Return to Transcripts main page


President Donald Trump Has Two Important Allies In Congress In His Corner; House Resolution That Passed Thursday Set New Rules For Future Public Transparent Hearings; One-On-One Interview With Congressman Adriano Espaillat (D-NY); Conditions Worsen For Asylum Seekers Along U.S./Mexico Border; New Wildfire Threatens Ventura County But Conditions Improving; Trump Moves Permanent Residence From New York To Florida; Trump Struggles To Keep Promise As Coal Companies Suffer. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 2, 2019 - 16:00   ET





ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks so much for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

The House of Representatives may have formalized the impeachment inquiry but that is not stopping the White House from fighting it. And we are now learning, the President has two important allies in Congress in his corner. These two congressmen are among the few Republicans who have attended nearly all the closed door depositions. Now sources say Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows have been informally helping White House attorneys sort through the publicly reported aspects of testimony.

Also, there are new details from one of the inquiry's star witnesses. Army lieutenant colonel Alexander Vindman. Now a source says the decorated war veteran testified that national security council lawyer John Eisenberg told him not to talk to anyone else about his concern President Trump was improperly pressuring Ukraine to conduct political investigations.

All this is coming down as the President keeps up his go it alone defense strategy. His White House press secretary says the President has no plans to expand his team and saying quote "Trump is the war room."

Let me turn to CNN's White House producer Kevin Liptak.

Kevin, it is a big week ahead now in this inquiry with key witnesses requested to appear and you are learning Trump's energy secretary is like lay no-show?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: Yes. Rick Perry who has found himself someone at the center of this entire Ukraine controversy, he was invited to appear next week by House investigators. It does not look like he is going to appear. Department of energy spokesman says the secretary will not partake in a secret star chamber inquisition where agency council is forbidden.

Now, Rick Perry, as I said, has found himself in the middle of all this. He visited Ukraine to attend president Zelensky's inauguration back in May. HE was instructed by the President to speak with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine matters. And he was even among one witness called among the Three Amigos who are helping handle this Ukraine matter for the president.

Now, he is one of several former and current administration officials who are -- have been invited to appear before the committees next week. Among them, John Eisenberg. You just mentioned, he is the top lawyer on the national security counsel. He was one of the officials responsible for putting a lock on this call transcript, placing in it that classified server and instructing lieutenant colonel Alexander Vindman not to discuss it with anyone else.

Now, the star witness that Democrats really want to hear from is former national security advisor John Bolton. He has been invited to appear Thursday. It also doesn't appear that he will make it to the committee. His lawyer has been in court representing another former White House official. They want a judge to rule about whether he can go before the committees.

Now, one of the reasons the White House has declined to cooperate with the House impeachment process so far is because they say it's illegitimate because there hasn't been a vote and because these hearings are happening behind closed doors.

Now, this week all of that changed. The House took a vote to lay the ground rules for this impeachment proceedings. House speaker Nancy Pelosi says that a lot of these testimony will become public. She say that is the first public hearing could occur this month.

CABRERA: OK, Kevin Liptak. You just laid out a lot there for us. Thank you for the update on all things impeachment inquiry right now.

Besides congressman Meadows and Jordan, my next guest also sat through impeachment inquiry depositions all week. Congressman Adriano Espaillat is the member of the foreign affairs committee. Here with us now.

Now, congressman, thank you so much for being here.


CABRERA: Let me get your reaction to his reporting about congressman Jordan, Jim Jordan and Meadows as well, Mark Meadows now informally advising the President when it comes to what has been taking place in the depositions behind closed doors.

ESPAILLAT: Well, it hasn't a closed process because the Republicans have been there. Jordan and Meadows have been there.

CABRERA: Right. ESPAILLAT: Their counsel, lead counsel has been there interrogating,

questioning each and every one of the witnesses. So this is an investigation process. And this should be a -- in a confined environment because first and foremost we want to protect the witnesses. We want to make sure that any future witnesses not intimidated. We want to make sure that witnesses don't coordinate with each other.

This is almost like asking from the White House side -- it is almost like asking a prosecutor or a D.A. a suspect asking the D.A. to control the investigation and to have influence over the investigation. Now, we are in an investigation process. The constitution gives us sole power of impeachment, over 300 legal --


CABRERA: I hear when you are say. But let me just really just get back to the initial question, though. Do you have any problem with them having been part of those hearings and though the White House counsel isn't allowed in these hearings. The President isn't allowed in these hearings. But they are going to the President and they are sharing information with them.

