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President Trump Vows to Close U.S. Border with Mexico if Mexican Government Does Not Stop Illegal Immigration into U.S.; Rep. Ted Yoho (R) Florida is Interviewed on President Trump's Proposal to Close U.S.-Mexico Border; Attorney General William Barr Announces Coming Release of Redacted Mueller Report; Rep. Susan Wild, (D) Pennsylvania is Interviewed on President Trump's Claims of Republican Health Care Reform Ideas and Co-Sponsorship of Equal Pay Act; City of Chicago Sends Jussie Smollett Invoice for Close to $130,000 for Costs Related to Investigating Alleged Hate Crime; Georgia State House Passes Restrictive Abortion Ban Bill. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired March 30, 2019 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[10:00:16] CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to you. It's Saturday, March 30th, 2019. So good to have you here. I am Christi Paul.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I am Victor Blackwell. You are in the CNN Newsroom.
PAUL: So President Trump has a very strong message for Mexico. Stop migrants entering the U.S. or he is closing the border next week.
BLACKWELL: Listen, this is not the first time that the president has threatened to shut down the border. He has never actually followed through on the threat, but that does not mean that he won't do it this time.
PAUL: In the meantime, today is Beto O'Rourke big campaign kickoff. He has got three rallies in Texas, El Paso, Houston, Austin. All of course near the U.S.-Mexico border.
BLACKWELL: The Democratic presidential candidate has been meeting with asylum seekers, and he tweeted he will continue to push for answers on immigration. CNN's Natasha Chen is live from the border town of Hidalgo, Texas. Natasha, tell us more about what, first, President Trump said.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Victor, President Trump was claiming that a shutdown of the border would be a huge profit-making move for the U.S., but in fact there would be a huge economic loss for both countries here. We are at the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge where you can see a lot of cars now going toward the Mexico side. This is because a lot of people living in these border towns really cross daily for their business. We even met a young student just now who goes to school here, a lot of U.S. born children attend American schools but then cross the border into Mexico to be with their families. So a lot of that daily activity would be disrupted as well as
commerce. Those trucks bringing cargo actually going through a port about two miles away from us. Now, President Trump did say in his Twitter feed yesterday that if Mexico doesn't stop all illegal immigration from their side, he would close the border.
PAUL: So how would this effect imports across the border, Natasha?
CHEN: Right. First, you and I would probably see a difference at grocery stores if that were to happen because just less than half of the U.S. fruit and vegetables that are imported from all countries actually come from Mexico. So a lot of that, think of your avocados, tomatoes perhaps, a lot of these fruits and vegetables you see in the stores come from the southern side. And so we are going to see that effected probably, like I said, at the port two miles away from us where most of those trucks come in, Christi.
PAUL: All right, good to know. Natasha Chen, thank you so much for that update.
BLACKWELL: As we said, immigration will be a key focus today when Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke holds a campaign rally in his hometown of El Paso.
PAUL: The Texas city has been really the center of the immigration debate with O'Rourke and President Trump holding dueling rallies there just last month. CNN's Leyla Santiago is in El Paso. So what is planned today, Leyla? What do we expect?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in the next two hours we expect Beto O'Rourke to come right here to start his rally, to officially launch his campaign for the White House. One of the things we do expect him to talk about is immigration. And I'll tell you what, I actually just went to the border within a half mile of where we are right now. And I want to show you what we saw there, just a short video I was able to film of migrants, still a number of them, under that bridge being held. And when I talked to the mayor of Juarez, he told me that right now they have 487 people in a shelter waiting to seek asylum in the U.S.
So when we talk about shutting the border, as President Trump has said, that could mean a significant increase in waiting time for those asylum seekers if that happens.
