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Cracks Continue To Grow In President Trump's GOP Support; Rudy Giuliani Pushed Trump Administration To Grant A Visa To Ukrainian Official Promising Dirt On Democrats; U.K. Parliament Holds Historic Debate On Leaving The E.U.; Clinton Suggests Russians "Grooming" Tulsi Gabbard; WAPO: Career Diplomat George Kent Testifies He Raised Concerns About Hunter Biden's Ukraine Work In 2015; Tornado Threat Growing As Nestor Bears Down On Florida; Sen. Mitch McConnell Slams Trump For Syria Troop Withdrawal; Temporary Restraining Order Delays Burial for Atatiana Jefferson. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired October 19, 2019 - 08:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Giuliani wanted to get Shokin a visa. The State Department rejected that request and Giuliani went around the State Department and urged the White House to grant him the visa.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a terrible witch hunt. This is so bad for our country.

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: If you're asking me if I was sitting in the House of Representatives today, and you were to ask me how do I feel? Do I think impeachment should move forward? My vote would be yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary Clinton and Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii Congresswoman who is running for President got into an unexpected and aggressive back and forth on Friday with the former Democratic nominee accusing Gabbard of being groomed by the Russians to be a third party candidate.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.

REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Finally, she has come out from behind the curtain, and made it very clear that this is about a race between Hillary Clinton and myself.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Thanks for being with us. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WALKER: We are watching history in the making right now. In London,

The House of Commons is holding the first Saturday parliamentary session in 37 years to debate and vote on the Prime Minister's views Brexit deal, but we don't know if Boris Johnson has the 320 votes needed to win. We will get a live report in just a few moments.


BLACKWELL: Now to Washington, where there appear to be some cracks in the Republican support for President Trump. After hearing Mick Mulvaney's comments about a quid pro quo with Ukraine, former Ohio Governor John Kasich says, he believes the President should be impeached.


JOHN KASICH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF OHIO: If you're asking me if I was sitting in the House of Representatives today, and you were to ask me how do I feel? Do I think impeachment should move forward and should go for a full examination and a trial of the United States Senate? My vote would be yes.

REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R-FL): Whatever might have been gray and unclear before is certainly quite clear right now. We're not supposed to use government power and prestige for political gain.


WALKER: And Florida Representative Francis Rooney you just heard there went on to say that he would not rule out voting to impeach the President. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly now believes an impeachment trial is quote "inevitable".

BLACKWELL: And finally, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is suggesting that the Russians are grooming a Democrat who's currently running for President. This appears to be directed at Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, although she has denied those allegations.

WALKER: And let's get back to our top story now. President Trump is losing Republican support after a stunning week in Washington.

BLACKWELL: Just this week, we saw the President's acting Chief of Staff admit and then try to walk back a quid pro quo for Ukraine. We also saw the President name his own Florida resort as the next location for the G7 Summit, and watched the disintegration of U.S. foreign policy in this back and forth with Syria and Turkey.

CNN's Kristen Holmes is at the White House. Kristen there is a lot that has happened, not just over the week, but in the last 72 hours. Is the President, is the White House feeling this loss of GOP support.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN REPORTER: Well Victor that's a good question. If his Twitter feed is any indication then, yes he is. His last tweet saying we Republicans have to stick together and fight. And then of course posting a video attacking Mitt Romney, who we know, has been very critical of the President.

But this has been very interesting. We're really starting to see some of these cracks in his base, which is remarkable, given the fact that we have seen Republicans really rally around President Trump since he came into office. And it comes down to the three things you just mentioned the G7, a Ukraine investigation and Syria.

We'll start with the G7. This announcement really shocked Republicans that he were going to have it at his Doral Golf Resort. One Republican aide telling me that her mouth had dropped open because of all of the issues that this raises about the President making money from this event.

Other Republicans they didn't quite come out and condemn it. But lot of them saying things like I hope that they're transparent. Of course, the optics are really bad here. And we know behind the scenes Republicans are asking the White House why they made and how they made this decision

The other thing - Syria. This has been an ongoing conflict. The White House announcing that they would withdraw these U.S. troops getting scathing criticism from Republicans, particularly Senator Lindsey Graham who is a staunch supporter of the President.


