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Democrats Seek Probe, Not Resignation, of Fairfax on Allegation; Three Top Democrats in Virginia Embroiled in Scandal; El Paso GOP Mayor Rips Trump's Claim Barrier Lowered Crime; Delta Apologizes to Passengers for Creepy Diet Coke Napkins; Trump Is Furious after Adam Schiff Hires Ex-Security Aides; Trump Administration Grilled on Family Separations. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired February 7, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And today 2020 candidate, Senator Kamala Harris said this.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: I think that the letter written by the woman reads as a credible account and I think there should be an investigation to get to the bottom of it and determine the facts.


BALDWIN: Karen, Wexton and Harris are some of the high-profile Democrats that -- who've really spoken out. Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker have called Tyson courageous and they along with Julian Castro, also say there's needs to be an investigation. But at this stage, do you think that they are saying, doing enough?

KAREN TUMULTY, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: At this point I do. This is -- this is a real test of where the country stands at this moment in the me-too movement and also after what we all went through last year during the Kavanaugh hearings. So I think that -- you know, I do think that what Vanessa Tyson is owed is a respectful hearing of her story. She's owed a thorough investigation. I must say -- and while they're circumstances are different in all of these cases, there are a lot of echoes of Christine Blasey Ford from last year. And I think one of the real disappointing moments in all of this was the lieutenant governor's reaction because his first reaction was to smear the accuser.

BALDWIN: On your point about the echoes to quote you. Fairfax accuser, like Kavanaugh's is an academic who lives in California. Like Ford, she cannot produce anyone who witness what had she says she went through. But as with Ford, I keep coming back to the question, why would she make this up? Why would she make this up, Karen? We saw what happened with Dr. Ford publicly. She's opening herself up by going very public with this.

TUMULTY: Exactly and she knows what kind of ordeal awaits her. Because, you know, she surely saw what Dr. Ford went through last year. And the other thing that the two of them have in common is there is no apparent political agenda here. You know, in Dr. Tyson's case she says she is, in fact, a very proud Democrat. So for a Lieutenant Governor Fairfax to suggest that this is all some kind of, you know, political conspiracy is also, I think -- again, we don't know the circumstances of what happened in his hotel room in 2004, but it does seem on the face of it, it is really unfair to ascribe to her political motives.

BALDWIN: Here's on the politics of this, let me ask you this in the what if category. If Northam, Fairfax, Herring are all forced out, a Republican takes over as governor. Do you think that is a factor in why they are still on the job?

TUMULTY: I do think that there's got to be, you know, four dimensions of calculation going on here, but, you know, when the National Organization of Women called for Lieutenant Governor Fairfax's resignation yesterday, they said there are issues here that are really more important than who is the next governor of Virginia.

BALDWIN: Karen Tumulty, thank you so much for writing this today.

TUMULTY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

President Trump headed to El Paso next week as the clock ticks down for lawmakers to make a deal over border wall funding. The mayor of El Paso joins me live. We'll get his opinion on the President making all these false claims about the crime rate in his beloved town.


BALDWIN: Walls work. That was the message from President Trump during his State of the Union speech this week as he dug in further on one of the most polarizing issues of his presidency. While trying to make his case, the President put a spotlight on the Texas city of El Paso.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime, one of the highest in the entire country and considered one of our nation's most dangerous cities. Now, immediately upon its building with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of the safest cities in our country.


BALDWIN: But is that accurate? According to crime data analyzed by the "El Paso Times", violent crime in El Paso peaked in 1993. Border fence construction didn't actually begin until 2008. So in other words, violent crime fell long before the fence was built in El Paso. In fact, violent crime fell 34 percent between the years of 1993 and 2006 and Dee Margo is the Republican mayor of the city of El Paso, Texas. So Mr. Mayor, welcome, sir. And think you for being on.

MAYOR DEE MARGO (R), EL PASO, TEXAS Thank you. BALDWIN: All right. So next week, four days before the government

could shut down again, President Trump is holding a rally in your city. His first rally of 2019. Are you looking forward to seeing the President?

MARGO: Well, hopefully, we don't have anything confirmed. But I've been saying for months if people want to understand the border and immigration and all of the sundry issues related to it.

[15:40:00] They need to come down to El Paso. We're the largest U.S. city on the Mexican border. We like to say we are the nexus of three states, New Mexico, Chihuahua and Texas and two countries the United States and Mexico and we're actually one region of 2.5 million people.

BALDWIN: And so since you I know, know these stats so well, you know, the President comes down and repeats these false claims about El Paso or false claims about the border, are you prepared to fact check him to his face?

