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State of the Union
Health Crisis In Migrant Detention Centers; Interview With Vice President Mike Pence; Interview With Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); Interview With Julian Castro (D), Presidential Candidate; Twenty-Two Democratic Presidential Candidates Vie For Support In South Carolina; Biden Clarifies His Comments But Stops Short Of Apologizing; Buttigieg Faces Protesters Over Fatal Police Shooting; President Trump Delayed ICE Deportations. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired June 23, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hawk or dove? President Trump says all options are on the table after he calls off a U.S. strike on Iran.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have plenty of time.
TAPPER: Is the U.S. making any headway on containing Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions?
Vice President Mike Pence and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, are both here to respond.
And deportations delayed. The president postpones a planned raid on migrant families.
TRUMP: They will be removed from the country.
TAPPER: And gives Congress a two-week deadline to make a deal on asylum seekers, as a new report revealed a health crisis in migrant detention centers. What will it take to improve conditions for children in U.S. custody?
Plus, down South. 2020 Democrats make nice in South Carolina.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's good to be in the Palmetto State.
TAPPER: As the hopefuls try to win the support of black voters, will the current front-runner keep his place on top? 2020 presidential candidate Julian Castro joins in moments.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is to the brink and then back.
You might be feeling a little whiplash this week, after President Trump reversed course on two major decisions, one domestic, one international.
On Saturday, the president announced he was delaying mass deportation raids planned for today, after threatening all week that millions of undocumented immigrants would be removed, just hours before those raids on migrant families were set to begin.
And just minutes ago, he followed up -- quote -- "I want to give the Democrats every last chance to quickly negotiate simple changes to asylum and loopholes. Probably won't happen, but worth a try. Two weeks and big deportation begins."
The president's domestic reversal comes only days after the president seemed to use a similar strategy with Iran, which "New York Times" journalist Peter Baker described as -- quote -- "speak loudly and carry a small stick."
Again, using Twitter, President Trump said he had stopped a military strike with just minutes to launch, saying he did not think the potential human casualties inflicted by such a strike was proportional to the downing of a U.S. drone.
The president announced -- quote -- "Major additional sanctions will be imposed on Iran Monday."
And sources confirmed the U.S. had launched a cyber attack against Iran last week, after Iran attacked ships in the Gulf of Oman.
Joining me now to discuss this and much more is the vice president of the United States of America, Mike Pence.
Vice President Pence, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank you, Jake. Good to be with you.
TAPPER: So, over the weekend, the Iranians said they had reached out to the U.S. through the Swiss.
Have you received that message? Has there been any dialogue with Iran, either directly or through an intermediary, since the president called off the strikes?
PENCE: Well, the president's message to Iran is very clear, that we're not going to allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, and we're not going to stand by while Iran continues to sow malign influence across the region.
That is why, tomorrow, the president will announce additional sanctions against Iran. And, frankly, as we sit here today, since the end of the Iran nuclear deal, now a year ago, and additional sanctions that the United States is imposing, Iran's economy is literally crumbling.
And over the last two months, we have seen them lashing out even more than they usually do. Remember, Iran is the leading state sponsor of terrorism...
PENCE: ... in the world. They have sown malign influence, even in the wake of the Iran nuclear deal, in places like Yemen and elsewhere.
TAPPER: Yes, so they're lashing out.
PENCE: This president drew an end to that.
We have isolated them economically and diplomatically. And they have lashed out, the tanker attack a week ago, the attack on an American UAV last week.
TAPPER: The drone, yes.
PENCE: The president has made it clear that we're not going to tolerate any threats against American forces, American interests, America's allies in the region. And we will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
TAPPER: So, they're lashing out.
But my question was, are they reaching out too? Did you get that message from the Swiss that the Iranians delivered?
PENCE: I'm not aware of any outreach from the Iranians.
PENCE: I know there was communication. Prime Minister Abe was actually in Tehran not long ago.
PENCE: And he encouraged them, as President Trump has done publicly, to engage the United States.
The president of the United States has made it clear we're prepared to talk to Iran without preconditions.
PENCE: But Iran needs to understand that we will never allow them to obtain a nuclear weapon.
TAPPER: A nuclear weapon.
PENCE: And we will not allow them to continue to sow violence across this region.
TAPPER: Well, let me ask you a question about...
PENCE: All -- in the midst of that...
TAPPER: Yes. PENCE: ... the actions the president took, the actions that we will
announce yesterday (sic), the president demonstrated the restraint that the American people, I know, admire and are grateful for when, as right up to the run-up of a military attack, the president continued to evaluate that decision and concluded that...
PENCE: ... what was -- what had been initiated and was about to be launched was not proportionate.
TAPPER: Would be disproportionate, exactly.
PENCE: But -- but Iran should not mistake restraint for a lack of resolve.
All options remain on the table.
PENCE: The United States is going to defend our troops and America's interests in the region.
TAPPER: But your assertion that the United States -- that Iran should not mistake that for lack of resolve reminds me of what Bolton said not long ago, where he said, nobody should mistake this as weakness.
And it makes me wonder if you are concerned it will be perceived that way.
Before the strike, Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted -- quote -- "I have found that inaction in the face of evil and provocation ultimately has its own cost. In some instances, failing to act can prove to be the most dangerous choice of all."
Now, you initially supported the military strike against Iran. Do you agree that there is a risk that Iran will get the wrong message from the president's restraint, as you put it?
PENCE: Well, let -- let me be clear.
I have said before that weakness arouses evil. But this president has rebuilt our military, to the point that the United States' military forces in the region and around the world are stronger than ever before.
In fact, in the wake of the tanker attacks just a week ago, the president announced that we were moving another 1,000 troops into the region. And I expect Iran and our allies in the region have no doubt about the military capabilities of the United States of America. I believe that's probably...
TAPPER: But do you worry that they worry that the president isn't willing to pull the trigger? Is that a concern at all?
