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U.S. Deploying 1,000 Additional Troops To Iran; President Trump Calling Off A Series Of Immigration Raids; 2020 Democratic Hopefuls Are In South Carolina This Hour Making Their Pitch To Voters In The Crucial Primary State; Hawaii's Department Of Transportation Confirms 11 People Were Killed When A Skydiving Plane Crashed And Burst Into Flames On The Island Of Oahu. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired June 22, 2019 - 16:00   ET

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


[16:00:06] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Good to have you with us this weekend. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

We began with breaking news. President Trump calling off a series of immigration raids that were supposed to take place in ten U.S. cities starting tomorrow. He made this announcement via twitter just moments ago writing, quote, "at the request of Democrats I have delayed the illegal immigration removal process deportation for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems at the southern border. If not, deportations start."

Yet, the President defended these raids just four hours earlier. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These are people that came into the country illegally. They have been served. They have gone through a process, the process of the courts. And they have to be removed from the country. They will be removed from the country. It's having a very big effect on the border, the fact that we are taking them out. The people that came into the country illegally are going to be removed from the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: I want to go live to CNN White House correspondent Boris Sanchez at the White House.

Boris, have there been any signs up until this point that the President was apprehensive at all about these raids?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No. No sign at all, Ana. In fact, as you heard there the President was standing by his decision to carry out these ICE raids that he promised back on Monday when he said that millions would be deported.

That tweet, that claim coming from the President caught a number of administration officials off guard obviously because the scale of such an operation would be unprecedented. And it would also be unprecedented for the White House to telegraph such a move. Senior administration official later clarified to CNN that they will be focusing on about 2,000 undocumented immigrants in ten cities.

We also learned that the acting secretary of the department of homeland security Kevin McLeland was hesitant about this operation specifically because there are ongoing negotiations in Congress right now between Democrats and Republicans on the issue of immigration. And there is a concern among Republicans that Democrats may end up pulling funding for border facilities or for enforcement. And so essentially he felt that this negotiation would be hurt by such an operation.

We don't know if that's exactly what caused the President to make this decision, but it's clear, it is one he made just a couple of hours ago at camp David. And again, the President we should point out has made a lot of claims about immigration and everything from shutting down the border to a number of other claims that he ultimately steps back on. And it is a central issue not only for his presidency, but also to his 2020 candidacy -- Ana.

CABRERA: All right. Boris, stay with me because we have more from this President including a new catch phrase, make Iran great again. That is President Trump's message just days after he claims to have been just minutes away from ordering a retaliatory strike against the country for shooting down a U.S. drone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Iran wants to become a healthy nation again. Become a prosperous nation. We will call it let's make Iran great again. Does that make sense? Make Iran great again. It's OK with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The President is at camp David this afternoon. That was him before he left. He is holding meetings on the escalation with Iran. But before he left he spoke to reporters saying what you just heard there as well as this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The fact is we're not going to have Iran have a nuclear weapon. And when they agree to that they are going to have a wealthy country. They are going to be so happy. And I'm going to be their best friend. I hope that happens. I hope that happens, but it may not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The President withdrew from the Iran deal last year, last May, which prevented the country from obtaining nuclear weapons. This despite U.N. inspector saying Iran was keeping his side of the bargain.

CNN's senior international correspondent Fred Pleitgen is live in Tehran, Iran and Boris Sanchez is back with us from the White House. Boris, first back to you. What else did the President say about Iran

specifically?

SANCHEZ: Yes, Ana. Perhaps most surprising of the President's comments is that he repeated a claim on Iran that their sights were set on a U.S. spy plane that had entered their airspace. The administration has denied that that p-8 spy plane entered Iranian airspace. The President was asked about the accuracy of these claims coming from Iran. He didn't directly answer the question. Listen to what he told reporters on the south lawn of the White House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You notice there was a plane with 38 people yesterday. Did you see that? I think that's a big story. They had it in their sights and they didn't shoot it down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was accurate?

