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Will Mueller Testify Before Congress?; Mother Says She Warned About School Shooting; President Trump's Lawyer Seeks Dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired May 10, 2019 - 15:00   ET



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

Tensions grow in Washington, as Democrats continue to push for answers on all of the questions left hanging in the Mueller report. And, today, we are learning that we will have to wait even longer to hear from special counsel Robert Mueller.

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says, despite earlier predictions, the testimony will not be happening next week.

Meantime, there is more tension as we wait to see what former White House counsel Don McGahn does. He's now a private citizen. He has been subpoenaed to testify on May 21. But we also know that the Trump administration has already ordered him not to share documents. So will he show up?

If he refuses, Chairman Nadler is ready to roll with contempt charges, and now he's threatening to bundle them.

Let's go straight to our CNN legal analyst, Michael Zeldin, who served as Mueller's former special assistant at the DOJ. He's also a former federal prosecutor.

So, Michael Zeldin, happy Friday to you. Nice to have you on, as always.


BALDWIN: First, on the bundling, what -- how does contempt citations by the bundle work, and what does that tell you?

ZELDIN: Well, they really aren't bundled in a literal sense of a Christmas package with multiple toys in it. Each has to be taken on its own merits, so that a judge can resolve them if push comes to shove.

It could well just mean that he's going to do them in rapid succession, and then anyone who defies a subpoena will be held in contempt. It will be referred to the court for resolution, and that the court will take them seriatim, one by one by one.


On to Robert Mueller and his TBD testimony. We don't know what the holdup is, but do you think we will ever hear from him?

ZELDIN: I think we will hear from him.

Mueller, like McGahn, are private citizens. The White House, as much as it may want to, does not control either of them. McGahn is a little bit different because he worked for the White House. But as we learned from Comey, when you are no longer in the White House, the White House does not control you.

And so they are free to speak if they want, unless the government seeks to enjoin, prevent them from testifying, something which is rarely done. I expect that Mueller will testify at the right time. I think he probably would prefer to have some of the dust settle around McGahn and the other more peripheral -- peripheral witnesses before he offers his, which will be sort of like end-of-the-story testimony.

BALDWIN: So, on to McGahn. As you also point out, he is now this private citizen.

Back when he testified, 30-plus hours to Mueller, he did so, and executive privilege was waived. But the report states that Trump asked McGahn to fire Comey, which is key here, right? And so that is also a conversation between the president and his counsel. So could executive privilege be retroactively asserted?

ZELDIN: So, I think there has been some confusion about the question of waiver.

I am one who does not believe that executive privilege was technically waived when McGahn spoke to Mueller. When the White House released the Mueller report to Congress, the contents of the Mueller report constitutes a waiver.

So, McGahn can be required to testify to all that which is in the Mueller report. Anything that is additional to the Mueller report, the president has the right to reassert executive privilege. And, again, that is a case-by-case, almost document-by-document review by courts to determine whether the executive privilege is appropriately applied and not being applied in the context of a stonewall political proposition.

BALDWIN: OK. All right, Michael Zeldin, we wait on all of that. Thank you very much. We wait to hear more from Chairman Nadler.

ZELDIN: Thanks.

BALDWIN: Meantime, I want to talk Iran.

Thank you.

Breaking news on Iran, all these tension -- tensions stem from President Trump saying this yesterday about his relationship with the Iranian regime. [15:05:05]


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, I would like to see them call me.


BALDWIN: Well, now we learned this morning Iran responded and said that they would not be calling.

CNN's national security reporter, Kylie Atwood, is with me now.

And you now have learned that there is a development in this whole call me, I'm not calling you development.


So President Trump has made it abundantly clear that he will speak with Iran if they will talk to him. It is kind of, who is going to act first here?

The White House, however, wants to make clear that if the Iranians want to reach out, that they could do so easily, that they are enabled to. So they reached out to the Swiss yesterday, a source tells me, and they asked them to take down the information, the telephone number that the Iranians could use if they want to reach President Trump.

Now, of course, the Swiss are not going to pass it along unless the Iranians ask for it. So it is kind of a game of telephone around a potential phone call that hasn't happened here. But the thing is that the source tells me, it is not likely the Iranians are going to ask for President Trump's number.

