Return to Transcripts main page


Supreme Court Hands Trump Victory In Border Wall Funding; Trump Touts Immigration Agreement With Guatemala; Rep. Nadler Going To Court To Build Case For Impeachment; Elijah Cummings Responds After Trump Calls His District "Infested"; CNN's Victor Blackwell Defends Hometown Against Trump's Attacks; Two American Teens Arrested In Killing Of Police Officer In Rome; Epstein Found Injured In Jail Cell With Markings On His Neck; 2020 Democrats Outline Their Health Care Plans Ahead Of Second Debate; Biden Getting More Aggressive For Second Debate, Says He's "Not Going To Be As Polite This Time". Aired 3-4p ET

Aired July 27, 2019 - 15:00   ET



[15:00:21] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera, in New York. Glad to have you with us.

President Trump this weekend trumpeting what he calls a big win just hours after the Supreme Court made a ruling in the White House's favor. The high court Friday evening giving the green light for the Trump administration to take money earmarked for the military and spend it on building parts of the wall on the U.S./Mexico border.

A federal appeals court had said no to that plan earlier this month. The president celebrating, tweeting, "Wow. Big victory on the wall. The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction. Allows border wall to proceed. Big win for the border security and the rule of law."

Let's go to our White House Correspondent, Boris Sanchez.

Boris, this is still not the dollar figure that the president wanted back in February when he declared a national emergency to get money to build a wall, but it is a big jump toward that, enough to make people in the White House very happy this weekend.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Ana. If you remember back at the beginning of the year, when President Trump declared that federal emergency, it was just after the government shutdown when he wanted to get some $6 billion from Congress to build the border wall. He couldn't get that from Democrats.

So the White House scrambled and came up with this $2.5 billion from the Pentagon. It started going through a court fight. Ultimately, a judge last month decided that the White House couldn't use these funds. A broader decision in the lower courts was made about the White House using these funds. The Supreme Court overturned that today. Meaning that for now, the

White House could use that $2.5 billion to build the president's border wall. But the Supreme Court in that 5-4 decision didn't weigh in on whether it's appropriate generally for a president to use those funds to bypass Congress to build his long-promised border wall. This is a win, but potentially a temporary one. And the Supreme Court could ultimately weigh in against the president on this.

Nevertheless, as you saw, the president was celebrating, calling this a big victory, one on an issue that has defined his presidency unlike any other -- Ana?

CABRERA: And the Supreme Court order isn't the only reason the White House is celebrating when it comes to immigration. How does this new agreement with Guatemala now fit into the president's plan?

SANCHEZ: Yes, the president also touting that agreement. To be clear, it's not exactly a safe third-country agreement. Because Guatemala's Congress shot that down. But it functions like one.

In other words, migrants that are moving through Guatemala would be offered asylum there. If they decided to continue onto the United States to seek asylum in the U.S., they would then be deported back to Guatemala. That would effectively reduce the number of asylum claims that the U.S. has to adjudicate, which would lighten the burden on the U.S. immigration system.

But privately speaking to White House officials, they're concerned not that this agreement doesn't work on paper, they believe that legally it's valid and it could be effective, but there are concerns that Guatemala's immigration system could be overwhelmed, that they don't really have the infrastructure in place logically to handle so many asylum cases.

So ultimately, whether or not this plays out as a win for the White House has yet to be determined. But you can bet the president will claim it as a win going into 2020, especially -- Ana?

CABRERA: OK, Boris Sanchez, at the White House, thank you.

Let's bring in "Washington Post" White House Reporter, Toluse Olorunnipa, and "Time" Magazine Contributor, Jay Newton-Small.

Jay, this is clearly a big win for the president going back to the Supreme Court ruling, even though we're only talking about paying for about 100 miles of fencing. How much does this help the president in his re-election campaign.

JAY NEWTON-SMALL, CONTRIBUTOR, TIME MAGAZINE: Ana, this is actually really good for the president. He's only built about 1.7 miles worth of walls in his presidency and this is one of his top election agendas in 2016. So going to 2020, he wanted to be able to say that he built a significant part of the wall.

