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Pelosi: Impeachment Inquiry Not Off the Table; House to Vote on Making It Easier to Take White House to Court; Pelosi: Trump Mexico Threat Meant to Divert from Mueller Report; NTSB at Site of Deadly Chopper Crash in New York City; David Ortiz in Intensive Care in Boston After Second Surgery. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired June 11, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Soon and likely will be voted on in the House at some point soon. There is confidence and it has bipartisan support after its marked up. That it could and likely will pass the full House and then over to the Sense. But of course you can sense that frustration from Jon Stewart at the slow pace that a lot of legislation takes place up here on Capitol Hill.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: So it will likely pass. These first responders will continue to get the funding hopefully that they so deserve. And to see everyone applauding sitting behind him. We should point out that people sitting behind him, many of whom were the first responders in those precious moments on 9/11 and beyond. Sunlen Serfaty, thank you very much.

SERFATY: Thanks.

BALDWIN: At any moment now, House lawmakers will vote to compel the Attorney General and the former White House counsel to turn over evidence from the Mueller investigation. It comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gives a revealing interview to CNN's Manu Raju today about the possibility of impeachment. We'll talk to Manu about this sit-down coming up next.


BALDWIN: All right, let's get live pictures here. House of Representatives any moment now lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure that would help speed up its subpoena powers by allowing individual committees to go to court to enforce them. Right now the full House must vote for that to happen.

Specifically this resolution would also authorize the House Judiciary Committee to go to court to force former White House counsel Don McGahn and Attorney General Bill Barr to comply with their subpoenas. Both moves no doubt would assist in any pursuit of an impeachment inquiry and yet the Democratic Party leader just displayed her resistance to this. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi talked to Manu Raju earlier today showing that she has not moved from her position that impeachment proceedings are not off the table. But it is not happening, she said, for now. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you really believe the President may have committed crimes in office, isn't it your obligation to mount an impeachment inquiry?

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): My obligation is to do whatever we do in the most effective way possible.

RAJU: And you believe he committed crimes in office?

PELOSI: I think it is -- the Mueller report very clearly spells out at least ten or 11 instances of obstruction of justice. But I'm not here to have that discussion. That is for the committees. We have six committees that work on this. They're all doing they're work very well and I believe in the committee system and it will bubble up from there.


BALDWIN: CNN's Manu Raju is with me now on Capitol Hill. I mean, it was an excellent interview. You asked her all the right tough questions. What did you make of her response? She's obviously not ready to go there. Is that because the majority of her caucus isn't either?

RAJU: That is correct. And the reason why a majority of the caucus isn't either is because she's not willing to go there. If she were to change her position, Brooke, undoubtedly more members would align with her and the caucus would move forward with impeachment inquiry.

But she is pushing back on a couple of key arguments that the Democrats have been making. One, Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary Chairman has said that this will centralize investigations before his committee if an impeachment inquiry were launched. Then all of these different probes will be before his panel.

But she said there are several other committees that are also looking into this as well. One other thing, too, the issue of whether or not to help with the separate court cases to have an impeachment inquiry. They have a better chance of getting witnesses, getting documents. She said she doesn't know if that is the case, even though people like Jerry Nadler have privately made that argument.

Now, Brooke, this is the first time that we've had a chance to ask her a question since her comments reported last week that she would rather see the President in prison than impeached and when I asked her about that, she would not confirm or deny those comments.


RAJU: Did you actually say that the President -- you would rather see him in prison --

PELOSI: When we have the conversations in our caucus, they stay in our caucus. Do people think there are some impeachable offenses that the President committed? Yes. How serious are they? Are they criminal? Many of the people think they are.

RAJU: Do you think they are.

PELOSI: That's not the -- I'm here to talk about --

RAJU: And we will get into that.

PELOSI: And I'm not going to the place of what happens within our caucus.


RAJU: So when she's talking about whether or not they're criminal or not, she's stopping short of saying there were crimes that were committed. But I pressed her again about that. She said there were roughly -- she pointed to those ten episodes laid out in the Mueller report of potential obstruction of justice. But she did not want to go as far as calling the President a criminal or saying he should go to jail despite what she appears to have been saying privately.

And what of course, Brooke, was interesting too from that interview saying that she's OK with the President going after her because she believes it helps her politically when she gets attacked by the President. And the President didn't take so well to that. Attacked her again when asked about the comments again today -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: It almost feels like it's beneath her. Manu, what about this full House vote that we're waiting on?

