Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Faced With Tariff Threat, Mexican Officials Have Pledged To Deploy Up To 6,000 National Guard Troops To The Border With Guatemala; Emotional Tribute To WWII Veteran On World Stage; One West Point Cadet Killed, 21 Others Hurt In Rollover Crash; Colorado Couple: We Were Sickened At Same Resort Where 3 Americans Died. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired June 6, 2019 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[20:00:10] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: The woman second in line to the president now says that the president belongs behind bars. And we got breaking news tonight on why she said it.
Good evening. I'm Jim Sciutto here sitting in tonight for Anderson.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said what she said behind closed doors, but it signals a dispute among top House Democrats that tonight is spilling into the open. At issue, how or even weather to proceed on hearings that could lead to impeachment.
And as we're learning tonight, that disagreement is now coming to a head.
CNN's Manu Raju joins us with breaking news.
What are we learning, Manu?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. Two Democrats are at odds, Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary chairman, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi has resisted calls for an impeachment inquiry for weeks, believing it would be a fruitless endeavor that ultimately she believes would benefit the president because the Republicans in the Senate would not convict this president.
But that's not what Jerry Nadler believes. We're learning behind the scenes he has made multiple pitches to the House speaker to open up an impeachment inquiry. In a meeting this week with her and other chairman of key committees, he made the case, Nadler did, that there should be an impeachment inquiry to essentially add the weight to their legal case in court, the cases that they are involved with on several fronts to try to get information from this administration, which has rejected their subpoenas and other requests they say that Nadler said he could help that.
Also, he is saying he could centralize all the investigations that are taking place in the House to only occur before his committee, the House Judiciary Committee.
Now, Jim, I am told there was pushback. Pelosi in that meeting making the case that the president should not be impeached, and that's where she made that stunning comment, that the president, she would rather see him in prison than impeached.
But also Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman also reiterated his opposition to moving forward in impeachment proceedings. As you know, his committee also investigating the president's conduct. So doing so could undercut what the House Intelligence Committee is doing.
But as one Democratic member told me earlier today, Jim, he said that he's been very careful. Nadler has been very careful in his handling of this because he doesn't want to throw Pelosi under the bus.
SCIUTTO: Let me ask you just a point of order here, you could begin impeachment proceedings without necessarily proceeding to (AUDIO GAP). Am I correct?
RAJU: That is absolutely correct. The fear among some, including Democratic leaders, is that once you begin the impeachment inquiry, it would spiral into a vote to articles of impeachment. That's what Nancy Pelosi is trying to resist at this point, which is why she is pushing for this other avenue.
Individual investigations, individual court cases, and see if they come out on top.
SCIUTTO: We should note it's sort of an indictment an impeachment if it would have passed. The real conviction comes in Senate where you need two-thirds.
What is Chairman Nadler's strategy going forward because I imagine he does not want to -- he wants to avoid directly contradicting Speaker Pelosi publicly on all of this?
RAJU: Yes, he is in a very difficult spot because of his private view and a view among a number of members, a growing number of members on the House Judiciary Committee who are publicly calling for impeachment. Now, I am told that Nadler has been supportive about those calls for impeachment inquiry, saying to those members he is fine if they go public with it, even as Nancy Pelosi is trying to tamp that down.
Also, Jim, he has not gone as far as to say that the president has engaged in impeachable conduct, criminal conduct that warrants impeachment. He has been careful on that. He has left to it other members to make that case, newspaper editorial boards, some television commentators as well.
So, he is trying not to publicly issue any declaration that shows he's at odds with Pelosi. But as we saw in his exchange with Wolf Blitzer yesterday, he didn't show he is on the same page as Speaker Pelosi. It shows the difficult spot that he's in -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: He is. I would just say, it's about a quarter of the Democratic caucus that has come out for impeachment. So, it's not exactly a majority yet, but it's moving that way.
Manu Raju, thanks very much. Speaker Pelosi was not asked about this in Normandy to mark D-Day, but
when asked about another issue involving the president, she declined to say anything at all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don't talk about the president when I leave the done as my principle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Well, joining us now is a member of Speaker Pelosi's party, but also a member of Jerry Nadler's Judiciary Committee, Congressman Steve Cohen of the great state of Tennessee.
Congressman, thanks for taking the time tonight.
REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): Nice to be with you.
SCIUTTO: So, Congressman Cohen, you hear Manu's new reporting. Where does this leave House Democrats now, particularly your committee, because any impeachment committee has to, of course, have Speaker Pelosi as leader of the party in the House on board? But without her blessing, it's dead on arrival.
[20:05:01] COHEN: The speaker is a very powerful individual in our system of government and in the House of Representatives.
Nancy Pelosi has got great strength and support from our caucus, and it will be difficult for anything to happen without her approval.
SCIUTTO: OK. Difficult but the pressure it seems is building on her.
COHEN: Well, the pressure is. We've got 60 people, including myself who are for an impeachment inquiry. I've been for an impeachment per se and filed articles of such last November of '17, because in my opinion, clear this man has committed impeachable offenses and needs to be impeached.
But I understand where the speaker is coming from. She has to look out for the whole caucus. I'm looking out for my district and my own personal belief in my oath. And Jerry Nadler is looking out for his committee and his district. So, the different constituencies that you have.
SCIUTTO: So what was your reaction when you heard Speaker Pelosi reportedly saying that she wants to see President Trump in prison?
COHEN: Well, you know, I didn't hear it. I don't like people that repeat conversations that go on in those type of meetings. When I stood up and spoke in steering and policy and took a strong position for impeachment, with Speaker Pelosi present, much of what was reported was inaccurate.
And I don't think -- it should have been -- people should have spoken about it, but they reported things that were inaccurately described. So I don't know what was said. I don't know if she said it or not.
But if she did say something like that, it very well could be in certain ways I speak as well facetious or hyperbolic, but facetious. I don't think she really wants to see him in black and white stripes behind a jail.
COHEN: But she was just reiterating I think that she doesn't like him and she doesn't like some of his activities. Bob Mueller almost said that he should be in jail. In Bob Mueller's report basically said he obstructed justice and said you can't indict a president until after he is out of his service, and you want to collect the information while the witnesses' information is fresh.
So, Mueller almost said he should be in jail eventually.
SCIUTTO: Back to Pelosi if I can. She has tried this before, it strikes me, where she will make a public comment very strong public comment.
Some have read it as trying to head off the momentum towards impeachment saying, listen, we're going do everything we can to go after this guy. We're going investigate him to the hilt. We think he's committed -- done some horrible things here. Make that kind of strong public comment while holding back on the formal step of impeachment.
I wonder if you think -- if you read that's what she was attempting to do here.
COHEN: Well, it could have been to some extent, but she might have been reassuring people who were so much for impeachment while she is not, that she has no love for Trump. She is not doing him any favors, and that we want to get to the same result which is Trump to be out of our public lives and simply a distant spot in our rearview mirror.
Well, I wonder if that comment buys the speaker any time within the dramatic caucus and the numbers, as you site them, 60 now and about 220 who support impeachment. Is there a time for the speaker? Or are you saying the time is now?
COHEN: Well, I think the time system coming soon. I think we need to act, I would think, in July, but possibly could happen in September, but no later than September. I do think there is a time factor, and time is on her side, as the song used to be.
SCIUTTO: Congressman Steve Cohen, nice to have you on the program this evening.
COHEN: Thank you, Jim. Nice to be with you.
SCIUTTO: We have some breaking news into CNN coming up next from Joe Biden on the crucial issue of abortion. Still ahead as well, reaction from the speaker's former right-hand
man. You'll want to hear his take on her strategy as well as what the president said about Speaker Pelosi today with the gravestones of Normandy as the backdrop.
And later, the noble words he had along with a hug with the very best who stormed the beach at Omaha.
[20:13:33] SCIUTTO: Vice President Joe Biden, the front-runner among Democrats for the 2020 nomination, just made big news on abortion, potentially very big news in his run for the White House. At a Democratic fundraiser in Atlanta just moments ago, he reversed himself on the law barring federal funding for abortion known as the Hyde Amendment.
He based his decision on his notion of fairness to women of all incomes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I can't justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to exercise their constitutionally protected right. If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone's zip code.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: Let's go now to CNN's Arlette Saenz. She's traveling with the candidate, covering Biden during this way.
Arlette, quite a turnaround. Quite a clear-cut one. What's behind this decision?
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right, Jim. It was just a little over 24 hours ago where the Biden campaign confirms that the former vice president did in fact support the Hyde Amendment. You saw these Democratic candidates, a large group of them, really come out and criticize Biden immediately, really exposing one of the first major fault lines between Biden and the other Democrats in the 2020 field.
But today, here in Atlanta, just inside this room next to me, Biden did reveal that he is in fact going to support repealing the Hyde Amendment, something that has been very contentious over the past 24 hours.
[20:15:07] And really, you've seen a lot of pressure both from his fellow candidates who have been saying that they hope he reverses himself, and also from other groups who are involved in the abortion rights fight.
And Biden today saying that he really seeing that women's health is under assault, especially in states that are pushing to pass bills relating to abortion restrictions, that he could no longer support this amendment -- Jim.
SCIUTTO: Arlette Saenz on it tonight, thanks very much.
Perspective now from the seasoned politico, along with a political analyst, former Pelosi chief of staff, Danny Weiss, and CNN political analyst and also "USA Today" columnist, Kirsten Powers.
To both of you, this is quite a turnaround. Kirsten, I'll give you the honors here, stealing what had been a line of attack from his Democratic opponents.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, this is incredible. It was just yesterday that he was basically had his campaign saying that he wasn't going to reverse his position. He obviously knows what the Hyde Amendment is. It's not like this is suddenly news to him.
And so, this is a clear cave to the pressure that he was getting, because it's not like he got new information.
POWERS: The reason that the Democrats have the position that they now have is precisely because of what he said, they don't want to make abortion something that is legal only for people who have money.
SCIUTTO: Danny, smart reversal?
DANNY WEISSS, FORMER PELOSI CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, the Obama administration was one of the strongest defenders of a woman's right to choose. And Vice President Biden was part of that effort. It's smart of him to make this decision. He is a devout Catholic, but he is a strong, very strong defender of a woman's right to choose. It's a good move.
SCIUTTO: OK. Fair enough. The other news tonight this opening up of this battle into the public eye between Speaker Pelosi and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, here.
How significant, Kirsten? I mean, the numbers -- they are growing, 60 out of just over 220 members of the Democratic caucus. So, around a little more than a quarter. I mean, it's not -- it's far from a majority at this point, but Nadler is a powerful man.
POWERS: Yes. I mean, look, if you're the head of the Judiciary Committee, what do you want more than to be receiving an impeachment, right? I mean, he is also clearly from a very liberal district. So, he is in line with that, and he is in line with the base of the party. The base of the party is definitely pushing for this.
But I think Nancy Pelosi clearly -- there has been a lot of -- we're doing this nonstop coverage about the comment about wants him to be in prison. I think it's pretty clear what's going on here is she is trying to let people know that she takes them seriously and she hears them and she on their side. She wants to do -- she wants to get rid of Donald Trump, right? And so, I think that was the point of it, and it was in a private conversation, but she is determined that she doesn't think the best course forward is the pursue impeachment at this point, and it would be better to beat him at the ballot box.
SCIUTTO: Danny, you and I were talking at the break. It's not the first time she has used a very powerful term while still remaining -- powerful term about the president, powerful critique while falling short of impeachment proceedings.
WEISS: Sure. She has accused him of being part of a cover-up. She has said the president is unfit to serve. She said she has more respect for the office of the presidency than he does.
Comments that are made in private meetings, I wasn't in the meeting. None of us were. I can't verify that she said it. If she said it, I would put it in context.
She feels very strongly about what this president has done and is doing this country on health care and other issues. And she also has a different strategy on how to go about dealing with that.
SCIUTTO: So, who is right? You look at the polls. You have a large number of Democrats who support impeachment proceedings. I believe CNN's latest number was around 76 percent. But the country, particularly independents, they're not for it. And Speaker Pelosi is conscious they regain control of the House by flipping red districts. They're not regaining it by holding districts in California and the coasts, the East Coast.
POWERS: I personally --
SCIUTTO: Pick up a lot.
POWERS: I would always go with Nancy Pelosi's jump, honestly. She's got incredible judgment. People have always doubted her, and I think she has pushed back.
I mean, we just got over an election cycle where people were claiming she was finished and she needed to step down. She's the only person who can deal with Donald Trump. And I think that, you know -- and she has ignored that. She has ignored that noise. It doesn't matter how much people come at her.
If someone needs to go out in their district and say they're not going to vote for her, she's like go for it. Do what you've got to do.
So, I think if you're going to look at somebody who has really excellent judgment when it comes to politics, she's the person. That doesn't mean she is absolutely right. How can you really know what would happen, right, if they pursued an impeachment. We don't really know.
But I think she is making her best judgment let's try and beat him. Doesn't mean you can't do investigations, and if you find something that really rises to the level that you could get the Senate to do something, then maybe do something.
WEISS: And to add to what Kirsten is saying, Chairman Nadler and the speaker in most ways are really on the same page.
[20:20:06] They both have the same goal. They want to hold the administration accountable and achieve legislative victories for the American people.
They may have differences in strategy. That's not uncommon. Chairman often bring their strategic ideas to the speaker, and she will listen to them and say that's a great idea. Let's do it. Or she will say I disagree with you.
And that's the way the process works. A lot of times you don't see it. This is becoming particularly public. You don't often see the differences that take place between the chairs and the speaker.
SCIUTTO: The conventional wisdom is that impeachment by Republicans helped Bill Clinton, and therefore that's led to this conventional wisdom that impeachment by Democrats of Donald Trump may help him in 2020. But I've heard folks make the point, well, after all, Republicans won the presidency in 2020.
POWERS: But they lost seats in the most --
SCIUTTO: They did but like a handful, right? It's like four or five seats.
POWERS: But at the time, it was enough that Newt Gingrich had the step down. But I still they, again, there is no way you can really predict, but I think if you're looking at what people are following, the average American tends to tune out this noise in Washington. They tend to say this is what people do.
SCIUTTO: They've got a Little League game tonight, no one was talking about it.
POWERS: Yes. They say this is what they do. They go and investigate each other and they go after each other, and they don't really -- it's not what they're paying attention to. So, I think Nancy Pelosi's calculus is that's not how you beat Donald Trump.
POWERS: So, again, it doesn't mean that you can't do the investigations, and it doesn't mean that down the road they couldn't pursue that if it looked like.
POWERS: But the biggest thing is so you do that and what, the Senate doesn't convict?
WEISS: But in fact they are taking significant steps. On Tuesday, Democrats will bring to the floor the contempt resolution against Attorney General Barr and White House counsel McGahn. There will be significant hearings most of next week in the Judiciary Committee. The Intelligence Committee has laid out a week's worth of hearings, if not more on the Russia investigation.
So, this strategy of oversight and legislation, you're going to see in a much more robust way going forward. And they have both said, the chairman and the speaker, all options are on the table and it's not clear where this ends up.
SCIUTTO: They're clearly going to investigate, the question is, to what degree and to what step do they take impeachment proceedings. But when do folks just say enough of this? And when are you going to get me an infrastructure plan? You know what I'm saying?
WEISS: We'll have to ask senator McConnell about that.
SCIUTTO: No question, I know. But you know voters don't necessarily look at that. They say, I put you in 2018. What have you done for me? That's the essential risk.
POWERS: Well, I mean, I think Democrats will say they're trying to negotiate deals with the president.
SCIUTTO: You can say that. Will voters buy it?
POWERS: Yes. And I think that -- well, the Democrats aren't really -- the election is a referendum on the president. So I think it's much more going to be what is he doing. I mean, historically speaking, presidential elections are always a referendum on the incumbent.
So I think the Democrats will say we're doing the best we can, but we need a Democratic president.
SCIUTTO: Right. Well, we followed it. There is a lot of time between now and then.
Danny and Kirsten, great to have you both.
Coming up next, will President Trump carry out his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico over what he calls the migrant crisis? There is new reporting on that and perspective as well from Univision's Jorge Ramos when 360 continues.
[20:27:40] SCIUTTO: President Trump has given Mexico a Monday deadline to reach some sort of deal to reduce migrants coming into this country or face significant tariffs, and the president has until tomorrow to sign the executive order if he wants to impose those tariffs.
Before leaving this morning for Normandy, he signaled again that he is willing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We've told Mexico the tariffs go on, and I mean it too. And I'm very happy with it. And a lot of people, senators included, they have no idea what they're talking about when it comes to tariffs. They have no -- absolutely no idea.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: A short time later, Vice President Pence, who has been conducting talks with the Mexican officials, says the president is not bluffing and means what he says. And tonight, there is new reporting in "The Washington Post" suggesting the Mexican government is taking the threat seriously.
Joining us now from Mexico City, Kevin Sieff. He shares a byline on that story.
So, Kevin, just lay out your reporting for us. What exactly are Mexican officials pledging to do to avoid these tariffs?
KEVIN SIEFF, THE WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): So what we understand was that there was a deal on the table that would basically allow Mexico and Guatemala to serve as what would be called safe third countries. In other words, asylum seekers who arrive in the U.S. would instead be deported to -- in the case of Guatemala, and Mexico. And the case of Hondurans and Guatemalans be deported to Guatemala and they could then apply for asylum in those countries that would relieve to some degree a large flow of migrants, sending them back to other countries in Central America and Mexico.
So, the huge question still about how safe this is for migrants, whether it's something ultimately the Mexicans are willing to agree to, whether it's enough for Trump to be satisfied and not implement the tariffs. We understand this is the closest they have gotten, the two sides, to an agreement.
SCIUTTO: Have the Mexican officials specified how quickly they would implement this?
SIEFF: No. It's still unclear exactly how this would work, when this would work, certainly if the courts would allow it. Another piece of this is also Mexico has said that they're willing to send about 5,000 or 6,000 members of the national guard to the southern border to help secure the southern border. That's something that is a little bit more realistic.
[20:30:00] I mean, Mexico two days ago said that they would not allow, again, the Safe Third Country Agreement.
So, the idea that two days later these negotiations have shifted to Mexican position so dramatically, you know, it's unclear how that happened. It's unclear how Mexico would sell this to its domestic population.
But we understand that they are -- the Mexicans are taking this very, very seriously and are willing to offer something that is, you know, unusual for the current Mexican administration.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Kevin Sieff in Mexico City, thanks very much.
Perspective now from someone who has done a great deal of reporting from Mexico's northern and southern borders, Univision Anchor Jorge Ramos.
So, Jorge, first of all, we have some news tonight, there's new reporting that Mexican officials are now discussing a deal that would involve dramatically increasing their own immigration enforcement efforts, including on their border with Central America. It seems like you might say they're bending over backwards to the Trump administration's pressure here with these tariffs.
JORGE RAMOS, UNIVISION ANCHOR: Well, the truth is that Mexico should not become Trump's immigration police. And it is unfair to us from -- to do -- to us Mexico to do something that the United States hasn't been able to do.
On the other hand, it is true. Mexico might be trying to do something different at this point. As you know, Mexico has a new president, Andres Manuel Lopez-Obrador. He started about six months ago, and he proposed the creation of the National Guard, La Guardia National.
These National Guard is being created as we speak, and they have offered to send about 6,000 of their members to the border between Guatemala and Mexico. I was there a few months ago and it's completely open. So, yes, it might help.
But at the end, enforcement is not the only solution. What you need is investment and financial aid in Central America and President Trump just cut that aid. So that's the worst that you can do if you want to prevent more Central Americans from coming to the United States.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Because it strikes me that by deploying troops down on that southern border with Guatemala, you're not stopping the origin of the flow, right, from these impacted Central American countries, you're basically just moving the problem south, are you not?
RAMOS: Exactly. And this is a regional crisis. It's not only in Mexico or Central America, it's also here in the United States. The problem we have in Central America is that people are fleeing extreme poverty. They are fleeing violence, and they are fleeing the change.
The coffee fields in Guatemala, for instance, are being devastated. And for Central Americans, they prefer to be detained in the United States than risking being killed or being raped by gang members in Guatemala, in Honduras or El Salvador.
In Mexico, what we have right now, of course, is a new president. And when he took over in December, he promised visas and work permits for Central Americans. Many of them thought that that was a way to cross Mexico in a safer way.
And then here in the United States, there's the perception from many Central Americans that if you come with a kid, with a child, that you can actually come into this country, and that's the truth. If you come with a child, you might be allowed to stay in the United States. So that's the regional crisis that we are facing right now.
SCIUTTO: You have covered Donald Trump from a folks I think know who follow you back to the campaign. Do you think President Trump is likely to accept a deal like this, alleviate his tariffs threat based on what these concessions look like from Mexico?
RAMOS: Well, as you know, in 2016, he used Mexico. He called Mexican immigrants. We called -- he called us criminals and rapists.
RAMOS: And now it seems that he is using Mexico again as his favorite enemy. But let me tell you something, many people in Mexico think that Donald Trump is a bully. And with bullies you only have two options, you either ignore them or you confront them.
For a long time, Lopez-Obrador tried to ignore Donald Trump. He can no longer do that. But Lopez-Obrador understands that this goes beyond economics. He understands that this has to do with national pride.
There's going to be a huge rally in Tijuana this Saturday and you'll see that support that he has. I was reading a Mexican newspaper. He has -- 84 percent of Mexican support President Lopez-Obrador. And Mexico is a very strong country.
So, if the U.S. doesn't want to negotiate with Mexico, Lopez-Obrador might be cornered and many U.S. products have a huge market in Mexico. And not only that, Mexico controls the flow of drugs and immigrants to the United States.
So if you think Mexico is not doing something, just wait to see what happens if Lopez-Obrador says that he will no longer cooperate with the United States when it comes to drugs and immigrants. That would be a tragedy at the border.
[20:35:07] SCIUTTO: Jorge Ramos, nice to have you on this evening.
RAMOS: Thank you, Jim.
SCIUTTO: And just ahead, President Trump honors the surviving veterans of D-Day at the 75th anniversary in Normandy.
SCIUTTO: The speeches delivered by President Trump and others at Omaha Beach today honored the D-Day veterans who can still gather and still remember their fallen comrades. None caught our eye more than what he said about American Russell Pickett
Pickett is the last known survivor of Company A of the 116th Regiment 29th Infantry Division. He was part of the first wave, the storm Omaha beat, often called the suicide wave. Pickett, then just 19, was immediately wounded. He was eventually rescued and taken to a hospital in London. Determined to rejoin his company, he did so just six days later. Again, he was wounded soldier. President Trump picks up the story from there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[20:40:00] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Again, he chose to return. He didn't care. He had to be here. He was then wounded a third time and laid unconscious for 12 days. They thought he was gone. They thought he had no chance. Russell Pickett is the last known survivor of the legendary Company A. And today, believe it or not, he has returned once more to these shores to be with his comrades.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCIUTTO: At the end of that speech, the 94-year-old stood to thank those who had honored him. Private Pickett, he needed help, though immediately French President Macron came to his aid. Soon, President Trump followed and gave Pickett a big hug.
Joining me tonight is the granddaughter of D-Day veteran Russell Pickett, Edie Bice. Edie, I think it was an emotional moment for all of us watching today to see the French President Macron help your grandfather stand. And I wonder what went through your mind during that moment.
EDIE BICE, GRANDDAUGHTER OF D-DAY VETERAN RUSSELL PICKETT: It was very emotional. So, there was tears, first and foremost. But it was just -- honor is the first thing that comes to mind. So honored that he was there, that he got to go, and that, you know, he was chosen out of those that were there to be recognized. And he gave so much and as did all. But I guess the one word that just sums it up for me is just we felt so honored and so grateful for the recognition that he received.
SCIUTTO: I know you played such a role in this because you helped plan this trip for your grandfather. You made sure he had a smartphone so he could call his family back home. And I know he called you today. So what did he tell you from there?
BICE: He did. He called me after the event. He was -- he was so excited about everything. And he feels so blessed with the Best Defense Foundation helping him get over there. And this is his second -- he was over there for the 50th. So it was -- he feels very honored that he was able to be back for the 75th.
And then the way he's just been treated in general, that's one of the things he commented to me on is like he said he's not ever in his life been treated with such respect and dignity that he's been treated with this trip. And he joked with me a little bit that when he got home, he might have a few new expectations of us on how he might expect to be treated now when he gets back home.
SCIUTTO: Yes. BICE: But, it's -- yes. So, who knows what he'll expect of us when he gets back now that he's gone through this experience, but, no. All in all, he's --
SCIUTTO: I don't think that's unreasonable. I don't think it's unreasonable.
BICE: I don't -- hey, I don't think it's unreasonable either. Well, whatever we've got to do to make him happy is what we'll do.
SCIUTTO: Well, your grandfather is part of the Omaha Beach landing on D-Day, which was really the deadliest part of that battlefield. It had the highest number of casualties. Years later, he opened up about what we now called PTSD. Of course, at the time they didn't -- that he experienced from that, and how he went about helping other veterans who experienced the same. Tell us about that.
BICE: Yes. I'll be honest. For years, I knew he was a World War II veteran, but for years that's all I knew that, you know, he served in World War II and he was a D-Day survivor. And he just never spoke about that to the family and it just wasn't talked about. It wasn't mentioned.
Then as he got on up in years and started into retirement, he became a very active member of the Disabled Veterans Association here locally, and he worked very hard to help those members get their benefits. And it was during that time period that I think he began to face some of that of what he went through.
And he began to open up and began to talk with the family and share some of what he went through. And one of the things I really appreciate that he did is he wrote down his memoirs. And my cousin actually took those and printed those out for us.
[20:45:01] And we have a personal book now that are his personal memoirs written by him in his own words that recount everything that he went through during the war.
SCIUTTO: Well, I'm so glad he did write it down because so often with our older relatives, we think about that, we don't do it and then you feel like those stories are lost. So, I'm happy he did.
SCIUTTO: And I'm so happy you came on tonight to help tell us more about him. Edie Bice, thank you so much.
BICE: Yes, thank you so much.
SCIUTTO: There is a lot more straight ahead tonight, including the latest on an accident near West Point involving soldiers and cadets at the military academy. That's coming up.
SCIUTTO: Welcome back. Some new details emerging tonight on that accident near U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The academy superintendent says that one cadet was killed, 19 other cadets, two soldiers injured, this when a military vehicle rolled over not far from West Point.
[20:50:06] None of the injuries of the others, the superintendent says, are considered life threatening. The accident took place near the academy's training site.
Chris Cuomo joins me with a look ahead and, you know, some big news tonight from Joe Biden, a very definitive turn around on the abortion issue.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Is it? I mean, Jimmy, I don't get it. I got to be honest. So he's with -- let's go back to the beginning, all right? Biden was there when the Hyde Amendment was originally passed. He was for it, OK. Then he's on the line with the ACLU lady, he says it's got to go. Then the campaign puts out a statement says, no, he's still for it.
Then I have one of his campaign surrogates on last night, the congressman, and he says kind of both. He's like he's a man of conscience and he's lead by his faith, but he's always been in favor of federal money for access. Those two things don't go together with the Hyde Amendment.
SCIUTTO: But with that speech tonight, I mean, it seems like he's trying to put a fork.
CUOMO: Then he says it's got to go.
SCIUTTO: And he says it's got to go. I mean, in fairness, too, others have made this point that every federal budget passed over the last several years in effect follows the Hyde Amendment --
SCIUTTO: -- because it has language in there that says you can't have federal money for abortion. So, can you say that sitting lawmakers also by their votes supported the Hyde Amendment, by voting for those budgets?
CUOMO: Putatively, yes, you would say that. But he is running for high office and I would argue this is a softball, you know, either you're for it or you're not for it. This is a chance -- one of the beautiful things about campaigns is you get the chance to define and redefine yourself.
CUOMO: I don't get how they thought this one through, but ultimately all that will matter is what he says his position is and sticking to it. But, you know, this is what it's like now that they're into the teeth of the campaign. So, we're doing two different hamlet deals, one with Biden and one with the top Democrats. What is the way forward in doing their job? SCIUTTO: Yes. No question. The only question is impeachment, no question in this that disagreement breaking out into the public, Nadler versus Pelosi. I'm sure we're going to see lot more of that. I know you're going to dive in. Chris Cuomo, see you very shortly.
CUOMO: My man.
SCIUTTO: Coming up next, meet a Colorado couple who say they got sick at the same Dominican Republic resort where three Americans have recently died.
And a quick programming note, Van Jones meets a man who spent the last two decades struggling with PTSD and a spinal injury, this after being shot multiple times in 1994. It is on "The Redemption Project," Sunday night, 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
[20:56:11] SCIUTTO: Authorities in the Dominican Republic have released preliminary autopsy results in three cases involving American tourists who died at the very same resort within five days of each other.
They find that one woman suffered a heart attack, a couple each had internal bleeding as well as fluid in their lungs. The final cause of death for all three is yet to be determined. All of which is of great interest to a Colorado couple who say that they stayed at the very same resort last year and believe they were also poisoned.
Here is CNN Senior Investigative Correspondent Drew Griffin.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Kaylynn Knull reached out to CNN almost immediately after learning three Americans just died at the same resort in the Dominican Republic where she believes she was poisoned along with her boyfriend.
(on camera) What is your reaction?
KAYLYNN KNULL, SAYS SHE WAS POISONED AT BAHIA PRINCIPE RESORT: Blood boiling. It's too coincidental with the symptoms that we had for me to even begin to stay quiet about it.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): One year ago this month, the Colorado couple traveled to the all inclusive Grand Bahia Principe Resort La Romana. And for the first few days it seemed a vacation of a lifetime, but on the 6th day, Knull became ill.
KNULL: I woke up with a head ache one morning. We had gone to breakfast to see if I could get some water, get some juice, try some food, feel better. And then when we came back to the room, it actually hit us a lot stronger and we smelt the smell of chemicals.
GRIFFIN: She got progressively worse, then her boyfriend, Tom Schwander, started feeling it too. They say they were sweating, drooling, dizzy, nauseous. It wouldn't go away. Neither would the smell in their hotel room.
KNULL: We saw a housekeeper outside and we called her in to see if she could come in. She walked maybe five or six feet into the room and turned around and said I'm not doing that. And then got on her walkie-talkie to the front desk and said something is going on with this room. She refused to come in and clean it.
GRIFFIN: Kaylynn and Tom had seen someone spraying plants near the air conditioner outside their room. They assumed it was pesticide, but the hotel wouldn't say what it was. They switched rooms twice. It didn't help.
TOM SCHWANDER, SAYS HE WAS POISONED AT BAHIA PRINCIPE RESORT: It progressed over the rest our trip and then over the course of a couple of weeks after.
GRIFFIN (on camera): A couple of weeks?
SCHWANDER: Yes. The abdominal cramping and the G.I. upset lasted for a few weeks.
GRIFFIN: And you said drooling?
SCHWANDER: Yes, drooling.
SCHWANDER: Bad sweat, tearing.
SCHWANDER: Dizzy, nauseous, yes, and the abdominal cramping was the worst. That was the hardest symptom to deal with. There's just so much pain.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): Back in Colorado, Knull's physician diagnosed her with organophosphate poisoning. Schwander's doctors suspect the same thing. Heavily regulated and in some cases banned in the U.S., organophosphate are man-made chemicals found in insecticides.
Exposure can cause increased saliva, tear production, diarrhea, nausea, sweating, confusion and death. The couple says they still have occasional symptoms and they are most concerned about their future health. Even after filing a lawsuit, they still do not know what exactly poisoned them.
KNULL: Honestly, all I wanted was the chemical name. That is all I ever wanted. I could care less about the money if I can save my own life later and him, too. It's what happened to him, what happened to me. What is it that we can do at this point?
SCIUTTO: And Drew Griffin joins us now. Drew, you've investigating this. Has a company confirmed any of this? What's their response? GRIFFIN: Their response is really no response. They have failed to answer just about all of our questions, Jim, and they will not speak specifically about this case with this couple because there's litigation involved.
In the meantime, the company is chastising us basically to not even speculate on the current death investigations happening at the same resort while those investigations continue. So we're not getting much at all from Bahia Resorts.
SCIUTTO: Drew Griffin, thanks very much. The news continues. I'm going to hand it over to my friend, Chris, for "Cuomo Prime Time."