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tv   CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto  CNN  May 21, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT

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short of the impeachment vote because they know the political reality of that. that to me is an interesting middle ground. >> agreed. >> david chalian, thank you very much. it does sound like the end game for democrats has changed. there is this growing list as david just said of democrats who are calling on house speaker nancy pelosi to begin the impeachment inquiry against the president. "newsroom" picks up our coverage right now. good morning, i'm jim sciutto, nice to be back shoulder to shoulder with poppy in new york. >> i'm poppy harlow, nothing says defines like an empty chair. once again that is exactly what we're expecting to see one hour from now when the house judiciary committee meets for what was meant to be an illuminating day of testimony from the former white house counsel, don mcgahn. just like the attorney general, less than a month ago, mcgahn intends to defy the panel's subpoena which will very likely earn him a contempt citation and a court fight and thereby add to the pressure facing house
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speaker nancy pelosi from democrats in her own party, democrats eager to start impeachment proceedings against this president. for now she is standing firmly against that. >> i know you've heard this word a lot, maybe getting sick of it, subpoena, but subpoenas do matter, part of the constitution, congressional powers to check the executive. that message jumping off the pages of a brand new ruling from a d.c. federal judge rejecting the president's bid to stop his former accounting firm from turning over documents to the house oversight committee, this is key in an ongoing investigation of the investigation. manu raju is on capitol hill this morning. let's start with mcgahn, the white house counsel. what happens next with his absence and why is the panel so focused on getting him to testify under oath? >> reporter: well, he is a key witness who was a part of the administration for the first two years, a key witness in the mueller investigation, someone who spent 30 hours talking to the special counsel, also is the one who -- one person who apparently the president tried
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to get to fire the special counsel in an effort to thwart the investigation. democrats want to hear all of this in public testimony, but under the instructions of the white house he is defying a subpoena and will not show up at today's hearing. he's also refusing to turn over records because the white house has essentially told him not to. they say that he is immune from testifying because he is a senior level white house adviser. that's an approach that democrats reject. expect at this hearing today that both sides will tee off, democrats will attack this administration of what they see as a lawless administration, they will plan to move forward to hold don mcgahn in contempt. those votes could happen in a matter of days and republicans will side with the white house and say, look, there is no legal justification for bringing someone this close to the president before congress. he should not be compelled to testify. that's going to play out in a very, very contentious hearing, but democrats -- this is just the first step to hold don
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mcgahn and others in contempt as they defy these subpoenas, guys. >> other big question here, the "i" word, impeachment. i remember a couple weeks it was you, man knew, you asked ted lieu this question. he said a lot of folks in the caucus want to move forward with impeachment, at the time it seemed like how many exactly, but it seems like now, particularly after a meeting with democratic leadership that there is a growing critical mass that may force the speaker's hand on this. >> reporter: potentially because of the anger about the defiance from this administration to not turn over records despite facing subpoenas. in multiple closed door meetings yesterday democrats engaged in a lengthy debate about the way forward, a number of members called for the impeachment proceedings to begin. at least an impeachment inquiry. nancy pelosi has rejected that approach, wanted to go more in a deliberative approach and said, look, we're already getting results from this court case that they won yesterday to turn over financial records that the house oversight committee has demanded from a trump accounting
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firm. now, i talked to two key members of the house judiciary committee last night who really exemplified the divide within the democratic party, one saying let's move forward and the other one saying not so fast. >> the request he is why would we open an impeachment inquiry if we are winning in the court system as it relates to conducting our constitutionally anchored oversight responsibility. >> but if the white house takes the position it's going to block us and prevent us from getting to the truth and getting the facts that we need to make informed judgments, it may leave us no choice but to open an impeachment inquiry so we can do our job. >> i'm told that a closed door meeting with jerry nadler the house judiciary committee chairman and nancy pelosi last night they discussed moving forward, they discussed the possibility, the advantages to their court case if an impeachment inquiry were to be opened. nadler made that case on behalf of his members, but nancy pelosi, again, said that is not the approach to go. nadler ultimately agrees with
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nancy pelosi, but no question about it, some members in the rank and file and even some members of pelosi's leadership team are pressing to push ahead, guys. >> manu raju, thank you. great reporting as always. let's talk to jeffrey toobin our chief legal analyst about all of this. >> nice to be in your nice new set. beautiful here. >> isn't it nice? isn't it shiny? >> yes, indeed. >> impeachment, first of all, let's distinguish between a vote to begin impeachment inquiries as opposed to a vote to impeach where the house would get together and say we impeach the president and leads to the senate to go forward. an impeachment inquiry what additional powers would that give congress to investigate and would those powers -- would it be harder for the white house to resist those powers as it is doing now? >> there is a school of thought and there are some court cases that say if congress is doing an impeachment inquiry as opposed to just oversight, the president
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is more obliged to cooperate, is more obliged to turn over documents, however, that is not clear, and it is certain that the president would fight those subpoenas just like he would fight the ones that exist. in yesterday's court decision in the case about access to the accountants' papers, that suggests that the congress has all the investigatory authority it needs even without an impeachment. >> so the question becomes, hakeem jeffries, nancy pelosi, are they right when they say, no, we don't need to move forward with impeachment yet because the courts are working in our favor? >> they are right so far. >> so far. >> but there are going to be a lot of different court cases, it wouldn't be surprising to see judges treat these issues somewhat differently. >> sure. >> each case is somewhat
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different. for example, i think the president's position on the accounting firm is very weak. i mean, the idea that this is outside congress' power is an argument that no court has accepted in decades, however, the president's legal position about don mcgahn, the former white house counsel, is pretty strong. that the conversations between a white house counsel and a president are the kind of thing that's been covered by executive privilege, although it's not clear there, either. >> but it's worth noting that the bush white house, george w. bush, and the obama white house both tried to do essentially the same thing. >> and the only case, recent case on this subject, involves harriet myers, george w. bush's white house counsel. a district judge actually ordered her to testify, but that case was settled before it went to the appeals court. so the question of how binding a precedent that is is unsettled, but it just illustrates that that issue of white house
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counsel's testimony is a genuinely complicated with un. >> there are going to be a lot of busy lawyers in washington in the coming weeks and months. >> and legal analysts. >> job security. >> that's what i want. >> we have a lot more questions to run by you this morning. there are new allegations from president trump's former fixer michael cohen who is right now serving a three-year prison sentence for lying to congress, just to remind you. >> according to house intel testimony that was just released, cohen told members of congress that the president's attorney, jay sekulow, helped coordinate what turned out to be cohen's false testimony about the timeline of the trump tower moscow project proposal. lauren fox is with us with the details. so this thing is now out there for people to read, the back and forth questions about cohen and it's revealing. >> reporter: that's right, poppy. last night the house intelligence committee released that transcript of their interview with michael cohen earlier this year and in that transcript michael cohen tells congress, tells that committee,
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that jay sekulow the president's personal attorney was aware that cohen's claims that talks had ended on the trump tower moscow project in january 2016 were false. now, if you remember michael cohen had told congress in previous testimony back in 2017 that everything had ended, those talks had ended, back in january 2016, but of course they extended beyond that timeline, well into the 2016 election year. michael cohen now serving that three-year prison sentence in part because he lied to congress. now, jay sekulow's lawyers are hitting back, saying that that testimony that michael cohen gave earlier this year is not true and in the statement they say, quote, michael cohen's alleged statements are more of the same from him and confirm the observations of prosecutors in the southern district of new york that cohen's instinct to blame others is strong. that this or any other committee would rely on the word of michael cohen for any purpose defies logic, well established
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law and common sense. again, michael cohen is serving a three-year prison sentence right now. in that transcript he also told members of the intelligence committee that he had no evidence that anyone from the trump campaign in 2016 had excluded with russia or that the president was an agent of russia, but obviously new information from those transcripts that were released last night. >> lauren, thank you. jeffrey toobin is back with us. rudy giuliani says this is a bunch of hog wash, you can't believe michael cohen, you have to believe jay sekulow. but if sekulow did do that, help him lie essentially to congress is that illegal? >> i think the important point to realize here is that jay sekulow was dealing with information that his client gave him. so the issue isn't so much was jay sekulow lying, the issue was was he lied to by his client and
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trying to align cohen with trump? i really don't think there is any likely misconduct here by jay sekulow. >> okay. >> i think the real question here is was donald trump trying to get a false narrative out there about the trump tower moscow meeting. >> we know the president has lied repeatedly about issues in this investigation, one of the most explicit is about the stormy daniels payments. i know the white house strategy here is to say, well, michael cohen is a liar. >> right. >> that said we know, for instance, in court proceedings here in new york regarding his campaign finance law violation, prosecutors here took cohen's testimony in that case implicating the president seriously. >> very seriously. >> when they can corroborate it. >> and in the mueller report. >> yes. >> michael cohen is the second most cited authority after don mcgahn in the mueller report. so mueller -- and also when trump -- when cohen was
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sentenced in the southern district, the cohen -- i'm sorry -- the mueller prosecutors told the judge in the southern district that we think michael cohen is a credible source. >> and to be clear mueller and the prosecutors here they are not dumb. they've been in court before. when they cite that testimony, they've done homework to corroborate it through other means i imagine? >> to the extent they can. the other issue about this sekulow/trump matter is that we will never really get to the bottom of it because the conversations between sekulow and trump will be covered by attorney/client privilege, he is a private lawyer, there is no issue of executive privilege there. so we will never know what sekulow was told by trump, but based on prior history we can at least conjecture that there was some falsehood there. >> understood. always good to have you, jeffrey. >> jeffrey, thank you very much. we appreciate it. of course, we're waiting for this empty chair moment, the house judiciary committee will not hear from don mcgahn today,
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but they're still going to have the hearing, trying to make their point. this as there is an internal battle within the democratic party at this point over whether or not to pursue impeachment proceedings against this president. >> lots of empty chairs on the hill of late. plus after weeks of escalating tensions are iran today congress may finally get some answers, major intelligence briefings under way on the hill. there's still a disagreement, though, about what that intelligence actually shows. we are on it. plus the fifth migrant child -- child dies in u.s. custody just since december. what happened? ♪ [laughter] ♪ ♪
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there, congressman jamie raskin of maryland, serves on the house oversight and judiciary committee. good to have you on an important morning. >> thanks for having he. >> we are going to get to that in a moment, but just about the hearing that is supposed to happen today, the empty chair will be there for don mcgahn, former white house counsel who will not appear before your committee. jerry nadler the chairman of your committee said there will be, quote, serious consequences, that you are prepared to use, quote, all enforcement mechanisms at your disposal. so what are you going to do? >> well, we're likely to hold him in contempt for not coming. the president has basically ordered everybody in the executive branch to not appear before congressional investigations, to deny us testimony, to not turn over documents. this is a completely unacceptable and categorical defiance of congress' powers under article 1. the supreme court has said it is integral and essential to the legislative function that we have the power to conduct
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fact-finding and investigation. there's simply no legal warrant for what they're doing. >> and you had a federal judge rule in that light yesterday when it comes to the president's accounting firm and documents that need to be turned over. but on this issue of -- >> yes. >> -- what you will do going forward, how far you will go with don mcgahn is what i'm interested in here. you were a constitutional law professor. in a recent interview you cited an 1821 supreme court ruling. anderson versus dunn, and as we all know that ruling shows that congress has the power to enforce its own orders, meaning the sergeant in arms can arrest someone for contempt. >> yeah. >> i mean, you brought it up so i'm interested are you -- are you saying that don mcgahn should be arrested? >> well, with he haven't talked about his specific case yet and he hasn't not shown up yet. we expect him not to show up in a little bit. but i think that he will be in contempt of congress and we do
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have the inherent power to arrest and also to fine people who are disobeying a lawful order of congress. somebody said to me would you really go out and start arresting executive branch officials? i think 16 or 17 of my constituents who were high school students who sat in at the office of speaker paul ryan in the last congress, they got arrested. i had to go down to the d.c. jail to get them out. so i know we've got the power to arrest people here and we've exercised it before. >> should you, then, do you support using that power to arrest those who do not show up, like the attorney general did not less than a month ago and like it appears don mcgahn will not today? >> i'm not avers to it at all. i think we need every tool in the constitutional tool kit out on the table to deal with this crisis of presidential obstruction of congress' lawful powers. now, it's better if it happens the way it did yesterday where a court said that the white house position was ridiculous and that
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they had no -- they had no argument to block the congressional subpoena that was issued by the oversight committee to get the president's finances. >> okay. >> that's better, but we should use whatever tools that are at our disposal. >> it's notable that you say you are not avers to arresting don mcgahn or bill barr. all right. let's move on because we have a lot to get to here. let's move on to the topic of impeachment. you said yesterday the logic of an impeachment inquiry becomes overwhelming if mcdan doesn't show up. you were at a meeting last night with house democrats and nancy pelosi you argued our reporting is that democrats should begin an impeachment inquiry into the president. do you want impeachment hearings to begin against the president? >> well, i don't want to talk about the specifics of a private meeting we had, but let me say this -- >> well, here is why i ask, congressman. i understand your logic, but also there is a ton of reporting out there right now from the "washington post," from "politico," from us and i think the american people deserve to
