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CNN NEWSROOM

Far-Right, Far-Left Extremist Groups Face Off In Portland; Union Workers Given Ultimatum On Trump's Speech: Attend The Event Or Lose Overtime Pay; Trump Targets Far-Left Group, Mute On Far-Right Group Ahead Of Dueling Rallies In Portland; NYT: Obama Told Biden Earlier This Year "You Don't Have To Do This Joe," Referring To Presidential Campaign; Far-Right and Far-Left Groups Face Off in Portland; Interview With Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio; Studies: Correlation Between Lots Of Guns And Lots Of Mass Shootings. Aired 3- 4p ET

Aired August 17, 2019 - 15:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Can't forget that or at least, you know what I mean by we can't forget.

BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.

WHITFIELD: I wasn't there but I'm really aware.

All right, Bill Weir, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

The CNN special report, "WOODSTOCK at 50," airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern only on CNN.

Thank you so much for being with me today. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We have so much more straight ahead in the NEWSROOM with Ana Cabrera, next.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York.

Our breaking news out of Portland, Oregon. The city is bracing for a potentially violent afternoon of protests. We know far-right extremist groups are expected to be met by counter-protesters organized by the far-left extremist group, Antifa.

Looking at live pictures right now. You see some of those protesters taking to the streets.

President Trump sending this warning on Twitter: "Major consideration is being given to naming Antifa an organization of terror. Portland is being closely watched." Very closely, he said. "Hopefully, the mayor will be able to properly do his job."

Now the city's mayor warning residents and visitors just stay home.

Our Sara Sidner is on the ground in Portland and joins us now. Sara, first off, what is happening there right now?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So the Portland police have really at this point done a good job of keeping both groups separated. What you're seeing behind me are the far-right folks. They're members of, for example, the Proud Boys. You'll see, every time there's a gathering, there's a huge number of police that can -- there's a huge number of police that will come around and sort of encircle and watch.

And so what you're seeing is sort of the gathering here just of those from the groups who gathered here is what they called an -- an anti- Antifa, if you will. They're basically trying to basically get the government to make it so that Antifa is designated as a terrorist organization.

And they got some of what they wanted because the president this morning tweeted out that they were looking at that as a possibility, which certainly made a lot of these folks very happy.

Of course, here in Portland, a very -- known to be a liberal city, it very much upset some of the folks from the left, especially, of course, Antifa, which is -- stands for Anti-Fascist. That group of folks are quite a ways away.

I want to -- want to show you so you can get an idea. This bridge here has been closed. The police, the city made sure this was closed. Trying to keep the two groups apart.

I'm going to walk with you a little bit to the river here. And if you look way across the river, you will see some of the leftist groups that have gathered there, including Antifa, who have been sort of led into an area now where this group once was.

The police, what they're trying to do was keep the two groups separated. We heard from the mayor that they've had a couple hundred protests in -- in Portland. Sometimes it is these kinds of groups coming together. Most of them have been peaceful, but they have some of them devolved into violence.

Let's listen to what the mayor had to say about the president mentioning him in his tweet about making Antifa a terrorist organization.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TED WHEELER (D), PORTLAND MAYOR (voice-over): I'm focused on what's going on the ground here in my community. I'm not concerning myself with tweets coming out of Washington, D.C. Frankly, it's not helpful.

This is a potentially dangerous and volatile situation. And adding to that noise doesn't do anything to support or help the effort that's are going on here in Portland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SIDNER: We have heard from police that there are folks they have found weapons on. There are also people here wearing quite a bit of protective gear. That has not gone unnoticed by the police.

There are about 18 police departments from across the state that are here, including some of the federal agencies here, all watching this and hoping to keep these two groups separated, hoping to keep violence at a minimum if not no violence at all.

That's kind of what you're seeing here. You're hearing this group and seeing them move. The problem is, when you start seeing people running like this, generally speaking, it means that there's somebody here that is from the other side. And so here they go running up. What that means we will soon find out.

Again, there's the kind of thing that has police and the mayor and the residents here of Portland really on edge. This place has been on edge partly because some of the groups here are known to be violent. I'm talking about the right and the left.

The president did not mention anything about the right-wing groups, but the city, the police actually arrested a couple of those guys over the past couple of weeks.

(CHEERING)

SIDNER: We're hearing cheering here now. Let's try to get you a view of what's happening.

But usually, when there's movement like this, something negative is often going on. So you've got a barricade of folks standing here looking down.