TRUMP: I think they were very wise that they didn't do that and we appreciated they didn't do that, but they had a plane in their sights. Thirty-eight people on the plane and they didn't shoot it down, and I think that was a very wise decision and I think that's something that we very much appreciate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[16:05:10] SANCHEZ: Notably, Ana, both the President and the Iranians were wrong about a very important detail. The number of people onboard, the Iranians claim there were some 35 people aboard that plane. The President you heard there said that there were 38. U.S. central command said the maximum command for a p-8 spy plane is about 28 passengers.

Nevertheless, the President is also raising questions about another one of his claims. Remember when he spoke to NBC News about the planning of this raid, he said he called off the planned raid on Iranian facilities when he learned that about 150 people might die as a result of them only about a half hour before the raid took place.

White House officials said that is inaccurate. They have told us that the President was told about the number of potential casualties long before he called off the raid. Listen to what the President said when asked about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You planned the strike and didn't have a fully formed estimate on casual test.

TRUMP: No. They brought me a great plan. But I wanted to know at the end an accurate count. They gave me very odd numbers. I wanted an accurate count to how many people would be killed? How many Iranians would be killed?

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANCHEZ: Ana, looking at the bigger picture, the President is yet again promising economic prosperity to an adversary in exchange for following through on something he wants with foreign policy. The President has done this with North Korean Kim Jong-un promising great prosperity for North Korea if Kim Jong-un gives up nukes. And just today, the White House unveiled this Mideast peace plan, a big part of it the economic part of it, focuses on a $50 billion investment in the Palestinian territories if things remain peaceful in that part of the world, Ana.

CABRERA: OK, Fred, if I'm an Iranian what do I think is going on right now? Do I think President Trump saved 150 lives by calling off these strikes? What am I seeing on TV?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the Iranians certainly aren't thanking President Trump for calling off those strikes. I do think though that the leadership here probably does at least respect the decision that he made to not strike at that surface-to-air missile battery.

But the Iranians for their part have said that if the U.S. would have struck that site, if there would have been a strike on the part of the U.S. that there would have been a massive retaliation coming from the Iranians. And what the Iranians are saying again and again and again, is that there is no such thing as limited military action against Iran. They say that it would then trigger from their part a huge response that would not only involve American and Iranian forces but probably also Iranian proxy forces around the entire Middle East.

But I think more importantly for Iranians today is hearing President Trump hearing the catch phrase that we have been hearing make Iran great again, because that's one thing where the Iranians have said at this point in time absolutely no negotiations with the Trump administration. And the reason for that is the sanctions that the Trump administration has been putting on Iranian government, on the Iranian country really.

And one of the things that you mention, Ana, is very key on this. There was a nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran and bunch of other countries that Iran is still adhering to and the U.S. went out of that agreement. And the Iranians are saying that as long as America does not go back to that agreement or at least take away some of these sanctions they are absolutely not going to talk to the Trump administration.

In fact, today shortly before President Trump said what we heard there about wanting to speak with the Iranians, there was the head of Iran's national security council calling President Trump an international racketeer who wants Iran to play by his rules. And they say that is absolutely not going to happen from their side, Ana.

CABRERA: Frederik Pleitgen, Boris Sanchez. Thank you, gentlemen.

So how did we get here? Well, let me back up to May of 2018. The President announced the U.S. was going to be leaving the Iran nuclear deal without a new deal or plan for one which essentially left the U.S. and its allies unable to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons. Ever since then, tensions in the area, you see here have been rising.

In April, the White House labeled Iran's revolutionary guard as a foreign terrorist organization. Then in May the U.S. warned it was imposing new sanctions on countries that continue to buy oil from Iran. Five days later two U.S. officials told CNN that the Pentagon received intelligence of a possible threat against U.S. forces and interests in the region. In response the U.S. sent a carrier strike group and a bomber task force in it that area.

On May 12th, four commercial ships were attacked off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The U.S. and Saudis suspect Iran was responsible. Just a day later, two oil pumping fields were hit by armed drones and attack the Iranian backed Houthi militia claims responsibility for.

All of this bring us to last week when two oil tankers were attacked in the gulf of Oman. The U.S. released video. It says shows an Iranian boat retrieving an unexploded mine from one of those ships, a claim Iran calls unfounded.

And this week everything accelerated. The U.S. deploying 1,000 additional troops to the region. Iran threatening to boost low-grade Iranian production in violation of that original nuclear deal. That on Wednesday Iran shoots down an unmanned U.S. drone. Iran claims it was flying over their territorial waters. But the U.S. says data proves otherwise. That the drone was, in fact, over international waters.

This very real and very dangerous international crisis, the first real test of the President all with an acting defense secretary and a new one on the way and acting U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and acting department of homeland security secretary and acting chief of staff, you get the idea.

Now, Trump's national security adviser who is not in an acting capacity has always been hawkish on Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[16:10:47] JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: The declared policy of the United States of America should be the overthrow of the Mullah's regime in Tehran.

Our goal should be regime change in Iran.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: That was long before we ended up in the situation we are in now. And as defense officials reportedly advise against further escalation, a senior administration official tell CNN Bolton was the leading voice advising the President to launch a retaliatory strike against Iran. But in case the President wanted a second opinion, perhaps he turned to cable news. Remember when he said this during the campaign? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS: Who do you talk to for military advice right now?

TRUMP: Well, I watch the shows.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: And two of his favorite FOX hosts offered this advice on Thursday night.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Yes, Iran made a very big mistake. They will pay, but in coming days we will know if the Mullahs are smart enough to take the opportunity, which a small window. It may not exist within five minutes. Because if they don't the President will have no choice. He will bomb the hell out of them. No need for long, protracted boots on the ground kind of war. We have the greatest military, thank God, on the face of this earth. We have the most advanced weapons systems and a strong message needs to be sent that a huge price will be paid if you take on the United States of America.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Since 9/11 the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives trying to remake the Middle East in our image. It's sad to say it out loud, but we have to. It hasn't worked. Many of us thought it would, but it hasn't. By every measure our foreign words have ended in dismal mail you are for the United States however noble their intensions and some did have noble intentions.

Donald Trump was one of the rare Republican politicians honest enough to admit this. He said it out loud three years ago and promised not repeat the same mistakes if elected president. And partly because he said that, he was elected president. Now, something fascinating happened. The very people, in some cases literally the same people who lured us into the Iraq quagmire 16 years ago are demanding a new war, this one with Iran.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: So the question is who is the President listening to today to determine his next move?

I want to bring in CNN military and diplomatic analyst retired rear admiral John Kirby. He is a former state department spokesman and Pentagon press secretary. Also with us is Robert Malley. He is the president of the international crisis group. He also served as special assistant to President Obama advising him on Middle East strategy including helping negotiate the Iran deal and Susan Glasser, CNN global affairs analyst and staff writer for "the New Yorker."

Robert, you worked on the Iran deal. Here's what President Trump said today about that deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Under the horrible Obama deal, he gave $150 billion. He gave $1.8 billion in cash and he nothing, But the thing he really didn't get was good inspection rights because the most primary places you couldn't go to and you couldn't expect. We haven't seen them in years. The other thing you couldn't get is time because in a very short number of years they will legally be able to make a nuclear weapon. That's unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Robert, was the Iran deal flawed?

ROBERT MALLEY, WHITE HOUSE NEGOTIATOR FOR IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL: We don't have time to go through everything that President Trump said that's untrue. I will just say two things. Number one, I think any nuclear expert would agree this is one of the tightest set of monitors that we have seen in any nuclear agreement so the notion that we don't know what's happening is completely false.

And second of all, President Trump may complain that it didn't last forever. It would have lasted ten to 15 years and some of the provisions would have lasted forever. The problem is by walking away from the deal we don't have ten years, we don't have any time because Iran could take the measures it said it would take and walk away from a deal just as we did and then the problem that the President says may occur in 10, 20, 25 years would occur tomorrow. So this was no deal that is perfect. It was as good as we could get, I believe. But in any event it is far better than walking away and having nothing to fall back on.

