tv The Lead With Jake Tapper CNN May 7, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT
to have a lot to do with fears of a new trade war with china. >> ramped up fears of the u.s./china trade situation was actually the main driver for the big losses we saw today. and what a day it has been, from the opening bell to the close. again, wall street started bad and just got worse. we've seen losses accelerate in the final hours as investors position themselves for the possibility of no trade deal. and the realization that president trump will hike tariffs on friday. until now, investors have been optimistic a trade deal was imminent. they bought into stocks in a big wade, even pushing the s&p and the nasdaq to fresh record highs. in fact, this is only the second worst trading day of the year. it shows you how good stocks have been so far this year. but now uncertainty is front and center and investors are readjusting their positions, just in case there's a new landscape when it comes to trade with china. jake? >> all right, alison kosik at the stock exchange, thanks so much. our politics lead now, in the latest escalation of its policy to stonewall congressional'
democrats' attempt at oversight, the white house today instructed its former counsel don mcgahn to defy a subpoena from the house judiciary committee now run by democrats. mcgahn currently a private citizen and perhaps the most important witness in special counsel robert mueller's potential obstruction of justice case against president trump. mcgahn declined today at the instruction of acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney to provide documents subpoenaed by the house. documents that could back up mcgahn's version of events as detailed in the mueller report, including what mcgahn perceived to be instructions by president trump to fire special counsel robert mueller himself, a charge president trump denies. this move now part of a white house that is refusing, as a strategy, to comply with almost any democratic investigations of the president, from the justice department's refusal to hand over the full unredacted mueller report and supporting documents to attorney general barr's refusal to testify before the democratic-led committee, because he did not care for the format of the hearing, to president trump's suing house
oversight committee chairman elijah cummings to issues related to trump's finances to the administration's blocking of all attempts of the house ways and means committee to try to obtain president trump's tax returns. cnn's abby phillip now takes a look at the stonewall strategy from the white house. >> reporter: today, the white house is sticking a thumb in the eye of congressional democrats, ordering former white house counsel don mcgahn not to turn over documents in response to a house judiciary committee subpoena. white house lawyer pat cipollone telling judiciary committee chairman jerry nadler in a letter, the records belong to the white house and are protected from disclosure to congress, because they implicate significant executive branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege. but the white house not going so far as to assert executive privilege outright. this coming as senate majority leader mitch mcconnell moves to play defense for president trump, calling on democrats to drop their efforts to follow up on special counsel robert mueller's investigation.
>> baseless accusations of perjury, laughable threats of impeachment. look, we all know what's going on here. this whole angry barrage that democrats had prepared to unleash on president trump, except the facts let them down. >> reporter: mcconnell signaling to republicans that he should push back on efforts to force mueller to testify. >> the special counsel findings are clear. case closed. case closed. >> reporter: the house speaker nancy pelosi firing back, not so fas fast. >> the case is not closed. >> reporter: as trump pushes back on probes into his taxes and possible obstruction of justice, pelosi also accusing the trump administration of stonewalling congress to push democrats toward impeachment. >> trump is goading us to impeach him. that's what he's doing. every single day, he's just like
taunting, taunting, taunting, because he knows that it would be very divisive in the country. we can't impeach him for political reasons, and we can't not impeach him for political reasons. we have to see where the facts take us. >> reporter: and the white house has now made its position on document production pretty clear when it comes to don mcgahn. but remember, democrats still want to talk to mcgahn about potential obstruction of justice. and while president trump has made it clear that he doesn't think mcgahn ought to testify, a source familiar with the matter says that has not officially been conveyed to mcgahn, so it remains, as of right now, an open question, jake. >> abby phillip at the white house, thanks so much. joining me now is preet bharara, the former u.s. attorney for the southern district of new york, who was fired by president trump. preet, in your view, is the white house's legal argument here valid? in other words, that mcgahn does not have the legal authority, because he's no longer at the white house, to comply with the subpoena? >> yeah, i don't think their
argument in total is valid, because they're arguing based on, i think, executive privilege, although they have not definitively said they're asserting executive privilege, and some other confidential privileges that they might have. that's been waived over and over and over again. it's, i think, a stalling tactic. it's a game, i think, of run ought the clock. to be sure, to be precise, there's lots of different things that ultimately, if this gets, you know, worked out in a court of law, that there will be different arguments about and different degrees of, i think, you know, winnability with respect to those arguments. with respect to mcgahn just coming to testify wing that's a dead man loser, because mcgahn's l already talked to the special counsel. a lot of the things he said to the special counsel have been made public in that report that we've been talking about for the last couple of weeks. they might have a slightly better argument with respect to the documents that mcgahn has, but with respect to the testimony, i don't see how that wins at all. >> is it invoking executive privilege like invoking the