[15:05:11] Again, now they're saying, "Hey, hey, hey, good-bye," so that person has probably moved on, who was sort of at the opposite -- member of Antifa. Somebody said was here sort of trying to talk down the groups that are here from the right.

There's has been violence from right here. There have been arrests made for rioting here from one of the people that said they would attend the rally.

And the person who organized this rally, Joe Biggs, who is with the Proud Boys, had some very violent things to say on Twitter before this all happened, as he was organizing and playing this, talking about death to Antifa and get your guns ready. Those things really have the city concerned.

And there's a huge concern that they're going to see something like what happened in Charlottesville in 2017, the deadly protest there that was begun by members of the alt-right.

So right now, things are, though they sound loud and boisterous, it is just one of your regular protests.

As time goes on, the concern is that the two groups somehow meet one another. And, believe me, there are people from both sides of the aisle here who would like to get into it today -- Kate?

CABRERA: OK. Sara Sidner there on the ground in Portland.

Again, two different sides, two different ideologies clashing right now, far-right, far-left. And concerns about this escalating. We know, so far at least, there hasn't been any violence. Let's keep hoping that stays the same.

Sara Sidner, we'll check back with you as you continue to monitor the situation. Thank you.

Also, we're following another story. New today, a stark choice for union workers in Pennsylvania, we're learning ahead of the president's speech there earlier this week. Show up if you want to get paid or burn one of your days off. And by the way, if you're not there, you're not eligible for overtime.

CNN obtaining this memo sent to Shell union workers at the Beaver Creek, Pennsylvania, plant, ahead of Trump's Tuesday visit. And the memo was written by a contractor for Shell, we're told. It reads in part, "No yelling, shouting, protesting, or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event. Those who are not in attendance will not receive overtime pay on Friday."

To be clear, Trump and his team did not write this memo.

Also I want to remind you, Trump's speech on Tuesday was billed as an official White House event, not a campaign rally for his re-election bid. But the president did directly mention the Shell plant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love the unions, and I love the workers. And you know when I built buildings in New York --

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: I built them exclusively with unions. People don't understand that.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: I was exclusive.

This Shell petrochemical plant in Beaver County, Pennsylvania -- did very well here -- we did very well. How many points did we win by? Does anybody know?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Let's get right to CNN's Kristen Holmes, in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, near the president's Bedminster Golf Resort.

Kristen, what does Shell have to say about this memo?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi. Well, Shell is denying that they wrote this memo. And they particularly are taking issue with that line you read about protesting, saying that any language about worker conduct did not come from the company.

But when it came to that language about overtime, this is what the spokesperson told us. "He said, "It was understood that some would choose not to attend the presidential visit and were given the option to take paid time off instead. As with any workweek, if someone chooses to take PTO, they are not eligible to receive maximum overtime."

So again, essentially saying there that it's only mandatory if you want to get paid.

Now we have reached out to the White House to see if they have any response to this. We have yet to hear back -- Ana?

CABRERA: OK, Kristen, thank you for that.

Joining us now to talk about the memo and the optics, CNN Political Analyst, Michael Shear, also White House correspondent for "The New York Times," and Jay Newton-Small, contributor to "Time" magazine.

Jay, what's your reaction to this memo?

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, CONTRIBUTOR, TIME MAGAZINE: It would seem to really mix politics and work environments. And that's something that traditionally doesn't really happen in the United States where you're not forced to actually take part in politics. Each person has their own politics. You don't have to say who you voted for.

So to say that you're required as part of your job to be paid and be eligible for overtime benefits to go to the political rally, not necessarily something pertinent or necessary to your job would seem very abnormal. It's just not what the norm is in the United States for these kinds of things.

CABRERA: Michael, according to this memo, employees were directed to arrive at 7:00 a.m. We know the event didn't start until 2:00. No lunchboxes allowed. Breakfast provided but not lunch. The memo was not distributed by anyone on the Trump staff.

But we do know how much the president cares about crowd size. And he often talks about people standing in long lines for his events. Was this all to curry good favor with the president?

[15:10:12] MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't think we know for sure, but I think you can make an assumption that when people are putting together these events for the president, whether they're explicitly political events or whether they're official White House events, there's enormous pressure on anyone putting an event like that together with this president to generate a crowd that, you know, that won't look like the place is half filled.

You know, I think what this underscores is what we are going to see for the next, you know, 12, 16 months, 18 months before the next election, which is an increasing likelihood that whether an event is an explicitly political event like a rally organized by the campaign or whether it's an appearance by the president organized by the White House, they're all going to be political.

This president doesn't stick to the script. He doesn't stick to the Teleprompter. As we saw, you know, at that event and at so many other events recently, he veers off of whatever the official topic and subject is to talk about everything on -- on -- in front of him, much, which is political.

CABRERA: In fact, this is something he had to say at the event. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I'm going to speak to some of your union leaders to say I hope you're going to support Trump. OK?

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: And if they don't, vote them the hell out of office because they're not doing their job. It's true.

(CHEERING)

TRUMP: Vote them out of office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Jay, there's a real fear of how this president retaliates.

NEWTON-SMALL: Absolutely. You've seen him retaliate on -- on a lot of levels. Whether it's going after Amazon because they own "The Washington Post," to some degree. I mean, they've never done -- I should be careful to say they've never done that officially. They've never actually said it was because of that.

But certainly, he talks a lot about how he doesn't like "The Washington Times,", "Washington Post," doesn't like Amazon. When he says it in speeches, people in the government listen and take action.

So you've seen a lot of the companies that he names in speeches, later on, their cases brought against them in the FTC, the Federal Trade Commission, or other areas.

So it is something that you clearly -- there's a link between the politics and what he's saying, even if it's a nonofficial, if it's a not political event, it's a White House event. It is something that he, as Michael was saying, doesn't really have any distinctions here.

What Donald Trump says is what Donald Trump says, and it doesn't matter what the event is. That's clear on Twitter, and it's also clear in real life.

CABRERA: Today, the president is tweeting about the planned protests happening in Portland involving white supremacists and counter- protesters, including those affiliated with Antifa, a group that bills itself as a left-wing Anti-Fascist organization. Let me remind everybody what the president said about this. Quote,

"Major consideration is being given to naming Antifa an organization of terror. Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully, the mayor will be able to properly do his job."

Michael, two years ago this very week, President Trump said, you know, there were fine people on both sides of the Charlottesville violence. In this tweet, there's no condemnation of the white supremacists also holding events in Portland. Should anyone read into that?

SHEAR: Well, I mean, look, it underscores what is -- what has amazed everybody about this president since certainly that happened in -- and probably long before that, which is that he doesn't care sometimes about the criticism.

Most presidents, in the wake of the kind of criticism that he got after Charlottesville, would have adjusted their language, would have adjusted their rhetoric to understand that at the very least they want to put forward some sense of understanding, of condemnation of white supremacist groups.

Here we are barely a couple of weeks after, you know, two of the most- deadly shootings involving people who are, you know, on that side of the spectrum, on the sort of white supremacist, white racist side of the spectrum committing these horrible acts. You would think that the president would go out of his way to, you know, to condemn that, to have -- here's another opportunity to condemn it, and he doesn't.

So while I don't know that we can get inside his head and see what he feels in his heart, it's clear from his rhetoric, kind of the message that he wants to send, and that's not to condemn the white racists. It's to condemn the liberals, what he views as kind of the left.

CABRERA: OK. Michael Shear and Jay Newton-Small, thank you.

And just want to make sure also, it was the El Paso shooter that was connected to white supremacist ideology, not the Dayton shooter. Don't want to mix anything up there in our reporting.

We have new reporting on President Obama's relationship with Joe Biden and why Obama is worried his former V.P. could damage his legacy.

[15:15:08] We're also watching dueling protests in Portland, Oregon. White supremacist groups on one side, counter-demonstrators on the other, the Antifa. They call themselves Antifa. Police say they've seized some bear spray and some shields and some poles from the crowds. We'll take you back there, live, here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Welcome back.

President Obama reportedly told Joe Biden directly, quote, "You don't have to do this, Joe, you really don't." This is according to the "New York Times." And this was as the former vice president was thinking about running for the White House. President Obama has not endorsed his friend and former vice president

for 2020. In fact, he's hasn't endorsed any Democratic candidate so far.

Despite that, the race for the Democratic nomination is for now a race for second place, with Biden leading in the polls and leading in endorsements.

Nobody doubts that the two men genuinely like and respect each other. Their bromance was rock solid throughout the Obama presidency. So why wouldn't President Obama throw the full weight of his name and authority among Democrats behind his good friend and eight-year V.P. Joe Biden?

Steven Livingston joins us now live. He is the nonfiction editor of the "Washington Post" and he is the author of the upcoming book " "Barack and Joe, the Making of an Extraordinary Partnership."

Steven, good to have you with you.

[15:20:05] You used the word "complicated" more than one in describing the friendship. Tell us more about what you mean by complicated.

STEVEN LIVINGSTON, NONFICTION EDITOR, WASHINGTON POST & AUTHOR: That does sum it up really. It is complicated. The two men clearly loved each other and probably still do love each other. We've seen the photos of them hugging and crying and messing around together and having ice cream together and going out and eating. They do have this very strong affection and admiration for each other.

But one can never forget that they actually are involved in a political marriage. It was -- it was a political from the beginning, and they need to recognize that and have had to recognize that repeatedly through their time together.

Even though they do have this great love for each other, politics has always intersected in their relationship, and it continues to do that today up to this moment.

CABRERA: You mean politically they're on different pages?

LIVINGSTON: They're not necessarily different political pages, but their views on where America should go after the Obama administration have not always aligned.

Back in 2016, when there was a question of who was going to be the Democratic nominee, President Obama was very much in the Hillary camp. And despite his great friendship with -- with Joe, he just couldn't bring himself to commit to Joe because he believes that it would be too much of a struggle for Joe to beat Hillary and then to win in the final election.

That, as we know --

(CROSSTALK) LIVINGSTON: I'm sorry.

CABRERA: Please continue. I didn't mean to step on you.

LIVINGSTON: I was going to say, that, as we know, turned out not to be the best advice.

During the 2016 run-up to the election, Biden was suffering from the loss of his son, Beau Biden, and he was trying to determine whether he could actually muster the strength to put up a good fight.

At the same time, his men and his people around him were doing a lot of polling and checking out how he was playing in the country, and he was above favorability ratings of Hillary. He also was polling well in those all-important swing states in the Midwest.

So the question remains, would Obama have protected his legacy perhaps a little bit more if he had sided with friendship over his political instincts.

CABRERA: Yes. So tell me what you make of this "New York Times" piece that cites a source as saying Obama actively tried to discourage Biden from running this time and that Obama warned Biden's aides to make sure Biden didn't embarrass himself or damage his legacy by running for president.

Does that line up with what you've heard from people close to both men?

LIVINGSTON: It can very well be true. I think Obama has always been concerned about his legacy. Ever since he started to head away from the White House, his legacy was not written in stone.

You know, the Affordable Care Act and other things that he tried to put forward was not -- was not permanent in a sense. And we've seen, since 2016, what President Trump has tried to do to those things.

I think it's been hard for Joe dealing with Obama's desire to preserve his legacy, at the same time while Joe is trying to start his own future as a possible president.

CABRERA: From these quotes, do you gather that Obama is being protective of Joe Biden, or -- or is he worried that a Biden failure would reflect poorly on himself?

LIVINGSTON: I think he's always worried about another Democratic failure. But in some respects, I think Biden may be a good plan to carry forward his legacy because he was the man at his side for those eight years and knows what Obama wanted to do and how he did it. He might very well be the one to push forward what Obama was trying to produce in his term.

CABRERA: The only official on-the-record word we've had about Biden from Obama is a statement from a spokeswoman that reads, "President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made. He relied on the vice president's knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today."

While it is very nice, has certainly some praise for Joe Biden, that is not an endorsement. It's nowhere near an endorsement.

LIVINGSTON: No. No, it's nowhere near an endorsement. If you look at that, it's looking backwards instead of forwards. It's looking at what Biden was and not what Biden could be. So in that sense, Obama was a little bit parsimonious in acknowledging his good buddy's intention to run.

[15:25:01] When do you think Obama will enter the 2020 fray?

LIVINGSTON: Well, he's got a lot of capital to spend. Right now, he is the number-one Democratic person out there. You know, that poll I saw that 90 percent of Democrats love him and are in favor of him. He wants to be careful about how he expends that capital.

I think he's going to stay pretty mum until there's a clear candidate who's emerged and probably who is either before the convention or at the convention deemed the Democratic nominee.

There's no other way for him really to go at this point because he really needs to put forward all of his power to ensure that the Democrats win back the White House.

CABRERA: Steven Livingston, I really appreciate your insight. Thank you for taking the time with us.

LIVINGSTON: Great to be here. Thank you.

CABRERA: Look forward to talking to you again very soon.

Up next, we're going to head back to Portland, Oregon. These are live images right now. There are protests with far-left and far-right groups coming face to face in some cases. The mayor has been warning residents to stay off the streets. We'll have a live report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Back to Portland, Oregon. Live pictures there from the ground. And we've been watching a tense scene out of Portland where far-right groups and counter-protesters, including far-left group Antifa, are on scene.

