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President Trump Suggested Shooting Immigrants In The Legs; Why The Trump Impeachment Effort Will Be Different Than Others; Talking To Teens About Vaping Dangers. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired October 2, 2019 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES, AUTHOR, "BORDER WARS: INSIDE TRUMP'S ASSAULT ON IMMIGRATION": -- that you just saw a piece of, are a difficult place to have follow-up questions.
But members of Congress are going to be able to follow up when they -- you know, if they get him before them or if they put that question to him over and over again as are reporters over and over again the next time they see him. So he's going to have to answer kind of the more important questions that follow from the admission that he was on the call.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Michael, I think he also -- I -- at least what I took from it was that he clarified what he meant that the State Department is being bullied harassed by House Democrats when he said that they're being called -- he said State Department staffers are being called directly and being told not to contact counsel.
Do we have any reporting on that?
SHEAR: Yes, I don't know. That was the first I'd heard of that, although clearly, the tenor of the response that he gave to Congress indicated he was annoyed. I mean, more than the normal kind of trying to dispute between the Executive Branch and Congress over subpoenas like that. There was definitely something that happened that annoyed the Secretary of State and made him write the kind of letter that he did.
That's, again, going to play out over the next hours and days as I think Congress is in no mood to let that be the final word.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Michael, I want to talk to you about your book with Julie Davis, which is getting a lot of play right now because there was an excerpt in the "Times" yesterday -- "Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration" -- and let me read the passage that everyone's talking about this morning.
"Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with water-filled trenches stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh. After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot immigrants if they threw
rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that it was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That's not allowed, either, they told him."
Shoot them in the legs, Michael. What does that tell you about the president's thinking?
SHEAR: Well, look -- I mean, what that passage is part of is a broader effort that started, frankly, in rhetoric form as that he was campaigning for the presidency. And the minute that he got into the Oval Office, this president has tried every which way to slow the flow of migrants into this country -- to stop them if he could and if not, to slow them down.
And what our story suggests and our book goes into more detail about is the ways in which the people around him were -- are continually forced to confront evermore extreme ideas that he throws out there, often telling him that they're not practical or they're illegal or they're immoral.
And that sense of always being told no by his staff has led to growing frustration over the last three years that some of -- some of the things actually go through -- he manages to convince them to do that -- but other things, he gets talked off the ledge.
We describe the meeting in the story in which he ordered the entire border with Mexico to be shut down at noon the following day. That ultimately didn't happen because the staff succeeded in talking him out of those things -- that idea, in particular.
But that is a constant tension in this White House as he sort of reaches for evermore dramatic ideas and ways to stop people from coming into the country.
CAMEROTA: I like this passage that you have from when, at that time, Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen tried to push back on him.
You have -- the president, you quote, saying, "'Kirstjen, you didn't hear me the first time, honey,' Mr. Trump said, according to two people familiar with the conversation. 'Shoot 'em down. Sweetheart, just shoot 'em out of the sky, OK?'"
You got it, toots? I mean, he didn't say that part but he might as well have. Give me some coffee, toots.
SHEAR: Yes, that -- we were -- that was part of a discussion in which she was trying to convince the president to support some legislation that they were promoting that would give the government some authority to take down drones that they might see as a potential threat.
And I think what that underscores, too, is just the way in which the president talks to people. That conversation was not an isolated one from what we were told. That's the way he often would talk to her and others in the administration. And I think it's sort of emblematic of the kind of thing we see
happening in public -- the kind of rhetoric that he has in public that is often repeated in private conversations as well.
BERMAN: Perhaps talks to women, for sure.
BERMAN: I mean, that's emblematic of that.
And I just want to note, the shooting migrants in the legs, that's just an outrageous suggestion to begin with. But as you say, it's the kind that received pushback within the administration.
Talk to me about Kirstjen Nielsen, who was the secretary of Homeland Security because she seems to have a lot to say and finds herself in a position now of trying to explain her role inside the Trump administration.
SHEAR: She emerges as a real complicated figure over the last year and a half or so.
On the one hand, she was a central character in the separation of families at the border, which we all remember got so much attention. She was the person who made the decision inside the Department of Homeland Security to refer families for prosecution. That was what ultimately led to the families being separated.
So on the one hand, she takes a lot of the blame and is seen by people as sort of a villain in that -- in that story.
On the other hand, she was among the people in the administration that repeatedly pushed back at the president. Repeatedly said to him you can't do this or that regarding the border, regarding the deployment of the military, regarding ways that he wanted to stop people from coming in and claiming asylum.
And so, she's a complicated figure and I think that people will -- hopefully, our book will do this but also, as people see kind of how things play out, they'll sort of make their assessment about her.
CAMEROTA: Michael Shear. The book, again, is "Border Wars: Inside Trump's Assault on Immigration." Thanks so much for sharing it with us.