CABRERA: And now let's listen to another interview he did this time with NBC "Meet the Press" and compare with what you're about to hear with what we just heard from the President. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[16:15:06] TRUMP: Can't have a nuclear weapon. You want to talk good otherwise you will have a bad economy for the next three years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Admiral, is he essentially describing the Iran deal and that's what he's now trying to accomplish?

JOHN KIRBY, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes. And as a matter of fact, the state department spokesman just the other day, earlier this week, you know, basically was pleading with Iran to abide by its international commitments about nuclear weaponry which is in fact asking them to abide by the deal.

And to just pile along with what Robert said, they have been. We are the ones that pulled out. We have isolated ourselves. They have been complying. And they haven't started the enrichment of uranium again like they threatened to do. I think there's still a little bit of a time on the clock to try to help prevent that. But it's ironic in the extreme that the Trump administration now has cornered itself, has closed down its own decision space and is now asking Iran to comply with the deal that they themselves have pulled themselves out of.

CABRERA: Susan, why did the President leave the Iran deal? Remind us, was what he was being advised to do?

SUSAN GLASSER, STAFF WRITER, THE NEW YORKER: Well, look, was there a dispute inside the Trump administration over whether the President should pull out of the Iran deal although many people believe that its fate was sealed as far as Donald Trump went in the 2016 campaign when, of course, he campaigned against it. He said it was the worst deal ever and was focused on following through.

He put that off several times because his initial team of foreign policy and national security advisers, Rex Tillerson, defense secretary Jim Mattis strongly pushed back against it. They said why would we do this? Why would we set up a situation that sounds remarkably like a situation that we have now where Iran remains in compliance with the nuclear deal. We are the ones who brokered a commitment. And at any moment, they are then free to restarted this nuclear program. That was the whole point.

Well, I think it's almost uncanny to see those predictions having come through. But basically, Trump fired those advisers and pushed them out as in the case of Mattis and alienated them so much we quit. And then we exactly have a new, more hawkish team of policy advisers who agreed with the decision to blow up the Iran deal.

So right now, I agree with everything that admiral Kirby said, except it's not surprising. Unfortunately, it is quite predictable that we would end up a year after the President pulled out of the Iran deal and exactly this situation, he is now openly pleading with the Iran leadership to come to the table and to restart negotiations, but to what end? Why would they do that when the previous set of negotiations to the United States resulted in a deal that the U.S. has unilaterally walked away from.

CABRERA: And there is certainly no sign that they are even open to any kind of negotiations at this point.

Real quick, Robert, if I will ask you quick for advice. If you were to advise the President right now, what would you tell him to do?

MALLEY: Well, he should follow his instincts which is that he doesn't want a war with Iran. But in order to do that, he has to change the policies that brought us to the brink of the war and that means diplomatic engagement and he is going to have to relief some of the pressure on Iran because as we just heard Iran is not going to negotiate --.

CABRERA: He's going to put more sanctions on them. You are saying he needs to do the opposite.

MALLEY: Exactly. Well, put more sanctions and Iran will respond the way it has responded over the last several months and then the President will face the same dilemma he faced the other day? Does he go to war? Does he have to back down? That's not a comfortable position to be in.

CABRERA: All right, Robert Malley, Susan Glasser and rear admiral John Kirby, thank you all.

It's one of the big of the weekends so far for the 2020 Democratic hopefuls. Twenty-one of them are in South Carolina this hour making their pitch to voters in the crucial primary state. We will take you there live next.

Plus, Republican lawmakers in Oregon on the lam and warning police to come heavily armed if they plan to arrest them all because they don't want to vote on a piece of legislation. Details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:22:29] CABRERA: The Democratic is South Carolina today. You are looking at live pictures from Columbia where 21 out of 23 official candidates are making a pitch to voters today especially black voters. And the primaries begins next year, South Carolina is an important early state for judging who is making inroads with African-American voters and that's a critical voting bloc for the Democratic Party.

