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Biden Administration Shifting Stance On Trump-Era Border Restrictions; Biden To Mark 2 Years Since January 6th With Honors For Heroes; "Giuliani: What Happened To America's Mayor?" Airs Sunday At 9 PM ET. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 06, 2023 - 07:30   ET



ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti, and Nicaragua -- the United States will allow to enter. But there will be vetting. They will have to apply. They will need sponsors. And this will all have to happen legally, and the key is that if they don't, they will be expelled back to Mexico -- Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Rosa, thank you very much. Stand by, Rosa, would you, for this because we're going to bring in now the Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas. Mr. Secretary, thank you, and good morning.


HARLOW: So the Biden administration says that it wants to end Title 42. But then, just yesterday, the administration does this and, effectively, expands the program.

How do you reconcile the two? Do you want to end it or keep using it and expand it?

MAYORKAS: Poppy, that's very easily explained, actually.

But let me take a step back and share with everyone what our underlying approach is, and that is to build safe and orderly pathways for people to come to the United States who qualify.

To cut out the smugglers that are so ruthless -- that are causing so much death, tragedy, and trauma. To incentivize people to use these lawful pathways and not take the dangerous journey and place their lives in the hands of the smugglers. That is our underlying policy.

We are unable to use our ordinary legal authorities because a court in Louisiana has compelled us -- has forced us to use the Title 42 authority -- that expulsion authority -- to the extent that we can.

And so, we are incentivizing through these lawful programs --


MAYORKAS: -- that Rosa referenced, and we are disincentivizing using the authority that we're obligated to use right now.

HARLOW: And I hear you about the federal judge in Louisiana. That was in May of last year. But then, in November, after that, the federal judge in D.C. ordered the end of it. And now it's up in the hands of the Supreme Court.

You talked about smugglers and this policy, but isn't that a hope and not a guarantee? Because you've got a lot of Democrats, including four Democratic senators, who say that they are disappointed in this plan. They call it an inhumane expansion of the Trump-era Title 42 and they say it will, quote, "further enrich smuggling networks."

How do you know it won't?

MAYORKAS: That is not -- Poppy, that is not what we have seen through the successful launch of precisely the program we announced yesterday, but when we implemented it with respect to the Venezuelan nationals.

We saw Venezuelan nationals willing to wait and apply through the process that we're expanding as of yesterday. We saw them wait to apply to avoid the smugglers. We saw a 90 percent drop in the number of encounters of Venezuelan nationals in between our ports of entry. And we saw an increasing number use our process and fly safely to the United States knowing they were prequalified to enter and to gain work authorization. A very successful launch that we are now building upon.

HARLOW: But you would concede this is an expansion of the Trump-era plan to deal with the crisis at the border because you're now applying it to three more countries -- Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua.

MAYORKAS: Poppy, what we have done has no resemblance to what the prior administration did with respect to individuals who are seeking humanitarian relief. The Trump administration tried to shut down our asylum system in its entirety.


MAYORKAS: We're building safe, and lawful, and orderly pathways.

HARLOW: Well --

MAYORKAS: Fundamentally, though -- fundamentally, Poppy --


MAYORKAS: -- we are dealing with a broken immigration system.


MAYORKAS: Everyone understands it to be so. The president, on day one, presented a legislative package to fix that broken system. We need Congress to act.

HARLOW: I was specifically talking, as you know, Secretary, about Title 42; not the other ways in which the past administration dealt with immigration and migrants at the border. But I do want to ask you because you brought up asylum and how your

administration is handling this so differently for asylum seekers. The Department of Homeland Security, this week, is now proposing a new rule that would place additional restrictions on migrants seeking asylum in the United States.

But this is what you told my colleague, Jake Tapper, in September of 2021.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that asylum seekers who are feeling violence, fleeing political instability, fleeing natural disasters -- are they welcome in the United States?

MAYORKAS: They most certainly are.


HARLOW: And U.S. law says clearly -- U.S. Code 8 -- U.S. Code 1158 -- that anyone that sets foot in this country can seek asylum.


Has that changed?

MAYORKAS: Oh, it has not. It has not, Poppy.

