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Interview with Republican Congressman Charlie Dent; McCarthy Calling 25th Amendment Process Too Long; Donald Trump Jr. Meets with January 6 Committee; Chief Justice Roberts Calling Leak "Absolutely Appalling"; Amber Heard Back on the Stand in Johnny Depp Defamation Trial; Interview with Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson; Karine Jean-Pierre Named Next WH Press Secretary; Stock Fall Sharply Wiping Out Wednesday's Gains. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired May 05, 2022 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BLACKWELL: Some new audio for you here just days after the January 6th Insurrection, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy discussed a 25th Amendment on a call with GOP leadership.
Now, the 25th Amendment would have required Vice President Pence and the cabinet to vote to remove Trump from office due to an inability to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Here's what McCarthy said about that process.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LEGANSKI, HOUSE REPUBLICAN MINORITY LEADER FLOOR DIRECTOR: I think the options that have been cited by the Democrats so far are the 25th Amendment, which is not exactly an elegant solution here.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): That takes too long too. It could go back to the House, right?
LEGANSKI: Yes, correct. If the president were to submit a letter overruling the cabinet and the vice president, two-thirds vote in the House and the Senate to overrule the president. So, it's kind of an armful. Obviously, Impeachment has been discussed. And then, I mean, I think they want him to resign, which I don't see happening either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: He said, it takes too long. With me now, CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger and former Republican Congressman Charlie Dent, he is a CNN political commentator.
Gloria, let me start with you. The House Republican Conference gave Kevin McCarthy a standing ovation after he explained the way the lie about his calling Former President Trump to resign. Do you think this recording changes this and it changes the dynamics at all? GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's not going to help Kevin McCarthy. I mean, not only did he criticize the president again, he was talking about the 25th Amendment to get rid of the president, taking too long. And also, in that recording, he talks about reaching out to none other than Joe Biden.
So, the question is how is Donald Trump going to react to this? The minute you mention Joe Biden's name, he's going to see red. How are his colleagues in the House going to react to this? I doubt he'd get another standing ovation.
BLACKWELL: Yes. Congressman, let's put that to you. Reportedly, after a call between McCarthy and Trump after the first leak, Former President Trump wasn't upset. He said that, at that point, McCarthy didn't have all of the facts. Is there a tipping point that this drip, drip, drip, eventually turns the Trump allies in the House against him?
FMR. REP. Charlie Dent (R-PA): Well, for now, it appears Kevin McCarthy is OK with Donald Trump. But I think Kevin McCarthy knows how material Donald Trump is and that Donald Trump could turn on him in a second.
And in fact, Donald Trump said at the time when he said things are OK, he didn't endorse Kevin McCarthy either. He didn't say who he was supporting for speaker. So, Donald Trump understands one thing well, and that's leverage. And he has it right now over Kevin McCarthy. So, the bottom line is what Kevin McCarthy has expressed in those tapes, I think that frustration and anger was shared by, I would say, most congressional Republicans at the time. They wanted him to resign. They wanted him to get out. They had enough. So, I think those feelings, those expressions of anger were genuine.
BLACKWELL: Yes. And by the month's end, McCarthy was at Mar-a-Lago with the former president.
BLACKWELL: Let me bring to you the -- what we have learned about Don. Jr. testimony this week before the January 6th Committee. So, let's put up the faces, put up the pictures here. Don. Jr., you've got Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, Kimberly Guilfoyle, the Trump and soon to be with Kimberly Guilfoyle, they're all cooperating. But the people close to the family are holding out. You've got new reporting here.
BORGER: Well, you know, I spoke with the chairman of the January 6th Committee, Bennie Thompson, and he raised a question, why is Donald Trump allowing his family to go in and freely testify? Remember, Ivanka Trump's testimony was about eight hours. And why is he telling people that work for him, go get lawyers. Fight this. And four of them are facing contempt charges and nobody really knows the answer to that except that, from what I know, from my reporting, is that in Ivanka's case, for example, Ivanka and Jared, they were led to believe that it would not be contentious, and the interviews were not contentious.
And I think the committee made a decision. They were not going to subpoena these people. They were using them as corroborating witnesses. And the chairman said to me, that is exactly what happened particularly with Ivanka, that she was in the White House on January 6th. There were other people who testified about where she was in relation to where the president was, and she did spend time with the president. She did talk to the president.
And Thompson said to me, so she was very useful because she answered all our questions. And he said, in those answers, she made it clear that, yes, the president was told he had to do something, and he was reluctant to do anything. So, she became a very good corroborating witness, from their point of view, and, you know, they didn't have to subpoena her And I think the president went along with what his family wanted to do, but wanted people who worked for him to keep their mouth shut.
