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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Trump On Rising White Nationalism: I think It's A Small Group Of People; Representative Andre Carson (D-IN) Interviewed About President Trump's Comment About White Nationalism As A Rising Threat In The World; 49 Killed in Mosque Mass Shooting, Suspect To Appear to Court; New Zealand PM: Suspect Used Five Guns In Massacre, Says Our Gun Laws Will Change. Aired 4:30-5pm ET
Aired March 15, 2019 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:30:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I guess, if you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that's a case. I don't know enough about it yet. They are just learning about the person and the people involved. But it's certainly a terrible thing, terrible thing. Yes.
UNIDENTIDIED MALE: Mr. President, there were some of the Republicans who voted for this resolution and say they support border security but it was executive overreach. Do you have sympathy for their petition?
TRUMP: I do. I -- look, they were doing what they have to do. And, look, I did -- I put no pressure on anybody. I actually said I could have gotten some of them to come along. I said I want you to vote your heart, do what you want to do. I'm not putting any pressure. I'll let them know when there's pressure, OK. And I told them that.
So when I need your vote, I'm going to let you know. I didn't need the vote because we all knew it's going to be a veto. And they're not going to be able to override. It's going to go very quickly. And we have a great -- as your attorney general just said the cases are very strong case, very powerful case. It was -- I think actually national emergency was designed for specific purpose like this. So we have a great case and I think it's governing.
I mean, ideally, they shouldn't even sue in this case. You want to know the truth? They shouldn't be suing on this case but they will because they always do. We want border security. We want safety. We want no drugs. We want no human trafficking. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I have this one problem on New Zealand with the killer in this tragic incident wrote a manifesto apparently. Did you see that kind of thinking?
TRUMP: I did not see it. I did not see it but I think it's a horrible event. It's a horrible thing. I saw it early in the morning when I looked at what was happening in New Zealand. I just spoke as you know to the prime minister. I think it's a horrible disgraceful thing and a horrible act, OK. Thank you all very much.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. That's President Trump issuing the first veto of his presidency. I want to bring in Democratic Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana. He is the second Muslim to be elected to the US Congress.
Congressman, just a note, we are thinking about the Muslim community in the United States and around the world. Today, I want to ask you --
REP. ANDRE CARSON (D), INDIANA: Thank you.
TAPPER: -- you serve on the House Intelligence Committee. The President just said he does not believe white nationalism is a rising threat in the world. I know that there are statistics in the United States from the Anti-Defamation League that suggests that white nationalism is in fact rising when it comes to propaganda, when it comes to violence, when it comes to targeting schools. What do you know? You have better data than I do as the member of the House Intelligence Committee about the rise of white nationalism?
CARSON: I'm deeply disappointed in the President's dismissal, Jake. You have seen these facts. I have seen these facts. The FBI has reaffirmed these facts. Even during my time at the Indianan Department of Homeland Security, white supremacy and white supremacist activity was still an issue, particularly, in the ranks of law enforcement.
And so it's interesting how when there are crimes or acts of violence committed by African Americans or by other minority groups and especially Muslims, folks don't seem to contextualize these issues. No one traces back to their childhood when they didn't get a hug, when they were six or seven and they dismiss it to attribute it to this overall terroristic effort that -- and I think that kind of dismissal, especially from the president of the United States is hurtful.
TAPPER: So Congressman, have you -- let's turn to the attack itself because you're a member of the House Intelligence Committee, have you been briefed on the attack in New Zealand? What new, if anything, can you tell us?
CARSON: Well, I have been in contact with the Intelligence Committee and its leadership there, and I'm limited in terms of what I can say. I will say that the US, our intelligence agencies have been working very closely with New Zealand which is a Five Eye partner and our law enforcement and Intel agencies have been sending folks there.
As we speak, we have a strong relationship with the New Zealand government. In fact, many of the police departments in New Zealand trained regularly with our police agencies, police departments, federal and state and local as well so the relationships are very strong.
I do think we need to note that these kinds of acts require the global religious community to come together in a very real way. I'm so pleased when I hear folks like you, Jake, and other leaders -- religious leaders specifically condemn these acts of violence and issue a call for unity, from Imams, from pastors, from rabbis, from spiritual leaders across the religious spectrum to come together and push against these kinds of terrible acts.
TAPPER: It's horrific but I did hear some nice anecdotes today about Jews and Christians going to mosques today in New York City and other places --
TAPPER: -- to express support but it is also tragic because police in New Zealand is, you know, urged, "anyone who is thinking of going to a mosque anywhere in New Zealand today not to go."
