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House Set for Historic Floor Vote on Impeachment Next Week; McConnell Coordinating with White House on Senate Impeachment Trial; Jewish Graves and Cultural Centers Desecrated in France. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired December 14, 2019 - 08:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're defending the Constitution and we're defending the integrity of the 2020 president election.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To use the power of impeachment on this nonsense is an embarrassment to this country.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: The North Korean state media are announcing what it calls another successful, quote, crucial test.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's promised a Christmas gift. He's promised a year of end deadline for the U.S. to change its attitude, so we really feel like we're going back to familiar territory here.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Eight o'clock here in the east. Good morning to you. President Trump is now just one step away from impeachment. The full House is expected to vote on two articles Wednesday. They are abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. If passed that could make President Trump the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Now the president has a lot to say about this and apparently is up for a political fight. We've learned he would prefer a long Senate trial with witnesses and he thinks the spectacle of an impeachment trial could actually give him a political boost here. CNN's Kristen Holmes at the White House now, so the president we know is doubling down on this July phone call with Ukraine, insisting that it was perfect. What else do we know from the white house this morning?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. Well he certainly is and of course this isn't surprising; we've seen this over and over again during this entire impeachment inquiry. And as he gears up for this trial in the Senate, do not expect President Trump to retreat. As you said, Christi, he would prefer a lengthier trial with some of those big name witnesses. Think about a big reality TV show. It would be Adam Schiff, the unnamed whistle-blower. However, Senate Republicans are trying to steer him away from that idea. They say opening the door to more witnesses on their side would mean more witnesses on the Democrat side which could be detrimental to President Trump.

However, while President Trump cannot contain -- he cannot decide what exactly is going to happen, what this trial will actually look like, that's left to Senate Republicans, what he can determine is what his messaging will be. If the next couple of weeks are anything like what we saw this week, expect a lot of angry tweets and a lot of outrage. This is President Trump just yesterday after those articles were approved in the House Judiciary Committee.


TRUMP: I think it's a horrible thing to be using the tool of impeachment which is supposed to be used in an emergency and it would seem many, many, many years apart to be using this for a perfect phone call where the president of that country said there was no pressure once or ever, didn't even know what we were talking about. It was perfect, the relationship is perfect.


HOLMES: And Christi and Victor, one very important thing to note here is that a lot of Republicans, even those who are defenders of President Trump have said it was not a perfect phone call. They just say it doesn't rise to the level of impeachment.

BLACKWELL: Let's look ahead to the Senate trial, likely that's coming after the president is impeached next week. Mitch McConnell is defending some comments me made Fox News about coordination with the White House on strategy to defend the president. What is his defense and explain the controversy.

HOLMES: So we have to look at it like an actual trial, the Senate trial, this impeachment. All of the Senators are meant to sit as impartial jurors and that is why when we go up to a lot of these Senators and ask them to comment on what's going on in this inquiry they say look, I'm an impartial juror, I can't comment, that would be inappropriate.

Now you have the head of the jury saying he's working with the White House, that he's on the same side as the White House which has caused a lot of outrage among House Republicans. Some of them even saying that he should recuse himself. However, Mitch McConnell says that there is a precedent for this.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): It was done during the Clinton impeachment as well. Not surprisingly President Clinton and the Democrats and the Senate were coordinating their strategy; were on the same side.


HOLMES: And Tom Daschle who was the Senate Majority Leader during Clinton's impeachment, he again is a Democrat. He said he never spoke with President Clinton, however, his office was in constant coordination with the White House. This is just a necessary for the logistical aspects of impeachment.

BLACKWELL: Kristen Holmes for us there at the White House. Kristen, thank you so much.

PAUL: CNN Legal Analyst Elie Honig with us now, former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and Presidential Historian Tim Naftali is with us as well. Gentlemen, good morning, glad to have you with us.



PAUL: Tim, I want to talk to you -- start with you specifically about what we just heard there from leader McConnell. Compare that with what happened back in the 90s with lead Daschle. Is it applicable? Is that comparison applicable?


NAFTALI: Well, what's really important is that Leader McConnell has to make the same effort that Leader Trent Lott, who was then the majority leader, a Republican in the Senate in 1980, the same effort to create a set of rules that both sides will be comfortable with and the American people will be comfortable with.

