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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Supreme Court Blocks Trump from Ending DACA. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired June 18, 2020 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing a lot of behavior that's just going to cause the virus to spread even more.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: One Trump administration official, one -- an individual who is close to the coronavirus task force, told CNN that the White House doesn't want to, quote, deal with the reality of the fact that cases are rising in that country.
And there's a "Wall Street Journal" interview in which Trump said about Oklahoma: You know, the numbers are very small. They said there's a spike, the spike is I wish Mike Pence was here because he was showing me the numbers before. It's like very few people. And I think they're in great shape. But I would even say the spike ends, has already ended.
That's not my understanding of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma where the president is heading on Saturday.
How is this going to get solved if our leaders just will not accept reality?
GUPTA: I don't know how, you know, you can look at numbers. There are numbers. They tell a very clear story. The numbers have been going up, 20 percent of Oklahoma's total coronavirus infections have happened over the last week. I mean, the health commissioner there, officials there are very worried.
It's clear as day. I mean, this isn't a debate. Maybe it's going up, maybe it's going down. It's going up, clearly.
And, by the way, if you look at the country and you say the numbers are small, that basically means we're okay with 20,000, 25,000 people a day getting infected, hundreds of people dying. You're basically saying, that's as good as we can do. That's it, that's our basement.
We know numbers are going to go up as we start to reopen, so you're saying that that's become the bottom of what we can actually achieve, which is -- which is ridiculous. You've got to pay attention to the data here.
TAPPER: Dr. Fauci said this morning that there's an anti-science bias in the United States that makes treating the problem more difficult. Now, he was not specifically talking about President Trump. But, frankly, if you look at President Trump's track record when it comes to science, whether it's weather science, sharpie-gate or his lies about vaccines and autism, this isn't a guy who has a lot of respect for scientific fact.
GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think Dr. Fauci is seizing on something a lot of people have been saying for sometime. I mean, the anti-science is there, you know, with regard to climate change, with regard to the environment overall, I think, in terms of deregulation.
I think -- so the anti-science sentiment is not new. I think what is -- what is different, this is a very urgent situation. I mean, this is right now. Bad science could lead to really bad decisions. And I think history books are going to get written, Jake, about some of the decisions that are getting made right now and they are pretty scary books to read.
TAPPER: Yes. And the U.S. has something like 4.5 percent of the world's population and something like a third of the world's death due to coronavirus.
TAPPER: Sanjay, thanks so much.
GUPTA: You got it.
TAPPER: Be sure to tune in tonight for CNN town hall, "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears" hosted by Sanjay and, of course, our own Anderson Cooper. That's tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.
Today, the Supreme Court blocked President Trump from ending protections for 700,000 Dreamers. These are individuals brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children through no fault of their own. One of the lawyers who appeared before the court is a Dreamer himself and he will join me, next.
TAPPER: In our politics lead today, the U.S. Supreme Court says that Dreamers are safe for now, blocking the Trump administration's attempt to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This left the president to ask, quote, do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn't like me?
DACA is the Obama era program that protects from deportation nearly 700,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally when they were children through no fault of their own. The 5-4 decision makes this the second time this week that the chief justice of the United States, John Roberts, sided with the four more liberal justices.
Joining us now, Luis Cortes Romero. He's a DACA recipient, one of the lawyers who fought on behalf of the case of the Supreme Court.
Also with us, Jeffrey Toobin, CNN's chief legal analyst. Luis, congratulations, I know this is something you fought hard for.
Chief Justice Roberts said that the president's attempt to end DACA lacked sound, legal basis. But we should note, Roberts didn't exactly suggest that the program is a good policy or would definitely stay in place. What's your reaction?
LUIS CORTES ROMERO, MANAGING PARTNER, IMMIGRANT ADVOCACY & LITIGATION CENTER: So, you know, Chief Justice Roberts ultimately said the way in which the -- President Trump's administration ended the program was unlawful, violating the Administrative Procedures Act.
So what that does, it does provide some room for the presidential administration to try to rescind the program again, this time abiding by all proper procedures it must be before sharply changing the policy that affects not just hundreds of thousands of Dreamers but their communities so we're talking about millions of people and taking all of those considerations with the policy they want to change.
And so, you know, we will see if President Trump ultimately wants to do that. He has already voiced hard language about what he would do now, but nothing really substantive, seems he's venting about the decision so we're going to have to wait and see how the administration reacts.
TAPPER: And, Jeffrey, you know, obviously this decision is likely not permanent. The Department of Homeland Security can try again. Even though it seems unlikely that they will do so before November's election, if President Trump were to win re-election, this could be brought back on the table, right?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely. And, you know, I don't really think there is enough time.