[16:35:05] New York City, Washington, D.C., Houston have now also increased police presence at mosques there. Obviously, the freedom to worship and to celebrate whatever faith you have is one of the cherished freedoms in this country. Do you think Americans need to be worried?
CARSON: I think we should always be concerned but I'm pleased to see the interfaith community coming together, encouraging parishioners in adherence from different religious groups to support their local mass theatre, mosque and to join in Jumu'ah prayer service and pray alongside Muslims to show a kind of religious solidarity that is lacking during this very toxic climate.
TAPPER: This alleged attacker and explaining -- well, there's no explanation for it but in whatever nonsense hate he wrote down on this document. He used word such as, invaders, when talking about migrants. He talked about how they wanted to "replace white people". There are words we've heard -- words that we've heard used back here at home and not just the Charlottesville, in Washington, D.C.
Do you think that individual's leaders using that kind of language of other rising people demonizing them, making those who are not white Christian seen somehow a threat. Do you think that that ends up having an impact on individuals like this, horrific murderer in New Zealand?
CARSON: I think it does, especially for those people who view their religious text literally. I also think that religious and political leaders have a responsibility to watch the language that we use. And that kind of language and our language has a great impact. And, unfortunately, many extremist organizations have used the language of religious leaders and certainly political leaders to justify their hurtful ideologies and to justify potential attacks that they are planning as we speak and to justify actions like the ones we've seen over the past 48 hours.
TAPPER: All right. Congressman Andre Carson, Democrat of Indiana, thank you so much for your time, so we appreciate it. And our thoughts are with you and the Muslim community.
CARSON: What an honor. Thank you, Jake. TAPPER: Let's talk about this with our panel and just to have some more specific statistics, anti-Defamation League, they've been tracking white supremacist incidents. They say the increase of white supremacist incidence from 2017 to 2018 was a 182 percent increase. The idea that the president --
MEHDI HASAN, COLUMNIST & SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR, THE INTERCEPT: Yes.
TAPPER: --doesn't think that there is a white supremacist growth issue in terms of the threat is it's just factually wrong.
HASAN: They also point out that every single terrorist murder carried out -- in United States in 2018 is carried out by white nationalist domestic foreign terrorist, not by "Islamist" and has been going on for a decade. And it's not just Muslims were the victims. We saw Jews in -- 11 Jews murdered in Synagogue last October in Pittsburgh. We saw it happened in a Sikh temple in 2012, black Christians in Charleston in 2015.
I'm not surprised as Trump say he doesn't think it's rising, because he's an elected politician, and the number one rule of elected politician is don't criticize your base. These people are his base, I'm sorry to say. And to borrow line from Andrew Gillum, he may not be a white nationalist but the white nationalist think he is a white nationalist. He has the support of all of these groups. And he is never going to own up to that, obviously.
SYMONE SANDERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean look, I think when people hear the term white nationalist and for very real reasons they tense up. And maybe Donald Trump doesn't think he's a white nationalist but white supremacy and white nationalist is about the idealogy. And the idealogy, one of the main core pieces of white nationalism is curving nonwhite immigration. That's one of the main policy priorities that white nationalist advocate for, stopping the changing demographics, advocating for a white ethnostate.
If some of these sounds familiar to people at home, there are things that Stephen Miller who works for President Trump, who was in charge of putting together policies in this White House, he is expelled.
So when spokes like I believe Donald Trump is a white nationalist. I believe he has aligned himself with white supremacist idealogy, and for the very reason, given the policies that he is advocating for he said just in -- march from the Oval Office and then invaders are coming, these criminals. He is uttering people and that type of language is dangerous.
BILL KRISTOL, CONSERVATIVE WRITER: I mean, it was already -- I just -- looking before the show, Googling to see where reports are out there why white supremacist join nationalist violence, and there's a report from 2015 that warns about a rise in violence.
So this does precede President Trump and was verballing (ph) around on the internet and there were incidents, many violence and terrible incidents before Donald Trump was president which makes it more important for the President of United States to both denounce it unequivocally, obviously, which he -- I wouldn't quite say his statements today and there were sympathies.
Same as of sympathy for the victims and for people in New Zealand, there wasn't a flat-out denunciation. I don't think there was really of white supremacy in his formal statement earlier or that thing we just saw in that event.
[16:39:56] And so I think it's this important and that's some -- that would be important. It would be interesting to know as a matter of actual intelligence sharing, Scott Brown and Congressman Carson both referred to the fact that we're partners with New Zealand in the most, you know, exclusive club of intelligence sharing, the Five Eyes.
