tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 27, 2018 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
that justin anthony kennece ant retiring. supreme change, as the high court loses a justice known for casting a swing vote, some historic decisions like roe versus wade may be at risk of being overturned. sfl national security advisor john bolton seals the deal with vladimir putin for the first summit between president trump and the kremlin leader. will they delve into the sensitive subject of russia's election meddling? and only six children, stunning new statistics on the small number of young immigrants reunited with their detained parents. this as a federal judge sets a new timeline for the trump administration to bring hundreds of separated families together. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and
around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you' you' you're in "the situation room." ♪ there is cnn breaking news. we're following major breaking news. president trump getting another opportunity to put his stamp on the united states supreme court for decades to come. justice anthony kennedy announcing his retirement a few hours ago. as the president begins his search for a replacement, senate republicans are promising a confirmation vote this fall before the midterm elections. and democrats are weighing their limited options to slow or stop what could be a very dramatic reshaping of the high court. this hour, i'll speak with a key member of the senate judiciary committee. our correspondents and analysts are also standing by. jeff zeleny joins us from fargo, north dakota right now, the
president heading there to a rally. you're already on the scene. certainly his supreme court nominee potentially very much on his mind. >> reporter: wolf, no question about it. the supreme court fight now is front and center in this midterm election battle. already here in north dakota, of course one of the key states to watch, why because it's represented by a democratic senator in deep red republican north dakota. this rally here tonight at this loud arena that's already filling with supporters is going to be the first opportunity for the president to talk about the vacancy on the supreme court. and there is nothing that fires up conservatives more than that. >> he is a man who is displaying great vision, he's displayed tremendous vision and tremendous heart. >> reporter: president trump facing a historic opportunity tonight to not only fill the seat of anthony kennedy but to fundamentally reshape the direction of the high court with a firm conservative majority.
>> we will begin our search for a new justice of the united states supreme court. that will begin immediately. and hopefully we're going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding. >> reporter: his retirement hands another monumental victory to the president in this midterm election year. perhaps nothing fires up conservatives more than a supreme court vacancy. justice kennedy delivered the bombshell news himself, carrying his retirement letter with him as he visited the white house only hours after the court finished its business for the term. >> i got his ideas on things including i asked him if he had certain people that he had great respect for that potentially could take his seat, which is a very hard seat to fill. >> reporter: that's an understatement. conservative wils will demand a more reliable vote than kennedy. a reagan nominee and libertarian
who sided with liberals on abortion, affirmative action and gay rights. it's a chance for trump to give the court its fifth full throated conservative. >> we have an excellent list of talented, highly educated, highly intelligent, hopefully tremendous people. i think the list is very outstanding. >> reporter: the president pledged to make his selection from a public list of 25 well established conservative jurists. he said he would move swiftly, a sentiment echoed by mitch mcconnell. >> we will vote to confirm justice kennedy's successor this fall. it's imperative that the president's nominee be considered fairly. >> reporter: republicans refused to seat president obama's supreme court nominee during the final year of his presidency. democrats tried real uataliatin it backfired and prompted mcconnell to change the rules of the senate, which means the next nominee needs only 51 votes to
be confirmed. trump often says putting f intih on the court is his biggest achievement. >> i have felt after the defense of our nation, the most important decision a president can make is the appointment of a supreme court justice. depending on their age, a justice can be active for 50 years and his or her decisions can last a century or more and can often be permanent. >> reporter: this is something that took the white house by surprise. i am told that president trump did not know that anthony kennedy was coming to see him until he was already in the building at the white house. of course the white house has been preparing for the possibility of a retirement. they do have a list of some 25 well established conservative judges. and president trump said he would pick from someone on that list that is a well respected of conservative jurists.
