Return to Transcripts main page


Did Ken Cuccinelli Mean Lady Liberty Welcomes Only Europeans?; Push for Gun Legislation; Police Release Video Timeline of Dayton Massacre; Trump Delays Tariffs on Phones and Toys From China; China Approaching Tipping Point on Hong Kong?; NFL Teams with Jay-Z. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired August 14, 2019 - 05:00   ET



[05:00:05] ALISON KOSIK, CNN ANCHOR: Your tired, poor, homeless, huddled masses are welcome but only from Europe. Hear what a top immigration official has to say.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Democrats refusing to give up the fight for tougher gun laws as a new timeline of the Dayton massacre shows 26 people shot in just 32 seconds.

KOSIK: Holiday shopping is months away, but it's close enough for president Trump to pause his tariff battle with China.

RIPLEY: And the NFL and Jay-Z teaming up. We'll tell you what they have in store.

Good morning, and welcome to EARLY START. I'm Will Ripley, in for Dave Briggs.

KOSIK: Good morning. I'm Alison Kosik. I'm sitting in for Christine Romans. It's Wednesday, August the 14th. It's 5:00 a.m. in the East.

And we begin with a top U.S. immigration official seeming to suggest European immigrants are the only ones welcome in the United States. This all began Tuesday morning.

Listen to Ken Cuccinelli now, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, taking some creative liberties here with the iconic Statue of Liberty poem in this interview with NPR.


RACHEL MARTIN, NPR HOST, "MORNING EDITION": 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, U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: They certainly are. Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.


RIPLEY: Those comments came a day after the White House reinterpreted an 1882 public charge rule to limit legal immigration by denying green cards to people who require public assistance.

Last night, CNN's Erin Burnett tried to get Cuccinelli to explain this unusual take on Lady Liberty's poem.


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": So obviously, the actual poem is quite different. I'm going to read it.

CUCCINELLI: Right. I was answering a question. I wasn't writing poetry, Erin. Don't change the facts.

BURNETT: I'm not changing the facts. I'm just saying --

CUCCINELLI: You're twisting this like everybody else on the left has done all day today.

BURNETT: No, no, no, no, no -- no, no, because I think it's important.

CUCCINELLI: Of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class.


RIPLEY: For the record, a Kato Institute study shows in some cases, U.S. citizens eat up more public resources than immigrants. That includes programs like Medicare and Social Security.

KOSIK: There is new video this morning from the Dayton massacre, but the surveillance footage and detailed timeline that's been released by police don't answer two critical questions -- why did it happen, and how to stop something like it from happening again?

The new images show gunman Connor Betts, he starts his evening without his weapon. He visits Blind Bob's Bar with his sister and a friend, and later another bar by himself. Eventually, he returns to his car, passing a police vehicle, and he changes into body armor. He gets a backpack weighted down with an assault-style rifle.

RIPLEY: Then he goes back to Blind Bob's, and he opens fire. From multiple angles, we see the crowd scrambling for cover.

Police respond immediately, killing the gunman. But in just 32 seconds, Betts fired 41 shots and killed nine people, and he injured another 17. One of the dead his own sister. Police remain divided on whether he actually intended to kill her.


CHIEF RICHARD BIEHL, DAYTON, OHIO POLICE DEPARTMENT: A lot of us have been involved in this dialogue. I mean, it's -- you know, we all have been reviewing this evidence, including the homicide detectives who are deeply immersed in this.

We have radically different views in that regard. And if we can't agree on the interpretation of the evidence where some are saying absolutely not -- he was not intentional and some say no, he had to be -- I would say it's inconclusive.


RIPLEY: One thing we still don't know -- the gunman's motive. Police say their investigation does indicate that he was obsessed with violence.

KOSIK: OK, so with that in mind, where is Congress on efforts to do anything about the gun epidemic? A growing number of Americans are demanding action.

President Trump claimed Tuesday that many Republicans support a push for strengthening background checks.


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.


KOSIK: That view seems to conflict with what sources say GOP lawmakers are telling the president in private which raises the question whether this could be a repeat of Parkland. After that massacre, Trump said he would support expanded background checks. Then nothing happened.

Congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly has more.


PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Will and Alison, it's been less than two weeks since two mass shootings left 31 people dead, and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to ramp up the pressure -- ramp up the pressure on the Republican-led Senate, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and President Trump to do something legislatively.

Their primary push at this point in time, try and get the United States Senate to come back to Washington from their five-week recess and consider and vote on a House-passed bill to expand background checks.

[05:05:07] Here's the rub. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear that won't happen, at least bringing lawmakers back from recess.

