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Michael Bloomberg Warns That an Independent Candidate Would Reelect Trump; Race to Replace Trump Heats Up with Many New Contenders; Kamala Harris Announces Her Candidacy; Ex-Starbucks CEO Says US Cannot Afford Healthcare for All; Roger Stone Says No Intention of Cutting Deal with Robert Mueller; The Economy Lost 11 Billion Due to Government Shutdown. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired January 28, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[14:00:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: You are watching CNN on this Monday afternoon. I'm Brooke Baldwin. A promise to tell the truth. An admission that she is not perfect and a vow to fight for the people. With that, California Senator Kamala Harris took the stage before thousands of her fellow Californians and took the step in her bid to boot Donald Trump from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), CALIFORNIA: 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Someone who agrees with Harris. Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks. He says he may launch an independent bid for President. Something that is not at all going over well with Democrats and now former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg who is himself rumored to be contemplating a 2020 run, is issuing a sharp warning to Schultz and anyone else thinking of going the third
party route. Basically he is saying do this and you will be responsible for reelecting Donald Trump.
We start with CNN politics and Business correspondent, Christina Alesci, who I know has interviewed the mayor several times so it's interesting when you read this from him, he doesn't mention Schultz by name, but you know exactly who he's talking about.
CHRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: he doesn't mince words either. He says we must remain united, not allow any candidate to divide us or fracture us. The stakes could not be higher. Those are Bloomberg's words. What's different about Bloomberg saying this as opposed to the dozens of Democrats I spoke to over the weekend because they all know Schultz was going to make this announcement on CBS over the weekend and they were ready to pounce when he did. What makes him different is that he explored an independent bid for President himself in 2016. And Mike Bloomberg who we've known for years is a data driven person. He has looked at this backwards, forward, and in 2016, he decided an independent run would harm the Democrats and decided not to pull the trigger and you can bet your bottom dollar he looked again going into to20 20 and he doesn't see a path to victory. Neither does his team. They are the best in terms of data looking at it, analyzing it. So it is very interesting to see him come out so hard and so fast against Schultz.
BALDWIN: Looking at the numbers and he is saying no dice. Thank you so much. We're going to come back to Bloomberg and Shultz in a second. We will dig into the Howard Schultz saga. But right now, let's go back to the Democrats. Ryan Nobles is in Washington for us, CNN analysis shows the Democratic field is the most diverse ever many modern U.S. political history and there are still you know, multiple people who are rumored to be throwing their hat in the ring. Who's in? Who's out? And who is still to come?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the field is only going to get bigger and bigger. Part of the reason Schultz is thinking he doesn't want a part of the Democratic feel because it is so big. Who's in right now? We know they're running for sure.
Tulsi Gabbert, the Congresswoman from Hawaii. She's going to announce next weekend. Julian Castro, the former HUD secretary is in. Of course, Senator Harris from California with a big splash over the weekend. John Delaney has been in the race longer than anybody. In Iowa for quite some time. Former Maryland Congressman and entrepreneur Andrew Yang. Now expand the field and talk about exploratory committees, which is a formality these folks are basically in the race. Elizabeth Warren. She's considered a heavy hitter from Massachusetts. Many progressives wishing she'd got in in 2016.
Kirsten Gillibrand is a very contender. Maybe on the outside looking in, but getting momentum is the mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg. You talk about the diversity of this field, he is the first gay candidate who is out and proud running in the election for President. That's the first time that's ever happened.
Now let's talk about the potential candidates seriously considering this race and many of these folks are making serious decisions in that respect. Cory Booker from New Jersey. He's starting to staff up. He's got staffers in Iowa on the ground there. Joe Biden, the Vice President, has been traveling the country basically for the past two years. Seems to be heading in that direction.
[14:05:00] Bernie Sanders, he could make an announcement in the near future, but you've got folks like Sherrod Brown from Ohio. Michael Bloomberg, Terry McAuliffe, the former governor from Virginia. John Hickenlooper from Colorado. He was in Iowa over the weekend. Then Beto O'Rourke. There's part of me that thinks we need baseball cards.
