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Jackson, Mississippi, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba (D) Discusses ICE Raids, Calls It Dehumanizing; Heavily Armed Man Sparks Panic at Missouri Walmart; Top Intel Official Resigns Amid Trump Loyalty Concerns. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired August 9, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:04] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump, moments ago, saying immigration raids in cities across Mississippi will deter illegal immigration. ICE agents rounded up almost 700 undocumented workers. More than half of them are still in custody right now.
The immediate impact -- really heartbreaking when you see the video -- young children left stranded at daycare or arriving home from their first days of school to find no one there in some cases. Children left to fend for themselves or depend on the kindness of neighbors and strangers.
CNN spoke with some of them.
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UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I was really afraid about what was going to happen to my mother because she always supported me and she didn't do anything wrong. She isn't a criminal. Hispanic people don't come to hurt or injure anybody. They come here to make a better future for their kids.
UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: The most horrible thing is I can't do nothing. There's nothing I can do anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If you could say something to your dad right now, what would it be?
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: That I hope you come back and that God protects you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Oh, my goodness, "I hope you come back and that God will protect you," the little boy says.
So what happens now in these communities?
Joining me right now is the mayor of Jackson, Mississippi, Chokwe Lumumba.
Mayor, thank you so much for being here. CHOKWE LUMUMBA, (D), MAYOR OF JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI: Thank you, Kate.
I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
What's your reaction to these raids? You've been very critical. What happened in your state?
LUMUMBA: I think what we've seen, Kate, is we've witnessed the absence of humanity, for people who were attacked at the workplace while they're simply trying to make a living to care for their family, to provide a quality of life for their loved ones. For children to experience the trauma that they did on the first day of school is unconscionable.
I think, as I've said before, these are dehumanizing accounts. And I don't think we have the luxury of standing on the sideline and just allowing this to happen.
BOLDUAN: Do you have a handle, Mayor, on how many people from your town were picked up? I know it was a food processing plants and kind of six different areas in the state. Do you know how many kids were left stranded from your town?
LUMUMBA: I do not have an exact number of individuals that may have lived in my city. This is -- this raid took place in central Mississippi. Jackson is overwhelmingly the largest city in the entire state, so we can assume impact to our city.
But even if that weren't the case, I think that we have a responsibility to speak out when we see these dehumanizing acts taking place.
BOLDUAN: President Trump was asked about the raids this morning, just moments ago, in the kind of gaggle with reporters we were playing for our viewers. Let me play, once again, for you what he just said about the raids.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want people to know that if they come into the United States illegally, they're getting out. They're going to be brought out. This serves as a very good deterrent. If people come into our country illegally, they're going out. They're not coming in illegally and staying.
We have bad laws. They may get in, although we're being very tough, but they may get in. But it doesn't matter, because they're going out. And when people see what they saw yesterday, and like they will see for a long time, they know that they're not staying here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: What's your reaction to that, Mayor?
LUMUMBA: I would say that instead of his focus being the prevention of the browning of the nation, he should push his efforts towards supporting cities and supporting communities instead of attacking people who are simply trying to make a living.
We see a country where our infrastructure is crumbling, where we see threats like what took place in El Paso, to attack people on the same day that you're consoling, supposedly, a traumatized community that, one, it just shows nefarious intent. It appears that what was important to him is sending a message to his base.
What we're seeing today is neither Democratic -- a Democrat issue or Republican issue. It's a question of whether they have a soul in this nation, a soul enough not to allow children to be traumatized on their first day of school. Not to take advantage of people who have no intent of creating harm for anyone.
BOLDUAN: Where do things stand right now from your perspective? It seems very clear that you didn't get a heads-up that the raids were coming and the school districts say they did not get a heads-up, which is actually protocol, which something like this could be happening for children at school.
Are you requesting more information? Are you getting any more information about where things stand, where children are, how they're going to be reunited?
LUMUMBA: Kate, we're still in a posture of gathering details. There have been a number of organizations that have rallied together to be supportive of our immigrant neighbors. We do not know a specific total of children affected.
[11:35:12] As you can imagine, some of the parents that were picked up are hesitant to share that they even have children for fear their children will be placed in a system which may not be conducive to them.
When we're trying to encourage our immigrant community to trust some of the institutions that are there to provide services to them, we forfeit more credibility when we see raids like this take place.
BOLDUAN: I was actually wondering what your message is to the community. I saw one statement that you put out that you were calling on churches and faith institutions to open up their doors and become sanctuaries for immigrants to help protect them.
What is your message? In saying that, are you saying that you want immigrants in your neighborhoods to go into hiding?