Do we share information and white supremacist interactions online and so forth the way we'd have since 9/11 and maybe before really, and join it with other terrorist threats.
LINDA CHAVEZ, CHAIRMAN, CENTER FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: One of the things that bothers me is we always talk about this in terms of white nationalism and white supremacy but what's happening in the conservative movement, at least a wing of the conservative movement is even more disturbing.
They dropped the word, white, but nationalism is the rage now on the right. And you have, you know, here to for respectable publications like the Claremont Review of Books and somebody like Christa Newt (ph) who used to head up AEI and was once at OMB, out there promoting nationalism is a proper idealogy. You have the President himself talking about turning us into a nationalist nation.
This has got sort of ugly precedent, ugly strain, and of course we're seeing it elsewhere and when they talk about nationalism, they are talking about a nation as defined by blood and soil. And so it's people who are here, who could trace their ancestry back to England and to the British Isles, and it's based on, you know, our geographic residence.
SANDERS: White people.
HASAN: And let's just talk about the elephant in the room, the biggest motivator behind white nationalism which has been around for decades, these entries right now is Islamophobia. That is what is uniting a lot of this far-right politicians from Europe to down under in Australian, New Zealand to United States. We didn't hear a word from Donald Trump about the fact that the victims, 49 of them all Muslims in the mosque. I saw his tweet this morning. He said, "My sympathy goes out." He didn't say a word about the shooter when this -- when there is shoot--
TAPPER: I think he said that mosque.
HASAN: He said mosque.
TAPPER: He said the word mosque but he didn't say Muslim or Islam. HASAN: No. No. Because when he -- whenever he said Islam, he said
on this channel I believe Islam hates us. So it be very hard for him to talk about Islam in any kind of compassionate way.
This is a guy who tweeted this morning, I saw his tweet, didn't say anything about the shooting. You notice when the shooter or bomber is a Muslim, they are scum. They are animals. They're evil. When it's a white nationalist, he either doesn't say anything or you saw the coast guard go, recently, he was arrested with the white nationalist. But I think Trump say, is very sad situation. Didn't say -- didn't never says anything about the killer or the bomber when they're killing Muslims or dare I say Jews as I mentioned in Pittsburgh.
TAPPER: Everyone stick around, we are following these two major breaking stories with the New Zealand terror suspect due in court any moment and it is the morning of Saturday in New Zealand. We'll be right back. Stay with us.
[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN: Breaking news just in. The New Zealand Prime Minister speaking just moments ago on the investigation into the massacre there. We've learned that the alleged killer used five guns and had a gun license. The Prime Minister vowed though that the country's gun laws will change.
We are also expecting the suspect to appear in court any moment. And that Court is where Blis Savidge is outside the court in Christchurch, New Zealand. Blis, what can you tell us about what's happening there?
BLIS SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So there's a quite a good crowd out here today. The court was supposed to open according to the sign on the door at about 9:00 a.m. It's now 9:47. Oh, there's a police van coming by stopping right in front of us here. Everybody waiting anxiously in front of this courthouse. A lot of international journalists, members of the public, even members from the local Muslim community here.
Some men claiming that their father was one of the victims in this attack. So everybody just anxiously waiting to see we're going to get a glimpse of this suspect who is being charged with murder.
He'll -- no movement yet here, a lot of speculation. Some people saying that they maybe saw a transport van, but like I said all speculation at this point. We're still waiting, doors are still closed, waiting for to hear more.
And of course, we just heard from the prime minister of New Zealand talking about the perpetrators use five weapons including two semi- automatics and two shotguns. So urging people in Christchurch still to stay safe and stay inside as much as possible today.
TAPPER: All right, Blis Savidge, thank you and keep a keep us abreast of events in Christchurch as they -- as they occur. In his writings, the suspect ranted about an invasion of Muslim immigrants in his -- CNN's Drew Griffin now reports his live stream of the 17-minute massacre ricocheted around the world long before the tech companies took it down.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: It's titled the great replacement. 87 pages, more than 16,000 words, not rambling but a spellcheck reference dissertation on a hate-filled view of immigrants, immigration, and Muslims, unsung, it is the killer's explanation for why he did this.
JACINDA ARDERN, PRIME MINISTER, NEW ZEALAND: These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand, and in fact have no place in the world.
GRIFFIN: There is no doubt that 28-year-old under arrest is a white supremacist who believe his own white European race is being wiped out by immigration labeling it white genocide. It is also the universal rallying cry of hate-filled white supremacists across the world. In Charlottesville, Virginia the neo-Nazi cry was --
AMERICAN CROWD: Jews will not replace us.
