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President Trump Gives Speech to CPAC; President Trump Criticizes Green New Deal During CPAC Speech; Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders to Hold Rally in Brooklyn; Senator Cory Booker to Give Speech in Selma, Alabama; Interview with Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY); Representative Ilhan Omar Criticized for Comments Related to Israel. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired March 2, 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] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Except that if a person is serving time because they're admitting to having lied, and they come back again to speak, does that material now make it more believable because they're already paying the ultimate price?
LIS WIEHL, COUNSEL FOR DEMOCRATS ON IMPEACHMENT OF CLINTON: Generally, it does. Generally, they're not going to lie again to the same body.
WHITFIELD: All right, Lis Wiehl, we will live it there for now. Good to see you.
WIEHL: Good to see you.
WHITFIELD: Thanks so much. We've got so much more straight ahead, and it all starts right now.
Hello again, everyone. Thanks so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
President Donald Trump firing up his base during a speech at the conservative political action conference known as CPAC. In front of a friendly crowd, the president hit many of his favorite topics, the 2016 election, Democrats on Capitol Hill, the media, and even dropping a few profanities, fair warning. But he saved his most direct and stinging criticism for the Russia investigation, railing against Democrats and the special counsel.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let's inspect every deal he's ever done. We're going to go into his finances. We're going to check his deals. We're going to check -- these people are sick. They're sick.
TRUMP: I saw little shifty Schiff yesterday.
(LAUGHTER) TRUMP: It's the first time, he went into a meeting, and he said we're going to look into his finances. I said, where did that come from? He always talked about Russia. Collusion with Russia. The collusion delusion.
TRUMP: So now we're waiting for a report. And we'll find out whether or not who we're dealing with. We're waiting for a report. My people who weren't elected, we have people that lost, and unfortunately, you put the wrong people in a couple of positions, and they leave people for a long time that shouldn't be there. And all of a sudden, they're trying to take you out with bullshit, OK, with bullshit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN White House Correspondent Boris Sanchez joining us now. So Boris, he's pretty fired up and he's getting a lot of applause there and support. What's the mission of the president while at CPAC?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. He is giving his free-wheeling speech certainly in his bag, talking to a very receptive audience, a fired-up crowd. And the president appears to still be going during the speech. Keep in mind he is already well over an hour. As you noted, the president went after Democrats, calling them socialists, talking about the potential for him to declare a national emergency over the issue of immigration and saying that, quote, "I'm finding loopholes to get around the loopholes because Congress can't act."
The president also talking about the size of the crowd at his inauguration, also talking about members, current and former, of his own administration, joking about the former attorney general Jeff Sessions, sort of jabbing at his deputy Rod Rosenstein, and as you noted, talking about the Russia probe.
The president here, notably, in an upbeat mood, especially considering the past week that he's had, with testimony from his former fixer, Michael Cohen, before the House Oversight Committee, and coming home early and emptyhanded from that summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, something that he has yet to bring up during the speech. The president is still going right now, Fred. No telling what he is going to say. But one thing he did say is that he wishes this speech would be happening a year from now in the middle of the 2020 campaign. Clearly the president ready for that competition against a Democrat, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez, thank you so much, appreciate it, at the White House.
Joining me right now, Lisa Lerer, a national political reporter for "The New York Times." Good to see you, Lisa. So your thoughts about the president turning very serious matters into a joking matter, and also talking about how he just doesn't offer much credence to what's going on?
LISA LERER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": This is a speech the president loves giving. He speaks nearly every year at CPAC. He has been doing it since 2010, or 2011, so quite a while now. And the reason he likes giving it is because this is really his base. He is speaking to an extremely supportive crowd here. He's really rallying the troops around him. After what is, has been a really terrible week for him. He came home empty handed from Vietnam. He watched his personal lawyer go after him on a number of fronts during public congressional testimony. So this is an opportunity for him to shore up his support among the people who love him best.