republicans want to act very quickly. mitch mcconnell wants to do this as soon as possible. i am told by a white house official a nominee could be announced in the coming weeks. of course, it is up to republicans and democrats in the senate to proceed from there. we'll hear from the president tonight here in fargo about why the supreme court vacancy is so important for his party. >> jeff zeleny in fargo for us, thank you. take us through the president's list of potential replacements for justice kennedy. >> it's so unusual for a presidential candidate to have the list. it's really looking at some of the issues. abortion is one thing the progressives are going to look hard at. if roe versus wade isn't overturned it could be restricted. brett cavanaugh is at the top of
the list. just recently he dissented when his court cleared the way for an undocumented teen to get an abortion. another one, amy barrett, she was at notre dame. during her confirmationearing, you could see that the democrats were really trying to get at her views of abortion. and she even got into a little bit of a spat with senator diane feinstein on religion. some people said that feinstein was looking for a litmus test there. another issue, the second amendment. tom hardiman is on this list. he's not one of the favorites of the federalist society, but donald trump really liked meeting him when he was a runnerup for the gorsuch seat. he has these opinions on second amendment, so that could come up in his hearings. another former kennedy clerk is ray kethledge. he wrote a digit privacy case that just got over turned.
and the last one is interesting because he's very close to mitch mcconnell. that might get him over. and if indeed things get really heated in the senate during this contentious time the president could turn to a senator mike lee. it's always easier to get senators through, although mike lee is solidly conservative. all these people have already been vetted. usually when we get a nomination, it takes a while to get them vetted. these have been vetted by the federalist society. they're all solid conservatives. >> the president wants to move quickly. he wants this done by the midterm elections. mitch mcconnell wants it done as well. thank you very much for that report. let's go to capitol hill right now where republicans and democrats already are clashing over jis tustice kennedy's replacement even before the president has named a nominee. phil, democrats say republicans will be hypocrites if they hold a confirmation vote before the
midterm election, right. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. one name, merit garland still ringing in the ears of democrats from 2016. the supreme court nominee of president obama was not even granted a hearing because mitch mcconnell citing what he called the biden rule said in an election year he couldn't have that. well, democrats are now saying that's fair play. then neither should president trump's nominee in an election year. take a listen to democratic leader chuck schumer. >> our republican colleagues in the senate should follow the rule they set in 2016 not to consider a supreme court justice in an election year. senator mcconnell would tell anyone who listened that the senate had the right to advise and consent. and that was every bit as important as the president's right to nominate. millions of people are just months away from determining the senators who should vote to confirm or reject the president's nominee and their
voices deserve to be heard now as leader mcconnell thought they should deserve to be heard then. anything but that would be the absolute height of hypocrisy. >> reporter: now, republicans wasted little time firing back saying this is a midterm election year, not a presidential election year. president obama in 2010, a midterm year, got his nominee through the senate. that's the apples to apples comparison, not the presidential. the reason why you've seen democrats beyond just their general outrage for what happened in 2016 on the supreme court take this current position as there is a clear understanding that based on the rule change that jeff mentioned in the united states senate, democrats have no recourse if all republicans decide to support president trump's nominee. it simply takes 51 votes to be able to get that confirmation. democratic senators are calling
on the grassroots to really try and rise up and put a lot of pressure on senators not just republicans but also red state democrats, three of whom voted for neil gorsuch in 2017. the other issue is abortion. you have two republican senators who are pro-choice and are considered on the fence if roe v wade is considered on the table, which a lot of people think it will be. those will be the two senators you'll see a lot of pressure directed at. that's the best chance democrats have to each throw a single hurdle up. if they can't, mitch mcconnell has made very clear there will be hearings and a vote and he wants somebody confirmed by the fall. >> yes, he does. phil mattingly, thank you very much. we're joined now by a member of the senate judiciary, democrat,
mazy herono. is there anyone that president trump could confirm before the midterm elections that you would vote to confirm? >> you never know. the president might decide to do the right thing and not pick someone who's been hand picked by the heritage foundation or the federalist society. people of america should have a voice in the selection of the next supreme court justice. >> he says there's a difference between a midterm congressional election and a presidential election, that you can't compare the two, . >> of course you can compare the two. the senate has its own responsibility to advise and consent on the president's nomination. the president nominates. we do advise and consent. we have our own constitutional role to play. therefore, the people should be able to decide who will be
