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CNN NEWSROOM

Democratic Presidential Field Becomes Largest in History; Calls for Florida Deputy to Be Fired After Slams Teen's Head on Ground; EX- GOP Lawmaker Says Mueller Report Shows Trump is Unethical, Unpatriotic; Search Underway & Missing Boy's Mother Is "Uncooperative"; Nearly 300 Killed, 500-Plus Hurt in Church & Hotel Bombings in Sri Lanka. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired April 22, 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] CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT- LARGE: This is interesting over here. I only highlight because you'll remember Donald Trump was someone with no political experienced. He's currently the president. We've never elected someone unless they were a military figure or who never held elected office of any office of any sort. This is political background of diversity. We also have Kamala Harris, first Indian and African- American Senator in California to the Senate. We have Elizabeth Warren. We have African-American candidates. We have Castro, a Hispanic. We have a large number of female candidates. This Democratic Party primary looks a lot like the modern Democratic Party, extremely diverse, sort of on the young end, although Bernie Sanders and Biden in their 70s. It's Baskin-Robbins. You can get whatever you want here. A lot of people are going to get a taste. We'll see who lasts. I think that's the real question. You can't complain that you don't have enough choices or people who might fit what you want in a Democrat candidate. You have at least 20 of them by the end of the week -- Brooke?

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: That is your second Baskin-Robbins reference in about a week. So --

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: It's on my mind.

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: I'm very, very hungry.

BALDWIN: Here's my follow up to you. Let's fast forward two days. Joe Biden jumps in. We know he's wanted to be president. He's tried. He's going to try again. How does he -- and we know how he's been doing in the polls and he's not in. How does he shake up this massive field?

CILLIZZA: In some ways, he doesn't shake it up that much. We've expected him to be in for so long. I mean, he gave an interview two weeks ago prior to Easter where he was saying, well, my lawyers say what I can say, but we all knew he was going to be in. Him being in creates sort of the, he's the establishment front runner. OK? No question. He probably will be for the foreseeable future in the race. What do people do in relation to him and Sanders? I view them as the twin polls here in the race. Sanders representing sort of outsider, unapologetic liberalism. Biden very much representative of the continuation of Obama policy as well as establishment guy. Was in the Senate for 30-plus years, eight years as a V.P. There's the polls around which everyone is going to react and revolve. It doesn't mean they'll be the nominees. Look at polling and name I.D. and the factors we recognize, they're the polls. Everybody else reacts and interreacts around the two of them until further notice.

BALDWIN: Got it. Got it.

Chris Cillizza, thank you.

CILLIZZA: Also Baskin-Robbins.

BALDWIN: I know. You totally have me thinking about it as well.

From ice cream to town halls, Chris mentioned, look at all these folks. A huge night on CNN. Join us live from New Hampshire for the first major candidate event of the 2020 presidential campaign. Klobuchar, Warren, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg, they're all getting on the same stage back to back for a CNN town hall event. It's tonight at 7:00 eastern, only here on CNN. There you have it.

As one of the president's picks for the Federal Reserve drops out, another once wrote disparaging remarks about women, over and over again. We'll discuss Stephen Moore.

Plus, a Florida sheriff's deputy is under investigation. Caught on video slamming a teenage boy's head into the ground and punching him. Why the officer says he had to do it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:37:40] BALDWIN: In south Florida, the Broward County sheriff is vowing complete transparency in the investigation of a deputy who was caught on video violently arresting a 15-year-old boy. In the video clip we're about to play, the teen was pepper sprayed and slammed on to the ground and punched on the face. We're going to play it.

Just to warn you, you may find it disturbing and hard to watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you doing? He's bleeding.

(SHOUTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The deputy is now on what they call restrictive duty and had his gun and badge taken away from him. Community members are calling the incident outrageous and there are calls for the deputy to be fired. Nick Valencia at the Broward County Sheriff's Department.

Nick, this sheriff was just appointed to address these kinds of accountability issues?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sheriff Gregory Tony says he is committed to accountability. He is also essentially telling the community to take a collective breath and to trust the investigative process.

The video, Brooke, is difficult to watch. It shows a Broward County sheriff's deputy pepper spray a local high school student in the face. As that student is beginning to walk away with his hands to his face, he's tackled and slammed to the ground. It's then that the second deputy jumps on the student's back and pushes his head into the pavement and then strikes him in the head.

As I mentioned, Gregory Tony said he's committed to accountability. Over the weekend, he met with community leaders and says, any time a white police officer uses force on a black youth, these things blow up. He's saying they need to trust the investigative process.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREGORY TONY, SHERIFF, BROWARD COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: I'm not reading from a script here. Just shortly, roughly 90 days ago, I was appointed to this position exclusively about accountability. That accountability will be held not just for the sake of when we're right but in the cases where we may be wrong. So over the next few days, this may take time for us to look thoroughly into, but understand that we will be transparent, and if folks need to be held accountable, it shall be done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: In an arrest report, the deputies defended their actions, Brooke, saying there was an estimated 200 students that showed up to watch a fight. They said they felt threatened. They didn't want to lose their weapons. And they said the teen that was left bloodied took an aggressive stance and that warranted their actions -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: It is so hard to watch.

