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Clinton Impeachment Rivals Spar Over Mueller Investigation; Ken Starr Says the DOJ Should Be Able to Indict A Sitting President; Anti- Semitism And Racism Rising in United States Schools; Trump Watched Super Bowl with Ex Owner of Spa Linked to Robert Kraft's Arrest. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 8, 2019 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[15:30:00] JOE LOCKHART, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: All out and he said I fired him because I wanted to stop the Russia investigation, because I think the Russia investigation is a witch- hunt. There may be in some narrow, legal eagle place where that is an obstruction of justice. To the rest of us, it is the obstruction of justice on the face of it.

KEN STARR, LEAD INDEPENDENT COUNSEL IN THE INVESTIGATION OF PRESIDENT CLINTON: But he didn't shut down the investigation. That's one of the key things. He could have said this investigation --

LOCKHART: He then tried to remove and fired his Attorney General. What else do you need to see that is obstruction? What else? What else do you want to see as a prosecutor here?

STARR: You need to see action that actually results in the investigation not being able to be carried forward. If Bill Clinton had fired Louie Freeh, would you have stood up and said he has every right to do that?

STARR: I hope I would have.

LOCKHART: I doubt you would have.

STARR: I have a very view of Presidential power. Article 2 gives the President authority over the executive branch, so President Trump could, in fact, have said, I want this investigation to stop. Period, full stop. Then that to me does raise an issue of potential obstruction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: A lot to discuss there and that was just a fraction of that conversation. I'll be joined live by former Watergate prosecutor next.

[14:05:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Welcome back. Before the break we heard part of a conversation between Ken Starr and Joe Lockhart. They applied what happened in the late '90s to what we're seeing today as President Trump faces multiple investigations. With us now to discuss, CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero. And John Sale. Carrie, I messed that up both times. Jon Sale is with us as well, a former assistant special Watergate prosecutor, both of you very great legal minds. I'm happy to have you with us. Ken Starr offered the moral view of obstruction and the legal view, do you agree with that distinction?

JON SALE, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: My first impression was, that it was nice to see Judge Starr and Joe Lockhart sit down together and respectfully agree to disagree because I remember when they were at each other accusing each other of the worst kind of misconduct and we need more people who disagree who can have such sit-downs. I think I know a lot about obstruction, unfortunately, but it's the first time I ever heard Judge Starr's expression moral obstruction. There's no such thing. There's legal obstruction where we can debate what that means. The statute requires a corrupt intent and the Constitution Article 2 does give the power -- certain unlimited powers to the President. You might call it political obstruction and that's a matter of counting votes. Whether or not you want to indict a President for something like President Clinton did when you don't have the votes to convict him. Moral obstruction, I'll defer to people wiser than me to define what that is.

CABRERA: John, is Trump lying to the American people and abuse of power even though it's not a crime?

SALE: If there are majority plus one votes in the Congress, it's impeachable. It's not a crime. There's nothing in Title 18 or any other applicable United States statutes that makes lying to the American people a crime. Lying to a grand jury, lying to a federal agent, those are crimes, which is probably why the President did not go in and give a statement to the special counsel.

CABRERA: Hum. Here's something else I want you both to hear on whether a President can be indicted.

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STARR: No person is above the law means that a President can be indicted but that's not the Justice Department policy and Robert Mueller as you know is an officer of the Justice Department and is therefore required to follow that policy. He cannot indict --

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C; Carrie, how can both things be true?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there is a legal opinion, several legal opinions that have been issued over periods of decades from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel and the position that those opinions take is that a sitting President cannot be indicted. What's interesting is that both under Ken Starr's service as independent counsel and in the prior generations Presidential scandal in Watergate, fresh legal opinions on that specific issue were drawn up. We have never heard and so we are operating on the assumption that in the current environment neither the Justice Department nor the special counsel's office has drawn up fresh legal memos looking at the current situation and whether or not a President could be indicted. We're just assuming, because the Justice Department hasn't said otherwise, that those memos have not been written in present times and that therefore the Justice Department is following its historical practice and the special counsel is obliged to follow that precedent.

[14:10:04] CABRERA: Jon, another topic. Is dangling a pardon illegal? Starr says not unless it includes an actual bribe or quid pro quo, what's your take?

SALE: The President undoubtedly has the unlimited power to pardon, but if the pardon is done with a corrupt intent, that is unclear and those are the type of things which we'll have to be tested in court if it happened, but the person pardon would be fear and clear forever, the issue would be to look at the President's conduct and that would be tied up in the courts forever.

CABRERA: Carrie, on whether Mueller is doing it right by not holding news conferences, not releasing info to the public as he's going through this investigation, Lockhart says yes, that's correct, Starr says he thought it was more important to be more transparent. He was always putting himself out there. Whose side are you on?

CORDERO: This is an area where I really think the analogies between the Clinton years' experience and the Starr investigation and the present are very limited. Ken Starr was operating under a completely different environment. He had an independent counsel statute that gave him a level of independence where he could make decisions like that to be more transparent where he could write a big huge narrative report that simply don't apply to the current special counsel. There's different regulations now. The special counsel reports to the Attorney General. The Attorney General has a level of authority to supervise what happens and that was done specifically, those new regulations in reaction to the experience under Ken Starr's effectuation of the independent counsel's statute. In addition, I want to say with respect to your earlier question, the fundamental issue on the President is whether or not he's abusing his executive authority. So, when it comes to an issue like a pardon, many legal scholars will say, look, that is a complete authority that the President has. The question with this President, and this is why we're seeing Congress open a rule of law investigation, is whether or not the President is going beyond his exercise of executive authority and he is doing things that are abusing that authority.

CABRERA: All right. Carrie and Jon, I learned a lot. Thank you.

Up next, Nazi symbolism and hateful rhetoric caught on tape among high school students. Details on the disturbing trend we should not ignore.

[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Swastikas along with racist names displayed during a student assembly. It happened this week at the elite D.C. schools that Chelsea Clinton and other girls have gone to. It's just the latest U.S. school to show signs of young people turning to hateful symbolism. CNN's Sara Sidner reports.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Experts are telling us that they are seeing a disturbing trend among America's youth. Their attraction to Nazi and racist symbolism, but you're going to meet one woman who survived the death camps, who says she's trying to solve the problem and steer them away from hate one community at a time. High school students in Alabama spouting violent racist and anti-Semitic comments and enjoying every minute of it. Then, posting it on social media.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jews would run the world.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jews are fine because they're white.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jews would be running the world right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You stick them in concentration camps.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you have to wait until they die off.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: The girl you hear repeatedly saying the n-word sent out a statement on her father's car dealership Facebook page, the horrible, horrible things I said were a terrible attempt to be funny. I'm sorry to anyone that had to listen to the video. I will do everything in my power to be better each and every day but this is just one example of a rising tide of hate among youth. The same week thousands of miles away in new port beach, California, high school students do a Nazi salute over a red cup swastika they created. It seems to be popular with some teenagers these days.

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PROF. BRIAN LEVIN, CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, SAN BERNARDINO: What I saw was how the combination of ignorance, evil and peer validation can come together at a time when the social political land escape is about polarization. There's a race to the bottom because we don't have civic moral leadership in this country that sets a standard as to what's acceptable communally.

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SIDNER: Brian Levin is a professor at Cal State San Bernardino and runs a center for the study of hate and extremism. He and others have said there's heavy recruiting by white nationalist groups on college campuses and grade school. The Anti-Defamation League found in 2017, anti-somatic incidents in K-12 schools increased by an astounding 94 percent after nearly doubling the year prior. And the FBI says between 2016 and 2017, reports of hate crimes against Jews sky rocketed, up 37 percent, overall hate crimes reported, up 17 percent. [14:20:00] While several white nationalists, KKK and neo-Nazi groups

are trying to disguise their hateful messages, to make it more attractive to the mainstream, Levin says the youth are looking for shock and awe that's popular on social media. The behavior isn't just appearing at parties. Last month in New York, it appeared on a playground. And a new Nazi way to ask for a date to a dance in Minnesota. She later apologized.

