Pres. Trump, Joe Biden hold dueling campaign events in Iowa

Congress to vote on holding AG William Barr and former White House Counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress; Comedian Jon Stewart makes heartfelt plea for Congress to fund 9/11 hero bill.
24:04 | 06/11/19

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Transcript for Pres. Trump, Joe Biden hold dueling campaign events in Iowa
And yeah. They're very welcome to the brief your mind that while Washington great to have you with us today a lot to get through including ABC news live exclusive are caught up earlier today. With three Republican former EPA administrators though. You hear from them on what they think of the current state of affairs the EPA in our environment also caught up with a high school student on Portland Oregon. How who's making surprising waves in his school district on the issue of climate change so much more hat on that but first we start today. With happenings on the campaign trail it's starting to feel like presidential campaign season especially in Iowa we have team coverage. How are Avery harper Biden reporter joins us live from New York Jordan Phelps I joins us from the White House north lawn she is covering president trumpet first. Let's take a listen to this extraordinary back and forth today between the democratic. How far harder and president trump over politics and Iowa here's the president just a short time ago. What a man has been mentioned my name 76 times in his state. That means he's in trouble now I'd rather run against I think Biden than anybody. I think is the weakest mentally. Pat I liked running against people that are weak mentally I think Joseph is the weakest up here. And not long after the president spoke he was on his way to Iowa Joseph Biden in Iowa already to greet the president. Struck right back. Look I I believe that the president is literally an existential threat. To America he is a legitimate threat to our our core values it's always been about the abuse of power. Look what he's doing. And Avery harper joins us from New York a recovers a Biden campaign. This is an extraordinary moment Avery this is the first time we will see but the president of the United States and Joseph Biden in Iowa at the same time multiple stops. Neither of us is there we want to be there on the ground but what are you hearing from that Biden's. Team about what is in store tonight. While it's certainly getting intense you'll see Biden. On the eastern side of the state and you'll see trumped human events on the western side of the states that are pretty far. Apart from each other but here's one thing that I can tell you it's back the gloves are off. ABC news was given an early look at Biden's expected remarks this evening in Davenport Iowa. In it the former vice president takes jabs at trump repeatedly. He attacks fronts carrots are and his performance in office and some of the sharpest language we've seen fighting used to criticize the president I can see. Quote write the air from the speech that we will hear tonight he says that the president has his tail between his legs he says that college students know more about terrorist. Then the president does it's just jab after jab and we know that trump hit back calling by in the week as mentally. Talking to reporters as he left the White House today but it's important to note that. Biden's competition is really still lease twenty democratic primary challengers it's not trump yet we're still in the primary. We can't forget that last week. That Biden and had to reverse his stance on the controversial Hyde amendment. The provision that crude hit its federal funding from being used to pay for abortion so is still very clear that he is competing. With Democrats. TI is very good point we obviously are nine in the general election campaign yet by instills a long way to go back he just said a few moments ago this is very much. A marathon for him in the primary but Jordan Phelps. It is a guess two ways you can look at this back and forth between the president. And Joseph Biden on the one hand it sort of I solidifies Biden's hope that he is the front runner and he's already going toe to toe with the president. There are also suggests perhaps that the president is worried about Joseph Biden. Yeah absolutely the president was saying today that he'd rather go up against Joseph Biden and anybody. But the president also talks about Joseph Biden more than just about any candidates so that basic question why he thanks so much time. Talking about him. But DeVon I I think it's fair to say that whether the president says it out loud or not there are very real concerns that. Joseph Biden appeals to some of the same voters that president from. Did strongly with those working class. Voters there are very real concerns that Biden could peel away some of those key voters from the president's electorate. And Avery it doesn't we do get the sense that Joseph Biden is responding. In pivoting a little bit in some of his positions based on. Some of the fire he's taking from the White House has just take China. I the president today called him soft on China said he gave doesn't recognize the threat that China is an already year in indications. That Joseph Biden will start to modify some of his rhetoric on China. Bob that's right last month when he visited Iowa. He was seen on the campaign trail saying that China wasn't really competition. I for the United States in this speech we see him are really take up dividend and really take a turn on that he's expected to say tonight that. I China is a serious challenge and in some. Case is a real threat he goes on to lay out his plan to. Hold China accountable one that includes. Partnering with some of are allied. Nations and finally Jordan Phelps were just getting nests in new polling numbers in from quinnipiac it is early this is new national poll and we. We did see some of the numbers earlier with judge Joseph Biden of course the top the list in the primary. Head to heads leading Bernie Sanders. And com or harasses you see there. It but these are head to head match up so with