Return to Transcripts main page


House Dems (And 4 GOP) Condemn Trump's Racism; 2020 Dems Divided on Health Care; Retired Justice John Paul Stevens Dies; Anger Over Garner Decision. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 17, 2019 - 04:00   ET



[04:00:18] REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president's racist tweets.


DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: Midsummer madness on the House floor. A vote to condemn the president's racist remarks. Four Republicans signed on.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So people who have private insurance would eventually have to give that up under your plan?

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They would eventually be covered under Medicare-for-All.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're either Medicare-for- All, which means Obamacare is gone -- gone, period -- or you build on Obamacare.


JESSICA DEAN, CNN ANCHOR: Kamala Harris trying to clarify her health care position. Joe Biden isn't buying it. The 2020 Democrats growing contentious.

BRIGGS: Breaking overnight, the passing of a legend. Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has died.


PROTESTERS: Black lives, they matter here! Black lives, they matter here!


DEAN: And anger boiling over. The Justice Department will not bring charges against the officer whose chokehold killed Eric Garner. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the

world. This is EARLY START, and I'm Jessica Dean, in for Christine Romans. Good morning.

BRIGGS: Good morning to you. Good morning to all of you. I'm Dave Briggs.

Wednesday, July 17th. It is 4:00 a.m. here in New York, 11:00 a.m. in Istanbul. A live report from there shortly.

But we start with a turbulent night on a divided House floor ending in a vote to condemn President Trump's racist remarks targeting four minority congresswomen. Just four Republicans voted for the resolution, all from districts often targeted by Democrats with the notable exception of Will Hurd.

And the vast majority of Republican lawmakers still backing the president.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The president is not a racist.

REPORTER: Were the president's tweets that said "go back" racist? Yes or no?



BRIGGS: The president taking note of the vote and the Republicans unified behind him. The debate itself, full of dramatic moments like this one from civil rights icon John Lewis.


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA): I know racism when I see it. I know racism when I feel it. And at the highest level of government, there's no room for racism.


DEAN: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi raising the stakes when she described the president's remarks on the House floor.


PELOSI: Every single member of this institution, Democratic and Republican, should join us in condemning the president's racist tweets. To do anything less would be a shocking rejection of our values and a shameful abdication of our oath of office.


DEAN: Now, you heard Pelosi being interrupted there at the end. It's a violation of longstanding House rules to refer to the president as, quote, having made a bigoted or racist statement.

Republicans then moved to have Pelosi's words stricken from the record. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver was presiding over the House and had clearly had enough.


REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER, II (D-MO): We don't ever, ever want to pass up, it seems, an opportunity to escalate, and that's what this is. We want to just fight. I abandon the chair.


DEAN: President Trump insisted in a string of tweets on Tuesday morning he's not racist. Later, he defended his attack on the so- called squad of minority congresswomen.


REPORTER: Where should they go?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's up to them. Go wherever they want where they can stay. But they should love our country.


BRIGGS: The president's four progressive targets speaking out against him together to CBS.


GAYLE KING, ANCHOR, "CBS NEWS", "CBS THIS MORNING": Do you feel enough Republicans have spoken up against the president?


KING: What message does that send?

REP. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-MI): The normalization of it, the fact that it's against our core American values. That they're choosing him over country.


BRIGGS: Some of the president's allies like Anthony Scaramucci were still strongly critical of his attack.


ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS: The president calls himself a stable genius. Start sending out some more stable genius-ified (ph) tweets, you know? That tweet is instable, unstable -- however you want to reference it.

It's racist. It's obnoxious. It's obnoxious to Italian-Americans. It's obnoxious to a very large group of people and you should -- you should apologize.


BRIGGS: In Kentucky, a group of Trump critics called Resist 45 revised a billboard for horse racing coverage to say "Trump 2020, America's day as the racist."

[04:05:07] DEAN: Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris trying to clarify her health care plan during an exclusive interview with CNN's Kyung Lah in Iowa. Critics say she shifted her stance on private health insurance.

Under her Medicare-for-All plan, she says there would be very little role for private insurance because almost everything will be covered.


LAH: What happens to those 150 million Americans under President Harris?

HARRIS: Well, it's the same as the millions of Americans every day that transition into Medicare as seniors. It's seamless without any difference to their coverage in terms of access to health care.

It has to happen over a period of time. There's no question we would have to go from the current system into a Medicare for All system.

LAH: So people who have private insurance would eventually have to give that up under your plan?

HARRIS: They would eventually be covered under Medicare for All and they would still see their doctor, and that's what they want.

LAH: Joe Biden says that this is -- what you are suggesting -- an elimination of Obamacare. Is that accurate?

HARRIS: It's absolutely not.


BRIGGS: Biden reacted to her comments during a stop in Sioux City, Iowa.


BIDEN: You're either on Medicare-for-All, which means Obamacare is gone -- gone, period -- or you build on Obamacare like I'm doing and you provide a Medicare option. I don't know what her position -- maybe she's changed per position. I don't know.


