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Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) On Iran's Downing Of A U.S. Drone In International Airspace; 72 Philadelphia Officers On Leave Over Alleged Racist Posts; Pulse Of The People: Lifelong Democratic Voters On Trump And 2020 Race. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 20, 2019 - 07:30   ET


[07:30:00] SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): -- United States is going to keep its word.

So, we need to create, I think, an environment where both sides -- particularly, at this point, the Iranians believe that it is time to come to the negotiation table. Apparently, it's not that time yet, so --


HIRONO: -- apparently, these calculations can happen --

CAMEROTA: Last night --

HIRONO: -- and I'm very concerned.

CAMEROTA: -- on television, the president said that with Iran, there's nothing to worry about. He doesn't worry about a thing. Let me play this for you.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST, "THE SEAN HANNITY SHOW": As you look at the geopolitical workup there -- Iran, Russia, China -- tell me your concerns.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't worry about a thing. Everything is under control.

The Iran deal that was made by President Obama paid $150 billion -- paid $1.8 billion in cash. I terminated that.

And Iran is a much different country. I will tell you, much different today than when I took over. When I took over it looked like there was no stopping them. Right now they've got problems. But we'll see what happens.

HANNITY: Would you say they never get nukes? They never get nuclear weapons?

TRUMP: I would say, if I were you, don't worry about a thing.


CAMEROTA: Now, in fairness, Senator, that was hours earlier before Iran shot down the drone.

But what do you think about the president's message to Americans -- don't worry about a thing?

HIRONO: I would feel much more reassured if we actually had in place a secretary of Defense in the order of Jim Mattis.

There are a lot of things that the president says that raises my eyebrows as to whether or not what he's saying is actually truthful or accurate, so there are those concerns.

I'm glad that he thinks that there's nothing to worry about. Maybe that's his perspective. But I think if you were to talk to perhaps people in the Intel Community or people at Central Command, is that why -- there's nothing to worry about? Is that why we're sending 1,000 more troops to the Middle East?

CAMEROTA: Well, I was just handed this statement from CENTCOM and I'll just read it to you.

It says, "U.S. Central Command can confirm that a U.S. aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz at approximately 11:35 p.m. on June 19th, 2019."

So, according to the Pentagon, this was international airspace.


CAMEROTA: So do you think that this requires some sort of response today beyond a verbal response from the U.S.?

HIRONO: Well, anytime we engage in what I would call a kinetic response, which is basically to attack something, to shoot a missile or something, it can quickly escalate. When either side in this kind of a situation engages in kinetic activity it could lead very much to -- it could lead to an escalation and that we could end up confronting a situation of war. And let us hope that that's not where we're going or what's going to happen.


HIRONO: So, miscalculations can happen in a situation like this. Meanwhile, we have a president who says there's nothing to worry about.

CAMEROTA: Yes. You were talking about the fact that we do not have a Secretary of Defense.


CAMEROTA: So, the Acting Secretary of Defense -- as you know, Patrick Shanahan was caught up in this ugly episode of past domestic violence involving an ex-wife.

You know, you voted to confirm him --


CAMEROTA: -- and your committee, Armed Services, voted to confirm him.


CAMEROTA: So do you bear some responsibility for not having done all the due diligence to figure this out?

HIRONO: The vetting is to be done by the FBI. Clearly, they did not do a thorough vetting. And believe me, the kind of vetting that gets done for somebody who is up for a deputy position apparently is different and I would say there's a difference in scale.

Now, if he was going to be nominated, which has been withdrawn, to be Secretary of Defense -- following somebody like Jim Mattis, particularly -- we want to make sure that he's thoroughly vetted, and he was not thoroughly vetted.

And this is an administration that does not thoroughly vet the people that they push forward for leadership positions. It's one of the reasons, I think, that there are so many acting secretaries and acting people all over the place because we do not have confirmation hearings for people who are in an acting capacity.

And, as Shanahan has been Acting Defense Secretary for six months -- as far as I'm concerned, the next Department of Defense secretary, whether acting or not, should have to come for a confirmation hearing and that vetting process should be complete. And it is generally not in the case of this administration. We all know that.

CAMEROTA: All right. Senator Mazie Hirono, thank you very much for taking time --

HIRONO: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: -- to be on NEW DAY with all of this breaking news. We appreciate it.

