Return to Transcripts main page


Sliding Tech Stocks Sink Markets; Judge Blocks White House From Denying Asylum Claims; Trump Expected To Give Troops The Authority To Protect Border Personnel; Ivanka Trump Used Personal E-mail For Government Business. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired November 20, 2018 - 11:00   ET


[11:00:10] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. We begin this hour with breaking news on Wall Street, where the markets are in something of a free fall right now. The Dow is sinking at one point, nearly 500 points. Up a little bit at this moment, erasing all of the gains for the entire year.

So what is going on right now? What is driving this? Let's get straight to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. CNN's Julia Chatterley is there. She's joining me now.

Julia, what's wrong? What's happening there? What are you hearing?

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN FIRST MOVE ANCHOR: Yes, Kate, you mentioned it there, I think. And this is a critical point. We have now wiped out all of the gains for the year across the board for US stocks. That makes investors nervous and I think that's what we're seeing in particular in the session today.

There lots of things to worry about here, too, though. If you look at the tech stocks in particular, this has been a critical driver of lending support to the market all year. And if you look at some of the big names like Apple, like Amazon, they are in what we call a bear market. They're down 20% in some cases from the highs.

So investors are looking at this and going, "Look, if these guys can't lift us higher for the rest of the year, what will?" So that's adding to the nervousness. And there's a key of throw-in as well, the ongoing trade concerns. We have some really concerning headlines from Vice President Mike Pence, of course, and President Xi Jinping of China at the weekend.

It's also Thanksgiving this week too, which I think also means some people simply aren't around to trade. And you put all those things together, and you get nervousness and you get pressure on markets.

BOLDUAN: That's absolutely right. Well, kind of focusing in on tech, is this -- what are you hearing? Is this a short-term scare or is this a sign of more to come?

CHATTERLEY: Yes. This a great question because we can't talk about tech as a broad sector now. They've got their own problems. Apple were worried about iPhone demand. Facebook, we've all seen the pressure on Mark Zuckerberg. Tim Cook, the Apple CEO, this week saying more regulation is coming.

So when you look at these individually, they've all got issues. And I think we'll maintain them and we'll continue to put pressure on them going forward.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Any silver lining here right now, Julia?

CHATTERLEY: Yes, there's a lot of back news in the price. We're really concerned about growth. We're really concerned about tech. We're concerned about a trade war. We're concerned about the Federal Reserve.

Any amount of good news on any of these things, I think, will lend support to these markets. The question is, do we get it?

BOLDUAN: Yes, there you go. Exactly. Great to see you, Julia. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

We're going to keep following that all throughout the hour. We'll bring you updates as we get them. But I want to turn our focus now back to Washington at the moment where part of President Trump's immigration agenda just hit a wall.

A federal judge blocked overnight the President's order to deny asylum to migrants who cross the southern border illegally. The judge ruled that move is indirect conflict with existing law and is now ordering the Trump administration to start accepting asylum claims again from migrants regardless of where or how they enter the country.

Judge Tigar, he added this, and I'll read this part for you from his ruling. "Whatever the scope of the President's authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden." And just this morning, the Trump administration is responding. Spoiler alert, they are not backing down from this fight.

Let's get to CNN Ariane de Vogue. She's following all of the details of this. Ariane, what does this ruling mean?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, you're right. You know, this all stems from that November 9th proclamation where the President said, "Look, people who are seeking asylum coming over the border, they can only do it now in official ports of entry. They can't do it anywhere on the southwestern border." That was immediately challenged by the ACLU and other groups. And they said, "Look, federal law clearly says that you can either ask for asylum at a port of entry or anywhere on the border."

And last night, as you said, this federal judge agreed with the challengers. He issued this temporary restraining order, and he had some strong language for the administration. He said, "Look, you're trying to rewrite law." And at one point, he said that their reasoning strains credulity. So this is indeed a loss for the Trump administration. It's a loss early on. But they've responded so far with a statement, and the Department of Justice just said our asylum system is broken. And it is being abused by tens of thousands of meritless claims.

