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HALA GORANI TONIGHT
House To Bring Bill To Floor Condemning Trump Tweets Today; Technology Companies Testify Before Congress Today; Ursula Von Der Leyen Confirmed As Next European Commission President; Trump Fuels The Uproar Over His Racist Tweets; Tracking Down Human Slavery In Britain; Surveillance Reports Describe How WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Operated From Ecuadorian Embassy To Meddle In 2016 Election. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired July 16, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Bianca Nobilo, sitting in for Hala Gorani.
Tonight, all eyes are on Capitol Hill this hour for two very different but very important stories. Right now, Congress is getting ready to grill
representatives from Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google about how these huge companies are changing the world that we live in. Do they have too
much power? And what's to be done if they do?
At the same time, we're looking at more reaction from members of Congress as U.S. President Donald Trump once again defends himself over his racist
tweet against four Democratic congresswomen. And that's where we begin tonight.
Mr. Trump just spoke at a cabinet meeting, doubling down on his insults and name-calling, after insisting that he doesn't have a racist bone in his
body. He's standing by his tweet that said four minority lawmakers, all American citizens, should return to their, quote, "crime-ridden countries."
U.S. president is attempting to justify those remarks by attacking the character of the women.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- go wherever they want, or they can stay. But they should love our country. They shouldn't hate our
country. You look at what they've said, I have clips right here. The most vile, horrible statements about our country, about Israel, about others.
It's up to them. They can do what they want. They can leave, they can stay. But they should love our country and they should work for the good
of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: One of the congresswomen targeted by Mr. Trump tweeted a response today. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says that the president can't handle
America's enshrined tradition of dissent. Adding, quote, "We don't leave the things we love."
Mr. Trump says Republicans must not show weakness, urging them to vote against a Democratic-sponsored bill that would condemn his racist remarks.
That vote is expected in the House later on today.
So let's get the latest now from CNN congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly.
Phil, good to have you with us. Yesterday was characterized mainly from -- by and large, by silence on the Republicans' part. How's the mood been
today? Have we heard more from the Republican Party in response to the president's tweets?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have. And I think what we've heard, more than we heard yesterday at any point, was a
defense of the president. You saw House Republican leadership hold their first on-camera remarks this morning, and every single one of them defended
Defended his intent and did almost exactly what the president has tried to do, and try and spin everything related to the tweets, including the racist
elements of the tweets, back towards the four Democratic congresswomen that the president was initially targeting, talking about their policies,
talking about their intentions, talking about how they talk about the country. That is where, at least that group of Republicans, has decided to
Now, it's not monolithic. Over in the United States Senate, Republicans have been more circumspect. They have certainly been critical of the
president's comments, some have asked him to take it down, the tweet down. Some have called them racist, many have called them divisive.
TEXT: Trump Posts Racist Tweets, says progressive Dems should "go back" to the countries they came from: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York, born in
New York; Rashida Tlaib, Michigan, born in Detroit; Ilhan Omar, Minnesota, born in Mogadishu, Somalia; Ayanna Pressley, Massachusetts, born in
MATTINGLY: But when you talk to the top members of the Republican Party inside the United States Capitol, it becomes very clear that they have made
the calculation that defending the president, if not necessarily defending the specifics of the tweet, is the route that they're going to go.
Which, to be honest, Bianca, is a dance we've seen repeatedly over the course of the last two and a half years, where you don't want to inflame
the president or make the president attack you, particularly when he's supported by 90 percent of the party. And that's, at least for now, the
posture that they've decided to take.
NOBILO: And, Phil, there is now this Democrat-sponsored bill, which intends to officialize the condemnation of President Trump's tweet. Talk
us through the process of that later on today, and also what the Democrats are hoping to achieve by pushing that through, if they can.
MATTINGLY: So it's interesting. You've had Democrats -- obviously you had Ilhan Omar, one of the congresswomen targeted by the president, targeted by
name during his press conference yesterday, talk about impeachment, saying that's how far they need to go. Other Democrats wanted an official censure
on the floor.
What Democratic leaders have done is decided to go a step below both of those options. That is a resolution condemning the president's tweet
specifically. And they wrote it in a tight manner, making it just about the tweet in an effort to garner, A, more support, potentially some
Republican support, but also ensure that they don't create any fissures or divides inside their own caucus.
What that ends up being, they will condemn the tweets themselves in a closed-door meeting. The speaker gave kind of a rousing defense of the
four congresswomen that were attacked by the president. But what we're hearing right now is, Republicans are not going to sign on. You're not
going to get any more than four or five or six Republicans. Republicans are staying united.
Democrats are hoping to send a message and get a political win by forcing Republicans to vote no on this. But any idea that there's unanimity up
here between the two parties -- condemning this, it's certainly out the window at this point, Bianca.
[14:05:01] NOBILO: Phil Mattingly in Washington, thank you.
