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New Evidence Emerges in Supreme Court Census Case; Trump Lashes Out Yet Again at Mueller; Interview With Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN). Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired May 30, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:40]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

We begin with Attorney General Bill Barr hitting back. Just a day after special counsel Robert Mueller contradicted him on camera about major details in the Mueller report, Barr spoke to CBS News, saying that he disagrees with Mueller's assertion that it was not up to him to decide if President Trump obstructed justice because of a longstanding policy against indicting a sitting president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: We saw the special counsel yesterday make that statement. He analyzed 11 instances where there were possible obstruction and then said that he really couldn't make a decision. Do you agree with that interpretation?

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I personally felt he could have reached a decision.

QUESTION: In your view, he could have reached a conclusion?

BARR: Right. He could have reached a conclusion. The opinion says you can't indict a president while he's in office, but he could have reached a decision as to whether it was criminal activity. But he had his reasons for not doing it, which he explained. And I'm not going to argue about those reasons.

But when he didn't make a decision, the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, and I felt it was necessary for us, as the heads of the department, to reach that decision.

QUESTION: Well, he seemed to suggest yesterday that there was another venue for this, and that was Congress.

BARR: Well, I'm not sure what he was suggesting. But the Department of Justice doesn't use our powers of investigating crimes as an adjunct to Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Joey Jackson is a legal CNN legal analyst. And, Joey, as the attorney general, could Barr not have ordered Miller to make -- Mueller to make a call?

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Of course, because you're the boss.

But I think Mueller made the right call. And people will, of course, disagree. But, remember, you are in a impossible position.

BALDWIN: Yes.

JACKSON: And you don't want to make it political.

You want to make it so that you're doing your job, divorced of the politics. Just show me the facts. And I think that's what he did.

And I would also argue that he didn't make a decision as it relates to obstruction of justice. I think he did make a decision. I think he laid out 11 various instances in which obstruction could be seen, but felt, because of the guidance, right, not law, but guidance that says that...

BALDWIN: From DOJ.

JACKSON: ... you cannot -- from Department of Justice, you cannot indict criminally a president, and saying it would be unfair then to make the accusation to say, you know what, these are the 11 instances. Congress, it's up to you.

The only -- I mean, you could criticize him, to the extent that, look, you have made a definitive conclusion as it relates to Russia. Why not at least suggest that there seems to be something here as it relates to obstruction of justice, but, Congress, it's not my job?

BALDWIN: Yes.

JACKSON: Since I can proceed, you guys take it and run with it, which is, in essence, what he's doing?

BALDWIN: So he left the bread crumbs.

JACKSON: Right.

BALDWIN: He says, Congress, it's up to you.

Let me just quote, because a lot of Democrats have come out saying that Mueller was calling Congress when he said -- quote -- "The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing."

So Barr says he doesn't know what Mueller was actually suggesting there. What do you make of that?

JACKSON: I make of perhaps another misrepresentation, to be kind, that Barr's making.

I mean, how do you not know that he's not saying that? Congress is the institution that deals with this. You don't go arrest a president, lock him up, and say, come to court. You go to the impeachment process, a majority the House, two-thirds of the Senate.

Tough to get the Senate. They have the House. So even if they do impeach, Brooke, I don't see that there's a conviction, that is, the removal of office from President Trump.

BALDWIN: OK. OK.

Joey, thank you very much...

JACKSON: Always. Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: ... on Bill Barr and this interview just in.

Now to President Trump's own words regarding the Mueller report. The case is closed. He is telling the country to move on.

But does this sound like a man who's moved on?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think he's totally conflicted, because, as you know, he wanted to be the FBI director. And I said no.

As you know, I had a business dispute with him after he left the FBI. We had a business dispute.

I think he is a total conflicted person. I think Mueller is a true never-Trumper. He's somebody that dislikes Donald Trump. He's somebody that didn't get a job that he requested that he wanted very badly. And then he was appointed.

And, despite that, and despite $40 million, 18 Trump haters, including people that worked for Hillary Clinton and some of the worst human beings on Earth, they got nothing. It's pretty amazing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, this morning, the president of the United States stood on the White House grounds and went on a rant, telling a flurry of lies.

[15:05:05]

He not only went off on Mueller, referring to him, as you just heard, a forever and ever Trumper, and telling a lie about Mueller and Trump and the FBI. And we will fact-check that in just a moment for you.

He also went off on China and the late Senator John McCain again. And then he walked back a tweet from this morning where he basically acknowledged for the first time that Russia helped him get elected, a tweet he has since deleted.

Here's the walk-back. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: No, Russia did not help me get elected. You know who got me elected? You know who got me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn't help me at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Got me elected.

Well, you and the 62,984,825 Americans who voted for you, and the 306 electoral votes. But I digress.

And then, in true reality TV form, the president teased a major statement today on the U.S.-Mexico border. And we are standing by for that.

Michael Bender is a White House reporter for "The Wall Street Journal" and a CNN political analyst. April Ryan is the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks and also a CNN political analyst.

So, April, you first.

Watching the president this morning, what was that?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It was Donald Trump, who is upset. It's Donald Trump, who's trying to combat what Robert Mueller said yesterday in his statement to try to clarify, after all this confusion about what he actually wrote in this Mueller report.

President Trump is not happy. And this is going to continue. I mean, not only did he attack Mueller. He attacked the ghost of John McCain. He attacked the hero. John McCain is long gone. He's resting. And this president still has a problem with the fact that he did not support him with health care.

This is a president that, when he doesn't get his way, he unravels. We saw an unraveling today on the South Lawn before he climbed aboard Marine One.

BALDWIN: Hmm.

Let's go through some of what he said, Michael, because it's important to function in a world of facts, right? So I want you to fact-check a couple of things for me.

MICHAEL BENDER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: OK.

BALDWIN: One, we just heard the president say that Robert Mueller wanted to be his FBI director. True or false?

BENDER: Well, you could probably go false on that one.

We know that Robert Mueller was in the Oval Office before he was named special counsel. That part of what the president said was true. But, according to the Mueller report, according to testimony from then Trump's top strategist, Steve Bannon, Mueller was brought in and asked about the FBI broadly and as the FBI as an institution and was never actually offered the job.

So the line about him being in the office right before he was named social counsel, that is correct. Trump takes it a little far in saying that -- talking about an offer of a job here.

But -- and as April was talking about, it is a little perplexing why he's focusing on Mueller here. The view inside the White House was that Mueller's statement yesterday -- was it only yesterday -- the -- was actually pretty helpful for the White House.

Mueller came out and said what -- I had to say what I had to say, it's in the report, I would rather not talk about it anymore.

And so now really the president's troubles if he has them are going to be with Democrats in Congress. Mueller has essentially wiped his hands of this.

BALDWIN: Yes, it was only yesterday.

Let me follow up with you on two more points.

BENDER: Yes.

BALDWIN: Let me toss to a clip where the president also weighed in on Russia and China. Here he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I believe that Russia would rather have Hillary Clinton as president of the United States than Donald Trump. The reason is, nobody has been tougher on Russia than me.

We're taking in billions of dollars in tariffs. China is subsidizing products. So the United States taxpayer is paying for very little of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, Michael, again, he says no president in U.S. history has been tougher on Russia, and American citizens are not paying a financial penalty for the China tariffs.

BENDER: Yes.

BALDWIN: True or false?

(LAUGHTER)

BENDER: This is kind of what makes Trump such an effective politician, right?

I mean, there's true elements here and there's false elements here. Let's take them one at a time. I mean, Trump was standing next to Putin on stage in Helsinki last

summer when Putin said he wanted, in fact, Trump to win. In the same breath, though, you do have to acknowledge that the Trump administration, taken as a whole, has been tough on Russia.

There have been dozens and dozens of companies and individuals that have been sanctioned for a number of reasons. Almost nearly 50 Russian intelligence officers have been expelled from the country. The Trump administration has been tough, but it's not -- that has not been an effective message for this president.

[15:10:05]

When it comes to Chinese tariffs, there are -- there are things that are correct in what he said. China is starting to pay tariffs. And China is subsidizing a lot of their products.

But the idea that those subsidies are subsidizing American taxpayers is incorrect by -- most every economist who has looked at this.

BALDWIN: American consumers are hurt by that.

BENDER: That's right.

I mean, these are -- these are tariffs. They're not paid by the companies. They're paid to -- export -- they're paid by the importers. And then those tariffs, those duties are generally passed on to the to the consumer, who ends up paying it almost directly.

BALDWIN: And all this came this morning as obviously -- you guys report on this every day -- the White House has some pretty serious issues on the agenda, right? Iran, pushing through the Canada-Mexico trade agreement, just two of the issues, April.

RYAN: Yes.

BALDWIN: So how does today's rant show how distracted, consumed the president is by all this impeachment talk?

RYAN: Yes, the I-word, the I-word, the I-word.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: That filthy and disgusting word.

RYAN: Yes, that filthy, disgusting word.

He is very consumed with it. He was so consumed with it that he didn't want to do anything until the investigations were over. But he knew that he had to do something. So, now he wants to work with Nancy Pelosi.

This president, depending on what the moment, the day, and what comes up, percolates to the top of the soil, that's where he decides his whims. I'm good today, I'm good at this moment, I will work with you. If I don't like this, I won't. It's almost like a petulant child. This president is the president of

all America. This president is the leader of the free world. This president has to work with other nations. And when he gets upset, you wonder how things really get going, how things are really done.

And I want to go back to something that you asked about Russia with Michael a minute ago talking about Russia. I remember something with Russia. When Barack Hussein Obama was president and all of this was going on, we heard about from Homeland Security and other intelligence agencies that Russia was, indeed, trying to thwart this election in favor of Donald Trump.

Well, I will never forget, then President Barack Obama told Vladimir Putin in his face, knock it off, and that he warned him. But when this president meets with Vladimir Putin about issues of the election, he says, I believe him, instead of challenging him and finding out more.

His own intelligence officials have told him something happened, but he believes Vladimir Putin. And anything that happens in Russia of that magnitude goes to the top. It goes to Vladimir Putin. So he knows what's going on.

So, this president is taking a different stride and a different approach in how to be presidential and how to govern, most definitely.

BALDWIN: Just speaks to the importance of Mueller's final words yesterday, right...

RYAN: Yes.

BALDWIN: ... talking about how Russia, in fact, attacked, and just the world leaders need to speak out ahead of 2020.

Michael Bender and April Ryan, you two are excellent. Thank you both.

RYAN: Thank you.

BENDER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Senator Bernie Sanders just joined dozens of Democratic lawmakers who are on the record now saying that they support an impeachment inquiry.

My next guest, Congressman Andre Carson, is not one of them yet. We will ask him if Mueller's statement changed the game.

Plus, protests in Missouri, as that state is set to become the first in the country without a single abortion clinic.

And back and forth on the border. Construction has resumed on a privately funded section of President Trump's wall less than 24 hours after the city issued a cease-and-desist order. We are expecting a live update on that progress any minute now.

Keep it with me. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:18:47]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So you may not like Trump. I don't like Trump. That's not an impeachable offense. So you got to do that. OK?

And so I support the beginning of those inquiries. But here is the danger, which I think Nancy Pelosi and many people are struggling with. It may well be that Donald Trump wants to be impeached, because he knows that, in the Senate, you know what? You need two-thirds of the United States Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Senator Bernie Sanders there for the first time saying he supports and impeachment inquiry into President Trump. We're counting now.

We're up to 41 -- 41 House Democrats are calling for the same. But in the hours after Robert Mueller spoke, the Democratic Party leader, Nancy Pelosi, pointed out that pro-impeachment faction is still a significant minority.

And I have with me now Congressman Andre Carson. He's a Democrat from Indiana and a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

So, Congressman Carson, welcome, sir.

REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN): Thank you for having me.

BALDWIN: All right.

So we have obviously done our homework on you. And you have said, so far, that all options are on the table when it comes to impeachment.

And my question is, in listening to Mr. Mueller yesterday morning speaking, did anything he said change your mind?

[15:20:02]

CARSON: No, I think Director Mueller is very measured.

I think that he's an institutionalist. He's a company man. But he -- and so, having said that, he understands that Congress is a co-equal branch of government, who's partly tasked with being a check on the administration's excess.

And so what he did was, he really threw the football to Congress to make the inquiries, to keep impeachment on the table. But, Brooke, we still have a job to do. We don't want to make Donald Trump the underdog. We still have to deal with infrastructure.

BALDWIN: Of course.

CARSON: He abandoned negotiations a week ago. We have work to do. We have to talk about education. We have to talk about securing out national...

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I know, I know, but speaking of your job, let me just -- I want to ask you a question to follow up on that.

But let me play some sound. This is Senator Elizabeth Warren on the same issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is a violation of the law, yes. If he were anyone other than president of the United States, he would be in handcuffs and indicted.

And Mueller served that up and says, basically, by the time you get to the end of the report, there are all the facts, multiple examples of obstruction of justice. I can't indict.

QUESTION: Right.

WARREN: It's up to Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I hear you, Congressman, on your desire to legislate, but if you can just try to put politics aside, do you believe it is your job, that it is your constitutional duty to start these impeachment proceedings?

CARSON: I don't think we should leave it off of the table.

Listen, we still have hearings from the Financial Services Committee. We have hearings that need to take place under Judiciary, Oversight, and certainly the Intelligence Committee. We need to look at Russia's undue influence on our electoral process.

We need to look at those in the Trump apparatus and their talks with the Russian government, how they lied to Congress, lied to special counsel, lied to committees of jurisdiction.

And I think those things, Director Mueller laid out very clearly in his report and in his press conference. I think Congress has a responsibility and a task.

I think the American people have to watch this very closely, because President Trump is a smart man. I know people say he's dumb.

He's clever. He's very clever. And I think he loves the fact that people think that he's such a brute. Now, he's not a policy wonk, but he's very smart. And so to leverage this in a way that makes him an underdog gives him

an electoral advantage. So, we have to be very strategic and very wise.

BALDWIN: Clearly, listening to Mueller yesterday, he would like this report to speak for itself. And as a member of House Intel, should your committee subpoena him to testify?

CARSON: We won't rule it out.

You will have to ask a Chairman Schiff that question. But if he were, in fact, to appear before the committee..

BALDWIN: But is that something you would want?

CARSON: I mean, I would love -- I would love to have him before the committee. I would love to ask him very serious questions, absolutely.

I wouldn't rule it out. But that's a question that's better suited for Chairman Schiff.

BALDWIN: Of course.

Congressman Carson, thank you very much.

CARSON: Always a pleasure. Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

We just learned today that more than 1,000 migrants turned themselves into Border Patrol agents in the last 24 hours. And one group's solution to this influx of undocumented immigrants has been to build their own section of the wall with private donations. Construction resumed today.

I will get reaction from the former acting director of ICE about whether that is a good idea.

Stay with me. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:28:20]

BALDWIN: Just in to CNN, new evidence has been submitted in one of the biggest cases being decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, whether the Trump administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Challengers to the White House, including the ACLU, say they have proof the move was politically motivated.

CNN Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue is with me with more.

And so, Ariane, what is the ACLU submitting here? ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right.

Well, the challengers to the administration's decision, they said in this filing that they have new evidence that that decision was politically motivated. They obtained a new trove of documents from an individual who they say played a significant role in the administration's decision.

That man's name is Dr. Thomas Hofeller. He has since died. But in 2015, he wrote a study on the issue. And he said that such citizenship data would be -- quote -- "advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites."

And the reason this is important is that the administration has said all along that the decision was made to better comply with the Voting Rights Act. They have always pushed back hard that it was politically motivated.

And this could be the first concrete evidence to the contrary. Remember, every lower court that heard this case ruled against the administration. But the Supreme Court heard arguments in April. They're considering it.

But, during oral arguments, it seemed like the conservatives were ready to side with the government. A Department of Justice official said on background today that they did not know about these documents. They're looking into it right now, and that they will respond in court.

So that's where it is, this new evidence, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Ariane, thank you very much.

Let me get to this breaking news to us here at CNN regarding the border. President Trump is considering a new rule.

[15:30:00]