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THE SITUATION ROOM
House Judiciary Votes Bill Barr In Contempt; Interview With Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) On Judiciary Committee Vote; Senate Intel Subpoenas Trump Jr.; First Court Appearance For School Shooting Suspect; U.S. Halts Effort To Retrieve War Remains From North Korea Amid Rising Tensions. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired May 8, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Thank you for watching. Wolf Blitzer will pick it up for CNN Domestic. Thanks so much.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, voting for contempt: the House Judiciary Committee votes to hold the attorney general, William Barr, in contempt for refusing to turn over the complete Mueller report as Democrats raise the stakes in their showdown with the Trump administration.
Asserting privilege: the vote comes after President Trump moves to assert executive privilege over the entire Mueller report and its supporting evidence.
As the White House tries to block congressional Democrats at every turn, will this battle end up in the courts?
Trump Jr. standoff: CNN has learned the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the president's eldest son. But sources say they're in a standoff with Donald Trump Jr. considering pleading the Fifth or not appearing before the panel at all.
And two shooters: two alleged shooters are in custody. One appears in court as a student who tried to protect classmates is mourned as a hero. And yet another community is devastated just miles from the Columbine High School.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Breaking news: the House Judiciary Committee has just voted to hold the attorney general, William Barr, in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide an unredacted version of the Mueller report. The party line vote follows President Trump's move to exert executive privilege over the entire report and its underlying evidence. It's the latest clash in what's now an all-out battle between House
Democrats and the Trump administration, which has moved to block congressional investigations on every front. Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler says a constitutional crisis is already at hand while the White House accuses him of a blatant abuse of power.
If the full House follows suit on the contempt move, the battle is almost certain to move to the courts. I will speak to Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of the Judiciary Committee and our correspondents and analysts will have full coverage of the day's top stories.
First to Phil Mattingly.
Phil, the battle has played out in a dramatic daylong confrontation up on Capitol Hill. Update our viewers on the very latest.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly right. Hours on end of back and forth, broadsides from Democrats and Republicans but a result everyone expected. The latest step in an intensifying battle that, Wolf, shows no sign of easing or ending anytime soon.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Tonight House Democrats making their most aggressive move yet to push back against the White House.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: This is not a step we take lightly.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): In a clear escalation of weeks of intensifying battles, the House Judiciary Committee voting along party lines to hold attorney general Bill Barr in contempt for not complying with their subpoena for special counsel Robert Mueller's full, unredacted Russia report and its underlying evidence.
NADLER: This is unprecedented. If allowed to go unchecked this obstruction means the end of congressional oversight. As a co-equal branch of government, we should not and cannot allow this to continue.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): With Republicans decrying the chairman, Jerry Nadler's decision to decline an opportunity to read a less redacted version of the report and jumping to Barr's defense.
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): Their anger and (INAUDIBLE) had the audacity to decide the evidence that didn't support charges for obstruction in an investigation into something the president didn't do.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): The vote coming just hours after the president asserted executive privilege over the materials the committee demanded. The Justice Department telling Nadler that he made, quote, "the assertion necessary by moving ahead with the contempt vote."
NADLER: The administration has announced loud and clear that it does not recognize Congress as a co-equal branch of government with independent constitutional oversight authority and it will continue to wage its campaign of obstruction.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Last-ditch negotiations between the Justice Department and the committee to ameliorate the growing crisis completely fell apart Tuesday night, prompting Barr, in a letter to Trump, to urge the president to make a protective assertion of executive privilege.
At the hearing, committee members taking turns, deploying rhetorical broadsides.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON-LEE (D), TEXAS: I can only conclude that the president now seeks to take a wrecking ball to the Constitution of the United States of America.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT JR. (R), TEXAS: And what does this committee do about the abuses, the attempted coup?
It comes in and decides we're going to go after the attorney general, who is trying to clean up the mess.
REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: If it weren't for him being president, he would be in prison with Michael Cohen today as Individual-1.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): With this singular issue looming throughout the tense hours-long meeting, when and whether the committee will be able to hear from special counsel Robert Mueller himself.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: We got to get to ask the guy who wrote the whole darned document. We're all going to ask him questions.
Why don't you hold off on this contempt until at least the guy who wrote the thing, spent 22 months and $35 million with a whole bunch of Democrat lawyers putting it together, why don't you wait and ask him next week before we do this contempt resolution?
NADLER: Because it would be useful to read the material before we have him in front of us.
MATTINGLY: And committee chairman Jerry Nadler, Wolf, said after that vote that there are still discussions, the discussions are ongoing about having special counsel Robert Mueller testify. They're targeting as soon as next week.
The Justice Department also just put out a statement, saying the decision to hold the contempt vote was politically motivated. The Justice Department is just trying to maintain the status quo.
When you talk to members up here, you recognize how high the stakes were. Nadler framing it this way, saying this is a constitutional crisis. This will almost certainly go to the House floor, according to Nadler, in rapid succession; where this ends up, where a lot of these things are almost certain to end up, Wolf, in a court fight.
BLITZER: That could drag on for a long time. Phil Mattingly, thank you very much.
Also breaking, the Senate Intelligence Committee has just subpoenaed the president's oldest son, Donald Trump Jr. Let's go to our Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju.
This is a very dramatic moment, Manu.
What are you learning?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. to come back and testify after he first came before this committee in 2017.
What we are learning is Donald Trump Jr. is in a standoff with the committee about returning before this panel. There are some concerns within Trump Jr.'s camp that this may be an effort to potentially walk into what they believe is a perjury trap.
We understand these discussions about Trump Jr. coming back started several weeks ago even before the Mueller report came out. Sources are telling us Trump Jr.'s position hardened and he has resisted coming back in, according to our sources.
Democrats and Republicans on that committee are pushing him to come back. Now what we are told from one source familiar with the matter that Trump Jr. may take the Fifth if he were to come to Capitol Hill and be forced to testify or potentially not come at all, which, of course, would raise a whole slew of questions and potentially they could move to hold him in contempt.
That is not being seriously discussed from what we know at the moment but at least something that could be on the table if he were to go that route.
Nevertheless, significant here that the president's eldest son subpoenaed by this Republican-led committee as part of its Russia probe and now fighting with the committee over his testimony because they want him to come back.
The question is what will he ultimately do and how will the Democrats and Republicans respond if he doesn't come and answer their questions?
BLITZER: It's so significant because, as you know, the Senate leadership, the Republican leadership, said the Russia probe is over, case closed. Mitch McConnell said yesterday, insisting it's time to move on.
So how significant is it that a Republican-led committee, Richard Burr is the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, is fighting to bring Donald Trump Jr. back in?
RAJU: It shows this committee is not done with its investigation. It has been going on since the beginning of 2017. It's dragged on, they've moved at a much slower clip than the Mueller probe and the members of this committee, particularly Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the committee, had wanted to bring back some key witnesses.
We saw Jared Kushner come back several weeks ago. Now they want to bring back Donald Trump Jr. to ask him follow-up questions, see if there's anything Democrats believe may have been inconsistent with what they've learned.
They just wanted to question him again. It shows the committee is still investigating this matter going forward. Whether they can come to any sort of different conclusion that Robert Mueller reached, that is an entirely separate question.
But at the moment a fight over the process, Democrats and Republicans want Donald Trump Jr. to come back. Donald Trump Jr. at the moment is resisting.
BLITZER: Do they want to just compare what he said then as opposed to what he might say the next time, to see if there was any perjury or lying going on?
RAJU: It's not entirely clear. We have not seen the transcript of what he said the first time before this committee. He did come before the Senate Judiciary Committee. We saw the transcript of his testimony before that panel but not before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
So it's not entirely clear what questions they want to follow up with him on, what they saw from the Mueller report, where they want to ask more questions about that they may have learned, that perhaps they didn't drill down deep enough or perhaps something that he said before that they wanted to ask him about again.
All those -- it's uncertain because, as you know, this is a classified committee. They operate in secret. This testimony happened behind closed doors. So we're now learning they do want him to come back. They issued a subpoena and that can only be done with the support --
RAJU: -- of the Republican chairman of that committee, Richard Burr. He's the one who issued that subpoena, along with Mark Warner.
Will they get their questions answered and what will Donald Trump Jr. do?
BLITZER: There is bipartisan cooperation on the Senate Intelligence Committee in contrast to the House Intelligence Committee and others. All right, Manu, thank you very much.
Meanwhile, President Trump is clearly digging in as his administration seeks to block investigations by congressional Democrats at every turn. Standing in Florida right now, let's go to our Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta. He's already there on the scene.
Jim, the president is doing whatever he can to keep records from going public.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. President Trump appears to be heading toward a constitutional crisis with House Democrats as he continues to hide the Mueller report as well as his tax returns from lawmakers.
The White House is defending the president's use of executive privilege today as it seems the art of the deal has turned into the art of the conceal.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Playing a game of hide and seek, President Trump is pulling out all the stops to keep the full Mueller report out of the hands of House Democrats.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, if the Mueller report clears you, why not let Congress see all of it, sir?
ACOSTA (voice-over): In a retaliatory strike, the president is now asserting executive privilege to block the report's unreleased materials from House Democrats, after Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler sought to hold attorney general William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to hand over what they want.
In a letter Barr told the president, "In these circumstances you may properly assert executive privilege with respect to the entirety of the Department of Justice materials that the committee has demanded."
The White House is all but taunting Nadler to take the matter to court.
SARAH SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: You would think for an attorney Chairman Nadler would be a little bit more up on the law. I'm not and I actually feel like I understand it better than he does. Chairman Nadler is again trying to violate the law. The president and the attorney general are the ones that are actually upholding it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA (voice-over): The standoff over the Mueller report comes one day after the administration instructed former White House Counsel Don McGahn to refuse to cooperate with Nadler's committee, prompting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to drop the I-word.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president is goading us into -- wants to goad us into impeachment, whether it's obstruction, obstruction, obstruction. Obstruction of having people come to the table with facts, ignoring subpoenas every single day. The president is making a case. He's becoming self-impeachable in terms of some of the things that he --
ACOSTA (voice-over): As for his other big secret, the president is defending his practice of avoiding paying taxes after a "New York Times" report found he suffered more than $1 billion in business losses in the '80s and '90s, tweeting, "Real estate developers in the 1980s and 1990s, more than 30 years ago, were entitled to massive write-offs and depreciation. You always wanted to show losses for tax purposes. Almost all real estate developers did and often renegotiated with banks. It was sport."
"The New York Times" revealed Mr. Trump was able to avoid paying taxes for much of that 10-year period. The president has bragged about his ability to avoid paying taxes in the past.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Because the only years that anybody has ever seen were a couple of years today when he had to turn them over to state authorities, when he was trying to get a casino license. And they showed he didn't pay any federal income tax. So --
TRUMP: That makes me smart. I have a tremendous income and the reason I say that is not in a braggadocious (sic) way. It's because it's about time that this country had somebody running it that has an idea about money.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Mr. Trump's steep losses in real estate call into question his main pitch to voters in 2016, that he was a business genius.
TRUMP: Our country needs a truly great leader. And we need a truly great leader now. We need a leader that wrote "The Art of the Deal."
ACOSTA: The president is eager to get down to Florida and hold another one of his raucous rallies where his supporters remain faithful to Mr. Trump. Administration officials are sounding just as feisty as they sound very much prepared to take their battle with the House Democrats from the hearing room to the courtroom -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Jim Acosta joining us from Florida on the scene. We'll see what happens later tonight.
Joining us now, Democratic congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington State, a member of the Judiciary Committee.
Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us. You just voted to hold the attorney general in contempt for not providing the unredacted Mueller report. Your critics are already saying the Republicans are insisting this is simply a Democratic political stunt.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D), WASHINGTON: Well, it's far from a stunt. It's far from a game. I really think this is one of the most serious constitutional moments we have faced. And looking specifically at the foundations of our democracy, our founders were smart enough, Wolf, to have three branches of government --
[17:15:00] JAYAPAL: -- that are supposed to be co-equal so that power wouldn't be concentrated into the hands of one person or a few people, so that there would be oversight of each branch on the other.
If the president now has decided that he is going to absolutely ignore every lawfully authorized subpoena, he's going to now ignore every request for a witness to come and testify, if he is going to exert blanket executive privilege, which by the way, legally he can't do. He already waived executive privilege around the Mueller report.
And now he's trying to assert it over everything and hide what is in the Mueller report.
We are at a deeply disturbing moment in our country's history. The difference between a dictatorship and a democracy is that a democracy has checks and balances. If you take away the entire authority and say one branch is not going to respect the authority of the other, then I think we, every American should be deeply concerned.
BLITZER: The Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler says you're now in a constitutional crisis. His words, constitutional crisis. But impeachment, he says, may not be the best answer.
So what other options do you have?
JAYAPAL: I don't think we've taken anything off the table. I think everything depends on what the president's behavior and the administration's behavior is going forward. Obviously this contempt vote today in committee now moves it directly to the floor, that, once it passes the floor, which I believe it will, we then have the courts and we also have an inherent contempt authority. We have some remedies there.
And then I think the bigger question is, what happens with Don McGahn?
Does the Department of Justice reel this back and provide us with the unredacted Mueller report, which by the way almost every Republican voted on the floor of the House several months ago to release that Mueller report.
That has not happened. So we need to see.
Are they going to provide us with the Mueller report and the underlying information and are they going to allow Don McGahn to testify?
Those are very, very important pieces that we still need to look at.
BLITZER: The other breaking news we're following right now, Congresswoman, the Senate Intelligence Committee has just subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. to testify and we're told he is considering pleading the Fifth or not showing up.
What's your reaction to this dramatic development?
JAYAPAL: My first reaction was, thank God there's some bipartisanship. I've been so disappointed in my Republican colleagues, who refuse to understand or support the foundations that they were sworn in to support, the Constitution.
So I'm glad there's some bipartisanship in the Senate. But Don Jr.'s refusal to testify or to plead the Fifth is just another example.
Wolf, if Attorney General Barr had come in last week to testify before us, my whole line of questioning was going to be around ongoing obstruction of justice. And I see these attempts, Don Jr. refusing to testify, the president denying subpoenas, authorized subpoenas, the president refusing to allow witnesses to testify, that is all ongoing obstruction of justice and incredibly dangerous for our Constitution and our democracy.
BLITZER: Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, thank you so much for joining us.
JAYAPAL: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. We'll have much more on the breaking news. The House Judiciary Committee votes to hold the attorney general William Barr in contempt. CNN has learned the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.
BLITZER: We're following multiple breaking stories. CNN has learned that Donald Trump Jr. has just been subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee and is in a standoff right now over whether he will testify.
Also the House Judiciary Committee has just voted to hold the attorney general William Barr in contempt of Congress for refusing to provide an unredacted version of the Mueller report.
Let's bring in our political and legal experts.
Jeffrey Toobin, how significant is it that Donald Trump Jr. is now being subpoenaed by the Republican-majority Senate Intelligence Committee?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think you put your finger on what makes it particularly significant is that this is not the House under Democratic control, this is the Republican controlled Senate Judiciary Committee.
And they have been doing a largely bipartisan investigation, unlike the House, of matters relating to Russia. And they want to hear from Donald Trump Jr. One of the very notable facts in the Mueller report was that Donald Trump Jr. did not speak to the Mueller investigators and it is entirely possible he will not speak to the Senate.
The question is how will he do that?
Will he take the Fifth, which he's certainly entitled to do?
Will he simply not show up and dare them to hold him in contempt?
Or will he testify?
All of those options are now on the table. But Don Jr. has to come up with an answer and soon.
BLITZER: Yes, if he pleads the Fifth, Laura Jarrett, you're an expert in this area, or if he simply doesn't --
BLITZER: -- show up, what would result from that?
LAURA JARRETT, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, two different possibilities there. Both are messy. If he pleads the Fifth, the committee could try to offer him immunity in exchange for his testimony. We've seen offers like that before.
That gets a little bit tricky in terms of if a prosecutor then wants to later prosecute him for lying to Congress. So we'd have to see how that plays out.
If he simply just doesn't show up, then I think Burr is in a tough spot because then does he subpoena -- sorry -- does he follow through with a contempt vote essentially for Don Jr. flouting the subpoena?
This is the president's son. So that would be a different route but equally impossible. It just matter which one -- which of those two evils does Don Jr. --
BLITZER: I can only imagine, Nia, how angry the president of the United States is right now, knowing that his son, his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., is being subpoenaed to come before the Republican majority Senate Intelligence Committee.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Because so far in this back and forth about Barr coming before Congress or releasing the unredacted report, you had Democrats on one side and Republicans and Donald Trump and the DOJ on another side.
And here you have Republicans, essentially saying they want to hear from Donald Trump Jr. He's testified before under oath, I think in 2017, about some of these matters but there are some discrepancies apparently in what he may have said about the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016.
So they want to clarify that. So if this goes further and may have to -- he refuses to testify, you can imagine that battle between a Republican-led Senate committee, that would be something we haven't really seen before, Republicans standing up essentially to the president and saying they need to be compelled to come before Congress.
BLITZER: Let me get Bianna to weigh in because the chairman, Bianna, of the committee, Richard Burr of North Carolina, a Republican, he seems to be at odds right now with the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, who yesterday delivered a powerful speech on the Senate floor, saying case closed. It's all over. Let's move on.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you could put a positive spin, dare I say, on this, Wolf, to show that the system may be working for a change and that it's not just politics as usual, that the Senate Intelligence Committee has a job to do, regardless whether it's led by a Republican or Democrat.
And for whatever reason they feel like they need to hear more from Donald Trump Jr. As Nia said, going back to his testimony from 2017, we do know from what he said before the Senate Judiciary Committee was that he was just peripherally aware of the Trump Tower Moscow negotiations and conversations.
What we heard later on subsequently from Michael Cohen was that, no, he was deeply involved in those discussions. So they could very well want to talk to him about what he knew and when he knew it and if there was discrepancy over what he initially said a couple years ago.
"The Washington Post" just reported that Donald Trump Jr. is said to be exasperated by this subpoena. Clearly things are getting elevated. But if you want to say the system is working and that you're not focused just on politics in a partisan way, this could actually be a positive sign.
BLITZER: Everybody stand by. There's a lot more we're following on all the breaking news. Take a quick break and will be right back.
[17:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: We're back with our political and legal experts.
Laura Jarrett, as we know, the House Judiciary Committee just voted to hold the Attorney General, William Barr, in contempt of Congress. How did we get here?
JARRETT: Well, you could see this fight coming a mile away. It had been bubbling up for weeks and finally boiled over today with this contempt vote.
But I think there's been a fair amount of bluster and posturing on both sides, right? So for the White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders to say that Nadler wants the Attorney General to break the law, well, he doesn't want him to break the law. He wants him to come with him to court to try to get this report unredacted.
But by the same token, for Nadler to say it's a constitutional crisis, well, it's not. The courts haven't even intervened yet. There isn't even a court order at play.
And I think the real issue is, who has made the best record at this point? The Justice Department feels like, we've offered you an opportunity to come over and read the report. And the fact that they haven't done it yet, I think it's going to be interesting to see how a court treats that.
BLITZER: Jeffrey, what are the consequences of someone being held in contempt of Congress? Assuming the full House votes like the House Judiciary Committee just did and holds William Barr in contempt.
TOOBIN: Well, we have a living and breathing example of the consequences of that, which is Eric Holder who seems to be leading a happy life in private -- in private life at a law firm.
I mean, the fact is the consequences are not great. Eric Holder was held in contempt. The fight went on for a long time. Most people paid no attention.
Look, the Democrats have one real option here, I think, if they want to play hardball on this. Contempt, no contempt, I don't think that, frankly, is going to matter much.
What's going to matter is if the Democrats say, you know what, Mr. President, you're not going to get a rise in the debt ceiling unless we get what we want from you in terms of document requests and testimony. You're not going to get a budget. We're going to shut down the government.
Because the House of Representatives can do both of those things. Everything else is just conversation. That's the only leverage that the Democrats really have.
BLITZER: The House of Representatives still has the power of the purse, as they say.
[17:35:01] You know, Nia, the vote comes after the President issued what's called a protective assertion of executive privilege over the Mueller report. This is also going to, now, lead to a huge legal battle.
HENDERSON: It is going to do just that. And I think, as Laura alluded to, in some ways, we always knew it would lead to this. And the President, himself, even at the beginning of the process, essentially said, you know, take it to the courts, and he is going to fight it in the courts as well.
Obviously, the whole decision of whether or not Barr gets prosecuted, it'll be in the hands of the DOJ and the executive branch. Unlikely that they would actually follow through with that, so it'll be up to the courts. It'll be up to Democrats whether or not they want to, you know, sue and have the courts weigh in.
But this is going to be a long process. It's going to be drawn out. And it's unclear, sort of politically, I mean, how this will play out -- is it sort of a wash because the President sort of likes these fights, and he likes to have a foil -- and whether or not Democrats will get anything out of it either.
Either way, this is going to be a long fight. And whether Americans are paying attention to every sort of, you know, direction this goes in is unclear.
BLITZER: Bianna, how --
TOOBIN: And you can --
BLITZER: Yes, go ahead, Jeffrey. And then I'll get Bianna.
TOOBIN: Well, I'll just point out the fact that they are exerting executive privilege. Most of the redactions are from the first part of the -- the first part of the Mueller report where Donald Trump is not even president. So how can they be asserting executive privilege for the whole report?
I mean, you know, just legally, it makes absolutely no sense to me. But that doesn't mean it's going to be resolved any quicker in the court.
BLITZER: How do you see it playing out, Bianna?
GOLODRYGA: Well, look, this is a situation where it's not one or two issues that the President is stonewalling -- or the administration is stonewalling on. It's everything, right?
It's not just the Mueller report. It's his tax returns. That seems to be the strategy, which is why it will be so interesting to see what ends up happening with Donald Trump, Jr. and this subpoena, if he ends up just ignoring it as well.
But overall, this is a stalling tactic for the President. If this does end up in court, many -- and I'm not a legal expert, but many would agree the judge and the courts may, in fact, rule in favor of the Democrats, but it may be a drawn-out, long process.
And at the same time, the President is already blaming Democrats for focusing on something that he, in his opinion, says is case closed. You are just grabbing at straws and grasping at straws now because you have the Mueller report. It's over. And in his words, another witch- hunt.
BLITZER: Everybody, stick around. There's more news we're following, including out in Colorado. One of the two suspects in the nation's latest deadly school shooting makes his first appearance in court.
[17:42:12] BLITZER: We're following breaking news in Colorado. One of the two suspects in the nation's latest school shooting appeared in court this afternoon. Yesterday's attack on a school in suburban Denver left one student dead, eight others injured.
CNN's Ryan Young is outside the courthouse for us. Ryan, what are you learning? RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, charges have not
been filed just yet against that alleged shooter. That could come as early as Friday. But, look, the story is much bigger than what we normally hear sometimes because these kids fought back.
YOUNG (voice-over): Tonight, 18-year-old Devon Erickson, identified as a suspect in the Colorado STEM School shooting, appearing in court, his head hanging. The second suspect, a juvenile female officials had previously identified as a male.
SHERIFF TONY SPURLOCK, DOUGLAS COUNTY, COLORADO: This individual is a small, young person. And the identity wasn't definitive, obviously obvious, to us when they were taken into custody.
YOUNG (voice-over): Police have yet to determine what prompted the attack.
SPURLOCK: We're still working towards a motive.
YOUNG (voice-over): Authorities say the suspects used a pair of handguns and are working to determine how they got them.
SPURLOCK: The suspects went to the school. They were able to get deep inside the school.
YOUNG (voice-over): Investigators searched a home Tuesday night, but officials would not confirm if one of the suspects lived there.
TUSCANY GIASOLLI, STUDENT, STEM SCHOOL HIGHLANDS RANCH: The next thing I know, he's pulling out a gun.
YOUNG (voice-over): The two shooters first opened fire in the high school just before 2:00 p.m. A student's cell phone was recording during the shooting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Attention, please, lockdown. Lockdown.
YOUNG (voice-over): When students heard this --
YOUNG (voice-over): -- one 12-year-old student in the middle school prepared to fight for his life.
NATE HOLLEY, STUDENT, STEM SCHOOL HIGHLANDS RANCH: I had my hand on the -- on a metal baseball bat, just in case, because I was going to go down fighting if I was going to go down.
YOUNG (voice-over): One of the shooters thwarted by his classmate, Kendrick Castillo, jumping into action to protect his classmates.
GIASOLLI: As soon as he said don't you move, Kendrick lunged, giving all of us enough time to hide under our desks. And the shooter ended up shooting Kendrick. YOUNG (voice-over): His action giving students in the classroom time
to flee. Castillo did not survive his injuries.
JOHN CASTILLO, FATHER OF KENDRICK CASTILLO: It's no surprise that if danger was facing him, he would approach it, you know, and take it on.
YOUNG (voice-over): The 18-year-old senior, an avid member of the varsity robotics team, was days away from finishing high school.
CASTILLO: Be selfless. That's the one thing. That's what my son was. And it got him killed, but he saved others.
YOUNG (voice-over): At least three other students followed Castillo's lead, struggling to stop the shooter, including an aspiring Marine.
GIASOLLI: And he was then tackled by a couple other students. They all risked their own lives to make sure that 10, 15 of us all got out of that classroom safe and that we were able to go home to our families.
YOUNG (voice-over): Castillo's sacrifice is not lost on the parents of surviving students.
[17:45:01] NYKI GIASOLLI, MOTHER OF TUSCANY GIASOLLI: If it had not been for him, I wouldn't have my baby today. I will never be able to thank him.
YOUNG (voice-over): The first sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene within two minutes, but it was an armed private security guard who apprehended one shooter and turned the suspect over to deputies.
SPURLOCK: I believe one of them was restrained when the deputies came in contact with him. That was by the security officer that was at the school.
YOUNG (voice-over): Eight other students were injured, three of them remain in intensive care. Another school shooting in an area all too familiar with this kind of violence. Only seven miles from Columbine High School which, just weeks ago, marked the 20th anniversary of a shooting that killed 12 students and a teacher.
GEORGE BRAUCHLER, DISTRICT ATTORNEY OF THE 18TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT, COLORADO: And if you had suggested to anyone behind me or in this room that, within 20 years and 20 miles, we would have dealt with Columbine, Aurora Theater, Arapahoe High School, the shooting of Zach Parrish and four other deputies, we would've thought you mad. And yet here we are again.
YOUNG: Wolf, we're now in a place where kids are talking about not going down without a fight. So very difficult to listen to. There are several memorials planned for the next coming days. Back to you.
BLITZER: So heartbreaking, indeed. Ryan Young on the scene for us. Ryan, thank you very much. There's more news we're following. Coming up, new signs of increasing
tensions between the United States and Kim Jong-un's North Korea.
[17:51:13] BLITZER: Just days after Kim Jong-un's regime carried out a new missile test, the United States has abruptly suspended its effort to retrieve the remains of U.S. service members from North Korea.
Brian Todd has been looking into this for us. Brian, are tensions on the rise?
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They certainly do seem to be on the rise tonight, Wolf. On two different fronts, Kim's regime is now challenging the Trump administration. And in both cases, it stems from North Korea's frustration over that summit disaster more than two months ago.
TODD (voice-over): The Pentagon is now confirming that this smoke trail was really a warning shot from Kim Jong-un.
PATRICK M. SHANAHAN, ACTING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: I went for a run and then Chairman Dunford called me up and said North Korea was now shooting rockets and missiles.
TODD (voice-over): Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told Congress today about the North Korean leader's test of a short-range missile last week. His first missile firing since 2017.
Today, Kim's regime called it a, quote, routine in self-defensive military drill and warned that attempts in the U.S. to label it as provocative could be an excuse to try to disarm and invade North Korea.
PATRICK CRONIN, ASIA-PACIFIC SECURITY CHAIR, HUDSON INSTITUTE: Kim is talking to Trump as though he's a teenager who has to be told, look, you are out of control. Come back to being my child. I'm in charge here, and come to the table.
TODD (voice-over): But Kim Jong-un isn't just using missiles to confront President Trump tonight.
Officials with the Pentagon's team which handles the return of American MIAs tell CNN they are suspending their effort to get back American soldiers' remains from North Korea because their North Korean counterparts have not communicated at all with them since the failed Trump Kim summit in Hanoi in February.
Just last summer, Vice President Pence and military officers traveled to Hawaii to salute the remains of American servicemen missing from the Korean War as they were finally returned to the U.S. for burial.
President Trump had touted the exchange as one of the best achievements of his Singapore summit with Kim.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He gave us the remains of our great heroes. I have had so many people begging me -- parents and fathers, mothers, daughters, sons -- wherever I went, could you please get the remains of my boy back? They're giving them back.
TODD (voice-over): Experts say North Korea is now using the importance the exchange holds for Trump as a way of getting under his skin.
LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER (RET.), SENIOR FELLOW, LONDON CENTER FOR POLICY RESEARCH: They're tugging on our emotional heartstrings by shutting down contact with our agency doing the recovery. The North Koreans would traditionally try to use this as their first go-to, in your face but passive "we're not happy with your behavior."
TODD (voice-over): The Pentagon says there are more than 7,800 Americans still unaccounted for from the Korean War and up to 5,300 sets of remains are still somewhere inside North Korea.
According to former diplomats and Pentagon officials, the North Koreans, in the past, have used the repatriation issue as leverage.
LINDSEY FORD, DIRECTOR OF POLITICAL-SECURITY AFFAIRS, ASIA SOCIETY POLICY INSTITUTE: The North Koreans will sort of use whatever they can to extort it for cash for their regime. And then beyond that, it's how can they use an issue that is so sensitive for families and for service members to try to get concessions elsewhere in the relationship.
TODD: Regarding that missile test by North Korea, tonight, experts who track North Korea's missile program are worried that Kim's regime is now going to revert to a pattern that it's engaged in before. That after a diplomatic impasse, they've started out small by testing short-range missiles like the one they just tested a few days ago, then they quickly escalate to testing longer-range missiles.
Analysts say if that's done this time, it could hurt the dynamic between President Trump and Kim Jong-un beyond repair, Wolf.
BLITZER: Another very, very tense moment. Brian Todd reporting, thank you.
Coming up, breaking news. The House Judiciary Committee votes to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt for refusing to turn over the complete Mueller report as Democrats raise the stakes in their showdown with the Trump administration.
[17:55:04] And the President's eldest son has been subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee which is controlled by Republicans. Will Donald Trump, Jr. show up to testify?