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Pentagon: U.S. Has People In Custody From ISIS Leader Operation; Key Witness Who Defied Subpoena Releases A Statement; Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA) Discusses Kupperman No-Show, Impeachment Inquiry, Sondland Testimony Of Quid Pro Quo; Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) Resigns After Allegations Of Improper Relationships Amid Ethics Probe; Trump Booed At World Series; Children Of Fallen Servicemember Hit With New Taxes. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired October 28, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: If they were confidants, advisers, associates with Baghdadi, well, they would have useful information assuming they would share it. But assuming they were foot soldiers just kind of hanging out in the area, maybe not so much value.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: We learned the Special Forces teams were on the ground for quite a while. We're talking about two hours. They were - one, the tunnel collapsed on Baghdadi, so they were doing things obviously to confirm his identity and recover his remains.
But there's also, as we learned, information that was we're familiar with -- this from the Osama bin Laden raid. There were a lot of -- there we even hard drives. A lot of information was taken. How key can that be here?
CLAPPER: In the case of the OBL raid -- and I always marvel to this day at the presence of mind of the SEAL team that went into Abbottabad and had the presence of mind to gather up a catalog of the material that they seized.
We established an interagency task force to support the data, most of which was historical. Not an immediate tactical role. It may be a different situation here with material associated with Baghdadi. I just don't know.
The other thing I note is the rapid identification of Baghdadi through DNA. And there has been, I guess, improvement there because there was some delay while we waited for the forensic examination of the DNA of OBL. I think they're able to do that on a quicker basis and at the tactical level.
KEILAR: General, thank you so much. We appreciate your expertise.
And a member of the Judiciary Committee reacts to a former Trump official refusing to show up before Congress today as the impeachment defiance escalates. Plus, Congresswoman Katie Hill resigns after allegations of improper
relationships with staffers. But she's not going quietly. Why she vows to take on "revenge porn."
And the president booed in his own backyard as the World Series crowd chants "lock him up" in Washington.
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KEILAR: We're now more than a month into the impeachment of President Trump. Here are the latest developments.
First, former deputy national security adviser, Charles Kupperman, a right-hand man to former national security adviser, John Bolton, said he will not testify before Congress today until he hears from a judge. Now House Democrats say Kupperman may be held in contempt for ignoring a congressional subpoena.
Moments ago, Kupperman said in a statement, quote, "Given the issue of separation of powers in this matter, it would be reasonable and appropriate to suspect that all parties would want official clarity."
Congresswoman Madeleine Dean joins me now. She serves on the House Judiciary Committee.
Congresswoman, first, I want to talk about Charles Kupperman. He's not showing up to testify today. What were you hoping to learn from Kupperman and how essential is this testimony?
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): It is essential. We're not entirely surprised he didn't show up. The administration has tried to block our investigation, our legitimate investigation in our impeachment inquiry.
We wanted more information about the Ukraine call. Obviously, the relationship of Mr. Giuliani and the State Department in Ukraine doing a parallel, maybe shadow diplomacy and State Department work by a private person lawyer of the president.
I believe he was on the call. But we're not surprised. The president has claimed this blanket absolute immunity, which is not a thing. So we'll have to continue to fight to get him and others before the Intel Committee. But the Intel Committee is doing phenomenally good work.
KEILAR: Did you think he could lend more of an insider look than even the diplomats we've seen go to the Hill to testify?
DEAN: Yes, absolutely. Anyone who was close up on the call or a part of the negotiating process where the president actually tried to shake down a foreign leader, a democracy that is our friend and our ally, for his own personal political gain, to try to dig up dirt on Biden, we will want to see -- and Adam Schiff and the committee will want to see what Mr. Kupperman can confirm there.
KEILAR: Now that Kupperman is not, does it tell you anything about whether John Bolton may testify? Are you expecting he will?
DEAN: I'm not sure of the negotiations with Mr. Bolton. I hope he will. He would be valuable to us.
KEILAR: What would you like to learn from him?
