Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Threatens Cutting GM Subsidies Over New Layoffs; Manafort Denies Guardian Report that He Met with Assange; GOP Leaders May Bring Mueller Protection Bill to a Vote; CNN Poll Finds Increase in Anti-Semitism in Europe; The State of Hate, the Rise of Anti- Semitism in America. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 27, 2018 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: More now on the fallout over General Motors' plan to slash thousands of jobs and close five plants. President Trump tweeted moments ago that he is disappointed with GM's decision to shutter plants in places like Lordstown, Ohio and is threatening to cut all GM subsidies in response. After more than 50 years and 16 million assembled vehicles later, the Lordstown GM plant is on the list to close. And that move will leave 1,600 workers out of a job.

With me now the mayor of Lordstown, Ohio, Arno Hill. Mr. Mayor, welcome sir. And my goodness, first just out of the gate, the President's tweet about we're looking at cutting all GM subsidies, what's your response to that threat?

ARNO HILL, MAYOR, LORDSTOWN, OHIO: Well, you know, you can't say that when he says he wants to do something he's going to go in at full force. I guess I can appreciate that, if he wants to keep General Motors here. You know, I've heard that many times. I know here, it was about six, eight months ago when they moved their crews -- production of the hatchback to Mexico. He has stated something quite similar to that about tariffs. And you know, I guess, you know, I'm hoping that we have something, a product here. They said they're ceasing production. They haven't said they're permanently shuttering the plant. And I guess I feel we still have a pulse and a heartbeat and I would like to get another product here.

BALDWIN: Do you then have faith in this President to fight and to keep those jobs where they are?

HILL: Yes, I do right now. The President has made his point perfectly clear. He feels that Ohio is a very strong place where he wants to keep the manufacturing. He has said that from day one. He came and campaigned here and said that don't sell your homes, I'm going to help bring jobs. And, you know, this was just announced yesterday. Of course, I don't think it comes as a shock that the market has changed, we need another product, people aren't buying cars. It isn't just General Motors. Ford's announced they're not making cars. Fiat/Chrysler said the same. So, you know, I guess he's trying to get General Motors' attention. I hope it works and I hope we get another product. BALDWIN: You mentioned when he said, "don't move," we have that sound

from his rally in 2017. Guys, roll it.

[15:35:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I rode through your beautiful roads coming up from the airport, and I was -- I was looking at some of those big, once-incredible, job producing factories and my wife, Melania said "what happened?" I said those jobs have left Ohio. They're all coming back. They're all coming back. Coming back. Don't move. Don't sell your house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Mayor Hill, what about this President's trade war? How much is that a factor not only with GM but the American auto industry on a whole? How much are you hearing it's really hurting it?

HILL: I really can't say how much it is hurting it. You know, I know he's talked about tariffs, but I do feel right now the big thing is we have a fabulous product here, but we have no market. With low gas prices, with people trending toward pickups, SUVs and crossovers, you know, we can't hold guns to people's heads and say, hey, you have to buy our product. Everybody is moving towards a different way and GM's going to have to make some changes. You know, when I read the direction yesterday, I thought I had -- they said they're going to be closing two plants in Korea. If they are, that's where they make the Buick Concord and the Chevy Trax. You know, that would be a perfect fit for our plant. So, you know, I'm hopeful that something will be coming our way.

BALDWIN: You know, hopeful indeed, and just on the personal aspect of this. You know, I read -- you know, this is like a punch in the gut I know for your community. And I had read this quote from the Lordstown school superintendent that parents of the school kids have already been feeling it with the elimination of the first and second shifts and now with these jobs presumably going away. What happens, Mr. Mayor, to these parents, to putting food on the table and their children?

HILL: You know, I can agree. You know, a lot of people have been laid off, especially two years ago. I'm sure a lot of their money has run out. Their sub pay, their unemployment. I'm sure the kids who had one or both parents working there, they are feeling it. I know the local businesses -- now we don't have that many businesses here. We have a couple breakfast/lunch diners. We have one pub one pub. We have a Subway, a Dairy Queen. We have one gas station. You know, we haven't grown much, but I will tell you that every one of those small business owners they said if it weren't for some of the other businesses which we've tried to bring in here, they would be closing their doors right now.

We do have a couple of businesses lined up. In fact, kitty corner across the turnpike from where we're standing right now, in about three, four months we're going to be break ground for a 1.2 million square foot TJX Home Goods Distribution Center, which is going to have a thousand plus jobs. I don't know if they'll be able to pay what general motors is paying. But you know, we have tried to keep our community viable and try to bring jobs into our community.

BALDWIN: America is thinking of communities like yours and we want them to of course remain viable. Mayor Hill, thank you so much for your voice and relaying how everyone is feeling there. Appreciate it. Good luck, sir.

HILL: Thank you very much. Appreciate the invite.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Former Trump campaign , Paul Manafort, is responding to a report that he met with WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. We'll have those details next.

[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Just in to CNN, Paul Manafort is responding to this new report out of the "Guardian" today that he met with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange three times. The most recent in the spring of 2016, right around the same time that he joined the Trump campaign.

Here's Manafort's response, quoting him now. This story is totally false and deliberately libelous. I have never met Julian Assange or anyone connected to him. I have never been contacted by anyone connected to WikiLeaks, either directly or indirectly. I have never reached out to Assange or WikiLeaks on any matter. We are considering all legal options against the "Guardian" who proceeded with this story even after being notified by my representatives that it was false.

Now for some back-door Senate remaking happening today, concerning the special counsel's probe. The number two Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, tells CNN legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by President Trump could get a Senate vote after all. This is all part of a potential deal to appease fellow Republican Jeff Flake. Here is CNN's Manu Raju with more. So, Manu, talk to me about the deal making medication going on. What's at stake?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Jeff Flake, of course, had made that demand just several days ago saying he would not allow a vote for any judicial nomination either on the floor or on the Senate Judiciary Committee if the Senate does not vote on that bill to protect special counsels like Robert Mueller.

Now as a result, that's leading into some issues as we head into the final stretch of this legislative session. Mitch McConnell wants to confirm a bunch of nominees to lower courts, including one controversial nominee, Thomas Farr, to sit on a district who Democrats all oppose. By losing Jeff Flake's vote on that and potentially one other Republican, that nomination and maybe some others could go down. So as a result, Brooke, the Republicans are considering giving him a vote on that special counsel bill.

[15:45:00] Even though it will likely fail, but Mitch McConnell just moments ago poured some cold water on that, Brooke, saying that he wants nothing to do with that bill. He doesn't think it's worthwhile doing it. Nevertheless, he may ultimately have to give that a vote if he wants those judicial nominees confirmed -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: What about how Leader McConnell also said that the Senate is discussing actions to punish Saudi Arabia for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. What the options on the table?

RAJU: Yes, I asked him specifically if Saudi Arabia should be punished in light of what we know about -- what the intelligence believes is the Crown Prince's role in that murder, and Mitch McConnell went much further than the White House has gone just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: So, some kind of response to that certainly would be in order. But, yes, some kind of response is going to be appropriate and we're going to continue to talk about that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: So tomorrow they'll talk about it with two members of the Trump administration, Jim Mattis, Mike Pompeo, but, Brooke, they want Gina Haspel, the CIA director, also to come in, a lot of Republicans do. Not clear yet if she will actually come. Some Democrats believe that the White House is preventing her from coming. The White House denies that at the moment. But that's a big question going forward.

BALDWIN: We'll dig into that. It was one of the questions at the briefing today. Manu, thank you very much. Up on the Hill for us.

Coming up, a startling rise of anti-Semitic acts across the country. What's behind it? A CNN special report is next.

[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Remember this? This photo of high school students in Wisconsin posing in an apparent Nazi salute? CNN has learned that the school district will not punish them, citing their First Amendment rights

The district writing. We cannot know the intentions in the hearts of those who were involved. What we do know is that this image was posted to social media with a comment to create harm.

And create harm, it did. For millions of Jews around the world who remember what the Nazi salute stands for. It's not just the fact that these students did what they did. It's a sign of a bigger issue, of people not knowing about the Holocaust coupled with the fact that anti-Semitism is alive and well around the world. Here's what CNN's chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward just found in Germany last month.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This man tells us, a shadowy cabal of globalists controls the world.

(on camera): When you talk about elites and you talk about finance, is that another way of saying Jewish people?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WARD: Yes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

WARD: It is.

(voice-over): And they are growing more brazen. One man flashes a quick but unmistakable Nazi salute right in front of us, a crime in Germany.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: A new CNN study found that the memory of the Holocaust starting to fade in Europe. A third of people there saying they knew just a little or nothing at all about the Holocaust. Let me repeat that. A third or Europeans in this poll know little or nothing about the Holocaust. And Americans aren't doing a whole heck of a lot better. A survey shows that nearly one in ten adults in the U.S. weren't sure if they had ever heard of the Holocaust.

This isn't about one high school in Wisconsin or one country in Europe, it is about hate across the globe and with anti-Semitism on the rise, we must remember the past and learn from the past so that we do not ever repeat it. We must never forget. And all of this ties in with the new CNN series examining the state of hate in America.

When Democrats take hold of the House in early January, they say they plan to investigate how the Trump administration is tackling white nationalism. The incoming House Judiciary Chairman says he wants answers, after two years of getting little or no response to his questions on domestic terrorism and the unfair profiling of minority groups. Meanwhile, victims of hate crimes are seeing an alarming rise in offenses. Here is CNN's Sara Sidner.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RABBI JEFFREY MYERS, TREE OF LIFE SYNAGOGUE: I'm not just concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism, I'm concerned about the rise of hate in our country.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A quiet Saturday morning of prayer and reflection at rabbi Jeffrey Myers' synagogue in Pittsburgh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Contact! Shots fired, shots fired!

SIDNER: Savagely interrupted by gunfire.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got an automatic weapon. He's firing right in front of the synagogue.

SIDNER: Anti-Semitism had blasted its way back into America's consciousness.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have at least four down in the atrium, DOA at this time.

SIDNER: Barry Werber was praying inside the Tree of Life Synagogue when bullets started flying. He hid in a closet as a gunman mowed down 11 of his fellow worshippers.

(on camera): What is it like being a survivor?

[15:55:00] : Sometimes I just feel dead inside. No feeling at all. And I hate that feeling. But it's there.

SIDNER: How many of your friends have you had to bury?

WERBER: Too many to count.

SIDNER (voice-over): It was the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history. The personification of a rising state of hate in this country. The Anti-Defamation League says anti-Semitism in America was already exploding, from neo-Nazi marches to more subtle propaganda. In 2017, the ADL logged nearly 2,000 anti-Semitic incidents, a 57 percent spike in just one year.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's the signal largest surge we've ever seen since we've started tracking this data.

[15:55:00] SIDNER: The FBI, which only counts hate crimes reported by police, saw an astonishing 37 percent rise in anti-Semitic crimes. The police in Pittsburgh says the gunman's anti-Semitic fervor was spelled out on social media. One site in particular that attracts racists and neo-Nazi because of its loose policies on free speech. Experts say those sites are becoming echo chambers that are getting louder and helping motivate real-life attacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Race war now.

SIDNER: The anger and misguided ideology of neo-Nazi which has been permeating the dark corners of the internet now materializing on street corners and being scrawled across the American landscape. Swastikas on a temple in Indiana, on a school in Colorado, on a school bus in Florida, on political signs in California, and on street signs in Nevada. Words of hate on a temple in California.

(on camera): What was spelled out here?

RABBI YISROEL CINER, BETH JACOB CONGREGATION OF IRVINE: Expletive, "FU" Jew, expletive again in red spray paint.

SIDNER (voice-over): And anti-Semitism expressed through bullet holes shot through a temple in Indiana. Cars were set ablaze at a Jewish Cultural Center in Tennessee. And across the country, posters are popping up on college campuses meant to instill Nazi ideals in young minds. Even the dead are targets. At 92 years old, Millard Braunstein knows the pain of loss.

MILLARD BRAUNSTEIN, MOTHER'S GRAVE DESECRATED: This was the love of my life.

SIDNER: But he's never personally experienced anti-Semitism until this year, when 175 tombstones at a Jewish cemetery in Philadelphia were desecrated.

BRAUNSTEIN: My mother's stone was knocked over and it was really very upsetting. I said, how could this happen in America today?

SIDNER: For the victims of anti-Semitism, the question is, why has it returned with such a vengeance?

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: Anti-Semitism is nothing new. What is new is, number one, the public conversation. The charged atmosphere, the incredibly polarized phenomenon in our society today.

SIDNER: Experts say Charlottesville, Virginia, last year was a turning point. The moment the growing rise in racism and anti- Semitism went public. Hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazi, and Klansmen took to the streets, protesting the decision to remove a confederate statue. It was one of several protests last year, but this was different. It began with a torch-lit march on Friday night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALES (chanting): Jews will not replace us.

SIDNER: That turned into a violent confrontation the next morning between white nationalists and counter-protesters. In the end, police say a man with neo-Nazi ideals killed 32-year-old Heather Heyer. Those who monitor neo-Nazis say the aftermath may have encouraged the movement.

TRUMP: But you also had people that were very fine people -- on both sides.

SIDNER: Especially because the President's lack of a complete condemnation of what happened was cheered by white nationalists.

BRAUNSTEIN: Show me a good neo-Nazi and show me a good Ku Klux Klansman. I mean, it just isn't there.

WERBER: Instead of saying, well, there's wrong on both sides, how were we wrong? What were we doing wrong? Except praying. That can't be wrong.

SIDNER: Barry Werber likens that kind of thinking to Hitlerism. He's well aware of the torture that regime meted out on a family member.

WEBER: He was used by the German scientists for experiments. They had literally cut the muscles out of his arms to see if they would regrow. And he had to live with that. Thank God I never had to go through that.

SIDNER: Jews have a saying about the Holocaust. Never again. After what he's been through, Werber is terrified it really could happen again.

SIDNER: Now, the Jewish community, like every community, it has a diversity of opinion and there are plenty of Jews, including one of the rabbis we spoke to here in California who support Donald Trump. And they don't blame him at all for the rise in anti-Semitism. Actually, they feel he supports Jewish people, because he is a big supporter of Israel. But one thing that everyone we spoke with said needs to change, and that is, the heightened political rhetoric that is dividing this country.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Sara Sidner, who's been reporting on so much of this hate in this country, you can read more of her report, go to CNN.com.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me for the last two hours. Let's go to Washington now. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.