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President Donald Trump And His Allies Are Facing Off With House Democrats Over Dozens Of Investigations Into The Actions Of The President; Several Democratic Presidential Candidates Have Voiced Support For Expanding Health Coverage For More Americans; Commercial Airline Pilot Is Behind Bars After Being Arrested For Murders He Allegedly Committed Three Years Ago; U.S. Intelligence Picked Up That Iran May Be Threatening U.S. Forces And Interests In The Region; Police Force In Freeport, Texas, Has Gone Beyond The Call Of Duty To Make A Dying Girl's Wish Come True. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired May 12, 2019 - 14:00   ET



[14:00:16] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me this Sunday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.

Happy mother's day. We begin this hour with the mounting showdown between Democrats in Congress and the Trump administration as the White House faces another critical week of subpoenas and document deadlines.

The President and his allies are facing off with house Democrats over dozens of investigations into the actions of the President. And as "the Washington Post" is reporting today, Trump and his allies are blocking more than 20 separate Democratic probes in an all-out war with Congress in what many experts are calling the most expansive White House obstruction effort in decades.

This week, the two sides could be headed for more clashes. Democrats are giving the IRS and the treasury department until Friday to turn over six years of the President's personal taxes. And Democrats are considering multiple contempt charges against Trump administration officials, including U.S. attorney general William Barr for not turning over the un-redacted version of the Mueller report.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (R-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: Here the Trump administration has decided to say a blanket no, no to any kind of oversight whatsoever, no witnesses, no documents, no nothing, claiming executive privilege over things that it knows there is no basis for. There's no executive privilege over the hundreds of thousands of documents regarding events that took place before Donald Trump was President. You can't have a privilege, an executive privilege when you're not the executive so they know that vast categories are inapplicable to the privilege here, so they are just stonewalling.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: CNN's Jeremy Diamond is at the White House for us.

So Jeremy, another big week of subpoenas and deadlines for the Trump organization. Does it also mean a week of compliance or ignoring?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: It certainly doesn't seem like compliance is in the cards. This battle between the White House and Capitol Hill, particularly house Democrats, is really ongoing. And we are going so see a couple of key dates coming up this week.

On Tuesday a federal judge is expected to rule in this case about whether a House democratic subpoena for the President's financial reports from his former accounting firm should go through. And then on Friday is the deadline for the treasury department and the IRS to comply or not with the subpoena from the house for the President's tax returns. And amid all of this we are seeing really stonewalling efforts from the White House.

And Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House intelligence committee, he is making clear that one thing that he definitely wants to see from this White House is allowing Robert Mueller, the special counsel, to come forward and testify.


SCHIFF: The American people have every right to hear what the man who did the investigation has to say. And we now know, we certainly can't rely on the attorney general who misrepresented his conclusions. So he is going to testify. And, yes, it's certainly true that these additional acts of obstruction, a President having obstructed the justice department investigation, now obstructing Congress, does add weight to impeachment.

He may get us there. He certainly seems to be trying, and maybe this is his perverse way of dividing us more and as you heard in the clip earlier he thinks that's to his political advantage, but it's certainly not to the country's advantage.


DIAMOND: So Democrats this week are going to be looking for a path forward on how they can get the special counsel Robert Mueller to come forward and testify. And they are also going to be working on how they can get some kind of White House compliance on the more than 20 investigations that we have already seen the President and his administration fighting. Somehow either stonewalling or blocking or just simply refusing to comply with those requests.

The White House though is maintaining its position so far. We saw the President on twitter this morning already slamming the Mueller investigation. The investigation that has dogged him for his two years in office, and that even stems back to the 2016 campaign. And the White House has issued a statement. This is a statement from the White House deputy press secretary Steve Groves.

He says there are rules and norms governing congressional oversight of the executive branch and Democrats simply refuse to abide by them. Democrats are demanding documents they know they have no legal rights to see including confidential communications between the President and foreign leaders and grand jury information that cannot be disclosed under the law. This White House will not and cannot comply with unlawful demands made by an increasingly unhinged and politically motivated Democrats.

So that's the messaging that we've heard from the White House throughout this process. And as of yet there appears to be no give in that position from the White House. So I think for the coming weeks ahead, particularly as we see a lot of this come to a head in the court systems, we are going to see the same messaging, the same position from the White House and this administration -- Fredericka.

