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Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is Interviewed About Trump Impeachment Probe; Georgia Family Seeks Answers in Vaping Death. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired November 1, 2019 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And good morning, everyone. Welcome to your New Day. It is Friday, November, 1st, 8:00 now in the east. John Berman is off. John Avlon joins me. Great to have you here. Happy Friday.
JOHN AVLON, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Happy Friday.
CAMEROTA: The impeachment inquiry into President Trump enters a new phase with public hearings beginning soon. This historic House vote to initiate impeachment proceedings passed largely along party lines. President Trump is defiant in an interview with the "Washington Examiner," saying he will not cooperate with this impeachment probe, and again insisting that his conversation with Ukraine's president was, quote, a good call. The president even suggesting that he may do a dramatic reading of the transcript. He's clearly been watching our show since we like those.
CAMEROTA: He wants to do a live televised fireside chat a la FDR.
AVLON: Meantime, the impeachment investigation continues full steam ahead with a full slate of depositions scheduled for next week. Witnesses include some key names, including central figures in the whistleblower complaint and current White House officials. It's unclear, though, how many, if any, will actually appear or be blocked by the White House.
CAMEROTA: Joining us now, CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart -- he was President Clinton's press secretary -- and CNN political analyst Rachael Bade, she's "The Washington Post" congressional reporter. Great to have all of you.
Joe, yesterday it was historic. It's only the fourth time, obviously, in American history. Nancy Pelosi and others have said it was a somber day. Nobody goes into Congress to impeach a president. Something has gone wrong if that's what's happening. That's one side. Then we just had Matt Schlapp, a big champion of the president, big supporter, who said it was a good day for Republicans because none broke on this vote. It was not bipartisan. No Republicans voted to begin the impeachment inquiry. And the polls show in battleground states they are very good for the president. So was it a good day for Democrats or Republicans or neither?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's indicative of how perverse the political conversation goes that when a president is -- takes a step towards impeachment, his supporters say it's a good day. But having said that, I think we can overread the importance of yesterday's vote. It was a procedural vote. It was about the process. Republicans have a legitimate complaint that they're not even -- the power is not even in setting the rules.
So in some sense, in one sense it was easy for them to say we don't like this process. We're voting no. It's much harder when they start dealing with the underlying actions, the corruption, the abuse of power. I think that's a much tougher vote for Republicans.
CAMEROTA: The next vote will be harder.
LOCKHART: Whether they move on the articles of impeachment, yes.
AVLON: And that is really the key question, the voting counting, this partisan divide. Rachael, you've done some phenomenal reporting for "The Washington Post" on this. Nancy Pelosi had set out a bar saying that some degree of bipartisanship was key to her moving forward. It was something Stephen Colbert called her on that last night. We've got tape of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW": Back in March you said you would go forward if it was bipartisan. Kevin McCarthy said why, what's changed.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA): I didn't say I would go forward if it's bipartisan. I said I would hope that it would be bipartisan. But if they're not going to honor their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, I cannot be held up by that, whether it's in the House or in the Senate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AVLON: Rachel, 18 Republicans are retiring. Many of them have been critics about Donald Trump, certainly in private if not in public. What stopped them from crossing the lines yesterday?
RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: They're getting pressure right now, not just from the White House, White House legislative affairs, they've been making call to a lot of moderate members, GOP leaders, ever since Pelosi announced this vote. They were meeting with them to try to keep them on board.
And it's particularly interesting because there are retiring Republicans like Francis Rooney, a Republican from Florida, who have been in these depositions, and they have said that this testimony is damning, and they are concerned about it. And the fact that he has said this should be investigated but still did not feel the need to even vote for this investigation is significant.