engaging in advise and consent rule. >> don't you want to see who the president nominates first before deciding there should be no confirmation vote between now and the midterm elections? >> it doesn't matter who he is putting forward. from a procedural standpoint, i'm perfectly happy to follow the mcconnell rule and enable the american people to have a voice in deciding who the next supreme court justice should be. that's what i'm focused on. >> the republicans are pointing au out that when president obama was in office before a midterm election, he got confirmed through the u.s. senate. >> apparently they decided they would do the right thing at that point. mitch mcconnell has made it very clear that he has every intention of putting on the supreme court as well as the circuit and district courts the most conservative nominees
possible for lifetime appointments. so that's how they're proceeding. it's more than unfortunate for the american people, because any of us who cares about women's rights or minority rights or workers' rights should care about who sits on our courts for lifetime appointments. therefore, i am calling on everybody in this country who care about those issues to make sure that the next person who sits on the supreme court is somebody who is not a republican, because also remember, donald trump said the supreme court should always be republican, as though the court should be filled with people who are democrats and republicans. you know what? the court should be made up of people who can base their decisions on the law, the facts, precedent and uphold our constitution and the american values that we all share. that's the kind of justice i'm looking for. i'm not looking for a republican
justice. >> compared to how the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell blocked the nomination of garland during the final year of the obama administration, what sort of opposition do you think democratic voters want to see from you and your party? >> it's not just democratic voters. it's independents. anybody who cares about women's rights and minority rights, workers' rights. there's a whole array of cases that will come before this court. they should all care about who the next person would be. i would think that they would rise up and say, hey, we want to have a voice in who sits in the united states senate to make these determinations on our behalf. >> assuming you don't like the nominee, what are the options within your power to block this? as you know, the republicans, not the democrats, have the majority. >> let me put it this way. the republicans have for decades set the stage for the most
conservative federalist society backed people to sit on the supreme court. in a this is not an effort that we can just undo over night. i think that all of us who care about these issues and these priorities should be just as determined to rise up. i will be there with them fighting alongside them to make sure that our courts are filled with people who can provide the kind of justice that is objective, that is not a rubber stamp for the president who is idealogically extreme. >> what's your message to those vulnerable democrats coming forward with a vote before the midterm? >> i think that we can all be together wanting the people of
america to be able to have their choices heard on who the next nominee should be. >> could they potentially lose their seats, lose their reelection battles if they vote against the president's nominee? >> we're not there yet. i'm talking about a procedural effort to say mitch mcconnell, why don't you follow your own rule and enable the american people's voices to be heard as to the selection of the next supreme court justice? >> but he's clearly not going to follow that rule. what about some moderate republicans? can you count on any of them to join the democrats and try to block the nominee? >> there's very little question in my mind that overturning of roe v wade will be coming before the supreme court, because trump has said that's what he would like. therefore, there are at least two senate republican women who care very much about a woman's
right to change. that would be susan collins and lisa murkowski. >> before justice kennedy announced his retirement, democratic congressman adam smith in the house of representatives said, the supreme court is no longer a judicial body, it is an arm of the republican party. what's your reaction to that? >> that's certainly comports with what president trump said. he said the supreme court should always remain republican. he has every intention of nominating somebody who will be a rubber stamp for the republicans, or the trump party. it is not a republican party. it's the trump party. >> jeff toobin says this retirement could eventually lead to roe v wade being overturned. do you agree? >> yes, i think it will come to that circumstance, because president trump has said that he wants to nominate people to the
supreme court who will overturn roe v wade. so he's going to look for somebody like that. i would say that is a real possibility and that is why i'm looking to people like susan collins and lisa murkowski with only a 51 vote requirement to confirm the next supreme court justice to really look into their hearts and souls and do the right thing. i'm also looking to mitch mcconnell to do the right thing and for once to follow his own rule. it's so hypocritical but this is something that doesn't bother the republicans and the trump party at all. >> will the supreme court decision yesterday to uphold the third version of president trump's travel ban, do you think it will embolden him on the broader issue of immigration, which is so tough right now? >> trump is very much anti-immigration, especially black, brown and yellow people.