[14:05:03] WHITFIELD: All right. Jeremy Diamond, thank you so much at the White House.

We will talk further now with Gloria Browne-Marshall, she is a constitutional law professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Julian Zelizer, historian and professor at Princeton University and a CNN political analyst. Good to see you both.


WHITFIELD: All right. So Julian, you first. You know, Congress as a co-equal branch of government is expected to carry out its duty of oversight. So is it at a constitutional crisis level because of obstacles to subpoenas, requested documents? I mean we heard House committee chairman Nadler put it this way.

ZELIZER: Well, that's exactly what we are seeing. The normal mechanisms of government aren't resolving a problem. Congress is conducting legitimate oversight functions, even if the administration doesn't like it. And the President is flexing Presidential power in a really dramatic, bold and blanket way saying I will just not cooperate. And so if we don't move beyond that, that is what a constitutional crisis is, and that is where we are this week.

WHITFIELD: So a member of Congress and a Democratic Presidential candidate Kamala Harris said earlier on "STATE OF THE UNION" that I nothing subpoenas, stonewalling on documents to her very troublesome. Listen.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that we are seeing a breakdown of responsibilities. I am seeing up close where the -- there is a failure to respect the significance of Congress' duty to perform a role of oversight over the administration, over the agencies. I'm seeing a failure to appreciate the importance of testifying before Congress in a way that is straightforward and truthful, so I think, yes. I think it is fair to say that we are looking at a crisis, not only of confidence, but potentially a constitutional crisis, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: So Gloria, you are a constitutional law professor. You know, if so many are in agreement about this constitutional crisis, then what is next?

GLORIA BROWNE-MARSHALL, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE: Well, there will be lawsuits, and there are going to be lawsuits that go to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that's where I believe the constitutional crisis actually lies because the Supreme Court has been packed in a way with certain conservatives where just like with U.S. attorney Barr, we have people who have already shown their allegiance to Trump. And one of those issues we saw with Brett Kavanaugh of coming to the court. And so when we have people who are supposed to be in this most objective and most neutral court, the U.S. Supreme Court and we know in advance they have already given allegiance to the President, it makes not only a breach in confidence as was pointed out by senator Harris but also it really undermines what we can think of as the last resort in our country for fairness, and that's the U.S. Supreme Court.

WHITFIELD: So Julian, you know, you wrote an op-ed, you know, a few days ago saying the Democrats were complicit if they don't impeach President Trump because of the White House efforts to block these investigations. Why do you still feel that way?

ZELIZER: Well, there is a moment when the party in power, now the House Democrats have power, has to make a decision do we move forward with impeachment proceedings which is different than impeaching, and I think right now there's so much mounting evidence about obstruction. There was in the Mueller report. There is in front of our eyes as we watch the President block these oversight functions that house Democrats will have to make a decision. Do they let this stand, and do they say do we wait for the election and hope that resolves this, or do they put this to a vote? Do they take action? And I think house Democrats will have an obligation to do that. Ore wire, they, too, are letting this go.

WHITFIELD: So Gloria, when you hear, you know, some members of Congress, you know, say there really isn't just enough time in which to start impeachment proceedings or in other camps you hear them say they are still not enough there, what's your response to that?

BROWNE-MARSHALL: Well, we have to go back to Nixon and what happened with Watergate. And there were so many different types of investigations and cases that were going on during that time period. But I think it's also very important to understand that Nixon was in that second term, and he was looking at how are we going to go forward as a political party? The Republicans were not all against Nixon at the time. It took the release of the tapes and Republicans actually hearing what was on those tapes for them to come on board.

And I think it's going to take the release of the Mueller un-redacted report for certain Republicans and Democrats to come on board and give them whatever time we have. Right now there's not enough confidence in our system. People are falling away, and understanding that if we don't, as is pointed out by Julian, if we don't move forward in this particular situation with so much evidence, when will this country's democracy be stabilized? Because at this point people are losing faith in what we call a democracy in this country.

WHITFIELD: So then Julian, if the attorney general continues to hold up, you know, this release of the un-redacted version, then certainly it sounds like members of Congress don't have enough material in which to proceed with impeachment, even if they want to.

[14:10:15] ZELIZER: Well, they can continue with impeachment. They can start impeachment proceedings whenever they want. They can vote to start an investigation, and this can then become part of the debate, meaning releasing the information is part of what's demanded as part of that process, and if the administration continues to say no, then they are obstructing an impeachment proceeding.

So the House has every right at this point to move forward. Part of the education could come through impeachment hearings as opposed to waiting for that to happen beforehand, and I think that's what speaker pleasing is wrestling with right now.

WHITFIELD: Go ahead, Gloria.

BROWNE-MARSHALL: And I just want to add this one. We keep looking at actual -- what we need to look at is conspiracy. Conspiracy means that he didn't get away with it but tried to do it. And I think when we look at the Nixon case it was conspiracy to obstruct justice. It was conspiracy to tamper with witnesses. And there is enough for conspiracy at this point to at least start the ball rolling.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now.

Gloria Browne-Marshall and Julian Zelizer, good to see you both.

ZELIZER: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, it is the top issue on the mind of voters, healthcare. But the 2020 Democrats can't seem to agree on a clear path forward on a Medicare for all kind of plan. In an exclusive interview senator Kamala Harris tries to clear up confusion on where she stands on the issue.

And Senator Elizabeth Warren gets a rather warm reception from Trump supporters with her new opioid plan. Is she on to something?


[14:15:32] WHITFIELD: Healthcare is one of if not the top issue among voters leading to the 2020 election, the issue helped propel Democrats to big victories in the 2018 midterms. And now several Democratic presidential candidates have voiced support for expanding health coverage for more Americans. But exactly how they do that has exposed a key policy rift among them. Particularly over Medicare for all which would essentially provide insurance to all Americans through a government-run system.

Senator Kamala Harris spoke exclusively to CNN about how she feels about the ambitious plan. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HARRIS: Let me just tell you where I am.


HARRIS: Let me tell you where I am.

TAPPER: All right.

HARRIS: I support Medicare for all. It is my preferred --

TAPPER: As a principle you mean, not Bernie Sanders' bill?

HARRIS: I support the bill.


HARRIS: I support the bill.

TAPPER: Because the bill gets rid of private insurance for everything --

HARRIS: It doesn't get rid of supplemental insurance.

TAPPER: Right. For the surgery for cosmetic surgery.

HARRIS: It doesn't get rid of all insurance.

TAPPER: OK. It doesn't get rid of all insurance, but for all essential healthcare benefits.

HARRIS: But why? Ask the question why. The answer to that question is because Medicare for all and the vision of what it will be includes an expansion of coverage, so Medicare for all will include vision. It will include dental and hearing aids.


WHITFIELD: I'm joined now by Democratic strategist Molly Mitchell and former Republican congressman Charlie Dent. Good to see you both.

Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. So Molly, you first.


WHITFIELD: Can you hear me? Thank you. Happy mother's day to me, thank you, and to all the moms out there, appreciate it.

So Molly, was that clarification, you know, sufficient? Kamala Harris tried to do -- tried to explain again her position on Medicare for all.

MOLLY MITCHELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's sufficient for where we are currently in the primary. Look. All the current senators said they support some version of Medicare for all. And you pointed out that the specifics are still a little bit fuzzy.

When we look at what voters care about it is definitely still healthcare. And to win the primary you have to have the idea of who is going to pay got healthcare, right, the cost. But what it really comes down to is not necessarily Medicare for all the label, but do you have a substantive plan on how to address the healthcare costs in America?

WHITFIELD: Is this, Charlie, going to be kind of the Achilles' heel for many in the Democratic field that they have to make some real clarity about what kind of healthcare are they a proponent of? And what about Medicare for all or, you know, various definitions of what care for everyone would mean?

DENT: Yes. I do think, Fredericka, that this is a challenge for Democrats, a real problem. First, one has to get over the sticker shock which is about a $32 trillion program over ten years so there's a cost issue. There's a disruption of coverage. And also I think many Democrats recognize that Medicare for all is really a distraction. They know it's not going to be enacted. And so, and that distracts them from dealing with the ACA, the affordable care act, Obamacare, where we can all acknowledge there are problems and it needs to be shored up. So the serious Democrats are trying to figure out ways to stabilize that program which, you know, whether you like Obamacare or not, it did provide additional access to many people. So they should try to fix the program they have already established.

Because Medicare for all, by the way, it will not eliminate private insurance. You know, 35 percent of people in Medicare today get their Medicare through Medicare advantage, a private healthcare option and of the 65 percent in fee-pore-service Medicare, 40 percent of them have medi-gap or supplemental plans at private insurance to pay for what Medicare does not. So I think Democrats are going down the wrong path on Medicare for all.

