Return to Transcripts main page

State of the Union

Interview With Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD); Interview With New York City Mayor Eric Adams; Interview With Steve Brodner; Interview With U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Aired 9-10a ET

Aired September 18, 2022 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Breaking point. In a move critics call cruel, GOP governors send migrants and a midterm message up North to blue states, as cities struggle to cope.

ERIC ADAMS (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: These are human beings.

TAPPER: What do they need? And is there any hope for true reform? I will speak to New York City's Democratic mayor, Eric Adams, next.

And midterm message. With two months until the midterms, the GOP splits on issues from election security to abortion. Do they have a message that will win in the fall?

Republican Senator Mike Rounds joins me to discuss ahead.

Plus: consequential response. President Biden threatens to confront Russia.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: What they're interested in is continuing to raise this unprovoked war.

TAPPER: But, as Ukraine finds burial sites filled with hundreds of victims, will the U.S. give Ukraine what they say they need to win? Ahead of the U.N. General Assembly, United Nations Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield will join me.


TAPPER: Hello.

I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is pointing fingers over our broken immigration system.

President Biden and the first lady are right now in London, where they will join leaders from around the world for tomorrow's funeral for Queen Elizabeth II. We're going to bring you today's events in a little bit.

But we begin on the migrant crisis here in the U.S., where blue state leaders are scrambling to care for the thousands of asylum seekers shipped up North without warning by Republican governors in Texas and Florida.

The roughly 50 migrants flown from Texas to Martha's Vineyard this week are currently being cared for. And they have been moved by Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to a military base on Cape Cod, where there are better facilities.

But Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis says this is just the beginning. He says he's going to use -- quote -- "every penny" of the $12 million allocated by his state to relocate more migrants out of Florida, as he and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, both of whom are said to harbor presidential ambitions, say it is time for blue states to share their burden.

On Saturday, according to "The Washington Post," that burden included a month-old baby, who was sent from Texas and dropped with other migrants outside the vice president's residence in Washington, D.C., the second round of buses sent by Texas' governor and a move the vice president criticized.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're playing games. These are political stunts with real human beings who are fleeing harm.


TAPPER: While the mayors of Washington, D.C., and New York say they are not equipped to handle this influx.

Joining me now is the mayor of New York City, Democrat Eric Adams.

Mr. Mayor, thanks so much for joining us.

So, more than 11,000 asylum seekers have passed through New York's shelter system since May, including roughly 2,500 bused to New York from Texas. You have warned that New York is -- quote -- "nearing its breaking point." And you have talked about maybe bringing cruise ships to temporarily shelter these migrants.

What help do you need from President Biden and the federal government right now that you aren't already getting? And how much longer can New York continue without more resources?

ADAMS: Well, we should be clear that this is, as you stated, a humanitarian crisis created by human hands.

And it is an all-hands-on-deck moment where we're all supposed to come together and coordinate. Coordination during a crisis is something that we must do together. And that's the federal government. That are -- that is also the governor of the state of Texas, as well as the governor of the state of Florida.

We should not be really treating other cities and municipalities in the manner that we're witnessing now. And so we need resources for housing, resources to make sure that we can properly give people the medical care, all of the basic necessities that you would give new arrivals that enter a city.

TAPPER: How long until you run out of resources for these migrants?

ADAMS: Well, we're not. We're going to follow the law, and as well as our moral obligation and responsibilities.

It is going to be challenging. We're experiencing the challenges in doing so. But we're obligated by law here in the city of New York. As has been mentioned over and over again, this is a right-to-shelter city, and we're going to fulfill our obligations.


TAPPER: What's your message to Governor Abbott and Governor DeSantis about the migrants they ship to New York and other blue state areas?

ADAMS: Well, I think it's the message for the entire country.

These are two governors who are hiding up some of the actions that they have done around gun control, which is really proliferation, proliferating our country with guns. It's what they did with the women's right to choose.

You see this is their way of covering up when many people have been really concerned about the erosion of basic human rights. We're seeing crisis calls for coordination. We received a minimum of six buses early this morning, over 11,000 individuals, asylum-seeking migrants, have come to the city already.

It is time for us to coordinate this humanitarian crisis that our country is facing.

TAPPER: So you're struggling to process the 2,500 migrants sent to you from Texas.