so i have very little doubt that he's not even right now conferring or thinking on his own how he can use his pretty much unbridled executive power to issue further executive orders that would relate to immigration. i have little doubt that the supreme court handed him extraordinary powers which the supreme court didn't have to do, but it was a 5-4 decision. we can thank neil gorsuch for his fifth vote on that case as well as the case that was decided today that goes against public employee unions and overturning a 40-year case that the supreme court decided that upheld the union's right to collect fees to enable them to bargain for wages and appropriate work conditions. >> that was a 5-4 decision as well. lots of 5-4 decisions. >> exactly. neil gorsuch is that fifth vote.
>> thank you so much for joining us. always good having you here. just ahead, more on justice kennedy's retirement and what it means for the u.s. supreme court, for president trump and for the nation. and the trump/putin summit gets the green light. incomparable performance cars cannot be rushed. they must be painstakingly crafted. out of titanium, aluminum, and high tensile steel. hand-built by masters, scrutinized by experts, and tested... ...relentlessly. the lexus high performance line. experience exhilaration crafted to the extreme. experience amazing at your lexus dealer.
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who's already won three cars, two motorcycles, a boat, and an r.v. i would not want to pay that insurance bill. [ ding ] -oh, i have progressive, so i just bundled everything with my home insurance. saved me a ton of money. -love you, gary! -you don't have to buzz in. it's not a question, gary. on march 1, 1810 -- [ ding ] -frédéric chopin. -collapsing in 226 -- [ ding ] -the colossus of rhodes. -[ sighs ] louise dustmann -- [ ding ] -brahms' "lullaby," or "wiegenlied." -when will it end? [ ding ] -not today, ron. we're back with breaking news on justice anthony kennedy's retirement. tonight the vice president mike pence is promising that mr. trump will nominate what he
calls a strong conservative to be replace kennedy on the supreme court in the mold of the late justice antonin scalia. our analysts are here to talk about what is ahead. what does this mean for the supreme court? >> well, we knew when we had neil gorsuch that we were going to have pretty much the id idealogical balance the same. on straight conservative issues, you have anthony kennedy as a conservative. on campaign finance, on gun laws, et cetera. but on issues that required the swing vote, things like lgbt rights, death penalty cases, he was a key member of the actual supreme court. now that's all going to change. having a strong conservative replacement like antonin scalia is more like something somebody who is not like anthony kennedy who's a swing vote, somebody who
actually would be a conservative and a stronghold and consistent one, not a swing vote. >> jeffrey, give us the big picture, how unflewentiinfluent. >> justice kennedy controlled the outcome in so many cases, whether it was abortion rights, whether it was bush v. gore where he essentially delivered the presidency to george w. bush, affirmative action, saving it last year and of course all of the gay rights decisions including a 5-4 decision directing that all 50 states have to have same-sex marriage. and this week with the travel ban case. the court followed kennedy's
vote and that vote is now going to be a solid conservative vote. >> citizens united as well. >> the thing is liberals want to talk about his gay rights decisions, but there was citizens united, there was bush v. gore, there was the travel ban case. he's mostly been conservative. >> though he was the decisive vote on same-sex marriage, on abortion rights for women, on affirmative action. he was the decisive vote on that. >> it was interesting to see what mike pence said today. once they get a nominee, you're going to start to hear the fairytale, oh, he's really a moderate. let's remember what mike pence said today. they're not going to pick a moderate. you look at the 25 name there. there's not a moderate on this list. this is a list designed to pick a justice who will overturn roe versus wade. >> the truth of the matter is the democrats don't have any
