Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Claims He Disagrees With Racist Chant That Echoes His Tweet; Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) Discuss President Trump's Reaction To The Chants Of The Crowd; Trump Says His Supporters Who Were Chanting "Send Her Back" Are People "That Love Our Country"; 2020 Dems Slam Trump For Standing By As Crowd Chanted "Send Her Back," Echoing His Racist Tweet; Trump: U.S. Destroyed Iranian Drone In Strait Of Hormuz; Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) is Interviewed About U.S. Navy Having Destroyed Iranian Drone in Strait of Hormuz; CNN Holds Live Drawing for Dem Debate Lineups. Aired on 7-8p ET

Aired July 18, 2019 - 19:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: ... opposition, politicians, journalists and celebrities. Police had used tear gas on the crowds which have numbered in the 10s of thousands. I'm Wolf Blitzer. Thanks for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, President Trump says he didn't like the racist chant at his rally, but that chant was based on his racist tweets, so does he really mean it? Plus, the U.S. brings down an Iranian drone with tensions escalating. What happens now? And a heartbreaking story that you won't see anywhere else, a father stopped at the border unable to see his daughter in the United States and when he finally is allowed in, it's too late. Let's go out front.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the tape doesn't lie. President Trump trying to rewrite history as the backlash grows over the racist send her back chant at his rally directed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar. The president now insisting he didn't like it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When your supporters last night were chanting sent her back, why didn't you stop them? Why didn't you ask them to stop saying that?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, number one, I think I did. I started speaking very quickly. It really was a loud - I disagree with it, by the way. But it was quite a chant and I felt a little bit badly about it. But I will say this, I did and I started speaking very quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you'll stop them if they try to do it again.

TRUMP: Well, I didn't like that they did it and I started speaking very quickly. I started very quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Very, very quickly, that is contradicted by the video. Just



TRUMP: Omar has a history of launching vicious anti-semitic screeds.

CROWD: Send her back. Send her back. Send her back. Send her back. Send her back. Send her back. Send her back. Send her back. Send her back.

TRUMP: And she talked about the evil Israel and it's all about the Benjamins, not a good thing to say.


BOLDUAN: Thirteen seconds, that chant went on and the President didn't stop it, seemed to soak it in. That's not speaking very quickly at all. That's letting them finish before you continue on your attack. And if the President would like to know how you shut down a racist remark that might happen at a rally or at any presidential event, this is how you do it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's an Arab. He is not ...

FORMER SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): No, ma'am. No, ma'am.


MCCAIN: No, ma'am. No, ma'am. He's a decent family man citizen that I just happened to have disagreements with on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign is all about. He's not, thank you.


BOLDUAN: So there is that. But no matter what the President says today, let's be clear about one thing, this didn't start last night. That chant clearly didn't come out of thin air. It started with his tweet four days ago. They got the chant from the President. It's also noteworthy the President has tried this before and I'm talking about the last rallying cry from his rallies, "Lock her up." Well, here he is in 2016.


TRUMP: When I started talking about Hillary Clinton, the veterans who saw her 24 hours before started screaming, "Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up." And I said, don't do that. Now, I didn't do that for any reason. I really - I didn't like it and they stopped.


BOLDUAN: They really did not as we well know because that chant is still happening. In fact, it just happened at his rally in Florida last month.


CROWD: Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up.


BOLDUAN: See him stopping them there? We've been here before, so it is somewhat hard to believe the President when he says he's suddenly offended by this chant at his rallies now. Pamela Brown is out front live outside the White House for us. Pamela, why is the President trying to pretend that he tried to step in when he clearly didn't and did nothing when those chants continued?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, after pressure from allies of President Trump is now saying he disavows that send her back chant at his rally last night and made sure he claims that it didn't last long, but there's no going back because the video tells a different story. Showing, as you point out, 13 seconds of the chants going louder and louder as the President stood and listened before speaking again.

Now, defenders note he didn't join in on the chant, but the President told the audience just minutes later, Kate, to tell the four progressive Democratic congresswomen to leave if they don't like him or the country. Now, the President, of course, could have come to the opinion he didn't like the chant upon reflection today, but we have learned that many people in his inner circle, including his daughter Ivanka expressed concern to the White House, the President himself, that the chant could come to define another dark and racially charged campaign.

[19:05:08] The President also, Kate, dismissing the idea that he himself set the stage for the chant with his racist tweet a few days ago that the four congresswomen dubbed the squad should go back to the crime infested countries where they came from. Now, we should note the women have made controversial statements in the past, including about Israel and immigration.