CNN political reporter Arlette Saenz is there with all the action going on.

Arlette, talk to us about the messaging you are hearing there today. Which candidates are doing a good job of making a pitch for those important votes.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Ana, you have had plenty of Democratic presidential candidates on the entire field and they have offered a sampling of what they would bring to the office of the presidency.

You had senator Kamala Harris today arguing that she is the person who could best prosecute the case against President Trump trying to draw on her previous experience as a prosecutor as well as attorney general in California.

And Bernie Sanders was here this afternoon making his pitch about income inequality and trying to solve that issue in the country, but also specifically addressing racial inequality when it comes to economics. Take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We recently celebrated Juneteenth, but 154 years after that day, we see a racial gap that leaves the average black family with ten times less wealth than the average white family. We see the infant mortality rate in black communities more than double for white communities. We see young people, African-Americans graduating college $7,000 more in debt than white graduates. We see black women making 61 percent of what white men make. And you know what? We are going to end that absurdity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAENZ: Now African-Americans made up 61 percent of the Democratic primary electorate here in South Carolina back in 2016. Bernie Sanders struggled with that constituency when he ran for president last time. He is trying to make some end roads this time arounds along with all of the other candidates who are here in South Carolina. Such a critical, early primary state in this whole 2020 process -- Ana.

CABRERA: Indeed. Arlette Saenz, thank you.

Tragedy in paradise. Details on what may have caused a skydiving plane to crash in Hawaii killing all onboard next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:28:49] CABRERA: Hawaii's department of transportation confirms 11 people were killed when a skydiving plane crashed and burst into flames on the island of Oahu. The FAA says is happened as the twin- engine plane was taking off at Dillingham airfield on Oahu's famed north shore. There were no survivors. The fiery crash was Hawaii's deadliest in civil aviation wreck in nearly 20 years.

Natasha Chen joins us now.

There is no official cause, Natasha, but what are witnesses saying about this crash?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Ana, what we know right now is that witnesses saw this plane crash into a fence line away the runway. And by the time firefighters arrived it was already engulfed in flames.

Now you are right, we do not know the cause of the crash. And right now a team from Washington, D.C., a team from the National Transportation Safety Board is on its way to Hawaii to investigate what happened. The officials in Hawaii say that this flight was operated by the Oahu parachute center. That it was a skydiving trip so this was very tragic because people were obviously there to have fun on this trip and it ended so tragically.

Here's what the fire chief had to say about the accident.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

In my 40 years as a firefighter in Hawaii this is the most tragic air incident that we have had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[16:30:07] CHEN: And the congressional representative in that district, Tulsi Gabbard, who is also running for president, tweeted about this today sending prayers to the friends and family of the people involved there.

I've spoken to some of the friends who know people on that flight. They say the skydiving community is very tight knit and this is a huge loss for them right now -- Ana?

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Natasha Chen, thanks for that report.

CHEN: Thank you.

CABRERA: He's been called President Trump's shadow chief of staff, but we are getting new insight into how FOX News host, Sean Hannity, advised Paul Manafort during the special counsel's investigation. Details just ahead.

Plus, did another TV news host have a hand in changing the president's mind about striking Iran?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Stunning text messages revealing a defiant Paul Manafort telling FOX News host, Sean Hannity, that he'd never, quote, "give up information on President Trump or the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner."

We are just getting a look at these text exchanges between Hannity and Manafort after a federal judge on Friday ordered their release.

I want to read crucial text from March 2018. Manafort writes, "They would want me to give up D.T." -- referring to Donald Trump -- "or family, especially J.K." -- referring to Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law. "I would never do that." Hannity replies. "Understand, there's nothing to give up on D.T. What did J.K. do?" Manafort texts, "Nothing, just like I did nothing. They will want me to make up (EXPLETED DELETED) on both."

[16:35:08] Manafort is currently serving a federal prison sentence.

I want to bring in CNN media analyst, Bill Carter, who spent 25 years reporting on media for the "New York Times."

Bill, what do you make of these Manafort-Hannity text messages?

BILL CARTER, CNN MEDIA ANALYST: What's very interesting is Hannity has been known to be known as a partisan commentator. But here he's like a propaganda operative because he's connecting with someone very much in the mix of the story and like trying to steer him a certain way, like steer him away from doing anything with the special counsel to go after Trump and things like that. He's extremely involved in it.

FOX and any news organization would not want their journalists to be involved in this. He distances himself from being a journalist. But still, they've been uncomfortable before when he's been on stage with Trump or whatever.

This seems another step to me. He's involving himself in a story with a witness trying to get the witness to not cooperate with the special counsel.

CABRERA: That is interesting. He also was, this week, talking directly almost to the president, he

and Tucker Carlson, over the Iran situation. Let's watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX HOST, HANNITY: Yes, Iran made a very big mistake. They will pay. But in coming days, we will know if the mullahs are smart enough to take the opportunity, which is a small window. It may not even exist within five minutes. Because, if they don't, the president will have no choice. He will bomb the hell out of them.

No need for a long, protracted boots-on-the-ground kind of war. We have the greatest military, thank god, on the face of this earth. We have the most advanced weapons systems.

And the strong message needs to be sent that a huge price will be paid if you take on the United States of America.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX HOST, TUCKER CARLSON TONIGHT: Something fascinating is happening. The very people, in some cases, literally, the same people who lured us into the Iraq quagmire 16 years ago, are demanding a new war, this one with Iran. The president, to his great credit, appears to be skeptical of this, very skeptical.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Bill, are you surprised these two FOX hosts had such opposite opinions here?

CARTER: Opposite, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CABRERA: And advice for that matter.

CARTER: It doesn't surprise me that Hannity's opinion was so bellicose, obviously. Carlson looks like he's trying to make an actual analytical judgment. If you get involved, it will blow up.

Look what happened to George Bush. By the time George Bush was out of office, his approval rating was 25 percent. The country doesn't want to do this. They don't want to go to war again.

And Hannity was saying the same thing he said in Iraq, which is, we don't need boots on the ground. We can just use our advanced weapons, which, of course, is preposterous. It didn't work before. It wouldn't work again.

But Carlson's opinion obviously has some sway with Trump. I don't think Trump wants to have that attached to him. He, for years, decried this other invasion. And I think he would look foolish if he were to push this aggressively.

CABRERA: We know how much the president listens to FOX News.

CARTER: Yes. CABRERA: He has given most of his interviews to FOX News.

CARTER: Absolutely.

CABRERA: And, yet, now, we're seeing him to start to open himself up to other news outlets.

CARTER: Yes.

CABRERA: Last week, it was ABC. This week, it's NBC and Chuck Todd, who he has often times bashed --

CARTER: Sleepy eyes.

CABRERA: -- calling him sleepy eyes. What do you make of this?

CARTER: Look, we followed him throughout his presidency. His approval rating hovers around 40 to 42 percent. That's his base. That's the FOX News audience base. He has to expand that. He can't just do that going into another election.

So I think he's trying to reach out in a way and to use the other media. He's a skillful user of media. We know that. He markets himself extremely well and he tries to control the narrative. So when he's pushed by any of these reporters, he sort of strikes back.

But I think he's trying to figure out ways for him to expand what he knows will be a need for him to grow his audience in the next election.

CABRERA: Bill Carter, good to have you with us.

CARTER: Good to be with you.

CABRERA: Thank you.

Police departments all around the country are taking action now after racist and offensive posts from police officers on Facebook surfaced. The journalist who broke the story will join us, live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:43:00] CABRERA: Dozens of police officers yanked from the streets for posting hate-filled messages on social media, some endorsing violence, racism and bigotry. The shocking story involves officers in at least eight different cities making headline across the nation.

