On Tuesday, Acting Director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli defended the Trump administration’s new rule barring legal immigrants from public programs by changing the words on the Statue of Liberty’s poem.
On CNN’s “OutFront,” Cuccinelli denied he had done any such thing when anchor Erin Burnett grilled him — and then claimed that the important thing to keep in mind was that the Statue of Liberty was talking about “people coming from Europe.”
“You heard me play you this morning when you quoted the Emma Lazarus,” said Burnett.
“I wasn’t quoting it. I was answering a question,” said Cuccinelli.
“I’m sorry you were giving your version of what you thought the poem should say,” said Burnett.
“I was answering a question, I’m not rewriting poetry,” said Cuccinelli.
“‘Give me your tired and poor who can stand on their own two feet and not become a public charge,'” said Burnett. “I played you saying it.”
“Right I was answering a question,” said Cuccinelli. “I wasn’t writing poetry. Don’t change the facts. You’re twisting this like everybody else in the left has done all day today.”
“You’re saying it’s important to stand your own two feet,” said Burnett.
“Yes,” Cuccinelli agreed.
“But the poem doesn’t say that, right?” said Burnett.
“I didn’t bring up the poem, an NPR reporter did, and now you,” said Cuccinelli. “I didn’t bring it up. I’ll answer substantive intelligent questions. Ask one.”
“The poem reads ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'” said Burnett. “Wretched poor refuse. That’s what the poem says America is supposed to stand for. So what do you think America stands for?”
“Well, of course, that poem was referred back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies. Where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class,” said Cuccinelli.
CNN’s Elie Honig praises DOJ lawyers for revolt against Barr: ‘Like students rising up against the oppressive headmaster’
CNN legal analyst Elie Honig on Thursday heaped praise upon Department of Justice prosecutors who disregarded many of the changes to sentencing guidelines for convicted Trump ally Roger Stone that were made by Attorney General Bill Barr.
When asked by CNN's Kate Bolduan for his reaction to the prosecutors' actions, Honig responded enthusiastically.
"I applaud what this prosecutor is doing," he said. "And as a DOJ alumni on the front lines trying cases, I'm so impressed by this. This is like the scene [in a movie] where the students rise up and push back against the oppressive headmaster."
‘Barr is a toady’: Jeffrey Toobin says talk of attorney general resigning is ‘just a big show’
CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says he doesn't believe Attorney General William Barr when he claims he considered resigning from the Trump administration.
Sources close to Barr told ABC News that the attorney general had contemplated quitting because President Donald Trump's tweets make it difficult for him to do his job.
"Barr is a toady," Toobin explained during an appearance on CNN. "Barr is doing what he's told. He had this one statement, 'Oh, whoa is me, it's hard for me to do my job when the president tweets.'"
‘That’s how authoritarian countries work’: CNN’s Toobin warns Trump is acting like a dictator
On CNN Wednesday, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin broke down the significance of President Donald Trump's decision to pardon several high-powered friends accused of political corruption and tax crimes.
"There is no doubt, under the Constitution, the president has the power to do this," said Toobin. "This is not legally a — an open question. And there is a history of controversial pardons, whether it's President Clinton pardoning Marc Rich, a fugitive financier, or George Herbert Walker Bush pardoning the Iran-Contra people on his way out of the office."
"So what makes this so troubling is in the middle of his term, here he is assigning friends, basically friends and friends of friends, to get pardons and clemency, which is how authoritarians behave, which is playing favorites with your personal friends at a time when you are playing with the opposite of favorites with prosecutorial decisions," said Toobin. "I want these people prosecuted, these people freed — that's how authoritarian countries work. Countries where there is the rule of law, there are systems in place for who gets prosecuted, who gets clemency. This is a very individually-focused way to run a presidency."