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Migrant Centers Overcrowded to Bursting Point; Former Nevada Politician Lucy Flores Accuses Joe Biden of Inappropriate Touching; Trump Touts Great Health Care But Hasn't Presented a Plan; What Happens if Obamacare is Overturned; Book Explores Influence of Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner; Families of Victims Start Grassroots Effort to Combat Conspiracies. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired March 31, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Myself this is false. Jordan has passed through my thoughts, her family since the incident.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: The judge then sentenced Taylor to two days in jail and 38 days on a work detail. And as Jordan looked on, Taylor was handcuffed, and was led out of the courtroom to serve her sentence.
Top of the hour. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
So many migrants are detained on the U.S. southern border right now that processing centers literally can't handle one more person. Some are at more than double capacity. At least one more than triple capacity. Thousands more people than these detention centers were designed to feed and shelter.
To relieve the pressure now, Customs and Border Protection officials are releasing large numbers of migrants. At least 2,000 already. Many more in the coming days.
President Trump says it's Mexico's fault that they are failing to plug holes in the border. So the president's plan is to close the border which he says he may do this week. The acting White House chief of staff was on CNN earlier today. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: But we're also concerned about the effect to the American economy and the nation as a whole from having more than 100,000 people cross illegally this month. If we close the borders, why would we do that? Because we need the people who are working at the legal ports of entry to go patrol -- and I'm not making this up -- where there's no wall.
We were not lying to people when we said that this was an emergency. Very few people believed us, especially folks in the media and the Democrat Party. (END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: CNN's Ed Lavandera is in El Paso, Texas, where this weekend, Ed, we saw those startling images of crowds of migrants, families and children herded under a bridge. That bridge behind you, in fact. And there was a chain-link fence all around them. They're not there anymore. Where are those people today and what is the plan to deal with the shelter overcrowding?
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that is that area. So that's one of the bridges that takes you from El Paso to Juarez. And those migrants were being housed in that area behind that barbed wire and chain-linked fence behind that wall there. Hundreds of them over the course of the last two weeks.
This morning we showed up here, they were gone. Customs and Border Protection officials tell us they have been moved to other facilities in the area to be processed and that that will continue. The agencies also say here that they have been reassigning agents to be able to handle the mass amounts of numbers of people that are coming across the border here in the El Paso sector specifically.
But the Customs and Border Protection, CBP, says 100,000 apprehensions expected for the month of March. If those numbers hold, it will be the highest numbers we've seen in more than a decade. However, critics of the administration say that the administration simply is trying to create a sense of chaos down here with these images and they say that there is plenty of infrastructure and plenty of resources in place to be able to handle the migrants that are coming across and that need to be processed, so that is what the controversy is swirling around here.
But the agencies and Border Patrol officials and CBP officials say that they're overwhelmed, that the system is at a breaking point, and they're having to move agents around to be able to deal with these numbers.
CABRERA: Ed, if President Trump now follows through with his threat to close the border, how will that impact places like El Paso that depend on that border being open?
LAVANDERA: This is a striking threat and is really sending shockwaves along the border, Ana, from Brownsville, Texas, all the way to San Diego, California. That bridge that you see behind me you might be able to see through the walls there. People are constantly going back and forth. This is part of daily life. These ports of entry are a lifeline to these communities here along the border.
People going back and forth to see family and friends for work, for school. And also the economic impact will be staggering. Taking place just down river from where we are in -- closer to South Texas, Laredo, Texas, which is one of the largest inland ports in the United States. More than four million trucks cross that port of entry every year. And that is the economic impact of that will be staggering.
So that is the kind of thing and the kind of threat that really strikes and makes people very nervous in these border communities as they wait and see if the idea of being able -- not being able to cross back and forth through these ports of entry that is done routinely every day will really have a ripple effect and really stun a lot of people along here -- along the southern border.
CABRERA: Ed Lavandera in El Paso, Texas, for us, thank you.
Joining us now, Chris Cabrera -- no relation. He is a U.S. Border Patrol agent. And also with us Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.
Chris, if the president goes through with his threat and he closes the border this week, wouldn't that just lead to more undocumented immigrants trying to cross in between the ports of entry?
[20:05:05] CHRIS CABRERA, SPOKESMAN, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL AND LOCAL 3307: Well, Ana, first off, at our area, we're about five to six times capacity. So we're getting slammed like never before. And right now what we're having is once the port of entry is closed for the night or whenever they are not open for operation, nothing crosses through there. We don't have that luxury in the Border Patrol. We're between the ports of entry.
So we're going to get that flow no matter what. If they happen to close down these bridges, maybe we can get these customs agency office and field operations out there to help us. Maybe that's what's needed to kick start some of these congressmen and senators into doing their job. They're the ones that's put us in this situation by not acting.
CABRERA: I want to read you a tweet we just got from the president, Chris. Let me read it. "The Democrats are allowing a ridiculous asylum system and major loopholes to remain as a mainstay of our immigration system. Mexico is likewise doing nothing. A very bad combination for our country. Homeland Security is being so very nice but not for long."
That last line there, "Homeland Security is being so very nice. But not for long." What do you think he means by that?
C. CABRERA: Well, you know, I'm always nice so I don't know what's going on there. But I know we're going to go out there and do our job. I don't put this on one side or the other. I think the issue here is both sides have failed to come together and act on this. They're the ones that can change this. Get in there and fix this loophole with this catch and release system because we don't have any more places to hold these folks. The places we have aren't set up for long term.
We're short-term facilities. We don't have the means to care for these people. It's unsafe for them. It's unsafe for our agents. It's unsanitary. And it's inhumane. And somebody either these lawmakers need to get to work or step aside and let somebody else come in who will do it.
CABRERA: I'm going to come back to you about the solutions here. But I want to get Gilberto into the conversation because we had the head of the GOP in El Paso, your counterpart, on yesterday. And I asked him why he thinks it's getting worse at the border two years into the Trump presidency. And I want you to listen to what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADOLPHO TELLES, REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN, EL PASO, TEXAS: That's why there are family units coming across today because they know that there's a law that protected them and it was set for a specific issue a number of years back and now it's being taken advantage of. And it's being promoted. And that's why we have what we have.
Do these people have problems in their country? Without a doubt. We have a civil war and we had an American revolution and people stayed here and fought for what was right. These people need to learn to stand up for what's right for them, too, not just run.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Alberto, what's your response to that?
GILBERTO HINOJOSA, CHAIRMAN, TEXAS DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Well, I mean, for him to say that these people have the ability to stay in locations where their children are being murdered every day, their daughters are being raped by gangs, and that they shouldn't take any action to try to save their families and to come over here to try to find some kind of refuge is pretty cold-blooded as far as I'm concerned.
Look, I mean, it's pretty sinister and more than disturbing that this president is using human suffering to manufacture a crisis so that he can build a wall in order to please his right-wing base. That's not what America is all about. And that's not what we should be doing. We should be finding solutions through a comprehensive immigration program where we look at the asylum program, figure out how we can accommodate some of these people that are coming to this country in order to save their families and at the same time ensure that we're securing our borders.
The Trump administration is not even doing that. All they want to do is a bunch of hype. You know, talk about closing the border. What good is it going to do to close the border in the state of Texas or any border state? You know, there's a billion dollars of commerce that passes through those border stations all across the border. A billion dollars that creates jobs in the United States.
Why would you want to penalize Americans because you are wanting to create and manufacture this crisis so you can get the stupid border wall. That's what this whole argument is all about. You know, I understand that a lot of these border agents are working 24/7 to try to ensure that they can do their job. But most of these refugees, most of these people that are seeking asylum they're coming in the front door. They're not sneaking across the border.
They're not crossing the river on inner tubes. They're walking to the border station and asking for asylum at that point. And what Mr. Trump is doing through his administration is he's taken these people, putting them in detention and then releasing them out to the community to make it look like there's chaos and that something has to be done immediately. Hence, he makes the argument for his border wall.