What he has said instead is that lawmakers -- he has tasked lawmakers -- three chairmen, specifically -- to work on bipartisan proposals over the course of the next couple of weeks and then considered whether there is something to debate in September.

That is not good enough for Democrats. Take a listen to what House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had to say.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): And I think the American people need to be outraged by that refusal to bring a bill supported by over 90 percent of the American people to the floor for consideration. Not to bring it to the floor is an abdication of his responsibility.

MATTINGLY: Now, the real question is what could actually pass a Republican-led Senate and a Democrat-led House and be signed into law by President Trump?

Keep in mind, President Trump has an extremely close relationship with the very powerful NRA and the NRA has made clear their position -- kind of a general no to any new gun laws that would be considered gun control -- has not shifted.

I'm also told on Capitol Hill there is growing skepticism amongst Republican aides as to whether or not anything substantive can actually get done, whether it be background checks or whether it be something that has bipartisan support: red flag laws.

There are a lot of concerns when you get into the details and that's the biggest issue here, guys. The details of what could be considered will make or break whether or not anything happens and whether or not anything moves forward -- guys.


RIPLEY: Phil Mattingly reporting there.

Walmart says it has removed about 1,000 third-party items from its website just in the last week. The reason: violating company policy on glorifying violence. The retailer sells 75 million online products. And while it claims to review them regularly, it admits it has shifted its focus lately to gun-related items after the El Paso massacre at one of its store. Walmart is facing intense pressure now to remove firearms from its brick and mortar locations.

KOSIK: KOSIK: A delay in the tariff battle with China. The White House announcing some of the tariffs on Chinese goods set to go into effect in September will now be pushed back until December. Items like cell phones, video games, and toys won't be affected until December 15th.

The delay means a tariff hike right before Christmas, but long after holiday items have been imported into the U.S. However, goods like athletic apparel and sports equipment will be hit with the 10 percent tariff on September 1st.

Here's what President Trump said about the decision. Listen.


TRUMP: 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 for the Christmas shopping season.


KOSIK: It was the first time Trump has publicly said that consumers would be hurt by tariffs. He has repeatedly claimed that China pays the cost of those tariffs, not U.S. businesses or consumers.

And the news sent stocks surging. The Dow closed up 373 points, recovering much of the losses from Monday's sell-off. Asian markets rallied as well, fueling hopes for a trade deal between the two countries.

And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and top Chinese negotiator Liu are expected to pick up negotiations by phone within two weeks.

KOSIK: But, of course, trade is just one of the issues on China's plate. It may be nearing a tipping points following weeks of pro- democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Overnight, the Chinese government condemned what it called horrific, violent crimes at Hong Kong's airport. Thousands of protesters streamed in, hundreds of flights canceled, some people even zip tied and detained. China calling all of this terrorist acts.

And now, there's this -- new video, at least by Chinese state media -- showing military armed police assembling near Hong Kong's border ahead of what are described as large-scale exercises. The video is sped up, with music added to make it more dramatic and perhaps intimidating.

CNN's Paula Hancocks is live at the airport in Hong Kong where flights have resumed at least for now.

What are you seeing there, Paula?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Will, this is a normal functioning airport. Now this is business as usual. There's just a pocket full of protesters, maybe a couple of dozen. What they're doing at this point is they have checkpoints on the door. So officials are checking that you have a passport and a boarding pass before you get in the airport to make sure that no one that shouldn't be here is actually here.

There's also much more of a police presence which we haven't been seeing over recent days. That could also be to try and allay any concerns that passengers have. But we are seeing a stronger response, Will, coming from Beijing.

As you say, they talked about these horrific acts. They talked about radical rioters gathering illegally, also using the word terrorism, they've used it a number of times saying these are tantamount to terrorist acts.

We also heard from an adviser, a Donald Trump administration official, saying that if China were to intervene in Hong Kong, if they decided to intervene, that it would probably be because they assessed that the Hong Kong authorities simply do not have control of the situation, and they're not able to bring peace themselves.

[05:10:12] Also saying that it could be if they believe that commercial activities in Hong Kong are being impacted very negatively. That is exactly what has been happening over the past couple of days here at the airport.

So, certainly, there is a concern about what Beijing might do, the videos you talk about, though, they could also be seen in the way of -- of playing to a domestic audience and also of showing the Hong Kong protesters that they are there, but they say it is ahead of military drills -- Will.

BRIGGS: It seems like more propaganda at this stage than preparations for an intervention. But there is that bridge connecting the mainland to Hong Kong and a convoy could roll over it. We're going to be watching it.

Paula Hancocks, live in Hong Kong, thank you.

KOSIK: A week after his daughter was reduced to tears, a father picked up in the Mississippi ICE raids has finally been tracked down.



