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Obama's 9-0 Court Loss; Boehner Suing Obama

Aired June 26, 2014 - 18:28   ET


S.E. CUPP, CO-HOST: Wolf, it isn't only Republicans who think President Obama has gone too far. The entire Supreme Court passed judgment today, and our debate starts right now.


ANNOUNCER: Tonight on CROSSFIRE, in the grudge match between the president and Congress, Congress wins.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: It's a clear, clear rebuke to the president's brazen power grab.

ANNOUNCER: And what should happen to the tens of thousands of children pouring across the border?

On the left, Van Jones and Stephanie Cutter. On the right, Newt Gingrich and S.E. Cupp. What can President Obama still accomplish in his second term?

Plus, the "Outrage of the Day." Tonight on CROSSFIRE.


CUPP: Welcome to CROSSFIRE. I'm S.E. Cupp on the right, and we're all here again. I'm joined by Newt Gingrich, and on the left by Stephanie Cutter and Van Jones.

President Obama keeps swatting away accusations of executive overreach as merely obstructionist nonsense, but today the Supreme Court unanimously told the president his actions are unconstitutional. Today's ruling on recess appointments is just the beginning of a wide- ranging objection of the imperial presidency.

Speaker John Boehner is preparing to sue the president for just this sort of behavior from Obamacare changes and delays to rewriting federal criminal sentencing and locking Congress out of important foreign policy decisions.

Today's message from the court was clear: the imperial presidency is no longer the law of the land.

So do you think that this imperils the president's phone and pen plan?

STEPHANIE CUTTER, CO-HOST: No, S.E., I don't. I had a feeling you would say that. Shocking.

What the Supreme Court said today is that presidents have to wait longer than three days in a Senate recess to appoint someone. Well, the recess power has been used all the way back to George Washington. That's the extent of the ruling today. Big deal.

And let's remember why the president was recess-appointing people in the first place. Because Republicans in the Senate were blocking all of his nominees.

So this is -- today is really about Republicans rejoicing in obstruction rather than the downfall of the imperial presidency.

CUPP: The 13th -- 13th unanimous decision against the president by the Supreme Court.

CUTTER: John Boehner's lawsuit over executive actions. Let's put up on the screen about how many presidents have used executive actions.

Reagan is almost twice the number of President Obama in terms of using his executive power.

CUPP: Yes.

CUTTER: And the entire reason he's doing this is because Congress is refusing to act. And I think the American people appreciate the fact that the president is going -- is not going to wait for Congress to continue obstructing. He's going to take action under his constitutional authority.

CUPP: Unlawful action.

NEWT GINGRICH, CO-HOST: It's a frustrating thing to have a constitution, to have the rule of law. You know, the Democrats had -- no, listen.

CUPP: It is a pain.

CUTTER: Did you have a problem with Ronald Reagan using executive power?

GINGRICH: Of course not. Neither did Tip O'Neill. So you have to ask yourself, if the Democrats who controlled the House for all eight years didn't think Reagan was writing executive orders that were illegal, maybe it's because Reagan actually obeyed the law. This president...

CUTTER: John Boehner couldn't even articulate what his problem was today. Couldn't even articulate which executive order he was suing over.

CUTTER: This is a political gimmick. He doesn't even have standing to file this lawsuit. It's a political gimmick.

You know what the American people would rather have? Action on immigration reform, which she's refusing to bring to a vote, action on increasing fair wages across the country, making college education more affordable.

GINGRICH: The American people would like to have...

CUTTER: That's what the American people would like.

GINGRICH: The American people would like to have a president who acted like a president who stayed home and fixed the Veterans Administration, who fired the people at the IRS who magically are losing all of their computer information. A president who insisted that the attorney general actually appoint an independent counsel. I mean, you have a president who's played an amazing amount of golf and is off in Minnesota today...

VAN JONES, CO-HOST: That's another -- that's another mythology -- first of all...

GINGRICH: It's not a mythology. It's a fact.

JONES: He's played less golf than anybody else. He's had less executive orders than others.

CUTTER: That's not worth arguing over.

JONES: I want to ask you a question. First of all, you love the Constitution. I love the Constitution. We're all friends of the Constitution here.

Do you believe that a House resolution is enough to create standing for the speaker of the House to bring a lawsuit? No constitutional -- no. No constitutional scholar -- Ed Gimorinski (ph) came out today and said this whole thing is a farce.

Do you support Boehner with this stunt to abuse our court system and waste our money to try to -- to try to...?

GINGRICH: It's not a stunt. The House has the ability to spend money out of its own budget. The House can instruct its lawyer -- we did this when I was speaker. The House can instruct its lawyer to file a lawsuit.

JONES: If you have standing. If you have standing. But you don't.

GINGRICH: You don't know. You won't know until the court rules.

JONES: Why don't you just impeach him? In other words, if the president is so awful and so terrible and so awful, why don't you guys just come forward and say, "We've got to impeach him"?

GINGRICH: The technically correct thing to do would be to cut off the money. But as you know, the president will promptly grandstand. I mean, the truth is this president has decided there are no limits...

JONES: That's just...

GINGRICH: ... to what he can do.

CUTTER: Let's talk about grandstanding for a second. Today on the Senate floor, this was Ted Cruz.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Attorney General Eric Holder continues to refuse to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the abuse of power by the IRS against the American people. He should be impeached.


GINGRICH: What do you find wrong with that?

CUTTER: Well, 39 interviews with IRS employees, dozens or hearings, 750,000 pages of documents turned over to Congress, 24,000 of Lois Lerners e-mails from the crash period already recovered, a commitment to find more. Absolutely zero evidence in more than a million pieces of evidence of any wrongdoing.

GINGRICH: You want to ask Mrs. Grassley?

CUTTER: Absolutely. There was nothing wrong with that either. Lois Lerner asking a question about whether that should be looked at? What's wrong with that?

CUPP: Let me correct you. Let me just correct you. The IRS commissioner in an interview today with Wolf said they're still getting to the bottom of all of that. There are six, now seven investigations going on. But we don't have all of the answers.

CUTTER: Do you have any...

CUPP: The commissioner is admitting that.

CUTTER: With all of the evidence that you have right now, S.E., would you admit that there has been nothing, no -- no smoking gun so far?

CUPP: The commissioner of the IRS finally today apologized for improper actions.

CUTTER: Have you seen anything out of all of these documents?

CUPP: For improper actions. He can't answer why the e-mails are missing yet, and even he agrees we need to get to the bottom of that.

CUTTER: All -- this is all about whether or not the IRS improperly targeted Tea Party groups. And there is not one piece of evidence that there was any impropriety there at all.

JONES: I'd actually like to point something out here. People act like the Tea Party was singled out and targeted. This whole mythology, this more mythology. You know, the No. 1 groups that were put in this holding pen,

progressive groups, then medical marijuana groups, then ACORN successors, then Tea Party groups. So the Tea Party was not singled out -- in fact, my organization was singled out...

GINGRICH: Well, why aren't you mad?

JONES: You know why?

CUTTER: Do you believe that political organizations should get tax-exempt status?

JONES: If they're involved in elections? Because that was a problem.

GINGRICH: I believe when you've organized a group, and it takes longer for the IRS to approve the group, then the length of the group's purpose, there's something profoundly wrong with the way that the system works.

JONES: And actually, what's profoundly wrong is...

GINGRICH: And by the way, let me just say for the record...


GINGRICH: ... I had the IRS file a lawsuit against me and we -- and against a foundation I worked with. By the time we were done, we actually -- the judge insisted that the IRS apologize. And so I'm -- I am very skeptical...

JONES: Nobody...

GINGRICH: ... very skeptical of politicized IRS.

JONES: Listen, nobody's a fan of the IRS, political or otherwise. So let's just start with that. But I think there's a big misunderstanding.

GINGRICH: Then why defend them?

