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Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA) is Interviewed on Impeachment; Biden Knocks Warren; Carter undergoing Operation Today; Supreme Court Hears DACA Arguments. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired November 12, 2019 - 09:30   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Front and center.


REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): I didn't come to Washington to impeach the president, but I also didn't spend 20 years in the Navy to allow our Constitution to be trampled on.

I will swear solemnly.

And people might say, well, why would you do that? You might not get re-elected. I don't care because I did the right thing.


Joining me now is Congresswoman Elaine Luria of Virginia. She sits on the Armed Services Committee.

Congresswoman, we appreciate you taking the time this morning.

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Well, thanks for having me.

SCIUTTO: So watching your ad there, it infuses this question that members of the House are being presented with. From your perspective, with your sense of duty, particularly as a Navy veteran, this is one of the most solemn duties a sitting lawmaker has would be to vote to remove, to impeach and remove a president from office.

Have you seen enough evidence to date to justify such a vote?

LURIA: Well, I can tell you that what I've seen, what I've heard and what I learn each time I read one of these newly released transcripts is that I believe the president has committed impeachable offenses. I think that as we move into the public hearings and we understand more and more the full scope and what the actual words in those articles of impeachment will be, I will prepare myself to make that, you know, hard decision for that vote.

But like in the part of the ad you played, I didn't come to Washington to impeach the president. None of us ever wanted to be in this situation. And, you know, truly I heard you say in the teaser that, you know, this was a campaign ad. This is, you know, truly not about getting me re-elected. I don't even have an opponent currently. It's about putting out a message about, you know, the duty that we take as lawmakers, as people who serve in the military.

I represent a district here in coastal Virginia where there's hundreds of thousands, one out of every five people is either a veteran, an active duty military member or the family member thereof. And, you know, truly this is something that resonates at the core of our community, taking this oath because, you know, so many people have taken that solemn oath and that responsibility.

SCIUTTO: We see some of the ships parked there behind you.

It does appear that Democratic leadership here, by setting an ambitious timeline of having the inquiry complete by Thanksgiving, perhaps, and a vote by Christmas, that they're following a political timeline here to have this wrapped up before the primaries start. Conscious that it appears there may be limited patience, public patience, with a longer proceeding.

Does that fulfill the duty you describe in your ad for Democrats to accelerate that timeline?

LURIA: You know, I don't have a whole lot of comment on the exact timeline. You know, as we learn more evidence, it might take longer than that. I think that, you know, the three committees, Democrats and Republicans alike, who are questioning witnesses, taking these depositions and getting this information out to the public are going to go with the information. And if there's more that needs to be uncovered, they'll take the time to do that.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you then, looking forward, because you're someone who is -- who flipped a district. You're taking a political risk here, right, knowing that many voters, and I'm sure you hear this from constituents, have more pressing issues on their mind. I'm sure you hear a lot about health care. I'm sure you hear about wages, wage fairness.

When you hear that from constituents to say, listen, why aren't you focusing on other stuff, drug prices, what's your answer to them?

LURIA: Well, you know, honestly, I did two town halls this week. And the topic of impeachment did come up at one of them. But we spent time talking about a myriad of issues. Forty-four miles of sewer line on the eastern shore, new rules for agricultural workers and permanent residency.

We talked about prescription drug costs. We talked about early childhood education. So if I can say that in an accumulative amount of three hours of, you know, publicly having a discourse with the constituents in our district, the, you know, impeachment came up, you know, rather briefly at one of those two town halls that people, obviously, know and are hearing that we're doing a lot of legislating.

And like I mentioned the large number of veterans here in Hampton Rhodes, we've done a lot of good work this year for veterans. We passed the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act so Vietnam era veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange will have coverage from the VA. We're working on veteran suicide. I've introduced legislation that was signed by the president that got a pay raise for disabled veterans, a cost of living adjustment. I mean we are doing a lot of good work.

And I think the people across the district know and see that because we're talking about that. It's not like we're focused solely on this.


LURIA: And the committees that I'm on, Armed Services and Veterans Affairs, you know, we continue to move forward with the work that we always do.

SCIUTTO: OK. But Americans, of course, will see how the next two months are consumed by the impeachment hearing.

Just a final question, because the White House has stonewalled on key witnesses in this. Those closest to the president, chief of staff, national security adviser, et cetera.


Can Democrats credibly make the case to impeach and remove this president from office without witnesses who testified to the president's direct knowledge of and involvement in this case here with Ukraine, call it quid pro quo, call it bribery.

How can they do that without those direct witnesses?

