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Sanders Hospitalized, Has 2 Stents Inserted, Cancels Events; Pelosi & Schiff Hold News Conference. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 2, 2019 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:11] ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Baldwin. Thank you so much for joining me.

We are following breaking news on a couple fronts. We are, one, standing by to hear from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as well as House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff. They're going to speaking to reporters any moment now just as they announce subpoenas are coming.

House Democrats now demanding this morning that the White House turn over documents and any internal communications about the July call, the center of the whistleblower report, and also communications about any efforts to pressure Ukraine.

This is all part of the impeachment inquiry. So stand by to stand by for that.

We are also following other breaking news, just come through. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democratic presidential candidate, he has undergone heart surgery there week his campaign just announced. He is canceling further campaign events until further notice to recover.

Let's go to Ryan Nobles. He has been following the Sanders campaign all along.

Ryan, what are you learning? How is the Senator doing?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It sounds at this point, Kate, that he is doing OK, despite this scare he had on the campaign trail yesterday.

I want to read to you the official statement that came 20 minutes ago. It reads from senior adviser, Jeff Weaver.

It says, quote, "During a campaign event yesterday evening, Senator Sanders experienced some chest discomfort. Following a medical evaluation and testing, he was found to have a blockage in one artery and two stints were successfully inserted."

"Senator Sanders is conversing and is in good spirits. He will be resting up over the next few days. We are canceling his events and his appearances until further notice. We will continue to provide the appropriate updates."

So at this point, Kate, we don't have a lot of insight into exactly how this all went down other than to the fact as to what that release said, the Senator had chest discomfort, he was immediately taken for evaluation. That's when they discovered this blockage.

We should point out that Senator Sanders is known for his terrific health. This is someone who rarely takes a day off. He has no known heart issues we know of up until this point.

He often will pack a schedule with as many as five or six events in a day and do so six or seven days a week. Especially at this point in the campaign as we approach the Iowa caucus. So there's no doubt this comes as a surprise.

But I do think the important part of this release is they do not point a date at which Senator Sanders will be able to return to the campaign trail.

That shows you that this is something serious. Of course, having two stints inserted is always something that should be taken seriously.

But we're still working to find out exactly how serious this situation is and when he will be able to get back on the campaign trail -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Any, of course, this is all just happening. We're just learning about it. What the campaign does in the meantime, I mean, a couple of days off the campaign trail is nothing any candidate or campaign wants.

NOBLES: Well, especially someone like Bernie Sanders, Kate. This is someone that prides himself on the fact he does a lot of public events where people have the opportunity to see him up close and personal.

He doesn't hold closed-door fundraisers. He doesn't, dollars for dollars, as they say, talking to high-dollar donors to draw money into his campaign. And 95 percent of his campaign is spent on the road, holding town halls, holding big rallies, meeting voters one on one.

So the idea that you take Senator Sanders off the campaign for any period of time has got to be something that has his campaign very concerned. Because they consider him to be his strongest asset.

Now, to that point, Kate, they have a number of strong surrogates. One of his campaign co-chairs, former State Senator Nina Turner, is someone who can draw a big crowd and speak on behalf of Senator Sanders in a very powerful way. But there's nothing like the candidate, himself.

At this crucial time, this has to be something that they're going to find very difficult. But, of course, his health more important than anything else. They will take some time here to evaluate this situation, see exactly what it will take to get him back up and running. But you can bet Sanders, himself, will be itching to get back on the campaign trail. Kate, I point back to this last week or so with Senator Sanders. He

had a bit of a raspy voice in the last debate. That was currently evident. He wasn't sick. It was a matter of his voice being overworked. His campaign had to force him to take a down day in order to get that voice back up in order. This isn't something he likes doing.

You can bet the second he's able to get back on that campaign trail, he will.

BOLDUAN: You can be sure this is one of the situations everyone should be thankful he listened to his body. When he had that discomfort, he didn't try to power through. It's good to hear he is in good spirits, according to campaign statement put out.

Ryan, I know you're going to be working more on this.

Right now, let me go to Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He jumped on the phone.

Sanjay, thanks so much for jumping on the phone.

[11:05:00]

The little we hear from the campaign is that he felt chest discomfort. He went in to get it checked. They found a blockage in one artery. Two stents put in. Stents have become a common procedure, if you will. But still, it's a real surgery. What recovery is he looking at?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Yes, it's a real procedure. And the point you made with Ryan is an important one, and that is that he had some chest discomfort and decided to go get it checked out.

A lot of people, obviously, depending on the severity of the discomfort, won't get it checked out and/or wait too long to get it checked out and that can be a problem.

I think that the question right now is, this discomfort that he had, how significant was it. Did he have actual -- was there a heart muscle tissue that was actually affected, and did he have a heart attack, or did he get to the hospital, they were able to open up these blood vessels and get blood flow back to his heart before there was a more significant problem? And we don't know that yet.

The fact that it was a stent, it was done urgently or emergently. It was not open-heart surgery. He is talking, so he's obviously recovering. He's not in the intensive care unit or requiring any other assistance that would prevent him from being up and recovering.

But it's going to probably take a couple of days to sort of just understand how significant this was.

BOLDUAN: Right.

GUPTA: Ryan also pointed out that we didn't know any past history he's had a problem with his heart. I remember back in 2016 this came up and his medical records at that point showed no history of heart problems. So this seems to be a relatively new thing for him.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Absolutely.

Sanjay, thank you so much for jumping on the phone.

I know we all feel the same way, which is we wish the Senator a very speedy recovery. And thankfully, he is in good spirits and recovering according to from. -- oh, right now, we will turn away from the campaign trail to the speaker of the House and the House committee chairman, Adam Schiff, speaking to reporters right now.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): -- observe the district work period, the holy days, the -- as we gather here, our members across the country are having communications with their constituents on two subjects, in particular, and one perhaps.

The first is on our legislation, H.R. 3, to lower the cost of prescription drugs now. We are very pleased at the response that members are receiving, as we've asked them to go out there to receive public comment on H.R. 3. And when they return, we will be ready to proceed, some in committee, others, just among members, to present the legislation.

[11:10:00] H.R. 3 is important because, as I've said to you before, across the country, you could see grown men cry at meetings because of the cost of prescription drugs. It's almost impossible for them to be healthy and financially healthy with the rising cost of prescription drugs. In the last year's election, this was a very high priority. It continues to be.

So when the president says that he can't do anything if he (ph) has the threat of impeachment or the consideration of impeachment, I hope he doesn't mean he doesn't want to work together to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

It would give the secretary additional powers to negotiate for lower costs, it would end the disparity of cost between what consumers in America pay and what they pay in other countries, it would have a -- a cap on out-of-pocket expenses for catastrophic Medicare expenses. It would also, in the negotiation not only be for Medicare, but for all. And it would have an inflation rebate that reverses years of increases.

So we're very pleased with the work that has gone into it so far by our three chairmen, Frank Pallone of Energy and Commerce, Richie Neal of Ways and Means, and Bobby Scott of Education and Workforce, and many members as well. We will be discussing this, again, over the break and -- the district work period when we return.

At the same time, we are making progress on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. This is an issue of concern around the country, and we want to be sure that, as we go forward, we are protecting -- we are strengthening America's working families and our farmers, who are very affected by this.

This is not about trickle-down trade. We're not trickle-down economics people, we're not trickle-down trade people either, unless it hits home for our -- our workers and our farmers, in terms of enforceability. We can't be there yet, but we are on a path to yes.

And as you probably know, on Friday, our House task force, under leadership of Richie Neal, Ways and Means, put forth a counter-offer to what the administration has proposed. When we can arrive at a place where not only do we have our issues addressed, but that we have enforceability that will make it real for America's families and farmers, then we can go down that path.

I hope, again, that the president's saying because of other actions, in terms of upholding the Constitution of the United States, that he is not -- he can't -- he can't work with us -- because I do think he wants this U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, and we want it when it is right in terms of enforceability, and that we can work together.

At the same time, we're hoping that we can return, renew our conversations about infrastructure -- building the infrastructure of America. As I've said, our agenda last year when we ran was For the People: lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, that's what we're doing; building infrastructure of American greenway (ph) so that we can increase paychecks; lower health care, bigger paychecks; cleaner government.

PELOSI: Well, I think that we can work with the administration on prescription drugs; I hope so. And infrastructure; I hope so. Clean government, that's more of a challenge.

And so, as we gather here today, we are clearly at a place where we are legislating to try to meet the needs of the American people in a transformative way, we are investigating, we are litigating.

We are also here today on the one-year anniversary of the Khashoggi -- since Khashoggi was killed at -- such a very sad thing. And at the same time, you see the administration schmoozing with the very people who perhaps orchestrated that.

The -- again, it's a -- yesterday, the Chinese observed their 70th anniversary. At the same time, the president was very positive about that. While observing their -- their anniversary's one thing, praising them for it is another, when they have serious repression going on right now in China, whether it's undermining the culture, language and religion of Tibet, whether it's the -- placing in education camps 1, 2 or 3, depending on the cause (ph), but at least 1 million Uighurs, or whether it's the suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and just the violation of human rights throughout China.

[11:15:00] It's the same fight we've been having for years. For what does it profit a man or a country if he gains the whole world and suffers the loss of his soul? But we seem to be able to ignore these -- the -- the shout out from our soul on respecting the dignity and worth of every person. So I know many of you are here. Some of you are regulars, many of you are not. And I said to Mr. Schiff, "Maybe you should come to all of our meetings. We might get some coverage for what we're trying to do for the American people."

But we are very proud of the work of our chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Our -- we take this to be a very sad time for the American people, for our country. Impeaching a president or having the investigation to impeach a president is not anything to be joyful about. I don't know that anybody's joyful, but it is a sad time.

And as you've heard me say over and over again, in the dark days of the Revolution, Thomas Paine said, "The times have found us." We think the times have found us now. Not that we place ourselves in the category of greatness of our founders, but we do place ourselves in a time of urgency on the threat to the Constitution, a system of checks and balances that is being made.

It is -- they fought for our independence. They declared independence, they fought and won, they established a democracy. Thank God they made the Constitution amendable so we could always ever be expanding freedom.

And we see the actions of this president being an assault on the Constitution, once we had his even (ph) admission to that, we had no choice but to go forward.

It's hard. We want to weight the equities, we want to be fair as we go forward. And our -- we couldn't be better served than by the leadership of our chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff. It's my honor to present him to you now.

SCHIFF: Thank you, Madam Speaker. And thank you for leading the entire House of Representatives through this very fraught time in the history of the Congress, indeed the history of the country.

SCHIFF: I also want to express my own condolence once again to the family of Jamal Khashoggi, who bravely sought to advocate for free expression in Saudi Arabia and it cost him his life. We are deeply in his debt, and we are determined to bring about justice for those who were responsible for that heinous murder.

It's also an appropriate time to recognize the danger facing journalists all over the world.

In terms of the issues that we've been focused on this week, I want to give you a brief update of what has transpired really just within the last week.

Last Thursday, the Intelligence Committee held an open hearing with the acting director of national intelligence. The following day, Chairman Engel issued a subpoena to the State Department, in close consultation with myself and Chairman Cummings.

We are deeply concerned about Secretary Pompeo's effort now to potentially interfere with witnesses who -- whose testimony is needed before our committee, many of whom are mentioned in the whistleblower complaint. And we want to make it abundantly clear that any effort by the secretary, by the president or anyone else to interfere with the Congress' ability to call before it relevant witnesses will be considered as evidence of obstruction of the lawful functions of Congress, and more than that, will allow a -- an adverse inference to be drawn as to the underlying facts; that if they are going to prevent witnesses from coming forward to testify on the allegations in the whistleblower complaint, that will create an adverse inference that those allegations are, in fact, correct.

On Monday, I issued a subpoena to Rudy Giuliani, again in consultation with Chairman Cummings and Engel. We expect Mr. Giuliani to comply with the legal process we are using. He is obviously a key figure in all of this, by his own admission, as well as by the allegations in the whistleblower complaint.

Today, and just within the last hour -- half hour, Chairman Cummings noticed a subpoena that will go out later in the -- this week or next week, after the notice period has expired, that that committee intends to subpoena documents that the White House has been withholding from Congress. We are obviously coordinating very closely with Chairman Cummings on that.

On Thursday, Ambassador Volker is scheduled to appear before our committee. And on Friday, inspector general -- the inspector general of the I.C., Mr. Atkinson, will appear before the committee and testify, as well. The last time that the inspector general testified, we did not have the complaint; we now do. And we certainly intend to ask the director about the efforts that were made to corroborate that complaint, which we now know the inspector general found both credible and urgent.

Next week, we have also scheduled a deposition or interview with the former U.S. ambassador, Yovanovitch, to Ukraine, and we are in discussion with other State Department witnesses to secure their depositions.

So we've been very busy, as you can tell, this week. We're going to be very busy again next week.

We are proceeding deliberately, but at the same time, we feel a real sense of urgency here that this work needs to get done, and it needs to get done in a responsible period of time.

Thank you.

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: Just one moment, please. I'll decide who asks a question.

[11:20:00] Do we have any questions first on the work that -- to meet the needs of the American people, in terms of the USMCA and the -- the H.R. 3?

(CROSSTALK) QUESTION: How do you envision working with this president on these key Democratic agenda items -- lowering prescription drug costs that -- you know, ensuring tougher gun safety measures -- as you're actively considering whether to remove him from office? Have you...

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: They have nothing to do with each other.

We have a responsibility to uphold the -- our oath of office, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We also have a responsibility to get the job done for the American people.

The president has said he wants this Mexico-U.S. -- U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to go forward, and we are awaiting the -- the language on enforceability. So does it mean that he doesn't -- he can't do that? That's -- that's really up to him. And I do expect that he does want that, and he does need that, and that he's not going to blame it on us because we are honoring our oath of office.

And then on -- he says that he wants to lower the cost of prescription drugs. The American people want us to do that. So is the president saying, "If you -- if you question my actions, I can't agree on any subject"? Then the ball is in his court on that -- on that.

But many of you have always been interested in USMCA. Any ongoing interest there?

Yes, sir?

QUESTION: Yeah. On the USMCA, the president keeps saying that USMCA could (ph) pay for his wall. How does money generated by the USMCA work its way into the general fund, to be appropriated by Congress...

PELOSI: It doesn't. It doesn't.

QUESTION: ... to pay for any (ph) wall?

PELOSI: It doesn't. OK.

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: Yes, ma'am?

No, I'm not calling on you. I'm calling on this young lady here. Thank you.

QUESTION: Lisa (ph) from "PBS NewsHour." Thank you for having this news conference.

A question for you, and one for Chairman Schiff. For you, do you have plans or have you taken off the table the idea of a full House vote on impeachment inquiry?

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: I'm first doing...

QUESTION: Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you (ph) (inaudible).

PELOSI: ... H.R. 3. Anyone on H.R. 3? Does anybody in this room care about the cost of prescription drugs and what it means to America's working families? From time to time, you've asked those questions.

Does anyone care about the USMCA?

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement?

QUESTION: A hard, fast date on when you need this to be resolved, on...

PELOSI: This being what?

QUESTION: ... USMCA.

PELOSI: No. Well, we have -- I'd like -- obviously, we're on a path to yes, as far as the trade agreement is concerned. And at some point, I'm just saying, it's either yes or no; we either have enforceability, or we don't. But I'm hopeful that we will, and I'm hopeful that it will be soon. And...

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: But there's not a deadline you've given the administration or anything?

PELOSI: No. We have a good working relationship. Believe me, the quiet you hear is progress -- is progress. And we go back and forth and over this break, the staffs are between the two -- the trade rep and our -- our negotiators are seeking clarification and where there's room for cooperation, where we may have more challenges.

But it's going in a forward direction. So we're very pleased with that because, again, we're trying to find common ground with the president. He always wanted this. We do, too. And let's just find our common ground in that regard.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Speaker Pelosi? Another question -- another question on policy before we get to the other news of the day, which is impeachment.

What about the quiet we hear on gun legislation? Two or three weeks ago, the White House telegraphed we might hear what the president would support in some sort of gun package. We (ph) in the press -- the press have heard nothing. Have you heard anything from the White House?

PELOSI: Well, the most recent communication I had from the White House on gun violence prevention was a call from the president last Tuesday. So we can segue from one subject to the next here.

[11:25:00] He called early that morning to say that how (ph) happy I would be to see the progress that he was making on coming to agreement on gun violence prevention. I was curious about what that progress could be; said he was working with Democrats and Republicans. I don't know of any -- I reminded him that we have sent a bill over to the Senate, H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112, two pieces of legislation, that will save the most lives, and that I would hope that whatever he was talking about was very close to that.

"Oh yes, you're going to be very pleased." That's the last I've heard about that.

That -- then -- point (ph), that is when the president segued into the telephone call, in which he admitted that this call took place, and that what happened was perfect. I did say, "Mr. President, it's not perfect, it's wrong. But your admission to what has now been in the public domain informs the timing of how we go forward."

So again, that was the last I heard from them.

Let me just say on gun violence protection -- prevention, we're not going away until we get legislation signed into law that protects our children. I said to the president on other -- another occasion, on the 200th day of the -- of the -- Chuck Schumer and I called the president on that. That was a couple of Sundays ago -- I think, like, the 15th of September, maybe two and a half weeks ago. That was the 100th -- 200th day since we sent over H.R. 8.

And I said to the president, "I pray for you and the safety of you and your family, and I hope that God will -- pray that God will give you illumination, I -- I -- I -- an enlightenment to pray to work for the safety of other families in our country."

So again, the most recent -- I'm not going to say the last; I hope it's not the last -- but the most recent communication I've had from the White House was in the same call where the president admitted to what he said in that phone conversation, OK?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Thank you.

Speaker, on impeachment, have you taken off the table or do you plan for a full House vote on an impeachment inquiry?

And, Chairman Schiff, as the White House seems to be (inaudible), in the past, sometimes it's taken a long time -- years to compel documents and testimony from the White House, are you preparing for a court battle? And how do you make sure that that happens in what you say is an expeditious manner?

PELOSI: First of all, there's no requirement that there be a floor vote. That's not anything that is excluded.

And by the way, there's some Republicans are very nervous about our bringing that bill -- that vote to the floor.

SCHIFF: Just say that we are concerned that the White House will attempt to stonewall our investigation, much as they have stonewalled other committees in the past.

It's why I say the White House needs to understand that any action like that that forces us to litigate or have to consider litigation will be considered further evidence of obstruction of justice. And, of course, that was an article of impeachment against Nixon, the obstruction of lawful functions of Congress, that is.

We will also draw the inference, though, as appropriate, that they are trying to conceal facts that would corroborate the allegations in the whistleblower complaint.

So we'll have to decide whether to litigate or how to litigate. We're not fooling around here, though. We don't want this to drag on months and months and months, which appears to be the administration's strategy.

So they just need to know that even as they try to undermine our ability to find the facts around the president's effort to coerce a foreign leader -- leader to create dirt that he can use against a political opponent, that they will be strengthening the case on obstruction if they behave that way.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: Madam Speaker? Thank -- thank you very much.

I would like to ask Madam Speaker and also Chairman this as well.

The president wants to interview the whistleblower. He says that he has the right to meet his accuser. Your response, both of you, please?

SCHIFF: The whistleblower has the right in the statute to remain anonymous. And we will do everything in our power to make sure that that whistleblower is protected, that that whistleblower's preferences in terms of their anonymity are respected.

And let's -- let's not make any mistake here. The president wants to make this all about the whistleblower and suggest people that come forward with evidence of his wrongdoing are somehow treasonous and should be treated as traitors and spies. This is a blatant effort to intimidate witnesses. It's an incitement to violence, and I would hope, and we are starting to see members of both parties speaking out against attacking this whistleblower or others that have pertinent information.

So the other thing I wanted to underscore, though, is what the whistleblower has set out that is within our power to the state to confirm, we see confirmed in that call record. The -- the president can attack the whistleblower rhetorically all the president wants. It doesn't change the fact that the record of that call shows the president of the United States, in the same conversation, and indeed, immediately after the Ukraine president asked for more military help, the president of the United States asked that leader a favor though, and no attack on the whistleblower or anyone else is going to change those underlying facts.

(CROSSTALK)

PELOSI: So the subject of -- excuse me. On this subject of whistleblower, I said to the president, on that call, you've come into my wheelhouse: 25 years on Intelligence Committee as a member, as ranking member, as Mr. Schiff was before he became the chairman when we got the majority. So I was part of the gang of four before I was in -- even in the leadership as a gang of eight.

So for 25 years, one way or another. I was there when we improved the whistleblower legislation in the late '90s. I was part of that. I was there when we made further improvements, and President Obama made by executive -- I don't know if it was executive order, but executive action improvements in the whistleblower legislation, and then we had further legislation. And then I was there when we created the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and what his responsibility was in terms of a whistleblower.

[11:29:51]

So, this is very -- I hope that you understand, and I suspect is that you do, the seriousness of the president of the United States sailing he wants to interview that person. We will treat the president with fairness in the -- as we go forward.

We will have investigations and questioning that are worthy of the Constitution of the United States.