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Trump And Family Are Suing Banks For Complying With Democrat Subpoenas; John Bolton Speaks To Reporters On Coup In Venezuela; Company Behind 97,000 Percent Drug Price Hike Accused Of Bribing Doctors. Aired 2:30-3p ET
Aired April 30, 2019 - 14:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:31:56] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: The president and his three oldest children are suing two of the banks that helped build their family empire. Attorneys for the Trump team filed suit against Deutsche Bank and Capital One in an attempt to block congressional subpoenas for his business records.
One of the banks has been cooperating in a separate investigation. Just last week, Deutsche Bank provided financial records to the New York state's attorney office. But today, the president's attorneys are trying to circumvent anything the banks would provide to Congress, saying, quote, "The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump and to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses, and the private information of the president and his family. No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one."
Melissa Murray is a professor at the NYU School of Law.
Nice to see you and have you on.
BALDWIN: So the suit claims that subpoenas aren't valid because they violate banking privacy law. Do they have an argument?
MELISSA MURRAY, PROFESSOR, NYU SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, again, Congress has pretty broad discretion on what it can subpoena for information to aid in an investigation and all it has to be is relevant to that investigative purpose. And so anything could legally be relevant in this case since we don't know what the nature of the subpoenas are and, indeed, the Trump team doesn't know what the nature of the subpoenas are.
What they are getting is only what's been disclosed to them by the bank themselves. It is a wide and broad standard. And another federal court has already determined that Congress has broad powers and what relevance is again a broad standard.
BALDWIN: Our correspondent up on Capitol Hill, Manu Raju, talked to the House committee chairs that filed the subpoenas. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Deutsche Bank is willing to cooperate. But apparently, Mr. Trump and others around him are concerned about what those bank records would show.
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: We have representation from Deutsche and Capital One that they will cooperate with us. So he can file his lawsuits. They need a subpoena in order to do what they need to do to give us the documents. They've said they will cooperate. So, so far, his lawsuits aren't doing any good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Now we know that Trump's M.O. as a private businessman was being litigious but run down the clock and get the deals done but this is a different ball game with Congress.
MURRAY: It is a different ball game because Congress is a different foe but it is the same strategy. Part of what Congress wants this information for is to give fuel to its investigations that may lead to an impeachment. And what Trump is doing right now in filing these lawsuits to slow them down and take the winds out of Congress's sails and slow any momentum that might lead to --
BALDWIN: But will that work?
MURRAY: It depends on the court. The courts have been the last clear hope and we've seen a federal court say that Congress has broad discretion in this particular arena. But more likely it will be a series of negotiations --
BALDWIN: One second. John Bolton is speaking right now
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: -- authoritarian military regime that, in turn, is controlled by Cubans and other forces, external to Venezuela.
This is obviously a very serious situation. The president has been monitoring it minute by minute throughout the day, as have his advisers. We see this now as a potentially dispositive moment in the efforts of the Venezuelan people to regain their freedom, which we fully support.
[14:35:10] There have been a lot of speculation, comment in the media about what is happening in Venezuela. We think it is still very important for key figures in the regime, who have been talking to the opposition over these last three months, to make good on their commitments to achieve the peaceful transfer of power from the Maduro league to interim president, Juan Guaido.
Figures like Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino and chief judge of the Venezuelan Supreme Court Maikel Moreno, the commander of the presidential guard, Rafael Hernandez Dala, and all agreed that Maduro had to go. They need to be able to act this afternoon or this evening to help bring other military forces to the side of the interim president.
The Cubans, we believe, have played a very significant role in propping Maduro up today, possibly with help from the Russians. That is the speculation certainly in Caracas. We think this demonstrates why we need Venezuela ruled by the people of Venezuela and not by external forces. That is what we're looking at.
And I would be happy to answer any questions.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE QUESTION)
BOLTON: Well, Juan Guaido is out on the streets of Caracas now and rallying the people. He's called for the people to come out and they are. They are increasingly on the streets, as many of you know. There were mass demonstrations planned for tomorrow. The circumstances of what is happened today in Caracas have called people out all over the country.
So Guaido is behaving in the same courageous way he and other figures in the opposition have these last three months. We know that over 40 people have been killed by the Maduro regime in the course of the protests. This is an act of bravery by Guaido and others really for the freedom of the Venezuelan people.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Ambassador, given what you've seen on the ground so far today and the degree of loyalty that Maduro still seems to enjoy with the elements of the Venezuelan military, what do you think are the chances this uprising will work?
