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Three American Deaths at Dominican Republic Resort; Tragedy at West Point; No Deal With Mexico on Tariffs; Will Mueller Testify?. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired June 6, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:08]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: We continue on. You're watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.

Despite his wishes not to testify, former special counsel Robert Mueller may have to do precisely that. Turns out House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler just informed Democratic leadership that he would issue a subpoena within weeks for Mueller's testimony.

This is happening just 24 hours after saying he hoped it wouldn't come to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Why are you so confident that the former special counsel Robert Mueller will appear in public before your committee without a formal subpoena?

REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): Well, I didn't say without a formal subpoena. Hopefully, it won't come to that, but it may.

BLITZER: Well, are you confident he will appear, one way or another, with a subpoena or without a subpoena?

NADLER: Oh, sure. Sure. He's an honest, honorable person, unlike the White House, which is defying congressional subpoenas. There is no legal excuse for denying the -- for defying the subpoenas.

And I can't imagine that Mr. Mueller would defy the law. He's an honorable person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let's dive right in on this.

Renato Mariotti is a former federal prosecutor and a CNN legal analyst. And Gloria Borger is our CNN chief political analyst.

So, welcome to both of you.

And, Renato, what are Mueller's options? RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think Mueller is going to testify. He doesn't want to, but he's just -- he's going to be careful about what he has to say and what he's going to -- what questions he's going to answer.

So I expect what Mueller is going to do is, he's going to give very carefully worded answers that are drawn largely from his report. And I think that's going to be enough for Chairman Nadler. One thing that it's worth noting is that when Mueller made that public statement on television, he really said nothing new.

He repeated various lines from his...

BALDWIN: It's all in the report.

MARIOTTI: Yes.

And yet it had a big impact. We saw almost an immediate shift in how President Trump and his allies treated Mueller, how they talked about it. President Trump today made some false statements, but very strong statements about Mueller. He wasn't doing that.

He said that Mueller acted honorably when he just had the report, written report, out there. So I think that having Mueller repeating his report is enough for Chairman Nadler.

BALDWIN: So then, to that point, because cameras do change things, right, whether he ends up testifying behind closed doors or publicly. We know now Nadler said he doesn't want Mueller to testify privately.

What do those negotiations look like to get him in front of cameras?

(CROSSTALK)

MARIOTTI: So, I -- oh, I'm sorry, Gloria.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, no, go ahead. You're the lawyer.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Go ahead. Go ahead, Renato.

MARIOTTI: I'm sorry.

What I would think is, beforehand, Mueller and any -- if he has a team -- is going to be negotiating with Nadler about the types of questions that can be asked. I think he would want -- seek to limit his testimony in advance.

There might be certain topics that they -- he will be willing to talk about behind closed doors, counterintelligence matters. But, publicly, I think he's going to want some assurance that they're not going to be trying to push him to answer questions that he's not comfortable providing answers to. And I suspect the Democrats are going to agree to that, because they

need Mueller. They need Mueller out there to say -- to speak about his report. So, they're going to agree to whatever he wants, in order to get him in a chair in front of a television.

BALDWIN: Yes.

To that point, Gloria, I remember, in the last week, it was congressman, I think, it was Gallego who said this would be his breaking point on impeachment, right, because there are only so many House Democrats who are saying impeachment.

And knowing that they would likely hear from Mueller one way or another, do you think this move, would it move the needle for Democrats who are on the fence when it comes to impeachment proceedings?

BORGER: I think it would be important to hear from Mueller. And I think people who are pushing for impeachment might back off a little bit once they get somebody before some committee.

I mean, they need to have somebody testify. They need to bring this to the American public. You have read all 400-plus pages. Renato has read all 400-plus pages. Most people in this country have not. And what you need to do is bring it to life.

And so Mueller will be a witness who will be a bit diffident. He's not going to go beyond his report, but he will be able to tell the story, if the Democrats have the hearing the right way. And that, by that, I mean they encourage him to go through the details of what is in the report, and let the American public hear that from somebody who is a very credible witness.

They're also going to try and get Don McGahn, obviously, and Hope Hicks, and those people would be very important. And so maybe the pro-impeachment group would back off just a little bit if these hearings start and continue.

BALDWIN: Speaking of impeachment, tensions have been high between Chairman Nadler, who would oversee this, and Speaker Pelosi. And you have seen the reporting out of Politico today where Speaker Pelosi was talking to this group of Democrats.

[15:05:00]

And she said reportedly -- quote -- "I don't want to see him impeached. I want to see him in prison."

I mean, we saw what happened when she referred to all of this as a cover-up a couple of weeks ago, and now she's ratcheted up to prison, yet she's still reluctant on impeachment. What's her strategy, Gloria?

BORGER: I think her strategy is that she'd rather take the legal route than lose, which I think she thinks she could lose the House of Representatives over this. She's got more than 15 Democrats who won in Trump districts. Those

people are coming to her and saying, my constituents are not talking about this. My constituents want to see what else we're doing. She does not want to endanger her speakership here. She does not want to endanger the House majority.

So she's walking this fine line, saying...

BALDWIN: Well, fine line, if I may, saying prison, that's tough talk.

BORGER: It is a little reminiscent of lock her up, isn't it, with Hillary Clinton. And I think that kind of language is never appropriate from a leader.

BALDWIN: But is that her way of saying to those pro-impeachment Democrats, listen, I have got you, I'm listening to you?

BORGER: I'm with you.

BALDWIN: Yes.

BORGER: I'm with you. I'm a strong on this as you are, if not stronger, right? She's saying to them, it's not like I'm being soft on this issue. But what I want to do is let it be decided in the polls, rather than having it be decided by the House of Representatives.

BALDWIN: Yes.

BORGER: And, by the way, it wouldn't go anywhere in the Senate. So it could be a Pyrrhic victory in the House. And so that's where she is coming from, and she's not moving.

BALDWIN: So, Renato, if we take Speaker Pelosi at her word, it assumes, number one, that he doesn't get reelected in 2020, and, number two, that a prosecutor would indict him on the evidence in the Mueller report or perhaps other ongoing investigations.

And so you wrote this piece in Politico about what that could look like. How might this play out?

MARIOTTI: Well, what I would expect is a Democratic president, if -- I assume he or she would leave that to the attorney general. There's a pretty broad consensus amongst federal prosecutors, former federal prosecutors that you have highly prosecutable evidence in the Mueller report of obstruction of justice.

Sally Yates, for example, who might be the next attorney general, said publicly that she thought Trump would be indicted if he was not president. So what I would expect is an indictment, at least a three- count indictment for obstruction of justice for Trump trying to fire Mueller, trying to limit the scope of the investigation, and then trying to get the former White House counsel to create a false record.

I think those three are very, very strong charges. Notably, McGahn told Trump it would be obstruction of justice beforehand, or it could be obstruction of justice. And he went ahead and did it anyway. And that's about a strong evidence as you can get, if your lawyer tells you...

BALDWIN: You don't think some president -- I have had other former federal prosecutors sit up here and say no way. If someone else gets elected, they're a Democrat. They just don't want to walk down that path. It will just be over. You don't see it that way?

MARIOTTI: Well, that's a political judgment. I would say, as a legal matter, I think, yes, it's clear.

BALDWIN: Got you. I got you.

MARIOTTI: But the question is, would -- well, let me ask you this.

Would what Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren or any of them want to say -- order their attorney general not to prosecute?

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: I take your point. I take your point.

Go ahead, Gloria.

BORGER: Well, I don't -- that's a really interesting question that Renato asks.

I don't know what a Joe Biden would do. I don't know if he'd say, the country needs to move past this, which is what Gerald Ford did in pardoning Richard Nixon, if you will recall. I think that's what -- they may say the country needs to move on. So we don't know.

My question, my legal question would be, what about a statute of limitations on a lot of these things?

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Because if he is reelected, it's up, right, Renato?

(CROSSTALK)

MARIOTTI: Exactly. That's why this election matters so much to President Trump. The statute of limitations would run if he gets reelected. It would not run if he if he loses, so he's all in on this reelection bid. A lot is riding on it.

(CROSSTALK)

BORGER: For lots of reasons.

BALDWIN: OK, I have got one more question. For lots of reasons.

Gloria, I want to get your reaction to this interview that Trump just has done with FOX News. Here you go. Here's a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS: Do you mind if he testifies still? Before, you said you didn't care if Mueller testified.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me tell you, he made such a fool out of himself the last time he -- because what people don't report is the letter he had to do to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong.

But Nancy Pelosi -- I call her nervous Nancy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: I'm not even going to ask you, Gloria, to dissect what he means by that, but to sit there, such hallowed ground in Normandy with the graves of America's fallen behind him, what say you?

BORGER: Look, it's also wildly inappropriate, but I think I have lost that sense of inappropriate in my brain somewhere over the last couple of years.

BALDWIN: Yes.

BORGER: And so, yes, to call Nancy -- he's finally found a name for her. OK? He hadn't had one before. So now he has nervous Nancy, which I think he likes alliteration.

[15:10:05]

But -- and I think to say that Mueller made a fool of himself is absurd. I mean, what he -- I will take a guess at what he meant, which is that he meant that he and Barr had to clarify that he wasn't saying anything different from what he had already said before. Perhaps that's it. I don't know.

BALDWIN: But I thought it was the Bible, but maybe that was like totally three weeks ago.

BORGER: Yes, exactly. Exactly.

(LAUGHTER)

BORGER: So I think -- yes, I think Trump often conflates things.

BALDWIN: Yes.

BORGER: But it's clear to me that the president who once said I have no problem with Bob Mueller testifying now is singing a completely different song.

(CROSSTALK)

BALDWIN: Right.

Gloria Borger, always a pleasure. Thank you very much.

MARIOTTI: Thanks. BALDWIN: The preliminary autopsy results were just released for those three Americans who died at the very same resort in the Dominican Republic. We will ask a medical examiner to analyze that for us.

And as President Trump doubles down on his Mexico tariff threats, CNN has uncovered comments from his top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, that a move like that would cause -- his words -- incalculable damage to the U.S. economy.

And an investigation under way right now at West Point after one cadet has been killed and 21 others were injured when a military vehicle rolled over during a training exercise this morning.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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BALDWIN: Time is running out to stop the president from taxing goods from Mexico over illegal immigration.

A Mexican delegation was scheduled to this afternoon meet with this afternoon officials from the White House, State Department and Department of Homeland Security. It is the second meeting today. The first one ended with the Mexicans saying advances were made. But a White House adviser, countering that assessment, saying -- quote -- "What Mexico is offering is not enough."

The president said nearly a week ago that he will impose on Monday the first in a series of tariffs unless Mexico steps up its immigration enforcement. It's not totally clear what Mexico needs to do, but the president did offer this up today:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They're swamping our border. They coming up by the millions. Mexico can stop it. They have to stop it. Otherwise, we just won't be able to do business. It's a very simple thing.

And I think they will stop it. I think they want to do something. I think they want to make a deal. And they sent their top people to try and do it. We will see what happens today. We should know something.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: We will come back to this.

But tragedy has struck the U.S. military academy at West Point. An unidentified senior cadet was killed and 20 others were injured when their military vehicle overturned during some sort of training exercise this morning. It happened near the Camp Natural Bridge training site.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LT. GEN. DARRYL A. WILLIAMS, SUPERINTENDENT, USMA AT WEST POINT: We train very heavily here at West Point. And the training they do is part of our normal senior training. They have been doing this for some time now.

And they were headed to land navigation training when they were in the back of the truck. They were being transferred to the training site. And that's when the vehicle had the accident.

No, it is not common for these vehicles to turn over. It's very rough terrain. You can see the hills we have here. We want to make sure that our soldiers and our cadets train in realistic training environment. So this is part of our realistic training.

This is the United States Army. We're strong. We're strong here at West Point. The community has come together very, very nicely, as I talked about the medical support and all the great professionals we have here, along with our partners, as I mentioned.

So we responded extremely quickly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: How awful.

CNN's Alex Marquardt is following this one for us today.

And so, Alex, this was some sort of training exercise this morning. What went wrong?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke, we heard just a short time ago from the superintendent there, the three-star general, Darryl Williams.

And, essentially, what he said is that this was a group of seniors, so the class of 2020. Obviously, we just had the commencement ceremony at West Point. This was a classic, routine summer training for these seniors to train them, obviously, to become the officers that they're eventually going to be, specifically in various types of combat operations.

And what we understand from General -- from the general there is that this was a rollover accident, that there were around 20 cadets in this truck, which they call a light medium tactical vehicle. And it was being driven by a soldier, an active-duty soldier, when it rolled over.

The general there confirming that one of the cadets was indeed killed. He didn't say where this cadet was sitting; 20 others were injured. Thankfully, according to the superintendent, none of those injuries are life-threatening.

Actually, Brooke, I just spoke with someone who was directly involved, who was there on the scene earlier today, who said that this was little more than an accident. But, of course, it is a horribly tragic accident for the family of that cadet -- Brooke. BALDWIN: Can't even begin to imagine.

Alex, thank you so much.

Joining me now, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, former Army commanding general, CNN military analyst, West Point man, with me now.

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And, General, I just keep thinking of these parents, right who send their daughters and sons to this elite, elite school. They're a year from graduation. They are ready to sacrifice themselves for their country, no matter which way the world goes. And this person, this cadet lost his or her life in New York in training.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yes.

BALDWIN: How does this happen?

HERTLING: It happens sometimes in training, Brooke. Just by the state of any kind of military training, it's sometimes risky.

And if you have ever been on the terrain, near West Point, near Camp Buckner, the place where this is being conducted, where the summer training is conducted, Camp Natural Bridge, they're calling it, they bring in some active-duty Army soldiers to reinforce the seniors, as Alex just said, the class of 2020, the firsties, who are going to graduate next year.

And they prepare to conduct training for both the sophomore class and the freshman class, what are called the plebes and the yearlings. And they prepare for a couple of weeks before those yearlings and plebes come back -- or come into the academy.

And they go to all the different training sites. They're on these trucks. As Alex said, they're called LMTVs, light medium tactical vehicles. And the train in that area is very rough. It's hilly mountains, a lot of granite. They have these high-bedded trucks that go over these things. And sometimes the roads are slick and difficult to maneuver. And that's what happens.

Sometimes, a rollover occurs. And, unfortunately, when you have 20 soldiers, or, in this case, cadets in the back of one of these trucks, they get thrown around a little bit and perhaps caught underneath the weight of the vehicle.

BALDWIN: Can you just tell me a little bit more about the vehicle?

And as I was listening to the news conference earlier, I think I heard one of the reporters shouting out a question to the effect of, I think this sort of vehicle only holds X-amount. I want to say it was 12. And there were 20 or 21 of these firsties in this vehicle.

Tell me more about that.

HERTLING: No, it's a cargo truck. It can carry anywhere from two-and-a-half to five tons worth of cargo.

And you put quite a bit of people in the background of this, many more than 12. That's an incorrect statement by that reporter.

BALDWIN: Got it

HERTLING: But they're in the back of the truck. It's a cargo vehicle. You ship people around to different training locations.

But it is a high-bedded truck. It's made that way to get above the ground. It has a big clearance between the ground and the access -- the axle of the truck, so it's difficult -- so it's not difficult to conduct maneuvers over rough terrain where roads aren't.

And when you go into this area of Camp Buckner, there are a lot of trails and wooded terrain that you have to drive through to get to the various training sites. As I understand, General Williams, Darryl Williams, is the superintendent there. What he said is they were going land navigation site where they teach map reading to cadets.

And if it's a land navigation site, I have been there before -- it's in the hills. It's difficult to find different points. So you have to just truck cadets up there to conduct the training. It's just part of the situation on that particular battlefield, as it were.

BALDWIN: One killed, 21 others injured. We wait for updates on all of them.

And, of course, our hearts go out to the family.

General Hertling, thank you very much.

HERTLING: You're welcome, Brooke.

BALDWIN: More on our other news just in with a health inspection under way at the resort in the Dominican Republic where those three Americans died in five days. We are now learning the preliminary autopsy results. So we will talk to a medical examiner to analyze that for us.

Also, as President Trump doubles down on his Mexico tariff threats, CNN has uncovered comments from his top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, that a move like that would cause -- quote -- "incalculable damage" to the U.S. economy.

We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:28:39]

BALDWIN: Autopsy results are in. Preliminary autopsy results are in for the three American tourists who died while vacationing at the same resort in the Dominican Republic.

These initial findings indicate Miranda Werner died of a heart attack. And then the couple from Maryland, Edward Holmes and Cynthia Day, they both apparently had internal bleeding, including in the pancreas. Holmes and Day also had fluid in their lungs. And Cynthia Day also had fluid on her brain.

Toxicology reports are still pending. So, for now, officials say the exact cause of death cannot be determined. We should also mention the FBI is there and helping with those toxicology reports.

Also right now, local public health inspectors are on site at this resort. The autopsy also states that there were three drugs in the couple's room, two of which are unavailable in the U.S.

Joseph Scott Morgan is a forensics expert and the distinguished professor of applied forensics at Jacksonville State University in Alabama.

So, Joseph, thank you so much for being with me.

And I just ran through some of those initial results from the autopsy, the heart attack, the bleeding? What stands out to you?

JOSEPH SCOTT MORGAN, JACKSONVILLE STATE UNIVERSITY: Well, first off, in a preliminary result like this, when they say heart attack, heart attack doesn't really mean anything. You're not going to put that on a death certificate.

So, we would have to look at causal effects. Is this a rhythm event that was brought about as a result of exposure to something, which is kind of curious? This lady is 41 years old.

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