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Presidential Candidates Joe Biden and Cory Booker Exchange Criticism over Criminal Justice Reform; Representative Tulsi Gabbard Says Senator Kamala Harris Does Not have Temperament to be President; Balcony Floor Collapses in a South Korean Nightclub where U.S. Water Polo Teams Celebrating; President Trump Makes Controversial Tweet about Representative Elijah Cummings District; One-Year-Old Twins Die after Being Left in Car for Eight Hours; House Democrats Hold Press Conference on Impeachment after Mueller Hearing; Statements on Immigration from 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Examined. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired July 27, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:17] JESSICA DEAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you, it is Saturday, July 27th. I'm Jessica Dean.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. You are in the CNN Newsroom.
Days before the CNN Democratic presidential debates, we are already seeing a more aggressive former vice president Joe Biden as he takes on rivals Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker.
DEAN: His campaign is changing strategies after a weak performance in the first debate. A new poll out of South Carolina shows he's still dominating the field, with Harris coming in a distant second.
BLACKWELL: Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren is staying out of the fray and announcing her 1 millionth donation as she's trying to make the case that she can run a successful campaign without the high dollar fundraising. But can she do it in a race against fellow progressive Senator Bernie Sanders?
DEAN: Joining us now from New Hampshire, CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck. And Rebecca, just a lot of storylines as we head into next week's CNN debates.
REBECCA BUCK, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. You mentioned Senator Elizabeth Warren. We're following her here in New Hampshire today as she is on the campaign trail. She just hit that milestone of 1 million donors to her campaign. And just as a reminder, she hasn't been holding these big high dollar fundraisers that some of the other candidates have been doing, so this is all grass roots money for Elizabeth Warren, really reflecting the momentum of her campaign.
Ahead of the debate next week she's going to be on stage with Bernie Sanders on Tuesday night. Warren has been all about consistency, not trying to have any big moments, not trying to start any fights with other candidates, just getting her message out there, keeping that momentum going.
But you mentioned Joe Biden, a very different situation with the former vice president who will be on stage on Wednesday night with Kamala Harris who he clashed with last time around, and senator Cory Booker, who has criticized the vice president for his role in the 1994 crime bill. That is setting up for potentially a major clash between these candidates.
But I want you to take a listen to Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He's going to be on stage on Tuesday night along with Warren, Sanders, and Beto O'Rourke. He's taking a more -- he's taking a more subdued approach to the debate. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D-IN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to do it for its own sake, but of course, I'm going to vigorously defend what I believe in. And when there are contrasts to be drawn, we're going to draw them. But for me this is not about having some canned moment. This is about making sure that the American people can understand what we believe in and why my candidacy is not like any of the others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BUCK: So some other candidates are under a bit more pressure to break through in these debates. I want you to take a look at some of these tweets yesterday from Andrew Yang and Senator Michael Bennet. Yang is going to be on stage Wednesday night. He jokingly tweeted that he's going to spend his time on the debate stage going after Michael Bennet. He's tweeted at Bennet, "You know what you did." Bennet tweeted back jokingly that Yang had uncovered he failed a precalculus class in high school. They went back and forth. It was a lighthearted moment in the campaign.
Another lighthearted moment on the campaign trail yesterday in Iowa, Senator Cory Booker shaved the heads of some supporters in exchange for some donations to charity. We don't imagine there will be any of that action here in New Hampshire on the campaign trail with Warren today.
But again, the challenge for Warren and all of these candidates in the top tier, as well as Harris, Joe Biden, is to keep this momentum going into the debate, to have a night that continues to grow support for their campaigns. So that's what we're going to be watching for here in New Hampshire today. Jessica, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Rebecca Buck, thanks so much.
DEAN: And the lineups are set for the CNN Democratic presidential debates, two big nights, 10 candidates each night. The first round Tuesday night at 8:00 p.m. Then make sure you tune in for round two Wednesday. The live action gets underway at 8:00 p.m. eastern, live from Detroit, and it's only on CNN.
