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White House Considering Impeachment Messaging; Live Coverage as Hillary Clinton Speaks at Elijah Cummings' Funeral; Live Coverage as Nancy Pelosi Speaks at Elijah Cummings' Funeral. Aired 10:30-11a ET
Aired October 25, 2019 - 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: This morning, we're learning that the White House is eyeing a former Treasury Department spokesman to lead impeachment messaging efforts. Three sources say President Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is pushing for that hire.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Kushner and other White House officials have been frustrated by the impeachment messaging efforts coming out of the White House. The president has opposed a war room sort of effort, as we saw in the Clinton era. Some would like hiring, perhaps a person, Jim, to lead this effort with a defined strategy.
Let's talk about this. Our chief political correspondent Dana Bash is here. I don't know, hiring a new person does anything.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
HARLOW: The president is his own messenger.
BASH: Absolutely. And what's interesting is one of the reasons why, when this whole thing blew up and we'd reported that Corey Lewandowski was being considered as somebody who would come into the White House for a war room, I was told and we reported that one of the reasons that didn't happen is because the president saw the notion of bringing him in, the notion of even creating a war room as --
BASH: Well, no, as evidence that he's defeated, that he needs it, that he's at war. He doesn't even -- I mean, obviously, he is at war but it makes him look weak. That was the term that --
HARLOW: That's interesting.
BASH: -- that a source used with me, that that's how he sees even that idea.
But, look, you know, it is hard for these congressional Republicans who are trying to navigate their way around not just this substance and these daily depositions that seem to be kind of brutal for the president, but then also the president himself, who is -- they're trying to navigate, he's throwing, you know, hand grenades on their -- on their path, so they don't know which way to go.
Which is why, this week, you saw -- with some coordination, to be fair, from the White House and from the president himself -- that they decided to attack the process.
BASH: You saw that with the storming --
HARLOW: The walk-in, yes.
BASH: -- of the SCIF, you saw that with Lindsey Graham putting up this chart. This chart, but also this resolution in the Senate, saying that they have to have due process, which is like, you know, calling for due process is like saying democracy is good. Like, who's going to vote against that, right?
HARLOW: There you go.
BASH: So they're doing what's easy.
HARLOW: All right, Dana, thank you very much.
BASH: Thank you.
HARLOW: Jim and I, of course, we're all watching what is playing out this morning in Baltimore. Take a look at this, if we could pull up the images of Elijah Cummings' funeral. I think we're getting ready for Hillary Clinton, she's about to speak there. But you've got the crowd, Jim, on their feet.
SCIUTTO: That's right. We're going to hear from Hillary Clinton. Of course, the former secretary of state, presidential candidate, also Nancy Pelosi, current speaker of the House.
Crowd on its feet there, listening to a musical interlude. Let's listen in.
BISHOP WALTER THOMAS, PASTOR, NEW PSALMIST BAPTIST CHURCH: Oh, yes. Lord will see you through after you've done all you can. You just stand. There were persons who meant so much to the work that Elijah did and to his life. He asked that they might share some words at this moment. And I'm going to ask them to come in this order: The honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, former secretary of state.
The honorable Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
The honorable Kweisi Mfume, board member chairman of the Morgan State University.
The Reverend Dr. Alfred Vaughn from the clergy.
Mr. Larry Gibson, his mentor.
And then Deaconess Margaret Ann Howie from New Psalmist Baptist Church.
Secretary Clinton? Won't you give her a hand as she comes.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Because this is the day for the homegoing celebration of a great man, a moral leader and a friend.
To Bishop Walter Scott Thomas and first lady of the church Patricia Thomas, and the New Psalmist Baptist Church, thank you for welcoming us all here to reflect on the life and celebrate the service of Elijah Cummings.
And to the Cummings family, to his political family, the constituents from the Maryland Congressional 7th District, thank you for sharing him with our country and the world. And --
-- thank you, Maya. As you have said so beautifully, you walked by Elijah's side on this journey. Thank you for your steadfastness, your resilience and your leadership.
It is no coincidence, is it, that Elijah Cummings shared a name with an Old Testament prophet, whose name meant, in Hebrew, the Lord is my God. And who used the power and the wisdom that God gave him, to uphold the moral law that all people are subject to. And because of, all people are equal.
Like the prophet, our Elijah could call down fire from heaven.
But he also prayed and worked for healing. He weathered storms and earthquakes, but never lost his faith. Like that Old Testament prophet, he stood against corrupt leadership of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.
And he looked out for the vulnerable among us. He lifted up the next generation of leaders. He even worked a few miracles.
And he kept reminding us life is no dress rehearsal. The American people want to live their lives without fear of their leaders. And as leaders, we have a responsibility to keep the promises made when running for office. To make the lives of Americans better. As Elijah said, while we're all on this earth, that's my message.