HIRONO: Good morning.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. As Alisyn said, moments ago, breaking news.

We just got a response from the U.S. military on this Iranian attack on a U.S. drone. We're pressing the Pentagon for more information.

Plus, Russia and Saudi Arabia being held accountable for a series of lies. A reality check, next.


[07:39:03] BERMAN: New this morning, Russia and Saudi Arabia being held accountable for atrocities. We're talking about the shoot down of MH17 and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But it's worth remembering the (INAUDIBLE) of lies, disinformation, and finger-pointing they engaged in so we can spot it the next time a regime tries to get away, literally, with murder.

John Avlon with a reality check -- John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, sometimes justice delayed is not justice denied. Authoritarian regimes try to get away with murder through outright lies and disinformation campaigns. They attack the credibility of investigators and loudly proclaim their innocence, but the truth eventually comes out.

And yesterday, we saw the results in definitive reports on two of the defining crimes of our times.

The first was the shoot down of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine, killing 298 innocent civilians. The missile was Russian; the shooters believed to be Ukrainian separatists backed by the Kremlin.

The second was the murder of "Washington Post" columnist Jamal Khashoggi. His grizzly execution was shrugged off by the man suspected to have ordered it, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, and all but excused by President Trump.

[07:40:09] And you know the stories, but do you remember the litany of lies that were spewed as the news unfolded? Well, calling out those lies is also part of the process of accountability.

Now, just before MH17 was hit, video showed a Russian missile system moving across the border, and then shipped back to Russia minus one missile just hours later. There was intercepted radio traffic of the rebels discovering they had mistakenly shot down a passenger jet.

Now, despite all of this, when our colleague Chris Cuomo traveled to interview the rebel leader, he was greeted by an eye roll heard around the world and told it was all fake news.


ALEXANDER BORODAI, LEADER, SEPARATIST REBELS, UKRAINE (through translator): It is very simple to disprove it. All of the information that comes through the Internet, in my opinion, is practically all lies.


AVLON: Putin and his Kremlin cronies denied having anything to do with the shoot down and spread disinformation. They said Russia -- Ukrainian military jets had shot down MH17 or the real target was Putin's presidential plane. Even floating the idea that MH17 had been stuffed with corpses before it took off. Now, some of these stories were picked up by state media. Russia protested the international investigation, was biased against them, and then tried to hack it. Now, three Russians have been charged with murder, all with Kremlin ties, along with one Ukrainian rebel leader.

Likewise, after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia played dumb and hoped the world wouldn't pay sustained attention.

First, they tried the outright lie with MBS telling reporters, "My understanding is that he entered the Saudi consulate and he got out after a few minutes or one hour. We have nothing to hide." Well, that fit their cover story, sending one member of the hit team out into the streets wearing Khashoggi's clothes.

When Turkey identified 15 suspects, Saudi Arabia said they were just innocent Saudi tourists, one of whom apparently liked to travel with a bone saw.

Now, for a personal call with the Crown Prince, President Trump echoed the Saudi lie.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?


AVLON: Then the story shifted again. It was actually a fist fight gone wrong. Well, finally, the Saudis admitted the killing may have been premeditated.

And throughout all the lies, the Trump administration gave MBS every benefit of the doubt, even trying to prevent the CIA director from briefing Congress.

Now, a 5-month investigation confirms Saudi Arabia is responsible for the murder. It said it's also time to look directly at the Crown Prince.

These definitive reports won't bring justice on their own but they make it much harder for authoritarian regimes to avoid accountability. That's why it's important to list the lies that were spewed at the time as well, so the next time we hear them we'll know that someone's trying to get away with murder.

And that's your reality check.

CAMEROTA: John, we so appreciate you reminding us of this all the time. We cannot forget the history that led here and what was said at the time. Thank you very much.

All right. New this morning, more than 70 police officers pulled from duty in Philadelphia over allegations of racist, hateful, and violent social media posts.

CNN's Brynn Gringras is live in Philadelphia with more. This is horrible, Brynn.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn. We're talking about 72 police officers here in Philadelphia alone taken off the streets, restricted to desk duty.

