Return to Transcripts main page


Supreme Court Upholds DACA; DACA Recipients Celebrate but Know Issue Remains Unresolved; Unusually High Callouts From Atlanta Police Today. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 18, 2020 - 10:30   ET



JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: -- before stepping in front of the camera, he had not tweeted on this subject up to a couple of minutes ago.

But I do want to build on a point, Poppy, that Jeffrey Toobin made a moment ago, which is that ultimately, the Supreme Court cannot completely ignore political reality in the country and preserve its legitimacy. So the court is going to accommodate itself to overwhelming political reality of the country.

What we've seen in the last few weeks, is the court is not the only institution that has done that. We saw the U.S. military separate itself from the president of the United States on the response to the Floyd protests, to preserve its legitimacy, its proper role in civilian-military relations.

To a lesser extent, we have seen elements of the public health community stand up to the president on his response to coronavirus. Anthony Fauci has been obscured because the Coronavirus Task Force has been shunted aside, but he has stood up and said, I'm concerned about these things.

You even had the surgeon general, the other day, encouraging people to wear masks, which is something the president and the vice president haven't done.

These institutions all have their own equities and interests in upholding the values of -- of their institutions. And I think the court is one of those, but it's not the only one.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Jeffrey Toobin, how do you read this? The point David Leopold (ph) just made, he thinks that this now opens the door for new applicants to the DACA program. Is that how you read it?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Poppy, I've got to say, I can't express that opinion at this point, that is --


TOOBIN: -- a very important question. It is a technical question relating to the existing law and this opinion. I haven't read the opinion carefully enough to have an opinion -- to express a view on that.

If I could just add on something John just mentioned, though, you know, both the decision on whether you can fire people simply because they are gay, or -- and whether you can deport 700,000 law-abiding people in the United States, were total rebukes of the position taken by the -- the Trump Justice Department.

No, these are two extraordinary direct refutations of the positions taken by this White House and this Justice Department on major, major cases.


TOOBIN: It's not unprecedented, the Supreme Court ruled against the Obama administration sometimes too. But on two major cases like this, a still-conservative-dominated Supreme Court, you know, John Roberts is no liberal, let's not -- you know, let's not get carried away. Neil Gorsuch wrote that opinion, he didn't become a liberal overnight.

There are five conservatives on the Supreme Court. Yet in two major cases within a week, they rejected the position of the Trump administration, which is a pretty extraordinary thing and it will be interesting to see how the president reacts to this one.

HARLOW: It certainly will be, Laura Barron-Lopez, given the way that he has tweeted and spoken about DACA recipients and the way that President Obama initiated the DACA program in the past.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. The president has continuously put himself opposite of the DACA program, whether it was in 2016 or also 2018. Immigration was a huge political issue for the president, he really hammered it, the vilification of immigrants around 2016.

Also ahead of that was the separation of children at the border. And when I was in states like Texas, talking to voters ahead of those midterms, they were former Republicans who said they were very upset about the inhumane treatment of immigrants at the border, so this is an issue.

And then we saw a number of those districts flip from red to blue. So this is a political issue that could be very problematic for Trump, heading into 2020, if he continues to make this argument against DACA.

HARLOW: Dana, I'm just looking back at something that the president tweeted, back in October of 2019. He wrote, "If the Supreme Court upholds DACA, it gives the president extraordinary powers, far greater than ever thought." Extraordinary powers that this president has asked for himself to hold, time and time again.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And you know, the irony is never lost on me, nor is it on so many people who covered the Obama administration, and he -- for this very move that he made on DACA, was called an imperial president for using his executive --

HARLOW: Right.

BASH: -- power because the legislative process was broken, and yet you have a current president who is very, very eager to use that same power, given to him by the Constitution. So, you know, that should just be kind of hanging out there in the air.


But regardless, I think what this is -- again, kind of going back to what I mentioned earlier -- this is the Supreme Court not just upholding one president's order over another, it's also a reminder that the court is -- can go only so far, that some of these big social and legal issues must be dealt with legislatively.

And this is so -- I was up on Capitol Hill, covering the ins and the outs of this -- these attempts, over and over again, to get bipartisan immigration legislation done for a decade. And it always collapsed, for lots of reasons. But perhaps -- perhaps -- maybe I'm being a Pollyanna here -- perhaps this will throw the issue once more back into Congress' --


BASH: -- hands and after the election, when a new Congress comes back, when you know, after Inauguration Day, perhaps this can be revisited.

HARLOW: That's a very good point, and maybe this time it will be different, that they will -- that a decision will be made and it will be settled.

Joan, let me just go to you on your overall view on where the court has gone, and where you think it has perhaps pushed the chief justice?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Well, it's the Trump administration that keeps pushing the chief justice. You know, we've all been making the point that the administration actually has the power to enact any kind of policy having to do with DACA recipients, but they have to do it the right way.

And in this case, the Trump administration did not justify sufficiently what it wanted to do. And what the chief is saying is, don't push us, don't go too far, don't overstep and take sort of these extreme stands that push even conservative members of this bench over to the left.

Because now, you know, the good thing is, for all these DACA beneficiaries, it buys them all this time, a great sigh of relief. But for the administration, it's sort of back where it started.

And I think that's the overall point here, is that we're still dealing with a conservative court, the most conservative court that many of us have seen in generations, but the Trump administration's pressure is having almost a reaction formation effect, at least on the chief justices of the United States.

HARLOW: So I mentioned, as the decision came down, that there was this big, big friend of the court, you know, memo drafted -- or amicus brief written, Jeffrey Toobin, 143 different businesses here, when this was being argued, said, Do not deport DREAMers. Big, big corporations including Apple, they talked about the economic benefit of DREAMers to the -- to America and to companies.

Tim Cook, obviously, who leads Apple, who we know is -- you know, knows the president well, talks to the president fairly often, I want to read his response that just came down.

He writes, quote, "The 478 DREAMers at Apple are members of our collective family. With creativity and passion, they've made us a stronger, more innovative American company. We're glad for today's decision and will keep fighting until DACA's protections are permanent."

Which, you know, they are not permanent yet ,Jeffrey.

TOOBIN: They are not. And, you know, it is -- as you point out -- and this has been true throughout the impeachment debate, going back to the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan passed what he called an amnesty bill, you know, a bill that allowed people who were -- some people who were in the country illegally to remain.

It's always been business that wants a more open immigration policy. You know, they recognize that immigrants are an indispensable part of the American economy, both as employees and as consumers.

And, you know, this is not the traditional Democratic-Republican split. You know, big business is often on Republicans' side when it comes to lessening pollution regulations, when it comes to cutting taxes. But when it comes to immigration, business has been much more on the pro-immigration side, which is more associated with the Democratic Party, at least today.

And --


TOOBIN: -- you know, we'll see how that plays out in Senate and the presidential race this year.

HARLOW: Yes, that's a good point.

I'd like to read for people some -- one key part of the -- the Roberts decision here again, the chief justice, writing this majority opinion. Quote, "We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies. The wisdom of those decisions is none of our concern...

"We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients. [10:40:01]

"That dual failure raises doubts about whether the agency appreciated the scope of its discretion or exercised that discretion in a reasonable manner. The appropriate recourse is therefore to remand to DHS so that it may consider the problem anew."

Jeffrey, they are saying, Do it again. And it also sounds like the chief justice is writing, You rushed this, this was not done in a proper manner and therefore you lose.

TOOBIN: That's right, Poppy. But what he's also doing is giving the Trump administration a road map for how to do it correctly. And that's why this decision is so important for the election, because what he's -- what the chief justice is clearly saying is, You can do this, you can repeal DACA if you follow the following steps.

So what we are clearly in a -- you know, what we are looking at, heading into this election, is the virtual certainty of DACA being repealed if the president is re-elected, assuming his political views remain the same, which I think they will. Or if Biden wins, the DACA will stand and.