BLACKWELL: Yes, it is a really telling line of demarcation to relay to those who are cooperating.
Congressman, let me end here with you. You are a Pro-Choice Republican and I want to ask you about the leak of the opinion here that would overturn Roe if it's actually published in some time the next couple of weeks. The chief justice just called it appalling, the leak, I am talking about. Republicans are not jubilant about this. What they have been selling to, at least the pro-life ones, to their voters for decades, the goal of overturning Roe.
Is the expectation that this will hurt them with an important demographic, with suburban women, with women without a college education, what do you believe is the assessment from Republicans?
DENT: Well, it's pretty clear to me, Victor, that Republicans realize they're on the wrong side of public opinion on this one. Ordinarily, if you were going to get a victory, and this would be a victory for many of them who wanted to overturn Roe v. Wade, you'd think they would be celebrating. But instead, they're focusing on the leak, which is a procedural thing.
And by the way, welcome to Washington. Washington leaks all the time. I agree, it's terrible that the Supreme Court had this type of a leak. But, you know, leaks are like oxygen in Washington for Congress and the executive branch. So, that's what it is.
The bottom line is, Republicans know that they don't want to be talking about this issue. The wind is at their backs in the mid-term. And now, they're talking about abortion. And if you are a Suburban Republican and running right now, this is the last thing you want to be talking about. This is the type of dynamic that could turn this mid-term election into a choice rather than a referendum. And if you are a Republican, you want this to be a referendum on the Democrats, you don't want it to be about you.
But Republicans will be in a very defensive position. And now, they're finding out, too, that there are going to be all kind of bills that will be coming up in the event Roe is overturned. How are they going to deal with the morning after pill, a board (INAUDIBLE)? There are a whole host of issues that they're going to -- and the state legislative races now are going to become even more important because so many of these decisions now will rest with the states. So, I think they've kind of opened up a pandora's box here that they're not ready for, they're not ready to defend the action right now.
BLACKWELL: All right. Congressman Dent, Gloria Borger, thank you both.
BLACKWELL: Actress Amber Heard is back on the stand today testifying about Johnny Depp's alleged physical abuse and drug use. We'll have more on that ahead.
MELVIN (voiceover): Actress Amber Heard is back on the stand testifying in that defamation trial. She is being sued by her ex- husband, Johnny Depp. Today, she talked about what she did to try stop his alleged abuse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMBER HEARD, ACTRESS AND TESTIFYING AGAINST EX-HUSBAND JOHNNY DEPP: It felt like nothing I could do. It felt only thing I could do would change the sobriety patterns. It felt like nothing I could do would stand up for him. And nothing I did made him stop hitting me. Nothing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MELVIN (voiceover): CNN's Alexander Field has been watching the testimony today. Another emotional day.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Incredibly hard to watch, Victor. We have been watching for the last hour as Amber Heard has really broken down on the stand describing the vicious and gruesome details of an attack that she recalls from 2015 back in Australia. She says she was both physically and sexually assaulted that night after Depp flew into a fit of rage fueled by both pills and alcohol. She described being strangled, thrown u against walls and on a table. Here's more of what she remembers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HEARD: I'm on the countertop. He had me by the neck and it felt like he was on top of me and I'm looking in his eyes, and I don't see him anymore. I don't see him anymore. It wasn't him. It was black. I have never been to scared in my life. It was black. I couldn't see him. And he was looking at me and I was trying to get through to him, I was trying to say to him in some ways that it was me. I was trying to get through to Johnny, and I couldn't see him. I couldn't see him at all.
And my head was bashing against the back of the bar and I couldn't breathe. And I remember trying to get up and I was slipping on the glass. My feet were slipping. My arms were slipping on the countertop. And I remember just trying to get up so I could breathe, so I could tell him that he was really hurting me. I didn't think he knew what he was doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD: Heard says she had never been this afraid in her entire life. This is after two days during which she has testified to a number of attacks, perpetrated, she says, by Depp, both physical and sexual attacks. Depp, of course, has already testified in this trial. He spent four days on the stand saying he never struck a woman. He was also asked about the incident in Australia. In his telling, he is the victim. His finger, partially severed, he says, when she threw a bottle at him.
BLACKWELL: It's just, as you said, difficult to watch. Alexandra Field, thank you so much.
Criminal defense attorney, Joey Jackson, and CNN Legal Analyst and former L.A. country prosecutor, Loni Coombs, are with me now.
Joey, so, let's start here. Depp is suing -- this is a defamation case. He's suing because of this op-ed in which Amber Heard makes these allegations, does not name him. He says it cost him worth $50 million. Are the text messages and the e-mails and the threats and the accounts from Heard on the stand even worse and more damaging than the initial op-ed?
