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CNN RIGHT NOW
DOJ Faces 2PM ET Deadline To Tell Fed Judge Its Plan On Census; Sources: Trump Frustrated With Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross; Aftershocks Could Hit Southern California For Two Weeks; Sen. Harris Raises Nearly $12 Million In Second Quarter; More Secret, Disturbing Facebook Posts; 2nd Customs & Border Protection-Linked Facebook Group Contains Vulgar; Rep. Norma Torres (D-CA) Discusses Abuse Inside Detention Centers; Border Patrol Agents Accused Of Trying To Shame Migrant Man; Second CBP-Linked Facebook Group Contains Vulgar & Racist Posts. Aired: 1:30-2p ET
Aired July 5, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:32:39] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: The clock is ticking. We are now less than an hour away from the DOJ's 2:00 pm Eastern deadline to tell a federal judge what it plans to do about the 2020 census. President Trump says he's considering an executive order to put a citizenship question on it. But sources familiar with the matter tell CNN that any, quote, legally available paths that the administration can take are either limited or they're unrealistic, including issuing an executive order.
I want to bring in Joseph Moreno. He's a former DOJ prosecutor. So the president said - he just said this on the South Lawn. He said he's considering four to five different paths. Do you have any idea what some of them could be?
JOSEPH MORENO, FORMER DOJ PROSECUTOR: Brianna, he could certainly tweak the argument that he's been making these past few months as to why this question is justified. But keep in mind, the Justice Department and the Commerce Department have spent months arguing this up to the Supreme Court and the majority the Supreme Court said that's not good enough. We don't think that is a viable argument to radically change the census here.
So the idea that he is now at the 11th hour, past the so called publishing deadline which came and went earlier this week to say, "Well, now we're going to refine it. We're going to convince the judiciary that we're right." Major uphill battle, I don't see it happening.
KEILAR: What's the obstacle with an executive order?
MORENO: Well, it sounds great, but the reality is it's subject to an injunction just like any other act of the executive branch. So I don't think that him saying I'm going to impose this extra question on the census through an executive order, it'll still be sued, they'll still be a lawsuit, they'll still get an injunction and for the same exact reasons, the court has already rejected it. They'll reject the executive order. So it's a bluff, but it's not going to change the legal dynamic here.
KEILAR: The reporting that we have is the President is frustrated with Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary, and he just responded to this. He's pushing back on that. He says that Ross' job is safe. We know that for now. After a source told CNN that Trump actually believes Ross folded too easily following the Supreme Court's ruling against the question last week. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He made a statement. He wrote something out. The judge didn't like it. I have a lot of respect for Justice Roberts, but he didn't like it, but he did say, "Come back." Essentially, he said, "Come back."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Roberts didn't say that he didn't like it. He said that the rationale, Ross' rationale for putting the question on the census was, quote, contrived.
[13:35:03] MORENO: The purpose of the census under the Constitution is to count every man, woman and child that lives within the United States, full-stop. It doesn't say citizens, non-citizens, residents, visa holders, anything like that. So anything that would discourage people from responding to the census and of course it's voluntary is contrary to the point of the census.
So there's already a pretty uphill battle as to why you would put citizenship question in the census. And again, they've lost this battle for months now. I don't see a last-minute change in strategy making any difference.
KEILAR: A source also tells CNN that the administration believes, quote, a continued legal effort might force the Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts into making a decision that is favorable to Trump. I mean how does this work? Because in a way it just sounds like he's not taking no for an answer. Is that how this could end up or do you think the chances of that are just no?
MORENO: Well, I think the President likes to say that he is the ultimate decider, that he ultimately is the tough guy that gets to make the final call on things. But the reality is as far as he has pushed things in many areas, President Trump has not yet openly defied a court decision and I don't see him doing that now. So he might have some kind of tough talk from the White House lawn there but at the end of the day if the Supreme Court makes the same finding, as I predict they will that they've already had that this is not a legitimate change to the census, he is going to ultimately have to respect that decision.
KEILAR: This is a tough time for career folks in the Department of Justice and Commerce, isn't it?
MORENO: Brianna, I've served at the Justice Department, at the FBI, in the military, there are tremendously fine men and women that serve and all parts of our government. I can only imagine the chaos that they must have to live under on a daily basis by governance by tweet. I mean imagine being on a conference call with a federal judge and the judge says, "Government, I understand your strategy has radically changed because I saw a tweet from the President." I can imagine what it must be to be a lawyer on that call with a judge.
KEILAR: Joseph Moreno, thank you so much. Southern California residents are assessing the damage from the strongest earthquake to hit the area in 20 years and now are being warned to prepare for aftershocks for weeks.
[13:41:49] KEILAR: More than 200 aftershocks have rolled across Southern California following Thursday's major quake. This was the biggest, the biggest to hit the region in nearly 20 years and here's the frightening moment when it hit Ridgecrest during a school play.
All right. Those kids were very scared. I did talk last night with the head of that program. All of the kids were fine. Everyone got out of that auditorium. The wall behind the stage did collapse after they left though. And this 6.4 magnitude quake struck just after 10:30 am Pacific time. It was shaking homes and businesses all the way from Las Vegas to Orange County.
Alexandra Field is joining me now from Ridgecrest, California which is the epicenter of Thursday's quake. Catch us up.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Brianna. They are still getting their arms around all of the damage here. But really the main focus is those couple of hundred aftershocks we've experienced already, including the big one that had us sort of jumping to our feet at four o'clock this morning.