What we are doing is trying to bring order and safety to the asylum system. We are trying to cut out the smugglers. And so, what we are doing is incentivizing people to come in an orderly way and in a safe way to our ports of entry rather than placing their lives --


MAYORKAS: -- in the hands of smugglers.

I will tell you I have been to the border nearly 20 times and each and every visit --


MAYORKAS: -- I have spoken with our frontline personnel about the tragedies that they have witnessed firsthand.

We have an obligation to cut out the ruthless smuggling organizations and to open our arms to individuals who qualify for asylum. We are trying to do both through the policies that we are implementing.

HARLOW: So let's talk about those people because, yes, you've been to the border so many times, and so has our colleague, Rosa Flores, who our viewers just heard from. She has covered this extensively.

Last month, she spoke with a migrant family about the terrors of what they are experiencing. This is what they said to her. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLORES: She says that she thought that her daughter was going to die overnight because it was so cold. They had just crossed the river. They were wet -- desperate. Matos (PH) says she started knocking on doors asking for help. She says that she prayed to God. That she hugged her daughter as tight as she could and tried to warm her with her own body heat as much as she could to try to save her daughter's life.


HARLOW: So, Mr. Secretary, Rosa is still with us. And Rosa, I want you to have a chance to ask the secretary a question since you're the one who's there.

FLORES: Yes, and thank you so much, Mr. Secretary, for your time.

And I really want to focus on the human impact because I'm the one who interviews these people face-to-face. And I can tell you that I've interviewed women in Mexico who really just wanted to seek asylum in the United States but they were expelled under Title 42 back to Mexico. And once there, after that, they were kidnapped, they were raped.

And these are not isolated cases, as you know. There are many cases -- thousands of cases of violent acts against migrants who have been expelled under Title 42 since President Biden took office.

And my question to you is what is the U.S. government doing to prevent such violent acts on individuals who are simply just trying to come to the United States and seek asylum?

MAYORKAS: Rosa, it is precisely what I shared with Poppy and that you and I have discussed previously. It's precisely why we are trying to build the safe and orderly pathways to the United States. We're trying to spare these individuals the trauma that they endure by placing their lives and their life savings in the hands of smugglers.

We have -- and it's also why we have conducted an unprecedented attack against the smuggling organizations. We have accomplished more than 7,000 arrests. We have dedicated, really, untold resources, personnel, technology, investigative capabilities to break up these smuggling organizations -- to disrupt them.

You and I have both seen too much tragedy on the border. It's precisely why we're trying to build safe and lawful pathways that we announced yesterday and that we have been implementing since day one.

HARLOW: Would you, Secretary, qualify what is happening on the border right now as a crisis?

MAYORKAS: You know, we have seen the situation at the border managed in an orderly way. We have seen it in extraordinarily challenging circumstances as well. You can rest assured, Poppy, that we are doing everything that we possibly can to build a system that provides humanitarian relief in a safe and orderly --


MAYORKAS: -- way while trying to persuade Congress to fix what is a broken system.

HARLOW: I understand that. But just what you're seeing -- what you've seen the 20 times you've been there -- the record number of migrants at the southern border -- and last year it was nearly 2.4 million -- if that's not a crisis, Secretary, what is?

MAYORKAS: You know -- you know, Poppy, we have seen 2.4 million encounters at our southern border and it is reflective of the greatest level of displacement of people in the world since World War II. It is reflective of a migration challenge that is gripping the entire hemisphere.

When I was in Colombia, I spoke with the president of the country, the foreign minister, the minister of security, and they spoke of 2.4 million Venezuelans in Colombia now.


We are seeing Costa Rica's population increasingly formed by Nicaraguans. We're seeing a tremendous movement of people throughout the hemisphere.

And a regional challenge requires a regional solution.


MAYORKAS: -- which is why President Biden has led the regional leaders in addressing it.

HARLOW: I understand that, Mr. Secretary. But this is in the hands of you, now, and the Biden administration.

I would just finally say that border officials have been consistently telling Rosa Flores, our colleague, they feel abandoned by this administration -- by the federal government.

So why has it taken two years for President Biden to go to the southern border?

MAYORKAS: Poppy, we have been dedicating our efforts to the situation at the border since day one. We are incredibly proud of our frontline personnel who are tirelessly and selflessly dedicated to the mission.

