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Baltimore Mayor Responds to Attacks; Rep. Debbie Stabenow is Interviewed about Michigan Voters and the Presidential Race; Democrats Divided on Impeachment. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 29, 2019 - 08:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:30:00] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Is still at it this morning. What would you like to tell the president of the United States as he continues to go after your city?

MAYOR BERNARD YOUNG (D), BALTIMORE (via telephone): I'd like to tell him, stop tweeting. No president in the modern history of the office of the president have done any childish behavior like this president has exhibited. And if he -- if he -- if he really wants to --

BERMAN: Have you --

YOUNG: If he really wants to, he needs to send us the federal assistance, not only to Baltimore, but to cities around this country, that are in the same situation that Baltimore is in. But he's so interested in childish tweets.

He -- you have to remember --

BERMAN: Now, you've been mayor since May 2nd.

Go ahead, mayor.

YOUNG: I mean, you know, he's the most powerful man on the face of the earth as president of the United States of America. And this is below a president to do these kinds of things. He should be uniting this country instead of racially dividing us. I mean a president has never, in my lifetime, exhibited this type of behavior. He has alienated our allies around the country. I mean what else is he going to do?

We -- we have a --

BERMAN: As the president -- and the president claims -- hang on, mayor. Hang on, mayor. The president claims he's talking about the conditions in the city of Baltimore. Let me ask you, you've been mayor since the beginning of May, has he reached out to you once since -- since you've been mayor there to talk about conditions?

YOUNG: No, he has never reached out. No, he has never reached out. And he had a pledge that he was going to do infrastructure. We're still waiting on that. We have an aging infrastructure in the city of Baltimore for an unfunded mandate by the EPA for us to correct it, and we have to constantly raise water rates on the poor people of the city of Baltimore. We're a poor city. Do we have, you know, problems? Yes. We have problems with crime and everything else, just like any other major city, just like the city that his person -- Mitch McConnell represents have these problems.

BERMAN: So given that he has not reached out to you in the last -- given that he has not reached out to you since you've been mayor and you began in that role the beginning of May, do you think that these attacks are even really about your city or about something else?

YOUNG: I think it's about dividing this country. If you look, he attacked four minority women and didn't even do the research to find out that three of them were born here and one is a naturalized citizen now. And then he attacked one of the most powerful congressmen in the country in Elijah Cummings, who has represented Baltimore as well. I mean he has a pattern now of attacking people of color.

I mean, if you want to help us, help us. Don't talk about us. Send the resources that we need to rebuild America. He's talking about he's going to make America great again, then put the money in the cities that need it the most. And that's where you could make America great again.

But what he's doing is, he's making America the laughingstock of the world. Our allies -- he has alienated our allies. I mean, come on, no president has ever done anything like that. Our country's in turmoil under his leadership.

BERMAN: Now, Baltimore does have its challenges. You would acknowledge that, correct?

YOUNG: I -- I've said that. Yes, we have our challenges, just like any major city in America. And it's because of the constant reduction in funding for cities like Baltimore.

BERMAN: Have you heard from \Chairman Cummings over the last couple of days?

YOUNG: No, I have not. But, you know, I'm planning to call him. You know, I did put a call in to him. I wasn't able to reach him, because I'm quite sure he's busy with his committee. But, you know, I normally talk to him at least once or twice a week.

BERMAN: Now, there has been some criticism -- the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, he came out and he suggested that, again, Baltimore has its challenges, but it is a wonderful city. Do you think the governor needs to come out more forcefully against the president?

YOUNG: I think so. I think he -- and I'm going to be honest with you, the governor has been a good partner with me in the city of Baltimore. But I would like him to be a little more forceful on President Trump and his attack on one -- the largest city in Maryland, which he's the governor of, yes.

BERMAN: All right, mayor. The mayor of Baltimore, Bernard Jack Young, on the phone with us this morning, we thank you for taking the time to join us. YOUNG: Thank you, sir.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: All right, John.