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know the facts and you were in the meeting. so can you just set the record straight for us? >> well, i mean, the facts are precisely what the investigation is about. look, we've been presented with overwhelming evidence of presidential obstruction of justice in special counsel mueller's report. there were 11 different episodes where the president tried to interfere with the special counsel investigation. the reason that we subpoenaed don mcgahn was because the president ordered him to get mueller fired, either to say that he had to invent some conflicts of interest or just to go ahead and sack him. we need his testimony so the american people understand what happened. i know you're interested in what's going on, you know, politically within the democratic caucus. let me just say this, that those of us who serve on the house judiciary committee have been exposed right up front and close to presidential obstruction of justice and high crimes and misdemeanors for a long time now and we are at a certain point in our educational process where we
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think a lot of us think that the logic may be inescapable, not for impeaching or not impeaching, but for launching an investigation into high crimes and misdemeanors so we can figure out what to do. the constitution gives us a pathway through this crisis. >> i mean, that's notable, you jim sciutto said a lot of us. you just said a lot of democrats are supportive of opening an impeachment inquiry into the president right now. >> on the judiciary committee. on the jed. >> judiciary committee. >> i hear you. western do you support beginning impeachment hearings against the president at this point? >> i would totally support opening an impeachment inquiry at this point, but, you know, the thing is about being in congress as opposed to being in the presidency, right, the president is one guy so he does whatever he wants obviously. here we -- it's a team sport. we work together and we try to have the conversations we can best -- as best as possible without everything leaking out, but everything leaked out. we had a conversation yesterday, some of the reports are accurate, some are inaccurate,
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but what i want to stand on here is that we have a responsibility, we took a constitutional oath to uphold and defend the rule of law and the constitution and all of us are trying to do that the best that we can. >> i understand that. and i'm interested in is it accurate that chairman nadler told you and fellow democrats that right now is not the right time to move forward with an impeachment inquiry? >> you know, chairman nadler is going to speak for us in a little bit, you know, at the mcgahn hearing. he will speak exactly for where we are as a committee and what we're going to be doing and we're going to operate collectively and we have great solidarity and coherence and unity within the democratic caucus during the most trying time of our lifetime. >> i want some clarity here because that's something something different than all of this reporting this morning. you're saying there's coherence and unity within the party and within the democrats on the judiciary committee and the reporting is that there's a
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pretty significant divide right now, congressman, that nancy pelosi and jerry nadler do not think now is the time to move forward with impeachment inquiry because the courts are working in your favor as in yesterday the federal judge's ruling in the accounting firm case. and there is david cicilline and you and others saying now is the time with mcgahn not showing up that we need to move forward. is there that division or there no the? >> as i was saying before i think those of us on the judiciary committee have been exposed to this overwhelming evidence of presidential obstructionism and in addition we are facing daily assaults on the constitution and rule of law by the president and by the executive branch. we are right on the front lines of this thing. i think, you know, we have a certain experience with the white house that brings us to a place where, you know, members who are on the science committee or the energy and commerce committee or so on are maybe not necessarily there yet. look, this is a team sport. we have hundreds of people in our caucus and it's a process
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and we've got to educate ourselves and we have to educate the public about the means within the constitution to deal with the crisis. >> i hear you, congressman raskin. it sounds like we're going to get some news from the chairman jerry nadler on that front in just a little while. we will wait for that and a we appreciate you joining us this morning. it's a busy day for sure. thanks. >> thanks for having me. i appreciate it. >> you got it. > interesting, the logic may be inescapable to proceed to an impeachment inquiry. a quote very dangerous game, iran's foreign minister telling cnn his country will defend itself if necessary. the cnn exclusive from iran next. we are moments away from the opening bell on wall street. looks like green arrows there. investors wait for any developments to end the trade war between the u.s. and china. not sure whether those will come. the u.s. says it will temporarily ease restrictions on huawei so that that chinese technology company can at least maintain existing phones and cellular networks. we will be back.
