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Democrats Split on Seeking Trump's Impeachment; Mueller Report Details Presidential Misconduct; Pelosi: "Congress Will Not be Silent on Muller Report Findings; Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) Discusses the Mueller Report, Impeachment of Trump, Bill Barr; Biden Expected to Announce Presidential Run Next Week. Aired 11:30a-12p ET
Aired April 19, 2019 - 11:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:31:32] KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: "Game over" -- that's President Trump's message to Democrats after the release of the redacted Mueller report. That does not, though, seem to be the case on Capitol Hill. What are Democrats going to do now? House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, says nothing in the report makes pushing for impeachment, quote/unquote, "worthwhile." But a top House chairwoman, Maxine Waters, says this, "Congress's failure to impeach is complacency in the face of the erosion of our democracy and constitutional norms. Congress's failure to impeach would set a dangerous precedent and imperil the nation."
Joining me now, CNN senior political analyst, Mark Preston. He's here.
Again, what do Democrats do now? I think that's maybe the other than, exactly, what do you think happened in the report and how is the White House going to answer to it, this is the question. What do Democrats do?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLTICAL ANALYST: Well, Democrats are certain going to continue investigating President Trump. What they call it, whether it's in pursuit of impeachment or just in pursuit of trying to embarrass him heading into the next election, it's pretty more the latter. The problem right now is, as you note right there, you have Steny Hoyer, surely, Nancy Pelosi, others have said listen, impeachment is going to sidetrack us. It becomes too political. Let's just let the report, let the voters make the decision, but we'll still do our job going in and investigating the president through our ability as the majority party in the House.
BOLDUAN: I do wonder if they have set something of a -- if there's a road map they have set on kind of the steps forward for the Democratic caucus. Because you see a split in already the language and where people want to be and where they think it should go, and Nancy Pelosi's statement yesterday attacked Barr for misleading the public, but also said, "It's imperative the rest of the report be made available to Congress."
Other than that step -- with that step, I do wonder if that would change any opinion to lead anyone to a more bipartisan move towards impeachment. I wonder if she has taken any steps to lay out a road map for Democrats on what they should do here. I don't see it.
PRESTON: No, so certainly not how to get over this hurdle right now of impeachment. If you go back to how they handled it so far and have been able to hold the base back from being so vocal on the issue of impeachment, they have been successful so far. The base has been vocal on other issues that have been problematic for Democrats as a party, as a whole, but she is going to hold a call on Monday. She's going to have all of her House Democrats are going to be on this conference call. I can imagine it's going to be raucous. But at the end, I think we're going to hear what we heard Steny Hoyer say, and say let Jerry Nadler, let Richard Neal, let Maxine Waters, let these chairmen and chairwomen of the House of Representatives do the investigating that Congress is allowed to do.
BOLDUAN: I mean, as just an observer of Congress now, if Mueller was the kind of definitive report on Russia and the Russia investigation, I wonder what more partisan elected officials are going to uncover. Tax returns kind of maybe is the exception, that Mueller hasn't uncovered. But we'll see.
Mark, good to see you.
PRESTON: Good to see you.
[11:34:42] BOLDUAN: As Mark and I were talking about, Speaker Pelosi, Speaker Pelosi also says Congress will not be silent on the Mueller report's revelations. But what exactly does that mean? We'll ask a top Democrat in the House next.
BOLDUAN: The Mueller report is not the first time in history that investigators have detailed misconduct of a president. Reports that total thousands and thousands of pages, multiple, multiple volumes, and chronicle some of the darkest moments of the American presidency.
John Dean was witness to one of those as the former White House counsel to President Nixon. Here is how he puts the Mueller report in context.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[11:39:57] JOHN DEAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: What I did is I looked on my shelf for the Watergate -- Senate Watergate Committee report. I looked at the Iran/Contra report. I also looked at the Ken Starr report, which is too big to bring to the set here. It's four volumes, over 2,000 words. I have to tell you, I read all of those. And in 400 words, this report from the special counsel is more damning than all of those reports about a president. This is really a devastating report.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: But with no action coming from the Justice Department, what is Congress to do? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said Congress will not be silent, but what will they then say? Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, of Michigan, is joining me
now for more on this.
Great to see you. Thank you for being here.
REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): Good to be here.
