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Rep. Dan Kildee (D) of Michigan Discusses the New Zealand Mosque Attacks and Sweeping New Gun Laws & Mueller Report; Boeing Under FBI Criminal Investigation after 2 Deadly Crashes; Trump Elevates Feud & Takes Credit for Veteran's Bill Named After McCain. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired March 21, 2019 - 13:30   ET



[13:34:28] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Only six days after the mosque attacks in Christchurch, the New Zealand prime minister announced radical changes to the gun laws.


JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: New Zealand will ban all military style semi-automatic weapons. We will also ban all assault rifles. We will ban all high-capacity magazines. We will ban all parts with the ability to convert semi-automatic or any other type of firearm into a military style semi-automatic weapon.


[13:35:04] KEILAR: The prime minister's proposed changes in gun laws are in stark contrast to the U.S. In the last six years, you can see the amount of mass shootings where an AR-15 was used.

We have Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee. He's on the Ways and Means Committee. He joins us now.

You co-sponsored a bill that would close some loopholes by requiring background checks for all gun sales and transfers. It's hard to imagine this will successfully move through the Congress. What is the strategy with this bill?

REP. DAN KILDEE, (D), MICHIGAN: I think the strategy has to be that the American people step up and raise their voices. Public opinion is with us, but as we know, the intensity of opinion very often is not equal. People who are strong supporters of the Second Amendment, as am I, but oppose these measures, are often the loudest voices in the debate. So we need more people to speak up because the American people would be with us. When we see New Zealand act six days after the terrible shooting, we have to remind ourselves that it's been more than six years since that terrible day in Newtown, and we still really have not taken any significant steps to prevent the next tragedy from taking place.

KEILAR: You say it's really up to voters, because when you have gun right supporters who are voting and that is the issue that is driving them, you're not really having that on the other side. But you will hear as a Democratic congressman criticism from some of your constituents, from Democratic voters in general, who feel like it's Congress that is being really inactive here, that they're in the pocket of the NRA. That's what some voters will say. What do you say to that when you have voters saying that it's Congress that isn't acting? You're saying it's the voters that need to step up.

KILDEE: There's a necessary connection. Congress is a reflection of the people that we represent, especially the House. It's the people's House. So our willingness as a body -- many of us individually are completely willing to go down this path. But our willingness as a body to take on these issues is, I think, a direct reflection of what we hear from our constituents. The sad thing is --


KEILAR: I want to bring up a poll number so you can help us make sense of this. The Pew Research Center found last fall that policies similar to those passed in New Zealand actually draw majority support. About two-thirds, or 67 percent, in their study supported either banning high-capacity magazines or assault-style weapons. That said, you say Congress reflects the voters, but Congress doesn't reflect that poll. So square that.

KILDEE: Right. The fact is that, in our participatory democracy, it's the voices that speak up whose voices effect policy. While a public opinion survey may be an indication of how the public really feels, the fact that so many people who may feel that we should take strong action on gun safety keep it to themselves and don't speak up. They don't see that issue as an issue that moves them to act. Or very often, those citizens are afraid of engaging on the issue because they know they're going to be criticized, they know there's going to be such a harsh reaction from those who oppose common-sense gun protections, like the NRA. So what I say is, encourage people to use their voices. It will make a difference. The sad reality is that those who really do struggle and fight hard for common-sense gun safety laws are often the ones who are close to the victims. And I hate to think that we're going to have to come to a time when so many people are affected by this terrible -- repeated instances of terrible mass shootings that it's going to take so many more people to be affected before we finally get around to doing something right. In New Zealand, it took one instance. Six days later, they took decisive action. We should take some sort of a lesson from that.

KEILAR: While I have you here, I want to ask you, because the Mueller investigation does appear to be in its end here, the president has said he would be happy for Americans to see the final report. Do you take him at his word?

KILDEE: I don't take much of what the president says very seriously, because he changes his mind. Let's face it, I used to be careful about this. I'm not so careful. The president lies a lot. So he's saying what, I think, he needs to say or he feels like he needs to say to win the moment. When the moment comes, he could have a completely different point of view. I do think, though, the public has a right to know. When this --

because this investigation obviously has garnered a lot of attention. I believe the public has an absolute right to know the result of it. And it's my hope that it will be -- unless there's some very important details that have to be protected for good reason, I think it has to be made public.

[13:40:11] KEILAR: Congressman, thanks for being with us. Congressman Dan Kildee, we appreciate it.

