CNN town halls with Moulton, Ryan and Swalwell

By Veronica Rocha, Eric Bradner and Gregory Krieg, CNN

Updated 9:42 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019
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8:39 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019

Swalwell: "I’m running for president to stop the shootings"

From CNN's Greg Krieg

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Eric Swalwell on Sunday said he would model his plan for an assault weapons ban and buyback on what was passed in Australia in the 1990s and, more recently, in New Zealand.

And yes, he said, that means that if a person is caught with one of those banned weapons, they could face jail time.

Asked how that message might land politically with people in the South and Midwest, Swalwell had this message:

“I tell them keep your pistols, keep your rifles, keep your shotguns, but we can ban and buy back the most dangerous weapons. There is a new gun safety majority in America and it’s time we lean in and negotiate up.”

Swalwell also discussed his frustration with lawmakers' inaction in the face of a steady stream of mass shootings.

“When I went to Congress, Sandy Hook happened. And there was nothing. Then Charleston: Nothing. San Bernardino: Nothing,” he said, before ticking off one mass shooting after another: “Orlando, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs: Nothing, nothing, nothing. It’s this ritual. Grief, anger, moments of silence is an alibi for doing nothing.”

“As president, I’m not going to negotiate down anymore,” he said, then framed the question for voters: “Do we want to stop the bleeding,” he asked, “or do we want to stop the shootings. I’m running for president to stop the shootings.”

Watch here:

8:24 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019

Here's what Swalwell plans to do about Russia in his first 100 days in office if elected president

Democratic presidential hopeful Eric Swalwell said in first 100 days in office he plans fight back against Russia interfering the US elections and restore trust from world leaders.

The California Democrat laid out his plan to win back America's trust and fight Russia.

Here's what he plans to do:

  • Place sanctions on Russia.
  • He plans to go on a "global affirmation tour" to assure allies that the US is still with them.
  • Assemble a group of "cyberwarriors" to combat Russia's cyber attacks.

8:31 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019

Swalwell says Trump impeachment should come only after "we’ve exhausted every other remedy"

From CNN's Eric Bradner:

California Rep. Eric Swalwell stopped short of calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, saying in a CNN town hall Sunday night that “I want us to get it right, because we only get one shot.”

“If that’s where we’re headed, I want to be backed into it, showing that we’ve exhausted every other remedy and have the American people with us. I think that’s where we are right now,” the 2020 Democratic presidential contender said.

However, Swalwell said that House Democrats should first “make an example” out of Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Attorney General William Barr.

“I think you have to make an example out of Mnuchin and Barr first, though. You can’t let them off the hook,” he said.

Watch here:

7:58 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019

In the Green Room with Eric Swalwell

CNN caught up with Democratic presidential hopeful Eric Swalwell to ask him a few questions before tonight's town hall.

The California congressman answered eight simple questions so voters can get to know him better.

Here's what he said:

CNN: What's one thing about you that surprises people?

Swalwell: "I love country music, like I really, really, really love country music."

CNN: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Swalwell: "The best piece of advice I've received is find a mentor, but also mentor others. You have two hands so reach up, look for as many mentors as you can to get where you want to go, but never forget that you have another hand and you have to reach down and lift others up, too."

CNN: What’s your favorite movie and why?

Swalwell: "I am going to give you two: 'Moana' and 'Cars.' It's all we watch in our house right now. I cannot remember a day with two kids under two, where we watched any another movie. Save me. Send us a new movie to watch."

CNN: What was the last book you read?

Swalwell: "'An American Summer.' It's about the gun violence going on in Chicago right now. It's absolutely heartbreaking. We need to do a lot more to end violence in Chicago, as well as in our schools and our churches. That's part of the reason that I am running for president."

CNN: What is your greatest accomplishment?

Swalwell: "Being the first in my family to go to college, I believe, is my greatest accomplishment. It's not my accomplishment, it's my families accomplishment. My parents worked really hard. My dad was a cop. My mom raised for four boys, worked a bunch of odd jobs, dug deep, took out a lot of loans and we did it. And I feel a responsibility now, running for president, to make sure any family who wants to work that hard can do it, too."

CNN: What three issues do we have to deal with right now?

Swalwell: "What three issues do we have to deal with right now? Well, that's part of the reason I am running for president. Climate chaos. My generation is going to feel the devastating effects of doing nothing to address climate. We have to invest in carbon negative technology now. The cost of education. Forty million of us have student loan debt that put us quick sand. Let's bring the student loan interest rate down to zero. And gun violence. It's ravaging our cities. It's also making us less safe in our churches and our schools. Let's ban and buy back our every single assault weapon, but let's also invest in gang violence prevention programs. These our generational issues and I am a generational candidate."

CNN: Name one thing that makes you different than all the other 2020 Democratic candidates.

Swalwell: "One thing that makes different from all the other 2020 candidates is I got two kids that are two and under, so our issues at home are the issues of so many families. We fight insurance companies. We pay a lot for prescription drugs. We worry about child care so my wife and I can both work and we worry about our kids safety in schools. So our issues as young family could be a voice for solutions in the White House."

CNN: What does your presidency have to offer Republican voters?

Swalwell: "Well, those voters include my parents. I am the son of two Republicans. I have to go on other cable channels just so they can see me on TV. However, I know that my parents care a lot about just having higher wages, lower health care costs and a brighter future for their kids. So I am going to engage with them, reach across the aisle or even the dinner table to make sure that our country is better for Republicans, Democrats and Independents."

7:58 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019

NOW: Eric Swalwell takes the stage. Here's where he stands on key issues.

Democratic presidential candidate US Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) speaks during the California Democrats 2019 State Convention at the Moscone Center on June 01, 2019 in San Francisco, California.
Democratic presidential candidate US Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) speaks during the California Democrats 2019 State Convention at the Moscone Center on June 01, 2019 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell announced his presidential bid in April and has made gun control a focus of his campaign.

A member of both the House Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, Swalwell of California has had a front seat to the investigations of President Trump and Russian interference in the 2016 election.

This is where Swalwell stands on key issues:

  • On gun reform: Swalwell centering the launch of his campaign around gun control. He proposed an assault weapons ban and buyback program as well as a violent history check on all gun purchasers.
  • On abortion: He's vowed to protect Roe v. Wade after several states passed restrictive abortion laws.
  • On the Mueller report: Swalwell called on Attorney General William Barr to quit due to his handling for special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

Read Swalwell's own words on why he's entered the race here.

8:10 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019

Tim Ryan says current health care system is "a disease-care system"

From CNN's Eric Bradner

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said he backs a “public option” that would allow Americans to buy into a government-run health care program like Medicare, rather than a single-payer Medicare for all program like other 2020 Democratic presidential contenders are advocating.

But, in a CNN town hall Sunday night, Ryan said his focus on the topic of health care is on changing the incentives for when people receive care.

“We need to have another conversation. The current system is a disease-care system. It’s a sick care system,” he said.

The shifts that Ryan said are necessary would include answering questions such as “how do we move to a more regional, sustainable agricultural system. We are destroying our soil, destroying our environment.”

“We need to talk about incentivizing doctors and patients to be healthy -- pay doctors to help get us healthy; reward patients with rebates and refunds to stay healthy. These are critical components of how we stay healthy,” Ryan said.

“My health care plan is make sure we get everybody covered -- mental health, addiction, all of these critical issues that are facing people today -- but let’s flip this system and get people healthy,” he said. “You want to knock the knees to of the pharmaceutical industry? Let’s all say, how do we get a little more healthy in the United States so we don’t need the damn pharmaceutical industry? … Get out of the disease care system; move it to health, food, and take care of our soil.”

8:11 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019

Why Tim Ryan, a self-confessed yogi, once went silent for a week

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said he has sat in silence for a week.

The Democratic congressman, who is a self-confessed yogi, said he went on mindfulness meditation retreats for five to seven days before he was married with children.

"It's an amazing experience. It reduces your stress level dramatically. It's no phones, no journalling, no TV. And so it's been great because there's so much research on it now. How much it can help kids. How much it can help people who have addictions. Just generally for all of us where stress is a huge killer. It's a very simple practice that has no side effects," he said. 

Meditation, he said, has changed him.

"Well, the stress level is different. I think you start to see through a lot of the BS and you kind of cut through the noise, which has been very helpful in politics in the last few years. It helps you see how things are interconnected. It helps you really see a little bit deeper into people, kind of looking into their hearts and really see what's motivating them. A lot of the trauma. You look at what's happened and today with so many of our kids that have so much trauma, adverse childhood experiences that they have, this is a real focus," he said.

7:51 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019

Tim Ryan says he wouldn't be comfortable with all-white, all-male Democratic 2020 ticket

From CNN's Eric Bradner:

Edward M. PioRoda/CNN
Edward M. PioRoda/CNN

Asked if he’d be comfortable with an all-white, all-male Democratic 2020 ticket, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan said “no, absolutely not.”

“Our ticket and the next president’s cabinet must reflect the diversity of the country. And I’m committed to do that,” said Ryan, a 2020 Democratic contender who is himself a white man.

Ryan pointed to Youngstown, Ohio, being 50% African-American, and said his focus on economic policies would direct investment toward struggling areas.

“White, black, brown, gay, straight, I will be a working-class president for the American people,” he said.

8:06 p.m. ET, June 2, 2019

Tim Ryan: China is the top issue facing the next president

From CNN's Eric Bradner:

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan predicted that the top issue confronting the next president is the United States’ relationship with China.

He also criticized President Donald Trump for imposing tariffs that are “not targeted” on imports from China, saying that “we have no clue what the plan is, what the strategy is, and our farmers are getting hammered.”

“Trump does not have a big strategy. He has a tactic that gets him on TV because he sends a tweet out -- tariffs are on, tariffs are off -- and the media runs with it all the time and it changes the subject and he can look tough,” he said. “We’re getting our clock cleaned.”

Watch here: