tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 26, 2019 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
house speaker nancy pelosi sits down behind closed doors with congresswoman alexandria ocasio-cortez after weeks of public sparring between party leaders and more progressive lawmakers. have they healed their rift? and preparing to brawl. democratic presidential candidates prepare to face off just days from now in our cnn debates. tonight we go behind the scenes to see what it takes to stand out in the crowded field and gain ground in the race for the white house. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in the situation room. the breaking news tonight, democrats on the house judiciary committee taking a major step towards possibly impeaching president trump. they're moving in federal court to get secret grand jury material from the special counsel robert mueller's report arguing they need the information to decide whether to
impeach president trump. and tonight the judiciary committee chairman jerry nadler says an impeachment inquiry is effectively already underway. we'll talk about that and more with congresswoman natalie dean of the committee. and our correspondents are also standing by. first, let's go to our correspondent up on capitol hill. significant developments tonight on the impeachment front. >> reporter: that's right. this is a big move that democrats are making tonight with some democrats now on the house judiciary committee essentially no longer beating around the bush tonight. they are now opening saying that we are now in an impeachment investigation. tonight democrats on the house judiciary committee are going farther than ever. admitting the investigation they are already introducing could lead to articles of impeachment against him without ever voting for an inquiry. >> there's no difference between
what you're doing now and an impeachment inquiry, correct? >> in effect. we are going to see what reme remedies we can recommend. >> reporter: the committee filing a lawsuit in federal court to get the underlying grand jury material from former special counsel robert mueller's report. arguing, quote, the committee is conducting an investigation whose purposing include determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment. committee chairman jerry nadler now opening threatening impeachment proceedings. >> the house must have access to all of the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise the full article one powers including a constitutional duty -- power of the utmost gravity. recommendation of articles of impeachment. >> reporter: while also readying a second court case to force don mcgahn to comply. >> this court filing is the first time you're seeing us telegraph to the court that one of the remedies is impeachment.
i would say we're in an impeachment investigation. >> reporter: this comes as 100 democrats support the impeachment inquiry. worried the window for starting impeachment proceedings may be closing. >> no, i'm not. let's get sophisticated about this, okay? we will proceed when we have what we need to proceed. not one day soon per. >> reporter: but pressure is growing behind closed doors from deputies like chairman nadler who has pleaded to allow him to lean into impeachment. >> we may recommend articles of impeachment at one point. it remains to be seen. and there's no point speculating whether the speaker or anybody else will agree with our decision. >> reporter: meantime, pelosi today also trying to minimize another party rift. >> i don't think there ever was any hatchet. >> reporter: meeting one-on-one with alexandria ocasio-cortez for the first time in months.
>> i've always felt -- i, again, it's like you're in a family. and a family you have your differences. but you're still a family. >> reporter: after the two have been openly feuding for weeks. >> looking forward to us continuing our work. as always, i think the speaker respects, you know, the fact that we're coming together as a party. >> reporter: and amid this debate, the house is going into a six-week recess where they'll hear from constituents back home. this could be a key moment for the democrats and could go a long way and help reshape or shape the narrative around impeachment for when they return back here in washington in september. >> certainly could. thanks for that report. let's get reaction now from the white house. our senior white house correspondent pamela brown is joining us with the latest. the president talked about all of this just a little while ago. >> reporter: he sure did. this latest move is clearly on
the president's mind. and he spoke about it to the president, a last-minute gathering of the oval office today. at the same time, a senior white house official telling me the president has been in good spirits today. and views this latest move by the democrats as a sign of desperation. tonight president trump lambing democrats after the house judiciary committee today said in effect it is already conducting an impeachment investigation. >> the amazing thing about the democrats, it was all fine. everything was great four, five years ago before i was president. and now they think we're going to win so they're doing everything they can with the impeachment nonsense. these people are clowns. the democrats are clowns. they're being laughed at all over the world. and i watched this mrning -- i watched nancy pelosi trying to get through that with the performance that robert mueller put on. >> reporter: the president once again going after the former special counsel in the wake of his testimony this week. questioning if he'd even read
