Return to Transcripts main page


Juan Guaido Calls for Coup Against Nicolas Maduro Today; Trump Family Sues Deutsche Bank; Netflix Show Correlates with Spike in Teen Suicides. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 30, 2019 - 10:30   ET


[10:30:00] DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Say they want to hear more about Kamala Harris. She leads in this question. Twenty percent about Elizabeth Warren, 19, Biden, Buttigieg, Booker and O'Rourke round out that top six.

But Kamala Harris, atop the notion of people wanting to hear more about here. That shows potential opportunity.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: No question. How about what voters care about? What are the voting issues for voters as we get close to 2020?

TEXT: Extremely Important in Picking Nominee, Potential Dem Voters 2020: Chance to beat Trump, 46 percent; Right experience, 31 percent; Will work with GOP, 26 percent; Future of party, 22 percent; Consistent on issues, 20 percent; Progressive positions, 20 percent; Outsider's perspective, 14 percent

CHALIAN: Yes. It's an important question. We test both candidate qualities and issues. If you look here, electability. The chance to beat Donald Trump is the leader here, 46 percent of Democrats in this poll say that is extremely important, followed by right experience, working across party lines with Republicans.

When you start getting lower down, looking like the future of the party, where they are on progressive positions. Not nearly as important as the chance to beat Trump.

TEXT: Very Important Issues, Potential Dem Voters 2020: Climate change, 82 percent; Medicare for all, 75 percent; Action on guns, 65 percent; Free public college, 52 percent; Impeaching Trump, 43 percent; Reparations, 31 percent; Felon voting rights, 28 percent

CHALIAN: And in terms of issues, my God. My climate change and Medicare for all are dominant, and animating this Democratic electorate. Eighty-two percent say that climate change is very important; 75 percent, Medicare for all; guns at 65 percent.

Things like reparations and felon voting rights and even impeaching the president, they don't even get majority support among Democrats in this poll.

SCIUTTO: Twice as much, there, really, climate change versus impeachment.


SCIUTTO: David Chalian, thanks very much. Really a remarkable poll.

Let's speak now to Elaina Plott. She's White House correspondent for "The Atlantic" as well as CNN political analyst.

Great to have you on. Thanks very much.


SCIUTTO: He was already the frontrunner. Now he's really the frontrunner. But how enduring is that? I mean, as David noted, you know, a good -- by two to one, Democratic voters say they might change their mind.

PLOTT: You know, at this point, Biden had the luxury of stepping into a lane quite credibly, that nobody else had really taken. What struck me about those last set of numbers that David showed, was that, you know, the number one issue for the Democratic voter base right now is their chance of beating Trump.

And I think thus far, we've seen a Democratic primary that seems engaged, day-in and day-out, with outflanking one another from the left. So the fact that Joe Biden was able to kind of sweep into that more moderate-sounding lane and be the only one and have that name recognition, means I do think that he's going to, for quite some time, carry a pretty strong lead among this field.

SCIUTTO: Perhaps noting how many Democratic voters placed the chances of beating Trump at the top of their list of qualities they want in a candidate, the Bidens, interestingly this morning, sitting down with "Good Morning America," went after Trump again. Have a listen and I want to get your reaction.


ROBIN ROBERTS, "GOOD MORNING AMERICA" ANCHOR: The president has a motto, "Make America Great Again." Do you have one?

JOE BIDEN: Make America Moral Again. Make America return to the --

JILL BIDEN: Dignity.

JOE BIDEN: -- essence of who we are, the dignity of the country, the dignity of people. Treating our people with dignity. And this godawful deliberate division that's being taken to -- in order to -- separating people to aggrandize his own power.


SCIUTTO: "This godawful division," doesn't fit as well on a baseball cap there. But that's a message he's sticking with because that was very essential to his announcement video, of course, citing the Charlottesville comments from the president. PLOTT: Right. And this is part of the reason, Jim, that Joe Biden's

candidacy worries Trump. Joe Biden hasn't been afraid to kind of stay away from hope and chance messages and rather, try and adopt the fighting posture that Trump has been so good at thus far.

