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New York Governor Cuomo Apologizes Amid New Allegation Of Sexual Harassment; Johnson & Johnson's Single-Dose Vaccine Cleared For National Rollout; Trump Still Popular During CPAC Despite Losing White House; Migrants Beaten And Robbed In Search For A Better Life In The U.S.; Trump At CPAC Again Denies He Lost 2020 Election; The Food Capital Of Italy. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired February 28, 2021 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO): I don't think it hurts to have that information out there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: OK, so by that standard, you could float that maybe they were aliens dressed up as Trump supporters, and that would be a good thing to put out there?
For the record my CNN colleague Marshal Cohen reports that nearly a dozen Trump supporters charged in connection with the Capitol insurrection explicitly push back on this false flag theory in court saying that it was Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol and deserve the credit, not Antifa or other left-wing groups. They were actually upset that Antifa was getting undeserved credit instead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have 12 in favor. The interim recommendation passes.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The new vaccine will roll out across the country and shots can start going into arms.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, BIDEN'S CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER ON CORONAVIRUS: We have three big, big important tools now.
DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN OF THE BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: I would recommend it to my family.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: There's never been a journey like it. There's never been a journey so successful. We began it together four years ago, and it is far from being over.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): The leader of the Republican Party, and I hope he is once again the leader of our great country.
NICHOLAS KRISTOF, COLUMNIST, NEW YORK TIMES: I would note that MBS, his sins are not just the murder of one journalist. If we impose sanctions on the people who carry out the murder, then we look weak when we don't impose similar sanctions on the person who ordered the murder.
TAREK MASOUD, PROFESSOR, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: It's not the Biden administration that sent the message to Mohammed bin Salman that he has impunity. It's the Trump administration that did that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Sunday evening. And we have breaking news right here into CNN tonight.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responding to the latest allegations of sexual harassment from a former staff member. They are not the only such accusations against Cuomo right now. Two women now have come forward claiming the governor's behavior toward them was not appropriate.
Let's go to CNN's Brynn Gingras right now. So, Brynn, fill us in. What is the governor of New York saying tonight?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Pam, responding with an apology, which I'll go to in just a minute. But first the most recent allegations that were reported first by "The New York Times." They're coming from a 25-year-old former aide named Charlotte Bennett who worked with the administration during the pandemic, is no longer with the administration. But essentially she said she had a number of interactions with Governor Cuomo but one in particular sort of changed things for her that she had pointed out to "The Times" in June.
She says that she was in the governor's office and he started asking some personal questions that she wasn't comfortable with like if she'd ever been with an older man. And she said that he said he was open to relationships with women in their 20s. And she told "The Times" that she interpreted these questions as a clear overture for a sexual relationship.
Well, we had a statement from the governor after this came out yesterday, but he since as you mentioned updated that statement with an apology. I want to read it to you in full. It says, quote, "I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.
At work sometimes I think I am being playful and make jokes that I think are funny. I do on occasion tease people in what I think is a very good natured way. I do in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times.
"I now understand that my interactions may have been insensitive or too personal, and that some of my comments given my position made others feel in ways I never intended. I acknowledged some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation. To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that. To be
clear I never inappropriately touched anybody. And I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to."
And that apology pretty much also covers the other allegations that we saw earlier this week or last week really from a different former aide Lindsey Boylan. But now here's the question of the investigation. Well, this is sort of a hairy thing because just recently in a new statement the governor says he's going to turn over all powers that be to the New York attorney general who can then appoint a special private investigator to look into these allegations.
Well, that was very different from what we heard earlier from the governor today who said that he was going to ask the attorney general and also the chief judge in the state's highest court to investigate, which wasn't really kosher with a lot of people because that particular method wouldn't allow subpoena powers, which you can imagine are very important in this type of investigation.
So that he has changed his mind on, and I will just quickly mention that the attorney general said they will hire a law firm, deputize them as attorneys of our office and oversee a rigorous and independent investigation. So that's where we're at right now, Pam. You can imagine there's a lot going on in that administration. Two separate investigations with harassment now and also with that nursing home death data that of course has been a lot of what the administration has been facing most recently.
BROWN: I know you're going to be very busy covering all of this moving forward.
Brynn Gingras, thanks for bringing us the latest from New York.
