Return to Transcripts main page


Colorado Shooting Survivor Speaks Out; U.S.-China Trade Talks; Senate Subpoenas Donald Trump Jr. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired May 9, 2019 - 15:00   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: It was almost a pained expression on his face as he talked about his son getting dragged into this stuff in Washington, talking about how Don Jr. offered to help him on the campaign, and now he's being dragged potentially before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

But there is a big question right now about whether the president or Don Jr. or both of them are going to try in some way to fight this, to resist having to testify. The president talked about the 20 hours of testimony that Don Jr. has already given on this subject.

But the question is, if they do that, how? In the past, on other matters, the president and the White House have suggested that they might use executive privilege, for example, to prevent people like former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying before congressional committees.

But it is not clear that will even be available to them when it comes to Don Jr. Now, Don Jr. could, of course, also plead the Fifth. But that is something that has some political consequences, because, by doing so, it suggests that he is invoking it against the right of -- the right of himself to prevent himself from self-incriminating in the context of a testimony.

So I think the White House and Don Jr. may not want to go down that route. But the president seemed to suggest today that it is an open question.


PHILLIP: Whether he actually goes there is still being deliberated. And I think this will be a major, major decision that is -- that is on the table for Don Jr. and for his father to figure out in the coming days and weeks.

BALDWIN: Yes, he seemed open to the fight.

And, David, the chairman of Senate Intel issuing this subpoena is Richard Burr, as we mentioned, significant because he is a Republican. He was an adviser to the Trump campaign. And Burr also said back in March that the Senate Intelligence investigation into Russia would end in the coming months. So do you think the subpoena is about tying up loose ends or is it

something more?


But it is entirely possible that something that the president's son said to the committee seems at variance with evidence that came up in the Mueller report or in later committee investigations. So, he may be concerned that he's being called back to see whether or not he told the truth to the committee.

And that would put a very different tinge on this and on the Fifth -- the question of whether he would take the Fifth in the testimony, because it could be incriminating if he had misled a committee.

We don't know. We don't know exactly what he had done there. Certainly, as Abby suggested, the frustration for the president is not merely this is a member of the family, but it's a member of the family who didn't enter into the administration.

So he could claim executive privilege for Ivanka Trump, his daughter, and for Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, but...

BALDWIN: But not Don Jr.

SANGER: ... it seems to be a real stretch to do it for Don Jr., who is not in any kind of executive role.

BALDWIN: Mm-hmm.

What about the special counsel, Abby, Robert Mueller, because, as you have reported for months and months how Trump has attacked him and the report and the members of his team. And, today, he sat there and insulted Mueller himself, saying -- going back to saying that it's up to Barr to determine whether he testifies.

Yet did you catch what he referred to the Mueller report as?


BALDWIN: The Bible.

PHILLIP: I mean, the Bible, yes.

Brooke, this is the president trying to have it both ways on the Mueller report. He spent a lot of his time today, frankly, attacking Mueller, the 18 -- 17, 18 angry Democrats on that -- that investigative team who put together this report that he also calls the Bible and says exonerated both him and his son and all of the associates around him who weren't charged.

So, the president is trying to say that Mueller can't be trusted, but, at the same time, the Mueller report is the final word on all of these matters. And I think it's a difficult position to have, because there are some matters that were left undecided, particularly when it comes to obstruction of justice.

And, as congressional Democrats are trying to look further into that, the White House is claiming that that's already been decided, it's already a done deal.

So, I think at the -- as we go forward, I -- the president may need to decide where he stands on this. It is either that the Mueller report is final or it's not. And I think that -- that if it is final, the attacking of Robert Mueller and the investigators seems to really fly in the face of all of that, especially given that these investigators did come up with a document that the president claims is a complete exoneration of him.


Abby and David, stand by for me. I have got more for you.

But we are hours away -- let me just set this up. We're hours away from consequential trade talks between the United States and China, as tariffs on multiple products from China loom. And that was just one of the topics beyond our borders that the president touched on as he was speaking this afternoon.

And it shows just how the world seems to be putting the president to the test.


And for more on that, let me bring in Chris Cillizza, our CNN politics reporter and editor at large.

So, let's start with, since it's the most pressing...


BALDWIN: ... China.

CILLIZZA: Well, first of all, Brooke, Abby's exactly right. He sure did talk about a lot of things. I think he had a lot on his mind.

