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Gen. Colin Powell Pays Respect to George H.W. Bush; GOP Lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan Try to Limit Power of Incoming Democrats; Former NFL Star Faces New Assault Accusations. Aired 10:30- 11a ET

Aired December 4, 2018 - 10:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[10:30:00]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: So much symbolism here as we watch. I believe that platform was built for Abraham Lincoln.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Wow.

SCIUTTO: And then as you notice, the honor guard there has -- member of each of the services. You will have the Army, the Navy, who Bush was a veteran, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard. Everybody taking a moment to show their respect.

HARLOW: Beautiful. Beautiful.

SCIUTTO: Well, in politics, we're already talking about 2020 because you know the midterms are behind us. Former president, Vice President Joe Biden giving his most clear signal yet that he may throw his hat into the ring for 2020. In a book tour stop in Montana, Biden said the following.

"I'll be as straight with you as I can. I think I'm the most qualified person in the country to be president. The issues that we face as a country today are the issues that have been in my wheelhouse, that I have worked on my whole life."

HARLOW: Let's discuss. CNN senior political analyst David Gergen is with us. He's advised, you know, just four presidents, Republicans and Democrats. So, who better to talk to than you about this, my friend, this morning. I'm fascinated by this. And I wonder if you think -- I don't know if it's a question, will he run. My question is when he announces his candidacy, will Joe Biden say and I'm only running for one term, so you don't have to be so concerned about my age, and by the way I'm only going to run to run the country for one term and not run to run again. Make sense?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's the best course for him. And he could promise some more bipartisan government, asking some Republicans to come in and serve with him. And that would be a new experiment in American politics, but I think one the country by well welcome. Frankly, I thought Hillary Clinton should do that the last time out. I thought it would have improved her chances of winning, and that was, of course, dismissed. But it is true that Joe Biden is, I think, the most qualified person on the Democratic side. The question Democrats are asking is he also the most electable? And that does involve age in part because he would be - Donald Trump would be 74 upon taking off is if he re-elected. Joe Biden would be 78. And that's the reason for looking at the one Trump proposition.

SCIUTTO: Let's set aside the age for a moment because it seems a key question when you talk to Democratic strategists is the electable question. And a big portion of that is he or are the other candidates who can appeal beyond the coast and urban areas, blue state strongholds to get the majority and Electoral College that you need. Is Joe Biden that guy?

GERGEN: Well let me say this, Jim. I think there are two questions. One is, is he the most - can he get to Democratic mela (ph) nation because there are a lot of people in the progressive movement and there are a lot of younger people in politics now who are going to be challenging that. And think there are needs to be a new force. When it comes to can he get beyond the coast and appeal to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio, the fact is that that is, for where his strength is, he's always had a good relationship with working class Americans, and he's well accepted by minority Americans. And he's been very strongly pro-women for empowerment. So, I think he's got a lot, but the issue you go to is exactly the right question about can he take the Midwest? And in many ways, as I say, I think he's probably in the two or three most qualified or best positioned. There are others like Amy Klobuchar who is now coming on strong in people's minds. There's also a question of -- there are others in the Midwest who are going to be seriously considered.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: David, just a brief interlude because while we were speaking to you, we had this moment at President George H.W. Bush lying on the Capitol. That was Colin Powell, of course, he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War during Bush's presidency. He there paying his respects. One of many who served with him through the years.

HARLOW: And a good reminder to us of the civility in politics, right? I think it was this week. He said in an interview that President Bush never believed politics should be nasty.

SCIUTTO: Exactly. And look at that lineup there because you have quite a collection. You've got -- is that Jim Clapper I see there? This is a number of -- oh, no, that's not Jim Clapper. My mistake, sorry. I believe these are officials who served during the Gulf War. Served President George H.W. Bush during the Gulf War, including Colin Powell. But again, another group showing their respect today.

GERGEN: Sure. You know, Colin Powell was a pivotal player for George H.W. Bush on the Persian Gulf War and that was on the decision not to go in after Saddam Hussein and Iraq. And that restraint -- Colin showed and the president showed was I think one of the most important achievements of this administration. It didn't get us into a war in Iraq. [10:35:00] SCIUTTO: Yes, I mean, they didn't go to Baghdad because President Bush, that President Bush, Bush 41, was concerned it would lead to a quagmire of a war, and you can look at the experience, post- 2003, as an indicator.

HARLOW: Right. David, none of us will be in the room today for the meeting between the president and the Bush family. What are your thoughts heading into that?

