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Officials Say Iran Moving Ballistic Missiles by Boat; NRA Chief Says McBath Only Won Because She's a Minority Female; Interview with Rep. Lucy McBath (D-GA), Gun Violence and the NRA Apology; High Fashion Meets Camp at 71st Annual Met Gala; Dow Falls as Trade Talks Hit Wall Between U.S and China. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 7, 2019 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We are getting breaking new details on that Iranian threat that prompted the U.S. to deploy that carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Middle East. Let's go straight to the Pentagon to our correspondent there Barbara Starr. And Barbara, what is Iran doing?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, good afternoon. CNN has learned new details and it all centers around this. The U.S. believes it has intelligence that shows Iran is moving short-range ballistic missiles around the Persian Gulf by boat on the water and that would be extremely concerning.

If you move missiles around by boat, and you're possibly -- we don't know, but able to fire them from the boat, if you are moving them around and putting them at different shore installations, it becomes a very difficult problem to find those missiles as they move around and to be able to see them launch and do something about it if that is what the Iranians intend to do.

All of this is all one of the reasons the U.S. on Sunday announced it was sending an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force. But now we also know that inside of the Pentagon at the highest levels, they are talking about sending additional forces to the region. And that would be specifically missile defense systems. Such as the Patriot Missile that the U.S. is so familiar with sending to the Middle East.

All of this aimed at trying to convince Iran to not act on its intentions or its capabilities. They want the Iranians to pull back. They want this show of force to deter Iran. They're hoping that the aircraft carrier and the bombers will be enough to make Iran pull back. But in the face of the new details that Iran is moving short- range ballistic missiles around the Persian Gulf, that could put U.S. forces in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, in Bahrain up and down the Gulf in some peril and the U.S. is making it clear it will send additional forces if that is what is needed to deter Iran -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Barbara, thank you. Coming up next, the emotional moment when a student confronts a

presidential candidate saying she is afraid of going to school and never walking out.

And I'll talk to a member of the House Judiciary Committee. What happened inside. They're meeting with the Justice Department this afternoon as Democrats are getting ready to hold Attorney General Bill Barr in contempt.


BALDWIN: The new president of the National Rifle Association is apologizing now to Georgia Congresswoman Lucy McBath. In an interview with a local newspaper Carolyn Meadows was asked about a landmark congressional election in her home town of Murrieta, Georgia. Where McBath, a Democrat, flipped a very conservative district while championing gun safety laws.

Congresswoman McBath lost her own 17-year-old son Jordan Davis to gun violence back in 2012. And let me just show you what this new NRA President said.

Quote, it is wrong to say, like McBath said, that the reason she won was because of her anti-gun stance. That didn't have anything to do with it. It had to do with being a minority female.

Meadows now telling "The Washington Post" that her comments were, quote, insensitive and inappropriate.

And Congresswoman Lucy McBath is with me now. Congresswoman McBath a pleasure to have you back. Thank you so much. Nice to see you.

REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA): Thank you. I enjoyed being with you.

BALDWIN: So we'll get to her apology in just a second. But first when you first heard about those comments from this new NRA President, what did you think?

MCBATH: Well, Brooke, frankly I wasn't really that surprised. And I think the NRA would want to make this personal all day long. But I refuse to make this personal. I refuse to make this about Carolyn Meadows. I refuse to make this about myself. This is truly about making sure that I am doing my best to keep people in my district, keep our children and our community safe.

BALDWIN: Do you accept her -- is apology the right word?

MCBATH: Well, you know, there again, it's not a matter of me having to accept an apology from her, the most acceptable apology for me would be the NRA gun lobby as -- if they stop pushing their extremist agenda and that they are no longer putting profit over public safety. That would be the most acceptable apology I could ever receive.

BALDWIN: And just for people who don't know about your district, just north of Atlanta, it has belonged to Republican Stalwart, like former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich and Tom Price. Your district voted for George W. Bush and Mitt Romney by double-digits. They elected Trump by a thin margin in 2016.

[15:40:00] And all of this to say, were you even a little surprised that, using her words, as a minority female, that the Georgia state elected you.

MCBATH: Well, no. Frankly, I wasn't that surprised. But of course we know it is far more difficult for minority candidates, in particular women, to win these seats. But you know, my district is 70 percent white college-educated Americans. And they voted for me. Because they believe in me. They believe in my ability to really champion for them and so many different ways. Even outside of gun violence.

So I think that the tide is changing. People are looking for a candidate. They're looking for a representative that will stand up and fight for them. And people believe in my vision and I just want to make sure that they have everything that they deserve, that democracy should afford them.

BALDWIN: Speaking of fighting. You and I have had many conversations about your son Jordan and that you lost your son Jordan. But that you have made it your life's calling to bring about -- how you refer to it as common-sense reform in this country. And since being elected you helped the House advance its first gun violence legislation bill in years. This bill would require federal background checks for all gun purchases and since I know this is personal for you. I just wanted to play something. You'll hear from an eighth grader in Iowa asking Beto O'Rourke a really important question.


STUDENT: Society is becoming numb to children being slaughtered. Victim and survivors aren't just numbers, they are human beings. Sorry.


STUDENT: There has been little to no effort put forward by the government to protect schools, youth and teachers from this disgusting act of violence. It is becoming an epidemic in America. I'm afraid that one day I'll go to school and I won't ever come out. I'm sorry. What actions will you take to protect people like me and my classmates, from this happening?


BALDWIN: I mean, you hear the fear and helplessness in her young voice. She is in school. She lives this every day. How would you answer her question?

MCBATH: Well, I think that Beto answered it well. But I would like to add that I want our young people in our country to feel empowered. I want them to know that they have a tool and their voice is the strongest tool that they have to be able to speak out about the injustice of what they're feeling every single day about being afraid of being gunned down unnecessarily.

I want them to understand and know that the greatest tool they have is their right to vote. And to use that tool going to the polls when they are old enough to advocate for themselves what they want to see in their communities. What they want to see for their futures. So that's what I would add in that regard. Helping them to feel empowered to know that they have the ability to choose for themselves what their future looks like.

BALDWIN: Turning to oversight. Your committee, Congresswoman McBath, the House Judiciary Committee, is meeting with the DOJ to discuss the Attorney General. Can you tell me, has any progress or compromise been made ahead of this contempt vote?

MCBATH: Well not that I'm aware of at this point. I know that Chairman Nadler is still negotiating and of course I would like to say personally, this is not anything that I take joy in having to be a part of. I don't think any of us on the Judiciary Committee do. But our job, once again, is making sure that democracy works. Making sure that we are the bearers of Congressional oversight. Making sure that the American people have all of the information that they deserve to know, the facts.

BALDWIN: When will Robert Mueller testify?

MCBATH: Well, we're -- right now we believe it should be within a couple of weeks. So we should be within the month of May.

BALDWIN: Do you have a date? We heard a date initially. Do you have one?

MCBATH: Not that I'm aware of at this point. But we look forward to being able to really speak with Special Counsel Mueller so that he could tell us from his own lips what the truth is.

BALDWIN: There has been so much stonewalling from this White House. Don McGahn, former White House counsel, defying his subpoena for documents. Barr missing his deadline for releasing that unredacted Mueller report. Just as a member of Congress, with this White House, do you ever feel powerless?

MCBATH: I will say, Brooke, I never feel powerless because I know that the constitution is on our side. It's difficult, yes. I wouldn't be telling the truth if I didn't say it wasn't difficult. Because there is a lot of obstruction. But we'll continue to do what we are empowered to do. Congressional oversight is what we are tasked with.

[15:45:00] We took a very strong oath when we became representatives and working for Congress and we intend to carry out that oath. We intend to make sure the American people have the facts, have the information that they need and then the rest will just play out on its own.

BALDWIN: Lastly, as a Georgian, your state's governor just signed this controversial Bill today. It's called the Heartbeat Bill. It would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected which could be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Just your reaction to this?

MCBATH: I was very disheartened and just very disillusioned this was happening in my very own state. And that is the reason why while I'm here in Washington I will continue to champion for women's reproductive health care. For women to be able to choose for themselves what's best for their bodies. I'm very dissatisfied with the fact that we would be taking from women their ability to have health care services provided them. Women should be able to decide for themselves what's best for their bodies with their families, their loved ones and their health care providers.

BALDWIN: Congresswoman Lucy McBath, thank you.

MCBATH: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Back to our breaking news on Wall Street. The Dow down nearly 600 points now as fears are growing over President Trump's threat to more than double the tariffs on China. We're back in just a moment.


BALDWIN: Take a-list celebrities, dress them in outrageous outfits and you get what "Vogue" contributing editor, Andrey Leon Talley, calls the super bowl of fashion. For the rest of us, it's known at the Met Gala. The annual fund-raiser for New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. And Alex Badia is the style director for "Women's Wear Daily." Which today, has this great cover photo of Lady Gaga, one of this year's hosts. More on her in just a second. It's so great to have you here. I mean, it's such a fun break just from everything else. You know, I'm flipping through everyone's pictures as they're walking the pink carpet. You were there. Who killed?

ALEX BADIA, STYLE DIRECTOR, WOMEN'S WEAR DAILY: Lady gaga killed it. She was a host, but she did not disappoint. She had four looks in one. It was basically Russian doll. He got in there with a humongous pink poncho, look at that. Unbelievable.

BALDWIN: What is that? That was like outfit three.

BADIA: Outfit three and then outfit four. But it's really interesting how she even referenced her own career throughout. Outfit three felt like telephone, this was the beginning of her career. She crawled in the stairs, like crawling into fashion.

BALDWIN: Total performance, like you said.

BADIA: Total performance.

BALDWIN: And just side note. So there's always a theme every year. This year's theme was camp. Not like, hey, s'mores camping, but --

BADIA I was looking for a tent somewhere.

BALDWIN: OK, Billy Porter.

BADIA: Amazing.

BALDWIN: Billy Porter -- you guys just roll it. You need to look at it. Billy porter.

BADIA: Yes, I mean, he's --

BALDWIN: He was carried in.

BADIA: I mean, that's so amazing, that he referenced, look, the Egyptians. Like, it's so great, Cleopatra, look at those wings. The whole outfit weighed 100 pounds. He carried 100 pounds of the beading and the weight.

BALDWIN: How long do these designers work on these?

BADIA: Oh, my god, for months. And also, you need to understand, the gala is hosted at the Egyptian room, so he was referencing the place where it's taking place, the actual event. That's why it was so intelligently done. I think when it's a little bit sort of mentally done, it's really much more interesting than just like, you know, camp.


BADIA: Look at that.

BALDWIN: I can't take my eyes off of him.

BADIA: Look at that. I want to be carried everywhere.

BALDWIN: Get in line. Get in line, Alex.

Zendaya, her Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo Cinderella. We've got may be the before and the after.

BADIA: Listen, I love things that glow in the dark. I always do.

BALDWIN: Who doesn't? Initially, her dress was just sort of more muted. And do you know what they did?

BADIA: Well, it was basically like an effect. Again, performance art, what we talked about. And then everything started lighting up. One thing I don't know if you have here, is that when she was walking up the stairs, she left a glass slipper on the stairs.

BALDWIN: Her own Cinderella moment.

BADIA: Her own Cinderella moment. Disney can be a little campy, if you ask me. And she got it. She got it.

BALDWIN: And you got to be there in the middle of it all.

BADIA: It was really fun.

BALDWIN: It was so fun. Thank you for allowing me to have a little fun at the end of my two hours. It's great to meet you. Great to have you on.

BADIA: Any time, thank you.

BALDWIN: "Women's Wear Daily".

We are moments from the closing bell. The Dow looks set to end the day with more than 2 percent drop. This is all tied to the growing tension between the U.S. and China over tariffs, so stand by for that.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The White House keeps giving Democrats the Heisman. "THE LEAD" starts right now.

His name appears in the Mueller report more than 500 times, but today, the White House said Don McGahn needs to ignore that subpoena from House Democrats. So will the former White House counsel defy his old boss?

One top 2020 candidate has not been shy about his faith, but now Mayor Pete has a new claim about God that potentially could offend basically half the country.

Plus, America's top diplomat is excited about the global crisis of rapidly melting sea ice. Why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo apparently sees a silver lining and a chance for companies to profit.

Welcome to "THE LEAD," I'm Jake Tapper. We're going to start with breaking news in the money lead. The Dow's huge tumble today, finishing nearly 500 points in the red. Let's go right to CNN's Alison Kosik at the New York Stock Exchange. And Alison, today's drop seems to have a lot to do with fears of a new trade war with China.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jake. Ramped up concerns about the U.S. and China trade situation. That was actually the main driver for the big losses that we saw today. And what a day it has been, from the opening bell to the close.