WHITFIELD: Similarly, this is what a former Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp, you know, said when she penned an op-ed urging, you know, Democrats not to back Medicare for all and instead, you know, build up the fordable care act.

She wrote specifically, when I see some potential democratic nominees expressing their support for Medicare for all which would cast aside the ACA and start all over with a single government-run healthcare program to which every American would be enrolled I worry that the candidates are playing directly into the hands of Trump.

Molly, good point?

MITCHELL: No. I think - no, it is definitely a good point. I think what we need to do is stay focused on talking about healthcare costs and whether or not the people running for President want to talk about Medicare for all or not. You really need to talk about healthcare costs. That's what we saw in the midterm, right. So lowering prescription drug prices, protecting people with pre-existing conditions. That's what voters care about. I think they care a lot less about

labels and whoever wins the nomination will just have to define the debate on that.

[14:20:32] WHITFIELD: And then this week senator Elizabeth Warren, you know, got huge applause by rolling out her opioid, you know, crisis proposal which would provide $100 billion for treatment and research funding. She unveiled the plan in Ohio and West Virginia, two of the deadliest states for drug overdoses.

Take a listen to what she told the crowd there and how they responded.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As a country we won't spend the money right now for the Medical treatment that people need when they are caught in the grips of addiction. Addiction is a Medical problem. It needs a Medical solution, and I have got a plan for that.


WHITFIELD: And so Charlie, you know, it's notable, that you know, in that clip, she was speaking to a crowd in you'll West Virginia, a region where the President, you know, beat Hillary Clinton by nearly 70 percentage points, you know, in 2016. You know, has she found an issue, a message that she can really own and run with?

DENT: Well, Elizabeth Warren certainly is correct to identify opioids and addiction as a major crisis in this country. The problem for Elizabeth Warren is she is not going to be able to own that issue. I suspect every Democrat and President Trump are all going to have their own opioid plans that they are going to sell. And so I think it's going to be hard for Elizabeth Warren to distinguish herself on that issue from all the others who share the same position.


MITCHELL: I agree with Charlie. But I also think it's smart of Elizabeth Warren because opioids, the endemic in this country is a bipartisan issue, right, so she's appealing to people who voted for Trump and people across the country who have been affect. Look in, 2017 that was the highest rate of prescription overdoses in this country. So everyone knows someone who has dealt with this problem. It's smart of her strategically to get a plan out there before others do.

WHITFIELD: All right. Molly Mitchell, Charlie Dent, we will leave it there for now. Thank you so much.

MITCHELL: Thank you.

DENT: Happy mother's day.

WHITFIELD: Thank you again. Appreciate it.

Still ahead, a commercial airline pilot behind bars right now accused of triple murder. How police tracked him down next.


[14:26:26] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. New developments in the case of missing Texas 4-year-old Malia Davis. Police have now arrested her mother's ex-fiance Darian Vence on suspicion of tampering with evidence in this case, a human corps. This after they discovered blood evidence linked to Davis in Vence's apartment.

Vence was watching Malia when she went missing more than a week ago. He initially told police he was knocked unconscious and carjacked and when he came to, Malia was gone. Well, he is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow. Authorities have not said whether a body has been found.

And a commercial airline pilot is behind bars after being arrested for murders he allegedly committed three years ago. Police arrested Christian Richard Martin at the Louisville, Kentucky international airport on Saturday. He is accused of killing a Kentucky couple and their neighbor back in 2015.

CNN's Natasha Chen joining me right now.

So Natasha, authorities say the couple's son actually played a major role in trying to figure this all out.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. So the couple's son, Matt Phillips, spoke with me briefly today. He is really instrumental. He basically convinced investigators to keep on going with this case. And so they got a special prosecutor to continue. And today he and the family are saying they are just overwhelmed with this positive step and feeling sincere relief.


CHEN (voice-over): An arrest has been made in a brutal triple homicide that is haunted a Kentucky community for years.

ANDY BESHEAR, KENTUCKY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today we can announce an indictment of Christian Richard Martin for three counts of murderer.

