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Trump Talks about Border Deal; Interview with Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA); Trump Calls for Oma's Resignation; El Chapo Found Guilty; Interview with ICE Acting Deputy Director Matt Albence. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired February 12, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:00] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: For our international viewers, "AMANPOUR" up next. For our viewers here in the United States, Brianna Keilar starts right now. Have a great afternoon.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live from CNN's Washington headquarters.
Underway right now, lawmakers cut a deal, but is the price right for President Trump?
Plus, she apologized for being offensive. He never apologizes for being offensive. And now the president is calling on a freshman Democrat to resign from Congress.
One of the world's most infamous gangsters learns his fate. The verdict is in for "El Chapo."
And words coming back to haunt her. A Trump judicial nominee atones for her past comments on date rape.
We start with a perspective deal on border security just three days before the deadline to head off another government shutdown. But is it a deal that the president will accept?
Here is what he said during a cabinet meeting just a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would hope that there won't be a shutdown. I am extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us. It's sad. It's sad. They're doing the country no favor. They are hurting our country very badly. But we certainly don't want to see a shutdown. But you'll be hearing fairly soon.
The bottom line is, on the wall, we're building the wall. And we're using other methods other than this and in addition to this. We have a lot of things going.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's talk about what is in this deal here. There is just over $1.3 billion for new border barriers, funding for ICE to house more than 45,000 in detention centers, and a $1.7 billion increase in overall funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
Now, for the border barriers, there is a prohibition against making concrete walls. They can also use only existing materials, which means it has to be like the fencing that already exists along some part of the border.
We have Eliana Johnson with us, and we also have Dana Bash with us to talk about all of this.
What did you think about this -- the barrier versus the wall?
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think, if you look at the big picture, the -- this is not even close to what the president got. And he said he's not happy. And that's probably an understatement. Because think of the journey that this country has been on. The very rocky, rocky journey that they've been on watching the government partially shut down, knowing that 800,000 federal employees didn't get paid. Maybe they're getting back pay, but a lot of contractors are never going to get paid. To what end? The president is getting, assuming that he signs this deal, and we can't really officially assume anything, although he leaned pretty far into it when he spoke last hour, he's getting less than he could have gotten had he actually continued negotiations --
KEILAR: That's right.
BASH: And really rolled up his sleeves. He's getting less. It's remarkable.
KEILAR: Yes, it is.
What do you make of all this, Eliana, in terms of the president trying to spin what has happened here and also the pressure that he's getting from the right?
ELIANA JOHNSON, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, "POLITICO": I don't think the president is trying to spin very much right now. We heard him say in the last hour, he is not happy with this deal for the reasons that Dana outlined.
I think there are two open questions right now. The first is, does the president sign this deal? There were many indications over the past couple days he was prepared to sign whatever deal Congress came up with. That's now not clear.
The second open question is, what sort of executive action, if any, does the president take? Is it a national emergency or is it something that stops short of that? What I had been hearing from sources at the White House over the past couple days was the president was inclined to do both, sign a deal and take some sort of executive action because together that gave him more money towards a wall than choosing either one or the other.
KEILAR: And that's the only thing he feels that he'd be able to spin as a success? BASH: Yes. And I think -- I'm hearing the same thing that Eliana is hearing, but it's important to separate the idea of executive action, which could be taking pots of money that they've been looking at -- we've been reporting on from the Department of Homeland Security, from the Pentagon -- to build more of a wall. That versus declaring a national emergency. All of that has potential pitfalls in the courts, but declaring a national emergency is the biggest pitfall because not just judges could stop that, but also they could try to stop it in Congress.
KEILAR: All right, stay with me. We can't get enough of you guys. So we'll see you again in just a moment.
Not every Democrat is opposed to money for a border wall. Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania says that he favors building a wall in areas where it makes sense.
Congressman Cartwright, thank you so much for being with us today.
REP. MATT CARTWRIGHT (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Nice to be with you, Brianna. How are you?
KEILAR: I am doing great.
And I'm wondering what you think about what's in this deal that was brokered up there on The Hill?
[13:05:00] CARTWRIGHT: Well, we haven't got all the details. Evidently it's still in flux a little bit. But they do have an agreement in principle and I congratulate the great appropriators who came together and landed this deal because the alternative is not acceptable. Shutting down the government is not acceptable. It's not about feeling bad for some federal employees that nobody knows. It's about our own safety and our own security and the security of the people of the -- that we love when they go up and fly in commercial jetliners. You know, if the air traffic controllers are not coming to work, and they're calling in sick, or are operating over stressed, that affects our safety, and we can't shut the government down just because people can't make a deal.
