Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Judge Rules House Investigators Can See Mueller Grand Jury Docs; Rare Saturday Deposition As Diplomat Testifies In Impeachment Probe; Judge Hands Dems Victory By Ruling Impeachment Inquiry Is Legal; Columbia Mayor Stephen Benjamin (D) Discusses Trump Receiving Justice Award Amid Outcry Over "Lynching" Comment; 2020 Democratic Candidates Stump In SC As Biden Leads Field; Felicity Huffman Out Of Jail, Lori Loughlin Hit With New Charges; Family, Friends & Colleagues Bid Farewell To Rep. Elijah Cummings. Aired 1-2p EST

Aired October 26, 2019 - 13:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:00:25]

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredrick Whitfield. All right. Happening right now, a rare Saturday deposition as Democrats press forward with their impeachment inquiry. Philip Reeker, a career foreign service officer who currently oversees U.S. policy in Europe and Eurasia, is speaking with lawmakers on Capitol Hill right now.

We're learning that he was issued a subpoena to testify after the U.S. State Department asked him not to appear. This key testimony coming just hours after a federal judge handed Democrats a victory. ruling the U.S. Justice Department must release redacted documents from Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Congressman Jamie Raskin addressing the decision just a moment ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): What we have for the people is the House of Representatives and they've tried to make the argument that there's something illegitimate about the impeachment inquiry and the United States District Court emphatically rejected that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The judge also ruling that the impeachment inquiry is on solid legal footing, undercutting a key Republican talking point that the probe is invalid. CNN's Jeremy Herb is on Capitol Hill. So Jeremy, Reeker has been, you know, in this deposition for about two hours or so now. Are we learning anything about him? Did he release like a opening statement or a printout? A print out of his opening statement like other diplomats have?

JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: We have not seen whether Philip Reeker has an opening statement. We've we just heard from Mr. Raskin who came out of that day Deposition. And Philip Reeker, you know, he is important to this Impeachment Inquiry because he was working with other state department officials who have testified so far in this impeachment inquiry about the attempts to shield the Ukrainian Ambassador who was fired from the smear campaign being orchestrated by Rudy Giuliani.

Now, of course, this deposition is coming as a judge gave Democrats a big victory yesterday, when he -- the judge ruled that the impeachment inquiry is valid and undercut White House arguments that were trying to say that the impeachment inquiry was unconstitutional, that it wasn't valid and that witnesses in the administration did not have to participate. We heard -- we saw Republicans storm into the skiff, where the depositions are being held to protest.

What was going on and we, you know, we heard -- just heard from Jamie Raskin to say that, you know, what the judge ruled effectively is that the law is on the Democrat side and not the Republicans. Listen here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RASKIN: Essentially, Chief Judge Beryl Howell wiped out all of the arguments that the Republicans have been making this week. And we know that all of it has been a distraction from what America is learning. President Donald Trump has conducted an effort to shake down a besieged foreign ally resisting Russian aggression in order to get dirt on a political opponent. It's unprecedented in American history. It's an outrage. It's a scandal and our Republican colleagues want to talk about anything except for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HERB: Now, well, this was a legal victory for Democrats. They're facing another potential legal challenge in that. The one of the witnesses for next week Charles Kupperman filed suit asking judge to rule whether he needed to testify. I asked Jeremy Raskin if he was concerned, this would delay the proceedings. And while he said that the law is on the Democrat side, it's not yet clear if this is going to complicate efforts from Democrats to get this done quickly, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jeremy Herb on Capitol Hill. Thank you so much. We'll check back with you throughout the day. All right. Democrats are not slowing down as they push ahead with their inquiry as Jeremy said Charles Kupperman, he is expected to testify on Monday. Also on tap Next week, the director for European Affairs on the National Security Council, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander and Acting Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Catherine Wilberger.

And on Thursday a key witness in the inquiry, the National Security Council Senior Director for Europe and Russia, Tim Morrison will testify. He was also on the now infamous July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukrainian Presidents Zelensky and could offer perhaps critical details to investigators are with me right now. Samantha Vinograd. She is a former senior advisor to the National Security Advisor under President Obama and a CNN national security analyst. Also with me, Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor and a CNN legal analyst.

