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Buttigieg Raises $24.8 Million; Democrats Defend Harris Over Race; Protesters Storm Hong Kong; Eight Injured in Clash in Portland; Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) is Interviewed About North Korea. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired July 1, 2019 - 13:00   ET

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


[13:00:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Was shot in the stomach, and then indicted in her unborn baby's death. The woman's attorney's now taking action to dismiss this shocking case.

Plus, Ivanka Trump, adviser, daughter and diplomat. Why her prominent role at the high-stakes G-20 summit is raising a lot of questions.

First up, those crucial fundraising numbers in the 2020 election and the powerful impact that they could have on the race. Just this morning, Mayor Pete Buttigieg reporting a huge haul. He posted an impressive $24.8 million in fundraising for the second quarter. And then Senator Kamala Harris is boasting a $2 million boost just 24 hours after her fiery debate performance last week. This is a sign that the Democratic primary may have just broken wide open as the candidates are preparing for the next debate right here on CNN in just a few weeks.

Our CNN politics reporter Dan Merica is here.

So, tell us how these new fundraising numbers could really change the landscape of this race.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: It validates candidates. I mean money is important, obviously, putting together an operation, but it also signals how they're resonating with people who are giving $5, $10, $20.

Pete Buttigieg is a massive haul. I mean this is somebody who six months ago was largely unknown to most Democrats, launched in a windowless conference room in Washington, D.C., launched his exploratory committee, and kind of caught a lot of momentum and has really paid -- that's paid off for him. $24.8 million could be possibly the top amount raised in the Democratic field, at least in the top few. And that comes after $7 million in the first quarter. And that does a few things for him. It validates him as a top tier candidate because it puts him among these names that are far more known. But it also puts pressure on him to build an operation that matches that money.

You know, when you have, as they have, $22 million in the bank, that means you have to spend on things like organizers in states. You have to spend on an operation, a national operation that can really propel him from more than just a candidate of the moment to a candidate that has the staying power to really compete next year when there are actually going to be primary an caucuses.

The other thing it does is it signals that his strategy is working. I mean he's raised a lot of money online and in these appeals that we have seen become so popularized by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. But more than any other candidate, possibly, you know, other than Joe Biden, he has really hit the top dollar in-person fundraising circuit very hard. Seventy in-person fundraisers in the second quarter of 2019. And that includes 20 events that are these grassroots fundraisers that are large events but the people pay $20, $50, $100 to go to. So it's a validation for that as well that he -- that strategy is working for him and it's likely he's going to continue in the third quarter as well.

KEILAR: He may have apologized more than any candidate. It's not hurting him.

Dan Merica, thank you so much.

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is fending off racist attacks with a little help from her fellow Democratic candidates. Over the weekend, the president's son, Donald Trump Junior, retweeted to his millions of followers a post questioning whether Harris is really a black American. FYI, she is. He ended up deleting the tweet after it caused some major backlash.

CNN's senior national correspondent, Kyung Lah, is in Los Angeles following this.

And, Kyung, tell us who has come out to defend Harris.

KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's start with Harris herself. What she's been really trying to do is not address it directly. The campaign surrogates, though, the spokespeople, the people who are around her have certainly come out swinging. They came out hard this weekend, calling that particular tweet, the subtweet, quote, a racist attack. Harris has been trying to sort of float above all this and not address the Don Junior tweets directly.

But in speaking with reporters this weekend, she did talk about the online onslaught after the Democratic debate and she said that responses she's seeing on social media, well, it just comes with the territory when you bring up something uncomfortable.

Here's what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are a nation that has a lot to be proud of. And there are aspects of our history that we cannot be proud of. And that we can also -- and most (INAUDIBLE) repeat itself (ph). The history of race, the history of segregation in this country is real. That conversation may make some people uncomfortable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: But her fellow Democratic 2020 hopefuls, they are being far more direct. Take a listen to Bernie Sanders and Julian Castro.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The tweet of Donald Trump Junior was the act of a coward. You see what they do, put something out there and then he deletes it so that he can say it was just a mistake.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have a president who is a racist. And apparently, based on a statement yesterday, his son is following in his footsteps.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LAH: Now, all of this sort of pushes this debate in a different direction, Brianna, because there was this sense that, you know, by paying attention to all of this, you're perhaps amplifying this sentiment behind this. There's certainly the direction now, at least within the Democratic hopefuls, that you have got to call this out.

Brianna.

[13:05:12] KEILAR: Yes, ignoring it didn't work when it was President Obama.

Kyung Lah, thank you so much.

There's more on Harris in just a moment.

I do want to dive into these new fundraising numbers first though.

