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CNN NEWSROOM

World War II Plane Crashes in Connecticut; Trump Threatens Lawsuits Against Congress; Bernie Sanders Hospitalized. Aired 10:30- 11a ET

Aired October 2, 2019 - 10:30   ET

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


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[10:31:29]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: This breaking news, just in to CNN. We are learning about a vintage World War II plane that has crashed in Connecticut. Brynn Gingras, she's been following the story here. This is a B-17, typically a crew of at least two. Do we have any sense, now, of casualties?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. We don't know how many people were on board this vintage plane. It's owned by The Collings Foundation, Jim, and that foundation works to preserve these old planes. And basically, they can use them. And that's what was happening here, at Bradley International Airport.

This vintage World War II bomber, four-engine plane, was taking off at that airport, Bradley International, in Windsor Locks, just outside of Hartford, there in Connecticut. And it crashed as it was taking off. Where exactly it crashed, other than the fact that it was at the end of the runway, is all we know.

And, again, we don't know how many people were on board at this point, or if it crashed into anything else, impacting anyone else in that area. However, we do know that that airport is closed. And that is a very popular airport, of course. Let me read you the tweet from Bradley International Airport.

"We can confirm that there was an accident involving a Collings Foundation World War II aircraft this morning at Bradley Airport. We have an active fire and rescue operation underway. The airport is closed. We will issue further updates as information becomes available."

So, again, this was a civilian-registered aircraft to that Collings Foundation, which works to preserve these old planes. And we are working to find out how many people were on board, crashing as it was taking off one of those runways there at Bradley International Airport.

SCIUTTO: You have to close down a major airport, it would seem to indicate a serious accident. Brynn Gingras, thanks very much. We know you're going to stay on top of this story. POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: All right. As we wait for more

information on that, the president is accusing Democrats of staging a "coup" -- that's his word -- as the House moves forward with their impeachment inquiry.

TEXT: Donald J. Trump: As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP, intended to take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of the United States of America!

HARLOW: We'll likely hear more of the same when the president holds a press conference in just about 90 minutes. But rhetoric aside, does the Trump administration have a sound legal defense here? This, as the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, just tweeted, moments ago, quote, "We are carefully considering our legal options to seek redress against Congress and individual members for engaging in an organized effort to exceed their limited powers."

TEXT: Rudy Giuliani: We are carefully considering our legal options to seek redress against Congress and individual members for engaging in an organized effort to exceed their limited powers, under the Constitution, and to trample on the constitutional rights of citizens in an illicit plan carried out by illegal means, to remove the President of the U.S., on deliberately falsified charges.

HARLOW: Jack Quinn is with me. He is a former White House counsel, of course, in the Clinton White House. Thank you for joining me, Jack.

OK. So he alluded to this, that this was going to possibly be coming, last night, on "Fox News." Listen to Giuliani there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: We should bring a lawsuit on behalf of the president and several of the people in the administration, maybe even myself as a lawyer, against the members of Congress, individually, for violating constitutional rights, violating civil rights.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: So that -- is that the White House strategy now, sue Congress?

JACK QUINN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Apparently. You know, every time you hear something from Rudy and you think it can't get any goofier than this, he thinks up another crazy idea. I mean, he has it backwards, in terms of who has the protection of the Constitution in a proceeding like impeachment.

It's actually the Congress that has both the power to execute on that -- that process, the impeachment process, and you know, the Congress, right in the Constitution, has immunity from lawsuits in something called the Speech or Debate Clause. I don't want to get down into the weeds with you, but there is simply no basis whatsoever --

[10:35:05]

HARLOW: But --

QUINN: -- for a lawsuit against Congress.

HARLOW: That --

QUINN: It is crazy. And -- and I think what --

HARLOW: That's interesting, Jack, because --

QUINN: -- they're doing is just trying to run out the clock.

HARLOW: I mean, that -- I'm glad you laid that out for us. Because as soon as I read that from Giuliani, a few minutes ago, I was wondering, can they even do that?

And you're saying, no, it is prohibited. You cannot sue, he cannot sue Congress.

QUINN: Yes. And there's a fundamental -- I think there's something very fundamental going on with the Trump people. They're making an assumption that, with all the judges they've appointed and so on, the Supreme Court that might be friendlier than it used to be, that -- you know, that eventually the courts might bail them out.

I think that is a terrific miscalculation because I think the judges in this country -- federal judges in this country -- understand, well, the system of checks and balances. It is the most important, you know, sort of foundational point about our democracy, that we have three coequal branches of government, they hold each other in check, they hold each other in balance.

And what Trump is trying to do here is totally rearrange the power structure of the federal government. I don't think that the federal -- that the federal courts are going to go along with that, and allow him to diminish Congress to his own benefit, particularly his own personal benefit and his own political benefit.

I did a piece, by the way, in the "Washington Post," a week ago today, essentially saying that if Congress doesn't utilize its power to hold people in contempt, through a process called "inherent contempt," that it will become, in fact --

HARLOW: Yes.

QUINN: -- something other than a coequal branch of government. So I think what you're seeing now is Congress saying, we're not going to put up with that. We are a coequal branch of government.

And, you know, Rudy's threats are meaningless. And, again, I think they're just trying to stretch out the time here and allow Trump -- they think they can run out the clock, but they can't because they don't have a strategy, the Democrats have a strategy. And part of the Democratic strategy is to just let them behave foolishly and outrageously and begin to lose the war of public opinion, which is the critical part of what's going on here.

HARLOW: Jack, I was referencing your "Post" piece earlier in the show. It is an important read, for anyone who has not read it, because this is uncharted territory. And we'll see if Congress does use that power of inherent contempt. Thank you, Jack Quinn. We'll have you back soon, I appreciate it.

All right, a quick look at "What to Watch" today.

TEXT: What to Watch... 10:45 a.m. Easter, Pelosi and Schiff hold press conference; 2:00 p.m. Eastern, Trump holds press conference; 3:30 p.m. Eastern, Barr attends roundtable

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[10:38:04]

SCIUTTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin says that he wants President Trump to release details of a conversation they had. So, will we get that transcript? How will it make the president look? We'll have more, next.

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HARLOW: We want to update you on something, a health scare for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. His campaign, just saying that he felt chest discomfort at a campaign event yesterday and was taken to the hospital.

SCIUTTO: He had a blockage in one artery, two stents inserted. This is the statement from his senior advisor, Jeff Weaver. "During a campaign event yesterday evening, Senator Sanders experienced some chest discomfort. Following medical evaluation and testing, he was found to have a blockage in one artery, and two stents were successfully inserted.

"Senator Sanders is conversing and in good spirits. He will be resting up over the next few days. We are cancelling his events and appearances until further notice, and we will continue to provide appropriate updates." It appears that he's still in hospital treatment --

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: We're going to stay on top of this story, we'll bring you more details as we have it.

HARLOW: We hope he recovers well --

SCIUTTO: And we do.

[10:43:38]

HARLOW: -- yes. We'll bring you more. Stay right there. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCIUTTO: We continue to cover the breaking news. Presidential candidate and Senator Bernie Sanders, admitted to the hospital with chest discomfort, found that he had a blockage, two stents inserted to open that blockage. He's still in the hospital, campaign events cancelled for the time being.

Our Ryan Nobles, he's been covering the campaign. Ryan, what are you hearing about how significant this is?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): Well, the campaign is downplaying it as a serious health issue right now. Obviously, any time anyone is discovered to have chest discomfort that requires a level of surgery, it's something to be taken seriously.

But they say that it was caught quickly, that it was something where Sanders was able to have it treated immediately, those two stents were put in. And that it's something that he'll make a full recovery from, and that they'll believe he'll be back up on the campaign trail very shortly.

You know, it's important to keep in mind, Jim and Poppy, that Bernie Sanders famously has a very hectic schedule. This is a guy that regularly will pack in five, six events in a day, rarely takes a down day on the campaign trail at all, despite the fact that he just turned 78 years old. And the campaign has often pointed to the fact that he has a remarkable amount of endurance, particularly for someone of his age.

And he has no known health problems along these lines. He's never had any issues with his heart that we know of, he's been remarkably healthy for a very long time. So I think this comes as a shock to many, and it is something that came out of the blue. He apparently had chest discomfort during an event yesterday, and they smartly immediately took him to the hospital to have it addressed, and that's where the blockage was discovered.

You know, I'd just take you back, Jim, to an event that Bernie Sanders was a part of, back in the spring, in South Carolina, where he woke up and actually hit his head on a glass door in the shower, and had a huge gash over the top of his head. He had -- was stitched up, and then came to the event, later that day, did not miss a beat. And then ended up doing a number of events right after that.

[10:50:21]

So his health is something --

HARLOW: Right.

NOBLES (via telephone): -- that is a point of pride for him, so I'm sure that this is something that they're taking seriously right now.

SCIUTTO: We should note that people live with stents for many years -- HARLOW: Sure.

SCIUTTO: -- former Vice President Dick Cheney had stents, I believe, inserted. So that by itself --

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- not necessarily --

HARLOW: That's a good point, that's a good point, Ryan. Obviously, Jim, everyone here hopes he is OK. We're wishing him the best. Your health is, you know, of paramount importance, more important than anything else.

I do want to ask you about the statement from Jeff Weaver, his senior advisor, because at the end it says, we are cancelling his events and appearances until further notice. Do you have any more guidance on what that mean, until further notice?

NOBLES (via telephone): I don't at this point, Poppy. And we're furiously trying to get in touch with campaign sources right now, to see exactly what this means in terms of a long-term prognosis for Senator Sanders, not only for his health but what it means for his campaign --

HARLOW: Yes.

NOBLES (via telephone): I think they're in a wait-and-see mode at this point, to just try and figure out exactly how serious this issue is, and how quickly he can get back up on the campaign, and then also get up -- back, involved in the campaign at the level at which he accustomed to.

You know, they feel very confident about where they stand right now, they just raised $25 million in this last quarter, it was the best fundraising quarter of the entire campaign. So even though the polls do show them slipping behind of Vice President Biden and Elizabeth Warren, this is a campaign that feels that they have a bright future ahead of them. So my guess is that they're going to do everything they possibly can to get Senator Sanders back out on the campaign trail as soon as possible.

HARLOW: OK. Ryan Nobles, keep us posted. Again, we hope he's OK. Sending him good thoughts. Get back to us when you know more, Ryan. We appreciate it.

There is a lot going on this morning. We're still waiting for the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the House Intel chair, Adam Schiff. They're going to take questions from reporters in just a few minutes, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo clashes with Democrats. Stay right there.

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[10:56:53] HARLOW: We are continuing to follow the breaking news. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, taken to the hospital because of a blockage in one artery. He's had two stents inserted. And, for now, he is off the campaign trail until further notice. Our M.J. Lee joins us now with more.

This is a candidate who seemed to never stop.

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. His pace of campaigning has been so intense. I think of the Democratic candidates who are running for president right now, he is known for really being nonstop, in sort of the pace of his events, how much he travels and how frequent those travels and those campaign events have been.

And, obviously, we are awaiting more information from his campaign on exactly how he is doing. We know that he's in recovery. The statement said that he has been conversing, so that seems to be a good sign.

HARLOW: Yes.

LEE: But I think, also, just in the big picture, keep in mind that we currently have the three top --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

LEE: -- Democratic candidates who are running for president, they are in their 70s. In a lot of ways, that is really unusual, right? And we --

SCIUTTO: As is the incumbent president.

HARLOW: Yes.

LEE: That's right. We have Bernie Sanders, who is 78 years old. We have Elizabeth Warren, who is 70 this year. We have Joe Biden, who is 76. And I think, you know, politically, this gets talked about sometimes, right? There's a little bit of ribbing the candidates and ribbing, you know, your opponents, raising questions about their age.

But I think on a more -- much more serious level, this does bring into question, I think, questions that some voters have raised about health and age.

SCIUTTO: Well, listen, you know, we should be clear because others have had and live with stents for many years --

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- Bill Clinton has had stent surgery, Vice President Dick Cheney. So we don't want to under- or overestimate the long-term effects --

LEE: Sure.

SCIUTTO: -- of this fact (ph), say, from a political standpoint, beyond the age issue.

LEE: Right.

SCIUTTO: This comes at a crucial time in this Democratic campaign.

LEE: Right. And I think Ryan Nobles, our Sanders reporters, was saying this earlier on your show. This is a very critical moment for all of the candidates. We are just four months out from the Iowa caucuses.

And as Ryan was saying, this is a campaign, the Bernie Sanders campaign, has good reason to feel really good right now, right? Their fundraising numbers, released yesterday, were incredibly strong. They feel good about sort of the organization, the campaign-building that they have been doing on the ground.

And, yes, his numbers have slipped a little bit in the polls compared to Elizabeth Warren, compared to Joe Biden. But they were going, you know, full speed ahead. And I think the big question right now is, this health issue that he encountered yesterday, is that going to affect the pace of his campaigning.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: He just had a big fundraising quarter as well.

LEE: Exactly.

HARLOW: Yes.

LEE: Exactly.

HARLOW: M.J., thank you so much for that reporting. Of course, our thoughts are with him. We hope he is OK, recovers well, recovers quickly. We're going to stay on this breaking news. Thank you for joining us today. I'm Poppy Harlow.

[10:59:54]

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN" starts right now.