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Constitutional Showdown Escalates Between Trump and Dems; Trump Inserts Himself into D.C.'s Fourth of July Party; Pennsylvania Voters on the 2020 Race. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 12, 2019 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:00] ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN ANCHOR: -- ahead as a growing number of Democrats declare that the U.S. is facing what they're calling a constitutional crisis worse than the one that forced Richard Nixon out of office during Watergate.

According to the "Washington Post," the President and his allies are working to block more than 20 -- that's right, you heard it correctly, 20 -- separate investigations either by keeping aides from testifying, refusing to hand over documents, filing lawsuits, or exerting executive privilege.

And the President's block everything strategy will be tested not once but twice this coming week. CNN's Jeremy Diamond is at the White House.

Jeremy, what are we going to be looking out for as we get underway tomorrow morning?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, we're going to be looking for a lot more of the same, and that is the White House's resistance to these 20 plus investigations. But we're also going to see at least one of those subpoena requests come to a head this week in federal court.

On Tuesday, we're expecting a federal judge to rule in this case involving the House Oversight Committee's subpoena for financial records from one of the President's former accounting firms.

And then on Friday, you've got that deadline that has been imposed by the House Ways and Means Committee. That's a deadline for the Treasury Department and the IRS to submit the President's tax returns, a demand that, of course, the President has very much resisted. The President never, of course, provided those tax returns willingly to the public during his presidential campaign.

But Democrats will also, this week, be grappling with how to pressure the administration to respond -- to how to -- how to pressure the administration, rather, to comply with a lot of these investigations. Democrats trying to debate how far they should go.

And that is kind of a balancing act that many of these chairmen of these various committees are playing, between satisfying the liberal base which is trying to encourage them to go much further and also these concerns that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed that the President is trying to goad them into impeachment to score some political points.

But the White House, though, has been clear so far in its response to all of this, insisting that many of these requests from House Democrats are simply unlawful or out of bounds -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yes, you can see them all there, those 20 different investigations. Jeremy Diamond, on the north lawn of the White House, thanks very much.

So with us now to get into this a little bit more are the "New York Times" political editor, Patrick Healy; and former presidential adviser to four presidents, David Gergen.

David, let's start with you. The President, in just a few hours, has tweeted that it's pathetically untrue, as he said, to call this a constitutional crisis, which is what many Democrats are now calling it. What do you think it is?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I must say I think that there are two words in the English language we use too often to describe current affairs. One is crisis and the other is historic. And both tend to be exaggerated.

Look, I don't think we're in a constitutional crisis yet. We're at a very dangerous point, and we're moving in the wrong direction. We're moving toward a potential crisis.

But we normally associate, in history, a crisis to be something like what happened in 1961 -- 1861, when seven states tried to secede and Lincoln had to send in the troops, and we had a civil war. Or, you know, after reconstruction -- or the (INAUDIBLE) and the reconstruction and the election of 1876 when Democrats and Republicans disagreed on the vote count in three different states.

They threw us into a crisis. There had to be a deal cut to send a Republican into the White House. In exchange, the Republicans withdrew Union forces from the south. It was the end of the reconstruction.

Those are more what we -- or Nixon blocking and refusing to turn over the tapes originally. Those were constitutional crises, you know, which really challenged the fundamentals of the country.

I don't think that we're here yet. But that does not diminish the seriousness, the danger, and the -- I think, the wrongful --


GERGEN: -- block, you know, by the Republicans across the board from the White House to cooperate with Capitol Hill.

MARQUARDT: Right. Well, even if we don't call it a crisis, it certainly is an impasse because the White House is blocking all that.

Patrick, they have shown no inclination to reach out to Democrats to come to some sort of understanding to cooperate on any of these 20 different investigations. Is this a tenable situation?

PATRICK HEALY, POLITICS EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think we need to see what the courts will say. I mean, the Trump administration and the Republicans, in general, in recent years, have had a playbook for delaying, for what some would call stonewalling.