the 448-page report that bears his name. >> i don't think he ever read the document. and the document said no collusion. they don't even talk about that. so there was no crime. they said, well, there was no crime but he obstructed. how do you obstruct? there was no crime. but it was worse than that because it was a phony crime. the crime is what they put on. >> reporter: mueller said his investigation didn't establish evidence to show a criminal conspiracy between the trump campaign and russia but that he couldn't exonerate president trump on obstruction of justice. he president is also frustrated by new poll numbers from fox news that shows him losing the election to joe biden and bernie sanders. in his hastily arranged question and answer session tonight, trump again went off on joe biden. >> if i'm iran, i'll say if i can hold out, i'm going to wait for sleepy joe biden instead of trump. because sleepy joe, we can make any deal we want with him. he doesn't know what's
happening. >> reporter: also the president taking aim at the federal reserve. blaming it for slow economic growth. but critics say some of it is due to the trade wars. president trump considering slapping a tax on french wine. >> france put on a tax on our companies. you know that. and -- wrong. wrong thing to do. they should not have done it. i may do that. i've always liked american wines better than french wines. even though i don't drink wine. i just like the way they look. we tax our companies. they don't tax our companies. >> reporter: president trump is responding to france's new digital tax on u.s. tech companies. today trump said he may even introduce the potential wine tariffs before the g7 in late august with with france. he also said he had a great relationship with france's president. >> thank you very much at the white house. let's get more on the breaking news right now. democratic congresswoman
madeline dean of congress. she's a member of the judiciary committee. congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us. we saw you at a news conference with the chairman of your committee jerry nadler saying you're considering articles of impeachment. two of your colleagues raskind and swalwell, they call this an impeachment investigation. how is that different from an impeachment inquiry? >> there's very little difference. and i think today was an important pivotal day. i think the testimony of robert mueller ended the beginning of chapter 1 which was the beginning of our oversight in this 116th congress. and today marked the beginning of chapter 2. a pivot point where chairman nadler laid out part of our legal strategy. as well as seeking to compel mr. mcgahn to come before us. but also saying that we are now in a position to exercise our
full article 1 constitutional powers which includes an impeachment investigation. it's where i have thought we needed to go all along. but we certainly needed mr. mooul tore come before us to help us do that. to bring the case to the american people. >> why not hold a full house vote to formally open an impeachment inquiry? >> i don't think that -- number one, it's not necessary. judiciary has the oversight and investigation to include the possibility of bringing forth articles of impeachment. and at this point, i don't know that that would be successful in the house. because notice what happened here. the special counsel did two years worth of work. delivered his confident shlg report. and then for a month, the attorney general barr hand picked by this president did exactly what the president has done. and obstruct the information from the american people creating public confusion. people actually got news reports that there was no wrong doing in it. when there's sweeping wrong
doing by russia. sweeping wrong doing by the trump campaign who enjoyed the help of a foreign foe more than 100 context with russians for their benefit. imagine how shocking that is and how detrimental that is to our system of government, our democracy. and then of course volume two, the extraordinary wrong doing, the crimes of a president once he knew he was under investigation he tried everything he could to get the special counsel fired or limited or have people lie on his behalf, destroy documents, or falsify documents. it's extraordinary wrong doing. i'm so glad special counsel mueller came before the american people this week to reveal those things to us. >> this shift today was to bowles you are your filing your judiciary committee did submitted to a judge to get mueller's secret grand jury materials. will that be enough to convince
a federal zbluj. >> i actually think it's sort of the other way around. we included in that language of that case, that yes, this is the important foift an investigation. i think the court having heard testimony of mr. mueller understands the urgency of it. i think getting the facts before the american people and then using the courts to enforce our powers, our oversight authority as a co-equal branch of the constitution. we are the article power. and i'm confident with the legal strategy that the court will come forward and recognize we need that information, the american penal deserve the information. >> what are you hoping, congresswoman, to learn from that secret grand jury material? >> well, i think you've heard nancy pelosi, the chairman of these oversight committees including adam schiff say that we have to have the full case. this is something that is
extraordinarily serious. we're talking about the possibility of high crimes and misdemeanors by the president of the united states. and in order to exercise any kind of impeachment authority which actually robert mueller reveals as the only way for us to go at this time because he was unable to indict as a result of the justice department holding that you can indict a sitting president. we have to have a full robust case of facts of evidence combined with the law. you don't go into court with this case this serious without all of the facts before us. that's why we need the grand jury material. >> did the house speaker nancy pelosi sign off on this new strategy by your committee? >> yes. absolutely. the language that jerry nadler read in the press conference today was absolutely approved by the speaker. she knows that we have work to do. she understands better than all exactly what is pressing upon