LUMUMBA: What I am saying to my community, which I represent a very progressive constituency, is that we should open up our institutions, our faith institutions for the protection of people to help people.
In fact, I would argue that that is the foundation for the creation of our institutions, our faith institutions, is to be there to help those in need. And so I'm just calling on them to fulfill that purpose. And many
have responded to that call. I'm calling on us not to oppose the rhetoric that is divisive. When
we say things like someone has come here to take our jobs, if they were our jobs, no one could take them.
When we look at the corporations, which are exploiting these workers, no one is talking about how they are being prosecuted for their exploitation.
And when we allow for these conditions and when we fail to inform ourselves of how many of the people join us to begin with, often required to give up their life savings, solicited from their country of origin in order to come here for opportunity, and yet we're critical of them as they're working under these oppressive conditions and this constant threat.
It doesn't serve their best interest, nor does it serve the best interest of everyone who is arguing for honest living wages to begin with.
BOLDUAN: Mayor Lumumba, thank you so much for being here. Appreciate your time.
LUMUMBA: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, a man equipped with a -- a man heavily armed and wearing body armor sparks panic, understandably, at a Walmart in Missouri. And this is just days after the mass shooting at the Walmart in El Paso. What was he trying to do? What happened? That is next.
[11:42:27] BOLDUAN: Panic at a Walmart shopping center and we are not talking about El Paso, Texas. This time, in Springfield, Missouri. Police say a man walked into a Walmart wearing body armor and being heavily armed. He was arrested before any shots could be fired, thankfully.
CNN Omar Jimenez has more details. He's joining me now
Omar, the pictures of this guy are terrifying. Does law enforcement know exactly what he was intending to do?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN REPORTER: Kate, at this point, that is what we're trying to piece together, a motive. Why a man we now know is identified as Dmitriy Andreychenko, a 20-year-old man, according to police, why he walked into this Walmart yesterday. You could see some of what he was wearing, a bulletproof vest, armed with a rifle.
He was apparently walking around filming himself on a Smartphone and pushing a shopping cart. And at that point, the manager thought that was enough to pull the fire alarm because he didn't know what was going to happen next and get people out of that Walmart.
And then, at that point, as people were evacuating, this man exited out of an emergency exit where he was met by an armed off-duty firefighter who actually confronted him and detained this man until police arrived just a few minutes later as well.
But, yes, in regard to why exactly this happened, that is at the very center of this investigation.
And obviously, this did not happen in a vacuum. It comes within the context of the shooting that unfolded at the El Paso Walmart just five days prior, at that point. And you can imagine, at the very least, the manager wanted to be on the safe side and get people out of an abundance of caution. And obviously, we see the good news is no shots fired and no one injured.
But at the time, no one knew what was going to happen.
BOLDUAN: Omar, he has been charged now, I think, as of this morning. What more are you learning about the charges?
JIMENEZ: So at this point, he's been charged with making a terrorist threat in the first degree, which typically involves cases where purposefully he is threatening a large number of people and purposefully could be causing an evacuation of some building as well.
And the Springfield Police Department saying that they are going to -- once official charges are filed, we will get more information in regard to this person in particular.
But for right now, they are trying to home in, again, on a motive and trying to move forward into why exactly this man would have walked in and did what he did.
BOLDUAN: Coincidence or not, it's really scary it's happening at another Walmart days later. It's really scary.
Omar, thank you so much.
[11:44:56] Coming up for us, a top intelligence official calls it quits. Yes, another one. Was she pushed out? Her handwritten note to the president says that the move was not her, quote, "preference." Details ahead.
BOLDUAN: Yet another shakeup at the nation's top intelligence agency. One week after Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, resigned, his deputy, Sue Gordon, has resigned as well.
Gordon has more than 30 years of experience in intelligence posts. She handed in her resignation yesterday when it became clear that President Trump would not be allowing her to take over as acting director of National Intelligence, a post the law dictates that she is in line for.
[11:50:09] A handwritten note Gordon addressed to the president alongside her resignation letter indicates her departure was not her choice. You see the note right there, in part, saying, quote, "I offer this letter as an act of respect and patriotism, not preference. You should have your team."
Joining me now is CNN senior national correspondent, Alex Marquardt, and national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd.
Alex, let me start with you.
There are a lot of folks, Democrat and Republican, voicing strong support for Gordon as she is on her way out and concerns about what her departure means. What are you hearing about why she is leaving?
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it appears, Kate, that she really had no choice but to leave. And she makes it pretty clear in that handwritten note, which is really extraordinary. That was released by the White House. That was a note that was attached to her resignation letter.
