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Dow Is Trying To Recover After Falling More Than 500 Points; McGahn Complying With White House But Defying Congress; Where is Secretary Of State Pompeo. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired May 7, 2019 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT:: And unfortunately, it's in relatively young people about the ages of 35 to 64, especially among African-Americans. The thinking is that obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, those are the culprits. But they're really going to try to get to the bottom of this.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Elizabeth Cohen keeping us healthy. Thank you so much. And that is it for me. NEWSROOM with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Good afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin, you're watching CNN. We've got some Breaking News on Wall Street where the Dow is trying to recover after falling more than 500 points. If it doesn't climb out of this slump soon, it could end up being the second worst trading day of the year.

Alison Kosik is our CNN Business correspondent. She is down at that New York Stock Exchange for us. And so you know, looking back, we know the worst day, of course, was January 3rd when the Dow dropped 660 points. This is not very far off.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: No, it is not. But one thing that did happen yesterday, we did see the Dow fall as much as 471 points and then in stunning fashion, it made a 180 and ended up only modestly lower, and that was actually on a good headline that the Chinese delegation was going to go ahead and come to Washington and have talks to try to come to some sort of resolution in the trade war. So that wound up turning things sort of in a positive -- towards a positive direction.

I don't think you're going to see that today. In fact, some traders are telling me, they think that would happen yesterday when we saw that turnaround probably shouldn't have happened because the news isn't good that you know, the trade situation doesn't look like it is good. And partly that is the reason why you're seeing the selloff right now.

This is actually the point of the day where we are we are seeing the lows of the session. You're seeing a big worry here among investors because they've spent months buying into stocks. We've seen the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ reach fresh record highs just recently until of course President Trump tweeted about the discussions between China and the U.S. and how discussions have broken down for trade talks.

BALDWIN: Right, deadline there being Thursday, if not, he is upping those tariffs he said Friday. We're going to keep a close eye obviously on the Dow down 530 points two hours ago, in this trading day, Alison Kosik, we will be in touch with you. Thank you so much.

Now to the man who protected the President from obstructing justice and became a star witness of the Mueller report, former White House counsel Don McGahn is now complying with the White House and defying Congress at the direction of acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. McGahn again will not comply with a subpoena to turn over a trove of documents and it's just one more example of how the Trump administration is stonewalling Congress.

Three major deadlines defied in the last 24 hours and now Democrats say they will consider holding at least four members the Trump administration in contempt. Today, judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler is meeting with the Department of Justice to quote "negotiate an accommodation."

CNN Senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju is live on Capitol Hill for us and Manu, what are you hearing about the meeting and the tensions between, of course, Members of Congress and the White House?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the meeting between DOJ staff and Nadler's staff has just ended, I'm told and moved to hold the Attorney General in contempt, still going to happen tomorrow at the moment. So it doesn't sound like there's any major breakthrough. We're still trying to get a fuller sense of exactly what happened here. But Democrats have been pushing to get the full Mueller report, the underlying evidence. The Justice Department has pushed back. They've offered a less redacted version of the Mueller report to be available to a limited number of members, but that does not satisfy the Democrats.

They had additional conversations last hour, but it doesn't appear like that has moved the goalpost at all. It appears that they're still going to plan to hold the Attorney General in contempt, at least at the moment.

Now there is that other matter that you mentioned, the White House moving forward to make it clear that they don't want the former White House counsel, Don McGahn, to turn over records to the House Judiciary Committee, because it could breach executive privilege. They don't actually cite executive privilege. But they say this, "The White House records remain legally protected from disclosure under long- standing constitutional principles because they implicate significant Executive Branch confidentiality interest and executive privilege."

Now, the Judiciary Committee wants McGahn to testify in public by May 21st. It is unclear whether or not the White House will try to deny him to prevent him from coming forward or whether he will in fact come forward. That's still an unanswered question. But this is a significant escalation of the fight between House Democrats and the White House over a range of oversight requests now trying to prevent the White House counsel, the former White House counsel from turning over documents that he provided the Special Counsel as part of that investigation -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: And also through all of this, it's so important to hear from Republicans up on Capitol Hill.