RAJU: Yes, the full House will vote in a matter of minutes to authorize Congressional committees to go to court to enforce their subpoenas. Now that includes House Judiciary Committee over the subpoena that was not complied with by Don McGahn, the former White House counsel who under the constructions of the White House has not complied with testifying or providing documents as part of its investigation to potential obstruction of justice.

Also they're going to use that in case the Justice Department does not fulfill the agreement that was reached to turn over Mueller-related documents to that committee.

[15:40:05] They're going to use that. Essentially to put in their back pocket to move forward and go to court and force the Justice Department's hand if they are successful in court. But also significantly, Brooke, this would allow all other House committees to go to court, essentially directing avoiding the full House in case those subpoenas are not complied with.

And we're seeing that happening time and again with a number of committees, including the House Oversight Committee which issued a subpoena for census related documents about the citizenship question that was added to the 2020 census, that commit planning to hold Bill Barr, both to hold him as well as Wilbur Ross, the commerce secretary in contempt. And we're learning today, Brooke, that the Justice Department actually tried to invoke to ask the President to invoke executive privilege to deny the documents from being turned over. So just expect that to also be kicked to court in just a matter of days here because now that the House is allowing the committees to go to court, undoubtedly, they will -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Manu, thank you very much.

I want to just talk about Manu's interview with Speaker Pelosi. She told Manu that her stock goes up every time the President attacks her and then a short time later, the President attacked her. Watch.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, look, Nancy is a mess. The Democratic Party is a mess. They're doing everything they can to win the election in 2020. And all they do is waste time on these investigations where there is no obstruction, no collusion, no nothing. And in the meantime, they can't get a border deal done.


BALDWIN: CNN legal analyst, Anne Milligram, is a professor at NYU Law school and was the New Jersey Attorney General. David Chalian is CNN's political director. So welcome to both of you. And David, you first, just on this Manu/Speaker Pelosi back and forth. She said she's done with this President. But wouldn't deny or confirm that she said he should be in prison. What was the biggest headline for you?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well the biggest headline for me was that she could not have been clearer, I think, that if you think that House Democrats are on the precipice of launching an impeachment process against Donald Trump, think again. Nancy Pelosi has no intention right now of leading her caucus to that place. That is so clearly not where she is. She commented about just a small faction of folks in her party who want to do that. And I think she was very clear about really trying to tamp down this growing voice of -- of these voices that we've heard on impeachment and remind people it is just like a slice of the Democrats in the House that are speaking up in that way.

BALDWIN: Yes, and to that point, Anne, there is within this growing smaller slice of Democrats, there's this thought that if the Democrats go ahead with these impeachment proceedings, that that will then empower them to get the documents and the information they ultimately need. She questioned that. Will it empower them?

ANNE MILLIGRAM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Thanks So I think first of all, we should remember that Congress should be getting the documents that they want and the testimony they want period.

BALDWIN: Of course.

MILLIGRAM: But the second part is that there is some case law that suggests that an impeachment proceeding is stronger than just a Congressional subpoena. But again, the Congressional subpoena should be enough and to that end. That's why they're going to the full House to basically say, we want to be able to walk into court immediately and say your honor, please require the executive branch response to these subpoenas and requests.

BALDWIN: Something else, David, that she brought up. She said this when asked if the President deserves credit for this back and forth with Mexico and the tariff threat and forcing Mexico to take a harder line on immigration. Let me just play this clip and then we'll talk.


PELOSI: Everybody knows that those issues were -- if they were agreed to, they were agreed to long before the President made the announcement, A, but they were designed to take your attention away from the Mueller report. Look at the timing. This all happened a while back. And even now the foreign minister of Mexico is saying, that's not really the way the President describes it is not really the way -- what we have agreed to.


BALDWIN: What do you think? Do you think this is another one of those Trump bright shiny objects, go, look over here.

CHALIAN: I mean, she called him the distracter in chief and she was really warning against following him down some of these rabbit holes. There he was on the south lawn today holding the piece of paper saying this is just one page of a long deal that we've agreed to and he refuses to reveal it even though he's complaining about reporting about it.

BALDWIN: Such a TV tease.

[15:45:00] CHALIAN: Exactly. He's a master programmer in that way. I do think, though, that Speaker Pelosi is right to note the timing of this stuff, there is no doubt Robert Mueller comes out and gives voice to his report in a way that he never has before and instantly Donald Trump is looking for something to take the attention off of that. There is no doubt about that.

BALDWIN: What about, Ann, this full House vote today, what will it allow if it is passed? How will it help the House Judiciary?

MILGRAM: So, what is happening is that the administration and the President has been saying we're not giving you what you want, Congress, because we don't agree with it and we don't think you legitimately can ask for it. And again that is not night under the constitution. Congress gets to ask for and receive what they are asking for but it's been putting the Congress in a very complicated position where the administration just isn't giving them things, and instead of -- so the House either has to hold people in contempt, which becomes a separate process or they have to do what they are authorizing now which is go to a judge and say, judges, please require that the administration comply.

What is really interesting question is that what happens if a judge says that you have to comply, which is what the law is. So what we should see is judges ordering the administration to provide information -- BALDWIN: Is that with the financial records.

MILGRAM: Exactly. Exactly. And then the question is will they comply. And so I think the answer is that they will but they are really forcing this into a fight in a way that we haven't historically seen.

CHALIAN: And Brooke, I just want to add to that, sorry, that's where the impeachment conversation comes back and the calculus may change for Nancy Pelosi, right. That's why it's a dynamic thing. That's why we hear her say it is not off the table because if they're ruled to do so and they don't comply, well then that changes perhaps how many members of her caucus feel that they have to move forward.

BALDWIN: Totally, David Chalian, thank you very much, and Ann Milgram, thank you.

Moments ago the NTSB held a news conference on that helicopter crash in New York City that we talked about for two hours yesterday that killed that pilot, details on what he was doing in the hours and minutes leading up to that flight.


BALDWIN: Right now, NTSB investigators are on the scene of that deadly helicopter accident in midtown Manhattan that killed that one lone pilot. This happened this time yesterday. We're trying to figure out -- they're trying to figure out, I should say, what caused the helicopter to go down and crash land on to the roof of this 51- story building in midtown. The challenge, according to investigators, will be also how to remove the wreckage all the way up top. Brynn Gingras is our CNN national correspondent. She's on the scene where the NTSB just gave that update on the investigation. What's the story? How did this happen?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke. There are investigators on the roof right now, going through that wreckage. We've learned that there is no data recorder on helicopters. They're not required to have them. So they won't have any help there. However, investigators do believe that instruments on the helicopter will be able to give them some more details. But how this happened, it's still not -- they're not able to answer that at this point.

What we do know is a little bit more about the timeline before this crash happened yesterday during your show. We know that this helicopter took off from an airport in Westchester around 11:30 in the morning, actually with a passenger. The helicopter pilot dropped that passenger off on the east side heliport and waited on the ground nearly two hours for the weather to improve before he took off. And we've learned from sources there was some communication between the pilot and that heliport after he took off.

In one communication he said that he thought he had to come back, according to a source. And in that second communication, he actually said that he was losing visibility, that he didn't know where he was. And that according to a source is the last time that anyone heard from this pilot. So unclear, again, how that pilot ended up where he did here on the top of a 54-story building in midtown, but investigators say they're talking to people, that passenger that he dropped off.

Other people who might have known this pilot, to hopefully glean a little bit more information in addition to going through all of this wreckage. More about that pilot. Of course, we know his name is Tim McCormack. His family released a statement to our affiliate here in New York, WABC, in part saying that he was a caring and compassionate man, who put others first over himself. We hope to hear more about his narrative. We know he was a volunteer firefighter, just a huge tragedy that happened here yesterday. Brooke?

BALDWIN: It is. We wish -- just thinking of his family, how awful. Brynn Gingras, thank you very much. Right now, President Trump is in route to Iowa after trading insults with former Vice President Joe Biden, who is also in the state, Biden calling Trump an existential threat to the country and Trump calling Biden a dummy.


BALDWIN: Legendary Red Sox hitter David Ortiz is now back in Boston and is in intensive care after undergoing a second surgery here in the U.S. Surveillance video shows the moment he was ambushed at that nightclub in his native Dominican Republic on Sunday. The gunman can be seen shooting Ortiz from behind near point-blank range. One suspect is now in custody after bystanders tackled and beat the man at the scene. A manhunt is underway for a second suspect as police are searching for a motive.

Back in Boston at Fenway Park where Ortiz played for 14 seasons and led the Red Sox to three World Series titles, the team and fans took a moment last night to honor him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please join us as we offer a moment of reflection, thought and prayer for a complete healing and a full recovery for our beloved Big Papi.

Thank you.


BALDWIN: And here is at least a bit of an encouraging update just in the past hour, we got word from a spokesperson that David Ortiz has now taken his first steps since surgery.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper" starts right now.