tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN October 21, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
happening now, stick together. president trump complains his party isn't as united as the democrats suggesting he'll be impeached no matter what. as he gripped and blamed during a cabinet meeting mr. trump refused to talk about a sensitive subject, the mick mulvaney mess. censuring schiff. republicans are going after one of the president's favorite targets tonight. why are they brothering to launch a futal effort to rebuke a top investigator. a warren plan, the 2020 democrat will explain how she will pay for medicare for all after taking sharp new jabs at the latest presidential debate. and different paths. prince harry confirms tensions with his brother, the future king, in a rare and revealing documentary. meghan the duchess of sussex speaking out about the stress of royal life and their struggle as new parents. we want to welcome our viewers
in the united states around the world. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." we're following lots of news including president trump who may be more concerned than ever about cracks in his gop firewall against impeachment. tonight senator mitt romney has real concern about mick mulvaney's admission that u.s. aid to ukraine was linked in part to the president's push to investigate democrats. this as president trump is refusing to talk about mulvaney's future even as he warns republicans they need to stick together and get tougher fighting impeachment. this hour i'll talk with congressman anthony brown and our correspondents and analysts are standing by. but first to kaitlan collins. the president seems to think republicans should be doing more to protect and defend him. >> reporter: yeah, wolf, the second day in a row that you saw the president's anger with his
own party essentially urging them to be tougher on impeachment and fight back harder than they are doing so right now. the president making clear he needs a more public showing of support, a show of support he didn't offer for his chief of staff today. >> i don't need promotion. >> reporter: under fire and in front of the cameras, president trump was forced to defend himself on all fronts today. but there was one person he left out. >> thank you, everybody. thank you. >> reporter: trump making no mention of his embattled chief of staff mick mulvaney during the 75 minutes reporters were in the room today. mulvaney's job security is now in question after he backed off assertions that the white house sought a quid pro quo with ukraine for military aid. >> that is what people are saying that i said, but i didn't say that. >> reporter: cnn was first to report there were efforts under way by jared kushner and other
top officials to oust mulvaney, before speaker nance launched the impeachment inquiry revealing he's been on thin ice for weeks. >> get over it. there is going to be political influence in foreign policy -- >> reporter: his briefing room appearance undercut the president's defense for why he shouldn't be impeached, a stance he maintained today. >> the president of the united states should be allowed to focus on the country and not this kind of crap. >> reporter: and the whistle-blower at the center of the scandal. >> was there an informant. maybe the informant was schiff. >> reporter: trump claiming without evidence that house intelligence chairman adam schiff was the whistle-blower informant and moments later praising democrats for sticking together in their push to investigate him. >> they're vicious, and they stick together. >> the republicans have to get tougher and fight. >> reporter: those comments coming amid some cracks in republican support. cracks that the president dismissed today. >> i think i have great
republican support. >> reporter: trust has tested the gop patience with his decision and then reversal to host the g7 summit with world leaders at his own hotel next summer. >> doral was a very simple situation. >> reporter: in the face of intense criticism, trump now said he's pick a new location. >> you don't think i get enough promotion. i get more promotion than any human being that ever lived. >> reporter: ethics lawyers said payments from visiting governments could violate the emoluments clause in the constitution which forbids the president from receiving gifts or bids from foreign governments. >> people with this phony emolument clause. >> reporter: the president did defend another move republicans have criticized. his decision to withdraw u.s. troops from northern syria. >> when i said we're bringing our soldiers back home, the place went crazy. >> reporter: trump said he got high praise for the withdrawal during a rally in dallas last week. but those u.s. forces aren't going home. instead, moving into iraq.
the move has opened trump up to criticism he's abandoning the coalition of syrian kurdish fighters. >> we never agreed to protect the kurds for the rest of their lives. >> reporter: today he downplayed the u.s. allies help in the fight against isis. >> i'm the one that did the capturing and knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits. >> reporter: now, wolf, the president praised democrats today for being able to stick together. but he criticized them for the impeachment probe too saying, quote, i have to fight these low lives at the same time i'm negotiating these very important things making the argument that the impeachment inquiry is getting in the way of his presidency, that we should note he's making the comments talking about the impeachment probe at length at the beginning of his cabinet meeting today. >> kaitlan collins, thanks for that report. now to the breaking news on mitt romney's speaking out about mick mulvaney and his quid pro quo debacle. now to capitol hill. our congressional correspondent phil mattingly is on the scene.