We have Sahil Kapur with us, political reporter for "Bloomberg," Melanie Zanona, congressional reporter for "Politico," and CNN's political director David Chalian.

So all eyes here on Buttigieg after he's bringing in -- I mean this is big bank, right? He puts Bernie Sanders to shame almost, right? $24.8 million. More than tripling his first quarter numbers. How significant is this?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it is. It's really significant. Two reasons.

One, you said we don't know Bernie Sanders' numbers yet this -- this quarter, right?

KEILAR: Earlier. From last cycle, yes.

CHALIAN: He was the -- he was the -- he was the top raiser from the first quarter. And we'll see if that money machine keeps printing the money the way that it has been.

But what -- what Buttigieg did here was take his from nowhere to somewhere rise and immediately convert it into fundraising prowess. He just built a schedule for this whole second quarter to make use of the notoriety, the fame he was getting in Democratic circles and just went after every dollar as much as possible.

Now, his poll numbers haven't matched this fundraising success yet. So the big question I have is, what does he spend it on? Can he build an organization? Can he start getting a message out to people in a way that also moves his standing in the race?

KEILAR: Yes, more broadly too, because he struggled, for instance, with black voters compared to the other candidates.

Sahil, I wonder, as you're waiting to hear the numbers coming in from other candidates, who do you really have your eye on?

SAHIL KAPUR, POLITICAL REPORTER, "BLOOMBERG": Well, we want to see Joe Biden's fundraising numbers. He's the frontrunner. We want to see how he's doing. I would like to see Elizabeth Warren's fundraising numbers as well. She has done a unique thing in hiring a huge staff across early states. She's invested a lot in the ground game and in, you know, and in staffers. So, we'll see what her burn rate is. We'll see how she's handled the, you know, criticism of whether she's spending too much too early.

KEILAR: And what about you?

MELANIE ZANONA, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": You know, I'm also looking out for Elizabeth Warren's numbers. Can she translate all this positive press coverage that she's been getting and this surge in the polls into real dollars and cents. That's what this game is all about, right?

I'm also interested to see, of course, Biden's numbers. This is the first filing period where he's been fully in the race, so it will be interesting to see whether he's on the same level as Buttigieg, if not higher.

But these Buttigieg numbers are almost Obama level when he was in the 2007 primary.

KEILAR: And you have some new reporting.

CHALIAN: Well, the Biden campaign actually just put out an e-mail sort of teasing their numbers but not actually revealing what they are yet to their supporters saying, thank you so much for blowing this out of the water. Some suggestion that they think they're going to maybe post a larger number than Buttigieg's number. If he -- if Biden comes in below Buttigieg, I think that could be a bit problematic for him. But most indications are that Joe Biden, as you were saying, it's his first quarter in this case, former vice president, the network that's out there, I mean he should be able to post a very big number.

KAPUR: And it's worth remembering, money doesn't win you elections.

CHALIAN: That's right.

KEILAR: Sure.

KAPUR: Jeb -- as I think Jeb Bush, from 2016, can attest. But it allows you to run the kind of campaign you want. Money is one of the first things that winnows the field. If you don't have the money, you don't have the resources, it dries up, you can't travel, you can't hire people and people drop out.

Now, I think Buttigieg, with these numbers, he's funded -- well-funded for the long haul.

ZANONA: And he can finally put boots on the ground in some of these key, early primary states where he's actually struggled thus far to build that infrastructure.

KEILAR: Let's talk about this attack, these racist attacks on Senator Harris. Don Junior retweeting and then deleting this post, right, where it's questioning whether Harris is a black American. Fact check, yes, she is a black American.

Is this birtherism, Melanie, 2.0 and coming again from the Trump circle?

ZANONA: Yes, it's straight out of the playbook that they used against Obama, led by none other than Donald Trump himself. And now we're seeing Don Junior retweet this tweet out and I think "BuzzFeed" reported that a bunch of bot accounts also were tweeting these horrific claims. So clearly there is an attempt underway to disarm her and to discredit her ability to speak on issues like race, which she did so eloquently at the debate.

So it's unclear whether these candidates have a plan to deal with these types of attacks and disinformation campaign.

KEILAR: You know, when it came to President Obama, there was a question sometimes of, what do Republicans think? They would be asked and some of them were reticent to weigh in. Are Republicans weighing in on this? Are they -- are they condemning this?

CHALIAN: I haven't seen Republicans weigh in on it. I'm not sure that they've been asked for it. Clearly all of her competitors in the Democratic field came out over the weekend to sort of stand by her and push back on this. And it's twofold because there is the need to push back on this kind of racist disinformation campaign that is an organized effort to put inaccurate information in the public space about her. So that -- that is one thing you've got to push back on.

