Return to Transcripts main page
CNN RIGHT NOW
Denver Suburb Reels from Shooting Tragedy; Trump Claims John Kerry Tells Iran Not to Call the White House, Violating the Logan Act; Trump Says Puerto Rico Got $91 Billion in Disaster Relief, Most Ever; GOP-Led Senate Intelligence Issues Subpoena to Don Jr; Former Democrat Sen. Heidi Discusses Medicare-for-All, Obamacare, 2020 Presidential Candidates. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired May 9, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[13:30:00] BRENDAN BIALY, STUDENT: I want to make something very, very clear. Kendrick Castillo died a legend. He died a trooper. He got his ticket to Valhalla and I know he'll be with me for the rest of my life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: So it will take a long time for the residents of this Denver suburb to heal. All of the unanswered questions add to the struggle. Why did this happen? Were there signs? Was this preventable?
CNN national correspondent, Ryan Young, is in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
You've been following this, Ryan, and while it's still pretty early in this investigation what, have authorities revealed so far?
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there's a lot of conversation about the next steps here, Brianna. I want to give you an update, real quick. Across the street, there's little police activity there as the sheriff's deputies continue their investigation around the school. We also know that there's going to be another 24 hours before charges are officially placed on the two suspects.
But there's also coming to light the fact that there was a parent who apparently had a child at this the school who was reaching out to the district to say they felt like there were conditions at the school that they wanted some attention placed into, and they thought it was ripe for some kind of violent act like Columbine. Don't forget, that's seven miles away. That's the focus there where people wanted to know, why was this parent saying that these conditions existed here and that this was a high-pressure situation. What was done about it?
Then you take the fact that the students have actually been putting their hands around this, Brianna in, a way like what we've seen in the Parkland case. There was a vigil last night and some politicians showed up and students didn't like that. They wanted to focus on Kendrick and his memory and the fact that this school fought back. I think when you see young people in the way they have been expressing
themselves and the 6-year-old and others who were willing to fight back because they didn't want to be victims, it's astonishing to see how the community has changed. In fact, talking to and hearing some young people taught, they know they will never go back to being a normal school district because of what's happened here. They want to focus on the victims. And let's not forget there's three people that still remain in the hospital, forever changed. You're talking about class where people were watching a movie, three days before school was over, someone walks in and talks to the teacher and the next thing you know they close the door and turn around and, apparently, say to everyone, don't move. And that's when Kendrick reacted and that's how people want to remember him.
Really astonishing when you hear from people in this community about how much love there is for that kid who gave up his life to save his other classmates.
KEILAR: And for his parents, as we've heard from, who tried to cope with his loss even as they are extremely proud of him. Important to remember what they are going through, too.
Ryan Young, thank you so much.
Just a short time from now, the Boston Red Sox will visit the White House, but they will be without some keep people on the team, including the manager, who cites the president's Puerto Rican response as a reason for not going.
[13:37:23] KEILAR: Former Secretary of State John Kerry is now responding to accusations that President Trump made just moments ago. The president claiming, without proof, that Kerry is breaking the law in telling Iran not to the call him, saying that he is negotiating with Iran, that Kerry is negotiating with Iran. That's what the president said. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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, would I like to see them call me. You know, John Kerry speaks to them a lot. John Kerry tells them not to the call. That's a violation of the Logan Act. And frankly, he should be prosecuted on that. But my people don't want to do anything that's -- only the Democrats do that kind of stuff, you know. If it were the opposite way, they would prosecute him under the Logan Act. But John Kerry violated the Logan Act. He's talking to Iran and has been, has many meetings and many known calls, and he's telling them what to do. That's a total violation of the Logan Act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's bring in CNN senior diplomatic correspondent, Michelle Kosinski.
You have gotten a statement from John Kerry. Tell us what he's saying.
MICHELLE KOSINSKI, CNN SENIOR DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT: Right. This has been litigated before. There were members of the administration that brought up this subject late last year. Now President Trump seems to be taking it further by publicly declaring that former Secretary of State John Kerry should be prosecuted for his conversations with members of the Iranian leadership.
So here's what Kerry's spokesperson is saying in response to this. "Everything President Trump said today is simply wrong, end of story. He's wrong about the facts, wrong about the law, and sadly he's been wrong about how to use diplomacy to keep America safe. Secretary Kerry helped negotiate a nuclear agreement that worked to solve an intractable problem. The world supported it had then, supports it now. We hoped the president would focus on fixing foreign policy problems for America instead of attacking his predecessors for theater.
So in the past, when this came up months ago, Kerry and his spokespeople responded by saying he's just staying in touch with his former counterparts the way every previous secretary of states has done. He was advocating for what was consistent with U.S. policy. So his people and he himself has said that he has these conversations as a matter of course, to talk to them about issues affecting the U.S./Iran relationship and that he's not advocating against current U.S. policy. Trump is claiming that Kerry is trying to persuade Iranians not to talk to Trump and Kerry didn't address that point exactly in this statement. But we expect to hear more from them later - Brooke (sic)?
