Return to Transcripts main page

CNN News Central

Trump Says Any Jewish Person Voting For Democrats "Hates Their Religion" And Israel; Today: Two Former Officers To Be Sentenced In Torture Case; State Department Not Ruling Out More Evacuation Flights From Haiti. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 19, 2024 - 07:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Abortions are on the rise in the United States. According to a report released just this morning, more than one million abortions reported last year, in 2023. That is the highest rate in more than a decade. That is despite the bans we've talked so much about put in place in more than a dozen Republican-led states after the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe versus Wade.

CNN's Jacqueline Howard has been looking at this report. She's joining us right now. What more are you learning from the data in this report?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Well, Kate, I think the takeaway here is that these numbers tell a story. We've seen this rise in abortions because there are states that still offer abortion care and in those states, they've seen an increase in abortions. We know that 14 states, so far, have banned abortion. But in neighboring states -- in states that still offer care, advocacy groups, clinics, abortion funds have all worked to maintain and increase access, and that's what we're witnessing.

So like you said, last year, in total, there were more than a million abortions performed here in the U.S. That number represents a 10 percent increase from 2020. And if you look only at states that still offer abortion care, there was a 25 percent increase in abortions. So those are the states where we're seeing this increase play out.

And many of those states, like Illinois, New Mexico -- they saw the most increases. They are seeing patients that are maybe traveling to get abortion care and that's why we're seeing this trend.

We also know telemedicine -- telehealth has played a role as well.

So it's fascinating to see this counterbalance, so to speak, in response to some of the restrictions that have come out against abortion.

BOLDUAN: And, Jacqueline, we've -- you've reported on and I know we've talked a lot about medication abortions -- Mifepristone. Access to fights over -- the legal battles over access to Mifepristone -- HOWARD: Yes.

BOLDUAN: -- and medication abortions.

What role does medication abortions play in these numbers?

HOWARD: Yeah. Medication abortion was really the most popular form of abortion in these numbers. Sixty-three percent of abortions last year, in 2023, were medication abortion. And medication abortion is when a patient is given two medications -- like you mentioned, Mifepristone and Misoprostol -- to end a pregnancy. And it's the most popular type of abortion here in the United States.

You can also have surgical procedures as an abortion -- type of abortion care, but medication is the most popular. And that was also seen in these numbers, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Jacqueline Howard, thank you so much -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. New this morning, a former New York Police Department aide is suing Mayor Eric Adams, accusing him of sexual assault. She alleges it happened in 1993 when they worked for the Transit Bureau. She says he demanded sexual acts in exchange for helping her get a promotion. But Adams denies the accusations and says he does not know the accuser.

The CDC now says families going to a country where measles are a problem should get babies as young as six months old vaccinated before they go. That is a few months ahead of when they usually recommend babies get the shot. The CDC says some of those countries include Austria, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom.





BERMAN: So that was a man named Michael Shaw reunited with a pair of ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" that had been stolen nearly 20 years ago. The shoes are said to be worth more than $3 million. They are back on their original pedestal at a museum in Grand Rapids. Now, they do say there is no place like home. Then again, they also say I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too -- Sara.

SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: You had to bring in that last part. I was sticking with the emotional moment of him crying over the ruby slippers. There is no place like home. I'm leaving it there, John Berman.

All right. Very soon, lawmakers return to Capitol Hill staring down a dwindling shutdown clock. If you've heard this one before let me know. Here is the deal. A huge funding plan is due Friday night, which likely means right now, a shutdown is inevitable simply because there are not enough days to get this done. The key questions right now -- how long will it last and how much damage might this do?

CNN's Lauren Fox is joining us now. Lauren, you're heading to the Hill soon. What -- where is the timing crunch happening here? Give us some sense of how close they might be to an actual deal.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Sara, I'll start with the good news first. Negotiators have come to an agreement on the DHS funding bill. This is a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security and it had been one of the last hangups as they were trying to move forward with negotiating this package of six spending bills.

