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Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) Discusses Democratic Caucus Meeting, Trump, Ukraine & Whistleblower, Impeachment; Soon: Trump, British P.M. To Meet Amid Political Turmoil; NYT Publisher: U.S. Official Feared Trump Administration Would Let Egyptian Government Arrest Reporter; Tropical Storm Karen Brings Heavy Rain, Possible Landslides. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired September 24, 2019 - 11:30   ET



REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): Not the least of which is the Ukrainian issue and the emoluments and the earlier issue of obstruction of justice, as laid out clearly in the Mueller report.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I'm very interested to see what comes out this afternoon. Please come back on, Congressman. I know you're also, importantly, heading to Ukraine at the end of this week.

GARAMENDI: Absolutely.

BOLDUAN: So you will be at the center of the center of the center of it shortly.

Thanks for coming on.

GARAMENDI: Thank you, Kate. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up, President Trump is set to meet with the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, any moment now, after the British Supreme Court issued a major legal blow to Johnson. What does this mean for him? And what does this mean for the conversation he and President Trump are about to have?

Stay with us.


BOLDUAN: Two allies sitting down to talk about pressing world issues. That's exactly what is supposed to happen at the United Nations this week. But when Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sit down any moment now, it's pressing issues at home for both of them that's likely to steal the focus.

President Trump facing serious questions over the whistleblower complaint, and reports he held foreign aid to Ukraine before pressing Ukraine's president to investigate a political rival in Joe Biden.

Hours ago, the U.K. supreme court delivered a major blow to Boris Johnson, declaring his suspension of parliament was unlawful. Let's get to U.N. headquarters. CNN international diplomatic editor,

Nic Robertson, is there.

Nic, what does the ruling from the U.K. Supreme Court really mean for Johnson and for the big issue, Brexit?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Boris Johnson would have us believe it doesn't mean anything, he's going to continue in his mission to get Britain out of the European Union by 31st. He made it clear he will respect the decision of the court but he strongly disagrees with it.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Yes, obviously, this is a verdict that will respect. We respect the judicial process. I have to say I strongly I disagree with what the justices have found. I don't think it's right. But we will go ahead and, of course, parliament will come back.


ROBERTSON: So head down, continuing with his commission. It undermines his negotiations with the E.U. The opposition party in the U.K. won't challenge him but, at the moment, over the leadership, his party is unlikely to bring him down. He's got a tough road ahead. But it still seems his to move down. No sign of him resigning right now -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: And we're waiting for the president, President Trump and Johnson to sit down together. I'm wondering if the ruling, major blow to Boris Johnson, will impact the relationship between the two of them.

ROBERTSON: On the face of it, you have to say no. President Trump, anointed Boris Johnson as the leader that could deliver Brexit, even when the last prime minister, Theresa May, was there. He's continued to say that, Boris Johnson is a strong leader, he can do it.

And he gave a name shout-out today during his speech at the U.S. G.A. That doesn't happen often. Saying there will be a great trade deal for the United Kingdom going forward, once it's out of the European Union.

It doesn't seem like the president is backing away from the strength of the relationship just yet.

BOLDUAN: We'll see what happens when the two men sit down together.

Nic, good to see you. Thank you.

Coming up for us, the publisher of the "New York Times," detailing what happened when one of its reporters was in peril overseas. And more troubling might be the response they got from the Trump administration about it. A stark example of what he's calling a retreat from our country's historical role as the defender of the free press. Details, next.



BOLDUAN: President Trump's constant attacks on the media, the cries of "fake news," and his disdain for tougher reporting, appears to be reaching a new and troubling level.

The publisher of the "New York Times," A.G. Sulzberger, detailing in a new speech to students of Brown's University, what he considering the most stark and real-world example of the Trump administration retreating, quote, "from our country's historical role of defenders of the free press."

He says this, in part, "The hard work of journalism has long carried risks, especially in countries without democratic safeguards. But what's different today is that the brutal crackdowns are being passively accepted and perhaps even tacitly encouraged by the president of the United States."

Sulzberger is talking about is what happened when of his own reporters was in trouble.

CNN chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter, host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," is here with more.

This is getting a lot a attention. It should.

What did Sulzberger reveal about reporter, Declan Walsh?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": He talked about a case from two years ago, that "The Times" never shared until now. That Declan Walsh, a reporter based in Egypt, who had been writing stories, challenging the Egyptian government.

According to Sulzberger, there was a phone call at the "New York Times" from an anonymous government official in the U.S. saying Declan Walsh is about to be arrested in Egypt, you need to do something.

Typically, in a situation like this, the United States government, the State Department supports journalists who are working for American newsrooms who are in trouble. The embassy would rush to the aid of a reporter who in that situation.

In this case, Sulzberger said, rather than try to stop the Egyptian government or assist the reporter, the official believes that the Trump administration intended to sit on the information let the arrest be carried out. The official feared being punished for alerting "The Times" to the danger.


This was a whistleblower of the government saying, warning, your reporter is in trouble. What the "New York Times" did instead was call the Irish government,

because Declan Walsh lives in Ireland as well. The Irish diplomats went and got him out of the country and out of Egypt.

That's an example of the United States not necessarily being trusted to serve, to take care of news reporters the way they used to.

BOLDUAN: It's also an example, our boss made a really good point about this, this morning, saying there's many occasions, known and unknown publicly, where journalists from CNN and other news organizations have been in peril. And our bosses and other media organizations have been able to reach out for help from the federal government. Because of the U.S.'s long tradition of being the leaders and defenders of free press, more than anywhere else in the world.

If that is no longer something that can be relied upon, what does that mean?

STELTER: That puts democracy at risk and it endangers reporting all around the world. It's very troubling.

That's why I'm so glad Sulzberger spoke out about this.

This case is two years old. It makes you wonder what has happened that we don't know about, other cases possibly like this.

He also told a story about earlier this year, another "New York Times" reporter in Egypt, David Kirkpatrick, was detained and deported from the country. When the "New York Times" reached out to the embassy for help --


STELTER: -- a senior official in the embassy, the U.S. embassy in Cairo, said this, according to Sulzberger: "Well, what did you expect would happen to him? His reporting made the government look bad."

That's an incredibly cynical --

BOLDUAN: That's terrifying.

STELTER: -- terrifying reaction to say, well, what did you expect.

As you said, Kate, the United States has been standing up for press freedom and free press for many, many decades. If the U.S. isn't going to do it, who is?

BOLDUAN: And what message is it sending to leaders of autocratic countries and what they should be and what they can get away with.


STELTER: It makes the world less free, it makes the world less open when reporters are not safe to do their jobs around the world.

And, unfortunately, every time President Trump says "fake news" or "enemies of the people," he endangers reporters around the world.

BOLDUAN: Brian, thanks for highlighting it.

STELTER: Thanks.

BOLDUAN: We really, really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Coming up for us, a former top Ukrainian official is speaking out to CNN about President Trump's controversial phone call in July. What he says about the president withholding military aid to Ukraine. And why he says Russia is celebrating.



BOLDUAN: A new storm to watch very closely right now. Tropical Storm Karen is sweeping over Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with heavy rains. Talking about flooding and landslides are a real concern right now.

CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers joins me now.

Chad, what are you seeing?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Kate, a very organized windstorm right now but a very impressive rain field. Like you said, the real threat here, even if the winds get to 45 or 50, the real threat to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be significant rainfall.

This could ramp up way over 10 inches of rain just because of the size of the storm right now.

Puerto Rico is that island right there, so this is much larger than it even looks, and where it was yesterday, much larger than that. It is forecast to travel over the east side, but it's so wide it will be like a bowling ball with its rain over the entire island and over the U.S. V.I. and over the BVI as well. So 45 miles, maybe 55 miles an hour as it gets over warmer water.

We can't find any organized circulation. And the hurricane hunters have been out there all day today looking for it. There's nothing really out there to say this is getting bigger, this is getting stronger, here is the eyewall.

An interesting little spin heading into St. Croix, but other than that, we're not seeing displacement of the eyewall, which means the storm would be breaking and getting bigger. It doesn't look like it's happening right now.

From San Juan to Ponce, we could see four to eight inches of rain because of the slow movement. We've been watching this thing for close to six hours. It really hasn't gotten closer to Puerto Rico. When it does get to Puerto Rico, it will take a long time to finally leave. Then we get to this interesting little curlicue over the Atlantic

Ocean, coming north across the islands, back into some warmer water, and then turning to the left. It's hard to believe that could happen because that's not what storms do. They turn to the right and go out to sea. Every single model has this turn to the left.

High pressure sits on top of it up here, and that wind from the high pressure will begin to try to push it closer to the mainland USA. That's the real threat of this storm right now.

Does it get back over the Bahamas? Will it get to Florida? The other question is, could it get into the Gulf of Mexico. And all those answers are yes, yes, yes.


Will it do it? Likely not, because the storm just cannot get its stuff together this morning into the afternoon. But if it does and when it does, that's when that turn to the left will be the most important. That's when it will be something for the U.S. mainland and also obviously the people trying to pick up the pieces in the Bahamas to come to terms with -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: No kidding.

Chad, thank you so much. Really appreciate it. Thank you.

Coming up still, right now, President Trump is meeting with British prime minister, Boris Johnson. We have that tape. It is coming in of that meeting. You can be sure there's a lot that these gentlemen should be asked about right now. That's coming up.

Stay with us.