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Twelve Republican Senators Vote to Block Trump's National Emergency; Mosque Shooting in New Zealand is Livestreamed as Social Media Companies Release Statements; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) Minnesota is Interviewed About Her 2020 Presidential Candidacy. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 15, 2019 - 10:30   ET


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Of course, not enough, though, to get to that two-thirds to override a veto.

Joining me now is the former Republican congressman, Charlie Dent.

Always good to have you, Congressman. You said that you were surprised that more Republicans did not vote against the president on this. Why?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh. Jim, because this is an easy yes vote. I mean, how hard is it to defend the precedent of this? Could you imagine if a Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren declared an emergency on climate change or firearm violence? Divert military funds?

This is a very easy vote. It -- of course, this also shatters the relationship between the executive and the congressional branches. Congress' Article I authorities are being completely trampled upon by the president.

This emergency doesn't address the underlying problem of poor migrants coming from Central America to the border, who surrender to claim asylum. So the remedy doesn't address the immediate problem.

Of course, there's a breaking of the Budget Act. I mean, we're actually taking defense dollars for a noon-defense purpose, a violation of the law. I could go on forever on this. This is just --


DENT: -- bad on so many levels. And it's very easy to defend a yes vote here.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this. Because it's our reporting that the White House was threatening Republican lawmakers with primarying them if they voted against the president here. And I wonder if you think that many of those Republican lawmakers acted out of fear.

DENT: Well, there's no question. I think that many of the -- the Republicans who voted against this resolution did so because they were fearful of erosion from their base. But here's my answer to anybody who's worried about a primary. Go out

and beat them. That's how you stand up to a primary challenge. You don't roll over, you fight. And again, any constitutional conservative can make a very easy argument about why this is a terrible thing to do.

And for people like Senator Ted Cruz, who for years has been sanctimoniously, you know, waving around the Constitution, and votes against this resolution, I mean, you should put your votes up, you know. You should vote according to your principles.

That didn't happen. People like Pat Toomey voted yes. I mean, he put his vote up for his principles. So did Roy Blunt and others. I mean --


DENT: -- this is not a hard thing to do.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this, though. Because you did have 12 Republicans here, contradict the president, in effect. Earlier this week, you had majorities contradict the administration on support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And now you have a push, even, including among Republican lawmakers, to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in a way that this administration has not.

Do you see Republicans more willing, at least, to challenge this president? And how significant is that for this president?

DENT: I think for the good of the country, more Republican members of Congress do need to stand up to this president. He has just trampled on so many norms and traditions. So I think it must occur.

And, by the way, if you're a member of Congress and you're running in a tough district, oftentimes, you need separation votes from the president, candidly. I mean, to show that you're not a rubber stamp. I mean, I tell you, you know, having represented a swing or marginal district for a long time, you just simply cannot be seen as somebody who's just there as an extension of the executive branch.

Our system is broken right now. We used to have a system of separation of powers. Now it's simply a system of separation of political parties. And it doesn't matter which party -- it seems that the party that controls the White House, well, then their -- their congressional members are out there to defend the executive branch. And this is where it's gotten out of hand.

And Saudi Arabia's a great example of where, I think, some have stood up. And there'll be more opportunities.

SCIUTTO: Sure. Let me ask a question on another topic. Of course you're aware of the horrible tragedy in New Zealand, this attack there, clearly driven by anti-Muslim bigotry. The president did tweet out this morning condolences for the people there, the attacks at the mosque, and condemnation of violence. I wonder, though, if you have heard enough from this president to

condemn the kinds of perpetrators of this bigotry. Do you, in your view, do we need to hear more from this president?

DENT: Well, I think what we need -- maybe we need to hear a little less from the president in terms of his -- his rather incendiary, inflammatory rhetoric on racial or ethnic matters. I think that has been very destructive for the country.

We saw it at Charlottesville, we heard the comments about the Mexicans being rapists, and the judge from Indiana who's a Mexican. He made all kinds of comments over the years that have been very, very unhelpful. You know, the way he has talked about Muslims in the past.

So I think sometimes we need to hear the president talk in a more unifying way. But that's -- he likes to stoke things up. He likes to divide.

And sadly, I'm not -- of course I'm not blaming him for what happened in New Zealand. But at the same time, our leaders are expected to engage in some rhetoric that tries to calm things down and not incite.

[10:35:07] And, you know, this horrible tragedy in New Zealand, I mean, it's just unthinkable, that somebody would go to a place of worship on a Friday and, you know, murder or kill nearly a hundred people.


DENT: Murder or injure nearly a hundred people. So it's just horrific. And leaders have to stand up and lead and not be dividers.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Because people listen. Charlie Dent, thanks so much. Always good to have you on.

