tv Inside Politics CNN March 12, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT
>> he was just a really smart guy. if i understand your question correctly, he didn't have inside information about the answers, he was just smart enough to get a near perfect score on demand or to calibrate the score. so singer would discuss with their clients what kind of score they were looking for. if your daughter took the s.a.t. on her own the first time and got a particular score, retaking the exam, if her score goes up too much, that would provide scrutiny. so singer would discuss with parents what kind of score was impressive but not too impressive, and then would instruct riddell to attempt to get that score. and he was just good enough to do it. [ inaudible question ] >> i'm not sure how much of that is public so i'm going to err on the side of not answering that. i think in the charging document for riddell which is now public, you will find whatever i'm allowed to say on that point, but i don't remember standing here. >> how are they able to change the s.a.t. or a.c.t. scores?
>> riddell would either take the test for the student or hand in answe a card with the answers on it. it would just be scored under that person's name. >> was there anything that showed cheating was going on? did any of the prompting of this investigation come from them? >> i can't comment on that. >> two prominent names you mentioned, they were arrested along with others? >> yes. >> that's live in boston, massachusetts. impressive news conference, big news. involving celebrities, ceos, college coaches in a massive scheme to gain the college
admissions system. felicity huffman, and lori loughlin, the actress of "full house" and "fuller house" fame cheat, bribe and lie to get the children of the super rich into an elite university. andrew lieling and the agent in charge, joseph bofal noronte. >> we have charged one exam administrator, one exam proctor, one college administrator, nine coaches at elite schools and 33 parents who paid enormous sums to guarantee their children's admission to certain schools. >> this is not a case where parents were acting in the best interests of their children. this is a case where they flaunted their wealth, sparing no expense to cheat the system so they could set their children
up for success with the best education money could buy, literally. some spent anywhere from 200,000 to $6.5 million for guaranteed admission. their actions were without a doubt sinful and shameful. >> wow, brynn. >> reporter: exactly, john. howey lab r elaborate this sche according to officials is what rocks me most. the number of people involved and in some cases arrested, some have already pleaded guilty, but also how detailed these schemes were. let's talk about the center of it all. his name is rick singer. according to authorities, he's already pled guilty to some charges.
he would set up a non-profit and parents would come to him to ask for his help to get into elite universities. we're talking about usc, georgetown, yale university. and he did it in two different ways. one route some parents would take was basically have their kids take s.a.t.s, a.c.t. entrance exams and he would either have someone who was very smart, as authorities say, retake those tests changing some of those answers in order to get a higher score for those admission tests. in some cases they would have their daughter or son go to a therapist and get more time to take those entrance exams. that was one route. another route, according to federal authorities, was rick singer would get in touch with athletic coaches at these universities and have students admitted through the athletic route, sometimes even faking pictures of these students as athletes and basically bribing these athletic coaches to help these students get in that route. i know two names that we've been
talking about who were parents that have been arrested is felicity huffman, an academy actress, a nominee. of course, we know her from ""did he say -- ""desperate housewives"" among other things, and lori loughlin from "full house." they basically asked for singer's help to take the test for their daughter and declined to have them do the same thing for their second daughter, and authorities aren't sure why she changed her mind for the second time around. when you look at the charging documents for lori loughlin, they say they used singer's help in order for her daughter to get into usc through crewe even though she had no talent with that sport. a lot of details just came out in that news conference, and it's just mind blowing the
amount of money pushed around, how many people were involved, the fact that even some of the children knew this was happening, some of the children don't. some of these students are still in colleges. but important to note, john, according to these authorities, these universities that were involved had no knowledge of this but the investigation is still ongoing. >> interesting the level of detail. joining the conversation now, please don't follow me, kbryou'a lot smarter than me when it comes to this, but let's start with you, jennifer. when you hear the level of detail from the fbi, the irs, obviously the ringleader they flipped at the top of the pyramid. what takeaway do you get here? >> i'm impressed with the scope of this investigation. they did get rick singer to plead guilty so clearly he told them all about the scheme. that must be how they were able to wrap all of this up in just