And you mentioned that Mitch McConnell op ed. What's really interesting about that is two things. One of them being that it came after Pence and Pompeo announced this ceasefire and on top of that Pence had talked to McConnell on the phone, talked to him about this agreement with Turkey. He still penned the op ed.

The other interesting thing is that in this entire op ed President Trump's name is never mentioned one single time. So, clearly, McConnell walking up to the line there criticizing the policy, saying it was a horrible idea but never quite mentioning Trump.

And lastly is the Ukraine investigation there are two prongs there. You've seen all of these people in and out of Capitol Hill this testimony. You're hearing a lot of lawmakers express skepticism and a lot of concern about Rudy Giuliani. Republicans saying he should come with a warning label and that there are a lot of red flags in this policy and the fact that he was working with Ukraine.

The other, what you mentioned about Mick Mulvaney, essentially getting up here where I am now looking at reporters on camera and saying actually, in fact, getting Ukraine to investigate Democrats was part of withholding this money, so all of this a huge deal here impacting these different Republicans in different ways. And for the first time we're seeing them not just say it behind closed doors, but express their concern on camera and on the record.

WALKER: --been a good week for the President. Appreciate joining us Kristen Holmes. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Now to our exclusive reporting on the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Well, CNN has learned that he appears to have been even more involved in trying to dig up dirt on Democrats than many previously knew.

Sources say that Giuliani asked the State Department and then the White House to grant a visa to a former Ukrainian official who promised damaging information on the President's political rivals - Viktor Shokin. He never did get that that visa to enter the U.S.

WALKER: Joining me now to discuss is Ross Garber, CNN Legal Analyst and impeachment attorney along with CNN Political Analyst Margaret Talev. Good morning to you both.

Margaret let's start with you first regarding this CNN exclusive reporting. How significant is it, as we're learning just how deeply Rudy Giuliani, the President's personal lawyer, was involved allegedly digging up dirt on the Democrats?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well good morning. This really has been - the overarching story of the week is Rudy Giuliani's central involvement in basically every aspect of this channel of investigation.

And so the idea that this character Mr. Shokin who's kind of connects so closely to the Joe Biden thread here and the idea that with President Trump's knowledge Giuliani was conducting these interviews, these investigations, had sort of created a parallel channel when it came to the Ukraine from the standard diplomatic protocols.

And now this reporting from what Mr. Kent is said to have said in his interviews behind closed doors with Congress this week suggests that Giuliani was involved to the extent of then asking the State Department and then bypassing the normal channels and asking the White House in fact to you know to bring people to United States in order to conduct these investigations.

It just sort of paints a deeper picture of his involvement from the outside seeking to use the levers inside of government. And when you see the range of people who are going to be asked to come talk to Congress behind closed doors next week, you can be certain that this will be now an additional line of inquiry in those interviews.

WALKER: Yes, Ross, I mean your thoughts on Giuliani's apparent involvement. I mean, it looks like his legal troubles are growing. I mean how much trouble is he in, especially considering that CNN we just learned here that there a federal inquiry into Giuliani's activities, particularly when it comes to his business ties to Ukraine.

How much legal trouble is he facing and how much of that could come back to haunt the President.

ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So Mr. Giuliani might be facing legal issues. We've heard there's an investigation going on. We've heard there's a counterintelligence inquiry going on.

What I think a lot of this is going to come down to is the question of why. We've heard about the question of quid pro quo whether there's at this for that. I think the big question is going to be the why question. Why were these activities happening?

And you know Rudy Giuliani why is it being important, because the President's main defense is - there was nothing wrong here. I was acting in the interests of the U.S. government. I was taken a position on corruption in Ukraine and that's entirely appropriate. I think that was what Mick Mulvaney, the Acting Chief of Staff to the White House was trying to say last week.


The concern though, the question is, so what is the president's personal lawyer doing in this process? Why is Rudy Giuliani, who is not a government official - why is Rudy Giuliani involved in this process? That goes to the why.

Rudy Giuliani's the President's personal lawyer which suggests that there were some potentially some personal motives going on here. Were there political motives? And then with this inquiry was Giuliani acting on potentially behalf of his other clients or even foreign government officials? Those are the real questions that I think is sort of swirling around right now.

WALKER: Margaret, The Energy Department is now saying - refusing to comply with a House Committee subpoena. But just the last few days we've been hearing from top Trump officials, former Trump administration officials really painting a pretty damning picture of what's possibly been going on inside the White House.

