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Ben Carson's Disastrous Congressional Hearing; Beto O'Rourke Makes His Case In CNN Town Hall; Homeless Teen Becomes Valedictorian And Gets $3 Million In Scholarships. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 22, 2019 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. KATIE PORTER (D-CA): What's the O stand for?

BEN CARSON, SECRETARY, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT: The organization.

PORTER: Owned -- Real Estate Owned. That's what happens when a property goes to foreclosure. We call it an REO.

CARSON: Yes.

PORTER: And FHA loans have much higher REOs. That is, they go to foreclosure rather than to lost mitigation or to non-foreclosure alternatives like short sales than comparable loans at the GSEs.

So I'd like to know why we're having more foreclosures that end in people losing their homes with stains to their credit and disruption to their communities and their neighborhoods at FHA than we are at the GSEs.

CARSON: I would -- I would be extremely happy if you'd like to have you work with the people who do that.

PORTER: Well, Mr. Carson, that -- respectfully, that was my day job before I came to Congress. So now, it's my job to ask you to work with the people.

CARSON: No, I'm talking about the people at HUD who do that. I would be happy to put you together with --

PORTER: I spent a decade working with the people at HUD on this problem.

So what I would like you to do is to take this back to FHA and to ask the folks at FHA because, since 2007, I have been writing about the problems in FHA servicing.

I am a huge fan of FHA. I am a believer in their mission and I am a champion for them. Are you?

CARSON: Of course, I believe in the mission of FHA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Joining me now, CNN political commentator Ana Navarro. And, Rachael Bade, congressional reporter for "The Washington Post" and a CNN political analyst.

That, of course, was not the only moment, but we're going to start with that moment this morning.

Rachael, I'm just curious what you're hearing. I know you've got your ear to the ground. You're dealing with a lot in terms of Speaker Pelosi and what's happening this morning.

But it is impossible to miss the lack of information that we got coming out of that hearing yesterday and the lack of answers that we saw from the man who is the secretary of HUD.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, CONGRESSIONAL REPORT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes. I don't think a lot of people, including myself, would know what an REO is.

But this is not an ordinary person. This is the secretary of HUD who is not new to the job. He's been there for two years. So there's a lot of concern from Democratic lawmakers, especially, about what -- does he actually know what he's doing.

And I think another striking thing was his tone, not just toward Katie Porter but a bunch of women on the panel who are some of the first female-elected lawmakers or part of this historic freshmen class.

Katie Porter, for instance -- the one you just saw -- she is the first -- one of the first single moms that came to Congress. She's got three kids back home and she commutes from California.

And he also really took a really dismissive tone toward Ayanna Presley, who was one of the first black women to represent Massachusetts.

And so, there was a very tense standoff between the women in the room who felt they were being treated differently from the men on the panel, as well.

HILL: Well -- and listen, we have a little bit of that I do want to play. You brought up Ayanna Presley. I do want to play that sound and then, Ana, I want to have you comment on it coming out of it. Let's listen first.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. AYANNA PRESLEY (D-MA): Do you believe the substandard public housing conditions pose a risk to tenants' physical, mental, and emotional health?

CARSON: You already know the answer to that.

PRESLEY: Yes or no?

CARSON: You know the answer.

PRESLEY: Yes or no? I know the answer. Do you know the answer? Yes or no?

CARSON: Reclaiming my time.

PRESLEY: You don't get to do that.

CARSON: Oh.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The time belongs to the gentlelady.

PRESLEY: Would you like your grandmother to live in public housing?

CARSON: You know very well how I feel on this.

PRESLEY: Would you let your grandmother live in public housing? Yes or no?

CARSON: You know very well --

PRESLEY: Under your watch and at your helm, would you allow your grandmother to live in public housing under these conditions?

CARSON: It would be very nice if you would stop asking --

PRESLEY: You stated the Department --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The gentleman from Florida, Mr. --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Ana, again, that was a small snippet. I know this has you fired up. I'm just going to let you go here.

