tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 9, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT
saying that perot epitomized the entrepreneurial spirit and the american creed. rest in peace ross perot. follow me on facebook and twitter at jake tapper and tweet at "the lead." our coverage on cnn continues now. thanks so much for watching. happening now, standing by him. president trump defends labor secretary alex acosta under fire for overseeing a secret plea deal as a u.s. attorney a decade ago to give multi-millionaire jeffrey epstein a sweetheart deal and he's facing new charges and that is continuing. and joe biden is the latest top democrat to demand that acosta resign. health care hearing. an appeals court wraps up a major hearing on the future of obamacare. two out of three judges raise serious doubts about the very foundation of the law. could their ultimate decision cause millions of americans to
lose health care coverage. subpoena dunk, the house judiciary committee is about to raise the stakes for a number of current and former trump aides preparing to issue subpoenas to presidential son-in-law jared kushner and former attorney jeng jeff sessions and others. will they comply? and unleashing on the u.k. president trump attacks britain ambassador to the united states calling him a very stupid guy after leaked diplomatic communications revealed critical remarks by the ambassador. and now britain foreign secretary jumps in calling the president's attacks unacceptable and wrong. i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. breaking news, a federal appeals court wraps up a hearing on a trump administration backed challenge to obamacare and two of the three judges suggest they may favor striking down the
entire health care law. that could be millions of americans could lose coverage. also tonight, president trump is defending labor secretary alex acosta whose facing the demands that he step down. acosta was a u.s. attorney a decade ago when he cut a secret plea deal for multi-millionaire jeffrey epstein who faced sex charges and now with epstein facing new charges for allegedly running a sex trafficking network and abusing underage girls, joe biden is the latest to demand that acosta resign. president trump says acosta is doing a great and fantastic job. but said the matter must be looked at closely. i'll speak with democratic candidate amy klobuchar and congressman john garamendi and our correspondents will have full coverage. let's begin with our chief white house correspondent jim acosta. a member of the trump cabinet is
under fire for his controversial actions in a previous job. what is the latest? >> reporter: he certainly is, wolf. president trump is stepping up to defend his labor secretary who is is facing calls to resign over his handling of the jeffrey epstein case. president said secretary alex acosta is doing a fantastic job. mr. trump also tried to distance himself from epstein in the oval office earlier today after once describing him alz a terrific guy. >> thank you very much -- >> reporter: tonight president trump appears to be standing by his embattled labor secretary alex acosta. at least for now. >> i can tell you that for two and a half years he's been just an excellent secretary of labor. he's done a fantastic job. >> reporter: the president appeared to diminish acosta's role as a federal prosecutor in 2008 plea agreement for jeffrey epstein who is facing new charges of running a child sex ring in florida that includes accusations of abusing teenage girls. >> i do hear there were a lot of people involved in that decision, not just him.
i can only say this, from what i know and what i do know is that he's been a great -- really great secretary of labor. the rest of it will have to look at, we'll have to look at it very carefully. >> reporter: and the president downplayed his relationship with epstein. >> i knew him like everybody in palm beach knew him. people in palm beach knew him. he was a fixture in palm beach. i had a fallingout with him. i haven't spoken to him in 15 years. he wasn't a fan. i feel very badly for secretary acosta because i've known him as being somebody that works so hard and has done such a good job. i feel very badly about that whole situation. >> reporter: but that is not the whole story. back in 2002 the president told new york magazine i've known jeff for 15 years, terrific guy. he's a lot of fun to be with. it is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as i do. and many of them are on the younger side. no doubt about it, jeffrey enjoys his social life.
democrats are accusing the secretary of shielding epstein from a tougher sentence. >> i'm calling on secretary acosta to resign. it is now impossible for anyone to have confidence in secretary acosta's ability to lead the department of labor. if he refuses to resign, president trump should fire him. >> not surprised when he knew -- [ inaudible ]. >> reporter: secretary acosta tweeted in his own defense saying the crimes committed by epstein are horrific and i'm -- pleased that new york prosecutors are moving forward on a case based on new evidence. republicans are awaiting information. >> there is nothing new that we didn't know before he was confirmed by the senate. >> as to secretary acosta's continued service, he served at the pleasure of the president and i'm inclined to defer to the president to make that decision.
>> reporter: the president is continuing to lash out at britain's ambassador to the u.s., kim darroch who had sharp criticism of mr. trump still rating against theresa may handling of brexit and the president tweeted the whacky ambassador that the u.k. hoisted upon the united states is not someone we are thrilled with. a very stupid guy. i told theresa may how to do that deal but she went her own foolish way. was unable to get it done. a disaster. >> many people accused the president of meddling and none of his business but it u-- it turns out he was right. >> reporter: and the controversy regarding secretary acosta and the british ambassador, a crucial debate on an appealed court over the future of obamacare. the republican appointed judges on that appeals court suggested that obamacare, which protects people with pre-existing conditions, may no longer be constitutional after president trump and gop lawmakers striped out the individual mandate from that law. all of in a means another critical obamacare case could be
heading back to the supreme court just in time for the 2020 election. wolf. >> that could be rather explosive. jim acosta, at the white house. thank you. the house judiciary committee meanwhile is planning to launch a wave of subpoenas for current and former trump administration officials. let's go live to our congressional correspondent phil mattingly on capitol hill. what are you learning? >> reporter: house democrats are laying the groundwork to escalate investigations on two fronts. first, on immigration policy, the house judiciary committee will vote on thursday to allow for subpoenas related to the trump administration border policies including the very controversial, very problematic in democratic eyes family separation policy and they are asking and giving the authority to the chairman jerry nadler to subpoena documents and witness testimony related to internal deliberations as to how that policy came to be and what the president's role in his top administration roles were in the formulation of that policy. the second issue is on the long-running judiciary committee investigation into potential
obstruction by president trump. now you'll remember, wolf, the beginning of this congress, the house judiciary committee requested documents from 81 individuals related to that investigation. they've sent out a handful of subpoenas and now they will authorize at least subpoenas on at least 12 more former trump administration officials or people in the trump orbit. that will include for the first time someone in the family orbit of president trump. jared kushner, his son-in-law as well as former chief of staff john kelly and former attorney general jeff sessions and others. what is also notable here, wolf, is they will also be targeting potential subpoenas for people who were not in the white house including american media inc. pecker and cory lewandowski and the former campaign manager. why that is important is this -- the white house is firm on not allowing anything that might run into executive privilege be allowed during testimony, be allowed to be turned over to the committee. those individuals never served in the white house. that may open the door to democrats actually getting some
of the information that up to this point they have been stonewalled on. again it is up to the committee chairman jerry nadler in terms of when he'll actually issue those subpoenas but on thursday house democrats will certainly lay the groundwork for that to occur. and again, it is an escalation on two more fronts, the myriad of investigations going on on capitol hill, immigration and obstruction, the judicial committee is targeting both again on thursday. >> clear escalation. you're right. phil mattingly up on capitol hill. tank you. joining us now, democratic congressman john garamendi of california. he's a member of the house armed services committee. thanks for coming in. >> good to be here. >> on the alex acosta, the labor secretary, do you believe he should resign because of what he did or didn't do more than a decade ago when he was the u.s. attorney in south florida. >> never should have been appointed. he had a bad record even before he was confirmed. we knew much of this and now we know more. he ought to be fired. >> what if he doesn't resign and what if the president decides not to fire him, let's him stay
on the job. what happens then? >> i think this grounds for impeachment. he could be impeached with every other federal employee and his record is terrible and what he did in that case is unconscionable and why did he do it. that question has not been answered. why did he allow this guy to get away with a horrible crime. >> there were about eight democratic senators who voted to confirm him as secretary of labor. you think they did a major blunder? >> they made a mistake. he never should have been nominated in the first place and never should have been confirm and there was information to really question what was going on. and he adds to a long list of corrupted and incompetent individuals in the president's cabinet. >> during the confirmation hearing democrats and republicans could ask as many as they wanted and only tim kaine of virginia asked any question at all about jeffrey epstein in