SHEAR: Thanks, guys -- appreciate it.
Americans have only faced an impeachment inquiry of a U.S. president a handful of times. Less than a handful, really. Doris Kearns Goodwin joins us next on how history could give us a roadmap for what lies ahead -- or not.
BERMAN: All right. Only two U.S. presidents have ever been impeached. Richard Nixon resigned before he would have been impeached and probably removed.
House Democrats -- they are increasing the pressure in their impeachment inquiry this week. So how will this impeachment investigation differ from the others?
Joining us now for some perspective is presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. She is the author of "Leadership in Turbulent Times," which is now out in paperback. Doris, great to have you here.
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN, AUTHOR, "TURBULENT TIMES": Oh, I'm glad to be with you on this day, particularly -- or last day, tomorrow.
BERMAN: I was going to ask, you know, why is this impeachment different from every other because we recline at the table? No.
What do you see as being unique here?
GOODWIN: Well, the interesting thing is -- the great thing is that we do turn to history to understand this impeachment because it's so great when the framers come out and they're alive and they're walking around, and to try to figure out what is different from this one and before. I mean, it seems to me that that's the real question -- is how is it going to come out different from before?
You have two models, particularly, in terms of Nixon and in terms of Clinton.
With the Nixon impeachment, by the time he almost was impeached and he resigned, the country thought it was the right thing to do. The hearings had worked, John Dean's testimony had taken place, the Saturday Night Massacre had occurred. There was clear obstruction of justice.
And there was a healing process at the end of that when Gerald Ford came out and said our long national nightmare is over.
With Clinton, it ended up being, clearly in the history books, regarded as a partisan exercise.
At the beginning, people were upset about the fact that he had had an affair. But then, 60 percent of them approved his behavior throughout the entire thing and they wanted censure rather than impeachment. And when the impeachment actually came in the House, his public opinion polls went up.
So that showed that in a certain sense it started partisan and ended partisan.
And then, there's old Andrew Johnson and that's the one that has the most incredibly echoing -- I didn't even realize --
CAMEROTA: That one has the most parallels, you think?
GOODWIN: It's crazy. I mean, I honestly had forgotten about it.
But there was a new book by a woman -- Brenda Wineapple, her name is, I think -- and it's really good about the impeachment of Johnson.
And what it talks about is that number one, he was saying that the members of Congress should be hanged. He was -- he had his own attorney general that was acting as a propagandist rather than the attorney general of the country. He was abusing his power, he was using executive orders, he had obstructed justice, and --
CAMEROTA: This is all ringing a bell.
GOODWIN: Somehow, it does have many of the charges that are here.
But again, the way it turned out that he was impeached in the House and then he was not convicted in the Senate by one vote. And that one vote is the "Profiles in Courage" that John Kennedy wrote about. And I'm not sure now it would be considered that because he's a problem, Andrew Johnson, in terms of going back on the Civil War and the freedom of the blacks.
BERMAN: It is interesting. You talk about the parallels of Andrew Johnson, one of them being norm-busting because that's what Andrew Johnson was doing and that's what President Trump is doing. In Article 10, I believe, if my memory serves from covering it --
GOODWIN: See how great this is? Article 10, we talk about once.
BERMAN: -- in the 1860s with Andrew Johnson, was basically rude speech. Here it is. And I am right -- ding, ding, ding -- Article 10.
"Andrew Johnson did attempt to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt, and reproach, the Congress of the United States."
He said bad things, basically, Congress then said of Andrew Johnson. Could you say the same of the president now?
GOODWIN: Indeed, he said they should be hanged. And then there was a "New York Times" editorial saying that how did we get to this madman? What are we going to do about this? We've never seen such a madman before.
I mean, I think the language that's being used, actually on all sides, is pretty bad right now.
Lincoln used to talk about the fact that once you throw out denunciations it's met by denunciations.
Think where we are -- a coup d'etat, on one hand. You know, treason on another hand. A mob boss on the other hand. Nothing helps by labeling. We have to figure out -- I think the country does -- what is the story that's going to be believable by a majority of the people, not just the White House.
CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that because we happen to have a transcript of this call between the Ukrainian president Zelensky and President Trump, and this is what sparked the whistleblower complaint.
And, I mean, if Nixon is any parallel, there were tapes. And now, there's this talking transcript or at least telling transcript. And do you see any parallels there?
GOODWIN: Well, it still shows that words matter, right? That in the end, you can say what you said but if nobody has evidence of it -- when you have the written thing -- this, for us as historians -- is always you want the diary, you want the letter, you want the transcript. You want to hear that tape.
I think the question still is I think it's incumbent upon the Democrats in the impeachment process to put that transcript into context to see what they can do to find out whether or not there's more evidence that the military aide was part of it, not just an indirect quid pro quo. Maybe they'll be able to find that out. That becomes more of a smoking gun.