fifth amendment when you testify or invoking a spousal privilege when you testify, once you waive it, that's it? even if it was waived for mueller and we're talking about a different form here, the house judiciary committee? >> yeah, i mean, generally speaking, it can be. there was an argument that the lawyers put forward, which was not a terrible argument. i think in depending what the terms were with bob mueller, that with respect to the testimony of don mcgahn and others, going before the special counsel, if they explicitly reserve their rights and the special counsel agreed to take the testimony and the information, acknowledging and respecting that there was not a waiver of those privileges going forward, then i suppose there are some argument that that's not waived. but then they went the next step further, and all that stuff came out in a report. so you can't have waiver after waiver after waiver and then say, with respect to this particular thing that's going to be a little bit ugly for us, because it will be a spectacle in congress, we want to assert the privilege. it doesn't work that way. >> cipollone, the white house counsel, invoked the notion of executive privilege in his
letter writing, quote, the white house records remain legally protected from disclosure under long-standing constitutional principles because they implicate substantiate executive branch confidentiality interests and executive privilege. would that also potentially include notes that mcgahn made to himself, notes that he shared with his chief of staff, notes that he shared with a personal attorney? >> i think they're going to take the position that's as broad as possible, because they don't want this to go on any further. in echoing the words of mitch mcconnell that you played a few minutes ago, case closed. i think there are fewer arguments with respect to notes that constitute the conversations that he had with the president, because with respect to those conversations, he's already given testimony, and a lot of that is known to the public because of the report. the further away you get, presumably, from, you know, the core of what the testimony was and the core of what's in the report, i suppose you could have slightly better arguments, with respect to executive privilege. it certainly is not the case that everything that don mcgahn ever talked about or wrote about
can be subject to the subpoena without an argument of executive privilege, but that's where the arguments are going to fall. and that's where you're going to have a lot of delay, because you'll have to hash this all out in court. >> and then, of course, there's the argument that i'm sure those who want mcgahn to testify will make, which is president trump has basically been out there publicly on twitter else and where saying that don mcgahn's version of event, as detailed in the mueller report, is a lie. that it's not true. does that change anything in terms of whether or not the public has a more compelling reason to hear from him? >> yeah, i think it's a common sense argument there. we sometimes say in the law in motion that lawyers bring, you can't use a privilege as both a sword and a shield. on the one hand you're saying, you know, you can't hear this information. on the other hand you're saying, and by the way, the information is completely false and i think you've stated it actually very well. in depending on what the arguments are that are made in court. the hope is they get to resolve this otherwise. don mcgahn and his lawyer, his lawyers are a very good attorney and a longtime friend of mine
and an alum of the southern district, bill burke, he's sitting this one out. and ordinarily what happens is one side or the other reaches an accommodation so that, you know, there's partial satisfaction what the requests are by congress. we saw that with bill clinton when he decided to testify after the independent counsel, ken starr, withdrew the subpoena. i'm getting the sense here that with an election coming up in a year and a half, nobody is going to be so interested in settling. they just want to run out the clock. >> there doesn't sound like there's an accommodation coming. so where does this end up? does this go all the way to the u.s. supreme court, potentially? >> i think ultimately, yes. but if you're talking about it going all the way up and if the president's team is going to be really intransigent and say, we're fighting all of this. and you outlined at the beginning of a segment in an excellent fashion, how many different places there with an impasse. we'll see a lot more going forward. and if they have a full-court strategy of imposing everything, it's going to take a long period of time. and if they fight all the way to the supreme court, i can't predict with certainty, but that
will take us very close to the election, if not past it. >> preet bharara, thank you so much. appreciate your insights. what one of president trump's bffs in the senate wishes the president had said to vladimir putin. stay with us. what are you doing? isn't it obvious? nah. we're delivering live market coverage and offering expert analysis completely free. we're helping you make sense of the markets without cable or a subscription from anywhere you are. i get that. but what are you doing here? nice pajamas. really? i say pajamas. pajamas, pajamas, whichever. good. yahoo finance live. stream free anywhere. welcome to the show. let's make finance make sense.
