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Judge Suggests House Subpoenas Too Broad in Trump Bank Case; Treasury Chief: I'm Not Breaking Law by Holding Trump's Taxes; New York Passes Bill Letting Congress See Trump's State Tax Returns; Dozens Showing Flu Symptoms at Facility Housing Immigrants; American Taliban Could be Release Tomorrow After 17 Years. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 22, 2019 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Just now into CNN, new details on how a federal judge is weighing in on a case involving President Trump's financial records. Congress, as you all know, has subpoenaed bank records from the President and three of his oldest children from two institutions, Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Trump attorneys are trying to keep the records under wraps and they're getting some traction with the judge here. CNN's Cristina Alesci is with me now. We know that the hearing is still ongoing but what is this judge said so far.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's really interesting. So Trump's attorneys are arguing, look, these subpoenas from Congress way too broad. They want information on the children, on the grandchildren in some cases and it's just way too much personal information. And the judge in this case now seems like he's sympathetic to that argument. We don't know how he's going to rule, but at least the language that he's using seems to resonate -- the language that Trump's attorneys are using seems to resonate with him.

He said if it was -- this is the judge, if was an ordinary case I would send you guys into a room until you came out with a reasonable subpoena. That means that he thinks the Congressional subpoena is overly broad.

Now just to put some context on this. There is another case for Trump's financial information. That one is out of the D.C. court. And that is a subpoena from his -- to his accounting firm. In that case the judge absolutely ruled that the information should be turned over and Trump's lawyers had to appeal it.

[15:35:04] This particular case, the Trump lawyers brought in New York. So the fact that the D.C. court and the New York court seems to be divided on this issue -- we don't know yet. But the language that we're reading into it looks like the two courts have somewhat different opinions on this. It's going to be interesting.

BALDWIN: So spring boarding off of your reporting, let me bring in Carrie Cordero our CNN legal analyst. And so, Carrie, if we're hearing that this judge is saying too broad, could they not narrow the request, not ask for the broader personal information of -- and then ultimately be successful in seeking those financial records.

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: So two quick reactions. So first, because the hearing is ongoing, we don't know exactly how the judge will rule and sometimes they use the questioning period with the lawyers to explore what their thinking but the ruling may or may not match the words that are coming out of the judge's mouth. So we'll sort of stay tuned to see if these questions really are indicative of what -- how he's going to rule.

But the bigger picture is, in all of the cases where the executive is fighting with the legislative branch over providing information, typically courts want the parties to resolve that. And so they want to see that both sides, the executive branch and the legislative branch have tried to work through the issue and that seems to be consistent with what this judge is saying in the hearing.

BALDWIN: Got it. All right. So stay with me. Because we have been talking about the President's tax returns and we know all of that. But let me move on to this. New York lawmakers just passed a Bill that would allow Congress to see President Trump's state tax returns as we have been discussing. And the governor is expected to sign that.

It would require the state tax commissioner to turn them over upon request by any of these congressional groups, the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or Joint Committee on Taxation. Also -- this is what I wanted to get to. Also for the first time today Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, went before lawmakers after his refusal to hand over the President's federal tax returns.

He defended his decision saying that he made it without any White House input. And he said he did not know about that IRS draft memo until "The Washington Post" asked him about it two days ago. This memo is so significant. It contradicted Steve Mnuchin saying that Trump's tax returns must be given to Congress unless the President invoked executive privilege.


STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: The memo is marked draft. It was not a final memo. But I don't know how it got to "The Washington Post." It would have been more interesting if it had got to me or the commissioner to review.

This issue is different than the legal analysis that we've done. Now of course we will look at it and take it into account and make sure. But let me assure you, there's no smoking gun here. We did a very thorough legal analysis with the Department of Justice that, again, if this goes to the courts, the courts will decide and determine.


BALDWIN: So Carrie, I wanted to ask you about Steve Mnuchin because it's one for him to say that he didn't see the memo but isn't it quite another for him to disregarded the law. CORDERO: Well I do think it's important to keep in context this draft

memo. The memo was not signed. It's not clear who it was written by. It didn't go up to, I think, him or the IRS commissioner or the chief counsel.

And so if this was just a memo that somebody on the staff drafted, then that's really just the agency's work product and it doesn't necessarily mean that it is definitive or that it is authoritative.

And so as an agency head, he has to rely on the advice of his chief counsel, which is informed by the staff, but then also the Department of Justice. And at this point, because the Attorney General has determined what the executive branch's position on the law is, that's really what the secretary needs to follow and so it is very clear that they are going -- that is the position they're taking and they're going to litigate this.

BALDWIN: On the point about the state tax returns, if folks are able to get their hands on them, what would they see?

CORDERO: On which state?

BALDWIN: On New York.

CORDERO: On the New York law. So I haven't looked at the text of what that law says. So I'll have to go back and see what exactly the proposal is for that.

BALDWIN: On the New York state law, the point about if they were to allow the state tax returns, right -- we know the House Ways and Means we know that they've been trying to get their hands on the federal tax returns. But I'm just wondering -- so we don't know what could be included on the state tax returns?

CORDERO: This reminds me a little bit of the same type of the activity that the New York State Attorney General is trying to do.

[15:40:00] And so, what they're trying to do is that they're finding that the President, the executive branch is fighting against Congress and so they're trying to go at the same type of information at a different level.

BALDWIN: Exactly.

CORDERO: And so, I do think that is definitely state legislators and state law enforcement officials trying to find ways to get around the President's federal putting up roadblocks to Congress and seeing if they could get it through another mechanism. Again I think this is an issue that if this law is actually signed into law in New York, and they actually try to use it to obtain records from the President, he's going to litigate it just the same way that he's litigating everything with Congress and it is going to take a long time to work through.

BALDWIN: There you go. Carrie Cordero, thank you so much.

CORDERO: OK, thanks. BALDWIN: Coming up next, a Texas migrant facility forced to stop

taking people in after an outbreak of the flu. Here with the homeland security chief had to say about it when he was question on Capitol Hill today.

Also he was known as the American Taliban and became the face of the enemy early on in the war in Afghanistan. But soon John Walker Lindh will walk free and there are reports he's still wants a global jihad.


BALDWIN: Lawmakers up on Capitol Hill today are grilling acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on all thing's immigration and border. A most dramatic moment coming when Democratic Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of Illinois suggested that the migrant child deaths in border detention centers might be intentional. Republican lawmakers pushed back hard on that remark later getting it removed from the record after a vote.


REP. LAUREN UNDERWOOD (D-IL): With five kids that have died, 5,000 separated from their families, I feel like -- and the evidence is really clear that this is intentional. It's intentional. It's a policy choice being made on purpose by this administration and it is cruel and inhumane. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I move back.

KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING DHS SECRETARY: That's an appalling accusations and our men and women fight hard to protect people in our custody every single day. We've asked for this resources three weeks ago and it hasn't been responded to by Congress. And we've asked for changes in authorities for the last three years that would have prevented this from happening.

REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Are you hear today to defend the $5 billion request for the wall?

MCALEENAN: I'm defending the entire budget request and that is a request that comes from our frontline agents. It's not something we need everywhere on the border but we need hundreds of miles to control critical areas where there is infrastructure on both sides and high traffic. That's the amount we that could effectively apply in a given year with contract --

JACKSON: This is the President's request?

MCALEENAN: Yes. We actually need about $18 billion.


BALDWIN: McAleenan there on The Hill urging lawmakers to pass his supplemental Homeland Security Department budget.

And I want to show you this to you. The brand-new photos showing the quarantine, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Detention Facility, this is McAllen, Texas. That is grappling with a big flu outbreak. A source telling CNN the McAllen facility is well overcapacity. And CNN en Espanol correspondent, Maria Santana, is with me on this. I know you've been covering border issues extensively. But to find out about this huge flu outbreak and it is already -- there is already too many people in the facility to begin with and now this. What are they doing about it?

MARIA SANTANA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What officials at this McAllen, Texas processing center have told us is that they have temporarily stopped taking migrants to this center while they get a handle on the situation. So migrants -- detained migrants are being taken to other locations. Earlier today the medical staff there say that they identified about two dozen people with high fevers, they were showing a flu-like symptoms so that's why they decided to quarantine the place. They're getting everybody tested for the flu and confirmed cases are being treated. But, Brooke, this comes a day after a 16- year-old Guatemalan boy that was being held there died --

BALDWIN: At that same facility.

SANTANA: At that same facility died after being diagnosed with the flu. It's Carlos Gregorio Hernandez. He was held there for six days which is twice what the law generally allows for people to be detained at a processing center. On Sunday he told the staff there that he was not feeling well. He was seen by a nurse practitioner. She prescribed over-the-counter flu medicine and then he was transferred to a nearby border patrol station where the next day he was found unresponsive.

But it is exactly what you say. The centers are overwhelmed. Border officials are telling us that they can't handle the record number of migrants that are showing up at the border. They are mostly families, border official with knowledge of the situation in the McAllen, Texas, facility said they could handle 1,500 people. Their current population is about 2000. This is a widespread problem. We're seeing the effects and now we see these photos. We see the conditions that children are living in now. Advocates, you know, they've been urging this administration to take steps to safeguard the lives of kids.

BALDWIN: You mentioned the 16-year-old who died, the fifth, right, since was it December? Are they giving any more information on how this is happening, in anything?

[15:50:00] SANTANA: Very limited information. We know that last week a 2-year-old boy died from pneumonia complications at a hospital in Texas. He was in custody. Last month, another 16-year-old buy boy died at another hospital from unknown causes. And then of course in December we had a 7-year-old and an 8-year-old who died within weeks of each other. And that spurred Congressional hearings about how we can change procedures. But very little has been done since then. These are, like I said, record number of people, mostly families that are showing up at the border. Now we know that lawmakers have been trying to push for solutions, but nothing is going to happen until the standstill between the President and the Democrats in Congress continues.

BALDWIN: You saw what happened in the Rose Garden today. Maria Santana, thank you very, very much.

SANTANA: Thank you.

Coming up next, surreal moments, speaking of, at the White House today as the President walked out of a meeting with Democratic leaders, declaring he won't work with them until they stop investigating him. We'll be right back.


BALDWIN: The image of his face stunning the nation in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. An American citizen named John Walker Lynd captured after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in the fall of 2001. And now the man known as the American Taliban is set to be released from federal prison tomorrow. Lindh had served 17 years of a 20-year sentence for providing support to the Taliban.

His expected release is drawing outrage from the father of former CIA officer Johnny Span who was killed in an uprising of Taliban prisoners in the facility where Lindh was being held. At his sentencing, Lindh condemned terrorism, saying that he made a mistake by joining the Taliban and condemned Osama bin Laden's September 11th terror attacks.

But according to a national counterterrorism document, reported by "Foreign Policy" magazine in 2017, Lindh had shown recent signs of radicalism. The report says that he has continued to advocate for global jihad and to write and translate violent extremist texts. Jack Murphy is the author of "Murphy's Law, My Journey from Army Ranger and Green Beret to Investigative Journalist." So Jack, thank you so much for being back and congratulations on the book.


BALDWIN: As a veteran of the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan, to know this man is getting freed tomorrow, what do you think of that?

MURPHY: Well, on one hand, I feel like he was sentenced, he was convicted in a court of law, and perhaps served his debt to society. But on the other hand, if he's continued to make extremist statements. He's allegedly been sympathetic towards ISIS, it's very problematic. And I don't know that we have a way to deal with something like this, someone who's radicalized. They've had due process, and now it's time for them to leave prison. So what do we do? Do the put them under surveillance for the rest of their life? And I could not blame Mr. Span for being upset that this gentleman is being released from prison even though he still has extremist tendencies.

BALDWIN: You were telling -- one of the notes to one of our producers is that you're paralleling this to a number of the prisoners down at Guantanamo Bay. How do you mean?

MURPHY: Well, either way. I mean, we just have just not figured out a way to process these detainees who we captured overseas and have brought them back. In the case of Guantanamo, if these guys are not radicalized when we put them in prison, they are radicalized by the time they come out. So you get into this sort of chicken or the egg scenario, that if they weren't anti-American when we caught them, they're certainly anti-American after being locked up in Guantanamo without a trial. And Mike Span -- I'm sorry, excuse me -- John Walker Lindh is another example of in this case an American who was radicalized and we don't necessarily know how to deal with that.

BALDWIN: We know that he will be leaving tomorrow. He'll be under parole restrictions. He is banned from using the internet, cannot travel internationally. Is that enough?

MURPHY: It seems what we can do, what's possible, what's plausible under the current legal system. And then you get into questions, how comfortable are we with mass surveillance of American citizens? And it all plays into that. But I think the monitoring of him and preventing him from using electronic devices seems appropriate given some of these alleged statements he's made, that he still has these radical sentiments.

BALDWIN: Can you really stop someone from using the internet?

MURPHY: It doesn't seem so. I mean, again, it's a question, do you just have the FBI park a surveillance van outside his residence forever?


MURPHY: Is that how we handle this?

BALDWIN: Yes. There are two Senators, one from Alabama, one from New Hampshire, who wrote this letter questioning the wisdom of releasing him, asking, quote, what training is provided -- this is partially to your point -- what training is provided to patrol officers or supporting non-governmental partners to recognize the signs of violent radicalization and recidivism. Is there a need for some sort of program, a rehabilitation program for jihadists, once they're out?

MURPHY: I think these programs have been tried in Scandinavia and in the U.K. And honestly, I couldn't speak to that. I think they would have to look at them and see how effective they've been. There's a certain type of person who maybe, they went and did something stupid when they were a teenager, as has happened with ISIS, but John Walker Lindh appears to be quite a zealot. I'm not sure if you can rehabilitate that.

BALDWIN: OK. Let's flash your book up one more time on screen, just to let everyone know, you have had this extraordinary -- thank you so much, of course, for your years to this country. "Murphy's Law," Jack Murphy, thank you so much.

MURPHY: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you. And thank you very much for being with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Let's send it to Washington now. "THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER" starts right now.