And another point I want to make, Jim. You know, Trump is struggling with coming up with an effective defense against someone like Joe Biden. I spoke with Mick Mulvaney on the record in his office last week. And one thing he told me, you know, a major line that Trump wants to push in his campaign, moving forward, is simply that he is not a socialist.

Well, neither is Joe Biden. And like I said, thus far, this Democratic primary has tried to outflank one another from the left. With Joe Biden, he can't lob the same attacks against him. So I think the White House, the campaign is a bit flat-footed right now as to, you know, what their defense against him will be.

SCIUTTO: And that might be why the president's paying so much attention to Joe Biden, because of that nervousness.

Now, CNN's reporting that the president is being advised not to do that, not to pay so much attention because that only draws more attention to Joe Biden, and helps him. Is there evidence that the president's listening to that advice?

PLOTT: No, I don't think we have any evidence so far. And I think, you know, if precedence shows us anything, the more that Trump's advisors tell him to stay off Twitter and stop fixating on an issue, the more he's inclined not to listen to them. So I think we can see many more tweets about -- I think it's "sleepy Joe Biden"? I think we can see --


PLOTT: -- many more of those to come.

SCIUTTO: I'm betting with you. I think you're right. Elaina Plott, good to have you on this morning.

PLOTT: Thank you so much, Jim.

SCIUTTO: This is another story we're following this morning in Venezuela. And these are live pictures. This is Juan Guaido, live, atop a vehicle in the middle of the capital, Caracas, as there have been violent clashes this morning.

[10:35:00] Guaido, earlier this morning, saying that he has members of the military on his side -- at least some of them -- and calling for people to join, in effect, a coup attempt against the sitting government of Nicolas Maduro.

Earlier, we heard gunfire -- open gunfire -- on the streets. This is the opposition leader speaking now, encouraging his supporters to join in, in effect. We're going to continue to watch this story and we'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:40:04] SCIUTTO: These are live pictures there. That's the opposition leader in Venezuela, Juan Guaido, atop a car in Caracas, Venezuela, where earlier today, he said he has members of the military, security forces on his side. And called on the people of Venezuela to join in a rebellion against the government, a coup against the sitting government of Nicolas Maduro.

U.S. officials from the vice president to the secretary of state to the national security advisor, have all expressed public support for Guaido and for the people behind him today.

On the right of your screen, that is some of the activity between those protestors and security forces. We heard gunfire earlier in the day. A very tenuous situation on the ground. We have people on the ground. We've been following it. CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward, she has covered this country for some time.

Clarissa, difficult to judge at this point. The question is, is there a critical mass here. Is there a significant number of members of the military who are backing Guaido here, willing to go to war, in effect, to remove the Maduro government. And are there significant numbers of people to do that. What do we know?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the real question, Jim. And I would say, certainly, this doesn't look like any coup attempt that I have covered before, to see Guaido standing on that truck with his bull horn, essentially appealing to members of the military, to join his movement to help topple Maduro.

It doesn't look like a coup the likes of which we saw, you know, a couple of years ago in Turkey, for example, where you had military units deployed on the streets, where you had tanks, where they were shutting down bridges, where they were trying to shut down state media.

So this is not a conventional attempted coup in any sense of the word. It does appear, clearly, that Guaido has some support of certain military elements. He appeared earlier this morning in that video.

We've heard testimony in the past of senior operatives within the military who have defected to join him. But the key thing is in your question, Jim. Has it reached a critical mass. Looking at these pictures, it is always very difficult to tell. There's something of a social media blackout going on right now so we're only getting very spotty sense on the ground of what is happening.

But certainly, it doesn't appear yet, judging from the speech we just heard from Guaido, judging from the pictures we are seeing on the ground, that that critical mass has yet been reached. And certainly the president, Maduro himself, standing strong -- at least purporting to stand strong -- on his Twitter account, posting a tweet saying essentially that "We will win. Nerves of steel. Stand strong."

But certainly a very tense and volatile situation -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: We will continue to follow the story for developments. And we have people on the ground there as well. Clarissa Ward, thanks very much.

Back here in the U.S., new stonewalling from President Trump as Democrats seek to investigate his financial record. The Trump family is now suing Deutsche Bank and Capitol One bank to block congressional subpoenas. Joining me now to discuss this and a whole bunch of stuff, CNN legal analyst -- chief legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin.