NOBLES: So, we can trade them. Decide who's in and who's out. There's enough candidates where if we wanted to form a Presidential candidate baseball team, we could do that. Perhaps we should just leave these guys, have them stick to politics.
BALDWIN: We thought we saw a lot of Republicans on these debate stages in 2016. Just wait with these Democrats ahead of 2020. Ryan, thank you so much with the faces, the baseball cards as it were. I want to go back to California and her official launch in Oakland. Kamala Harris not only outlined her platform, she blasted President Trump and his policies without mentioning him once.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: When we have leaders who bully and attack a free press and undermine our Democratic institutions, that's not our America. We must seek truth, speak truth and fight for the truth. We will deliver the largest working and middle-class tax cut in a generation. Climate change is real. And it is happening now. Mass incarceration to bail to policing our criminal justice system needs drastic repair. We will secure our elections and our critical infrastructure to protect our democracy. Health care is a fundamental right and we will deliver that right with Medicare for all. Education is a fundamental right. We will guarantee that right with universal prepay and debt free college.
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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: California's junior senator is getting a lot of attention and praise for her rollout over the weekend. What sort of pressure does she place on other Democrats eyes the White House? Jon King is with me now. So just on that point, Ryan Nobles just ran through all the potential you know men and women who want to throw their hat in the ring for 2020. So, for people thinking about it or on the fence, will the crowd and goose bumps for a lot people who felt what Kamala Harris was throwing down in Oakland, might that keep them out all together?
JOHN KING, CNN, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's possible. One o of the questions you have to make is there oxygen for me. It can take many forms. Are there key staffers on the ground? If you're O'Rourke? Terry McAuliffe has experience raising money for the Clintons and being out there as the party chairman. He's never run for President. O'Rourke was a House member. Ran for Senate. Are there people who will be with me? Is this the moment to get it? The media is paying a lot of attention. There's reasons to look and say wow, now is the time to get it. Key people are being signed up by other campaigns. The calculation is different for everybody. One person facing pressure is Bernie Sanders. Kamala Harris is making waves. Gillibrand is out there. A lot of Sanders supporters are saying hey, I'm getting a lot of calls. People want know sign up. Yes or no.
BALDWIN: With Harris. Great optics so far. Major test tonight before Iowa voters in our CNN town hall, but when you look at the number, which I know you do all the time, this poll shows she places fifth behind Biden, Sanders, O'Rourke and Warren. Is it a name recognition? Why do you think she's down in the fifth spot?
KING: It's a name recognition. I suspect if they reran that today, she'd boost up a little bit, but she needs now, she's done everything right. You look at the big crowd yesterday, she's got a good staff. People who can build a crowd. Who know how to get media attention. Now she has to meet voters. Now she has to do the hard stuff, the fun stuff, the stuff that can knock the best candidates off their game. It will happen to her, to everybody. You get knocked down in this game. The question is can you get back up and how.
BALDWIN: When you listen to her, she was in Oakland, the amount of jabs at Trump, the vanity project. The mentioning of the word truth 21 times, the number of times she mentioned Trump. Zero. Slamming family separation. Saying foreign powers are infecting the White House. Yet today, he actually chooses to go after the President. Chooses to go after Howard Schultz and not her. Do you read anything into that?
KING: Yes. That President completely agrees with the Democratic analysis that a Shultz candidacy would help Trump. He is trying to bait him. He says he's gutless. Won't run. He's trying to goad him into the race because the President thinks it would help them. Like most incumbent Presidents worry about their own election, the President is going to try to pick and choose. Try to stir up the Democratic race. Some think he's going to try to influence the race. Once he decides who he wants to run against but without a doubt, the President says he would like it if Howard Schultz runs. Because he thinks it takes Democratic votes away.
[14:10:00] BALDWIN: So, the President saying bring it. Meantime, Schultz is blasted on Twitter after saying he may mount this bid. A lot of the Democrats are worried Trumped by splitting the vote. We were talking about Bloomberg, saying he once thought of running independent himself in the past. He wrote quote, there's no way an independent can win without name checking Schultz. Maybe the President thinks so, but would Schultz be a gift to the President Trump White House in your opinion?