[05:15:49] MAGDALENA GOMEZ GREGORIA, FATHER DETAINED BY ICE: My dad didn't do nothing. He's not a criminal. Government, please put your heart and let my parent be free with everybody else.


RIPLEY: Every time you see that, it almost feels like you get punched in the gut. But we do have some new info about that video clip, nearly a week after it was released. That was 11-year-old Magdalena. Her father, she was crying out for him. We know he's been tracked down, and the family was able to speak with him.

Andres Gomes Jorge was one of 680 people detained in workplace raids around Jackson, Mississippi. Magdalena and her mother, they had no idea where he was after the ICE raid. They thought maybe he was in Louisiana.

KOSIK: But the family learned yesterday he's being held at a Mississippi detention center. Jorge is expected to appear before a judge later this week. And CNN has learned he does not have a prior criminal conviction even though the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection told CNN on Sunday that he had committed a crime.

It's still unclear if charges will be brought against owners and management who actually hired undocumented workers at the Mississippi plants that authorities raided.

RIPLEY: The FBI is investigating shooting incidents targeting two buildings in San Antonio. What's significant is that the buildings are connected to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Shots were fired early Tuesday morning into one building housing ICE offices, and another nearby where there was an ICE contractor.

The FBI says an unknown number of people in cars just pulled up and started firing. And there is no question the suspects knew exactly which floors the ICE offices were on. Nobody was hurt.

KOSIK: The distribution of water to Newark residents at risk of lead contamination, it's hitting a snag. Officials discovered the bottles were past their sell-by date of May, 2019. They were expired. The New Jersey health department says the date is just a guideline, and the water is safe to drink.

The EPA ordered the city to give out the bottled water after it was determined that water filters were no longer working properly. It's not clear when lead began leaching into the Newark water supply. It's a critical question as lead contamination in water can damage a child's health.

RIPLEY: A foul ball sends one fan to the showers? Sort of.

Andy Scholes will explain for us, up next in "The Bleacher Report".


[05:23:06] RIPLEY: This is interesting. The NFL announcing it's partnered with Jay-Z's Rock Nation to enhance the league's live game experiences and also amplify the league's social justice efforts.

So, what is this going to look like?

Here is Andy Scholes with the "Bleacher Report."

KOSIK: Good morning, Andy.


You know, the NFL has taken a lot of heat the past few years over their handling of the Colin Kaepernick situation by partnering with Jay-Z and his company Rock Nation, the league is taking a big step in bridging the gap that's been created. And as part of this new agreement, Jay Z's Rock Nation will advise on the selection of artists for major NFL performances like the Super Bowl.

Jay-Z has been a big supporter of Kaepernick. He reportedly passed on him performing at Super Bowl LII, later rapping in a video, I said no to the Super Bowl, you need me, I don't need you.

Now, on top of helping choose artists for the Super Bowl, Jay-Z is also expected to help with the NFL's Inspire Change Initiative. That program which is run by the league and its players. It focuses on education and economic advancement, improving police-community relations, and criminal justice reform.

In a statement, Jay-Z said this partnership is an opportunity to strengthen the fabric of communities across America.

All right. Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich never shied away when it comes to speaking out on social issues. After yesterday's practice, he was asked about what patriotism means to him, and he said, well, Colin Kaepernick is a great example of being patriotic.


GREGG POPOVICH, TEAM USA HEAD COACH: Can still be patriotic and understand that there still needs to be criticism and changes and more attention paid to those who do not have, to negate that part of what we're able to do is ignorant on anybody's part who tries to make those people look unpatriotic like Kaepernick. That was a very patriotic thing he did. He cared about his country enough to fix some things that were obvious, that everybody knows about but does nothing about.


[05:25:06] SCHOLES: All right. Finally, the Nationals last night, watch this fan get eerily frightened when a foul ball is heading right for her. Luckily, the net's always there. But your natural reaction cost her a beer.

You know, guys, those beers aren't cheap.


SCHOLES: Probably had to go spend another 10, 15 bucks to get a new one. She smelled like beer the rest of the day.

RIPLEY: Is it really $15 for a beer now?

KOSIK: What a rip-off. Well, she got a beer bath at least.

RIPLEY: A beer bath, that's probably going to be a thing someday.

Anyway, Andy, thank you very much.

SCHOLES: All right, guys.

KOSIK: A top immigration official says the huddled masses are welcome, but only and only if they can stand on their own two feet.

Asked on CNN about that spin on the Statue of Liberty quote, Ken Cuccinelli went a step further.


CUCCINELLI: Well, of course, that poem was referring to people coming from Europe where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren't in the right class.