Now, the very day that we heard President Trump say that, Beto O'Rourke also tweeted that he, too, which was yesterday, went to visit the border. So yes, I expect he will talk about that today as he officially launches his campaign. He will likely also talk health care, criminal justice reform, and climate change. Those are things he has been talking about over the last two weeks as he has visited those early voting states, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. He is now back in his hometown to talk about that on his turf where he is most comfortable, and really where he became a rising Democratic star, where he went up against Senator Ted Cruz in the midterm election and really raised some eyebrows with his fundraising abilities. For the midterm elections, he raised $80 million. His campaign saying
on day one in the first 24 hours after his announcement, we have video, he was able to raise $6.1 million. That's the most we've seen of any candidate in the field.
[10:05:05] So we'll have to see if the excitement that he creates here in El Paso will be something that he can do nationwide.
BLACKWELL: Leyla Santiago for us here in El Paso. Thanks so much.
PAUL: So Attorney General Bill Barr says the redacted Mueller report could be released in a few weeks. The Justice Department in fact is already working on those redactions.
BLACKWELL: The president first tweeted that he had nothing to hide, said it on camera as well. But then he followed up with what seemed like a warning about the release. The president is at his beach resort there at Mar-a-Lago. CNN's Boris Sanchez is not too far away in West Palm Beach. Boris, good morning to you.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. That's right. The Attorney General William Barr confirming that he is working now on redacting portions of the Mueller report. And President Trump was asked about his confidence in the attorney general, what he would like to see him do with the report. The president said he has full confidence. Listen to this.
Looks like we don't have the soundbite, but the president yesterday said that he had full confidence in the attorney general, that he trusted him to do what was right, and that he wanted transparency. He wanted the report out there.
Despite that, he did tweet this. Take a look, the president writing, quote, "Robert Mueller was a hero to the radical left Democrats until he ruled that there was no collusion with Russia, so ridiculous to even say. After more than two years since the insurance policy statement was made by a dirty cop, I got the answers I wanted, the truth." The president goes on to say that he does not believe whatever he gives Democrats will be enough. He says "So maybe we should just take our victory and say no, we've got a country to run."
So the president appears to be suggesting that he may use executive privilege to try to block some portions of the Mueller report from going to Congress, from being made public. The attorney general has said that the White House has the right to exert executive privilege but that he doesn't intend to share the report with them at this time. The president, meantime, just arrived a short time agate his golf resort here in south Florida. No public events on the schedule, except later today he is meeting with a group of supporters, Victor and Christi.
PAUL: Boris Sanchez, good to know. Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: Joining me, Republican Congressman Ted Yoho. Congressman, good morning to you.
REP. TED YOHO, (R) FLORIDA: Good morning, Victor, how are you?
BLACKWELL: I'm doing well, thank you. First, let's start here. The president says that if Mexico doesn't crackdown on migrants coming through Mexico and to the U.S. border that he is going to shut down the border. How will closing the southern border reduce the number of people who are trying to cross in or seeking asylum?
YOHO: I think what you'll see is it's an attitude of the United States that enough is enough, and that it will impede that because that message will go back to Guatemala, Honduras, these countries where these people are coming from, and that message will go out that America has changed how they're going to deal with illegal immigration, and I fully support the president on this.
BLACKWELL: You don't think that that message, that attitude, was effectively relayed when the president was elected and all that he said thus far about people coming through the southern border, and this month the CBP says they're on track for 100,000 encounters and apprehensions at the southern border. What's different about the attitude now that didn't lead to what you're hoping it will lead to now?
YOHO: It goes directly to the Mexican government. The president has said this before, but Mexico has failed to act. They have deported more people as they come into Mexico, but they have control of the border as much as we do.
And this is just as much for them as it is for us. And I talked to President Trump early on in his campaign that Mexico gets -- they've received over $2 billion in foreign aid on the war on drugs, and they've received about $300 million in foreign aid for other things, and that they really could help pay for this or we could suspend that, that would go to the border. This is something that's breaking down America. And this is the tip of the iceberg. When you see what's going on in Venezuela --
BLACKWELL: Congressman, let's stay on point here, let's stay on focus here, because I understand the leverage that the president, that the U.S. government has potentially economically over Mexico. My question is, how does closing the border stop the increase of people coming to seek asylum, because what we learned from a September, 2018, Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report, is that when the CBP regulated, slowed asylum seekers through ports of entry, that they may have seen an increase of illegal border crossings. So if you close down the border, won't all the people who were coming to ports of entry to seek asylum simply do it between ports of entry?
