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CNN Poll: Harris, Benefit From Post-Debate Surge; MLB Pitcher Tyler Skaggs, 27, Found Dead in Hotel; Lawmakers Outraged After Touring Migrant Detention Centers on Border; Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) is Interviewed About Conditions in Migrant Detention Facilities; Border Patrol to Investigate Offensive Facebook Posts. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 2, 2019 - 07:00   ET


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Down there appreciate it.

So it's a whole new race on the Democratic side. A brand-new CNN poll on 2020 shows us big changes. NEW DAY continues right now.


[07:00:15] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Biden no longer a double-digit frontrunner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both he and Bernie Sanders, they're sliding, and the insurgent candidacies are gaining.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think his performance, candidly, was very disappointing. He's going to have to up his game.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There were times when I walked into this facility, and I was brought to my knees in tears.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These women were being told by CBP officers to drink out of the toilet.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She just voted against the two bills that were put in to alleviate those situations down there.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump to have military equipment featured at this year's Fourth of July celebration.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to have planes going overhead, the best fighter jets in the world, and we're going to have some tanks stationed outside.

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR: The Chinese and the North Koreans do military parades. They take years to practice, and clearly, ours are not going to measure up.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So welcome to our viewers in the United

States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY, and this morning we have a race on our hands, the brand-new CNN poll revealing how a debate can make a big difference.

Former Vice President Joe Biden's once commanding lead over the crowded Democratic field pretty much disappears, shrinking to just 5 points. The poll shows Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, they are surging. It is those senators who appear to have the momentum in the 2020 race.

CAMEROTA: Now, this CNN poll was conducted after the first debates. Of course, that's where Harris had her breakout moment, challenging Joe Biden about bussing.

Forty-one percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say that Harris did the best job in the debates, and 30 percent of potential Democratic voters now say Harris is the candidate that they most want to hear more about.

So joining us to talk about all of this, we have David Chalian, CNN political director; Sarah Isgur, CNN political analyst; and Laura Barron-Lopez, national political reporter for "Politico."

What a stunning poll, David. So give us your top-line takeaways here.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, I mean, we should always remember, right, this is one poll; and it is a snapshot in time of what the race looks like now.

But as you were just saying, Alisyn, clearly, among those that watched the debate, that followed news of the debate, declared Kamala Harris the person who did the best job, far and away. So it makes sense, then, that we see movement for her in -- in this poll.

I would also note that Joe Biden, while clearly had a very unsteady debate performance, remember, our poll from April to May from when he announced, he was already heading down. And now this shows even further erosion. So clearly, his trajectory since the day he's gotten in this race has not been in the direction any candidate wants to go.

Can he shore that up? Of course he can. Because I think the one thing this poll shows is he still has the strongest hand to play with voters who desperately want to get Donald Trump out of office. Joe Biden is seen as the one that can do that.

BERMAN: That's P-107, "Which candidate has the best chance to beat Trump?" Forty-three percent say Joe Biden, and then you have to go all the way down to 13 percent to find Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, then Elizabeth Warren.

Laura what do you see in these numbers?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "POLITICO": Right. So I see somewhat of what Daniel was saying, which is that this is, you know -- this is what, two months after the May poll or so, and it's a drastically different field. It shows how wide-open the race is. In another month or two months, it could dramatically change again, and we could either see someone eclipsed by then or Sanders jump back up. And so there's a lot of time for these candidates to establish themselves.

That being said, there is a bit of a crunch time that we're entering, starting right after those first debates ended, and it's going into August 28, and that's for candidates to make the cutoff for the third debate. And there's a lot of parameters that they have to meet now. They have to reach 130,000 donors; and they have to make 2 percent in four polls. And so that's a really big hill for a lot of these candidates to climb. So we may see more of them drop off, and then that could also dramatically change the field.

CAMEROTA: Sarah, you've helped Republican -- big Republican candidates navigate their way through this point in races. What do you see from your vantage point?

SARAH ISGUR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the best thing that Joe Biden had going for him was the inevitability argument, frankly. And that is now gone. This is a four-way race.

That being said, there are some concerning nuggets for Warren and Harris, as well. Not only the electability numbers, which Democratic voters have said is their No. 1 issue, so to speak.

But even among the issues, look at who's best to handle the economy, and Harris is in single digits again. That will be something that she needs to now make over the next month, in the next debate, not just "I can do well at debates," but "I can beat Donald Trump, and I have a good handle on these issues." There's plenty of time, but there are still lots of space there in all of these numbers.

[07:05:16] BERMAN: It was interesting. It wasn't just the economy. It was health care and climate change. She's in single digits or at 10 percent in all of these issues, yet she had those big giant gains in the polls.

