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Julian Castro (D) To Trump In Ad: "You Stoked The Fire Of Racists"; Seventh Child Killed By Gun Violence In St. Louis This Year; Epstein Accuser Sues His Estate And Alleged Madam. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired August 15, 2019 - 07:30   ET



[07:32:05] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (Campaign Television Ad): You urged American congresswomen to go back to where they came from. You called immigrants rapists.

As we saw in El Paso, Americans were killed because you stoked the fire of racists. Innocent people were shot down because they look different from you. Because they look like me. They look like my family.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, that is Democratic presidential candidate, Julian Castro, talking directly to President Trump in a new ad that will air only on Fox T.V. Why is he doing that?

Secretary Julian Castro joins me now live from Iowa. Secretary Castro, thanks so much for being here.

Tell us about your strategy here. You purchased this ad. It speaks directly to President Trump but it's only airing in Bedminster, New Jersey where he's on vacation. And why not spend your money on an ad that targets, say, Independents in the rest of the country?

CASTRO: Yes. Well, of course, part of the idea here is that I want President Trump to see this and hear this. I think he needs to hear the message that his words have consequences, which is the message behind the ad.

We saw that shooter that went to the Walmart in El Paso that said he was going there to hunt Hispanics and used the language that this president has used about an invasion from south of the border.

And so, I wanted to deliver a message to the president to understand that he has poisoned the well for many people and inspired racists like that shooter in El Paso to take dangerous action -- deadly action against Americans.

Now, obviously, you know, this has a larger message, as well, to the American people that we need to change leadership. We need a president who is actually trying to unite Americans, not just divide them.

One of the worst things about the last few days since that happened in El Paso has been that usually, the president would be there to try and make things better for the nation.

I think of the eloquence of Barack Obama after the Charleston shooting in 2015. A president that speaks to the sadness but also the hopes of the country.

And what's amazing is that time after time, President Trump just can't rise to the occasion. Not only that, he often makes it worse.

So we need a new president for this and so many other reasons, including the ones that Larry Summers was just talking about.

CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about the -- one of the president's chiefs of immigration, Ken Cuccinelli, and that he suggested the language on the Statue of Liberty should be changed to "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge."

So, I know you disagree with that, but just speak to --


CAMEROTA: But what I think he's saying -- what I think he's saying and what I think appeals to President Trump's supporters is the idea of self-sufficiency. Why should America and Americans pick up the tab for people who are coming from other countries?

[07:35:17] CASTRO: Yes.

I mean, first, let's be clear about what that policy change is -- that public charge policy change. It relates to people who are legal immigrants here who have a visa and impacts their ability to get a green card to become a permanent resident and, therefore, on the pathway to citizenship.

Why does this matter? It matters because number one, they're legal immigrants and they're paying taxes to this country. They're working hard.

Secondly, all of us have family members wherever you're from, whether you're from Ireland, Mexico, like my family, India -- wherever you're from.

You can tell stories of family members that came here with almost nothing but they had a strong work ethic and they were willing to do the hard work that it took to make a better life for themselves and for their children and grandchildren.

I mean, my grandmother came here when she was a 7-year-old orphan from Mexico with almost nothing. And just two generations later, one of her grandsons -- my brother, Joaquin -- is a member of the United States Congress and the other one, me, served in the president's cabinet and is running for president to the great country that she came to.

That is the American dream and immigrants helped build it in the past and they're helping to build it now.

And so, I think this policy is just terribly misguided and that the real agenda behind it is that Donald Trump just wants a nation in his own image. He wants to keep certain people out, only let certain people in. And this is not the spirit that we should move forward with.

CAMEROTA: I want to also ask you about something that Congressman Steve King, of Iowa, said. He made these comments that seemed to be -- I don't know, defending or normalizing rape and incest. Let me play those for you.


REP. STEVE KING (R-IA): What if we went back through all of the family trees and just pulled those people that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rape and pillage that's taken place and whatever happened to culture after society, I know I can't certify that -- that I'm not a part of a product of that.


CAMEROTA: What was your reaction to that?

CASTRO: Just like I think most people that heard that. That is absolutely bizarre.

