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Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) is Interviewed on Why He's Calling for an Impeachment Inquiry; San Francisco Could Become First U.S. City to Ban E-Cigarettes; President Trump Comments on Latest Accusations of Sexual Assault; Immigrant Children Moved from Facility in Texas; National Security Adviser John Bolton Accuses Iran of Lying about Location of Drone Iran Shot Down. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 25, 2019 - 08:00   ET


[08:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said she's not my type, it never happened.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am so glad I am not his type.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president was very angry. He believes that she was lying.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this different? Yes. We have so much more information than we did in 2016.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your new day. It is Tuesday, June 25th.


BERMAN: I get an affirmation there.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it is.

BERMAN: We're going with it. It's Tuesday, June 25th. It's 8:00 in the east. And this morning, think of the way he could have responded. Think of the sentences the president might have said when accused of sexual assault or the legal definition of rape in this case. Author E. Jean Carroll says the president assaulted her in a New York department store dressing room more than 20 years ago. So what did the president say about that? Well, he told "The Hill," quote, "Number one, she's not my type." He led with that. Then he said, "Number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?"

So this is how Carroll reacted with Anderson Cooper last night.


E. JEAN CARROLL, TRUMP ACCUSER: I love that I'm not his type. Don't you love that you're not his type?

He also called Miss Universe fat. "Miss Piggy" I think he called her.


CAMEROTA: All right, meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to quell a revolt in her own party over border funding. Pelosi is trying to push to get a funding bill, but there are deep divisions over whether it does enough to address the humanitarian crisis with children at the border. All of this attention, though, has had an impact. Hundreds of migrant children are being moved out of one filthy border facility to a new location in Texas.

So we'll talk about all this. We want to bring in our panel. We have Lisa Lerer, she's a politics reporter for "The New York Times" and CNN political analyst, John Avlon, CNN senior political analyst, and Bianna Golodyrga, CNN contributor. Great to have you guys all here in studio. Let's talk about what's happening at the border. We just had Congresswoman Karen Bass on. She blames the Trump administration. She believes that they are intentionally inflicting harm. Here is what she tweeted. She said "The Trump administration is guilty of abuse of neglect. This is state sponsored child abuse. If a parent locked their child in a cage without soap or toothpaste, they would be charged with child abuse. If a parent were to put their eight-year- old in charge of caring for a toddler, they could be charged with child endangerment. Then the parents would go to jail."

So, John, that is what's happening at the border. But I don't know that she can only blame the Trump administration because, as we know, last night the Democrats were having this heated meeting for three hours with Nancy Pelosi. They too are struggling over what to do, even how much money to give. There's even no indication they'll meet the deadline this week of getting money to the border.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think that's why Nancy Pelosi is really focusing on the need, she argues, to pass this bill, because blame could credibly be shifted, at least in the fire and fights of politics, to Democrats, saying why aren't you funding the money to make the situation better? Liberal Democrats saying, look, we don't want to have any association with this unless kids get out of cages.

The bottom line in politics, the perfect can't be made the enemy of the good. This is humanitarian crisis on the border, but it's largely self-inflicted. It'll be a stain on America's reputation. Funding it, funding a degree of relief for these folks is probably better than compounding the crisis and politically catching some flak for what's fundamentally a Trump administration policy.

BERMAN: The Democratic fight is over the Democrats, more restrictions on where that funding can go. They don't want it to be an enforcement, and they want to draw boundaries and put up walls, no pun intended, on that. But it's interesting to me some of the reaction we saw overnight in terms of what public pressure can do to this administration. The fact that the spotlight was on this one facility. Let me read you, this is P-106, details of what people saw when they went to this place in the Clint, the Clint facility, which is near El Paso. Some of the children we spoke with were sleeping on concrete floors, eating the same unpalatable and unhealthy food for close to a month, instant oatmeal, instant stew, and previous-frozen burrito." Bianna, this facility now, they're moving the kids out of it. A big chunk of the kids are being moved out of it even as we speak this morning. To me this shows the administration can't handle the heat and the spotlight when it is shined on situations like this. We saw this a year ago.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: With the parent separation, exactly. And look, it takes a president issuing an executive order there to say, look, I fixed the problem, which John alluded to being a problem that he created. It's clear that this administration's tactic is to make thing so severe as to send a message to other migrants that this is what will happen if you come to our country. The focus now on Democrats is find, lay the blame on the president if you want, the problem still needs to be solved. And every interview the president has been doing over the past couple of weeks is saying, listen, we'd be able to solve this if the Democrats would just agree to fund the money.