David Chalian, if you want to see where the gains are coming from, it does seem to be among black voters. Put up the racial breakdown here. This is P-103. Among white voters, Kamala Harris has drawn nearly even to Joe Biden. He's at 20 percent; she's at 17.

Joe Biden still leads among black voters over Kamala Harris at 36 percent to 24. But he was up close to 50 in most polls a month and a half ago. So that's where she's making gains, and if she continues to gain there, this race could get even closer.

CHALIAN: Yes, no doubt about that. That is true. But I also think you are seeing her make gains. That moment on the debate stage wasn't just about African-American voters. She's making gains in the sort of white college-educated liberal set of the Democratic nomination race.

I mean, what you see when you look inside these numbers, John, right, is that a real candidate profile. Joe Biden is sort of owning the moderate conservative Democrats in this race, the non-college-educated voters. By the way, the candidate in history in modern, recent history in the Democratic Party that owns that segment of the Democratic electorate tends to actually emerge the winner. The white liberal college-educated segment of the electorate, the Bill Bradleys, the Howard Deans, you know, that kind of candidate.

So I do think you're seeing her get some of that support. It's why the African-American vote is going to be so decisive and critical in this race. You are right: if she can actually dig further into Biden's lead there, that will do her enormous good.

CAMEROTA: And Laura, yes. What's so interesting is that she wasn't exactly talking about policy during that -- the moment that got so much attention, where she challenged Joe Biden, it was about bussing, which of course, is not on anybody's list of top ten issues.

And so she was -- it was -- I think people are giving her a lot of stylistic points, that she was prosecutorial, that she was assertive and she took it directly to him, but she wasn't also spelling out any solutions for our segregated communities.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Well, she was challenging Biden on the aspect of whether or not he was -- he was for states' rights when -- in regard to bussing and arguing that there is a role for the federal government to play in ensuring that bussing to desegregate schools was something that was enforced. And Biden was on the other side, saying that he didn't believe that the federal government should have played a role that the Department of Education should not have been involved in doing that.

So she was very effectively prosecuting that case against him. But she also made it very personal, and that's something that her campaign has talked, that she has struggled to do so far throughout the campaign. And she's trying to shift and get a bit more personal, tell stories about her life, realizing that that's a more effective way to connect with voters. And we saw that in that first debate.

BERMAN: So Sarah, what does Joe Biden need to do? We have some historical precedent here. I remember in 2008, John McCain started plummeting in the polls. I think he fell to fourth. I mean, this is much different than that. I was the only reporter riding through Iowa with him on a bus, you know. He was lonely, but he managed to dig himself back up there.

So -- so is there perhaps, you know, a guidepost there for Joe Biden?

ISGUR: If you are in the Biden camp right now, the last thing you want to hear is comparisons to John McCain in '08, even though he ended up with the nomination, because what a slog that appeared to be.

I think that the Biden camp's No. 1 thing right now is stop the bleeding. But you're right, long-term, they've also got to think about cutting down their burn rate, not spending all of the money that they have so that, if the worst-case scenario happens and you end up plummeting down, you can survive through the long haul, make it to January and February, see if other candidates fall, and then have a reemergence. But that's -- nobody wants to be in that spot. CAMEROTA: David, what's going on with Pete Buttigieg? In the latest

poll, he's at 4 percent, and this is, again, after the debates. And so many people thought that he had moments that resonated, as well. And he had that blockbuster fundraising day.

CHALIAN: He certainly did. The second quarter raising nearly $25 million. Perhaps only Joe Biden is going to outraise him for the quarter. That -- I think actually the two are tied, Alisyn.

The question becomes now how does Pete Buttigieg spend that money on an organization in the early states on getting his message out there to actually convert that financial powerhouse position that he's in into his place in the race?

Listen, you see in our poll, John was just looking at the African- American vote. Pete Buttigieg got zero in the African-American vote. You can't win or be competitive, truly competitive in the Democratic nomination race with zero among African-American voters. It's the core base of the party. So that is homework assignment No. 1 for Pete Buttigieg.

[07:10:16] BERMAN: That's a stunning number. That is a stunning number in a national poll, to be at zero among black voters in a Democratic primary field. It's difficult to pull that off, I have to say.

CAMEROTA: Well, they have a lot of other choices.

BERMAN: I know, I know.

CAMEROTA: If you have a long history with Joe Biden, or Kamala Harris really impressed you, you know, you have 24 choices.

BERMAN: On the issues, Laura -- and this is also something we see that's very interesting going forward -- one of the hot-button issues that came up in the debate was health care, government-provided health insurance for undocumented immigrants. In the second debate, candidates were asked, "Would you support that?" Almost all of them raised their hands.

