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tv   CNN Right Now With Brianna Keilar  CNN  November 18, 2019 10:00am-11:00am PST

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house. thank you for joining us on "inside politics" today. brianna keilar starts right now. have a great afternoon. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's headquarters. underway right now, did the president of the united states lie to special counsel robert mueller? the house now investigating after a new revelation. will he plead the fifth? will he tell all? a key official at the center of the impeachment investigation is one of eight witnesses set to testify publicly this week. and the president attacking another witness before she testifies, as her boss, the vice president, pretends she doesn't work for him. plus the mystery deepens into the president's unannounced visit to the hospital. the white house is trying to spin it as a routine physical, but there are many signs it was
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not. but we start with breaking news and a new investigation for president trump. the house now wants to know if the president lied when he provided written testimony to special counsel robert mueller's team. we have pamela brown with us. she's here with her reporting. and elliott williams has the legal angle on this. pamela, some people would say, what? robert miller is so this summer. what's going on, what's this about and why now? >> there was a court filing from the democrat's house lawyer telling the judge that basically, look, we really need to see this grand jury information that was given to robert mueller, because there is growing concern that the president lied in his written answers to mueller's investigators. and they point to information that has come out during the roger stone testimony, who we know efhe was just recently convicted and an associate of trump. as you know, rick gates had testified the president had just gotten off the phone with roger stone and told him more information would be coming.
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he also said that paul manafort, the campaign chairman, had been briefing the president about efforts to get the wikileaks emails. what is interesting about that is in light of what the president said in his written answers to mueller, as you'll recall, which is a key word in his written answers. he said it, i think, more than two dozen times. in this one he says, i do not recall that anybody in the campaign, robert mule or anyone in the campaign, had discussion with any of the entities naming the discussion regarding the content or release of hacked emails. so democrats are now seizing on this and saying, look, we have reason to believe the president wasn't telling the truth here. what this does is add new urgency to the democrats' argument that the president may have lied. it's an argument they're making for a while and they're now filing it in court. >> they want to see this grand jury testimony, obviously, that they're not privy to at this point in time. are they going to get this grand jury testimony from the mueller investigation? >> they should, and there is a
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big reason why. the lower court that first addressed this question was really looking at the question of whether impeachment is a, quote, legitimate legal proceeding that would allow -- well, it is, under the eyes of the law -- that would allow the transfer of grand jury materials. if they have grand jury material and you as a reporter ask for them, you're not allowed to see them, they're secret. they can only be shared with another active judicial proceeding. so the court found recently, about a couple weeks ago, that it was. >> that it's legitimate. >> that's counter to what the white house thinks. >> you don't have to believe the president ought to be impeached, you don't have to agree legally that he should be removed. but the question is, is the proceeding itself a relatively legal one, and that's in the eyes of the law. the whole united states versus nixon hinged president richard nixon on the question of whether the proceedings were legitimate.
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>> i want to say the attorney jay sekulow said, read the answers to the questioned, they speak for themselves. the president said he did not lie. but it's interesting the scrutiny in his answers to mueller in light of the president saying today, yeah, maybe i will take up nancy pelosi on her offer to provide testimony to impeachment investigators. >> hard to believe he would do that. all right, you guys, stand by for me. now to the impeachment inquiry and a deep bench of witnesses ready to take the stand this week. there are eight in all. tomorrow you'll see four testify. jennifer williams is senior adviser to vice president mike pence. lieutenant colonel michael vindman, he's a director on the national security council. and kurt volker is the special envoy for ukraine, and tim morris morrison, the national security council top adviser on russia
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and europe. morrison testified that he was told by ambassador gordon sondland that the military aid from the u.s. to ukraine was directly tied to ukraine announcing an investigation into the biden family. williams, vindman and morrison were all on that phone call that president trump had with ukranian president zelensky. wednesday we'll be hearing from sondland, from ambassador sondland. he has a bhowhole lot to answer for. because out of this group, he's the only one that had direct contact with president trump on ukraine, and also very importantly, those investigations that the president wanted. sondland previously indicated that there was, indeed, a quid pro quo after he revised his earlier deposition before house democrats and republicans. also on wednesday, we'll be seei seeing laura cooper, the deputy assistant of defense. and on thursday, fiona hill, president trump's former top
