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Beto O'Rourke (D) Discusses His Assault Weapons Proposal; Fort Worth Residents Protest At City Council Meeting; Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) Discusses Women's Reproductive Issues. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 16, 2019 - 07:30   ET



BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- of having a mandatory buyback of these AR-15s and AK-47s. As you know, weapons that were designed for war -- to kill people on a battlefield. That have no use for hunting or self-defense in your home but can kill people at a terrifying rate in terrifying numbers --


O'ROURKE: -- if left in the hands of civilians. And we've seen that in El Paso, in Dayton, in Odessa --

CAMEROTA: Of course.

O'ROURKE: -- throughout this country.

CAMEROTA: But, Congressman, I mean, I think.

O'ROURKE: So this is the right thing to do and I fully expect my fellow Americans to follow the law.

CAMEROTA: You expect mass shooters to follow the law?

O'ROURKE: Our fellow Americans will follow the law, yes. And every one of those 16 million --

CAMEROTA: Congressman, mass shooters don't follow -- by definition, mass shooters in Parkland, in El Paso -- I could go on for 10 minutes -- they don't follow the law by definition.

O'ROURKE: There are so many instances where the proposals that we've made, whether it is the universal background check or a red flag law or ending the sale of weapons of war or buying those that are out there back would have stopped many of the shootings that we've seen in a country that loses 40,000 a year to gun violence.

Would it stop every single shooting? No, but that should be no excuse for not taking action now while we have the opportunity to do the right thing.

CAMEROTA: Yes. O'ROURKE: And we also shouldn't be limited by the politics or the conventional political wisdom or the polling or the consultant class --

CAMEROTA: Yes -- no.

O'ROURKE: -- or the NRA on --

CAMEROTA: Understood. I mean, I think that --

O'ROURKE: -- finally taking decisive action.

CAMEROTA: Understood. And I think that what Mayor Buttigieg was saying -- yes, this -- it's obviously think high, aim -- you know, shoot for something aspirational. But it doesn't make sense that people are going to hand over their assault weapons if they're mass shooters. If they want to do harm to people they're not going to follow the law.

So then, what's your plan?

O'ROURKE: Yes. So I don't know that you make any law or stop making any law because you fear that some people will not follow the law in any part of American life.

And so, yes, if somebody has an assault weapon -- a weapon of war -- and poses a danger to people in their lives or people in their community or people in our lives, then we're going to stop them. And I think it's a matter where law enforcement --

CAMEROTA: Meaning what? You're going to go to their house -- just tell us how it works. You're going to go to somebody -- if somebody doesn't voluntarily hand over their assault weapon you're going to go to their house and then what?

O'ROURKE: If we pass this law then I expect our fellow Americans to follow the law. And this is not speculation. We've seen other countries do this, like Australia, that have seen a significant decrease in --

CAMEROTA: Yes, I understand. Law -- I mean law-abiding people follow the law. Law-abiding people follow the law but our problem is with mass shooters who don't.

O'ROURKE: You know, Alisyn, by that logic, we wouldn't commence writing any new legislation or signing anything into law for fear of some people not following the law.

So we know because we've seen this in other countries, that when we take this step we save the lives of those who would otherwise be taken from these mass shootings. We prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands and we take them out of the hands of those who shouldn't own them in the first place.

And unlike a handgun or a shotgun or a hunting rifle, an AR-15, an AK- 47 is materially different. It is a weapon of war designed to kill people on a battlefield. And we just throw up our hands and say, you know, this is going to be tough to do or some people aren't going to follow the law, then we can consign ourselves and become complicit in the deaths of our fellow Americans.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and --

O'ROURKE: And after El Paso or Odessa or Dayton or all these mass shootings, I'm not going to become complacent. I'm going to do what might be politically difficult to do --

CAMEROTA: Understood.

O'ROURKE: -- and may not be popular in all circles but is necessary to save lives.

CAMEROTA: I understand that that's your aspiration and I think that the question was and then what -- and then what's next because it sounds like confiscation and I just can't tell if you -- if you're comfortable with that. You know, that that's a buzzword that makes a lot of people on the right and gun owners nervous. And so, if that's what you're suggesting.

O'ROURKE: No, I'm not suggesting that and I think that's why people use the word confiscation because it scares people.

What I'm talking about is a mandatory buyback where Americans who own an AR-15 or an AK-47 will sell that weapon back to the government. And there is a precedent for doing this in other parts of the world successfully without infringing upon our fellow Americans' Second Amendment rights to own a firearm that they need for self-defense in their home or to go hunting or for collection or sport.