ESPAILLAT: Well, the fact of the matter is that much of the testimony will be open and public very soon. And so, if they want to advise the President that's their choice, you know. We are concerned about leaking information. We were concerned about the whistleblower and whether or not he was exposed or she was exposed to the general public.

But this is closing soon. And that the open process will begin very soon. And the American people will then have access to all the testimony, the depositions, what the questions were asked of the witnesses, the evidence that we need to have before we push this forward to the Judiciary Committee.

CABRERA: Right. And that's what the vote was all about this week. It was voting on a resolution.

ESPAILLAT: That's correct.

CABRERA: The procedures of the next phase of the investigation and the public hearings and transcripts to be made public, as well. On the day of this vote, the President's campaign says it was their biggest fundraising day in October. Pair that with what we are seeing in the polls and that is Americans are very split right now. In fact, you can see there, 49 percent support, 47 percent are against impeachment and removal from office. How confident are you that the public is going to get behind this?

ESPAILLAT: This is not a political process. This is not a Republican versus Democratic process. This is a constitutional process. This is about balance of powers. This is about whether or not a president of the United States could intimidate a foreign government to investigate one of his political opponents there by influencing the results of the next election. This is about your vote, Ana. And my vote. This is not about Democrat versus Republican.

The majority of the people still feel that there should be an impeachment process and he removed by the way according to that poll. But I think as more evidence comes out, as we hear from the lieutenant colonel, as we hear from Taylor, and those that refused to come forward, further creating a condition where they could be subject to additional articles of impeachment on obstruction of government.

Because if the White House is instructing people not to come forward, if they want to hide information, financial information that we need access to, and they want to continue the cover. So very often the cover-up is worse than the crime itself. And so they are engaged in this kind of behavior right now, very slippery slope. And I think that the American people will hear the lieutenant colonel, will hear Taylor and others and they will be convinced.

CABRERA: When you say it is not about politics, though. You look at the vote and it was completely divided. There was no bipartisanship when it came to those who voted for. In fact, two Democrats defected. They voted with Republicans against it. And here's Mark Meadows who is, of course, on that other side responding -- I'm sorry. This is Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, after the vote.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Today the country just witnessed the only bipartisan vote on that floor was against. The question to the speaker are the same questions I provided in the letter about the unfair process that we had. What has changed since March? In all the hearings, there's nothing compelling, nothing overwhelming. So the speaker should follow her own words on what bipartisan vote on that floor and in the sham that has been putting this country through this nightmare.


CABRERA: Congressman, does the lack of bipartisanship in that vote concern you?

ESPAILLAT: Well, the Republicans were in the room so this was an open process if you want to consider partisanship. It wasn't just a Democratic impeachment process. It was both parties, both legal counsels. I'm sure that McCarthy had access to the information that I found to be compelling and credible. And that I'm sure the American people would also find to be compelling and credible.

Even in the Nixon impeachment process, the support for the impeachment process at this stage was much lower than the current impeachment process. I think that once Republicans of goodwill listen to the evidence, listen to the testimony they will be compelled. Their constituencies will force them to be compel to be on the right side of the history.

CABRERA: Why do you think though those Republicans who have been in the room, who have been listening to the same testimony that you have been hearing and those who have expressed concerns of what they are hearing still chose to vote against the process moving forward?

ESPAILLAT: Well, I tell you something, Ana. The strange thing is not many of them have been in the room although they could be in the room. Not all the members of the intelligence, oversight and foreign affairs committee have been in the room for the Republican party. They could be there if they want to.

The ones who storm in were not members of those committees. They wanted to disrupt and obstruct. But I'm very confident that the truth somehow finds its way to surface. And once it surfaces it is very hard for the American people of any member of Congress of either party to be able to ignore it.

And I think that there cover-up of evidence, of restricting members of the administration going forward to testify, dodging subpoenas, all of these actions which are very troubling to begin with will look very silly and stupid when the evidence is before the American people and we will soon hear the testimony.

[16:10:31] CABRERA: OK. Congressman Espaillat, thank you so much for being here.

ESPAILLAT: Thank you so much, Ana.

