Return to Transcripts main page


New Poll Numbers Show One In Three Republicans Want Someone Other Than Donald Trump As The 2020 Nominee; The U.S. Is Ramping Up Pressure On Venezuela; The FBI Says It Has Concluded Its Investigation Into The Deadliest Mass Shooting In American History. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 29, 2019 - 13:30   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, ANCHOR, CNN: Okay, so let's just - let's put that aside and address it coming from different places, because you know that would be a huge issue when you're talking about insurance companies, hospitals, insurers. You're talking about people who get their insurance through their employer.

Some of them may not like it, some of them do like it. People who get it on the individual market, people who just want to pay the penalty and not have insurance. You're changing the entire system and you know that there is so much resistance to that change, you know that even if the net costs were the same, but it's been - the money is coming from different places, that's hugely problematic. We're talking about a lot of money here. We're talking about a huge shift. Why aren't - there is a reason Democrats aren't talking about that, Ezekiel.

EMANUEL: One of the points that I think is worth emphasizing is to go back in history and to remember the Clinton healthcare reform proposal. So in 1993, the Clinton healthcare reform proposal also had an idea of phasing out insurance companies. And then insurance companies figuring that they would be put out of business unless they struck back, did strike back and people can go on YouTube, the "Harry and Louise" ads where the insurance companies made insurance companies which we don't generally like look cuddly and warm and something you don't want to lose.

And I think many Americans in the abstract don't like their insurance company, but also don't want to lose it and don't want to be told they have to give it up, and I think every time we do the politics of this, we must remember, if we're going to put the private they're going to put the private insurance companies out of business, they are going to fight tooth and nail not to be put out of business and then there's a big reservoir of Americans who actually aren't that hostile. They may be hostile in theory, but in practice, aren't that hostile and don't want to switch what they've grown used to. So you have to take that into account in the politics here.

KEILAR: Okay, so just real quick, these campaign promises about Medicare For All, are they, in your belief, deliverable by these candidates?

EMANUEL: So there is a Medicare For All that is deliverable, and that's not to use -- that's to use the part of Medicare that uses private insurance companies - Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage, and people - an increasing number of elderly actually like that proposal. The government pays the premium to a private insurance company and people select which private insurance company they want.

And a lot of people are mentioning, well, you could have that system, keep some role for the private insurance company and let people choose between the private insurance companies and the government program. That is the sort of public option and that actually looks, I think politically more feasible. It also has some advantage in terms of generating competition for innovation and other activity, and again, over the recent years, the elderly, the seniors seem to like the Medicare Part C more than they liked the traditional plan and so, I think that is probably the direction that these Medicare For All plans are going to move.

We haven't heard as much about that, but the Center for American Progress with which I'm affiliated has a proposal that builds on that kind of situation.

KEILAR: All right, Dr. Emanuel, thank you so much you for digging into this with us. We appreciate it. New poll numbers, they show one in three Republicans want someone other than Donald Trump as the 2020 nominee. Plus, was it a slip-up or a calculated message, how the White House is trying to clarify a handwritten note on troop numbers in a country that neighbors Venezuela.



KEILAR: Former Arizona senator, Jeff Flake now says he will not challenge President Trump in the 2020 primaries. Flake had been mentioned as a possible Republican challenger for the President's reelection, but while it may not be Flake, a new poll shows that a large number of Republican are looking for someone.

CNN politics reporter Chris Cillizza is here with that. What do you make of these numbers?

CHRIS CILLIZZA, POLITICS REPORTER, CNN: Okay, Brianna, I'm going to run through it fast. The big number here is this one; 32%, one-third of Republican-leaning voters say they want someone else to be their nominee. What does that tell you? That there is a chunk of voters out there who want a choice. Now, it's not 65%, it's 32%. But still, let's get into the numbers because I think they're slightly less worrisome for Donald Trump than you might think.

Okay, this is from the "Washington Post," ABC News poll. Same question among very conservative voters. These are people who self- identify as very conservative. They also tend to be the people who vote the most regularly, they make up the base of the party - 85% want Trump to be the nominee, 11% want someone else. So that's good news for Trump.

Let's go to the last one. This won't surprise you. Moderate Republicans, people who call themselves liberal or moderate Republicans, it's basically split. The Never Trump Movement was very much built in the liberal and moderate Republican category, so this doesn't surprise. But again, there's not many liberal and moderate Republicans are there are conservative and very conservative Republicans.

So, Trump I think does get a semi-serious primary challenge, maybe it's from John Kasich of Ohio; maybe it's from Larry Hogan of Maryland, but I don't think he loses because only one sitting President has ever lost a primary challenge, Brianna, Franklin Pierce in 1866 to James Buchanan. There's a reason there's only one, it's very hard to do.

I don't think Donald Trump gets added to the list even if these numbers do make him probably a little more worried. Back to you.


KEILAR: You covered that campaign, Chris.

CILLIZZA: It was a great one. Pierce Buchanan, what a fight. Man, the Twitter wars in that one were incredible.

KEILAR: Amazing. Chris Cillizza, thank you. The U.S. is ramping up pressure on Venezuela. The State Department is warning Americans to not travel there. And now Venezuelan military defectors are telling CNN that they want from the U.S. to stage a revolt.