DENT: Thank you.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right. Staying on those attacks that the congressman just talked about, Friday is when these attacks happened, during Friday prayer there, in New Zealand. Forty- nine people murdered, dozens more injured. All while the shooter live-streamed the massacre. How could this happen and what are social media companies doing in response?


[10:40:32] SCIUTTO: Well, you might say, finally, social media platforms are scrambling now to find and remove all the video showing the massacre inside a New Zealand mosque. Police say that the attacker livestreamed the horrifying shooting. We know that. I saw some of it. So did my colleagues. It is horrible stuff.

HARLOW: It was one of two attacks at these mosques during Friday prayer, that left 49 people dead, dozens more injured. Our Cristina Alesci is with us on the social media side of this. Because we know that, hours before the attack, this manifesto was

posted to Twitter and 8chan. We know that attack was livestreamed. We know the video was subsequently posted. So, I mean, what are the social media companies, these huge platforms, doing about it?

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: This exposes a major weakness for these platforms, yet again. This is not something new. Look, all major companies, all the major companies -- Google, Facebook, Twitter -- put out statements immediately, saying that they either took down the shooter's account or tried to stop the spread of this video.

I want to point out something very specific on Facebook's statement itself. It said that the New Zealand police "alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commended, and we removed both the shooter's Facebook account and the video."

TEXT: "Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this horrendous act. New Zealand Police alerted us to a video on Facebook shortly after the livestream commended, and we removed both the shooter's Facebook account and the video." Director of Policy Australia and New Zealand, Mia Garlick

ALESCI: The big question here, Poppy and Jim, is, why did the police have to tell Facebook what was happening on its own platform --


ALESCI: -- and more importantly, how long did it take for Facebook to pull this video down? We know that they were alerted shortly after it commenced. Look, we've put these questions to Facebook and have not heard back yet. But the broader problem, here, is why aren't these platforms able to police the content on their site?

And, look, these companies have put up all kinds of excuses when it comes to this. And I say "excuses," but, you know, they see it as legitimate reasons. For example, they say that people sharing these videos are very intent on getting around their monitors, so they'll make small modifications to pictures and videos that make it harder for algorithms and artificial intelligence to pick them up.

But at the end of the day, this definitely exposes these companies to criticism that they are not making this top priority --

SCIUTTO: That's --

ALESCI: -- and that they should be investing more in policing their own platforms.

SCIUTTO: And that's exactly the thing. Because they're facing the same questions here that they faced, repeatedly, for years after things like this. And you just wonder, if the technology is so good at -- I don't know, we were talking before -- capturing your face in an image in a crowd --

HARLOW: Right. SCIUTTO: -- why not technology to capture gunshots as they're

happening? Or blood on the screen? This video, you would think, technology could catch it. Why is the technology not caught up?

ALESCI: You're right. But you have to think about these platforms at their essence. At their essence, they are made so that popular video is proliferated and shared. So the question becomes, how do you, essentially, go against the forces of the actual program and algorithms that are designed to do what the platforms want them to do?

So it's this constant pull and push, that these companies are dealing with. And I think that's what they're going to have to answer for. And, look, they can come out there and say, "We've put X amount of people on this." "We've put X amount of money." But when these things happen and people see these videos being shared, they have to be held accountable.

SCIUTTO: It's not working.


SCIUTTO: It's not working.

HARLOW: Jim, it's a great point. I wonder.

And, Cristina, great reporting. What Congress is going to do about it, right? Are they going to hold more hearings? Are they going to talk about, "What are you actually going to do on this front?" We'll stay on it for sure.

[10:44:19] Up next for us, Senator Amy Klobuchar betting working with Republicans will help her in the 2020 presidential Democratic primary. That interview is next.


HARLOW: All right. She's one of the five women, so far, running to be the next president. But unlike many of her competitors, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar has got some big Republican fans in Congress. So what will that mean for her primary bid? I asked her when we sat down for a wide-ranging exclusive interview in Washington yesterday.


HARLOW: You joked at the Gridiron dinner that you are, essentially, Republicans' favorite Democrat. "Politico" headline last month, "Republicans gush over Klobuchar."

Senator John Kennedy calls you "very smart." Said he wouldn't vote against you for federal judge or attorney general. John Corny calls you "reasonable and nice." Senator Roy Blunt, "She wants to achieve a solution." Senator Johnny Isakson, "She's the whole package." Why do so many of your Republican colleagues like you?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: I have looked at results. And it doesn't mean I agree with them. In fact, I disagree with them on a lot of things. But I've tried to work across the aisle in a civil way for one major reason, and that is to do better for our country.

And that's why I've been ranked the senator that got the most bills done at one point, and other things like that. It's because I find common ground. You stand your ground where you should. But if you don't find the common ground, you never get to a higher ground in our politics.

[10:50:09] HARLOW: Do you think, Senator, that will help or hurt you in the Democratic primary, that so many of these Republicans gush over you?

