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Audio Reveals Pilots Confronted Boeing About Safety; Valerie Jarrett Discusses Romney Vote Against Judiciary Nominee; 2020 Presidential Race; Security Concerns Rise After Attacks At Places Of Worship; Report: Same-Sex Couples Denied Birthright Citizenship For Children. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 15, 2019 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And then there are others, including pilots, like this, who were saying, if you don't even know the system is there, and you have very little time to recover, how can you push it off on the pilots right now. This was a design flaw. And Boeing has to be held responsible for it. Those camps were very clear and very bright in this hearing today.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: This audio exchange, between Boeing and hearing the pilots' concerns, it's pretty damning. Is Boeing responding to this?

FOREMAN: What we're hearing, so far, at this point, is that they're responding to the big picture, that we've always been about safety, we're trying to move forward, we're trying to work with people. Even there, they said, look, we believe we're moving in the right way.

But listen to a little of what was said in the hearing today, as members of Congress went at it over this.


REP. SAM GRAVES (D), MISSOURI: Pilots trained in the United States would have successfully been able to handle this situation.

REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D), OREGON: It wasn't even in the manual that this automated system existed. It wasn't in the manual. Now, that's odd. Because the pilots were the redundancy. How the hell you the redundancy if you don't know something?


FOREMAN: So you say Boeing's response to all of this, well, the simple truth is, right now, Boeing has been hit every couple of weeks since the second accident with yet another revelation like this audio recording, that's -- more than anything else, more than the airplane itself, more than the technical concerns, has raised the specter of doubt about the company and this aircraft.

And until they clear that -- even if they handle the technical problem, until they convince the flying public, the flying industry and regulators that they can truly be trusted, Boeing still has a problem. KEILAR: The transparency is lacking and continues to be.

Tom Foreman, thank you so much for this.

FOREMAN: Thank you.

Senator Mitt Romney breaking ranks with Republicans. Romney voting against a Trump judicial nominee for disparaging President Obama. We'll tell you what was said. We'll get reaction from a longtime Obama adviser.

Also, hear Senator Kamala Harris' answer when asked if she's tired of being mentioned as Joe Biden's possible running mate.


[13:36:32] KEILAR: A Trump judicial nominee gets approved, despite making disparaging remarks about President Obama. Michael Truncale described President Obama as an "un-American imposter" in remarks back in 2011. Truncale was approved by a vote of 49 to 46 for a position as district court judge in Texas.

And the lone Republican vote against Truncale came from Senator Mitt Romney, Obama's opponent in the 2012 presidential race.

We have Valerie Jarrett with us now. She was, of course, senior adviser to President Obama. She's out now with a new autobiography, titled "Finding My Voice."

Thanks for coming into the studio to talk to us.

VALERIE JARRETT, FORMER SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thanks. I'm delighted to be with you here, Brianna.

KEILAR: When you saw that Michael Truncale had been confirmed, what did you think?

JARRETT: I wasn't surprised. I think it's par for the course. I was heartened to see Senator Romney speak up and be principled, and say, do we really want our judiciary full of people who are clearly impartial.

KEILAR: But he was the only one.

JARRETT: I know. That's what we've been seeing these days. And it's disappointing, because something like that, you would think that they would rally and say, this isn't someone who respects the values of our country and why would you speak so disparaging of a former president who was so well respected.

KEILAR: I want to talk about the 2020 race. Because you have said that you have been talking to several of the Democratic candidates. Will you share with who you've been talking to?



JARRETT: -- but I will say, several.

KEILAR: Several, OK.


KEILAR: Have you been seeking them out or have they been seeking you out?

JARRETT: I have sought them out.


JARRETT: And I have made it clear I would happy to be a resource to any of them. I think we had an embarrassment of riches in the field. And I've learned a lot in the two presidential campaigns. And if I can be helpful, that's what I want to do.

KEILAR: I'm sure you've given them some advice. What have you told them?

JARRETT: Yes. I have. The general guidelines I've said is, look, be authentic, be yourself, recognize that this is the highest position in the land and you better earn.

And the American people better believe you and trust you with their futures. And so you have to say, not just what your vision is, but why we should have confidence that you can execute the vision.

The other thing I've said to the Democrats is, look, don't beat each other up so badly, that whoever emerges as a nominee goes into a weakened position.

And also I think, look, I want to know what you're for. I can figure out what the other guy is for or against. Tell me why I should believe in you. Guy or gal, I should say.

And I'm heartened to see, now we're up to six women who are running in the race, and that's historic.

KEILAR: To that point, at a campaign stop in New Hampshire just a short time ago, Senator Kamala Harris, she took issue with the former Vice President Biden over the 1994 crime bill that Biden helped write.

Here's what Harris said.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: That 1994 crime bill, it -- it did contribute to mass incarceration in our country. It encouraged and was the first time that we had a federal three-strikes law. It funded the building of more prisons in the states. And so I disagree, sadly.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: You said that you've counseled them, don't hit so hard in the primary that someone goes into the general --


JARRETT: In a weakened position.

