Return to Transcripts main page


Families See What's Left in Wake of Deadly Tornadoes in Missouri; Warren, Sanders Vie for Support of Ocasio-Cortez in 2020 Race; New Monmouth University Poll Shows Biden Leading; Lone GOP Lawmaker Who Says Trump's Actions "Impeachable" Tweeting Out "Corrupt" Examples; Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) Discusses Agreement with Justin Amash, Disagreement with Speaker Pelosi on Impeachment; Putting Harriet Tubman on $20 Bill Won't Happen During Trump Administration. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 23, 2019 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And despite the cleanup efforts, you can see the downed powerlines that are also around this area. You're talking about 10,000 people without power.

Look, the real concern here was four people -- in fact, they thought people were trapped at one point. The good news is, as you down and see all the damage here, no one was seriously injured here. We did have 20 people going to the hospital.

People talk about the sound and the shape and the ferocity of the storm as it moved through here. Listen to this woman talk about how scared she was overnight.


MARY RODGERS, MISSOURI RESIDENT: It was terrible. It's destroyed. It's not home anymore. It's not. I don't know. I really don't know how to describe it. It's just depressing. It's severely depression.


YOUNG: You can understand her pain.

We talked to another woman who was holding her child while this storm was going on.

You look from above and you can see this drone video, you can see damage. In fact, when you're on the ground, you don't get an idea of how immense and spread out this damage is. Looks like the storm did several hops throughout this area.

Once again, 10,000 people without power and 20 people went to the hospital. No fatalities. Pretty amazing.

There's disaster teams are on the ground right now that are actually going door-to-door to make sure no one is trapped in any of those collapsed structures -- Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: No fatalities is amazing. That's an important point to make. And everybody there and here around the country are thankful for that.

Thank you so much, Ryan.

And on to politics. Two of the biggest names in the 2020 race seem to be vying for freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's support.

First, Elizabeth Warren filmed not one but two videos with the freshman. The latest calls out Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin.


REP. ALEXANDRA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): We've sent Steven Mnuchin a letter asking him what he did, as a member of the Sears board, when Eddie Lampert proposed gutting the business, closing it, and buying back stock rather than investing in workers.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I think the American people deserve answers, and we're out there to fight for them.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: That's right.


BASH: Now this comes after earlier in the week, one not about politics but pop culture, the show "Game of Thrones."


OCASIO-CORTEZ: I feel like we were getting so close to having this ending with just women running the world.


WARREN: Exactly. And then goes crazy.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: Oh, it's too emotional.

WARREN: Yes, exactly.



BASH: A lot of bang for their buck in that video.

You're looking at now Bernie Sanders, who was the first one on the 2020 campaign trail to get Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with him on this video. They were talking about credit card interest rates.

I want to bring in my friend, CNN's political director, David Chalian.

OK. So it's like -- there's nothing transparent about this. It is about as overt as it gets for these candidates, who are like-minded with this Congresswoman. Clearly desperate for her endorsement. I mean, that's pretty stunning to think about the fact she's not even 30, a freshman member of Congress.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: But she's got a ton of star power inside that progressive wing.


CHALIAN: And they want some of that shine. They have some star power their own, obviously, Sanders and Warren.

It's worth noting, and you put out the Sanders video on predatory lending, they also showed up together, Bernie Sanders did, with AOC at a Green New Deal event, an issue that she's drawn contrast with Joe Biden on, right.

The two people that AOC has mentioned when she's asked about 2020 and if she will endorse are Sanders and Warren. It makes perfect sense ideologically. Remember, she worked for Bernie Sanders' 2016 campaign. But she says she's going to hold off on an endorsement for a while.

But I don't think you'll stop seeing these 2020 candidates looking for opportunities to seidel up when it makes sense for them to track some of the progressive energy.

BASH: You can't blame them.


BASH: Let's look at some new poll numbers released from Monmouth University. If you look on the screen, Vice President Joe Biden still the clear frontrunner and Bernie Sanders is at 15 percent, down from 20 percent, and we have two other candidates you see there in double digits, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren.

What do you make of those numbers? What do they tell you if you look inside?

CHALIAN: Well, they are consistent with what we're seeing, which is that Joe Biden is doubling his nearest competitor, if not more so, in this poll.

So what I think you see happening here is this is not any longer about Bernie Sanders versus Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren versus -- Joe Biden is up here as a formidable frontrunner. And when you see in that other grouping of four or five candidates is now a battle to become the alternative to Joe Biden.

So there will be two different nomination contests happening. The battle to become the Biden alternative and then, ultimately, it seems the battle with Biden himself.

BASH: You can see that, ideologically, Warren could be the person to battle Bernie Sanders to be the alternative, but the fact that Kamala Harris is right there with her is interesting.

[13:35:00] CHALIAN: Yes, and you're right, ideologically, when you look at that. But, of course, there are other components as well, diversity components and what have you.

But I will note this. This is troubling news for Bernie Sanders. You mentioned he's down from 20. I think the month before that he was at 25, so Bernie Sanders is seeing a pretty significant decline in support, and he's now grouped in with these others.

There's a fight between Warren and Sanders for that progressive wing now. He hasn't been able to be as dominant a force as Joe Biden was out of the gate.

BASH: And he, you know, he may be the godfather of these ideas, of being the candidate for the progressive, but as he now knows in a very stark way, he's not the only one.

CHALIAN: That's right. There's going to be a fight for that.

BASH: David, thank you so much.

CHALIAN: Thank you.

BASH: Good to see you.

CHALIAN: You, too.

BASH: Just in, the only Republican who says the president's actions are impeachable is right, now as we speak, going on a tweet storm, listing out what he says the president did wrong.

Plus, I'll speak live with one Democratic Congresswoman who agrees with Justin Amash and disagrees with her own speaker on the fact that it's not quite time to start impeachment yet.


[13:40:44] BASH: The one outspoken Republican critic of President Trump is furiously calling out Mr. Trump. In a series of about 20 tweets, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash is detailing what he characterizes as the president's wrongdoings.

One, read, quote, "Some of the president's actions were inherently corrupt. Other actions were corrupt and, therefore, impeachable because the president took them to serve of his own interests."

Now last week, Amash became the first and only Republican to call for the president's impeachment.

I want to bring in a Democrat who agrees with that lone Republican on this issue, Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, of Washington State.

Thank you so much.

Now, you want impeachment proceedings to begin. I want you to listen to what the House speaker said this morning about her opposition to doing that now.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Ignoring subpoenas, obstruction of justice, yes, these could be impeachable offenses. And I do think that impeachment is a very divisive place to go in our country, and what we can do is get the facts to the American people through our investigation and it might take us to a place that's unavoidable impeachment or not, but we are not that the place.


BASH: Congresswoman, what's your reaction to that?

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Actually, I'm not in favor of impeachment. I said I'm in favor of an inquiry. Starting an impeachment inquiry --

BASH: Yes.

JAYAPAL: -- so we can get the facts. I wanted to distinguish between those two things.


BASH: I thank you for doing that.

JAYAPAL: You know, sometime listeners think it's going to be an impeachment.

What an impeachment inquiry does is it allows us more -- it gives us more jurisdiction to get the kinds of information that we have been trying to get that the president has been stonewalling every step of the way. So it gives us more standing to do that, if you will.

You'll notice that over half of Judiciary Committee members are in the same place and have called for an impeachment inquiry to begin because it is about -- we're in full agreement with the speaker that nobody wants to move to impeachment, and we are trying very hard to get information that the courts are now weighing in and saying that the president should give us.

But he has obstructed justice, not just what's in the Mueller report. He's obstructing justice as we go. And so an impeachment inquiry would allow us to get those facts, follow the facts, and determine is this something that we want to proceed with impeachment on or not?

BASH: I understand that, and I mentioned impeachment inquiry, and I get where you're coming from. But just on the raw politics of this, the speaker said that the White House is crying out for impeachment.

When you hear impeachment inquiry, politically speaking, it can be played the same way, because she obviously believes and most Democrats I talked to on the politics of this agree with this, that it helps the president for 2020 and hurts Democrats politically. What's your response to that?

JAYAPAL: I think -- I don't know whether that's true, first of all. And we can talk about that in a second. But I do think that there's a bigger question of what we were sworn to do, what is our constitutional duty, and how do we ensure that we don't do anything that undermines the checks and balances that make us a democracy and not a dictatorship and that we hold this president accountable.

And I think all of us, as Democrats, are united on two things, Dana. Number one, that we are delivering for the people every single day. Our for-the-people agenda is very strong, and we're delivering. Number two, all of us believe that this president has to be held accountable.

And there's some differences after that on what is the right strategy. For me, the political argument is complicated because I think that -- you know, when you look at the Watergate hearings, for example, only 19 percent of the public agreed that Nixon should be impeached when the Watergate hearings started. By the end, it was so certain that Nixon himself resigned before getting to impeachment.

And I think part of what we have to do is educate the American public about what the president has done while in the White House, during the campaign and ongoing, and really lay out the cases. Because I've read the Mueller report three times now, and it's hard not to see, you know, everything that is in there. I think that's what Amash was speaking to as well.

[13:45:15] BASH: You said that you believe that you could have some legal benefits from starting impeachment inquiry. But then you also said that the two federal judges have sided with the Democrats, maybe not you all, but broadly the Democrats. So, you know, you can make the argument that you're already winning so far in the courts, so why take this extra step?

JAYAPAL: Yes. Yes, which is very, very important. I mean, it's not siding with the Democrats. It's siding with the people and the Constitution.


BASH: So why take the step if you're already getting where you need to go in the federal courts?

JAYAPAL: Well, I think that the question is, you know, do you just follow one strategy or do you have multiple strategies to hold the administration accountable. And I think we need to make sure that we have multiple strategies.

This president, unlike when this happened with George Bush -- you know, you remember in 2007, George Bush said Harriet Miers wasn't going to come testify, took it to court, and he was told, no, she has to testify. He did not appeal it to the Supreme Court or to the next court up. We are in a situation where this president is already appealing these court decisions.

So in the meantime, what happens if we have one strategy that takes a very long time? Meanwhile, he strips healthcare away from people with no accountability. He goes to war with Iran with no authorization of use of military force. He refuses to share information with Congress. These are substantial problems. This is not a political -- of course, it becomes a political problem in the end. But this is about our Constitution.

And I really believe and many of us believe that we need to have multiple strategies.

We understand and we are -- look, Speaker Pelosi is brilliant. She's a fantastic speaker. And if anybody doubt that had she's boss in the relationship between Pelosi and Trump, they just need to watch those meetings at the Oval Office. But we don't have any disagreement with her position because she is leading the caucus.

But I do think that, as we continue to move forward, people are feeling very uncomfortable with allowing the president to continue to get away with this. And so we're exploring lots of different strategies to take that on.

BASH: Thank you so much. I appreciate that. Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you.

We're definitely going to stay with you on this because, as you said, there's no division on the strategy, but my guess is this is a day-to- day situation.

JAYAPAL: It's constantly changing for sure.

BASH: Yes. Thank you so much.

JAYAPAL: Thank you, Dana.

BASH: Thank you.

Remember that plan to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill? The Trump administration has put that on the back burner until after he leaves office. What is exactly behind the delay?


[13:52:53] BASH: The year 2020 will be the 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution. That law granted women the right to vote. Now to mark the occasion, a new $20 bill with the face of a woman was set to be unveiled. That woman there is Harriet Tubman, a former slave, the best-known conductor of the Underground Railroad.

But Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin revealed that would be delayed during his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee. It was a tense exchange with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.


REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): Do you support Harriet Tubman being on the $20?

STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I've made no decision at it relates to that.

Right now, my decision is focused on security features.

PRESSLEY: What about imagery? What about the representation?

MNUCHIN: Again, it is not a decision that is likely to come until way past my term even if I serve the second term for the president so I am not focused on that.


BASH: Let's bring in Sarah Miller, the director of numismatics at Heritage Auctions.

First of all, you just gave me a new Scrabble board. Thank you so much for that.


BASH: It is a good one.

What is your reaction when you heard about the delay?

MILLER: Well, unfortunately, as much as my personal belief might lead me to be really excited about the idea of a woman and an important woman like Harriet Tubman, I'm not surprised by the delay.

To be honest, any changes with paper money are very slow. For example, in 1913, they started talking about the idea of reducing the size of paper money, which at that time was much bigger than it is today. Large size notes and also changing the designs. And that took from 1913 until 1929.

BASH: But that was 100 years ago.


MILLER: And things are just as slow.

BASH: But really, like even in today's day and age, it should take 12 years to get a new currency --

MILLER: It is crazy.

BASH: -- a bill up and running? You think that the delay is legit?

MILLER: I don't like that is background reasons for it. And, of course, that is a personal concern. I could also understand it is a slow process.

And the other problem he brings up is the security, which he is right about. We're very behind the times on security for our paper money.

[13:55:09] BASH: OK. So based on that, you hear the Treasury secretary, he's talking about the fact that, being a piece of money, the $20 bill in this case, is being resigned but it's being addressed for counterfeiting issues. That is one of the problems.

MILLER: Correct.

BASH: Are there other problems in this?

MILLER: Yes. Well the main issues are twofold. First, the social issue of changing who is on it, which I agree is of extreme importance and should be looked at in a timely fashion. The second is --


BASH: I'm sorry to interrupt you, but that is not just putting Harriet Tubman on it but to take President Jackson off of it. Go ahead.

MILLER: Of course. Of course. There are plenty of reasons why we could say that is a great idea.

The security of anti-counterfeiting are the same idea. Basically, U.S. paper money is really behind the times compared to many of our global neighbors.

For example, if you were to compare our paper money with that of Canada on a visit you might make to our neighbors in Canada, you tend to find that they're dealing with plastic. We're dealing with paper. They have plastic currency. They also have these beautiful holograms that run throughout the notes with a clear security panel.

So we really are behind the times. He may not be right on everything but he is right that needs work.

BASH: Well, we certainly learned a lot in this brief segment.

Sarah Miller, thank you so much. Appreciate you joining me.

MILLER: Thank you.

BASH: And breaking today, a disturbing warning from the FBI. Why there has been a rise in white supremacist domestic terror in recent months. That is ahead. Stay with us.