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Interview with Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL); Emotional Crowd Confronts Buttigieg at Town Hall; Floridians Voicing Strong Opinions on Trump Re-election Bid. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired June 23, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[19:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Hello on this Sunday. You are live in the new NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.
And President Trump repeating today that he does not want a war with Iran but promises, quote, obliteration like you've never seen before if it happens. He says punishment against Iran will go into effect tomorrow in the form of new economic sanctions.
That's going to be the response to Iran's shoot-down of a U.S. drone, not a military strike, which the President claims he called off at the last moment. President Trump, in a new interview this weekend, says the decision to call off that military action was his alone but that he takes advice from a wide spectrum of people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS HOST: Do you feel like you were being pushed into military action against Iran by any of your advisers?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I have two groups of people. I have doves and I have hawks.
TODD: Yes, you have some serious hawks.
TRUMP: I have some hawks. Yes, John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him, he'd take on the whole world at one time, OK? But that doesn't matter because I want both sides.
You know, some people said, why did you put -- you know, I was against going into Iraq for years and years. And before it ever happened, I was against going into Iraq. And some people said, oh, I don't know.
I was totally against and I was a private citizen. It never made sense to me. I was against going into the Middle East. Chuck, we spent $7 trillion in the Middle East right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: The President, in that interview, also said he's ready to talk to Iran without preconditions. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo drove home that point earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Like the President said this morning -- I think the Vice President reiterated this -- we're prepared to negotiate with no preconditions. They know precisely how to find us. And I am confident that, at the very moment, they're ready to truly engage with us, we'll begin -- be able to begin this conversation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Joining us now, Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois. He sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He also served in the Air Force in both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and continues to serve in the Air National Guard.
Congressman, first of all, thank you, as always, for your ongoing service. You know, both the President and the Secretary of State, as we just played, say they would negotiate with Iran without preconditions. That sounds a lot like his approach to North Korea, and it's at a standstill.
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Yes. I -- look, I'm glad they're willing to with Iran. I think this is a situation where there needs to be negotiation, especially when it comes to re-entering a nuclear deal but that also includes things like ballistic missile development and most importantly, behavior in the region. So that's fine, but I do think there has to be ramifications.
At this point, it appears to be economic ramifications for shooting down this drone. I think people need to keep in mind this is not like the drone that your uncle flies over, you know, the Fourth of July. This is the size of an airliner. And economically, it's about the same cost as if eight F-16s would've been destroyed because it's just about $200 million, so it's a pretty big deal. There has to be a cost to Iran.
CABRERA: So are the sanctions enough?
KINZINGER: You know, look, I'm a big believer in this idea -- it's what we did with northern and southern watch in Iraq -- which is, use it, you lose it. So basically, if you shoot at something of ours and hit it, you're going to lose what you did. You're going to lose that asset.
But given that the President's hesitant to do it, in which he has every right to make that decision, whether I agree or disagree, hopefully, these economic sanctions -- I'm not sure what at all can be leveled that's left, but they -- I'm sure they have a whole bunch of options, and it's got to inflict some, at least, economic damage at this point.
CABRERA: And he's hoping that's going to draw them back to the negotiating table. But the President is saying this weekend, maybe dangling a carrot here, it's time to make Iran great again. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Iran wants to become a wealthy nation again, become a
prosperous nation. We'll call it, let's make Iran great again. Does that make sense? Make Iran great again. It's OK with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It's OK with him, make Iran great again. Are you down with that?
KINZINGER: Yes, if it's -- if they modify their behavior and quit, you know, standing up Bashar al-Assad, killing half a million civilians, overthrowing the legitimate government of Yemen, destabilizing Lebanon, killing a quarter of American soldiers in Iraq.
So I think it would actually have to take the people of Iran standing up and changing governments. I'm not calling for military overthrow of it, but the people need to change that. Then Iran can be great again, for sure. But I think given their current government situation and what's driven them for 40 years, it's pretty tough to see.
