tv CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN June 12, 2019 7:00am-8:00am PDT
[ sigh ] introducing an easier way to move with xfinity. it's just another way we're working to make your life simple, easy, awesome. go to xfinity.com/moving to get started. top of the hour. i'm jim sciutto in new york. >> and i'm poppy harlow. any minute now, a second house panel will hold a vote on contempt for attorney general barr. a citizenship question on the soon coming 2020 census. wilbur ross is due to be cited for contempt. >> donald trump jr. behind closed doors again with the
senate intelligence committee, run by a republican, i should note. keyword there, senate intelligence committee. they subpoenaed the president's eldest son weeks after the mueller probe ended. top republicans, include iing t president, declared case closed. doesn't look like the case is cloesd. let's bring in cnn's lauren fox. what's about to happen in the house oversight committee, the hearings that are about to begin and what does it mean exactly? >> they are planning to vote to hold the attorney general, william barr, and secretary of commerce, wilbur ross, in contempt of congress, for not turning over documents related to their investigation about why a question of citizenship is to be added to the census. department of justice said they would ask to exert executive privilege overall of this, a clear escalation in this fight between house democrats and th trump administration for information related to this census investigation. now, this is just a marker in a
broader fight between the trump administration and house democrats for information. of course, yesterday the full house voted to allow the house judiciary committee to go to court, to enforce a subpoena, to get don mcgahn to testify, former white house counsel, and to get grand jury information related to the mueller investigation. this hearing today, of course, we expect could go on for a little bit as members discuss this contempt citation. eventually, i was told from the house chairman elijah cummings yesterday, he has not decided what he would do after they hold this vote. democrats hold control of that committee. we expect it to pass. what comes next is still unexpected. he could go to the floor and they could have a fuller house vote or he could go directly to the advisory group that is basically house leadership. they could have a vote and go directly to court. those are some of the options on the table. obviously this is a big step for
the house oversight committee into their own investigation into the u.s. census. >> lauren fox on the hill, thank you very much. like much of what happens with the intelligence committees, today's session is off limits to cameras and the public. >> there is an agreement to cover as many as half a dozen topics, including the trump tower meeting with a russian lawyer back in 2016. also included, attempts to build a trump tower in moscow. we don't know why the panel wanted the president's eldest son, though, back for a second time. manu raju is on it. what did don jr. say as he breezed in last hour? >> reporter: i asked him directly, are you here to change your testimony? and he said no. he was later asked by another reporter if there's anything to correct from his testimony and he said nothing to correct. so we do know that one of the things that will likely come up in today's closed-door session are things he said in the past
before a separate committee, senate judiciary committee, which released transcript of his past testimony. before that committee we assume he said something similar behind closed doors when he first testified to the senate intelligence committee in 2017. according to that transcript, what donald trump jr. said when he talked about the trump tower meeting, run-up to that meeting in which he was promised russian dirt on the clinton campaign, he said he really only told jared kushner, the president's son-in-law, his brother-in-law, as well as paul manafort about that meeting ahead of time. the mueller report revealed that rick gates, deputy chairman, told the mueller team that donald trump jr. said in the run-up to the trump tower meeting that he, to a broader group of individuals, that he had a lead on dirt about the clinton foundation. also separately that issue about the trump tower moscow project, the pursuit of that project. donald trump jr. initially told lawmakers that he was only peripherally aware of that project. but, according to the mueller report, michael cohen, the
president's former fixer, now in jail, said he had briefed the president's eldest son more extensively than what donald trump jr. said in prior testimo testimony. those are the things that will be discussed behind closed doors. what he says to reconcile those things, we'll have to see. his comments today say he has nothing to change, nothing to correct and he's not there to do anything different. we'll see what that actually means when he's grilled behind closed doors by senate investigators. guys? >> manu raju, thanks for being there on the reporting. we're joined by cnn pittal analyst. >> you're trying. >> sciutto does it so well, renaldo but i'm going to save his first question for you and go to my buddy mark, whose last name i get perfectly every single time. mark preston, to you. what is the deal that senators hope to get from don junior? it's limited in scope, but important issues, half a dozen