[20:10:02] This is not what we're all about and I think Americans can see right straight through this.
CABRERA: I hear what you're saying but the reality is that there are large numbers of people coming across the U.S. border whether it's at a port of entry or in between the ports of entry and so now they are in the U.S. and I know, Chris, you're saying your facilities aren't ready for the numbers. For days now we've seen these images from El Paso where a group of migrants were being kept in a makeshift camp underneath a bridge surrounded by the fencing topped with barbed wire.
CBP is finally now in the process of moving them, but under the law, those migrants they are guaranteed safe shelter, food and water and adequate medical care. I know the system is being strained but is CBP able to comply with that?
C. CABRERA: You know, interestingly enough, first off, I mean, you just mentioned the people under the bridges. We have over 1,000 a night coming in and for the gentleman to say it's a manufactured crisis, come on, man. You've just got to turn on the TV and look there. It's all over the news.
CABRERA: But, Chris, can you please answer the question? Are you guys able to provide the food, shelter, water, medical care that these people need?
C. CABRERA: Quite frankly, we are not. We didn't create this problem. It was dumped into our laps. And we've been doing the best we could for the last five years. And finally we're starting -- the wheels are starting to come off this thing. And nobody wants these port of entries to close. That's just not what we want. But we may have to do that in order to get this problem fixed.
It's -- everybody has kicked the can down the road since 2014. It's time to get something done. And manufactured crisis, I don't -- I don't understand that. I mean, maybe you guys need to come and strap on a pair of boots and walk around with me for a day and then you'll get that little catch line out of the vocabulary real quick.
It's a real crisis. We have men, women and children risking their lives every day to come here and because we have this beacon of light beckoning them in. And granted yes, they need to be taken care of once they're here, but where do we house them? I mean, where? I don't -- we don't have any place left. I mean, I don't -- unless you guys have some answers or some empty space somewhere because we don't have it down here.
CABRERA: Gilberto, we know at least five CBP facilities are well over 100 percent capacity. Clearly the status quo is not working. What do you think needs to change?
HINOJOSA: Let me just tell that officer, I live eight blocks from the border. From where I am right now, I live about six blocks. I know what's going on in the border. I know what's coming across the border on a daily basis. These people that are being -- are coming to the border right now are Central American refugees. Under the law that exists today, they were required to be processed and then to be released after they get the necessary information.
What's happening now is that the Trump administration is just picking them up, arresting them, detaining them, holding them for more than the required time and that's why you have this manufactured crisis. They are making it look like all these people are crossing the river. They're not. They're presenting themselves at border stations asking for asylum and then they're being detained. That is what's creating the problem.
You know, I was a county judge in this community for 12 years. You know, they are talking about closing the border stations in order to be able to use agents that are on the bridge to be able to patrol the river? That's absurd. They're not cross-trained to do that. We tried to get them to do that on more than one occasion and we were told those people do a different and completely different function than the Border Patrol agents that are patrolling out there.
So for the administration or anyone to say that you can close the border stations in order to have more manpower to patrol the areas where the immigrants are not crossing is ridiculous.
CABRERA: But what is the answer?
HINOJOSA: So I think it is a manufactured crisis.
CABRERA: What do you think should be done?
HINOJOSA: For the Trump administration to follow the law, to talk to these people that are coming here, that are fleeing their country, they're fleeing gangs, they're children are being murdered or they're trying to prevent them from being murdered when they come to this country that they be properly processed the way the law requires them to be processed, that they --
CABRERA: Well, that's the problem that they're trying to do just that and they don't have the resources or the facilities is what I'm hearing from Chris here in order to go through the process because there just aren't enough immigration judges. There aren't enough facilities for people to stay overnight for a period of time while they work their way through the immigration system.
HINOJOSA: They receive billions of dollars of funding this last budget cycle. A lot of that money was designed to create detention centers or facilities to be able to hold these immigrants or to properly process them and for immigration judges. All that money has been provided to this administration, yet all they're talking about is building a border wall. That's all they want to do.
