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Hearing from CIA Director; Trump's Diplomatic Deficit; Humanitarian Crisis at Migrant Shelter; Buying Organic Vegetables; Parkland Students Win Award. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 29, 2018 - 08:30   ET


[08:30:00] MIKE ROGERS, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY COMMENTATOR: Was not very good and you add on top of that, by the way, the finger wagging by the secretary of state of members who would dare to ask questions about the Yemen policy was an absolute head scratcher to me, how this was mishandled to get where they wanted to go on their position in Yemen.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Jane, I just don't understand why decision makers wouldn't want to see all the evidence. But the president has said that he doesn't want to hear the tape of Khashoggi's murder. And there that National Security Director John Bolton had this answer when asked why he doesn't want to listen to the tape.


JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: No, I haven't listened to it. And I guess I should ask you why do you think I should? What do you think I'll learn from it?

QUESTION: Well, you're the national security adviser. You might have access to that sort of intelligence.

BOLTON: How many in this room speak Arabic?

QUESTION: You don't have access to an interpreter?

BOLTON: You want me to listen to it? What am I going to learn from -- I mean if they were speaking Korean, I wouldn't learn any more from it either.


CAMEROTA: So, Jane, if a crime doesn't happen in English, do you get a pass?

JANE HARMAN, DIRECTOR, PRESIDENT AND CEO, WILSON CENTER: Yes. Oh, please. To remind, Gina Haspel went to Istanbul about a month ago, I think, and I'm sure she's heard the tape.

CAMEROTA: She has.

HARMAN: And, gee whiz, she didn't have a lot of trouble getting it translated unless she may speak fluent Arabic. But listening to the evidence is obviously what you want to do if you want to make an informed decision. And certainly our intelligence community is recommending, they don't do policy, but they -- and the truth shall set ye free is the mantra in the great hall of the CIA. What they do is they give as accurate a picture as they can to policymakers, who apparently now don't want to hear it.

Let me just say one more thing.

Mike and I served together. We overlapped on the House Intelligence Committee, which, back in the day, then when I was ranking member and afterwards when he was chairman, functioned well and got a lot of things done. I just hope in the next Congress that Adam Schiff, should he be the next chairman, is able to repair the enormous damage that has been done to that committee in the last two years.

CAMEROTA: Mike, I mean, listen, it sounds like they don't want to hear all of the evidence and don't want to know from Gina Haspel all that she found out in Istanbul because they don't want to have to punish the crown prince. They want to believe the crown prince's story. And so, you know, what does that mean for lawmakers? Can they -- what can they do about this?

ROGERS: Well, lawmakers in the appropriate committees should be able to get access to all of that.

I will say, I'm not convinced they have to listen to the tape. They have to read the transcripts that will probably be, you know, transcribed in English. They should get that. They should get the intelligence assessment.

I'm going to guess that they probably have that. And I'm going to guess that Bolton has that. He has all of that. I think what they don't like is that they just so mishandled the notion that we're going to circle around the crown prince because we have this big, strategic interest in continuing our strong relationship with Saudi Arabia in defense and intelligence. And I think this got all muddled up.

And, as I said, I don't even think listening to it was the issue. I think the fact that they just so mishandled how they could separate the murder, which they should deal with, with the larger strategy in Saudi Arabia. And they got it completely wrong.


ROGERS: And, again, they were accusing people who disagreed with him as, you know, somehow loving Obama. I didn't understand any of that.

CAMEROTA: Yes, quickly, Jane.

HARMAN: Yes, can I just add to that, I totally agree with that. I mean this is not a binary choice. You either condone murder or you support Saudi Arabia. You can condemn murder and support Saudi Arabia --

ROGERS: That's exactly right. HARMAN: And, in a nuanced way, put pressure on the government, frankly, in my view, to move MBS sideways or out of the next leadership position. The royal family hates him for all the things he's done to them. And the outside world is watching carefully. If he can get away with murder, why can't Vladimir Putin get away with what he's doing in Ukraine? Why can't Kim Jong-un, who is actually doing this, get away with keeping a nuclear arsenal and being a member of, you know, the first tier of world leaders?


