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House Judiciary Weights Holding Corey Lewandowski in Contempt; Canada's Justin Trudeau Answers' Media Questions after Photos & Videos Surface Showing Him Wearing Racist Makeup; CDC: 530 Cases Now of Lung Injury Linked to Vaping. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired September 19, 2019 - 14:30   ET



JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I think that the committee is going to do something about Lewandowski's behavior.

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: But isn't there a window, though? To your point, you said Chairman Nadler should have acted by now, you think. We understand it's sort of a drawn-out process. But there is a window here, too.

DEAN: There is.

What would be, to me, the most effective thing is if the -- if the speaker would say, I want to have a procedure on the floor of the House where we adopt inherent contempt procedures, where they could -- for example, a chairman could put somebody, a fine on them, a monetary fine, substantially, if they don't act immediately, and they will remain in contempt until they relieve the contempt.

They could do that. Why they've never done it, I really don't know. And I think it's getting time with this president in particular to do something like that.

HILL: We'll see what happens with that.

I want to get a little more of your take, too, on Corey Lewandowski. You used the word offensive. You, famously, of course, you have been in the seat much like Corey Lewandowski.

But when you saw what you saw on Tuesday, in some ways, do you think Corey Lewandowski gave those who may come after him a template on how to turn the tables on Democrats? They did not come off as prepared or not nearly as organized as their colleagues across the aisle and Corey Lewandowski did?

DEAN: Well, the committee counsel, Mr. Berke, was very effective in his 30 minutes of questioning.

The five-minute rule is a very difficult procedure. The members try to get a little bit of television time out of their subject matter. They're not -- they don't follow-up on each other's questions, and it's just never been a very effective tool. I think they ought to have counsel do the initial questioning and then

have members follow-up. That way you would get -- the audience would understand what this is all about. The witness can't wiggle, quite the way he can, or she can. They can't filibuster through that five minutes.

So I think that's the crux of the problem is the rule, and not any of the particular members.

HILL: John Dean, always good to have you with us. Thank you.

DEAN: Thank you, Erica.

HILL: Well, any moment now, Justin Trudeau set to face questions about photos and video that's surfaced showing the Canadian prime minister donning dark makeup, brown face, black face. Hear his explanation now, live.

Plus, alarming new numbers just into CNN on the teen vaping epidemic. Is an entire generation on the verge of being addicted to something we still don't know all that much about? Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us live.



HILL: Any moment to now we, expect to the hear from embattled Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He's in the middle of a political firestorm after racist photos of him wearing dark face makeup were obtained. They were first published by "Time" magazine.

Trudeau confirms the images are, in fact, him. This one dressed as a character from" Aladdin" at a school party in 2001 when he was a teacher.

Earlier, he gave this apology and explanation.


JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: I take responsibility for my decision to do that. I shouldn't have done it. I should have known better. It was something that I didn't think was racist at the time but now I recognize it was something racist to do. And I am deeply sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is that only time in your life you've ever done something like that?

TRUDEAU: When in high school I dressed up at a talent show and sang "Deo" --


TRUDEAU: -- with makeup on.


HILL: In terms of this photo, this photo is what Trudeau was talking from high school. CNN partner, CTV News, obtained the image from a source who says it's a picture of Trudeau in a yearbook.

Trudeau joins other political figures here in the U.S. who have had similar issues surface, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

CNN's Paul Newton is with me, and CNN contributing, Wajahat Ali, who is also a contributing op-ed writer for the "New York Times."

Paula, there's also, bring us up to speed, a third instance of Trudeau wearing dark makeup. I mean, is there more to come? Is there a sense from him to campaign? What is this?

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That is the question. What we're waiting for, right, for him to speak. The first thing everyone asks him.

Here's the issue, his own liberal party campaign confirmed that video you see now is, in fact, another incident.

The issue here Erica, people want to understand that this wasn't when he was a teenager. This was also into adulthood. They want to understand, exactly how much is this about systemic racism that he, quite frankly, didn't understand. Not good judgment, obviously.

