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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

House Holds Contempt Vote on Attorney General; White House Exerts Broad Executive Privilege Over Mueller Report. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired May 8, 2019 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:02]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Senator Amy Klobuchar, Sara, recently said that when she goes to town halls and when she campaigns -- she's running for president, a Democrat from Minnesota -- people don't ask her about Mueller.

People don't ask her -- here, let's listen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ms. Lofgren votes aye.

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): The gentlelady from Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ms. Jayapal votes aye.

NADLER: And the two of you are very welcome to cast your votes.

Has anyone else who wishes to vote not voted yet? The clerk will report. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, there are 24 ayes and 16 no's.

NADLER: The ayes have it. And the committee report, as amended, is ordered reported favorably to the House.

I now recognize the ranking member, the gentleman from Georgia.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Pursuant to Clause 2-L of Rule 11, I hereby to give notice of intent to file dissenting views for the inclusion into the report.

NADLER: The notice is duly noted.

Members will have two days to submit views. The committee report will be reported as a single amendment, in the nature of a substitute, incorporating all adopted amendments. Without objection, staff is authorized to make technical and conforming changes.

This concludes our business for today. Thanks to all of our members for attending. Without objection, the markup is adjourned.

TAPPER: All right, there it is, a moment in history. The House Judiciary Committee controlled by Democrats has voted to hold the attorney general of the United States, Bill Barr, in contempt of Congress. The vote was 24-16, 24 ayes, all Democrats, 16 no's, all Republicans.

And we should note, this does not mean that the attorney general has been held in contempt of Congress. Now it goes to the floor of the entire House of Representatives for a full vote.

Sara Murray, what I was going to say to you is that Amy Klobuchar, the senator from Minnesota, who is out there on the campaign trail, says people do not talk to her about Mueller. They generally don't even talk to her about impeachment. They want to know about health care. They want to know what opioids.

And yet you don't hear a lot from the Democrats running for president talking about this, but this is what Congress is doing today.

SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, it is what Congress is doing, in part because Democrats who are running for president are doing a different thing than what Congress is trying to do.

Ostensibly, what Congress is trying to do is oversight, and you can make your own decision at home about whether you think they're actually conducting oversight, or whether you think they're just conducting a stunt in Congress today.

But that's what Congress is trying to do. If you're running for president, I think you have to look at what Democrats were doing in the midterms, which is to say we had to run this to the end, we had to figure out whether the Trump campaign was actually colluding with the Russians. That's a problem for election security. It's a problem for election integrity.

If you want to see all of the things that the president did that we think is beneath the president while he was in office, we will point to some of those, you can read them the Mueller. But for most people at the beginning of the day, at the end of the end of the day, at lunch, that's not what they're thinking about.

They're thinking about the real concerns at home, which is, what is their paycheck? How much are they paying for health care? Can they provide health care for their family?

And I think that is why Democrats were successful in the midterms. And I think that those who are running for president in 2020 are trying to pay attention to that.

TAPPER: And then the next question, of course, when it comes to oversight is whether or not Robert Mueller himself will testify.

The House Judiciary Committee had sounded as though they had agreed on a date. And then they backed away, said, no, this is a possible date. Is it possible that Mueller will not testify?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Anything is possible in this day and age.

(LAUGHTER)

KUCINICH: But he is still an employee of the Justice Department, and so Congress has to go through them in order to get him to testify.

Now, it was interesting. During Nadler's interview this morning on CNN, he wouldn't answer...

TAPPER: Yes.

KUCINICH: ... why he is still -- we don't know why Mueller is still an employee of the Justice Department.

So, for the -- at least, as much as we know right now, that's still -- that's still going to be who they have to deal with. If he was a private citizen, they would just be going through him and he could do what you wanted.

TAPPER: And, David, the president did an about-face on this week.

He -- last week, he said it was up to the attorney general whether or not Mueller would testify, and the attorney general had testified before the Senate it was fine with him. He had no objection to it.

Now President Trump is saying, no, I don't want Mueller to testify.

Do you know why the about-face?

DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Do you think it's a good idea for the president to be trying to block Mueller from testifying?

URBAN: Listen, I think that, at some point, Mueller's going to testify, whether he's a DOJ employee or as a private citizen someplace down the road.