It is bizarre and I wish that I could say that this is news with regard to Steve King. But as you know, Alisyn, and a lot of your viewers that are watching know, Steve King has made so many crazy statements before. He has shown himself to be a bigot.

He was stripped of his committee assignments in Congress because of how outrageous he's been. He really doesn't belong in Congress. I mean, he should have resigned a long time ago.

And it's unfortunate for his constituents here in Iowa, where I'm at this morning, because he doesn't represent anywhere near the vast majority of the people of Iowa.


CASTRO: And, Steve King is the politician that most people know in Iowa and that's unfortunate.

CAMEROTA: I mean, he does keep getting reelected, by the way, in Iowa. And he's not going to resign or it doesn't -- there's no indication that he's going to resign.

So what are you calling for?

CASTRO: Well, I think J.D. Scholten is going to beat him in November of 2020 and retire him, which would be great for Iowa's 4th Congressional District. You know, J.D. grew up in that district. He ran in 2018 and had a good, close race and made it very competitive.

I think he speaks to the aspirations of Iowans and has a positive agenda. And in 2020, I think he's going to be hard to beat.

CAMEROTA: And are you offering to go on a Winnebago tour with him?

CASTRO: (Laughing) I would. He has a Winnebago and he made a lot of news out here during 2018 for taking that thing up and down the 4th Congressional District.

I think he's got a lot of crossover support and he's exactly the kind of representative that we need -- people bringing fresh, new energy and great ideas and being able to also reach across the aisle on the right things and work with both sides.

So he would make a great congressman for the 4th Congressional District -- a lot better than Steve King. So, if Steve King is still around in November of 2020, I think that J.D. will beat him.

CAMEROTA: All right. Secretary Julian Castro, thank you for sharing your positions with us today.

CASTRO: Thanks, Alisyn.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. The gun violence epidemic playing out in one major U.S. city. Residents in St. Louis now calling for change after an alarming number of children have been killed.

Hear from the mother of the latest victim, next.


[07:44:10] BERMAN: All right, you have seen it for some time now. President Trump loves to take credit for all manner of things, big and small.

CAMEROTA: And as you are about to hear, President Trump takes credit for things even if he had nothing to do with them, especially if President Obama did have something to do with them.

John Avlon is going to explain all of this in our reality check. Hi, John.


Well look, we all know the president lives in a Trump-centric universe but despite presiding over a strong economy, at least to date, he keeps trying to take credit for things that happened before he took office.

Case in point -- Tuesday, at Shell's new Pennsylvania plant.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was the Trump administration that made it possible -- no one else.


AVLON: Now, maybe the no one else was a tell because it turns out that $6 billion plant was announced back in 2012 under, you guessed it, President Obama.

[07:45:00] And this happens a lot. Back in 2017, "BuzzFeed" published a litany under the headline, "Trump keeps taking credit for deals struck while Obama was president." The article included everything from Ford plants to jobs at Charter Communications and SoftBank.

But sometimes, Trump takes credit for entire industries.


TRUMP: Steel was dead. Your business was dead, OK? I don't want to be overly crude. Your business was dead.


AVLON: So, about that death. According to Trump's own Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the steel industry wasn't dead then but it is on the decline now. But that's OK because there are more steel plants open than ever before, right?


TRUMP: U.S. Steel just announced they're expanding or building six new facilities.


AVLON: Not so much. He said that a year ago and "PolitiFact" called it completely false.

And in June, U.S. Steel announced that it was reducing production at two plants, in large part because of Trump's tariffs.

But that's OK, Trump saved the trucking industry, right?


TRUMP: I love trucks of all types. Even when I was a little boy at four years old, my mother would say, "You love trucks." I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP) AVLON: You'd be hard-pressed to find any 4-year-old who doesn't love trucks but generally, the fascination wears off. But if you really love trucks and truckers that much you probably wouldn't take away their tax deduction on daily expenses or relax the rules on required breaks for drivers.

But the false claim he claims most might be something called Veterans Choice.


TRUMP: I came back to my people -- I had experts -- and I said I have a great idea. These lines for the veterans are too long. Let's let them go outside, go to a private doctor. I said, "Man, am I smart."


AVLON: OK, protip -- watch out for people who say, "Man, am I smart."

