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Speaker Pelosi Waiting For The Right Time For Impeachment Talks; President Trump Serious About Imposing Tariffs On All Mexican Products; Hate In The USA; Dallas Shaken By Strings Of Deadly Attacks Against Transgender Women Of Color. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired June 4, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
President Trump may have a rebellion on his hands. Multiple Republican senators railing against his threat in tariffs on all goods coming from Mexico.
The president insisting he is not bluffing. And that the first round of tariffs of 5 percent of Mexican goods will take effect starting Monday. Trump wants to use the tariffs to pressure Mexico into stopping undocumented immigrants from Central America from crossing the U.S. border.
The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell flat out saying today that Republicans do not support the move.
But the president firing back, saying it would be foolish for Republicans to try to block the tariffs.
So, lots to discuss here. Catherine Rampell, Elaina Plott, Ana Navarro, Mike Shields will help us along in this discussion.
Good evening to all of you. I appreciate seeing you.
MIKE SHIELDS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good evening.
LEMON: Catherine, I'm going to start with you. You call these -- you call this mind numbingly idiotic tariffs. OK. Why don't you say how you really feel next time?
CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
LEMON: So, lay it out for me. How much trouble could this cause?
RAMPELL: So, there are numb reasons why these are really stupid to impose. The first one of course is that Americans are going to paying these tariffs. We have multiple studies now showing that the cause of tariffs imposed already on China and other countries is being paid by American consumers.
The second reason, of course, is it's going to screw up massively American supply chains, auto, the auto industry in particular is heavily reliant on unfettered cross border access. You know, a lot of stuff goes back and forth many times over the border.
And it's going to hurt our ability to negotiate and really hard with China, with the E.U., with Japan because we have turned around after signing a deal with Mexico, the USMCA. Turning around and slapping tariffs on them.
And of course, if we do succeed in wrecking the Mexican economy, like what makes Trump think that that's go doing reduce the number of people trying to cross the border from Mexico?
LEMON: It's an incentive for them to --
RAMPELL: Yes. Yes. So, on basically every metric this is going to backfire.
LEMON: So, Mike, I got to bring you in here. And the basic question is why is the president pushing this. Because Republicans are not happy with this. After all tariffs are taxes and we know how the GOP feels about tax hikes. Why is he doing it, why is he pushing it?
SHIELDS: Because there is a crisis on our border. And he's running out of options of other things that he can possibly do to stop it. I think Democrats won't even acknowledge there's a crisis. The media doesn't want to admit there's a crisis.
If this was a Democratic president there would be cameras down there every day talking about how many people are coming through. Records that are being set with people coming to the border completely dangerous for them, dangerous for the people coming, dangerous for our border agents and he's getting exasperated. Because there's nothing that they can do --
LEMON: Mike, I have to say there are cameras there every day and people are reporting especially on the children who are being separated, the children who are dying.
SHIELDS: Right. Of course.
LEMON: People have been acknowledging the humanitarian crisis along the border for some time now including the news media and including Democrats.
SHIELDS: Don, Democrats flat out said there is no crisis.
SHIELDS: This is just made up by the president.
LEMON: Let's not get side tracked. is this, even if you, even if I say that you're right about all off that, is this the fix? SHIELDS: Look, I think he -- it could be because what he's going to
try to do is wake the Mexican government up and say look, we need help and he's also waking Americans up to it. In the end I think we have to care of this. I don't think Mexico can take care of it.
I think he could put tariffs on them and they would say sure, we're going to do what you want and they would still not be good at it and won't be able to actually stop this from happening because they're not capable of it.
In the end we have to be responsible for our own borders.
SHIELDS: And this is an issue he keeps bringing up for that reason. Until the country wakes up and says yes, we all need to do this. Democrats and Republicans got to come together and come up with a solution to protect our border.