JONES: I think it's a big -- let me just finish. I think it's a big misunderstanding here. You just admitted that these organizations were created for the purpose to influence the election and 5013-c organizations cannot influence the election, and that's the whole purpose. The IRS jumped in, because you're supposed to be a PAC to a political election, not a c-3.

GINGRICH: No, no, no.

JONES: And they were right to move in. They may have handled it badly, but they were right to move in.

GINGRICH: You can have a legitimate desire to educate people in a timely manner that is not tied to a specific election, and the IRS drags you out forever in getting approval. CUTTER: Rather than debating -- look, you know, the IRS is a

reality in our lives. Nobody is a fan of it. We all have to pay taxes.

But the bigger -- the bigger problem here is that Republicans are trying to create political havoc over this where there is none. And as a result, important things aren't getting done in Congress.

Like I said before, rather than going to the floor and saying that, you know, the attorney general should be impeached. Ted Cruz should actually be looking at solving the problem on the border or getting real things done that the American people care about.

JONES: And S.E....

CUPP: Why do senators and congressmen even bother showing up? The president has said he doesn't need them. They are irrelevant.

CUTTER: Because they don't do anything. If they showed up and actually voted...

CUPP: You know he's also going around Democrats. And they're not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) decisions either.

CUTTER: You know who wanted to vote on immigration? Democrats. You know who won't bring immigration to the House floor? John Boehner, speaker of the House, Republican. They were happy to work with Congress if they would actually move on something.

CUPP: You know who is angry -- you know who are angry with the president? Democrats for going around them when they released terrorists in the Bowe Bergdahl exchange. You know who's angry with the president? Democrats for going around them in Libya. You know who's angry with the president? Democrats for not telling them about the NSA spying program. This is the problem.

When you say Congress is irrelevant, it's not just Republicans you mistreat. It's Democrats, too. They're elected officials, as well.

CUTTER: Every one of the Democrats you pointed out understand that the president would like to work with them on important issues of the day, but Republicans are obstructing any progress.

JONES: OK. Hold up. We've got to take a break here. When we come back we're going to knock down some more mythology. At this time it's mythology about what's actually behind the crisis along the U.S. border.

That brings us to today's CROSSFIRE quiz. How many children unaccompanied by adults have crossed the border since October? Is it 7,000, 24,000, or 51,000? I will give you that answer when we get back.


JONES: Welcome back.

Now here's the answer to our CROSSFIRE quiz. Since October, 51,000 unaccompanied children have come across our southern border.

Now, Republicans want to blame the president -- of course. But if Obama's embraced the DREAM Act was the actual main magnet to bring the kids here, wouldn't the kids be coming from all around the world? At least they would be coming from Mexico. That's right next door.

But they're not. Instead they're mostly coming from three countries, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. The three countries that are falling apart right now.

Now, also kinds from these countries are fleeing. They're not just fleeing to the United States. These kids are going to Belize, and to Costa Rica, and to Panama and to Mexico. Is that the president's fault, too?

These kids are running for their lives into the arms of dangerous smugglers, because they're refuges. Now, isn't helping kids like that exactly what makes America great? Now, to me, instead of beating up on the president, we should be focusing on helping these children.

Now, Newt, help me understand -- you see these kids, you see what they're going through at the border. You see what's happening to these people. Why are we doing pinata politics beating up the president instead of coming together and saying these kids are in trouble, let's help them?.

NEWT GINGRICH, CO-HOST: I think, first of all, the Van Jones doctrine, which is -- if you come from a country that's not pleasant, scream political asylum and we shall let you in. The Gallup world poll last year found 165 million people who said they like to come to America. There are about 30 million people -- that's 1 1/2 times the population of Florida -- who live in the countries you just described.

Now, just take a look for one second at this chart. We have gone -- we used to have historically 6,000 or 7,000 people a year who came in a year as unaccompanied minors. That has now jumped to 90,000 estimate for this year and to 142,000 estimate for next year.

