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Kamala Harris' Bid for President; Eight Democrat Candidates Have Announced They Are Running for President. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired January 27, 2019 - 16:00   ET


[16:00:00] FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The government is open for business for now. But the clock is ticking. Democrats and Republicans have just 19 days to agree on a bill to fund the government past February 15th. And if they cannot, the president has threatened to use executive action to fund his border wall.

And while the U.S. government has reopened, the damage is already done. That historic shutdown cost the U.S. economy at least $6 billion, according to a new report by S&P. Standard and Poor global ratings. That is more expensive than the president's request for the border wall.

So was the shutdown all worth it? And where do things go from here? Lawmakers on both sides weighing in this morning.


SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R), MAINE: Shutdowns are never good policy, ever. They are never to be used as a means to achieve any kind of goal, no matter how important that goal may seem to be. We cannot have the threat of a government shutdown hanging over our people and our economy.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), MINORITY LEADER: We all know that these workers were held hostage by the president. We all know it's a strategy the American people abhorred. And that's why the president had to cave, but we also want to make sure it never happens again, whomever is president, whomever is in Congress.


WHITFIELD: Let's check in now with CNN's White House correspondent Boris Sanchez.

So, Boris, the Trump administration not at all backing down from this threat to bypass Congress, get the president's border wall going.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred. The president is determined to get funding for his long-promised border wall. So for some time now, the White House had been looking at different avenues of securing funding for the wall. One of them would be to declare a national emergency, to get funding that way. It's an option that the president has had on the table for quite some time, but he hasn't take than step. In part because there's no guarantee that it would work. Democrats have openly said that they would challenge that attempt by the president in court.

The other avenue is essentially securing excess funds from other government agencies, forfeiture funds from the Department of Treasury, certain funds from the Department of Defense, but ultimately sources indicate that that would be just a couple of drops in the bucket that the president is asking for, for border wall funding, that $5.7 billion demand from the president. And so ultimately, for the president and his team, it's back to the drawing board and threatening yet another government shutdown.

At this point, it's unclear exactly what the president would get this time around if he were to shut down the federal government in about 19 days for the second time. Mick Mulvaney, though, the acting chief of staff, says that the president is set on getting funding for his wall no matter what it takes. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is the president really prepared to shut down the government again in three weeks?

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: Yes, I think he actually is. Keep in mind, he's willing to do whatever it takes to secure the border. He does take this very seriously. This is a serious humanitarian and security crisis. And as president of the United States, he takes the security of the nation as his highest priority. He doesn't want to shut the government down. Let's make that very clear. He doesn't want to declare a national emergency.


SANCHEZ: Now Mulvaney insisted that the president still wants $5.7 billion for wall funding. He says that border security experts have told the president that's what he needs. Though, Mulvaney did say that the president is not married to that figure. He wouldn't provide, though, any other number that the president would simply accept to allow the federal government to reopen or to continue staying open without the threat of a shutdown looming -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: Boris Sanchez at the White House, thanks so much.

All right. Long-time Trump associate Roger Stone says he's not ruling out cooperating with Special Counsel Robert Mueller. On Tuesday, Stone will be arraigned in Washington, D.C., on multiple charges, including witness tampering, lying, and obstruction.

His indictment draws a connection between him, the Trump campaign, and WikiLeaks for damaging information on the Clinton campaign. Stone denies the charges, calling them politically motivated. And now President Trump is attempting to distance himself from Stone, tweeting this in part, "Roger Stone didn't even work for me, anywhere near the election."

Stone, who has repeatedly said he would not testify against the president, now says he's open to testifying.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Any chance you'll cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller if he asks?

ROGER STONE, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: You know, that's a question I would have to -- I'd have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion. If there's wrongdoing by other people in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is, I would certainly testify honestly. I'd also testify honestly about any other matter, including any communications with the president. It's true that we spoke on the phone, but those communications are political in nature. They're benign. And there's certainly no conspiracy with Russia.


WHITFIELD: CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider joining me right now.

[16:05:02] So, Jessica, Stone continues to talk ahead of his court appearance.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: He does, Fredricka. It's really been a flurry of outspoken interviews for Roger Stone ever since his 6:00 a.m. arrest Friday and subsequent release on bond. But it's possible that the judge Stone will actually face in D.C. on Tuesday, her name is Amy Berman Jackson, she could possibly put an end to his interviews. That's because she's overseeing the cases of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. And she's previously put in gag orders in place on those.