Yet, the polling tells us that nearly 60 percent of voters don't support that. So it gets to this issue. We've been talking about it for days. Are Democrats debating themselves into a position that may not be favorable for a general election?

BARRON-LOPEZ: Right, so a number of immigration advocates, as well as Democratic operatives that I've spoken to about this particular point say that they're hoping, pretty much, that immigration isn't going to be the No. 1 priority issue for voters, that it isn't going to be the one thing that voters cast their ballot on.

And so because of that, if Democrats are effective and whoever the nominee is effective in putting forward an immigration plan, they don't think that they're really going to lose that many voters by having this be an aspect of that.

CAMEROTA: All right. Friends, thank you very much for walking us through this fascinating poll just out. Thank you, guys.

Now to this story, because there are so many questions about the death of Los Angeles pitcher Tyler Skaggs. It is still unknown what caused his death. The 27-year-old was found unresponsive in his Texas hotel room on Monday. At the moment, police say foul play is not suspected.

Sara Sidner is live in Los Angeles with more. What do they know, Sara?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Look, it's really troubling. He's 27 years old and a professional baseball player who, just a couple of days ago, was on the mound, pitching against the A's. The questions are many because, at this point, police do not know and have not, certainly, released exactly what may have caused his death.


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.

(END VIDEOTAPE) SIDNER: And his Major League debut, by the way, was in 2012. He was just 21 years old. Now, six years later, he is no longer with us.

There are hearts broken across the country, especially in the world of baseball. We've been hearing from people playing for all sorts of teams from the New York Yankees, to the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he first -- where he played. Lots of people just sending their condolences and people showing up one after the other with their condolences here in the Los Angeles area.

BERMAN: It is so sad. So sad for the family, so sad for that team and sad for the baseball community. Sara Sidner, thank you very much.

There are still so many questions about how he died, but there just aren't answers this morning. What we can find out much more about is how he lived and the impact his life had.

So joining us in a few minutes, "The Los Angeles Times" reporter who follows the Angels will tell us what she knows about Tyler Skaggs. That's coming up.

[07:15:06] CAMEROTA: All right. So what is the truth about the conditions inside facilities holding migrants at the border? We ask a Congresswoman who went inside yesterday. That's next.


CAMEROTA: About a dozen members of Congress toured the facilities at the southwest border yesterday. As you know, reports have varied on the deplorable conditions inside and whether those have been fixed. New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez described what she saw and heard.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): There's abuse in these facilities. There's abuse. This was them on their best behavior, and they put them in a room with no running water. And these women were being told by CBP officers to drink out of the toilet. They were drinking water out of the toilet, and that was them knowing a congressional visit was coming. That was -- this is CBP on their best behavior, telling people to drink out of the toilet.


CAMEROTA: U.S. Border Patrol says the accusation of migrants drinking out of toilets is completely untrue.

[07:20:06] Joining us now is Democratic Congresswoman Norma Torres. She toured three border facilities in Texas yesterday.

Congresswoman, it is so great to have you here, sharing what you saw with your own eyes in these facilities. Surely, women are not drinking out of the toilets in these facilities. Did you see that?

REP. NORMA TORRES (D-CA): I did not see women drinking out of the toilets. However, that is exactly what these women said to us, that there is no running water within the cell except for a flushable toilet.

They were also using reusable throwaway cups, not plastic, but paper cups. You could tell that they had been used for maybe a couple of days because of how they looked.

Those are inhumane conditions for adults, but can you imagine seeing babies, seeing toddlers in those conditions? The world ought to be outraged about what is happening here within our nation; and I call on the world to -- to act and demand better.

CAMEROTA: Last week, when we heard about the deplorable conditions of children who there was, apparently, an influenza outbreak. They were sick. They had dirty diapers. There weren't adults around. There were some adolescents taking care of children. We were told that those conditions had been fixed.

Did you see progress yesterday when you went in? Has anything been fixed?

TORRES: I did not see progress. What I saw were jail cells, cement jail cells where children are being kept alone in group-like settings.

Children that are sitting and sleeping on the floor on -- with an air conditioner going full blast, wearing nothing but the dirty clothes and being covered with an aluminum type of sheet.

Imagine your child having to live under those conditions. It is inhumane. It is embarrassing. And what we need to do is we need to send every single one of these border agents back to training, because they certainly haven't been versed on what is humane and inhumane.

CAMEROTA: Congresswoman, before we get to that Facebook group, which we will talk about, how callous so many of the comments are on there, but first, Congressman Joaquin Castro somehow got a camera in. Our cameras are not allowed in. And he got a little bit of video of some of these cells. And you can see overcrowded conditions: women on the floor, women just draping themselves into thin blankets. You know, obviously these are not conditions that anyone would want to endure, but Congresswoman, as you know, there's been an influx of migrants. The situation is overcrowded. The -- the officials there say they are overrun, they are overwhelmed. And so what's the answer?

TORRES: I understand that -- that they are overwhelmed and that they need resources, and resources have been given to them.

However, they have shown very poor, very little judgment on how it is to treat people that are in desperate condition, that are sick, and they are unable to care for these people.

I have to -- I have to say that it is -- it is unreasonable to also expect a border agent to have to change a dirty diaper. This is what management needs to step up and ensure that they are -- that they are given all of the resource that they need. If we need babysitters there at those locations, then we should have

babysitters to care for these children. If we need nurses there to care for the ill, we should be having nurses there. And if people are so sick that they have to be quarantined away from the rest of the detainees, then they should not be sleeping on the cold floor the way we saw them yesterday.

CAMEROTA: OK. I want to get to --

TORRES: Now, I want to be sure --


TORRES: I want to make sure that you understand that the conditions have not changed a single bit from the last time where I was at one of these locations eight months ago.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for your perspective of on all that. It's really important for us to hear.

So Pro Publica did this investigative report, and they found a Facebook, a secret Facebook page or group with 9,500 members, all of whom, they say, are Border Patrol agents.

And the comments on there are so disgusting. The comments range from the most vulgar things being said about female members of Congress to an incredible callous disregard to the migrants who have died.

[07:25:05] I'll read a couple of comments as best I can on morning TV. Here is what it said before your visit. Before your visit, they were responding to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez. They didn't like that she had likened the conditions to concentration camps. So here's what one post said.

"One member encouraged Border Patrol agents to hurl a 'burrito at these" -- "B" words. "Another, apparently a patrol supervisor, wrote 'F the hoes.' 'There should be no photo ops for these scum buckets,' posted a third member."

Next, about Oscar Martinez, the young man, 25 years old, who drowned along with his daughter, who was 23 months old, Valeria, here's what they wrote. "Have y'all seen floaters this clean? I'm not trying to be an ass, but I have never seen floaters this clean," the person wrote, adding, "Could this be another edited photo? We've all seen the Dems and liberal parties do some pretty sick things."

The -- the idea that this is what is outward -- you know, overtly being written. I mean, granted, it's a secret group, but for 10,000 people to see.

So back to the first post here, how were you treated when you went there?

TORRES: Well, I was definitely concerned. We were very -- we were disrespected when we were there. We had a conversation with management about this article before we entered the location. Now, we were told that our staffs had to stay outside and that we had

to keep either our phones there at the entryway, or we had to leave them in the car.

Now, I don't -- I don't trust to leave my cell phone with these individuals that would threaten members of Congress while we are in the process of doing our job.

Let me remind these people that this is our job. Oversight is our job, and that's what we were doing. And to threaten members of Congress, I certainly did not feel safe to be inside this location.

I voiced those concerns, and I also voiced my concern for the safety of my staff that was left outside and who was going to be taking care and ensuring that -- that no attacks were going to be against our staff?

And they reassured us of that, but certainly, when we walked inside the facility, there were CBP agents that were taking photos, selfies photos with us in the background. None of us had a cell phone to be able to record these actions by these agents. But imagine, this is what they are doing to members of Congress in front of their leadership. So you could imagine what happens behind closed doors within these ICE cells to children as young as two years old.

If you're a parent or a grandparent out there, I would say look at your child and go hug your child, because you would not want a law enforcement agent to treat your child the way we see those kids being treated.

CAMEROTA: Congresswoman, we can see how upset yesterday's visit made you. And what was it that was most upsetting to you?

TORRES: What was more upsetting to me was the lack of respect for human life, the lack of disregard. The humanity of these children has been stripped away from them. The callous way in which these officers have -- have shown themselves to be within a private Facebook page, a Facebook page where they thought they were talking only to themselves about their work. This is what I'm talking about.

We need to send these folks back to training, and we need to ensure that the bad apples are not -- are not rotting the entire crop. These were -- this is almost half, almost half of the entire law enforcement within CBP, currently working and retired agents that were participating in this type of conversation against members of Congress.

CAMEROTA: It's hard to say that these were a few rogue agents when there were -- are almost 10,000 members of this private Facebook group.

TORRES: You cannot say that. We -- we cannot say that they were rogue agents when -- when the capacity and the number of agents behaving the way they have and -- and acting out in front of their own bosses. Who is in charge at CBP? That's the question that we need to ask. CAMEROTA: Well, Congresswoman Norma Torres, we appreciate you giving

us your firsthand take on all of this. And obviously, CBP says they are investigating and that all of the wrongdoers will be punished. So we will stay on this.