the case that acosta handled more than a decade ago. >> every senator -- >> where was the vetting on the part of the u.s. senate? >> obviously it wasn't good enough. obviously there are senators who will have to answer that question. as a member of the house of representatives it is not for me to answer it, it is for those senators to answer, democrat and republican alike. >> bdush by i want to be precis, if the president doesn't fire him or he didn't resign you want impeachment proceedings against acosta? >> i think there is grounds for that. so yes. >> so the answer is yes. we'll move on and talk about another growing rift between the president and the united kingdom over the leaked diplomatic cables sent by the british ambassador to the united states. the president says in those cables that the ambassador says the trump administration was clumsy and inept and the president this morning responding that the ambassador is a very stupid guy, a pompous fool. and he went -- called him
whacky. what is your analysis about this dispute going on? >> well the president is always had trouble with the truth. saying the truth himself and when the truth is told he doesn't like it. the fact of the matter is the ambassador did exactly what the ambassador is supposed to do, he's supposed to give honest evaluation forth right to his superiors in the foreign office in london. and he did. now the fact that those memos, honest as they are, correct as they are, were leaked, well that is an embarrassment to the president. not to the foreign office and not to the ambassador who did what he is supposed to do. >> ambassador kim barrock has been in washington for three and a half years, almost four years. very well known in washington. do you know him? have you met him. >> i have met him and i don't know him well and i've met him in various opportunities that occur here. >> would you call him stupid and a pompous fool. >> he's none of those things. the president is. >> because he's very well known in washington. very well plugged in and if you
go to any diplomatic receptions or dinners or events at the british embassy on massachusetts avenue, not only is there -- are democrats and republicans, but very often there are representatives from the white house and the trump administration who were more than happy to attend. >> as i said a moment ago, the president has a problem with the truth. can he not speak the truth himself and he cannot handle anybody that speaks the truth to him. that is a well-known fact. and the ambassador spoke the truth. this administration is incompetent, this administration is in chaos, this administration has all kinds of troubles. and the ambassador simply told the foreign office in london the truth. >> so how do you repair the strain that has developed in u.s./british relations right now. >> change the prime minister, change the president. >> the prime minister is being changed in the united kingdom. the president still has a while to go. and as you know, there is a very strong possibility he could get re-elected. >> we'll make sure that doesn't
happen. this man cannot lead this nation any longer. he is totally destroyed our diplomatic relations around the world and taken on our allies and nato and he's done his darnest to destroy those relationships. those are critical allies and can you not disrespect our allies over and over again and expect to be able to accomplish anything in this world but that is what the president has done. and it is time for him to leave. and the election is probably the way in which that will happen. >> and so you don't see a serious impeachment process beginning for the president in this first term? >> we don't know. there is a lot of smoke. there is smoke everywhere. mostly coming out of his family and every which direction. is there a fire beneath it? there is evidence that there is. does that lead to impeachment? who knows who will happen in the next several months but it is growing on with this administration. it may very well happen. but at the moment, we're not there. >> but even if he's impeached in the house of representatives,
you don't have the two-thirds vote in the senate to convict and remove him from office so he'll run for re-election. >> probably so. but then we don't know, do we. we thought richard nixon would run for re-election and it didn't happen because it turned out there was a raging fire in the administration. my guess there is a raging fire in this administration. will the president survive that? impeachment, not likely. >> among the 23 or 24 democratic presidential candidates, who is best, from your perspective right now, congressman, to lead that fight against the president? >> the fight for impeachment or -- >> no, the fight to get elected president of the united states and defeat donald trump in november 2020. >> well at the moment it is the leader in the polls, mr. biden. >> is that someone you are supporting? >> i am not yet supporting one or another but he clearly is leading. he clearly has the experience. and at the moment he is best positioned. >> what do you think about the house judiciary committee going ahead and subpoenaing maybe about a dozen or so current and
former trump administration officials. you could see the names over there. they want to come over and testify. what is that all about? >> it is all about this administration stonewalling and totally ignoring the constitutional authority that the house of representatives and the senate has to oversee and to have oversight over the administration. they are stonewalling not only within the white house, but now within most every one of the departments. that is simply wrong. that is not the way this nation was set up. >> but the administration is succeeding in that stonewalling, at least for now. >> one more reason the president has to go. this is a constitutional democracy, this is not an autocracy and this is not a nation run by a single person who is going to demand that it be his way, even know he's disrespecting the supreme court. so our democracy, our way of governing here is at risk given
the authority and the way in which the president wants to literally set himself up as king. >> congressman garamendi, thank you for coming in. >> thank you. up next, top democrats are demanding the resignation of alex acosta who has a u.s. attorney oversaw a plea deal for jeffrey epstein. more than a decade ago. i'll speak with presidential candidate amy klobuchar next. we run right into these crises, and we do not leave until normalcy is restored. we'd been working for days on a site in a storm devastated area. a family pulled up. it was a mom and her kids. everything they had had been washed away. the only thing that brought any kind of solace was the ability to hand her a device so she could call her family and let them know that she was okay. (vo) there for you when it matters most. join us and get up to $650 when you switch. that's verizon. don't miss your gto experience our most advanced safety technology on a full line of vehicles. now, at the lexus golden opportunity sales event.
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. tonight in the wake of the latest sex trafficking charges against jeffrey epstein, democrats are calling for the resignation of alex acosta who has a federal prosecutor negotiated a lenient plea deal back in 2008 and one those are amy klobuchar joining us now. >> thanks, wolf. >> so you released a statement calling on secretary acosta to resign in light of the epstein arrest but the details of acosta's involvement in this plea deal, they were revealed by the "miami herald" basically part of a long journalistic investigation, it was all published late last year, why did you and so many others wait for epstein's arrest this week before deciding to push for his
resignation? >> you know, i didn't vote for secretary acosta to begin with. so i think that was part of it. a number of us had opposed him from the very beginning as this being one of the reasons, as you know senator kaine asked him about this at the hearing. but i think there has been many new developments since that hearing. the first thing was a federal district court came out and said that that agreement that he had made with epstein's lawyer violated the law. i know as a former prosecutor that you consult with victims, sometimes you have plea agreements, but the law both state and federal say that you need to consult with victims and that didn't happen in this case so that was a violation. the other thing that has happened was just the gruesome details in the gory details that we all learned yesterday, they still found photos according to news reports of young women. and when we step back and look at this, wolf, we have to remember through all of the political discussions about this, these were young girls.
these were 14-year-olds. these aren't prostitutes, these are actually victims. they're victims of a sex trafficking ring, he was trying to get them -- epstein was to get others. and that is why the major concern over the labor secretary who has some jurisdiction over human trafficking would be involved in making a deal like this. >> at least for now, it looks like president trump is sticking with secretary acosta. the president saying he's doing a great, great job as labor secretary. if the president refuses to fire him and if acosta refused to resign, what should lawmakers do now? >> well there are several alternatives. we could have a hearing and subpoena him to come. i would hope that the -- i would hope that judicial committee would do that in the senate, not just the democratic committee in the house. but i would hope that we would have a hearing if he would refuse to leave. and then you go from there as get more evidence and there is
an investigation going on of a -- a -- looking at the ethical background here and if there was a violation with the justice department rules. >> you mention the judiciary kmity wants to wait until there is a -- a decision and i take tu disagree with senator graham? >> i do. simply because the evidence here is clear out of a federal district court already as well as what we've seen from the indictment in the last few days, but again, i would hope that senator graham would have such a hearing if it goes that far, if he is still in place and we get the investigation, but i could do it before the investigation. >> do you trust the justice department to investigate this plea deal? >> not completely. i just hope they would have career people looking at this
and they have a reason to uphold the highest standards for the justice department given it is a urs attorney -- a u.s. attorney that brought these charges. these are feerld charges. and so the hope is that the justice department does the right thing. but given what we've seen with attorney general barr even this week where he's back peddling on director mueller's need to testify we never know what they will do. >> bill barr suggested yesterday, at least he would recuse himself from part of the jeffrey epstein case because the law firm that he used to work for was involved. he had no directive involvement but the law firm that he worked at before becoming attorney general was involved. should he recuse himself from all aspects of this? >> yes. i think that he should. given his involvement in that he -- their law firm represented him in the past. but my point was a bigger one. is that you have a justice
department that is often done things that i think are inconsistent with the law, including how they handle the the mueller report. it is not just barr. >> eight of your democratic colleagues in the senate voted to confirm alex acosta as labor seblg -- secretary and standing by their decision for now. what is your message to your democratic colleagues who still support secretary acosta. >> i think it is a matter of timing. i think that some people would allow this investigation and then others just believe it is very clear what went on here and this secret deal behind closed doors. for me, as someone who was one of the leaders on the human trafficking legislation and a former prosecutor, i just think these kind of deals have gone on for too long. where victims don't know about it and you think the victims don't matter because they're 14-year-olds that no one will meet and now the whole country is meeting these victims. >> and very quickly, if he doesn't resign, if he's not fired, should the house judiciary committee, the house
of representatives begin impeachment proceedings against the labor secretary. >> that is something that is going to be up to speaker pelosi and the house and you've seen them take actions before when it comes to subpoenas. they pushed to have director mueller testify, they got that and so that is something they could consider. but i hope right now that he does the right thing and steps down. >> senator klobuchar, thank you for joining us. >> great to be on wolf, thank you. an australian student speaking out after he was detained by north korea accused of being a spy and then abruptly deported. (gasp) (singsong) budget meeting! sweet. if you compare last quarter to this quarter... various: mmm. it's no wonder everything seems a little better with the creamy taste of philly, made with fresh milk and real cream. ♪ ♪ award winning interface.
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just a short while ago former vice president joe biden joined the list of prominent democrats calling for the resignation of alex acosta, the labor secretary. back in 2008 he was a federal prosecutor who negotiated a l n lien -- a lenient deal with jeffrey epstein and now he faces trafficking charges for teenage girls. let's ask our legal experts to discuss this. and gloria borger, in the oval office the president tried to distance himself from epstein despite past praise for him and defended alex acosta. listen to this. >> i feel very badly actually for secretary acosta because i've known him as being somebody that works so hard and has done
such a good job. i feel very badly about that whole situation. >> what do you make of the president's comments? >> well, he didn't come out and say, i feel very badly about the whole situation and i don't want him to go anywhere and i think he should remain in my cabinet. he did not do that. what he said was i kind of feel bad for the guy. and distancing himself from epstein is no surprise. he always distances himself from people who are in trouble. he did it with paul manafort and michael cohen and the list goes on and on. so i think it was kind of a half-hearted endorsement of acosta. but not a full one. >> what do you think? because you cover the white house. >> i think that when we hear president trump say i feel badly for him and you hear kellyanne conway, the counselor to the president say president trump only met alex acosta two and a half years ago for the first time, it seems to strike the ear as the president doesn't know exactly where he's going to go
with this so he'll keep a safe distance for now and that is where they are. white house aides believe that this is going to be president trump's call once he gets a feel for where the media narrative is about alex acosta and he seemed to give credence to the idea this was bad for him. he said i feel bad for him. he thinks this is a bad scandal for alex acosta even's tried to diminish the seriousness of it by saying oh, it was 15 or 20 years ago. neither of those things are true. it was 11 years ago and i think that the seriousness of what acosta did is pretty well-known that the plea deal was something that is being widely criticized. so president trump is doing both things at the same time, partly because he's trying to buy time to figure out what to do. >> a lot of the details that were contained in the u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york and the charges filed against acosta yesterday, they were known late last year thanks to the "miami herald" investigative reporting. >> so there is a lot of hypocrisy going around here.