So I mean, it's -- what this does is, it protects the 700,000 DREAMers for now, but it basically kicks the issue to the voters. The voters will decide whether DACA and whether the DREAMers are protected, that's what's going to be on the ballot in November --

HARLOW: That's --

TOOBIN: -- among other (ph) things (ph)

HARLOW: -- a good point.

Everyone, stand by. We have on the phone with us, Bruna Sollod. She lives in New Jersey now, but at seven years old she was brought from Brazil to the United States.

Good morning, can you hear me?

BRUNA SOLLOD, DACA RECIPIENT (via telephone): I can hear you.

HARLOW: Thank you, thanks for being here. Look, this is a decision that impacts you, what's your reaction?

SOLLOD (via telephone): This is a win, it is a celebration for immigrant young people who have been fighting since Trump announced his campaign. He said he was going to go after DACA, he killed it in 2017 and today, we beat him at the Supreme Court. It's a testament to when directly impacted people are at the frontlines, we can win.

But I'm not sure who was talking before me, but it's absolutely right that this is not a long-term solution. Trump could choose to re-send the program tomorrow, he knows how to do it now, the Supreme Court is telling him. So we are not safe. So I'm going to celebrate today, but I am going to fight tomorrow

because we need to make sure that we protect this program and protect immigrant young people like myself, protect our families from deportation in the long run.

So it's really, really important that all the allies that are listening today, all the young DACA recipients who are breathing a sigh of relief, like, our fight is not over, there's still a lot of work to do and we're heading into November and the American people, the American voters have a decision to make, you know?

Are they going to side with Trump, who wants to continue to allow black people to die at the hands of the police? Are they going to continue to allow Trump to go after immigrants? And it's a really -- this is a really big win, it's a huge win for all of us who have been fighting for so long, but there is still so much to be doing -- Poppy.

HARLOW: I can hear in your voice, Bruna, what this moment and this decision from the court means to you. I appreciate you taking a moment to call in.

SOLLOD (via telephone): Of course. Really happy to be here, thank you.

HARLOW: Of course.

My thanks to all of our brilliant analysts and lawyers for being here today. Jessica Schneider at the High Court, Jeffrey Toobin, David Leopold, Laura Barron-Lopez, Joan Biskupic, Dana Bash, John Harwood, thank you all for making this understandable to the American people, it's a very important decision. Thank you very much.


We're going to take a quick break, and we'll be back on the other side.


HARLOW: Welcome back. The two police officers charged in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks have just a few more hours to turn themselves in to police. They are now facing 11 charges, one facing a felony murder charge. Let's get to our Dianne Gallagher in Atlanta with the latest.

Good morning, Dianne.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. And those officers have until 6:00 p.m. tonight to turn themselves in.

The list of charges, you mentioned that felony murder charge against former officer Garrett Rolfe, who was fired after the shooting of Rayshard Brooks. That is a charge that carries up to life in prison, or even the death penalty if convicted.

He also faces five different aggravated assault charges, two against Mr. Brooks, one for shooting him. The other, for kicking him. And the three others are for individuals who were in a car that also was hit by a bullet, that's where that property damage charge comes in.

The other charges are violation of his oath. Now, Officer Devin Brosnan is facing three charges, the first being aggravated assault for standing on Mr. Brooks' shoulders when he was still on the ground there, fighting for his life. The other are oath violations as well.

The attorney for Officer Brosnan, Poppy, tells me that he was disoriented because he sustained a concussion during that struggle there, and did not know that Mr. Brooks had been shot at that point in time.

Attorneys for former Officer Rolfe say that the shooting was justified based on the circumstances of that night. They also deny that Rolfe kicked him, and say that they'd like to see video and not just a still frame of that -- Poppy.


HARLOW: Before you go, what more do we know about the alleged callouts overnight by Atlanta police? We had seen reporting that many called out sick, that some were not responding to calls in to police. Is that right?

GALLAGHER: Yes. Yes, and reporting from our colleague Ryan Young last night was that there were officers in three of the six zones in Atlanta that were not responding to calls.

