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U.S. Intel Shows Trump Pushed Bogus Conspiracies about China; Biden: Putin is a Killer, Will Pay a Price for Election Meddling; Migrant Kids in U.S. Custody Sleeping in Cramped Spaces; Homeland Security Chief Pushes Back on Definition of "Crisis"; New Video Discredits Claims of Riot Suspect "QAnon Shaman". Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 17, 2021 - 14:30   ET




BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: New evidence that Donald Trump misled Americans, as did his enablers.

The director of National Intelligence, who leads the U.S. Intelligence Community in charge of 17 agencies and organizations, just put out a new report on the 2020 election.

And it says with, quote, "high confidence," that China did not interfere in the 2020 election.

This is a quote: "We assess that China did not deploy interference efforts, and considered, but did not deploy influence empties intended to change the outcome of the U.S. presidential election."

"Instead," quote, "China sought stability in its relationship with the United States and did not view either election outcome as being advantageous enough for China to risk getting caught meddling."

This is noteworthy because for months, Trump and his allies talked up China as the real meddler over Russia, trying to downplay Putin's efforts.

Let's roll the tape.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think China is the bigger problem. It doesn't fit the narrative. It's always Russia, Russia, Russia. I say, what about China? They don't want to talk about China.

You know, they are using the China virus. China must be very happy about it because they hit us with a virus and now they screw up an election like you will never see. L. LIN WOOD, ATTORNEY (voice-over): China was behind the interference

in the effort to overthrow our government in the election, election fraud.

ROBERT O'BRIEN, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: When it comes to elections, and which the Intelligence Community has made clear, first, you have China, which has the most massive program to influence the United States politically.



BARR: China.

BLITZER: China more than Russia right now?

BARR: Yes.

BLITZER: Why do you say that?

BARR: Because I have seen the intelligence. That's what I have concluded.


KEILAR: Lies. Lies that gave Russia a pass.

And it didn't end there. Trump's own director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, wrote a memo claiming the Intelligence Community undersold the extent to which China interfered in the election. Turns out, that was bogus.


Ratcliffe's memo is an example cited by the Intelligence Community of how intelligence was politicized in the Trump era.

The then-president of the United States misrepresenting threats to his nation to his serve his own interests because Trump was incensed by the finding that Russia interfered in the 2016 election that he won.

I want in bring in CNN senior global affairs analyst, Bianna Golodryga, to talk about this.

Bianna, looking at this report, what are the impacts of it?

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Brianna, it's a big problem when you can't trust your own intel chiefs. That goes for American citizens.

It wasn't just the president, President Trump, at the time saying that China was a bigger threat against U.S. elections, but his intel chiefs. It was his attorney general as you just saw in the interview with Wolf Blitzer.

But it's not just Americans impacted here. It's our allies. Because let's not forget that China is a big threat. But that's going forward.

Now you have Secretary of State Blinken in Asia trying to get more of our allies or Asian allies onboard to be on the same page with us to fight real problems, I.T. theft, cybersecurity attacks, democratic values and human rights abuses in China. And also what is taking place in the Hong Kong and aggression in the South China Sea.

If our allies can't trust our intelligence, this is a big problem. That's why all the lies have now added up. We see what the reality is.

KEILAR: President Biden is also warning the Russian president that there will be consequences for election meddling. What do you think those consequences could be?

GOLODRYGA: Well, that is the big question. Of course, it was, I have to say, a bit refreshing to finally hear a president call a spade a spade when asked if Vladimir Putin is a killer. Because we know there's a history.

His opponents falling out of windows. They don't have structural problems in Russia. They just don't fall out of windows. Things happen. They have heart attacks. And obviously, the chemical weapons attacks and poisoning of opponents like Alexei Navalny.

The question is: What happens next? What is Vladimir Putin going to do? Russia just recalled its ambassador to the U.S. now.

They didn't talk about the interview. But they talked about reassessing and reanalyzing the relationship going forward.

Biden can say, yes, he is a killer and I can walk and chew gum at the same time. The same was said with MbS. It's going to be a lot harder to see where that leads going forward.

I think what's ending up happening is, after we signed the new START for another five years, we may not have much of a relationship with Russia going forward.

I don't think Biden is very interested in having a relationship with Vladimir Putin.

KEILAR: It's going to be very interesting to see how this plays out.

Bianna Golodryga, thank you very much.

President Biden telling migrants don't come to the U.S. right now. But already thousands of children and teens are being held in substandard conditions at the southern border as the administration struggles to cope with the surge. An immigration attorney joins us live from Texas, next.



KEILAR: Our cameras and reporters are not allowed inside U.S. border detention facilities to see firsthand what is happening right now with the thousands of migrant children who are in custody there.

But here is what case managers, attorneys and Border Patrol agents are describing to us:

Children are sleeping in shifts to make space for one another in confined facilities. Some kids haven't seen sunlight for days. And others are taking turns showering, often going days without one.

A border agent telling CNN some bunk beds are three bunks high. Children are sleeping on plastic cots and mats on floor and benches. It's a brutal situation.

In a new interview, President Biden tells would-be migrants now is not the time to come to the U.S.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: First of all, the idea that Joe Biden said come, because I heard the other day that they're coming because they know I'm a nice guy and I won't --


BIDEN: Yes. Well, here is the deal. They're not.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you have to say quite clearly don't come?