Kate, this all came in the run-up to the midterms as the President kept talking about that caravan that was still thousands of miles away, and he was concerned about the dangerous people. He said, might try to come in, and others said look, these are asylum seekers and they are just trying, Kate, to get away from persecution.

BOLDUAN: Yes, all right. It is not over. Not by the slightest. Great to see you, Ariane. Thank you.

There's also more news happening at the border today. The President is expected to give the S. troops the green light to use force to protect customs and border patrol agents. CNN's Barbara Starr has this new reporting. She's coming to us from the Pentagon as always.

Barbara, what are you learning about this new policy? What does it really mean?

[11:05:10] BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning, Kate. You know, what we're talking about here is if customs and border authorities get into some kind of trouble in trying to deal with the migrants, if violence breaks out, if they become overwhelmed in some fashion.

Right now, US military troops have no authority, no permission to intervene and try to help them, try to help them get out of a situation because in this country, US military troops do not engage in that kind of activity, essentially the equivalent of law enforcement, perhaps not exactly, without presidential approval.

So what we are now looking at, and this has been in the work for some time, is the expectation that in the coming hours, if not today or tomorrow, that the President will sign new authorities that will allow the military troops on the border to do just that, to intervene and help protect customs and border officials if they run into a problem.

You know, military police are experts in two ways. Yes, they can -- they do use in war zones lethal force, but they also have crowd control techniques, crowd control agents, and I think every expectation is that they would do everything they could to be proportional and not use lethal force unless they absolutely had to. Kate.

BOLDUAN: Barbara, thanks so much. I really appreciate it. I got much more to discuss about this.

Joining me right now is retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt. He was Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs under President Bush. Jonathan Ryan is here, he's Executive Director of the Immigrant Rights Group, RAICES, and CNN Political Analyst and Congressional Reporter for "The Washington Post," Karoun Demirjian. It's great to see you, guys. Thank you all so much for being here. General, to you first. What is your reaction to what Barbara's reporting is, this new authority that the President is likely to announce to give to US troops at the border?

BRIGADIER GEN. MARK KIMMITT (RET), FORMER ASST. SECY. OF STATE FOR POLITICAL-MILIARY AFFAIRS: Well, I think what we're seeing is what typically federal officials have around the world, whether it's personal security detachments in combat zones for key leaders, whether it's the secret service protecting the President here, whether it's armed guards at military facilities. I don't think there's anything necessarily unusual here. I'm just happy to see that we're doing this with uniform military rather than private security contractors.

BOLDUAN: Interesting point. Jonathan, you also have this other issue at the border, the administration trying to change asylum policy. The judge overnight said no. And I want to read the response from DHS and DOJ once again for you.

They, in response to the judge, said, "It is absurd that a set of advocacy groups can be found to have standing to sue to stop the entire federal government from acting so that illegal aliens can receive a government benefit to which they are not entitled." What do you say to that?

JONATHAN RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, RIACES: I think it's dangerous and it's sad when the executive is attempting to change existing law, when Congress has spoken so clearly going back decades on this issue. And is essentially creating, I think, a dangerous situation by trying to seal up the border in this way. Threatening the use of force by the military against what we know based on our own experience on the ground, is a group of vulnerable and desperate asylum seekers. These are children pushing other children in strollers seeking protection.

And this characterization of these asylum seekers as a national security threat, it's just the wrong -- it's the wrong line of thinking to even begin with. This is a humanitarian crisis. These are people that our law has recognized for more than 70 years as deserving of a fair shake at asylum. And it is critical that following what the judge ordered last night.

Individuals who are seeking asylum are quickly and with good organization processed for asylum. That's all that is being asked, and that's all that this judge is requiring that the government does, is maintain the status quo that's been in effect for decades here in this country.