BLACKWELL: It's not just Joe Biden going after his rivals ahead of the CNN debates. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard targeted Senator Kamala Harris this week, saying she lacks the temperament to be commander in chief. Joining me to discuss this, CNN commentator Bakari Sellers who has endorsed Senator Kamala Harris. Bakari, welcome back.
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Good morning, good to see you guys.
BLACKWELL: I don't know if that smile is that you're just happy to be here on the show, or if you're responding to what you're hearing from Congresswoman Gabbard. But I want to hear your response to her criticism of Senator Harris.
SELLERS: The smile is I'm just happy to be here with you guys this morning with two six-month-old twins.
BLACKWELL: Good, good.
SELLERS: But with Congresswoman Gabbard, there's an old negro proverb that says don't come for me unless I send for you. And I think that what's going to happen on that stage is when Congresswoman Gabbard comes from Kamala Harris, that will not go well for her.
[10:05:05] Everyone knows her history of homophobic comments, her history of homophobia. Everyone knows that she's an Assad apologist. I just don't anticipate that exchange going well for Congresswoman Gabbard. And at the end of the day, I think that what Senator Harris is going to do is just remain above the fray, be presidential, and only hit when swung at. I think that people actually are looking for a fighter, someone to take on Donald Trump, and so you can't let hits go unnoticed, but she's not going to go swinging down by any stretch. Congresswoman Gabbard wants a moment, just Senator Harris is not the one to play with.
BLACKWELL: Is there any merit to the concern about her being prepared for foreign policy questions? Because I think that was the heart of the criticism from Congresswoman Gabbard.
SELLERS: Well, sometimes it's not the question. Sometimes it's the questioner. And so when you look at someone who has the history of Congresswoman Gabbard, especially in relationship with Bashar al Assad, that is not the correct questioner.
However, that is a valid question, Victor. I think that one of the things Senator Harris is going to have to do is dig into her experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and talk about the things that she's learned and explain to people what her worldview is. Remember, we had a great president for eight years, Barack Hussein Obama, who came in with not very much foreign policy experience. However, our global stature rose. We were not in any -- we didn't find ourselves in any new unending wars. But he had a foreign policy that outside of Syria most people found to be sound, and you understood what his doctrine was, especially compared to this president that seems to conduct foreign policy by tweet. And so yes, she's going to have to outline that. In fact they all are, because during the first debate I'm not sure we had any foreign policy whatsoever. So I expect her to be able to answer the questions. It's just very difficult to answer the questions and not just laugh at Congresswoman Gabbard with her background.
BLACKWELL: You also have some different pairings here with the second debate that you didn't have with the first. We'll see that play out with Booker, Biden, and Harris together center stage on Wednesday.
Let me ask you about the polls, though, because after Senator Harris's approach to -- I'll say it that way -- the former vice president in the first debates, she took a bump in the polls, was within single- digits of the former vice president. Now you look at the latest FOX News poll ask she's down to 10 percent, Biden at 33. What happened?
SELLERS: Nothing, I think that what you're going to see is that's what polls do. I have to remind people often that this race is very, very similar to 2008, and in my opinion Joe Biden is more Hillary Clinton 2008 than he is 2016. We have I believe four more debates including the one this week coming up. And what Senator Harris is doing is steadily ticking upward. What Vice President Biden is doing and Bernie Sanders are ticking downward.
You look at the two people who are rising consistently, one is Elizabeth Warren. The other is Senator Harris, which is where you want to be. In South Carolina we go back to those polls. I was the cochair for Barack Obama's South Carolina campaign, and we were running --
BLACKWELL: And let's put up the South Carolina poll. Keep going, but I want people to see specifically the numbers with African-Americans, because if we're continuing your 2008 analogy here, and if Harris is Obama, she's at 12 percent. He's at 51. What does she have to do to get those numbers up?