KING: It's what the data says. We live in the Trump age. Not just the Trump age. In a very volatile time. The country elected its first African-American President. Then Donald Trump watches what it was a hostile takeover of the Republican party. Now he's the President. So, in the age of Trump, in this age of volatility, is there an appetite? Are there a lot of people disgusted with both parties? Absolutely. But the logistical challenges first, millions and millions of dollars just to get on the ballot as an independent. Then can you break the loyalty? Most Democrats want to vote against Trump, most Republicans want to stick with their President. Can he win? Everything we know tells us no. But was Donald Trump going to be President? Was Barack Obama going to beat Hillary Clinton? Is if you're Howard Schultz, you think about it.
BALDWIN: He said this on 60 minutes about health care.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD SCHULTZ, INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT: Every American deserves the right to have access to quality health care but what the Democrats are proposing is something that is as false as the wall. And that is free health care for all. Which the country cannot afford.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: But a Kaiser Family Foundation poll from earlier this month shows a majority of Americans, 56 percent, support a single payer health insurance system often called Medicare For All. So, it's not the only way he differs from Democrats, but do you think his stance suggests that he may be out of step with potential voters?
KING: I think his stance suggests he has the CEO approach and after a decade of disruption, of a decade of every election since Obamacare passed has been about health care to a large degree, he's saying wait a minute, can we afford this? That's a good question to ask. It will be a defining question of the Democratic primaries. How you going to pay for this? Debt free college? Health care for all? The green new civil rights act. But here, the question really is you know, how will health care play. The Republicans learned they won big elections in the 2010, 2014, running against Obama care. The Democrats just swept back into the House running with Obamacare. Health care politics are complicated. Howard Schultz has a point about the cost. Democrats believe the country is moving with them. Welcome to the campaign. Campaigns should be about ideas. We're going to have a big healthcare debate.
BALDWIN: Can you believe we're here again? Can you believe it?
KING: Yes. Because of what happened in 2016, because the Democrats view the stakes as so high because so many people want to run. It's a little early, but bring it on. It's fun.
BALDWIN: Jon King. Thank you so much. And we'll all be watching tonight. Senator Kamala Harris joins Jake Tapper for this live CNN town hall. Live from Iowa tonight at 10:00 only here on CNN. Coming up next is Roger Stone willing to cut a deal with the special counsel Robert Mueller? What President Trump's longtime adviser is telling reporters today ahead of his arraignment and why Stone is now comparing his arrest by the FBI to the raids against Bin Laden and El Chapo. It continues, folks. Also, CNN undercover in Venezuela getting this firsthand look at the desperation amid a tension political stand off. Is there a scenario where the U.S. military could become involved? We'll have a live report on that and Tom Brokaw apologizing for comments he made about Hispanics. You're watching CNN.
[14:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: Just in, the FBI raided the third location related to the indictment of Roger Stone. So, in addition to his home, both in Florida and New York, a storage unit in Florida was also raided. This happening as this media blitz continues. He spoke with crews outside his Florida home today before heading the Washington for his arraignment tomorrow. He also used the opportunity to blast the special counsel after his indictment on seven felony charges including witness tampering, lying and obstruction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROGET STONE, FORMER TRUMP ADVISER, INDICTED BY SPECIAL COUNSEL: I must say, I don't who Mr. Mueller is accounted to. He's not accountable to Congress and the executive and he has broad authority because our law has expired, you can see the kind of travesty that you saw last week. To storm my house with a greater force than was used to take down Bin Laden or El Chapo or Escobar, to terrorize my wife and dogs, it's unconscionable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[14:20:00] BALDWIN: You heard him, Bin Laden and El Chapo. After leaving his first court appearance, he said he would never testify against the President. But his tone softened over the weekend when he appeared to leave the door open to testifying.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any chance you'll cooperate with special counsel Mueller if he asks?