[13:05:02]

WHITFIELD: Good to see both of you. All right. Renato, you first. What is the significance of the judge's ruling ordering all redacted grand jury information from the Muller report to be released and how might that impact this inquiry?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Fred, it tells me that time is starting to run out a little bit for the Trump administration. You know, I -- these arguments that have been advanced by Trump, by the -- by the Trump Justice Department. I think they're best understood as a stall tactic. They're not arguments that we're going to ever hold up in court. And I thought the judge did a very fine job of walking through those arguments, very long opinion.

And essentially what she said was that the argument that the administration is making that this impeachment inquiry is illegitimate, is willful obstruction and actually supports the fact that the courts need to get involved to help get this information to Congress. That's -- that actually shows that the Trump administration strategy is under cutting them because usually courts like to stay out of these disputes.

But essentially what she said is that, you know, courts, you know, this gives a reason for courts to get involved.

WHITFIELD: Uh-hmm. Would that make it all the more complicated then for the White House to appeal that kind of decision when you talk about, you know, willful obstruction would be representative -- the White House were to stop the process?

(CROSSTALK)

MARIOTTI: I think, you know, I think an appeal. I think they are certainly going to lose an appeal. And really the question that is, how long will that appeal process take? And to me that depends on the panel that they drive. Really the only thing I could see through judges that are favorable to the administration doing is potentially taking a little more time with this. But I think there's a lot of judges who as you're suggesting, Fred, might get through this appeal very quickly.

WHITFIELD: All right. Samantha, Ambassador Philip Reeker testifying on Capitol Hill right now. He's just, you know, the latest State Department official to agree to give a deposition on the Ukraine scandal. You know him, you know, having served with him in Iraq, what do you think he will bring? What kind of level of information would he bring to this inquiry?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Fred, I think the key point here is that Ambassador Reeker has served his country for years, as you mentioned, I served with him in Iraq, he went to a war zone for his country and now has to go to Capitol Hill to testify as part of this impeachment inquiry. I think that the willingness of Ambassador Reeker and other career officials is really based upon the fact that they feel like they can no longer perform their actual responsibilities at the state department. His role at the state department should have included overseeing policy in Ukraine Ambassador Solomon and Volker should have reported through him, and he should have had a direct line to Secretary of State Pompeo with respect to our actual policy work in Ukraine. His testimony I think, will shed a lot of light on what happened within the state department. The Secretary of State Pompeo's role in either condoning or directing this irregular political channel that Solomon, Volker and Giuliani were involved in.

As well as what happened with the security assistance being put on hold from the White House as the acting assistant secretary, he would have had a direct line both to Secretary of State Pompeo and to the White House and would have been coordinating with them on what the holdup was with the security systems.

WHITFIELD: And then Sam, why do you think so many diplomats have gone to testify willingly, despite the White House or the state department's urging against it?

VINOGRAD: Well, as I -- as I just mentioned, I think it's because they -- in the first instance, respect the constitution and our system of checks and balances, even if the Secretary of State and the president don't. But second, I don't think that they feel like they can perform their core responsibilities. You look at Ambassador Taylor's testimony and he lays out the goal that he experienced when President Trump put the security systems on hold because it's so undermined our policy of countering Russia and deterring Russia.

Someone like Phil Reeker again is supposed to be overseeing or actual policy work in Ukraine, actual anticorruption work and the willingness of Ambassador Reeker and Ambassador Taylor testifying really tells me that they don't think that they can perform their actual taxpayer- funded policy work because of this regular channel.

WHITFIELD: Uh-hmm. Renato, that same judge, Judge Beryl Howell, who made the ruling on the Mueller grand jury information, also wrote the impeachment inquiry in Congress is legitimate. So, you know, if the White House does continue to take this route to try to, you know, dispute or hold things up, perhaps even Stonewall, what are the potential, you know, legal problems that the White House is producing for itself?

MARIOTTI: Well, I think first of all, Fred, just I think it -- that statement that finding by the judges important because we've had a disinformation campaign coming from the White House, saying that the House of Representatives can't be impeaching him. I mean, that is very dangerous when we have a constitutional check on our executive.

[13:10:02]

MARIOTTI: And the president saying, well, you can't remove me this is all a legitimate it. I think it's important for a judge to come out and say what she did but as for legal consequences, I think that what this does is it makes it nonstarter really, any sort of legal argument that the, you know, the inquiry shouldn't be obeyed because it's a legitimate. I mean, we have seen that in letters. You know, Sam was just talking, you were asking, Sam a moment ago about state department officials not complying.