I congratulate the appropriators who understand the give and take, the push and pull of negotiation and compromise. I'm so glad that they left it up to appropriators to work out this deal. And let's go forward with it and make it work.
KEILAR: Yes, if they had like a coffee cup or a bumper sticker it might say, appropriators, we get it done or something like that. That's kind of the rap there on Capitol Hill for them.
So you said -- we do know some of the details in this. I hear what you're saying. There's a -- you know, the devil is always in the details. But we do know some of the numbers here. $1.375 billion for barrier funding. Is that enough?
CARTWRIGHT: It may be. What I've always been in favor of is evidence- based spending. It -- for people who don't think about the border for longer than five seconds at a time, a border wall from sea to shining sea sounds great. But what you have to realize is, that there are a lot of details. And, for example, most of this land is privately owned. That means the government would have to buy this property and pay fair market value for property to put walls on or whatever.
So I got elected to Congress on a promise that I would fight to keep government expenditures reasonable and appropriate, not to waste money. I served six years on the Oversight Committee fighting to combat waste, fraud and abuse. I think all of us have taken that oath. And so when we talk about border barriers, let's make sure we're spending money wisely and not putting barriers in places that it doesn't make sense or it's cost prohibitive.
KEILAR: They could force the sale of that as well if folks don't volunteer it to go for that market value, as you said.
I want to ask you about something that we've heard the president say, and he's shifting his marketing strategy here from build the wall. He's now saying finish the wall. We saw that last night in El Paso.
What do you make of that shift, which it's not accurate, so what do you make of it?
CARTWRIGHT: I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the words and phrases that come from the White House. I think what is important at the end of the day is, when the ink dries, what is written on the paper that everybody signed?
I do hope that the president goes ahead and signs the deal so that we don't go into another shutdown for the reasons I've already described, but also, you know, he -- evidently he does have other options if he wants to plus up money here and there. As long as it's legal --
KEILAR: What do you think about executive action, though, him declaring an emergency, something like that?
CARTWRIGHT: Well, OK, declaring an emergency is obviously an extreme thing. And as I think about, you know, all of the issues involved here, there is one emergency, and it is the opioid crisis. It is a thing that affects every state and every county and every town and village. And we have opioids coming in and wrecking lives and hurting families. And we know that something like 90 percent of the drugs coming in come in through the ports of entry.
One thing, Brianna, that I've been saying again and again is that we need to beef up the scanning technology at the ports of entry. You hear -- if you look at the money already being spent, it's about retrofitting legacy technology. In other words, writing software so that the legacy -- the old equipment there can do a better job of scanning the trucks and buses coming in. Any time you hear legacy technology, you know that money is being wasted. What we ought to do is go in and buy new technology because then you have competition, you have all the market forces at play, and you know you're getting a better bang for your buck. Let's have the cutting edge technology at our border scanning and keeping out all of those horrible drugs coming in and killing our kids in this country. KEILAR: I want to get your reaction on another remark the president
made on something that has gotten a lot of attention coming off The Hill there. Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, as you know, apologized for a tweet that trafficked in an anti-Semitic trope. This was the president's reaction moments ago.
[13:10:08] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Congressman Omar is -- it's terrible what she said. And I think she should either resign from Congress or she should certainly resign from the House Foreign Affairs Committee. What she said is so deep-seeded in her heart that her lame apology -- and that's what it was, it was lame, and she didn't mean a word of it -- was just not appropriate. I think she should resign from Congress, frankly, but at a minimum she shouldn't be on committees, certainly that committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: What do you think about that, him saying that?
CARTWRIGHT: Brianna, I have a couple thoughts there.
Number one, Ilhan Omar is a brand new member of Congress, still kind of find her feet. And what is she here about 45 days now. And people make mistakes. And she apologized for it. And I have to tell you, Brianna, I couldn't be prouder of top Democratic leadership for insisting that she apologize for those bad remarks that she had, I guess, tweeted. I couldn't be prouder of top Democratic House leadership for asking her and making her apologize for that. And she did. She did apologize. And, in my book, that's an apology that should be accepted. There are all different kinds of philosophies and opinions about everything in Congress. But sometimes people step over the line. She did in that occasion. She apologized. I say we accept the apology and we move on.