WHITFIELD: And then moments ago, Trump also took a real hit at Democrats on this Green New Deal. Listen to what he said exactly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And if we don't go off script, our country's in big trouble, folks, because we have to get it back. And when I look at what's happening on the other side, I encourage it. I say no, no, I think the new green deal, or whatever the hell they call it --
[14:05:09] TRUMP: The Green New Deal, right, Green New Deal, I encourage it. I think it's really something that they should promote, they should work hard on. It's something our country needs, desperately. They have to go out and get it. But I'll take the other side of that argument, only because I'm mandated to. I'm mandated. But they should stay with that argument and never change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: What does he mean by that?
LERER: Well, I think Republicans in the White House see the Green New Deal as a really powerful thing that they can weaponize in the elections. They are really pushing hard this line that Democrats have gone far to the left, that they're embracing socialism, and they think that's something that will not only motivate their supporters but pull over some moderates, the kind of voters the president has lost with some of his conduct in office, back to their side for the 2020 elections.
Look, I was at CPAC at this event on Thursday, it's a three-day event, and what was really interesting was how much of the audience there, this is a conference that's typically for conservative activists, and they don't always agree with what the Republican Party establishment has to say. They gave Mitt Romney a hard time. They've given Marco Rubio a hard time for his views on immigration. And they were fully behind the president. Everyone I talked to there loved what the president was doing, was excited to support his reelection. So you got a sense from this event, and it is also something that the president clearly knows in his remarks, that he has the Republican Party base firmly behind him as he heads into this election. WHITFIELD: All right, so how representative is that, that he is
growing his base, because for a very long time, so much was being said about that 30 percent, he hasn't grown it, and it's the same 30 percent that assisted him with the win. However, it hasn't been broadened. Is this an indicator that perhaps his support is broadening?
LERER: I'm not sure his support is broadening. I think that he still has a good portion of, a majority of the Republican party in his corner. So despite the divisions that we sometimes hear here in Washington, over issues like foreign policy, with some senators breaking with him, there's been a number of Republican senators who have said that they don't like his declaration of a national emergency over the border wall. Those things are not reflected in voters. The Republican Party is still firmly behind him. And that puts him in at least a base of support heading into the midterms.
Now is that enough to get him reelected? That's what will be tested and that's what we'll have to see. And can he broaden that support out? I think that is one of the biggest questions of this election.
WHITFIELD: His style is to go off-script. He was just joking I'm mandated to say this, but sometimes I got to go off-script. And he says if he didn't go off-script, then the country would really be in trouble. There were lots of cheers. There was a lot of laughter. I can't tell whether people know when to take him seriously or when not to.
LERER: Well, that's exactly what his supporters like about him. They see in the president someone who's willing to say what he thinks, to not be constrained by what they see as, they often call political correctness, or the mores of Washington, of American society right now, particularly when it comes to issues of race and identity. But it is also something that is, as you point out, has caused him trouble in broadening out that base of support, particularly with female voters. We've seen his numbers with female voters really take a deep turn and really drop quite dramatically since he's been in office.
So that style cuts two ways. It's what his supporters love, and it's what the president loves delivering because it gets him those big applause lines at campaign events and rallies, and events like this, which really is a campaign rally in some way. But it also hurts him with a broader electorate, and there are certain leaders, certain politicians in the Republican Party, who worry about the impact of this on the party long term, that if the party is not broadening the tent, eventually President Trump will be done being president, whether he has one term or two terms, and where does that leave the party in terms of having a coalition that can endure?
WHITFIELD: He also injected some very serious stuff. He reiterated, or said again, that 100 percent of ISIS will be defeated, despite making that announcement a few days ago, and several weeks ago, where he's gotten a lot of criticism for that. Why does he feel it instructive, beneficial to continue saying things that his intel military community wants to dispute, has the material in which to dispute it? LERER: Right. He has always had a contentious relationship with the
intelligence community, that's for sure. I think his remarks on the special counsel's investigation were really telling.
[14:10:00] Part of what is happening here is that report, when that report comes out, it will immediately be the next phase in this political battle. There will be a fight over how much of the report should be released. Democrats will obviously push to see as much as of the report as possible.
WHITFIELD: You heard his son during CPAC saying go ahead, let it all out, which is interesting, because his dad and others have said no.
LERER: Right. And I think there is no amount of -- it would be hard for me to see a scenario, where Republicans -- where, sorry, Democrats are happy with how much of this report is released. They are always going to want to see more. And that could lead to lawsuits and subpoenas and all kinds of back and forth.