SELLERS: There are two things. One, Barack Obama at this time was not only behind Hillary Clinton, but he was also behind a young man named John Edwards. And there were "Washington Post" pieces that came out that said Barack Obama is having trouble with white voters -- excuse me, with black voters. And one at the things that I looked at when you looked at the crosstabs in that poll is that still 30 percent of South Carolina black voters who do not know who Kamala Harris is.
So everybody in the words of Aaron Rodgers, the great quarterback from the green bay packers, r-e-l-a-x, relax. This is a long way to go. People just have to run in their lanes, run their campaigns, run through the tape. This primary is making people stronger. Talking about someone's record is not attacking them. Barack Obama said it best, he was stronger after the very bitter primary he had with Hillary Clinton.
And so just everybody run their race. You can criticism people's records. Be critical of policy, all of that is good, because when you go up against Donald Trump, you're going up against something that we have not seen in American politics since George Wallace. It's going to be a question of identity and who we want to be as a country. So the gloves, it will not be pitty-pat with him, to say the least.
BLACKWELL: Bakari Sellers, always good to have you.
SELLERS: Thank you, good to see you.
BLACKWELL: This morning the president attacked another member of Congress on Twitter. This time it's House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings. He wrote this, "Cummings district is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous and filthy place. No human being would want to live there. Infested."
[10:10:05] That's usually reserved for references to rodents and insects, but we've seen the president invoke infestation to criticize lawmakers before. You see a pattern here? Just two weeks ago President Trump attacked four minority congresswomen. "Why don't they go back to the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came?" Reminder, three of them were born here, all of them are American. "Infested," he says.
A week before his inauguration, January, 2017, "Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime infested." Donald Trump has tweeted more than 43,000 times. He's insulted thousands of people, many different types of people. But when he tweets about infestation, it's about black and brown people.
September, 2014, at the height of an urgent health emergency, "Why are we sending thousands of ill-trained soldiers into Ebola infested areas of Africa? Bring the plague to the U.S.? Obama is so stupid." "Infested," he says. "There's a revolution going on in California. So many sanctuary areas want out of this ridiculous crime infested and breeding concept." "Infested," he says.
The president says about Congressman Cummings district that no human would want to live there. You know who did, Mr. President? I did. From the day I was brought home from the hospital to the day I left for college, a lot of people I care about still do. There are challenges, no doubt, but people are proud of their community. I don't want to sound self-righteous, but people get up and go to work there. They care for their families there. They love their children who pledge allegiance to the flag just like people who live in districts of congressmen who support you, sir. They are Americans, too.
We'll be right back.
[10:16:02] BLACKWELL: Two people are dead, 17 injured after a balcony floor collapsed in a South Korean nightclub.
DEAN: Some of those hurt were members of the men and women's U.S. water polo teams there for competition. And CNN Sports Correspondent Vince Cellini is here with more. What do we know this morning?
VINCE CELLINI, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Just a horrible turn of events. Here we go. The teams were actually celebrating in the city of Gwangju. The women's team had just won the gold medal in a field of world championships involving various water sports. It happened around 2:30 a.m. local time. The balcony floor at the back of the Coyote Ugly club collapsed, crashing down on those below. One witness saying it fell some 15 feet or more. Around 370 people were in the club at the time. Two people died, both of whom were from South Korea.
U.S. women's water polo team player Kaleigh Gilchrist you see on the left suffered a laceration to her leg. She needed surgery. Her teammate Paige Hauschild along with Men's water polo players Johnny Hooper and Ben Hallock were also hurt.
USA Water Polo put out a statement this morning, saying all the athletes are accounted for, and offering well wishes to everyone involved.
And severe weather is causing problems at the Tour de France. Today's stage has been cut in half over concerns about landslides. Thunderstorms yesterday brought hail and slides cutting that race short as well. Cyclists who couldn't navigate were transported to the finish line, all this as France is just getting over an historic heat wave. So somehow life wrapped around sports in this particular report today. How about that?
DEAN: Yes, it did. Wishing all of those people the best. All right, Vince, thanks.