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trump is goading us to impeach him. that's what he's doing. every single day, he's just like, taunting, taunting, taunting. because he knows that it would be very divisive in the country, but he doesn't really care. just wants to solidify his base. >> house speaker nancy pelosi today saying that president trump obstructs justice every day by stonewalling house democrats and in doing so, he's trying to push democrats towards impeachment. angel, do you agree? >> i agree that he's trying to get impeached. i believe that it absolutely would solidify his base. i still don't greet wiagree witr pelosi's -- just her approach to this. i wish that she were a little
firmer. again, i think that is why -- >> you want her to try to impeach him? >> i want her to at least be open to how -- she can't on one hand say, the house oversight efr efforts are important and we need to see them through and on the other hand say, there's no grounds for impeachment. at that point, you're wasting resources on trying to determine what actually went wrong. because the purpose of those investigations is to determine wrongdoing, right? so you can't have one without the other. just stop saying -- you can say we don't know yet. you shouldn't say we shouldn't impeach. >> it's interesting, jacqui. there have been in some polls an indication that the democratic base is getting less and less enthusiastic about the election. we have a member of the democratic base right here. and you see one of the reasons, you seem a little less than enthusiastic because of nancy pelosi damping this down. >> but she's also looking at independent polling, who are not as geared up for impeachment. so going beyond a primary, she's looking at her majority. she's looking at, you know, the folks in her caucus that don't want to impeach trump.
so she's really being pulled by both sides. you do have trump who does seem to be attempting the fate and really challenging the congress and its oversight role, you know, writ large, right? and she has her base, that really wants to see, as angela said, not necessarily going in kind of a crazy impeachment kamikaze situation, but being open to the idea. as a part of their congressional duties. >> and speaking of democrats trying to conduct oversight, this just in, house judiciary committee chairman jerry nadler is currently meeting with democrats on his committee right now to discuss next steps, regarding attorney general barr and former white house counsel don mcgahn, that's according to aides. and there really is a showdown right here. do you think that the public just cease all of this and thinks, it's all just partisan politics, or how do you think -- how do you see it playing out? >> i think everybody is rushing towards impeachment. and i do think there's arguments for it. but everyone in washington is
really focused on the second volume of this report, the obstruction volume, when really there needs to be more explanation of the first volume. how russia tried to interfere in the election. and the trump campaign needs to be held to account, for all of these contacts that they did lie about. i still have outstanding questions about why donald trump acted like he wasn't aware of moscow/trump tower. there are real questions as to how this campaign was conducted. there should be hearings on that. because you can only understand the obstruction part of the mueller report if you understand the attempts at collusion that the trump campaign wanted to cover up. >> and there certainly were a lot of lies. there was one person talking about the mueller report today, but not in the way that amanda's talking about. that is the senate majority leader, mitch mcconnell, saying that really it's time to just stop all of this. take a listen. >> election interference was just one part in russia's strategy to undercut the united
states. and this administration has taken the problem head on. >> and he went on to say, but when it comes to the mueller part of this, case closed, it's over. >> and it was so interesting to hear him focus on really the first part of the report, despite what you're saying, he essentially said, let's look at this russia narrative. it's good news that there was no collusion. that that was, you know, ultimately the bottom line conclusion there. but at the same time, he's not addressing obstruction at all. he's hinting at these democratic investigations that are ongoing, almost trying to conflate, publicly, the more decisive conclusion of the first part of the report with the second part, which he's really trying to ignore, it seems. but at the same time, he's trying to trumpet the trump administration's efforts on combatting russian interference and talking about what russia did in 2016 and 2018. that's something that you haven't heard the president talk about at all, right? >> and who had a conversation with vladimir putin last week? >> right, right. >> and apparently didn't raise -- and joked about it.