Tom Daschle and Trent Lott worked together to create these rules and then 100 Senators voted in behalf of the rules of the Senate trial of William Jefferson Clinton. And the question today is will Leader McConnell, whose first comments about this have been that he's coordinating his actions with the White House. Will he be capable and willing to work with Senator Schumer to create a similar set of rules that 100 Senators in the current Senate will find acceptable.

PAUL: So Elie, you also heard there that there are people - there are lawmakers who are saying, you know what? Leader McConnell just has to recuse himself. This isn't working. To that you say what?

HONIG: Well he won't recuse himself. Nobody can force him to. That's up to Mitch McConnell. But I do think what he has done here is a real problem. First of all, I think it's a problem. There are senators on both sides who have already voiced where they're leaning or maybe more on impeachment. I don't think they should do that.

Every one of those 100 Senators is going to have to raise his and her hand in a couple weeks and swear an oath to be impartial judges of the evidence. But what Mitch McConnell is doing goes way beyond the pale here. First of all he's the most important Senator right now; he's the most powerful one. And to be - and he - he said yesterday, he even boasted essentially, I will be coordinating on everything with the White House with one of the parties in front of him and he's all but guaranteed an acquittal.

Both of those things I think really undermine confidence, public confidence in this being a fair and open process.

PAUL: So speaking of a fair and open process, help explain for us the balance, Elie, the balance of power with Justice Roberts and Leader McConnell. Paul Callan was on last hour and he called Justice Roberts a wild card because he will have a certain amount of power there. The question is what will he do with it?

HONIG: Yes, there's a certain unknown about what Chief Justice Roberts will do and Tim, I think can confirm this from a historian's perspective but when Chief Justice Rehnquist presided in 1999, he did very little. He had a famous quote saying something like I did very little and I was quite good at it.

But look, this is ultimately up to there's two ways they can work out the rules here. One is they can reach an agreement like Trent Lott and Tom Daschle did in '99 and that would be Schumer and McConnell now and if they can't, then we're into sort of open game here and Chief Justice Roberts has to decide do I want to be hands on? Do I want to enforce rulings? But ultimately the majority is going to carry the day here. The Republicans under McConnell do have the majority under the Senate rules; they get to set the rules and procedures. So I would not expect Chief Justice Roberts to take over and sort of override the will of the majority.

PAUL: Tim?

NAFTALI: Well, I -- I agree with Elie. The precedent after all, Chief Justice Rehnquist was following Chief Justice Salmon Chases' original precedent. I don't expect Chief Justice Roberts to actually create a whole new role for himself. That's why I get back to the importance of the rules. It's really important for Mitch McConnell, if he has any credibility left, to go to Schumer and start the process of working out rules that are respected and appreciated and supported by both sides of the aisle. Part of those rules will involve the number of witnesses. President Trump clearly wants a show trial. He wants a reality TV show. But it's up to these Senators to decide how many witnesses there will be and whether those witnesses will be live witnesses or witnesses on video tape which was the case in 1999.

That has to be determined. That's why it's so important for the two sides to be working together and why Mitch McConnell's comments have been so damaging to the process.

PAUL: And the verbiage that we've heard from both sides is very intentional. It seems so far. The Democrats, for instance, keep putting out there the president has given us no choice in this regard. Is this an opportunity for Democrats to kind of sell their message for 2020? Elie?

HONIG: Oh, sure. I men look, Donald Trump has sort of - one thing you hear from the Democrats over and over is that Donald Trump has really forced their hand and you heard the clip just now of Donald Trump saying. Wow this is too dangerous. We can't be impeaching every few years.

Look, the question is what did Donald Trump do in order to make this happen? And I think Democrats - I think Democrats are under no illusion here. I think that in all likelihood, the overwhelming likelihood, the Senate acquits and likely on a straight party line vote. But I think if you listen to Democrats this week during the debate they said we have a Constitutional duty here and it's more important that we draw a precedent that you cannot get away with some of the things Donald Trump has done.

PAUL: Tim real quickly, what do you think is the - what is the state of the country when this is all over Tim?


NAFTALI: What one doesn't want to see happen is the normalization of impeachment. If the Democrats get a chance to lay out the grounds for the two articles of impeachment, the evidence that exists, the public will understand there has to be a threshold of evidence. If on the other hand the Republican message that we saw in the debates and House Judiciary Committee really capture the imagination of the American people and the American people think that there's no evidence behind this just hatred for President Trump. I think this will mean that impeachment will be used more and more often in the future. It's a traumatic instrument to use and should only be used in the most serious of cases.

