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Pulse of the People on the 2020 Race; Trump's Economy Test, Supreme Court Ruling on Census; Trump Administration and Immigration. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired June 24, 2019 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, so you haven't decided who but you're just not going to vote for Trump.

DAVID SOBOROWICZ, SWING VOTER, WISCONSIN: I -- exactly. I am not Trump. I will not. No.

CHUCK HOWENSTEIN, SWING VOTER, PENNSYLVANIA: I think Joe Biden is a -- it comes down to electability. He -- he's the only one, to me, that's going to be -- to be able to beat Donald Trump.

CIARRA WALKER, DEMOCRAT, PENNSYLVANIA: My same sentiments. Honestly. I feel like he's the most electable, the most respected. He's what the people want.

CAMEROTA: Ciarra, how do you feel about the women running?

WALKER: Love Kamala Harris.

CAMEROTA: But why not vote for her? Why are you a Biden person already?

WALKER: I'm for Biden simply because I feel like not enough America is ready to see a woman in the house. Not enough of America is ready to see change.

CAMEROTA: Why are you guys scoffing at the idea of Joe Biden?

DARRELL WIMBLEY, SWING VOTER, MICHIGAN: I -- first of all, he's old. Joe Biden is really old. I think he's getting closer to senile.

CAMEROTA: I mean he's three years older than President Trump.

WIMBLEY: Yes, but he's trying to go into -- to me it's just the whole thing. Joe Biden's old and I don't like the way he flip-flops. He's trying to keep up.

CAMEROTA: Joe, as somebody who still supports President Trump, do you think that Joe Biden is the biggest threat to him?

JOSEPH DIXON, SWING VOTER, INDIANA: Yes, I do, and some may laugh, but I feel mayor Pete from my state of Indiana lacks toughness against trump but Mayor Pete, from my state of Indiana, I like the toughness of Trump, but Mayor Pete has a toughness in a different way. So well outspoken, without maybe seeming like -- like a -- like a -- like a snake. And, I don't know, something -- something about him, I just feel that he's a dark -- he could be a dark horse.

CAMEROTA: How many of you, show of hands, think that President Trump stands a chance of not being re-elected this time?

Four of you.

You guys are pretty confident that he'll win.

WALKER: I'm -- yes.

CAMEROTA: What about the poll numbers that suggest that Democrats will beat him?

WIMBLEY: Well, I see that --

CATHERINE BOLDER, SWING VOTER, MICHIGAN: Well, what they say Joe Biden's ten points above, but what were the poll numbers with Hillary?

DIXON: Right.

WIMBLEY: Again, you've also got to look at the secrecy. You have a lot of people that will vote for Trump that will not admit that.

BOLDER: Exactly.

CAMEROTA: That's a great point. I think that that is interesting because -- and, Chuck, you --

WALKER: Yes, that's a great point.

CAMEROTA: Chuck, you have that experience, right? You didn't admit that you voted for Trump, even to your wife, right?

HOWENSTEIN: I -- yes, I didn't. I didn't. She was really mad about that too.

CAMEROTA: But I think the point is, we found out many people in 2016 did not admit that they were voting for Trump.

HOWENSTEIN: I used to sit there and fight with my wife, even watching the TV or at work. You couldn't even discuss it. So I think a lot of people went into that booth and they voted for Trump.

WIMBLEY: There's more people that want Trump in there and it goes back to they just don't want to be ridiculed.


WIMBLEY: They don't want to hear about it. They don't want to -- I mean because right now it's just the moral movement. You're a Trump guy? You're a bad person. You're going to hell. You hate everything.

BOLDER: Oh, yes, you're a racist, you're a bigot.

WIMBLEY: You're a racist. And I'm tired of people going around, I need a woman. No, I need somebody qualified.

WALKER: I agree in some capacity. But, again, we have never seen a woman in the house. It would be --

WIMBLEY: I've never seen a (INAUDIBLE) but --

WALKER: It would -- it would be -- it would be history in the making, just like when Obama was elected, we had never seen an African- American male in the house and it was history.

WIMBLEY: And look what we got out of it.

WALKER: It was history.

CAMEROTA: For those of you who are still planning to vote for President Trump and still support him, what are the promises made that you feel the president has kept?

DIXON: I looked at all the president that have promised to move the embassy in Israel finally move that. And he did it. He talked about the tariffs. And I knew he was going to do it. And he's -- and he's done it.

CAMEROTA: The tariffs?


CAMEROTA: You like that?

DIXON: Yes. In my -- there's probably going to be a little -- a little pain, but the end result, look at -- look at the results already where some of these countries, some of these things have already backed down and backed off. Just some of them with the threat of tariffs and some where the tariffs have gone through and we've seen it start -- start to work.

CAMEROTA: So, David, tariffs have affected you. Tell us how.

SOBOROWICZ: As -- in my profession as a plumber, the cost of water heaters have gone up substantially. Because of the tariffs, they're making the product that I make my living off of more expensive. I prefer to use an American-made water heater. In the end, they want something cheaper, so they're going to go with something cheaper.

BOLDER: I believe that Trump's objective is to get these jobs back in this country. These jobs, that manufacturing jobs, that our former president claimed were never coming back and claimed that Trump would have to have a magic wand to get them here.

CAMEROTA: And you have seen them come back?

BOLDER: And I have seen them come back.

CAMEROTA: Because you're in the automotive industry. So how have the jobs come back? BOLDER: My son, for example, he's 26 years old. Graduated high school.

The company he went to work for while Obama was president paid him $10 an hour. Since that time, the company has expanded to the other side of the state. My son's salary has increased 100 percent%.

CAMEROTA: And you give President Trump credit for that?

BOLDER: I give President Trump -- yes, I do. I've seen improvement. I have hope for my son's future.

CAMEROTA: Is there anything that President Trump could do to lose your support?

WIMBLEY: Start losing money. Start -- start -- the economy start going backwards.

BOLDER: The economy crashing.

WIMBLEY: He -- that goes backwards, I'm done. See, I'm not dating Trump. I hired him to do a job. And don't care --

WALKER: But is he doing -- but is he doing it effectively?

WIMBLEY: He is doing it. He is doing it very effectively.

WALKER: I don't agree.

WIMBLEY: You don't agree because you're offended by his rhetoric.

WALKER: OK. Right.

HOWENSTEIN: There's more important things than all this hate. I think we should be -- I should be love. So --

WALKER: Absolutely.

[08:35:01] HOWENSTEIN: And that's where we should come from.

CAMEROTA: Do you think that we are capable of getting to caring about the other with President Trump in office?

DIXON: I do. And I will tell you why. President Reagan got shot. There were several in my neighborhood that cheered hoping that he would die just because I'm black and I am supposed to hate all Republicans and believe that they're racist, I'm sorry, this is -- this is hard. I made the choice to care about the other side. How can someone not hear about Dave's story and not care about that? And it's just very unfortunate that both sides choose, to make their own choice, to go on with this -- with this hate. It's got to start there where we just shut up and back up and take 14 seconds to listen to what somebody else has to say or their reasoning for why they feel the way they feel, shake hands and go into the voting booth and vote the way that -- that we prefer. It's got to start there.

HOWENSTEIN: Respect and love.

DIXON: I made the choice.

WALKER: Agree.

DIXON: All of us in all of -- everybody that's in America can do the same thing.


CAMEROTA: I thought it was important to end on that note, which is, we all need to practice listening to each other. You don't have to agree. You have to listen and somehow try to stop the hate.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good luck. And I mean that. And I mean that. I'm not trying to be cynical. Good look there. You know, it's the beginning of the campaign season, not the end. I don't think it will get better as time goes on.

CAMEROTA: I understand what you're saying, but I think that we can all redouble our efforts, as Joseph said he has.

BERMAN: I was also very interested to hear them talk about the Democratic candidates and why there were those who were supportive of Joe Biden, it's the electability issue that comes right up. And so Democrats, those -- or those who voted for Donald Trump are thinking so strategically --


BERMAN: At this point and I wonder how if -- if the former vice president can keep that up going for the next few months.

CAMEROTA: And, once again, I just think it's fascinating to talk to swing voters because what they vote for is the person, not the party. And I just think that that's interesting.

BERMAN: All right, the Supreme Court is about to make one of the most significant decisions involving race. How a secret hard drive changed the case. That's next.


[08:41:38] BERMAN: All right, moments ago, the president launched a fresh attack on the Federal Reserve. Why, you ask? Well, it gets to what has been one of the president's biggest strengths but could be a huge test for his re-election. Namely, can the ten-year economic expansion endure?

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans here with "CNN's Business Now."


