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Witness Says He Personally Heard Trump Demand Biden Investigation; Democrats Accuse Trump Of Witness Intimidation After Twitter Attack; Trump's Long-Time Political Ally, Roger Stone Found Guilty; Trump Intervenes In Military War Crime Cases; Trump Takes Tax Fight To The Supreme Court; Texas Appeals Court Block Rodney Reed Execution. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 16, 2019 - 07:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Testimony continuing with a closed-door deposition by an American embassy official, who overheard the president talking with the U.S. ambassador to the E.U. about investigations.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I then heard President Trump's ask, so he's going to do the investigation? Ambassador Sondland replied that he's going to do it, adding that President Zelensky will do "anything you asked him to." And Ambassador Sondland stated that the President only cares about the "big stuff" like the Biden investigation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Especially Yovanovitch, as we sit here testifying the President is attacking you at Twitter. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe (INAUDIBLE) work can be intimidating?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so at all.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND, with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: 7:01 right now on a Saturday morning, we're grateful to have you with us here. We have new details for you, in fact, in the impeachment inquiry. For the first time, a witness told lawmakers he personally heard President Trump demand Ukraine investigate the Bidens. He told, or he says, that the President was told that the Ukrainian president would do "anything you asked him to." VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: And a few hours from now, White House Budget Official Mark Sandy, he's set to answer questions in the inquiry. He's expected to talk about what he knows in this -- the President's decision to hold up aid to Ukraine.

PAUL: And former Trump political advisor, Roger Stone, found guilty on seven counts including lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstruction.

BLACKWELL: And the president's lawyers, they are gearing up for a fight; they're asking for the Supreme Court to block the release of his tax returns in at least two cases now.

PAUL: Well, covering the impeachment inquiry from all angles this morning, our reporters spread out across Washington. Good to see all of you. We want to start with CNN's Kristen Holmes, who's on Capitol Hill for us. Several key details coming out of David Holmes, closed door testimony. Talk to us about what we've learned and good morning.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi. Well, that's right. So, we're hearing from a lot of Democrats who believe this is critical testimony here and they say they think it could actually advance the impeachment inquiry.

So, let's take a step back on who David Holmes is and why this is so important. David Holmes is a staffer at Ukrainian embassy, and earlier this week, during that public testimony. It was learned that he overheard a conversation between President Trump and the ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland, directly talking about those investigations.

And I want to set the scene here just as Holmes did in his testimony. He said he was at a meal with Sondland and two other staffers when Sondland place to call to President Trump. He said he could hear the President even though the call was not on speakerphone because he was talking so loudly.

And then at one-point, Sondland actually had to pull the phone away from his ear because President Trump was so loud. And this is what he heard, he says: "Then, I heard President Trump asked, so he's going to do the investigation? Ambassador Sondland replied, he's going to do it, adding that President Zelensky will do anything you asked him to."

And then the conversation ends on the phone. However, it continues between Holmes and Sondland. What Holmes asked him: Is it true that the President doesn't care about Ukraine? And here's what Sondland replies according to Holmes, he says: that he only cares about the "big stuff that benefits the president, like the Biden investigation that Mr. Giuliani was pushing."

So, this again, seen as critical testimony to these Democrats. For several reasons, putting President Trump in the center of all of this. This is the first time someone has testifying that they actually heard from President Trump talking to Sondland.

And one more interesting thing here: Sondland never mentioned this phone call in his closed-door testimony. So, when he testifies again, they're going to be a lot of questions about this.

BLACKWELL: A lot of questions about his credibility. Kristen Holmes for us, thank you. Let's bring it now, CNN White House Reporter, Sarah Westwood. Sarah, this opening statement undermines a lot of justifications coming from the White House coming from allies on Capitol Hill. How is the White House responding to not only this development from David Holmes, but what we heard from Ambassador Yovanovitch and all what happened yesterday.

SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, Victor and Christi, President Trump and his allies, they are continuing to attack the impeachment inquiry, continuing to try to undermine the credibility of the witnesses that we've seen so far. That pattern continued yesterday when the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee with President Trump tweeting that "everywhere Yovanovitch had gone went bad."

[07:05:06] Now, Chairman Adam Schiff, who was conducting the hearing at the time, gave Yovanovitch a chance to respond to the President's attacks in real time. And she said, as we just heard, she did feel intimidated by the President's words. Now, most Republicans on the committee and elsewhere were defending the President's words, but some disagreed with the fact that the President decided to launch an attack on a witness as she was testifying.

For example, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee said she did not agree with the President's tweet. Democrats, meanwhile, are saying that this could be possible evidence of witness intimidation, potentially even an article of impeachment. That is something they will now consider. President Trump, though, defending himself by saying he was simply exercising his free speech rights yesterday. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you trying to intimidate Ambassador Yovanovitch?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I just want to have a total -- I want freedom of speech. That's a political process. The Republicans have been treated very badly. Quiet, quiet, quiet --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, do you believe your tweets and words can be intimidating?

TRUMP: I don't think so at all.


WESTWOOD: Now, campaign sources told CNN that they believed the President's attack on Yovanovitch was a mistake with one campaign source going as far to say that the president was idiotic to seed, the emotional narrative surrounding the hearing to Democrats yesterday, Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right, Sarah Westwood, so appreciate it this morning, Sarah, thank you.

BLACKWELL: With us now: Lauren Gambino, Political Correspondent for The Guardian, and CNN Legal Analyst Elie Honig. Elie is also a former Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York and former Federal and State Prosecutor. Welcome to you both.



BLACKWELL: Lauren, let me start with you. And as I discussed with Sarah, that this opening statement from David Holmes, undermined some of the major points that Republicans have tried to make that there was no first hand awareness of the President's thinking that their story about the president holding back the request for investigations. What does this statement from Holmes mean for the defense that Republicans are putting up for the president?

GAMBINO: Well, it was always going to be a dangerous defense because we knew on Wednesday, Gordon Sondland will be testifying, and he is one of the people on the call. So, I think this, you know, this really scrambles that that argument that that there aren't any people who bore witness to some of these key events.

So, I think, you know, Republicans, they've already been sent scrambling because Trump interrupted, you know, they're sort of strategy yesterday during yesterday's hearing. And I think now you're going to see them have to, you know, have to go back to the drawing board effectively, because now they do have this very, very powerful account if you know, if especially if others can, can confirm it that there were other people at the table.

BLACKWELL: Elie, let's remember what Gordon Sondland, a U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. said, this was during his initial testimony on October 17th. He said, "I recall, no discussions with any State Department or White House official about former Vice President Biden or his son, nor do I recall taking part in any effort to encourage an investigation into the Bidens."

Now, he didn't mention the conversation in his revision, a couple of weeks ago. There's potentially another witness to this phone call. I mean, is, is another revision credible? Talk about his challenges.

HONIG: Gordon Sondland has a major credibility problem. He had one right out of the gate when his initial account had several things in it that were immediately contradicted by other witnesses. He said he had heard of Burisma, but he didn't realize it was related to the Bidens.

He said, nobody ever approached him with any misgivings about what the president was doing with Ukraine. And promptly, several other witnesses in this case said, that's not true. Then, Victor, as you noted, Sondland had to come back and supplement, revise his testimony in a pretty key way to say: Actually, there was a quid pro quo; I kind of forgot about it. Now, I've been refreshed, the second time. Third time, I don't think

Congress is going to give him a chance to come back and say I want to amend what I have to say right now. Now, look, is he going to be contradicted on this restaurant phone conversation? We already have one witness. Apparently, there were two other aides at that lunch along with the person who's come forward. So, if you have three different witnesses saying that conversation happened, and I heard it, I think there's a pretty strong case that Sondland has lied, and I think he needs to think hard about whether he has liability for perjury here and might need to take the Fifth Amendment.