CABRERA: If you are feeling lost on this impeachment process as it moves as what seems like break next speed, right, you are not alone. And we will walk you through what we know where top lawmakers on both sides of the aisle stands and whether President Trump's Republican base will crack under the pressure of impeachment, next.



CABRERA: It is the journey that Republicans say is not fair and top Democrats say they never wanted to go on in the first place. This was House speaker Nancy Pelosi in March of this year.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: But it's question of when I say it's not our time, I don't think we should impeach a president for political reasons and I don't think we should not impeach a president for political reasons.


CABRERA: That was a firm no on impeachment just eight months ago and here we are now.


PELOSI: This is a sad day. It's a sad day because nobody comes to Congress to impeach a president of the United States. No one.

(END VIDEO CLIP) [16:15:09]

CABRERA: The sad day as she calls it was Thursday when the full house voted on a bill to formalize the process. They will use possibly to impeach the president and even though every single Republican voted against it, it passed. The GOP is after all the minority in the House outnumbered by the Democrats by more than 30. And while Republicans stayed entirely united, the Democrats were not completely unanimous in pushing the vote ahead, this bill.

Two House Democrats voted no with the Republicans. One said he didn't want to further divide the country without more support of the GOP. The other said he wanted to see more facts before he decided. Both of them are from districts that supported President Trump in the 2016 election.

Now the top Republican in the House says the left-right party divide proves that the process is purely political.


MCCARTHY: Today the country just witnessed the only bipartisan vote on that floor was against. The question to the speaker are the same questions I provided in the letter about the unfair process that we had. What has changed since March? In all the hearings there's nothing compelling, nothing overwhelming. So the speaker should follow her own words on what bipartisan vote on that floor and in the sham that's putting this country through this nightmare.


CABRERA: Up until now, Republicans in the House have been most outwardly against the process of impeachment hearings. So far that is focusing on how the investigation is being conducted rather than on the impeachable accusation that President Trump misused the power of his office in pressing a foreign leader to conduct investigations that could impact American elections. Many House Republicans are adamantly against hearings behind closed doors. Listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a sham and it's time for it to end.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is happening here is not fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is Adam Schiff trying to hide?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a total hit job on the president of the United States.


CABRERA: But the House resolution that passed Thursday set new rules for future public transparent hearings.

Intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff saying quote "the American people will hear firsthand about the president's misconduct."

Here's where the American people are on the possibility of impeachment. This new poll released after the House voted almost exactly along party lines. The question, should the Congress impeach and remove President Trump? Results almost even nationally. But broken down by party, the poll shows support for removing the President at 82 percent among Democrats, 47 among independents and 18 percent of Republicans who responded support ousting the President of office.

Now the Democratic controlled House at least appears more likely to be impeach the President. Some advice he got a few days ago looks more practical. Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican controlled Senate, reportedly suggested to the president he tone down his attacks on GOP senators. If he is impeached by the House, the Senate and the relatively thin Republican majority will then decide if he stays or has to go.

Kim Wehle is a former federal prosecutor and former associate independent council during the Watergate investigation. She is also the author of "how to read the constitution and why" and Margaret Talev is a CNN political analyst.

Ladies, good to have you both with us.

Margaret, President Trump is now serving as the lone architect of his defense strategy. The White House press secretary just said that the president quote "is the war room." He feels confident with the people he has in place. We don't feel the need for a war room. And we will see what happens, she said. Does everyone in the President's inner circle feel as confident about this strategy?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there are a lot of divisions inside the White House right now over things that have already happened. And one is that sort of original thing that has set this off, the release of the memo memorializing as close as exists as a transcript to that phone call of the President and president Zelensky. And There are other also divisions of strategy and approach of the chief of staff's office and the White House council's office and bad feelings about whether people are cut out of the loop.

But what this really all comes down to and everyone in the White House knows this and agrees on it is that the President is going to dictate the strategy and everyone else will have to try to pre-act the best they can and then respond after the fact. But it is certainly the President's style, number one, to always project confidence and number two, to always punch back. And so that's what we're seeing this week.

CABRERA: As the President projects confidence, Kim, he is saying he wants to read the transcript from his phone call with the Ukrainian president in a televised fireside chat. From a legal perspective, is that a good idea for him? Could he open himself up to more legal trouble by doing this?