GERGEN: Well, I think they have very successfully put aside a lot of the tensions so far. I keep wondering whether Donald Trump, who was so close to his father - his own father has more empathy in this case with George W. And Jeb and others. He called George W. soon after. I must say that there's -- people are so angry about Trump in so many ways. It's hard to sometimes give him credit. But I do think that we ought to say he's been gracious in this time. He's been very responsive to the family. They're very pleased. And we just ought to acknowledge that, how gracious he's been. I know people think that's a low bar, but nonetheless, it's important at a moment like this, that there's more unity in the country when the president is there and can be a calming influence.

HARLOW: Yes, that's really true, that in death, he's unifying the country in this respect. David Gergen thank you.

Ahead for us, Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin and Michigan racing to try to limit the power of newly elected Democrats before they take office. How is that working out, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:41:16] HARLOW: All right, Democrats in Michigan and Wisconsin accusing Republicans of a desperate power grab. Democrats poised to take the governor's mansion and other top offices in both states after years of Republican dominance, but the Republican-led legislators trying to use this lame duck session to try to strip and narrow the power of those newly elected Democrats.

In Michigan, three women, all Democrats, replacing the state's Republican governor, attorney general and secretary of state, and in Wisconsin, Democrats are replacing Republican Governor Scott Walker and the Republican AG there. The state legislature there in Wisconsin votes today on measures to restrict the newly elected governor's authority. It's fascinating and complicated. So, I'm glad we have Capitol reporter from the "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" Molly Beck with us. Good morning, Molly.

MOLLY BECK, CAPITOL REPORTER, "MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL": Good morning.

HARLOW: So, if they succeed in this, it would have a big effect on a number of powers -- gubernatorial powers. But my question to you is, can't the Democrats just reverse this when they take office in January?

BECK: No, they can't because the legislature is still controlled by Republicans. In November, Democrats won pretty much every major state- wide office in Wisconsin. But because the legislature is still controlled by Republicans, any measures that they would want to see passed in the legislature probably would be blocked by Republicans.

HARLOW: So, what's the likelihood this thing gets passed?

BECK: It looks like it's going to pass. They're moving forward. There is a committee of lawmakers last night that voted to pass it out of committee, which means it's going to go to the full legislature, the Senate, and the assembly today, and they're planning to vote today on it.

HARLOW: Some of the things that could change, right, when you look at before Evers, the Democrat, becomes governor next months, they're looking to limit early voting, to shift the timing of the 2020 presidential primary there, which is key. Add new authority for lawmakers on state legislation. There could be, though, court challenges, right? Because in North Carolina, when we saw a similar effort made after Roy Cooper in 2016, there was a court challenge and it was found to be unconstitutional. Are Wisconsin Republicans offering anything up saying, look, this is different because of x?

BECK: No, they're not really responding much to the threats of lawsuits. Governor-elect Tony Evers, the Democrat who's elected in November, has said that he would look and consider litigation should these measures become law. A liberal advocacy group who has sued previously over early voting hours and timelines and limits that Republicans have put on that in the past and has been successful in those lawsuits, they have also said that they would go back to court over these measures. But you know, the Republicans who are seeking to pass these measures are not -- they don't seem too concerned about that.

HARLOW: And just finally, I was interested in sort of what you're hearing from the constituents there, the people of Wisconsin, on this. Because it's you know relatively purple state, a state that went for President Obama then flipped for President Trump. I don't know, what do the voters there think?

BECK: So yesterday, there were about 1,000 people at the Capitol protesting these measures. That's not the biggest protest I have ever seen at the Capitol, but it's certainly a significant amount of people who came and they were there all day, and they were banging on the hearing room door where the legislature was discussing these measures. And they also held a rally on the Capitol steps last night. So, there's definitely some public outcry and outrage over this. My Twitter feed, for example, has been going berserk since this happened.

[10:45:02] But it's not something like you'll remember eight years ago or seven years ago when the Act 10, the collective bargaining measure that Governor Walker championed, that brought you know many more people to the Capitol.

HARLOW: I remember that well, the power of unions in question. Molly, thank you. We'll see what happens. Democracy at work, right? We'll see what happens, how it plays out. Thank you. SCIUTTO: He has already been cut by the Kansas City chiefs. But new accusations of violence are coming out against running back Kareem Hunt. The question as well is what did his team, what did the NFL know, and when.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:50:03] SCIUTTO: This morning, a new assault accusation is emerging against the NFL star running back Kareem Hunt. Police say that Hunt is accused of kicking a man at a Kansas City nightclub, this back in January.