CHEN: Martin is charged with the 2015 murders of Calvin Phillips, his wife Pamela and their neighbor, Edward Dence Roe (ph). Authorities say Calvin Phillips was found shot to death in his home and his wife and neighbor were found in Pamela Phillips' burned up car a few miles away in a cornfield. At the time Martin expressed little concern about being charged in the case.

CHRISTIAN RICHARD MARTIN, SUSPECT: No. I have no worries about that.

CHEN: He was arrested at the Louisville airport Saturday. He has worked as a pilot for PSA airlines, a subsidiary of American airlines since January 2018.

American airlines released this statement. All of us at American airlines and PSA airlines are deeply saddened to have learned about these allegations from 2015. Our team was made aware of the indictment this morning after his arrest at Louisville international airport. We have an unwavering commitment to the safety and security of our customers and team members, and we will provide any investigative assistance possible to law enforcement throughout their investigation.

The airline says Martin has been placed in administrative suspension pending the investigation. The attorney general credits Matt Phillips, the son of the victims, keeping the case alive.

BESHEAR: He was worried that the case was stalled and was worried that justice would not come. We hope this is one example of when you never stop seeking justice, when you never give up on a case.


CHEN: Our affiliate WSMV in Nashville did an investigation in 2016 that saying that two weeks before Martin was supposed to be court- martials for a case these murders happened and that one of the victims, Cal Phillips, had with Martin's ex-wife found some files labeled secret that they turned over to the FBI.

But I just spoke with the former attorney of Martin, Fred, who said that this is completely not the story that he's familiar with. He said that Cal Phillips was supposed to testify for Martin. And he actually told me that if there was a poverty child for life is unfair it would be a picture of Kit Martin.

[14:30:02] WHITFIELD: Wow, complicated case.

All right. Natasha, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

CHEN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Developing right now, the U.S. planning to launch more missiles at Iran after intelligence shows the country threatening to attack American forces and interests. The latest on the escalating threat next.


[14:33:57] WHITFIELD: The U.S. military plans to deploy more patriot missiles to the Middle East. It comes after U.S. intelligence picked up that Iran may be threatening U.S. forces and interests in the region. Iran may be moving short range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles abort boats in the Persian Gulf. A U.S. navy carrier strike croup is already in the red sea.

CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in Abu Dhabi right now.

So Nic, we are now learning that four ships in the UAE were attacked. What more can you tell us?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, what we do know is that when the Pentagon said their concern was at the end of last week on Friday, that part of this threat from Iran could affect commercial shipping of the United States or its partners, gulf allies like the United Arab Emirates here or Saudi could affect their commercial shipping in this region, close to the straits of Hormuz.

What happened today? We now know late this evening from Emirati authorities here in the UAE that just off one of the major ports facilities near the Strait of Hormuz, four vessels they say were attacked in what they describe as sabotage operations, subversive operations.

We don't know what type of vessels yet and we don't know the precise nature of those attacks. What we do know is that earlier on the day pro-Iranian TV in Iran and in this region were reporting that up to seven ships, oil tankers, were on fire in that port city in the United Arab Emirates. Now we called the authorities here to ask them about this, and they categorically earlier in the day ruled out that anything had happened to any vessels in their territorial waters.

Later in the day we now discover that these four vessels have been attacked in some way inside Emirati UAE territorial waters. So this all happens, as I said, right in that area where U.S. intelligence has said and the Pentagon has been concerned that there was an Iranian threat. We tonight know, again, and I say this, we don't know again who was behind these attacks.

[14:36:00] WHITFIELD: OK. And then, Nic, you know, the U.S. has been calling the recent deployment, you know, of this naval, you know, fighting group a response to heightened Iranian readiness. So what specifically are U.S. forces seeing that is causing concern to U.S. interests?

ROBERTSON: Well, its concerns that in this region that intelligence has been picked up that there could be a threat to U.S. personnel, U.S. military assets, U.S. commercial assets and the military and commercial assets of U.S. partners in the region. That's been the substance of what we understand the threat has been. It has been non- specific to a degree so far. But I think what the events of today show, so far at least, is that those concerns will now be heightened. You have the carrier baton group on the way here. You have an amphibian assault ship on the way here. A guided missile destroyer vessel on the way here. A cargo ship additionally on the way or U.S. Navy. Of course, the patriot missile system on the way here and the B-52s on the way to the region as well. And they are going to be arriving here at the moment where we have seen. And this comes - and I have to say, stress this, this is somewhat out of the blue. You don't get ships targeted in what has been called the subversive operations off the coast of the Emirates. This just doesn't happened happen. It have happened today.

