Return to Transcripts main page
Trump Picks A World Bank Critic to Run the World Bank; Virginia Attorney General Also Admits to Wearing Blackface; A CNN Poll Says 50% of All Adults Would Back Joe Biden for President; Trump Denounces Socialism in A Speech, Positioning Against the Democrats; Elizabeth Warren Listed Her Race as American Indian for The Texas Bar. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired February 6, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi, there. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. President Trump here at the White House big day for him as he has just nominated who he would like to be the head of the World Bank, David Malpass. He's now nominated as President of the world bank, but the key piece is that he's been a strong critic of the world bank and this is the man who could lead the world bank.
Rana Foroohar is with me now. Officially he has been nominated. This is a guy that's been so critical of the world bank so why would he want to lead it?
RANA FOROOHAR, CNN GLOBAL ECONOMIC ANALYST, AND GLOBAL BUSINESS COLUMNIST AND ASSOCIATE EDITOR FOR "THE FINANCIAL TIMES: Exactly. The rest of the world holds 84 percent of the voting shares in the world bank and there's a lot of complaints. You're hearing a lot of poor nations say, hey, this is a guy that doesn't believe in multilateralism that's going to run an institution that's nothing if not multilateralism. There's a lot of concerns about what he's going to do around the bank's work around climate change, which is a big, big deal in the rest of the world. The Trump administration has been extremely critical of that.
BALDWIN: Thank you very much for that. That news out of the White House. Let's move and talk Russia, beyond Russia. Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee expanded the scope of his committee and what they're prepared to investigate. Schiff today saying that the house intel committee is not only prepared to investigate Russia's actions during the 2016 election, but also whether President Trump's financial interests are driving his actions. It is also our most detailed look yet at how far Democrats plan to go even after special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has concluded. Sara Murray is our political correspondent. Sarah, the news from the Chairman Schiff is a big deal. He says he wants to find out if foreign actors have leverage over our current President which may be driving his actions. What else do you know?
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It is a big deal, Brooke. Democrats for a while were saying things like we will wait to see what special counsel Robert Mueller comes up with in his investigation. Well, now they're in power and their committees are set up and we're hearing a much different tune from Adam Schiff. They're going to look as you pointed out at whether the President's financial interests may have played any role in his decision making and Schiff pointed out that this goes beyond Russia. It has to do with will the Russia's may have had any leverage over the President, whether Saudis may have one or any other nation. One of the things that's no secret, Brooke, there are plenty on capitol hill that want to get a look at his tax returns. I don't think it's very difficult to draw a line between what Adam Schiff was laying out today and an eventual ask to get the President of the United States' tax returns. We'll see if it comes to that, Brooke.
BALDWIN: Michael Cohen, February 7th, we all have red circled on my calendar. First it went to public testimony, then it went to closed door testimony and now it's gone to nonexistent testimony, what happened?
The saga of Michael Cohen continues across multiple committees on the house. We were expecting him to be in front of the House Intelligence Committee. It was going to be on February 8th. It is now been postponed until February 28th and Congressman Schiff was asked about this today. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP, ADAM SCHIFF (D), HEAD OF HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We look forward to his testimony on February 28th and Mr. Cohen has been fully cooperative with us and we hope and expect that will continue, but we felt it was in the investigation's interest that we postpone to that date.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MURRAY: This is the second time Michael Cohen has postponed testimony. He was also supposed to testify publicly before the house oversight committee. That also got postponed. It makes you wonder, Brooke, if he's ever going to actually testify before congress before he ends up in prison. We shall see.
BALDWIN: Sara, thank you very much. Now I want to turn to the State of Virginia. Even more fallout in the commonwealth involving a top elected official and blackface and this time it is ensnared the state's Attorney General, Mark Herring admitting today that he too dressed in blackface for a party when he was 19 years old. In his statement he said, "in 1980, when I was a 19-year-old undergraduate in college, some friends suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers. We listened to at the time like Curtis Blow and performed a song. It sounds ridiculous even now writing it but because of our ignorance and glib attitudes and because we did not have an appreciation and experiences of others we dressed up and put on wigs and brown make-up. This was a onetime occurrence and I accept full responsibility for my conduct."