what are we hearing from senator romney as we head into another big week in the impeachment investigation? >> reporter: look, wolf, senator romney made no secret over the last couple of days in a series of public interviews he's sharply critical of the issues the president has brought to the forefront and now focusing on that criticism on mick mulvaney. take a listen. >> obviously what he said in the press conference was a real concern. because he said in effect that they were holding up funding going to ukraine in part based upon a desire to have ukraine carry out an investigation with regards to the 2016 election. and holding up funds to a foreign nation particularly one that is under military threat in order to fulfill a political purpose is a real problem. >> reporter: now, wolf, the republicans we're talking to tonight are not nearly in the same place that mitt romney is on most things but on mick mulvaney there is an agreement and broad frustration.
senator roy blunt saying he believed if you ask mick mulvaney, he would acknowledge it wasn't his best performance over the last couple of interviews. senator john thune, the number two ranked republican said it is, quote, a rough patch for mick mulvaney. you're seeing frustration about how the white house has addressed the allegations. how the white house has addressed what house democrats are investigating up to this point. what you're not seeing is a major break of senate republicans. and certainly no break from house republicans as well. i asked senator romney did he believe his comments were channeling what his colleagues didn't have the ability to say publicly and thinking behind the scenes and he acknowledged he didn't think so. at least not at this point. and he made clear if there is impeachment and if it gets to the united states senate, they will be jurors and because of that, most people right now are taking it day by day and holding their fire, wolf. >> phil, tomorrow another big witness scheduled to testify in connection with the mooec-- wit impeachment inquiry, tell us about that. >> reporter: william taylor the
top u.s. diplomat in ukraine that came to the forefront based on his role in a series of text messages released by the commit based on depositions of curt and gordon sondland and making it clear asking if it was administration policy to withhold the security funding and saying in a text message it would be crazy to do such a thing. sh he will go behind closed doors. one thing to keep in mind. while there are a series of depositions scheduled for this week and that list has been narrowed, for two reasons. one out of respect for congressman elijah cummings, the chairman of the oversight committee who recently passed will lie in state in the united states capitol later in week so the depositions have been moved but also two key omb officials office of management and budget involved have made very clear they will not be coming to those depositions even though they've been asked by the house. so the administration still keeping up some type of a wall on some of the officials but as
you've seen, wolf, over the last couple of weeks state department officials will continue to testify. >> phil mattingly. congressman anthony brown served on the armed services committee and retired colonel and served in iraq. thank you for your service as well. let's get to the news. the president's silence as far as acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney is concerned. mulvaney has been trying to walk back his earlier statement there was some sort of quid pro quo, aid to crane would flow if there was an investigation into politics back in 2016. what do you make of this? >> first of all, mulvaney comment last week confirms what we knew when he saw the summary of the transcript of the july 25th call between president trump and the ukraine president. where president trump said, hey, do us a favor and that is in direct response to the ukraine president zelensky request for javelin missiles. so we know that the president abused his power, undermining national security and with
holding aid that congress appropriated in order to pursue political gains and so last week when -- this is not about mulvaney. when he said what he said, he essentially corroborated or confirmed what is going on in this white house. >> what do you think of what senator mitt romney is now saying. one of the few -- very few sitting republicans on either the house or the senate who is willing to go out there and criticize the president. >> sure. first of all i can respect a senator who takes a position that i'm going to act as juror if and when an impeachment trial were to occur in the senate. but i could tell you, what we've seen between the urgent and credible whistle-blower complaint, again the transcripts summary and what we're hearing from mr. mulvaney should give all members of congress, house and senate, democrats or republicans, concern there is an abuse of power taking place in this white house undermining national security and should step up. again, i respect that they will eventually serve as jurors. but i think that it is important to communicate that this
behavior is intolerable. >> do you have any cracks among your republican colleagues in the house of representatives. right now they follow the president's advice and they want to censure this -- the chairman of the house intelligence committee adam schiff. >> yeah and that is -- that is ridiculous. to censure adam schiff makes no sense whatsoever. he has conducted the hearings while in secret, right, closed hearings because of the nature of the material. it is classified and it is sensitive. he is given republicans and democrats alike equal access to witnesses, to what documents that we have. unlimited opportunities to ask questions. so the idea that you're going to censure adam schiff on the floor of the united states house of representatives because he's doing his job, going to the truth for the american people is ridiculous. >> the top u.s. diplomat in ukraine bill taylor will testify tomorrow we're told before these various committees. once again if secret. how significant is what he has to say? >> very significant. first of all, let me tell you, i served with bill taylor in iraq.
