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Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) is Interviewed Regarding Trump, Immigration; Sundar Pichai on YouTube Videos and China; Supreme Court Dodges Oregon Case; Officers Draw Guns on Family for Shoplifting. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 17, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): And Congress is -- is holding him accountable. We're going to continue to do what our oversight responsibility tells us to do. I think that they're itching for another election so that he can be deposed from the public housing that he lives in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: If I could switch to immigration. We've spent a lot of time talking about immigration and what's going on at the southern border. The White House, for a while now, has been calling on the House to take up a vote on what they're asking for is $4.5 billion in funding. Most of it, about $3.3 billion, would go toward increased space for the migrants that are apprehended, improving the conditions there. You read that IG's report of how horrific some of the conditions there are at some of these facilities.

"The New York Times" editorial board has called on Congress to, quote, stop dithering and pass emergency funding to deal with this nightmare. Do you agree with Democrats who have, at this point, refused to take it up for a vote, or should Democrats at least vote on this funding.

MEEKS: I think that what we've tried to do is we've tried to negotiate fairly with the administration and with the Senate so that we can get something that's done and not make it a political vote.

HARLOW: No, I hear you, but aside from comprehensive immigration reform, right, which is what you're talking about --

MEEKS: That's correct.

HARLOW: Even a senior administration official says none of this $4.5 billion would go to the wall. Not a dollar to the wall. So do you at least think Democrats should bring this up for a vote?

MEEKS: Well, here, again, the devil's always in the details. And I've learned with this administration and talking to anyone from the administration, you just can't trust what they say. And so therefore, you know, in looking at it and trying to assure -- and we know already we've got members on the -- on the floor from the House who have held up reasonable bills because it did not have funding on the wall.

I don't trust this administration and what they're saying. So in looking at some of the devil in the details of what they're proposing to move forward, it is something that shows me, at any rate, that we need to make -- we should be able to work this thing out and talk. So, to be clear, that we're not talking about building or putting this money in for a wall.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Foreign interference in elections. I don't think it can be underestimated the importance of a sitting U.S. president saying he'd be willing to accept foreign information, information from foreign government sources just a couple of years after we saw Russia use -- weaponized information to influence the 2016 president election.

There's a piece in "The Washington Post" this morning that lays out how all bets are off for the Trump re-election campaign. No limits -- or at least pushing the limits as to what's allowed. And I wonder if practically the Mueller report gave the green light to the Trump campaign to do this by not criminalizing that activity, by not indicting for the Trump campaign's willingness, at least to talk about getting foreign help. That -- is that a practical impact? Whatever you think of Robert Mueller and the work he's done here, is that a practical impact of this report that candidates can take the message, well, he did it, he got away with it.

MEEKS: Well, you know what, that's a danger. I do think that you may need to look at further legislation to make sure that it is clear that -- an unquestionable that that is an illegal activity. It would make --

SCIUTTO: McConnell is blocking any talk of that kind of legislation.

MEEKS: It would make -- it would make -- it seems to me would make common sense. Anyone would know. And if you talk to any reasonable -- any attorney almost, they will tell you that it's a violation of law of what the president has done and continues to do. And so for the sake of making sure that in the future and for future presidents, maybe we need to make sure that it's explicitly put into law. So I think that there's a number of my colleagues are looking at drafting legislation, which seems ridiculous if you have to do that. But given who we have as the president, you've got to prepare now for who could be president, who could be con men, unfortunately.

SCIUTTO: Are you saying the president is willing to break the law on this based on his public comments?

MEEKS: Well, the president has broken the law, I believe. We've just now, you know, got to go -- bring all the evidence to it.

You know, I'm a former prosecutor, so I know that individuals who break the law, but then you've got to bring the evidence so that you can convince a jury, in this case the Senate and others, that he did, in fact, break the law and should be removed from office as a result. So we've got to do that hard work, present that evidence. But, clearly, you, by his own statements, he's immoral and he's unethical. And that's who we have as the president of the United States. Ask, you know, why his word is even good with our allies when you think about what's happening internationally or anything else. And anything that goes on. I know we now have the oversight of what's taking place because you can't trust them.

