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CIA Analyst Quits Because of Trump; GOP Congressmen Face Angry Town Halls; Trump Condemns Anti-Semitic Crimes; Supreme Case Hears Case of U.S. Border Agent Shooting Teen on Mexican Soil. Aired 11:30- 12p ET
Aired February 21, 2017 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And, Mike, you -- I know you also feel like there is a place, an important place for people who don't agree with the things they have seen President Trump do when it comes to the intel community. You think that that's all the more reason for people to serve.
MIKE BAKER, FORMER CIA COVERT OPERATIONS AGENT: Well, I think so. Look, I don't have a dog in the hunt. In this past campaign, frankly, neither candidate floated my boat. So I would like to see in this current administration, in the Trump administration, more dissenting voices. Strong, pragmatic, independent thinkers. So perhaps from my perspective and only speaking from experience, is that perhaps Mr. Price could have served the nation by being one of those dissenting voices. One of those voices that goes against what he perhaps sees now as group think.
KEILAR: What do you say to people in his -- in his position or in other parts of the intel community who feel as if they are completely shut out, that their work is not informing any decisions, that their work is not seen as valuable, and that they have no impact other than to almost be a whistleblower?
BAKER: Well, you know, what I'd say is put your big-person pants on because that happens in every administration. The previous administration, the one before that, the Bush administration, the Clinton administration, the Carter years, it's not the way it works. I tell my 5-year-old boy, it's not always going to be your way. The world doesn't revolve around you. So yet you take an oath and get on with it. Mr. Price resigned, and that's great. But perhaps there were some politics involved given his apparent politics. But at the end of the day, the administration gives you your tasking and you march on. You are not always going to agree with it. But you are serving America. You are serving America's national security interests. And I say that while still respecting Mr. Price's decision to do what he felt was in his best interest, I suppose.
KEILAR: Mike Baker, thank you so much, sir, for being with us.
BAKER: Sure. Thank you.
KEILAR: And we have more on our breaking news. President Trump finally condemning the recent spike in anti-Semitic crimes, but was it enough to satisfy the critics who say Trump hasn't been strong enough on this problem?
Plus, town halls gone wild. Protesters rage at Republican lawmakers in town halls across the country, slamming them on everything from Obamacare to President Trump's tax returns. Now some congressmen are canceling events.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe the president should release his tax returns and separate --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- and separate himself from his business dealings? Is there a conflict of interest?
UNIDENTIFIED CONGRESSMAN: That's an excellent question and concern. I believe that --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your answer?
UNIDENTIFIED CONGRESSMAN: You want to come up here?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[11:37:16] KEILAR: More on our breaking news now. President Trump has just condemned the wave of anti-Semitic crimes across the country for the first time. I want you to take a look at the president just a short time ago.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centers are horrible. And are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil.
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KEILAR: Those comments from President Trump at the National Museum of African-American History here in Washington.
And joining me to discuss is CNN political commentator, Angela Rye, the former executive director of the Congressional Black Caucus; and Harlon Hill, a political consultant and a supporter of Donald Trump's.
Harlon, I want to ask you about this because I know you're hearing some of the criticism of Donald Trump and I imagine people that support him like you say he gets criticized for not saying this and then he's criticized for not saying it soon enough. But I'm going to ask you that question because 67 bomb scares since the beginning of January, Jewish cemetery desecrated yesterday. Why do you think that President Trump spoke out now, and why do you think it did take him so long to do so?
HARLON HILL, POLITICAL CONSULTANT & TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, look, he did the right thing. He spoke very clearly on this in the past. He has acknowledged his own daughter is Jewish, his grandchildren are Jewish, this is something near and dear to him. People can say that he didn't act quick enough to condemn these specific attacks but in terms of the rise of anti-Semitism, he's been very clear in terms of pushing that to the side and saying it's totally unacceptable in modern America. It's a question of timing, but --
KEILAR: But there have also been things like retweeting images that were put out by anti-Semites and then not really taking responsibility for it. There have been some things he's done that is very -- that are very questionable. And given every opportunity, let's just talk about as president at these press conferences, he wasn't -- for a guy who is so hair triggered to condemn things that really get him going, whether it's Nordstrom not carrying his daughter's clothing line anymore or an attack that didn't happen in Sweden, why didn't he feel that same hair trigger to condemn these types of things if it is something so near and dear to his heart?