They have made it clear publicly, as you stated, Brooke, that they're not looking for negotiations with the U.S. And even though they are feeling the burn, they are being strangled by U.S. sanctions and there is escalating tensions with this intelligence that the U.S. has been tracking that shows that attacks on U.S. personnel in the region are possible based on credible and realistic intelligence reports, a potential phone call could help ease those tensions.

And the White House is making sure it's possible, if the Iranians want it to happen.

BALDWIN: So, call me maybe?

ATWOOD: That's right.

BALDWIN: Kylie Atwood, thank you.

To the new escalation with the U.S. trade war with China. Take a look at this friendly goodbye today between Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and China's top trade negotiator. You see the handshake, yes, but there was no trade deal.

And there may have been smiles, but China is now promising to retaliate with -- quote, unquote -- "necessary countermeasures."

That is the fallout, as Trump-imposed tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods jumped from 10 percent to 25 percent as of midnight last night.

It's impacting things like fish and luggage and baseball gloves. And it's putting multiple industries even in a tighter financial bind. Some had grown optimistic that Trump would hold back after talks were progressing, but then came word that the Chinese were trying to go back on their word on certain negotiating points.

And American manufacturers woke up today to a new reality, as one bike-maker describes.


ARNOLD KAMLER, CEO, KENT INTERNATIONAL: We have not made a hard calculation, because, actually, we thought that talks were going really, really well.


KAMLER: As of a week ago, it seemed that we were close to a deal, and suddenly we have a crisis.

Bicycles are very price-sensitive. If our prices will need to go up -- they already went up about 8 percent last year. They probably have to go up about another 8 percent to 12 percent if this goes through.


KAMLER: And when bicycle prices go up, sales go down. And so I will try my very best if this thing does stick not to have any layoffs.



BALDWIN: So just checking the markets over all of this, the Dow has been in the red for much of the day, but hovering in the green just for a bit, as it still is now, as we watch.

Let's talk.

Susan Thornton was deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs and has served under 10 secretaries of state. Alexis Glick is a former Wall Street executive.

And so welcome to both of you.

And, Susan, starting with you. You have been in the room during these negotiations with China. I was reading about how you have also seen members on the U.S. side fighting in front of the Chinese delegation about tariffs, which you refer to as a cardinal sin of negotiating.

Will you just take us in the room, and what do you think happened this morning at that trade meeting?

SUSAN THORNTON, FORMER U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, what I would say is that, first of all, in the negotiations, usually, most of the action happens behind closed doors.

So the fact that these negotiations have been so public is unusual. It also makes it difficult to get to the endgame. I think we're probably very close to the end. But it is never done until it is done. And I think the Chinese probably are getting a little bit cold feet about the deal. That usually happens at the end.

And, of course, we have a president who likes to sort of manufacture a crisis to try to get more leverage for a trade deal. So it is hard to tell at this point whether this is something where we are going to have a couple more days of wrangling and then have it be done, or whether it could actually drag on for quite a long time.

BALDWIN: So interesting. So this may not be a done deal and this may be part of the whole thing.

Here is what -- here is one of the multitude of tweets from President Trump. He said, Alexis: "Tariffs will make our country much stronger, not weaker."

But I imagine both countries have so much to lose. For people who are sitting at home thinking, OK, so how does this affect me, what is the answer?


ALEXIS GLICK, FINANCIAL EXPERT: OK, so there's two perspectives here.

Let's just look at the United States alone. American consumers lose, number one. They're going to pay more for products, like you talked about at the very beginning. In fact, the New York Fed did a survey. In 2018, American consumers were spending $3 billion more in taxes a month last year. So, hands down, the American consumer is going to lose.

The American worker could lose. You heard that story just there of someone who is manufacturing bicycles. If he has to raise prices, sales decline. As a result, he might have to pull back on his work force.


GLICK: So the American worker loses.

And number three right now, the area of the economy that is getting hit, where they are bearing the brunt of it, is in the agricultural industry.

BALDWIN: Talk to me about that.


GLICK: I mean, Brooke, it is simply remarkable. I have never seen anything like it.

I have had multiple conversations with CEOs and farmers just this week alone. The record level of bankruptcies is like nothing we have seen before. The commodity industry as a whole has been really challenging over the last four or five years.

