Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

Trump: Anti-Semitism "Is Horrible" And "Has To Stop"; Clinton Calls Out Trump For First Time Since Election; White House Releases Aggressive New Border Policies; Trump's Plan To Crack Down On Undocumented Immigrants; CPAC Disinvites Speaker Who Condoned Pedophilia; CIA Analyst: I'm Quitting Because Of Trump. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired February 21, 2017 - 11:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you. We appreciate it. That will do it for me. I'm Poppy Harlow. Thank you so much for joining us this morning. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" begins now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Hi, there. I'm Brianna Keilar. Kate Bolduan is off today. We begin with breaking news. Just moments ago, President Trump condemning the recent wave of anti-Semitic crimes across the country including vandalism and bomb threats towards Jewish community centers. The president spoke at the national museum of African-American history right here in Washington, D.C. Let's take a listen to that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The anti- Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: This was very noteworthy because it comes amid growing outcry over the president's silence on this issue, which even prompted a response from Hillary Clinton this morning, who publicly addressed the president directly for the first time since the election when she tweeted this.

She said, "JCC threats, cemetery desecration and online attacks are so troubling and they need to be stopped. Everyone must speak out, starting with the president of the United States."

And CNN's Sara Murray is live at the White House. So Sara, this was pretty extraordinary to see this. What are you hearing from the White House about why President Trump really chose in very clear terms to make this statement today?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, I think it was sort of extraordinary only because we've seen such a tepid response from the president to this point and especially when you even stack it up compared to how his own family members have been responding. I just want to show you what Ivanka Trump said about this yesterday, a day before her father weighed in so strongly. She tweeted, "America is a nation built on the principle of religious tolerance. We must protect our houses of worship and religious centers."

So she did this a full day before her father appeared at the African- American Museum and made these comments about anti-Semitism. And Brianna, it's worth noting that this is something the president struggled throughout the campaign.

He always had a difficult time. It took him longer than many people were comfortable with to denounce racism and denounce anti-Semitism. So I think the fact that you saw him do it today strongly not only in a television interview.

But also in this speech is an indication that the White House wants to be able to move beyond this story, to put it behind them and make clear where the president stands on this and he really does want to be president for all Americans.

I think it's an open question if you've heard the rhetoric from Donald Trump over the last two years whether what he said today is going to be enough to put that to rest for you.

KEILAR: A very good point. Sara Murray at the White House, thank you.

I want to bring now in David Posner. He is the strategic performance director for Jewish Community Centers of North America. We also have CNN political director, David Chalian.

So David Posner, to you first, no bombs have been found but there have been evacuations over and over and parents, of course, are reasonably alarmed. Tells what the Jewish community is going through right now at Jewish Community Centers?

DAVID POSNER, JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER ASSOCIATION OF NORTH AMERICA: Well, we do see that there's an unprecedented number of these threats taking place. We've not seen this before. But on the other hand what we're seeing is the faith and resilience of our parents, of our members and participants to continue with their affiliations with the JCCs. We've not seen any wide-scale departure from the JCCs. So we are very heartened by that response.

KEILAR: What do you attribute the uptick in threats to? Is there something about the climate that we're in right now? What do you think could help your community as they try to deal with this?

POSNER: Well, we look forward to the apprehension of the perpetrators of this and all elements of government taking this and making this a strong priority for them. As to the reasons why we can talk about the general environment of what's going on in the country, but really it's not something that we have the answers to at this point.

KEILAR: David Chalian, listening to Donald Trump just a short time ago announcing anti-Semitism, this was very noteworthy because it seemed as if he was delegating messaging on this to other people close to him. But it wasn't the same as, of course, President Trump having those very clear words come out of his mouth. Is this going to be a sufficient response for critics?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I mean, I think some critics will be critics no matter what. I don't know that it will be sufficient in that way to complete quiet critics, but I do think it's a notable and market shift from what we heard from President Trump last week.