Now, the question is, you really need the Democrats, you can't afford to give them toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, what have you, humanitarian needs. But the focus being that the president is constantly out there blaming the Democrats, they're put in a position that they have to act at this point, too, from a humanitarian standpoint.

[08:05:05] CAMEROTA: There are different people who have gone to the border to obviously lay eyes on what exactly is happening. One of them a professor from Willamette University, and she wants to sound the alarm as to so many people, children are still separated from their parents. Obviously, some of these are unaccompanied minors. Some of them have connections to parents here or relatives here, and they're still separated. We can't think that this issue, this tragedy that we saw last year is over. So here is how the professor described what she saw down there.


PROF. WARREN BINFORD, INTERVIEWED MIGRANT CHILDREN AT TEXAS DETENTION FACILITY: There was one little girl, she was taken away from her mother and her father and her younger sister. And she didn't want to go. The Border Patrol officers were separating her, and she didn't want to be separated from her family, obviously. And her dad leaned down and he said, honey, you need to go with these men. They're going to take you someplace that is better for children. And this is where they took her, to the Clint Border Patrol facility. So I feel like as a nation we are failing these children.



LISA LERER, POLITICS REPORTER, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": We are. These are conditions that some experts have described as torture. These are horrific conditions for these children. And yes, they've moved out. But there are questions about where these children have been moved to. People aren't exactly sure where they are. And there's a lot of concern. A lot of them have perhaps not parents but other relatives and people who are willing to take care of them. But they may have the appropriate paperwork and they may not want to come out, out of fear that they themselves could be deported or face ramifications. So it's a horrific situation.

And I think politically the question is, does this reverberate onto the president? His base has been with him, but these are kids being held in squalid conditions, and I think many of the people in the country believe America --

CAMEROTA: But you know how the administration has framed it, and I have heard many of his supporters feel this way, this is supposed to be a deterrent. You're not supposed to make it easy. They shouldn't have brought their children here if they didn't want these kids to have these health risks. They shouldn't have brought their children here. You hear that time and again from the president and his supporters. So, John, they have been trying to use it as a deterrent, but it has not worked. The numbers have spiked.

AVLON: Correct. Remember, first they lied about it. Then they told the truth and said it was supposed to be a deterrent policy, which means the official policy of the United States is to make children suffer for the sins of their parents. And what the moral imagination on the part of President Trump that this could be his grandchildren. That's we're talking about, we're talking about children. And this is a stain on the reputation on the United States of America. And it's not going to be wiped away soon.

GOLODRYGA: And by the way, cutting off funding in the Northern Triangle, the countries where these migrants are coming from, is not a solution. You've got to work with these countries and provide them funding. Obviously not just give them money and blind trust, but focus with them on fixing the problem at home, because these migrants will continue to come here. There is a reason they come here. They fear for their lives there.

BERMAN: That also is one of the issues that some Democrats are fighting for. They want some of that funding restored in the House version of the bill to the Northern Triangle countries.

It's been a remarkable morning, also, in the rhetoric that's gone back and forth between the United States and Iran. National Security Adviser, Ambassador John Bolton is over in Jerusalem, says the Iranians are lying about their side of the story. The Iranians are saying that the White House is mentally disabled. The translation there is little bit strange. So the rhetoric is certainly just really, really extraordinary at this point. Neither side seem to be moving towards the table as all.

LERER: Well, it turns out very quickly pulling back from taking action in unpredictable ways is not good foreign policy. Maybe that's a shocking turn of events. So I think part of what you're seeing is nobody, even our allies, knows what to expect from this president, and that makes it really hard to figure out any of these very tense, very complicated international situations in Iran and across the globe.

BERMAN: I will say one thing did happen, and we had this reporter on in the first out of the show. The Russians are now at least nominally taking the Iranians' side when it comes to where that U.S. drone was. They're saying they've seen evidence from Iran that the drove was in Iranian airspace. The U.S. says it absolutely wasn't. What that means going forward is maybe the U.S. doesn't have the allies it thinks it has in trying to put pressure on Iran.

AVLON: Look, Russia has been a longtime ally of Iran, and obviously their word is not worth anything in geopolitics. There's no reason to believe them. But you're going to always have a splinter coalition in this question because the U.S. created a great deal of bad faith by pulling out of the deal that the previous administration negotiated. So if you're trying to build any kind of multilateral support, the Trump administration is going to have a hard time doing it.

GOLODRYGA: And sanctioning the Ayatollah, at the very least, is very naive. It's not as if he takes his money in and this time of year in pay, that's not how this works. He's not a Russian oligarch in that sense. So from a media standpoint they have censorship in Iran. They're not being portrayed in a way that makes their leader and their Supreme Leader look bad. It just makes them look like the Americans are blaming the Iranians as a whole, right. So this is a fight that they're taking to Iran, not just their leadership.

[08:10:02] CAMEROTA: And as you point out, just who will be punished by all this and whether or not it will be effective. Congress wants input this, very quickly, and the president gave an interview to "The Hill" yesterday where he basically said I learned a couple of things when I met with Congress the other day, but I don't have to bring them in legally.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, and this is big fight in Washington and among Congress, too, because any sort of recognition of war, an act of war, they say has to have Congress' compliance. Congress has to approve. The president is clearly saying no, they don't, at least with some issues.

BERMAN: I will note that part of this is Congress' fault over the last 40 years, handing over the authority to the White House, because the White House will take it. If you're going to give the White House authority to do this without congressional approval, they'll take it.

All right, President Trump will not say if he has confidence in his FBI director. We're going to get a reaction now from the member of the House Intelligence Committee. Stay with us.



BERMAN: This morning new questions about job security for FBI Director Christopher Wray. That is the director handpicked by the president after he fired James Comey. The president was asked if he has confidence in Director Wray, and in

an interview published by "The Hill" overnight, the president responded, well, we'll see how it turns out.

Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Jim Himes. He's a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, well, we'll see how it turns out. If you're Christopher Wray this morning, do you feel good about your job?

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): I think you do, John. And the reason you do is the president's opinion of you has nothing to do with how you have done your job. In fact, if you have done your job and been fair and been thoughtful and abided by what the American people want rather than what Donald Trump wants, you probably get targeted.

It's not just Christopher Wray, right? It's the chairman of the Federal Reserve. It was Jeff Sessions. The president's opinion of you depends entirely on whether you are serving his interests 100 percent.

So if I was Christopher Wray, I'd say you know what, I've established myself as something of an independent director of the FBI, and I've got the president's tweet to prove it.

BERMAN: It is interesting he says Christopher Wray says he wouldn't call it spying what investigators were doing during the Trump campaign in 2016, and also Christopher Wray has said he does think if a politician is offered dirt on an opponent by a foreign government, say the Russians, Director Wray says you do think -- he does think you should go to the FBI.

It's interesting those are the areas where he splits with the president.

HIMES: Well, it's also interesting that it's sort of subject for debate. I mean, yes, when a foreign country, especially a foreign country that is something of an enemy, or at least an antagonist to the United States offers you something, of course, you go to the FBI. This is not a debatable proposition anywhere but inside Donald Trump's head, you know?

And -- you know, the notion that Christopher Wray by objecting to the use of the term spying, John, I sit on the Intelligence Committee. Spying is what we do to other countries. Investigation is what you do when you have some evidence that a presidential campaign maybe compromised or maybe attempting to be compromised by an antagonistic foreign power.

We've got to keep some clarity on these debates. Christopher Wray is not taking some heroic stand here. He's just saying what is true everywhere except in Donald Trump's brain.

