Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Administration Still Doesn't Know How Many Migrant Kids in Their Custody; Alex Trebek Reveals He's Battling Stage-4 Pancreatic Cancer; Pelosi: I Don't Believe Omar's Words Based on Anti-Semitism; Paul Manafort to be Sentenced Today for Bank Fraud. Aired 11:30-12p ET

Aired March 7, 2019 - 11:30   ET


[11:30:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: The 471 parents --


BOLDUAN: -- being reported without their children, the secretary says that in every case they are given multiple opportunities to take their children with them given the option.

LEE GELERNT: Not true.

BOLDUAN: How is that not true?

GELERNT: The families were deported. They had no idea of what they were signing. Many of them thought their children would be on the plane with them. The plane takes off --

BOLDUAN: You know this because you were actually speaking to these parents.

GELERNT: We are the lawyers in the case. Some thought, well, as soon as I land my child will be here at the airport. No. So they're in Central America without their children. I just came back from Tijuana speaking to a 10-year-old boy and their father. They came in together, they separated the 10-year-old boy and didn't let him hug his father good bye. They sent the child to New York on his first plane ride. The father then had to call him in New York and say, son, I have been deported without you.

BOLDUAN: And the father says he was not given the option to reunite with his son?

GELERNT: He thought his son was going to be with him. They told him his son will be removed with you. He gets to his home country, the son is not there.

BOLDUAN: Is there a way that the secretary of Homeland Security was technically accurate in what she said before Congress or did she mislead Congress?

GELERNT: I think what she said is to her knowledge. I think ultimately we will have to find out what was making its way up the chain. But if she didn't know, she should have known. The government's position is, oh, we gave everyone clear rules. They clearly did not give everyone a clear understanding of what was happening. People --

BOLDUAN: Some parents did opt to have their children stay here and they were deported. That does sound incredibly harsh. Why have those parents chosen --

GELERNT: Let me separate out two stages. The first stage when they weren't counseled, we don't know what they thought was happening.

BOLDUAN: Exactly.

GELERNET: We got involved and we contacted every single family and asked them, here are your options. Some of them made the agonizing decision to leave their child in the U.S. when we told them we couldn't necessarily get them back in the U.S. The reason they did it is the kind of decision every immigrant family has to make at some point, is it was too dangerous to bring the child back. The parents said to me, look, if I'm killed, I'm killed, but I cannot bring my child back here. That's the kind of agonizing decision our government forced on these families.

BOLDUAN: This is unbelievable. It requires a lot more answers now.


BOLDUAN: On the 471, were they given the option as the secretary says. And how many children are actually still separated and have been separated from their families? When this started in April, we still have no real accounting.

GELERNT: The number keeps going up. We thought we were at 2,800.

BOLDUAN: And you say --

GELERNT: We may be looking at another couple thousand.

BOLDUAN: And the court is considering this now?


GELERNT: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: Lee, thank you very much.

GELERNT: Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: Of course.

We'll be right back.


[11:37:40] BOLDUAN: He is one of the most iconic TV game show hosts ever. "Jeopardy" host, Alex Trebek, is in the fight of his life, revealing devastating news that he has been diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer. Watch this.


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, JEOPARDY: I'm going to fight this and I'm going to keep working. And with the love and support of my family and friends and with the help of your prayers, also, I plan to beat the low survival rate statistics for this disease. Truth told, I have to because under the terms of my contract, I have to host "Jeopardy" for three more years.


BOLDUAN: Levity in a moment of deadly serious.

Joining me now is Dr. Diane Simeone, the director of the Pancreatic Cancer Center at NYU.

It's great to see you. Thank you for being here.


BOLDUAN: I really appreciate it.

Stage-four, late diagnosis. Why is it so hard to detect this?

SIMEONE: Pancreatic cancer is really a tough one. Over half patients have what we call stage-four metastatic pancreatic cancer. That means is the cancer has spread to other organs and it's not really amenable to surgical reception, which currently is the only way to cure the disease.

BOLDUAN: Why is it so deadly? I know these are basic questions. My family has been hit by pancreatic cancer. Why is it so deadly?

SIMEONE: It has a very unique biology that is different from other cancers. It spreads very early. We are trying to understand the signals that drive that very early spread of the disease. Beyond that, it is very difficult to treat with the standard tools that we have, which are combination of chemotherapy and radiation.

BOLDUAN: Someone with stage-four, what does the fight look like, the treatment look like, at that point?

SIMEONE: So if you take all patients with pancreatic cancer, the overall five-year survival rate currently is 9 percent. For most patients with metastatic disease that we offer combination chemotherapy, we can increase survival in the order of months, unfortunately, not years. However, we are learning more about pancreatic cancer. And we know that when we do genomic analysis of pancreatic cancers that there are some pancreatic cancers that are actually different. About 40 percent we find has unique signatures that may be much more amenable to different therapies. Those can be much more successful.

[11:40:14] BOLDUAN: This is your work. This is your passion. This is your life's work. Where are you in the spectrum of hopeful of turning the tide when it comes to earlier detection and treatment that you have been working on?