[14:05:00] This comes as the Governor of Virginia Ralph Northam is grappling still with whether or not to step down because of his own incident involving blackface some years ago. On top of that, you have the Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is facing troubles of his own of sexual assault. He's denied any wrongdoing there. What could come next is stunning. With all three top government officials caught up in various controversies, if and this is a big if, if all three of them were to resign, the fourth in line in the State of Virginia is a Republican. Phillip Thompson serves on the NAACP. He moderated a forum in Virginia and so, Phillip, welcome.
PHILLIP THOMPSON, LOUDON COUNTY NAACP: Welcome. How you doing?
BALDWIN: I'm all right. I don't know about Virginia. I'm all right. Let's start with the AG, because yes, unlike the governor, he is volunteering this information, we don't know why, although one can imagine. You know him. What was your first reaction?
THOMPSON: Well, of course, shock that it would come out but then it is Virginia and that's the problem with this whole thing --
BALDWIN: What does that mean, it is Virginia?
THOMPSON We're the state of Confederate statues, we're the state of, you know, various issues dealing with race and inequities. Then you have to look at the history of Virginia. I live in Leesburg and I know Mark Herring and I talked to him before I came on the air today and he's exceptionally sorry for what occurred. Apologized profusely. He lives in a town that in 1960s they filled in a swimming pool rather than allowed African-Americans to swim in that pool. It is Virginia.
BALDWIN: OK. Let me go back on that little piece of information you just snuck in there that you talked to mark herring before you came on. Did he explain to you why he has suddenly come forth with this, I dressed up as a rapper when I was 19?
THOMPSON: He did not explain that to me and that's the question I have, was he caught or was he -- did someone say we're going to bring this out or did it volunteer it? This goes back to my response to him. Why didn't you ask Governor Northam to just come out and say, I'm sorry, I got a little something here too. He knew it was out there. Why didn't he say anything right after he made a statement for Governor Northam to resign?
BALDWIN: In one week, during the first full week of black history month, you have two top officials in -- caught in blackface scandals in Virginia, the other is having his me-too moment of sorts, an allegation which he mentioned he denies. Of these three, who is most likely to stay in office?
THOMPSON: The governor's dug in and, you know, we've called for his -- a whole bunch of people have called for his removal and for me his picture's worse because he's standing next to a Ku Klux Klansman. We don't joke around about that and that's a bad one for us.
BALDWIN: Do you know something I don't know? It's my understanding when it all broke on Friday, he admitted to being in the photo but then he walked it back and said it wasn't him so we never knew which one he was.
THOMPSON: For me I look at evidence and I looked at the 6-foot 8-inch guy standing there in blackface and I wonder how many were in his medical school. Certain other things he said about taking the black on and pulling it off. I haven't -- I don't buy off on that myself. I haven't seen mark herring's picture. He explained to me that what he was doing in 19 and 25 are two different ages. It's still bad. I won't condone it. I know mark and his family. It's bad and he's got some decisions to make.
BALDWIN: Phillip Thompson, a pleasure, sir. Thank you for coming on TV with me.
THOMPSON: Thank you.
BALDWIN: I've got Van Jones now who we'll talk 2020, Van. I've got to get your reaction to this Virginia story.
[14:10:02] VAN JONES, CNN HOST: Well, the most recent revelation is in some ways less disturbing, younger, admits it, doesn't walk it back. The problem the governor has is, it's not just a blackface, it's the Klan and he says it was him, except that it wasn't and maybe something with Michael Jackson so he just destroyed his credibility all around. You can't forgive this level of complete nonsense as an adult who is now the governor of the state. He's in a different situation than this new person. Listen, people do dumb stuff in college and if you -- if you can say, listen, this is what I did in college, I was dumb. Complete nonsense as an adult who is now the governor of the state. He's in a different situation than this new person. Listen, people do dumb stuff in college and if you -- if you can say, listen, this is what I did in college, I was dumb. Here's what I learned about it. We don't want for people to be held forever to task for things they did when they were teenagers because otherwise all of us would have a hard time getting a job I imagine.
