Return to Transcripts main page


Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) is Interviewed about the Impeachment Inquiry; U.S. Economic Growth Slows; Trump Allies Question Loyalty of Military Heroes; 2019's CNN Top 10 Heroes Announced. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 30, 2019 - 08:30   ET



REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): Sure was on this colonel's mind.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: As we're moving forward, I know you were early on calling for an impeachment investigation. This House vote, of course, it is scheduled for tomorrow.

If there is not a fair amount of Republican support for that, are you concerned about what that does as you move forward with these proceedings and how that could impact public opinion even?

MOULTON: No, I'm not concerned about -- for the process or for the Constitution. We're on the right side when we're on the side of the Constitution.

I would be concerned about the future of the Republican Party because if Americans see that in the face of damning evidence against the president that shows that he is acting in his personal interest as commander in chief, doing things that are completely against his oath of office, that Republicans in Congress do not have the courage to stand up for what's right, to stand up for the Constitution that they swore an oath to protect and defend. You know, that doesn't bode well for their future. And when they have to explain this vote to their grandchildren some day, I don't think they're going to have a good time.

HILL: Some of what we're hearing, and we're hearing from Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, standing up and saying, listen, I don't agree with what the president did here. The conduct, not what I would like to see. However, it is not an impeachable offense.

MOULTON: I mean, I don't think that's going to -- that explanation is going to look good in the light of history. If this is not impeachable, I don't know what is. I mean does he defend the impeachment of Clinton for having an affair? This is the president of the United States leveraging military aid to an ally -- to an ally that is under daily attack from Russia, which is a common enemy of ours and Ukraine. And the fact that he would withhold that aid for his own political benefit put lives in danger. I mean there are Ukrainians who probably -- who are at risk of dying because they're not getting American aid. There are Americans who are there as diplomats, as advisers, who are supporting that mission, whose lives are at risk. What the president has done is unconscionable. And I can't -- I can't -- it's hard to imagine something worse, frankly. This certainly rises above what Nixon did and certainly what Clinton did.

So the idea that this is not an impeachable offense I think is crazy. What we have to do, though, is just get to the -- get -- you know, get more of the facts out there in front of the American people, and that's exactly what we're doing as this inquiry progresses.

HILL: And as you're moving towards those public hearings.

Interesting, Chuck Schumer was noting that, of course, the government is funded through November 21st. But saying now he's concerned that the president would shut down the government to impede impeachment.

Do you agree with that?

MOULTON: Look, the president's willing to do just about anything here. You think about the fundamental facts of this case. I mean the president set up a channel, a diplomatic channel, through Rudy Giuliani to -- the only reason he would do that is because the regular diplomatic channel, which he controls as the commander in chief, is something he couldn't use because he wanted to do something wrong. So the point is that if the president of the United States is willing to go to the lengths of setting up this parallel diplomatic channel through Rudy Giuliani to do illegal things, then, sure, he's willing to shut down the government if that impedes the investigation.

I think this president is incredibly dangerous because of the ways that he is willing to put Americans and our national security in danger for his personal, political benefit. And so it doesn't surprise me at all that Senator Schumer thinks he might shut down the government to protect himself as well.

HILL: Really quickly, just a yes or no, is the House planning for that? Any discussion?

MOULTON: We're -- we're planning for any and all possibilities, but we're, obviously, doing everything we can to keep the government open.

HILL: Seth Moulton, appreciate you joining us this morning. Thank you.

MOULTON: Thanks, Erica.

HILL: John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, it's time for "CNN Business Now." And we have breaking news for you. The Commerce Department just released its third quarter GDP report. And the news is -- slowing down.

CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here with that.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: How has what has been a strong economy, how is it absorbing the hits, right? You've got the Boeing issue with the 737 Max. You've got a manufacturing slowdown. You've got a GM strike. You have the drag of a trade war. How is the U.S. economy handling it?