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sherman, a key negotiator on the iran nuclear deal. >> this comes hours before top national security officials will address the house and senate on the escalating tensions with iran. iran's foreign minister sat down with our fred pleitgen just this morning in tehran. it's an important time, he has been one of the most vocal iranian officials this these tensions here. what did he tell you this morning? >> reporter: hi, jim. i asked him about some of the mixed messages that seem to be coming out of the white house recently with president trump threatening iran but then also saying that he wants to sit down and negotiate with the iranians. the foreign minister telling me in no unclear circumstances at this point in time absolutely no negotiations with the trump administration. here is what he had to say. >> we are not willing to talk to people who have broken their promises. because we talk to people, we did not believe that our nuclear program, our nuclear energy program, required us to provide
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any concessions or provide any confidence building measures, but we engaged, we acted in good faith, we negotiated, we reached a deal. what the united states is saying is that we make a deal, whatever we can get you in the negotiations through the deal is fine, whatever we cannot get you we will come back to try to get you. this is not the way serious countries deal with each other. the united states may be used to doing that with clients, but they cannot do that with iran. >> reporter: so he is saying he wants to see some sanctions relief before the iranians would even think about sitting down with the trump administration. there doesn't seem to be very much trust there. at the same time the situation in the persian gulf as he puts it still very, very dangerous and he says he believes that it's the u.s. that's playing a dangerous game there, as he put it. let's listen to a little more of what he had to say. >> well, there will be painful consequences for everybody if there is an escalation against iran. that's for sure.
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the united states is engaging in an economic warfare against iran. it has to stop. economic war means targeting iranian people. that has to stop. the united states does not have the legal position, does not have the moral positio, does not have the political position, does not have the international position to impose economic war on iran. iran is not interested in escalation. we have said very clearly that we will not be the party to begin escalation, but we will defend ourselves. now, having all these military assets in a small water way is in and of itself prone to accident, particularly when you have people who are interested in accidents. so extreme prudence is required and we believe that the united states is playing a very, very dangerous game. >> reporter: so you have the iranians saying that they believe the situation in the persian gulf still extremely dangerous at this point in time. of course, one of the big dangerous things for the entire region there is you have a lot of iranian and u.s. forces in
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very, very close proximity, guys. >> fred, that is an exceptional interview, a very hard one to get, a cnn exclusive. kudos to you for getting t people can watch i assume the whole thing on cnn.com. thank you. so another big deal overnight, a federal judge ruling that the president's accountant has to turn over financial documents of his before he was president. this as a republican congressman says the president is worthy of impeachment and the house is zeroing in on his former staffers. is he getting boxed in? and tonight cnn hosts a town hall with democratic presidential candidate beto o'rourke, moderated by our brilliant colleague dana bash. this in des moines, iowa. it starts at 10:00 eastern time only here on cnn. can you love wearing powerful sunscreen? yes! neutrogena® ultra sheer. unbeatable protection helps prevent early skin aging and skin cancer with a clean feel. the best for your skin.