BOLTON: Well, I don't think it's support in the military for the Maduro regime. I think it is fear. I think it's fear of the 20,000 to 25,000 Cuban security forces in the country. And I think it is fear of the consequences if adhering to the constitutional mandate of the interim president fails.
But I think, really now, what we're seeing is the people of Venezuela -- this is been building for a long time -- that if this effort fails, they will sink into a dictatorship from which they're very few possible alternatives. It is a very delicate moment.
I want to stress again the president wants to see a peaceful transfer of power from Maduro to Guaido. That possibility still exists if enough figures depart from the regime and supposition the opposition. And that is what we like to see. We want to see Defense Minister Padrino and the chief judge of the Supreme Court, Maikel Moreno, in particular, Rafael Hernandez Dala, of the presidential guard.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What happens if Guaido is not able to take power today? What is the next step?
BOLTON: Well, I think it is possible this situation could persist. I think the people have shown they're prepared to protect Guaido. We don't see any indication that there's any substantial part of the military that is ready to fire on innocent civilians, their fellow countrymen. We know that the Cuban organized Collectivos, these thugs, these motorcycle gangs that the Cubans have put together, are out protecting certain buildings controlled by Maduro.
Not the military, but the Collectivos. And this demonstrates the depth to which the Maduro regime has sunk, that they're using these Cuban-directed thugs to conduct their affairs. And it's one reason why I think there's such overwhelming public support for Guaido. It needs to be translated into a transition of power.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is the U.S. prepared to use any -- (INAUDIBLE) -- military option to support Juan Guaido?
BOLTON: Let me say two things to be very clear. Number one, we want, as our principal objective, a peaceful transfer of power. But I will say again, as the president said from the outset, that Nicolas Maduro and those supporting him, particularly those not Venezuelan, should know all options are on the table.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Ambassador --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Any support other than -- (INAUDIBLE)
[14:40:04] BOLTON: Sorry, say that again.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Is the administration providing any other type of support other than -- (INAUDIBLE)
BOLTON: We're providing support in a variety of respects. Certainly, we have done everything we can to get humanitarian assistance into the country. We're doing a lot of other things, some of which I'm not going to talk about. And we're certainly working with the Lima group, the Organization of American States, the over 50 countries that support Guaido's legitimacy democratically.
And let me answer the last part of your question, this is clearly not a coup. We recognize Juan Guaido as the legitimate interim president of Venezuela. And just as it's not a coup when the president of the United States gives an order to the Department of Defense, it is not a coup for Juan Guaido to try and take command of the Venezuelan military.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You said all options are on the table still for military action and I have to ask you about a different military action that you did advocate. Was that a mistake leaving Iraq?
BOLTON: As I've said before, I've got a lot of opinions I've expressed over many years in the public space. Those were my opinions. What I'm speaking about now is the policy of the U.S. government and I've answered the question on force --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you feel that this moment that we're in right now is a building block or do you think it is the moment, the tipping point as to where something needs to help?
BOLTON: I think, from the perspective of a humanitarian crisis that we face in Venezuela, I hope this is enough to tip Maduro out of power. Because it's only when he and his fellow kleptocrats, who have plundered the Venezuelan economy for the last 20 years, are removed from power we could put the Venezuelan economy back on its feet for the benefit of the people. The sooner Maduro is gone, the sooner is the possibility of justice and real economic growth for the Venezuelan people.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Can you address, were you surprised at all by today's action or were you given a heads-up and can you address reports from Venezuela that some of the military officials that were support -- that were supposed to support Guaido actually backed away -- (INAUDIBLE)
BOLTON: I'll just say we feel very well-informed about what was going on. And the point I was making a moment ago by naming specifically the Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Maikel Moreno, and the commander of the presidential guard, Hernandez Dala, as is well as to the opposition across Venezuela, they committed to support ousting Maduro.
And it is time for them now, if the Cubans will let them do it, to fulfill their commitments. And it's time for the rest of the military to show what their own families believe ought to happen and that is Maduro needs to go.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: My questions, if Maduro fire against the people of Venezuela and Juan Guaido, will the United States act in any -- use kind of military action at this precise moment?
BOLTON: As I've said, all options remain on the table. I'm simply not going to be more specific than that. But recall that right at the beginning, three months ago, we said it would be a big mistake for Maduro and those supporting him to use force against innocent citizens. We feel very strongly about it. We felt that way then and we feel that way now.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you seen video footage of the protesters being run over by tanks in the street in Venezuela. What is the point of which you think force is enough force for you -- (INAUDIBLE)
BOLTON: We're watching very carefully what is happening. As I say, we've been trying to explain to everybody who will listen that we want people to go through what they've agreed to do in terms of transition in power. I don't doubt there are the Collectivos, these motorcycle gangs organized by the Cubans. I don't doubt there are some in the Venezuelan military itself who don't view the lives of their fellow Venezuelans highly.
We don't know exactly what the command structure is now other than probably it reports to Havana. I saw that film myself. It could be an isolated incident. We're not going to draw conclusions imprudently. It's something that we want to stress as much as we can, how closely we're following it and how much we want this peaceful transfer of power to proceed.
I'll just take one or two more.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why don't you give protected status -- (INAUDIBLE)
BOLTON: I'm sorry, I can't --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: If you stand with Venezuelans, why is the U.S. giving them temporary protection status?
BOLTON: We have that question under review. Our hope is we can get a change in the regime in Caracas as soon as possible so Venezuelans can return and help rebuild their country. We don't want to send anybody back into what is now, obviously, an even more dangerous situation. And that is the policy we've been pursuing.
[14:45:08] UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You have or the president spoken with Juan Guaido. And given the influence of the Russians here, has the president spoke with or plan to speak with Putin or Russian counterparts?
BOLTON: I would rather not get into those conversations. I could tell you we've made it clear to Russia in both public and private statements throughout this that we regard the actions that they've taken in Venezuela as something that we regard with the utmost seriousness. And particularly now when innocent Venezuelan civilian lives are on the line, we expect the Russians not to interfere in what is happening in Venezuela.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And if they do -- (INAUDIBLE). Is the White House continuing an executive order to protect Venezuela from predators?
BOLTON: Well, we have followed in the financial markets all of the consequences of the sanctions we've imposed. We're looking to follow through with more specifics on those right along and so there are a number of steps in preparation. I should also say that we have been planning for what we call the day after, the day after Maduro for quite some time.
And indeed, we're thinking of having a briefing on Thursday or Friday of this week. I think we may speed that up. But we wanted to point out that it is been very much on our mind that we can provide a lot of assistance to the Guaido government when it assumes power to try and get the Venezuelan economy out of the ditch that Maduro has put it in. Those plans, obviously, we are moving head on, trying to refine them here in these recent days because things might move quickly.
Let me take one more question.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: -- the administration to labeling the Muslim Brotherhood -- (INAUDIBLE)
BOLTON: That is not a question about Venezuela.
I'll take one Venezuela question.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Let's say this works, Guaido takes power, everything is as the administration would like. Will the administration turn its attention to other -- say Russia, Turkey, others that are -- that have been instructed -- (INAUDIBLE)
BOLTON: I'll just say, in this hemisphere, we've called out the troika tyranny, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba. There's no doubt that Cuba, in particular, has benefited from the authoritarian government in Venezuela by getting below world market oil prices. That's going to cease once Guaido takes power.
But our focus right now, as you could well understand, for the benefit of the people of Venezuela and because of the interest of the United States, is on this peaceful transition of power in Venezuela.
Thank you very much.
BALDWIN: John Bolton speaking at the White House. The national security adviser would not say whether or not the president -- President Trump has spoken with Juan Guaido or even with Vladimir Putin on this ongoing situation. Thousands and thousands of protesters in the capital of Caracas.
Let's get analysis of what we heard from Bolton. With me, Eric Farnsworth, an expert on Venezuela. He is the vice president of Americas Society and the Council of the Americas.
Eric, can you just put this in perspective for Americans tuning in, trying to wrap their heads around what is going on down there, and explain why the U.S. is so invested in this outcome?
ERIC FARNSWORTH, VICE PRESIDENT, AMERICAS SOCIETY & COUNCIL OF THE AMERICAS: Absolutely. The United States supported Juan Guaido, who, according to Venezuela own constitution, is the interim president. The de facto president, Nicolas Maduro, was elected in May of 2018 through a clearly fraudulent process that was not recognized by the international community.
So when that term expired in January and Guaido became the interim president, that is when the United States and over 50 other countries moved to recognize Juan Guaido. The problem is that Maduro has not allowed Guaido, of course, to take power, take office, according to Venezuela's own constitution.
And so there has been an effort since January, of sanctions, of increasing pressure to try to give incentives to the Maduro regime to allow Guaido to take power and for the Maduro people to leave. That was something that was probably flagging in momentum a little bit and so Guaido called for some street protests nationwide for tomorrow.
But, in fact, there was a rumor going around, which may have been true, maybe not, but certainly a rumor that Maduro would try to arrest him tomorrow and so they moved up some of the activities to today. This is been building for some time. It is an effort that I think the United States, you just heard, clearly supports.