But more importantly, they have to just explain, I think, to the country what does abuse of power mean? What does violating the oath mean?
This is a time when you really have to bring the old Constitution guys back so that the country, at the end -- I keep saying if only -- if they're going to work, then the country has to be able to explain to the person sitting next to them in a bar or a colleague at work this is why this had to happen now rather than waiting for the election. If they can't do that, then we're going to end up more divided than ever before.
BERMAN: We have some public opinion. We can show up p. 115 here, which is how the public opinion this time around compares to others.
The first number we have is that 55 percent now support an impeachment inquiry versus October 1998. Only 45 percent did under Bill Clinton.
And then, impeach and remove, which is the most consistently asked question. The situation for Donald Trump, actually, most closely mirrors Richard Nixon, not Bill Clinton. The country here seems fairly following along. It might just be partisan attitudes here but Bill Clinton had it better.
GOODWIN: Yes. I mean, the country at the time of Nixon, interestingly, only 19 percent favored impeachment when that process started. And then by the time it was moving along, 57 percent favored impeachment. So that's the educational power of the hearings. And again, that's what you have to want to happen so that it doesn't appear as if it's just one party going after another party.
CAMEROTA: Doris Kearns Goodwin, we always appreciate having you give us context here on NEW DAY. The book, again, out in paperback, "Leadership in Turbulent Times." It's a fantastic read, as all of your books are.
BERMAN: Yes, I think these may qualify as turbulent times.
GOODWIN: Yes, I know. I chose the title six years ago. I had no idea that we'd be in this turbulent time. It was just that my guys lived in turbulent times.
BERMAN: That just shows how prescient you are.
GOODWIN: Oh, clearly.
BERMAN: The genius at being able to predict six years ago.
Doris, great to have you here.
The youngest victims of the vaping epidemic are also the most vulnerable to getting hooked. Doctor Sanjay Gupta joins us with some important questions to ask your children, next.
CAMEROTA: If you're a parent, you will not want to miss this next segment. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is back with the third installment of his special series, "Investigating the Roots of the Vaping Epidemic." And today, he's taking a more personal look, along with his three daughters.
Dr. Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent joins us now. This sounds very personal, Sanjay.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, look, it's topic of conversation number one when I get together with other parents lately -- vaping, what exactly is going on, how at risk are my kids?
So, you know, it's interesting. We talk a lot about these things as reporters. I wanted to talk to my own kids and get a little bit of their insights as well. And it's amazing, if you stop and listen, what you can learn.
GUPTA (voice-over): All across the country, parents are starting to have tough but necessary conversations about vaping.
GUPTA (on camera): Thanks for being here. GUPTA (voice-over): I decided to learn from my own kids and their friends.
GUPTA (on camera): How would you describe the vaping situation in your school?
SAGE, 9TH GRADE: It got kind of bad last year. Some people did it too much, like a lot too much, and it escalated, I think.
GUPTA (voice-over): Last year, she was in eighth grade. This year, early results from the CDC's annual survey of tobacco use found 27 1/2 percent of high school kids admit to vaping.
GUPTA (on camera): You're in high school -- you're a senior in high school. Does that sound like the right number to you? Does it sound too high, does it sound too low?
ANNA, 12TH GRADE: It probably sounds too low.
GUPTA (on camera): Really?
ANNA, 12TH GRADE: I think it's pretty common and even though not everyone, like, owns them, people still probably use them.
GUPTA (on camera): What did you think was in these vapes, Soleil?
SOLEIL, 5TH GRADE: I thought it just -- a lot of chemicals and some chemicals can like damage you.
GUPTA (on camera): Are you comfortable with this conversation?
SOLEIL, 5TH GRADE: No.
GUPTA (on camera): Why not?
SOLEIL, 5TH GRADE: Because I'm only 10.
GUPTA (on camera): Any age too young to be having this conversation?
DR. LAURA OFFUTT, FOUNDER AND CREATOR, REAL TALK WITH DR. OFFUTT: I don't think it's ever too young.
GUPTA (on camera): I have a 10-year-old.
OFFUTT: And now, I would have the -- I would have the conversation.
So this is where the magic happens.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Laura Offutt knows a thing or two about young people. She answers their health questions on her site, "Real Talk with Dr. Laura Offutt."
OFFUTT: In the early 2010s when it started to become popular with young people, there was less concern because in the whole spectrum of risk-taking behavior that young people can take, maybe this one isn't a bad one. GUPTA (voice-over): Despite youth cigarette use dropping significantly since 2011, vaping's skyrocketing popularity has erased a lot of the recent progress.
Today, the CDC estimates that over 3 1/2 million teens are vaping and that number is climbing.
