understanding, according to a person familiar with the investigation, is that Mueller's team has copies of these e-mails, and at least one campaign official has told investigators that Roger Stone was telling them, telling other campaign officials that he had ties to Julian Assange.
So this is really the first link that we know that the Trump campaign was given the impression or being told by Stone that he had links and giving the impression that there was this dynamic.
Now, Roger Stone, for his part, has maintained that anything he was ever telling anyone about this was already public, and he was just kind of echoing what WikiLeaks' Assange had already been saying publicly. So this is really the latest development here, where we're actually seeing some e-mails that Mueller's investigators have.
And as we know that they have -- Mueller's team has been bringing in all of Stone's associates over the last couple weeks, and Steve Bannon was in just last Friday -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: So, it sounds like -- and, Paul Callan, this question to you -- that in this e-mail exchange that we have, that Roger Stone was boasting, right, that he would have this e-mail dump.
So how do they determine, how do prosecutors determine whether it was bluster or it was the real deal?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL CONTRIBUTOR: They will find out by eventually trying to interview Roger Stone.
They already have interviewed Bannon on a number of occasions. And I'll tell you, Brooke, it also makes me wonder if Mueller isn't reaching out to Julian Assange to try to see if there's information there, because, remember, if the special prosecutor could establish that there was coordination between Assange and the Trump campaign to release hacked e-mails, e-mails that have been hacked by the Russians, that's the direct collusion case, if the trail leads back to the Trump campaign.
So this raises a number of intriguing lines of investigation for Mueller.
BALDWIN: So, if they are based upon interviews and maybe even an interview with Stone, and they put the pieces together, and they do establish that he had been in touch and that he did have these e- mails, what happens legally moving forward?
CALLAN: Well, it really depends on how that went down. [15:20:03]
One of the things that surprised me about what's in these e-mails is that Roger Stone is discussing with Bannon, and Bannon says, hasn't -- haven't the Clintons made a deal with Julian Assange?
Now, what's that all about? If the Clinton campaign -- if Bannon thinks the Clinton campaign has made a deal with Assange, that would suggest no deal has been made by Trump.
But there's a second thing in the e-mails that I thought was very important as well. Roger Stone talks about doing -- that he's raised $150,000 to do a black digital campaign.
And you have to wonder, was -- is this coordination going on between Roger Stone and Bannon, who at that time was chairman of the Trump campaign? Now, if Roger Stone is operating as a free agent or as somebody in a PAC that's unreported, that could be some kind of a campaign violation, is that's true.
So, you know that Mueller is probably looking very carefully at that angle as well.
BALDWIN: Yes, we will stay on that for sure.
Paul and Kara, thank you both so much on that update regarding Roger Stone.
Next here on CNN, these gruesome new details about how notorious mobster Whitey Bulger was murdered inside a West Virginia maximum security prison. Hear what happened in his final moments and who could be responsible.
BALDWIN: We now know how notorious mobster James "Whitey" Bulger died inside of a maximum security federal prison. Law enforcement sources tell CNN he was beaten to death, bludgeoned so violently that he was so unrecognizable.
Sources also tell CNN that they believe several inmates were involved and that at least one of them has mafia ties.
"The New York Times" cites law enforcement sources who say the attack took place after these inmates walked into Bulger's cell, rolled his wheelchair into a corner away from those security cameras, and beat him with a padlock stuffed inside a sock.
And, also, "The Times" reports they tried to cut out his tongue.
"The Times," The Boston Globe," they quote unnamed police sources who say that suspected in may with ties to the mafia is a notorious hit man who was relocated into solitary confinement after Bulger's murder.
So with me now, Daniel Kelly, the former attorney who once represented that very same inmate.
And, so Daniel, welcome to you.
And you tell me the -- about this history between Bulger and your former client and how deep it goes.
DANIEL KELLY, ATTORNEY: Well, they didn't have any actual physical interaction prior to Mr. Geas entering the prison system.
But they had a lot of mutual friends who interacted. I will put it to you that way.
BALDWIN: Define interacted.
KELLY: Well, you know, they're involved in criminal activity, so they came -- they ran in the same circles, and they knew the people that were involved in criminal activity both with each other.
BALDWIN: Got it.
And so from what I have read about Geas, he hated a rat, hated an informant, right? And do you think Geas would have been capable of, would have wanted to murder Bulger?
KELLY: Mr. Geas did hate informants, hated cooperators. That's probably a wide-held opinion in the federal prison system.
But he's there serving two life sentences because of a cooperator. Someone that was very close to him cooperated against him. So he probably had a lot of reasons to not be very happy with people like Mr. Bulger.
I'm not ready to concede, obviously, based on media reports, he was involved. But I understand he's been accused of it.
BALDWIN: You talked to him a couple of days before Bulger's death. What did you talk about?
KELLY: We talked about the weather, sports, football. He's a big New England Patriots fan.
I mean, rather innocuous things, given what he's been accused of recently.
BALDWIN: Given the history that you just described between Geas and Bulger, and given that Geas was already in prison there in Hazelton, do you think officials made a mistake by sending Bulger there?
I mean, should they have known better, thinking perhaps disaster was around the corner?
KELLY: They absolutely should have.
That was -- that prison is a high security, and it's particularly dangerous one. Mr. Bulger was the third person to die this year.
BALDWIN: That year.
KELLY: And it's really only -- yes, it really only houses about 1,500, 1,600 people.
However, of that 1,500, 1600 people, a lot of them are hardened killers. So it's an extremely violent, dangerous environment. And it didn't make much sense to put someone who had a long history of cooperation as an informer into that environment.
BALDWIN: "The Boston Globe" is also reporting that people with knowledge of the investigation said that Bulger had requested to be housed in general population.
And, obviously, we don't know why he requested that. Perhaps he thought he would be safe. But why would the prison system have allowed that to happen, just knowing who he was?
KELLY: It really defies logic.
Someone who was not just an informant, but a fairly notorious one, for such a long, long time, was bound to have enemies probably anywhere in any facility in the country.