tv New Day With Alisyn Camerota and John Berman CNN May 22, 2019 5:00am-6:00am PDT
later this morning the speaker will have a chance to confront the president directly, she goes to the white house for talks on infrastructure. there is also growing uncertainty about whether special counsel robert mueller will, in fact, testify in public. this as lawmakers we know will be getting the chance just about an hour from now to grill treasury secretary steve mnuchin today about the irs's refusal to hand over president trump's tax returns. and this comes as the "washington post" has now uncovered a confidential irs draft memo that directly contradicts the administration's reasons for not complying. joining us now is the number three house democrat, the majority whip, james clyburn. congressman, thank you very much for being with us this morning. as the whip it is your job to count votes inside the democratic caucus. i want to know from you, we see two dozen or so house democrats now publicly calling for impeachment, how many democrats in your caucus do you think would support the opening of an impeachment inquiry? >> well, first of all, thank you
so much for having me. the vast majority would, in fact, support impeachment, just not now. the issue now is whether or not that is something that should be done today or tomorrow, or whether or not we go through a process by which we build a foundation upon which to successfully impeach the president. so that's where we are. we are all looking forward to the day when that might be ripened. we have not gotten there yet. that is the difference between the majority of the caucus right now and the very strong minority who would like to see us move forward with impeachment right away. >> are you saying it is inevitable? >> no, i'm saying we will know whether or not it is inevitable if we go through these
processes. that's what we're trying to do. we are having hearings, we've got six committees looking into all of this. we have just had what i consider to be three significant victories. we have had a court decision that is very good for us, we've had a break on the other side of the aisle with amash's statement, that's very good for bipartisanship, and we have had some employees at the deutsche bank now saying they saw transactions that needed to be flagged, but were overruled. these are three monumental achievements and we got there by steady, focused movement in the direction of getting at the facts as to whether or not this president did, in fact, break the law. so why don't we keep doing it? >> you call them successes,
hakeem jeffries who is the democratic caucus chair said why should we begin an inquiry while we're winning. we had john yarmuth on who sees it very differently. listen to what he said. >> i don't think we're winning. obviously we won a lower court decision on one subpoena, which is progress, i guess, but we've demanded dozens and dozens of documents and witnesses, none of which the administration has been willing to provide. so i don't think we're winning at all. more importantly, i don't think our democratic system is winning and that's what i'm most concerned about. >> what would you say to the budget committee chair? >> well, i would say he continues to be one of the best friends that i have here in this congress. john is a real good friend. i disagree with him in this instance, but that's not unusual for me to disagree with good friends. that's what good friends are
for, to help you grow. i will take into account everything he has had to say, but in this instance i agree with hakeem jeffries. >> you say vast majority are for impeachment, just not now. >> yes. >> are you closer to wanting to begin the impeachment inquiry than you were a few weeks ago? >> yes, i am, but i'm not where i think we ought to pull the trigger on that. the fact of the matter is all that we've seen in recent days, people refusing to testify, people tending to listen to this white house when they don't have to, all these things bother me tremendously, but i do not want to rush to judgment on anything. i believe in going through the steps. i don't like to use -- i'm sorry? go ahead. i'm sorry. >> i don't like to use sports analogies but i remember a couple years ago looking in on
the super bowl, pulling for a team that seemed to be on the way to winning a victory, got the best running back on the sidelines and decided to throw a pass which got intercepted when they had plenty of time on the clock to run the ball. why don't we keep doing what we've been doing, keep churning it out and not throw some hail mary that may get intercepted in the end zone. >> i will note for the record that i am a patriots fan, so just know that i look at that moment perhaps differently than others do. >> i'm sure you do. >> "the new york times" reported overnight that speaker nancy pelosi is considering and something she may tell the caucus today in less than an hour, using legislation or policy as a lever to put pressure on the president to get different responses or any responses from some of the inquiries that you're doing right now and the requests that you made. how would that work? how will you pressure the
president with other policy to get what you want here? >> well, i don't know what nancy has in mind. she has not discussed that with me, but i think that she's a very astute speaker, a very good politician, she knows policy very well. she is the one who makes the decisions as to what gets considered on our side of the aisle and i will be glad to listen to what her proposals are. that's not anything that she's ever discussed with me. >> this would be separate. would you support or do you think it's inevitable that soon you will begin to fine people that you hold in contempt and don't show up for testimony? >> yes, i do. i really believe so. >> will that vote happen today? >> i'm sorry? >> will you move for that today? is that something that will come out of this caucus meeting this morning? >> i hope not. i hope that what we will do this morning is take a temperature of the caucus, listen to everybody and see exactly how they feel.