[11:05:07]You said delegating. think maybe following, having those that work for him or his family members sort of lead the way on this for the president to get here. It was quite stunning last week in back-to-back news conferences where he took questions about this and answered in a way that seemed like the question was somehow a personal affront to him or questioning the legitimacy of his election or questioning whether or not it was his fault.

Spoke to his election victory when he got that question. It was quite odd. This is the kind of sort of presidential leadership moment and statement that he stepped up to this morning, took that microphone and used the megaphone in a way to call this for what it is, horrible, and that tone is worth noting. That change in tone is worth noting.

KEILAR: What did you make, David Chalian, of Hillary Clinton directly calling out Donald Trump for the first time since the election?

CHALIAN: Yes, I went back and looked at all her tweets since the inauguration, since he actually became president. This is the first time we've seen her specifically call him out by name and I thought it was interesting that it was on this issue.

And whether or not that was going to somehow, again, appeal to Donald Trump's sort of personal, political side that he was somehow being boxed in here or if he would sort of ignore that and still seize the opportunity given here for this presidential leadership moment. He did choose the latter.

But it was noteworthy that Hillary Clinton chose this issue. She has certainly been there as you saw championing the women's march, distancing herself and expressing her opposition to the travel ban, saluting that 3-0 court ruling that left the stay on that travel ban in place.

And yet, now she was asking the president himself to step up and speak out on this. Obviously, he didn't do it because she asked her, but clearly he felt that his voice need to be added to the mix here.

KEILAR: David Posner, when you look at something like this, really any president who speaks out about the issue, is that helpful? Do you think in a really tangible way to reducing threats, or is it just something that is symbolic?

POSNER: It's not symbolic. It's important for all leaders to step up no matter who the president is. All of our elected officials to condemn these acts wherever they may occur in our society. We are better when all of us respect one another.

KEILAR: It's a very good point. I think it's something everyone can agree with on you there. David Posner and David Chalian, thank you so much to both of you.

And just this morning, the Department of Homeland Security laid out new guidance for law enforcement agencies on the president's crackdown on immigration and border control. The president actually addressed these policies on MSNBC just a short time ago. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: We have to have a safe country. We have to let people come in that are going to love the country. This is about love. This building is about love and we have to have people come in that are going to love the country, not people that are going to harm the country. And I think a lot of people agree with me on that.

So we'll have various things coming out over a period of time, and you'll see them as they come out, and we'll let you know exactly what they are. But we have to let people come in that are going to be positive for our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: And joining me now is CNN justice correspondent, Laura Jarrett. This is what we have been waiting for to see kind of what these difference regulations are going to look like. What are you hearing about the new guidance from the Department of Homeland Security?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: That's right, Brianna. So what we are seeing in this guidance issued today is a significant expansion in the categories of undocumented immigrants that will now be eligible for deportation under Trump's executive orders from last month. Specifically, we now see language detailing an expanded process of expedited deportations for undocumented immigrants.

Much more discretion given to the immigration officers on the ground on who to arrest, and a deputizing, if you will, of local police officers to serve as ICE or immigration officers. At the same time, a tightening of standards for asylum seekers.

Now on a call with reporters earlier this morning, officials repeatedly tried to emphasize that the policies mostly just enforce existing law and sought to push back on a narrative that could lead to massive round ups of undocumented immigrants.

What the officials also emphasized that President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the program known as DACA will stay in place for now -- Brianna.

KEILAR: It's hard to sort of make heads or tails of these things being both of them in existence. Stay with me, Laura. I want to bring in Ione Molinares, a CNN Espanol correspondent. I'm wondering what you were thinking as you see this guidance that we are expecting. What is your impression of how this changes the landscape of immigration?

[11:10:04]IONE MOLINARES, CNN ESPANOL CORRESPONDENT: (Inaudible) and especially for the undocumented immigrants -- activists, Brianna, right now are scrambling trying to figure it out, how to respond. Yesterday, they had emergency meetings when they knew those memos were going to come out.

And basically most of them, a lot of them are very worried that this would lead to abuses, breaking up families and they are trying to figure it out, how much this will impact safety, security and especially the families.

Most of them were very, very critical. President Obama when the provision known as 287-G was actually being enforced. That was suspended sort of by the President Obama.

