tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN October 20, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
i think the house is changing him... -[ gasps ] -up and at 'em! ...into his father. [ eerie music plays ] is it scary? -[ gasps ] -it's in eco mode. so don't touch it. mm-hmm. i can't stop this from swinging. must be a draft in here. but he did save a bunch of money bundling our home and auto with progressive. progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents, but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. -hello? -sorry, honey. [ telephone beeps ] butt dial. hello again, everyone. thank you so much for joining me this sunday. i'm fredricka whitfield. we begin with the expanding impeachment inquiry and the
chief of staff again trying to convince the american people that his admission of quid pro quo in the ukraine scandal wasn't exactly an admission. while mulvaney attempts to tamp down the fallout, saying his comments were taken out of context. >> that's what people are saying that i said, but i didn't say that. can i see how people took that the wrong way? absolutely. but i never said there was a quid pro quo because there isn't. >> i isn't say that, said mick mulvaney today. here's mulvaney from that press briefing on thursday. >> i'm not going to send them a bunch of money to have them waste money to line their own pockets. did he also do the corruption in holding off the aide money?
absolutely. we do that all the time with foreign policy. >> the shifting explanations while multiple sources tell cnn that mulvaney made efforts to oust him before mulvaney moved ahead on impeachment inquiry. jeremy diamond is here for damage control from the white house. jeremy? >> mick mulvaney was repeatedly confronted with his own words. that stunning admission made last week in which the chief of staff conceded that the white house security aide to ukraine was, indeed, held up in part, at least, because of the president's interests in ukraine launching this investigation into these debunked conspiracy theories relating to the 2016 election. when mulvaney was confronted with his own words today on the fox news program, he insisted once again that he was simply being misconstrued. >> one of the things you again said a few seconds ago when i said there was a quid pro quo,
never use that language because there is not a quid pro quo. >> you described a quid pro quo and you said, that happens all the time. >> again, reporters will use their language all the time, but my language never said quid pro quo. let's go to the heart of the matter. look at that list of three things, things that it was legitimate for the president to do. >> reporter: and those things that were legitimate for the president to do included, as mulvaney said once again today, the president's interests in that politically charged investigation into 2016. but mill veinulvaney's focus no saying he didn't use the words quid pro quo even though that's what he said. >> what about the threat of his ouster even before this impeachment inquiry, and might this blunder, if you want to call it that on this whole quid pro quo statement, impact his future? >> reporter: well, as you know, fred, this misstatement, this attempt to clean up what he has previously said during this press conference, has really
shined a spotlight on mick mu mulvaney and raised questions about his viability at the white house. even before all this, a white house chief of staff told sources he was facing some pressure from administration officials to oust him. they reached out for at least two replacements for chief of staff to gauge if it was possible to replace him. we should note that mick mulvaney is still the acting chief of staff ten months after he was named to that position. no sign right now he's going to be named permanently to that post. >> jeremy diamond at the white house, thank you so much. so democrats are preparing to ratchet up the impeachment inquiry again this week as several diplomats and trump administration officials are expected to testify and give depositions. this comes after a full week of testimony by diplomats and ambassadors who bolstered many of the whistleblower's claims. cnn's marshall cohen joining us
now to talk about the impeachment inquiry testimony. how busy is this week going to be? >> it's going to be very busy a capitol hill. you just pointed out there is a whole slate of witnesses and officials telling their story. there are diplomats telling their experience on the ground in ukraine. there are officials involved in the budget office that was overseeing the freeze of u.s. military assistance to ukraine, and there are also people that were on that phone call with the ukranian president, listening in while president trump was speaking to the new leader there, vladymir zelensky. there were people with direct knowledge of what was going on. people have been raising concerns about transparency, so that's what's coming up. >> are there particular players that are more prominent than others who are scheduled to
testify this week? >> you're definitely going to want to zero in, i believe on tuesday, an ambassador named bill taylor. he is currently the top diplomat in ukraine. he had kagts with trucontacts w appoi appointees, other people to manipulate ukraine in these investigations. he had told those other people, those diplomats, that it would be crazy to do so, so hold up the aid. so they've already read his text messages. they're going to want to ask him directly what was happening and what was he thinking. and then additionally, they're going to talk to a guy by the name of tim morrison who is a national security counsel official who was on the phone alongside the president of the united states, donald trump, when donald trump told zelensky, the ukranian leader, two things.
