Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Mayor Peggy Breeden of Ridgecrest, California; Second Border Protection Facebook Group Identified; Census Question Decision Due This Afternoon. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired July 5, 2019 - 10:30   ET



[10:31:45] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: powerful aftershocks are complicating the cleanup effort in Southern California after yesterday's 6.4-magnitude earthquake. So far, more than 170 aftershocks have rocked the area. The largest this morning, 5.4. The quake itself, the largest in some 20 years, rattling buildings from Las Vegas to the California coast (ph).

Scary right there, right in the midst of Independence Day celebrations. The quake left cracks in roads, caused gas leaks, started some fires. Luckily, there were only a few injuries.


LASHANE METCALF WILLIAMS, AWAKENED BY EARTHQUAKE: We were actually asleep in our bed, and it -- we woke up to, like, seeing things flying off the walls and just, like, being, like, tilted like this, back and forth. It was nuts.


SCIUTTO: Joining me now is Peggy Breeden. She's mayor of Ridgecrest, California, near the center of the quake.

Mayor, thanks so much for taking the time.

MAYOR PEGGY BREEDEN, RIDGECREST, CALIFORNIA: Good morning. Thank you for asking.

SCIUTTO: So, still getting aftershocks there. I wonder how that's getting in the way of recovery efforts.

BREEDEN: We -- it certainly -- those who were able to be in bed last night, it certainly threw some of them out. It was a significant aftershock. We had approximately 30 law enforcement officers out around the community, with help from numerous county and local agencies, as well as many of police and fire departments, and we (ph) from all the counties. And we're very grateful for their help.

We didn't have any major incidents last night. We had some issues and we dealt with them. And we have approximately 30 people sheltering in our emergency center right now. There were some homes that were knocked off foundations. But all of those things are just things. And right now, we have the

private concerns of many people, wondering, "Am I insured? Where are we?" And the most important thing, that we have not had any loss of lives or any major personal damage to people.

SCIUTTO: You can replace the things. You've declared a state of emergency. Are you receiving the help, now, that you need from federal authorities?

BREEDEN: We have. I've heard from the White House. We've heard from -- Governor Newsom called me and said he had signed on that emergency declaration also. What that opens up to a small community of 28,000 people like we are, is assets and services that were not in budget of many of these agencies. And they are able to help us and -- help assess the damages in where we are.

SCIUTTO: I know this is really an unknowable answer here, but I wonder, when you have a quake of this size, the biggest in 20 years, what your concerns are about that anticipated big one coming to Southern California. Does it give you any indicate or any increased concern, that this is a sign of things to come?

[10:35:17] BREEDEN: Where and when the big ones come are out of my hands. That's for sure, thank goodness. However, yes, there are concerns. We have an emergency services plan that we update periodically. It is working well right now.

We have, contrary to what some people are saying on Facebook and other things, the water is good. We do not have to buy bottled water. The water -- Indian Wells Valley Water District, under the guidance of their general manager, Don Zdeba, is doing a marvelous job.

The hospital with its CEO, Jim Suver, has taken care and found places for those people, they were unable to take care of any longer because of potential structural issues.

We are assessing damages all over the entire community with the help of many others and our own police and emergency services people.

But it is a process that is going to take a little bit of time. And I understand, we have significant resources behind us and waiting for -- waiting there, for asking of our help.

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, we wish you, we wish your community the best as you recover from this. Mayor Peggy Breeden, thanks so much.

Coming up, new vulgar and vile Facebook posts, allegedly at the hands of current Border Patrol agents. The new Facebook group adding to the controversy, some of the outrage at the border. It's a CNN first reporting. It's coming up.


[10:41:41] SCIUTTO: This morning, controversy growing at the border. CNN first to report a second secret Facebook group involving current Border Patrol agents, the page full of vulgar, sexually explicit and racist images. The post, targeting migrant families as well as U.S. lawmakers. Nick Valencia is in El Paso. It's his reporting here.

