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CNN Town Hall with Democratic Presidential Candidate Amy Klobuchar; Rod Rosenstein Expected to Leave in Mid-March; Historic Number of Women Running for President in 2020; The End of Shame in Politics? Aired 11-12a ET

Aired February 18, 2019 - 23:00   ET



[23:00:00] (TOWN HALL)

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Dana Bash. Don Lemon is going to join us in just a moment.

You heard from Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar in CNN's town hall. The senior senator from Minnesota, the first female senator from the state, answering questions from the audience for well over an hour.

I want to dig in right away on the case she made tonight and go straight to New Hampshire. Mark Preston is there.

Mark, what a fascinating town hall for a number of reasons. First and foremost, because unlike a lot of her Democratic competitors in the presidential field she really sort of, hewed more toward maybe not the middle but certainly didn't bank left, even when she clearly knew that that would potentially benefit her with Democratic voters. What were your impressions?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: No question, Dana. She cleared her own path right now through this forest that we see in front of us. And as all these Democrats, upwards to perhaps 20 Democrats looking at running for president.

Amy Klobuchar this evening made very, very clear what path she's going to follow. She's going to follow a more pragmatic path. When asked about the green new deal, something that she said she supports but again couldn't go in for all aspects of it knowing full well that it's aspirational, like she had called it before, and she had to backtrack.

Same thing on college tuition. We're on a college campus right now. College debt is saddling so many kids right now but she would not go out and say that she thinks there should be free education for all for four years. Basically, that should be left for folks who really, really need it.

And also, Dana, in addition to that, we also had her talk about the whole idea when talking about Medicare for all, the whole idea about health care. She wouldn't go down that road. She said that she wants to get something done now. Again, a to totally different path from what we're seeing from several

of the other Democrats. Certainly, those front-runners who are looking at running for the Democratic nomination, Dana.

BASH: And Mark, as you're speaking, we're watching Senator Klobuchar work the crowd, talk to potential voters. She's obviously not just speaking there, she's campaigning in the first in the nation primary state. Also, with me here in New York is "New York Times" columnist and CNN Contributor, Frank Bruni.

Frank, Mark was just talking about the Medicare for all answer, and that was one of the things that really struck me the most about as I mentioned to Mark, an area where she is different from a lot of her competitors. Watch the interaction on that.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: What's been going on in this country is just wrong. You've got people that still can't afford their health care. You have people that can't afford their prescription drugs. And that's why I believe we have to get to universal health care in this country.


KLOBUCHAR: And we have to make sure that we build on the work of the Affordable Care Act, which by the way was a major improvement.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: What's the reservation about supporting Medicare for all?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think it's something that we can look to for the future, but I want to get action now. And I think the best way we do that is something that we actually wanted to do back when we were looking at the Affordable Care Act and we were stopped, was trying to get a public option in there.

[23:14:57] And that is a way, if you all remember that debate, that is a way to provide a public alternative that's real, even beyond the exchanges, so that we can bring down the rates. And then we can look at other options but we have to start somewhere, and I think we can do that much more immediately.

LEMON: So, no Medicare for all?

KLOBUCHAR: It could be a possibility in the future. I'm just looking at something that will work now.


BASH: What was your impression of that, Frank?

FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's interesting. A possibility in the future. She's not shutting it down. She doesn't want to inflame the left. So, she's saying I share your values. And maybe I share your long-term goals. But I want to talk about what we can do in the here and now.

Now she did the same thing with the green new deal. She said that's aspirational, I'd love to see those things happen and they're not going to happen at that time table.

I think she radiated practicality. You know, Mark used the word pragmatic. I kept on thinking as I was listening to her. In terms of her style, in terms of her specifics it was practical, practical, practical, and I think she is drawing a contrast with those candidates who seem much more ideological.

She's saying if I'm going to have a place in this crowded primary, if I'm going to have a sort of brand, my brand is going to be the common sensical practical candidate who's not talking about pie in the sky stuff that is talking about what I can do for you maybe in the next four years.

BASH: Yes. And Mark Preston, one of the things at the end that really struck us as we were listening and I think we're going to hear a lot more about, her Uncle Dick, her Uncle Dick who was talking about the deer shed, and this is with regard to guns and guns in America.

She was very clear about the outrage over massacres. The one recently in Aurora and of course last year in Parkland, but also was more practical for people who she knows and members of her family in the Midwest where she's from in Minnesota and other places who still want to keep some of their guns and obviously one of those is her Uncle Dick.

PRESTON: Well, and also was very important where she said it. She said it here in the state of New Hampshire where the ownership of legal guns is very, very high.

BASH: Absolutely.

PRESTON: But again, these are folks who use them primarily for hunting purposes. And that's the culture she grew up in. And in fact, when she came on the stage tonight, she made a point to say I'm from the north country, very similar to here in New Hampshire, to try to build the kinship in.