BALDWIN: I hear you. I think this country -- we believe in redemption and forgiveness, but the issue to your point is like he said one thing, then he said he didn't, and he did this other thing and almost moonwalked on Saturday.
JONES: Different situation.
BALDWIN: Let's run through the CNN 2020 polls we have now today. 62 percent of Democratic and Democratic leaning voters say Biden, the former vice President Joe Biden should get in the race and half of all American are somewhat likely to support him edging out President Trump. So, my question to you is, what do you think is behind Biden's appeal? Is it name recognition, is it nostalgia for all things Obama? Something else.
JONES: The appeal of Joe Biden is something called Joe Biden. I think that he is been -- he's a fixture in American politics. He's well-known. He's had his gaffes and mistakes but nobody questions his heart. Sometimes they might question his mouth and judgment on a couple of things. Nobody questions his heart and we're in a period of national heartbreak. I don't care if you're for Trump or not. You cannot feel good about the way that we have come to see each other, talk about each other, feel about each other and Joe Biden is somebody who I believe in his heart wants to be a unifier. BALDWIN: In a piece this week, some of Biden's top aides I need to be
ready to go with a moment's notice if Joe Biden announces. What are the biggest pros and the biggest cons of a Biden 2020 campaign?
JONES: Well, you've got two things -- he cannot do anything about. He can't do anything about his birthday. In other words, his age. There's a question of, is he still -- is he still the same Joe? Some people say he looks more frail. He would be our oldest President ever. He can't do anything about the fact that he is a straight while male in a party that is increasingly not that and there may be a hunger in this party to turn the page -- not on Obama, but just on that whole idea that, hey, why not have a Kamala Harris or why not have a Tulsi Gabbard. Why not somebody who looks different than what we've already done especially being the year of the women. Listen, every Republican I talk to they laugh at our entire field until you get to Biden. They look at Biden as a real threat in the industrial heartland --
BALDWIN: Rust belt.
JONES: We can't call it that. That's an insult now. I said rust belt and got in trouble. Industrial heartland.
BALDWIN: No insult meant.
JONES: Industrial heartland. People there look at Biden as a real threat and I think Democrats should take it seriously when Republicans take it seriously.
BALDWIN: What about last night watching the President all 82 minutes of that state of the union and how he's really framing this next election as socialism versus capitalism in case you missed it. This is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here in the United States, we are alarmed by the new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence and not government coercion, domination and control. We are born free and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: And Van, this could work because we're talking about this earlier. Socialists is a big boogie man word for Trump's base and it's amplified by conservative outlets like "Fox News," the more they say that, the more it takes root and my question is, is this a potential land mine for the far-left wing of the party?
[14:15:00] JONES: It could be. There's also a generational thing here. When the younger people say they want socialism, what they mean is they don't want student debt to kill them. They would like to be able to see a doctor when their sick. You got a whole generation of people that were -- that can vote that were born after the wall came down in Berlin. They literally their reference point when they think about economic systems that don't work, they think about our economic system in 2008 melting down. There's talking past each other here on this thing. I thought the speech last night mixed some of the best I've ever seen from Trump with some of the worst and it was a heartbreaking speech for me because it was a speech that he got a chance to talk about criminal justice reform. I work very closely with them on that and want to continue working with them on that. They threw out family medical leave, they threw out infrastructure but the passion in the speech was none of those positive things. The passion in the speech was going after immigrants and only saying negative things about the 11 million undocumented people here, not talking about the ones who served overseas and lost their lives for America. Not talking about the ones that have saved people in Hurricane Harvey and not -- not giving a balanced view. It's fine to have your concerns but when you paint a whole community of people the way he did, to me it just drowned out all the positives in the speech. What does he want to do? Does he want to be that uniter which there are parts of a speech you could see a pathway forming? Does he want to keep playing the same old cheap politics? That speech was incoherent because you had both ideas fighting each other on the page and in the man.
BALDWIN: It just felt like it was Trump 2020 all over that speech. Van Jones, we can't wait to watch you Saturday. Van sits down with 2020 hopeful Julian Castro. Do not miss it Saturday not 7:00 here. Van Jones, thank you.