And this is all in response to a research project called the "Plain View Project." This was a compilation of Facebook posts that this group looked into at eight different police jurisdictions across the country -- some as big as Philadelphia, Dallas -- some as small as Lake County, Florida.

And they compiled all these Facebook posts. My producer and I took a look at them and it's of police officers, both retired and active.

And in the Philadelphia case, we saw imagery that was shared with comments added to it. In some cases, the police officers called people animals or rabid. There was anti-Muslim comments. So it was a wide range of comments that was listed on this particular Web site.

Now, the police department here says that they're looking at each of those comments independently and also with an independent law firm because they're trying to determine are they protected by First Amendment rights or could they be considered threatening?

They said they're not going to make any determination on the fate of those officers until that investigation is done. However, they are still speaking out. Take a listen.


RICHARD ROSS, JR., COMMISSIONER, PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: It makes me sick, to be honest with you. It really makes me sick because we are in a position to know better.

There's no question that this puts us in a position to work even harder than we already do to cultivate relationships with neighborhoods and individual groups that we struggle to work with or struggle to maintain relationships with now.


GINGRAS: Yes, so they're very much aware of the impact this could have on their community, especially at a time Philadelphia is seeing crime in this area.

You know, as I said, it's not just Philadelphia that experienced this part of this project.

St. Louis is another department. In that case, 22 officers are being restricted from taking their cases to court because the attorneys over there say that it could be seen as an unbiased case.

So we'll see what happens in other jurisdictions but John, certainly, this is something that's raising eyebrows in this area, particularly -- John.

[07:45:04] BERMAN: All right, Brynn Gingras. As you said, this story is developing this morning. Please keep us posted.

Happening now, Planned Parenthood in Missouri is planning to defy Missouri law as the last abortion clinic in the state fights for survival.

CNN's Ryan Young live on the ground in St. Louis. Ryan, what are you hearing?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, they actually have a sign on the front here that says they're still here. But, of course, a lot of people are trying to see what will happen in the next few hours.

What we do know is the medical professionals here have decided not to perform a second pelvic exam. That pelvic exam, of course, is something that is required by the state, but the medical professionals here believe that it's medically unnecessary.

In fact, take a listen to one of the doctors.


DR. DAVID EISENBERG, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF ST. LOUIS: We've been having to put women through something that's totally unnecessary, uncomfortable, inhumane just because the state has reinterpreted the rules. It just doesn't seem fair.

Abortion care is health care and we don't ask to be treated differently. We ask to be treated the same as every other health care provider.


YOUNG: Now, this could have some real consequences. In fact, tomorrow, there will be a ruling about whether or not they'll be able to keep the license here to keep this place open.

So a lot of the terms -- a lot of people are paying attention to this, especially in the state where they have some very restrictive laws when it comes to abortion. This is the last one but a lot of people, of course, Alisyn, have a lot of questions about what will happen next.

We should know by tomorrow at 1:00 what should happen with this facility.

CAMEROTA: OK, thank you very much for all of that reporting, Ryan Young, for us.

So, a Rust Belt voter who voted for President Obama and then President Trump explains why immigration is such a hot topic.


DARRELL WIMBLEY, DEMOCRAT, VOTED FOR TRUMP: You purposely walked through two countries with your kids. CAMEROTA: So whatever happens, happens, is what you're saying?

WIMBLEY: It's like putting my child in -- if I put my child in harm's way it is my fault, not yours.


CAMEROTA: All right. Much more from one of our signature NEW DAY voter panels as we take the pulse of the people, next.


[07:51:10] CAMEROTA: OK, time for our next NEW DAY voter panel. This time we gathered a group of self-described lifelong Democrats from the Rust Belt states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Indiana.

All of them voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and then, in 2016, many of them switched to vote for Donald Trump. We wanted to know why they made that switch and how they feel about President Trump today.

Here's our "Pulse of the People."


CAMEROTA: Show of hands, how many of you voted for President Obama during at least one of the elections? Great -- all of you.

How many of you voted for President Trump? This is what I think is fascinating to so many of our viewers of how you can like both of these people.

WIMBLEY: The first one pretty much was a dynamic of me being an African American. Just because I'm born black I'm supposed to have this allegiance to the Democratic Party. And to me, it was the most racist thing I ever did because I didn't care what his policy, it was just the fact that he was black.