JOEY JACKSON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I think so, Victor. And that's why we have a countersuit, right, for $100 million by Heard to him. Good to see you and my friend, Loni Coombs.
Look, the bottom line is this, is that we know he instituted this lawsuit, it's predicated on defamation. And when you look at the 2018 "Washington Post" op-ed, upon which it's based, it doesn't describe him, and it is very generic with respect to what she went through as a college-age woman, what she feels women's place is now with regard to ascending to political places, it references our former president with respect to his treatment of women and it doesn't really squarely address him at all.
But apparently, he felt that appropriate to move forward in the defamation action, indicating it was about him, that there was no domestic abuse, that, in fact, she was the abuser and, in fact, those -- you know, he lost all of these things with regard to his reputation and all of these roles. So, he has to prove that. And I just think in the final analysis, if he brought this suit to repair his reputation, I think he's done anything but.
Last point, you know, this can't be about whether or not, oh, I liked Johnny Depp in "Pirates of the Caribbean." He was great for the franchise, et cetera. I didn't like her. It's not about the actor you like, the actor you don't, you hate, you love them both. It's about the objective facts in the courtroom. And when you look at his case and him being cross-examined on text messages, surveillance tapes, other bad behavior, drug abuse, and now, look at her, I just don't see how his claim with respect to she was lying when she said she was a victim of domestic violence could be sustained in any regard.
BLACKWELL: Loni, you have handled high-profile cases there, celebrities in L.A. These are actors. And if you are trying to convince a jury of the actual pain, actual abuse, is there a challenge there where they're thinking, is this a performance or is this something that he or she actually feels?
Loni Coombs, Former L.A. County Prosecutor: Sure, Victor. I think that's always a consideration they go through and we know that these are both actors. They're both take the stand. So, everybody gets to judge their credibility and really pick a part their demeanor and their character as they present it.
But, look, they both have presented compelling stories. I think when Johnny Depp testified, there was a lot of empathy, a lot of sympathy for him because he was very opened about his trauma, his abuse and his struggles with drug and alcohol addiction. With Amber Heard, we are hearing what is a very accurate portrayal of the domestic violence cycle.
I prosecuted a lot of abused cases, and she's talked about it, how it goes from the honeymoon stage to the accusations, to the name calling and then, this explosion of violence and then, the apologies and the sweetness and the gifts. And then, you go back to honeymoon stage, that's all very accurate. She's also talked about the escalating violence. It starts out with just mean words and then, all of a sudden, there's the pushing and the shoving and coercive control where he's literally trying to designate every area of her life. And then, he starts to push and shove and now, your physical violence and sexual abuse.
So, the real question though for the jury is, they have to sit back and say, OK, is she telling this from her own personal experience or is this a very well written script that she has rehearsed and she is now presenting? And that's why the jury is so crucial in this case because they have to be the ones to judge the credibility, along with whatever corroborative evidence they have. And she has been very good about talking about photographs that she took at the time of these alleged incidents as well as people that she talked to, that's all corroboration that her team can argue and say, this goes to her side of the she said versus the he said. That's why she's more credible.
BLACKWELL: Loni Coombs, Joey Jackson, thank you.
Stocks are plunging, erasing yesterday's big gains on Wall Street, down more than 1,300 points. We'll explain why, next.
BLACKWELL: Just getting this into CNN. Karine Jean-Pierre the next White House press secretary. She will replace Jen Psaki. Jen is leaving on May 13th. Now, Jean-Pierre currently serves as deputy press secretary. And once she takes over, she will be the first black person, man or woman, to serve in that role.
All right. Let's take one more check on the markets ahead of the close with CNN's Matt Egan.
Matt, yesterday, this time, we were talking about a 900-point jump. Now, off a little more than 1,100 points. What's going on?
MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, victor. You know, Extreme turbulence is clearly impacting financial markets. Up big yesterday, down even bigger today. The S&P, the DOW, the Nasdaq, they're all are on track for their worst day since 2020. The biggest losses you're actually seeing in the Nasdaq, which you can see down more than 5 percent. This actually could be the Nasdaq's worst day since March of 2020.
It's sort of startling to think that markets are suffering losses that we haven't seen since the scary days of early 2020 because the economy is so much stronger today. Unemployment is way down. Corporate profits are way up. But if anything, people are worried that the economy is overheating, and that the Federal Reserve is going to have to take drastic steps to put the inflation fire out. And so, that is the concern here.
Victor, low rates were great for stocks, higher rates are going to be a challenge.
EGAN: And clearly, it's going to lead to concerns about an economic slowdown or even a recession.
BLACKWELL: All right. Five minutes more left in the trading day. Matt Egan, thank you.
And "The Lead with Jake Tapper" starts after a short break.