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russia adviser. >> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. all right, we have some breaking news right now. the supreme court is blocking the release this week of the president's taxes to a house committee. the president's attorneys asked the court to step in ahead of a wednesday deadline. there is an accounting firm that was used by president trump that had been ordered to turn over these financial records. i want to bring in jessica schneider to talk about this. this is very fresh, this is just in. tell us what this decision means. tell us, did the house fight the temporary order? >> reporter: so this is just in from the supreme court, and this is something we had been expecting, brianna. because under the lower court's decision, they wanted these documents, these financial records, released by wednesday. but, of course, president trump's lawyer stepped in here saying, hey, supreme court, we're appealing to you to put a hold on these documents, these financial records, being released as of this wednesday
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deadline. so that's what the supreme court has done here. they've stepped in and said, no, you will not be getting these financial records by wednesday. we're going to put that deadline essentially on hold while this sort of plays out and the supreme coukorcourt decides wher not to hear the broader issues in this case. we pretty much knew that could potentially happen here, because president trump's lawyers went to the supreme court asking the supreme court to step in. what we've just learned is that the supreme court has, in fact, stepped in. these financial records will not be released. the house does have to respond to this, this effort to block this subpoena. that will be to the supreme court and that needs to be submitted by thursday at 3:00 p.m. so, really, this is an ongoing process here in this battle by house democrats to get the president's financial records. they thought maybe there was a slim chance they might get them by wednesday because of an
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appellate court order, but now the supreme court saying it will not happen by wednesday. we need to continue to evaluate how this case will proceed and potentially get to the merits of this case. so we won't see anything this week, brianna. >> jaessica schneider, thank yo so much for that report. i want to bring in dana bash to discuss this. i suppose this isn't particularly surprising, dana, just because once these records are out, you can't put them back in, right? >> no, you can't. >> so there has to be a final decision, and until then, these tax returns aren't going to be out there. >> i think the key is it's not a no, it's a not yet. the president, who has fought tooth and nail releasing these tax returns, that we should remind people the tradition is for presidential candidates to always release their tax returns since richard nixon. he might win at the supreme court, he might not win at the supreme court. the fact that the court wants to
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take time, maybe as you said, is kind of pro forma. it's the president of the united states. this is unprecedented in every way. but the fact they're not saying, we're not even going to hear this, we're not going to deal with this, is also significant. >> even though there is a public interest in seeing the tax returns, again, regardless of where you are on the president. like you said, the president has an issue releasing presidential tax returns. parties have rights, and that's not to be irreparably harmed by the release of a document they're still trying to protect. so i think, yes, it's not uncommon to stay the release of them, but not yet, dana. >> why are they fighting so hard for them not to be out there? >> it's interesting, because this isn't the only case surrounding his tax returns, right? there is also the case of prosecutors who want to see their tax returns for their investigation. that's something that went to the supreme court. we'll see if they make a
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landmark decision on that. but the president has made broad arguments that he should not have to turn over his tax returns, that he is immune, so it would be a significant landmark decision, potentially, on separation of powers. >> it's not just immune from criminal prosecution, it's immune to the critical process. they made an argument that you cannot even ask the president questions even if you're not committing a krichl. could he plead the fifth? could he refuse to answer? a key witness has some work to do. is the white house telling the truth about an unannounced
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ambassador gordon sondland will testify wednesday in the impeachment inquiry hearing. he said he was being e mailed up
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to date for investigations by ukraine into the 2016 election and into the biden family. the journal reports those went to mick mulvaney, chief of staff, and rick perry. kylie, tell us about this. what more do we know about this information between sondland and perry and mulvaney? >> mulvaney, being the president's acting chief of staff, and secretary perry, the secretary of energy, they aren't going to provide any testimony atz part of this house impeachment inquiry. that's why it's so important that gordon sondland, the u.s. ambassador to the eu, who has been involved knees discussiin discussions is heading up the impeachment inquiry this week. one of the things to realize is the "wall street journal" reporting is very important. it said that the ambassador was keeping mulvaney and perry
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apprised of this effort to push for negotiations by the ukranians leading up to that july 25th phone call. but during his testimony, his closed door testimony, ambassador sondland tried to distance himself from the contents of that july 25th phone call. i want to read you something that he said during his closed door testimony. he said, quote, none of the brief and general call summaries i received contained any mention of burisma or former vice president biden, noreen suggested that president trump had made any kind of request of president zelensky. i heard afterwards that the july 25th, 2019, call went well in solidifying a relationship between the two leaders. therefore, he's really trying to say that he had nothing to do with any contents of that phone call. that is a disparate with what we are learning now from the "wall street journal". so another quote from what he told lawmakers behind closed