We're going to go now to Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, who's speaking now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: -- vile accusations and insults against our nation have become incredibly routine. And we've
seen back and forth over the past few days.
Most of you know, Justice Scalia was my sort of all-time favorite. Now, here's what he used to say. He said, "I don't attack people, I attack
ideas." And I think that's a good lesson for all of us, from the president to the speaker to freshman members of the House, all of us have a
responsibility to elevate the public discourse.
Our words do matter. We all know politics is a contact sport. But it's about time we lowered the temperature all across the board. All of us
ought to contribute to a better level of discourse.
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): And on a more upbeat note, there's good news in the economy again. And we're going to be dealing with some issues on the
floor this week that relate directly to the economy. We are going to be processing (ph) --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: You've just been hearing from the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, there. He was giving his own remarks on what's happened over
the past 24 hours. He was saying that even though politics is a combat sport, that it was their responsibility to elevate the discourse and take
down the temperature of debate. So that's been his contribution.
So, moving on now. Far from apologizing or even backtracking, at least one other member of Donald Trump's administration seems to be leaning into the
issue of race, or at least ethnicity, as a talking point now. Take a listen to top advisor Kellyanne Conway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: We should be talking about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Following up on the previous question, if the president was not telling these four congresswomen to return to their supposed
countries of origin, to which countries was he referring? He didn't say --
CONWAY: What's your ethnicity?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) why is that relevant?
CONWAY: No, no. Because I'm asking a question. My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My -- my ethnicity's not relevant to the question I'm asking.
CONWAY: No, no. It is, OK? You're asking about --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm asking --
CONWAY: -- he said "originally." He said originally from.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am -- I am asking --
CONWAY: And, you know, everything you said since, and to have a full conversation --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So are you saying that the president was telling the Palestinian-American (ph) to go back --
CONWAY: The president's already commented on that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: Our White House reporter Stephen Collinson says this controversy is rooted in conflicting ideas about what it means to be American. And he
says it's electrifying the bases of both the Democratic and Republican Parties. Stephen joins us now from Washington, but we're also joined by
Liz Mair, a Republican strategist who's advised several prominent politicians.
Great to have you both. Stephen, let's start with you. And we just played a bit of footage there, of Kellyanne Conway. It's quite bizarre, and she's
a very important person in the Trump administration. What do you make of that exchange?
STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I think quite a few of the things, these days, that Kellyanne Conway says are quite bizarre, in her
interactions with reporters. Just the atmosphere down there at the White House is so poisoned that I don't think we can take too much stock in that.
What I think think we're seeing today, very interestingly, is an attempt by the Republican Party and the president to rebrand this dispute. They're
saying this is not about race, this is about what they see as the extreme left-wing positions adopted by this group of four progressive women of
color in the Democratic Party, who they would like to make the face of the Democratic Party.
The problem is, I mean, that is a legitimate attack, had the president not come out and made this about race. He used the most basic trope about race
against people of color, saying, "You should go back to where you came from," effectively, in a tweet that weekend. You know, that can't be
Clearly, the Republican Party does not want to criticize the president. He has huge approval ratings among Republican voters, so this is a solution.
They've got to try and defuse this a little bit, but the fact remains that the president of the United States is openly tearing at some of the
country's deepest racial divides, using his platform to do that. This is not something that can be spun away.
NOBILO: Liz, thanks for being on the program. You've advised both Jeb Bush and John McCain. I'd like to know how you've been advising --
LIZ MAIR, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Actually, let me just clarify that. I haven't advised Jeb Bush, in fact --
MAIR: -- but yes, John McCain, yes indeed, yes.
NOBILO: So if you were advising a prominent Republican now, how would you -- how would you suggest that they respond to what the president has said?
And if you could give us a little bit of insight into what the -- what the calculus is for prominent Republicans at the moment, who of course need to
be showing some support for their president, but then may feel a real imperative to respond to what's been happening over the past 24 hours.
MAIR: Well, my advice, really, to any candidate -- and it doesn't matter who they are or where in the party they are -- is that they always need to
say what they actually think and what they actually believe. Because voters can smell inauthenticity a mile off. And that's one of the things
people like about Donald Trump.
I think, unfortunately, there are a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill who mistake Republican affection for Donald Trump as something to do with
policies or specific statements like this that he makes, which is not actually what this is about at all. It's about the fact that he speaks his
And I think they should be speaking their minds too. And I believe that the overwhelming majority of them really do take issue with these comments,
and should stand up and say so.
NOBILO: Stephen, I mentioned in the introduction how the analysis that you've been doing over the past couple of days is focused on the fact that
there are conflicting ideas about what America is. Explain what you mean by that a little bit more.
And also is President Trump choosing to make these kinds of statements? Because he knows that it will electrify his base. And know that he's been
in office for a number of years with an eye on 2020, he doesn't want to seem like a regular member of the establishment, not that he ever would.