HINOJOSA: They don't want to follow the law and that is what's created the crisis here. [20:15:04] CABRERA: Gilberto Hinojosa, Chris Cabrera, thank you both.
I appreciate the discussion, gentlemen.
C. CABRERA: Thank you.
CABRERA: Joe Biden hasn't even entered the presidential race just yet but he's having to defend against allegations of inappropriate behavior. What a former Nevada lawmaker told CNN about what happened to her in 2014.
And as we go to break, these are pictures from the University of South Carolina where a vigil is being held for Samantha Josephson, a college student who was murdered after police say she got into the wrong car thinking it was her Uber. She was 21 years old.
CABRERA: New today, former Vice President Joe Biden is responding to allegations that he acted inappropriately toward a former Nevada state lawmaker.
Here's what Lucy Flores told CNN about what happened before a campaign event in 2014.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:20:05] LUCY FLORES (D), FORMER NEVADA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: Very unexpectedly and out of nowhere, I feel Joe Biden put his hands on my shoulders, get up very close to me from behind, lean in, smell my hair and then plant a slow kiss on the top of my head.
And that in and of itself may not sound like it's a very serious thing. That in and of itself might sound like it was innocent and well intentioned. But in the context of it, as a person that had absolutely no relationship with him afterwards, as a candidate who was preparing to make my case for why I should be elected the second in command of that state, to have the vice president of the United States do that to me so unexpectedly, and just kind of out of nowhere, it was just shocking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: In response, Biden says, quote, "In my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support and comfort, and not once, never, did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully, but it was never my intention."
On CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney tells our Jake Tapper that, quote, "Obamacare does not work." But when pushed about specifics for a Republican alternative? Crickets. The health care reality check is next.
You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:25:57] CABRERA: President Trump has declared the Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care. The administration is trying to roll back the Affordable Care Act otherwise known as Obamacare. But at this point, Republicans have not really presented any plan to replace it.
CNN's Jake Tapper brought up this point with the acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on "STATE OF THE UNION."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MULVANEY: Look, here's what we're going to do on health care. We've said this from the very beginning. We're going to give people the choices that they want, the affordability that they need, and the quality that they deserve. We've said that from the very beginning.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR, STATE OF THE UNION: Right, but where is the plan?
MULVANEY: We're doing the same thing on this that we did with taxes. Remember when we started with taxes, people criticized us for not giving enough details. What do we do? We sent principals to the Hill. I think it was one or two pages. And from that following the proper legislative process, we got a tremendous tax bill that passed into law. Also got rid of the individual mandate at that time just as an added benefit.
We're going to do the same thing on health care. As to preexisting conditions, I know a lot of folks have raised that. Keep in mind, every single plan that this administration has ever come out with has covered preexisting conditions.
TAPPER: Well, let me stop you there for one second, sir.
MULVANEY: Let me just finish because every single plan out of the House Republicans, every single plan out of Senate Republicans has covered preexisting conditions. The debate about preexisting conditions is over. Everybody supports it. Anybody telling you something is just not being accurate.
TAPPER: But here's the thing. The Republican bills talk about protecting people with preexisting conditions. The difference between that and Obamacare is Obamacare says we're protecting people with preexisting conditions just like the Republican plan. You cannot deny somebody health insurance because they have a preexisting condition. The difference with the Obamacare plan as they say and you can't charge those people more in insurance premiums. The Republican plans do not do that.
MULVANEY: Obamacare does not work. Even the Democrats admit that right now. Face it, they were tens of millions of people who were paying a fine, paying a fee rather than take Obamacare. That's people telling you it doesn't work. We know it. They know it. It's just a question of --
TAPPER: But you're not addressing the idea --
MULVANEY: -- who's got the better idea for how to fix it.
TAPPER: First of all, larger picture here. There is no Republican plan right now. You are talking about how you want one, but there is no Republican plan right now. You personally, as well as Republicans in Congress, have been opposing Obamacare for a decade as of this year. And yet you're talking about -- you're taking legal actions to remove Obamacare, to kill Obamacare, with no replacement for these tens of millions of Americans.
