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Major U.S. Supreme Court Rulings Expected as Term Nears End; Gunman on the Run After 1 Killed, 7 Injured at a Graduation Party in Philadelphia; Investors Look for Clues Ahead of Fed Meeting Tomorrow; Trump Campaign Fires Pollsters After Leak of Dismal Polls; Iran to Break Uranium Stockpile Limit Set by Nuclear Deal. Aired 9-9:30a ET
Aired June 17, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:00:15] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Top of the hour, Monday morning. Good morning, everyone, I'm Poppy Harlow.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Jim Sciutto.
Tomorrow President Trump set to officially launch his reelection campaign in Orlando, Florida, but this morning he's clearly annoyed and several pollsters who were supposed to help him with that reelection effort are now out of a job. Why? The purge happened after numbers leaked, those internal numbers from the president's own campaign showing Mr. Trump behind Democrats in several key battleground states.
Sources tell CNN the president is growing frustrated over coverage, again, of his own campaign's polling numbers.
HARLOW: Right. According to one source, the president blew up at several campaign officials last week telling them at first that the numbers were wrong. That frustration is made clear again in a tweet this morning. The president says only fake polls are showing him running behind Democrats which he called the Motley Crew.
We should note, I mean, these have been confirmed to ABC News.
SCIUTTO: He doesn't like information that --
HARLOW: Just noted.
SCIUTTO: He doesn't like.
Let's talk more about this with CNN political analyst Molly Ball, national political correspondent for "TIME" magazine, and Eliana Johnson, she's White House reporter for Politico.
Molly, you know, it's interesting, the president and his aides have often called mainstream media's polling or other polls fake polls when those numbers don't fit with a positive storyline for him. And even accused the mainstream media and Democrats of putting out suppression polls, polls designed to suppress Republican turnout by showing, again, falling behind against Democratic candidates.
But these are to be clear the president's team's own polls here. So how does he claim that they're fake polls?
MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He just does, right? I mean, he doesn't -- he doesn't really need an excuse to say things aren't true. Up is down, black is white.
BALL: But, you know, it's a pollster's job to give a politician bad news. That's very much the reason you employ pollsters so you know if something is happening that's going to hurt you in the election. And so, you know, the campaign was doing its job in getting this information so that they can try to deal with it.
BALL: So that as the president launches this re-election effort he's equipped with the right information to know where do we have work to do, what are the states, what are the issues, who are the demographics where we have issues. And as a candidate, the more you know about that, the better equipped you are to wage that campaign. So, you know, I do think that the firing seems to have come because of the leak, not because of the numbers. These numbers are a few months old now. And the campaign got the numbers.
BALL: And the pollsters weren't fired just for doing the polling. It was when they became public that the president became angry.
HARLOW: All right. So, Eliana, for anyone who hasn't read the lead political story in the "Washington Post" this morning, the first line says so much. Let me read it to everyone. "Slumping in the polls and at war with his political rival, President Trump has signaled a willingness to act with impunity to his drive for re-election, taking steps over the past week to demonstrate a disregard for legal boundaries meant to hold him accountable and to protect the sanctity of American democracy."
To act with impunity. Firing pollsters internally is one thing. What do you read this to mean as he officially re-launches his campaign tomorrow?
ELIANA JOHNSON, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, I'm not sure if I would make the connection between the president slumping in the polls and sort of disregarding the traditions and norms of politics. I think this is simply who the president is. And we're seeing what he did on the campaign trail in 2016 continue into the campaign trail in 2020. That "Washington Post" story refers to the president signaling willingness to at least look at information offered by foreign powers, which is unusual for a president of the United States. The difference now is that --
SCIUTTO: That's the law.
JOHNSON: The difference now is that he's a president, not an outsider political candidate. HARLOW: Yes.
JOHNSON: But either way, you know, it's unusual. But Trump, just as he was on the campaign trail in 2016, is a totally untraditional and unorthodox president and he hasn't changed during the 2 1/2 years he's been in office. So he's going to do the same thing as campaigning for re-election as he did on the campaign trail in 2016.
SCIUTTO: Although, to be fair, it's different. One, in that during the campaign, clearly in 2016 his campaign was willing to look at information supplied by foreigners.
SCIUTTO: His son took at meeting at Trump Towers, said I love it when that Russian lawyer offered it, but then his campaign repeatedly lied about it, right, until they were caught with the release e-mails, et cetera.
Molly Ball, you know, what is different is that the Mueller report did not find enough evidence in that behavior to proceed to indict for a crime, conspiracy, conspiring with a foreign power.
[09:05:01] And it seems here that the message the Trump campaign 2020 is taking from this is that, you know what, the law is on our side, or even if the law is not on our side, because if you read the law it says illegal to take anything of value from any campaign, even if the law is not on our side, we're not going to face any consequences from doing this and therefore, you know, the gloves are off.