BERMAN: And so, your personal position has changed. You are now supportive of the beginning of an impeachment inquiry. This is different from you a month ago or several weeks ago, you were not. So, what is different now?

HIMES: Yes, John, this is not an easy decision for me. You know, as I said in my statement yesterday, an impeachment inquiry, starting an impeachment, of course, is divisive. It'll consume an awful lot of public attention. It is a very serious thing to do. It took me some time to get here.

But, John, you know, there was a week, two weeks ago when the inspector general came out with an impressive recommendation that Kellyanne Conway had clearly broken the law and that she would be removed from office and the president said, heck, that doesn't matter. That, of course, was the same week that the president said, I'm not sending any information to the Congress on the question of the Census citizenship question.

So, there's a moment where the president one week it has nothing to do with Russia, it has nothing to do with his credibility or legitimacy as a president basically says screw you to the Congress. And, John, you know, our system is built around the idea that the president would be differential to the Congress. If doesn't exist, we essentially have a king.

The other thing that changed for me, John, was I listened to my constituents. And my constituents said, look, we get it. We understand that you sort of playing this through and, you know, the impeachment is not going to result in the removal of the president, so you're thinking about 2020. What my constituents said was this country changes when people are willing to speak with clarity and conviction and strong moral terms.

If all you're doing is kind of playing the odds and figuring out the statistics in the face of appalling behavior, we won't be galvanized if you will if you speak clearly. And Congress can speak no more clearly when it engages in an impeachment investigation.

BERMAN: I get that you're hearing that from your constituents. The part I'm not sure I fully understand is when you're talking about Kellyanne Conway and you're talking about the census. As you said, that has nothing to do with the Russia investigation.

Are you suggesting there should be some punitive measure how the president is reacting there? I don't understand why that would change your view of an impeachment inquiry on Russia. Either you see evidence of obstruction that you think is worthy of investigating or you don't.

HIMES: John, that's a small part of it. That there is evidence of obstruction is not sort of debatable proposition anymore. The Mueller report, of course, offers up ten instances of possible obstruction. So, let's tick that box.

But remember, the legal standard or at least the constitutional standard for impeachment isn't just obstruction, it's high crimes and misdemeanors. I just listed for you the treatment of Kellyanne -- the complete disregard for the law. BERMAN: But do you want an impeachment inquiry into that. Do you

want the articles of impeachment to be Kellyanne Conway's violation of the Hatch Act and the president's failure to reprimand her?

HIMES: I want -- the president's treatment of the recommendation, the unprecedented recommendation around Kellyanne Conway is yet one more example of a total disregard of the laws of the United States.

[08:20:12] And I see total disregard of the law as something that should be investigated by the Congress.

BERMAN: I want to ask you about the immigration discussions that took place last night or more accurately the border security and the crisis, the humanitarian crisis at the border. Were you part of the meeting Nancy Pelosi was in talking about the funding, the $4.5 billion of funding up for grabs right now?

HIMES: I was not in that meeting, John. I heard about it. Obviously time is short for us to get to a deal and they're not there yet. But I wasn't in the room.

BERMAN: Do you anticipate voting to support the measure? I know you don't know exactly what's in it yet, but assuming it does come to the floor soon, would you support that? Do you think there's a need to vote on something soon?

HIMES: Yes, I think I will. And I want to hedge that a little bit, because I haven't actually seen final language. I want to hedge that a little bit.

But, John, part of the dynamic around here, you know, my colleagues are human. They have emotions. They have moral sensibility.

My colleagues look at what's happening at the border, particularly with children being forced to sleep on concrete floors, being treated worse than prisoners who have been convicted of serious crimes. These are children, and a lot of my colleagues say we have to start from scratch here.

Now, I'll make the argument, and again, I want to leave myself some room because I haven't seen what the final proposal is, I'm going to make the argument that I make a lot around here which is I get the moral outrage but please let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If we can make progress and get 65 percent of what we want, if we can fix an awful lot of the problems at the border, let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Let's make some progress.