There are procedures that have to be followed, what the Trump administration bungled the first time.
Chief Justice Roberts gave them a roadmap to do it the right way. It's going to take longer than the four months that we have until the election. I don't think they could actually get a regulation in place before November. But if the president is re-elected, there's plenty of time to do this the right way. And now, they know how the Supreme Court wants it done.
So, you know, one of the many very big stakes in the election are the future of the Dreamers, because it's quite clear, you know, that Vice President Biden is going to continue to protect them. The president now will have a roadmap to getting it done the right way, if he wins.
TAPPER: Luis, I don't want to take all the air out of your balloon, I'm sure you're in a celebratory mood. If the Trump administration were to try to end DACA again, you would be at risk of deportation. You've been in the United States since you were one.
What do you make of the fact that Chief Justice Roberts offered a roadmap, as Jeffrey called it?
ROMERO: Yes. Well, it's not the first time Chief Justice Roberts said the president or presidential administration did something wrong and gave them a roadmap how to do it better. We said that with the census case.
And, you know, at that point, President Trump said we're going to -- the questionnaire, he flipped back and forth before he left it alone.
So, I'll guess we'll wait and see to see what he ultimately ends up doing and maybe cooler heads will prevail. But, you know, one of the controversies that happened in our case, there's an information component where U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, that handles DACA information, initially they had said that they were going to share that information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE. Now, DHS has -- Department of Homeland Security has changed this tune.
So, if DACA is rescinded and they happen to get this things together, then one of the things that we will have to see is whether what happens to that information sharing component. And so, we will be ready to bring that on when it comes down.
TAPPER: And, Jeffrey, Supreme Court Justice Thomas who wrote primary dissent wrote, an effort to avoid a politically controversial but legally correct decision. This is the second time this week this Justice Roberts ruled against the Trump administration and with the liberal justices.
What do you make of his role on the court?
TOOBIN: Well, he's the new swing justice. There's no -- there's no doubt about that. It used to be Anthony Kennedy. And Anthony Kennedy was more liberal than Chief Justice Roberts, but chief justice is more moderate than the four other conservatives.
And he's very much the center of gravity on the court. Frankly, I was surprised particularly by his vote on the case that now bars discrimination against gay people and transgender people in employment, but, you know, he is calling the shots here. And he is not an automatic vote for the Trump administration. He's certainly not any liberal, but he is now the center of the court, and he's the one deciding the big cases in the way that Anthony Kennedy did for so many years before he retired.
TAPPER: All right. Jeffrey Toobin, that you so much. Luis Cortes Romero, thank you and congratulations again for your Supreme Court victory.
The Supreme Court decision is just the latest blow this week for President Trump and it's not the only thing on his mind. The new revelations inside John Bolton's pending book, that's next. Stay with us.
[16:48:04] TAPPER: In our politics leads today: three major blows to President Trump this week.
First, the Supreme Court struck down his attempt to end an Obama era immigration program for dreamers. Second, his former national security adviser is making damning revelations against Trump's character, calling him unfit for office.
And third, as CNN's Jeremy Diamond reports for us, the president is also trying to dismiss health concerns about holding a 20,000-person rally at an indoor arena in a city where coronavirus cases are going up, despite the fact that officials are begging him to reschedule.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump's bad week just keeps getting worse.
The Supreme Court today handing Trump his second major defeat, blocking the president from revoking protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
And then there's coronavirus.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's dying out.
DIAMOND: It is persisting, despite Trump's rejection of reality, with cases rising in 23 states, including in Oklahoma, where he will rally tens of thousands of supporters on Saturday.
TRUMP: He broke the law. He was a washed-up guy.
DIAMOND: But it's his former national security adviser's book that seems to be really getting under Trump's skin, Ambassador John Bolton painting a picture of an erratic and shockingly uninformed president, whose foreign policy decisions are driven almost exclusively by politics.
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I don't think he's fit for office. I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job. There really isn't any guiding principle that I was able to discern, other than what's good for Donald Trump's reelection.
DIAMOND: Claiming he's a president who is no match for adversaries like Russian President Vladimir Putin.
BOLTON: I think Putin thinks he can play him like a fiddle. I don't think he's worried about Donald Trump.
DIAMOND: Bolton is also accusing Trump...
TRUMP: Total and complete shutdown.
DIAMOND: ... who campaigned on a promise to ban all Muslims from the U.S., of green-lighting Chinese President Xi Jinping's mass imprisonment of Uyghur Muslims into concentration camps, writing: "According to our interpreter, Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do."