LURIA: I think there have been a lot of witnesses and they've all provided corroborating evidence to this point. And as we receive more testimony, we will hear more of that. And I know that the court case is pending, determining whether the subpoena must be honored. And I'm tracking closely on that. And I hope that we'll hear from more people and some of the people who, you know, are refusing to appear now after the result of that court case. But, you know, I think that there's enough evidence out there to be very convincing at this point.

SCIUTTO: Congresswoman Elaine Luria, thanks so much for joining the show.


Former Vice President Joe Biden has a message for his competitor Senator Elizabeth Warren on health care, let Americans choose, do not choose for them.



SCIUTTO: It's tight in the Democratic race and former Vice President Joe Biden Is stepping up his attacks on Senator Elizabeth Warren's Medicare for all plan. This at CNN's town hall.


ERIN BURNETT, MODERATOR: What specifically is elitist about how she's pursuing Medicare for all?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, the attitude that we know better than ordinary people what's in their interest. I know more than you, let me tell you what you do. I know it. And it wasn't she's an elitist. The attitude is elitist. That people can't make up their own minds.

Where I come from, growing up in a middle class neighborhood, the last thing I liked is people telling my family and me what we should know, what we should believe, as if somehow we weren't informed, that we -- just because we didn't have money we weren't knowledgeable. I resent that.


HARLOW: Errol Louis is with us, CNN political commentator, host of the podcast "You Decide."

Good morning, Errol.


HARLOW: What do you think? Is that going to be effective? Because Jim was pointing out earlier, and he's right, Elizabeth Warren's feeling a little more pressure in the polls and she was unable on the stage to explain how she's going to pay for it. Then she comes out with a $20 trillion price tag, which even some of her fellow Democrats say is, you know, pretty low.

Is this an effective line for Joe Biden to say, you're not letting Americans choose, you don't think they're wise enough?

LOUIS: That's right. I mean, look, the key words -- the three key words are, I resent that. That's the spirit in which -- that Donald Trump, frankly, rode to the White House. It's work for over 200 years. It's a reliable, tried and true method of organizing people politically as to say, I resent what these people are doing. They're looking down on us, you know, and he's sort of siding with the working class base of the Democratic Party and suggesting that his chief rival at this point, Elizabeth Warren, is maybe looking down on them, too.

SCIUTTO: Well, beyond that spin on it as it being elitist, polls do show that people don't like the idea of their employee -- if they have it, their employee-funded health care being taken away from them.

HARLOW: That's right.

SCIUTTO: So there's substance behind that charge because I think a lot of folks at home -- because sometimes you see this in the polling, don't know that that's an essential part of Medicare for all.

LOUIS: That's right. That's right. Look, this is -- this is being debated by the Democrats incessantly, perhaps to the -- to the detriment of the entire ticket, I must say, because, you know, I think everybody understands, as a general brand proposition, Democrats are going to push harder to make health care more affordable than their Republican rivals. HARLOW: Right.


LOUIS: And, on one level, that's kind of all you really need to know.

When they get into the ins and outs of it, though, yes, you're exactly right, I don't think most people understand that when you say Medicare for all, you're talking about the security -- I mean, we're right in the middle of the choosing period for next year. And anybody who has to do that for their family knows how much is at stake --


LOUIS: How difficult it is. How hard you're trying not to screw the whole thing up. To have a politician come along and say, you know what, we're going to take all of that away and we'll give you something else. And you ask, well, what is that going to be? Well, we don't know. Well, when's it going to happen? Well, it will take a few years. How much is it going to cost? Well, we're going to save some over here and so forth and so on. People don't want medical decisions about themselves and their loved ones to rest on those kind of propositions. So a Medicare for all is going to be a bit of a stretch. It sounds great to the Democratic base, but not everybody is part of the Democratic base.

SCIUTTO: $20 trillion stretch, yes.

HARLOW: I'm totally switching gears, but I'm fascinated by Deval Patrick and whether he's going to get into this thing after saying repeatedly he's not. And this follows a few days after Mike Bloomberg.

What I think a lot of people don't know about him is that he worked for Bain Capital. I mean he worked for a private equity firm and that really hung up Mitt Romney in the presidential run. He told Jake this summer, I've never taken a job where I left my conscience at the door and I haven't started now. But says, yes, I'm a capitalist.

Listen to this moment.


DEVAL PATRICK (D), FORMER GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS: I describe myself as a capitalist. I'm not a market fundamentalist. I don't think markets solve every problem just the right way. But I do believe in opportunity. I think -- I think we need an economy that is expanding and is expanding out so it reaches people on the margins, not just up. So it's good for people who already have wealth and have -- and just want more.


[09:45:04] HARLOW: What do you -- what do you think, does he get in, and what does it mean to have someone who, wealthy, says I am a capitalist, get into the race at this moment?