over a year, i think the u.s. attorney said it took. it's an impressive scope. hopefully these universities will be able to clean house. there are a lot of coaches here who i'm assuming will be fired. what the schools choose to do about the students will be up to them. i'm sure they'll do their own investigations and decide how to proceed. it's an impressive investigation. i do hope that rick singer, if he's pleading guilty, didn't get a terrific deal out of this, a cooperation deal. usually you wouldn't cooperate the head guy against people below him, so we'll have to wait and see when his documents are released whether it's a cooperation agreement or just a plea agreement. but it's certainly an impressive takedown. >> it's a great point about we'll see what the plea agreement is there. and paul, you heard the u.s. attorney say they got a tip. they were interviewing a target in a completely different investigation who apparently was trying to give them something. this happens a lot of law enforcement. i'm in trouble, let me give you something else. your biggest takeaway. include the decision to use the
racketeering statute here. >> it's a fascinating use of the racketeering statute which is typically used against criminals. that's what it's designed for. the feds figured out a way to apply it to college admissions. this is probably the biggest college admissions scam in u.s. history. it's really kind of staggering in its dimensions. it's nationwide and involves some of the top schools in the united states, and it's going down, by the way, at a time when harvard is being sued for the way they admit minorities to their colleges. here we have, on the other hand, parents who are bribing their way in to some of america's top colleges. and it's a very sophisticated scam that involved cheating on a.c.t. and s.a.t. scores, the forgery of false athletic resumes to make it look like you're some sort of star athletically and deserve admission to an ivy league college. it's a fascinating use of the
ricoh statute to solve a crime. >> and it will get a ton of attention because of the celebrities involved. two well-known actresses who were trying to help their children and go to the prosecutor of other levels. you have athletic coaches who were taking bribes. in some cases the coach put all the money into the program, but in most cases they kept either all of the money or put it in. as you go through the level of detail, what does it tell you, jennifer? >> i don't know how they put money into the program. these were illicit bribes going to the coaches so i don't know how they would put money into the program. one thing these colleges will have to think about, particularly those with strong athletic programs like ucla, usc and stanford, are the oversight they give to these coaches and what do they do once these students arrive and all of a sudden they claim an injury or they're just not participating.
there ought to be more oversight of these athletic admissions, because clearly this rick singer person was able to recruit coaches from all over the country. how do you do that? you can't just walk in or pick up the phone and say, hey, would you like to take some illegal bribes? the fact he was able to get so many participants at these top colleges really, i think, should be a wake-up call to these schools to keep a better eye on this process. >> and paul, help me a little bit what we're talking about in terms of penalties. again, i'm going to focus on the two known names. but if you go through parents here, a lot of rich, privileged parents, but felicity huffman and lori loughlin both charged with mail fraud and conspiracy for mail fraud. what are we looking at as far as punishment? >> for most all the parents involved, you're looking at a felony that could lead to five years in federal prison. this, of course, depends on what the federal guidelines are with respect to their involvement. but they're all very, very serious felonies with very, very
serious jail sentences, and they've got a tough road ahead. >> tough road ahead, to say the least. paul callan, jennifer, thank you for being here. nancy pelosi says no when it comes to the issue of impeachment. at least for now. well, here's to first dates! you look amazing. and you look amazingly comfortable. when your v-neck looks more like a u-neck... that's when you know, it's half-washed. try downy fabric conditioner. unlike detergent alone, downy helps prevent stretching by conditioning and smoothing fibers,
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house speaker nancy pelosi not quite closing the door but setting a very, very high bar for impeachment. this to the "washington post" magazine. i'm not for impeachment, the speaker said. impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there is something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, i don't think we should go down that path because it divides the country and he's just not worth it. the speaker's firm comments rattling some of her party's most anti-trump members and driving concern from headliners. the new york post says the
