Return to Transcripts main page


Dems Reach Deal with DOJ; Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) is Interviewed about Mueller Materials; David Ortiz is Shot. Aired 1- 1:30p ET

Aired June 10, 2019 - 13:00   ET


[13:00:00] SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But perhaps you've noticed the best human baseball is the Minnesota Twins.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: A little risk there. Amy Klobuchar in Red Sox Nation promoting her Twins.

We'll see you back here this time tomorrow. Brianna Keilar starts right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live from CNN's Washington headquarters. Underway right now, an impeachment road map or just political theater. The star witness during Watergate whose testimony led to Richard Nixon's demise offers Congress his take on the Mueller report.

"Big Papi" shot in the back. The stunning surveillance video and what it tells police about the ambush of Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz.

Raucous caucus. Nineteen of the 23 Democratic presidential candidates swarm Iowa to make their pitches to caucus-goers in the key state. What our new polling reveals about the race for second place and top issues for voters.

And raging fires. Evacuations and road closures in California and Arizona as firefighters work to beat back the flames, with 20 million people under heat warnings today as temperatures hit triple digits.

And we start with an 11th hour agreement on key evidence in the Mueller report. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says he's reached a deal with the Department of Justice that pulls possible criminal contempt charges attorney general -- for Attorney General William Barr off the table for now.

Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill.

Manu, take us through what this agreement is for and what it means.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this agreement comes in the aftermath of the House Judiciary Committee voting to hold Bill Barr in contempt for not turning over the un-redacted portions of the Mueller report and the underlying evidence. Well now, in this eleventh hour deal, they have agreed to provide some Mueller report documents, some evidence that the Democrats have been demanding as part of their probe into potential obstruction of justice in the White House.

Now, at the moment, Jerry Nadler says they're going to hold off on any criminal contempt proceedings while this production process, we're going to produce these documents, continues to go forward. He says they do expect to get some documents today, but they're holding out the motion of potentially moving forward if they do not get full compliance ultimately.

Now, we do believe that the House, tomorrow, will still vote on a resolution that will actually authorize this committee, the House Judiciary Committee, to go to court to enforce their subpoena that have now been complied with that would allow them the authority to do so, both if Bill Barr does not ultimately comply with what they're demanding, as well as what the former White House Counsel Don McGahn, who has not complied with a subpoena under White House instruction to provide documents and testimony related to potential obstruction of justice.

So, at the moment, this last hour deal staving off a fight between House Democrats and the Justice Department, coming after the Justice Department also agreed to provide some documents to the House Intelligence Committee. So an easing of tensions of sorts with Democrats saying it's not over yet. They want to see what ultimately is produced here, Brianna.

KEILAR: And, Manu, and here, in just about an hour, former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean is going to be taking the stand on Capitol Hill. He is appearing in front of the same House Judiciary Committee as lawmakers are open to what they say will be a series of hearings on the Mueller report. What are we expecting here?

RAJU: Yes, Democrats are trying to shine light about exactly what the Mueller report revealed. They're concerned that not much of the American public is aware of all the things that Mueller found, so they're bringing in witnesses. Of course the challenge is, they're not getting the fact witnesses, the people who have firsthand knowledge about everything that happened with the Mueller report and people like -- including the special counsel, Bob Mueller, who the same committee want to hear from but has not agreed to come in yet voluntarily. But John Dean, earlier today, made clear that he's not a fact witness, but he wants to apply (ph) some context to what he went through and compare it to what's happening today.


JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm clearly not a fact witness, but I hope I can give them some context and show them how strikingly like Watergate what we're seeing now and as reported in the Mueller report is. The fact that Nixon was hands on very early is just like Trump hands on very early. The firing of Comey was certainly not dissimilar from some of the actions that Nixon took.

(END VIDEO CLIP) RAJU: So, of course, the undertones to this hearing is the debate that's going on right now within the House Democratic caucus over whether to mount a formal impeachment inquiry. More members on this committee, the Judiciary Committee, do support opening up an impeachment inquiry, including Jerry Nadler, the chairman, who privately has been lobbying the House speaker to open up an impeachment probe. At the moment, though, Pelosi is resisting, a number of other Democrats are resisting. So Democrats hope this alternative strategy works, but we'll see if that shift in the weeks and days ahead.


KEILAR: All right, Manu Raju, thank you so much for that.

[13:05:01] And Congressman Steve Cohen is a Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

Thanks for joining us today.

REP. STEVE COHEN (D-TN): You're welcome, Brianna. Nice to be with you.

KEILAR: Your chairman says this agreement was reached with the Department of Justice about evidence from the Mueller report. What are you now getting access to, and does this suffice for what all you want access to?

COHEN: Well, it doesn't suffice because it's none of the grand jury testimony, which we want Bill Barr to go with us to the court to ask for the grand jury testimony. And I think that's going to be the most compelling testimony. It's obviously not going to be anything that has to do with ongoing investigations. But this would be evidence that Barr just chose to redact based on his belief that people's reputations might be harmed. And there is some material that might be helpful. I don't think it's as much as we want. Most of the material we want is the grand jury format. That's where the questions were asked of witnesses that ended up getting indictments and there were -- or they were seeking indictments.

So I think this is good, but I don't think it's anywhere near what we want and that's going to be something we'll have to take time to find out if they're willing to give us more. And if they aren't we'll have to go further.

KEILAR: You're going to be hearing from John Dean, former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, here in less than an hour. What do you want to hear from him?

COHEN: Well, I think as he explained, there's parallels to Watergate. Nixon's final straw I guess was obstructing Congress' hearing and investigations, not turning over materials that had -- requested by -- through subpoena and it's similar to what we have here, although that's beyond the Mueller report. The Mueller report's about obstruction of justice of the special counsel himself. And, of course, Nixon tried to obstruction that too ahead of the Saturday Night Massacre and other situations like that. But John Dean can give us information on comparisons, about

obstruction of justice, the elements of obstruction of justice, which show -- as well can Joyce Vance (ph) and Professor McQuaid (ph), both of whom would be expert witnesses. They're law professors and former U.S. attorneys and they're familiar with the elements in obstruction of justice. They're intimately familiar with the Mueller report.

The best evidence would be Mueller, it would be McGahn, would be Hope Hicks and -- and others that we've requested, but they've not complied with subpoenas, so we have not gotten the best evidence yet.

KEILAR: He -- unlike those folks, John Dean is not a material witness, as even he is very quick to point out.

Some critics say that this appearance is just a show. What do you say to that?

COHEN: Well, it's not just a show, but the part of it that it is a show, it's OK. The American public need to be shown what was in the Mueller report. I think it's been said, only 2 percent of the people read it. And I can understand that. It's not the most -- it's not page-turner material. So the American public took what Barr gave them in his three and a half page synopsis claiming there was no collusion and collusion is not even a legal term and was not in there and there was no obstruction, and that's not what Mueller found. Mueller wrote Barr twice to say he didn't give the full flavor of his report and he tried to change it. So Barr gave that.

And then when he finally released the papers, he -- two hours prior to releasing the report, he had a press conference and continued to say five times no collusion and no obstruction. Barr was colluding and obstructing in the -- with his synopsis and with his press conference and the American public let that seep into their brains. The president played on it, tweeted it over and over and over again to many of his folks believed it and never read anything. They need to hear the truth that there were 10 to 12 instances of obstruction of justice that prosecutors felt -- a thousand prosecutors signed a letter to say that was obstruction of justice, the elements were met and if it weren't the president who was protected by a Justice Department guideline that says you can't indict a president while he's in office, he would have been indicted, just like individual one was not indicted along with Michael Cohen, but if he weren't president, individual one would be with Michael Cohen and would be in jail for paying hush money.

KEILAR: You -- you just said to the -- to the degree that it is show, that's OK. You said that's OK.

I mean we know that you are OK with some political theater. You certainly have orchestrated some of this in the past in the process of this congressional investigation. I mean who could forgot "chicken Barr," who we see right here, the chicken statuette that you brought to the committee room when the attorney general failed to show last month, or the KFC. We see the bucket there. You did enjoy that before the cameras. I wonder though --

COHEN: Yes, let me make a point, Brianna, not that you brought it up. That was not during the committee meeting. It was not on the floor. It was not during session. It wasn't in the chamber. It was done prior to the committee coming in and convening the meeting. After the committee was convened, I did no more eating. I did nothing else. And that's been overplayed. But I think I got my point across that Bill Barr was chicken and that's what I intend to do and I had a little fun. And Andy Kaufman (ph) would have enjoyed it.

KEILAR: And I wonder -- well, one of your former colleagues, not so much though, which I wanted to ask you about. Congresswoman Donna Edwards took aim at the antics in "The Washington Post" last week. she said, quote, the country needs to hear from Mueller and witnesses within the serious framework of an impeachment proceeding. No fried chicken buckets and no one-liners, please.

[13:10:13] She doesn't think that these antics help the process, whether it's done before the hearing, or during, right? She's not making that distinction. What do you say to that?

