Return to Transcripts main page
ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Trump's Labor Secretary Acosta Resigns Over Epstein Case; Says It's "The Right Thing" After Saying He'd Stay Put; Trump: It Was Acosta's Choice To Resign, "Not Me"; Official: Trump Was Privately Stewing Over Acosta's Fate; Barry Closes In On Gulf Coast, Could Dump 20 Inches Of Rain; Mueller Public Hearing May Be Delayed One Week; Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) is Interviewed About Mueller Public Hearing May Be Delayed One Week; Harris Takes Aim at Elizabeth Warren. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired July 12, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We love you, Jill. I'm Wolf Blitzer. Thanks very much for watching. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WOLFBLITZER. Tweet the show @CNNSITROOM.
Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is out, yet another member of Trump's cabinet forced to quit amid scandal and tonight another high ranking official maybe next. Plus, imminent disaster, tropical storm Barry gaining power at this hour threatening Louisiana with epic floods, landfall now just hours away. And the highly anticipated hearing was Robert Mueller set for next week may have hit a snag. What is the holdup? Let's go out front.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, President Trump can quit you, especially if you're in his cabinet. Tonight yet another departure perhaps with a little push from the President, this time, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta announced his resignation days after coming under heavy scrutiny for his role in a plea deal with accused child rapists Jeffrey Epstein when Acosta was U.S. attorney in Florida.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He has been a fantastic Secretary of Labor and Alex called me this morning and he wanted to see me. I just want to let you know this was him, not me, because I'm with him. He's a tremendous talent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So that's today. Of course, just two days ago, Acosta said it was up to the President, not him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX ACOSTA, LABOR SECRETARY: I'm doing my job. I'm doing my job. If at some point the president decides that I am not the best person to do this job, I respect that. That is his choice. I serve at the pleasure of the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Got it. So what changed? A senior White House official tell CNN that Trump was stewing and worried that a steady stream of revelations in the Epstein case would haunt Trump on the campaign trail and Acosta may not be the only one on the chopping block tonight. A senior White House official also telling CNN that the President is also looking at replacing his Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
What is sparking this round of speculation? It's not clear, but the President has long been unhappy with Coats. One of their many points of disagreement, North Korea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have made a lot of progress as far as denuclearization is concerned.
DAN COATS, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We currently assess that North Korea will seek to retain its WMD capabilities and is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Coats' comments there were just 10 days after the President's and who can forget the very memorable moment when Coats found out in real time on camera that Trump was inviting Putin to visit the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COATS: OK. That's going to be special.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: That visit did not end up happening. So right now 12 of Trump's cabinet level officials have left the administration that number is staggering. During the Obama administration, there was no turnover in the cabinet at this point in his presidency. And under George W. Bush just one Cabinet Secretary had left his job at this point.
Kaitlan Collins is out front at the White House for us tonight. Kaitlan, Acosta said today that he made the decision to resign and Trump was very complimentary of Acosta today calling him fantastic or tremendous talent, but make no mistake Trump clearly had to have been the one making the decision here.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Kate, despite the president saying publicly that he didn't want to see this staffer go, sources tell us that behind the scenes he saw it as a sense of relief when Alex Acosta did offer to give the President his resignation. He was essentially viewing all of this through the lens of how it would affect his presidency and not only, of course, as far as having his Cabinet Secretary come under such scrutiny bring such controversy looming over the White House.
But also put renewed scrutiny on the President's own relationship with Jeffrey Epstein. Something that the President didn't want to be the focus that was happening something he's being asked about in the Oval Office. Kate, he is the one who encouraged Alex Acosta to hold this press conference to defend himself and initially he was pretty favorable.
But then as he was hearing criticism from other people who thought that Alex Acosta should go, that's when you saw the President change his mind and start talking about things like the victim notification aspect of this plea deal, something that came under an increasing amount of scrutiny in recent days. Now, Alex Acosta has stepped down, he's going to leave after seven days. He said that's when his resignation will be effective.
But, of course, the question here is about just how many acting officials now are in the President's cabinet, ahead of a Cabinet meeting they're going to have here at the White House next week. And you saw the President today when he was standing there next to Alex Acosta, he had to look down at a piece of paper to see who it is it's going to be that is now going to be running the Labor Department.
[19:04:58] BOLDUAN: It's hard to keep track where everybody is heading now. Great to see you, Kaitlan. Thanks so much. Out front with me tonight, April Ryan, White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, David Urban, an Advisor to President Trump's 2020 campaign and Joan Walsh, National Affairs Correspondent for The Nation. Thanks, guys for being here.