SCIUTTO: Congressman Meeks, always good to have you on this program.

HARLOW: Thank you for coming in.

MEEKS: Thank you, Jim, Poppy.

HARLOW: All right, ahead for us, what is the line between free speech and hate on YouTube? We ask the Google CEO, next.

[09:34:55] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUNDAR PICHAI, CEO, GOOGLE: Just last quarter we had over 9 million videos and hence it's an ongoing process. But there's more we need to do and we acknowledge that.



HARLOW: All right, welcome back.

From increased regulatory scrutiny to the stream of disinformation and hate on YouTube, Google is no question in the spotlight right now. I traveled to Oklahoma, to one of their data centers, to sit down exclusively with Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and asked him about that and much more, including concerns about user privacy and if Google is once again considering reopening search in China given the government's censorship and escalating human rights concerns there.


HARLOW: From anti-Semitism to harassment of LGBTQ individuals, conspiracy theory videos about the Parkland shooting or Sandy Hook. I mean, fundamentally, Sundar, where do you draw the line with YouTube between hate and free speech.

[09:40:10] SUNDAR PICHAI, CEO, GOOGLE: You know it's a -- it's a line we -- you know, we work hard to get right and, you know, and every few years we feel the need to evolved them because we see changes in how the platform is getting used.

Just last week we have significant revisions to our hate speech policy. (INAUDIBLE) we are very focused on removing harmful content and reducing the spread of what we think of as borderline content.

Just last quarter we (INAUDIBLE) over 9 million videos. And -- so it's an ongoing process. But there's more we need to do and we acknowledge that.

HARLOW: Because, in America, right, you can't yell fire in a crowded theater. And YouTube has really become our theater.

PICHAI: It is. It is the equal end of, you know, in the real world people getting together and talking. That can happen in YouTube as well. But it also allows us an opportunity to enforce rules of the road in a way we weren't being able to before as well. So we can use the forces underlying in YouTube and take them in a positive direction as well, which we are committed to doing.

HARLOW: So when YouTube announced these new rules, that it would take down these videos, that included taking down all of those horrible conspiracy theory videos denying the Sandy Hook massacre. But an attorney representing 10 of the families who have family members who were killed in that said that it's too late to undo the harm and talked about the undue harassment and threat that they had sustained.

I just wonder why it took seven years to realize that those videos shouldn't be up and ads shouldn't be running next to those videos?

PICHAI: You know, I mean, it's heartbreaking for sure. And, you know, all of us, you know, would look back and, you know, be -- we wish we had gotten to the problems sooner than we did. And, you know, there's an acknowledgement we didn't get it right. And -- but I think we became aware, collectively, of some of the pitfalls here. And, you know, since then we've been working hard. We have changed our priorities. And, you know, we have put in a lot of effort there and we'll continue to do that.

HARLOW: Tim Cook recently said, privacy in itself has become a crisis. Do you agree?

PICHAI: I think it's very, very -- you know, given the scale at which information is flowing, I don't think users have a good sense for how their data is being used. And so I think we have put the burden on users to a large extent, and I think we need better frameworks where users get the comfort that they -- that they are in control of their data, how it's used, and they feel like they have agency over it. And so I think it's an important moment for all of us to do better here.

HARLOW: Is Google currently considering reopening search in China?

PICHAI: We have no plans to relaunch search in China.

HARLOW: You were thinking about it. You did do work inside of Google to map out what restarting search in China would look like. Are those conversations going on at all now or is there a zero percent chance that Google will restart search in China in the near term?

