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EARLY START

Harris-Biden Faceoff Highlights Round Two of Democratic Debate; Trump Appears to Make Light of Russia's Election Meddling; Supreme Court Delivers Split Rulings on Census and Gerrymandering. Aired 4- 4:30a ET

Aired June 28, 2019 - 04:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[04:00:00] TREVOR NOAH, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW WITH TREVOR NOAH": I didn't see that coming. Did you see that coming? That moment was so brutal on Joe Biden for the first time I wanted to give him a massage. Biden hasn't had such an intense standoff with a black woman since Michelle caught him sneaking a Big Mac to Barack. This hasn't happened to him in a long time.

And that moment there with Kamala, that's why you have to love black women. Yes. You have to love them. You think they've forgotten what you did, and out of nowhere they will spring that (EXPLETIVE DELETED). My mom would do that (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to me all the time. She'll be like, Trevor, you remember that food you stole in 1991? I'm like, no, mommy.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I agree that everybody wants the -- anyway, my time is up, I'm sorry.

CHUCK TODD, DEBATE MODERATOR: Thank you, Vice President.

NOAH: Yes. After Kamala did the -- what she did to you tonight, Joe Biden, your time might be up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Our time is up. EARLY START continues right now.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: It is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The moment you will hear again and again today. Kamala Harris takes command of the second debate, including a must-see challenge to Joe Biden on his history with civil rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, of course I will. Don't meddle in the election, please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: And it's almost Helsinki part two. The president appears to mock election interference right to the face of the Russian president. We'll have a live report from the G-20 ahead.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.

ROMANS: Good morning. Up late.

BRIGGS: Good morning.

ROMANS: Up early. I can't tell which it is. I'm Christine Romans.

BRIGGS: Both.

ROMANS: It is Friday, though.

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: Friday, June 28th. It is 4:00 a.m. in the East. And let's begin with the debate, the Democratic debate round two. It belonged to Kamala Harris.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Harris -- Senator Harris, I'm so sorry. We will let all of you speak. Senator Harris --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Harris --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We will let you all speak. Senator Harris.

BIDEN: We can't afford the wait for (INAUDIBLE) on this issue.

HARRIS: Hey, guys, you know what? America does not want to witness a food fight, they want to know how we're going to put food on their table. Yes? OK?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The California senator taking command of the debate stage more than once. Most memorable confronting former vice president Joe Biden about working with segregationists and his record opposing some aspects of school busing back in the 1970s which had a dramatic impact on his life.

BRIGGS: Before the debate the Biden camp said he was ready to defend his record but when faced with reality, this happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: In this campaign we've also heard, and I'm going to now direct this at Vice President Biden. I do not believe you are a racist and I agree with you when you commit yourself to the importance of finding common ground, but I also believe, and it is personal, and I was actually very -- it was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.

And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing and, you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day, and that little girl was me. So I will tell you that on this subject it cannot be an intellectual debate among Democrats, we have to take it seriously. We have to act swiftly.

As attorney general of California I was very proud to put in place a requirement that all my special agents would wear body cameras and keep those cameras on.

(APPLAUSE)

RACHEL MADDOW, DEBATE MODERATOR: Senator Harris, thank you.

Vice President Biden, you have been invoked. We are going to give you a chance to respond. Vice President Biden.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: Mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists. That is not true. Number one. Number two, if we want to have this campaign litigated on who supports civil rights and whether I did or not, I'm happy to do that. I was a public defender. I didn't become a prosecutor. I came out and I left a good law firm to become a public defender.

In terms of the busing, I never -- you would have been able to go to school the same exact way because it was a local decision made by your city council. That's fine. That's one of the things I argued for, that we should not be -- we should be breaking down these lines but so the bottom line here is, look, everything I have done in my career, I ran because of civil rights.

[04:05:06] I continue to think we have to make fundamental changes in civil rights and those civil rights, by the way, include not just only African-Americans, but the LGBTQ community. There are --

HARRIS: But Vice President Biden, do you agree today -- do you agree today that you were wrong to oppose busing in America then?

BIDEN: No.

HARRIS: Do you agree?

BIDEN: I did not oppose busing in America. What I opposed is busing ordered by the Department of Education. That's what I opposed. I did not oppose --

HARRIS: Well, there was a failure of states to integrate public schools in America.