HARLOW: I think that's a really good point.
SCIUTTO: It's a big deal.
BALL: Yes, I mean, I think that's what -- that is a very powerful and brutal sentence in that "Washington Post" story. And it's that word impunity that I think is really important here. The president really has internalized the idea that there aren't any consequences for really anything that he could do. And that is part of what you hear the angst about among Democrats, particularly the Democrats in Congress who are trying to decide how to proceed with investigations and impeachment saying this is our job to reign in the president, to hold him accountable, to ensure that he can't act with impunity because nobody else has that power to act as a check, except perhaps the courts who also have in many cases acted as a check on this presidency, who have repeatedly dealt adverse rulings to the president. But that's what separation of power is for, right? It's the only way that you don't have a president who can act with impunity.
HARLOW: When you look, just finally, Eliana, the sentiment of the American people in this, there's this new NBC-"Wall Street Journal" poll out and only 24 percent of Americans now say that Congress should continue investigating the president. Only 24 percent. That's down from 32 in May. So just to Jim's point and adding onto it is that just evidence the White House and president's tactics here of disregarding the law on this and pushing forward are working in the court of public opinion with an increasing number of people?
JOHNSON: I'm not sure. I think what we've seen over the course of the Trump presidency is that Americans feel they understand who this president is. They understand he's somebody who doesn't abide by the norms and traditions and sometimes the laws of this country. They understand he doesn't tell the truth. And it depends on right now who the candidate is the Democrats put up, and if they can put up somebody formidable enough that Americans will prefer that candidate to Donald Trump.
In the case of Hillary Clinton, they preferred somebody who was a serial liar to Hillary Clinton. But I think what Americans are saying, they don't need more investigations to know who this president is.
HARLOW: OK. Fair enough. Thank you both, ladies, for being here this Monday morning. We appreciate it.
SCIUTTO: Also this morning tensions are escalating this morning after Iran says that it is ramping up or will ramp up its production of low- grade uranium passing the limits set under the nuclear deal the U.S. abandoned last year. This is a long way from a nuclear bomb. It would have to get to highly enriched uranium to be dangerous in that sense. That said, this was one of the things negotiated by the U.S., its allies and foreign powers with Iran, and now under pressure from the Trump administration, also the Trump administration's own withdrawal from the agreement, Iran says it's going to stop abiding by the agreement.
HARLOW: All of this is just days after the U.S. accused Iran unequivocally of being the power behind that attack on those tankers in the Gulf of Oman. This week the president's top national security advisers are in talks about how to respond to those attacks. And on the table is, according to Pompeo, sending additional forces to the Middle East.
Fast moving developments to get to in Washington and Tehran. Let's begin at the Pentagon with Barbara Starr.
Good morning, Barbara.
BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning to both of you. The secretary of State again over the weekend talking about all options on the table including a military option. But what our sources are telling us is the discussions right now are the possibility of sending additional force to the Middle East as a deterrent. That is still the U.S. policy, still the U.S. military mission, deterrent and defense.
So if a decision is made, it could result in more patriot missile batteries, more fighter aircraft, more ships in the region. Whether that works or not, or deters the Iranians, I think is really an open question because it certainly hasn't deterred them so far. The Iranians continue to say that they didn't do this. There are a lot of countries out there looking for more evidence from the United States, from the Trump administration. They want to see very clear imagery, pictures, videos, something that
shows to them that the Iranians were behind these attacks. The Pentagon, the administration may come out with some of that at some point but right now the focus is on seeing what else they need to do to try and keep that deterrent going -- Poppy, Jim.
SCIUTTO: Our Fred Pleitgen is on the ground in Iran again.
And Fred, it's interesting here, because you're seeing some public daylight between the U.S. and its allies on this. The allies not as confident in U.S. intelligence on these tanker attacks. Also expressing dissatisfaction once again that the U.S. left this nuclear deal it negotiated. As you're on the ground there in Iran, are Iranian leaders trying to take advantage of that difference?
[09:10:11] FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think they certainly are. And I think they certainly are trying to showcase it as well, Jim. And one of the things that we've been hearing throughout this weekend and basically today as well is that the Iranians are saying that they believe that the U.S. was behind those attacks in the Gulf of Oman. Of course they haven't provided any evidence yet. But one of the things that they keep showcasing, they keep highlighting, is the fact that for instance the tanker company that runs the tanker that was seen on that one video itself is saying that they don't believe that its tanker was hit by mines.
Now Iranians are essentially saying that they believe that the U.S. did this because sanctions against Iran by the United States aren't working. At the one -- on the other hand, though, they are also saying that these sanctions are preventing them from doing a lot of economic activity. And that's why, Jim, now they've announced that they are scaling back their commitments under the nuclear agreement.
Now of course, all of that, what that does, is that it also drives another wedge between the U.S. and its European allies. Because on the one hand the Iranians are saying, look, the Europeans need to stand up to the U.S. if they want to save this nuclear agreement. At the same time the Iranians are demanding that they get some of the economic benefits that they say they signed up for when they decided to curb their nuclear program under the nuclear deal -- Jim.
HARLOW: Fred, before you go, just the international reaction to this, because again as Jim noted, yes, the U.S. pulled out.
PLEITGEN: Yes. Yes.
HARLOW: But Europe, et cetera, are still signatories. And that was the message from Tehran this morning, right? Europe, you still have days to sort of -- to save this and to hold this off.
PLEITGEN: Exactly. Exactly. And that's exactly what the Iranians are saying. It was very interesting to see the press conference by the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency because they kept saying, look, we're going to scale down our commitments, we're going to produce more low enriched uranium, more heavy water as well, which of course is very important in the fissile process but the Europeans have some time to try and get us to reverse this. We can still reverse this.
Now what the Iranians essentially want is they want the Europeans to get together and try to get some sort of investment vehicle going that will allow the Iranians to get past these sanctions. The Europeans, so far, have reacted. Brits are saying that all options for them are on the table. The Israelis have very much criticized the move and the Germans are saying, look, they still need to see what happens. But for them, the main thing is they want to save the nuclear agreement, guys.
SCIUTTO: That's quite a difference between the U.S. and its allies there as it has been from the beginning. They want to keep the nuclear deal, the Trump administration does not. And you're seeing the fissures exposed here.
Barbara Starr at the Pentagon, Fred Pleitgen, great to have you on the ground in Iran again. Not many networks have that.
SCIUTTO: We got consistency.
SCIUTTO: At CNN.
Looking ahead, time running out. Anticipation building for the Supreme Court. Biggest decisions of the year, these are big ones. What's at stake? We're going to be live outside the high court. Plus a celebration turns deadly in Philadelphia. Now a manhunt for a shooter is under way. We're following the breaking news.
HARLOW: And Google CEO says the company must do better to stem the spread of hate and disinformation on YouTube. Plus does he think privacy is a crisis? More from our exclusive interview with him ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUNDAR PICHAI, GOOGLE CEO: I don't think users have a good sense for how their data is being used. And so I think we put the burden on users to a large extent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[09:15:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CO-HOST, NEWSROOM: This is a big day at the Supreme Court, really can't under estimate it --
POPPY HARLOW, CO-HOST, NEWSROOM: Yes --
SCIUTTO: Moments from now, the Supreme Court could hand down some of the biggest decisions of the year, many ways of the last decade, and both of them very politically charged. HARLOW: This is also a big test for the Chief Justice John Roberts
who is trying as much as he can to not send a signal that the court is partisan whatsoever. Jessica Schneider is outside of the high court with more. And he's been reiterating this, Chief Justice Roberts in recent weeks, that this is not about partisan politics, this is about the law.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And that's the stance that the court wants to maintain, we'll see if they are able to do it, Jim. And Poppy, two dozen cases remain to be decided, and also we're waiting for justices to signal which cases they'll take up next term. And all of this as you mentioned comes in an atmosphere with the Chief Justice John Roberts is trying to maintain the apolitical nature of the court despite the fact that we have this newly solidified 5-4 conservative majority, and also despite the fact that there's some politically -- very politically-tinged cases here.
So, at 9:30 this morning, we could hear from the court as to whether or not they might take up a case or cases involving DACA and whether or not the Trump administration has the authority to wind down the program, of course, the Obama-era program that protects young undocumented immigrants from deportation as long as they came here as children.
The Trump administration has been trying to wind down this program, phase it out, but lower courts have said, no, you can't do that and they've stopped that phase-out. The Trump administration has been pushing to get the Supreme Court to hear that case, to see if they do have authority to wind it down.
And then, of course, at 10:00, well, we could hear big opinions, the biggest ones we're looking at is of course the issue of that census question, whether or not the Trump administration can add a census question to -- or citizenship question, I should say, to the 2020 census.
That has been a politically fraught subject, we've seen it play out in other arenas as well, the House Oversight Committee holding the Attorney General and the Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for not handing over documents related to how that question and the idea of the question came about.
And we're also looking potentially for an opinion on partisan gerrymandering. When politicians might go too far in drawing those lines for purely political gain. So, while the court tries to stay out of politics, Jim and Poppy, a lot of these cases are pure politics, guys?
HARLOW: There you go --
SCIUTTO: Yes --
HARLOW: You'll be there, Jess. These orders are coming down in 10 minutes, the decisions at the top of the hour, we'll be on it. Thank you very much. New this morning, a manhunt is under way after a graduation party in Philadelphia turned deadly. [09:20:00] SCIUTTO: That's right, one person was killed, seven
others injured after a gunman opened fire at the celebration on Sunday night. CNN's Polo Sandoval is there with the latest. What are we learning?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, Poppy, just had an opportunity to speak to a woman who says that she helped organize last night's event, and as you say, this was an event that was supposed to be a graduation celebration. And now this morning, the only thing that's left of that celebration is what you see behind me, paper plates, people's belonging, the tarp over there, so literally as people just simply put pause on this party when the sound of gunfire erupted.
This is what Philadelphia police are saying right now. It was late last night when at least one gunman opened fire on a group of about 60 people, some of them children. At one point, there were six people who were hit by that gunfire, one person killed.
We're told that it was a 24-year-old man who has not yet been identified. The extent of those five other injuries we're told, they are expected to recover. But now, when you hear from the police commissioner here in the city of Philadelphia, he says the search now on for a motive and for a gunman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD ROSS JR., COMMISSIONER, PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT: There was nothing that suggested there was a fight that preceded this, at least according to the people here. Again, we don't know if the shooter or shooters left on foot or if they left in a car. We're trying to get this much information, hopefully there will be some cameras or, you know, some of the people out here will be able to provide more information.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANDOVAL: Now, this deadly shooting, just one of many that kept police here in Philadelphia extremely busy this Father's Day weekend according to affiliate "KYW". At least, you get that, at least 16 other shooting incidents that took place here in the city this past weekend, Jim and Poppy.
I had an opportunity to speak to one of the police department's chaplains just a short while ago, he grew up in this area, he has -- helps the community here for many years, and he has a very real concern here that several months could mean potentially more of these kinds of calls and more of these kinds of crime scenes.
SCIUTTO: Yes, well, we see a lot of these crime scenes on our air.
HARLOW: Yes, too many --
SCIUTTO: All the time.
HARLOW: Polo -- SCIUTTO: Polo Sandoval, thanks very much. President Trump says that
he might turn over financial statements to Congress. This, even as new polling shows that fewer Americans are actually interested in Congress continuing to investigate him.
HARLOW: We're moments away also from the opening bell this Monday morning. On Wall Street, investors watching out for any hints of a rate cut from the Fed, they kick off their two-day meeting tomorrow.
[09:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SCIUTTO: Congress has said for a long time, it wants access to the president's financial statement. It's a reasonable thing, happens to all sitting presidents, particularly ones with continuing business interest. The president gave something of an answer to this question this weekend. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Senate, they'd like to get my financial statement. At some point, I hope they get it.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, TELEVISION JOURNALIST: Are you going to turn it over?
TRUMP: No, at some point, I might, but at some point, I hope they get it because it's a fantastic financial statement. It's a fantastic financial statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks of New York. He is also a senior member of the Financial Services Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee. Good to have you here, sir. Well, the president sounds willing to turn it over. I'm not holding my breath for that.
But I do want to know how far you think Congress should go on this, right, in the house, your calls for this. The Ways and Means Committee has been calling for it, calling for it, calling for it. Some members of that committee, Democrats have told us that they do believe that Congress should start imposing fines on Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, the IRS commissioner for not turning this stuff over, $250,000 a day.
Of course, there's the power to arrest them, to jail them for defying the subpoena. Do you support going that far to get the president's financial returns?
REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): I think that we've got to continue those investigations. I think that we've got to go to the courts and let the courts decide, and if, in fact, you find that they are again trying to avoid our subpoenas and court orders --
HARLOW: So, you're saying not yet, don't fine them --
MEEKS: Not yet, that's right --
HARLOW: Don't jail them yet --
MEEKS: I think that if you see what's happening in the courts, the courts are agreeing and the American people I believe will agree also that if they deny -- you know, clearly, they're trying to go in-round around Congress, we can't let that happen.
We've got to utilize our oversight authority and responsibilities, and we need to take them to court so that an impartial body comes in. And I think that you'll see that either they will have to move and be compelled to turn them over or then face other penalties.
SCIUTTO: What do you make of falling, not rising public support for continuing to investigate the president's brand-new "NBC"-"Wall Street Journal" poll, 24 percent of registered voters think Congress should continue investigating, that's down from the most recent polling, down from 32 percent. What's happening here? I thought --
MEEKS: I think people are exhausted. I mean, every day, there's something about this president -- I think a lot of the American public also realize we are dealing with probably the most immoral and unethical president that we've ever had. I think that's a fact.
SCIUTTO: But if that's true, why are fewer of them supporting Congress' efforts to hold him accountable?
MEEKS: Well, I think Congress is holding him accountable. We're going to continue to do what our oversight responsibility tells us to do. I think that they're itching for another election so that he can be.