WHITFIELD: Nic Robertson, thanks so much. Keep us posted.

Five people were killed and six others hurt when attackers stormed a hotel in Pakistan Saturday and they attacked with guns and explosives. Police say three gunmen ran into the Pearl continental hotel in the port city of Guador (ph) shooting in all directions with the intention of taking hostages. Pakistani troops responded killing the attackers but not before five people in the hotel were killed.

And a few terrifying moments for people on board a commercial flight overseas.


WHITFIELD: This happened earlier today in Myanmar. Everyone on board evacuating the plane on the emergency slide. That's after the front landing gear failed on landing and the plane skidded to a stop on its nose as you see right there. No one miraculously was hurt.

All right. Still ahead, the women of the 2020 Democrats open up about what it means to be a mom running for president.

But first, shopping for healthy groceries. Well, it can be pretty intimidating, especially when you are on a tight budget. In this week's Staying Well, university groups are showing people how to navigate stores.


RENEE STACER, NUTRITION INSTRUCTOR, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: It's a huge misconception that to eat healthy is not affordable when in fact it's the complete opposite.

SANEYA MOORE, NUTRITION PROGRAM SUPERVISOR, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: A lot of times people don't know how to shop. They might buy a bunch of fresh produce or vegetables, and they buy it in a quantity that is too high for what they need for their family. You are ending up with a lot of food waste, something as going on a grocery store tour can help them fix that problem.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody here goes to the grocery store, right?

MOORE: We teach people how to prepare meals in a healthy way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look for this stamp that says whole grains.

STACER: If you can budget and give your family the same quality of food at the end of the month that they get at the beginning of the month.

MOORE: The store tour actually shows you the different areas such as produce, canned goods, fresh and frozen, cereal.

[14:40:02] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Total, 12 grams.

MOORE: We talk about sodium, calcium and various nutrients and really having to maximize your food dollars so in a way we can combat food insecurities for our families.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1.09, all right, and this one is 59 cents, major price difference.

MOORE: If we can just teach people how to save in one area, I think that would translate over into many different areas of their lives. (END VIDEOTAPE)


[14:44:38] WHITFIELD: In the 2020 Presidential race, there are a record number of women running for office, and many of whom are also working moms. And over the past few months most of those candidates have started to open up about motherhood on the campaign trail.

Here is CNN's Kyung Lah.



KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the heart of West Virginia, Senator Elizabeth Warren joined by her son.

[14:45:01] WARREN: By the way, with the dye over in the blue shirt, that is my son Alex.

LAH: Her experience as a mother part of her pitch to voters.

WARREN: Child care never stopped being an issue. For me like for so many working parents today it was this weight I had to carry around every single day and it never let up.

LAH: The motherhood identity, once viewed as an albatross in 2020 is getting a makeover, with a record of number of women running for President.

Senator Kamala Harris married to Doug Inhofe, father of two children from a previous marriage, Ela and Cole.

HARRIS: And I, therefore, have two children that are Cole and Ela who are here and they named me their Mamala and their mother Kirsten is here who is a dear friend of mine, and we have a real modern family.

LAH: The portrait of a modern candidate.

In a personal essay in honor of mother's day Harris writes about the heartache of missing her stepdaughter's graduation for the 2017 James Comey testimony before the Senate intelligence committee.

HARRIS: I am not perfect. Our kids are not perfect. My husband is not perfect. And I don't think the American people want perfect.

LAH: Senator Amy Klobuchar at a CNN town hall explained how getting kicked out of hospital 24 hours after giving birth to her daughter who was born with a condition that made per her unable to swallow made her fight back and become a lawmaker.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's when I got hooked on public service because I could see that you could make a difference. LAH: To even joke about motherhood means backlash in 2020. Beto

O'Rourke equipped about barely helping with the kids prompting this public apology.

BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not only will I not say that again, but I will be much more thoughtful going forward.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really looking forward to getting a chance to say hello.

LAH: Today Amy O'Rourke is on the trail. She's doing the driving.


LAH: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand brings her children on the trail. Her mom status, a credential as a candidate.

GILLIBRAND: I'm going to fight for people's kid as hard as would I fight for my own and I'm going to fight for their families and their communities.

LAH: Kyung Lah, CNN, Los Angeles.


WHITFIELD: Still ahead, going beyond the call of duty. A Texas officer works feverishly to make a dying girl's wish come true. Meet officer Arias and little Abigail after this.

But first, CNN is highlighting champions for change. People who go above and beyond to effect change in their communities and the people around them. Take a look.



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Some stories.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Are so powerful.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They leave their mark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody has ever affected me the way your son did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their work creates real impact.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Meet the change-makers we have never forgotten. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What a difference seven years makes.

GUPTA: This is the place where we jumped.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. This is the place where I live.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is my first time today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the champions for change.


GUPTA: I just got to tell you story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Champions for change, a week-long CNN special event. All this week.



[14:52:16] WHITFIELD: The police force in Freeport, Texas, has gone beyond the call of duty to make a dying girl's wish come true.

CNN's Ed Lavandera introduces us to honorary officer Abigail Arias.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The tattoo I'm getting in the Freeport, the police department badge. Get it on straight.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rammel Arias wants to always carry the shield of his hero, a Freeport Texas police officer, badge number 758, an officer on a mission fighting bad guys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your name?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to put that 758, because that's her actual badge number, and it's actually in her manned writing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guess whose writing this badge number is?

ARIAS: Yours.


LAVANDERA: The ink honors his niece, Officer Abigail Arias?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is pretty cool?

ARIAS: That looks --.


LAVANDERA: The newest 6-year-old boot-strutting cowboy hat wearing Freeport police officer.



ARIAS: I promise.


ARIAS: To protect.

LAVANDERA: In February Abigail was sworn in by a police by Chief Raymond Geragos, it was her dream.

CHIEF RAYMOND GERAGOS, FREEPORT, TEXAS POLICE: You couldn't have picked a better role model to put on that uniform and represent law enforcement and in general first responders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the police uniform help you fight the bad guys?

ARIAS: Yes, sir. It keeps me brave.

GERAGOS: When she wears, it she wears it with pride. She wears it with dignity. She respects it the way we should respect it. On top of that she's fighting something that you and I are not fighting.

LAVANDERA: The dream is actually a dying wish. Abigail is battling a rare cancer that has spread through her body.

GERAGOS: I'm just blessed that we were the chosen ones to be able to do her life-long dream of wanting to be a police officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her cancer right now is terminal. It derives from the kidney and is a rare cancer, but it's common in kids.

GERAGOS: She's fighting for her life.

ARIAS: So my bad guy is in the lungs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her cancer is the bad guys. And if you ask her, she will tell you that the bad guys are still in there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh my goodness. What do you do with those?

ARIAS: Arrest people.

LAVANDERA: Bryan Klevens is the owner of prison break tattoos. He calls it a safe haven for first responders. He has seen it all here with this work of art left him in tears. BRYAN KLEVENS "BK", OWNER, PRISON BREAK TATTOOS: Never in my six

years have I had someone come in to memorialize a child that is still here with us, something is giving her strength.

Now that I got your badge, I'm always going to be fighting the bad guys with you. We are going to beat them bad guys, baby. Yes? You know I love you, right? You are the strongest, toughest little kid I've ever known.

We have to pray that she beats this.

[14:55:14] GERAGOS: She has work to do here. I know he wants her up there, but we are going to be selfish today. We need her here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lord, here we are in this special place with this special little angel.

KLEVENS: It's like a shield for me, too, man, and it's -- to be able to know that I'm doing this for her and that I have a piece of her for the rest of my life.

LAVANDERA: It's a permanent badge of honor.

ARIAS: Where do we go next, daddy?

LAVANDERA: Ed Lavandera, CNN, Houston, Texas.


WHITFIELD: Still ahead, the President versus the U.S. Congress. Trump ramps up his attacks on Democrats demanding he comply with their subpoenas at the same time that he is trying to block more than 20 Democratic investigations.

We are live from the White House next.


[14:59:40] WHITFIELD: Hello again, everyone. Thanks so much for being with me this Sunday. I'm Fredericka Whitfield.

We begin this hour with the mounting showdown between Democrats and Congress and the Trump administration as the White House faces another critical week of subpoenas and document deadlines.

The President and his allies are facing off with house Democrats over dozens of investigations involving Trump. "The Washington Post" summing it up with this headline. Trump and his allies are blocking more than 20 separate Democratic probes in an all-out war with Congress.