But it is a good idea. So good, in fact, that it was a bill co- sponsored by John McCain and signed into law by President Obama back in 2014.

But that hasn't stopped President Trump from repeating it more than 80 times, according to CNN's intrepid fact-checker, Daniel Dale. And when you repeat a false statement more than 80 times, after being called out on it, that's called a lie.

OK, lightning round.

Exxon Mobil's recent investment in the Gulf Coast.


TRUMP: This is something that was done, to a large extent, because of our policies.


AVLON: That started in 2013.

Adding solar panels to the border wall.


TRUMP: A pretty good imagination, right? My idea.


AVLON: Actually, a private company proposed it a few months before.

And sometimes the search for credit gets surreal, like trying to take credit for everyday phrases, like that time told he the economists that he'd come up with the phrase "priming the pump," which the Merriam-Webster Dictionary promptly put out it's been used that way since at least 1933. Or when he appeared to claim credit for creating a word.


TRUMP: How about the word "caravan" -- "caravan"? I think that was one of mine.


AVLON: Well, that word's been used to describe things since at least 1588.

And that's your reality check.

BERMAN: Fifteen eighty-eight? I knew I'd heard it somewhere before - 1588.

CAMEROTA: I'm laughing that he --

AVLON: In Old English.

CAMEROTA: -- pronounces it again -- "car-a-van" -- three syllables.

AVLON: In case you're unfamiliar with the concept or the Van Morrison song.

BERMAN: All right, John. Thank you very much.

So, there is a tragedy playing out before our eyes in St. Louis. Seven children have been killed there -- shot and killed just this year.

The most recent is Xavier Usanga, a 7-year-old boy struck by a stray bullet as he played in his backyard a day before he was set to begin second grade.

A vigil was held last night as community leaders urged the public to help put an end to this spike in violence.

CNN's Rosa Flores is live in St. Louis with this story -- Rosa.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, John -- good morning -- process this with me. There are children in this city attending vigils, mourning the shooting deaths of other children -- their neighbors, their classmates, their siblings. And there are memorials in the city with action figures because the victims are children.

So far this year, according to police, there are at least seven child homicide cases that have gone unsolved. The latest, Xavier Usanga, a 7-year-old boy who was set to start second grade on Tuesday and he was shot and killed just hours before school started.

According to police, he was playing outside in the backyard when shots rang out. And now, this little boy, whose mom describes him as smiley and happy and enjoying just giving hugs to people in the neighborhood, is dead because of senseless violence. Here is what his mother had to say. Take a listen.


DAWN USANGA, 7-YEAR-OLD-SON KILLED DURING SHOOTING: Playing with a gun might be fun -- it might be something -- but do you really know at the end of the day if you take someone's life what that feels like? And then once that life is taken, there's no -- there's no recourse. There's nothing that's going to bring my son back.


FLORES: Now, according to police, a subject is in custody. The I.D. of that individual is not being released by police.

[07:50:00] And, Alisyn, I want to leave you with this. According to Usanga's father, on Monday, the date of his death, he asked his father to fix his bike for him. And now, this memory weighs heavy on this dad because he didn't have a chance to fix his bicycle -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: This is gut-wrenching. This story is gut-wrenching. I mean, knowing that in a couple of hours he would have been in school and that he was murdered because of this gun violence.

Rosa, thank you very much for bringing this to all of our attention.

And so, as we learn more details about Jeffrey Epstein's death, one of his alleged victims has just filed a lawsuit. She claims she was recruited for sex when she was a teenager and how she plans to get justice now. That's next.


CAMEROTA: Developing this morning, "The Washington Post" reports that the autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein found multiple broken bones in his neck following his apparent suicide in jail.

[07:55:00] This news comes as one of Epstein's accusers files a civil lawsuit against his estate and his longtime companion, Ghislaine Maxwell, and three other people.

Jennifer Araoz says she was recruited in 2001 when she was 14 years old and that Epstein raped her one year later.

Attorneys for Epstein and Maxwell did not respond to comments about this lawsuit.

But joining us now is Dan Kaiser. He is the attorney for Jennifer Araoz. Mr. Kaiser, thanks so much for being here.