I think that the report is out. I think the attorney -- I think that Mueller should be able to testify. I think he should be able to be questioned. I think it's good for transparency. It's good -- sunlight is the best disinfectant.

I think it works great. I think we will see. He will be able to discuss in great depth this report. People have been able to read it. And I think we will be able to get along and move along past this all to something more constructive.

TAPPER: What do you think? Do you think Mueller should testify?

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course I do.

I think it's pretty clear what President Trump is doing. He is trying to stall and prevent him from -- he doesn't want him to testify because he wants to move on. He wants the case to be closed, as McConnell tried to claim yesterday. So...

[16:35:05]

URBAN: Well, it is closed.

PSAKI: Tactically, that's what he's trying to do.

I think it's pretty clear. Absolutely, he should testify. Don McGahn should testify as well. If you're either of them, you also want to clear your name and what the perception is of what your conclusions were, what your experience was.

I mean, I'm a believer -- I don't know Don McGahn, but he took extensive notes for a reason. His assistant took extensive notes for a reason. He shared those with Mueller. I would be surprised if he didn't want to continue to clear his name publicly. He's already done that quite a bit.

But there's more he can do.

URBAN: Yes, but the case is closed. That's the point the president is trying to make. The case is closed.

TAPPER: The conspiracy...

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: The conspiracy case, the case -- the report was issued.

TAPPER: Well, but the obstruction question...

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: Well, but, you know, and the congressmen, they can impeach the president, right? We understand that's the way to move forward.

I think it going to be left up to the American people.

PSAKI: But, David, they're pursuing their constitutional -- their duties, which is to have people appear for hearings, ask them questions and conclude the open case that Mueller left open. That's what they're doing.

(CROSSTALK)

URBAN: And I would submit the administration is doing what they believe they're doing, exerting executive privilege in instances they believe is appropriate.

And we will see. The court will end up deciding it.

TAPPER: We are waiting for the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, to come out and talk to reporters about what just happened.

It was a moment in history, the House Judiciary Committee finding the attorney general of the United States in contempt of court. And we're going to continue this conversation until that happens.

So, Jackie Kucinich, yesterday, the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, said, case closed, case closed.

I got about 300 e-mails from his super PAC or from something telling me, case closed.

KUCINICH: Yes.

TAPPER: He was talking entirely about the conspiracy part of this, not about the obstruction of justice part of this.

And when asked about obstruction of justice, he really didn't mention that at all.

(CROSSTALK)

KUCINICH: Well, right, because that is the open question. That's not what the -- and that is -- there's a dispute, even within DOJ, between Mueller and Barr, about what should have happened in that situation, and how it was initially presented to the American people.

So I -- Jen's right. There are open questions there. And this is what Congress wants to get to. Now, will it take a lot of theater to get there? Probably.

But there are really -- there are open questions as to why Mueller decided to do what he did in terms of terms of not...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: I want to -- we have some breaking news. So just pardon me, David.

But we do have some breaking news in our politics lead right now, which is the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. over the Russia investigation. Again, this is the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee.

They want the president's son to answer questions about his previous testimony before Senate investigators. Sources are telling CNN that Donald Trump Jr. is considering pleading the Fifth or not appearing at all.

Again, this is the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee. Donald Trump Jr., as you may recall, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee back in September 2017. It's the first congressional subpoena that we're aware of for one of President Trump's children.

And, Sara, this is kind of astounding, because the Senate Intelligence Committee is controlled by Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina, who is a close ally of President Trump's.

MURRAY: Yes, I mean, I think there were a lot of unanswered questions in the Mueller report when it came to Donald Trump Jr. They obviously explored the idea of bringing charges against him in

association with that Trump Tower meeting, essentially whether he was getting something that could have been considered a campaign contribution without reporting it.

They decided not to charge him, but he didn't participate in Robert Mueller's investigation. He has for the Senate. It's clear they have more questions. I think it's really striking, the idea that he's considering pleading the Fifth.

But I also think it's another indication of where the White House and, by association, the Trump family come -- stands when it comes to these investigations, this idea that, if I don't cooperate with you, essentially, there's nothing that's going to happen to me anyway.

So we will see how that approach could work out for Donald Trump Jr.

TAPPER: It's surprising to me, though, just because, I mean, this would -- could not happen without the sign-off of the Republicans leading the committee.