April, the turns from one day to the next are hard to keep track of here. Now, he's got Coats in the hot seat once again, unclear exactly why. You're at the White House day in and day out, is everyone in constant fear that the President is going to turn on them the next?
APRIL RYAN, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, AMERICAN URBAN RADIO NETWORKS: Yes, and you know today is fire me Friday, so it doesn't really change the fact that everyone always worries on Friday if they have a job as we always seen costly. So what happens with codes, this just further reveals the chasm, the great chasm that is there between the President and his National Security team.
The President is going to continue to fight to tell his supporters that, look, we don't get along. I don't have conference in him. And this does not bode well for the intelligence community that the president really doesn't utilize. And when he does utilize them, we hear about bullet points on issues of National Security and things around the world.
So I would not be surprised if there is a change maybe before fire me Friday next week, we don't know. But there is a serious situation here and it's unfortunate that it's a joking matter, but it is real. It is real.
BOLDUAN: David, this amount of turnover, if you just look at the numbers, it is unprecedented. You want the President to succeed. How do you make the case that this isn't a problem what he's dealing with here?
DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: Listen, so the notion that White House is in constant chaos has been a theme that media has loved to grab on since the beginning of this administration.
BOLDUAN: Even people who leave the administration keep saying (inaudible) aside, just the vacancies and the actings.
URBAN: No, absolutely. Well, listen, in the President's mind, everybody is acting, so if you have a title it doesn't --
RYAN: He's the greatest actor.
URBAN: As everyone points out, you're here one day, you're not there the next. So titles tells me very little and just a push back on April's point of it, and she knows this, Dan Coats is much more - he's a glorified staff. I don't want to say that to be mean, but you have a Director of Central Intelligence that the President talks. You have a Secretary of State who the President talks to frequently. You have a new Secretary of Defense coming up where the President has a great relationship with. A National Security Advisor the President talks to.
So when you're saying that there's no one there to kind of talk to or who does the President rely on, there's nobody there that's credible. I think there's lots of credible people there in the intelligence community and other places the President relies. And just because he has a particular disagreement with Dan Coats on one issue, it doesn't mean that he doesn't like the guy or he's going to kick him out.
RYAN: But he has a disagreement with all of his intelligence community. He continues to have this disagreement. This is not just one piece of one person and it takes a team to come together. I hear you, but I totally disagree.
URBAN: April, not surprising, it's not surprising.
BOLDUAN: Well, disagreement is just the spice of life of the show.
RYAN: Not surprising.
JOAN WALSH, NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE NATION: And I, of course, disagree too. I agree with April, it is a problem. I think it's a problem.
RYAN: That's right, Joan.
WALSH: That he gets rid of so many people who say things to him that he doesn't want to hear and Director Coats has disagreed with him on Russian intelligence, on other things. There has been tension for a while and the other problem with this turnover, I think, is that he's not even trying to get people confirmed. We can talk about Chuck Schumer, but he's not even putting people up to face confirmation, so you have all of those people not been vetted.
URBAN: Joan, I think there's a secretary of defense hearing this coming week, if I'm not mistaken.
WALSH: There is, but that's the long time coming and we've gone through several people.
BOLDUAN: I think I will say with Acosta --
URBAN: Oh, OK, small point there. You're right.
BOLDUAN: I will say with Acosta though, this stuff was known, this problem come up during his confirmation hearing and what I find surprising ...
URBAN: Well, no, wait ...
BOLDUAN: Hang on. Hang on. What I find surprising here is that the problem that President from what he said publicly and what we're hearing privately is not the issue that was actually the basis of criticism of Alex Acosta. It's just that people were talking about it, David.
WALSH: He had a bad press conference and that's the worst thing you can do in this administration, embarrass yourself on TV.
RYAN: Horrible press conference. Horrible press conference.
URBAN: Well, listen, obviously Mr. Epstein is a very, very bad actor, very bad individual and the amazing thing is that in Secretary Acosta's hearing only one Senator asked a question about this case. I mean, on both sides of the aisle, only one Senator asked a question which I find completely mind-boggling.
BOLDUAN: And yes, he did get confirmed and that is on the Senators and there were Democrats who did vote for him. I totally hear you, but the fact that the President was like, "Oh, this is now coming up," is I think is rich.
URBAN: Listen, I mean, when this started I think Secretary Acosta should have done the right thing and departed. This is not something that there shouldn't be - it's going to be litigated day in and day out on the papers. You have the new charges in the Southern District of New York, Mr. Epstein is a very bad individual. Secretary Acosta did the right thing today by stepping down.
[19:10:14] WALSH: I think the time to leave would have been November when the Miami Herald blew this case open and really revealed new details about the extent of the communication ...
URBAN: Joan, I don't disagree, yes.