But then you've got to push back on the fact that the Trump campaign is utilizing this as an attack. Donald Trump Junior amplifying this, Brianna, the way he is, indicates to us how the Trump campaign plans to run this campaign.

KEILAR: They would be asked about this when they --

ZANONA: Right, they're not in town, lucky for them, right?

KEILAR: They'll be asked when they're back, right, when they're back from July 4th?

[13:10:03] KAPUR: The Harris campaign is taking this very seriously. I am told that she plans -- and her -- and her campaign plans to call this out aggressively. They see that in the age of Twitter and FaceBook that disinformation, racist attacks, things that seem absurd can fester and can grow. They are, I'm told, happy to see Democrats, obviously, calling this stuff out, but they're not taking it for granted. They're not going to be John Kerry with the Swift Boat attacks where, you know, something comes at them, they assume it's absurd, that it goes away. They're going to try to make it go away by calling it out.

KEILAR: Do you think the approach is different sort of looking back at the learning curve of how President Obama and Democrats didn't want to give light -- or didn't want to give sort of notice at first to the accusations about his not being born in the U.S., which, of course, he was?

CHALIAN: This dates back to the 2008 campaign, right? I remember the Obama campaign was seen as somewhat innovative for building a part of their website called fight the smears, right? And it was exactly to push back on this to give their surrogates and their network of supporters all the things to say and the facts to push back on this. So I think there's always been an understanding that you have to.

But, you're right, there's been this calibration in the past of how much do you call this to light and then give it more oxygen versus pushing back. And I think what '16 taught many political practitioners, as you're saying, like, there just is no option, you have to call out this kind of racist disinformation deliberate campaign from its very inception, otherwise it just be -- it takes a life of its own in many quarters of the Internet.

ZANONA: And it's a different ballgame with social media now. I mean you have the ability to make these deepfake videos very easily, as we saw with those Nancy Pelosi videos that circulated like wildfire online and distorted her to make her look drunk. So these candidates do have to address this in a completely different way than they did in 20 -- in 2008.

KEILAR: They must fight the crazy.

All right, Sahil Kapur, Melanie Zanona, thank you so much.

David Chalian, as always, thank you.

Incredible scenes are coming out of Hong Kong. Police have fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters after a day of high tension and violence. Authorities are attempting to drive people away from a government headquarters.

And earlier the protesters stormed the building. They broke windows. They pried open metal shutters to get inside. All of this following weeks of unrest in Hong Kong after a controversial bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. There are fears that the bill could be used to arrest people for

opposing the Chinese government. And it's important to note that CNN's coverage of these protests is being blacked out in China.

We have CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson in the midst of these protests in Hong Kong.

What is happening there now? What have you been seeing?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, in the last hour and a half, a complete sea change. This area behind me, which is the outside of the legislative council building, was a mass of protesters. Now, it's a mass of police. The police stormed in here firing tear gas. The protesters walked away with their hands in the air. It was peaceful. The protesters left peacefully. The police came in quickly, effectively. The protesters have moved away from the government building now. They have scattered on the streets. The police are moving through the streets around here to clear them off. The police are now, some of them you see down here sitting down. They're relaxed. The police's objectives, to take back control of this building have been achieved.

But it has been at a huge cost because for hours and hours and hours this afternoon, protesters battered and battered away at the windows and doors of this building with anything they could find, crates of rocks, iron bars, using barricades as battering rams to batter, batter and batter their way into the building. And when ultimately they got into the building, the police didn't confront them on the inside. The police that were in the building disappeared.

The crowd of protesters got into the legislative chamber itself and sprayed graffiti and gave speeches standing on the desks of some of their legislative representatives there. This was an act that the police called rioting and they gave the protesters a warning they were going to come in. And at midnight it all changed. Midnight here. An hour and a half ago.

So this has been an absolutely incredible day without precedent in the history of Hong Kong. And this is a day that seems to have ended here with the police taking back control of the government building. But at what cost did the protesters cause? At what cost in damage to the building? And so many questions. Why did the police not secure the building at the beginning of the day? Absolute chaos. Calm is being restored.

Brianna.

KEILAR: Incredible pictures. Thank you, Nic Robertson, in Hong Kong.

President Trump made history this weekend, stepping briefly into North Korea to greet Dictator Kim Jong-un. A political stunt or a potential payoff?

Meanwhile, another Trump was also in the spotlight this weekend, Ivanka. The fashion designer and businesswoman turned first daughter was front and center with world leaders in Asia. The questions behind her prominent role there.