Over the weekend, the White House and Republicans had to scramble together a last-minute discussion to try to find a path forward. That now has been found.

Here is the issue. They still have to write this legislation and they still have to do what is known as a readout, meaning everyone is checking it for anything that slipped in at the last minute. That all takes considerable amounts of time.

And there are a couple of factors at play here. One is House Republican rules require that members have 72 hours -- a three-day rule is what it's known as -- to review legislative text. That means if the text comes out today, the soonest that they could likely vote on this would be Thursday or Friday.

Then you're in a situation where the Senate still has to pass it. And in the United States Senate, any one member can slow the process down. They can slow-walk this.

So it's very possible that they could fall into a shutdown into the weekend as they try to find some path forward. It's also possible that Senate throughs (PH) could agree to move this bill package very swiftly.

So there's still a lot that we don't know. But the good news is they do have an agreement on that very difficult DHS bill that they had been trying to negotiate over the course of the last several weeks. But whether or not they can get this done by the Friday midnight deadline still remains to be seen -- Sara.

SIDNER: Where I heard there is so you're saying there's a chance, Lauren Fox. We will check back in with you in a bit. Thank you -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: So, President Biden is headed to the battleground states of Arizona and Nevada today to make a play for Latino voters -- in part, a key part of his winning 2020 coalition.

Donald Trump is also leaning in on what was part of his 2020 strategy, which is ramping up divisive rhetoric. This time, he's going after Jewish Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Any Jewish person that votes for Democrats hates their religion. They hate everything about Israel. And they should be ashamed of themselves because Israel would be destroyed.


BOLDUAN: We'll get more -- we will get to more on that in a second.

Speaking of what's old is new again, Donald Trump's campaign team is in talks to enlist his 2020 campaign staffer Paul Manafort now in 2024 to help with the Republican Convention this summer.

Let's talk about all of this. Joining us right now is Tim Pawlenty, former governor of Minnesota and former Republican presidential candidate. T-Paw, it's good to see you. Thanks for coming in, Governor.

What do you think of the state --

TIM PAWLENTY, (R) FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (via Webex by Cisco): Good morning to you and your viewers, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much.

What do you think of the state of the race right now? How would you describe where we are?

PAWLENTY: Well, I think, in short, the polls show that Trump is slightly ahead in all or nearly all of the swing states, which presents a real challenge for Biden. And I think it explains why he's out West trying to shore up his base with diverse voters. Leaning into the abortion issue, which he believes is an advantage for him. And in swing states, it appears to be, in many swing states.

And it also I think explains why Donald Trump is leaning into immigration and also to why he is dealing with inflation and crime and emphasizing those issues, trying to not only motivate his base but reach those persuadable or swing voters he thinks he can get on those issues.

So I think that's it at the moment. If the election were held today, Trump would probably win.

BOLDUAN: In August, I noted you said in an interview of a Biden-Trump rematch -- again, this was in August, which is a billion years ago at this point. But you said, "I think the Republicans are, unfortunately, sadly setting themselves up again for a likely defeat if they don't find somebody different than Trump. And it doesn't look like they're going to."


Do you still feel the same way? PAWLENTY: Well, I still feel the same way that they're not going to have a different candidate. But I also think my comments then were premature. I think it looks like, based on the polling I just described, Trump is in the lead. If he keeps that narrow lead in the swing states he is going to win. So I think those comments will be viewed as inaccurate if Trump is the victor, and he's the slight favorite right now.

BOLDUAN: I'm going to give you credit. Not inaccurate -- it was just in August and a lot happens in a campaign, Governor.

PAWLENTY: (Laughing).

BOLDUAN: Trump is -- I'll give you that.

Let me ask you about this because I was talking -- I played the sound bite of Donald Trump there in the lead-in. His -- you can call it apocalyptic. You can call it divisive. You can call it hate-filled. The language he uses -- this is not new, but we are now seeing it again and heightened.

Saturday, he was talking about a bloodbath coming to the country if he's not elected. The end of democratic elections if he's not elected. And these latest remarks saying if -- Jews who vote for Democrats hate Israel, hate their religion, and should be ashamed of themselves.

