Return to Transcripts main page


"CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE," Kids Off the Block Works for Chicago's Youth; Trump Speaks to Reporters on China Trade Deal, Troops to Middle East against Iran Threat; Trump Says Didn't Understand Christopher Wray's Answer on Spying; Trump: I didn't Ask Barr to Investigate Russia Probe Origins; Montana Governor Steve Bullock Announces Presidential Campaign. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired May 14, 2019 - 11:30   ET



[11:30:30] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's a story you have heard way too many times. A young person's life cut short because of gun violence on the streets of Chicago. So far this year, there have been 148 people killed in the city. The majority of those deaths are the result of gun violence, and a majority of the victims are young, black, and male.

That's exactly who Diane Latiker is trying to save. I met her a decade ago, an encounter that has always stayed with me. You'll see yourself, quickly why she is what we're calling a "CHAMPION FOR CHANGE," a part of CNN's week-long series revisiting some of the people making a real impact. Take a look.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): When I first met Diane, the Supreme Court was about to hear a case, a landmark case having to do with Chicago's handgun ban.

DIANE LATIKER, FOUNDER, KIDS OFF THE BLOCK: If you would stay here two days, you realize our young people are looking backwards at every car because of drive-bys.

BOLDUAN: When Diane opened up her own home to start the nonprofit Kids Off the Block, she was fighting to stem the tide of gang activity in her neighborhood.

(on camera): I came here to Chicago to talk to some of the people who are most affected by gun violence. I know how much my life has changed in the almost 10 years since we first met. I'm interested to see what's changed for Diane.

There she is.

How are you? I mean, you haven't aged a day.

LATIKER: So good to see you.

BOLDUAN: So good to see you.

LATIKER: I'm surprised you're able to remember me.

BOLDUAN: Are you kidding? As I was saying, you leave a mark.

LATIKER: Want to go in?

BOLDUAN: I would love to.

Diane, Diane, Diane, Diane. Tell me again, why did you first open your doors?

LATIKER: I realized that they were failing in school and needed help. The gangs were trying to recruit the boys and stuff. And I'm like, me, what am I going to do? You know.

BOLDUAN: What do you do?

LATIKER: What do I do? But I sold the tv and bought some computers and started helping with homework. It's about a program like tutoring and mentoring, conventional stuff, but it's not about a program. I want to know each kid.

BOLDUAN: Have there been moments when you thought, that's it. I can't.

LATIKER: Every day, every day, I will wake up, I quit. I'm not doing this, then somebody would call me, a kid or a young person walked in the door. And said this door wasn't open, I would be dead or in jail.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Since 2003, thousands of kids have walked through this front door. Including Treviance Orr --

LATIKER: Hey, Tre.

BOLDUAN: -- who has been getting this same hug for almost that long.

(on camera): What has she meant to you?

TREVIANCE ORR, GRAPHIC DESIGNER: A mother figure, definitely. Heart of gold, man.

BOLDUAN: What are you doing these days?

ORR: I graphic design.

BOLDUAN: Went to college?

ORR: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Got a job?

ORR: Yes.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): You can see the pride on Diane's face, but that disappears quickly when we drive through the neighborhood. LATIKER: This is where four shootings happened in four days last

week. And I knew the young people. Who did it and the young people who were shot.

BOLDUAN (on camera): Oh, my god.

LATIKER: Friday, one of the -- there's Tyrese. His brother was just killed. He was in my program.

BOLDUAN: I can see how another kid that age could so easily think, I have no future.

LATIKER: That's what they think. No hope. Can you blame them?

BOLDUAN (voice-over): Returning to the memorial Diane started, it does feel impossible to blame them. Each brick represents a young life lost to gun violence.

(on camera): How many are in there now?

LATIKER: Two-hundred and one.

BOLDUAN: So there are 201 when I came.


BOLDUAN: How many are in there now, 800?

LATIKER: Seven something.

BOLDUAN: I never imagined it would be this big. I know that's naive to think.

LATIKER: I didn't either.

BOLDUAN: That makes me sad. Sorry.

(voice-over): Diane isn't alone in her fight to save this community.