i want you to do us a favor. look into the dnc and investigate joe biden. that transcript the white house released, there were some parts that weren't totally filled out. this guy was on the call and they're going to ask him, tell us everything you know. >> fill in the blanks. marshall cohen, thank you very much. >> thanks. to talk more about this with me is daniel strauss, politics adviser for "politico" and cnn legal analyst. daniel, you first. several diplomats are set to testify in this impeachment inquiry. what do you want to hear most, and namely bill taylor, who is the acting ambassador to ukraine who had that text saying, wait a minute, for clarification, what are you asking us to do? >> yeah, i think what i want to hear most is what anybody wants to hear most, what about taylor's situation?
what sounded the alarm bells and pushed him to say in this text chain, wait a minute, guys, i don't think this is such a good idea. but it isn't just taylor. i also want to hear from michael duffey who held off funds to ukraine. i want to know his thing in this process, what he felt was the thinking of the white house while this discussion was going on. >> and the chief of staff said what he said. we're talking about a message that michael duffey may be able to convey that mick mulvaney may know intimately about. many people who are being called to testify have their involvements with the state department. secretary of state mike pompeo claims, you know, the process is unfair. listen to what he had to say about all this. >> my view is that each of us has a solemn responsibility to
defend the constitution and to speak the truth. i said this the other day. i hope those officers who go to capitol hill will speak truthfully, that they'll speak completely. i only wish this was a process that merited such a response. this has been unfair to the nth degree. we have officers going up there to testify about important security-related matters without a state department lawyer in the room and we're not being allowed to know. we're not able to protect the state department, we're not able to protect the united states of america. >> renato, is any of that true? >> certainly it's true there isn't a state department lawyer in the room, but there is no constitutional requirement that there is, and i think part of what is going on here is that the administration has had unprecedented and really illegal unconstitutional response to this impeachment inquiry. mr. scipalone, the state counse,
has written a letter and the state department has adopted the position that they are illegitimate, unconstitutional and haven't cooperated at all. >> there is a constitutional right to play the role of oversight, but when mike pompeo says their attorneys are not present and this is, you know, unfairly balanced and that there isn't the proper representation, are those arguments that are fact-based. is there some precedence that attorneys should be present, and in the name of oversight you can't ask these questions unless there is representation by legal extension of the state department? >> you do not have a right, there is no right for them to be present. and, you know, it's not clear to me that these people didn't have a personal attorney there. i think the concern the democrats most likely have is giving the administration the
opportunity to hear what they're saying in accordance with other witnesses. >> he is walking back on his quid pro quo admission in that press conference, saying he didn't use those words. it is the media that has kind of run away with it. did he clear things up or did it just get more murky? >> fred, i think you putting it out there makes it clear that he is mucking this up even more. and look, whenever witnesses clean up their testimony which happens sometimes in legal proceedings when they make a statement that gets them in trouble, then they try to clear it up, it just draws more attention to it. here mick mulvaney is basically trying to convince us he didn't say what he said, admitting he made a mistake and trying to be more direct and forthright about that. >> and dan, the white house is backtracking on this plan. the president announced it's going to be doral golf resort to host the g7 summit, mick
mulvaney made that announcement and there was strong backlash. one of the places now, according to the white house, that's under serious consideration is camp david. listen to mick mulvaney dismiss that site just a few days ago. >> deal with a perfect place. who was there last time at camp david? was that the perfect place? i understand the people who attended thought it was a miserable place to have a g7. >> daniel, now it's not so miserable? >> i think this is an example of how the acting chief of staff is sharing the sentiment of the president. obviously the president, from the beginning, would have preferred to have the g7 at doral, at the residence on the property that he owns. that was reflected in mulvaney's explanation or response to this criticism, the complaint that democrats and the media were
