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President Firing Back At The First Republican In Congress Who Says Trump Engaged In Impeachable Conduct; Presidential Candidate John Delaney Talks About His Platform; Senior White House Adviser, Jared Kushner, Unveiling Key Details Of His Proposal For Peace In The Middle East. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired May 19, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone and welcome to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world this Sunday, I am Fredricka Whitfield. All right, we begin with the President firing back at the first Republican in Congress who says Trump engaged in impeachable conduct.
Michigan's congressman Justin Amash posted what he called his own principal conclusions on the Mueller report writing, "Attorney General William Barr deliberately misrepresented the report, and President Trump engaged in impeachable conduct."
Now President Trump is calling out Amash saying, "Never a fan of Justin Amash, a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy."
CNN's Boris Sanchez is live for us from the White House. So tell us more about how the President is responding? How he got wind of it? And what's next?
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Fred. Yes, Justin Amash had previously criticized President Trump disagreeing with the administration on a number of issues, but we've never really seen President Trump respond to that sort of criticism in this way.
He believes that Congressman Amash is doing this for publicity. Take a look at the two tweets he sent about three hours ago about the Congressman. In it, he says that he believes that if Amash had actually read the report, he would see that it was strong and no collusion and no obstruction.
As you will know, Fred, Robert Mueller didn't weigh in on obstruction, no matter what the President says. He goes on to say that Amash is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands.
Amash, clearly striking a chord with President Trump. But we should point out, the Congressman is an outlier here. Most Republicans don't feel this way about President Trump. They're more in line with what Senator Mitt Romney told Jake Tapper this morning on "State of the Union," where he finds that some of the behavior described in the Mueller report is objectionable but not impeachable. Listen to what he told Jake on "State of the Union." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY, (R-UT): My own view is that Justin Amash has reached a different conclusion that I have. I respect him, I think it's a courageous statement. But I believe that to make a case for obstruction of justice, you just don't have the elements that are evidence to this document. And I also believe that an impeachment call is not only something that relates to the law, but also considers practicality and politics and the American people just aren't there.
And I think those that are considering impeachment have to look also at the jury, which would be the Senate. The Senate is certainly not there either.
Everyone reaches their own conclusion. As I read the report, I was troubled by it, it was very disappointing for a number of reasons. But it did not suggest to me that this was time to call for impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Now looking at the political realities, the potential outcomes, impeachment is unlikely. Let's not forget that the most powerful Democrat on Capitol Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has said that she doesn't think it's prudent to pursue impeachment even though she says that the President demonstrates impeachable behavior every single day -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Boris Sanchez at the White House. Thank you so much for that. All right, joining me right now, Democratic presidential candidate, John Delaney. He is the former Congressman from Maryland. Good to see you.
JOHN DELANEY (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Great to be here.
WHITFIELD: So in step with what Amash is saying just last month, you called the President lawless, you say he has committed impeachable offenses, but you stop short of calling for impeachment, and say this should be solved at the ballot box. Is that still your point of view?
DELANEY: Yes, I think we should be focusing on 2020 and beating the President at the ballot box. I think Speaker Pelosi has struck the right chord on this issue. And I basically agree with what she is saying.
WHITFIELD: So if you and other say there are, you know, impeachable offenses that the President appears to have committed, then what does that say that you wouldn't go further and say impeachment proceedings need to get underway? And what does that mean for Members of Congress who say, they think they're impeachable offenses, but then they won't take it a step further?
DELANEY: Well, first of all, what Speaker Pelosi has said, which I agree with is there's a lot of investigation to do. And she is going to do that, the House is going to do that and they're going to make sure they pursue their oversight responsibilities. But people like myself who are running for President, what I'm focused
on is talking about what I want to do for the American people, how I want to take this terribly divided nation and bring it back together, I have new ideas that that can solve some of the big issues that we're facing right now, and lay out a positive vision for the future.
So I think the House is going to do its job, in terms of its oversight responsibility, wherever that takes it, it takes it. I trust Speaker Pelosi completely on this issue. And I'm really focused on going out to the American people and telling them what I want to do for them as President and kind of stopping some of this noise and actually focusing on some of the common sense solutions that we all know exists for some of the big important issues we face as a country.
[14:05:10] WHITFIELD: And what are say two of the things that you really want to do that you think helps bring a divided nation together?
DELANEY: Well, I want to call for national service, for example, not mandatory, but create a really exciting program, where every high school graduate would have an opportunity to serve our country, either in the military, or by doing community service, or by becoming part of something I'm calling the Climate Core, which would be young people that go around the country and help communities build sustainable infrastructure, or just a general kind of infrastructure program.
I think that would be transformative for this nation, because it would really help that young generation of Americans, they would be much more unified. They'd have a commitment of service instilled in them, which is really important.
But I think every American would benefit from it. So that's one of the things for example that I want to do as President that I think can be incredibly unifying.
The other thing I want to do in my first hundred days, is I'm calling for my administration to focus on five or six big things in climate, in infrastructure, in criminal justice reform, and privacy. But have them all based on existing bipartisan bills in the Congress. Wouldn't it be amazing if a President stepped forward and said, "These are things we agree with each other on."
And as a responsible leader who cares about this notion of common purpose, I want to lead us towards getting these things done, because Democrats and Republicans have found common ground on these things.
So those are the some of the things I'm talking about, that I think could be transformative, and totally change the tone at the top from the President, completely, you know, particularly compared to what we have now, which is someone who basically wakes up and tries to divide us every day.
WHITFIELD: And right now, you're one of 23, amongst the field of Democratic contenders. And, you know, one of the latest polls, Fox polls, shows that former Vice President Joe Biden is far in the lead, followed by Bernie Sanders, and then everyone else is either in single digits, but far away from the double digits. So are you concerned?
WHITFIELD: You're one of the first to have come out. You know, about two years ago, you're now at 1 percent. How do you gain traction? Any concerns?
DELANEY: Well, I think the debates are key. We're in the debates, which is important. And I think that's really going to be an opportunity for all of us to introduce ourselves to the American people.
And I think Vice President Biden is in a good position, everyone knows who he is. So that obviously helps in this early polling, but you have to remember the first vote is not going to be cast for about 10 months.
I think it's pretty clear, the Democratic Party needs to put up more of a moderate centrist candidate to win in 2020. I think that's pretty obvious. But I also think the Democratic Party is looking for some new people with new ideas.
You know, people who haven't been in politics their whole career, people like myself, who have been a successful entrepreneur, starting two businesses, creating thousands of jobs before I served in the Congress.
So I think after the debates, and the American people get an opportunity to see us all up on the stage, I think my vision for the country, and importantly, how I plan on making it happen, is really what's going to set me apart from the rest of the field, which in many cases are putting forth impossible promises, things that actually don't make sense and can never happen.
And I think the American people are tired of that. They're looking for solutions. They're looking for someone who can actually get things done.
WHITFIELD: So what's your strategy on convincing the American people that, you know, you don't have impossible ideas, but achievable ideas, particularly when we're talking about one of the most diverse Democratic fields, you know in political history?
DELANEY: Well, again, I think there's a lot of issues that matter whether it be climate or what's happening with workers' pay. And I think the voters should say, "Okay, what are you going to do about it?"
So like, for climate, for example, I have, by far the best climate plan, in part because I can actually make it happen. You know, the stuff I'm working on, I introduced as bipartisan legislation in the Congress, so I can show the voters how the things I'm proposing, actually can really happen and make a difference in their lives.
Again, a lot of these people are putting for things that are impossible in many ways, and don't make a lot of sense, from a policy perspective, they may sound good, but I think the American people in the Democratic Party know that to beat Trump, which is the most important thing, and actually to govern, we have to put forth responsible solutions to the issues that we face.
And I think the American people are at a point now where they're just tired of all the fighting, tired of all the noise, they want us to come back together and actually start getting things done.
WHITFIELD: So topping the list among those concerns that American voters have -- healthcare.
WHITFIELD: And you have said that, you know, Medicare-for-All is really not the answer. And I'm quoting you now saying, "Politicians supporting Medicare-for-All are not being honest with you. As Democrats, we need to be fact based in our thinking."
But right now, one of the top candidates, you know, is pushing this idea of, you know, of Medicare-for-All -- Bernie Sanders.
WHITFIELD: And he is second in the polls. So is he speaking the language that the American voters on healthcare want to hear?
[14:10:10] DELANEY: I don't think so. Because again, we're going to have a real debate on healthcare. And I think what the single payer system that Senator Sanders is putting forth is just bad policy. It'll make healthcare worse in this country.
And I think if we actually run on that, we're going to lose because if you go to the American people, many of which like their private insurance, and say that we're going to take it away from you, and give you a government plan, we're not going to win a lot of elections.
And I also think the American people understand that we should have a form of a mixed model like I'm proposing, similar to what countries like Germany have, where we have a government plan that everyone gets as a right. I'm fully for universal healthcare, but also allow private insurance options. That's the common sense, obvious way to move forward to improve our healthcare system.
And you know, things like a single payer healthcare system will ultimately make healthcare more limited and lower quality in this country. And I don't think the American people really want to vote to give up their healthcare. Think about all the union workers out there.
I mean, my dad was a union electrician. You know, my parents didn't go to college. And I saw how my dad's union and all these unions around the country fight so hard to get really good healthcare for their workers. Do we really want to run as a party that wants to take that away from them and give them some government only solution? I mean, that's a terrible idea. We should stand for universal healthcare. We should stand for
everyone getting healthcare as a basic right, because I do think it's a human right. And I do think it's smart economic policy. But this notion that a government only solution is the way to solve healthcare.
I mean, if you go to any hospital in this country, and you ask them how it would go for them, if all of their bills were paid at Medicare reimbursement rates, every hospital in this country will tell you that they would close, just an example of how misguided some of these policies are.
With Okay, John Delaney. So again, you threw your hat into the race two years ago, was the impetus simply the election of Donald J. Trump?
DELANEY: Yes. The election of President Trump was a punctuation of terrible decades in our politics, right, where we've had irresponsible leaders who have basically been trying to divide the American people for their own self-interest.
And the American people have lost so much faith in their government, that they elected someone like him who is basically a human wrecking ball. And he lies to the American people, and he is irresponsible with the way he is handling our country.
And I just think the American people are looking for something so much better at this point. They want to turn the page, they want a unifier, not a divider. They want some new ideas and they want someone who will actually get things done, and focus on some of the things we agree with each other on, and I'm that candidate.
WHITFIELD: All right, presidential candidate, John Delaney. Thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.
DELANEY: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right, senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner, unveiling key details of his proposal for peace in the Middle East. Its first on CNN, and we'll break it down for you, next.
[14:16:38] WHITFIELD: First on CNN. CNN's Jake Tapper is reporting that the White House is announcing the first part of its Middle East peace proposal. The plan is led by senior White House adviser and President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and focuses on economic development. It includes four major components -- infrastructure, industry, and empowering people and governance reform.
The plan also calls for a meeting of Middle East countries to be held June 25th and 26th in Bahrain, the much stickier political component of the plan will be announced later on this year.
CNN diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson joins me from Abu Dhabi and in Washington, D,C., Aaron David Miller, a former State Department negotiator for both Republican and Democratic administrations. Good to see both of you. All right, so Nic, you first, you know, this is purposely being called
a workshop, not a summit. Finance Ministers will be invited, but not Foreign Ministers. Why the distinction?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, I think from what we can see from the contours and the way it's being announced and shaped already, that this is an idea to sell the aspiration of what a peace deal and the contours of that are still shrouded in mystery, that this is an idea to sell the economic benefits of what may be tacked on at the end of it.
And of course, when I say tacked on at the end of it, that's the real heavy lift. The details of what any kind of political settlement might be. So you know, if we compare this, for example, to the way that President Trump tried to deal with Kim Jong-un when they had that first Summit in Singapore, there was that that video -- that sort of video of a brave new North Korea with economic success and building and all the aspirations of what can be achieved.
And it seems that Jared Kushner is trying to sort of set out his stand in this way to bring people on with a vision and buy into the economic benefits, before they have to bite down on the political reality.
I have to say, at this stage, it is hard to say it's hard to see if you're going to find willing partners in the Palestinians for this, but this is how he is attempting to begin the process it appears.
WHITFIELD: And so Aaron, and this is what Jared Kushner told CNN in a statement, and I'm quoting now, "People are letting their grandfathers' conflict destroy their children's futures. This will present an exciting, realistic and viable pathway forward that does not currently exist." How do you believe that will be sold?
AARON DAVID MILLER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: You know, it's a nice line and it embodies the reality that you cannot allow the past to imprison the present or the future.
I think the reason they did this partly for it, and I think Nic had it exactly right. First of all, it's proof of life. There's been a lot of speculation that in fact, this plan will never come out. And there was a fairly compelling analysis that supported that argument. So this demonstrates that, in fact, something is going to come out.
Number two, I think it front loads as Nic suggested the economic benefits, which are necessary but not sufficient to solve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
Look, I've seen, helped craft, watch peace plans come and go most of which I might add over the course of 20 years under Republican and Democratic administrations have failed. But you cannot buy a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Yes, improving the quality of people's lives is critical and I applaud them for doing this. But a chicken in every pot, a computer in every house is not going to substitute or frankly compensate for the incredibly difficult issues of statehood, Jerusalem, refugees, and the whole conception of how you reconcile Israeli sovereignty, excuse me, Palestinian sovereignty against the necessary requirements of Israeli security.
[14:20:25] MILLER: So I think they've got the horse -- a real horse, perhaps, before the card, but we'll see one additional point.
You notice where this is taking place. It's taking place in the Gulf. And frankly, to their credit, they didn't have -- I use the word "chutzpah" to stage this in Saudi Arabia, largely because of our policy in respect to Jamal Khashoggi's murder, but it will bring Israelis and Arabs, Palestinian participation yet to be seen. I suspect they probably will come together and frankly it is a good thing.
WHITFIELD: And does it tell you because there is a date of June 25th and 26th, that there are commitments coming from some of those Middle Eastern countries to be in Bahrain at that date?
MILLER: I suspect they wouldn't have put this out if they didn't think that at a sufficient level, we get serious Arab states, Saudis and Emiratis to participate in this. The question is whether the Gulf is going to not just show up. But frankly, put the money up that is going to be required for all of this.
So one last point, you know, it's paradoxical, because they have now gotten dates for the economic component of the plan, which allows them, frankly, a certain amount of flexibility to delay and/or defer the truly controversial elements of the plan, how to reconcile Israeli and Palestinian needs on Jerusalem, territory, borders -- all the issues that the rest of us couldn't sort out over the course of the last 25 years.
WHITFIELD: So Nic, Jared Kushner, has said that he believes this peace plan will be a real test for Arab nations in particular. So what might be the biggest challenge?
ROBERTSON: As you know, I think to get to the Palestinians engaged in a meaningful way right off the bat is going to be the toughest issue here. You have the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN recently describing this peace plan as dead on arrival.
You have just a couple of days ago, the Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister speaking in London calling this a consecration of the century long ordeal of the Palestinian people -- no sovereignty, no freedom, no independence. This is going to be the heaviest lift to get them engaged.
And of course, they've stopped engagement with the White House since the end of December 2017 when President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
So I think getting real meaningful engagement at the beginning that seems to be the biggest challenge where we stand today. And that's just the beginning.
WHITFIELD: Yes, all right, Nic Roberson, Aaron David Miller. Thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.
MILLER: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: Still ahead, severe weather continues today and it's about to get worse in the U.S. At least 49 tornadoes have been reported since Friday, a live update, next.
WHITFIELD: Fifty million people throughout the country are under a severe weather threat today. This after a weekend of strong storms slammed the Midwest with 49 tornadoes reported since Friday. Four million people in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri are now under Flash Flood Watch.
As more damaging winds, hail and isolated tornadoes push into the North East, all of this threat continues to grow. CNN's Ivan Cabrera is following the latest. So Ivan, where is the threat the biggest?
IVAN CABRERA, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, so today, Fredricka, it is going to be the Midwest and Northeast. But as you mentioned 49 tornado reports since Friday, severe wind reports into the hundreds at 60 mile an hour plus and that we've had 108 hail reports, some of which are been very large.
So today the severe weather threat is in pockets here. We have it in the Midwest and into the Northeast as well. I don't think today there is going to be a huge outbreak as far as tornadoes. But we do have the potential of damaging wind and that's what the National Weather Service has posted.
The Severe Thunderstorm Watch that is now in effect until 9:00 p.m. later this evening that may get extended to include the 95 corridor. We'll keep you posted on that through the remainder of this evening and then we'll transition into another event tomorrow.
So this is the area today that we're going to be watching. Notice the Panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. I'm showing you that because I think by tomorrow that's going to be the next system, but we have to get through this one first.
Notice the thunderstorms, they begin to develop. Some of these will produce some very gusty winds, damaging wind potential, hail as well, and also torrential downpours and then we'll get into the storm tomorrow.
I must differentiate from today and tomorrow. This is going to be a huge deal, Fredricka. We're talking strong tornadoes, violent tornadoes, the type that can stay on the ground for half an hour plus, right, and have the potential to be on that upper scale.
So if you are watching this from this area, please, tonight and into early tomorrow, certainly keep your weather alerts handy because this is going to be a huge storm for tomorrow. And I think we're going to likely see some horrible video coming out of the region as a result of some big damage. WHITFIELD: All right, thanks for the warnings. Ivan, we will check
back with you. Appreciate it.
CABRERA: You bet.
WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead. Two Democratic heavyweights in the race for President, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Why Sanders says he is the better candidate to take on Trump.
[14:33:05] WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. There are 23 candidates in the 2020 race, 23 Democratic candidates, but the two front runners are already setting their sights on a general election showdown -- Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are taking small jabs at each other and arguing who is the better candidate to beat Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are millions of people who are sick and tired of that Democratic establishment. What Ed should know is that a recent poll that came out had me if I'm not mistaken, eight points ahead of Trump in Pennsylvania.
We've had polls which have me way ahead of him in Michigan, and Wisconsin, and in fact, all over this country.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC ANCHOR: You have a part of the Democratic Party ...
SANDERS: Chuck, let me just say --
TODD: ... that seems to be gravitating toward Biden. Go ahead.
SANDERS: You know, we came up short. Yes, we took on the entire Democratic establishment. We took on the Democratic National Committee. We took on every Democratic Governor, we took on every Democratic Mayor, and we ended up winning 22 states and 13 million votes, and in fact, bringing forth an agenda that transformed the Democratic Party.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: But during a campaign kickoff rally Saturday in Pennsylvania, Biden said he is the best candidate to go toe-to-toe with the Republican opposition.
CNN's Ryan Nobles is on the trail with Senator Sanders and he is joining me live now. So Ryan, you know, Biden is sitting way ahead of Sanders, you know, in the latest polling, even though you know, Sanders is double digits as well. But we're talking about 18 points between them. And that gap is growing. So what is Sanders' strategy to try and turn things around?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what you see here, Fred is really the core of the Democratic argument right now. Who has the best set of skills to go up against Donald Trump? Because clearly the thing that Democratic voters are most concerned about is putting forward the candidate that can beat Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders comes from a much different perspective than Joe Biden.
Joe Biden is essentially saying, "I'm the establishment -- a tried and true. I was with Barack Obama." That's what voters want.
[14:35:06] NOBLES: They want a level of comfort, where Bernie Sanders is arguing that there's a level of anger within the Democratic Party, frustrated by two years of Donald Trump and that he has the set of issues that inspire that group of voters to really get motivated to be a part of the electoral process, particularly young voters, voters of color, a very diverse subset of voters that he thinks will come together to beat Donald Trump.
We don't know the answer to which of these strategies is better. But essentially, at the core of this argument is the same exact thing, Fred, "I have what it takes to beat Donald Trump." It's just going to be a matter of which one of these candidates has the ability to convince the Democratic electorate of that fact.
WHITFIELD: And then meantime, Ryan, Sanders will get more face time in the south. He will be joining a march in Birmingham, actually, tonight. What can you tell us about it where you are?
NOBLES: Yes, that's where we are right now, Fred, is in Birmingham. And it just so happened that the rally that Bernie Sanders has planned here behind me in downtown Birmingham, coincides with a massive march for reproductive freedom that is in response to this new abortion law that was passed here in Alabama.
So what Sanders plans to do is finish his rally here and then join the march immediately after and Sanders was asked this morning about these new laws being passed related to abortion and this is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANDERS: I believe what they did in Alabama is unbelievable, other states are doing it. The idea that women in this country should not be able to control their own bodies is beyond belief. They have that constitutional right.
TODD: Are you at all concerned, though, about this idea that people may try to worry about the sex of a child or essentially, look at it -- are those type of restrictions on abortion something you're open to?
SANDERS: I wouldn't use it a restriction on -- that's an issue that society has got to deal with and it is of concern.
TODD: How would you deal with that in the law?
SANDERS: I don't know how at this particular point I would deal with it. But that is an issue that we really have got to deal with.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
NOBLES: So what you see here is the Democratic candidates really pouncing on this issue. They know this is of specific importance, particularly to Democratic women who will make up such a powerful voice in the Democratic primary and it just so happened, Fred, that this trip that Bernie Sanders is on happened to coincide with an ending here in Alabama, and he is doing everything he can to highlight the abortion issue -- Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right, Ryan Nobles, thank you so much. We'll check back with you. Appreciate it. From Birmingham, Alabama.
All right, Bernie Sanders is just one of the many 2020 candidates slamming a string of recent legislation aimed at restricting access to abortion. Joining me right now to discuss contributing editor at "The Atlantic" and CNN political commentator Peter Beinart and White House reporter at POLITICO, Gabby Orr. Good to see you both.
All right, so while Bernie Sanders is going to take advantage of a march that's taking place there in Birmingham tonight, the President of the United States also tweeted today that he is pro-life, but then he also made, you know, the distinction except in the cases of you know, rape and incest and the head of the RNC also said that she personally supports exceptions. Could this potentially backfire on Republicans, Gabby?
GABBY ORR, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: I don't think that it could potentially backfire. I mean, I think if you look at what we're hearing from most Republicans right now, it's that they are not absolutist when it comes to abortion.
Back in 2016, Marco Rubio was the only Republican candidate out of a field of 17 to oppose abortion in all cases. And I think that that proves that in the Republican Party, who these leaders are speaking to, including President Trump, Ronna McDaniel,and and Kevin McCarthy, who have all made statements about this Alabama abortion bill in the past week, that they're speaking to a party that does it believe in exceptions, and opposes the law in Alabama that does not include those exceptions?
The difficulty here, though is that the case being made in Alabama is a case about the personhood of a fetus. And when you include exceptions in the case of rape, or in the case of incest, you undermine that argument. And that's, of course, why the Alabama State Legislature did not do that. But that poses a problem politically for a lot of Republican leaders who realize that their constituencies, their voters, do not support laws like the one that was passed in Alabama.
WHITFIELD: So Peter, will this now be problematic for the President, particularly when he campaigns for reelection when in Georgia again and Alabama?
PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think so. I think the closer we come to the overturn of Roe versus Wade, the more that mobilizes people on the pro-choice side, and as we've been hearing also, there's also a fundamental problem for people in the Republican Party, which is that anti-abortion purists don't believe in an exception for rape and incest.
After all, if you truly believe that abortion is murder, it doesn't actually make sense to have an exception for rape and incest. But the vast majority of Americans do believe in those exceptions. And so that's why we're seeing this Alabama issue actually splitting the Republican Party from his hardcore anti-abortion base.
WHITFIELD: Go ahead, Gabby.
[14:30:08] ORR: If I can just jump in here though, I do think that what you're seeing right now is also a reaction among conservative Christians and Republican voters to a lot of the pro-abortion legislation that we've seen in places like New York and proposals in states like Virginia.
You know, three to one Americans believe that there should not be abortion after the 20-week mark and in a lot of instances, we've now seen legislation come through some states that have actually expanded access to abortion beyond the 20-week mark.
And so I do think, you know, as Peter said, that there's going to be a lot of fire, a lot of activism on the left of opposing these things and that could ultimately benefit Democrats as we head into 2020.
A lot of what's happening in Alabama and Georgia and Ohio and all of these states that have passed these heartbeat bills or further restrictions on abortion is a reaction to what they have seen, and that could benefit Republicans in 2020 as well.
BEINART: Can I just say the term pro-abortion is a misnomer. There's nobody who is pro-abortion. People are pro the right to an abortion. I think that's a phrase we should banish from this conversation.
WHITFIELD: All right, we're going to leave it right there for now. Peter Beinart, Gabby Orr, thanks so much. All right, so how will the U.S. protect against election interference? That is the question now after the FBI reveals at least two counties in Florida were hacked in 2016.
[14:45:29] WHITFIELD: Welcome back. We now know one of the two Florida counties hacked by Russia during the 2016 election. Washington County, a small county in the Panhandle saw its voter registration database breached. That's according to two U.S. officials who spoke to the "Washington Post."
The FBI briefed Florida's Governor and the state's congressional delegation. But they are restricted from telling the public which two counties were targeted.
Governor Ron deSantis says the breach had no effect on the Florida vote totals. With me now is Jonathan Wackrow, a former Secret Service agent under President Obama and a CNN law enforcement analyst. Jonathan, good to see you.
JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Nice to see you.
WHITFIELD: Okay, so with this information and the information that we have, from the Mueller report, concluding Russia did meddle in the 2016 election on a national scale, what are the risks facing the upcoming election?
WACKROW: So you know, with the Mueller report and what has been disclosed with these two counties being breached, is that we know that we have been attacked. The fear right now is that there's over 3,100 counties and parishes additionally in the United States that we don't know. So it's the fear of the unknown.
It's a naive viewpoint right now to take to think that Russia and Russian intelligence operatives, were only focused on two counties in the United States. We know that that is probably unlikely.
So where else were they attacking? What else were they doing? We need to get to the bottom of that. Look backwards to 2016 and 2018 and develop a comprehensive national strategy to mitigate the threat of foreign intrusion.
Recently, the FBI Director had said that the threat of Russian intrusion in the U.S. electorate actually is a 365-day a year problem that we need to face.
So we have identified what the threats are. We need to look at what the vulnerabilities are, and develop a mitigation strategy. The fact that we're 534 days out from the election without a comprehensive strategy that is inclusive of the Federal, state and local governments is, you know, really problematic, and is the greatest risk to the 2020 election.
WHITFIELD: So that the FBI and other law enforcement entities seem to be rather vague about the kind of information they're sharing with state and local authorities or what has been uncovered. I mean, explain, if there's a real reason, you know, to work protecting, I guess, information that has been gathered, so as not to make it public.
WACKROW: Yes, listen, therein lies the problem. So the FBI is running counterintelligence operations around intrusion into our electorate system.
So what they're not going to do is they're not going to disclose the sources and methods of information that they gather. What we need to do is try to figure out a way to have information sharing that protects the classified information and the collection methods that the FBI is utilizing, as well as other Intelligence community officials, while providing directional information to state and local officials so that they can build up the proper defenses for the 2020 election within their counties and states.
Further, the problem is, is that the FBI has listed the elected officials within these counties as victims. So that further restricts the ability for information flows because they are protected as victims.
Recently, the Governor of Florida was briefed by the FBI. So that's a real positive move. But in advance of that, he had to sign a nondisclosure agreement not to disclose what the elements of the investigation were. That is a bigger problem at the state and local level because it restricts the Governor --
WHITFIELD: But he was able to say or I guess, it did still allow him to say that, in his view, the outcome, you know, was not dictated by any of this type of interference.
WACKROW: Well, yes. But that's looking backwards. What he's not able to do is fully provide his state officials with information and it limits his ability to govern and direct the mitigation of the threats that he now knows of.
WHITFIELD: Okay, Jonathan Wackrow, we'll leave it there for now. Good to see you.
WACKROW: Thanks a lot.
WHITFIELD: All right next, an Oregon coach becomes a hero. How this man took down a student who brought a shotgun to a high school.
[14:53:38] WHITFIELD: In Portland, Oregon, a high school coach is being hailed a hero for disarming a gunman at the school. The suspect, 18-year-old, Angel Granados Dias is now in custody and facing multiple charges including possession of a firearm in a public building and reckless endangerment.
Our Polo Sandoval has the story.
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Keanon Lowe wears several titles at a high school in northeast Portland, Oregon. On Friday, hero was added to the list.
It was just before noon when a Parkrose High School student now identified by police as 18-year-old Angel Granados Dias walked onto his campus with a shotgun.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are being told that there is no one injured in the school, and that this is the only shooter.
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SANDOVAL (voice over): According to witnesses, Granados made his way into a classroom where Lowe who doubles as both security guard and coach at the school sprang into action. He forced the gun-wielding student to the ground wrestling away the weapon. No shots fired.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Copy. Security guard may have the shooter.
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SANDOVAL (voice over): The former star wide receiver for the University of Oregon appeared on "Good Morning, America" on Sunday, describing what was one of the most important tackles of his life.
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KEANON LOWE, HERO SECURITY GUARD: I feel like I was putting in that room, in that very moment for a reason to protect those kids. And I ended up getting the gun from him. You know, getting the gun with my right hand and holding him off with my left and calling for a teacher to come grab the gun from me.
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SANDOVAL (voice over): Lowe recalls that was an action that allowed students to flee and police to arrive quickly taking control of the situation.
[14:55:10] SANDOVAL (voice over): Police say nobody was hurt and are yet to establish a motive.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: By the grace of God, nobody was hurt in this one. So I'm very thankful for that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are just really relieved that there's no injuries.
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SANDOVAL (voice over): Before speaking out publicly, the hero coach tweeted, "When I signed up to be a security guard, football and track and field coach for Parkrose High School, I did so to guide and coach young people whose shoes I had once been in. I had no idea that I would one day have to put my life on the line."
Lowe says he gets back on campus on Monday. Back alongside those students he helped protect.
SANDOVAL (on camera): That was immediately after Friday's incident, school officials made an effort to try to get school life back to normal. The principal, Fred, even went on Twitter saying, "Prom this weekend." It was still on and we're told actually, it still happened and continued. So this is really just an incredible story of what could have been a terrible situation. A faculty member stepping in, taking action and keeping tragedy from happening.
WHITFIELD: A true hero indeed. All right, Polo Sandoval. Thank you so much.
SANDOVAL: Thanks, Fred.
WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, a lone Republican lawmaker becomes the first in his party to even entertain impeaching President Donald Trump. And the President is firing back. We're live coming up.