LEMON: OK. So, listen. Elaina, I want to bring you in here. You have some new reporting out about why Trump made this tariff announcement. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's comments were dominating the news cycle last week, and here's what you write.
You say whenever a negative story comes around, Trump's instinct is to pivot to immigration or trade. A senior campaign adviser told me it's kind of like his safety blanket. He knows that Fox the conservative media will immediately coalesce and change what the base is talking about.
Aides say that the Mexico tariff decisions and its developments to come represent a way for trump to channel his anxieties and feel in control.
[23:05:03] That's a pretty big step to take to change the news cycle and to change the subject. Is this announcement a sign of just how troubled Trump is by Mueller?
ELAINA PLOTT, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. And it's not just by Mueller. But one thing we know pretty well about Donald Trump at this point is that, as he knows (Ph) it sounds, he really is a home body and develops a lot of anxiety ahead of these foreign trips.
And you now, aides were quite clear with him I've been told ahead of his trip that he was not going to be received warmly in London and that ended up being true of course before he even got there.
Mayor Khan of London wrote a piece in The Observer saying that he was essentially the most prominent vehicle of the far-right. And of course, when Trump landed in London that day, fired off tweets immediately about this.
So, he was feeling quite defensive even before this trip. And what people in and outside of the White House were pretty clear to me about was that by, you know, making a threat to levy tariffs. This is the one issue that Trump cares about probably more than any other going back decades.
He's had pretty strong opinions about trade. It was a way for him to feel that he can rest control of the narrative once again. So, it's no surprise that in the U.K. right now he's still tweeting about these Mexico tariffs.
LEMON: So, Ana Navarro, you know immigration and trade, two of the big issues that help to get this president elected, maybe got him elected. So, does this strategy make sense to you?
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. It makes no sense to me as an American consumer and taxpayer and somebody who is going to end up paying the cost like every other American of these tariffs, whether it's China or Mexico.
It also makes absolutely no sense to me as a Republican, traditional Republican, what used to be a Republican. Look, when a baby is born, they take a look and say OK, you a boy, you a girl. And then they ask the baby. Are you a free trader? Yes. Are you against tariffs? Yes. Are you for lower taxes? Yes. OK, baby, you are a Republican.
It is part of the DNA of Republicans to be free traders, to be anti- tariffs. So, you know, for Republicans to somehow be rationalizing, some of them, you know, this move by Trump, I'm telling you it is like I'm watching a remake, a bad remake of the political version of invasion of the body snatchers.
It is absolutely removing the soul, the DNA, the spine, the brain, practically every organ that a Republican should have is getting removed by Donald Trump and replaced by straw.
LEMON: I wasn't sure where you were going with the baby thing but you brought it around. I got to give you credit for that.
NAVARRO: Yes. They look at it and they say, OK, are you a free trader? Yes. OK, baby, you're a Republican, you know. Are you for a welfare assisted higher taxes, OK, baby, you're a Democrat. So, for any Republicans to somehow rationalize and justify and bend themselves into shaves to defend tariffs flies against a conviction of a Republican.
LEMON: Yes. Catherine --
SHIELDS: I think most Republicans are for border security too.
RAMPELL: Still not clear how those things are related.
SHIELDS: So, they are taking to --
NAVARRO: Right. What does one thing have to do with the other? LEMON: That's the whole point of it though. What is one thing have to
do with the other. And that was a question, Catherine that I originally asked. What do tariffs have to do with border security? That is -- that is the big question --
RAMPELL: I don't know. You know, this is the potentially hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of question here. That it's not clear how punishing American consumers and American manufacturers and American farmers and all of the rest of Trump country, because they're going to be the ones who are hurting the most. How that is going to address --
LEMON: But Mike did say it gets --
RAMPELL: -- any of the objectives.
LEMON: But Mike said it gets the attention. I mean, I'm sure it does -- but dos it, you know, I don't know. You say it could be politically risky for the GOP to confront the president on trade and immigration.