With economic growth of 1.9 percent over the summer, below 2 percent, below the first quarter. And you can see that trend there from 3.1 percent, down to 2 percent to 1.9 percent. That shows a tapering of U.S. economic growth.

And when you really kind of look at the numbers here, you can see how difficult it has been to stick above 3 percent.

And, in fact, so many of these quarters are now starting to look like those quarters in the Obama administration that President Trump won the election by saying weren't good enough -- wasn't a good enough economy.

So what is happening here overall? I told you about all the hits the economy is taking. Why isn't -- why isn't this economy living up to that 3 percent target consistently that the White House has said it would?

Here's the president's trade adviser Peter Navarro.



ROMANS: Well, where's his 4, 5, 6 percent GDP? It's (INAUDIBLE) --

PETER NAVARRO, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S TRADE ADVISER: Well, I'll tell you -- I'll tell you what. I know where 1 percent of that is, and that's Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve.

ROMANS: You think so?

NAVARRO: Absolutely. There's no question.


ROMANS: Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve. You've heard that from the president. You've heard that from his allies in the White House, his trade advisers. They think the Fed is the problem here, not all those other things that I mentioned. They want the Fed to keep cutting rates. The president has even advocated for negative rates, which is something that shows an economy in distress, not the best economy in American history, as the president has said.

The Fed meets this afternoon, guys. We're expecting another 25 basis point interest rate cut as the Fed actually is trying to stabilize or cushion the economy, really, from the effects of the trade war and the global slowdown, guys.

BERMAN: All right, Christine Romans, very, very interesting. The most interesting thing I think you've said. These numbers look a lot like the Obama economy here.

ROMANS: Except for the trade war.

BERMAN: Except for the trade war.

Christine Romans, thank you very much.

You already knew the witnesses testifying in the impeachment inquiry had stellar credentials. But you never knew just how stellar. As for the people questioning their patriotism, John Avlon compares resumes in an eye-opening "Reality Check," next.



BERMAN: Military heroes and life-long public servants, that's who President Trump and his allies are attacking. As for the wisdom of that move, CNN's John Avlon with a "Reality Check."



Human scum. Radical, unelected bureaucrats. Never trumpers. These are just some of the attacks Trump and his allies have leveled against those who have testified in the impeachment inquiry. And that was before surrogates repeated this ugly talking point about Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman.


REP. SEAN DUFFY (R-WI): Seems very clear that he is incredibly concerned about Ukrainian defense. I don't know that he's concerned about American policy. But we all have an affinity to our homeland where we came from.


AVLON: In case you missed something that had the subtly of a sledgehammer, Sean Duffy there was questioning the loyalty of Vindman because he was born in Ukraine. Laura Ingraham went even further, suggested he was a spy.

Now, Vindman came to our country at the age of three as a refugee from communism. Here he is as a boy with his twin brother, who also serves in the White House. That's from a great 1980s Ken Burns (ph) doc about the Statue of Liberty, by the way.

That kid grew up to become a highly decorated soldier and diplomat. And in that pile of ribbons on his chest is the Purple Heart, the one he received in Iraq. He's the first member of Trump's own West Wing to testify before the impeachment inquiry. And he did so with the (INAUDIBLE) Ukraine expert. His opening statement, loaded with references to his honor and duty. And he felt duty bound to flag Trump and his deputy's dealings with Ukraine, but once but twice.

And Vindman's not the first Trump official to come under fire from the right for testifying against Trump. Here's top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor. He's not in uniform, but he doesn't need to be, he's got a career of serving with distinction. He was near the top of his class at West Point on his way to tours of duty in Vietnam, earning the bronze star and the air medal. And he was originally nominated ambassador to Ukraine by George W. Bush. And his testimony, which he recounted his horror at learning how attached Ukrainian aid was to investigating the Bidens left lawmakers stunned.