MULVANEY: Now keep in mind the lawsuit is actually filed by 20 states attorneys general. And they were the ones who --
TAPPER: Right. And the administration joined it.
MULVANEY: Yes, we did. We joined that today but the lawsuit -- we didn't file a lawsuit to get rid of Obamacare. We simply looked at the Constitution and said you know what, the state attorney generals are correct. So as to the plan, keep in mind, we have offered plans in the House. We have offered plans in the Senate. We came up with a bunch of ideas out of the White House.
Yes, they didn't pass because -- primarily because John McCain went back on his word to vote for it in the middle of the night. That's another story for another day. But you've seen the details from Republicans and what we're going to do over the course of the next couple of months, because the lawsuit will move fairly slowly, is to come up with something that can pass into law. We'd love to work with Democrats. We don't think they're going to do that with us until that lawsuit is over.
TAPPER: But wouldn't it be responsible to have the replacement there before you take the insurance away from the individuals, the tens of millions of Americans who are relying on it?
MULVANEY: Would it be responsible for the Democrats to pass a decent bill in the first place? They didn't do that. They admit that.
TAPPER: But I'm not talking about 2009. I'm talking about 2019.
MULVANEY: I'm talking about today. No, the Democrats just introduced a bill this week to supposedly fix Obamacare because they know it's broken. I know that didn't get a lot of coverage but that actually happened. By the way their answer is spend a lot more of money.
TAPPER: But you don't have a plan.
MULVANEY: Let the government do more things.
TAPPER: But you don't have a plan. You're talking about taking away insurance from tens of millions of Americans and you don't have a plan ready for them.
MULVANEY: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Whoa. Talking about -- we're talking about passing -passing something that's unconstitutional.
TAPPER: Ending Obamacare. Right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: OK. When it comes to health care, bottom line, promises and plans are two different things. It's something Republicans have already tried more than once and failed. Well, this go around Democrats control the House.
[20:30:00] Healthcare was part of their winning message in the midterms, making them that much less likely to bend to the GOP on this issue.
Now, you actually have the Trump administration asking courts to end Obamacare and in its entirety. Keep this in mind. Just this week, a Federal judge blocked steps this administration has already taken to undermine the Affordable Care Act.
This latest ruling involves an effort to weaken Obamacare by creating insurance exchange alternatives. That would allow small businesses to get around some of the Obamacare rules. So, despite Trump's moves to dismantle it, the landmark health care law has already been remarkably resilient.
This year, 11.4 million people signed up for Obamacare through the Federal Exchanges. Sign-ups in state-run marketplaces which fund much more marketing and enrolment assistance remain steady at 3 million. Contrary to the message of Obamacare critics, premiums on the Federal Exchange actually edged down, after several years of steep rate increases.
But here's what else is key, if the Trump administration prevails, the health care of nearly every American could be affected, though most don't realize it. Well, most people associate Obamacare with those individual health insurance exchanges and Medicaid expansion. It has a far wider impact.
Some 52 million nonelderly adults, more than 1 in 4, have a condition that could have left them uninsurable before Obamacare took effect. This is according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is a non- profit healthcare research group.
Here's what else would change if this law is overturned. Children won't be allowed to remain on their parents' plans until age 26. There would be no caps on out-of-pocket expenses and employers would be able to put caps on annual or lifetime coverage.
These are all issues that led to Obamacare in the first place. Don't forget, healthcare remains a top priority for voters, tied with the economy in this 2018 voter poll.
Now, there's no question the President's daughter and her husband have long had Donald Trump's ear. But a new book suggests this is much more than a little advice, the influence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: You rarely hear him speak publicly, and while Jared Kushner appears at many White House functions, he is usually just in the background, but there is no question he is powerful. And in her new book, Kushner Inc., Vicky Ward argues that Jared, along with Ivanka, are also dangerous. Vicky Ward joins us now, Vicki, good to have you here.
VICKY WARD, EDITOR AT LARGE, HUFFPOST: Thank you.