BROWN: And more breaking news tonight, a third COVID-19 vaccine has officially arrived. The CDC director's green light means the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine is now cleared for Americans over the age of 18. So millions of doses will hit the road starting tonight according to a senior administration official.
Dr. Eric Rubin joins me now. He's on the FDA Vaccine Advisory Committee and is editor-in-chief of the "New England Journal of Medicine." He's also a Harvard professor. Thanks for coming on the show. First, let me get your reaction to this. The fact that we now have three vaccines at our disposal. What does this development do to the timeline in terms of getting back to normal in this country?
DR. ERIC RUBIN, FDA VACCINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: Well, I hope it accelerates things. Of course, it's just that much better to have more that's available. And there's a kind of new urgency to it. Because there are new viral variants coming out right now, with some chance that some of them could eventually become somewhat resistant to the protection provided by vaccines, it's really important to get it out there fast.
BROWN: Let's talk about that because the CDC says -- CDC rather says more than 2,000 cases of those concerning coronavirus variants have been reported in the U.S. Do we know about how the J&J vaccine will protect against these new variants of COVID-19?
RUBIN: It does appear to protect fairly well against the most concerning variant, the one in South Africa because part of that trial was done in South Africa where the circulating virus was the one that seems to be the most problematic and because it was quite effective there, it suggests that we're still OK.
BROWN: All right. And more research as we know is needed for sure on this particular issue. The FDA analysis hinted that the J&J vaccine may help prevent asymptomatic infections. How significant with that be?
RUBIN: That would be very useful. Now remember, even a vaccine that prevented severe disease, if it turned it into a mild disease, that would be a big accomplishment. If it also protects against asymptomatic disease and therefore prevents transmission, it would be that much better.
BROWN: All right, Dr. Eric Rubin, thank you for coming on the show.
RUBIN: Thank you for having me.
BROWN: Well, tonight a heartbreaking story to share with you. Meet the migrants risking their lives in search of a better life. Our Matt Rivers reports from the Mexican-Guatemalan border.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The number of migrants like these lining up each night to enter the shelter has blown away the numbers that we saw last year.
(Voice-over): All migrants know how dangerous these treks can be and the proof came just a few hours later in a small village. The group had just been attacked and robbed by armed men, left with nothing but their clothes. Both brothers were pistol whipped. 14-year-old Wilfredo with a deep gash on his head.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And you can see the rest of Matt's report later this hour. You will not want to miss that.
But first, Donald Trump is back on the public stage and teasing another run at the White House. Our fact checkers tell us he has just made more false claims in one speech at CPAC than Joe Biden has in his first five weeks in office.
I'll ask Trump's former acting Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf what he makes of his old boss spinning lies about the election.
BROWN: Donald Trump is back on the public stage today for the first time since leaving office. He delivered the closing speech at CPAC, the annual conservative conference. The former president cheered on by a crowd of his loyalists had this message. He's not going away anytime soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I stand before you today to declare that the incredible journey we begun together, we went through a journey like nobody else has. There's never been a journey like it. There's never been a journey so successful. We began it together four years ago, and it is far from being over.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Trump also came out swinging against the Biden administration, against Democrats and against the media, and reinforcing the big lie that the election was stolen from him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Actually, as you know they just lost the White House, but it's one of those. But who knows? Who knows, I may even decide to beat them for a third time. OK?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Again, he lost the last election. The former president also repeated his claim that the election was rigged and told the audience the Supreme Court didn't, quote, "have the courage to do anything about it."
Let's go live to Orlando now and CNN's Donie O'Sullivan.
Donie, you've been there all weekend throughout the CPAC conference. How did Trump's first post-presidency appearance and his speech resonate with supporters you met with?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hundreds of supporters outside the CPAC venue here all day waving flags. And a lot of excitement with the idea that Trump might run for president again. A lot of excitement about trying to defeat and to primary Republicans who are not seen as Trump enough. The name Liz Cheney kept coming up here all weekend.
We spoke to some supporters earlier. Have a listen.
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): Why are you here today? [19:15:00]
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am here to support President Trump. Hopefully he is going to announce that he's going to be running for 2024. Also, you know, I hope that I would see him be more vulnerable so that people can, you know, see who he really is, maybe tell people how he feels about the election. Not too much to focus on that it was stolen but that it was sad that some of the things that happen and that we need to move forward as a country.