PENCE: Well, I think the president was encouraged that Iran actually announced that they were tracking a manned American surveillance aircraft on Friday and did not fire on it, even though they believed it was in their airspace.
Now, all of that convinces us...
TAPPER: Was it in their airspace?
PENCE: No, of course not.
All of that gives us some sense that -- that, in Iran, that they understand the military capabilities of the United States of America.
But this is -- this is a president who is always going to count the costs. And I was there through the course of the deliberations. Over the last week, in the wake of the tanker attacks, the president was talking about options. In the wake of the attack on the unmanned UAV, there were extensive discussions.
But, at the end of the day, the president looked at the potential loss of human life, relative to an unmanned American drone that had been shot down, and concluded that that was not proportionate. And that was...
TAPPER: But you supported, though, right? You supported the strike initially.
PENCE: I -- well, first off, Jake, I never talk about my discussions with the president of the United States.
But it has been reported that you, Bolton, Pompeo all supported the strike.
PENCE: I think all -- all of the national security team around this president supported providing him the broadest range of options, including the use of military force.
But the president is the one that makes the decision. And, as he indicated, very late in the process, he was given an estimate that just simply was unacceptable to him.
TAPPER: A hundred and fifty.
PENCE: And this is a president, I think -- I hope that this is also a message to the Iranian people that this is a president who hopes for the best for the people of Iran.
It was the United States back in 2009, in the midst of the Green Revolution, that you remember, Jake, that...
PENCE: ... we stood with and spoke on behalf of the people of Iran...
TAPPER: The people of Iran, absolutely.
PENCE: ... the establishment of freedom and democracy in Iran.
We saw protests a year ago all across this country.
TAPPER: OK, I want to ask about something you just said.
PENCE: We want the best for the people of Iran.
But we will stand up to the ayatollahs. We will stand up to their provocations. And Iran should never doubt the capabilities of the armed forces of the United States.
TAPPER: So, you said that President Trump got that information late in the process.
And that is confusing to me, and it's confusing to a defense official I spoke to who said, any time military options are presented to the president, the potential casualty assessment, the battle assessment, is one of the first things that the president would be told.
Now, President Trump said yesterday that he got -- quote -- "very odd numbers" early on in terms of the assessment, the casualty assessment.
What does that mean? And why would the president have only gotten the casualty numbers, as you put it, very late in the process?
PENCE: Well, look, what -- what I can tell you, without -- without talking about the details of those deliberations...
PENCE: ... is that the president was provided with -- with casualty assessments and a whole range of information...
TAPPER: But only at the end, or at the beginning?
PENCE: ... relative to the military strikes that the president -- really throughout.
PENCE: But, as the president indicated, late in the process, there were more specific projections given to him relative to the targets that he was prepared to use force against.
And he concluded -- he concluded that it was not a proportionate response to shooting down an unmanned American aircraft.
TAPPER: OK. I want to ask...
PENCE: And also -- you also remember the president... TAPPER: Yes.
PENCE: The president also had doubts as to whether or not the downing of our unmanned aircraft was actually authorized at the highest levels.
PENCE: I can't speak about intelligence that the United States has with regard to that, but you heard the president reflect openly.
TAPPER: That it might have been a rogue general.
PENCE: We -- we're -- we're not convinced that it was authorized at the highest levels.
PENCE: The president put a regard for human life first. He also put on the table that we want better for the people of Iran.
But Iran needs to understand that the United States of America will never allow them to obtain a usable nuclear weapon. This is the leading state sponsor of terrorism.
PENCE: And the truth that the world has seen over the last 40 years is that the ayatollahs in Iran have no regard for human life. They sow terrorism around the region, around the world.
TAPPER: Would you sit down...
PENCE: And it is unacceptable that they would ever obtain a nuclear weapon as a threat to us, to our ally Israel or to the wider world.
TAPPER: Would the United States sit down with the Iranians with no preconditions to talk about continuing diplomatic relations and ending the Iranian nuclear weapons program?
PENCE: No, I think the president has made it very clear that he's more than prepared...
TAPPER: With no preconditions?
PENCE: ... to have discussions with no preconditions with the Iranians.
PENCE: But the -- the one precondition is...
TAPPER: Well, that is a precondition.
PENCE: ... they need to give up the nuclear weapons.
TAPPER: Well, that is a precondition. That is a precondition, though.
PENCE: We actually hear Iran beginning to talk about within days...
PENCE: ... that they're going to begin to enrich uranium beyond the limitations of the JCPOA. None of that is acceptable.
The president often says that people need to understand, this is not about oil.
PENCE: The attack on the tankers in the straits of a week ago, the United States, we get less than 10 percent of our oil from the Persian Gulf these days...
PENCE: ... because, frankly, we're the -- we're one of the leading exporters of energy in the world. But...
TAPPER: I want to get to immigration.
PENCE: But China, India, other countries depend on that region. This is about the safety and security of the United States...
PENCE: ... Israel, our allies around the world. And that's why we will never allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.
And we will continue to bring economic, diplomatic pressure to bear, and make it very clear that the United States military will defend our personnel...
PENCE: ... we will defend our interests in the region.
TAPPER: So let's talk about immigration, because President Trump is up and tweeting about that.
Family deportations were set to begin in major U.S. cities today.
TAPPER: President Trump tweeted yesterday that he would delay them -- quote -- "to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border." But what exactly does the president want to see in a deal that would prevent these deportations?
PENCE: Jake, we have a crisis on our southern border.
PENCE: I -- I was down there a few short months ago. I was at a detention center.
We are on track this year to have more than a million people come into our country illegally. And for the first time ever, the vast majority of them are -- are people that are bringing minor children...
TAPPER: Children, yes.
PENCE: ... with them.
TAPPER: And I want to talk about that.
PENCE: There are people that are exploiting what are well-known loopholes in our laws that say, if you arrive with a minor, that you can only be detained for 20 days, and, after which, you're essentially released into the country.