CABRERA: Let's just address some of the pushback right off the bat here. A spokesman for Kushner's attorney told CNN, every point that Ms. Ward mentioned in what she called her fact-checking stage was entirely false. It seems she has written a book of fiction rather than any serious attempt to get to the facts. Correcting everything wrong would take too long and be pointless.
You also have from the White House calling your book, fiction, and based on false information. What's your response to the pushback?
WARD: You know, I think I should actually tweet out the questions that I sent Abbe Lowell, Jared's lawyer, and see what everyone actually thinks. Because it would have taken, I think, about two minutes to answer the questions. They were kind of, yes or no. I think this is rubbish, total garbage, you know, the truth hurts, I don't know. What can i tell you?
CABRERA: So, you sent them questions but they didn't even answer?
WARD: No, no. In fact, nobody has come up with one specific inaccuracy about this book, quite interesting, don't you think?
CABRERA: It is. Let's talk about Jared Kushner and what you've learned about him. Because he seems to have achieved sort of a mythical status, being man in-charge of everything from Middle East peace to --
WARD: Or not.
CABRERA: -- Criminal Justice Reform. How did he come to achieve this status?
WARD: Yes, the secretary of everything, right? Well, by, you know, coming into the government, sort of, in disguise, I mean, I think one of the great reveals in my book, is that it was actually Steve Bannon, of all people, who let him in to this administration.
Nobody else, you know, Don McGahn, then the White House Counsel, thought it wasn't a good idea to break with the nepotism laws that we've had in this country for a long time. The Justice Department weren't particularly keen on it, not just because of potential corruption issues, but actually because of competence.
Nobody knew what Jared and Ivanka have ever done in their lives to qualify them to work in government. The answer, as we've since discovered, is not much, or nor what their motivations were.
But Steve Bannon, of all people, thought that they might be a calming and moderate influence on the President. And that was the great, sort of, mistake. That was the -- you know, they have this disguise. They are more tempered than the President. They don't tweet crazy things. They don't say crazy things.
And I think that's what makes them so dangerous. They're not who they seem to be. They didn't go into government for public service. They went in for private service.
CABRERA: So, is it Jared and Ivanka pulling President Trump's strings or vice versa?
WARD: Well, it's so interesting, right? In the Middle East, you know, Jared swiped that portfolio from under Rex Tillerson's nose. And there is no question that he has gone around conducting what I call diplomacy, in the dark, in a way that the President certainly can't.
But, you know, Jared flies in and out of these countries as a -- particularly three countries that I think, you know, he's clearly got (INAUDIBLE) interest in Qatar, which definitely played a role in the bailing out of his family business.
[20:40:03] They had a very troubled building, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, you know, unlike Donald Trump, who, you know -- as you know, when he goes to Saudi Arabia, as he did, there's a huge amount of scrutiny.
Jared goes in and out and no one knows who he talks to, what he says. Finally, last week, the House Intel Committee, you know, have asked him to produce, you know, what -- for his -- the details of his February meeting in Saudi Arabia.
CABRERA: And did it include typical State Department and --
WARD: No, but the --
CABRERA: -- diplomatic staff.
WARD: Right. But the idea that he can go unsupervised, this is what is so, so dangerous and what James Mattis, then the Defense Secretary and Rex Tillerson both found absolutely horrifying. This is not how the United States conducts foreign policy.
We have protocols set in place that are meant to prevent anyone like Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump, two very entitled people who've grown up in family real estate businesses, from coming in and, you know, running amok. You know, Jared Kushner has basically treated the Middle East like a casino, to benefit him privately.
CABRERA: Well, thank you so much for sharing your insights with us. Wish we had more time --
WARD: Thank you.
CABRERA: -- more questions, always. We'll have you back.
WARD: Thank you.
CABRERA: We'll be right back.
[20:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: For victims and their families of national tragedies like the Sandy Hook massacre, it is a daily struggle against the online world of conspiracy harassment. And after years of pushing tech companies to proactively monitor the contents on their platforms, some are now taking things into their own hands. CNN's Jon Sarlin has more.