LOUIS: You know, I don't know if he gets in, but he reminds me in some ways, as far as his presentation, his background, his expertise, frankly, he had a great term as governor of Massachusetts --


LOUIS: Reminds me of Julian Castro or reminds me of Cory Booker, young, technocratic, you know, savvy, not playing the politics of resentment by and large, reminiscent in some ways of Barack Obama and so forth.

On the other hand, where the party is seems to be in a different place right now and that's why Castro and Booker are not doing so well. It's why Kamala Harris isn't polling so well. They seem to be a lot more angry, resentment will, in fact, sort of touch a nerve. I don't know what Deval Patrick has seen in the polls or what his advisers are telling him that makes him think, we need one more person in the mold of Obama, Buttigieg, you know, in the mold of a Cory Booker or a Kamala Harris. You know, we'll know in 83 days what the Iowa voters think.

HARLOW: There you go.

LOUIS: And, we'll see, maybe there is room for him there.

SCIUTTO: Errol Louis, thanks very much. Take care.

HARLOW: Thanks, Errol.

This just in, a blow to the gun industry. The Supreme Court will not block a lawsuit against Remington, of course the gun manufacturer. This is a lawsuit brought by the parents of victims of Sandy Hook and that massacre. Remington is the manufacturer of the semiautomatic rifle that was used in that mass shooting that killed 20 first grade children and six staff members.



HARLOW: Well, former President Jimmy Carter will undergo an operation today to relieve pressure on his brain.

SCIUTTO: He was admitted to an Atlanta hospital last night. The Carter Center says that pressure built up on the 95-year-old's brain. This after two recent falls.

CNN's Martin Savidge is live outside of Emery University Hospital with more.

Martin, is this considered life threatening? MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's certainly considered a

serious operation even given the fact that, well, just given the fact you're dealing with a 95-year-old man. On top of that, a man who has suffered a number of medical maladies.

He turned 95 October 1st and since then suffered a number of falls, as you point out, in his home in Plains, Georgia. As a result of those, that's what this operation is all about.

It should take about an hour. Knowing the way procedures work at Emery, they would have probably started early in the morning, when means we expect to get some kind of an update very shortly. And we anticipate that he'll probably have to stay in the hospital some time. The anesthesia is the real question here.

We know that his Sunday school has already announced, back in Plains, Georgia, he won't be teaching this Sunday and you know this former president, he is a big believer if his faith. He would be there if he could. So, clearly, the prayers and wishes of this nation right now are focused upon him. But as we've learned from his ways that he's survived in the past, any medical setbacks, he is a fighter and one tough person and former president.

We'll keep you posted.

HARLOW: Thank you, Marty. Talk about the definition of resilience. Remember when he fell, he went and built Habitat for Humanity homes that day because didn't want to miss it.


HARLOW: OK, we'll be right back.



HARLOW: We are minutes away from a very high stakes hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. President Trump is fighting to end the DACA program.

SCIUTTO: The program, as you may know, provides protections for more than 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children. Today's hearing is the culmination of more than two years of legal battles and protests. Their position in this country under threat.

CNN's Jessica Schneider joins us now from the Supreme Court.

Jessica, lower courts have kept this program alive. What do we know about how the Supreme Court's going to handle this?

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, these dreamers really have been left in legal limbo for the past two years, Jim and Poppy, so this really is a make or break moment for these 700,000 so-called dreamers who do rely on DACA to remain in this country and also to work.

You know, the real question here is going to be a very technical debate in front of these nine justices. It all revolves around the Administrative Procedure Act. But basically the question is whether or not the Trump administration adequately explained why it was ending this program.

So technical arguments inside, but I've talked to two of the plaintiffs here who are really hoping that the justices also focused on the human element here. Two of the plaintiffs I spoke with came here at ages 10 and 14. One of them is a mother on Long Island. She has two kids ages seven and 12. And she said that she considers herself American in every way except on paper.

Of course the Trump administration will argue that President Obama never had the legal authority to even implement DACA back in 2012. They'll say that they have every right to wind it down now. It will be up to these justices to decide if the Trump administration did it the right way. And, guys, a lot at stake here.

HARLOW: Jess, before you go, I do think it is intriguing that the court decided to hear this in had the first place, right, because it's an executive order by a president, which they're allowed to do. But what you're saying is that they're focusing on basically, did the administration make a strong enough argument to suspend this. Couldn't they just redraft a memo with a new, stronger argument?

SCHNEIDER: Well, they probably could do that eventually.


SCHNEIDER: But this executive order was immediately stopped by some of the lower courts, saying that you cannot yet wind down DACA.

What's interesting, Poppy, is that the Trump administration petitioned the Supreme Court saying we need emergency relief here, take up this case.


So the court decided to take up the case deciding this. So it's possible that the Trump administration