I think it bears re-reading. She says that her resignation was, "an act of patriotism, not preference. You should have your team."
As in, I didn't want to leave. It's clear to me that you don't want me on your team.
If you look at what Sue Gordon represents, it's not what the president is interested in. You've got almost 40 years in the Intelligence Community. She's part of that intelligence establishment. She has reported to Obama's CIA director, John Brennan.
The president wants loyalty. He doesn't like Obama's people. He doesn't like the establishment. That's why he named John Ratcliffe, you'll remember, the Congressman from Texas, to be the DNI when Dan Coats steps down on August 15th.
Ratcliffe is someone who has shown he would fight for the president. That appointment crashed and burned as we saw last week. At the same time that Ratcliffe was named, Gordon was not named the acting director.
So her stepping down now was, to a large extent, expected but also feared among the Intelligence Community, where she is so well respected, so widely adored, as well as on Capitol Hill, where she has been known for not politicizing her intelligence reports, for being a straight shooter -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: Being a straight shooter, laying it out straight, keeping the politics out of it, sticking with the facts.
Alex, thanks for that.
Sam, you know Sue Gordon. What are your thoughts on this?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I remember being in Situation Room meetings with Sue Gordon. She was always known for doing what experienced intelligence professionals should do, which is not tell the president what he wants to hear but tell the president what he needs to hear. And what we're seeing today is the actual brain drain of intelligence
from the U.S. government. Sue Gordon's departure is going to have a near-term impact.
Part of the reason why the Vacancies Reform Act is written to have the principal deputy take over is to ensure continuity. As a principal deputy at DNI, Sue Gordon was responsible for everything. She saw it all, election security, North Korea, which we saw the president talk about today. She had a broad mandate across the Intelligence Community.
Joseph Maguire has a lot of history in the intelligence sector but his learning curve is going to be so much steeper because he was just the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.
So best-case scenario, an intelligence professional is coming in but it is going to take weeks if not months for him to get up to speed on the full range of issues facing our country.
BOLDUAN: And that could be dangerous.
The "New York Times" is reporting, Sam, that President Trump went so far as to refuse to get a briefing from Sue Gordon recently, wouldn't allow a top National Intelligence official, security official, intelligence official to brief him, even after she had already arrived at the White House to do so.
What does -- that's just striking. What does that tell you?
VINOGRAD: Well, we know that President Trump listens to Vladimir Putin on things like Russian election interference, but we have heard reporting that he doesn't like to hear anything that has to do with Russia.
What this really is, is a censorship of intelligence. Part of the DNI's job is to present the intelligence with what the Intelligence Community, the 17 component parts, thinks the president needs to know every day. For example --
BOLDUAN: Needs to know, not wants to know.
VINOGRAD: Exactly -- through the presidential daily briefing. Part of their job is to flag things for the president that may not be on his radar.
What this president is saying is there are topics that are no-fly zones, they're a no go. If you bring them to my attention, I'm going to pass you over for key jobs or I may fire you.
That is going to have a chilling effect on the Intelligence Community. They're worried about even being investigated if they work on Russia. And it --
BOLDUAN: On top of that, Sam, can I ask you, because it's not the only departure in this space that we have seen. There's a foreign service officer who's been working in the State Department almost 10 years. He resigned his post as well this week. You wrote a blistering opinion piece in the "Washington Post" about why.
Let me read part of it. He said, "I resigned because the traditional core values of the United States as manifested in the president's national security strategy and his foreign policies have been warped and betrayed." And he goes on.
[11:55:00] Put all of these departures together, from Dan Coats on down, from the national security realm, what does it mean? When people are saying the country is less safe, is that too far? Is that too flip?
VINOGRAD: No, the country is less safe as we see these people leave the U.S. government. What this really tells us is there are important decisions about complicity at this point.
And career professionals, like Sue Gordon, like this foreign service officer, are recognizing that their work may not be used to advance national security. It may be used to advance the president's political agenda through the politization of intelligence and, frankly, the distortion of American foreign policy to serve the president's interests.
BOLDUAN: I think it's going to be really important when the president decides on who the permanent replacement for the director of National Intelligence will be. That will be a very important moment. I'm really looking forward to getting your take when that happens.
Thanks, Sam. It's good to see you.
Coming up, President Trump arriving in the Hamptons moments ago where he could be met with protests like this. These are protesters in Southampton. That's where the president -- there's really one road in, one road out. Speaking out against him and the man hosting one of his fundraisers, Stephen Ross, a big investor behind exercise brands SoulCycle and Equinox.
Much more ahead.
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