Return to Transcripts main page


President Trump's Frightening Claims About What's Happening At The Southern Border; NFL's Roger Goodell Breaking His Silence On The No-Call Controversy From The Rams And Saints Game. Aired: 2:30-3p ET

Aired January 30, 2019 - 14:30   ET


JOHN KIRBY, MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST, CNN: Now, that said, I do support the initial outreach by the United States to the Taliban to gauge how seriously they are about trying to come to a political settlement. So I think that what Mr. Ekhil (ph) has done is positive on its own right now.

But as us said the other day, I mean, it's only going to be good or effective if we can bring the Afghan government in very, very soon. We can't have ongoing long-term negotiations of with Taliban that don't include President Ghani and his representatives. There's no way that that works long-term, and it's a hell of a way treat an ally and partner in the government there in Kabul.

ERICA HILL, ANCHOR, CNN: Admiral John Kirby, always good to get your insight, thank you.

KIRBY: You bet.

HILL: Still ahead, it can make or break a political career. The State of the Union rebuttal. We'll take a look at some of the more infamous moments and the advice now coming in for Democrat, Stacey Abrams.



HILL: Terrorists pouring across the border, high speed chases involving drug cartels, women kidnapped, duct-tape put across their mouths. These are just some of President Trump's frightening claims about what's happening at the southern border. If it sounds though like something that maybe you'd see on the big screen, well, it turns out, it is. Here's CNN national correspondent, Miguel Marquez.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN (voice over): "Sicario: Day of the Soldado," the 2018 sequel starring Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin is a dark and violent day in the U.S.-Mexico border, Middle Eastern terrorists, drug cartels and U.S. government efforts to disrupt them. It's fiction, right?

There are prayer rugs in the film. The President tweeted about prayer rugs found on the border from a story in the conservative "Washington Examiner," which quotes an anonymous New Mexico rancher who had no evidence of the prayer rugs. The film also features terrorists who pay drug cartels to bring them into the country, something else on the President's mind.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People are pouring into our country, including terrorists. We have terrorists. We caught 10 terrorists over the last very short period of time, 10. These are very serious people.


MARQUEZ (voice over): That claim appears to be the President accidentally or willfully misunderstanding a Customs and Border Patrol statistic that 10 suspected terrorists, on average, are blocked every day from entering the U.S., mostly by flying at locations worldwide. And then, there's duct tape. The President has that on his mind, too.


TRUMP: They come in. They nab women. They grab them. They put tape over their mouth. They tie their hands.

They have tape over their mouths, electrical tape, usually blue tape, as they call it.


MARQUEZ (voice over): Ten times this month alone, counted "The Washington Post."


TRUMP: Tying up women, putting tape in their mouths.

They tie up women.

Taping them out.

Women are tied up. They're bound.

They have women in the backseat of the cars with duct tape all over the place.


MARQUEZ (voice over): The President claimed women are duct taped, shoved into vehicles, driven across the border and sold. Those who work every day trying to protect vulnerable immigrants from sexual exploitation say duct tape isn't a thing.


MARTINA VANDENBERG, THE HUMAN TRAFFICKING LEGAL CENTER PRESIDENT: We have a database of 1,435 indictments and we went through all of the indictments, and we found 26 cases that involved kidnapping. We did a search on duct tape, and we found one case of 1,435 cases that mentioned duct tape.


MARQUEZ (voice over): And that case was an American, not a migrant. In looking at all Federal trafficking cases, most victims are U.S. citizens. Only about a third of trafficking cases are foreign nationals, and the vast majority of them enter the U.S. with legal visas. No duct tape.


VANDENBERG: What Donald Trump is missing with this sort of fictional account, Hollywood version of human trafficking is the dire cases that do exist in the United States, including cases of forced labor and forced prostitution.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see nothing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see anything.



MARQUEZ (voice over): One other highly dramatic, possible Hollywood fascination the President has, those coming across the border have better cars and equipment than U.S. law enforcement.


TRUMP: They have the best vehicles you can buy. They have stronger, bigger, and faster vehicles than our police have and the ICE has and the Border Patrol has.


MARQUEZ (voice over): It doesn't exactly fit the second Sicario film. CNN and many news agencies have asked the White House and relevant agencies about the President's claims on prayer rugs, fast cars, and duct tape. None have responded. Miguel Marquez, CNN, New York.


HILL: Luis Gutierrez is a former Congressman from Illinois. Also a CNN political commentator. Congressman, good to have you with us. So I am just curious, your take on Miguel's piece there and what you heard.

LUIS GUTIERREZ, FORMER CONGRESSMAN FROM ILLINOIS: Congratulations to CNN, finally, revealed where Donald Trump is making up these stories. Three quick things on a very serious note, Erica. Look, border crossings are down. There is an increase of those

attempting to apply for asylum, but they are handing themselves over to the authorities. Two, statistically, immigrants are less likely to commit a crime than those of us that were born in the United States. And three, think about this. We spend more money on immigrant enforcement than we do on the DEA, FBI and all other Federal enforcement.