HARLOW: It's the third violent incident connected to Hunt this year. Last week, TMZ posted this stunning video showing Hunt kicking and shoving a woman in February. Look at this. No charges were filed in any of the three cases.

Miguel Marquez is following this with more. Wow.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so this latest incident that we have, the video is a little inconclusive, but it essentially shows him in an altercation in a Kansas City nightclub back in January 7th. There were no charges filed at the time. It was from what is being claimed is that it was Hunt and some of his colleagues beat up a victim and then the person never filed charges.

On the 11th, a few days later, went to the police, filed a report, but never filed charges. The incident that you were showing there happened a month later. That was in Cleveland where he physically assaulted her. No charges filed there either. NFL said that they did conduct an investigation. But that Mr. Hunt lied to them during that investigation. And it wasn't until TMZ posted this video that they realized the extent of it, and that's when he was released from the chiefs. Hunt says that he still hasn't been contacted by the NFL.

The third incident also --

HARLOW: Sorry, he has not been contacted by the NFL?

MARQUEZ: He says. So, he did an interview on ESPN this weekend and said he has not been contacted by the NFL. Barely knew this woman in the February incident. And is asking for remorse, says he doesn't even go how to get ahold of her right now. The third incident, another minor altercation in Ohio this time, in June. Also no charges filed. So this is somebody who went through these incidents. There were no charges filed. And the NFL now investigating, dropped by the chiefs on Friday. He will not be able to be, if he is resigned, he will not be able to play until the investigation is over.

SCIUTTO: Did the NFL know about the other accusations?

MARQUEZ: It is not clear they knew about the other accusations. Only the one in February right now is what the NFL is saying that they knew about. So, they're starting to look into all of this now until we get the entirety. Obviously, a very young guy with a great career ahead of him if he can get through this. HARLOW: But shouldn't the NFL call him? I mean look at that video.

MARQUEZ: You would think at this point the NFL would be in touch, absolutely.

HARLOW: All right.

SCIUTTO: Miguel Marquez, thanks very much.

HARLOW: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Critical week for the Russia probe. Today, we will learn just what former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has told Special Counsel Bob Mueller about the Trump campaign, Trump administration, and Russia.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:57:37] HARLOW: Welcome back. In today's fresh money, some entrepreneurs wanting to help homeless people, so they started with socks.

SCIUTTO: So how did they pull it off? Let's take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID HEATH, CO-FOUNDER, BOMBAS: I remember one specific moment that really kind of changed everything for me. When I learned that socks were the most requested clothing item here in the U.S. at homeless shelters and I think it was highly relatable to us specifically living in New York City and made me recognize, we want to have the buy one give one model.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A great product, a great mission. You have to be buying into both of those things.

HEATH: I was walking up Madison Avenue, and I encountered a homeless veteran. You know he had a sign out saying anything will do. I walked up and I said hey, I don't have any money but I have a pair of socks for you. And he said this is exactly what I needed. How did you know? When I watched him take off one shoe and he had wrapped his bandanna around his foot, and then I watched him take off his other shoe, then he wrapped a plastic bag. And seeing that, just how much I could imagine being in that situation, I'll never shake that moment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've got some reinforcement around the Achilles which is really great.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pushed it a little bit in like the fair isle direction.

RANDY GOLDBERG, CO-FOUNDER, BOMBAS: Basically, all goes back to the same idea. If we make an incredible product, we'll sell a lot of socks. If we sell a lot of socks, we can donate a lot of socks. If we donate a lot of socks, we get to help solve a problem in our community. HEATH: I think our grand vision is that Bombas will be a multiproduct apparel company. And see that impact start to happen globally. Homelessness is not an issue that is unique to the United States. Homelessness exists everywhere. And so, I definitely see a world where we continue to have an incredible impact on the world.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HARLOW: I'm going to buy some of those socks now. I didn't even know about that company.

SCIUTTO: What a mission there, sell one, give one. I mean that's a pretty remarkable --

HARLOW: Yes, like what is it, Tom's shoes? Some of these other companies do it.

All right, what are we going to do to make the world a better place?

SCIUTTO: We're going to try to keep covering the news.

HARLOW: There you go. Thank you for being with us today. We'll see you back here. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "At This Hour" with Kate Bolduan starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. A very busy morning on Capitol Hill today. Right now, CIA Director Gina Haspel, she's behind closed doors with a key group of senators. She's there to brief them on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. This after lawmakers demanded that she show up when she didn't last week when there was a briefing for the full Senate.