But in the end, the president and his team know that at least in Congress, this is a political process. If things move to impeachment, that is something that goes to a vote in the House and Senate, and that is something that then becomes political. So they are fighting a political battle right now by trying to say it's a witch hunt, to dismiss it all. I'm not going to repeat the term the president used, but it was very dismissive, and lay that groundwork for a case against anything the special counsel does is just over the top and invasion and shouldn't be taken seriously.
WHITFIELD: And I know we're all over the place, but this speech was kind of all over the place. The president also said today that he is going to sign a new executive order about free speech on college campuses. Why does he feel like he needs to do that, and that's an important, I guess, order in which to promote there?
LERER: Well, this is another issue that really resonates among the conservative base. There's been a lot of concern that conservatives and some Republicans feel that their voices are being censored on college campuses, that they're not getting open platforms in those places. We even saw it at CPAC, there were some panels on the censoring of conservative media, on social media, and things like that. So this is something that while not exactly really a top issue on the minds of most voters who are worried about things like the economy and health care, it's something that resonates with this base of supporters. And the president really needs to keep those, that group engaged and excited to win re-election.
WHITFIELD: OK. And that juxtaposition is sometimes a little odd because he is not huge on the whole free press thing and the free speech, and different signals come can from the White House on those matters. All right, Lisa Lerer, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
All right, still ahead, Democratic presidential candidates are hot on the campaign trail this weekend, speaking with voters, including a newcomer to the race, Bernie Sanders, a newcomer again, we should say. That's next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
WHITFIELD: In the last hour, Senator Bernie Sanders officially kicked off his presidential campaign. He got personal during his speech in his native Brooklyn, reflecting on his working class family roots and drawing a stark contrast between his upbringing and that of President Trump's.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: My experience as a child living in a family that struggled economically, powerfully influenced my life and my values. I know where I came from.
SANDERS: And that is something I will never forget.
SANDERS: Unlike Donald Trump, who shut down the government and left 800,000 federal employees without income to pay their bills.
SANDERS: I know what it's like to be in a family that lives paycheck to paycheck.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Ryan Nobles is in Brooklyn for us. So Ryan, a lot of folks have cleared out now, but they were really excited about his messages. Will there be more of this sort of message, a little bit of personal and then his vision as he now hits the road?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Fred, I can't hear you, I think I lost communication with you. But I will talk to you a little bit about exactly what happened at this rally here today. I think you're right, there was an important part of that speech which was that personal connection that Bernie Sanders made with the crowd here.
And the lion share of the speech, 95 percent of it, was Bernie Sanders hitting all the same notes that he's hit in past speeches, talking about income inequality, talking about the difference between average Americans and corporate America, talking about fixing and creating more access to health care, talking about raising the minimum wage. Those are all things we've heard Bernie Sanders say before.
But there was a very small part of the speech but an important one that you played where he talked about his personal life, he talked about growing up here in Brooklyn, and he talked about why that made him the man he is and why he champions the causes that he does.
And I have to say that this rally was very energetic for the entire part of the Sanders speech, but during that moment, he actually asked them if he could get personal for a moment? And it got very quiet as he detailed growing up in a rent controlled apartment right around the corner from where we are here at Brooklyn college, and how his parents both died while he was still at a very young age, and his mother never fulfilled her dream of moving out of that apartment into a home of their own. And he essentially said that's what shaped him as a candidate and as a person. And he really emphasized that, and then juxtaposed it with the life of Donald Trump.
And we heard a number of speakers here today, none of them mentioned Donald Trump by name. They only talked about winning the White House in general. Bernie Sanders mentioned Donald Trump often. He emphasized the fact that his campaign was about beating Donald Trump and winning the White House. It's not just about these issues that he's talked about in the past.
[14:20:03] He wants to win. And they're hoping that this rally here today is the start of a winning campaign, is now the Bernie Sanders campaign what is off and running. Fred?
WHITFIELD: Ryan Nobles, thank you so much in Brooklyn. Appreciate that.
So Bernie Sanders is not the only 2020 presidential hopeful campaigning today. Several Democratic candidates are out on the trail. Senator Cory Booker is making a swing through South Carolina. That state holds one of the first presidential primaries in less than a year from now. CNN's Jeff Zeleny is in Charleston for us. So Jeff, what does Booker have planned there? And already it seems like the auditorium where you are is filling up.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fredricka, Senator Booker will be joined actually tomorrow by Bernie Sanders. He will be delivering the keynote address, Senator Booker will, in Selma, Alabama, commemorating the 54th anniversary of that Bloody Sunday March. Senator Booker will be giving the keynote address at Brown Chapel. He'll be joined by several candidates.
But he is here today in South Carolina, which is the third stop on the road to the White House. Of course, it starts in Iowa, then New Hampshire, then here in South Carolina in about a year's time. And he has been making his way across the state, he has been introducing himself to voters.
Fredricka, this is something of the weekend work for these presidential candidates who are in the Senate. They spend their weekdays in Washington, and largely the weekends on the road. Senator Warren today is in Iowa. Senator Kamala Harris was in Nevada. Senator Booker here in South Carolina.
But I can really tell you, Fred, it is the introduction phase of these candidates. And Ryan said that Bernie Sanders likes to talk about President Trump, and indeed he does. He talks directly about him. These other senators, these other candidates are talking about anything but President Trump. They trying to introduce themselves on their own terms. They're trying to set their own vision for what they would bring to this presidential race. But I can tell you, Fred, talking to voters and others here in South
Carolina and in earlier state, it is very much a wide-open race. People are just beginning to get to know these candidates. But South Carolina, a critical state, particularly for the African-American vote. Perhaps as much as two-thirds of the vote in the Democratic primary could be from African-American voters. It is why so many candidates indeed are coming here, Senator Booker among them.
So he will be meeting with voters here in Charleston, having one more event here, and then he'll be heading to Alabama for that 54th anniversary of the Bloody Sunday March. And of course, Fredricka, we will also be likely marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge there to commemorate that. So a year away, but still much activity here on the Democratic presidential race. Fredricka?
WHITFIELD: Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much there in Charleston, South Carolina.
And tonight, presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren joins CNN's David Axelrod for "The Axe Files," that's tonight, 7:00 eastern only on CNN.
Coming up, Michael Cohen preparing for his second week of testimony on Capitol Hill. After blasting President Trump, two lawmakers will speak with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney about what she learned and what she expects Congress will do with that information, next.
[14:27:35] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. It was an incredible week, but guess what, the U.S. Congress is not done yet with Michael Cohen. The president's former attorney and longtime fixer will be back on Capitol Hill next week for another closed-door hearing before the House Intelligence Committee. This week, Cohen endured three days of grilling by lawmakers, including one blockbuster public hearing, where he called the president a racist, a conman, and a cheat. Cohen also testified that the president was involved in hush money payments that he made to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump before he became president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY, (D) OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: Mr. Cohen, in your 10 years of working for Donald Trump, did he control everything that went on in the Trump Organization? And did you have to get his permission in advance and report back after every meeting of any importance?
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Yes. There was nothing that happened at the Trump Organization, from whether it was a response, as "The Daily Beast" story that you referred to, Ranking Member, that did not go through Mr. Trump with his approval and sign-off, as in the case of the payments.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: The public testimony before the oversight committee, you saw Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney there asking questions, of New York. And she is with me now as a member of the House Oversight Committee. Good to see you. I should point out that you are wearing an FDNY firefighter jacket there in support of your 9/11 legislation, which would create a permanent compensation for victims?
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY, (D) OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE: That's right. I'm trying to draw attention to it. We did pass health care for the 9/11 heroes and heroines, and now we need to have the compensation that they're running out of money. We need to replenish it and restore it. We have legislation before Congress, and over 130 co-sponsors. So I'm wearing this coat until we get this important bill passed.
WHITFIELD: All right, top of mind.
So the Michael Cohen testimony, were you satisfied, and were you enlightened by some of his answers that came before, that were revealed during the oversight committee, which is the public hearing?