SIMEONE: I think there are two big fronts that are happening that are going to change the course of the disease. The first is we have a whole new effort on redesigning how to do clinical trials for pancreatic cancer. It is called Precision Promise. It is an adaptive platform that will allow us to get much more effective therapies to patients. It will be launching in about two to three months. Patients should stay tuned to that.

The second is early detection. We have an increasing appreciation that there's a genetic component to the disease. Anyone who has a family history of pancreatic cancer, has a lot of breast cancer in their family, there can be links with pancreatic cancer and melanoma. It is important for physicians to get a thorough family history and for patients to not be afraid if they have a family history of pancreatic cancer. To seek consul and help.

BOLDUAN: And be aggressive about it --


SIMEONE: And be aggressive. And the other thing is there's a lot of nihilism about pancreatic cancer where it is thought that screening is not helpful. That is not true. New data shows, for patient who get screened for increased risk, the likelihood that we can find something we can resect it surgically and give patients a chance of cure is 90 percent as opposed to the average patient --


SIMEONE: -- who comes in the door, 15 percent.

BOLDUAN: The reality is that there aren't a lot of champions to fight against pancreatic cancer because there aren't a lot of survivors.

SIMEONE: Correct.

BOLDUAN: That is what is so troubling about.

Dr. Simeone, it's great to see you.

SIMEONE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for being here. Really appreciate it.

Coming up for us, moments ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she doesn't believe that Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was being anti-Semitism with her controversial comments on Israel. She doesn't believe she harbored anti-Semitic views, is how Nancy Pelosi was really putting it. What does the head of the Anti-Defamation League say about this resolution, about Nancy Pelosi's comments on Ilhan Omar? He will join me next.


[11:47:05] BOLDUAN: Top Democrats say a Democratic resolution condemning anti-Semitism and other forms of hate will come for a vote today. This follows a messy battle over how to deal with the latest comments from Minnesota's freshman congresswoman, Ilhan Omar, comments where she suggested pro-Israel interests caused to pledge, quote, "allegiance to a foreign country." Many fellow Democrats are calling the comments anti-Semitic and others are defending Omar, saying she is being unfairly targeted.

Joining me now is CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt.

Jonathan, thank you so much for being here.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke to reporters earlier this hour. When asked about Ilhan Omar's remarks, Nancy Pelosi says that she doesn't believe that Omar understood the full weight of her words and she is confident that the words were not based on anti-Semitic attitudes. What do you say?

JONATHAN GREENBLATT, CEO, ANTI-DEFAMATION LEAGUE: It is hard to say what is in Representative Omar's heart but I have to deal with the reality of what she said, again and again and again. The accusation that Jews have a dual loyalty or require people to pledge allegiance to a foreign power is an anti-Semitic charge that have been used against the Jewish people literally for hundreds of years, long before there was a state of Israel. We are offended by this anti-Semitism. It's not only directed at the Jewish people. It is an un-American thing to say because accusations of loyalty to a foreign power, that was used against Japanese-Americans in World War II. It was used against Catholics when John F. Kennedy was running for president in 1960. It doesn't deserve a place in the public conversation, period.

BOLDUAN: You put your words very forcefully saying them here and in an opinion piece. I want to read a bit of it: "Let's be clear, the problem isn't that Omar criticized Israeli policies. The problem is her comments were anti-Semitic. Trying to make the situation about Israel is a tactic to deflect from the issue of anti-Semitism. It is a move we have seen repeatedly in Europe and other countries. It is wrong, plain and simple."

Jonathan, what do you want to see happen? What do you think of this resolution?

GREENBLATT: It's hard for me to comment on a resolution whose text I haven't read.


GREENBLATT: What we want to see, what we called for earlier in the week is for the House of Representatives to clearly and forcefully and unambiguously stand up against anti-Semitism. Let me just say, this doesn't preclude the House from taking action against other forms of bigotry. It's reprehensible that Representative Omar was targeted because of her faith, and she has been the victim of smears, she has been targeted, frankly. We called out when she was attacked over the weekend in that poster in West Virginia. We have the ability to fight all forms of hate. But this is about anti-Semitism. That is the issue at hand. That is what the House needs to address.

[11:50:05] BOLDUAN: If the resolution, as Nancy Pelosi has described it, is going to be more than anti-Semitism. It's going to condemn all forms of hate, Islamophobia, white supremacy. Is that a good thing?

GREENBLATT: Look, we think Americans of all faiths, of all races, of all walks of life should stand up to any form of intolerance. But the issue at hand is the repeated invocation of anti-Semitism. So --

BOLDUAN: So you think this would miss the mark?

GREENBLATT: I haven't read the text so it's hard to say. I don't know exactly how it calls out the anti-Semitism. But I don't want to see this issue All Lives Matter. The issue at hand is an invocation of a slander that's been used by people on the extreme right and the extreme left to target, to diminish, to marginalize Jews. So what really matters to me is that people in positions of authority consistently and clearly call out anti-Semitism when it happens, just as they should call out racism, Islamophobia, when those forms of bigotry show up on the public stage.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you this. Do you think there's any space to debate U.S. policy toward Israel, be critical of Israel, be critical of any lobbying group, AIPAC or otherwise, here in the United States without being branded anti-Semitic?