Eva Schloss hopes she's an antidote to anti-Semitism among the youth. She is a Holocaust survivor, the stepsister of Anne Frank whose story of surviving the Holocaust has haunted and inspired the world for more than 70 years. Schloss traveled to a new port beach high school just days after some of its students took part in the incident. She sat down privately with the offending students and their parents.

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EVA SCHLOSS, HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: I just told them that the Nazis did really horrible, horrible things not just gassing Jewish people but even their own disabled people. That was the first experiment with gassing children or people.

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SIDNER: Schloss survived Auschwitz concentration camp at 16 but most of her family were annihilated by the Nazis along with 6 million Jews. And now more than 70 years after the attempt to exterminate so many human beings she is faced with young people who think Nazi symbolism is all the rage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHLOSS: How hurtful it was for many, many survivors who have lost millions of their families all over the world. You know, it's an insult to those people.

SIDNER: Insult to you?

SCHLOSS: Yes. To me as well.

SIDNER: Are you afraid now that you have seen young people doing this over and over and over again here in America are you afraid for the next generations of people?

SCHLOSS: There is so much education going on now. Going to improve and it's going to be more and more. I hope that eventually they will see the light that it is not any more acceptable. I am still an optimist. I see it can't go on that people can do such evil acts. It must not happen and it will not happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: She did tell us she was shocked that in 2019 any well educated town with highly educated students that incidents like this still occur. But when you speak to experts, they say it will continue to occur across this country and abroad unless there is a strong push for education not just by the school system but by parents themselves and politicians as well. Back to you.

CABRERA: All right. Thank you. You're doing your part to expose what is happening out there. Up next "Miami Herald" found a picture of Donald Trump with the previous owner of that Florida day spa tied to Robert Kraft. Why was the President watching the Super Bowl with this woman? We'll discuss.

First, we want to take a moment to honor this week's CNN Hero. As a high school student, Zach Wigal teamed up with hospitals to help bring video games to sick kids across the country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZACH WIGAL, FOUNDER GAMES OUTREACH: Sometimes people believe that video games are corrupting the minds of America's youth. Video games are an incredible tool for helping kids find a source of fun and relief during stressful and difficult times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: To nominate someone you know go to CNNheros.com.

[14:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: The "Miami Herald" uncovered this selfie. Take a look at this. It shows President Trump at his Super Bowl watch party with who is that woman? She happens to be the former owner of orchids of Asia day spa. Does that sound familiar? That is the place where Patriots owner Robert Kraft allegedly solicited prostitution. Kraft is not denied those accusations. Let me bring in CNN's Jason Carrol. What more can you tell us?

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That woman in that picture, her name is Lee Yang, she is a self-described, you know, self-made entrepreneur. As you say, she used to own the or Orchids of Asia day spa. She sold the back in 2013 according to the "Miami Herald", does not own it anymore. But you have to look at that. The optics of seeing that picture there just really, really bad according to a number of people.

It raises questions about who gets access to the President and under what conditions. This is a woman who has donated upwards of $40,000 to the Trump

Organization according to FEC filings. She has been at a number of functions with a number of prominent Republicans over the years.

[14:30:00] Donald Trump Junior. Eric Junior. Sarah Palin. Kellyanne Conway. Pictures our all over her Facebook raising questions there about who gets

access to some of these GOP leaders and why. We have to point out, again, according to the "Miami Herald" she no longer owns that spa. Sold it back there 2013. She said I am not friends with Donald Trump. She said I have no business now with the current spas that I do own in South Florida. There seems to be some questions that some of her family members are involved in the other spas. Even though others were not caught up in the sting operation. But again, the optics here are just not very good.

CABRERA: And the connection given was come through that spa and what has come from that spa. That connection to Robert Kraft.

CARROLL: A lot of questions are.

CABRERA: Thanks for being with us here on this Friday.