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's just embarrassing, right?

You almost feel like you are watching a skit from "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" and if "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" was on the air, they wouldn't even have to make up dialogue. They could just repeat this verbatim.

Look, he looked like a damn uninformed fool up there and I think it's part of the new reality.

There is a new Congress. Democrats are now in charge of the House. They are in charge of the gavels at these committees. They are the majority.

You've got a bunch of women. The contrast could not be -- could not be bigger, right? You've got all of these women in white for the suffragettes in front of this man who is incapable of giving a coherent answer.

I think that most people who work in real estate know what an REO is. If you are on Zillow -- OK -- if you are on that Website constantly looking for homes in foreclosure, you know what an REO is.

And what about the part where he thinks it's an Oreo? I mean, I'm telling you, this is a comedy routine. But instead, it is tragic because you are talking about the secretary of Housing and there are millions of people in the United States who depend on HUD.

[07:35:00] And this what happens when you appoint people -- not the best people, like Donald Trump said -- but you appoint people who have absolutely no experience or knowledge of that particular area.

HILL: And being questioned by people who are very informed about the issues and who want these answers.

I'm curious, Rachael. Is there any concern among Republicans when this is what we see from a cabinet secretary in a hearing like this?

BADE: If there is they're going to be buttoned up because they don't criticize the president and rarely criticize the administration.

Look, I think beyond competency and clear questions that people have about whether Carson knows what he's doing, I think that what you're seeing right now is agency heads, department heads adopting the same sort of flippant attitude we have seen the White House use toward Congress.

I mean, the White House is ignoring or denying subpoena documents, subpoena testimony for about 20 investigations related to Trump in some way or White House policies.

But this is starting to trickle out into other departments -- to other agencies -- and what you're seeing is increasingly, these agencies take a very aggressive or flippant posture toward House Democrats -- their investigations. They won't answer their questions -- you saw he wouldn't answer a lot of these questions -- on things like health care, on things like the emergency declaration.

It's not just investigations of Trump, we're seeing a lot of agencies stonewall or just sort of ignore them and I think it's having a real effect on a number of policy issues.

HILL: It's also interesting you mention flippant, and there was more than one occasion where Sec. Carson did come off as condescending and flippant in his remarks. And the way he treated the questioning from female lawmakers versus male lawmakers was tough to ignore.

Take a look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. SYLVIA GARCIA (D-TX): All right, so you're going to shift 55,000 children from being with their families to -- then to a homeless status. What's going to happen with these children? Have you thought this program through?

CARSON: Well, maybe what will happen with them is that you and Congress will do your job and solve the problem. REP. BEN MCADAMS (D-UT): I was disappointed, especially with the negative impacts, understanding that there may be rational reasons for looking at this, but the negative impacts of proceeding with the mortgagee letter before doing a formal rulemaking as had been previously promised.

CARSON: Your point is well taken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Ana, is that the kind of exchange that you think could get some attention, if not from Republican lawmakers but from the American people?

NAVARRO: Look, I think the images of Ben Carson not knowing the answers -- I think he was being flippant not because he was actually being flippant but because he was using it as a crutch to his stark ignorance of basic real estate and housing concepts.

When he was asked by Congresswoman Beatty if he could name the director of the OMWI office, he thought she was speaking about Amway -- Amway -- Amway, the plastic -- the plastic container company. She was speaking about the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.

He is an African-American man for God's sake, so if there's one answer he should know it's about the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. He couldn't even answer that.

So it might come across to some as him being not cooperating, him being flippant, him not wanting to answer. No, he wasn't answering because he doesn't know the answers.

And I think you see the contrast between the men and the women because most of the women who were up there were Democrats and they didn't come to play games. They came to get answers. They came to ask pointed questions. They came to get some information and speak on behalf of the American people wanting some change to happen with housing.

