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Supreme Court Hears Arguments over Trump's Financial Records; House Democrats Propose A New 3 Trillion Dollar COVID Relief Package; MLB Proposes 82 Game Season Starting in Early July. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 12, 2020 - 15:30   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: At Supreme Court today historic cases conducted under historic circumstances. For the first time ever the public was able to listen live as the justices heard arguments via conference call due to the pandemic, of course. The cases were also some of the most high-profile this term hitting at the heart of presidential powers. Putting it simply, should Congress has have access to the president's tax returns and how does presidential immunity extend to a criminal investigation. The President's attorney pushing hard today that the President should be granted what he called quote, temporary immunity. Listen.


JUSTICE SONIA SOTOMAYOR, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: You're asking for a broader immunity than anyone else gets.

JAY SEKULOW, DONALD TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Well, we're asking for a temporary --

CHIEF JUSTICE JOHN ROBERTS, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: Do you have time for a brief answer, counsel?

SEKULOW: I will. We're asking for temporary presidential immunity.

JUSTICE ELENA KAGAN, UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT: You've said that a number of times and made the point which we have made that presidents can't be treated just like an ordinary citizen but it is also true and indeed a fundamental precept of our constitutional order that the President isn't above the law.


BOLDUAN: Joining me right now CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and CNN legal analyst Elie Honig. Jeff, let me start with you. You think the most important moment during questioning was straight off the top why?

JEFF TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, because Chief Justice Roberts who I expect will probably be a swing vote here, he seemed to recognize that there is now way the President could be completely immune from any sort of scrutiny either from Congress or in the second case from a subpoena from the New York City -- the Manhattan District Attorney.

But the question is what is the standard? What kind of subpoenas are allowed? Can the Congress, can a district attorney go into anything or what are the limits and that balance of rejecting the absolute claim from the -- from the President's lawyers, but not giving carte blanche to the prosecutors, that's the balance that I think they'll try to strike here.

BOLDUAN: And Elie, what is at stake here for folks? Does one case impact the other, are the outcomes intertwined?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Kate, there's definitely a relationship here. But these cases it's important to understand are really about much more than just Donald Trump's tax returns. This really is a constitutional balance of powers showdown and we heard it today. Is the President meaningfully accountable to Congress and to prosecutors? And I think, I agree with Jeffrey, it was interesting hearing the President's lawyers try to defend this extreme position. In that clip we heard when Jay Sekulow is talking about temporary immunity, he means temporary while in office of the President. And that's an extreme position and you could hear the Justices sort of hammering on that and the lawyers struggling to defend it.

BOLDUAN: Jeffrey, the fact that -- go ahead.

TOOBIN: If I could just -- well aside from the principle and obviously the legal principles are very important, this is about the tax returns. Donald Trump has been talking about releasing his tax returns since he declared for president in 2015. He has hid these tax returns unlike every presidential candidate since the 1970s for now five years. And the question may be answered by this case, what's in the tax returns? And it may be answered quickly. Now it may not be answered quickly. But the idea that the tax returns are now this close to being released is actually a very significant thing independent of the legal arguments here.

BOLDUAN: And something that you know that Donald Trump cares very deeply about, how it all went today. And the fact, Jeffrey, that this case, which is so consequential, but that the oral arguments are happening in a way that they have never have before. What impact do you think -- do you think the impact of just the structure, that the Justices aren't -- they're not able to talk to each other. They're not able to see each other, just the way it had to be conducted. Do you think it impacts it?

TOOBIN: You know, to be honest, I don't think it really will matter that much in the outcome.


As someone who has followed the Supreme Court for a long time, it's a very weird experience to hear the court this way. Just one oddity of all this is I think many people know that Clarence Thomas in the courtroom, you know, goes years without answering questions. In the telephone arguments, where the justices go one at a time, the Chief Justice calls on them one at a time, Clarence Thomas is asking lots of questions. I don't know such a big distinction between telephone arguments and real-life arguments but it's just a big difference. Does that matter in the outcome? I sort of doubt it. But it's still just interesting given how the court has evolved.

BOLDUAN: We now realize that he had stage fright when he is in front of other people. Maybe that's just simply what it is, Jeffrey, maybe the premise of another book, Jeffrey Toobin. Let me ask you, Elie, well, maybe both of you, if you could quickly give me a sense after listening to oral arguments today. Do you have a sense of which way the Justices are leaning, Elie, first to you.

HONIG: Yes, so, what I noticed is that the four traditionally liberal Justices, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Breyer and Kagan were really dug in. They were really committed. They did not seem to giving any ground whatsoever. They seemed set on holding up these subpoenas. The four conservative, traditionally conservative Justices did seem to be a little bit uneasy with some of the positions that were being taken. And I think Chief Justice Roberts is desperately trying to find middle ground. I do think both of these cases ultimately are going to come out against the President. I think especially the case involving the Manhattan D.A. I think we could see an 8-1, 9-0 ruling upholding that subpoena against Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: Jeffrey, do you think they'd punt?

TOOBIN: It may be something where they send the case back to the lower courts even if Trump loses. And in that case that might mean a delay until after the election. And even if Trump loses the case, but if he manages to keep the tax returns secret until after the election, that's a win.

BOLDUAN: Yes, guys, great to see you. Thank you.

Still ahead for us. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveils a sweeping new coronavirus relief bill. The price tag and the pushback it's already getting from Republicans. We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: A big announcement from the state at the center of the U.S. outbreak -- at the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak of the coronavirus. New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing the first steps of reopening parts of the state as early as this week and that's not the only state making big moves. Let's check in with our reporters around the country.


SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: I'm Shimon Prokupecz in New York where Governor Andrew Cuomo says that parts of the state will be able to reopen on Friday. This is in the northern region in

upstate New York. They will be allowed to partially reopen. It's a pivotal week for the state as parts of it get ready to reopen. As for New York City, that is going to remain closed. The mayor saying

it's probably going to be June at the earliest before the city can partially reopens, and then in another sign that it's going to take some time for things to get back to normal, Broadway, the theaters on Broadway announced today that they won't reopen until at least September 6th.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Rosa Flores in Miami where the magical world of Disney is showing signs of reopening. According to the Disney World website, theme parts and resort hotels are currently closed, and a reopening date has not been set yet. But they are accepting reservations beginning July 1st, 2020. Guests are being given the option to modify booking with no change or cancelation fees if Walt Disney World Resort reopens before or after that date. Disney Springs, an outdoor shopping mall, dining and entertainment area in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, will begin a phased reopening on May 20th. The shutdown of Disney World has left 43,000 employees furloughed since April 19th.


BOLDUAN: Shimon and Rosa, thank you, guys, so much.

This also just in from Capitol Hill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi moments ago announcing another coronavirus relief bill. Senior Congressional correspondent Manu Raju tracking this. He's joining me now. Manu, what are you hearing about this one?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a significant package. It actually amounted to the largest rescue package in American history if it were to be enacted. This roughly $3 trillion package deals with everything from more direct assistance to Americans up to $1,200 for individuals, as well as money for small businesses providing nearly a trillion dollars to state and local governments, as well as $75 billion for additional testing, and $200 billion for so-called hazard pay.

Now the Democrats are pushing forward on this for a vote as soon as Friday in the House. That's their plan. Republicans are not yet on board. And when Nancy Pelosi just talked about this a moment ago, she made the pitch for why Republicans and Democrats shouldn't wait.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): There are those who said let's just pause. Left the family that are suffering though, that hunger doesn't take a pause, the rent doesn't take a pause, the bills don't take a pause. The hardship of losing a job or tragically of losing a loved one doesn't take a pause.



RAJU: Now this is roughly $3 trillion measure is on the heels of nearly $3 trillion in several packages that have already been enacted this spring which amounted to the most aggressive intervention by Washington into the economy since the Great Depression. And there are concerns about what to do next. Republicans, I can tell you, Kate, are just not there yet. They want to assess how this money is going. Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, told me yesterday there is no urgency to act right now until they assess how that money is being spent before they are deciding on their next step -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: We'll see, good to see you, Manu. Thank you. And to note next hour, Nancy Pelosi will be on THE LEAD with Jake Tapper.

Coming up still for us. Will the boys of summer be back on the field by July? The news coming from Major League Baseball next.



BOLDUAN: Could Major League Baseball be back this summer? That seems to be under negotiation. Team owners meeting today with the Players Association in New York to discuss the possibility of starting the season as early as July 4. Make no mistake though, even if both sides do agree, this will be a season like no other, starting with teams that will be likely of course playing in empty stadiums.

Joining me right now, award winning sportscaster Bob Costas, now with MLB Network. It's good to see you, Bob, thank you.


BOLDUAN: So here are the details from "The New York Times," that they're reporting, 82-game regular season, no fans, rosters could be expanded to 50 players, both leagues would have designated hitters. What do you think of it?

COSTAS: Well, it makes sense. They're getting in about half a season, and it's all geographically consolidated. So, AL east would only play AL east and NL east, same thing central and west. They'd expand the playoffs from ten teams to 14. They might have to play playoff games in neutral sites depending about how deep into the season they go.

And when you talk about a 50-man roster, that's 50 eligible players. For each individual game you'd only have 30 players that could play in that game. But since there's going to be no minor league baseball, they have to have in effect a taxi squad when they have to make roster moves and players are injured and whatnot.

Before we can get to all of that, they've got to negotiate with the Players Association. Here's the stumbling block. The players agreed when the season was first suspended to prorated salaries. So, they're playing roughly half a season. A player was making $2 million by contract, he had agreed to accept $1 million. But now the owners are saying with some justification that their revenues are going to be drastically down, not going to be half of what they once were, even if they recoup a large part of the television revenues. 40 percent overall of baseball's revenues come from gate receipts, parking, concessions and whatnot and for some teams it's more than that. A team like the St. Louis Cardinals, for example, a medium sized

market, but they always draw more than 3 million fans a year. About half their total revenues come from the ballpark itself. So, their contention is, look, let's share the revenues. They've proposed to split whatever revenues come in in this strange season, 50/50 with the players. The players appear to be 100 percent resistant to that. So, until they can hammer that out, all of this is just theoretical. They've got a plan for resuming, but if the players and owners can't negotiate some sort of settlement, then it's not going to happen.

BOLDUAN: And Bob, I mean, look, it can be two different things, right, safety of players and everyone around, and as your getting to, the economics. If this comes down to -- I don't know how to put this other than this way -- a bunch of really wealthy people fighting with a bunch of other really wealthy people about getting back on the field and it has less to do with safety of everyone around, how is that going to sit with fans?

COSTAS: Well, the safety of the players is going to be a concern for the Major League Baseball Players Association, not just the players, all the ancillary people. Even without fans, you've got a large contingent of people who are not in uniform as players. So that's going to be a consideration. And different localities, Cincinnati might be different than Atlanta which might be different from Philadelphia or New York. So, all those things have to be taken into consideration.

But the public relations issue which you outlined has happened before. When they lost the World Series in the mid-'90s, that was the hue and cry, I'm never going back to baseball ever again, billionaires fighting with millionaires. Then another contract came up in 2002, only months after 9/11. And many of us believed that the reason they were able to reach an agreement, these two sides that historically have been really tough adversaries, was that they understood the public reaction post-9/11 to wealthy, privileged people fighting over money, just doesn't play well. You might have the same situation here and perhaps cooler heads will prevail, and they'll be able to settle somewhere in the middle.

BOLDUAN: OK, so now into the nitty gritty of what the changes might mean. You've been kind of -- I've enjoyed -- you've been kind of pro let's throw in some changes now if things are all going to be different. But do you think this, if it goes through, would present any kind of competitive advantage for one team or another? I mean, like, you know, the National League doesn't have designated hitters and such.

COSTAS: Yes, they don't want to run the risk of injuries to pitchers because they're going to have a very abbreviated spring training which will take place close to summertime. So, it makes sense to have a DH. But that might disadvantage American League teams in interleague games, it certainly would. But there's nothing you can do about it. I misspoke, it would disadvantage National League teams, actually. It depends -- I'm now confusing myself, that's how confusing it is -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: That is not what I'm ever here to do.

COSTAS: It happens to all of us at one time or another. I think the biggest competitive advantage would be to teams that have the greatest organizational depth.


If you're going to have 50 eligible players, especially depth in your pitching staff because it'll be such an unusual season, the advantage would be there.

There's also the question of randomness. Baseball plays out over a long season. Last year the Nationals won the World Series, but they started something like 19 and 32. Now that would be well more than half of an 82-game schedule. So, there could be some randomness. But as I've said --


COSTAS: -- I think players and everyone involved, and especially fans, will accept that this is a unique situation. So, now's the time to try every trial balloon. Some of them seem wacky to some of us. But throw everything against the wall. You want a pitch cock with nobody on base? You want to have electronic balls and strikes called and take the home plate umpire out of that. They want to try the crazy rule of putting guys on second base to start an extra inning to get to a conclusion more quickly. Whatever it might be, short of running the bases backwards, I think that people would accept it. There's not going to be anybody in the stands, it's going to be weird. So, throw everything against the wall and see what sticks, so that they can decide what they want to use when they start playing under normal conditions again, hopefully, next year.

BOLDUAN: I like that very much. Good to see you, Bob, thank you.

COSTAS: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: I'm Kate Bolduan. We'll be right back.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

We begin today with some breaking news, Los Angeles county's stay-at- home orders will with, quote --