KILDEE: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: Coming up, the FBI joining a criminal investigation into Boeing after two of their MAX jets crashed within months. What are they looking for here?

And New England Patriots owner, Robert Kraft, is fighting to keep videos at the center his prostitution scandal private amid reports President Trump still really wants him to visit the White House.


[13:45:14] KEILAR: The Justice Department is ramping up its criminal investigation of Boeing. Sources telling CNN that prosecutors have issued multiple subpoenas of Boeing's FAA certification and marketing of 737 MAX jets. This is the model involved in two deadly crashes just five months apart in Ethiopia and Indonesia.

We have CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, here with the details.

What are the investigators looking for here?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: This has now become a federal criminal probe, which in and of itself is a big deal. These federal investigators have issued subpoenas. They want to know about Boing's safety procedures, including the pilot manuals, the training manuals, but more importantly, perhaps, they want to look into this whole certification process. And Boing, as part of its own safety procedures, it reports its certification process directly to the FAA. It's really part of its self-certification procedure, which is completely legal. It's done all the time. But it's now raising some questions. And it may be raising questions in the criminal realm here to see what kind of statements Boing made to the FAA when it related to its certification process. So that could potentially be a big question for investigators.

But really, overall, Brianna, just the fact that this is now a criminal probe, that is, in itself, quite ominous. Because most of these aviation issues, they're usually considered at the administrative level. In this case, that's happening as well. That's because the Department of Transportation's inspector general is also conducting an audit of this certification process, but now these federal investigators in the criminal realm have entered as well.

KEILAR: So interesting. What is Boing saying about all of this? SCHNEIDER: Boing is not saying anything. They're staying very quiet

about this and they're doing that because they're saying they're not commenting on any legal matters, any litigation, any government inquiries. But what they are doing -- and this could come up in the next few weeks -- they're working on a few fixes here. They've instituted a software patch they'll be rolling out and they're also putting out new pilot training. The problem with that is they started with these fixes after the first crash, the Lion Air crash back in October. So it's possible that any fixes they put forward might not exactly cure all the problems if other issues are detected in the investigation with the Ethiopian Airlines crash that happened just about a week and a half ago. So it's possible that Boing's fixes might not be fix enough, really.

KEILAR: And those planes are on the ground, still.

SCHNEIDER: Exactly. They could be grounded for a while.

KEILAR: Jessica Schneider, thank you for that report.

Coming up, President Trump takes his feud with John McCain to a new level by taking credit for a veteran's bill that's named after the late Senator. We'll get a fact-check for that. Plus, reaction from former Ohio Governor John Kasich with us.

And more on breaking news. The president making a major move involving Israel, saying the U.S. will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.


[13:52:30] KEILAR: Not only is President Trump feuding with an American war hero who's not even alive to return the fire, he's also taking credit for Senator John McCain's role in a bill to help veterans.

Listen to what the president said during a speech at a tank factory in Ohio.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: McCain didn't get the job done for our great vets and the V.A., and they knew it. That's why when I had my dispute with him, I had such incredible support from the vets and from the military. The vets were on my side because I got the job done. I got choice.


KEILAR: No, actually, no, none of that is true. Here are the facts. Senator McCain played a leading role in the Veterans Choice bill. It was initially signed into law in 2014 by President Obama giving veterans more freedom to seek medical care outside of the V.A. system. In 2018, President Trump signed an expansion of the bill that McCain spearheaded and President Obama made law. That's why it's called the John S. McCain III, Daniel K. Akaka and Samuel R. Johnson V.A. Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks Act of 2018. And the president should know that because he signed it.

Now few Republicans at this point have spoken out about President Trump's attacks of John McCain. But former Ohio Governor John Kasich tweeted this, "Enough, Donald Trump, enough. John McCain was an inspirational public servant and sacrificed so much for our country."

And the former governor is also a CNN senior political commentator, with us today.

When you look at this -- and you're outspoken -- but why are so few of your fellow Republicans taking the same approach?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Careerism over leadership, you know. I'm in office, I want to stay in office, I kind of like it. I'm a United States Senator. I'm like a flamingo. I get to flap around and be important. And sometimes you can be addicted to a job like that.