BLACKWELL: Let's turn now to Ambassador Yovanovitch. Her testimony yesterday, took up most of the day. But there's one question that Republicans had some difficulty answering. I want you to listen to this as a portion of the testimony and then a bit of a news conference with Congressman Jim Jordan afterward. Watch.


YOVANOVITCH: I, obviously, don't dispute that the President has the right to withdraw an ambassador at any time, for any reason. But what I do wonder is why it was necessary to smear my reputation?


REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Oh, I wasn't asking you about that that data, but thank you very much ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She testified in the smear campaign of false attacks against her, do you believe her?


BLACKWELL: No answer from either of those, those congressmen. Lauren, how much -- let's start with the President's tweet yesterday maligning the ambassador, how much did that complicate the strategy for Republicans?

GAMBINO: You can feel it right there. I mean, it changed everything. You know, the moment Schiff read that tweet to her and she was given the chance to respond. You could, it was just a very emotional, visceral reaction. And I think, you know, (INAUDIBLE) is not what Republicans wanted the president to do.

They were trying to sort of raise questions about why she was even relevant to this impeachment inquiry. And then you know, you've got the president coming out and you know, what he said he was defending himself against, against her testimony. And so then, you know, he really is putting himself right at the center of this and, you know, beside her, so it raises -- yes, it raises even more questions about their strategy.

BLACKWELL: Elie, does this elevate to the level of an additional potential article of impeachment?

HONIG: Yes, Victor, I think there's a good argument that given all the circumstances here, given the timing right in the middle of this person's testimony, given the nature of the tweet that it could be witness tampering or witness retaliation. Also, keep in mind, the president has a long track record of doing this. Essentially, every year nearly every witness who's ever come forward with damaging information against the president, he has lashed out at.

So, I think this is sort of a pattern that we see here now. How will it play out? Could it be an article of impeachment on its own? Perhaps, but I think the more likely scenario is it gets built into a broader article of impeachment. And some members of Congress, were talking about this yesterday for obstruction of Congress covering the blockade of the subpoenas and other steps that the president has taken to try to intimidate or suppress witnesses here.

BLACKWELL: Lauren, finally, Mark Sandy, Deputy Associate Director for National Security Programs, he's for OMB -- Office of Budget Management, he'll be deposed today. Put his puzzle piece into what we're seeing here; his relevance to this inquiry.

GAMBINO: Well, at the heart of it is whether, it's whether, you know, Trump in the White House withheld aid to, to Ukraine in order to push them to investigate his political rivals. So, you know, coming from OMB, he is, you know, hopefully what Democrats hope is that he'll shed even more light on that decision how that was actually made, how that was, you know, the actual mechanics of withholding that aid. And I think, they, you know, exactly like you said, I think they think that will be an important piece of putting together this puzzle of their impeachment inquiry.

BLACKWELL: Not a political appointee, and we've also seen several other members of the White House from that office with declined to respond to requests and subpoenas to testify. Lauren Gambino, thank you for being with us. Elie, you are going to come back and we're going to talk a little later this hour.

HONIG: I'll be back.

BLACKWELL: About the President's fight to keep his tax returns private.

HONIG: Yes, see you in a bit.

BLACKWELL: Thanks, Elie.

GAMBINO: Thank you.

PAUL: Now, two people were shot at a high school football game last night. This happened in New Jersey. It was a chaotic moment. People were terrified as they heard gunfire, and it was caught on camera. Take a look.



(END VIDEO CLIP) PAUL: That does have to be terrifying there. Several players

described the scene to a CNN affiliate saying gunshots were fired toward the end of the game. Some initially thought that they were just fireworks. But once they realized what it was, they just ran and try to get out of the way. Police say, to people both seriously injured were taken to the hospital and that an incident still being investigated.

BLACKWELL: Next, President Trump's confidant, longtime political advisor, he could wind up in prison after being found guilty of lying to and obstructing Congress.