TAPPER: Right, because of the Flores decision.
PENCE: And you know that 90-plus percent of the people that apply for asylum in this country are denied.
PENCE: They actually don't have a claim for asylum.
And so the -- so the president took steps earlier this year, declared a national emergency. We're building a wall. We will have 400 miles built.
TAPPER: But what does he want with the asylum laws? What -- what does he want changed with the asylum laws?
PENCE: What we want -- what we want, to end the days where people believe they can come into the country, make a claim of asylum from oppression or deprivation or violence in Central America or elsewhere, and then be released into the country on their own recognizance, only to -- only to vanish into the nation with -- with now this -- the president's efforts...
TAPPER: Well, most of them do show up to their hearings.
PENCE: ... at enforcing our laws, or that -- that 90 percent of the people never show up for their hearing in the months ahead.
We have got to close the loopholes. (CROSSTALK)
TAPPER: I don't think that that number is accurate about 90 percent not showing up. I think a majority do show up.
I mean, they all should show up. It should be 100 percent show up.
PENCE: Well, it is actually not true.
TAPPER: Well, let me ask you a question.
PENCE: People with -- people with a hearing that is scheduled six months, a year, 18 months later, the overwhelming majority, plus-90 percent, don't show up.
And people in Central America know this. I have been down to those countries known as the Northern Triangle.
PENCE: I have talked to the leaders of those countries on many occasions. Human traffickers are taking $5,000 cash per person to entice people to take vulnerable children on the long and dangerous journey north.
PENCE: People are being hurt on both sides of the border.
TAPPER: Let's talk about these kids. I want to talk about these kids.
PENCE: But -- well, and that is why -- but that is why the president has continued to call on Congress...
PENCE: He said, let's give them another two weeks before we -- we engage in the deportation efforts.
TAPPER: And let's pass -- let's pass the legislation for the -- for the humanitarian aid.
PENCE: But let's reform our asylum laws, and let's get additional humanitarian support, so we can deal with the influx at the border.
And that money is going through Congress right now.
But let me ask you. Over the last week, legal advocates reported some horrific conditions for children at the border.
At the same time that that was going on, the Trump administration was actually arguing in court this week that the Trump administration should not be obligated to give soap or toothbrushes or showers to children detained at the border.
Take a listen to this clip of a Trump administration lawyer before a judge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE A. WALLACE TASHIMA, NINTH CIRCUIT U.S. COURT OF APPEALS: If you don't have a toothbrush, if you don't have soap, if you don't have a blanket, it is not safe and sanitary.
Wouldn't everybody agree to that? Do you agree with that?
SARAH FABIAN, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ATTORNEY: Well, I think it's -- I think those are -- there's fair reason to find that those things may be part of safe and sanitary...
TASHIMA: Not may be, are a part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Aren't toothbrushes and blanket and medicine, basic conditions for kids, aren't they a part of how the United States of America, the Trump administration treats children?
PENCE: Well, of course they are, Jake.
TAPPER: Well, the lawyer was arguing the opposite.
PENCE: Well, I -- I can't -- I can't speak to what that lawyer was saying.
PENCE: It's one of the reasons we asked for more bed space...
TAPPER: Right, for this supplemental money, yes.
PENCE: ... when we were negotiating with Congress.
No, when we were negotiating during the government shutdown.
TAPPER: Oh, OK.
PENCE: And Democrats in Congress refused to expand the bed space and the capacity for us to detain people...
TAPPER: But this is going on right now.
PENCE: ... at our borders.
It is one of the reasons why we continue to call on Congress to give DHS, Customs and Border Protection additional resources at the border. But, again...
TAPPER: This is the wealthiest nation in the world. We have money to give toothpaste and soap and blankets to these kids in this facility in El Paso County. Right now, we do.
PENCE: Well, of course -- of course we do.
TAPPER: So why aren't we?
PENCE: My point is -- my point is, it's all a part of the appropriations process.
Congress needs to provide additional support to deal with the crisis at our southern border.
But we have to get to the root causes. We've got to close the loopholes that human traffickers as we speak are using to entice vulnerable families to take the long and dangerous journey north.
TAPPER: Yes. And I'm not -- I'm not taking issue with any of that. I'm talking about the kids. Just listen to this. This is...
PENCE: But it's also the reason -- but, Jake -- Jake, it is also the reason why the president a few short weeks ago...
PENCE: ... said that Mexico needed to step up...
TAPPER: And they did. And they are.
PENCE: ... or he was going to begin -- he was going to begin to impose 5 percent tariffs, escalating from there.
PENCE: I was in those negotiations on day one with the secretary of state.
And now, as we speak, Mexico is sending 6,000 National Guard to their southern...
TAPPER: To the border, right, exactly, to their border, their southern border.
PENCE: And for the first time ever, they have agreed to allow all asylum seekers from Central America to remain in Mexico while they're being processed.
TAPPER: But I'm talking about the kids -- I'm talking about the kids our custody right now. Just listen to this.
This is "The New Yorker" citing a team of lawyers who visited a border facility.
PENCE: Jake, Jake, here's the hard fact.
PENCE: As I said -- I will answer your question.
TAPPER: I just want to this quote.
"The conditions the lawyers were found were shocking. Flu and lice outbreaks were going untreated. Children were filthy, sleeping on cold floors, taking care of each other because of the lack of attention from guards."
I know you. You're a father. You're a man of faith. You can't approve of that.
PENCE: Well, I -- I -- no -- no American -- no American should approve of this mass influx of people coming across our border. It is overwhelming our system at the southern border.
TAPPER: But how about we're treating these children?
PENCE: Look, I -- as I said to you, I was at the detention center in Nogales just a few short months ago. It is a heartbreaking scene.
These are people who are being exploited by human traffickers, who charge them $5,000 a person to entice them to take their vulnerable children...