[14:30:00] MALONEY: Well, I found his testimony alarming. He basically alleged campaign finance violations, ethics forum violations, possible tax and insurance fraud, and other criminal activities. And he brought supporting documentation. He brought signed checks to give to Stormy Daniels, to basically hush money, to reimburse him. And it was not on his financial disclosure form, clearly a crime.
What I think was so important, it was not just what came out of it, and the other leads from it, he mentioned many, many other people that he thought we should call before Congress and hear their testimony, because he felt that it could lead to other criminal investigations. But Fredricka, this is the first time in two years that we've had a public hearing that the public could hear what the allegations are, where the investigations are going.
We've had the Mueller investigation, but no one knows what they're doing, except for when they indict someone, then you get a little information. But you don't really know all of the leads and all of the facts that they're looking at. So this was the first time that we were able to make this public. They had not really practiced oversight for the last two years. Congress, the Democrats are now in charge, and we are practicing vigorous oversight, and I thought it served a very important purpose.
WHITFIELD: So besides transparency, what are you hoping that purpose will be?
MALONEY: Oh, I think we need to gather the facts and see where they take us. There are numerous investigations. He put forward a lot of information that the Intelligence Committee this week is looking at, and other committees are looking at, and there are other, the Mueller, the southern district investigations. But it is important, I also believe, to involve the American public with what this information is so that they are informed, too. WHITFIELD: Earlier, this is how the president reacted to the Michael
Cohen hearings. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But they fight so hard on this witch hunt, this phony deal that they put together, this phony thing that now looks like it's dying, so they don't have anything with Russia. There's no collusion. So now they go and morph into, let's inspect every deal he's ever done. We're going to go into his finances. We're going to check his deals. We're going to check -- these people are sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: All right, so that's the president's reaction today while at CPAC. He sees this as, and calling Democrats particularly sick. Are you able to hear me, congresswoman?
MALONEY: I'm able to hear a little bit now. But that's why I think the hearings are important. Let the American people hear the facts and work from them, not accusations going back and forth in a partisan environment.
Personally, I'd like to see a bipartisan Republican and Democratic caucus, that looked, to try to come up with a set of facts that we believe are the truth. These are serious allegations, they need to be considered, and I personally don't want to have a partisan impeachment that really doesn't go anywhere in the Senate. So you have to really have a set of facts that the American public and both sides agree on, and we're working to create that.
WHITFIELD: OK, and the president continues to go in the direction of a very tender spot. And just moments ago at the CPAC, the president brought up again Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died days after being released from a North Korean prison. Earlier this week, the president received a lot of rebuke from the Warmbier family and beyond, when the president said he believed Kim Jong-un who said he knew nothing of Warmbier's torture while in custody. Listen to what the president had to say now, at CPAC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We got our great people back. We got our great, great people. And that includes our beautiful, beautiful Ptto, Otto Warmbier, whose parents I've gotten to know, who is incredible. And I'm in such a horrible position, because, in one way, I have to negotiate. In the other way, I love Mr. And Mrs. Warmbier. And I love Otto. And it's a very, very delicate balance. He was a special young man, and to see what happened was so bad, was so bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: What do you think, congresswoman? Did that help clean it up? MALONEY: I think all Americans are pleased that he was returned to
his parents. I can't make any comment on what North Korea is saying about what they know or did not know.
[14:35:00] It seems to me that if I were president, I would be informed about what was happening. And it's hard for me to believe that he did not know. But in any event, the negotiations are going forward. I believe in negotiations, and I hope we can resolve and have a nuclear-free peninsula. And I would like to see South Korea and Japan more involved in these talks and working to get a peaceful region, and China.
WHITFIELD: And what you mean is you find it hard to believe that the North Korean president wouldn't know about that.
MALONEY: Right, exactly. Yes, exactly.
WHITFIELD: If I could, switch gears, this letter that you signed along with other New York lawmakers, unions, business leaders, all asking Amazon to reconsider its decision to pull out of New York, have you heard from anyone at Amazon indicating that they may reconsider a location in New York?
MALONEY: I have not heard positive feedback from Amazon. But you keep trying, New Yorkers keep trying if there's something you believe in.
WHITFIELD: What do you think happened?
