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tv   CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield  CNN  October 26, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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hello. thank you for being with me. a rare saturday deposition as democrats push ahead in the impeachment inquiry. testifying right now, the career foreign service officer and current u.s. policy in europe and you'eurasia. we're now learning that he was issued a subpoena to testify after the state department asked him not to appear. today's testimony happening just hours after a federal judge handed democrats a key legal victory ruling the justice department must release redacted documents from robert mueller's russia investigation. congressman jamie raskin addressing the decision earlier today. >> what we have for the people is the house of representatives, and they've tried to make the argument that there is something
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illegitimate about the impeachment inquiry. and the united states district court emphatically rejected that. >> the judge ruling the impeachment inquiry is on solid legal footing undercutting a key republican talking point that the probe is invalid. cnn is on capitol hill. philip has been testifying for three hours or so. >> reporter: they said that he it could go on for a long time today. the democrats want to hear from him. he worked with officials they've already heard from and was part of the effort within the state department to shield the former ambassador from the smear campaign going on against her, orchestrated by the president's personal attorney, rudolph giuliani. this is happening hours after the quats were handed a major
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legal victory when a judge ruled they could have access to robert mueller's grand jury material. this is a court case going on for a while and perhaps most importantly, it was validation that what they are doing they're asking about why this is significa significant. >> all the arguments that they've been making this week and we know that all of it has been a distraction from what america is learning. president donald trump has conducted an effort to shake down a beseeched foreign ally, resisting russian aggression, in order to get dirt on a political opponent. it is unprecedented in american history. it is an outrage. it is a scandal.
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and our republican colleagues want to talk about anything except for that. >> reporter: now this ruling, of course, comes with the mueller grand jury material which is a separate issue in a lot of ways from the impeachment inquiry into ukraine. but at the same time, it is going to be important for democrats as witnesses to debate whether or not they want to come in in face of the white house saying this impeachment inquiry is not legitimate. >> so the national security adviser charles cupperman apparently filed a lawsuit yesterday asking the federal judge to determine whether he should indeed testify. what are you hearing about that? >> reporter: yes, the timing is interesting for this very reason. mr. kuperman asked the judge to rule on whether it was illegitimate. it will take time for the democrats to work through the
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courts so it is not clear whether he'll be able to testify within weeks or months and that's a problem for crass when they're trying to expeditiously have this impeachment inquiry. so it is something we'll have to be watching in the days ahead. >> all right. thank you so much. meanwhile, president trump is lashing out at the impeachment inquiry again. launching a flurry of tweets this morning deriding the impeachment inquiry as a witch hunt, demanding to know the identity of the whistleblower who triggered the process. sarah westwood is at the white house for us. republicans want the president to follow the format of former president bill clinton when he was being impeached. the president is saying, you know what? i am the team. i don't really need a team. >> reporter: that's right. president trump still defiant about the seriousness of the impeachment inquiry. as you mentioned saying yesterday, he is his own team when it comes to the impeachment process. and this comes as republicans and allies of the white house have expressed increasing
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frustration with the lack of strategy coming out of the white house dealing with it. that the white house has only recently realized the seriousness of the political peril that president trump finds himself in. now kevin mccarthy has taken the lead role in distributing talking point to republican think on capitol hill and sources tell cnn, there have been phone calls between republican members of congress, allies of the white house and white house officials to try to coordinate some kind of strategy. even this has not been enough. some allies saying, there has been insufficient coordination and members, people who want to defend the president have been left to come up with their own ways of doing that. last night into today, president trump is continuing to defend his now infamous phone call with the ukrainian president. that was the subject of the complaint. even though democrats have uncovered evidence that go far beyond what was said in that phone call and relate to the administration's dealings with the ukrainian officials in the months before and after that phone call. i want to read you one of the
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president's many tweets over the last couple days. the entire impeachment scam was based on my perfect ukrainian call is that the whistleblowers' account of that call which turned out to be false. once i released the actual call, their entire case fell apart. the democrats must end this scam now. witch hunt. the underlying transcript does support the whistleblower's complaint, that's the transcript the white house released. meanwhile the president is enduring fallout that he chose to compare his political situation to a lynching. while he was speaking at the historically black college in south carolina yesterday, he likened his own experience with the impeachment inquiry to the experience of african-americans at the hands of the criminal justice system. take a listen. >> we'll never let up on our efforts to ensure that our justice system is fair for every single american. and i have my own experience. you know that. you see what's going on with the
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witch hunt. it's a terrible thing going on in our country. no crimes. >> sources tell cnn that the white house legal team for president trump has decided to focus more on due process arguments about the fact for example, the white house lawyers have not been permitted to accompany witnesses to these congressional hearings. but already, many of the key witnesses at the heart of this inquiry have already testified so some are viewing that shift in strategy as too little too late. >> sarah westwood at the white house. with me now, julian, historian and professor at princeton university and a cnn political analyst. also with me, anita kumar, associate editor at politico. good to see both of you. >> thanks for having us. >> so julian, you first. this federal judge sending a very strong message and decision that this probe is legit. you've got a president who campaigned on law and order.