we should proceed and then go home. we go home tomorrow for the memorial day weekend, let's go home, celebrate with those who have given so much for this fam then let's come back here in districts, listen to what's about ten happening here in washington and then let's get together and decide how to move forward. i don't want to see us do anything -- i'm sorry? >> you're headed to the white house a little later this morning to talk about infrastructure. the president last night called on the house democratic leadership to pause on infrastructure, where it appeared you had had some agreement with the president to move forward and he says he wants you to address the u.s. mca, the nafta redo first. any chance of that happening? >> well, the president has the cards in his hands. he should be providing leadership. this nafta 2.0, as i called it, he's still has to come forward with how he's going to deal with
those labor issues, how he's going to deal with the environmental issues. i'm not one who voted for nafta so i'm not all that surprised that we have to revisit it, but that should not be taking the place of infrastructure. we can do two things at the same time, they are different all together. >> very last question. robert mueller, we understand there is some reticence for the special counsel to testify publicly. did i read that you might support closed door testimony? do you think it's essential that the special counsel testify in public? >> no, i don't think it's essential that he testify in public. i think what's essential is that he testify. that we have a record. if he helps develop the record, all of us are equipped enough to be able to read the record that he develops. it cannot be a private record. it seems to me testifying in private, if he must, make the record available to all of us and then let's decide what to
move on. so if he is comfortable testifying in private, so will it be, but let's have a record that all of us can consult and go forward with. >> all right. house majority whip jim clyburn, thanks for joining us this morning. good luck in this meeting. >> thank you very much. some breaking news on capitol hill at this hour. house intelligence chairman adam schiff is canceling a meeting that would have taken enforcement action against the justice department. cnn's lauren fox joins us now live from capitol hill to explain in. so what changed here? >> reporter: good morning, erica. that's right, a bit of a break through this morning with the department of justice. agreeing to hand over some of the counterintelligence information from the mueller report, that's something that the house intelligence committee has been asking for over the last month or so. we expect that there is some breakthrough and this comes just before nancy pelosi the speaker of the house is slated to sit with some of her members on the
democratic caucus, they are having a caucus-wide meeting to discuss the path forward, many members calling for the president to be impeached. nancy pelosi expected to try to encourage them with sticking with their path of sticking with the investigations. no you this breakthrough this morning with the house intelligence committee adding a little more fuel to her fire that this strategy is working. >> so we have that and then i also know you're keeping a close eye treasury secretary mnuchin set to testify in the next hour amid a separate congressional fight, this is the one dealing with the president's taxes. what are we expecting to hear? >> reporter: well, he will be before the house financial services committee. we know there has been some fireworks between him and the chairwoman of that committee, maxine waters. here was a clip from just a little over a couple weeks ago. >> i've sat here for over three hour and 15 minutes, if you would wish to keep me here so that i don't of my important meeting and continue to grill me, then we can do that. i will cancel my meeting and i will not be back here. i will be very clear. if that's the way you'd like to
have this relationship. >> you are free to leave anytime you want. you may go. anytime you want. >> please dismiss everybody, i believe you're supposed to take the gravel and bang it. >> please do not instruct me as to how i am to conduct this committee. >> reporter: and of course mnuchin back before that committee in just a couple of hours. you know, one thing to watch for this morning in the hearing is a lot of members may have questions about why he defied a subpoena from house ways and means chairman richard neal to hand over six years of the president's personal and business ax returns. we expect that that will come up as well as that "washington post" report about an internal legal memo basically advising that they could not deny a request from house ways and means chairman richard neal for the president's tax returns. >> there will be a lot to cover. thank you. president trump has urged the people in his orbit to resist speaking with congress, but former secretary of state rex tillerson quietly met with leaders of the house panel for
seven hours. what do we know about what they discussed? that's next. the fire going for another 150 years. ♪ to inspire confidence through style. ♪ i'm working to make connections of a different kind. ♪ i'm working for beauty that begins with nature. ♪ to treat every car like i treat mine. ♪ at adp we're designing a better way to work, so you can achieve what you're working for. ♪ [kno♪king] ♪ memories. what we deliver by delivering.
