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Constitutional Showdown Escalates Between Trump And House Democrats; Pope Sets New Rules To Report And Investigate Sex Abuse; College Admissions Scandal Being Developed Into TV Series. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 9, 2019 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[07:34:12] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): There could be no higher stakes than this attempt to arrogate all power to the Executive Branch away from Congress and more important, away from the American people. We've talked for a long time about approaching a constitutional crisis. We are now in it.

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JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: That is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee just moments after his committee voted to hold the attorney general in contempt for refusing to hand over the full Mueller report.

Joining me now is CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. Doug, thanks so much for being with us.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Are we in a constitutional crisis?

BRINKLEY: We're hovering on a constitutional crisis. I don't know if we're in the middle of one right now. Hovering, in the sense that people are starting to wonder whether the Executive and Legislative Branches are broken.

[07:35:00] Part of our constitutional mandate is that these branches get along in some way and right now, we're seeing a big power play by the White House to treat Congress as a non-entity.

To have an attorney general like Bill Barr come and act so condescending and arrogant and cold-shouldered to the Congressional Judiciary Committee was stunning because he really was visually showing contempt for Congress as an institution.

BERMAN: You know, we're in some kind of tautological discussion right now about what makes a crisis a crisis. I suppose in this case, it's if there is no clear resolution to a conflict that exists. You have the Executive and Legislative Branch of our government in clear conflict with no resolution. BRINKLEY: Yes. And in the 1930s there are examples that Congress could have somebody arrested if they didn't respond to a subpoena. That's not going to happen.

Everybody has been talking about Eric Holder and Fast and Furious under Barack Obama because he was held in contempt and kind of got forgotten about. He was about to run for president in 2020 and it didn't really dent him.

But, Barr is different. There's something going on here that the idea that he was supposed to be a referee and instead is coming out not just as the lawyer for the president, which can be expected. But the way that he's seeming to want to squash and disregard Congress, that this is the head of our Justice Department?

Now we are -- the reason we're using the term "constitutional crisis" is each branch of government is --

BERMAN: Right.

BRINKLEY: -- firing at each other.

BERMAN: Are there any guideposts from the founding fathers in the Constitution about what's supposed to happen here? They don't write extensively or at all, frankly, about congressional committees doing investigations.

BRINKLEY: They do not. And you could -- somebody could go online and Google now. There's a whole list of different times we've had these subpoenas not being followed and the like.

The Mueller report is, to me, very unique because some people would argue we've been in a constitutional crisis since Donald Trump was elected president.

There's been this sort of fear because of the Russia interference. We haven't quite seen something like that -- a foreign power interfering with our presidential election on this huge way.

But where does this head, we don't know. There are no guardrails right now except the guardrail is 2020. We're running into a presidential election and the steam is going to go out at some point because of Iowa, and New Hampshire, South Carolina, and going smack into --

BERMAN: There's also that third branch, which we'll get to weigh in. And there's uncertainty there. The only certainty is that it will take a very, very long time.

Again, from a historical perspective here -- let's go back to Watergate. Compare this to Watergate.

One of the things missing so far is Howard Baker. Is the idea of prominent Republican, at some point -- I mean, granted, I know Baker didn't do this in '72 or '73 -- it was late in '74 -- but saying enough? Now, you have Richard Burr, who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, saying he wants to hear from Donald Trump, Jr. That's not exactly Howard Baker.

BRINKLEY: No, it's not Howard Baker. And even if we said Burr is the new Howard Baker, you need more than that.

You need a real ardent conservative -- somebody who is fiercely loyal to Donald Trump break the way that Barry Goldwater broke during the Nixon years and went to Nixon and said you lied to the American people, you lied to me.

We don't see a Republican Party behaving that way right now. We don't see that gang of eight senators.

It was often thought that when McCain was alive and he had Lindsey Graham that they were this check.

BERMAN: Yes.

BRINKLEY: Well, that's broken up. Lindsey Graham is running for reelection right now and he is the biggest Trump rubberstamp there is out there.

So that's where this, right now, deviates from Watergate. But mainly, the tapes, the tapes, the tapes.

BERMAN: Yes.

