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More Americans Support Impeachment Proceedings But Those Opposed Holding Steady; Supreme Court Rules No Standing in Gerrymandering Case; Supreme Court Upholds Separate Sovereigns Exception. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 17, 2019 - 10:30   ET



[10:30:48] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right. This morning, support has increased to begin impeachment proceedings against the president. The nation is still very divided. Let's explain these numbers --


HARLOW: -- because the context matters here. OK. So this is an NBC- "Wall Street Journal" poll. Still about half of registered voters, 48 percent, say Congress should not hold impeachment proceedings.

TEXT: Congress should... Begin impeachment hearings: June, 27 percent; May, 17 percent; Continue investigating: June, 24 percent; May, 32 percent; Not begin impeachment hearings: June, 48 percent; May, 48 percent; Not sure: June, 1 percent; May, 3 percent


HARLOW: But --

SCIUTTO: You have the support going from 17 to 27 percent --

HARLOW: Right.

SCIUTTO: -- of course that's a minority, but it's growing. A lot of that among Democrats. Big question of whether or not filing impeachment papers could help or hurt them in 2020.

This is an issue for many Democratic lawmakers. Here is freshman representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): I think that this is about us doing our jobs. And if we're talking about what's going to be a victory for Trump and what's not going to be a victory for Trump, then we are politicizing and we are tainting this process. Which, again, should be removed from politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCIUTTO: Joining us now is Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary for the Clinton administration.

The numbers are kind of conflicting here, right? Because, yes, OK, overall, you got 17 to 27 percent so a slightly larger minority of Americans want to begin impeachment proceedings. Still, 48 percent -- which is a big number -- don't --

HARLOW: Don't. Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- want to. And you have another NBC-"Wall Street Journal" figure that only 24 percent of registered voters think Congress should continue investigating the president. What's happening here? You've covered politics --


SCIUTTO: -- for a long time. Are people just growing weary?

LOCKHART: No, I think Trump supporters, Republicans, are by and large against impeachment and against investigating. Democratic support is growing. It was split. I think Democrats are moving and warming much more toward.

The really key group is the independents. And I think, there, you see some incremental growth among --

SCIUTTO: Both in support for?

LOCKHART: -- independents. In support for. And I think to the extent that Pelosi is looking at the polls, that's really what she's looking for. And, you know, it always strikes me that you'll never find a -- there's lots of Democrats out there jumping up and down about, "We should impeach." Almost all of them are in safe seats.

HARLOW: Right.

LOCKHART: The people that you really need to concern (ph) here --

HARLOW: But AOC knows who her -- Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez knows who her constituents are --

LOCKHART: Right. And if she gets less than 85 percent of the vote --

HARLOW: Right.

LOCKHART: -- in the next election, you know, I'll have to pay you a dollar.


LOCKHART: But it's really the freshman Democrats that won in seats that Trump won. That's why the Democrats took over the House, that Pelosi is concerned about. And right now, I think she's pursuing a strategy to let this thing build. And when the public moves with them -- and they'll be doing things to help move the public -- that there may be a time where impeachment's right.

SCIUTTO: Nancy Pelosi will often talk about her experience during the Clinton impeachment --


SCIUTTO: -- hearings. Of course, you were very --


SCIUTTO: -- much involved at that time. And of course, conventional wisdom is that it hurt Republicans coming out of there. Do you think that that's a correct reading of that history?

LOCKHART: Yes. It hurt Republicans in the short term. It didn't hurt Republicans so much in the long term because the year 2000 was a pretty good year for Republicans. It (ph), you know, kind of went away.


LOCKHART: And different issues took over. You know, there isn't a lot of comparison. There is -- there's one point of comparison, which is the public doesn't like to have, without their input, what they voted for overturned. The Republicans in 1998 jammed this impeachment through. They took the Starr report and within two months, voted on impeachment. And within another month, had a trial.


LOCKHART: And so I think the lesson Pelosi's saying is, "Let's build this case slowly. Let's get all the people we need to testify and that's going to take time because of court. And we'll see where we are, you know, by the fall.


SCIUTTO: OK. Hold that thought here.

HARLOW: Joe Lockhart, thank you very much.

Let's go outside of the Supreme Court. Jessica Schneider is there with the breaking news.

A big decision, Jess, on this case about racial jerrymandering. What can you tell us?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Poppy. The justices here, handing a win to Democrats in Virginia, all over this dispute of some of these district maps in the state of Virginia.

The Supreme Court here, not weighing in on the constitutionality of these maps, not saying whether or not they constituted an impartial -- an improper racial jerrymander, but what they did is they said that the Republicans who were challenging these maps, they said the Republicans from the House of Delegates in Virginia did not have standing to actually bring this case.

[10:35:19] I'll take you back, give you a bit of the facts here. African-American voters in Virginia, who initially challenged these 11 district maps in the state of Virginia back in 2011.

A lower court had said that, yes, these maps were improperly racially jerrymandered. Meaning that they put too much racial consideration into the maps when they drew them. Then the case moved forward. And Republicans from the House of Delegates in Virginia tried to challenge the lower court, saying that this was improper racial jerrymandering.

The problem here is that in the state of Virginia, the attorney general and the governor both are Democrats. And they said, "We don't authorize you bringing this lawsuit." So the Republicans tried to push ahead anyway, bringing their challenge right here to the Supreme Court.

And the Supreme Court, today, saying, "Republicans, you cannot challenge these maps. You don't have the authority. It's the attorney general of the State of Virginia, a Democrat, who would have the authority to challenge these maps.

So the practical effect of this is that the court-ordered maps that were put into place by this lower court, those will stand. Those have already been used in past elections. They'll continue to be used. So it's essentially a victory for these African-American voters who challenged these statewide maps. But the Supreme Court here, not ruling directly on this issue as to whether or not there's racial gerrymandering here.

SCIUTTO: We have Gloria Browne-Marshall. She's a constitutional law professor. Page Pate also, a constitutional attorney.

Gloria, you've been sitting here with us as we watch this news come in here. Again, so folks at home can understand this. In effect, the court strikes down or upholds for Heather a challenge to a map, a congressional map that was -- the argument -- racially motivated.

GLORIA BROWNE-MARSHALL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This case has been up to the Supreme Court before. It's gone back down. It's up again. And at the core issue is whether or not the Republicans had the standing, the ability to bring the case in the first place.

And so this standing issue what the court ruled on today, and did not go to this issue of whether or not there was racial gerrymandering. And the reason why, as you pointed out correctly, the racial gerrymandering point is one for the Democrats, just because the initial federal court, somewhere in the process, said there was racial gerrymandering.

That issue, then, went before the Supreme Court. And Supreme Court said, "We're not going to talk about that. We're not going to reach the racial gerrymandering --

SCIUTTO: So let that -- let that --

BROWNE-MARSHALL: -- "we're going to let that stand."

SCIUTTO: -- judgment stand. OK.

BROWNE-MARSHALL: For now. And then we're going to just point out the fact that we can't get to that issue unless you're here by right in the first place. And since you Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates are not here by right in the first place, we can't even reach any of the issues you bring to the court.

SCIUTTO: So is that precedent, then, if they're not actually deciding on the merits of the case?

BROWNE-MARSHALL: It is going to let the lower court decision stand. But it's not an actual ruling because they never got to the substance of the case.


BROWNE-MARSHALL: There is the procedural issue --

HARLOW: Right.

BROWNE-MARSHALL: -- of whether or not this party should be in court in the first place.

HARLOW: So what stands, Page Pate, is the lower court's decision, deciding in favor of these African-American Democratic voters who had that court, the lower court believed, quote, "shown through telling direct and circumstantial evidence, that race predominated over traditional districting factors."

That is what stands, now. I'm interested in why you think this court didn't take on that question of racial gerrymandering.

SCIUTTO: Good question.

HARLOW: Is this because Chief Justice John Roberts wants to do everything he can to make sure the court is not seen as political? Why didn't they do that? Or because there was no standing?

PAGE PATE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, I think it is that the chief justice wants to keep the court out of politics as much as possible. And if he and the rest of the court, a majority, allow this case to proceed and actually decided it on the merits, then they would be opening the door for any disgruntled political party to challenge a lower court decision, even if the rest of either that legislature or the state itself decided, "We don't want to pursue this."

So I do think this is an attempt, "Focus on standing." Limit the application of what the court's willing to consider, which is going to make it less likely that the Supreme Court --


PATE: -- has to step in and make political decisions.

SCIUTTO: But it's race question here, right?

BROWNE-MARSHALL: Not really. Because if -- for him to go to that merit, he would have to have firm ability to reach -- that question was before the court during the oral argument.

When you go back and listen to the oral argument, Attorney Clement was arguing that these Republicans should be able to bring this case. The court said, then, that they saw there was a problem. Even the conservatives on the court said that there was a problem with standing with these Republicans. Because once the Democrats took over the governorship --


[10:40:04] BROWNE-MARSHALL: -- and the attorney general, you know, there was a switch on what and who should be able to bring cases regarding this issue. So the standing issue is the crux of it for right now. But I'm sure they're going to figure out a way to get back to this same question again, when they have the correct parties involved.

SCIUTTO: All right. Gloria, Page, stick around because we're watching the court. At any moment --

HARLOW: Waiting for more.

SCIUTTO: -- you could have other decisions. There's a lot to digest here. We'll take a short break now.


[10:45:02] SCIUTTO: Just an incredible story out of North Carolina today. An 11-year-old boy, fighting off a suspected home invader with a machete. That's the boy right there. The suspect, running away. Police did catch up with him later.

HARLOW: The boy and his home, safe this morning. Natasha Chen joins us with this remarkable story.

Unbelievable bravery in this little boy.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Poppy and Jim. And the sheriff wants to say that the boy is also incredibly lucky. Because you can imagine if an intruder had been armed with something more serious -- and everybody's very lucky that no one was more seriously injured.