speaker blinked on impeachment. most democrats see smart politics behind the decision to draw a hard line now. but even one of her lieutenants, john orr of kentucky, says the speaker's line will eventually be crossed. >> when we see evidence of impeachable offenses, we need to start the process to remove the president from office. i don't think there is any way we could get 218 votes on the floor of the house for an impeachment resolution, but i think that's not a matter of whether, it's a matter of when. >> cnn's manu raju live on capitol hill. the speaker inside this interview, i'm going to give you some news. she knew she was going to cause a buzz. she did, huh? >> reporter: she most definitely did, and congressman jerry nadler said he agrees with her,
that impeachment doesn't make sense to move forward. failed impeachment is just not a good idea. but there are rank and file democrats who hope her mind will change and hope to convince her. one democrat, rashida tlaib, said she still plans to push forward with impeachment and even offer articles of impeachment resolution later this month. >> speaker pelosi has always encouraged me to represent my district. has never told me to stop. has never told me to do anything differently, ever. >> but you're going to continue to push for impeachment, right? >> i am beginning the investigation. that doesn't mean we're voting on it. it means we're beginning the process to look at some of these alleged claims that he's -- impeachable offenses. >> pelosi very clearly wants to move on. she did not address this in a closed door meeting earlier this
morning. she was asked by an opponent, why not review it before closing the door on impeachment? she said since day one i've said that impeachment is divisive. we'll see if her mind will change, but at the moment throwing a lot of cold water on a push from the left. >> trying to keep folks in line, i think we can say. thank you, manu. to show their insights julie pace with the associated press, jackie kosinich and abby phil p phillip. >> it's not slamming the door shut, but boy, it sets a really high bar. why? >> i think there are a couple things going on here. pelosi has been pretty -- has been setting the high bar for impeachment the last couple months as she took a step forward here. she feels if democrats were to go down this road, the bar
should be high, and i think that's quite reasonable. she doesn't want it to look like democrats are just trying to impeach the president because they don't like him, because they're not happy with some of his policy moves, they don't think he's fit for office. there has to be some sort of evidence for a crime. i think she's trying to lay this out ahead of the mueller report to give an indication of what she would be willing to accept. the second piece of this is impeachment is divisive and there are democrats who actually don't think this would be good politics for their party in the lead-up to a presidential election, that it would be better for their nominee to be able to run against president trump as is instead of her mucking up that campaign with an impeachment process that might not succeed, anyway. and speaking of politics, this is not about -- yes, the progressives and the left part fortunate party a of the party are the ones who are pushing this. this is about the majority who don't want to talk about this, who want to talk about other things because they're not there. they went there not to impeach the president but to get some stuff done.
that's what you hear people from blue dogs, for example, say. they're going to be asked this question, too, and now they can just say, well, speaker pelosi slammed the door on that. let's move on. >> this is cherry busto. she's from illinois. she just won a republican seat. she's a democrat in the congress. it's conservative country. there are republican voters, too. she says, i don't want to go here. >> i'm a democratic candidate that just won. we don't hear from people we represent talking about impeachment at every turn. >> nancy pelosi wants to keep the majority. >> she needs to keep her people calm about how this is going. i don't think the timing is very accidental at all. look at the last two weeks. you had investigations on the house side really get into gear, both with the 81 document requests that the house judiciary committee sent out and
the michael cohen extravaganza in various stages, public and private. you see the political back and forth. republicans are accusing schiff of being corrupt, and everything is already kind of a giant mess. if they want to be able to conduct these investigations and do it without being accused every 30 seconds of just trying to orchestrate a slow motion impeachment, pelosi has to come out and say that's not necessarily our end game at all. we're trying to do this based on the merits. so to protect that, she had to do this early on. sdplz s >> she set the rules in the beginning of a very long, oversought battle. the battle is explicitly that democrats are trying to impeach the president, that's what this is all about, because they don't like him. they're not even dealing in large part on some of the merits of these investigations. they're not trying to dig into the details of what democrats are looking for. they're just saying democrats don't like trump and they're trying to use these investigations to go after him. so pelosi sees that coming from the white house.
