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NEW DAY SATURDAY

Pompeo Defies Subpoena Deadline For Ukraine Documents; House Dems Demand Docs From Pence In Impeachment Inquiry; Joe Biden Calls Trump "Unhinged" In New Ad; Sen. Bernie Sanders Leaves Hospital, Campaign Says He Had A Heart Attack; Microsoft: Iranian Government Hackers Targeted U.S. Presidential Campaign; Treasury I.G. Investigating Handling Of Trump's Tax Returns. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired October 5, 2019 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're seeing as House Democrats escalate this impeachment fight with the White House by sending out these subpoenas.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We're not fooling around here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo missed the deadline for a House Democrat subpoena for documents and testimony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congress also requesting documents from Vice President Mike Pence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To report of a second possible whistleblower on Ukraine.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a hoax. This is the greatest hoax.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Some people say why are you doing this? He's not worth it. I said he might not be, but our Constitution is worth it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's good at getting everybody fired up, and he's been doing that for a while. S

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie Sanders left a Las Vegas hospital after spending two and a half days there being treated for a heart attack.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, everybody. I just got out of the hospital and I'm feeling so much better. See you soon on the campaign trail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN HOST: Well, welcome to Saturday. I'm Christi Paul. We're so glad to have you with us.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: And I'm Boris Sanchez in for Victor Blackwell. Great to see you this morning, Christi.

PAUL: Good to have you here, Boris, as always. So listen, there is a lot to deal with this morning, a lot of headlines with the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. I want to start with the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He did not meet yesterday subpoena deadline from three separate House committees to hand over documents related to Ukraine.

So on top of that they've issued a new subpoena. This one for the House - you see there to the White House to hand over their documents.

SANCHEZ: Meantime, there could be a second whistleblower getting ready to file a separate formal complaint. "The New York Times" reporting that another intelligence official is concerned about the President's dealings with Ukraine and apparently they have more direct information about that phone call with President Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart.

PAUL: Also, "The Washington Post" reporting the President's phone calls with foreign leaders are "an angry ridden set of events" for his staff who were worried that he'll make promises he shouldn't keep.

CNN's Kristen Holmes it's at the White House this morning. Is there any reaction from the White House to that headline, Kristen?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christi and Boris, right now all we have is a statement reacting to those subpoenas. That comes from the Press Secretary. It doesn't say whether or not the White House is going to comply. It essentially just says that the subpoenas don't change anything, and of course slams Democrats.

Now, I do want to note one thing. That even before these subpoenas were issued, the White House was contemplating sending a note to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to say that they didn't have to turn over any of these documents, because it wasn't a formal inquiry, citing the fact that there hasn't been an actual formal vote in the House.

So - but while we haven't heard from the White House on those subpoenas, we did just moments ago hear from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on that missing deadline. He is over in Greece. He's meeting with the foreign minister there. Here's what he had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF STATE: State Department sent a letter last night to Congress which is our initial response to the document request. We'll obviously do all the things we're required to do by law. I was a member of Congress once. Article I has a certain set of powers and Article II has an obligation to make sure that we protect officials at the State Department.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: So he says he will turn over those documents, which of course is news. But I also want to talk about something else he said. He really stood by this investigation. He said it was an investigation into corruption in the Ukraine. He talked about how if there is any meddling in election that - it is OK for the U.S. to ask another foreign government for help with that.

But I do want to know one thing. He did not talk about the fact that the President asked the Ukrainian President to look into Joe Biden or Hunter Biden, so something there a little bit of a discrepancy. Of course, I want to note that there is no evidence that Joe Biden or a Hunter Biden has done anything wrong. Back to you.

PAUL: Alrighty, Kristen Holmes, appreciate it. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Plenty to discuss this morning. Joining us now Catherine Rampell, she's an opinion columnist for "The Washington Post" and former federal prosecutor and CNN Legal Analyst Renato Mariotti. Thank you both so much for joining us.

Catherine, let's start with you. We're hearing there could be this second formal whistleblower complaint. In your eyes, what's the significance of this? Clearly it adds credibility to that first report, right?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, OPINION COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, it can it can only bolster what we already know so far from what has been reported. I do want to clarify, though, that this would actually be the third whistleblower to come forward.

There are now two or at least possibly two from the intelligence community, but there is another one from the IRS who is separately alleging that there has been some sort of political interference within the annual audit of the President or Vice President's taxes that is required under the IRS manual.

[08:05:00]

So, look, Washington may soon be running out of whistles at the rate that we are going. And you could imagine, that all of these people coming forward and making allegations could only bolster the case that Democrats are currently pursuing in alleging that the President may have committed some sort of high crimes or misdemeanors.

PAUL: So Renato, when we look at the text messages that we've been seeing the back-and-forth here with many of these leaders, is there anything in those text messages that stands out to you that would be a red flag?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. It's - there are some messages there that are highly incriminating. I mean, you have one message, for example, where you have one part of the message saying, well, this is very problematic for me - the trading of or withholding of aid continue - contingent on this investigation.

And then, of course, the other side is saying, "Oh, well, there's no actual here quid pro quo here. Let's take this offline. Let's take this off of text." Right? And whenever you have people who are suddenly wanting that in the conversation and take it off of text and put it into voice, what that tells you is, that there people there are certain things that they didn't want to have in writing.

And the implication there is that they - essentially that everyone needed to get their ducks in a row so that they could say this wasn't actually a quid pro quo or there wasn't a leveraging of U.S. aid here. I think that's damning. And I think a jury in a trial would find that very suspicious.

SANCHEZ: And Catherine one of the revealing things about those text messages is just the importance of Rudy Giuliani, the role that he plays in essentially being the facilitator for Ukraine policy. These diplomats have to go through him to get to President Trump. Does that surprise you?

RAMPELL: I mean, it doesn't - it doesn't. We don't really know what Rudy Giuliani's official role here is. Right? He doesn't work for tax payers. He is not a government employee at the current time. He is the President's personal attorney. He is looking out for the President's personal interests, which raises the question, why has he been dispatched or alternatively dispatched himself to basically conduct foreign policy?

I mean, something really doesn't smell right here or look right here given what we know about what his incentives are, what his motivations are, and what's actually in the interest of the United States government - excuse me the United States population or the country here.

PAUL: Renato, I want to ask you about the subpoenas the House Dems have issued for acting Chief of Staff Mulvaney and for Vice President Pence. Is there an expectation that White House is going to claim executive privilege here?

MARIOTTI: Yes. I think that what the White House is doing is stalling for as much time as possible. So Pompeo says it sent a letter incredulous about these - the requests - the initial requests, now there's a subpoena.

What I would expect them to do is run out the clock as much as possible, claim some sort of privilege they've had, but not only executive privilege but they have this concept of absolute immunity that they've claimed at times.

None of this has much legal support. If they go to court, they will almost certainly lose. And they have been losing court fights against the House already. And I would expect that their legal position to get worse now that there is an impeachment inquiry. But it's all about stalling for time and hurting the momentum of Democrats and trying to drag this into the campaign season.

SANCHEZ: Renato, staying with. You we've heard from sources that Jared Kushner and Mick Mulvaney are effectively the team that's leading the impeachment inquiry response from the White House perspective. What do you make of that team?

MARIOTTI: It's a bad news for the White House. When Bill Clinton was impeached there was all these high-priced, very high-powered lawyers who were on his team. They took it very seriously. Mr. Mulvaney and Mr. Kushner have no experience. They're not lawyers to the best of my knowledge. They have no experience dealing with an impeachment fight.

This is going to be a high - a high-stakes battle, it's for the presidency. But perhaps they just plan to give it the - with the back of their hand, so to speak, not even give it much attention at all.

PAUL: So Catherine I have to ask you before we let you all go. The White House really wants Republicans to focus on the economy. We know the jobless rate is at a 50-year low right now, is that their best strategy at this point?

RAMPELL: Well, I think, what's interesting here is that Trump and other Republicans, other Trump supporters keep saying that how can you impeach a President when the economy is this good? So it's not only about we want to tout the economy, but that is somehow a defense against impeachment.

[08:10:00]

Of course, the U.S. Constitution has no provision saying, oh there's an exception for high crimes and misdemeanors if the economy is good. That would certainly be news to Bill Clinton when he was impeached. But beyond that, I think that they haven't really looked carefully enough at the data lately.

Yes, the unemployment rate is at a historic low, but there are a lot of other concerning data points coming out, including showing that manufacturing is currently in recession, including showing that confidence has been falling, farmers are suffering job growth has actually slowed.

So all of those things suggest that the economy could actually be a vulnerability in terms of Trump's base of support going forward, if in fact Republicans start to say you know maybe his chances aren't so good, if the economy tanks. Particularly, if the public starts to blame any sort of slow down or even recession on Trump because of his trade war.

PAUL: It's a gamble to place all of your bets on one particular issue, no doubt about it. Catherine Rampell, Renato Mariotti, we appreciate both of you. Thank you.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

PAUL: Former Vice President Joe Biden, by the way, is ramping up his rebuke of the President's Ukraine allegations against him and his son Hunter.

SANCHEZ: Yes. The former VP is showing some renewed vigor and going after Trump for these attacks. His campaign also launched the new attack ad against the President. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump has spent millions in negative TV ads

lying about the one Democrat he doesn't want to face.

JOE BIDEN (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now fearful about his reelection, he's becoming more unhinged--

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SANCHEZ: Now, CNN's Jessica Dean is following the story. Jessica this new ad from Biden, essentially a response to an ad from Trump attacking Biden.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right. Good morning to both of you. Yes, this ad from Vice President Biden, his campaign, responds to an ad from President Trump's reelection campaign that is full of false claims that's airing in early voting States against Joe Biden, so his campaign has released that ad that you just showed people.

And what that's also doing, in addition to debunking those false claims, it's also setting up and reminding people of the Biden campaign's position on this, which is, that he is the most electable. He's the one that Donald Trump is going after and that's because Donald Trump is afraid to run against Joe Biden. That's the position they've really taken on this.

And this ad coming out after a week of what we saw was Joe Biden really ramping up his rebuke against President Trump and his false allegations. We saw him in Reno, Nevada, earlier this week, give a speech to a group of people there where he said President Trump is not going to destroy me, he's not going to destroy my family. I'm not going anywhere.

And then yesterday, he was in Los Angeles, and had this to say. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: He calls the impeachment proceeding a coup - a coup. He talks about how we should handle whistleblowers. He talks about, there will be a civil war. This is a guy that's unhinged. He is unhinged. I worry about what he's going to do, not about me or my family, I'm worried about what he'll do in the next year in the presidency as this thing continues to rot on his watch.

The fact of the matter is you know, you wonder what this guy is going to do. Have you ever seen, a rhetorical question, a president ever so unhinged as this guy is? That's what worries me. Let the House focus on what they're focusing on, and the Senate, and I'm going to go out and I'm going to beat him on the merits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: And we were - when we were in that room with Vice President Biden yesterday, typically the candidates would come in and wait for questions to be asked of them. He came in with a statement. He knew exactly what he wanted to say. He took questions, but he wanted to get that out first. It was very important to him to make those comments, Christi and Boris. And he also said - he went on to say that he's very worried that in the next year what President Trump will do as it pertains to U.S. international interests.

SANCHEZ: I think that's the most energetic we've seen Joe Biden so far in this campaign cycle.

DEAN: Yes.

SANCHEZ: Jessica Dean, thank you so much.

PAUL: Thanks Jessica.

SANCHEZ: And still to come with the White House stonewalling their investigations what will House Democrats do next? Democratic Congressional Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence joins us live after the break.

PAUL: And there are new questions about Senator Bernie Sanders' health and his age, because doctors have revealed he actually suffered a heart attack earlier this week.

SANCHEZ: Plus a man walking his dog miraculously survives a lightning strike, more on this incredible story and a video coming up next.

[08:15:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Right now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Greece. This is, of course, hours after he defied a House subpoena to produce Ukraine documents. This is the third time the Secretary's failed to meet deadlines to produce Ukraine related documents here. And earlier this week he accused lawmakers of intimidating and bullying State Department officials.

Well, Democratic Congresswoman from Michigan, Brenda Lawrence is with us. She sits on the House Oversight Reform and House Appropriations Committee. Representative we appreciate you being with us. Thank you so much.

REP. BRENDA LAWRENCE (D-MI): Thank you.

PAUL: Absolutely.

LAWRENCE: It's good to be with you.

PAUL: It's good to have you here. I want to get your reaction first of all to that missed deadline from the Secretary and what you and the Congress is prepared to do about it, to try to get him to hand that over?

LAWRENCE: We have requested information. We are now issuing subpoenas. This is the - one of the greatest challenge in all of this impeachment and process is that, we are required and given the power as Congress to have oversight on all of the government agencies, including the executive branch.

And we have seen this administration led by this President, just thumb his nose up. Giuliani, we've asked for all of his records. We've subpoenaed and asked for the records from the Vice President.

And I hear from both sides, I've had town hall meetings. And some people will say, "Well, you just keep going after him, nothing sticks. He doesn't comply and he just - it's as if he's untouchable."

We are so focused and serious about this investigation, because this - the documents and the information that we have shows that he used the security and the international relationships that we are required to have for the security of our country as a bargaining chip for his own personal gain. That is not acceptable.

[08:20:00]

And so the subpoenas will continue to go out, and you know we're going to have to engage the courts. I sit on Oversight. We have taken the failure to appear and comply to the courts.

PAUL: Are you concerned at all, as you mentioned, you were at town hall this week and you talk to your constituents that there is a fatigue that could take place here. People want to talk about - they want to talk about health care, they want to talk about immigration, they want to talk about gun control. Is - are those issues going to get lost in all this impeachment talk?

LAWRENCE: In my town hall meeting I've made sure and every Democrat across this country, we want the American public to know that we, the Democrats in the House, have passed legislation for immigration for the DREAM Act. We've passed legislation for reauthorizing violence against women. We have passed gun control laws for background checks. And it's sitting in Mitch McConnell's graveyard.

Literally, he is not conducting any business. So it troubles me when I hear the blanket statement, "Congress you're not doing anything." We are. We are passing legislation. When we go back we'll be fighting and addressing the issue of prescription drugs.

So as a Democratic caucus and for us we're moving forward. But we're also holding this President accountable. We cannot put our head in the sand as our Republican colleagues and say nothing is happening here. But pay attention, because we are consistently and continuing to pass bills, but Mitch McConnell has refused as a leader of the Senate to bring any bill to the floor.

And so here we situation, so it appears that nothing is happening, but the investigations. But we use the term stay woke. I'm asking America to wake up and look at what is happening with the legislative process, because all we hear about our investigations, but we are required by the Constitution.

PAUL: So let me ask you this. Republican - a former U.S. Representative from Utah, Mia Love, said that she has spoken to a lot of members in the House regarding an impeachment, including Representative Will Hurd. And here's what she heard from him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIA LOVE (R), FORMER UTAH REPRESENTATIVE: He finds some of the issues, some of the text messages in - disturbing. But he also feels as if - and I think it's fair, to say that the Republicans have completely been left out of the process - the impeachment inquiry. They're not part of that conversation at all.

And so, they're saying, look, we want to be able to have subpoena power. We want to be able to have those things. And it's fair to say, look, we should be involved and it should be transparent, so take a vote on the House floor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Congresswoman, is that a fair point? Do you believe are Republicans, in any way, being shut out here?

LAWRENCE: No because on every Committee there are Republicans as representative - on the Intel Committee, on the Oversight, on Judiciary. And then when you watch those hearing, you'll see pointed questions from the Republican Party.

So it is ingenuously them to say we're being left out. Because every time the Committee convenes to do - conduct an investigation, the Republican members are present. And Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, has been very clear that she wants to make sure, when we take that vote on the floor that all the facts are out there.

Because you can say, "I don't have enough information to vote on this or you haven't proven your point." And so we are being very supportive of that being on Oversight. We will continue with all of the litany of violations and rules that have been not complied with in the Office of the President.

Judiciary will continue the same. We have Intel that's going to be the lead right now, and we're going to move forward. And the Republicans are disingenuous when they say they're not involved, because we cannot convene a hearing in Washington DC unless there is bipartisan membership of every Committee member.

PAUL: Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, we appreciate you taking the time for us today. Thank you.

LAWRENCE: Thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: Well, it was more than just heart stents. It turns out that Senator Bernie Sanders had a heart attack this week. But his campaign says that will not keep him off the campaign trail.

[08:25:00]

Hear his message to voters after leaving the hospital. PAUL: An outrage from demonstrators growing louder in Hong Kong this morning. That's happening as President Trump reportedly vows to stay silent about what's going on. That we are live on the ground as the pro-democracy protests enter its 18th straight weekend.

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: Senator Bernie Sanders is promising he will return to the campaign trail despite doctors confirming that he didn't - in fact, have a heart attack earlier this week.

PAUL: Yes, the Senator left the Las Vegas hospital yesterday. And in a video posted online he reassured his supporters that he's not going anywhere.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: Hello everybody! We're in Las Vegas. I just got out of the hospital a few hours ago and I'm feeling so much better. I just want to thank all of you for the love and warm wishes that you sent to me. See you soon on the campaign trail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Now the Sanders' campaign says the Senator is going to rest at his home in Vermont for a few days - several days here, and he is planning on taking part in the CNN Democratic debate that's on October 15.

SANCHEZ: Just about ten days away. Sanders' recent health scare has raised some concerns and questions about the health of the candidates running for President.

[08:30:00]

Three of the top Democrats and the President are all in their 70s. Joining us now to discuss is Kurt Bardella. He's a political commentator and former spokesperson for the House Oversight Committee; and CNN Political Commentator and former Ted Cruz Communications Director, Alice Stewart. Thank you both so much for joining us.

We have to start with, of course, Bernie Sanders. He was released from the hospital last night. We're glad he's home and that he's doing well. But that next democratic debate is just 10 days away and we've already seen questions of age come up in the debates before. How much do you think his health is going to be part of this conversation, Alice?

ALICE STEWART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, first, we can all agree that we're all glad to see that he's out of the hospital and doing well and our thoughts and prayers are with him for a safe recovery. And it really puts everything else in perspective that the health of all of the candidates is certainly critical and important. And I'm glad to see that he's back on the mend. But the reality is, none of these people on the Democratic stage or certainly in the White House would be where they are if they didn't have the mental toughness to get there. And I'm confident that he will be on the mend and he will be ready to take on his challengers come to bait time.

Look, the health of anyone running for this office is something that people certainly should take a look at and certainly is a concern. But everyone we have on the Democratic side and in the White House, I am confident of their toughness, physically and mentally, to compete and get the job done and really give us a very vigorous primary and certainly in general come next year.

SANCHEZ: Now, Kurt we saw Julian Castro sort of allude to Joe Biden's aides in the previous debate. That backfired on him. Do you suspect we might see more of the same?

KURT BARDELLA, OPINION COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: You know, I think this is one of those tough times where if you're a Democrat thinking about attacking Bernie for this, I think that it's going to boom a ring back on you.

I think, like Alice said, we all definitely want him to be healthy. We want him to recover well. I think that if you go after his health in this way, so close after actually suffering an actual heart attack, you could look cold, you can look callous, you could look opportunistic.

This is one of those things where the voters themselves are going to have to figure out whether or not they think that age and previous health issues is really a disqualifying factor. So, remember, the health issues - the heart issues that former Vice President Dick Cheney had and ultimately the voters sent him back to that top of the ticket twice.

So I think attacking him would look desperate, especially if one of the candidates who isn't gaining traction, tries to use that as a vehicle to try to advance themselves. What happened speaks for itself. How Bernie responds to that will also speak for itself. And going after that directly would be a mistake.

SANCHEZ: Now for those who may be concerned about the Senators' age and his health, his campaign at least, is continuing to produce - it's really big fundraising numbers. Take a look at this a scale essentially of where all the candidates stand right now.

Notably - President Trump isn't on here. But notably the President raised about a $100 million than Bernie Sanders, the next highest raising candidate on this list. The President's campaign Chairman Brad Parscale writing in an op-ed that the sudden flood of donations to President Trump's re-election effort provides undeniable evidence that this impeachment gambit represents a massive miscalculation by Democrats.

He says the RNC Trump campaign took in $13 million in the 36 hours after the impeachment inquiry was launched. Kurt, is this a sign that impeachment is going to energize the President's base even more?

BARDELLA: I don't think so. I mean, I think regardless of what you think of impeachment, the President's base is a President's base. We've seen throughout his entire presidency, through every peak and valley, whether it was Charlottesville or whether it was the Kavanaugh confirmation. Something happens, the President says something controversial, and everyone says, well, this will energize his base.

Well, I think, we should reach a conclusion. His base is going to be energized in a 2020 election no matter what happens. If you actually added all the totals of the Democratic candidates, you would get a number that's a little bit more than a $100 million roughly what the President has raised.

So it's kind of apples and oranges to say that one guy out raised 16 people by himself. You can't really take one candidate, pull him out and say, well, against the President they got out raised. You have to take the entire aggregate.

The reality is, impeachment motivates both bases. The progressive base has been calling for impeachment over and over and over again for the better part of this year. The President's pace has been ready to fight against impeachment, so I kind of think it's a net neutral at the end of the day.

SANCHEZ: I take your point. But, Alice, $13 million in 36 hours, that's staggering.

STEWART: That's impressive, and that just goes to show that Republicans are certainly unified behind the President and they are unified against what the Democrats are doing, which is continuously finding and trying to seek efforts to impeach this President. And money talks, and when you're they're going to put money behind their frustration. That will go a long way and I do expect that to continue.

[08:35:00]

But here's the crux of what Republicans are so frustrated with. Look, if they are - there's something there. If there is a smoking gun, Republicans are encouraging the Democrats, "If you think there's grounds for impeachment here, put it on the floor and take a vote for an impeachment inquiry. Don't just sit there and try and remove this President from office by death, by a thousand subpoenas or inquiries or investigations. Put your money where your mouth is."

The Congresswoman talked about all the votes that the House has taken under the leadership of House Democrats. Well, here's a vote for you, put the House - the inquiry for an impeachment on the floor and see where Democrats fall.

I guarantee you vulnerable Democrats in in districts that Trump won do not want to put their name behind this, because they understand the liability behind making such a vocal vote and vocal position on this impeachment inquiry. Because as it moves further, it's not going to be something that the American people want, when they should be campaigning on the issues and not on an impeachment. SANCHEZ: So much to discuss and so little time. Alice Stewart, Kurt Bardella, thank you so much for getting up with us this morning. Thanks.

STEWART: Thanks Boris.

PAUL: We have some pro-democracy protesters in the streets in Hong Kong again this morning, and others meanwhile protesting peacefully with this candlelight vigil. We're going to take you there next.

SANCHEZ: Plus, an independent watchdog is now looking into how the Treasury Department handled President Trump's tax returns. Details ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: Thirty-nine minutes past the hour right now. And Microsoft is saying hackers linked to the Iranian government attempted to attack a 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign.

[08:40:00]

Now the company didn't say which campaign was targeted. But the Trump re-election campaign said it had no indication that it was them.

SANCHEZ: Microsoft calls the group "Phosphorus". They say the group attempted to hack the campaign between August and September. The Democratic National Committee has sent a security alert to 2020 campaigns about the attempted hack.

The group also attacked current and former U.S. officials,, journalists covering global politics, and prominent Iranians living outside of Iran.

PAUL: We are in week 18 of these Pro-democracy protests that we've been seeing in the streets of Hong Kong. We know that there are some residents who are lighting candles outside this mass transit station at a vigil. Look at what's been growing there for weeks.

SANCHEZ: Yes. The city's public transport system was shut down and will remain closed today. Meantime a 14-year old is in critical condition after Hong Kong police opened fire on protesters for the second time. All of this happening, as two sources tell CNN that President Trump promised Chinese President Xi Jinping that the U.S. would stay silent on pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as trade talks continue.

Yesterday, the President said all his conversations with foreign leaders are appropriate, just a few hours after calling on China to investigate Joe Biden. I want to get to CNN's Anna Coren in Hong Kong. Anna, what's it like where you are now?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, we're standing outside the Mong Kok police station, which certainly has been a flashpoint for the protest now in its 18th weekend. And many people, you can see, a few dozen are students wearing face masks. They are defying that ban which was invoked by the city's Chief Executive Carrie Lam overnight. She called on these emergency laws to enforce this ban.

As we know, people wear face masks. They have been doing so for the past 18 weeks, is to protect their identity mostly. But we're hearing from protestors here yelling at police officers in Mong Kok police station saying, "Come out and arrest us, I dare you." So there is a real act of defiance.

But I must say this is rather full scale for what Hong Kong is used to. We saw so much violence last night. There was arson, there was vandalism. As you mentioned, train system here, which is considered one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world, has been shut down all day. Shops were shot after - shops that are considered to pro-Hong Kong or pro-China were set alight, as was a state owned Chinese Bank.

It really tipped too much last night. And Carrie Lam, coming out with this pre-recorded message today saying this is why she needed to invoke this emergency law because government really needs that to get handle on this situation and the police force needs to restore law and order.

Now, some of the people that we have spoken to say that this is only going to further inflame situation. Protesters that are being taken to (inaudible), they say there were going to stay out today and that tomorrow they're going to be taking to the streets tomorrow and Monday which is a public holiday here. And Hong Kong police are anticipating much more violence in roads (ph) of here. Boris.

PAUL: Wow, tomorrow and Monday. All right. Anna Coren, we appreciate it so much. Thank. You and the crew stay safe there.

SANCHEZ: Even more scrutiny ahead for the White House, this time from an independent watchdog group inside the Treasury Department, coming up, what they're investigating concerning the President's tax returns.

[08:45:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SANCHEZ: The Treasury Department's Inspector General has launched an investigation into how the department handled requests for the president's tax returns.

PAUL: CNN's Lauren Fox has more.

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LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: On Friday the Treasury Department Inspector General launched an investigation into how the Treasury Department handled a request for President Donald Trump's tax returns back in April, that's when House Ways and Means Committee Chairman requested six years of personal and business tax returns of the President.

This came after Neal sent a letter Friday to the Treasury Inspector General asking for this investigation. In response, when I called the Treasury Inspector General's office they told me that they had launched a probe.

They said in a statement, "Chairman Neal has asked Treasury OIG to inquire into the process by which the department received evaluated and responded to the committee's request for federal tax information. We are undertaking that inquiry."

So this Inspector General investigation is going to continue. This comes after a whistleblower went to the House Ways and Means Committee in July, alleging that there had been potential overshadowing of the presidential audit program. Lauren Fox, CNN.

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PAUL: Lauren, thank you. Take a look at what's going on in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

SANCHEZ: Yes. It's a nice break from all the politics we've been talking about. This is the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta that's getting underway. The sun's just starting to come up. This is why they call it the Land of Enchantment. Right?

PAUL: It's gorgeous. 500 lighten up the sky there during the nine day event. And then you've got the live music, the food, the festivities, good place to be. Everybody have fun out there.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that's really a good time.

PAUL: Yes, we'll just enjoy the view.

SANCHEZ: Yes.

PAUL: From here.

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PAUL: Also, this is some other video you're going to want to see. A security camera captures the moment that a man was struck by lightning. Do you see that there? We're going to show you more and tell you what happened.

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[08:50:00]

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PAUL: So this is newly released data that shows the last month tied for the hottest September on record globally, and Atlanta contributing today, I can tell you.

SANCHEZ: We're thrilled about the heat here, yes. It comes actually after more than a week of record high temperatures across the United States. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar, is here. Is there any relief in sight for people like Christi?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. So for some folks the answer is, for others not so much. You've still got a few cities like you see on this map - eight cities have the potential to break record high temperatures for today. But a lot of these cities will finally get relief either tomorrow or as we head into Monday, finally.

But for some this is more like the summer that just never gave up, it never quit it, never left. And you're seeing a lot of the data that matches that. Yes, as Christi mentioned, again, this ties - September tied for the hottest September on record globally - tied with just 2016.

But here's the thing. It wasn't just September. When you look at much of the summer months it was the same, August was the second warmest August. It was the warmest June. And July was actually the hottest month ever on record globally.

The thing is those hot air temperatures also correlate with hot ocean temperatures. And when you have those warmer oceans you get the melting sea-ice, you get thermal expansion, which is basically just the warmer water taking up more volume and that contributes to sea level rise. And that's what we're starting to see, unfortunately, in some U.S. cities like Miami Beach, Florida or Charleston, South Carolina, for example.

Yesterday, newly released data from the National Weather Service shows that the number of coastal flooding events keep going up. In the 1980s they averaged at about nine coastal flooding events each year. In the 1990s it went up to 18, then 21 for the 2000s, and 39 for the 2010s.

But here's the thing, this year, we've already broken the number of coastal flooding events - 58.

[08:55:00]

And remember guys it's just October, that number could keep going up. And that's going to be the concern going forward is whether or not, Christi and Boris, we continue to see these coastal flooding events tick up in the future years.

PAUL: All right. Allison Chinchar. Ray of sunshine, Allison, thanks very much.

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SANCHEZ: Thank you so much. You're going to want to take a look at this weather-related video. It shows the moment a man in Texas collapsed after he was struck by lightning. Look at that. CNN affiliate KTRK obtained the security camera video. Right there he gets hit.

PAUL: Here it goes as the dogs run away. Now there was a nearby veterinary clinic that came to his rescue. People there, they started CPR, said he wasn't moving or breathing when they found him. But that his clothes were charred, his shoes and socks were blown off his feet. His family says he's in pain. But do you know he's going to be OK. A gaping hole was in the concrete to where that lightning bolt struck the man. SANCHEZ: We loved that the dogs ran out.

PAUL: Oh my goodness, but just so grateful he's okay.

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PAUL: I know so much for man's best friend.

SANCHEZ: Yes, right. Thanks so much for starting your morning with us.

PAUL: Yes we're back here at 10:00 Eastern for "CNN NEWSROOM". "SMERCONISH" is with you next.

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