Meanwhile, the El Paso sector of the border sees an average of 1,700 migrants crossing every single day. A record 1.9 million migrants have been apprehended on the Southwest border this fiscal year alone. Even if you think what these governors are doing is horrific, it seems like you agree this is a crisis that needs more attention from the Biden administration.

ADAMS: No, I believe it's a crisis that needs more coordination from our country of -- this is one country. This is a country that has always been capable of handling those who are seeking to participate in the American dream.

And that coordination should be not only on the federal level, the state level, but even cities to cities. And we reached out to the El Paso mayor, as well as our team attempted to reach out to Governor Abbott. They refuse to do any form of coordination. They think the politics of treating people in a humane manner to cover

up, I believe, what they have done around human rights, the erosion of it for these last few years, is what they believe is the best way to handle it. I just disagree.

TAPPER: Would you like to see President Biden and Democrats in Congress make immigration reform a priority, using their political capital to finally fix this problem?

There hasn't been, as you know, any major immigration reform since the Reagan years.

ADAMS: I reached out and traveled to Washington, D.C., and had great conversations with the White House, as well as with Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and other lawmakers, to discuss this issue.

I think one of the most important parts that we should move forward is to allow those new arrivals to be able to work. They came here to pursue the American dream. I don't think it really is logical to allow people to be here for months without the ability to seek employment, particularly during a time when we are seeking employees on various sectors in our city.

TAPPER: Yes, I mean, they're -- we're in the middle of a worker shortage right now, as I don't need to tell you. It's a big -- it's a big problem all over the country.

ADAMS: Yes, it is.

TAPPER: New York is one of the only cities in the United States with a right-to-shelter law, meaning that anyone seeking a place to stay must be given one.

But you said this week that, because of this -- quote -- "new and unforeseen reality," New York's -- quote -- "prior practices must be reassessed" -- unquote.

Are you considering changing New York's right-to-shelter law?

ADAMS: No, not at all. We're not considering and we don't believe we should change the right-to-shelter law.

What needs to be looked at is the actual practices, because I'm sure, 40 years ago, when this law was put into place, no one thought that we would receive 11,000 -- over 11,000 migrants or asylum seekers. And so it's the practices and parts of it that we want to reexamine to make sure that we can actually carry out an influx.

That law was put in place for the individuals who were living in New York and needed shelter under an emergency situation. This is a humanitarian crisis, and it needs to be viewed that way.

TAPPER: Where are you going to put up all these individuals who need shelter, if you're running out of space?

ADAMS: We're consistently pivoting and shifting to make sure we can accommodate.

We opened 23 emergency shelters. We had a smooth transition of close to 1,500 students that moved into our educational facilities. We're going to continue to shift our resources to whatever locations we have, from the emergency hotels or the emergency shelter locations.

We are used to adjusting. We did it during COVID. We did it during 9/11. This is a city that clearly understands how to stand up and operate according to the crises that are in front of us.


TAPPER: Many of the migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis say they were falsely told that jobs and housing would be waiting for them when they arrived.

Were any of the migrants that have arrived in New York, have they been similarly misled?

ADAMS: Oh, yes, they have been.

And it's really unfortunate when you watch government misrepresent where you're sending people. In some cases, we had those who were COVID-positive on the buses with individuals who were dehydrated, didn't have proper food.

Some were even tagged, like you would tag an animal. It's really unfortunate that a country that is known for the humanitarian actions. This is a blight on our entire country.

But it -- again, it falls in line with some of the inhumane and some of the changes that you're seeing in some of the basic laws of women's rights to choose and of gun reform in this country coming from particular locations, like George (sic) DeSantis and Abbott.

So, when one wants to travel to another location, and they are forced to go to New York City, these are the things that we have witnessed, based on our preliminary interviews and conversation with those migrants seeking -- asylum seekers.

TAPPER: Just over a year ago, you tweeted -- quote -- "New York City will remain a sanctuary city under an Adams administration."

What is your message to migrants arriving in the U.S.? Should they still come to New York City?

ADAMS: Well, I think that they should come to any place in the country that they desire their pursuit of the American dream.

I say it all the time. This is the only country where dream is attached to its name. People want to come here and pursue their dreams, like our ancestors did so many years ago.

All of us, we all have come from somewhere. And we should keep that in mind when we think about these new arrivals now, but we should do it in a coordinated method. We should make sure that those who are here are not breaking any laws. And we should make sure that we treat people with the humanitarian ways that we are used to treating people in this country.

TAPPER: All right, New York Mayor Eric Adams, thank you so much. Appreciate your time today, sir.

ADAMS: Thank you.

TAPPER: A Republican senator will respond to Mayor Adams next, as his party tries to settle on a closing midterm pitch.

And coming up, the U.N. ambassador on the state of play now for Russia ahead of the president's major speech at the U.N. later this week.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper

From an expected red wave to who knows what's going to happen.

With just over seven weeks until Election Day, the Republican Party is trying to recalibrate its message. So far, they cannot seem to agree on what exactly the message should be.

Joining us now from Pierre, South Dakota, is Republican Senator Mike Rounds.

Senator Rounds, thanks so much for joining us.

Let me start with immigration. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flew planes of migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard this week without any warning to local officials.

I get that the immigration system is a mess and has needed reform for decades, but these are people fleeing Marxism in Venezuela. Many were, they say, falsely told there would be jobs and housing waiting for them when they arrived in Massachusetts.

Do you support what Abbott and DeSantis are doing?

SEN. MIKE ROUNDS (R-SD): They're doing their best to try to send a message to the rest of the nation about the plight of those individuals that are coming from south of the border.

You're talking about 3.4 million people just since the start of this Biden administration that have crossed the border, and they're coming into Southern states. What is a governor supposed to do? They're trying to send a message to the rest of the country that this is not acceptable, and that their states can't handle that type of an inflow.

Now, that's the equivalent of four times the population of my state of South Dakota. But, Jake, it's more than that. It's also everything else that is coming across the border at the same time. We're 1,200 miles away from the border here in South Dakota, and yet the drug trafficking still affects our state as well.

Our Native American population reservations have got huge inflows of drug trafficking coming into our state...


ROUNDS: ... into some of the heaviest poverty areas of the entire country.

TAPPER: But...

ROUNDS: So, it's affecting all of our states, but the administration is not doing anything about it.

TAPPER: So, as I said, this immigration crisis has been going on literally for decades. There hasn't been a major immigration bill since Ronald Reagan was president.

But, as you did not note, and I did earlier in the show, one of the buses sent by a Texas Governor Greg Abbott dropped off about 50 migrants in front of the vice president's residence, including a one- month-old baby.

There isn't any heads up being given to Mayor Adams, you just heard from him, or the individuals on Martha's Vineyard. I get they're trying to send a message, they're trying to get the attention, but there also -- isn't there a degree of trolling going on here?

And you really have no issue with using human beings, a one-month-old baby, little kids to make a political point like this?

ROUNDS: You have to put it in perspective of what's happening at the Southern border right now.

This is every single day thousands of individuals coming across with babies, and they're coming into those states. Those governors are facing that, not just at the terms of 50 of them. They're talking about hundreds of them, if not thousands per day.

And so, yes, I mean, do any of us like the situation that we're in? Absolutely not. Matter of fact, I would suspect that the individuals in the Southern states that are trying to find a way to get the attention of the administration would love to have other alternatives to them.

It's been 606 days since Joe Biden took office, and this problem has done nothing except continue to develop. This is a national problem. And yet these governors on -- along the Southern borders are the ones that are faced with trying to address it.

TAPPER: Right.

ROUNDS: And it's not just 50 of these individuals coming across. It's thousands. And it's on a daily basis. [09:20:00]

TAPPER: Right. And, of course, the immigration laws in this country do allow people to come to this country to seek asylum.

It seems to me that the larger solution that needs to happen here -- and I don't know that you would disagree -- is a comprehensive immigration bill that would include border security and then, perhaps in order for there to be a compromise, a pathway to citizenship for people who have been here for decades.

In the more than 20 years I have been in this town, I have seen people like President George W. Bush and Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Marco Rubio trying to get immigration reform done, working with Democrats. Every time, they were defeated by House Republicans, who wouldn't go along with any sort of compromise.

Would you support restarting bipartisan negotiations to try and -- try to finally fix this broken immigration system?

ROUNDS: Those discussions are ongoing in the United States Senate.

In fact, the last time that there was a hard push was in 2017. Myself and Senator Angus King co-sponsored the measure together on behalf of a bipartisan group. We got 54 votes in the Senate at that time. And that included addressing the folks that have been brought here through no fault of their own, the dreamers.