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house minority whip jim clyburn telling us he is growing closer, telling john just movements ago he is growing closer to supporting impeachment proceedings but he is not there yet. there are now more than two dozen house democrats calling for an inquiry to begin. joining us joe lockhart, bianna golodryga and errol louis cnn political commentator. he says he is not there yet, he also told you, john, the vast majority he believes would support an impeachment, just not now. errol, as we look at this, i mean, we're hearing a similar message from various lawmakers, the request he is when does it continue to grow bigger and what does 24 mean in that equation? >> well, 24 is a small fraction of the, what, 235 democrats in the house conference. so they are not going to sway
the majority. they've got their own local politics, they have their own beliefs, but it's going to be, i think, a question of looking at polling numbers, looking at where the country really is, not just a handful of extremely progressive and angry democratic members who want to see this move forward, and we have to also keep in mind that we've now got presidential candidates out there, a couple dozen of them, this and they are going to weigh in and we are going to see them start to carry the conversation about what democrats are going to do about all of the many questions surrounding the white house. >> it's going to be a fascinating meeting that kicks off about 9:00 on capitol hill with nancy pelosi. the official public number of democrats calling for impeachment is about two dozen, but john yarmuth the budget committee chair says he thinks that number is actually much higher. maybe not a majority, but it seems to be growing, bianna. >> well, the president's narrative in all of this is he wants to see more division within the democratic party. we talk about a bipartisan call for impeachment, well, that was one republican an outlier who
stood out. nobody else has come out in support of what representative amash has said. with that being said, nancy pelosi and house leadership says we are all on the same page. none of us thinks this president is fit to be president and in office, we just have more time on our side than many of our other constituents believe that we have. the law is in our favor as nancy pelosi has been saying, when we heard from one judge this week, we have time to let this play out. the public is not yet there. let us hear more from other judges when this goes before them, let us hear more from perhaps when we will see somebody come and speak before us, but for now we need to wait this out. we're seeing more growing frustration from other democrats. >> we are. it's interesting that that is the message we're hearing from upper leadership. it's not just speaker pelosi, we just heard it again from james clyburn who said we are going to have our meeting this morning but we are not going to come to a decision. we're going to think about it, go home for the memorial holiday, come back in about ten days after talking to people and
then we will move ahead. how much talking is there going to be when these lawmakers go home so they can get the pulse of where their constituents stand in that is an important part of the equation. >> i think they are in daily contact with the pulse in their own district, i think what they know except number so of the more progressive districts that the public -- this isn't the number one issue with democrats back at home. healthcare, the economy, the environment, climate change, things like that are what's an may get th animating them. i think it was a revealing interview. >> because of the questions. >> because of the questions and the patriots reference. how i read what he said was there isn't a democrat in the caucus who doesn't think the president has committed an impeachable offense, but what there is, there's two different ideas on strategy for -- political strategy of what you do about it. the opposite ends of the polls are impeach him now or, two,
wait and beat him at the ballot box. the answer is in the middle. i think what nancy pelosi is trying to do is bring the public along. the comparisons to '98 and '74 are good. in '98 the republicans did nothing to bring the public along, it backfired on them, clinton came out better as far as the public. in '74 we had the senate select committee over the summer that was on tv every day, gripped the country, and they used the courts. remember what -- the reason nixon resigned was because the audiotapes were released. so i think nancy is looking at '74 and saying let's use the courts, let's try to animate the mueller report, educate the people, bring them along. unfortunately -- or fortunately within the debate -- there are some people that are so anxious to do this it looks like the party is divided. i think the party is a lot less divided than we're hearing. >> it sounds like she's saying
it's not a binary choice at this point, right? she really would like to focus on policy. she wants to meet with the president on infrastructure. there are certain things that she says this country is more focused on than impeachment. to her credit impeachment is never good for the country. no side really comes out the victor in an impeachment process. again, aside from having time on her side, she says there's real policy we need to focus on at the same time continue this investigation, continue down the legal route. >> one of the things is will robert mueller testify and when and how. i was surprised, frankly, that the majority whip told me that he would be okay if it's in private, you know, if they release a transcript. i can't imagine that that's going to be popular. >> that's not going to work. i don't think that's going to work. i understand where clyburn is coming from. i mean, impeachment is a political process so, you know, viewers shouldn't be confused about this. sometimes you hear some of the candidates for president they talk as if office, you know, maybe you violated the rules and now you have to be removed. it's not that. it's all politics.
