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tv   CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar  CNN  October 8, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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we appreciate your patience today, including going out to see the speaker. thanks for joining us on "inside politics." we'll be back this time tomorrow. brianna keilar starts right now. have a good afternoon. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, democrats in the house now reacting to a no-show. committee chairman leading the impeachment inquiry saying they'll issue a subpoena for ambassador gordon sondland. the white house stepped in at the last minute this morning, early this morning, to block sondland's appearance on capitol hill. the u.n. ambassador to the european union was expected to face questions on his role and president trump pressuring ukraine to dig up dirt on joe biden and withholding military
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aid. manu raju is on the hill. manu, tell us why democrats wanted to hear from sondland. >> sondland played a key role in discussions about setting up a meeting and having discussions after president trump talked to the president of ukraine zelensky about the president's desire to investigate joe biden, have the ukranians investigate joe biden. around that conversation the president had with zelensky, someone engaged with individuals about moving forward in setting up both a meeting with the ukranian government and the president of the united states. that meeting had been put on ice. the ukranians had raised concerns about that. also he was involved in discussions about why military aid was withheld. he said in one of the text messages with another diplomat that there was no quid pro quo and then there were more messages in that text message exchange. someone said, call me.
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he told that to bill taylor on capitol hill. they also wanted to see these text messages of his own that had not been turned over yet to capitol hill. adam schiff came out after this was announced, that someone would not appear, and made it very clear he views this as obstruction of congress. >> we will consider this act today, and we've had members fly in from around the country to hear the ambassador's testimony as well as the withholding of the ambassador's documents as well as efforts that may be made to discourage or have the effect of other state departments to not dmom and testify to be further acts of a co-equal branch of government. >> we understand why the department decided not to have gordon sondland appear today. it's based on the unfair and
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partisan protsz mr. schiff has been running. >> nancy pelosi, the house speaker, just spoke to reporters in seattle, and she dhaucalled an abuse of power. she said the president is obstructing congress from getting the facts, but she asked if there would be parts of an article of impeachment. clearly that is a major consideration as the democrats ask these witnesses who are not yet coming. brianna? >> manu, thank you. a source close to the president's impeachment team is telling cnn that blocking sondland's testimony today was part of a larger strategy, that the days of playing nice, if you thought they were, are over. >> brianna, we know late last night they were discussing whether the ambassador should go to capitol hill for the scheduled testimony.
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they said he actually wanted to come, he wanted to be questioned about this. while the white house has put out a statement to keep the dogs ma hanging it. they want democrats to take that vote before they have to cooperate too fully and that is really what played a key factor in determining whether or not they should block him from going up to capitol hill. of course, this is going to be a fight that conditions. what you're seeing with the tlelts many. go tlup and testify, tell him what he knows, because of course he's someone at the center of all of this. european union seent on a lot of this. that is why so many people want
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to talk to him about these discussions. here to discuss, jessica engle, dana bash. this is about sondland and what he would have to testify about. the most senior in ukraine texts about, quote, help for a political campaign. he calls it, quote, crazy. the eu replies after several hours with this. quote, bill, i believe you are incorrect about president trump's intentions. the president has been crystal clear no quid pro quos of any kind. >> he said, what's going on
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here? call the president. you see there's a gap of about four and a half hours that he spoke with the president, i'm told, and that the president emphatically told him there was no quid pro quo which kind of explains the timeline and also the lawyerly response to taylor's text. i should also noete the "wall street journal" has reported this as well, so it lets you understand a little bit about what was going on in sondland's mind. he was somebody who wanted to get aid to ukraine, and here he is a political appointee hearing this from a professional diplomat, and he's saying, what, really? then he decided, i'm going to call the president for myself. and that was the answer he got. >> what do you think about this, dana? >> so many things. first of all, just chain of command. the fact the ambassador to the eu, it sounds like a shoulder shrug maybe at first blush that he would just pick up the phone and call the president. but that's normally not how it
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works. it kind of shows how hands-on the president of the united stat states on this particular topic and why. second of all is the gap. the fact there was a gap and he wrote that text that you've all seen that we just read again, deliberately. >> with input from somebody. >> maybe a lawyer, who knows. >> if you kind of take a step back about it it, what other information does he have? those are all the questions, the very real questions they were going to ask him today and the fact he -- the administration decided to take the political skmilt looking like they had something to hide pd.
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maybe they've learned their lesson that transparency has some costs? >> joseph, you're a former federal prosecutor sorks if you were trying to listen some, right? i could not have crafted it better if he was my own client. we've seen the transcript, we've seen the whistleblower complaint, but let's go to the witnesses that actually know what happened here. from my perspective, you've seen a radical change in strategy in the last two weeks. going to the president saying, you want the whistleblower complaint, here you go. that's not what's going to happen going forward. they're going to circle the wagons, they're going to drag their feet and make every bit of information impossibly hard to get. >> how hard is it for a state employee to tell sondland, hey, you're not cooperating with the
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investigation. >> we're sort of on uncharted territory because it's something they haven't been faced with. these ambassadors still work with sondland, and ambassador sondland indicated earlier today that he didn't really have a choice after the state department told him he could not go and talk to congress. but the statement did say he was profoundlily. the other factor here, however. we flaerd chairman this morning that there was no indication in those krgss that ambassador sondland was not going to show up. it really demonstrated that this was a decision made by the white house. the stapt department was going back and forth with this testimony, and then ultimately,
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the president won't allow them at the center this, but it appears the white house is calling the shots here. >> jeffrey, you're a historian. you're an expert on impeachment. the white house's blanket noncompliance here. historically, how well does that work out for an administration? >> you know, historically, we've really crossed an important rubicon. this is something that doesn't particularly work out well for any administration. in fact, the three impeachment cases we have, andrew johnson in the 186 ons and richard nixon's in the 1970s, really averted. ly we need to rea skpert not. the question wloof congress has the right to subpoena, that's
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actualment. historically that's when congress has acted. >> republicans, the white house, they have obviously settled on the reality that the house democrats are moovving on this. so yes, the democrats are saying, as adam schiff said this morning, this is another key piece of evidence we're building on obstruction of congress, as jeffrey just said. that's a case they've already got. so this -- we're not going to give them more evidence strategy is acknowledging that reality. >> do they need more evidence for a compelling case? >> they would like to get as much as they can. >> it's about potentially pulling some republicans over who could see a broader, more deep, more substantial case and say, i don't have a choice but to be with the democrats. >> can i just add one more thing about pompeo here, the secretary of state? because it was the state
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department that told him. pompeo was one of the leaders of the benghazi investigation, and now there are clips everywhere of pompeo talking about how we need to get all the information, we need to get all the documents, we need to get all the facts, we need to have you cooperate. and here he is now telling sondland that, sorry, you can't testify about something you were directly involved in. >> shoe me the other foot. that's right. >> i would agree to limited evidence, though. people can understand the abuse of office for political gain. they understand that. that's why the polls are changing. if the dems are talking process, they're losing. if you're fighting about whistleblower testimony, subpoenas and who showed up and who is not showing up? is this a real impeachment inquiry because it hasn't had a vote. then you're losing ground. keep your eye on the ball, stick with the evidence you had. build a case but don't let this run out over a year.
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you're basically playing on the president's field at that point and you're losing ground. jeffrey, this is an uphill battle for democrats, especially with a president who shows no shame and no desire to try to avoid this fight publicly. >> i actually might take that point and take it another direction in light of your fellow guests. i think this is something the congress can historically impeach the president for without further efrd. i think it might be something the american people understand. everybody in third grade understands there are civics lessons on the constitution, that we are set up with three co-equal branches that stuck gel f -- struggle for power. when one gets too much, the other strikes back. historically, the fact that the president disagrees with congress is reason enough for congress to impeach. that might not be the ideal case for democrats, but it's certainly something we've seen in the past be enough to move the impeachment forward.
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>> jeffrey, thank you so much. kylie, really appreciate it, gloria, michael, thank you all. what will the congress do to get the answers they're looking for? i'll have that next. and twenty-seven vitamins and minerals. ensure, for strength and energy. pain happens. saturdays happen. aleve it. aleve is proven better on pain than tylenol. when pain happens, aleve it. all day strong. billions of problems. sore gums? bleeding gums? painful flossing?
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the white house ordered ambassador gordon sondland not to testify before congress today as scheduled. sondland was intimately involved with negotiations with ukraine over military aid that the president wanted to exchange for getting dirt on joe biden. congre the congresswoman is with us today. thank you for being with us. >> of course. >> you were set to hear testimony from gordon sondland. what did you expect to her? >> we heard only an hour before he was supposed to be there that he wouldn't be there. he has critical information. sondland was present with the president in several conversations back and forth. he has personal emails we need to ask him about. this man, who is, after all, the
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ambassador to the eu, you must ask yourself, what is he doing in ukraine? this is a man who flew to warsaw to meet with president zelensky. he inserted himself deeply into this matter, and the matter, of course, is in withholding information on national security by the president. he made himself a part of it. we need to talk with him. now we must subpoena him because he has refused to come voluntarily. >> congressbottwoman, i want to because one of our experts just made a point that our political analysts agreed with, which is when democrats are focused on process, which the trump administration is making this happen to some degree, but this focus on subpoenas, who is not testifying, stonewalling instead of, say, what is the narrative,
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right, of what is in the transcript, that it's not really a compelling argument for swaying the public or republicans. what do you say to that, and what do democrats need to do to get away from that? >> first of all, we're not focused very much on process because we already have enough in this inquiry to move forward with impeachment. but we are concerned that we miss no steps. and the reason we are requiring the president to go through all the hoops is so that he will not raise process against us. he knows full well that he himself has confessed, if i may use that word, to what amounted to articles of impeachment. but that's not the way the house is going to move. it is going to go step by step. and as you can see, what they're doing is simply piling on with more reasons for articles of impeachment. >> when do you expect there to
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be a floor vote on impeachment? >> we can't know that because that would be jumping the hoop. we need to go through the steps -- remember, the congress is not even in session and yet we're working. we do want to do this expeditiously. we want to get to the real business of the house of representatives. here we've taken the house ten months ago. we're not even talking about climate change and gun control, and we want to get back to that. the only way to get back to those critical issues which are responsible for our taking control of the house, is to clear away this impeachment matter and move forward when the congress comes back. >> house republicans came out in support of the white house blocking sondland's testimony. perhaps no surprise there. but they say if democrats release the full transcript from ukraine envoy kurt volker's testimony last week that they will reconsider. why haven't we seen volker's full testimony? >> well, we're not withholding
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transcripts. i have not been informed. i'm on one of the three committees. i've not been informed about any delay. we certainly have seen transcripts that are -- for example, of the whistleblower that are definitive on what the president has done. i have not been informed. >> they say these are text messages. do you think that would be helpful to see. >> more text messages from the ambassador? >> just that congress was able to see that were in greater number than what was released publicly. >> yeah, there are more text messages, for example, from ambassador sondland. we want those text messages as well as his testimony. and so we will be subpoenaing those text messages as well as subpoenaing him to come before our committee. >> all right, congresswoman
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eleanor norms holton, thank you so much. many republicans have been in lock step with the president's tax returns. we have the deputy campaign manager talking to me about that. and tremfya® was proven superior to humira® in providing significantly clearer skin. don't use if you're allergic to tremfya®. tremfya® may lower your ability to fight infections and may increase your risk of infections. before treatment, your doctor should check you for infections and tb. tell your doctor if you have an infection or symptoms or if you had a vaccine or plan to. serious allergic reactions may occur. tremfya®. get clearer. janssen can help you explore cost support options. hour 36 in the stakeout.plore ♪ limu emu & doug as soon as the homeowners arrive, we'll inform them that liberty mutual customizes home insurance, so they'll only pay for what they need. your turn to keep watch, limu. wake me up if you see anything.