somehow the ones that were causing them to consider other sites. this seems to be the sentiment of both president trump and mulvaney here. >> mulvaney said there have been a dozen locations and it was doral that seemed to rise above the rest. now, of course, everybody wants to see the list. don't you want to see what the list of the other contenders are to see who is now next in line to potentially host the g7? will we have those answers this week? >> i think there is a list. >> but we may not be privy to that list. daniel strauss, renato mariotti, thank you. the largest u.s. troop withdrawal from syria. they say there is little fighting, but is that true? a family pleading to find a missing three-year-old in
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northern syria, on the ground and in the air, and they are, quote, being repositioned to western iraq, end quote. the troops are not headed home, not to the u.s., contrary to how the president has been selling it. esper said they will be in operations to defend iraq and conduct counter-isis missions. speaking earlier today, secretary of state mike pompeo said the u.s.-brokered cease-fire was mostly holding. >> i got a report within the last half hour from my senior leaders who indicate there is relatively little fighting. we got rooted out of a town last night. we're hoping that they will be rooted out of town on this cease-fire. >> however, one turkish solder and more than a dozen forces
have been killed within the last 24 hours, and both sides are accusing the other of violating the agreement. on the other side, syrian kurds have until tuesday to abandon a buffer zone on the turkey border. the president announced withdrawal efforts and a few days later, president erdogan took over the turkey border. >> reporter: the largest movement the syrian troops have taken. today it seems they began to coalesce on a base in a town in the east here. we saw one particular base, perhaps 200 vehicles gathering there. i understand in the houfrz ars days ahead, that convoy will
make its way out of the country to kurzigstan. americans will be on board. i think it's fair to say few of them feel they want to leave in this much of a hurry. it's been a complex few weeks as american policy in washington has shifted dramatically from helping this kurdish army and withdrawing so fast. no military wants to maneuver themselves in this hasty way, particularly with their intentions broadcasted so high with their commanders before they get a chance to do it, but that is what u.s. troops are doing. isis resurgent because of the chaos here, the syrian regime ko cozy with the kurds who now feel a sense of betrayal with this
hasty departure. symbolic, certainly, for the region. they're not going home as we heard from a statement here. it's clear they're going to iran. the forces will continue. there is still a force here able to get a second life, as a u.s. official said to me here, but they'll have to do that job from inside iraq. so effectively they're ending this relationship, but you have them fighting isis in a different country than the one they're resurgent in. u.s. forces are not involved in this cease-fire, but they're pulling back due to president trump's offers. it may expedite things as a
deeply troubling situation for those syrian kurds who are in on the meeting in sochi on tuesday in terms of carving up territory and where that will leave them as they feel abandoned by washington who in part had pledged greater loyalty. >> we'll find what you mean by that in terms of the russian. nick paton walsh, thank you. i want to bring in a former u.s. army commander general. good to see you. does moving these troops to western iraq from northern syria make strategic sense, particularly as it pertains to some counter-isis strategy? >> in my view, it does not, fred. it's just a movement to try and adjust to the situation, adapt to the orders they've been given.
nick was just saying he believes they're moving to a real -- i think there is probably a possibility they might move toatoa allah site air base closer to the action. they said they will try to fight isis in an overrising capability as well as counter isis in the iraqi territory. any time you hear the comment of "over the horizon," that means the fighting forces are a long distance from the fight. >> kind of play. >> they can go in through aircraft, but in order to do that and to be effective with oth forces, you have to have intelligence on the ground. right now there is confusion, there is chaos. we don't really know what's happening. there's been suggestions that there have been atrocities and war crimes by the turks.
