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CNN RIGHT NOW
Chaos at Hong Kong Airport; Trump Blinks in China Trade War; Trump Talks Background Checks; Officer Killed During Shootout in California; Father Not Seen Since Detention. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired August 13, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:13] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar live from CNN's Washington headquarters.
Underway right now, for the last few hours, a violent and chaotic scene has been playing out at the Hong Kong International Airport. This is one of the busiest hubs in the world. Tensions between pro- democracy demonstrators and riot police reached a fevered pitch at one point. You can see here protesters had grabbed an officer's baton and then they hit him repeatedly. All of this happening as passengers continue to arrive at the airport.
And all of this is having a knock-on effect on the city, prompting Hong Kong's chief executive to warn that the situation is, quote, on the brink of no return.
CNN's senior international correspondent Ivan Watson is there at the Hong Kong Airport.
Ivan, tell us about the situation there on the ground now.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, it's calmed down considerably, but about an hour ago this area here right by the Japan Airlines ticketing desk in the departures terminal was mobbed with a very tense crowd of hundreds of protesters who had encircle two individuals here. And I saw some of them beating a man on the ground, others trying to protect him. This went on for some time until first aid workers were able to finally bring that person out on a gurney out of the airport.
He has since been identified as a journalist working for the Chinese state news outlet, "Global Times." His name is Fu Gohow (ph). And I've looked at his passport. It's among some of the personal effects that some of the protesters here have seized and that they're now going through and displaying here.
But long story short, it was a very ugly scene in what is normally a bustling transport hub. This is described as the world's eighth busiest airport, now paralyzed for the second night in a row as the throngs of demonstrators who were here hours ago, thousands of them, were blocking passengers, creating a human blockade to stop them from going through security to catch their flights. An escalation without question over the past 48 hours of their campaign of civil disobedience in this unprecedented test of wills against the Hong Kong authorities.
KEILAR: And tell us -- tell us, Ivan, what they want and whether this is working to achieve what they want.
WATSON: Well, that's a -- that's a very big question. But I'm going to walk us over to see some of the pamphlets that they've put up on the walls here. Basically they're -- this all began two months ago with criticism and complaints over an extradition law that the government here suspended that would have allowed suspects to be taken to mainland China. It has since expanded into complaints about allegations of excessive use of police force against the demonstrators, demands that the government make compromises to withdraw that law and to launch an independent commission to investigate the police actions.
It has spiraled and night after night, weekend after weekend, we have seen confrontations between protesters and riot police in the streets of different neighborhoods here in Hong Kong. There were days of peaceful protests here in the airport where none of the flights were obstructed and that changed in the last 48 hours starting Monday night when the airport authority was forced to cancel hundreds of flights. That's happened for a second night in a row. And some of the demonstrators will say, hey, we're sorry, and some of their signs say that, we're sorry for the inconvenience, but we're fighting for our freedom. That is their perspective.
There is another side in this divided city that views them, and this is the government's words, as violent criminals who are conducting riots. And that's something that these black-clad, mostly young people fiercely disagree with.
KEILAR: Ivan Watson, thank you so much for that report from Hong Kong, where it is just after 1:00 a.m.
And now to the U.S. and a sharp rise for the Dow Jones. It is now up at this point over 400 points on news that the U.S. will delay new tariffs on $300 billion worth of goods from China until December. These were due to take effect September 1st.
And just a short time ago, President Trump explained this decision.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Just in case they might have an impact on people, what we've done is we've delayed it so that they won't be relevant through the Christmas shopping season.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [13:05:07] KEILAR: President Trump also attacking China over trade. He tweeted out this morning, in part, as usual, China said they were going to be buying big from our great American farmers. So far they have not done what they said.
He also reiterated his administration's financial support for farmers. China says that it's going to cancel, though, a multibillion dollar U.S. soybean order. It warns it may also label U.S. farmers as, quote, unreliable entities, which would make trade even more difficult.
The president is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, this afternoon. He's getting ready to give a speech on the economy in that battleground state and he's really relying, at this point, on his economic record to carry him into the 2020 elections.
I want to bring in Roger Johnson. He is the head of the National Farmers Union, the president.
Roger, thank you for being with us.
You've heard what the president has been saying. He's also been saying that farmers are getting more support than they would have from China. But what are you hearing from farmers?
ROGER JOHNSON, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FARMERS UNION: Well, listen, the last six years we've seen a steady erosion of net farm income. Net farm income across the country right now is half of what it was six years ago. Every year it ratchets down.
This trade uncertainty makes things far, far worse for farmers. And I think potentially what farmers are most worried about is the damage that's being done to our reputations that are going to have long-term implications for our ability to regain some of these export markets that have been lost. As I think a lot of these sort of on again, off again tariff kind of unpredictable events coming out of this White House really make us, in the eyes of many buyers around the world, an unpredictable and unreliable supplier. And we worked decades to make sure that we were viewed as a credible, high quality, predictable supplier.
KEILAR: You're a third generation farmer. Your family is still in the business. Your nephew, I believe.
KEILAR: So you're very tied in, and especially as your work, obviously, with the union in talking to so many farmers.
