Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Larry Summers on Trump Tax Returns: Mnuchin Needs to Step Back and Let IRS Do Its Job; Top Officials Who Told Trump No All Gone; Official: Fires at Black Louisiana Churches were "Intentional"; Lawmakers Grill Social Media Executives at Hate Crimes Hearing; New Pew Study: Nearly 60 Percent Say Race Relations Are Generally Bad; Lori Loughlin Charged with Money Laundering in College Bribe Plot. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 9, 2019 - 14:30   ET

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


[14:30:00] LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY: I assume there will be some set of litigation, which hopefully will be resolved quickly. The law is unambiguous and clear that these requests are to be met. There's no provision for making exceptions or no provision under which these requests do not have to be complied with. And it is clear whose obligation it is. It is the obligation of the commissioner of the IRS.

(CROSSTALK)

SUMMERS: So I don't understand in law the statements being made by the White House, or the solitude of the White House's views apparently being displayed by the Treasury Department. I don't understand that in law at all.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: I understand your point clearly.

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, sir, thank you very much.

SUMMERS: Thank you.

BALDWIN: It is being called the purge. And the president denying he's cleaning house. We have compiled a list of the former administration officials who all told the president no before they got headed for the exits.

More on our breaking news also this afternoon. Actress Lori Loughlin has been charged in that massive college admission scandal and is now facing another indictment. This involving money laundering.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:35:47] BALDWIN: Two weeks before President Trump's forced Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign, she resisted the president's order to close the southern border. Saying no likely sealed Nielsen's fate with a president who prefers to surround himself by yes men and women. Secretary Nielsen joins a long list of White House aides who told the president no and soon found themselves no longer welcome in the Trump administration. So CNN politics reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza, is with

us.

And so no did not serve some people well.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: That puts her in good company, Brooke. Let's pull it up. There's more than that. I say when we do the graphics but for the sake of television we had it down.

I'll start here. James Mattis we know opposed the withdrawal of troops from Syria and resigned under protest. And there are 400 troops still in Syria so Donald Trump reversed himself. And we know James Comey, the reason he was fired is because Donald Trump said, could you see a way to drop this Michael Flynn thing, and he said no. And then Rex Tillerson had to say, we can't do that because of the law. John Kelly again tried to be a gatekeeper with Trump, trying to restrict his worst instincts. In an interview, said he should be judged by what Trump didn't do as opposed to what Trump did do. Don McGahn, and this is the most famous, White House counsel, said, I will not fire Bob Mueller, that Donald Trump wanted to do in the summer of 2017 for legal and political reasons.

And then a few more. Let's do these together. This is Ty Cobb and John Dowd, the former White House legal team pre-Rudy Giuliani. And they didn't want Donald Trump to attack Robert Mueller. Well, we know how that went. So that is thrown out the window. Jeff Sessions refused to un-recuse himself. And H.R. McMaster clashed with Trump repeatedly over style and he said that absolutely Russia was to blame in the interference of the 2016 election, and Trump didn't like that. And last, but certainly not least, Gary Cohn, who opposed the tariffs that Donald Trump wanted to put on goods, and was fired/resigned in protest shortly thereafter.

All of the people, one thing in common, they all told Donald Trump no, and now this little word next to their name, "former." Kirstjen Nielsen is one of the group. This is someone, as you mentioned, Brooke,

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: -- he likes to be told yes, great job, boss. He does not like to be contradicted publicly or privately -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: And they are all men, plus one, now, woman.

Chris Cillizza, thank you very much --

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

BALDWIN: -- for running us through that.

A sad sign of the times. YouTube has to shut down comments during a live stream of a congressional hearing on white nationalism because of comments hateful -- the comments hateful and anti-Semitic. We'll talk about the latest attempt to stop hate speech, next. And also just in, officials in Louisiana say the fires at three

historic black churches were, indeed, intentional. We'll talk to an investigator. Stand by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:43:15] BALDWIN: CNN has learned that investigators believe fires at three historically black churches in Louisiana were intentionally set. The fires all happened within a span of 10 days in the St. Landry Parish. A local elected official who shared the information with CNN said the cause of the fires are still under investigation and there are no suspects at this time. Investigators are not saying if this is a hate crime. But the NAACP is calling the church burning domestic terrorism and a reflection of the racial tension spreading across the country. St. Landry Parish is on high alert and some local pastors sleeping in churches as a precaution.

And with me, Brice McCracken, fire investigation and arson enforcement chief the ATF, in charge of the response team on the ground in Louisiana.

So, Chief McCracken, thank you so much for being with me.

And I understand, if officials are now confirming these were intentionally set, can you tell me what your investigators have found?

BRICE MCCRACKEN, CHIEF, FIRE INVESTIGATION & ARSON ENFORCEMENT, ATF: It is still an ongoing investigation, Brooke, at this time, so we're continuing to work the scenes. Our certified fire investigators are and digging through the scenes, processing them for any potential evidence working to determine the origin and cause of the fires.

BALDWIN: Can you tell me if there were eerie similarities between the three fires other than the fact they were at these black churches in the community.

MCCRACKEN: At this time since it is an ongoing investigation --

BALDWIN: I got it.

MCCRACKEN: -- I can't answer that, I'm sorry.

BALDWIN: Were there any known threats to the churches or to the community prior to that first fire at the end of the March?