the american public. she understands the lawlessness, the corruption, the coverup of this president and administration. it's unprecedented. the indecency and corruption of this administration. she's got a much bigger task at hand. she has to corral an entire caucus. she has to lead an entire congress and more than that, she feels the gravity of her responsibility to the american people greater than any of us. >> you say the speaker signed off, approved of what you and your committee members are doing. that's a significant development. because she was holding back in recent weeks. >> yop she was holding back. they've had a robust program of going to courts in order to get information about the president's wrong doings. but i think today is an
important pivotal point. jerry nadler revealed to us her confirmation of the specific language that was used to tell the court though gravity of what we're doing. this is also including impeachment investigation. i'm glad we're at that point. the american people deserve it. he pleaded with the american people, pay attention. what's at stake is so grave. our democracy is at stake. and you heard robert mueller himself. he said he fears this is the new normal that a presidential campaign would accept the help of a foreign foe. and never call upon law enforcement and say there's something seriously wrong. we would never want to benefit from a foreign foe's interference in our precious electoral process. this is an extraordinary time in american history. i'm proud to be part of a committee and a caucus and a congress that will hold this president accountable. >> if you and your democratic colleagues including chairman
chairman nadler were to improve articles of impeachment -- filing articles of impeachment against the president of the united states, would nancy pelosi have to sign off on that as well? >> i don't know the end to that question. we're doing the investigation. she will be a part of it the whole way along. she'll be well aware of what we're doing and more importantly what we're finding. and so -- and that would lead to the possibility of drafting articles of impeachment that could emanate from our committee and move to the floor. >> democratic congresswoman jackie spear who is for impeachment says if democrats don't take action on impeachment by september, you should in her words, just shut it down. do you agree that there's a limited window right now to move forward with impeachment? >> i believe there's an urgency. i feel it in every conversation i have with people on the street or in a taxi ride that i take. the american people feel an urgency. i don't know about september as the deadline.
i think that's a very important time that we make sure we dig in. the members on judiciary, we're not going to be taking a six-week break or in district period. we will continue our work. but i think there is an absolutely urgency that we move forward and make sure we uncover all of the facts. keep in mind what's going on here. we have an attorney general who has done the exact same thing that this president has done in plain sight and also behind doors. obstruct from the american people the truth of the report. and know that what our investigation will include will be beyond the four corners of that document. we will also be looking at and other committees will be looking at ongoing violations of the emoluments clause. and previous violations of campaign finance. paying off mistresses days before the election to bury stories. this is extraordinary wrong
doing. and when i go back to mr. mueller, i just want to say something. what an extraordinary american hero. 50 years of service. a biog raphy that is unmatched y anybody. what he said which was particularly haunting was? this were not a sitting president would you have indicted? yes. >> next week your committee will move to enforce a subpoena of the former white house counsel don mcgahn. what's the timeline for getting him to testify? because as you yourself just pointed out, the house of representatives is taking a six-week recess right now. >> right. but we will not. i assure you of that. talking to chairman nadler today, they are still in conversations with don mcgahn's folks trying to come up with any accommodation possible to make sure he obliges and complies with our subpoena. but i do know and nadler said it today at the press conference that if they cannot come to that accommodation and we've tried many, many ways to accommodate mr. mcgahn, then we will go to
court monday or tuesday early next week to file a lawsuit to enforce that subpoena. and what the language that we review today that as we said was confirmed and reviewed with the speaker, talking about the possibility of these impeachment investigations, that gives a heightened sense of urgency to the courts. we will ask for expedited disposition of that case. so i don't know the time frame. the court will set its schedule. but we certainly have added increased urgency to it by the way of our filing. >> congresswoman madeline dean, thank you for joining us. let's dig deeper with our experts and analysts. gloria borger, i want you all to watch what nadler said in his news conference earlier today. >> we are considering the malfeasance of the president. we are considering what remedies we can do including the possibility of articles of impeachment.