And during another meeting, Bolton says Trump asked Xi to help him win reelection, writing: "Trump stressed the importance of farmers and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome."
With the Justice Department still fighting to block publication of the book, the president lashing out on Twitter, calling the book a "compilation of lies and made-up stories all intended to make me look bad. Just trying to get even for firing him, like the sick puppy he is."
But, last night, the book wasn't fiction. It was full of state secrets.
TRUMP: He broke the law, very simple, I mean, as much as it's going to broken. This is highly classified. That's the highest stage. It's highly classified information.
TAPPER: Jeremy, I'm struck by two passages in the Bolton book that involve then White House Chief of Staff Marine General John Kelly.
In one of them, Kelly says, "Trump doesn't care what happens to these guys." He's talking about U.S. service members.
In another passage, Kelly is venting to Bolton about President Trump.
Kelly: "What if we have a real crisis like 9/11, with the way he makes decisions?"
Bolton replies: "Do you think he will be better if you leave? At least wait until after the election. If you resign now, the whole election could go bad," to which Kelly says: "Maybe it would be better that way."
The president's chief of staff saying, maybe it would be better if Trump lost reelection.
You know, Jake, there have been these two consistencies in all of these accounts that we have heard of some of these former officials or reporting on these former officials. One of them is the striking nature in which these people who have worked so close to the president come away from working with him feeling like he's someone with no empathy, feeling like he's someone who's a bad leader, and then also this other notion, which is how many of these officials see their roles as being the guardrails to the Trump presidency.
And that certainly is something that has persisted and something that we see in this book from John Bolton -- Jake.
TAPPER: Jeremy Diamond, thanks so much.
Coming up next: the recent protests sparking a different kind of movement among some key voters in an all-important battleground state.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: The Biden for president campaign is dropping $15 million, including six figures, on African-American media platforms in battleground states.
And, as CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports, Biden's biggest appeal to black voters may be not who he is, but who he is not.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mariah Smith has been marching, and, come November, she will be voting.
MARIAH SMITH, TEACHER'S AIDE: If you don't go out and vote, you're voting for Trump, period. That's it. There is no other -- there's no other way around it.
ZELENY: With tributes to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor painted across Milwaukee, along with murals and signs calling for peace and justice, the soundtrack of American politics is now animated by protests, with anger toward President Trump resonating far louder than adoration for Joe Biden.
PRENTICE MCKINNEY, MILWAUKEE ACTIVIST: There's a time when you go to the polls to vote for something, and then there's a time when you go and you take a stand against somebody.
ZELENY: Prentice McKinney has been watching these demonstrations closely, stirring memories from 1967, when he helped lead a fight for fair housing in 200 straight days of marches, these images seared into his mind, like coming face to face with two policemen outside the mayor's office.
MCKINNEY: I came in love.
ZELENY: Here, in one of the nation's most segregated cities, a summer of unrest is now part of the presidential race that will test whether protesters have awakened a political movement.
ANGELA LANG, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BLACK LEADERS ORGANIZING FOR COMMUNITIES: Well, there are people that are like, I didn't know Trump was racist. What do you mean he's racist? Point to something very clear and specific.
We can point to this moment. ZELENY: Angela Lang founded a group to mobilize African-Americans after Trump narrowly carried Wisconsin in 2016, when turnout among black voters and others substantially fell. Since then, there are some signs of change.
In April, David Crowley was elected as the first African-American Milwaukee county executive, a seat once held by Republican former Governor Scott Walker.
DAVID BOWEN (D), WISCONSIN STATE ASSEMBLYMAN: This election matters because people know that we need absolute change.
ZELENY: The Trump campaign isn't ceding black voters, opening a Republican field office here on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, with a quote from the slain civil rights leader in the window.
David Bowen, a Democratic state representative, said voters should not be fooled.
BOWEN: It's very offensive to the standpoint that nothing in his administration or that he's done really lines up with those words.
ZELENY: Protests in Milwaukee are approaching the third straight week, organized by Frank Sensabaugh, who said he intentionally didn't vote four years ago.
(on camera): Do you plan to vote this November?
FRANK NITTY SENSABAUGH, MILWAUKEE PROTEST ORGANIZER: This November, yes, I actually do plan to vote. This November, I think that it's going to be more serious of a vote.
ZELENY: And that gives hope to McKinney, that these young demonstrators will keep their eye on November.
MCKINNEY: I think they will be there. I think that's what Trump is afraid of.
ZELENY: The anger and disdain for President Trump, so clear.
One thing also clear, Joe Biden needs to drive excitement among his voters as well. In exactly two months, he will accept the nomination right here in Milwaukee -- Jake.