[08:34:45] So, what do the Democratic candidates need to say and do to win over voters here in Michigan? Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow joins us next with her suggestions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAMEROTA: John and I are here in Detroit, Michigan, for the big CNN Democratic debates this week.

Democrats are desperate to win Michigan voters back after they went for Donald Trump narrowly in 2016.

So joining me now is Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, who has some ideas about how to do that.

Senator, great to have you here.

SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): Good morning. Welcome to Detroit.

CAMEROTA: Thank you. We're having a great time already.

STABENOW: Good. Good. Good.

CAMEROTA: So, I know you've been advising some of the 2020 candidates.

STABENOW: Yes.

CAMEROTA: What are you telling them about how to get Michigan voters back?

STABENOW: Well, first of all, in Michigan, we're hard workers and we make things and grow things and we love the Great Lakes. And so I tell folks to focus on that.

The great news is, every single person on your stage for two nights are people that care about health care. They want to increase and lower the cost of health care. They want to take on the drug companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs. They're ethical, they're smart, they -- they're folks that care about the future of the country and keeping us safe. And it's exciting to see them all here.

CAMEROTA: But do you worry that some of them, in their effort to improve health care, will be too progressive for Michigan voters?

STABENOW: I think it's going to all work out. I think everybody understands that, you know, we've got a lot of hardworking folks that gave up a wage increase in order to get good health care under a union contract, and that we've got to recognize those folks that want to be able to keep their insurance, as well as the fact that we need to have broad, universal coverage. And I think most importantly is the picture of Donald Trump going to

court right now to rip apart health care, to take away coverage for everybody with a pre-existing condition, and on the stage will be people, every one of them wants to increase affordable health care, take down drug company prices.

CAMEROTA: But some of them are willing to have private insurance go away.

STABENOW: There are differences on phase-ins and so on. And I'm happy to debate that.

[08:40:01] Donald Trump wants to take everybody's health care, period, non -- no stop. He wants to take away health care by taking away the ability to get coverage for pre-existing conditions. He's already taken away prescription drug coverage as an essential service by putting junk plans onto the marketplace, so I'm happy to have that debate.

CAMEROTA: But, I mean, just to be clear, you think that -- let's say Bernie Sanders is the -- becomes the nominee. You think that the Medicare for all, the free tuition, you think that those types of progressive plans will sit well with the majority of Michigan voters?

STABENOW: I think all of that will work its way out. I'll tell you, Bernie was at the Ambassador Bridge taking a group of folks over yesterday to demonstrate the differences in prices between the U.S. and Canada. I've taken that trip with seniors many times. And I can tell you, all of our candidates focusing on those issues for people, bringing down costs, everybody on the Democratic side understands health care is personal, not political. And so I'm happy to have that debate with this president and the Republicans who have voted over 100 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away coverage.

CAMEROTA: I want to talk about what the president's tweeting this morning, and that's just more attacks on Baltimore and on Elijah Cummings.

Are you surprised that your Republican colleagues have not come to Elijah Cummings' defense?

STABENOW: It's very disappointing. I wish I could say it was surprising. I mean, from my perspective, this president is going to continue to do this. He's going to put out poisonous, racist comments. I think we should just stipulate that's going to happen every day because he's going to say, look over here at this outrageous thing I said and don't look at the court case going through the courts that's going to take away your health care. Don't look at the fact that Russia intervening in our last election and I'm not going to do anything about it. Don't look at the fact that he's making us less safe by having a very respected Republican head of national intelligence agencies stepping down for someone who's very political.

So, this is going to go on. I think you guys should just stipulate, done, OK, that's the one for today, and then go back and talk about what people in Michigan care about, which is having one job instead of three to take care of your family, be able to afford your health care you're your prescription drugs, protect our Great Lakes, which this president has attacked over and over again.

CAMEROTA: Maeve Reston, one of our great reporters, went out and spoke to some Michigan reporter. This is an independent. And I just want to read to you, because I think that he captures a sentiment that we hear a lot. So here is a guy named Grant Gaither, independent Michigan voter. He says, I'll take progress over a few blank words -- he said an expletive -- that are said here and there. The guy says stupid things, but as long as things are going good, I could give two blanks. Until he says a literal n-word or something like that, then, yes, I might be pissed, but that is beyond irrelevant to me.

