Return to Transcripts main page
CNN RIGHT NOW
Nadler Lays out Path Forward; Dems Take Step Forward Toward Impeachment; Harris Unveils Plan for Black Wealth; Buttigieg Pitches Economic Plan; U.S. Economy Slows; Trump on Rips Detention of Rapper but Silent on ICE Detention. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired July 26, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[13:00:21] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Brianna Keilar, live from CNN's Washington headquarters.
Underway right now, if the House won't take up impeachment, some Democrats revealing what they will do instead going forward.
And the speaker meets the squad, or one of them at least. So what did Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talk about?
The tale of two detainees, a rapper and an 18-year-old, both American citizens, but the president is only vocal about one of them.
Plus, the disturbing scene of white college students posing with guns in front of a memorial plaque for the young man whose murder helped propel the U.S. into the civil rights movement.
And the powerful story behind this image of a Syrian girl's heroic attempt to save her seven-month-old sister after a bombing.
But first, Democratic leadership on a collision course as the party struggles to decide on a path forward in the wake of the Mueller testimony. The House Judiciary chairman, Jerry Nadler, pushing for impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): We are going into court and asking for more information and for -- to enforce our subpoenas. We are telling the court that we are doing this not just as part of normal oversight, but also because it's part of our Article One authority and responsibility to consider all remedies, including possibility of articles of impeachment, and that's what we're going to do.
Now, whether you call that an inquiry or whatever you want to call that, that's what we've been doing and we are doing and we'll continue to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Manu Raju is live for us up on Capitol Hill. There have been some developments today, Manu. What's the latest?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, very significant development. The House Judiciary Committee announcing this new lawsuit to try to get the grand jury information from the Mueller investigation. But that is really not the headline here. The headline here is they took a pretty significant step towards possibly moving towards an impeachment proceeding because what they are arguing in this lawsuit is to -- that they need this information, this grand jury information from the Mueller probe in order to decide whether or not to recommend articles of impeachment against the president of the United States. That is cited in their lawsuit. And Jerry Nadler just announced that moments ago.
I ask him, are you -- is there a difference in the investigation that you're having right now than what a formal impeachment inquiry is? Is there any difference whatsoever? He essentially said they're in effect the same thing. He said there is one difference, an impeachment proceeding, he said -- an impeachment inquiry is just geared towards deciding whether or not to formally recommend articles of impeachment. He said this is a bit broader investigation, but it could lead to a recommendation of articles of impeachment. A significant announcement there by the House speaker -- by the Judiciary Committee chairman, who has privately been pushing to move forward on impeachment proceedings.
But he's been met with some resistance from one person in particular, Nancy Pelosi, the House speaker, who believes the current course of action is correct. Fight the issues in court. Decide later on whether or not to move forward with formal impeachment proceedings. And when I asked her earlier today whether or not she's simply trying to run out the clock, as some Democrats believe given her resistance to opening up an impeachment proceeding, she denied it saying she's not trying to run out the clock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): No, I'm not trying to run out the clock. Let's get sophisticated about this, OK? We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed, not one day sooner. And everybody has the liberty and the luxury to espouse their own position and to criticize me for trying to go down the path in the most determined, positive way.
Mr. Mueller said the other day, confirmed, confirmed in the public mind that the president has obstructed justice. You know what he said. If he could have exonerated him, he would have, but he didn't. But he was not able to investigate the president's finances, personal, business or otherwise, and that is what we are doing in the courts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: But Democratic sources tell me, Brianna, that the speaker actually signed off on that language in the lawsuit saying they need this information to decide whether or not to move forward with an impeachment proceeding.
KEILAR: And, Manu, the speaker and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, obviously a very vocal freshman, had this face-to-face meeting today after weeks of public feuding. But now the speaker's denying there was ever a problem to begin with. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don't think there ever was any hatchet.
QUESTION: Well, she called you downright disrespectful.
PELOSI: Well, that's -- that's -- that's -- we're in a political arena.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: There wasn't a hatchet. There was no hatchet to bury is what the speaker was saying. She's trying very hard to downplay any infighting.
[13:05:02] RAJU: No question about it. Of course, Ocasio-Cortez also suggested that the speaker was singling out women of color after the speaker had criticized her vote and other -- the three other Democratic congresswomen freshmen over that immigration -- the border spending bill.