[19:04:59] I'd love to get in a deal with them. I'd love to be able to do this the right way, but I can't -- you have to color me a little skeptical, although it's a good try, I guess.
CABRERA: But weren't you very critical of the Obama administration's negotiations with Iran over the nuclear deal because you thought it was giving them too much wealth?
KINZINGER: Yes, absolutely, and I think, ultimately, what happens is what comes out of the deal. I remember during the negotiations with Iran, one of the things I asked Secretary Kerry, for instance, is asking about ballistic missile development and giving them cash.
And the issue is this is why you have to corner in their behavior as part of this because they took that cash -- and I'm not throwing stones at past administrations in this, but what you do see is they took that cash and used it on foreign expeditions like in Syria, like in Yemen, and elsewhere. That's the part that has to be controlled.
You can generally have the same deal that needs to last a lot longer -- we're already basically halfway through this thing starting to expire -- but also control the behavior that comes with any cash.
CABRERA: Now, the President said, in an interview that's out today, he ignored the war hawks in his administration who wanted him to strike. There are reports that Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been privately imploring the President not to attack. Here's what Carlson has been saying on air.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: We could beat Iran, but it would not be easy. It would cost trillions of dollars. Many thousands of Americans likely would die. China would love it. They'd be the only winners in that conflict.
Donald Trump was elected president precisely to keep us out of disasters, like war with Iran.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Are you concerned that Fox News personalities have more sway over the President than his advisers?
KINZINGER: Yes, of course, it's a concern. I mean, you know, look, I think Tucker said some nice things about Vladimir Putin in the past. He's a noninterventionist, and that's fine. I respect that opinion.
The difference is the President has every right to not make a strike decision, and I do like that he's getting kind of input from all corners, but you can't put something on somebody that just has a T.V. show. And I'll tell you why.
Because, you know, the military -- we all like to say we don't want another war. There are so many options up to war that the military can be used that's much smaller that won't start a war but that also will defend our assets and our people. And so people are oversimplifying this by saying if we strike Iran, we're going to go to World War III. It's just simply not the case.
CABRERA: How do you think Iran would have responded, though, if the U.S. had done those military strikes?
KINZINGER: You know, I think it depends. So if you hit a proportional response, for instance, the things they use to shoot down our drone, with a simultaneous message that says we have way more options, we don't intend to do any more than this, but if you respond, the response from us will be disproportional and devastating, I don't think Iran would do anything.
Because they don't want a war. The people that are saying they're trying to goad us into a war, it's absolutely not true. They don't want it, but they are taking this up to where they think they can without a U.S. response.
CABRERA: I also want to ask you about the ICE raids that the President postponed that were supposed to begin today. He said he wanted to give Congress two weeks to come up with an immigration deal that closes loopholes. He previously defended the raids, though. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We're very focused on MS-13, getting them out, and I hope you're not going to stick up too much for MS-13. But we're very focused, ICE. ICE is -- these are fantastic people. We're very, very focused on getting MS-13 out of this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: He said that just a couple of hours before he called off the raids. If these raids are really to target MS-13 members, why give them a two-week's heads-up? KINZINGER: Yes, I mean, there's a lot of backstory, I'm starting to
learn, including the idea of this was leaked so maybe some of the details giving heads-up to people.
Look, I actually want comprehensive immigration reform. I've said that a hundred times. But I also think if you get a deportation order from this country and an order that you must leave, I have no problem with people being removed from this country. That's the point.
But we need to fix this overall. If this gives us a couple weeks to at least fix a little part, great. But we need a massive fix to immigration that I think 80 percent of the American people would love if we got it done.
CABRERA: I think you're right. Congressman Adam Kinzinger, thank you for your service and thank you for your time.
KINZINGER: You bet, take care.
CABRERA: Coming up, Pete Buttigieg leaves the campaign trail to face upset protesters at home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Reorganize your department by Friday of next week. And based on data, get the racists off the streets. It's disrespectful that I wake up every day scared. It's disrespectful that I have three boys that I have to teach today what to do! Get them off the streets.