MARGO: Well, I've stated on numerous occasions. I think the President is echoing or repeating what the Texas Attorney General said a few weeks ago that was wrong. And I think that's probably where he got his statistics. But you know, the end of his comments about us being the safest city in the United States is correct based on the crime statistics that are reported to the FBI on the cities with the population greater than 500,000. But no, we have not had crime issues when the fence went up -- before the fence went up and after. I think my police department told me before the fence went up, we were like number two. And then a year after the fence was up, we were still number two in the nation as safest city and then later on we became the following year I think number one as the safest city in the United States.

BALDWIN: Do you think it's the stretch of fence in El Paso that's really played a role in reducing the number of illegal border crossings and drug traffic there?

MARGO: You know, a fence -- and I don't use the term wall because it's personally conjures up the Berlin Wall in my mind -- but the fence is a part of, you know -- we're a sovereign nation and we need to control our borders. And I'm sure it's part and parcel to it, but it's not the total panacea. I don't think anybody would ever agree that it should be the panacea. You can't build a fence from El Paso to Brownsville, Texas. Geographically, Texas -- it won't work. Plus the fact that the majority of land along the border with Mexico in Texas is privately owned. So you got all those things. But it could be part of the solution, part of the process as we control our borders.

BALDWIN: Well you know this President feels very strongly about this. He calls it a wall. You can call it a fence, whatever you want to call it. Do you think that it would be worth declaring a national emergency over it -- which is something he very well might do?

MARGO: No, from my standpoint, no. I would probably absolutely say no. I don't think there were any winners listening to pundits on in the media related to the shutdown stating who won and who lost. There were no winners in that shutdown and I'm hopeful we won't have that again. But you know, the fence has worked on -- our fence here slowed down some criminal activity, car thefts things like that. The neighbors in the Chihuahuita area -- which is out oldest neighborhood -- that borders that fence have stated that they felt more secure with the fence and their own comments and anecdotal information. But no, it's not the total panacea. It's part and parcel. You know, you need more manpower, you need technology, you need all of the above.

BALDWIN: Sure. And, of course, I think El Paso, you and Beto O'Rourke both call El Paso home and if he decides to run for President -- last question -- do you think he can beat Trump?

MARGO: I don't know. I'm not a pundit in that area or a talking head. Beto --

BALDWIN: You know him.

MARGO: Beto grew up a block away from me. I mean, I know Beto. He's been a great asset for El Paso. He was a tremendous Congressman and, frankly, almost won the senate race --

BALDWIN: You think he should run.

MARGO: He's the favorite son of El Paso.

BALDWIN: Do you think he should run, sir?

MARGO: I think Beto ought to do whatever -- I think he ought to do whatever he wants to do.

BALDWIN: Mayor Margo, thank you very much.

MARGO: Sure.

BALDWIN: Just in, if you ride Amtrak, there is always a chance you could see this man, two Democratic 2020 contenders sharing this moment today. Former Vice President Joe Biden -- who has yet to decide, if in fact is running -- chatting it up with Kamala Harris who's officially entered the race. A new CNN poll this week show Biden and Harris as the current leading Democratic contenders for president there.

And coming up next, Delta and Coke apologizing for this cocktail napkin passed out on planes. Some people said its cute, other say it's creepy. [15:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Delta Airline and Coca-Cola are getting backlash for creating a turbulent situation on board. While some thought this Diet Coke napkin was cute, others call it creepy. So now, Coke and Delta are apologizing. The big fuss is over this. A napkin encourages passengers to quote, be a little old-school and, quote, write your number down and give it to your plane crush. You never know, dot, dot, dot. Ana Navarro is back with me, along with Peter Shankman, a branding and social media consultant. Ana, you first. ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I looked at that napkin, I

can't even read the letters. They're too small for me to even read. I want them to give me a napkin that's long enough for me to use to put out my grocery list, actually get some stuff done.

BALDWIN: People are apparently super, super, super creeped out by this. Would you have been?

NAVARRO: Brooke, I'm creeped out by blackface. I'm creeped out by sexual assault. I'm creeped out by children getting separated at the border.

[15:50:00] I'm having a hard time at this point getting creeped out by a napkin. I hope we get back to normal times when I can be offended by a napkin. But at this point in time, my outrage bandwidth is running thin.

BALDWIN: I hear you. I kind of agree.

PETER SHANKMAN, BRANDING AND SOCIAL MEDIA CONSULTANT: And napkins are on the low end of the spectrum. I think the issue is -- you know, it was a good attempt. It was cute. It was funny. I have massive ADHD. If I'm on a plane -- unless you fake your death, I'm going to know anything about you by the time we land.

BALDWIN: You are that guy?

SHANKMAN: I don't talk. I listen. I love listening. I'll let you tell me your life story. I'm always curious. That's the beauty of it. But I get this. You know, it's one thing when the marketers were sitting in a room and the sitting like this, and they have some distance between them, and they say, oh, this will be fun. It's another thing when you're in coach in the back of the bus. Right. We're flying in front of the bus. When you're in the back of the bus, right, you're not having conversations. You're like this fighting for the arm. And that gets creepy. Six hours later all you want to do is get off the plane.