And White House defenders, they are quick to refocus the conversation on exactly that, Kate, their politics, not their race, claiming that they're radical and socialist. And that could be a window into Trump's 2020 strategy to make the four women as the face of the Democratic Party.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Take on people's positions all you want, but when you take them on race that's when you get into where he is right now. Thanks, Pamela. I appreciate it.

BROWN: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Out front with me tonight Democratic Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence of Michigan. Congresswoman, thank you for being here.

REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE BRENDA (D-MI): Thank you so much, Kate. BOLDUAN: The President says that he wasn't happy with the chants at

his rally last night. You heard Pam's great reporting. He said he disagrees with it. If he really is disavowing those in his own remarks, is that good enough for you?

LAWRENCE: No, it's not. Listening to that crowd and I have repeatedly told friends of mine what scares me more right now in America is not so much Donald Trump, but the masses of people who seem empowered by his racist, his just really hateful comments and people are just soaking that up.

So when you look at history, being a black woman in America and knowing there was a time where they would have gatherings of people in Lynch, black people, and it was considered a social event. Knowing that the Nazis used to gather up human beings and murder them and people embrace that and cheered on those leaders. This is what's so scary about this.

We are in a democracy. We have freedom of speech. We can engage in dialogue and we should. This amazing democracy we have was not built on a Republican agenda or a democratic agenda. It was the two parties coming together just ironing out their differences and producing some of the best laws and policies in the world.

But when we start addressing people and using these racist comments, that's where the fear factor comes in. That's where this releasing of it's OK for you to attack another person, what does going back to another country, what are you saying? As a young black girl, I remember hearing those racist remarks on the playground. "You monkey, go back to Africa."

That is real. This is not a joke and he may not like it, but what are you going to do about it, Mr. President?

BOLDUAN: You said the masses. I will play for you what the President said, kind of his message to his supporters would be, because he was asked today what his message is to his supporters who were chanting that last night. Let me play that for you.


TRUMP: Well, these are people that love our country. I want them to keep loving our country and I think the Congresswomen, by the way, should be more positive than they are.


BOLDUAN: What do you say to that?

LAWRENCE: I say to that if you love this country, then you love the diversity of it. You can't love America and not appreciate that the greatness of this country is based on this influence and the contributions of people from all over the world that came together to call this place home. So loving America does not mean that you exclude people, loving America means that you embrace this democracy. And I will say to anyone, you have the right to support Donald Trump.

If you think his policies are one that will move this country forward, you have that right. And I do not demonize anyone to be in that stadium and say that's my guy for President. But what I will say is that when you start chanting and embracing this thing of attacking and using racist rhetoric, and laughing and cheering as if that is America, that is not America.

And we must stand up against it. We cannot allow it. There's been some dark times in America and we always stood up against it and stopped it and get this country back on track.

BOLDUAN: One thing that has come out of this week and what's happened with the tweets and this was before the chants, is the impeachment vote on the House floor. You were one of the 95 Democrats who voted in support of the impeachment proceedings that were voted on yesterday against the President, 157 democrats did not vote with you on this. So did this effort backfire?

[19:10:08] LAWRENCE: I was sent to Congress to speak truth to power. I was sent to Congress not to join a club. I was sent there to represent the people and fight for the people. I am confronted daily of how this President has disregarded the laws and policies. I'm on government oversight. We are conducting hearing, after hearing, after hearing.

I have been confronted with a president who has broken so many rules. We have criminal investigations.

BOLDUAN: Then did 157 Democrats not vote with you on that?

LAWRENCE: I will tell you where my vote was. It is time for us in America like we have repeatedly for Democrats and Republican presidents that when we see this type of blatant disregard for rules and policy that we begin in investigation. I continue to say that. I stand by that and if this investigation does not find this president guilty, then he will be exonerated, but I cannot sit here.

Knowing the oath of office in the constitution that says this power rests in Congress and I feel that we should go forward with the impeachment hearings.

BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, thank you so much for being here. I appreciate your time.

LAWRENCE: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, the 2020 candidates slamming President Trump for the racist chants at his rally as well.


SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's horrific. It's vile. It's offensive.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This President just keep finding new lows.


BOLDUAN: But, will a reelection strategy rooted in racism work in 2020? Plus, the U.S. Navy destroys an Iranian drone weeks after the Iranians did the same thing. Where does this go next? Plus, we are less than an hour away now from finding out which Democratic candidates are going to face off against each other, which stage, which night. We're going to break down the possible matchups, coming up.


