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Pressure Grows On Pelosi To Begin Impeachment Proceedings; Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) Interview For Trump's Impeachment; Several States Push To Restrict Abortion Access; Maine Lobster Industry Devastated By Trade War; A Sisterhood In Step For Health; Trump Knocks Biden As He Ramps Up Reelection Bid. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired May 21, 2019 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[08:31:29] ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, CNN has learned that some house Democrats in a closed door meeting pressed speaker Nancy Pelosi to begin impeachment hearings against President Trump. They say that the stonewalling from the White House has just hit a breaking point.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DAVID CICILINE (D-RI): Let me be clear, if Don McGahn doesn't testify it is time to open an impeachment inquiry. The president has engaged in an ongoing effort to impede our ability to find the truth, to collect the evidence, to do our work and this is preventing us really from ultimately finding the facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Democratic Congresswoman Jackie Speier is on the oversight committee and she joins us now. Great to see you, congresswoman.
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): Hi, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, as of last night there were these closed door meetings, apparently there was a pretty heated debate, it went on for a long time, do you think that Congress is closer this morning to beginning impeachment inquiries than they were yesterday?
SPEIER: I actually think there is a growing sense of frustration with the unwillingness of the administration to let us do our job, because as members of Congress we not only legislate, we have a responsibility to perform oversight functions over the executive branch. And if the president insists on preventing persons from testifying before Congress, he is frustrating the equal co-branch of government, being Congress.
CAMEROTA: Does that growing frustration lead you to believe that you are heading into the direction of an impeachment inquiry?
SPEIER: I believe that an inquiry into impeachment is required at this point in time. You know, this is no longer a political question, this is a constitutional question. And we have an obligation to make sure that our role, that George Mason in the founding of our constitution talked about this inquisitorial function and our responsibilities to oversee those in public office is not deterred. And right now the president is doing everything to sabotage our role.
And once again, in the book of Trump it's all about breaking the law and then litigating it and that's I think what he's trying to do here.
CAMEROTA: So you do not agree with Speaker Pelosi to pump the brakes, she seems to believe that the court system is working Congress just got a victory yesterday from that financial accounting firm, so she's saying that now is not a good time for impeachment.
SPEIER: So I believe that we have an obligation to take the Mueller report. It is a roadmap to look at the issue of obstruction of justice. It appears based on the Mueller report that numerous times the president asked Don McGahn to get rid of Bob Mueller.
He has to come to Congress and talk about that. You cannot assert executive privilege if it's in communications associated with trying to commit a crime.
So Don McGahn is not on strong footing in this regard, but this will go through the courts, yes, and it may take months and months and months and that's precisely what the president wants to happen.
CAMEROTA: Well, since you are inclined towards beginning at an impeachment inquiry, do you think that Speaker Pelosi can be persuaded?
SPEIER: I think that over time we're going to find ourselves in that position. Now, I don't know that we're going to do any more than lay out the facts for the American people in the house. And then rather than relying on the Senate to take up the impeachment process through a trial, I think we then punt it to the American people and give them the opportunity to make that decision at the ballot box in November of 2020.
[08:35:08] CAMEROTA: As you know one of your Republican colleagues on oversight committee, Justin Amash, has come out and said that he sees grounds for impeachment. He sees conduct by the president that is impeachable. And I'm just wondering have you spoken to Congressman Amash about this?
SPEIER: No, I haven't. And Justin Amash has really been a very independent voice in Congress, whether you're a Republican or Democrat. You will oftentimes see him vote no and virtually everyone else votes yes. He has a very strong sense of purpose and I think he is one of the few Republicans, frankly, that's actually read the Mueller report.
You know, it takes a lot of time to read that report and you really have to highlight it and think about it. It's not something that the American people are going to take time to do. They expect their trustees and those are those of us who are in Congress, to do that job for them. CAMEROTA: In terms of what Mueller found and what seems to be the heart of the matter, there's still a lot of questions about the Trump Tower Moscow. And some theorize that this is why Donald Trump when he was a candidate did seem to be so solicitous of Vladimir Putin and seem to want to curry favor with him because this Trump Tower Moscow project was still ongoing. And Donald Trump stood to make millions and millions of dollars from it if he got Vladimir Putin's permission to build it.
And that came up, you all, just released the transcript from this closed door meeting with Michael Cohen in which Michael Cohen basically admits that he lied to Congress.
And so I will read this. Chairman Adam Schiff says just to be perfectly clear about this, the statement about the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations ending in January that was part of your original draft was false? And Mr. Sekulow, of course, the president's lawyer knew it was false? Michael Cohen says, yes, sir. What do you think comes out of that moment?
SPEIER: Well, what comes out of that moment and many others during that interview is that Mr. Sekulow and Mr. Lowell, attorneys for both the president and his children, were obstructing justice. They were clearly setting out a narrative that was false.
They knew it was false. Michael Cohen said he talked to Jay Sekulow I think 10 or 15 times about his statement. He said in code, stay strong, stay on message, the president loves you. I mean, those are words that a Mafia boss would say to someone who was doing their dirty work.
CAMEROTA: I want to turn now to a much more personal matter and you shared on Twitter the fact that you had an abortion. And I want to read to you what you've just -- what you shared this week. You said #YouKnowMe, i had an abortion, it was the best choice for my health and my family. And while it was an immensely hard decision, i don't regret it.
So many women have thanked you for sharing that, so many women have come forward shared their own stories. And I'm wondering why you felt compelled to make such a personal statement public.
SPEIER: Well, Alisyn, I actually spoke on the house floor back in --
CAMEROTA: 2011. Yes, I knew that, but I mean sometimes Twitter seems even more of an announcement somehow.
SPEIER: And, you know, it was a second trimester abortion, the fetus had dropped through the cervix and into the vagina. It was a painful process and it was, you know, incumbent on me to do it at that time, the fetus was not going to survive outside of the womb.
And I was particularly unnerved by my colleagues, Republican men, who had never endured that experience, to talk about it in such a cavalier -- in such a cavalier way to somehow suggest that this is something you do just without any thought. It was painful. It's painful for every woman.
And I think what you're witnessing now across this country is, you know, this is a decision that a woman makes in conjunction with her family and her physician. And the government has no right in my uterus, has no right in my vagina and it's time for us to be very clear and straightforward about that.
CAMEROTA: And why do you think that at this particular cultural moment it does seem as though women are somehow being depicted as monsters? I mean, why do you feel that that narrative has sprouted in -- this past with the Alabama law, with what we're seeing in Georgia, et cetera, et cetera?
SPEIER: So I don't believe that they're being depicted as monsters, I think that women are being depicted as chattel that somehow were the property of someone else. I mean, the truth that matter is you don't get pregnant unless a man puts sperm into your body and yet the whole obligation about having a child resides with the woman.
[08:40:13] And you know, if we are going to start regulating women and their reproductive health. So maybe we should start regulating men and their reproductive health. I mean, this has gotten quite absurd and i think Alabama is just one more example of the many states that have now passed laws to treat women as if they do not have control over their own bodies.
CAMEROTA: Congresswoman Jackie Speier, we really appreciate the candid conversation that you have with us here on "New Day", thank you very much.
SPEIER: Thank you, Alisyn.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, people who work in the lobster industry in Maine fear they will be out of work soon. This is all thanks to the trade war with China. The message they have for President Trump, that's next.
BERMAN: Boeing is now facing a lawsuit that alleges it has repeatedly concealed design flaws in its air crafts and blamed fallen pilots in the aftermath of deadly crashes.
[08:45:03] The suit draws parallels between the two recent 737 max crashes and two crashes involving older 737s back in 1991 and 1994. It was filed by an aviation lawyer Mary Schiavo on behalf of the estate of one of the victims of March's Ethiopian airlines disaster. Schiavo is a CNN aviation analyst.
CAMEROTA: Maine's lobster industry is the latest business to feel the pain of the U.S./China trade war. CNN's Miguel Marquez joins us live from Maine where people are worried about their livelihoods. What's the whirl in the street there Miguel?
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, it's getting more and more serious. What they had hoped was just a short term trade skirmish has now turned into a full on trade war. They've been hit twice now by not only the Canadians signing a deal with the Europeans to bring their tariffs to zero, but now the chinese slapping that 25 percent tariff on lobsters, among other things. For them here there is just no end in sight.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Siblings Chelsea and Cody Nunan, their family plucking lobsters out of the water off the Maine coast for five generations now worried they might be the last.
CODY NUNAN, FIFTH GENERATION FISHERMAN: It's scary, you know, I have an eight-year-old daughter now and it's hard for me to want to bring her into this industry.
MARQUEZ (on camera): Did you ever think that you would be sort of caught up in an international trade war?
CHELSEA NUNAN, FIFTH GENERATION FISHERWOMAN: No, never did. I guess that's up to the president.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): The president's trade wars slamming the Maine lobster industry after China retaliated last July with a 25 percent tariff.
SHAWN MCEWEN, CO-OWNER SEA SALT LOBSTER: Any one of the dealers here in the State of Maine including myself was shipping, you know, tens of thousands of pounds per week to China and that went to almost zero.
MARQUEZ: Whole sellers like Shawn McEwen with Sea Salt Lobster says, these days business treading water.
MCEWEN: I would have at least another five to seven employees running my export which would be a second and third shift.
MARQUEZ: Full-time jobs.
MCEWEN: Yes, full-time jobs.
MARQUEZ: How much an hour?
MCEWEN: Anywhere from $15 to $25 an hour.
MARQUEZ: So those are decent jobs?
MCEWEN: Yes, it's a living wage.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): Maine coast moves seven million pounds of lobster a year. They've aggressively pursued other markets when exports to China collapsed. They'd like to expand more, but --
SHEILA ADAMS, VICE PRESIDENT, MAINE COAST LOBSTER: The uncertainty is what's hard. And I think it's trying on all of our employees. We exited the year performing basically on target, we didn't grow as much as we would like to grow or historically have grown, but we didn't lose.
MARQUEZ: The industry holding on for now has a simple message for the president.
ANNIE TSELKIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, MAINE LOBSTER DEALERS' ASSOCIATION: This is American jobs. It's rural jobs. These are industries that are really, really important for rural America.
MARQUEZ: For lobster men like Cody Nunan who likes the president, the tariff war wearing thin.
NUNAN: He made it sound very good, you know, when he was running.
MARQUEZ (on camera): How much is he hurting had you personally right now or this tariff war hurting you personally?
NUNAN: It's hurting. It's hurting.
MARQUEZ: Now, what is truly frustrating for the lobster industry here is that all of the factors are there for growth. great growth, they say. The financing is there, labor, market demand, all that stuff, but with that ongoing China trade war the biggest factor of all is uncertainty. John, Alisyn?
BERMAN: It's been devastating. We've heard from Senator Angus King from Maine who has talk about what a big problem that is. Miguel Marquez on the coast there, it's beautiful but highly problematic. Thanks Miguel.
CAMEROTA: Thanks Miguel.
CAMEROTA: All right, President Trump's advisers have been warning him against continuing to go after the democratic front runner Joe Biden, but the president appears undeterred. And what is the president's beef with his favorite T.V station?
BERMAN: But first African-American women are facing a health crisis. This week's impact your world features women on a mission to stop a disturbing trend one step at a time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VANESSA GARRISON, CO-FOUNDER, GIRLTREK: I say this out of love. Half of black women are obese. Eighty percent of us are over a healthy body weight.
GirlTrek is a beautiful movement of black women who are reclaiming their health and communities through walking.
T. MORGAN DIXON, CO-FOUNDER, GIRLTREK: We're asking women to get active with us. So if you just walk 30 minutes, just 30 minutes a day, you're risk of diabetes, heart disease, what is it, stroke, dementia.
DIXON: Yes, even is reduced by almost half. This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine.
It's also a sisterhood, right. Women are connecting with their neighbors, their friends, the women at their church, the women on campuses. When you walk you talk, right. And so it becomes a support community.
What I am asking anybody watching this is to remember that you are worth taking time for yourself every day. Take the pledge, lace up your sneakers, go on your first walk.
[08:50:03] After you do that invite a sister in. be a sister's keeper, invite one girlfriend to walk with you. If you need inspiration, we have you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Don't forget, Biden deserted you. He's not from Pennsylvania. I guess he was born here, but he left you, folks. He left you for another state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: President Donald Trump going after democratic front runner Joe Biden in his home state of Pennsylvania, as John points out we think Joe Biden was 12.
BERMAN: Yes, he's -- unless he was going to run away. It's not like he had a choice in the matter. His family moved.
CAMEROTA: He should've run away and stayed in Pennsylvania.
BERMAN: His father moved for a job.
[08:55:06] CAMEROTA: Will these kinds of attacks have any impact or could they actually be elevating Biden in the crowded democratic field. Let's bring CNN political director David Chalian for today's bottom line. David, we are told that the president's advisers say he should stop after Joe Biden but he doesn't seem inclined to do that.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, he clearly isn't heeding that advice at all. And I understand the temptation for the president, right, Alisyn, Joe Biden is this dominant front runner in the democratic primary polls right now and Donald Trump is not somebody that in politics is ever going to want to sort of sit back and wait and see. He is so eager to engage and so he is sort of shunning that advice. I don't think it's a fear of elevating Joe Biden necessarily. I think what his advisers are really concerned about is like that there are 22 other people who are poised to stop beating up Joe Biden and Donald Trump doesn't need to do this right now, he clearly feels otherwise.
BERMAN: Every word that the president said and all the body language and tone indicated to me that he thinks Joe Biden is a risk, specifically in Pennsylvania. It was interesting to hear that play out.
David, I want to talk to you about where you are today which is Des Moines, Iowa, and why you're there which is for the CNN Town Hall tonight with Former Congressman Beto O'Rourke. This is a big moment for the former congressman. He needs this to go well.
CHALIAN: Yes, he does. I mean, anytime one of these candidates steps on to a national stage like a CNN town hall, faces voters' questions one by one on all the issues before that big national audience, that is obviously a very important moment.
I think you are right, John, though, it is even a bit more important right now for Beto O'Rourke because he splashed on to the scene and then has obviously faded since. I think Buttigieg has stolen some of his fire in this race and I think O'Rourke now is on a mission to build something back.
He's had very impressive staff hires, he's building a real operation and there's no doubt that he is anything but done in this race yet, but he has slipped. And so he has to have a moment now, both for, I think, sort of his media narrative to donors, supporters and most importantly to voters that he's got a long-term sustainability plan to stay in this race all the way through.
CAMEROTA: All right, David, I want to ask you about President Trump seeming angry with his favorite TV station. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: What's going on with Fox, by the way? What's going on there? They're putting more Democrats on than you have Republicans. There's something strange is going on at Fox, folks. Something very strange.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, of course President Trump is confused, David, he doesn't understand why Fox would even attempt to be even handed during this presidential race by allowing Democrats to come on and have town halls. And I'm just wondering if this symbiotic relationship between Fox and President Trump frays, who gets hurt more leading up to this election? Does that hurt Fox and their ratings more or does it hurt the president and his approval ratings more?
CHALIAN: It's such a good question, Alisyn, as you said a symbiotic relationship. Certainly both would get hurt to some degree. But I -- what is in -- I just want to step back and make sure we don't pass over what is amazing about the fact that the president of the United States is astounded that a cable news channel would actually be covering the big story in politics, the Democratic nomination race, for 2020.
That that somehow is astounding to him shows you just how much he has grown into sort of his master control role of this echo chamber that has been so crucial to his relationship with his supporters.
BERMAN: David, we have about a minute left. I want to ask you about what's become our lead story of the morning, the reporting from Rachel Bade of the "Washington Post" and CNN has some, too, that there are now senior Democrats pushing Nancy Pelosi that they need to begin the impeachment process in the House. That they've had enough. This feels like a tipping point.
CHALIAN: Yes, John, I think you're right, I think there's a huge conversation going on inside the Democratic Party about this. There's no doubt. And I always think for Democrats it's probably wrong to bet against Nancy Pelosi on getting to where she wants to get.
She's proven to be a pretty strong leader of her caucus, but it just seems that the caucus is in this inexorable movement now towards a potential impeachment inquiry. And my ears really perked up when you interviewed Congresswoman Jackie Speier and she said that certainly she's ready at the place for an impeachment inquiry and that it doesn't necessarily mean getting an actual vote on impeachment on the house floor and launching a senate trial.
That it could just be the laying out the facts that an impeachment inquiry can do for the American people and stop short of the impeachment vote because they know the political reality of that. That to me is an interesting middle ground.
BERMAN: David Chalian, thank you very much.
CAMEROTA: Yes, thank you. So it does sound like the end game for Democrats has changed. So there's this growing list.