Then they created this secure communities, which basically took away a little bit of power that police and local forces had to implement or to be able to act as immigration agents.

So after that, it was really a point of criticism from activists, from the communities to President Obama and little by little, that was changing due to the pressure, and now this is coming back.

So it's, a very important moment for activism, for the community, for the leaders trying to figure it out how to respond, and how can they actually manage this in a way that is not going to create breaks or fear.

KEILAR: Can I ask you because we're running out of time, but is the concern with DACA in place, which would allow youngsters who are brought to the U.S. and really know no other home to stay, that stays in place. But these new guidelines with more discretion for deportations, is the concern then that you could have basically those kids in the United States and their parents are deported? Is that one of the main concerns?

MOLINARES: Well, there is a part on those memos where basically taking care of special categories to take into consideration or to protect. And even though this memo specifically take away this DACA beneficiaries, basically not being considered with those changes, it's possible that eventually they could be open for deportation also.

There was also fear and many congressmen from Democratic side were actually asking the administration to make sure that a lot of the administration to the government when they actually applied for this program, they were not used later to be for any instances or deportation procedures.

KEILAR: Sure, because their information was then filed with the government. Ione, thank you so much. Laura, thank you to you as well.

This is a book deal that we're talking about. Dropping an invite to a big conservative conference. That's canceled. But it wasn't because of the hateful, sexist and racist language that a Breitbart News editor has said in the past. Ahead, the new video that was the breaking point here, and why our next guest calls him brave.

And quitting because of President Trump. A CIA analyst who has worked for both Republicans and Democrats said he cannot in good faith serve under the new president.

Plus, anger and chaos, protests erupt in Republican town halls across the country. Right now the most powerful Republican in the Senate prepares to face people from his own state.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:17:51]

KEILAR: President Trump has a big speech this week at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference. However, controversy is now overshadowing this event after invited speaker, Breitbart editor, Milo Yiannopoulos, was seen on video apparently condoning sexual relations with boys and dismissing the seriousness of pedophilia by Catholic priests. CPAC has uninvited Yiannopoulos.

And joining me now is Matt Schlapp. He is the chairman of the American Conservative Union, which is the group that organizes CPAC. Matt, thank you so much for coming on.

I know you're dealing, of course, with this controversy as you are looking towards the conference. Tell me about the decision to disinvite Milo and also why he was invited even before.

It's not as if this is the first very controversial thing he's said that many would argue is completely counter to what the American Conservative Union is trying to promote.

MATT SCHLAPP, RESCINDED INVITATION FOR YIANNOPOULOS TO SPEAK: Yes, just remember first of all, we invite all kinds of people on our stage. An invitation isn't necessarily an endorsement, but it is an invitation to start to have a conversation. What Milo did is he came to me and said I'm being shut out at college campuses. He was just shut out at Berkeley.

I think we should be allowed to talk on campus. There shouldn't be these speech codes and shouldn't have this chilling on our ability to speak our point of view, especially if it's from the conservative side. And I eventually decided to extend an invitation to him to talk about that subject, a free speech on campus.

After we announced him, Brianna, these other videos came to my attention that did exactly as you described in the beginning of this piece. And we thought the CPAC stage is no longer the appropriate place for Milo to try to explain what he meant. He needs to do that on his own on his own terms. I think he's having a press conference today to do that.

KEILAR: But you said the case that he made to you that you agreed with was we're being shut down, putting out our views on the conservative side.

SCHLAPP: That's right.

KEILAR: You can argue that he's no not -- he's not a conservative in the vein of conservatism, right? This is a guy who's been -- I mean, he's racist. He completely has aligned himself with the alt-right. He's just this kind of bombastic iconoclast on takes on all kinds of things that just make him seem like a total hater, including anti-gay, even though he himself is gay. What do you say to that where he doesn't necessarily speak to conservatism?

SCHLAPP: He doesn't call himself a conservative. He calls himself more of a libertarian. We'll have speakers who are conservative, libertarian, even liberals on the stage. The key thing at CPAC is this. When there are controversies brewing in society, we have in the past tried, too avoid those controversies on our stage.