BRINKLEY: There's no smoking gun evidence on the president the way the tapes were. Without the president being -- you know, having his fingerprints all over a crime, this is going to be just -- you know, if they bring out a new Mueller report and some is still redacted, we want to see more. The bar will keep getting moved.

BERMAN: What's your view of impeachment?

Again, from a historical perspective, what did the founders intend? Was it supposed to be such a high bar that it could never be used or is it an investigative tool? Is it something that should be available to Congress?

BRINKLEY: It should be available to Congress. It's something you don't want on your legacy in history. You don't want the eye tattooed to your chest.

Some people say well, Bill Clinton got impeached but he still did well. Ask Bill Clinton how it felt to be impeached. It's humiliating, it hurts his legacy now. He survived it, but it did political damage.

The argument of impeaching Donald Trump right now by Congress would be that look, the evidence is there -- it is contempt. They're not answering subpoenas. Let's move with impeachment and not worry about the political equation that the Senate's not there because by filming impeachment proceedings new things might be -- [07:40:00] BERMAN: Yes.

BRINKLEY: -- revealed in the way they were in Watergate.

But the tapes may be once every -- you know, imagine that kind of evidence --

BERMAN: Right.

BRINKLEY: -- being suddenly coughed up is quite remote.

BERMAN: Doug Brinkley, great to have you here with us. Thanks so much.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John.

Pope Francis just announced new rules on sex abuse. We have a live report from the Vatican, next.

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CAMEROTA: OK, we have some breaking news at this hour. Pope Francis issuing a new law holding bishops accountable for sex abuse or cover- ups.

CNN's Delia Gallagher is live in Rome with all the breaking details. What are you learning, Delia?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, this is essentially a universal reporting system that is being decreed by the Vatican that all Catholic dioceses around the world must comply with by June of 2020.

Two important points of this new policy.

[07:45:00] One is that it is now mandatory to report cover-up if that cover-up involves somebody in church leadership -- a cardinal or a bishop. There is a separate system which will allow them to be investigated.

These investigations, the Vatican say, must take place within 90 days. The report must be sent to the Vatican. So they're putting a time line on this to help streamline this process.

The other important point is that all dioceses around the world must have in effect by June of 2020 a public and accessible system for victims to be able to report abuses and cover-up.

This is something, Alisyn and John, that in the English-speaking world has been in effect for some time. But we saw in February at the global meeting on sex abuse at the Vatican that there are many countries around the world that still do not have this in effect. So, the Vatican, from the top down, is decreeing that this is going to be the procedure from here on out. It's going to go into effect June first for a 3-year trial period.

It remains to be seen, of course, how well this is going to be implemented on the ground, but this is the next step from Pope Francis in his concrete measures to fight sex abuse -- John.

BERMAN: It's a step, but it's the follow-through that really matters here.

Delia Gallagher for us in Rome. Thank you so much.

So just days after a deadly school shooting in Colorado, one 2020 candidate is out with an ambitious gun control plan. John Avlon breaks down Sen. Cory Booker's proposal in our reality check -- John.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: America has suffered two fatal school shootings in the past 10 days and lest we forget, kids getting shot by kids at school isn't normal.

I want you to listen to this 12-year-old survivor of Highlands Park, Nate Holley.

NATE HOLLEY, SIXTH GRADER, STEM SCHOOL HIGHLANDS RANCH, HIGHLANDS RANCH, COLORADO: I was going to go down fighting if I was going to go down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AVLON: And this brave kid was one of the lucky ones.

Twenty years ago when the Columbine killings occurred, a mass shooting at a school seemed a horrific aberration. But in the past 20 years, there have been shootings at 234 schools, according to data compiled by "The Washington Post." And this total doesn't include colleges.

At least 144 students, teachers, and other people have been killed in these assaults and more than 300 injured. And the median age of the shooter, 16.

This is an American epidemic and it's getting worse. The locations of the deadliest mass school shootings have been scarred in our minds -- Sandy Hook, Parkland -- but the vast majority of them fade from memory.

What can't be forgotten is that we haven't been able to summon the political will to stem the bleeding. And yes, this can be done consistent with the Second Amendment.

Even the landmark Heller decision written by Justice Scalia recognized, quote, "...an important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms" like the "historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons."

So, it's notable that the first big-picture gun control proposal has been put forward by a 2020 candidate.