What impact do you think this has on people? What impact does it have on you hearing this?

PAWLENTY: Well, first of all, and importantly, I don't think people hate their religion because they might vote for Democrat or Republican, so let's get that straight.

Secondarily, I don't think -- whatever Trump says doesn't seem to matter. We've all learned that lesson now over years. He can say almost anything and it doesn't fundamentally change his numbers of support, at least with his base support and with some of the voters that are newly attracted to him. It's almost immune from his sort of hysterical rhetoric on all kinds of issues, this being one of them.

But lastly, I think Donald Trump could actually make a legitimate meritorious argument that he's the stronger candidate when it comes to foreign affairs relative to Israel. He has a strong record with the Abraham Accords, his support for Israel, and a number of things he did while he was president. So if he wants to present himself as the most pro-Israel candidate in this race he can credibly do that. he doesn't need to introduce, sort of, hyperbolic or hysterical rhetoric.

BOLDUAN: But he definitely will continue to do so.

I want to ask you as a former governor of Minnesota. There's another former governor of Minnesota who served just before you -- Jesse Ventura -- who is being talked about right now as a possible running mate to Robert Kennedy Jr. and is on an Independent ticket.

You heard that and you thought what? PAWLENTY: Well, I know Gov. Ventura. I get along with him well. We have a nice relationship outside of politics.

But on politics, what I thought was well, there's sort of two conspiracy theorists coming together. So in that regard, it's sort of an aligned ticket if he goes that route, although I guess the more recent reporting is he's leaning toward somebody else.

I think RFK more broadly -- setting aside Gov. Ventura -- while he's going to impact the election in terms of who he drains votes from, in my view, is a conspiracy theorist and is a little weird. And I don't think he should be President of the United States and I don't think whoever he elects as V.P. is going to really matter.

BOLDUAN: And the interesting discussions we've been having with some smart folks has been who -- if he stays in, who he actually draws more from. That seems to be up to debate depending on what data you're looking at and who you're talking to right now.

But, Governor, it's great to see you. Thanks for coming in.

PAWLENTY: Thanks for having me, Kate. Appreciate it.

BOLDUAN: I really appreciate it -- John.

BERMAN: Yeah, Tim Pawlenty, who was once on some short list to be a running mate.

BOLDUAN: And a number of great conversations you and I have had with T-Paw over the years.

BERMAN: I know.

All right. We want the maximum sentence. Black men tortured by police officers speak out as their abusers face sentencing today.



BERMAN: All right. This morning, sentencing for two former officers who pleaded guilty to abusing and torturing Black men. They called themselves the Goon Squad. The victims say that over two hours, they were handcuffed, kicked, waterboarded, and tased. One was shot in the mouth. The victims are expected to testify this week about the impact that the torture had on them.


EDDIE PARKER, TORTURED BY "GOON SQUAD" OFFICERS: I'm just hoping, though, everything that comes out of it -- comes out of it is being the right thing because everything needs to be done right because everything was done wrong.

MICHAEL JENKINS, TORTURED BY "GOON SQUAD" OFFICERS: It's been very hard for me -- it was -- this past year. I'm just looking for justice tomorrow.


BERMAN: CNN's Ryan Young is in Rankin County, Mississippi. Ryan, what are we expecting to see today?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a difficult day for, apparently, this family and for the people of this community. They really want to have more answers to their questions and that's, particularly, how many officers were involved in this total? Of course, there were six who showed up to that home but a lot of people in the community believe there are more Goon Squad officers still on the Rankin County sheriff's deputies police force. And so, that is the question that a lot of people want answered.

But, John, to take you through this -- as you heard from Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker -- look, they've been traumatized by this entire procedure when you think about Eddie Parker alone, who says he can't believe he's still alive. He's wearing a shirt with Emmett Till's face on it. He just constantly says that it's hard to even be in this community anymore because he's not sure when someone may attack him.