You saw it with Leader Mitch McConnell in the Senate with the Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination. You know, run out the clock with President Trump as candidate Trump with his tax returns. Delay, delay, delay, and using excuses.

And now you're seeing so many investigations, now even with subpoenas, that are coming up against that Republican playbook. And honestly, the Republicans see some political upside here to playing what could be a game of chicken.


[19:05:01] HEALY: I mean, this sense of -- that they -- that the Democrats, at the end of the day, don't have much leverage here beyond the courts, going to the courts. And that the Democrats could look impotent in this situation and that voters will kind of look at the Democrats running these committees, issuing these subpoenas, making threats, and just looking like they are spewing a lot of hot air.


HEALY: So that, at least, is how the -- you know, Trump and the Republicans see it. And tenable? It's a legal question.

MARQUARDT: And every time the Democrats are foiled, every time the White House defies one of these requests for oversight, it looks as though Democrats start saying the "I" word more and more often. Take a listen.


REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D), RHODE ISLAND: There is no question. There could come a point where this level of obstruction by and of itself constitutes a basis for impeachment.

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA), MAJORITY MEMBER, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY: With these actions of simply denying every single subpoena request from Congress, that may push us to a place where that's going to be our only option.

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA), MAJORITY MEMBER, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND REFORM: What are we supposed to do? We can't roll over and play dead. We have an obligation to defend this branch of government and our constitutional framework.



MARQUARDT: But for her part, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been wary of using the word, impeachment. Listen to what she said this week.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: Trump is goading us to impeach him. That's what he is doing. Every single day, he's just like taunting, taunting, taunting. Because he knows that it would be very divisive in the country, because he doesn't really care. He just wants to solidify his base.


MARQUARDT: David, do you agree with Pelosi there that that's what Trump is doing, solidifying his base, or are Democrats using this as an excuse to actually start impeachment proceedings?

GERGEN: I think they -- he is fortifying his base, but he's -- at the same time, obviously, he's not making many gains among middle of the road voters, independent voters. This whole idea of blockading and stonewalling is one, ultimately, that will come back to bite him.

I think -- Patrick, I think, is right in that there are some dangers here for the Democrats. It's probably too late, but they would be far better off if these -- all these investigations were collected under one or two committees.

And the public and the media would find it a lot easier to understand and to focus on what's going on than having this multitude of inquiries with subpoenas and requests. For one thing, Alex, it's dizzying to follow it.

MARQUARDT: Yes, that it certainly is. Patrick, if impeachment is indeed the road that a lot of Democrats want to go down, do you think that it's something they can do before hearing Robert Mueller testify before Congress?

There had been talk of him doing it on May 15th. It's not going to happen then, but could they start those proceedings without hearing from the man himself?

HEALY: And that's a really good question. I mean, that -- you know, yes, they could do it, but they -- the Democrats, right now, with their kind of subpoena strategy and the likelihood of the administration not responding, they need some kind of game changer.

And certainly, Robert Mueller testifying and creating any kind of daylight, and perhaps a big daylight, between what Bill Barr, the Attorney General, described, you know, in the -- in the report, in the redacted version, the underlying materials.

If Robert Mueller were to, you know, come forward and the Democrats drew him -- and he chose to be drawn out on issues of obstruction and suggestions there, you know, that would be something that the Democrats could certainly use as leverage.

I mean, Robert Mueller occupies a very strong place in kind of the political imagination on both the right and the left in this. MARQUARDT: Right. Yes.

HEALY: And, you know, if he were to finally -- finally -- speak publicly and give, you know, a version of this that supported, you know, Democratic arguments around obstruction, you know, that could lead the way, at least to a stronger set of hearings.

MARQUARDT: Well, one leading Democrat who is quite confident that Robert Mueller is going to testify is the House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff. Take a listen to what he had to say.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE PERMANENT SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE: 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 -- our 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.


MARQUARDT: David, if Mueller does indeed testify, what would you like to hear from him?