KLOBUCHAR: OK. Well, I won't be featuring their quotes every place. But I have -- I'm not going to shy away from the fact that I'm results-oriented. Because right now, we have someone in the White House that doesn't appear to care about working across the aisle or getting things done.

What he cares about is finding what gets him on the news that day. The wedge issue. What will make the biggest splash on Twitter. That's what he seems to care about --

HARLOW: It works.

KLOBUCHAR: -- every single day. It may work for getting him attention. It doesn't work for running a government.

HARLOW: So, last month, our hometown paper, one I am very proud of, the "Minneapolis Star Tribune," asked this question. "Is she progressive enough to win the nomination at a time when the party's most liberal wing is ascendant?" Are you liberal enough to win those voters, or are they not part of your calculation?

KLOBUCHAR: Of course they are. I reach out to everyone. And I consider myself a progressive. I want to see progress. I believe strongly in standing up for people and having their backs.

To me, it was Paul Wellstone, a great Minnesotan who tragically died too young, who once said, "Politics should be about improving people's lives." And improving people's lives is progress, and that's being a progressive. Not going backwards like the president has.

And so when you look at my voting record across the line, I have stood up for progress and for improving people's lives.

HARLOW: I'm really interested in how you, Senator, would run against President Trump if you are the Democratic nominee. So far, he has only called you "snow woman."

KLOBUCHAR: Yes. I think (ph) he meant that as a compliment.

HARLOW: Oh, you do?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I like being called "snow woman." Although he didn't do it in a nice way. He was attacking climate change. And, as I noted, you know, I'd like to see how his hair would fare in a blizzard. But I -- HARLOW: How would you run against him?

KLOBUCHAR: You have to run against him head-on, of course. But you also have to -- don't go down every single rabbit hole with him. Because if you lose track of your own optimistic economic agenda, then the voters, who want to know what you're for and not just want you're against, they don't get a fair shake.

And one of the things he tries to do, is to sidetrack people into what he's talking about that day. I've been able to, in every congressional district in Minnesota, including Michele Bachmann's congressional district --

HARLOW: This is true.

KLOBUCHAR: -- and I've done it by sticking to what I believe people need to know about me, and what they want to do, moving forward, and how we move our country forward. He wants to go into chaos. I want to go into governing from opportunity. And, number one, that is the biggest thing we need to do.

The second thing is to not go down the rabbit holes, and to not let him sidetrack everyone every day. What does that mean? Sometimes you respond to him, especially when he is kicking at core values and saying divisive things that divide people in this country. But sometimes you don't respond to him at all. Let him go off and, you know, rant and rave about whatever he wants to. And then the third way is to do it, sometimes, with humor, which is what I did the day that I announced.

HARLOW: Your campaign was shaken up in the early days by multiple reports, negative reports of how you've treated some of your staff in the past. You answer to that, which you've given many times -- many people have asked about this -- you said, "Look, I can be too hard." What's too hard?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, to me, if you are a boss, you have to have high standards. And that is what I have always had. And that doesn't mean it's a popularity contest all the time. And so I've had high standards for myself, high standards for our staff. And mostly, I'm going to have high standards for the country.

But one can always do better. And that means you want to be sure that you are listening to people if, you know, they felt that something was unfair or they felt bad about something.

But I still think that you have to demand good product when you're out there on the world stage, and dealing with people like Vladimir Putin. Yes, you want someone who's tough. You want someone that demands the answers, and that's going to get things done. And that's what I've done my whole life.

HARLOW: So when it comes to the turnover that's been reported in your office within this -- within the Senate, being one of the highest. And we've seen all the turnover in the Trump White House, should Americans be concerned at all about you if you are president, being able to keep the best around you?

KLOBUCHAR: No. I point to the leadership in my office. My chief of staff, been with me something like five years. My state director -- that's our big position in the state -- seven years. My campaign manager's been with me for 14 years. And I don't think you see that kind of leadership in the White House right now.

[10:55:02] HARLOW: You never go to the sexism. You never say it's sexism. Is that because you really don't think it's sexist at all? Or you just don't want to distract --

KLOBUCHAR: I think I have to be responsible for explaining my own situation as a leader. Explaining that, for eight years, I ran a major office with over 400 people. That had such --

HARLOW: As prosecutor?

KLOBUCHAR: -- little turnover. As a prosecutor. That I had -- over 200 of those people were lawyers, who are not always easy to manage but did a fantastic job. Not just for me, but for our county and for safety in our state.

So I look at it as, I'm responsible for myself. I think the media is going to have to decide and say, "Go down this track." And there's other candidates that get in the race and they hear other reports of people being tough or pushing people. They're going to have to ask the men the same questions that they ask the women. And that's going to be on the media. I don't think it's on me.


SCIUTTO: Well, we are following the latest developments out of New Zealand. Stay with CNN.