MALONEY: Oh, gosh, I think that it was the opportunity of a lifetime. It would have made New York overnight the high-tech capital of the east coast. It would have brought in an estimated $28 billion in tax revenues, helping our infrastructure, helping our transit, helping our schools and educational system.
WHITFIELD: Do you blame now freshman Democrats, particularly Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for Amazon changing its mind?
MALONEY: There's plenty of blame to go around, and I don't blame anyone. I feel that New York should have worked harder, we should have worked harder at educating people about what the positive outcome would be financially for our city. One of our big, big goals for decades has been to diversify our tax base. This would have really moved us in the right direction. We've invested in high-tech schools, such as Cornell Tech and Roosevelt Island, to train our young people for the jobs of the future. This was an incredible opportunity for New York, for Amazon, and I think for the nation to bring a great group of creative people together to try to solve the challenges of the next decades.
And I'm still working, along with the governor and the mayor and many others. We just signed a petition, and took out an ad in "The New York Times," talking about how we would like them to reconsider, and --
WHITFIELD: You haven't lost hope. MALONEY: You always keep trying. It took me 15 years to pass the
James Zadroga, Health and Compensation bill for first responders, so I'm not giving up on Amazon.
WHITFIELD: Patience and persistence sometimes pays off. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, thank you so much. We're back after this.
[14:42:24] WHITFIELD: It is an American family that has given this country one senator, two governors, two first ladies, and two presidents. And tomorrow, the all new CNN original series, "The Bush Years, Family, Duty, Power," will take us inside the iconic Bush family to explore how they have influenced American politics. And our own Anderson Cooper had the opportunity to talk with Neil Bush, the son of President George H. W. Bush and brother of president George W. Bush.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Neil, it's obviously been a very difficult year for you and your family. First of all, how is everyone doing?
NEIL BUSH, GEORGE H. W. BUSH'S SON: Everybody's doing fine, Anderson, thank you for asking. A lot of people have come up to me and said that they worry about mourning or grieving and that kind of thing. And my reply, and I was with my brother president George W. Bush recently, his reply is, it's hard to grieve two lives, but my dad's life more recently, so well lived. He lived to be 94 years old. He should have died, or could have died three or four times before he actually died, but he kept coming back. So they lived amazing lives, they couldn't go any longer, to live 94, 92 years of life, and to be married to each other 73 years is pretty remarkable. But yes, I miss them, for sure. But I don't really grieve their loss. They're in heaven today.
COOPER: It gave us, I think, the country, the possibility to kind of look back and reflect and remember. And it was so nice in that way to remember your mom, remember all of the things that your dad did, and sort of the grace that they brought to public life, which, you know, is something, it just seems like a different time today. And so while certainly from my perspective, their passing was, it was terrible, it was a nice opportunity to kind of live in those moments again of your dad and your mom's life. As you said, their life, their lives together, were as extraordinary, the fact that they met so young and were together this whole time, it's such a love story.
NEIL BUSH: An amazing love story. And you're right, there was a certain civility that existed back then. I think my dad's personality was one so richly built on character, on the values of looking for ways to lift others in different ways. My dad served as president for four years, and all four years he worked with a Democrat-controlled House and Senate. [14:45:04] And yet he managed through personal relationships to get
things done. He managed on foreign policy to bring, not consensus, but to build enough consensus for major actions around the world. And it wasn't through -- it was through his humble service, his patriotic duty, to serve, and to give credit where credit is due and to try to reach out to bring people together.
And one of his great legacies truthfully is going to be his calling to all of us to find a way to be a point of light, to find a way to serve. You don't have to be president, governor, first lady, everyone can play a role in lifting others in our society. So I'm really proud of that legacy.
COOPER: Neil Bush, it is a pleasure to talk to you. I really appreciate it. My best to your family.
NEIL BUSH: Thank you very much, Anderson.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: And be sure to watch the all new CNN original series, "The Bush Years, Family, Duty, Power," it starts tomorrow night, 9:00 eastern, only on CNN.