[19:09:51] (END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It was a tense scene at a town hall in South Bend, Indiana, where Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg faced anger and indignation from residents over police accountability and race relations within the city.
The Mayor held this town hall after a shooting last weekend where a White police officer shot and killed a Black man. The event was filled with fury, frustration, and outrage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get the racists off the streets. It's disrespectful that I wake up every day scared. It's disrespectful that I have three boys that I have to teach today what to do! Get them off the streets.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If anyone who is on patrol is shown to be a racist or to do something racist --
BUTTIGIEG: -- in a way that is substantiated, that is their last day on the street.
BUTTIGIEG: And I would love to be able to finish -- I would love to be able to finish my reply if that's OK. I would appreciate being able to finish my reply.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am raising a 7-year-old grandson that when he sees the police, he is afraid. That is not what's supposed to happen in America, in Indiana, in 2019.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The community reached out to the police. We got to breach this gap between the police and the community. I personally --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You remember that.
SCOTT RUSZKOWSKI, CHIEF OF POLICE, SOUTH BEND POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, sir. That technology exists, but it's not implemented. I talked --
[19:15:02] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why?
RUSZKOWSKI: I asked --
RUSZKOWSKI: They don't even have it testable yet. It will not be out -- rolled out until the spring of -- this coming spring is what the company told me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people who are in the audience when you have these public forums are the same Black people, but they're not invited to the table. And I think that it's time for you to rethink who you think the leaders are in this Black community.
BUTTIGIEG: That seat at the table, I want people to know that the seat at the table is waiting for you. And I would welcome more input from you on how I could do a better job at making people feel that they're actually welcome when invited to that table.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't trust you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let's go live to CNN's Jason Carroll who's there in South Bend, Indiana. Jason, you were at the town hall. Tell us what that atmosphere was like.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you heard from and what you heard just there are people in this community who are suffering. The Mayor acknowledges that the people here are suffering. He acknowledges that members of the community are in pain here. But they're also frustrated. And quite frankly, Ana, they're just --
they're just out of patience. And part of the reason for that is because many of the people that we spoke to here who voiced their concerns during that town hall feel as though they did this very same thing four years ago, three years ago, you know, last year.
They've been voicing their concerns about this police department which they say has officers who've used racially insensitive language. They say this is a department that has used excessive force. And so what you heard from today, what the Mayor heard from today, was a community that was just fed up and really looking for ways to vent and voice their anger.
Now, the Mayor has acknowledged that more needs to be done in a number of areas. And following the town hall, we had an opportunity to speak with him. He said it was painful, what happened today, but he felt it was necessary. And he got emotional. And I want you to listen to what happened here when he sort of talked about solutions and trying to move forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUTTIGIEG: I don't know if it's smart or not, I don't know if it's strategic or not, but it's my city. And I have a relationship with everybody in this city who looks to the city to keep them safe.
And when somebody loses their life because of a civilian or because of an officer -- and it's happening all over the country, but it's happening here -- then I feel like it's my job to face it. I'm sick of these things being talked about in political terms, in theoretical terms, like it's a show sometimes. It's people's lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARROLL: A couple of things, Ana. The Mayor did acknowledge that he needs help. He says we need help in terms of diversifying the police department here in South Bend. He said the body cameras clearly have not been enough. They need to do more.
And he says he's here to make progress. One of the things that he has done, he says that he's going to send a letter to the Justice Department asking for an independent investigation. But I can't stress enough that the feelings here run very, very deep, and this is not something the Mayor knows is going to be solved overnight -- Ana.
CABRERA: OK. Jason Carroll in South Bend, Indiana. Thank you.
After that town hall was over, I spoke to the man who moderated that event, Pastor Michael Patton. He says he wasn't surprised about the town's emotional response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL PATTON, PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTH BEND CHAPTER, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE: We've been a bomb waiting to happen. And on last Sunday, June 16th, that bomb was lit, and now we see the fallout of anger. We see mistrust and all of the other tentacles that come along with that, and so we have some things that we must address.
