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Lori Loughlin Charged With Money Laundering in College Bribe Plot; Nadler Says We Will Subpoena for all Unredacted Mueller Report; Barr Won't Answer Whether White House Has Been Briefed on Report; Attorney General Says I Don't Support Future Family Separations; Interview with Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL); Former Treasury Chief Says Mnuchin Would Likely Break Law If He Hinders A Release of Trump's Tax Returns. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired April 9, 2019 - 14:00   ET


[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin, you are watching CNN on this Tuesday afternoon, and I'm live in the nation's capitol and there is a lot to get to this afternoon.

I want to begin with the breaking news in the massive college admission scandal. More than a dozen parents including actress Lori Loughlin now facing additional charges including money laundering. This happening just one day after Felicity Huffman and others pleaded guilty. Let's start with Brynn, she's our national correspondent who has been covering this from the very beginning. And so, Brynn, what do we know?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The stakes got higher, 16 parents in all now facing an additional charge. Let's back up a second and remember that all of the parents connected to this college admissions scheme were originally charged in a criminal complaint with one federal charge. The government has always been saying, according to our sources, if you don't plead and if you don't cooperate with us, you do face the risk of an additional charge.

And that is what we're seeing today. An indictment now against 16 parents and including now this charge of money laundering. It does come after we saw 13 parents, including Felicity Huffman plead guilty yesterday, taking ownership of what the government said they did with their connection to the college admissions scheme. Felicity Huffman giving a very long, heart felt seemingly apology in a statement yesterday.

But, yes, this again, stakes are higher and we're talking now about Lori Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, and now facing more charges and going back to court and face a judge and be arraigned on these new charges.

BALDWIN: Brynn, thank you. Joey Jackson, our CNN legal analyst here. So, help us understand. For the parents that aren't taking ownership, is this a way for prosecutors to hit them hard?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Brooke, good to be with you. That is absolutely the case. Remember what we've seen prior to this. The setup to this is that we saw a number of parents agree to enter pleas of guilty. Prosecutors believe they have the goods here. They believe that, listen, in the event that you want to take a plea and accept responsibility, remember under the federal guidelines it is not contrition matters, acceptance of responsibility.

You get a score. What the feds do is they look at your criminal history, and then they look at the offense level with regard to what you did and that represents a score under the federal sentencing guidelines. Now if you want to deviate from those guidelines and it is advisory, not mandatory, accepting some responsibility is a way to get a bet eve-- a better score and which results in a bet every sentence.

If you want to plead, you plead early and apparently those who have are rewarded because in addition to pleading early, you could agree to turn state's evidence. That is to cooperate and give the federal government information relevant to the case and help them build a case. And I'll say this. In addition to the indictment with additional charges, that raises the stakes as Brynn Gingras was speaking about. There could be based on this investigation other parents and other administrators, other coaches who are embroiled in this.

And so, there is no question that this raises the ante and pretty much brings people to the table and says, plea now, and if you fight the power, that is the government, you have an awful lot of explaining to do.

BALDWIN: Upping the ante and sending a message from the government. Joey Jackson, thank you very much. We'll keep our eye on that.

I want to move along and take a turn to the first face-off between Democratic lawmakers and Attorney General Bill Barr over the Mueller report. House Democrats on the Appropriation Committee grilled him all morning about how he handled this 300, 400-page report and when it will be released and whether the White House will or has seen. And he talked about the litter released on March 24th and when the special counsel had any say in it.


WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The letter of the 24th, Mr. Mueller's team did not play a role in drafting that document. Although he offered in the opportunity to review it before we sent it out and he declined that. Right now, the special counsel is working with us on identifying information in the reports that fall under those four categories. We will color code the excisions from the report and provide explanatory notes describing the basis for each redaction.

[14:05:05] From my standpoint, by -- within a week. I will be in a position to release the report to the public and then I will engage with the chairman of both judiciary committees about that report and about any further requests that they have.

REP. NITA LOWEY (D-NY): Did the White House see the report before you released your summarizing letter? Has the White House seen it since then? Have they been briefed on the contents beyond what was in your summarizing letter to the judiciary committee?

BARR: I've said what I'm going to say about the report.


BALDWIN: CNN senior Congressional correspondent Manu Raju is outside of the room on Capitol Hill and you just talked to Chairman Nadler. What did he share with you?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the chairman of the House judiciary committee not happy with that testimony from this morning. Namely Bill Barr saying he will not provide the unredacted report to the House judiciary committee and he did not intend to go to court to seek a court order to release the grand jury information of witnesses who testified before the Mueller investigation.