KEILAR: All right, Congressman Cartwright, thank you so much for joining us.
CARTWRIGHT: My pleasure.
KEILAR: Dana Bash and Eliana Johnson back with us now.
I always wonder, though, about the president being the messenger.
BASH: You think?
KEILAR: It seems odd. Especially -- the thing that really stuck out to me was when he said, it's so deep-seeded in her heart. Well, he would -- I mean he trafficked in anti-Semitic tropes talking to Jewish donors and people laughed it off, but he did -- I think there were two tropes he trafficked in.
BASH: Well -- well, I'm not sure about anti-Semitic tropes with regard to the president, but he -- there's a long list of completely inappropriate and offensive things that he has said to and about people. I mean Pocahontas. Let's just start there. I mean, yes, he's trying to be flip when he says it about Elizabeth Warren, but where is the apology to Native Americans when just -- and that's just off the top of my head. We can go on and on and on and on.
He's not wrong. I think Congressman Cartwright was very elegance in explaining what happened. This is absolutely unacceptable. But her leadership came down on her. She apologized. And now we see what happens from here.
But the messenger is a little too rich.
KEILAR: Republicans are seeing an opportunity, though, because you have Ilhan Omar. You have what has happened in Virginia with the governor and the blackface controversy. They're seeing a moment here to turn what has been a weakness for them.
JOHNSON: That's absolutely right that the House majority leader, Kevin McCarthy, got an enormous amount of pressure to come down on Steve King when he said that he didn't understand what was objectionable about white supremacy and remove him from committees. And so -- and he did so.
BASH: He did.
JOHNSON: And so now when Democrats are grappling with this, he is forcing Democrats -- he wants to force Democrats to do precisely what he did and his message is, we're policing the bigotry in our ranks, in our own ranks. Democrats, are you going to do the same when it rises up in yours? And I think that's been a pretty effective message.
But I think to your initial question, is -- should Kevin McCarthy be the messenger here or should it be the president? And, you know, I think it was pretty effective when Kevin McCarthy did it, only because he was the person who took action.
BASH: He has a leg to stand on.
JOHNSON: Yes. I think that's right.
KEILAR: Yes. Maybe more moral authority there. Dana Bash, Eliana, thank you so much. Eliana Johnson.
Breaking news out of New York. A jury delivering the fate of El Chapo. It's one of -- he, of course, is one of the world's most notorious drug lords.
[13:18:38] KEILAR: We do have some breaking news.
A New York jury has found Mexican drug lord Joaquin El Chapo Guzman guilty on all 10 criminal counts against him, including the top charge of engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise. And he now faces the possibility of life in prison.
We have CNN producer Sonia Moghe, who was inside of the courtroom, and CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Laura Coates here with me now.
Sonia, this was an 11-week trial. There was a whole lot of testimony about awful things. Unspeakable torture, murder, corruption at every level of the Mexican government, guns, drugs, of course. But the jury deliberated more than 30 hours over six days. You were watching all of this. Tell us about it.
SONIA MOGHE, CNN PRODUCER INSIDE "EL CHAPO" COURTROOM: Absolutely. You know, hundreds of hours of testimony to sit through. Some of it gruesome. But some of it actually kind of boring. And when the judge -- U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan read out the jurors' verdict form, after he announced that all ten of course counts had been found guilty, he took the time to thank these jurors for spending such, you know, careful attention, such -- so much time, you know, paying attention. He said it made him, frankly, proud to be an American the way they had conducted themselves.
And, you know, many of these jurors, even before the trial began, people in the jury pool expressed fear at being part of this jury. Those jurors are anonymous, but we were able to see their faces in court. Joaquin Guzman was able to see their faces in court. So there was, you know, obviously that sense of fear potentially in the back of their minds.
[13:20:13] They did deliberate for quite some time which left some people wondering if there might be any acquittals, or if the jury might be hung on certain counts but they went through all of those counts. One of them, a very, very complicated count, the continuing a criminal enterprise count. It's a count that I've talked to federal prosecutors about. They say it's so complicated that some lawyers can't even understand it.