Tonight was one of the first steps, I believe, in the healing process, and that is allowing for people to come to an open forum where they're able to share their questions and receive as well a response to them. Now, the responses may not been -- may not have been the responses that they wanted, but it was an opportunity for our community to be able to come together and to discuss some challenges that we have in our community.
CABRERA: Based on what you saw transpire today, does he get it? Did he get it today?
PATTON: I believe he gets it. He's got some good people at the table that have joined him, and it is a diverse group of people who bring different perspectives and different, as well, challenges to the table that help us all to be able to get it.
And so we formed, together, a community committee that we've been able to sit at the table with the Mayor and discuss solutions. Look at the problems, hardcore, and then take steps toward bringing resolve to the conflict.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:20:10] CABRERA: Coming up, Florida, Florida, Florida. It is a state that could deliver Trump the keys to the next election or could be the keys for the Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you worry that President Trump's divisiveness, his lies, are going to hurt him --
PETER ARDITO, TRUMP SUPPORTER, ORLANDO, FLORIDA: First of all --
LAVANDERA: -- in the long run?
ARDITO: I don't think so because I -- you can't -- you'd have to tell me what he's lied about, first of all. I don't think he's lied about anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hear it. Ready? Make America great again.
TRUMP: You ready? Keep America great.
(APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: It was no accident that President Trump picked Orlando, Florida to formally launch his re-election campaign this week. Florida is considered, perhaps, the most crucial of swing states, a must-win for candidates on both sides of the 2020 race.
Plus, Trump considers Florida to be a second home, spending plenty of time at his winter resort, Mar-a-Lago in West Palm Beach, even entertaining world leaders there. And Florida's voters are already voicing strong opinions about Trump's bid for a second term in the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:25:08] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look at what he's done for the economy. In the last 2-1/2 years, he has done more than any president in my lifetime.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like him because he is -- he's sarcastic, and I'm the same.
MARIA REVELLES, DEMOCRATIC VOTER, ORLANDO, FLORIDA: It's not acceptable what is going on under the Trump administration especially for minorities, for Puerto Ricans, and that's why we're here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: Joining us now from Miami, Marc Caputo, POLITICO reporter and author of the "Florida Playbook" column. He also grew up in the Key West area.
So for Trump, winning Florida is personal. His winter home, Mar-a- Lago, is there as we mentioned. He owns three golf clubs in south Florida. Marc, what has Trump done for the state of Florida, personally and politically, to garner support among voters there?
MARC CAPUTO, REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, politically, he has increased the amount of hurricane reimbursement money, for lack of a better term. He gave Florida a little extra bit of a boost. And so far he hasn't given it to North Carolina, for instance. And that was a decision he apparently made on Air Force One when he was flying down to another rally in the panhandle with Congressman Matt Gaetz and Senator Marco Rubio who had persuaded him to do that.
More further south, in the Miami area, there's a large concentration of Venezuelans. And the administration has made opposing the dictator, Nicolas Maduro, in Venezuela a big deal, and that's garnering extra support. Florida doesn't really have one monolithic Latino community.
CAPUTO: It's got a number of people who have different backgrounds. And south Florida, in addition to Cuban-Americans who vote pretty reliably Republican, you have an emerging number of Venezuelan- Americans, Columbian-Americans, and Nicaraguan-Americans. And the Trump administration and the Trump campaign have figured they can message a pretty strong anti-socialist message to these voters, and it might just be working.
CABRERA: A new Quinnipiac poll, however, shows Joe Biden ahead of Trump in Florida by nine percentage points. Biden has 50 percent of support, Trump has 41 percent. Marc, how much do you read into that?
CAPUTO: I don't want to discuss Quinnipiac too much here, but I can't really see a top of the ticket race in Florida with a nine-percentage point margin at the end. I mean, the past five top of the ticket races have been decided by 1.2 percentage points or fewer.
So Quinnipiac has also, on occasion, had some pretty large spreads in favor of Democrats. For instance, it did it in 2018 with the Florida governor's race. They -- it looked like Andrew Gillum was going to blow away Ron DeSantis. Well, that didn't happen, either.