[16:20:13] KIM WEHLE, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, legally, this would be

very different. Criminal defendant would probably enter a not guilty plea and presume their innocence or push that narrative.

This President has essentially said, yes, this happened and it seems like the defense is, so what? The defense in a legal standpoint can be procedural or what we say on the merits. That is, that there's process things that didn't work here and the case should go away. And if you don't win on that then you say, listen, it didn't happen. There's an alternative narrative. This isn't such a big deal.

It seems to be based on the summary of the call, based on some of the witness testimony as we have heard, based on his own White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney that the president did pressure or engaged some efforts to pressure a foreign government to start a criminal investigation into American citizens for personal political gain. And that is from an impeachment standpoint a problem because it's using the massive office of the presidency for his own political entrenchment of his power and not necessarily for the better of the American populous.

So it could work politically with this particular president. But if this were in a judicial process that would be as you suggest very, very bad strategy to come out and basically double down on the narrative that gives rise to some serious liability here for him.

CABRERA: And Margaret, even if the president himself feels in control of the defense. We are seeing Republicans in Congress seemingly struggling to answer questions about his conduct. I want you both to watch this exchange with Congressman Mark Amodei.


The substance of the things they have come out is that the President asked for a public investigation into his rivals and also Ukraine aid is being withheld. And Bill Taylor testified --

Your conclusion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, that's not my conclusion. I'm saying that's what's come out.

REP. MARK AMODEI (R-NV): A conclusion to me. So we disagree.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President has asked for the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens. Is that OK?

AMODEI: The President has asked for the whistleblower complaint to go through the normal processes and we have seen nothing of that. So beyond that when you say that you have made the conclusion, whatever, it is like you are a gifted guy because, guess what, it's not over and you already know what you think.


CABRERA: What does his response tell you, Margaret? TALEV: Well, Ana, so far, you know, the house Republicans and most

Senate Republicans have decided that they are going to stand by this President, support him. We were talking a minute ago about the difference of criminal proceedings and impeachment proceedings in Congress. It is not a criminal proceeding.

It is a political proceeding like by design, it is an entirely political proceeding. So there is no like -- it is not -- there is no rules like criminal proceeding. It is not the same kind of thing. And so if the President -- fellow Republicans in Congress, decide they want to stand by the President, they can. There's no reason why they can't do that. And that's certainly what we are seeing right now.

CABRERA: And according to multiple administration officials, Kim, two of the President's allies, GOP congressmen Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, are informally advising the White House now on the impeachment inquiry, specifically the reported aspects of the testimonies given so far which, by the way, have been in the skiff, right? That's a secret room. They are supposed to be kept secret. It is kind of where they talk about classified information. So are they taking any legal risks by sharing information with the White House?

WEHLE: Hard to know what they are actually sharing. And the extent to which there are laws that govern that process. The question always is, with all of this, and I talk about this in the book, is what are the consequences for violating norms and violating rules? If there are no consequences, if there's no pushback from the justice department, for example, from -- which would mean the courts, from the political process, from Congress with this President, from the political process for members of Congress that are violating norms, if there's no pushback then the rules go out the window.

And that's why this is political true but it seems like some members of Congress on the Republican side could take a broader view of this and ask themselves how is this affecting the structure of our government? And essentially the message seems to be, if this president has unlimited power, this presidency, to do whatever he wants, however he wants, regardless of how it harms people or how it breaks down norms, we are OK with it. And that's a problem because then we are creating an office itself that has no limits. And that, of course, undermines the entire structure of our government.

I just wanted to add one other thing with respect to the whistleblower. I think House Democrats have to be careful to make sure that the people's identity remains confidential because the third strategy, one being procedure, one being answering on the merit which is the Republicans haven't mustered yesterday, the third would be to divert it to being about the whistle-blower and people need to understand the statute proceeds the constitution itself. It's bedrock concept of our government and the person is out of the loop right now. The issue is the facts that come out in the open hearings.


CABRERA: OK. Kim Wehle and Margaret Talev, thank you both for your insights and your expertise. Good to have you here. WEHLE: Thank you.

CABRERA: New reporting of how U.S. border agents sounding the alarm on breaches of President Trump's new border wall. Details next.



CABRERA: Border agents say smugglers in Mexico are sawing through parts of President Trump's border wall creating openings just wide enough for people and drugs to come through. That's according to "the Washington Post" which has border agents told them the smugglers' saws cut through steel and concrete barriers in a matter of minutes. The Post says the smugglers then try to make it look like the holes have been fixed so they can keep using these openings.