[14:05:10] BALDWIN: And also through all of this, it's so important to hear from Republicans up on Capitol Hill. I understand you're also talking to them specifically about how President Trump didn't bring up the election interference on his hour-long phone call with Putin last week. What have they been sharing with you?

RAJU: Yes, some said that they actually think that he should have brought it up. That was an opportunity for him to bring it up directly with the Russian President about what the Kremlin did back in 2016, including the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, who said this earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I do believe it's very important for our country and the administration to do everything within our power to keep our election system from being interfered with and hacked as the Russians have attempted to do time and again. They are a maligned player. And I think, anytime we have a chance, we need to push back on Russia very, very hard to make sure that they know that there are going to be very significant consequences if they continue to interfere and cheat as it relates to our election process.

RAJU: Did the President brought up election interference in his call with Putin last week?

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Now the question is, what will they do next? Republicans have made it pretty clear that they are prepared to move on particularly from the Mueller report, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, expected to come out here momentarily to answer questions. He made a speech this morning saying that case was closed from the Russia investigation. He did not bring up the alleged instances of obstruction that were in the report, but he's very clear, Lindsey Graham is very clear. They're ready to move on to other matters -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: We will stand by for the Senate Majority Leader. Manu, thank you so much. And speaking of Case Closed, as those House Democrats work to enforce their subpoena power, Mitch McConnell took to the floor today to declare as Manu just reported that the Mueller report is case closed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Always saying there is a meltdown, an absolute meltdown, an inability to accept the bottom line conclusion on Russian interference from the Special Counsel's report, which said the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities. That's the conclusion.

They told everyone there had been a conspiracy between Russia and the Trump campaign. Yet, on this central question, the Special Counsel's finding his clear. Case closed. Case closed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Something he didn't bring up there whether the President obstructed justice. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi say, this isn't over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): So our leader says let's move on. It's sort of like Richard Nixon saying let's move on at the height of the investigation of his wrongdoing.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Senator McConnell is reported to be saying, does it matter to hear from Mueller? Case closed. Case closed. No, I don't think so.

Trump is goading us to impeach him. That's what he is doing every single day. He is just like taunting, taunting, taunting because he knows that it would be very divisive in the country, but he doesn't really care. He just wants to solidify his days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let's start there. CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein is a senior editor at "The Atlantic" and Ron, listening to Speaker Pelosi, I mean, the President knows, right, the Republican Majority Senate -- you know, if there are impeachment hearings, we know how the House would go. We also know how the Senate would go. Do you think Speaker Pelosi is right?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, first of all, she is nothing, if not consistent. She has made it as clear as she can over and over again that she does not want to go down this road. What the President has done very effectively, through his presidency is conflate criticism of his him and attacks on him with attacks on his voters, basically telling his voters that they are not really going after me, they are trying to silence you and that "they" in that sentence can be anyone from these kind of, you know, coastal elites, to, you know, immigrants and minorities. I mean, what he does very well is kind of make that case to his voters. And so she is leery of that.

On the other hand, as we have seen, we are headed toward a historic crisis on the ability of the Legislative Branch to exert oversight over the Executive Branch, and it may not be possible to get the kind of answers they're looking for without moving in the direction of impeachment. BALDWIN: What about also back to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, how

you know, his whole case closed speech and you know, suggesting that Democrats were more angry with Bill Barr than they have been with Vladimir Putin. And by the way that the President has never seemed angry with Vladimir Putin. So there is that. The fact that McConnell never brought up the 10 credible episodes of obstruction -- potential obstruction by the President -- I mean, surely someone was going to notice that? Yes?

BROWNSTEIN: And well, and of course, that is Mitch McConnell himself, who was the voice in the room back in 2016, who fought the Obama administration on going public with the warnings about Russian meddling in the election saying, you know, he would view it as a partisan an attempt to influence the election.

[14:10:20] BROWNSTEIN: Look, I think what the Senate Majority Leader said today really kind of crystallizes this broader point, which is that as the Trump administration is historic, and I think making a historic effort to roll back the ability of Congress to oversee the Executive Branch, Republicans in Congress are acquiescing.

I mean, they are basically siding with Trump against their own institutional obligations in Congress, and one thing I have learned in 40 years of watching Washington become more polarized and partisan is that once ...

BALDWIN: What's that?

BROWNSTEIN: ... a gun gets put on the table, it doesn't get taken off the table. Any weapon that is used in one administration will be used in the next and the next Democratic President, I think will be just as tough on fighting any kind of oversight as Trump has been. And I think Republicans are being very short-sighted and not kind of standing up for their institutional prerogatives here.

BALDWIN: Isn't that incredible? No matter the party, they just continue doing the same thing and then calling out the other party when they try to do it. They're both guilty. Ron Brownstein, thank you so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: During a contentious sit-in hearing last week, Attorney General Bill Barr not only doubled down on his handling of the Mueller investigation, he also defended his previous claims that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, I don't think the word spying has any pejorative connotation at all. I think spying is a good English word that in fact doesn't have synonyms because it is the broadest word incorporating really all forms of covert intelligence collection.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BALDWIN: So Barr calls spying a good English word and appropriate,

cut to FBI Director Chris Wray saying, not so much.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTOPHER WRAY, FBI DIRECTOR: We'll that's not the term I would use. Look, there are lots of people who have different colloquial phrases. I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity and part of investigative activity includes surveillance activity of different shapes and sizes, and to me the key question is making sure that it's done by the book.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: CNN justice reporter, Laura Jarrett is in Washington and Director Wray made a very public break with his boss, why?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Well Brooke, I think there's a couple of different dynamics going on here. First and foremost, Wray seems to want to send a message to his team, "I have your back," by his team, I mean, FBI employees. He knows that the word has been weaponized by the President and his allies, and so he did seem to want to distance himself from using it saying it's not a term that he would use.

But then he actually took it a step further, when he was asked if there was any evidence of improper or unauthorized surveillance of the Trump campaign. He said clearly, "I personally am not aware of that." Now, on the other hand, he also did try to not necessarily pick a fight with the Attorney General, trying to tread that line carefully. They were saying, "Look, we're working closely together on a review of the situation. It's his job to look into it. I'm worried about this as well." And so he's really trying to differentiate himself on the word spying, but still saying, "I want to make sure surveillance is done by the book."

The real question here is what is the Inspector General -- the internal watchdog -- over here who is looking at this as well? What is he going to find? On that issue, Wray, tried to urge lawmakers to wait on those findings, defer to what Michael Horowitz -- that internal watchdog -- is going to find and we expect to see that report sometime in June -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: All right, Laura Jarrett, thank you for that. A bit of a mystery today surrounding Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The big question, where is he? We will talk about why he suddenly canceled his trip to Berlin and where he might be headed right this very moment. Plus, Jill Biden opens up to Dana Bash, what she has to say about her high profile family, the struggles they have survived -- and President Trump. She has a new book out today.

And we're following breaking news on Wall Street. The Dow down 550 points. This is all over that trade war between the U.S. and China. You're watching CNN. I'm Brook Baldwin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [14:19:08] BALDWIN: Now to the schedule change that is igniting

speculation the world over, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was supposed to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Foreign Minister today, but America's top diplomat just canceled on them. The reason -- pressing issues -- that's according to the State Department.

Might those issues be Iran? Where a quote unquote "specific credible threat" was detected prompting the U.S. to deploy a carrier group -- a Carrier Strike Group. How about North Korea where Kim Jong-un's regime just did a short-range missile test? Might this be about Venezuela where the U.S. is trying to get cash to the opposition leader amid all those uprisings?

The only other detail coming out Secretary Pompeo's press pool was one, the journalists would not be able to report from the country they're headed to until after they have left. Tom Countryman is a former senior State Department official whose career in diplomacy spanned more than 30 years.

So Tom, welcome back. Can you just tell me -- I mean, I know this is all just a total guessing game.

[14:20:10] BALDWIN: But what place would be so secretive, so important that would merit Secretary Pompeo basically standing up Angela Merkel?