So Stone, though, what -- in all these interviews, in the meantime, leaving that door open to cooperating with Robert Mueller, and also shedding a little bit of light on who that senior Trump campaign official might have been who was directed to ask Stone about any upcoming releases from WikiLeaks in July 2016.

Stone saying, sure, it could have been Rick Gates, the former deputy campaign manager to Paul Manafort, but since Rick Gates has been cooperating with Mueller for the past year since pleading guilty, Stone suggesting, well, that Gates might be feeding this information to Mueller and Stone has said that Gates might be lying since he doesn't have any recollection of any conversation with him.

Now, to note, Rick Gates' lawyers have said that he is not the senior Trump campaign official referred to in this indictment. So that's also an aside. And Stone also insisted in interviews that he has no idea who may have directed that senior Trump campaign official. So that's Stone.

But another person blasting the air waves today, person one from that indictment, Jerome Corsi. Corsi is a longtime friend and associate of Roger Stone. And during the campaign, Corsi predicted that WikiLeaks would be leaking more and more documents. And it's also alleged in the indictment that Roger Stone actually directed Corsi to get in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to get some of those e- mails.

Corsi has said he has never been in touch with Assange and instead was just a good predictor and also says that he is willing to cooperate.


JEROME CORSI, FORMER STONE ASSOCIATE: I'll be happy to testify. I suspect to be subpoenaed. And I'll let the testimony fall wherever it falls. I'm going to tell the truth to the best of my ability. Even that's hard given the amount of information and the fact that I've said from the beginning I'm not a human tape recorder. You can't push a button. And I can't recall precisely in detail granularly conversations, e-mails, events from 2016, but I'm going to do my best to tell the truth without calculation of whom it benefits or whom it detracts.


SCHNEIDER: And Jerome Corsi says he's already been talking to Mueller's team, been interviewed multiple times.

Fredricka, he says he's already sat down for 40 hours of interviews. So he's been talking to the special counsel, but Corsi and his lawyer, they do not believe that Corsi will be indicted in this -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jessica Schneider, thank you so much in Washington.

All right. Let's talk further on this. Joining me right now, national political reporter for the "Washington Examiner" and CNN contributor, Salena Zito, and the senior editor at the "Atlantic" and CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein.

Good to see you both. All right, let's begin with Russia and Roger Stone, and where this is going. Stone, you know, now saying he's open to the possibility of cooperating with the Mueller investigation, you know, and talking. He says he's willing to tell the truth and he has nothing to hide.

So, Ron, is he changing his tune, or is it just the way in which he is speaking?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's really a great question. I mean, certainly the tone today was a little different than it has been. Whether it leads to anything substantive going forward, I think you'd have to be dubious. I mean, If there's anyone certainly who has signaled that they do not intend -- or in fairness to him, from his point of view that he doesn't have anything that he believes is incriminating toward the president or others in the campaign, it's Roger Stone.

I would -- I think the larger point, though, is if nothing else, over the past couple of years we have learned that we don't know what the special counsel knows. I mean, the capacity of the special counsel to surprise us has been really unbroken. And probably unprecedented for a major story in Washington in the period that I've covered national politics. And it's just very hard to predict where this is going because I think we have repeatedly, you know, seen, even as recently with the Michael Cohen story, where we're not even sure what exactly they were disputing, that the attempts from the outside to get -- you know, to understand is really like reaching into a black box. And it kind of -- it does kind of behoove everybody to kind of be patient and allow the special counsel to unfold -- unspool what they have learned.

WHITFIELD: And in recent "Washington Post" polling, you know, supports, you know, Democrats who have said they're opening a range of investigations of Trump and his campaign, you know, as it relates to the ongoing investigations, et cetera, including, you know, connections with the Russian president Vladimir Putin. However, that same poll, you know, shows that only 40 percent believe Congress should begin impeachment proceedings.

So, Salena, does that indicate that people, you know, are, indeed, willing to be patient as Ron speaks of and wait for the results of the Mueller report?

[16:10:01] SALENA ZITO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Yes, I think sometimes we underestimate how the willingness of people to be patient with this process. I think Mueller has shown to be very deliberate, secretive in a good way, and in terms of keeping everything, you know, close to the vest. And you know, and prosecuting or investigating this in a way that leaves no stone unturned. No pun intended about Roger Stone.



