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At This Hour

ICE Official: No Mass Arrests Yet in Immigration Crackdown; NYPD Officer Charged on Chokehold Death of Eric Garner Will Not Face Federal Charges; Kamala Harris Unveils Plan to Lower Price of Some Drugs; 2nd Quarter Fundraising Reports Divide Democratic Field of Contenders; Warren Condemns Trump's Racist Comments, Renews Calls to Begin Impeachment; North Korea Warns It May Resume Nuclear Testing, Accuses U.S. of "Breaching" Commitments. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 16, 2019 - 11:30   ET



[11:31:38] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: This just into CNN, the massive roundup, massive ICE operation that the president teased and threatened to take place this past weekend, well, there's new information just in that that didn't seem to happen in the way that they were talking about.

CNN's Nick Valencia is joining me right now with this new information.

Nick, this is important because we are talking about the difference between rhetoric and reality. What are you learning?

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is such a significant point here, and the first time that we're hearing it, first here on CNN. An ICE official with knowledge of the ICE operations in several states tells CNN that there has not been any surge in activity and, point blank, says there has been no surge of arrests and activity.

That ICE agent, that official went on to tell me that ICE arrests people every day, but right now, the quote was, "It's business as usual."

I want to read some other quotes from the ICE Official. They tell us, Kate, "This notion that we were going to do this massive sweep, to be honest, there have been limited results so far."

And this directly contradicts what President Trump has been saying, calling this ICE raid, that was set to have started on Saturday and going through Thursday, calling it very successful.

We should point out and be fair here that administration sources have said that the operation will continue through Thursday. So there's a chance that these numbers, these arrest numbers could go.

But so far, right, now this is significant, because we've heard from observers in these 10 targeted cities that they haven't seen an uptick in activity. And now we're hearing for the first time from inside the agency that these raids may not have been as large scale as suggested -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: That's why it's so important. You can hear it from observers on the ground --

VALENCIA: That's right.

BOLDUAN: -- but hearing it from inside the agency, who can oversee exactly who has the view of exactly what's going on, that's important.

Nic, great reporting. Thank you so much.

VALENCIA: Thank you. You bet.

BOLDUAN: Still to come for us, after years of waiting, a decision in the death of Eric Garner. His family just spoke to reporters in New York. What they're saying about what prosecutors just announced in terms of the future of the officer involved. That's next.


[11:38:10] BOLDUAN: We're following more breaking news this morning. The New York police officer accused of fatally choking Eric Garner will not face federal charges. The announcement just this morning comes just one day before the five-year anniversary of Garner's death, which also means the statute of limitations on some of these charges.

You'll recall cell phone video of the police encounter wept viral -- and I want to warn you, this footage still five years later, is very disturbing -- as officers took down Garner for allegedly selling loose cigarettes.

At the very end, some of his final words, you can hear Garner saying, "I can't breathe." And those words became a rallying cry and sparked protests nationwide.

Just moments ago, Eric Garner's family responded to the decision from prosecutors. Listen here.


EMERALD GARNER, DAUGHTER OF ERIC GARNER: He was killed on the street. And this cop is still on the police force. Why? Because if Eric Garner would have fought back, he would have been in a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) jail cell.

GWEN CARR, MOTHER OF ERIC GARNER: Five years ago, my son said, "I can't breathe," eleven times, and today we can't breathe, because they have let us down.

You killed my son and you won't get away with it. I stood quietly by for five years. I'm not being quiet anymore.


BOLDUAN: CNN's crime and justice reporter, Shimon Prokupecz, is live. He's been following all of this. Shimon, you were inside when this announcement came down. Why no

charges? What are prosecutors saying?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE REPORTER: Well, the bottom line, Kate, the U.S. attorney here, Richard Donoghue, said the evidence and the law just was not there. They cannot meet the burden of proving this case and, therefore, they decided not to bring charges in this case.

You spoke about the video. The video was central in all of this. It was a key piece of evidence, the prosecutors said, in all of this.

[11:40:07] And interestingly enough, from what they saw in the video, they cannot see that the officer here was engaged in a chokehold when Eric Garner was saying he couldn't breathe. Those words, as you said, became the rallying cry here.