she's trying to get ahead of it -- actually, this is about oversight. for the next couple years what we want as democrats is to have another agenda going forward. it was interesting hearing cherry bustas expressing frustration that when michael cohen was on the hill last week, he sucked all the oxygen out of the room on capitol hill. they couldn't put attention on any other hearings they were trying to do at that time, and there is frustration that there is no alternative message that will break through as long as impeachment is swirling through the air. >> pelosi has been long enough to have gone through the last impeachment. a democratic president was impeached for sexual behavior. and the payoffs, hush money payments by the president. newt gingrich and bob livingston lost their job in the backlash after that. we just pulled in iowa. the democratic voters in iowa picked their next president. do they want to talk about
impeachment? no. only 20% of iowa, impeachment voters, only 22% talk a lot about it. 92% of republicans say no. even 27% of democrats say no. nancy pelosi says i have to keep those democrats and i have to keep those republicans or i hand the gavel back over. >> and they know there is some space to talk about impeachment on the campaign trail, they can talk about all the bad things they think trump has done, but it's actually not a bad split for her. she knows the second the house were to move on this, to abby's point, it blows out of the water every policy agenda they have. it's all gone, it's just impeachment, and that's not a good situation for her party. >> she has a willing party in
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run, joe, run! >> i appreciate the energy you showed when i got up here. save it a little longer, i may need it in the next few weeks. >> be careful what you wish for. be careful what you wish for. >> that's former vice president joe biden just this morning hinting at a possible 2020 announcement. that announcement could come very soon. if biden runs, he would of course be considered the frontrunner. in the national association of firefighters, among those in the labor unit happy to have those in the race. with a glimpse of what a biden run would look like, trashing pharmaceuticals while talking about his roots.
>> they're not necessarily bad, they didn't build this country. it was built by the great american middle class and unions built the middle class. >> cnn's arlette sines joins our conversation. you've been tracking hamlet, i mean, mr. biden, for the past few years. h that was as supportive of a crowd as you'll get with the firefighters. was that the body language that, just wait a couple weeks? >> he is not a declara trks ird candidate yet, but also his willingness to take on president trump. it shows you what that message might be like heading into the democratic primary that maybe president trump is going to be his main focus, not necessarily those democratic rivals. that crowd in that room, it was
clearly a biden crowd. they had the signs that read "run, joe, run," "firefighters for biden" and he was really teasing that announcement, almost getting to the precipice of the firefighters association told me he would get to the end of that diving board but not quite there just yet. i asked him, when are you going to make your announcement and he just said, pretty soon. >> we're in march. we expect it, most likely, in april. you just heard him say this country wasn't built on hedge funds. not that they're bad guys and listen to him talking about a recent controversy where he had kind words to say about mike pence and then had to take them back because of the lbtq. listen to biden there. >> mean pettiness has taken over our politics.
sometimes it seems we can't govern ourselves or even talk about one another. if you notice, i get criticized for saying anything nice about a republican. folks, that's not who we are. that isn't how we got here. >> he did, though, go on twitter and essentially say sorry for saying nice things about mike pence because of his record on gay rights issues. but mike pence's press secretary tweeting out just moments ago. so is mike pence a decent guy again? this is the issue with joe biden because he does want to run on a unity message. not that he won't go after the president and go after republicans, but he doesn't want to make it personal. can you do that in today's politics? >> i don't know if you can do that in this democratic primary. it sometimes can sound a little silly, we're debating whether mike pence is decent or not decent, whether he should say something nice about republicans or not say something nice about republicans. there is a part of the party that is not interested in bipartisanship. they feel like republicans have not played fair over the last
several years. they are still scarred by barack obama's battles with republicans, a lot of the ones joe biden was there for, and they don't want to hear candidates say, this is how i'll work with mitch mcconnell, this is how i'll work with a republican congress. they want to hear the strategy for just blowing past those guys. that's not joe biden's style. he's built his career as someone who can work with people across the aisle. >> it depends who you're talking about. you have heard people like elizabeth warren, amy klobuchar talking about reaching across the aisle, bills they've worked on with various republicans, but there are certain politicians out there among the democratic base, mike pence is one of them, that in this field you can't say something nice. there are some people that will appeal to but not the ones where the energy is right now in the democratic party. >> and the fascinating part about it, and let's just have the conversation as we anticipate a biden candidacy. again, he's doing everything to run.