The president knows the border very well. He has had his secretary of Homeland Security visit multiple times since the very initiation of the administration. And he's going to see the border, not for the first time in his public service career --

HARLOW: Right. I understand that.

MAYORKAS: -- this Sunday, and I'm looking forward to joining him there.

HARLOW: Yes. But as president to see it firsthand -- the net effect.

Secretary Mayorkas, thank you very much for your time and your work. Thank you.

MAYORKAS: Thank you. Thank you, Poppy.

HARLOW: And thanks --


HARLOW: -- to Rosa, too, who's been down there.

LEMON: Yes. Very good interview. Very good interview.

And speaking of President Biden, he plans to honor those who fought to protect the Capitol on January 6. We'll be joined by the former D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone. That's next.



LEMON: Well, this morning, President Biden set to mark the two-year anniversary of the Capitol insurrection by awarding 12 people with Presidential Citizens Medal. Included are officers who were injured or died after defending the Capitol, and election workers who rejected the former president's efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

MJ Lee live at the White House with more this morning. MJ, tell us more about who will be awarded with this very special honor.

MJ LEE, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, as you know, President Biden often speaks about the events of January 6 and the stain that those events left on the country and some of the many heroes that emerged from that day. Well, today, some of those very individuals will be paying an important visit to the White House.


LEE (voice-over): Exactly two years after the nation's capital was rocked by chaos, violence, and lawlessness, President Biden will mark the anniversary of the January 6 insurrection with a tribute to the people who held the line.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ...make sure that such attack never, never happens again.

LEE (voice-over): For the first time in his presidency, Biden will award the Presidential Citizens Medal to 12 individuals. The medal is one of the highest civilian honors given by the president to American citizens. The dozen recipients share a story of heroism and defiance in the aftermath of the 2020 election and in the face of a deadly riot on Capitol Hill. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman lured rioters away from

evacuating lawmakers by using himself as bait.

Former D.C. Police Officer Michael Fanone was brutally assaulted by rioters.



LEE (voice-over): Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards --


LEE (voice-over): -- running back into the violence after losing, then regaining consciousness.

EDWARDS: I ran towards the west front and I tried to hold the line at the Senate steps.

LEE (voice-over): And one hero will receive the medal posthumously -- Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died the day after he responded to the insurrection.

Biden will also recognize election workers who rejected efforts by former President Trump and his supporters to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, mother and daughter election workers in Fulton County, Georgia, gave poignant testimony, describing how Trump and his allies publicly disparaged and harassed them.

SHAYE MOSS, ELECTION WORKER, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: It's affected my life in a -- in a major way -- in every way -- all because of lies.

RUBY FREEMAN, ELECTION WORKER, FULTON COUNTY, GEORGIA: There is nowhere I feel safe -- nowhere. Do you know how it feels to have the President of the United States to target you?

LEE (voice-over): Over the past two years, Biden has spoken out fiercely against the events of January 6 --

BIDEN: Democracy was attacked -- simply attacked.

LEE (voice-over): -- and made attacks on American democracy a central political theme ahead of the midterms.

BIDEN: Make no mistake, democracy is on the ballot for all of us.


LEE: And all week, we have been talking about the contrast between the drama unfolding on the House floor and President Biden getting to work here at the White House. I don't know if that contrast gets more stark than what we are going to see today. Of course, the president did insist earlier this week that he isn't enjoying seeing this debacle. He said it is an embarrassing look for the country -- Don.


LEMON: It certainly is.

Thank you very much, MJ Lee.

And Kaitlan, as we have been saying, here we go. Two years later, this is all playing out. You have what's happening with Kevin McCarthy and then you have the anniversary of the insurrection. And now, these people who are getting awards, and that's very special for them.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. MJ's totally right that -- to see the contrast. To see what's going to be happening. What's playing out here with what President Biden is going to be doing today. It's just remarkable, Don.

So joining us is one of the 12 people who is going to get the Presidential Citizens Medal. That is CNN law enforcement analyst Michael Fanone, who is a former Metropolitan Police officer and, obviously, the author of "Hold the Line: The Insurrection and One Cop's Battle for America's Soul."

I wonder what it's like for you to be here on the two-year anniversary. Like, what were you thinking when you were coming over here today?