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then he's sending, is he not? a very different message in the kind of defiant posturing that we see from him. >> well, that's why the court ruling is important. not only does it hand over information, but at least in the public square, this is more legitimizing that it is a legal process, a constitutional process, and the president is the one defying the law and order by raising questions about the legitimacy of what congress is doing. >> so will this judge's decision, you know, hurt the president's approach? his strategy that it is a witch hunt. that all of this is a home. >> it has really undercut his legal argument that he put out a few weeks ago. you have a lot of people in the white house and close to the white house and the campaign saying he does need to switch it up here. get some other people into the
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white house or in that orbit that can talk about what strategy he should go after. the strategy they really have pursued is that people should not, these current officials and former officials, should not testify. that that is clearly not working as we've seen almost ten people testify and a whole list of other people coming forward. and many of them just saying, okay, i've been subpoenaed so i'm going to testify. they really need to switch gears here and try to figure out what they can do next. because they're not preventing people from testifying. >> and you know, there are lots of sentiments in the republican and particularly, you know, lindsey graham among them other says, president, you need to have a war room. you need to have a team. the president said just yesterday from the lawn that i am the team when it comes to coming up with a strategy. what does this say to you about
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the president not trusting the team that comes with that office. >> this is a president who likes to do everything on his own. this is some of what gets him in trouble of it is logical that he will keep fighting as a one-man team. but it also says the republicans are unsettled by the drip, drip, drip of facts that keeps coming out. and they are not on secure ground. and republicans, democrats, no one likes surprises in washington. especially with a major scandal. so i think they're sending a signal not just to the president about how to protect themselves but what they need so they're protected going into the election. >> and right now, ambassador phillip reeker is on capitol hill. a rare deposition being taken on a saturday. he's the latest to testify from the state department so far. there have been nine officials
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related to this administration, or the state department to be interviewed by these three committees. what is the expectation from reeker's testimony, and how does this set up next week's planned roster of testimony? >> yeah. i think what we've seen so far is largely everybody, you've mentioned the nine people have pretty much done exactly what the whistleblower has said. what the president said when he released the partial transcript. they are creating this story line that the president did have rudolph giuliani, his personal attorney, and others, sort of take over the ukraine foreign policy and these were things that he was looking for. he was looking for them on crack down on corruption, yes, but also the bidens. so almost every person who has testified we see building on that same story line.
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it was significant that the attorney said, the whistleblower doesn't need to testify. we've already learned more from these people testifying than you can ever hear from me. so i think we'll continue to see that and i think the house will continue this whole next week with five or so more people that will continue to build on that. >> whether it is the white house or the state department which has urged many of these witnesses not to testify in defiance, they've done it in any way the diplomats or whatever. are you surprised or do you believe in the back pocket will be the white house trying to invoke executive privilege? >> i'm not surprised that they're going to do it. it sounds like they're geeg up to do it. they want to stop the testify. the administration is not doing when the facts come out. so the strategy is eager to stop the facts from coming out or attack the process. it won't be easy. a lot of this is out there.
