Return to Transcripts main page


CNN Poll: Harris & Warren Surge, Biden Slides After Debates; Angels Pitcher Tyler Skaggs Found Dead in Hotel Room; Lawmakers Get View of Detention Centers on Border; Border Patrol Investigating Offensive Facebook Posts by Agents; Hong Kong Protestors Storm Government Building. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 2, 2019 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This race is resetting. All images of Joe Biden being the frontrunner are now reshaping this summer.

[05:59:33] NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you talked to black voters, it may still feel like he's a winner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am absolutely 100 percent behind Senator Kamala Harris.

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): When we went into the cell, it was clear that the water was not running.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Border Patrol, they're patriots. They're great people. They love our people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What we saw in the messages was repeatedly members of this group dehumanizing migrants.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Each one of these allegations will be thoroughly investigated.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY.

You can hold my hand if you want.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We were holding hands.

CAMEROTA: We were holding hands before, and accidentally.

BERMAN: She says accidental.

Look, you know, it's the Team USA plays today. I know that's hard for you, because you're a big fan of England and the royal team.

CAMEROTA: That's not what's hard for me.

BERMAN: Are you rooting for America for the first time today?

CAMEROTA: Just because I love Meghan Markle and Prince Harry --

BERMAN: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- does not mean that I'm not rooting for the U.S. But it is hard for me, because my daughters, soccer players, are at camp. So I don't get to watch it with them.

BERMAN: It's hard for you to root for America, because your daughters are at camp?

CAMEROTA: Wow. Wow, John.


CAMEROTA: It is July 2, 6 a.m. here in New York. We thought the first Democratic primary debates would change the 2020 race in a big way, and now we know we were right. A new CNN poll shows the frontrunner, former vice president Joe Biden's, commanding lead over the Democratic field has plummeted; and two women, Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, have surged after their debate performances.

BERMAN: So what makes this CNN poll so important is that it was conducted entirely after the debates, where Harris had that electric moment with Joe Biden.

There is a ton of revealing information inside the numbers. For instance, we keep saying this is a huge field with 24 candidates. Voters might not see it that way. Just four candidates are polling above 5 percent, and there are some signs this morning that the candidates are taking positions on issues that are different than where the public is.

Our political director, David Chalian, he's been rolling around inside these numbers. He joins us now with all the big news -- David.


It is a shuffled race. There's no doubt about it. There's that top tier you're talking about. Four candidates. Biden is still leading in this race, but now it's a narrow lead. It has dramatically shrunk after those debates: 22 percent, Harris at 17 percent. You saw the rest there.

Changing since May, Biden is down 10 points. Look at this. Harris and Warren have both doubled their support since last month. Harris up 9, Warren up 8. Sanders drops 4. Buttigieg holds about steady; he's down one.

I want to show you a key to Joe Biden's support here, why he's still in the lead. It is the black vote. That is a critical part. He's at 36 percent among African Americans; 24 percent for Harris; 12 percent for Warren.

I want to also take a look at the issues here, OK? On the economy, Biden is the one that is leading the field, best equipped to handle it, followed by Warren and then Sanders. Health care, that's a Bernie Sanders strong point. Climate here, it is both Sanders and Biden. But I want you to note, Harris is down here. So this is an advantage right now for her top-tier competitors to lean into on these issues. She has work to do to be seen as best to handle these issues.

But one issue that we tested, race relations, is Kamala Harris's strong suit. She's at 29 percent, best equipped to handle it, compared to Joe Biden at 16, Bernie Sanders at 13.

As you know, Democrats are looking for someone to beat Donald Trump. More than 6 in 10 Democrats say they're looking for someone with a strong chance of beating Trump versus the 30 percent who say, "I'm looking for somebody who shares my position on the issues." And this is Joe Biden's calling card. Look at this.

We asked Democrats, "Who is it that you think is best equipped to beat Trump?" Going away, it's Joe Biden; 43 percent of Democrats say so. Then Bernie at 13. Kamala Harris at 12, Elizabeth Warren at 12.

You can see here that, if any of Biden's competitors could pierce this notion that he is the best to beat Donald Trump that that could spell serious trouble for his candidacy -- John, Alisyn.

BERMAN: All right. David Chalian, stick around. We also want to bring in Jess McIntosh, former director of communications outreach for the Hillary Clinton campaign and a CNN political commentator. And John Avlon, back on the red eye, CNN senior political analyst.

Jess, it turns out campaigns matter and debates matter.