And a lot of that, interestingly enough, was foreign policy. So you're right. Let's jump to it.

OK, China. Now, we know tariffs go from 10 percent to 25 percent at midnight tonight unless a deal is negotiated. Trump did talk about it. Let's hear his sound.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I did get last night a very beautiful letter from President Xi, let's work together. Let's see if we can get something done.

But they renegotiated the deal. I mean, they took -- whether it's intellectual property theft -- they took many, many parts of that deal and they renegotiated. You can't do that. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CILLIZZA: So, on the one hand, very beautiful letter from President Xi, on the other hand, trying to renegotiate.

So I don't know how you -- where we handicap that one going.

Let's go to North Korea. OK, we know that they have test-fired a missile of some sort. The U.S. seized one of their ships today, so tensions rising amid ongoing negotiations, we think. Donald Trump talked about that, too. Let's play that.


TRUMP: Nobody's happy about it. But we're taking a good look, and we'll see. We'll see.

The relationship continues, but we'll see what happens. I know they want to negotiate. They're talking about negotiating, but I don't think they're ready to negotiate.


CILLIZZA: Again, it sounds kind of similar, right, Brooke? They're not ready. They're trying to renegotiate.

And we would say North Korea -- one of the things that Donald Trump has prided himself on is, there haven't been a lot of test-fires out of there since they began talking.

OK, next, Iran, another very complicated situation, Donald Trump trying to figure out -- he's come down on both sides of it. Let's talk in the other side. Let's hear what he had to say today.


QUESTION: Risk of military confrontation, sir?

TRUMP: I guess you could say that always, right? Isn't it, I mean, you know, always? I don't want to say no, but hopefully that won't happen. We have one of the most powerful ships in the world that's loaded up, and we don't want to have to do anything.

What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me.


CILLIZZA: OK, so the context there, Brooke, he's talking about, we have got one of the most powerful ships.

Remember, we moved a fleet in to the Middle East to at least sort of -- it wasn't terribly specific, but to deal with potential threats from Iran. Now, the "call me" thing, I -- who knows? I don't dismiss down Trump's diplomacy.

It's very unorthodox. But we will see. And then, finally, Venezuela. Now, we have backed, the United States

has backed the opposition to Nicolas Maduro. That has not yet turned out to oust Maduro from office. And both last night in Panama City, Florida, a campaign speech, and then today, Trump sounded as though there was sort of an admiring peace to his views on Maduro.

Let's play that.


TRUMP: He has strong views on things, but that's OK. I actually temper John, which is pretty amazing, isn't it?


TRUMP: Nobody thought that was going to happen. I'm the one that tempers him. But that's OK. I have different sites. I mean, I have John Bolton and I have other people that are a little more dovish than him.

And, ultimately, I make the decision. No, I get -- I like John. I get very good advice from John.


CILLIZZA: So again, sort of laying the decision to weigh in, in Venezuela at John Bolton's doorstep.

We know that, in the past, that has been indicative of Donald Trump not being happy that things have not worked out the way he was told they would. So, we shall see.

Again, it's so hard with Donald Trump. I -- you mentioned the Mueller report. It's either the Bible or the worst witch-hunt ever conducted.

In China, it's either a beautiful letter or they're balking on negotiations.

On North Korea, he has a great relationship with Kim Jong-un or they're trying to renegotiate. Iran, Venezuela, the same thing.

It feels as though you listen for three seconds of a clip and you get one opinion.

BALDWIN: Yes, such a great point.

CILLIZZA: You listen for eight other seconds, and you get a different one.

BALDWIN: Living in the extremes is what it is.

Chris Cillizza, thank you.

And I want to jump back to Chris' point on Iran.

David Sanger, bringing you back in, because when President Trump was asked what Iran did to prompt the U.S. to send that carrier strike group, he said, well, they were threatening, and, frankly, we have information that you don't want to know about.

What could he be referring to?

SANGER: Well, in the course of saying that we don't want to know about it, I think the answer, Brooke is, we really want to know about it.


SANGER: There's a lot of question about what it is that the exact intelligence was. And that intelligence itself could indicate to us whether or not the president or John Bolton, who you heard those interesting comments about, were hasty in sending in a carrier group and bombers, or whether that was a good precaution.


It's a precaution that President Obama took at an earlier point during his second term as well. So I wouldn't want to say until we understood exactly what the nature of the terror threat was. We believe it was an intercepted communication that had to do with perhaps unleashing a militia to attack Americans.