BIDEN: No, but --

HARRIS: I was part of the second class to integrate Berkeley California public schools almost two decades after Brown v. Board of Education.

BIDEN: Because your city council made that decision. It was a local decision.

HARRIS: So that's where the federal government must step in. That's why we have the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Fact check, Biden was a vocal opponent of federally mandated busing. He argued at the time busing programs were bad for local communities. He did say he would allow busing under certain circumstances like when a school system has been racially segregated by gerrymandered district lines.

We should note also Biden speaks today at the Jesse Jackson Rainbow PUSH Conference in Chicago. That will clearly be an issue.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: He will have to further clarify.

ROMANS: All right. Let's bring in again Zachary Wolf, CNN Politics digital director. And that moment that we just showed you was what put Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on top of the speaking time's leader board. Joe Biden with 13 minutes, 18 seconds and Kamala Harris with 12 minutes, nine seconds. You will hear that clip over and over today because that was really the highlight, I think, of the night. And Symone Sanders, who is the Biden campaign senior adviser in Miami last night, she tried to explain -- you know, many people are saying that Joe Biden was wounded by this. And she -- this is how she put it. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYMONE SANDERS, BIDEN CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: It's not for Vice President Biden or anyone else to do about Senator Harris' experience. Her experience is her experience. She spoke about it personally. Vice President Biden listened. And the commented on, you know, policy and whatnot. And then we had a very substantive debate. And so I think, if you guys are looking for some more, it's not for anyone to reject or validate what she is saying. Her experience is her experience. I think we should leave it at that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Joe Biden was listening respectfully but to many people Kamala Harris owned that exchange.

ZACHARY WOLF, CNN POLITICS DIGITAL DIRECTOR: Yes. To me she owned that exchange for sure. That was a powerful -- extremely powerful moment the way she was able to use her own personal experience with busing and turn it directly to Joe Biden and talk about the effect essentially about the -- you know, the sort of larger policy that he was pushing back in the '70s.

It was an incredible moment, I thought, and he did not have a good answer for it. And it kind of feeds into this larger narrative about things that he supported throughout his very long Senate career that he's now sort of having to answer for.

BRIGGS: And look, typically in these debates you always have moderators interrupting candidates because they go on too long. What Joe Biden was defending his rather substantial record on civil rights and he trailed off and he said, my time is up.

WOLF: Right.

BRIGGS: How significant were those words? Is his time up?

WOLF: That was debate code for please make this stop, I think.

(LAUGHTER)

WOLF: Let's move on to the next subject. You know, I think that was significant because he really -- he needs to find a way to move past this. He needs to find a way to sort of, you know, pivot and change the conversation and not make it about how Joe Biden used to support busing or used to oppose busing. That's not where you want to be as a Democrat right now.

ROMANS: Bernie Sanders, now this was supposed to be Biden and Bernie. You know, the two --

BRIGGS: Yes.

ROMANS: The two big guys, head-to-head, mano --

BRIGGS: One and two.

ROMANS: Mano-a-mano, and Bernie -- I mean, we're not really talking about Bernie Sanders very much this morning because Kamala Harris really came in there with that personal story. But Bernie Sanders was asked about raising middle class taxes to pay for Medicare for All. Raising taxes or how to pay for Medicare for All. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, DEBATE MODERATOR: Senator Sanders, I'll give you 10 seconds just to ask the -- answer the very direct question. Will you raise taxes for the middle class in the Sanders administration?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People who have health care under Medicare for All will have no premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments, no out-of-pocket expenses. Yes, they will pay more in taxes but less in health care for what they get.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: How did Bernie do?

WOLF: The operative word there was yes. He buried it through a lot of other things.

ROMANS: Yes.

BRIGGS: Yes.

WOLF: But the -- I did detect a yes in there. And good on him for actually saying it. He did not say and he was asked very directly how he would accomplish Medicare for All and this is something that I find really interesting to watch with both him and to a lesser extent Elizabeth Warren.

[04:10:07] How they will get any of these large policy provisions that they want to pass through Congress. How they will get fellow Democrats to support them, how they will get Republicans who currently control the Senate to use them. So I thought he was asked that one question and that for me was a

really telling moment where he really had no answer for how he gets Medicare for All done.