LEMON: Explain that.
RAMPELL: Yes. I mean, look, if there is one thing as Ana points out, if there's one thing that Republicans are supposed to stand for its lower taxes and free trade. And clearly that's not the case if they don't confront Trump on this issue.
But on the other hand, Trump is still a very popular figure within the Republican Party, so if they do confront him, even if it is, you know, the more principal ting to do, even if it's the more long term, politically wise thing to do, right, because they don't want to lose reelection themselves because all of their voters have lost their jobs, you know, it could still cause a lot of ire in the short run.
RAMPELL: And so, the real question is, what other options do they have and one possibility you could imagine would be something like, because Trump also maybe didn't realize how much pushback he was going to be getting from his own party about this.
[23:10:01] That Mexico offers up relatively painless, relatively meaningless concessions. Trump says aha, I declare a victory and then he doesn't impose the tariffs, and then you know, everybody can save face and no confrontation ever that needs to be had.
LEMON: Yes. Mike, I want to --
(CROSSTALK) NAVARRO: But listen, I mean, Trump is right and not realizing that he was going to face any backlash from Republicans because for two years they've been looking the other way as he does things that fly in the face of what Republicans stand for.
NAVARRO: But in this case, you've got Republican senators in some of those border states. Look, you've got John Cornyn is the majority whip, the second most important senior Republican in the U.S. Senate and he understands how much this is going to affect the State of Texas and he has an election coming up.
LEMON: I'm glad you mention Republican senator. Let's play this from Rand Paul today. Mike, I'll have you take on the other side.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: I really do think that there may be enough numbers of people who think that we shouldn't be allowing one person to make this decision, that we actually may have enough to override a veto on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Do you think there are enough Republicans who would actually go against the president to override a veto, Mike?
SHIELDS: You know, I don't know. There could be. There's been reporting of that. I think Mitch McConnell is hinting at that. And I think that does put him in a tough position because Republicans are for border security.
And I think this is a frustration on the president's part that there is something significant happening on our border. He's not going to get any help from Democrats in Congress to do anything about it, and so he's looking for things that he can do from the executive office to try and -- to try and effect change on the border to help solve the problem.
And you know, he has been actually talking about this for a lot longer than before the London trip. He's actually been talking about doing this for a quite a while and I think people in his administration have been advising him of the risks of this and he finally said enough is enough. We got to do something.
SHIELDS: And so, look, his brand is to do something. Politicians get to office and then just go out; we can't do that. No one likes it. People in my own party won't like it and they just don't do anything and that's why Donald Trump got elected.
LEMON: But I mean, is it the question, though, Mike, I know you've dance around a little bit and I understand where you're coming from but the thing, is it the right thing to do? There's nothing wrong with saying, hey, listen, he's bringing light to it. It's an issue for him but this isn't the way to do. I wish he would think of some other way to do it rather this one.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Because even the folks in his own party --
SHIELDS: What other --
LEMON: -- are saying. You mentioned you said that he is not getting any help from Democrats. On this issue he's not getting help from Republicans either.
RAMPELL: Or he could work with the countries that are sending all of these refugees --
LEMON: I got to get Elaina.
RAMPELL: -- to the United States.
LEMON: I got to get Elaina before we run out of time. You say that these spontaneous policy proposals are using more of a short-term comfort for Trump. So is there a chance that these tariffs don't end up materializing.
LEMON: You know, Catherine, you sort of eluded to it earlier. But go on.
PLOTT: Yes. I think to build off of exactly what Catherine said. What my reporting tells me is that when it comes to Trump kind of making these, as you put it, Don, really drastic threats for -- they're less, you know, an indication of something that will actually materialize than they are a way for Trump to feel like he is kind of the tough man that he wants to be, a person of bombast in a moment when he thinks maybe that he is getting the short stick from the media or something of that nature.
PLOTT: So, I think it's entirely possible that June 10th creeps up on us. And we are no longer even talking about this anymore.