[15:30:04] Let's go back out to CNN's Sara Sidner.

Sara, we know police have confiscated everything from bear spray to shields to metal and wooden poles. What's happening there now is it looks like things are relatively peaceful behind you.

SIDNER: They are peaceful. What you have is the police basically separated folks from the Proud Boys and who came for that and the leftist groups like Antifa there on literally the other side of the river. I have with me one of the chairmen of Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, who

was here.

Why did you come to Portland? Why was this brought forward? You want to mention the fact that Joe Biggs said some pretty violent stuff on Twitter before saying, "Death to Antifa, bring your guns." That ratcheted things up and made people feel nervous here that there was going to be violence brought by you, your group, to the city.

ENRIQUE TARRIO, CHAIRMAN, PROUD BOYS: OK, so first and foremost, we came over here to raise awareness for domestic terrorism. Now that's not just for Antifa. That includes the shooting that happened in El Paso, the shooting in Dayton, Ohio, the attempted firebombing in Tacoma, Washington. And the shooting at the ice facility in San Antonio. I could go on. That's what we came here to do.

We've been planning this for two months. The state law broke the camel's back was the attack on Andy Ngo, the independent journalist, who was trying to document Antifa, and he got a brain hemorrhage from it. And so --

SIDNER: I want to mention that was last -- that was in June.

TARRIO: That was in June.

SIDNER: Just a month ago.

But before that, in May, there was another melee, if you will, and some of the members of a right group that follows you guys and that tends to show up for these things, Patriot Player, one of their people got arrested, turned himself in, Joey Gibbs, for rioting. So do you think this is a problem that both the right-wing groups and the left bring to the fore?

TARRIO: Absolutely not, especially here in Oregon. You had Patriot Prayer that went to practice their First Amendment rights. If you look at that video, Joey was spit on, pepper sprayed.

I think Ted Wheeler needs an axe to grind and we're not going to be that group. That's why we came here today --

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: Explain to me. I don't understand why you're showing up. Is it to antagonize the mayor or the city?

TARRIO: No.

SIDNER: There are people here, people of color in particular, that feel like they're being terrorized because of language used by groups like yours against them.

And you all have a history also in Manhattan. There's a case now where there's videos out there was 10 members of your group or people that are around your group who --

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: They went ahead and --

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: That's not the way the city -

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: -- same thing.

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: The powers of the governor and the mayor of New York, same thing that Ted Wheeler wants to do.

I've had an open communication, open dialogue with Portland P.D. for the past month. And then, here we are. There was two different stories. There was Portland P.D.'s story and Ted Wheeler's story.

And again, Ted Wheeler needed an axe to grind. What we did is, we came, our message was bold today. Our message wasn't we didn't stay there, we didn't antagonize anybody, we -- we held our hands in prayer, we bent a knee, and then we went ahead and left. We said our message with zero violence.

SIDNER: What is the message that you are trying to send? Because a lot of people see the message as one of intolerance, xenophobia, racism. What is the message that you are trying to actually send?

TARRIO: Actually, you mentioned people of color, right?

SIDNER: Yes.

TARRIO: You said -- I'm a person of color, right? I'm Cuban, right? My family, two of my family members got killed in Castro's regimen. It it's a difference of opinion of whether it's people of color, white people. It's always about race. Our message, today, our message wasn't about race. Our message has never been about race.

SIDNER: What is the message?

TARRIO: When you join our ranks, we you join our ranks, we don't ask you what race you are, what religion you are. We just accept you for who you are.

We have liberals in -- a lot of liberals. There's actually one prominent liberal that's here that's part of our ranks.

SIDNER: Liberals will probably dispute that and say you guys have a lot of liberals as part of your group. You call yourself a male chauvinist, right? What does that mean?

TARRIO: No, I'm sorry, it's not --

SIDNER: well, that's out there on your -- TARRIO: No, it's not.

SIDNER: Yes it is.

TARRIO: It's not male chauvinist.

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: It's Western chauvinist.

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: What does that mean? What does that mean?

TARRIO: Can you tell me --

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: What is a chauvinist? What do you mean?

TARRIO: A chauvinist is somebody who's patriotic and extremely proud of their country. You tried to twist my words and say that my group is male chauvinist. There's a big difference.

SIDNER: I'm letting you spoke about it. So, I'm letting you speak about it.

TARRIO: No.

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: I said Western --

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: No, no, you said --

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: I said male chauvinist and then I corrected myself and then said Western chauvinist. What does that mean?

TARRIO: You corrected yourself because you didn't have the facts.

SIDNER: People hear chauvinist and think of male chauvinist. They think of people

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: You say, on the Web site, and what you've heard from Gavin McInnes, who creator the group, is that this is only for people with penises. That's literally what it says. Isn't that a male chauvinist?

TARRIO: Let me ask you something. So women's rights groups that are all women, are they sexist, too? [15:35:05] SIDNER: There are women's groups who allow like the

women's movement --

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: -- they want males to come out --

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: I'm sorry. The women's club, are they a sexist group?

SIDNER: What women's club are you talking about?

TARRIO: The women's club, the national women's club that only accepts women. Are they sexist?

SIDNER: Let me ask you --

TARRIO: It's a men's group. It's a drinking club.

SIDNER: Right. But that's what I'm asking.

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: But you're saying Western chauvinists.

TARRIO: It's something that celebrates women also.

SIDNER: So it's something that celebrates men, but you said Western chauvinists, right?

TARRIO: It celebrates the traditional American family. It celebrates the male. It celebrates the female.

SIDNER: So let me ask you something about the president. The president tweeted today that he is looking at the possibility of making Antifa a domestic terrorist organization.

TARRIO: Yes.

SIDNER: Should white supremacist groups also be considered the same?

TARRIO: Yes, they should. They should. And they're right. Anybody that espouses violence or race, they should be labeled a domestic terrorist group. Just like Antifa.

SIDNER: When you come out -- how do you feel about the tweet itself? Is that something that's speaking directly to you? Because what the president didn't mention is that right-wing groups have also been violent.

TARRIO: Yes. And that's why I said the El Paso shooter, I said it a while ago --

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: I'm talking what you think about the president. He mentioned one group --

TARRIO: I think the president is in his right. It's one tweet. He's not going to mention every single group.

Right now, the focus is Antifa. We've seen them attempt the firebombing in Tacoma. We saw the Dayton, Ohio, shooter is -- is an Antifa member. So there's both groups. Right now, the focus is Antifa.

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: There's also what happened -- there's also what happened in El Paso where the person was clearly a white supremacist with xenophobic ideas.

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: What I'm asking you is, when you just pick one group and two groups are both involved in violence --

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: No, focus on one group and focus on another. He called out the El Paso shooter. And he called out white supremacy. Do you not remember that tweet?

SIDNER: Sure, I remember the tweet. But in a time --

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: Then he called out Antifa.

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: But at a time when the government here and the people here who live here are extremely concerned about what's going on, to have the president just pick one group when the right has also been arrested and not to mention it --

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: This weekend, would you be tweeting right now -- right now, you're not covering white supremacy, are you? You're covering -- you're covering this event, right? So when El Paso shooting happened, he tweeted about El Paso. Today, the event is Antifa. So --

SIDNER: Is it Antifa, though? You guys are the ones that organized the event.

TARRIO: Yes.

SIDNER: So how --

TARRIO: Did anything go wrong with the event today?

SIDNER: Nothing went wrong with Antifa either. Nothing went wrong with you guys. It has so far been peaceful. Is that what you are planning on doing coming here? I guess, the question is, why come here?

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: As long as Ted Wheeler keeps pandering to Antifa and not calling them out by name, we're going to keep coming out here. We're going to keep wasting his resources. He's going to call the agencies he's going to call. He's going to call the National Guard, the FBI, all of those people, and we're going to keep coming out until Ted Wheeler does something.

SIDNER: What do you say to residents who says they paying taxes and you're just wasting our resources?

TARRIO: Do they pay federal taxes like I do?

SIDNER: All of them pay taxes.

TARRIO: Perfect. Then this is just as my city as my home back in Miami. This is the United States of America. I'm not going to apologize --

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: You came here from Miami to waste the resources of Portland?

TARRIO: That wasn't our original intent.

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: Now it is. Obviously, because Ted Wheeler needed an axe to grind. And we're not going to be that ax.

SIDNER: So you're going to keep showing up here?

TARRIO: I'm going to keep showing up.

SIDNER: Does it both you at all that -

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: Let me ask you, does it bother you at all that folks here feel they have almost emotional terror, worrying that something's going to explode here, similar to what happened in Charlottesville.

TARRIO: I'm sorry. I didn't hear that.

SIDNER: I said are you worrying about or do you care about the fact that there are people here in town that live here in Portland that are concerned about something exploding here, something getting very violent and having their city explode similar to what happened in Charlottesville in 2017?