i mean, this was litigated to a certain extent during his hearing but the fact that there are new federal charges has brought everything back. a lot of the uglier details are -- and some of the details are new from what the raid on his home. so, you know, it is not just trump. it is democrats too who decided to knowing -- a lot of the details who -- eight democrats in the senate who voted to make that confirmation and to confirm him. so they'll have to answer questions as well as trump. >> they certainly will. and the u.s. attorney in the southern district of new york, susan, cited some of the investigative reporting by the "miami herald" in the charges and indictment against epstein. tell me if it is unusual that the corruption unit in the southern district of new york, the public corruption unit is handling this case as opposed to a sex crimes unit. >> well, it is unusual to see
the public corruption unit involved and federal officials have warned people not to read too much into it but it investigates allegations against public officials or elected officials or allegations of omishl misconduct. >> and jeffrey epstein is not a public official. >> but we're expected there is an unindicted co-conspirator and because of the nation of the plea deal by alex acosta if the southern district of new york is looking into allegations related to the handling of the plea agreement, that would fall within sort of that unit's jurisdiction. >> and you know to abby's point, it is that the white house doesn't know what the southern district has or what they're looking into or who they are looking into. so they have no choice right now but to kind of hold back and see how this plays out a little bit. unless the president is not happy with him any way and could just say sorry. >> and that is kind of maybe the x factor here, that there is not a sense that alex acosta has a ton of support in the white
house. people who are bolstering him in the face of all of this. so if the coverage turns south it could get really bad for him pretty quickly and the white house has been giving lip service to a review of acosta's behavior and there is not much evidence that is happening. what is being reviewed is president trump is watching the news coverage and he's trying to make sure that this is mg that is worth weathering for him. >> i suspect there are nervous people out there worried about additional indictments coming down the road. stand by. a lot more right after this. your brain changes as you get older. but prevagen helps your brain with an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory. prevagen. healthier brain. better life. but some give their clients cookie cutter portfolios. fisher investments tailors portfolios to your goals and needs. some only call when they have something to sell. fisher calls regularly so you stay informed. and while some advisors are happy to earn commissions
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we're back with our political and legal experts. breaking news and susan let me get your reaction, a federal judge in new york said the justice department cannot, repeat, cannot swap out the legal team in the census citizenship question case. the judge writing that the defendants provide no reasons let alone satisfactory reasons for the substitution of counsel. this is a significant development. >> it is. we saw the doj rare move to change the legal team at the last minute. the aclu litigating against them objected and said no you have to provide a reason for changing counsel and that is what the judge is saying. now the interesting thing is if doj goes back and tempts to offer justification. one of the speculations was the reason why they had to switch legal teams is because the career prosecutor said we don't believe you have a legally defensible strategy moving forward and we're not willing to litigate this any more. if they do submit that reason
it -- you can't lie to the court. and so if he they decide to move forward and make this change, we'll see the real reason for it. >> it could be the lawyers who made this argument before the court cannot go back and say, never mind. >> they have to swap them out. >> and justice roberts said the argument was contrived. but they can't go back and say, what i told you, about the deadline and everything -- it is not true. how can you have the -- >> the fact that by insisting on pushing this forward, despite the fact that other members of administration didn't want to, president trump is really harming the institutional credibility of doj. >> there were public statements, abby, by the attorney general of the united states, bill barr, by the commerce secretary wilber ross -- excuse me, wilbur ross and made public statements say they were accepting the supreme court decision and would not include on the questionnaire -- the census questionnaire the question about citizenship. >> and the change of strategy was entirely because president trump decided he wanted that question put on there and so it
is actually left the justice department trying to come up with a legally justifiable strategy in order to get the question on there. and those lawyers who now or might be forced to go back on to the case had to go to a judge the next day and we we don't know s-- know what is going on and we'll try to find out as quickly as we can but we're moving forward with adding the citizenship question. it put everyone in a difficult position here. and i think that as they go forward they're going to even struggle to provide that reasoning to the lawyers. which is basically they changed their mind entirely because of the whims of -- >> another setback for now for the president of the united states. who really wants that citizenship question asked as part of the 2020 census. stand by, we'll have more on this and the breaking news right after a quick break. if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, little things can be a big deal. that's why there's otezla. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable.
