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ICE Sending Deportees to Guatemala on Jet; Firefighter Loses 3 Children in Deadly Daycare Fire; Candidate Andrew Yang Breaks Down During Gun Forum; Largest Teachers' Union Calls on Walmart to Stop Selling Guns; Universal Cancels "The Hunt" after Mass Shootings. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 12, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] NICK MIROFF, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST (via Skype): When they boarded the plane their leg restraints were removed at the stairway up to the plane and then they were all sitting in their seats with their hands chained in their laps. That is the way that ICE conducts these removal flights. None of the guards on the plane are armed and that's the way they control the passengers.

They remove the handcuffs on these Guatemalans about an hour before we landed in Guatemala City.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: How often are these ICE air trips actually happening out of the U.S.? And what is the goal from the perspective of the U.S. government?

MIROFF: So right now ICE is averaging nine deportation flights like this per week. They note that Guatemala has agreed to take up to 20 and so they're hoping to increase that number, and they will if a new deal with the Guatemalan government goes forward that will allow the Department of Homeland Security to send asylum seekers from other countries, namely El Salvador and Honduras.

It will be able to send them back to Guatemala to seek asylum in Guatemala. So you'd get Guatemalan deportees and Salvadorans and Hondurans on those flights. And the numbers would increase substantially.

BALDWIN: From the perspective of these Central Americans, Nick, how many of them plan on staying put?

MIROFF: Well, that was one of the things that surprised me. I mean, pretty much everyone I talked to who arrived in Guatemala City on that flight, you know, I wasn't able to speak to them during the flight, that was one of the rules, but once they were on the ground in Guatemala and released from custody, I was able to talk to several of them.

And pretty much everyone said that they planned to turn around and head back to the United States as soon as they could. Keep in mind for most of them they have their whole lives here in the United States, spouses, American-born U.S. citizen children, car payments, jobs, things like that. You know, it's kind of the only life they know at this point and they're going to be desperate to get back to it.

BALDWIN: So the U.S. government is going to send these immigrants, pay money, send them on a one-way ticket out of America and these immigrants say home is America. Just quickly, how effective does the government think this will actually be?

MIROFF: They think it's one of their most effective deterrents and they're very determined to keep doing it. They consider this what they call consequence delivery. That if you cross the border illegally, if you are in the United States illegally, and particularly if you've committed a crime, that there has to be a deportation at the end of it.

BALDWIN: Nick Miroff, thank you for sharing, quite a journey.

MIROFF: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Coming up, a heart-breaking story out of Pennsylvania, five children killed in this fire at home of this family daycare. And the father of three of them is a volunteer firefighter himself. CNN just talked to family friends about how this community is coping.


BALDWIN: A heart-breaking story out of Erie, Pennsylvania. Five children have died in a fire at an overnight day care center there. The youngest victim, just 9 months old and four of the children were siblings. The owner of the home day care survived but is in the hospital with injuries. Another neighbor who tried to help described the horrifying scene.


DANIKA SCOTT, LIVES NEAR DAYCARE CENTER THAT BURNED DOWN: The worst part was watching the firefighters carry the lifeless bodies out because they were just laid in my front yard and there was at least four people on each, all trying to do CPR on them.

They were able to get them to the hospital, but unfortunately that's when they started hugging themselves and praying and that's when I asked someone and they told me that they didn't make it.


BALDWIN: CNN's Jason Carroll is with me now. Of all the absolutely awful details coming out of this, it's my understanding that three of the victims in this fire were the children of a local volunteer firefighter.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. His name is Luther Jones. He works at the Lawrence Park Volunteer Fire Force which is in a neighboring community. He was actually, Brooke, responding to another fire and then came to find out three of his children perished in this fire here. The mother of those children, Shevona Overton.

She actually was speaking out today, she spoke to our affiliate WICU about her feelings at the moment. You can you imagine her heart is just completely broken. She said, the following, she said, I just hurt inside knowing that my kids were fighting and hurting in that fire. I'm never going to be the same.

I lost a piece of me that can never be replaced. Just a short while ago, Brooke, I actually spoke to some folks who know the couple. They also know the owner of the day care facility and they talked about what they're doing to move forward. They say they're relying on prayer and that they're relying on each other.


