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Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) is Interviewed About Running Against 20 Other Dems for Nomination; House Committee Issues Subpoenas for Trump's Taxes; Tariffs Could Cost American Family of Four $767 Per Year; U.S. Deploying More Patriot Missiles To Counter Iran Threat. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired May 10, 2019 - 16:30   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Today, you introduced a bill with some of your Democratic colleagues and it essentially pauses the statute of limitations so a president can be prosecuted for any prosecutable crime once they leave office.

[16:30:09] Do you think that President Trump needs to be charged with a crime after his term?

SWALWELL: Well, I can tell you I believe he is going to be charged with a crime just from what we have reviewed. And just from Michael Cohen's testimony, it's pretty clear that individual one has a sealed indictment waiting for him. I don't see how he would get around that, and there's probably other crimes as well.

What I have pledged is, one, as president on day one, I would order the attorney general to get rid of the opinion that says that a sitting president cannot be indicted. I don't think any president should have that immunity. But in the meantime, Chairman Nadler and Ted Deutch and I introduced legislation today that would extend the statute of limitations as long as that opinion is in place so that it doesn't shield this president.

KEILAR: So you're talking about the election -- you're talking about election spending essentially, that issue. Anything else that you think that he would be charged with or should be charged with?

SWALWELL: Well, obstruction of justice is still out there. Most legal scholars that I've talked to, most former prosecutors I've talked to believe that he could -- you know, a future attorney general or U.S. attorney could charge him with obstruction of justice based on what the Mueller report laid out. That he has not been exonerated because the Mueller report said that because of the opinion of the attorney general, long-standing opinion, a president cannot be charged because he is a sitting president.

So, I think that, you know, day by day, this president racks up exposure to crimes. That's why, you know, myself and so many others on the Judiciary Committee are just fighting to keep this democracy going. There's going to be a lot of reforms that are going to have to take place for a new president.

I pledge, Brianna, as president to put in place a blended cabinet, not because it would be easy but to put Republicans in the cabinet to work with me so that we can make some of these day one reforms so our democracy can pick itself up from this deep, dark hole and move forward.

KEILAR: You entered this race a little more than a month ago. In our latest CNN national poll you've got 1 percent support. How do you plan to increase that and stand out in such a crowded field?

SWALWELL: I'm going to be myself, first and foremost, but offer boldness on a lot of solutions, particularly gun violence. Ending gun violence is my number one priority. It's an issue we should be negotiating up. And the moms and the students and community groups are behind us and we have momentum. I want to seize that momentum to pass not only background checks but also to ban and buy-back assault weapons and put in place gang prevention programs in cities like Oakland where I was a prosecutor and saw that would have gone a long way to save a lot of kids' lives.

KEILAR: We have a full screen of your proposals, some of the things you ticked off. But even considering this, universal background checks, removing guns from domestic abusers and as you mentioned, banning semiautomatic weapons, assault weapons -- those things likely would not have stopped the school shooting that we saw in Colorado this week. Sources tell CNN the suspect took two handguns from his parents, the guns that are used, and that they were bought legally.

What else would you like to be -- to see done or to propose?

SWALWELL: Yes, you know, I look at Sandy Hook promise and funding programs like they are implementing across the country so students and teachers can recognize mental health issues among their peers. That has saved lives, that program has saved lives. I'd want to extend, you know, further funding for that.

You know, the argument that I hear from the NRA and others is this incident would not have been stopped or that incident would not have been stopped by your law, and they use that as a device to suggest that we should do nothing. I believe just as we have innovated and increased requirements on auto manufacturers to reduce traffic deaths, we've seen traffic deaths significantly go down and we can do the same with gun violence.

KEILAR: Are you saying you can't prevent -- you can't prevent every instance?

SWALWELL: Well, you know, Australia banned assault weapons in the '90s after one mass shooting and they have had zero mass shootings since then. You know, 36 people were killed, and they have not had anything near that size since they banned assault weapons. So my goal would be to end gun violence not just in suicides but the school shootings that we see. But again, doing nothing is certainly not an option here.

KEILAR: A lot of experts will look at what happened in Australia and they'll say that you can't, with the way guns are so pervasive in American society and the fact that America is huge compared to Australia and that it has the Second Amendment, that you can't compare these two things. What do you say to that?

SWALWELL: Yes, I'm running to do huge things, because I just got a text message from a teacher this morning in my district who said that 2,200 kids did not go to school yesterday at a high school in my district, a California high school in San Ramon, because there was a threat that someone was going to commit a mass shooting.

[16:35:10] These kids should not have to learn and fear and moms should expect that their kid will come home and they can hug them after school. We need a leader in the White House that's going to make that a top priority.

KEILAR: Congressman, thanks so much for being with us. Congressman Eric Swalwell.

SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Brianna.