[19:16:00] BOLDUAN: Despicable, vile and a new low. The Democrats running to face President Trump in 2020 united today, all slamming him for his rally last night where he continued a lengthy attack on four Democratic congresswomen of color and stood by as supporters chanted, "Send her back."


JOE BIDEN, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was despicable to stand and attack those four women in the way he did.

BOOKER: It's horrific. It's vile. It's offensive.

HARRIS: This President just keeps finding new lows.


BOLDUAN: Out front now, Rob Astorino, Member President Trump's 2020 Re-Elect Advisory Council and former Clinton White House aide, Keith Boykin. Thanks, guys, for being here. I got a lot to get to. Rob, how can he say that he is not happy about the chants, that he disagrees with the chants and that he tried to stop the chants when he didn't? They got it from him?

ROB ASTORINO, MEMBER OF THE PRESIDENT'S 2020 RE-ELECT ADVISORY COUNCIL: Well, look, crowds get out of control sometimes. If you've ever been to a Rangers game as I have or any big auditorium when things start and if you've been speaking, I've spoken at big events like this, it takes a while to understand what's being said, OK, and you're also thinking ahead of what you're going to say.

So let's give him the benefit of the doubt for a second because today he did denounce it. And I have to say this too as a supporter of the President, I don't want this. I don't want to see this again at an arena. I don't think those kind of chants are helpful in any way, shape or form because I think he's going to win on his own. He's going to win on the merits. But the other side too --

BOLDUAN: I got to say though, it's strange credulity to believe that he did not hear it and that he spoke very quickly.

KEITH BOYKIN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE UNDER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: Because it's not true. It's a lie. Trump started the week with this same attack on these four Democratic congresswomen telling them to go back home. Then, he goes to this rally in North Carolina last night where his staff had already told everyone that he planned to gin up the argument and double down on it.

He goes there. He encourages the crowd to engage in this chant. It goes on for 13 seconds. They chant at least eight or nine times before he ever says another word. And then after the rally, he goes out and tweets four different times saying what a great rally it was. It wasn't until Republicans today started condemning him that he finally retreated and said, "Oh, well, I didn't really like that." It's a bold-faced lie.

BOLDUAN: I mean, all the reporting we have is that a lot of people, a lot of Republicans are saying what you just said and saying it privately, saying you got to get around this. This can't define us and that's what's actually changed him. That's pretty sad.

ASTORINO: Well, look, I had a conversation today with one of my best friends. She's a woman who lives in Connecticut, suburban, educated, the whole thing, liberal. And she said to me, I said, "What do you think of this whole race? Who do you like?" And a lot of the Democratic candidates scare the hell out of her.

BOLDUAN: What is this about? What are you talking about right now?

ASTORINO: No, I'm saying she doesn't like Trump, she doesn't like his attitude or anything like that. But she may vote for him, she may vote for him, because she's afraid of who the Democrats is going to put up. That's where --

BOYKIN: I don't care. I don't care.

ASTORINO: No, this is what I'm saying. That's where the party has to go and that's where he has to go as he goes forward campaigning.

BOYKIN: That's not the issue. This is where Rob does what he can - he gets to a position where he can't defend the President. He deflect to another issue.

ASTORINO: I just said earlier - Keith, you just heard me say I did not agree with it.

BOYKIN: That you're deflecting to another issue not holding him accountable and that's the reason why he continue to do these things, that's the reason why he's still doing the lock her ...

ASTORINO: But OK, but he ...

BOYKIN: ... let me finish.

ASTORINO: ... he didn't apologize, he denounce it today, but nobody can accept that.

BOYKIN: Let me finish, Rob. That's the reason why he's still doing the lock her up chant in 2019. BOLDUAN: Rob, why should anyone believe when you saw what I played at

the top of the show, he also denounced lock her up and it was chanted again in his rally last month and he took a little tour and stood around and it's like he didn't hear it.

ASTORINO: You know what, judge him on the next time. If this arena ...

BOYKIN: How many more next times do we need?

BOLDUAN: Can I just say it actually, forget last night.

ASTORINO: Judge him on the next time.

BOLDUAN: Forget last night, you can still judge him on the tweets.

BOYKIN: He started the week tweeting about this, Rob.

ASTORINO: No, we're talking about last night, right?