BLACKWELL: Thank you, Vince.
Police in Canada are going door to door searching for two teenagers wanted for the murders of three people.
DEAN: Investigators initially thought these teenagers were missing after their car was found burning on the side of the highway Sunday. But two days later authorities named them as suspects, saying they should be considered armed and dangerous. Polo Sandoval joining us now. Polo, the Canadian mountain police are going over a large area now looking for these teenage suspects. Talk to us about how big this search area is?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's massive, especially when authorities consider that these two suspects likely went through at least four Canadian provinces here, and the search certainly shows no signs of slowing down. If anything, it has been intensifying, particularly this weekend, with Canadian police now going door to door there in the community of Gillam, Manitoba, you'll see on the far right of your screen. Essentially what we have is police going door to door trying to find any trace of these individuals.
Police in Canada right now believe that somebody in and around that small town may have inadvertently assisted these two young men who continue to be on the run in one way, shape, or form. So authorities releasing this surveillance video hoping that was actually shot six days ago in Saskatchewan, hoping that it may refresh somebody's memory or hopefully motivates or encourage somebody who may be afraid to step forward to do just that and share some information.
In the meantime, for the roughly 1,200 people who call Gillam home, there certainly has been a sense of fear and uncertainty that's been prevailing for the last few days. But when you hear from one of the residents there, Victor and Jessica, you really do get a sense of what the terrain is like in and around the area. They say these two suspects certainly have mother nature to worry about.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DENNIS CHAMPAGNE, GILLAM RESIDENT: It's nasty. I worked out there. I did some diamond drilling there 25, 30 years ago, and if the bears don't get them, the bugs will. They're going to be wet and cold now, probably a little bit desperate, if they're still alive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: The deputy mayor there in Gillam adding to what we just heard from that gentleman, saying that essentially everybody there is keeping their doors locked right now, just taking a wait and see kind of approach. Victor and Jessica back to you.
BLACKWELL: Big job ahead for authorities there. Polo Sandoval, thanks so much.
DEAN: A father in New York is in custody after his twin babies died inside a hot car.
BLACKWELL: So the father says he left the one-year-olds in the back of the car when he went to work yesterday.
DEAN: Dianne Gallagher joins us now. Dianne, what are police saying this morning? What are we learning more about this?
[10:20:03] DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So the father apparently didn't just leave the child in the car according to police. He left the children in the car for eight hours while he was at work at a nearby V.A. hospital. This is an incredibly sad story. It has completely wrecked and devastated a family. Those two one- year-old twins died. The medical examiner still trying to determine the exact cause of death, but their father, 39-year-old Juan Rodriguez, has been charged with two counts of manslaughter, two counts of criminal negligence. It got up to 86 degrees in New York on Friday. And when you listen to witnesses describe what the scene was like, you can kind of just see what a horrific situation it was there. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was going around the car yelling and screaming. Some pieces I could hear was like it's not my fault. It was an accident. When he looked in the backseat, all you could see is the officer do this, and then start shaking his head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Again, those two one-year-old twins Mariza and Phoenix died there on the scene, and police believe that they had been in that car for eight hours strapped in. Again, we should point out here this is completely avoidable. Children should not be left in a car for eight hours, in a car at any time even if you roll the windows down. It's not OK. People are forgetful, people need help, they don't know what to do, but you can't leave your children in a hot car. This is what happens.
BLACKWELL: We have all started our careers in local news, and we have covered these stories every summer of children who have been left in those cars, 86 degrees outside, there's no telling how hot it gets inside that car.
GALLAGHER: Within 10 minutes it heats up within those cars like that, even if you leave those windows down. Eight hours left in a car by themselves one-year-old strapped in, those children did not stand a chance.
DEAN: It's just devastating all the way around. Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: Dianne Gallagher, thank you.
DEAN: Still to come, race, policing, and criminal justice reform, big issues on the campaign trail. Where the 2020 candidates stand on those issues, that's ahead.