COHEN: Donna's -- I've known Donna a long time. Donna has her opinion. I think she's falling in line with what is kind of the Washington insider elitist thought. I've had a lot of people tell me they enjoyed it. They thought it was funny. But, beyond that, it reached more people that would not have known that Barr didn't show up, that he was -- avoided a subpoena, that he did not show, and it got a lot of attention.

I didn't appreciate the late-night comics. I think some of them were wrong. But it reached their audience that otherwise don't watch CNN, don't see MSNBC and would not have known anything about it. So the reach was expanded greatly. I think people got it. I think they understand it. And it's history.

KEILAR: I -- you're right, it did expand the reach there.

I want to know, though, as -- you know, you -- you want impeachment and we saw last week facing pressure from the chairman on your committee that Speaker Pelosi reportedly said behind closed doors, she wants to see Trump in prison, not impeached.

Does that kind of rhetoric satisfy someone like you? Does that satisfy you personally as you are demanding impeachment?

COHEN: It doesn't satisfy me. I think my district is form impeachment. I took an oath. I believe my oath requires me to be for impeachment because this president has committed impeachable offenses. And I think it's the duty of the House to bring those. I think Lawrence Tribe (ph) set out a different process where we could have an impeachment hearing and not turn it over to the Senate and make our own conclusions to say it was a sense of the House and declare that he committed impeachable offenses.

But if it went to the Senate and they had a little trial, even though Mitch McConnell has already said case closed, I think the senators who did not vote to convict after evidence was adduced would be vulnerable in their own elections come the fall, even in red states, because I think the opinion is going to -- the tide is going to turn on the opinion, just like it did in Watergate. It started at 19 percent and it went to 57 after the hearings. I think the hearings will make it grow more and more and the Republican senators could be vulnerable and we need to win the Senate, too.

But the main reason I'm interested is not so much to win the Senate, which is a by-product, it's because I think he's committed impeachable offenses. He needs the a scarlet "I" on his chest and that's what I think we should do is stand up for the rule of law and not let this president get away with ordering people, asking people, telling people not to comply with subpoena, not to produce evidence, and continuing to say the press is the enemy of the people and benefiting from his -- his presidency by getting emoluments violations by the galore and having people stay at his hotels in Ireland and his hotels in Washington and rent his office buildings in New York and all over the country. We filed amendments though appropriations bills to stop that.

KEILAR: All right, Congressman Steve Cohen, thank you so much. We really appreciate you being on.

COHEN: You're welcome, Brianna.

KEILAR: And, coming up, dramatic, new surveillance video of the moment that Red Sox legend David Ortiz was shot in the Dominican Republic. What we're learning about the ambush. And the outpouring of support now coming from the city of Boston.

Plus, the president claiming his threat to impose tariffs on Mexico actually sped up negotiations on immigration. So why is there a report that this deal was actually hammered out months ago?

And when it isn't so lonely at the top? Now CNN polling out of Iowa shows Joe Biden may be leading, but the race for second place is getting fierce.


[13:18:28] KEILAR: Baseball legend David Ortiz, adored by fans as "Big Papi," is recovering in the hospital today. Ortiz was shot in the back in the Dominican Republic in what police are calling an ambush. Surveillance video captured the shooting. You can see that Ortiz is sitting at a table and a man approaches him from behind, firing a shot at basically point blank range. People say the suspected gunman -- police say the suspected gunman is in custody but they're still searching at this point for a second suspect.

The baseball star's assistant tells CNN that Ortiz does not know the detained suspects. And, in the meantime, authorities say Ortiz is stable following surgery.

Few professional athletes are as closely linked to their team's hometown as Ortiz is with Boston. He played with the Red Sox for 14 seasons. He helped the team win its first World Series in almost a centuries, and his defiant comments following the Boston Marathon bombing were a rallying cry for the city.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID ORTIZ, BOSTON RED SOX: This is our (EXPLETIVE DELETED) city! And nobody going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong. Thank you.


KEILAR: With me now is Dan Shaughnessy, he's a sports columnist and associate editor for "The Boston Globe." He's been covering the Red Sox since 1981.

You've been covering "Big Papi" for many, many years as well. You certainly have a history, I will put it there, with -- I guess that's sort of an understatement. But I do want to know where you -- what your reaction was when you heard about the news of the shooting.

[13:20:03] DAN SHAUGHNESSY, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "BOSTON GLOBE" (via telephone): Well, it's -- the Boston Bruins are in the Stanley Cup final, which is a big -- it's a big deal because it's a major championship event, so most of the Boston media was in St. Louis last night when the word of this first broke, so people were trying to watch the hockey game and then check their Twitter feeds or computers to see what's going on.

And the reports initially were a little bit different than what keeps coming out. Initially it was like a robbery gone wrong and he's shot in the leg. Then it appeared that it -- as you saw in the video, it does not appear to be a robbery. It looks like an assassination. And that he's targeted. And nothing appears to be stolen or anything. So it's just -- and I -- I'm led to believe now that, you know, he has stabilized. There was some damage to internal organs. I mean it was -- and he was not shot in the leg. As you saw, he was shot in the back. And I think that -- I mean the Red Sox have dispatched a plane, and they want to bring him back to Boston to the Boston Medical Center here. So my understanding is that that plane is either in the DR or close and that he has been approved to -- to be transported to Boston. He's stable enough to -- to come up here and the Red Sox are efforting to do that right now.

KEILAR: And on that plane do you know if there is medical personnel obviously?

SHAUGHNESSY: Oh, I would -- I would have no doubt. I mean they're very -- you know, John Henry loves this man more than family, and I'm sure that he's taken care of everything to get the best possible care for David Ortiz.

KEILAR: And fantastic care in Boston. Some of the best care in the world, obviously, so that makes sense why they'd want to bring him back.

Pedro Martinez, a friend and a former teammate of David Ortiz, tweeted this. I'm at peace knowing you're out of danger. You're a strong man Compai. Can't wait to hear your voice. My thoughts and prayers are with you. See you soon.

We're also hearing from the former president, President Obama, Tom Brady. And as we -- as we are following his condition along with you, Dan, it's -- it is hard to overstatement -- I mean you said it there with what they're doing to try to make sure he get the best care possible, bringing him back to Boston. It's hard to overstate just how much he means to his former teammates and to the city of Boston and beyond.

SHAUGHNESSY: Yes, I mean, he came on the scene here in 2003. Really an unknown guy from the Twins and no one paid much attention. And then just took the town by storm. And, of course, they win the World Series in 2004 and he's the superhero. And then they went to two more World Series with him as the leader. And you saw the marathon moment which he's remembered very fondly for.

And just a guy who, you know, he was clutch. He came up big for them at every time. He was also great to the fans, you know, great to the media. Just -- everybody loved the guy. So, I mean, he had a -- when he retired a couple years ago, it was much like when Jeter retired in New York. It just was, you know, just -- just a love tour across America, everywhere he went and especially in Boston.

KEILAR: You said looking at that video, this is not what the initial reports look like. This looked like he had been targeted. And we've seen other examples of professional athletes being targeted in central and south American countries. He's from the Dominican Republic.

Are you surprised that he didn't have security with him, and is this going to change how other athletes approach being out and about in the U.S. and abroad?

SHAUGHNESSY: I haven't been to the DR. I know that he's a god there and, you know, he's obviously very wealthy as well, but he gives a lot back to the communities. Always having fundraiser and, you know, he's just tremendously loved there. His dad's still there. And he's got family there. So I think he considers it a safe place for him because he's so loved.

But there's going to be questions raised as to why he was targeted here. What is this about? Why would someone want to do this to David Ortiz?

KEILAR: Yes, many questions.

Dan, thank you so much for talking with us.

Dan Shaughnessy joining us by phone.

SHAUGHNESSY: Thanks, Brianna.

And coming up, the battle for Iowa. New CNN polling shows Joe Biden leading the pack, but the elbows are flying in a dead heat for second place.

Plus, the president touts major progress in trade dealings with Mexico while critics say he's just bailing himself out of a self-made crisis.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:28:47] KEILAR: A new CNN/"Des Moines Register" poll is out this morning and it's giving us an idea of the issues that are most important for likely Democratic caucus-goers in Iowa. Some of the big issues for them, whether candidates support abortion rights or a ban on assault weapons and whether they recognize climate change as a humanitarian threat.

Also this weekend, new numbers showing former Vice President Joe Biden still on top, but he's losing ground to other candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Let's discuss this now with CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson and CNN political director David Chalian, who's joining us from Des Moines.

And, David, to you first, because we're seeing Biden with this smaller lead than we've seen in recent national polls. You have been talking to Iowans. What are they telling you?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes, you're right to note, he's still the clear frontrunner, but it is a narrower lead than some of these national polls, Brianna. And I want to just take one snapchat from the poll that I think is sort of the potential warning sign for Biden.

[13:29:47] Look at this. We asked, how enthusiastic are you about your support? And among Biden's supporters for these likely in-person caucus attendees, 29 percent of Biden supporters say they are extremely enthusiastic. But everybody else, non-Biden supporters of other candidates, they feel 39 percent of them feel extremely enthusiastic about their choice. So there is an enthusiasm gap there.