Senator Cory Booker, former mayor of Newark, New Jersey, has laid down a sweeping plan that he says will help end the gun violence epidemic in America. And at the heart of the proposal is a national program requiring people get a license to buy and carry a gun, much like people are required to have a license to drive a car.

Basically, a person would have to be fingerprinted, pass a universal background check, and complete a certified gun safety course before they take possession of a firearm. The license would need to be renewed every five years.

Now, similar programs have been put in place in countries like Australia and Canada. They've also been implemented in states like Connecticut where studies show that gun killings fell 40 percent in the first decade after a "permit to purchase" law was implemented.

Now, critics call Booker's plan dangerous, pointing out that it could lead to the creation of a federal gun owner database, long the subject of NRA fears and fundraising.

Speaking of the NRA, Booker is also proposing to go after them, saying that as president, he'll ask the IRS to review the NRA's tax-exempt status.

Booker would close gun purchase loopholes and reinstate the assault weapons ban. He's also proposing requiring handguns to be manufactured with technology known as microstamping, which would make shell casings traceable to specific guns to help law enforcement.

But there are plenty of practical hurdles. Many of these proposals would require passage through the Senate, which is highly unlikely to have a Democratic filibuster-proof majority after the 2020 elections.

There will also be court challenges and cultural barriers, as well as questions on how to deal with mental health. So in some ways, a politically risking plan.

Red-state Democrats often cringe at gun reform proposals. But it's bold and may help Booker stand out in a crowded field with a concrete proposal to help stem the tide of gun violence in our country, which is spilling not just into schools but places of worship. Places where even thoughts and prayers can't seem to help.

And that's your reality check.

CAMEROTA: John, I'm so glad you focused on that. We don't have to live this way. We don't have to send our children to school every day not knowing if they are sitting ducks for a school shooter that day.

BERMAN: And this is a subject that comes up on the trail all the time --

AVLON: Exactly.

BERMAN: -- for these candidates. All right, John. AVLON: Operation lockdown.

BERMAN: Thanks very much.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

AVLON: Thanks, guys.

CAMEROTA: All right.

The made-for-T.V. drama of two actresses caught up in the college admissions scandal is about to be -- well, made for T.V. Details, next.

BERMAN: What?

CAMEROTA: Yes.

BERMAN: Very meta.

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[07:53:56] BERMAN: All right.

Talk about meta, the college admissions scandal involving actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman is being made into a T.V. series. It will be based on the upcoming book "Accepted" written by two "Wall Street Journal" reporters.

Brynn Gingras joins us now with much more on this.

CAMEROTA: Hi, guys.

BERMAN: I suppose it was inevitable.

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's what I think. That was fast -- just two months. That's really how long it took since this all broke for this college admissions scam to turn into a small-screen saga.

Annapurna Television, an L.A.-based production company, announced it bought the rights to the book "Accepted" and will make a mini-series out of it. "Accepted" is written by two "Wall Street Journal" reporters and details the recent scandal exposing all the criminal conspiracy behind it.

Now, it's unclear how many 1-hour episodes there will be or where you'll be able to watch it. It's still in the developmental phase.

But, D.V. DeVincentis will write the series. And he's well-known, if you know his name, for many projects, including "AMERICAN CRIME STORY", "THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON", which he wrote, produced, and won awards for.

[07:55:00] It's a safe bet this story is going to include actresses Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman -- their stories. Remember, they are two parents among 50 people charged in this case, so far -- there may be more.

In real life, though, let's shift to that.

Huffman is expected to formally enter a guilty plea to one federal county on Monday. She admitted to paying $15,000 in exchange for someone to boost her oldest daughter's test scores. And she'll be sentenced at a later date but she is facing four to 10 months in prison, according to a source.

So, guys, the big question is who is going to play these actresses?

CAMEROTA: Will they play themselves?

GINGRAS: That's the big question. Can you do that?

BERMAN: They're not getting cast in anything these days, so I don't know.

GINGRAS: Yes. They're not exactly busy.

CAMEROTA: I admit I am interested in seeing this movie because I do want to know what was going on behind the scenes -- the judgments that they were making.

GINGRAS: Right.

BERMAN: But it's not going to be over -- the story is not over. It will still be on T.V.