So I would caution people from reading into this too much. If you do look at the cross tabs of the polls, what is kind of interesting is that Trump was consistently getting lower White support than exit polls showed he had gotten in 2016.
He should be around 64, 65 percent in order to carry the state, and the Quinnipiac poll is anywhere between 50 and 54 percent. So that's probably the biggest soft spot for him, and that's where not only Joe Biden is doing well but Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and some of the other top presidential candidates on the Democratic side.
CABRERA: And now we'll see all these Democrats descending on Florida for debates this week. You know in your reporting the importance of the Hispanic vote in Florida which, as you just laid out for us, there are a lot of Latinos and they're not all from the same place.
Democrats had an opportunity to reach out to Latino voters in the state late last week. Eight of them participated in a Latino forum but not Joe Biden. How big of a deal is that?
CAPUTO: Well, the folks who put on the conference -- it was the National Association of Latino Elected Officials -- were pretty disturbed, pretty upset that Biden didn't show up. I mean, all he had to do was fly in for -- speaking for 15 minutes and fly out. The other ones were able to do it.
So there are a number of other Latino groups and people who are familiar with the Hispanic vote who said Biden's campaign has not done enough yet. Now, if you talk to the Biden campaign and people who support him, they say, basically, look, he's only been in the race for two months, it's going to take some time.
Yes, he's focusing on White voters and African-Americans, but he's going be focusing more and more on Latinos, both in Nevada, which is the third early state; and in states like Florida, a big swing state; as well as Arizona, which could actually have a pretty big impact in the 2020 election. CABRERA: OK. Marc Caputo, we'll be continuing our conversation with
you as we get closer to the election and the ongoing primary race and then, eventually, the general election as well. Thanks so much.
CAPUTO: Thank you.
Coming up, pen pals once more? North Korea gushes about a, quote, excellent letter that President Trump sent to Kim Jong-un. Could another meeting between the two men be in the works? You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[19:33:10] CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS: You are going to see Vladimir Putin in a week.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. I'm going to see many people --
TODD: Are you going to address to him directly about interference in 2020?
TRUMP: I may.
TODD: Going to tell him not to do it?
TRUMP: I may, if you would like me to do that, I will do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: That was President Trump addressing whether he would confront Russian President Vladimir Putin on election interference later this week as the two leaders will be part of the G-20 summit which starts Friday in Japan.
And that brings us to your weekend presidential brief, a segment where we highlight the most pressing national security issues the President will face when he wakes up tomorrow.
And with us now, CNN national security analyst Sam Vinograd. She helped prepare the Presidential daily brief for President Obama.
Sam, how should the President prepare for any meeting he might have with Putin later this week?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, I just have to respond to the comments that President Trump made earlier. Why wouldn't President Trump confront Vladimir Putin over election interference? The only logical explanation is he doesn't want it to stop because he views it as helpful to his 2020 election campaign.
When kicking off any potential encounter with Vladimir Putin, President Trump should lead with intelligence related to what we know about Russia's ongoing attack on our country. A failure to do so is acquiescing to making the American people victims again.
President Trump should also know Putin is probably looking forward to a meeting with President Trump because past encounters have really helped advance Russia's attacks against United States. We just look back to the Helsinki summit when President Trump made major counterintelligence missteps like failing to bring a note taker into the meeting and undermining the U.S. intelligence community. Putin is probably expecting more of the same.
Now, Ana, even if President Trump does raise election interference, that doesn't mean the two leaders can't find common ground. Russia worked with the United States on the first Iranian nuclear deal and because the Iranian threat is resurgent at this time, President Trump and Putin could try to discuss that as well.
[19:35:05] CABRERA: And so those G-20 leaders including Putin are probably wondering what President Trump is thinking on Iran. What should he address with them?
