Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Under Fire Over Past Anti-Gay Comments; House GOP Leader Meets with Steve King After Racist Remarks; Trump Goes on Attack on Twitter as Russia Headlines Emerge; Oculus Founder Wants to Make Soldiers Smarter Through Tech. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired January 14, 2019 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Controversy already surrounding one Democrat running for president. Hawaii Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard, just announced her 2020 bid over the weekend. But CNN's K- file found that while running for the legislature there she aligned herself with her father who was an antigay activist. He promoted conversion therapy, which is banned in many states and he worked to pass legislation to posing same sex marriage in Hawaii.

Now in 2004 Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard said this. Quote, as Democrats we should be representing the views of the people, not a small number of homosexual extremists.

She responded to our story by saying she is now dedicated to equal rights for all. So, let's bring in CNN political commentator, Ana Navarro, and Kirsten Powers. She is a columnist for "USA Today" and a CNN political analyst. So ladies, good to see both of you. And Kirsten, starting with the Congresswoman. You know, she has since apologized several times. She has helped craft legislation supporting LGBTQ equality. But given her past, past, will they matter for Democratic voters?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think -- so this happened, as I understand it in the early 2000's. I think the last thing that she said was probably around 2004.

BALDWIN: So she was 17, 18, 19, 10, 21.

POWERS: She was young. She was very young and she was, you know -- let me just back up for a second. I just want to say conversion therapy is absolutely insane and abusive. It never should have happened. Many people were, you know, tortured with this horrible treatment. And so, I don't think anyone ever should have supported that. And I don't think that was the norm for the Democratic Party. It's true there were plenty of people who didn't support legalize same-sex marriage at that time, but I don't think that this was necessarily mainstream.

That said, she was very young and she says sort of following the lead of her father. And so we're talking like in her early 20s or you know, younger. And so I think that people can bear that in mind and if her record more recently is more Pro LGBTQ then it's not going to matter as much. I wouldn't say it doesn't matter at all. Because I think this is an extreme position to have taken. BALDWIN: Ana, what do you think?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I know Tulsi Gabbard. I was surprised by this because it is inconsistent with what I've seen in her when it comes to gay-rights. I disagree her completely on the Syria issue, but I have been with her and some mutual gay friends, and so this to me was surprising. Look, here's on this evolution on gay rights and gay issues. When people apologize genuinely, you have got to let people evolve. What's the point of evolving? What's the point of changing your thinking? What's the point of apologizing if those apologies are not accepted?

Tulsi Gabbard has done more than apologize. She has a 100 percent voting record from the human rights campaign. She is a member of the equality caucus in Congress. So, you know, she has walked back the talk. She has done it with actions in the, you know, in her years in Congress. I agree with Kirsten. The gay conversion therapy is abominable. Should be condemned. Should be abolished, should be erased from our history and should be erased from our vocabulary. But, you know, also, people evolve. And I think Tulsi has shown that she's involved.

BALDWIN: OK. On the other side of the aisle -- Ana, let me stay with you. The house minority --

NAVARRO: Now that guy hasn't evolved at all.

BALDWIN: You know where I'm going, Steve king, Congressman Steve King. So he's chatting with Kevin McCarthy today after King's not first, not second, not fifth -- I don't know what number he is on -- racist comment. The latest one with "The New York Times" defending white nationalism. What could leader McCarthy say or do that would satisfy you and a lot of other Republicans who realize this wasn't the first time he said something like this.

NAVARRO: First of all, every Republican is being asked about this including people like Ted Cruz who has been hunting with the guy, who sucked up to the guy when he was running in Iowa. Should say they regret not having done it earlier. They have enabled Steve King. They have looked the other way. This is not something new. This is a guy who has not evolved. What he said about white supremacy is very consistent with other statements he has made throughout his career. It's basically the only thing he knows how to do. It's a racist thing. It is his reason for being.

What could Kevin McCarthy do? For starters take away his committee assignments. Do you know Steve King is in the judiciary committee and Steve King is the chairman of the subcommittee on the constitution and civil justice? You want somebody who's questioning what's wrong with white supremacy to chair the committee, the subcommittee on civil justice?

[15:35:00] I think not. So you know, that's the one thing that could be done very quickly and could be a very concrete action. As far as Steve King, really, it's up to the people of Iowa. I don't understand how they keep re-electing somebody that's so grossly ineffective. I think he needs to become a pariah in his party. People need to stop giving him donations. The NRCC should figure out a primary opponent. He won very narrowly this year. There's a loft things they can do and they should.

BALDWIN: So, you mentioned Ted Cruz and other Republicans who have been out with him and who are now condemning him. But the one Republican who has yet to do so, this guy. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: What about Stephen King's remarks and white supremacy?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Who?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Steve King. Congressman Steve King.

TRUMP: I haven't been following it. I really haven't been following it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So Kirsten, this President who apparently knows everything about, you know, Jeff Bezos' divorce. What did he call him on Twitter, Jeff bozo? But doesn't know what's going on with a member of his own party, as Ana mentioned, with those prominent roll roles in Congress? Doesn't know?

POWERS: Yes, I'm sure he knows. Look, whenever he's given an opportunity to condemn racism, he chooses not to or does the both sides. You know, find people on both sides or during the campaign when the alt-right was, you know, saying all sorts things and being a huge supporter of his. He just declined to condemn them. And he doesn't condemn them because I think one of the questions that we should all be asking when we're talking about Steve King, is really what's the difference between him and Donald Trump. There's not that much difference.

I think that Steve King has been like this for a long time. You could ask a Republican Party why they're now deciding that he's a problem. Have they evolved or are they just under pressure? Because he's been talking about, you know, undocumented immigrants like they're animals. He talked about putting an electrified fence on the border, saying that this is how we control livestock. So comparing them to livestock. So, you know, this is a much bigger problem for the Republican Party than just a few comments.

BALDWIN: Waiting for word after this meeting with Kevin McCarthy. Go ahead, Ana really quickly.

NAVARRO: Senator Tim --

BALDWIN: Tim Scott.

NAVARRO: The only African-American Republican in the U.S. Senate penned a very powerful op-ed basically saying what Kirsten just said. The reason that people talk about the Republican Party and ask whether they are a racist party is because when faced with discrimination and racist statements for too they have remained silent. I think there should be more Tim Scott's and no Steve King's.

Ana Navarro and Kirsten Powers, ladies, thank you very much.

And as new headlines emerge over the weekend about the President's relationship with Vladimir Putin, he was on a quite a tweet storm from within the White House walls going after everyone from Senator Elizabeth Warren, to Jeff Bezos, to America's NATO allies. He even called into Fox News an made several dubious claims. We'll talk about this interview, next.

[15:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm thrilled to be here in a state that I've had a lot of luck with and I love a lot of people in this state. I know a lot of people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: That was moments ago professing his love for Louisiana as he spoke to the farmers convention there in New Orleans. But this morning, he was touting his love for Nashville in a now deleted tweet. It seems as though that is where he thought the event would be taking place. Woops. That is just the latest in the barrage of tweeting coming out of the White House just in the past 48 hours just as new revelations are piling on in this Russia investigation. So, we go to Chris Cillizza in D.C. here to walk us through what else is on your list of Trump things today.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: OK, it's a lot I want to get to. But first let me note that Nashville, New Orleans thing made me think of the scene in Spinal Tap where they just say hello, Cleveland, even though they're not there. Anyway, let's get to it because there is a lot going on.

OK. Donald Trump Sunday night. OK.

Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while kidding the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate ... but will attack again from existing ... will devastate Turkey economically.

Turkey is a NATO ally, but wait, Brooke, that's just the start. Let's go to the next one. It was a busy evening.

So sorry to hear the news about Jeff Bozo being taken down by a competitor who's reporting I understand is far more accurate than the reporting in his lobbyist newspaper the Amazon "Washington Post".

Competitors reporting is far more accurate -- he's talking about the "National Enquirer". Okey-doke. Yes, they ran this. Obviously, we know Jeff Bezos, richest man in the world is getting divorced, $140 billion. OK, he's not done. Trump, not Bezos, I mean. Let's go to the next one.

If Elizabeth Warren often referred to me as Pocahontas, did this commercial Bighorn or Wounded Knee. What's he talking about? What commercial?

Well, Warren after she announced in an Instagram live in which she has a beer, she's at her house. She's trying to be a normal person.

OK, well, so that's three tweets. Now you think who would be involved in that kind of tweet storm number one the President of the United States, but maybe it's because he was stuck. You know, we all go a little stir crazy. It was snowing this weekend in Washington, stuck in the White House.

[15:45:00] Now he claims he's been there for a very long time. This is what he told Jeanine Pirro on Fox News Saturday night. Listen to this, Brooke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well I haven't actually left the White House in months and in all fairness, I'm doing a lot of other work is not just that. But that's a very important element of what I'm doing because we have to get the southern border done. And I've been here virtually every night, I guess every night over than one day. I flew to Iraq and then to Germany to see our troops.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CILLIZZA: Nope. That is in fact not true. I love how he says, by the way, in all fairness. In all fairness, I've been working very hard. That's what I tell our boss, Brooke. OK, so he has been away from the White House a number of times. Look, two days before he gave this interview he was in McAllen, Texas taking a visit to the border, which by way, we know he said was pointless. He told people off the record that.