so mitch mcconnell and president trump need to get on the phone here. >> mcconnell is -- >> you know what's funny? if you read the report, which i understand most people haven't, that first volume is just littered with examples of russians trying to make a trump/putin meeting happening. that's all they were focused on. it was like, oh, we just kind of glossed over that and now it's happening in realtime, all the time. >> but it was glossed over, because it has been reported and reported and reported again, and i think people's consciences have been seared with a hot iron, to use a biblical term. because at this point, it's almost been normalized we've talked about it so much. we've been screaming, amanda. but some people >> and take a listen to this, because while mitch mcconnell was saying this today, democrats, especially in the obama administration say that he was a wet blanket when it came to trying to warn the nation in 2016 about what was going on with the russians. joe biden has said that he refused to be part of a bipartisan statement that sounded the alarm. take a listen, here's biden talking about this last year. >> why don't we put out a
bipartisan warning to russia? hands off, plan, or there's going to be a problem? mitch mcconnell, who i get on with well and is a smart guy, mitch mcconnell wanted no part of having a bipartisan commitment that we would say, essentially, russia's doing this, stop. bipartisan. >> so democrats have been talking a lot today about why is mitch mcconnell doing this now, when he was no help to them, at least according to joe biden and barack obama. >> right. and of course, mcconnell has said they did sign on to a letter, but the letter didn't reference anything about russia. can i just say, because i've been really hard on joe biden, this is joe biden's element where he flourishes. he's making foreign policy very clear, very attainable, very touchable to the layman. and i think it's super important -- or layperson. and it's super important for us to understand how tragic this was. if, in fact, the obama administration, as has been reported now for i think at least two years, tried to have a
bipartisan agreement that all of congressional leaders should come together and say, this is a serious flag and we need to pay attention to this. and if mcconnell was, i'm not going to do this, that goes far beyond him wanting obama to be a one-term president, that goes on to wanting to sabotage everything that goes forward, and mcconnell at that point is implicated just like everyone in the trump administration. >> we'll talk more about biden and pete buttigieg has publicly embraced his faith, but some are wondering now did he just cross a line that might cost him crucial independent and moderate voters. stay with us. it was love at first slice pizza lovers everywhere meet o, that's good! frozen pizza one third of our classic crust is made with cauliflower but that's not stopping anyone o, that's good!
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in our 2020 lead today, joe biden taking on trump in his first trip to nevada as a 2020 democratic presidential candidate. just moments ago, the former vp insisted he will not, quote, stoop down to president trump's level. cnn's jeff zeleny picks up our coverage. >> hey, everybody! how you doing? >> reporter: vice president joe biden in nevada today, visiting another early voting state on week two of his 2020 announcement tour. >> the fact is that we -- we cannot let this administration win again in 2020. >> reporter: in a union hall outside of las vegas, biden taking his pitch to the middle class out west, and blasting the trump administration's immigration policy. >> it's all about -- it's all about dividing us. and, you know, we can solve a problem on the border.