The fact that they've gotten funding and can start appropriating those funds and signing contracts to start construction and that construction is going to go forward, even as the cases are still being adjudicated by the lower courts, means he'll talk about it in his rallies, the big, beautiful wall that he's building.

CABRERA: Toluse, as we mentioned, it's not over yet. This is not a done deal. This is only a temporary ruling, essentially, until it continues through the rest of the court processes. I wonder, is the celebration premature or is optics all that matters for the president?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: This president has wanted a win on the wall for the better part of 2.5 years and this is the closest things he's going to get to a win before his re-election, having the Supreme Court say you can move forward with repurposing this money from the military and putting it towards his wall.

[15:04:59] It's something that he can claim as a win even if it's only an optical win for the time being. He's going to be able to take some of that money, billions of dollars that was originally purposed for the military and repurpose it for building a wall.

I think that's what you're going to hear a lot going into 2020 He's going to be at his rallies talking about the dozens or hundreds of miles of walls he's building, in part, because Congress didn't provide the money but he was able to get the money in another way. And if the Supreme Court strikes this down, down the road, he'll find another way to brand this as progress.

So I do expect him to tout this on the campaign trail as a victory.

CABRERA: Let's hear from Democrats now. Here's a sample of how they're reacting.

Jay, we have Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, from the border state of Texas, calling it "regrettable," suggesting an end run around Congress.

Does this shut out lawmakers from the appropriations process?

NEWTON-SMALL: Ana, the entire ruling was about whether or not Congress had already asked and answered this question and by appropriating this money that, in fact, Donald Trump was violating the Constitution, which says that Congress is the only one that has the purview to allocate money.

And the reason why it's written in the Constitution that way, is because the Constitution says the Congress is closer to the people, by elections, than the president is and even the Senate is and, therefore, should be the ones representing the people in terms of what money is spent and what money is not spent.

The whole case is actually based on the idea of whether or not Congress should be the ones to talk about -- Congress should be the ones to decide how this money should be spent.

Congress has decided this money should be spent for the military. By repurposing this into something that they expressly said they don't want to do, it actually violates the separations of powers. What the court has said is that we're not going to answer that question right now. We're going to allow construction to proceed as we answer that question.

But the problem is that it's actually being asked by not Congress itself but a group of environmental groups, saying this is Congress' job and not the president's job to allocate this money.

There's a bit of a question of whether or not these environmental groups should be the ones asking -- the ones asking these questions or whether Congress themselves should sue for this.

CABRERA: If this is a win for the president, Toluse, is this a setback for 2020 Democratic contenders?

OLORUNNIPA: In some ways, they haven't really been campaigning so much on the wall so this isn't a topic they've been focusing on. There have been some Democrats who have said, if the president can get away with declaring a national emergency over immigration, this will be an opportunity for the Democrats when they win the White House to declare a national emergency over climate change, on progressive issues.

And you might hear more about that from Democrats who know Congress may not be willing to fund some of their big progressive ideas. And they might latch onto this idea that we can do a national emergency because a lot of Democrats don't believe that what the president did on the border was not an actual emergency. They think there are other issues that would be more likely to pass muster as a real emergency.

And they may be willing to declare a national emergency to take action very early in their term over top issues like climate change or inequality or any of the other progressive actions they're looking towards. And you may expect that to be the way they handle this ruling.

CABRERA: Let's discuss another big issue involving the president, this issue of impeachment. Take a look at this exchange between Manu Raju and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.


MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's no difference between what you're doing now and an impeachment inquiry, correct?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): In effect.


CABRERA: "In effect" is Nadler's answer. In effect, an impeachment inquiry is under way. And his legal team wrote this in a legal filing seeking the release of the Mueller grand jury testimony. I'm quoting here: "The committee is investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment and requires access to grand jury materials in furtherance of that information." Jay, are we closer to impeachment than Speake Pelosi would have us


NEWTON-SMALL: There's a big division between Nadler and Pelosi. And Nadler has been much more willing to say that he wants to push forward to understand what exactly underlies the case. I think Pelosi is much more cautious. She says we need to wait and see how these investigations play out.

