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AT THIS HOUR
NYPD Delivers Recommendation that Officer Involved in Eric Garner's Death Should Be Fired; Trump: Democrats Spent More Time Attacking Obama Than Me; Granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy Found Dead at Kennedy Compound; Reports Suggest GOP Rep. John Ratcliffe Exaggerated Resume as He Faces Concerns over Nomination to DNI. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired August 2, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: But I think this will be a huge relief for the Garner family and folks who have been seeking justice in this case.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right. As you have pointed out many a time, this isn't just about something that happened in New York.
BOLDUAN: This is a death in a case that captured the nation, outraged so many. His final words, "I can't breathe," became a rallying cry for those about brutal police tactics. And now, this five years later. This is why it's getting so much attention and deserves it.
Shimon, thanks so much. I appreciate it.
We'll be right back.
[11:35:14] BOLDUAN: Remember all the talk on the Democratic debate stage this week about not using Republican talking points? It looks, though, like Democrats may have, when they were on the debate stage, given Republicans some new talking points at the very same time.
Look no further than President Trump last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And the Democrats spent more time attacking Barack Obama than they did attacking me practically.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: It was already one of the most surprising twists of the Democratic debate. Democrats taking on the policies of the former Democratic president and one who enjoys a favorability rating of 95 percent among Democrats. Then, last night, at the rally in Cincinnati, President Trump added
his voice ridiculing the 2020 Democrats for their Obama attacks.
What is the real impact of this and will voters see more or less of this now?
Joining me now, Paul Begala, CNN political commentator and former adviser to President Clinton.
Good to see you, Paul.
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Thanks, Kate. Thanks for having me.
BOLDUAN: You did not like what you heard on the debate stage one bit, as I've seen in the last 24 hours. Is it because you think the beloved former president of your party should be off limits or is it be something else?
BEGALA: He wasn't infallible. He was a darned good president. He was a terrific president. And he was beloved by Democrats.
It is odd to me, if you're running in the Democratic Party, why you would distance yourself from the record of a beloved president. We saw Al Gore doing that in 2000 when he was running to proceed Bill Clinton. Didn't work for Gore and not going to work for these folks. They would do much better to talk about how to build on that legacy rather than tearing it down.
BOLDUAN: Let me read you what some of the candidates said post-debate after they've been pushed on it, said in response. Cory Booker called in on the debate stage, "an honest conversation about an administration that was incredible."
Kamala Harris told reporters yesterday she has nothing but praise for President Obama.
Kirsten Gillibrand said just last night that Obama was a great president and that they were trying to figure out how to build on Obama's accomplishments.
Does it make it better for you when you hear what they're saying that now when you heard what was said on the debate stage?
BEGALA: Yes. It just means they're paying their cable bill and listening to me.
They get it. These are very, very smart people and terrifically accomplished people.
But then you get into the specifics. OK, Obama was a great president. Some of them are saying, for example, that the Obama deportations are somehow similar to President Trump's immigration policies, which is crazy. And I'm looking for a Democrat to say some people need to be deported. President Obama deported people who were guilty of crimes, violent crimes, felonies. That's where the target should be.
BOLDUAN: Some, but he did earn the infamous name amongst activists "deported-in-chief."
BEGALA: That's right, he did, because he was deporting large numbers of people. But those people had committed crimes. Some had lied on their applications, which is also a crime. But a whole lot of them were very recent arrivals who had committed serious crimes.
That's a debate you should have. Instead of that, they're just saying we should not have a law that makes it a criminal offense to cross the border --
BOLDUAN: Help me out with this. Explain to me how any of Biden's opponents can effectively -- because that's how this all came about. Any of Biden's opponents can effectively take on Joe Biden, whose resume includes being Obama's vice president, without taking out his time being vice president.
BEGALA: That's a fair point. And you have to be careful. That takes some art. These are brilliant people on the debate stage. I watched them.
Also, it turns out, Joe Biden has a record long before he joined the Obama administration. He voted for the War of 1812.
He's -- he's been --
BOLDUAN: Joe Biden says none of that. His vote for the War of 1812 should be under consideration because it lacks context now.
BEGALA: The truth is, he's got a long record and, I think, quite a good record.
I don't have a favorite in this race. But there's lots you can do.
The fundamental question for Democrats is, what those candidates you were saying before were saying, should you want to build on the Obama record. I think that's the way to do it. Or do you want to tear it down?
Steve Bullock, the governor of Montana, had one of the great lines when he said, you guys want to repeal and replace Obamacare. Some of the Democrats, more moderates, want to build on it. Biden and Buttigieg and some others. Others, Senator Warren and Senator Sanders, want to completely eliminate the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a comprehensive Medicare-for-All system. That's an honest debate to have within the party.
BOLDUAN: Let the debate continue. There's no debating, you're a wonderful man.
Unless you're on Twitter and then you're making fun of me.
Its' good to see you, Paul. Thank you very much.
[11:39:57] BOLDUAN: Still to come for us, there's another young member of the Kennedy family gone far too soon this morning. The granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy found dead at the age of just 22. News details are coming in on what happened. That's next.
BOLDUAN: A devastating tragedy for one of the most famous families in America this morning. The granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, was found dead at the family compound at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. She was just 22 years old. So many questions about this right now.
CNN's Jean Casarez is there.
Jean, this is a family that has dealt with so much tragedy. What are you hearing about this?
[11:45:09] JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So much. We are awaiting a statement at this point from a local district attorney's office.
We know at this point, it was less than 24 hours ago that the fire lieutenant of this local area told CNN that a 911 call was made about 2:30 yesterday afternoon and medical emergency responses was summoned to an address that is the Kennedy compound, which is right behind me. And they transported an individual to the Cape Cod Hospital and that individual was pronounced dead.
And it is the family that told us that the granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy and the living Ethel Kennedy, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, is the victim in this case. And 22 years old. As you see from her pictures, so vibrant and full of life.
The family, in a statement said that, "Her life was filled with hope, promise and love. She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit."
The family says that she volunteered. That giving was such a part of her life. And she was helping to build homes for the indigenous in Mexico.
We are awaiting the statement. There's no official cause of death at this point.
BOLDUAN: Much more to come. So much sadness for the family. My heart goes out to them today. Jean, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.
Coming up next for us, there are new questions being raised right now about President Trump's pick to be the director of National Intelligence. And it's not about his time in Congress. It's about his resume. Details ahead.
But first, this week's "CNN Hero" is trying to help children in the poorest country in the western hemisphere. He's made it his life's mission to give children in Haiti's capital a safe place to go after school. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: Inside of this garden, it's joy, happiness and peace. We collect tires that burn in the streets and we use them as planters. People eat from what they actually grow.
We opened a community library to all the schools. We help kids manage their anger.
We can't let the children of Haiti lose the only thing that they have left, which is their hope.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. To learn more about this and so many more, please go to CNNheros.com.
Be right back.
[11:51:50] BOLDUAN: Democrats are gearing up for yet another confirmation fight. This time, it's President Trump's pick to be the next director of National Intelligence, Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe.
Since his nomination, there have been questions raised about whether Ratcliffe has the experience to oversee the nation's intelligence agencies. Then there were his critics who believed his nomination was nothing more than a reward for his loyalties to the president.
And now, new reports the Texas Republican may have exaggerated his resume as a federal prosecutor.
Joining me now is former U.S. attorney and contributing columnist to the "Washington Post," Harry Litman, who's been digging deep into Ratcliffe's record.
Harry, thank you for being here.
HARRY LITMAN, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY & CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Kate. Good to be here.
BOLDUAN: Thank you. You say there are two reasons -- you wrote about this -- there are two reasons that the Senate should reject Ratcliffe. You've taken a deep dive into his resume. And this statement from his congressional Web site. It says, when talking about his bio, quote, "As a U.S. attorney and federal terrorism prosecutor, Ratcliffe put terrorists in prison."
You have some serious questions about that. Explain.
LITMAN: Yes. I mean, it doesn't really seem to hold up and there are others as well.
Just quickly, on the partisan point, partisans are fine in some areas of government, but it's the last place you want them as director of National Intelligence.
On this resume, sort of confabulation, he said he put terrorists in jail, referring to a prosecution that, it turns out he had, it wasn't in his district and he had hardly any role in. The attorneys on the case don't even know him. But he took full credit for it.
And now just this morning, there's a new report he says he put 300 illegal immigrants in jail. Turns out, that's grossly exaggerated at best. There were 45 people put in jail. It was a five-office operation.
So he's really stretched things to the breaking point. Of course, it also adds up to his not having much experience where you need it.
So it's quite a trifecta, being a partisan, confabulating his resume, and not having the actual experience for the job.
BOLDUAN: When CNN's Alex Marquardt and Evan Perez, they asked Ratcliffe's office about these questions and Ratcliffe's office offered up this statement, not really directly answering.
Let me read that for our views: "Department of Justice records will confirm that, as both chief of anti-terrorism and national security for the Eastern District of Texas from '04 to '08, John Ratcliffe opened, managed and supervised numerous domestic and international terrorism-related cases."
CNN's initial search of court records does not find any terrorism cases that he was listed as prosecuting.
BOLDUAN: What do you make of their statement there after the research you've done?
LITMAN: Yes. So I can decode that as a former U.S. attorney. First of all, it doesn't speak at all to the specific lies -- I think would be the right word -- about the cases he's touting on his Web site.
But he was in this role in the office for a couple years where anything having anything to do with terrorism would officially kind of come by his desk and maybe get the tee on it. [11:55:11] Of course, in east Texas, it's not a hotbed of terrorism.
And whatever there is, seems not at all to have been what we think of for a director of National Intelligence, but kind of, you know, little incidents in which maybe there's some kind of radical thinking by a local citizen or whatever.
So I think it's going to turn out to be a shred of truth to it. But really that shred kind of puts the bigger lie to it. There's no hands-on experience of the sorts of cases that he's touting he's actually handled and that the director of National Intelligence has to really understand.
BOLDUAN: It looks like more questions are mounting rather than less. And this will be --
BOLDUAN: -- a really interesting confirmation process for a very important post, the director of National Intelligence.
Harry, thanks so much.
LITMAN: Right. This is the number-one post, to tell the truth.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, Harry. Really appreciate it.
LITMAN: Thank you, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Still ahead for us, a new jobs report is out and it is good news for President Trump. But how will his new threats of even more tariffs on China impact the U.S. economy now? More on that right after this.
[14:00:08] JOHN KING, CNN HOST; Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us.