VINOGRAD: Well, there's strength in numbers when it comes to confronting Iran. At the G-20 President Trump should brief other leaders on the various threat streams that we are confronting including the risk to our assets in the region. We are not the only ones exposed here. Other countries have significant amount of personnel in the region and he could speak with G-20 leaders about whether we need to do things like plus up resources at our respected embassies. The U.S. is going to roll out new sanctions against Iran tomorrow. And Trump could talk to other leaders about mirroring our sanctions to increase economic pressure.
And finally, Ana, we need someone to vouch for U.S. credibility at the negotiating table because we withdrew from the first Iranian nuclear deal. Trump could try to find another G-20 leader to convince the Iranians to sit down with us.
CABRERA: While, President Trump hasn't done Iran to negotiate on their nuclear program, he is still writing letters to Kim Jong-un. And secretary of state Pompeo said we are hoping to talk to North Korea again. Is communication a good or bad thing?
VINOGRAD: The devil's in the details on this one. Open communication is a good thing even with hostile powers. Because it reduces the risk of miscalculation. But we have had a series of letters and a series of summits and have little to show for it. We don't know what was in Trump's last letter to Kim Jong-un but seems unlikely that he showed Kim tough love based upon Kim's reaction. He called it an excellent letter. We also know that any summit that we have had to date has not had preconditions established in advance that both parties were willing to stick to. And so if a summit happens again, the message going into a summit is that actions speak louder that words and the North Koreans actually have to do something to show they are willing to denuclearize.
CABRERA: Samantha Vinograd, as always, thank you.
VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana. CABRERA: Coming up, a hall of fame horse trainer now banned after a
30th horse dies at a California racetrack. Were the animals just being run too hard? CNN investigation is next.
[19:41:01] CABRERA: Dozens of horses dying at one of America's most well known and popular racetracks. Now some accountability. As we first reported last night hall of fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has been banned from Southern California's Santa Anita racetrack after a 30th horse died there.
In a statement, the group that owns this track said quote "individuals who do not embrace the new rules and safety measures that the put horse and rider safety above all else will have no place at any Stronach group racetrack. We regret that Mr. Hollendorfer's record in recent months at both Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields have become increasingly challenging and does not match the level of safety and accountability we demand. Effective immediately, Mr. Hollendorfer is no longer welcome to stable race or train his horses at any of our facilities."
CNN's Nick Watt has been investigating these deaths even before this ban was announced and he brings us this report.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Trainers right now under investigation at Santa Anita. Are some of them to blame for the 30 horses that died this season at the fabled California track? A spike that put horse racing under the national spotlight, increasing calls for this sport to be banned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Horses have emotions.
CROWD: Just like us!
WATT: Investigators also looking at whether heavy winter rain was a factor, was the track at fault?
JIM CASSIDY, PRESIDENT, THOROUGHBRED TRAINERS: They kept sealing the track. But unfortunately every time you seal it, the pad underneath gets harder and harder.
WATT: Stefan Friedman represents the owner of Santa Anita.
STEFAN FRIEDMAN, SPOKESMAN, THE STRONACH GROUP: It is just the turf or the surface they are racing on, there's medication issues.
WATT: That's a question now being asked. Were some trainers overmedicating their horses, running them too hard?
CASSIDY: For every 100 guys that are here, there's always going to be one or two that are either going to not pay attention or try to do something flaky. I mean, people just like pushing, you know, I mean, especially owners. They, you know, they don't want to pay for them sitting out at some farm not making any money.
WATT: Twenty five trainers have lost horses this Santa Anita season. Among them big names like Jim Cassidy.
CASSIDY: Well, we haven't figured that out.
WATT: Hall of famer Jerry Hollendorfer is the only trainer who has now lost four at Santa Anita since December and he has lost another two at Golden Gate Fields near San Francisco since November.
DR. DIANNE BENSON, CHIEF VET OFFICER, STRONACH GROUP: We have been looking at every trainer's record.
WATT: Have you been looking at his record?
WATT: And what are you finding?
BENSON: Well, I mean, it's an ongoing process. We have just gotten some information about, you know, what he has done and his violations and so we're considering whether he will be -- every trainer we are considering whether they'll be welcome back at Santa Anita.