ZITO: Sorry about that. But you know, I think Ron is right. There's a lot of things you can speculate from a lot of different actors, the sort of moving parts as part of this process. But I think it behooves all of us to just sort of pay attention to the signals that Mueller does send us, and I don't know that the American people really want to have not only the Mueller investigation but a multitude of other congressional investigations.

I think if you look at the exit polls from the midterm elections, a lot of the people that sort of sent brakes to Washington in putting the Democrats in charge in the House, they wanted to see more -- you know, more legislative things done and less sort of all of this chaos. You know, that was one of the biggest messages of 2018 midterms is less chaos, put some brakes on some of this craziness. And I don't know that a multitude of investigations sort of fits that --

WHITFIELD: Well, is it less chaos or is it more oversight? I mean that, too, was --

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, right.

WHITFIELD: You know, an indicator of why things changed.

ZITO: Right. That's true.

WHITFIELD: In elections. So, Ron, you know, speaking of Stone turning and all that, you know, is there a scenario in which it appears as though, you know, he would be willing to kind of cut a deal, you know, with the Mueller team, given he has been so defiant but now that he says, you know, yes, I'd be willing to talk, speak honestly, you know, particularly because the prosecution rate is so high, more than 90 percent for federal prosecutions in terms of convictions.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Right. Well, you know, the Mike Tyson rule applies to legal proceedings as well as anything else. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Right? So if, in fact, you are looking -- if in fact you are looking at some pretty clear -- what seemed to be some pretty clear-cut examples of misleading testimony and potential jail time for that, that can change anybody's calculus.

You know, and so we're going to have to see exactly how he responds to the pressure that the special counsel can bring. And, you know, different people have responded so far in different ways. And we're not even -- you know, we don't even know. We don't know how what Michael -- how Michael Flynn, how he's cooperated, for example, versus Paul Manafort, who seemed to be cooperating and now facing a new round of charges.

WHITFIELD: Then he's not.

BROWNSTEIN: Then he's not. And -- but going back to Salena's point, I think your distinction there, Fred, is the right one. I mean, you know, I'm not sure that people -- people have not signed up necessarily for a big drive on impeachment or removing the president from office, but I think there's no question that they wanted more oversight, more checks and balances, and that the fundamental bet that Republicans in Congress placed over their first two years, that if they basically abandon any oversight and focus on working with the president to move forward an agenda the voters will reward them, I think that was precisely what voters rebelled against.

And I think you see will -- all indications are that you're going to see much more vigorous oversight over a variety of issues relating to the actual execution of government from the House. And that will be a very different dynamic. And we'll have to see how the president responds to it. So far his response to divided government has been more, not less chaos.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now.

Ron Brownstein, Salena Zito, thanks so much, both of you. Appreciate it.

ZITO: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, Senator Kamala Harris about to formally kick off her presidential campaign rally in Oakland, California. You're looking at live pictures at that rally. How will she position herself in an already very crowded Democratic field?

We'll take a look and we'll take you there live, next.


[16:18:09] WHITFIELD: At any moment now, Senator Kamala Harris will appear at an official launch rally for her 2020 presidential campaign. That rally is being held in her hometown of Oakland, California.

CNN's senior national correspondent Kyung Lah is in Oakland where Harris is expected to lay out her vision for the country.

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka, we're expecting her to speak in just about 30 minutes or so. The warm-up act, if you will, that's on stage right now is a local high school band. This has been a very Oakland focused rally so far.

The crowd here has been extraordinarily diverse. This is just one section of the crowd that you can see. And in here is the Kamala Harris coalition. You can see that it is incredibly diverse. It is very representative of Oakland. But beyond just this one area, the entire park -- and this is a square that sits just outside Oakland city hall, it is completely packed. They're still working on getting people inside.

The city block surrounding this area are also completely packed with people. I've been speaking to some of the people who are waiting in the crowd. A lot of them have been lined up since 6:00 this morning just to get in. The reason they want to be here, they say, are intensely personal reasons. Many of them feel that Kamala Harris is the future, that she bears the biography who is best poised to take on Trump.

And therein lies a narrative of what we are anticipating will be the speech that she is giving to this crowd. She is going to be unabashedly populous in her campaign. I want to show you the five points that the campaign has said she will touch on in this rally speech as she kicks off her 2020 campaign.

She'll be talking about Medicare for all, a middle class tax cut, access to education, that includes universal preschool as well as debt-free college, criminal justice reform, extraordinarily important to this former prosecutor, as well as fighting climate change.