[10:10:00] YOHO: Well, what we're doing has not worked, as you just brought out. More people are coming in. And we're doing everything we can to stem that right now. And if it hasn't worked, I think you need to go to the next step. And we'll see what happens, and hopefully Mexico will come and help us.
BLACKWELL: But what evidence, I'm asking for evidence. To see what happens, you know that there will be a disastrous economic effect for closing down the border. You know how much commerce goes through the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico. To simply say we'll see what happens, don't you need some evidence that closing the border would reduce the number of people, as the president hopes it will, who are coming into the country illegally or coming to seek asylum? Is there any evidence that that's going to be an effective --
YOHO: I don't have a crystal ball. Nobody has a crystal ball to see how this is going to affect that. But I can tell you what we're doing is not working. Yes, it's going to be painful for some people, and trade will probably be affected somewhat. But things will get adjusted. And the goal is we want legal immigration in an orderly manner. And if we have done everything we have up to this point, and as Secretary Nielsen has said, it's a crisis, it's overrun. So we have got to change the strategy. I think this is the right way to go.
BLACKWELL: Evidence is not equal to a crystal ball, but I hear the point that there is no evidence. So let me move on to this. You're a Ranking Member on the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation. So let's talk now about North Korea, if we can. There's been the announcement that the South Korean president Moon Jae-in will be coming to the White House April 11th to talk with the president, potentially to change the strategy, because there's been, you've admitted this in the committee, there's been no progress on denuclearization with North Korea. Moon needs these sanctions to be lifted to continue to grow his economic relationship with the North. So are you concerned that Moon will convince the president to reduce sanctions? We've already seen the tweet where the president called off sanctions that were potentially headed to either China or North Korea. That wasn't even clear. What's your concern about this meeting?
YOHO: That president Moon will come here, they'll try to work that out. They have waivers where they can do humanitarian and some economic development in the Kaesong Industrial Park. President Trump did pull back on those sanctions. We on the committee are going to keep pressuring the treasury and the administration to put the sanctions on these companies that are evading the sanctions, i.e. China and Russia, Russian, Chinese banks, Chinese businesses that are funneling money for North Korea. If everybody agreed to the sanctions that were voted on --
BLACKWELL: Was the president wrong to pull back on sanctions? I apologize for interrupting, but there's a bit of a delay.
YOHO: You know what, I can't say he was wrong on that because I don't know what his strategy was. I don't have that insider information.
BLACKWELL: Sarah Sanders says the president likes Kim Jong-un and thought the sanctions weren't necessary. Let me read for you your own words here, because you said right before the Hanoi summit, "Kim Jong- un appears to be using the same play book as his two predecessors used before, which is to promise peace and denuclearization in exchange for sanctions relief. Once this is granted, the DPRK continues their deceit, lying, and continuation of a dangerous nuclear program." There is the reporting from South Korean lawmakers that they're rebuilding the launch side for long range missiles and there's no progress on denuclearization. The president likes Kim. Isn't the president being played by your own description here of what's happened before?
YOHO: No, I don't, because he has met with Kim. You've got to have a dialogue going. He's backing off sanctions that were going to go in there. Like I said, we're going to keep pushing to put those back on there. The sanctions need to go on China so that China, who does about 94 percent of trade with North Korea, will put enough pressure on North Korea for them to finally come to the table earnestly and sincerely, to let's bring this to an end.
And President Trump has to have the freedom to be able to keep a dialogue open. And if you close that all together, we're going to go back to where we were when President Obama was in office. And so I'm going to give him the flexibility of negotiating with what he thinks is right. My job is to make sure that they're held accountable, the Treasury Department, that we're going to keep putting pressure on them. And if they don't, we're going to call those committees in or those departments in.
BLACKWELL: Congressman, we will see if the president closes the border next weekend and what will be the fruit of this meeting with Moon Jae-in.