[19:09:55] GERGEN: Well, first of all, I think if Mueller does testify, it could be a real game changer. You know, sometimes in politics, the less you say, the more credibility you have. And he's been this Sphinx-like character in public.

We all -- we don't know what he -- you know, he really thinks. We've seen the report, obviously, but I think that he will have enormous credibility. And what we know about him so far is he's likely to tilt the conversation or the narrative more in the Democratic direction than in the Republican.

Given his letter to Barr and what isn't known, I think he will probably fortify the Democrats and give them some statements they can rally around that seem less about politics than about justice.

MARQUARDT: And, Patrick, I want to ask you something quickly that we haven't really touched on, which is less likely than Mueller testifying before Congress, and that's seeing President Trump's tax returns.

They have now been formally subpoenaed. So does that change the likelihood of them being released? HEALY: Highly doubtful. On all of the things that the Trump

administration might deliver on under subpoenas, I think the taxes are far at the end.

I mean, and it's interesting. Richard Neil, the head of the House committee or the Democrat, you know, he has been a chairman who hasn't been looking to create great antagonism with the Trump administration.

You know, he is not someone who has been pushing, let's say, on the kind of finding Steve Mnuchin and others in contempt over this. So whether he decides to go -- whether Richard Neil decides to intensify that effort on the Democrats' part, we'll wait and see.

But it just seems like, at the end of the day, President Trump -- candidate Trump made so clear that he does not want to show those tax returns. He has no interest in doing it. And like he says, it seems like the American people, do they -- do they really want to see them?

I think a lot of people do, but he doesn't see it as a loser for him politically.

MARQUARDT: Right. Is it a political maneuver or not? We don't have time to answer that question. We've got to leave it there.

Patrick Healy, thanks so much for coming in. David Gergen, you're going to be back with me in just a moment. Thank you, gentlemen.

HEALY: Thanks, Alex.

GERGEN: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, coming up, a Trumpian Fourth of July. A new report about how the President is trying to revamp America's big birthday bash. Stay right here.


[19:15:46] MARQUARDT: The Fourth of July is arguably the country's biggest celebration. The famous party held in Washington, D.C. is the mother of all patriotic shindigs, you could call it.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans descend every year onto the National Mall to be there in person for the spectacle. Millions more watching on television. It's been a marquis event on T.V. since 1947.

But according to a new report, the President is taking charge of the celebration that has, until now, been a pretty much staunchly nonpartisan event. And he's doing so by carving out a starring role for none other than himself.

You may have caught this announcement on Twitter. Hold the date, the President wrote, we will be having one of the biggest gatherings in the history of Washington, D.C. on July 4th. It will be called "A Salute to America" and will be held at the Lincoln Memorial. Major fireworks display, entertainment, and an address by your favorite president, me! CNN political analyst David Gergen is back with me. David, you, of

course, served as an adviser to four different presidents. We usually have fireworks on the Fourth of July, not fireworks over the Fourth of July.

GERGEN: Right.

MARQUARDT: So do you expect this to be the latest controversy to hit Washington?

GERGEN: Yes. Alex, I'm so glad you're covering this story. It deserves more attention.

It's wildly inappropriate for the President to step in. This has been -- this has been an event for all the people he's tried to govern by talking to and persuading only a third of the people.

And let's get to the bottom line. This is not his Fourth of July.


GERGEN: It's our Fourth of July. It belongs to all Americans. And to have the President sort of take charge and then plan this address is just -- it just goes against the grain.

And you know, this is what sort of tinpot dictators dream of going. You know, it's just -- the President of the United States needs to show restraint and respect for the nation's traditions, especially on the Fourth of July.

MARQUARDT: Oh, there's no doubt that the President, by his own admission, is a showman. This report in the "Washington Post" said that he was more involved in the planning of this day than many other policy initiatives.

And one of the things that really stuck out in this "Post" report was that the President wants to move, reportedly, the fireworks from the mall to be closer to the Potomac so that he can then address the country from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

That image, David, of President Trump on those famous steps, how does that feel to you?