GRIFFIN: In Warsaw, Poland in 2017, some marchers in an Independence Day demonstration carried banners that read white Europe and clean blood. 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina, a white teenager named Dylann Roof murdered nine African-Americans in a church. The white supremacist reportedly said you all are raping our white women. You all are taking over the world as he gunned down unarmed parishioners.
The rhetoric is old but new technology has allowed these messages of hate to be spread in real-time across the globe. The New Zealand killer streamed parts of his attack live on Facebook. The video spread to YouTube, Twitter, news sites before police pleaded for it to stop.
[16:50:25] MIKE BUSH, COMMISSIONER, NEW ZEALAND POLICE: I have seen social media footage. It's very disturbing. It shouldn't be in the public domain and we're doing everything we can to remove it.
GRIFFIN: But hours after the attack, copies of the gruesome video still continued to appear shared by social media users. While police will not discuss motive, the suspect refers to Dylann Roof and writes he was inspired by white supremacist Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway eight years ago.
He does try to explain his own breaking point came in 2017. The French presidential election of what he describes as an anti-white ex- banker and the terror-related death of an 11-year-old Swedish girl run down by a Muslim terrorist in a stolen truck in Stockholm. A crime he writes, he could no longer ignore.
GRIFFIN: And Jake, in his 87-pages, the suspect does make one reference to Donald Trump, our U.S. supporter he asks himself. As a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose, he says, sure. As a policymaker and leader, dear God, no. Jake? TAPPER: Drew Griffin, thank you so much. Let's bring in our experts. So let me start with you, Phil Mudd. New Zealand as we've talked about as part of the five eyes Network of an intelligent sharing, the United States, Canada, U.K., Australia, New Zealand. They're all actively sharing intelligence.
Bill Kristol asked earlier whether or not intelligence about this kind of threat, white supremacists, white nationalists is shared as much as the threats of Islamist terrorists or would-be terrorists. Is it?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I'd say, yes, but let me give you an asterisk. Look, don't think this is white or Islamist or black or -- think of this as people who pose a threat in this case in New Zealand. If you saw that same threat, if you're in the New Zealand service and see a threat, whether it's from ISIS or whether it's somebody like this and that threat is against New York City, if there's a risk of death in New York City, I don't care where it comes from. Our security service is going to pass that.
Now there is an asterisk here. If you look, for example, the National Counterterrorism Center, if you look at our national apparatus here in the United States, after 9/11 that is largely focused on obviously Islamic extremism. So I would say the information might be past. The architecture to picked up the intelligence on people like this I don't think is as advanced as it would be against an ISIS sympathizer/
TAPPER: Even though there are more attacks in the United States by white nationalist, white supremacists than by any other group. Bobby Ghosh, the suspect said he wanted to incite violence retaliation and further divide. According to the New York Times, the killer had the names of military leaders who primarily battled non-white forces on his guns. He praised killers who carried out attacks on Jews and Muslims. Tell us what all this means to you.
BOBBY GHOSH, EDITOR AND EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER, BLOOMBERG: Well this is all very, very familiar. He put out an 80 or 90 pages what Anders Berwick put out in 1,500 pages, the Norwegian mass from seven or eight years ago. So we've heard this sort of rationalization before. We've heard these stories before. He's citing historical wrongs -- what he perceives to be historical wrongs. He's citing the need for purity. This is very familiar.
This sounds exactly like the sort of thing that we hear from ISIS terrorists or al-Qaeda terrorists. This obsession with ancient historical events, ancient historical characters, usually distorted in their view far from the reality, plus a desire for some sort of a reclamation of purity in the modern world.
This is -- this is classic terrorist behavior and law enforcement agencies ought to be able to do a better job of spotting this because they already -- they're already doing this for one kind of terror group. They ought to be able to do that more broadly for others.
TAPPER: Farah, you worked on countering violent extremism for both the George W Bush and Barack Obama administrations. You have a new book out titled how we win and have extensively researched this issue of extremism. Our Clarissa Ward notes that the alleged shooter's writings as Bobby just noted we're striking similarity to what we typically see from ISIS terrorists. Are you surprised at the similarity?
FARAH PANDITH, FORMER SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE TO MUSLIM COMMUNITIES, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT: No, I'm not surprised. I mean, look, we're looking at a measurement stick around securing communities based on a physical dimension. So we are defeating ISIS and I say that in quotes, based on the physical territory.
What Phil just said is really important. What's happening in the ideological space and how are we measuring that, what's happening emotionally, this guy in his manifesto is talking about what he saw when he went to France. He's talking about what he -- what the emotional capacity was when he was absorbing all of these things.