But on the broader point of what he said on both North Korea and Iran...


SANGER: ... I thought that the -- that there were two sort of big points out there.

On Iran, this is the first time we have ever heard him say, "Call me." He's basically inviting them to open up a negotiation, and will, of course, if they call, make the argument that they did so because he showed strength. Maybe they did.

But when I spoken to the Iranians as recently as about two weeks ago, their argument was, we're happy to negotiate, but to do it, you have to reenter the nuclear deal, the existing deal we have with the United States, and then we will negotiate from that point forward. I don't think he's prepared to go do that.

On North Korea, the North Koreans appear to have shot off a short- range ballistic either missile or rocket launcher.


SANGER: It may violate U.N. regulations. It doesn't violate their commitment to the U.S.

But what's interesting is, there's message-sending to President Trump under way here, in which they're basically saying, you're going -- if you really want a deal between now and the time you are up for reelection, you're going to have to give a good deal. And, of course, he's got many around him, including Mr. Bolton, saying

that's not the way to go.

BALDWIN: Well, maybe he just needs another big, beautiful letter from Kim Jong-un. We know he's already gotten one of those before.

My goodness, all of this today, all of this, Iran, North Korea, China. Again, those -- those talks with China start...

SANGER: A little head-spinning, isn't it?

BALDWIN: A little bit, a little bit.

David Sanger, thank you so much.

SANGER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: There are disturbing reports out today about potential red flags at the Colorado school where that deadly school shooting took place this week, including a warning that it could be the site of the next Columbine.

Plus, Senator Elizabeth Warren on the cover of "TIME" magazine with what has become her unofficial slogan: "I have a plan for that."

I will talk to someone who says she is the only Democrat who understands the real threat the president poses.

And just a short time from now, the Boston Red Sox will visit the White House, but there will be several key people on that team who will not go.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Students are understandably struggling to cope with the shooting that killed a young hero and wounded eight others at their school, a tragedy that marked the latest blow to an area that has already endured a rash of mass shootings, some of the students singing there at that vigil that was held last night at Highlands Ranch High School.

It turned from a peaceable event actually into more of a demonstration, where some attendees shouted "mental health" and walked out. Students later returned to the vigil held inside the gym.

And I talked to Nate Holley, a sixth-grader who talked about what he experienced on Tuesday. And it really struck a chord.


NATE HOLLEY, SCHOOL SHOOTING SURVIVOR: I have sensitive ears. So they shot out the doors. And I heard the gunshots and I just kind of froze. And then the siren came on. And our teacher -- and somebody started

cracking a joke. And the teacher told them to shut up. And then she had us hide behind her desk. And when the shooter got closer, she moved us into the closet.

I was hiding in the corner, and they were right outside of the door. I had my hand on the -- on a metal baseball bat just in case, because I was going to go down fighting if I was going to go down.


BALDWIN: He's 12.

Preeti Grover's sons also attend STEM School Highlands Ranch. Her son Vivaan Kalura is a seventh grader there.

So, welcome to both of you, this beautiful community wrapped in crime tape.

Preeti, let me just start with you.

Here we are two days later. Have you had a minute to process what happened? How are you holding up?

PREETI GROVER, MOTHER: I think that things are still kind of fresh in my mind.

It's my subconscious mind of trying -- doing other things, but it's just back of my head. We're processing it slowly, but it's kind of still there.

BALDWIN: Mm-hmm.

Vivaan, can you tell me what happened?


So. I was kind of in my math class, and all the sudden, we heard like a bunch of thudding and screaming. And then I'm pretty sure the shooter said, "Shut up, or I will shoot all of you."

And that's kind of when everyone in my class started crying, including me, because we were so scared. So, we kind of locked the door and got under our desks. And then I guess the shooter kind of came near a hallway. And we heard two gunshots. So, we were under our desks.

But then our teacher -- normally, we're supposed to be in the back of the room. So, we ran to the back of the room. And we put like a table in front of us, so he couldn't get inside the room.

And it was just kind of traumatizing, because we could hear the police talking, and the shooter saying so many bad things. And then I heard the police say that two people have been shot, and then everyone just kind of lost It.

[15:20:05] BALDWIN: How did you know -- how did you know what to do, Vivaan?

KALURA: Well, I guess, normally, there's like this lockdown message.

