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Trey Gowdy to Advise President Trump on Impeachment Inquiry; Bernie Sanders to Scale Back Campaign Events; Interview with Judge Tammy Kemp. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired October 9, 2019 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00] REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): -- that issue, the stonewalling is on every single issue that's out there. But we need to focus on the Ukraine situation, which is enough in and of itself.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: OK. Congressman John Garamendi, thank you for being here on both of those topics. We appreciate your time this morning.

GARAMENDI: Certainly. Thank you.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Well, the White House is recruiting former congressman Trey Gowdy in the House impeachment inquiry battle. What is their legal strategy, going forward? We're going to have details on that, coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:35:08]

SCIUTTO: As the White House goes to war on the impeachment inquiry in the House, they are recruiting a former congressman, Trey Gowdy, to help them fight it. He was at the White House yesterday, speaking to acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Two sources tell CNN he will not join the administration, instead helping from the outside.

Joining me now to discuss the ongoing inquiry, Bradley Moss. He's deputy executive director of the James Madison Project. We should also note, he's a partner at the law office of Mark Zaid, the attorney representing two whistleblowers making accusations against the president. But we should note Bradley has not had any contact with the witnesses or the case.

Bradley, it's good to have you here today. I wonder if you could clarify one thing on the whistleblowers. Your partner Mark Zaid said that he represents multiple whistleblowers, and it wasn't clear if that multiple is describing the two we already know about or others. Can you clarify?

BRADLEY MOSS, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JAMES MADISON PROJECT: Yes, I'm going to have to leave that, unfortunately, to the legal team, whether it's Mark or if it's Andrew Bakaj. They're the only ones who can speak on behalf of the clients that they're --

SCIUTTO: OK.

MOSS: -- currently representing, that have brought forth these claims.

SCIUTTO: OK. Let's talk about the White House approach to this impeachment inquiry. As it has with many other cases of congressional oversight in recent months, it is blocking both witnesses and documents, even those under subpoena. And it appears that the Democrats' only strategy here is to fight that in the courts. You and I know that could take weeks and months. How and when is this resolved?

MOSS: Well, I think it's become a political question for the House Democrats. Do they simply, at some point, view this as one all- encompassing obstruction or impeding the investigation type of article of impeachment, and move forward with the evidence they have?

They've already got a decent amount of information between the whistleblower complaints, the text messages they got from Ambassador Volker and the additional depositions that, I believe, are still going to go forward. They certainly have enough to start and proceed forward towards articles of impeachment with what they have.

The question for them is, is it enough to bring some of the more conservative or more vulnerable Democrats that are in the House, on board? Or do they need to try to fight this, do they need to move forward with a formal vote -- the full vote of the House, to try to bring some additional legal authorities on board in the ongoing litigation?

SCIUTTO: Do -- base -- without talking to some of the key witnesses here, including Sondland, who's been blocked by the State Department, but also the possibility of the former ambassador to Ukraine, we'll see what happens but based on this recent precedent, she will not be allowed to testify either.

Can Democrats reach a critical mass on evidence for an article of impeachment? Not on obstruction, but on abuse of power by pressuring Ukraine? Can you get there without all that evidence, including e- mails and text messages that the State Department is withholding?

MOSS: Well, I think that's certainly the $64,000 question here, is whether or not what we've already got -- and there's a lot of damning information that's already come out between the whistleblower complaint and this other evidence and information that we already have on hand. Is that enough to persuade some of those more moderate, more conservative Democrats, especially the ones who had national security backgrounds, who were holding back for a while until just recently?

Is the White House's obstruction, or its refusal to cooperate to provide anything to interact with this inquiry, is that going to basically push them across the line, saying, you may have exonerating evidence, you may have evidence that proves that this wasn't as bad as it seems. But if you're going to fight us tooth and nail on everything, we're going to assume what you've got makes things worse. SCIUTTO: Right. Final question, if I can. We are in a place where

some -- the Trump administration's actually relitigating Watergate. And we know that because before a federal judge, Trump administration lawyers argued that the Nixon administration should not have been forced by the courts to provide a secret grand jury report to Congress, which of course was essential in that impeachment proceeding.

The judge's reaction was notable. Judge Beryl Howell, saying, quote, "Wow. The Department of Justice is taking an extraordinary position in this case." Tell us your reaction to that position.

MOSS: Well, it's not necessarily surprising, given that Donald Trump, one of his longtime advisors until just recently, was Roger Stone, a Nixon acolyte who always thought that Nixon had been run out of office improperly.

It's not surprising, they're trying to relitigate and to change the trajectory of how some of this was handled in the Nixon era, because a lot of the precedents that we have came from two different presidencies. The Nixon era, which started out a lot of this, and then the Clinton era, which dealt with an independent counsel.

So it's not surprising that as we fight over what can be truly brought out and the true authorities of Congress in the context of impeachment, that we're essentially relitigating the '70s here.

SCIUTTO: Yes. That's where we are. Bradley Moss, thanks very much.

MOSS: Have a good morning.

[10:39:54]

HARLOW: All right. A heart attack has taken Senator Bernie Sanders off the campaign trail for about the past week. What will change in his campaign and the pace of it when he resumes? Ahead.

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HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. Senator Bernie Sanders is still taking a break from the campaign trail.

SCIUTTO: But he promises his recent heart attack will not keep him out of the race for long. Sanders met with a doctor yesterday, a check-up after spending two days in the hospital last week, following the heart attack.

CNN's Ryan Nobles, he's in Vermont. Ryan, you've been speaking to voters, I imagine, out there. Are they concerned by what they see with Sanders and his candidacy, going forward?

[10:45:06]

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Jim, I don't think there's any doubt that this is going to be something that Sanders and his campaign are going to have to deal with, not just from the perspective that it now brings voters about Sanders' age and his health in general, and whether or not he can do the job of president, but also just the physical amount of time that Bernie Sanders is going to be able to spend on the campaign trail.

And after he got back from that cardiologist appointment yesterday, he told us that he does plan to scale things back. Take a listen to what he told us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, we were doing, you know, in some cases, five or six meetings a day, you know, three or four rallies and town meetings. I don't think I'm going to do that.

But I certainly intend to be actively campaigning. I think we're going to change the nature of the campaign a bit, make sure that I have the strength to do what I have to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NOBLES: Now, to be clear, Sanders said he's not going anywhere. His campaign continues. In fact, he would argue that what he's going to do is going to be much more in line with what his Democratic opponents are already doing, that he was doing far more events and traveling a lot more than some of the other candidates in the race. So this really won't be that big of a change in the grand scheme of things.

Keep in mind, Jim and Poppy, he has more than $30 million that will help him spread his message. And he says he's in this campaign for the long haul.

HARLOW: Yes. $33 million, I think, to be exact, it's not pennies, Ryan Nobles. We're glad he's doing better. Thank you very much for that.

A Dallas judge this morning, defending her actions. She has faced a lot of criticism for hugging that former police officer convicted of murdering her neighbor. After the trial, hear from that judge, next.

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SCIUTTO: Police say they have now arrested a second suspect for the murder of a key witness in the Amber Guyger murder trial. U.S. marshals caught Michael Mitchell in Louisiana last night.

HARLOW: They say he was one of three men who shot and killed Joshua Brown in Dallas on Friday night. Brown's family is now asking for an alternative investigation into his death.

That shooting happened just 10 days after Brown testified in the case against the former police officer, Amber Guyger. Guyger was convicted of murder for shooting her neighbor Botham Jean in his own apartment. And it is that case that continues to garner controversy over what happened after the trial.

SCIUTTO: You may remember this. During the sentencing, Judge Tammy Kemp gave Amber Guyger a bible and a hug in the courtroom.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has been covering the case. He sat down with Judge Kemp. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is just one day's worth of mail?

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Hundreds of letters and e-mails sit on Judge Tammy Kemp's desk. Even a few bibles have come in the mail since the end of the Amber Guyger murder trial. Judge Kemp sat down with CNN for an extensive interview about the breathtaking moments that unfolded in her courtroom.

BRANDT JEAN, BROTHER OF BOTHAM JEAN: I love you just like anyone else.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Judge Kemp says Botham Jean's little brother was the last person she expected to speak directly to Amber Guyger. His family said the young man had been quiet and they were worried about him. But he was actually preparing for this moment.

JEAN: I forgive you.

TAMMY KEMP, JUDGE, DALLAS COUNTY DISTRICT: In my mind, I had decided, well, he's probably too broken up to do this. I was very surprised that this young person was so poised, so composed, and expressed a level of forgiveness and maturity that I don't think anybody expected from him at the time.

JEAN: Can I give her a hug, please? Please?

LAVANDERA: I think that's part of what got me, got a lot of people. It was that second please, like he was desperately begging you to give him this moment, like he needed this moment. Did you feel that?

KEMP: I really think I was on the verge of saying, that's not allowed. I couldn't look at him, I couldn't say no. And so I said yes. And --

LAVANDERA: Knowing that that's something that's not allowed? Typically not allowed.

KEMP: Yes, yes.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Amber Guyger rushed into Brandt Jean's arms, and the intense hug lasted for nearly a minute.

KEMP: I thought Mr. Jean needed that. And when Ms. Guyger ran to him, I understood that she needed it too.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Judge Kemp spent a long while talking to Botham Jean's family, offering prayers over hugs and tears. Amber Guyger was still in the courtroom.

KEMP: I said to her is, Ms. Guyger, Mr. Jean has forgiven you. Please forgive yourself so that you can live a purposeful life.

And she asked me. She said, do you think my life can still have a purpose?

And I said, I know it can.

And she said, well, I don't even have a Bible, I don't have a Bible, I don't know where to begin.

And that's when I went a retrieved my Bible, and gave it to her.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Judge Kemp read her a Gospel passage about salvation, and then Guyger asked the judge for a hug.

KEMP: And when she asked me, she said, can I hug you?

I was thinking, did she say, can I hug you? And I don't think anybody would have refused her a hug, had she asked it of them.

[10:55:00]

LAVANDERA: In that moment?

KEMP: In that moment.

LAVANDERA: What do you say to those critics who say you had no business hugging a convicted murderer in that courtroom?

KEMP: You saw Amber Guyger from behind. All you ever saw was a petite woman, coming to a courtroom and sitting stoically. But I watched her from the front, and I saw the change in her during the course of trial.

AMBER GUYGER, CONVICTED OF BOTHAM JEAN MURDER: I am so sorry.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Amber Guyger made the judge one last promise before she was led away in handcuffs: that she would personally return Judge Kemp's bible when she gets out of prison in 10 years.

KEMP: I hope that she will be a better person, coming out, than she was going in.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: Wow.

SCIUTTO: That was a powerful interview.

HARLOW: What a story. Ed, thank you for that reporting.

And thanks to all of you for joining us today. We'll see you back here tomorrow morning. I'm Poppy Harlow. SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. Erica Hill anchors "AT THIS HOUR,"

coming up.

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