GREENBLATT: Sure, if you're interested. An example of criticizing policies of the Israeli government, that being anti-Semitic, let me direct you to or "The Jerusalem Post" or any other Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. It is a red herring to say that you can't criticize Israel without being labeled anti-Semitic. You can criticize policies of the state all day long. But when you target a group of people and suggest that they are not loyal to their country of birth, that they pledge allegiance to a foreign power, that they are manipulating events behind the scenes, let me just be clear, this isn't news, this is a tried and true tactic of anti-Semites, it deserves no place in the political theater or the public conversation.

BOLDUAN: But a lot of this isn't just Ilhan Omar. Presidential candidates are coming to her defense on this. Bernie Sanders saying, in an effort to target Omar, is stifling that debate. Kamala Harris saying the spotlight being put on her puts her at risk. Elizabeth Warren saying branding criticism of Israel is automatically anti- Semitic and has a chilling effect on our public discourse. That's why I'm asking, because I hearing folks almost making this an either/or. What do you say to them?

GREENBLATT: I think that is a false choice. And I think these presidential candidates are flat-out wrong. One more time, there's nothing wrong with criticizing policies in government. We do it at the ADL. The issue here is not about its policies, the issue is prejudice here in America right now. And I would actually go so far as to say those who suggest we can't have a conversation about this, they're the ones stifling our ability to get into a better conversation that recognizes people of all faiths, again, of all walks of life to fully participate in our Democratic process. For me, at the ADL, as an organization that fiercely fights anti-Muslim violence, that has stood up for Syrian refugees, that has defended Representative Omar herself --


GREENBLATT: -- that doesn't mean we don't call it anti-Semitism when it happens, and that is the case here.

BOLDUAN: Jonathan Greenblatt, thank you so much for coming. I appreciate it.

GREENBLATT: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, today is the day Paul Manafort will learn his fate. In just hours, the president's former campaign chairman will be sentenced by a judge. What is he facing? We'll be live at the courthouse.

We'll be right back.


[11:55:26] BOLDUAN: Clarkston, Georgia has been called the most diverse square mile in America. That's due to its large refugee population. Today's "IMPACT YOUR WORLD" shows a nonprofit that is helping refugees living up there, one cup of coffee at a time.


KATY MIR, FOUNDER, REFUGE COFFEE: I think coffee and tea means I welcome you here if you hand them a cup of coffee.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the coffee and hot chocolate

MIR: Hi. I'm Katy Mir, the founder of Refuge Coffee. Our purpose is to find living wage jobs, job training and really intense mentorship for refugees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so glad when I meet people and share them like our stories, it gives me hope for the future.

MIR: We create this place at Refuge so there would be a natural way for people to get to know their refugee neighbors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's your name?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I'm Zade (ph). Nice to meet you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here it's not just coffee. No. You have to learn. We provide English classes, business skills, how to start your business so they will be able to move from refuge to work in another place. We also, when we finish, we help them find jobs. Right now, it wasn't in my dictionary.



BOLDUAN: Just a few minutes from now, the president's former campaign chairman could spend the rest of his life in prison. Paul Manafort is about to be sentenced in Virginia federal court for bank and tax fraud charges that stems from the investigation with Robert Mueller. Prosecutors are seeking up to 25 years in prison and tens of millions of dollars in fines and payments.

CNN's Sara Murray is outside the courtroom where Manafort is about to learn his fate.

Sara, after so many twists and turns, is this the final word?

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the final word in West Virginia. And as you pointed out, Kate, this is when Paul Manafort will learn if he spends the rest of his life in bars. The prosecutor has asked for 25 years for bank fraud, defrauding the federal government, and paying to fail taxes for money he lobbied for. Prosecutors have said that Paul Manafort does not seem to be very remorse for his crimes. He wants to blame them on everyone else. And even when he had a plea deal with them, he was lying when he was supposed to be cooperating.

For his part, Paul Manafort, in filings, tried to say he's sorry for what he's done, he asked the judge for some leniency. But when there was a trial in Virginia, he didn't take the stand in his own defense. Today might be the last opportunity we hear from Paul Manafort in court. He can speak before the sentencing is announced, and we don't know yet if he will choose to do that, but that could be his opportunity to plead with the judge one last time for a lesser sentence. Remember, he's 69 years old. He's already been incarcerated for about nine months and his health is declining. We see him at various points with a cane as well as a wheelchair, so he could sort of make a plea to the judge that these are his final years and beg for a sentence that's less than the 19 to 25 years that prosecutors have asked for.

Kate, you asked if it would be over, but for Paul Manafort it's not, really. He's in front of this judge in Virginia today, but next week he's in front of another judge in Washington, D.C., to get sentenced again, this time for witness tampering and conspiracy charges so he's facing a lot of potential jail time -- Kate?

[11:59:48] BOLDUAN: This is just the first step. That all coming in a few hours.

Thank you, Sara. Really appreciate it. Sara will be there throughout the day with that big announcement. I really appreciate it.

Thank you all for joining me today.

"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.