And I do think that they are going to face more pressure on the next vote here, and if they're feeling the pressure now, just imagine Trump putting this pressure on them when they're actually voting to impeach him. So if they're not willing to make a stand now to say this should be investigated despite all the damaging information in this testimony we have seen over the past four weeks, I don't know that they're going to break on the actual impeachment question.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: But isn't this really part of the story of the evolution of the Republican Party? There used to be 10 moderate Republicans in the United States Senate. You had people like Robert Packwood and Mark Hatfield and Chuck Percy and Robert Stafford. They're all gone.
AVLON: Going way back.
TOOBIN: But they're all gone. You have arguably Susan Collins and that's it. And in the House of Representatives in 1974, when Richard Nixon was under investigation, you had moderate Republicans in the House of Representatives.
You had them on the Supreme Court. You had Anthony Kennedy, you had John Paul Stevens. They're all gone. They're gone everywhere. And that's really the story of American politics right now.
CAMEROTA: Yes, and so, obviously, as we pointed out, times have changed. We're in a particularly hyper-partisan moment.
What I've heard shift, Jeffrey, is that what Republicans had been arguing up until yesterday was the process. This process is all wrong. This process isn't working. There's been no vote, no vote, no vote. Now there's been a vote. So now what I hear them saying was, well, the president didn't do anything wrong anyway.
TOOBIN: Well, sort of. Some of them are saying that.
CAMEROTA: The most -- that's what the White House is saying. That's what Matt Schlapp just said. There was nothing wrong anyway.
TOOBIN: That you haven't heard, I don't think from -- Rachael, you tell me -- I haven't heard that from that many members of Congress defending the president's conduct. The president has said a million times this was a perfect phone call. He said yesterday it was good. He demoted himself, I guess. But the question that I have is how are they going to defend the underlying conduct. What do you hear?
BADE: Increasingly, we are hearing people say bad but not impeachable. There's nothing impeachable on this call. It was the process very much for the past few weeks, but I can tell you Senate Republicans had a conversation just about this a couple of days ago. If there is proof of a quid pro quo, what are they going to do? How are they going to defend that? And it seems to be that they're going to make some sort of argument that it wasn't just about the investigation. It was broader than that. He wanted to root out corruption in Ukraine.
And so I do think there is going to be a move very quickly over the next couple of days to focus on this call and somehow say that there was nothing unusual but it's not impeachable.
AVLON: Follow the talking points. Joe, you have unique historical memory for a presidency in this kind of a position. And you see a lot of Republicans who flipped their position on impeachment, quite notably particularly with regard to obstruction. The White House has said, though, they're not going to form a war room. You all did. The White House has said they're not going to cooperate with congress. My understanding is that you all did. Is this wise? And are they in fact following precedent, or is this a descent to a different arrangement with impeachment?
LOCKHART: I'll take the second one first. Is it politically wise not to cooperate? They may be able to run the clock out. So it may be part of a survival strategy. Is it a great strategy to go into the 2020 election having stiffed the Constitution and, in court during an election year, losing these battles? I don't think so.
On the war room question, I think it's so different than 1998. The strategy that President Clinton employed was to stay out of it, was to get off the impeachment field, and to tell the American people every day, I'm focused on you, not on me.
AVLON: Get back to work.
LOCKHART: Trump's strategy is to focus on himself. Everything he does is about how he's a victim, how he's being taken advantage of. And so I don't know that a war room fixes that. And a war room certainly doesn't fix the president's mercurial tweeting and changing his position and changing his strategy. You can have the best strategy in the world, but if the president of the United States wakes up every morning and has a new one, it's --
TOOBIN: I covered the story. I was on the opposite side from Joe. And there were like two White Houses. There was the impeachment White House, and that was with Paul Begala and Lanny Davis, and that's all they did. And everyone else had absolutely nothing to do with it. And Bill Clinton from the day that the story broke, he said I'm going to go back to work for the American people. He never talked about it. And that was -- but Donald Trump is incapable of doing that. That's not how he operates.
CAMEROTA: No, of course. Obviously, he's taking a totally different tact. But I would just say that in terms of battleground state polls, it's working for him right now. Battleground state polls show that voters there, respondents, don't want the president impeached.
TOOBIN: By small margins.
BADE: Which direction are they moving right now? The more -- these hearings are going to become public. Right now they're all behind closed doors.
CAMEROTA: Yes. If we assume the public wants more information. Who knows?
AVLON: But speaking of playing the victim, let's segue to the other top story about Donald Trump today, which is Mr. New York, Donald Trump, now Florida man, officially changing his residency. This is pretty extraordinary. We've never had a president change residencies. This might be done with an eye towards 2020 politics, maybe with an eye towards avoiding taxes, ironic because taxes may have been raised locally because of a bill signed. Rachel, what's the deal with this kind of a move? Is this just about politics and taxes, or is the president right in saying, look, I'm not get any love from New Yorkers, so?
BADE: We know this president, he wants good headlines, he wants praise. People know the best way to reach him is to compliment him. He's not getting that here. Clearly, he would have a more receptive crowd in Florida, which went for him in 2016. It's a battleground state, as you mentioned.
But taxes, for how many years he's been here -- forever -- we've always heard accusations about him evading taxes from local politicians. You've heard the same thing from his attorney who testified to Congress that he did the same thing. And so the argument that they are moving to Florida for tax reasons, that seems to be a legitimate one, because he would have a lower tax rate.
TOOBIN: It's almost like it be interesting to see his tax returns.
TOOBIN: Does anyone ever ask for them? That would just be just, I don't know --
LOCKHART: They're under audit, Jeffrey.
TOOBIN: They're under audit, so.
CAMEROTA: That's a long audit, right. That's been really long. Thank you all for covering all these stories with us.
Breaking news. We've got another wildfire raging in southern California, this one exploding overnight to 8,000 acres. And it's burning out of control in Ventura County. But conditions are improving for fire crews. Officials say winds have subsided a bit and temperatures have cooled. At least 7,500 people in Santa Paula, northwest of L.A., have been forced to evacuate. Fire officials say at least two structures have been destroyed, 1,800 more are threatened.
CAMEROTA: A new national poll shows how divided Americans are about impeaching and removing President Trump. So how will Democrats make the case against the president in public hearings, the next phase? We're going to speak to a Democrat on the Judiciary Committee about that, next.
AVLON: New national poll out this morning shows how deeply divided Americans are on impeachment. ABC News/"Washington Post" poll finding 49 percent supporting impeaching and removing the president, 47 percent oppose. And by wide margin, Democrats are more in favor.
This follows yesterday's vote in the House largely along party lines.
Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Pramila Jayapal, member of the House Judiciary Committee. So key in the coming weeks and months ahead.
Thank you for joining us, Congresswoman.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): So great to be here.
AVLON: So, let's talk about not only the partisan divide in the poll but partisan divide in the House. As you know, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton, these were bipartisan votes, something Nancy Pelosi had set out. But, yesterday, only Justin Amash crossed lines. Two Democrats voted, of your Democratic colleagues voted with the president and Republicans.
Is this a sign of weakness or a sign of the times?
JAYAPAL: Well, I think, at the end of the day, we are going to need Republicans to decide if they're going to stand up for their constituents and our democracy and the Constitution or if they're going to stick with the president. Yesterday, they stuck with the president. I don't think that necessarily means it's the end of the line. This was a vote about the transparency they've been asking for, about the process they've wanted articulated. It was time to do that at this moment.
And we thought they would at least be with us when it comes to having a public process with transparency, with due process protections for the president. It's really sad that they didn't do that.
AVLON: So sign of the times. But in your private conversations with your Republican colleagues --
AVLON: I mean, 18 Republicans are retiring. Did you have reason to believe that some of those folks would vote for an investigation to go forward?
JAYAPAL: I think there's a lot of pressure coming from the White House. I mean, you see Trump is trying to exert pressure both by bully and by, you know, sort of offering cash for elections and other things that he can help them with. And again, they've got to decide whether or not they're going to stand up for the Constitution. You know, just yesterday, a former Republican senator from my state,
Slade Gorton, actually came out and said Trump has committed impeachable offenses. Republicans should impeach him. He was one of the people that broke with his party in the Nixon impeachment days.
JAYAPAL: And I think that was a very important message because this is a situation where you have a president who has abused the power of the White House to ask a foreign ally to dig up dirt on a political rival, interfere in the 2020 election and hold as a carrot, aid, hundreds of millions of dollars of aid that Congress already appropriated. That is just a betrayal of national security and our Constitution.
AVLON: So, you -- so Slade Gorton, former senator from your state coming out, do you hear some Republicans say, acknowledging that in private?
AVLON: Or voting it --
JAYAPAL: Some of them do. Some of them do. And some of them say, you know, this is really hard. I'm not sure if this is the right thing, but I have to stick with the president.
Some of them are worried about their constituents because this president, obviously, riles up his base. And they are worried about that base. But, you know, I said to somebody the other day, look, you've got to -- you're going to have to wake up and look at yourself in the morning, in the mirror every single day for the rest of your life.
This is not an issue that just affects this administration. It's going to affect every administration going forward. If we say that one person is above the law just because they sit in the White House, that literally shreds Article I of the Constitution.
It says to our founding framers that you are wrong. We are not able to have the checks and balances that allow us to put country over party. And at the end of the day, it's about the voters. It is about our constituents who expect us to stand up for our Constitution, regardless of how politically difficult it is.
AVLON: But you're saying this is about principle, not party, but Republicans are arguing and Steve Scalise had a sign on the floor of the House yesterday that this is a Soviet-style inquiry. The White House saying the president did nothing wrong, that this is an illegal investigation. And it's unconstitutional.
What do you have to say when you're confronted with those kind of gaps between acknowledging facts, and how do you bridge it? JAYAPAL: Yes. I think this public process is a part of bridging that
because, again, the polling is divided, as you say, but remarkably high with 49 percent of voters saying he should be removed. Now, when Nixon -- when the Nixon impeachment hearings were happening, only 19 percent believe that Nixon should be impeached at the beginning of the hearings.
By the end, it was so inevitable that he actually resigned. He wasn't impeached. He resigned before he could be impeached.
So I think that this is a case where we will see the public continuing to be blown away by the facts.
And it's a case where the earliest witness, the most compelling witness testified at the very beginning to the American public and that was Donald Trump.
AVLON: And you believe the Judiciary Committee is going to be playing a key role in this. That's basically you just laid out what you believe the Judiciary Committee will do in terms of amplifying these witnesses.
JAYAPAL: I'm not making a predetermination on where this goes. We are going to receive information from the various committees. We'll look at that information. There will be due process protections so that the president's counsel can present any evidence they want. They can call witnesses that they want. And we will look at everything in front of us and decide where to go.
AVLON: Look, historic day yesterday, fourth time in American history. Something folks aren't paying as much attention to is that the government is set to run out of money on November 22nd. There are only nine working house days on the calendar before then.
AVLON: What assurances do you have that the government is not going to be shut down by Donald Trump? We should say the president can't shut down an impeachment inquiry by shutting down the government. But that's a pretty heavy cudgel in his other hand.
JAYAPAL: Yes, he wants to try and divert the focus. He could try to do that. But that would be so unfair to the millions of workers and people across the country who depend on our government to be operating.
Democrats have already passed our appropriations bills. We've been waiting on the Senate to take action. We have been trying to prevent a government shutdown from the last government shutdown that the president caused.
So I hope that that doesn't happen again. I mean, this is about who does Trump work for? Does he work for the American people or does he work for himself? He is, I think, afraid. I think Republicans are afraid. If they
weren't afraid, they'd be just attacking the process which is the only thing that they have been doing. They recognize that this is serious and some of them have said that in private.