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it is now part of the record and this court ruling suggests that the courts are not going to side with the administration. and remember, back in 1974, the courts did not side with richard nixon when he tried to withhold the tapes that ultimately brought him down. so i expect that we might see the same if this is challenged in the courts again. >> all right. thank you both. appreciate it. >> thanks. >> actually, i'll going to have you back. don't go away. new polls this week show biden and warren each edging out the other, depending on which poll you read. we'll talk about how they're honing their messages. just 100 days away from the iowa caucuses. chevy's the only brand... to earn j.d. power dependability awards... across cars... trucks... and suvs. four years in a row. since more than 32,000 real people... just like me. and me. and me. took the survey that decided these awards.
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african-american voters by speaking at a criminal justice reform forum held at the historically black benedict college. our reporters are out on the campaign trail. first, biden is speaking at a town hall right now. what's the message? >> reporter: yes, joe biden is here in south carolina. you can see behind me speaking at this town hall where he's really taking on president trump accusing his campaign of engaging in dirty politics. and talking about what he describes as president trump's erratic behavior. take a listen to what he had to say a short while ago. >> just three days ago, the president went on twitter, refers to members of his own party, the republican party who didn't blindly support him. i hate to even use the phrase in front of everyone. this is his quote. they are human scum.
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when in god's name has a president ever said something like that? >> now, biden is here in south carolina which is a critical component of his 2020 strategy. as you mentioned, he is currently leading in the state and that is bolstered by his support among black democratic voters here. black voters make up a majority of the democratic primary electorate and other candidates are coming here time and time again to try to court that key constituency. >> as i mentioned at the top, senator warren saw the support but she is still struggling to gain broad support among black voters. what are her plans in the state of south carolina this weekend? >> reporter: we are in florence, south carolina and there's a reason why she is down the road from where we are now and
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senator warren is setting up behind us. this is right along the i-95 corridor. an area that went to president trump in 2016. the mid-terms came and it was a really tight race for the gubernatorial race. so this is an area very much competitive for the democrats here. we've heard senator warren this week talk about public education. given that she recently released a plan. there was another moment that i think was significant. not just for biden but also for warren. just a month ago in new hampshire, we heard biden say, no super pacs. he didn't want to deal with any money that he didn't know where it was coming from. a change in tone there. they are a little bit open to that and as we have reported, there is a super pac being organized. i want to show you the tweet that senator warren put up that same night, not directly mentioning joe biden but saying, she said the democratic primary should belong to grassroots
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supporters and grassroots donors. not the rich and the powerful. every democratic candidate should agree. super pacs have no place in our country. so while she didn't mention him by name, she spoke about the headlines over the week. whether she mentions that today, you have to wait and see. clearly she is spending some time in this early voting state and she's not alone. as we saw, biden is here. buttigieg will be here this weekend. senator sanders has a canvas launch and many of them in columbia talking about criminal justice reform. >> all right. thank you both. appreciate it. so 2020 candidate corey booker is among ten democrats in south carolina. he'll be joining me live, next. fact is, every insurance company hopes you drive safely. but allstate actually helps you drive safely... with drivewise. it lets you know when you go too fast... ...and brake too hard. with feedback to help you drive safer.
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right now more than 50,000 people in northern california are being forced to evacuate their holes as wildfires continue on rage statewide. officials announced the mandatory evacuation earlier this afternoon. so far, the kincade fire has
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torched more than 25,000 acres. and the situation could escalate through tomorrow as winds are supposed to pick up. utility company pg&e says it will cut off power to nearly 1 million customers across northern california to prevent more fires from breaking out. cnn correspondent lucy cavanagh is live for us in sonoma county. what are you seeing? >> reporter: hey there. this has been a scene of devastation. a lot of destruction here. you can see behind me, this used to be somebody's home that has now been burnt out. we see the stove, the kitchen used to be there. in the distance, a car completely burned. completely ravaged. this structure is not coming back. firefighters are working very hard to prevent more of these kinds of scenes from happening. as you point out, we are not in the clear west just got the latest information from cal fire. they are saying about 8:00 p.m.