PAUL: Elie Honig, Tim Naftali, I appreciate both of you being here. Gentlemen, thank you for your time.

HONIG: Thank you.

NAFTALI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Breaking overnight, North Korea has claimed for the second time in a little more than a week that it has conducted a crucial test at a missile launch site. State run media claims the test happened Friday at a facility northwest of Pyongyang and they say it was part of a nuclear deterrent system. But North Korea will not say exactly what it tested and South Korean officials say they're unable to confirm any specifics.

PAUL: Big move by the Supreme Court. Justices say now they will hear cases regarding President Trump's tax returns and other financial records. The question a lot of people are asking is is this a win for the president?

BLACKWELL: And a family claims hackers accessed their home security cameras and watched their daughter in her bedroom.

PAUL: Also we are counting down to kickoff of the 120th Army-Navy game. Coy Wire can you feel it?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, home of the Declaration of Independence. Philly cheese steaks, Boyz II Men and one of America's greatest sporting rivalries, the Army-Navy game. Yo Adrienne. We'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: The Supreme Court says it will hear cases over President Trump's financial records.

PAUL: The president is asking the justices to overturn three lower court rulings that require him to hand over those documents. CNN's Ariane de Vogue walks us through this.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Supreme Court will decide by June three major cases concerning whether the House and the New York prosecutor can subpoena Trump's long-time accounting firm and two of his banks for financial documents. The cases will be decided in the heat of the election campaign. No documents are going to go forward for now while the justices consider the cases.

Trump has shielded his documents on multiple fronts since before the election and the case has implications far beyond impeachment and the Trump era. The House subpoenas in two of the cases go to Congress' power to investigate. The House wants the documents as it looks into Trump finances, foreign interference in elections and hush money.

Trump says that the House has exceeded its authority when asking for these documents. In a separate case, that goes to Trump's claims of absolute immunity from state criminal proceedings. Lower courts ruled against the president citing cases concerning President Nixon and President Clinton. After the proceedings are over what the Supreme Court grants mean today that President Trump's legal problems are far from over; they will continue. Ariane de Vogue, CNN, Washington.

BLACKWELL: So Elie stuck around to answer a question or two about this; thank you for that Elie. First, Jay Sekulow, the president's attorney, optimistic, grateful that the court took the case. A bit of disappointment we saw from Nancy Pelosi. Is this a win for the president?

HONIG: It's a temporary win, really more of a temporary reprieve. Now the Supreme Court will give us the final answer as they should do. And look, it's interesting trying to forecast how this might come out because as Ariane just mentioned, this is three different cases combined into one. Six different courts have heard these cases and each of the three, the district court which is the trial level and then the intermediate court of appeals. All six of those courts have said those tax returns have to be produced.

So far it's six for six against Donald Trump. How is it going to come out in the Supreme Court? We can't know for sure but I think we're see a closely divided court.

BLACKWELL: Yes, speaking of the court, quickly detail for us the importance of this court ruling on this - on these I should say, cases. HONIG: Yes, so in order for the Supreme Court to take a case it

requires four of the nine justices. At least four have said we want to take that case. I think we're likely to see primarily a split along the four typically liberal judges and the four typically conservative judges. I think your swing vote now is going to be Chief Justice John Roberts and we've seen although he is conservative by background and has conservative credentials, he's becoming more unpredictable and he has sided with the liberal group most recently in the case just last term on the census and citizenship question. He swung over, sided with the liberals and swung that case 5-4 so as we're seeing often here Victor, Chief Justice Roberts is going to be the one to watch.

BLACKWELL: We saw that here. We saw that with the individual mandate. He has often surprised some conservatives. Elie Honig, thanks so much.

HONIG: Thanks Victor.

PAUL: Mississippi's 15 week abortion ban was ruled unconstitutional yesterday. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the ban. It is the latest legal blow to an effort by a conservative-leaning state to restrict abortions. Now Mississippi is also fighting a federal ruling on a six-week abortion ban. That's before the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals as well.

BLACKWELL: Still to come, Democratic presidential candidates threaten to miss next week's debate if they have to cross a labor union picket line. We'll have more on that.