BOLDUAN: Karoun, as we're listening, as I'm listening to the conversation here, it goes without saying. There is a healthy dose of politics involved with both of these moves by the administration, from the White House and also when it comes to Capitol Hill.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes. I mean, look, the asylum seeking process usually goes for people arriving at the border or some other port of entry, making the claim and that being processed. It's not usually a big show of force by sending thousands and thousands of troops to the border. So that was the first step that made this seem like it was, you know, Trump flexing his muscle in a way that wasn't necessarily going to be directly addressing the central American migrants coming there, but again, this is also Trump making another splash of an executive order kind of like the Muslim ban was, that he's saying "Hey, Congress, I'm doing something because you're not doing anything about in this case the immigration problem."

[11:10:11] Congress has found it very difficult, even in years where you had people feeling more kindly towards making a bargain to actually resolve the immigration issue with some sort of new law that addresses issues of people that are coming to this country and are in the country without proper documentation. And as we know, the president doesn't like to wait around. So he's making this move, which is basically calling -- it's like a game of chicken with Congress, except the courts are getting involved and saying you can't do that because you can't selectively decide where a law is applied.

And so, we are going to see this back and forth probably happening because it does not look like next year the constitution of the Democratic-led House and the Republican-led Senate is actually going to be any closer to making a resolution on the immigration issue than they have been in years past.

BOLDUAN: We're all happy to be amazed and surprised if that would happen.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes, right.

BOLDUAN: If, very big if. General, I do want to ask you, though, when it comes to what's been happening at the border, Defense Secretary Mattis, he said very clearly to reporters, he doesn't do stunts. The President and Mattis approved sending troops to the border. At one point, he said that the mission for the troops at the border were to be confidence building, to back up customs and border officials. Do you think it was -- is a stunt?

KIMMITT: Well, you know, I don't want to get into the politics about this because frankly what we've got is a lot of good young men and women wearing the uniform that are down there doing what their leaders are telling them to do.

BOLDUAN: That's true.

KIMMIT: They're not necessarily concerned about the politics. And I'm not worried about the politics for them either. Those orders have to go through people like Jim Mattis, Jeff Buchanan.

By the time it gets down to the individual soldier, they're not worried about the politics. They've got a mission, they've got a clear focus. And I think they leave the noise up here in Washington, D.C. behind them.

BOLDUAN: And quite a bit of noise it is.

KIMMIT: Yes. BOLDUAN: Jonathan, on the asylum issue, here is what folks -- what you hear from folks who support the President's policy move. Enter the country legally and ask for asylum, sure. Come in illegally, why then should they get special treatment? What do you say?

RYAN: Because asylum is not a benefit. Asylum is a protection. It is a fundamental human right. And it is a concept that this country envisioned after World War II.

These laws that I practice, refugee and asylum law, are literally the legal legacy that was left behind by the generation that we called the greatest generation. That saw the atrocities of World War II, came home from that war and established these laws as the line in the sand on this earth that establishes how great nations, how powerful people, treat the weak and the vulnerable, and those who are fleeing persecution. This goes to really the core of who we are as Americans. And it is not some fleeting concept or some benefit that we extend.

The idea of not non-refoulement, of not returning individuals to a country where they will be tortured or persecuted is fundamental. The idea that refugees deserve protection in a free land, this is the image that we have been broadcasting to the world for my entire lifetime and for generations. As an American, as a lawyer, as a student of history, I really find it ironic and sad that we're here on the eve of Thanksgiving, the holiday that literally purports to celebrate the welcoming of European refugees to this country, by the indigenous people who were here already, and here we are as a country turning our backs on that history, on the tradition that this holiday celebrates in order to what really appears to have been trying to score some political points in the run-up to an election.

BOLDUAN: All right now, a setback for the President with the judge's ruling overnight. The fight is not over. We will all see what happens next.

General, I appreciate your time. Karoun, Jonathan, thank you guys. I really appreciate it.

RYAN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, using private e-mail for government business. Yes, you can't stop me. You've heard this one before. So what, though, does it mean now for Ivanka Trump? Details next.