BOYKIN: We're talking about this whole big racism by Donald Trump.


ASTORINO: We're talking about last night and today. Today, he said, "I don't want to see that again."

[19:20:07] BOLDUAN: Let's talk about the impact of it. Let's talk about the impact of it.


BOLDUAN: If we now clearly see what his plan is for the campaign of 2020, which is a campaign of division, a campaign of us versus them, a campaign of otherism and a campaign, if you go by his tweets, that includes racism.


BOLDUAN: It worked in 2016. It did not work in 2018. What is it going to do in 2020?

BOYKIN: Well, I think in 2020, it's a little bit difficult because in 2016 nobody took him seriously. He was a buffoon. He was a cartoon character. He was a clown and so Republicans, even Republicans condemned him in 2016. Lindsey Graham called him the race baiting xenophobic religious bigot. And Paul Ryan condemned his words for being racist in 2016.

Then, once he got nominated, the Republican Party decided, "Well, we don't really care so much about racism. We're more concerned about winning an election. I think Republicans have made their bed now with Donald Trump. They have to lie in it and unfortunately that means the campaign is going to be based on bigotry and racism.

BOLDUAN: Also not talking about the economy, which I've heard you so many times, Rob, say you wish he was and that is the antithesis of what we are seeing right now.

ASTORINO: Look, there's no question that he should be running on the record of the economy because he won't lose that way.

BOLDUAN: Because he's not.

ASTORINO: But one thing I really ...

BOLDUAN: And he's not, let me play what's happening instead.

ASTORINO: But wait, one thing.

BOLDUAN: Let me play this for you and then you can make your point because you then - you just answer my question.


BOLDUAN: Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, she just head back to her district, just landed back home in Minnesota and this is how she was greeted at the airport. Watch this.


CROWD: ... Ilhan. Welcome home, Ilhan. Welcome home, Ilhan. Welcome home, Ilhan. Welcome home, Ilhan. Welcome home, Ilhan. Welcome home, Ilhan.


BOLDUAN: Welcome home, Ilhan. That's obviously supporters meeting her there.


BOLDUAN: Now, are you making her a hero? Is that what Donald Trump is doing with Ilhan Omar now?

ASTORINO: Look, you know what, if you don't think that the squad knows what they're doing, they've been elevated to basically --

BOLDUAN: But you don't have to say it with such disdain. We have like the young guns, everybody's got a name.

ASTORINO: Yes. And so we're just saying before, it's all about Donald Trump and terrible and this and that like the 24 Democrats running are so virtuous, and they never say a bad thing.


ASTORINO: Are you kidding me?

BOLDUAN: No, no, no, no, no, no, you know what I am saying though, take people on policy, take Ilhan Omar on policy.

ASTORINO: Let them take them on policy.

BOLDUAN: No, he doesn't --

ASTORINO: Wait a minute. They called him a fascist. They called him a fascist.

BOLDUAN: She called him a fascist, sure. Do you know why?

ASTORINO: They called him everything in the name, but that's OK.

BOLDUAN: No, no, no.

ASTORINO: Because they're immune.


BOYKIN: Well, Donald Trump has a history of calling people in the book, first of all. He's calling people racist as well. You were here Monday or Tuesday when we were on. You're saying if only the left would stop calling people racist then this wouldn't happen. Well, you know what? Donald Trump called Barack Obama a racist.

ASTORINO: Playing the race card.

BOYKIN: Donald Trump called Teray (ph) a racist. Donald Trump called Bryant Gumbel a racist. He even called the movie Django Unchained racist. Donald Trump has a history of calling people racist. You know what the problem when he does it, when Republicans do it --

BOLDUAN: He called Nancy Pelosi racist because she called him out as a racist. He literally did.

BOYKIN: Exactly. The moment somebody calls the racist a racist, suddenly it's a problem. Let's call a thing a thing. Donald Trump is a racist. Last night ...


BOLDUAN: Donald Trump can do what he tells everyone he cannot do.

BOYKIN: I felt like I watching a Klan rally last night and Donald Trump was the grand imperial wizard, leading people in a chant telling a black woman, a Member of Congress to go home to Africa. That is racism. That is textbook racism. It should be condemned from the halls of Congress to the White House to every person who comes on television and speaks as a political expert.

BOLDUAN: Some Republican lawmakers have and said that made them sick to their stomach and that's not what I see from Donald Trump and that's not what I'm hearing from you.