But he wants to try and, you know, carve out that space for himself, again as that outsider figure.
COLLINSON: Well, the president, ever since he started running for office, you know, the first few moments he made those inflammatory remarks about
Mexicans, he has rooted his political --
COLLINSON: -- appeal in an ability to detect cultural and social divides and to exploit them. The way that he's conducted his presidency, many
presidents from both sides of the aisle try to broaden their support when their president, Donald Trump, has stuck to what got him to the White House
and win or lose, that's the way he's going to conduct the 2020 campaign.
TEXT: Housing Discrimination; Central Park 5; Birtherism; Racially Divisive Campaign Rhetoric; Hispanic Judge; "Pocahontas" Insults; Muslim
Travel Ban; Charlottesville; Anthem Protests; Puerto Rico Tweets; Sh**hole Countries; Immigration Policies/Targets
COLLINSON: I think it's interesting because it shows a little bit of flexibility, the U.S. political system. These four progressive
congresswomen from the Democratic Party, known as "The Squad," who are far to the right of their own party, in fact -- were part of the reaction to
Trump's election and the tactics he used to get elected in 2016.
They came to power in the 2018 election, from an electrified grassroots base of the Democratic Party, which is a reaction to the president. So
it's very interesting, seeing these two forces collide.
I think the interesting question is, the perceived political wisdom is that these kind of tactics, inflammatory comments on race and immigration, were
what got Donald Trump elected and will get him re-elected.
That does perhaps conflict with the evidence that we have of the last few weeks of the midterm election, where -- I mean, I think there's a good case
you can make, that some of this rhetoric actually alienated some of the most important voters in suburban areas, who decided that midterm election.
So, yes, it looks like it's going to be an election in 2020 of who can get the most base voters out. I think there are certainly (ph) questions about
whether the same tactics are going to work again for Donald Trump.
NOBILO: Liz, just last question to you. This vote that we're expecting later today, condemning the president's tweets, how damaging would that be
for the president and how do you expect most of the Republicans to respond to that?
MAIR: I don't think it's probably going to be particularly damaging. Usually, votes like this, you know, I understand I'm speaking to an
international audience here, but usually votes like this are taken so that Democrats can run campaign ads, hitting Republicans for not taking the
So they could come into play, this sort of vote could come into play in the 2020 election. But I think the point that was just made is really the
salient thing. You know, Trump thinks that speaking this way is a winning issue for him because he thinks it motivates his base.
But that actually did not work out in 2018. And I would argue in 2016, it didn't either. It's just the fact that Hillary Clinton was such an abysmal
candidate, and we'd already had eight years of a Democratic presidency, that people were willing to take a punt on Donald Trump. And they did it
in very, very small numbers in a handful of states, and he barely eked out a win.
And that's why people should be extremely concerned about these kinds of remarks, because it's a big liability for him going into 2020.
NOBILO: Yes. What I'm hearing from both of you there, is that some of the tactics that worked in the last election might not be quite so effective
Liz Mair and Stephen Collinson, both in Washington, thank you.
How we communicate, how we search for information, how we consume products, basically everything that we do has been radically transformed by the
internet and the instant information that it provides.
[14:15:00] This hour, some of the companies that dominate the World Wide Web's information flow are under the harshest of spotlights. Executives
will soon be in front of a congressional hearing in Washington, with lawmakers asking, "Do they have too much power?"
Earlier, senators took a closer look at Facebook. Specifically, at its new cryptocurrency, Libra. It led to some sharp words from one Senate
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): Their motto has been, "Move fast and break things." They certainly have. They moved fast, and broke our political
discourse. They moved fast and broke journalism, they moved fast and helped incite a genocide. They moved fast and they're helping to undermine
Now, Facebook asks people to trust them with their hard-earned paychecks. Takes a breathtaking amount of arrogance, a breathtaking amount of
arrogance, to look at that track record and think, "You know what we really ought to do next? You know what we ought to do next? Let's run our own
bank and our own for-profit version of the Federal Reserve. And let's do it for the whole world."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: CNN's Clare Sebastian joins us live now from New York.
Clare, the supporters of Libra espouse its benefits, particularly for the developing world. I'd like to ask you how big those advantages are likely
to be, and also if the international banking system, or people who are concerned about privacy, should have cause for concern here.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So, Bianca, one of the big selling points, as Facebook has tried to explain to us what Libra and their
own unit, Calibra, is, is that it has the power, they say, to bank the unbanked, to reach people who so far haven't had access to traditional
And, look, if they are able to overhaul the system of remittances, for example to bring down the costs to make the whole process more seamless,
clearly, that could have huge advantages for some of the poorer countries in the world, for emerging markets.
But where those countries are concerned, there is a secondary problem here, a secondary concern, is that if Libra turns out to be as stable a currency
as Facebook says it is, it could turn out to be more stable than the currencies in some of these emerging markets, and that could further
undermine these currencies. I'm thinking, of course, about places like Venezuela and Iran. So that's a consideration.