[11:18:42] BOLDUAN: Don't expect any lock her up chants, I guess that's one thing we can say today. But Adviser to the President, Ivanka Trump, used a personal e-mail account for government business. A nonpartisan watchdog group found that the President's daughter sent hundreds of e-mails to Cabinet officials and White House aides using her personal e-mail account, even into 2017. Yes, the same thing that Hillary Clinton was so roundly criticized for in the 2016 campaign. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She should never have been allowed to run for the presidency based on what she did with e- mails.

She doesn't even remember whether or not she was instructed on how to use e-mails. Were you instructed on how to use -- I can't remember.

She deleted the e-mails. She has to go to jail.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (in unison): Lock her up.


BOLDUAN: Those lock her up chants, though, do continue at Trump rallies to this day. So what is the Trump White House saying now? CNN Sarah Westwood is at the White House.

Sarah, what are you hearing there today?

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Kate, the White House is at the moment not commenting on this, but Ivanka Trump's legal team is arguing that the first daughter and senior adviser to President Trump didn't fully understand the rules governing private e-mail use when she first took her job in the White House. Now, obviously, there are a lot of parallels being drawn with the Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal. Not just the circumstances of it, both women under fire for using private e-mail for official use, but also their subsequent excuses.

[11:20:20] Both initially denied transmitting classified information. Both denied that they intentionally flouted records retention laws.

Now, Ivanka's legal team has worked to distinguish the two situations, and Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Ivanka's attorney wrote in a statement, "Like most people, before entering into government service, Ms. Trump used a private e-mail. When she entered government, she was given a government e-mail account for official use. While transitioning into government, until the White House provided her the same guidance they had to others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her private account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family."

Of course, we don't know what else the rest of the time that Ivanka Trump used that e-mail for. Obviously, Democrats in the House about to take over the majority are threatening to investigate this. Democrats and even some Republicans are turning a skeptical eye to say the least at Ivanka Trump's claims that she didn't know rules governing private e-mail use given how much her father focused on it in 2016. Kate

BOLDUAN: Yes, Sarah, thank you very much. I really appreciate it.

Joining me right now is Emily Tisch Sussman. She's a senior Adviser for the Progressive Political Group Swing Left, and Doug Heye, a CNN Political Commentator, former Communications Director for the Republican National Committee. All right, Emily. Take me back. Take me back in time to last night when you sat down, you opened up "The Washington Post," and you read the headline that follows like this. Ivanka Trump used a personal account to send e-mails about government business.

EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN, FORMER VP, CAMPAIGNS FOR CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS: I was in total shock. And then not shocked because the levels of hypocrisy that this administration go to are truly unbelievable. I know your reporters went through it, but the parallels actually do exactly what they had attacked Hillary Clinton for, for years. I mean, it's unbelievable what the parallels are, even considering the fact that Ivanka said that she didn't know, she wasn't sure if she had been briefed on the security, and then continued to use it.

A place that there are actually differences is that this was a new e- mail account that they had set up going to transition to Washington. So actually, she was using it for the purpose of which it was set up, but a bigger difference is the fact that the Trumps actually continue to use their position. There's a lot of self-enrichment going on in the White House and there's very unclear lines between self-dealing and business and running the business of the country.

BOLDUAN: You think that was involved in this?

SUSSMAN: It's very unclear if it is.


SUSSMAN: I mean, look, it's a piece of everything they do, right? There's always self-dealing involved. And they actually admitted that from the e-mails coming out that it was her personal business, she was moving things around through business accounts and personal accounts. So they're actually basically admitting that.

So she should submit to the exact same thing Hillary Clinton did. Two years of an FBI investigation and 11 hours of testimony, which she might in front of the House now.

BOLDUAN: Well, Democrats are already suggesting that they're ready to investigate. And I will say that Manu Raju just spoke with the chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Ron Johnson, and he said, Doug, we take this very seriously. But also this, Douglas, the attorney for Ivanka Trump is making the case that this is apples and oranges, saying that Trump didn't create a private server, didn't have a private server in her house or office. There's no classified information was ever included, they say, and no e-mails were ever deleted. The bottom line is using private e-mail to do government business.