PLOTT: So, it really depends at this point, you know, what Jared Kushner and Mexican officials can talk about. But again, as so often happens with Donald Trump a week from now we could be on to something else entirely.
LEMON: I think your prediction is probably pretty good.
NAVARRO: Well, listen, when you look at these economic policies --
LEMON: I got -- I got to go, Ana.
NAVARRO: -- you realize why he went bankrupt five times and lost more money --
LEMON: I've got to run.
NAVARRO: -- than any other American.
LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it. More Democrats are speaking out in favor of impeachment. But so far Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding firm and resisting impeachment proceedings. How long can she hold her party in check?
[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holding the line in spite of growing calls from her party to impeach President Trump. But how long can she hold that long with more and more Democrats saying they are ready to move forward?
Let's discuss now. Joe Lockhart is here. And Allan Lichtman. Allan is the author of "The Case for Impeachment." So, two very good people to discuss this.
Good evening to both of you. So, Allan, I'm going to start with you. The Democrats, the dilemma well summarized by Congressman Jim McGovern. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D-MA): Quite frankly, we're beyond talking about this in terms of political implications. I mean, we have to do what's right. And people will look back on these years from now and decide whether we behaved honorably in the way we should living up to our constitutional responsibilities or did we play this just solely -- you know, in a very political way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But Allan, to be clear, McGovern is only advocating for the judiciary committee starting an inquiry to formally look into whether or not impeachment is warranted, not to begin proceedings. In your opinion, is this the right first step?
ALLAN LICHTMAN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Absolutely. Democrats should not be consulting with political crystal ball to make a decision about whether to investigate a rogue president.
Impeachment is the proper moral and constitutional means for checking a dangerous president and constraining future presidents for misdeeds.
[23:20:01] It begins with an impeachment investigation and it strikes at president's power and his legacy. And besides, the Democratic crystal ball is badly cracked. The Democratic leadership is making the same mistake they made in 2016 believing the polls and the conventional wisdom and thinking they can easily defeat Donald Trump.
My prediction system the keys to the White House that correctly forecast Donald Trump's victory tell a different story. The key's probe the real dynamics of presidential elections by looking at the strength and performance of the party holding the White House.
There are 13. It takes six to count out the White House party. Right now, Donald Trump is only down three. Therefore, politically it is essential that the Democrats nail down a fourth key, the scandal key through an impeachment investigation and public hearings.
And I think through articles of impeachment and then through a public trial in the Senate regardless of what the senators then do, you will have turned the scandal key with all that, just as all the publicity turned it against Richard Nixon.
That would greatly limit Donald Trump's cushion and it could trigger the loss of other keys like a real contest for his re-nomination or a third party.
LICHTMAN: More conventionally, are Democrats so afraid of riling up Donald Trump's base that they are willing to abandon their own much larger base that wants them to do the right thing?
LEMON: And Trump's base is already riled up. he's talking to you. Go.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Well, listen, I don't think there's a Democrat any place whose smart who doesn't think the Trump base is going to turn out in the next election. That's not what this is about. It's about the timing of how you do this. You don't get to start impeachment and then stop and start again.
So, what I think Pelosi is doing is trying to build this case both for own caucus. I mean, she doesn't get to tell the caucus. Most of her caucus is not for moving now and with the American public. There's no guarantee that Mitch McConnell will ever even do a trial in the Senate. He doesn't have to. It's not constitutionally mandated and he's proven that he can make up the rules as --
LEMON: But Allan is saying regardless of what the Senate does, they have the constitutional -- they should be -- they should at least, and the moral --
LEMON: -- prerogative or reason for doing it.
LOCKHART: We're talking about constitutional and moral and Mitch McConnell in the same sentence. So, there's an error in there. Just ask Merrick Garland on that.