WALSH: ... OK, that's great.
BOLDUAN: But also, guys, I'm going to be contrarian here.
BOLDUAN: The example that has been set in this administration and by the President and it doesn't really even matter. Yes, the context always matters but it's never back down, never apologize and that is what Alex Acosta was attempting to do a couple days ago in that press conference, it just failed.
BOLDUAN: Go ahead, April.
URBAN: Well, that's the President's ...
RYAN: That's exactly the point, the problem. But wait a minute, let me say something real quick. The problem is the President doesn't want to have the optics of failure in his administration. The Acosta issue is total failure and the President was willing to stand by. But guess who it was who basically told Acosta you need to leave. It was Mick Mulvaney and there was grumbling on the Hill.
The President was willing to hold out in the midst of this controversy. The President put Acosta out there saying, "Look, sway the American public and it may work. But Mulvaney said is you got to go. And then there were members on the Hill that said, "This doesn't bode well." So the President was willing to hold on in the midst of this very ugly, ugly, ugly controversy.
URBAN: I mean, there are times when I would ...
RYAN: OK, I love your laughter. You laugh when I tell you the truth.
BOLDUAN: David wasn't laughing.
BOLDUAN: I'm calling you, April. I'm calling you. That was Joan's laugh. David go ahead.
RYAN: Oh, Joan is fine with me.
URBAN: Oh, Joan was laughing at you, not me.
RYAN: I love Joan.
URBAN: Listen, April, what I'm going to say there are times when you stay in fight there are things that you fall on your sword on and you fight back hard on. This is a very, very, very serious, serious case here. Very serious things, very sensitive matter involving underage children, lots of really heart wrenching sick kind of things that happened. This isn't one goes instance you stay and fight in public.
WALSH: And the President was his friend. I know they had a falling out 15 years ago he says, but they were once good friends. They party together, so that's the other part here that's a little bit concerning.
URBAN: Joan, I'm not sure. Listen, if you look at that, Mr. Epstein was friends with lots of high profile people across various administrations so I'm not sure that hold I'm not sure that holds a lot of water.
BOLDUAN: I will promise you though, all of it is going to be under a microscope as this will continue.
BOLDUAN: Thank you, guys. I really appreciate it. Thanks so much.
URBAN: Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Out front for us next, unprecedented flooding. That is the fear tonight as New Orleans is preparing at this hour for life threatening hit from Barry. Plus, Robert Mueller is supposed to testify publicly just days from now. The date has been set. Tonight, there's talk that the hearing could be derailed. And why is Kamala Harris taking a shot at Elizabeth Warren?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'm going to tell you, that's why I'm not turning out plans like a factory.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:16:40] BOLDUAN: Breaking news, the Gulf Coast is now bracing for a life threatening storm surges. Tropical storm Barry grows in size and intensity. From space, you can see the looming danger as it is closing in on hurricane status and this is what it looks like from the ground.
The first pictures out of Louisiana are the first signs of flooding. The mayor of New Orleans is not taking any chance ordering residents to start seeking shelter because the storm could dump 20 inches of rain testing levees limits there. AccuWeather storm chaser meteorologist Reed Timmer is out front for us
live in Morgan City, Louisiana tonight. Reed, you've been driving around today. What have you been seeing so far?
REED TIMMER, ACCUWEATHER NETWORK EXTREME METEOROLOGIST: Well, some of the worst that I've seen so far was in Terrebonne Parish off in the southeastern part of the parish well to the south east of Highway 90 in the very low country down there. And we started to see the first signs of that storm surge, it was coming up in over island road there, that's the road down to those islands. The marsh-like islands off to the southeast there.
But you can certainly see the water level rises. There are waves that were crashing and coming up and over the highway there. The locals were actually taking a swim in some of the current out there that were taking advantage to get the fishing conditions. They had caught a bunch of blue crab because of the high tide there that was coming up and over that road.
It would sweep some of the crab on the road there but the conditions are going to be extremely dangerous off to the southeast especially later on tonight through early tomorrow as that tropical storm Barry gets a little bit closer and it could even be approaching category 1 status as it likely will make landfall possibly just to the south of Morgan City. but there is a storm surge warning in effect and 2 to 4 foot storm surge is expected.
And when you're talking about areas that are very close to sea level, that 2 to 4 feet translates to a life-threatening storm surge down there.
BOLDUAN: You mentioned Morgan City. I mean, this storm could dump as much as 20 inches of rain in places like Morgan City. I mean what do folks there need to be looking out for?
TIMMER: Well, it's quite a complex scenario down here in Southeast Louisiana. You only have the storm surge flooding occur when those easterly winds pile that water into these inlets including the rivers. But you also have the river flooding. The rivers are much above normal. The Mississippi River is already above 16 feet. The Atchafalaya River here just outside of Morgan City is also much above normal and those are expected to crest later on this weekend Saturday into Sunday and those river levels are also made worse by the flash flooding with 15 to 20 inches of rainfall.
So you have all three types of flooding contributing to dangerous conditions here across the southeastern part of the state.
BOLDUAN: Yes. That's like this trifecta danger that is all kind of coming together with this. That's what people need to be watching for. Reed, thank you so much. We're going to be checking back in with you as all of this progresses throughout the night and throughout the weekend. I want to go now to Allison Chinchar. She's in the CNN Weather Center looking at all of the data, the forecast, the track. Allison, what's the latest on the storm?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right. So the next update should come out here in just about the next 45 minutes or less. But right now we still know the winds are about 65 miles per hour. It's moving incredibly slow, west northwest at about 6 miles per hour. That's part of the reason why flooding is going to be such a concern because the slower the storm moves, the longer it has to dump a tremendous amount of rain over this particular region and we're not just talking about Louisiana, because the track will bring some of that heavy rain into places like Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, even Tennessee.
So there are going to be some other states that are impacted by this storm. Landfall is still expected to be Saturday morning across Louisiana as it finally crosses over.
[19:20:09] And, yes, the National Hurricane Center saying there is still the potential for this to increase into a low-end category 1 hurricane by the time it makes landfall. Here you can see the forecast radar, bringing that heavy rain into places like Baton Rouge, New Orleans, even Morgan City there. Those are also going to be some of the cities that are concerned about the incredibly high amount of volume of rain, widespread amounts here that you can see about 5 to 10 inches of rain.
But the closer you are to the coastal region, that's where you're going to start to see some of those higher amounts. Just to the west of Morgan City, just to the west of Baton Rouge, not out of the question for some of these locations to pick up in excess of a foot of rain before the system finally pushes out. But we've mentioned, it's not just the heavy rainfall it's also the storm surge that's going to cause huge problems.
Where you see this light pink color here, we're talking about 2 to 4 feet in most of those areas, 3 to 5 or even 3 to 6 feet for that brighter pink color. So again that's also going to pose a concern for the flooding as well. And again the main concern is also those rivers, because they are already in some cases at or above flood stage, now you're adding all of that water on top of it which will just exacerbate that flooding problem.
BOLDUAN: Yes. Allison, thank you so much. So as Reed and both Allison were mentioning, waters already rising in and around places like Morgan City and that's what you're looking at right here, ahead of tropical storm Barry's landfall. Out front now is that city's mayor, Frank Grizzaffi, he's joining me by the phone. Mayor, can you hear me?
FRANK GRIZZAFFI, MAYOR OF MORGAN CITY: Yes, great to be here.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much for getting on the phone. I really appreciate it. I mean we're looking at this video and it looks like Morgan City is already seeing some flooding. What is your biggest concern with the storm right now?
GRIZZAFFI: Well, our concern right now is not really the storm surge or the wind. It's going to be a category 1, we're used to that. And the storm surge, we're well protected with great federal flood walls and backwater levee systems. What strikes fear on us is 20 inches of rain. We're completely under pump and if we can't pump the water out, that gives us trouble.
We can handle the first five inches of rain and after that just one inch every hour. So we got with the governor's office and express that concern and they sent down eight big pumps to help our existing pumping stations to try to handle this type of rainfall. BOLDUAN: So that was his cross your fingers and hope the pumps come
up as quickly as they can. I mean Louisiana is obviously no stranger to storms, Mayor. Your city in particular. I mean you've even mentioned that you've dodged the worst of it a number of times before. Are you concerned with what you're looking at when you're looking at the rain, this kind of trifecta of problems and how it's moving so slow, that you're not going to be so lucky this time.
GRIZZAFFI: Right. Well, we've had some huge hurricanes over here in not recent years but over the course of Morgan City, but we've not had a hurricane here in the last 10 years. We sure hadn't seen 30 inches of rain. So our biggest concern is not the wind, not the storm surge, but how much rain we're going to get at one time if we get some breaks in the rainfall. We have the ability to pump it out. We just don't want four or five hours of constant rain and that could pose a problem.
BOLDUAN: If we're talking 20 inches of rain, what does that look like tonight, tomorrow, Sunday for the city?
GRIZZAFFI: So the forecast is telling us it's going to be 20 inches rain over a couple day period. That's manageable. We look at the city in New Orleans getting double digit rain the other day, there's not a pumping station in the world it's going to handle that type of rainfall. So we feel pretty good if we get an enough breaks in the rain that we can keep up, but we have put our citizens on alert.