PICHAI: There are no plans for us to consider relaunching our search service in China. You know, we've always got that in our (INAUDIBLE) think about serving the next billion users. So, as a company, you know, we -- you know, our mission compass is to provide information. So we -- we evaluate that. You know, but, you know, we would need the right conditions to exist and so, you know, we would do it on a set of principles that matter to us.

HARLOW: And you mentioned conditions. And look at the -- the reason Google pulled out of China in 2010 was the hack and the human rights violations that were found as a result.

But I ask because in 2016 you said, I've also thought Google was for everyone, and that applies to China, too. And you talked about serving Chinese users.

Has something shifted in you, your calculation on your willingness to even explore search in China? Is it the fact that you have, you know, according to State Department, 2 million ethnic -- Muslim ethnic minorities held in camps in China, the Hong Kong protest going on? Is it -- has that shifted, fundamentally, your view?

PICHAI: I mean there are often, you know, competing values. So, you know, we see the benefits we get when we provide information to users. But we don't want information presented in the wrong way to our users as well. And so these are issues we grapple with, you know, across the world to be honest. You know, we comply with laws and regulations. And so, you know, it's always a set of continued conversations we have at Google.

HARLOW: But when you say conditions, it sounds like you're talking about the human rights issues in China, right?

PICHAI: You know, for us, you know, our ability to present ourselves in a way that, you know, users can see as the right (INAUDIBLE) --

HARLOW: Without censorship?

PICHAI: Without censorship, is an important condition there.

HARLOW: So is any level of censorship OK with Google if there were search in China or are you saying it would have to be uncensored by the government.

[09:45:05] PICHAI: You know, I don't want to speculate on a hypothetical situation. We have no plans and, you know, we are not spending time on it -- time on it today.


HARLOW: All right, you can hear that full hour long interview with him in-depth on those issues on my podcast, "Boss Files."

SCIUTTO: Breaking news now out of the U.S. Supreme Court. A number of decisions they are considering today. This one regarding LGBT rights.

Our Jessica Schneider joins us now with more.

Tell us what the court decided here.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Jim and Poppy, the Supreme Court sending a major religious liberty case back down to the lower courts for consideration. This is a case that involves a couple in Oregon. They own a bakery and they refused to make a cake for a same sex couple who was getting married. Sound familiar? Well, that's because it is. It was just one year ago that the Supreme Court found in favor of a baker in Colorado for refusing to make a cake for a same sex couple. The difference here is, in that Colorado case, the Supreme Court ruled very narrowly. They decided that the Colorado civil rights commission had shown improper animus toward the baker's religion and that's why they found for the baker. Now, they are not taking up this case out of Oregon that is very

similar. Instead, they're sending it back to the Oregon Court of Appeals for reconsideration. That's somewhat of a blow to the proponents who wanted the Supreme Court to take up this case. People were hoping that the Supreme Court might step into this issue once again. And instead of the narrow ruling that it issued in Colorado, maybe taking up the larger constitutional question of whether or not businesses can refuse service to same-sex couples on the basis of their religious beliefs.

So the Supreme Court not stepping into that larger question yet. Instead, sending this case back down to the court, the lower court in Oregon. This is somewhat of a win for that couple in Oregon who refused to make the cake. This vacates the decision of the Court of Appeals in Oregon that upheld this $135,000 fine that the couple had to pay for not making this case.

But, again, it dodges that larger constitutional question. But that question will likely come up before the Supreme Court at some point. We have this case out of Oregon. And, Jim and Poppy, we also have a case out of Washington state where the Washington State Supreme Court recently ruled against a florist who refused to make an arrangement for a same sex couple.

So this issue is percolating at the lower courts, but for right now the Supreme Court saying we're not going to take it up. We're going to send it back to the lower court for further consideration.


SCIUTTO: So, Jessica, just because I think folks at home, it's hard to follow when the Supreme Court doesn't take a case --



SCIUTTO: But in this case wipes away the existing opinion. SO the opinion of the lower court went against the baker who refused to serve this gay couple.