[16:20:10] I want to bring you back live out here as you look at this square. This is the city of Kamala Harris' birth. This is where she was born. This is where for many decades protest movements have been born in the city of Oakland, from the Black Panther Movement to Black Lives Matter. And this is also where she started her prosecutorial career, standing and saying she is Kamala Harris for the people.

Fredricka, that is also going to be her campaign slogan. So again we're anticipating that she'll begin speaking in about 30 minutes. She believes she will separate herself from the pack by sharing her biography and saying that she is best poised to take on Trump -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And, Kyung, why you mentioned, you know, behind you on the stage has been, you know, a local high school band, do you have any kind of clarity on some of the speakers or who might be introducing Kamala Harris or if she's going to simply introduce herself when she comes out?

LAH: I don't know. I mean, that's basically the short answer. We simply don't know. The campaign has said that it is going to be heavily Oakland focused, that that's what she wants this to be. And that's very much in line with her campaign. That she doesn't want some, you know, fancy speaker. She doesn't want to seem that she is above this crowd. That she wants to be community based, and that is very aligned with her campaign.

WHITFIELD: All right. Kyung Lah, we'll check back with you. Thank you so much.

Of course, we'll be bringing you Senator Harris, her comments live as it happens when it begins there in Oakland.

All right. Meantime, a nationwide manhunt for a man suspected of killing five people, including his own parents. The manhunt is over. How he was caught hundreds of miles from the scene of the crime, next.


[16:26:23] WHITFIELD: The cross-country manhunt for a Louisiana murder suspect is over. Sheriff's deputies say a 21-year-old man killed five people near Baton Rouge yesterday, including his own parents.

CNN's Kaylee Hartung has been following the developments for us. So what more can you tell us about his capture?

KAYLEE HARTUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Fred. Believe it or not, this 21-year-old man in a stolen truck managed to travel about a thousand miles in a little less than 24 hours before this manhunt came to an end. And authorities say his capture was something of happenstance.

Let me tell you the story chronologically starting yesterday morning. That is when Dakota Theriot allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend, Summer Ernest, her father, and her brother. He then stole the father's truck. He'd been living at this home with this family for the last couple of weeks. He then drove to his own parents' house about 30 mile ace way. And there he shot both his mother and father in their bedroom. But before Keith Theriot, his father, died, he was able to speak with police and identify his son as the shooter.

A manhunt began, and it wasn't long before authorities realized that these two crime scenes were, in fact, linked. Authorities then they notified authorities in Richmond County, Virginia. Not to be confused with the city of Richmond. This is a more rural area in the northern neck. They alerted authorities there that Theriot had family in the area and they thought he could be heading that way.

Last night Theriot's grandmother, who lives in that area of Virginia, she was sharing that same concern, that he could be headed her way so she went to a motel. This morning, she asked authorities to go check on her house, to make sure it would be safe for her to return. And while deputies were there, Theriot drove right up into the driveway. He is said to have pointed a handgun at police. They commanded him to drop his weapon. He did, without incident. And then this 21-year-old Dakota Theriot was arrested.

Fred, he is in a Virginia jail at this time. He will be extradited back to Louisiana within the next couple of days, we expect. And then he will face charges. At least two counts of first-degree murder there.

WHITFIELD: Wow. So tragic. All right. Thank you, Kaylee. Appreciate it.

Still ahead, the field of 2020 Democratic contenders is diverse. And the crowd is still growing. And the latest person who just might consider a bid is a familiar name. Hillary Clinton. What we're learning about another possible run?

But first, here's a sneak peek of the CNN original film "THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I tell people my story, they don't believe it, but it's true.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've always thought, what would it be like if you turn the corner one day and you saw yourself?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The first time the boys met, the three together, it was a miracle.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was nothing that could keep us apart.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's when things kind of got funky.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Something was just not right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to know the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was always a question mark.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The parents had never been told.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're trying to conceal what they did from the people they did it to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's still so much that we don't know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How could you not tell us?




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thanks so much for joining me this Sunday. I am Fredricka Whitfield. Live pictures right now out of Oakland, California, where Senator Kamala Harris will soon formally kick off her presidential campaign rally. While the Democratic 2020 field is still developing, it is filling up rather fast.

We'll go to Oakland as soon as Kamala Harris comes out. Meantime, eight different candidates, take a look right there, have either declared that they are running for president or have formed exploratory committees. And it's already the most diverse in modern political history, four women, one Asian man, one Hispanic man, and a gay man.