DR. ANNE SCHUCHAT, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: The nicotine level in recent products -- recent e-cigarette products is extremely high and very addictive.
GUPTA (voice-over): Anne Schuchat is principal deputy director of the CDC.
SCHUCHAT: The nicotine salts that are used in the more recent generations of e-cigarettes makes the product very palatable and easy to enjoy. And so we think that addictive products are additive.
GUPTA (voice-over): Then you take one of the most addictive chemical substances on the planet and marry it with social media.
SAGE, 9TH GRADE: It just is like keeps being brought up again in social media. And so I think that it's kind of hard not to hear about it.
GUPTA (voice-over): Instagram, YouTube, hashtag Juul. Juul said it has taken actions to prevent youth vaping, like scaling back its social media accounts -- platforms that critics say had particular appeal among teenagers.
OFFUTT: It's been very well-documented that e-cigarette companies have been using the playbook of the tobacco companies from the 60s and 70s, and even earlier on with -- starting with the health message appealing to interest in being sexually appealing, to being strong, to being part of a group, to being trendy, to being a little bit of a rebel. So that whole type of identity piece has been pulled into advertising for these products.
GUPTA (on camera): I want to show you guys some pictures. Sky, why don't you read that last one.
SKY, 7TH GRADE: Weak people smoke, strong people smoke less. Intelligent people vape.
GUPTA (on camera): What do you think they were trying to convey there, Audrey?
AUDREY, 10TH GRADE: They're trying to say, like, vaping is a smarter version of smoking. That, like, if you want to be smarter, like, stop smoking and, like, vape.
GUPTA (on camera): And what do you think of that?
AUDREY, 10TH GRADE: I think that's still kind of dumb. GUPTA (on camera): I feel like it's a tough hill to climb as a parent. I mean, I'm going up against peer pressure, feelings of being in the in-group and feeling cool. Social media advertising where kids live.
OFFUTT: I think that one thing that is really challenging as a parent is we all fear for our kids because that's what our job is, to protect our children. But sometimes if we let our fear come to the surface, we inadvertently close the door on our kids coming to us when they need something.
GUPTA (on camera): What would I tell you to make sure you never do this?
SAGE, 9TH GRADE: I think you should scare people out of it.
GUPTA (on camera): Do you think scaring works?
SAGE, 9TH GRADE: Yes.
GUPTA (on camera): Is that why you wouldn't do it?
SAGE, 9TH GRADE: Yes.
GUPTA (on camera): Is it the same for you, Colin (ph)?
GUPTA (on camera): Sky?
SKY, 7TH GRADE: Yes, I agree. Sometimes if you just say like you'll be a lot happier if you don't do this by saying what you should do.
GUPTA (voice-over): It's a good point, telling kids not just what they shouldn't do but what they should do instead.
OFFUTT: It's already a challenge to win any risk assessment with a young person based on safety, especially long-term safety. That's always been a challenge. I think sometimes appealing to things that can affect them now can be more powerful.
GUPTA (on camera): These people who are using it, do you think they think it's dangerous?
ANNA, 12TH GRADE: People, in the more recent time, have started to really think it's dangerous because I know a lot of people like seeing videos of people throwing them out windows now.
GUPTA (voice-over): A social media movement in the right direction.
GUPTA: So, Alisyn and John, as much as we talk about some of the concerns about social media, you see that it can be a powerful force for good as well.
And, you know, some of these changes that we're talking about -- some of these changes that we want in our kids, sometimes they're the ones who are going to lead the way. And I think that that -- you know, that what we're seeing now on social media kind of makes that point.
CAMEROTA: Thank you for sharing all of that --
GUPTA: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: -- with us and for staying --
GUPTA: You got it.
CAMEROTA: -- on this important topic.
BERMAN: All right.
Thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Christine McFarlane is next.
For our U.S. viewers, we have breaking news. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo changing his story. NEW DAY continues right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CAMEROTA: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, October second, 8:00 now in the East.
We do begin with breaking news because Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just admitting for the first time that he was on that July phone call between President Trump and Ukraine's leader where Mr. Trump repeatedly pressed him to investigate Joe Biden and his son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: As for was I on the phone call, I was on the phone call. The phone call was in the context of -- now, I guess I've been the Secretary of State for coming on a year and a half. I know precisely what the American policy is with respect to Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: About 10 days ago, you'll remember, the Secretary of State gave a different and evasive answer to ABC's Martha Raddatz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC CHIEF GLOBAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: What do you know about those conversations?
POMPEO: So, you just gave me a report about an I.C. whistleblower complaint, none of which I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right. Staggeringly different answer -- quite an evolution. Also new this morning, the State Department inspector general will hold a, quote, "urgent briefing" with congressional staff on their demands to turn over documents related to Ukraine. Our understanding is he actually asked.