TAPPER: But now these kids are in our custody.
PENCE: ... and take the long and dangerous journey north.
But -- so Congress has to act.
I mean, I -- I was about to say to you, look, now, with Mexico what is doing on their southern border, and with -- with their agreement now to -- to have 100 percent of asylum seekers from Central America remain in Mexico, I mean, the truth is, in the last 10 days, Mexico has done more to secure our southern border than Democrats in Congress have done in the last 10 years.
And that has to change.
TAPPER: OK. And I'm not disputing what you're saying there.
But I would say that I'm talking about the kids on our southern border right now.
TAPPER: And you have the power right now to go back to the White House and say, we need to make sure that these kids -- first of all, that there are people taking care of them, so it is not 12-year-olds taking care of 3-year-olds, and, second of all, that they have soap, that they have toothbrushes, that they have combs, that we're taking care so they don't all get the flu. PENCE: Jake...
TAPPER: You know that.
PENCE: Jake, look, I -- I have been down there.
Head down there. Go look around. Our Customs and Border Protection personnel are dedicated men and women. They are doing their absolute level best every day. They literally -- I -- I heard of the number of hospital runs that they make on any given day, because people who take that long and dangerous journey north are often assaulted along the way. Young women are sexually assaulted along the way.
It is horrific what is happening at our border. And we know how to fix it. President Trump has said we could fix this in 15 minutes, if the Democrats will sit down with us, close the loopholes, provide the resources we need to deal with the influx.
But if we close the loopholes, and send a clear message to our allies in the region, whether it is Mexico, or Guatemala, or other nations, that the days of this porous border are over, we will end this crisis of illegal immigration and the flow at our border.
And that, along with border security, will end this crisis...
TAPPER: I think Democrats would argue that they want to do a deal with President Trump, but he hasn't showed any inclination.
But I do -- just first of all, I want to say one thing.
PENCE: I don't know where that would come from. This president -- we have -- we have...
TAPPER: You said a second ago that 90 percent of the people who get a -- who get detained don't show up for their court hearings.
TAPPER: So, the Justice Department data says it is 60 percent to 70 percent.
But I want to ask you a question about climate change.
The director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, said in a January report on worldwide threats that the climate emergency is -- quote -- "likely to fuel competition for resources, economic distress and social discontent."
It is a priority for the DNI, Coats.
The EPA this week, however, rolled back part of President Obama's Clean Power Plan, letting states set their own limit for coal power plants emissions.
Do you believe think human-induced climate emergency is a threat to the United States?
PENCE: Well, what -- what I will tell you is that we will always follow the science on that in this administration.
TAPPER: The science says it is.
PENCE: But what -- but what we -- but what we won't do -- and the Clean Power Plan was all about that -- was hamstringing energy in this country, raising the cost of utility rates for working families across this country...
TAPPER: But is it a threat?
PENCE: ... while other nations like China and India absolutely do nothing or make illusory promises decades down the road to deal with it.
You know, the truth of the matter is, with the advent of natural gas, with the natural gas explosion that is developing...
PENCE: ... with clean coal technology, we're seeing -- we're seeing a significant reduction in carbon emissions all across this country.
TAPPER: But is what people are calling a climate emergency, is it a threat? Do you think it is a threat, manmade climate emergency is a threat?
PENCE: I think the answer to is going to be based upon the science.
TAPPER: Well, the science says yes.
TAPPER: I'm asking you what you think.
PENCE: There is many in the science that...
TAPPER: The science community in your own administration, at NOAA...
PENCE: I got it.
TAPPER: ... at the DNI, they all say it is a threat.
PENCE: I got it. Look, what the president...
TAPPER: But you won't, for some reason.
PENCE: ... has said, what we have said is that we're not going to raise utility rates. Remember what President Obama said?
TAPPER: But it is not a threat?
PENCE: He said -- he said -- he had his climate change plan. He said it is necessarily going to cause utility rates to skyrocket, and that would force us into these green technologies.
Now you have got Democrats all running for president that are running on a Green New Deal that would break this economy.
TAPPER: OK. So you don't think it is a threat, is all I'm saying? You don't think it is a threat?
PENCE: I think we're making great progress reducing carbon emissions, America has the cleanest air and water in the world. We will continue to use market forces...
TAPPER: That is not true. We don't have the cleanest air and water in the world.
TAPPER: According to...
TAPPER: You get back to me with some statistics that show it.
PENCE: But we're making -- we're making progress on reducing carbon emissions.
We're doing it through technology, through natural gas, through continuing to support, as our administration is...
TAPPER: You just rolled back all these clean -- clean coal...
PENCE: Turn back to nuclear energy, clean energy.
The answer, though, is not to raise the utility rates of millions of utility rate payers across the country.
TAPPER: You and the president just launched your reelection bid on Tuesday for 2020.
PENCE: We did.
TAPPER: Let me ask you.
If foreigners, if Russia, if China offers your campaign information on your Democratic opponents, should people in the campaign accept it or should they call the FBI?
PENCE: Well, I think we're very clear that we will call the FBI...
TAPPER: You will call the FBI? OK.
PENCE: ... on this. Look...
TAPPER: Well, the president wasn't clear about it, but you are.
PENCE: Well, no, I -- I take issue with that. He said he would do both.
He said he would hear what they said, and that he would...
TAPPER: Well, that is not calling...
TAPPER: That is not calling the FBI.
PENCE: Well, no, he said he would call the FBI.
TAPPER: He said maybe he would.
PENCE: And he made clear in subsequent comments that he would call the FBI.
Look, we -- this -- this administration, I'm very proud of what we have done to confront foreign interference in our elections. We had a good midterm election. I can tell you that the FBI...
TAPPER: You lost the House.
PENCE: ... worked very aggressively -- well...
PENCE: ... I'm talking about...
TAPPER: Oh, you're talking about the interference. Got it.
PENCE: Yes. Yes.