DEAN: Criminal justice reform one of the key issues in the 2020 presidential race. Just this week 2020 candidates Joe Biden and Cory Booker went after one another after Biden proposed a $20 billion grant program aimed at eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes. And here with me to discuss all of this is CNN contributor and national reporter covering law enforcement and justice for "The Washington Post," Wesley Lowery. Wesley, thanks for being with me.
WESLEY LOWERY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Of course, thanks for having me.
DEAN: As we mentioned, a big topic, criminal justice within the Democratic primary. It's been an issue people like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker have used to attack Joe Biden. Biden releasing that criminal justice plan this week, which, as we mentioned, undue some parts of the 1994 crime bill that he's been criticized for. Do you think this is enough for him to stand on when he's inevitably attacked on that issue next week at the debates?
LOWERY: I think you're right. I think there's inevitable attacks coming, and I think Joe Biden thus far has shown us that his plan is to counterattack a little bit, to say, as he did in the last debate, I was a public defender while Kamala Harris was a prosecutor. He's in counterattacks to Cory Booker said, you ran a police department in Newark, how about we look at how well they did. And I think there are some legitimate points there.
But what I think is going to be key for not only Joe Biden but for all the Democrats on that stage, because I think that we have this conversation via the lens of Biden often, and understandably, he's polling way out in front of everyone else. But almost every Democrat on that stage has some real inconsistencies in rhetoric and policy over the course of their long careers because there's been a drastic shift in Democratic politics and in public and societal expectation around issues of criminal justice.
So the key for Biden and for any candidate is not just to take all the right positions today and decry their old positions, but to tell a comprehensive and understandable narrative of how they got from one point to the other. One really quick example, Joe Biden used to brag about how in the crime bill he got all these new death penalties, all these crimes before you couldn't get the death penalty for and now you can. He would brag about it, right? Now he rolls out a criminal justice plan where he's against the death penalty. He needs to lay out the narrative of how Joe Biden, who earnestly believed we should be killing more people now doesn't believe we should be killing anyone.
DEAN: And that is a challenge for, as you said, so many candidates to lay out that comprehensive narrative. I want to take a look at this new poll out of South Carolina, a new Monmouth poll. It shows Joe Biden with a commanding lead there in South Carolina, the first contest where black voters will make up a majority of the primary, and also knowing criminal justice reform aimed at ensuring people of color are treated fairly, protected from discrimination within the justice system. What do you draw from that poll and primary voters' thoughts on criminal justice reform? Do you think we can glean anything from that?
LOWERY: Well, certainly. I don't know that this poll provides much insight that the rest of the polls around us have not. But with that said, I think that those lessons have been pretty consistent. The first is that Joe Biden is a clear front runner as it relates to black and brown voters. What we know very often is that the most consistent black and brown voters, especially in a primary, skew a little bit older, skew a step more conservative than, say, the young black activists who are driving Black Lives Matter. And so that does matter when we're talking about how much he might be punished for a thing like the crime bill or something else.
But beyond all of that, right. What we know is that black voters generally like, especially in a primary, like politicians they are familiar with and fluent in, who they know, who have been around. Joe Biden definitely gets points for that. But they also want people who can win. Even when you go back to Barack Obama and John Edwards and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama did not get black support until he won Iowa, right? And so at this point Joe Biden is polling so far in front of everyone else that black voters are kind of saying, well, we're going with the winner because we think it's important to beat Donald Trump, right? This is not theoretical for us. We need the Democrat to win.
If someone else wins Iowa, and then if someone else wins New Hampshire, those candidates might see a surge in black support as those voters give them a second look.
DEAN: And before I let you go, I want to talk about these new tweets from President Trump this morning, this rant about Congressman Elijah Cummings district in Baltimore, Victor so eloquently talked about them earlier in our broadcast.
[10:30:08] But he said Cummings' district is a disgusting rat and rodent infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous and filthy place. Wesley this is an American president calling an American city disgusting. It's also a president who attacked four congresswomen because he said they didn't love their country. What do you make of this rant this morning, these tweets?