You know what was interesting when we tie all these threads together and as Frank says practicality. I use pragmatic it all. It all comes from the same place. She said one thing tonight that was not very popular but encapsulated everything that she was getting at tonight.

And that's when we were talking about college education and free college education. And Don said to her hey, look, we're on a college campus, you know, it's not really popular. And she goes I know, but I've got to tell the truth.

BASH: Yes.

PRESTON: And that's not something that we've heard certainly from any of the candidates right now who are looking at running. They're talking aspirational. She's talking more practical, more pragmatic. BASH: And I should say it was deer stand, not deer shed. If I could

read my own handwriting it would be a lot better. Don Lemon, I think you're with us now. Great job tonight. Thank you so much.

LEMON: I am. Hi, Dana.


LEMON: Thank you very much.

BASH: Keeping your chair warm. What was your impression?

LEMON: I thought -- I thought she did very well. I thought she was great. She's warm. She's personable. But guess what? She's real. She's a truth teller. And I think from being here in New Hampshire that's what people like about her, is that she is not fighting for the far- left wing of the party.

And so she's somewhere -- she's someone who is a liberal but also moderate on certain issues and I don't think will take the party to the socialist side. That is my impression of it.

But just for the way she did tonight, I thought she did a fantastic job. She answered every single question directly, and if she didn't then I had a response to it to make sure that she answered. One or two times I had to make sure that she got back on track, but she did.

And she answered when the young man said hey, what about free college? She said no, I'm not for four-year free college. To have the nerve to say that on a four-year college campus really takes, you know, some gumption to be able to do that.

BASH: And Don, one of the many sort of memorable moments of the night there that you had with Senator Klobuchar was when she was asked about her management style, which is code for the fact that there have been reports about the fact that she doesn't treat her staff well, that she's tough on her staff. Let's listen.


KLOBUCHAR: First of all, you have to know I love my staff. A number of them from the campaign are here right now. I've had the same people have worked for me for years. My chief of staff has worked for me for six years. My state director for seven years. My campaign manager for 14 years.

So, you need to know that that's my management. Am I a tough boss sometimes? Yes. Have I pushed people too hard? Yes. But I have kept expectations for myself that are very high. I've asked my staff to meet those same expectations.

[23:19:58] And that, the big point for me is I want the country to meet high expectations. Because we don't have that going now.


BASH: She was obviously ready for that question --


BASH: -- and, you know, was very clear and deliberate in how she was going to give the answer.

LEMON: She hasn't shied away from that question. As a matter of fact, she talks about it. She's willing to talk about it. She's willing to expand upon it. That's one of those questions that people ask a lot, right? We've been hearing about it. Maybe some people want to call it a salacious question.

But it's definitely the intriguing question that people wanted us to ask tonight, or wanted to ask her tonight I should say because this was a town hall about the people who were in the audience.

So, they asked the question. She answered it. I followed up with her. And I said, what do you -- she said I have high expectations and sometimes I'm maybe a little too hard on people.

So, I followed up with that, and she talked about her high expectations and how those high expectations got her to the point where she is now and she's hoping that it will eventually get her to the point where she's president of the United States. And then she answered head on about hey, listen, maybe I was a little bit too tough sometimes but I'm learning. But nobody's perfect.

So, she was not afraid of that question. Really not afraid of any question here at this town hall.

BASH: And Frank Bruni, at a time when Democrats out there are so hungry for a fighter, you know, they're hungry for somebody who is maybe practical, maybe can get things done, but also somebody who's not going to shy away from anything or anybody, that might not be the worst thing in the world to be asked that over and over again.

BRUNI: No, it's not. The question's going to keep coming back. She'll have to answer that again. And I think if she gets deep into the primaries and has some success, she ticked off prior places of employment.

You and I both know journalists are going to go there and see if the stories exist there that came from her Senate staff and some of those pieces that's have been out already.

But yes, to the extent she can say I'm tough, I have high standards, I fight, I think that's good, as long as she can also remain as upbeat as she was tonight. I said I thought the word practical as I watched her. She was so upbeat from beginning to end except when she got somber in personal moments like when she answered the question from the woman who'd been widowed by the opioid crisis.

I think people love a warrior if it's that phrase we use so often, happy warrior. I think she came across as a happy warrior tonight.

BASH: Yes. And Mark Preston, let me get back to you. LEMON: Dana, if I could jump in.

BASH: Yes, of course, Don.

LEMON: Two things. Yes. Let me talk about that. Because people here in this audience they wanted someone strong. I think that some of the questions we got is we want to know if she's strong enough to take on Donald Trump. Because they don't want him to be president again and they'd rather someone like her be president.

BASH: It's interesting.

LEMON: And I think within that they got that answer, maybe sometimes I am too tough but I'm definitely not too tough to take on the president of the United States, the man who is currently the president of the United States.