The President Trump's signature promise was to build the wall. And he said in September, he touted it as being virtually impenetrable. A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection declined to comment on this report.

Meanwhile, there seems to be some confusion about who's leading the Department of Homeland Security. Yesterday, President Trump suggested that Chad Wolf, an official of the department, was the acting secretary. But that position is still being held by Kevin McAleenan, who announced his plans to resign three weeks ago.

Last night, the White House tried to clear things up, saying McAleenan would be leaving on November 11th, on Veteran's Day, and Wolf would then serve as acting secretary.

This, as President Trump insists the situation for migrants along the U.S. border with Mexico is improving. But in reality, the humanitarian crisis is significantly worse. At least in some places.

CNN's Nick Valencia got a firsthand look at conditions in one makeshift tent camp.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In this migrant camp in Matamoros, Mexico, the suffering is everywhere.


VALENCIA: Angela, the mother of this sick two-year-old, says that two months ago they cross into the United States seeking asylum. After three days in U.S. custody, they were put on a bus and driven into Mexico.

It's part of the Trump administration's migrant protection protocols. A policy which now requires migrants, like her, to remain in Mexico for their asylum cases to be called on, if they cross illegally or without proper documentation.

More than 55,000 people are now scattered in camps all throughout the U.S./Mexico border.


VALENCIA (on camera): He says she's really worried about her kids. They're not getting enough water. They're not living a very healthy life right now.

(voice over): The camps are overseen by the Mexican government, which is publicly committed to protecting the migrants. But their asylum proceedings and, in many ways, their fate is entirely controlled by the United States.

MATTHEW ALBENCE, ACTING ICE DIRECTOR: What we have seen, which is consistent with my experience, as we have seen time and time again, that when individuals cannot come into this country illegally, and be released from detention, the numbers of those individuals that try to come to this country decreases.

VALENCIA (on camera): This is as a result of U.S. policy?

ROCHELLE GARZA, STAFF ATTORNEY, ACLU OF TEXAS: Yes. This entire encampment, these conditions, the deaths, these drownings, all of it is a result of U.S. policy.

VALENCIA (voice over): ACLU of Texas staff attorney, Rochelle Garza, says the migrants are being denied due process. She says their fate is being decided in an unprecedented way in makeshift tent courts.

The policy is being challenged in court. But, for now, is being allowed to proceed.

The Department of Homeland Security has credited the program with slowing the flow of migrants at the border.

VALENCIA (on camera): You hear the president say that things have gotten better on the border and then we walk through scenes like this.

GARZA: It's gotten better because they feel like they've gotten rid of the problem, right? It's out of --

VALENCIA: It's just sort of shutting it five feet from our border.

GARZA: -- out of sight out of mind. And it's right at our doorstep of the United States. And this is entirely our fault, this whole thing, how these people are living.

VALENCIA (voice over): This is what life has come to for 42-year-old Avelina Makia (ph). Like most mornings for the last three months, the Honduran migrant can be found here on the banks of the Rio Grande, washing her clothes in the same filthy and contaminated water that others are now using to bathe.


VALENCIA (on camera): She says she knows that the water is dirty, but they themselves can't be dirty. They need to still keep some dignity. VALENCIA (voice over): But migrants here told us it's hard to keep

their dignity when you're forced into a situation like this. A place where the camp grows every day, and the few resources available are used up.

Today, one of the biggest problems, there were only a handful of bathrooms for the more than 2,000 migrants who call this camp home.

VALENCIA (on camera): What can't be translated on camera is the smell. There's not enough bathrooms for all the migrants that are here. And all around us in this encampment, like here, toilet paper and human feces everywhere.

VALENCIA (voice over): For some, like this couple told us, life is worse here than in their home country of Guatemala.

VALENCIA (on camera): So you're with your wife and your three-year- old and you were all kidnapped together?

VALENCIA (voice over): They don't want their faces seen because they say they were recently kidnapped and extorted by suspected cartels while living in Mexico.

VALENCIA (on camera): This man says he's thinking about going back because it's been a lot of time spent here and they're getting sick.

VALENCIA (voice over): Going back to a country they fled because of violence, only for it to follow them. Now living in questionable conditions, they're scared for their lives.

VALENCIA (on camera): What is your worst fear at this point?

GARZA: I fear for every single human being that I've talked to. I fear for their lives.

VALENCIA: You fear that they won't be able to make it out of here alive?


VALENCIA (voice-over): Nick Valencia, CNN, Matamoros, Mexico.



CABRERA: To southern California now where several hundred firefighters are struggling to contain this wildfire, which has already burned nearly 10,000 acres. We're there live, next.


CABRERA: Returning home to nothing. It's the reality thousands of families in California are up against as firefighters work tirelessly to extinction more than a dozen fires burning in the state right now. In fact, all over the state, new wildfires continue to pop up. Most are more than half contained.

CNN's Athena Jones is Ventura County where the Maria fire broke out Thursday night, is nowhere near containment.

Athena, what more can you tell us?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. Well, the good news is that this fire is now 20 percent contained. That's progress from last night when it was zero percent contained. So there's been progress made.

But the dry conditions remain. That is why this area is still under a red-flag warning until 6:00 p.m. local time.

You can see behind me in this riverbed, trees very, very burned or at least charred.

We are in Somis, California, a largely agriculture area. And we're surrounded by either citrus orchards or avocado orchards. These orchards are these peoples' livelihood. So the firefighters are working to make sure that those fires go out. So 1,300 fire personnel working on this fire as of right now -- Ana?


CABRERA: OK. Athena Jones, thank you for that update.

President Trump has always been known as a New Yorker. But now Trump says he's changing his permanent residence from Trump Tower to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Details on what's behind his sudden move, next.


CABRERA: It appears President Trump doesn't want to be a New Yorker anymore. Court documents show he and first lady, Melania, have change their permanent address to Trump's Mar-A-Lago in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Trump saying the decision is in part because he has been, quote, "treated very badly by politicians" in New York. But the move from Fifth Avenue to the Sunshine State is raising a lot of questions about taxes.

David Cay Johnston joins us now. He's an investigative reporter and the author of two books, "The Making of Donald Trump" and "It Is Even Worse Than You Think."

David, what do you think was the biggest motivating factor in the president's decision to relocate?


DAVID CAY JOHNSTON, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER & AUTHOR: Well, I think this is twofold. It allows Donald to rile up his base by saying, oh, those terrible liberal anti-business New Yorkers are mistreating me, auditing him and trying to audit him.

Secondly, however, Donald, who is not a billionaire -- there's never been a scintilla of evidence he is a billionaire -- is always in need of cash. And by moving to Florida, if he needs to sell properties in New York, he will be in a better position to do so.

And I think his three-story apartment in Trump Tower will go in the neighborhood of $50 million.

CABRERA: So you think it's a financial move?

JOHNSTON: Yes. We know that Donald's businesses are in trouble. His three golf courses in United Kingdom are losing money. And a witness testifying for him on the Doral in Miami, where he wanted the hold the G-7, told local authorities, in an effort to get lower property taxes, that the business is doing poorly and the problem is the Trump brand.

So the only place he's got that's doing gang busters is Trump hotel just down the street from the White House, which on Inauguration Day, he stopped in front of on the way to the White House to signal to people who wanted favors from his administration that that was the place to show and pay tribute.

CABRERA: But couldn't this all be purely political? Florida's a swing state. New York isn't. Even cited in the tweet, there's no love lost between New York politicians and the president. Wouldn't he be maybe more welcome there?

JOHNSTON: Well, Ana, that's why the first point I went to is this one dealing with the base. And, yes, he is hoping this will encourage Florida voters who support him to turn out because it's a key state he has to win to get a second term. He needs enough Electoral College votes for a second term.

But don't ever miss, with Donald, the motivation of money. He is not a wealth builder. He is a cash extractor. And periodically, he runs into problems with not having enough cash flow coming in.

And right now, we are seeing the Trump name come off of things. The two ice rinks in the parks, the buildings earlier on the west side of New York. The Trump Soho is no longer the Trump Soho. His brand is not doing well and has not got the income he needs to support the spending he does.

CABRERA: Again, playing devil's advocate, since taking office, he's spent five times more time in Florida than in New York. And the "New York Times" said the reason for this move is primarily tax purposes, not necessarily to, you know, escape a tax investigation or because he feels like he wants -- you know, he needs the money necessarily when it comes to highlighting one place over another or selling real estate.