Well, if you read those letters, they essentially incorporate and base those letters on the White House council's letter saying, oh, the whole inquiry is illegitimate, which the judge said -- she said it is clear that they've invoke their impeachment inquiry -- excuse me, their impeachment power.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. Renato Mariotti, Samantha Vinograd, thanks to both of you. Appreciate it.

VINOGRAD: Thanks.

MARIOTTI: Thank you both.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead. President Trump makes it clear that he is in control of the White House's messaging on impeachment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's the thing. I don't have teams, everyone's talking about teams. I'm the team.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, will that be enough to satisfy the President's GOP allies who are pressing the White House to come up with a coherent response and team?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. When it comes to the White House impeachment strategy, President Trump is making one thing clear. they may not be an I.N. team but for this president, the T represents Trump.

[13:15:04]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Here's the thing. I don't have teams, everyone's talking about them. I'm the team.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The President's remarks came just hours after it was revealed that the White House is eyeing former Treasury Department spokesperson, Tony Sayehg to lead the administration's messaging strategy amid reports of constant infighting between the president's chief of staff and legal counsel. Joining me right now to discuss is Toluse Olorunnipa, CNN political analyst and White House reporter for "The Washington Post." Hi Toluse.

OK. So the president says, you know, he doesn't need a team. He is the team if the White House seems to be assembling some sort of team anyway. So how is this administration, you know, handling this real threat of impeachment? TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they are trying to play catch up, the Democrats have been able to put together a narrative by getting so many different Trump administration officials to come and testify and really put a damning story together about what Trump and what his administration was doing this quid pro quo, tying aid for Ukraine to political benefit for the president.

So now the president is realizing at least those around them are realizing that they need to have some sort of team, some sort of messaging apparatus to push back against that. And they've hired lawyers, they're looking at hiring other officials, Tony Sayegh is someone who got high marks within the White House for his handling of tax reform during 2017. So they're trying to bring together people who can help with the messaging and try to put together some sort of counter narrative because right now, it's all being run by the president who says, I'm the team.

He's the one that's orchestrating everything, and a lot of that is based from his tweets and his tweets are becoming more erratic. Earlier this week, he talked about feeling like this was a lynching and Republicans had to spend an entire 24-hour news cycle respond to that instead of defending him. And he spent a lot of time putting Republicans in a tough spot where they have trouble defending his own language and not knowing what exactly the narrative or what exactly the messages.

So they're trying to get a little bit more organized, it'll be very interesting to see if the president come sort of supports that and complies with that or whether he continues to tweet and do his own thing.

WHITFIELD: Right. But why would they think that he's going to comply with when -- I mean, he is showing he's demonstrating that, you know, he's doing his own thing and having they've been down this road before where there would be an assemblage of a team or a strategy within the president would be defined and continue to do his own thing. So how are they preparing for that more likely scenario?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes. A lot of the people around the president have been around them for quite a while and they have gotten used to his behavior and his antics, and they're trying to contain the damage, at least try to have a counter narrative that can be presented to Capitol Hill, so that when lawmakers are being asked about what the President is saying they can pivot to something different, a different narrative, a different set of talking points that are being put together by the White House instead of just trying to defend the president on his language.

So they are trying to balance a very difficult situation, which is a president who tweets whatever comes to his mind doesn't go through vetting process, doesn't go through a messaging process. He believes he's the best communicator in the administration. And he leads the way on a lot of that stuff. And he gets his administration into a lot of trouble and puts Republicans into a lot of trouble as they try to spend time defending him. So some people around the White House, which is a very chaotic place these days, not a lot of structure, but at least some people are trying to put some of that structure in place so that Republicans can have a positive set of talking points to use as impeachment moves forward.

WHITFIELD: So Republicans, you know, have urged that, you know, this president needs to have like a war room similar to you know, that of President Bill Clinton during his impeachment experience. But, I mean, you need a cooperative subject, as in, you know, the president, is there a likelihood that that kind of pressure from the GOP might, you know, be able to kind of win that battle and there will be a war room and staffing of such to help combat or help him survive, you know, this impeachment process?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes. I wouldn't be surprised if they put together what would is -- in essence be a war room instead of people within the White House who spend their time trying to figure out the messaging and figure out how to fight back against impeachment. The problem here are --the problems are twofold. First, you have a president that's not likely to follow that messaging or not even participate in the war room.

So he's going to be doing his own thing while the war room is trying to push back in a -- in a constructive way. The second problem is, the White House has not been able to answer very clear direct questions about the narrative and about the substance of these allegations against the president. We saw the acting chief of staff last week tried to bring together some kind of answers, but he ended up sort of putting his foot in his mouth and saying, yes, there was a quid pro quo and everything is fine and having to walk that back.

And since then, we've seen more information come out that is damaging for the president's narrative and his denial is that there was no quid pro quo or that is called with Ukraine was perfect.

[13:20:04]

OLORUNNIPA: Instead, we're seeing mounting evidence that not only did the president condition a meeting with the Ukrainian government on investigations into 2016, and investigations into the Bidens but also he conditioned military aid that had been approved by Democrats and Republicans in Congress on that political investigation and that's something that is rubbing not only Democrats the wrong way, but it's also been something that has been a little bit of a red line for several Republicans who are starting to shift on that.

But when the story first broke, they said that if there was a quid pro quo, then that would be a problem. And now it looks like that is the case.

WHITFIELD: Hmm. So, Tolu, real quick, any rumblings? You know, among your sources there in the White House about the whole personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, you know, butt dial, you know, the conversation he apparently was having with somebody where, you know, the name Biden came up where, you know, a lot of money came up, Turkey came up all those things. Is anyone in the White House of among your sources kind of nervous about what that, you know, might be signaling?

OLORUNNIPA: Well, there's a lot of concern about Rudy Giuliani within the White House even before this call was released, he has been advised to do less television to spend less time in the public because in the last couple of weeks as he spent time before --

WHITFIELD: But that butt dial made televisions.

OLORUNNIPA: It did, yes. And that's the -- that's the concern. That's part of the reason he's being advised to kind of dial back his appearances for lack of a better term. And we'll see -- we'll see what happens. He's still in contact with a lot of reporters. But there is concerned within the White House that his erratic approach and the fact that he's now going through some legal issues may make it even harder for the president and for the administration to deny some of the charges that they're up against.

WHITFIELD: I bet he has since found the off button on that phone. Tolu Olorunnipa, good to see you. Thank you.

OLORUNNIPA: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, President Trump doubles down on his tweet that the witch-hunt is a "lynching" even as he heads to an event at a historically black university, that's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:26:02]

WHITFIELD: President Trump is refusing to apologize for using the word lynching to describe the impeachment inquiry against him. In fact, he's doubling down the president first use the words to tweet that said all Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here a lynching. Now to be clear, that's the word associated with a period of horrific racial violence in the United States.

However, President Trump went on to defend his rhetoric, even amid backlash from civil rights leaders. And he did it in front of the White House while on his way to a historically black college.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, it's a word that many Democrats have used. It's a word that many people have used over the years but that's a word that has been used many times.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And it didn't stop there. Once at Benedict's College in South Carolina, Trump likened the impeachment inquiry to the unfair treatment African-Americans face in the criminal justice system.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Blue, never let up on our efforts to ensure that our justice system is fair for every single American. And I have my own experience, you know that you see what's going on with the witch-hunt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So Joining me now to discuss is the Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina, Stephen Benjamin. Mayor, thanks so much for being with us.

STEPHEN BENJAMIN, MAYOR OF COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA: Yes, ma'am.

WHITFIELD: So first of all, you know, does it rub you the wrong way that the president earlier in the week would use the word lynching and a tweet to describe what he's feeling in this impeachment process and then at an HBCU infer that he can relate to the kind of inequities in the criminal justice system experienced by, you know, too many, mostly people of color and disproportionately, black men?

BENJAMIN: Sure. It's, you know, it's never appropriate for anyone to reference lynching and do it in a casual way. I encourage everyone who has the ability to travel to Montgomery, Alabama, to visit the National Memorial for peace and justice and understand the history of the story of not just African-American experience, but all Americans and the --and the legacy of lynching. More importantly, you know, we're here in Columbia this weekend celebrating a fantastic historically black college university, Benedict College.