Now, the boy says that he was on the phone, home alone. On the phone with his mom when he heard a knock at the door. A woman was knocking at the door. And then called to two other people, saying, "No one is home." The boy saw a man waiting by a car, another man breaking in through the window.

And that's when that man picked up a pellet gun in the home. The boy said he knew that pellet gun was not loaded. And so he did what the intruder asked. He went into the closet as asked, and then he picked up a machete off the wall and hit the intruder in the back of the head, sort of at the back of the neck.

And he said this machete is a gift that he usually uses to cut down trees. But years ago, his family had been robbed. The house had been ransacked before. Years ago, his dad had told him to defend himself, to fight back. And that's what the boy was thinking at the time, to fight back.

Now, the story only gets crazier from there because then, this intruder runs to the hospital with that machete injury. The sheriff's office is looking for him. They locate him at one of the hospitals, but then he is transferred to another hospital where he escapes.

We have a sound bite here for you to listen to, here.


BRAYDON SMITH, FOUGHT OFF ALLEGED HOME INTRUDER: He pointed a pellet gun at me that was located in our house. And I knew that it wasn't loaded, so I just sat down and got in my closet like he told me to.

And then he went into the living room to grab my phone to make sure I didn't call the 9-1-1 or anything. When I saw him try to put it in his pocket, I grabbed my machete off of my wall and went to hit him. And I hit him in the back of the head, like right here.


CHEN: That boy said that he thinks it's probably a better idea to get a job rather than to steal from someone's home. The boy seems to be OK, though.

Of course, as we discussed, this intruder eventually escaped a hospital on Friday night. Now there is discussion from the sheriff's office about changing their policies and their protocols with how they work with hospitals so that this doesn't happen again -- Poppy and Jim.

HARLOW: OK. Wow. What a story, Natasha Chen. Thank you for the reporting.

All right. Stay with us. We do have more significant breaking news out of the Supreme Court. We'll have that right after this.


[10:52:51] SCIUTTO: We have more breaking news from the Supreme Court. This one deals with Double Jeopardy, the constitutional right not to be tried twice for the same crime.

HARLOW: That's right. Jessica Schneider joins us with the latest.

I mean, what's interesting here is that question of, can a state try you for things that you've already been tried for on the federal level here? And the answer had been yes. Does it remain yes?

SCHNEIDER: It does remain yes. The Supreme Court, upholding the separate sovereigns exception here. Jim and Poppy, it sounds sort of drab and boring. But if the Supreme Court had ruled differently, it could have potentially had some implications for the convicted ex- campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, for President Trump. But I'll get to that in a minute.

So the Supreme Court here, upholding this exception, which basically says that state and federal prosecutors can prosecute, can bring charges against one person for the same underlying crime without violating the Double Jeopardy Clause.

This was actually a challenge brought by an Alabama man, a convicted felon who was charged for possessing a weapon, both by the feds and the state. But the Supreme Court was very reluctant to get -- do away with this doctrine, since it is such a longstanding exception here.

If the challengers had succeeded, it could have provided somewhat of an opening for Paul Manafort. You'll remember that within, really, minutes of Paul Manafort being sentenced in Washington, D.C. for those federal crimes, the Manhattan district attorney brought charges against Paul Manafort in New York State for mortgage fraud crimes.

Paul Manafort could have potentially argued that he couldn't be brought in both federal court and state court. But the Supreme Court essentially, putting that to rest. Putting -- you know, those chances that Paul Manafort could challenge this, on a little bit lower of a level here.

Because it does stand, that this separate sovereigns exception will stand. That state and federal prosecutors can in fact bring charges that result from the same underlying offense without violating the double jeopardy clause. Again, it was a long shot that it would have been overturned, just because this has been such a longstanding exception -- Jim and Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Jessica, Gloria Browne-Marshall with us.

Just quickly, this of course was not about Paul Manafort. But bigger picture, practical impact of this?

BROWNE-MARSHALL: The practical impact is that we have courts that already are overworked, federal and state courts. We have over two million people who are in our jails and prisons.

[10:55:06] And so this is not going to help the situation any. But it also is kind of dispiriting for that criminal who's been convicted in one court, who now doesn't know if that person's going to be convicted again in another --

SCIUTTO: Interesting.

HARLOW: -- there were -- those who brought this case were critical of the fact that they think it punishes poor people, essentially, right?

BROWNE-MARSHALL: And it does. I mean, and that's -- when you look at your jails and prisons, that's where you find poor people, people without an education across racial bounds. But of course, disproportionately people of color.

My other concern is that now that we have this punishment mentality in our prisons, in our criminal justice system, where are we going with this? I mean, why was it necessary for the federal government then to take a state conviction and then add more time and more punishment.

Yes, this was a possession of a weapon and yes this person had a nasty background. But where do we stop?

HARLOW: OK. Thank you for being here on the expertise on all those fronts.


HARLOW: Many more big rulings ahead in the next week or so. Also, we're staying on the Iran story. Tension mounting as Iran says it plans to ramp up production of low-grade uranium. Stay with us.