TARRIO: They have a concern. I have a concern also. My concern is domestic terrorism by leftist groups. SIDNER: But why do you keep coming to Portland? You're in Miami.

Couldn't you do that there?

TARRIO: I don't know if you know what happened to me or your viewers know what happened to me. Last time I came to Portland, I got hit with an explosive and got shrapnel in my arm and leg.

SIDNER: I'm sorry about that. That shouldn't happen.

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: You shouldn't be injured --

(CROSSTALK)

SIDNER: -- and nor should people on the other side.

(CROSSTALK)

TARRIO: Then they go ahead and do the same thing.

SIDNER: The question begs, why keep showing you? You know that's going to engage them, as well, correct?

TARRIO: The reason I keep showing up is because this is America. I have the freedom to express myself wherever, whether I go to Michigan, whether I go to Florida, whether I go to Washington whether I come to Oregon. Right now, I think the problem is in Oregon. Maybe you have a difference of opinion than I do. But it doesn't matter.

We're going to continue to fight this fight against domestic terrorism whether -- Ted Cruz proposed a piece of legislation to label them domestic terrorists that they are. My petition on WhiteHouse.gov got 40,000 signatures with zero platform.

I don't have Facebook. I don't have Instagram. I don't have social media at all. That should tell you something. Other people get 100,000 signatures for regular stuff.

SIDNER: Enrique, I appreciate you talking to me.

TARRIO: Thank you.

SIDNER: Thank you for being here.

Are you done? Is this over or --

TARRIO: We are actually moving. So, yes. Today -- today's events are over.

[15:40:15] SIDNER: Thank you so much, Enrique.

TARRIO: Thank you.

SIDNER: I appreciate you talking to me. That was Enrique Tarrio, of the Proud Boys, explaining why they keep

coming here. And basically, at the end, says, look, we're just trying to whittle down and waste the resources of Portland. That will make a lot of the resident here very unhappy to hear that.

He says they're going to keep coming, and there's going to always be a reaction from the left. It happens every time. It is a way to engage them. That will not make the city happy -- Ana?

CABRERA: Sarah, a lot to digest there from your interview.

I just want to be clear, though, the Southern Poverty Law Center does classify that group, the leader, whom you were talking to, as a hate group.

SIDNER: Yes.

CABRERA: And we know you're going to continue to try to understand, what is the dynamic there on the ground and bring us any updates from Portland, Oregon.

Thank you for your reporting.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: In El Paso today, and in cities across the country, people are gathering and demanding changes to America's gun laws. They are holding so-called recess rallies urging lawmakers to cut their vacations short and get working on gun reform issues like mandatory background checks and stronger red flag laws.

We are in an anomaly. What's happening is not normal.

[15:45:05] Here are the facts. We have a gun homicide rate that is 25 percent higher than other high-income countries. We also have more than public mass shootings than anywhere else. Anywhere. Not just compared to high-income countries but any country. And they are getting deadlier.

Take a look. Out of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in the U.S., half of them have happened in the last three years.

Here's what we also know. Americans own more guns per capita than resident of any other country. To be exact, we own 46 percent of all civilian-owned firearms, although we make up just 4 percent of the world population.

So the obvious question: Is there a correlation between having lots of guns and lots of shootings? Studies say there is.

A study published just earlier this year in the "BMJ Medical Journal" found that states with more guns have more mass shootings. The same study found states with weaker gun laws have more mass shootings. A CNN analysis also found that states that restrict magazine capacity,

meaning how many bullets you can fire before having to reload, have significantly less mass shootings.

Now there's no direct causation in these studies. But the findings are all pointing in the same direction. More gun laws and -- more guns, I should say, are connected to more mass shootings, weaker gun laws are connected to more mass shootings, and stricter gun laws are connected to fewer.

What kind of legislation are American willing to support, though? According to brand-new polling, pretty much every voter supports universal background checks. And nearly seven in 10 support banning assault weapons outright.

As for either of those measures actually becoming a reality, just 18 percent of voters think Congress is likely to pass any gun legislation this year.

Joining us now is Tony Montalto. His daughter, Gina, was killed last year in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. She was just 14 years old.

And Tony has since helped launch Stand with Parkland, an advocacy group made up of parents and spouses of parkland victims.

Tony, good to see you. Thank you for being here.

TONY MONTALTO, DAUGHTER KILLED IN PARKLAND SHOOTING: Good afternoon. Thanks for having me.

CABRERA: As someone who lost their child in a mass shooting, I can't even imagine the pain. What is it like now waking up in the last couple of weeks to news of yet another one, let alone another two?

MONTALTO: Every time there's been a shooting since the tragedy that took my daughter and the 16 other wonderful souls, it brings all of the families that were affected back to that terrible day.

But what we've tried to do is band together. And our group specifically is about school safety. And we look at in a holistic way, which is the need to secure the campuses of the schools, the need to have better mental health screening and support programs, and finally if you want to own a weapon, we need to have responsible firearms ownership.

CABRERA: I just went through some of the data, and there's widespread support for universal background checks. Even the majority of Americans -- even the majority of Americans support a ban on assault weapons. One study found that magazine restrictions decreased the number of mass shootings.

I know you have met with a number of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle. What do you think Congress could pass that would make a difference? MONTALTO: Well, same with Parkland, our responsibility firearms

ownership platform, our goal for the 116th Congress is to see universal background checks passed.

We know that the House earlier this year passed H.R.-8. We know there's some reluctance to adopt that in the Senate. However, we want to encourage the Senate to come up with their own background check act. And then talk to the people in the House. We need both sides to come together to solve that.

Also --

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: What's wrong with the House bill? I'm curious, when you said the Senate should come up with their own and talk to the House versus just taking it up the House bill? What do you see as differences that maybe should be addressed?

MONTALTO: I don't -- I don't pretend to know all the differences, but I can tell you that when we've spoken to members of the Senate that we've heard they're not fans of the House bill. So our suggestion is to try and bring people together to solve the problems.

We don't have to be the ones to do it. We need to advocate to bring people together and get our elected leaders to do the things they need to do. And that's keep Americans safe.

One of the things we asked is after we met with Lindsey Graham in February, we asked him to hold a hearing on the red flag laws or extreme risk protection orders. And the Senate held that hearing in the Judicial Committee in the end of march. And we're pleased that Senator Graham moved that way.

But we do need more action. We can't just have hearings. We can't just have talking about it.

[15:50:07] CABRERA: Right.

MONTALTO: We need our elected leaders to act to help protect our students, our children, our teachers, and our citizens.

CABRERA: Absolutely.

You're an airline captain, so I think this analogy might resonate with you. In 2001, a man tried to blow up a plane with an explosive hidden in his shoe. For the last 18 years, we've all had to remove our shoes at the airport.

In that same timeframe, though, we've had seven of our top-10 deadliest mass shootings and no sweeping changes have been made at the federal level. Just how frustrating is that?

MONTALTO: Frankly, I can tell you I wish something had been done before Valentine's Day in 2018 and my wonderful daughter would still be with us. It is this example that I use that the status quo is not working.

I don't pretend to have all of the answers. Our group doesn't pretend to have all of the answer, but we know that the answers lie within our government. We need Congress to start working together. We need the president to lead on this issue and to help and try and make everyone safer.

CABRERA: Tony Montalto, thank you very much for taking the time.

MONTALTO: Thank you.

CABRERA: We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKET EDITOR & ANCHOR (voice- over): On this edition of the "GLOBAL ENERGY CHALLENGE," Salk Institute. Here, scientists are using plant power to fight climate change.

JOANNE CHORY, SALK INSTITUTE: We want to coach plants to become the Olympic athletes to win a gold medal for humanity by asking them to be a little more disciplined in how they're sucking CO2 out of the air.

JOSEPH NOEL, SALK INSTITUTE: Plants pull carbon dioxide and build these interesting and natural chemicals that they've been doing for 3.5 billion years since photosynthesis first arrived.

DEFTERIOS: Researchers are looking at how to alter three plant traits, the formation of cork, more roots, and deeper growing roots to help keep carbon and soil so it doesn't seep into the atmosphere.

CHORY: In a perfect world, we hope to be able to draw down some 10 percent to 50 percent of the excess carbon every year. We want to make a global change.

DEFTERIOS: John Defterios, CNN, San Diego, California.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:56:39] CABRERA: Northern New Mexico has long struggled with the opioid epidemic. The number of deaths from the drug overdose there is nearly four times the national average. "CNN Hero" Roger Montoya is trying to help the families of communities struggling with drug addiction. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER MONTOYA, CNN HERO: Many of our kids come to us traumatized. We create a healthy environment where young people can discover themselves and a way to contribute.

Long neck. Just find the length.

When I see a child's face and spirit come to life I don't need any more evidence. I know that that kind of joy is what will save them. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: To see how Roger's program is sparking creativity and changing lives, go to CNNheroes.com right now.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)