We addressed chain migration. We addressed a pathway to citizenship over an extended period of years. We thought we had a pretty good approach. Nothing has happened during this administration.

Yes, would we like to step forward again and try approach -- and approach again? Absolutely. Do we have to address it? Yes. Do we have to have border security? Before anything else can happen, we have got to be able to defend that border. We have got to be able to make a border that actually works.

Otherwise, why should people pay any attention to the laws that we have gotten? What good would it do to reform them if we're not going to enforce them?

TAPPER: Let's turn to abortion, because, this week, your Republican colleagues Senator Lindsey Graham introduced a bill that would ban abortion nationwide after 15 weeks.

Do you support the bill?

ROUNDS: No, I think, right now, we should allow the states to explore the different possibilities about the appropriate way.

Here in South Dakota, we have one which is what I actually signed into law when I was governor back in 2005-2006. I think the individual states will come up with a multiple -- a whole lot of different ideas about how to appropriately discuss abortion in general. And then I think there will be a consensus over a period of years.

But, at this point, to have Congress step back and have to tell all of the states that we know better than them how to handle this is probably not the right direction to go.

We actually looked when -- before the last decision, we actually looked as a group of us trying to ban any abortion past 20 weeks. We weren't successful at that time. I don't think any proposal today would be successful in the House and the Senate. I think a better approach probably will be to allow the states to work through this and to find the appropriate language on a state-by-state basis and to find that common ground.

After that, maybe Congress steps in again. But, at this point, I think the states are in a better shape to explore and to find the right direction on a state-by-state basis.

TAPPER: You're on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio, told me that he does not think that the U.S. should swap a convicted Russian arms dealer in exchange for jailed Americans in Russia, Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner. He thinks that Viktor Bout is just too dangerous.

Do you agree? Or do you think the U.S. should be willing to make the swap?

ROUNDS: I'm on the Armed Services Committee, and I'm also on the Foreign Relations Committee.

We have not had a classified discussion about what the impact would be. I know that this is up to the president to make up his mind and that we probably won't have a say in it. So I'm going to withhold judgment at this point. I don't mind being critical of the administration, but I don't want to be critical of the administration on their decision-making process without having all the facts in front of me.

TAPPER: All right, Senator Mike Rounds of South Dakota, good to see you, sir.

Thank you so much for joining us today.

ROUNDS: Thank you, sir.

TAPPER: President Biden warning Russia against using chemical weapons, as Ukraine beats back Moscow's troops, but will the U.S. give Ukraine what it says it needs to win?

The U.N. ambassador is next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: And welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper

As Russia struggles in its war on Ukraine, President Biden is warning Vladimir Putin about how the United States would respond to the use of chemical or nuclear weapons by Russia in Ukraine.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You think I would tell you if I knew exactly what it would be? Of course, I'm not going to tell you.

It will be consequential.


TAPPER: Consequential.

That tough talk just days ahead of the president's speech before a gathering of international leaders at the United Nations General Assembly this week.

Joining me from New York, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

Madam Ambassador, thanks for joining us.

You heard President Biden there warning of a -- quote -- "consequential" U.S. response if Putin uses tactical nuclear or chemical weapons in Ukraine,. What might a consequential response look like? And have you seen any evidence that Putin is considering taking such drastic action in response to Russia's military setbacks?

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Well, first, Jake, thank you so much. I'm delighted to be here.

And the president was very clear that he's not going to define that for us in advance. But we have also been absolutely clear in our commitment to Ukraine, to giving them what they will need to defend themselves. And we will do it over the long term, until Russia makes the important decision that they need to make to withdraw their troops from Ukraine and stop this unprovoked attack on their neighbor.


TAPPER: Is it so consequential, though, that the United States citizenry should have an idea about what a response might be, since it might actually -- we don't want things to escalate, obviously, so that the United States and Russia are engaged in a direct one-on-one war.

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Well, the president has also been clear on the fact that the U.S. will not put troops on the ground in Ukraine.

But we will give the Ukrainians what they need to defend themselves. We will rally the world. We will rally Europe around supporting the Ukrainians, so that they are able to push back on Russia's aggression. TAPPER: So, in recent days, Ukrainian officials report that they have

found at least 440 unmarked graves in the newly recaptured city of Izyum, as well as more than 10 rooms apparently used by the Russians to torture people throughout the Kharkiv region.