On top of these eight candidates, there are still question marks surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden, who has not made public whether he will enter the race. CNN has learned that Hillary Clinton has told friends that she has not closed the door on a potential run. Let's discuss all of this now and how it will all shake out. With me now is Democrat Nina Turner, President of Our Revolution and Organization started by Bernie Sanders.

[16:35:01] Republican Tera Setmayer, the Board Director for Stand Up Republic, and Democratic political strategist Joe Trippi. Good to see all of you. All right, so Joe, you first, you know, we've seen a very unified Democratic Party over the last few weeks in Congress. Will that same kind of Pelosi/Schumer driven unity be carried into this 2020 race?

JOE TRIPPI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think there's going to be a really spirited race. I think this field is likely to double or triple from the eight that are already in. It's going to be a very diverse field, a very -- and not just diverse in terms of people of color, women, and those kinds of, you know, gender and demographics but also diverse views. I mean, very diverse.

WHITFIELD: Is that good? The more the merrier or does that make it confusing for people to, you know, make a selection when it comes down to finding that Democratic nominee?

TRIPPI: It'll narrow down, obviously, over time. But I think there are going to be a bunch of divisions. I mean there's a generational -- it's time for a new generation or are we going with somebody who's been around a lot longer and has experience, be it ideological? And I also think there will be sort of, you know, inside, outside -- I mean, there are going to be three or four, five, six different kinds of candidates.

And even within some of those divides, there are going to be generational candidates that are more progressive, etcetera. It's going to be a very spirited fight. And that debate is always good, I think, for the party and the country. WHITFIELD: And, you know, what will narrow, you know, the scope? I

mean, you know, what might be that leading message or candidate? Because during the 2016 race, there was a lot of criticism that, you know, Democrats didn't seem to have a message, you know? I mean for Hillary Clinton, you know, it was stronger together, but that was criticized as being, you know, too vague. So will it be, you know, a moderate message, a left-leaning message? What's the likelihood, Nina?

NINA TURNER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Fred, it needs to be more anti-Donald Trump. And that's something that the Democratic Party is going to have to grapple with and all of the candidates. And your point about the more the merrier, I want it to be the more the merrier. Let the roller coaster ride begin. It's going to be rip- roaring. But it definitely has to be, you know, there are about 40 million people in this country who live in poverty.

If the shutdown showed us nothing more than people are living paycheck to paycheck, a large number of people in this country live paycheck to paycheck. What kinds of things can we do and put into place to bring some more certainty to the everyday men and women of this country, be they black, be they white, brown, yellow, red, or the swirl in between?

So this really is going to have to be about a vision for the American people, for once, and not the people who already have the most in this country.

WHITFIELD: And Tara, perhaps in a matter of moments, I will have to interrupt, you know, our conversation. Kamala Harris may make the distinction of, you know, what she stands for. We understand that, you know, she will be talking about possibly Medicare for all, you know, a middle class tax cut, education access, criminal justice, you know, reform, climate change.

But earlier in the week in D.C., because she's had a few rollouts of, you know, I am about to run. You know she was asked, you know, why she was running. And she says I love this country. And then she was asked, you know, how will she stand up and stand out against Donald Trump? Take a listen to her response.


SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When it comes to talking about how we fight for the American people and have leadership in this country that is focused on the needs of the people instead of self-interest, I am prepared to fight that way. And I believe it will be a winning fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seventeen or more other Democrats say that they love their country. Why are you better than they?

HARRIS: I think the voters will decide.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: All right. So Tara, you know, you know, not long after that, her fundraising spiked more than $1 million in just 30 hours. So is this a clever example of kind of wait and see?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yeah. I think that she's done a good job of introducing herself to people. I mean most people don't know who Kamala Harris is. Her name ID is pretty low. And that's the challenge for so many Democratic candidates. I would hope that my Democratic friends across the aisle would learn from the jungle primary that the Republicans went through and what happened when so many candidates stayed in the race for vanity campaigns and they allowed Donald Trump to solidify his base of support about 10 or 15 percent.

WHITFIELD: So how do Democrats learn from that?


SETMAYER: If I am a strategist for them, I would hope that they would learn from that by as many people that are in the race in the beginning to try to maybe get name ID or, you know, auditioning for vice president, that they don't stay in the race too long and allow the fringes to be able to solidify their base. And the next thing you know, it pushes out someone who could beat Donald Trump.