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local time, that's when dangerous conditions will really begin to kick off. we will see sustained winds of about 40 miles per hour, gusts of nearly 80 miles per hour. those conditions potentially lasting through into monday and that means firefighters have to be ready to go absolutely anywhere and everywhere. we've seen throughout the day, trucks zooming past. they've been trying to dig containment lines, making sure more evacuations won't be needed. more than 50,000 people, the towns of windsor and healdsburg. i can tell you our crews were in healdsburg yesterday. we went to one of the shelters there. some of those folks affected by previous fires. they'll have to pack up all of their belongings and move again. it is invent, terrifying. there are families affected. no loss of life or livelihood. well, some loss of livelihood as you can see behind me but officials are trying to prevent that from happening.
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the state's governor though, is not happy with the way the utility has been acting. take listen to what he has to say. >> years and years of grief, years and years of mismanagement, particularly with the largest utility in the state of california, pg&e. that greed has precipitated in a lack of inintentionality and focus on their grid and undergrounding their transmission lines. they simply did not do their job. it took us decades to get here. we will get out of this mess. >> reporter: for context, it was pg&e's responsibility in the deadliest fires in the state's history that caused so much devastation here. the company expected to pay billions in damages and that's why there is so much anger by the governor. you heard them here. the folks here much more concerned about the immediate next few days and firefighters
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are on the scene. they're trying to do what they can to save lives and homes. >> all right. who issy, thank you so much. nearly a dozen 2020 democratic candidates are spending the weekend in south carolina. in addition to stumping for votes, they're also pitching their plans for criminal justice reform. senator corey booker is among those in attendance. he joins me live, next. is. but i realized something was missing... me. the thought of my symptoms returning was keeping me from being there for the people and things i love most. so, i talked to my doctor and learned humira can help get, and keep, uc under control when other medications haven't worked well enough. and it helps people achieve control that lasts so you could experience few or no symptoms. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure.
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a busy weekend in south carolina. ten of the 20 candidates are there stumping for votes. among them, senator cory booker who joins me live now. good to see you. >> it's great to see you, too. thanks for having me on. >> you spoke at the criminal justice forum this morning. if you become president, senator, what is the first thing you would do to help reform criminal justice in this country? >> well, as you probably know,
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this has been one of the signature issues for me in the senate. the only major bipartisan bill to pass under this president was the one that i led with dick durbin called the first step act which we were able to get a lot of very big changes and reforms there. we have a long way to go. so i'm going to use every lever i have from challenging the rest the field. there are about 17,000 people we know are unjustly incarcerated in this country that should have pathways to clemency, to driving down mandatory minimums, helping people when they come home from prison, to expunge their records to make sure that they frankly have access to getting jobs, to not fall back in the track of recidivism. and then bigger issues we need to talk about. expunging the records and legalizing marijuana and making sure we are not seeing this drug war continue which is not a war on drugs but a war on people. >> and you have power as a far. to have the power of the
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presidency, you have to get the nomination. and recent monmouth university poll shows you're at 2% in south carolina. what are you doing to boost your support in that key early voting state? >> well, gosh. we are feeling really comfortable. there's never been a president from our party who got to the presidency who was leading in the polls this far out. most of the people from jimmy carter to bill clinton were pulling in the single digits around this time. we are a party that usually has elected younger, exciting people who can unify party and energize them. where they distinguish themselves as clinton was the comeback kid, even barack obama, 15, 20 points behind hillary clinton, behind her here in south carolina. all upset by showing their strength in iowa. so right now, me and elizabeth warren are leading in iowa. not only the quality of the teams we have on the ground according to the des moines register and others but also
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endorsementes from local leaders. we're relying on our ground game but we'll need a lot in the next few months to raise the money to build on the early states. we're hoping more people will go to cory booker.com. who want to see me not just stay in the race but really thrive so we can win next year. >> the philadelphia inquirer said you were in danger of dropping out. then you raised $2.5 million in a ten-day stretch, kind of challenged, perhaps to nullify that headline. what is it that's driving to you stay in it to win it? >> well, i'm running for president. not just because i believe i have great policy ideas but i believe in america. in order to make those policies possible, we have to create new coalitions. which means we can't fall into tribalism. we can't have this country tear itself apart. we can't have a nation where people think the lines that divide us are stronger than the ties that bind us. i believe we need a leader.