Does the United States believe war crimes were committed in Izyum? And will you confront Russia over these atrocities when the Security Council meets on Ukraine later this week?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Well, we have confronted Russia from day one. From the first day of this attack, we have confronted them. We have condemned them. We have isolated them at the Security Council. And that will continue, again, until they made the decision to pull their troops out.

As for whether these are war crimes or not, we think war crimes are being committed. A legal process has to take place regarding that. But the horrific pictures of those grave sites will always be in our minds as we look at what is happening in Ukraine right now.

And they should expect that it will not be business as usual when they arrive in New York on tomorrow. They will be isolated. They will be condemned in the Security Council, as well as more broadly in the General Assembly.

TAPPER: By all accounts, Ukraine's counteroffensive recently has been an astonishing success, leaving Russian forces reeling and fleeing.

Ukraine says they still need longer-range missile systems, fighter jets, modern tanks in order to capitalize on this momentum. So far, the Biden administration has resisted those requests. Why not meet the moment and take advantage of this pivotal time where the Russians are on the run?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Well, we have been in regular consultations with the Ukrainians about what they need to defend themselves.

As you know, we have given them over $15 billion in support. They have succeeded in pushing the Russians back. Their commitment to defending their country is just unparalleled. And we have been beside them, giving them the support that they need, but also bringing others into -- into this circle of support, our allies and friends of Ukraine.

TAPPER: You said the United Nations faces a crisis of confidence and that the U.N. Security Council needs to reform in order to remain a credible body in the 21st century.

How is any meaningful reform possible if Russia is allowed to remain a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council while conducting an illegal war, openly committing war crimes, forcibly deporting hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians into Russian territory?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: This is why we do need U.N. reform.

And I gave a speech in San Francisco about a week ago where I outlined what this kind of reform would look like. We're committed to finding a way forward to make the U.N. fit for purpose for this century. And, currently, there is an attack on the U.N. system. There's an attack on the charter. And that's by a permanent member of the Security Council.

I can't change the fact that Russia is a permanent member of the Security Council, but I can continue the efforts that we have succeeded at. And that's isolating them, condemning them, and making sure that they know and understand it's not business as usual.

And that's not just from us. They're beginning to hear that from their friends as well, as I understand President Xi made clear to Putin in their meeting in Uzbekistan this week.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about President Xi, because it's not just Russia. China holds such influence over the United Nations that the United Nations' buildings around the world don't even allow tours to individuals who have Taiwanese passports.

They're not even acknowledged as human beings. They can't go on a private tour of the U.N. How can the United Nations be a force for self-determination and freedom if it allows dictators and human rights abusers in the building, but not the citizens of a flourishing democracy such as Taiwan?

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We believe that Taiwan should be given the abilities to do whatever other nonstate entities can do in the United Nations.


And one of those is to be able to come into the U.N. to visit the building, to participate in the activities that do not require them to be a nation-state. And we have pushed that effort. And we're fighting against these efforts taking place in New York and the rest of the world to support the people of Ukraine -- the people of Taiwan.

TAPPER: Well, thank you so much, Madam Ambassador. Really appreciate your time today.

THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Thank you. I'm delighted to be here.

TAPPER: Coming up: a velociraptor and the Napoleon of Mar-a Lago, fresh insights into former President Trump then and now.

Susan Glasser is here with a preview of her brand-new book. That's next.




PETER BAKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Would you pick him in 2024 if you run again? Will you commit to having him...

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think it would be inappropriate now, no.

Look, I could be cute and say, well, I don't want to -- look, it would be totally inappropriate.

BAKER: Why -- why inappropriate?

TRUMP: I think Mike Pence is a fine person. I like Mike. I think Mike committed political suicide by not taking votes that he knew were wrong.


TAPPER: A whole lot of nonsense in there, that clip.

But welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.

That was President Trump in an interview at Mar-a-Lago saying why he wouldn't or couldn't pick Mike Pence as a running mate were he to run for president again. That interview was with reporters Susan Glasser and Peter Baker, authors of the brand-new book "The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021."

Susan Glasser and our panel join us now.

So, that's a pretty shocking exchange, because, first of all, Pence is not in charge of taking votes. And Pence did not do anything wrong. He did what the Constitution said he should do.