with Donald Trump and interestingly it does look that look like all of those democratic candidates on the left. Would be Donald Trump. Yeah absolutely if you look at the polls that's not good news for the president but he. Reports a word of caution is extremely. Early in this race at polls. We're not reliable this car out last go round and so. Obviously a big dose of caution there and also seven we now so well that the polls were just flat out Rong. Last go around with president front and this White House this campaign is getting continued to express confidence. This president's performance in his ability to defy what the common. I narrative might be out there among the. Pollsters yet the race to 270 that will ultimately matter and that general the general election match up whatever may be so keep an eye and that Jordan felt Schwartz at the White House they extraordinary things again. To Avery harper up in New York are prime reporter. I we'll shifting gears now to some news this afternoon on Capitol Hill a lot of big headlines popping in there. Including some news from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who responding to continued prison for press criticism from president from. Said that she doesn't think impeachment should be taken off the table a short time ago tickle its. It. May cut. You said in the past there's enough that after peach he still couldn't reconcile it's not it's up to ten. You can't I don't think he should be impeached for political reasons I don't think you should not impeach the politically it's not about popped. Sticking by her party line there trying to keep the party at bay let's bring in our hill reporter Ben Siegel. For a little more on this and what Democrats are doing to push back in strip president trump then. Let's start with with this big headline coming out of the house this afternoon they're voting. To give basically a blanket permission a green light for all of those committees on Capitol Hill. To take the trump administration to court tell us. Body that's right DeVon these committees and Democrats on Capitol Hill have been frustrated in their efforts to follow up on what. Robert Moore the special counsel are concluded in his findings. They want to know you know an impeachment came up and and not SoundBite with the speaker today impeach the president is there anything that Robert Mueller did not uncover. What exactly happened some of those episodes of obstruction and that he. And so far they have been unable to find out cooperation with this White House where this administration. How which has been ignoring subpoenas for documents and information. Today this film will allow the house to essentially go to court to get their subpoenas and forced to like it a federal judge to. Essentially order the trump administration in this in these two cases specifically attorney general bill Barr and the former White House counsel Don again. Two cooperate with subpoenas for documents the full mullah report and also for testimony. So this is giving permission to go to court any very quickly any sense of which committees watching go to court first. Paula one thing I can say is that there is a deal recently between the Justice Department and the Judiciary Committee to produce some limited documents they're still. Tackling Addai and while that happens it's unlikely that the Judiciary Committee goes to court immediately but the Ways and Means Committee that has subpoenaed for the president's tax returns. Could it could put go to court no matter of weeks to try to get they're subpoena for the president's returns in force. All right one step closer to the court battle over some of those trump administration documents and interviews meanwhile members of congress I think. Contemplating banned giving themselves a pay raise they haven't gotten a pay raise. Since 2009. But all of a sudden overnight that was yanked off the table what's going on there. Well they democratic and Republican leaders had an agreement to. Boost paper at a cost of living increase they argued that this is important for members who. Some of them have two homes on in Washington and elsewhere and so support families. Two to help them keep up a living but also more importantly it helps them hire staff there's a rule in the house. That prohibits offices. From hiring somebody in a solid point that's any higher than what the member of congress makes. And they said and it imparted to be competitive with the private sector and a number of ways so this was something that. Party leaders had an agreement on in this toss a no brainer it became a political attack very quickly that was used against some of these new democratic freshman in the house. Who then he then said they would not take this race so after some of that disagreement this was decided to be taken off the floor and they might revisit this in the future. That would have been a 4500. Dollar raise as you say they haven't had one for awhile and obviously politically. I damaging to be in the spotlight with a asking for more money at a time when congress has such a low approval rating. Finally that today is an extraordinary moment I know you were covering and to Jon Stewart the former daily show. A host on Capitol Hill today in an emotional plea for congress. To take some action for 9/11 first responders who are sick and dying. Let's take a little listen to that moment from Jon Stewart. They responded. In five seconds. They did their jobs. The courage grace. Tenacity. Humility. Eighteen meters later. Two hours. You're indifference. Cost these men and women their most valuable commodity. So one thing they're running out. We should let this hearing should be flipped. These men and women should be up on that stage and congress should be down here answering their questions. As to why this is so damn hard. And take so damn long. Then remind everybody what this is really all about what Jon Stewart is actually pushing. Jon Stewart's been on the hill several times in the past couple years with first responders 9/11 first responders men and women firefighters medics a police officers. Who are looking for more money