DEAN: Sadly, it's a confirmation of what we already know. But it would be helpful to know it on the ground, from people in the room, people that were part of the negotiations. What we want to know is -- to get to the bottom of the abuse of power by this president.
Helping to undermine our election, helping to shake down a foreign president for his own political personal gain. These are actions unworthy of any elected office but certainly unworthy of the president of the United States.
KEILAR: According to another witness that you have heard from, they reported that John Bolton said Rudy Giuliani was basically a grenade that was going to blow everyone up.
KEILAR: Would you like to hear him expand on that?
DEAN: Yes, certainly. That expression shows the danger, the absolute horrific danger that Mr. Bolton saw in Giuliani.
I think from the testimony of Mr. Taylor, Bill Taylor, that was very valuable testimony to say that he, too, was worried about this parallel line of diplomacy involving Mr. Giuliani. So all of these persons are really important.
I think you heard Adam Schiff say that he's collecting as much testimony as he possibly can from the closest sources that he can to get at the facts so that we can prosecute this case to the American people.
KEILAR: The "Wall Street Journal" is reporting that Gordon Sondland, who is the current ambassador to the E.U., and was involved in this sort of unofficial diplomatic track on Ukraine, told lawmakers that Trump's action of holding up military aid to Ukraine as he asked the country to investigate the Bidens did amount to quid pro quo. Can you confirm that?
DEAN: I'm confirming that reporting, to be very honest. But also, two things. You don't need a quid pro quo to recognize the wrongdoing of a president seeking to shake down a foreign leader for personal gain. There did not have to be a quid pro quo.
KEILAR: Hasn't the White House effectively set a bar at quid pro quo, even if, as you argue, and we've even heard legal experts say there doesn't need to be one, is it important to meet that bar because the White House has said that?
DEAN: No, the president and the White House have disqualified themselves from setting any kind of precedent or oath of office precedent.
The quid pro quo was actually there. It was right within the president's own words. Take a look within the lines where Zelensky is asking for Javelins, asking for military support. Right after that, the record of the call reveals, he said, but I'll need a favor from you, though.
That's an important phrase, an important hinge to, you want this, I need that.
KEILAR: When will we start to see public hearings?
DEAN: I hope soon. You heard Mr. Schiff say they are collecting as much testimony as they possibly can from the closest experts and authorities as they can in order to get public hearings.
It's important to do private hearings because it actually protects witness testimony, protects the innocent, and enables us to gather the information.
But now that we're back in session. And as they prepare for public testimony, the rest of us are legislating.
Do you know that we have -- I'm thinking of this, as you see Halloween approaching, we have more than 250 bills that are dead in a graveyard at the Senate, as Mitch McConnell likes to brag?
We are doing both. We are walking and chewing gum. We're passing important legislation, whether it's on equality or ethics or the environment. Clean water is important in my area. A continuation of the budget is important. Opioids and drugs and gun violence. We're going to continue to legislate.
The Intelligence Committee is doing its important work, and Judiciary and other committees of oversight will move forward.
KEILAR: Congresswoman Dean, thank you very much.
DEAN: Thank you so much. Good to be with you.
KEILAR: Democratic Congresswoman Katie Hill is resigning amid allegations of inappropriate relationships with staffers. She just spoke out about the accusations in a video on what she calls the smear campaign against her.
Plus, the president booed in his own backyard at the World Series in Washington. Why some Democrats are speaking out in his defense.
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KEILAR: California Congresswoman Katie Hill is resigning after admitting having an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer, and she's also facing a House ethics investigation over allegations that she had a relationship with a congressional staffer, which would be a violation of House rules. Hill is vehemently denying the relationship with the staffer in the House.
And this all began when nude photos of Hill with another woman were publicly distributed, some by a conservative blogger.
Hill is in the middle of a divorce from her husband and accused him of trying to humiliate her by sharing these photographs. This is what she said in a video released just moments ago.
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REP. KATIE HILL (D-CA): Last night, I announced the most difficult announcement of my life, that I would be resigning from Congress. I made this decision so my supporters, my family, my staff, and our community will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives.