HILL: We know some of the answers are still waiting for. I will just point out that in reaction to Sec. Carson sending her some Oreos we did, in fact, hear from Katie Porter again, who said what I would really like is the information that I asked for.

Rachael, Ana, great to have both of you with us this morning. Thank you -- John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There's a great line from "Spinal Tap" which is, "It's not your job to be as confused as Nigel." And I think that some of these questions are hard, but it's his job to know these answers.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: All right.

Beto O'Rourke hoped to reboot his campaign with a breakout performance at last night's CNN town hall. How did he do? The moment of truth.

Chris Cillizza gives us his "Midweek Grades," next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:43:44] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have found my inspiration, my guidance, my leadership from the very youngest among us in our democracy. I don't know that I need to comment on the ages of other presidential candidates. I've just got to tell you that I am so optimistic about the future of this country because of those who are taking the leadership right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: A deft way to answer that question from former congressman Beto O'Rourke at the CNN town hall last night. Throw some shade without throwing shade at those who might be older running for president, right?

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: I'm not going to comment on the age but I'm going to comment on the age of those running against me.

So, Beto O'Rourke was counting on a strong performance in his first 2020 town hall to give his campaign a boost.

It's Wednesday. Let's get "The Midweek Grades" from Chris Cillizza, "CNN POLITICS" reporter and editor-at-large.

This was a big night for the former congressman, Chris. He needed this to go well. As you watched his performance -- and he's got a lot of experience in town halls -- how did it strike you?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE, CNN POLITICS: Well, let me first say that I'm not going to comment on people who wear charcoal gray suits. I just think lighter gray suits are what America's looking for.

(LAUGHTER)

CILLIZZA: OK, moving on.

I thought that he did -- as you said, John, he has a lot of experience -- 150-plus town halls. I gave him a B for the week because I thought he was good last night.

[07:45:08] It's a format that he's obviously very comfortable with. I thought he played to the crowd. I thought he was on his core message, which is we need sort of a new generation of leadership and I'm that generation.

At the same time, a few hours before that town hall, a new Quinnipiac University poll came out that showed him really flailing way down to two percent of the vote in a national poll. Now, yes, I know it's May -- it's not February third of the Iowa caucuses next year -- but he has just dropped like a stone.

He has to hope that last night -- exposure to a national audience, a solid performance -- is sort of the beginning of something new for him.

HILL: We will see. We shall wait and see what happens.

OK, so last time that you were giving out your grades there were, what, only 21 Democrats?

CILLIZZA: Yes.

HILL: We're now up to 52. I'm kidding.

But, so who is standing out now with an A at this point?

CILLIZZA: Well -- and remember, standing out at this point, Erica, does matter because --

HILL: Yes.

CILLIZZA: -- there are so many of them, right? I mean, you could get lost in the mix -- in the second 10 of the candidates running.

I think Elizabeth Warren, this week, best week. I gave her an A.

I think -- we've talked about this on the show before. I think she's been trending upward for about the last six weeks. A rocky start to the campaign but is focusing on policy. She's the kind of wonky one in the race.

And she's also charismatic. I think people overlook that. When you see her perform as a candidate she's quite able.

The same Quinnipiac poll that showed Beto O'Rourke dropping like a stone -- Elizabeth Warren into third place. And more important, behind Biden and Sanders -- more importantly, winning the most liberal voters over Sanders, critically important.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: She's been rising in your grades and some people might suggest you've been slow to give her --

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BERMAN: -- the top grades. But she's there getting an A now.

CILLIZZA: Well, they would be not the first person to say I'm behind the curve.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: Steve Bullock jumped in. CILLIZZA: Yes. So, he's one of the two who got in last week. And we'll talk about the other one who got in last a little bit later.

But, yes, Steve Bullock, the governor of Montana. Most people don't know him. I give him a B and here's why.