of them. he's going. i guess he's not afraid of personal, right? but it's behind closed doors. the get for the senate here? >> one of the few committees we've seen bipartisan cooperation. >> right. >> as they look into the russian matter, interference and perhaps the collusion part of it. what they're doing right now, they've heard from other witnesses. they've seen the mueller report. they've heard his testimony. bringing him back in now allows them to ask some follow-up questions based on whatever information they were able to glean from others. so from michael cohen, for instance, follow-up questions that have to do with the moscow tower. for the meeting that occurred back in june of 2016, you know, in new york with the russian representatives and now that they know more, maybe they can trip him up essentially. >> renaldo, conspiracy between
members of the trump campaign and russia during the campaign, don junior has been caught, and the trump team, in a lie on that meeting. of course, they claimed it was about adoptions. it's not. don junior knew in advance they would be damaging information on hillary clinton. that's why he took the meeting. the issue now is, was it just one communication about that? or it seems that rick gates and others have testified there was a fair amount of talk about this, that more people knew about that and knew exactly what they were doing as they come in here. does that still leave open the issue of just how far, at least, the attempted cooperation, right, between members of the trump campaign and russia? >> well, certainly that question is still open. and i think whenever you have a situation where there is discrepancies between witnesses. on one hand we have, as you point out, rick gates, michael cohen and on the other hand, donald trump jr. if you're conducting an
investigation that is at all fullsome and complete, you have to try to explore that, confront donald trump jr. in this case with the other opposing accounts and see what he has to say about it. and, you know, realistically, he may dispute what they have to say. obviously, gates and cohen have their problems. both of them have been convicted of lying to law enforcement. nonetheless, it's of significant concern. >> right. but, listen, i know -- i've heard that before. they've lied before. so have members of the trump team. the special counsel doesn't put that stuff in a report unless he somehow substantiated the conflicting accounts here, right? >> correct. >> is it so easy to eliminate it as he said, she said and kind of move on? >> just to be clear, prosecutors often put cooperators on the stand who have issues like cohen and gates do. the question, as you point out, what corroborating evidence there is. if someone is willing to listen,
sit down for questioning, you always ask him and set up the he said, he said. >> yeah. >> mark, to you, the other hearing happening on the hill today, an important one, is the second tiering led by house democrats to hold members of the administration in contempt. this one against the attorney general, again, bill barr and commerce secretary, wilbur ross. was there political motivation to put the citizenship question back in the 2020 census? my question to you is the supreme court is deciding this right now. if anyone has more power than congress, it's the supreme court. we may know as soon as monday what the supreme court thinks of this. is it sort of all moot? >> it's not moot but it is interesting. our colleague has a great story on cnn.com that spells out the whole supreme court backstory and how that's going. so, certainly for this issue, i suggest people read it. >> it's right here. >> politics, right? >> it's a great report. >> when you look at the politics of it, though, this is greater
than this one question right now of the census. this is about can congress act as a co-equal branch of government? can congress, under the constitution, as the framers wanted to, be the investigative body of the administration in order to keep it in check? can it be equal to that? right now what we're seeing is an incredible detearation and erosion of congress' ability to do their job. right now, that's why you have elijah cummings saying he'll hold this vote on the committee. we'll see what happens on the floor. once that happens, things have really escalated to the point we haven't seen in a very long time. >> erosion of the ability but also seeming ly erosion of the desire to stand up when party is involved. renaldo, on this issue again in the census question, it gets to how you count people, which gets to how you allocate districts for house of representatives.
democratic argument is that it's a way to suppress democratic response to the census and, therefore, reduce representation of democratic voters here. you have the white house threatening to claim executive privilege on this. legally sound? >> i will say i don't know all the details but it sure looks like, given that we have already seen some evidence that there was political motivation, there's been quite a bit released on that. it looks like they may be using that to cover up something that might be embarrassing to the administration. similarly, we have to look at that in the context of them stonewalling house democrats on pretty much everything. that's one danger that the approach the trump administration has taken. by stonewalling the house on almost everything, taking a categorical approach to "no" on everything is exerting executive
privilege so broadly i think they'll hurt their credibility. >> mark preston, renato mariotti. how did i do? >> very nice. >> when they gavel in, we'll bring it to you live. still to come, bernie sanders makes his case for democratic socialism. will people buy it? case for impeachment as democrats move closer to an impeachment inquiry. the president is growing more curious about it. could impeachment really help him? no surprises on your bill. and here's another reason to join. bring in your discount, and we'll match it. that's right, t-mobile will match your discount. but dad, you've got allstate. with accident forgiveness they guarantee your rates won't go up just because of an accident. smart kid. indeed. are you in good hands?