when jim clyburn says i'd like to hear from him personally, he wants to sort of find out what's going on. that's not going to work. what the rest of minority of his conference is telling him is that they want this on camera. they want to have a public airing of these different issues. they want the public to sort of get energized and get focused on some of these issues. what their leadership is telling them is that's not in the end what brings people to the polls, that's not in the end what's going to sort of keep and maybe expand their majority in 2020 which is of course, what the leadership is focused on. they are going to have to have it out. i think we will see some of it today, but we will see much more of it on the campaign trail where they're all going to have to sort of try to make their case that impeachment is the most important this i think that we should be doing. they're going to lose that fight i think both with their constituents and with the general public. >> we also want to get your take, too, on learning that former secretary of state rex tillerson seven hours this meeting yesterday that came as a
surprise to folks even who ar involved in house foreign affairs, this meeting had taken place. it's fascinating that this went down, bianna. just based on the path that we've seen to getting here. >> yeah, and it's -- you know, it should be no surprise given it's rex tillerson and some of the things he's said in the past, he's obviously a private citizen at this point. there have been previous statements that he has made along the lines that this president has wanted me to do some things that were illegal and i had to walk him back. we know there is no love loss between the president and rex tillerson. the question is will others speak out the way he has. i mean, he's sort of been an outlier in this case. if i could quickly just go back to bob mueller, we would be kidding ourselves if we think after two and a half years of an investigation and a few hours of grilling is going to somehow get him to the point where he says this president should be impeached. the optics, however, are what democrats are going after. i mean, the mueller report is stunning in and of itself. to read it is one thing, most americans have not. to hear him speak out about some of the conclusions and findings
they've made is something entirely different. >> they want to screenplay adaptation of the report that nobody has read, then it will become real or so they think. folks, i think, are exaggerating what this all might mean. going back to the tillerson comment, i mean, whatever it is he told them, he gave them some valuable information or he wouldn't have been there past hour, say, two or three. seven hours means he's -- he drew them a roadmap and we will see what they do with it. >> i think just to finish on the tillerson point, what he gave them was a new front, which my understanding is he's talked to them about how -- why and how often he was told to put russia's interest ahead of others including america's interest. if we ever do get to impeachment that's going to be part of it. >> joe, bianna, errol, thank you for being with us. our next guest called president trump's attacks on u.s. institutions the greatest threat to democracy he's ever seen. we will speak with admiral william mcraven who led the
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played a key role in thousands of dangerous missions including the raid that killed osama bin laden, but he warns now that the greatest threat to democracy is not from a rogue regime or terror group, but instead president trump's rhetoric. joining us now is retired four star navy admiral william mcraven. his new would think "sea stories: my life in special operations" is out now. i could not put this book down to be honest. we will get to this in just a moment. you've been in the news for years. this last year has been interesting for you as someone who was never involved in politics, all of a sudden people are using things you have said and it's part of the political debate. you have chosen to be part of the discussion in this way. one of the things you wrote and this was last august and it had to do with the suspension of security clearances for john brennan and others and things that the president has said about the press. through your actions you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.
