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WH Denies Trump Siding With Kim Jong-un Over Biden; Sen. Graham on N. Korea: Make Threat of Military Force Real; Two Dead and 29 Injured After Tornado Rips Through Oklahoma; French Far Right Tops Election, President Macron Suffers Setback; Rolling Thunder Taking Final Memorial Day Ride. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 26, 2019 - 17:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[17:00:00] ANA CABRERA, ANCHOR CNN: In Tokyo, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continued to lavish attention on the President by hosting this first Sumo wrestling match under the country's emperor, following a round of golf. Trump even got to present this trophy, the President's Cup to the Sumo tournament's champion.

But in the meantime, he's been tweeting a whole lot, things like this. Great fun and meeting with Prime Minister @AbeShinzo. Numerous Japanese officials told me that the Democrats would rather see the United States fail than see me or the Republican Party succeed. Death Wish!

On NBC's Meet The Press this morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tried to downplay the President's tweet last night about North Korean missiles. Some saw that post as an insult to his host Shinzo Abe with extra jabs thrown in at Joe Biden.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, HOST NBC'S MEET THE PRESS: Can you explain why Americans should not be concerned that the President of the United States is essentially siding with a murderous authoritarian dictator over a former Vice President of the United States?

SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Chuck, the President is not siding with that, but I think they agree in their assessment of former Vice President Joe Biden. Again, the President's focus in this process is the relationship he has in making sure we continue on the path toward denuclearization. That's what he wants to see, and that's certainly what the people in this region want to see, and are hopeful that the President is right, and that that relationship will be what helps move us further down that path.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: CNN's Pamela Brown is traveling with the President in Tokyo. Pamela, an American President seeming to encourage world leaders to pick political sides. What kind of message does this send to the region?

PAMELA BROWN, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, it's how you - here in Tokyo, the biggest concern in the last 24 hours is the President's tweets specifically on those short range missiles that North Korea tested recently with the President downplaying that. That's been really the focus here in Tokyo. And in fact, the front of the Japan Times newspaper today talks about how Tokyo views that as unnerving, the fact that the President is more focused just on those intercontinental missiles that could impact the U.S. and not the short range missiles that could impact Japan.

But outwardly what's interesting here, Ana, is that the President and Prime Minister Abe have been very chummy, very friendly outwardly. In fact, they've been taking selfies together on the golf course, and so that is the image they're projecting outwardly.

But it's clear that that's been very unnerving for the people here in Tokyo. But this is a trip about diplomacy. President Trump hasn't made mention that he has spoken with Prime Minister Abe about North Korea. He did say they spoke about trade, will wait until after the parliament elections here in Japan to work on any bilateral deal on that front.

And the President has a very busy day ahead of him here in Tokyo. He's going to be the first foreign leader to meet with the newly crowned Emperor at the Imperial Palace. Then he'll have bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Abe, and then we do expect a joint press conference. And then tonight, there will be the banquet.

Now, we should point out that, even though much of this trip here in Tokyo has been very focused on President Trump, of course he went to the Sumo wrestling match last night where he presented the President's Cup, analysts say that Prime Minister Abe would have extended the same honor to anyone who was U.S. President to be the first to meet with the Emperor, just given how important the U.S. Japan alliance is. Ana.

CABRERA: So he just laid out what he plans to do throughout the rest of the day there. Of course on Memorial Day, the President is planning to visit a U.S. naval base. What kind of message is he expected to send when he does that and to whom?

BROWN: Well, he wants to send several messages. First of all of course paying respects to U.S. service members who are at that naval base. He'll be visiting a U.S. ship. And also it's a symbol of the important alliance between Japan and the U.S. Of course Japan plays a big role in armed sales. In fact, most of Japan's military equipment is bought from the United States.

And just recently, President Trump hinted to this idea that we could be learning more about armed sales. But certainly because the President will be spending Memorial Day in Japan, he wanted to visit this naval base in order to pay respects. Ana.

CABRERA: Pamela Brown in Tokyo, thank you. Beyond all the pomp and ceremony, President Trump has some serious policy goals he is trying to push on this trip, especially when it comes to trade. Is there still a deal to be had with Japan?

Joining us now to discuss the President's approach to diplomacy, A.B. Stoddard, Associate Editor and Columnist for RealClearPolitics, and CNN Political Commentator Joe Lockhart, the former Press Secretary for the Clinton White House.

Joe, you heard Sarah Sander's remarks today. I get that a Press Secretary's job is to defend the boss, but how can she say his North Korea policy is a success if Kim Jong-un is still launching missiles? Aren't we pretty much back to where we started with North Korea? And how do you think Japan is feeling about now?

JOE LOCKHART, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY FOR CLINTON WHITE HOUSE AND CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I don't think we're where we started. I think we are several steps back. Because remember, North Korea's goal in this process was to elevate Kim to the world status that Donald Trump has given him.

[17:05:00] There is a reason that the previous Presidents did not meet with him. They all took the approach of, you have to give me something first, and then I'll give you the world international stage. Trump took the approach of just trust me, my gut tells me this will work. So we are several steps back.

Now on his diplomacy, his diplomacy is doing everything but practicing diplomacy. As Pamela did in her report, he flew into Japan and has made everyone nervous there by saying that we don't really care very much if a missile can hit Japan. We only care if it can hit the United States. That's not diplomacy.

Bringing the Japanese and the North Koreans into our Presidential politics is not only silly and is just wrong, it's the opposite of diplomacy. It's bumbling at best.

CABRERA: Let's listen to what Senator Lindsey Graham had to say this morning about the President's tweet on North Korea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I don't think it's remotely possible that Chairman Kim will give up his nuclear weapons until he feels the threat to do so. I'm glad the President is engaging him. All those before President Trump failed on their watch and President Trump has finally got Kim Jong-un's attention.

But I'm not naive about this. I think they're trying to run out the clock on President Trump. The only way Kim will give up his nuclear weapons, if he believes he's better off without them and you got to make the threat of military force real if he continues to develop missiles and bombs directed at America. What we do in Venezuela and what we do in Iran will make a difference as to how Kim reacts to us in North Korea.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Of course, Graham is on the Senator Foreign Relations Committee. He's a big Trump supporter. He is calling for a tougher approach, no surprise there, that's certainly what he is known for. But for others, including Trump's own National Security Adviser John Bolton, A.B., it doesn't matter to him that his own party and his allies are calling for something he's not? A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND COLUMNIST, REALCLEARPOLITICS: That's a very good question. I think it is not because, in his tweet, he didn't even say of course we're all disturbed about the testing of missiles, but I still maintain that the relationship is worth carrying on and I have faith that we can come to some resolution.

No, he said, people in my administration are disturbed, but I'm not and I trust Chairman Kim because we're buds and we have love letters that go back and forth. And basically so he throws -- he's throwing Lindsey Graham's company, Bolton, Pompeo, people who are at the highest levels in his government who share this opinion that Chairman Kim is not to be trusted. He's throwing them under the bus.

So he really does believes that he has a better sense, it comes from his gut. He doesn't trust a lot of the experts around him. In this tweet, he was not afraid to say it out loud. And what was interesting was that Senator Graham was actually hinting at the fact that the President has built himself a reputation with allies and enemies, as someone who does a lot of flattering or a lot bulling, but not a lot of follow-through or strategy.

And that's why that was - there was a warning in all the compliments he was trying to give the President about Venezuela and Iran, that if we don't have follow-through around the globe, people like Chairman Kim will watch and learn from that, and take the wrong lesson.

CABRERA: Joe, A.B. points out that Trump keeps insisting. He trusts Kim Jong-un not to go back to full blown missile testing. But as we've been discussing since the last summit ended in a walkout, there really has been no tangible progress. But something else Graham said that caught my ear was that Trump is maybe giving Kim an opening here to come back to the negotiating table. Does that help make sense of the tweet?

LOCKHART: I don't think it does. I don't think his tweets are - most of them are very thoughtful, they're just a reaction to what he's thinking in that moment. And I would say that Donald Trump is the only person in the United States government, Democrat or Republican or in the intelligence community that trusts Kim.

And I thought Senator Graham's comments were interesting, but he's very naive or is being disingenuous when he says no one else has gotten the North Korean leader's attention. Well, previous Presidents have got the North Korean's attention, and they were worried about what the U.S. would do, the sanctions that they would impose and the impact they would have.

I think Kim is laughing his way through the day because he's been able to take Trump and flatter him in a way that Trump is now acting in the interest of North Korea and not in the interest of the United States. And the problem is, he just doesn't know the difference and he won't listen to anyone who might educate him.

CABRERA: Last night, Democratic Presidential Candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar emphasized the importance of knowing your enemies, let's listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[17:10:00] SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The path that we are on did not just start today. It didn't just start with the 2020 debates, no no. The arch that we are on is arch of justice started that day after that dark inauguration.

The day when I sat on that stage between Bernie and John McCain, and John McCain kept reciting to me names of dictators during that speech, because he knew more than any of us what we were facing as a nation. He understood it. He knew because he knew this man more than any of us did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: A.B., is President Trump doing the work he needs to do to discern the difference between our friends and our enemies?

TODDARD: Well, we've known that all along he has not been afraid to alienate our allies, to beat up on them, embarrass them, walk out on them, call them names, and he has not held those alliances in the high regard that all our previous Presidents have.

He doesn't see the value in them, he doesn't understand that weakening those alliances actually in the end ultimately threatens our own security.

And then, when it comes to these dictators who he warms to and flatters and compliments, he feels once he has good chemistry with them that that in and of itself is value. And Joe is right that Chairman Kim has been elevated out of his pariah status. He was now warmer, stronger relationships with Russia and China.

He's in an elevated place of credibility and legitimacy with people that can help him by softening trade restrictions type of things that he used to suffer more greatly when he was literally hermited.

And so now, he's sort of playing Donald Trump with this "let's get another summit" game that he plays, where if he can insult Vice President Biden, then that makes Trump happy, and that's a hook into continuing his game where Trump is the only who trust him.

It's very dangerous. I think you hear Senator Johnny Isakson (ph) State of the Union this morning, and then of course Senator Graham trying gently to warn the President that this is not something that Chairman Kim is not to be trusted, as Joe said.

But I don't think that he listens. I think that he has his gut and he believes that people who are four star generals and people who have long served on these committees receiving classified intelligence, and then of course experienced statesmen and heroes like John McCain, that their opinion is not valuable.

And he likes a good strong man, he's pretty open about that. So where this goes, we don't know, because we're hearing that he's not quite listening to his top experts on Iran or on North Korea. CABRERA: Joe, McCain reportedly listing all these names of different dictators during Trump's inauguration, do you think Trump's affection toward Kim is exactly what McCain had in mind?

LOCKHART: I think John McCain was vey prescient and I think John McCain spoke his mind publicly and privately to Donald Trump, so it's no surprise that Trump spoke so ill of a war hero in the way that he did.

But I think he accurately predicted that the President would shun our allies, would push Europe away, would treat Japan at times in a way that was not like other Presidents in the past have, and would warm to Russia, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia and basically give them all a pass that said, if you do the things that I would like you to do, then I will give you a pass to do whatever you want.

I think the latest example is, there are reports now they were about to do a major arms sale to Saudi Arabia, and not eight months after, the American based journalist was brutally murdered at the direction of MBS. I don't think a previous President would do that. I think Donald Trump has set a new standard. He deals with foreign leaders about - in a way that deals with his interests, not the national interests.

And to sit around joking about Presidential candidates or former Vice Presidents, it's one thing. I imagine that Presidents in the past have made a joke or two about other people in the political process. But to then tweet about it and to say that Chairman Kim and I, a brutal thug murderer, a guy who killed his own brother, agree on Joe Biden is just - I mean, when you say it's beyond the pale, but we say it every day with this President, so I guess it's lost a little bit of its power.

CABRERA: Joe Lockhart, A.B. Stoddard, appreciate the conversation, thanks guys. A little closer to home, a deadly tornado just about leveled a small town in Oklahoma. Look at the damage here. A twister tore through this mobile home park and a motel. We're live with a look at the damage and what's left behind.

[17:15:00] Plus, a Missouri teen is winning praise for jumping into action to help an elderly man in a wheelchair get home safely with a storm quickly approaching. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Now to the latest outbreak of deadly tornado. This is El Reno, Oklahoma. Two people were killed there overnight, nearly 30 injured after a tornado tore through town. The tornado's path was just over 2 miles long and it left behind utter destruction.

[17:20:00] This was a motel, it and a mobile home park were reduced to rubble. Here's the Mayor describing the devastation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR MATT WHITE, EL RENO, OKLAHOMA: I don't think you fully understand the mammoth of it until you get close to it, and we're starting to knock on doors, clearing doors to make sure that people are alive. And the second thing is, when the light comes up and you see the true damage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: As bad as this is, it's the second time in six years that El Reno was hit by a deadly tornado. CNN National Correspondent Omar Jimenez is in El Reno, Oklahoma. Omar, are we now learning from the weather service just how powerful this tornado was?

OMAR JIMENEZ, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Ana, we are. It is classified now as an EF3 tornado, EF5 being the most severe. And you touched on some of the other important aspects of it earlier, it was only on the ground for four minutes, 75 yards at its widest, cut a path of 2 miles in length, but four minutes was all it took to carve the amount of damage that it did, at least two people killed in this, more than 20 people injured.

Now as we understand from officials, the search and rescue effort is now over, so they feel confident in those numbers. But just looking at those images, they're heartbreaking to see.

Let's start with the hotel. First of all, the only word you can use to describe it at this point is decimated. If you can believe it, there are people that actually made it out of that hotel as that tornado was coming through. And another aspect of this community that was really hit hard was a mobile home park. There were literally trailers that were picked up and slammed down to the ground. Here's how one resident described it as she and a child rode the storm out with a tornado right on top of them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RACHEL GARRISON, OKLAHOMA STORM SURVIVOR: I heard it coming. I felt the trailer 80 hit our trailer. I know trailer 80 flipped over on top of 81, which we were in. And after everything was over with, and all the shaking and jarring, and everybody landed on the floor, the sirens went off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sirens went off a little too late.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After that all happened. And so, just so - so you all were in one trailer, and did you hear it coming? What did you see?

GARRISON: I felt it, I don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lights got turned off. It just got real dark real fast, and everything started shaking violently.

GARRISON: I told them to hit the floor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JIMENEZ: And just remember, this doesn't just come in a vacuum, it comes on the tail end of a week that has also brought deadly tornadoes, excessive flooding, and here we are at the tail end of this week on the scene of another deadly tornado. Ana.

CABRERA: It's just awful. Thank you so much for that update. Omar Jimenez, we appreciate that. Breaking news, we are following overseas, results rolling in now from the European Union elections. Both the Far Right and Far Left are making gains. What these elections could mean for the future political landscape? You're live in the CNN Newsroom, don't go anywhere.

[17:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Breaking news overseas, where millions of people are bracing for the results after voting on the future of Europe. Early returns would seem to indicate the center is falling in favor of extremes to both the Left and the Right. Sound familiar? We want to take you straight to Paris now and CNN's Melissa Bell. Melissa, the early exit poll results have the Far Right party celebrating there?

MELISSA BELL, CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Here in France but across Europe, there have been, Ana, tonight substantial gains for right-wing populist and largely euro-skeptic parties. Now, here in France, what was so interesting is that in the sense the battle was really crystallized by Marine Le Pen on one hand and Emmanuel Macron on the other.

Remember that, two years ago, the French President came in and totally transformed the political landscape here in France, obliterating the parties that had dominated over the course of the last few decades.

This was the first electoral test two years on in an entirely re-drawn electoral landscape of him, a pro-European liberal trying to pursue that agenda, and on the other Marine Le Pen, more euro-skeptic right- wing populist with a very different sort of vision of what Europe and France should be, a retreat behind borders being one of her main themes tonight.

Emmanuel Macron who had invested so much time and energy and personal political capital in this particular campaign failed in his bid - to beat Marine Le Pen. According to those exist polls, Ana, she appeared - her party appears to be about 24%. Emmanuel Macron's on 22%.

SABRERA: Wow, very interesting results there in France. What about the trends we're seeing in results coming out from the other European countries tonight?

BELL: I think one of the really interesting trends beyond that breakthrough for a number of those right-wing populist parties are the greens, those who built their campaigns and their parties, Ana, on the question of environmental protection and fighting climate change.

They have tonight made substantial gains once again at the expense of the traditional parties across Europe and Germany; they came in second with 20% again according to exit polls.

Here in France, they scored 12%, coming in as the third party, and far beating the traditional parties of right and left. It's been an extraordinary night on many fronts and it suggests the very many different ways in which the European political transformation is happening at that landscape level for the populists in particular, really shaking things up and in a number of different countries making substantial gains tonight. Ana.

CABRERA: Alright. Melissa Bell in Paris for us, thank you.

A college coach fired over how he handled the sexual assault scandal on his team has landed a new job coaching at a high school, and you can imagine the reaction. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: A high school in Texas hired a new football coach this summer and not everyone is cheering. The new coach comes with some baggage. He is Art Briles, who was fired from coaching at Baylor University over how he handled a sexual assault scandal involving the football program there.

CNN sports anchor Coy Wire has more now. And Coy, tells us then on why some people are upset.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: Ana, the decision of a high school in East Texas to hire Art Briles as the head football coach is certainly a controversial one. Let's take a look at video of an official at a school introducing Briles to players and other via video conference on Friday night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guys, you all okay with this?

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WIRE: Applause filling the room at Mt. Vernon High School, about 100 miles east of Dallas. The school superintendant also praised the hiring, saying in a statement that Briles "brings with him a wealth of not only football experience but also life experience. He's passionate about investing in the lives of young people and helping them to succeed both on the field and in life."

Briles took Baylor University to unparalleled success as its football coach. But in May of 2016, he was fired after an independent investigation showed a fundamental failure by officials to respond adequately to students' allegations of sexual assault, some of which involved players on the football team.

Briles struggled to find a job since then. Getting hired in Canada, but fired almost immediately after public backlash. He then took a coaching position in Italy in 2018. The reactions as can you imagine to the hiring have been mixed.

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III won a Heisman Trophy at Baylor. He congratulated his former coach on Twitter then posted, "I understand why it's not always a good look to support someone tied to such a sensitive scandal. Coach is family and I've been praying he gets a second chance to prove himself, and I'm hopeful people will also give him a second chance to prove that what happened isn't who he is."

A Yahoo! sports opinion piece calls the school official decision "a trifecta of incompetence, ignorance and arrogance."

[17:35:00] One woman tweeting, "As a Mt. Vernon resident and survivor of abuse, I'm terribly upset by this news. My heart is hurting for all the Baylor victims. You are not alone. Many in our town do not support this decision. I won't stand by and ignore it."

Ana, Briles said in a statement Friday, he's looking forward to returning to his roots as a high school coach in Texas.

CABRERA: Alright, Coy Wire, thanks.

A Utah judge is suspended without pay because he bashed President Trump online. Just ahead, the comments that got him booted from the bench. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: A Utah judge has been suspended for six months without pay for making critical comments about President Trump. The Utah Supreme Court says Michael Kwan made politically charged comments in the courtroom and made a critical social media post about Trump in 2016, which violated rules on impartiality, integrity, and independence. And the court added, "It is an immutable and universal rule that judges are not as funny as they think they are."

The President's lawyers have reached an agreement with two House Committees over their attempt to get President Trump's financial records.

[17:40:00] According to a court document and a source familiar with this agreement, the lawmakers will hold off on enforcing any more subpoenas on Deutsche Bank and Capital One, putting this issue on hold at least for now until an Appeals Court can make a decision which is supposed to be expedited, we're told.

That brings us to our weekly segment, cross-exam with CNN legal analyst Elie Honig. He is here to answer your questions about legal issues, and Elie is a former federal and state prosecutor. So Elie, when you are asked this, is Congress allowed to subpoena anything it wants?

ELIE HONIG, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NY AND CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So the answer is Congress can subpoena almost but not quite anything it wants. Now this week, we had two really important court opinions that you just talked about, one of them out of Washington D.C. and one of them out of New York.

And in both cases, Congress had served subpoenas on those private financial institutes, looking for information about President Trump. And in both cases, the White House objected. And in both cases, the court said Congress wins, they get to serve these subpoenas. And I think it's important that people understand these are historically important decisions.

Our younger viewers out there, who are going to be in law school in a couple of years, they will be studying these decisions, because it's really rare to see this kind of direct collision between the White House, the Executive Branch, and Congress.

And really, the bottom line that came out of these court rulings is that Congress has all legislative powers. That's what the constitution says, and along with that, they have very broad authority to serve subpoenas as long as it serves some legitimate legislative purpose.

And it's not up to the White House to say, we don't like that legislative purpose or we don't agree with it. So Congress rally has very broad authority, not quite unlimited, but very broad authority. And one small note, if Congress decides to open an impeachment inquiry, it will give them another way to enforce their subpoenas and even more subpoena power. Of course there is a much broader political calculation that needs to be done there.

CABRERA: And so, as the President continues to stonewall, Congress continues to try to fight back. Against that, one of the President's arguments is that you don't need to do this because I'm pretty much in the clear, just look at the Mueller report, that's all the proof you need, although we know that's not necessarily the case. So another viewer wants to know, does Barr's conclusion that Trump did not obstruct justice carry legal weight?

HONIG: In some respects, yes. In some respects, no. So here is what it does. Barr's decision that there's no obstruction ensures that the President will not be charged with obstruction while the President is in office and certainly while Bill Barr is Attorney General. But that was going to be the case anyway, because DOJ has this longstanding policy against indicting a sitting President.

And it's important to note, in the report, Robert Mueller and in the DOJ policy itself, both of those documents say a President absolutely can be indicted once he's out of office. Now, what Barr's decision does not do is impact impeachment. Impeachment can proceed, impeachment is in one track and criminal charges are in another.

So, I got a lot of questions about this, can there still be impeachment even if there's no criminal charge? Absolutely, that's up to Congress. That's a political calculation.

I think the main thing that Barr's opinion did was set the first impression. Because remember, Barr told us no obstruction before we saw the report. And when Barr came out with this initial opinion, that became sort of a narrative until the report came out, until Congress people started reviewing it and saying, I've reached a different conclusion.

And I was one of now over 900 former federal prosecutors who signed a letter saying, if the President was not the President, there's more than enough to charge him with obstruction of justice.

CABRERA: There was another important development this week, and it had to do with White House Counsel - former White House Counsel Don McGahn, and he's now on a hearing which he was subpoenaed before the House Judiciary Committee.

One viewer points out, if McGahn was interviewed by Mueller and the results of those interviews are in the report in black and white, why does McGahn need to testify at all?

HONIG: Yes, it's a good common sense question. And just to refresh the viewers, Trump told McGahn to get rid of Mueller and later told McGahn to lie about it. So to me, I think it comes down to the power of live witness testimony, and I learned this from doing trials as a prosecutor. It's one thing to see a written report, here is what the witness said, typed down in black and white.

But it's very different to see that witness get on the stand, take an oath and answer questions live, and I've seen it go both ways. I've seen instances where the report says one thing, witness testifies and you say, oh that's much less credible, much less believable, much less compelling.

And I've seen cases where you read the report and then you see the witness and you go, wow, that is - that moves me on a different level, right? And I think what this is really all about is Congress is trying to bring the Mueller report to life, and I think the White House which is objecting is trying to prevent that from happening.

CABRERA: Okay, finally your top questions are things you're watching this week.

HONIG: Yes, lots of big ones. So first of all, will Congress bring additional subpoena battles into the courts? I think they will. Like I said, they're 2 and O so far. I think next up is going to be the battle over getting Trump's tax returns, and I do think Congress will prevail on that one as well.

Second of all, will we see other members of Congress start to choose sides on impeachment? We saw the one Republican representative Amash come out in favor of impeachment. And Nancy Pelosi is trying to do a sort of delicate balancing act between the members of the caucus who want to proceed on impeachment and the others who don't. Will we see a consensus forming?

And third of all, will we see an agreement for testimony from Robert Mueller?

[17:45:00] The big question that was reporting late last week that Mueller wants to testify primarily behind closed doors in private, I think Congress needs to take a hard stand here. Robert Mueller, I know we all treat him like a mystical person up on the mountain top. He is a DOJ employee, he took on the most important investigation we've seen in decades, he needs to come out and testify publicly.

CABRDERA: All right, Elie Honig, always good to have these reports with you. Thank you.

HONIG: Thanks Ana.

CABRERA: Don't forget you can get much more and read more analysis. Ask your own questions to Elie on his cross-exam page on CNN.com.

An end of the era or is it? The final Rolling Thunder tribute to U.S. service members is underway right now in D.C. But President Trump says the ride will return, so why are organizers saying not so fast? You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Hundreds of thousands of bikers are riding into D.C. this weekend for what may be the very last Rolling Thunder. The ride honors troops killed in action and taken prisoner of war. They ride from the Pentagon around the National Mall before ending at the Vietnam Memorial. They've been doing this for 32 years, but organizers say the event is starting to cost too much, among other reasons, and so this ride will be their last.

President Trump, however, says not so fast. Here's what he writes. "The great patriots of Rolling Thunder will be coming back to Washington D.C. next year, and hopefully for many years to come. It is where they want to be and where they should be."

[17:50:00] I want to go live to Kristen Holmes. Kristen, are the riders reconsidering after the President's tweets?

KRISTEN HOLMES, NATINAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN: Well, Ana, most of the riders we talked to about this tweet were very hopeful, but it really caused a lot more confusion because they were hearing this message from President Trump, but not from the organizers of Rolling Thunder.

In fact, I spoke to the National President of Rolling Thunder shortly after this tweet went out, actually ended up reading it to him on the phone, and he said this is still being considered the last national demonstration, that they had not heard from the President. They had not been to the White House.

Now he said he was open to talking to President Trump about what he could do for them, but right now, again, they are still considering this is the last national demonstration.

And all of this back and forth is coming at a time where emotions are very high here. Again, you just said this, 32 years, decades of people coming here just to honor the veterans, to honor the troops. We spoke to Gold Star wives, Gold Star moms, we spoke to veterans, we spoke to civilians who have been coming for decades just to give their support to veterans.

Now take a listen to what two of them told us about what this means to them and what it means that this could be the last event.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll tell you, the first year I came I knew I could never miss it. This is a brotherhood, whether you're a veteran or you are not. I hope it continues, you know.

UIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand there's a lot of reasons because the money and mess and organization, but this is what makes it, it's the people. We decide if it's the last one. If we show up, then it's all the same.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Okay, obviously technical difficulties as the Rolling Thunder was in town, the thunder literally rolled through that area, so weather causing some problems with our technology out there. Kristen Holmes, we appreciate that reporting. Bottom line is it's still up in the air on whether or not Rolling Thunder will return in the years to come. We'll keep you posted.

Meantime, drivers honked at a man in a wheelchair as he tried to get home ahead of a storm. But one teen got out of his car, and it's what he did next that made us say we got to talk to this kid. He is going to join us right after the break. You're live in the CNN Newsroom.

[17:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: This is a moment of kindness going viral. Take a look at this. The man in that wheelchair is legally blind and he is missing both of his legs. He was trying to get home in St. Louis, Missouri when tornado sirens started blaring. People driving by honked at him. They told him to hurry, that a storm was coming. No one actually got out to help him, until this teenager came along, and he pushed him all the way home. Here's his reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GREGORY BECK, HELPED HOME DURING TORNADO WARNING: The greatest people just very concerned about other people, which America needs to start doing more of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Seth Phillips is the teen who did what others did not. He joins us now with his mom, Amber Gilleylen. She was the one who stopped the car so her son could get out to help. This is a story that has warmed my heart and soul so many ways, especially during these divisive times that we are in.

Take me back to that moment, when you both were in the car, you saw this man, Gregory Beck in his wheelchair. Take me through what you saw, what you discussed, and then what happened next.

AMBER GILLEYLEN, MOTHER OF SETH PHILLIPS: Right. So, it was right before the storm. We decided to run and get groceries really quick before it came in. And when we came outside to load the groceries into the car, the tornado sirens started sounding so we were in a little more of a rush. And so, we hurried to get the groceries in and we got out on to the street.

We were in a rush to get home. And we looked over and there was a gentleman who was in a wheelchair and struggling to get off of the main street. So Seth looked at me, and he said "Mommy, can I help him?" And I said, "Yes."

So I hurried up and pulled in and rolled down the window, and I said, "Sir, are you okay? Can we help you?" And he said, "Yes." And Seth didn't - he didn't blink an eye. He jumped out of the car and ran over to him and helped him.

CABRERA: Did you know this man before?

GILLEYEN: No, ma'am. We had never seen him before.

CABRERA: Seth, how did it make you feel to help in this way?

SETH PHILIPS, HELPED MAN IN WHEELCHAIR DURING TORNADO WARNING: Excuse me, I couldn't hear you.

CABRERA: How did it make you feel to help him in this way?

PHILIPS: Oh, it made me feel great, like I really just made an impact on that guy, and I really just - it just made me feel really good.

CABRERA: Amber, I as a parent myself, am always trying to figure out the best way to raise my children to be good people to do the right thing, to be kind to understand really that's what matters the most. This was clearly a teaching moment, right?

GILLEYEN: Yes, absolutely. I always try to push them to do something a little extra, whether it's smile at someone, hold the door, ask someone how they're doing, because every little thing counts. So even from a young age, I've just always kind of pushed them, ask them if they need help, see what's going on. So, yes, I definitely - I wasn't surprised, because this is Seth every day.

CABRERA: Seth, when you got there and started pushing the wheelchair, were the two of you talking, what was going on?

PHILIPS: Yes, we began a conversation. He was telling me things like his life isn't really doing really good for him right now and that there was just really - things were just not very good for him and stuff like that. And I was just happy to be there for him and help him out in that situation, because I know it made him feel better and his life a little better and it made me happy.

CABRERA: Amber, why did you decide to record this?

GILLEYEN: So, my parents live about 300 miles from us, and so a lot of our communication is through video chat or sending videos or things like that. And I really - it was totally spur of the moment. I was watching him and I could hear the tornado alarms, and I thought, oh my gosh, my mom is not going to believe this. We're out here in the middle of tornado sirens and who knows when one is going to creep up on us, and we're pushing someone through this. And I thought I'm going to show my mom. So I grabbed the phone and got a little 11-second clip and I had it in my phone.