The President made it up, but he does it frequently, doesn't he, Erica? He will read something and then he will make it his own without attribution and he will try to make it a fact. That's part of the problem, and part of the reason we have such a hard time getting through the crisis because it's made up.


HILL: In terms of getting through this crisis, what is now being discussed on Capitol Hill as you know, a bipartisan meeting happening right now, talking about border talks, the President tweeting this morning, and I'm quoting here, "If the committee now meeting is not discussing or contemplating a wall or physical barrier, they are wasting their time." How much do you think lawmakers are paying attention to the red line from the President?

GUTIERREZ: I think what they are trying to do hopefully is to find an agreement. Look, very clearly what I would suggest that Speaker Pelosi pass the DREAM Act. Nydia Velasquez, the Congresswoman from New York has a great proposal on temporary protective status. They should pass those things and they just say, this is the will, and send it over to the Senate.

Look, no time has there ever been a conversation, a realistic conversation about additional enforcement unless there are also measures to bring some humanity to the issue of immigrants and their plight in this country.

Unfortunately, I don't know that this President is going to do that because here's the President's quandary. If he gives in on any immigrant humanity, he loses the support of his right wing, and I think that's why in the end, I don't want this to happen. I think he's just going to declare a national emergency.

And I think all of this negotiation is nothing but a prelude so that the President can declare that national emergency.

HILL: So you think all of this is just a little side show to get to that point? Because it's cost hundreds of thousands of people dearly, as you know.

GUTIERREZ: Yes, and so the hearts of the American public go out to all of those workers who suffered so much in this made up drama of Donald Trump, but I feel that in the end, the President understands. Just think about it. If he were to say to the Democrats, "Okay, we're going to pass the DREAM Act," and give two million Dreamers a pathway to citizenship, well, you know, and I never saw an immigrant - and Ann Coulter would go crazy and her dance partner, Steve King, would do the same thing in the House of Representatives.

So that's the quandary he has put himself in. Remember, the glue that keeps the coalition together is being anti-immigrant. I am sorry.

HILL: I was going to say, look at though from the Democratic side. We're hearing from folks and I know, listen, you were - we hear a lot, it's brought up, the Secure Fence Act of 2016. You were not one of the Democrats who voted for that. But when we look at where things are now in 2018 and the fact that the President is asking for $5.7 billion, a lot of this has come down to semantics, whether you want to call it a wall or a fence or steel slats or whatever the heck it is today.

Would Democrats - would you advise your former colleagues there that they are better off giving a little bit more on that so they can get what they want for Dreamers at this point as opposed to pushing this further down the road and potentially leading to the President declaring a crisis.

GUTIERREZ: Yes, I would say this is a moment that you can negotiate. But I think we have to remember something, Eric. Ten million more people took a Democratic ballot last November and when they took that Democratic ballot and established a new majority in the House of Representatives, they said to Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats, we reject the wall. We reject that Donald Trump is xenophobic.

You remember when the President when they advise the President, why don't you run on the stock market. Because the stock market was still doing okay. Why don't you run on your tax break? Why don't run on the economy? He said, "No, no, I want to run on immigration." Well he ran on immigration. And he lost.

So I think the Democrats want to respond not to their face, but to the will of the American people. Do I think they should sit down? There's always been a balance. There's always been this struggle, Erica between enforcement, which Democrats believe in, but also humanity for the immigrant community. I hope they can.

But I think essential to all of this is, Democrats can never give something to Donald Trump in terms of enforcement that will lead to the deportation of Dreamers' parents, that will lead to the deportation of other vulnerable immigrants in this country. But I think there's a pathway forward. And I hope they find that.

HILL: We will be watching to see what they come up with. Former Congressman Luis Gutierrez, good to have you with us today. Thank you.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

HILL: Chris Christie's fascinating story about watching the "Access Hollywood" tape with the President before the story broke. That plus the secret Vladimir Putin chats we're just now learning about who wasn't in the room when he and President Trump met. That's fascinating, too.



HILL: Can Georgia's Stacey Abrams avoid the State of the Union rebuttal curse? Well, the man who gave the Democratic response to President Trump's first State of the Union address turns out, he's got a little advice.

Congressman Joe Kennedy's message, quote, "Misplace your ChapStick." Twitter lit up with jabs about Kennedy's shiny glistening lips during last year's Democratic rebuttal. Kennedy later joking to CNN, his ChapStick application was a little too much. His other trip tips for Abrams include, quote, "Be yourself, you'll crush it. The President will talk longer than you, expect, so keep snacks handy, and be the fighter we know you are."