KEILAR: We have some breaking news on President Trump's taxes. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal has just issued subpoenas.

Let's get to CNN's Lauren Fox who has been covering this battle for the president's taxes.

This is quite the escalation, Lauren.

LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, that's right. And, you know, Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal has been saying all day he would have a decision by the end of the afternoon.

Here it is. He is saying essentially in two different subpoenas, one to the IRS commissioner, Charles Rettig, the other to the Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, I demand that you hand over the president's tax returns by May 17th, so setting essentially a new deadline for that tax information to be turned over.

As you might remember on Monday, the Treasury Department said they would not turn over the president's tax returns, so the subpoena is an escalation, but this is going where we thought it was going this entire time, which is right to court.

KEILAR: How significant is this?

FOX: Well, you know, there were a couple of options that Chairman Richard Neal had at his disposal. One of them was going directly to court, and that is because the IRS statute that he was using to get the president's tax returns essentially was a law in and of itself. Therefore, he could go to court and argue that the Treasury Department was not complying with the law. He could go to court and sue right then and there.

But on the advice of house counsel, Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal decided to issue the subpoena on top of it so this delays it by just a week or so. But hardly at all, you know, does this change where we knew we were going this entire time, which is straight to court. KEILAR: And also the fact that this has just been dragging on. It's

such a key development, Lauren Fox, thank you for bringing that to us.

I want to discuss this. These subpoenas are being issued. You have these votes of contempt. But in this case when it comes to the president's tax returns to the IRS and the to treasury secretary, what does this really change? Is part of it just that this is such an escalation, that this is something so unique that we have not seen? What is the takeaway from this, because we're not seeing the tax returns yet and we're not to the point where any of this is actually compelled?

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the president has indicated that they're going to fight all the subpoenas, so I think we can kind of expect what the White House's response to be with this latest request. It's also worth looking at the deliberative approach that this chairman, Richard Neal, who is not known widely until this tax return fight and the steps that he has taken in this process, because if you recall, there was a lot of agitation from liberals, both on and off Capitol Hill and on his own committee that he was not moving fast enough to secure the tax returns from the president, even after Democrats had insisted that the president needs to make them open. That would be one of the first things that they do if they take the majority.

But Richie Neal wants to take a step-by-step approach that could really survive court scrutiny if this were to go to court, which it inevitably seems it will.

KEILAR: Seung Min, a court, when it comes down to this subpoena or these subpoenas or any of the other subpoenas, the courts will, legal experts believe, side with Congress, at least in some of these cases. They have good standing to do that, and that's where courts tend to go.

So what's the approach here, and is it a smart one by the White House, M.K.?

MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think you're right that his slow-walking makes it look more credible and stand a better chance. I think, frankly, having some court guidance on how far the statute -- how much power the statute does give Congress with private citizens in addition to the president, would be helpful. So, I'm interested in how this goes.

I think if you get his tax returns, which he should have released when he ran for president, I think you're likely to finding out he's not as rich as he says he is and that's probably the big thing. But on a political level, a lot of this is looking for a silver bullet, when the silver bullet is the ballot box and that's happening in 2020. I think Democrats somewhat to their detriment ignore the idea of figuring out how to beat him there while doing this.

KEILAR: Sneakers, smartphones, washers -- those are some of the things you'll be paying more for soon thanks to an unsuccessful meeting here in Washington today. A look at what else is going to cost more, next.


[16:43:58] KEILAR: In our money lead, trade negotiations between U.S. and Chinese officials ended today with no deal. President Trump just tweeted the conversations were candid and constructive, but just hours before, he slapped huge tariffs on products coming from China.

And as CNN's Tom Foreman explains, it's going to eventually hit your wallet.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite friendly handshakes between team Trump and the Chinese delegates, trade talks appear stalled. No deal on the horizon.


FOREMAN: And no sign of President Trump giving an inch on the 25 percent tariff he's launched on Chinese goods.

TRUMP: I happen to think that tariffs for our country are very powerful. You know, we're the piggy bank that everybody steals from, including China.

FOREMAN: But American consumers could soon feel a greater impact if the tariffs expand to consumer products as threatened. China would be expected to pass on those expenses, jacking up prices on smartphones, computers, televisions, fitness trackers and much more.

The extra cost to the average American family of four is expected to be close to $800.


What could drive it? Three-quarters of the toys bought in the U.S. are made in China, including these hugely popular dolls, 93 percent of Chinese-made footwear, including some shoes from Nike could be hit, so could clothing, Bluetooth headsets, and even drones.

Trump's tariffs on China last year steered away from consumer goods and focused on industrial items such as solar panels, steel, and aluminum. Those costs were passed on by American companies.

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: American consumers are already paying. They just don't really know it's kind of a stealth tax but it's got to become a very obvious tax not -- to not too far from now if this -- if this continues.

FOREMAN: The major markets are already showing unease over the clash. In the next three years of China and the U.S. continued warring over trade, economists say both countries could see their economies slow down and close to a million American jobs might be lost.

Still, the president has long insisted China is cheating the U.S. by stealing intellectual property, manipulating currency, and most recently reneging on a framework for a deal. He's convinced China will blink first tweeting, "Tariffs will make our country much stronger, not weaker. Just sit back and watch."


FOREMAN: Still when he says talks are constructed, that really doesn't tell us much about when the impasse may in or how far the impact may reach. Brianna?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: It is a frequently used word though. Tom Foreman, thank you so much. Breaking next, a dramatic move from the U.S. to counter the increased threats coming from Iran.


[16:50:00] KEILAR: Breaking news in our "WORLD LEAD." The U.S. military deploying additional patriot missiles to the Middle East right now to counter the accelerating threat from Iran. Let's get right to CNN's Barbara Starr. She's at the Pentagon for us. Tell us what you're learning, Barbara.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Brianna. We were briefed a short time ago that Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan has now approved an order to send additional Patriot missiles to the Middle East because of the Iranian threat.

Why is this so significant? Patriot missiles have the capability of shooting down adversarial ballistic missiles that have flight a very high trajectory, cruise missiles that could be sent against commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf, and missile said Iran could potentially threaten U.S. military aircraft flowing through the region.

So this is to beef up the existing Patriot missiles that are there. The Pentagon has been working for a couple of days now on the orders to get this all out to the Persian Gulf. CNN first reported on Tuesday that they were considering it. Here's the problem at hand. Right now it has been one week since the intelligence showed the Iranians were beefing up their aggression and one week later the Iranians have not reduced their efforts at all. Brianna?

KEILAR: All right, Barbara Starr, thank you so much. We want to bring in former CIA and FBI Analyst Phil Mudd. When you see that the U.S. deploying an additional Patriot missile battery to the Middle East, and you see this back and forth happening with Iran, how do you read this?

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Boy, I think there's two categories. You got to put this into two baskets. Number one, what we're doing and number two how we think about it and talk about. What we're doing seems prudent. If you get ballistic missiles going for example to Yemen, you've got a Saudi ally out there, the prudent measure would be let's send out some Patriot missile batteries and ensure we're aware of this.

How we talk about this, the hotter it gets the cooler you get, pros stay cool, amateurs sweat. When we look at 40 years of dealing with a revolutionary regime in Iran, we got to chill out here. They've done a lot of stuff over that 40 years. Let's keep our rhetoric cool. Act but stay cool in the kitchen. I think that's what I'd be watching.

KEILAR: Do you worry about a possible confrontation?

MUDD: I do because you don't understand intent. When you see capabilities, missiles are moving. We know missiles are moving. I presume we're seeing intercepts or maybe satellite photographs of a ship carrying missiles. We don't know what the Iranians are thinking. We don't talk to them very much. They don't know what we're thinking. The president is a little bit of an unguided missile himself.

So when you look at this situation, if you're not talking to the adversary in a way for example that we're talking in the North Koreans. You've got to worry that neither side really understands each other.

KEILAR: When you say it's important how you talk, that this is how you would endorse acting, what do you want to see change?

MUDD: Chill. We are the big --

KEILAR: Specifically, what is the thing that you think is sending a bad message that could actually be dangerous?

MUDD: Well, when you look at the reputation of the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the National Security Adviser, they're talking about -- aggressively about how we intervene in Iran. The Secretary of State is saying we don't want war. Why would you even say that?

Why wouldn't you just get out and say look we're taking prudent defensive measures? We can handle this. We've been dealing with this adversary for 40 years. What's the big deal. If you're a pro, you don't sweat. If you're an amateur you get nervous. Chill out.

KEILAR: The U.S. Navy is putting out some images of the Abraham Lincoln, the aircraft carrier going through the Suez Canal. We don't often see images like this, right. They're putting them out for a region -- a reason. There's this time-lapse image that we're seeing now of it pulling through the Suez Canal. This is to send a message.

There is normally a carrier in the area, but this is being moved. How significant is that?

MUDD: I think it's significant because you know the adversary's going to read it and the bottom line is are we sure we understand how they're going to read it. We don't know.

KEILAR: All right, Phil Mudd, thank you so much for your insight. How will the White House respond to these subpoenas for President Trump's taxes?


We'll have more on our breaking news next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KEILAR: Be sure to tune in to CNN this Sunday morning for the "STATE OF THE UNION." Jake Tapper has an exclusive sit down with Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Kamala Harris. It is at 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. Eastern. And you can follow me at -- on Twitter @BRIKEILARCNN. I'm Brianna Keilar in for Jake Tapper. And our coverage on CNN continues right now.