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so we have some new breaking news right now. we have new details on president trump's july 25th ukraine phone call. sources are telling cnn that in the immediate aftermath of the call, there was a major scramble by national security aides to address potential issues created by this conversation. we have pamela brown following these developments, we have kaitlan collins with us again from the white house. kaitlan, what exactly are we learning here? >> we're learning just what a scramble this was, brianna, all of this from the minute the president of ukraine hung up from that phone call in july that is the center of all of this. sources are telling cnn that at least one security council official alerting national security council lawyers about the concern being raised about
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what it was president trump had said to the ukranian president. those were the same lawyers that later ordered that transcript to be moved where they're typically kept to that highly sensitive server where transcripts were not typically kept in the past. it also included those aware of what the president said on the call, asking if they needed to alert the justice department since the president had brought up the attorney general who was not on the call so much. really, this backs up the whistleblower's complaint and exactly what the whistleblower was detailing in there. >> and, pamela, this is something they thought they could keep in the executive branch. >> yaureah, that's right. sources tell me this was tightly contained within the white house counsel's office and the nfc. the initial concerns over the phone call, the administration lawyer who reached out to the white house counsel lawyer about that initial disclosure that
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you'll recall, and even the whistleblower complaint itself. we were told initially that the white house that it could be dealt with and managed inside the executive branch. but then it became clear about a week before the whistleblower complaint was released in that transcript that that wouldn't hold, that basically they had lost that battle, and that it was becoming more and more cleefr thclear that the complaint would be handed over to congress. then we saw a change in posture in the white house council's office where the lawyers said, okay, let's push this out ourselves. let's get the transcript out. by putting the transcript out, they basically had no choice but to then put the complaint out, i'm told. what changed this whole dynamic was the fact that the whistleblower went to dni, filed the complaint, went through the procedures. the dni was told that he could not hand over the information to congress, and the i.g. was -- seemed to be so upset about this, the i.g. alerted congress
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to what was going on. and so that was really what changed everything. this was about a week before the complaint was released, and we're told that was when other people in the west wing, top officials like the chief of staff mick mulvaney, stephanie grisham, the press secretary, and other top officials were then looped in on what exactly was going on with the complaint and the concerns over the call. >> pamela, kaitlan, thank you both so much. house democrats say they will subpoena u.s. ambassador to the european union gordon sondland after the white house contacted him early this morning to block his scheduled testimony today. sondland was pulled into the ukraine phone call scandal when former u.s. envoy to ukraine, kurt volker, provided text messages that he had, including with sondland, to congress. impeachment a huge issue on the 2020 campaign trail, especially for joe biden, and kate beding
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fie bedingfield is joining us. kate, thanks for joining us. >> thank you for having me, brianna. >> so trump wanted dirt on joe biden. claims are unsubstantiated here. there is nothing here, weav've looked, but this is also a vulnerability to a greater degree for the president's own children, and yet your campaign is really steering clear of that line of attack. why? >> well, look, as you said, every outlet in the world has looked into this and has come back and said there was no "there" there. we're not going to play donald trump's game. we're not going to let him distract from the corruption in his own administration. you saw vice president biden come out on friday and say that donald trump is overseeing one of the most corrupt administrations in modern american history. this is his playbook, we know that. but we also know the what