ASTORINO: Well, what I said to Keith the other night and it's clear that if anyone supports Donald Trump or his presidency or his policies and if they're going to vote for him because they can't stand any of the 24 Democrats, then they by definition of the Democratic Party now are racist. That's where we're at. That's exactly the nexus that has been drawn. So you tell 63 million people watching right now even though it's undecided, you're racist according to Democrats ... (CROSSTALK)

BOYKIN: I'll tell you one thing.

BOLDUAN: Is that what you believe? Is that what you believe?

ASTORINO: Of course, I don't. That's why I'm here.

BOYKIN: I'll tell you one final thing.

BOLDUAN: No, you ...


BOLDUAN: Fine, last thought.

BOYKIN: This is supposed to be the party of Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln would be turning over his grave right now to see what Donald Trump has done to this party and what the Republicans have allowed to happen in this party. Lincoln ...

ASTORINO: What JFK, what would he think of the Democratic Party today?

BOYKIN: ... always trying to steal the subject and change the topic. Lincoln tried to appealed to the better angels of our nature. This guy only appeals to the worst demons of our disposition. It's unacceptable.

BOLDUAN: Well, it is a fact that Donald Trump is playing on division and playing on negativity and playing on us versus them. There is no question about that and what you say ...

BOYKIN: And Rob knows it too. That's what's so sad.


BOYKIN: He knows it too but he won't say it because Donald Trump might be watching in television.


BOLDUAN: Rob has told me a million times though that he wishes that the President would focus on the economy that is not what he is doing. Let us see what happens tomorrow. Thank you, guys.


BOYKIN: Thank you.

[19:24:56] BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, the U.S. takes out an Iranian drone. This after plans to send hundreds of troops to the Middle East. Is the U.S. prepping a strike now? Plus an OUTFRONT exclusive, a father held at the border finally allowed to cross to see his daughter, but it is too late.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said he lost hope that they were going to be reunited.



[19:29:13] BOLDUAN: New tonight tensions escalated with Iran after a U.S. Navy ship brought down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. This is just hours after Iran said it had seized a foreign tanker with 12 people onboard. Barbara Starr is out front for us tonight. Barbara, what are you picking up about this?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Kate. Well, another day another provocation incident with the Iranians. This time the U.S. Navy warship Boxer was moving through the Strait of Hormuz to try and go into the Persian Gulf when it was approached by an Iranian drone. This drone came within 1,000 yards of the warship deemed to be unsafe, an unsafe distance.

U.S. Navy tried to radio whoever might be listening to get it to back off. It did not at that point. The marines on the ship swung into action and actually activated an advanced weapon they have that basically destroyed the electronics of the drone.

[19:30:06] So, it crashed into the sea. The Iranians say that so far, they have no missing drone.

All of that said, over in Saudi Arabia, the U.S. now making plans to deploy 500 up to 1,000 perhaps U.S. troops to an air base in the remote eastern deserts of Saudi Arabia. They want a secure airfield outside of range of Iranian missiles so they can fly advanced fighters, patrol the gulf, patrol the air skies, have their own missile defense capability.

It's another move on the part of the U.S. to continue to show its presence and show that it is being defensive. It is about deterrence, that they are not looking for war with Iran. These provocations, however, are always very concerning -- Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Yes, not helping in that effort.

Barbara, thanks so much.

OUTFRONT with me now, Democratic Congressman Gerry Connolly. He's a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Congressman, thank you for being here.

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): Great to be with you.

BOLDUAN: What do you make about this drone from Iran?

CONNOLLY: I think we have to be real careful about not hyperventilating about this incident. It was a drone. It got too close to the USS Boxer, and we dismantled its electronics, causing it to crash into the city.

The Iranians deny that they're missing any drone. The president asserts it was a Iranian drone. We want to know more.

But let's not use this as a pretext for something. We don't want to get into. Just yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to ensure that you do not go to war without coming to Congress and getting our active consent, pursuant to the Constitution.

So, tensions are rising in the Strait of Hormuz and with Iran, in part because frankly a policy of this president has undertaken, both rhetorical and from a policy point of view. Perhaps the worst thing he has done is to rip up the Iran nuclear agreement that was working and helping to deescalate tensions in the region.

BOLDUAN: Well, when we talk about tensions, if we are now at a place where both countries are downing each other's drones. And this drone came within 1,000 yards of a U.S. ship, I do wonder where this goes next. Where are you --

CONNOLLY: Yes, well, again I want to put it in context. All right. Let's stipulate it's a provocative act to down somebody else's drone, but it's hardly an act of war.