KUCINICH: Well, right. And that's why it's striking that he is weighing these more controversial options, like not showing up. That doesn't bode well for -- that doesn't reflect well on the White House, who has to deal with these Senate Republicans.

It's not like Burr did this without talking to anybody. I'm sure that there were a lot of discussion about whether this was the right thing to do.

TAPPER: Your reaction, David?

URBAN: Yes, look.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has a long, long history of being very bipartisan and very measured in what they do. So I'm not sure what the underlying issues here that are being looked into about Donald Trump Jr., but it is much more serious than the House Judiciary Committee, I would say, issuing a subpoena.

I think that's -- what you just saw there is much more newsworthy than what Jerry Nadler is going to come out and say here.

TAPPER: And sources are telling CNN that the Senate Intelligence Committee was negotiating this with Donald Trump Jr. and his attorneys before the Mueller report even came out. But, according to our sources, Trump Jr. and his team resisted because they weren't sure what was going to be in the Mueller report.

[16:40:05]

This is rather curious. What questions might Donald Trump Jr. -- might they want him to answer? I guess it has to do with his previous testimony and whether or not everything he said matched up squarely with the facts as laid out in the Mueller report.

PSAKI: Right.

And, as Sara said, there was a lot of references to Donald Trump Jr. in the Mueller report and things that, as a reader, you were left not sure what the conclusion was or what exactly happened there.

So we don't know exactly, I don't think, what happened during his testimony in September of 2017.

TAPPER: It was behind closed doors.

PSAKI: It was behind closed doors. OK.

So, one would assume that there are questions about whether there's a consistency there. We don't know this, but this could certainly be one direction they're going in. Now that they have seen the Mueller report, is it consistent with how he testified? That could be one line of questioning.

It certainly is interesting, because -- and Burr -- if you look back, Burr and Warner have had -- had started off working quite well together, in a very bipartisan fashion. There have been some bumps in the road. Maybe this is a slight return to working together in a bipartisan fashion, which is certainly a good thing.

The Senate, I think, even though it's led by Republicans, there have been moments where they have bucked President Trump and the administration on a couple of issues.

KUCINICH: Right.

PSAKI: Yemen, funding at the border.

And maybe that's where we will see some of this. And this is -- this could certainly be an example of that.

TAPPER: The biggest tension that I know of between Senator Warner, who was the leading Democrat on Senate Intelligence, and Senator Burr, who is the chairman and the Republican, is basically in interpretation of the evidence, Burr saying there's no evidence proving conspiracy, and Warner's opinion is, well, there's lots of circumstantial evidence, and that's important too.

But there have been bumps, as you point out.

Here comes Chairman Nadler. Let's listen.

NADLER: Are we all here?

This was a -- this was a very grave and momentous step that we were forced to take today to move a contempt to citation against the attorney general of the United States.

We did not relish doing this, but we have no choice. Attorney General Barr, having proved himself to be the personal attorney to President Trump, rather than the attorney general of the United States, by misleading the public as to the contents of the Mueller report twice, by not being truthful with Congress, has shown himself to be the personal attorney of the United States, rather than the attorney general.

And now he has taken a much greater step farther, in turning the entire Department of Justice into an instrument of Trump personally, rather than an instrument of justice and a representative of the United States.

By seeking to evade, to bar all subpoenas -- and the president said it, that they will resist all subpoenas, not just with reference to the Mueller report or to the Russian attack on our democracy, but with reference to anything, to reference to the Department of Justice's turnaround on their position in court on the Affordable Care Act, to references of investigations of security clearances, to references to the decisions to tear babies away from their mothers at the borders, to everything.

They are uniformly rejecting subpoenas from Congress. This means that they have decided to oppose the role of Congress as a coordinate branch of government representing the American people. They are stonewalling the American people from all information.

And this cannot be. We cannot have a government where all the information is in the executive branch, where the American people and the Congress are stonewalled as to information that they need to make decisions and to know what is going on.

So, while this is stonewalling information with respect to the Russian attack on our democracy with -- in 2016 with respect to the president's campaign, cooperation with that attack, to the president's obstructions of justice in seeking to stop an investigation of that attack, it goes far broader than that.

It's an attack on the ability of the American people to know what the executive branch is doing and to have responsible government.