KEILAR: In a weakened position.

Well, is -- I want to ask you about that, because isn't -- here you see Kamala Harris taking a stance to differentiate herself from Joe Biden. Is that something that could, if he is able to maintain his standing in the polls, weaken his position.

JARRETT: I think she said it in response to a question. So I think you have to be honest. And if she disagrees with the bill -- even Vice President Biden said he didn't have everything right on criminal justice reform. In a sense, that's a fair point to make.

[13:40:02] What I'm really saying is don't strip each other down. Don't have those belly punches that are just unfair and disrespectful. And that people do want to hear what you're for. If somebody asks you a direct question, you should answer it.

KEILAR: I want to talk about your book.

JARRETT: Oh, thank you.

KEILAR: It's getting some pretty good reviews, I will say, because it's got in it what a lot of people want, which is they want someone to pull back the curtain.

And you have a lot of instances where you're really telling people sort of what happened. They're going to find out some things from your perspective they otherwise would not have known about the Obama White House.

At the same time, we learn about you. We learn that you were shy and that's part of where the title --


KEILAR: Painfully shy.

JARRETT: Painfully shy. That's part of where the title comes from, the idea of "Finding Your Voice." But what do you want people to take away, in general, from your book?

JARRETT: Looking back, what I realize is that when I was craving the comfort zone, when I was doing what everybody else expected of me, as opposed to listening to the quiet voice inside of me, it was a rather boring, unhappy life. And when I swerved way outside the comfort zone and I found my bastion in passion in public service, that's when the adventure began.

And I want to encourage people to do. Don't play it so safe. Take chances, if you can, calculated risks, but be adventuresome. And look at life as multiple chapters where you can take some risks, and if you don't succeed, you can recover.

KEILAR: You were miserable at one point.

JARRETT: Completely miserable.

KEILAR: So how did you go from miserable to I have to turn this completely on its head?


KEILAR: What was the thing that made you do that?

JARRETT: I just wasn't meant to be that miserable. I was also in a miserable marriage. So I had two miseries. And I would sit in this really fancy office in a big corporate law firm and I would just -- I would cry. And I thought to myself, this is ridiculous!

And fortunately, I had a friend who suggested joining the administration of Mayor Harold Washington, in Chicago, who was a big progressive. And I had had, you know, a junior, junior position, knocking on doors in his campaign. And he said, you're going to feel a part of something bigger and more important than yourself. Try it.

KEILAR: And you met a very important future first lady.

JARRETT: I surely did. Michelle Robinson.

KEILAR: That's right.

JARRETT: Back in 1991.

KEILAR: That's right.

JARRETT: Changed my life.

KEILAR: Valerie Jarrett, thank you so much --

JARRETT: Thank you for having me on.

KEILAR: -- for coming into the studio.

JARRETT: I appreciate it.

KEILAR: We really appreciate it.

A change by the State Department is now stripping the birthright citizenship from the children of some American gay couples.

And more on our breaking news. The top lawyer at the White House outright refusing any requests or demands from Congress. And the head of the Judiciary just responded.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:47:21] KEILAR: Places of worship are often viewed as safe havens, sanctuaries. But recent deadly attacks have lifted that veil of security and they've replaced it with fear. Now church and religious leaders are looking for new ways to protect their congregations.

Our Sara Sidner takes a closer look at worship security and who should fund it.


NOYA DAHAN, CHABAD OF POWAY SYNAGOGUE CONGREGANT: The synagogue's always a safe place to be. We're not supposed to be worried about anything.

It's bruised up.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): But Noya Dahan will always worry now. She was a victim in a deadly attack at her California synagogue.

Her father, who witnessed the attack, wanted to send this message to the president.

ISRAEL DAHAN, FATHER OF NOYA DAHAN: I know Donald Trump, he's supporting Israel, but there's more problem in the U.S. than anywhere in the world. Instead of looking for a problem outside of the country, it's better to look inside the country.

SIDNER: Over the past seven years, deadly attacks by mass shooters on places of worship have been a reoccurring nightmare in the U.S.

In 2012, six people are gunned down at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. That same year, a prayer leader is killed at a church in College Park, Georgia.

In 2015, nine worshippers are slaughtered at a predominantly black church in Charleston.

In 2017, 26 killed in Sutherland Springs, Texas.


SIDNER: And in Antioch, Tennessee, another person is gunned down in church.

In 2018, 11 are murdered in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Six months later, one person is killed at a synagogue in Poway, California.

Police say four of the attacks were perpetrated by men with white supremacist or Neo-Nazi ideals, targeting their victims because of their skin color or their religion.

This pattern of deadly extremism is forcing religious leaders, like Poway's Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, to confront their new reality. YISROEL GOLDSTEIN, RABBI, CHABAD OF POWAY SYNAGOGUE: After the

Pittsburgh event, the Poway Sheriff's Department hosted an active shooting workshop, which we attended.