Our Elijah was a fierce champion for truth, justice and kindness in every part of his life.
His integrity and character, his can-do spirit made him a guiding light in the Congress. He pushed back against the abuse of power, he was unwavering in his defense of our democracy. He had little tolerance for those who put party ahead of country or partisanship above truth.
But he could find common ground with anyone willing to seek it with him. And he liked to remind all of us that you can't get so caught up in who you are fighting, that you forget what you are fighting for.
Even his political adversaries recognized that it wasn't really about politics for our Elijah. He led from his soul. He often said that our children are a message to a future we will never see. I saw that firsthand, when I attended an event for the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel --
-- a leadership program for young people in his district. And Elijah didn't just put his name on the program and then forget about it. He interviewed every applicant. He was personally invested in their success. He wanted all of us to see our young people, as he memorably asked us to do when he gave the eulogy at the funeral for Freddie Gray. Did you see him?
By the time these young people came back from Israel to Baltimore, they had celebrated Shabbat, studied Hebrew, hiked up Masada. They had seen and been seen, and made lifelong friends. All because Elijah Cummings knew, from his own experiences, that it's one thing to learn abstractly about the world, but another to experience it with people different from yourself, learning from each other, lifting each other up.
You know, Elijah often said his philosophy was simple: do something. Go out and do something. No matter how daunting a problem seems, no matter how helpless you feel, surely there is something you can do. I think that remains his challenge to each of us.
As he said, even if it seems small, there's usually something you can do if you are looking for it. You can defend the truth. You can defend democracy. You can lift up others.
And toward the end of his life, he said, I am begging the American people to pay attention to what is going on. Because if you want to have a democracy intact for your children and your children's children and generations yet unborn, we have got to guard this moment. This is our watch.
Our Elijah knew because he was a man of faith and a man of the church, that life was fleeting and precious. And that's why he worked so hard to make every moment of his life count. When we're dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, he said: In 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?
I will end with the paraphrase of a poem that Elijah recited in his very first speech in the Congress. He said that he told himself this poem as many as 20 times a day. I only have a minute, 60 seconds in it, forced upon me, I did not choose it but I know that I must use it. Give account if I abuse it. Suffer if I lose it. Only a tiny little minute, but eternity is in it.
Thank you, Elijah Cummings, for your work, your service and the lessons you leave us. God bless you.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SECRETARY OF STATE: Good morning, Baltimore. Thank you, Bishop Thomas, for bringing us under this beautiful auspices, to pay tribute to our darling, precious Elijah.
Mr. President, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President.
Madam Secretary, Archbishop Lori, Bishop, members of the clergy, distinguished guests who are all here for our darling Elijah.
As speaker of the House, I have the sad honor and personal privilege to bring the condolences of the entire Congress of the United States to Maya, the Cummings family, the people, the constituents of Elijah's district, people of Baltimore, to our entire country.
I say that with great authority because yesterday, my friends and those of you who loved Elijah, yesterday, Maya gave us the privilege of having a celebration of Elijah's life in the Capitol of the United States.
The first African-American lawmaker ever to serve in repose -- lie in repose in the Capitol of the United States.
It was so beautiful and, as has been referenced, Elijah brought people together in life of different parties, and in his death, of different parties. And that's why I'm so pleased that yesterday's service was very bipartisan. In fact, it took bipartisan agreement for Elijah to lie in repose on the same catafalque that Abraham Lincoln lay in repose in the Capitol.
And so, today, we have a very strong bipartisan of Elijah's colleagues from the House of Representatives, led by our chair of the Black Caucus, Karen Bass, our leader, Steny Hoyer, John Lewis, Marsha (ph), who got the nod -- and I'm happy to get it as well -- and so many of our members of the House, in a bipartisan fashion. Please rise to be recognized.
And their families, and their staff, Elijah's staff. John Lewis. Where are you, John Lewis.
And we had a strong representation from the United States Senate, in a bipartisan way, yesterday. Today, also, led by Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, bring so many senators here today.
Bishop Thomas, how brilliant was it of Elijah's parents to name him Elijah?
As the secretary said, Lord, the God is my Lord. And as we know from the Old Testament, there is a tradition to leave a seat at the table for Elijah, who might show up. But our Elijah always made a seat at the table for others.
He made a seat at the table for children who needed an education. For even new members of Congress, so that he could mentor them. For all who wanted to be part of the American dream. Elijah himself personally lived the American dream, and he wanted everyone else to have that opportunity. Hence, many seats at the table.
How fortunate for our country, that his parents also taught him to live up to his name. How blessed are we all to know him and to benefit from his friendship and his leadership.
Elijah was a proud man. Proud of his heritage, proud of Baltimore --
-- and proud of America. He always appealed to our better angels and to the promise of America, calling us to live up to our principles and for a higher purpose.