Is this apples and oranges in your view?

DOUG HEYE, FORMER RNC COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I think it's maybe two different kinds of apples. You know, you've got a Granny Smith on one side and a Golden Delicious on the other. I don't think it's fully apples and oranges because there are obviously striking similarities here. And clearly, anybody who attended a Donald Trump rally in 2016 knew what the lock her up chant was about.

BOLDUAN: Or even goes to a rally today in 2018.

HEYE: Yes, exactly. And look, I think this is where the Trump team, and they've got Peter Mirijanian, who's one of the smartest, most skilled P.R. people I've ever dealt with, out there working this. And they're going to work it in a smart way, and I hope better than the Clinton team did because one of the problems for Hillary Clinton was how Hillary Clinton handled this. That disastrous press conference that she had, the "what should I wipe it, with a cloth," and laughing about it. That's now how this should be dealt with.

The other thing that we know is the Trump administration is very skilled at when a story erupts, basically distracting all of us and saying these are not droids you're looking for and going into the holiday. I'd expect that to happen here as well.

BOLDUAN: I do think -- when you talk about how Hillary Clinton handled it, I also think it is also striking on, and Sarah got to this a little bit, on the excuses that Ivanka Trump and her team have offered up at least to this point, early on. The e-mails were mostly about logistics. The e-mails were all captured on government servers, and that she wasn't aware of the rules. It's almost -- it is almost word for word what Hillary Clinton said early on on why she did what she did.

So that does make me wonder if this wasn't a big deal, if this should not have been a big deal when Hillary Clinton did it. Do Democrats need to be careful on what they do with Ivanka Trump?

[11:25:16] SUSSMAN: Look, Democrats have lived this issue. It is over, right? Democrats have gone through every piece of this, and the challenge, the criticism of Hillary Clinton was that she didn't take it seriously at first. That seems to be exactly what the Trump administration is doing. They're not even really responding to it. They're in no way offering the fact she should go before testimony, right, but she should actually talk about what was in the e-mails.

Actually another similarity between the two is that it was their own lawyers who sifted through the e-mails and decided what should go in the public records and what should be preserved under the Public Records Act. So we actually don't know what was in all of the e- mails. So if Republicans are going to try to make the distinction that the difference is that basically it's exactly the same scenario. I can't even go into all -- honestly, I'm really struggling with the fact it's like a P.R. problem. Like sure it's a pr problem, but this is an actually governing problem, like she is actually in the White House making very serious decisions and trying to run a business at the same time. And there's so much self-enrichment going on.

BOLDUAN: So, Doug, you don't get to be the final arbiter, but you get the final word today. Where does this go? What should Democrats do? What advice would you have as a Republican to a Democrat since I know you offer it up all the time when they come in in January, how to handle this, to not be hypocritical? If it was bad for Hillary -- if it wasn't bad for Hillary Clinton, if people -- if it was overblown reaction to Hillary Clinton, how are they going to not overblow the reaction to Ivanka Trump?

HEYE: Yes, what a surprise. Politics is so often situational ethics and we see that all the time. But this is where this goes, to your very question, is this goes to House Democrats. They not only have new oversight in the majority, but they'll have subpoena power. And I expect to see that happen here.

But whether it's this or the other investigations, Democrats would be smart not to go overboard in the way that Donald Trump did. Lord knows if Ivanka Trump has to go through a nine-hour testimony, that then her supporters are saying is heroic and so forth, that will be a black eye for Democrats.

BOLDUAN: First and foremost, well, if Ivanka Trump goes before any kind of congressional hearing on this, let's just go there, not even talking about nine hours, first and foremost. Great to see you, guys. Thanks so much. Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

HEYE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up, a major development, though, in the investigation of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. President Trump says that he is expecting the CIA's final report today. Could it change the President's tone towards the country that he's most spectacular ally? We've more details on that coming in, up next.