the syrian defense forces has said they have been attempting to relocate out of these towns, but general mosem just the other day said some of his forces weren't being allowed to be relocated out during this cease-fire period and indicated that he thought the turkish forces were keeping them in those towns so once the cease-fire was over, they can conduct more operations and actually annihilate the kurdish forces. all of that is just conversation from both sides, and because american forces and the press is not there, we really don't know what's going on. we can have conjecture on all of this,
but we don't have any of the facts, and that's problematic. >> wow. so take a look at what president trump tweeted out and then deleted, saying this. mark esperanto -- esper is his real name -- saying the
ceasefire is holding up very nicely. there are some minor skirmishes that
have ended quickly. new areas being resettled with the kurds. usa soldiers are not in combat or ceasefire zones. we have secured the oil. bringing soldiers home. despite getting the secretary's name wrong, this is what secretary esper actually said. >> i think overall the cease-fire generally seems to be holding. we see a stabilization of the lines, if you will, on the ground. and we do get reports of ent intermittent fires. that doesn't surprise me, essentially. that's where we are so far. >> so what do you think of these messages and that the retired general army rules say at a minimum the kurdish army is
damaged. the u.s. general said this, the u.s. troop withdrawal is a real betrayal to the kurds and the president is now misrepresenting the truth about the cease-fire and civilization overall being happy. >> a couple things, fred. i would say that secretary esper probably has the best intelligence, and in my view, he's also likely playing it down to coincide with some of the things the president is saying. as a former military guy who fought with the kurds in northern iraq, i will tell you, yes, we have suffered greatly from this action. ou our reputation, our ability to have trust with our partners on the ground, the kurds, and even to a degree the iraqis and the rest of the world that's seeing us go back on our partnership with the kurds, a fighting force that helped us defeat -- actually, defeated, with our help, isis. they were the primary fighters against isis. so all of that is problematic to
an extreme degree, but it does hurt the u.s. military's reputation and the u.s. government's reputation. the other thing i would say is the comment that the president made or actually the secretary of state made about talking with the iraqi government to make sure that we can bring forces there or habitation for a short time, he was talking to the iraqi president, bart solam. bart solam is a occurred. so imagine talking to the kurdish president of iraq saying we bacsically broke our promise to syria. we want to come back to your country. we are a peak force in this country. so all of this is contrary to what anyone on the ground would tell you. i spent three months of my life in iraq. i can tell you it's chaotic, it's disfurnysfunctionadysfuncte
comments by the president to the secretary of state, the secretary of defense that are not on the same sheet of music and are playing this thing like it's a minor event, it is a major event in my view and many other military members' views. fred? >> attorney general mark hertling, we respect your point of view. thank you so much. >> thank you, fred. we'll be right back. ♪
a family is heartbroken. just take a look at this little face. a three-year-old. one week ago, nakiel mckinney was grabbed from a birthday party in alabama and she hasn't been seen since. no arrests have been made in connection with her disappearance and now police are looking at newly released video from the complex in which she was taken, again, at a birthday party. they are hoping some of these images will help solve her mysterious disappearance. police just released this video on friday. any leads? >> well, that's what we have a call in to find out, if they
have had any calls come in after this video was released on friday. earlier in the week they had called for the public's help to see if anyone had cell phone video so they were able to release this surveillance video from the apartment complex on friday. it is from october 12, the day that mckinney disappeared. you can see two little girls playing there at the top of the screen. then what we see is one man walking through the frame, and this is the second man, actually. he stops to interact with them a little bit longer, and you see that red circle following him. he exits the screen to the left and the little girls actually follow him. so the police chief tells us that one of the men in this video is considered a suspect, and the other man may have information about the little girl's disappearance. in the meantime, police have been doing these grid searches, asking for volunteers to help search the area. they've searched an apartment complex. so far no updates on whether any of that has resulted in helpful evidence at all.