>> how significant is that? >> well, it is significant, but that's their legal article, wolf. i think it adds a whole other political overtone to this which is the democrats are moving one step closer. this is the argument they're making in court which is we need this information from the grand jury and we deserve to get it because we are considering impeaching the president. and therefore they believe it helps them make their legal case. they may be right. you're a lawyer. i'm not. but i think he was doing this to be more robust about his court case. and then he sidestepped the question when it was asked about whether this could lead to impeachment. he kind of said, well, it might. but, you know, he wasn't definitive at all. >> another member of the judiciary committee, he explained why the committee is going to court. >> the first time you're seeing us telegraph to the court that
one of the remedies we have is impeachment. and to consider whether that should be used. so that opens up and should activate that grand jury material. >> does this strengthen their case with this federal judge? >> a little bit, but not as much as they're representing it does. because of a recent d.c. circuit opinion, the ability to get grand jury material is really quite limited. and if the house of representatives wants to access that grand jury material, they are far better off going in and arguing that a judicial proceeding that they have impeachment proceedings. the step maybe we're headed in the direction of proceedings is going to be enough to sway the judge. maybe, maybe not. it underscores going forward with it. there's very little in the mueller report that is actually redacted for grand jury reasons. most is redacted because of harm to an ongoing matter namely
roger stone. that's material congress already has access to. yes, there's some limits they had that are redacted in portions. whether or not don jr. formally invoked the fifth amendment in testifying. but these are not game changing pieces of evidence. so saying we're going to pick this court case, it's going to take a long time, and it's not going to produce that much relevant information. >> what could produce some relevant information is they're going to court monday or tuesday to get don mcgahn the white house counsel to come before congress and testify. >> so again, don mcgahn's testimony could certainly be incredibly significant. actually could have sort of that game changing quality of having him be forced to talk about the obstruction episodes that he himself participated in. the president of the united states directing him to have robert mueller fired including director mcgahn to create a false record.
robert mueller in his testimony confirmed that he believes mcgahn's story is credible. and so that again is really significant. but once again, don mcgahn is not the only relevant witness here and he's not the yaess to pull in. little bit of a question why they're focusing on mcgahn first and not people like lewandowski or don jr. that don't have the right to assert privileges. >> because they never worked in the white house. >> why didn't this happen sooner, by the way? >> the notion they don't have enough information for impeachment but they need stronger everyday, what is lacking here is political courage. not information. >> phil? >> i think this is pretty straightforward. i'm with susan. they keep hitting the pinata and no candy falls out. i don't think this is going to move the ball that far forward because they can't sit back and accept the point that the special counsel spoke and everybody said, well, that was three yards and a pile of dust. not that much happened.
no pin ata is there and there's no candy. >> clearly the speak ser still trying to protect some of the more moderate democrat who is are not convinced that impeachment proceedings right now are the best way to go. >> and frankly nancy pelosi herself has made that case to her caucus that the majority of the american public has yet to embrace impeachment. those her idea is to do whatever they think is best for the district. if it's the more moderate members, they don't have to endorse imbeechment. more progressive members, she's given them a license to keep calling for an impeachment inquiry in public. what democrats are trying to argue now is that they are effectively pursuing impeachment inquiry without doing it formally. and, you know, if the ten episodes outlined in the mueller report and mueller himself coming to capitol hill and confirming the contents of his report does not move the needle, then it's unclear how looking
for this grand jury information will. mcgahn's testimony would be the most compelling. if they try to haul other essential witnesses in the investigation. but if they don't move forward on impeachment and they're unable to access that information they're after now, what they're effectively doing is normalizing the behavior outlined in the report and actually in many ways making the case that that behavior within itself is not enough to launch an impeachment inquiry. >> going to court takes a long time. it doesn't move quickly. so they can say, well, we're going to subpoena. we want to get don mcgahn to testify. we're going to go to court on the grand jury information. this isn't going to happen, you know, in a week. and i think that's part of their problem too. nancy pelosi keeps saying let's win in the courts. let's build the case. we'll do it that way. but it doesn't happen. you know, today is monday. well, the court case will be decided wednesday. doesn't work that way. >> because then you go to a district court. >> it could take months and
months. i think sabrina's point is so important. every day they say we don't have the strongest possible case, we don't have enough evidence, that's another way of saying that the evidence we have isn't enough to impeach the president. it is somehow acceptable or tolerable. the notion there's more runway here to kick the can down the road longer, they're going to have to make a decision whether or not they have the political courage and moral fortitude to go into an impeachment proceedings or just say we're not going to impeach him. we're sorry to the american people that are upset about that. >> she president responded to all of this today saying the house democrats have nothing. mueller had nothing. the house democrats have nothing. this is the president. he clearly thinks the case is closed. >> i would dispute that. if you step back two and a half years and saw that phone book that mueller laid out and said this is going to drop on us two and a half years later, you'd say, i've got -- you've got to be kidding. it's more likely the dolphins will win the super bowl. when you read that report, we've
been so normalized by this, you don't realize how stunning it is. even with the nature of that report, you still have a political conversation that says i'm not sure we can move. that's the stunning part of this. the report, i mean, incredible. two and a half years ago you would have said no way. that's a cartoon. >> and i think what nancy pelosi is trying to do is to save her majority in the house. and the question is, and we talk about political courage and all the rest. is it more valuable to the democrats to remain in control or should they really risk that given that there are lots of democrats who would be in real trouble if there were an impeachment inquiry. and the public is not interested in going through that right now. >> one of the counters that these democrats are making who are calling for a formal inquiry is that part of how democrats were able to retake the majority in 2018 was by campaigning on restoring checks and balances