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breaking news just in. the white house has, indeed, asserted executive privilege over census documents requested by the house oversight committee for the hearing they're having right now. >> just as we're talking about, big political information. census questions which influence how many congressional districts, how congressional districts are drawn. elijah cummings is speaking now. >> pursuant to committee rule v and rule xi, house rule xi, the
chair may postpone further proceedings today on the question of approving any measure or matter or adopting an amended vote. now, pursuant to notice, i call up a report containing a contempt resolution. >> mr. chairman, i have a point of order. >> may i finish? may i please finish? thank you. now pursuant to notice, i call a report relating to the 2020 census. clerk will report the report, which has been distributed in advance. >> mr. chairman, i have a point of order. >> the gentleman is not
recognized. >> the point of order from a parliamentary standpoint is a privilege motion so i have a point of order, mr. chairman. >> what's your point of order? >> rule 2f of the committee rules have been violated and the chairman has received a letter, which would outline that that particular rule requires a three-day notice, mr. chairman. and because the notice was put out on june 10th at 5:48, this committee's rules have been violated. now, the chairman may be able to overrule this point of order but i would like to clarify that if, indeed, this committee overrules this point of order, then indeed it would be subject to litigation by house counsel. you will require the department of justice to file a brief. it will be litigated because, indeed, this is violate iing th
house rules that everyone here agreed to. >> thank you very much. thank you. i would like to address the letter the ranking member sent last night, raising the technical argument about circulating the memo for today's business meeting. basically he argues that the memo should have been sent last friday instead of this past monday. i sent a letter back to him this morning, explaining my position. and i can summarize it here. in the last congress, the committee rules used to require a memo 72 hours before a business meeting. in january we, on this committee, unanimousily adopted rules that changed that requirement.
when we made that change, our purpose was to make sure that our committee rules matched the house rules. the timing of our committee rule was drawn from the house rule on noticing business meetings. that rule provides that a mark-up cannot occur, and i quote, earlier than the third calendar day before it is noticed. the house parliamentarian has interpret this had rule noting the day the notice is sent and the day the business meeting occurs. staff confirmed this again with the parliamentarian again yesterday. so, in other words we needed to -- >> let's get some background on what's happening here. lauren fox is back on capitol hill with more. basically this committee has asked for documents related to why that citizenship question is
attempting to be put back on the census and just now the white house has exerted executive privilege saying no, you're not going to get any of these documents. is that right? >> exactly. i want to read you an excerpt from the letter that said this letter is to advise you that the president has exerted executive privilege over certain subpoenaed documents and it later says in addition the president has made a protective assertion of executive privilege over the remainder of the subpoenaed documents. so, obviously, that is what the department of justice was saying that they would do last night, if the committee moved forward with this contempt vote today. they're moving forward. then this letter came. so, that is exactly what elijah cummings, the chairman of the committee, is addressing at the moment. >> we're also joined by renato mariotti, who we brought back in.
the political importance of this, because there were concerns that by putting the census question in, it will reduce folks who are immigrants, legal ones. mind you, their response and influences how congressional districts are drawn. legally, getting to this broad and even preemptive really declaration of executive privilege here from a large perspective. they're using this for everything now. is that legally sound? >> it's fine if they're doing it while they're determining which documents are executive privilege. i could see a lawyer saying look for right now the president is asserting executive privilege overall 1,000 while we go through one by one and figure out which ones -- >> that's not what they're doing, right? they're bringing up executive privilege every day, regarding every subpoena here. >> it could be used as a delay
tactic, but in and of itself, a court is not going to have a problem with it. i think the question is going to be in the end, what are they asserting executive privilege over, and that is really the question. are they going to continue asserting it overall or are they going to say there's a small subset of documents and have some justification as to why those are privileged? >> mark preston is here, too, i think, as well. mark, help us understand why -- like does this matter after the supreme court makes its decision? the census bureau is ready either way, right? they've got two versions that come out. when the supreme court says it's legal or not legal to include this question on the census, does any of this matter, just in terms of what people will actually have to answer? >> when it comes to this question, it doesn't. but again this is more about the grander and greater question about what the administration is willing to do.