But, nevertheless, the speaker is trying to say that, look, we do have disagreements from time to time, but overall we're united and we're fighting the White House here. That's what we need to keep our focus on. And she needs to make that case, of course, because they're heading into a six-week recess and they want to project unity. But, of course, you look under the surface and things are a little bit more complicated than it seems.
KEILAR: They sure are.
As always, Manu Raju, thank you so much.
And here to talk this over now we have CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero and "Washington Post" congressional reporter Karoun Demirjian.
So, Carrie, we just heard from Chairman Nadler that they've told the courts the committee is requesting information from the Mueller investigation, not just as normal oversight but as part of their Article One authority. How is this different from saying that they've opened up an impeachment inquiry and that's how they should be getting information?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, honestly, it's getting harder and harder to distinguish between the work that the committee is doing in their capacity of their overall rule of law oversight investigation and what they might be doing if they actually technically said now we're conducting an impeachment inquiry, because what they're doing today, they're going to court to try to get unsealed some of the grand jury information that was in the Mueller report, which, by the way, is a really small percentage of the information that's in the report. And then next week they're going to go to court to try to enforce the subpoena against witness Don McGahn, which is really -- goes to one of the most important fact patterns in the report demonstrating obstructive conduct on the part of the president.
KEILAR: Nadler has this method that he can take, right, Karoun? He can introduce articles of impeachment in committee. He's at odds with the speaker on how he wants to proceed. She doesn't want to move forward on impeachment, at least not yet, but maybe not at all. He is pressing to do it.
If he did that in committee, how much chaos would this throw the Democratic caucus into?
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you just saw Nancy Pelosi appearing with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to show this sign of unity, right? We assume that she already is unified with the two chairmen of the most powerful committees going after those three, frankly, Adam Schiff on Intel, Jerry Nadler on Judiciary and Elijah Cummings on the Oversight Committee.
There were talks very -- at the very beginning of this and maybe there will be some turf wars and infighting and lack of unified strategy and they have really made a very, very concerted effort to dispel all of that and present a unified front. If they don't look like they have a unified front, that makes it much, much, much easier for supporters of the president to say what the heck is going on here, what are you doing and to say, if you don't even have the support of your speaker and you're going to try to get impeachment to get out of committee and onto the floor, good luck.
KEILAR: The -- Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who's on House Intel, this is what she said about the timeline for impeachment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): If we don't take action come September 1st, then we should just shut it down because we're not going to be able to do anything at all. I feel strongly that we should, but I think we're running out of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Speaker Pelosi, Karoun, said she's not trying to run out the clock. But make no mistake, she's not, at this point, moving towards impeachment. And there is a clock and it is ticking very loudly.
DEMIRJIAN: There is a clock. Exactly. You get into 2020, you get to -- start to get too close to the election. It doesn't look like it's actually an impeachment proceeding on the merits anymore, even if it is, by that point, by Pelosi's assessment. So really they have the end of this year. They have this fall, basically. And then if they get into the beginning of next year, it's going to look like a political craven (ph) type of a move to people who might have supported them otherwise.
KEILAR: And then Nadler -- Jerry Nadler is saying right now that a win in court next week to enforce a subpoena for White House Counsel -- former White House Counsel Don McGahn is going to, quote, open -- open up the floodgates for more subpoenas.
CORDERO: Well, I think because Don McGahn, because he was White House counsel, the White House has the strongest arguments in terms of being able to exert executive privilege over McGahn's testimony. So I think he's the -- he's both the most important -- potentially post -- one of the most important witnesses for the committee to get because he's so central to one of the strongest fact patterns on obstruction. At the same time, he's also the hardest witness to get because he was the White House counsel. If the courts can go with -- if the courts rule in favor of the House on McGahn, I think all of the other witnesses are going to be easier to get.
KEILAR: All right, fact check true, you say, for Jerry Nadler, that this opens up the floodgates.
And, Karoun, what did you make of the speaker trying to downplay? I mean you said here she is painting this picture of unity with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She was basically saying there was -- there was no hatchet to bury, even though Manu made it very clear that the things that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez raised about the speaker were pretty serious.
DEMIRJIAN: We saw the hatchet out in full forum, both on Twitter and in Pelosi's public statements behind that same podium. Maybe it wasn't a sharpened hatchet, but there was definitely something there that had to be addressed. That's why they did this.
And, look, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does not control a major, major faction of the Democratic Party in Congress. And what she does control is public sentiment in great regard. And that has effects both for the 2020 campaign, which Pelosi's still the top Democrat in office. And, remember, she is looking to the public to determine if there's actually a groundswell behind her of sentiment before she steps into this impeachment arena and other matters too. So she needs the people to be with her and Ocasio can punch above her weight when it comes to how much people out there, and in areas of the Democratic Party they want to win over, are paying attention to what happens in D.C.
[13:10:30] KEILAR: Definitely.
And it's just sort of striking this image, Karoun, that we saw of the speaker, who has been around the block for so long, and this freshman congresswoman. This is -- I mean this is -- it's a striking situation that is happening up there where Nancy Pelosi is having to deal with the youngsters.
DEMIRJIAN: Yes, it's a striking situation. It tells you that there is a power that exists in this newest generation, this new class that's entered Congress and of the most diverse Congress that you've yet seen. And either this is a wake-up call to the older generation that they have to kind of govern a little bit differently, or seen from a more positive light. Maybe it's good that you can kind of have a unification across all generations of the Democratic Party. Now if they can sustain that in a way that where their people aren't talking about hatchets to bury, then that will work well for them.
KEILAR: Karoun, Carrie, thank you so much to both of you.
And we are, at this point, just four days away from the next Democratic presidential debates right here on CNN. The candidates are honing their messages on the campaign trail as they prepare to face off on the big stage. Several of the candidates spoke today at the National Urban League Convention in Indianapolis.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My own city has seen the limitations of the progress we can make as long as we are in the shadow of systemic racism. And my own city is not alone. It is a national problem that requires national solutions.
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's be bold. Let's move forward. And I'm pleased to also announce today that, as president, I will invest in black entrepreneurs and business owners by creating an increasing access to capital and credit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: CNN's Ryan Nobles is here with us.
So Harris talked about what her campaign says is really the next part of their agenda when it comes to black voters, which is centering on immigration. Tell us about this.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. And, you know, there's no doubt that African-American voters are a key constituency in the Democratic primary, Brianna. And this is, obviously, an area that Kamala Harris would like to improve her position with in terms of the polls. And what she talked about today was this second phase of her black agenda. And it includes a big investment in historically black colleges and universities. Of course -- that, of course, personal to her as well. She's a graduate of Howard University. She talked about a $60 billion investment in STEM education for HBCUs. She also talked about a plan to generate more investment in black teachers through HBCUs. And she also wants to create a $12 billion program to help minority business startups. And this is about investing in the black community, trying to lift a lot of African-Americans out of poverty, which she thinks is going to be part of making things equal for them across the board.
But, you know, it's interesting for her, Brianna, because this is an area where Joe Biden is very strong right now, the former vice president. Of course the former vice president connected to Barack Obama, the first African-American president, still enjoys a very wide margin of support in terms of black voters in South Carolina in particular, which is the first really big state where the African- American vote is going to have a major influence. This is an area where Harris thinks that she can improve, but right
now the polls are not showing her making big gains. She's hoping this -- part of this agenda will help turn that around.
KEILAR: It's -- I mean its stunning, that number, 51. And then, for Biden in 12 right behind him.
Let's talk about Beto O'Rourke --
KEILAR: Because he really didn't make much of an impact during this first debate when we saw him. Does he have plans to turn this around?
NOBLES: He does. And, you know, I actually spoke with one of his advisers last weekend and talked about this at length. And, you know, Beto O'Rourke is obviously struggling right now. A huge drop in his fundraising totals. He's dropping in polls across the board. But his team really views the debate as an opportunity to kind of reignite his campaign. In fact, our colleague, Eric Bradner (ph), learned that Beto O'Rourke and his wife actually sat down and watched the last debate and tried to break down exactly what went wrong. And even Beto himself described himself as being wooden during this debate and allowed the attacks to come without much of a response.
I'm told things are going to be much different this time around. In their previous preparation, they didn't murder-board Beto O'Rourke, which means hammer him with areas where he could potentially be vulnerable. They did this, this time around. And the other thing they plan to do, Brianna, is they plan to engage, particularly with Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who they feel is one of these candidates that's kind of stealing their lane. One of the things they're going to attack him on, Brianna, I'm told, is his donations, where he is getting his money from. Of course, Beto O'Rourke, his campaign largely fueled by small dollar donations, where Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been willing to take those high-dollar fundraisers, which many in the Democratic field have not done.
[13:15:11] KEILAR: I want to know what his wife said. What Beto O'Rourke's wife said when she sat down to critique him. That would be the --
NOBLES: My wife is probably watching right now and will give me critiques afterwards.
KEILAR: And I bet they'll be very interesting.
Ryan Nobles, thank you so much.
NOBLES: Thanks, Brianna.
KEILAR: And CNN is going to host the next Democratic debates in Detroit. These will take place at 8:00 p.m. Eastern next Tuesday and Wednesday night right here on CNN.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg rolling out his new economic plan today ahead of his speech in Indianapolis and ahead of the next debate next week. The plan is pro-union. It allows all workers the right to join a labor union. It also would impose costly penalties on companies that try to restrict that right. He also takes aim at companies like Google, Uber, Lyft, who get around offering benefits because they rely heavily on independent contractors.
CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich is joining me now.
Tell us about the goal, the messaging behind the mayor's plan here.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS REPORTER: Hi, Brianna.
Well, as you mentioned, this plan is very pro-union. And one of the people that's been supported by unions in the past is President Trump. A lot of labor unions in the Midwest supported, voted for and ultimately elected President Trump to office. I asked Mayor Buttigieg about this in an exclusive interview I had with him on the phone yesterday evening ahead of this rollout and asked him, is the union part of this plan an effort to get those voters back over to the Democratic side? And he said in part that, yes, it was.
Also in this plan, interesting, he called out big tech companies by name, Lyft, Uber and Google. He points out that many of them use contractors instead of full-time employees. Contractors are limited in terms of their rights and they don't get offered full benefits. Buttigieg, in this plan, wants to change that. He wants to allow independent contractors to collective bargain and to unionize. And I asked him, Mayor Buttigieg, are you really willing to go up against these big tech companies if it comes to that? And he said that, yes, he was.
And finally, Brianna, it's interesting to note that that big fundraising haul that Mayor Buttigieg had in the second quarter, $25 million, a lot of those fundraisers were actually held in Silicon Valley. A lot of those donations actually came from Silicon Valley executives. So this proposal taking aim at those people that he's directly raising money from.
KEILAR: Awkward, right? Vanessa Yurkevich, yes, we'll see, it's very interesting to see how they respond to that. We appreciate the report.
An American rapper detained in Sweden, an American 18-year-old detained by the U.S. So why is the president only speaking up about one of them?
Plus, action taken against fraternity members who posed with guns at the Emmitt Till memorial.
And the new British prime minister moving into 10 Downing Street, maybe with his girlfriend. So, who is she, and why these are uncharted waters for the U.K.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [13:23:00] KEILAR: New economic numbers out today could have an effect on the 2020 race. The second quarter economy growing at a rate of 2.1 percent. This is actually better than the forecast, but it's much worse than what we saw in the first quarter. The president tweeting, Q2 GDP up 2.1 percent. Not bad considering we have the very heavy weight of the Federal Reserve anchor wrapped around our neck. Almost no inflation. USA is set to zoom.
Monica Mehta is a financial expert and she's manage principal at Seventh Capital.
Monica, President Trump is blaming the Fed here. So, fact check this for us, is the Fed responsible?
MONICA MEHTA, MANAGE PRINCIPAL, SEVENTH CAPITAL: The Fed's not responsible. I think what -- what President Trump recognizes is that if rates go down, the stock market will go up, which is basically a visual indicator for most consumers. When they see the market going up, up, up, they think, hey, things are great, I'm just going to keep spending. So it's one of those psychological indicators and he is definitely teeing up a rate cut. And I think what he probably recognizes is that if GDP numbers actually beat expectations, how do you justify a rate cut? And it's through inflation. So there's going to -- there's definitely a dialogue here that's being set up.
KEILAR: So how have the president's tariffs and his trade threats affected growth?
MEHTA: Right. So if you look -- you know, if you look at these GDP numbers, from the top line you think, oh, things are fine. You know, consumers are spending, everything must be OK. But what you're really seeing when you look below the headline here is that the consumers are caring the burden of most of the economy right now, but business is pulling back. And it really is because of the trade war.