So it isn't just what is happening in the online space, it's how you're living your life day to day. Government has not been culturally listening to the rise of hate of all kinds of hate globally. We have one-offs in Charlottesville, we have one-offs now in New Zealand, and we think this is about a church or a synagogue or a mosque, it's not. It's about the way hate has been allowed to manifest itself all around the world and how the issue of identity and belonging is the spark that allows these guys to thrive.
So that's where we need to be looking and that's where the solutions actually lie, Jake, because it's within communities. It's what we have to do. We have been very lazy on hate in the years since 9/11 and we've allowed all of these kinds of hates to grow.
[16:55:52] TAPPER: Hemu, let me bring you in. This massacre was live streamed on Facebook, it was announced on 8 channels, reposted on YouTube, it was commented on Reddit, it was sent around the world before the tech companies took it down. How is it possible given the technology at their disposal today that it -- that it took so long for the for the internet companies to stop this video from being shown?
HEMU NIGAM, ADVISER ON ONLINE SAFETY, SECURITY AND PRIVACY: Well, I think, Jake, there's a lot of things that are happening here. But one of the -- one of the things that we have to focus on is that the online companies have chosen to do what's called notice and takedown. If you tell me something is a problem, then I will do something about it instead of doing things that could be done here.
So for example, let's put us in the physical setting. When there's a horrible situation happening, a lot of times people go running to see what it is and then they call 911. In the online space, the conduct is no different. In fact, Facebook even says by their own words that a live stream video will get six times the interaction of an non-live stream video.
So they're pushing that and saying use it so that is why it's becoming the weapon of choice in a sense here. So many things could be done to stop that which I don't see happening.
TAPPER: The existing -- GHOSH: Well, Jake -- sorry.
TAPPER: Go ahead, Bobby. Go ahead.
GHOSH: Well, I think there's a much simpler answer. The reason why the tech companies have not been able to stop this sort of thing happening is because they don't care. They're not doing anywhere near enough.
It's not enough to say we are putting out thousands of people on the job. If you're putting thousand people -- thousands of people and you're not getting it done, then it's time to put 10,000 of people.
NIGAM: Let me give you --
GHOSH: These companies make billions of dollars in profits, they ought to be able to do this.
TAPPER: Go ahead, Hemu.
NIGAM: So let me give you some examples here. For example, when there is a live stream that has something horrible, a lot of people are going to see it to put in what are called and not I call an anomalous triggers. There's a number of people are going up really fast, the velocity is quick, their reaction are quick, even the complaints might be happening quickly, put that at the top of the list and review it, or stop that stream until it gets reviewed or just hide it what I call the bozo button to make sure nobody else is seeing it. The person thinks it's still going out there but at least get a reviewer to see it.
Or in terms of spreading around the world, I'm actually pretty shocked that this is happening even today in 2019 if it is fingerprinted. Something that's been around for years now that copyright industry uses, all sorts of companies are using it, fingerprint the sound if you don't want a fingerprint the video and share that fingerprint with everybody else so they can use it and block it from happening.
Or for example, use AI to listen to the sound. There are sounds of children crying, people screaming, gunshots happening, when you see that, take a look and say hey, there's something unusual about this video that needs examination especially in a live environment you can't claim it's a movie.
TAPPER: Phil, let me ask you. These Web sites, there are obviously places where these horrific bigots go to vent and then sometimes to plot. Law enforcement presumably knows about them. Are they using them enough?
MUDD: Look, I think this is about chapter two of a 20 chapter book. When I was at the Bureau, they're using them, they're looking at them. But there's a difference between somebody talking about hate. In this country, we say hate is OK, and somebody talking about violence. My first question, in this case, is not just what happened, it's when they were talking online where there are other people involved in this who should have alerted law enforcement. It's not just people like Facebook, it's also a citizen who sees this
and says I heard this guy talking, I didn't say anything. I want to hear about those people.
PANDITH: Jake, this is where the grassroots come in right? The government can't do everything and technologies have a very big role to play and Bobby is absolutely right that they haven't done enough. But the people that are actually able to build resilience and communities, to fight all kinds of us versus them are NGOs themselves and communities themselves.
Tech companies should be partnering with those NGOs to do more. We have already tested the kinds of things that work to help people along the way as they become more and more radicalized. Why haven't we scaled them? That's the question we should be asking.
TAPPER: All right, thanks one and all. Be sure to tune in Sunday to CNN for "STATE OF THE UNION." My guests will be Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and Presidential Candidate Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar.