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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Trump Adviser Defends Past Comments on Immigration; Presidential Fund-Raising Numbers Released. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired April 16, 2019 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:32:24]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: And we're back with our 2020 lead today.

And a key question facing every presidential candidate, just how important are early fund-raising numbers? Fund-raising is not everything. Just ask President Jeb Bush. But the amount a candidate raises does say something about the viability of his or her campaign, breadth of support, and ability to get his or her message out.

Brand-new fund-raising numbers show that President Trump is millions of dollars ahead of each of the Democrats, including front-runner Senator Bernie Sanders, with a $30 million haul in the first quarter for the president.

CNN's Leyla Santiago has more now from the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At campaign events.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe in this. We have got to make it happen. Go to ElizabethWarren.com, put in five bucks.

SANTIAGO: On social media, in 2020 campaign e-mails, all about the money, because it matters.

President Donald Trump, whose reelection efforts started the day he was sworn into office, has raised $30.3 million from January to March. It's the strongest fund-raising quarter of his presidency.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to have a great election.

SANTIAGO: The president's early fund-raising advantage prompting a note of urgency from the Democratic National Convention, blasting out an e-mail with a subject line that reads, "We must keep pace with Donald Trump's campaign," adding, "It's all hands on deck."

Official financial reports made available this week show a top tier now beginning to form among Democratic candidates. Leading the pack, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have raised a

considerable amount of money in the last six weeks, since we have been in the campaign. And I'm proud of that. And our average contribution used to be $27. It's gone down to $20.

SANTIAGO: According to the latest FEC filings, in the first quarter, Sanders raised $18 million, California Senator Kamala Harris $12 million, former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke more than $9 million, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg $7 million.

Behind them, the crowded field of Democrats on the 2020 campaign trail scrambling to keep up. Some candidates who did not pull in as much boosted their numbers by transferring leftover money from previous campaign accounts into their presidential committees.

Meanwhile, those rejecting money from political action committees are using it to court voters.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's the way that we are running this campaign, no PACs, no lobbyists, just human beings, our fellow Americans.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

O'ROURKE: Will make up what I hope will be the largest grassroots effort this country has ever seen.

SANTIAGO: While no Democratic candidate is anywhere near having Trump totals, they are all aware that the road to the White House will require more support and enthusiasm in the form of dollars.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[16:35:07]

SANTIAGO: And Jake, we are in Charlottesville, Virginia, tonight, expecting Beto O'Rourke to speak in just a matter of hours now to a large crowd there.

Earlier, he was in Norfolk, a very important day here in Virginia today, the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting. So he has talked quite a bit about gun violence.

And now he will be here in Charlottesville, where people are still healing from what happened really just right behind me in 2017. Tomorrow, he is expected to continue in Virginia, beginning in Fredericksburg.

TAPPER: All right, Leyla Santiago, traveling with the Beto O'Rourke campaign, thank you so much.

Let's talk about this. The DNC sent out a fund-raising e-mail after the Trump campaign released its fund-raising numbers calling for -- quote -- "all hands on deck to defeat Donald Trump."

Should Democrats be worried? I mean, $30 million is quite a haul for the president.

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: On top of $130 million last year. And usually presidents don't raise money in the midterms when their party is trying to defend, in this case, the House majority.

This president did anyway. It didn't help his -- it helped, I think, lose the House for his party, so he's got a colossal, monumental fund- raising advantage. And Democrats have got to be very serious about it. I think it's going to cost $50 million this year for the Democratic nomination. So, I want to see who can raise $50 in 2019.

TAPPER: To get the nomination?

BEGALA: To get the nomination. They have to raise it in 2019. We get to New Year's Eve and I want to see somebody with $50 million raised in my party. And nobody is close yet.

TAPPER: Do you look at the campaign finance numbers when you're judging which one of these Democrats you think is most viable?

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think you have to look at some numbers underneath the top-line numbers, including burn rates, how much they are spending. If you look at Elizabeth Warren, she spent almost as much as she brought in.

Obviously, she's building an apparatus across the country, but that's not something that can continue for one or two more quarters.

TAPPER: Buttigieg has spent like five cents.

BEGALA: Right.

PSAKI: He's spent like five cents, which is a good sign.

Obviously, he also, though, has to build a campaign apparatus across the country. And that will cost some money. You look at average donations, you look at the number of donations, and Bernie Sanders is far and ahead far and away -- ahead on that, people he can go back to and continue to go back to.

And you look at cash on hand. There's an advantage from federal -- people who have been federal candidates or federally elected, because they can transfer money over. So there are a number of these candidates who have transferred $5 million, $10 million over. And that's adding to their totals as well. That money counts. But it doesn't tell you how much longer they can keep raising money.

TAPPER: You're not a fan of President Trump, I think it's fair to say, even though you're a long -- lifetime Republican.

LINDA CHAVEZ, CHAIR, CENTER FOR EQUAL OPPORTUNITY: Yes, longtime Republican.

TAPPER: Are you concerned that the money advantage that he might have will help him convince those swing voters, impressionable voters that he's doing a great job? CHAVEZ: I don't think that's how the money is going to be spent. I

think the money is going to be spent on a ground game and getting out the vote.

And that's what scares me, as somebody who doesn't necessarily want to see him have a second term. The Democrats are going to have to spend it on ads and name recognition and getting known by the American people. He doesn't have to spend a penny on that. He didn't last time. But he is going to have to spend money getting his core voters out, and running that ground game, which the Democrats used to be better at.

Under Obama, they certainly were. But I think the Republicans have the edge.

KEVIN MADDEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I disagree with that. I don't think he's going to spend this money on a ground game.

One of the huge advantages of this cash on hand that the president has is the same one that President Obama had in 2012, when Jen Psaki and all of her colleagues beat the Romney campaign. And it was the ability to go out and define the field ahead of time and define it negatively in the eyes of swing voters.

And I think that's what you're going to see President Trump do, is take that cash on hand advantage and define the terms of the debate, and mostly on contrast issues, and then try and define negatively every single one of these Democratic candidates.

That way, when they do finally get to the general election, he will already have the frame he wants on them, and the -- you know, one of the big problems that they will have is, they will be out of money and he will still have that cash-on advantage.

And in the summer of 2020, that's going to be huge.

TAPPER: Let me talk about Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is rising in the polls among Democratic candidates.

He admitted on CNN this morning that his campaign has some work to do when it comes to attracting a more diverse group of voters. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think we need to do better. You know, as I have been on the trail, we have found, to some extent, it depends on geography. We had a very diverse crowd at my first stop in Nevada, but less so in South Carolina.

And one of the most important things you can achieve in South Carolina is engage with African-American voters in particular, which represent such an important part of our party's coalition.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Is there a risk for him here, only really appealing to whites?

BEGALA: Yes, and he's on it. That's what's impressive to me, is that, you know, politicians, they get jerks like me to train them to lie and to say stuff like, no, we're great, we're great.

TAPPER: We're doing great with everyone, yes.

BEGALA: Yes, we're perfect.

He said, actually, yes, that's a problem and I have got to work on it.

I find that really refreshing. It is true that I think too many of these candidates are chasing the white liberals and not enough of them are talking to people of color, who are the real heart and soul of the Democratic Party.

[16:40:05]

TAPPER: There's some live pictures, by the way, of Pete Buttigieg right there in Iowa.

MADDEN: To Paul's point, too, it builds up credibility.

BEGALA: Right.

MADDEN: It builds up credibility, in that you know that you have challenges.

And the important thing is, not only does the candidate get it. The rest of the campaign feeds off of that when a candidate says, this is what we have to focus on. This is how we have build out -- not only my profile as a candidate, but the campaign.

And it has a huge impact for the campaign at a grassroots level.

PSAKI: Yes, look, I think the fact that he recognizes it is refreshingly honest. The fact that he said it out loud is even more refreshingly honest.

I think, as he also said in the same interview, he's surprised by how quickly he's grown. There's work he has to do beyond reaching out to African-American voters, which is a piece of work he has to do. But he needs to build a campaign team and an apparatus in the early states.

That's not something he's done quite yet. That's vitally important. He needs to travel and spend more time with voters. He has -- he still has a relatively low name recognition, which he certainly needs to work on, but that's also a huge opportunity, because he's defining himself and introducing himself to a lot of people across the country as well.

MADDEN: Yes.

And he has to convince people that he can win.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: That he can win, absolutely.

Everyone, stick around.

Boss bashing, all on tape. CNN's KFILE uncovers recordings of one of President Trump's key economic advisers comparing his immigration proposals to those from Nazi Germany. And now that adviser is responding.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:45:00] JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: In our "POLITICS LEAD" now, there are two of the biggest defenders of President Trump in the economic world, but it was long ago that White House top economic adviser Larry Kudlow and Fed nominee Stephen Moore we're lambasting the president and it's all on tape dug up by CNN's K-File team.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: Welcome everybody, I'm Larry Kudlow.

TAPPER: It's exactly the kind of boss bashing that any senior White House official or hopeful Federal Reserve nominee would want to be forgotten.

KUDLOW: But actually the Republican Party is very much against what Trump wants on the immigration.

STEPHEN MOORE, NOMINEE, FEDERAL RESERVE BOARD: Well, I sure hope you're right about that Larry because I'm certainly against it. I think it's a crazy policy.

TAPPER: Long before radio and T.V. analyst Larry Kudlow would become Director of the National Economic Council at the White House.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have the great Larry Kudlow whose voice is so beautiful.

TAPPER: And long before commentator Stephen Moore would become Trump's pick for the Fed board.

TRUMP: Steve Moore is one of the great financial gurus.

TAPPER: Both men railed against President Trump and his policies.

MOORE: This guy has a way of kind of communicating to middle-class fears and anxieties and he's a demagogue.

TAPPER: A series of 2015 interviews uncovered by CNN's K-File investigative team reveal Kudlow comparing President Trump's proposals to those of Nazi Germany. KUDLOW: Somebody has to stand up at a debate and say you are

completely wrong about mass deportation. That is un-American. It smacks by the way of the worst things that we've read about in World War II.

TAPPER: Kudlow was only slightly kinder about then-candidate Trump's supporters.

KUDLOW: His only real supporters are kind of the fringe of the GOP. I don't know. I call it the nativist fringe.

TAPPER: But with President Trump in the White House, both Kudlow and Moore's public talking points sound a bit different.

MOORE: I don't think it's stupid for Trump to emphasize this immigration issue.

KUDLOW: The President is going to stick to his guns as he should on immigration, OK. It's yet another reminder that the Republican establishment did not change Donald Trump, Donald Trump changed to the Republican establishment.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Now in response to the story, Stephen Moore told CNN "I said a lot of negative things about Donald Trump before I met him." And Kudlow addressed his past comments this afternoon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KUDLOW: I was one of his earliest supporters back 2015.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't see you were.

KUDLOW: Once some of those issues were cleared up -- there's a lot of misinformation that went out. We talked about it. It turned out to be we were wrong. And it's easy for me to say we were wrong. But right now you'll never find more loyal supporters of President Trump than I am.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Kudlow also said today that the White House still supports Moore for a spot on the Federal Reserve Board. And in our "NATIONAL LEAD" today, his wife gave her life for the United States. She was a soldier killed in Afghanistan in 2010 leaving behind a daughter and her husband, a widower, a Goldstar husband who days ago was deported, sent back to Mexico, a country he left as a teen.

This afternoon, Jose Gonzalez Carranza who's lawyer said he had been given exception from deportation after her lost his wife. He's back with his daughter with his young daughter in American soil. CNN's Nick Watt now explains how this happened to a Gold Star Family.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A gold star spouse back on U.S. soil after a harrowing few days in Mexico, deported. His 12-year-old daughter left behind in Arizona.

JOSE GONZALEZ CARRANZA, GOLD STAR HUSBAND: My daughter, she's lost her mother, and then, probably -- well, he won't lost her father but he never see his father again, too.

WATT: His wife Barbara Vieyra died serving her country, this country. And this country deported the husband she left behind. A story first broken by the Arizona Republic Newspaper.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His wife paid the ultimate price, and somebody said to them, well, he wasn't the one who died. The whole family suffers that. And I think if you tell that to a military family, they would be offended.

WATT: According to his lawyer in 2004, Carranza crossed illegally from Mexico. Three years later, he married Barbara Vieyra, a U.S. citizen from Mesa, Arizona. She then joined the army.

[16:50:09] CARRANZA: She wanted to get a better education, get a future, get a future so that we can give a better future his daughter.