Let's put it in context. We are going to have the possibility of some tangential conflict in the region, especially given the escalation of tensions rhetorically and otherwise. But we don't want a war. We don't want to precipitate a war.

And the most dangerous thing maybe behind your question is unintended consequences.


CONNOLLY: Things can be getting out of hand even if we don't mean them to. And that's why we have to tamp down fears and concerns here and make sure we understand all of the facts before we leap to conclusions.

BOLDUAN: With all that in mind, the foreign minister, the Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, he tweeted something out this evening I want to ask you about. It's a map of the world, or a section of the world, and it's highlighting the border the United States, the border of Iran and the red dot that appears to be the Strait of Hormuz, all with the caption, "Reminder".

Do you take that as a threat? What do you read from this?

CONNOLLY: I don't know what to read from it. I'm not sure what possessed the foreign minister to do that. Maybe it's a reminder from Iran that we're a power too, and we're not -- we're not going to be easily dismissed. And if you're contemplating military action, you might want to think about it again in terms of potential consequences.

But I think he is also engaged in needless escalation at a time when we want to do the opposite. BOLDUAN: Yes. Congressman, thank you for your perspective.

CONNOLLY: My great pleasure. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, a story you will only see on CNN, a father held at the border, desperate to see his only child who is in the United States. And when he makes it in, it's a tragic ending.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I promised her that we would be together. I think she lost faith.


BOLDUAN: Also ahead for us, we are just minutes away from learning which candidates will be facing off at CNN's Democratic debate and which nights.

We'll be right back.


[19:38:13] BOLDUAN: Tonight, anger. House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings lashing out at Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan over conditions at migrant facilities.


REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): I'm talking about human beings. I'm not talking about people that come from -- as the president said, sh- holes. These are human beings. Human beings just trying to live a better life.


BOLDUAN: One of those human beings, one of those migrants is Manuel Gamez. He wanted a better life for his family. His only child was granted asylum in the United States. Gamez spent years trying to fight to reunite with his daughter. His fight, though, ending in tragedy.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.


MANUEL GAMEZ, TEEN'S FATHER: This is the hardest thing for a man, to know that the most important thing in his life is gone.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Manuel Gamez is living a nightmare watching his life unravel. He is on his last walk to say goodbye to his 13-year-old daughter who has been on life support since she attempted to take her own life in early July, and the pain of knowing his attempts to cross the border failed to make it in time is too much to bear. (on camera): Manuel says he was in a detention facility in Texas when

he got the news that his daughter had tried to commit suicide by hanging herself.

GAMEZ: I promised her that we would be together. I think she lost faith.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Gamez was given an ankle monitor and two-week humanitarian parole so he could see his daughter one last time.

(on camera): Why do you think your daughter did this?

He says she lost hope that they were going to be reunited.

[19:40:01] GAMEZ: Yes.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): This family's story captures the often excruciating reality of desperate families separated by a border. In 2014, Manuel Gamez was an undocumented immigrant who had spent seven years living on Long Island, New York, working as a mechanic.

His father was taking care of his daughter in Honduras.

(on camera): Manuel says that his father was killed was MS-13 gang members in 2014 for not paying extortion bribes. And then after, that he decided to send his daughter here to the United States to live with family members in New York. And that she was granted asylum.

(voice-over): Gamez thought if his daughter had been granted asylum he would as well. But he was denied. After that, he crossed the border illegally twice, hoping to reunite with his daughter now thriving where, learning English and dreaming of a career in medicine while living with his sisters.

But Heidi (ph) would often break down in tears because she missed her father. Jessica and Zoila Gamez Garcia (ph) are Heidi's aunts. Zoila was the one who discovered her after she attempted to take her own life. Earlier that night, Heidi was distraught over learning her father was once again caught by Border Patrol and was being held in an immigration detention center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She often cried when we would tell her that her father couldn't come. She would cry and lock herself in her room, and when she didn't feel like talking, she would tell me I don't want to talk. I would say that 's Ok, I would give her space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel I didn't know how to take good care of her. I feel like I failed her. I don't know what it was. I don't know why. I don't know why. I didn't know how to protect her.

LAVANDERA (on camera): What are you going to tell your daughter there at the end?

He says he is going to ask her to forgive him and that -- for failing her. He says that it was never his intention to leave her alone. (voice-over): Manuel Gamez was by his daughter's side when she was

taken off life support. As he stood by her the day before, he caressed her face and hands and whispered, we love you, don't leave us.