But the U.S. attorney here going through painstaking detail of why it is as they viewed the evidence, they could not bring charges in this case. Here's what he said.


RICHARD DONOGHUE, U.S. ATTORNEY, EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: The video shows that the officers' initial actions were in accordance with established police tactics and procedures, but that the situation deteriorated as it progressed.

At the end of the day, however, the video and the other evidence gathered in the investigation does not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Daniel Pantaleo acted willfully in violation of federal law.


PROKUPECZ: The other things that the prosecutor here talked about is these tactics that were being used by the officer, perfectly legal at the time. He referred to them as being an arm bar and a rear takedown.

And that in essence, the chokehold, which did eventually occur as when both the officer and Eric Garner fell, it seems, in their belief and the prosecutor's belief, that this was not intentional, And that weighed heavily on their decision.

Kate, obviously they interviewed a lot of witnesses here. They spoke to the medical examiner. They have two different medical examiners that reviewed the evidence in this case. They both reached different conclusions. That also affected how they saw things.

So a lot of questions here obviously, but they feel that at this point this is over, and that they could not bring any criminal charges against the officer.

BOLDUAN: And, Shimon, what is the role of the attorney general, Bill Barr, played in this that you're hearing? PROKUPECZ: Well, from what we've been told by justice officials, is

that he was the one who ultimately decided that no charges would be brought here.

The reason why that's important is because this case, as we've been saying, has been around now for five years. It's gone through four or five different prosecutors, U.S. attorneys, five different attorney generals, a different administration, and everyone kind of kept passing this around.

There were some who thought there should be charges. Loretta Lynch, when she was the U.S. attorney, she wanted to bring charges in this case.

Ultimately, they just couldn't get around to doing it because there was the change in the administration.

The attorney general saying that he, himself, now, he reviewed the case, he reviewed the video, he looked at everything and he questioned the attorneys involved in this case, and he decided that no charges should be brought -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Shimon, thanks so much. Really appreciate it.

Coming up for us, Senator Kamala Harris rolling out a big new plan to take on big pharma, but does it put her at odds with her fellow 2020 Democrats? What does she want to do? That is next.


[11:48:05] BOLDUAN: It is a question that candidates on the campaign trail face all the time and they should: What will they do to lower the price of prescription drugs? It is one of those kitchen-table issues that impact so many families, so many Americans.

This morning, Senator Kamala Harris is laying out her plan. She calls it People Over Profit.

So what exactly does that mean?

Senior Washington correspondent, Jeff Zeleny, has been looking into it for us. He joins me now.

Jeff, what is in the plan?


This, of course, is one of the major issues facing all Americans. It is the price of prescription drugs. President Trump has been trying to tackle this and address it, as are Democratic candidates.

But Senator Harris is sort of digging into the health care plan by going directly after the price of pharmaceuticals. And she is essentially calling for a price limit. Under her plan the Department of Health and Human Services would

require companies to essentially lower the prices of their drugs. But the question here is, how this would be workable or work out here.

But she is trying to get around the whole complication of Medicare- for-All.

This, of course, has been one of the challenges she's facing as Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders are supportive of that.

She has been supportive of that as well, but she also has said that she isn't quite sure if she does want to abolish private health insurance. So she is trying to tackle the cost of prescription drugs.

She's in Iowa today addressing an AARP forum. Of course, so important to senior citizens and all Americans, the high price of drugs -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

And we're also starting to get a clearer picture of fundraising efforts by all of the Democratic candidates. And the money story, you know this, can tell a real tale of how well these campaigns are functioning. Like their burn rate, for instance. What's the inside view?

ZELENY: Things that are sticking out to us are essentially the field is split significantly. All candidates are not made equal.

We know Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, look at the amount of money they are raising compared to the other side of the field there.

[11:50:10] So the biggest thing that sticks out with the fall of Beto O'Rourke. He, of course, came into this campaign with a big promise of raising a considerable amount of money. He has not been able to meet that in the last three months. So there are real questions if he's going to be able to sustain the size of the campaign that he has had.