And I think that you hear voters say, things are going well for me. The economy has ticked up. The unemployment rate has ticked down. So, yes, he might say some stuff I don't like, but I'm going to go with it. What do you say to that, to voters like that?

STABENOW: Well, I appreciate the fact for some folks in Michigan things are going very well. They got a big tax cut. For the majority of people, not so much. They're still working two or three jobs.

When I talked to a construction worker who had his tax deduction for buying his tool or going from job to job taken away, and yet the Republican won't take away the tax deduction for moving jobs overseas. You know, we've got an awful lot of folks in Michigan going, you know, it may be going well for the folks on Wall Street that's not going well for me. And, by the way, my cost of health care and prescription drug is one of the things I'm really concerned about along with the cost of college for my kids.

CAMEROTA: Senator Debbie Stabenow, thanks so much for rolling out the red carpet for us here in Detroit. It's a -- it's great to be here with you.

STABENOW: We are so happy you're here.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.

STABENOW: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: John.

BERMAN: And, in fact, it is great to be here in the 313, as they say. Did I get that right?

STABENOW: Right. Wow.

BERMAN: See, there we go.

STABENOW: You need a t-shirt.

BERMAN: I'll take it.

All right, so nearly half of all House Democrats, nearly, are now in favor of starting impeachment proceedings against President Trump. What is the tipping point for Democratic leadership?

CAMEROTA: But first, a former New York City police officer's opioid addiction almost killed him, but now he's taking control of his life and he's helping others do the same. His story is today's "Turning Points."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to be a New York City police officer from the time I was a kid. I was never able to really apply myself to anything because I'd rather party. I used marijuana. I've used Adderall, cocaine, Oxycodone, methadone. So it took me a little while. I didn't get into the police academy until I was 28.

I went cold turkey on the first day of the police academy from using painkillers. I didn't touch a pill for a couple of years. And then I got hurt.

[08:45:07] I was chasing after a few guys in a subway station. I got thrown down a flight of stairs, busted up my knee and my back. Before I left the hospital, they gave me a prescription for 10 Vicodin. By the time I got home that night, I was already through that prescription.

I wasn't aware that I was addicted until way after I retired from the police department. I was constantly buying and selling and using pills. I made about $5,000 a month.

My ex-wife force me to go into treatment. I've been clean and sober for five and a half years.

I currently work at a long-term residential treatment facility with young men between the ages of 18 and 30. I like to share that I was a police officer. It could be anybody. There's no face to this addiction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:50:07] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): My personal view is that he richly deserves impeachment. He has done many impeachable offenses. He's violated the law six ways from Sundays. But that's not the question. The question is, can we develop enough evidence to put before the American people?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That's House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler, sort of straddling a fine line on impeachment, arguing that it's too soon to begin formal impeachment proceedings against President Trump, but filing a lawsuit stating the committee is considering it and also suggesting in some way that this is part of the impeachment process.

And this comes as nearly half -- nearly half now of House Democrats now back starting an impeachment inquiry.

Joining us, Joe Lockhart, CNN political commentator, former Clinton White House press secretary, and Paul Begala, CNN political commentator and a Democratic strategist.

And the numbers have moved. Not a tidal wave, but they have moved. Three more Democratic members of the House, all three from Washington state, have now joined this list. This is P105 (ph). This is numbers 103, 104, and 105. They're almost at half the caucus, Paul, now calling for an impeachment inquiry.

Does it matter?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it matters, but that's not the matter that matters. There's two numbers that matter in impeachment, 218 in the House and 67 of the 100 senators. And we're not close to that. We're not anywhere near that. We have almost half of the Democratic members of the House. You need half of all the members of the House. And that's just constitutionally.