And now, Manuel Gamez prepares to be deported.


BOLDUAN: Ed Lavandera, that is excruciating.

LAVANDERA: Anguish. Yes, it was really, really tough to report it. And there is a lot of people who are facing these kinds of difficult decisions.

BOLDUAN: What happens to him now?

LAVANDERA: Well, right now, and all of this is unfolds she was taken off life support in the last two years. This is unfolding here tonight. But he faces very difficult journey. He's got to report back to ICE next -- not this coming Saturday but the following Saturday. And he is -- he is facing deportation they are trying to fight it but he has an uphill claim there.

BOLDUAN: Thank you for telling the story. That is -- whoo. Thank you.


BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, we are just minutes away from learning who will face off in CNN's highly anticipated 2020 debates. Will Joe Biden be better prepared this time around? The face offs, coming up.


[19:47:18] BOLDUAN: We are just moments away from the big moment, when we'll all find out together who will face off on the stage of CNN's Democratic presidential debates.

These 20 candidates we're showing you have made the cut but they still don't know who they're actually going to be standing with. That all changes in all 13, 14 minutes from now.

OUTFRONT now, CNN senior political analyst Mark Preston, Democratic strategist Aisha Moodie-Mills, and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. He supports Joe Biden.

And it's great to see you, guys. Thank you for being here.

So, Mark, all eyes on this drawing, the candidates, the campaigns, the supporters, us. How significant is this moment?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, it's very significant for the reason being -- follow me here -- this campaign is in stages. We have 20 candidates right now that are vying for this nomination. Come September, that -- you won't have as many people. It's very likely we will see this field shrink considerably over the month of August.

So, these candidates have to have a breakout moment. They have to show Democrats, Democratic donors, Democratic activists, that they have the ability to take on president Trump and that they can explain their policy positions in a way that the American public want to grasp. It's hard in a field of 20. But that's why this is so important.

And the matchups that we're going to see on that stage and those two nights are really going to greatly affect the strategy of each one of these candidates.

BOLDUAN: That's so true.

I mean, Governor, let's talk about the potential matchups of round two. Joe Biden admitted that he was not prepared in the last debate for the attack that was coming from Kamala Harris. Just a reminder here, listen.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was prepared for them to come after me but I wasn't prepared for the person coming at me the way she came at me. She knew Beau. She knows me.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you are not prepared and not ready for somebody to point out a difference of opinion about the history of segregation in our country and what was necessary to deal with that, which at that time was busing, then you're probably not ready.


BOLDUAN: All right, Governor, who does he match up with now? Is he more prepared this time? Because since then, he's always talked about is how the debate format is not his thing.

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF PENNSYLVANIA: Right, but I think he will be more prepared, he'll be ready and I think the staff has gotten him ready and will continue to do so.

The key thing for the vice president, though, is to not play defense. You know, in football, it's something called a prevent defense and that's playing not to lose. And the only thing to prevent defense prevents is you from winning.

He's got to be the happy warrior that he always has been. He's got to be out -- get out there and be proud of his record. And he's got to speak the plain truth. He should have answered busing questions by saying, listen, Senator, I was against busing because I didn't think it works to take kids out of their neighborhoods to a school 20 miles away. And busing proved to be a disaster.

[19:50:02] A disaster.

BOLDUAN: Well, let's see if -- RENDELL: That's the answer.

BOLDUAN: I do wonder if that is -- if this becomes the fault line between Kamala Harris and Joe Biden if they're on the same stage again this time around, Aisha. I mean, what matchups are you looking for? Who would you like to see together? Do you want to see those two together again?

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Yes, I don't. We've seen that. I want to see Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden because I think that what happened in the last debate was Warren, she kind of had the stage to herself.

BOLDUAN: Right. She was of a top tier, it was one, she was the only one, four of the top five were clumped together the second night.

MOODIE-MILLS: Right. So, I'm looking forward to seeing the two of them together, and here's why, because Warren and Biden are going after the heartland. I think she's the heartland home girl that we don't know she really is. She talks about her Oklahoma roots. She's speaking to working class people.

And she needs to have the space to show she can be battle-tested, that she is very strong, that she can go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump. And I think Joe Biden is the proxy for that.

So, I'm looking forward to seeing the two of them on the stage together because I think it will be a good opportunity for her to put on the gloves and show how tough she is because there are too many questions about whether or not she can hold her own against Donald Trump. And we haven't quite seen her be able to break out.