HARMAN: I mean this is not a world we want to live in. And this is a world that U.S. policy has always influenced for the better in the past.

CAMEROTA: Jane Harman, Mike Rogers, thank you both very much for all of your expertise.

HARMAN: Thank you.


ROGERS: Thanks so much.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, humanitarian crisis unfolding on the Mexican border. We take you to the overcrowded sports complex being called home by thousands of asylum seeking migrants. That's next.


[08:38:23] CAMEROTA: President Trump heads to his second G-20 Summit very shortly. According to the National Security Adviser John Bolton, the schedule is packed. But the president is heading to Argentina without a key set of diplomatic tools in his arsenal.

To tell us all about that, we have CNN's senior political analyst John Avlon for our "Reality Check."

Hi, John.


So, don't cry for me Argentina, but buckle up because the G-20 in Buenos Aries is coming up. And the last time in Hamburg it was a wild ride.

This year the Trump doctorate is clearer than ever, trade wars, threats to allies, and is illustrated by the blind eye shown to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, state sanctioned murder will be considered a domestic offense as long as you're on the right side of U.S. policy.

Affirming this was one of the most darkly remarkable op-ed's ever written by a secretary of state that actually contains the words, we don't condone Jamal Khashoggi's murder, but. So if Trump rubs elbows with Saudi Crown Prince MBS at this year's G- 20, you might see the kind of closeness that only comes when you let someone get away with murder.

Also on the agenda is another meeting with Vladimir Putin, as Russia's conflict with the Ukraine escalates amid deafening American silence. And we'll see if the president's admiral toughness on trade with China finally bears fruit.

Now, to the president's friends, Trump is a disrupter. To his critics, he's a bull who carries his own china shop with him, to quote our colleague Doug Brinkley. But the chaos is compounded by the fact that the president goes into these meetings with shockingly few ambassadors deployed around the world. In fact, nearly half of the top jobs at the State Department are empty. And it's been that way for a while.

According to the American Foreign Services Association, Trump only named 88 diplomatic nominees by the end of his first year in office. That's more than 40 fewer than President Obama at the same time. Still ignored are incredibly important countries. No ambassador to Mexico, for example, despite the president's relentless focus on illegal immigration.

[08:40:11] We have no ambassador to Turkey or nuclear armed Pakistan or chaotic Libya. Our allies in Jordan still have no ambassador. Georgia and Estonia, often squarely in Vladimir Putin's crosshairs, have no ambassadors. No ambassador to Singapore or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. And Saudi Arabia just got a nominee two weeks ago. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner was handling it up until then.

Of course, it's no surprise the president is going it alone. Remember this?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: we don't need all the people that they want. The one that matters is me. I'm the only one that matters because when it comes to it, that's what the policy is going to be.


AVLON: The world is a dangerous place, as our president keeps reminding us, and it's absurd to think that he alone can fix it.

Before we go, last night a D.C. community board voted to rename the street directly outside the Saudi embassy in Washington, Jamal Khashoggi Way. Now, if the D.C. council approves the move, it will send a stronger signal to the Saudis about American values by way of a simple sign than the Trump administration has dared to date.

And that's your "Reality Check."

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, John.

BERMAN: All right, humanitarian crisis growing at a shelter for migrants in Mexico. The situation is so bad that officials are racing to open a second shelter.

Our Leyla Santiago is live in Tijuana, Mexico, with the very latest.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it is very early here, 5:40 a.m., and already, while most of the migrants are sleeping, and I am hearing a lot of coughs come from those tents, I'm also seeing that some of them are waking up, trying to find work here.

I've got to tell you, the conditions here are not ideal by any means. And overnight it actually has been raining on and off. That adding to what's already tough conditions here.


SANTIAGO (voice over): Crammed together under a sea of tents not far from growing piles of trash and rows of portable toilets. Some use outdoor showers. Others clean themselves using bottles of water.

Among the camp, hundreds of small children. The playground providing some relief from the squalor. But the harsh reality is undeniable.

SANTIAGO (on camera): So this was once a sports facility for the community. And now it is home of the caravan. Tarps are set up. You can see clothes drying on lines everywhere. This is where they live now. This is where they sleep.

Organizers tell me that there are more than 5,000 people here. And that number has been growing over the last few days. Families have blankets set up to provide some sort of privacy, but really it's not much at all.

And they say that the resources are limited. Many waiting in line for hours just to get food for these families.

So this is Naira, and she's from Honduras.


SANTIAGO: I'm asking her how it's been here.

She says more or less. In other words, not great, not bad. She says that they have to somehow collect money to pay for some food because they're not getting a lot of food here.

SANTIAGO (voice over): A state official tells me it's costing about $27,000 U.S. a day to feed the caravan.

Not far from meal distribution, we watch as workers rush a man out of the shelter and into a medical unit.

Carlos Betanzos says it happens several times a day. He's a volunteer in one of three medical treatments providing services. On average, he says they're treating 150 people daily. SANTIAGO (on camera): You're seeing respiratory illness infections.

You're seeing all sorts of stomach issues. If there's some sort of outbreak or epidemic here, can they handle that? Do they have the resources to control that?


SANTIAGO (voice over): But resources here are already strained and frustration is mounting as migrants grow impatient waiting for asylum. Many telling us they cannot go back home.

As he shows me how the gang violence in Honduras has left him scared, Sisad Nunez (ph) explains --

SANTIAGO (on camera): He's saying the tear gas at the border won't stop them because they're fleeing things that are much worse than that.

SANTIAGO (voice over): But for these migrants, the border at Tijuana, however inadequate and tantalizingly close to their destination, it will have to do as they await that much desired path into the United States of America.


SANTIAGO: But already U.S. officials have said it will take at least six weeks before they can begin to process some of these asylum claims. That's how long the waiting list is at the port of entry here in Tijuana.

[08:45:07] And I've got to tell you, some of the folks here are already starting to voluntarily deport. There are busses that come every single day that the Mexican officials are providing to take these folks back to Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala. But the portion of people doing that is minimal compared to the large group that is here at this shelter.

John. Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Leyla, having you walk us through that shelter and the conditions is really striking. Thank you very much for that reporting.

So of course you remember the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and their fast action after the massacre. So where are the Parkland students today and where are they taking their fight against gun violence, next.

BERMAN: But first, in today's "Food as Fuel," nutritionist Lisa Drayer shows us which vegetables savvy shoppers should pick in the organic section.


LISA DRAYER, CNN HEALTH CONTRIBUTOR: Even after being washed, some vegetables contain high levels of pesticides. The Environment Working Group puts out a list every year of the most contaminated produce. Spinach was the highest ranking vege on the 2018 Dirty Dozen list, followed by tomatoes, celery, potatoes and sweet bell peppers.

If you eat a lot of hot peppers, the EWG recommend you also buy those organic since pesticide residue could be more toxic than those found on other vegetables.



[08:50:51] CAMEROTA: The survivors of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are getting international praise. Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu presented them with the International Children's Peace Prize, calling the March for Our Lives one of the most significant youth-led mass movements in living memory.

Joining us now are the march co-founders, Delaney Tarr and Ryan Deitsch.

Great to see you guys again.

Delaney, tell us -- tell us about what it was like to go to South Africa and get this Peace Prize.

DELANEY TARR, CO-FOUNDER, MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: Well, going to South Africa in itself is an incredible experience that I definitely thought that we were never going to have. But when we got there, we got to meet with all of the past winners of the International Peace Prize, the Children's Peace Prize. And to be in a group -- to be in almost this club of sorts with these students who have faced adversity and pain and trauma but stood up for what they know is right, that is incredible. That was life changing and it changed our perspective completely.

CAMEROTA: Ryan, we want to talk about where you all are today with the movement. We all remember how quickly you and your fellow student survivors swung into action. I mean even as your grief and your trauma was so raw, you took action. And you made real, significant progress.

I mean then Governor Scott signed into law this Florida gun control bill that raised the minimum age to purchase firearms from 18 to 21. It banned the sale or possession of bump stocks. It gave law enforcement greater power to seize weapons and ammo from the mentally unfit. It provided additional funding for armed school resource officers, et cetera.

But, tragically, since Parkland, there has been at least 15 school shootings. I mean your hashtag that sprouted up of never again has happened again. And so how do you assess where you are today?

RYAN DEITSCH, CO-FOUNDER< MARCH FOR OUR LIVES: Well, there's a lot that we have to get done. There's a lot more that still has to change. At the federal level, they have still not changed the laws that we wish to see in our country. We know that it is still not safe, not only in schools, but in nightclubs, in churches, just on the streets of our cities. And we still have a lot more to do. We have to fund programs that are actually fighting this on the ground, as well as change the legislation. And through our chapter organizations, we hope to do just that.

CAMEROTA: Delaney, the midterms in Florida, you know, Floridians elected some pro-gun candidates. And so is that a setback for you?

TARR: Something I say often is that change just doesn't happen overnight. And to take a state like Florida that can be so tumultuous in its politic and not only get so close to creating this momentous change, but to see the young people being the ones to do it, it may have not necessarily turned out the way that we were hoping, but we're not discouraged. We're only strengthened in our fight to continue.

We saw incredible youth voter turnout. Not just in Florida, but all across the country. Record-breaking turnouts. And we know that these elections wouldn't have necessarily been so close. They wouldn't have had such a great turnout. They wouldn't have been so exciting if it wasn't for all of the young people that voted.

CAMEROTA: But so what does your fight look like now? So, you know, Ryan, you guys are all in a gap year. A lot of you didn't go right to college, understandably. But at some point you will. And so what does -- what's the next action? Is there a nationwide march? Is there -- what will you guys be doing?

DEITSCH: Like we said, we have a chapter organization that is going all across the country and across the world where we are organizing students who, like us, want to stand up and create change in their community. And we are working really closely with a great group of kids and we're hoping to meet with more and more of them as the year continues.

CAMEROTA: So, Delaney, what thoughts do you have? Do you think that kids, meaning your age young adults, are going to be able to change something nationwide?

[08:55:00] TARR: Absolutely. I mean we stand on the shoulders of giants here. You look at the civil rights movement, the anti-war movement, these were led by young people. They were at the forefront. Martin Luther King Junior, John Lewis, these people were young when they were taking the helm and that's what we have to remember that even if this change seems so daunting and impossible, it's happened before and it can and will happen again.

CAMEROTA: You know, we have a CNN exclusive that I'll read to you. The Trump administration plans to announce the long anticipated federal rule officially banning bump stocks in the coming days. We don't know that -- you know, it hasn't happened yet, but our reporting is that that is going to happen.

So, Ryan, would you -- how big of a victory would that be?

DEITSCH: I mean, first, we need to see it happen. The president has said a lot of things in the past, and the president has not lived up to a lot of the things he has said. I hope to see these rules be put forth because we have met with many survivors from Las Vegas and other shootings that have been involved with bump stocks. And we hope that eventually we'll see these things off the streets and justice will be served.

CAMEROTA: Well, Ryan Deitsch, Delaney Tarr, we've been watching all of your progress and cheering you guys on. Thank you very much for being on. And we will, obviously, talk to you again soon.

TARR: Thank you.

DEITSCH: Thank you.


BERMAN: Congratulations to both of them.

The president deports for the G-20 Summit very shortly. We're waiting to see if he answers questions on the way to the helicopter on the summit and major investigations in the Mueller investigation. That's next.