GINGRAS: Well, it just might be.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it will be a tough one to -- which to do.

GINGRAS: It might be closer to over. We'll have, at least, guilty pleas and sentencing, so we'll see. It'll be good.

CAMEROTA: Thank you --

BERMAN: Thanks, Brynn.

GINGRAS: All right.

CAMEROTA: -- so much.

OK, baby Archie's big reveal -- you know, for the name -- has caused lots of social media buzz. But some users are giving the Royals a reality check.

CNN's Jeanne Moos explains.

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JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They used to be two, then baby makes three. And now, baby has a name -- a bunch of names.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is official.

BROOKE BALDWIN, HOST, "CNN NEWSROOM": Archie Harrison Mountbatten- Windsor.

MOOS (voice-over): But you can call him --

BALDWIN: Baby Archie.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT, HOST, "CNN TALK WITH MAX FOSTER", LONDON ANCHOR, "CNN NEWSROOM": Little Archie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prince Archie.

MOOS (voice-over): Actually, he's not a prince yet. Archie met the Queen, but his dad and mom decided against bestowing any aristocratic titles on their son for now.

He was introduced to the public at Windsor Castle. Meghan caressed him while Prince Harry picked off lint. Mom described motherhood as --

MEGHAN MARKEL, DUCHESS OF SUSSEX: Magic. It's pretty amazing. And -- I mean, I have the two best guys in the world so I'm really happy.

PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: He's already got a little bit of facial hair, as well -- wonderful.

MOOS (on camera): Amid all the oohing and aahing, some offered a reality check.

MOOS (voice-over): Read one mother's tweet, "Very much enjoying the irony of watching Meghan and Harry talk about the magic of parenting whilst my 3-year-old screams, 'You're not my mummy anymore' at me for not painting her nails correctly."

And how about these top-six name suggestions for the new royal baby?

1. I 2. Do 3. Not 4. Give 5. A 6. (Bleep)

But you know who gave the baby's name the royal treatment?

"THE ARCHIES" THEME: "Everything's Archie."

MOOS (voice-over): The ginger-haired comic strip character greeted the news with, "I'm baby. And someone wondered, "How can Archie be the prince when Jughead wears the crown?"

It's a lot of name for someone seven pounds, three ounces.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor.

MOOS (voice-over): Mom and dad reportedly just liked the name Archie, while Harrison comes from "son of Harry."

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, ABC "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!": They had the baby on your birthday and there's a rumor --

GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: Yes, the kid stole my thunder.

KIMMEL: Yes, really.

CLOONEY: That birthday.

KIMMEL: You will be the godfather to the child. Is that true?

CLOONEY: That's -- that would be a bad idea.

MOOS (voice-over): With all this royal baby hoopla, Archie's probably saying, "Wake me up when it's over."

ARCHIE ANDREWS, "THE ARCHIES": And you can say that again.

MOOS (voice-over): Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: All right, back to our news of the day. A Republican-led panel has subpoenaed President Trump's eldest son. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The Republican-led committee issued a subpoena to Donald Trump, Jr.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A party-line vote holding the attorney general in contempt. The president invoking executive privilege.

NADLER: We are now in a constitutional crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you think it's a constitutional crisis, impeach the president. If you don't, move on.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kendrick Castillo died a legend. He died a trooper.

JOHN CASTILLO, FATHER OF KENDRICK CASTILLO: Like a flash, he jumped up. She said, "He's a hero. He saved me."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, May ninth, 8:00 in the East.

We have a lot of news to coverage -- to cover because the escalating battle between the White House and Congress is turning into a family affair. The latest subpoena has Donald Trump, Jr.'s name on it and what is remarkable in this climate is that it is from the Republican- led Senate Intelligence Committee.

Don, Jr., you'll remember, helped organize that 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Russians who were promising dirt on Hillary Clinton.

BERMAN: Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. That came after President Trump's sweeping assertion of executive privilege over the entire report.

Now, as for Mueller himself, Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler says they will subpoena the special counsel to testify if they have to.

Also, we're following breaking news this morning.

South Korea's military says North Korea has fired two short-range missiles -- two missiles. This is the second time this week that North Korea has done something like this. What does this say about the president's chummy.

END