and willing to work with. >> i hear that. >> the court is the high -- that's the end of the road, right? >> yeah. >> once the supreme court weighs in, that's it. in some ways people will say this is a political issue that democrats are trying to stir up. it's not so much that. you have to take yourself away from this issue alone and look at this as two different issues. one issue is this. one issue is whether the administration will comply with any oversight from congress. >> but the court has clearly become a political body on some of these issues, divided down the line on issues, whether it's gun control or a question like this. seemingly on partisan lines. renato, you had justice ruth bader ginsburg warning over the weekend on how these key decisions the court is so bitterly divided. i wonder, was that signaling, telegraphing that this is one of them on the census issue? political implications for both parties.
>> very well could. there are potential ways that the court can resolve this that sidesteps some of the challenging and thorny issues but nonetheless allows the trump administration to go forward with that question. and so i guess all i would just say is that if folks are concerned about the political implications, they shouldn't assume that the courts will bail them out. they have to work with their representatives to fight on those issues. >> people looking for bailouts left and right. ultimately, the votes have consequences. lauren fox, renato mariotti. the house committee has been debating whether to hold the attorney general and commerce secretary in contempt for withholding documents asked for by subpoena. and whether house speaker nancy
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census. this, as the house judiciary committee decides whether to hold attorney general and commerce secretary in contempt. meanwhile, donald trump jr. is back with the senate judiciary committee behind closed doors. congressman reed joins us this morning. thank you for being with us. >> great to be here as always. >> i want to talk to you about a letter. executive privilege over the remainder of the subpoenaed documents. should the american people be comfortable with the president making a broad protection of executive privilege overall documents related to a question requested by a sitting committee of their representatives in congress? >> well, i know there's been a lot of exchange of information and do you means to date.
and then the issue of executive privilege is something that's been longstanding between congress and the white house. and so obviously this is probably going to end up in litigation and bog us down here on capitol hill. the people who lose in this is the american people. we're not legislating to solve their problems, we're getting bogged down in these investigations. >> you read the constitution. congress has an oversight responsibility. this is the oversight committee. over the executive branch. as you know, while executive privilege has been around a long time, no previous administration has used it so expansively as this one, in response to a whole host of subpoenas. i just wonder, should your constituents be comfortable with a white house of any party refusing to comply with congress? >> obviously, i disagree with the assumption of your question, that this white house is doing something that's unprecedented. that's just not the case. >> they're using executive privilege for every subpoena. >> that's not true. >> that congress has come up with the last several weeks.
>> that's just not true. >> give me example of a prior president. >> obama used executive privilege. the clintons. >> on every congressional subpoena? >> not on every -- and that's just not the case here. >> what's the difference? >> you're not representing the facts accurately. the bottom line is we'll have this dispute between congress and the white house. it's a longstanding dispute. at end of the day, the people who lose are the american people. we're focused on investigation. if that's the mission of this new majority in the house of representatives to complete, i guess that's what they're going to do. i want to respond to things that are impacting people on a day-to-day basis. >> couldn't the white house solve the problem by answering the subpoenas rather than refusing to answer them? >> they've turned over thousands and thousands of documents and information. >> but not to the subpoenas. i knows that's a talking point. >> if the question is do you agree that the president should have no executive privilege and just turn over everything that congress demands, that's not going to be a realistic situation. >> that's actually not the question. the question is, actually, not does the president not have any
executive privilege. the question is, does congress not have any power via the constitution to subpoena the executive branch? that's the question. >> of course congress does and congress has been exercising its oversight responsibilities, thousands of hours, thousands of legislative time has been devoted to this issue now. the problem is who loses in that situation, the problems that are impacting people on a day-to-day basis go unattended to. we need to address that voice in america. we need to solve those problems. rather than get into this tit-for-tat investigative environment of washington we need to make sure we're getting things done and we're just not. with the growing frustration of the american people, you know what, congress, start legislating and leading and get to the table and come to common ground. >> i want to ask you about what's happening on the other side of the hill there. senate intelligence committee, president's son, don junior is back. as he entered those closed meetings he said he has nothing to correct. if you read the mueller report,
and i assume you have. >> i have. >> in there, you have witnesses, including rick gates, the president's former deputy campaign chairman, appearing to contradict his testimony regarding communications of russian offers of dirt on hillary clinton. i just wondered, do you believe he has hard questions to answer on whether his prior testimony was accurate? >> this is the oversight role. the senate bringing don junior back up, that's where the process has gone. don junior has gone up to speak to the senate intel committee. that is where that back and forth needs to occur and it's occurring. that's a good thing. the american people should recognize that and we should move forward. >> fair enough. i want to ask you on a national security issue, something i cover closely. comments by the president yesterday surprised a lot of people. this regards news reports that the brother of president -- dictator, i should call him, kim jong-un of north korea, had been spoken to by the cia, that they discussed trying to get intelligence from him.