But this is a Venezuelan effort to restore the Venezuelan's own constitutional process. So it is a really complicated and dangerous time in Venezuela.
BALDWIN: When you hear from Ambassador Bolton saying, with regard to the U.S. involvement, all options are on the table, what do you take that to me?
[14:50:04] FARNSWOTH: I think that is a statement of fact. They've been clear about that from the beginning. The U.S. president has said that, President Trump, and many senior officials have as well. But that doesn't mean any U.S. action is imminent. I think the truth of the matter is there's no casus belli at this point between Venezuela and the United States.
I suppose you could make an argument about the responsibility to protect citizens who are being threatened in Venezuela but that is an international doctrine, which hasn't been fully adopted by the international community. So the options here are somewhat limited along those lines.
Having said that, it is clear that the United States is willing to take additional steps, focused on tightening sanctions in the financial sector as well as increasing humanitarian assistance. Look, over 10 percent of Venezuela's own population is already outside of the country as refugees. This is the worst humanitarian crisis the Western hemisphere has seen
in the modern area and it is a result of Nicolas Maduro and his mis- governance. So it's a really desperate situation in Venezuela.
BALDWIN: The worst humanitarian crisis the West has seen in modern times.
Eric Farnsworth, thank you for your perspective and your expertise on that. We appreciate it.
And we'll keep a close eye on Caracas, but I want to talk politics. News out of the Pete Buttigieg campaign. The Democratic presidential candidate is releasing 10 years of tax returns. We'll take a look and talk about what the numbers might mean for the Buttigieg campaign.
And an infrastructure package. The president wants it. Democrats want it. Hear what happened in the president's meeting that involved Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer, Tic-Tacs and $2 trillion.
[14:55:48] BALDWIN: Whistleblowers at a pharmaceutical company, responsible for one of the largest drug price increases in U.S. history, claimed this company, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, bribed doctors and staff to increase sales. The stunning allegations coming in new unsealed documents in federal court, and lay bare what whistleblowers say was a culture to sell the drug at all costs.
The drug is called H.P Acthar, and was originally used to treat rare infant seizures, but is now used for rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis and other ailments. In 2000, a vile of the drug cost $40. That same bottle now cost patients $39,000. That is an increase of nearly 97,000 percent.
And CNN's Digital Health Writer, Wayne Drash, has been digging on this story and broke the whistleblower claims in this exclusive CNN.com article.
And Wayne is a friend, so I'm just going to -- you're humble. I will tell everyone you've spent five years looking at this drug. You've read more than 10,000 pages of documents about it. And it is personal for you. And I'll ask you about that. But, Wayne, first tell me what is this pharmaceutical company is saying about the allegations?
WAYNE DRASH, CNN HEALTH SENIOR WRITER: Well, so those of us that have dealt with the company in the past, they almost always deny any allegations of wrongdoing. And so when they got back to me initially on this story, when I asked about it, they did not actually deny the allegations, which told me I was on to a pretty big story.
What they do say is that -- they try to blame the previous owner of the drug, a company called Quest Corp, and we'll see if that pans out. The Justice Department has intervened in this case. And when the Justice Department intervened in a whistleblower case, they almost always win. BALDWIN: We can read all of the details in your piece online. But I
want you to tell me why you have this passion and this love for children and this incredible knowledge of seizures and why this is personal for you?
DRASH: Well, you had to ask me that.
BALDWIN: I do.
DRASH: But you're correct. But I was basically tipped off to this because of the love of my son and all of the other kids with seizure disorders. We speak up. My son and I, we speak up as much as we can for our rights, our families, the families with disabilities. We take out second mortgages to afford our medications.
If we can't afford a second mortgage, we have to file bankruptcy. And that doesn't even have to -- that doesn't even get into things like trying to get our children better. And so, yes, so I was called five years ago by a fellow dad, a fellow epilepsy warrior, and told me -- and he was screaming on the phone, this company, I would say, in the infantile spasms community, there's a lot of outrage toward them.
I made a pledge to that dad five years ago that I would do whatever I could to look into this company and I've spent five years -- like you say, I've looked at every recording -- I've looked at every document. And so when I was tipped off that -- to these allegations, it was quite stunning.
And I really appreciate whoever it was that tipped me because it does reveal stunning allegations. I would you -- I would say it shouldn't just outrage people in the epilepsy community but for all Americans. It has been such a controversial drug throughout the medical community for over a decade.
BALDWIN: People will be outraged.
BALDWIN: And when they read your piece, I just -- let me say, I love you, Wayne Drash.
BALDWIN: And you are an incredible journalist.