150 years in its existence. This year, HBCU of the year and this is probably the only college --certainly only HBCU that's hosted not only President Obama but also President Trump in the last three years. We have had to -- I'm sorry, we've had today several Democratic candidates and more coming. So we're going to keep focused on what's happening here and our great university and make things happen.

WHITFIELD: So why was it meaningful, important that the president of United States, President Trump, be there, Benedict College, where -- what? About 200 people were in attendance but then only about 10 students of the HBCU of Benedict College were actually invited but apparently an even smaller number were actually there. Described for me what the goal was here.

BENJAMIN: Yes. Sure. That's actually -- that's actually not accurate.

WHITFIELD: Which portion?

BENJAMIN: The White House had command and control of event. The venue hosts about 275 people. At the end of the event there are about 33 students there. Still I think, a far craft and we want to see this ought to be about the students and their ability to shape democracy in which they live, in which they will certainly lead in the not too distant future. We should have had more student in the room and certainly I know that today --

(CROSSTALK)

BENJAMIN: -- is trying to make sure

WHITFIELD: It is troubling to you that there were not more students there?

BENJAMIN: The, you know, Frederick, the rail is that in American government right now and on policy, the best leadership right now is coming from our young people, young people trying to work hard to take 400 million guns off the street. Young people in the vanguard of climate change. Honestly, I think children like my daughters 14 and 12 years old are going to save us from ourselves.

[13:30:00]

BENJAMIN: So every opportunity that we have, thinking young people actively involved in the process, exposed to the men and women who want to leave their country and be leaders of the free world, it's important that we do it.

And I know that today Benedict College has been working hard to make sure that in those rooms with these men and women are the best and brightest young people that America has to offer.

WHITFIELD: Is it your concern that the president would use this backdrop, this place, Benedict College, this historically black college, for a particular benefit, but that it would not be sending an inclusive message just looking at the make-up of the crowd?

You're quoted as saying the president brought in people from elsewhere as opposed to inviting beneficiary students, staff, people who love, adore and are enriched by the Benedict College experience.

BENJAMIN: Certainly, I wish that more young people -- I also, I'm not just mayor of Columbia. I also serve as a trustee with a fiduciary obligation to Benedict College. I wish more students were involved there.

We live in an imperfect world right now where I was more concerned with making sure that the words and rhetoric used from the stage were healing words.

I will say, even the president aside, the three formerly incarcerated individuals, citizens who came to the stage and talked about their journey, the journey of grace and mercy, and ways in which criminal justice reform is helping them and they help others, was really what my focus was there.

I was there. I was in the room. I wanted to make sure that I had an opportunity to share my opinion and hopefully direct the conversation. I hope it did some benefit.

WHITFIELD: You're feeling that was why the president was a recipient of that award. You're a co-host of the event.

BENJAMIN: I had no role in determining who was awarded this award. I'll leave that to the organizers of yesterday's event.

Today's event and tomorrow has been organized and managed and directed under the offices of Benedict College and the president, Dr. Roslyn Artis. WHITFIELD: All right. Mayor Stephen Benjamin, thank you.

I know you said the event is ongoing throughout the weekend. You have about 10 Democratic candidates dropping in.

Kamala Harris, first, said she wasn't going to because she was disturbed by this award being awarded to the president because she said he doesn't represent any kind of commitment to civil justice and inequity. Is she now going to be in attendance? Is that your understanding?

BENJAMIN: It's my understanding, as of five minutes ago, her advance team is on site and she's set to take the stage around 2:00 p.m.

WHITFIELD: OK. OK.

All right --

BENJAMIN: I will say this. In fairness to her campaign, it had been crystal clear to them this is a Benedict College run event. They're there to support Benedict College and Dr. Artis.

WHITFIELD: OK. It was civil and justice reform, that was the rub that some were feeling.

BENJAMIN: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much, Mayor. I really appreciate your time and effort.

BENJAMIN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thanks --

BENJAMIN: Thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: -- for being with us.

BENJAMIN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: The 2020 candidates are hitting the campaign trail hard this weekend. They are talking criminal justice reform in South Carolina. This, as new polling shows Biden widening his lead over the rest of the field. We'll take you there live next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:37:39]

WHITFIELD: In the race for the 2020 Democratic nomination, all eyes are on South Carolina today. There are still 126 days until the South Carolina primary. Ten candidates are campaigning across that pivotal early voting state this weekend, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who has a commanding lead there.