we do want to point out that the community is still very hopeful. they had a prayer service, a prayer vigil. here is one of the pleas that was said during that event. >> we ask right now that you would unharden your heart no matter how it looks, no matter how fearful you may be, just release her. just release her. just release her. do the right thing! >> and that is a similar sentiment to what the little girl's father also said to a local station last week as well. now, two people, a man and a woman, were arrested after an initial amber alert on this case, but their charges ended up being unrelated to the disappearance of mckinney. the man that you see there. his charges relate to child pornography, and his lawyer went in front of the cameras last week and said that his client has nothing to do with the disappearance of mckinney, so fred, we are still waiting to
see what happens in this investigation and if anything turns up. >> so there was a description of a vehicle. >> yes. >> in the images there, we see a figure, and then we see the two little ones following that figure. what happened that the two little people got, you know, separated? are police able to fill in the blanks of a vehicle that was described and what happened once you see these little ones exit that screen? >> the details are a little fuzzy. but right now we know that because of the description of the vehicle, that may have been what led to the arrest of the man and woman that you saw. but as we just discussed, their charges are unrelate to do this ca -- unrelated to this case. so it's unclear if they are connected to these two men that we see in the surveillance video. again, that was just released on friday, so we're waiting for police to answer some of those questions. >> oh, my goodness. of course, we're all waiting, hoping, praying for the safe return of that three-year-old.
all right, today a dozen 2020 contenders are out on the campaign trail campaigning nationwide. of those 12, seven democrats are in the hawkeye state. of the candidates in iowa, elizabeth warren is taking questions from voters at a town hall that just so happens to be in warren county. warren has faced intense criticism from her 2020 competitors over how she plans to pay for medicare for all. cnn's senior washington correspondent jeff zeleny is at the town hall. jeff, what is the message today? >> reporter: hey, fredricka,
good afternoon. so far senator elizabeth warren has not addressed all of these questions that are surrounding her candidacy about how she would pay for her proposal for medicare for all. of course, that was the topic front and center at the debate last week. she was really taking a lot of incoming from amy klobuchar, from pete buttigieg, from others on the stage. we're about an hour into this town hall so far. she has not addressed it one time. but if a voter asked her about how she would pay for the plan, we're asking to see how she would answer it, because we do know her campaign aides have been saying her campaign is going to look into a variety of proposals for how to pay for that plan. so she could be coming out with some ideas for how to pay for the plan. but she is a staunch supporter for medicare for all. she talked about a lot, not that. take a listen to what she had to say. >> if we want to come back, if we want this country, this
democracy to work for us, it's going to take big structural change. and i got a plan for that. >> reporter: so she always talks about how she has a plan for that, but of course she does not have a specific health care plan for medicare for all that bernie sanders introduced in the senate. so that's the question here less than four months when the iowa caucuses open general voting. again, she's not yet talked about that specifically, fred. we'll see if she still does. but a lot of candidates are pressing her on that, so that is the next dynamic here to play out, fredricka. >> all right, jeff zeleny, thank you so much. straight ahead, it's one of the fastest growing gangs in mississippi, but there is a new program to stop it. more right after this. ♪ be right back. with moderate to severe crohn's disease,
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life." this week lisa takes us inside one of the fastest growing gangs in the deep south, why it's on the rise and what some members are doing to get out before it's too late. >> frankly i'm shocked that one of the royals at hancock county jail actually volunteered to speak with me. the code of silence and what could happen if you break it demands that we conceal his identity. how old were you when you got involved in gangs? >> i've never been involved in a gang as an organization. i started when i was about 12 years old. >> what was it about that lifestyle that appealed to you? >> money, girls, and i thought i want to do this for my life. >> at what point did you get connected with the sun city royals? >> i didn't know what it was