Now, we were told that there were some walkouts some callouts. And according to the union, there were also people who came into the precinct and simply would not go out on a call unless it was for backup of another officer.

Now, Atlanta Police did issue a statement last night, saying that there were not walkouts, that these were higher than normal amount of callouts before the shift began. They said they had enough officers to continue with dealing with things that were happening here in Atlanta overnight.

But here's the thing, I spoke with the union representative this morning. He told me, Poppy, that they are still seeing callouts this morning and throughout the day, and they expect that it may continue. This was not an organized effort, he says. This seemed to be something that the police officers were just doing on their own in response to those charges.

HARLOW: Dianne, thank you on both of those fronts.

Officials in China renew lockdown measures as the country reports more than 150 new coronavirus cases. The latest from Beijing is next.


[10:56:29] HARLOW: Coronavirus cases are spiking significantly, here in the United States, but not just here. Also in China, where more than 150 new cases have been reported over the past week, prompting officials to renew lockdown measures in some areas, and cancel hundreds of flights in and out of Beijing. Let's go to my colleague Steven Jiang, he joins us with more this morning.

What is the update from there?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, good morning, Poppy. The update is, we actually had some good news out of Beijing on Thursday, with the government's chief epidemiologist saying the outbreak here has been brought under control thanks to the early detection of cases and the quick response by the local authorities.

He said that they have now clearly identified the transmission routes in this latest outbreak, tracing all of the recent cases you mentioned to this now-closed wholesale food market. That's why the authorities have tracked down some 350,000 people who have been there since May 30th, and all of them have been tested for the virus.

But still, local officials are taking no chances because they're still expecting new cases to emerge in the coming days. There are not going to be new infections, though, so they are continuing this soft lockdown over the entire city, testing more residents and discouraging all nonessential travel and placing more travel restrictions in and out of city.

That's why these hundreds of flights, being cancelled again on Thursday, more long-distance bus services also suspended and the entire city's schools, entertainment venues remain closed as well -- Poppy.

HARLOW: OK. Big change, Steven, thanks very much.

Meantime, French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, along with Prince Charles, are meeting this morning in London. This is the first major meeting between European leaders since the COVID pandemic began. Let's go to our Nick Robertson, he joins us outside of 10 Downing Street with the latest.

What is the meeting for? Is it about COVID or something different?

NICK ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Something different, but you can bet COVID's going to be part of this discussion. I mean, just look at the meeting outside of Downing Street just a few minutes ago, there, this -- the social distancing between the pair.

Of course, in France, it's a one-meter distance. In the U.K., it's a two-meter distance so they'll probably compare and contrast how the countries are doing on coronavirus, Johnson under pressure to get the schools back up and running here. Macron's getting them up and running in France next week. In the U.K., it's more likely September.

Boris Johnson's going to want to talk to Macron about allowing British people to travel easily to France, that's not something that's quite possible at the moment.

But, yes, the real events and celebration today, 80 years ago today, the 18th of June, 1940, World War II, a little lone French general, Charles de Gaulle, arrives in London and gives a momentous and historic speech over the radio, radio broadcast to Frenchmen, to rise up in resistance against the Nazi occupation.

So that's what today is celebrating. They'll be looking at some World War II artifacts, and that was part of the reason why the French president also met with Prince Charles and Camilla. So today is a remembrance of that. But of course, live issues, coronavirus -- and let's not forget Brexit, you've heard a lot about that, they'll likely discuss that as well -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Just a few seconds left, Nick, but I'm just interested, as the U.S. decides, what to do with opening schools there because of COVID. What has the experience been in London, that has decided to open?

ROBERTSON: The real difficulty is social distancing for children. They've had to open schools to only the -- in primary and junior schools, just two years in junior schools, two years in senior schools, small classes, 15 in the classrooms.

The prime minister wanted schools open by the end of July. It's not going to happen until September. France, a little more --



ROBERTSON: -- successful at the moment, Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes, it shows some of the challenges though, that we could face. Nick, appreciate your reporting. Thank you so much.

And thanks --