It's been my belief that it's better to put those controversies front and center. So what Milo was going to do was actually sit down for an interview with someone who was going to ask him the very same questions that you just asked me.

We think that's respectful to our attendees. They are in a position to make their own judgment calls on people. When we stop the conversation, we stop the ability to try to work through some of the courser language and some of the things completely inappropriate that he has said.

And I talked to him about the alt-right and about those associations and he has assured us that he does not support the alt-right. We don't support the alt-right. We'll talk about the alt-right.

You're right to bring it up because it's a menace in something that has no role in the conservative movement. But conservatives can have an open conversation about controversial topics, even things conservatives disagree on. Sometimes on campus, they can't.

KEILAR: And I've been to CPAC many times, and it is -- I've seen some of the most liberal liberals who appear and it's an interesting conversation that is had, but what about this idea that so much of what he's said is hate speech.

In your view then, would this have been an opportunity to -- for participants of CPAC to denounce hate speech? What if he was attracting people who supported him and in a way you're just promoting it. How do you make that call?

SCHLAPP: Well, it's a tough call to make, but he has a huge following and our audience, as you know because you've been there, is skewed young. It's up to 50 percent college age and younger. He has a lot of following with those people --

KEILAR: What does that say if he has a huge following and some could argue, well, look, maybe that's the future of conservatism? Don't you worry that conservatism is dying then? SCHLAPP: No, not at all. I actually think we have traditional conservatives who don't like the fact that things change and society changes and there are new voices and there's confusion. I will give you that there's a lot of confusion in our culture, in our society.

And conservatives look at our culture and society and they are incredibly concerned. I want to engage in the problems facing the culture and society and talk about our conservative values and how they can help the situation. Think of all the topics we're dealing within society today.

Is it fair for the people that come to CPAC to not address them? We should address them. We should talk about them. We're adults enough to have that conversation and I think people will make up their own minds as to who is a hater and who is not a hater. We want to give them that opportunity.

KEILAR: All right, Matt Schlapp, thank you so much for joining us. We do appreciate it.

SCHLAPP: Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: We'll talk about a guy who worked at the CIA for years, but now says he cannot serve under President Trump. Up next, the final straw that made him quit his job.

Plus, it may be an awkward meeting. Governor John Kasich was one of President Trump's biggest rivals, once questioning his ability to be commander-in-chief. So can they move past their differences when they meet face-to-face?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:28:05]

KEILAR: Former CIA Officer Ned Price had been an analyst for nearly 15 years and now he is calling it quits, why? He says he cannot in good faith serve under President Trump. He told the "Washington Post," quote, "The final straw came late last month when the White House issued a directive reorganizing the National Security Council on whose staff I served from 2014 until earlier this year.

The White House's inclination was clear. It was little need for intelligence professionals who in speaking truth to power might challenge the so-called America first orthodoxy."

I'm joined now by former CIA Covert Operations Officer Mike Baker. And, Mike, I want to get your thoughts on Ned Price's resignation. This is not how you would have handled this?

MIKE BAKER, FORMER CIA COVERT OPERATIONS OFFICER: Well, no, but everyone has to act in their own conscience and best belief as to what's right for them and I can't get inside Mr. Price's head about that. But I think there's some context here that kind of lays this out. Mr. Price said that this absolutely nothing to do with politics. Well, you know, he worked for several Democratic political campaigns prior to joining the agency about ten years ago. Certainly the past few years, was spent inside the Obama White House working at the NSC.

So, you know, we like to think of ourselves in the intel community, we like to think of ourselves as apolitical. Administrations come and go. In my experience, it's been we can only speak to our experiences.

My experience in almost two decades at the agency in operations was that was true. Administrations come and go. The tasking comes in. You get on and do it. You may not be happy with it but you continue and march on and --

KEILAR: And, Mike, you -- I know you also feel like there is a place, an important place for people who don't agree with the things they have seen President Trump do when it comes to the intel community. You think that that's all the more reason for people to serve?