[14:50:32] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is being asked to apologize again following new comments regarding America's relationship with Israel. During an event Wednesday, the Minnesota Democrat said, and I'm quoting now, "I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK for people to push for allegiance to a foreign country," end quote. That's according to "New York Times." And now, the House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel is demanding an apology. CNN National Correspondent Brynn Gingras joins me right now with more on this. So Brynn, what is the Congressman, Congressman Engel saying about his fellow committee members.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First you can see she is creating quite the firestorm on Capitol Hill. But basically, Omar first is arguing that her criticism of pro-Israel groups on politicians, something that she has been really vocal about, is being misinterpreted and labeled as anti-Semitic. She says she believes this is all being done to shut down debate.
Regardless, again, there is outrage over her comments, not only on this latest one, but she's had similar ones in the past that she said before, and so the criticism is coming from all side, from Republicans, the president, but also, as you mentioned, Fred, people in her own party all the way up to Democratic leadership.
And Chairman Eliot Engel, a fellow Democrat from New York, for example, he is demanding an apology. He said in this statement late last night, quote, "I welcome debate in Congress based on the merits of policy, but it is unacceptable and deeply offensive to call into question the loyalty of fellow American citizens because of their political views including support for the U.S.-Israeli relationship. We all take the same oath. Worse, Representative Omar's comments leveled that charge by invoking a vile anti-Semitic slur."
Engel has asked for an apology, but Congresswoman Omar or her office really have not commented on this, Fred.
WHITFIELD: And so that is not the only controversy involving Congresswoman Omar. A controversial poster her image and the Twin Towers on 9/11 was on display at the West Virginia statehouse. Tell us more about this.
GINGRAS: Right. This was a poster, Fred, associating Omar with the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And written on that poster, as you can see, the words, "I am proof you have forgotten." And this was again, on display, at a table in West Virginia Statehouse, at a Republican- sponsored public event. So you can imagine this also caused a major firestorm there in the statehouse.
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MIKE CAPUTO, (D) WEST VIRGINIA HOUSE DELEGATE: It sickens me. It absolutely sickens me. But yes, I kicked that door open. I'll own it. I did. And I said some things I don't normally say. So the point should be, we shouldn't do what's going on outside here, whether it's the Democratic Party, or the Republican Party, there's no place for that.
MIKE PUSHKIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA HOUSE DELEGATE: I find it distasteful. I said so. I went over and spoke with the people at that booth that I believe is sanctioned by a political party, they're out there with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GINGRAS: Now, those were two Democrats, but a chairwoman for the state GOP condemned the poster pretty immediately, and said in a statement this. "Our party supports freedom of speech, but we do not endorse speech that advances intolerant and hateful views. We have shown that when West Virginians are united, when we respect each other, embrace our differences, and focus on moving our state forward, what we can accomplish."
Back in Washington, Omar did respond on Twitter, saying, quote, "No wonder why I am on the hit list of a domestic terrorist and "Assassinate Ilhan Omar" is written on my local gas stations. Look no further, the GOP anti-Muslim display likening me to a state terrorist rocks in state capitals and no one is condemning it."
So since then, others have come to her defense on Twitter and other ways for this freshman Congresswoman. But Fred, you can see, she is certainly being talked about for many reasons on Capitol Hill, some against her own doing.
WHITFIELD: Brynn Gingras thanks so much for bringing that to us. Appreciate it. And thank you so much for being with me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka
Whitfield. The news continues with Ana Cabrera, but first, here is this week's Turning Points.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGO TALBOT, ICE CLIMBER, AUTHOR: The sound of the ax hitting the ice, everything to me was magical. The very first time I went ice climbing, I felt joy for the first time in my life, without the use of a heavy dose of street drugs. I started doing drugs at 12. As the years went on, I did harder and harder drugs till I found myself addicted to them.
[14:55:04] Most drug addicts are self-medicating their existential pain, which I was from childhood trauma. By the time I was in my early 20s, I was suicidally depressed. Later I got thrown in jail on drug charges. And that was my rock bottom. I missed the feeling of wind in my hair and sun on my face, and that's when I realized that my relationship with nature was stronger than my relationship with drugs. It brought me into the present moment. You get to climb up and away from everyday reality.
Reach way up and get that tool in.
I do give ice climbing clinics and teach people how to ice climb.
You have those nice hooks when you can still flick into them.
People find it very empowering, especially women. It brings me joy to introduce other people to the activity that literally changed my life.