Now, the two officers who face serious charges today -- one is Hunter Elward. He is the officer who they say took a weapon, placed it inside the mouth of a man, and then opened fire, lacerating his tongue.


Listen to one of the mothers talk about just the pain this entire family has been going through for the last year.


MARY JENKINS, MICHAEL JENKINS' MOTHER: He said, "Michael is our property." That's what that deputy told me on the phone. My son, shot in the mouth, and he's telling me that Michael is their property. I want them to receive the same consideration they gave my son when they broke in that house and they tortured them.


M. JENKINS: That's what I want to see in court.


M. JENKINS: I want the maximum sentence.



YOUNG: Yeah. Hunter Elward and Jeffrey Middleton face their day in court today. Hunter faces some 30 years.

But, John, to show you how just diabolical this was at one point, after that shot was fired, they cleaned up the crime scene. They even stole the video recorder from inside the home so there would be no video evidence. They shut off their body cameras. And some of the supervisors were actually there when this was going on.

The Goon Squad had its own challenge coin that they would hand out throughout the community. So there are questions about how far this goes within the Rankin County Sheriff's Department.

The people in the community want to see the sheriff, Bryan Bailey, step down. That has not happened. He was reelected. No one ran against him.

But for the two men that you saw, who I've talked to over the last year over and over again -- they say they've been constantly traumatized by this. They are also surprised that there's not more in terms of the state focusing on this area and the county because of the pain this entire community has been through.

John, a lot of this will go on today in court. We should find out more about the evidence and how they unraveled this entire case -- John.

BERMAN: And it will not end with just the sentencing.

Ryan Young, thank you so much for that -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: So, an attorney who tried to help overturn the 2020 election results in Michigan is now under arrest in D.C. Stefanie Lambert was taken into custody after a court hearing related to her leak of internal emails that belonged to Dominion Voting Systems.

The arrest yesterday stems from her failure to appear at hearings in a separate Michigan case. In that one, she's facing charges for allegedly conspiring to seize voting machines after the 2020 election.

You following all of this because there is a lot?

Let's get to CNN's Marshall Cohen who is following all of it for us. Marshall, what are you learning about her arrest?

MARSHALL COHEN, CNN REPORTER: Kate, if you can keep up and follow along you will find out that this is one of the strangest stories in a while.

So, Stefanie Lambert, as you described -- she is an election denier. Back in 2020, she tried to overturn the results in her home state of Michigan. And she was actually indicted last year on state charges for trying, allegedly, to seize voting machines to prove those voter fraud claims.

In her criminal case in Michigan, there actually is an active warrant out for her arrest because she failed to appear at two recent hearings in Michigan.

But she did make an appearance yesterday in a D.C. courtroom -- right here in D.C. -- for a separate defamation case. That's because she is the attorney of the former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, who is being sued by Dominion Voting Systems for similarly promoting false claims about the 2020 election. It was a routine scheduled check-in -- status conference on that case and Ms. Lambert was there.

But things got very interesting because she tussled with the judge and the Dominion attorneys for the better part of an hour. But when the hearing ended, the judge told everyone to leave the courtroom, myself included. We all stepped out. And then we saw two U.S. Marshals step in and we never saw Ms. Lambert leave that courtroom. The U.S. Marshals Service later confirmed that because of that active warrant in Michigan, they did take her into custody and she was taken to a D.C. jail -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: It is really strange.

Talk to me about the leaked emails -- the leaked Dominion emails aspect of this.

COHEN: So, she was arrested because of failure to appear in her Michigan criminal case, but she's also in some hot water and under scrutiny for leaking emails in this defamation case. She is Patrick Byrne's attorney. As his attorney, she has the right to access documents that are related to the case. And in this defamation suit, both sides are required to turn over documents to the other side so that they can prepare for trial.

She took some of those internal Dominion documents and passed them along to a friendly, sympathetic sheriff in Michigan -- a man by the name of Dar Leaf -- who, himself, is also a promoter of these conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. So she gave them to the sheriff. He's been posting them on his social media and has caused quite a stir.