KEILAR: Was this a strategy or a slip-up? The notes of National Security adviser, John Bolton were caught on camera as he was speaking with reporters about the crisis in Venezuela, and he was holding this pad with the words "5,000 troops to Colombia" written on it. This coming as the Treasury Department places new sanctions on Venezuela's state-owned oil company effectively cutting off the embattled President there, Nicolas Maduro's main source of cash flow.

The U.S. is backing his opponent, Juan Guiado and calling for new elections in the country, and meantime, the State Department has also issued a "Do not travel" advisory for U.S. citizens thinking of going to Venezuela. Abby Phillip is at the White House for us, and I think Abby, that some people wondered because John Bolton, it was so clearly visible in front of him, they thought, "Did he do this on purpose?" Certainly, it seemed like the White House used it to say all options are on the table.

ABBY PHILLIP, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, CNN: That's right, Brianna, it did seem like if it was a slip-up, something that would be uncharacteristic of a very senior administration official and someone who has been in this position before, but it did prompt the White House to issue this response. They said, "As the President has said, all options are on the table."

So in no way are they using this as an opportunity to turn the temperature down. They have been working for weeks and months to try to ramp up pressure on the Maduro regime, trying to make it clear that the United States is not backing down from their desire to see him step aside.

They have, as you said that the interim President Guiado is the true President of Venezuela, so the United States government is really putting all of their efforts into this. And in fact, yesterday when Bolton was up at the White House podium, he was there to announce new sanctions that are significant in the sense that they go right to the heart of the funding for Venezuela's current regime.

So this is the United States basically saying we are not taking our pedal off of the gas here. We really want to make it clear that we are not backing down from a military option. They've been asked repeatedly over the last several weeks and that's always been their response.

KEILAR: All right, Abby Phillip at the White House, thank you and as the question of military intervention in Venezuela is being debated in Washington, our Nic Paton Walsh traveled to Venezuela and he talked to some military defectors who say they wanted assistance from the U.S.


NICK PATON WALSH, SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, CNN (voice over): Hunger often explodes as rage on Venezuela streets, but it's not ousted Maduro's government as the military generals have their backs.

The Defense Minister tweeted his soldiers would die for the government. Yes, while the rank and file expressed support in videos like this, they tell us they're suffering like everyone else.

Some Venezuela officers have even defected and outside the country have appealed on TV for a military uprising. But their supporters haven't reached critical mass and now they tell us they want the White House to arm them. "As Venezuelan soldiers, we're making a request to the U.S." he says, "to support us in logistical terms with communications, with weapons so we can realize Venezuelan freedom."

"We're not saying we need only U.S. support, but also from Brazil, Colombia, Peru -- all brother countries that are against this dictatorship." They show me the WhatsApp groups plotting rebellion they hope reach thousands of soldiers, but they also rejected any possible military intervention by U.S. Forces themselves. "We don't want a foreign government invading our country," he says. "If we need an incursion, it has to be by Venezuelan soldiers who really want to free Venezuela. Now we are unifying all those military groups working towards freedom to create a really big one that can be decisive."

The appeal for U.S. help comes after military uprisings have seen little success so far. This group of soldiers in Caracas, over a week ago, staged a rebellion. It was short-lived and ended in their reported arrest.

In a basement car park in Caracas, I meet a serving soldier, afraid to be identified, as he spoke of the chance of an uprising. "There are soldiers in every unit," he says, "That are willing to rise up in arms. They're preparing themselves and learning from past mistakes. They're waiting for the right moment so they can hit even harder so people feel it. A few units are missing weapons and ammunition, too, taken for this purpose. Past operations have failed because the higher ranking officers were against it. They control every area still. And if an uprising happens, it's swiftly neutralized."

But he's heard messages to rise up from defectors and says they do inspire. It's a very positive message, he says, because somehow they give us hope. They are outside Venezuela, but feed our soul and inspire us. They are in the army for now, as elsewhere in Venezuela, it's a handful of elite keeping down many below them. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Bogota.



KEILAR: Some news just in to CNN, the FBI says it has concluded its investigation into the deadliest mass shooting in American history, but there's still one major piece missing.


KEILAR: Just in to CNN. The FBI has officially concluded its investigation into the deadliest mass shooting in modern history. Fifty eight people were killed, nearly 500 were injured after a shooter opened fire from the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas in 2017 targeting a crowd attending a country music festival.


KEILAR: Josh Campbell is here with us now. Josh, you're a former FBI supervisory special agent. Tell us what we know here.

JOSH CAMPBELL, LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST, CNN: Brianna, after an extensive investigation, the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit to their Las Vegas Review Panel has determined that the gunman, Steven Paddock acted alone in this attack, as they indicate was neither directed, inspired nor enabled by ideologically persons or groups.

Now, this is according to a release of findings that were obtained CNN after nearly 12 months of analyzing the evidence and information gathered by the FBI and the Las Vegas Police Department, the panel concluded that there was no single or clear motivating factor behind the attack and that Paddock's actions were inspired by obtaining a certain degree of infamy via a mass casualty attack according to the FBI.

The bureau determined that Paddock's attack was not motivated by a grievance against any particular Las Vegas casino or hotel nor was it against any of the people that were there at the musical festival. Obviously, this will come as little solace to the family members. We know he committed suicide and nevertheless, after a lengthy investigation, the FBI is closing its case and releasing its findings, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Josh Campbell. Thanks for sharing that with us. And we're back in a moment.