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THE SITUATION ROOM
Voice-Mail of Trump Lawyer Released; Interview With Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA); Jerry Nadler Backing Impeachment?; "Best Friend" Bromance Between Putin and China's President Xi Could Mean Trouble for Trump and U.S.; New Count Shows Shocking Surge in Los Angeles Homeless Crisis; Rep. Jerry Nadler (D) New York Wants To Open Impeachment Inquiry, Fears Throwing Pelosi Under The Bus By Going Public; Best Friend Bromance Between Putin And China's President Xi Could Mean Trouble For Trump And U.S.. Aired on 6-7p ET
Aired June 6, 2019 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Happening now, breaking news: private impeachment push. CNN has learned that the House Judiciary Committee chairman has broken with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and is backing an impeachment inquiry. We're going to tell you why he's worried about going public.
What Mueller heard. The feds just released voice-mail evidence from the Russia probe. It captures former Trump lawyer John Dowd's phone message to Michael Flynn's attorney. Does it sound like an attempt to obstruct justice? Stand by to listen and judge for yourself.
Pomp and angry stance. The president interrupts a day of tribute to the war heroes of D-Day to insult Robert Mueller and Nancy Pelosi. Tonight, he's holed up in a Trump resort overseas, before returning to battles back home.
And from fixer to fix-it. We're told Michael Cohen is now spending his days working on the heating and air system in prison. CNN is getting an inside account of the former Trump fixer's life behind bars.
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: Breaking news this hour, CNN has learned that the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerry Nadler, does indeed want to open an impeachment inquiry, putting him at odds with the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi's go-slow approach.
We're told Nadler moved forward with his lobbying campaign in a meeting this week, a source telling CNN he's being careful about what he says publicly because he doesn't want to throw Pelosi under the bus.
Also breaking, the new release of a key piece of evidence in Robert Mueller's obstruction investigation. It's a voice-mail message from then Trump lawyer John Dowd to the attorney for a key Mueller witness, the fired national security adviser to the president, Michael Flynn.
The call was investigated as a potential attempt to deter Flynn from cooperating with Mueller's team.
This hour, I will talk with Democratic Congressman Jimmy Gomez, a member of the House Oversight Committee. And our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.
First, let's go to our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju.
Manu, I understand you have some exclusive new reporting about Nadler's personal views on whether the House should launch an impeachment proceedings against the president. Tell our viewers what you're learning.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, publicly, Jerry Nadler, the House Judiciary chairman, has been cautious, not going as far as calling for an impeachment inquiry.
But privately is a different story. He has been lobbying for opening up an impeachment probe and made that case directly to Nancy Pelosi in multiple private meetings, including one earlier this week with other key chairmen.
Now, I'm told that, in this meeting, he said to Pelosi and others who were there that this would add weight to their legal arguments in court as a fight with the Trump administration of a range of issues involving their subpoenas that they're trying to enforce. He believes that would help their case in court.
Also, he made two additional arguments, including that opening up an inquiry would centralize all the different investigations that are happening in the House before his committee, the House Judiciary Committee, which has the expertise to move forward.
Also, he referenced rules that are on the House floor and in the House committee that prevent the disparagement of individuals, including the president, saying that if you were to open up an impeachment probe, it would be easier to make the case that the president may have committed crimes, and not violate those House rules.
Now, he did get some pushback. We know Nancy Pelosi is resisting opening up an impeachment probe. She said, reportedly, that she believes the president should go to prison instead of being impeached. She made that comment in that very meeting.
And, Wolf, I'm told that Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, also resisted that effort, if they were to centralize an impeachment inquiry, that perhaps that could impact his committee. He didn't want to move forward with that as well.
Now, one Democratic member of the House Judiciary Committee made the case that he has been very careful, Jerry Nadler, in how he's advocating for an impeachment inquiry. As he said, he's been very careful in advocating the view of the committee, but it doesn't want -- but he doesn't want to throw Pelosi under the bus.
That's the view of one member of a Democratic committee. So, Nadler facing these dueling tensions, even though he has a personal belief that they should open up an impeachment probe, as the speaker resists it, Wolf.
BLITZER: Does Nadler, Manu, have a strategy in place to avoid directly contradicting Nancy Pelosi?
RAJU: Well, he's not dissuading his members from going public. We have seen more and more members of the House Judiciary Committee call for an impeachment probe. And I am told that he's been supportive of their efforts to make their cases known. He has not issued any objection, I'm told.