December 8 is that the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia. Right. There he is. And this is a speech that December 7th to a Law Enforcement Conference in Kansas City. So he's definitely been out of the White House. But wait, there's more, Brooke. Same interview with Jeanine Pirro. I want to play one other thing. He said this about his former fixer Michael Cohen. Let's play it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He should give information maybe on his father-in-law. Because that's the one that people want to look. Because where does that money? That's the money in the family. And I guess he didn't want to talk about his father-in-law. Trying to get his sentence reduced. So it's pretty sad. He is weak. And is very sad to watch a thing like that. I couldn't care less.

JEANINE PIRRO, FOX NEWS: What is his father-in-law's name?

TRUMP: I don't know but you'll find out and you'll look into it. Because nobody knows what's going on other there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CILLIZZA: Yes, that definite happened in real life. Again, Michael Cohen's father-in-law a private citizen being called out for something by the President of the United States on a cable network. So irresponsible. But just one of the many things in the last 48 to 72 hours have held for Donald Trump. I shudder to wonder what the next 24 hours holds. Back to you -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: In all fairness, I think you're really great, Chris Cillizza.

CILLIZZA: Well, many people are saying that. Some of the best people.

BALDWIN: Chris Cillizza, thank you very much for running through all the things in case you blinked and missed it, Chris Cillizza had it all.

Just in, absolutely horrific new details as the suspect accused of kidnapping Wisconsin teenager, Jayme Closs, reveals why he chose to target her. This is according to prosecutors as the suspect is about to face a judge. So stand by for that.

[15:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A former Facebook employee who left the company in a big controversy over his support of a Pro Donald Trump group is now stepping into national security. Palmer Luckey is the founder of the new company focused on defense technology. And he says his latest device will turn soldiers into superheroes. Laurie Segall is our CNN business senior tech correspondent. She introduces us in her latest episode of the "HUMAN CODE". So, what's the new technology?

LAURIE SEGALL, CNN BUSINESS SENIOR TECH CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Palmer Lucky wears this Hawaiian tropics shirt all of the time. He says that's kind of his signature look. And he's this very interesting founder. He got pushed out of Facebook. He sold a company called Oculus to Facebook. It's a virtual reality company, for $3 billion. And his next big act is creating defense technology. So think of this as -- this part is for the border. Now think of this, it's almost an artificial intelligence meets virtual reality type technology, including, you know, surveillance tools. And I asked him specifically how he planned to use it. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEGALL: Let's talk about what you're actually building. So border control technology. The headlines said, you guys are building the digital wall for Trump.

PALMER LUCKEY, FOUNDER, OCULUS: It's a bigger system than that. Lattice can take data from thousands of different sensors and fuse into a single cohesive real-time 3D model of very large areas. Then use news machine learning to tag everything in that model with metadata. So, you can sort it, filter it, process it, run predictable analytics on it and push it out to people both in command and control centers and also out in the field in realtime. The way that it typically works -- usually they can -- there's a set up rules. Say hey, tell me if someone is let's say, crossing this perimeter that we've set. When it detects something that matches the description, it can send a notification to the nearest person and say, hey there's this thing that we think is worth a person looking at. Then they pop it into directly to their mobile device and they're able to respond appropriately.

SEGALL: Does it prioritize it that someone you are able to see and visualize smuggling drugs or a family crossing the border? How does that technology work?

LUCKEY: I mean, this is a tool for knowing everything that is going on. I think more information is always better. I think when the United States military, in particular, has more information, I think they make better decisions.

SEGALL: You guys are working with the government right now. This is the Trump administration who has been known for the immigration ban and some of these very controversy will policies including family separation. Will there be a line you draw with your technology if it's implemented in a certain way?

LUCKEY: I think we're so far away from that happening. The United States is a strong democracy. We have strong rule of law, strong checks and balances. We have a free press. I'm much more concerned about other countries like Russia and China building technology that they used to oppress their own people and also expanding their sphere of influence over other countries.

SEGALL: Is the United States at risk of losing global supremacy when it comes to defense technology and being this global power?

LUCKEY: Yes, I do think that that is a very serious risk. That's why I started this company. Because I felt that risk and very acutely.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SEGALL: And now, you know, Luckey wants to build this technology to make sure that America stays at the forefront with China and Russia building all types of technology with AI. But, you know, you have to think about this, Brooke, you have in Silicon Valley, which is notably liberal. A lot of these folks don't want to work with this current administration and build tech tools that they don't know if they'll have control over.

[15:55:02] They don't know what will happen to the data. So, there are some ethical questions that go along with this. It was a really interesting interview and you can check out the rest at CNN business.

BALDWIN: CNN business, all right CNNbusiness.com. Laurie Segall, thank you.

Why would the President of the United States reportedly take his interpreters notes and tell the person not to talk about it? What he and Vladimir Putin discussed. Democrats close to deciding whether to subpoena that translator. We have new details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Moments from now the suspect to confess to kidnapping Jayme Closs and killing her parents, is in court. We just learned all these new horrific details. Including how Jayme and her mother hid in the bathtub as the killer murdered Jayme's father. All those details, if you want to read them, on CNN.com.