And of course, when it comes to the international banking system, there are concerns. We just don't know exactly how this system will be regulated
yet. Jerome Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve in the U.S., has said that it raises serious concerns when it comes to financial stability. It
could disrupt monetary policy, given that it might be pegged, among other things, to the U.S. dollar.
So a lot of unanswered questions here. And we saw that, you know, with some of the more fiery exchanges on Capitol Hill today.
NOBILO: And, Clare, what are some of the other big points of tension between the government and the big tech companies?
SEBASTIAN: So I think, you know, you're going to see this play out in this second hearing of the day, which is before the House Judiciary Committee.
We're going to see representatives from Facebook as well as Google And Apple and Amazon. And, again, the real concern here is that too much power
is being concentrated in the hands of too few companies.
This is a committee that's launched a top-to-bottom antitrust hearing. We're going to see issues like, you know, Amazon's dominance of online
retail, which they have achieved by subsidizing their retail business with their high-margin cloud business.
There's going to be questions, probably, about Apple's app store, the fact that Facebook and Google dominate most of online search. You know, these
companies have been, really, the high-growth stars of the stock market in recent years. But we've got to a situation now where lawmakers are
increasingly worried that they have the power to stifle innovation and to block smaller companies from entering these critical marketplaces --
NOBILO: Clare Sebastian in New York, thank you.
You can go to CNN.com/business to watch those hearings, live.
Still to come tonight, a former Italian senate candidate is under arrest. What police found in his home is raising so much concern.
Also ahead, the E.U. commission will have a woman at the helm for the first time. We'll bring you the latest as MEPs confirm Germany's Ursula von der
Leyen for the top job.
[14:21:15] NOBILO: Welcome back. Italian police have seized a weapons arsenal of Nazi paraphernalia from the home of a former neo-fascist
political candidate. He's one of three people under arrest, accused of possessing and trying to sell an air-to-air missile.
Police say they've been investigating Italian extremists who fought with Russian-based separatist forces in Ukraine. Barbie Nadeau has more on this
story. She joins us now, live from Rome.
Barbie, this does have a curious backstory as well. Talk us through that and explain what's led to this investigation, what they found and what's
likely to happen next.
BARBIE NADEAU, CORRESPONDENT-AT-LARGE, THE DAILY BEAST: Well this is, as you mentioned, part of a larger investigation that has already netted a
number of people, including three people who were convicted of terrorism charges in early July.
And they were really looking more at people who had terrorist affiliations. They weren't particularly looking for this sort of weapons cache. But they
found an incredible air-to-air missile, they found a cache of around 800 bullets, they found 300 gun parts that included silencers and sights and
things like that.
And all this was sort of against the backdrop of this Nazi paraphernalia, including signs mentioning Adolf Hitler, swastikas and a number of very,
very disturbing pieces of evidence that are going to be used against these.
And this was a man who ran for office for -- and served in office for the Forza Nuova, which is a far-right party here in Italy, and was an elected
official and had quite a following. So that also adds to the layer of intrigue and to what the investigators are going to do next and what
they're looking for -- Bianca.
NOBILO: Barbie Nadeau in Rome, thank you.
We want to bring you the very latest, now, from the European Parliament. Ursula von der Leyen has just been confirmed as the next president of the
E.U. Commission. The German defense minister and ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel was nominated for the E.U.'s top job after a pretty torturous set of
negotiations by E.U. leaders.
She'll replace Jean-Claude Juncker and will be the first woman to ever hold the position. But her confirmation has been anything but plain sailing.
She was forced to court MEPs on the left with an array of policy promises, to get her confirmation over the line. And of course, the process has
exposed some sharp divisions within the European Parliament.
So let's bring in Erin McLaughlin now. She joins me on-set to discuss all of this.
Erin, first and foremost, she's been confirmed but this wasn't the result that was expected.
ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No. My sources expressed, saying they were surprised, to me. Several, sending me the text, "Not good," by the
fact that she has a very slim majority of only nine votes, 383 votes in favor. She needed 374 to get the absolute majority necessary.
But when you compare that to, say, Jean-Claude Juncker in 2014, he had a 56-vote majority. So from the very beginning, this has been an uphill
battle for von der Leyen.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): She was the dark-horse candidate, the name few saw coming, the European Council's choice for the E.U.'s top job. Forced
upon a fractured European Parliament, which had put forward a list of preferred nominees, but no one could command a majority. And so,
unexpectedly, Ursula von der Leyen's name was put forward.
Her overarching message? The need for unity.
URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT-ELECT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: If we are to go down the European path, we must first rediscover our unity. If we are
united on the inside, nobody will divide us from the outside.
[14:25:05] MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): Von der Leyen was perhaps not the obvious choice to be the first female to lead the E.U. She just resigned
as Germany's defense minister, a position widely regarded as the poisoned chalice of German politics.