BERMAN: I mean, that's the message I get from these polls.

MCINTOSH: Yes, they do, and it is incredibly exciting to see both women rise as quickly as they did.

We spent a lot of time asking whether America was ready to elect a woman president. We spent even longer talking about whether the women, these particular women were electable. I think the momentum that we're seeing after the performance that we saw really should put those questions to rest. These women should absolutely be in the very top tier and among the strongest candidates the Democrats could field next year.

CAMEROTA: And yet, John, do you see these numbers as a mark of turbulence and the sort of Superball quality of candidates bouncing around? Or do you think -- the reason I ask is because that amount of bounce that Kamala Harris got, I mean, though she had an incredibly strong, noteworthy performance, but will that come down to earth, would you predict? JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think some of this is

gravity taking hold, particularly on Joe Biden. Big bump after his announcement. Gravity takes hold.

But I think Kamala Harris's bounce is a big deal, because she came strong out of the gate in that first debate. And you see a leap that's not, you know, within the margin of error.

[06:05:04] And all along, Kamala Harris has had a slumbering strength, which is that she's the candidate folks have wanted to know more about.



AVLON: And -- and she also is uniquely positioned to help bridge a lot of the Democratic divides as she's perceived today. So objectively, very, very strong.

And for those folks in the back half of the field, they're Nowheresville, folks. And Joe Biden's folks shouldn't take this -- shouldn't be any -- feel good about this. They can come up with all kinds of rationalizations about best to beat Trump, but they shouldn't whistle past the graveyard. This is not a good poll for them.

BERMAN: I think you have a great point. And Kamala Harris is still -- she is still the candidate folks want to know about.


BERMAN: Even after this bump.

And there's another interesting "glass half empty, glass half full" thing here, David Chalian. You brought up the issue of race, and if we can put up P-103 so people can see this, Joe Biden, the former vice president, is still leading among the black vote there, at 36 percent to 24 percent for Harris.

But I look at this and say, well, look there's big momentum for Harris among these numbers, and if she continues that momentum and draws even with the black vote, which isn't unreasonable to think that, given what we saw in 2008 with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It's not unreasonable. There is a clear path there for her to close the gap even more.

CHALIAN: I mean, John, that has always been Senator Harris's path to the nomination. There's -- there's no doubt about that.

And you remember back in 2007, 2008, the black vote was parked with Hillary Clinton for much of 2007 in that nomination race until Barack Obama made his move in Iowa, and black voters were able to see white America in Iowa vote for an African-American man for president. That was the game change in that race.

And so yes, if Kamala Harris can dig into the African-American vote that is parked with Joe Biden right now, that is -- that is a mortal threat to the Biden candidacy.

CAMEROTA: And yet, Jess, is her bounce about race relations or was it about bussing? Because, I mean, just to be clear, that is not an issue. Bussing is not an issue that voters say they care about this year. OK?

MCINTOSH: Correct.

CAMEROTA: Maybe in 1974. But -- or was it the moment? Was it just that people are responding to the fact that she seized the stage and could go after Biden?

MCINTOSH: I mean, I think that one moment was certainly very important. I think her entire debate performance was important. Every time she opened her mouth, it was a win. And we saw somebody who was frighteningly competent and absolutely capable of going up against Donald Trump. She didn't even really have to go after Joe Biden, and she -- she laid it out anyway.

I think there's a conversation happening in the Democratic Party right now about America's grappling with its racist past and the present-day ramifications of that past. That's an important conversation that we're having. And I feel like Joe Biden is just continually asserting that he's not able to have it.

In just the few days since that debate performance which was so disastrous, that moment about bussing, he doubled down on state's rights. He suggested that it was relatively novel not to see a black teen and immediately assume they were a gang member. He then went on to say that it was -- it was no longer socially acceptable to make fun of a gay waiter like it would have been five years ago. I mean, this was just in the last, like, four days.

So I think at this point, we're starting to see that "this is the safest candidate" idea erode a little bit as he keeps talking about these issues, which just don't seem to be his strong suit these days.

BERMAN: John, I found that poll that you talked about last night, P- 113, if we can put that up there. Which candidate do you want to hear more about? It is Senator Kamala Harris. It was in April, and it is now, as well. Though I'm misreading that, and this is not the number that -- that I have here in front of me.

In any case, the number I have in front of me, it says Harris is at 30 percent.


BERMAN: Warren was at 24 percent, but Harris is the candidate people want to know more about it.

