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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Interview With Rep. Max Rose (D-NY); Secretary of State's Agents Running Personal Errands?; Chaos in Hong Kong. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 1, 2019 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:01]

REP. MAX ROSE (D-NY): Khashoggi is killed, and, in response, we have further arm sales to Saudi Arabia, and we support them even more in their efforts in Yemen, what is clearly a geopolitical race against Iran.

You look at Russia, the president of the United States sits down with Vladimir Putin and jokes about him interfering in future elections.

At one point or another, this president has got to understand that Vladimir Putin is laughing at him, not with him. We cannot reward attacks on the homeland. And that's exactly what Russia did in 2016.

So, we can walk this fine line. This is what this country is all about. But it takes a mature foreign policy. And right now, we have exactly the opposite.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Let me ask you. You mentioned Iran.

Iran has surpassed the threshold on uranium, enriched uranium production, that was -- that was limited by the Obama nuclear deal, which President Trump -- President Trump withdrew from.

The president has said he would sit down with Iran without preconditions. Would you support him doing that to try to work out a new nuclear deal with Iran?

ROSE: Well, first of all, yes.

And, second of all, the administration has got to speak with one voice, because when you speak to the secretary of state around -- about this, he talks about a series of ultimatums for Iran that are completely unattainable. We know that Iran will never agree to them.

We're doing the same with China. We cannot give people incredibly unreasonable ultimatums or ultimatums that we know they will never assent to, and then use that as an excuse for continued escalations.

I fear that that's what we're seeing in both China and Iran. So, I would definitely support us sitting down with Iran, pushing a renegotiation, pushing an expansion of the nuclear agreement, one that hopefully does not have a sunset clause and also has constraints on missile development and missile technology.

And I definitely think that that is possible.

TAPPER: I wanted to ask you what you thought of the president's daughter Ivanka Trump, an adviser to the president.

She was front and center during the G20 summit, meeting with world leaders representing the United States.

Take a listen to your Democratic colleague Congressman John Garamendi defending the president's decision to have Ivanka as a key adviser and diplomat.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): He can choose his advisers. And he needs to have people that he can trust. And if Ivanka is that person, that's OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Do you agree, Congressman?

ROSE: With all due respect to my colleague John, I don't think the American taxpayer should be subsidizing family trips to East Asia for the Trump family, as well as subsidizing efforts to bolster Ivanka and Jared's resume.

This is not a joke. And, right now, this administration is treating our foreign policy as exactly like that. And you know what? I'm not shocked, because this is what we get when we have a foreign policy crafted by insecure, overly hawkish, jingoistic draft-dodgers.

And we have got to reframe Americans' foreign policy. I have not seen it yet. And we have got to continue to push just for that.

TAPPER: Democratic Congressman Max Rose from New York, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it.

ROSE: Thanks again, Jake.

TAPPER: Why sources say taxpayer-funded security agents for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sometimes feels like -- quote -- "Uber Eats with guns" -- a CNN exclusive next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:37:41]

TAPPER: In our politics lead today, CNN has exclusively learned that Democrats on a congressional committee are looking into whistle-blower allegations that the State Department's taxpayer-funded security detail is running day-to-day errands for the secretary of state, picking up the dog, picking up his son, picking up Chinese food, all without him even in the car. And, as CNN's Michelle Kosinski reports, agents are allegedly complaining at times that they're basically -- quote -- "Uber Eats with guns."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Multiple congressional aides tell CNN a whistle-blower alleges to Democrats on a key House committee that, on multiple occasions, diplomatic security special agents were asked to run personal errands, in one instance picking up Chinese food for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he was not in the car.

The whistle-blower said it led to complaints the security team was treated like -- quote -- "Uber Eats with guns," another time picking up the Pompeo dog from the groomer.

The secretary has discussed his fondness for the pets during congressional testimony.

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I have a soft spot for my golden retrievers.

KOSINSKI: And according to a document provided to the committee and shown to CNN, agents were told to pick up Pompeo's adult son at Washington's Union Station.

According to D.S. protocol, the secretary should be in the car during these kinds of trips and D.S. should be doing them only if there's some threat that would necessitate it.

The State Department did not deny that these trips took place, but a D.S. special agent in charge insisted that: "At no point during my service did he or any member of his family ask me or any member of my team to act in a way that would be inconsistent with our professional obligation to protect the secretary."

It's not clear whether these alleged tasks were initiated by Pompeo himself or someone on his staff without his knowledge. But the whistle-blower told congressional investigators that there's a culture right now at D.S. to try to please Pompeo and not make him angry.

JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY AND DIPLOMATIC ANALYST: These are not the kinds of people that go around complaining. They do their jobs, and they do them proudly, and they do them quietly. And so that you have somebody who felt so strongly about this that they decided to go to Congress, I think that has to be taken seriously.