BALDWIN: And I hear you, I hear you and let me take the other side. Which would be all right, like we are in this new age of swiping left and right, Instagram, and this and that, like heaven forbid you have a conversation with someone and you are like, all right, here's my number.

SHANKMAN: I don't think it was creepy. I get that people -- look, again, people get offended over everything nowadays. You have to be so careful. I advised companies to do this all the time. What if we did this? Not everyone has why your sense of humor. And in any other environment, things are different. You put people into a cramped airplane where, let's face it, I did the research. There have been 20 accusations and people getting arrested for improper touching on airplanes in the past two month. That's not OK.

BALDWIN: That's so not OK.

SHANKMAN: And you take -- that kind of situation -- BALDWIN: That's still not OK.

SHANKMAN: -- then we have a problem.

BALDWIN: But (INAUDIBLE) we were so excited and we love Al -- you better half. But if like Bradley Cooper were sitting next to you, wouldn't you be like



BALDWIN: That's all I'm saying.

NAVARRO: And we love James but --

SHANKMAN: I think it's OK to do that. I don't think Delta or Coke had to force it. I get it was cute.

BALDWIN: But aren't they loving that we're talking about it?

SHANKMAN: Of course they are. It's not like they were dragging people off the plane by their nose. It's an entirely different conversation. And it's a little lighthearted

NAVARRO: When you take at the different airline stories --

SHANKMAN: Oh, yes, this is the least worrisome. God yes.

NAVARRO: People getting --


SHANKMAN: They throw up and they smell. Right exactly, this is the least case possible.

NAVARRO: I want to know what they're going to do with those napkins. Because there are a lot of people in the world who need --

BALDWIN: Recycling.

SHANKMAN: Giving them away. Like we do is Super Bowl T-shirts of the losing team.

BALDWIN: Somebody investigate that.

NAVARRO: I want to know what's happening with these napkins.

BALDWIN: Ana Navarro, Peter Shankman, thank you.

NAVARRO: It's all about the earth.

BALDWIN: I needed that today.

Let's get back to our breaking news, though. The stunning ultimatum, acting Attorney Matt Whitaker says he will not show up for his highly anticipated testimony in front of lawmakers unless he is assured that he will not be subpoenaed.

Also President Trump apparently furious after a series of new hires by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. Just as they start investigating the President's finances. We're back in a minute.


BALDWIN: Right now, congressional lawmakers are still grilling Trump administration officials about the President's controversial zero- tolerance border policy. The program separating thousands of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. Many of them still haven't been reunited with their families. And today's hearing comes after an Inspector General Report released last month found that more children were separated than the government had reported. HHS Secretary Alex Azar declined to appear at the hearing, angering Democrats. But those who did testified say that they would not have supported a policy that separated family.


REP. BRETT GUTHRIE (R), KENTUCKY: Would you have advised DOJ or DHS to implement the policy of zero tolerance if they had asked?

COMMANDER JONATHAN WHITE, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Neither I nor any career person in Aurora would ever have supported such a policy proposal.

I do not believe that separation of children from their parents is in the best interest of the child but I did not participate in the decision regarding the policy.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Does anybody know how many are still separated from their parents?

Nobody knows.

WHITE: I want to be very clear, Children in Aurora custody, children who have been in Aurora custody, who were in a world custody on the 26th of June, we have laboriously worked to identify --

SCHAKOWSKY: No, I understand.

WHITE: -- challenges those who exited in Aurora custody. Because HHS did not receive from DHS any list or any indication of the complete set of separated children.

SCHAKOWSKY: I just feel like what's been happening is more than irresponsible and sloppy. But I really think that what we're talking about is state-sponsored child abuse. And I would go as far as to say kidnapping.


BALDWIN: Lawmakers plan to question Azar when it comes time to testify about the budget. And we are hearing for the first time today from the father of the man

who is charged with abducting Jayme Closs and killing her parents. In an interview with ABC News, Patrick Patterson expressed his sorrow for Jayme and her family.


PATRICK PATTERSON, FATHER OF SUSPECTED KIDNAPPER: I would like to humbly ask people to pray for a complete healing of Jayme's heart, mind and soul. Our hearts are broken for their family. Very sorry for everything that has happened.


BALDWIN: Jayme's parents were found shot and killed in their Wisconsin home in October. But Jayme was nowhere to be found. The 13-year-old managed to escape on her own last month. Jay Patterson was arrested and charged with her kidnapping.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being here with me. Let's go to Washington. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The President, who has long been accused of harassing people on twitter, is today objecting to what he calls Presidential harassment.