[16:45:00] It is an attack on the essence of our democracy and we must oppose this with every fiber of our being. And that's why we today referred a contempt citation to the House floor. The House will have to vote that contempt citation to begin the court battle.

There can be no higher stakes than this attempt to arrogate all power to the executive branch away from Congress and more important away from the American people. We've talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis. We are now in it. We are now in a constitutional crisis.

Benjamin Franklin in 1787 was asked when he exited the Constitutional Convention what type of governments have you given us, sir, and he said -- by a woman who asked the question. He said a republic ma'am if you can keep it.

Now is the time of testing whether we can keep a republic or whether this Republic is destined to change into a different more tyrannical form of government as other republics have over the -- over the centuries. We must resist this. This is far broader than Republican or

Democratic or even the rights of Congress. This is whether we can put limits on the power of the president, any president, and an executive branch, and hold the president, any president accountable. That's what is at stake here. We cannot flinch and we will not flinch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Nadler, if you're -- if you're in a constitution -- if you're in a constitution crisis, why are you resistant to moving forward with impeachment.

NADLER: Well, I'm not going to talk about impeachment, but that may be -- the short answer is that may not be the best answer in the -- in this constitutional crisis. There are a lot of considerations for that, and that may not be the best answer for this constitutional crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the best answer?

NADLER: Well --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I mean, if you're -- if you're going to go for impeachment right now, this goes to the floor next week and then --

NADLER: This will go to the floor rapidly. I don't know whether it's next week or not, but it'll be on the floor soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And how does that compare with you know, I know Democrats looking for tax returns, and that could go to the floor. Potentially McGahn being (INAUDIBLE). You guys got to balance that and prioritize that --

NADLER: Well, we'll see what happens. We are -- we are still planning to invest -- to have Mr. McGahn appear before us, that Mr. Mueller appears before us. The President has made that more difficult by ordering Mueller not to appear and by ordering McGahn not to submit the documents that we've subpoenaed.

And by the way, these documents, the White House makes a nonsensical claim and the Department of Justice this morning for all these various documents. They say they're executive privilege. Most of them are not executive privilege.

And remember something about executive privilege. It's not -- it's not a blanket bar. Nixon, in the Nixon case, the tapes, you all remember or have read about the tapes. These were the most sensitive to executive privilege.

They were private conversations between the president and his advisors and the Supreme Court ruled 8 to nothing that the interests of the public in justice and in an accountability outweighed the interests of the -- of the president in privacy and ordered those tapes revealed.

And of course, when the tapes are revealed, that led to Nixon's resignation, number one. Number two, executive privilege is designed to get candor by the President's advices to advise him. Once that has gone public, once the President has said it's OK to share those conversations or that evidence or whatever with the Mueller investigation, with your private attorney, with whoever, once it's been published there is no more privilege because it's done already.

Everything we have requested, the unredacted part -- all the material in the -- in the redacted parts of the model report, all the material that we've requested in the various subpoenas, none of it is privileged because all of it they waived the privilege by enabling it to go public to the -- to Mueller or whoever. So it's a nonsense claim.

We will win these court fights because the law is one-sided. And when the President or Attorney General Barr or anybody else cites executive privilege in these cases, they are not being honest. They're not being honest because there's no real claim at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chairman Nadler, are we to perceive this as a -- these are going to be court fights that you will be fighting as a civil concept then? Is there going to be any criminal part of this or any inherent that we've heard about?

NADLER: It'll probably be a civil contempt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And what -- why not go with inherent as some of your colleagues have suggested?

NADLER: Well, I don't -- I don't -- I don't -- I don't want to answer that question because I'm not sure we won't.

[16:50:07] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're not sure you wouldn't go with inherent?

NADLER: That's right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, you said that has ordered Mueller not to testify. Are you referring to his tweet last week saying Mueller should not testify?

NADLER: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How was that (INAUDIBLE)? Has Mueller specifically told you that (INAUDIBLE) can't testify?

NADLER: No, but it obviously puts a lot of pressure on Mueller, and the discussions are ongoing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are the discussions --

NADLER: They're ongoing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to go to court and ask the judge to unseal the grand jury material without the Justice Department?