That was something that also Nadler demanded. I talked to him just moments ago and he said that he planned to serve the Justice Department with a subpoena if that redacted report comes to Capitol Hill and includes those redactions as Barr had made very clear he plans to do. He said that they're going to wait until the report, they receive the redacted report until they serve the Justice Department with the subpoena.

So, a bit of news there. Because before he had not said that as explicitly. They had been authorized to serve subpoenas, the House judiciary committee approved to serve them but had not made a decision on whether to issue them and in the aftermath of Bill Barr's testimony that the committee will not get the unredacted vote and he made it clear this will be a subpoena fight and for that information.

He also discussed the -- what Bill Barr said about the grand jury information, saying there is nothing in the law or show me a provision in the law in which grand jury information should go over to Capitol Hill. That is what Barr said today. Nadler responded and said this is ample precedent in his side he believes the Starr investigation for the Watergate investigation and where grand jury information has been provided to Capitol Hill.

He also raised questions of concerns about the White House -- him -- Barr not saying whether the White House had been briefed about the full Mueller report and said that an unacceptable response. So, you're seeing tension building here between the House Democrats and the Justice Department over the Mueller report and the clear sign, a subpoena will be served in just a matter of days now that the -- it is certain that they'll get a redacted report within the next week.

BALDWIN: That is new news from the chairman. I appreciate that. Let's start there. With me, CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash, also with us, Paul Rosenzweig, who served as senior counsel to independent counsel Ken Starr during the Whitewater investigation and he is currently a senior fellow at the R Street Institute. we have a lot to talk about that how that is hanging over this current situation. But first to you, subpoenas getting served up and obviously the Democrats want to see every single word of this thing. They don't want the redactions. Can you just speak a little bit to what the Democrats are trying to do and how tensions are --

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Listen, it became very clear with the exchange between the committee and the Attorney General there is no immediate intention at the Department of Justice to give even Congress the full report, the unredacted report. And so that obviously caused some worry among Democrats. And that is why they clearly are taking the next step. And look, this is -- and you will speak to this far different from what we did -- we saw with the Starr report and there is a reason for it and that is because this is a different statute. This is a special counsel and he is somebody who is falling under the purview or did fall under the purview of the Justice Department and he was appointed with very specific guidelines and the Department of Justice and Attorney General has a lot of leeway on who sees what and for what

BALDWIN: Obviously during the Ken Starr investigation, members of Congress got all of that, right? And so that is what -- that precedent was set and Mr. Barr was very clear today in saying, no, you will not be seeing those details, he mentioned the color-coded redactions and specifically won't see the grand jury information. What do you make of what is happening now and why can't Congress get it all?

[14:10:04] PAUL ROSENZWEIG, FORMER SENIOR COUNSEL TO INDEPENDENT COUNSEL KEN STARR: Well, that is a great question. And I think the answer is Congress could if Barr wanted to let them have it.

BALDWIN: Exactly.

ROSENZWEIG: The choice that he's making is a conscious choice. He could go to court to ask for authority to release it. That is what happened in the Starr investigation. That is what happened in the Jaworski investigation and there is a provision of law that allows for the disclosure in cases of intelligence and foreign influence kinds of things without the intervention of a court at all. It is already in the statute and so he could make a disclosure to Congressman Schiff and Nunes as part of the intelligence committee investigation and if he wants to. But he has chosen not to. The interesting question is going to be why and whether or not this is consciously hiding something.

BALDWIN: What about the piece, he was definitive no on the grand jury information and quite transparent for much of the morning say I'll do x, y and z and when he was asked whether or not the White House has been or would be briefed, he tap danced. He tap danced.

ROSENZWEIG: It is a very interesting contrast because in his letter he said that the President had publicly said he wouldn't claim privilege so I'm not going to give them the report in order to conduct a review.

BALDWIN: How do you square that?

ROSENZWEIG: I think something has changed in the intervening time. As it seems --

BALDWIN: What could it be?

ROSENZWEIG: It seems the President's attitude has changed as well so maybe the President has had a chance to read the entire report and doesn't think it is as good for him as he liked it -- when it was just a four-page summary.

BALDWIN: Is that a possibility?

BASH: That would be a headline is the President was able to read it.


BALDWIN: Is that a possibility?

ROSENZWEIG: Anything is possible. Certainly, Barr has every authority to share it with the President if he wants. He works for the President and the fact that he won't -- no is an easy answer. Has the President seen it? No. He wouldn't say that. And he did say that two and a half weeks ago.

BALDWIN: That is noteworthy. What else from this morning watching, your biggest takeaway.

BASH: The fact that Barr revealed that he and his team asked Robert Mueller if they would like to coordinator consult on the letter that he wrote, that four-page letter. And Robert Mueller said no. He declined to have anything to do with it.