LATAEDRA TATE, STEPDAUGHTER OF DAYCARE'S OWNER: For her to be at work, to hear her babies were gone and then Luther, that's what you do, you fight fires. And to lose your babies to a fire, like, that's just unimaginable. You lose your babies to fires and you fight every day.

BREONNA PAYNE, FRIEND OF FIREFIGHTER: Luther, that's what he's been doing since he was a child, volunteering since he was 15. This is what he does.

[15:40:00] Always wanted to be a firefighter and volunteered and he became one and he worked hard at it. For this to happen, I can't imagine what he's going through right now.


CARROLL: Brooke, investigators say the cause of the fire appears to be from some sort of an electrical malfunction on the first floor. Also, Brooke, we can tell you as you know the fire chief is saying that much of this tragedy could have been avoided had there been more smoke detectors in the house. They say there was just one and that was in the attic -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: How absolutely awful. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

Just into us here at CNN after massive protests in Hong Kong completely shut down one of the world's busiest airports there, we are now learning flights will resume tomorrow morning. That includes flights into and out of the airport. Thousands swarmed the main terminal to protest what they say is increasing police brutality against peaceful demonstrators.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is calling for a renewal of the assault weapons ban in a New York Times opinion piece that he wrote today. Coming next, I'll talk to a mom and gun owner who has been fighting for gun control measures. What she thinks of the proposals from the 2020 candidates.


BALDWIN: The mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso have put gun violence at the forefront of the 2020 Presidential race and 16 Democratic candidates were just tested on their solutions at a gun forum in Iowa. Businessman Andrew Yang was overcome with emotion when he was asked this question by a mother who lost her 4-year-old daughter.


STEPHANIE PIZZOFERRATO, LOST DAUGHTER TO STRAY BULLET: My beautiful 4-year-old daughter, Dayla, was struck by a stray bullet March 2011. My son, my daughter's twin brother, witnessed what happened that day. She died two days later. Firearms are the second leading cause of death for children and teen-agers in the U.S. as President, how would you address unintentional shootings by children?

ANDREW YANG (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you for that. Can I give you a hug? Would that be appropriate?

I have a 6 and 3-year-old boy. Imagining -- I was imagining it was one of them that got shot and the other saw it. I'm so sorry.


BALDWIN: I mean, what an incredibly powerful moment. He went on to answer that mother's question with his policy on upgrading technology on household firearms.

YANG: But if we can convince Americans that personalized guns are a good idea then again if the child gets ahold of the gun then they can't do anything with it, then it becomes just a very heavy, expensive prop. And that's something we can push. One of my proposals is to actually help gun owners upgrade their guns to personalized guns free of charge.


BALDWIN: With me now Amber Gustafson. She is a leader of the Iowa chapter of Moms' Demand Action, she's also a gun owner and a former candidate for the Iowa State Senate. So Amber, thank you so much for being on with me. You were in the room. You were in the room there.

Can you talk to me about the reaction to Andrew Yang's tears? Because it was such a rare moment in politics. Amber, can you hear me? It's Brooke. We're live on CNN.


BALDWIN: Can you hear me now?

GUSTAFSON: Now, I can hear. Yes. I'm sorry about that.

BALDWIN: OK. No, no worried. I hear you loud and clear. Let's just roll on. You were in the room. We just played the clip of Andrew Yang's emotional response to that mother who lost her child. Right. So you were in the room. What was the reaction in the room to that really rare emotional moment?

GUSTAFSON: I mean you could have heard a pin drop. It was absolutely incredible to see such a response from someone running for President. I actually had an opportunity to be in some small gatherings with survivors that met with other Presidential candidates and very much the same type of reaction from them as well.

Just -- some of them were just absolutely devastated and very emotional to hear the true, raw stories of these survivors.

[15:50:00] BALDWIN: How can you not be touched? And when you when you listen to these candidates, as you did, whether it is Andrew Yang's policy on personalization or Joe Biden's call for buyback programs, do you think the public opinion has moved on these reforms in the wake of the two shootings last week?

GUSTAFSON: I think with every new tragedy that hits the headlines, public opinion becomes stronger and stronger. But we have been at a place where 90 percent of Americans have wanted better gun laws for about three to four, maybe even five years now. So the momentum just continues to grow and continues to grow.