We had made a voluntary evacuation where you feel the need or you have the means to leave it's time to leave. But we've done all we can. Now, it's just a matter of waiting and seeing if we hold up.
BOLDUAN: That sit and wait is always the worst part. When do you think you're going to know if you've dodged the worst of it in another one, what are you watching closest?
GRIZZAFFI: Well, it's going to be slow, so we'll start getting heavy rainfall as early as in the morning. They're talking about the eye will pass just to the west of us which puts us on the west side of this slow-moving storm. So by noon tomorrow we're going to know how we fair.
BOLDUAN: All right. We're with you. We're watching. Thank you, Mayor for jumping on the phone. Good luck tonight.
GRIZZAFFI: Great talking to you.
BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. Out front for us next, the highly anticipated Robert Mueller hearing may not happen after all and it's all because, maybe, because of new demands coming from Democrats. And President Trump declaring the raids to round up undocumented immigrants will begin this weekend. Tonight, one of those fearing piece of target speaks out.
[19:28:30] BOLDUAN: Tonight, the most highly anticipated congressional testimony really of the year is it on, is it off or is it delayed? Special Counsel Robert Mueller was set to testify before two House committees next week in just five days. But sources tell CNN that may now not be the case, because some lawmakers are upset they might be boxed out from getting a question in because of the timing that was agreed to. Is this infighting now putting Mueller's entire appearance before Congress in jeopardy? Phil Mattingly is out front for me tonight.
Phil, where do things stand right now?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, officially the hearing is still next week. The two committee chairs that are working on the behind-the-scenes negotiations with the Special Counsel's team and the Justice Department have refused to comment throughout the course of the day. There has been no official schedule change.
But let me take you behind the scenes, Kate, it is very clear there have been ongoing negotiations not to cancel the hearing but to delay the hearing for a week. And the rationale is twofold, you hit on the most important one right now, due to the time limits that were set on the initial agreement for the testimony in front of two committees by Robert Mueller, a large number of members on both of those committees would not actually get to ask questions. That raised a lot of concerns inside the Democratic caucus.
Obviously, a lot of members want to ask questions. A lot of members want to participate. A lot of members probably want a YouTube video of themselves asking questions and so that was a problem. There's a secondary problem too which has also come up according to sources and that is as our colleagues Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb reported earlier in this week, the Justice Department has been wary of Democratic requests to have two of Mueller's top two deputies come and testify behind closed doors. The Attorney General also weighed in on this, Bill Barr, saying he didn't think that was something that should happen.
[19:29:59] So those are both part of the negotiations that are ongoing right now. As it currently stands at 7:30 on Friday night, we're still waiting for an official answer and that means negotiations have been continuing behind the scenes.
But, Kate, you know the stakes. This is the hearing that everybody has been waiting for. This is the hearing that has been on hold since the report was submitted back in March. Democrats are desperate to have this hearing. The hearing will happen. Right now, just a question of when, Kate.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OK. I mean, if they don't know when it's happening, why set a date for possibly next week. I'm confused by it all, Phil. OK. Keep us updated. Thank you so much.
OUTFRONT with me now, Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, one of the committees where Mueller is set to be testifying.
Congressman, thanks for being here. REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Thank you, Kate, for having me.
BOLDUAN: First off, what are you hearing? Are you hearing that Mueller is coming this coming Wednesday? Next Wednesday? Not at all? What are you hearing?
RASKIN: Well, I have to start by telling you that I was in the oversight hearings all day about the border and inhumane treatment of children and families in the detention centers. So, I missed a lot of whatever was happening today. But I know that there are, you know, high-level secret negotiations going on about exactly when the special counsel is going to come and what the terms are.
Our main determination has been to give him as much time as possible to articulate the basic findings and conclusions of the report which have been so badly misstated and distorted by Attorney General Barr and President Trump with their ludicrous mantra of no obstruction, no collusion when the report is filled with evidence contradicting both of those claims.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, are you entirely confident that Mueller is still going to be testifying?
RASKIN: Yes. I believe that's a historical necessity. When people get into all of the inside machinations of all the different parties I try to think of it from the outside. I think historically he has to come and speak. I wish he had done it the day after the report was delivered.
But Barr had a game to play. Remember, he withheld it three and a half weeks before Easter and Passover. And, you know, here we are.
BOLDUAN: Well, let me ask you this, because you are one of the members who -- this is goes by seniority and how the question goes in this hearings. You are one of the members who could be boxed out if the hearing moves ahead as is with the time constraints.
BOLDUAN: But answer me this, you as a committee, you finally get Mueller to agree to testify after he originally said he didn't want to and he originally was pushing back very clearly. Nadler clearly had to agree to this to get Mueller there, because it is unusual, this kind of a time limit.
Are you concerned that you are risking all of that getting Mueller to speak publicly just so more members can ask questions?
RASKIN: Well, you know it was the Republicans who are making a big deal out of that. I don't know if you saw the hearing yesterday. But they were all railing about how they wanted to have their five minutes and so on. Of course, that is the norm around here. And it's a rule in the House of Representatives.
But I don't think it's fundamentally about that. I think it's a question of whether there is going to be sufficient time for the whole committee to question the special counsel and for him to have an opportunity to speak to the American people. I mean, we need him to articulate some important things.
BOLDUAN: If it comes down to it, Congressman, is Mueller testifying for two hours publicly better than Mueller not testifying for no hours publicly.
RASKIN: Well, of course, it is. There is no doubt about that. But, look, the special counsel has said he wants to stand on the four corners of the report. So, he wants to be a little bit like, you know, Shakespeare and Macbeth. He wants the work to speak for itself but his role as a special counsel is more complicated than that. For example, he wrote the letter protesting Attorney General Barr's misstatements about the contents of the report. And he said that basically the attorney general was confusing the American public about it.
You know, I would like him to expound upon that. We would like him to also expound upon what he talked about in the press conference, which was the reason the president wasn't indicted wasn't because of a lack of evidence. It was because of the Department of Justice policy that you don't diet a sitting president. And so that explains why he has abundant evidence and ten episodes of obstruction of justice and yet decided not to indict the president because he felt he couldn't under DOJ policy.
BOLDUAN: Let me ask you, because you called for an impeachment inquiry launched into President Trump. I want to play for you what the Judiciary Chairman Gerry Nadler said today about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Articles of impeachment are under consideration as part of the committee's investigation although no final determination has been made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: This is the most directly he's actually ever talked about impeachment proceedings. Are you sensing any change here?
RASKIN: Well, I think I -- I do detect a little bit of a shift there, just because there is greater public consciousness and awareness of the contents of the report. And people are also starting to talk about other kinds of impeachable offenses that are out there.
[19:35:00] The key point to remember is there is a difference between impeachment inquiry, which is looking into all of the evidence, and articles of impeachment and actually voting on them. Actually, a majority of impeachment inquiries in congressional history have not led to articles of impeachment. So, it's not a foreordained conclusion here.
However we have seen very serious evidence adduced by the special counsel and coming from other places.
BOLDUAN: All right. So, when you find out about the committee, let us know so we can a make a schedule. Appreciate it.
RASKIN: I absolutely will.
BOLDUAN: Thank you, Congressman.
RASKIN: And if you hear anything, you tell me --
BOLDUAN: I will. Absolutely, I'll call you right up.
RASKIN: Thank you so much.
BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, Kamala Harris takes a surprising shot at Elizabeth Warren. Smart to go after a rising star of the progressive wing?
And President Trump says the raids to round up thousands of undocumented immigrants will take place in weekend. But in doing so, did he just jeopardize the operation?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It starts on Sunday. And they're going to take people out and bring them back to their countries.
BOLDUAN: Tonight, the fight for 2020, Democratic candidate Kamala Harris taking a hit at her Democratic opponents like Elizabeth Warren.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well I'm going to tell you, that's why I'm not churning out plans like a factory, because it is really important to me that any plan that I'm prepared to implement is actually doable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:40:03] BOLDUAN: Warren, of course, is famous for rolling out proposals on almost every topic. I have a plan for that has become a staple of her stump speeches. Which approach will win over more voters in the end? One test might come this weekend.
Miguel Marquez is OUTFRONT.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Progressives here at Netroots Nation believe they can beat President Trump no matter who is nominated.
SHERRIE COHEN, PHILADELPHIA PROGRESSIVE: Whoever wins the nomination, including a BLT sandwich, I will go for that.
MARQUEZ (on camera): How badly do you want Donald Trump the out of the White House?
SARAH SULLIVAN, NORTH CAROLINA PROGRESSIVE: Really, really badly, so badly that it's making me ill.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): But as much as they want a win, progressives expect a candidate who shares values or at least a centrist who adopts what they want.
AIMEE ALLISON, FOUNDER/PRESIDENT, SHE THE PEOPLE: Will the candidates including Joe Biden accept that his base has changed under his feet, that we're demanding economic, racial and social justice as the platform?
MARQUEZ: Biden isn't scheduled to appear, neither is progressive stalwart Bernie Sanders. But surging 2020 hopeful Elizabeth Warren and several others will be there. Along with 3,600 activists expect to descend upon the annual conference, the largest ever, according to organizers, progressive momentum picking up steam.
MARY RICKLES, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, NETROOTS NATION: We have our largest attendance ever by about 30 percent. It's an indicator that the grassroots is very excited about 2020.
MARQUEZ: Community activist in the battleground state of Pennsylvania which Trump won three years ago hitting the streets nearly every day, building support, November 2020, a powerful motivator.
KEVIN PACE, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, ONE PA: Our current president says that black employment is at its lowest that it's ever been. But people in our community are struggling to find jobs.
MARQUEZ: Twenty-five-year-old Anthony Davis had never even registered to vote until the election of Donald Trump.
ANTHONY DAVIS, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, ONE PA: Now I'm a active voter. I make sure I go for the polls every election. I make sure that I'm there. I show up.
MARQUEZ: And he is not alone. Activists across the left say President Donald J. Trump is keeping them focused .
JOSEPH EMPSON, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST, ONE PA: Oh, man everybody is gung- ho. Everybody is coming out -- kids, mothers, brothers in law, pets, dogs, itching to vote. They can't wait.
MARQUEZ: So, we talked to tons of progressives about what they thought about the Democratic Party. What we are hearing is the divisiveness or rancor that dominated the 2016 race. Democrats have from the center, all the way to the left, they seem united at least for now on one goal, defeating Donald Trump, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Great to see you, Miguel. Thanks so much.
OUTFRONT with me now, Waleed Shahid, communications director for Justice Democrats, a progressive political action committee.
Waleed, thanks for being here.
As you can see Miguel as he was traveling around in Pennsylvania, he really sees the enthusiasm of the progressive left. So, you -- and you can definitely look -- you can harness that and win a primary. You can't win a general election with just support from liberals. When you see candidates moving further left to capture that support and win that over, do you see a risk in that?
WALEED SHAHID, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: Well, I don't think the reason Democrats lost in 2016 was because Hillary Clinton was too far left. I think the reason they lost was because of this issue around motivation. And so throughout, the Midwest, including in Pennsylvania, what you saw was that there was a deep decrease of Democratic turnout from base voters.
So, union household decreased, turnout for young people decreased, turnout for people of color decreased. And I think that's what progressives are worried about is the non-voter not the swing voter. Actually the swing voter of 2020 to is the non-voter. The piece I saw highlighted the fact that there are a lot of working class communities, a lot of people who are Democrats that do not didn't vote that's the voters that progressives think you need to to speak to with bold ideas, bold solutions.
BOLDUAN: Let's talk about these plans, then. I mean, Elizabeth Warren very much embraces about the "I have plan for that". She talks all the time, selling t-shirts that say that. Kamala Harris, when she's speaking to the Breakfast Club today, almost seems to be mocking it.
I mean, what are you hearing from donors and supporters? Do any -- is the Warren -- do they think Warren's plan is realistic when she is rolling out so many.
SHAHID: I think a lot of people are excited about Elizabeth Warren's plans because it shows that she is taking seriously, the run for presidency that she's putting out proposals for some of the biggest problem in our economy, in our democracy. Things like breaking up, big tech, things like canceling student debt, you know?
BOLDUAN: Kamala Harris clearly thinks there is a angle there.
SHAHID: Right. Well, what I'm also hearing from activists that she, you know, partly from being from California there is an issue around her taking on big tech because those are big donors in California. So, it's actually kind of surprising because I thought Kamala Harris with her performance at the debate with Joe Biden, progressives were starting to, you know, have an interest in Kamala Harris. She went up in the polls.
It's kind of weird that she would come out against Elizabeth Warren in this way.
[19:45:01] BOLDUAN: One thing not weird when you see they poll neck and neck, and they're statistically tied in the polls for second place, maybe then it's not surprising we see them define angles to take each other on. But let's see what's next.
Great to see you. Thank you for being here. I really appreciate it.
OUTFRONT next, President Trump confirms immigration raids will take place Sunday. And you'll hear from one person who is terrified that he could be rounded up.
BOLDUAN: Tonight, a senior administration official telling CNN President Trump may have jeopardized the ICE raids set for this weekend by publicly confirming they are happening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Nothing to be secret about. If the word gets out, it gets out because hundreds of people know about it. It's a major operation. So, if the word gets out, it gets out. It starts on Sunday and they're taking people out and they're going to bring them back to their countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: The operation targeting nine major American cities is increasing fear among thousands of undocumented immigrants.
Sara Sidner is OUTFRONT with one of their stories.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This undocumented father says he's never felt this much stress and fear in his 15 years living and working in the United States.
[19:50:02] (on camera): What did you think when you heard that the raids would be happening again?