KEILAR: What is the fallout for those farmers who are soybean farmers with China cancelling this multibillion dollar order?
JOHNSON: Yes. Well, I mean what you -- what we saw on the markets early this week after a lot of this sort of back and forth between the U.S. and China was we saw record downward movement in some of the markets. Some of that was exacerbated by the report that just came out yesterday from the USDA about stocks and use and plantings and all that kind of stuff.
And you -- but you add all of this together and what you see across American agriculture is continued depressing effects on net farm income. And that's what -- I mean net farm income is sort of like your or my salary. It's like what farmers have left over at the end of the year to pay for family living expenses and their health insurance and, you know, repay debts and those kinds of things. And the average -- or the median net farm income last year, in fact, meaning over half the farmers above and half below this number, was actually a negative number last year. So there's a lot of financial strain.
Farmers are not arguing we shouldn't hold China accountable. Farmers are saying, let's have a plan. We should be getting the rest of the world united with us to hold China accountable instead of taking their sort of lone ranger approach and going after China while the rest of the world is sort of off doing something else.
KEILAR: I want to have you listen to something that the agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, said. This was at a farm show in Minnesota last week. He was recounting, he said, a joke that a farmer told him in Pennsylvania.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SONNY PERDUE, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: Since you asked -- since you asked for a little humor, let me give you one. I had a farmer tell me this in Pennsylvania. It was a cute little joke the other day, a few weeks ago. He said, what do you call two farmers in a basement? I said, I don't know, what do you call it? He said a whine cellar.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: What's your reaction to that? What do farmers broadly feel about the Trump administration?
JOHNSON: You know, that's a pretty tone deaf statement coming from the secretary. I mean he was in front of a group of farmers. They have very legitimate concerns about what's going on. Farmers don't really -- I mean farmers need this aid that's coming out of USDA, don't get me wrong, but they'd much rather that we had been working to build up our reputation and to build up markets so they could get prices out of the market instead of getting another bailout from Uncle Sam, which I think in a lot of farmers' minds is going to sort of muddy their reputation even further as there are more press reports about big farmers getting multimillion dollar payouts and, you know, what's -- we don't need that sort of distraction from dealing with the real problems that are out there, which is net farm income being really, really bad right now.
[13:10:35] KEILAR: And farming --
JOHNSON: And this administration needs to be working to help improve it.
KEILAR: All right, Roger, thank you so much.
Roger Johnson, really appreciate your perspective on this.
JOHNSON: Good to be with you. Thank you.
KEILAR: The Trump administration taking a red pen to the Statue of Liberty's iconic poem on immigrants, adding a few requirements for the tired and the poor.
Plus, the president just claimed that the top Republican in the Senate now supports background checks, but Mitch McConnell's office is saying something different.
[13:15:50] KEILAR: Just in, the president is now directly saying that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does indeed want background checks over guns. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am convinced that Mitch wants to do something. I've spoken to Mitch McConnell. He's a good man. He wants to do something. He wants to do it I think very strongly he wants to do background checks and I do too. And I think a lot of Republicans do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: All right, let's bring in Kaitlan Collins to get to the bottom of this because, Kaitlan, he's claiming this even though the Republican senator's office has told CNN something different.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that's not what we've heard from other Republicans who have been speaking with us privately about this push for background checks coming from the president. He's saying there he spoke with the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He said he thinks he's onboard with background checks and he said he's convinced that Mitch McConnell wants to do something, though after the president said similar last week McConnell's aide came out and said -- McConnell's aides came out and said that he had not signed on to any new legislation related to gun control measures.
And we're also hearing privately that Republicans are not on board with this either. The president said he's spoken with several Republicans who he believes are backing him on this push for making background checks tougher. But what we've heard is actually they don't think that's the right solution here because they don't think strengthening these background checks, this push you've seen from the president, actually would have prevented those shootings in Dayton, Ohio, or El Paso, Texas.
And, instead, they're advising the White House and the president's aides to look at those red flag laws proposals that you've seen instead. However, the president is continuing this push for the background checks. The question is whether or not it's going to go anywhere or if the president will start being more receptive to this advice that he's receiving, not only from Republican lawmakers, but also his conservative allies who say they do not want the president going after this push for background checks because they don't think that's the right solution for him.
KEILAR: His daughter has been involved in this, Kaitlan. Tell us about Ivanka Trump's role.
COLLINS: Yes. So you're seeing a split in the president's family over how he should proceed with this. Of course his sons are big into hunting. They are very pro-Second Amendment. But we're hearing from sources on the other hand that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, has been involved in these conversations moving forward. She's in favor of the president's push for background checks, so that could be a factor in the president's ear because he's hearing from people like Ivanka Trump who are supportive of this push for background checks. He's hearing from Republican who are not -- as in addition to that top NRA leadership who has told the president his base, his supporters in very red areas are not going to be on board with this proposal either.
KEILAR: All right, Kaitlin Collins in New Jersey. Thank you so much.
She is the 11-year-old who begged for her parents after those immigration raids in Mississippi, and now no one's heard from her father since he was detained. We're going to take you there to this story.
