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Joe Biden Weighs in on Trump's Racist Comments, Chants of "Send Her Back"; Tonight on CNN: Live Drawing for Democratic Debate Lineup; Acting DHS Secretary Faces Questions on Migrant Detention; Trump's Fed Pick Called Migrants "Economic Heroes". Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 18, 2019 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:30:00] JOE CROWLEY (D), FORMER CONGRESSMAN: And it's going to take some political courage and some political courage --

JOHN BOEHNER, (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Yes.

CROWLEY: -- to see it through. But that's what the focus is going to do.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Congressman Joe Crowley, Speaker John Boehner, a pleasure to talk to both of you.

CROWLEY: Thank you.

BOEHNER: Thank you very much.

CABRERA: Thank you for coming on.

President Trump says he disavows those chants of "send her back." Well, Joe Biden just responded. That's next.

Plus, a big night for 2020 Democrats preparing for the next presidential debate. CNN holds a live draw to see how candidates will be paired up for the showdown. We'll show you how it will work.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: I want to turn again to this searing moment in North Carolina where the president stood in silence as his supporters launched into this chant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[14:35:03] (CHANTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: It's a clear sign that the president's racist message against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and three other Democratic congresswomen of color is resonating with his base.

Joe Biden just weighed in on this. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I only saw a clip of it. The way he stood there, it didn't seem like it. You assume -- you could imagine if someone said that -- what I would have said, no, stop.

Speak up, man. Not after the fact. Not after the fact.

And, look --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: I want to bring in Van Jones, our CNN political commentator and host of CNN's "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT."

The president said today he didn't like that chant. He said, quote, "I was happy with it, I disagree with it but, again, I didn't say that, they did."

What do you make of how this all escalated last night?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR & CNN HOST, "THE REDEMPTION PROJECT": First, last night was terrifying. To have the leader of the free world, the most powerful man in the world, to stand there and you have tens of thousands of people chanting, "send her back," focusing all that on an individual U.S. citizen, a lawmaker. It's terrifying, any leader in the world standing up on the stage like that, singling out a citizen would be terrifying, period.

We also have to remember, Ilhan Omar, in particular, someone who has been convicted for threatening her life. He's playing with a very dangerous kind of fire.

That said, I'm glad he's pulling back. He may lie about what he did, but if he's sending a signal now, he doesn't want to go down that road, that's a good thing.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: Will that stop the chant?

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: I think back to "lock her up" and "build the wall."

JONES: Listen, if that particular chant becomes a part of this foundation of his campaign, that's dangerous for the whole country.

I don't understand why he does stuff like this.

Listen, he could run -- he has an economy he could talk about. He has achievements he could talk about. Instead, he goes the low road, the dirty road. He's scraping the bottom of the barrel and coming up with splinters and serving those up to the American people. It's dangerous and wrong.

For me, in particular, I don't think we've done as good a job as we could, explaining to people why this "send people back" is so painful.

You're a little kid in America, one of the things that happened to you on the school ground is "go back to Africa." It's the first time you realize you're not like every other kid. What are you talking about? I've never been to Africa. "Go back to Africa."

It's not just like a causal thing. When there's a hate crime, often, right before the shot is fired, right before the punch is thrown, "go back where you came from." This is very chilling stuff. This is very dangerous stuff.

The Republican Party, behind closed doors, must have been really, really -- I hope he keeps backing up off of this. If he doesn't, we're in big trouble.

CABRERA: This harkens back to other times in American history, this appeal to emotion rather than rational arguments. George Wallace, Joseph McCarthy.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: But the president's supporters say this isn't about race. This is about policy.

JONES: I mean, it's just a lie. It's not true.

Listen, when you say, "go back to the crime-infested country that you came from," and three of the four people are from the United States of America, that is about race. It's worth saying over and over again. He never said that about Bernie Sanders. He's never said that about any white critic in the country. Including his own white self. Trump himself has been the biggest critic of the United States of anybody. Especially when Obama was president. Nobody would say to him, go back to where you came from. It wouldn't make sense.

Go back where you came from, only makes sense inside the logic of white nationalism, white supremacy. White people can criticize, Bernie can criticize, Trump can criticize. If you're a brown woman, you can't criticize. That is about race. You don't have to use a racial epithet or say the word black or Muslim or Latino, or whatever, for it to be about race in the context.