real leverage. you had dick durbin on before. they know they have to fight. they have to fight for their base. they have to fight for what they believe in and they a couple of things, one, that the person the president chooses is something that would be offensive to pro-choice republicans like susan collins or lisa murkowski. the other thing they have to worry about is that they've got these ten red state democrats, some of whom may decide that it's no sweat out of their back to go vote for this republican nominee. three democrats did it last time for gorsuch in these red states. so that could occur again. but they've lost the filibuster. this can pass with 51 votes. so they will fight if they have to, but they really know they
don't have the leverage they wish they had mplts. >> some of them will fight because they actually believe it's important. it's not just a political posture. >> but they go into it knowing that the odds are that they're not going to win. >> they're going to need 50 votes because if it's a tie, then the vice president breaks the tie in favor of the republican nominee. this could create, as we've noted, some serious problems for those vulnerable democrats up for reelection in states that trump won. >> that's right. gloria of course alluded to this just a minute ago. this is why we had so many. republicans today who were out right giddy about this because they see this as their saving grace in this very challenging election cycle. it gives these democrats in these red trump states an incredibly defect vote right before election day. this is going to be fresh in
voters' minds. they potentially are going to have a very tough decision to make and voters will remember it. republicans also feel potentially this is an issue that could juice turnout for their voters. we've seen the enthusiasm among democrats. republicans are hoping to close that gap with this issue at the forefront of voters' minds. we've got some other breaking news we're getting in. caitlyn collins has learned that the former fox news president has accepted a position as deputy white house chief of staff in charge of communications. this has been in the works for some time. >> it has. it's kind of the fox ification of the white house.
i think they're probably aware that it will be controversial given the fact that shine worked for roger ailes. but they've clearly made a decision that that's something they can weather and that the president wants shine there. >> donald trump is in charge of communications at fox news, so i guess it's only fair that a fox news director is director of communications at the white house. >> a former fox news executive who left under allegations that he wasn't being forceful enough with allegations of sexual misconduct. >> i can't even bear it. >> remember, this was an issue that so many people were willing to vote for donald trump over hillary clinton because of the prospect of one let alone two and maybe with the aging population of the supreme court,
maybe even three in this administration. you think about this in the context why issues like mr. shine would no longer be in the forefront of people's minds. >> we're not sure what the exact title of his new position is in the white house. we know he's going to have a senior position in the white hous house. >> if he's going to have any sort of communications role in this white house, managing communications for this president is always going to be a challenge, because the president is his own communications director. he manages the messaging in this white house. as we know, he only listens to his advisors as it suits him. it's a tough job. >> there hasn't been a communications director since hope hicks left. >> that's right. the president wants people around him he's comfortable with. that's the donald trump we've seen over the last three or four months. he's sort of unbound and he wants to bring his friends into the white house.
i think bill shine is somebody he is comfortable with. and sean hannity is comfortable with bill shine so it all works ou out. >> that's just beautiful. just ahead, there's more news we're following. what will be the agenda when president trump and vladimir putin hold their first summit? cnn is live in moscow. we have new details. and did kim jong-un make false promises to president trump during their summit? new satellite images are raising some fresh doubts about claims of denuclearization. nts in iraq. i'm really grateful that usaa was able to take care of my family while i was overseas serving. it was my very first car accident. we were hit from behind. i called usaa and the first thing they asked was 'are you ok?' they always thank you for your service, which is nice because as a spouse you serve too. we're the hayles and we're usaa members for life. see how much you could save with usaa by bundling your auto and home insurance. get a quote today.