What was it like being in Mar-a-Lago with Trump? Were you surprised by his answer at all?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, to your point about the word salad, we spent three hours over the -- more than three hours over the course of two interviews at Mar-a-Lago trying to interview the former president.

And I don't think there was a single sentence with a noun and a verb and a period attached to it. There were a lot of rants about the rigged election.

But the bottom line was that Trump is still very focused, even after leaving office, on defining everything around personal loyalty. We were in the famous -- now-famous room where the FBI search took place, the private office. And he just surrounded himself with reminders of his past glory.

He was like Napoleon in Elba, but meets banquet hall greeter.

TAPPER: Alyssa, you worked for Trump. Is this the same Trump that you worked for? Has he gotten worse? Like, what do you think? What's your take?

ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's kind of all the same. But, at least when he was still surrounded by the trappings of power, there's a certain cachet that comes with this. I think he's -- I think we have all seen he's having a very hard time,

obviously, accepting his loss. I still go back and forth that he -- I mean, I have shared he's -- he told me after he lost that he knew he lost. And now he's gone a different direction.

But the Mike Pence comment I thought was very interesting. There was no one, A, more loyal to Donald Trump the entirety of his presidency, but also, I would argue, beneficial to it. He was the man -- it was Mitch McConnell and Mike Pence that got tax cuts through last minute. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was hanging by a thread. Susan Collins was almost going to be a no. Jeff Flake was almost going to be a no.

And it was them twisting arms until late at night. USMCA, every major achievement that Donald Trump still touts, Mike Pence had a huge role in. And, frankly, many of them Donald Trump didn't, in fact. He doesn't have the capacity to recognize that, but I thought that was -- that was my -- what was interesting to me about it.

TAPPER: Daniella, let me read this passage from the book that jumped out at me -- quote -- "The painful fact is that those who stopped Trump from committing this or that outrage also helped him learn how better to get what he wanted the next time. A senior national security official who regularly observed Trump in the Oval Office compared him to the velociraptors in the movie 'Jurassic Park' that proved capable of learning while hunting their prey, making them infinitely more dangerous.'"

It's, I should note, not the first time I have heard a Trump aide comparing Donald Trump to a velociraptor, learning how to commit mayhem the next time, better mayhem.


TAPPER: But this is a real threat to the country in terms of democracy.


I mean, I chuckle because thinking of Trump as a velociraptor is funny on the surface. But, when you dig deeper, it is deeply problematic that the former president of the United States still insists that he won the election, is punishing everyone who did their jobs by certifying the election, is talking about running again in 2024, when we already know that this is somebody who is undermining our democracy.

So, yes, it's terrifying that he could possibly be getting, I don't know I want to use the word smarter, but more strategic about how he wields his -- his evil.

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he's the most likely person to be the Republican nominee, and the least likely person to defeat Joe Biden or whatever other Democrat ends up getting nominated in 2024. And I think Republicans ought to think hard about whether we want to

lose another national election by relitigating 2020 and by re-plunging ourselves back into this chaos. I think there are other people who give you what you want, without giving us the probability of another national loss.

TAPPER: So, two of those potential 2024 nominees or candidates are the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, and the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, both of whom might run for president, both of them responsible for various shipping of migrants from Texas.


Two planes carrying 50 migrants sent to Martha's Vineyard Wednesday night by DeSantis, they have since been moved to Joint Base Cape Cod.

I want you to take a listen to what a local reverend in Martha's Vineyard told CNN about these migrants being transported there.


REV. CHIP SEADALE, SAINT ANDREW's EPISCOPAL CHURCH: We decided almost immediately that we would take them in no matter what. They had nowhere to go.

And then the whole island community of Martha's Vineyard really pretty much turned out, whatever political stripe they were, to help these people who had been so traumatized. That's where most all of us in America right now should be paying our attention.


TAPPER: I mean, I think one of the points that DeSantis and Abbott were trying to make with this stunt, even if you don't like it, was, oh, look, these people aren't going to like all this influx of migrants coming into Martha's Vineyard.

They're not in Martha's Vineyard anymore, because the governor, Charlie Baker, has moved them to Cape Cod. But I don't know that they got the response they wanted in terms of people revolt -- being revolted.

GLASSER: Yes. No, that's right.