KOSINSKI: Congressional investigators are also seeking to understand why Pompeo's his wife, Susan, has her own security detail. This is unusual, according to a former senior D.S. official, who said that, if security was granted to a secretary's spouse in the past, it was just for short periods of time and only after a threat assessment for that person was done within an intelligence division of diplomatic security.

[16:40:03]

The whistle-blower told congressional investigators that multiple agents understood that the normal procedure was not followed, that they were warned not to use her call sign, which is Shocker, over the radios, because they -- quote -- "know it's not kosher," something a State Department spokesperson calls absolutely and definitively not true.

The spokesperson tells CNN only that an initial threat assessment was done for Susan Pompeo in July 2018. A special agent in charge defended the assignment. "Today, the security threats against Secretary Pompeo and his family are unfortunately very real. The diplomatic security service is proud to protect the Pompeo family from those who would harm the secretary of state and the United States."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KOSINSKI: So, in addition to this whistle-blower saying that multiple people within diplomatic security feel that proper procedures weren't followed -- and these are longstanding procedures -- we also know that within the State Department there have been questions for a while concerning Susan Pompeo's role there, for example, that she was chairing meetings at the State Department about logistics ahead of a recent trip.

And now another whistle-blower has come forward to these same congressional investigators, somebody from the executive floor of the State Department, saying that staffers there were told to keep discussion of her out of official e-mails, so as to keep it out of the official record -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Michelle Kosinski at the State Department for us, thank you so much.

Powerful images in the world lead. Protesters in Hong Kong rammed their way inside the main government building, the group of mostly young people all in protective helmets and all on a mission trying to protect, they say, freedoms in Hong Kong that no one else has in China.

And those in the mainland cannot see what's happening because China blocked CNN's signal and banned talk of the protests on social media in China.

CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now live in Hong Kong.

And, Nic, this is a bold and dangerous move these protesters tried to make.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It is, Jake.

And I can take you up and show you the windows now where they smashed their way. And you can see how thick this glass is here, double- layered, plastic in the middle. This is now a crime scene. The police have put up their police wire. And if you look behind there, you can see the graffiti that was

written up, and just over here to the side where they smashed their way through the steel doors inside to get inside that building, a huge amount of graffiti.

We have just heard from the chief executive here, saying that there were good protesters, bad protesters today. She said that the rule of law is important. She wants the people of Hong Kong to reflect on that.

And what we learned from the police chief this evening in the last couple of minutes is that he had to evacuate his officers because all the civilians, workers have left the building. His officers had been under siege. A white powder was being used, and he didn't know if it was toxic or not. And that's why he called his police officers out.

And that was at 9:00 in the evening. And that's when the protesters got in. That's where they did the damage. And that's what the chief executive is calling bad, breaking the rule of law. She wants the people of Hong Kong to reflect on that -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Nic Robertson in Hong Kong, thank you so much.

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just visited a border facility in the U.S., and she's making some shocking claims about the conditions she saw there, including saying some migrants were being told to drink from toilets -- that story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: We have some breaking news in our "NATIONAL LEAD." Just moments ago Democratic members of Congress alleging horrifying conditions at migrant detention centers near the border.

After visiting three of those centers today, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "Now I've seen the inside of these facilities, it's not just the kids, it's everyone. People drinking out of toilets, officers laughing in front of Members of Congress. I brought it to up to their supervisors, they said officers are under stressed and act out sometimes. No accountability."

CNN's Nick Valencia is in Clint, Texas where one migrant detention center for children is located. Nick, some of these members of Congress you just spoke, what else are they saying?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They were in there for an hour total, Jake. And Representative Joe Kennedy was the first to emerge after about 20 minutes. He says he noted he noted the capacity issues, estimating about 25 migrants currently in the facility.

It is worth noting last week when I visited along with a tour of reporters, there was a total of 117 migrants. So if he's seeing capacity issues at 25, you could imagine the conditions that we saw last week. It was Chairman Joaquin Castro that spoke first for the Congressional

Hispanic Caucus. He called the conditions dehumanizing saying that this country is in a very dark place.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): When we went into the cell, it was -- it was clear that the water was not running. There was a toilet but there was no running water for people to drink. In fact, one of the women said that she was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VALENCIA: Some of the members emerged emotional. It was Representative Ayanna Pressley who came out and was comforted briefly while she made her impassioned comments saying that she'll always speak truth to power. These Congress men and women saw things today that they wish they hadn't, Jake.

TAPPER: And Nick, Customs and Border officials are also now investigating reports that I think we first saw on ProPublica of current and former border patrol agents allegedly making crude, lewd, sexist, racist comments on Facebook including jokes about migrants. What else do we know about that?

