Return to Transcripts main page


Court Sides with Trump, Says Can't Sue over D.C. Hotel; Courts Rule Against Trump in 4 Separate Cases; Democrats Working Expressly to Make Most of Time in Mueller Hearing; Group Illustrates Mueller Report Since Most Haven't Read It; Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) Discusses Mitch McConnell Hampering Senators, McConnell against Reparations; Strip Club Hosting Golf Tournament at Trump Course. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired July 10, 2019 - 13:30   ET


[13:30:00] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: But on this issue on the Emoluments Clause, this big word that I think now most people know what it means, this idea that you're not allowed to benefit, right?


KEILAR: And this case, they won. And there are other cases involving this that allege that the president is benefiting financially from being in office.

WILLIAMS: What they did, they ruled on standing, which is that you have to be harmed in order to bring a lawsuit. So it wasn't really on the merits of the case. It was on the merits on who was bringing the case. So it's a little bit legalistic and complicated.

KEILAR: So there's another hotel in D.C. that could --

WILLIAMS: That's another jurisdiction we're in. But, again, look at how the president responded to it and I think that's far more significant. He used the term it's "the latest example of presidential harassment."

Again, anytime the president is investigated, anytime the president loses a lawsuit, it becomes us versus them, the Deep State versus me.

So, yes, it's a win. But in the context of all of these losses, and all of these faulty legal arguments -- and I hope we get to talk about this census case, too, because, right there, you know, the argument that the administration brought was called patently deficient by the court. And that's been happening consistently in these cases.

KEILAR: Elliot, thank you so much.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

KEILAR: Really appreciate it.

We are one week away from Robert Mueller's testimony and most people still have not read his report. It is really long. It's huge. Now there's a way to get caught up. Not so many pages, more pictures.

Plus, it used to host a PGA tournament, but now it's hosting a strip club's golf tournament. One of the president's resorts.


[13:35:53] KEILAR: Exactly one week from today, we will finally hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller under oath in a blockbuster hearing.

CNN's Manu Raju has some new reporting just in on how Democrats are preparing -- Manu?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The House Democrats are beginning an intense week of preparations behind the scenes to prepare for this key moment.

Some people, who are pushing for impeachment, say this is a make-or- break moment. But some others are concerned that it may not have the impact that a lot of people are expecting, that expectations are going through the roof.

In large part, because of the format of these two hearings. They're going to be back to back hearings roughly two hours each between each committee and that is going to be split between Republicans and Democrats.

So Democrats are trying to figure out how to maximize their time, how not to go off script, how to pin down the special counsel, and how to hopefully get, in their view, get the special counsel to reveal something that the American public doesn't already know.

But still, there are concerns that this is not going be enough, that this time will not be enough in order to shift public opinion in any serious way as a lot of Democrats are hoping.

This morning, I had a chance to talk to some who offered warnings to their colleagues, but also said perhaps it's not going to have the impact that others say it will.


RAJU: What will you guys have to do to frankly not mess it up?

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, I think we have to resist the impulse to editorialize. You know, we want to give the special counsel the opportunity to speak directly to the American people. It's been very effective for punching through the fog of propaganda left by Attorney General Barr.

RAJU: Do you think the expectations are just too high for this hearing?

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): I don't think anybody should expect much news out of this hearing. Bob Mueller has said his report is his testimony. He's one of the most disciplined men in Washington, D.C. So I don't think any of us are expecting big headlines out of his testimony.


RAJU: One Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Karen Bass, told me, quote, "It does concern me. This is definitely not going be enough time."

So what they're doing, Brianna, is behind the scenes, they're having meetings, the Judiciary Committee starting today, the House Intelligence Committee tomorrow, to talk about their lines of questioning, how best to maximize their questions and look at the topics they want to follow and also try to follow a script of sorts.

But if the special counsel doesn't answer those questions, if they have to follow up, can they pin that down in that very short duration? That has a number of these members concerned.

The whole world will be watching, but will it have the impact that it ultimately will have? Major question. Adam Schiff, Brianna, just told me earlier, they're going to have be economical in their questioning -- Brianna?

KEILAR: Interesting.

Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill, thank you.

If you are not up to speed on the Mueller report, do not worry. Not only are you probably not alone, but there's now an entertaining way that you can catch up.

"Insider" hired Journalist Mark Bowden, the author of "Black Hawk Down," and illustrator, Chad Hurd, and they gave them this instruction, quote, "Tell a story recounting Mueller's report that is so gripping it will hold your attention and maybe your congressional representative's."

What they got is supposed to read like a thriller and it covers all the major moments.

You have a dinner where President Trump requested loyalty from then- FBI Director James Comey. There's the Oval Office screaming match where the president demanded more protection from his then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. And, yes, it does, as well, include his order to fire Robert Mueller.

Let's bring in Nicholas Carlson. He's the global editor-in-chief of Insider, Incorporated.

Tell us how this came to be. Tell us why you decided to do this.

NICHOLAS CARLSON, GLOBAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, INSIDER, INCORPORATED: Right. So it's pretty clear to us that no one is reading the Mueller report. In fact, there's -- and they still aren't. Some of the most important people in the country aren't reading it.

So there was a report today in "Politico" that lawmakers are admitting they haven't read this. One of them said, quote, "What's the point?" There's obviously a big point. It's a document detailing possible

crimes by the current American president. So we thought it would be important to get it into a more digestible format. That's what we went out and got Mark Bowden to do and hired Chad Hurd, from the show "Archer" to draw scenes from it.

[13:40:09] And we've created something that I think is not only fun to read, but gets at what a lot of people missed in the Mueller report and really moves past, I think, a lot of -- what might be a red herring, which is focusing too much on the Russia/collusion conspiracy bit of Volume I and not paying attention to the question of obstruction of justice, which is in Volume II.

KEILAR: And clearly, creative liberties were taken with the pictures. But were any other creative liberties taken with the writing?

CARLSON: With the writing, no. And even with the pictures, I mean, there was every attempt made to make them as factual as possible. Obviously, when you're drawing a scene based on words, there would be creative liberties.

No, we had a team of fact checkers go through this document and make sure that it stuck to what Robert Mueller and firsthand accounts and fact check publishers have already said. But it relied mostly on the Mueller report.

KEILAR: So you think -- is it a substitute in your opinion for the Mueller report for reading the Mueller report?

CARLSON: No, listen, I think that it's a really good starting point. And I think that, you know, for your average person in the American public who has ignored this document, which is impossible to get through, I hope that we can kind of present the case that I think Mueller was trying to make.

But the lawmakers, they should just go to Audible and download the audio version and listen to it at 1.5X speed. Maybe they'll get through it. They really should.

KEILAR: That's how you save the time. Sounds weird, saves time.

Thank you so much, Nick Carlson. We appreciate it.

CARLSON: Thank you.

KEILAR: So just in, as we await a statement from the labor secretary over his role in that Jeffrey Epstein plea deal that was so cushy, CNN has learned the president urged Alex Acosta to hold a news conference as calls rise for him to resign.

Also, it's every traveler's worst nightmare. The shocking video that shows the engine on a Delta flight failing.


[13:47:00] KEILAR: "Mitch McConnell's leadership of the United States Senate has been a big fat waste and he has transformed the Senate into little more than a place where good ideas go to die." Those are not my words. These are the words of Minnesota Senator Tina Smith, who joins me now from Capitol Hill.

Senator, this is part of an op-ed that you wrote for You say that Democrats and Republicans can work together if Senator McConnell would just let you. Have your Republican colleagues told you that?

SEN. TINA SMITH (D-MN): I hear this all the time from my Democratic and Republican colleagues.

You know, we are trying to figure out how to pass prescription drug reform that would lower the cost of prescription drugs. We agree that we ought to pass the Violence Against Women Act. There are a lot of things that we want to work on together. But the United States Senate right now is where good ideas go to die.

Mitch McConnell himself said that he wanted the Senate to be in the personnel business and that's all we do every day, practically. And I've only been in the Senate for about 18 months, but I can see a waste when I -- I recognize a waste when I see it and that is what is going on here.

KEILAR: There are many Republicans who would say it's good when they're doing personnel work. They're approving judicial nominees that are more in line with their thinking. And there are many Republicans who would look and say, you may think that it's a big, fat waste, but Mitch McConnell is doing a very good job. So what would you say to them?

SMITH: Well, certainly, the job of the United States Senate is to provide advice and consent for the president's nominations. But that's not the way our job should end. It's just the beginning of our job. There's so much work that I know Minnesotans want us to get done.

I'm frustrated. I come to this having spent a lifetime working in the private sector and being a mom and running big -- state government and I know what work looks like. And this just looks like a waste to me.

I think it's no wonder that Americans are frustrated. And, you know, it just seems like we can do so much better.

KEILAR: You focus a lot on the judicial nominees and how much time or really how little time is being given to some to consider these nominees. I wonder, though, do you think that that is resonating with Democratic voters?

SMITH: Democratic voters, Republican voters, Independent voters, just people want to know that the United States Senate is fighting for them and moving their work forward.

When I'm home in Minnesota, what people are talking to me about is prescription drugs and prescription drug costs. They're talking to me about how they can afford insulin. I know that I have Republican colleagues who want to see us working on that issue, as well. Yet, day after day -- this week is a classic example. We are voting on seven judicial nominations. And we're voting on people. Let's be clear about this.


KEILAR: But typically, Republican voters like that. This motivates Republican voters more than Democratic voters. So --

SMITH: Again, we ought to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. We can work on judicial nominations, but let's do the people's business beyond packing our courts with judges, who can't even say that they think that Brown versus the Board of Education, which has been settled law in this country since 1954, is settled law.

[13:50:13] KEILAR: Senator McConnell is making light of a news story that says his around setters were slave owners. He's an opponent to reparations, which is something that has been getting a lot of attention, on the Hill, in the Democratic presidential race. This is what the majority leader said.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I find myself once again in the same position as President Obama. We both oppose reparations. And we both are the descendants of slave owners.


KEILAR: To be fair, the president, President Obama actually said reparations didn't go far enough. What do you make of McConnell's response?

SMITH: Well, I think this is the height of Mitch McConnell's cynicism to compare himself to Barack Obama. Barack Obama spent his administration fighting for restorative justice and racial justice.

And right now, Mitch McConnell is making sure the United States Senate isn't voting to advance voting rights for all Americans. He's holding up the For the People Act that the House passed in March, which would advance racial justice and fair voting rights for everyone. Who believes this? It's not serious.

KEILAR: Senator Tina Smith, thank you so much.

SMITH: Thank you.

KEILAR: Her piece is on, if you want to check out the whole thing from Senator Smith.

Now, the labor secretary, Alex Acosta, is expected to speak any moment as calls for his resignation continue to pour in.

Also, exotic dancers as caddies? We're going to have details on a golf tournament that's being hosted by a strip club at one of the president's resorts.


[13:56:33] KEILAR: A Miami strip club is holding a charity event that gives golfers a chance to pay a dancer to be their caddie girl. Here's the thing though. Not only will they be playing at the president's Doral Golf Resort, the advertisements have the Trump name and the Trump family crest prominently displayed on them. "The Post" points out that Mr. Trump still owns the establishment. His sons, Donald Jr and Eric, run it now.

I want to bring in CNN national correspondent, Dianne Gallagher, to talk about this.

You've been following this story, Dianne. What are the organizers of this event saying?

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The organizers from the Shadow Cabaret -- that is the strip club -- have said, look, we did not pick Trump Doral because of politics, even though they are using the Trump name and family crest. They say they picked it simply for luxury.

But the Trump Organization says, while, yes, they confirmed to the "Washington Post" that this is happening at Trump Doral, and they say it's for a good cause. The Trump Organization says they did not get any sort of approval of these advertisements before they went up.

Look, Brianna, we have to point out that it's not just using the dancers in these ads, they're also promising things like, if you bid enough money, you can get a special VIP experience afterwards, at the strip club, where they're all going to go after the tournament, they say. And you can get a VIP room, bottle service, special amenities, including hotel stays due to how much you bid.

They're bidding on these girls as well. They get to choose their caddie girl, which is one of the dancers from the club.

If you don't do it by today, you have to participate in an auction if you want to get the girl you like.

KEILAR: An auction?



Let's talk -- so this is actually to -- well, it's supposed to be the initial plan is to benefit a charity. Tell us about where that stands.

GALLAGHER: Initially, this is called the Shadow All-Stars Tournament. That's playing off the Shadow Cabaret and the Miami All-Stars, which is an unregistered children's charity in the Miami area that benefits underprivileged kids.

Well, we spoke with the director of that charity, Carlos Alamilla. He said the first he heard that an actual strip club was involved in this was when the "Washington Post" called him. Carlos said that he was uncomfortable initially with the idea that it was at Trump Doral, because, to be honest, he says he's not a fan of the president because he feels the policies hurt children like the ones who benefit from his charity.

But he said that he went along with it, even though he's usually in basketball, not golf, and was caught off guard completely when the "Washington Post" called about this story.

He says he has since sent a letter to the strip club manager saying, I don't want to be a part of this anymore. Please remove our name or anything like that from the advertisement and disassociate us completely from this event.

Needless to say, the charity's director does not plan on attending the event.

KEILAR: Real quick, does this have the blessing of the Trump Organization?

GALLAGHER: All the Trump Organization would tell the "Washington Post" was to confirm that it was there. And note that it was, at least at that time, a worthwhile cause, talking about the Miami All- Stars. But again, the Trump Organization explicitly told the "Washington Post" they did not have any sort of guidance or were asked about those advertisements before they were published.

KEILAR: Dianne Gallagher, thank you so much.