BOLDUAN: All along this investigation, and I was just telling you, when I look back and we talk, you say you always have said take it slow, get all the facts. We have other things we should also be focused on. With the redacted Mueller report out, where are you on this now?
DINGELL: Well, I read it last night. I want to go back this weekend and read it more in depth. It clearly bothers me. I mean, I didn't sleep last night. Not just because I was reading the report, but things that are in it are deeply disturbing. I think the fact of the matter is Congress has a very serious responsibility for oversight. I think the House Intelligence Committee, the how Judiciary Committee are going to continue to do that. We'll have a discussion as a caucus on Monday. Things in there are very disturbing. But I also think we've got to remember the American people are worried about a lot of other things so we have to do both. I think, for me, the Mueller report is a road map for the November 2020 election. And people need to remember the kind of behavior they say. The fact that, by the way, all of us need to be concerned, nobody can deny that Russia tried to interfere in the 2016 election. It's clearly trying again, and those same things are there, Facebook, et cetera. How do we make sure people aren't wanting to be involved to their benefit? I think we have to have oversight. That's a clear responsibility. But we also have to get about lowering prescription drug prices.
BOLDUAN: Do you think you'll learn more from an unredacted -- if there were no redactions, do you think it would change anything? Because that's the next step that I'm hearing from Jerry Nadler, issuing a subpoena for the full report.
DINGELL: I want to hear Mueller come to the Hill and tell us what he thinks. There are clearly disturbing things in there. He doesn't have evidence there was, but he can't -- he can't say that he's not guilty either. You know, there's a lot of to the line but back from the line. It's disturbing. But you know, here's a reality. I have to say that I agree with our leaders. I'm deeply disturbed by the behavior in the report, and there were people who didn't do what the president wanted them to do. There are people clearly lying and not telling the truth. The fact of the matter is we have a Republican Senate. We're not going to impeach this president in the 18 months between now and next November.
BOLDUAN: From that position, and that is what the speaker has said, unless there's overwhelming bipartisan support --
DINGELL: Unless there's something -- well, I'm not -- this report does not vindicate the president in any way. It turns your stomach. BOLDUAN: But bipartisan support for the impeachment process.
DINGELL: You don't want to tear the country apart. You have to have bipartisan support. And there's only 18 months.
BOLDUAN: Everyone represents their own districts. You have Maxine Waters, who says --
DINGELL: I respect her. We have Rashida Tlaib, whose districts is right next to mine. I don't disagree with her that there aren't things that are deeply disturbing. This president has attacked some of the fundamental foundations of our Constitution.
BOLDUAN: They're not wrong for calling for impeachment right now?
DINGELL: They have their view, I think it's not going to accomplish what we would accomplish when we know the Senate is not going to do it. We can keep getting the facts, but we can't let it sidetrack us from worrying about the canister, the asthma canister that is costing $700 and hurting the working mom.
BOLDUAN: To that point, you represent a district in a state Trump won. You always talk about what your constituents are telling you. When you say this is -- the report lays out something of a road map for 2020, what -- is running on Russia what you think your constituents are looking for?
DINGELL: I have a very odd district, which is why I told you all Donald Trump could win when nobody believed me. I have Ann Arbor. People are very upset and want to see the president impeached. I have to tell them, I agree with you that what the president did is wrong, but it could hurt us if we focus on it too much. I have the Muslim community, largest population of Muslims, that have been upset since this president has been elected and are even more upset now. Then I have the down rivers, which are working men and women in the auto industry, but everywhere I go from Ann Arbor to down river, they're worried about prescription drugs, they're worried about pre-existing conditions. About fixing the blank roads. In Michigan, we use the roads, but I won't use it on air. I was in the Flat Rock Mustang Plant, Mustang, 100th birthday, they're still voting for D.T. because they think he cares about them on trade deals. They're talking about a lot of issues. We can talk about more than one issue at a time.
[11:45:22] BOLDUAN: Tell that to everybody on cable news. With that --
DINGELL: And we need to talk more about the Mueller report on cable news. You need to get out there and get on the ground and hear how people are scared to death.
BOLDUAN: To that point, do you see a reason then, if there's not bipartisan support for the impeachment process, and obviously, Mueller has something of a definitive investigation into Russian interference and any evidence of obstruction, do you see any reason then for the Judiciary Committee, the Intel Committee, other committees to continue looking into the threads from the Russia investigation.