[16:40:00]Democrats need to focus on who can beat Donald Trump. And in my opinion, and I am hoping as someone who is a Republican who does not support Donald Trump, who is looking for a viable Democratic candidate that in my opinion could beat Donald Trump, which would be Joe Biden. And he does have the highest name ID. He has the most experience. He has the ability to appeal to people like me who are in kind of political no-man's land.

And he can appeal to some of the blue-collar voters that Donald Trump pulled from the Obama coalition. Donald Trump -- Joe Biden is that guy. And maybe some of these other newer candidates that people don't know. He can pull them in for the fresher voice as a VP. That's what I am hoping happens for Democrats so they have a real chance at beating Donald Trump.

WHITFIELD: So then Joe, Joe Biden, you know, he is kind of testing the waters. He's considered, you know, kind of the more moderate, you know, (Inaudible). It has her exploratory, you know, committee and has proudly kind of more progressive pushing for the idea of taxing the rich more. Bernie Sanders, you know, again, considering, and now Hillary Clinton reportedly again considering.

So where would the momentum be? And kind of what you spoke of earlier is it the fresh or is it the veteran, what's the likelihood?

TRIPPI: Well, we don't know. I mean we don't know who's in. I mean is Joe Biden in or not? I mean look, there are a couple facts. No vice president of the United States, sitting or former, has ever been denied their party's nomination if they sought it. Not in the modern era. They've all won their nomination. If Joe Biden gets in, he's going to be formidable. That does not mean that history won't be made, and he'll be the first

vice president that doesn't get it. But that's a fact. And it's a formidable one. The other side of this though is so many -- all these candidates, some of them are announcing today, as Kamala is doing her speech in Oakland, but they've been planning this for a long time.

She's been building a social media following for over the last year, spending a lot of time, effort, money. So Bernie Sanders has one. Elizabeth Warren has one. There's a lot more staying power. Beto O'Rourke, if he gets in.

WHITFIELD: OK. And Joe, what a great queue up, because now Senator Kamala Harris is about to take to the stage, they just made an announcement. She's there in Oakland. This is home for her, her birthplace. This is where, you know, she made her mark as a prosecutor for the first time in a courthouse really just down the street from this city hall location. Let's listen in.

HARRIS: Oh, what's up, Oakland? OK, oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Oh, my heart is full right now. Thank you everyone. Let me start. I want to thank Libby Schaaf, the great Mayor of the city of Oakland for that incredible introduction and our longstanding friendship.

You know our mothers were friends together also here in Oakland. And I can't thank you, Libby, enough for your leadership and your friendship. So here we are. Here we are. Here we are. Let me tell you. I am so proud to be a daughter of Oakland, California. And as most of you know, I was born just up the road at Kaiser Hospital. And it was just a few miles away that my parents first met as graduate students at UC Berkeley, where they were active in the civil rights movement.

[16:44:59] And they were born half a world apart from each other. My father, Donald, came from Jamaica to study economics. My mother, Shamala, came from India to study the science of fighting disease. They came here in pursuit of more than just knowledge. Like so many others, they came in pursuit of a dream. And that dream was a dream for themselves, for me, and for my sister Maya.

As children growing up here in the east bay, we were raised by a community with a deep belief in the promise of our country and a deep understanding of the parts of that promise that still remain unfulfilled. We were raised in a community where we were taught to see a world beyond just ourselves, to be conscious and compassionate about the struggles of all people.

We were raised to believe public service is a noble cause, and the fight for justice is everyone's responsibility. In fact, my mother used to say, don't sit around and complain about things, do something. And basically, I think she was basically saying, you got to get up and stand up and don't give up the fight. And it is this deep-rooted belief that inspired me to become a lawyer and a prosecutor. It was just a couple of blocks from this very spot nearly 30 years ago

as a young district attorney. I walked into the courtroom for the first time and said the five words that would guide my life's work, Kamala Harris for the people. Now, I knew our criminal justice system was deeply flawed, but I also knew the profound impact law enforcement has on people's lives and its responsibility to give them safety and dignity.

I knew I wanted to protect people. And I knew that the people in our society who are most often targeted by predators are also most often the voiceless and vulnerable. I believe -- and on that point, and on that point, I believed -- and on that point, I believed then as I do now, no one should be left to fight alone. Because you see, in our system of justice, we believe that harm against any one of us is harm against all of us.