GERGEN: Well, listen, the moment that is now one of the revered moments in American politics is a moment on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King, Jr. with "I have a dream." And there's just -- there's just no comparison in terms of how sort of tacky it feels.

And I want to go back, Alex, to another thing you said. And that was this President has a lot of responsibilities we elected him to take care of. And that's one we didn't elect him to take care of.

And right now, there are fires burning all over the world. You know, his trade deal with China, what's going on with Venezuela, what's going on with North Korea. You know, there are -- you can -- what the Russians are up to and, you know, the -- Iran.


GERGEN: You know, all those fires.


GERGEN: They are more -- they take more than enough of the President's time. They take all -- they should take almost all of his time because he has to get these under control for the good of the country and the world.

MARQUARDT: Right. David, this isn't the first time, of course, that we've heard of the President wanting to have a major celebration.


MARQUARDT: There was talk of a military parade. That talk seems to have died down a little bit. The inspiration, allegedly, for one of these big celebrations is the Bastille Day festivities in Paris that he attended in 2017 with the French President.

Why do you think it's so important to him to have one of these big celebrations?

GERGEN: Because they bring the focus to him, and he is seeing this as sort of -- you know, with the military parade, he is sort of seen as the Commander-in-Chief. And if he can play that role in the Fourth of July, he can somehow be the nation's hero, which he isn't.

But I -- my understanding is, and one of the reports I've heard, is that he just -- this has been done -- was done recently in Israel and -- by Netanyahu and that he feels like, wow, this is a good idea here in the United States.

[19:20:11] MARQUARDT: I mean, it's --

GERGEN: That's an unconfirmed report, but I just want to put that out there.

MARQUARDT: Right. I mean, there are complications. We have heard also from officials in Washington, D.C. about the problems that it could cause in terms of the flow of people.


MARQUARDT: And of course, you know, Washington is the city that's going to have to bear the brunt of this. But at the end of the day, David, if he does, in fact, want to turn this Fourth of July celebration into something of a political rally, is there anything -- is there anything that says that he can't do that?

GERGEN: No, there's not. The response to that will be a lot of people who would otherwise have brought their families, their children to the Fourth of July, something they've been looking forward to for months -- it was going to be the highlight of their summer. There's a good chance a lot of those people will stay home. There's a

good chance they're going to hear T.V. sets clicking off in protest.

MARQUARDT: Right. Well, we will see what happens. David Gergen, thanks so much for your perspective.

GERGEN: We will indeed. Thank you, Alex.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, coming up, the U.S. economy is booming, but are voters feeling it?


SHEILA THOMAS, DEMOCRATIC VOTER IN PENNSYLVANIA: To me, the middle class is struggling.

ALEX LUDY, DEMOCRATIC VOTER IN PENNSYLVANIA: I cannot imagine that I will not be paying off my student loans until the day I die.

NASYA JENKINS, INDEPENDENT VOTER IN PENNSYLVANIA: It's just like you can't come to my face and tell me something is booming, and I'm not where I'm supposed to be.



[19:25:07] MARQUARDT: In the fight for 2020, it is all eyes on Pennsylvania. Former Vice President Joe Biden was born there and launched his presidential bid from there. But it was just a couple of years ago that Pennsylvania went from blue to red for the first time in almost three decades, which helped deliver a surprise victory for Donald Trump in 2016.

So what's the mood in Pennsylvania this time around? CNN's Alisyn Camerota sat down with a group of politically active Democrats and one independent, some of whom have worked on the campaigns in the past in order to find out.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Why do you think Pennsylvanians voted for President Trump?

THOMAS: Well, I think we didn't get the right people out. I think that was the problem. A lot of people stayed home, and that was particularly acute in the Black community.

PAT FLANNIGAN, DEMOCRATIC VOTER IN PENNSYLVANIA: I think people wanted a change, and Hillary just had so much political history and baggage. They were looking for something different.

THOMAS: Also, I think, the gender issue. People don't want to talk about it, but a lot of guys I talk to, oh, well, she's a woman, can she really run the country? LUDY: Didn't people say the same thing about President Obama and him

being Black? Didn't a large majority of people -- or not a large majority, but didn't people also be like, are we really ready for an African-American president? So I think we can overcome that.

JESSICA WOLFE, DEMOCRATIC VOTER IN PENNSYLVANIA: Yes, we were able to elect Barack Obama in 2008. I'm not sure we will get Barack Obama elected in 2020.

CAMEROTA: How many of you think that Joe Biden being from Pennsylvania will make a difference to Pennsylvania voters?

FLANNIGAN: I don't think Pennsylvania claims Joe Biden. Like, we don't go, like, oh, he's our boy. I mean, I don't know of any connection there that says, yes, we're going to vote for him because he's from Pennsylvania.

LUDY: Especially for, like, young people like me. I have no, like, real strong emotional ties to Joe Biden.

CAMEROTA: How do you guys feel about how the economy is doing in Pennsylvania? I mean, the economy, by all metrics, is booming. Being in Pennsylvania, do you feel it? Why are you shaking your head?

THOMAS: I'm shaking my head because we know the statistics show one thing, but everybody I talk to, O.K., they're struggling to pay their mortgage, to put their kids through college. To me, the middle class is struggling and that's a fact.

WOLFE: It seems that the gap is widening. There are so many people in Pennsylvania that are doing better, but they were already doing marginally well. And then there are people who are falling off the ladder who are losing hope every day.

THOMAS: But, again, there is the inequity, and to me, that's the problem. You know, the gap is widening.

CAMEROTA: I guess the question is, will President Trump be able to win on that this time? Because the economy is doing so well, do voters feel it enough that he will have an easy path to a second --

THOMAS: I don't think so.

JENKINS: No. I don't feel like that he should win it at all. Because, like, you're not voicing the voice of the people when you say that it's booming. Like, it's -- who are you speaking for?

I work with kids. I talk to parents every day who cannot get by, live check to check, and are working three different jobs trying to support one child. That's not fair.

And then you have me with my experience. I dropped out of college. I had to, I couldn't afford it. My mother couldn't afford it. So it's just like, you can't come to my face and tell me something is booming, and I'm not where I'm supposed to be. LUDY: I am thankfully still in college, and I'm very fortunate to be

there. When I graduate, I cannot imagine that I will not be paying off my student loans until the day I die.

CAMEROTA: What's your plan for that?

LUDY: Great question.


LUDY: I don't know. I -- literally, I don't know. I -- you know, I mean, we live in a society that tells kids to go to college. And I think that is fine. And now, there's a huge bubble of debt and none of us have any idea what we're going to do about it.

THOMAS: People are not feeling this economic boom because they're struggling to get their kids through school, to pay the mortgage, to pay the bills.

We need a candidate that understands the struggle, who's not somebody who is rich and had a silver spoon in their mouth, but understands what it means to raise a family, to struggle in America.

CAMEROTA: I know it's early days but if the election were held today, who would you vote for? Alex?

LUDY: Elizabeth Warren, without question. She has policy plans. She knows what she's doing. She knows where she wants to go. She has a bold vision for the future, and she wants to bring all of us with.

THOMAS: I'd probably vote for Joe Biden. I love Kamala Harris. I like Bernie. I like Elizabeth Warren. I think Elizabeth Warren is probably the smartest, but I'm going with who I think, in the long run, is going to present a vision, who is going to unify the country.


FLANNIGAN: Kamala Harris. I think she provides a contrast to what Trump is, and I think she provides a great opportunity to win.

JENKINS: Definitely Kamala Harris. Not only is she a woman, but she's also a woman of color. I feel like that she has the energy, she has the plan, she has the mindset to go against somebody so disgusting.

BEN MEDINA, DEMOCRATIC VOTER IN PENNSYLVANIA: I will vote for her as well, although I love her -- Elizabeth Warren's ideas.

[19:29:57] CAMEROTA: And why do you like Kamala Harris more than Elizabeth Warren?

MEDINA: Just the fact, I think she represents something else. She's not the typical White woman like Elizabeth.

[19:30:00] And I see her like she will bring people together. And that's what we need. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jessica?

JESSICA WOLFE, PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRAT: If the election were today, I would vote for Joe Biden, I work for the Obama campaign. I have a lot of positive feelings toward the Obama/Biden years. I feel like everybody says, we need to go forward. We don't want to go back. I want to go back. I want to go back to those eight years. I think that those eight years were some of the best eight years that we have ever had as a country. And so, I feel like, when you are scared and I'm scared. And when you are worried you want to go home. And to me, Joe Biden is home.


ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: And polls are bearing that out right now.

Our thanks to Alisyn Camerota.

Coming up, smart phones, sneakers, washers, just some of the things you will be paying more for soon thanks to an unsuccessful meeting this week in Washington. We look at what else is going to cost more. That's next.


[19:34:34] MARQUARDT: Trading negotiations between the U.S. and China ended this week with no deal. And as CNN's Tom Foreman now explains, those huge tariffs that the President has slapped on products from China are eventually going to hit you in your wallet.


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


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

[19:35:04] Trump: I happen to think that tariffs for a country are very powerful. You know, we are the piggybank that everyone steals from, including China.

FOREMAN: But American consumers could soon feel a greater impact if the tariffs expands a consumer products as threatened. China would be expected to pass on those expenses, jacking up prices on smart phones, computers, televisions, fitness trackers and much more. The extra cost for 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. Ninety-three percent of Chinese made footwear, including some shoes for Nike could be hit, so could clothing, Bluetooth headsets and even drones. Trump's tariff's on China last year stir 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 ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: American consumers are already paying. They just don't know it's a stealth tax but it is going to become a very obvious tax. Not too far from now if this continues opinion.

FOREMAN: The major markets are already showing unease under the clash in the next three years if China and the U.S. continue 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. And he is convinced China will blink first, tweeting tariffs will make our country much stronger, not weaker. Just sit back and watch.

The treasury secretary has called the talks constructive, that doesn't tell us much about how long the impasse might last or how far the impact may reach.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


MARQUARDT: All right. Thanks to Tom Foreman.

And that brings us to your weekend Presidential brief. With me now CNN national security analyst is Sam Vinograd. She helped prepare the daily Presidential brief under President Obama.

Sam, we just heard about those burdens that Americans are going to start feeling from Tom Foreman there. How do you think that should have impact what President Trump is thinking.

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Alex, President Trump and I both went to U-Penn. And I can assure you they teach economics 101 there even if he is forgetting some key lessons.

He is right. The Chinese pressure is under the result of these tariffs. If the Chinese goods are more expensive, it's less likely they will export goods to the United States at the same rate. But Americans are paying for tariffs. American businesses have to pay more to import Chinese goods. And that cost trickles down to American consumers.

The key question at this point is, are we just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to economic impact. We are not all tariffed out. Both countries can raise rates on goods that are already tariffed. And the United States still has about $300 billion of Chinese exports that we can put tariffs on.

The question is, when President Trump encounters President Xi Jinping in Japan at the G-20 next month, can we get at least a trade war cease-fire? And any other President would sit down with his intel community right now and say, how do I get the Chinese to budge? Do I get Xi Jinping some room and not tariff anymore goods? Or do I implement a maximum pressure campaign to try to push the Chinese further into a corner.

While that question is being answered one thing is clear. President Trump tried to go big with trade on China. And instead he is going home empty-handed.

MARQUARDT: And another place that you said going big means going home on arms control is on arms control, possible agreements with Russia and China. We now see secretary of state Mike Pompeo going to Moscow, to see President Putin, do you think that that at this juncture is a smart move?

VINOGRAD: Well, I have been on similar trips and there is no substitute for communicating with Russians in person, not only because you hope they won't lies easily to your face. And these meetings typically sit down for hours and take through a prioritized set of issues. And I say prioritize here because if you don't establish trust and strength at the front end of these meetings, the Russians feel like they are in in the driver's seat. That's why Pompeo has to start with election interference at the top of his agenda.

But Alex, even if he does, a key ingredient for success on this trip is missing. The President has not empowered secretary of state Pompeo. It's unclear that whether Putin thinks Pompeo speaks on behalf of the President on Venezuela, on election interference. So this trip may be a giant waste of jet fuel for that reason.

MARQUARDT: And as we learned about secretary of state Mike Pompeo going to Russian around the same time, we also heard about another top aide Rudy Giuliani, the President's personal lawyer. He said that he was going to go to Ukraine. And you wrote a piece for CNN saying that when it comes to Giuliani the damage is already down.

[19:40:06] VINOGRAD: Well, historically, foreign counterparts haven't any doubt as to who a presidential envoy as we have ambassador, defense attaches, legal attaches. We have now have Pompeo going to Russia, while Giuliani is on a global conspiracy shopping spree. It's unclear who is actually representing foreign policy and who is actually trying to get the President reelected.

Giuliani is setting a low bar for other presidential candidates too by saying that you can go to foreign capital and try to get derogatory information on one of your political opponents.

And the stakes in the Ukraine are particularly high. Ukraine is at war with Russia in eastern Ukraine. And Giuliani's trip and the President's failure to condemn it, signal his priority is his own politics and not the sovereignty of the Ukraine or either - or even in our own country.

MARQUARDT: And Ukraine didn't appear particularly eager to have them there. They just had their own dramatic Presidential election, so the timing is interesting to say the least. But you did call that trip off.

Sam Vinograd, thanks very much.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Alex.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, you know all that sea ice that is melting rapidly and threatening to put coastal cities under water? Well, America's top diplomat seemed to suggest this week, that could be a good thing.


[19:45:10] MARQUARDT: Secretary of state Mike Pompeo apparently sees the rapidly shrinking levels of sea ice in the arctic as something that's positive.


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance. Steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade.


MARQUARDT: The so-called passageways he mentioned are a results of climate change. And they could also have catastrophic consequences. Even the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, earlier this year cited climate change as a global human security challenge. But it's not a warning that the Trump administration is heeding.

In fact, a lawsuit filed by environmental groups against the Trump administration, accuses of EPA of failing to protect several communities from ozone smog.

And as CNN's Bill Weir now reports, some experts say the problem has gotten so bad, that American lives are being shortened.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This little guy has no idea that his young lungs are breathing some of the worst air in America. He lives in Bakersfield where a valley full of oilfield fumes and mega dairy ammonia and diesel traffic creates the worst bad air days in the nation. But according to the American lung association. He's one of 140 million Americans breathing uneasy and unhealthy.

TRUMP: We have the cleanest air and water they say in the world.

WEIR: No one actually says that. In fact the 20th annual state of the air report finds that pollution has gotten measurably worse over the last three years. More than four in ten Americans live in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone or soot or the tiny particles that get deep into young lungs and aging brains, accelerating disease and maybe even dementia. GENEVIEVE GALE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTRAL VALLEY AIR QUALITY

COALITION: I remember going up into the mountains which you can't see but are right there, and turning around and looking down at the valley and seeing this smog, this soup of pollution and realizing I wake up and go to bed in that soup every day and I got really angry.

WEIR: So angry, she quit her job, began volunteering for an air quality coalition in Fresno, rallying neighbors like Amalia who just lost a 51-year-old husband to cancer and as two sons are struggle to breathe. And doctors like Alex Sheriffs who can see and hear the toll of pollution in the lungs of his patient.