There are 23 people running. Now, all of them are running because at least they have some path, right, that they think gets them to the nomination or close to or in the top tier, et cetera, et cetera. Most of those people are -- it's a pipe dream.

Steve Bullock actually does have an argument, which is -- look, I'm going to focus only on Iowa. I'm going to spend all of my time there.

And I've got this guy, Tom Miller, the attorney general. He's been the attorney general in Iowa for a very long time. He's endorsing me.

So there's a path. I think it's very unlikely but at least you can see why Steve Bullock looks at the race and thinks maybe I can do this.

Some of these candidates -- and again, we'll talk about them later -- some of these candidates, I just don't see the logic behind it.

HILL: When we talk about other candidates, Kirsten Gillibrand --

CILLIZZA: Yes.

HILL: As we look at her, she's struggling at this point. To me, that threshold --

CILLIZZA: Yes.

HILL: -- of 65,000 unique donors.

CILLIZZA: Yes, and Erica, I think that's the key.

I gave her a C this week because when you're arguing about the rules that the party committee has set up -- 65,000 donors or one percent in three polls -- right now, she's going to make the debate stage. She's at an average of one percent in the three -- in three national polls, but she doesn't have 65,000 donors and she's complaining about that.

I just think that's a worrisome sign. When you start complaining to the refs about the rules it usually means you're losing.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: All right. If there's any solace for Sen. Gillibrand it's that she's getting a higher grade than at least one person this week.

CILLIZZA: Yes. So, the 23rd candidate in the race, Bill de Blasio, the mayor of your city there, John and Erica. I gave him a D.

Look, when I was talking to your producers last night and they said why a D for de Blasio, I wrote this. "Why?" I wrote a lot of whys. And the reason is, like, I don't -- I don't understand what is the

genesis of the candidacy? He's not well-liked in New York City. He's not well-liked to the extent people know him nationally.

I guess it's "I'm the tough guy brawler" against Donald Trump. The -- what Michael Avenatti, before all of Michael Avenatti's problems, was going to try to fill.

But I just don't see it for him and I don't know who outside of his direct family and people he's paying see it for him.

BERMAN: Tough grader.

HILL: Wow.

BERMAN: Chris Cillizza --

CILLIZZA: I know, I'm sorry.

BERMAN: Chris Cillizza, thank you very much for your analysis.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, guys.

BERMAN: Thank you for the light gray suit, as always -- Erica.

HILL: A homeless teenager who has been living in a campsite graduated at the top of his class. He earned more than $3 million in college scholarships. He's accepted at 40 schools.

He joins us to share his story and talk about what's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:53:41] HILL: A Tennessee teen inspiring folks across the country this morning, proving anything really is possible. His hard work and his determination under the most difficult of circumstances.

Earlier this month, 17-year-old Tupac Mosley graduated as his high school's valedictorian, a 4.3 grade point average.

He's been accepted to more than 40 colleges. He's earned some $3 million in scholarship money. All of this while dealing in the recent past with the loss of his father, with becoming homeless earlier this year.

Tupac Mosley joins us now. It's great to have you with us.

I know you have gotten a lot of calls. A lot of people wanting to talk to you, wanting to express how inspired they are by everything you've achieved.

Could you put into words for us what's it like for you to see all of these people and to hear from them and have them tell you how inspirational you are?

TUPAC MOSLEY, BECAME HIGH SCHOOL VALEDICTORIAN WHILE HOMELESS: It's definitely an overbearing feeling of having so many people message you, call you, text you to say how I've inspired them with my story. And it's honestly an honor and a blessing that I was the individual who could inspire others with my testimony.

HILL: You set some pretty high goals for yourself, even just getting to the point -- as we said, you were awarded more than $3 million in scholarship money. But you had set a goal for yourself of $1 million in scholarship money. That's a pretty high number.

[07:55:07] MOSLEY: Yes, ma'am, it is.