and congressional oversight of the executive branch. there is a question as to whether they might suppress turnout from within their base if they're unwilling to go down the path of impeachment when it certainly according to democratic voters, even if not the majority of the american public, there is substantial evidence to at least launch an inquiry. >> and at the end of the day, it's not clear at all there's any evidence behind this proposition that it's going to be politically damaging. there's a lot of evidence in the opposite direction. namely the clinton impeachment. so talk about overlearning the wrong lessons in the past. again, i think the answer is nobody knows politically how this is going to play out. it's anyone's best guess. whenever you don't know how it's going to work out, you might as well do the thing that the united states constitution tells your branch you have an oath to do. there's just not evidence for this. >> let me get phil to weigh in. you and i are old enough to remember that bill clinton was
impeached in the house of representatives but then the trial came up in the senate. he was acquitted. he was not removed from office. that clearly could happen this time potentially president trump could be impeached in the house. you need 67 senators to get him convicted and removed from office in the senate. that's unlikely. >> yeah. didn't work out that well for the republicans. i would say to support the point and gloria was getting there earlier. there's a risk to this as well for the democrats. i think the risk is huge. you go through two and a half years of an investigation by a nonpartisan leader, that's robert mueller, with more investigators and specialists in the house who have more access to data. and we think a partisan entity without those resources and without that time is going to get to a better place? that's a big risk. >> but they're also allowing the president to actually define the debate over impeachment. because, you know, the more they kind of move the goal posts, the more the president says okay first they said they were going
to go down this path when the mueller report was released. en then they said they were waiting for mueller to testify. now they're waiting for what could be a legal fight. going back to gloria's point, this could have happened sooner. they could have gone to court months ago. they've chosen to do it now because the mueller testimony did not necessarily bring what they were hoping it would. even though, again, the substance of what he said in those hearings was damning in and of itself. >> the crystal clear part of mueller's testimony, when they tried to get him to say he obstructed this. he said the facts are in the report. it is this body's job to render judgment. i don't think this is a question of can congress do more than robert mueller? mueller has given them the evidence. congress' job is to decide whether or not it's impeachable. >> but congress won't. i mean, all of congress won't. they couldn't even pass election security issues the other day. not really controversial.
they couldn't even pass that. they couldn't even get it up on the floor much less pass it. so what can congress do? you know, if the democrats bang their heads against the wall and say, okay, we're going to go for impeachment and it goes nowhere in the senate, are they going to feel better? >> what's the political fallout of that? if he's impeached in the house -- we don't know if he will be -- let's say he is. he's acquitted in the senate. >> i don't think we know definitively. this is a presidential year. in terms of depressing the base, everybody -- this is -- i'm going to be bold and make a prediction that this is going to be a big turnout election. okay? if you want to talk about depressing the democratic base, i think donald trump will do a lot of things to energize the democratic base. you can argue that round or flat. so i don't really know how this will play. i do know what nancy pelosi is worried about is the house more than what's going to happen in the senate.
because she knows exactly what is going to happen in the senate which is nothing. >> the idea impeachment is failed is just wrong. the impeachment is a process the house has an obviously whether or not they think it's impeachab impeachable, the senate can make a separate judgment. the importance for the long-term health of the more than presidency, the long-term health of our structural constitutional democracy, we are getting to a critical point here. the idea that they're sitting there sort of looking at polls and counting votes rather than asking what is our job, what is the role of our branch here? that is pretty astonishing. >> because a bunch of democrat who is favor impeachment, another hundred democrats in the house of representatives before the mueller testimony, there are 92 or 93. now there's a hundred democrat who is favor formal impeachment proceedings against the president. one of their arguments is, yes, it's unlikely right now that the senate would go ahead and convict and remove donald trump
from office. but you never know what kind of new evidence might emerge in the course of the house investigation. >> i disagree with the congresswoman, congresswoman dean who was on before who said how many people are coming up to her saying proceed. at least half the people in formal approaching me saying i don't like the president, i've had it. the bigger question is if you go down this path and we look back on this in july of 2020. would we say the country is in a better place? i'm not sure we would. >> look. i think certainly it's the case that democrats are pursuing some more of these opportunities for high profile testimony. and that's why the mcgahn factor is one that could potentially move the needle somewhat. especially because it's very different to have the former white house counsel sitting before cameras outlining those alleged attempts by the president to obstruct justice in
detail. they also want to hear from mcgahn. against a number of potential witnesses, michael flynn, hope hicks. whether or not they're going to be able to hear from these people remains to be seen. and whether or not they're going to bring new information, of course, is an open ended question. but it could certainly have a very different effect to have a number of witnesses who are outlined or identified throughout the mueller report testifying about what they saw behind closed doors. >> you heard congresswoman madeline dean say that the speaker did sign off on this new initiative today led by the chairman jerry nadler. nadler behind the scenes has been at odds with nancy pelosi. he's been much more assertive behind the scenes in wanting to begin a formal impeachment procedure. >> but this is kind of nancy pelosi's playbook in an odd way, because it's let's go to the courts. let's take this to the courts. what are they doing? they're taking it to the court.