BERMAN: Congressman Jim Himes from Connecticut, thank you for your time this morning. I do we appreciate it.

HIMES: Thank you, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John, a pivotal vote today that could make San Francisco the first U.S. city to ban e-cigarettes. CNN's Scott McLean is live in San Francisco with more.

What's the plan, Scott?


According to the latest CDC survey, more than 3.5 million middle and high school students in this country use e-cigarettes regularly. The team vaping problem is not at all unique to San Francisco.

What is unique is how they're planning to deal with it, by outright banning e-cigarette sales in this city. That is a big problem for small businesses. One local smoke shop we spoke to said that vaping accounts for about 30 percent of its sales.

Now, technically, this proposed ordinance would apply to e-cigarette products which have not been reviewed or cleared by the FDA. But that is all of them.

One of the biggest companies, Juul, is actually headquartered here in San Francisco. It says it actually advocates for raising the age to buy its products to 21. It says that more regulations, not a ban is going to keep it away from critics.

Other critics say banning e-cigarettes will just push people towards traditional cigarettes or create a black market for e-cigarettes in San Francisco. I asked one member of the city board of supervisors, Shamann Walton, about that. Listen.


SHAMANN WALTON, SAN FRANCISCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS FOR DISTRICT 10: And we're going to continue to work hard to make sure that that does not happen, and that's why we'll have enforcement strategies.

If you look at, you know, just for an example, Cuban cigars are prohibited here in the country and you don't see people running around doing crazy things to obtain Cuban cigars.


MCLEAN: So, again, this is about keeping a harmful substance away from kids unless it has been reviewed or clear by the FDA. And you might be thinking -- well, marijuana has not been reviewed or cleared by the FDA either, yet you can legally buy that in many places across the city and statewide and California. So, why then is San Francisco not looking to also ban marijuana?

I asked that question to supervisor Walton, you saw there, and the city's attorneys office. Neither would answer the question on the record. This proposed ordinance goes to a final vote this afternoon, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Scott McLean, thank you very much.

So, President Trump uses a familiar tactic to deny another sexual assault allegation. He insults the woman. We discuss if it'll work this time. That's next.


[08:28:04] CAMEROTA: President Trump says author E. Jean Carroll is, quote, totally lying about her claim that he sexually assaulted her in a dressing room at high end New York City department store in the mid- 1990s. In a new interview with "The Hill", the president says, quote, I'll say it with great respect, number one she's not my type, number two, it never happened. It never happened, OK?

So same old line that we've heard before but maybe this is different time.

Joining us now is Ana Navarro, CNN political commentator, Margaret Hoover, CNN political commentator and host of "Firing Line" on PBS, and Nancy Erika Smith, she's an attorney and represented Gretchen Carlson and her harassment lawsuit against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes.

Great to have all of you for this important discussion.

Yes, we've had it before but maybe it's a new era and we'll get into that.

So, first, Nancy, I want to start with you. If a defendant who's accused of rape in a trial says she's not my type, is that a good defense?

NANCY ERIKA SMITH, ATTORNEY, SMITH MULLIN: No, that's a disgusting defense, and I love he precedes it with respect, she's not attractive enough to rape.

CAMEROTA: That's what he's saying.

SMITH: With respect. That's the opposite of respect. She's not attractive enough to rape. It shows the core sexism that he can't even stop himself.

CAMEROTA: And, you know, Margaret, I'm struck by -- yes, we, of course, we've become somewhat numb to these accusations during the 2016 campaign. There were at least 15 women who came forward with some story of sexual assault or sexual misconduct, but this goes further.

What E. Jean Carroll describes, regardless of what she wants to call it, is the legal definition of rape, what she says happened. And it was violent how she describes it. In fact, let me play a portion of what he says happened in that dressing room. So listen to this.


E. JEAN CARROLL, ACCUSES PRESIDENT TRUMP OF ASSAULT: The minute he closed that door I was banged up against the wall. The thing is it shocked me. For a moment, I was stunned, right, and then he tried to kiss me. So my reaction was to laugh, to knock off the erotic.