I mean, when you think about the fundamentals of our country, George Washington said two terms, right? These folks, they get in there and want to be in there forever. I think their problem is, they don't want to get heat from the base. They don't want to have a face a primary. I understand it. It's tough to do that. But is that why are you there? Are you there just to be in office? Are you there because you're building a career there or would you want to be a leader? And you can move in, move out, go do something else, go back in? It's what I did. I was in the Congress for 18 years, sat out for almost 10 before I went back to becoming governor, and now I'm out again. And it's really great to breathe this air. But a lot of them, you know, their very concerned about their future.

[13:55:12] KEILAR: Aside from leaving Congress, if they upset someone with saying that, do you think they could take a stand for John McCain's service and survive, politically?

KASICH: First of all, if I were in the tank plant and he had said those things, I would have walked out, OK? I probably never would have got to that tank plant because I didn't go to the convention. I'm a sitting governor and we have a convention in Ohio, which I helped to bring, and I didn't go to the convention. I got a lot of heat. I got a lot of Republicans that don't like me. You know what? I wish they liked me but the fact that they don't like me, I don't care, because I've got something bigger at stake, which is to -- we're all failures, all of us are flawed, OK, but every day you just try to do something to make things a little bit better. And to excuse this kind of behavior, to me it's -- it's on them, but it's also on Donald Trump. What's he trying to do? He said the veterans love him. That bill was named after a guy named Sam Johnson. Sam Johnson was in the Congress and he was a POW. If you meet him, he's got an arm that doesn't function very well. John McCain couldn't even raise his arms. I knew John since 1982. We went into Congress together. We loved him. We admired him. And he was a dear friend of mine and he always showed courage. That was the thing about McCain. He is the standard for the way we need to think about the fact that do the right thing and, over time, it'll work.

KEILAR: Former chief of staff for the RNC says that President Trump is doing exactly what his supporters want and what they expect --


KASICH: I don't agree with that --


KEILAR: Can you -- OK.


KEILAR: We're going to listen to what he says and then we're going to talk.


KEILAR: Let's roll this.


MIKE SHIELDS, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF, RNC: The question of what's presidential, I think, is actually more of what I'm kind of getting at here because the image that many of us may have of what's presidential, he ran against, his supporters don't like that. Being presidential and being, you know, sort of a hope-and-change type of P.C. president had us the slowest recovery in modern history. They don't want a politician who is P.C. They want someone who tells it like it is and offends people. His supporters like it that we're going to come on here and be offended. We're the people that they want to see offended. That's the whole purpose is to offend us.


KEILAR: Governor?

KASICH: The culture of our country, if it becomes about offending one another, then we're in a deep slide. That isn't what people want. I mean, they may want a change here, but if you talk to people, even the strongest Trump supporters, we don't like the tweets and we don't like that, but look at the economy. So they don't agree with that. There aren't people out there that say, isn't it great that he's attacking a war hero who's dead? I don't know anybody who says that but they might excuse it --


KEILAR: Governor, they do. If you -- if you --


KEILAR: I would be curious to see what people will say about you for defending John McCain. You will get -- anyone who has talks about the vitriol that they receive. KASICH: Part of it is being a leader, Of course, when you take a

stand, people are going to attack you. There's two things I said last night on CNN. There are two types of people in politics, there are leaders and there are pleasers. If you are a pleaser, you will lose in the long run. If you are a leader, you will take heat in the short run, but you'll be respected in the long run. So the fact that is, in my state of Ohio, people are not into rude and personal attacks. I don't care what the polls -- look, I was the governor there. I won 86 out of 88 counties. I know the people. They don't like that. But they're willing to forgive it. What I say to them is, don't you think values matter and decency matter? Don't you think decency matters? Don't you think manners matter because you teach your kids that? That's the way it ought to be and -- I've said all I need to say about Donald Trump in regard to this issue. I've tweeted, I've said, you know -- appeared on television. It's time for all of us to move on and remember what our mothers and fathers taught us, which is to be kind to somebody else, put ourselves in their shoes. That's how we become a stronger country.

KEILAR: Do you think people are receptive to that?

KASICH: Absolutely, they are. I know. I travel around the country. I don't have any security. People come up to me in airports and in restaurants. It's anecdotal. I don't have anybody come up to me and yell at me. Maybe once in a while. I find it amusing. I wish they liked me. I wish that I could have them. But I'm not going to go and sacrifice anything for the cheers. Today, they cheer you, tomorrow, they boo you. What I've learned is, especially as governor, sometimes they boo you early, they cheer you later, and then they miss you once you're gone.

KEILAR: John Kasich, thank you so much.

KASICH: Thank you.

KEILAR: And that is it for me.

"NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.