THOMAS COUNTRYMAN, FORMER SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL: Well, thank you, Brooke. There is a press report from Russia that I haven't seen confirmed anywhere else, that the Secretary may be heading for Russia to continue talks with Foreign Minister Lavrov. They just met in Finland in the context of the Arctic Council, and it's a good thing, if in fact, the U.S. and Russia are communicating at the highest level, diplomat-to-diplomat and military-to-military that's necessary to contain the many places where the U.S. and Russian interests are at loggerheads with each other.

So I think you speculated on the real possibilities -- Iran, Venezuela, North Korea -- I would add the possibility of nuclear arms control negotiations. What concerns me most these days is the apparent intent of Mr. Bolton to lead the United States into a direct military conflict with Iran. And that would be of concern, not only to Russia, but to every country in the world except two or three.

BALDWIN: All of that said, timing-wise, Tom, you know, the question is if it is Russia, and again, that's still an if, we don't have that confirmed report. You know, former Bush official and known Trump critic Richard Painter tweeted this. I just want to get your two cents. He said, "Pressing issues? Got to get a war going before Mueller shows up to testify?" And he is referring to, you know the Special Counsel possibly testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, May 15th. What are your thoughts on that?

COUNTRYMAN: Well, I wouldn't speculate in that direction. But I would say that I am deeply concerned about the similarity in rhetoric and in the manipulation of information between Mr. Bolton's campaign today, and the way the Bush administration used rhetoric and cherry picked intelligence to lead us into war in Iraq in 2003. So that concerns me greatly.

I want to be more hopeful. I would like to believe that, in fact, the U.S. and Russians are ready to build on something that President Trump apparently discussed with President Putin last week and that is nuclear arms control talks.

The option is on the table for the two Presidents to extend the New START Treaty that limits the number of nuclear weapons each side has. If they don't act, that treaty will expire in two years. And if he's going to talk to Lavrov about that possibility, that would be a valuable investment of his time.

But those -- and one more possibility that you've mentioned, which is, it could be worthwhile for Mr. Pompeo to hear directly from the Russian leadership about their recent meeting with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

BALDWIN: That's right. Putin and Kim meeting just the week before last. I should also note back on the point of Ambassador Bolton in his statement, he says the U.S. is not looking for war. Tom Countryman, thank you so much.

COUNTRYMAN: I appreciate it.

BALDWIN: Former Vice President Joe Biden is working hard to build support with black voters in this country. He has already won the endorsement of one member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Why did Congressman Donald McEachin send his support so soon? We'll ask him. Plus moments from now, we'll hear what's happening in court during a hearing for the Coast Guard officer accused of plotting terror against media figures and politicians, why he could soon walk free?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:28:30] BALDWIN: Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden is out west this week. His first stop is in Nevada where any moment now, he will hold a campaign rally in Henderson and deliver remarks before the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and his wife Jill Biden, she has a new memoir also out today. It is called "Where The Light Enters: Building a Family, Discovering Myself."

And she opens up about life with former Vice President and finding her place within the Biden family after he tragically lost his first wife and daughter and she just spoke with CNN chief political correspondent, Dana Bash about what lies ahead in Biden's 2020 run for the White House. So it is so good to see you my friend.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Me, too.

BALDWIN: I know, offline, I've been asking you about this interview, and I'm so thrilled. You know, she -- you got this. And so you talked about everything from being what? A political spouse to fexting.

BASH: Yes, well, we'll get to that in a few. It's fascinating. She says that she coined the phrase, and I'm sure she's right. But you know, she was a very young woman, when she first met and fell in love with a widower with two young boys, a man who happened to be a U.S. senator.

And she gives a very human account of navigating that being a self- described introvert, marrying the ultimate political extrovert and the unimaginable tragedy in their family.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Joe Biden proposed to not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, five times.

JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: Five times.

BASH: That last time, you got an ultimatum.

BIDEN: Yes, I did. And I had to -- I had to be sure you know, Beau and Hun had lost their mother and their sister in a car accident ...

[14:30:09]