until i really found out what they were about. >> is it a straight gang or a prison gang? >> it's neither. it's an organization. >> joining us right now, the host of "this is life," lisa ling. lisa, help us understand the bottom line. is it a gang or is it an organization, and what's the difference either way? what's the message here? >> well, it really depends on who you ask, fred. the organization is called the simon city royals. they come from chicago. they started in the 1960s, and by the '70s, they had spread to a number of southern states. they're not as much of a big presence in chicago anymore, but they are, for lack of a better word, flourishing in southern states like mississippi. and one of the reasons why it's been growing so fast, and we communicate with law enforcement all over the country, . we started to notice this gang in particular, its growth increasing quite a bit, and it's
because mississippi has become a dumping grounds for methamphetamines from mexico. it's a stronger mess than they have ever experienced, it's more potent. so many people are becoming addicted to meth and then ending up in jail and prison. once you go in to a correctional facility, you have to ally with an organization. and if you're white, you probably have to ally with the simon city royals if you're in the state of mississippi. >> so, in other words, this gang activity, then, organization activity, is flourishing in the jails, so the folks that you talked to, is there a feeling that someone will turn it around or there are efforts to get out but it's too late once you're in jail and now associated with these organizations? >> well, there certainly are efforts underway, and we profile an organization called the city of refuge. now, gang-affiliated inmates who
are serving fairly lengthy sentences, some of them have the option of finishing their sentences at a place called city of refuge. this is a faith-based organization, and it's actually having some pretty promising results. it tries to provide the kind of brotherhood to these young men that the gangs do. and as we all know, mississippi has very, very high rates of poverty. many stable family live to begin with so they seek out these brotherhoods and that's what city of refuge tries to do. replace that negative brother hood with one that is very positive and again, they've had some pretty promising results. >> all right. we are going to be watching. it's fascinating. thank you so much. don't miss a new episode of this is life tonight 10:00 eastern and pacific here on cnn. represents a bold idea: banl
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a picture of power sends the internet into a frenzy. here's jeanne moos. >> instead of rolling eyes, nancy pelosi is trying to turn the tables on president trump using his own photo. he tweeted wit the caption, nervous nancy's unhinged meltdown at a white house meeting, democratic leaders walked out on and when they walked out, she said he was the one who had -- >> the meltdown. sad to say. >> well now the internet is melting down after the speaker
decided to use president trump's photo as the cover on her tw twitter account on what was national boss's day, fans said speaker pelosi was owning trump like a boss. pointing her fincger, she was depicting shooting rays that ignited the president. the photo was annotated. pelosi wearing a crown. president trump a gesture's hat. the image now joins other classic pelosi moments like the time she clap ped at the president. and put on shades exiting another testy white house meeting. her legend is looming large. pelosi had a couple of guesses when asked what was happening at the moment the photo was snapped. >> i think i was excusing myself from the room. i was probably saying all roads lead to putin. >> she argued with the president saying his decision to withdraw from syria leaves a void the russians could fill. but people aren't just analyzing the images of speaker pelosi and
president trump. they were struck by the body language of a state department of steve ska lease. >> hanging their heads in shame. >> chagrin and bear it. read one caption. president trump may call her nervous nancy, but on thursday, she called him -- >> watch ma call it. >> that's president watch ma call it, mad dam speaker. >> it was a meltdown. >> new york. >> it's right there. the all right. so much more straight ahead. the newsroom right after this. thanks to you, we will. aw, stop. this is why voya helps reach today's goals... ...all while helping you to and through retirement. um, you guys are just going for a week, right? yeah! that's right. can you help with these? oh... um, we're more of the plan, invest and protect kind of help...
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we're following cnn breaking news out of northern syria where the largest u.s. troop withdrawal is underway. troops withdraw from eastern syria and in a surprise visit to afghanistan today, u.s. defense secretary said about a thousand u troops are withdrawing on the ground and in the air. there in syria and quote, are being repositioned in western iraq, end quote. the troops are not headed home to the u.s. contrary to how the president has been selling it. he said they will be in operations to