One of his Vietnam War buddies told Jake Tapper that he was enraged listening to the president and White House staff lie and launch personal attacks on Taylor. The former ambassador to Afghanistan, Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, told Jake that Taylor's integrity and courage are the true marks of patriotism, loyal to an oath of office and never to be corrupted or intimidated by those seeking personal gain at our nation's expense.

Or you could just call them human scum.

Look, President Trump has a history of going after military vets who dare question him, like John McCain, gold star families like the Khans, and Robert Mueller, who was serving as a Marine when Donald Trump was suffering from bone spurs, recalling avoiding STDs his own personal Vietnam.

And here's what Sean Duffy was doing in his mid-20s while Alexander Vindman was serving in Iraq, appearing on MTV's "The Real World," season six.

But these slurs and lies and innuendo against nonpartisan people of honor have an echo in an incident featuring Donald Trump's one-time lawyer Roy Cohn. Before he represented the mob, he served as general counsel to Senator Joe McCarthy. The worst demagogues we'd seen up to that point. It was during the Army McCarthy hearings that Cohn and McCarthy met their match when they tried to question the loyalty of an Army lawyer and ran straight into the conscience of the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?


AVLON: That remains the right question across the generations.

And that's your "Reality Check."

BERMAN: A very, very important one, John. Thank you for that.

AVLON: Thanks, guys.

BERMAN: Now here is what else to watch today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

2:00 p.m. ET, Fed interest rate decision.

3:00 p.m. ET, House impeachment committee vote.

5:00 p.m. ET, Medal of Honor ceremony.



BERMAN: All year we've shared their inspiring stories. Up next, we reveal the top ten CNN Heroes. Stick around.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: For 13 years, CNN Heroes has highlighted everyday people changing the world. We share inspiring stories with you all year long.

So now here to announce the top ten CNN heroes of the year, Anderson Cooper, who is co-host of "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" which airs live on Sunday, December 8th at 8:00 p.m.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I can't believe it's been 13 years. But, yes, this is the time we're going to announce the -- these are the top ten CNN Heroes.


And then, after we announce them, it's up to you to decide who gets to be CNN Hero of the Year.

So, take a look at the top ten CNN Heroes for 2019.


COOPER (voice over): From Las Vegas, Nevada, Staci Alonso is keeping women and their furry loved ones together at her inclusive domestic violence shelters.

Najah Bazzy is delivering hope in Detroit by giving basic necessities and job training to women and their children.

From Denver, Colorado, after seeing families lose their homes to California's worst wildfire, Woody Faircloth is providing refurbished RVs to displaced survivors.

In Ethiopia, Freweini Mebrahtu is changing the lives of women and girls. She's battling the stigma surrounding menstruation with her innovative work.

Donkeys across America suffer neglect and abuse. Mark Meyers from San Angelo, Texas, is saving these often overlooked animals by the thousands. From Dallas, Texas, Richard Miles served 15 years in prison for a

crime he did not commit. Today he's helping other former inmates navigate the challenges of returning home.

In Espanola, New Mexico, an area devastated by the opioid crisis, Roger Montoya is giving young people hope and healing through the arts.

Mary Robinson from Mountainside, New Jersey, is helping families who are grieving cope with the loss of their loved ones.

From Mumbai, India, Afroz Shah has inspired the world's largest beach cleanup and sparked a volunteer movement to save the ocean.

And from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Zach Wigal has turned gaming into therapy for sick kids in hospitals.


BERMAN: I mean they're all so awesome.


BERMAN: And that's the point. It really is the point here because these are all heroes and they all win something.


BERMAN: And all we will announce on the 8th is the Hero of the Year.

COOPER: Right. They all win like $10,000 to continue their work. They also get training from the Annenberg Center to sort of -- organizational training, because a lot of these people, you know, they just saw a need in their community and they didn't have a lot of resources, but they just started doing something. And so we helped them kind of grow their organization. But then it's up to our viewers to vote for the CNN Hero of the Year, and that person gets an additional $100,000.

CAMEROTA: I don't know how we even narrowed it down to these ten winners.