STONE: You know, that's a question I would have to, I'd have to determine after my attorneys have some discussion. If there's wrong doing by others in the campaign that I know about, which I know of none, but if there is, I would testify. I would also testify honestly about any other matter including any communications with the President. It's true we spoke on the phone, but those communications --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: With me now, Randall Eliason, a contributing columnist for the "Washington Post." He wrote this opinion piece about Stone's indictment. A pleasure to have you on, sir. Welcome. And I just want to dive in to the crux of your piece. You write this whole indictment makes it clear that the Trump campaign didn't just happen upon. I think the word you used was freelance. Happen upon some WikiLeaks documents.
RANDALL ELIASON, A CONTRIBUTING COLUMNIST FOR THE "WASHINGTON POST": It's clear the indictment spells out Stone wasn't just doing this on his own, but he was actively working with and on behalf of the campaign and Mueller has alleged multiple contacts between Stone and members of the campaign. Trying to find out what was coming, what else WikiLeaks might have. When these document dumps might be taking place. Things like that. So, there's a clear connection now to members of the campaign itself. Sort of actively working to see what WikiLeaks had in mind.
BALDWIN: So obviously we don't know what the end of this whole Mueller investigation is going to look like, but you play out these two possible end games for the big special counsel investigation. Number one, they could find evidence of criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. Or two, which I want you to outline for us, which is where you say the Roger Stone arrests falls under. Which is what?
ELIASON: Right, the cover up. Especially in Washington. You know, people should know that sometimes it's cover up that gets you. Stone --
BALDWIN: Not the crime. The cover up.
ELIASON: Exactly. His political mentor was Nixon, who was brought down by a criminal cover up conspiracy. So yes, Mueller may find this large conspiracy with the Russians. We're all trying to read tea leaves, so that may happen. But another possibility is that he determines all of these contacts with the various Russians that have been well documented, they might have been sleazy, immoral, unpatriotic, not necessary criminal, but people lie about them to Congress, to the FBI to cover them up because revealing them would be politically devastating to the President. They undermine the legitimacy of his election. So, I think it's possible that when this is said and done there will be a lot of misconduct, a lot of contact with the Russians maybe doesn't end up getting indicted itself, but a number of people liked Stone end up being prosecuted for lying about that to investigators.
BALDWIN: What would constitute conspiracy?
ELIASON: Well, there are a number of possibilities. One clearest one would be if there was evidence that members of the campaign were involved in the computer hacking itself of the e-mails or planning how and when they would be distributed as opposed to just seeking information about what WikiLeaks was planning to do already. Bu there are other allegations that perhaps the campaign was agreeing to do things that favorable to Russia like changing the platform or offering to ease sanctions in exchange for help with the campaign, so there are a number of other possibilities in addition to the WikiLeaks information.
BALDWIN: Thank you so much, sir, for coming on. Appreciate it. Your opinion piece in "The Washington Post" for folks to check out.
The shutdown just cost the U.S. economy now up to $11 billion. This is as the President warns of another potential shutdown in just three week's time. Even less than that. Plus, the Alpha Club Dinner, it is this D.C. tradition that's off camera, off the record, but we tracked down some of the jokes from some of Washington's biggest power players, that they told over the weekend and find out who didn't show up.
[14:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BALDWIN: The United States government may be back open but the President just told "The Wall Street Journal" it's more likely than not there will not be a deal to avoid another shutdown, so it's up to this group of lawmakers to figure this out by February 15th when the government will run out of money again.
[14:30:00] The President gave odds on whether they'll succeed and he said, quote, I personally will think it's less than 50/50, but you have a lot of good people on that board. If the deal doesn't happen the President told "The Wall Street Journal" he will use his emergency powers to get a border wall built. Kaitlan, no denying the shutdown has hurt the President. I was reading over the weekend Mark Meadows was saying it's key to his investigation. You have the Mueller investigation. Even getting through the primary and now there's talk of some Republicans courting other Republicans to challenge him.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And Larry Hogan.
BALDWIN: He's at the top of the list.
COLLINS: He is. That was the name that was toss around at the Republican national conference in New Mexico over the weekend. So that's something that's not being ruled out here at the White House. Because of course, the President did take a hit. Not just his base was upset believing he had caved to Nancy Pelosi's demands, but also moderate lawmakers, Republicans, are frustrated as well because they feel like they had the longest government shutdown in history and there's nothing to show for it. Now it's not even over yet either.