And of course it is not just about these mass shootings that hit the headlines, but it is the 100 people that are shot and killed every day in this country. Stories that don't get to receive the amount of attention. But that are no less tragic.

BALDWIN: You mentioned you were in the smaller gathering with other candidates, the Iowa caucuses are six months away. Who is your favorite candidate so far?

GUSTAFSON: That is a great question. It is one that I've been asked a lot. I'm not prepared yet to choose a candidate publicly. But what I will tell you is that it is absolutely incredible to see how many wonderful candidates that we have to choose from who have either published policies on gun safety or have spoken about it openly.

And so even in a state that is purple like Iowa, candidates know that they have to have a strong position on this issue if they hope to reach voters. And more importantly, they need to take action on it once they're elected, otherwise they're not going to keep their seats.

BALDWIN: I want to ask you about Walmart. Just while I have you. That the largest American Teachers Union wrote a letter to Walmart CEO where he essentially says parents and teachers should reconsider doing their back-to-school shopping at Walmart, if the store keeps selling guns and keeps donating to pro-gun lawmakers.

What is your message, Amber, to stores like Walmart that carry firearms in such an accessible way?

GUSTAFSON: We have plenty of history to show us that carrying guns around in public does not make us safer. I don't know why Walmart or any other corporation would think they are somehow exempt from this. If you allow people to bring guns into your store, you increase the chances that something tragic is going to happen.

So Walmart and other corporations like it need to get some gun sense and they need to prohibit weapons in their store and they need to strongly consider stopping the sale of guns in their retail establishments because we have hit epidemic levels and we need corporate partners to take action. BALDWIN: Amber Gustafson, let talk again when you are ready to

publicly reveal who you are endorsing for the next President of the United States. Thank you very much there in Des Moines. Appreciate you.

GUSTAFSON: Thank you.

Still ahead, Universal Pictures cancels the release of a movie that sparked major backlash in the wake of two mass shootings. Why the studio says it will no longer release "The Hunt."


BALDWIN: Universal Pictures is pulling the release of the film called "The Hunt" in the wake of the back to back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton. The promo trailer for this satirical thriller stirred plenty of controversy, the R-rated movie is based around this premise of so-called elites who hunt everyday people for sport.

The film was slated to hit theaters next month and Oliver Darcy is with me, he's our CNN senior media reporter and you're also covering how this kicked up a fair amount of controversy among conservatives.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Right. This was all over Fox News last week and it is basically because of the premise of the movie where elites go and hunt so-called deplorables out in real America. I think it was lost on a lot of these Fox segments perhaps was that this is a satire, this was not supposed to be a real thing. And also that the deplorables ended up being the good guys in the movie.

But that didn't stop or quell this outrage with right wing media and you saw the President last week use this movie though he did not identify it by name, it was pretty clear he was referring to this movie to accuse Hollywood of being racist.

To say that they're the ones that want to start violence in this country not me. And so on Saturday Universal released a statement and I have part of it but it says that they canceled the movie. They said we stand by our filmmakers and continue to distribute in partnership with bold and visionary creators like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand now is not the right time to release this film.

BALDWIN: So it is not only pushed back, it is --

DARCY: It seems like it is gone for at least right now. There are no immediate plans to release this movie. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that even going straight to home video isn't on the table at the moment. So I don't know what is going to happen to this.

It seems canceled for now. I think one interesting thing to point out is can you imagine the reaction if a whole bunch of left-wingers had stirred up enough outrage to cancel a movie. The right would be going apocalyptic saying, look at the snowflakes, they were triggered, et cetera, et cetera and in this case, you had the right do this to a movie that was effectively almost pro-Trump or pro-right.

BALDWIN: Yes. Oliver Darcy. Thank you very much.

DARCY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: And before we go, let's talk about the markets. We were talking to Cristina Alesci, she was saying the markets have been in essentially free-fall, right, the last couple of days because the trade war threats with -- between President Trump, the U.S. and China.

So you could see the Dow down nearly 400 points as we are approaching the closing bell. I am Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And now they're focusing on limiting legal immigration.