A watchdog group, called in Plain View, compiled thousands of officers' inflammatory posts in a database.

And here are just a few examples. "It's a good day for a choke hold." Or this, a meme showing a Confederate flag photo with words, "This does not offend me," and then a photo of sagging pants, and the words, "This (EXPLETIVE DELETED) does." That meme was shared by law enforcement officers in both Dallas and Phoenix. And this, "Here's your Miranda rights. You have the right to shut the "F" up. Anything you say will cause me to "F"ing throat-punch you."

The consequences are piling up fast. In St. Louis, the circuit attorney barring 59 police officers from bringing their. cases to her office.

Police departments in at least four cities are launching their own investigations.

Joining us now, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Rick Tulsky, who helped break the story and expose the officer's offensive posts. He's co-founder of the nonprofit, Injustice Watch.

Rick, wow. All these police departments now forced to confront these offensive social media posts. How did this all begin?

RICK TULSKY, JOURNALIST, AUTHOR & CO-FOUNDER, INJUSTICE WATCH: It all began with a lawyer in Philadelphia, named Emily Baker White, who found, in a case she was working on, offensive posts by an officer and started looking at whether it was widespread.

She came to us with her research and we took it from there.

CABRERA: And what did you do?

TULSKY: So what we did was we took Philadelphia, which was the largest of the eight cities that Emily Baker White studied, and we identified officers with posts that she'd flagged, studied the connection between what they were saying in their posts and their conduct on the street by studying complaints against them and by studying lawsuits and which ones ended in settlement.

[16:45:12] And we found, of 328 officers with offensive posts in Philadelphia, that 139 of them had lawsuits against them --

CABRERA: Wow.

TULSKY: -- that had led to 800 settlements.

CABRERA: Wow. And now at least four different departments are doing their own investigations from Dallas to Philly to Lake County, Florida.

If these posts are verified through their investigation, what message does it send to the communities they're serving?

TULSKY: So, one of the interesting things is that the police unions say right to free speech, this is what they're saying on their own time. But the communities that are affected say, this shows we can't trust the police, that they're not working for us.

And at a time in this country where there's such a divide between police and the communities, we think that's a really serious issue that the departments need to grapple with.

CABRERA: Without social media, do you think these potential biases would have been exposed? TULSKY: Well, people in community say, of course, this is what they

say. The issue is this tends to prove it.

CABRERA: And will it result in accountability?

TULSKY: Well, you know, I give Commissioner Ross in Philadelphia tremendous credit for last week taking 72 officers off the street because of their post while it's examined.

And you know, it raises all kinds of questions about whether they're properly vetting the officers they hire. A lot of the departments are doing sensitivity training. I think those kinds of steps are really important.

CABRERA: So beyond that, what do you see as maybe the impact of highlighting these overlooked social media posts moving forward. You talk about how they're now adjusting some of their practices?

TULSKY: Hopefully, they're adjusting their practices.

You know, it's impossible to make people not think what they think. I do think it's possible to make them behave in a way that you would want your officers to behave. These are the people whose duty it is to protect the community.

CABRERA: Rick Tulsky, interesting story. Good reporting. Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

TULSKY: Thanks so much for having me.

CABRERA: Republican lawmakers in Oregon have fled the state and tell police to come heavily armed if they want to get them. Details on the legislation they are literally running from.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN F. KENNEDY, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We choose to go to the moon.

UNIDENTIFIED NASA EMPLOYEE: This is Mission Control.

KENNEDY: We choose to go to the moon and do the other things, not because they are easy

UNIDENTIFIED NASA EMPLOYEE: Mission Control, ready to launch.

KENNEDY: -- but they are hard.

UNIDENTIFIED ASTRONAUT: Houston, loud and clear.

UNIDENTIFIED ASTRONAUT: It was a good one.

UNIDENTIFIED ASTRONAUT: The view was the prize of the trip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The enormity of this event is something that only history will be able to judge. UNIDENTIFIED NASA EMPLOYEE: Good luck and god speed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Apollo 11 have given the mission of carrying men to the moon, landing them there, and bringing them safely back.