he's the consume at diplomat, a real professional and he served for democrat and republican administrations and a west point graduate. when he expressed the kind of concern that he did in the email exchanges to ambassador sondland asking whether or not we're going to use -- going to base u.s. foreign policy on a domestic political agenda which is what he was seeing out of this administration, that raises concerns. his testimony will be very important. >> you're on the armed services committee. i want to show you some video and this is very dramatic, very powerful. and you served in the u.s. army in iraq. you see these american troops in armored vehicles leaving syria and heading towards iraq and the kurds, do you see the kurdish civilians throwing potatoes and rotten vegetables. they're trying to underscore their anger and their frustration. given the cooperation, what they've done to help the u.s. over the years as a military veteran, what is your reaction? >> they feel betrayed and rightfully so and not by the men
and women or the men in that case driving those armored vehicles but by the president of the united states. when he back in december of last year announced publicly that he was going to withdraw troops from syria, leave the kurds high and dry to fend for themselves against turkey, that was a betrayal and then recently p proclaiming loudly he would move 50 u.s. forces awhich at that point he needed to do and that is the betrayal. they worked and fought alongside of us. the kurdish helped us defeat isis. they lost many lives. lost a lot of blood on our behalf, on the -- on the effort to fight isis and now we walk away. and they should feel betrayed and i would as well. >> very frustrating indeed. congressman anthony brown, thank you so much for joining us. >> thanks, wolf. just ahead, new evidence that the u.s. justice department is concerned about rudy giuliani's central role in the ukraine scandal. and a different story we're following. harry and meghan go public with
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despite the acting white house chief of staff's denials. this as president trump is refusing to talk about the mulvaney mess. let's talk about the ukraine scandal, the impeachment probe and more. joining us the former top lawyer at the fbi jim baker now a cnn legal analyst. jim, thanks very much for coming in. do you think that mulvaney's attempt to do some clean-up changes potentially the president's vulnerability in all of this? >> i think the key word that you just said a second ago was "mess." this is a big mess that mulvaney pead last week and i think the efforts over the weekend to try to clean it up didn't work and people are responding to that and the president didn't seem to be supportive of him today at the cabinet meeting, we're left to guess what that means. but this is stressing because the chief of staff is such a critical role and for that person not to have the complete trust and confidence of the president and the rest of the country and congress is really significant for all of us. >> and for the president not to
say anything is -- >> it is shocking really. >> when asked by reporters today over at the cabinet meeting about mick mulvaney, that says something. >> that says something significant. it is unclear whether they have a strategy that they are trying to implement with respect to impeachment. they have a lot of tactics. they don't always work and sometimes people say the truth and that seems to not go over very well and they try to clean up afterwards and it looks, as i said, a big mess. the top u.s. diplomat bill taylor scheduled to appear tomorrow before the committees investigating all of this. but the officials from the office of management and budget who are responsible for with holing the military aid, nearly $400 million in aid, they are not cooperating. so what advice if any do you have from members of congress who are seeking this kind of cooperation? >> they should keep at it. if -- it seems they're focusing on key witnesses, doing their work professionally and quietly behind closed doors. not making a big public show of it at this point in time. it is striking me that they're
trying to build their case. trying to think about it like building a criminal case. they're sort of in the investigative phase and trying to figure out what charges to bring and figuring out what defenses the president and his supporters might try to make and so bring in the key witnesses that you need and hear what the stories are and build the case and get ready to take the case to the senate and to the american people. >> let's talk about the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani. the justice department is distancing themselves from giuliani. giuliani tried to secure -- or did secure a meeting with the top department of justice official but the department of justice said that meeting would not have happened if they knew about his association with two individuals, two associates, who have been since been indicted and arrested. how concerning should this be for giuliani right now who supposedly according to a lot of reports is under investigation himself. >> well, it should be concerning. to me it is kind of depressing as a former justice department