But also the fact that his political brand is of inclusiveness. In fact, Erica, he would always tell me, I don't want to talk about tolerance. Tolerance is too reductive. We need to embrace diversity. Whether women's right, indigenous rights or anything else, he wanted to be the poster boy. That's what he wanted to do.

That's why, in particular, this is hard to swallow today.

HILL: As we're watching all of this, certainly, a history here in the U.S. when some of these pictures have surfaced. Specifically talking in the U.S. about black face and the history of that in this country.

Canadian media referred to these pictures as racist makeup or dark face. Wajahat, forget the labels, though. Every time this comes up, it seems there's a conversation that's missing.


WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. So if you're watching at home thinking about putting on black face or brown face for Halloween, don't do it! Thank you for coming to my pep talk.

The reason, there's a history here. I mean, the reason people say, oh, you're being too politically correct or too sensitive. That's not the case. Black or brown or yellowface is a history of dehumanization. Mockery. Belittling a person of color. Exaggerated features, exaggerated language. If you look at black face in particular, look at the movie "Birth of a

Nation." By the way, a favorite movie of Woodrow Wilson. A thoroughly racist movie with both white and black actors in black face.

What has always been done, is to advance white supremacy at the expense of people of color.

If you look at yellow face, look at Mickey Rooney in "Breakfast at Tiffany's," Exaggerated features, buck teeth, squinted eyes. The audience laughs at them. It's an object of ridicule and mockery.

Whoever's in power in the case of western society, often white supremacy, the rest of us, the person of color, who is marginalized.

That's why so many people of color are stuck. Like, OK, all these liberals putting on black face, brown face, and conservatives don't seem to like black and brown people and we're stuck in the middle? What's going on?

I was talking to a makeup stylist at CNN, a person of color. She was like, it never occurred to me to put on black face or brown face. Me, too. Never in my life.

The fact that Justin Trudeau did this as an adult, I hope he comes out, has humility, apologizes, has a person of color, perhaps cabinet member, someone, a Sikh, or person who is black, come up with him and address the issue head-on.

It's an issue of white supremacy and racism. And as we've seen in America, Erica, it seems we're very uncomfortable to talk about these issues.

HILL: Yes, it seems we need to have a conversation, but having a conversation seems to be the most difficult part about that tough conversation that needs to be had.

Paula, when we look at this, is it a different conversation any way in Canada? Trudeau wants to be the woke prime minister who gets it, the guy who gets it, who understands and empathizes with your struggle?

NEWTON: If talking politics, whether happening at kitchen tables or the office or workplace, the issue is some in Canada say we don't have the history in Canada of history as here in the United States. Perhaps not as sensitive a topic.

I'd be willing that everyone in Canada who is a minority would disagree on that point right now. The reason, the cultural complexion of Canada changed dramatically in the last 30 years that they're saying, no, that's not good enough. Because we don't have the history of slavery doesn't mean there isn't a history.


NEWTON: Doesn't mean there isn't a history. When it comes to indigenous people as well. More than that, as a country, Canada has changed completely. You don't just have to look at the demographics or stats. Right? Look at your neighbor.

What they're doing, and so rightfully points out, is dehumanizing your child's classmates. Think about that? That's why with so much reaction we've had in Canada today, a lot is about betrayal, and, Erica, a lot of the reaction is hurtful.

HILL: Well, a conversation that I would like us all to continue.

Appreciate you both joining us today.

Again, we waiting to hear from Justin Trudeau. Hopefully, we'll bring that to bring you soon. He is still, as Paula told me, out on the campaign trail. We'll see when he makes his way to that microphone.

Meantime, the CDC reporting another surge in the number of cases of lung illnesses linked to vaping. This, as we get alarming news about the use of teens when it comes to e-cigarettes. That number on the rise and rapidly.



TRUDEAU: -- national every single day in their lives even in a country like Canada.