PAUL: Also, the President takes the fight to keep a lid on his tax records, as we were just saying, that can go all the way to the Supreme Court. The odds of those tax records ever becoming public.


BLACKWELL: And a Texas Appeals Court blocks the execution of a death row inmate who says he has proved that he is innocent. Rodney Reed's legal fight may still be so far from over.


PAUL: Well, some would say there's another stunning conclusion from the Mueller investigation. We're talking about President Trump's longtime associate Roger Stone, he was found guilty of lying to obstructing Congress. That's among other charges. He potentially faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. CNN's Sara Murray has the story.


SARA MURRAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A jury in Washington agreed with prosecutors that truth still matters, and found Roger Stone guilty on Friday of seven criminal counts, including lying to Congress. Stone, a longtime friend and political advisor to President Trump was convicted of five counts of lying to Congress, one of witness tampering and one of obstructing a congressional committee proceeding.

Prosecutors argued that stone lied about his contact with Trump and other campaign officials about WikiLeaks' 2016 release of hacks Democratic e-mails because: "It would look really bad for his longtime associate, Donald Trump. They told the jury truth still matters." After two days of deliberations, the jury agreed. Stone, a veteran Republican political operative, known for his flamboyant style offered no audible reaction as the verdict was delivered.

His wife let out a sigh of relief when the judge announced Stone could await his February sentencing from home rather than behind bars. The verdict marks the conclusion of one of Robert Mahler's highest profile prosecutions. Stone was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at his Florida home in January, as Miller's team was winding down its investigation.

The trial revealed new details that had been redacted from the mela report, like how he or the Trump campaign was to get dirt from WikiLeaks in 2016.

TRUMP: WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks.

MURRAY: And a number of phone calls between Stone and Trump, at a time when Stone was claiming he had direct contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

ROGER STONE, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: I actually have communicated with Assange.

MURRAY: A claim Stone now denies. On one call in July 2016, Trump and Stone apparently spoke about the upcoming release of hacks Democratic e-mails. According to testimony from former Trump campaign official Rick Gates earlier this week. Trump though told Miller's team: "I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him.

President Trump who has weighed whether to pardons Stone in recent months slammed the verdict, tweeting: "So, they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come. He called Stone's conviction, a double standard, claiming Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff and even Robert Mueller had lied. Stone declined to comment on a possible pardon.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Stone, what's your reaction to the verdict?

STONE: No comment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you be seeking a pardon from President Trump?

STONE: No comment.

MURRAY: Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


PAUL: Now, Roger Stone, by the way, is the sixth person convicted or found guilty in Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

BLACKWELL: President Trump ignored the advice from his most senior military commanders and intervened in three hugely consequential war crime cases. We'll tell you which ones and what he did, when we come back.


BLACKWELL: Welcome back. So, I know listen, the impeachment investigation, it can be overwhelming. It's a full-time job -- it's actually our full-time jobs to listen and pay attention to it. But this does not have to be complicated.

The question at the heart of the investigation is did President Trump abuse the power of his office for personal political gain? Televised phase started this week, but the story starts months ago. That's when a whistleblower reported concerns about a phone call between President Trump and the leader of Ukraine.


Now, this rough transcript of the July 25th call was released by the White House. It details how President Trump pushed president Zelensky of Ukraine to investigate two matters: first, a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election. Second, the relationship between Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and the Ukraine gas company Burisma. Now, Hunter Biden joined Burisma's board that was in 2014.

But the top Ukraine expert at the White House, Army Colonel -- Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Veneman, he listened to the call. He testified that he was deeply concerned by what he heard. He raised those concerns with the National Security Council's lead attorney.

The call transcript was placed in a separate higher classified server, even though national security secrets were not discussed. At least one week before the call the president order a hold on about $400 million, that was in military and security aid to Ukraine.