official. it was a meeting that should not have taken place given the facts and circumstances. and i just am kind of shocked that people haven't started to recuse themselves with respect to this investigation given all that is going on. i think mr. giuliani should be concerned about his criminal exposure and perhaps why he is not talking so much publicly and that is probably a wise thing to do. so hopefully he's getting good legal counsel. he's not helping himself when he goes on tv and starts texting and talking to reporters, teit not helping his legal position. >> i'm sure his lawyers are telling him to be quiet now. he's hasn't been tweeted. he tweeted about the yankees loss to the astros but hasn't been going on tv or saying anything which says what? >> that is a smart thing to do. that is what you do when you're under criminal investigation like this. and you have a propensity to talk too much. and to say things that dig yourself a bigger hole with respect to a criminal liability,
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breaking news on the fallout from mick mulvaney latest attempt to have quid pro quo damage control. tonight mitt romney said it is a problem that the acting chief of staff admitted aid to ukraine was linked in part to the president's push to investigate democrats. this as president trump is dodging questions about mulvaney's future. let's bring in our analysts and discuss. bianna, i want to play a little clip of what romney just said. listen to this. >> obviously what he said in the press conference was of real concern. because he said in effect they were holding up funding going to ukraine in part based upon a desire to have ukraine carry out an investigation with regards to the 2016 election. and holding up funds to a foreign nation, particularly one that is under military threat in
order to fulfill a political purpose is a real problem. >> bianna, how significant is this? >> well thus far it is mitt romney who ultimately has been an outlier speaking out against the president and we've seen potentially other republicans also fall in line with similar views on what mitt romney had said in regards to ukraine in particular which is why nancy pelosi is trying to be very disciplined in terms of what to focus on during this impeachment inquiry. they could throw spaghetti on the wall with the number of headlines that could be impeachment-worthy in terms of violating laws and rules but when it comes to addressing concerns for the american public and you're seeing the polls slightly edge up in terms of americans being open to the president being investigated for impeachment, this is the reason. the focus and discipline on ukraine alone is the path democrats so far are taking in
going and pursuing this investigation now and that is why. >> it is interesting, jeffrey, and i was anxious to get your thoughts on this. we've learned that senator romney used a secret twitter account to criticize the president the president under the name pierre delicto. what does that tell you about the state of the gop opposition to the president? >> well we all need to learn the term sock puppet. which is like inventing a persona to say things that you're afraid to say under your own name. i think it is a remarkable act of coward is on mitt romney's part. what is he afraid of. he was just re-elected and -- elected to the senate. he's very popular in utah. why does he have to use this fake name? it is indicative of how he's -- republicans hide from the president. but i think senator romney should be a big boy and
criticize under his own name. >> susan, back to mulvaney. i want to play the clips how his explanation shifted over the past few days beginning with that ill-fated news conference he had. >> i was involved with the process by which the money was held up temporarily. okay. three issues for that. >> and there were two reasons that we held up the aid. >> did he mention to me in pass that the corruption related to the dnc server? absolutely. no question about that. but that is it. and that is why we held up the money. >> money flowed without any connection whatsoever to the dnc server. >> so he said one thing on one day and on thursday and on sunday he said the opposite. >> and so the problem is that he can't clean up a statement like that. mulvaney was explicit in that press conference that this military aid was tied to political investigations of the president wanted and reporters in that press conference gave him an opportunity to clean up the statement. he declined to do so. so he's not able to walk it back now. this goes to the core of the
white house issue and that is that they can't get their stories straight. they can't decide whether or not this didn't occur, there was no quid pro quo, military aid was not in any way linked to the political investigations or if it was perfectly fine and it all happened but it wasn't corrupt. this is a legitimate thing for the president of the united states to be doing. and so the president himself has been vacillating on this and so it is no surprise that aides like mulvaney that go out and give a statement on any particular day of the week whenever the president then realizes that it is a damaging and trying to walk it back again. >> we're also just getting in this report from "the washington post" and jim and david, i want you both to react. it is a very significant potential report that -- and i'll read the lead sentence. president trump's efforts to pressure ukraine for information he could use against political rivals came as he's being urged to adopt a hostile view of the country by the regional adversaries including vladimir
putin and current and former u.s. officials said trump's conversations with putin, hungarian president and others reinforced his perception of ukraine as a hopelessly corrupt country one that he believes sought to undermine him in the 2016 u.s. election, officials said. this is significant. jim, your reaction? >> very significant. i mean, the president and mr. giuliani really do not have significant national security experience and they certainly don't have experience in dealing with adversaries the likes of mr. putin. and he is playing a different game. he and other, i think, foreign leaders try to manipulate the president through a vary of different ways by feeding him information and flattering him as we saw in the transcript of the phone call, by doing other things to appease him to make him do their bidding in some way, shape or form and i think in this -- this may be an instance where he is just fallen for it and accepted what they've told him for whatever reason and
that is influenced u.s. policy so they're having an outside influence on u.s. national security and foreign policy than they should have. >> and the report said neither of the leaders, neither putin nor hungary specifically encouraged the damaging information about candidate joe biden nor did they describe explicit in in a election conspiracy but trying to do was try to weaken u.s./ukraine relations. >> and they don't have to say anything like that explicitly because president trump can be nudged in these situations as jim was saying. right now you have the ukrainian-backed military elements fighting russian-backed military elements in the eastern part of ukraine because there is a russian separatist movement there. russia has annexed crimea in 2014 and russia doesn't want to see closer ukrainian-american
ties or meaning the e.u. because that weakens his position and and one thing to what jim said is that it is not just putin, even though he is the master manipulator. president trump can be nudged. you had a kim jong-un who got him to give him summits to boost him on the world stage and president erdogan in turkey able to talk him into pulling troops back. the book is out on president trump and world leaders know. >> and bianna, weigh in. >> i was going to say, one of the things the world leaders have in common is their authoritarian leader and orban was seen as a prowestern rising star many decades ago in hungary over the past few years he's become much more skeptical of western democracy and pursuing a liberal democracy in the country and has closed many institutions and gone after the judiciary and if that doesn't make things as interesting as they already are
given this -- this article, the irony can't be lost here. because if this president, this administration, the constant word that we're hearing with regards to ukraine and holding back any money has been corruption. well there are so many corruption charges leveled against vladimir putin we don't have time to go through them but orban himself has been criticized just this past year alone over corruption and accused of corruption by misappropriating money that was scheduled to be delivered to them by the e.u. so i have yet to hear the president talk about corruption in russia or in hungary and yet the focus is ukraine. >> jeffrey, go ahead. >> why are these transcripts not public? we keep reading leaks and i'm all for leaks. we all try to get leaks. but they ought to just release the transcripts so we could all make an informed judgment about what went on in these hearings or better yet hold the hearings in public rather than have people with agendas put out bits and pieces that they -- that
they want the public to see. >> the argument they make, the democrats and the house intelligence committee and the foreign affairs committees, the oversight committee, the argument is that they don't want what one individual said to be public because that could influence witnesses down the road. that is the same reason they don't want grand jury testimony to be made public right away. because they don't want to influence future witnesses. >> except lot of it is becoming public put out by people with axes to grind and may not be accurate and if they put out the transcript, everybody is dealing with the same playing field and the idea that people will be influenced, that seems farfetched to me. these are all government officials with their own pieces of the story. a little more openness here would be i think serving everyone's benefit, especially the public. >> susan, what do you think of "the washington post" report. >> once again all roads lead back to putin. donald trump is once again not advancing american interests
abroad. he's doing the bidding of vladimir putin and authoritarians like hungary. this is not the president making a foreign policy decision taking in that case to the american public and pursuing it. say things like we want to allow russia to do whatever they want in ukraine. this is the president instead surreptitiously working against the united states government against the states policy positions of the united states government and policy positions with bipartisan backing in congress working actively against those interests and also adding in his own corruption and saying, while i'm pursuing mr. putin's interest in crane i'm going to see what i could get out in terms of dirt on my political opponents again and once again that alignment with orban and putin and trump he's claiming his place with the leaders that are frankly a -- an anthema to our interests.