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we're following breaking nus on justice anthony kennedy's retirement from the supreme court. also tonight, president trump's first summit with russia's vladimir putin is on. mr. trump's national security advisor john bolton has been hammering out details with putin in moscow. bolton says he expects the president to talk to the kremlin leader about a subject mr. trump often avoids, russia's election meddling. let's go to our senior international correspondent fred pleitgen in red square in moscow. i take it they're on track to meet in just a few weeks. >> reporter: yeah. about three weeks from now, wolf. it seems in the middle of july. that's certainly what president trump was saying earlier today. it was interesting to see what happened here when john bolton
came to town here in moscow. originally what we heard is he was just going to meet with the russian foreign minister sergei lo lavrov but he met with vice president and hammered out the summit very quickly, the russians showing they are in the driver's seat on this. national security advisor john bolton face to face with vladimir putin and his top ministers. a quick agreement, president trump and vladimir putin will hold a summit next month. still, putin taking a swipe at the u.s. >> translator: i regret to have to point out that russian/u.s. relations are not at their best. i have mentioned this publicly more than once and i want to say it again at this meeting as well. >> reporter: sources tell cnn the most likely venue for the summit will be helsinki. the exact date and location to be announced on thursday. the national security advisor previously suggested that russia and putin can't be trusted. >> after bringing up the russian
meddling at the beginning of the meeting, which was exactly the right thing to do, saying it was something that all americans were concerned with, trump got to experience vladimir putin looking him in the eye and lying to him directly. >> reporter: today at a press conference right after his meeting with russia's president brushing off the perceived change of course. >> i don't really address what i've written in the past or what i've said on television. it's all out there. right now i'm an advisor to president trump. it's his agenda that we're pursuing. that's the agenda that i intend to advance. >> reporter: on the agenda will be major issues like the conflict in ukraine and syria, u.s. sanctions against russia and bolton says russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election. >> i think a lot of people have said or implied over time that a meeting between president trump and president putin would somehow prove some nexus between the trump campaign and the
kremlin which is complete nonsense. >> reporter: russian state tv gloating about bolton's visit to moscow, joking about russia's perceived reach into america's political process. >> translator: cyber security is a topic for the summit because what are the main accusations we hear in the past years from the american side, that our great and terrible russian hackers invaded the american space, which many see as aggression against the country and we caused some trouble there. what trouble did we cause? we just elected trump, that's all. >> reporter: russian state tv also trashing cnn in their show. as america's national security advis advisor was busy hammering out a summit between moscow and the trump white house. ultimately the russians are saying their goal is a normalization of the relations between the united states and russia. of course, president trump came out earlier today and said in general he thinks it's a good idea to speak to russian
president vladimir putin not just for the u.s. but also for the world. of course, we do know that some of america's closest allies have some serious reservations about this summit thinking that it might be coming too fast. >> they certainly do. fred pleitgen, thank you very much. just ahead, we're learning just how few immigrant children have been returned to their parents as a federal judge now sets a new deadline for the trump administration to reunite separated families. and what new satellite images reveal about north korea's nuclear program and whether kim jong-un is really planning to shut it down. p from some unexpected friends. these zebra and antelope. they're wearing iot sensors, connected to the ibm cloud. when poachers enter the area, the animals run for it. which alerts rangers, who can track their motions and help stop them before any harm is done. it's a smart way to help increase the rhino population.
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tonight, the trump administration is under orders by a federal judge to speed up its slow and chaotic efforts to reunite separated immigrant families, setting a new 30-day deadline. government figures show only six of the children have rejoined their families over the past six days since the president signed that executive order reversing the separation policy. let's go to our national correspondent miguel marquez. he joins us from texas near the mexican border. the judge was very, very critical of the trump administration. >> reporter: boy, it was very critical. it's worth keeping in mind this was a judge that was appointed by a republican.
