Return to Transcripts main page


Senate Intel Chair Slams Michael Cohen For Missing Testimony; Menendez, Deutch Introduce Bill Banning High-Capacity Gun Magazines; Critics: Name Of Dixie School District A Reminder Of Slavery; Trump, Colombian President Meet Amid Humanitarian Crisis; Political Crisis Impacts Venezuela's Hospitals; CDC: More Than 100 Measles Cases Reported In 10 States. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired February 13, 2019 - 10:30   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Joining me now is Republican Congressman, Chris Stewart. He sits on the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you for taking the time this morning.

REP. CHRIS STEWART, (R)-UTAH: And good morning.

SCIUTTO: Michael Cohen, of course, a central witness in this investigation. It's the third time he's delayed his latest testimony. Now, he's claiming pain from post surgery. Prior, the reason had been the ongoing Special Counsel's Investigation.

Are you concerned he's trying to dodge his testimony on the Hill?

STEWART: Well, I think I'd be a fool not to come to the conclusion that that's what he's trying to do. And yes, it does concern me. And look, while he's claiming unable to appear before Congress, we still see him about town, and it doesn't seem very consistent. We want him to come testify before our committee.

SCIUTTO: On the topic of the day. This, of course, the looming shutdown. An agreement, in principle, at least among Republicans and Democrats on the Hill to fund the government.

I know you're still looking at the details of this, but based on the top-line figures, about $1.4 billion for a barrier. Other funding for technology along the built border, is this a Bill that you can support.

STEWART: Yes, I hope so. And again, we always want to read the Bill before we make a final commitment. But, we certainly want to start it, yes. And, I think we probably will be, yes. And, I think most of us will. And, I think the president will sign this bill.

Now, am I disappointed in parts of this? Absolutely, as a member of the Appropriations Committee as well as Intelligence, last spring, we were writing legislation requesting $25 billion for border security. And now, we're down to a little more than a billion or so. SCIUTTO: Yes.

STEWART: You know, obviously, I can't look at that, and go, well that's swell, because I don't think it is law. I don't think it's good, but it's the deal that we have. And frankly, I think we've come to the end of this road. I think that's the best we're going to get.

And. having said that -- Jim -- I'd like to say, you know, it and now is my -- our responsibility. And, my responsibility to go to the American people and say, are you OK with this?

I'm very disappointed that we don't address DREAMers. That we don't address DACA.


STEWART: Something that a lot of us have been trying to do for years.


STEWART: And it's not in this. And, go the American people say, look as a Republican, we've been trying to do -- we've been trying to fix this, and haven't been able to. And, ask them what --

SCIUTTO: You also have the issue of going the American people explaining why the president and Congress shut down the government for 35 days, when the deal on the table in December before the shutdown gave more money for a barrier. What was the point?

STEWART: Well, I mean in hindsight, it didn't help us. As you just have to be -- you have to ignore reality to say -- you say anything different, it didn't help us. The deal we ended up with now is worse than we had before the shutdown.

And look, the last thing that I want, and frankly, I don't know anyone in Congress who actually wants a shutdown. Maybe there's one or two people, but the majority of us don't. We know that that impacts people's lives. It's disruptive for people who are expecting government services in different ways.

But, if you can do that and say yes, but I got something. I got a more important priority. We accomplished something then, you know, perhaps under those circumstances, I would accept it. But, that wasn't the case here, and that's very disappointing to me.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you on another topic, because tomorrow, as you know, will be the one-year anniversary of the Parkland shooting. All those students who died there. And, in the wake of that, even the president talked about legislation to address gun violence in the country.

As you know, your Democratic colleagues, they're bringing up legislation to restrict high-capacity magazines. There's also discussions of universal background checks. Is that legislation that you would support? STEWART: Well again, we would want to look at it. Now, so that I can tell you the magazines (a) it's not going to make any difference. It truly isn't. I mean, the evidence on this is pretty clear. But there are some things --

SCIUTTO: Why wouldn't it make a difference. You saw -- Why does anybody need a high-capacity magazine? I mean, even in the Parkland shooting, you can shoot a lot more people when you got more bullets in your gun.

STEWART: Well --

SCIUTTO: Why isn't that just a common-sense change that Americans could accept?

STEWART: Well then, I guess that, you take that to its ultimate conclusion, and say you should have a -- only be able to sell a weapon with one with one bullet.


SCIUTTO: No, but then that's a pretty slope. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying, and this is what the legislation proposes, is one simple step. It doesn't say take everybody's guns away.


SCIUTTO: Or, give them muskets. It just says no high-capacity magazines. Why is that unreasonable?

STEWART: Right. But Jim, I think there's some things that you and I can agree on. Maybe we don't agree on that. But look, when this happened, when Las Vegas happened. I think I might have been the first member Congress, if not I was one of the very first, to say, we should eliminate the bump stocks. It's clearly circumventing existing regulation, and there are -- there's no need for that.


STEWART: And soo, I hope you see that I'm not, you know, I'm just not reflecting anti on this.

SCIUTTO: I hear you.