YOHO: We will see.
BLACKWELL: Congressman Ted Yoho, thanks so much for being with us this morning.
YOHO: Thank you.
PAUL: President Trump says he has a group of Republicans coming up with an alternative for Obamacare. Why apparently it's been hard to find out more about that group.
[10:15:05] BLACKWELL: Plus, an expensive demand from the city of Chicago. It's demanding that actor Jussie Smollett repay a little more than $130,000 for investigating a crime that police say never happened.
PAUL: This week President Trump said he had a group of four or five Senate Republicans coming up with a replacement for Obamacare. One sticking point is it seems no such working group exists. Two of the senators on the president's list said they've only had conversations with the president and made no mention of a formal committee.
Joining me now, Congresswoman Susan Wild, Democrat from Pennsylvania. Congresswoman, thank you so much for being with us. We know that the DOJ is arguing Obamacare should be buried in its entirety. How confident are you that President Trump will actually have a competitive plan, that the Republicans will have a competitive plan?
[10:20:12] REP. SUSAN WILD, (D) PENNSYLVANIA: Good morning, Christi. Thank you for having me. I don't know. I hope that they do. I welcome any kind of plan or proposal that provides more health care to more Americans at a more affordable price. But we have yet to see anything that's actually a plan. So it's hard to know whether there really is one.
PAUL: I know that there is a Democratic health care plan to better Obamacare that is in the works. John Goodman of "Forbes" writes this about it. He said "People with medical problems need protection from Obamacare itself. People who have to purchase health insurance on their own and aren't heavily subsidized by the government have seen, one, their premiums double, two, their deductions double and triple, and three, their access to care increasingly restricted to an ever narrower network of providers." Does the new health care plan to better Obamacare address any of those issues?
WILD: It does. I am happy to be cosponsor of the Protect Pre- existing Conditions and Make Health Affordable Act of 2019. It is a mouthful, but it pretty much states what it is all about. It really is designed to reduce health care costs, which have been really crippling for many Americans. And it's the number one issue that we hear about all the time.
PAUL: So what is the remedy?
WILD: I made a pledge on the campaign trail -- the remedy is that we need to restore some of the prior protections, but we need to make it more affordable. The bill itself increases subsidies, it increases the level at which people are eligible for tax credits, and it also takes away rights of states to undermine people with pre-existing conditions.
PAUL: So in February, Kaiser Family Foundation showed of the ACA that there was a 50 percent approval of it, 37 percent of people still disapprove of it. This is going to a hot issue in 2020. Do you see any space for there to be bipartisanship in trying to come up with a fix here?
WILD: The only thing I can say to that is it really should be a bipartisan issue. There is no person I know of, Republican or Democrat, that doesn't think this is one of our top issues. And the fact that we haven't been able to come to bipartisan consensus, the fact that so many efforts are made to repeal the ACA in its entirety, the fact that it has been chipped away is really shameful, I think, and we need to approach this as a bipartisan issue. I really hope that we will be able to get some Republicans to come to the table. And as I said before, if the administration has proposals, has a working group that has suggestions or ideas how we can do this, bring it on. I want to see it.
PAUL: There was the Equal Pay Act this week that you cosponsored. It passed with several Republicans, speaking of bipartisanship, several Republicans joining your support there. This is an act where the employer is not liable for gender pay disparity if disparity is due to merit, seniority, quality of production, or a factor other than sex.
There was something that happened on the floor, though, as I understand it, with Representative Bradley Byrne of Alabama. He said basically that you didn't understand that the gender pay equality bill that you co-sponsored, to which you tweeted "As a trial lawyer of 30- plus years, I can say with confidence that, a, I fully understand this language and that this amendment was clear attempt to undermine the fundamental objectives of the Paycheck Fairness Act, and, b, this isn't the first time someone mansplained equal pay to me." Talk to me about what that moment was for you and what we learned from it.