O'SULLIVAN: Do you think it'll be helpful if he stays focusing on, you know, these false claims that the election was stolen?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, they're not false claims but unfortunately we have not proven them on in the court. So I don't want him to focus on that because people will tune him out. I want him to focus on the future.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're here because I love President Trump. 80 million Americans supported President Trump in this election. We feel like the election was stolen from us.
O'SULLIVAN: Do you think it's important for Trump today to come out and to condemn the January 6th insurrection?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has condemned anything --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not convinced that that was -- was started by -- you see how peaceful we are. I'm not convinced yet because there's been no actual investigation done yet. It just was assumed that it was us.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the facts have come out.
O'SULLIVAN: But all the Trump supporters that have been arrested by the FBI, indicted --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The FBI is a little iffy right now. Do you not agree the FBI has had their problems?
O'SULLIVAN: Is there any -- but like, is there any -- you don't trust the election officials?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nope.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
O'SULLIVAN: You don't trust the FBI.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nope.
O'SULLIVAN: You don't trust the courts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nope.
O'SULLIVAN: Who do you trust? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump and his supporters. And anybody that has --
that when I listen to them talk they don't turn my stomach with the disingenuousness.
O'SULLIVAN: So obviously you hear a lot of conspiracy theories there, conspiracy theories about the insurrection. Conspiracy theories including some QAnon conspiracy theories. It was interesting that we did see some QAnon flags, although some Trump supporters didn't want anything to do with that conspiracy theory. But what was also quite interesting was speaking to so many of those supporters here, so many of them were just so happy to be hearing from Trump again.
They very much feel like they are part of something, this era of populism that Trump promotes. It is a movement for them and then some of them told us, you know, since he's been out of office, since they've been unable to read his tweets, they've been quite bored -- Pam.
BROWN: Yes, they've been bored. I know someone else, I think it was you I spoke to, said they felt loss, they're looking for direction from him.
Donie O'Sullivan, thanks for bringing us the latest there from Orlando.
And for much more on CPAC and the fallout from Trump's speech, let's bring in CNN political commentator and former Republican senator, Jeff Flake.
Senator Flake, thanks for coming on. So during his speech today Trump maintained that the GOP is in fact united. Let's watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have the Republican Party. It's going to unite and be stronger than ever before. I am not starting a new party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: The GOP's stronger than ever before and united. Is that how you see things?
JEFF FLAKE (R), FORMER U.S. SENATOR: No, not at all. We lost the White House. We lost the Senate, and two years ago we lost the House. And two years ago we lost more than 400 legislative seats in state legislatures nationwide. So, no, we're not stronger than ever. We have a long way to go if we're going to compete nationally and in some states.
BROWN: So Congressman Jim Jordan enthusiastically supported Trump during his address today. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JORDAN: President Trump is the leader of the conservative movement. He's the leader of the America First movement, he's the leader of the Republican Party. And I hope --
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(CHANTS OF "USA")
JORDAN: Leader of the conservative movement, the leader of the American First movement, the leader of the Republican Party. And I hope on January 20th, 2025, he is once again the leader of our great country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: You have said that Trump is not the future of the party, but CPAC's straw poll out today which is not a scientific poll, we should note, found that Trump was the runway favorite for 2024 candidate. Have you come around at all to Trump still being the future of the party even if that is something that you do not want to see?
FLAKE: No, I thought that after he left office that he would lose power significantly, and he's losing it frankly faster than I thought he would.
BROWN: In what way?
FLAKE: Part of that to do -- and part of that to do with the de- platforming on Twitter. But look at this poll. I mean, we used to conduct those kind of polls when I was in elected office. We'd called them, you know, polls among paid staff and blood relatives.
And if you can't garner more than 55 percent of that group, the CPAC group, then that's really a disappointment. So I do think that he's losing power. He does still have significant sway, and his endorsement means a lot now. But two years from now it'll mean a lot less, and four years from now even less than that.
BROWN: But the reality is he has a massive campaign war chest. He's already taken steps to use his PACs to dole out that money to Republicans in the midterms and beyond. How is your faction of the GOP supposed to combat that?
FLAKE: Well, he has, like I said, significant sway now, but that is diminishing as time goes on. There was nothing new offered today. It was just a recitation of old grievances. I started to count how many times he said the election was rigged or a fraud. And I lost count of somewhere north of a dozen. So if you're really not offering anything new, then people will tire of it. And that one, you know, CPAC attendee saying that they were kind of bored, I think that's where a lot of Americans will be.