NADLER: Yes, we will. Now, in every prior case, the Attorney General has joined the Judiciary Committee or I think sometimes other committees, has joined Congress and asking for a grand jury material in every case or the all the major cases that has been granted. The attorney general, this Attorney General Barr has simply said he won't do that. He's not given a reason why he won't do it.

He's not given a reason why he's breaking precedent and refusing to support what will be our application for that -- for the grand jury information. He has not said he'll oppose it, but he said either they will oppose it or not or take no position.

But every -- in every previous case, the Attorney General has joined the committee in requesting the release of that grand jury committee -- information. It's always been granted to the committee. And the committee's handled it responsibly. It hasn't leaked and it's been used properly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

NADLER: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you issue a subpoena for the other -- when will you issue a subpoena for the other four former White House officials including Hope Hicks?

NADLER: When it's -- when it seems most advisable to the --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned though that this move to invoke executive privilege will essentially the chilling effect always --

NADLER: Of course we're concerned. We're concerned that the President's declaration and the apparent intention to deny all information is going to be a chilling effect or more. Remember, in every case that people have talked about, whether it be a former Attorney General Holder or last year when this committee on the Republican-controlled demand, there are all sorts of grand jury information, and FBI interviews and all sorts of things, and we're given 880,000 pages.

In every situation, there's been an accommodation, and there's been more or less information given. This year, we have gotten not one page of information in respect -- in reference -- in the response rather, to any subpoena nor have any other committees in the House.

There have been absolutely not one single page has been given. A total stonewalling of Congress, a total stonewalling the American people. And that is an insertion of tyrannical power by the president and it cannot -- it cannot be allowed to stand.

The American people have to have a government responsive to them. And that means the president and the Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE)

NADLER: I see this as a fact-gathering which may or may not lead to -- I mean, as I've said many times, we need the facts, we need all the information, and decisions like that or other things will be made down the road when we have the facts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE). If you can't get the facts, how are you going to proceed? NADLER: We are going to have to insist on getting the facts. Thank you very much.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, that was the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York talking about how in his view "we are now in a constitutional crisis." Let's get reaction from our experts here. Jen Psaki, is he overstating the case? Is this a constitutional crisis?

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think many people in the Democratic caucus agree with him, and many of the American people agree with him. I think we also saw though the awkward challenge Democrats are going to have moving forward which is saying it's a constitutional crisis and then saying we're not impeaching right now.

I agree with that strategy because I think you need the public with you and I need -- you need the caucus with you and I think Pelosi is running a smart game here, but that is going to be a very tricky public tightrope to walk and we saw that play out there a little bit in the press conference.

TAPPER: David?

URBAN: I was going to say, I agree with Jen. Look, you can't have it both ways. You can't ring -- you can't break the glass and say you're having a crisis and then say, well, it's not that big a crisis. There's only -- I don't know. There's only one type of constitutional crisis I would think right, it's pretty big, break glass.

So if you think it's a constitutional crisis, you should impeach the president. If you don't think it's a constitutional crisis move on.

TAPPER: The constitutional crisis being that the -- that the White House is refusing to comply with any subpoenas and the ability of Democrats to conduct oversight, or the constitutional crisis being the larger issue the Democrats talk about which is President Trump's in their view obstruction of justice in the Mueller investigation and the conversations that went back and forth between Trump team members and Russians during the campaign?

[01:55:11] JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think the answer to that is yes. It's a little bit of both. I mean, you know, he -- Jerry Nadler there was talking a lot about you know, the congressional power and how the White House was taking all the power.

So there's a lot of battle between the branches right now and that's going to continue. But yes, it's all of it. It's -- but they're -- and they're going to have to contend with members and their base who are going to really start pushing and getting loud about you know, you need to do something about this. This is why you're there.

Now, certainly members and Nancy Pelosi would disagree. But even she -- her rhetoric was a little bit harsher yesterday. PSAKI: Well, they wanted -- I think they want to bring people with

them and scare the people who aren't quite there yet in the public while saying, wait we're not there yet, but come with us on the journey. And that's a very hard thing to do.

TAPPER: We were talking, Sara, about what the Democrats won the House on, the issues having to do with health care, having to do with opioids, having to do with things along those lines. Democrats, when you ask them, you're focused all this energy on Bill Bar and President Trump on the Mueller report, what about all the reasons you got elected say, we can -- we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

But my question is are they chewing gum? We see them walking towards impeachment but are they chewing gum?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think they're going to have to prove that they can walk and chew gum at the same time. I mean, in some ways they can point to the fact they look, we watch Republicans try to overturn health care and look, we've fought them tooth and nail and we were able to sort of keep that at bay.