And, Kate, it's just bananas to sit here in 2024 while people are still trying to undermine the 2020 election.

BOLDUAN: Just bananas. That is officially the tagline for the 2024 election for sure.

Marshall, it's good to see you. Thank you for running us through all of it -- Sara.


SIDNER: All right.

Haitian gangs are unleashing new attacks on upscale neighborhoods as Haiti deteriorates. Attempts to leave are becoming more desperate. This morning, the State Department is staying in close contact with Americans who are stuck in Haiti. The Department is not ruling out another evacuation flight.

Yesterday, 30 Americans were rescued and flown back to the United States. A Florida nonprofit helping with those evacuations says that they have more than 100 people on their waitlist who are hoping to get out. Our next guest's father was one of the Americans who were trapped in Haiti. Her dad, Boyce Young, is finally on his way home but not on one of those evacuation flights.

Joining me now is Kim Patterson. Kim, thank you so much for coming on this morning.

First of all, I want to check in with you to find out what you've heard from your father, how he's doing, and how he was able to get out of Haiti.


He is doing relatively well. They, fortunately, were in a relatively safe place, if there is such a thing, during this time. They were able to get out yesterday, late afternoon, after probably about 18 hours of just really hard times getting to a point where they could.

They ended up finding a boat that could take them up the coast to the border. So they got off on the Haitian side so that they could get their stamp on their passport and walk through. And then they had a -- probably about a six-hour drive to get to Santo Domingo. Obviously, a relief just getting into the D.R., so that's where he's at right now.

SIDNER: Yeah. So he took a boat, got to a spot, got out, and then went --


SIDNER: -- from Haiti to Santo Domingo or to the Dominican Republic neighboring country.

Can you give us some sense of what your father was doing there and what he told you the situation was like while he was there?

PATTERSON: So, again, they were -- he was there doing some mission work. We've been going to Haiti for years now and he originally went with a missionary friend of ours, taking some medical supplies and doing some small mission work throughout the country. And they were supposed to leave on the second. And, again, fortunately for them, they were in, like, the southern -- southwest coast of Haiti and in a relatively safe location because it's a very small community on the coast.

Unfortunately, it put them so far away from what we were initially hearing. You know, they need to be in Cap-Haitien or they need to be in somewhere else to -- for any kind of evacuation effort. And we were told by many of the people that we tried to contact that a water extraction was going to be his best bet and we just couldn't make that happen. And we came so close so many times.

And then probably two days ago, they decided that they were going to venture to a bigger city, which was about six hours away. And they went by land to get there for what we thought was going to be another evacuation effort, which about 12 hours later fell through. SIDNER: Wow.

PATTERSON: So then they were in this bigger city, which was as safe as they were before and we just started thinking really hard. They started making a plan on the ground and fortunately were able to find some really kind Haitians that helped them out in getting them a boat and someone to take them to the border. It was about a 4 1/2-hour boat ride, my dad said, in about six- to eight-foot waves. So it wasn't a pleasant boat ride but they're very thankful to be out of the country.

SIDNER: We're looking at pictures from Port-au-Prince, Haiti. We have a reporter there, David Culver and crew, who have been showing us just the horrific situation that people are living in.

I know that you have been going to Haiti on humanitarian trips for many years. Can you give us some sense of your thoughts of what you're seeing now -- what people are experiencing now -- and what gave you the love of Haiti? Why you kept returning?

PATTERSON: Um, it's a good question. I mean, it's heartbreaking to see what's going on now. And I think one of the reasons I decided to come on and speak, we're fortunate enough that now my father is on his way home. But it is a nation that we love so dearly and it's hard for us to not just look at this country. And I think everybody sees it as just this nation of poverty and, yes, it is -- but you've got to look past that and see the people's faces.

And a lot of people have said to me why do you all go? It's on a risk for the United States. Don't travel. And it's been that way since we've been going. But thank God, there's people that will continue to go because Haiti is not self-sustaining and if it weren't for the people who just have a heart for that country and a heart for the people, then they -- it truly would be helpless.