>> and at the same time as rudy giuliani was trying to sell this toast -- this totally unsubstantiated conspiracy on behalf of the democrats to weaken president trump. >> they are trying to push aside the career diplomats and career professionals in the intelligence community and the people that know what they're doing and trying to run this sort of fake kind of inept diplomacy and semi undercover operation with these people and they are quite frankly out of their league. they're susceptible to being man imlated and don't know what they are doing and not act in the interest of the united states. >> how do you see it? >> i think jim is right and susan is right. you have a situation again where world leaders know if they want to get something from the united states, you could get it without giving much in return and you could get it by sort of
out-foxing or doing an end run around president trump because he has fixed views and has not demonstrated over the last two and a half years that he will adjust, but he sticks with the narrative he wants to stick with. >> bianna. >> i think what would calm advisers and those that are experts in those that watch the countries and this part of the world closely is that the president's not coming out saying listen i reach out to world leaders all of the time and get their views, i talk to vladimir putin and talk to victor orban and talk to boris johnson and the leader in france and germany and what have you. you don't hear that. sos it always pull toward the authoritarians and not our allies when it is the president wanting to solicit advice from others and that is what i think is also a big concern. because clearly a lot of our allies and in nato in particular and our friends around the world are questioning this president's commitment to our previous alliances. >> it is interesting because in
this article in "the washington post," jeffrey, the former u.s. official said in this washington post article that it was in that may phone conversation, not with zelensky and the president but the president and putin that putin did what he does and said ukraine is a den of corruption. the russians moved into crimea and annexed and took a chunk of ukraine and they were trying to undermine the potential for improved u.s. relations with ukraine. >> yeah. to say they have a bad relationship is an understatement. they're at war effectively. that is why ukraine needs this military aid that has been held hostage here. and the idea that the president is getting political advice and intelligence matters from vladimir putin whose interest could not be more adverse to the united states is just absurd. but this goes back to 2013 when
the president held the miss universe pageant in moscow. he's been trying to ingratiate himself and build a tower in moscow since the 1980s. he came close before the election. but this is not the american national interest. this is the president's weird obsession and sub serviance to vladimir putin. >> why does giuliani fit into all of this? because he's -- as i pointed out to jim just a little while ago, he's been very silence since two associates were arrested. >> so it is not clear to what extent rudy giuliani was completely freelancing and to what extent he was operating at the direction of donald trump. it is clear that rudy giuliani was not pursuing u.s. interests abroad and pursuing the political interests of donald trump and attempting to dig up this dirt on political opponents and apparently his own financial interest in dealing with kraeuke
which is one good example why we expect presidents and everybody involved as official government employees or essentially special purpose employees to adhere to things like ethics rules and transparency. what we've seen in this administration is the president completely ignore that and allow people like rudy giuliani to come in and undermine diplomats and attempt to get our ambassador to ukraine fired and to line his own personal pocketbook at the same time. so there is some level of irony that donald trump is accusing the ukrainians of corruption here when it is plain that the president of the united states and his associates, people acting at his direction are the people who are perpetrating just aston -- astonishing brazen before our eyes. >> and jeffrey doesn't like the fact that they are closed-door hearings and all of us would like to know what is going on but they have reasons why they are in secret for the time being. some of the information maybe classified and other reasons as
well. but presumably, you and i have covered washington for a while, they're getting a ton of information during these hearings. i'm talking about the house democrats. >> right. house democrats are getting a ton of information right now. as a journalist, i get exactly what jeffrey is saying about wanting to know and have some transparency and chairman schiff made clear he doesn't want, as you said, witnesses to sink testimony or know in advance what other people have said so they could say just enough to stay ahead of any legal trouble for themselves but not put themselves further out on the cliff or on the plank with the president. >> they say eventually, jim baker, the transcripts will be released and may be redactions for classified information but eventually they will be released. >> eventually they'll come out. and someone who was interviewed for many hours in the exact same kind of setting and had leaks come out immediately after the
hearing or the testimony that i gave, i understand what they're trying to do and to try to keep it quiet for the moment and it makes sense to me. what the american people need now seems to me is clarity. and not more confusion. and so to the extent that the democrats are pursuing a strategy to present a coherent, rational understandable case to the people in articles of impeachment and evidence before the senate, that would help the country. >> you think that, jeffrey, they'll release the transcript of the president's phone conversation with putin or victor orban of hungary? >> never in a million years. i think they have to regret that they released the ukrainian president because it whether get the president impeached. they're certainly not going to release more of them. and i am shocked to see my journalistic colleagues defending the idea that government officials, democrats, republicans, they could always come up with reasons to keep things secret. it is our job to fight that and i think we should fight it
whether it is adam schiff or devin nunes, whoever is trying to keep this stuff from us. >> we support transparency. and stick around. there is more news we're following. much more right after this. yeah, that's half the fun of a new house. seeing what people left behind in the attic. well, saving on homeowners insurance with geico's help was pretty fun too. ahhhh, it's a tiny dancer. they left a ton of stuff up here.