Senator Cory Booker outraised him just slightly. Amy Klobuchar did as well.

Those are some of the central things.

But the burn rate, the size of these campaign organizations, they will not be able to sustain all of them if fundraising doesn't improve.

Kate, the only way to improve fundraising usually is to improve performance. That's why the debate is so important at the end of July -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Yes, it all feeds into one another. Perform well, you get more money. You get more money, then you can put more people on the ground.


BOLDUAN: It's all connected.

Good to see you, Jeff. Thank you so much.

ZELENY: Thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, guys, we'll be right back.


[11:55:45] BOLDUAN: This just into CNN. We're getting new reaction on Capitol Hill to the president's racist tweets attacking Democratic Congresswomen, those four women.

Manu Raju has been chasing everyone down, tracking folks down to get their reaction.

And, Manu, you have caught up with Elizabeth Warren who's back on the Hill today. What is she saying?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPODNENT: Yes, she condemned the president's remarks and called them racist. I asked her whether she believes the president himself is a racist. She said she didn't want to say what's in his heart but his words are -- his words suggest that he is.

Also, she renewed her calls to begin impeachment proceedings against this president, something that the House speaker has resisted.

Take a listen.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just think what the president has said is appalling. He's trying to stir up as much hatred and dissention in this country as possible because it sevens his political ends. He thinks that if he can set American against American that somehow he prospers. I'll tell you this, the United States suffers.

RAJU: Is the president racist?

WARREN: Look at his remarks. He's made racist remarks and he's been racially hateful to people. That's what matters.

RAJU: But is he racist?

WARREN: I don't have to look at his heart, that's not the point. He behaves. Look at what he's done, it's racist what he's done over and over and over. It's not the first time.


(END VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: And you're seeing this clear divide now growing on Capitol Hill. Democrats increasingly saying the president's words are racist or he is racist himself. Then Republican after Republican now are beginning to defend the president saying that he is not racist, saying those are not a racist tweet, even if they have concerns about what he said.

So that will continue to play out and manifest itself on a party line vote in the House tonight to condemn the president's remarks -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Look, as former secretary, Carlos Gutierrez, said, everyone will have to answer to their words, and how they react to this important moment right now.

Manu, thank you so much. Appreciate it, man. Great work as always.

Also this just into CNN, a new threat is now coming in from North Korea this morning, warning that it may soon be resuming nuclear testing. Why? Because Pyongyang is up in arms over planned military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea next month. North Korea accusing the U.S. of breaching the agreement made between the president and Kim Jong-Un when they last met.

So how real is this threat in this moment?

CNN's senior diplomatic correspondent, Michelle Kosinski, is following all this.

Michelle, what are you hearing?


Yes, they are masters of rhetoric. North Korea is often enraged about one thing or another, that either the U.S. or other allies are doing.

Now it's enraged that the U.S. and South Korea are going to conduct these joint military exercises starting in the fall.

So the Department of Defense is saying that they are scaled back some to account for the diplomacy that the U.S. is attempting to continue with North Korea, but they are going to go ahead with this.

So North Korea says that they believe, based on that Singapore summit with President Trump, that they agreed not to conduct any more nuclear tests or intra-continental ballistic missile tests or launches and that the U.S. agreed to suspend all of these military exercises.

The way the U.S. sees it, they did suspend some, they have scaled back others. But since North Korea has taken zero steps towards denuclearization, they don't feel these military exercises should stop.

So it could be just rhetoric, but they're saying basically, if you're going to do these military exercises, why should we not do nuclear tests and ICBM tests?

Remember, it was in May the last time North Korea launched a short- range ballistic missile, which violates international resolutions.

North Korea -- that was seen as a pointed message to South Korea, that they shouldn't be doing these military exercises with the U.S. That was seen as a reaction to a prior exercise. So that time, they launched a short-range ballistic missile, which, by the way, the U.S. tried to downplay in the hopes of preserving any shreds of diplomacy.

So is it possible, this time, we will see some other sort of launch? We'll just have to wait and see -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: That's exactly how it always ends with these -- with this when it comes to North Korea.

Thank you so much, Michelle. Really appreciate it.