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Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) Talks about Volker's Testimony; September Jobs Report; Houston Honors Fallen Sikh Sheriff's Deputy; Damning Text Messages Regarding Ukraine. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 4, 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: Of this interview to be released. Do you support that?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): I suspect that at some point we will release it. When you deal with transcripts, you have to send it to the intelligence community for any classified information that may have come out in the interview. But Adam Schiff and the other committee chairs and Nancy Pelosi as speaker have determined to be as transparent as possible in this investigation.

BERMAN: One other things we're hearing from the Republican side. We heard from Steve Scalise, the whip already, the idea that there was no official vote in the House to launch an impeachment investigation or an impeachment inquiry, so it doesn't actually exist.

And we understand from CNN's reporting, you might see a similar argument from the White House today. They may not be responsive to requests because they say there's no official impeachment inquiry, no vote.

Do you think the full House should hold a vote on launching an inquiry?

CASTRO: Well, I think ultimately, if articles of impeachment are brought forward, each member of Congress will have to take a vote on that.

BERMAN: There's nothing in the Constitution about an official vote launching an impeachment inquiry.

CASTRO: No, not at all.

BERMAN: No, there is -- but do you think --

CASTRO: No.

BERMAN: Would you be opposed to doing that when you come back in a week and a half?

CASTRO: I'm not. But at this point, given what we've seen from the president, who's basically confirmed an abuse of power, a betrayal of the oath of his office, I also don't think it's necessary at this point. And, like I said, when we bring forward specific articles of impeachment, then every member of Congress will have to vote yes or no on those.

BERMAN: Michael Atkinson, who is the intelligence community inspector general, he will be meeting with your committee today. I've almost lost track of how many twists and turns there have been in the story since the whistleblower complaint was first released and Atkinson deemed it of urgent concern. But this is your first chance, I think, to delve into the substance with him.

What questions do you want answered?

CASTRO: Yes, you know, we met with him for about three and a half hours previously. But at that time there was less that he could say. That was before the transcript came out of the phone call, before the whistleblower's complaint was released. So now we want to get a better understanding of the range of evidence that he received from the whistleblower, you know, and just basically what it says about the president's action, what the president may have asked for and how much it conforms the information that we have now.

BERMAN: So, just overall, big picture, when we saw the president on the White House lawn yesterday call on China, call on Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden, it seems the approach he's taking is sort of the Jack Nicholson approach to all of this, which is, you're damn right I did. I'm doing this. It's out there in the open. It's for everyone to see. Deal with it.

CASTRO: Yes.

BERMAN: What are your concerns about the fact that this may be effective there. He may be normalizing what you see as an abuse of power.

CASTRO: That's definitely what he's trying to do. But just because you walk into a bank and announce that you're going to rob it doesn't mean that it's OK. That doesn't make it legal. And that's basically what Donald Trump did on the White House lawn yesterday.

And most of all the United States Congress can't let that be OK. And you see the American people, the support for impeachment has grown dramatically over the last week and a half or so because the American people know that the president has abused his power. It's clear yesterday that he's going continue to abuse his power. And I believe that this impeachment proceeding should move expeditiously and ultimately you will see articles of impeachment brought forward against Donald Trump.

BERMAN: Congressman Joaquin Castro from Texas, thank you for being with us this morning.

CASTRO: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John, an important jobs report was just released moments ago. Christine Romans is going to tell us if it's good or bad.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:38:35]

BERMAN: All right, breaking news, the Labor Department just released its September jobs report.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans here with some really interesting numbers.

Romans.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is fascinating, you guys.

You know, jobs growth is slowing down a little bit, but it's enough to bring the unemployment rate to new 50 year low.

Here's what the job -- pace of the job creation looks like, 136,000 in September. That's a little light of what economists had forecast, but you saw some upward revisions in the summer. But, still, the unemployment rate, the lowest since December 1969. So more people are working. People are coming off the sidelines and looking for jobs.

Where are they finding those jobs? Business, health care. Again and again we're seeing job creation month after month in these areas.

But manufacturing stumbling here. And this is important. When you look at the president's trade war as it's really beginning to take hold and these tariffs and higher costs for businesses, you can see what's happened to hiring in manufacturing. A real reversal of some trends we've seen earlier.

The pace of job creation slowing down, guys. On average, this year, about 160,000 -- 160,000, that makes this the weakest job creation since the great recession all the way back in 2010. Futures markets barely moving here. World markets have barely been moving.

Look, we're going to see what Wall Street thins about this, what investors think about this.

But, for now, what we know is that wage growth, 2.9 percent, the lightest in about a year. So you're not seeing the job -- a good job market in your paycheck necessarily but people are still getting hired.

[08:40:03]

BERMAN: So low unemployment is the headline, 3.5 percent.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: Unquestionably very low unemployment.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: There's something else that's been going on this week, though, and it plays into what you're talk about, about manufacturing.

ROMANS: Yes.

BERMAN: People are looking at the manufacturing growth numbers and seeing it near recession in manufacturing.

ROMANS: Yes, a contraction in manufacturing two months in a row, and that's really worrisome.

Now, manufacturing is about a 10th -- or, you know, 15 percent of the size of the overall economy. But is that starting to spread into the rest of the economy, what we're seeing in manufacturing?

We got a number yesterday that said, yes, it might be. A services sector reading that shows the services sector is growing, but not growing as strongly as we would like. So starting to look to see if there are cracks in the overall economy after ten years of economic expansion.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for explaining all of those different numbers to us. Great to see you, Christine.

All right, Houston playing tribute to a pioneering sheriff's deputy with a heart of gold. Thousands of people of all faiths came out to honor Sandeep Dhaliwal, an officer who touched so many lives while spreading a message of acceptance.

CNN's Oman Jimenez tells us how he went "Beyond the Call of Duty."

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): On the day of a funeral with the sadness come memories.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This shall be forever, forever his day.

JIMENEZ: The memories of Deputy Sandeep Dhaliwal are those of an icon reflected in the thousands that came to pay their respects.

He was the first officer of Sikh faith to join the Harris County Sheriff's Office in Houston, pushing to allow for a more authentic representation of himself.

ADRIAN GARCIA, FORMER SHERIFF, HARRIS COUNTY: I told him, Sandeep, the policy is ready, but I want you to know that this does not mean you have to do this.

JIMENEZ: But he did, becoming the first officer in Harris County to wear his turban on the job and grow his beard out, as is custom within the Sikh religion.

DEPUTY SANDEEP DHALIWAL, HARRIS COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICER: It will give me the chance to open up the conversation.

JIMENEZ: A beat cop who loved working the streets, he became an inspiration.

GURVINDER SINGH, HUMANITARIAN AID DIRECTOR, UNITED SIKHS: When he donned a turban on the job with his uniform, many he looked royal. He looked like a king.

DHALIWAL: The Sikh community is going to make sure our first responder, along with our citizens of Harris County, are taken care of.

JIMENEZ: To the people Dhaliwal served, he was a friend.

DHALIWAL: (INAUDIBLE). He's going to be a cop. (INAUDIBLE).

JIMENEZ: To his friends, he was family.

SINGH: Beyond family. Because family you can't choose. I choose Sandeep.

JIMENEZ: Late September 2019, everything would change. Now Harris County Commissioner Garcia got a call from the sheriff.

GARCIA: The sheriff paused and he says it's Sandeep. It's Sandeep.

JIMENEZ: Dhaliwal was killed during a traffic stop in northwest Houston.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All I know is I lost my hero. I miss him. So I will never get him back. But he's here with me all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's not died in our hearts, he's up there with the angels because now he's an angel.

JIMENEZ: Now there are other Sikh officers in Harris County. All of them carry on the extraordinary legacy Dhaliwal now leaves behind.

Omar Jimenez, CNN, Houston.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: See that smile there. That did change lives. What a legacy that is.

All right, the breaking news this morning. We are learning the White House is drafting a response to the threat of a subpoena as these text messages seem to reveal a quid pro quo. What does this mean for the impeachment investigation? Famous Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein joins us next with "The Bottom Line."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:48:32]

CAMEROTA: Overnight, text messages came out. They show U.S. diplomats trying to appease demands from the White House for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens before Ukraine can get millions of dollars in military aid or even a meeting at the White House.

How do these text messages change the equation today for lawmakers?

Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN political analyst and Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein.

Carl, great to have you here.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be with you.

CAMEROTA: What changes with these texts?

BERNSTEIN: Well, I think we now see a suggestion, and maybe more than a suggestion, of a real conspiracy, led by the president of the United States and his lawyer, to undermine our electoral process through involving and intimidating a foreign power into extorting a meeting with the president of this foreign power whose country is trying to hold off the Russians, our enemy. And so what he has done is he has mortgaged our foreign policy to his own political interest.

This is a grave, grave moment. We've never had a president of the United States who mortgaged our foreign policy interest to the -- to what's going on against an enemy in a foreign country.

And then our other great adversary, China. The president of the United States yesterday openly got up and called on China to investigate his political enemy and likely opponent or possible opponent running for president of the United States.

[08:50:03]

We're -- we're in a new place where we've never been in which we see the conduct of the president of the United States willing to do things, undermine the very foreign policy interests of our country.

BERMAN: An interesting question is, who's "we" in that scenario? Because those of us sitting here reading the texts certainly see it in black and white. Democrats see it. Are you convinced Republicans see it?

BERNSTEIN: No. No, I -- I'm not convinced that many Republicans on The Hill see it, yes. Am I convinced that many Republicans on The Hill are willing to say they see it, no. And that, of course, is a great difference between Watergate and what we're witnessing now because in Watergate a lot of the heroes were Republicans who called on Nixon to leave office, who thought he had committed high crimes and misdemeanors, and voted in the House Judiciary Committee for articles of impeachment.

But we now have -- we're also witnessing something we did not see in Watergate, which is a meltdown by a president who was demonstrably unhinged and certainly I've talked to Republicans who do use that word, and they're concerned about this. More than concerned about it, almost to the extent that they're concerned about the underlying conduct of the president of the United States, because we are watching in real time. We've never seen a president go off the way Trump has in the last few days.

You know, when -- when the Mueller investigation was revealed, Trump said, and it's in the Mueller report, my presidency is over, and then he same, I'm f 'ed. This is a terrible thing. And then he became unhinged for a while in public. Nothing like this. This -- this is even more extreme.

CAMEROTA: I mean Watergate, President Nixon refused to hand over the tapes.

BERNSTEIN: Correct.

CAMEROTA: And, today, the White House -- the subpoena is due for the White House to hand over documents. And it sounds like, from our reporting, that they are not going to do that. That are preparing a letter, Kaitlan Collins said, that they will make the argument that first Nancy Pelosi has to vote on the impeachment inquiry before they'll hand over anything because they don't even recognize that an impeachment inquiry is happening.

Are there parallels?

BERNSTEIN: Well, the real parallel is that the Nixon tapes are somewhat the equivalent of those conversation summaries that are now in that highly-classified, locked digital lockbox. They are somewhat equivalent because what we've seen of one summary suggests this conspiracy, suggests this high crime perhaps by the president of the United States. And Nixon was ordered to turn over his tapes because of those kinds of suggestions. So there's some real comparisons of evidence that is being withheld now that the Watergate investigators were able to obtain.

BERMAN: And that which they were not became article three, which was to say you're not giving us what we want --

BERNSTEIN: Yes. Yes. That's exactly -- exactly right. So that then became another part of the conspiracy and the cover-up.

And let's be clear here, we are watching a cover-up. We are watching a cover-up by the president of the United States, and those closest to him.

BERMAN: Of something. There are other things that they're not covering up and they're just saying, we did it, which is another interesting aspect of it. So there's duality to their response, which we'll talk about much more I think over the coming weeks.

Carl, great to have you on.

BERNSTEIN: Good to be with you.

CAMEROTA: Thank so much, Carl.

BERMAN: All right, here is what else to watch today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:10 a.m. ET, Pompeo speaks in North Macedonia.

11:00 a.m. ET, Trump visits wounded warriors.

4:00 p.m. ET, 2020 Dems union forum.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK, "The Good Stuff" is next.

BERMAN: Oh, we need it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:58:18]

CAMEROTA: OK, time now for "The Good Stuff."

We spotted a rare unicorn in Centerville, Ohio. Let's take a look.

There, that is a rare unicorn. It's a multi-colored unicorn.

This unicorn is trying to stop speeders near her kid's school bus. Beth Phillips Blair has been suiting up as a dancing unicorn and holding signs asking drivers to slow down for the past two years. She says kids and bus drivers love it, as do other moms.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BETH PHILLIPS BLAIR, ANTI-SPEEDING CAMPAIGNER: I didn't know what else to do at this point.

A lot of people slow down and then they crack up laughing because there is a seven-foot tall giant unicorn waving at them and laughing.

A lot of moms who have dealt with the same problems on their streets honk and wave and they get stop on the street, they're like, we support you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: I didn't know what else to do, she said. The obvious thing is always to dress up like a unicorn. I find that's the answer to just about everything.

CAMEROTA: Right.

BERMAN: All of your conundrums.

CAMEROTA: Why aren't we all doing that?

Well, police are less excited about that.

BERMAN: Really?

CAMEROTA: Yes. Get out. Because they worry that her dancing and costume might distract other drivers.

BERMAN: I didn't know law enforcement has an issue with unicorns.

CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, one other point.

Today is World Smile Day. As you know, many kids are born without the ability to smile. If they have a cleft palate or facial deformities. Operation Smile has been working around the globe to help them. So today is the day that we celebrate them. You can go to Operation Smile's website and find out how you can help get a kid a smile.

BERMAN: You've done a lot of work with that organization and it's wonderful.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, listen, there is breaking news all over the place this morning.

We've had these text messages released overnight, which seem to suggest, in black and white, a quid pro quo.

We also have the inspector general for the intelligence community set to speak to Congress in the next hour.

[09:00:01]

A very special edition of CNN "NEWSROOM" with Jim Sciutto picks up right now.

END