WATT: Jerry Hollendorfer was told Saturday morning when he lost his fourth horse here that he's no longer welcome at Santa Anita or at Golden Gate Fields.
The California horse racing board is leading the probe into the spate of deaths at Santa Anita but won't release necropsies or speak to us until they are done. The criminal probe by the Los Angels D.A. also under way they say to determine whether unlawful conduct or conditions affected the welfare and safety of horses. Not everybody is on the same page.
BOB BUFFERT, HORSE TRAINER: Well, unfortunately, we all get painted with the same brush, you know, and that hurts us and -- but I think, you know, they are getting tougher.
WATT: Meantime, Scott Herbertson, professional gambler, racehorse owner, is speaking out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a few bad apples make us all look bad. You know, you got guys pushing these horses beyond their limits and causing these catastrophic accidents.
WATT: This is not just a 2019 issue. 30 dead so far this year, according to the CHRB, 37 died at Santa Anita last year, 54 the year before. And it's not just a Santa Anita issue. It's nationwide. Systemic.
[19:45:03] JAMES GAGLIANO, PRESIDENT, THE JOCKEY CLUB: Our incidences of fatal injury are much higher than it is in other countries that we have studied, in some cases as much as five times. WATT: Jockey club stats suggest ten racehorses die in the U.S. every
week. Anti-racing activist Patrick Battuello claims the real figure is much higher.
PATRICK BATTUELLO, HORSERACINGWRONGS.COM: We have documented over 5,000 confirmed kills on U.S. tracks just since 2014. We estimate that over 2,000 horses are killed racing or training across America every year.
WATT: CNN has not independently verified Battuello's figures.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate to think even with some of the breakdowns the guys just feel like the horse can run one more time. I think they just take the risk too many times.
WATT: Of three horses Jerry Hollendorfer has bought from Herbertson the past eight months, two of them are now dead including coach's.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right about here, I think Mario feels him going wrong and trying to pull him out safe.
WATT: Coachies broke down at Santa Anita may 29th and was euthanized. Hollendorfer bought the 8-year-old horse after what was calling a claiming place back in November. To enter, put a price on your horse and anyone can buy it or claim it. When Jerry Hollendorfer claims one of your horses --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You cringe, hope for the best.
WATT: Coachies was dead in a little over six months.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He knows his name. You want a carrot? You ask him for a carrot, he'd start swaying his head. He was a sweet horse.
WATT: After Coachies died, Hollendorfer told the Associated Press, we thought he'd run real well, thought he'd win. In my mind, there's absolutely no doubt we've done every single thing properly with Coachies and all the rest of our horses, too.
We don't know how Hollendorfer's four horses died at Santa Anita. We don't have the necropsies due in part to the ongoing investigation.
I called Jerry Hollendorfer, told him we noticed a few of his horses had died and that we have been hearing some pretty serious allegations against him. I would asked if he'd like to sit down and tell us his side of the story. He said no and told me never to call him again.
Another California trainer, Mike Pender, right now serving a 30-day suspension after training a horse with a fractured leg then shipping him up to Golden Gate Fields in the bay area and trying to enter him in a race there. Pender said he couldn't talk to us until after his suspension.
You have seen trainers training horses that are clearly unfit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the time. CASSIDY: The jockeys are concerned, you know, I'm riding for a big
guy, I don't want to scratch the horse if he doesn't feel 100 percent because the guy will fire me or get mad at me, you know, this kind of. So we have explained to the riders, look, you blame it on the veterinarians, you say, hey, the vet said no.
GAGLIANO: There's a lot of money involved. There's a lot of different actors involved. And, frankly, the regulations are not good enough.
WATT: And then there's the issue of medication. The jockey club states improper drug use can directly lead to horse injuries and deaths.
FRIEDMAN: Stopping the potential masking of injuries, that is how you are going to reduce these numbers.
WATT: According to Dr. Sue Stouffer at UC Davis, more than 85 percent of horses that die on a track have a previous injury which led to their death which might have been masked by meds.