AVLON: And I think that's an important proxy for -- for momentum, for room to grow.

It's striking to me also, by the way, hat Buttigieg and Booker did not see more of a bump out of this debate. I think Booker had a very strong performance in the first debate, didn't see a bump. Buttigieg actually slightly down but well within the margin of error in a huge campaign.

CAMEROTA: Isn't that also a little unrealistic in terms of what you're talking about, about the bouncing around of this poll? People did -- I mean, he raise -- Buttigieg raised so much money.


CAMEROTA: Surely, he will see a bump at some point. Maybe it's a little delayed.

AVLON: Maybe but there's also a question of how much raising money is a proxy for broad popularity. You know, you may be appealing to the wealthy and college-educated whites, but it not translating to small- dollar donations. His donations have been fairly broad. It's a mistake to count him out. He's clearly in that top tier of candidates, whereas a lot of the field is just Nowheresville right now.

MCINTOSH: I think with Buttigieg, when you look at those numbers, seeing that he's at 0 or 1 percent with black voters --

AVLON: That's a problem.

MCINTOSH: -- that's obviously a no go in the Democratic Party. Those are the base -- that's the base of our party. So unless he can move those numbers at all, it doesn't really matter how high the money can go.

BERMAN: And that's where the movement was. There has been so far, and might be going forward.

Let's see if we can do this one. "Should government health insurance be available to undocumented immigrants?

CAMEROTA: That's an important one.

AVLON: This is an important one.

BERMAN: This is P-114, OK, if we have that. And that says that only 38 percent say yes; 59 percent say no. And why is that important? Well, you remember on the debate stage, when asked, "Should undocumented immigrants get health coverage provided from the government," everyone raised their hand.

[06:10:12] So David Chalian, the poll says that the majority of voters don't want what every candidate on stage there pretty much raised their hands for.

CHALIAN: This is -- this is one of those classic moments in American politics, where you're playing primary politics instead of general election politics. Because John, in that poll number, if you look at it by Democrats, it's the exact opposite. It's 6 in 10 Democrats believe that undocumented immigrants should indeed have health insurance from a government-run program if there was one. So they are raising their hand, because they understand that, in this

moment, it's a popular position to take with the party. But independents and Republicans are obviously vastly opposed to it, which makes the overall general election opposed to it, which means that whoever emerges from that stage as the Democratic nominee who is raising their hand, when that person gets to the general election, I imagine they're going to have to massage that position a little bit.


CAMEROTA: Yes, they're going to have to rethink that position. I mean, that's the cover of "The New York Post," right? That was the cover of "The New York Post." I don't know if you saw it, if you were still here, but where it said, "This is how they lose." Because Americans who are struggling to pay their healthcare bills are like, "Huh? You're going to offer this to undocumented immigrants?"

AVLON: This is a perfect snapshot of the Democrats' greatest danger, which is that this is a much further to the left field than we've seen, even compared to past Democratic fields. And Donald Trump's entire playbook is negative partisanship: they're radical; they're extreme. And if they can get a thin edge of the wedge on issues like that, where the candidates all seem to be saying that they support something that's well out of the mainstream for most Americans, that's a toe hold that Donald Trump thinks he can exploit.

MCINTOSH: If I can point out, if your No. 1 issue is making sure that undocumented immigrants don't get health care, you're voting for Donald Trump. I don't think that the Democratic field needs to be that concerned about that.

CAMEROTA: But what is your -- what if your No. 1 issue is your own healthcare bills? Do you like how they voted?

MCINTOSH: Yes. And I think that there's a lot of time to explain what the programs mean. You can't have a national program for health insurance that leaves millions of people uninsured. We're going to have to pay for that in the emergency room. It's not fair, in terms of spreading diseases, to leave people untreated. Those are logical arguments that don't necessarily work in 30-second sound bites. Luckily, this primary is considerably longer than 30 seconds.

BERMAN: All right. Jess, John, David, stand by. A lot more to talk about with this poll. As we said, I think it provides a road map for some of these candidates to run in the primary and maybe in the general election, as well. So we'll come back to that in just a bit.

Also this morning, we're waking up to new questions about the death of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs. All of Major League Baseball is in mourning.

The 27-year-old was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Texas. The Angels were there to play the Rangers.

Sara Sidner live in Los Angeles with the new developments. And Sara, we're told foul play is not suspected. SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean, it really is a

mystery, John. But from across the country, coast to coast, you have fans and players from teams from the New York Yankees, for example, to right here in Los Angeles expressing their absolute shock that this 27-year-old, well-liked left-handed pitcher is gone.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tyler Skaggs taking the mound for the Angels.