LENNY POZNER, FATHER OF NOAH POZNER: I am Lenny Pozner. My son, Noah, was killed at the Sandy Hook School shooting.
CROWD: Happy birthday to you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy Birthday, Noah. We love you.
JON SARLIN, CNN BUSINESS JOURNALIST: Lenny Pozner has asked for his image to be concealed due to threats against him.
POZNER: Immediately after the tragedy, hoaxers were already targeting Noah because there were conspiracy theories surrounding Noah's mother, just because she did several interviews. One of the interviews she was accused of faking the interview behind a green screen.
VERONIQUE DE LA ROSA, MOTHER OF NOAH POZNER: I'm grieving. That's all.
ALEX JONES, RADIO SHOW HOST: Folks, we've got video of Anderson Cooper with clear blue screen out there. He's not there in the Town Square.
SARLIN: So, to actually get these posts removed, there are two steps that need to take place. The first step is on the front end, searching and flagging them for the tech platforms. And the second step is what the tech sites actually do with them.
What they do is they send it to content moderators around the world who make a decision based on each site's terms of service, whether to keep a video up or take it down. Now, that first step takes a lot of time and energy. But for some families, taking on the conspiracy theorists isn't a choice. It's a necessity.
POZNER: In 2014, I decided to get more involved in what I was seeing as a very serious problem that wasn't going to go away.
SARLIN: Lenny Pozner founded an organization called HONR, a network of volunteers who search the web for conspiracy harassment content and report it.
Tell me about Len Pozner and what he's done for you.
ANDY PARKER, FATHER OF ALISON PARKER: Lenny has been a lifesaver for me. He has, you know, almost single-handedly, with the help of a few volunteers, taken hundreds of videos down of Allison's murder.
SARLIN: Andy Parker's daughter, Alison, was a T.V. reporter who was killed live on T.V. along with her cameraman, Adam Ward. Andy, to this day, has never seen the video of his daughter's death, but one day, he searched Allison's name on YouTube.
PARKER: And I was like, God, almighty, you know, there were pages and pages and pages of thumbnails. And it was all hoax related.
SARLIN: According to Parker, he approached Google to try to get the videos taken down on YouTube, and he says that they told him that he would have to flag the videos one by one.
PARKER: The onus should not be on me to flag the content that you should be monitoring and you should be controlling and policing. Whatever troll or, you know, crazy person that uploads this stuff, they need to convince you why it needs to be on the platform.
SARLIN: So, the first step of getting these videos removed is on the frontend, searching and finding these videos. Then, the second step is on the backend, what these sites actually do once these videos have been flagged. And over the last couple of years, a lot of the sites have actually made a lot of improvement on that front.
Facebook and Google have hired a ton of content moderators and some of the sites have actually changed their terms of services to include the victims and the families of violent tragedies.
Silicon Valley says that the long-term solution to finding these videos will be Artificial Intelligence. But for now, the burden of searching, finding and flagging these videos remains on the users.
POZNER: Noah was just a little boy, you know, a 6-year-old boy who was a 5-year-old boy just a few weeks before the tragedy.
SARLIN: And what does it mean for you to defend his existence?
POZNER: It's something that I think that any one of us would want someone else to do if we no longer had a voice.
CABRERA: Still ahead of the NEWSROOM, with a conclusion of the Mueller investigation, Attorney General William Barr's two letters to Congress and President Trump's victory lap falsely insisting that he is in the clear, Saturday Night Live had some fresh material. That's next. Live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[20:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: As for conspiracy or collusion, there were several questionable incidences involving the President's team, but we cannot prove a criminal connection.
AIDY BRYANT, ACTRESS: No collusion, no diggity, and no ballot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: SNL's take there on the Mueller report. So, no politician, though, in American history experienced the same kind rise, fall, incredible comeback, and then ultimate destruction, as Richard Nixon.
This week, the CNN Original Series, "TRICKY DICK," focuses on the major political losses that nearly ended Nixon's career and his surprise comeback when he sought and won the presidency in 1968. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: People say, come down, having run for president, almost made it to run for governor, the answer is, I'm proud to have run for governor. I would like to have won.