I think there's a difference obviously between starting the case for impeachment, starting the investigation, which apparently Nadler has already done, and actually filing articles of impeachment --


NEWTON-SMALL: -- in the House and then voting on it in the House. And I think that's really where Pelosi is trying to avoid. Because the vast majority of Americans, especially Independent voters, don't support impeachment at this moment and she's trying to protect her moderate members who have to be re-elected next year. She wants to keep her majority.

Even though there are almost a hundred members of her caucus who do support impeachment, there are 135, 140 that don't. And they still want to wait and see what happens with these other 17 investigations into the president before they make this case.

[15:10:08] CABRERA: And yet, the time, as we've been discussing, the time is ticking because 2020 is right around the corner.

Toluse Olorunnipa, Jay Newton-Small, good to have both of you with us. Thank you.

NEWTON-SMALL: You're welcome.

CABRERA: Congressman Elijah Cummings is speaking up for himself and the people in his district in Maryland today, speaking up and standing up against a Twitter attack from President Trump.

And I want to show you what Congressman Cummings is saying to the president right now. Then I'll show you what sparked it.

Cummings write this morning: "Mr. President, I go home to my district daily. Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors. It is my constitutional duty to conduct oversight of the executive branch but it is my moral duty to fight for my constituents."

The congressman was responding to the president's vicious tirade earlier today against the city of Baltimore and the area around it. ]

People who call Baltimore home are understandably shocked and appalled at the president's choice of words to describe a major American city.

One of those people is my colleague, right here at CNN, Victor Blackwell. He's from there.

And I could never tell you how hurtful, how tasteless, or how wrong the president's attack is as well as Victor did earlier today.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This morning the president attacked another member of Congress on Twitter. This time, it's House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings. He wrote this: "Cummings' district is a disgusting, rat and rodent-infested mess. If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous and filthy place. No human being would want to live there."

"Infested." That's usually reserved for references to rodents and insects, but we've seen the president invoke infestation to criticize lawmakers before. See a pattern here?

Just two weeks ago, President Trump attacked four minority congresswomen: "Why don't they go back to totally broken and crime- infested places from which they came?"

Reminder, three of them were born here. All of them are American.

"Infested," he says.

A week before his inauguration, January 2017: "Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart, not to mention crime infested."

Donald Trump has tweeted more than 43,000 times. He's insulted thousands of people. Many different types of people. But when he tweets about infestation, it's about black and brown people.

September 2014, at the height of an urgent health emergency: "Why are we sending thousands of ill-trained soldiers into Ebola-infested areas of Africa? Bring the plague to the U.S.? Obama is so stupid."

"Infested," he says.

"There's a revolution going on in California. So many sanctuary areas want out of this crime-infested and breeding concept."

"Infested," he says.

The president says about Congressman Cumming's district -- that "no human would want to live there."

You know who did, Mr. President? I did, from the day I was brought home from the hospital until the day I left for college. And a lot of people I care about still do.

There are challenges, no doubt, but people are proud of their community.

I don't want to sound self-righteous. But people get up and go to work there. They care for their families there. They love their children who pledge allegiance to the flag, just like people who live in districts of congressmen who support you, sir. They are Americans, too.


CABRERA: Reaction is pouring in because, again, this wasn't just a personal attack against Congressman Elijah Cummings. The president called his district in Baltimore a rat and rodent-infested mess.

I want to show you this tweet from Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush. She says this: "I taught in west Baltimore. I adore my kids, parents, and grandparents. They all want the same thing I want for my kids, a chance for their children to have safe, happy and productive lives. Let's think about the language we use, who it hurts."

And this from Baltimore's Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young: "It's completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant city like Baltimore and to viciously attack us and U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings, a patriot and a hero."