>> reporter: with the former vice president on the campaign trail, his wife, jill biden, telling cnn's dana bash why she knew her husband had to run for president again. >> everywhere i've traveled across this country, people are coming up to me saying, he's got to run, he's got to run, joe has to run. and i really have taken it to heart and thought about it, and joe is such a unifier. he brings people together. >> reporter: while president trump and her husband of more than 40 years have already engaged in a spirited back and forth, she had this to say about future attacks from trump. >> i mean, we're not going to take his bait. >> reporter: meanwhile, south bend mayor pete buttigieg urging democrats to embrace religion, saying republicans do not have a lock on faith. >> it's also important that we stop seeing religion used as a kind of cudgel, as if god belonged to a political party. and if he did, i can't imagine it would be the one that sent the current president into the white house. >> reporter: buttigieg, a practicing episcopalian, said many democratic policies are more in line with the social
justice teachings of the church. >> the idea that that is the property of the republican party, especially this republican party and some of the choices that they've made in recent years, it just doesn't add up to me. >> reporter: now, buttigieg has used the line, god does not have a political party frequently during his presidential run, but the idea that god would not be a republican is a new phrase, jake. he is one of the few democratic candidates talking often about faith on the campaign trail. now, of course, you have to add joe biden to the list, as well, often referring to himself as a catholic. >> jeff zeleny, thanks so much. amanda carpenter, let me start with you. buttigieg saying, it's important to stop seeing religion used as a cudgel, as if god belonged to a political party, but if he did, i can't imagine it would be the same one that sent the current president to the white house. does that bother you at all? >> i think pete buttigieg is very strong when he talks about values. once he veers into picking fights about who's a good christian and who's a bad christian and why mike pence is bad and that kind of judgment i
think is the wrong direction. for the record, i hope god isn't a republican or a democrat, because somebody needs to be above all of this. and let it be god! >> dr. jill biden, the former vice president's wife, sat down with cnn's dana bash and detailed how she hopes her family will handle any potential attacks from president trump as the campaign unfolds. take a listen. >> i don't think we're going to address -- i mean, we're not going to take his bait. >> that's going to be hard. >> yeah. >> a lot of people have said that before. >> i know. i know. >> to resist. >> it is going to be hard. you know, but our family, we've talked about it, our family is resilient. >> what do you think? is she going to be able to keep that up? is joe biden going to be able to keep that up? >> that's the question. >> i think that, i think that dr. jill biden will be fine. i think that joe biden is going to have it pretty tough. he's already commenting on donald trump's attacks just on twitter. so i think that he's going to have it tough. i don't think that he's going to
go into the bullying kind of methods that trump engages in, but he definitely is going to say something? >> is there a way to fight back against trump's attacks in a way that works? we've seen different people do different things, marco rubio tried to ignore it, ignore it, then he tried to join it during the primaries. and there are any number of ways? what's effective? >> it's not clear that there is any one single formula. i think it has to do with whatever the dynamic is between those two people, right? so joe biden, i think, is going to make the case that he is kind of the senior statesman here in a way that some of these other candidates are necessarily. and perhaps that allows him to more effectively rise above trump's attacks, if he decides to go that way. but at the same time -- and you would also think that things like age, for example, would kind of be eliminated, because they're both 70-plus years old. things like the inappropriate touching or the sexual assault and harassment allegations that the president has faced, that those would kind of be nullified, at least in terms of trump attacking biden on them. but donald trump is the one person who would attack somebody, even if it reflects on
his own behavior. >> he's already done it. >> and that's something that he does so often, which is take somebody -- it's like a bo boomerang insult, right? he takes something that somebody else sees as a vulnerability in him and uses that as an attack postu posture. >> and dr. biden also weighing in on an interview on npr about something that her husband has faced a lot of questions about, and that is the treatment of anita hill during the confirmation hearings so many years ago. >> joe said, as i did, we believed anita hill. he voted against clarence thomas. i mean, he's called anita hill, they've spoken. he's apologized for the way the hearings were run. and so now it's kind of, it's time to move on. >> does she get to decide it's time to move on? >> i don't think she does. because anita hill even said she didn't really feel like that conversation went that well. it's ultimately up to anita hill and to the voters out there who are making a decision on whether