And frankly that will be a good thing if we're not looking to Washington for our entertainment and for everything else. I think that will be a much healthier Republican Party and much healthier body politic in general.
BROWN: I want to ask you before we let you go about the COVID relief bill. The House passed the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill on Friday and now it moves on to the Senate. It had no Republican support in the House but Biden is looking for Republican senators to vote for it.
He wants it to be a bipartisan effort. Republicans, though, have taken up issue with the fact that other things like millions of dollars for funding for things like Native American language preservation are in this bill. This is a popular bill in the public.
Would something like that be enough for you if you were still in the Senate to not support this bill?
FLAKE: Well, I think that amendments will be allowed, a significant number of amendments will be allowed. And if Republicans are able to win on some of those amendments then I can see some Republican support the final product. But it would have to come down significantly from the $1.9 trillion. Not to, you know, $600 billion or what was offered by the Senate Republicans, but I would suppose it's going to come down to $1.6 trillion or $1.5 trillion at least.
BROWN: Quickly, do you still support Neera Tanden's nomination not being pulled by the White House?
FLAKE: I do. I hope that she is confirmed. I think it'll just take one Republican and that you may have more than that. I think that, you know, she has apologized and I think we ought to move on.
BROWN: Jeff Flake, thank you so much.
FLAKE: You bet.
BROWN: Our Matt Rivers is live near the Mexican-Guatemalan border for us tonight. He has been speaking to migrants undeterred in their search for a better life in the U.S. despite being beaten and robbed on their journey. Matt joins us next up next.
BROWN: It was the headline news in 2018 and 2019. People from Central America fleeing their native countries and heading to the United States. Now more migrants are headed for the U.S. hoping they have a better chance of getting in with the Trump administration gone.
CNN's Matt Rivers joins me now from Villahermosa, Mexico near the border with Guatemala.
And Matt, tell us, what are the stories you're hearing from these migrants making such a perilous journey?
RIVERS: Yes, Pam, there was always the expectation that with lockdown measures easing throughout Central America with the Biden administration coming in, that there would be more migration in this part of the world. But the numbers that we're seeing right now are significant. And coming down here it's also a reminder of just how dangerous this trip can be for these migrants as we saw firsthand over the last couple of days.
RIVERS (voice-over): Not far from the Mexico-Guatemala border fielding two full soccer teams at La 72 migrant shelter is easy because the number of people headed to the United States is surging. Carlos, 19, is bound for the U.S., too. He left Honduras five days ago with his little brother, 14-year-old Wilfredo.
He says a lot of people not just us decided to leave and migrate and to look for a better life. After dark there are among dozens that will spend the night inside the shelter.
(On camera): The number of migrants like these lining up each night to enter the shelter has blown away the numbers that we saw last year. In the first two months of 2021 more migrants have already been registered here than in all of 2020.
(Voice-over): The shelter says more than 5500 people just since New Year's Day.
Father Gabriel Romero says people are no longer afraid to leave their countries due to COVID. This is a moment of humanitarian emergency.
The next day Carlos and Wilfredo are among a dozen that set out at dawn, set to walk for hours through an overgrown unforgiving landscape. And thousands have just taken similar trips. The number of people apprehended at the U.S. southern border last month higher than the same month in each of the last three years.
Over three days dozens of migrants told us the reasons for the increase are myriad with poverty chief among them. Finding work was always hard but never worse than during the pandemic. Plus after back- to-back category four hurricanes destroyed entire Central American communities in November, tens of thousands were displaced.
And as this group of migrants told us, there's another reason, too. It's not a Trump White House anymore.
This migrant says it's no longer a racist president because he looked at us like we're animals.
The Biden administration is trying to end Trump's more restrictive immigration policies and says it will admit more asylum seekers, but they've also said now is not the time for migrants to come citing the pandemic and policy changes not yet completed, though that did not dissuade anyone we met with many saying Biden in charge gives them a better chance of getting in.
"That's the difference," he says, that suddenly the new President is noble with a good heart. On a break from that day's trek, Carlos told us they hadn't left for
any one reason poverty, hurricanes, Biden, all a part of it. He just remembers his mom crying as they walked away.
We asked what she said. She said not to go, it's so sad leaving not knowing if you're going to die.
Because all migrants know how dangerous these treks can be, and the proof came just a few hours later in a small village. The group had just been attacked and robbed by armed men left with nothing, but their clothes.