Nick, what's the reaction not only in south Florida but beyond?

[14:40:08] VALENCIA: Well, this happened four days ago. It happened on Thursday. It was earlier here, Brooke, that we saw demonstrators continue to show up here, asking for the accountability and the officers to be fired. It's not just the community here. As you mentioned, high-profile athletes like LeBron James have weighed, Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden States Warriors. The local mayor here, Brooke, also notably is asking for these officers to be fired, calling the video disgusting and unacceptable -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Nick Valencia, thank you so much, in Florida for us. The Mueller report paints a damning picture of White House staffers

struggling with the president's lies and questionable orders. Even with the stakes so high, most of the Republican Party staying silent. We'll talk to one former Republican lawmaker who says the report shows Trump as an unethical, unpatriotic man.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:45:24] BALDWIN: In the days since the Mueller report was released, the reaction from Democrats has been swift and strong, even if members are at odds on the best way to move forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The level of evidence in the Mueller report is serious and damming.

REP. SEAN MALONEY (D-NY): The president's conduct is appalling and inexcusable. He must be held accountable for that.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Ten times he obstructed justice. How many times do you get to obstruct justice as the president of the United States?

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): The Mueller document has now left us with a road map to go forward.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): If proven, some of this would be impeachable, yes. Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable.

CHUCK TODD, MODERATOR, MEET THE PRESS: You're going to see if you can prove it?

NADLER: Well, we'll see where the facts lead us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Those are the Democrats. What are they hearing from their colleagues across the aisle? Not much, other than time to move on.

Joe Walsh is a former Republican congressman from Illinois.

Congressman, welcome back.

JOE WALSH, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST & FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: Hi, Brooke. Good to be with you.

BALDWIN: We want to talk to you, you know, you tweeted, "No Republican can spin the Mueller report."

Do you think that's why they've been so quiet?

WALSH: Yes. You know, Brooke, when you think about it, here we are four days later, what is that report? And I reread it this weekend. It's an incredibly damming portrait of President Trump. He knew Russia interfered. He welcomed and encouraged that interference. He lied. He encouraged everybody who worked for him to lie. And then he blocked the investigation. He obstructed the investigation. Criminal behavior, who knows? But boy, dishonest, immoral, unethical? Heck, yes, it is. And I'll tell you, Brooke, every Republican on Capitol Hill agrees with what I just said. They can't see that publicly.

BALDWIN: Well, Mitt Romney did speak out, or did say he was sickened and that he was appalled by the findings in the Mueller report. He also said that business of government can move on. Do you think that was strong enough, or is this like a conflict of consciousness for Republicans right now?

WALSH: Look, it's -- Brooke, it's politics. The Republicans in the Senate and the House, my former colleagues, they're afraid to speak up. They want to get reelected. And 80 percent to 90 percent of the Republican base still supports this president. That's all they care about. It's unfortunate, isn't it, Brooke? It's weird that the Democrats in the House, they're in the tough position. They have to decide what to do with this. Nobody is asking the Republicans to do the decent thing and join the Democrats in going after this really unethical behavior.

BALDWIN: Would you support a 2020 challenge from a Mitt Romney or another Republican?

WALSH: I think this president needs a challenge. I'm not trying to be careful, Brooke, with what I said. I do believe this president needs a challenge. Look, you -- again, you read this report -- and I don't know how anybody can read this report and think this is behavior that we want in our president. I mean, think about that. That's a difficult thing to say, but that's the truth.

BALDWIN: In the report, the special counsel says Trump's attempts to interfere with the Russia investigation failed only because his staff refused to carry out his demands.

This is how he responded when asked about it by our White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, just a bit ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Are you worried your staff is ignoring your orders as the Mueller report portrayed?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody disobeys my orders.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: "Nobody disobeys my orders," is what the president said to Kaitlan, but they do disobey his orders, Congressman Walsh, and it possibly saved his presidency. What do you think of that?

WALSH: It probably -- yes, it probably saved his hide. Brooke, people ask me on the radio all the time what I most dislike about this president. And it was right there. You can't believe a word that comes out of his mouth. Not a single word. He knows deep down. He's been told that his people did disobey his orders and that did save his hide. But everything he says is a lie, and I just -- look, the Republicans on Capitol Hill, Brooke, they know he lies all the time. I don't know how they can sit with that.

BALDWIN: But if you were still on Capitol Hill -- and I hear you on the self-muzzling. And this is all about politics and getting reelected, let's be real. Would you be able to say the things you were saying to me right now if you were still in Congress?