DOMINIQUE DAILY, VOLUNTEER, KIDS OF THE BLOCK: I'm from Roseland. I happened to get my bachelor's degree, where went on to get my master's degree, and I'm working right inside the community that I'm coming from.

BOLDUAN (on camera): What is Diane's influence been on your life?

DAILY: She has impacted my life tremendously. She has been a person to go to, a mentor. The most supportive person you could ever be around and be with.

BOLDUAN: You're in a doctoral program right now.


[11:35:02] BOLDUAN: How long have you been volunteering with Diane with Kids Off the Block? BRYSON: It will be nine years in September.

DAILY: Eleven years. I started in 2008.

BOLDUAN: What are you teaching them?

BRYSON: Making up songs about long division, doing crazy dances. Anything to get them involved, relating science to everything.

BOLDUAN (voice-over): And soon, they'll have a lot more room to help a lot more kids.

LATIKER: First, it was a liquor store and then it was a restaurant. This is going to be the computer lab.

BOLDUAN: Diane is now turning this empty building next door to her home into a technology and entrepreneurial center.

LATIKER: I'm hoping it's open by when school starts in September.

BOLDUAN (on camera): This is the future.

LATIKER: The future.

BOLDUAN: What does the future look like?

LATIKER: The future looks like young people thriving, getting new skills and coming back with success stories. Oh, my god, I could see the possibilities in here.

BOLDUAN: Got it all figured out. Now we have to swing some hammers.



BOLDUAN: What I loved seeing is that Diane is finally getting the recognition that she deserves. She has a wall full of awards now in her home right now. So I'm excited to see now what she can do next with this kind of recognition. Of course, she says, for her, the only thing that matters are the people you met in the piece and also the hundreds of other lives she's touched. But, Diane, thank you so much for never giving up.

All this week, we'll continue to share inspiring stories like this. And you can tune in this Saturday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, for an hour-long special called "CHAMPIONS FOR CHANGE."

Still ahead for us, as the trade war heats up, President Trump says the U.S. is in a, quote/unquote, "fantastic position" with China. Do American businesses who are on the front lines of the trade war feel the same? That's next.


BOLDUAN: Let's go to the White House right now. President Trump is speaking from the White House. Let's listen.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So the economy is doing very well by every measure. We're having probably the greatest economy that we have had anywhere, anytime in the history of our country. We're having a little squabble with China because we have been treated very unfairly for many, many decades, actually a long time.

And it should have been handled a long time ago, and it wasn't. And we'll handle it now.

I think it's going to be -- I think it's going to turn out extremely well. We're at a very strong position. We are the piggy bank that everybody likes to take advantage of, or take from. And we can't let that happen anymore.

We've been losing, for many years, anywhere from $300 billion to $500 billion a year with China and trade with China. We can't let that happen.

The relationship I have with President Xi is extraordinary. It's, really, very good. But he's for China and I'm for the USA, and it's very simple.

We are, again, in a very, very strong position. They want to make a deal. It could absolutely happen. But, in the meantime, a lot of money is being made by the United States, and a lot of strength is being shown. This has never happened to China before.

Our economy is fantastic; theirs is not so good. We've gone up trillions and trillions of dollars since the election; they've gone way down since my election.

So, that's the way it is. That's the way it stands. We're going to do very well.


QUESTION: Mr. President, are you confident that there will be no recession while you're in office?

[11:40:00] TRUMP: Well, you never can say that, but we're doing very well. We're doing -- I think we probably have the greatest economy that we've ever had.

The employment numbers came out. As you know, they're record levels in almost every category: African American -- the best in history, if you take a look; Hispanic American, the best in history. Yesterday, Asian American numbers came in; they are the lowest in history -- the history of our country. Women -- I think in 61 years, and soon that will be historic, too.

So that we are doing -- and as far as employment numbers, we have the most people working today in the United States than we've ever had before. Almost 160 million people. So it's really good.

QUESTION: Mr. President, trade talks collapsed with China. Would you describe it --

TRUMP: You got a machine over there.

QUESTION: Have trade talks collapsed with China? Would you describe it like that?