AVLON: You said they'd be defending the facts?
JAYAPAL: Yes, they'd be defending the facts. They'd be talking about the content, not the process. They spent a couple of weeks decrying the process, which, by the way, there were 72 or 74 people in the room for most of these depositions. That's a quarter of Congress was there with Republicans equal time to ask questions.
AVLON: Congressman Jayapal, thank you for joining us on NEW DAY.
JAYAPAL: Thank you so much.
AVLON: Extraordinary days ahead.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John, I'll take it.
The number of vaping related illnesses jumping sharply again this morning. Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us, next.
CAMEROTA: The CDC says the number of vaping related cases is surging. More than 1,800 lung injury cases now and 37 deaths nationwide. The first death was reported in august, and now months later, health officials still do not know exactly what is behind this outbreak.
In Georgia, vaping is thought to have caused one woman's death but officials determining that -- officially determining that is proving very difficult.
So let's bring in CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who joins us with that story.
What's the problem, Sanjay?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, this is a complicated investigation. Keep in mind, as much as we've talked about this, what we're talking about is basically a new mysterious illness, and lots of different moving parts.
We wanted to find out the same thing. What specifically is making this take so long but also see it from the perspective of a family who is dealing with tragedy that is now going through this trying to get some answers.
DR. KEVIN DAVIS, MARY KERRIE DAVIS' HUSBAND: A 52-year-old healthy lady, that doesn't happen. GUPTA (voice-over): Kevin Davis, a doctor himself, had no idea why
his wife, Mary Kerrie, had suddenly become ill in early September.
K. DAVIS: I still can't believe it. Feel so bad and feel so guilty. You know, that how a physician, I can't take care of the people in my own house.
GUPTA: A flu swab came back negative. Mary Kerrie's blood work was initially unremarkable. But her family had a suspicion. Vaping.
DAVIS: No idea the amount of vaping she was doing. According to her phone messages, the amount of things she was purchasing to vape.
GUPTA: But proving that vaping was the cause was going to be much more difficult than they could have imagined.
MAGGIE DAVIS, MARY KERRIE DAVIS' DAUGHTER: She sent me a picture of her in the ER. She said I'm on an IV. I have pneumonia.
GUPTA: Just as she was admitted to the hospital, her daughter Maggie began hearing about an outbreak of a mysterious illness.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Doctors are reporting an uptick in the cases of severe lung disease which they say could be caused by vaping.
M. DAVIS: And I texted her back. I said, I hope it's not the vaping disease. Two days later, she had died.
GUPTA (on camera): Wow, two days?
M. DAVIS: Yes, two days.
GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Tom Karisni (ph) showed us her x-rays which tell the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The thing that was out of the ordinary was how quickly she deteriorated over the next 48 hours.
GUPTA: Just take a look how much they changed. The one on the right is normal. Clear. But the picture on the left shows lungs that are totally obliterated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We call that whiteout. It's a bad sign. Basically means air is not moving in the lungs at all.
GUPTA: In the current outbreak, more than three dozen patients have died of vaping related disease. And Mary Kerrie may be counted among them. But nearly two months after she died, the family still doesn't know for sure.
It shows how challenging it is to investigate a disease we're seeing for the first time.
(on camera): Are you hearing from the public health officials?
M. DAVIS: Yeah, we're hearing some from them, but it's just, you know, everybody in the different departments seems to have a different answer to these questions that we're asking.
K. DAVIS: It's so frustrating and I'm empowered. I can -- I have a status in the community. I know how to speak the language, and I couldn't get to anybody. Imagine how people who don't have any of those things, how would they ever make it known?
GUPTA (voice-over): And in Mary Kerrie's case, it's a complicated picture, because like so many of the people with vaping related disease, she wasn't just using nicotine but also THC, illegal in her home state of Georgia.
M. DAVIS: I think it was to a point where she was vaping more than she'd ever smoked cigarettes.