The mother of seven, a doctor educated at the London School of Economics, she was fond of singing. Her childhood nickname? The Little Rose. She
entered local politics in 2001, positioning herself to the left of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.
But her candidacy for the Commission presidency was supported by Europe's hard-right, yet another potential stumbling block to securing a majority
within the pro-E.U. parliament. But little by little, von der Leyen won over skeptical MEPs with promises to help strengthen its hand in deciding
her successor in five years' time, and a commitment to new and ambitious green targets.
She didn't please everyone. Some refused to support her on principle, outraged by back-room deals that led to her candidacy.
VON DER LEYEN: Are you going to be, like previous commissions, the lap dog of those member states? Or are you going to be the pit bull that I would
like you to be? That's what I need to hear.
MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): But to others, von der Leyen signifies a fresh start, new energy the E.U.'s leadership so badly needs.
NOBILO: And in the last couple of minutes, we've had some sound in from the new commission president. Let's take a listen to what she had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VON DER LEYEN: The task ahead of us humbles me. It's a big responsibility and my work starts now. I thank President Sassoli. I thank all the group
leaders. I thank all the members of parliament who decided to vote for me today. But my message to all of you is, "Let us work together
constructively" because the endeavor is a united, a strong Europe. Thank you very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: "The task ahead humbles me," is what we've just heard from her. So what do you think the defining challenges are going to be for this
MCLAUGHLIN: I think it's very clear at this point. And the defining challenge will be, form a stable majority. Keep in mind that this was the
product of a secret ballot. So we don't know who really formulates her majority, who are those nine votes. Are they populists, are they far-
right, are they far-left.
NOBILO: And even that calls into question what we've been discussing, which is the charges against the E.U. for having a democratic deficit, the
fact that we don't even know who's in support of her.
MCLAUGHLIN: Well, and then in addition to that, it is thought that some Tory MEPs actually voted for her, some Labour MEPs actually voted for her.
So she was asked, in the press conference following the vote, what happens after Brexit. "Are you going to go back and try and test this majority?"
And she said, no, she's going to be working in the meantime towards forming that stable majority. Because as she points out, she's an unknown so she's
still working, getting to know these MEPs, trying to form, you know, a broader coalition, so to speak, of support to be able to move forward.
Because sources are acknowledging to me that nine really is not enough. There's no room to maneuver. It gives stronger emphasis to the dissident
vote within parliament.
NOBILO: The British government's majority still looks good by comparison though. Erin McLaughlin, thank you very much.
[14:28:26] Still to come on the program tonight, what is it about these women that provokes such outrage from the president of the United States?
We'll get some insight from a philosopher who studies both democracy and race. That's coming up.
[14:30:04] NOBILO: Welcome back, the U.S. president's torrent of racist tweets and comments are reverberating far beyond Washington. The latest
stoking of racial division has seen by many as a preview of what's in store during Donald Trump's reelection campaign. Democrats are outraged of the
hateful language lobbed at four first-year democratic members of Congress. All of them are women of color.
Well, a few Republicans also say the tweets are over the line, most in Mr. Trump's party seem not to say that they're that bothered. A few of them
even praising the attacks.
Just minutes ago -- actually, we're going to go to Cornel West, he's going to join us now as our guest. It is great to have you on our program.
Let's have your response to what President Trump has said, and also the fact that he's doubled down today, and then also said that his tweets were
not racist, that he doesn't have a racist bone in his body. It strikes me that even with the most sympathetic reading of this situation, the
president forfeits the right to misspeak or think without great -- or speak without great consideration when he takes the office of president. So,
what do you make of this situation?
CORNEL WEST, PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC PHILOSOPHY, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think the important thing is to put it in the larger context and recognize that
as the great (INAUDIBLE) used to say, is America unique among nations to move from perceived innocence to corruption without a mediating stage of
And there's no doubt that we have a president, head of the American empire, who lacks maturity. Maturity has to do with really confronting complicated
realities, wrestling with the best of your history and trying to ensure that you don't bring your democratic experiment to a close to an end.
And President Trump just strikes one as an adolescence. He's yet to really grow up. He's in a presidential adult position and there's no doubt he's a
vicious racist and xenophobic characterization. You don't tell the people of color to go back to your country, prime invested country.
We've seen over and over and over again this racist vitriolic language. And so it's not a question of just acknowledging it's racist but it's tied
to a deeply conservative view of the world in which you hide and conceal your expansion of your military. You hide and conceal the expansion of the
wealth inequality and the big money ruling, and then try to somehow demonized or as the word scapegoat, the most vulnerable as the most
powerful continue to augment their strength.
And so this is a larger issue, not just about racist, race, predatory, capitalism, ugly forms of patriarch, and misogyny, and trying to demonized
immigrants, especially those new arrival from Mexico.