Plus, an exclusive report. CNN investigates Vladimir Putin's private army and what we found is making the Kremlin very unhappy.
[13:23:21] KEILAR: Investigators are still trying to figure out why a man opened fire on police officers during a traffic stop in Riverside, California. This set off a lengthy shootout in broad daylight that was caught on video.
One California Highway Patrol officer was killed in this, two others were injured. The suspect was also killed in the exchange.
I want to bring in Ryan Railsback. He's the public information officer for Riverside Police.
Officer, thank you so much for being with us.
And just tell us what happened here.
OFFICER RYAN RAILSBACK, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER FOR RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, yesterday, early evening, around 5:35, California Highway Patrol made a traffic stop at the 215 freeway in East Ridge Avenue overpass, which is actually right within the jurisdiction of the -- or the city limits of our city, Riverside.
At some point during that traffic stop, he put out a call for immediate assistance. We had officers from not only our department, the Highway Patrol, and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department that all responded.
The first two highway patrol officers that arrived on scene, along with the initial officer, they all took gunfire from the suspect. At some point during the traffic stop the suspect produced a weapon and started firing upon the officers and he struck three of them. As officers -- more officers arrived, they engaged the suspect and an officer and deputy-involved shooting occurred and the threat was neutralized.
[13:25:05] The suspect was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced deceased.
Three of the officers, they were all taken to hospitals. The one, and I believe it's the officer who was killed in the line of duty, he was actually transported by our Riverside Police helicopter to a trauma center and another CHP officer in critical condition with I believe what's a leg injury was also transported by Highway Patrol officers to that same hospital. The third officer was transported to a local hospital in Riverside.
Currently their conditions, the one officer is still in critical condition and the other one is in a less serious condition. Both struck by gunfire. But we believe that the injuries at this time are non-life threatening.
KEILAR: So Riverside, your department, is investigating this because it was within your city limits. What can you tell us about this CHP officer who was killed?
RAILSBACK: Not much right now. The Highway Patrol is going to formally announce his identity. There's still notifications that are being made and, you know, part of the process of that just takes a little bit of time. We're looking at getting that information out sometime today, within the next few hours. We do know that all three of those officers who were struck work out of the Riverside office of the California Highway Patrol.
KEILAR: All right, Officer Ryan Railsback, thank you so much for updating us.
And we will stay tuned, obviously, to see who this officer is. We know -- we're thinking of law enforcement there in southern California. We know that all of you feel this and are reeling from something like this.
We appreciate you being with us.
RAILSBACK: Thank you.
KEILAR: Forget the huddled masses yearning to be free, the man in charge of citizenship and immigration for the Trump administration takes liberties with the Statue of Liberty's iconic poem. This is Ken Cuccinelli.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NPR HOST: Would you also agree that Emma Lazarus' words etched on the Statue of Liberty, give me your tired, your poor are also part of the American ethos?
KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor who can stands on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Adding that two feet part and the public charge part. That NPR interview comes a day after Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Serves, announced the administration's plan that would make it easier to refuse green cards to immigrants that either have low incomes or little education. He emphasized that no one born outside the U.S., quote, has the right to become an American. He said it's a privilege.
The fallout is continuing from last week's ICE raids in Mississippi. You'll remember the video of a little girl pleading for her father. This video went viral. The name of this child is Magdalena and her mother still does not know where federal authorities took Magdalena's father.
Our Dianne Gallagher is in Jackson, Mississippi, following this story.
And, Dianne, what we have learned is that the father is this family is the soul bread winner. There are four kids here, all of them born in the U.S., all of them U.S. citizens. What more are you hearing about his whereabouts, anything?
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So here's the thing, Brianna. I spoke with Magdalena's mother, Juana. We're only using their first name here because after that video went viral, there's been a lot of attention, some of it really creepy, to be honest, people contacting them asking if they can adopt her 11-year-old daughter, people trying to harass them about the fact that Magdalena's mother is undocumented as well.
But all they want is to find their father. And at this point we've been able to track him using ICE's locator system to the state of Louisiana, but that's where it ends. Juana has not been able to figure out what detention center he is in, what processing center he is in. And at this point she's run into nothing but dead ends. She's not heard from him since his workplace, one of those meat processing plants, one of the seven that was raided around the Jackson area last Wednesday.
So we're going now, Brianna, on almost a week since she last spoke with him. So many other people in the community have either gotten a phone call or they've been reunited with their loved ones who were detained during that raid because they were released for various reasons. She still doesn't know where he is. And so there's that pressure right now on them.
She is obviously upset because her husband is gone right now. But also because she doesn't know how she's going to do things like make rent or pay utilities. All four of their children, who range in age from 11 with Magdalena, to one year and eight months old are U.S. citizens. She said, if they deport him, I'm probably going to have to go back to Guatemala, but my kids have never been there and they don't want to go there.
[13:29:52] When I was with Magdalene, she was doing her fifth grade homework and she was doing powers and word problems and told me that she loved math and wanted to grow up to be a math teacher. And her mother knows that if she takes her to Guatemala, the chances of something like that, the future she would have here, happening are slim to none