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NEW DAY SATURDAY
McAleenan Resigns As Acting Homeland Security Secretary; Rudy Giuliani Under Investigation For Ukraine Work; Wildfires Burn Homes, Force Evacuations In Los Angeles Area; Memory Card Found On Street Shows Video Of Woman's Murder; Airstrike And Shelling Intensify In Northeast Syria; U.S. Officials Worried About Turkey's Growing Ambitions In Syria; Poll: Majority Of Americans Support Trump Impeachment, Removal; Winter Weather Alert's Across Dakotas, Great Lakes Region. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired October 12, 2019 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
[07:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The acting secretary of Homeland Security resigning tonight. Kevin McAleenan only held that post since April.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was often someone who was at odds with the president and some of his top advisers to where they wanted go on immigration.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.S. president's personal lawyer is now under a federal criminal investigation. That according to the New York Times, which reports it's in connection with his involvement in the Ukraine.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know those gentlemen. I don't know. Maybe they were clients of Rudy -- you'd have to ask Rudy. I will say this. They said, we have nothing do with it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mandatory means mandatory. If you're instructed to leave, please leave. There's a lot of open fire line, there's a lot of potential for continued growth of this fire.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND, with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We wish you a good morning on this Saturday. We're glad to have you with us. So, President Trump is looking for a new Secretary of Homeland Security this morning. Kevin McAleenan submitted his resignation to the president yesterday.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Now, this happened on the same dame the president's immigration agenda had several setbacks after court rulings in four states. Now, late night tweet President Trump said he'll name a replacement next week. McAleenan was the fourth person to serve as the head of the DHS since the president took office.
PAUL: Also, this morning, a video of Times of reporting president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is now under a federal investigation connected to his dealings in Ukraine.
BLACKWELL: Meantime, President Trump appears to be trying to distance himself from Giuliani. Listen to this exchange outside the White House yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Rudy Giuliani still your personal attorney?
TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I haven't spoken to him -- I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He's a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: CNN Sarah Westwood joins us now from the White House. Elie Honig in the last hour reminded us, it makes sense, that he said it: this is something that only the president can really decide, is he or is he not his attorney? What is the White House saying about Rudy Giuliani now?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Victor, and that is a bit of an open question. President Trump sort of dodging it yesterday, saying, you know, I haven't spoken to Rudy Giuliani, actually. I talked to him yesterday. A little bit evasive on the topic of whether Giuliani is still his personal lawyer.
A lot of tumult at the White House yesterday as you mentioned with that tweet, announcing that Kevin McAleenan would no longer be his Homeland Security Secretary. Sources tells CNN that McAleenan was unlikely to be nominated for that top job. But for now, Giuliani seems to be someone who is still working for the president despite the fact that the New York Times is reporting that Giuliani is under investigation for potential violation of federal lobbying laws.
That related to his alleged efforts to dig up dirt on former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. She says that she was recalled from Kiev after pressure from the president and Giuliani -- something that Giuliani is necessarily denying. But he is saying that he was doing it on behalf of President Trump. That's what he told the Times, he was not doing it on behalf of Ukrainian officials, therefore, he's denying that he was tied up in any illegal lobbying.
Sources have also told CNN, though, that President Trump is beginning to express doubts about his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, really at the center of all of the threats of the Ukrainian controversy that are now the focus of the House's impeachment inquiry. But Giuliani is expected for now to stay on as the president's lawyer, although he will no longer be dealing with issues related to Ukraine, Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us there at the White House, thank you. PAUL: Let's bring in Anita Kumar, White House Correspondent and
Associate Editor for Politico. So good to see you, Anita, thanks for being here.
ANITA KUMAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT AND ASSOCIATE EDITOR, POLITICO: Sure.
PAUL: I want to read one of your tweets that I saw -- your latest one. You tweeted -- when talking about McAleenan: "No one is sad about it, said an administration official familiar with the situation. How many times do we have to do this before someone realizes it actually matters who heads these agencies." So, obviously, it sounds like there's frustration within the White House walls about the turnover.