But I think what Pelosi is smart. She is building the case, whether this happens or not, you know, we'll find out. You have to remember none of this oversight would have been happening right now if the Democrats hadn't taken -- retaken control of the House.
Those 40 new members are what she's most worried about, you know. If they lose their reelection because there's a backlash against impeachment, we're back to no oversight at all.
So, I think, you know, my view is they need to get started, they need to get started quickly. They are going to start with John Dean next week.
LOCKHART: My guess is they will get to the point of impeachment.
LOCKHART: But they ought to do this slowly and carefully and not because activists are pushing it.
LEMON: So, I get what you're saying. Activists and also some of the more progressive members of the party.
LEMON: OK. So, this is impeachment support for -- public support is now at 41 percent. Right? So, it appears that it is growing, I would imagine, right. But you said that the public needs to be fully informed.
Allan, I'm wondering if you agree with that because you point out that when the Watergate hearings began in May of 1973, that less than 20 percent of American supported impeaching President Nixon.
And that number nearly tripled just over a year later. But there wasn't a cable TV then, there was no Twitter. There was no social media, there was no Russian trolls and on and on.
You say there's a moral case here. Don't worry about the political blowback, but you have these other factors that you didn't have then.
LICHTMAN: Well, I think there is not only a moral case here, which I think clearly overrides all of this wishy washy political calculations built out of fear. But I do think there was a political case to be made as well.
I've already made it but let me elaborate here. You don't start the process, as we pointed out with Nixon. He was at 18 percent in terms of the public wanting to impeach him. You bring the public along through the investigation. It won't work with scattered investigations in six or seven different committees.
That plays right into Donald Trump's hands because what is he a master at? Deflection, distraction, and obstruction.
[23:25:00] When you have a formal and focused inquiry like you did on Watergate in a single venue then you are much better positioned to bring the public along.
LEMON: If I can just --
LICHTMAN: Also --
LEMON: If I can just quickly here.
LICHTMAN: Let me finish. Let me finish.
LEMON: I'm running out of time, Allan. With all due respect, I'm running out of time.
LEMON: I'm running out of time and I want to get this in.
LEMON: Listen, because, and we've you on before to talk about this. We'll have you on again to talk about it.
LEMON: But if you look at what happened with the Mueller report. If you look at what happened with some of the town halls there are people in those town halls who only watch the conservative media, they had no idea that there was anything negative in the Mueller report when it concerns President Trump.
If you start impeachment hearings, conservative media will have to cover that as well. Even conservatives and Trump supporters will start to learn what was actually in the Mueller report. Do you disagree with that, Joe?
LOCKHART: I don't disagree. I actually agree with what Allan is saying. The Senate Watergate hearings were not impeachment hearings.
LEMON: Got it.
LOCKHART: They were hearings to educate the American public. The House Judiciary Committee can and will start that. And will make a judgment, but you do need to bring the public along. Otherwise, we'll make the mistake the Republicans made in 1998 by trying to jam this through, which didn't work.
LEMON: Allan, I got to go but if you can do it quick, I'll give you the last word.
LICHTMAN: Yes, real quick. You don't have a second select committee and you're not going to get it. LEMON: Yes.
LICHTMAN: The venue now is the House Judiciary Committee. That is the venue by which you begin the impeachment inquiry. Nixon start at 18 percent public call for impeachment. it went to over 50. He began at 67 percent public approval. It went to 25 percent because you had focused hearings first in the Senate select committee and then through the House Judiciary Committee. Now you only have one choice.
LEMON: Yes. Thank you both. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.
[23:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: House law makers grill federal law enforcement officials at a hearing on white supremacy today, questioning the level of federal resources and attention provided to preventing violence by white supremacists. At the hearing, a DHS official acknowledged that the federal government is not doing enough on domestic terror prevention.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH NEUMANN, ASSISTANT HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We know we're not doing enough. Part of the reason we haven't done enough is because things have not -- it's bureaucratic, it's boring. Things haven't been institutionalized. In order for government to work, you have to institutionalize it.