Now, the money had already been approved by Congress. After news of a whistleblower report became public, the White House released the military aid to Ukraine. And that brings us to today, a White House Budget official will comply with the subpoena to testify about that.

PAUL: So, to survive impeachment, the president needs to keep Republicans united and on his side. And according to USA Today, personal phone calls, trips to sporting events, even White House movie nights are part of his tragedy -- tragedy to do so. Christal Hayes is with us now, she covers Congress. She wrote about the President's outreach for USA Today. Christal, good to see you. First of all, who do we know the President is reaching out to and how does he make that determination as to who he wants to have those conversations with?

CHRISTAL HAYES, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, USA TODAY: Well, we know that he's reached out to at least 120 House Republicans and 40 Republican Senators. What's interesting is that he doesn't seem to be reaching out to those moderates whose vote will actually really matter in this. It's a lot of his really loyal Republican colleagues in Congress.

I mean, we see him going out with Republican Mark Meadows a lot McCarthy in the house. So, it's a really interesting strategy. He's seeming to not only want to keep everyone united, but keeping them loyal, getting them invigorated for this fight that they're in now in impeachment.

PAUL: I want to read something from your article, you report that he's spoken directly or in groups with at least 120 House Republicans, and by the end of the week, will have talked with 40 GOP senators to outline his defense against the impeachment accusations launched by his Democratic critics. Is there any evidence what he's doing is working?

HAYES: Well, you can see from the House Defense so far in this impeachment inquiry that it does seem to be working. Republicans are keeping really loyal even some of the moderates on the House Intelligence Committee are really coming out strong in his defense. And the president when he's talking to these Republicans isn't just talking about impeachment.

Republicans tell us that you know, he's very hospitable. He's talking to them everything about, you know, the World Series, how great the Nats did this year in Washington, to Conan, the dog, who helped, you know, take down the ISIS leader, to even signing a board game, a Trump board game for one Republican.

PAUL: He's also there talking about USMCA and about prescription drugs. I mean, are there other politics that he's bringing up?

HAYES: Well, the main thing that he actually, he's really focused on, of course, is impeachment. And he has a pretty strong message for these Republicans that, you know, hit the, hit the process, hit how it's unfair, but also hit that substance, and really depict Democrats as being completely unfocused from the priorities of American people.

And so that message has held true, we've seen Republicans continue to harp on that as the inquiries continued, and really try to discredit the witnesses that we've seen that they, you know, so far, it's all been hearsay. And so yes, he's been really focused on impeachment, but like I mentioned, you know, some of those other things, you know, just asking about their family too. And he's very, very hospitable is what Republicans tell us.

PAUL: Well, let me ask you this, because I know that there are several Republicans on debt to retire. Is there concern that some of them may defect, essentially say, you know what, I'm not looking for another election. So, I don't know if I'm going to stand by you.

HAYES: And that's what's interesting about the strategy, is that the President isn't really reaching out to those people. The few members like you mentioned who are retiring and even those moderates in the Senate, like, you know, mean, Susan Collins, Alaska, Lisa Murkowski or Mitt Romney.

He's not really -- we haven't seen a lot of White House meetings with them. So, it's interesting. So far, I mean, Republicans have pointed to that. That vote that we saw, I think was early last or late last month, that was outlining the procedures for the impeachment inquiry, and they point to the fact that all Republicans stood united. Whether that continues though, remains to be seen as more details released.


PAUL: Christal Hayes, great article there. Thank you so much. We appreciate you taking time for us.

HAYES: Thank you for having me.

BLACKWELL: Well, President Trump has ignored advice from his defense secretary, other Pentagon officials and absolved three U.S. service members accused of war crimes. The president pardoned Army Major Mathew Golsteyn, who was charged with the murder of an Afghan bomb maker. And earlier, he spoke about getting that call from the president.


MAJ. MATHEW GOLSTEYN, PARDONED BY PRESIDENT TRUMP: You joke about stuff like that, but it's very interesting to -- you know, get a call to -- you know, stand by for the president -- and on he comes it was an incredible honor.