Nick, what did you find and how are officials investigating this Facebook group, responding to this?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, Customs and Border Protection officials, telling us that as a result of our reporting, which I did along with my colleague Geneva Sands, they are now looking into this Facebook group, but they did not immediately or directly respond to the content of this group.

But as you mentioned, it is apparently a second closed Facebook group with a nexus (ph) to Customs and Border Protection, and it is just as vile and disgusting as the one that we reported on earlier this week.

TEXT: Is this a toilet?

Feeling kinda cute might separate some families today IDK

VALENCIA: This group, called "The Real CBP Nation," features vulgar, sexually explicit content. In one meme that they put on, they joke and make light of family separations. Another popular target of their in a meme is Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Again, CBP saying they're now investigating it, but we really don't know at this point where that investigation stands -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: I understand you've also obtained e-mails that show border agents allegedly trying to humiliate a Honduran migrant in their custody. What did you find?

VALENCIA: It's just another disturbing allegation against an agency that is already dealing with public perception problems. And according to a Customs and Border Protection Agent who witnessed this, they say they saw a Border Patrol agent make a Honduran migrant man hold a sign that read, "Me gusta los hombres," which directly translates to, "I like men."

This Honduran migrant, in an effort to humiliate him and shame him, was then paraded, forcing to hold that sign, in front of other migrants in that processing center.

A series of e-mails that were made available to us by a witness show that this incident was raised to supervisors. And according to the witness, nothing was done.

Now, we've reached out, of course, to Customs and Border Protection about this. They say they have handed over these allegations to the Office of Professional Responsibility.

They said, it's important context that sometimes, publicly, colleagues don't know when disciplinary action is taken against misconduct investigations. But they stopped short of saying any action was taken in this incident that we're reporting on -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: It's good reporting. The question, of course, is do those attitudes translate into worse treatment for those migrants. Nick Valencia, good to have you on the story. [10:44:09] The Justice Department is facing a crucial deadline in just

a few hours, that could determine, once and for all, the final fate of the census citizenship question. We'll have some news after this break.


SCIUTTO: This just in to CNN, the young man who accused Kevin Spacey of sexual assault at a Nantucket bar has dropped his civil lawsuit against the actor, this according to a new court filing.

The attorney for the alleged victim said he and his client voluntarily dropped that lawsuit. However, the criminal case against Spacey with respect to that incident does continue, with the next hearing scheduled for Monday.

Just hours from now, the Justice Department, facing a crucial deadline that could determine if President Trump's citizenship question still has a chance of being added to the 2020 census. The DOJ has until 2:00 p.m. today to explain to a federal judge if they plan on adding that controversial question, and also what justification they might provide.

Meanwhile, sources tell CNN that President Trump has been frustrated at how his Commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, handled the census issue. Let's speak to CNN's Ariane de Vogue.

[10:50:08] So, Ariane, you know, this was dead and then it wasn't dead any more. What happens now and is there actually a viable path for squeezing this back in?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well, look, we know that the Department of Justice has to tell this judge whether or not it's going to be on it or not. And that's what we're waiting to see. The Department of Justice has said, "Look, we're going to continue printing without it."


DE VOGUE: But they're leaving their options open. I talked to one person earlier today who said that he thinks that the president wants to continue to fight on. But he doesn't -- the Department of Justice hasn't made this final decision.

But, Jim, it's been a wild ride, right? Earlier in the week, we thought -- the Department of Justice, in fact, told the federal judge that the -- that it was final, that it wasn't going to be on there. And then Trump sent out that fiery tweet.


DE VOGUE: The judge got furious. He hauled the parties on a conference call and he said, "What is going on?" And even the line attorney at the Department of Justice said, "You know, I'm not clear."

SCIUTTO: Yes. DE VOGUE: So, now, they have these options.

SCIUTTO: Well, don't they have to come back with another justification rationale for the census question? Was that not the result of the Supreme Court decision?