And this is all despite the fact that the Trump administration has said do not talk, do not cooperate with the subpoenas, do not give up documents, do not testify and some of these Trump officials they are. That must be concerning.

WALKER: Yes. I mean it's just that this kind of - there is no inquiry because there hasn't been a formal vote strategy, it's not working well. It's working in some cases where people really don't want to come forward and talk. It's giving them kind of a reason to say why they wouldn't want to.

But overarchingly the trend is moving in the opposite direction. And either people who have left the administration or people who are still in it, but don't need it for their careers, and are concerned about what they saw, what they have seen during their tenure are voluntarily coming forward.

I think the fact that these sessions are happening for now behind closed doors, although the Democratic leadership has indicated they plan on releasing most of the transcripts at some point down the road. But the fact that it's happening behind closed doors rather than in kind of a hearing format, has given people some comfort level that they can actually discuss the substance without it being turned into theater.

And the picture that's coming forward seems to substantiate kind of the storyline we saw in that initial transcript that was released, which is that - in many ways this is what it looks like it was.

This was an effort to kind of pressure the Ukrainians to get involved in what looked like an investigation of a person who is one of the President's two political rivals in this year's elections. For whatever nuances or reasons there may have been that that is what it - that's what was happening.

WALKER: Wish we had more time. I appreciate you both joining us Ross Garber and Margaret Talev, thank you both.

TALEV: Thanks.

GARBER: You bet.

BLACKWELL: Up next a hugely consequential day for the future of Britain.


BLACKWELL: Right now - get a live picture here for you. Lawmakers are locked in this fierce debate over the Prime Minister's plan to leave the European Union. Now there are crowds of people pouring into the streets - there in London, they want to do over. They want a second referendum. We're live at Britain's Houses of Parliament when we come back.

WALKER: Also, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggesting that the Russians are grooming Democratic presidential candidate, Tulsi Gabbard. We'll tell you how she is responding to those allegations.

BLACKWELL: And this incredible video from a high school in Portland, Oregon showing the moment a high school football coach disarmed a student carrying a loaded shotgun. You will want to sit and watch this.





BLACKWELL: Right now thousands of protesters are marching in the streets of London - live, look, here towards Westminster demanding a second Brexit vote. People are still deeply divided on this issue as is the House of Commons, which is having a historic debate right now over this potential deal.

WALKER: CNN International Diplomatic Editor, Nic Robertson joining us live from outside the House of Parliament with more.


WALKER: Hi there Nic. Tell us more about what's been going on and especially some of the naysayers about Boris Johnson's deal that he surprisingly struck with the EU.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Sure. I mean, historic day in part, because it can set the course for Britain's future, in part of course, because it's not since 1982 as parliament met on a Saturday.

The criticisms of Boris Johnson's deal and it's being debated now for four hours so far in parliament here, have been that it will be bad for trade, bad for business, bad for workers, bad for workers' rights, bad for the environment.

The Prime Minister has pushed back, saying many businesses support this. That he will pass better legislation for the environment that will improve workers' rights. That's the big criticism from the opposition.

But the really big criticism of Boris Johnson has been from his former Northern Irish political partners. There is a real sense that in order to get this deal through with the European Union Boris Johnson had to compromise over Northern Ireland to the point that there is more than Irish politicians feel that Northern Ireland in the future will be less part of Britain.

The single market and customs union arrangements of the European Union will apply more in Northern Ireland and not in the U.K. and that's a problem for them. So these have been the issues that are being debated. We're still several hours away from a vote on this. And it may not quite get to that simple vote on the deal.

Why? Because there is an amendment that's being discussed here and that amendment would say Boris Johnson you need more time to get the legislation to make this - to pass this through, you need more time than is currently available until the end of this month, and you need essentially to allow more time to get an extension the amount to debate and pass both legislation required to enforce this deal. And if that happens, if that passes, the government says they'll pull the big vote for today.

BLACKWELL: All right, Nic Robertson for us there in London. Nic, thank you.

WALKER: All right. Still ahead, new developments into the investigation of Hillary Clinton's e-mails. Plus, the presidential candidate, she's accusing of being groomed by Russians and it's not what you think.



BLACKWELL: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claims the Russians are grooming Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard for a third party run.