TAPPER: Got it.
PENCE: I think we're going to win it back.
PENCE: But we -- the FBI worked with state election officials all around the country.
But we're going to continue to lean into this to protect the integrity of our elections. But let me say, we had a great night at that kickoff...
TAPPER: You had a fun time in Florida, yes.
PENCE: ... on Tuesday night in Orlando, yes, about 20,000 people, millions watching around the country.
TAPPER: A lot of people -- yes, a lot of big fans there.
Last question for you, sir.
President Trump was asked recently about the next presidential election in 2024. Take a listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STEVE DOOCY, FOX NEWS: If Mike Pence runs for president in 2024, does he have your automatic endorsement?
TRUMP: Well, it is far too -- look, I love Mike. We're running again. But you're talking about a long time. So you can't put me in that position. But I certainly would give it very strong consideration.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TAPPER: What was your reaction when the president said that?
PENCE: You know, it's the greatest honor of my life to serve as vice president to this president. And I'm incredibly honored that he asked me to run with him again in 2020.
And what I can tell you is, that statement reflects and I reflect the fact that the only election he and I are focused on is 2020.
I mean, when you look at the progress that we've made in this country, six million new jobs created, manufacturing jobs, 500,000 across this country, we have rebuilt our military, America is standing tall in the world again, more than 114 conservatives confirmed to our federal courts, two Supreme Court justices.
But we have made great progress in building a wall on our southern border. We will have 400 miles of wall done by next year. Criminal justice reform, right to try.
PENCE: We have made incredible progress.
And I can't wait to get out on the campaign trail and tell that story all across this country and help to see this president reelected in 2020. And that is all we're thinking about. TAPPER: Well, we're very honored that you came here this morning.
Don't let it be another two-and-a-half years until the next time we get to talk to you.
It is always a pleasure.
And please send our best to your family, especially, of course, your son, who is in the U.S. Marines. We appreciate his service. Thank you very much.
PENCE: Thank you, Jake. Good to be with you.
TAPPER: After the president decided not to bomb Iran last week, Democrats found themselves doing something a little unusual, praising him.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff joins me to respond to the vice president.
Plus, 22 presidential candidates made their pitches to voters in South Carolina this weekend. We will talk to one of them.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
When President Trump decided to call off a strike against Iran last week, the political response might have come as something of a surprise. Republicans, some of them, criticized the decision not to attack, and top Democrats applauded it.
Joining me now, the Chairman of the House intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff.
Chairman Schiff, good to see you.
You said you were glad President Trump called off the Iran strike and it would have been disproportionate.
President Obama's former Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Mike Vickers says that the White House needs to respond with its own strikes against air defense systems and military bases, or the Iranians will only be more emboldened.
Is Vickers wrong?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I think he is wrong.
I think that this would have been a disproportionate strike. It was certainly not authorized by Congress. And it would likely have escalated the situation and led to potentially great miscalculation and outright warfare with Iran. So, it could have had disastrous consequences. I do think there
should be a response to the downing of this drone and to the attacks on the shipping. But this is an attack on the international community, on the international right of free navigation.
It ought to be an international response. It shouldn't be the U.S. acting alone. And I also think we need to look beyond...
TAPPER: What would be an appropriate response?
SCHIFF: Well, I think the appropriate response is to work with our allies to protect the freedom of navigation. There are a number of ways that we could do that.
But I also think that we need to make sure that we provide some kind of a diplomatic off-ramp to this escalation of tit for tat that could lead us into war.
And I really think we have to look beyond the last 24 to 48 hours, and consider the last 24 months, where we walked out of this agreement that Iran was complying with. We urged Europe to do the same. We increased sanctions. We did everything we could to deprive Iran of any economic benefit of staying in the deal.
And now the vice president and others express surprise that Iran may leave the deal and go back to enriching. It would be surprising if they didn't.
And that is a catastrophic result, but it is eminently predictable. It's the foreseeable consequence of the last two years of us heading into this dead end, where we either go to war with Iran or we have a nuclear Iran.
And this was exactly what the JCPOA was designed to prevent.
SCHIFF: And so, yes, the president made the right last-minute decision, but, frankly, the lead-up to that over the last two years has been disastrous.
TAPPER: Let me ask you.
President Trump tweeted yesterday that he's going to delay plans for these ICE mass deportations in major cities across the United States to allow two weeks for Congress to -- quote -- "get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border."
Are you open to negotiations on this to avoid those deportations two weeks from now?
SCHIFF: We have always been open to negotiations.
And, in fact, we have been negotiating. And there is a bipartisan package in the Senate of some emergency supplemental relief to try to provide assistance.
But make no mistake. There is nothing that Congress is doing or not doing that compels the administration to have facilities where children don't have blankets or toothbrushes or soap.
And for the vice president or the president to blame Congress for their own malfeasance is just completely besides the point and unethical and unacceptable.
They could cure this problem today, but they don't want to, because, frankly, the cruelty is part of their policy. It's part of what they think will deter migrants from coming here. It's part of what they think will motivate the Congress to build a wall.
And to use these children that way is, I just think, immoral.
TAPPER: I wonder what you thought about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez referring to the detention centers at the border, some of which have -- do -- horrific -- do have horrific conditions -- she referred to them as concentration camps earlier this week.
Did you think that was an appropriate description?
SCHIFF: That's certainly not the terminology that I would use.
Look, these are abysmal detention centers. And there's nothing praiseworthy about them in any way.
But I think analogies to the Nazi concentration camps are always fraught. And I think they should not be used, except with great care. So it's certainly not the terminology I would use.
But let's not let that distract us from these terrible conditions that are going on that you described.
And to have Trump lawyers in court saying that this is perfectly acceptable and these conditions are fine, I would like to see those Trump lawyers or people in the Cabinet spend a week in one these facilities sleeping on a concrete floor with an aluminum blanket, and see whether they think that is so consistent with American values.
TAPPER: Let's turn to the growing calls for the impeachment of President Trump.
At least 75 House Democrats now, nearly a third of your caucus, support launching an impeachment inquiry. Now, the third ranking House Democrat, Jim Clyburn, told me on the show earlier this month he believed President Trump will eventually face impeachment proceedings.
Do you agree?
SCHIFF: I don't know the answer, Jake.
Certainly, the administration and the president seem to be doing everything they can, everything they can to push us into an impeachment. And we may get there. We may get there.
At this point, as you say, a third of our caucus is there, and two- thirds is not there.
What would get me to that point is, if we get to a final court decision compelling administration to provide testimony and documents, and they still refuse, then I think we're in a full-blown constitutional crisis that would compel that kind of remedy.
I may get there before that point, Jake. So I continue to listen to people that I respect greatly within our caucus, constitutional lawyers like Larry Tribe and others, and weigh this, I think, every day, and have continued discussions with the speaker about it.
But, at this point, I'm not prepared to recommend it.
TAPPER: Now, you said this week that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, needs to testify by August.
You still have not subpoenaed him, despite calling for voluntary testimony since April. Mueller has made it pretty clear he's not going to come before you guys willingly. Are you going to subpoena him? And, if so, when?
SCHIFF: We have been in private discussions with the special counsel's office. It's not clear that he will refuse to come in voluntarily. We are negotiating what the conditions of that appearance might be.
But, yes, we are running out of time. It's my hope that we will reach a final conclusion. Either he's going to come in voluntarily, or we're going to have to subpoena him. I hope that we will reach that decision this week, because we want to have him come in during July.
And I think that's going to be the case, Jake, whether it's voluntarily or involuntary by subpoena.
TAPPER: All right, Chairman Adam Schiff, always an honor to have you here. Thank you so much for joining us.
SCHIFF: Thank you, Jake.
TAPPER: Now let's go to a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who has made immigration a key part of his message to voters.
Joining me now, former HUD Secretary Julian Castro.
Secretary Castro, thanks so much for joining us.
I want to ask you. Former Vice President Biden, the front-runner in your party, defended his controversial remarks touting his ability to work with segregationist senators yesterday, including his comments about one of those segregationists calling him son, not boy -- boy obviously a racially charged phrase when used to refer to African- American men.
Biden says that his use of boy -- quote -- "wasn't said in any of that context at all."
What do you make of this controversy?
JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you know, I haven't spent much time on the campaign trail addressing what other people are saying.
What I have been trying to do is introduce myself to the American people. And that's what I intend to do on Wednesday night at the debate.
I did say a couple of days ago that -- that I would not have spoken in that way about the relationship without putting it in more context. And so I definitely understand how people were offended by that, given where we are in 2019 and the pain that people like Senator Eastland created through their actions and through their comfort in the United States Senate and their privilege.
So, I understand it completely. And my hope is that, in this campaign, all of us can focus on what we're going to do to make sure that we make progress in this country, because we still are not to the point where people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin.
TAPPER: Let's turn to immigration, which is a major part of your campaign platform.
President Trump tweeted out that he's going to delay his plans for deportations across the United States to allow Congress to -- quote -- "get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border."
Should Democrats be willing to come to the table and negotiate with the president?
CASTRO: Well, this is a mess that this administration has created itself through this family separation policy.
And people have been reading these last couple of days about the horrendous conditions in these migrant detention facilities. They have been reading about children that don't have soap. They don't have a toothbrush. They're sleeping on cold concrete floors with an aluminum blanket -- aluminum-colored blanket.
This is not how the United States of America should treat people. And folks will remember that, not too long ago, this president magically, suddenly moved mountains to find billions of dollars to build a wall.
CASTRO: And now they're suggesting that they can't find money for soap and toothbrushes for these children? Do people understand how ridiculous that is?
They can get a billion dollars or more for a wall all of a sudden, out of nowhere, but they can't afford...
CASTRO: ... soap and toothbrushes for children? It doesn't make any sense.
TAPPER: I take your point.
CASTRO: And it's another -- yes, I would just say, Jake, that this is another example of the tremendous disaster that this administration has been on this issue of immigration.
I have my own plan that represents a completely different vision that would be smarter, more humane and more effective in how we deal with the situation.
TAPPER: The Department of Homeland Security says that there's this $4.6 billion that they need to help with these conditions for children. I think three out of the $4.6 billion, $3 billion of it goes to the Health and Human Services Department for accommodations for children.
Do you support passing that money as soon as possible to help alleviate the conditions for children?
CASTRO: Well, what they should do is, they should stop separating families.
And I want to go to a point that the vice president made, which was, he suggested that over 90 percent of people who are applying for asylum don't show up to their court hearings, and you challenged him on that.
And, actually, that is not correct. In fact, between 2013 and 2017, more than 90 percent of people actually did show up.
TAPPER: I think it's 60 to 70 percent, but I did correct him, yes.
But I'm just asking you on the money, though.
CASTRO: And, yes, I wouldn't give -- I wouldn't give them a dime to continue to treat children this way.
I believe that they should end family separation. I understand that there are parts of the government and parts of the government in that division of it that need to continue to operate, but I don't believe that this policy of separating children from their families is a humane one.
CASTRO: I don't think that it makes any sense. And so I would not fund more capacity for that. TAPPER: But some of these children coming across the border
unaccompanied, when they're -- when they're picked up, I'm afraid I don't really understand the logic.
If you think the conditions of these -- of these facilities for children are horrible, which they are -- and I just -- you heard me press the vice president about it -- if HHS needs three billion more dollars to improve the conditions, to build more housing, wouldn't that alleviate it? You're talking about not giving one more dime.
And it doesn't make any sense to me.
CASTRO: I'm saying I wouldn't -- I wouldn't give them -- I wouldn't give them one more dime for these types of conditions.
I don't have confidence that, if you give them more money right now -- if they have a plan to actually have different conditions...
TAPPER: Well, I think they do.
CASTRO: ... better conditions for these -- I don't think they do, Jake. What is their plan? He didn't tell you one single word about a different plan for how they're going to treat these children.
If you go back through your interview a second ago, what was his plan for how they're going to treat them differently?
CASTRO: If they're going to treat them differently, and they're going to sleep and be able to live under different, better conditions, that's one thing. But I don't know that that's what they're proposing.
They haven't put forward the plan for how anything's going to be different, other than that these children are still going to be sleeping on concrete floors. And they won't even commit in court to provide soap and toothbrushes.
So, do I want to fund that? No, I don't.
Would I fund something that's completely different from that? In fact, I think what we should do is that we should accelerate for -- if a child comes here, and he or she does not have a parent with them, they're unaccompanied, then we should accelerate their placement with a family or caregiver...
TAPPER: I -- I...
CASTRO: ... instead of holding them as long as we have in these facilities.
TAPPER: Yes, I mean, I agree with you that the vice president didn't offer it, but I think HHS and DHS have offered more outlines of what they're talking about in terms of housing. But I take your point that the vice president didn't. I want to ask you another question.
I asked your fellow Texan Beto O'Rourke last week about your plan to decriminalize illegal border crossings. O'Rourke said he disagreed with your proposal. He says there needs to be a legal mechanism so that authorities can charge suspected human traffickers and drug smugglers.
What's your response?
CASTRO: Well, we already have another legal mechanism to do that.
I'm talking about repealing Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which simply refers to people who cross the border. And between 1929 and the early 2000s, we actually treated it as a civil violation. So, this is not something radical. This is the way that we used to treat it.
If somebody comes here, and they are doing human trafficking or drug trafficking, we have laws that we can charge them with. I'm not suggesting that we let those people off the hook.
What I'm suggesting is, if somebody comes here, they're undocumented, they're not committing a crime, like human trafficking or drug trafficking, then that should be treated as a civil violation.
So, I'm disappointed in Congressman O'Rourke's stance, because the only way that we're going to effectively make sure that we're not separating little children from their families is to repeal Section 1325.
As soon as we started treating that as something that we would incarcerate people for is when a lot of these problems multiplied. So I would absolutely go back to the way that we used to treat this. And I believe that that would be more effective, smarter and more humane.
TAPPER: All right, always an honor to have you here, former HUD Secretary and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro.
Thank you so much, sir. Appreciate your time.
CASTRO: Good to join you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, South Carolina.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is a whole bunch of candidates going to be coming on this stage. But this election is not about one person and one office.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is my first try, Jim. Number three.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With your help, we will get this done. Thank you, South Carolina.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Almost every Democratic candidate for president making their pitch to the voters of South Carolina as you can see on Friday on the stage together in some very fashionable shirts they were altogether.
Let's discuss. Bakari, let me start with you. First of all, not only are you from the great state of South Carolina, we should also point out that you have endorsed one of the candidates, Kamala Harris. What is your impression of the state of the race there? Biden obviously leading in the latest polls in that state and nationwide, what do you think?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well first of all, Friday night was amazing nigh. You had all the candidates there. It was their first foray into the south where you could meet all of the candidates and they were exposed to what is the base of the Democratic Party which is the majority of black voters that will choose a nominee in South Carolina.
TAPPER: Sixty percent I think --
SELLERS: Sixty percent. When people -- when we say that, we have to explain it because after South Carolina you have North Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas and Mississippi on super Tuesday and so black voters especially I always say my mom and her friends, black women voters will be choosing the nominee.
It was amazing. All of the candidates did extremely well. I think those who stuck out were Beto's performance was amazing and getting raving reviews. Cory's energy and the vice president which you noticed is that he does have support.
His support is wide, it's not necessarily deep. So people are giving him a pass for now. He's earned that. But we don't know how long that's going to last.
TAPPER: And that reminds me actually, Congresswoman, of the fact that in 2007, 2008 --
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Yes.
TAPPER: -- black voters in South Carolina were firmly behind Hillary Clinton until Barack Obama won Iowa. And then when a viable candidate, an alternative and an African-American candidate --
TAPPER: -- emerged, Obama ended up winning South Carolina. Do you agree with Bakari, that Biden's support is wide but not deep? JAYAPAL: I do. I think a lot of it is based on he was a vice president before, he's got name recognition, people sort of associate him with Barack Obama.
JAYAPAL: But, I think, as you go forward, that is going to shift and some of it is based on how people think about viability. And they're being told he's the viable candidate. They're buying it for now.
But if he continues to -- you know, it depends on what happens, how the other candidates do but also how he does. And I think all of that will add up. It will be accumulative effect and there could be a tipping point at some point where he's not seen as the viable candidate anymore.
TAPPER: Congressman, as somebody who wants Trump to win in 2020 who scares you the most of the Democrats?
REP. MICHAEL WALTZ (R-FL): Well, you know, at this point it's kind of grab your popcorn and watch this play out. And I think the congresswoman is right in that right now there's a lot of name I.D. for former Vice President Biden, there's this kind of built-in viability. But we're going to see the knives come out.
This is going to be a tough campaign. I think you saw the first blow from Senator Booker this week and that is only going to get tougher. I think at this point as we say in the military, lay low in the grass and watch this unfold.
TAPPER: What do you think? You've been a little bullish on Elizabeth Warren, I have to say, which is interesting, because you're a conservative.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. Just because I think she's more prepared than many of the candidates and she has persistence in a way we didn't expect. But I do think a lot of Republicans are scratching their heads this week about the comments from Booker against Vice President Joe Biden.
Joe Biden was Barack Obama's vice president. How come none of this came out -- none of this came out during the Obama years? Because a lot of Republicans suspect these kind of comments are weaponized against people when it's politically convenient. So I think this could get very ugly.
And if the Democrats didn't want this to become an ugly, racial debate, these issues deserve a dialogue, not a debate. I don't think it's helpful for the country to have senator Booker and Biden calling each other to apologize.
CARPENTER: They should sit down and talk about it. Because I have a lot of questions about how you handle things like reparations, police shootings and all things that are going on. The Democratic Party I think it would be much more helpful for the country to have this discussed in a rational way rather than debate it.
TAPPER: So one of the things that Biden was asking -- answering questions about was he -- was regarding his relationship with a former segregationist Democrat. He talked about -- well, he never called me boy. He called me son. A lot of African-Americans especially Cory Booker, I think, took issue with that because the idea is -- well, he would never call you boy you're white so you're part of the club. Here is Biden talking about that yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I do understand the consequence of the word "boy" but it wasn't said in any of that context at all. To the extent that anybody thought that I meant something different, that is not what I intended. And it would be wrong for anybody to intend that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Good enough for you?
SELLERS: I mean -- yes. But it highlights -- yes. It's -- no one is calling Vice President Biden a xenophobe. Nobody is calling him a bigot. What we are saying and what I'm saying and what many people -- this debate is actually fracturing along generational lines, is that it's time to turn the page.
The thing that goes to his electability is that no one asked him this. No one asked him about Jim Eastland. No one asked him about Talmadge. No one asked him about Strom Thurmond. But he invokes these times where he wants to go back there.
African-Americans and voters we are not a monolithic people but this is not so much an issue about race as much as it is an issue about pain. We do not want to go back to the point where we were inflicted pain by our government from both the Democratic and Republican Party. We want to go to a time where we're looking forward and Joe Biden has to understand that.
Talk about how you're going to unwind the damage that was done with the '84 civil asset forfeiture, '86, '88 and '94 crime bill. Talk about that. Let's not invoke someone that you did -- that you opposed bussing to help integration with.
TAPPER: Yes. And one of the things that -- about pain that I want to bring up is mayor of South Bend Pete Buttigieg did not go to the -- the fish fry in South Carolina because there was a police shooting in his city. He headed back. And there was -- it was an individual who was African-American, who was shot and killed by a police officer.
Take a listen to this confrontation between a community member in South Bend, Indiana, and Mayor Buttigieg.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You running for president? You want black people to vote for you? That's a downfall. That's not going to happen.
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not asking for your vote.
SHIRLEY NEWBILL, MOTHER OF ERIC LOGAN: It's time for you to do something. If you can't do it, step (EXPLETIVE) down. And I'm tired of talking now. And I'm tired of hearing your lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Lot of pain there.
JAYAPAL: There's a lot of pain and I think this goes to the point of, you know, there has been a lot of work done and some of it legislative but a lot of that movement work done to really lift the injustices of a very long time in the history of this country. Anybody that wants to run for president, I think, on either side, frankly, has to recognize what that pain was and the fact that we are now in a different time but not over the hill.
We -- we -- just because we elected a black man president doesn't mean we got rid of institutionalized racism. That is still very much the case today whether you look at housing, education, any issue that matters really across the country. We have got to address this issue of institutionalized racism and all of the pain that has existed that causes people not to trust when somebody says we want to go -- you know, he didn't say we want to go back but he said that was a time of civility.
JAYAPAL: Well, if civility masks deep racist policy --
JAYAPAL: -- then we don't want to go back there. That's not the kind of civility we want.
And so I think Joe Biden and every candidate, frankly, has to make sure they are talking about the reality of the situation we're in and then the progress that we want to make. The problem Joe Biden has is that, you know, this is his benefit, too.
He has name I.D. He has done some very, very good things. But he has also worked in these times that are very different.
I think, frankly, he should just say that and move on. Because, I think, if he keeps trying to deny it --
JAYAPAL: I think that just feeds into this idea that, wait a second, you don't get everything we've worked for all these years and all the changes we've made. TAPPER: I want to just change the topic, if I can, to the president's move to delay these ICE deportations that he was going to order carried out today and asking for Democrats to work with him. What did you make of it all, Congressman?
WALTZ: Well, I think it was a -- I think it was a good move for the delay. While we're in the midst of trying to pass a $4.5 billion border supplement package, right? That is going to --
TAPPER: Most of it for humanitarian?
WALTZ: Most of it is for HHS, which is humanitarian, which will get at some of these problems in these -- what they call influx detention centers. We have to remember that it's actually HHS who runs these longer-term facilities.
TAPPER: For the kids, yes.
WALTZ: For the kids. Not DHS, not ICE, not CBP but also gets at another nearly $800 million for customs and border patrol. So we need to -- that is moving through the Senate. We need to get it through the House. But at the end of the day, I think the president has been clear since his campaign. If you have received a deportation order, that is the law of the land and that needs to be fully enforced.
TAPPER: I just want to bring in Amanda because we only have 30 seconds left. If you heard -- if you listen to Castro and you listen to Pence, it's two people that I can't imagine ever coming to any agreement on this issue.
CARPENTER: Well, look at the events this week. AOC called it a concentration camp. I think it ought to be called camp congress or maybe camp gridlock because this is the price that babies and children are paying when Congress and the White House can't get together to give them a gosh darn toothbrush.
TAPPER: All right. We have to go. Thank you so much, everyone. I appreciate it.
WALTZ: I agree. Lock us in the room. Let's get it done.
TAPPER: Tonight we're going to take you back to one of humanities greatest achievements, a fascinating look at never-before-seen footage of the moon landing. "Apollo 11" a CNN film airing tonight at 9:00 p.m. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy but because they are hard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Houston, loud and clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a good one.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The enormity of this event is something that only history will be able to judge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good luck and God speed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apollo 11 has been given a mission of carrying men to the moon, landing them there, and bringing them safely back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beautiful, just beautiful. Magnificent ride.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "APOLLO 11," tomorrow at 9:00 on CNN.
(END VIDEO CLIP)