TRUMP: No, I wouldn't. We have a very good dialogue. We have a dialogue going. It'll always continue. But we made a deal with China. It was a deal that was a very good deal. It had to be a good deal; otherwise, we're not making it. Because we've been down so low in trade -- and other Presidents should've done this a long time ago -- we can't just make a new deal. And I told that to President Xi.

But we had a deal that was very close, and then they broke it. They really did. I mean, more than just -- more than renegotiate, they really broke it. So we can't have that happen.

QUESTION: Mr. President, did you ask the Attorney General to launch a probe into the Russia investigation?

TRUMP: No, I didn't ask him to do that.

QUESTION: Did you know he was going to do it?

TRUMP: I didn't know it. I didn't know it. But I think it's a great thing that he did it. I saw it last night. And they want to look at how that whole hoax got started. It was a hoax. And even Mueller -- not a friend of mine -- even Bob Mueller came out: "No collusion." And he had 18 people that didn't like Donald Trump. They were Hillary Clinton fans. They contributed, many of them, to Hillary Clinton. They came out. It was the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the people of this country.

And you know what? I am so proud of our Attorney General, that he is looking into it. I think it's great. I did not know about it. No.

QUESTION: Mr. President, were you surprised by the Chinese retaliation, sir? You tweeted they "should not retaliate," and then they did.

TRUMP: No, no, no. I wasn't surprised. But you have to understand they do $600 billion, meaning we buy $600 billion and they buy $100 billion. We have all the advantage. It's a very small factor for us. And we have a much bigger economy now. You know, since my election, we've gone up so much. We have a much bigger economy than China. But if you take a look, $600 million [billion] versus $100 million [billion]. It's a different world.

QUESTION: Mr. President, (inaudible) $100 billion in additional tariffs, then?

TRUMP: We're looking at that very strongly. About the $325 billion -- we're looking at it very strongly.


QUESTION: Mr. President, did you tell DHS to round up immigrant families?

TRUMP: I don't know anything about that. I read that. It's probably fake news. But I read that this morning. I don't know anything about it.

QUESTION: Mr. President, why is it unfair? Why is it unfair, sir, for Don Jr. to be subpoenaed if he's pulled out of testifying twice?

TRUMP: Well, you know, it's really a tough situation because my son spent, I guess, over 20 hours testifying about something that Mueller said was 100 percent okay. And now they want him to testify again. I don't know why. I have no idea why, but it seems very unfair to me.

QUESTION: Mr. President, are you planning to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East in response to Iran?

TRUMP: I think it's fake news, okay? Now, would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully we're not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that.

But I think it's just -- where was that story? In the New York Times? Well, the New York Times is fake news.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: You say this is a small squabble, but don't you understand that American consumers may very well suffer because of this?

TRUMP: Yeah. So you have no tariff to pay whatsoever if you're a business. All you have to do is build or make your product in the United States. There's no tariff whatsoever. So that really works out very well.

QUESTION: Do you think you're winning the trade war, Mr. President?

TRUMP: I think we're winning it. We're going to be collecting over $100 billion in tariffs. Our people, if they want, they can buy from someplace else, other than China. Or they can -- really, the ideal is make their product in the USA. That's what I really want. Yeah, we're winning it.

You know what? You want to know something? You want to know something? We always win. We always win.

How are you, Emerald?

QUESTION: I'm good. How are you?

TRUMP: Good. What's up?

QUESTION: Do you have confidence in Christopher Wray after he said he wouldn't exactly call it "spying"?

TRUMP: Well, I didn't understand his answer because I thought the Attorney General answered it perfectly. So I certainly didn't understand that answer. I thought it was a ridiculous answer.

Thank you.


BOLDUAN: All right. President Trump speaking right there as he often does on a number of topics as he was leaving the White House.

Let me get over to White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, joining me right now.

[11:45:13] Kaitlan, of course, the president hit on a lot. A couple things really stood out to me. One, he's trying to strike a very optimistic, positive tone in terms of where things stand with trade talks with China and trying to make the case that things have not collapsed. Also his response to the reporting from the "New York Times" about presenting a plan to White House, some of his top national security advisers on 120,000 troops possibly be sent over to take on the Iranian threat. He says if we were doing it, we would send a hell of a lot more troops. Amazing.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That was two very big things coming out of the president's gaggle with reporters there. What he was talking about with Iran, that story the "New York Times" reported, there was a potential deal about considering if Iran escalated its threat, if they attacked anything, or if they escalated their nuclear production, if the United States would send up to 120,000 U.S. troops to Iran. The president dismissed that story, but then he said, would I do that, absolutely. Then later, Kate, he added that if he was going to do that, he would send, quote, "a hell of a lot more troops than that." Pretty stunning statement there from the president. But it gives you an insight into how he views this with Iran, talking about that "New York Times" story.

But then back with China, the president was trying, like he was doing similarly on Twitter earlier, to strike an optimistic tone. He wants to seem cheery, confident, but behind the scenes, our reporting shows those talks have been at a standstill since the Chinese delegation left Washington on Friday. The president was asked if he was surprised by China retaliating against the U.S., upping those tariffs.

He said he was not surprised, but, Kate, he did say he was still considering adding more tariffs to the Chinese. One reporter asked the president, do you understand it's the importer who pays those tariffs, not that the U.S. is just collecting money by those tariffs. Those tariffs actually get passed on to the importer who then passes on the cost to the consumer, of course, or they decide to eat that cost. Now, the president was trying to strike a cheery tone.

But, Kate, another answer that was pretty interesting is right at the end when the president was asked about his FBI director, Christopher Wray, who he seems to express disapproval for on Twitter the other day. When the president was leaving, I think the last question he answered, he said he didn't understand Christopher Wray's answer because when he was testifying, he broke with the attorney general, Bill Barr, and said he would not have used the word "spying" to talk about the Trump campaign, which is something Bill Barr not only said on oath but later doubled down on using that word, spying. The president did not seem pleased with what Christopher Wray said about the.

BOLDUAN: Which raises the question, is Christopher Wray the new Jeff Sessions of this chapter of the Trump presidency. There's even more.

Great stuff, Kaitlan. I agree with you.

Let me bring in David Chalian.

David, to kind of jump off where Kaitlan left off, the president was also asked if he knew -- I actually didn't hear exactly the question. He was asked but something to the effect of, did you know that Bill Barr was going to launch the investigation into the origins of the Russia investigation or if you asked him to, and he said, I didn't ask him to launch the investigation into how the Russia investigation was launched. Can we be honest that that strains credulity considering how many times he said we should investigate the investigators.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICS DIRECTOR: He doesn't have to necessarily. I think Bill Barr is gleaning the president's intentions and what would make the president happy.

BOLDUAN: Just like I could glean your intentions if you went on national television and said, I wish Kate could turn her hair brunette. I would know you wanted that.

CHALIAN: Exactly. He has talked about it publicly many times, tweeted about. There's no secrecy about what President Trump wanted his Justice Department to do as it relates to the origins of the investigation. Here he's trying to walk a line saying, I did not order the attorney general to do it. But I'm not sure that in any way clears him from guiding his Department of Justice of what he wants done, sort of a wish list for him. Investigating the investigators here.

BOLDUAN: Yes, absolutely.

Chris Cillizza joining us as well.

Chris, what stuck out to you?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: I'm on the -- I'm looking at my notes because I wrote down two things. I didn't ask him to do it. That's Trump on Barr investigating the start of the Russia investigation. And I did not know about it. So again, maybe technically true. Right? He didn't directly say, hey, Bill Barr, do this. But to David and your point, Kate, I mean, come on. Like, unless you have been living on another planet for the last 18 months, you know that Donald Trump believes that the true collusion was between the Russians and the DNC and the Clinton campaign over the Steele dossier, and that he has said that this whole investigation, despite by the way the facts, was illegal and that someone should investigate that. It doesn't take a whole heck of a lot of connecting the dots by Bill

Barr, hmm, if I want to stay in the president's good graces maybe I should do this. Again, to me, that's the most outlandish thing that game out of that. Though I'm with Kaitlan, that him also expressing, you know, he said I thought it was a ridiculous answer about Christopher Wray saying that the FBI doesn't spy on people. That's the only answer Chris Wray possibly could have given and walked back into that building with his head held high with the other FBI agents. But those are the two that stuck out to me.

[11:50:43] Yes, and I -- I'm really interested to hear if the Pentagon -- we have a chance to ask the Pentagon questions about what the president said.