and activists and lawyers who now work in the field trying to get immigrants legal help are pushing the government to implement this ruling immediately. reunite families within 30 days, orders a federal judge, a reversal for president trump and his so-called zero tolerance policy. in a sharp rebuke, u.s. the district court judge called the confusion created by the zero tolerance policy, quote, a chaotic circumstance of the government's own making, saying that, quote, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property. the justice department responded by asking congress for legislation, but that seems unlikely. >> the president called immigrants animals. it's a dehumanizing impact of these people fleeing their countries for a safe haven. >> reporter: the texas civil rights project represents nea y ly 400 separated families and
hopes to begin reuniting them soon. the zero tolerance policy generating protests across the country. in one at the immigration and customs enforcement headquarters. protests at a detention facility near el paso. rebecca garcia was separated from her 8-year-old nearly two months ago. i'm desperate, she says, i just want my daughter back. maggie represents a mother from honduras whose 6-year-old son born with brain damage was taken from her three weeks ago. they've spoken once. the boy asked his mother to come and get him. >> she is very, very concerned. very fearful.
she wants to be able the to see him herself. to hug him herself. to make sure that he has the medication that he needs. >> now the office of refugee resettlement that is responsible for these minors says that it is providing quality care and its number one priority the reunify kags, but we have not seen that. by the government's accounting, 2,047 kids remain separated tonight. >> shocking. thanks so much. miguel mar qwest from texas. now to the threat from north korea. we're watching this very, very closely. there are new satellite images tonight that appear to contradict president trump's claim that kim jong-un has started the process of total denuclearization. let's go to barbara starr. barbara, what are you learning? >> good evening, wolf. these are images from commercial satellites flying over north korea of the research facility. it's a massive site with
buildings, industrial facilities and in fact a plutonium production facility. the images appear to capture continuing ak at this complex and what it all means is that analysts are tell us kim jong-un certainly has not issued any orders to stop working on this site and probably on other sites as well. the pentagon does believe any -- images show the potential that production may be continuing inside north korea right now. and that of course would be a a major concern. the ability to construct, manufacture and they could then hide away in the future. this, analysts say, underscoring the need to get a very detailed negotiation with the north koreans to get inspection, verification and to make sure that everybody knows exactly what is going on at these sites and right now, that is not the
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breaking news we're covering will have an impact for years to come. let's talk about justice anthony kennedy's retirement from the u.s. supreme court. joining us now, chris cuomo, what are your thoughts on this decision to retire in what sort of fight lies ae head? >> first, in reading the justice's letter, it seems this is just an act of -- he's fine. he's smart man, thoughtful man, a committed man. and so hopefully, this is him just turning a chamter in his life. everything is good and we wish him well and thank him for his service. he gave the left a chance on the the court. if you look at his record, he was not a real swing vote. obviously on lgbt rights and religious freedom, we saw him have a very central role as a swing vote, but more often than
not, certainly on the cases recently, he was a conservative vote, but what he means now stepping away is that president trump went from someone who was a question mark in the history books to someone who is going to have lasting impact because he will be able to cement a solid 5-4 majority on that court. with somebody who is more reliable even than kennedy and then lots of things can change. >> so where do the democrats go from here? >> you know, i've been watching your show and others today and i don't see what their option is. mcconnell on the republicans seem very content to play the context game with the biden rule. which is that only counts in presidential election years. this is a midterm election yeerk we're having a vote. they don't have majority, the democrats. i don't know how they stop it. do you? >> i keep saying and i know you believe it, leches have quons n
leches have consequences. districts are the minority. as well, elections have consequences. thank you very, very much and to our viewers, tune in tonight. cuomo prime time, 9:00 p.m. eastern only here on cnn. that's it for me. thanks for watching. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" next, the battle is on. republicans rush iing to fill justice kennedy's seat on the supreme court. democratic plus, the political upset of the year. the democratic power house, republicans using her win to try to slam the whole party. 28-year-old alexandria cortez is "outfront." and fireworks behind closed doors as the controversial fbi agent speaks to congress. that heated conversation still going on at this hour. we're going to speak to a congresswoman who was in the room with struck right now. let's go "outfront." and good evening to