As he said -- and this is so -- all the words that we will use that are the best words, are words that Elijah used -- was he was, when we were not meeting the needs of children in our country, he said, we are better than this.
He held himself to a high standard, and that is why I've called him the North Star of Congress, our guiding light.
Thank you, Maya, for giving me this opportunity to speak at the Baltimore celebration, as well as yesterday, of Elijah's life. Previously, I've seen some of you, over time, speaking as speaker of the House before, at St. James Episcopal Church to speak at the funeral service for Congressman Parren Mitchell, a sad and proud day for the Baltimore community and our country that day.
Paying tribute to Parren was both an official and a personal honor. My D'Alesandro family and the Mitchell family had been friends for generations.
Now, it is my great honor and personal sadness to join you at the New Psalmist Baptist Church, Elijah's church, to celebrate Elijah's life. As I said, yesterday, members of Congress said goodbye to Elijah. Maya gave us the honor, again, of holding that official service in the Statuary Hall of the House.
At that time, I said this was appropriate because Elijah was master of the House, master of the House. In his chairmanship of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, he lived up to his responsibilities to hold the federal government accountable to the laws of the land.
One word I would use to describe Elijah, over and over again, is the word, "future." He was there to make the future for our children, whom he called -- as has been said -- our living messengers to a future we will never see.
But he wanted for those children to have a future worthy of their aspirations. And he wanted them to have a future built on our values, continue to be built on our values. And as a master of the House, he was also the mentor of the House.
So anybody in here been mentored by Elijah Cummings? I think so.
He (ph) -- was no surprise that when we had this election and we won the Congress, that Elijah said, send me as many freshmen as you can because I want to help them be oriented to reach their fullest potential in the House of Representatives. So wonderful that he did that.
And all members, whether new or not, benefited from the generosity of his spirit, sometimes the candor of how we do our work, whether we asked or not, the candor was there. And again, it was an honor to share, again, this -- some of these thoughts about our dear Elijah.
Elijah loved Baltimore and his district. He was my Baltimore brother in Congress. We had our chats about Baltimore all the time. He loved and respected his constituents.
By example, he gave people hope. By his courage, he fought for what is right. By his brilliance, knowledge, and legal prowess, he made a difference in so many ways, fighting for gun violence prevention, expanding opportunity for everyone, recognizing -- now this was most recent -- recognizing the cost of prescription drugs hurt the health and economic wellbeing of America's working families.
He was willing to reach across the aisle, even across the Capitol, even down Pennsylvania Avenue. So it should be a source of pride to all of us who loved Elijah that the committee chairmen immediately named H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Cost Act Now, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Cost Drugs (ph) Now.
Our Baltimore connection gave me special entree into the thinking -- Elijah's thinking, which helped me as speaker. Our love of the Orioles and the Ravens made it fun.
Thank you, Baltimore, for your contribution to the greatness of the United States of America.
When I spoke on Wednesday at my brother Tommy D'Alesandro's service, I acknowledged that we would be honoring Elijah today. We lost two great leaders in one week, we did, in Baltimore.
One thing that Elijah -- one of the things that Elijah, my brother Tommy and I, being from Baltimore -- and I, representing San Francisco -- had in common, was the pride we took in Baltimore, our Baltimore. Another thing Tommy, Elijah and I had -- and I, in representing San
Francisco -- had in common, that our hearts are full of love for America. I used to tell them in San Francisco, for us, love means letting other versions exist. And that's exactly what Elijah did.
Respecting -- respecting the views of others, reaching across the aisle, building community and consensus.
Thank you, Maya. Thank you to the children and to your entire family for sharing Elijah with us, and for loving him so much. He -- you were the source of his strength and inspiration. I hope it is a comfort to you that so many people mourn your sad loss and are praying for you at this sad time.
As we always pray for God to bless America, let us acknowledge that God truly blessed America with the life and legacy of Elijah E. Cummings: mentor, master of the House, North Star, Mr. Chairman, master of the House, may he rest in peace, Elijah Cummings. Thank you all so much.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR, AT THIS HOUR WITH KATE BOLDUAN: You've been watching the funeral service for longtime Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings. I'm Erica Hill. Thanks for joining us this hour. I'm in for Kate Bolduan today.
Family, friends and colleagues, paying their final respects to Congressman Cummings, who died last week after longstanding health issues.
We just heard from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi just there as well. Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, among the scheduled speakers along with members, of course, of his family.
The service is taking place at New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore. Cummings worshiped there for nearly four decades.
Joining us now, CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson. And it's important to point out, Nia, I think, too, that this is truly a celebration and an honor of the life of Elijah Cummings, and that is certainly what we've heard so far this morning.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. Nancy Pelosi referred to him as our darling Elijah, and you heard from Secretary Hillary Clinton as well, talking about the fact that he is named after Elijah --