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doors is he said, quote, let me state clearly, inviting a foreign government to undertake investigations for the purpose of influencing an upcoming u.s. election would be wrong. so lawmakers are definitely going to want to ask ambassador sondland about that. but the bottom line here is that we have heard from a number of other u.s. officials as part of this impeachment inquiry. what they keep saying is that ambassador sondland had a direct line to president trump. and tim morrison, who is the senior russia director at the national security council, he said this in his testimony before lawmakers. he said, he related to me, he being ambassador gordon sondland, that he was discussing these matters with the president. therefore, he was told by sondland that he was calling up president trump to discuss these investigations. we heard a similar thing from fiona hill. she was also a senior adviser to president trump on russia. she actually got into a little
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bit of a tiff with gordon sondland, because she said to him at one point, you're not in charge of ukraine, him being the ambassador to the eu. and the response that she got was, quote, he related to me -- i'm sorry, he said -- fiona hill said to -- back to him, who has said you're in charge of ukraine, gordon? and he said, the president. well, that shut me up because you can't really argue with that. a number of officials here, brianna, repeatedly saying that gordon sondland told them he was in charge of this policy. it's really important to note that there have been discrepancies in what those folks have told lawmakers and what gordon sondland is. there are questions about the authenticity of what he has told. so there are going to be a number of questions, and, of course, he could plead the fifth if he wants to. brianna? >> he could. kylie, thank you so much for breaking all that down for us. very instructive as we bring in our chief political
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correspondent, dana bash, back with us and elliot williams. i just loved that being laid out, because you see witness, witness, witness, making it very clear, and it was known among all of them that sondland was basically spearheading this request, or was such an integral part of asking ukraine, we're laying this out that the president wants these investigations. >> we're going to see a lot of testimony, a lot of names that will be suddenly familiar to people who are glued to this impeachment process. but none is more important, as far as we know now, is as important as gordon sondland. because he is the lynch pin. he's the guy who talked to the president. he's the guy who, according to what kylie was just reporting, reported back on the investigations he was trying to get, allegedly, in exchange for a white house meeting and, more importantly, the military aid from the united states. and the fact that he was reporting back, apparently, to mick mulvaney, the president's
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chief of staff, to the almost former energy secretary, rick perry, it is so significant. there is a very widely played parlor game right now in washington, though. the question is whether or not sondland is actually going to show up, because he's literally going to be dancing on the head of a pin in that hearing room. >> you can see why, right? because since he was deposed behind closed doors, we have learned from other witnesses here that he had spoken on the phone with the president and that there were three state department aides, or three aides who overheard that conversation, which was specifically about these investigations. so it's really hard for him to kind of plead the ignorance that we saw him pleading in his deposition. what does he do? >> the thing is, not testifying or pleading the fifth is disastrous for him and disastrous for the president. because what it ultimately is is a concession that he's done something perhaps illegal. so what he has to do is come and testify and say, look, i
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believed things slightly differently than people have previously testified. this is what i believe to have been -- >> can he come in and say, i recall this differently and i don't necessarily take issue with what they're saying, and that's his way out? >> it's they're not wrong, but that's not quite how i remember it. >> what would that mean for the president? >> the president has already started distancing himself from sondland, saying he barely knows the guy. this is a classic trump move when people in his circle get in trouble. >> paul manafort. barely know the guy. >> exactly. but it's going to be hard for the president to keep that going when and if sondland testifies about his conversations with the president. not just the one that he talked about in the deposition where the president said no quid pro quo, no quid pro quo, but more importantly, the one we found out about last week. you mentioned the one in the restaurant. and maybe others we just don't
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know about that could come out in this hearing. >> jennifer williams we're going to hear from. she's testifying tomorrow. the president had actually hacked her on twitter, which is awful considering he is the vice president's aide even though the president keeps saying she isn't. >> notice you haven't heard from vice president pence from this, and even before this broke, the president said, you should talk to pence and get his answers. so what does the vice president know? what does the president of the united states know? you see the brilliance of the house's strategy to putting the fact witnesses up first, the people who could say this happened, and now a number of witnesses that they're basically baiting the president into attacking, many of whom are sympathetic like williams who is a woman and a white house staffer. it's a credible strategy and quite deliberate why she's going third or fourth. >> this is one of those moments that beverage every day where we have to stop and take a step