(voice-over): It's very stressful. It's like you have a disease that's killing you, like cancer something that makes you feel desperation, he says.
Fear and desperation are exploding in immigrant communities across the country after the Trump administration announced raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agents set to begin this weekend.
Psychologically, you live in fear, you live thinking that any day, any moment, you'll get a knock on the door.
He lays out his documents to show he pays his taxes. He's worked hard as a repairman to achieve the American dream. Do you think the president has achieved his goal of making people who are here undocumented want to leave?
Yes, he's achieved that. There are many people who don't have a choice, he says.
But he knows the life he built with his life together in California could be wiped away with a knock on the door from an ICE agent. He said he left El Salvador for economic reasons after his first wife died in childbirth and he could not make enough money to provide for his children there.
He entered the U.S. illegally via the Rio Grande in 2005 and missed a court date and a court ordered his deportation. He says that is his only crime.
He's been trying to remedy it through the courts, which includes making scheduled visits with ICE which leaves him even more vulnerable. At his church --
ADA VALIENTE, PASTOR: I'm putting myself, my church at risk.
SIDNER: His pastors made clear they are willing to face the consequences of helping the undocumented.
A. VALIENTE: This is what we need to do. We need to walk beside our vulnerable.
SIDNER: Their church is a member of a network of churches preparing emergency shelter for people to go into hiding in the short term and if need be indefinitely.
MELVIN VALIENTE, PASTOR: We have a higher law. The law of love, compassion and the law of God.
SIDNER: And we're told by Trump administration officials that there are indeed about a million people that have those removal orders similar to the gentleman we spoke to in this story, and that among that pool of people, they could be targets of this raid, although, not all will be targeted. We have not been given, though, exactly who might be targeted in the upcoming raids -- Kate.
BOLDUAN: Sarah, thank you so much. Such an important look. I really appreciate it.
SIDNER: Coming up next, an entire town's survival could be threatened by Trump's crackdown on undocumented immigrants.
[19:56:55] BOLDUAN: Tonight, a CNN special report takes you inside the immigration crisis. "The Hidden Workforce: Undocumented in America" tells the stories of how undocumented immigrants are woven into the fabric of the communities across the United States.
Here is a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What do you say to the people who say you know what? All these undocumented immigrants, they need to round them up and get them out of here. What would that do to a place like Worthington?
MINNESOTA PRIEST: If all the immigrants were to leave tomorrow, this town would die.
LAVANDERA: What percentage of these farms agricultural businesses, what work force do they depend on?
MINNESOTA PRIEST: I would say probably 90 percent.
LAVANDERA: That's an astounding number.
MINNESOTA PRIEST: It is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: The reporter behind this special report is Ed Lavandera. He's OUTFRONT with me right now.
Ed, so much of the immigration debate is focused around the southern border, but Worthington, Minnesota, where you're talking about in that piece is more than 1,200 miles from the Mexico border and I find it fascinating how the priest is describing what a devastating impact it would be if suddenly all the undocumented immigrants there were removed and Worthington isn't the only place.
LAVANDERA: And it really highlights, Kate, just how complex this issue is and it is not as simple as saying let's round everybody up and kick them out. It's all these criminals. You know, the political rhetoric and the debate on this issue has become so toxic that you almost need to hit the brakes a little bit and just take a moment and we hope that's what people does, give people a chance to go and understand, you know, what Father Callahan is sitting there and talking about, that in many ways, whether people like it or not, undocumented immigrant communities are sustaining many communities here in American society.
BOLDUAN: And you've been covering, I mean, everyone knows this, but you've been covering stories of immigration for years. What was the most surprising thing for you while you were going along this journey shooting this special?
LAVANDERA: Well, I think one of the things that really stands out and you heard a lot. It's almost become kind of a cliche at this point, where you hear people talking about how undocumented immigrants are doing the work Americans don't want to do and one thing is to hear that, me talking about it. Another thing is to see and hear from those farmers and those people who are dealing with this firsthand and hearing from them about what they are experiencing.
We heard from one farmer who literally would hire an American worker on a dairy farm and most of the workers either don't show up or last not even a full day of work. So really hearing that, not from me but from these people who are
seeing this every day, I think is something that really will stick with a lot of people and when you hear that, I think it might give you a better understanding, there needs to be a solution for this. They are not easy solutions.
BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean, you have put so much effort into this. Your producer, you guys did amazing work, a lot of time and care put into this investigate in this special. Really appreciate it, Ed. Thank you for your time and attention.
And don't miss Ed's special report. Again, it's called "The Hidden Workforce: Undocumented in America". It's tonight at 10:00.
Thanks so much for joining us, everybody.
"AC360" starts now.