That's certainly what we saw during the midterms but they're going to have to be able to say you know, look, we are doing this in Congress because it is our job to do this in Congress. It is our job to conduct oversight particularly on an administration like this that is you know, so far entrenched that they don't -- they're trying to block us at every turn.

But they are also going to have to show that they're trying to fight for other things you know, along the way, and that they're actually doing it in Congress and not just on the campaign trail. I think right now it's sort of the dynamic we're seeing is we're seeing these candidates go out there and talk about these policy ideas that they have particularly about Elizabeth Warren you know, when they're out on the campaign trail but we're not seeing the same sort of like battle for them in Congress.

And that's something that I think constituents should be asking about and should be somewhat worried about. You know, you can't just go out there and sort of talk the talk. You have to show that youre actually fighting for it.

TAPPER: I just want -- just -- this just in is the Justice Department just issued a statement and no surprise they're accusing this vote of being politically motivated and they faulted the chairman of the committee Congressman Jerry Nadler, Democrat of New York for basically pushing President Trump into a corner where he was forced to assert executive privilege, not something he wanted to do.

And there seems to be a lot of gamesmanship going on here. You heard Nancy Pelosi the other day saying President Trump is time -- he's trying to goad us into impeaching him here. The Justice Department saying you forced us to assert executive privilege.

URBAN: Well, (INAUDIBLE) what Sarah's saying. They're too -- there are 33 of the 40 Democrats were elected who were "new Dems." They're kind of very conservative Democrats, Connor Lambs in the world, in very tough districts are going to be running and it's -- where impeachment is not -- it's not a big issue.

And it's going to be very difficult. I suspect that Speaker Pelosi is going to hear from those in her caucus who have very tough elections, that don't want to get anywhere near impeachment and want to get to the issues that won them this election. And they're going to be -- there's going to be a big push for that.

KUCINICH: But you've already heard them try to move off of it a little bit right. I mean, remember when it was infrastructure week last week on Monday? I mean, even if that bill never comes to fruition, you could see --

URBAN: They talked about infrastructure.

KUCINICH: They talked about infrastructure, they talked about --

TAPPER: For the first time in the history of infrastructure.

KUCINICH: That's right. so you can see around the edges they're trying to start other conversations. Now, it doesn't say there.

MURRAY: I also think you can -- you know, if you are a Democrat in your running president, now you can go out there and say don't you want us to be able to go back to running the government like you know, like it's a government where we are not constantly having to fight the White House about whether the president tried to obstruct justice you know every single day, when he woke up and started tweeting from you know, the bedroom of the White House.

Don't you want to be able to talk about things like infrastructure and health care instead of whether the president colluded with the Russians? So if you want to do that, elect someone who's not President Trump.

PSAKI: Yes, I think also on campaigns, it's just such a different world in Washington. It is an aspirational world where you are trying to lay out a hopeful vision of what you would do different than the guy currently occupying the Oval Office.

So I think it's smart for them -- and I don't think they will start talking about impeachment because they want to -- they want to say exactly as you said, we're going to bring things back to normal so we're going to fight for health care. We're going to fight to address the opioids epidemic.

If things change and the politics shift, it will shift on the trail, too. But until then, I don't think it will.

URBAN: But you could. You heard Matt Gaetz at the opening of this hearing say to Nadler, look, we had the first step back, what about the second step back, Mr. Chairman? There are all these things. We could be doing opioids.

TAPPER: (INAUDIBLE) for justice reform. URBAN: Right. He was -- he was saying, look at all the things we're

not doing in this committee because we're doing it. I think it was smart of him to lay down the marker all the things they're not doing.

TAPPER: And he talked about potential -- working with Congressman Eric Swalwell, bipartisan efforts.

URBAN: These were -- these were bipartisan by Matt Gaetz which is a big move.

TAPPER: Yes, by Matt Gaetz from Florida, a Republican. Certainly not a shrinking violet when it comes to taking up the Republican mantle. Thanks one and all for being here. Our coverage on this breaking news continues on CNN right now. Thank you for watching.