We know the taxes in Florida would probably be less, right? There's no state income tax, for example.

JOHNSTON: There is no state income tax. But New York will tax his New York source income. And he's still going to be taxed in New Jersey with his country club, in Illinois, where he has Trump Tower and, in California, with his golf course that he's claimed is worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars. In one forum and in another less than 10.

All those states, tax income from those sources. So he's not going to escape those taxes by moving.

And he's certainly not going to reduce the prospect, believed to be very soon, sued or indicted by the attorney general of New York, who ran for office promising to investigate him on it, or by sidelining the district attorney of Manhattan who has a grand jury investigating Trump's finances.

CABRERA: Quickly, if you will, I know it's complicated, but as precisely as you can, what is the status of those investigations? What do we know about them?

JOHNSTON: The courts have not ruled for Trump at all in the Cy Vance cases. Letitia James, the state attorney general, does not need court order to get his taxes. She can get them from the state. The governor, some time ago, signaled it was OK with him for her to get them.

I anticipate that, before too long, we are going to see some kind of action against Trump over his taxes.

And Cuomo, interestingly when he said good riddance, also said something along the lines of, if he pays taxes in New York, which I thought was an interesting tell from Andrew Cuomo.

CABRERA: We don't have the tax returns to fact-check it.


CABRERA: Thank you so much, David Cay Johnston.



CABRERA: We're back in just a minute.


CABRERA: Putting coal miners back to work, that is a promise President Trump made during his 2016 campaign. That's proving harder and harder to keep. After the largest private coal miner in the U.S. filed for bankruptcy last week, it appears that the coal industry is in deep trouble, which could also spell trouble for Trump in 2020.

CNN's Tom Foreman reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Through the whole crumbling kingdom of coal, the bankruptcy of Murray Energy is sending shock waves. As the largest private coal mining operation in America, Murray, long painted a rosy picture of the industry.

NARRATOR: This is high-quality coal produced through the efforts of nearly 7,000 people.

FOREMAN: Even as President Trump promised to help struggling coal communities everywhere.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to put our coal miners back to work.


FOREMAN: To be sure, those communities needed the encouragement. The market for coal is in a sharp decline for a dozen years and exports are down 28 percent from just a year ago as cheaper, as cheaper, cleaner fuel sources have surged.

So the head of Murray Energy, Robert Murray, jumped on the Trump train early, blaming his foes for policies promoting alternative fuels.

ROBERT MURRAY, CEO, MURRAY ENERGY: Barack Obama and his Democrat followers are destroying entire segments of America.

FOREMAN: Many voters in towns hit hard by mine closings and job losses believed in the hope Trump offered, at least early on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was very positive for coal where others weren't.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe he wants to take care of us, the little people.

FOREMAN: Trump put a former coal lobbyist in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency, rolled back regulations.

TRUMP: Miners get ready because you're going to be working our asses off. All right?


FOREMAN: Robert Murray pushed policy ideas at Trump and cheered.

MURRAY: Of course, he'll bring the jobs back. He is doing wonderful things.

FOREMAN: None of it worked. Murray himself has now lost his job as CEO. The company he founded in a fight for its life. And government forecasters expect U.S. power plants to use less coal next year than at any time since Jimmy Carter was president.

TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.


TRUMP: Thank you.



CABRERA: That was our Tom Foreman reporting.

We'll be right back.


CABRERA: "DECLASSIFIED, UNTOLD STORIES OF AMERICAN SPIES" is back tomorrow with an all-new episode. We get a look inside the case of a would-be spy who used unbreakable codes and buried classified information to try to sell America's secrets to its biggest enemies. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: During the proffer of the government and his attorneys, they hinted that there was a lot of national security information that he had buried.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found out that he would steal classified paper documents and he took those and he buried them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would print anything with a classification on it he felt was important enough for a foreign adversary and leave the building with them and then to his credit he was never detected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Once he buried them, his plan was to try to sell them to hostile intelligence service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not only is it buried treasure, it is our national treasure, sources, methods. That's what Bryant had and we had to find them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The last thing you want to do is have that unsecured somewhere that nobody knows where it is and so then the negotiations started.



CABRERA: Make sure you tune in Sunday night at 11:00 Eastern and Pacific, right here on CNN.