it would be almost stopping if he decided not to in the end. for all this talk of a fresh face, for all this energy in the active base of the party, if you look at the iowa poll, biden and sanders. writing in the post very smartly about these two guys who you would have to say are at the top of the pack. biden and sanders occupied competing polls in the democratic party, idealogically and in style and temperament. few democrats are more representative of the party establishment than biden. few politicians are more indifferent to party politics than sanders. biden is an insider, sanders, despite long service, an outsider. do you want someone bubbling with such energy? >> the party as a whole has not centered around one person. it's going to be hard when we're heading to dozens of candidates being out there. frav frankly, it's not surprising at this juncture early on when the newer candidates, the younger
candidates, are not well known nationally, that they would have unseated those in the top post. but also it almost seems like given that they are entities that we know, everybody else kind of fights among each other and gets part of the angry base that isn't nice to republicans or doesn't want a new establishment or wants a new face, even though everyone in the party can choose one, it's incumbent on biden and sanders to ride that out. these numbers don't mean that much. it means people have heard their names before. >> they do mean, though, especially since he's made us wait, when he comes out of the box, he has to be wow. do they get that, that for all the weight that when they get out -- sure, every candidate makes mistakes. he'll make some mistakes along the way, but out of the box they need to be wow. >> he said his friends know he will be a target when he gets in
the race, not just of primaries but of the president. joe biden has never been a frontrunner before. he places fifth in the iowa caucuses. it will be interesting to see how he runs that campaign being a target for everybody when he never had to deal with that before. up next the presidential candidate among those saying the faa should ground a type of boeing jet involved in two recent crashes. pardon the interruption but this is big! now with t-mobile get the samsung galaxy s10e included with unlimited data for just $40 a month.
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a new book out this week. in defense of her dad, the president, in reaction to charlottesville. gary cohn expressed concerns of the president's assessment of both sides of the violence in charlottesville. my dad is not a racist, ivanka told cohn. he didn't mean any of that, that's not what he said. jared kushner calls the new book fiction. candidate pete buttigieg has more than $600,000 poured into the campaign from some 22,000 donors in the 24 hours after that town hall. buttigieg, who promised not to accept pac money, says he's thrilled by the support. scrutiny for boeing after two recent crashes of their 737 max 8 jet.
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the subpoenas are an open act to the new civil organization and they helped the trump buy the buffalo bills. michael cohen's testimony prompted the subpoenas. cnn sara scannell is with us. >> that was not popular at the time. >> it just never, one, on the if you are fas-- surface, it tellsu the special counsel is still investigating, now the state. >> this is the latest investigation and "the times" pettiness, and when we spoke with someone from the investigation, they said it is teed off from robert mueller's testimony. they subpoenaed donald trump's broker and that was also from robert mueller's testimony.
we've seen cohen's testimony, but also since we know mueller's report is drawing to a close, it frees up these people on the sidelines saying, okay, we're going to investigate these issues that are important to our constituents and that fall under their jurisdiction. >> loan applications, mortgages, lines of credit, other financial transactions. that's the legalese for it here. we also know in the president's terms, that's over the line. this is where he's always said they're going to start going after my family, after my business, after my name. >> there is such an interesting ripple effect here that actually goes all the way back to the origin of donald trump's campaign and the fact this is all pretty much a traditional campaign that he wasn't really a candidate that vetted himself. there is a sense in which there are things here, that's why he called it a red line, that he doesn't even know, really, what the legal ramifications could be for all the various things that they could dig into in his business past.
and some of the things his republican opponents were trying to draw attention to during the 2016 campaign, the sort of pandora's box of problems that donald trump represented. and now that he's president, these things are all potentially coming home to roost. you have everyone really just sticking their hand into the cookie jar and seeing what they come out with, and i don't think that this was something that president trump really thought was a possibility. he said it himself, he pursued some of these deals like the trump tower moscow deal because he thought, why not? if i don't win this thing, which i probably won't, i don't want to close the door on all these potential deals. so he didn't really think this all the way through in terms of kind of making sure that some of these doors were closed before he ran for president. >> because of that, there are so many financial strings to follow the money for trump, and politically it was a part of his mystique on the campaign trail, and trump testified he didn't