Now, my question for you would be -- by the way, they're not sneaking across the border. They're not with coyotes in the desert. They are walking up to the America immigration site and saying, having memorized the lines saying, "Hi, I am a political refugee and I seek political asylum." You know these kids are being trained to say this.

JONES: Yes, but here's --

GINGRICH: It is a lie. They're not traditionally --

JONES: No, that's not true. That's not true. That's not true.

GINGRICH: Fleeing a place that's dangerous is not being a political refugee.

JONES: Hold on a second. First of all, you have these countries completely falling apart.

GINGRICH: So, how many Syrian children should we let in?

JONES: First can I say something on behalf of these kids?

What's happening is both parties should be outraged. What's happening is smugglers are going to these families, going to these moms, going to these dads, lying to these people ands saying, we will take your children and get them to the United States. It will be safe.

GINGRICH: They're not lying.

JONES: Hold on a second.

GINGRICH: They're getting them there.

JONES: Newt, listen to what I'm saying. This is seriously a problem that's happening in our region. It's not just the United States. These kids are fleeing all over because of how destabilized (INAUDIBLE).

But our laws -- Bush administration laws say if you're a refugee -- if you' not coming here to get a job at McDonald's, you're running for your life, we take you in and we help you. Do you think that the Obama administration should turn its back on the Bush administration law and should turn its back on the American tradition of accepting refugee children? Refugee children?

GINGRICH: No, I think, first of all, that the United States Congress should change the law with the president's help and leadership because the way the law is currently working, you're going to have people who show up -- use your standard, Nigeria, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Iraq. I mean, every place is dangerous, people could so say, "I'm a political refugee."

STEPHANIE CUTTER, CO-HOST: You know what would be a good solution?


CUTTER: Passing good immigration reform.


CUTTER: Would you tell your Republican colleagues in the House to bring it to a vote?

GINGRICH: The biggest enemy of immigration reform here --

CUTTER: It's been sitting there for a year.

GINGRICH: -- is Obama. No Republican -- no Republican wants this administration --

CUTTER: Record increase in border security has sent a message to Central America that there are no open doors here if you send your children, and has been in favor and put a plan in the table on comprehensive immigration reform which has a record increase in border security funding but the Republicans won't bring it to a vote.

GINGRICH: Explain -- that's what's amazing.

CUTTER: But you can't explain it, but you're blaming the Obama administration. But you can't explain.


GINGRICH: What I was shocked by is these kids aren't sneaking over the border. They're walking up to the official border crossing going -- hi. Let me read to you, I am a political refugee.

CUTTER: Under a law that's passed by the Bush administration -- this administration is following the law.

S.E. CUPP, CO-HOST: What you have to understand is, it's perfectly acceptable to blame Bush for this, but not at all acceptable to blame Obama.

CUTTER: No, I'm not blaming Bush. I'm saying we should change the law. We should reform the law.


CUPP: And even analyzing why this is happening this means you don't care about children.


CUPP: I would love to know, Van, what you would do because I think there's been a failure across the board, a failure of leadership -- pox on all houses. What would you do -- forgetting passing immigration reform, what would you do about the current crisis on the border, where would these kids go?

JONES: First of all, probably half of them have legitimate grounds for refugee status. So we've got to deal with that. We can't break our own laws and throw them back over the borders. Number one, I would follow our own laws to try to deal with them.

But number two, I would put it right back on you guys. It seems to me that what you're saying is that because the president has embraced the DREAM Act, that's a magnet bringing people here.

So, I want to ask you, guys, do you think the proper response is for us to start deporting DREAMers and how many DREAMers are -- are you willing to go through playgrounds, kindergarten, wherever, dragging DREAMer kids out and throwing them out to send the right signal? How many DREAMers it should be?

GINGRICH: You have a ship which is sinking. You don't have to get on an argument about three other ships. You had a jump from 7,000 a year to 90,000, projected to 140,000. This is a clear and immediate problem.

CUPP: No, you're not allowed to associate that with Obama policies there, Newt.