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the next leader is going to have to be someone who can inspire, unify, heal, bring this country together to do big things. that's what gets me up every day in this campaign. we can't did i have tied democratic party. whether you consider yourself somewhat on the left of the party, a moderate, we have to come together. not just beat republicans. we have to have a bigger aspiration to unite americans, to fight for justice in this country. because we have a lot of work to do. >> so joe biden is leading, according to certain polls. there in south carolina. polls show that he leads the black vote particularly there which is an important electorate. a powerful electorate in south carolina. but even a few days ago, that you were the alternative to joe biden. what do you mean by that? >> well, clearly, we need to be unified in the party. where somebody has shown time and time again that in election
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after election, i've been able to bring out big voter turnouts especially with african-american voters. if we had the same vote from african-americans in pennsylvania, michigan, as well as wisconsin that we had in 2012, as we had in '16, we would have president hillary clinton right now. so my ability to bring this party together, to energize, engage key parts of our coalition. i think my policies which are fiercely pragmatic, pragmatic progressive policies, these are the things that would help us not just win the white house. beating donald trump is the floor. not the ceiling. we have to have bigger aspirations than that. i think i'll be the kind of president can not only beat donald trump but help heal our country so we can do things from neat urge sinces of climate change to making sure everybody in america is covered with health insurance.
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>> you just mentioned, the president promotes a division in this country. and just think of this week on twitter. the president was equating the impeachment inquiry to lynching. i want to play you some sound yesterday from the president where he is really doubling down on that sentiment. >> well, it is a word that many democrats have used. many people have used over the years. but that's a word that has been used many times. >> so that is his position. and then while in south carolina, he was given a criminal justice reform award. you have been outspoken. even your colleague, kamala harris has been outspoken about how blasphemous that appears to be in your view. what is happening here that the president would be at an historically black college yesterday and liken his experience in this impeachment
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process to the experience of many african-americans, people of color, disproportionately black men in the criminal justice system? >> well, look. it was offensive that the president of the united states didn't go to the black college to be a part of this incredible institution. in fact, young people were not allow to be a part of it. the community was not allowed to be a part of it. only a small number of students were even allowed in the room. he use that's as window dressing, he uses that as window dressing to insult the community. and to say outright lies. like he's been the best president of the united states for african-americans when he's destroying the social safety net. throwing millions of people off food stamps. he is seeing environmental and justice cases against corporate polluters go down. when he's gutting the department of justice's efforts to secure and protect black people voting at the polls. i can go on and on and on with
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what this president has done to hurt the black community. so i called him out for that on the stage. i think this is something where we need to state moral clarity. this is a president that is hurting minorities. in fact, he's whipping up race i. preaching racist things from the highest office in the land. so we know who he is. this election will not be a referendum on who he is. it is a referendum on who we are to each other. that's why my theme about bringing this nation together. >> which speaks to, voters want to be inspired by a presidential candidate. so how will you stay focused on trig to inspire voters so as to continue to win support in your pursuit for the white house? >> well, i think most folks know that's something i've been doing
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my whole political career. engaging and inspiring is one of the reasons. i am one of the most requested people to come out and talk to voters in senate races and house races. we are in a nation where we have that choice. are we going to choose a president that divides or one that unites? are we going to choose a candidate that can inspire the highest of our angels or the worst of our angels? this is not about one guy and one office. it is going to be about the spirit and the character of our country. i believe if we are going to do the big things we need to do, the big policy agenda that's all candidates are outlining west need to put more indivisible back into this one nation under god. we need to stop demonizing each other. ripping each other down. and find ways to invest in each other and build each other up. we are really at a moral moment in america. it's not right or left. it is right or wrong. and we need to have a revival of
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race. a more courageous empathy for one another. we need to understand. if i'll your president, i'm warning you that i'm going to ask more from you than any president has asked of you in your lifetime. i'm not talking about paying more taxes or asking you to be embarrassed more but we need a level of activism and engagement. like when we've mobilized in the past. when the russians put up sputnik, we didn't tear each other down, we joined coalitions to bring hidden figures with white male astronauts to go further, to defy gravity and put a human being on the moon. that's the kind of mobilization and inspiration we need right now and i think time best candidate to do it. i hope people will go to cory booker.com if they want my voice in this race and help out. >> absolutely. that harkens back to even thinking about president obama yesterday as he was paying homage to elijah cummings and the challenge, what are you doing? which makes people think about president kennedy, too. not what your country is doing