joe biden can make this right. if they think that he did something wrong here. and, you know, yeah, he voted against clarence thomas, but he also during that hearing said something to the effect of, we're sorry you were just put through this or that you're being put through this. so we'll have to see if the voters make him atone for that. and i would be shocked if in the upcoming debates, we do not hear a question about anita hill. >> so you heard mayor pete there and he admits that he needs more help from other than white upper class voters. the student who asked him that question about his support from non-whites was just on cnn. he was asked what he thought about mayor pete's response. take a listen. >> he's very aware of the issues. and i think that that's very telling for this candidate. the only problem that i think he has is that we just don't trust him. it's been in our history that the candidates that we do put in office and they say that they are going to do things for our
community, they seem to just forget about us, once they are in office. and we're not going for that anymore. >> the only problem, i think he has, is that we just don't trust him. that's a pretty big problem. >> it's a huge problem. and i think what is so unique about this moment, jake. i've spoken in speeches about this. 400 years later, after the first enslaved african arrived on these shores, it is young people right now in our community who are saying, i know what you're used to, but we're not black folks of the past. we're not even black folks of 2012 or 2008. we are demanding that you speak to an agenda that is specific to us. and i think it's incredible. >> all right. everyone, stick around. the law that georgia's governor just signed that could land the state in a legal nightmare. stay with us. it's a revolution in sleep. the sleep number 360 smart bed, from $999... senses your movement and automatically adjusts on each side to keep you both comfortable. and snoring? how smart is that? smarter sleep. so you can come out swinging, maintain your inner focus, and wake up rested
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this is cnn breaking news. we have some breaking news for you now. police have confirmed shots have been fired at a school near denver, colorado. cnn's nick watt is following this breaking story for us. nick, what are you learning? >> reporter: well, jake, the details are just coming in. we are hearing from the local sheriff's department. an incident at the stem school. they are still getting info, they believe two injured, please find other routes, and they are telling parents to go to nearby northridge elementary school to collect their children. of course, we have just passed, jake, the 20th anniversary of the horrific columbine school shooting, also in the denver area, so we are keeping a close eye on in this and we will bring you developments as we get them. as i say, so far, the county and the sheriff saying that they believe two people injured so far, but information is still coming in.
jake? >> nick watt, thank you so much. we're obviously going to continue to watch this story and bring you any updates. in our national lead, georgia's governor is the latest to sign into laws banning abortions once the fetal heartbeat has been detected georgia joins mississippi. making it as illegal to have an abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, when many women don't even know they're pregnant. the bill is setting up a legal fight across this country that could end at the supreme court. cnn's diane gallagher filed this report. >> reporter: in the georgia state capitol, governor brian kim signs legislation that all but bans abortion in the state. >> we must protect life at all stages. >> reporter: the bill will make abortion illegal after a fetal heartbeat can be detected with some exceptions, including risk to the mother's health. >> i realize that some may challenge it in a court of law. but our job is to do what is
right, not what is easy. >> reporter: and it won't be. governor kim's challengers were ready, right outside on the capital steps. >> i have one message for governor kim. we will see you, sir, in court. >> reporter: dozens of advocates for abortion rights gathered to protest, including the region's top planned parenthood executive. >> today georgia has joined this race to the bottom. >> reporter: and the head of georgia's aclu. >> this is a frankenstein bill. it is cobbled together with ideology, not science. >> reporter: georgia now becomes the third state since march to sign a so-called heartbeat bill into law. this just as president trump ramps up his rhetoric on abortion, making the dangerous and demonstrably false claim that mothers are having their infants executed after they're born. >> they wrap the baby beautifully and then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby. i don't think so. >> reporter: anti-abortion groups applaud the president for having successfully appointed a slate of conservative judges
during his presidency, including supreme court justices brett kavanaugh and neil gorsuch. in response to georgia's legislation today, the democratic national committee warned, quote, with trump in the white house and kavanaugh on the supreme court, we know republicans will continue to push legislation just like this in an effort to ban abortion nationwide and overturn roe v. wade. the bill's sponsor, republican state representative ed setsler says he's confident this law would do well in washington. >> we've laid the groundwork should it make to the supreme court, i think it's going to find a very favorable reception. >> reporter: and that is nthe not-so-secret goal of a lot of these lawmakers, finding it to the supreme court. look, jake, just because these have been signed into law doesn't mean they'll ever go into effect. kentucky passed similar legislation earlier this year. jake, a federal judge has temporarily blocked that from going into effect. >> all right. diane gallagher, thank you so much. we have some breaking news. new details on the threat from iran that prompted the trump