Which I think says a lot about Robert Mueller's -- well daylight but also his understanding of how this is going to be perceived and that is -- that Bill Barr is a political appointee, that this is going to be a political letter, and also why would he help in summarizing a summary that Mueller spent so long doing. Just put out his own summary. And so, he said, I did my job and I tried to stay as apolitical as possible and I'm out and this is your deal.

BALDWIN: OK. Paul and Dana, thank you so much. Good to see both of you.

President Trump meantime is disputing his senior administration officials today after it was reported that the President now wants to reinstate and broaden the controversial family separation policy.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: President Obama had child separation. Take a look. The press knows and we all know it. I'm the one that stopped it. President Obama had child separation. Now I'll tell you something, once you don't have it, that is why you see many more people coming. They are coming like it is a picnic, because let's go to Disneyland.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You're not going to bring it back?

TRUMP: We're not looking to do that. Thank you very much. But it does -- it brings a lot more people to the border. When you don't do it, it brings a lot more people to the border.


BALDWIN: So that is a lie. Here are the facts. Under past administrations some border crossers were occasionally prosecuted for guidelines during the Obama and George w. Bush administration prioritized the deportation of criminals and drug running and gang affiliation if they arrived with children they were indeed separated. But here is where the President doesn't tell the truth.

Under his 2018 zero-tolerance policy, those guidelines were tossed out and any border crosser accused of criminal activity, including the act of crossing the border illegally, was prosecuted and that is what triggered this surge in family separation.

Despite President Trump saying he's not trying to separate families, a senior administration official tells CNN that Trump has now empowered his aide Stephen Miller, a hard liner when it comes to cracking down at the border, to take the lead on immigration that official telling Jake Tapper that the President, quote/unquote, just wants to separate families.

[14:15:05] And my next guest is one of three Democratic Congresswomen who were denied entry at a child detention center in Florida. She is Congresswoman Donna Edna Shalala. And so, thank you for being with me.

REP. DONNA SHALALA (D-FL): You're welcome.

BALDWIN: So, I want to get into what happened to you and the other two women in a second. But first on the news here, do you believe President Trump when he said he is not looking to restart these family separations?

SHALALA: No. It's very clear that he is going to restart the family separations. Enough people in the administration have reported that. And he believes that family separations actually reduce the number of people that come to the border. And that simply is not true. His lack of investment in the countries are coming from, the fact that he wants to pull the money out of El Salvador and Honduras and Guatemala is very dangerous because those are the places that people are fleeing.

BALDWIN: You are referring to the aid they want to pull. And the President's new Attorney General was asked about this testifying on Capitol Hill and this is his response.


REP. GRACE MENG (D-NY): So, would you enforce and put forth policies of new discussions that have been happening about President Trump wanting to restart this separation practice?

BARR: Well, I can say -- I personally sitting here am not familiar with those discussions.

MENG: What would you support continuation of separation of families?

BARR: I support the President's policy which is we're not going to separate families.


BALDWIN: So, I hear you Congresswoman saying, you don't believe the President, would you believe the Attorney General that they'll stop separating the families?

SHALALA: It is very clear there is a lack of communication with the Attorney General about the policies that are being planned. The President simply comes up with them and he rarely notifies the cabinet officers that are in charge, the secretary of homeland security, it was very clear that she was not notified about major policies and policy changes that took place and where decisions were made in the White House. I'm not surprised at his answer. He's just not part of the discussion going on.

BALDWIN: Has the President -- you don't think the President's own Attorney General is involved in those corporations.

SHALALA: He said he's not. He supported the policy but he gave every impression he wasn't part of any discussions that are taking place at the White House about an immoral policy to take children away from their families.

BALDWIN: And let me add a layer to this. We're also reporter here at CNN that President Trump told federal border agents to break the law and essentially ignore judges overseeing the immigration policies. Do you think that the President should be investigated over this?

SHALALA: Well, certainly he should be held accountable over this. Look, we have the law on our side to go and inspect a facility that Houses 1500 teenagers who have been taken away from their families, who have not been placed back with those families. The law was very clear. We read the law to the officials there and they refused to let us in.

BALDWIN: Why were you denied?

SHALALA: They said they didn't have the authority to let us in. The contractor that was there, when we tried to call the department, the office of refugee resettlement -- by the way, I ran that department for eight years. No one answered the phone. They knew we were coming. We notified them a week ahead of time. And they would not let us in. This is really breaking the law.

The law is very clear, it was past as part of the appropriations bill saying any member of Congress could enter those detention facilities at will. We need to spot check them. We need to make sure the children are being taken care of.

They don't have that rule about inspecting nursing homes in this country. They don't notify people ahead of time that they're going to go and inspect nursing homes in the department. But they want to hold back members of Congress from taking a very careful look at the housing, the detentions of thousands of teenagers and in that case the homestead facility, they want to almost double it.

They're going to have more kids there than we have at homestead high school and they go home to their families. This is unforgivable what this administration is doing. It is anti-children, anti-family. It doesn't represent American values.

[14:20:00] BALDWIN: Congresswoman Donna Shalala, thank you so much. Nice to have you on.

And we're keeping an eye on the hill as Steven Mnuchin is testifying before the House Financial Services Committee and we're waiting to see if he'll block the release of President Trump's tax returns.

Plus, we'll look at the nine top administration officials that dare to tell the President, no.


[14:25:03] BALDWIN: Right now, there is a battle over President Trump's taxes goes down to the wire, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is being grilled by House Democrats about his potential role in their release. The House Ways and Means Committee want the IRS commissioner to hand over six years of Trump's federal returns by tomorrow. The head of the committee said a 1924 statute requires it if they are requested.

But a source close to the White House tells CNN, no way. The President is willing to his department includes the IRS is trying to take this fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and now Secretary Mnuchin trying to soothe concerns that he may block the request on behalf of his boss.


STEVEN MNUCHIN, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: I want to acknowledge that we did receive the request and as I've said in the past, when we received the request it would be reviewed by our legal department and it is our intent to follow the law. As you know, the law calls for a request to me. As you've said, there is a tradition of delegating certain responsibilities. I would comment that it is my responsibility to supervise the commissioner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you spoken to the White House chief of staff or the President about this decision?

MNUCHIN: I have not spoken to the White House chief of staff or the President about this decision.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Has anyone from the White House talked to you about this decision?

MNUCHIN: I have not had any conversations with anybody in the White House about this issue personally.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any type of communication, --

MNUCHIN: I personally have not had any communication with anybody in the White House but I want to be specific, that relates to me and not everybody at Treasury.


BALDWIN: Well my next guest said he needs to step back and let the IRS do its job. This is Larry Summers, he served as Treasury Secretary for President Clinton. Secretary Summers, a pleasure, sir.


BALDWIN: So, you wrote this "Washington Post" op-ed and part of it I will just quote you. You write, "for the secretary to seek to decide whether to pass on the Pres.'s tax return to Congress would surely be inappropriate and probably illegal."

Secretary, inappropriate is one thing. And illegal is another. How did you reach that conclusion?

SUMMERS: The -- there is a long-standing determination under which the Secretary of The Treasury delegates the enforcement to the Internal Revenue Service code to the Commissioner of the IRS. That is not just a one-off decision. This is enshrined in law. The IRS Restructuring Act said that if the secretary wishes to revoke that delegation, he has to notify the Congressional committees and his revocation wouldn't go into effect for 30 days.

So as of now, it is the responsibility of the IRS Commissioner to comply with section 6103 and provide the requested documents. There is no role for the Secretary of The Treasury or role for the members of the Treasury Department and there certainly is no role for representatives of the taxpayer involved in the White House with respect to this decision.

BALDWIN: What about when you hear Secretary Mnuchin say it is his intent to follow the law but then pointed out his supervisory role over the IRS. How do you interpret that?

SUMMERS: I don't know how to interpret those words. I'm glad that -- and trust that the Secretary of The Treasury would follow the law. But following the law means complying with the existing delegation which says on an individual taxpayer matter, which is what this is, that it is delegated to the Commissioner of the IRS.

BALDWIN: So, if that is the case --

SUMMERS: When I was --

BALDWIN: If that is the case, why do you think Mnuchin wants to be involved?

SUMMERS: I am not going to speculate as to somebody else's motives. I'll just -- obviously the White House has a strong interest in -- in this matter and but I'm not going to speculate on Secretary Mnuchin's reasoning. He could speak to that. What I can speak to is the laws under which the Treasury Department operates and in particular, the 1924 statute that gives Congress access to tax data and the 1990s statute, the IRS Restructuring Act that makes clear the centrality of the independence of the IRS with respect to taxpayer matters.

[14:30:00] This is ironic that the Republican Congress fought very hard on during the 1990s. The principal of the independence of the IRS with respect to these matters. And it is actually a valid principle. You don't want political officials handling or being involved in individual taxpayer matters, particularly not politically sensitive taxpayer matters.

BALDWIN: I hear you. What happens though -- the deadline hand over all six years of these taxes to the ways and means is tomorrow. So, what happens if they don't get them? SUMMERS: I assume there will be some set of litigation, which

hopefully will be resolved quickly. The law is unambiguous and clear that these requests are to be met.