the president said yesterday under his leadership that would not happen. i just wonder as a sitting representative of the american people if you're comfortable with that, with the president saying no, our intelligence agencies should not gather intelligence on a hostile foreign leader who threatens the u.s. with nuclear weapons. >> i don't know the exact exchange that that occurred here, if any. but the bottom line is, kim jong-un, as you point out, is a threat to america, i wholeheartedly agree with that assessment and we need to use all the tools in our tool bag to make sure that is measured and do anything to protect our security. >> i appreciate the straight answer on that. you mentioned that the american people want work on something other than just investigations. we talk about that on this program all the time. it's in the polling. people list their issues, they want progress on a whole host of things. as a practical matter, where do you see that cooperation across the aisle? fact is, you've got senate
control bid republicans, house controlled by democrats and republican president. it was going to be infrastructure but that seems to have blown up. where is the common ground? >> the effort we're leading on the republican side in the house is the problem solvers caucus. is there a sweet spot? that's the group of bipartisan members that get together to have conversation about issues impacting people. drug pricing is a possibility. mexico, canada trade deal is a possibility. if that was on the floor today, we would pass that and get this to the president's desk in the senate. that's where this is focusing on over the next 90 days. >> let's hope you find a sweet spot there. >> we'll keep working at it. >> congressman tom reed, thank you so much. >> thanks, jim. up next, 2020 contender bernie sanders makes his case for democratic socialism. can he convince the american people? did you know the first ingredient
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it's only $59 at ancestry.com. give it to dad for father's day. all right. so, democratic concerned, brrere sanders, is giving an interesting speech making the case for democratic socialism. >> he will argue that democrats must embrace his view if they want to win the white house in 2020. tell us what his message is here. democratic socialism has become somewhat of a poisonous word, certainly from the president's mouth, republicans and even democratic candidates uncomfortable with that line. >> no doubt about that, jim.