JONES: Well, actually, I think you can associate them with the failure of the Republican House to pass the comprehensive -- we need an orderly --

GINGRICH: How would that change this?

JONES: Well, I tell you how it would change it --

CUPP: In the past year, Republicans --


CUTTER: That we are united on our immigration laws. We are reforming our immigration laws to ensure that we have strong border security.

GINGRICH: For a president who said he will not --

CUTTER: And that law is perfectly clear that anybody illegally entering the country, once that law is passed, has to be deported.

GINGRICH: No one in the Bush administration --

CUTTER: That's an important message to send if you care about this.

GINGRICH: No one in the Bush administration thought you would jump from 7,000 to 142,000.

CUPP: Here's where I think there's been a failure of leadership because we're not even framing this debate properly. The main sticking point between Democrats and Republicans is always a pathway to citizenship. Well, if you look, if you ask actual immigrants, they're not prioritizing a pathway to citizenship. They're prioritizing legal status.

We keep offering this arbitrary road block, put it in our own ways, instead of actually talking about the thing that most illegal immigrants actually want, which is legal status. A lot of them want to go back home when they're done.

CUTTER: Let's bring to vote. Let's bring it to a vote.

CUPP: It's not just Republican. Democrats are refusing to acknowledge this reality as well.

CUTTER: We should just vote on this.

GINGRICH: Hold on. Stay here. We want you to weigh in on today's Fireback question. Does the U.S. need a stronger third political party? Tweet yes or no using #Crossfire. We'll have results after the break. We also have the outrage of the day. When you hear about Bill

Clinton's latest clumsy attempt to appear normal, you may be outraged, too.


GINGRICH: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.

Now, it's time for the outrage of the day. I'm both outraged and amused by Bill Clinton's rush to help his wife seem like a normal person. The other day he went all out in his attempt to define Clinton normalcy. Now, we have his latest contribution, bragging about buying a few gifts during a trip to give away to friends just like anyone would, except these gifts are 14 designer watches worth $550 each, as well as a couple of rugs.

So, the next time a friend gives you a t-shirt or jelly or chocolate bar for vacation, thank them for carrying on the Clinton tradition and just think about what you could get if you knew some really normal people.

CUPP: Well, this is -- I mean, I know that seems like a trivial sort of anecdote.

JONES: Yes, kind of.

CUPP: But this is the problem with the Hillary book tour. Can anyone at this table quote me anything from "Hard Choices," anything at all?

That's the problem. There was a book at the center of this tour that no one can talk about because the only thing that came out was that the Clintons are out of touch.

Also, Bill, this is the modern watch. Welcome to the 21st century.

CUTTER: I want Newt to bring me back a jelly next time he's on the road.


CUTTER: (INAUDIBLE) this week's primaries in Mississippi, Sarah Palin is repeating her call for a third party.

So, let's check back on our Fireback results. Does the U.S. need a stronger third political party? Right now, 70 percent of you say yes, 30 percent say no.

These results do not surprise me.

JONES: Yes, honestly, I was a registered Green Party member. Green Party member until Obama came along. I became a Democrat when Obama showed up.

And I think a lot of people feel like neither party is representing them and it's like both parties feel like they're too corrupted by Wall Street. Unfortunately, though, very, very difficult to make these third party things work unless you're talking about like municipal elections.

CUTTER: I don't think anyone is looking to Sarah Palin to run that third party.

GINGRICH: Well, but you also, in recent time, you had Perot, who certainly was a big factor in '92 defeat of George H.W. Bush. I think that Nader to some extent hurt Gore and may have been, the margin difference, although it's such a weird election.


CUPP: What if Bloomberg runs as an independent?

GINGRICH: I think either party has a danger.

CUPP: Yes.

GINGRICH: If people get sour on the Democratic nominee, you can get a party on the left, if people get sour on the Republican nominee, you get a party on the right. And it could have -- as this showed, there's a lot bigger hunger in the country for breaking loose.

CUTTER: I agree.

The debate continues online at, as well as on Facebook and Twitter. Join us next time for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.