JONES: I'm a twin, he's a twin. We'll have a good twin --
BALDWIN: #twinning. Thank you, Van.
Days before she's expected to announce a Presidential run, Senator Elizabeth Warren now says she's sorry for something else about her past.
And from the clap heard around the world, to the surprise standing on to the women in white, State of The Union moments are setting social media on fire. Victim blaming from the bench. A Kansas judge under fire for calling teenage survivors of sex abuse the aggressors.
[14:20:06] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: We are back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Just days before her expected announcement to run for President, a new controversy is hitting Elizabeth Warren Of Massachusetts and it comes from something she reportedly hand wrote 33 years ago. "The Washington Post" found her registration card for the Texas Bar Association, you're looking at it right here, where she wrote in blue ink here American Indian in the lines designated for race. An Elizabeth Warren aide did not dispute the cart's legitimacy. This is now the first document that appears warren trying to claim she is an ethnic minority. The President and Republicans have mocked her calling her as you well know Pocahontas and saying the senator has leveraged trying to be Native American when she was limited Native roots. She's apologized. Her spokeswoman told CNN, quote, as Senator Warren has said, she is not the citizen of any tribe and only tribes determine tribal citizenship. She was sorry that she was not more mindful of this early in her career. With me a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, she joins me from Oklahoma, that is the capitol of Cherokee Nation. Nice to have you on. Welcome.
REBECCA NAGLE, CITIZEN OF THE CHEROKEE NATION, WROTE OP-ED, "I AM A CHEROKEE WOMAN, ELIZABETH WARREN IS NOT": Thank you for having me.
BALDWIN: When you see that yellow slip of paper back from 1986 when Elizabeth Warren wrote in American Indian, what was your initial reaction to that?
NAGLE: For years as I have criticized Elizabeth Warren's false claims to Cherokee heritage, a lot of times her supporters say she actually never claimed to be Native American. We've known all along that she's made this claim and now we have the documented proof. I'm glad that she apologized to "The Washington Post" and I'm also glad that she apologized to my tribe's chief, but because she has made these repeated false claims publicly at this point, she needs to make a public apology.
BALDWIN: That's interesting. Because I was reading that member of the Cherokee Nation and he was telling "The Post" she needs to go on TV, she needs to do this apology on video. I see you nodding. You say, yes. There needs to be more.
NAGLE: Yes. The confusion that the DNA test caused is harmful because how Native identity is determined in the United States isn't based on family blood or race based science, it's based on tribal citizenship and Senator Warren caused a great deal of confusion with a public that already doesn't know a lot about tribal sovereignty and how hour tribe functions. Private apologies do nothing to clear up that public confusion and because of the harm she's caused, she owes us a public apology and a clear statement of saying, why she's not Cherokee and why that difference matters.
BALDWIN: She on Saturday is supposed to be announcing her bid officially for President and we're likely going to keep hearing the President and other of her conservative opponents calling her Pocahontas, continuing to go after her even though she's hoping to push this all behind her. When they do, Rebecca, do you think she should continue to respond to the attacks?
[14:25:00] NAGLE: You know, what is sad is that if Warren had just come out early on in 2012 and said, you know what, my family told me this story as a child. I've looked at my documented genealogy. I see that none of my relatives are Cherokee, I'm sorry that I claimed this. All of this would have gone away.
BALDWIN: Do you think she has a credibility issue now?
NAGLE: I definitely think she has a credibility issue. I think as a politician to have not own this mistake earlier and just come clean with it is a huge error that she's continuing to make. She's still not continuing to come clean with it and it doesn't make Trump's comments any less racist or harmful but warren does have power to put this issue to rest and to date, she's chosen not to do it. She's now tiptoeing around it, where if she just came out with a clean apology it would put the entire issue to bed.
BALDWIN: I'm hearing a theme emerge from the first 20 minutes of the show. If you make a mistake, own it.
NAGLE: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
Coming up next, hear from one expert who calls President Trump's performance last night proof of how formidable a candidate he will be in 2020.
And betting on Beto O'Rourke, Oprah asked him straight up if he was the real deal. We'll talk about his response and what it means for the campaign.