Also, he's tried to not go as far in his interviews and in public comments to say that the president has engaged in conduct that is warranting impeachment. That is, he's tried to stop sort of that. He's leaving it at that, instead to other members to make that case, to TV commentators, as well as newspaper editorial boards, to make that argument.
He himself has not. But if they were to open up an impeachment probe, that could change. But, at the moment, that's how he's trying to navigate the pressure that he's facing from the left and from the speaker.
BLITZER: So, Manu, what exactly are Nadler and his staff, staffers, what are they saying about your reporting?
RAJU: Well, at the moment, they're -- Nadler declined to be interviewed for our article, Wolf.
But what the spokesman for Jerry Nadler, for -- the spokesperson on the committee told us was that, no one is above the law, the Democratic Caucus is united about its view to investigate this president, look into all these allegations that are out there.
They don't want to go out publicly and say they're disagreeing with the speaker. They want to make the case that they're investigating, and they will go do everything they can, and that no option is off the table. And the spokesperson for the speaker's office also made the case that they are united in how they investigate this president and his conduct.
They're trying to downplay any divisions that are actually existing in this caucus about the strategy and whether to launch this probe. Adam Schiff, his spokesperson declined to comment about this apparent clash with Jerry Nadler about opening up an impeachment inquiry.
But, nevertheless, Wolf, this is an issue that will continue to fester in the caucus about how to pursue this in the days and weeks ahead, as members of the committee get more and more frustrated, members of the caucus concerned about the defiance of all these subpoenas, and they debate the best way to pursue their approach -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Excellent reporting, Manu Raju from Capitol Hill.
We're going to have much more on all the breaking news. Coming up, we will speak to a key congressman, Jimmy Gomez of California, a member of the Oversight Committee.
But let's get to another important story that we're following right now, more breaking news on that key voice-mail evidence in the Mueller investigation that has just been released.
Our political correspondent, Sara Murray, is joining us.
Sara, take us through the audio recording and what it reveals, what it suggests.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is the first time we're hearing this audio recording.
We have talked about it before, but it's the phone call that John Dowd, who was formerly an attorney for President Trump, made to one of Michael Flynn's attorneys, essentially saying, look, we have a feeling that you guys are cooperating with the government, and we need to know what you're saying.
But I will let John Dowd speak for himself. Listen to the recording.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOHN DOWD, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Hey, Rob, this is John again.
Maybe I'm -- I'm sympathetic. I understand your situation, but let me see if I can't state it in starker terms.
If you have -- and it wouldn't surprise me if you've gone on to make a deal with and work with the government. I understand that you can't join the joint defense. So, that's one thing.
If, on the other hand, there's information that implicates the president, then we've got a national security issue, or maybe a national security issue, I don't know, some issue we have got to -- we got to deal with, not only for the president, but for the country.
So, you know, then -- then we need some kind of heads-up, just for the sake of protecting all interests, if we can, without you having to give up any confidential information.
So, and if it's the former, then, you know, remember what we've always said about the president and his feelings toward Flynn. And that still remains.
But, in any event, let me know, and, I appreciate your listening and taking the time. Thanks, pal.
(END AUDIO CLIP) MURRAY: Now, Wolf, that's a little bit rambling. But I think there are a couple important points.
I mean, he's basically saying, if there's anything that implicates the president, we really need you to tell us. And then at the end, when he says he's trying to remind Michael Flynn's attorney of the feelings the president had, the feelings the president was expressing at the time were very warm feelings towards Michael Flynn, saying he was a great guy, it was so unfortunate that Flynn had to leave the White House.
So it was John Dowd's opportunity to sort of remind Flynn's attorney, hey, the president thinks very highly in this guy, the subtext being, don't give us a reason not to.
BLITZER: Is this the kind of so-called underlying evidence, Sara, that Democrats are fighting to obtain, because actually hearing something, seeing something is different than reading about it?
MURRAY: I think it is.
And this is -- this voice-mail, it's written about in the Mueller report. We have seen the transcript of it, but it is a different thing to hear someone that to have been an attorney for the president making this pitch.
And I think Democrats, in particular, are banking on the fact that most of the American public has not read the 450-page Mueller report in detail, but they might sit and listen to a voice-mail, they might sit and listen if they can get any of these folks to testify. And that might ultimately change people's minds about impeachment or about whether they want to vote for the president in 2020.
BLITZER: CNN also has some new information about how the president's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, is doing in prison. He is serving a three-year prison sentence.
MURRAY: That's right.
Obviously, Michael Cohen wasn't excited to go to prison. No one's excited when they have to go to prison. But it turns out, according to some sources and my colleague Kara Scannell's excellent reporting, that it's not necessarily as bad as Michael Cohen thought.
He's getting a pretty warm reception there. Other inmates, they want to spend their downtime with him. They want to have lunch with Michael Cohen. They're asking him for legal advice and offering him advice about how to make it through his prison sentence.
And they're very fascinated by this guy who used to work for President Trump and who helped orchestrate these payments to women. They want to know all about it. And, as for Michael Cohen, he's working on the HVAC system in prison. He's trying to get involved in some construction work and cut back his sentence. Now, Otisville, where he's being held, is a very nice prison, but
certainly it's still prison. And one of the things that sources told Kara is that the hardest thing for Michael Cohen is, of course, being apart from his family, Wolf.
BLITZER: Certainly is. It's a minimum security prison in New York.
All right, thanks very much for that, Sara Murray, reporting.
President Trump, meanwhile, has been showing a lot of frustration today, as feuds and grudges bubbling to the surface, even as he marked the solemn D-Day anniversary in France.
Let's go to our senior White House correspondent, Pamela Brown. She's traveling with the president right now in Ireland.
Pamela, any White House -- first, any reaction, first of all, to these late-breaking developments back here in Washington?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No reaction as of yet, Wolf.
As President Trump faces this growing list of issues back home while he's abroad, he did stick to the script today in Normandy. He put divisive rhetoric to the side and gave a unifying speech to a crowd of world leaders and surviving veterans.
BROWN (voice-over): After delivering a soaring speech about the importance of foreign alliances abroad at the 75th anniversary of D- Day this morning...
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our bond is unbreakable.
BROWN: ... tonight, the president is facing fractured alliances and old frustrations back home.
During an interview with FOX News set to air later tonight and with the backdrop of an American cemetery behind him, the president reverted to his criticism of the Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller.
TRUMP: Let me tell you, he made such a fool out of himself the last time she -- because what people don't report is the letter he had to do to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong.
BROWN: While also directing insults towards the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.
TRUMP: Nancy Pelosi -- I call her nervous Nancy -- Nancy Pelosi doesn't talk about it. Nancy Pelosi is a disaster, OK? She's a disaster. And let her do what she wants. You know what? I think they're in big trouble.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don't talk about the president when we're out of the country. That's my principle.
BROWN: But before she arrived in France, Pelosi made a stunning remark to her Democratic colleagues.
"I don't want to see him impeached. I want to see him in prison" -- that according to multiple Democratic sources who spoke with Politico, the statement coming amid questions on whether Pelosi and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler are on the same page when it comes to launching an impeachment inquiry against Trump.
BLITZER: Are you on the same page with the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, when it comes to impeachment?
REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): s I said, we are launching an inquiry now, and whether we will launch an impeachment inquiry, it may come to that.
BROWN: Also looming back home, intense negotiations with Mexico's foreign minister and whether President Trump will follow through on his threat to slap a 5 percent tariff on Mexico imports set to go into effect Monday.
TRUMP: Mexico was in yesterday. They're coming back this morning in Washington. They will be meeting at the White House. I think a lot of progress was made yesterday, but we have to make a lot of progress.
They have to step up, and they have to step up to the plate. And perhaps they will. We're going to see. They can solve the problem.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president has said what he means and he meant what he said. Before or after Monday, Mexico has to step up.
BROWN: Tonight, Mr. Trump is back at his golf resort in Ireland, after managing to stay on message during his D-Day speech, despite the pressing issues back home.
TRUMP: To the men who sit behind me and to the boys who rest in the field before me, your example will never, ever grow old.
BROWN: Now, here in Ireland, an official says President Trump has been getting briefed on the meetings happening in Washington over the Mexico tariffs. And he has been weighing in.
But Press Secretary Sarah Sanders says he hasn't changed his mind yet and those tariffs are still set to go into effect on Monday to Mexico.
Now, Wolf, we are told that President Trump is spending another night at his golf resort in Doonbeg, not far from where I am right now. In fact, that would make it 254 days at one of his properties since he became president -- Wolf.
BLITZER: And 193 of those days at his golf clubs. This is day 868 of his presidency.
Pamela Brown, thank you very much for that report.
Joining us now, Congressman Jimmy Gomez, a Democrat who serves on the Oversight and Ways and Means committees.
Thanks so much, Congressman, for joining us.
REP. JIMMY GOMEZ (D-CA): Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Let me get your reaction, first of all, to the breaking news. You have heard it, that the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, is privately lobbying the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, to open a formal impeachment inquiry.
Are you with Nadler or are you with Pelosi?
GOMEZ: You know, it's not a question of who I'm with.
I voted first twice -- I have said this before -- twice to start debate on impeachment. And I will do it again.
At the same time, Nancy Pelosi is the quarterback of our team, although different people play different positions, and some people are more aggressive. It make -- we want to make sure that we do get it right.
So I'm with Nancy and I'm with Nadler in different respects. First, Nancy's our leader. Nadler is making sure that we line up the facts and the case, so that we when we do approach impeachment, and if we do, that we can make sure that it's successful.
BLITZER: When I spoke to the Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerry Nadler, yesterday here in THE SITUATION ROOM, he wouldn't commit to waiting for Nancy Pelosi's blessings before opening an impeachment inquiry.
What message would it send if Nadler were to defy the speaker of the House?
GOMEZ: I'm not sure if he will defy the speaker of the House.
This is still Nancy Pelosi, and everybody's behind her. He might not want to commit in public, but I don't think that he's going to break ranks.
BLITZER: What do you make of his argument that a formal impeachment probe would centralize all the various investigations in the House of Representatives and actually wind up giving more power to investigate?
GOMEZ: He's the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, so he knows what he's talking about.
But, at the same time, you still have Chairman Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee. You still have Richie Neal. You still have Elijah Cummings. Unless everybody's on board, which it doesn't sound like everybody's on board, I don't think that's going to happen.
BLITZER: The speaker responded to Nadler in that closed-door meeting, we're told, by saying that she doesn't want to see the president impeached, she wants to see him in prison. She wants to see the president of the United States in prison.
It's an extraordinary statement from the speaker of the House. Do you agree with her?
GOMEZ: I want to see justice served. I want to see this president held accountable. And that's why you see so many investigations going on. That's why you have investigation into his financial documents that the committee I'm on, Oversight, is conducting.
That's why you have the intelligence community following up on the leads and the facts regarding the foreign interests of this president. So I think we need to conduct these investigations and let those end up where they're going.
If it determines that we lead to impeachment, or if he ends up in jail, so be it.
BLITZER: Because maybe you can explain this to me. If she believes the president of the United States committed crimes that potentially could lead to imprisonment, how can she justify not opening impeachment proceedings?
GOMEZ: I don't know everything that she's thinking about.
But I know that a lot of times, when people always ask, what's the next step, what's the next step, Nancy Pelosi is always thinking about that next step. You open up an impeachment proceeding, you end up having a vote, it passes the House. Then you end up in the Senate.
If you end up in the Senate, with Mitch McConnell, you better have a mountain of evidence, because this guy is not going to risk his majority. He has 22 seats up in 2020. If he actually, say, removes the president, which I highly doubt that that's what he will do, it would cost him the majority of his house, because you would suppress his own base.
So we're going to go into the Senate and take on Mitch McConnell, well, we better have guns loaded and have -- be ready to bear, because this is going to be a fight.
BLITZER: You also heard for the first time today the actual voice- mail from John Dowd, who was the president's top lawyer at the time, to Michael Flynn's lawyer. And Flynn was not only the former national security adviser to the president, but a key witness in the entire Mueller investigation.
How do you interpret that message, Congressman?
GOMEZ: I -- it's interesting that this recording came out. Last night, I flew back to Los Angeles. I didn't have Wi-Fi. So what I ended up doing was rereading the Mueller report. And I reread that section. And I highlighted it, because it's actually on my phone. I'm reading it on my iPhone.
And I highlighted that section, because it was very, very questionable, when he -- what he was trying to suggest. At the same time, it also points out -- later on in that same page, it points out that Trump's attorney, when he was told by Flynn's attorney not -- that he couldn't give them any more information, that he would tell the president -- Trump's attorney would tell the president that that was hostile actions towards the president.
So, in my eyes, it's what the folks associated with this administration have always done, which was to dodge, lie to protect this president. At the same time, I want to tell people that we want to make sure that we follow all this evidence forward, all this evidence to the logical conclusion.
If it's obstruction, then we're going to bring it out. And we want to make sure that this is read out loud, in public, and make sure that everybody understands what's going on.
BLITZER: We have some brand-new information. And I want to get your thoughts.
We have just learned, Congressman, that the Justice Department has now responded to your committee, the House Oversight Committee, in its investigation into the 2020 census and the citizenship question.
The Department of Justice said it was working to get the House Oversight Committee more documents in response to the subpoena for information regarding the 2020 census. But they call your committee's decision to go ahead with contempt premature.
That's the new information. What's your reaction?
GOMEZ: I think that's nonsense.
We have -- we have been working on this issue for a number of months. We have been really questioning the fact on what motivated the Census Bureau, what motivated the Department of Commerce to add the citizenship question. They're not giving us the information.
And since they're not giving us the information, if we need it, we issued a subpoena. And if they don't respond, we're going to issue that contempt. I think that's the way we have to go.
BLITZER: They're also suggesting in this new statement they released, this letter they released, that if you go ahead and issue this contempt citation, they're just simply going to stop cooperating with you.
GOMEZ: That doesn't make a difference. We're going to -- they haven't been cooperating with us anyways.
So we have to make sure that we keep pushing our case forward. And then, if we have to go to court, we will go to court once again.
BLITZER: So this is a significant development. It looks like they're stonewalling on a whole bunch of issues. You're on these two committees, the Oversight Committee, the Ways and Means Committee.
Your Ways and Means Committee, you want to see the president's tax returns for the past six years. You believe you have a strong case. How's that working out so far?
GOMEZ: Hey, we're in -- we're following it through.
And one of the things that I have always said, and I have said it on this show, and I just said it, this president, as well as everybody associated, they have one strategy. It's called dodge, delay and lie.
And I want the American people to know it, because they're going to keep doing it. But we're going to follow every piece of evidence. We're going to issue subpoenas. We're going to -- if they don't follow up on the subpoena, we're going to issue contempt.
And if they don't have -- if they don't follow up on the contempt, then we're going to go to court. And you know what? We're winning in the court right now on the fact that we have a right to investigate and hold this administration accountable.
BLITZER: Congressman Jimmy Gomez, thanks so much for joining us.
GOMEZ: Thank you.
BLITZER: All right, just ahead, CNN has learned that the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerry Nadler, is backing an impeachment inquiry, breaking with the speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
But why is he worried about revealing that publicly?
BLITZER: we're following multiple breaking stories tonight, including a source now telling CNN but the House Judiciary Committee chairman, Jerry Nadler, is privately pushing to open a formal impeachment inquiry.
But the source says Nadler is cautious about going public, for fear of throwing the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, under the bus.
Let's dig deeper with our experts and our analysts.
What's your reaction to this, Gloria?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a little bit surprising to me because Nadler and Pelosi have not had any daylight between them so far.
Last night, when we spoke after Nadler, I thought he was being circumspect because he didn't want to step on Nancy Pelosi. And I think that's true publicly. I think he's getting an awful lot of pressure from his committee people.
I think he has not gotten people to appear before his committee. And maybe he feels that, if there is an impeachment inquiry that would help him with that. And I also think there's a little bit of a turf thing going on here, having covered Congress for many years.
There are folks who don't want the Judiciary Committee to become the only place where you would do impeachment. For example, Schiff has his Intelligence Committee. There's Oversight. There are other committees who want a -- who want a piece of this action.
So that would be a problem for people. But I think he's tried to represent Nancy Pelosi. She's clearly intransigent on this issue right now.
And maybe this is one way for them to sort of try and push her towards the impeachment side of the fence.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM: And, Jeffrey Toobin, remember, these are his private positions. He is reluctant to go public.
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: I got a question for these democrats. Why don't they talk less about investigating and do more investigate? Like where are the hearings? You know, the Judiciary Committee is going to hold a hearing on Monday where John Dean is going to testify, who was White House Counsel 40 years ago.
I mean, like why is all this discussion about strategy? Why don't they call some witnesses, produce some documents, even if it's just to show that the White House isn't cooperating? I mean, I don't think all this wheel spinning is doing them any good when they're not producing any evidence.
BORGER: I think that's the problem. They're not getting the witnesses they need, if they could get Don McGahn up there. You know, subpoenas are not things that you decide you should do or you shouldn't do, or it's optional. They're subpoenaing people. They need to get responses and get people up there.
BLITZER: Don McGahn, the former White House Counsel. But, Jeffrey, Nadler does say that within weeks, if necessary, he will issue a subpoena to Robert Mueller to appear before his committee.
TOOBIN: Well, you know, time is passing. You know, it's June. The Mueller report came out in March. You know, I guess he's like trying to be real polite with Mueller and saying -- asking, pretty please testify. But, you know, weeks are passing. It's soon. It's going July, then August, and, you know, I know all the months, actually. I can recite them for you. But it's like -- you know, I just don't know what they're waiting for to actually get some witnesses and start presenting evidence rather than talking about what they're going to do. BLITZER: What do you think, David?
DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So let me see if I can tie a couple of these things together? I think Jeffrey is right, that House Democrats need to do more actual investigating. They are frustrated that they're not getting the witnesses and they're not getting their subpoenas answered. So they want to move forward with impeachment. People like Nadler apparently want to move forward so that they can get more access to information.
On the other hand, I think the Pelosi position is, I want to make it clear to the public and to the courts and to other members of Congress that we can't get anything through the courts. We can't get anything any other way except to impeach. She wants this clearly to be a last resort.
SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALYST: I think the problem is that the more time that passes is actually going to undercut their argument for impeachment. Mueller put out that report. I think it was April 18th that he made that report public. You know, yes, it was reasonable for them to take some time, digest the report, not seem like they were rushing to conclusions, rushing to impeachment.
The problem is they've not had time to digest the report. They've had time to look at the absolutely shocking conduct that is described about what the President and his associates knew about the Russian plot against America, that they encouraged that plot and his efforts to obstruct justice and obstruct that investigation on an ongoing basis.
And so at this point, for the House of Representatives, to not act and act in a manner that is their constitutional obligation, right? Robert Mueller talks about, well, there is this remedy. It's not the criminal justice system. I'm not going to say what it is. He's not talking about oversight hearings. He's not talking about censure. He's talking about the remedy of impeachment.
And so if you wait -- if you have all the facts and you wait too long, eventually, I think the question becomes, well, if you really felt like this is all impeachable conduct, why didn't you move against --
SWERDLICK: Wolf, I do agree with Susan on the point, that there is a point where there is going to be a tipping point and democrats do face that exact risk, that they're going to have waited so long, people are going to say, why didn't you impeach sooner? On the other hand, you can always go to impeachment. And I think, again, the Speaker wants to get to this position where she said we have no other choice, and she's not. There was that CNN SSRS poll this week where it said 41 percent of people think impeach. She is thinking of the 59 percent of Americans who aren't there yet.
BORGER: She's thinking about the 50 democrats who were elected in Trump districts that she is worried about losing. That's what she's thinking about. If this were a normal congress, and Susan and I were talking about this, you could have a select committee, which you did in Iran-Contra, for example, and Jeffrey knows this very well, and you can do an investigation with the public. You had a select committee in Watergate, et cetera, but it's late for that. And this isn't a normal congress. So it's hard to figure out how to --
BLITZER: You know, Jeffrey, the argument that they keep making, those who are reluctant to go forward with formal impeachment proceedings is, so the House of Representatives impeaches the President of the United States. He's not going to be convicted in the Senate. You need 67 votes in the Senate. You need 20 republicans. If all the democrats vote in favor of impeachment, that's clearly not going to happen. The President would be acquitted. He would use that to his political advantage in his re-election effort.
TOOBIN: You know, I don't think anyone really knows the answer to what the political impact of impeachment is. You know what presidents don't like? Being impeached. You know, I mean, it's really not a good thing.
And the idea that this would be some gift to Donald Trump by impeaching him, by making him one of three presidents in all of American history to be impeached, I don't think that's necessarily such a great thing for his re-election.
Now, it is true that it might motivate the base. But the idea that any of us can predict with precision what the political impact is of an impeachment, you know, I'm there. You know, I agree that the Senate is not going to produce 67 votes. But the idea that this would somehow help Donald Trump get re-elected, I don't think anyone knows that for sure.
HENNESSEY: That's absolutely right. And, certainly, House Democrats are over-learning the lesson of the Clinton impeachment. That said, at the same time that Nancy Pelosi is being extraordinarily conservative and cautious and not wanting to move to impeachment, she's being incredibly irresponsible and reckless in saying things like, well, he should be if jail after he leaves office. Basically the democrats' version of lock him up, right, things that we actually shouldn't want to hear members of Congress talking about -- talking in that manner about pursuing those types of things.
BORGER: And you can't have it both ways. If you think he should be in jail, then isn't that serious enough to impeach him? I mean, I'm not criticizing Nancy Pelosi's strategy here, but she cannot say things like lock him up, which she effectively said, and then say, but wait a minute, we shouldn't impeach. And then I think she's trying to have it both ways.
SWERDLICK: Yes, I mean, right. If her concern is the election coming up and the politics of this, then impeachment should be her focus, not whether President Trump is in jail at some later point in time.
HENNESSEY: The problem is Pelosi's strategy also only makes sense in a world in which Donald Trump is not re-elected president, right? All of the strategy of not wanting to pursue impeachment and wanting to beat at the polls, that's all fine and good if he's actually defeated.
Keep in mind, this was the exact same mistake that the FBI made in 2016 in planning only for a world in which they assumed that it was impossible that somebody like Donald Trump could be elected president. We see Nancy Pelosi engaged in some of this similar thinking. It's impossible that someone like Donald Trump could be re-elected President, and that's just not true.
BORGER: Well, let me make the case for Nancy Pelosi's point of view for one moment, which is, I believe, that in order to impeach the President, you have to have public opinion on your side. In order to have public opinion on your side, you have to make the case. And the point is, as Jeffrey was saying earlier, they haven't made the case because they haven't had hearings. They haven't got Mueller up there. They haven't got McGhan. They haven't got Hope Hicks, whoever they want. And they need to start doing that quickly or nothing will occur.
BLITZER: And important point. Everybody stick around. There is more news we are following. Just ahead, Vladimir Putin flaunts his friendship with China's President, and that could mean some serious trouble for President Trump.
BLITZER: While President Trump certainly likes to tout his ties with the leaders of Russia and China, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have been cozying up to each other, a relationship that potentially could hold some serious danger for the United States.
CNN's Brian Todd is here with details. Brian, the Chinese President is in Russia right now.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. He is visiting Moscow and St. Petersburg, cementing ties with Vladimir Putin that have gotten closer every year. Tonight, veteran security officials and analysts are warning President Trump to put away his personal affinity for both Putin and Xi and deal with the real threat that the two men working together pose to U.S. national security.
TODD: It was a split screen tailor -made by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Just as President Trump was meeting with America's most important allies in Europe, two of America's biggest adversaries were holding court in Moscow. In a summit that analysts say was time to send a message, Putin hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping.
PROF. KEITH DARDEN, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: I think this is clearly Russia's response to what they perceive as an American threat. And it's a way of saying we don't need the west.
TODD: The two strong men have been getting closer every year. This time, Xi calling Putin his, quote, best and bosomed friend, saying he cherished their deep friendship.
XI JINPING, CHINA PRESIDENT: Our bilateral relations have not reached the maximum and can come even better.
TODD: The comments almost a direct echo of Trump's own description of his relationship with the two men.
DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: The relationship I have with President Xi is extraordinary. It's really very good.
And I think I can have a very good relationship with President Putin.
TODD: During their summit, Putin and Xi showed off their friendship with a visit to the Moscow zoo, where they welcomed to new Chinese pandas, a gift from Xi to Russia. They went to the theater, reviewed soldiers and looked at Chinese cars.
Beyond the pageantry and the pandas, analysts say America should be very wary of this growing partnership.
ANDREA KENDALL-TAYLOR, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE OFFICER FOR RUSSIA: They are work together, coordinating more than we've in the past to really accelerate the decline of the U.S. influence globally.
TODD: Putin experts say is being Putin, manipulating his way on to the world stage, trying to insert himself as an indispensable player.
DARDEN: He would like Russia to have that role in international conflicts, that Russia should have to be consulted, called, be a port of call for any major leader.
TODD: In April, Putin met with Kim Jong-un in the wake of the North Korean dictator's failed summit with President Trump. Putin offered to be an intermediary between Kim and Trump, which experts say was a typical Putin move to peel the U.S. away from countries he's doing business with, even as he suggests he is trying to help.
[18:45:08] Experts say Trump will have to brush aside what they call his naivete regarding Putin and Xi and deal with the real threats the two leaders present to America security. They say Russia and China can coordinate cyber attacks and military moves that can knock U.S. forces off balance.
ANDREA KENDAL-TAYLOR, FORMER DEPUTY NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE OFFICER FOR RUSSIA: It's not hard to imagine a scenario where Russia and China make moves into countries on their periphery. So, China and the South China Sea and Russia into Ukraine, for example. And that kind of coordination would severely strain the United States' ability to respond.
TODD: How can President Trump and his team counter this threat from Putin and Xi? Analysts say they have to think of creative ways to drive wedges between the two of them, both militarily, economically and otherwise. But they say Trump is going to need help from his European allies to do that. And the problem, they say, is that Trump has often done more to alienate allies in Europe than to work with them -- Wolf.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Very important, very interesting.
Brian Todd, thanks for that report.
We'll have much more news right after this.
[18:50:48] BLITZER: Residents of America's second largest city knew its homeless crisis was getting worse, but many were shocked to find out just how bad it's become.
CNN's Stephanie Elam is joining from Los Angeles.
Stephanie, homelessness there I take it has surged over the past year.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No doubt about it, Wolf, and you can see it all across the city. And it's something Angelinos had suspected for a while that the homelessness problem here has gotten much larger. Now, there is data to prove it and the numbers staggering.
ELAM (voice-over): Tents, sleeping bags, pan handling. From West L.A. to Hollywood to downtown, new numbers from the city's annual homeless count estimate more than 36,000 people in the city are homeless. That's up 16 percent from last year. In all of L.A. County, the rise is 12 percent to nearly 59,000 people.
MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: It's high rents. It's low wages. It's mental health. It's addiction. It's actually all of those transpiring together.
ELAM: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is under fire for the homeless issue, a problem he says he owns.
GARCETTI: People do think there is a silver bullet to this. There isn't.
But a dedicated campaign with funding that continues through and patience of the first two to three years get the machine working because you can't just shelter people randomly. That will produce a system that not he only ends homelessness but builds a sustainable system.
ELAM: Despite getting more people in-housing last year the city and county haven't been able to keep up with the number of people falling into homelessness. Nearly a quarter of those living on the street said they became homeless for the first time last year. In 2016, Los Angeles voters approved usage of $1.2 billion for
permanent housing. Garcetti's goal is 10,000 permanent supportive housing units over the next ten years.
ELAM (on camera): Has any of that $1.2 billion at all gone for the homeless problem yet?
GARCETTI: Oh, yes. We have already about $400 million of it funded. We will spend that $1.2 billion early. I mean, long before the ten- year span.
ELAM (voice-over): The mayor's critics however are skeptical. And call for more innovation.
JILL STEWART, COALITION TO PRESERVE L.A., EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: The mayor has this dramatic plan and he is not breaking away from it. It's taking forever. It's a huge waste of money and it's turning into a disaster for the homeless.
GARCETTI: I can get that frustration because I like anybody out there wants this to be something we can snap our finger and in a year or two see go away. It's been decades in the making and will be years coming out.
ELAM: That frustration is also shared by the city's homeless.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are not zoo animals we are humans that happen to live on the street.
ELAM: Now, the mayor also told me that there is a new facility that just opened up last week and that there will be more to follow. But for a lot of people living here in Los Angeles, they want to see action happen a lot faster, Wolf.
BLITZER: CNN's Stephanie Elam reporting -- important story. Thanks very much.
Just ahead remembering one of the most consequential days of the 20th century and the countless lives it impacted.
[18:58:28] BLITZER: Finally tonight, D-Day remembered by the veterans who served and survived. They're the last of the greatest generation, the troops who invaded Normandy, storming the beaches, turning World War II around and setting the allies on a path to victory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAKE LARSON, 34TH INFANTRY DIVISION: Seventy-five years ago today, I landed on Omaha Beach.
VERN OLLAR, 81ST CHEMICAL MORTAR BATTALION: Lost a lot of guys. We had almost 2,000 D-Day just on Omaha, 18, 19, 21-year-old guys. It makes me -- I get choked up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I always thought God was with me. I don't remember any fear at all. Some apprehension not knowing exactly what was happening.
PAUL HILLIARD, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM: There's a very high price paid for that freedom. I guess that's what we're trying to bring forward is the value of freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Words to remember, 75 years after D-Day, and indeed every day.
On a personal note, I have a connection to this moment in history. My parents might not have survived the Holocaust and come here to the United States after World War II without the bravery and the sacrifice of thousands of U.S. and Allied forces.
I had the honor to talk with many of those veterans when I traveled to Omaha Beach to cover the 50th and the 60th anniversaries of D-Day. Sadly, fewer of them are still with us. But they are all in our hearts.
And to them, we thank you for your service.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.