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Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) Discusses Laying Out Case for Impeachment, Deval Patrick Considering Entering 2020 Race; Biden Blasts Warren's "Elitist" Attitude on Medicare For All; Supreme Court Hears Arguments on DACA's Future; Former President Jimmy Carter Recovering from Brain Surgery. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 12, 2019 - 11:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: So one other thing I'm hearing from Manu's great reporting is that Republicans are going to try to poke holes in, let's say, Ambassador Bill Taylor's testimony. And the of doing so is saying he that essentially didn't hear any of this firsthand, he misunderstood what the president's intentions were.

It sounds like the point being that they are going to be leaning hard into the fact that they don't see a direct link from -- to the president in the testimony so far. Do they have a point?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): No. Look, first, to hear the president talking about all the time, no quid pro quo, no quid pro quo, no quid pro quo. Now the Republicans basically are saying, well, maybe there was a quid pro quo, but that's not impeachable. So as the facts and the evidence comes out, they start to change their story in regard to that.

So here we have a scenario also where you have patriots, individuals who basically, when you look at their integrity it's unquestionable. So what they try to do is attack the patriot.

Look at Ambassador Sondland, for example. He came in and tried to protect the president.


MEEKS: And then he realized, well, look, I could be in trouble. So he had to come back and tell the truth.

And I think that's the reason why the president continues to try to prevent others, like Mulvaney, like Bolton, and others, who we would love to hear were on the call, in part and parcel, of this whole scenario.

BOLDUAN: What do you make of -- what do you make of what is the strangest kind of thing that has happened. Mulvaney not showing up for his interview as he was subpoenaed. Then saying he wanted a judge to decide whether he should answer a congressional subpoena or listen to direction from his boss. And now, this morning, saying he's no longer going to be asking a

judge to decide. He'll be following the direction of the White House.

MEEKS: It's called panic. That's what it's called. It's called individuals closest to the president --


BOLDUAN: Do you need Mick Mulvaney to execute a case against the president?

MEEKS: No. I think if the president prevents his individuals from talking, then we have to look at the obstruction that the president is utilizing.

It's clear that the president is trying to prevent individuals who are close to him because -- you know what I really think? I think those individuals have looked in the past. They've looked at the Nixon impeachment and saw that everyone but Nixon went to jail.


MEEKS: So I think --


MEEKS: -- self-preservation.

BOLDUAN: I just want to ask you quick. Something I keep in my office because I keep looking at it is the statement that Speaker Pelosi made in March to the "Washington Post" about impeachment of the president and how serious it was.

"Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path because it divides the country. And he's just not worth it."

That was in March. She cared about it being bipartisan for the good of the country in March. Do you not care about it being bipartisan anymore?

There are zero cracks that we are seeing publicly that it is becoming anything more bipartisan.

MEEKS: There were zero cracks with Nixon for a long time, too. What we have here is a scenario where we had a whistleblower.


MEEKS: And the whistleblower came out with evidence and things that we did not know. And everything that the whistleblower basically has said has been corroborated.

So therefore now I would hope that my Republican friends and colleagues would now stand up and be the patriots and look and face the facts. My hope is that, maybe they're not doing it in the House, but at the time that it goes to the Senate, there will be some additional pressure on Senators to make sure that they do the right thing.

Because you're hearing them change now, you know, no quid pro quo, well, quid pro quo, but maybe it's not impeachable. That's what -- you know, so their story is continuing to change.


MEEKS: We know we have a president that, last count, he's lied over 10,000 times so you know he's a liar.


BOLDUAN: Not to see -- we'll have to see the impact of the hearings.

Really quickly, total left turn to politics. I wanted to get your take on what sources are saying, is that Deval Patrick could be considering, is making some phone calls about possibly getting into the Democratic primary so late in the game.

MEEKS: Look, we've got some great candidates and I'm not going to be the one to preclude anyone from jumping in or jumping out. I think individuals have to make their individual decisions.

I, for one, have not decided on a presidential candidate. I'm listening to all. I want to make sure that we have the best candidate.

But one thing I do know, one thing I do know --


BOLDUAN: What about Deval Patrick?

MEEKS: One thing I do know, he'll be much better than Donald Trump.


BOLDUAN: That is -- from your -- that is like a complete dodge. That is Greg Meeks telling me no comment.

MEEKS: He will be much better -- all of our candidates are better than Donald Trump.


MEEKS: He has to make that decision himself.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thanks for coming in.


BOLDUAN: We'll see how everything plays out tomorrow and beyond.