You know, it's a huge week in the president's trade war with China, meeting with the Chinese president this week at the G-20. Right now, at this moment, a big test of the Trump economy. First, there are some growing concerns here of a slowing U.S. economy. JP Morgan raised the risk of recession this year to 43 percent from 24 percent. The president's trade wars a big reason.

Look, a year in here, it looks like tariffs are a permanent condition, not a bargaining chip. The White House first slapped tariffs on high- tech imports and then on intermediary goods and then now threatening another $300 billion plus in Chinese products. Already there are also signs that jobs growth may be slowing. The expansion is tapping out.

Look at jobs growth so far this year, 164,000 net new jobs a month on average. That's the slowest in ten years.

Now, beyond trade, there's also budget uncertainty. Lawmakers must work out a budget deal by the fall. Another government shutdown or deep spending cuts or failing to raise the federal debt limit, all of those are risks for the economy.

And then there's the stock market. The president likes to use the stock market as his personal approval rating, but it's not really that much higher. His gains the first two and a half years as other presidents.

Now amid all of these tensions as well, we've got oil to talk about here. Tensions in Iran. A refinery fire on Friday. Oil prices jumped last week. Higher crude oil prices lead to higher gas prices. That raises costs for consumers and manufacturers just as an election approaches.

Until now, you guys, energy prices have been falling. There was plenty of global supply. There were worries about that slowing economy -- slowing economies around the world, a bear market in oil this spring but right now risk is back in the market and there's a floor under oil prices. That could be something to watch for the economy, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Christine, thank you very much for all of that information.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is about to deliver a ruling on the Trump administration's attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

CNN's Sara Murray has more.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A secret hard drive, a dead political strategist and growing evidence of a political power grab. These are the circumstances surrounding the Trump administration's attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, now before the Supreme Court.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced in March 2018 plans to add this question -- is this person a citizen of the United States? Insisting it would help protect minority voting rights.

WILBUR ROSS, SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: We are responding solely to the Department of Justice's request, not to any campaign request, not to any other political party request.

MURRAY: But documents show Ross had asked the Justice Department to make the request in the first place.

REP. GRACE MENG (D), NEW YORK: Has the president or anyone in the White House discussed with you or anyone on your team about adding this citizenship question?

ROSS: I'm not aware of any such.

MURRAY: That claim hasn't held up either. Ross consulted prominent GOP anti-immigration hardliners.

JEFF SESSIONS, FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL: The border is not open. Don't come unlawfully.

MURRAY: Including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and former Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach. Kobach, also known for embracing birtherism and peddling debunked voter fraud theories, was pitching Trump and the White House directly.

[08:45:14] CHRIS KOBACH, FORMER KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE: We shouldn't be considering you a resident anyway because you could leave -- go home any day, you could be deported any moment.

MURRAY: He e-mailed Ross in July 2017, pushing the citizenship question because aliens who do not actually reside in the United States are still counted for congressional apportionment purposes.

That's a far cry from Ross' public claim about preserving minority voting rights.

The latest twist comes from the private files of now deceased political strategist Thomas Hofeller, a mastermind of congressional map making known as redistricting.

THOMAS HOFELLER (ph): Usually the voters get to pick the politicians. In redistricting, the politicians get to pick the voters.

MURRAY: His estranged daughter uncovered this unpublished 2015 study that concluded asking about citizenship would yield data to justify redrawing congressional districts in a way that would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites.

Court filings show some of Hofeller's work made its way into the Justice Department's citizen request. The Justice Department denies the link.

Before the files were uncovered, three federal courts ruled the citizen question could not be added. One judge concluded Wilber Ross announced his decision in a manner that concealed its true basis.

As the president defends the citizenship question --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's totally ridiculous that we would have a census without asking.

MURRAY: Opposition has sprung from civil rights organizations, former census directors and the chief scientist at the census, who concluded the question is very costly, harms the quality of the census count and would use substantially let accurate citizenship status data than are available from administrative sources.

By the Census Bureau's own estimates, about 6.5 million people would go accounted, mostly out of fear of answering the question. The once- a-decade census helps the government dole out hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds and its count is used to apportion seats in Congress and state legislatures. These states stand to be the most impacted by the loss of congressional representation and government resources.

THOMAS WOLF, ATTORNEY, BRENNAN CENTER: The effects are going to be cataclysmic for the country. We're talking about very basic staples of life like education, medical care and food. Funding for all of those things will ramp down in any state where an undercount occurs.