WILD: So I have to say this. At the time that I was arguing against Mr. Byrne's amendment on the House floor, I was not thinking of the way he was addressing me. I was thinking about the importance of making sure that this legislation got through with as much clarity as possible so that courts weren't left wondering what the intention of the act was.
As a trial lawyer for many, many, many years, I know that courts are frustrated when they have a statute in front of them that doesn't make it clear. And the whole point of our bill was to make sure that the factor other than sex could not be used by an employer to avoid liability for discrimination. Mr. Byrne's statement that I misunderstood or was confused by the language of the bill was in fact mistaken. I think Mr. Byrne himself was confused by the language of the bill, or intentionally so.
[10:25:00] PAUL: Susan Wild, Congresswoman Susan Wild, we appreciate you taking time to be with us today. Thank you.
WILD: My pleasure. Thank you.
BLACKWELL: The charges are dropped, but will actor Jussie Smollett have to pay up? Chicago's mayor demands that the city recoups more than $130,000 that police say was wasted to pay for an alleged hate crime investigation that never actually happened.
PAUL: So the city of Chicago is telling Jussie Smollett, you have got to pay up even after prosecutors dropped all charges against him.
BLACKWELL: Outgoing Mayor Rahm Emanuel made good on his promise to bill Smollett for the cost of the investigation.
[10:30:02] The city sent Smollett an invoice for little more than $130,000 that's due in five days. But Smollett's camp is firing back, saying city leaders owe the "Empire" star an apology.
Let's bring in Yodit Tewolde, criminal defense attorney, former prosecutor, and anchor on Court TV. Welcome to Atlanta.
YODIT TEWOLDE, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: It's $130,000 in five days. How do they expect to get that money back?
TEWOLDE: So there's a local municipal code that the city can use to at least litigate the issue, and it would allow the city to recoup at least three times the damage that they sustained because of falsified statements. So yes, could they go to court and litigate this matter under that code, they absolutely could. How that ends up in court, who knows? But they do have the means and the avenue to do so. BLACKWELL: And that would be a backdoor way of proving that the
statements were false, would it not? If you go into court, you can then through disclosure and discovery start to get some of all that documentation and records to prove what would have happened in the case.
TEWOLDE: Absolutely. And that's why Jussie Smollett's team is fighting back, essentially, and saying he paid enough, and we're not going to because essentially that would be kind of admitting that you did falsify statements. But that was civil, right? So he has already resolved the criminal aspect of it. So civil, that would be an implication that, yes, something was done.
PAUL: So what are Smollett's options?
TEWOLDE: At this point Smollett is pretty much in the clear in terms of criminal, right.
TEWOLDE: They dropped all charges. The way that they did that, that's another issue, but criminally he's cleared. We don't know the details of what was negotiated on the part of his team and the state's attorneys, because it is under seal. So us, the public, the media, we have no idea what happened that day in court. And the irony of all that is Jussie Smollett wanted cameras in the courtroom. He said he wanted the public to see the leaks, the misinformation, the evidence or lack thereof. And now that's under seal and we have no idea what was said on that day in court.
PAUL: What does it tell you about this, and they're saying that it wasn't a deal, but about the fact that he just forfeited that $10,000, that everything is sealed, what does that tell you about this case?
TEWOLDE: Here's the thing. His team is not going to have any arguments about the ceiling of the hearing, right? The state's attorney's office agreeing to such. That's not unusual. And the offer, the trial diversion program, that's not unusual, to be giving that as a way to divert certain offenders, the first time offenders, the nonviolent offenders, from being criminally prosecuted. It gives them an opportunity to right their wrongs through completing certain terms and conditions. And once that's done, they have an avenue to clear their record. That's not abnormal to offer to someone like Jussie Smollett who has done well in his community, who doesn't have criminal history. So to offer that is fine.
But the way in which they did it, when I was a prosecutor, I'd offer similar deals to defendants, but what I would do is communicate with those who are involved, such as a victim if they were involved, I would contact that victim, and get input as to how they would like to see the case disposed of.