COOPER: Yes. Well, you know, what's cool is, I mean it all comes from viewers. They -- you know, everybody out there or -- can nominate whoever they want for Hero of the Year.

CAMEROTA: That's good, outsource it. I think that's really the best way to do it. It's too hard to decide otherwise, you know.

COOPER: Yes, it is. It is. It's very.

BERMAN: And how does the Hero of the Year voting process work? What do people do?

COOPER: So you can vote numerous times a day. All you have to do is just go to and it sort of explains how you go through the voting. But you can vote on your tablet. You can vote on your desktop. You can vote up to ten times a day. And you can vote from pretty much any device.

BERMAN: And I just can't get over the range of the subject matter that they covered here. Really, it's all over the world, and it's so many different things.

COOPER: Yes. Yes. And you never know who's going to win. I mean that's the cool thing about it. And, I mean, you know, just the publicity that they get, not only in the U.S., but in their home countries as well, even if they don't become the Hero of the Year, you know, they -- it -- they're able to grow their organization in a big way.

CAMEROTA: And its such an inspiring night. I mean to be there live while it's all happening. We're always crying.

COOPER: I always end up feeling though like, what have I done?

CAMEROTA: Yes, well, what have you done?


BERMAN: And that's just his -- that's just because Kelly Ripa (INAUDIBLE).

COOPER: Maybe I feel that way because you remind me of that every day.

BERMAN: Thankfully Kelly Ripa is there with you to carry it -- carry it the whole time.

COOPER: Yes. Yes. I'm very happy she's going to be there again.

CAMEROTA: That's right.

All right, well, we're really looking forward to it, so thanks so much for previewing it with us.

BERMAN: And the online voting begins when?


BERMAN: Today. Go to

Thank you very much, Anderson. Great to see you.

"The Good Stuff" is next.



BERMAN: Look who's here.

HILL: Hey.

BERMAN: Look who's here on the couch. HILL: Hey, I'm back.


HILL: You know why? Because it's "The Good Stuff" and I wanted to come back for "The Good Stuff."

BERMAN: Poof, it's like magic.

HILL: It is magic.

BERMAN: It's not just "The Good Stuff," it's the magic stuff.

HILL: It's the magic of television.

BERMAN: Fantastic.

HILL: How about that?

Time for "The Good Stuff."

A Connecticut gamer is being called a hero for saving the life of a fellow gamer that he's never actually met. Fourteen-year-old Reilly Howard says he was playing online when a 13-year-old boy in Florida, who he said he had gotten to know through gaming, told him he wanted to take his own life.


REILLY HOWARD: He couldn't even talk he was crying so much. And he typed it and he said tonight might -- tonight's going to be the night or tonight might be the night.


HILL: Reilly stayed on the line for almost two hours. He finally convinced the other boy to call a suicide hotline. Earlier this week, the school board honored Reilly for his actions. Reilly says he and the other teen now have a real friendship outside of gaming and that they speak several times a week.

BERMAN: You know, they always do say, you need to say something, you need to speak up. And this is exactly one of those types of situations.

HILL: Yes.

BERMAN: And you never know who will perceive (ph) it. Sometimes it's your best friend who will perceive it. Sometimes it's a teacher who will --

HILL: Right.

BERMAN: But sometimes it's just an acquaintance. Someone who has seen you in a certain setting repeatedly and knows just from where he's normally seeing you that something's off. HILL: Right. It's a great -- it really is a great story and such an

important reminder.

BERMAN: So fantastic. Listen, great to have you here today.

HILL: Always a pleasure.

BERMAN: Come back. Appear magically any time on the couch.

HILL: Perhaps I will.

BERMAN: A very big day.

Two State Department officials heading to Capitol Hill to testify in the impeachment inquiry. CNN has it all covered for you.

"NEWSROOM" with Jim Sciutto and Poppy Harlow starts right now.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.


There is an impeachment inquiry underway.