MURRAY: As the Trump administration refuses congressional demands for more documents about the decision, Democrats are not backing down.

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): The Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross be held in contempt of the Congress of the United States of America.

MURRAY: Sparking a sharp rebuke from Republicans.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The only ones who don't want to ask the question, Democrats in Washington. That's the only ones.


MURRAY: Now, Wilbur Ross has insisted he never mislead Congress and that they have been fully helpful in the congressional inquiries. As for the Supreme Court, they may not even care about the political motivation. Ultimately, they may make their decision based on whether Secretary Ross has the authority to ask this question.

Back to you guys.

BERMAN: All right, Sara Murray, that's right. And that decision could come as early as this morning. We're watching that very closely. Thank you so much.

MURRAY: Thanks.

BERMAN: So, for all of the president's tough talk on immigration, the facts often paint a different picture. A CNN "Reality Check," next.


[08:52:31] BERMAN: President Trump has made a lot of claims on his administration's handling of the border crisis in just the last few days. What's the real the story? Our friend John Avlon here with a "Reality Check."


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, guys. So, look, it was a weekend of whiplash for President Trump's immigration politics. Remember he teased his campaign re-election kick-off by tweeting that millions of undocumented immigrants would be deported this past weekend. Then back tracked saying he'd give Democrats two weeks to negotiate immigration changes or else the round-ups would begin.

Now, there are now an all-time high, 52,000 adults, in custody at detention facilities. The Department of Homeland Security inspector general report found that, quote, dangerous overcrowding at one facility at least in El Paso where some of the maximum capacity for 35 people was holding 155.

At the same time, a Trump administration lawyer was trying to defend the policies in court. Listen to a response when a judge asked how a lack of toothpaste, soap and blankets could constitute safe and sanitary conditions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think it's -- I think those are -- there's fair reason to find that those things may be part of safe and sanitary.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not maybe. Are a part.


AVLON: All of which made President Trump a bit defensive.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, under President Obama, you had separation. I was the one that ended it.


AVLON: OK, that just isn't true. The Obama administration did not have an official mandate to separate children from their parents or caregivers when they crossed the border. It became standard practice for the Trump administration as part of their zero tolerance policy. And officials touted the family separations as a way to deter illegal border crossings. Trump signed an executive order to stop mandated family separations one year ago after more than 2,800 children were separated from their families. But a February court filing found that 245 more kids have been separated since Trump's executive order supposedly stopping it. And, of course, at least six children have died in custody after crossing the border.

So with all the president's red meat rhetoric about illegal immigration and deportations, how does the actual problem compare to the past? Well, first of all, studies show that the undocumented immigrant population in the U.S. rose steadily in the '90s but began to decline during President Bush's second term and continued to fall during the Obama administration.

In addition, southwest border apprehensions have generally decreased since 2000, falling some 35 percent during President Obama's two terms. And let's not forget that most undocumented immigrants in the United States overstay their visas rather than cross the border. So when President Trump made illegal immigration a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign, he was responding to a problem that had been declining for a decade. But illegal border crossings have spiked recently under President Trump, hitting a 12 year high earlier this year while family unit apprehensions at the southern border have hit their highest point since those numbers started being gathered.

[08:55:07] And for all President Trump's tough talk about mass deportations, President Obama actually deported far more undocumented immigrations on an average annual basis.

So while President Trump has demonized illegal immigration more than any other modern president, the numbers have actually gotten worse under his watch. In the end, any real attempt to deal with this problem, rather than just demagoguing it, will require a balanced plan that can get through both houses of Congress. One that recognizes that it's not logistically possible to round up 12 million illegal immigrants, that recognizes we renew the American dream by giving those who have made their way into our country illegally an opportunity to come out of the shadows, a plan where justice and mercy meet. Those aren't my words. That's Mike Pence back when he supported bipartisan immigration reform.

And that's your "Reality Check."

BERMAN: Dropping the Pence hammer.


AVLON: The Pence hammer.

BERMAN: That -- that was the Pence hammer right there.


CAMEROTA: That was really interesting. And, of course, we all just wait to see what happens next week with this threat of more deportations.

Thank you very much, John.

So President Trump expected to impose major new sanctions today on Iran.

"NEWSROOM" with Jim Sciutto picks up after this quick break.