But we have -- we have like lockdown drills, like, daily. So we kind of -- yes, we kind of knew what to do. So when we heard that, we just kind of locked the door and got under our desks.

BALDWIN: And tell me...

KALURA: But it was still super scary. And I was...

BALDWIN: Of course it was super scary. Of course it was super scary.


BALDWIN: And how old are you?

KALURA: I'm 12.

BALDWIN: Twelve.

And did you -- were you able to get in touch with your mom while all this was happening?


I was texting my mom. And she thought it was another school, so she was super worried. And it was -- yes, I'm still like kind of scared. And it's traumatic.

BALDWIN: I can't even begin to imagine what you must be feeling like.

And, mom, back over to you.

I mean, when you're on the receiving end of text messages from your precious child telling you what he just described to us, how do you begin to comprehend that?

GROVER: When he -- I know, when he started texting me, I was not sure. I thought -- I'm pretty sure, Vivaan, it's some other school, it's not your school, because it's hard to process that information in your mind that it's your son who is in danger.

But, at that time, when I realized, no, he started crying: "Momma, it's my school. They're shooting. I can hear the thudding sounds," and things like that. That's when I just -- I just rushed to school.

BALDWIN: And you have a younger son as well in the third grade at the same school, but you couldn't -- could you get in touch with him?

Or did -- Vivaan, did you go find him?

GROVER: No, I did ask Vivaan when Vivaan came out of the school. That's when he called me. I did ask Vivaan, you know, are you getting in touch with Ranit (ph), is my third grader. He said: "Mom, I don't know where to find him. I don't know where he is. You know, we're just standing outside. We're not allowed to go inside."

And that's where I'm losing it, because I don't know who's there. We don't know if there are the students or somebody else just got into school, because, at that time, there are a lot of things, emotions and thoughts going into your mind. And you're just not sure who's there.

And not finding my younger one and not getting in touch with him was really, really scary.

BALDWIN: And your younger one waking up this morning, and first thing in the morning saying to you, "Why don't we have metal detectors?"

There are all these, why don't we have or why is this happening or -- Vivaan, I just want to ask you. You're -- you're a tough 12-year-old and incredibly brave. And I just thank you so much for standing there with me today with your mom.

And can I just ask you, what would you like this country to do for you to make sure, when you go back to school, you're safe? What do you want?

KALURA: Well, I mean, first of all, I know our school doesn't even have, like, metal detectors or (INAUDIBLE) security, but we have private security. And I'm glad we had that.

And I just think that Colorado needs, like, more, better gun control laws, so stuff like this doesn't happen.

BALDWIN: Preeti, final word from you.


BALDWIN: As a mom. Mother's Day is this weekend.

GROVER: Yes, I think -- you know, yes, I am -- I cannot be more than -- glad than this than I have my boys with me at this time, sorry for the other parents who couldn't reunite the other day.

We definitely want, as everyone says, gun control is the obvious one, that there should be a policeman always, you know, at the school, metal detectors.

Like my son, my younger one, he was saying that, how come they're not checking their backpacks? How come when -- how they check the security at the airports, like that?

Why -- I mean, how many more do we need to stop these kind of things? You know, so I think we definitely need more gun law controls and, as we're talking, metal detectors, so that these things can be checked thoroughly.

BALDWIN: Spoken from a mother and her son surviving this tragedy. Yes, to hear you, the solution is going to the polls, according to you

and so many other families I know I have spoken to.

Vivaan and Preeti, thank you so much, and a happy early Mother's Day to you.

GROVER: Thank you, Brooke.

KALURA: Thank you.

GROVER: Same to you, too.

BALDWIN: Thank you. Thank you.

The Dow falling in this last hour of trading ahead of tonight's deadline for some kind of agreement between the U.S. and China. Hear what happens if they don't and what you will be paying extra for.

Plus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the women in the Democratic race aren't getting enough attention. But, today, Senator Elizabeth Warren is on the cover of "TIME" magazine. You see the headline, "I have a plan for that."



BALDWIN: President Trump off-script, sounding off about last-minute negotiations with China in his trade war showdown, those negotiations set to begin a little less than two hours from now.

And the president says he has no idea what could happen.


TRUMP: The vice premier, who is one of the most respected men, one of the highest officials in China, is coming. You know, you heard he wasn't coming. He's coming.

I will say this. Once the tariffs went on, they upped the meeting.