On Thursday’s edition of CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” a panel discussed how White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney’s press briefing was a disaster for President Donald Trump.
“Can I just point out why this matters?” said CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. “I mean, this is not just some gotcha thing because we all want to get something on the chief of staff. Here we have congressionally appropriated money. Congress says give this money to the Ukrainians. Taxpayer money. And what the White House has done and what they admitted today was, you only get the money if you help us win the election. Not because you help us [with] national security, international relations. The only thing we want from you is help to defeat Democrats. That is wrong. That’s why this matters.”
“What Mulvaney is claiming is that our interest in — our interest in finding out about the server about Ukraine and what was really behind the hacks of the DNC, not Russia, Mulvaney is claiming, Jeff, that’s all about corruption in Ukraine, when it’s not at all. It’s about a benefit for the president,” said Cooper.
“Well, that’s right,” said Toobin. “Out of all the things you could talk about — and Ukraine certainly has corruption problems — the only thing they’re talking about is this weird obsession with this fake story about the 2016 election. Now I do think in fairness, I should say, that Mulvaney lied about the Biden side of things.”
“Of course he did,” agreed Cooper.
“I think he clearly lied about that,” said Toobin. “Because we have that from the president’s own mouth in the partial transcript, that what they really wanted was dirt to use not about 2016. What they really wanted was dirt to use against Joe Biden today.”
“The reason he lied about that is because he knows that is incredibly damning,” said Cooper. “You can’t even spin ‘find me dirt on Joe Biden’ as anti-corruption in Ukraine. It’s just, you know — and the president by the way hasn’t done Mulvaney any favors on that by going out again calling for Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and China too.”
‘Beyond unconscionable’: Martin Luther King III tears into Bill Barr for comparing COVID lockdowns to slavery
On CNN Thursday, Martin Luther King III excoriated Attorney General William Barr for his speech comparing COVID-19 lockdowns to slavery.
"This is beyond unconscionable," said King. "To even compare it to the most cruel institution in history, in modern history, slavery, for over 200 years, is unconscionable. It is very sad that that's where we are in this nation."
"But also, when you think about the fact that this administration basically does not acknowledge systematic racism, that everyone realizes, most people who see visually that it exists, this administrator, the president, has stood up in Charlottesville for those who really promote hatred," said King. "This administration decided to disable protesters, nonviolent protesters in front of the White House. And so when you think about all these things, most importantly, refuses to acknowledge and hold policemen accountable for behavior that becomes fatal for so many in the African-American community, not to mention the virus that seems to affect Blacks and Browns in a disproportionate level, and a lack of management."
NAACP chief suggests Congress may need to impeach AG Bill Barr
On CNN Thursday, NAACP president Derrick Johnson tore into Attorney General William Barr for urging sedition charges for Black Lives Matter protesters — and said Congress should look into impeaching him.
"As far as the Attorney General, I wonder if we should be looking at ways we could impeach him," said Johnson. "We should not, in this moment, politicize the democratic principles of allowing people to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully protest in the street. We should not politicize administration of elections to continue to represent the strongest democracy — emphasis democracy — in the world, we must open up access to voting, not politicize and try to sway the outcome of an election."
Ex-Trump staffer says it’s only just beginning — more aides to the president will defect to back Biden
On CNN Thursday, speaking to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, former Trump Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor weighed in on the Biden endorsement from Vice President Mike Pence's national security aide Olivia Troye.
"I'll tell you this, this is an absolute bombshell," said Taylor, himself a supporter of Biden. "Olivia Troye was the lead staff member on the COVID-19 task force at the white house. Her testimonial is the clearest evidence yet that the president botched the response and cared more about his re-election effort than he did the lives of Americans ... no matter what the White House is saying, they always thought she was a top-tier staffer, that's why they kept her there for two years. This is truly damning for the White House."