Obviously, you saw lots of pictures of islanders coming out and volunteering and trying to help people who had been used as pawns in a sort of grotesque and, I have to say, a very Trumpian political stunt, right?

To me, Jake, I feel like what we're seeing is the influence and the takeover of Trumpism in the Republican Party, the carnival barker turned bad. Ron DeSantis was a serious politician, and now he's using people as pawns in this way.

And I think that, whether it's Donald Trump, who's the nominee in 2024, or another Republican, they're very likely to be operating in a world where Donald Trump has showed them a path of demeaning human beings, of using the immigration issue in particular. I think these Republican governors see that as part of the armor that Donald Trump created for himself in politics.

JENNINGS: How long were they on the island, 24 hours, before the military came and rounded them up and took them away?

Look, I'm glad the people of Martha's Vineyard were charitable in their day with the migrants. I do think it was interesting. It took 125 National Guardsmen to take care of 50 people. Now, do the math on Texas. Do the math on Arizona.

The point here wasn't to try to trick the people of Martha's Vineyard. The point here was to make a larger point about burden-sharing. The crisis at the border is a burden being fully borne by Texas, Arizona, and then area -- those towns down there. That was the point.

And I'm not typically a fan of government by trolling, but I feel trolled every day when I see the White House press secretary and the vice president and the president tell the American people, oh, the border is secure. There is no problem.

That's the point. And they made it. And we're talking about it. Mission accomplished on that.

GIBBS LEGER: You know what? You can make a point about border security, we can have a conversation about comprehensive immigration reform and adding more money to support border states, but using people as political pawns -- these are people who are fleeing communism.

I thought the Republican Party was one that was against communism. To ship them to a place that doesn't have the facilities to take care of them -- you talk -- you say blithely, oh, they're only there for a day. Martha's Vineyard, they don't have the capacity to do that.

So the Republican governor of Massachusetts did the right thing and sent them someplace where they actually had facilities to take care of them. This is like the culmination of MAGA extremism taking over this party.

And I get emotional when I talk about it because I remember when we were separating children, babies from their parents at the border, with no care about reuniting them. And this is just what that is doing. And let's not forget, these migrants were lied to. They were misled. They thought they were going someplace else. And they were given appointments across the country for Monday.


GIBBS LEGER: Well, they're setting them up for failure.

FARAH GRIFFIN: And here's the thing. We have a crisis at the border humanitarian, national security, full stop.

Vice President Kamala Harris said on another network last week the border is secure. It's not. El Paso right now has over 1,000 migrants who are living in squalid conditions. Border states have borne the brunt of this challenge that is not being addressed, is being exacerbated by the Biden administration's policies.

That said, I disagree with this stunt on almost every level. We know that the Biden administration is relocating people within the country, migrants within the country to take some of the strain off of the border state.

But we cannot use human beings as pawns. If this was a serious effort by Governor DeSantis, he would have called Governor Charlie Baker and said, I need all resources available. We need to house these people. We need to set up places where they can process their asylum claims, they can meet with people.

This was meant purely for Twitter and to drive the conversation. And immigration for decades has been the third rail of American politics. I remember having the same conversations a decade ago on Capitol Hill. The left doesn't want to solve it. The right doesn't want to solve it. We just want to fight with each other on it.

And we're talking about it. Maybe that's a good thing. But I don't think that shipping people around as political pawns...


GIBBS LEGER: I would just disagree with the notion that the left doesn't want to solve it.


We had a comprehensive immigration bill on the table, bipartisan support, would have passed the House. It was John Boehner and Republicans who wanted to keep it as a political tool. We could have had immigration reform with increased security at the border.

JENNINGS: There has to be some acknowledgement that the language of the left and the language of the president, the vice president, and the Democratic Party is part of the problem.

The migrants are coming here because they believe the border is open. And so, until this administration stops using that language that causes them to believe that and causes this influx and get serious about supporting the Border Patrol and border security, it's going to continue to be a crisis.

TAPPER: Last word on that.

GLASSER: Well, but I do think the politicization, the permanent use of this as a political tool -- I remember a conversation with a senior Bush administration official who told me the greatest mistake of George W. Bush's second term was not coming out of that victory and making an immigration deal, because he was a Republican -- and there were Republicans and Democrats who wanted to get this done.

TAPPER: Yes. He failed. GLASSER: And they failed.

TAPPER: He did try. He did try.