You either need to authorize it through Congress, or you need to get it in executive order or National Security Presidential Memoranda. That was never done in the previous administration, and now we're working to figure out how do we do that so the budget process can work and we can get proper funding for prevention efforts moving forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So just there, DHS Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Neumann admits that the Trump administration is not doing enough. She also says the administration is trying to do more to institutionalize resources to combat extremist violence. That's a start.
But later at that same hearing, Neumann acknowledged that the Trump administration is not going to continue an Obama-era grant program that directs millions of dollars of DHS funds to organizations working to combat violent extremism. Those grants are expected to expire this summer and will not be renewed, despite the fact that white supremacy is a rising threat.
So why would the Trump administration do this, especially when they admit that they are not doing enough? Because like I said, this is a growing threat and there are facts to back it up.
The Anti-Defamation League, an organization focused on tracking extremist activity, found that white supremacists accounted for 78 percent of the extremists-related fatalities in 2018. That's up from 59 percent in 2017. The Center for Strategic and International Studies says that the number of terrorist attacks in the U.S. by far-right perpetrators has risen over the past decade and has quadrupled between 2016 and 2017.
And in the past two years, we have all seen several high-profile incidents involving white nationalists. There was a deadly Unite the Right white supremacist march in Charlottesville in 2017, and last year shooting by white nationalists at Pittsburgh Tree of Life synagogue that left 11 people dead.
It's no secret that hate in America is a serious problem. And for many, including members of Congress at the hearing today, it's personal. I want you to listen to Democratic Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib recounting a message she received after the deadly New Zealand attack just a few weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): -- when you get something like this. "Attention, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and rag heads Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, I was totally excited and pleased when I heard about 49 Muslims were killed in many -- many more were wounded in New Zealand. This is a great start. Let's hope and pray that it continues here in the good old USA. The only good Muslim is a dead one."
How is that enough -- not enough to fall under domestic terrorism, if they're targeting solely based on my faith and others in saying that 'a good Muslim is a dead one' obviously directed to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Today's hearing, the first step in what could be a sweeping process to combat rising white supremacist violence in our own country. But what is the next step? What is the next step? And are officials acting fast enough? That's the question. We'll dig into it, next.
[23:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: So Congress holding a hearing today on the rising threat of white supremacy. Federal law enforcement officials got a grilling but is enough being done to combat deadly extremist violence?
Let's discuss now. Midwin Charles is here, Keith Boykin, Juliette Kayyem.
Good evening. An important topic. I'm so glad you guys are on to talk to me about it. Juliette, I'm going to start with you because a DHS official says that the administration is not doing enough -- I played the sound bite there -- to prevent domestic terror. What do you think of this admission?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think it's important. I think there are four key areas that we need to address. The first of course is the law. Do we want a domestic terrorism law and what are the implications of that? The second is bureaucracy, as the DHS person said. It's odd that she blames the Obama administration as if they haven't been in power for three years, but you need a bureaucracy to be focusing on this issue. The third is amplification and the extent to which we let social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter amplify the hatred.
[23:40:03] And then the fourth, which was not mentioned in the hearing, is of course Donald Trump. And the use of leadership, so the fourth of leadership, and in terms of using our ability to communicate to the American public, not to condone or favor or even in some ways nurture this hatred but to actually condemn it.
Those four things will go very, very far in stopping the rise of white supremacy, which is linked to the entry of Donald Trump on to the national stage in 2016.
LEMON: Yeah. Midwin, does it seem like officials are struggling to address the causes and contain this -- it does, but why?
MIDWIN CHARLES, CRIMINAL DEFENSE AND CIVIL TRIAL ATTORNEY: You know it's difficult to say. I think when we look at the resources that are allocated to dealing with this issue a lot of the resources are allocated towards dealing with international terrorism.