JOSEPH DIXON, DEMOCRAT, VOTED FOR TRUMP: With Trump, I was really sold as soon as he came down that escalator and announced that he was going to run.

CAMEROTA: It's so interesting that you say that because that was exactly four years ago this week. What was it about that escalator ride?

DIXON: It was almost like a big middle finger to all -- to the establishment -- to all of politics and I just felt that we really needed that.

CAMEROTA: How many of you today regret your vote for President Trump or at least wouldn't do it again? Why not, David?

DAVID SOBOROWICZ, DEMOCRAT, REGRETS VOTING FOR TRUMP: I just feel he has not acted properly as a president. He may get things done but I see him as an embarrassment. CHUCK HOWENSTEIN, DEMOCRAT, REGRETS VOTING FOR TRUMP: I think he fans the fires of hatred and I think he's a bully. I think he belittles people and calls people names. I think we're better than that.

CAMEROTA: Ciarra, you didn't vote for him. What are your thoughts when you hear your fellow panelists talking about what motivated them?

CIARRA WALKER, DEMOCRAT: Yes. I'm not surprised by the way that he kind of pulled people in.

I have a child, he's 14. He's a young African American male. And just, you know, the injustices that have been happening around the country.

We're extremely fearful, the African American community. And since he's become president it has become more fearful for us as a people.

And so --

CAMEROTA: Darrell, why are you shaking your head no?

WIMBLEY: It just amazes me. This is 2019. The race relations and the way that we perceive or the way we say things are happening in this country, I don't see it happening.

CAMEROTA: I mean, there -- in terms of statistics, there has been an uptick in hate crimes in the past few years.

WIMBLEY: You can say that. I truly don't believe it because I don't see it. I can statistically say anything, but I don't see it.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, the people who chart it. For instance, the Anti-Defamation League. They chart it.

WIMBLEY: I don't really even call that -- like, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Law Center -- to me, those are democratic institutions that will say and manipulate anything.

Racism is not a microaggression. Racism is something painful and hurtful. And when we take microaggressions and turn it into the country's against black people, we're literally slapping the people in the face that went through real racism.

CAMEROTA: And did you see Charlottesville as a microaggression?

WIMBLEY: I saw Charlottesville as two groups of people that came to fight and do something bad.

CAMEROTA: Good people on both sides, you saw?

WIMBLEY: I saw two groups of people that came together and fought, and both of them were equally wrong.

HOWENSTEIN: There wasn't good people on both sides. There was the KKK on one side and then there was the other side. It was -- it was -- for him to say there was good people on both sides, to me, that really turned me off of him.

CAMEROTA: Is that when he lost you?

HOWENSTEIN: Yes, he lost me there. I mean, you set an example as a father. To me, you should set an example as a president. I don't think he sets a good example for our children.

CAMEROTA: And you didn't expect him to act that way when you voted for him?

HOWENSTEIN: No, not at all.

WALKER: The presidency, it's a leadership role and children look to leadership.

WIMBLEY: They didn't look to it until Trump got in office.

[07:55:01] WALKER: Not necessarily. Again, for children, you look for role models.

CAMEROTA: I want to ask you guys about a big issue in the news this week and that's immigration. A show of hands -- how many people are very pleased with what President Trump has done with immigration?


CAMEROTA: What do you think he's done since the numbers have spiked on his watch, in terms of the people showing up on the southern border.

BOLDER: Well, I think somebody is organizing people south of the border to bring them here. They are not poor and they don't need to come here for economic reasons. I mean, I see them on television. They all have cell phones and Nike tennis shoes on.

CAMEROTA: They do?

BOLDER: Many of them.

CAMEROTA: The children -- you think that the children who are sick at the border do have that?

BOLDER: The children -- some of those children are being rented out to immigrants.

CAMEROTA: And what has President Trump done to help the situation?

BOLDER: President Trump is trying to get that wall built so it slows it down.

CAMEROTA: But he's not done that so that's not a success yet.

BOLDER: Well, it's in progress -- it's in progress.

WIMBLEY: The Democrats made sure that that got --

BOLDER: And the Democrats have made sure that Trump is not going to get a single win.

CAMEROTA: They're not in the majority anymore.