BIDEN: Yes. I can say quite clearly don't come. And we're in the process of getting set up. Don't leave your town or city or community.


KEILAR: Ruby Powers is with us now, an immigration lawyer in Galvestonian, Texas.

Thank you so much for being with us. This is such an important issue unfolding on the border.

Is don't come the message that would-be migrants are hearing or maybe receiving from the Biden administration?

RUBY POWERS, IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY: That's definitely the message that is being shared. It might not be what they want to hear right now. Waiting to come and still the situations in their countries have not improved during this last year.

But that's definitely -- should be the message that resonates and that they take.

KEILAR: What is the surge? Is it -- you mentioned the situation not improving in their home countries. Is it also that separation of families is no longer in effect? Is this also contributing to the surge?

POWERS: You know, we've seen groups of -- waves of people coming to the country for many years. I've practiced 13 years. I've seen it happen multiple administrations.

But really the thing is that there was even a surge even after family separation under the Trump administration.

We have to address the result cause, which is what the Biden administration had announced in his bill from the very beginning on the first day in office, giving more -- you know, the Biden administration cancelled legal pathways to apply for protection for Central America.

That is what we are seeing now. But also further cut funding for the region, further destabilizing the region, and adding instability to the asylum system.

So -- so the Biden administration is saying they need to get asylum and the immigration system in order. And right now is not the time to come.


But people are fleeing from horrible situations, and so they think this is the best thing for them at this time.

KEILAR: Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas testified before Congress this morning. And he pushed back on using the word "crisis" to describe what is happening on the border right now. He offered his own definition.

Let's listen.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: I will share with you how I define a crisis. A crisis is when a nation is willing to rip a 9-year-old child out of the hands of his or her parent and separate that family to deter future migration. That, to me, is a humanitarian crisis.


KEILAR: Ruby, I wonder what you think. Because when we looked at that happening in the last administration, no doubt that was a crisis. That doesn't necessarily mean what is happening right now on the border is not a crisis.

Do you see it as a crisis? Do you think it matters to recognize it as such so that it will get the attention it needs?

POWERS: Well, I went to the border three years ago multiple times and still am representing families that were separated under the Trump administration. That was a manufactured crisis under the Trump administration.

We're not seeing a crisis right now. This is not a surge. What we're seeing is that we haven't invested in our immigration system. And we're seeing what's always happening, that we don't have the infrastructure in place.

And so people are coming because they are fleeing horrible situations in their home country. But we don't have the systems in place because the Biden administration inherited a broken immigration system, especially asylum, which was completely gutted in the last administration.

And what I think the ultimate message should be, this keeps happening but we need to do something different about it. And Biden administration has a plan for it.

And it shouldn't distract us from the bills that are going to be before Congress this week. And we actually need to have immigration reform so that we won't see this in the future.

KEILAR: Ruby Powers, thank you for coming on the program. We appreciate it.

POWERS: Thank you.

Next, a judge orders the so-called QAnon shaman to remain in jail as a new video of him storming the capitol discredits his claims that he was totally peaceful.



KEILAR: A federal judge is using new video to challenge claims made by Jacob Chansley, otherwise known as the QAnon shaman who faces charges for his role in the capitol insurrection.

Chansley told CBS News last month he that he entered the capitol peacefully after police officers waved him in. But the judge says that the video release yesterday proves that Chansley, quote, "blatantly lied."




KEILAR: CNN justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider, is here now for this story.

Jessica, the judge is still keeping Chansley in jail. What more did he have to say?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: What's interesting, Brianna, the court released the video you just saw there without any comment last night.

But the federal judge in D.C. really does seems to be sending a clear message to Jacob Chansley and his attorney, saying, hey, these videos exist to prove that Chansley wasn't being truthful when he spoke out in a television interview a few weeks ago.

And you saw there, the video shows rioters breaking through windows at the capitol. And then it pans over to Chansley where he's seen in the crowd in that signature fur hat and horns, it shows him rushing with the mob through the nearby doors.

So this video, documenting this chaotic and violent scene, it undercuts what Chansley told "60 Minutes" from jail about what happens on January 6th.


JACOB CHANSLEY, CHARGED IN CAPITOL INSURRECTION: First of all, police were waving people into the building. That's number one. Number two, I actually was escorted by a capitol police officer into the Senate chamber.


SCHNEIDER: None of that is shown in the video, Brianna, that was released last night.

The judge in the case has previously cited the footage to call out Chansley's lie.

Judge Royce Lambert wrote this earlier this month. He said, "Not only is defendant unable to offer evidence substantiating his claim that he was waved into the capitol, but evidence submitted by the government proves this claim is false."

That's the video that you just saw.

Judge Lambert previously scolded him for appearing in that interview without permission from any of the proper federal authorities.

But, Brianna, today, Chansley's attorney is pushing back, saying the video footage isn't conclusive.

And he's actually inviting the public to provide any more video of his client that might prove their claims that Chansley was completely peaceful, in their words.

Right now, Chansley is locked up. He has been moved to a jail in Virginia that serves organic food after he threatened a hunger strike because he said nonorganic food was against his religion.

So this is a saga, Brianna, that continues to play out in the courtroom and the judge here having none of it -- Brianna?


KEILAR: Very dramatic and bizarre.

Jessica Schneider, thank you so much.

We are following the investigation into a deadly series of shooting at massage parlors in the Atlanta area. The sheriff telling us the suspect is blaming a sex addiction for his actions.