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we are just minutes away from the house judiciary committee holding a hearing without its witness. democratic leaders say if and when he does not show up, they will hold the former white house counsel don mcgahn in contempt. not the first time we have seen one of those empty chairs there at a house hearing. >> just a few weeks ago we saw the same thing. this morning this is happening on the morning after a federal judge says an accounting firm has to turn over the president's financial records from before he was president. at the same time a republican congressman is joining democrats and going farther than democratic leadership and says the president has committed impeachable acts. is the president getting boxed in now? with us here john avalon and errol lewis. is there something that makes the culmination of all of those things we just mentioned, john avalon, now than three months
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ago, six months ago for the president? >> i think the president has embraced a total obstruction strategy and that runs into basic questions of checks and balances. so you're heading for the courts. the courts could be that wall that the president cases. on the other hand we have the mueller report, it wasn't the smoking gun democrats had hoped, so some of this all smacks of plan b, but there's still a lot of investigations to be done and the president's strategy is going to run into reality, as we saw from a judge's decision yesterday. there's not a lot of ground for him to stand on. they are essentially suing for time. you've got a checks and balances conflict coming up. >> suing for time. interesting way to put it. >> errol lewis, does the democratic strategy run into a wall, too? you have a brewing internal conflict between democratic leadership and many of its caucus, some of whom poppy spoke to on the air who want to open an impeachment inquiry. that's not voting actually to impeach the president but at least begin an investigation. seems like a critical mass developing here.
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>> in some ways it's a distinction without a difference. when people are saying their constituents want them to move to impeachment. what would that look like? it would look like what we're going to see this morning. hearings, inquiries, pressing the president, pressing the administration for facts, documents and clarity on various different issues. the original watergate committee wasn't really about watergate, it was about, hey, what happened during the election? you know, it was a white water inquiry that led to the impeachment of bill clinton. >> right. >> you don't have to call it an impeachment hearing for it to sort of lead inexorably to a question that has to be answered possibly through the impeachment process. >> john avalon, we got some news, the president is officially appealing the d.c. federal judge's ruling that that accounting firm has to turn over years of financial records of the president as a private citizen. we knew he was going to i a peel it, now they're actually doing it. this is to your point about just running the clock out here. >> yeah, and then they are just going to hope they will get
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lucky at some point. what's different is the judge made a 41-page ruling yesterday, with as pretty definitive. effo say there is no basis for this and root it had in american history from james buick then to -- >> yeah, did he. >> he said, look, you don't have a case here, folks. we will see if some other judge comes to a different conclusion but he was pretty definitive. >> you don't get an appeal just because you don't like the outcome of a ruling. the appeals court is going to have to find some kind of question that they would take up which they may not. >> this is from the judge here, who the president would like to point out is an obama appointee. it is not fathomable that a constitution that grants the congress mile an hour to remove a president for reasons including criminal behavior would deny congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct. past or present. even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry. >> not fathomable doesn't give you a i lot of room to run.
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they are going to have to get real will you canny with the judge approaches things more idealogically. the history and intent of the law seems pretty clear. >> the president is going to calm him an obama appointee. keep in mind, you know, republican -- trump appointee forced the president's hand on, for instance, jim acosta's press credentials. the judges aren't making judgments entirely from a political basis. >> how different is it that one, granted, but one republican, justin amash from the great state of michigan has come out and said i've read the full report and i see a case for impeachment. >> you have to keep in mind he is an unusual kind of republican. i mean, he came in with the tea party wave and he is unquestionably conservative, anti-abortion, but he's also one of these folks who would vote against routine bills saying we didn't have enough time to read it. >> but those aren't crazy procedures. >> can you imagine voting for a bill --
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>> what are they doing? >> these are not things coming from outer space. i mean, for instance, he has a tax plan because he has all the money to pay for it which is a position of the tea party -- tea party republicans. >> not a go along get along kind of a guy. he's going to possibly get -- >> but he is a republican. does it make a difference that it's not just democrats -- >> personally i don't think so because he is not in a leadership position. there's no sign that he's going to bring anybody along with him. in fact, all he got was a challenge. >> that's right. >> a political challenge. >> a primary challenge. >> for the sin of sticking by his principles and applying them evenly, i mean, you know,'d quote the other day saying it turns out that a lot of my tea party cohorts didn't actually care about deficit and debt, they just wanted to hate on the president president in power, president obama at the time. the sin is one of sticking by principles and that will get you a primary challenge because they are going to hunt for -- >> and mark meadows saying it will be hard to support him now
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because he went against the president on this. >> stay with us, guys. evan perez is with us in washington. what can you tell us, evan, on this news that we just got in? >> well, poppy, the president's attorneys have now filed with the court their notice of appeal which for now at least stops the accounting firm from turning over these records. the judge who made the ruling yesterday had given them seven days during which time the ruling essentially was stayed, but what this means is that now the clock is ticking, right? the accounting firm has another six days in which they have to turn over -- they would have to turn over these financial records to the house committee that subpoenaed them and so we will see whether the judge continues to hold that in abeyance. you know, we've seen in other cases where the judges basically say we believe that the house is going to end up winning this
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case, that they essentially ask the accounting firm or the financial firm to turn over those records, whoever is the subject of the subpoena. we will see what this judge does, but right now the trump lawyers have now filed their notice of appeal officially with this judge asking for time in order to have the appeals court take another look at this case. poppy? >> well, if we thought we were coming out of court, we ain't. we're going to be there a lot. >> as you said, the lawyers will stay busy. >> yes, a lot of billable time coming, billable hours. thanks very much, evan perez, john avalon, errol louis, thanks as well to you. and we will be right back.