So, Deutsche Bank, the one bank that would really loan to Trump for many of his deals, $360 million in recent years. And a lot of legitimate questions about what those loans were for and so on. What's the law here, in terms of who has rights to those records?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: It is usually the case that bank records are subject to subpoena. You know, most banks have large departments that do nothing but answer subpoenas. When I was a prosecutor, if you wanted to subpoena a bank record or subpoena a phone company, there were established procedures because they get so many subpoenas.

You know, we'll have to see what the court papers say, to see how the Trump family is fighting this. But the law does seem pretty clear, that this is subject to congressional subpoena.

SCIUTTO: OK. That doesn't -- often does not get in the way of the president making moves to the contrary.

TOOBIN: Well, and it also illustrates a larger point of what's going on here. Is that resistance in the courts to what Democrats are trying to do in oversight, takes time. It eats up time.


TOOBIN: And even if the Trump administration, the Trump family winds up losing these cases, if it takes two months, if it takes six months, if it takes a year for an actual resolution, that may be a win in and of itself.

SCIUTTO: Well, that's been the Trump strategy for a thousand years --

TOOBIN: Right.

SCIUTTO: -- with a whole host of questions. What will the courts decide? I mean, he seems to be confident that he'll take it all the way to the Supreme Court and his five justices will come to the rescue.

TOOBIN: I -- you know, I doubt the Supreme Court is going to take many of these cases. I mean, there are so many already. I mean, think about it. You know, cases about subpoenaing individuals.

SCIUTTO: Yes. TOOBIN: The whole Bill Barr situation. And Bill Barr is saying he

doesn't want to testify --


[10:45:03] TOOBIN: -- before the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday if he's going to be questioned by --

SCIUTTO: Lawyers, staff lawyers.

TOOBIN: -- by staff lawyers as opposed to members of Congress. Jerry Nadler, the chairman, says, "Well, I'm going to subpoena him." Well, that could wind up in the courts as well. And delay is a victory, it seems.

SCIUTTO: Why can't the attorney general, who's been a lawyer for decades and twice attorney general of the United States -- this administration, of course the first Bush administration -- why can't he answer questions from staff attorneys?


TOOBIN: It's a novel objection as far as I'm concerned. I mean, remember the Kavanaugh hearings when Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Brett Kavanaugh of inappropriate behavior, she was questioned by an outside lawyer.

SCIUTTO: Mentioned that very same thing yesterday.

TOOBIN: The Watergate hearings in the '70s, many questions asked by lawyers. It is not unusual in congressional history. The attorney general doesn't want to do it, but that's not usually a legal objection.

SCIUTTO: We have some news at a "Washington Post" live even just a few moments ago. The House Intelligence chairman, Adam Schiff, says that he is going to send a criminal referral to the Justice Department for Erik Prince, saying there is very strong evidence that he lied to the House Intelligence Committee when he testified in 2017.

Of course, Erik Prince runs this massive private security company, also happens to be the brother of Betsy DeVos. How significant would that be?

TOOBIN: Frankly, I doubt very significant. Because a referral is one thing, but it doesn't mean the Justice Department has to act on it.


TOOBIN: It is an indication of congressional indignation. It may be justified. But it is just -- when you think about the Mueller investigation being shut down, this would be something, given what Congressman Schiff is saying, that Schiff lied -- that Erik Prince lied about, this would have been something that was relevant to the Mueller investigation. There's no more Mueller investigation. I would doubt this went anywhere. SCIUTTO: So we said goodbye, just on Monday, to one of the key

players in this whole drama, Rod Rosenstein. He sent his resignation letter to Trump. I mean, we knew this was coming. But now --

TOOBIN: Right.

SCIUTTO: -- he's officially out. "We keep the faith. We follow the rules and we always put America first." I just wonder if we put it in Watergate terms, will he be remembered as an Elliot Richardson or a Robert Bork, right? I mean, the folks who resigned because they were told to do things by president, didn't.

And of course the president did not tell them to fire Robert Mueller here, or at least did not successfully tell them to fire him. But he interpreted the obstruction of justice evidence one way. Is he a hero?

