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GOP Prepares to Sideline Cawthorn if He Wins Re-Election; Prosecutors Subpoena National Archives for Trump White House Documents Taken to Florida; Judge Wraps Up Hearing on Biden Plan to End Border Expulsion Policy; Biden Addresses Baby Formula Shortage. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired May 13, 2022 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... firefighters, educators, and other critically important roles. And by the way, not a single member -- not a single Republican member of Congress voted for the money for law enforcement, public safety, to stabilize these budgets. Not a single one for the states, cities and the counties. Not one.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: All right, that's President Biden there talking about the billions of dollars in COVID relief funds. That's urging he's encouraging cities and states to use for public safety and to reduce crime. We'll monitor this as it continues.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: OK meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are reportedly rooting for their colleague Madison Cawthorn to lose his North Carolina primary race on Tuesday, but if he winds their plans to deal with his recent controversies.
BLACKWELL: Yes, a citation for bringing a gun to the airport. He was caught driving with a revoked license. This video appearing to show him naked in bed -- well, he was naked in bed. And insinuating that his colleagues invited him to orgies and used cocaine. Let's go to CNN's Melanie Zanona. So, how will Republicans handle Madison Cawthorn if he's reelected?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well essentially, they're going to try and make sure he's sitting at the kiddie table in the House Republican Conference. There have been numerous discussions inside the house GOP about how to deal with Cawthorn if he does come back. They want to make him less visible because they are just so fed up with his controversial antics. And what Republicans have told me, is that almost certainly he's going to get obscure committee assignments even though he's wanted better committee assignments. That's not going to happen.
I'm told that he might not be invited back to join the House Freedom Caucus, which is a conservative caucus. There are a lot of Trump supporters are members. And one Republican said he might take it a step further, if Cawthorn doesn't straighten up. Here is what that member told me. He said, I met with the guy and said don't break the law again, you
break the law one more time, and I'm going to start calling for you to be kicked out. And I don't mean kicked out of the House Freedom Caucus, I mean kicked out of Conference, voting him out. He is a black eye on our conference.
And now that is coming from someone who is affiliated with the Trump wing of the party. So, it's significant. Even if GOP leadership doesn't have an appetite for removing him from conference. The fact that is even being discussed is a really big deal. And it also shows that Cawthorn -- his problems are not over even if he does manage to win his primary on Tuesday because he has just become such a pariah in the Republican conference and even in the delegation not a single North Carolina Republican offered their support for his reelection campaign when asked by CNN -- Victor, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Does former President Trump still like him?
ZANONA: Well, it does not appear at this point that Trump is riding to the rescue. Now, he hasn't pulled his endorsement. He appears to be in a wait and see approach at the moment anyway. But look, he has put some serious distance between him and Cawthorn in recent weeks. I'm told that people close to the president have been going around and going out of their way to point out that Trump did not have an official endorsement of Cawthorn on his web site even though Trump did endorse him last year in a video before the maps were drawn. So, it just goes to show that even someone like Donald Trump who was a huge cheer leader of Madison Cawthorn is now trying to put a little distance between them.
CAMEROTA: OK, Melanie Zanona, thank you.
BLACKWELL: Well, the government is making a major move to investigate the handling of classified White House documents that ended up at Donald Trump's Florida home. Two sources tell CNN the Justice Department prosecutors issued a subpoena to the National Archives. They want to access the boxes of documents that were retrieved from Mar-a-Lago after Trump left office.
Now, a Trump spokesperson denied any wrongdoing, and the White House declined to comment. With us now, CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Elliot Williams, good to have you back. Let's start with this would not be the first administration to mishandle documents whether intentionally or unintentional. But what's the legal exposure for the former president?
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Right. Certainly, and you're right on, Victor. Just about every presidential administration messes this up in some way. Big picture -- every administration is under an obligation to secure documents both during and after their time. Now certainly, there could be criminal exposure for mishandling -- or misappropriation of government documents if someone, was called, knowingly did so. Like they knew they were breaking the law, knew they were taking documents away.
That is why the Justice Department is seeking to interview witnesses here. It's not just about the documents. It's talking to people to get a sense of did whoever might have taken documents away know exactly what they were doing, and why they were doing it. Just being negligent or an accident is not going to be enough under that statute. There's a few others, theft, mishandling of government documents that might prove a little bit differently, but that's what you do here.
CAMEROTA: OK, so in other words, just having 15 boxes of presidential records at Mar-a-Lago is not a smoking gun. They actually need to prove that somebody intentionally was stashing them there. But explain why do they have to subpoena the National Archives, I mean, this happened. Everybody knows this happened, the National Archives had to call them back. Why now do they need to be subpoenaed?
WILLIAMS: I think for a couple of reasons, Alisyn. Number one, so the Justice Department can get access to them to actually find out what's in them. Number two, so the Justice Department can secure them. Right? Everybody is focusing on the criminal liability here, but if there's national security information in these documents, you have to ensure that this doesn't get in the hands of people who might do harm to the United States. So even separate from the criminal question there's this important question of making sure that nothing has gone into the wrong hands. Right.
BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about these five Republican Congressmen who have been subpoenaed by the January 6th committee, one of them the Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy. Now that we're a bit out from the immediacy of the breaking news, and we've gotten responses, some insight from committee members, does this appear to be the committee trying to make a statement, a kind of if not now, when, for posterity, or that they really want to see these men in a seat in front of the committee to get some answers?
WILLIAMS: You know Victor, it's highly unlikely that any of these witnesses ever comes in to testify, and people should know in Congressional investigations where they're sort of interviewing or investigating their colleagues, they're not guaranteed to ever get the testimony of everybody anyway. So, it is a very important statement to posterity and the future to issue these subpoenas.
Moreover, what the Democrats or what the committee might be doing is preserving their right if Republicans take over next year to not comply with subpoenas, then, right? By issuing a subpoena here that they knew that none of these folks would comply with, they're almost opening the door to doing the same thing down the road.
It's an odd body, right, Congress, where you're seeking to subpoena your boss or your colleagues or people that might be your boss next year, and they might just be trying to play the long game, rather than trying to secure the testimony. And also, most of what they have, most of what they would be seeking from these witnesses, they already have in public statements or documents or interviews from other witnesses anyway. There's no -- to use Alisyn's term from a moment ago -- there's no smoking gun, for the most part that Kevin McCarthy has because you've seen most of it. CAMEROTA: OK, Elliot, thank you.
WILLIAMS: No problem, Alisyn.
BLACKWELL: In Louisiana today, a federal judge heard arguments over the future of that controversial immigration restriction policy known as Title 42. We're going to take you live to the courthouse next.
BLACKWELL: A federal hearing on a challenge to the Biden administration's plan to end Title 42 in ten days has just wrapped up.
CAMEROTA: So, that policy allowed the United States because of COVID, to turn away migrants who otherwise would have been allowed into the country to file asylum claims. For the very latest, let's bring in CNN's Priscilla Alvarez, she was just in the hearing. So where do things stand.
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Well, right now, we are in wait and see mode. The question before the judge today was whether the Biden administration can end Title 42, that public health authority that allows officials to turn migrants away at the U.S./Mexico border. And during more than two hours, the judge heard arguments from both the states, the more than 20 states who have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration for this decision, and from the Justice Department.
Now, the states argued that if this authority is terminated, it will overwhelm the border and it will potentially lead to more releases of migrants into their states and therefore impose harm and have them incur costs. Specifically, what came up was health care costs. And then the states also said the Biden administration didn't follow proper procedures when it decided to end this authority.
Now the Biden administration saying in court today that this is an extraordinary measure that the CDC took during a public health emergency and it is the CDC director who has the authority to both invoke it and terminate it when the director sees fit.
Now, the judge jumped in only occasionally. Mostly focusing his questions on the harms to the states, but the Louisiana deputy solicitor General Scott St. John seemed pleased with the way the day went -- Alisyn and Victor.