WALKER: And the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee says the Russians want the Democrat to run as a third party candidate in order to push their agenda. CNN's Dan Merica has more.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice over): Hillary Clinton and Tulsi Gabbard, the Hawaii Congresswoman who is running for president got into an unexpected and aggressive back and forth on Friday with the former Democratic nominee accusing gathered of being groomed by the Russians to be a third party candidate in the 2020 election, an effort that she says, is aimed at taking down the Democratic nominee in the 2020 election.

Now this is a charge that Gabbert has denied before and she did it again on Friday. Take a listen to what Hillary Clinton though had to say on a podcast interview that was released on Thursday.


CLINTON: I'm not making any predictions, but I think they've got their eye on somebody who's currently in the Democratic primary - and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She's a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.


MERICA (voice over): But you will note that Clinton did not say Gabbard's name during that interview, but it's not hard to figure out that that is exactly who she was talking about. The Congresswoman has fought back charges like this before.


There are experts that note Russian propaganda and news outlets talk about her more. And the fact that some moments in her campaign are trumpeted by bots and trolls on Twitter that have ties to Russian efforts.

Now Gabbard has ruled out a third party bid. She did so here on CNN earlier this year and she did not take this charge from Clinton lying down. Here's what she had to say while in Iowa in response to what Clinton said.


GABBARD: Finally, she has come out from behind the curtain and made it very clear that this is about a race between Hillary Clinton and myself. She is doing this because it's very clear to her that she knows she can't control me. That if I'm elected President, then she will not be able to come in and try to influence or manipulate me or the policies that I will lead forward for our country.


MERICA: Now, Gabbard, despite being a Democrat, has railed against the party in the past. So it stands to reason that this back and forth with Hillary Clinton, the former standard bearer of the party, will play into that messaging. For Hillary Clinton, this is what she has thought for a long time about Russian interests and the 2016 election. She believes that Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate from the 2016 election hurt her in key states and that is why she is speaking out now.

This is certainly different than the type of rhetoric we heard during a 2016 campaign. But she is not running for anything and she is largely thrown caution to the wind on this book tour that she is on right now. Dan Merica, CNN.

WALKER: Now Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate in both the 2012 and 2016 elections was also accused by Clinton of being a Russian asset.

She responded to Clinton's latest comments on Gabbard saying, "It's a shame HRC - Hillary Rodham Clinton, is peddling conspiracy theories to justify her failure. Instead of reflecting on real reasons the Dems lost in 2016. You can slander progressives as Russian assets, but you can't hide the fact that the DNC sabotaged Sanders and elevated Trump to set the stage for HRC."

And at the top of the hour Jill Stein will be a guest on "SMERCONISH" to talk about all of this. Tune in at 9:00 a.m. Eastern right here on CNN.

BLACKWELL: Let's discuss this and all things 2020 with Julia Manchester political reporter with The Hill. Julia, good morning.


BLACKWELL: OK. So Secretary Clinton did not name with Congresswoman Gabbard, but when her campaign - or rather a spokesman for the former secretary was asked if that's what she talking about the response was quote, "If the nesting doll fits."

This narrative is not new. Gabbard seems to think that this this attack works for her. Does it? Does it elevate her?

MANCHESTER: Well, it works for Gabbard's base at this point. Remember Gabbard has attracted a very fringe section of the Democratic Party or anti-establishment section of the Democratic Party, as well as anti- establishment voters in general. You know, she seems to actually be quite popular with some conservative voters as well, gaining a lot of traction among them online.

So it certainly helps them with that anti-establishment part of the party that probably isn't too thrilled with Hillary Clinton, wasn't thrilled with Hillary Clinton in 2016. However, going into 2020, I'm not sure if this really bodes well for Gabbard.

Remember, last Tuesday during the Democratic debate in Ohio, Gabbard went off against the DNC, CNN and The New York Times, essentially saying these establishment outlets or organizations are out to get anti-establishment candidates like herself.

So we're seeing her try to push this narrative that she's the anti- establishment. That these other outlets are trying to otherwise her if you will. But it really hasn't seemed to work with other Democratic primary voters. Remember, she's only gaining 2 to 1 percent in the polls right now. So this might boost her name recognition a bit, but I don't think it's going to change many voters' minds.

BLACKWELL: As she goes on our website to call our corporate party elite, corrupt party elite, establishment warmongers and corporate media lackeys.