[13:15:07] And later, he was one of the 9/11 heroes who just days before he died demanded the government do more to care for sick first responders from Ground Zero. We will remember Luis Alvarez.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:20:10] KEILAR: There was a violent confrontation in Portland between anti-fascist protesters and members of several right-wing groups, including the far right Proud Boys.

Several arrests were made. Eight people were injured, including at least three police officers. Conservative blogger Andy Noe (ph) was attacked by some of the protesters and Sara Sidner has been following this story for us.

Tell us what happened here.

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, you had a couple of different groups that came into Portland to protest, to share their message, far right groups, to spread their message to the masses, whoever would listen to them, and they often gather at different squares. And that's exactly what happened here. But often, as is normal in Portland, there is always a huge reaction to that. Sometimes far bigger than the far right groups and, in this case the same, who have gathered. The anti- fascists, if you will, came out for sure.

And we should, you know, sort of be clear that there are a lot of different people that were out there who may not consider themselves a member of the anti-fascist group, but there are certainly a group called Rose City Antifa, who was out there.

And I want to just show you the pictures here of what happened. So Andy Noe (ph) is a conservative blogger. And what you'll notice is people know his name. They know each other. Portland has this happen quite often. Here he is after getting hit with what looked like a milkshake, but police were very clear in saying, look, it appears that there was some sort of quick-drying cement that was mixed into that so-called milkshake and he was hit with it. And you see the damage. I mean he was hurt, badly hurt, and had to be -- had to be taken to the hospital. He went to the E.R. there.

And you'll see in the video here, you see it splash on him. You see eggs being thrown at him. And then you see him sort of being marked with silly string. And all of this is sort of a tactic. And you hear people cursing at him and calling all kinds of names. You see that man throwing something at the back of his head.

And I think a serious conversation has to be had, especially in places like Portland and Berkeley, where you have groups like this who are there in -- to be militant and to violently oppose people from the right. The right are opposed in great numbers in Portland. You will see people peacefully protesting. The police did say there were, you know, many people there just peacefully protesting these groups. But then you see the violence unleashed on this conservative blogger. And it's unacceptable behavior. Even if you don't like the ideals, the whole point is that you're allowed to have free speech in this country. And I think that's a conversation that America needs to -- needs to have, especially in cities like Portland, where this happens quite often.

KEILAR: Yes, he's a human being, you know, first and foremost.

SIDNER: Yes.

KEILAR: So, Sara, tell us about these other groups who were there. Who all was there?

SIDNER: So there is a group called Proud Boys. And they're neo- fascists. And they are very well-known. And they are all over the place. They're in neighborhoods here in Los Angeles. They appear in different places trying to spread their message of, for example, white nationalism. Although many of these far right groups have tried to rebrand themselves, if you will, to seem, you know, more PR, you know, centric, where they're trying to put on a different face. But, ultimately, they have some white nationalist ideals.

Then you have this other grouped call the Him Too movement, and that's in reaction, as you may easily have figured out, to the Me Too movement. And they say, look, their purpose is to stand up against false accusations of rape. You had another person there, a conservative, who came out to speak about ideals. And what happens is, Oregon is kind of a powder keg because you do have militia groups that are far right that are in several different parts of Oregon, and then you have a very strong group of folks from the Antifa movement who -- anti-fascists who are also in big cities like Portland. And when they come together, it is always combustible. Three people were arrested, according to police.

KEILAR: All right, Sara Sidner, thank you so much for that.

And as President Trump made history by stepping foot in North Korea, we are learning that he may be ready to abandon a demand that North Korea denuclearize. We'll have the details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:28:57] KEILAR: Nearly a day after making history as the first sitting president to set foot in North Korea, President Trump may now be preparing for a massive policy shift with the regime. "The New York Times" is reporting that the White House is prepared to abandon its demand that North Korea denuclearize. Instead, it would settle for a freeze that would prevent North Korea from making any new nuclear material. And, in exchange, the U.S. would lift some of the heavy sanctions that it currently imposes on this country.

Congressman Tom Reed is a Republican from New York. He is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Would you -- would you support a nuclear freeze over denuclearization?

REP. TOM REED (R-NY): Well, you know, obviously, no. I think what we need is a denuclearized Korean peninsula. And I was pleased to see Ambassador Bolton's recent comments just recently here, a few minutes ago, saying this is not an accurate position that's been discussed in the White House.

KEILAR: All right, yes, so he did say that. He tweeted that he and his staff have not heard of a nuclear freeze. He wasn't in North Korea, though, for this meeting with Kim and Trump. Do you think it's possible? I mean there have been some skirmishes between the president and Mr. Bolton recently on some foreign policy issues. Iran, for instance. Do you think it's possible he's out of the loop?

[13:30:08]