Let me just read to you what --


CAMEROTA: -- Jennifer -- your client, Jennifer Araoz, wrote in this op-ed in "The New York Times" yesterday.

She says, "During my freshman year, one of Epstein's recruiters, a stranger, approached me on the sidewalk outside of my high school. The recruiter told me about a wealthy man she knew named Jeffrey Epstein. Meeting him would be beneficial and he could introduce me to the right people for my career, she said.

When I confided that I had recently lost my father and that my family was living on food stamps, she told me he was very caring and wanted to help us financially. The trap was set."

Mr. Kaiser, who was that recruiter?

KAISER: Well, we don't know the identity of the recruiter at this time and this was 14 years ago or more for Jennifer. We are investigating that question and we are trying to gather information that would permit our client to actually identify who that recruiter is. And when we do, we'll be able to name them in the complaint.

But the fact is that Mr. Epstein surrounded himself by all sorts of adult enablers who recruited for him.

CAMEROTA: I mean --


CAMEROTA: -- explain the Ghislaine Maxwell connection because --


CAMEROTA: -- she was his longtime --


CAMEROTA: -- confidant, friend, companion. And so, how did she play in this? Since your client is suing here, what role did she play in all of this?

KAISER: Well, she was -- she was a principal conspirator that helped maintain the sex human trafficking ring. Although my client didn't directly deal with her -- because of her efforts she recruited the recruiters, she provided administrative support for this ring. She engaged -- and this is all publicly-available information -- engaged in efforts to intimidate witnesses that helped conceal this ring.

So, Ms. Maxwell was a conspirator to Mr. Epstein. She helped establish, maintain, conceal this ring. And that ring, in turn, victimized all sorts of girls, whether Ms. Maxwell personally met them or not. And as -- and given that role, she was -- she is liable to my client as well to all sorts of other girls that were victimized by Mr. Epstein that she may never have met.

She was an enabler at the highest level, helped maintain the conspiracy, and as such, she's a co-conspirator that is -- that is responsible for the horror that unfolded.

CAMEROTA: And now that Jeffrey Epstein is dead, how does this complicate your client's case?

KAISER: Well, it -- well, ideally, my client's angry, she's frustrated. She wanted to see Mr. Epstein be held responsible in a criminal court of law.

But look, you know, she's entitled to sue the estate of Jeffrey Epstein and that's what she's doing. She's entitled to compensation for the horror that she underwent -- that she richly deserves and she could get that from the estate.

But more important, the enablers around him should be held accountable. And they could be held accountable both criminally and civilly. Ms. Maxwell is one of them but there are others.

And that's the horror of this story. I mean, the obvious horror are all these children -- these scores of children who were sexually abused over time.

But the added level of horror of this story is it was -- it was the rich and the powerful that helped to perpetuate the scene, that helped maintain it over years, that helped conceal it that, in turn, victimized these girls -- girls who were, for the most part, vulnerable, marginalized, poor.

That's the real heinous part of the story. It's certainly an aspect of the heinous part of this story is the rich and the powerful preying upon the marginalized.

And I hope, and Jennifer hopes, that those enablers will be held -- will be held accountable no matter how rich, no matter how powerful. And it is our hope that the criminal authorities, particularly the Southern District of New York, will continue to pursue that angle of the story because --


KAISER: -- because it will --

CAMEROTA: -- just out of curiosity, does your -- does your client have information about other rich, powerful people who preyed on her --

KAISER: Well --

CAMEROTA: -- and the other girls?

KAISER: Sure. Well, the only knowledge she knows of that is that when she was being preyed upon at 14 years old, Mr. Epstein would regularly remind her of his rich and powerful connections. His walls were covered with photographs of him and powerful politicians, as she recalled, and powerful people of one type or another.

He would constantly remind her of those connections. That's how she -- he -- one of the tools he used to intimidate these girls and keep them in line.

CAMEROTA: But she didn't have any interaction with those people -- I mean, other than seeing photographs.

KAISER: She didn't -- she --

CAMEROTA: Because that's always been suggested --

KAISER: Right. She didn't have --

CAMEROTA: -- that other people were somehow involved in the sex crimes. But that's not your client's story.

KAISER: That's not my client's story, but it's everyone's story to the extent that the participant -- the participation of other rich and.