Right now, grain prices are at a 42-year low. So, if this continues, we are essentially wiping out key areas of the agricultural industry that we cannot pull back. We cannot exacerbate it, just for that industry alone.

Now, let me tell just you one other part of the coin here.


GLICK: If you look at it from China's perspective -- everybody says, well, China is jawboning just as much as the president is jawboning.

The American consumer is their number one customer. They had the slowest growth that they have had in 28 years last year. And, oh, by the way, they are the largest holder of U.S. debt.

So, just as much as it is important for us, it is crucially important for China. So, to me, yes, this -- we're going to have this back and forth. But, at the end of the day, both parties recognize we need to get a deal done.

BALDWIN: But on the farmer point, if I may come back to that.


BALDWIN: Because, Susan, I wanted to ask you, they have been -- Alexis is hitting the nail on the head, right?

But Trump is calling this a win-win, tweeting that the U.S. would use money from the tariffs to buy goods from farmers in larger amounts than China ever has, ship those goods to countries in need as humanitarian assistance, right?

This is coming from the president.


BALDWIN: Could that work?

THORNTON: Well, it doesn't seem like a good deal for the American consumer, to me, or for the American farmer.

I mean, obviously, I think that the U.S. needs to get this deal done. And one of the issues may be that the U.S. needs to get it done more quickly than the Chinese are feeling now they need to get it done. I think the Chinese are able to absorb actually quite a bit more pain at this point.


THORNTON: They have kind of reconciled themselves to, hey, if this isn't going to do down, then we can just wait.

And I think it is harder -- it is going to be harder for us to do that. So, which way the leverage-building goes is a good question, I think, at this point.

GLICK: And the other thing I would just add to that, too, Susan, is, if you look at just particularly the farmer industry...


GLICK: ... OK, the U.S.-Mexican-Canada trade agreement, I mean, that is -- that agreement is still not signed into law. That is not a done deal. Right?

So you have been hurt now for essentially an 18-month period just from this tariff situation. Right? So, if you think about it, even when we get back to the negotiating table, business that we have lost in exporting to China has now gone to another country.

OK? We now have to go back and renegotiate those deals. That takes time. So, even if we're able to get this deal done in the next one month, two months, three months, you have to go back and renegotiate.

BALDWIN: Damage is already...

GLICK: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Gotcha.

GLICK: So it is going to take far longer than even we anticipate right now.

BALDWIN: I got you.

GLICK: And that is part of the problem. Farmers are feeling incredible sense of urgency. They are really in a very fragile state.

To me, that is the number one part of this that we need to call attention to. It is really dire.

BALDWIN: That's why I wanted to talk about it with both of you.

Susan, just close us out. I know that this wouldn't officially take effect until those goods come to America, so there is still a couple of weeks. What now?

THORNTON: Well, I think they have to keep working and probably through the night and over the next couple of days. I imagine the Chinese, if we get some kind of resolution to this, will

still have to go back to Beijing. So, if they can get it done quickly, within the next few days, that would be the best. That is what everyone was hoping for.


THORNTON: But, certainly, within the next few weeks, I think we're under pressure, the Chinese are under pressure, and the business community just wants this to be over, so they can have some stability.

And I think that's the main thing that we should all focus on.

BALDWIN: Yes. Yes.

GLICK: Let's get out of this uncertain period. Let's have some predictability.


BALDWIN: Totally.

GLICK: That is what the market, that's what corporate America, that's what the farmers are looking for.

BALDWIN: That's what they want.

GLICK: Let's find some predictability.

BALDWIN: Alexis Glick, Susan Thornton, ladies, thank you very much.

GLICK: Thank you.


BALDWIN: Coming up next: President Trump's personal attorney is headed to Ukraine. And Rudy Giuliani says he will push the government there to investigate a case that involves former Vice President Joe Biden. What is going on there?

And CNN speaks to the mom who warned about a potential repeat of Columbine at the Colorado school that was the scene of the deadly shooting this week. Hear what she said was happening inside the classrooms.


And Senator Elizabeth Warren rolling out a plan to tackle the opioid crisis today. We will talk about what is in it and how her policy- packed campaign is going over with voters.