But they're also expecting to have a few more hundred aftershocks in the next couple of days or even the next week. For now they'll be looking at what that initial 6.4 magnitude earthquake did. You can see this home quite near the epicenter, it knocked it essentially off its foundation. That's the kind of thing that you're seeing at some homes here in Ridgecrest center.
But this damage does stretch, people could feel it as far away as Los Vegas, all the way to Orange County. So they're looking at different cities in that space seeing some issues with water mains, some issues with gas pipes, some cracks in the roads, some damage to homes. But really what we're overwhelming hearing is that if this area near the epicenter had been more densely populated, you would have been talking about damage on a much greater scale. So a lot of surveying left to do, but at this point, people here feeling like it could have been worse. Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. Alexandra, thank you for that update. She's in Ridgecrest, California. And we do now have some breaking news from the campaign trail. Democratic presidential hopeful, Kamala Harris in the second quarter racing nearly $12 million. Let's get to Kyung Lah. She's in Sioux City, Iowa where Kamala Harris is holding a town hall as we speak.
Kyung, tell us about this hall and how the debate helped or did it help a lot or just a little.
KYUNG LAH, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she just wrapped up this event here, Brianna. And as she was driving away, her campaign put out the release and then take a look at these numbers. Kamala Harris announcing in the second quarter that she had raised nearly $12 million. There are 279 people who donated in the second quarter.
And the campaign is touting always 150,000 new donors contributed during the second quarter, average donation at $39. The average online donation at $24. And I want to put this into perspective with some of the other contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Pete Buttigieg did out raise her at $24.8 million, Joe Biden at $21.5 million, Bernie Sanders at $18 million and then you have Kamala Harris at nearly $12 million.
[13:45:08] What the campaign is saying is that this puts her on par with what she had been able to raise in the first quarter. There's a lot more excitement. And so the campaign is spinning this as they're quite pleased with this number, but we should point out that $2 million of that nearly $12 million came after the debate, so she was not until that debate, until that breakout moment, on track to get the same as the first quarter.
So nearly $2 million raised after the debate, the campaign looking at those individual donors who did donate. The campaign saying that they're quite pleased at this point and they see this as a long haul, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. That is still a lot of money, $12 million. Kyung Lah, thank you so much in Sioux City, Iowa. A secret Facebook group now more than one with offensive posts and shaming a Honduran migrant by making him hold an I like men sign. New investigations in the allegations of disturbing behavior by Customs and Border Protection agents.
[13:51:05] KEILAR: The scandal surrounding Facebook groups linked to Customs and Border Protection agents is growing. CNN the first to report that a second secrete Facebook group has come to light. This group is called, the Real CBP Nation and it includes disgusting and sexually explicit posts as well as an image mocking the separate of families, demeaning memes of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, offensive images, I should say, of Asian and African-Americans as well.
CNN also obtained emails outlining a number of incidents alleging outrageous behavior of agents. One describing how an agent publicly shamed a Honduran migrant, forcing him to walk through detention center holding a piece of paper that read, "Me gustan los hombres." That translates into, "I like men."
California Democratic Congresswoman Norma Torres is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, she sits on the Appropriations Committee. Thank you for being with us.
REP. NORMA TORRES (D-CA): Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: What I just described of this Honduran migrant, does that mean to be investigated potentially as a hate crime?
TORRES: Absolutely. And not just what they have force this gentleman to walk around with, it's a sexist comment, it's a racist comment and it is part of this group that is inciting violence not only against members of Congress but also against the detainees. And everyone should be concerned no one in law enforcement should be allowed to continue to do their duties when they participate in these types of comments openly in a - on a social media platform unconscionable.
KEILAR: You toured three detention facilities near the border this week. When you were there, did CBP officials, for instance, in Clint, did CBP officials own up to the conditions that had been reported?
TORRES: They did not. They said that they have been making significant improvements and that they needed more resources which for me resources have been given and those resources, that money should have never been given to a department with a blank check without expecting any improvements in return. It's a revolving door. We continue to give them money only to be wasted on other things.
KEILAR: So I want to ask you about this first Facebook group that CNN is reporting about. This came to light just before you're - the first Facebook group came to light before your visit and it was very clear that these agents participating might be in trouble. Then CNN has reported there's another Facebook group and they actually posted including something that was derogatory towards Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who's on these tours with you after you made the visit.
I mean what do you make of the timing of that, that they were active on this other similar group even after getting busted on the first group?
TORRES: It is not surprising to me that there is a second group. It will not be surprising to me if we find many more and just a blank comments on other Facebook pages, this is the culture that in this department continues to thrive. And why does it continue to thrive, because it's coming directly from the top.
When they hear their commander-in-chief talk about Latinos as rapists, as drug dealers, this is what he is inciting. This type of behavior that should not be tolerated within the law enforcement agency.
KEILAR: Congresswoman Norma Torres. Thank you for being with us.
TORRES: Thank you.
[13:55:00] KEILAR: Presidential candidate Joe Biden casting doubts on the far left Democrats in his party. We'll have more of Chris Cuomo's exclusive interview with him after the break.
[13:59:59] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Brooke Baldwin and welcome to the special edition of CNN NEWSROOM on this holiday week. You will hear our exclusive interview with Joe Biden in just a moment. But I have to start with the breaking development that's first on CNN about an ...