ROMANS: How come he couldn't grab more of the limelight last night? I mean, is this not his --- maybe not his forum?

WOLF: It's a different year this year. In 2016 it was -- you know, there were a couple other candidates. But it was largely him and Clinton.

ROMANS: Right.

BRIGGS: Yes.

WOLF: So he was sharing a stage alone with her. He was the alternative. And now there are just a lot more voices out there. He spurned -- he definitely dragged the party to the left.

BRIGGS: Yes.

WOLF: And now a lot of the people are there with him and sort of, you know, raising their hands with him and agreeing with him on a lot of these things.

BRIGGS: Well, speaking of that left-ward shift and the raising of hands, the entire field raised their hands when asked if they would provide health care for those undocumented immigrants. And nine out of 10 said they would decriminalize illegal immigration. That is how the "New York Post," conservative albeit, phrased this night, "Who wants to lose the election?"

Fast-forwarding to a general election, how good a night was this for Donald Trump on his central issue of immigration?

WOLF: I think Donald Trump probably has to own immigration right now, and if people are going to get out and vote on that subject, it's probably going to be Republicans. I don't think Democrats are probably going to be able to find the middle ground there and still keep their base. I'm not sure that there was another answer for the people on that stage tonight.

ROMANS: All right. Zachary, come back in a little bit with so much to talk about. And think about it, two nights in a row, put those two nights together, what is the headline? Not just the headline from last night, the headline tonight.

BRIGGS: Going to have to let that marinate for a moment.

ROMANS: Let that marinate. Thanks.

All right. Breaking overnight, President Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Japan and the president of the United States appearing to make light of Russia's election interference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Will you tell Russia not to meddle in the 2020 election?

TRUMP: Yes, of course I will. Don't meddle in the election please.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: All right. Let's bring in CNN's Nic Robertson. He is there covering this for us live from Osaka, Japan.

And Nic, in the past couple of days the president has been extremely critical, in some cases bashing China, Japan, Europe as a whole, Canada in the past, Vietnam but he will not use tough words on Russia.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: He won't. He's come in here sort of all guns blazing, as you say. The host even, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in fact it was the banner headline in the newspaper today, essentially how President Trump has come here undermining him by criticizing the defense relationship between the two countries.

You know, when he gets in room to room, those issues that he raises seemed to get put to one side. He talked about Angela Merkel today, criticizing her in the past couple of days and saying that she was a great friend. But when it comes to President Putin, it's the pressure from journalists that got President Trump to ask that question. Remember on his way here, coming through Alaska, when journalists asked him, are you going to tell President Putin not to meddle in the elections, he told them essentially, mind your own business. What I say is what I say.

But here he was. And the way that he says it, it's so unconvincing. Don't meddle in the elections. Don't meddle in the elections, please. So, you know, President Putin seems to be chuckling to himself. President Trump seems to be smiling a little bit. So I think for everyone watching this, it was a very unconvincing moment that the president was sort of goaded into by reporters' questions.

I think one of the interesting things that's happened here since then is the president pushing back on the notion that he has somehow compromised by getting into the key bilateral meeting with President Xi of China on Saturday here. The idea that he has had to compromise and say hold off on 25 percent tariffs, on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods. When asked that question, how do you compromise to hold off, he said, no, he hadn't.

ROMANS: That's going to be key to see how that turns out. You know, his Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue this week said -- told CNN that basically that he hopes to have this trade resolution by the end of the year. So that's not this week.

All right. Nic Robertson, thanks so much for that. End of the year.

BRIGGS: All right. Ahead, two pivotal rulings from the Supreme Court. Both could affect how the public's voice is counted moving forward.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:18:53] BRIGGS: The Salvadoran father and young daughter who drowned crossing the Rio Grande will be laid to rest today in the same grave in their native country. This image of Oscar Alberto Martinez and 23-month-old Angie Valeria face down in murky waters a reminder of the harsh realities of the immigration crisis and the life and death risks to reach the southern U.S. border. Their bodies were handed over Wednesday to Tanya Avalos, Martinez's wife and the child's mother in Mexico.