But what is the confidence level of people, that we know of, in this administration, regarding the capabilities of the people that the president is supporting and their loyalty to that position because this is the fourth person to serve in that capacity, and he was only there six months.
KUMAR: Right. I think there's a particular frustration with the immigration agencies, including the top one, which is the Homeland Security, because this is something the president, as you know, campaigned on in 2016. He's talked a lot about it for 2020.
He has to make good on his promises, and it's been two and a half years where there are a lot of rank and file people and top administration officials in the White House who are frustrated that there hasn't been someone in that job that is both you know, making these -- you know -- these implementing policies that can really get to what the president is doing but also can talk the talk.
You know, the president and his top advisers really like someone who's out there mimicking the president, talking tough on immigration, and they felt like they just haven't had that, and that extends to other agencies as well but it's particularly a problem with the immigration agencies.
[07:05:44] PAUL: OK. So, what do you make of all of that considering what we saw overnight; you know, these two immigration policies of the president being shot down by federal judges?
KUMAR: Yes, it's telling me that we're in -- you know, we're year three here and the president still hasn't quite figured out exactly what he wants to do or who can implement that. You know, the president was asked about those court cases you mentioned, and he said, well, this often happens but I usually win on appeal. He likes when things go to the Supreme Court.
He feels like he does very well there. He has on other issues. So, he feels like he can get to the place he wants to be eventually, but, again, he's a year away from this very tough election. He's facing an impeachment inquiry. We're at the point where he needs to be delivering on the promises if he wants to convince people he's the guy they should vote for next year. PAUL: Well, and it makes you wonder if there's any leader he can put
in that position that can do what he's asking to do when it comes to immigration. I want to ask you about Rudy Giuliani here. We just talked about it a couple of minutes ago but CNN reporting that there are efforts, of course, to potentially replace him as President Trump's legal mouthpiece and this New York Times reporting this morning he's under federal investigation now. How vulnerable do we -- do we have a sense at how vulnerable he might be and who might replace him?
KUMAR: Well, I think he is vulnerable. We're seeing all these, you know, stories reporting that he is being looked at. Obviously, the House Democrats want to talk to him, the Senate Republicans want to talk to him. I think there's a lot of questions that he has to answer.
But look, even before the last couple of days when these two associates of his were arrested, there were people that were telling top -- you know, top Republican allies telling the president that they needed to sideline him, that they needed to get rid of him merely because of his comments, things he was out on television saying every day that they felt was putting president in bad light, putting him in jeopardy for his impeachment inquiry.
So, I think that there's going to be a lot of efforts and it's clear that the president, he's starting to understand that by his comments yesterday. The one name I kept hearing, obviously someone that the president announced that he was hiring was the former Congressman from South Carolina, Trey Gowdy.
KUMAR: Yes. They feel very comfortable with him, but as you know federal law prohibits him from communicating with members of congressmen until January. So, we might see him out doing surrogate work, talking for the president, talking about the impeachment, but it's unclear how much he can really talk to congress about impeachment.
PAUL: OK. Anita Kumar, good to have you with us this morning. Thank you.
KUMAR: Sure, thank you.
BLACKWELL: Thousands of people who evacuated are now heading home. They don't know what they're going to find after massive wildfires tore through parts of Southern California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard a scream like I've never heard before. My dad said, "it's in our backyard, it's in our backyard," but in a way I've never heard him scream before.
(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: And U.S. officials are worried Turkey maybe pushing to gain
more control in Syria after Turkish artillery fire close to U.S. forces.
BLACKWELL: And a man in Alaska has been charged with murder after police say a memory card found on the street had videos and pictures of him killing a woman.
[07:12:09] BLACKWELL: This morning some people who are, I can say were evacuated, they're now starting to head home after the massive fires that tore through neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area.