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back and say, this is not normal. for the president this weekend, to attack somebody who works for his vice president on twitter who is going to testify before an impeachment inquiry, there are no words. >> and the standard isn't, did the president commit a crime or not. that's the question we're asking. if the only question you're asking is, was it a crime or not, and if it's not a crime, it's okay, we've fallen completely as a government. >> elliot, dana, thanks so much to both of you. we have more breaking news. the president blocking the house from getting his tax returns. plus the president made an unannounced visit to the hospital that didn't follow protocol. the white house says, nothing to see here, but there are many red flags. how did you find great-grandma's recipe? we're related to them? we're portuguese? i thought we were hungarian? grandpa, can you tell me the story again?
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the white house continues to downplay president trump's unexpected and unscheduled doctor's visit, and now there are new questions surrounding that mysterious checkup on saturday. according to the white house, trump underwent what they're calling a quick exam and labs at walter reed medical center as the first stage of his annual physical. but a source tells cnn the
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unannounced visit did not follow protocol for a routine visit like that one, and the president's last yearly checkup was only nine months ago. here for me to discuss is chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. you know, sanjay, the white house press secretary is basically accusing the media of cooking up conspiracy theories here, but this is a white house that lacks credibility because it has verifiably lied on multiple occasions, and the president has a history of misleading the media about his health. even when melania trump, for instance, went into the hospital last year for a kidney condition that seemed very benign by mention from the white house, it wasn't your typical hospital stay there. what red flags does this raise to you? >> a presidential visit to the hospital is a big thing, and it sounds like the staff didn't necessarily know. some staff probably knew, but not everybody. they typically all know because it's a pretty big event.
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they also say a quick exam and labs. that's what he had done at the hospital, quick exam and labs. those things are often done at the white house medical unit. there is a medical unit within the white house. they can do quite a bit there, including things like this. so what was it, i guess, is the question that he needed to go to the hospital for specifically? was it a specific test, was it something else? we don't know. as you know, stephanie grisham has been clear that there were no symptoms that prompted this visit, but i think any medical professional who hears about a patient going to a hospital in sort of a surprise way like this, that would be the question. i will say that i'm glad he got it checked out, whatever it was, and he was only in the hospital for a couple of hours, from what i understand. so, you know, if it were something more intensive, you would think that the doctors would have kept him longer. but again, we don't know. we don't know what it is, we don't know what he had done there, and we don't know why it was done so early.
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>> the president said that this visit was only phase 1 of his yearly physical. it's worth noting he had his last physical about nine months ago. it did not have multiple phases. what do you make of this explanation? >> i never heard of a multiple-phased physical examination. in some ways it's not helpful, even, because if you get the labs done early -- there is a reason you wait a year to check the blood again. you want to see if the certain modifications you're making by meds or lifestyle are making a difference. so getting him checked three or four months early really doesn't serve any purpose. he would probably have to have those repeated, anyway, in february. so physical exams, they take a few hours, typically. i think his last one took four hours. he was there for two hours on saturday. i talked to a few other colleagues. phased physical exams routine are just not done. >> we do know, and i remember we spoke about this several months ago from his last physical, that he actually has a common form of
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heart disease, that he's been taking medication for high cholesterol. you mentioned the doctors would want a year to see how things kick in there. what complications could arrive from that condition? >> that's probably one of the big ones here. again, he has this issue with high cholesterol for which he's taking the medications. he is clinically obese by virtue of his height and his weight there, and he has a common form of heart disease. that's certainly got to be one of the things at the top of the list to be concerned about, and everybody, really, in their 70s who make a surprise visit to the hospital. that's one of the areas you look. i will say again, brianna, just in the bucket list of things that don't make much sense, two hours in the hospital. if it were a more serious heart condition or something intensive, you would think he would be there longer. but it's very hard to piece this all together. that past medical history, though, i do think is relevant
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despite a big push from the first lady to ban flavored e-cigarettes that appeal to children, the "new york times" is reporting that president trump may be changing his mind on the issue. back in september melania trump appeared with the president when he made this announcement on new strong recommendations, as he called them, on vaping. rarely commenting on political issues, the first lady was very interested. she tweeted about her interest in the topic. we have cnn reporter kate bennett to talk about this. you're trying to figure out what's going on here, right, because if he is pushing back on it and me lathe first lady is v much for it, what do you think?