Really appreciate your time.

Still ahead for us, the crowded Democratic 2020 field could get a little more crowded. Former Governor Deval Patrick considering a run. But is more -- is more choice for voters in the Democratic Party right now really what voters want?


We'll be right back.


BOLDUAN: Joe Biden is pulling no punches right now. The former vice president taking center stage in a CNN town hall in Iowa last night, taking on the criticism from his presidential rivals when it comes to how to fix the health care system and much more.

And also he had this to say about the recent back and forth over Medicare For All with Elizabeth Warren.



JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's get something straight. She attacked me. She went out and said Biden -- she didn't use my name, any more than I used hers. She said Biden is a coward. Biden, Biden is, in fact, in the pocket of. Biden is -- and she went down the list of saying that I should be in a Republican primary.

The attitude that we know better than ordinary people what's in their interest, I know more than you, let me tell you what do.


BIDEN: And it wasn't she's elitist, but the attitude is elitist.


BOLDUAN: And it is possible -- it is -- and it is also possible that both Biden and Warren may be facing even more competition in the Democratic primary, as we previously discussed.

Sources tell CNN the former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is now weighing whether he should jump in.

This that is in addition to the moves that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is weighing as he is thinking of the same.

Joining me now, chief politics reporter of the "Des Moines Register, Brianne Pfannenstiel.

It's great to see you again, Brianne.


How is this back and forth between Biden and Warren playing among Democratic voters in Iowa? What do you hear about this?

PFANNENSTIEL: Well, there's a real tension among likely Democratic caucus-goers right now over health care and really the two visions of it that they're presenting, whether it's the all-in Medicare For All that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are envisioning or a more scaled back public option type Medicare For All who wants it plan of Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg.

So there's attention policy-wise, but now we're getting into style and presentation and this back and forth.


PFANNENSTIEL: As we've gotten closer to caucus day, we're seeing them take the gloves off a little bit and are more combative in the way they're presenting these options.

In some respects, I think the voters are responding to it, those who agree with Joe Biden. But there's been some criticism of it as being a sexist way of attacking her, that she's angry and that she is, you know, condescending in a way of a criticism that may not be levied against a man.

We're going to wait and see how they play out over the next couple of weeks.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

And there was a really touching and deeply emotional moment during the town hall when Joe Biden talked about the encounters that he encounters, he has on the trail with caucus-goers and people about loss and grief. Let me play it.


BIDEN: You know, it happens to me hundreds of times on the trail. People just want to know, can I make it, can I make it, am I going to be OK. And they will welcome a time, if any of you who are going through it, where the thought of the person you lost will bring a smile to the lip before you it brings a tear to the eye.

That's when you know you'll be able to make it. That's when you'll know. But it's hard. And it gives me some -- it gives me some sense of purpose when I'm able to be of some help.


BOLDUAN: What do you think of that? What do you think -- how is that connected with caucus-goers in Iowa?

PFANNENSTIEL: Well, I think it's a way -- a really powerful way that the former vice president has connected with Iowans here. You know, this is kind of a campaign trail staple of his. Sometimes

he'll ask people to raise hands if they've lost loved ones to cancer or other illnesses, it's immediately connecting that takes people away from politics to something very personal.

So Joe Biden has a long history in Iowa and he's kept up these relationships with people over decades in some case who's have experienced very similar things.

So we've really seen him connect with people on a personal level over grief and this is one thing that people will say is a true strength of his, just being able to connect with people on a very human level that transcends politics.

BOLDUAN: And that speaks to those relationships that Iowa caucus- goers value so much.

Let's talk about kind of something very different in regard to this relationship. Sources are saying that Deval Patrick is considering getting into the race.

In your experience, can someone getting into the race at this point make end roads with Iowa caucus-goers before the caucus is three months out?

PFANNENSTIEL: I think I'd be really surprised to see someone make deep inroads this late. You know, at "The Register," we've been covering this race for more than a year when people started coming to Iowa and really laying the groundwork. So they're deeply embedded in these communities not just that but people on the ground and knowing the landscape. But that would be surprising.

But the thing about the caucus is anything is possible. One thing I will say is I'm not hearing a clambering from Iowans for more candidates.

If anything, we polled last June about the size of the field and likely Democratic caucus-goers told us at the time they wanted fewer candidates. Three out of four said the field was too large and they hoped candidates would drop out.


Now that we're seeing the race grow a little bit, we'll see whether Iowans are interested in both of those candidates.

BOLDUAN: Fascinating.