really think this was a business opportunity until he was elected, and then the legal implications of that we're seeing follow, too. the financial side of things has been a red line for trump because it seems like that's where the rubber could hit the road if it's going to. >> and his credibility is clearly an issue, but michael cohen did drop a lot of leads. he gave you a lot of things to pursue. the challenge is can you find documents to back it up because he's an admitted liar. the democrats of new york are just like the democrats of congress because so many have been saying damning things about donald trump, can you then lead a fair and impartial investigation? let's go back and listen to jennifer james. >> president trump was on the verge of bankruptcy and all of a sudden he was flush with money. we know investment banks were not extending any credit to him. the question is where did he get all that money from? >> he undermines our financial rights, he tram peples on the
rights of vulnerable and marginal populations in this state and country, and he's an illegitimate president. i want to engage in an investigation to the trump administration in relation to his finances in the state of new york. >> it's a free country. anyone running for office has the right to say anything they want, but if you're running for attorney general and you say things like that, you have a high test as you run for these organizations. >> she's been so forward-footing on this. even her predecessor was always out there. in hillary clinton's camp, he was anti-trump, but his office brought the trump foundation lawsuit which is working its way through the system. i think it will be incumbent on her to make sure there is a solid case and that there is a lot of evidence to back it up. if she files a case and there isn't, it will be pretty transparent to people, and i would not be surprised that we'll hear, i imagine, from the trump organization that they're fighting over handing documents
to the democrats. they're putting up a strong front here. if there is action by the new york attorney general's office, i would expect that they will play up this political angle. >> dot the i's and cross the t's. next, paul ryan is back in the public eye. will the president like or accept his 2020 advice? this is your home. the best home to be in is your own. home instead offers personalized in-home services for your loved ones. home instead senior care. to us, it's personal. home instead sen♪ do you. ♪ love me? ♪ ♪ i can really move ♪ ♪ do you love me? ♪ i'm in the groove ♪ now do you love me? ♪ do you love me now that i can dance? ♪ applebee's 3 course meal. now that's eatin' good in the neighborhood. hey, who are you? oh, hey jeff, i'm a car thief... what?! i'm here to steal your car because, well, that's my job. what? what?? what?! (laughing) what??
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the speaking circuit offering i guess what you could call unsolicited but not quite free advice. last night it included some shots at the white house freedom caucus and a framing of the 2020 campaign that i suppose will get the president's attention. quote, the person who defines that race is going to win that race, the former speaker said. if this is about donald trump and his personality, he isn't going to win it. waiting for the tweet. it's actually a valid point in the sense that if you look at the 2018 midterms, which in the suburbs, donald trump's personality does not sell. the speaker from a very important state, wisconsin, essentially saying to the president, make it about policy, don't make it about you. >> that's what ryan was trying to do for the two years he was speaker when trump was president where he said, we need to do tax reform, we need to have actual policy proposals out there because he knows if this is about trump and it's about the tweets and it's about some of the controversies that have surrounded the president, that doesn't put the republican party
on strong footing. i think the challenge for republicans, and ryan now is on the sidelines here, is that it's really unclear over the next year and a half, two years, what policies trump is going to have to run on besides things like building a wall. he's not putting a lot on the table. and democrats are going to try their best to put trump's personality and temperament on the ballot. >> this morning, of course, the man who took over is leading the republicans. they're in the minority so he's not the speaker, but the republican leader, kevin mccarthy asking, hey, do you agree with paul ryan? >> i disagree. i believe this president will win re-election. i believe this president could run on many different items, but mostly about what he promised he would do for the american public and which he's been able to achieve. i know on his record overwhelmingly he will be re-elected. >> are you concerned he's not talking about policies? >> i just was on the phone with him last night, and the vice president, talking about policies around the world.
this president can talk a lot of different issues at a time. i think you're pinpointing one minute of a one-hour rally. >> i hate to make a blaring point, but policy can be boring. trump is not boring. trump and ryan were at odds in the two years of his leadership. he's going wi he and mccarthy have always been closer than he and ryan. policy is policy and i think people know that. >> policy is trump and look at the emergency declaration right now. you're either with me or against me. it's not about the wall. it's all balled up in one package at this point, so good luck. >> interestingly, the president's son responded to
paul ryan basically saying, you didn't get us the wall. it just goes to show this is a frame that trump folks are looking at this. paul ryan failed on a major issue but republicans want to run on that forum. thanks for joining us on "inside politics." see you back here tomorrow. brianna keilar starts now. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, a stunning cheating scandal involving famous actresses, coaches and administrators at major elite universities all accused of paying and accepting millions of dollars in bribes to get kids into college. another week, another internal battle in the democratic party. today's debate, is impeaching trump worth it? plus, if joe biden is running for president, his speech today maify have been hi unofficial kickoff. as