HILL: I believe he has the same hair trigger. It's ironing that we're condemning him for not acting quick enough to condemn anti- Semitism when the leader of the Democratic Party in the laugh election, Hillary Clinton, took tens of millions of dollars from countries that prison and murder LGBT people. So I believe very firmly that, you know, he's on the right side of history on this. He's condemned anti-Semitism. He came out today and spoke even clearer in terms of his condemnation. I don't know what else we want from him.
[11:40:20] KEILAR: Angela, does Donald Trump get credit for speaking in more clear terms, which I think is undeniable. When you read that statement today, that could have been any president. Does he get credit for that?
ANGELA RYE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure, he gets credit, but, of course, to your point, it is too little, too late. And what I mean by too little is that it is for one targeted community. We know that's been a rise of hate incidents since this man took office. We know that Donald Trump refused throughout the campaign to condemn hateful rhetoric against black people, against brown people. In fact, he used terms to incite violence against these communities. You talked about Hillary Clinton taking money from countries that Donald Trump wants to ban and that is essentially a religious test, which is unconstitutional.
HILL: False. KEILAR: And I want to add, let me add, Angela, he said today, when
you said he needs to do this on a wider scale. He said this is a meaningful reminder of fighting bigotry in all of its forms.
KEILAR: That is exactly the language that you say you want from President Trump.
RYE: No, it is some of the language that I say that I want, but what means more than his words at the national museum for African-American history and culture are his actions. And unfortunately, the executive orders that he signed so far and the ones he said he intends to sign fly in the face of the bigotry he wants to fight against. He is acting like the bigot he says he wants to fight against.
HILL: That is absolutely outrageous.
RYE: It is absolutely true.
HILL: It's outrageous. He has stood up and made statements. Let's look at Chicago, a place where crime --
RYE: I can't wait for you to bring this on.
HILL: And he had the guts to stand up and say if Rahm Emanuel doesn't fix this problem, if he doesn't fix the communities that are broken and riddled with violence, then he's going to do. He's been clear of his condemnation for the countries that -- the LGBT people and treat people horribly in the middle east. Democrats have not. In fact, as I mentioned, Hillary Clinton took $5 million to $10 million from Kuwait. She took money from --
RYE: Harlon, you are all the way -- you are campaigning --
KEILAR: I just want to say -- I want to talk -- I hear what you're saying, Harlon, and there was some criticism, but I want to talk about President Trump because he is the president. So, to that point, continue.
HILL: Look, in terms of President Trump, I think that he was very clear in terms of his press conference, he stands with Israel, and against anti-Semitism. He had a glowing endorsement from Netanyahu saying there was no greater defender of the people of Israel than Donald Trump.
KEILAR: Harlon, he told a Jewish reporter to sit down. A Jewish reporter who had good will towards him when he asked about anti- Semitism.
HILL: I watched that live. I think that Donald Trump misheard the question. I thought that --
RYE: Oh, lord.
HILL: Donald Trump interpreted that as an attack on him, accusing him of anti-Semitism instead of asking about a wave of anti-Semitism across the country.
HILL: I believe that Donald Trump misheard that question.
RYE: Why wouldn't he say, I'm not an anti-Semite, instead of telling the guy to sit down.
HILL: He did say that. No, no, he did --
RYE: From the campaign to now --
KEILAR: Harlon, I did watch it.
KEILAR: He said there will be a lot of love -- and I'm going to leave it there.
Just to be clear, did he agree with that sentiment? No. But he did not disavow it in clear terms like you are describing right now.
HILL: This is slanderous. You're accusing --
RYE: Are you serious?
HILL: Baseless accusation. We're making a baseless accusation, accusing him of being anti-Semitic when his grandchildren are Jewish.
KEILAR: Harlon, excuse -- I just need to jump in here. Harlon, no, that is not what we are doing. We are talking about his language condemning anti-Semitism. That doesn't necessarily mean that we are accusing him of being anti-Semitic.
HILL: But inherent in that if you are saying he doesn't clearly condemn it then that's a tacit endorsement of anti-Semitism.
KEILAR: You may be inferring that, but that's not what I'm saying.
RYE: That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying this is the first time that he's been clear in standing in opposition to it. He has not stood in opposition to discrimination, to targeted attacks on any other community, Harlon. I'm not going to speak on behalf of Brianna. She asked you a question. But I'm telling you that this is the same president who has not taken time to disavow bigotry and I said in many ways, he is that bigot. That is what I said. I am not backing down.
[11:45:15] HILL: Let's look at the last president. President Barack Obama that allowed --
HILL: -- allowed the nuclear proliferation to take place in Iran. And which poses an existential threat to Israel. If President Obama is an anti-Semitic, I'm not accusing him of that, he certainly was anti-Israel. Why aren't we asking these same questions about Barack Obama?