If when it comes to Iran, if he would want to go that route, he's saying it would be way more than 120,000 troops, way more than the troop levels we would have to assume --


BOLDUAN: -- than the United States sent over during the invasion of Iraq. That would be a serious --

CILLIZZA: Just to be clear --

BOLDUAN: -- serious marker he is laying out.

CILLIZZA: Absolutely. To be clear, technically, Donald Trump isn't really disputing the "New York Times" report on the troop levels. In that report, if you read it, it says it's not clear whether Trump has been briefed on these proposals, and they made clear it was a proposal.


CILLIZZA: So, again, he does this fake news thing. But reporters are careful, and if you read the actual piece, it makes clear that maybe he hasn't been briefed on this, but it's something that's being considered at least.



Guys, really appreciate it.

It is OK only this time.

I appreciate it guys. David, Kaitlan, Chris, thanks. I really appreciate it.

Coming up for us, a brand-new face running for president in 2020. Yes, another one. But can we break through a crowded field of nearly two dozen Democrats at this point? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:56:52] BOLDUAN: Is a Democratic governor from a state, that Donald Trump won by more than 20 points in 2016, the key to victory for Democrats in 2020? Montana's governor, Steve Bullock, is officially making that case this morning as he becomes the 22nd Democrat to enter the presidential race, launching his campaign with this video announcement.


STEVE BULLOCK, (D), MONTANA GOVERNOR & PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need to defeat Donald Trump in 2020 and defeat the corrupt system that lets campaign money drown out the people's voice, so with can finally make good on a promise of a fair shot for everyone. This is the fight of our time. It's been the fight of my career.

I'm Steve Bullock. And I'm running for president.


BOLDUAN: You've got to love that campaign launch video music.

Jeff Zeleny, senior Washington correspondent, joining me now.

Jeff, for the uninitiated, who is Steve Bullock?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: He's a 53-year-old lawyer. He's been elected three times statewide in the deeply red state of Montana, once as attorney general and twice as governor. And he is pointing out and will do so again and again, he is a Democrat who can win, at least he could in a governor's race, in a state that President Trump won by some 20 points back in 2016. So, look, he's been eyeing this race for a long time.

If you're wondering why he's getting in now, the answer that he says is that, look, he was the governor of the state. His legislative session was just ended at the month -- at the beginning of May, so he was waiting for all the work of the state to get done to jump into this presidential race. But, Kate, he's been eyeing it for a long time. So he's jumping into a very crowded field, but he's trying to present himself as a pragmatic Democrat who just happens to be about 25 years younger or so than Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.

BOLDUAN: And real quick, Jeff, as you mentioned, he one in a Trump state, but he won as governor. It is obviously very different to win a governor's race than it is to win a general election for president but also to win a Democratic primary.

ZELENY: No doubt about it. But he is trying -- especially a Democratic primary that you can just feel day by day is being pulled more to the left. But, look, he's trying to stake his claim largely on those Iowa caucuses, going out to Iowa on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, trying to make an argument that Trump should be defeated from the middle of the party. There are a lot of Democrats who agree with him.

Remember Sherrod Brown, the Ohio Senator, was going to run? BOLDUAN: Yes.

ZELENY: Decided not to run. This is the lane that Steve Bullock is trying to run in, sort of a newer version of Joe Biden, if you will. Of course, not as much name recognition at all. Kate, the biggest question, can he get on the debate stage when they start at the end of June? He has his work cut out for him in fundraising and, of course --


BOLDUAN: He's got time. He's got time, right? Yes.

ZELENY: He has a little bit of time, no doubt, but if he does not make that first debate, that will make a big difference. Look, he's been eyeing this for a long time. He's central casting in many ways for the kind of Democrat some Democrats are looking for. But, boy, it's a diverse party and he's not as diverse, of course, as many candidates -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Remember, getting on the debate stage, that's everything if you want longevity.


BOLDUAN: And 22 spots and 22 people in the race.

ZELENY: Right.

BOLDUAN: This is going to get interesting.

Good to see you, man. Thank you so much.

ZELENY: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: Thank you all so much for joining me. I really appreciate it.