NOBILO: Cornel, from the perspective of the four congresswomen, the recipients of these racist attacks. Obviously, they occupy the moral high
ground in this situation when they are the ones that are being attacked by the president. How do you think their response has been? Do you feel like
it was the opposite response to what the president said?
WEST: Well, it's a wonderful question, my dear sister, Bianca. I'm very, very delighted to see the courage and the poise of my four sisters who
represent, not just women of color, but women of color who are wedded, deeply committed to the plate of foreign working people. There's a whole
lot of people of color who had not committed the foreign working people. We know that class is tied to race and gender and sexual orientation in
So he's targeting these particular four highly progressive, courageous, visionary women of color and I thought that they responded in a powerful
way. And their response was in part of what? We know it's racist, of course, two plus two is four, the sky is blue, grass is green, and
President Trump is racist.
[14:35:13] OK. Now, let's move on not be distracted by his attempt of hide and conceal what's happening to those precious children at the border from
Mexico. What's happening on Wall Street, what's happening military industrial complex? What about the nine countries who are being bombed by
either U.S. or U.S. -assisted military forces, nine countries in the world right now.
Let's not lose sight of these ugly realities and let's try to build on the best of America, the best of the human spirit which is Socratic, prophetic,
democratic, trying to acknowledge the ways in which ordinary people ought to be at the center of how we look at the world.
NOBILO: It feels almost prude and reductionist to mention the 2020 election when we're talking about such high ideals as Americanism and the
human spirit. But through the prism of the 2020 election that's coming up, how do you think this is going to affect both sides? And what do you think
would be the most effective counter by Democratic Party to this kind of rhetoric and approach from the Trump administration?
WEST: Well, I think one, a centrist candidate will not do. Joe Biden will not do. Kamala Harris will not do. What Bernie sanders represents is an
attempt to say, lo and behold, they're going to use old McCarthy strategies, you must be a communist, you must be a socialist, you must be
pro-terrorist. We've seen this with Lindsey Graham, the Senator Graham, who would really is a cartoonist version of Joseph McCarthy, really.
But he was using this language. They're going to try to paint the democratic party as communist, as socialist, as pro-terrorist, we've got to
hit him head on with energy, with enthusiasm, with vision, with courage.
When you're dealing with bullies and gangsters, you don't then present a timid and a centrist message. You got to be on fire with something bigger
than you and bigger than them, so that you tame their negative flames and allow American people to see, and in fact, the world to see the best of
America. There is always the best of America, Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Coltrane, and Fannie Lou Hamer, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and
Dorothy Day are good places to start.
NOBILO: Cornel West, thank you very much for joining us and sharing your insights. I appreciate it.
WEST: Thank you so very much.
NOBILO: And one more note on this top story. Just minutes ago, the top Republican in the U.S. Senate, Mitch McConnell, finally weighed in on the
President Trump's tweets. He would not discuss Mr. Trump's attacks directly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're just not sure of calling his comments racist.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, the president is not a racist. The president is not a racist. And I think the tone of all of this is not good
for the country. But it's coming from all different ideological points of view. That's the point. To single out any segment of this, I think is a
mistake. It had been discounted rhetoric from a whole lot of different sources all across the ideological spectrum in our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBILO: WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, remains in a British jail fighting extradition to the United States. Well, he's suspected of
meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He took refuge in Ecuador's embassy for years, before he was finally knocked out this April.
Now, CNN has discovered new evidence that Assange used the embassy not just as a refuge but also as a base of operations.
Alex Marquardt has an exclusive report.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the months leading up to the 2016 presidential election, Ecuador's embassy in
London turned into a command post for WikiLeaks. At its helm, the Web site's founder, Julian Assange, who was living there in political asylum.
In stunning new detail, hundreds of security reports, videos, and photos obtained exclusively by CNN, and verified by an Ecuadorian intelligence
official, describe how Assange released stolen Democratic e-mails directly from the embassy and who he met with -- world-class hackers and Russians
tied to the Kremlin.
The explosive material, when lined up with the time line in the Mueller report, paints a striking picture of how Assange orchestrated the game-
changing document dumps from just a few rooms in the embassy.
The exclusively-obtained surveillance reports show that the WikiLeaks founder, who had been given asylum in 2012 --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Inside this embassy --
MARQUARDT: -- wielded enormous power in the building, rivaling even the ambassadors with whom he would regularly clash. As these exclusive
security photo show, he even got physical with the embassy guards.
[14:40:08] The documents describe how Assange demanded and got high-speed Internet, phones -- even a special guest list that allowed certain visitors
to not show identification or be searched.
Even as it hosted him, Ecuador hired three different security companies to carry out surveillance of Assange, including Spain-based UC-Global, which
compiled the reports obtained by CNN.
The never-before-seen cache of documents says Assange installed his own recording devices and used sound machines so he couldn't be listened to,
all of which may have played a role in his election interference.
Assange has denied working for the Kremlin or receiving the stolen e-mails from Russia. WikiLeaks did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office.