What I did hurt them. Hurt people who shouldn't have to face intolerance and discrimination because of their identity. This is something that I deeply, deeply regret.

Darkening your face, regardless of the context or the circumstances, is always unacceptable, because of the racist history of black face. I should have understood that then, and I never should have done it.


HILL: Justin Trudeau speaking -- speaking first in English, obviously -- he hurt people who shouldn't have to face intolerance and bigotry because of their identify. Going on to say darkening your face is always unacceptable and he should have known it back when he did it.

Paula Newton, Wajahat Ali are still with us here.

Is that enough, Paula?

NEWTON: The issue is with Canadians will it be enough? We're in the campaign, about a month away. That will be the issue to see if they forgive him.

Remember, a lot of Canadians of color believe he's their champion. While it may not good enough, maybe he's given them more voice than before. The problem is duplicity.

HILL: He's taking questions now. Let's listen in.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- the only time you'd done this, you left us with the impression one other incident. And since then global news release add video showing at least a third incident. Exactly how many times have you darkened your skin with makeup in an act you have yourself described as racist?

TRUDEAU: I -- shared the moments I recollected. But I recognize that it is something absolutely unacceptable to do. And I appreciate calling it makeup, but it was black face, and that is just not right.

It is something that people who live with the kind of discrimination that far too many people do because of the color of their skin or their history or their origins or their language or their religion face on a regular basis, and I didn't see that from the layers of privilege that I have. And for that, I am deeply sorry, and I apologize. OK.


HILL: One of the questions, one of the questions we had, talking about earlier, first this picture in "Time" magazine, then accounts he says, yes, in high school. I sang "Deo," put on makeup for that. Another incident emerged after that and he was asked directly, how many more times are there. He said, this is everything that I remember. Right? Hearing from him there.

And I think he's taking another question now.

TRUDEAU: We would look at every step of the way. I think examining the case-by-case situation, examining the actions that someone has taken. I am certainly conscious that in my political career as leader and, indeed, as prime minister we've taken many concrete actions to fight against racism, to fight against intolerance, to fight against anti-black racism specifically, to recognize unconscious bias, systemic discrimination that exists in Canada and elsewhere.

To work, to overcome and recognize intersectionalities that people live with in a way that so many of us, we cannot understand or appreciate, the micro aggressions and challenges being faced.

So even though we've moved forward in significant ways as a government, what I did, the choices I made, hurt people. Hurt people who thought I was an ally. I am an ally, but this is something that obviously I deeply regret and I never should have done.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: More than two times, yes or no, sir? More than three times?

LARRY KUSCH, REPORTER, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Larry Kusch, "Winnipeg Free Press." Mr. Trudeau yesterday said you realized in 2001 it was wrong to put on brown face but now you do realize it is wrong and I'm wondering when it dawned on you that it is wrong?


TRUDEAU: I think it's difficult to become a politician where you spend as much time as you do working hard to represent people, working hard to get to know a community like the community I have the honor of representing, Papano (ph). Where there's extraordinary diversity, extraordinary challenges, and, yes, extraordinary intolerance even in a city like Montreal, in a country like Canada, that people live with every day.

And as I've learned to not just represent people but to fight for them and to try and build a better community and a better society, I've learned every day that it is unacceptable to -- to engage in this court of behavior. OK.


HILL: As you know, Justin Trudeau taking a moment to speak to obviously constituents who are French speaking.

As he's doing that, Wajahat Ali, let me bring you in.

I'm curious to your reaction on what we're hearing from him and in this first couple of moments apologizing and explaining as he is today.

ALI: The most important question is, why did he see it as racist as a young man. He briefly teased an answer that he said he had the privilege and privileged not to see it. We know privilege is blind to its own power, its own abuses of power.

But I really would have hoped he would take this moment to really talk about that issue. The issue of privilege and white supremacy and systemic racism. That really allowing a man who's educated, wordly, global, liberal, like Justin Trudeau, to wear black face and brown face at age of 30 and at the age of 21.