[13:40:11] KEILAR: All right. We'll check back with you when you get that information.
KOSINSKI: I'm sorry.
KEILAR: That's all right. I know you know who I am, Michelle. I'll take it as a compliment.
KOSINSKI: Take care.
KEILAR: Thanks, Michelle. Thank you.
The president also responding today to news that the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Republican Richard Burr, has subpoenaed his son, Donald Jr.
Let's bring in our senior justice correspondent, Evan Perez, to talk about this.
Why does the committee want to hear from the president's son? They heard from him before. EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It's been a
surprise certainly to everyone involved. And people behind the scenes who have been working on this have said to the committee, look, it would be stupid of any lawyer to allow their client to go back and talk to these committees after he's already talked to them, you know, three different committees after obviously the Mueller report has come out. It would be just colossally stupid for any lawyer to allow that. So they have been trying to figure out a way to have him answer questions in written format, kind of the way his father did, a take- home-test version, and that seems to have not worked here. So I don't know what the -- what the solution will be because the question is, does the committee have the support to try to enforce this subpoena. That's another question. You can see the blowback that Burr is getting from Republicans. It's not clear that me that he will have that. But just a surprise the way that this developed after a couple of weeks of negotiation.
KEILAR: And what are the options of Donald Trump Jr. He could plead the Fifth but that would look terrible, right? He wouldn't really want that -- those optics.
PEREZ: Right. Look, that's been an option on the table for all of this. Because keep in mind, remember, the Special Counsel Robert Mueller wanted his testimony and he refused. It's not clear exactly why they didn't push the issue. The question of whether or not Donald Trump Jr would plead the Fifth was part that have consideration as well. It never actually got to that point. And so, yes, I think you're right. I think, from the Donald Trump Jr's standpoint, they do not want the imagery of that. They do not want that out there publicly. And so that's why I think they are so -- they are so upset that a Republican chairman has put them in this position, the president's son. Again, Democrats didn't actually ever do this. It's the Republican chairman that did this.
KEILAR: The first one to subpoena a member of the Trump family. Pretty stunning.
Evan, thanks so much for that.
Health care is shaping up to be a major issue in the 2020 election, and one former Democratic Senator has a warning for her party: If you ditch Obamacare in favor of Medicare-for-All, you will lose to President Trump. Former Senator Heidi Heitkamp will join us to discuss that.
[14:47:55] KEILAR: When the Boston Red Sox visit the White House later today, it will be without their manager. Alex Cora decided to skip the celebration because of the administration's response to the Puerto Rico disaster relief. When asked about it, the president repeated his wild and false claim about the aid that has been given to the island.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Just so you understand, we gave Puerto Rico $91 billion for the hurricane. That's the largest amount of money ever given to any state. Talking about states and Puerto Rico, a little different. And $91 billion. Texas got $30 billion. Florida got $12 billion. Puerto Rico got $91 billion. So I think the people of Puerto Rico should really like President Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly, here with me now.
They didn't get $91 billion. That's the fact-check on this.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Let's just start from the top line. That's not true, what the president said today and last night in the panhandle in Florida where this is obviously a big issue, what he said repeatedly, including in closed door lunches and closed-door meetings with Senate Republicans, the $91 billion number is not true, period, end of story.
Here's what true. In the wake of the hurricanes, they have been allocated somewhere around $40 billion to $41 billion by Congress. Of that allocated money, which is $50 billion less than what the president is saying it was, a little over $10 billion, is a billion has actually been paid out to the island.
Let's make perfectly clear, the island has had serious fiscal issues before the hurricane and that's one of the driving forces over the disagreement and part of frustration that White House officials have said that they have. He believes they haven't been handling their finances well enough and, therefore, shouldn't be given more money is.
The issue is the top line number, which he brings out a chart and shows a graph, which is related to long term projections from the Office of Management and Budget. In terms of longer than a 10-year window, what the total cost may be in federal assistance needed in Puerto Rico given the damage they face. It's at the heart of the current -- the heart of the current fight over a disaster aid bill. And you cover Congress. You know these move through pretty quickly. Conservatives vote against them on fiscal grounds but everybody understands these are necessary to move. This has been stalled out now for weeks because the White House made clear the president doesn't want any more money for Puerto Rico. He doesn't believe they handled the money correctly. And Democrats have continued to fight for that money. Some Republicans have as well.
[13:50:20] What they are trying to do to solve this issue, Senator Republicans put out an offer late last week that would add $300 million to the initial offer, another $600 million in food stamp allocations, and put guardrails on it, so you couldn't use this money as community development or block grant money unless you check a box on a few things in terms of other payouts. And the Democrats rejected that saying it would not get the money fast enough to them. And the White House has not signed off on the Senate Republican plan yet, so nobody knows where the president is. So it is complicated and that's why the bill hasn't moved far and why Alex Cora has problems and why a lot of people from Puerto Rico you've heard complain about it. And it's why this issue is still very real on Capitol Hill.
KEILAR: And an independent look at this found that the president's Housing and Urban Development Department has not done a good job here. So there's blame in the Trump administration about how this money is being put out there.