VALENCIA: There were jokes about migrants, there were derogatory comments about the Latino members of this caucus explicitly Representative Veronica Escobar and Representative Ocasio-Cortez, one of the posts suggested that demonstrators should throw burritos at those representatives.

We did hear immediate reaction, swift reaction from the U.S. Customs and Border protection saying that they're investigating these allegations, they are taking them very seriously. As you mentioned, they were first reported by the investigative unit at ProPublica.

And it was just a short time ago, Jake, that i had a chance to speak off camera with Representative Ocasio-Cortez. She said what cannot be lost on this all is that 9,500 members were part of what she calls very racist Facebook group. She says there's a total of 20,000 Border Patrol agents and that is a significant number to be part of such a vitriol a group. Jake?

[16:50:27] TAPPER: All right, Nick Valencia in Clint, Texas for us, thank you so much. Coming up, a cartoonist says he was let go after one of his cartoons about President Trump went viral. We'll talk to the cartoonist next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: The "POP CULTURE LEAD" now. A political cartoonist let go after 17 years with the newspaper chain and right after this cartoon of his go viral. Political cartoonist Michael de Adder depicted President Trump golfing over the bodies of migrants Oscar Alberto-Martinez and his 23 month-old daughter Angie Valeria who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande River. The president in the cartoon saying "do you mind if I play through?

De Adder was a freelance artist for Brunswick News Incorporated. The newspaper chain denies canceling his contract over this cartoon but critics are questioning if the newspaper chains ties to a big-time oil giant with interests in the U.S. and a need to be on President Trump's good side may have also played a role in the firing.

I want to bring in the cartoonist at the center of it all Michael de Adder. Thanks so much for joining us. So Michael, why do you think you lost your job?

MICHAEL DE ADDER, CARTOONIST: I don't know. But the facts of my situation were that I -- you know, I spent 17 years at the paper and even when cartoons were axed which was rather frequently, I always replaced the cartoon. So now I spent 17 years you know, filling spots and do my job. There wasn't a day that I wasn't working that a cartoon of mine didn't appear.

And I seem to have a good relationship on a Monday when I was talking to my editor and then you know I had posted that cartoon online and on Thursday I was dismissed and without cause, like without a reason. You know, I asked you know, what's the reason for this and you know, I went through the list of items.

I mean, was it cost and they said no. Was it gross in confidence, and they said no. And -- or was of my online presence, and again no. And that was the end of the conversation.

TAPPER: Do you think business --

DE ADDER: And it leaves you to wonder -- it leaves you to wonder, right. Pardon me?

TAPPER: Do you think -- do you think business interests in the U.S. played a role in your dismissal of the newspaper chain is owned by one branch of the family and other branch of family has this big oil business needs to be on the good side of the American President one would think, could that have played a role?

DE ADDER: That's the only thing that makes sense really. You know, business interests affect all decisions at the newspaper and within the company. The bottom line is the only line you know, at the newspaper. So you know 17 years, you know what -- you know how the newspaper works. It just -- nothing else seems to make sense.

I mean, if I was given a reason, if they said cost-cutting, I would have moved on or I would have said I was let go because the cost- cutting and maybe the cartoon would have led to the same thing but probably not and I would have taken things at face value. I wouldn't be sitting here.

I didn't -- I'm a reluctant you know, former employee. I didn't want to create -- I didn't want this -- you know, I didn't look for this to happen, you know. I didn't look to be fired but I also didn't look to be you know, the poster boy for fired cartoonists. TAPPER: So in a statement, Brunswick News said your contract was not

canceled for the Trump cartoon. It said "This is a false narrative which has emerged carelessly and recklessly on social media. In fact, BNI was not even offered this cartoon by Mr. de Adder."

It also said negotiations had been going on for weeks to bring back another reader favorite but what do you make of their excuse?

DE ADDER: Well, number one, you know, not to dismiss another cartoonist but the reader favorite who is a good cartoonist is more of an Irving favorite. He's not in -- Irving is the family who owns the company. He's an Irving favorite. And to -- you know, possibly. I mean, you know, I had the Sarah Huckabee Sanders -- what I consider an even better cartoon of Sarah Huckabee Sanders a week before and cartoon on Trump shooting the media.

I mean, all I know is that when the viral cartoon hit stands on a Wednesday, Thursday at -- I don't know, one, or two, or noon, I was like oh it was a justification. And not only that, I had -- that morning I thought everything was good so I had provided not one but three cartoons to fill out the week and not only was I dismissed but my cartoons were axed and you know, is it was -- it was like hitting a brick wall -- brick wall.