This coordinated campaign carried out by the right-wing media and Republicans opponents, enabling and perpetuating my husband's abuse by providing him a platform, is disgusting and unforgivable, and they will be held accountable.
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KEILAR: Jackie Kucinich is here to discuss. She's the Washington bureau chief for the "Daily Beast," and a CNN political analyst. And we have CNN White House reporter, Kate Bennett, joining us as well.
Jackie, there are a lot of factors at place in this situation involving Katie Hill. There's the issues of nude photographs of her being published. Some disseminated of her, not published, we should mention. And then there's the revelation of this being a campaign staffer she was involved in a relationship with, and allegations she was involved with a congressional staffer.
What factors played here for her deciding I have to go.
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Katie, at the onset of this, said herself that her relationship with a campaign staffer or any subordinate is not appropriate. She has denied, of course, the relationship with her actual congressional staffer, which is what the Ethics Committee was looking into, because that would have triggered it, not the campaign staffer.
But also Speaker Pelosi, who has taken a very hard line on this issue. You could see it in the statement that she issued, yesterday as well, that she thought that Katie Hill made the right decision.
KEILAR: Some people who are in Katie Hill's corner are saying, Kate, that there's a double standard here.
KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: I mean, there might be. I think it is sort of a case-by-case basis. If this were a man, would we be as outraged, would people be more outraged about it?
Something that also didn't happen this time, there weren't a lot of defenders of Katie Hill. There were no female -- her colleagues on the Hill rushing to her defense or people who are anti-revenge porn, as sort of a building momentum against women. We didn't really hear those voices.
I will say, though, one of the constituents I happen to know has said trying to explain to his 11-year-old who spent the day at the phone banks and Election Day knocking on doors in the heat trying to get her elected had to explain to a kid that in 2019 this is what somethings are happening out there.
Also this. It's interesting this ethics violation, which she denies the affair with the staffer, I don't think it was established during the #metoo movement, the first person caught up in it is a woman, a Democrat, a bisexual.
I think these are maybe not the criteria that people were expecting to be upheld to this new ethics rule. And that makes it more interesting, too.
So a double standard, it's definitely attracting lots of voices.
KEILAR: They are applying this to the letter for sure.
In the meantime, President Trump got a rough reception at last night's World Series game in Washington.
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KEILAR: The loud chorus of boos was then followed by this.
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KEILAR: Yes, those were chants of "lock him up."
The president has initially been invited -- we should say -- yes, those were chants of "lock him up." The president did not throw out the first pitch. The honor went to a frequent Trump critic, humanitarian and chef, Jose Andres. The Trump administration was told they knew the president was coming, there was already someone who was going to be throwing out the pitch.
What did you think of this, Jackie? There's at least one Democrat, Senator Chris Coons, who said that the office of the presidency deserves more respect than this.
KUCINICH: It was a little predictable, though. I'm not passing judgment on whether it's OK or it's not OK, but we're in a city that voted for the president in very low digits and a city that the president hasn't really said nice things about.
So the fact that I don't think any of us would have thought that that would not have happened. Sports fans aren't really known for their comity.
KEILAR: That's right.
The president and Melania Trump -- we see her face. She's just sort of grinning, even as she hears this. They're not used to being in this situation where they're before a crowd that feels this unfavorably about them.
BENNETT: I only got confirmation that Melania Trump was going just before the actual game. So that could have been a game-time decision.
But also I think it's a lesson of do unto others as you'd have done to you. This was Donald Trump who created the "lock her up" chants with his rallies about Hillary Clinton. Here it is turned back around.
Maybe there's lessons that, if he's going to incite him in one way, it going to come back and bite him in another. I'm sure that was a very humiliating and awkward moment for the first lady and for the president.
KUCINICH: It seemed that the Nats, whoever put together the montages, tried to soften it by showing members of the military during that piece of it --
KEILAR: Instead, it just drew a contrast of how much the fans liked the servicemembers and did not like the president.
KEILAR: Jackie, thank you so.
Kate, thank you. The Former Chief of Staff, John Kelly, with some very damning remarks
about the president and how he warned him of impeachment.