We had a basic medical kit on us, so producer, Natalie Gallon and I tried to patch them up the best we could. Both brothers were pistol- whipped, 14-year-old Wilfredo with a deep gash on his head.
RIVERS (on camera): You can see here, the blood in his hat after he was hit with a pistol according to the group. Now, we've given him a bandage and --
RIVERS: (Speaking in Spanish).
RIVERS: Okay, so he says, he is in a little bit of pain, but he is okay for now. So --
RIVERS (voice over): But just moments later, they had to run, a van fast approaching.
RIVERS (on camera): So this is Mexican immigration, and that's why our group here just ran into the woods.
RIVERS (voice over): We wouldn't find them again until early the next morning. They'd walked more than 12 hours after they fled, exhausted and resting outside of a small shop. We took the moment to ask, "Is this worth it?"
Carlos said it was. That a better life awaited. Wilfredo, quietly, not so sure.
"I don't really know," he says, "But wherever my brother is, I'll always be there."
Another half mile down the tracks, they enter another shelter for the night. But for the weary, there won't be rest. Because in the next day or two, it will be more trekking through never ending forest, their singular group, just one of thousands doing the same.
RIVERS (on camera): And we brought up to Carlos that there's of course no guarantee that he'll get into the U.S., there might even be a chance that him and Wilfredo get separated. But he said essentially that's a problem for down the road. They've got at least another month before they get to the U.S. border, walking through some of the worst most dangerous parts of Mexico -- Pamela.
BROWN: What a powerful eye-opening story. Matt Rivers, thank you for bringing that to us.
Well, former President Trump used his speech today to attack President Biden for the crisis at the border. Trump and his allies are also continuing to push the big election lie. Chad Wolf, the former Acting Homeland Security Secretary in the Trump administration is with me, and we're going to talk about both of those topics right after this break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a very sick and corrupt electoral process that must be fixed immediately. This election was rigged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So that was former President Trump a short time ago. I'm sure you recognize him. He was leaning on his false rhetoric about the 2020 election during his return to the political stage at CPAC.
I am now joined by former Acting Homeland Security Secretary under Trump and Visiting Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Chad Wolf. Thanks for coming on, Chad.
CHAD WOLF, FORMER ACTING SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Thanks for having me.
BROWN: So as we just saw there, your former boss continues to push this big election lie that he actually won when he didn't we know. Your department found no issues with the election.
So what is your response to Trump and Republican lawmakers who are still propagating this lie?
WOLF: I think it's important to be clear about what D.H.S. found and didn't find after the election. The department is very much in control of and our responsibilities regarding the election had to do with cyber and making sure that the election was free of any foreign influence, and, of course, we did that.
What President Trump has talked about since Election Day and continues to talk about is more of the election fraud and how perhaps different individual states change their voting procedures and not going through their State Legislature.
Those two issues, the Department of Homeland Security has almost no oversight on. So, I think it's important for your viewers and others to realize what the department said at the time and what our authorities are.
So I think it's certainly a proof that --
BROWN: Right. They said the systems were safe. There is a difference between the systems and foreign interference and fraud.
We should note there were more than 250 lawsuits before the election on these rule changes that went around the State Legislatures; after there was more than 60. Republicans, Bill Barr, they have also -- there was no widespread fraud. So what is your reaction?
WOLF: And I agree with that.
WOLF: I mean, I have not -- I have not seen any information, any data that said that the election would have turned out differently.
But I think what the President has talked about and what I think a vast majority of Americans see that there is some fraud inherent in our voting system, it needs to be addressed before the next midterm or certainly the next presidential election.
BROWN: I don't know if it's fair to say that a vast majority believes there's fraud inherent in the system. The percentage of fraud based on our belief at Heritage database is less than point -- or 0.001 percent.
WOLF: Again, well, I think you -- two different issues here. So we have the fraud and then we have the different voting systems that were in place because of the COVID restrictions and how those changed at the last minute.
So, again, I think you're conflating two different issues.
BROWN: I am not conflating.
WOLF: If you look at both of those things originally and separately, I think there is concern out there that needs to be addressed before we continue to make election changes at the last minute. So I think, that's what the President did just talk about --
BROWN: That has all been litigated, but I don't want to belabor this because I -- and we were clear, there the -- there's the machines, and then there were these rule changes that were litigated ad nauseam, but that's not to say you can't have a robust debate moving forward, looking ahead to the next election about that.
But I want to turn really quick to the riot, the Capitol riot. You have said the responsibility for security at the U.S. Capitol is with Capitol Police. But this is how former Capitol Police Chief Stephen Sund testified this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN SUND, FORMER CAPITOL POLICE CHIEF: A clear lack of accurate and complete Intelligence across several Federal agencies contributed to this event and not poor planning by the United States Capitol Police. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: So he also talked about D.H.S. not raising the alert level. And as we know, you didn't declare it as a national special security event that would have called for Secret Service protection.
What do you have to say to that in what we just heard from Sund?
WOLF: Again, all the information that I have and the Intelligence I saw sort of contradicts what the former Police Chief was saying there.
BROWN: In what way?
WOLF: And I think you have a number of experts that have gone on the records to say this is not an Intelligence failure. This is a failure of imagination in making sure that there is there -- was not proper planning done at the U.S. Capitol.
If they had a plan in place, it wasn't well executed. Whether it was not having enough officers or not putting enough protective measures in place prior to that event.
All I can say is what we did at the department knowing that you had a very large rally on January the 6th that was coming. We put pressure -- in place -- measures in place for D.H.S. protected facilities around the National Capital Region inside of D.C., and I know the National Park Police did the same as well as other law enforcement agencies.
Why the Capitol Police did not take that extra step, again, is part of this investigation.
BROWN: So let's unpack that a little bit, because basically, it sounds like what you're saying is D.H.S. did everything right.
You told ABC News after the fact that you knew of the threat that up to 35,000 people were coming to the district. You also said in this report from October that domestic violent extremists pose a significant threat that quote, "probably will depend on political or social issues."
In this case, they were broadcasting in chat rooms what they were going to do ahead of time. So why wasn't more done by D.H.S.? What can be learned from this by the department? Of course, law enforcement agencies are going back to scrutinize, what about D.H.S.?
WOLF: Well, sure. I think all law enforcement agencies need to take a hard look at what they did leading up to the 6th and certainly on the day of. What I can tell you from the department is the information that we have, the Intelligence that we received from the Department of Justice and others did not indicate that they were storming the Capitol, not the information that I received.
We had general Intelligence to say that there was going to be a very large group 25,000 to 35,000 folks likely going to be violent. There were going to be counter protests, and so that's the way we get geared up.
And we have seen that over the course of several months, really, before the Election Day and after the Election Day. So we knew what was coming.
This idea that you didn't have any idea of the magnitude of the event is just a false narrative out there. Again, it's why we surged in individuals, D.H.S. law enforcement, and it's what -- it's why we have National Guard on standby. They were deployed elsewhere in the city, for a variety of different reasons.
And whether or not the Capitol Police had enough officers, I think that again, will be part of the investigation. But I think a really hard look needs to be at what plans and procedures do the Capitol Police have to defend the Capitol, and were those sufficient or not?
BROWN: Just help me understand this a little bit, and you point out, look, we didn't have anything specific, hey, we're going to storm the Capitol. But you did say there was a failure of imagination and that I imagine, would be shared by all law enforcement.
But at the same time, we had seen examples in Michigan when armed protesters had stormed the statehouse and tried to go on the floor and so forth.
You had told ABC that after the riot that you knew of the threat and had planned for the worse, but "The Wall Street Journal" obtained a D.H.S. Intelligence, a national summary from January 5th, that said, quote, "Nothing significant to report."
The F.B.I. on the other hand, its Norfolk Field Office shared a bulletin that there was concerning chatter that extremists were planning to travel to Washington to commit violence and war.
How is that not a massive law enforcement and Intelligence failure?
WOLF: Again, I don't see your exact point. What I would say is the information that we received, D.H.S., and again, we collect most of our Intelligence, we are a consumer of Intelligence from the Intelligence Community, and then we'll do some open source reporting as well.
I know the Bureau, obviously a different law enforcement agency has their own ways of getting information and will pass that along as well.
But again, this idea that if you're the Capitol Police or any other law enforcement agency inside D.C., and again, we're on multiple phone calls leading up to the 6th, the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th, along with Metropolitan Police Department all sharing the same information that we have at the time, which is 25,000 to 35,000 folks coming, likely going to be violent, likely going to have protests, counter protest.
Everyone, that's what your job is, as a law enforcement agency, it is to plan for the worst, hoping that it never comes. And that's what we did at the department. I know, that's what others did. [19:45:31]
WOLF: I think that's what, you know, the investigation and the review will find on whether or not Capitol Police did that, or whether or not they didn't or they backed off on some of their measures for a variety of different reasons that I think we'll have to see.
BROWN: OK, we have to move on because of time. I think there are still some open questions, too, about what you laid out about why the threat level wasn't alerted. But all of this is going to be -- raised, I should say.
All of this will, of course be looked at. It's important to hear your perspective as someone who was leading D.H.S. at that time, that there will be a 9/11-style commission looking at all of this. So this conversation will continue, but I appreciate you laying out your side of the story.
I want to get to immigration, though, before we let you go because you of course were at Trump D.H.S. You were working for Kirstjen Nielsen when the child separation policy went into effect.
Lawyers say that more than 500 children who were separated from their parents at the border during the Trump administration have not been reunited with their parents. Does that still weigh on you at all?
WOLF: Well, what I can tell you is it has been two and a half years since the zero tolerance policy ended, and in those two and a half years, the department working with a number of nonprofits and others have gone back to look for parents, look for the children, reunite them as we could.
What I will tell you is, many of those parents, obviously have been deported back to Central America that have chosen to keep their children here in the U.S., so I think we need to realize what really is going on here.
BROWN: How many -- so you say many. How many? Because you've said that before. I just want to -- where are you getting that information? And can you be more specific on how many parents --
WOLF: It is in the court filings. The Department of Justice in that court proceeding, again, two and a half years old, lays out how many have been contacted, how many have been located, how many have chosen to allow their children to remain here in the United States.
And of course, at the beginning of your segment, you talked about, you know, the dangerous journey. And that's what's concerning to me right now is that you have some rhetoric, you have some policies and Executive Orders that are pushing children, pushing families into the hands of smugglers and traffickers trying to take this very dangerous journey up here to the southwest border in the hopes that they will remain in the US as their immigration proceeding goes forward.
So again, a lot of different and dangerous things occurring right now.
BROWN: And we are seeing a concerning rise in the number of unaccompanied migrant children crossing the border.
Chad Wolf, thank you for coming on. I hope that we can continue this discussion on these important topics.
WOLF: All right, thank you.
BROWN: And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM. Bologna, the food capital of Italy, home to some of the most globally renowned food around and Stanley Tucci tells me all about it, up next.
BROWN: Bologna, Italy may be best experienced through your stomach. The city is home to some of the most iconic Italian foods like parmesano and prosciutto, I really botched that. I should not have tried to speak Italian. It's where Stanley Tucci is this week searching for Italy.
Recently, I talked with Stanley about that region of Italy and the food.
BROWN: So Stanley, this week, you're taking us to Bologna considered by many to be the food capital of Italy. Everyone loves Italian food. So the best food in Italy must be really incredible, one would think. What kind of dishes do they make there? And why is the food so good?
STANLEY TUCCI, CNN HOST: Well, it's really interesting, Bologna, because it sits in this place that almost straddles what is the beginning of Northern Italy, and you -- because of the topography and geography, there are winds-- it has its own microclimate.
And it has the largest number of I think, they are called DOC's, of anywhere in Italy. So this is where prosciutto is made. This is parmesana is made. This is where mortadella is made. This is where so many incredible foods that we know -- that we know that are so distinctly Italian are made and it's the sort of cream of the crop.
And the wheat that's grown there is very different than the wheat that's grown in the south. It's a softer wheat, because the climate is different.
You don't have the sun, you'll get snow up there at times. You'll get a real winter up there. So that changes everything.
BROWN: So then what's the difference in taste with the difference in wheat? Can you actually taste that in the pasta? Is it distinct enough?
TUCCI: Yes, you can. It's different. I mean the -- in Southern Italy, you'll have fresh pasta, yes, but there is a difference in taste. There is a lightness in Northern Italy that's to me distinctly different, but they also focus on things that are pasta that's very different than the South.
So they'll focus on -- their pasta is like tagliatelle or tortellini or tortelloni or cappelletti, which are pastas that are filled with meat or whatever, usually meat, some kind of meat.
BROWN: And you can watch this episode tonight at nine Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.
Thank you so much for joining me this Sunday evening. I'm Pamela Brown, and I'll see you again next weekend.