Their death weighing on members of Congress. Listen here to Texas Congresswoman Veronica Escobar. She represents the state's 16th District right along the border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. VERONICA ESCOBAR (D-TX): The photograph that all of us saw this week should tear all of us up. For those of us who are parents, to see a toddler with her little arms wrapped around the neck of her father, there is nothing that we wouldn't do for our children, nothing, to give them a better life. (END VIDEO CLIP)

[04:20:06] ROMANS: Her remarks came shortly after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would reluctantly pass the Senate's version of a border funding bill. That decision happening after major pressure from moderates in the Democratic caucus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The children come first. At the end of the day we have to make sure that the resources needed to protect the children are available.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: The House passed the bill last night with 95 Democrats against. Progressives wanted more guarantees the $4.6 billion would be used to raise standards of care for migrant kids. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus issued a blistering statement after the bill was passed that said in part, "We will not forget this betrayal."

BRIGGS: The Supreme Court splitting the difference with two major decisions on the final day of its term. The high court ruled on the conservative side of partisan gerrymandering. The decision will give new urgency to Democrats fighting to hold on to the House.

One of the states involved in the cases was in North Carolina. The GOP won barely half of the vote, 50.3 percent, yet holds 10 of 13 districts. The court also ruling the Trump administration cannot add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, at least not yet.

Jessica Schneider has more from Washington.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Dave and Christine, two major Supreme Court decisions dropping on the last day of the term and they are sure to impact who's representing all of us in Congress. First, partisan gerrymandering. The conservative justices led by Chief Justice John Roberts ruling that courts cannot decide when politicians have drawn congressional or state legislative district lines to gain political advantage.

Roberts in the opinion put it this way, saying, "Partisan gerrymandering claims present political questions beyond the reach of the federal courts." Now that decision will leave all of the contested maps across the country intact. And this is important because opponents have argued that these districts are drawn carefully and even in odd shapes to clearly favor one party over another, but Roberts is saying this is an issue that states, maybe commissions should decide, not judges. And this ruling really currently benefits Republicans who control more of the state legislatures and then, therefore, can draw more of the lines.

But while the chief justice sides with conservatives in that case, he did line up partly with liberals on the question of whether a citizenship question can be added to the 2020 Census. The court ruling that it cannot be added right now but they sent the case back down to a New York federal court for more fact finding. In particular, the Commerce Department needs to better explain why they want to add the question since challenges have contended that the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is adding it purely out of politics since a citizenship question could undercount minorities or immigrants and really give Republicans an advantage -- Dave and Christine?

ROMANS: All right. Thank you for that.

President Trump is not happy with the court's Census decision. He says he's now seeking to delay the Census. By the way, it's mandated by Congress. He says he wants to delay it to give administration officials time to come up with a better explanation for why it should include a citizen question. Now this actually goes against what the Justice Department argued in court. The Trump administration is insisting the printing deadline is Monday.

BRIGGS: Friends of author E. Jean Carroll are speaking out helping to discredit a theory that her sexual assault allegations against Donald Trump were ripped from an episode of "Law and Order SVU." Donald Trump Jr. among those promoting it. The president's son re-tweeting an episodes which briefly mentions an alleged assault in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman similar to the attack Carroll says happened in the 1990s.

But two friends Carroll told about the incident decades ago are now sharing their stories publicly. Lisa Birnbach and Carol Martin, both prominent media figures, gave Carroll different opinions on how to proceed at the time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LISA BIRNBACH, FRIEND OF E. JEAN CARROLL: I said, let's go to the police. No. Come to my house. No, I want to go home. I'll take you to the police. No. It was 15 minutes of my life, it's over. Don't ever tell anybody. I just had to tell you.

CAROL MARTIN, FRIEND OF E. JEAN CARROLL: I said, don't tell anybody. I wouldn't tell anybody this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRIGGS: Martin says she advised Carroll to keep quiet about her allegation because she believed Trump was too powerful and had numerous lawyers.

ROMANS: All right. A pregnant woman shot in the stomach. She lost her baby and now she is the one facing charges.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:29:39] ROMANS: To Alabama now where a pregnant woman who was shot in the stomach and suffered a miscarriage is now charged with manslaughter in the death of her unborn child. An Alabama grand jury indicted 27-year-old Marshae Jones for her alleged role in starting a fight with another woman. That fight led to the gunfire. This happened back in December. The grand jury indictment says Jones intentionally caused the death of her unborn baby by initiating a fight knowing she was five months pregnant. The case has drawn outrage from abortion rights advocates who say losing a.

(END)