O'ROURKE: We can take those weapons that pose a mortal risk to our fellow Americans -- instruments of terror --


O'ROURKE: -- that have terrorized our fellow Americans. And for as long as they are out there, strike terror in the hearts of so many, including people going to school --


O'ROURKE: -- right now --

CAMEROTA: Of course.

O'ROURKE: -- or participating in active shooter drills because we still have these weapons out there.


O'ROURKE: Let's do something about it.


So, Congressman, let's talk about the nuts and bolts of your campaign. So what is next for your campaign?


O'ROURKE: This Thursday, just outside of Dallas, Texas, we're going to have a rally against fear.

At that same time, Donald Trump is going to be in Dallas, Texas. And we know that his message of racism and intolerance, his invitation of violence -- which we saw come home to El Paso on August third -- must be rejected and all of us must stand up against it. Stand up to be counted and stand up to describe an America where everyone has a chance to be successful and no one is disqualified or thought to be dangerous based on our differences.

So this Thursday at 6:00 in Grand Prairie, we're all coming together -- Democrats, Republicans, Independents -- for the best values and traditions of this country. It's a great opportunity not only to stand up against Donald Trump, to stand up for America.

CAMEROTA: And, Congressman, in terms of the longevity of your campaign, what if you don't make the next debate stage and is money an issue?

O'ROURKE: You know, we'll have to make that decision when we get there. I fully expect to be able to qualify. I fully expect that the support that we're seeing on the ground as we travel the country will be reflected in the polls that are necessary to qualify.

And we've seen some signs for encouragement. Our month-over-month fundraising totals have increased every one of the last three months. We raised $1 million more this last quarter than we did the quarter before.

Our sign-ups at to knock on doors or make phone calls or join this grassroots campaign have increased every single month.

So I'm encouraged by what I'm seeing. I'm grateful for all of my fellow Americans who have joined this campaign and I commit to them to make the most of this moment, to bring us together -- bring everyone into the greatest set of challenges that we've ever faced. And make sure that America overcomes them and that we fully develop the greatness of this country for everyone in this country.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Beto O'Rourke, we always appreciate having you on NEW DAY. Thanks so much.

O'ROURKE: Thank you, Alisyn.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Emotions running high at a city council meeting after a deadly police shooting in Fort Worth, Texas.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're here to let you know you better get this because if you don't, it's going to happen one way or another -- one way. Would you rather they voice their opinion here or go to the street?


BERMAN: A live report on where the investigation goes, next.



BERMAN: New calls for the city manager to be fired in Fort Worth, Texas after a deadly police-involved shooting. Protesters brought their complaints to a packed city council meeting just days after Atatiana Jefferson was gunned down in her own home.

CNN's Omar Jimenez live in Fort Worth, Texas with the very latest -- Omar.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, it was a tense Fort Worth city council meeting. Protesters chanting "we don't feel safe." Others standing at the mic calling for city officials to be fired.

Now, on the policy side, Mayor Betsy Price of Fort Worth was there along with other city council members as well.

One of the things that they put forward was the mayor was calling for a third-party investigation to look into the policies and procedures at the Fort Worth Police Department. It's part of what Atatiana Jefferson's family has been calling for since the beginning, saying the police cannot be trusted to investigate themselves.

Now, police spoke on that, partly, during a press conference yesterday. They also touched on morale throughout the police department and that was when the interim chief got emotional before abruptly ending the press conference. This is how it ended.


ED KRAUS, INTERIM POLICE CHIEF, FORT WORTH POLICE DEPARTMENT: It's very emotional because the officers, they try hard every day to try to make this city better.

I likened it yesterday to some of our officers that are out there every weekend and most weeknights -- that they're out there trying to build these relationships -- and I likened it to a bunch of ants building an anthill and that somebody comes with a hose and washes it away and they just have to start from scratch and build it over.

I think that's going to be all -- thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JIMENEZ: An abrupt end. Obviously, a tough time for police officers but an even tougher time for the family of Atatiana Jefferson over the course of this past week.

We learned a lot about what happened inside that home as those officers showed up from an arrest warrant affidavit yesterday.

This account coming from the 8-year-old nephew who watched his aunt get shot and killed in front of him. He told police that they heard a noise outside. She reached for a gun in her purse, pointed it towards the window, and that is when she was shot.

It was an action the police department defended, especially because the officers never identified themselves as police as they were moving through the backyard.

As for the officer -- the former officer now that was arrested in this, Aaron Dean, he's been largely silent over the course of this. He hasn't spoken to police detectives.

But we did hear from his attorney late last night who said that my client is sorry and his family is in shock -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Omar, your report just shows how much pain is caused by any one incident like this. Thank you very much.

OK, time now for "CNN Business Now." The changing economy and automation were big points of discussion during last night's Democratic debate, but how much of a threat is technology to U.S. jobs?

CNN's Christine Romans is here to talk about it. What's the answer?


Well, you know, there's a McKinsey report -- a study that estimates automation could replace one-quarter of U.S. jobs in the next 10 years. So if technology and automation are this big threat ahead, what's the prescription?



SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have an infrastructure which is collapsing. We could put 15 million people to work rebuilding our roads, our bridges, our water systems, our wastewater plants, airports, et cetera.

ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The fact is most Americans do not want to work for the federal government. If we have a freedom dividend of $1,000 a month it actually recognizes the work that is happening in our families and our communities. It helps all Americans transition. SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The data shows that we've had a lot of problems with losing jobs, but the principal reason has been bad trade policy. The principal reason has been a bunch of corporations -- giant, multinational corporations who have been calling the shots on trade.

We also need to make it easier to join a union and give unions more power when they negotiate.

We need to restructure strength in this economy and that's where it starts.


ROMANS: So look, we've heard much of this before -- fix bad trade deals, do a big infrastructure bill. Guarantee basic income at a $1,000 a month for all adults -- that's the Yang plan.

For now, though, the U.S. jobs market is strong; the unemployment rate the lowest since 1969. But the pace of hiring has slowed since 2018 and there are signs the global economy is slowing, too. And cracks are showing in U.S. manufacturing and now, the service sector.

Global growth next year, you guys, forecast to be the weakest since the Great Recession, in part because of the president's trade war.

But last night, the only slam against China policy came from Sen. Sanders to Joe Biden for his past support of free trade deals. It was a missed opportunity on that stage to try to begin chipping away at the president's branding of this economy as a big success, John.

BERMAN: All right, we'll be watching for that as the candidates move forward.

Christine Romans, thank you very much.

So, one theme for last night's debate, go after those at the top. We're going to speak to Sen. Kamala Harris about her night on that debate stage. That's next.




SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is the sixth debate we have had in this presidential cycle and not nearly one word, with all of these discussions about health care, on women's access to reproductive health care, which is under full-on attack in America today, and it's outrageous.


BERMAN: A big unprompted moment in last night's Democratic debate from California Sen. Kamala Harris. She joins us now. Senator Harris, thank you so much for being with us after the debate.

One of the 12 candidates on that stage --

HARRIS: Of course.

BERMAN: -- waking up early. We appreciate it. Nice to see you.

HARRIS: Of course, good to be with you.

BERMAN: Why was it important for you to bring it up? The question was about Medicare for All. It was a general broad-based health care question. But you went out of your way there --


BERMAN: -- to bring up women's reproductive health. Why?

HARRIS: Well, because we've had six debates in this presidential election cycle and there has been virtually no discussion about women's reproductive health care.

Women are the majority population of the country and literally, women will die because of policies and laws that are being passed in states around the country prohibiting or interfering with a women's access to reproductive health.

It is a big issue for women and their families and those who think about women's health issues. But yet, it has received virtually no attention. And, you know, finally -- I just finally had enough. Like, we have to have this conversation.

Poor women and women of color will die because of these laws. That is not an exaggeration. And you know why? Because when these states, like Alabama, for example -- that State Legislature passed a law that would criminalize a physician for up to -- and sentence him or her to up to 99 years in prison for assisting a woman with her reproductive choices.

And we know that women will not actually have access to health care, which means that for a woman to get physican-assisted care she's going to have to travel to another state. Well, that costs money. And a lot of the women who need access to this kind of health care cannot afford to travel to another state, which means they are going to be desperate and they're going to take desperate measures.

And we've seen this in the history of our country where women have died in back alleys --


HARRIS: -- because there have been supposed leaders who have not paid attention to the right women should have to make decisions about their own bodies, and that's why I brought it up.

We are Democrats. This is a debate among Democrats who hope to be President of the United States. And by the sixth debate if this has not been an issue that has come up naturally, yes, I brought it up --

BERMAN: Where are the differences --

HARRIS: -- because it impacts a lot of people.

BERMAN: Where are the differences in the --

HARRIS: What's that?

BERMAN: Where are the differences in the proposals or positions between you on these issues you just brought up -- although I do think my colleagues were going to bring it up later in the debate -- but these issues you brought up? Where are the differences between you on these policies and the other candidates who were on the stage with you?