without a vote. without a vote on the house floor. i mean, these people don't want to have a vote as you were saying. they don't want to have a vote on the house floor. they don't want to lose members over this. and you may believe this is not courage which i think it's hard to see it any other way. but she's practical. she doesn't want to lose her house. and she thinks she could lose her house over this. so what nadler is doing is saying, okay. we're going to pursue impeachment. we're not going to really vote on it. we're not going to say we're pursuing impeachment, but we're going to take this to the courts. that could take a long time. then let this play out a little bit. they don't have a lot of time for this. >> just to your earlier point, we had one democrat on the house judiciary committee tell me voting on impeachment, having a full house floor vote is akin to a war vote. that's how intense the mood is in the democratic caucus and how high they feel the stakes are.
and for nancy pelosi she's looking at poll after poll after poll that only shows not only are a majority of americans not supportive of impeachment, but their top priority going into the election is health care, economy, and jobs. that's what she wants the focus on. not over how to hold the president accountable. >> she clearly wants to remain speaker of the house. not minority leader in the house of representatives. which potentially could happen. there's some major breaking news that we're just getting in from the united states supreme courts. the supreme court has handed president trump a major victory right now by letting his administration redirect $2.5 billion in money approved by congress for the pentagon to help build his promised wall along the southern border with mexico. it was a conservative majority in favor 5 against 4 who disagreed with this final decision by the supreme court. this represents a pretty
important win for the president. >> i think it is potentially significant for the president. obviously it's breaking while we are sitting here on air so we don't have time to dig into the legal rationale. but this is a sign the courts aren't going to constrain this president. what we've seen donald trump do is seize on provisions of the law that allow the president with some authority and basically flagrantly abusing them. saying i'm saying it's a national security emergency. everybody knows it's not but i'm going to invoke this provision and i dare you to stop me. this is the supreme court showing once again despite the fact they have not appropriated funds -- this is the first branch of congress who have said we're not paying for this wall. the power of the purse, checks and balances, kind of a big thing. you know, this is the supreme court essentially saying, look, you gave the president a workaround here and he used it and we're going to let him do it. it goes to how important it is for congress to really stand up and assert its legislative prerogative. >> because the supreme court overruled this judge in
california who earlier had said you can't spend this money because congress didn't specifically authorize and appropriate $2.5 billion for a wall. they appropriated it for other purposes. >> right. and this is a major victory for donald trump. because, you know, the question is what will this lead to? if you can take this money and say, well, i'm robbing peter to pay paul effectively, take money from here and use it for something else, well, does this give the president the authority to do that in other instances? the congress would argue no, of course, that this is an abuse of executive power. but they did not say that. >> the supreme court ruled that the american taxpayer is paying for that wall. and that money that is being reappropriated, that's not money that was -- that wasn't going to anything. it was going to military to dry dock repairs, to things the pentagon needed. instead of --
>> and still needs. >> -- all of those really important things, money doesn't grow on trees. instead it's going to build a border wall that bipartisan security experts have said again and again will not even serve the security purposes that it's designed. >> z the five conservative judges voting with the president underscoring how critically important the united states supreme court is. everybody stand by. much more on all the breaking news right after this. i can taste my beer. i can taste my beer!
