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Bloomberg Campaign Adviser, Geoffrey Canada, Discusses Last Night's Debate, Stop-and-Frisk & Racial Profiling; Roger Stone Sentenced to 3 Years, 4 Months in Prison; Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D- IL) Discusses the Roger Stone Sentencing, Possible Presidential Pardon, Trump Choosing Richard Grenell as DNI; Vanderbilt Law Professor, Ingrid Wuerth, Discusses Susan Rice Admonishing John Bolton for Withholding Impeachment Testimony. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired February 20, 2020 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
GEOFFREY CANADA, SENIOR ADVISER, MICHAEL BLOOMBERG PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & PRESIDENT, HARLEM CHILDREN'S ZONE: Trust me, I know Mike. I've been with him over 20 years, working with him in city government, working with him around the foundation work. Mike is going to come back and have a much stronger debate a week from now. You can trust me when I tell you that.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right, we'll be watching to see if your prediction is correct.
Of course, Stop-and-Frisk came up. We saw that over and over again. That's the policing policy of essentially racial profiling black and Hispanic New Yorkers. You're obviously supporting Mike Bloomberg but you're also working with tens of thousands of kids in New York.
This was Bloomberg's explanation for this policy last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE & FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: When I got into office, there was 650 murders a year in New York City. And I thought that my first responsibility was to give people the right to live. That's the basic right of everything.
And we started -- we adopted a policy which had been in place, the policy that all big police departments use of Stop-and-Frisk. What happened was, however, it got out of control.
When I discovered that we were doing too many Stop-and-Frisks, we cut 95 percent of it out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I want to ask you about this, because he said he stopped his policy once he saw the negative effect it was having on the community. He said he cut 95 percent of the Stop-and-Frisks. But the occurrence, actually, of Stop-and-Frisk was still higher when he left office than when he entered.
Just how prevalent this was a testimony to the fact that he cut 95 percent of it and that 5 percent still made it higher. Also, he didn't really reverse course until it became clear that a court was going to intervene and force him to.
So why do you think that Americans should take him at his word when he's not being fully transparent about his record?
CANADA: So, look, I was one of the folks when Mike was at city hall or was talking with him about Stop-and-Frisking, saying to him, I think this policy has gotten out of control and you need to change it. A lot of folks were saying, Mike, stop thinking about this until the court case came.
Mike started thinking about this when I brought it up. We got into arguments over this. He believed this was going to reduce the murder rate, which he knew I was concerned about, my kids being killed in New York City, and he kept arguing, Geoff, I'm saving your kids, and I kept saying, Mike, this is going too far. Yes, he apologized, he got there late.
But let me tell you what I wish Mike would have explained to America last night. Mike came to a number of us, who are African-American, and said, what can I do to demonstrate to the African-American community my commitment to dealing with not just what happened in New York City but the hundreds of years of a legacy in this country where African- Americans have been denied?
He came up with a plan. It was called the Greenwood Plan. I happen to know what's in that plan because I helped prepare it and write it. It is the most progressive set of responses for African-Americans of any candidate running. I will debate the Greenwood Plan with anybody when it comes to what Mike is planning to do for African-Americans in this country.
So should they be upset about Stop-and-Frisk? Yes, they should.
KEILAR: It's not Stop-and-Frisk. It's not just Stop-and-Frisk.
But I wonder, should he be -- I know you said he was thinking about this, but you also admit he was pushing back on you when you were counseling him --
KEILAR: -- because it had gone too far.
KEILAR: He's not representing the numbers accurately, either. It makes it sound like he eradicated what was going on when actually the occurrence of Stop-and-Frisk was higher when he left office than when it began. It still remained higher under him. As part of this explaining to people -- you know, you were arguing it.
You know how young people were affected by this.
KEILAR: Does he need to be more transparent --
KEILAR: -- and honest about his record?
CANADA: I think if folks were there and he apologized for this, I felt it was sincere and heartfelt.
But let me tell you one of the challenges when it comes to criminal justice and this campaign. People are acting like Mike Bloomberg is the reason you had this explosion of arrests and jailing of African- Americans in this country. And it was not Mike Bloomberg.
Why is it that other people on the stage don't have to answer for their criminal injustice policies, which didn't, in quotes, "throw kids against the wall" but actually put people in jail for decades
CANADA: -- around a set of policies --
CANADA: -- that were discriminatory?