DE VOGUE: So what the Supreme Court said, in the case before it, is, "The rationale that you have given seems contrived. Come back, try again."

So John Roberts -- joining the liberals there -- didn't slam the door shut. He said, "Come back."


DE VOGUE: But the problem here, all along, has been twofold. One, timing. Census Bureau officials have said all along, "We've got to get this thing rolling." And to add a citizenship question is going to increase the costs significantly.

And meanwhile, you have these lower court judges, one of them who's dealing with issues separate from what the Supreme Court dealt with, who want to continue on.

And so, today, if the Department of Justice were to say, "Look, we're still weighing our options here. We're not sure what to do," that Maryland judge is set to set a schedule. Depositions, discovery. And that's going to go through this summer.


SCIUTTO: And the Maryland judge is judging it from a different point of view, is he not? Saying, going after the question of whether this was racially motivated, that's a whole other line of argument.

DE VOGUE: Well, what happened in the Maryland case is that a trove of new documents came to light. And the challengers raced to court and said, "Look, this shows it was politically motivated" --


DE VOGUE: -- on equal protection grounds. And the Supreme Court hadn't ruled squarely on equal protection.


DE VOGUE: So that avenue could continue --

SCIUTTO: Could create another challenge, the Supreme Court, in effect?

DE VOGUE: And another injunction.


DE VOGUE: And that's what hurts the administration here. Because when the judge enjoins it, then that timeline is sneaking up.

SCIUTTO: Right. Understood. And the census, of course, is required by the Constitution, that little piece of paper. Ariane de Vogue, thanks very much.

Still ahead, Tennis phenom Coco Gauff plays her next match soon. But win or lose, she's hanging around at least another day. We're going to tell you why, ahead.

Also, be sure to check out our brand-new CNN original series, "THE MOVIES," as it delves into the stories behind the movies you love, from the first silent film to the current blockbusters. The history of American cinema -- sometimes beautiful, occasionally controversial, often inspiring.


RON HOWARD, DIRECTOR: There is still something about being told a story. A movie is something that's been really handcrafted. It's a mosaic that's been carefully pieced together. It just creates this opportunity to totally lose yourself.

MARTIN SCORSESE, DIRECTOR: These images live in our consciousness. It stays in our minds. The way music is recalled in our heads, those images replay and we live our lives by them.

JULIA ROBERTS, ACTOR: It brings all the elements of all of our senses together. There's really nothing else like it.

JON FAVREAU, ACTOR: Even though you're doing something incredibly personal and in many ways incredibly selfish, because you're doing something you love so much. And then it gets out there in the world, and it could change people's trajectories.

ALEC BALDWIN, ACTOR: When you can go somewhere that you can pretty much guarantee you're going to be able to set your worries aside for that period of time, it's like a drug. It's like a drug.

HOLLY HUNTER, ACTOR: It's just a direct conduit straight into your soul.

MORGAN FREEMAN, ACTOR: I grew up wanting to be the movies. It was all about the movies.

BAZ LUHRMANN, DIRECTOR: Since the dawn of man, we like to get around a fireplace and commune in story together. So we can feel, for a few hours, that we're human together.


[10:54:36] SCIUTTO: "THE MOVIES" premieres this Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. Eastern time and Pacific, only on CNN. And we'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Today, all eyes in the tennis world will be on teen phenom Cori Coco Gauff, the 15-year-old American sensation, facing off this afternoon against unranked Slovenian Polona Hercog. It's her third round match at Wimbledon.

Meantime, Gauff finds herself caught in the middle of a tennis breakup. Jay Clarke was slated to play with fellow Brit Harriet Dart in the mixed doubles tournament, but Clarke decided at the very last minute to ditch Dart in favor of Gauff. They're set to play their first match tomorrow.

Thanks so much to you for joining me today, on the July Fourth holiday weekend. Wishing you and your family the very best. Hope you're getting some time off. I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts right now.

[11:06:00] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.