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>> melania trump does not believer any of these nicotine products should be marketed or sold to children. which is kind of towing the line here, but that came together about a day after the first lady first tweeted about this, and that's when we kept hearing about the deaths that could be associated with vaping happening across the country. clearly this was something she really cared about and wanted to get. then the mill fallout happened and the president started hearing from people who were pro vaping, people who could be in his base. skbrim skpr jim acosta was saying, hey, this ban on e-cigarettes could be bad for you in 2020. the first lady doesn't appear to be backing down on what she feels is really a negative impact on children. again, not to forget that the president and the first lady have a 13-year-old son.
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we remember that from that press conference where she said, we have a son, together we ever a son, awkward moment, and of course it's affecting kids everywhere. it will be interesting to see how the political impact affects this issue for melania trump. >> it doesn't say ban in that statement, kate. i know you'll be getting to the bottom of, what does she mean exact s exactly? just hours after roger stone was found guilty, the president issues controversial pardons, and one of those pardoned military officers is speaking out. also carl bernstein is why the pardons sent a message to the impeachment scandal. so on behalf of chevrolet, i want to say
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and against the advice of pentagon officials, president trump interfered in three military war crimes cases. he pardoned army first lieutenant clint lawrence. in 2013 lawrence was found guilty of second degree murder for ordering his men to fire on three men on a motorcycle in afghanistan. just three days after his release from the military barracks in ft. leavenworth,
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kansas, lawrence is speaking out about the military leadership that advised president trump against the pardon. >> i think folks that start putting stars on their collar, anybody that's got to be confirmed by the senate for a promotion, they're no longer a soldier, they're a politician. and so i think they lose some of their values. and they certainly lose a lot of the respect from their subordinates when they do what they did to me, which was, you know, throw me under the bus, mr. presidentme. i wish you had a better team around you. you need more people watching your back. and i think you don't have a lot of that. >> now, president trump also pardoned army major matthew goldstein, who was awaiting trial on a murder charge of an unarmed afghan man. that happened in his 2020 employment. and caesar gallagher had been
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demoted regarding the death of an isis prisoner. let's talk about this now. i want to bring in rachel van handringham. she now teaches law at a law school. the pentagon is staunchly opposed to this move. you say this is a terrible move. there are many folks who are experts on civil military relations who are former military who say this is a bad idea. tell us why. >> it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how the u.s. military fights, and it demonstrates a complete disregard and disrespect for the entire military chain of command. president trump is challenging the credibility of his commanders. so unlike what lieutenant lawrence just said about generals lose respect when they
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pin on their stars, we depend on senior level commanders within the military to lead our troops, to make life and death decisions to protect our servicemembers and to protect our country. and we trust them to make solid, good decisions based on the evidence and on the facts, how to dispose of credible allegations of misconduct. i'd like to add in response to lieutenant lawrence's comment that while some general put him in jail, there is an entire system here at stake, and that system is the military justice system. the criminal law system is set up by congress with tremendous oversight by congress to allow commanders to provide fair and just accountability for soldier misconduct. >> he said anyone who has to be confirmed by the senate in the military is a politician. that's tens of thousands of people. that's not just generals, right? that's -- i mean, someone at your level would be confirmed.