if you think for a moment that your mccarthy era tactics will suppress the voices of criticism, you are sadly mistaken. the criticism will continue until you become the leader we prayed you would be. so you wrote that in august of 2018. and my question is has he become the leader you prayed he would be? >> i will tell you i hope the president becomes the leader we want him to be. every american should want the president to do well. as i talked about in the book, i had an opportunity to work for both bush 43 and for president obama and it was on president bush's national security council staff and obviously one of president's commanders. i didn't agree with everything every man did all the time. i questioned some of the decisions they made. having said that, i found both men to be men of great integrity and great character and when you have a commander in chief that has those qualities, it is easier to follow. i hope the president learns from other presidents, those two in particular would be good
starting points, but also the president takes the advice of his military leaders and his secretaries to do the right thing. >> what's lacking, do you think? >> you know, it's hard to tell because i'm not on the -- in the inner circle. what i do know from, again, talking to senior military leaders is they are heard by the president, so the chairman and the combatant commanders as we call them have an opportunity to sit down with the president on a fairly routine basis and he takes their opinion. now, again, what he does with that i think remains to be seen, but when you take a look at of his national security challenges he has actually done well in some areas. the strike in syria a couple years ago which was a measured strike because assad used chemical weapons. i think the right thing to do. the engagement with north korea actually i think that was the right thing to do. we hadn't had much movement on north korea, the end game didn't turn out like he had hoped, pressuring china is probably the right thing. pressuring maduro is the right
thing. i think we wills have to give the president some credit for some of the things that are turning out well. again, i wish he would take more action against russia, a lot of other things i wish he would do well, but it's a learning process and, again, i hope and i think every american should hope the president does well in his role as commander in chief. >> we hear the president talk a lot about his great love for the military, his support for service members, for veterans. one of the stories that got a lot of attention this week was "the new york times" report that the president was considering pardoning service members who had been accused of war crimes, some who hadn't even gone before and even been convicted, but had been simply charged. the backlash, the outrage from both current -- well, not current publicly, but that we heard from certainly retired generals that i spoke with earlier this week calling it immoral, calling it dangerous. >> right. >> where do you stand on that proposal? >> again, there has been push back on it, but just the very thought of it. >> obviously the president has the authority as the commander
in chief to pardon who he thinks it's appropriate to pardon. in the military we have a thing called undue influence. what you are not allowed to do as a senior commander at any rank is to i'm fly to the commander below you what you think the outcome of a particular trial or courts martial ought to be. that is unduly influencing the outcome before the courts martial has an opportunity to render its judgment. you are not allowed to do that. my caution to the president would be don't start signaling what you think should happen to one of the persons being investigated. that is completely inappropriate. again, once the investigation is complete, once the trial is over, the president can review the findings and then he can make the decision. >> i'm sorry. >> i was going to say just to follow-up, one retired general had told me even just the suggestion of this, that it does in his view undermine the moral authority of the american military. would you agree that it depose that far? >> i don't know that it goes that far. i mean, the fact of the matter is, again, it is legally compounding because when the president, again, signals that he thinks a trial ought to come
out a certain way, he is unduly influencing either the people on that courts martial or the commander having to make that decision and that is inappropriate. >> martin dempsey is a general who i think is espousing -- you were just saying -- let me read you, he said absent evidence of innocence or injustice the wholesale pardon signals or troops and allies that we don't take the law of armed conflict seriously. bad message. bad precedent. abdication of moral responsibility. risk to us #leadership. >> i would never disagree with anything marty dempsey says, absolutely one of the finest officers i have ever worked with. again, if the individual is accused and found guilty and i think this is the part that we're waiting for, and found guilty of a war crime, then i would agree that is a very, very bad precedent to set. but in a couple cases i know the president is looking towards certain individuals who have not gone to trial yet that are accused of war crimes. i think you have to wait and see
how the trial unfolds and then see where the president's decision goes from there. >> one of the things this gets to, and you get to in your book, 18 separate stories about you, hard for me to believe that you were part of each and every one of these amazing stories. the osama bin laden raid. you talk about values. >> right. >> you talk about values and you talk about what these values mean to you. why is that important? >> well, you know, when you have the responsibility of leading the men and women in uniform, you know, the one quality that every leader has to have is integrity. you will spend time with leaders that don't have as much integrity or maybe have no integrity and you can spot them in a minute. what i've learned is if you don't have integrity, if you don't have character as an officer, as a senior enlisted, as anybody within the military sooner or later that character flaw comes out and sooner or later you will find yourself in a position where you are unable to lead the men and women.
the other thing that the book brings out i hope is that it's -- while i'm in each one of these stories, it really is about the men and women that i worked with. i mean, it's about their courage and their sacrifice. i tell the story about the two soldiers and the one seal in one of the chapters about how they -- and i believe this seriously, these millennials, these oft maligned millennials will be the 21st centuries greatest generation. sometimes people get fearful about the future. i said i am not worried at all. i have spent time with the young men and women of in generation, they are going to make sure we get through this and continue on as the greatest nation in the history of the world because we have these great folks in the service, you know, first responders, out there teaching in our urban schools. we're going to be just fine. >> admiral william mcraven, says you can spot lack of integrity a mile away. thanks so much for being with us. the book, again, it is riveting.
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vaping. dr. sanjay gupta explains. >> before vaping i was a straight a student, i played two sports and i was in boy scouts. >> that's 16-year-old luca seen speaking last week at a press conference announcing that north carolina is the first state to sue leading e-cigarette company juul for deceptive marketing. juul denies the allegations and says it has taken steps to promote youth vaping. >> i've had vomiting, fatigue, headaches. i stopped going to the boy scouts and stopped playing sports. i hated myself when i was going through addiction. >> it completely changed him. overnight he went from being a straight a outgoing fun student to monster. >> last year more than 3.5 million middle and high school students in the united states said they were current e-cigarette users. what's important, that's a million and a half more kids than the year before. >> when you have a product that's absorbed into your brain within ten seconds of using it,
it doesn't take very long for that to alter the way you think and the way you act. >> dr. adam goldstein is the director of the tobacco intervention programs at the university of north carolina in chapel hill. >> we're hearing from school systems saying we have an epidemic of juul in our classroom. what do we do? increasingly we're even seeing kids themselves that say i want to quit and i'm trying and it's not working. >> doctors say e-cigs can impact the developing brain differently, making teens more vulnerable to addiction and behavioral issues. causing lung problems, burns and poisonin poisonings. the fda is looking into multiple reports of people who had seizures after vaping. one of those people was luca. >> out of nowhere i had a seizure, i wound up in the hospital. it was a scary experience. >> luca was able to beat his addiction after more than a month in rehab and since become an advocate for teens, but experts say there are limited resources out there for a
generation of kids who are now at risk of becoming addicted. >> other parents are not having the same luck that we did. they're having treatment problems, their doctors are not listening to them, their insurance company is denying coverage. >> who knows what's going to happen when you now have a generation, 3 million youth that are potentially addicted to e-cigarettes. >> i definitely would say that a lot of people that i do know still are definitely dealing with the same things i did. it's more than just an addiction problem right now, it's definitely an epidemic. >> wow. i mean, talk about sobering when you look at that. what else is being done? what can be done to keep these vapes from getting into kids' hands? >> i lot of it obviously has to happen at the beginning before kids actually start doing the vaping at all because you see how addictive this can be, you see how quickly it can have an impact on the brain and the developing brain is different. you're starting to hear policy changes, first of all, stopping the sort of sweet flavors, the
flavors that are marketed to kids, raising the age at which these can be sold, some states saying they can only be sold in age-verified locations as opposed to rest stops and things like that. but i think, you know, education. people didn't even know the term juul a couple years ago and now ask any kid you know and they know this term, they've probably seen one. it's out there. they're designed to be sort of hidden, look like flash drives. i have three kids, it's conversation number one. we have to be on the lookout for our kids as well. >> i didn't know anything about this until you started doing the reporting on this about a year and a half ago. thank you for bringing it to our attention because it's exploded over the last two years. >> yeah, it has. beto o'rourke is looking to boost his campaign in his cnn town hall, did it make a difference? we will discuss next. a little sweeter. ♪ to give every idea the perfect soundtrack. ♪ to fill your world with fun. ♪ to share my culture with my community. ♪
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we are busting people for possession of marijuana, putting them in jail, forcing them to check a box on every employment application form after they're released, making it less likely that they get the job, making it almost impossible to attend drake because they no longer qualify for federally-backed student loans, and yet no one from perdue pharma has done a night in jail or paid any significant consequence. we have to do better. >> former congressman beto o'rourke appearing in his first town hall as a presidential candidate on cnn last night. his first national town hall,
which i think is an important distinction here. let's get the bottom line on how he did. joining us now pete hamby. you have watched beto o'rourke, i think, more closely probably than any reporter in america over the last few years and you noted last night watching this, peter, that he has done a lot of town halls. he goes to iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, he went all over texas and did this. he has experience which showed last night when he finally chose to do his first national event. >> yeah, i mean, that's right, a lot of reporters were tweeting about this last night, a lot of people watching the town hall. o'rourke has done over 150 town halls not just in these early primary states, he's done them in virginia, ohio, wisconsin and california and i think there's this narrative that's taken hold about the candidate in the national press because he's kind of shunned the national press. he's been instagramming and snapchatting and live streaming most of his events.