So a huge victory for the prosecutors here in getting a guilty verdict on that count, which alone could mean that Guzman would spend his life in prison. He's going to be facing his sentencing on June 25th where we'll find out some more details about that. But, you know, in that courtroom, he was emotionless when that verdict was read out. So was his wife, Emma Coronel, who's been a constant presence in the gallery, sitting alongside us reporters. I asked her moments after the verdict was read, how are you feeling, in Spanish, and she said (SPEAKING IN SPANISH), I'm good, thanks. She was emotionless. A member of the defense team tried to bring her some Kleenex before the verdict was even read and she declined it, just, you know, keeping a strong face in -- you know, on this very, very difficult day for that family.
Laura Coates, Sonia mentioned the sentencing. What can we expecting to come of that?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: At least a life sentence. This is a 61-year-old man, first of all. The criminal enterprise charge that Sonia talked about, include about, you know, 27 or so counts that are wrapped into one. That's why you have this very elaborate way of describing a criminal enterprise. And that alone could carry. Now, he has ten convictions at this point in time, ten different
charges, not the least of which is one that carries a life sentence. You're talking about somebody who likely will spend the rest of his life in prison.
But what we'll actually expect in June, though, are a lot of perhaps victim impact statements. Remember, there were very gruesome details that were said about what he did, his involvement in murder, his infamous gold-plated assault rifle, his diamond-encrusted gun. But he hasn't been charged for murder. None of the charges actually include murder.
KEILAR: So this will be -- this will be the moment that we hear that. That's going to be --
COATES: You may hear from victims. We talk about what the impact of this enterprise has been.
KEILAR: It's stunning.
COATES: The trafficking. The grand -- the reach of his billion-dollar enterprise. I mean, remember, this is a man who was speaking very clearly to Sean Penn a couple years ago, giving an interview about how he was able to be the person who produced the most heroin, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine in the entire world. I mean he's been on "Forbes" about this very issue.
So expect to have a judge look at all the details about the enterprise, about the trafficking, the extent of the violence that was involved in that. That will all be a part of the decision-making process. But he has at least a lifetime and it's probably consecutive.
Laura Coates, thank you so much. Thank you to our producer Sonia Moghe as well.
And we have more on our other breaking news.
President Trump finally responds to the bipartisan border deal and he says he's not happy. Next, I'll be speaking live with the deputy head of ICE. Does he think the president should take this deal?
[13:27:54] KEILAR: Congressional negotiators have a deal on border security, but now it's going to be up to the president whether this deal lives or dies. One key sticking point in the negotiations was the funding level for ICE, which is Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.
And we have Matt Albence, the acting deputy director of ICE, with us here.
So you're also the executive associate director for enforcement and removal operations. You've been with ICE for 24 years?
MATT ALBENCE, ACTING DEPUTY DIRECTOR, ICE: Twenty-four years, yes, ma'am.
KEILAR: All right, so you know -- you know about this. This has been your entire career.
So the deal is looking -- and I know you haven't seen the details, so I know that, but the deal is looking to give ICE a little more flexibility when it comes to funding. In the end, there would actually be an increase in funding that would allow the number of beds to increase, maybe as high as 60,000 people in detention centers. That's obviously a jump from what you have right now.
What -- what do you think about that?
ALBENCE: I think that provision holds promise. I think giving ICE the ability and the flexibility to manage its beds as it needs to meet the operational requirements of both our detention needs and those of the individuals arrested at the border is critical to this process.
The biggest concern that ICE had all along with this was the artificial cap that was trying to be placed on the number of beds that could be utilized for interior arrests. That creates a defined, definite public safety risk. And that's something that we just cannot have.
KEILAR: So if you don't have that, then is that a provision that is something, with your expertise, you could stand behind and you could say to the president, this fits our needs?
ALBENCE: I would say, for that provision, with regard to the detention, that we have gotten over that hurdle if there are no limitation on how ICE manages its beds and we are funded to get the number of beds that we actually need, for this provision, yes, I think we're good. What else is in that -- contained in that, I don't know, and there could be other things that are problematic.
KEILAR: Do you feel that ICE has been heard from lawmakers and from the White House? Have lawmakers consulted with you? Has the White House consulted with you on this?
ALBENCE: Well, we certainly work with individuals on The Hill and in the White House on a day to day basis. I'm obviously an operator. I'm a career law enforcement official. I'm not involved in the political spectrum. But they certainly have come to us for our opinions with regard to what the impact of any certain legislation may be.