And again, just struck by -- you know, the words and listening and --



GOLSTEYN: The compassion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And such warmth and understanding for what -- not only Matt has been through, but our family, our children, everyone around us.


BLACKWELL: Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other senior military leaders had told the president that a presidential pardon could potentially damage the integrity of the military judicial system.

PAUL: Well, Congress and the Manhattan D.A. are on illegal showdown with the president over his tax returns. And now, President Trump is asking the Supreme Court to weigh in.

The question is will the justices take the case? We'll have that conversation. Stay close.



BLACKWELL: Welcome back. 35 minutes after the hour now. President Trump, he wants to take his fight to keep his financial record secret to the Supreme Court. Now, the president is trying to block Mazars from complying with a subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney's Office, and also, from Congress, getting his tax returns from the Treasury Department.

Just yesterday, the president's lawyers asked the Supreme Court to put a hold on an appeals court ruling allowing congressional subpoena to move forward while they wait for the court to weigh in.

Now, the president's lawyers argue that "Given the temptation to dig up dirt on political rivals, intrusive subpoenas into personal lives of presidents will become our new normal in times of divided government no matter which party is in power. All right, CNN Legal Analyst, Elie Honig is back with us. Let's start here, Elie. Are these cases that you expect that the Supreme Court will have to take up or can they just let the lower court decision stand?

HONIG: So, the Supreme Court does not have to take any case that they get to decide which cases they take. They're very sparing in which cases they do take. They take a very low percentage, usually under five percent of the cases presented to them.

On the one hand, these cases obviously are vast significance -- constitutional significance. They have to do with the balance of powers and the balance between state and federal authorities. So, they're the kind of weighty issues that the Supreme Court likes to take.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court looks for cases that A, are close calls, and B, are disputed, where we have different outcomes in different geographic regions of the country. And neither of those apply here.

So, I think it's a close call whether the Supreme Court takes either of these cases. And if the court does not take them, then the rulings of the court appeals stand and the tax returns go over to either the D.A. or Congress, depending on which of the two cases we're talking about.

BLACKWELL: OK, so, let's split them up. Let's start here with the New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance. He's investigating whether the president or his employees failed or falsified, I should say, business records to hide these alleged payments to Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal.

Would it be customary for the court to, through their decisions, deny a grand jury evidence like this?

HONIG: No. Traditionally, prosecutors like the Manhattan D.A. have very strong, very broad subpoena authority. As a prosecutor, all you have to show if you're issuing a subpoena is just some nugget, some kernel of information to think that it could be relevant to a criminal investigation.

So, I don't think I ever had a subpoena suppressed or blocked in 14 years as a prosecutor. So, prosecutors have an awful lot of leeway in what their -- what they subpoenaed -- it's necessary for the criminal process. So, it is quite rare for courts to step in and block them.

BLACKWELL: Yes. So, in this case, I want to be clear that the president is not the subject of the subpoena.

HONIG: Right.

BLACKWELL: It's his accounting firm, Mazars. So, the president's legal team in their petition, they wrote this. "That the grand jury subpoena was issued to a third-party custodian it does not alter the calculus. If it did, every local prosecutor in the country could easily circumvent presidential immunity."

Of course, that broad presidential immunity that his attorneys are claiming is at the center of this case. What do you think?

HONIG: Yes. So, actually, the fact that the D.A. issued the subpoena to a third party to Mazars, actually helped the D.A. in court. Because the court said, President Trump, you're not even part of this. This is between a prosecutor and a bank and accounting firm.

President -- and the president here is making the argument, well, if that's the case, then, D.A.'s can get whatever information they want by not going to the person whose taxes it is, but by going to the accounting firm. And I think the answer is that's life, that's how it goes. If a bank has your records, then we can subpoena the bank -- we, prosecutors, can subpoena the bank for those records.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and apparently, if Congress wants personal records or the tax records of an individual, the Treasury shall -- according to the law, shall furnish those. So, there's that law in the book for the second case here.