Meantime, House Democrats are suing now to get grand jury information from the Mueller report as an impeachment effort intensifies.

[15:14:52] Plus, two American teens on vacation in Rome are accused of killing this Italian police officer after a botched drug deal. We're there, live, next.


CABRERA: Two American teenagers from San Francisco on a holiday in Italy are in jail in Rome. They're accused of stabbing an Italian police officer to death. Italian police say surveillance video led them to the pair who, according to authorities, have confessed. That's a picture of the man who has died.

I want to bring in Rome bureau chief for "The Daily Beast" and CNN contributor, Barbie Nadeau.

Barbie, what are you learning about these teenage suspects? What were they doing in Rome and this crime that they're accused of committing?

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's a complicated case, Ana. Right now, what we've got, the narrative is mostly directed by the Italian police who say they garnered a confession.

And they said these two young men had pushed cocaine from a pusher. When that cocaine turned out to be just crushed aspirin, they went back to the pusher, stole a backpack. That's where the undercover police officer, who was killed, entered the scene.

These young men are accused by the police of first attacking this police officer who was asking them about the drugs and the stolen backpack and then stabbing him eight times.

Ana, these young men are accused of going back to their hotel room and hiding the bloody knife and their bloody clothing in a ceiling panel and planning their escape out of the country when they were arrested. This is according to the Italian police.

CABRERA: What happens next under Italian law? What are they facing?

[15:20:02] NADEAU: Well, it's a complicated system, the Italian system. They have three days, the police have three days to come up with enough proof and evidence to keep these young men in jail. And then they have another year before they have to officially charge them with the crime. At that point, in Italy -- we've seen this in other cases -- these cases take years and years to go through the system.

Both of the lawyers (sic) now do have attorneys. And we heard from one attorney, while he gave a confession before he had a lawyer, now he's exercising his right to remain silent until the next phase of the investigation -- Ana?

CABRERA: All right, Barbie Nadeau, in Rome for us, thank you for that reporting.

Up next, House Democrats are ramping up their impeachment fight against the president. Why a new lawsuit may be their way of launching impeachment proceedings.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: The country has now heard from Robert Mueller. Lawmakers got to ask him their questions. So here's what's next, according to House Democratic leaders. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler says he's going to court to try to build a case for impeachment. He wants the court to compel testimony from key fact witnesses, in particular, former White House counsel, Don McGahn. And he wants access to Mueller's grand jury evidence.

What difference could this make?

Let's ask our CNN Legal Analyst, Renato Mariotti. He's a former federal prosecutor and host of the "On Topic" podcast.

Renato, here's Chairman Nadler on this upcoming court fight.


[15:25:10] NADLER: When we win -- and we will win the court fight because the legal excuses the White House has been using are weak from a legal point of view -- when we win that, it will open up the flood gates to all -- to enforce all of the subpoenas and get all of the testimony because they're all the same nonsense legal arguments.


CABRERA: Renato, Nadler sounds confident about winning. Should he be so confident? What's your take on the strength or weakness of this legal argument?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think, in the long view, I would be confident. And here's why. The Mueller investigation was a criminal investigation of the president of the United States.

The Constitution gives the House, quote, "the full power of impeachment," unquote. And so really the House and the House Judiciary Committee, the committee that handles impeachment, they've got authority to take a look at what the president is doing. They can't possibly do that if the executive branch can withhold evidence of crimes by the president. So I think they'll succeed.

There's a question of whether or not he needs to more formally open an impeachment inquiry. I think that's where the potential battle may be here.

Frankly, if the court comes back and tells him that he needs to have that vote, I think it gives him some ammo to go to Nancy Pelosi and say he's got to have a vote on that subject.

CABRERA: The other issue here, of course, is timing. I don't have to be a legal expert to know, when it comes to the courts, sometimes it takes a while. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to insist, she's not trying to run out the clock on impeachment.

But break it down for us. What does happen next in the court system and how long could the court fight take to secure access to this grand jury information, to enforce subpoenas, to compel witness testimonies and so forth?

MARIOTTI: Yes, they are -- they filed something yesterday, Friday. Realistically, I don't see how this gets resolved before the recess that the House is going to have.

Realistically, if you're going to see witnesses coming before the House Judiciary Committee on impeachment-related issues, like Don McGahn, it's not going to be until September or later. And you can -- you know, people at home can decide what that means for the clock. It suggests to me that we're getting closer to election season.

CABRERA: Nadler was asked, if he wins in court and the Trump administration refuses to comply with court orders, here's Nadler's plan on that.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: What if the administration defies these court orders that you believe are eminent?

NADLER: Well, if the -- without question, if an -- no administration has ever defied a court order. If they did that, that is so far beyond the pale that it's eliminating the rule of law. There would have to be impeachment.


CABRERA: Renato, what does that tell you about House Democrats' strategy for a path of impeachment? Obviouly, we see this administration shut down every request. Are they counting on the Trump administration to continue to defy even court orders? MARIOTTI: I think that they are preparing for the Trump

administration to do anything possible to derail this. And I think they are of the belief that if Trump does something -- what he described a moment ago that question and answer, Ana, that's truly a constitutional crisis.

I know people don't hear people on TV say that all the time. But really, in our country, the judges may order things to be done and the president and his staff say, we don't care what the courts say, what the Supreme Court says, for example, that is something we've never had. And it is something unprecedented.

And really the only remedy left would be impeachment. I think Representative Nadler is right about that.

CABRERA: I want to turn to the case against accused sex trafficker and multi-millionaire, Jeffrey Epstein. He's reportedly on suicide watch right now after sustaining mysterious injuries in his cell. Still unclear whether they were self-inflicted or from an assault. Epstein claims he was beaten up and called a child predator.

Is that a possible story? Do you think that's possible? How do you think someone like Epstein, a sex offender, accused of child sex crimes, would be received by other jail inmates?

MARIOTTI: I will say, when I was a prosecutor investigating and prosecuting child exploitation cases, defendants were afraid of being put in the prison population. I had defense attorneys at times ask to clear the courtroom. Would be asked to be careful about how we refer to certain things in court. They were worried about other inmates hearing about the nature of the charges.

Obviously, for someone like Mr. Epstein, his charges are well known. No one in that prison is going to not know why he's there. Obviously, you know, his protection is important.

What he did to victims, that's abhorrent and he needs to be brought to justice. And thank goodness that he's now in that process.

[15:30:00] But we treat everyone humanely when they're in the criminal justice system. And -- or that's how it should be. He should not be harmed.

And if he is engaged in self-harm, he needs mental health treatment to ensure he does not harm himself.

CABRERA: Do you think it's more likely he'll get out to wait for his trial under house arrest or something like that?

MARIOTTI: I don't think -- no, I don't think so. I don't think this would affect the terms of confinement. It may mean that he is in solitary, he's kept away from other inmates, he may be more closely monitored.

But it's often the case that inmates can be subject to being in danger from other inmates or a danger to themselves. It does not mean they're released. It generally means that other conditions are imposed.

CABRERA: Renato Mariotti, always good to have you with us. Thank you so much for your expertise.

MARIOTTI: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: Still ahead, health care will likely be a key point of contention at next week's Democratic debates. What will each of the candidates' plans mean for you?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: Just three days until the first of two CNN debates, and one way the 2020 Democratic candidates are setting themselves apart from one another is with their health care plans, the subject that has played a major role in deciding the last five presidential elections.

[15:35:04] Our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, has more now on how some of the Democratic frontrunners are hoping their plans will connect with voters.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): They have different ideas on how to get there, but the same central message.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT): Health care is a human right.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): Access to health care should be a right.

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY): It's time for this country to make quality affordable health care a right and not a privilege.


GUPTA: Better, cheaper health care. It's a challenge no matter where you are on the political spectrum.