[20:55:05] I believe Governor Brown has a heart, even though he believed that he does not. I believe he is a good American, even though he feels I am not. I wish him well and for once, gentlemen, I would appreciate if you would write what I've said. For 16 years, you've had a lot of thought. You've had an opportunity to attack me. I think I've given as good as I've taken.
But as I leave you, just think how much you're going to be missing. You don't have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference. Thank you, gentlemen, good day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Joining us now, CNN Presidential Historian Tim Naftali, he's also the former Director of the Nixon Presidential Library and was a Consultant on this series, "Tricky Dick." Tim, Nixon suffered a couple of big election losses before he won, first for president, and then for governor. What impact did those two major defeats have on him? TIMOTHY NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, what you're going to see tonight, in the second episode of "TRICKY DICK," is the determination of a man who was considered politically dead. After he lost the gubernatorial election in California in 1962, one of the networks had a show, "The Political Obituary of Richard Nixon."
The idea that this man could return and win, and be president of the United States, was beyond imagination in 1962. But as we all know, the 1960s were full of terrible surprises in that John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated, Martin Luther King was assassinated,
So, the backdrop of our tumultuous 60s helps explain, in part, the return of Richard Nixon, but so, too, does Richard Nixon's determination to win. This man refused -- he was never a quitter.
CABRERA: So, it was like, third time's the charm or what was it that made him think he could have victory after having those losses?
NAFTALI: He never gave up, actually. He even thought about running in '64 and you will see tonight, he goes on "The Jack Paar Show" and he tries really hard to show us softer, kinder, Richard Nixon. And you can decide for yourself if he shows it, but he actually thought about '64, and then in '66 --
Well, he doesn't run in '64, but in '66, he helps a lot of Republican candidates in the midterm elections and a number of them win, and they owe him. And so in '68, he is actually the frontrunner and wins the nomination. And then comes the election, and the election is awfully tough and awfully close.
And our show tonight, shows the collusion that Richard Nixon undertook with the South Vietnamese government. That didn't necessarily decide the election, but it happened, and the evidence is pretty clear, but, again, viewers can decide for themselves if there's collusion.
CABRERA: Let's talk a little bit more about the tumultuous time it was, in the '60s, leading up to this presidential election. You have the Vietnam War. You have the anti-war protest going on, the assassination, MLK, as well as RFK, and the DNC riots. What was it about Nixon's message, the way he campaigned, that was able to kind of cut through all of that and really connect with voters?
NAFTALI: Well, Americans, understandably, were afraid. There were riots in the streets after MLK's death. There was understandable dissent in the United States because of the war in Vietnam. Americans were wondering what's going wrong with our country, what's happening?
And a lot of people who fought in World War II were saying why is it that my son doesn't want to fight for his country? So, Richard Nixon appealed to people by saying, I will bring order back, I will return you to an era you understood.
He was talking even though he doesn't use the term in '68, will a little bit later, he was talking to what he called the silent majority, the people who are not in the streets. And that was a message that resonated.
In addition, he was helped by the fact that a white segregationist named George Wallace was running as a third-party candidate and took a lot of old southern Democratic votes away from the Democratic nominee, Hubert Humphrey. Even so, it was a close election.
CABRERA: And so, some of those themes that you just spoke of, sound a lot from -- there's some familiarity there between then and now, right? I mean, is this history repeating itself to some degree?
NAFTALI: Well, I don't think history repeats itself. I think it rhymes. And what Richard Nixon did, is that he -- he was a master of the politics of resentment. Instead of saying to people, let's go to the moon, let's be bigger, he was saying, you're not respected, and I understand, because I haven't been respected, either. You have been -- you're downtrodden. He was turning -- said to people, the resentment you feel --
NAFTALI: -- you -- I understand and I can do something about it.
CABRERA: Tim Naftali. Thank you. And you got it in right at the end because I got to get this promo in. "TRICKY DICK" airs next, right here, on CNN. Thanks for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera. Good night.