Stacey Abrams has a lot on the line here. Her political star power is rising after narrowly losing last falls' Gubernatorial race in Georgia. Chris Cillizza, CNN politics reporter and editor at large joins me now.

All right, so what is it? It's like that "Sports Illustrated" cover curse.


HILL: What is it about the post State of the Union speech that has a reputation for humbling politicians and this is on both sides of the aisle, we should point out.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR AT LARGE, CNN: Yes, look, I do think it's hard, Erica, because the reality of the situation is you're not the main show. You're kind of the after the main show. Like, "Hey, everybody, stick around because I'm talking." So the nature of it, the State of the Union response isn't as built in a sort of a must-see thing as the State of the Union itself.

So let's go through. We've got three up here you mentioned, it's not just unique to a party. We've got Marco Rubio, Steve Beshear, and Bobby Jindal. Let's start over here with Marco Rubio. Let's play a little bit of Rubio and what happened to him in his response.


MARCO RUBIO, U.S. SENATOR, FLORIDA, REPUBLICAN: Then false choice like the one the President laid out tonight. The choice isn't just between big government or big business.


CILLIZZA: My throat is very dry. You could see that one coming. It was so brutal. And then we're playing back here. This is maybe my favorite moment of the Trump campaign when he gets the water out and he like fake guzzles it to Mock Rubio. So that was bad. Lt's go to Steve Beshear, who was the Democratic Governor of Kentucky when he gave the response. Let's see if we can play that one. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE BESHEAR, FORMER DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR OF KENTUCKY: I am a proud Democrat, but first and foremost, I'm a proud Republican and Democrat and mostly American.


CILLIZZA: Uh, what? I'm a proud Democrat, proud Republican and also proud Democrat. Look, they tried to go sort of like quaint and homey with this background. Like these people just happened to be here at 10:30 at night. They are just hanging out. Oh no, they are not eating at the restaurant, they are just sitting there. Sort of forced.

Then the last and I think most famous one, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, he was seen as a rising star in the party when he did this.


BOBBY JINDAL, FORMER REPUBLICAN LOUISIANA GOVERNOR: Good evening and Happy Mardi Gras. I'm Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana. Tonight, we witnessed a great moment in the history of our Republic.


CILLIZZA: It still hurts so bad all these years later, Erica. The long walkout, "Hi, I'm Bobby Jindal." All I can think of Kenneth lePage from "30 Rock" doing the "I am Bobby Jindal" thing. That one honestly, out of all of them, actually did hurt Bobby Jindal because his star - the star was rising and it took a little shine off of him. Because he was like, wait, this is the guy that people are excited about?

Obviously, the 2016 campaign took even more of a shine off of Bobby Jindal's star. Anyway, it's hard. It's an honor, but the best you can do is be relatively not memorable. That's a win. Back to you, Erica.

HILL: Okay, we'll try not to remember it then. Chris Cillizza, always memorable, my friend. Good to see you. Thanks.

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

HILL: The President touting a ground breaking in Wisconsin is evidence that manufacturing jobs were coming back to the United States. Today, that company maybe reversing course. Plus NFL's Roger Goodell breaking his silence on the no-call controversy from the Rams and Saints game. You'll hear how he explained it.



HILL: Countdown is on. Four days until Super Bowl 53. We know Saints fans still kind of livid about everything that happened with that blown pass interference call. Who can forget this billboard? That one that popped up in Atlanta two days after the game. The NFL admitting refs made a mistake, but the Rams and Patriots game of course will go on Sunday.

Moments ago though, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell broke his silence saying he understands the frustration, but - take a listen.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: Whenever officiating is part of any kind of discussion post game, it is never a good outcome for us. We know that, our clubs know that, our officials know that. But we also know our officials are human. We also know that they are officiating a game that moves very quickly and have to make snap decisions under difficult circumstances. And they are not going to get it right every time.

The Commissioner will not apply his authority in cases of complaints by clubs concerning judgmental errors or routine errors by game officials. Games involving such complaints will continue to stand as completed. So that was not a consideration.


HILL: Joining us now, Josh Katzenstein who is the Saints beat writer for "The Times Picayune." All right, listen, they are not going to get it right every time. There you go. You heard it from Roger Goodell. How is that sitting with fans?

JOSH KATZENSTEIN, SAINTS BEAT WRITER, "THE TIMES PICAYUNE": They are not happy, Erica. I mean, the Saints fans have been talking about this since the game ended and there's really nothing that Roger Goodell could say today that would make them feel better short of either giving them a rematch against the Rams or getting them into the Super Bowl.

So we knew that wasn't going to happen. Everyone in New Orleans is going to be upset about this probably for years to come and really like I said, he didn't say anything that made them feel better about the call or that there was anything going to change, so they just sort of have to live with it and find a way to get over it.

HILL: Part of the frustration, know, for some folks as well, is that it took so long to get some of those answers and to hear from Roger Goodell. He was asked about that. Take a listen.