Phil Mattingly, thank you so much for that.
A former Democratic Senator has a warning for his party's presidential candidates when it comes to health care. Heidi Heitkamp said abandoning Obamacare in favor of Medicare-for-All would make it harder for Democrats to beat President Trump in 2020. In a "Washington Post" op-ed, she writes, quote, "Campaigning on Medicare-for-All, Democrats would give Trump a costly, drastic proposal to attack. Better to put Trump on defense about health care, forcing him to account for his relentless attacks on the ACA. Don't take that enormous advantage off the table in 2020 by ditching the Affordable Care Act for Medicare- for-All."
And former Senator Heidi Heitkamp is with us from Bismarck, North Dakota, to talk about this.
Explain why you think this is such a big miscalculation.
HEIDI HEITKAMP, (D), FORMER SENATOR: Well, think about what happened last week. Last week, the president through the Department of Justice filed a brief that if they're successful in court will take away your children being on your health insurance until they are 26, it will take away your projections on pre-existing conditions, it rip away health care for people who are on Medicaid expansion, and the list goes on and on. That is what we should be talking about. We should be asking them, what is your solution to this problem. And I think that when you look at it, and you look at polling and you look at the availability of other ideas, I think that it is really important that we not disrupt the health care system, not offer to disrupt the health care system. That is not what the public wants. You know what public wants? They want health care to be more affordable. And they want to know why prescription drugs are going up and why the hospital co-pays are going up. These are the things we should be responding to.
KEILAR: This Medicare-for-All is popular with the liberals in your party. You are not, which you are not a member. So you look more at general election, but these folks are looking at a primary election where they have to appeal to the base. It seems possible that this ship has already sailed, that the USS Medicare-for-All is out to sea. Are you concerned it is too late for this course correction you're talking about?
HEITKAMP: Absolutely not. I think there's new entrance into this race, like Vice President Biden and Senator Bennett, talking about alternatives that don't include Medicare-for-All. But the one thing that I know, I've been all over this country, and I have a lot of great supporters, some you would call liberals. You know what they say, we need someone who can win. We need a strategy that is winning strategy so that we could move this country forward again. And they are willing to compromise maybe some of the hard core, hard-felt beliefs on the left side to basically be the party that could win in the next election.
KEILAR: How worried are you about -- you're keeping your eye on Joe Biden. How worried are you about presidential candidates who are operating in that liberal lane, who are polling more moderate Democrats to the left?
HEITKAMP: You know, this is all going to be in the marketplace of ideas as we move forward in this primary season. But it is important. It is interesting because people say, well, that is not a Democratic belief. Guess what? I'm a Democrat. Some people would say I lost my election because I'm a Democrat. And I think I have a right to basically say pay attention to the real health care issues. And I always tell people, you know, what should be our policy. Let's keep people healthier longer and figure out a system that does that. And not simply argue about Obamacare or Medicare-for-All. Let's talk about health care and let's talk about the real concerns that people have today, which is health care costs too much for a dwindling and lower outcome than many other countries who pay far less in their GDP for health care. That's the issue we should be confronting. But we should put the Republicans on the defensive, saying, what is your plan. Right now, their plan is to rip the Affordable Care Act out from underneath the American public, causing huge damage with no promise for any kind of reform going forward. That is a huge issue. And in politics, guess what, a good offense is the best way that we can win. And we should be putting this party, the Republican Party, on the defense. And we're not doing that because we're spending all of our time explaining what is, in fact, Medicare-for-All.
[13:55:35] KEILAR: I want to ask you, while I have you here, about this historic field of women who are part of the larger Democratic primary candidates. And you look at the polls and it is the men who are leading in the polls. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that the women aren't getting the attention that they deserve. It is very clear that they are not getting the attention that the men are getting. Do you have any idea why -- are you hearing anything from your former constituents about why they may not be responding to these female candidates when they have so many choices?
HEITKAMP: I think it is really hard to take a look at top-line polls. Vice President Biden enjoys the widest name recognition and he's like the warm blanket that you always go to or the pair of sweatpants that you go to. But it is going to take some amount of creativity I think to break through that. But to me this is -- this is very early in this cycle. Obviously, Senator Harris polls very highly. She's usually in the top five. There's a whole lot of men who are in the bottom tier as well. So I think it is really important that we present an opportunity to listen to all sides. And obviously, when you look at the CNN town hall, you had two of the five that you presented were, in fact, three were women. So you can't blame CNN when Senator Klobuchar and Senator Warren and Harris were part of that experience. And so it is going to take voters, especially Democratic Party primary voters, a longer period of time to examine every opportunity that they have to pick their candidate. And when you look at the tiering, you'll see that maybe the second most favorable person, once they lose their favorite, is, in fact, one of the women in the race, whether it is Senator Warren or Senator Harris.
KEILAR: Senator Heidi Heitkamp, thank you so much.
Just in, we have new details on a North Korean cargo ship that was seized by the U.S. We're live from the Pentagon with that.
And the details behind a raid of a mansion discovering more than a thousand weapons.