LOWERY: First of all, as you noted, the president of the United States just very recently said that if you don't love America you can get out. You can go back to where you came from. And so I forget which European country his ancestors immigrated from not too many generations ago or which country Melania is from, but perhaps the president would want to go back there if he doesn't like Baltimore.
But that said, these tweets, and Victor captured this very eloquently. This is exhausting. It's clearly a not even veiled racism. Elijah Cummings, a prominent black member of Congress, is not allowed to criticize what experts are calling concentration camps at our southern border because he happens to represent an inner city? Racism is not always about the intent of the speaker, although I think the president knows what he's doing here. It's about what the listener hears, right? And so what they see is this black congressman who the president is saying this person is corrupt, they are angry. They run a crime, rodent infested city. And what that says to his supporters is, oh, yes, we don't have to listen to that guy. He's the worst of black America. He plays on every stereotype of black men and women in our cities.
And so as Victor's comments noted, though, it's exhausting to be a black person who has to show up time and time again, hear this racist vitriol from the president of the United States, feel like you're not welcome in this nation, and then have to explain it in all these kind of earnest fashions. Is it really racist, or technically is it? Where for so many people on these issues, you read tweets like that and you either know in your gut and your heart what's being said, or you want to play a semantic game. And I think that does, that's really a point of demarcation in the divide in our country.
DEAN: All right, well, Wesley Lowery, thank you so much for your insight this morning. We appreciate it.
BLACKWELL: House Democrats are ramping up their impeachment fight against the president, how a new lawsuit may be their way of launching impeachment proceedings.
[10:36:07] BLACKWELL: House Democrats are pushing forward on impeachment, but they are not opening an official inquiry, at least just yet.
DEAN: Instead the house Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit Friday to get grand jury information from the Mueller report. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has more.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are going farther than ever, admitting the investigation they are already conducting into President Trump could lead to recommending articles of impeachment against him without the full House ever formally voting for an inquiry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're saying there's no difference between what you're doing now and an impeachment inquiry, correct?
JERROLD NADLER, (D-NY) HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: In effect we are going to see what remedies we could recommend, including the possibility of articles of impeachment, not limited to that.
SERFATY: The committee filing a lawsuit in federal court to get the underlying grand jury material from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, arguing, quote, the committee is conducting an investigation whose purposes include determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment. Committee chairman Jerry Nadler now openly threatening impeachment proceedings.
NADLER: The House must have access to all relevant facts to consider whether to exercise its full Article One powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity, recommendation of articles of impeachment.
SERFATY: While also readying a second court case to compel former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with his subpoena.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, (D-CA): This court filing is the first time that you're seeing us telegraph to the court that one of the remedies we have is impeachment.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN, (D) JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I would say we are in an impeachment investigation.
SERFATY: This comes as 100 Democrats support opening up an impeachment inquiry, and as some are growing impatient with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's strategy, worried the window for starting impeachment proceedings may be closing.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: No, I'm not trying to run out the clock. Let's get sophisticated about this, OK? We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed, not one day sooner.
SERFATY: But pressure is growing behind closed doors from top deputies, like Chairman Nadler, who has pleaded with Pelosi privately to allow him to lean into impeachment.
NADLER: We may decide to recommend articles of impeachment at some point. We may not. It remains to be seen. And there's no point in speculating on whether the speaker or anybody else will agree with our decision at that point.
DEAN: And that was Sunlen Serfary reporting for us from Capitol Hill.
BLACKWELL: Oracle may be trying to undermine Amazon's attempts to win a highly sought after defense contract, turning President Trump against it -- excuse me for that.
DEAN: Tech giants have been battling it out to get the contract to build the Pentagon's cloud computing networks for themselves. So we bring in CNN's Michael Warren now to tell us a little more about this controversial contract. Michael?