HARRIS: Well, thankfully, I do believe -- I mean, listen, we've not had enough of a discussion about it but I don't think that there is much of a difference. I think most Democrats, if not all the Democrats on that stage do support and would fight for a woman's access to reproductive health care and for her ability to make a decision about her own body instead of having some out of touch state legislator make a decision about her body.


But the reality of it is that this has not been given much attention. And, John, it's simply a matter of --


HARRIS: -- looking at the many issues that are really issues about justice and injustice in America and recognizing that women's access to reproductive health care is a matter of reproductive justice and it should be a priority subject for us in the debate about who will be the next President of the United States.

BERMAN: Another issue that you brought up last night was the president's Twitter use and the fact that Elizabeth Warren has not called on Twitter to ban the president from Twitter.

I want to play a brief moment of that.



WARREN: I don't just want to push Donald Trump off Twitter, I want to push him out of the White House. That's our job. But the way -- but the -- but let's figure it --

HARRIS: Well, join me, you know -- join me in saying that his Twitter account should be shut down.

WARREN: No, let's figure out --


WARREN: -- why it is that we have had laws on the books for antitrust.


BERMAN: All right. There was a lot of talk about this moment on Twitter, ironically.

Tommy Vietor, who worked for President Obama, put out a note last night saying, "I cannot believe Kamala Harris is pushing this suspend Donald Trump's Twitter account bull (blank) at a presidential debate. It's small ball. She is bigger and better than this."

What's your response to people like Tommy Vietor and others who are watching who might have questions about why you were talking about that?

HARRIS: Well, I respect Tommy and his voice.

But I think on this issue we all need to understand that if you talk with those families in El Paso, if you talk with the family of the whistleblowers, if you talk with the family members of people who have been at the receiving end of Donald Trump's threatening remarks on Twitter, you will know this is no laughing matter. It is a serious matter and it is a matter of the safety of those individuals.

You can look at the fact that the shooter in El Paso was influenced by the words that the President of the United States, unfiltered, uses through this medium on Twitter. He has 65 million followers. And we have to take seriously the implications that are about the witness -- the threatening witnesses, intimidating witnesses, and obstructing justice.

And this is a private company that has rules of engagement, terms of use, and the president should be treated just like anyone else.

And the point also has to be we can't have one set of standards for Facebook and another for Twitter. All of these social media companies and these online platforms, which are so powerful in their ability to impact perception about an issue and to influence behaviors -- let's be clear about that -- there have to be standards and the standards have to be the same. You can't have one standard for Facebook and another for Twitter.

BERMAN: I've got about a minute left.

HARRIS: But the bottom line here is that -- OK, but the bottom line --

BERMAN: Go ahead.

HARRIS: -- here that we have to take very seriously is that -- and I know this as a former prosecutor. When witnesses are threatened -- when witnesses are threatened by the President of the United States, it is a very serious matter and people will be influenced by those threats. And we have to say that it is not OK and that he has -- he has revoked his privilege to use this platform because it is a privilege that can be and should be taken away.

BERMAN: Again, about 30 seconds left now.

As a former prosecutor --


BERMAN: -- Rudy Giuliani is refusing to comply with the subpoenas from the various House committees in the investigation of the impeachment inquiry.

What should happen next to Rudy Giuliani for refusing to comply?

HARRIS: Well, there should be a consequence for that. He needs to -- Rudy Giuliani has demonstrated his ability and desire to circumvent the laws of the United States. It is a tragedy if you look at his career, but the reality of it is that he has been a pawn and a tool for Donald Trump to commit the crimes that he has so clearly committed.

And, Rudy Giuliani should not be above the law and should be held accountable. He should respond to these requests by Congress and if not, there should be some consequence and Congress should take action.

BERMAN: Senator Kamala Harris, thank you again for waking up and joining us this morning. We'll look forward to speaking to you again very soon.

HARRIS: You're welcome, you're welcome -- take care.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" WITH Kristie Lu Stout is next.

And for our U.S. viewers, complete coverage of the debate and all of the impeachment developments. NEW DAY continues right now.


ROMANS: A tough welcome to front-runner status for Elizabeth Warren.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to give a reality check to Elizabeth. No one on this stage wants to protect billionaires.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I went on the floor and got you votes.

WARREN: I am deeply grateful to President Obama.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't need lessons from you on courage, political or personal.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The evidence of obstruction of Congress continues to mount.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): House Democrats have wasted no time throwing fairness and precedent to the wind.

HARRIS: I don't really think this impeachment -