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Crane Collapses on a Residential Building in Dallas; Nineteen Democratic Candidates Campaign in Iowa; Mayor Bill de Blasio was Interviewed on his Iowa Campaign and President Trump's Impeachment; President Trump to Testify in Congress; Elie Honig Answers Legal Questions on "Cross-Exam"; NASA Blasted by Trump Tweets. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired June 9, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You're live in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Ana Cabrera in New York and we are following breaking news out of Dallas this hour where a crane has collapsed on a building that appears to be an apartment complex. You can see these live images right now, appears to be some workers on site.
We're told the buildings in this area were severely damaged and a local affiliate, KTVT, is reporting at least two people were injured when this crane collapsed. By the way, this area is dealing with severe storms that include damaging winds. We are working to get more information on this story and we'll bring you an update just as soon as we learn more.
But first, quick, how many of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates can you name? I'm guessing it might take you a while to come up with all of them, but if you were in Cedar Rapids, Iowa right now, you would be getting a chance to hear from 19 White House hopefuls.
It has been a jam-packed weekend of politicking all around the Hawkeye state, all of it building up to today's Hall of Fame dinner sponsored by the state Democratic Party. And each candidate who has shown up gets five minutes behind the mic.
Even though Iowa has fewer than 2 million registered voters, its caucuses have proven some clout. Al ore, John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton all won in Iowa and they all went on to become the party's nominee. So CNN and "The Des Moines Register" asked Iowa Democrats who is your first choice right now? And Joe Biden tops that list with 24 percent.
You can see there the next three candidates, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg -- they are clumped very close together in the teens and then the number drops to 7 percent for Kamala Harris. But nine of the 19 hopefuls in Iowa this weekend registered zero percent.
They are no one's first choice and they include Steve Bullock, Kirsten Gillibrand, John Hickenlooper, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell, Marianne Williamson, Bill de Blasio and Wayne Messam. Adding insult to injury for Bill de Blasio and Wayne Messam, no one in Iowa named them as their second choice either.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio is joining us from live now from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Mayor, thank you for taking the time. I know you're getting ready for your own five-minute speech. If winning in Iowa has become such a bellwether for Democrats running for president, how do you process this information that not one single Iowa voter named you as a first or second choice in this new polling?
BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ana, it's a poll of 600 Iowans eight months before the caucuses. This is just the beginning of a very long process. And I'll tell you something, Iowans have consistently surprised the pundits and come out many, many times with a choice that was not expected.
A lot of times, that choice only emerged in the final weeks before the caucuses. So, we got eight months ahead and I'm going all over Iowa --
DE BLASIO: -- and I'm talking about a very simple idea of putting working people first and it's resonating. And also folks in Iowa, they want to see you have experience, you've actually gotten things done. I talked about the things we've done in New York City like Pre-K for all, paid sick days, guaranteed health care for all New Yorkers.
And they like the sound of that. They want that here in Iowa. The more people know me, the more I meet them, the more they hear. I think things will change.
CABRERA: Well, "The Des Moines Register" candidate tracker says you have held 13 events over eight days in Iowa and you started visiting the state before you even announced so, not one person named you as their first choice.
DE BLASIO: Well, Ana, again, I joined this race three weeks ago. I was the last major candidate to announce and the information is just starting to flow. Look, I've been an underdog in lots of elections and ended up winning them all. What happens with most voters, most caucus- goers, they don't decide until quite late.
In fact, a major figure in the Iowa Democratic Party told me a few days ago that his rule of thumb is that people don't really pay attention until the final 10 days in terms of the actual final decision they're going to make.
There is a huge amount of information that's going to flow. I'm going to crisscross the state and a number of other states, too. And I'll tell you something, I think Democrats want a progressive. They want someone who can take on Trump. They want someone who will be very blunt about what's happening in this country.
And I say it probably more plainly than any of the candidates. I say there is plenty of money in this world and there is plenty of money in this country, it is just in the wrong hands. Working people are not getting their fair share. America is not working for working people right now. And I'll tell you, Ana, I have said that before audiences all over
Iowa and the other early states, and no matter what the demographics, what the size of the town, big or small, people respond to that point because that's the conversation they want to have.
And they know Donald Trump has not been on the side of working people. And they know that someone who comes out of New York is the kind of person who knows how to take on Donald Trump understanding his friction (ph), games --
CABRERA: That's funny you say that because I wonder if being New York City mayor might actually hurt you in a place like Iowa, and that voters may look at you skeptically given life in the big apple is a lot different than life in a rural Midwest community.
[17:04:57] DE BLASIO: Ana, it's a fair concern, but I'll tell you something, when it comes to the issues, I'm hearing from rural Iowans the same issues I hear from my constituents in New York, and I actually think the Democratic Party for decades formed a rural urban coalition.
That's what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did. That's what we had for many, many years and it worked for Democrats because it was about working people. It was about farmers, it was about factory workers, it was about everyday people.
And when I say to folks, we need to put working people first, and I talk about things like Pre-K for all kids in this country, paid sick leave for working people, paid time off, guaranteed two weeks paid vacation, which we're doing now in New York City as a law. These are the kinds of things that working people care about and they want to hear.
I would argue to you because I've spent time in rural Iowa. The economy has been devastated in a lot of small towns in rural Iowa. Farmers are hurting. They need economic change, they need fairness. And when they look at President Trump, more and more of them are feeling bamboozled by him.
They feel he conned them and what he's actually done is help the rich get richer. So, I believe in the end that Iowans are very sophisticated voters. They care about experience. I tell them, I'm talking about actions, real deeds, not words. Things I've done running the biggest, toughest, most diverse city in the country. And they care about that.
They care about things like experience. This is about who is going to be next commander-in-chief of the United States military, who is going to run the American government. It's not just about who has good ideas, but who can make them happen. And Ana, Iowans are really receptive on that point.
CABRERA: Let me ask you about something else because a lot of the talk in Washington among the Democratic Party has been whether to impeach or not impeach, and begin some impeachment inquiries. Last week, I know you said Democrats are talking about impeachment too much. Why do you believe that?
DE BLASIO: Ana, you know, just think about everyday Americans who are at their kitchen table, they are trying to deal with, you know, they're balancing their checkbook and dealing with all the bills and dealing with their kids and the health care needs of their family.
And they actually would like to hear us talking about that. And I'd like it if we would turn on the T.V. and saw, you know, Democrats removing (ph) the health care bill to help guarantee the folks get health care more easily. Democrats are lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Democrats removing the infrastructure bill regardless of Trump's maneuvers. But I think what is happening, I think --
CABRERA: But do you believe the president should be impeached right now? Do you believe that they should begin impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill?
DE BLASIO: I'll tell you what I think, but I just got to finish this point. I think, Ana, right now unfortunately when most Americans turn on T.V. or go online, what they see is a lot of inside baseball process procedure politics coming out of Washington and they'd like to see Democrats first working on the issues of working people.
But here's what I believe. I think the House needs to continue the investigation. I believe that will lead to a critical mass of information that then will make impeachment possible. Today, I don't think that critical mass exists and I think what's happening instead is the conversation is not on those bread and butter everyday issues that matter to Americans.
But let's deepen that investigation to get to that point where the information and the evidence is irrefutable. That's what happened in Watergate, you know, we have a bad example with the Clinton impeachment, the thing not to do. We have a good example in Watergate where the information was brought out to such a point that it became a consensus that even Republicans had to join into. And I hope that's the path we'll take. I think he'll be impeached in the end. I just don't think that's today.
CABRERA: What about Representative Jerry Nadler's argument that they could streamline the investigation by opening an impeachment inquiry. He also contends there would be a stronger case in the courts for getting all the docs and testimony that they're seeking. Is he wrong?
DE BLASIO: I think Congressman Nadler is a very smart guy and I think he's making a fair point, but I'd tell you this. First, we have to see Democrats move an issue agenda. I think before we do anything formal on impeachment, move an aggressive issue agenda.
Pass that infrastructure bill out of the House. Get the Democrats to say they would sign on. Pass actions on health care. Show the American people the work is happening. Prepare a deeper investigation. Look, the day may come where the best thing to do is to open the impeachment proceedings, but my fear right now is we have the cart before the horse and I mean these both in terms of honoring the mandated American people who sent Democrats in the majority to the house.
But also speaking to the people that we want to be part of a new majority in 2020, and showing them that Democrats are doing their job on the issues. I think you can do that first, deepen the evidence base for impeachment and then the day will come where it makes sense to open that impeachment proceeding. But I still don't think that's today.
CABRERA: One of the arguments I've heard against impeachment is it would further divide the country. If you became the candidate for the party, how do you bring people together? Because anyone can say, they can bridge the division, but what would be different about your approach?
DE BLASIO: Ana, I believe firmly what starts to unite people is if they see action that changes their lives for the better.
[17:10:01] And they feel it's about them, not about politics and not about donors and not about which party you are, but about them. One of the things I did in New York was create a plan to give Pre-K to all children regardless of income, regardless of neighborhood.
That plan is now in full effect. It's a universal right in New York City. Free high quality Pre-K for all. And I have to tell you, Republicans, there's a substantial Republican presence in New York City. We had 20 years of Republican mayors. Republican families are just as enthusiastic about it as Democratic families. Conservatives are just as enthusiastic as liberals.
Folks want to see change and when they feel some actual change, they open up. You know, it's funny, I think one mistake that both parties have made, and I say about my own party too, is we stop talking to people on the other side. I'm going to go all over Iowa, for example. I'm going to go to red counties and blue counties to have the conversation, because I think Pre-K for all actually cuts across all ideological lines.
My wife, Chirlane, focuses on mental health issues and making sure mental health services are available. That's something I found a lot of Republicans care about too. So I would argue to you the issue agenda actually starts to unite us and that a lot of people have interests that are more important than their party label.
But folks who are struggling to make ends meet, a lot of Republicans, a lot of independents, are having a tough time paying the bills too. If they think the government is going to finally do something to lighten their load, things like paid sick leave, I even think universal health care is something you're going to find a surprising amount of Republicans support for.
But we have to go into Republican communities too and have that discussion and show respect for folks in red counties and red states too and I intend to do that.
CABRERA: OK. Mayor Bill de Blasio, really appreciate you coming on and allowing us to help get your message out. Thank you. DE BLASIO: Thanks so much, ana.
CABRERA: All right. Be sure to tune in tonight because I'll be joined by another Democratic contender. You just heard from New York mayor, Bill de Blasio and former Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper, will join us at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on CNN.
We're following two breaking stories this hour. Six Flags Magic Mountain near Los Angeles is now being evacuated because of brush fires nearby. We'll give you the latest there.
Plus, some breaking news out of Dallas. More live pictures where a crane has collapsed over a building east of downtown. We'll bring you a live report, next.
[17:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: We are continuing to follow this breaking news this hour out of Texas, a crane collapsing into a building in Dallas. We are now hearing from a witness who saw that crane slicing into the building. Let's listen.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BIANCA HARPER-KELLY, WITNESS (via telephone): The rain started coming down when all of a sudden this big pipe started picking up and debris started flying around so I'm like, OK, I've got to get my family somewhere safe and this car is not safe.
So we were calling -- we had never been here before, so we were on the phone with our friend that lives there who was in the elevator trying to come meet us. And she said try to get into the parking garage.
And I asked, I was like OK, well give us one second. There's, you know, some wind going on. Once this debris clears, I'll head in there. Right as I said that, the crane started to sway and it kind of looked like it was spinning like a normal crane would do in windy situations until it took one tip.
And my wife and I watched it slowly -- we're trying to tell her, the crane, the crane, get out, get out. And, I mean, it just happened in seconds. And the crane completely collapsed. And then every bit of debris came up and I went and put my wife and the baby and the car somewhere else. I ran to try to see where our friend was at, what was going on, and that's when I saw how bad the situation was.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
CABRERA: Let me bring in CNN's Cristina Alesci. Cristina, what are you learning about this crane collapse?
CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now there are definitely more questions than answers, but what we do know is that witnesses are telling us they saw the crane collapse into the Elan City Lights apartment complex in Dallas. We don't have many details about exactly why this happened, but there
were a number of reports about severe weather in the area to the extent that we know anything about that weather and what the impact was. We know that 227,000 people were experiencing power outages because of the weather and that the airport actually shut down temporarily in Dallas Fort Worth.
So, there's an indication that weather played a role here, but definitely the investigation is going to look into whether there was also human error playing a role in this. You know, in Seattle, a crane collapsed in April and they're still investigating the cause of that.
And we're hearing that that investigation may take six months. So, it may be months before we know exactly what happened here, but it is certainly scary pictures and a very dramatic scene unfolding there in Dallas.
CABRERA: These are live pictures right now in fact.
CABRERA: And you said a couple people injured?
ALESCI: Two people so far, but we're still confirming the details. It might go up from here.
CABRERA: OK, Cristina Alesci, thank you. Keep us posted.
Violent protests also unfolding in Hong Kong as huge crowds filled the streets there, protesting a controversial new extradition law that's been proposed. We'll take you there, live, next.
[17:20:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: Back to our breaking news. A crane collapsed in Dallas. We understand there are injuries. A news conference has just gotten under way. Let's listen in.
JASON EVANS, DALLAS FIRE DEPARTMENT: -- damage and at this point, no one is confident that sending anyone inside of that structure is going to help it maintain its stability. So that's one of the places that we're looking at and that's actually where the primary point of concern is.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you please tell us -- sorry -- the person who passed away, was that person found in the building, in the garage, or did the person die on the scene or at the hospital?
EVANS: Not 100 percent sure exactly the details associated with where the person was pronounced, but in that primary area of concern that we identified, that's where that person was found.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you know the crane company?
EVANS: No, I do not know the crane company.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible), just for context, as far as the scale of this type of response, is this something you remember so far having encountered as authorities' difficulties are trying (inaudible)?
EVANS: No, that's a very good question. This is a really challenging situation in the sense that I cannot personally recall that we've had a crane collapse that didn't involve an already inhabited building. Most of the crane collapses we deal with, the crane -- I'm sorry -- the crane itself collapses almost on to itself or it collapses into a zone that itself is mostly vacant and under construction.
I don't recall ever responding to one where it's actually fallen onto an occupied building, much less an occupied five-story residential high-rise building.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was there construction work being done today (inaudible)?
EVANS: Not 100 percent sure. Obviously, the building itself is under construction. Not sure if there was actually construction going on at the time. Good. Thanks to everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We did (inaudible) -- I mean, I can't imagine for you guys --
EVANS: You know, we -- it's -- we certainly don't want to take away from the impact that it has on the people who live here because we know exactly what that feels like. This is difficult on first responders as well. But the most important part of our job at this juncture is to maintain our composure, our professionalism.
And despite the personal connection you may feel with something like this, make sure you stay on task. And -- but our hearts at this point go out to everyone who have been impacted by this incident and we only hope that the damage that's been inflicted thus f is where it stops.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, can you (inaudible) at the building?
EVANS: The worst area right now is a residential part on the east side of the building. Yes, ma'am.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you say you brought in search dogs?
[17:24:57] EVANS: Yes, we have some live find dogs who are on location trying to help go inside some of the zones that we're not sending first responders into.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So that's like the parking garage and then --
EVANS: The parking garage, yes, the eastern-most part and the parking garage. The western-most side I think we're sending some live find dogs into, but we're also able to still send first responders into as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So as far as residents, you're telling them to come over to the cultural center?
EVANS: Right now, this is where we're sending all residents, I mean, unless it's the case that they have someone, family or friends that are here for them and can take them elsewhere, right now we're working with the Office of Emergency Management, our Box Four Firebufs, Red Cross, any agency that we can call upon to render aid at this point in time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So is there some type of procedure that you guys (inaudible) in the building itself?
EVANS: Well, that's going to actually take a joint effort of a number of agencies to include the Dallas Fire Rescue, but that's something we're still in the process of working out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you need anything by any chance from our viewers or anything at all?
EVANS: No. At this point, you know, we just ask the viewers to keep their thoughts and prayers on the folks here at this location.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sometimes, you know, they ask for blood donations or whatever.
EVANS: Well, I haven't talked to the Red Cross or somebody along those lines who might be able to give me something, you know, along those lines to let you know about.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And have you heard about residents helping each other like rescuing other people out of --
EVANS: You know, you may talk to some of the residents. I'm sure a lot of that did go on, even in the panic of the situation, in the middle of the storm as it came through. I can't imagine just, you know, human nature not compelling you to try and help someone if you know that they're in the same situation you just came out of.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Jason.
EVANS: No problem.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you give us a rundown just how bad the injured, the deceased and all of that because you mentioned several numbers.
EVANS: Sure. Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Inaudible) is among the seven, correct.
EVANS: Yes. So, yes, we had seven people, and I'm going to go back to my notes because I may have messed up on the hospitals and numbers. So, seven -- we had four go to Baylor, we had three go to Parkland. We had two -- two were critical, three were noncritical, but serious enough that they had to be transported immediately. One was a fatality and then there was another minor injury who has already been discharged from the hospital. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So six hurt and one killed, correct?
EVANS: Yes, sir. That would actually be more accurate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey Jason, when can we expect maybe another update with you guys?
EVANS: You know, I will try to give you one as soon as I can. You know, I think I've been able to get the bulk of what I need to tell you at this point in time. I think everything is going to be kind of be slow-moving as far as any significant developments go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.
EVANS: No problem. All right.
CABRERA: Just want to recap what you just heard. That was a briefing from the Dallas Fire Department telling us one person has died, at least six more have been injured including two with critical injuries after a crane collapsed in Dallas on an apartment complex, an occupied apartment complex, we're told.
It is still unclear what exactly caused the crane collapse. We do know this area is dealing with severe storms and damaging winds that passed through later this afternoon. We will continue to update this story as we learn a lot more. We'll be right back.
[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: It's a presidential candidate campaigns in Iowa, but there are no cameras there to see it. Did they really campaign? This weekend, 19 Democratic contenders are in the state, trying to win over the hearts of the heartland caucus-goers. You know
And they are talking policy, they're shaking hands, they're kissing babies, and obviously showcasing their talents like piano playing. Here is Pete Buttigieg.
CABRERA: They're also pouring beers. That's John Hickenlooper. He'll be on with us later tonight. They're also going to church. There's Beto O'Rourke and his wife Amy. They're basically stepping on top of each other like when Senator Bernie Sanders had to wade through a crowd of Senator Kamala Harris supporters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE: Kamala! Kamala! Kamala!
CABRERA: This Iowa campaign blitz comes as a brand new CNN poll shows Biden leading in the state, but he is losing some grounds. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg are virtually tied for second place. Senator Kamala Harris rounds out the top five with 7 percent. Another nine candidates are unable to crack 3 percent in the state,
and another nine are struggling to even register in the poll. With us now to discuss, CNN political commentator and former Clinton White House press secretary, Joe Lockhart and associate editor and columnist for RealClearPolitics, A.B. Stoddard.
OK, guys, here's the good news and the bad news for Joe Biden in this poll. He is still polling in number one but his lead in Iowa is smaller than his lead nationally and other candidates are starting to gain some ground. Joe, should these numbers give the Biden campaign some pause?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think they're really mixed for Biden. I think you're right, that it is smaller than what you see out at the national level, but for two reasons. I think there's two positive points. One is, he has sort of staked out, you know, the middle ground.
And as long as there's three or four people fighting for the more progressive front, that helps him. If Elizabeth Warren or say Bernie Sanders or Pete Buttigieg pulls out into a lead and all of a sudden becomes a one-on-one contest, that will be bad news for Biden.
I think the other thing is if you look at inside the numbers, as Ron Brownstein was talking about in the last hour, and it's along the same point, which he does very, very well with the older voters. And the younger voters seem very much split among the rest of t1he field.
But, yes. I mean, listen, if any candidate who is a front-runner who doesn't get up every day concerned, they won't be a front-runner for much longer.
CABRERA: Yes, and the interesting thing, he's also not in Iowa. There are 19 people there, Biden isn't one of them. He did, however, A.B., tweet out a picture this weekend that has some people scratching their heads. This is a picture of friendship bracelets for himself and President Obama.
He's getting some flack for this. David Axelrod, former senior adviser to Obama, replied, "This is a joke, right?" And I want you to listen to what Jen Psaki, Obama's former communications chief said about Biden on CNN's "State of the Union" this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, FORMER OBAMA WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: What I think it does show about Joe Biden, though, is that he's rusty, and out of touch and out of sync with the electorate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[17:35:02] CABRERA: A.B., it seems like there may be a problem when you're not even winning over former members of your own administration, no?
A.B. STODDARD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR AND COLUMNOST, REALCLEARPOLITICS: Right. I mean, there have been a lot of people pointing out that Obama alumni are not flocking to the side of Vice President Biden. I think that he is not going to have a coronation. He very well could end up being the nominee, as Joe points out. He does the best with older voters, and the polling so far shows that he does best in a crowded field among African-American voters.
The person who wins among African-American voters is most likely, if that is sustained to be the nominee. It doesn't mean that this is going to be easy and it doesn't mean that he's going to be a phenomenon like Barack Obama when he bested Hillary Clinton in the fight for the nomination.
This is going to be hard. He's going to be challenged. I think that the other candidates like Bill de Blasio, who you basically had to ask twice about what he thought about the fact that he doesn't have anyone who picks him as his number one or number two choice in Iowa, they are really hoping that Vice President Biden is going to have a terrible debate.
That he's going to stumble, say something and make a huge mistake, and that that's going to allow one of those people or two or three of them to have a breakout moment and get more attention and start some momentum for them.
So, you know, it is really early. They're right, the ones who can't crack, you know, 1 percent, it is very early. We're looking at this being resolved into next spring, maybe as far as next May. And so it is going to be a long road ahead for Vice President Biden.
And he has chosen his center lane. He slips out of it now and then, like his switching positions on the Hyde Amendment. But he is going to face, you know, a very steep challenge no matter how he does and no matter where he ends up.
CABRERA: This Iowa polling also asked caucus-goers for their feelings towards each candidate. And I want you guys to just take a guess. Who got the most very favorable responses? Who would you guess, Joe?
LOCKHART: Elizabeth Warren.
CABRERA: And you got it right. And why was she your guess?
LOCKHART: Because I think she is the person who has shown the most momentum because she's run a policy-oriented campaign. And I think, you know, what this poll shows is who has had a good couple of weeks. And I think it's going to move around.
You know, Pete Buttigieg had a couple of good weeks a month ago. He had a good week last week. Some others, Beto O'Rourke, has sort of slipped back because he has and so, again, I don't think it's -- the electorate hasn't solidified yet so there is a lot of room for movement. But it really is a reflection of what people are seeing on T.V., what they're reading in the paper.
I think the other really significant thing about the poll is, the Democrats have been kind of internally fighting over a fundamental issue, which is do I want a candidate I agree with on everything or do I want a candidate who I think can beat Trump?
And it's been moving back and forth. This Iowa poll showed more than 60 percent said I want a candidate who can beat Trump. That definitely helps Biden and some of the better-known candidates.
CABRERA: Going back to the Elizabeth Warren question. A.B., are you surprised Warren is so favorable considering the controversy surrounding her claims of Native American heritage, you know, there were other polls previously in which really she wasn't rating well on the favorability question?
STODDARD: I think that the interesting thing about her momentum is the fact that she is sort of running on this, "I have a plan for that" mantra and she's had the most detailed plans of all the candidates and she's put all the kind of the economics behind each of her plan, a lot of details about how they would be paid for.
And there's something that's coming through with her, where she really, really wants this. You know, Vice President Biden has been begged to run. People say he's the party's best hope. Other people have ego about why they should be in this.
But there is a sense with Elizabeth Warren that she really wants to do the actual job and that she really believes that she has figured out what it will take to do the job. And that's breaking through in her crowds and it's moved her polls.
But what's interesting is I think she's taking Bernie voters and that will be an interesting dynamic to watch. They shared the same coalition. So going forward, it will be interesting to see if she moves up in the polls, what happens to Bernie's standing in the polls.
CABRERA: We'll watch and wait. Thank you to A.B. Stoddard and Joe Lockhart. Always good to see you guys.
Just a quick reminder, former Colorado governor and Democratic presidential candidate, John Hickenlooper, will join us live from Iowa tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on CNN.
Busy week ahead on Capitol Hill this wee -- the man who helped bring down President Nixon focuses on the Mueller report. And President Trump, he is set to testify before Congress tomorrow. Could his testimony prod lawmakers into launching an impeachment inquiry?
[17:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CABRERA: A very busy week shaping up on Capitol Hill as the House holds back-to-back hearings on the Mueller report. Tomorrow, former Nixon White House counsel, John Dean, who is also a CNN contributor, will testify in front of the House Judiciary Committee to discuss Mueller's findings on possible obstruction.
Tuesday, Dems plan a vote in the House on whether to begin civil contempt proceedings against Attorney General Bill Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn. Then on Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee holds their hearing on the counterintelligence aspects of the Mueller report with testimony from former FBI officials.
All this coming amid the rift between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler about whether to open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. And that brings us to our weekly segment, "Cross-Exam" with Elie Honig. He's here to answer your questions about legal news. He is a former federal and state prosecutor and now a CNN legal analyst.
Elie, the first to your question is about the DOJ opinion you cannot indict a sitting president. Is it law and can it be changed?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, this opinion of course is the reason why Robert Mueller did not indict the president on obstruction of justice and didn't even make a decision. Now, it's important that people understand this notion that the president, the sitting president, cannot be indicted.
It is not in our constitution. It is not in any statute or law. It is not in any decision of a court. It is simply an internal policy that Department of Justice has imposed on itself. It's not new. It's not something the Trump administration put in place.
[17:45:02] It came on the books in 1973. It was re-upped in 2000 and the reason is a fear that if you indict the sitting president, you will essentially handicap the ability of the executive branch to do its job. Now, I was at DOJ for eight and a half years. Policies come and go.
It's up to the attorney general. Arguably, it's up to the president and that's why I think this is an important question that every candidate for office for president in 2020 needs to be asked. Do you support or will you change that opinion?
CABRERA: So if he's not president and our viewer asks, is it possible for President Trump to be prosecuted criminally if he loses in 2020?
HONIG: Possible, absolutely. The DOJ policy itself says a president while he cannot be indicted while in office absolutely can be indicted when he's out of office. So Robert Mueller pointed that out in his report, too.
And if you remember last week when he spoke two weeks ago, he said one of the reasons he investigated is to preserve evidence for some future use. Now, what possible charges could we be looking at? Could be obstruction of justice. I'm one of now over 1,000 prosecutors who signed a letter saying we believe there is ample evidence on which to indict for obstruction.
There also could be charges relating to campaign finance violations. Remember, individual one, according to DOJ, who authorized and directed the hush money payments that Michael Cohen was convicted for to Stormy Daniels. But of course, it's a political question.
Would a new president want to start off his term with a highly politicized charge against the prior president and there could be pardons. A new president might choose to pardon the past president and, you know, you could have -- there's the issue of a self-pardon, as well. Would Donald Trump try to Pardon himself? He has said he believes that he can pardon himself. We don't know. It's never been attempted.
CABRERA: We keep talking about the White House strategy to just stone wall at the very least, the delays, investigations, but one viewer asked, is it obstruction of justice for President Trump to attempt to thwart every subpoena from Congress?
HONIG: Short answer is no. Stonewalling is not a crime. The president is raising legal arguments. He's lost twice in courts already, but he's using legitimate legal arguments including executive privilege. If it was a crime to make losing legal arguments or frivolous legal arguments, I think a lot of attorneys would be behind bars.
But here's where it could become a crime. If the courts rule this subpoena is legitimate, you must observe, and then the White House defies it, then you could be getting into criminal contempt, which can involve imprisonment and other criminal penalties.
CABRERA: And quickly, your three questions for the week.
HONIG: Well, are those House hearings that you talked about going to make any difference in public opinion, in the opinion of our lawmakers? Will the John Dean testimony make any dent? I think he'll lend important historical context, but he doesn't know anything firsthand about what happened here.
Will the House follow through and seek to compel testimony from Don McGahn, from Hope Hicks? And then third, the big question that's been on a lot of people's minds for the last couple of weeks, will the House subpoena enforce Robert Mueller to testify? He said he didn't want to. All due respect, it's not up to him. I think it's very important that he does testify and I do think he will eventually.
CABRERA: Another awesome "Cross-Exam" segment.
HONIG: Thanks Ana.
CABRERA: Elie Honig, thank you, as always.
President Trump flips on his own goals for NASA and says the federal agency shouldn't be talking about the moon. Hear the interview that could have sparked that flip, next.
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CABRERA: President Trump back on the attack on Twitter, going after NASA, saying the moon, "is a part of Mars." Yes, you heard that right. Trump's confusing tweet coming just one day after Apollo 11 astronaut, Michael Collins, mocked Trump's knowledge of Mars in the CNN podcast. Listen to this.
(BEGING VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Do you think President Trump is realistic when he talks about his vision for going to Mars?
MICHAEL COLLINS, ASTRONAUT, APOLLO 11 MOON LANDING: No, I think his vision is going back to the moon. I don't think he's too much aware of Mars. Maybe he doesn't understand there is a planet Mars.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CABRERA: I want to read you the president's Friday tweet. "For all the money we are spending, NASA should not be talking about going to the moon. We did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing including Mars, of which the moon is a part. Defense and science."
But less than three weeks ago he tweeted this. "Under my administration we are restoring NASA to greatness and we're going back to the moon than Mars." Confused? Let's start by clarifying the moon is not part of Mars. Joining us now is CNN's Brian Stelter, the host of "Reliable Sources." OK, Brian, timing is everything, right, this week after your interview.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: This is one of the strange things about life in the Trump age. You wonder what provokes a Trump tweet. And I think in this case maybe he was watching us up on Fox and that's what provoked him.
But, it is true. We just put out this podcast on Thursday. Michael Collins, who orbited the moon for 21 1/2 hours while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon -- Collins a part of this heroic mission. He's very critical of Trump. He thinks the focus really needs to be on Mars.
He doesn't like the idea promoted by Trump up until Friday of going back to the moon first. That is a popular view on my experts though. The idea you go back to the moon, use that as a kind of preparation mode to then get to Mars.
That's been an idea that up until Friday has been promoted by President Trump. So, for whatever reason, Trump is now saying something a little differently. I think when he says the moon is part of Mars, I think what he means is use the moon as a launch pad to Mars, but the tweet was very confusing.
And as with all things involving the president's twitter feed, what you wonder is, is this tweet now policy? Does NASA now have to change its plans or was he just expressing an opinion? And that's a mystery. But you know, we're coming up on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 this summer.
It's going to be a big summer full of space celebration events. And I think a lot of space geeks would like to focus to be on Mars, to go in somewhere we have not been before. So the president might be onto something with this focus on Mars.
CABRERA: And if they want to focus on space, you have this new podcast. Really quick, tell us where we can find it. STELTER: Yes. It's called "Apollo 11: Beyond the Moon." It's on Apple
podcast and Spotify where we are talking about the 50th anniversary all month long.
CABRERA: OK, let's talk more about some of the other tweets we've seen from the president this week because he likes to go after his opponents on twitter.
STELTER: Yes. Yes.
CABRERA: We've seen it from as far back as, you know, the primaries in 2015 and 2016 before he became the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Now, he's going after potential Democratic opponents for 2020 tweeting in part on Tuesday, "plagiarism charge against sleepy Joe Biden on his ridiculous climate change plan is a big problem."
There is also this tweet from May 19th comparing Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg to the founder of "Mad Magazine." Trump writing, "Alfred E. Newman will never be president."
[17:54:59] Brian, we know the president likes to brand people. Is it good to or bad if you are a candidate to have this kind of attention?
STELTER: I think it may depend on the candidate. If you're Bill de Blasio, who you'r speaking with earlier this hour, needing attention, needing energy for your campaign, maybe it's a good thing that the president shooting down at you.
But if you're Joe Biden at the top of the polls you probably don't want to be branded by President Trump this early on in the Democratic process. What I do notice though by the president's tweets, is that they are losing effectiveness. He's tweeting more often but he's getting less engagement. And that suggests to me that some of the power of his twitter feed is fading a little bit.
CABRERA: People are desensitized.
STELTER: I think either people are desensitized. Now, government agencies like NASA still have to pay attention and candidates like Biden and Buttigieg have to worry about it and come up with a plan. But people are getting a little desensitized to the constant tweeting and maybe it won't be quite as effective for him this time around.
CABRERA: All right Brian, good to see you.
STELTER: Thanks. You too.
CABRERA: Thank you. More on our breaking news this hour, one person has died, six are injured, two critically, after a crane collapsed in Dallas. This area has dealt with severe storms and damaging winds today. We will have two eyewitnesses join us, next.
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