STEWART: But there are some things that I would support. And, a lot of it is mental health issues that clearly come into play here. There are other things, you know, school safety that we supported. Tens of millions of dollars to beef up our school security.

I think there are things that we can agree on, but we're not going to be on everything. And, I think you gave me an example. One of them that I just don't agree with that.

[10:35:00] SCIUTTO: I get it. Listen, as you say, the bump stock ban did pass and that the results -- really the outrage following the Las Vegas shooting where bump stocks did make a difference there.

Congressman Chris Stewart, always good to have you on the show. Thanks for taking the time.

STEWART: Thank you, sir.

SCIUTTO: Does the name of a California School District honor slavery? That's what critics are saying there. We're going to take you to the town where some residents are calling for a name change. That's next.




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: The Dixie School District voting Tuesday night against changing its name for now. This, as some residents in San Rafael, California are calling for 155-year-old district to drop the word Dixie.

SCIUTTO: Why? Some people there criticizing the name saying that it has -- that it ties back to the Confederacy, and therefore, is a pro-slavery symbol. CNN national correspondent, Sara Sidner, has more.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The fight over whether to change the name of the Dixie School District is sparking vitriolic political discourse mirroring that which is playing out in southern states over whether to remove Confederate statues.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN (on camera): Whatever opportunity there was for the dialogue that you talked about at the beginning is long gone. Media circuses hijacked board meetings, and online smear campaigns, and personal threats have intimidated people, have turned neighbor after neighbor against neighbor.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (on camera): The name Dixie never meant a thing to me despite growing up south of the Mason-Dixon line.

SIDNER (voice-over): But, this is Marin County, California. A bay area county known for being a laid-back liberal bastion of well-to-do, mostly white residents, which is why the pitched emotion filled battling for the name Dixie took some residents by surprise.

MARNIE GLICKMAN, DIXIE SCHOOL BOARD TRUSTEE (on camera): I was attacked as a bomb thrower, an arsonist, and outside agitator. People hissed at me, and there was immediate negative impact.

SIDNER (voice-over): Dixie School Board Trustee, Marnie Glickman, spearheaded the latest call for the removal of the name Dixie. GLICKMAN (on camera): People have been saying that this name hurts them. For decades now, and we can make this simple change.

SIDNER (voice-over): Mercy Chiu, a mom with two kids in the district, says those who want a name change have been name-calling bullies to people like her who want to keep the name.

MERCY CHIU, WEAREDIXIE.ORG MEMBER (on camera): I personally have been through a lot on just joining this campaign, and to be called racist, and a white supremacist, it's been very hard to understand why people wouldn't just accept that other people have different understanding of a certain word.

SIDNER (voice-over): Marin County resident, Noah Griffin, says for people of color the district needs to realize the name conjures up pain.

NOAH GRIFFIN, CHANGETHENAME.NET CO-FOUNDER (on camera): Here my grandfather was a slave. He was born in 1852. You can't tell any black person that Dixie means anything other than Confederacy, enslavement, terror, and death. It needs to change.

SIDNER (voice-over): But there is a wrinkle in the debate. The issue is over history. Two versions of it. One held by those who want the name changed. And the other, by those who don't.

Kerry Pierson says he's been demanding a name change for more than 20 years, and Dixie refers to the Confederacy. He references the timeframe when the first Dixie schoolhouse here was built.

SIDNER (on camera): You were around the first time that this change was asked for.

KERRY PIERSON, MARIN COUNTY RESIDENT (on camera): Yes. I'll be the first one to ask for it. Yes, publicly. The question you have to ask yourself is, what did Dixie mean in 1863 during the Civil War?

SIDNER (voice-over): But residents with the group, We Are Dixie, who don't want a name change say the school district was named after Mary Dixie, a member of the Miwok Tribe. A member of that same tribe has now joined the fight to keep the name intact.

SIDNER (on camera): How do you respond to their thought that this is painful.

MARGE GROW-EPPARD, MIWOK TRIBE MEMBER (on camera): I did not realize my name offended people. I went to school with the guard -- the last name Custer(ph). I would never, ever ask him, hey that offends me, and what happened to my people, you need to change your name. That's part of our history. We need to learn from it.

SIDNER (on camera): So, after about three hours of a board meeting, and public comment on this particular subject, the board had 13 names before that it could have changed. They decided to stick with the name Dixie for now. But, after all of that, someone put through a petition that basically asked for the school to change its name to a 14th recommended name, which is the Sojourner Truth School District. Of course, Sojourner Truth being the abolitionist and the African-American, who also was a women's rights advocate. That will be voted on in the coming days -- Jim, Poppy.


SCIUTTO: Sara Sidner, thank you. Debates like this happening across the country.

Now, in another story, the crisis in Venezuela from a very different angle. CNN going inside a pediatric hospital were access to key supplies and even food is dwindling.



SCIUTTO: The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Venezuela front and center. When president of neighboring Colombia visits President Trump at the White House in just about an hour.

HARLOW: Yes, and the context on all of this is, this is happening at the same time that the US and Colombia are struggling to just deliver aid, including food and hospital supplies inside of Venezuela.