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we have some breaking news for you now in the world lead. we are learning new details about what the trump administration calls a specific and credible threat from iran. that threat prompted the national security adviser to announce that the pentagon would speed up the arrival of u.s. warships in the middle east. let's go right to cnn's barbara starr at the pentagon. and barbara, how specific and credible is the pentagon being here about what the threat actually is? >> well, they are publicly saying nothing about the threat, jake. but several u.s. officials tell me that what they are seeing is intelligence that indicates to
them iran is moving short-range ballistic missiles around by sea, on boats, in the persian gulf. so these short-range ballistic missiles could pose a threat to u.s. forces up and down the gulf and to the entire region. the issue, of course is, if they could manage to launch them off one of these boats or move them to shore locations, but basically to move them around, it might be more difficult for the u.s. to find them and to find the launch points, so the u.s., now the pentagon is talking, internally about sending additional air defense missile defense capabilities to the region, something like the patriot missile. but the bottom line is, they are hoping that they can deter any intention by iranian forces. they are hoping that sending the aircraft carrier earlier, that sending b-52 bombers will be a enough of deterrent message to iran that they won't even try it. jake? >> barbara starr at the pentagon, thanks so much.
i want to bring in phil mudd, a former cia counterterrorism official. phil, how big a threat is this? how unusual is this? >> i wouldn't look at at this point as a big threat. it's something if you're behind the scenes you have to pay attention to. they're going to yemen, to syria. the bigger question that barbara can't answer, i suspect the pentagon can't answer is why are they sending them? i find the interesting aspect that the administrations play on this. are they playing this because we have a page a-1 threat, a threat that should be on cnn, or are they playing this because we've demonized iran. iran, we have to rip up a nuclear deal. iran's a problem in syria. iran's a problem backing people who oppose israel. is this a real threat or a jacked up threat because the white house wants to expose iran zp >> and the trump administration responded by moving u.s. warships to deter iran's threat. that would seem to be a serious move to at least speed up that process. >> yeah, but hold on a second here. we're talking about assuming that there's actually a threat, for example, to u.s. allies or u.s. forces.
maybe they're just delivering missiles to a place where they already have allies and they want to stockpile them. the biggest problem in these cases is assuming you know how the other guy thinks. and i'm going to tell you, once you make that assumption, you're going to be wrong. >> and you had the trump administration move u.s. ships. you have pompeo on the move because of pressing issues. >> i've got to believe that he's moving because the white house is making this threat so prominent. there are other options on the table. is there a deal on venezuela he wants to talk about with the russians, for example? i don't think so. i think given the fact that the white house and the national security adviser in the past couple of days have highlighted this, and the fact that he left germany, that is the secretary of state, left germany so abruptly, he's going to go talk about this in the middle east somewhere. >> and tomorrow marks one year since president trump withdrew from the iran nuclear deal. is it possible they're just trying to bring attention to iran as a threat? as you note? >> i think so. i look at every case, and this might be overreaching, but every case i watch the president move,
he takes a u-turn on north korea, takes a u-turn on policy how we deal with nato. they're kind of pseudo-enemies the way he deals with them in meetings. takes a u-turn on trade negotiations with mexico. all of a sudden we take a u-turn on iran as well. i think this is another example of the president saying, i made a policy, the policy was to move away from iran, and this shows you i was right. >> and you have always said that you think the bigger threat is north korea. and that's something that the administration maybe doesn't want to talk about right now. >> sure, because it's embarrassing. a bigger threat for a couple of reasons. number one, there's a capability reason. they have the capability, they've shown, to reach u.s. soil with ballistic missiles. but the second issue, the one reason i differentiate them from iran. like it or not, iran is a mature leadership. they've been around for a long time. kim jong-un, you want to tell me you can understand how he thinks and whether he would ever pop a ballistic missile? i would say i don't know. that capability and intent would put them at top of the list. >> phil mudd, thank you so much.