The trade war has been, you know, something that's been talked about for 18 months, almost two years. It's creating a lot of uncertainty for businesses. So despite getting these huge tax cuts, they're just not investing. They're not carrying inventory. They're cutting back on inventory. They are just not making big investments in the future. And that absolutely will bite the consumer in the long run.
[13:25:01] KEILAR: So 2.1 percent growth. This is -- its worse than the 3.1 that we saw in the first quarter. It's better than the expectations. So what does this mean for the selling of the economy, for messaging for President Trump that the economy is booming?
MEHTA: Yes, exactly. I think, you know, short-term numbers don't tell you a lot. You always have to think about it in terms of the long term. In the long term, over the last 60 years, the economy has grown at 3.25 percent. In the '90s, when things were boom, boom, boom, it was 3.6 percent. Over the last ten years, we've had a harder time. It came down to an average of about 2.3 percent.
So what we're seeing now, even last year, it was just 2.5 percent. It's -- it's not great, it's OK. We're in a new norm. And I think what President Trump needs to convince the public is that things are great, but I think most people feel that things are great depending on who you are. This is an economy of winners and losers. If you live in rural America, you're seeing fewer job opportunities, you're seeing an opioid crisis. If you live in a handful of startup cities, it's never been better. Fifty percent of job growth is actually clustered just in five secondary cities, like San Jose, Austin, Nashville, Boston, Denver.
So, again, this is an economy of nuance and it's an economy of winners and losers.
KEILAR: Monica Mehta, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
KEILAR: Almost a month, this is how long an American citizen was detained by immigration officials. Francisco Erwin Galicia is 18 years old. He was born in Dallas. And at the ending of June, Border Patrol agents took him into custody even though he had multiple documents physically with him proving his citizenship. He was finally released this week after his ordeal became public.
Immigration officials allege that Galicia is partially to blame for providing agents with conflicting reports and multiple birth certificates while in custody. Galicia told our Nick Valencia, though, that he thought it was more than that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Do you think that this was about the documents or do you think that this was about something else?
FRANCISCO GALICIA, U.S. CITIZEN (through translator): They thought they were superior. They looked at us with such distaste. I think it was like a certain type of racism.
VALENCIA (on camera): You didn't shower?
GALICIA (Speaking In English): No. (INAUDIBLE) for 23 days.
VALENCIA: You didn't show for 23 days.
GALICIA (through translator): For 23 days, with a bad diet, I lost nearly 30 pounds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: There is a stark contrast in the president's reaction to this case of an American in custody and that of another American who's in custody but in Sweden.
CNN White House reporter Sarah Westwood is here to break this down for us.
Sarah. SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Brianna, this case of Francisco Galicia very different from that of A$AP Rocky in terms of how President Trump has responded. Now, Francisco Galicia, he was apprehended on his way to a college soccer event and he described just abhorrent conditions, that he had to survive on bologna sandwiches. He slept to forget his hunger. But there was just one toilet for 60 people in a room with a concrete floor where he had to sleep in those crowded quarters and he didn't even get to shower. Every three to four days he would be given a wet wipe to cleanse himself.
Now, let's contrast that with how the White House has handled the case of A$AP Rocky, that American rapper who was detained in Stockholm earlier this month after he was accused of assault being involved in an altercation on June 30th. Now, his lawyer says that this was self- defense, but he is accused of kicking a man, using a glass bottle to fight this person. His trial will start on Tuesday.
President Trump has been very outspoken when it comes to his wish for the release of A$AP Rocky. He tweeted, we do so much for Sweden but it doesn't seem to work the other way around. President Trump said he was very disappointed in the prime minister for being unable to act. And he wrote, Sweden has let our African-American community down.
Trump said he watched the tapes of A$AP Rocky too and he was being followed and harassed by troublemakers. Those are Trump words.
But, Brianna, contrast that with Kellyanne Conway earlier today refusing to comment when I asked her repeatedly whether President Trump had been briefed on the case of Francisco Galicia, but clearly he is following the case of A$AP Rocky very closely, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Sarah Westwood for us on the North Lawn, thank you.
The manhunt for two teens suspected of killing three people, including an American, intensifies, as authorities descend on a Canadian town with only one road in and one road out.
Plus, a disturbing image. White college students posing with guns at an Emmitt Till memorial site. The story and the action being taken, next.