UNIDENTIFIED ASTRONAUT: Beautiful, just beautiful.

ANNOUNCER: "APOLLO 11," tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m., on CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:52:30] CABRERA: Lawmakers on the lam. Republican state Senators in Oregon refusing to show up for work in recent days. The GOP lawmakers went into hiding in order to stall proceedings on a climate bill they oppose.

Now Oregon's Democratic governor is sending out police to help bring them back.

These rising partisan tensions led the state Senate to cancel its session today amid warnings about the safety of Democratic lawmakers.

CNN affiliate, KOIN, reports there were concerns about militia groups gathering at the capitol.

And Sara Sidner has more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, this is not politics as usual. The governor so frustrated that the Republicans have walked out on this legislative session she has sent the state police to go get them.

STATE SEN. PETER COURTNEY, (D), OREGON: I am asking that the highest law enforcement branch in the state of Oregon go out and find my fellow legislators.

SIDNER (voice-over): Politics have gotten so ugly in Oregon the Democratic governor has now ordered troopers to track down Republican state lawmakers.

KATE BROWN, (D), OREGON GOVERNOR: They are rogue. They need to get back. They need to do their jobs.

SIDNER: It all came to a head Wednesday with the warning from the governor saying she'd contacted state police after a Republican Senator said they would walk out of the legislature to block a vote on a landmark climate bill aimed at dramatically lowering greenhouse gas emissions.

UNIDENTIFIED ORGEON STATE SENATOR: If any of you are offended, that's fine.

One of those responded to the governor's warning with a threat of his own.

STATE SEN. BRIAN BOQUIST, (R), OREGON: This is what I told the superintendent, send bachelors and come heavily armed. I'm not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It's just that simple.

SIDNER: Thursday, all 11 Republicans made good on the promise to walk out, attacking the Senate president before leaving.

BOQUIST: We are at the 11th hour. If you don't think these boots are for walking, you're flat wrong, Mr. President. And you send the state police to get me? Hell's coming to visit you personally.

SIDNER: The governor followed through as well. In an extraordinary move last night, she ordered the state police to bring them back to work.

(on camera): It is an extraordinary move, would you agree?

BROWN: Absolutely. But I would also argue that the difficult challenges we face as a state and a nation around tackling climate change also requires extraordinary circumstances.

SIDNER (voice-over): The wife of one of the Republican Senators told CNN the Senators went out of state to Idaho.

BROWN: This is an embarrassment to the state of Oregon.

SIDNER: The underlying reason for the standoff? Democrats have a super majority, which means they can pass legislation without a vote from a single Republican. But in order to do any of the people's business, they need at least two Republican Senators to be in attendance for a quorum.

[16:55:10] State police say they will politely ask Senators to return and accompany them if need be. But if they can't find two Senators to agree, they would need permission from the superintendent to use handcuffs.

(on camera): This legislative session ends on June 30th, so if they're unable to convince a couple of Senators to come to the capitol, then all of the people's work will basically end for this session. But the governor doesn't want to see that happen, so she's planning on calling a special session, if needed, in July -- Ana?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Sara Sidner, thank you.

The president delaying the immigration raids that were planned for tomorrow.

This, as sanctuary cities around the nation refuse to cooperate. The mayor of one sanctuary city, Los Angeles, joins us, live, here in the NEWSROOM. Don't go anywhere.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Great to have you with us.

First this hour, Iran and President Trump today defending his last- minute reversal on a retaliatory strike for the shootdown of a U.S. military drone, an attack order that he says could have killed 150 Iranians.

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[16:59:52] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody was saying I'm a warmonger, and now they say I'm a dove. And I think I'm neither, if you want to know the truth. I'm a man with common sense. And that's what we need in this country is common sense. But I didn't like the idea of them knowingly shooting down an unmanned drone and then we kill 150 people. I didn't like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)