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been injured. the stem school is a charter school with more than 1,800 students from k through 12. we'll continue to monitor this story and bring you any updates as we get them. in our earth matters series right now, secretary of state mike pompeo apparently sees the rapidly shrinking levels of sea ice in the arctic as a positive. the arctic is at the forefront of opportunity and abundance. steady reductions in sea ice are opening new passageways and new opportunities for trade. >> those so-called passageways, a result of climate change, will also bring catastrophic consequences. even the director of national intelligence, dan koetcoats, ear this year cited global warming as a national security challenge. it is not a warning that the trump administration is heeding. in fact, lawsuits filed against the trump administration accuses the trump epa of failing to protect several communities that have al dangerous level of ozone smog. as cnn's bill weir now reports, some experts say the problem has
gotten so bad, american lives are actually being shortened. >> reporter: this little guy has no idea that his young lungs are breathing some of the worst air in america. he lives in bakersfield, where a valley full of oil field fumes and mega dairy ammonia and diesel traffic creates the worst bad air days in the nation. but according to the american lung association, he is just one of 140 million americans breathing uneasy and unhealthy. >> we have the cleanest air and water, they say, in the world. >> reporter: no one actually says that. in fact, the 20th annual state of the air report finds that pollution has gotten measurably worse over the last three years. more than four in ten americans live in counties with unhealthy level of ozone or soot or the tiny particles that get deep into young lungs and aging brains, accelerating disease and
maybe even dementia. >> i remember going up into the mountains, which you can't see, but are right there, and turning around and looking down at the valley and seeing this smog, this soup of pollution and realizing i wake up and go to bed in that soup every day. and i got really angry. >> reporter: so angry she quit her job, began volunteering for an air quality coalition in fresno, rallying neighbors like aralia, who just lost a 51-year-old husband to cancer and has two sons who struggle to breathe. and doctors like alex sheriffs, who can see and hear the toll of pollution in the lungs of his patients. >> if you live with the air quality we have today, you're probably shortening your life expectancy six months. and i don't think that's acceptable. i don't think it's anything we need to accept. >> reporter: but as bad as it is, it could be so much worse. if america was still burning and churning like the 1970s,
bakersfield would look like industrial india and the one thing that kept this country from going down that road is something called the clean air act. signed by president nixon in 1970, it empowered the brand-new epa to crack down on the biggest polluters, but president trump's epa just rolled back rules on car emissions and coal plants and told a review panel of 20 air quality scientists that their services are no longer needed. >> if you lived your entire life in the valley in the late 1970s, early '80s with the air quality level we had then, you probably were shortening your life expectancy by two years. we owe so much to the clean air act. and we feed to protect the clean air act and be sure to strengthen, not weaken. >> i want clean air and beautiful, crystal clean water, right? we want that. >> reporter: he may want it, but in the age of relentless drilling, farming, driving, and burning, it is clear, the skies don't clean themselves.
bill weir, cnn, in central california. >> and our thanks to bill weir. we're going to continue to follow that breaking news, that school shooting outside denver, colorado. our coverage continues right now on cnn. thanks for watching. happening now, breaking news. next steps. the powerful chairman of the house judiciary committee, jerry nadler, meets with his fellow democrats to plot strategy in a growing standoff with the trump white house. a contempt vote against the attorney general, william barr, remains set for tomorrow, despite negotiations this afternoon. the white house also ordered don mcgahn to ignore a committee subpoena to turn over his documents. could he be cited for contempt, as well? it's over? democrats are livid after the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell declares case closed on the mueller investigation. house speaker nancy pelosi says the case is not closed. is she c