tonight new allegations of insider trading using a tip from within the trump administration. an environmental group is asking federal regulators to investigate. cnn's senior correspondent drew griffin has details. yet another controversy involving the proposed goldmine in alaska. >> reporter: yes, wolf. and now involving the epa which is already being sued over its reversal on environmental protections involving the pebble mine. the pebble mine is controversial because of the potential to pollute pristine rivers and lakes that feed into bristol bay where sock eye salmon return to spawn every year under president obama the epa in 2014 put a special protection on the sensitive water shed, making it
almost impossible for northern dynasty, the mine's canadian parent company to get a mining permit. under the trump administration, that all changed on june 26th when the epa announced it was beginning the process to remove those special protections. the timing of that announcement was a surprise. even epa scientists were caught off guard. but something was happening days before the epa that former canadian securities regulator joe groya seems to think is more fishy than just s salmon. >> 100,000 shares a day or less to very large amounts, 7, 800,000 shares a day. someone looking at that is going to say what happens caused that sudden interest in this company? >> 1.2 million shares were
bought on june 20th by a company insider and director of an offshore investment firm. the timing of stock purchases in advance of a major epa policy change is raising calls for an investigation. >> we believe what happened was that inside information was disclosed, inside rs in the company traded on that information and then made a profit as a result of that. >> and that's illegal? >> yes, it is. >> an attorney working for the environmental group earthworks, which just filed this complaint with new jersey's bureau of securities. at the heart of the complaint, did company insiders know in advance the epa was reversing course? so does that suggest that the inquiry that you were looking for would also include who at the epa may have tipped? >> absolutely. absolutely, that's key here. governmental employees are bound by the insider trading rules
just as much as the average person or the person in the investment community. >> earthworks complaint on a stock tip during a western conference that the ceo attended, had a half hour sitdown with ron this morning and later, if you are thinking about selling, don't. the posts were removed shortly after cnn began asking questions about them and the company forcefully denies its ceo released any inside information to anyone. a company spokesman said mr. thiesen did not tell people in public or private conversation on june 19th, 2019, or at any other time that he expected epa to immeantly withdraw its veto. cnn also obtained this. official notes from an epa meeting with scientific research teams and folks opposed to the
mine. northern dynasty minerals and pebble limited partnership have been telling investors that the epa would be announcing a decision soon that would be very favorable. >> i'm not suggesting the osc or s.e.c. is investigating yet but certainly there is ample grounds that canadian investors would hope this is a case that ought to be looked at by the securities commission. >> and if you were in charge of making that decision, would you do it? >> i would, absolutely. >> the mining company has refused cnn's request for an interview, telling cnn the insinuations you are making are entirely false and without merit. wolf, the epa said the agency didn't tip off anyone and certainly didn't provide advanced notice. the epa says its top lawyer did
meet with pebble officials in advance of the announcement but also met with the tribes and environmental groups opposed to the mine which the epa says is common. wolf? >> excellent reporting as usual, drew griffin. thank you very much. just ahead, prince harry confirms tensions with his brother. duke and duchess of sussex are opening up in an emotional new interview. woman: my reputation was trashed online.
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tonight royal sources tell cnn that prince harry and meghan markle are planning to take a break from their royal duties and divide their time between the united kingdom and united states as the duke and duchess of sussex open up in very candid interviews about the pressures of royal life. >> i've tried to adopt this british stiff upper lip. it's probably damaging and the biggest thing i know is that i never thought this would be easy, but i thought it would be fair. >> and departure from royal protocol, prince harry responds for the first time to reports of tensions with his elder brother, prince william. >> we're brothers. we'll always be brothers. we're certainly on different paths at the moment. i'll always be there for him as i know he will always be there for me. as brothers, you know, you have
good days, you have bad days. >> the couple is set to start their hiatus from royal duties next month. it's unclear how long they plan to stay away from the public eye. to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." erin burnett out front starts right now. toughen up, president trump's message to republicans. will it work? plus the first republican to call for impeachment and then he had to leave the party. what's justin amash's next move? then elizabeth warren says she has a plan to pay for medicare for all. what is it? let's go out front. good evening. i'm erin burnett. out front tonight, president trump slamming republicans, saying democrats are more loyal to each other. accusing his party of not being tough and not standing by him. >> they have to get tougher and fight because the democrats are trying to hurt the republican