MARY SCOLLAY, KY EQUINE MEDICAL CENTER: Oftentimes people say, I just gave it to help the horse, you know, he felt better with it. And, yes, the horse did feel better with it, but in some cases the horse felt better than he actually was and that put that horse at risk of injury.
WATT: There are now cameras in every barn at Santa Anita and right now, trainer Billy Morey under investigation after an assistant was filmed allegedly doping horses the end of March. We tried to speak to Morey after hear hearing, he went to the men's room. He denies the charge.
Jerry Hollendorfer has been sanctioned for overmedicating and doping issues 19 times since 2006. We couldn't find any evidence of successful appeals.
CASSIDY: That doesn't surprise me.
WATT: It doesn't surprise you? Why not?
CASSIDY: Well, because Jerry just -- he's tunnel vision. He does what he wants to do and that's it. You don't like it, it's too bad. I'm just saying.
WATT: Hollendorfer's career earnings nearly $200 million. Total fines for those offenses in California only $16,950. And never suspended. Bob Baffert is one of the most famous names in racing. Five-time Kentucky derby winner, Santa Anita is his home track.
BAFFERT: You know what, people don't understand that Jerry felt really bad when he lost those horses. Felt really bad. And he is a hall of fame trainer. He is a really good trainer. But he does take really good care of his horses. I don't know, but he runs lower quality, you know, those claiming races, sometimes they can be, you know, it's tough. WATT: We certainly are pretty sad when they get hurt, Hollendorfer
has told the A.P. The owners of Santa Anita and California authorities say they are reducing the use of riding crops, prohibiting most meds in 48 hours before a race or training, carrying out deeper pre-race and now even pre-training vet checks bringing in a (INAUDIBLE).
But issues remain across America. Among them, racing in the U.S. is governed by 38 independent jurisdictions.
[19:50:23] CASSIDY: You go to a different state, you don't know what the rules are.
WATT: Jockey Club now championing a bill that would create a national anti-doping body to reduce the number of horses dying on America's tracks.
GAGLIANO: We think we are at a tipping point. This is America's legacy sport. But it has to look inside and make substantial changes.
WATT: believes strong pre-race exams will weed out the bad apples. Are you worried what people will say when they know you have spoken to us?
SCOTT HERBERTSON, RACE HORSE OWNER: I'm sure I will get backlash from all sides. But I can't silently and watch this happen. It's too sick.
CABRERA: Again, Nick reporting.
After Nick's investigation and after the news broke that hall of fame Jerry Hollendorfer had been banned from Santa Anita. He released a statement Daily Racing Forum saying I'm training over 100 horses right now. Santa Anita didn't want me to stay on the grounds. My opinion was that was premature thing to do. I thought it was extreme. Now I have to step away for a while.
Coming up, a hot air balloon goes rogue. The chaotic moments at this Missouri festival next.
You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
[19:55:18] CABRERA: Festival goers in Missouri got a scare this afternoon when a hot air balloon crashed landed into a crowd of families.
CNN's Natasha Chen explains how this nightmare unfolded.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my gosh! NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Families at
the Hannibal, Missouri, bicentennial celebration captured the moments a hot air balloon took off after 6:00 p.m. local time. Following initial oohs and aahs you can tell in this video people quickly realized something wasn't right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's coming in hot.
CHEN: Now look at the balloonist in the basket. That person is waving at people to get out of the way as it descends. That's when the person taking the video said she dropped her phone and barely got out of the way with her kids before the balloon crashed.
The bicentennial event committee told us an experienced balloonist was attempting to land when the hot air balloon grazed a tree tipping the basket. The committee said one girl suffered minor injuries. Another person at the event told our a affiliate the basket hit the ground right behind him and ran over his mother. Other than a small cut on her finger he said his mother is fine.
Natasha Chen, CNN.
CABRERA: And as we head to break, a programming note. Be sure to tune in for the new CNN film "Apollo 11" taking you inside the historic mission to the moon with newly discovered footage tonight at 9:00 here on CNN.