PAUL: Twenty-two minutes past the hour. Welcome back. All seven Democratic candidates who qualified for next week's debate say they will not participate if they have to cross a labor union picket line and there may be one because there is right now a labor dispute involving food service workers at Loyola Marymount University and the debate, of course, is being held there.

BLACKWELL: So Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren all tweeted in solidarity with - here the Local 11. Ironically the unity comes as Senator Elizabeth Warren doubles down on her criticism of rivals Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden. Joining me now to discuss is Julia Manchester, political reporter from "The Hill" and "Politico" reporter Alex Thompson who is covering the 2020 campaigns. Welcome back to both of you.


Blackwell: Julia, let me start with you and I'm going to start with a bit of sound from Senator Warren. She's not naming anyone. She names Mayor Bloomberg later but I want you to listen to the criticisms of both former Vice President Biden and now former Mayor Pete Butigieg.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ELIZABETH WARREN, 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Unlike some candidates for the Democratic nomination, I am not counting on Republican politicians having an epiphany and suddenly supporting the kinds of tax increases on the rich or big business accountability that they've opposed under Democratic presidents for a generation.


BLACKWELL: Is this - I mean we've seen the dip in polling, Julia. We don't know if there's some correlation here but is this resonating, is this helping her campaign getting a little more aggressive?

MANCHESTER: Well, what we really have to see if this actually helps her campaign, this more intense rhetoric from Senator Warren really comes as she has dipped in the polls and as Buttigieg has risen. I think she's very much trying to position herself as that progressive alternative to Buttigieg and Biden. So it makes sense that she would go on the attack at this point.

But going back to that labor dispute involving the DNC at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, it was interesting because Senator Warren actually was the first candidate to essentially come out and suggest that she would threaten to boycott the debate with all of this. So I think this is her very much trying to position herself and trying to hold on to her front-runner progressive status.


And we see that she hasn't really taken off the gloves when it comes to going after Senator Bernie Sanders but I don't want to ignore him in all of this discussion because there was an interesting poll that came out of South Carolina yesterday that showed him for the first time very much edging up on former Vice President Joe Biden in the state. This was the first time that Joe Biden did not have a double digit lead in the state so I think that suggests that Bernie Sanders who has had very consistent support throughout this primary could be edging up and I think that's something that Senator Warren needs to be aware of.

BLACKWELL: You know what's interesting about Senator Sanders is that one of the narratives of the 2016 campaign was his challenge with African-American voters but the most recent poll out of South Carolina showed that he was just second to former Vice President Joe Biden with African-American voters. The two of them split more than 60 percent of support among black voters.

Let me stay with Bernie Sanders and come to you Alex. That I guess now retractred endorsement of Cenk Uygur who is running to replace Katie Hill in California. His campaign tweeted out Cenk Uygur has been a long time fighter against corruption. However our movement is bigger than any one person. I hear my supporters who are frustrated and understand their concerns. Cenk today said he is rejecting all endorsements for his campaign and I retract my endorsement. This is after people I guess learn more about the comments he made about African-Americans and women and Muslims and Jews. Is this a misstep from the campaign? How are they explaining this? ALEX THOMPSON, REPORTER FOR "POLITICO": Well that seems a pretty convenient way to make the best of a bad political situation where the candidate just said actually, I don't want to take any endorsements and that allowed Bernie Sanders to sort of say I'm respecting his wishes without ever having to admit that he made a mistake.

You know, it appears that the Sanders campaign was not prepared for the backlash they were going to face. They were warned, especially the California team was warned about this is a politically fraught issue. It is an incredibly important swing district and, you know, previous writings and comments are problematic. Especially when they are replacing a Congresswoman who left after revenge porn was leaked about her and has become a little bit of a feminist rallying cry.

So you know, the Sanders campaign was clearly caught a little bit flat footed but, you know, to the earlier point, he has raised the most money. He has raised the most money from the most donors. He has the most robust small dollar operation in politics and he was the runner- up last time so I think it would be a mistake to count him out but certainly for this organization that you've seen with replacing two early state directors, doing some reshuffling and layering in others, it doesn't bode well exactly either.

BLACKWELL: Julia, back to you. "The New York Times" reporting this weekend that President Trump is suspicious of the Commission on Presidential Debates and this is their reporting. You have to take the president's comments sometimes with a grain of salt, but the possibility that he will not participate in the 2020 presidential debates, is this something that Republicans could carry, the Democrats could fight against? What are you hearing about this?

MANCHESTER: You know, I think at this point if President Trump were actually to not participate in those general election debates that would be a huge issue for his campaign. Remember, even though he is President of the United States and he already has this vast platform, a bigger platform than any of the Democratic candidates running right now, the debates are very much an opportunity for any candidate running to position their ideas against their opponents' and very much go one on one with their opponents and have the American people observe that.

I don't know if it would be the best public relations move. I don't think his political base, who has been very loyal to him will necessarily care but that could definitely hurt him, I would say, with potentially independent swing voters. It could just be seen as him more stirring the pot and creating more of a distraction. However, I think, you know, in the grand scheme of things, I don't think these debates are a top priority for voters, but I don't necessarily think it would play well for President Trump.


THOMPSON: You know, I think a lot of this was baked back in 2016. If you'll remember, the first debate his internal microphone inside the room wasn't working. The next debate, the commissioner intervened and didn't want him to bring a woman who had previously accused President Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct; they didn't want to let him bring those women into the booth. So he has been frustrated and aggrieved with this commission for a long time.

I would expect that and my sources within the Trump world sort of expect that he is going to complain, he is going to whine, he's going to try to push to get as favorable standards as possible. By the end of the day he will probably end up debating and this is a little bit more of a strategic move to gain leverage with the Commission rather than a serious threat.


BLACKWELL: All right. We will have to use one of the president's phrases, we will see. Alex Thompson, Julia Manchester, good to have you both this morning.

MANCHESTER: Thank you.

THOMPSON: Thanks so much.

PAUL: So the spectacle of the 120th Army-Navy game, today, a display of balance between service and sports and Coy Wire is in Philly. And Coy, listen no one did it better it and the man you're about to talk to, yes?

WIRE: Yes. One of the greatest football players the planet has ever seen, Roger Staubach with us next. We're going to talk a little about the game, the history and maybe a prediction from the star Q.B. coming up after the break.


PAUL: 120th Army-Navy game. You know it happening today. One of football's greatest legends knows what it means to be part of that tradition.

BLACKWELL: Coy Wire is live at Philadelphia with Hall of Famer and Navy Alum Roger Staubach. Hey Coy.

WIRE: It's a great privilege. Good morning to you Victor and Christi. It's Army and Navy today but also they brought out these big blowers so they brought the Air Force to keep the field dry. I am here with the football legend, Navy's Heisman-winning quarterback, two-time Super Bowl champ with the Dallas Cowboys and NFL Hall of Famer, Roger Staubach. And you have a special role in today's game.


ROGER STAUBACH, NFL HALL OF FAME MEMBER AND FORMER DALLAS COWBOYS QUARTERBACK: Yes, well the coin toss, it's got the Army-Navy on the 120th year and USAA is a sponsor for the service academies and the game and they put this coin together. It's going to be the coin toss.

WIRE: Yes and last year President Donald Trump actually flipped this coin. He will be here again today, so presumably he could flip it yet again. STAUBACH: I wonder if he will have the same coin with him?

WIRE: Yes.

STAUBACH: We'll give him another one.

WIRE: Hang on to that one. Now, Mr. Staubach, I have to know, with all of your success over the years, a great leader, how did the U.S. Naval Academy prepare you?

STAUBACH: Well the academy of leadership was the name of the game. The responsibilities when you go in as a (inaudible), when you graduate you're ready to have men and women working for you. I mean, it's a major responsibility but over those four years, it taught me a lot that had a lot to do with being in the service when I was in the service. And also I was in the - I've had a real estate company for over 40 years and - and what I was taught at the Naval Academy was the foundation for my life really. It was a - it was a great experience. I mean, I had four years there and still close to the academy and still my closest friends are Naval Academy graduates. my life is Naval Academy.

WIRE: Now you still look like you could strike a Heisman pose, too. Now these players that we'll see in this game today. They never seek out award or accolades but this day we do get to highlight and celebrate those who have chosen to serve our country. Today's uniforms - Navy - it is very special back to the 60s. You and Joe Bellino, the two Heisman winners are featured on the uniforms. They're going to be representing you and what you meant to this organization.


WIRE: ...and this service academy. What does that mean to you?

STAUBACH: Well you know Joe was - when I was a (inaudible), Joe had just graduated and he stayed back. Some of the varsity players were able to stay and help coach the (inaudible) football team, so I met Joe. I watched him play and then all of the sudden I got a chance to meet Joe Bellino and I just wish he was here. We just lost Joe not too long ago so to be on the helmet, I would never have dreamed I was going to be on a helmet with my number with Joe Bellino. So ...

WIRE: It's a well-deserved honor and one other honor that happens on the field today, each Navy football player will be wearing a jersey with a specific patch representing someone who served in our U.S. Navy. This is Caleb King who was died in a plane crash just last year. What does that say about this game?

STAUBACH: Well it just - it shows the - how much we love our brethren. It's honoring - in our country today we're honoring our military. I mean I go back to the Viet Nam era and there was a lot of protesting today. We are honoring our military and it feels so good when someone comes up to you and says thank you for your service.

So we, of course, honoring Caleb along with many others. We can do here at the Army-Navy game. WIRE: From Victor, Christi, all of our viewers and myself, thank you for your service and for being here with us today. It's a great privilege. They say it's the only game being played where everyone on the field is willing to give their life for everyone watching. Victor, Christi.


BLACKWELL: He snuck in that Go Navy there at the end. Thank you both. All right, a family claims that hackers accessed their home security cameras and watched their daughter.

PAUL: And we've got the video to show you. Also former Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin defending hundreds of pardons he issued in his last days in office. The fallout from these controversial pardons. Who could be back on the street?



BLACKWELL: Welcome back. A couple of minutes ago during our political conversation in referencing Senator Elizabeth Warren's comments about former Vice President Joe Biden, I also say former Mayor Pete Buttigieg. That's wrong. He's still the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. I apologize for that slip. I just wanted to clear that up before we moved on with the show.

All right, let's go to these families who are claiming that hackers accessed their security cameras giving them live feeds of their front doors, their living rooms, even their bedrooms. Watch this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm your best friend. I'm Santa Clause.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm - I'm Santa Clause. Don't you want to be my best friend?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you bring like a web browser up on your phone and then type in the website that I tell you?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why? I'll leave you and your family alone.


PAUL: OK, so that first one was an 8-year-old girl in her bedroom. You heard her call for her mommy because it was so frightening to her. The second one was a family in Florida. Put yourself in their position. They're just in their home and all of a sudden this voice starts talking to them and telling them things about their lives. Makes you wonder how long have you been watching and what do you know about our family? Well Ring which makes these devices in these particular instances says its services have not been compromised.

The company says some users' log-in information could have been accessed through other means. So they're encouraging users to use different passwords obviously for each account and certainly set up that two-factor authentication that adds an extra layer of security to your account and even a lot of the tech experts that we talk to say that two-factor authentication is key.

BLACKWELL: Can you imagine just in your house making a sandwich and a voice now says go to this web site and I'll leave you alone. That is frightening.

PAUL: It's frightening.

BLACKWELL: All right, let's go to Kentucky. Former Governor Matt Bevin, he's defending his decision to pardon or commute hundreds of prison sentences. Bevin narrowly lost his reelection bid and now is on his way out pardoned hundreds of criminals including convicted rapists, murderers, sex offenders. Last night Bevin dismissed accusations he used the pardon power inappropriately. This is the tweet from the former governor. "Am I perfect? No, never have been but I did my very best over many hours, days, weeks and years to reach fair and just decisions. Not one person receiving a pardon would I not welcome as a co-worker, neighbor or to sit beside me or any member of my family in a church pew or at a public event.

PAUL: CNN'S Natasha Chen reports on the fallout though from his controversial actions.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Before walking out of the governor's mansion this week, Kentucky Republican Matt Bevin pardoned this man who sexually assaulted a 15-year old boy, a drunk driver who killed a pastor and his wife, a man who decapitated a woman and left her body in a barrel, a woman who threw her newborn in a septic tank at a flea market, a man who at age 16 killed his parents and left their bodies in a basement and this man who raped a 9-year-old girl and served less than 18 months out of his 23 year sentence. The victim's mother says, it's a slap in the face.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It feels like we're going through it all over again. We just got to the point where we felt safe leaving the house.

CHEN: Kenton County Prosecutor Rob Sanders told CNN the man hadn't served enough time to even begin sex offender treatment.