KEILAR: They've been in debates for a long time and they have answered questions about that.
CANADA: I don't believe that that question has been fully vetted and fully answered.
And I think when we look at what happened in that crime bill, what the actual changes were that led to this massive incarceration around this country, I think there are a lot of folks on that stage last night who should be asked about their policies and not just say, Mike Bloomberg's policies were the ones that were detrimental to this community.
There's a lot of explaining folks have to do, who are in positions of power when it comes to criminal justice and African-Americans.
But I will tell you this. They can explain away. But Mike has a plan and his plan is serious. And I think when African-Americans come to really see this plan, they're going to have a choice.
Do we believe that Mike Bloomberg is putting us number one when it comes to taking care of our people, our children, our issues? And I think they're going to reach a conclusion I did, which is, yes, Mike is going to make this his number-one priority when he's elected president.
KEILAR: Geoffrey, thank you so much. Geoffrey Canada, with us from New York. We appreciate it.
CANADA: Thank you for having me.
KEILAR: And tonight, do not miss Joe Biden and Senator Elizabeth Warren. They are in a CNN special town hall before the Nevada caucuses. And this all starts at 8:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.
We're now back to our breaking news. Roger Stone sentenced to more than three years in prison. That sentence handed down just minutes ago. We'll have more details ahead.
Plus, a contentious showdown. As former national security adviser, Susan Rice, tells John Bolton, President Trump's former national security advisor, that she finds it inconceivable that John Bolton did not testify during the impeachment trial.
KEILAR: We have more with our breaking news. Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced longtime Trump friend and ally, Roger Stone, to 40 months in prison for seven counts of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering during the course of the Russia investigation.
Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi is joining me now. He serves on the Intelligence Committee as well as on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Thank you for being with us.
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Good afternoon, Brianna.
KEILAR: Do you think the president is going to pardon Roger Stone, and if he does, where does that leave us, where does it leave the country?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I think he's dangled the pardon often with regard to Mr. Stone and Mr. Flynn, in part to, in my opinion, to signal to them that if they stay on the team, that they don't reveal further information that they might possess about the president that they'll be taken care of.
The interesting part about this, however, is if he does pardon them, they could be called to testify before Congress at some point and they would not be able to invoke their right against self-incrimination, their Fifth Amendment right.
I think he's walking a fine line. I think he's dangling this pardon but not necessarily offering it because he doesn't want them to talk.
KEILAR: That's very interesting.
But if he does pardon them, aside from the fact, as you say, that it could open up information that, for instance, Roger Stone might know, that he might then have to share that with Congress, although it's difficult to see how he might, where do you think that -- what message does it send that the president would be willing to pardon Roger Stone?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, the pardon power has been given to the president for those cases where people show remorse or contrition, they've served their time, and none of those things necessarily apply to Mr. Stone.
I think Judge Jackson in court talked about how brazen his conduct was and how he basically made a spectacle of his lies and performance. I think that would be deeply disturbing if he were pardoned here.
KEILAR: I want to ask you about President Trump appointed the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, as his acting direction of National Intelligence. In your roll on the Intel Committee, this is of utmost concern to you.
In direct contrast to his predecessors, Grenell has zero intelligence- related experience. He is very loyal to Mr. Trump. Are there any concerns specifically you have about him?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Yes. He has zero intelligence or national security experience.
You know, the reason the DNI was created in the first place was because of 9/11 and the intelligence failure surrounding that, subsequent intelligence failures with weapons of mass destruction around the Iraq war, meant that the American people demanded that the Intelligence Community produce the truth.
And that is what every DNI or acting DNI has tried to do by gathering the best evidence and facts from 17 different agencies and collecting that for policymakers to make the right judgment and protecting our national security.
When you have someone like Grenell being nominated, again -- I'm sorry, not nominated but being selected as an acting DNI, what the president is elevating is not necessarily a truth teller but someone who is going to potentially shade the truth for the president's personal benefit.
We don't need a director of national propaganda, however. We need a director of national intelligence.
KEILAR: Congressman, thank you so much. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, we're so thankful that you came in.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you, Brianna. KEILAR: And former national security advisor, Susan Rice, taking John Bolton to task for not being more forthcoming during the president's impeachment trial.
Plus, President Trump flexing his muscle in the two weeks since he was acquitted. The growing list of actions he has taken since then, next.
KEILAR: So while many people were watching the debate, there was another stage across the country hosting a contentious showdown, this time in Nashville. Former national security adviser, Susan Rice, did not hold back when she told her former Trump administration counterpart, John Bolton, about withholding testimony during the impeachment process.
She said, quote, "I thought a lot about if I had been in that position how would I have approached it. And I'll be honest, it's inconceivable to me that if I had firsthand knowledge of gross abuse of presidential power that I would withhold my testimony from a constitutional accountability process."
We have Ingrid Wuerth with us. She actually moderated this conversation between Rice and Bolton. She's a professor of law at Vanderbilt University.
Ingrid, thank you so much for joining us.
And just walk us through this conversation, or maybe at this point in the conversation, a confrontation might be a better word.
INGRID WUERTH, PROFESSOR OF LAW, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY: Brianna, thank you so much for having me.
And it was a real pleasure to host both Ambassador Bolton and Ambassador Rice at Vanderbilt last night.
So the conversation, actually impeachment came up early in our conversation. We started out talking a little bit about the role of the national security adviser, what that position entails, how the two speakers viewed their positions, and then we turned to impeachment.
And as you said at the beginning of the segment, Ambassador Rice was very clear that she couldn't imagine having relevant information and withholding it, she said whether or not she had a subpoena. And she could even imagine exercising her First Amendment rights to speak outside the context of a congressional inquiry.
She also spoke a little bit from her position testifying about Benghazi. This was something that Ambassador Rice took a lot of criticism about when she was in office. And she did testify without a subpoena before the House on that issue. So I think that may well inform her position here. KEILAR: I wonder, what did you think of Bolton's explanation? And I
think we have to look at this through the lens of, you know, not many people are national security advisers. So to have a predecessor basically call you out on something and say, look, I really think you did this one wrong, that must have been something he really thought about.
What did you think about his education explanation on not testifying?
WUERTH: I agree with you, Brianna. It was really an interesting moment to have two national security advisers on stage. And you could actually tell, I think, that there was some rapport between them because of the shared responsibility of the position.
His defense was basically twofold. One, he said that he doesn't think the testimony that he had would have made a difference in the impeachment hearing at all. He said I'll bet you a dollar it wouldn't have mattered one bit.
Now, it is clear he had relevant information, and we know that from Fiona Hill's testimony, and we know that from leaked portions of the book. He was definitely involved in very important conversations about Zelensky, Giuliani, and Ukraine. So we know he had relevant information, but he says it would not have made a difference.
The second thing he cited was a fear of criminal prosecution for the intentional or knowing release of classified information.
He has received a letter from the White House about his book, which is in the clearance process right now with the National Security Council, and he's been told in that letter that some of the information in the book is top secret, and it is a crime to knowingly or intentionally disclose confidential information.
So he cited that as an additional reason for not testifying.
KEILAR: Ingrid, thank you so much for joining us. Ingrid Wuerth, from Vanderbilt, we appreciate it.
Trump unleashed. The president using the power of his office to flex his muscle post-impeachment trial. The actions that he has taken in just the past couple of weeks, next.
And a quick CNN programming reminder. Do not miss a new episode of "THE WINDSORS, INSIDE THE ROYAL DYNASTY." That is only on CNN Sunday night at 10:00 p.m.
KEILAR: It's only been a little more than two weeks since the Senate acquitted President Trump, and since then, the president's list of actions he's undertaken as part of his retribution tour is growing.
He has vowed revenge on his perceived enemies. He's attacked Senators who voted against him, fired witnesses who testified, cheered on Republican efforts to investigate Joe Biden, cheered on his attorney general's acceptance of dirt from Rudy Giuliani.
He's interfered in the sentencing of Roger Stone. He's attacked a juror and a federal judge. He has continued attacks on justice matters despite threats from his own attorney general. And he's granted pardons and clemency to a crew of white-collar fraudsters.
He's ousted a top Pentagon official, brought back loyalists into his administration, and he put a loyalist with no intelligence or national security experience in charge of the nation's intelligence agencies, all of these intelligence agencies.
So the president's assault on America's rule of law and other institutions is clearly evident. And we will be keeping a record of it.
That is it for me.
"NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.