PAUL: CNN's Natasha Chen is live in Granada Hills, California. So, what is the latest update on what you're seeing there this morning and what these people are finding.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Christi and Victor. They're finding homes like this, and there are about 31 structures that have been completely destroyed or damaged where you're just seeing burned out garages, the remnants of what used to be someone's home, and there are some pretty heartbreaking moments where people realize if their home is one of those 31. There were some others that got escorted by police to their homes yesterday afternoon just to pick up a few items, and they still didn't want people to stay in those homes, so they got some stuff and got back out.
Generally speaking, people all around here are dealing with very poor air quality right now. As you can imagine, a lot of people are wearing these masks. We're wearing them in between these live reports -- these N-95 masks here to try and keep out some of the smoke particles. But in general, people are waiting right now to see the extent of the damage. Here's one man in the Porter Ranch area who came and saw his home burned to the ground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JERRY DERMICI, LOST HOME TO FIRE: I'm devastated. I don't know what to tell. I just paid off my house last month. I made the last payment and I was so happy that my house was paid off, I don't have to worry about the payment anymore, but this happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: And in addition to the large number of evacuees during these fires, there have also been unprecedent proactive power shut-offs across the state, especially Pacific Gas and Electric in Northern California, they're mostly restoring power to their customers at this point. Here in Southern California, there are just -- almost 900 customers still in the dark from that.
But here where we are standing, this is L.A. Department of Water and Power who decided not to do active shut-offs, and, of course, people in this region where the Saddle Ridge Fire is are now questioning that decision, so we're going to continue looking into what caused this fire and some of those decisions made. Christi and Victor.
VICTOR: I can't imagine paying the final payment on your house and then the following month it's burned to nothing. Natasha Chen, thank you so much.
CHEN: Thank you.
PAUL: Also, in California this morning the state is strength about its gun control laws. Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law 15 bills including rules that limit gun buyers and sellers and expands the state's red flag law.
Now, California will now be the first state to allow employers, co- workers, and teachers to seek gun violence restraining orders against other people. Previously, only law enforcement officer and family members were able to do so, to ask judges to temporarily take away people's guns when they're deemed a danger to themselves or others. The new law, by the way, takes effect January 1st.
[07:15:10] BLACKWELL: Listen to this. A memory card was found on the street that had videos and pictures of a man killing a woman. We'll tell you what that led to.
PAUL: And the U.S. is sending more troops to Saudi Arabia as the president faces bipartisan backlash for pulling troops from Northeastern Syria.
PAUL: 18 minutes past the hour right now. Glad to have you here. A 48-year-old man in Alaska has been charged with murder. Get this. After authorities said an S.D. card on the street had videos and pictures of him killing a woman.
BLACKWELL: Here's the story from CNN-affiliate, KTUU.
GRANT ROBINSON, REPORTER, KTUU: 39 photos and 12 videos show in graphic details the final hours of a dark-haired woman. The S.D. card where the files were stored was labeled homicide at Midtown Marriott.
M.J. THIM, ANCHORAGE POLICE: S.D. card -- one of the big questions was trying to determine whether or not this was a staged event and we needed -- and we quickly ruled that out.
ROBINSON: A woman told police she found the card on the ground in Fairview. She said, she watched the clips and recognized the carpet from a midtown hotel. Two days later, police discovered remains off the sewered highway. Now, a week later, the identity of the victim is still unknown.
THIM: Keep in mind, these were human remains that were found. So, we had two separate investigations that were going on: one, with the S.D. card, trying to determine what was actually taking place. [07:20:17] ROBINSON: A detective reviewing the videos recognized the
man's voice from another investigation. Some of the photos in the S.D. card showed part of license plates that matched the person the detective had in mind. Then, once police obtained cellphone records, they pinned Bryan Smith to the location where the human remains were found within minutes of when the last photo on the S.D. card was taken. Smith is charged with one count of first-degree murder. His bail is set at $750,000.
PAUL: That's our Grant Robinson reporting from CNN's affiliate KTUU. Thank you for that.
BLACKWELL: U.S. officials say Turkey may be gaining more control in Syria after Turkish artillery fire came close to U.S. forces. We are near the Turkish/Syrian border next.
PAUL: And do you see anything like this outside your window right now in?
PAUL: Well, there are some people that this is moving towards. We'll talk about it.
BLACKWELL: Too soon.
[07:25:20] PAUL: So, 25 minutes past the hour right now, and recent poll show support growing for President Trump's impeachment and removal from office but that same vulnerability doesn't seem to be as clear with his base. Are they sticking with him as they have during past scandals? Well, CNN's Martin Savidge asked voters in Florida, which is a key swing state, whether the ongoing impeachment inquiry has any real effect on their opinion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Welcome to Orlando, Florida, not the land of make-belief, but where people live and vote. And we're talking to Trump voters about impeachment.
RICHARD DOMZALSKI, TRUMP VOTER: I don't think he's getting a fair deal out -- I think it's very political.
SAVIDGE: Nearly three weeks into the formal congressional inquiry, polling shows a noticeable shift in the public's attitude towards impeachment. A Fox News poll released this week found 51 percent of registered voters supported President Trump's impeachment and remove from office. We wanted to see if shifting polls suggest Trump vulnerability among his base in the swing region of a key state. For most, the short answer is no.
Does it change your opinion of this president? BRIAN BAINES, TRUMP VOTER: In this case, no, no.
SAVIDGE: And you don't believe he's done anything wrong or broken any sort of oath of office?
BAINES: In this case, no.
SAVIDGE: On camera, no Trump voter tells us the president should be impeached.
Do you believe this president has used his office for political gain?
DOMZALSKI: In this particular case?
DOMZALSKI: I don't think so.
SAVIDGE: Most Trump voters we spoke with called the impeachment inquiry a sham put on by Democrats full of unsubstantiated claims to downplay the president's phone call with the president of Ukraine that seems to seek dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.
You've seen the transcript of the phone call; I'd like you to do us a favor.
DOMZALSKI: I've seen the transcript. I haven't read the whole thing.
SAVIDGE: But off camera, we did find Trump voters troubled by the president's actions. In fact, two admitted it was wrong, but stopped short of calling for the president's removal.
At a Latinos for Trump rally outside Orlando, we found something that should concern the Trump administration. Though these Trump voters say they've heard nothing so far in the impeachment inquiry to change their support --
Has any of this caused you to question or second-guess your vote in '16?
NANCY ACEVEDO, TRUMP VOTER: Never, ever. We need to elect Trump for four more years to make sure that, you know, his agenda is completed.
SAVIDGE: All we spoke with did say the inquiry should continue.
Do you want the process to at least go forward?
SERGIO ORTIZ, TRUMP VOTER: I want the process to go through the whole shebang.
SAVIDGE: Even as they work for Trump's re-election, these Trump voters say they reserve the right to change their mind.
Is it something that could come to light that would change your feelings?
MARIA SOTOLONGO, TRUMP VOTER: Maybe. It depends what it is, what is truth.
SAVIDGE: There's no question that the impeachment inquiry has raised a level of political tension in this country to a whole new realm. We've been talking to Trump voters for years now on all kinds of topics in all different places, but never have we had as much difficulty engaging or getting people to talk on camera with us on a subject more so than this one, impeachment. People are either so angry or so over it, they simply just don't want to talk. Martin Savidge, CNN, Orlando.
PAUL: Martin, thank you. And there is growing concern this morning that Turkey is looking to gain more control in Syria. A U.S. official tells CNN, Turkey could be trying to push further into an area mainly occupied by Kurds.
BLACKWELL: That official says Friday's strikes which landed near U.S. troops is evidence of their move. The Pentagon confirmed U.S. forces came under fire from Turkish artillery. They say no one was injured. CNN Senior International Correspondent Arwa Damon is following the latest from the Turkish/Syrian border. Arwa, what are you learning this morning?
ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Turkey has made its intentions from the beginning quite clear, starting with the map that President Erdogan showed at the U.N. general assembly that depicted a push by Turkey -- some 18 miles into Syria and extending along hundreds of miles along the border that would encompass the area where the strike took places that was quite close to where U.S. forces are located. One of the areas where they are located near the town of Kobane.
And of course, all along this area that is right now behind us where the smoke is rising, that is Syrian territory. And as this offensive has gone forward, hundreds of thousands of civilians on the Syrian side, Syrian Kurds, most of them have had to flee this fighting.
[07:30:00] On the Turkish side, there has as is to be expected a reaction. And we have had some artillery strikes happening also mostly in civilian areas here. And because of the way the population is split and what the demographics here are, a fair number of those strikes have, in fact, killed Kurdish civilians inside Turkish territory, people who live here.
And we went to the funeral for six of them earlier this morning which was quite devastating, especially when it comes to the fact that they're not just burying their loved ones, their friends, their relatives, but because of the fact that they are pained by all of this in ways that are very difficult for many of them to describe because many of the Kurds who live here in Turkey have historic ties to those who live in Syria. They are relatives -- their extended families are over there.
One of Turkey's aims, President Erdogan has said is too then once they've secured the safe zone, as they're calling it, to move some of the millions of refugees who live inside Turkey into this area -- upwards of two million mostly Syrian-Arab refugees.
Turkey is saying could potentially be resettled in this area, problem is that's not where they're from, and it is potentially going to significantly change the demographic along this border.
It's also highly unlikely that this fighting will remain -- will remain neatly contained into this border zone. And so, there are some foreseen consequences of this that we're hearing many warning about like the resurgence of ISIS, and the loss of the gains being made about ISIS. And then, there are, of course, unforeseen ones as well.
PAUL: Arwa Damon, good description for us. Thank you so much.
BLACKWELL: Well, the Pentagon is deploying extra troops to Saudi Arabia. Multiple U.S. officials tell CNN, the leading commander in the Middle East requested the extra troops and the U.S. Navy needs help to turn potential Iranian aggression.
PAUL: President Trump says they're being sent because Saudi Arabia is a "good ally". And the move comes as the president is facing bipartisan criticism for pulling troops out of northeastern Syria.
In the last month, the U.S. has deployed an additional 3,000 forces to the area sending a clear signal that the security of Saudi Arabia is a top priority for the U.S.
BLACKWELL: With us now is Colonel Cedric Leighton, retired U.S. Air Force colonel and CNN military analyst. Colonel, welcome back.
COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Thanks so much, Victor. Good to be with you.
BLACKWELL: Let's start at the Turkish-Syrian border and then moved to Saudi Arabia. Officials tell CNN that there's a growing concern with the scope of this -- of Turkeys operation even the artillery that was the strikes near Kobane, near where U.S. troops were that's outside of the zone.
According to this official, the Turkey said that they would operate. Can Turkey be pushed back restricted now?
LEIGHTON: Only diplomatically. So, what you're looking at is, in essence, as Arwa was reporting, a move forward into an area that goes beyond the 18 miles that Turkey said that it would take as part of their Operation Peace Spring, which is this operation that's going on right now.
So, what the Turks will probably do is move a little bit beyond that, at least, initially in order to secure their forces. They'll, at least, try to do that but they're going to meet some resistance from Turkey -- from, excuse me, from Kurdish forces. And those Kurdish forces could very well make it a little bit more difficult for the Turks to realize those goals.
BLACKWELL: So, the president suggested on social media and his rallies this week that mediating a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds that that's possible. What's your degree of confident that that's plausible and why would the Kurds now trust the U.S. again after working with U.S. military for so long, and now the military is leaving?
LEIGHTON: Well, the factor of trust among the Kurds for the United States has hit really an all-time low. So, to have us play the role of mediator in a situation like this, I would be great -- except I don't find it to be very realistic. I think it would be highly unlikely they'd probably turned to another player such as Russia or even Iran before they turn to the U.S. And that's a real danger for U.S. foreign policy going forward especially in this region.
BLACKWELL: And Moscow is saying that they're going to try to get a deal. So, that is on the table as well.
I want you to listen to President Trump here. This is at one of his rallies this week talking about his decision to pull U.S. forces out of northern Syria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We don't have any soldiers there because we've left, we won, we left, take a victory United States. We left, take a victory. Take victory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Well, there are still U.S. troops elsewhere in the country but SDF, the Syrian Defense Forces reported that five ISIS militants have escaped prison. ISIS called or claimed response
SDF the Syrian Defense Forces reported that five ISIS militants have escaped prison Isis called or claimed responsibility for a car bomb. I want you to reconcile what you heard from the president there and what still has to be done in Syria?
LEIGHTON: Well, what the president said is actually factually incorrect. You know, we -- yes, we defeated ISIS in terms of their Caliphate, their physical Caliphate, the actual territory that they controlled.
But this is not about territory; this is about hearts and minds. And it's really irreconcilable with the reality on the ground. The ISIS fighters, the ones you mentioned that escaped, as well as, those that are hiding in sleeper cells throughout this region, I can very well be activated very quickly. And the minute that you take the pressure off of them, they can become very real, real fast, and they can do some very bad things not only to the Turkish troops that are coming in, but also to the Kurds and to American forces if they -- if they encounter them.
BLACKWELL: Saudi Arabia now -- and I want you to listen to the president, this is in Minnesota on Thursday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And all of the blood and treasure we sacrificed made the Middle East left -- it's really -- it's less safe, it's less stable, and it's less secure. And I say it all the time, the single greatest mistake our country made in its history was going into the quicksand of the Middle East.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: OK. So, he says the single greatest mistake was going to the quicksand of the Middle East. Department of Defense says 3,000 troops Saudi deployment have been authorized or extended in the last month. Across the region, the U.S. has increased forces into about 14,000 since May.
Now, some of the Saudi deployment is because of mechanical issues, but this seems to contradict the president's rhetoric against what he calls the policing. But is this in the best interest of the U.S. -- this additional deployment to Saudi Arabia??
LEIGHTON: So, yes, you can definitely make the argument that it is in the best interest of the U.S. And if I were advising the president, I would say this is the right thing to do. The rhetoric on the other hand from his rally in Minnesota presents a false picture of what's really going on here.
What we're dealing with is the need to defend certain areas in the Middle East. And you see the issue, you know, you take some troops off the table, the 50 or so that left northeastern Syria. But you put about 3,000 as you mentioned back into another part of the Middle East to different missions, different types of weapon systems that these soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines use.
But, still, you're putting more forces in there, and they're serving basically a traditional function of a tripwire against anybody who wants to attack Saudi Arabia. So, it's a very traditional role for the United States to play in the region. And it's not very much different from things that we've seen before, even before the first Gulf War.
BLACKWELL: Colonel Cedric Leighton, thank you, sir.
LEIGHTON: You bet, Victor, anytime.
PAUL: Well, the White House is stonewalling the impeachment inquiry and Democrats say the administration's failure to comply is "further evidence of obstruction". Our next guest says, he doesn't believe any president should be impeached in their first term.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The radical Democrats' policies are crazy, their politicians are corrupt, their candidates are terrible, and they know they can't win an election day, so they're pursuing an illegal, invalid, and unconstitutional (INAUDIBLE) impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: He's using that word a lot more often these days. That was President Trump last night, slamming the legitimacy of the House impeachment inquiry. The White House has been stonewalling the investigation. Saying just this week that the inquiry had violated precedent and denied President Trump's due process rights.
Herewith me to discuss, Alan Hirsch, lecturer in Humanities and chair of the Justice and Law program at Williams College. He's also the author of Impeaching the President: Past, Present, and Future. Alan, good morning to you.
ALAN HIRSCH, CHAIR, JUSTICE AND LAW STUDIES, WILLIAMS COLLEGE: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So, let's start here with this conference call that Speaker Pelosi had with Democratic House members, urging them to stay focused on the president's actions surrounding Ukraine, resisting the urge to broaden. She got a little bit of pushback there.
You were initially an impeachment skeptic. Do you think the Democrats have handled these last several weeks well?
HIRSCH: I do. I think Speaker Pelosi has resisted impeachment and she should. It's a last resort. And typically, in a first term, you want to avoid impeachment because the voters can get their chance to impeach the president effectively. And it's obviously preferable when the American people, not Congress determines the identity of the president.
But I think she's right to regard Ukraine as a game-changer and the reason is, here, the president's alleged misconduct concerns interfering with an election. And it's obviously problematic to depend on elections to remove an unfit president if the unfitness consists in interfering with an election.
And also, I think, it's part of a pattern -- the Ukraine business. You know, the president supporters claim he was joking when he asked Russia to look for Hillary Clinton's e-mails, maybe he was. Maybe he was joking when he asked China to investigate the Bidens, but he wasn't joking when he asked the Ukraine president as a favor to investigate his political opponent. He wasn't joking when he authorized hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal for the express purpose of keeping from the American people information that might have been relevant to the 2016 election.
So, although, I think Speaker Pelosi is wise. I totally understand the desire to keep the inquiry focused.
[07:45:02] HIRSCH: She might consider connecting the dots. And there is a pattern of behavior that compromises the integrity of our elections.
BLACKWELL: Well she is --
HIRSCH: And that might be (INAUDIBLE).
BLACKWELL: She is resisting that at the moment. Let me go to this. Because the White House as we said at the top, and some of the president's supporters have pointed out that there has been no vote on a resolution to begin this -- full House vote on this inquiry.
I want you to listen here to California Democratic Congressman John Garamendi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): First, I do think that it's time for us to put a vote on the floor a resolution for the inquiry, structured in such a way that it can move forward with the full power of the Congress behind it. I think that's probably going to come in the next week or so. That will further strengthen Congress's hand.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Well, that --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: So, he is an outlier in that position in the party. It's not constitutionally required, but do you -- what do you think of his argument that it strengthens the Democrats' hand?
HIRSCH: I have no problem with a vote. You know, I favor accountability. But just as you say, the Constitution says the House shall have the sole power of impeachment. And it that's pretty much it, it doesn't tell the House how to go about things.
And here we're not talking about a vote on impeachment. Obviously, that would be required. We're just talking about an inquiry, and the House can do what it wants and there's no requirement for a vote.
But yes, I agree with the congressman that there's -- there would be nothing wrong with one.
BLACKWELL: Let me ask you this and we teased this at the end of the last block that you told my producers that you don't think that a president should be impeached in his first term. Explain that?
HIRSCH: Well, as what I said earlier, is you want to give the voters the first crack. The American public is capable of interpreting the Constitution; they are capable of deciding whether they think the president has committed high crimes or misdemeanors.
And removal of a president via the impeachment process does mean that Congress has substituted its judgment further that of the American people. So, there's a presumption against it, when in doubt don't throw them out.
But I think that presumption can be rebutted. And I think this is exactly the kind of circumstance where you might impeach a first-term president where the alleged misconduct concerns interference with the election process.
BLACKWELL: Alan Hirsch, thanks for being with us.
HIRSCH: Thank you very much.
PAUL: Well, it's the weekend. I don't know what plans you had but the calendar and Mother Nature aren't aligning today, it seems. Winter-like conditions breaking records already in one area and where all of this is moving. Stay close
PAUL: Look, we know that diet and exercise are vital when it comes to losing weight but in today's "STAYING WELL", we see how some people are getting a mental edge to help with their weight loss.
MATTHEW SCHMITT, SLEEP MEDICINE SPECIALIST, PIEDMONT ATLANTA: During hypnotherapy, the person becomes highly focused and their brain becomes more receptive to ideas and suggestions from the therapist.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people understand in a conscious way your feelings, your emotions, and the habits you have behind a behavior. Studies in the past, shown of people who did combine therapies using both hypnotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy instead of just one alone, did achieve more weight loss.
SANDY AMES, HYPNOTHERAPIST: If somebody comes and says I want to lose weight, I will first work with their doctor. I need to know for sure that we're not working with any kind of medical issue.
SCHMITT: Every program begins with a smart diet exercise program, and definitely seeking out guidance from professionals. But adding in hypnotherapy and/or cognitive behavioral therapy, I think it helps reinforce us to make appropriate diet choices.
There's a very little downside when you talk about hypnotherapy. People with psychiatric disorders can have unwanted or untoward effects from some of these therapies and unexpected perhaps reactions.
AMES: Down, people down.
TERESA ECKERT, CLIENT OF HYPNOTHERAPY: Hypnotherapy helps me remember all the points that I need to remember. Definitely, I've had weight loss. I have more confidence, this is good all-around.
AMES: Three, two, one.
BLACKWELL: Well, it's beginning to look like a lot later in the year.
PAUL: You didn't want to say it's beginning to look like anything.
BLACKWELL: I don't -- you know, you have to sing that. So, I skipped it. Let's talk about the Dakotas. The Great Lakes region, winter weather alerts are in effect for North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and the storm is already close to setting a record in North Dakota for the snowiest October.
PAUL: Listen, I would take some snow right now.
PAUL: And then, you think I'm crazy. But CNN's Allison Chinchar is in the CNN Weather Center.
BLACKWELL: See? Allison got into it.
PAUL: You're right because I don't -- I don't want to -- fall is my favorite. So --
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'll be looking at lived in North Dakota it would be one thing, but we live in Atlanta. We just don't handle snow that well here.
PAUL: Well, you at.
CHINCHAR: So, I just don't really wanted here. Exactly, but yes, we're talking about incredibly historic snow across portions of the Dakotas. The record you're talking about is for Bismarck, North Dakota. They've had 13.2 inches in just the last 48 hours. That officially makes it the second snowiest October on record. Folks, it's October 12th.
So, yes, it's very much possible that we could end up having the snowiest October by the time we get to the end of the month, just depends on how many more snowstorms we get. The interesting thing is that's not even close to some of the high-end amounts of snow that we've seen.
Langdon, North Dakota picking up 27 inches. Devil's Lake, 24 inches. But here is the thing, it still snowing. And it's going to continue to snow across areas of the Dakotas and even portions of Minnesota for, at least, the next several hours before the system finally exits.
The other concern, very windy conditions. When you take that snow that's already there, you take the fact that you've 35, 45, even 50- mile-per-hour wind gusts and very poor visibility, you get blizzard conditions. And that's what we've got across portions of North Dakota.
Here is a look at the system as it continues to push east. So, other states like Wisconsin, the U.P. of Michigan are also going to get some snow out in from this particular system as well. And then, eventually, other places like Chicago may end up getting a few rain showers out of it -- places like Milwaukee as well.
And the cold. You talk about the bitter cold temperatures associated with this. Look at Chicago, 28 is what it feels like this morning. Tomorrow not that much better, 36. Minneapolis, feels like 25 this morning.
This is why we have a lot of locations under freeze alerts and that stretches all the way back towards Oklahoma and even into Texas. And Victor and Christi even have some frost advisories upon portions of the Ohio River Valley as well. May not look like it when you look at the calendar. But yes, winter is going to be here soon.
PAUL: All righty. Allison Chinchar, thank you.
PAUL: New Day continues for you right after the break. Stay close.