BRIGGS: Meantime, Senator Bernie Sanders takes on his rivals today on Medicare-for-All. He's scheduled to speak at George Washington University. CNN's first New Hampshire poll of 2020 hopefuls shows no clear leader

among Biden, Sanders, and Senator Elizabeth Warren. The poll also shows a lot of uncertainty with 64 percent, saying they are undecided.

DEAN: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has died at the age of 99. The soft-spoken Midwesterner suffered a stroke earlier this week and passed away Tuesday at a Fort Lauderdale hospital with his daughters by his side.

Stevens served as a naval intelligence officer in World War II and was nominated to the high court by Republican President Gerald Ford in 1975. But, Stevens went on to become a leader of court's liberal wing, serving until 2010.

Just two months ago, our John Berman asked him about President Trump's relationship with the judiciary.


JOHN PAUL STEVENS, FORMER ASSOCIATE JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: He's getting advice from people who are knowledgeable about judges and I hope he won't do too much damage.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR, "NEW DAY": Do you think he understands the role of the judiciary in the country?


BERMAN: Why not?

STEVENS: Well, I think he often speaks about them as Obama judges and other kind of judges. But I think John Roberts was dead right when he said there are only one kind of judges and they're all working for the federal government.


DEAN: The White House released a statement saying: Justice Stevens was known for his humility, legal acumen and affection for his beloved Chicago Cubs. His work over the course of 35 years on the Supreme Court will continue to shake the legal framework of our nation for years to come.

And Chief Justice John Roberts says: Stevens' unrelenting commitment to justices left us a better nation.

DEAN: President Trump says the U.S. will block sales of F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey after Turkey received a new air defense system from Russia.


TRUMP: Because they have a system of missiles that's made in Russia, they're now prohibited from buying over 100 planes.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DEAN: The president turning to a familiar tactic, blaming the Obama administration for the situation which could affect Turkey's membership in NATO.

Let's bring in CNN's Jomana Karadsheh. She's live from Istanbul this morning.

Good morning to you.


And days after that first delivery from Russia to Turkey, that S-400 missile system, and as everyone was waiting to see how the Trump administration was going to react after the threat for months of severe consequences if they went ahead with the deal, for the first time, we heard from the president yesterday. As you mentioned, they are basically reluctantly announcing that the U.S. is going to stop the sales of about 100 F-35 stealth fighter jets to Turkey.

But he really wasn't very happy about that saying that the manufacturer of the plane, Lockheed Martin, is not going to be happy, that this is going to cost billions of dollars. And also blaming the Obama administration for what he's described in the past as this mess, saying that Turkey wanted to buy the American alternative. That is the Patriot missile defense system.

[04:10:00] But the Obama administration wouldn't sell it to Turkey.

And this has been Turkey's line. This is what we've heard from officials here over and over again. But some U.S. officials would really disagree with that.

They say that they were ready to sell the Patriots to Turkey, but the negotiations fell through because Turkey wanted to also buy the technology that goes with that which was a non-starter for the U.S.

What is worrying about all this and the latest announcement from the president's worrying a lot of lawmakers in the U.S. and NATO allies is no mention of sanctions. Legally, the president is obliged to sanction Turkey under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act which basically punishes countries that buy weapons from Russia. And there's been no mention of that.

And that seems to be what Turkey is banking on. We've heard President Erdogan saying President Trump has the authority to waive sanctions or delay them. And certainly, this latest announcement from the president hasn't deterred Turkey.

Just a short time ago, the 14th cargo plane from Russia landed in Ankara, delivering more parts of the S-400.

DEAN: All right. Jomana, thank you so much.

BRIGGS: It's a race against the clock to raise the debt ceiling ahead of a looming financial crisis. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin plan to speak again today to negotiate both the budget and a debt deal. The U.S. reached its $22 trillion limit on borrowing back in March. Since then, the government has been shifting money around to pay the bills.

Congress and the president need to reach a deal before the government runs out of money in September. Talks have been productive, but Pelosi told reporters she is not doing a short-term deal. Mnuchin says he wants a comprehensive deal, but if one is not reached, requested a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling for as long as possible. That would allow the government to keep running while a budget agreement is hashed out.

Pelosi doesn't want any part of a clean debt ceiling vote, so the talks continue with only seven days left before the House leaves for its August recess. The urgency on both sides is very real. If no long-term budget deal is made, the short-term increase in the debt ceiling isn't passed, there could be another government shutdown.

DEAN: The Justice Department will not bring federal charges against the New York city police officer accused of fatally choking Eric Garner.


PROTESTERS: Black lives, they matter here! Black lives, they matter here!


DEAN: Garner's final words, "I can't breathe," became a rallying cry in the Black Lives Matter movement. The medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide.

But Attorney General William Barr made the decision not to bring charges citing with the Justice Department team from New York over the civil rights division in Washington.

BRIGGS: Barr said prosecutors could not successfully prove the officer acted willfully. Garner's family disagrees.