FANONE: I was thinking it's really early in the morning.

COLLINS: (Laughing).

But really, you know what I mean. It has to be strange to be back here two years later.

FANONE: Yes. I mean, in a way, I'm tired of coming back here. I'm frustrated at the lack of accountability for those that were responsible for orchestrating the attack on our Capitol on January 6. We're two years out and while we've cycled a lot of individuals through the criminal justice system that participated in the attack, Donald Trump is still walking around a free man.

COLLINS: What about what we're seeing play out when we talk about this split-screen with Kevin McCarthy? Because you wrote this op-ed for yesterday and you said that he once told you he could not control the fringe members of his party. And we're seeing it play out in real time when it comes to him trying to get the speaker's gavel today.

FANONE: Yes. I mean, I think a lot of people predicted what was happening today and I certainly am not surprised. Again, I had that conversation with myself and Officer Harry Dunn, and Gladys Sicknick, the mother of Brian Sicknick. And we sat in Kevin McCarthy's office and he told us point-blank "I can't control the fringe members of my party."

And so, here we are about a year and a half out from that meeting and Kevin McCarthy is desperately seeking the speaker's gavel and cannot control the fringe members of his party.

You know, by definition, a leader should have a firm grasp on all the members of his party. He doesn't. He's not a leader.

COLLINS: And what does it say to you about that infamous trip that he made down to Mar-a-Lago in the days after what happened here two years ago?

FANONE: I mean, that just goes to show you the type of person that Kevin McCarthy is. Kevin McCarthy cares about Kevin McCarthy and his concerns lie in his professional future.

He is the type of person who would in the immediate aftermath of this historic event -- the attack on our Capitol -- would lay the blame at the foot of the president -- former President Donald Trump. And then when he saw it as not being politically advantageous and not leading to the speaker's gavel, he goes down to Mar-a-Lago and kisses Donald Trump's ass, and here we are.

COLLINS: If Kevin McCarthy doesn't get the votes to become House Speaker, which he may not, what do you want to see and to hear from the person who is eventually the House Speaker?

FANONE: I want to see the new leadership denounce political violence and hold its members accountable for the rhetoric that they use that we've seen time and time again inspire acts of violence across the country.

COLLINS: One thing they've done here in recent days, I've noticed, is remove the magnetometers outside of the House chamber that had been put in place.

What do you think of that?

FANONE: I don't understand. And, you know, in this day and age when we are dealing with a rise in crime across the country and a rise in political violence across the country, and we know that the Capitol and members of Congress are targets of that violence, that we would be doing anything to lessen the security posture at the Capitol.


Michael Fanone, I know this is a strange moment for you to be here two years later, but thanks for joining us this morning and for coming over here.

FANONE: Yes, ma'am. Thank you.

COLLINS: Appreciate it.

Don, I mean, as you were just noting there, you know Michael Fanone very well. And to see this moment playing out two years later, as this is very much still a conversation that's underway when it comes to security here at the Capitol, security nationwide, and what these threats look like nationwide, and this fight playing out here on Capitol Hill.


LEMON: And safety.

And listen, I could say the insurrectionists picked the wrong people to mess with, and also the election deniers and the lawmakers. Because Michael Fanone is going to say what Michael Fanone thinks and he's going to say how he feels, as we have been witness to on many interviews here on CNN. So, thank you very much for that, Michael and Kaitlan. We'll talk soon.

Speaking of this, when we talk about the insurrection and the election lies it's impossible not to mention Rudy Giuliani. A new CNN documentary takes a closer look at how America's mayor became Trump's right-hand man.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Forget Paris and forget London, and forget everything else. New York City is where it's at.

MICHAEL TOMASKY, FORMER CHIEF POLITICAL COLUMNIST, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: I don't know how close Giuliani and Trump were personally in the 1980s, but I do know they occupied similar spaces.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, HOST, "YOUDECIDE" PODCAST: They're outer borough guys. The one thing that they have inherited from their fathers is a certain kind of awe and resentment of Manhattan and those rich people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rudy represented the kind of every guy who came from the boroughs and came to New York and made it big.

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: If you are a person that's looking at a snow globe, if you will, from the outside -- even if you end up inside the snow globe, you always feel like an outsider.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Giuliani didn't come from the upper crust establishment. That may have fueled his ambition. Did it also contribute to some deep sense of insecurity? That he was an outsider. And in that, maybe he does identify with Trump.


LEMON: So joining us now is CNN senior political analyst and anchor, John Avlon. He's a former chief speechwriter for Mayor Rudy Giuliani. So many lives you have lived. Thanks for joining us this morning.

Listen, we're talking about Rudy Giuliani, who is -- I guess he could be the chief of the election deniers under Donald Trump. And then you have all of the election deniers now who are causing the chaos at the Capitol. It's all related. It's all come full circle.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST AND ANCHOR: It is. And here on the second anniversary of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, it is worth remembering, as Michael Fanone said, how accountability still has not been imposed. And the legacy of January 6 is still very much with us.

Take a look at the chaos with Kevin McCarthy on Capitol Hill. Those 20 or so holdouts -- the vast majority of them are -- were election deniers. The vast majority voted to overturn the election after the attack on the Capitol.

And I think talking about Rudy on this day and CNN's new documentary also ties into that because that's about somebody who once was a law and order figure. Someone I had the honor of working for when he was mayor -- which I would argue, a distinguished record. And the descent to being Donald Trump's lackey, trying to overturn the election, and playing a role in inciting January 6 with his trial by combat comments, which I thought was unforgivable.

HARLOW: I think -- go ahead. Yes.

LEMON: I -- it's so --

AVLON: Go on.

HARLOW: I read his cues.

LEMON: No, no, no, no, no, no. I was just -- because -- listen, I remember -- I covered Rudy Giuliani's first day as mayor. I remember --

AVLON: You did?

HARLOW: Really?

LEMON: Yes, I did. I was a -- I was a field producer at WNYW FOX 5, and part of my job as a field producer that day was to cover his first day on the job. And I remember the -- going from deacons to Rudy Giuliani.

We have been -- you now, the last 10 years, so D.C. -- actually, even more. I think since Obama -- so D.C. focused. But we forget the influence that --

AVLON: Massive.

LEMON: -- New York City and Rudy Giuliani had on the -- you know, on our politics in this country.

AVLON: It -- that's right. And look, I mean -- you know, one of the things this documentary does is I think it deals with the different chapters of Rudy's life.

There's the first chapter, U.S. attorney. The Italian-American who breaks the back of the mob -- LEMON: Yes.

AVLON: -- and takes on Wall Street corruption.

The second act, the mayor of New York City. And the record is extraordinary. When he came into office you're talking about a time when New York City averaged 2,000 murders a year.


AVLON: They fell almost 70 percent under his watch. Almost 60 percent reduction in crime. Welfare cut in half. Turning a multibillion-dollar deficit into a multibillion-dollar surplus.

LEMON: The densification of New York City.

AVLON: I -- that is -- I totally reject that. I think that's nonsense.

LEMON: OK, all right.

AVLON: Quality of life does matter.

LEMON: But Times Square.

AVLON: And I think there's a lot of -- there's a lot of lessons that, frankly, are from the policies that were put in place at that time, which then were adopted by mayors across the country that could be relearned right now.

And part of the tragedy, to my eyes, of Rudy's fall is that the lessons of that era are less available because of what he has done in the fourth act of his life.



AVLON: And that is part of the tragedy.

HARLOW: I just think it's amazing if we take that shot of the -- like, him standing on that island looking at the Statue of Liberty -- like, alone on an island on that rock right there.

This was America's mayor and I just wonder for you, how surreal it is. Because when I moved to New York in 2001, a lot -- it was so great, largely because of a lot that he had done.


HARLOW: And --

AVLON: Which is not to say that he was not a controversial mayor. And one of the things I learned on 9/11 -- I was 27-28 when I became his chief speechwriter and 9/11 happens. I learned a lot from the man.

And so, all this own evolution is in its own way been painful to watch somebody that you admire.

HARLOW: It just must be surreal for you.

AVLON: Of course, it is. And it was -- it was a long time ago. But to see the descent from America's mayor --

And one of the things -- the principles he advanced. One of the ideas that I loved was he said to be locked into partisan politics permit you to think clearly.