BOLDER: They're not going to work with him for anything. They were all for a wall before when Obama was president.

WIMBLEY: They have to give him the money for the wall.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, just to be clear, when Republicans controlled both Houses of Congress, the president couldn't get the wall built either.

WIMBLEY: It was a very short term.

CAMEROTA: David, how do you feel about immigration?

SOBOROWICZ: We need some immigrants, for sure, whether they're illegal or legal or whatever. There's too many jobs out there that nobody wants to do in America and we need them --

BOLDER: But they need to come the right way.

DIXON: If I came from some of these places that these people are trying to come from and went through what a lot of them are trying to go through, I'd probably be trying to get here, too.


WALKER: I think it's disheartening, especially the way that I saw those children crying for their parents and again, being caged away like animals. It's heartbreaking. I mean, who would want to see their children being locked away like animals?

WIMBLEY: You purposely brought your family to this border. You purposely walked through two countries with your kids --

CAMEROTA: So whatever happens to them happens, is what you're saying.

WIMBLEY: If I put my child in -- if I put my child in harm's way it is my fault, not yours.

CAMEROTA: But they're trying to get out of harm's way.

WIMBLEY: You don't know what they're trying to get out of and you don't know --

CAMEROTA: I do because they --

WALKER: Absolutely. They're seeking asylum.

WIMBLEY: You know what? I'm sorry, you don't have the right to be here.

CAMEROTA: There is a legal process for asylum seekers. They actually do have the right to be here. WIMBLEY: And he did it. If you are here illegally you have proved to me that you're not going to follow my laws. You have proven -- you're breaking the law by being here.

CAMEROTA: No, no. When they show up at the border and present themselves, that's not breaking the law.

WIMBLEY: Stay at the border. You don't have the right to come in here until we figure it out. I don't want all these people.

CAMEROTA: That's not true. They present themselves --

WIMBLEY: We don't --

CAMEROTA: -- at the border.

WIMBLEY: You know what? I deserve a better life as an American. When you can take care of Americans and I've got something left over, I'll give it to you.


CAMEROTA: And there you have it.

BERMAN: It was really interesting to see how some of the messages that the president speaks and shouts at some point -- how they break through and become part of people's conversation there.

The other thing that was interesting, though, is those are people, by and large, who switched from Obama to Trump.

CAMEROTA: Four of them.

BERMAN: He needs to keep them. He needs to keep pretty much all --

CAMEROTA: That's a good point.

BERMAN: -- of them to win reelection because he's not adding, as far as we can tell, to his coalition and there are some that are wavering because of the example that he's set.

CAMEROTA: You know, here's what I get out of it is I think that people vote for the person over the party often.


CAMEROTA: More often than politicians think.

So, politicians think, I think, that voters vote up and down the party line and they are consistent. People are not consistent, as you can see from that voter panel. And so, I think that politicians would be wise to just appeal to people individually and not think that they're just going to buy everything hook, line, and sinker.

Tomorrow we're going to hear from them again because they talk about tariffs and the effect that tariffs have had on them individually and their families. And, what they think the answer is to bringing Democrats and Republicans, and Trump supporters and non-Trump supporters together.

BERMAN: Oh, it will be interesting. Someone's got the answer.

CAMEROTA: They do.

BERMAN: All right, we're following breaking news. We just got the first response from the U.S. military after Iran shoots down an American drone. Stand by for new developments, next.


BERMAN: Breaking overnight, a U.S. drone shot out of the sky by Iran.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Tensions still flaring up here in this region after those tanker attacks last week.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: So far, no substantive reaction from the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The message is don't mess with us. They are going to defend their territory. This could escalate very quickly.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I disagree with the views of segregation. There's not a racist bone in my body.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Vice President Biden shouldn't need this lesson. This is deeply disappointing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand he wants to celebrate his experience but he's going to turn it into a liability if he keeps talking this way.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, June 20th, 8:00 in the East.

We begin with breaking news for you.

An American drone has been shot down by Iran over international waters. This comes with a dire warning. One Iranian military official says, quote, "This is the way the Iranian nation deals with its enemies."

BERMAN: So, just moments ago, the Pentagon called the attack unprovoked and said Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iranian space -- those reports, they say, are false.

This is all developing as we speak. We are on the ground inside Iran.