That is why when a case is filed, it doesn't read the name of the victim, it reads the people. And this is a point I have often explained to console and counsel survivors of crime, people who faced great harm, often at the hands of someone they trust, be it a relative or a bank or a big corporation. I would remind them, you are not invisible. We all stand together, because that is the power of the people.

And my whole life, I have only had one client, the people. And fighting for the people meant fighting on behalf of survivors of sexual assault, a fight not just against predators but a fight against silence and stigma. For the people meant fighting for a more fair criminal justice system at a time when prevention and redemption were not in the vocabulary or mind set of most district attorneys.

[16:50:18] We created an initiative to get skills and job training instead of jail time for young people arrested for drugs, for the people meant fighting for middle-class families who had been defrauded by banks and were losing their homes by the millions in the great recession. And I will tell you. Sitting across the table from the big banks, I witnessed the arrogance of power, wealthy bankers accusing innocent homeowners of fault as if Wall Street's mess was of the people's making.

So we went after the five biggest banks in the United States. We won $20 billion for California homeowners. And we passed -- and together, we passed the strongest anti-foreclosure law in the United States of America. We did that together. For the people meant fighting transnational gangs who traffic in drugs and guns and human beings, and I saw their sophistication, their persistence, and their ruthlessness.

And folks, on the subject of transnational gangs, let's be perfectly clear. The president's medieval vanity project is not going to stop them. And in the fight for the people to hold this administration accountable, I have seen the amazing spirit of the American people. During the healthcare fight, I saw parents and children with grave illnesses walk the halls of the United States Congress, families who had traveled across the country at incredible sacrifice. They came to our nation's capital believing that if their stories were

heard, and if they were seen, their leaders would do the right thing. I saw the same thing with our dreamers. They came by the thousands by plane, train, automobile. I'm sure they were sleeping 10 deep on someone's living room floor. And they came because they believe in our democracy and the only country they have ever known as home.

I met survivors who shared their deepest and post painful personal experiences, who told stories they had never before revealed even to their closest loved ones, because they believed that if they were seen, that their leaders would do the right thing and protect the highest court in our land. And together, we took on these battles. And to be sure, we've won and we've lost. But we have never stopped fighting.

We have never stopped fighting. And that's why we are here today, and that's why we are here today. We are here knowing. We are at an inflection point in the history of our world. We are at an inflection point in the history of our nation. We are here because the American dream and our American democracy are under attack and on the line like never before. And we are here at this moment in time because we must answer a fundamental question.

[16:54:38] Who are we? Who are we as Americans? So let's answer that question to the world and each other right here and right now. America, we are better than this. We are better than this. When we have leaders who bully and attack a free press and undermine our democratic institutions, that's not our America, when white supremacists march and murder in Charlottesville or massacre innocent worshippers in a Pittsburgh synagogue, that's not our America.

When we have children in cages crying for their mothers and fathers, don't you dare call that border security, that's a human rights abuse. And that's not our America. When we have leaders who attack public schools and vilify public school teachers, that is not our America. When bankers who crashed our economy get bonuses but the workers who brought our country back can't even get a raise, that's not our America.

And when American families are barely living paycheck to paycheck, what is this administration's response? Their response is to try and take healthcare away from millions of families. Their response is to give away $1 trillion to the biggest corporations in this country. And their response is to blame immigrants as the source of all our problems. And guys, let's understand what's happening here.

People in power are trying to convince us that the villain in our American story is each other. But that is not our story. That is not who we are. That is not our America. You see, our United States of America is not about us versus them. It's about, we, the people. And in this moment, we must all speak truth about what is happening. We must seek truth, speak truth, and fight for the truth. So let's speak some truth, shall we?

Let's speak truth about our economy. Our economy today is not working for working people. The cost of living is going up, but paychecks aren't keeping up. For so many Americans, a decent retirement feels out of reach, and the American dream feels out of touch. The truth is our people are drowning in debt, record student loan debt, car loan debt, credit card debt, resorting to payday lenders because you can't keep up with the bills.

People are drowning in America. We have a whole generation of Americans living with a sinking fear that they won't do as well as their parents. And let's speak another truth about our economy. Women are paid, on average, 80 cents on the dollar, black women 63 cents, Latinas, 53 cents. And here's the thing. And here's the thing. When we lift up the women of our country, we lift up the children of our country. We lift up the families of our country, and the whole of society benefits.