Now, as a prosecutor, I had discretion in making that decision on my own and I would do that. It is the way in which the state's attorneys did it. They were out full force in the beginning. And now that they have dropped all charges, they're not full force at all in public, letting us know why. That's the issue.
BLACKWELL: Let's talk about this state's attorney office, clarifying, Kim Foxx, the state's attorney, involvement in the case, saying that she never formally recused herself, instead, quote, that she separated herself from decision making and saying that they used the term "recuse" in the colloquial format. Does that make sense?
BLACKWELL: Recusal is recusal.
TEWOLDE: Recusal is recusal. If you have some sort of conflict of interest, you should totally recuse yourself and your office. It's not enough to just say I won't touch the case and then get your second assistant or your first assistant to take care of the matter. Your whole whole office should be recused. And that wasn't done.
So she's inviting people to look into how they made the decision in terms of just dismissing all 16 counts, and she should welcome such an investigation because people do have questions. The Bar Associations have had questions, and they've criticized how they handled this matter. So no, recusal is recusal. That whole entire office should have been tainted from handling this matter because she had close communications with people in his camp. And so people without that kind of access and privilege wouldn't ever be able to just reach the D.A. themselves in any regular circumstance, so no.
PAUL: Interesting. Yodit Tewolde, again, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to Atlanta.
TEWOLDE: So good to finally meet you guys.
PAUL: We're glad to have you here.
TEWOLDE: Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you.
[10:35:00] BLACKWELL: Next, important question. Is there a crisis at the border that warrants shutting down the southern border, or is the president just playing to his base?
BLACKWELL: As officials along the southern border say that resources are extremely strained, the president is now threatening to shut down the border next week. He says Mexico is not doing enough to stop what he characterizes as a crisis, and Democrats say the crisis is mostly manufactured. Joining us now, Republican strategist and CNN Political Commentator Alice Stewart and A. Scott Bolden, former chairman of the D.C. Democratic Party. Welcome back, both of you.
SCOTT BOLDEN, FORMER D.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Victor, good morning. ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Hi, Victor.
BLACKWELL: Good morning to you. Alice, I want to start with you. I just had Republican Congressman Ted Yoho on in which I asked is there any evidence to support the theory that shutting down the southern border would reduce the number of people coming into the country illegally, or those coming to request asylum. He said I don't have a crystal ball. I am not asking for a crystal ball. If you have evidence, you don't need one. Do you have any evidence that that is going to be an effective strategy?
[10:40:04] STEWART: You made a point in that the crystal ball is not facts. But the facts are that what we are currently doing isn't working. We've had 4,000 apprehensions just in one day alone as we heard from Kirstjen Nielsen, and we need to do something. And what the president is doing now with regard to saying he is going to shut the border if things aren't changed, he is sending a clear and direct message to Mexico that they need to take action. They need to help in preventing some of these migrants from coming into this country because it is straining our resources, it is causing a crisis on the border.
And look, don't take just President Trump's words for this. Former President Obama's secretary Jeh Johnson said so himself, that he feels there's a crisis at the border. So I think we can take all of the evidence that we have with regard to what we see now and what we hear now at the border as it's time to take action. And this is a clear message to Mexico, it's time for them to also help to secure the border.
BLACKWELL: So Scott, let's start here with just assessing the problem. Do you believe there is a crisis at the southern border, a problem that must be solved?
BOLDEN: If it is a crisis at the border, Donald Trump is the one who drives that narrative and his policies drive that narrative. Remember, he is treating every immigrant that comes into this country illegally as a criminal and detaining them, and he's housing them in Mexico. Now, if we can't stop those caravans of immigrants coming, seeking asylum and the American dream, how do we expect, or how does he expect Mexico to stop them?
So his policies are driving the lack of the resources, whether you have these immigrants coming into the country illegally, but he wants to build a wall, and get $8 billion to $10 billion to do that. Why not put those resources into hiring more border agents? Why not put those resources into technology, and then the Democrats and Republicans do some immigration reform once and for all? But make no mistake about it, the overcrowding and the overrunning of detention centers and what have you Donald Trump made because of his policies.
BLACKWELL: Scott, hiring more border agencies is not going to stop the tens of thousands of people coming to the border every month, crossing the border to seek asylum.
BOLDEN: They're certainly seeking the American dream. It is not going to stop them from coming, but how about investing in those countries where they're coming from so they aren't leaving because of poverty and war and gang violence? Why not partner with those countries? That certainly would have some effect.
But listen, the U.N. laws and resolutions, we have got to accept them and get them opportunity, except get them an opportunity to seek asylum. We're not even doing that under international law. And so this is a complicated issue. We need immigration reform for both sides. But neither side has a plan or laws in place that are working right now.
BLACKWELL: Alice, let me come to you, and I want to turn to the Mueller report. House Intelligence Chair, Committee Chair, Democrat Adam Schiff tweeted this out, that "Barr should seek court approval just like in Watergate to allow release of grand jury material." Of course this is in discussion of the redactions that will be coming in the Mueller report in two weeks. Let me ask you for the argument, why not seek that release? A judge determined potential illegal acts committed during the Watergate scandal warranted that type of authorization. Why not now?
STEWART: This is longstanding policy that there is certain information that is deemed in an investigation that you simply don't release. And Attorney General Barr was quite clear.
BLACKWELL: But there is precedent. It has happened.
STEWART: Right, but at the end of the day there are standards in place and there are policies in place for a reason. And Barr made it quite clear he does want to release the Mueller report, the president has made it clear he would like to get this out there and answer a lot of these questions. But there are certain categories and certain information that needs to be protected. And that is, as you indicated, grand jury information, investigation sources and methods and protecting people that have not been indicted. And these types of information and classified information needs to be protected, and Barr is going through the correct and proper process that has been done for years to redact that information and then get out the rest of the report so that Republicans and Democrats and all Americans can find out all the information they need and put this to rest and go about everyone doing what we all should be doing, focusing on 2020.
BLACKWELL: I don't know how much focusing on 2020 would be helpful to get all the details of the report so they can know how the Russians have tried to influence. But I don't know how much stock you put into the president wanting to release the full report. He wanted to release his tax returns, he wanted to sit down with Mueller's investigators, none of those happened.
Scott, let me come to you. Jerry Nadler, House Judiciary Chair, said that Congress requires the full and complete Mueller report without redactions as well as access to the underlying evidence by April 2nd. That deadline still stands. But what happens on April 3rd when it doesn't happen?
[10:45:05] BOLDEN: Well, they can certainly issue subpoenas to get that report. And one of the things that Alice was talking about, don't worry. If the president or DOJ don't go to a judge, somebody else is going to go to the judge to have that full report released. The other option that DOJ has is to share the report in full, or in confidence or in privacy with either the big eight or with all of Congress, the House and Senate, so they can review these 300 pages.
BLACKWELL: But that's important, because just last week Speaker Pelosi said that she would reject any classified briefing on the Mueller report that typically comes for classified information to get specifically the counterintelligence findings of this investigation. If you suggest release the full report to the Gang of Eight, and she says I'm not having a classified briefing, then what option does that leave them but to redact it if she's not going to get it, even if they wanted to offer it in a classified setting?
BOLDEN: That's just one option. Whether she accepts it or not, they could do that with the big eight, and you could still go for public disclosure and full and complete disclosure, either by subpoena, or if I may, or by going to a judge and challenging the DOJ decision and seek public disclosure, and let a federal judge or the Supreme Court make that ultimate decision.
BLACKWELL: We have to wrap it. I want to give Alice 15 seconds. Hard 15.
STEWART: Scott, it is a pipe dream to think that releasing the full report to the big eight is not going to lead to big leaks in the media and with Americans. So it is critical that the classified information and information that should be protected is protected and get out what we can.
Victor made a good point, this is not so much about casting disparaging information on Trump. It is about getting to the root of Russian interference in our election and making sure that it doesn't happen again.
BOLDEN: Then release it all. Just release it all.
BLACKWELL: That was 27 seconds, Alice. That was 27 seconds.