ERIN FUSE BROWN, ASSOCIATE LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGIA STATE UNIVERITY: Well, I think people are really frustrated with the current health care system.

GUPTA: Erin Fuse Brown, a health law expert at Georgia State, says the system has fundamental flaws.

BROWN: It's really the worst consumer experience.

GUPTA: And we pay a lot for it. The United States has the most expensive health care in the world, around $3.5 trillion a year.

SANDERS: People should not be forced into financial ruin, into bankruptcy, for what reason? Because someone in the family became ill. GUPTA: In 2016, his was a lone voice. But many Democrats are now

getting in line behind Bernie Sanders, who has long called for a single-payer system.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I'm with Bernie on Medicare-for-All.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So then how does this plan differ from what Senator Sanders is proposing?

HARRIS: I think that they're very similar.

BROWN: In a single-payer system, everyone would be automatically enrolled in a government-run health care program, like Medicare.

GUPTA: It would cover doctor's visits, hospitalizations, but also hearing aids, dental, and vision, these candidates say. There would be some copays for brand-name prescription drugs.

But a sort of litmus test is starting to take shape. Question is, will a single-payer system also eliminate private insurance as we know it?

LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR & DEBATE MODERATOR: Who here would abolish their private health insurance in favor of a government-run plan?

GUPTA: At the Democratic debates in June, only Senator Sanders and Harris, along with Warren and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, raised their hands. Harris later said she had misinterpreted the question.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anyone who has their employer-based insurance can keep it if they want.

GUPTA: The former vice president, Joe Biden, doesn't envision a system without private insurance. And he is leading the charge on the public option.


BIDEN: This is a big (EXPLETIVE DELETED) deal.

GUPTA: Perhaps no surprise, Biden wants to expand Obamacare.

BROWN: In a public option, everyone would have the option to buy a Medicare type of plan for themselves, but they wouldn't be automatically enrolled.

BIDEN: We can protect and build on Obamacare and make sure that at least 97 percent to 100 percent of the American people have coverage.

GUPTA: Biden's plan caps premiums and offers subsidies to buy insurance regardless of your income. Biden says his proposal would cost $750 billion over 10 years, money he would raise primarily through taxes and cutting costs.

Sanders' plan calls for tax increases as well. Money that he believes will be more than offset by lower premiums.

SANDERS: My guess is that people in the middle class will be paying somewhat more in taxes, but they're going to be paying significantly less overall in health care.

GUPTA: Harris says she believes her plan could be achieved without a middle-class tax increase.

LAH: Senator Sanders is proposing --


HARRIS: Well, part of it is going to have to be about Wall Street paying more. It's going to have to be about looking at how we -- and what we tax.

GUPTA: But Medicare-for-All may not be an easy sell politically. A recently released NPR/PBS/Marist national poll found 70 percent favor Medicare-for-All for those who want it. But just four in 10 say Medicare-for-All is a good idea if there is no longer private insurance. And 54 percent are even more blunt saying it's a bad idea.

(on camera): So, Ana, this inevitably begs the question, where do things stand now, what is the status of the Affordable Care Act, of Obamacare.

I can tell you, Ana, that it's complicated. But back in 2017, the individual mandate was repealed. Meaning there was no mandate that you had to buy health care insurance and there was no penalty if you didn't buy health care insurance.

In December of 2018, about a year later, a judge in Texas said, look, if there's no individual mandate, then the entire law is unconstitutional.

That decision has been put on hold. So the law does stand for the time being. But the decision is making its way through the legal system and is likely to go to the Supreme Court once again -- Ana?


CABRERA: Just in time for elections.

Thank you very much, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

[15:39:41] Let's talk about campaign and debate strategy. We now have info from Biden's camp about how he's going into this next debate and his new aggressive stance he plans to take after he took a hit in polls with his performance against Senator Harris in the first Democratic debate. Will his strategy hurt or help him?