We will talk more about this in future shows, I'm sure.

Thanks, everybody, for being here.

Did Donald Trump break the law in the January 6 insurrection?

I put that question directly to Republican Congresswoman and January 6 Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney. Her answer next.


TAPPER: What is it like to try to sketch someone's soul?

Editorial cartoonist Steve Brodner has been trying to do just that every day for years. The pandemic compelled the artist to draw hundreds and hundreds of images of America's COVID pain and suffering and of the politicians who pushed democracy to the brink.


TAPPER (voice-over): For so many Americans, when the pandemic started, the world shut down. But that's when illustrator and editorial caricaturist Steve Brodner picked up his pen.

STEVE BRODNER, EDITORIAL CARICATURIST: Well, every day, you would see in the paper all of these names and these faces.

So, I said, let me draw some.

TAPPER (on camera): And how did you decide? Because it was literally thousands of people dying every day.

BRODNER: I know.

TAPPER: How did you decide which story to tell?

BRODNER: At first, it was just whatever was giving me the strongest kind of emotional reaction.

TAPPER (voice-over): Brodner was moved by the stories of COVID's first victims and the harrowing images he could not get out of his head, such as a young doctor in Alabama.


BRODNER: She's treating young people.

TAPPER (on camera): Yes.

BRODNER: And they're coming into her hospital. And they're unvaccinated. TAPPER: She says: "One of the last things they do before they're

intubated," which is often one of the last things that they would do to somebody before they died, "is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them that I'm sorry, but it's too late."

BRODNER: She had to do this many, many times.

TAPPER (voice-over): Every day, Brodner picked a person or an image and drew it, for hundreds of days. And he's still drawing. His work has now been published altogether in a new book, "Living & Dying in America."

(on camera): Here's one on page three. It's President Trump yelling at a bunch of graves: "How can you do this to me?"

BRODNER: That's maybe my favorite cartoon, as a cartoon, in the whole book, because it's all about his victimhood.

Nobody's a bigger victim than he is.

TAPPER: You definitely don't like him, but you definitely like drawing him. It's enjoyable for you to draw him.


BRODNER: Well...

TAPPER: He has a lot of great features.

BRODNER: The thing is, it's enjoyable in a way in which you feel that you have to address something that's gone wrong with the world, you know?

He was president of the United States. He was supposed to take care of people. He was supposed to look after his people. And he looked after one person. And that's where our troubles began.

TAPPER (voice-over): Brodner also drew the Black Lives Matter movement ignited by the violent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many more.

And his work took on an even darker feel politically after the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6

(on camera): Somebody I have interviewed a few times, been my honor to interview him, is D.C. Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, who you capture so well here in this image.

BRODNER: So, when you're drawing a face, there's a thing that happens if it's going well. You're getting into the soul a little bit.

You're getting into -- you're not just trying to capture the character. You're trying to capture the feeling the person has. What is that person going through? How do the contours of the face give you a key into what's going on in the internal life of the person?

TAPPER: It's hard not to read this book and live -- have -- and to have lived through it all, and continue to feel hopeful.

BRODNER: The reason to express outrage about what's happening is because you love your country and you want to improve things.

You believe -- the cartoonists have this kind of crazy idea that, if you just do the perfect picture, you do the right image, it'll change the world.


TAPPER: Congratulations to Steve Brodner on his new book.

Tonight, in a brand-new investigation into the attack on the U.S. Capitol, you will hear from key January 6 witnesses and the Select Committee's vice chair, Liz Cheney.

The biggest question, after months of investigation and testimony and evidence, does Cheney believe that Donald Trump broke the law?


TAPPER: Do you think, as a personal opinion and an attorney, that they are criminal offenses?

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Well, I -- I want to be careful because I am the vice chair of the committee, because the committee itself has to make determinations about criminal referrals, and that those are decisions that the committee will make.

I think, clearly, what we have laid out, though, indicates that the former president of the United States was involved in efforts that were not only unconstitutional, but also violated the law.


TAPPER: But can the committee prove it?

Tune in tonight, my new CNN special report, "American Coup: The January 6 Investigation," tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, only here on CNN.

And you can join me at noon today eastern for a special live hour, as foreign leaders arrive in London to bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth.

Thanks for spending your Sunday morning with us.

Fareed Zakaria interviews Bill Clinton next.