STEWART: Sorry, Victor. Sorry.
BOLDEN: She went over the time limit.
BLACKWELL: Alice Stewart, Scott Bolden, thank you both.
BOLDEN: Thank you.
PAUL: They don't realize we're the ones getting yelled at.
BLACKWELL: Right. Thank you, though. PAUL: So Georgia passes this controversial anti-abortion bill, it's
one of the strictest in the nation. Now backlash is building, and it could cost the state millions of dollars. Stay close.
Also, we have a quick programming note for you. Be sure to watch our four part CNN original series on Richard Nixon. It explores his rise, fall, incredible come back, and in the end, political destruction. The series continues tomorrow night, 9:00 p.m., right here on CNN.
[10:52:27] BLACKWELL: Refugees come to America to escape turmoil in their countries and try to build a better life. But upon arrival, they encounter new obstacles. This week's CNN Hero helps refugees launch culinary careers, getting them one step closer to that American dream they're looking for. Meet Kerry Brodie.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERRY BRODIE, CNN HERO: What we're teaching our students isn't just knife skills and it isn't just cooking. It's the idea that you are a human you have value, and that's something that people have tried to strip away from others for such a long time.
What's the dream team cooking up? Awesome.
That experience of watching our students transform, of seeing our students really come into their own, inspires me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: To learn more about Kerry's program or to nominate someone you think should be a CNN Hero, go to CNNHeroes.com.
PAUL: Georgia lawmakers just passed a controversial anti-abortion law known as the Heartbeat Bill. It would ban abortions once doctors detect a fetal hear heartbeat, that's as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Georgia's governor, who ran on a platform vowing to enact strict abortion laws, says he will sign the legislation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This House has agreed to the Senate substitute to House Bill 481.
PAUL: The vote by Georgia State House sends one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills to the governor's desk to be signed into law.
ERICA THOMAS, (D) GEORGIA STATE HOUSE: You do not need to sign this bill, because you did this in your first year because you know you are done. You sign this bill, you are done.
PAUL: Known as the Heartbeat Bill, the measure makes it illegal for doctors in the state to perform an abortion once a heartbeat is detected, which the bill says is around six weeks. Opponents of the measure say many women don't even know they are pregnant after six weeks, and these restrictions would cause these women undue hardship. Under the bill, victims of rape or incest would be able to still receive an abortion up to 20 weeks if they file an official police report.
JEN JORDAN, (D) GEORGIA STATE HOUSE: What gives this body the right to substitute its choices for those of the women who will no doubt bear scars, the consequences, and who will face death, and now likely prison. It is not for the government or the men of this chamber to insert itself in the most personal, private, and wrenching decisions.
PAUL: Governor Brian Kemp has said he will sign the bill into law. And after lawmakers voted, he tweeted this. "Georgia values life. We stand up for the innocent and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The legislature's bold action reaffirms our priorities and who we are as a state."
[10:55:05] But Kemp's opponent in the 2018 gubernatorial election, Stacey Abrams, also reacted, tweeting this. "With one horrible exception, Georgia didn't jeopardize stability, opportunity, and leadership for dangerous legislation that treats the lives of women as political pawns. The film industry is now integral to our economy."
But if the governor signs the bill into law, as he said he would, the state faces some backlash from Hollywood. Actors Alec Baldwin, Rosie O'Donnell, Mia Farrow, and Sean Penn earlier this month joined over 40 others in opposition to the measure, sending a letter to the governor, urging him to veto the bill, and if not, for companies to pull TV and film projects from the state. "We cannot in good conscience continue to recommend our industry remain in Georgia if H.B. 481 becomes law."
PAUL: And we'll keep you posted how that advances. But thank you so much for spending your Saturday with us. We hope you make good memories today.
BLACKWELL: There is a lot ahead in the next hour of CNN's Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield. It starts right after the break.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone and thank you so much for joining me in Atlanta this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with President Donald Trump doubling down on his threat to close the U.S. border with Mexico. He now says if Mexico does not stop all illegal immigration, he could close the border --