WATT: But she was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, age just 22, an aid station later named in her memory.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A daughter, mother, sister, a friend, an American soldier and a hero.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A military parole in place.

WATT: Carranza's lawyer says his client who had not applied for U.S. citizenship was granted parole in place after his wife died. It's for military family members, basically a guarantee they won't be deported. But the lawyer says ICE reopened Carranza's case last year, that he was sent to notice to appear in court but it was sent to an old address, so he missed that court date and ICE showed up at his home last week.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARRANZA: A bunch of officers around to my car, point me with weapons, you know, then screaming to me.

WATT: His lawyer filed a motion to reopen the case as stay on the deportation was issued. But he says Carranza was deported anyway. Arizona Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, today telling CNN, the story of his arrest is just another example of the President's inhumane immigration policies. The Gonzalez Carranza family has sacrificed so much for our country, and they should have never been treated this way.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: And Jake, ICE has told us they will issue a statement on this, but we're still waiting for that. In the meantime, Carranza's lawyer says he's still not quite sure why ICE deported his client, or why they decided to let him back in. Jake?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: Nick Watt, thank you so much. It took one guy on a road trip to infect dozens of people with the measles. The latest shocking numbers on this very preventable outbreak. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:55:00] TAPPER: Our "HEALTH LEAD" now. Health officials in Michigan are confirming a measles outbreak outside Detroit and they're confirming that it's linked to the ongoing outbreak in the New York City area attributed to parents unwilling to vaccinate their children contrary to the advice of the medical community.

Patient Zero is an Orthodox Jewish man who drove from New York to Michigan according to the Washington Post but did not know he was infected. He's a member of an ultra-orthodox Jewish community in Brooklyn where a public health emergency was recently declared, more than 300 cases have been confirmed in New York alone.

This comes as the CDC reports in 2019 now has the second highest number of measles cases in the U.S. in 25 years and it's only April. CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now to discuss. Sanjay, measles had been virtually eradicated in the U.S. because of the measles vaccine. Are anti-vaxxers bringing this disease back?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Unfortunately, Jake, that's what's happening here. It's not the entire country, it's small populations of people in these you know, these clusters, New York, New Jersey, Washington, California primarily. But this is clearly anti-vaxxers, people who are choosing not to get their children vaccinated.

And take a look at the numbers you just said, second highest level of measles cases in 25 years. It's going to be the highest since this was virtually eradicated. I mean clearly we're only in April and these numbers are going to continue to grow.

Look at that bottom number too, Jake. 90 new measles cases reported in a single week. What does that mean? It means not only are these numbers growing but they're growing at a rapidly increasing pace as well. So that's a -- that's a significant concern.

It's the anti-vaccination movement, Jake. I mean, you know, in Madagascar, they have 69 thousand people with measles right now, 1,200 people have died. The reason they're not getting vaccinated is because they can't get the vaccine. They don't have access to it. They're begging for this vaccine that people over here are just choosing not to actually administer. So it boggles the mind literally if you look around the world, Jake.

TAPPER: And this man drove from New York to Michigan, and suddenly 38 people in Michigan are infected with measles? I knew it was contagious, I did know it was that contagious.

GUPTA: Anthony (INAUDIBLE) told us and I this is an extraordinary statement that this may be the most contagious infectious disease on the planet. If I had measles right now, Jake, and I left, and someone came in here a few hours later they, could get the measles just from the measles virus in the air, on droplets in the air. Those are the symptoms that people develop early on, and this is another reason that this man probably spread the measles of so many people.

The rash breaks out three to five days after those other symptoms appear. So what often happens Jake is you are contagious but you don't yet have the rash, you don't yet know you have measles. So that's another problem. You're exposing people without having been officially diagnosed.

TAPPER: And 20 states in our reporting cases of the measles, how our health officials across the country dealing with these outbreaks.

GUPTA: I mean, there's been all sorts of strategies. You've been reading about it. It's a real collision of medicine in the legal world here. There's been these proposed fines for people who are not vaccinated. In Rockland County, the County Commissioner talked about basically barring unvaccinated people from public places. That subsequently got turned over.

In California, you may know, Jake, a couple years ago, they basically did away with you know, the philosophical or personal exemptions and they saw an increase in vaccination rates after that. But it's a collision of all these different worlds.

TAPPER: Please get your kids vaccinated. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.