CABRERA: New today in the 2020 race, a more aggressive Joe Biden gearing up to share the debate stage with Senator Kamala Harris. Their debate rematch slated for Wednesday night. You can watch it live right here on CNN. You might recall Harris going after Biden in that first debate on racial issues, especially the topic of school busing.

With us now to discuss the impact of that moment and more, Harry Enten, CNN senior political writer and analyst.

Harry, as we head into debate number two, the dust has settled after debate number one, and we've seen in the polls Biden and Harris are going into different directions, right?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER & ANALYST: That's exactly right. If you looked at following the first debate, you saw Biden falling back in the mid 20s. Since the first week, I took an average after the polls, two weeks out, and we see Biden recovering some of that ground he's lost. He's now back up to about 30 percent in average in the national poll.

Harris has dropped from 17 percent down to 12 percent, which is indicating she got a debate bump but she hasn't been able to maintain it. It will be interesting to see if she's able to get that reboost and get back into the high teens.

CABRERA: After going after him on racial issues specifically, how is she doing with African-American voters.

[15:45:07] ENTEN: Interestingly, we had a poll from Monmouth University this week from South Carolina. It's the fourth primary contest of the season. And more than that, it's majority African- American. What do we see? We see Joe Biden an overwhelmingly, not just with the overall electorate, but his lead is large with African- Americans. He's getting about half of the African-American vote in that state. And, to me, that's an indication that we've seen in the national polls as well.

Maybe Harris was able to pull away some of that African-American support from Joe Biden following that first debate, but he still has an overwhelming advantage with him.

CABRERA: When you look at who could be most electable going against President Trump, what do the polls tell us?

ENTEN: Yes, that's so interesting. Joe Biden has made this case over and over again, if you want someone who can defeat Donald Trump in the fall of 2020, I am your man.

What do we see? We see him leading a poll from Ohio this week. He's leading there. If you take a look at Pennsylvania, Florida, take a look at Texas. Texas, a state that hasn't gone Democratic since 1976. He leads in all of those states. And he has the largest lead of any of the Democratic contenders, which really boosters his point that I am the most electable.


ENTEN: I think it's a few things. But the most important thing, he's able to reach out to those more moderate Independents as well as those Never-Trump Republicans that Hillary Clinton couldn't get in. And if you look at polls, you see him doing the best out of any of the Democrats among Independents and Republicans.

CABRERA: When we go into the next round of debates, what will you be looking for? i read your piece also. You crank them out, two, three a day.


CABRERA: There are so many. You dive into the polls, you dive into analyzing different candidate stances, but you talk about the debates and how this can be make or break for both the top and the bottom.

ENTEN: I think it absolutely could There's a slew of candidates. This debate has a much-lower threshold to get into than the September debates. I think there are a slew of candidates on the bottom, Tim Ryan, John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet, who needs to use this debate. Also, their standing so they can get into that September debate.

Some of the candidates towards that top-right. Can this be an instance where Bernie Sanders goes up against Elizabeth Warren. Perhaps he'll be able to separate himself out? Because Elizabeth Warren has been rising in the polls, whereas, Bernie sanders has kind of just been stagnant. Can he go in there and perhaps recover some of those very liberal voters that he's lost from her?

CABRERA: All right, Harry Enten, good to see you.

ENTEN: Nice to be here.

CABRERA: We'll see you in Detroit.


ENTEN: I can't wait for it.

CABRERA: We're both heading there tomorrow. We'll be live there for our show tomorrow night.

Thank you, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CABRERA: And you can tune in Tuesday and Wednesday night, the debates, again, just a few days away. Ten candidates each night. Both nights starting at 8:00 Eastern, live from Detroit, only on CNN.

Every week, we honor "CNN Heroes," everyday people doing extraordinary work to help others. But becoming a "CNN Hero" begins with a nomination from you. Taking just a few minutes to fill out an online form could you're your mentor or someone who's work you admire into a "CNN Hero" and change their life.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I met my hero when we were volunteering. UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: He's making a big difference --


UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: -- for kids in our area.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is my second mom. My mentor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt like it was very important for people to know about sister.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I felt honored that I was able to honor her in such a significant way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was so proud of myself, because I was like, oh, my goodness, for everything she's done for me, I did something for her, you know.