According to a new Monmouth University poll, he leads the field in South Carolina with 33 percent support, 17 points over in next highest candidate, Elizabeth Warren. His lead bolstered by his support among African-American voters.

I want to bring in Arlette Saenz, who is in Florence where Biden is holding a town hall.

Arlette, how key will South Carolina be to bolstering Biden's chances of winning the nomination?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Fred, South Carolina is a key critical component of Joe Biden's presidential campaign. As you see behind me, he just started his town hall here a short while ago where he's already focusing on issues relating to the middle class.

That's a theme he's been pressing this entire week. A short time ago, he described President Trump as not having empathy with working-class and middle-class voters.

Biden is not the only 2020 candidate in the state. In Columbia, several Democratic contenders will be appearing at that forum that President Trump appeared at yesterday, focusing on criminal justice.

And as we heard earlier in the hour, the group that had been originated hosting that event has pulled out of that event and it's going to be hosted by Benedict College.

Kamala Harris had said she was going to skip that event after the president was awarded a bipartisan justice award.

Joe Biden will be heading there in a few hours. He's leading right now here in South Carolina. That is particularly helped by his support among black voters. And 39 percent of black voters in the state currently support the former vice president. He's followed by Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders at 11 percent.

That is a key constituent that you've seen him courting here in South Carolina -- Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: Arlette Saenz, thank you so much, in Florence, South Carolina. We'll keep checking with you.

[13:39:52]

Felicity Huffman trying to put the college admission scam behind her while another high-profile defendant gets hit with a brand-new charge. Lori Loughlin's mounting legal threats, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: Federal inmate number 77906-112, better known as Felicity Huffman, now a free woman. The actress was released from a Dublin, California, prison yesterday after serving just 11 days of a 14-day sentence for her role in the college admission scam. The Bureau of Prisons say, if a release date falls on a weekend, which Huffman's did, the prisoner can be let go the preceding Friday. A break for Huffman there. The other defendants in this massive scam case, including Actress Lori

Loughlin, may be facing a different fate. Prosecutors have filed a new charge against Loughlin, her husband, and several other parents who are accused of lying, cheating and bribing to get their kids into elite universities.

Joining me now, Avery Friedman, a civil rights attorney and law professor, and criminal defense attorney, Richard Herman.

Good to see you both.

AVERY FRIEDMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good to see you, Frederica.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Prosecutors announced they were charging 11 parents, including Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer, Mossimo Giannulli, with an additional charge of bribery. But they're not alleging new criminal behavior. It's all part of the initial accusations.

[13:45:14]

Richard, why this new charge? Why now?

RICHARD HERMAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, it's just tacking on, Fred. It's there to put pressure on these defendants to cut a deal.

Really, with respect to Lori Loughlin, I don't know if she's getting good legal advice. I got to believe she is. I think she's ignoring it. She should have run in day one and took a deal.

There's no viable defense when your children are posing as members of a crew team. There's no viable defense. She gets convicted. There's no good faith defense of we were caught up in a scam. No. None of that is going to fly. She must cut a deal.

When you don't cut a deal with the government, they get frustrated and they get the ability to tack on. This is the third superseding indictment. If she keeps playing around, she'll look at astronomical potential, and worst of all, she could put her own children at risk, Fred, for being criminally prosecuted.

She's got to get together. She's got to go in and cut a deal as soon as possible and end this madness.

WHITFIELD: Avery, looking ever so dashing there in your tux and tie. So Loughlin and Giannulli are accused of paying more. They're accused of paying $500,000 to the master mind, Rick Singer, to get their two daughters into the University of southern California as crew recruits, and they didn't really --

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: Yes, $25,000 per kid. WHITFIELD: Right. So this updated indictment unveiled Tuesday

includes this new alleged quote from Mossimo to his accountant saying, "Good news, my daughter is in USC. Bad is I had to work the system." Oh, boy.

Then you're not making a plea deal?

FRIEDMAN: The interesting thing is this should have been apparent a long time ago. The feds got their hand on Mossimo's accountant. These are the remarks that are reported in that superseding indictment.

The bottom line is, you really wonder, at this juncture, did Lori Loughlin know as much as her husband did. Should they have separate counsel?