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obviously there would be people even a couple ranks below you who would be confirmed. there are a lot of people who are confirmed that definitely not -- they're not politicians. >> that' s. >> he's taking attention away from the fact that it's fellow service members that sit in judgment. fellow service members that came forward to testify against him. it was service members sitting on that panel that had to decide beyond a reasonable doubt. because every doubt should go to the lieutenant. in all criminal law. we're dealing with complexities. those who sat in judgment of him are familiar and said there is no reasonable doubt. he crossed the line here, he dishonored the uniform, he dishonored the united states, he committed murder, he did not commit lawful killing in war. >> what does this do for commanders who have to keep
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order? >> it makes it tougher. they already have a tough job. president trump made it tougher. it undermines strategic lidge massey. they do fight with moral courage and fight with restraint and allows them to win. that's a dangerous road we've gone down. >> thank you so much for joining us. >> thank you, brianna. >> more on our breaking news. >> why the house is investigating whether the president lied to robert mueller under oath. the supreme court blocking the house from getting the president's tax returns. the pain and swelling. the psoriasis. cosentyx treats more than just the joint pain of active psoriatic arthritis. it even helps stop further joint damage. don't use if you're allergic to cosentyx. before starting, get checked for tuberculosis. an increased risk of infections and lowered ability to fight them may occur. tell your doctor about an infection or symptoms, if your inflammatory bowel disease symptoms develop or worsen,
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usaa insurance is made the way kate needs it - easy. she can even pick her payment plan so it's easy on her budget and her life. usaa. what you're made of, we're made for. usaa in my cnn column home front where we try to bridge the cnn military divide. we've been tracking an unintended consequence of the tax reform bill passed by congress in 2017 and signed into law by president trump. children who have lost a parent to war or other service relates injury or illnesses were hit with a huge new tax on their monthly survivor benefits. this was a tax that was meant for recipients of trust funds and inheritances. recently i spoke with one gold star widow who is struggling to pay this new expense known as
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the kiddie tax for her children. her husband was a bomb disposal technician in the marines and he was killed by an ied in iraq in 2006 when malia was 28 years old and her children were 2, 7 and 9 years old. they have seen their taxes on this go from about $150 per child to $1,000 per child. all of this stems from the widow tax. something where gold star spouses transfer their survivor benefits to their kids so they don't lose these benefits. these benefits expire when the kids come of age. >> if congress has not fixed the widow's tax, what does that mean for you financially? >> i will have to sell my house, the house i bought after he died that i moved to and raised our children from the ages of 2, 7
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and 9 i will have to sell it and move because i will not be able to afford to stay here. that's what that's going to mean? >> are you hopeful congress will finally deal with it? or are you worried they're not going to? >> if you had asked me the first of the year, i was hopeful, but the closer we get and the closer we get to time being up the more afraid i am that it's just going to be another year that we're cut from their agenda, that we're not important enough for them to help. and so i can't say that i'm hopeful because they cut us so many times. there is a small hope inside me that they'll do the right thing, that they'll fix this. >> congress is trying to fix the kiddie tax and the widow tax, which is not, in which congress has tried and failed again and again to fix. the kiddie tax is attached to a
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bigger bill on retirement savings that is stalled. and the widow tax fix which by the way has unanimous support in the senate is attached to the bill that funds the entire defense department. that funding is due to expire on thursday. and congress still has not moved this forward. so when gold star families start filing their taxes, as some people do as early as january, february, march, these kids are going to get hit with this tax increase, this huge tax increase for a second year unless congress does what it says it wants to do. we'll be tracking that, and you can fined that column and others at homefront. that is at -- on front. and also, please share your comments or story ideas. you can send me your story idea at that is it for me. newsroom with brooke baldwin starts right now.
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they're the top aids, ambassadors and security officials. several are currently on the job in the trump administration. this week, eight men and women will be heading out of their respective offices and over to capitol hill to testify into this impeachment inquiry. it all kicks off tomorrow. also lieutenant colonel vin man, the ukraine expert who sat in on that july 25th phone call between president trump and his counterpart president zielinski. it wraps up with the president's top adviser fiona hill. smack dab in between is a hearing that will have lawmakers and pundits and even the president himself glued to their screens. that


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