MICHAEL WARREN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Jessica. This is a big contract, $10 billion over 10 years, and Amazon is considered the leading bidder for this contract. But President Trump has been speaking out about this recently in the past several days, saying it's a contract that may need to be looked at. CNN is reporting that President Trump has seen a document prepared by Amazon's competitor Oracle that alleges essentially a conspiracy at the Pentagon in order to grease the wheels for Amazon to win this contract. This document is a sort of a flowchart that's got photos of former Pentagon officials, Amazon employees, and even includes a photo of former secretary of defense Jim Mattis. And this flowchart has been seen by the president. We don't know exactly how it got to the president's desk. An Oracle executive telling me that nobody from his office got this document to the president. The White House did not return our attempts to get a comment.
BLACKWELL: Michael Warren, thanks so much.
DEAN: Up next this morning, 2020 candidates are putting forth their immigration plans, and how they're different from President Trump's.
[10:40:05] But before we go to break, there's a new cancer vaccine being tested on canines, and if it works, researchers say it could be tested on humans someday. Here's more in this week's Mission Ahead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's go, this way. We're going to go right in here. Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good boy.
DR. DOUG TAMM, DIRECTOR OF CLINICAL RESEARCH, CSU FLINT ANIMAL CANCER CENTER: Fraser's here to finish off enrollment for a new clinical trial called the VACCS trial, the Vaccine Against Canine Cancer Study. The vaccine is designed to delay or prevent a variety of different kinds of cancer simultaneously. Dogs and human cancers look very similar at the molecular level, so if it's successful in dogs, we're really hopeful that that will provide really encouraging evidence to pursue the same approach in people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice work.
STEPHEN JOHNSTON, VACCINE DIRECTOR, ASU BIODESIGN INSTITUTE: We've been working on this for 12 years. We made it by screening 800 dogs for the eight major cancers, and then we looked to see which components were in common across those eight cancers. And we took 31 of those, and that's what we made the vaccine for. The hope is that when a tumor arises, you will have one or more of those components that we vaccinated against, and as soon as the T-cells see that in the immune system, they'll start reacting against that at a very early step and kill the tumor.
Most people in the cancer community will still say this is impossible because every tumor is personal. They may be right. Our rationale is that if there's a possibility it might work and the impact would be so big, it's worth taking that chance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today he's going to get his first vaccine.
STEPHANIE FOSTER, FRASER'S OWNER: Our dogs are our best friends, and they love us unconditionally. I jumped at the opportunity to help people. It is awesome that our dogs could be the answer to this.
[10:45:58] BLACKWELL: Immigration is a top 2020 issue heading into the election.
DEAN: CNN's Ed Lavandera takes a look at what Democratic candidates are saying about this key issue and how their views differ from President Trump's.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What happens here along the U.S. southern border casts a long shadow over the 2020 presidential election, and Democrats are pushing their own immigration vision in the age of Trump.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D-IN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The president thinks that he can turn people against immigrants in order to distract them from the things that are making it so hard to get ahead in this country right now.
LAVANDERA: The constant theme for most Democrats is they are the opposite of President Trump, vowing to end what they see as Trump using immigrants to stoke the fears of Americans.
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We can enforce our immigration laws and still uphold our humanitarian obligations and the values of this nation.
LAVANDERA: The two Texans in the Democratic field cast themselves as some of the strongest voices on this issue. In April Julian Castro, the former San Antonio mayor who served as Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Obama, was the first to unveil a detailed immigration plan, while immigration is also a constant theme of former Congressman Beto O'Rourke's campaign stops.
Both, as well as many others in the Democratic field, call for a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the country, citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as Dreamers, and funding for more border wall construction, they want to close private for profit immigration detention centers, and reform the immigration court system.
Castro and O'Rourke have clashed over a section of the law that makes it a crime to enter the U.S. illegally. Castro wants to repeal the law, making illegal entry a simple civil violation.
JULIAN CASTRO, (D) PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: They're using Section 1325 of that act, which criminalizes coming across the border, to incarcerate the parents and then separate them. Some of us on this stage have called to end that section, to terminate it. Some, like Congressman O'Rourke, have not.
BETO O'ROURKE, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I helped to introduce legislation that would ensure that we don't criminalize those who are seeking asylum and refuge in this country.
CASTRO: I'm not talking about the ones --
O'ROURKE: If you're fleeing desperation --
LAVANDERA: The detention of families over the last year has shaped the rhetoric of most Democrats. Elizabeth Warren is like most of these candidates, calling for families not to be detained while their immigration cases are being processed.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No great nation tears families apart. No great nation locks up children. We need -- we must at the borders respect the dignity of every human being who comes here.
LAVANDERA: The Trump administration's hardline approach on reducing the number of undocumented immigrants in the country has inspired some candidates to call for the end of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don't need this ICE, though. That's the other thing I should say. This ICE as it's formed now should be abolished.
LAVANDERA: Most candidates aren't going that far, instead calling for ICE to be reformed and some of its immigration enforcement duties to be passed off to other agencies.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's not just ICE. It is very clear that the immigration system itself, you've heard some of if, and there's a lot more we haven't discussed today is completely broken. It's absolutely broken.
LAVANDERA: Democrats are facing accusations from President Trump of pushing for open borders and being weak on security. It's a question that will follow these candidates.
KRISTINN HRAFNSSON, WIKILEAKS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: And it is part of what this president is trying to do to really misinform the American people, to say that Democrats don't care about border security. We have to enforce our laws and keep our borders safe.
LAVANDERA: The shadow of the border is casting a deep divide on the presidential campaign trail.
Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
BLACKWELL: The bullet riddled sign for Emmett Till where three white University of Mississippi students posed with guns has been removed. The students were suspended from Kappa Alpha Fraternity after this photo showing them posing with guns in front of the sign surfaced earlier this week.
[10:50:07] The Justice Department Civil Rights Division is also reportedly investigating.
DEAN: That sign memorializes Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African- American who was tortured and killed in 1955. His death became an important moment in the civil rights movement. The sign will now be replaced in October with a nearly 600-pound sign made of reinforced steel. Previous signs have been vandalized multiple times over the years.
BLACKWELL: Vegas is under siege from thousands of grasshoppers. My producer knows I don't like this video, but we keep showing it.
DEAN: One more time.
BLACKWELL: We'll tell you why swarms of the insects are troubling the residents and the visitors there.
DEAN: Every week we honor an everyday person doing extraordinary work to help others. Becoming a CNN Hero all begins with a nomination from you. Just taking a few moments to fill out an online form could turn your hero into a CNN Hero and change their life.
Meet some of the nominators who got to do just that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met my hero when we were volunteers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's make a big difference for kids in our area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is my second mom, my mentor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt like it was very important for people to know about Sister Tisa.
[10:55:2] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel honored that I was able to honor her in such a significant way.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was proud of myself because I was like, oh, my goodness for everything that she's done for me, I did something for her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: If you know someone who deserves to be a CNN Hero, don't wait. Nominations for 2019's CNN heroes close Wednesday night very soon. Go to CNNHeroes.com right now before time runs out.
BLACKWELL: Las Vegas, they're used to big crowds, right?
BLACKWELL: They're there every day.
DEAN: Every day.
BLACKWELL: But this massive swarm of grasshoppers, not so welcome. Scaring the people there.
BLACKWELL: Look at this. Hundreds of them outside of this store. Now, this is bad, this next clip is even worse.
DEAN: It is. And experts say there's nothing to worry about. The pallid-winged grasshopper is a common desert species that appears when there's a wet winter or spring, and that soon they'll migrate north, but I don't know about that.
BLACKWELL: Nothing to worry about.
DEAN: Nothing to worry about. It's all fine.
BLACKWELL: Thousands of grasshoppers.
DEAN: Just swarming around.
Thanks for watching this morning.
BLACKWELL: There's much more ahead in the next hour of CNN Newsroom. Fredricka Whitfield is up next.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. It's 11:00 on the east coast. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Welcome.