Good to see you, Brianne. Thanks so much for your reporting.


BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, the fate of 700,000 DREAMers is now in the hands of the Supreme Court. We're going to go live outside the -- outside the highest court in the land for an update on the president's legal fight to end DACA. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BOLDUAN: All right. Right now, the future of nearly 700,000 young people is on the line and in the hands of the Supreme Court. The court just wrapped up oral arguments about DACA, the Obama-era program that provides protection for undocumented immigrants who meet certain standards who were brought here to the United States as children.

CNN's Jessica Schneider joins me from outside the court.

You were inside, Jessica. What did you hear from the justices?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Kate, it really was a technical argument inside the court the last hour and a half.

It's out here on the steps of the Supreme Court that we're seeing the passion and the humanity about what is exactly in stake for these 700,000 DREAMers who really have been held in legal limbo for the past two years when the Trump administration announced it wanted to rescind DACA.

Inside the court, we really saw these arguments shape up along ideological lines. We saw the liberal justices really hammered the administration about the way they tried to rescind this policy.

And, in fact, Justice Sonia Sotomayor even waded into politics somewhat, sort of criticizing the president. Here's what she said. She said, "The president told DREAMers they were safe and he would find a way to keep them here. He didn't."

That was on the liberal side of things.

When it comes to the conservative justices, it appears potentially at least two justices could be in play, the Chief Justice John Roberts as well as the junior-most justice, Brett Kavanaugh.

Their questioning indicated that maybe they haven't completely decided as to whether or not the Trump administration rescinded this policy in the right way and given the adequate explanations for it.

The chief justice talked about the fact the agencies have discretion in maybe rolling back the DACA policy. And Justice Kavanaugh talked about agency discretion as well and leaving this up to the agencies.

You'll remember, Kate, it was the census case where Chief Justice John Roberts was sort of was the wild card here, saying the agencies did have discretion in the census case but didn't roll it out the right way.

So the question is, will the chief justice come down the same lines here and maybe rule with the liberal justices?

This is all uncertain at this point. We're expecting possibly a ruling around the time of June, which, of course, would be at the height of the 2020 election, once again, injecting into the 2020 election -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: I'm glad you were inside to hear those arguments.

Thank you, Jessica. I really appreciate it.

Coming up for us, former President Jimmy Carter is recovering from brain injury. Sanjay Gupta is up next on the latest Carter's condition.



BOLDUAN: Prayers are going out this morning for Jimmy Carter. The former president is recovering after an operation this morning to relieve pressure on his brain.

The Carter Center issued a statement saying there were no complications from the procedure but that he will stay in the hospital for observation.

Let me bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta for more on this.

Thank you for being here, Sanjay.


BOLDUAN: What more are you learning about his condition and the procedure?

GUPTA: We know the operation took place this morning, lasted just under a couple of hours. And we get an idea of exactly what was causing that pressure on the brain.

I think we have an image here that I can show you. Basically what you're looking at is, if you look in that upper right corner there, that's a blood collection, a pool of blood, that is pushing on the brain. It's causing that pressure on the brain that we heard about, and the operation is designed to basically remove that pressure.

Let me show you quickly, Kate, this is a procedure that's commonly done by neurosurgeons. It's a skull, obviously. A couple openings in the skull are placed there to allow that fluid to come out and to take the pressure off of the brain. That's what he had done this morning.

Most likely he had been dealing with this for some time, Kate, for a few days. This isn't typically something that happens overnight. It may have been response to these falls he had earlier last month.

But right now, we know he's resting comfortably after the operation.

BOLDUAN: So, Sanjay, President Carter is 95 years old, I believe. What does recovery look like for him? Obviously, it's different for someone who is far younger.

GUPTA: It is. You know, and it's interesting, Kate, sometimes I'll say you measure people by their physiological age as opposed to their chronological age. He's been through a lot. This has been a tough year. He broke his hip in May, he's had these falls, had a broken pelvis.

But after this type of procedure, typically -- first of all, a lot of procedures are done on older people because they are more likely to be the ones that get these subdurals. And recovery can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days in the hospital. And then after that he might need rehabilitation for some time.

When you have a blood collection like this pushing on the brain, it can also cause some weakness on the opposite side of the body as well. So that may be some of the reason for the rehabilitation.

But it's still very much in the early stages after the operation. I think we'll have more information in the next few hours or so.

BOLDUAN: It's always so good to have you here on anything like this. And we all send our best wishes to the president and his family.



BOLDUAN: Thank you so much, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thank you guys so much for joining me today.