However, as Jamie Raskin rightfully pointed out during the hearing, in the past three years, we've only about -- I think from about 2008 to about 2019, there's only been about 20 percent of murders internationally, whereas when you look at domestic, it's been about 70 percent.
So the number is much higher and yet there doesn't seem to be a correlation with respect to the amount of energy and amount of resources being done towards that.
LEMON: Keith, I think we were on to talk about this. Remember in March when they asked the president whether he thought that white supremacy or extremist, it was on the rise, this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems. I guess if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's the case. I don't know enough about it yet. They are just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing, a terrible thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So if the president doesn't see it as a spike or a threat, honestly, how does his administration address it?
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: They don't or they do so very poorly. White supremacist attacks are definitely on the rise, according to the ADL. In 2017, we saw an increase. In 2018, we saw a 182 percent increase in white supremacist propaganda. And the consistent theme that we're seeing here is the presence of Donald Trump.
I mean, we started having a trend of this actually going back to the Obama administration because a lot of people were outraged that we have a black president. But what the president did in the Obama administration is they tried to talk that down. They tried to encourage people to reach out, to be unified.
What's happened since that time with Trump coming in with the attacks on Muslims and Mexicans, the attacks on African-Americans and black athletes, the rhetoric about the S-hole countries, it's all designed to gin up his base and at the same time it has a detrimental effect and corrosive effect on the discourse in our country and the way people see each other.
LEMON: At this hearing, Juliette, the FBI official talked about how the internet is fuelling the threat. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL MCGARRITY, ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR FOR THE COUNTERTERRORISM DIVISION: I think what you're seeing over the last couple of years is what we've seen with the homegrown violent extremist threat.
With the internet, we are seeing individuals self-radicalized online in both international terrorism and domestic terrorism. They are engaging in radicalizing and mobilizing to violence fairly quickly and they don't necessarily have to be part of a group and they can be someone halfway around the world to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Listen, in the response that you had before, you mentioned the internet. Tell us about your experience with online radicalization.
KAYYEM: Beginning actually with -- let's start with foreign terrorism. We knew for several years now the extent to which groups like ISIS were using platforms like Facebook and others to radicalize individuals not just in the United States but throughout because it was impossible for them to travel often.
So you saw this in Europe. You also saw this in the United States. The idea that it's different in white supremacy is ridiculous. Of course it's the same radicalization process. Now, the platforms were pretty rigorous in getting a lot of the stuff when it came to foreign terrorism and Islamic terrorism to be specific off of their platforms.
They are much more reluctant to do that because of First Amendment or concerns that it will get into political speech. But they have to start treating them as the same because the tools of radicalization are the same. These are isolated individuals, willing or able to be radicalized and then have access to weapons to kill lots of people.
And the more that they become frustrated, so to speak -- you know, you think about people that have hope in Donald Trump who now realize that life is not changing under him, right, the coal miners or the farmers, whoever, right? That frustration will then be -- could be radicalized. And so these platforms are -- act as if they have no agency when it comes to the stuff. And I think that's starting to be exposed.
[23:44:56] They absolutely have agency in terms of what's on their platforms and then what is being amplified through their super squirrely metrics (ph) on what gets amplified and what doesn't.
CHARLES: I was just going to say, just to follow up with what he was saying with respect to the rhetoric that we've heard from Donald Trump in terms of white supremacy and hatred and bigotry. But what I think is also important to point out, it is not just rhetoric, it is actual violence.
We saw during the campaign Donald Trump make many references to violence to people that were in the audience, right? Remember when he said I'd punch him in the face? You know, he was very specific. It is not just rhetoric. It's actual conversations regarding violence and I think it's important to mention both things.
LEMON: Yeah. Thank you all. I appreciate your time. Let's hope something comes of all of this. We appreciate it.
Dallas is shaken by the killings of three transgender women of color in less than a year along with a non-fatal stabbing. What's behind the string of attacks? I'm going to talk to police officials. That's next.