he's been working really hard but he hasn't really been in the national media crafting a narrative, responding to criticisms. in that vacuum this narrative has taken hold that he's a policy lightweight, so much of a moderate squish, that, you know, pete buttigieg has taken his space in the primary, and instead what you saw last night was what people saw in texas which was a deeply literate person in policy, he's been a leader on decriminalizing marijuana for a long time going back to el paso. the guy literally wrote a book on it back in 2012, a leader on criminal justice, he was ahead of the curve on lgbt rights back in el paso. so he's been benefitting -- he's benefitting a little bit from this town hall from low expectations, john. i mean, coming into this the guy is at 2% in the national polls, he is a lightweight, he is a squish, he's lost and all of a sudden you remember it is may of 2019 and it's still so, so, so
early in this process and this guy has to be counted, you know, as a serious candidate. he raised $80 million in texas, built a political movement from scratch and has the ability, you know, unlike a lot of candidates, to build a sort of cross-racial coalition which is what you need to do to win a democratic primary. >> you said he's benefiting from low expectations. these are expectations that some would say he has earned, obviously, by not somehow catching on in the polls. i know it's early, but polls do reflect where things stand now. as you pointed out 2% in the latest quinnipiac poll. this town hall gave him a chance and as you said people have criticized him for being lightweight on policy. he was asked policy questions and dana did a great job pressing him on this and he had answers, particularly on something like agriculture and trade. listen to this. >> you are bearing the brunt of this president's disastrous trade war and the tariffs that he's imposed that are destroying
the markets that you worked a lifetime to establish. you and other farmers and growers here and in my home state of texas and frankly across this country. >> that jumped out to you, peter, why? >> yeah, it did. if you look at o'rourke's performance in the texas senate race he came close to beating ted cruz by, you know, almost doubling midterm turnout compared to 2014, outpacing hillary clinton in all the big urban centers in texas, but texas is a big agriculture state and for a long time even before o'rourke jumped in the race i think a lot of people watching him knew that he would play well in iowa because he's really sort of custom built for those town hall meetings like we saw last night. over 80% of, you know, land in texas is devoted to agriculture and agricultural production. he knows how to talk to farmers and he's been, you know, going around the state of texas all 250 some counties there and around -- and now he's doing the
same thing in iowa. you can see that moment last night that he knew how to talk about tariffs, he knew how to talk about trade, he knew how the stuff impacts regular people. he is a good retail politician. again, we haven't been seeing that in the national press, that's a mess of his own doing in some ways, but i think a lot of folks saw last night the kind of candidate that he is out on the stump. >> you said you can't live stream your way to the presidency, we have 15 seconds left, peter. what do you think he still needs to do better? >> i think he needs to respond better to the quick fire pace of twitter that shapes elite national opinion. i think he's sort of shunned that and thought he could win the same way he did in texas and he needs to do a better job of flooding the zone on the national side. >> peter, thank you very much for being with us. we love your writing in "vanity fair." >> thanks, john. >> that you can to you again soon. a quick programming note for you, this week w. kamau bell hits the nation's capital. this is not the d.c. of politicians an monuments, he is
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play it cool and escape heartburn fast with new tums chewy bites cooling sensation. ♪ tum tum tum tums time now for the good stuff. a couple brave boys from new hampshire, nine-year-old braxton and five-year-old mitchell came home to find their mom in distress. turns out she was having an asthma attack. though she had managed to call 911 nicole couldn't talk. >> she was crying help, we barged in, then she handed the phone to mitch. >> handed the phone to mitch, he's the five-year-old. mitch gives the 911 operator their address, the paramedics
were there very quickly and we are told everybody is doing great. nice one to end on. >> give the phone to mitch. that's what i'm doing from now on thanks for being with us this morning. "newsroom" picks up right now. ♪ all right. good morning, everyone, i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm jim sciutto. we're matching this morning, just happens sometimes. >> don't we every day? >> that's the magic. happening now behind closed doors on capitol hill the house speaker nancy pelosi is meeting with her fellow democrats with a key decision to make, it's the second morning in a row. they have two big differences. since then another house subpoena has been defied in dramatic fashion by a former white house staffer and more democrats are now coming out in favor of starting an impeachment inquiry into president trump. pelosi maintaining that would be a futile process that would play into the president's hands. she insists her