I have been trying to do the best for my school, so I've actually wanted to be a million -- once I made it to a million, I wanted to make it to $2 million. And I actually did not know that I received $3 million until graduation.

HILL: That is a -- that is a huge load off, as you know, for anyone who is setting out on this path to higher education who is going to college. We know how expensive it can be.

What does that change for you to know that you don't have to worry about much of the financial aspect?

MOSLEY: As I've been worrying about finances and money for most of my life, to know that I can be doing something that I'm enjoying for my next four years and really going to my career or starting my career of is, for lack of a better term, just refreshing and motivating that all right, I'm going to do this with confidence. I can do this with confidence not having to worry about anything else.

HILL: You talk -- you talk about how you've had to think about money. You've struggled with finances for much of your life.

Earlier this year in February, I think it was, you became homeless, at one point living in a tent.

MOSLEY: Yes, ma'am.

HILL: And throughout all of that you still had the focus for your studies. You were able to get to this point.

Where did you find that strength?

MOSLEY: A lot of people say that the strength came within myself but I honestly would like to give more credit to all of those around me -- all the people at school, my family members, my friends. They have all been a great support to me over my past four years in high school. And knowing that they stuck around this long and really being there for me when I need them the most, they've been the encouragement.

HILL: Well, I would imagine that they are not going anywhere anytime soon. They will be with you through these next four years.

You are heading to Tennessee State University, majoring in electrical engineering. And we look forward to seeing where you go next.

MOSLEY: Yes.

Tupac, thanks for taking some time for us this morning and congratulations.

MOSLEY: All right, thank you.

HILL: John --

BERMAN: The best to him and we are inspired by his story.

All right, now to one of the wildest police chases you will ever see. This happened on the streets of Los Angeles. Look at that R.V. go.

A woman was driving this stolen R.V., just running into cars and trees. Part of that camper flying off. The R.V. hit speeds as high as 60 miles per hour as the driver sort of winded through the streets of the San Fernando Valley.

Now, this is the part that got a lot of people's attention. She had two dogs on board.

HILL: Oh.

BERMAN: Look at that. One of them -- you can see that dog jumping from the speeding vehicle. It had to get out. The good news is both dogs are OK. They are now in the custody of animal control.

This is how the chase ended.

HILL: Oh.

BERMAN: Look at that. Slammed into another car and trees there. The driver made a run for it but she was tackled by police and she was taken into custody.

Three people, including the driver, went to the hospital with minor injuries.

HILL: I mean, that was really something, and we've watched a lot of car chases.

BERMAN: It was -- that was crazy. It was a camper.

HILL: I know, and -- I mean, the sides ripped off. That poor dog.

BERMAN: The dogs are OK. The dogs are OK.

HILL: The dogs are OK.

BERMAN: All right. We are getting ever closer -- just an hour away from a key meeting among House Democrats -- more and more calling for impeachment. Nancy Pelosi is trying to hold back the movement. Can she?

NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Nancy Pelosi will meet with her members about opening up formal impeachment proceedings.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We have to exhaust every other remedy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The impeachment process is just a question of when, not if.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are going after former White House officials in their sweeping investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They've worked very closely with Trump. We just want to dig deeper into things that they are aware of.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: They know they're going to get turned down but they are going to hope that something finally gives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: All right. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, May 22nd. It's 8:00 here in New York.

Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me.

It's a big morning because this morning, about two dozen House Democrats in the House -- they are publicly calling for impeachment. One powerful committee chair just told us he thinks the actual number is much higher.

One number -- one hour from now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi convenes a critical meeting with the entire Democratic Caucus. How will she convince her members to slow down? She is against impeachment. She wants to let the court battles play out first.

Later this morning, the speaker will have a chance to confront the president directly. She goes to the White House for talks on infrastructure.

HILL: There is also growing uncertainty about whether special counsel Robert Mueller will, in fact, testify in public. This as lawmakers, we know, will be getting the chance just about an hour from now to grill Treasury Sec.

END