[14:49:57] WALSH: Yes, without a doubt. And Trump would probably fund a primary opponent. Look, I'm on conservative talk radio, Brooke. This is -- that's not easy to have to say what I say about Trump, because we all want to be like Sean Hannity and all we care about is ratings. I can't be that way. If I had to be, forget it, I'll go sell coffee somewhere. You've got to speak the truth. And these Republicans are going to have to because it's going to get worse with this president.

BALDWIN: Former Congressman Joe Walsh, thank you very much.

WALSH: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: President Trump is going to court, fighting to stop House Democrats from getting his financial records. This is the first time Trump has actually sued to try and stop the investigations. Will it work?

And Senator Elizabeth Warren unveils another massive proposal, this one eliminating student debt and making public college free. But how will she pay for that?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:55:18] BALDWIN: Investigators outside Chicago are trying to find this missing 5-year-old boy they say appears to have just vanished. His name is Andrew, or A.J., Freund. but police say they don't think he was kidnapped. They don't think he ran away or left the house. His parents reported him missing last Thursday. They said they saw him in the home at bedtime Wednesday night and are worried sick.

Ryan Young is our CNN national correspondent, following the search of the missing child.

Ryan, parents call up police and say he's missing. Now the mom is suddenly being uncooperative. What's the story?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Brooke, there's a lot of questions. The Crystal Lake Police Department put out new information. They're saying A.J.'s mom is being uncooperative. Right now, there's no sign of the missing 5-year-old boy, reported missing from his home last week. The boy's father is sometimes even walking on his own through the neighborhood in an effort to find any clues and to try to find his son. When you see the pictures of A.J., you see a glowing smile. Brooke, the big focus on what's next, investigators say they're

putting special focus on the boy's mom, especially determining the fact he was abducted or walked away.

The story starts last week when the parents reported A.J. missing. They called 9-1-1. This was around 9:00. They said they hadn't seen him since around bedtime. There's been 15 police agencies so far, drones, rescue K-9s. A team went to the lake to see if they could find the young boy in the water. That hasn't happened.

Listen to his mom talking. There's been a lot of conversation so far in the community about the parents' role.

BALDWIN: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOANN CUNNINGHAM, MOTHER OF A.J. FREUND: I can't hold it together. He's just one of my kids. That's my life. They're my kids.

ANDREW FREUND SR, FATHER OF A.J. FREUND: We're all just doing whatever we can at this point. I have no control over what people think. I just want my son to come home. OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

YOUNG: Brooke, like I said before, the focus here is trying to figure out why the mom stopped talking. She has a lawyer. The lawyer says she's given up all the information she can so far.

A spokesperson for the Department of Illinois Department of Children's Services says they've been involved with this family since Andrew's birth. Andrew was actually brought into care with them because of neglect. He was then returned to the mom. There was another child at the home. That child has been removed so far.

There's so many questions about this. How can a child be put to bed at 9:00 and the next morning parents wake up and the child apparently disappears? So many questions about what happens next.

Police and the investigation still moving forward but what's the next big clue? When's the next big part when they maybe get a chance to sit down with the mom while the father is walking through the neighborhood looking for the young man? You see his face right there.

BALDWIN: I hear you on the history of neglect and I hear you on the parents last seeing the child at bedtime a couple of days ago. What would make investigators, Ryan, believe that he wasn't abducted or he didn't actually leave the home?

YOUNG: Brooke, that is a good question. One of the things we've seen so far is they brought that K-9 unit to the house. They did that search. It looks like, so far, from the perimeter, there's no signs of a forced break-in or a struggle. There's no signs leading them to anything besides the child walking away or being taken. So what's the next thing that investigators can start looking into? That's the process they're going through right now.

Of course, we tried to get an update. But with the FBI and all these agencies working together, they're only sharing what they have as it becomes available. You can understand maybe the next step is more extensive interviews with the family. Maybe something else. But we don't know just yet.

BALDWIN: All right.

Ryan Young, stay on it for us. Thank you so much.

YOUNG: Absolutely.

BALDWIN: You are watching CNN on this Monday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

We begin this hour with the terror attacks in Sri Lanka and the international warnings of an imminent attack that were never delivered to that country's prime minister. Sunday's coordinated bombs killed at least 290 people and injured at least 500 others, making it one of the deadliest terror attacks since 9/11. U.S. officials say they believe the six suicide bombers were inspired by ISIS. But a Sri Lanka government minister tells CNN the U.S. and Indian intelligence agencies warned about possible attacks but that the prime minister was left in the dark. And now the Sri Lankan government is apologizing to families after admitting it failed to act.

[14:59:48] Just as worship services got underway for Easter, explosions erupted at three churches while suicide bombers targeted four luxury hotels. According to a U.S. official, at least four U.S. citizens are among the dead. We're just learning the identity of two of them. A fifth grader from Washington D.C. His name is Keernen Sharitz Dejoyza (ph).