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Senate Passes GOP Tax Bill After Last-Minute Changes; Flynn Cooperating With Russia Probe, Pleads Guilty To Lying. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired December 2, 2017 - 08:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as amended is passed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a momentous occasion for the Republican Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's something that literally will help millions and millions of young people in our society.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here's the bill as it's written. Here's the modifications that are in it. I can read one word, it's called add this language. Can you tell me what that word is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Flynn pled guilty to repeatedly lying to the FBI.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This guilty plea an acknowledgement of criminal culpability is a shattering moment for the Trump presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a devastating event for the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we should wait until we see all the facts and the evidence before coming to a final judgment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to make this plain to the CNN viewers. When a bunch of the main home boys turns snitch, a bunch of people about to go to jail.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the U.S. and hello to everyone joining us around the world. We're starting with breaking news on Capitol Hill. That early morning vote after a tumultuous Friday for President Trump.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, we have a live look for you right now over Washington, where after hours of debate, last-minute changes, one Republican holdout, the Senate did pass its version of major tax reform. And President Trump already praising the vote on Twitter.

BLACKWELL: The Democrats are slamming the GOP claiming the process was done in secret and rush. Some senators even waving parts of the bill around showing here handwritten changes made to the bill late last night. Now, despite those criticisms, it's an important victory for President Trump who promised to give Americans a huge tax cut for Christmas.

PAUL: But hanging over all of this, of course, is this serious development in the Russia investigation, a guilty plea by the president's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who admits that he lied to the FBI about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, which could see him flip on other members of the president's inner circle.

Here to recap the highs and the lows, CNN's Abby Phillip live outside the White House. So, first of all, Abby, let's talk about this latest tweet from the president.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Christi, the president apparently waking up a happy man this morning. He just tweeted a few moments ago about the tax bill saying, "Biggest tax bill and tax cuts in history just passed in the Senate.

Now, these great Republicans will be going for final passage. Thank you to House and Senate Republicans for your hard work and commitment." This coming from a president who as you know has not always had the best relationship with his fellow Republicans on the Hill but last night, very early this morning, they delivered for him on a really crucial promise.

Also giving him a big win on a day that he was battling some really bad news on the Russia investigation front. His former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, pleading guilty to lying to the FBI.

That investigation is coming closer and closer to him. But for now, the president is taking solace in this really important moment for his presidency. They're not all the way to the finish line yet, but they will be soon.

The bill passed last night with not, you know, not too much fanfare, but they had some back and forth between Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer over the process. Take a listen to some of the back and forth here.


SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: As you noticed, at the end, there was not a single Democrat who thought this was a good idea. And, so, we're going to take this message to the American people also a year from now.

SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: We understand they have the votes to pass their bill. Despite a process and a product that no one can be proud of, and everyone should be ashamed of.


PHILLIP: Now, the Senate and the House need to reconcile their bills. But as soon as they do that, it will head to the president's desk and he's hoping to sign it before Christmas -- Victor and Christi.

PAUL: All right. Abby Phillip, thanks for walking us through it. BLACKWELL: And this sets up perfectly for a conversation this morning with Margaret Talev, CNN political analyst and senior White House correspondent for "Bloomberg News" and Ron Brownstein, CNN senior political analyst and senior editor for "The Atlantic." Good morning to you.

Margaret, let me start with you. The president is, as we said, celebrating the passage. I want to take the tax bill and tax cuts by themselves first. This is a big win for the president getting one now near the end of the year, a big legislative win. What does this mean politically for the president at this really difficult time in his administration?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, certainly, this is a political lifeline for the president and for the Republican Party heading into those midterms assuming that this emerges from the Conference Committee, it's always theoretically possible something would trip this up.

[08:05:02] But the hardest part is most likely done now, which was getting the approval on the Senate side. And this would allow him to go into the midterms with at least one accomplishment, so to speak, when they weren't able to do the health care repeal.

It also may give them a back doorway to do that individual mandate repeal that they weren't able to do on their own. But there are real questions about how it affects middle class families, the very people who it purports to help.

BLACKWELL: Before we talk about, Flynn and the impact of that on the celebration here, Ron, to you, the president mentioned that now they're going into final passage, this conference committee, they would have to reconcile the House version and Senate version. Some significant differences here, are we expecting a protracted fight here between the two chambers or this expected to move pretty quickly?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think they've shown that they want to get this done. They fear failure enough that they are motivated to find common ground between them, but look, normally, passing a tax cut politically is a slam dunk. I mean, this is much more of a political gamble.

You're looking at polling that is two to one opposed, 60 percent of Americans saying it will benefit the rich at the expense of the middle class. They're own scorekeeper saying it will increase the deficit by a trillion dollars just as the baby boomers are moving into retirement and creating enormous financial pressure on Social Security and Medicare.

The 60 percent of the benefits the top 1 percent and I think most critically, where this departs from previous tax bills in '81 and 2001 that is that unlike those bills it actually raises taxes on a lot of people particularly the upper middle class and particularly in blue skates.

And you will now have Republicans running in places like Southern California, New Jersey, New York, Northern Virginia in the 2018 election, who will be asked to explain why they were raising taxes on their own voters to cut taxes on people who are richer or businesses or in red states.

So, this is -- it beats the alternative. As Margaret was saying if this would have failed the sense of Congress in disarray would have been, you know, very damaging but this is a bill that is facing significant headwinds in the public assessment and in kind of the analytical assessment of what it will mean.

And it is by no means I think a sure winner, particularly in the places that are most at risk in those upper middle-class white-collar suburbs.

BLACKWELL: Yes, let's actually listen to Paul Ryan here. Now of course, the speaker of the House, then the chair of the House Budget Committee in 2013, this is what he said then.


REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: Our debt is a threat to this country. We have to tackle this problem before it tackles us. The debt will weigh down the country like an anchor. In short, we're on the verge of a debt crisis.


BLACKWELL: And Margaret, we could have picked from a long list of prominent House and Senate Republicans who have said this in years past, and now have voted for these two versions of tax reform. How do they reconcile this with their voters when they go back to their districts for their break?

TALEV: Well, right now, most people don't actually understand what's in this legislation. But it does, the estimates say it will raise the deficit by more than a trillion dollars that it will not pay for itself. Republicans contest that and say, no, it really will pay for itself.

But right now, there's no math that shows that it will, but you know, broadly accepted there are desperate implications if you live in an expensive state on either coast, which many Republicans as well as Democrats do.

Their implications if you rely on health coverage under the Affordable Care Act depending on how this comes out of conference, this may help to collapse that system, which if you want to collapse the system, it's fine. But if you rely on it, it's a real problem.

We have implications for student loan debt and the corporate tax cut is permanent. But people should know that the individual tax relief fund in this legislation is ten years, it's not permanent so --


BLACKWELL: Yes, go ahead. BROWNSTEIN: The debt really points or eliminates I think one of the least understood aspects of this, which is the generational implications of this bill, because when you're adding $1 trillion or $1.5 trillion in debt, in essence you are funding current consumption at the expense of younger generations, who are going to have to pay it in the future.

Pay off that debt, you know, 8 percent of people under 35 make $100,000 or more. The net worth of people in their 50s is 15 times the average net worth of people in their 20s and 30s. This is a bill that benefits older America, which is largely white America, although white America, which is the base of the Republican coalition and passes the bills on to kind of younger diverse America.

And just one prediction you can hold me to, if in fact they come back next year, as they're suggesting and try to cut entitlement programs, retirement programs to help offset the cost of this bill -- first of all, it's a political risk -- but if they do it, they will phase in the cuts so that almost all of the baby boomers have retired before they go into effect.

[08:10:05] And you could end up with a situation where younger generations are paying off the tax bill, paying for the retirement of the baby boomers, and having their own retirement retrenched.

I mean, there are big generational implications to this that kind of go to the desperate coalitions that each side has now mobilized.

BLACKWELL: The proponents of this bill say that the answer is one word, growth, growth will pay for --

BROWNSTEIN: The joint tax doesn't see it that way.

BLACKWELL: The joint tax says over $400 billion will be generated by growth and still this $1 trillion hold by 2027.

BROWNSTEIN: And (inaudible) minimal growth too. I mean, there is no model -- there are no analysis to support the assertions of Mitch McConnell that it will pay for itself or that (inaudible) massive growth, and no one has produced a study that would claim that.

BLACKWELL: Well, we've got to see what happens out of this Conference Committee and to get to the president's desk by Christmas as he suggested. Ron Brownstein, Margaret Talev, thank you both.

PAUL: A lot of people wondering this morning where the Russia investigation is going as it seems to inch closer to President Trump's inner circle. Michael Flynn's guilty plea on lying to the FBI, and what he tells investigators, that could drive where it goes next. We'll have that legal conversation next.



BLACKWELL: This morning, Russia is brushing off Michael Flynn's guilty plea to lying to the FBI as a sack of smoke and empty, and labeling the Russia investigation an attack.

PAUL: But Flynn's actions could have far-reaching consequence for the Trump administration here. Experts say investigators are hoping to get more information on contact with Russians from Flynn. I want to talk more about that in a moment.

BLACKWELL: First, let's take a look at what got Flynn into trouble in the first place. CNN's chief national security correspondent, Jim Sciutto, has that for us.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The ongoing Russia investigation has reached President Trump's innermost circle. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, says that he is cooperating with the special council probe into possible cooperation between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Flynn pled guilty to repeatedly lying to the FBI including making false statements about his December 2016 conversations with Russia's then ambassador to the U.S., Sergey Kislyak. According to the statement of offense, Flynn lied when he told the FBI he did not discuss sanctions with Kislyak.

On the same day that President Obama expelled Russian diplomats from the U.S. and boosted sanctions on Moscow in retaliation for Russia's meddling in the presidential election. Flynn also sought Russia help during the transition to block a U.N. Security Council vote that the Obama administration was abstaining on.

The White House said, quote, "Nothing about the guilty plea or the charge implicates anyone other than Mr. Flynn." However, court documents made clear that Flynn was not acting alone.

According to prosecutors, Flynn communicated with senior members of the president's transition team about conversations and at least one instance was directed by transition officials to reach out to Russia.

CNN has learned that the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is the very senior member of the presidential transition team identified in court documents. Kushner directed Michael Flynn to contact the Russian ambassador in other countries regarding the U.N. Security Council vote on Israeli settlements.

This according to sources familiar with the matter. Flynn's guilty plea belies President Trump's repeated denials of any contacts or involvement between his campaign and Russia.

(on camera): In your view has the president lied about what communications his team had with Russia?

REPRESENTATIVE ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, abundantly and frequently and just about in every way. But most significant in denying that this happened, saying it's a hoax.

SCIUTTO: After the court proceeding, Flynn went immediately to the home of his son, Michael Flynn Jr.


SCIUTTO: Michael Flynn Jr. central to Michael Flynn Sr.'s thinking in this case. We reported recently that Flynn Sr. was concerned about the legal jeopardy his son might face. He's not mentioned, not charged in any of these documents. And it certainly raises the question as to whether cooperation from Flynn was in exchange partly for protecting his son. Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.

PAUL: Michael Zeldin, CNN legal analyst and Robert Mueller's former special assistant at the Department of Justice with us now as well as Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer and professor of corporate law at the University of Minnesota. Gentlemen, thank you both for being here.

I want to start where Jim left off there. Michael Flynn was very loyal to the president through this whole campaign, through his 24 days in office and even after it seems, but family is family.

Michael, is it a possibility, when we look at Flynn's intentions, that his intention is to save his son in some regard, or protect him?


PAUL: And can he?

ZELDIN: Well, he can, if Mueller agrees that the cooperation that Flynn Sr. is giving is adequate that he doesn't feel that the needs of justice -- the administration of justice requires that his son plead guilty to something if in fact his son did something.

There's no direct allegations against his son in the public domain. It relates mostly to the Flynn intel group that he was a member of, that his father ran, and that relates to the nondisclosure of payments from foreign agents. But it's not yet clear what the son did.

But all indications are that Flynn was trying to do a couple of things. One, minimize his exposure. Theoretically, he committed crimes that could get him 50 years' worth of exposure. He reduced that down to a five-year felony, to protect his son, so that he doesn't go to jail, he's got a young grandson.

[08:20:11] And then two, to offer cooperation with respect to other aspects of the Mueller investigation, most particularly the issue of the relationship between the campaign and Russian surrogates.

PAUL: So, I want to ask to go from one son to the other, son-in-law now, Jared Kushner. Richard, if Flynn testifies as it is expected and was that Kushner directed him to make contact with the Russians, he did say that, with everything that has happened with Kushner up to this point, Richard, why does he still have this interim security clearance?

RICHARD PAINTER, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, because the president wants to let him have it and the president just wants to do things his way. No other president would let him have it. No expert on national security and security clearances has agreed with the determination that he ought to have a security clearance.

The evidence is clear that Jared Kushner is not to be trusted. And I don't even know why he's even in the White House, much less have a security clearance. But that's the president job to make that decision.

And he's making the decision his way and if Congress doesn't do their job and removed president and tell the president to shape up or ship out, well, Donald Trump is going to continue to just do it his own way and let Jared Kushner sit there and have a clearance and do whatever he wants in the White House, and that's what happening.

PAUL: So Gentlemen, let's listen together here to something that Senator Ed Markey said just last night, regarding the president and what he has to understand what he may do when it comes to Michael Flynn, perhaps that people have been talking about will there be a pardon here. Let's listen.


SENATOR ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The president has to understand the consequences if he seeks to pardon Michael Flynn because there will be an explosion, not just in the House and the Senate, but all across this country because it will be clear that now that president is trying to engage in obstruction of justice to prevent this investigation from closing in on the oval office.


PAUL: Michael, do you agree?

ZELDIN: Well, it depends, I suppose is the honest answer. If Flynn has already been in the grand jury and has offered his testimony that is what he would testify were there a trial or as it relates to the possible indictment of others, they may already have the information that they need to render an indictment.

And if there was a pardon, they do still use all of that testimony which they've gathered in the grand jury. So, in legal terms, not 100 percent sure that a pardon would impact Mueller's ability to proceed.

In political terms, I think it would be very bad for the president because it would raise the question of whether he's abusing the powers of his office which could be an impeachable offense.

PAUL: I want to get your reaction to that as well, Richard?

PAINTER: Well, I think that a pardon at this point would be perceived as an attempt to bribe General Flynn and giving testimony that at least wouldn't implicate the president himself. And I think that would be unacceptable politically.

The president would probably be impeached over that. He'd also be impeached if he tried to fire Robert Mueller, that's really the great danger right now that he's going to try to pull the plug on this thing by firing Robert Mueller.

It won't work and I think it would results in a removal from office, but Donald Trump is very erratic and emotional in his response to this Russia investigation, which has made the situation much, much worse.

PAUL: All right. We appreciate so much you both being here. Michael Zeldin, Richard Painter, thank you for your perspectives.

ZELDIN: Thank you.

PAINTER: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Up next, the president's victory after a late-night vote narrowly passes the Republican plan to overhaul America's tax system. And a story that you'll hear in just a moment says that they're just repeating the mistakes of the past that caused the 1929 Wall Street crash.

PAUL: Also, a mother's plea to learn more about her son's death after he's shot and killed by a Chicago police officer. The answers CNN uncovered after a year-long investigation.



PAUL: So great to have you with us. It's 29 minutes past the hour. I'm Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. President Trump is thanking GOP members of Congress after a 51 to 49 vote in the Senate gets them one step closer to signing tax cuts he promised for Christmas. Now the overhaul would be the first major legislative win for this president and it would fulfill a major campaign promise.

PAUL: It comes on the heels of what could be quite a blow to the White House, though. The news that former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, plans to cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Flynn admitted to lying to the FBI about his contact with the Russian ambassador.

BLACKWELL: House Speaker Paul Ryan is ready to get a look at the Senate's tax bill. He said this in a statement, "I commend my Senate colleagues for this historic action." For the first time since 1986 both the House and Senate have passed a major overhaul of our nation's tax code.

But with that overhaul comes an estimated $1.47 trillion addition to the deficit by 2027, something Speaker Ryan and other Republicans fiercely condemned in the past.

Joining us now to reconcile several elements of the legislation, Republican strategist Evan Siegfried, Republican commentator Joseph Borelli, and CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Maria Cardona.

Good morning to everybody.



BLACKWELL: So let's start with that number, $1.47 trillion, that number coming from the Congressional Budget Office. I'd like to go to the Joint Commission on Taxation that did a dynamic scoring, which means they took into account the potential economic growth. They say that economic growth will account for about $450 billion. Still, there will be this $1 trillion addition to the deficit within 10 years.

Joseph, first to you, I'd imagine a supporter of the legislation that was passed just before 2:00 a.m. this morning. How is that fiscally conservative, fiscally responsible? Reconcile that with what we heard from Republicans before this administration and the support for this bill.

BORELLI: Well, a tax bill, I think, by definition is almost fiscally conservative. And let's be clear a tax bill that reduces taxes is also by definition going to increase the deficit. And that's why I think you have people like President Trump and Paul Ryan going out there and saying even before this bill was passed that looking at government spending has to be something that happens right after this tax bill is married with the Senate-House bill and signed by the president.

BLACKWELL: Maria, to you, many Republicans, even a couple we've had on the show this morning, asked where was this concern for deficits in the last eight years? During the Obama administration, from Democrats. To that, you say what?

CARDONA: Well, I mean, Democrats have always been concerned with the deficit. But we've also been concerned about the well-being -- the economic well-being of the working class and middle class voters. And this tax scam bill is something that is a huge wet kiss to billionaires and millionaires like Trump, and to wealthy corporations who get permanent tax cuts, by the way, while the individual tax cuts sun set over 10 years.

And according to every nonpartisan and objective analysis, Victor, you mentioned two of them, it blows a huge hole in the deficit. And talk about hypocrisy, you know, you had Paul Ryan on earlier quoting himself saying that the deficit was a huge problem. Well, what about now? It's not a huge problem now.

And what Joseph's just said, I think indicates what the next move here is for Republicans, once they pass this tax scam bill, they're going to now look at spending. What does that mean? They're going to look at Social Security. They're going to look at Medicare. They're going to look at Medicaid. They're going to look at all of these programs that working class and middle class families count on.

And so in addition to their taxes going up in the next 10 years, they're also going to see programs that are going to be cut. And so, again, this is a huge tax scam bill that hurts middle class and working class Americans in the long run. And is a huge gift, wet kiss, to millionaires and billionaires and wealthy corporations who are making record profits and not investing them back into jobs.

BLACKWELL: All right. So, Evan, let me come to you and the lessons of the past, and we want to go back to the 2010 midterms and that famous news conference from President Obama at the time talking about the shellacking the Democrats took. I mean, that was soon after he signed into law the Affordable Care Act.

Are Republicans just a little too gleeful about passing this major legislation, looking ahead to the 2018 midterms? Could they be facing what Democrats faced in 2010 after they passed Obamacare?

EVAN SIEGFRIED, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Irregardless of this bill, we're facing a very steady and uphill climb. We saw that evidence in the 2017 elections in Virginia and New Jersey but in terms of what Maria's talking about and how we want to go out and gut entitlements we need to do entitlement reforms because as a millennial, I'm not going to see Social Security if it's not fixed because it will go bankrupt. And same with Medicare and Medicaid.

And Joe says this is a tax cut for everyone? No, it's actually a shadow tax increase on most Americans. The SALT deduction being eliminated is a $72 billion tax increase on New Yorkers. If you are -- live in Oregon, the average Oregonian is going to see $500 tax increase. If you live in Ohio and you work in one county and live in another, you will be quadrupled taxed on every dollar you'll make.

It's an absolute scam, as Maria said. The SALT deduction being eliminated is terrible. At the same time, we have talked about it being fiscally conservative, we have talked about the debt and how the dynamic score was the most important score. And the dynamic score came out and it said still increases the deficit by $1 trillion.

[08:35:04] The president himself campaigned on the record deficit. We're now almost at $22 trillion and I'm going to be having to be pay for that. Joe is going to have to pay for that. Not the president. But we just exploded the deficit. And we did not tackle the biggest problem of all which is Washington's spending addiction. And we should have tackled that with this bill.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about that, Joseph. Moving forward with what you suggested at the top, the spending cuts to come. President Trump during the campaign and throughout his administration thus far has said there will be no cuts to Medicare, there will be no cuts to Medicaid, there will be no cuts to Social Security.

How can he make these major cuts to offset some of the costs of this tax cut and not touch any of those and keep that promise? You can't do both, can you?

BORELLI: Well, I think it's certainly something that will be difficult to do. I mean, but at the end of the day, you know, the Congress has voted to waive sort of these pay-as-you-go restrictions that have triggered some of these almost doomsday cuts for social services in the past. And we saw that when President Obama passed his stimulus bill in 2009 and raised the deficit by actually slightly more I believe than what President Trump and the GOP are talking about now.

I think Democrats should be a bit cautious in the sense that they might actually get what they wished for, something that which, you know, we haven't seen in a while, an emboldened GOP Congress that actually works to do some of the things that my good friend Evan was talking about. About actually looking at some of the sacred cows of our government spending and reforming them.


CARDONA: So here's I think something that people need to keep in mind. What Republicans just passed, again, in a GOP tax scam bill is pure trickledown economics. And we have seen -- you know, these are not talking points. Let's look at history. The last --

BLACKWELL: It's also a term that Gary Cohn himself used in pitching the bill.

CARDONA: The last two Republican presidents did this. And the last two Republican presidents ended up with huge economic meltdowns. And what did it take to fix those economic meltdowns? Democratic presidents who understood fairness. Who understood that the rich and wealthy corporations can and should pay more, and should pay their fair share, and that working class and middle class Americans are the ones who deserve a tax break.

They're the last ones who were the ones who brought the economy back. Under the last two Democratic presidents we saw increase in jobs. We saw economic expansion. Under the last two Republican presidents, we saw economic meltdowns. We saw huge job losses.

So right there, history is our teacher. And we're going back down to trickledown economics. You can't really look at one fair economic analysis that says that this tax scam bill is something that would work long term for the economy and that would actually balance the budget and does exactly the opposite.

BLACKWELL: All right. Conference committee is up next. We'll see how the House and the Senate will reconcile the two pieces of legislation that each chambers passed. And that heads off to the president's desk.

Maria Cardona, Evan Siegfried, Joseph Borelli, thank you all.

CARDONA: Thank you so much.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the tax package to boost business as the stock market keeps rising as they were just talking about here, we've got a historian who says we have seen this before. And what happened next was not pretty. He's going to walk us through history. Stay close.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:42:55] PAUL: Well, the runaway stock market, a tax bill pitch as a way to boost business and help the middle class, all cheered on by the White House. I know it sounds like what happened this weeks but there's a historian of the Great Depression who said he's seen this before.

Back in 1929, Robert McElvaine is the author of "Great Depression: America 1929-1941."

Robert, thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate your time. I want to read what you had quoted here, that you're predicting -- I'm wondering if you're predicting actually another Great Depression because you said in 1929, the crash followed a decade of Republican control of the federal government. You talk about trickledown economics, so to speak.

But is what you're seeing happening overnight that we've seen in the last several hours, the beginning of what you had studied from 1929?


PAUL: I so apologize. We're obviously having a technical issue with our audio there. We can't hear.

Robert, I'm sorry, we can't hear you fully. I apologize for that.

All those technical glitches, it's just one of those things on live TV that we can't control. We're going to take a quick break here. We're going to see if we can readjust. We'll be right back.


[08:48:56] BLACKWELL: Almost three years ago, 19-year-old Rashad Mcintosh was killed by a Chicago police officer. And his mother did not think the details of her son's death made sense and she wanted answers.

PAUL: Well, CNN's Rosa Flores spent year digging through police interviews and surveillance video from the shooting and also hearing the human side of this kind of loss, the things that we don't see on TV. The waiting at the morgue, the burying of a child. Look at this.


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are still many question left unanswered about Rashad's death. The only thing we know for sure is that a teenager is dead and his mother won't sleep well for a long, long time.

CYNTHIA LANE, MOTHER OF TEEN KILLED BY CHICAGO POLICE OFFICER: That son of yours is something else, that he reminds me so much of you. We'll keep fighting until I get justice for you.


[08:50:05] BLACKWELL: CNN's Rosa Flores joins us now to talk more about the reporting.

PAUL: All right. So what did you learn that really stuck with you? Because this is important.

FLORES: You know, we usually cover officer-involved shootings. And we usually just cover the actual shooting. Well, we really dug deep but unintentionally because what started this investigation was a phone call from this woman with horrific photographs of her son postmortem. And after looking at those photographs, we couldn't stop. We couldn't stop digging, trying to find out what happened to her son. Those clues then led us into looking into the police investigation. Take a look.


FLORES (voice-over): About a year ago, I got a phone call from a woman who asked me to investigate a story. This happens all the time where I work.

(On camera): Good morning, this is Rosa from CNN. How are you? How have you been?

(Voice-over): The woman's name is Cynthia Lane. And in the summer of 2014, her son Rashad were shot and killed by an office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Justice for Rashad.

LANE: He was begging on his knees. Both hands were in the air. Begging police, don't shoot me. Don't shoot me. He shot him anyway.

FLORES: But this story doesn't begin when the shots were fired. This story begins a few days after. At the funeral home. It's about 5:30 and Cynthia is just --

LANE: Tired, just exhausted. It is hot outside.

FLORES: She had asked for an open casket for her son and had been shopping all day for a short sleeve shirt for him to wear, but the funeral director tells her.

LANE: He cannot wear a short sleeves shirt, baby. He was saying, I don't know what the hell they were looking for on your baby. They say they butchered him like he was an animal.

FLORES: Cynthia says the funeral director was so worried about her. He wouldn't let her look at her son's body. He would only let her sister take photos. Before you see them, I have to warn you, they are extremely graphic.


BLACKWELL: You know, Rosa, what you do with this piece, and we've all been reporters out talking with mothers who have lost a child.


BLACKWELL: Sitting in that living room, it is difficult to relay the emotion, the pain to people at home. And you do that in this piece.

FLORES: We really do. We talk to Cynthia Lane extensively. This is her story. This is her fight to find out what happened to her son. She wanted to know and she couldn't get answers. So she called an organization like CNN who has the resources. We have the knowhow to dig, to figure out, to connect dots. And that's what she wanted. She wanted the truth to come out. She wanted justice to have a chance. And that's what we explored in this.

And we also talked to other mothers because one of the things that I think we -- I didn't know but I learned in this process is what mothers go through after an officer-involved shooting.


FLORES: The fact that they don't get to see their son's bodies. They don't get to see them at the hospital. They don't get to see them at the morgue. They only get to see them after. At the funeral home. And it's extremely painful, I think, because I think we can all relate to losing a loved one, not being able to say good-bye. Not being able to touch your loved one.

I don't have children but imagine being a mother and not being able to say good-bye to your child.

PAUL: There's something about being a parent and losing a child and then not getting those answers that has to be excruciating every single day. How is she now?

FLORES: You know, she is still hoping for answers. There's a federal lawsuit that she has filed. We found some answers for her. And I won't give up the ending of the --


PAUL: Right. Right.

FLORES: This documentary because it is a three-episode documentary on and CNNGo. But we uncovered certain things that she was very grateful. And there's new light on this case now because of this investigation. And she feels that she might be able to get a fair shake.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And I think it's informative for people, who -- and like you said, just a moment ago, after we cover the shooting and hear from both sides, what then happens to that family? What then happens in those -- as it's been described to me, a silence that they have never felt or experienced when that loved one is gone? And still so many questions that are left.

FLORES: You know in this particular case, she wanted to bury her son in a short-sleeve shirt. That's all she wanted. That's the reason I'm sitting here telling you this story because the funeral director told her, I'm so sorry, but you can't do that if you want an open casket. And that unravels this entire investigation.


[08:55:10] PAUL: Rosa, I mean, beautiful work on a story that is so, so hard to tell. Thank you so much. We appreciate it. She appreciates it. We'll be watching at and CNN --



PAUL: CNNGo. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Well, that's it for us. We'll see you back here at 10:00 Eastern for an hour of NEWSROOM.

PAUL: Yes. "SMERCONISH" is with you right after this break.