for the 9/11 victims compensation fund. That's a fund that's used to help us apart the medical care as you know a lot of these workers who answered that call us as Jon Stewart mentioned. The firefighters within five seconds. Have developed health problems cancer lots of other concerns that have emerged after working on that file in 2001. So he's coming back to Capitol Hill in the past. Congress has issued temporary. Funding measures to help put money into this pot last time was in 2015. They get about four billion dollars but that was only enough. To fund this project for about five more years now he's making sure that this product is fully funded. Indefinitely essentially the 29 he doesn't help anybody who worked on that pile who stole expensive health problems make sure they don't have to come back to congress. You know looking for more money and with some of them you know sick sick and and then make it relates to these homes. We have very pass a passionate plea he's taken this on as a personal advocacy obviously giving some star power to it as well but. It is a very expensive measurement of the congress is continuing to to debate at Ben Siegel thanks so much for your reporting from Capitol Hill. I'm moving on now to an ABC news live exclusive we talked about climate change extensively here on the show today. I caught up with the three Republican former EPA administrators to talk about the state of they have affairs at the agency. And our climate. Lee Thomas who served in the Reagan administration Christine Todd Whitman of the George W Bush Administration. In bill Reilly of the George Herbert Walker Bush presidency all met with me to offer their insights on how things are going right now. It's so rare to see so many former EPA administrators Republicans and Democrats together. In one place what message are you trying to send here we. I think a message particularly on all seven of us who wrote a letter to this committee. Was that EPA it's an incredibly important agency. It has always enjoyed about autism support. And we'll quite concerned about the direction EPA's taken in this administration and we want to talk to the oversight committee about our concerns about the role we think they need to play. And the human those concerns. There's more to do but it's because we've been it's things are better people don't see this quite as immediate issue as they used if you're to give agreed. To the leadership of the EPA right now on this stewardship that they are doing with their mission which is to protect the environment and human health a letter grade. What letter grade would you give. Yeah I'm right in that same category. Because so it's a very difficult situation what concerns you most. Well I'm really concerned about being disrespect for science that we're seeing this administration the undermining of science in the importance of science. That is sending a message to young people they. Don't care and other trying to confuse issues like climate change to me that's an enormous enormous thing facing I've got seven grandchildren. I want them to grow up in. The clean air and clean water and day. Kind of environment that sustainable. I really worry that we're rolling back regulations to protect actually what would President Reagan. Say about the state of affairs at the appear written anything. Well we had a very similar situation in 1983. Tremendous controversy. The agency was in turmoil and what President Reagan said was we need to change. We need change and as a result he got bill raucous house came back come back and we totally change the management. We changed the whole direction got back to the mission of the agency so I think that's what President Reagan would say look that's not how want this agency opera. Do you do you think bill that they do anything right right now is there anything from point to NC that's actually surprisingly on track. And so truth the past two years have caused us to load the bar quite significantly but the budget has been can. Kept up reasonably well here it's better than I would be despite the threats of got a good inflation is waning moments when Reiser who and they served. But that's good and the administration's proposals to cut the budget by a third and to cut the staff by a third congress' happily ignored. I'm very concerned by the fact that. We're seeing. Downgrade juror or. We're seeing good people leave that hey Nancy Drew and the last thing you want is good solid technical people leave any EPA. I can talk from a business point of view are on government when he viewed you need and Egypt's it is credible. Has consistency in that room making any science based and that will make an Arafat. I think of common refrain all of you it's that you expressed concern about science. Being given a vaccine in this debate right now I'm gonna mention. My. Spoken remarks today. That they just had a meeting last week in the science advisory board that was Tolbert from the borders of the United States enforcement that it was a policy issue. Science played almost normal. I mean it's that's extraordinary to me science including a call for there. Do it is is that a leadership at the top issue and we know the president's view. I mean you EPA administrator you don't set policy the White House its policy you. Give them the best advice you tell them when you think there on the right track of the contract or how to do what they want to do the best way possible while still being protective of them mentioned. Sorts to seven the top. We we sat down with it. Minister we were just about a month or so go just as he was it's just as he was confirmed. On the job and asked him if he thinks that climate change as the president has said is a hoax. And perhaps reassuringly he said it's not a hoax he doesn't think it's oaks thinks it's a real phenomenon. But he said he doesn't think it's a crisis she doesn't think it's at this stage worst case scenario stage that's laid out in the national climate assessment. That's not the only thing that certain national assessment area or weren't there are several categories of possibilities is business as usual and