And the court typically recognizes Congress's broad investigative authority. What's your expectation in that case?

HONIG: Yes, Victor, I think that one's going to go Congress's way. As you said, the statute is very clear here. Shall means shall, it means this is not optional. It doesn't mean shall, but only in circumstances.

And I think the broad lesson coming out of both of these cases, Victor, is that Congress and prosecutors have very broad authority to, at least, investigate not just -- well, not just any person, but the president.

And the president, there are some ways that the president does get special treatment under our Constitution. But, this argument that the president has been advancing of, I can't even be investigated while on office, the courts have firmly rejected that.

BLACKWELL: All right. We'll see what happens. Elie Honig, thanks so much.

HONIG: Thanks, Victor.


PAUL: Well, he was set to be executed really in just a few days at this point. After more than 20 years on death row, Rodney Reed's case is getting a second look now. What happens in his fight to prove he's innocent now? That's next.


PAUL: 45-minutes past the hour right now. And topping this morning's "LEGAL BRIEF", the Texas appeals court is blocking the execution now of a death row inmate whose case united lawmakers and celebrities and really millions of people who signed this online petition, asking the state's governor to spare his life.

We're talking about Rodney Reed, he's been on death row more than 20 years, set to be executed Wednesday. He was sentenced for assaulting, raping, and strangling 19-year-old Stacey Stiles in 1996.


This day, means that the lower court, where Reed was convicted, is allowed now to consider his claim that the state presented false testimony and that there is new evidence and witnesses that exonerate him.

Criminal defense attorney Janet Johnson with us now. So, so, now, that we know this has happened, what is next for him? Where does this go? And how much time does he have?

JANET JOHNSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY, JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: The court wasn't that clear about that, Christi. It said that it would send it back to the lower court for what they called further development. So, that sort of leaves it open. So, what the trial court thinks is necessary at this point.

I think because the grounds included the fact that he may be innocent, which is very unusual to see a court say, we think there is a question about his innocence. That opens the door to the trial court ordering the DNA testing that they've been seeking for all of these years, which could change the entire case.

PAUL: Does that mean that we could actually see another trial?

JOHNSON: We could either see another trial or here's kind of the thing that I'm not sure if the appellate court considered this, we could see another trial barred on double jeopardy. Because what the appellate court said, is that the prosecutors didn't really play fair. That they put on testimony that was false and that they did not turn over evidence. It's called Brady evidence that could have actually led to an acquittal. Basically, evidence that would have tended to exonerate him.

So, you know, the judge may say look, this is so egregious that you don't get another bite at the Apple State, we're going to basically declare a mistrial, and he's free to go.

PAUL: Wow, what about the chance that the state -- I mean, could they deny him the chance to prove that he's innocent?

JOHNSON: You know, they've been fighting that. You know, I think the DNA -- they want to test the belt, her belt was the murder weapon. And it's sort of incredible that, that hasn't been tested for DNA. And even in these 20 years, the DNA technology is so much better than it was back when he went to trial.

I think that is just a minimum that he should be allowed to do, is test that belt, find out if her fiance's DNA is on the belt, which it maybe just because they knew each other, but, you know, his claim is that her fiance is the murderer and that and he's been in prison on another case. He was a police officer who is convicted of sexual assault. And that he actually bragged to other inmates, they may call him as a witness, they're going to test for his DNA.

I mean, this is a whole new -- you know, sort of Pandora's box of evidence that the court has opened up.

PAUL: Wow, and imagine if this was a mistake, and this man spent 20 years in prison --


JOHNSON: And almost died.

PAUL: And almost died.


PAUL: Very good point, OK. Listen, we want to talk to you as well about the police now trying to decipher how this teenager who killed his two classmates at his high school in Santa Clarita, California. How he obtained to that gun that was used in the attack?