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for you but what you're doing for country as well. all the best. good luck on the campaign trail to the white house. >> thank you very much. >> appreciate it. thank you. still ahead, the trump hotel in washington has been mired in ethics controversies and lawsuits. but could there be a sale on the horizon? possible plans ahead. ♪ ♪
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a russian woman accused of conspiring against the u.s. has just arrived in her home country. maria butina arrived to bouquets of flowers. she was released from a federal florida prison yesterday and immediately deported after serving more than 15 months behind bars. the russian national tried to infiltrate conservative political groups in the u.s. and promote russian interests. she said today, she was pressured to plead guilty. the trump organization is looking to sell its 3-year-old
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hotel in washington, d.c. amid a slew of complaints that president trump is profiting off it. >> reporter: the trump organization says it is exploring a sale of the right to lease the hotel because all the controversy surrounding it. there's more to the story based on my reporting. eric trump, the president's son who runs the company on a day-to-day basis tells us, people are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel and therefore we may be willing to sell. well, first off, officials have a problem with any at of profit is president makes from this hotel because they believe it is a conduit for corruption. two, there are open legal questions as to whether the president's company is legally allowed to accept payments from foreign and domestic governments at this property. that issue is the subject of at least three lawsuits. now, as for the claim the hotel is making a ton of money, it is unclear. i've reported on this property for years and while it is true
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the business profited during the inauguration, after that, it appears the hotel's business did trail off. remember, many companies that host conferences in d.c. or have their executive visit the city may not want to book there to avoid controversy. also, the trump organization may be losing out to competitors on that specific front. and the company has to be more careful about marketing to foreigners. so the trump organization may have decided to explore how much could it make by unloading the property. the "wall street journal" is reporting the trump organization wants $500 million for the lease rights to the building. that's a lot of money. in fact the paper says a deal of that size would make the transaction one of the biggest hotel deals in the city's history. back to you. >> thank you so much. >> it's a rare reprimand for a cabinet secretary. a federal judge held betsy devos, the secretary of education and her department in contempt of court for violating
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an order to stop collecting loan payments from students. they were slammed with a $100,000 fine. that will be paid by you, the taxpayer. last month the department admitted that more than 16,000 borrowers were incorrectly informed that they owed payment on their debt. some had their wages garnished and their credit reports damaged. still ahead, felicity huffman is once again a free woman why. she was able to leave jail a few days shy of her two-week sentence. t-mobile's newest signal reaches farther than ever before... with more engineers, more towers, more coverage. it's a network that gives you... with coverage from big cities, to small towns. introducing t-mobile's 600mhz signal. no signal reaches farther or is more reliable.
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actress felicity huffman is out of prison after serving the 11 days she received in the college admissions scandal. >> she is now a free woman. released from federal prison on friday. she was serving time in a northern california prison, sentenced to 14 days behind bars. in the end she served just 11 days. the bureau of prisons explains she was given a one-day credit for the day she was processed and they say it is normal to release inmates on friday when they are scheduled to be released on a weekend day. she would have otherwise been
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released on a sunday. huffman is one of the 52 people who have been charged in relation to the largest college admissions scandal. 29 of them including huffman have now pleaded guilty. she said she paid some $15,000 to have her child's s.a. tshs score inflated. she expressed remorse when she was sentenced in a letter to the judge and to the public saying she apologizes. not just to her family, not just to her own children but all the other hard working parents and students out there. in new york. alexander field, cnn. >> thank you so much for being with me today. the news continues right after this. chevy's the only brand...
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hello. on this saturday you are live in the cnn newsroom. i'm in new york and we are following some fast moving developments in the impeachment scandal including a major court ruling, subpoenas, a raid where the feds actually blew the safe off a door, and not kidding, rudolph giuliani butt dialing a reporter and leaving voicemails about joe biden and giuliani's need for hundreds of thousands in cash. first, a big victory. a judge ruling the impeachment inquiry is legal despite everything republicans have said about it being a sham. >> this was the worst hoax in the history of our

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