RYE: Because it's Donald Trump's administration. Get out of the time warp, dude. We're in Donald Trump's administration.
HILL: I'm saying that it's relevant because your prosecution -- your prosecution of --
RYE: There's no prosecution happening. I'm telling you, the guy --
Well, that was --
KEILAR: That was a -- definitely a spirited conversation.
I appreciate you both being on. Angela Rye and Harlon Hill, thank you so much.
Harlon, I had to be clear about where I was coming from in my question, because I thought you were inferring something that I certainly was not implying. HILL: No. I'm sorry if I misunderstood.
KEILAR: Thank you to both of you for being on.
Moments ago, arguments under way in the first Supreme Court case to be heard with President Trump in the White House. And a U.S. Border guard shot and killed an unarmed 15-year-old Mexican national on Mexican soil. We're back with details in just a moment.
[11:51:13] KEILAR: The Supreme Court is hearing the case of Sergio Hernandez, an unarmed Mexican national who was shot to death on Mexican soil in 2010 by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, who was standing on American soil. The incident was caught on this cell phone video.
And we should warn you that some of this is very graphic.
U.S. authorities say he had a history with involvement with human smuggling, and he was on a list of repeat juvenile offenders.
CNN's Ariane de Vogue has been following this case. She is live outside of the Supreme Court. Also joining me is CNN legal analyst, Paul Callan.
Ariane, first, just lay out this case for us. What is the issue before the court?
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SURPEME COURT CORRESONDENT: This border crossing case, the justices just heard, the issue is this U.S. Border Patrol agent standing on U.S. soil who shot and killed a 15-year-old Mexican teen who at the time was on Mexican soil. That's what's at the heart of this case. And what's interesting is there are two very different accounts. The family for the teenager says he was just playing with his friends, but the U.S. government says he was part of some smuggling operation, and, in fact, he was throwing rocks at the agent.
What's key is the Supreme Court is not going to decide the facts, only whether this case can go forward. At oral arguments, some of the justices seemed a little more worried about limiting principle. For instance, if they were to rule in favor of this teenager who wasn't on U.S. soil, would that open up claims, for instance, abroad regarding things like drone strikes?
One other thing that's important here is that Justice Anthony Kennedy, who could be key, as he often is, he was worried should this case be handled by the political branches and not the legal branches. Of course, this is unrelated to President Trump's proposed executive orders and the guidance he has been putting out, but there are really similar themes. One is the scope of the Constitution on people who are not citizens, not on U.S. soil, and the other is the discretion of Border Patrol agents. That's something we've seen.
KEILAR: And, Paul, to that point, the family of the boy says the Border Patrol agent said he violated his constitutional rights. Does he have constitutional rights?
PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is a very complex question. You know, on the edge of the Trump travel ban, and it's this concept of standing. You can't bring a case in a U.S. Court unless you're in the United States or you are a citizen of the United States and here you have a Mexican family trying to assert rights when their son was killed in Mexico, not in the United States, although he was killed with a bullet fired from the United States, which makes it such a fascinating case. They've come up with a novel argument that the United States has exercised de facto control over this section of Mexico, which was really a culvert between Juarez and El Paso, and by exercising that control, U.S. courts have control.
KEILAR: That is an interesting point that you bring up there. The debate that is going on right now when it comes to immigration, President Trump's immigration ban, tougher guidelines from DHS and border security today, does this ongoing debate and environment play into this case or no?
[11:54:45] CALLAN: I think it does because the Trump administration has been saying in that Washington case, hey, the people without visas have no standing to assert rights under American law or in American courts, and essentially the argument is you are going to swamp American courts with these now, this is another attempt through the door, and I think what the courts will worry about, this is a very sympathetic case for the Mexican family, but will this open the door for other non-Americans to assert rights in American courts because they happen to live close to the American border? You could swamp the American courts with such claims. There could be property claims, personal injury claims, and I think that's what the court worries about.
KEILAR: All right, Paul Callan, Ariane De Vogue, thank you.
Next, stepping into the lion's den. Town hall protesters forcing Republican lawmakers to cancel events at home after scenes like this erupt across the country. Senator Mitch McConnell holding an event right now. We'll have details.
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[12:00:05] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. Thanks for sharing your day with us.
We're waiting to see Scott Pruitt. He's the director of the Environmental Protection Agency. We've been dipping in as the new members of the Trump cabinet --