BOLDUAN: All right. So, Mark, one thing we did learn from the last debate, all debates, short term, near term, not completely long term. But you know what I'm getting at.

Is there one campaign that is facing like this moment, do or die moment, to turn their campaign around, break out from the pack like you were discussing?

PRESTON: Well, I think there's multiple campaigns that are probably in that category, right. But you know who is actually even -- not even the 20 who have qualified for the debate, there are Democrats who haven't qualified for the debate.

BOLDUAN: That's right.

PRESTON: So if you think that you are at the end of the stage at the end of the night and you were not in the middle, at least you were on the stage. It can't be said for several others who hadn't made it.

But I do think that the break out moment has to come in a way that the American people can grasp and can embrace. If you look at what Kamala Harris did with her break out moment, she was really able to capitalize on that. Julian Castro was able to capitalize on it to an extent as well. But kamala's break out moment was so much stronger than his that his almost got erased in the grand scheme of things.

So I do expect many of these candidates to try to have that moment.

BOLDUAN: I've been wondering, Governor, about Bernie Sanders. He's steady in the polls. But you can say in a different way he's stagnant in the polls while others are making moves.

Do you see him doing something differently in this upcoming debate? Bernie Sanders is kind of Bernie Sanders all the time. Do you think that he should do something differently?

RENDELL: Well, first of all, the match up I'd like to see is Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the same stage.


RENDELL: Because they are essentially fighting for the progressive left. And as long as they're both in the race, neither one can win. So, one of them has to knock the other out. And I think Bernie has to understand that, and Bernie has to do something new.

The script that Bernie's following is the script he followed in 2016, and that was good enough to come in a solid second, but it wasn't good enough to win. So, Bernie has to expand his base in some ways, but he certainly has to reclaim leadership of the progressive left.


MOODIE-MILLS: Well, here's the thing about that, though, is that the person who is actually siphoning off Bernie Sanders' votes right and why he's so stagnant is actually Joe Biden. That's the thing, is that Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are both pulling from that working class pool of kind of the industrial heartland, white men specifically. And I think that that's what we're seeing happen play out right now. So, it will be interesting to see what happens there.

BOLDUAN: I know what Ed Rendell is looking for. He's looking for another good food fight. What was it, Governor, mashed potatoes getting thrown? That's what we're looking for this time.

Good to see you, guys. Thanks for being here. We'll pick a different food next time.

Do not miss "The Draw", friends. It starts a few minutes at 8:00, only on CNN.

And coming up next, Jeanne Moos with the darnedest things that can happen at these debates.


[19:57:48] BOLDUAN: Sometimes debates get crowded, awkward, and chaotic. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With this many candidates --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The point and wave.

MOOS: It's half debate, half cattle call.

Remember how just getting the herd on stage after Ben Carson missed his cue caused a backup, with a stagehand desperately waving for Carson to go. They talk at the same time.


MOOS: Occasionally invade each other's space and pretend to be friendly.

With ten candidates at a time, it can feel like an episode of "Veep".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's turn our attention to foreign policy, Congressman Ryan.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your question is about Africa.


MOOS: A real candidate can't pass up a chance to look it over and land a body blow.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): Doesn't know what he's doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There it is. There it is. The memorized 25- second speech.

MOOS: Eyeing your opponent as you lower the boom.

HARRIS: And that little girl was me.

MOOS: Dominating the conversation.

JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Property from an elderly woman --

TRUMP: Let me talk. Quiet. Out of time.

MOOS: Looking to score that viral moment even unwittingly, Beto O'Rourke broke into Spanish.

(on camera): But in the end, it doesn't really matter who is standing next to whom thanks to the split screen.

(voice-over): With the camera watching your every facial twitch.

BUSH: But he's a chaos candidate.

MOOS: Making chaotic faces.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said he wouldn't want, quote, such a hot hand with his finger on the nuclear codes.

MOOS: If you're one of the Democrats trying to break out of the pack, be careful what you wish for. You might end up alone on that stage with President Trump lurking behind you as Hillary Clinton described it.


MOOS: Even though he stayed in his assigned space, she says she felt like saying --

CLINTON: Back up, you creep.

MOOS: Now, that's enough to make you yearn for the days of the cattle call.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


BOLDUAN: And what will it look like this time? Thanks so much for joining us, everybody.

"The Draw" for the CNN Democratic debates starts right now.