One of the questions, I think, the case now presents --

HERMAN: They do.

FRIEDMAN: -- is, to what extent is most of this wrongdoing assigned to? Should it be to Mossimo, who actually hatched the plan of the phony crew deal putting the pictures together? All Lori Loughlin did was she was send high-five emojis to Singer when it was going on.

I think there are different levels of culpability. I think each of these parties should have different counsel. That may very well emerge coming up.

WHITFIELD: But then they would be working against each other. Ew.

Richard?

HERMAN: These are federal crimes they're being charged with. And you really have to step back --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Yes. This is serious.

HERMAN: -- because everyone's in an uproar. How can you do this? People have been paying universities for hundreds of years.

FRIEDMAN: Not like this.

HERMAN: There are endowments to colleges --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: -- and people are getting admitted whether they're qualified or not. Schools have been taking donations and students have been getting in. That's the reality.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: This isn't a donation. This is a bribe. (CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: But it's payments to the university and to the school.

Lori Loughlin has no defense here, Fred. Doesn't matter who is more culpable, her or her husband. They had the intent to commit the fraud. It's over.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: She must cut a deal or she's -- and she should. Fred, for these types of --

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: She should have a long time ago.

HERMAN: There are so many violent federal crimes on the books. Why aren't we talking about those? Why are we focused on actors and actresses?

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: -- violent federal crimes --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: What it would be --

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: These people, Fred, they don't need incarceration --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Then, Richard, how is this -- how is this different? How is this alleged scam different than, say, someone who is able to get their children admitted because of large endowments or they got leverage because donations were made --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: -- et cetera, buildings named after them.

(CROSSTALK)

HERMAN: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Are you implying there really is not much of a difference?

FRIEDMAN: There is. Frederica, there's a big difference.

HERMAN: No. FRIEDMAN: I mean, If Mr. Smith is donating $5 million to a particular institution, his name is there. Nobody is being bribed. In this case there was --

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: It's a high-level athletic director.

(CROSSTALK)

FRIEDMAN: The difference is that high-level official took $50,000 off the books.

I understand conceptually it's the same thing. One thing is a donation. One is a bribe. There's a big difference here. This was under cover. It was intended to deceive the university admissions people. And that's exactly what happened. Coaches were bribed in this and other cases.

[13:50:17]

WHITFIELD: OK.

FRIEDMAN: Big, big difference.

WHITFIELD: We're going to leave it there.

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Avery, are you in Washington for that Supreme Court occasion?

FRIEDMAN: No, no. I -- I --

WHITFIELD: The black-tie event?

FRIEDMAN: They're continuing to lower the standards and hire -- bringing the wrong people. But I'm here to do what legal societies do. Yes, I'm here.

WHITFIELD: Well, you've looking good doing it.

HERMAN: Go get 'em, Avery.

WHITFIELD: Go get 'em, indeed.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: All right, Avery, Richard, always great to have you.

HERMAN: Thank you.

FRIEDMAN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Thank you so much.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: This week, we say goodbye to a giant in the House of Representatives. Congressman Elijah Cummings, of Maryland, died last week at the age of 68. At his funeral yesterday in Baltimore, family, friends and colleagues, including former presidents, bid him a tearful farewell and honored the legacy that he leaves.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Elijah Cummings came from good sort.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: And in this sturdy frame, goodness took root.

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We should hear him now in the quiet times at night and in the morning and when we need courage. When we get discouraged and we don't know if we can believe anymore. We should hear him.

(APPLAUSE)

[13:55:12]

OBAMA: Being a strong man includes being kind.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: That there's nothing weak about kindness and compassion. There's nothing weak about looking out for others.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: There's nothing weak about being honorable. You're not a sucker to have integrity --

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: -- and to treat others with respect.

CLINTON: No matter how hard he fought and how passionately he argued, he tried to treat everybody the way he wanted to be treated.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: The way he thought America should be treated.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: You know, you can't run a free society if you have to hate everybody you disagree with.

(APPLAUSE) OBAMA: May God bless the memory of the very honorable, Elijah Cummings. And may God bless this city and this state and this nation that he loved.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:02]

WHITFIELD: Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

Happening right now, a rare Saturday deposition as Democrats push ahead in the impeachment inquiry.