[23:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: The Dallas Police Department is investigating a series of deadly attacks against transgender women of color. Three women killed since last fall. Over the weekend, the body of 26-year-old Chynal Lindsey was found in a Dallas reservoir. On May 18th, 22-year-old Muhlaysia Booker was shot to death. She previously had been assaulted by a mob. But police say there is no evidence linking the assault to her murder.
And back in October, 29-year-old Brittany White was found shot to death in her vehicle. In addition, a 26-year-old transgender woman was stabbed just this past April. She survived and was able to give police a description of her attacker.
So let's talk more about these cases now with Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall and Major Vincent Weddington. We appreciate you coming on to talk about this story and giving it some light. Thank you so much. Chief, I'm going to start with you.
RENEE HALL, CHIEF, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Thank you.
LEMON: What kind of connections do you see with these attacks on transgender women? Are you treating this as a potential serial issue, serial killer?
HALL: Well, we have not been able to substantiate that at this particular time, and we are actively and aggressively turning over all possible leads relative to these incidents. If we just take you back, you mentioned as far back as October of 2018, but we'll take you back to May of 2018, almost a year ago, we also had another transgender female who was Latina who was also murdered as well.
And so what we recognize is that there are individuals in our community who are transgender, predominantly black females and one Latina, who have been victims of homicide. We are doing everything that we possibly can to ensure that we are searching for the individuals that are responsible.
LEMON: Major Weddington, what kind of evidence are you looking at? What should citizens be vigilant about?
VINCENT WEDDINGTON, MAJOR, DALLAS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, citizens should be vigilant when it comes to their personal safety. They should not travel alone. They should be cognizant of their surroundings. They should not get into cars with strangers. They should make sure that they're around people that they know.
So we want to make sure that the community in Dallas, the transgender community, is aware of these safety tips and they heed to these safety tips.
LEMON: Yeah. Chief, what led your department to reach out to the FBI for help after this latest killing?
HALL: Well, what we wanted to make sure is that we tapped into the resources of the bureau. We know that they have access to profilers and they also have a national footprint and platform and they would be able to let us know if this is happening anywhere else throughout the state of Texas or throughout the world as a whole. So, we wanted to make sure that we had all hands on deck.
LEMON: You know, it just dawned on me that we're doing this story -- we're in pride month. It's not the reason we did it. We just wanted to bring attention to this particular story. But, you know, it is pride month for the LGBTQ community.
As part of your outreach to the LGBTQ community, your police department is scheduled to hold a town hall on Thursday. Some activists in the community and community members feel that the rising violence against transgender women has not been taken seriously. What is your department going to do to address that concern?
HALL: Well, we -- we really don't want them to feel that way. We want everyone to know in our community and outside of our community that the Dallas Police Department has worked very hard to build relationships. We are working with Abounding Prosperities, which is a non-profit organization that focuses on transgender women and making sure that they have resources.
We are working with the resource center in Dallas to ensure that we are communicating and providing information. We also have an LGBTQ liaison in the police department who is assigned to our community affairs unit in order to give her a larger platform and give more resources to the LGBTQ community.
So, we just want everyone to know that we are serious about this crime as we are all crimes in the city of Dallas.
LEMON: And major, I have 10, 15 seconds left. I'll give you the last word here. What are you hoping to hear from the community? How can they help you in these investigations?
WEDDINGTON: We need the community to reach out to us. We need the transgender community in Dallas to reach out to the Dallas Police Department.
[23:55:05] There is no lead that is insignificant. There is something that you may know that can turn this case and open it wide up. So, reach out to the Dallas Police Department's homicide unit with any information that you may have.
LEMON: Chief Hall, Major Weddington, thank you for your time. I really appreciate you coming on CNN and talking about this. Thanks so much.
HALL: Thank you so much.
WEDDINGTON: Thank you.
LEMON: And thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.