DR. ALEX SHERIFFS, UCSF FRESNO ALZHEIMER AND MEMORY CENTER: If you live with the air quality we have today, you are probably shortening your life expectancy by six months. And I don't think that is acceptable. I don't think it is anything we need to accept.

WEIR: As bad as it is, it could be so much worse. If America was still burning and churning like the 1970s, Bakersfield would look like industrial India. And the one thing that kept this country from going down that road is something called the clean air act.

Signed by President Nixon in 1970, it empowered the brand new EPA to crack down on the biggest polluters. But President Trump's EPA just rolled back rules on car emissions and coal plants and told to rebuke panel of 20 air quality scientists that services are no longer needed.

SHERIFFS: If you live your entire life in the valley in the late 1970s or early '80s with the air quality level we had then, you probably were shortening your life expectancy by two years. We owe so much to the clean air act. And we need to protect the clean air act and be sure it's strengthened not weakened.

TRUMP: I want clean air and beautiful crystal clean water, right. We want that.

WEIR: He may want it, but in the age of relentless drilling, farming, driving and burning, it is clear the skies don't clean themselves.

Bill Weir, CNN in central California.


MARQUARDT: A beautiful and scary piece. Our thanks to Bill Weir.

Coming up, she had vowed never to return, but now years after her imprisonment and acquittal in a sensational murder trial, Amanda Knox is heading back to Italy. We will tell you why.

Plus, see what happens when victims and offenders of violent crimes meet face to face on the new CNN original series, "The Re Redemption Project" with Van Jones tonight at 9:00 followed by "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" with W. Kamau Bell at 10:00.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:53:18] MARQUARDT: Amanda Knox, that's a name you may not have heard in a while. She is returning to Italy, the country where she was convicted of murder and imprisoned and ultimately acquitted by in 2015.

When she left Italy, Knox had said she would never go back. But she's now agreed to speak at a criminal justice conference in Italy next month. Knox and her then-boyfriend were initially convicted in 2007 of killing her British roommate. Their convictions were then vacated after years of back and forth by Italy's highest court. We will see how the Italians feel about her coming back.

And tonight, Hollywood is remembering actress Peggy Lipton.


MARQUARDT: Lipton who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2004 was best known for playing an undercover officer in the series "Mod Squad." That role earned her four Golden Globe nominations and one win. She later starred in the television series "Twin Peaks." She survived by two daughters from her marriage to music producer and legend Quincy Jones. Peggy Lipton was 72 years old.

And in honor of mother's day, prince Harry and Meghan, his wife, the duchess of Sussex, have released a new photo of their baby Archie. In it, we catch a little glimpse of baby Archie's little feet as well as the background of forget-me-not flowers. They were the favorites of Harry's mother, the late Princess Diana, the grandmother to Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor who was born just under a week ago. He is now seventh in line to the royal throne after his father prince Harry.

Coming up, Australia's prime minister gets egged, and it is bringing back some memories of other famous political projectiles. Jeanne Moos has that story next.


[19:58:46] MARQUARDT: And finally this hour, Jeanne Moos on the art of the dodge.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When a protester threw an egg at Australia's prime minister -- prime minister exhibited a hard-boiled head. The egg just grazed him, though he had to help up a woman who got knocked to the ground and the egg thrower got knocked verbally as she was let out.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Silly girl. You are appalling.

MOOS: It's the second egging in as many months in Australia.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When people are getting attacked in their own --

MOOS: Right wing senator egged by a teen fought back. The preferred reaction in the U.S. is playing it cool. Like George W.

Bush did ducking a pair of shoes.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So what if the guy threw a shoe at me.

MOOS: The same thing happened to Hillary.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Cycling about -- what was that, a bat? Thank goodness she didn't play softball like I did.

MOOS: Someone was similarly bad aim --

TRUMP: You have Hillary who is a disaster --

MOOS: Hurled a tomato at then-candidate Trump who waved and smiled.

But it's hard to smile through a pie in the face. Anita Bryant campaigned against gays, then got --.

At least it's a fruit pie.