then there's an intervention serious intervention. That's an unfair characterization. Of the assessment. He yeah assessment. Does best by pointing to the fact that if nothing changes we continue business as usual. It is catastrophic it's probably six degrees and factor which will. Destroy a lot of species cause huge amounts to an estimated 200 million of migrants to take to the road. But this take isn't it true now that the error is cleaner than it's ever been the water in this country cleaner than it's ever been. The United States is actually a leader in rolling back carbon. Pollution and in fact has been. You know continuing to dial back its own emissions is and is not something we hear from the president a lot that we should be celebrated. Harper emissions are twenty times defense is under ten years about half. We're not doing that well if climate is the issue we are the number two that are in the world after China and one of the biggest reasons that. Carbon emissions have gone down past do more with economics and it has to do with anything this administration has done if any thing natural gas yeah exactly and that and the cost of that horses alternatives though. That's been a dramatic change in this country's had an impact pass over. That impact is about change I mean we've just that taken advantage of that it's voice emission reductions and with growth we're now beginning to see those those who missions creep back up. Do you think we need do you think we needed to green new deal mean do you think tick to counter this when you get a little older that I think are good. But unfortunately they put everything but the kitchen sink in the green new deal which is distraction and you're gonna have to pick out parts and work on boats from environmental point of view it's it's disappointing because it did have things outside of the environment and that. Which. I think undermined the message and it's too important a message we really do need to focus on the environment. I am told by some of your Republican members of congress that they are never asked about climate when they go on the stump when they go homes I think now they're asked him. That is marvelous it's put it on the agenda it's raised the profile got a lot of vitality particularly among young people. The green new deal is a good thing. A fascinating conversation or thanks again to the administrators the full conversation. But with administrators Christie Riley. And Thomas can all be found an abcnews.com. And on my Twitter at Devin Dwyer while that in the push for climate action climate awareness climate education is being led in many parts in this country by high school students particularly. In the Pacific northwest for one group of students as you know. Is suing the federal government over climate change another is drawing on their Pacific islander heritage to help put. Face on the human impact of this one of those students are cross Sharma. As a seventeen year old at Roosevelt High School outside Portland we caught up with him a short time ago he said all of us need an education and the environment. The Tulsa what a bit about your first hand experience. With climate change of a personal story. Are sold. A personal sorry for congress as viewers are back in 2016. So my parents are easy Nara and it's easy. And after a cyclone listen it's easy and too got a sixteen Rick so as a category five cyclone. And are not here. Armor and these are the school where there is bailing you power. Know any other supplies. As something I like really me because. You know right. I couldn't do a lot a lot from here. But back calling people don't have a lot a lot of these a lot of resources like we do over here and needs is really unique because. You know like cyclones are often being that it period. And I it is does he mean because. Are these are just they're know what to do. Could you you in a group of students. Based on what she saw have led this campaign in Portland to get the school system there. To educate help educate some of your peers in future generations about the impacts that you saw first hand. Did put in school board three years ago passed a resolution to make climate change climate justice part of the curriculum but it hasn't. It all started here like five years ago so. People from Roosevelt brought in few from the school district to talk about how we don't want textbooks that lie about climate change. Like we want to learn Ari is chiefs like a different way and textbooks aren't the way. And we also offer ethnic studies to be brought in to. And when ethnic studies are brought in by its he's a whole Specter Irving because last year was the first year at least he's been taught arrows go. And I just hazel respect your opinion changed the mindset ever pretty in outer were not about our issues going around the world climate change as one of. Just last month of the school board in Portland. Are finally authorize 200000 dollars I understand for climate justice education starting next year. Which is a good thing you guys have had made a difference there what is it that what it what difference do you hope. That program mean that education that curriculum will make. So some people are daunting that climate change and actually the union some people don't believe it and for a median earth every most of the people and I know I want that in March. I want people to know that climate change is a real team unity issue that needs to be sought. Carter thanks again aka Sharma and the entire crew out that Roosevelt High School on Portland organ. Opt for their advocates Ian and an education work we salute them here in a parishioner and thank you for watching us today. On ABC news live we're here every firm every day at 33530. And 6:30 PM eastern time you can watch us on the ABC news app downloaded if you don't have an of course. The full ABC news live interview with those three former Republican EPA administrators is right there on the app. And we play again hearing ABC's Bob I'm DeVon while Washington. Hope to see him.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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