CABRERA: And that could be you. If you know someone who deserves to be a "CNN Hero," don't wait. Nominations close Wednesday night. Go to right now.

Up next, a two-headed eagle and some golf clubs? This doctored presidential seal just cost a White House aide his job. Details ahead, live, in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[15:52:25] CABRERA: Did somebody get fired? Oh, yes. President Trump spoke this past week without knowing that the presidential seal on the screen behind him was not the real deal. The event organizers say they fired the person responsible for putting up the phony presidential seal doctored with cheap shots and political jabs at the president.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Little did Donald Trump know his fate was sealed, that the presidential seal behind him wasn't as presidential as it should be, and someone would get fired over it.

Wow is right. Look at that two-headed seal. The real seal has one eagle. It's the Russian Federation coat of arms that features two birds. And the eagle in the real seal clutches arrows but the fake was holding golf clubs.

The imposter seal proclaims the 45th president, 45 is a puppet in Spanish.

TRUMP: No puppet, no puppet.




TRUMP: You're the puppet.

MOOS: The parody presidential seal was briefly projected --


MOOS: -- at the recent Turning Point USA team summit for conservative youth.

(on camera): Right away, you think prankster, somebody is trolling President Trump behind his back.

(voice-over): Trump critics tweeted, "Give them a medal."

Someone posted Putin clapping.

But Turning Point USA says, "We're sorry for the mix up and meant no disrespect."


MOOS: Just a couple of hours before the event, the Turning Point folks were asked to project a presidential seal. A source says an audiovisual aid did a Google image search to find a seal. Lots came up, including the parody.

A source says the A.V. person didn't notice that it was a doctored seal, a seal that sold on tank tops and throw pillows by a graphic designer known as One Term Donnie, who told CNN he has a hard time believing someone used his design by accident.

There have been other seal snafus.

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We cannot sustain -- woops. Was that my --

MOOS: Yes, your presidential seal.

OBAMA: They're sweating bullets back there right now.

MOOS: And someone back there at the Trump event must have been sweating bullets. The audiovisual person got fired.

Even if the president claps like a seal --


MOOS: -- there's no excuse for showing a bogus seal with an eagle holding golf clubs like he's going to shoot a birdie.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


CABRERA: Only Jeanne. Only Jeanne can do that.

[15:55:02] We are so excited about this weekend's original series, "THE MOVIES." Tomorrow's episode highlights the decade that gave us "The Godfather," "Star Wars," "Jaws," "Annie Hall." And probably the best movie ever made about a bank robbery that goes really wrong.


AL PACINO, ACTOR: Nobody move!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Al Pacino reaching for "Dog Day Afternoon," again, for a true story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's about this guy who tried to rob a bank in New York in 1972.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: They picked it up this afternoon and it's only $1100.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: She's telling you the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything that could go wrong goes wrong.

PACINO: Right now, I can see it.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Dog Day Afternoon." I'd never seen anything like it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Oh, wow. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I'll have to go to the toilet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The kindness and humanity of the bank robbers was so new and entertaining.

PACINO: Who has to go to the bathroom here?


PACINO: See? Now they all want to go.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was the kind of up-ending of all the preceps of the bank robbery.

(SHOUTING) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The idea of the criminal as celebrity.

PACINO: I just saw myself.

Like, why am I doing it?


PACINO: Doing what?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's one of those movies where you are literally rooting for the bad guys because the bad guys aren't that bad.


CABRERA: Ah. CNN's Original Series, "THE MOVIES," focuses on the '70s. It airs tomorrow night at 9:00 Eastern time.

Still ahead in the NEWSROOM, President Trump attacks another congressman of color. But this time he is also bashing an American city. Now his tweet is spurring condemnation from both Republicans and Democrats.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.