ROB SANDERS, KENTON COUNTY PROSECUTOR: It shocks the conscious. It's offensive. It's mind boggling how any governor could be this irresponsible. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: Now there's also a question of political favoritism.


SEN. MORGAN MCGARVEY (D-KY): We have someone who is convicted of killing someone in front of his wife at his home, who pulled the trigger.


CHEN: State lawmakers say they want to investigate this case because the family of the man pardoned raised more than $20,000 last year to help Bevin.


MCGARVEY: Bottom line, if it looks like a duck and talks like a duck, you got to look into whether or not it's a duck.


CHEN: Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.

BLACKWELL: Well, still plenty of questions that will follow after that.

Still to come, Jewish graveyards, schools, cultural centers in France were all attacked with hate graffiti and the threat of more remains. We'll discuss ahead.



BLACKWELL: French authorities are investigating after more than 100 Jewish graves were desecrated in communities near the German border.

PAUL: The damage is just the latest sign of rising hate around the globe and CNN's Melissa Bell walks us through it.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tombstones marked by hate, but also cultural centers, town halls, schools. In all, 42 anti-Semitic attacks in the (inaudible) region of Alsace in just 18 months. This cemetery in the village of Westhoffen is just the latest to be desecrated; 107 of its tombs were found marked with swastikas earlier in this month, and although the cleanup operation is underway, for a region as troubled as this one by anti-Semitic attacks, the stain will be harder to remove.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This kind of symbol touched more than you think. It's awakening the history, part of the family line died in Auschwitz and in the Holocaust. So to see it here where I live, there is a disease in the society. BELL: France's Interior Minister visited Westhoffen announcing the creation of a national task force. When the graveyard at Quatzeheim was attacked, it was the French President who came. Another case that remains unsolved.

A source close to the investigation says that locals are believed to be responsible. Locals who may have been incited by global websites. While the hunt for the culprits continues, we wanted to find out where they're finding encouragement. Two French language sites registered in Panama and the Bahamas and enabled to stay online by an American company, White Europe and Participatory Democracy(ph) both shared pictured of the attacks in Alsace. White Europe celebrating these exemplary actions by the proud people of Alsace that show us the way. Reached for comment, White Europe told us they stand behind their posts.

Participatory Democracy told CNN that while they don't condone the attacks, they do believe that it's all a Jewish conspiracy. Both sites celebrating the number 14, a reference to a slogan coined by the late American White Supremacist David Lane, and which was also found graffiti'd on one of the Westhoffen tombs.

Both of these sites used the American internet infrastructure company Cloudflare which provides protection from cyber-attacks. Both sites openly celebrate anti-Semitism and that here in France is a crime. Now in the past Cloudflare has discontinued its services to (inaudible) in the wake of the El Paso mass shooting and to the American neo-Nazi blog, "Daily Stormer." So why the different treatment when it comes to hate speech that is in French? Cloudflare have not responded to CNN's questions.

CNN also found that Facebook which does not allow "Daily Stormer" posts to be shared, did allow posts from both the French sites. Until CNN reached out for comment after which it blocked them. Twitter allowed sharing from all three sites but told CNN that it's taking action to prevent linking to such content.

We asked France's Interior Minister in an exclusive interview if the United States was doing enough to help tackle the problem?


CHRISTOPHE CASTANER, FRENCH INTERIOR MINISTER: (Through interpreter) No. My answer is clear because there is a clear difference of culture. It is not about opposing French or European culture to American culture. But clearly on these subjects there is a belief in the freedom to say anything and everything. I believe that there is no freedom when it is us and our fundamental values that are being attacked.


BELL: The tomb of Guillaume Debre's family was amongst those desecrated in Westoffen. He has yet to show a picture of it to his young daughters.


GUILAUME DEBRE, GRAVES OF HIS FAMILY WERE DESECRATED: It's as if you're marking on sacred stone, it's as if you're marking that spell out hate and in this country, generations have understood what hate mean and what it can lead to.


BELL: The last two in Westhoffen was buried last year. Roger Khan (ph) hid during the Nazi occupation escaping the camps and dying peacefully in his sleep at 88 but with websites celebrating attacks on tombs like his, the question is whether it is in peace that he will now be allowed to rest. Melissa Bell, CNN, Alsace.

BLACKWELL: Thank you Melissa for that report. We're back at 10 for "CNN Newsroom."

PAUL: Smerconish is up after a quick break. Stay close.