BLACKWELL: He's answering questions about baby formula shortages.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to ask you a question about Africa. Because recently you sent your Deputy Secretary of State to Africa. She visited three countries, Gabon, Angola, and South Africa. So, in Angola she spoke with President Lourenco, and when she gave her report to the media, she said that she'd been seeing Angola many progress in terms of human rights, fighting corruption, and also better business environments for the American investor. Are you aware of what is going on in Angola, Mr. President?
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm aware. I am waiting for a report. I have been on the phone with the President of South Africa at length on those same issues. And I've been on the phone and been in contact with other African leaders. There is a need for a significant increase in focusing on human rights and not abusing human rights. But there's also a need for us -- what we're doing is trying to figure out how can we help African countries accommodate the changes they have to make in terms of their -- to deal with their environmental problems, as well as dealing with infrastructure approximate.
And so, I convinced the G7 to agree that we would put together a program where we would advance the economic nations of the world, would provide the kinds of resources without any strings attached to increase environmental capacity as well as dealing with other problems in African nations. There's a billion people. And so, we're working very hard to try to get ahold of that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you visiting Africa too?
BIDEN: I'm only going to keep them standing here another five minutes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll make it quick.
BIDEN: They came to the press conference, right guys?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir. I appreciate your time. I just want to ask you, what further executive action are you considering to do police reform, I know that's pretty much stalled in Congress for right now. And I also want to ask another question if I can on foreign relations. You spoke with both the leaders of Sweden and Finland today, what's your message to President Putin after essentially those threats that he gave at least to Finland?
BIDEN: With regard to the second question, and I'm not going to go into the detail of my private conversations with the presidents of Sweden and Finland except that we had a good conversation and they expressed their interest and desires relating to security, and there will be more to report on that shortly. With regard to the first question was what again?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What additional action are you considering on police reform, and we know your administration --
BIDEN: What I have done by executive order is done what I can insisting that police reform for federal officers, no choke holds, no no-knock warrants, et cetera, that's going to continue. But one of the things I've decided to do, the best way to get the reform done as quickly as possible is to go local. And to make sure we invest in police departments, local and county and city police departments.
Because one of the things we talked about in the cabinet room is that I don't know any cop who likes a bad cop. I mean that sincerely. I grew up in a neighborhood in Claymont where you became a cop, a firefighter or a priest, and I'm not joking, the guys I know in the police forces, the last thing they want is a bad cop, a bully, a thug being on the force. So, the idea that somehow there's this overwhelming desire to protect a bad cop is the leadership's role to make sure they find them, get rid of them, and if they violate a crime, prosecute them. Thank you, all so, very, very much. Thank you. Guys.
CAMEROTA: OK, we've been listening there to President Biden. He was talking about COVID relief funds originally, and whether they can be used to fight crime as he's recommending, and then you heard him addressing a range of issues including there -- police reform.
BLACKWELL: We'll take a quick break, and we'll be right back.
BLACKWELL: We joined the president's remarks right after he gave an answer about the baby formula shortage. CNN's White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond was there for them in the Rose Garden. What did he say?
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well listen, Victor, President Biden outlining some of the steps that his administration is taking to address this baby formula shortage across the country including the additional flexibility for some manufacturers and the way these products are displayed in stores, where they can come from as it relates to specific states.
I also was able to ask the president about some of the criticism that his administration has faced, particularly from Republicans who have said this administration should have anticipated this shortage. And I asked him whether or not his administration should have done more of these steps that we're seeing now sooner. Here's his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: If we had been better mind readers, I guess we could have, but we moved as quickly as the problem became apparent to us. And we have to move with caution as well as speed. Because we got to make sure what we're getting is in fact first rate product. That's why the FDA has to go through the process.
DIAMOND: And you hear the president there, as he talked about, we could have acted sooner if we were mind readers. A fairly defensive answer from the president who is obviously facing a lot of incoming on this issue as it has become top of front pages across the country and a major issue for parents across the country. But the president emphasizing there they also have to be cautious as they go through these steps to insure these regulatory issues as it relates to baby formula are still being following even as they try and quicken the availability of these products to parents across the country -- Victor.
BLACKWELL: All right, Jeremy Diamond, thank you. CAMEROTA: OK, so this Sunday on an all-new episode of the CNN original
series "NOMAD WITH CARLTON MCCOY," the renowned chef, master sommelier, and expert traveler takes us on a global exploration of food, music, art, and culture to discover the universal threads that connect all of us.
BLACKWELL: Carlton takes us back to his hometown of Washington, D.C. here's a look.
CARLTON MCCOY, NOMAD WITH CARLTON MCCOY: Cheers, guys. Cheers, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cheers.
MCCOY: Cheers, guys.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Carlton, come on. You got to cook this cornbread. We don't have baking powder or baking soda.
MCCOY: We'll whip the egg whites and yokes. That'll add some -- see, I got something out of culinary school, huh?
MCCOY (voice over): It brings me a ton of joy to cook with my family, most of the recipes in a black home are not written down.
MCCOY: Do you scrape it like this Vickie? You getting a lot of the corn milk out of it. It's like a starch.
MCCOY (voice over): You've to watch and learn and use your senses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many more eggs do you need?
MCCOY: Topaz McCoy, annoying me for 39 years.
MCCOY (voice over): These are the recipes that my grandmother taught me, that I'm now passing down to my nieces.
MCCOY: Let's go. Let's go.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's time to eat.
MCCOY: The mac and cheese (INAUDIBLE).
MCCOY (voice over): This is a continuation of our culture and heritage.
BLACKWELL: I love it. Carlton McCoy, host of CNN's "NOMAD WITH CARLTON MCCOY" is with us now. Good to have you here. This was, I understand, a little bittersweet for you. Why?
MCCOY: Well, you know, being raised in D.C. is -- has always been a little difficult. One, because it's a city that's dealt with a lot of crime and a lot of drug issues. But you always deal with the identity of the city versus what you know the city is. And the culture that really exists there, which is an incredible culture.
But also, you know, I hadn't been home a while. I work a lot and travel a lot, so being able to be home was pretty fantastic. But you know, you go back to D.C. and quite a bit has changed. Some for the better and some would argue for the worst.
CAMEROTA: I totally agree, Carlton. I was just there this week for a couple days. And I went to school there.
BLACKWELL: Me, too.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely, and there's some neighborhoods that are unrecognizable now.
BLACKWELL: Columbia Heights is a completely different place.
MCCOY: Oh, correct.
CAMEROTA: What do you see when you go back?
MCCOY: Well, you know, you see things changing very quickly. I think, you know, even my sister and I talk about it all the time, of gentrification and the cons and pros. Because I believe more cons than pros. There are some pros to it for sure. I mean, the neighborhoods definitely see lower crime rates and things like that, but it's because they're properly invested in. So, we get to see what happens when neighborhoods are invested in properly. Unfortunately, those investments come for a new demographic.
BLACKWELL: Listen, I understand that you're going to show some of the quintessential foods and culture on the show. What are folks going to see?
MCCOY: You know, D.C. has an incredible culture there, a lot of people don't recognize that D.C. has a very strong sort of southern background. A lot of people who grew up in D.C. were part of the sort of great migration out of the South. You know, especially around the time of even pre-Jim Crow, but definitely around Jim Crow.
My grandmother and great-grandmother moved up to D.C. in the late '40s. And you know, that was a little farther north and things were a little milder there. But with, you know, with the people came their culture and their food cultures. Food culture and even the accent has a really, really strong Southern identity. And we were able to sort of capture that and show that.
But also show how diverse the population is, a lot of immigrant groups, you know, enormous amount of El Salvadorians, Ethiopians and so forth that really call D.C. home. That was really incredible to be able to show that thesis sort of through the lens of D.C. Because we did a lot of that traveling around the world. CAMEROTA: Well, Carlton McCoy, thanks for making us all hungry. The
show looks great. This is an all-new episode of "NOMAD" that airs Sunday at 10:00 p.m.
BLACKWELL: And "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts after a short break.