TOOBIN: It is -- he is -- he has a uniquely complicated legacy. I mean, liberals will always salute him, for he was the person who picked Robert Mueller. He was the person --


TOOBIN: -- who started this whole investigation. Yet he was also the person who came up with this pretext to fire James Comey --


TOOBIN: -- as the FBI director. He stood with William Barr in exonerating the president in a way that the Mueller report did not. It's a complicated legacy, complicated person.

SCIUTTO: American hero or Washington survivor?

TOOBIN: I -- you know, you can be a lot of different things. And I am not prepared to issue a verdict. I --

SCIUTTO: When you do, we'll bring you on the air --

TOOBIN: Brother Sciutto, as always.

SCIUTTO: -- to answer that question. Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much.

When it came out two years ago, experts warned that the show "13 Reasons Why" could be dangerous to vulnerable teens. Next, why new numbers show those experts may have been right when it comes to suicide.


[10:52:51] SCIUTTO: A new study finds that suicide rates jumped in the months after the Netflix show about a teen girl's suicide debuted. In "13 Reason Why," the girl leaves behind her dramatic version of a suicide note, a series of cassette tapes detailing why she did what she did. Experts warned the show was dramatizing the act of suicide in a

dangerous fashion to a very vulnerable audience. Let's speak now to CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

Why? I mean, is there science behind this?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, let's talk about the numbers. Let's talk about what they found. So this is researchers at the Children's International Medical Center in Washington. This is a published study.

And so they looked at the one month after the release in 2017, and then they estimated what the nine months would have looked like. And what they found was that in the nine-month period after the release, there was an additional 195 suicides that they say didn't happen in other nine-month periods of time.

TEXT: Teen Suicides Rise After Show's Debut, "13 Reasons Why" debuted in March 2017: Study, 195 more youth suicides than expected after release of series; Study Authors: "Caution regarding the exposure of children and adolescents to the series is warranted."

COHEN: So 195 more youth suicides. And so the study authors said, "Look, we can't prove that this is a causation here."


COHEN: I mean, maybe these people who took their own lives didn't even watch the show. But they felt strongly enough about this that they said they cautioned regarding the exposure of children and adolescents to the series is warranted. That's a pretty strong statement.

SCIUTTO: And was there something specific about how they portrayed the suicide that they thought was particularly dangerous?

COHEN: I think the fact that they portrayed this suicide is the issue.

SCIUTTO: The act itself?

COHEN: Right. I mean, you know know that as journalists, when someone takes their own life and that person's in the public eye and we report on it, we don't say how they did it because that can be dangerous. We don't talk about the method.

SCIUTTO: Copycats.

COHEN: Right. And -- exactly. There can be copycats. So not only did this show talk about the method, they depicted the method. And, you know, some doctors really think that that was not a great idea.

SCIUTTO: It's such a difficult topic, right? Because it's one of those topics that needs to be discussed, right?

COHEN: Exactly. SCIUTTO: You can't bury it under the rug. But then how do you do it

in a way that doesn't, I don't know if "inspires" is the right word, but leads people down this path.

COHEN: Right. And that's what Netflix says. Is that they say that there was a study out there -- I mean, there was a study out there -- that looked at people who watched the show to the end. And at the end, the young people come together and talk about issues in their lives.

[10:55:02] And they said, that study showed that if you watch until the end, that actually self-harm went down, rates of --

SCIUTTO: Interesting, interesting.

COHEN: -- self-harm went down. So they point that out.

However, you know, it's interesting. In the show, we saw in that little clip that her locker was decorated with flowers and notes. And that there's something attractive about that, sometimes, to teenagers. That if I do what she did, people will say nice things about me, too.

SCIUTTO: I'll be memorialized and I'll get --

COHEN; I'll be memorialized.

SCIUTTO: -- the praise I don't get --

COHEN: Right.

SCIUTTO: -- or feel I don't get, now.

COHEN: Yet, in my life.

SCIUTTO: Goodness. Tough issue. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.

Right now, Speaker Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Schumer and several top Democrats, meeting with President Trump inside the White House. Will this meeting go better than the last time this group met? We'll see.