BALDWIN: Rudy Giuliani is going on a fishing trip, as in an information-gathering mission, in Ukraine.

The president's personal attorney openly admits he is going in hopes of pushing an investigation of matters related to Joe Biden's son. He also wants to ask questions about why Ukraine released negative information about Paul Manafort during the 2016 presidential election.

If any of this sounds familiar, Giuliani insists he is not meddling in the 2020 election cycle because that is a year-and-a-half off. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, though, he is not buying it.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): All Americans should think this is improper. Do we really want to take the country down this path again of getting a foreign government involved in our presidential politics?

And it seems to me that what Giuliani is saying and what others -- Brad Parscale and others in the Trump campaign are saying is, we're going to do everything short of what is downright criminal. Ethics don't matter anymore. Patriotism doesn't matter anymore.

And if that is where we are as a country, then are we are in deep trouble.


BALDWIN: CNN Reporter Michael Warren is with me now.

And so I know you talked to Rudy Giuliani this morning. And unlike Chairman Schiff, he sees nothing wrong with this kind of trip.


Giuliani telling CNN, Brooke, that this trip to Ukraine, he's doing as the president's private lawyer, not connected to the campaign or anything. And his effort is to essentially help the president's image in the post-Mueller era that we're living in.

And Rudy Giuliani says that he's not, again, representing the campaign. But this is raising a lot of questions, of course, because a part of his reason for going there is to look deeper into this question about whether or not Joe Biden and his son, who was on the board of this Ukrainian company that was under investigation, if there is any sort of connection there.

And, clearly, a lot of Democrats aren't buying it.

BALDWIN: So he told you -- quote -- "I don't want any favors. I just want this investigated."

My question is, how do you show up as essentially the president's, you know, spokesperson and that not carry a lot of weight?

WARREN: You're absolutely right.

And, of course, this is the way a lot of people in Ukraine and, of course, here in the United States fear that Giuliani's involvement in this story is going to look. That is how he will be perceived, as a representative of the president.

And, of course, we know, Brooke, that Rudy Giuliani speaks with the president, again, as his personal lawyer, pretty frequently. He's in the inner circle.

So the optics of this clearly don't look great for Rudy Giuliani, but he appears to be moving forward. There's a question about whether or not he's actually going to have a meeting with the president-elect of Ukraine, who takes office at the beginning of June.

BALDWIN: Are there any official meetings? Or did he tell you about any of his plans as he's over there?

WARREN: He is sort of reticent about telling me or anybody else exactly what he's doing.


WARREN: He says that there are no plans currently confirmed to meet with Zelensky. That is the incoming president of Ukraine.

But he has been in touch over the last several months with several current and former Ukrainian officials over Skype, and including one meeting he had with the current prosecutor general of Ukraine in New York. It stands to reason that he may try to meet those folks while he's in Ukraine as well.

BALDWIN: OK, Zelensky, as in the new reality TV show comedian turned president of Ukraine.


BALDWIN: Just reminding everyone, so we're all on the same page.

Michael Warren, thank you.

WARREN: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Coming up next: the mother who warned that Colorado school about another Columbine, as this campus is speaking out about its campus, is speaking out to CNN. Hear how the school is responding and what legal liability they could face in the wake of Tuesday's deadly shooting.



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

Months before Tuesday's shooting in a Colorado school that killed one student and injured eight others, the school board asked for an investigation after a complaint from an anonymous parent who said that she was afraid of -- quoting her -- "another Columbine." Now, for the first time, that woman who says that she -- she's that anonymous parent, is talking exclusively to CNN. She still wants to remain anonymous because of fear of retaliation. But CNN confirmed she has a student in the school, and she knew details about the allegations.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It looked like to me that there were potential for having another Arapahoe or Columbine shooting, and that I was seriously concerned about it.

When you mix not reaching out, when you mix a pressure cooker environment, where students are stressed out and overworked, and they don't get enough sleep, and they feel suicidal, or they feel aggressive towards one another and are not being disciplined for it, when you don't listen to parents' concerns, when you don't support teachers' concerns, when you don't give teachers the kind of training that they need or the support that they need, those are the elements that we need for the perfect storm, for something like a Columbine or a -- some kind of imminent threat to our children's safety in the school, whether it be a bomb, or an active shooter, or a suicide.