We do know, the 16-year-old died yesterday at a hospital after shooting himself in the head, Thursday. Police, say they don't know where he got that gun. But he seems he have experience using it, they say.

Police found six guns registered to the shooter's father in his home and we need to point out, his father died in 2017, he's been living with his mother since then. The motive here too is still a mystery. But I want to ask you about that aspect of the gun. What is the possibility that his mother could be charged with his ability to get that gun with access?

JOHNSON: Yes, I think it is possible. In California, there are two levels of laws that adults have to keep guns out of the hands of children. One is just a sort of negligence that you have to make sure that kids don't have access to the gun and that's like a misdemeanor.

But if a child does get access to a gun, and then it leads to death, that could be a felony, and the mom could be facing up to three years in prison, which is -- you know, doubly tragic. She just lost her son, you know, by all accounts, she's a lovely woman, it would be obviously adding a whole layer of tragedy to it.

But, we look back to Columbine, there was an adult who provided the guns to the juveniles in that case, and he served six years for doing that. So, if it can be shown that this gun came from her home and that she didn't store the gun properly, and I think it is likely that she gets charged just because, at this point, it may be the way to get any kind of justice in this case.

PAUL: And if she's charged, what is she facing? Do you know, say if it's negligence?

JOHNSON: Well, if it's negligence, it's a misdemeanor. So, it's up two-year in jail. If it is -- you know, this -- there's a death and there was negligence, then it's between a year and three years.

And, you know, again, prosecutors may not want to do that because this woman has also lost somebody and is suffering.

PAUL: Right.

JOHNSON: But, you know, there may be a call for some action for some justice in this case.

PAUL: All right. Janet John -- Janet Johnson, always appreciate having you here.

JOHNSON: Thanks.

PAUL: Good to see you. Thank you.

JOHNSON: Good to see you.

PAUL: Victor?


BLACKWELL: A teenager is in custody after she led police on a high- speed chase in Washington State.


PAUL: Well, these days intermittent fasting has become less of fad and really more of a lifestyle. So, in today's "STAYING WELL", we look at how alternating between eating and fasting may help you lose weight.


SUMAYA KAZI, FOUNDER, THE CULTURALCONNECT: I was obese, pre-diabetic. I also had a high blood pressure. I really felt like I needed to take control somehow.

I wanted to experiment with intermittent fasting, I'm going to give it a shot.

DR. JEFFREY MCDANIEL, OBESITY MEDICINE, PIEDMONT HEALTHCARE: Intermittent fasting, things you purposely restrict your calories which is different from starvation. Some will fast for eight or 16 hours. Alternate day fasting means that you alternate a day of extreme caloric restriction.

KAZI: I decided to jump into full-day fasting. My first month, I lost close to 15 pounds. I kept kind of a spreadsheet of my weigh- ins, what I was eating, and just how intermittent fasting was affecting me.

I found that sparkling water is my lifesaver on a fast day. I drink a lot of tea and coffee. I typically break my fast with some kind of egg dish with avocados. MCDANIEL: The food choice does matter. Restrict the carbohydrates and eat some protein and some moderate fat. People who have serious diseases should consult their doctor before proceeding with I.F.




PAUL: Well, listen to this. A 14-year-old girl has been arrested for DUI after leading police on a high-speed chase. This happened in the early hours, yesterday morning in Washington State.

BLACKWELL: So, she got up to 100 miles per hour. Neighbors shocked when they saw this young girl get out of this car. Watch.


AARON KELSEY, WITNESS: I thought it was going to be -- you know, someone that was -- you know, older, you know, running because the felonies or because stole the car, or something like that. I did not think it was going to be someone's going to be 14 at all.


PAUL: The SUV crashed near a mall after police successfully used spike strips to pop the vehicles tires. That driver and 14-year-old passenger tried to run, they were caught a short time later. Just glad everybody's OK. Good heavens.

BLACKWELL: Yes, absolutely. NEW DAY continues after the break.