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aboutism and the false equivalency isn't going to work. we're not going to let him do it. what we saw, for example, over the weekend. we saw a headline pop that when rudy giuliani was in ukraine trying to fabricate, create this dirt on joe biden, he was also almost simultaneously trying to make a buck off ukranian gas contracts. who was surprised by that? i know we're shocked to learn there is gambling going to in this establishment. so look, we are not going to let them turn the conversation away from the corruption and malfeasance that is impacting daily voters' lives. we're going to be very tough about that, but simultaneously, we're going to remind people why donald trump is doing this, and it's because he fears joe biden. there is one democrat in this race he doesn't to want have to face at the ballot box. we're not going to let him be successful at playing this game. >> there are reportedly democrats that are concerned that it's been too long, that the campaign waited too long to
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really vociferously confront this. what do you say to them? >> i would say biden has been out and the campaign has been out aggressively every day since this broke. you heard joe biden give numerous speeches on the magnitude of this threat of the american people, what donald trump is doing to shred the constitution. you had him take multiple questions from reporters. we had multiple ads on air now. he had an op-ed in the "washington post" on sunday where he talked about the fact that donald trump is putting his personal, political interests ahead of the national security of the united states and that is hurting people in their daily lives. we've had absolutely no issue coming out and being aggressive against donald trump. but i think the democrats are concerned. what i see in these stories are pundits and strategists. what i don't see is voters. if you ask the voters, what you get is the wisconsin poll from this week, where joe biden is
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beating donald trump by nine points. you get the south carolina poll where he's leading by 29 points. >> you do have a new ad that is capital eyizing on that. it's running digitally or on television in four early states and you're emphasizing trump's focus on biden as you emphasize biden's poll numbers. let's take a look. >> i don't care about biden's campaign. zpz i don't care about biden's campaign. joe biden. biden. biden. >> your whole point here, especially as then you show the poll numbers where biden is doing better is you're inviting voters to join a campaign that can beat president trump. i will tell you this sort of focus on trump being obsessed with biden, trump was obsessed with hillary clinton, too, including after he beat her. >> he doesn't want to face joe biden. it's unprecedented for an incumbent president to be facing
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a ten-point deficit against a potential rival, and that's joe biden. now you have trump and the rnc pouring money into a democratic primary because he doesn't want to have to face biden and he wants to win. if you asked donald trump who he wants to beat, it's joe biden. just this morning, biden is up 33% in the early states, up plus one. people like the argument he's making. they know he's taking a strong moral case to donald trump, and they know he's the guy that can beat him. part of the reason they know that is because donald trump is telling him joe biden is the one
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to beat. >> joe biden released his education plan. there are $750 billion. it would reduce loan debt especially for people who go into public service professions. but then you have, to the vice president's left, elizabeth warren and bernie sanders who are promising even more here. what do you say to voters who might be enticed by their more general plans of free college? >> look, as vice president biden, and dr. biden, who is a community college professor, sat down to think about how they want to map out an education plan, the most important thing to them was to make sure the largest number of people have access to a middle class life. yes, a college education is a piece of that. so is access to high quality training programs. as they were thinking about how can we have the broadest impact on the large number of people's lives in this country, that was
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the guiding philosophy as they thought about how to put this plan together. we have a plan that also includes a historically large investment in minority-served institutions. you have a plan that i think is as ambitious for any plan in this race but with the broadest number of people. i think this plan have a real impact on people's lives and that was the driving influence on his thinking, when he was thinking about how can we put forward a plan that is aggressive, that is achievable and will make the most difference in people's lives? as you listed at the top, it doubles pell grant values. it caps student loan repayment at 5% to make sure people don't have this tremendous burden of student loans they currently have, and they target where our plans are needed the most.
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that is how vice president biden approached this plan. >> thank you very much, and we'll come back with much more. cdc guidance recommends topical pain relievers first... like salonpas patch large. it's powerful, fda-approved to relieve moderate pain for up to 12 hours, yet non-addictive and gentle on the body. salonpas. it's good medicine. hisamitsu.
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while turkey may be a nato ally, kurdish forces were key
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allies in defeat ing ice i inin syria. the kurdish forces were dominant and they consider the turkish forces to now be dominant. it may force them to leave the camps where isis prisoners are being held. c clarissa ward is in iraq. tell us how the kurds are reacting. this must be devastating for them. >> reporter: it certainly is, brianna, and let me put it this way. president trump is not only facing stiff opposition among his own allies in the republican party in the u.s. here in iraq, in the kurdish areas, and of course syria in the kurdish areas, very, very deep concern. they are troubled by president trump's apparent change of mind with regards to this issue.
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earlier this year he had said he was going to pull out all u.s. troops from syria, then other cooler heads prevailed and that plan was shelved for the time being. now it appears he's giving the turkish president carte blanche to carry out what could be a bloodbath. remember, brianna, it's the kurdish army that's been fighting isis, fighting and dying by the thousands. this is a huge sacrifice the kurdish forces have made. they're also confused. because today apparently president trump putting out new tweets saying we're not abandoning the kurds, we do support them, and warning president erdogan if turkey lashes out in too tough a way that the u.s. will destroy turkey's economy. a lot of people here asking a lot of questions, and as you
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said, holding out the threat that they could have to abandon leadership of those isis prisons if they are forced to fight at the border. clarissa ward, thank you so much. the right of the lgbtq community being voted on in the high court. can employees be fired because of their gender identity? we'll be talking about it next. i'm tryin'! keep it up. you'll get there. whoa-hoa-hoa! 30 grams of protein, and one gram of sugar. ensure max protein.
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earlier today the supreme court heard arguments on historic cases that could impact millions of lgbtq americans. at issue, the reach of title 7 of the civil rights act of 1964 because of race, religion and our characteristics, protection, and that is key. the justices must decide if the law barring workplace encompasses gender identity. the spokeswoman for the national center for transgender quality
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quality -- equality. thank you for coming on. one involves a transgender woman in michigan fired from her job at a funeral home shortly after she came out at trans to her employer. tell us why that is something that actually reflects a broader experience and also why this case is so important. >> it is really hard to overstate the importance of this for transgenders. the first time the word transgender was used in the supreme court. the first time sisterhood used in the supreme court. a monumental moment for the trans rights movement in the country and critically important, because the right to equal employment is crucial for the trans community. the woman in this case, amy stephens, fired from her job at a funeral home six years shortly after coming out unfortunately an experience one in six trans
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people have had, just by being themselves sthey have lost thei jobs and the experience in a variety of areas of our lives not just in employment but in housing in our family, in our faith communities and in our relationships. every trans gender person has lost something. >> our supreme court reporter reported end of these arguments the justices seemed divided here. if the court decides that the law does not include gender identity in those protections, what does that mean for the community? >> well, there are still 22 states solicitly prohibit discrimination employment on gender identity. people under those states are legally covered but the majority live in a state without those protections. by the court blasting a hole in the federal law, it leaves transgender people exposed to discrimination and sends a terrifying message what kind of country this is in the role that equality and acceptance should
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play. >> thank you so much. gillian branstetter, appreciate you coming in. make sure you tune in to the cnn equality town hall. thursday, 7:30 p.m. eastern. biopharmaceutical researchers. pursuing life-changing cures in a country that fosters innovation here, they find breakthroughs... like a way to fight cancer by arming a patient's own t-cells... because it's not just about the next breakthrough... it's all the ones after that.
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hi there. i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. thank you for being with me. breaking news out of washington for days we've heard president trump shrug and say nothing to see here when it comes to the july 25th call with ukrainian president zelensky. >> that call was a great call. it was a perfect call. a perfect call. >> that call was perfect. couldn't have been nicer. >> impeachment for that? when you have a wonderful meeting or you have a wonderful phone conversation? >> absolutely perfect phone call. >> the conversation was perfect. it couldn't have been nicer. >> if you look at that call, perfect call. it's congenial. there was no pressure. >> so it turns out that maybe that call wasn't so perfect after all. at least not for some of the highest officials in the trump administration. cnn has now learned that in the moments after the two leaders hung u


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