Specifically, as we go into election season in Canada, as we know, the opposition, the Conservative Party leader, Andrew Scheer, four days ago, had to come out and say any concerted member who made a homophobic or racist tweet or comment, if they apologize now, I accept their apology. That's what we're stuck between.

I'm curious if he accepts Trudeau's apology and applies the same standard.

You see the rise of white nationalism. You see the rise of these mainstreams of white nationalist rhetoric both in Canada and the United States of America.

So I think real leadership here is, A, he did the first part. He seems to be very apologetic. There's contrition here. I really would have liked advancement on this conversation. And's especially with an election year, it would have been nice to see if he had gone that extra step.

HILL: Let's listen in a little more and see what else he has to say.


HILL: So going to French there. We missed that one answer. We'll dip in to see what he has to say.

It is interesting, and I brought this up quickly with Paula. One of the questions, one thing after another after another after another and we ended up with three different incidents we learned about and asked how many times and he said, this is what I remember.

What's interesting is, when you look at incidents like this and, as you point out, as recently as 2001 for him when he's a grown man, even the reaction in 2001, there's been a lot of change and development in the way people, you know, talk about race, look at race, talk about privilege in 2019 versus 2001, but even in 2001, it seems somewhat surprising.

ALI: Yes. I mean, I talked to a friend of mine. I was a student at U.C.-Berkeley. I was about 20, 21. Even then, Erica, I knew doing black face, brown face, yellow face was racist and wrong. It shows you it's the privilege that blinds so many people.

And not just 2001. Recently, right? We've seen examples of frat parties where the whole theme is around black and brown face and overwhelmingly young white men and women who don't consider themselves racist at all or doing anything wrong saying, hey, we're just getting in the spirit of things, not trying to culturally appropriate. We're just wearing this costume of an indigenous American and putting on brown face. We're just having fun.

It goes back to the first point, when you are so divorced from the history of racism and so privileged that you don't see it, because it never affects you, you're allowed to be blissfully ignorant. To be ignorant is also to be privileged.

For the rest of us, when we see black face and brown face, we're like, wow, mockery, ridicule and dehumanizing. For other people, it's a great costume for a party.

I wonder, when it comes to Governor Northam, that photo of him in black face was in his yearbook. Nobody said, wait a minute, there's a man in black face in the yearbook. Maybe we shouldn't put this in the yearbook.

Which is why it gets back to the point of systemic racism. We need education about how this has affected so many communities. And that's a conversation, Erica, as you mentioned, we are very uncomfortable having in this country and it seems in Canada.

HILL: One that has affected a lot of people and continues to affect a number of people. That's what we hear every time we bring it up. This is far from over as we know.

Wajahat Ali, always appreciate your insight.

And Paula Newton, joining us with your opinions as well.

Thank you

[14:55:10] Also, want to get you more on this breaking news we're following. The White House and Justice Department actively involved in withholding a whistleblower complaint involving the president. Stand by.


HILL: The deaths in the vaping crisis is spreading across the U.S., is actually deepening. New medical research reports teen vaping use doubled in just the last two years and it is continuing to rise.

That news follows yet another death. Number seven at this point from a lung illness linked to vaping.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is CNN's chief medical correspondent.

And, Sanjay, you have more now on these numbers.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The numbers going in the wrong direction. No question. And 530 people now who have vaping-related illness, who have gotten sick. The only thing investigators can see is the thing that ties them in common is vaping, 530. That number's up 150 from last week.

So you get an idea of the trajectory. You mentioned seven deaths. More deaths are expected as well. So obviously, a lot of people paying attention to this trying to figure out what's going on specifically.

We're getting a better idea of who's most affected by this as well. The headline is more than half the people we're talking about, Erica, are under the age of 25. This is primarily affecting young, otherwise healthy people, who have not had medical problems. They're vaping and, suddenly, get ill.