DINGELL: To make sure we're getting all the facts. I don't hear even Republicans denying that Russians tried to interfere in our election. I think some tried to use it to the benefit to help Republicans, and I hope that we will not do that going into 2020. I hope everybody is going to work together to make sure that the Facebook situations, all those situations that enabled Russia last time, we're going to try to make sure they can't do the same harm that they did in 2016.
BOLDUAN: Do you think in the end Bob Mueller left this to Congress to decide?
DINGELL: I think -- I'm not quite sure why Bob Mueller didn't come out more definitively. There are things in there to me that he took you to the line but didn't take you over. I do think that the attorney general was far too vague -- or vague is not the word --
BOLDUAN: Some are saying he should resign. There are more people saying what he has done is beneath the office and he should leave.
DINGELL: I'm deeply disturbed. He acted more like a defense attorney for the White House than the chief law enforcement officer of this country. He didn't do it. When you read the report, there are clearly things in there that are not reflected in his summary to the Congress. So you know, I think that the chair -- we have very good chairs of our committees in the House. They're going to investigate. They're going to ask more questions. The attorney general is going to come to the Hill. He's got to be more accountable for things he said. I think they're going to ask tough questions and they should. And I think Mueller is coming to the Hill and giving us his unvarnished opinion or his unvarnished interpretation of that report is useful to the entire American people.
BOLDUAN: The possibility, after you hear from Mueller, you would get to a place where you say I'm going to sign on?
DINGELL: If Mueller were to say certain things, if Mueller were to say he felt that the White House crossed lines, then I think we would -- even though I think it would be very, very difficult to even get it done in 18 months, that we have to send a strong message. We have to protect the fundamental principles, the fundamental pillars of our Constitution. We have to remember this democracy -- my husband wrote we're at a precipice, we need to take responsibility for protecting this democracy. That means all kinds of ways. From bringing ourselves back together, remembering united we stand, divided we fall. But we can't let people attack some of the very fundamental pillars, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of press. Letting foreign countries come in, our national security. We have to protect those.
BOLDUAN: Congresswoman, thanks for coming in.
DINGELL: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you. Thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
DINGELL: Good to see you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you.
Coming up for us, this just in to CNN. Former Vice President Joe Biden is set to make it official and very soon. Details on the long- awaited announcement of him joining the 2020 presidential race. We have new details coming in. That is next.
[11:51:24] BOLDUAN: You can shine a light on everyday people doing extraordinary things, changing the world by nominating them as a CNN hero.
Here's Anderson Cooper with more.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Since 2007, heroes has been featuring hundreds of everyday people whose extraordinary acts are changing lives and making the world a better place.
COOPER: We need you to tell us about that amazing person in your life, and you can do it right now at CNNheroes.com. Here's the inside scoop on successfully nominating your hero. Think about what makes that person truly special. Then write it down in a paragraph or two. We also want to know the impact that they are having. Tell us what sets that person apart. Who knows, you might see your everyday hero named the "CNN Hero" of the year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Absolutely right. Nominate someone that you think is a "CNN Hero." Go to CNNheroes.com.
BOLDUAN: So it has been rumored and debated and promised and it's been questioned. After all the speculation, Joe Biden is ready to announce that he will run for president in 2020. That announcement could come as early as next week.
We have some new details coming in. CNN's Jessica Schneider -- Jessica Dean, apologies --
JESSICA DEAN, CNN: That's fine.
BOLDUAN: -- with the details.
What do you know? DEAN: Kate, you're exactly right. Now we can confirm that the former
vice president is poised to make that announcement next week. That deadline has moved several times but now we're being told by people close to the vice president that it is coming next week. We're also told that the format and exact date of that announcement is still in flux so they are still continuing to make the decisions about all of that. We know that one of his top advisers, Greg Schultz, the man that is set to oversee his campaign, was on the Hill earlier this week telling Democrats there everything is going ahead as scheduled -- Kate?
[11:55:18] BOLDUAN: Those dates seem to have been --
DEAN: Ever floating, yes, but next week looks to be the week.
BOLDUAN: Coming up.
Great to see you, Jessica.
DEAN: Thanks. Thanks.
BOLDUAN: Thanks so much, and Jessica Schneider, which I love as well, too.
BOLDUAN: Coming for us, a top House Democrat subpoenas the full unredacted Mueller report. Will Jerry Nadler actually get it? What will it say? Will it change anything? Stay with us.