SCHNEIDER: Well, to a fine point, Jim --

SCIUTTO: This -- the court has not --

SCHNEIDER: Jim, to a fine point --

SCIUTTO: They have not decided -- OK, one --


SCIUTTO: I mean the question is this, what is the end result for gay couples in terms of LGTB rights here? What's the result from the court's decision here?

SCHNEIDER: There's still confusion, there still remains that question as to whether or not business owners can refuse service for same-sex couples because if the business owner has these religious beliefs that they don't believe in gay marriage. It's still a question out there. All of these decisions, including the one last year, ruled on very narrow grounds. This decision, really, it just sends it back to the lower courts and the Supreme Court and not ruled on that broader question. A lot of the lower courts have said, you cannot do this. If you are a business in the public sphere, you cannot refuse service on the basis of your religious beliefs.


SCHNEIDER: But the Supreme Court has yet to weigh in and that continues here. We'll continue to wait and see what the highest court in the land will eventually say, but it won't be next term.


SCIUTTO: Yes. interesting, with all these highly political questions coming before the court --

HARLOW: I know.

SCIUTTO: There have been a couple of cases here where the Supreme Court has said, listen, we're just not going to do it right now.

HARLOW: Not right now.




HARLOW: But we will get some really important decisions in just a few minutes.


SCIUTTO: We will indeed. Jessica Schneider's up there at the court. We're going to follow all this news.

Other news we're following, a family calls the moments caught on video terrifying. And if you watch this video, it really is. Police pointed guns at a dad, pregnant mother and two small children.


SCIUTTO: It all started over a doll the little girl allegedly took from a store.


[09:53:39] HARLOW: All right, so the mayor of Phoenix this morning is apologizing to a family there after newly released video shows police officers pointing guns and yelling profanities at a man and a pregnant woman with two small children. SCIUTTO: Yes, I mean cops are trained in de-escalation of force. Watch this, though. The family says this started when their four-year-old daughter took a doll from a store but her parents had no idea she had taken it. Listen to what happened when officers confronted that family last month.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're gonna get shot!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes! Get out now!


SCIUTTO: CNN's Scott McLean has been following this story.

So the family preparing to file a $10 million lawsuit against the city here. What do we know about next steps?

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jim and Poppy. So, first off, this incident actually happened about three weeks ago, but the cell phone videos that caught it weren't released until last week. And so in the videos you can actually see officers putting handcuffs on Dravon Ames and then pushing him up against the police vehicles and actually kicking one of his legs out from under him. You also see officers, as you mentioned, approach the vehicle carrying Ames, his pregnant fiance, Iesha Harper, and their two kids. But there's two things that seem to inflame the situation. One, Harper won't put down -- or put her hands up because she's holding a baby. And, number two, seems the door won't open from the inside. Watch.

[09:55:11] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm gonna (EXPLETIVE DELETED) put a cap right in your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) head.







UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't open. I doesn't open, I promise.

I promise, it doesn't open.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn't open.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't open -- my hands are holding my babies!


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're gonna get shot!



MCLEAN: So just remember, all of this started because of a report of shoplifting from a nearby dollar store. According to police, Ames did admit to stealing from that store. And as you mentioned, the four- year-old girl walked out with a doll.

But the couple were detained. They weren't actually charged with anything, though. So a lot of people in Phoenix are wondering why police were so heavy-handed in this incident, especially considering this was literally a petty crime.

Now, the Phoenix mayor, Kate Gallego, called the situation beyond upsetting. The police chief said that she was disturbed by the action and the language of one of her officers.

Now, the department is no longer commenting because of this pending $10 million litigation. And at least two of the officers, though, have been put on desk duty while the department does its own internal investigation.


SCIUTTO: Scott McLean, thanks very much.

HARLOW: An 11-year-old boy protecting his family home as he stops a home invasion with a machete. This remarkable story ahead.