Here's the deal. I don't understand why he does stuff like this. When you have an economy this strong, when you have past stuff you're proud of, tax stuff, and foreign policy, run on that. What are you doing? Why are you -- you're going down the sewer, dragging stuff up for dinner. You don't have to do it. It's wrong to do it.

And if the Republican Party doesn't find a bigger backbone in public, you run the risk of the party of Lincoln becoming the party of Steve Bannon forever. And that is something that will hurt the entire country.

Democrats should be just as concerned about the Republicans going this way. Somebody told me --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: President Trump says he thinks it's a winning strategy.

[14:40:02] JONES: Listen, it would be a winning strategy in the short term for his presidential bid. It's a losing strategy for the country.

And also, I'm not sure. I think there's a silent majority of people who have been getting increasingly uncomfortable with what Trump is up to.

The question they're going to be asking is, can I keep this economic progress without this social regress. What Trump is basically doing is bringing the economy up but pulling society apart.

People say, is there someone who can keep the economy up but bring us back together. If the Democrats nominate someone on both counts, Trump's in trouble. And this strategy is going to be something he regrets.

CABRERA: Van Jones, as always, thank you.

JONES: Thank you.

CABRERA: Appreciate your perspective.

Still ahead, a "KFILE" investigation into President Trump's most recent pick to serve on the Federal Reserve Board. Judy Shelton's past comments about immigration, and they're not in line with the president.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:45:34] CABRERA: Welcome back.

Tonight, we will find out which of the Democrats will face off against each other, in the big CNN debate. It's called "THE DRAW." It's an effort to be as transparent as possible about choosing the lineup for the debates coming up July 30th and 31st in Detroit. We'll bring it to you live here on CNN.

How is it going to work? CNN senior political analyst, Mark Preston, is joining me now to walk us through exactly how this is going to go down.

Tonight, it's going to be fair, it's going to be transparent. We're literally going to be drawing names, Mark.

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Not we. You're literally going to be drawing --

(CROSSTALK)

PRESTON: -- some names later on. So you have to tune into that. Listen, 20 candidates, two nights, Motown.

Before we get there, we have to figure out what nights.

How are we going to do it? A random draw split into three groups. Polling, people are grouped based upon your support right now in the race for a Democratic presidential nomination.

During each draw, she has cards with a candidate's name on it, there's going to be a second box that's going to hold cards with dates in them. July 30th and 31st, very simply, put your hand in, you're going to pull out a name. She will put her hand in and pull out a date, that's how we will do the field of candidates. They will learn immediately just as the rest of the world learns.

You'll be able to watch with the camera up above. You'll be able to be there right away.

Once that all happens, this is the big key. They want to know matchups. They want to know, are we going to see another moment between kamala Harris and Joe Biden. Or are they not on the same stage. That is the next step.

You look at 8:45 this evening, people are going to be looking for this information, which we think will be coming out right about 8:45, 8:50 p.m. Then there will be discussions about what's going to happen each night.

Group one for the draw first. Brianna Keilar will be doing that. The next one, group two, we'll have six candidates. And then the final group, which Ana will be doing, there will be four candidates. And we will see where they'll split up.

What this guarantees? The three-way draws is right here. Will be split in half in some way, where the top four candidates will be split across two nights.

CABRERA: Who will you be watching for? It's going to be fair? It will be fair, even Steven, when it comes to where people are in the polls and making sure their divided.

PRESTON: Everyone is focusing on this. And believe me, we've gotten a lot of inquiries about this. They want to know how these matchups will work out. This is what everyone's talking about.

I would say this, focus on these debates, on the likes of Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar. These are folks in the middle of the pack who need to make a mark, some of them more so than others. This is going to be an interesting matchup that we may see that comes in from the outside inward as the top-ranking candidates there.

CABRERA: OK, Mark Preston, thank you for that.

Be sure to watch. It will be live tonight at 8:00. It's our special coverage. To find out which Democratic candidates will face off in each night of the presidential debates. "THE DRAW," tonight, at 8:00 Eastern, here on CNN. [14:48:56] Still ahead for us in the NEWSROOM, emotions running high

at a hearing over conditions for migrants at the border. See what happened.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:54:00] CABRERA: Lawmakers today grilling acting Homeland Security secretary, Kevin McAleenan, on the child detention centers and the Trump administration's migrant family separation policy.