Our senior international correspondent, Sam Kiley, and our camera crew able to get inside of this hospital in Caracas and show us how this crisis is impacting the most vulnerable population there.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In heavily guarded hospitals, the government here, wants to keep visitors out, and it's shameful secrets in.

A failed economy now being crippled by American sanctions has starved hospitals of drugs and the very necessity of life itself, food.




KILEY (voice-over): Like us, its smuggled in by volunteers. If the government got hold of these essential supplies, these aid workers believed, they would be stolen and sold on the black market.

Angie(ph) cannot leave the hospital. She lives on a ventilator. Incredibly Venezuela's president has closed the country's borders to foreign aid.

KILEY (on camera): "The entire structure is dependent on outside charity help precisely because the government refuses to take it. It will not accept that it needs help because that means the government admits that it's failed."

KILEY (voice-over): Antonella(ph) is six and she has a tumor in her neck. She's terminally ill, and there are no cancer drugs to buy her a little extra time. It's her mother who's getting treatment today. She fainted from lack of food when she arrived at the hospital. Now she's recovering on a drip. It's just saline solution.

So, this handout is just in time. In every room here, small donations are welcomed. Staff here tell us that only three of 18 operating theatres are working that. This is the only Pediatric Surgical Unit left in the capital, and that 500 children are on its waiting list.

One doctor quickly writes a shopping list of desperately needed supplies. She can't show her face for fear of being punished for doing this. The US and many other nations blame President Nicolas Maduro for scenes like this, and they support his rival Juan Guido.

US-led efforts to cut off Maduro's access to foreign currency are intended to drive him from power. That might work eventually. In the meantime, it can only deepen the suffering. Sam Kiley, CNN Caracas.


HARLOW: Wow. That is remarkable to see. Sam Kiley, thanks to you and your entire team for that reporting.

All right. Major concerns of a measles outbreak in the United States that health officials say began in Europe. More than half of those cases are occurring in one county in Washington State. We'll bring you the latest.



HARLOW: All right. A rapidly spreading measles outbreak is sparking major concern from parents all across the country right now.

SCIUTTO: Listen to these numbers. So far, there are more than a hundred cases reported in 10 states including more than 50 in just one county in Washington State. Let's bring in Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay this, you know, the disease eliminated nearly two decades ago here in the US. And now, this a product of anti-vaxxers, is it not?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, I think that that's clear. I mean, you can look at the numbers. You can see where these cases, these patients who are developing measles, where they live, and what's happening with vaccination rates in those areas. So, you can put this together.

And, you know, you keep in mind, there's all sorts of different reasons that people don't get the vaccine. There's some people claim a connection between vaccines and autism. That's not true. There is no connection between vaccines and autism. Others, sort of, exempt themselves for personal reasons, or for personal beliefs. And, there are states that are more lenient on that.

TEXT: MEASLES OUTBREAK. At least 50 cases in one Washington state county. Majority were not vaccinated. Nearly 3/4 are under 10 years old. CDC: 10 states have already reported cases this year.

DR. GUPTA: But, to your point -- Jim. It really is a product of people being against vaccinations. Look at the numbers there. I mean, and as you look at these numbers, over a hundred cases already. This is February.

In 2016, there were only 80 cases for the whole year, and as you mentioned, it wasn't that long ago that we essentially put this in the wind column in terms of effectively eradicating this from the United States.

HARLOW: You know, Sanjay to you, just on this point about, sort of, the anti-vaccination movement, and the impact we're seeing right here in the numbers. My son had a really bad rash last week. It was before his first birthday. So, he had not gotten the MMR vaccine yet. You get that on your, you know, one-year an appointment.

And, I was terrified, and I thought, you know, what is this rash, could this be measles? And I was Googling, and I went to the doctor, and it wasn't, and he got his vaccine. But, I mean, this is a huge concern for so many parents. I mean, what is your advice to them?

DR. GUPTA: Well, you know, I think there's a couple of things. Certainly if your child is sick at the time that they're due for their vaccine, that would be a legitimate medical reason to delay your vaccine a little bit. If someone has a fever, or has some sorts of symptoms like that.

I think there's a couple of really important points. First of all from these vaccines you don't get the disease. The reason people may feel cruddy for a period of time after getting the vaccine, or they may even develop a rash in response to the measles mumps and rubella vaccine, is in part because the vaccine it's doing its job.

TEXT: MEASLES VACCINATION SCHEDULE. First dose: 12-15 months old. Second dose: 4-6 years old.

DR. GUPTA: It's revving up your immune system. It's showing your immune system the virus and saying look, if you ever see this virus again, go after it, kill it. That's how immunity works.

You saw the schedule really quick there Poppy. You just mentioned, because your child is -- Youngest child, I know, is just a year old. Twelve to 15 months for that first vaccine, and then, again at four to six years.

And you want to get this done on schedule, because the longer you wait, the longer period of time they're not as protected. And, others around them are as protected. SCIUTTO: And it affects your kid, and it affects other kids in the community.

DR. GUPTA: That's right.

SCIUTTO: That's the thing, it's an obligation.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks very much. I mean, in simplest terms, get your kids vaccinated. Just do it. It's your responsibility.

HARLOW: Exactly and do it on time