the sanders' campaign knows this is a gamble for bernie sanders. one thing that won't happen today is sanders is not going to shy away from the label of democratic socialist. in fact, he will say that the views of democratic socialism actually align with most democratic primary voters and by extension, he believes, most americans as well. and he's also going to make the point that even republicans support some form of socialism, but it's a kind of socialism that he argues, actually, doesn't help the american people. he will label donald trump a corporate socialist. let me read a bit of what he will say in the speech today. he will say they may hate democratic socialism because it benefits working people but they absolutely love corporate socialism that enriches trump and other billionaires. what sanders is going to do is point back to the big bailouts of the major financial companies during the financial crisis and say, you know, when it supports their needs, they have no problem with socialism, but socialism that helps a broader group of american people, they
seem, to askew. this isn't easy, though, jim and poppy. half of americans say they could support a president who describes him or herself as a socialist. this is not easy to explain in a sound bite or even a big speech but that's what bernie hopes to do today. >> dangerous one politically, ryan nobles, thank you very much. >> this is a democratic primary. more democrats see socialism favorably than capitalism now. maybe it works in the primary. let's talk about it with kirsten powers. good morning to you. dana bash, as she always does, asked the key question to bernie sanders on this just a minute ago. let's listen. >> senator, you have announced a big speech coming up this coming week about democratic socialism. remember, you gave a similar speech back in 2015. do you think, though, now the country is more ready for a democratic socialist president like you than it was four years ago? >> i think the answer is yes, but i think it's important for
the american people to understand what my definition is of democratic socialism. it's certainly not how donald trump defines it. >> can he, kiersten, be successful in redefining, really redefining socialism as we understand it, i think as most americans understand it for voters? >> well, he has very much, as dana pointed out, already changed that conversation since his first presidential run. i think one thing that's important to say is he's not really redefining it, he's just defining it. it's been badly defined, frankly. it's been conflated with communism, which is simply not what socialism is. most of europe is socialist. he's talking about democratic socialism, he's talking about denmark or norway, not the former ussr, former soviet union nor is he talking about venezuela. people try to conflat those two things and that's just not accurate. that's no what he has ever been
talking about. >> true. but, kirsten, is it smart politics here to sort of double, triple down? why not break it down to the component parts, right and say hey -- some folks will make an argument that social security is kind of socialist, right? government support for people as they retire. why not go after the individual policies and say i'm in favor of this and that rather than wrapping yourself in the socialist flag? >> because he is a democratic socialist. it's not something that he can really run from. >> there you go. >> it's something that he has to address. and i think it's a heavy lift. i think people have really this engrained view about socialism. and so it's always hard when you have to, in a campaign, educate people. you're already in a bad position if you're having to educate them about your fundamental beliefs. but i think that he doesn't have any choice. so he has to start this conversation about the fact that we actually have a lot of socialist policies in our country that people love. medicare, for example, which of course ronald reagan had railed
against and called it socialism. and nobody would ever want to get rid of their medicare. so really showing people that whoa have a lot of things in our country that are socialist that people really like. >> yeah. >> we'll see how successful it is after that speech today. sorry to cut it short. >> that's okay. >> two hearings on capitol hill. we're try iing to juggle it all. kirsten, thank you so much. big day on capitol hill. house oversight committee has postponed its vote on holding the attorney general of the u.s. in contempt of congress. stay with us for the breaking details. (paul) great.
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breaking news, the house oversight committee has postponed its vote to hold the attorney general in contempt of congress. >> they're postponing it because they got new information, a letter from the department of justice, asserting a protective right of executive privilege over, really, all the remainder of the subpoenaed documents that they're being asked for here and the chairman of that committee, elijah cummings, asking the question, in effect, what do
they have to hide? here are his comments a short time ago. >> now the president is asserting executive privilege overall of these documents. this begs the question, what is being hidden? >> fair question from elijah cummings there? >> no question. the census shouldn't be a political endeavor. if there's really nothing to hide here, if all they're doing is to try to do the best job possible of counting everyone in the united states, why have a big fight over this? the mueller report, it's understandable there would be a fight over that. that involves wrongdoing by the president. this should be fairly routine oversight by the house. so, it certainly raises a lot of questions. and i think that the committee is being smart by taking some time to evaluate what they're going to do in response to this letter because this is going to
end up in court. and they want to appear as reasonable as possible and position us the right way for the litigation to follow. >> so, just talk about this in the broader context here, because -- well, we've got about 30 seconds. we've got to leave it there. >> sure. >> renato mariotti, thank you. >> sure. >> it's more stonewalling but supreme court may be the final arbiter on this soon, maybe as soon as monday. >> all presidents have asserted executive privilege, that's true, but on a whole host of things. this is about the u.s. census with big political consequences. we'll continue to follow all these developments on capitol hill. please stay with cnn. ♪
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hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. thank you so much for joining me. this morning, a new escalation in the fight between president trump and democrats on capitol hill. today, the house oversight committee is due to vote on whether to hold two top administration officials, two members of the president's cabinet in contempt of congress. attorney general bill barr and commerce secretary wilbur ross. this is a fight for documents over how a citizen question ended up on the upcoming 2020 census. this is a big deal when attorney general holder was held in contempt of congress in 2012, that was the first time such an extreme action was taken against a sitting cabinet official. if this contempt move ends up before the full house and