Emotions ran very high this morning when House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings had this to say on the humanitarian crisis at the border. Watch?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): When we hear about stories coming out from you and your agency that everything is pretty good. You're doing a great job. You feel like you're doing a great job, right? Is that what you're saying?

KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We're doing our level best in a very challenging --

(CROSSTALK)

CUMMINGS: What does that mean? What does that mean when a child is sitting in their own feces? Can't take a shower. Come on, man. What's that about? None of us would have our children in that position. They are human beings.

And I'm trying to figure out -- and I get tired of folks saying, oh, they just beating up on Border Patrol. Oh, they just beating up on Homeland Security.

[14:55:09] What I'm saying is, I want to concentrate on these children. And I want to make sure that they are OK.

I will say -- I said it before, and I'll say it again. It's not the deed that you do to a child. It's the memory. It's the memory.

And so -- and I told the head of Border Patrol the other day, I said, I want to know what's happening in the meantime.

We are the United States of America. We are the greatest country in the world. We are the ones that can go anywhere in the world and save people. Make sure that they have diapers, make sure that they have toothbrushes, make sure that they're not laying around defecating in some silver paper. Come on, we're better than that.

MCALEENAN: I would welcome the opportunity to travel with you and see our men and women and how hard they are working to care for children. Holding children that were not their own, brought across by smugglers, putting formula and baby bottles together. There's no one defecating in a mylar blanket. We are taking care of these children thanks to the resources we finally have. They're moving very quickly through our facilities to Health and Human Services to a better situation.

I'd be happy to show you that at the border, Mr. Chairman.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: This hearing is still going on. We'll keep a close eye on the story.

Meantime, brand new today, from CNN's "KFILES," an extraordinary look into President Trump's controversial pick for a seat on the Federal Reserve, Judy Shelton. Some of Shelton's past statements draw a contrast view to Trump's views on immigration. Shelton is a conservative economist, a 2016 Trump campaign advisor. She has not been formally nominated just yet for the Federal Reserve seat.

I want to bring in Andrew Kaczynski, CNN's "KFILE" senior editor.

Andrew, you've learned Shelton once called migrants venture capitalists. Tell us the context of her remark.

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, "KFILE": She made these comments in 2016 on a podcast, and it sharply contrasts with President Trump's rhetoric, when he launched his campaign and rhetoric he still uses today, where he calls some undocumented immigrants crossing the border rapists.

It's interest that she very harshly contradicts that. They're risk takers, she says. They're smart. They're hardworking people. And they're basically economic heroes in their own country.

We don't often hear a lot about the views on immigration and trade of those going on the Federal Reserve Board. Right now, the Fed is weighing action to possibly alleviate economic harm caused by the president's trade war.

And that's another area actually where she pretty sharply goes away from the president. When NAFTA was being negotiated, she wrote her own book that those who were opposed, were engaging in protectionism and shortsighted nationalism.

So on a lot of these key issues, she's on the other side from the president.

CABRERA: I understand you asked Shelton directly about these comments that appear to be clash with President Trump's immigration rhetoric. What did she tell you?

KACZYNSKI: She gave us a long response to the things we wrote about in our article.

On trade, she said that all of these exchange rate shifts between the peso and dollar had fundamentally shifted the balance on trade.

And on immigration, she sort of said she still -- she grew up in southern California. She admires undocumented immigrants. But she thinks there needs to be legal procedures in place for those who want to come in here and work.

CABRERA: Andrew Kaczynski, thank you for your reporting.

Top of the hour. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thank you for being with us. You're watching CNN.

President Trump is disavowing the rally chants that were born of the racist attack he started with a tweeted against four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Moments ago, the president explained he tried to cut off people when they began chanting "send her back."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I felt a little bit badly about it. But I will say this. I did, and I started speaking very quickly. But it started off rather fast, as you probably know.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you going to tell your supporters never to say --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: Well, I would say, I was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again, I didn't say that. They did. But I disagree with it.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)

TRUMP: I don't think -- if you examine it, I don't think you'll find that. But I disagree with it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:00:09] CABRERA: But watch what happened at his re-election event in North Carolina, less than 24 hours ago.