We're back in a minute.
KEILAR: Today, in my column, "Home Front," where we try to bring the civilian/military divide and bring you stories of military families, we're looking at an unintended consequence of the tax reform bill that was passed by Congress in 2017 and signed into law by President Trump.
Children who have lost a parent in war or to other service-related injuries or illness were hit this year with a huge new tax was implemented to collect revenue on trust funds and inheritances.
We spoke with one Gold Star widow, Malia Fry, who's struggling to pay this new expense for are her children. Her husband, Gunnery Sergeant John Fry, was a bomb disposal technician in the Marines and he was killed by an IED in Iraq in 2006 when Malia was 28 years old.
KEILAR: I want to start with the kiddie tax. You have three children, Katherine was 9, Gideon was 7 and Seiel was just 2. Right now your two youngest kids still receive this life insurance benefit.
Tell us what you paid for their taxes before tax reform and tell us what you paid this past tax season.
MALIA FRY, U.S. MARINE'S WIDOW: Normally, we paid around $100 to $150 each child. And then this last tax season we paid close to $1,000 each child.
KEILAR: And so what do you cut from your budget if you have to pay this tax hike another year?
FRY: We are looking at -- I'm trying to set up savings accounts to save in case whatever the bill is. We cut things like a new band instrument or right now I'm trying to scrimp and save so that he can go to his band trip to Disney this coming spring break, and I'm hoping to make that happen but in the long run, it may not.
You know, you don't go get your nails done and you don't eat out and you buy the off-brand macaroni. You know, do all those little things to try and just a dollar here and a dollar there so that you can make those dreams happen for your kids.
KEILAR: This all stems from what is known as the widows tax. I think a lot of Americans realize that goal star spouses get a monthly payment to compensate for the loss of I don't are spouse-- your spouses if the servicemember paid into this benefit, it's cancelled out dollar to dollar and this can really relate a lot of financial hardship. And I know that's really personal. Tell me about that. FRY: It's very personal because my husband had been in the Marine
Corps for 11 years. He had signed up for survivor benefit plan so that whether he died on active duty or, you know, he was lucky enough to live until retirement and died the day after retirement or died 20 years after retirement, I would continue to get part of his retirement.
He paid into that monthly. He matched that benefit out monthly because he wanted to take care of me and he was told that if he died on active duty, I would get that for the rest of my life. Nobody told him that the V.A. benefit that he had been told I would get would offset that dollar for dollar.
And so three days after he was killed, I was setting around the table making these decisions and I was told I either put it in my name and get only $120 a month or I put it in my kids' name and get it all. And no one even told me it would stop at that point. But if you're looking at the main bread winner gone, you're just thinking of how do you feed your three kids?
KEILAR: When you put it in your child's name, it stops when they've come of age. You have one child who aged out of this and you now have two who are about to. When they do age out of this, if Congress has not fixed the widows tax, what is that going to mean for you financially?
FRY: I will have to sell my house. The house I bought after he died that I moved to and raised our children from the ages of 2, 7 and 9, I'll have to sell it and move because I will not be able to afford to stay here. That's what that's going to mean.
KEILAR: Are you hopeful that Congress will finally deal with this or are you worried that they're not going to?
FRY: If you'd asked me at the first of the year, I was hopeful, but the closer we get and the closer we get to time being up, the more afraid I am that it just going to be another year that we're cut from their agenda, that we're not important enough for them to help.
And so I can't say that I'm hopeful because they've cut us so many times. But there's a small hope inside me that they'll do the right thing, that they'll fix this.
KEILAR: Well, Malia, thank you for being with us, Malia. America is very thankful for your service, for the sacrifice of your family, the bipartisan votes seen in Congress indicate that. We'll be watching with you to see if Congress can move this forward and take care of this.
FRY: Thank you.
KEILAR: And you can find that column and other "Home Front" columns at CNN.com/homefront. And please share your comments or story ideas with me. E-mail me at homefront@CNN.com. That is it for me.
"NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.
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