MARQUARDT: It was June of 2016, Trump and Hillary Clinton were the de facto nominees. It was looking like it was going to be a bitter election.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and even theft.
MARQUARDT: That month, according to the Mueller report, WikiLeaks communicated secretly with unidentified online personas who turned out to
be Russian hackers.
Meanwhile, the number of visits paid to Assange at the embassy dramatically picked up. The reports exclusively obtained by CNN show one frequent
visitor was this man, Andrew Muller-Maguhn, a hacker whom the special counsel wrote, "May have assisted with the transfer of these stolen
documents to WikiLeaks."
ANDREW MULLER-MAGUHN, MEMBER, GERMAN HACKER ASSOCIATION CHAOS COMPUTER CLUB: If you look at the Internet from perspective of people in power --
MARQUARDT: Muller-Maguhn had appeared on Assange's short-lived show on RT, the Russian T.V. network that gets its marching orders from the Kremlin.
The security logs show that RT's London bureau chief, Nikolay Bogachikhin, also visited that month, twice. And during one visit that lasted only five
minutes, he gave Assange a USB drive.
Bogachikhin defended his visits to Assange, telling CNN, "RT has produced multiple programming featuring Mr. Assange. Within that process,
everything that is intrinsically involved in the production of content took place."
Muller-Maguhn declined to comment to CNN but told the Washington Post he never had the hacked materials before they were released.
But, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded RT actively collaborated with WikiLeaks, playing a significant role in Russia's efforts to help
Trump win, which RT denies.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Russian hackers have breached the computer network of the Democratic National Committee.
MARQUARDT: On June 14th, 2016, the Democratic National Committee announced it had been hacked and accused Russia of being responsible. Trump
dismissed allegations of Russian involvement, instead suggesting the DNC hacked itself.
Five days later, according to the exclusive documents, Assange got new equipment for data transmission. The embassy's security attache even
helped install it.
On July 6th, WikiLeaks reached out to the Russian hackers who used the names Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. "Those are covers," the Mueller report
says, "for Russian military intelligence."
"The Democratic National Convention is approaching," WikiLeaks warned the Russians," and Clinton will solidify Bernie Sanders supporters behind her."
Eight days later, the group received encrypted files, according to the Mueller report, with the name "Big archive." That same day, Assange met
again for more than four hours with Muller-Maguhn, one of at least a dozen times they met at the embassy before the election, according to the
On the day the Republican National Convention kicks off, the security photos show a man in a mask and sunglasses arriving at the embassy. A
guard left his post and collected a package. The documents suggest this was an arranged meeting.
It's unclear whether that was related to a message sent the same day, July 18th, when WikiLeaks told the Russian hackers, according to the Mueller
report, that they received the files and would release them "this week."
CROWD: Hell, no, DNC. We won't vote for Hillary.
MARQUARDT: Four days later, WikiLeaks released a trove of stolen files and all hell breaks loose. More than 20,000 e-mails from the DNC showing the
preference of top officials for Clinton over Bernie Sanders.
When the Democratic Convention opened, it was consumed by chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody settle down, please.
MARQUARDT: The DNC chair had to step down and Trump pounced.
TRUMP: Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.
MARQUARDT: As the election entered its final weeks, Russia, according to Mueller, wrote WikiLeaks offering more files. "You won't be disappointed,"
the hackers wrote.
After receiving several files from the Russian hackers in the immediate days prior, WikiLeaks started posting 50,000 e-mails stolen from Clinton's
campaign chairman, John Podesta, revealing infighting and bickering.
[14:45:05] JOHN PODESTA, CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: If this was about transparency, then put them all out. So, they're dribbling them out.
MARQUARDT: Mueller's team suspects that transfer took place on September 19th, the same day Assange met again with hacker Andrew Muller-Maguhn,
according to the security reports.
In the last month before the election, WikiLeaks released batch after batch of Podesta's e-mails.
TRUMP: This just came out. WikiLeaks -- I love WikiLeaks.
MARQUARDT: Transcripts of Clinton's paid speeches to Wall Street, staffers criticizing her terrible instincts.
TRUMP: WikiLeaks -- this WikiLeaks is unbelievable.
MARQUARDT: The U.S. government decided to get involved, according to a U.S. official and documents obtained by CNN, warning Ecuador, stop Assange
or there will be consequences. Just three weeks before the election, Ecuador cut Assange off. No more phones, Internet or guests.
Shortly after, the embassy relented on guest restrictions and at 1:00 A.M. on October 19th, the security materials obtained by CNN show two WikiLeaks
staffers showed up and took away about 100 hard drives. Security guards wanted to examine the hard drives but they couldn't. The WikiLeaks
personnel were on the special list of people not to be searched.
One of the Ecuadorian ambassadors who worked at the embassy during Assange's stay told CNN he was never pressured by his government to give
Assange special treatment.