Politically, I wanted to see members from districts that Donald Trump carried, members of Donald Trump's party saying this is such a big deal we have to overturn a national election, take -- cancel the votes of 62 million Americans. And you can't do that on a strictly partisan -- you ought (ph) to do that on a strictly partisan basis.

CAMEROTA: Yes. So that means that your -- impeachment is off the table?

BEGALA: Yes. It's not realistic. I mean when -- when my oldest son was little, he built a spaceship out of our garbage can and some spare wood. And that was fine, but it wasn't actually going to go to the moon. And that's what I think a lot of these Democrats --

BERMAN: With all due respect, your son's spaceship isn't in the Constitution though, Paul, and impeachment is. And it says, Joe, that, you know, high crimes and misdemeanors.

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.

BERMAN: And it also says that the Congress and the House is the one place where a president can be sanctioned. So if you have Jerry Nadler saying he richly deserves impeachment and has done so many impeachable offenses, he's violated the law six ways from Sunday, how can you be consistent in saying that but saying, yes, but we don't want the formal part?

LOCKHART: Well, I mean the Constitution left it to the politicians to decide, not the courts, not, you know, some outside body, the politicians. And the politicians are making political decisions, which is what the framers thought they would do.

I think, you know, putting a fine line on the numbers Paul was talking about, I think there is only one member of Congress who won in a Trump district that's for impeachment.

BERMAN: Yes.

LOCKHART: So I think Nadler is straddling the line. I think it's -- you know there's no doubt he would like to move forward. But he -- and his committee would like to move forward. The vast majority of his committee supports impeachment. But Pelosi is looking at a bigger game here, which is, how does this impact the politics of the country, because the worst result for Democrats and for the country, in my opinion, is impeachment backfires and Donald Trump is re-elected in 2020.

So that's the goal. The question is, do you remove him through impeachment or do you remove him at the ballot box? And right now it's like, as I asked some of our legal analysts yesterday, would you take a case to court knowing in advance who the jury was? And the jury is the Republican Senate. And they -- you know, the answer is, that's a hard question.

CAMEROTA: And yet some of the top line findings that Robert Mueller himself emphasized -- well, not emphasized, just reiterated, I guess, during the hearings last week, the president welcomed help from Russia and then lied about it. His written answers to Robert Mueller and prosecutors were generally untruthful.

BEGALA: Right.

CAMEROTA: He was not exonerated. And he could be charged after leaving office.

So are you supposed to -- are Americans and people who are in favor of impeachment supposed to unheard those things?

BEGALA: No. People need to know that their president is a liar and a crook. He is. I'm sorry, it's true. And his election is tainted. He is president in part because the Russians, our enemies, intervened to put him there.

The -- the -- I'm just dealing with the reality, though. He could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and Mitch McConnell wouldn't do anything about it.

So what do you do? The opportunity cost to this I think is very high. We have this debate Tuesday night, Wednesday night. I want to hear Democrats -- yes, they'll have to opine on whether they're for impeachment, as if that's going to make a difference. I want them to tell the country what the country doesn't know, which is that Donald Trump has proposed the largest cut in Medicare in history. That's going to affect a lot of Trump voters and a lot of Hillary voters. That he has gone to court to take away people's protections for pre- existing conditions. These are all the opportunity costs that Democrats pay when they fixate on impeachment, which is not going to happen. And I think this is part of Trump's strategy. It's diversion so then he can then pick your pocket.

[08:55:17] BERMAN: Joe, very quickly, we've got about 10 seconds left. They're at 105 Democratic members of the caucus. What happens if they get to 118, which would be more than half of the Democratic members? What does Nancy Pelosi do then?

LOCKHART: I think when you hear Abigail Spanberger from Richmond say she's for impeachment, then you know impeachment is on, and not before.

CAMEROTA: Joe, Paul, thank you very much for that conversation. Thanks for being with us here in Detroit.

So we are learning new details about that deadly shooting in California at a food festival. So CNN's coverage picks up right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:00:05] JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A very good Monday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto in New York. Poppy Harlow is in Detroit where