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all right. we're following the breaking news. our experts and analysts here. big win for the president right now. the supreme court liberal justices alliance has aagreed that the trump administration can redirect $2.5 billion in previously approved pentagon money to help build the wall along the border with mexico. as we all knew the president would do immediately and he did. he's already tweeted.
wow, exclamation point. big victory, all caps, on the wall. the supreme court overturns allows southern border wall to proceed. big win, all caps, for border security and the rule of law. he's obviously very happy. >> and you remember in may, he said he was going to spend about $8 billion i think it was on building this wall. and congress had only appropriate
appropriated $1.4 billion for it. then he declared a state of emergency to get the rest of the funds. so this is a victory. >> the early indication from the court is it's on a full victory. he's allowed to spend to partially appropriate the funds. it's interesting he says this is a win for the rule of law. this is once again donald trump seizing on a legal technicality. the ability to declare a national emergency. now, the reason why congress has those national emergency exceptions is because they don't want the president's hands to be constrained in an actual emergency. congress passes an authorizations bill once a year. if a genuine emergency comes up, they don't want the president to say i can't respond because i don't have any money for it. it's one of the problems when you see the president invoking a national emergency. i don't think there's anybody legal scholar otherwise who believes that the situation is an emergency under any genuine legal definition of that term. however, the president is within the president's discretion.
he's allowed to make that judgment. whenever he renders that judgment, i think one thing that will be interesting is whether or not congress decides to claw it back, to actually -- that he will leave the office of the presidency less empowered as he leaves because now congress is going to have to seriously rethink do we really want all these sort of carveouts for the president? and runs around the -- >> the hounse of representative might do that, but the senate won't do that. won't even come up for a vote. as you know, phil, $2.5 billion can build a lot of wall. >> i agree. i think this is a huge victory. regardless of what the law says, nobody will read the decision. this is like the mueller report. he said build that wall which was a chant in every arena across michigan, pennsylvania, ohio. now he's going to go in saying built that wall. >> not with mexico's money. be u with your taxpayer money. >> that's correct. but he'll make a claim about tariffs or something. i think he's going to go into
every rally and say i delivered once again. look at all the check marks. >> phil, let me ask you this though. that $2.5 billion was appropriated for the united states military. >> yes. >> to use for national security. to use for defense. to pay the troops a little bit more. to make sure they have the benefits they need. $2.5 billion is now going to be removed from those defense department requirements and sent to build the wall. >> i agree. i'm not saying this is a good thing. i look at this and say, man, i wish we could move the money around this easily when i was at the fbi or cia. if you're looking a it in terms of a balance and as the president does, i can't see how this does anything else than let him go into every arena across america and say i did what i told you i'd do. >> think about where this all began as a candidate one of his central promises was to build a wall and have mexico pay for it. and he obviously was unable to achieve that. coming in, he had a republican majority in both the house and the senate for two years.
he still couldn't secure funding for his wall. when democrats took control of the house in the midterms, he kicked off the new session by shutting down the government overfunding for the wall, the longest government shutdown in u.s. history. still couldn't get congress to appropriate that money. he had to go to the courts and ultimately was only able to win because the highest court in the land, he has two of his own appointees sitting on that bench. this also does is it reinforces the importance of the judiciary and perhaps his most lasting impact as president has been reshaping america's courts. and it's going to be incumbent on democrats who make decisions like these and make the case to their own voters that they need to also take into account the balance. >> justices of course have lifetime appointments. >> of course. and the big picture here, the really big picture here is the redivision of executive authority in this country. you know, we look at this president and he's used a lot of executive actions, executive
orders. we hear democratic candidates now talking about what would they do in their first hundred days. i would have an executive order on this. and i would do an executive action on that. and he's redefined executive authority. he's got an attorney general who believes in a strong executive. he's clearly got a supreme court now that says, well, if the president says it's an emergency, i guess it's an emergency. >> look. at the end of the day to phil's point, i'm sure president trump will say i built that wall. he says a lot of things that aren't true. because the fact of the matter is, not one mile of that border wall has been constructed. not one new mile of wall or fencing. so even though this is certainly a legal victory for the president, there is still a very long way between having access to this appropriated funding or unappropriated funding as the case may be and actual construction of the wall. >> everybody, stick around. there's a lot more to report on the breaking news and we will right after this. introducing zero account fees for brokerage accounts.
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we're just four nights away from the first of two cnn democratic presidential debates. and the candidates will no doubt spend time this weekend practicing for what could be a make or break showdown for at least some of them. our chief political analyst gloria borger shows us when it comes time for the debates preparation is everything.