SIDNER (voice-over): Leftie Tyler Skaggs on the mound against the Oakland A's, the 27-year-old athlete was one of the Los Angeles Angels' most reliable pitchers. Less than 48 hours later, police find Skaggs dead in a Texas hotel room, his body discovered just hours before he and his teammates were to begin the opening game of a series against the Texas Rangers. Their game postponed as shock and grief set in, from Texas to his home field in Anaheim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For him to pass away at such a young age is just hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just honoring him. He earned our respect pitching.

SIDNER: Major League Baseball, his team, those he played against, and those he never knew took to social media to express their sorrow for No. 45. His teammate and all-star Mike Trout, "Remembering him as a great teammate, friend and person who will forever remain in our hearts. We love you, 45," he tweeted.

All-star pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, Marcus Stroman, tweeted, "RIP Tyler Skaggs. Heartbreaking, man. Makes me sick to my stomach. Prayers for his entire family and friends."

The reason for Skaggs's death is still a mystery. Police reportedly ruling out foul play or suicide.

He had so much to live for. The Los Angeles born athlete was playing professional baseball for a team in his home state, and he had just gotten married last year. He appeared happy and ready to take on the Texas Rangers, donning his Texas duds in in this Instagram photo shared by his wife, Carli. That was Sunday.

By Monday afternoon, the Los-Angeles-born Angel would never alight on the mound again.


SIDNER: Now, Skaggs married his wife Carli in December. They didn't even get to spend a year as a married couple -- John, Alisyn.

[06:15:07] BERMAN: It is so sad. It is so sad for her. It is so sad the Angels family. And just think of what it's like for these players. And the wife also, obviously. But the players live on the road together. CAMEROTA: Right.

BERMAN: You know, for half the year, and they have to go back to work with that locker empty.


BERMAN: You know, with their friend gone and no answers this morning --

CAMEROTA: I know. That's the --

BERMAN: -- about why he passed.

CAMEROTA: And it sounds like he was beloved, and they just are desperate for some answers. And they will get them. But we're just all waiting.

OK. Meanwhile, lawmakers go inside the migrant detention facilities at the border, and they will share with us what they saw.

Also, investigative reporters find disgusting comments by some Border Patrol agents online. We read you those disturbing posts and what they mean, next.


[06:20:28] CAMEROTA: U.S. Border Patrol says they're investigating reports of disturbing social media activity on a secret Facebook group for Border Patrol agents. These posts included vulgar comments about Latino lawmakers and twisted remarks about migrant deaths.

Meanwhile members of Congress got a firsthand look at some of the detention facilities holding these migrants, and CNN's Nick Valencia is live in Clint, Texas, with more.

What did they learn?


The national Border Patrol chief and the U.S. Border Patrol Council were quick to condemn those social media posts. But what they did do is bring added scrutiny to an agency just as members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus showed up to tour the facilities here along the southern border.


VALENCIA (voice-over): U.S. Customs and Border Protection under fire and under investigation, digging into what it calls "disturbing and completely inappropriate" social media posts, allegedly written by current and former employees in a closed Facebook group.

Pro Publica first exposing "I'm 10-15," the group reportedly named after a code for undocumented immigrants in custody. One post about the father and daughter who drowned last week crossing the Rio Grande. According to the website, one member asked if the photo could have been faked, because the bodies were so clean.

When questioned about the disturbing post, President Trump said he did not see them.

TRUMP: The Border Patrol, they're patriots; they're great people. They love our country. They know what's coming in.

VALENCIA: CNN obtaining these screen grabs from the group, responding to a story about a pregnant teenager and baby held in CBP custody for over a week. One commenter posting, "From the bottom of my heart, I don't give a (EXPLETIVE DELETED)."

According to Pro Publica, members also shared lewd and sexist content about Latino Congressmembers, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

HASTINGS: These do not represent the thoughts of the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol. Each one of these allegations will be thoroughly investigated.


VALENCIA: All of this comes as the New York congresswoman toured two west Texas detention facilities with other House Democrats, the lawmakers leaving outraged by the conditions.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): What we saw today was unconscionable. No child should ever be separated from their parents.

REP. AYANA PRESSLEY (D-MA): I am tired of the health and the safety, the humanity and the full freedom of black and brown children being negotiated and compromised and moderated.

VALENCIA: Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro managed to capture some of what he saw, posting this video to Twitter, showing women inside a cramped cell.

CASTRO: When we went into the cell, 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.

VALENCIA: CBP tells CNN the claim of people drinking from toilets is completely untrue.


VALENCIA: Chairman Joaquin Castro went on to call the conditions that migrants are being held in as dehumanizing, with another member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus saying that these are very dark days in the country and that migrants who are held in 8-foot-by-10-foot cells are given no basic human rights -- Alisyn.

BERMAN: I'll take it, Nick. Nick Valencia down in Clint, Texas. Nick, thank you for being there and continue to push. We need to see what's going on inside those buildings. Oscar Alberto Martinez, and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, have

been laid to rest. They are the father and daughter who are in that heartbreaking photo, losing their lives while trying to cross the border into the United States.

Hundreds attended the funeral in El Salvador. Among the mourners was Tania Avalos, Valeria's mother and Oscar's widow. Relatives say the family had hoped to live and work in the United States for a few years and save enough money to return and build a home of their own.

CAMEROTA: It's so heartbreaking to think about her life going forward.

Well, a senior official is describing Hong Kong's legislative building as, quote, "a big crime scene," end quote. This after a night of violent protests.

Hundreds of masked protesters stormed the government headquarters, spraying graffiti all over the legislative chamber. And Nic Robertson is live in Hong Kong with the latest.

You were in the thick of it yesterday, reporting for us, Nic. What's happening today?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, Alisyn, the Chinese government has weighed in with their opinion, and they are calling this an undisguised challenge to the one-party -- one-country, two systems here of Hong Kong. That is the, you know -- Hong Kong being a semi-autonomous province. And this is the way the relationship between the two, between China and Hong Kong is described: one country, two systems. And China using very strong language here, describing it as a challenge to that.

[06:25:19] What we are hearing, as well, from the protesters is they think that there's a possibility that there could be a little bit of a backlash in terms of popular opinion for the damage that has been caused. But they hope in the coming days that the people here will weigh the opinion of what they were trying to achieve against -- against the greater numbers who were out protesting peacefully. That's their hope.

The chief executive here has essentially told the people of Hong Kong, there were good protesters, bad protesters. You make up your mind, but we must have the rule of law.

And the police have explained why they pulled out of the building, under siege, they said, under attack by violent protestors. They evacuated the building of civilian workers.

The electricity was being switched off, turning off the lights in the middle of the night for them. And that was why they decided to have this tactical retreat.

But today it really is a clean-up around here. And the administrators of the building say it could be weeks before the building is cleaned up; and it could be until the next session of government here before there are any more -- any more sessions of government. The next two in July have been shelved for now -- John.

BERMAN: Nic Robertson, great work there on the streets. We saw you right in the middle of it yesterday. Glad to see more peaceful surroundings for you today. Thank you very much.

So we have an update just in to a moment you saw right here on NEW DAY: 9/11 first responder John Feal, our friend, choking up while he was asking New York city's mayor, Bill de Blasio, to honor his fallen brother, 9/11 first responder Luis Alvarez, for his sacrifice.


JOHN FEAL, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: So I'm asking Mayor de Blasio to give Luis the key to New York City.

CAMEROTA: I'm sure he will do that.

FEAL: He better.


BERMAN: Luis earned it. With just days to live, Alvarez spoke before Congress, asking for Congress to extend the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund. Here's part of that testimony.


LUIS ALVAREZ, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: I have been lucky enough to have the pain and suffering of 69 rounds of chemo and countless other treatments and surgeries. It is my goal and it is my legacy to see that you do the right thing for all 9/11 responders.


BERMAN: Amazing. Now here's the update. And Alisyn Camerota, she called it. After yesterday's segment aired, Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that the city can never repay its debt to Detective Alvarez, and that he would be honored to award him a posthumous key to the city.

CAMEROTA: Mayor de Blasio did the right thing, and he did it right away.

BERMAN: Right away.

CAMEROTA: And when we had John on, you know, they've had so many disappointments, frankly, from government officials and politicians that he didn't know if it would happen. But the fact that it happened with such alacrity. You know, these guys --

BERMAN: He said it better. "It better happen."

CAMEROTA: -- get things done. It better happen. Those guys get things done. They -- they demand things, and they get things done.

BERMAN: The public funeral for Luis Alvarez will be tomorrow. CAMEROTA: All right. Now to this. Iran crossing a dangerous

benchmark. Why President Trump says Tehran is playing with fire. That's next.