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Stevens to Lie in Repose at Supreme Court; Warren Proposes Plan to Avoid Another Financial Crisis; Friday Deadline to Reach Budget Deal. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 22, 2019 - 09:30   ET


[09:30:00] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Pall bearers. And then I found this interesting. He's going to rest on a platform used by Lincoln.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: That's right. He's returning here for the final time today. He will lie in repose in that great hall. He'll be accompanied by some 80 of his former clerks. Some of them will serve as pall bearers, others will line the steps of the Supreme Court. And then they'll stand vigil over the casket as it is in that great hall lying on that platform that was used for Lincoln. He'll be received by Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Ginsburg, Alito, Sotomayor, Kagan, retired Justices Kennedy. The other justices had long serving commitments, although Ashley Kavanaugh will be here, she's Kavanaugh's wife, as well as, tomorrow, David Souter, Stevens' long-term friend. He will be there for the private burial.

As you said, 99 years old. He was put on the bench by Gerald Ford, a Republican, but he became a consistent liberal vote on the Supreme Court. Justice Elena Kagan took his seat. And she said last week she was reminiscing. She said, you know, he was a brilliant tactician, a legal craftsman. She talked about how he was always very civil, how he was a -- or as he was a World War II veteran. But she also said something else. She said, he served for so long that many of the justices seemed to think he was eternal, Jim and Poppy.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Ariane, you know, one of the great things about previous justices, right, is that many of them were confirmed unanimously. And he was. 98-0. The issue of Roe versus Wade, for example, didn't even come up in his confirmation hearing. And this is, as you've reported, exactly what President Ford was looking for, a great, great legal mind, not someone whose political ideology would influence decisions at all. I mean President Ford even quoting as something to the effect of, I would let my legacy rest on the -- on choosing Stevens for the high court.

DE VOGUE: Right, Poppy. And Stevens was very proud about that. He was proud that late in his life Ford said he had no regrets. But at the end of the -- at the end of his tenure, he did become that great dissenter, right? He dissented in the campaign finance case. He dissented in a Second Amendment case. And perhaps most notably, he dissented in Bush v. Gore.

HARLOW: Yes. DE VOGUE: And he feared that that decision would make courts look political. And a lot of people said, look, that was -- he was foreshadowing something to come. They said, you know, he was right when he wrote that those years ago.

SCIUTTO: Yes, 5-4 decision there. Of course, the five conservatives ruling in favor of Bush, four against.

Can you tell us a bit about his legacy on the court, you talked about his dissents, but where his votes made a difference in effecting people's lives.

DE VOGUE: Oh, absolutely. And he started out as quite a maverick on the court and sometimes he'd be the only one who would write separately. But as I said, as the years passed along, he felt like his judicial philosophy hadn't moved. He said that the conservatives had moved the court. He felt like he had stayed the same but that the court had moved.

He did change his position, though, for instance, in the death penalty. Early on he voted in favor of it. But at the end of his tenure there, he said he really thought that the justices should look at that again. He was known for his common sense, looking at things. Chief Justice John Roberts called him a son of the Midwest. Very straightforward in his opinions.

HARLOW: 2008, the Heller decision on guns and the, you know, the right to bear arms, such a critical dissent which he says today -- when had said shortly before his death, I remain convinced that that decision was wrong and was certainly debatable that it provided the NRA with a propaganda weapon of immense power.

And I think, you know, one of the last things people may have read by him, Ariane, is that "The New York Times" opinion peace talking about the Second Amendment.

DE VOGUE: He absolutely -- at the end, after he had retired -- many justices after their retirement kind of go away from the public eye. Not Stevens. He wrote books. He appeared. He wrote op-eds. He did feel to the end that that Second Amendment case and Citizens United had been wrongly decided.

And here's what's a little bit interesting is, you're going to see all of the clerks lining up. They become in many ways a justice's greatest legacy. They start off at the court knowing very little about the law, and there they are at the highest echelons of power. They continue on. He served as a mentor. You'll see that many of these clerks will write about Citizens United, they will write about the Second Amendment in op-eds, in law review articles, sort of carrying on Stevens legacy.

He stayed very close with them. Just -- he just finished a book last spring and he had his last reunion. So these clerks who have become judges, businessmen, law professors, in many ways they'll carry on Stevens' legacy and his concerns about opinions that he thinks that the newly constructed court should look at again.


[09:35:00] SCIUTTO: Yes, we've been watching there as you've been speaking, Ariane, those clerks lining the steps, turning toward the casket as it makes its way up there into the -- into the great hall of the Supreme Court.

Ariane de Vogue, thanks very much.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.


SCIUTTO: Senator and 2020 Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren is warning a new financial crisis is looming and, no surprise here, she says she has a plan to fix it.

HARLOW: She wrote about it this morning on "Medium" (ph) and she talks about increasing corporate and household debt, as well as the Trump administration's trade war with China, thinking all of this could lead to a pretty deep recession. She explains how her policies to raise the federal minimum wage and cancel out student debt could stop an economic downturn.

[09:40:12] Our chief business coordinator, Christine Romans, is here. Our political report MJ Lee, who follows all things Elizabeth Warren, is here.

So, MJ, just, let's begin with you in terms of what exactly is in this plan because, as I read it, a lot of the stuff in here she had sort of already laid out.

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean this is a dark prediction, obviously, from Elizabeth Warren that another financial crisis is coming. And she notes that she tried to send warning signs before the 2008 crisis, that nobody listened, and so she's sending these warning signs again, pointing to all of these signs that we've seen in the economy, some of which you mentioned, like rising household debt, corporate debt.


LEE: She says the manufacturing industry is in a recession. And she says that she has a plan to deal with this and to try to prevent it. A big part of it is reducing household debt. So it's things like increasing minimum wage, canceling student loan debt, reducing the cost of child care and rent. As you said, Poppy, a lot of these are plans that she has already released in the past.

You know, I'll leave it to the economic expert here to analyze whether her warning is called for, that there's a financial crisis coming. But speaking politically, it is very, very interesting that she has been leaning so hard into this economic message.

HARLOW: Yes. LEE: You know, last week you remember she put out a Wall Street and private equity plan. She's been really going on this theme of economic patriotism. Clearly she's starting to make a bet that she wants to emerge the economic candidate out of this big, Democratic field, especially if she feels like next year the economy may not be helpful for President Trump.


SCIUTTO: So, Christine, she is not -- Warren is not alone warning that some of the ingredients of a financial crisis may be there.


SCIUTTO: But is that an (INAUDIBLE) position? You watch these markets very closely. Or is that becoming mainstream?

ROMANS: Look, it's been 10 years of expansion. You've got a stock market that is going gang busters here and an economy that is still strong.

You know, the lowest unemployment rate in some 50 years. So right now the signals are all very strong in the economy.

But what Elizabeth Warren is pointing to, and she said in her "Medium" post, the yield curve. These signals of bubbling corporate debt. Households that are stretched, even in such a good economy, households that are so stretched. Why is that?

You know, I went back and looked at notes from interviewing her back in 2004 this morning when she put out a book called "The Two Income Trap" with her -- with her daughter and she's been remarkably consistent about this message that the game is rigged for people with money and for investors and not for the average working family.

And this is not a new position from her. She emerged from Harvard the -- you know, Harvard University, where she had been a professor, really beating this drum. And she's been consistent on it. She's right, you guys, that she was warning about the financial crisis before it happened.


ROMANS: She was worried about subprime loans. She was worried about -- about all of these -- about too much debt for households and lenders who didn't have any sort of skin in the game to protect actual working Americans. And she sees that happening again here.

HARLOW: And is --

SCIUTTO: But to be clear, and it's different -- a coming recession is one thing, end of this economic cycle, but financial crisis is another thing. I mean, you know, she's basically saying that, you know, we're looking at 2008 all over again.

ROMANS: She's predicting a financial crisis, you're right. And she says it's all so precarious. It will take one thing to tip it over.

It's interesting because the economy is so strong. You know, it's the economy, stupid. This is a huge advantage for President Trump if you can just hold onto the economy here or not have much of a downturn heading into the election year. So maybe that dire message of a financial crisis so soon after the last. I mean recent in people's memory. Maybe, politically, that is a savvy kind of message to be having, to remind people how bad it was.

LEE: Right.

HARLOW: I also think, MJ, if she is in our upcoming debate, in our CNN debate, you know, a big contrast for her. She's not going to be on the same stage as Joe Biden. But this is an area where the two diverge so much and that there's such a long history there.

LEE: Absolutely, especially when it comes to the issue of financial regulations. I mean, remember, it was a day that Joe Biden announced his campaign that Elizabeth Warren told reporters, you know, there was a time when Joe Biden stood on the side of credit card companies. I mean she rarely, rarely takes on other candidates, as we have seen throughout the year, but that was probably the one time that stands out so clearly as her sort of having taken on the politics and the path of another candidate.


LEE: So, yes, we are not going to see them on stage together this time, but this is an issue that is going to bubble up.



HARLOW: OK, thank you guys very much.

The lineup for the CNN Democratic presidential debates are out. Look at that. Night one. Night two. Two big nights. Ten candidates each night, July 30th and the 31th, live from Detroit right here on CNN.

Congress and the White House racing to hammer out a budget deal by Friday. So much at stake. The U.S. could run out of money before lawmakers return from their August recess.

SCIUTTO: Yes, it feels like we do this a couple times a year these days. A two (ph) year (ph) $1.4 trillion budget and debt ceiling deal is on the table now. Nothing yet on paper. Sources say, and this is crucial, of course, the president has not yet signed off on the deal.

[09:45:13] Let's speak to CNN's Phil Mattingly on Capitol Hill.

You know, I'd like to look up the definition of debt ceiling because it keeps getting raised, which makes me think there's not actually a debt ceiling here. But --

HARLOW: It's a tarp. SCIUTTO: It seems like one thing that's guaranteed, spending's going to go up here and Republicans abandoning demands even the White House possibly demanding -- abandoning demands for spending cuts attached to this.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's been a shift from the course of the weekend. Look, welcome to the sprint. You now have five days -- lawmakers have five days before the House leaves for its five-week recess. Speaker Pelosi has made very clear, if they want to raise the debt ceiling, which the Treasury Department says needs to happen before they leave for that August recess, a budget deal has to be coupled along with it.

Now, the budget deal would involve about $320 billion in increased spending over the course of two years. It would be equally divided between Pentagon, defense spending, that obviously Republicans want, and domestic priorities that Democrats want as well. But the difficulty -- and, Jim, you honed in on it right now -- there are elements of the White House and conservatives here on Capitol Hill that want spending increases of that level to be paid for. That has been the large crux over the back and forth over the course of the last week or so. Where they stand right now -- and, again, nothing's on paper. They're moving towards an agreement, but they haven't had key signoffs yet, is that not much of that would actually be offset. Pieces of it will, probably about $60 billion to $80 billion will, but not the entire thing.

Why that's problematic? Well, there are obviously conservatives on Capitol Hill who have real problems with that on the fiscal side of things, but there are also key players inside the White House, including on the White House's negotiation team. Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, Russ Vought, the acting OMB director, who had made very clear they are uncomfortable with those spending increases without offsets.

Now, to counter that, Republicans say that they might be able to get restrictions on how much Democrats can tie down what the administration can do in terms of moving money to finance their wall. That would be a tradeoff of some sort here. But, guys, the key component -- and, Jim, you nailed it at the very top, the president has not signed off on anything yet. So they're in the middle of this sprint. They feel like they've got the broad construct of a deal but they need sign off here on Capitol Hill and the also need sign off from the guy in the Oval Office, which, at least at this point, they don't have yet, guys.

SCIUTTO: And if you're keeping track at home, the U.S. deficit is going to be more than a trillion dollars this year for the first time since those years after the 2008 recession.

Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.

Lawyers for two Ohio counties are accusing major pharmaceutical companies and pharmacies of acting like street drug couriers. Coming up, how they say the companies helped fuel the opioid crisis.


[09:52:00] SCIUTTO: Welcome back.

New court documents show that drug companies shipped hundreds of millions of suspicious doses of opioids to just two counties in the state of Ohio. Hundreds of millions. Cuyahoga and Summit Counties are at the center of a lawsuit against the makers and the distributors of painkillers.

HARLOW: So, by law, drug companies have to monitor and report any orders of unusual size or frequency to the DEA, but the plaintiffs here say the pharmaceutical companies knew about the huge and repeated opioid pill orders to specific towns, specific pharmacies, but failed repeatedly to report that.

Jean Casarez has been tracking this. She joins us now as well.

Of course, you were on the Oklahoma lawsuit with Johnson & Johnson. We're waiting to see what the decision is there.

This is about Ohio. And the plaintiffs say that these drug makers and distributors acted essentially like street drug couriers.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. The this is the largest case in the country. There are over 400 defendants in counties and states and even Native American governments have all come together, consolidated as plaintiffs in this case. And Poppy is exactly right because what the filing is saying is that with that legal ability to distribute opioids comes an immense responsibility because the health and the general welfare are in your hands, distributors.

I want to show you some e-mails that are in these legal filings and one is from January 27th, 2009, between defendant Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals and KeySource Medical, 1,200 bottles of oxycodone had just been sent to them overnight. And Victor Borelli, this contact at KeySource Medical, Steve Cochrane, wrote back after he got them, keep them coming. Flying out of here. It's like people are addicted to these things or something. Oh, wait, people are.


CASAREZ: Then Borelli responds, just like Doritos. Keep eating. We'll make more.

He's also alleged in the filing to have described his job as ship, ship, ship. Another e-mail, if you are low, order more. If you're OK, order a little more. And joked that maybe we should destroy this e- mail. Oh, well, anyway.

We have reached out to Victor Borelli, the pharmaceutical company, the distributor that received all of that, KeySource Medical. We have not heard from them. But the responses from these defendants is due at the end of July.

HARLOW: So what is the goal here with this lawsuit? Because you have hundreds of thousands of Americans who have died. CASAREZ: Right. And what these two counties in Ohio is saying, look,

judge, we want this issue established right away. They did not follow that proper protocol of taking -- seeing anything suspicious and not shipping it out. They didn't have the plan in place. They shipped everything out that anyone would want at any time, and we want you, judge, to determine that they are responsible for violating the laws and rules under the DEA. So it's not an issue at trial.

This case is proceeding, but if we can --

HARLOW: Oh, interesting.

CASAREZ: Determine that they are wrong in this, that they are libel and responsible, then it's not an issue once you come to trial.

[09:55:06] HARLOW: Jean Casarez, thank you very much for the reporting.

CASAREZ: You're welcome.

HARLOW: We appreciate it.

All right, happening right now, thousands on the streets of Puerto Rico demanding the governor resign. We'll have a live update from San Juan in just a minute.


[10::00:04] SCIUTTO: A very good Monday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

So, right now, thousands.