>> at his kickoff ral california congressman eric swalwell was center stage. but at the first primary debate he was nearly off the stage. >> walking out that was intimidating. i don't know if i know you owner. i'm pointing with, waving. you feel like you are completely vulnerable and everyone is looking at you. >> that teebt would be his last. >> today ends our presidential campaign. >> our polling just stayed flat. it didn't go anywhere. >> remaining at less than 1%. ands the field lines up for the cnn debates, the pressure is really on, because in the fall securing spots on the stage will be twice as hard. so detroit could be the end of the trail. >> maybe 12, 13 of the candidates, there is not another shot after this. >> to some extent not qualifying for the next debate is a death sentence. >> there is a lot of ways to screw up the debate.
what's essential to about what can i do to so there is not a total disaster. >> mccain attack phrasing. >> stuart stevens have prepared candidate debates for from george w. bush to mitt rom. >> i fl you rook at polling and say who do i talk to? you never make the ad and say who does it apply to. it's like shooting in the air and hoping ducks fly buy. >> as kamala harris attacked joe biden's record on bussing. >> there was a little girl in california who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools. and she was busted to school every day. and that little girl was me. >> sme has one once she say thatship she defined her and got her bioin you are pulling for
the person. >> it didn't seem contrived. >> there's a difference between prepared and contrived. prepared is you thauft about it. she is comfortable talking about race and it shows. >> biden was uncomfortable challenged in that way and that showed. >> you are vice president or president of the united states. people walk in the room and people applaud. you are not used to having somebody in your face. >> if you were advising joe biden right now what would you tell him to be. >> be on offense. >> be on offense. >> offense. >> you are there to win votes. you are not fl though defend your lead. >> that's fine if you are biden. or if you are elizabeth warren on bernie sanders fighting over many of the same voters. but if you are not a nam brand candidate, breaking out can be hard to do. >> this other alternatives up there that are acceptable. there is the question why are you on the shelf? i mean with, do we need like eight variations of barbecue
potato chips. >> when you are speaking you feel the glare of the moderators looking at you like not a top tier person. >> what are you doing. >> you can feel that. >> so you had like five minutes. >> four minutes, 45 seconds. >> but who is counting? what can you do really in that amount of time? >> have a moment that gets replayed. >> we're going to solve the issues of climate chaos pap. pass the attorney. if we are sochlg student loan don't pass the torch end gun violence for families fearful of sending kids to cool pass the torch. >> do you think you got a little too torchy. >> i naught all of the issues as one worked on gun violence and student debt many are generational. >> did it look a little contrived. >> maybe i could have done one fewer torch. >> in the debates preparation can be everything. >> you can't do it for five minutes here or there. they get no life line. it's them, the camera, the
audience. >> no phone a friend. >> no phone a friend. and they are going to sink or women. this is an important test in the process. >> and after all the studying and all the rehearsals how does it feel back stage when your candidate goes off script. >> it's a very special feeling when you are standing -- you are standing there watching the television and you are thinking, what are they doing? that is not what we said, right. on the other hand, i will say, as a campaign manager there is no way for you to know what it is like. >> public failure is never easy. but with 20 candidates it's more than likely. >> you have to be willing first of all to admit that you are probably going to lose and be willing to lose and stand for something. you can try too hard running for president. and it will always come back and bite you. >> and gloria is with us still. excellent report. >> thank you. >> don't we already see joe biden changing his strategy, looking ahead to the next cnn
debates. >> he has to earn his lead as robbie mook was saying in the piece. and biden is sort of preparing his attacks publicly. maybe it's his way of internalizing them. but we see him taking on senator harris. saying i was good enough for her when she asked me to nominate her at the station convention running for senate from california. what's wrong? on cory booker he starred challenging him and booker went after to biden. and he said about booker his police department was stopping and frisking people in newark. that was a real problem. don't forget, biden is going to be on that stage. and kamala harris will be on one side and cory booker on the other side of him. i think what we are seeing now is the preparation for a different kind of joe biden, no more mr. nice guy. >> he is has to coming out swinging otherwise he could be in trouble. he is the sfront runner he has a
tough. >> he won't be off the stage. some of the others will. he will be there but doesn't want to lose the lead. >> to all the viewers the tuesday and wednesday knit cnn democratic presidential debates, 8:00 p.m. eastern. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. outfront next, a huge move for democrats, the chairman of the judiciary committee announcing he is essentially launched of an impeachment inquiry. plus president trump predicting easy win in 2020. but is the white house actually a whole lot more worried than they are letting on? and democrats gearing up for cnn's debate. joe biden and kamala harris reviewing details about the strategy. let's go outfront. and good evening, i'm erin burnett "outfront" tonight a huge move on impeachment food the chairman of the house judiciary committee going before cameras to tell the american public he is launching an impeachment inquiry by