EMERALD GARNER, ERIC GARNER'S DAUGHTER: Fire him. I watched them kill my father for five years by continuously playing the video -- in the courtroom playing the video. The fact that this man choked my father outside on the street -- choked him with no remorse.

GWEN CARR, ERIC GARNER'S MOTHER: Five years ago, my son said, "I can't breathe" 11 times. And today, we can't breathe.


BRIGGS: The NYPD has brought developmental charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Commissioner James O'Neil will make a final decision after he receives a report and recommendation on. The city of New York settled with Garner's estate for $5.9 million in 2015. DEAN: Leaked private messages show homophobia and sexism. Now,

protests have broken out, but Puerto Rico's governor refusing to resign.


[04:18:35] DEAN: Police believe the killer of a beloved community activist in Baton Rouge was likely a tenant in one of her rental homes who was behind on his rent. Investigators say 38-year-old Ronn Jermaine Bell killed Sadie Roberts-Joseph but say they have yet to establish a firm motive. Bell, who is a convicted sex offender, is now charged with first-degree murder.

The police chief says phone calls poured in from the community, and family also helped with leads.


ANGELA MACHEN, SADIE ROBERTS-JOSEPH'S DAUGHTER: All my mother ever wanted was for this community to come together. It's ironic that that happened in death. What she wanted to happen in life came to fruition in death. However, we will see to it that her legacy continues.


DEAN: The Baton Rouge community came together Tuesday for a vigil at the African-American Museum that Roberts-Joseph curated and founded in 2001. They also prayed for the suspect, saying he and his family were struggling.

BRIGGS: Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Rossello is refusing to step down as police clash with protesters demanding he resign. There have been days of demonstrations following the leak of Rossello's private group chats. The 900-page leak reveals a vengeful approach to governing and conversations that include homophobic and sexist remarks.

[04:20:04] It came just as the FBI arrested two former officials from Rossello's administration were arrested in a federal corruption investigation. The raucous protests here prompt Royal Caribbean to cancel a cruise ship stop in San Juan.

DEAN: Seventy million people facing some very dangerous heat for the rest of the week. An update for you when we come back.


[04:25:27] BRIGGS: Hundreds of protesters gathering at the base of Mauna Kea, on the big island of Hawaii. They are trying to block construction of an 18-story, $1 billion telescope. Native Hawaiians consider Mauna Kea a sacred mountain. For astronomers, it is one of the best places on earth to observe space.

Protesters sat in chairs to block the road leading to the site and each chained themselves to a metal grate. And while they may not be able to stop construction, all sides is working on. Existing telescopes in the area have suspended operations citing safety concerns.

DEAN: Dramatic video of a private plane crashing into a hangar in Addison, Texas, killing all 10 people on board. The June 30th crash is under investigation. But according to a preliminary NTSB report, the twin-engine plane seemed more quiet than normal during takeoff and did not appear to have sufficient power.

BRIGGS: A 6-year-old Utah girl tragically killed when she was struck in the head with a golf ball hit by her father. Orem police say the girl was sitting in a parked golf cart to the left of her dad as he was teeing off at the Sleepy Ridge golf course. She was flown to a Salt Lake City hospital in critical condition and died Monday night.

Police are not releasing the name of the girl or her father and are certainly not pursuing charges.

DEAN: Mother Nature bringing the heat. Half the country will see temperatures of 95 or higher over the next week, with some 70 million under some sort of heat advisory.

We go to meteorologist now Ivan Cabrera.


IVAN CABRERA, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hottest temperatures of the summer, good morning, guys. This is going to continue through the upcoming weekend. This is a relentless heat wave with a big dome of high pressure.

The heat dome we call it setting up, sinking, compressing very hot air. Take a look at this. Heat warnings already with heat indices this afternoon I think about 105 to 110. That includes St. Louis. We've got tens and tens of millions of us included, not just in the midsection of the country, along 95 here, also 105 to 110.

This is not just today or tomorrow or the next day. It continues right through Sunday. By the way, the overnight temperatures aren't going to cool off at all with overnight lows in the 70s and 80s.

But this is a way the humidity will make it feel this afternoon, anywhere from 95 to 105. A few scattered showers and thunderstorms for tomorrow, so that will bring us from low 90s to mid 80s, then we're back into it. Temperatures are going to be soaring by the latter part of the week and into the weekend.

Look at the triple digits. This is not factoring in the humidity. This is actual air temperature that will be 100 in D.C. on Saturday. And in New York, as well, by the time we get into Saturday afternoon.

So, once again the hottest temperatures, and I think the longest stretch of heat we've seen so far this summer -- guys.


DEAN: Well, she beat cancer and could not contain her excitement.




DEAN: Darla Jaye rang the cancer bell so hard she broke it. She just completed her radiation treatment for breast cancer at the Harris Health System in Houston. She was first diagnosed back in February. Monday was the last of her 30 radiation treatments.

Congratulations to Darla.

BRIGGS: Keep ringing that bell once we fix that thing.

All right. Very great story.

Ahead, House Republicans follow a familiar pattern, that is fall in line behind the president, all before refusing to condemn racism.