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all right, some breaking news. 50 million people are under the threat of severe weather as powerful storms move from dallas to kansas city. you're looking at live pictures right now. this is out of el reno, oklahoma, just outside of oklahoma city where major flooding has forced people to be evacuated from their homes. >> imagine if that was outside your front door. that is the case for many residents there. moments ago, res cuer deployed a rescue boat to homes there. that's where ed lavendera joins us live. thel us about the scene there. those are rushing waters going down residential streets in those pictures. >> hey, jim. this is el reno, oklahoma. rural community about 20 miles west of oklahoma city. we are on elm street, and just down there in the distance is supposed to be six-mile creek. you can see the swiftwater
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rescue teams that have been deployed there. they're in the process of trying to get behind the trees in the distance there. there are a number of people who have been rescued. several people inside homes who need to be rescued, and a short while ago, a family was pulled out. four adults, two children. they came brought out in a heavy duty truck that sits very high above the water. that's how they were able to drive out of there. we have seen the swiftwater rescue teams launch one boat. these guys are waiting to see if they're needed to launch into this area, but generally a small creek, but you can see how far and wide the flood waters are here this morning, jim. a good mile down this road on elm street where we're standing is under water. we saw the swiftwater rescue boat kind of go down into the middle of this street and hook a right into those tree lines where the home is that they're in the process of trying to check out right now. no word on exactly when they're going to be back.
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but we have already seen one family rescued from here, four adults, two children, and the work around here in the el reno area continues. >> thank you for being there. i know it's certainly very difficult task for all of those people carrying out these rescue missions live right now that we're seeing and it's important you're there bringing it to us. do you a sense of how quickly this came? meaning it seems like a lot of people didn't have any advanced warning it could get this bad for them. >> well, we have seen, it was around 2:00 this morning, a massive band of rain started pushing its way through central oklahoma. so the rain has let up here in the last couple hours, but this is rainfall that has really come down heavy for most of the overnight hours. so the areas you see behind me, low-lying areas that people have been told about this for the course of the last 36 hours, that this kind of flooding could be expected. so the warnings went out, but
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it's still a very quickly developing situation for people who have nowhere to go. >> sometimes it comes out of nowhere, seemingly. got to react quickly, and remember, always remember, don't drive your cars through that stuff. so many of the drowning stories start that way. ed lavendera, thanks very much. >> all right, back to washington. moments from now, former white house counsel don mcgahn will keep that chair empty, defying a congressional subpoena. and skipping that house hearing about what he told bob mueller and much more. we're following all the developments. can you love wearing powerful sunscreen? yes! neutrogena® ultra sheer. unbeatable protection helps prevent early skin aging and skin cancer with a clean feel. the best for your skin. ultra sheer®. neutrogena®. has been excellent. they really appreciate the military family and it really shows. with all that usaa offers why go with anybody else? we know their rates are good, we know that they're
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click, call or visit a store today. all right, big morning. top of the hour. i'm poppy harlow. >> i'm jim sciutto. for the second time this month, the house judiciary committee is staring at an empty chair as the white house defies yet another subpoena and as more house democrats begin to think enough is enough. former white house counsel don mcgahn is supposed to be testifying in public under oath any minute now, chiefly about the accounts he already gave to the special counsel of apparent obstruction of justice attempts by president trump. >> instead, mcgahn almost surely will be cited for contempt, though maybe not today. and democrats who have sided with the house speaker,

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