CNN "CNN Newsroom" - TRANSCRIPT Michael Cohen Arrives At Manhattan DA's Office In Sign That New York's Investigation Into Trump Org Continues; Rep. Debbie Dingell (D- MI) Discusses About White House Handling Of President Biden's Classified Docs; CNN: House GOP Lays Groundwork For Mayorkas Impeachment. Aired 3-3:30p ET


Date: Jan. 17, 2023


BLACKWELL: Can't sit here. Melanie Zanona, thank you so much.

Let's turn now to Democratic Congresswoman of Michigan Debbie Dingell. Congresswoman, it's good to have you back.

I want to get to this reporting about Mayorkas in just a moment. But first, let's start with the document discoveries and the White House - our reporting is as the President is a bit frustrated by the handling of especially the communications element from the White House. I want you to listen to former senior adviser to former President Obama, David Axelrod, let's listen.


BLACKWELL: He says they don't look good. What do you think about how the White House has handled this?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): I sort of listened to the whole reporting by Melanie and nothing is surprising me right now as though some of you say it's a surprise because people have been very clear that they were going to go after investigations and try to procure any fire that was out there.


The fact of the matter is anybody who handles classified documents should take it seriously. I do believe that the President has been very clear that he's going to cooperate with the Special Counsel, when the lawyers were notified these documents had been found, they immediately contacted the Archives, and the Justice Department, the Biden - President Biden himself has said that he's going to cooperate, we need to get the facts.

And then after we get the facts, quite frankly, we need to figure out how you handle classified documents going forward, what happened, but I do think we get to different situations that we're dealing with between two presidents and I think a lot of people are trying to throw kerosene on a - they're trying to make this very political. I think everybody needs to take it seriously there - I hope - right now too many people are trying to make it one more political let's pick people against each other.

BLACKWELL: Sure. But let's isolate the Biden situation. I haven't mentioned the former President Trump, but you brought up the comparison. But should the White House have you talked about notifying National Archives and DOJ, should they have notified the American people before last week considering the first documents were found in November, then more in December, then some last week. When should they have told all of us that these documents had been discovered?

DINGELL: I wasn't part of legal discussions. I know that when you are in these kinds of legal situations that you listen to the lawyers, you listen to the Justice Department, you listen to what the Archives have said. I think it's important that going forward, we make sure that people are communicating as directly and transparently as they can.

But remember, this is now part of a Department of Justice investigation and they are ...


DINGELL: ... very clear on what can be discussed and not discussed or shouldn't be discussed.

BLACKWELL: So that's the legal element. Let me ask you about the political part of this. The expectation was that near the start of this year, the President would announce his decision on a run for reelection. You, before the midterms, you said, "Ask me that," whether you would support a reelection run, "Ask me that question after we kept the House, which we will and the Senate in November, and then we'll start looking at 2024." Democrats kept the Senate, of course. So here we are, after the 2022 midterm, do you want to see the President run again and how much does this play if at all into that decision?

DINGELL: So quite frankly, if the president runs again for re- election, I will be a very strong supporter of him. I think he has gotten more things done in the last two years that have been done in decades and that we don't talk enough about that.

So I'm very concerned about the political environment that we are in right now. The way that instead of trying to get things done for the American people, I'm home, I'm listening to what's on people's minds, they don't want to see this partisan victory. They want to see me work with Republicans across the aisle and keep addressing the problems that are keeping them awake at night and that's what I want to do.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about these ...

DINGELL: (Inaudible) ...

BLACKWELL: ... these investigations that could as we heard from the Speaker, lead to an impeachment inquiry of the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas. Do you think that the Secretary is in any real danger of impeachment?

DINGELL: I think that the Republicans are going to do everything that they can, not all Republicans, but there are a number of Republicans in the House that are going to try to create political controversy on a significant number of investigations.

And by the way, I don't think Republicans are going to keep that majority, if that's all they do. I think - as I've just said, the American people or a lot of people in these communities are really worried about getting things done. I'm going to tell you, I know the Secretary of Homeland Security. I represented one of the most difficult populations, largest populations of Arab-Americans who - and he sat down and listened to the Jewish community, he understood the anti-Semitism. He's met with them.

We need comprehensive immigration reform and we have failed for decades as Republicans and Democrats to do anything about getting comprehensive immigration reform. I will stand up for him. I think they're going to try to embarrass him in any way that they can. But I think he's been an outstanding Secretary of Homeland Security.

BLACKWELL: Even considering the massive influx at the border, you say he's been - he's done an outstanding job?

DINGELL: Do you know we've been looking at this influx and why - how we need to act as a Congress in a bipartisan way as Democrats and Republicans, and address the issue. And because it's so complicated, it's so political, neither we can't bring ourselves together and yet there are people on both sides that are saying we need to do something about this.


DINGELL: That we need to send a message to many people, we're not taking people in.


But small businesses ...


DINGELL: ... businesses are crying for employees. We've got people that are escaping from horrific situations. I've met with Christian organizations that are telling me ...

BLACKWELL: And they ...

DINGELL: ... we need to do something.

BLACKWELL: ... they certainly have been for quite a long time. We'll see if there's anything in this environment and in this Congress that's get done on immigration.

Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan, thank you.