But this past April, Assange's world came crashing down. The asylum, his lifeblood, was taken away by Ecuador's new president, citing his
participation in U.S. election meddling. British police carried him out of the embassy.
JULIAN ASSANGE, FOUNDER, WIKILEAKS: The U.K. has no civility.
MARQUARDT: And the U.S. Justice Department unsealed secret charges, but not for anything related to the election. Instead, it was for soliciting
and publishing classified Pentagon materials in 2010. Assange maintains his innocence.
And right on cue, Russia came to Assange's defense. Top officials accusing the U.S. of violating his rights, saying, "The hand of democracy squeezes
the throat of freedom."
MARQUARDT: Julian Assange is currently in a British prison, waiting his extradition hearing. That's due to take place next February in 2020,
almost a year after he was arrested.
The extradition process is expected to be long and complicated, and if you ask prosecutors get their hands-on him, there is a long list of charges
including 17 counts of violating the espionage act for obtaining and publishing those classified Pentagon documents, meaning, he could spend the
rest of his life in prison.
Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
NOBILO: Still to come tonight, we'll take a ride with the man who help bust the largest human slavery operation in Britain. Stay with us.
[14:50:18] NOBILO: Now, CNN's Freedom Project. The list in Britain have dismantled the country's largest modern-day slavery network. A gang of
eight people made millions of dollars by trafficking hundreds of victims from Poland and putting them to work, taking any money that they earned.
Phil Black spent some time with one of the men who brought the gang to justice.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Peter's retro flat cap isn't a fashion choice, it's protection, a partial disguise. We can't show his
face or mention his full name.
BLACK: There are people who want to hurt you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BLACK: Peter's job is freeing slaves.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been involved in 286 recuses.
BLACK: That's made enemies an inspired threats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They want me to spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair.
BLACK: Peter giving us a tour of Birmingham's dark under belly. And the U.K.'s second largest city. On regular looking roads, inside ordinary
looking houses, he helps uncover appalling hidden crimes. Building thrust with victims moving them to safety. His stories are about real people,
enslaved, exploited, controlled with unimaginable violence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And a young female was tied up because she refused to do what the traffickers asked her to do, which is be involved in
prostitution. She was tied up with a barbed wire and some parts of her body had been put on fire.
BLACK: But one case stands out for its extraordinary scale.
BLACK (on-camera): This is where some of those people were rescued?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, and the first victims.
BLACK (voice-over): The first people Peter ever rescued eventually led police to break out the U.K.s biggest known modern slavery operation.
These gang members all came from Poland, so do their victims. They targeted people with few options and convince them to travel to the U.K.
for a better life. But this was the reality when they arrived, filthy, slum life conditions, threats, violence, force labor for almost no pay.
The victims were put to work for unsuspecting businesses while the gang collected wages through bank accounts they control. Police believe they
made millions of pounds. Gang members brazenly and foolishly flaunted their wealth, one bought a Bentley.
Peter and his colleagues at the anti-slavery charity hope for justice, worked the case from his secret operations room. Together, they and the
police identified 92 victims. But the gang is suspected of trafficking hundreds more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm afraid that there's still so many people believed that slavery was end 50 years ago and doesn't exist anymore.
BLACK: Peter takes us to a center that helps hundreds of homeless people in Birmingham every day. He says, this is where many former slaves end up
after their captors can no longer make money from them. This center has identified 45 slavery victims in the last year alone.
BLACK (on-camera): So this recent prosecution, this gang, it's not a one- off?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. There are more gangs that are still operating. We won the battle, but the war is not over yet.
BLACK (voice-over): British authorities believe slavery is a booming trade across the country, likely, involving tens of thousands of victims. Peter
says he'll continue working to find threats, helping to free, scared, vulnerable people one at a time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are victims --
BLACK: Phil Black, CNN, Birmingham, England.
NOBILO: And British officials say potential trafficking victims came from some 130 countries last year. Out of around 7,000 police referrals, the
highest number of victims came from the United Kingdom, followed by Albania, Vietnam, China, and Romania, and those are just the victims
reported to police.
Stay with us. We'll be right back.
[14:55:59] NOBILO: We came in peace for all mankind. Those are the words etched on a plaque that sat undisturbed on the moon for 50 years. Today,
we remember the beginning of the mission's lever and reached the moon.
It was exactly 50 years ago that Apollo 11 took off from Cape Canaveral in Florida. The commemorations and celebrations that began today will
culminate on Saturday, July the 20th. The 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
And here are a few numbers to reflect upon. Four hundred thousand people worked to make the Apollo mission a success. 600 million people around the
globe watched the landing, one out of every five people living on the planet, at that time, and in a sign of how much things have changed, there
was only one woman in mission control on that day, 50 years ago.
JoAnn Morgan was an engineer who was reading data coming back from sensors (ph) on the rocket.
Thanks for watching tonight. Stay with CNN, "QUEST MEANS BUSINESS" is up next.