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on australian student freed from north korean custody is hotly denying claims that he was engaged in espionage. brian todd has been looking into this for us. brian, what are you learning? >> wolf, tonight, that young man is calling the situation sad, saying he was only a student in north korea, not a spy. a key question tonight, did the fatal case of american student otto warmbier spook the north koreans into letting the young australian go? >> reporter: alex sigly was in
the grips of the kim jong-un regime, for about a week and then deported claimed of being a spy the 28-year-old australian denies the accusation. >> alex is very lucky to have come out unharmed and alive. >> reporter: sigly had been a student at pyongyang's kim il-sung university. he was a va ratieracious blogge he wrote six columns about food and fashion for the publication nk news which the regime cited. alex was spared the final outcome of otto warmbier, accused of stealing a propaganda sign from a hotel. he was put on trial, detained for a year and a half and ended up in a vegetative state. >> of course the last thing that the regime wants under the current circumstances is another tragedy on par with what happened to otto warmbier.
another otto warmbier case could deal a deadly blow to the regime's attempts to sanitize its own image in the eyes of the international public opinion into president trump has said kim jong-un told him he felt very bad about the warmbier case. >> he tells me he didn't know about it and i will take him at his word. >> reporter: another possible difference experts say, sigly's spying charge and actually less serious in the eyes of kim's regime than what warmbier was accused of doing. >> otto was accused of having committed the ultimate crime, an affront to the very honor and dignity of the supreme and dear leader. he attempted to take away, to steal a poster, allegedly inscribed with the words of the great leader. >> that's worse than spying? >> absolutely. that is worse than spying. >> reporter: warmbier's parents have kept his case in the headlines by trying to collect
on a $500 million judgement. their target north korea's second largest ship in u.s. custody on allegations of evading sanctions. analysts say it's possible the wise honest could be awarded to the warmbiers then sold, but say it would only fetch a fraction of that $500 million. will kim jong-un ever pay a price that would really hurt for otto warmbier's death? >> it's hard to see how there will be any major financial payout they would agree or be compelled to pay in the future. north korea's price, the price that will be paid will be reputational. >> analysts say that by filing this claim on the cargo ship, whether they win any money or not, what the warmbiers could also be after is to send a message to people like alex sigly, like their own son, whatever romantic ideas they have about visiting north korea, whatever diplomatic overtures are going on right now, this regime is still very, very
dangerous to deal with. wolf? >> all right. brian, thank you. brian todd reporting. coming up, we'll have more on the breaking news. a federal judge in new york has just ruled the justice department here in washington can't switch its legal team in the court fight over adding a citizenship question on next year's u.s. census form. t to cao or to carry on a legacy? its show of strength or its sign of intelligence? in crossing harsh terrain or breaking new ground? this is the time to get an exceptional offer on the mercedes of your midsummer dreams at the mercedes-benz summer event, going on now. lease the gla 250 suv for just $329 a month at the mercedes-benz summer event. mercedes-benz. the best or nothing. 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?? what?! what?!
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. happening now. breaking news. census setback. a federal judge just refused to allow the trump administration to hire new lawyers to argue for adding a question on citizenship in the 2020 census form. so what does that mean for the controversial case? defending his secretary. president trump stands by his labor chief while more top democrats demand alex acosta's resignation. they're accusing him of seeking leniency for an accused sexual predator of young girls. can epstein hang on as the case plays out? obamacare at risk. appeals court judges signal they may decide to throw out the entire affordable care act. this as the 2020 democrats spar over health care and joe biden
warns against committing a sin. and on the outs. the president insults the british ambassador to the united states once again. still smarting after learning that the diplomat called him incompetent. this hour i'll ask a former uk ambassador if america's special relationship with britain can be repaired. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." this is cnn breaking news. breaking news this hour. a federal judge in new york says no to the trump administration in its fight to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. the judge refusing to allow the justice department to switch out its legal team in the case. also tonight, president trump is praising his labor secretary as top democrats are ramping up their demands for alex acosta to resign. acosta's under fire for his role in