MCCRACKEN: None that I'm aware of at this time. But ATF or national response team agents are on the ground working local with the local fire officials there in St. Landry Parish and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal office.

[14:45:06] BALDWIN: What about the pastors, Chief, who are sleeping in their churches so that they are ready to respond if a fire is set? You have been in touch with these pastors?

MCCRACKEN: I have not at this time. Our folks that are down on the ground, our agents in the New Orleans Field Division are working with state and local officials and trying to keep the local pastors apprised of what is going on.

BALDWIN: Do you have any leads or any suspects?

MCCRACKEN: At this point, we're still just in the middle of an ongoing criminal -- an ongoing investigation and still working through the fire scenes at this time.

BALDWIN: This community, you know, losing these historic black churches is one thing, but I was reading about how a number of their ancestors are buried in the back of the churches. And how important is it for you and the fire investigators to find these people in order to protect this community?

MCCRACKEN: It is very important to ATF. Our national response team, we have great professional certified fire investigators and certified explosive specialists there working on the ground with, like I said before, the state and local fire marshals. And it is important to us to determine the origin and cause of the fires, and if they are determined to be a criminal act, to bring those perpetrators to justice.

BALDWIN: Chief Brice McCracken, thank you for your time.

MCCRACKEN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just in, a fiery exchange between the Treasury secretary and Congresswoman Maxine Waters over the president's tax returns and whether Steve Mnuchin is afraid of being fired.

Plus, minutes from now, polls are closing in Israel as voters decide Prime Minister Netanyahu's fate. We will take you to Israel live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:51:17] BALDWIN: Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have been taking social media executives to task during hate crimes in America. The House Judiciary Committee called on representatives from Facebook and Google and civil rights groups to examine the impact of white identity ideology and social media's role in spreading that.

Today's hearing comes amid a new report from the Pew Research Center that said most Americans believe race relations have greatly deteriorated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL POTTS, PUBLIC POLICY DIRECTOR, FACEBOOK: There's no place for terrorism or hate on Facebook. And we have protocols in place to pass on threats of imminent violence and imminent danger to law enforcement as soon as we become aware of them.

CANDACE OWENS, TURNING POINT USA: Many journalists were confused as to why I was invited. And none of them knew that I, myself, was the victim of a hate crime when I was in high school. That is something that very few people know about me because the media and the journalists and the left are not interested in telling the truth about me because I don't fit the stereotype of what they like to see in black people.

I will not pretend to be a victim in this country. I know that makes many people on the left uncomfortable. I want to talk about real issues in black America. I want to talk about real issues in this country and real concerns.

MORT KLEIN, PRESIDENT, ZERIOIST ORGANIZATION OF AMERICA: Let's speak frankly. We want to stop hate and stop supporting -- I don't know how much time do I have?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): You're 48 seconds over.

KLEIN: But I was stopped. But I was stopped with the outburst, the outburst.

NADLER: Another 30 seconds.

KLEIN: I have something very, very important to say.

Especially as a child of Holocaust survivors, I was horrified to see Speaker Pelosi and Steny Hoyer defend Representative Omar after her vicious anti-Semitic remarks and presidential --

(GAVEL)

NADLER: The gentleman's time is expired.

Miss Owens?

KLEIN: That was unfair.

NADLER: It was not unfair. You had you plenty of extra time.

KLEIN: No. We should have consequences for members of Congress who make hateful and outrageous comments against blacks, Muslims and Jews. And when it comes to Jews, we have not seen that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Justice Department must come to the local aid of law enforcement contending with hate crimes. They, themselves, should bring more cases and holding the perpetrators of these crimes accountable. The FBI should abandon its black identity extremist designation and, most importantly, use their bully pulpit to speak out against the awful hate happening across the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So here is the other twist in the whole story. YouTube was live streaming the hearing but had to shut down the comments after people started posting racist and anti-Semitic comments.

We have more on our breaking news. This afternoon, a top Democrat said they will issue a subpoena for the full Mueller report as the attorney general today defends his controversial letter and reveals when we'll see it.

Plus, Actress Lori Loughlin, who has been charged in the massive college admissions scandal, is now facing another indictment but this one involves money laundering.

[14:54:08] We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: More on the breaking news on that massive college admissions scandal. More than a dozen parents, including Actress Lori Loughlin, are now facing additional charges, including money laundering. This is coming in just a day after Felicity Huffman and others pleaded guilty.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is live with more on this.

And what more do you know?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN REPORTER: Brooke, let's break it down for viewers. A month ago, we learned 33 parents were connected to the case. They were charged in a criminal complaint. That is where we get the big booklet that you showed viewers with gave all of the evidence the government said they had against the parents, including recorded phone conversations and emails. So they were charged with one federal count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. Sources tell us they had more evidence against the parents and they could bring more charges against them. And they ran the risk of that happening if they didn't plea out deals with the government. So that is what we're seeing today. Sixteen parents now are facing an additional charge in an indictment of money laundering. So the stakes really just got higher for those 16 parents. And that does include Lori Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer, Mossimo Giannulli.

Now this is just coming a day, as you said, after 13 parents, including Felicity Huffman, did take that deal. They pleaded guilty and they are going in front of a judge saying they admit to the crime. Felicity Huffman had a lengthy statement about it. And they were going to face the consequences when they go before a judge.

[15:00:00]