SIDNER: In his synagogue, everyone but one congregant survived the shooting. He was injured. But he said, if it wasn't for the shooter's gun jamming, a congregant who charged him, and an armed off- duty Border Patrol agent who fired at the suspect, it could have been a bloodbath.

GOLDSTEIN: If we would have had an armed security guard at the door, there's a very good chance the shooter would have been neutralized. Why didn't we? The answer is simple.

SIDNER (on camera): You couldn't afford security.

GOLDSTEIN: There's no budget for it.

SIDNER (voice-over): After that shooting, California's governor pledged $15 million in grants to help religious and community-based nonprofits to strengthen security.

[13:50:03] UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER (voice-over): A total of eight down. One rescued at this time.

SIDNER: After the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history, Pennsylvania's governor is working with the legislature to increase funding for security, for more than $3.6 million in grants, the state secured from DHS since 2014 for Jewish groups.

In 2019, the federal government set aside $60 million in grants for nonprofit organizations. But they must be able to demonstrate they're at high risk of a terror attack.



SIDNER: Carly Pildis writes for "Tablet" magazine, which concentrates on Jewish news and culture.

PILDIS: You know, I feel a sense of loss for what it used to be like for Jews here.

SIDNER: As hate crimes rise, the sense of safety is being stripped away.

PILDIS: Anti-Semitism is a threat. It is a threat to you, even if you are not Jewish. Anti-Semitism has a history of breaking democracy.


SIDNER: Pildis and experts who track anti-Semitism say we are probably not reached the pinnacle of hatred yet. (SINGING)

SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.



KEILAR: Still ahead, denied citizenship. A change at the State Department that could be seen as targeting same-sex couples now putting their kids at the center of a new controversy.


[13:56:03] KEILAR: The Trump administration's interpretation of a federal law is stripping the birth right citizenship from the children of some American gay couples. According to "The Daily Beast," the policy is reportedly preventing U.S. Citizens from claiming citizenship for their children born outside of the states.

The reason, because the child was born via surrogacy or through in- vitro fertilization, the baby is considered born out of wedlock, even it is biologically related to one of the parents.

And the impacts of this change are detailed in this story by "The Daily Beast." The publication interviewing multiple families who are affected.

In one instance, there's two fathers, both U.S. citizens, and cannot get their daughter citizenship because she was born via a surrogate in Canada.

In another instance, these two moms, one U.S. citizen, one not, can only get citizenship for one of their sons because he was the only son carried by the mother with U.S. citizenship. Her other son was carried by her partner. Meaning these two brothers have the same parents, but only one of these brothers is a U.S. citizen.

Scott Bixby is "The Daily Beast" reporter behind this amazing story.

And it is very head-scratching, Scott. So tell us about how you learned about this. And also what you learned in terms of why this policy is being interpreted this way, why this federal law is being interpreted this way.

SCOTT BIXBY, NATIONAL REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, initially, the way that I first learned about this story was a decision by the State Department last week to appeal a decision by a district court judge in California.

And in that case a district court judge found that a bi-national couple, one American father and one Israeli-born father, were able to pass on citizenship to the biological son of the Israeli father because they were married.

There's a 1952 federal law that stipulates that any child born of a married U.S. couple or a married couple where one member of the marriage is an American citizen, then they are entitled to birthright citizenship. There's no biological stipulations or rules dictating DNA tests or anything like that.

And the State Department appealed that decision, now going to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, because they are seeking to rule that the biological standard that they created last summer is the way they will determine birthright citizenship for babies born outside of the United States via surrogacy or other forms of reproductive technology.

KEILAR: In the case of this couple who has two kids, one, they did the same process, using a surrogate in Canada. And this is during the Obama administration. They didn't have a problem with this -- getting the consular record of birth abroad. And then, after this law was interpreted to a different policy under the Trump administration, they had a problem with their second child.

Was the Trump administration targeting same-sex couples? What have you learned about that?

BIXBY: It is hard to say what the Trump administration's goal with this particular view of the federal law in question is. And in part, because the State Department has insisted it is not going to comment on any legal proceedings or questions about the policy while it is working through the court system.

But many of the parents that I've spoken to feel that this interpretation of the INA specifically targets LGBT families.

In part, because, according to them, when you submit records and materials to the State Department seeking a consular report of a birth abroad -- basically functions like a birth certificate for any U.S. citizen born outside of the country -- there are no questions on any of those forms or materials about the nature of how that child came into being. There's no question about, was this baby the result of surrogacy or egg donation or sperm donation.

Which means that they feel, as same-sex couples, their applications stick out like a sore thumb, where they might -- heterosexual couples might have a stamp of approval because there's no question raised about how that child came into being. For same-sex couples, it invites a level of scrutiny.

KEILAR: Scott, it is a very interesting read.

Learn about it at "The Daily Beast."

Thank you, Scott Bixby, for coming on.

BIXBY: Thank you for having me.