Let's move on now to former Vice President Joe Biden. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent this week testified that he raised the concern of Hunter Biden working for a Ukrainian company back during the Obama administration 2015.

According to The Washington Post he testified that the response from an official in the administration was that Biden did not have the bandwidth to deal with Hunter, because Beau Biden was suffering from - dealing with cancer at the moment.

Still no evidence of wrongdoing from either of them, but this does give the president a talking point. Does it do any more than that?

MANCHESTER: It absolutely gives the President a talking point. And you know it seems that President Trump and his campaign is really trying to take a page out of their 2016 playbook with how they painted Hillary Clinton as out of touch and corrupt with her - the ongoing e- mail scandal. So it seems like they're trying to recreate that with the Bidens right now.

However, in addition to that, it distracts the Biden campaign. The Biden campaign doesn't want to be talking about Hunter Biden right now. They want to be talking about Joe Biden's legacy in the Obama administration, his plans to improve the Affordable Care Act, his plan to help economic conditions on Main Street, how he's going to improve foreign policy between the US and their allies.


They don't want to be talking about this and I think it really does in a way to maybe some undecided voters make Joe Biden and Hunter Biden seem very out of touch. It seems like this is - just to them they could see this as a typical D.C. relationship really, a powerful man in government, the former Vice President in this case and his son is working for a foreign company abroad. So I think that's a negative narrative that the Trump campaign is definitely going to seize upon.

BLACKWELL: Yes, they're also going to have to explain to those people who see that about the Bidens, about Ivanka Trump working in the administration.

MANCHESTER: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: And Jarred Kushner having as broad a portfolio as he has.

MANCHESTER: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: Julia Manchester, thanks so much. MANCHESTER: Thanks Victor.

WALKER: A tropical storm is soaking Florida - parts of Florida this morning and could bring some dangerous storm surges in the next few hours. At last check Tropical Storm Nestor had winds of about 50 miles per hour as it approaches Florida's Gulf Coast. And there's also concern for tornadoes later today.

Let's get to CNN Meteorologist Allison Chinchar in the CNN Weather Center. Allison what can we expect from this storm.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes, the tornadoes really are going to be the growing concern. We've already had some tornado warnings out there reported damage out of Polk County, Florida because of a supposed tornado there. But those warnings are likely going to continue as we go through the rest of the day.

Here's a look at the current statistics Winds are sustained at 50 miles per hour, gusting up to 65. That forward movement to the northeast at just about 17 miles per hour. That's just slightly faster than average for a storm like this particular one. But look at all of that heavy rain Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers even Fort Pierce.

This is where we have the tornado watch in effect until noon Eastern time today. Here's the thing, that's likely going to expand or even shift a little bit as we head into the afternoon hours because as the storm moves into places like Georgia and the Carolinas, so does the threat for damaging winds and the potential for tornadoes. So other cities like Savannah, Charleston, Hilton Head and even Wilmington North Carolina also looking at that threat.

It's a relatively fast moving storm. We expect this to be out over the open Atlantic by the second half of the day tomorrow. It will still have time to dump a tremendous amount of rain in that short time period. And not just for areas along the coast. Look at this, Atlanta, Charlotte, Knoxville even Washington D.C. likely to get some heavy bands of rain out of this.

Widespread rainfall totals likely about two to four inches, Victor and Amara, but there will be some spots that could pick up in excess of six inches of rain before this finally exits the area.

BLACKWELL: Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.


WALKER: Coming up, federal regulators demanding answers from Boeing as internal messages reveal employees concerns about the 737 MAX two years before a pair of deadly accidents grounded the planes.



WALKER: Some sharp criticism coming from Republicans Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over the situation in northern Syria. After speaking with Vice President Mike Pence, McConnell called the administration's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria "a grave strategic mistake."

So this is from The Washington Post op ed, McConnell wrote this "As neo-isolationism rears its head on both the left and the right, we can expect to hear more talk of endless wars. But rhetoric cannot change the fact that wars do not just end, wars are won or lost." He went on to say the decision will leave the American people less safe, emboldened its enemies and weaken important alliances.

Internal messages between two Boeing employees suggests they knew of fundamental issues with the 737 MAX two years before hundreds were killed that a pair of crashes involving the aircraft.

WALKER: Now federal regulators are demanding Boeing explain why those messages were withheld. Rene Marsh CNN's Rene Marsh with more.

RENE MARSH, CNN AVIATION AND GOVERNMENT REGULATION CORRESPONDENT (voice over): CNN got a hold of internal instant messages between two Boeing employees in 2016 when the Boeing 737 Max was in development.

Now there are two alarming things here. The first, a Boeing test pilot is raising concerns about the very software that is at the center of two fatal 737 MAX crashes. Now he says that the plane's automated flight controls were making it extremely hard for him to control the plane in the flight simulator.

In one message he tells a colleague and I'm quoting "Granted I suck at flying, but even this was egregious."

Now here's the second alarming point. This system was meant to operate in the background. Boeing told the FAA that pilots didn't even need to know about it to safely fly the plane. But engineers, over time at Boeing, ended up making this system way more powerful. And Boeing's pilots only learned about it during flight simulator testing.

So here's what that pilot said - that test pilot. He said I'm quoting, "It's running rampant in the sim on me." Sim is short for simulator. "So I basically lied to the regulators unknowingly." His colleague then says "It wasn't a lie. No one told us that was the case."

Now the FAA has fired off what sounds like a really angry letter to Boeing, demanding an explanation for why it withheld this documentation. In a statement the FAA said that it finds the substance of the document concerning. It says that the FAA is also disappointed that Boeing did not bring this document to their attention immediately upon its discovery. Boeing for its part has said that it is cooperating with the investigations. Rene Marsh, CNN Washington.

BLACKWELL: Here's President Trump using his office to help his own property make a profit. Coming up we're going to speak with one of the ethics experts who is furious about President Trump's decision to host next year's G7 Summit at his Florida resort.



WALKER: A family feud is putting a pause on the funeral service and burial of the Fort Worth Texas woman shot and killed by a police officer while she was in her home. The father of Atatiana Jefferson was granted a temporary restraining order, delaying the funeral and burial.

It was originally scheduled for today. The order gives Marquis Jefferson full authority to make arrangements for the services. A private wake was held last night, but without Jefferson's body, due to the order. There will be a hearing on Monday to decide whether that restraining order should continue.

BLACKWELL: President Trump is getting some fierce criticism for picking his Florida resort to host next year's G7 summit. Critics say the choice is a brazen conflict of interest that violates the Constitution as the President essentially directed a major contract to himself and stands to profit from the taxpayer and foreign spending that will go into this gathering.

Let's talk about this with Richard Painter. He's a former White House ethics lawyer and a law professor at the University of Minnesota. Richard welcome back.


So you know you know Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 - the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution says that a U.S. office holder cannot accept gifts or money from a foreign state. I want you to listen to why the acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney says that this is not a violation of the Emoluments Clause.



MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: How is this not an emoluments violation? Is the president going to profit from this?

Will not be profiting here. We had talked about the possibility of whether or not the President could actually do it at no cost. I understand there's difficulties with doing it that way, but we'll also have difficulties obviously if they charge market rates. So doing this at cost--


BLACKWELL: At cost. They say overall it will be cheaper for the U.S. taxpayer. You say what?

PAINTER: This isn't a monument - an unconstitutional a monument. It is prohibited. And this is why when I was vice chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington we sued Donald Trump on his first day in office. He's been violating the emoluments clause all along and yet Congress has let him get away with it. So it keeps on doing it. And now he's asking for profits and benefits from foreign governments at the G7 at his resort and he will profit from this. He will fill empty hotel rooms at a resort that isn't doing very well. He will advertise the resort. He is violating the United States Constitution. He's been doing that for almost three years with impunity and he is just going to do more and more of it until Congress impeaching him.

BLACKWELL: The Washington Post reported earlier this year that from 2015 to 2018 the revenue at the Doral property from room rates, banquets, golf and overall revenue were down and net operating income was down 69 percent. So this of course will fill up those rooms in June of next year.

When the President mentioned this back and Biarritz at the last G7 just a couple of months ago, you told a reporter that if the President wanted to do this for free and charge nothing to the other governments he could. Mulvaney says that there are difficulties with that. Is that accurate?

PAINTER: Well the president might very well not violate that emoluments clause of the Constitution if he did it for free, and didn't take a nickel from the foreign governments. It still would be unethical. He'd be using his for his position to advertise his properties. He should not be having this and any Trump property under any circumstances.

If he did it for free, yes he could avoid the constitutional problem probably. But Mulvaney says, of course, there are difficulties with it. The difficulty with that is that Donald Trump wouldn't make as much money. That's the difficulty with that.

He is trying to save a failing resort by using his position as President to invite G7 in there and that's all he wants to do. He wants to use his position to bolster his failing business.

BLACKWELL: Listen to this. I want you to hear what we heard soon after - actually this was just before the inauguration in 2017 from Sheri Dillon, one of the President's attorneys about what would be the separation between the then president elect and the Trump Organization. And what we heard from Mulvaney this week. Let's watch the back and forth.


SHERI DILLON, TRUMP ATTORNEY: President elect Trump went there to be no doubt in the minds of the American public that he is completely isolating himself from his business interests.

MULVANEY: and he goes, "What about Doral?" It was like, "That's not the craziest idea.

REPORTER: So he's the one that initially brought it up.

MULVANEY: It makes perfect sense.

DILLON: President elect Trump, as well as Don, Eric and Allen are committed to ensuring that the activities of the Trump Organization are beyond reproach and cannot be perceived to be exploitive at the office of the presidency.

MULVANEY: We absolutely believe this is the best place to have it. We're going to have it there. And there's going to be folks who will never get over the fact that it's a Trump property. We get that. But we're still going to go there.


BLACKWELL: So Richard we know that you do not want this to happen here. That you say it's unconstitutional. Do you expect that in the end it will be at the Doral property?

PAINTER: No I believe the United States House of Representatives is going to do the right thing and impeach this President. And then he's going to be tried at Senate, and I believe there's a good chance that quite a few Republican senators could decide they have had enough.

Enough of a president who takes on emoluments and violation of the Constitution who has betrayed our allies, the Kurdistan and it goes on and on. And it's all about his profits. It's not about America. And it's time to get rid of him.

BLACKWELL: All right Richard Painter thanks for being with us. The plan to host the G7 there in June in Miami during hurricane season. We'll be right back.



WALKER: In this week's mission, ahead Kroger grocery stores will soon start selling longer lasting avocados. It's an effort to cut down on waste and save money.


It's a fact of life, fresh produce eventually goes bad. All around the world about a third of all food spoils faster than we can consume it. That's an estimated one point 1.3 billion tons of wasted food every year. But at Apeel Sciences they've developed a special protective coating that slows down the rotting process, increasing the shelf life of fresh produce from lemons to avocados.

JAMES KROGER, FOUNDER AND CEO, APEEL SCIENCES: We build up this little optimized microclimate inside each individual piece of produce, which then stays with the produce throughout the entire supply chain. We can double the shelf life of avocados and citrus and dozens of other categories.

Apeel's formula is natural and recognized as safe by the FDA. Soon its products will be available in about 2,000 stores.

KROGER: And we don't use anything in our products that aren't found in every single bite of fruit and vegetable that you eat every single day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you can put your product on let's say an organic apple and it doesn't change.

KROGER: Right, it stays organic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beyond grocery stores, Apeel is trying to make an impact on food supply chains in developing countries where up to 80 percent of food can be lost, in part, due to lack of refrigeration.

KROGER: Infrastructure costs are one of the highest costs that a country can bear and so if you can deliver a pouch of our material which is lightweight and low cost to distribute to a remote region and you now have an extra week to transport that produce without refrigeration. That has the opportunity to be really transformative.



BLACKWELL: Look at the screen and stay with us for the next 45 seconds because there's this this new video of a high school football coach disarming a student who is carrying a loaded shotgun.


BLACKWELL: Watch this. Back in May a student brought the weapon on to the Parkrose High School campus in Portland. You see the coach there. It's loaded with a single round. Keanon Lowe, who is a security guard at the school, says his instincts kicked in as he lunged for the gun and grabbed it.

WALKER: You can see there Lowe continued to hug the boy as police arrived and other students ran. Officials say he never pointed the gun at anyone other than himself. Investigators say he made suicidal statements before bringing the gun on campus. He pleaded guilty to gun charges. Authorities say as part of the deal, he will get mental health and substance abuse treatment. Wow.


BLACKWELL: And we use the word hero a lot on television, but that man Keanon Lowe is certainly a hero. He saved some lives that day. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

WALKER: We're back at 10:00 a.m. Eastern for CNN NEWSROOM. "SMERCONISH" is up after a quick break.