So, I think that, you know, within that -- within that question about being tough on her staff and all of that I think that, you know, she played it well and there is some truth to having the courage and having the strength to be able to stand up to Donald Trump, especially when it comes to doing a debate, right? If she ever gets on the debate stage with him, able to debate him. And then once they get closer to an election.

BASH: And Mark Preston, we've been talking about her not going -- pandering, frankly, as much to the people on the left of her party as others have, whether it's their ideology or it's their some -- it's the way that they think the Democratic Party has gone and therefore they should go that way in order to get the Democratic nomination.

She didn't do that maybe in a place like New Hampshire where there are certain liberals but it's an open primary. It's not such a bad thing. But it might actually hurt her in other places where the electorate really is even more progressive than we've seen in the past.

PRESTON: And you know, you're looking at Iowa, for example, which is right next door. And it's the state that she thinks that has to do very well in, and I think we think she has to do very well in. And she's playing the whole Midwestern card, the hard values, the immigrant farmer, the I'm not afraid to get a callus on my hand or perhaps give a sharp word if that's what it's going to take to get the job done.

But having said that as well, I do think that she does talk in a way that is able to not necessarily inflame the left, doesn't necessarily bring them to her side but it doesn't necessarily inflame the left.

And I have to tell you just anecdotally two people reached out to me that were watching this tonight. Proactively. I didn't ask for their opinion. They both tend to be a little more on the conservative side. And they both sent texts to me that said Klobuchar for president.

[23:24:58] I have to say, one of them spelled her name wrong, but it just shows you that people don't understand who she is. But who she is right now -- (CROSSTALK)

LEMON: It's a long name, Mark.

PRESTON: And when we talk, I just think of us being on -- yes, no, really. And just think of it this way, Dana, as we're talking about the next two years, we're on a soup every highway right now and we have a lot of people over in the left lane all vying to get out front.

BASH: Exactly.

PRESTON: And there's going to be a car crash at some point and one of them is going to get out. Well, guess what. Amy Klobuchar and a few others are going to be a little bit farther over to the right. There's going to be less competition. Amy Klobuchar hopes that she can get out of that pack.

BASH: And for the record, people from New England like Mark Preston might know how to spell her name but they say it a little different than they do in Minnesota.

PRESTON: Klobuchar.

BASH: Exactly.

LEMON: It's Klobuchar.

BASH: Don Lemon, final thought.

LEMON: Klobuchar.

BASH: Exactly. Final thought.

LEMON: My final thought it is Klobuchar, not Klobuchar. She pronounced it Klobuchar. I think there are members of her family who actually pronounce it Klobuchar, but listen, I got a deep immersion lesson into how to say her name.

My final thoughts, I think Mark Preston is right. I think a lot of people in the Democratic Party who are fighting for the left progressive lane of that party and I think she is in a position, she has positioned herself to be the person who can maybe come right through the middle, right? And actually, be a dark horse in this election.

BASH: All right, everybody. Thank you.

LEMON: She's still here, by the way, Dana.

BASH: I'm sure.

LEMON: She's still here. There's like a mini town hall if you can see that going on and she's answering questions. Listen, she's been out on the campaign trail all day. I said you must be exhausted. She said no, actually I'm energized by all of this and I'm so glad to see all the folks who are out here in their sweaters. It's cold and it snowed here today. So, there you go.

BASH: Don Lemon, thank you. Our team there as always hit it out of the park. I appreciate it. Everybody there. Everybody, stay with us. Because we have breaking news.

A DOJ official tells CNN that deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department in mid-March. We'll talk about that next.


BASH: Breaking news. Tonight, a DOJ official tells CNN that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department in mid-March. Now, to be clear, with a new attorney general, William Barr, now in place, it's pretty standard for an A.G. to pick his or her own deputy. What is not standard, however, is for any deputy attorney general to basically be a household name, caught up in some of the most explosive and tumultuous events of the Trump presidency to date.

And Rosenstein's departure will come just as former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is out with a new book where he claims that Rosenstein offered to wear a wire while meeting with the president and several other things.

Joining me to discuss that is Phil Mudd and Jack Quinn. Thank you so much, gentlemen, for joining me this evening.

Jack, let me start with you. "60 Minutes" last night, Andrew McCabe made some pretty stunning revelations. I want you to listen to McCabe on Rosenstein talking about what it was like just after President Trump fired James Comey.


ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: Deputy attorney general offered to wear a wire into the White House. He said, 'I never get searched when I go into the White House. I could easily wear a recording device. They wouldn't know it was there.' Now, he was not joking. He was absolutely serious. And in fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had.


BASH: Now, McCabe also claims that Rosenstein brought up the idea of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. Jack Quinn, what is your reaction as a former White House counsel listening to McCabe talk about the way Rosenstein behaved in those days?

JACK QUINN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's pretty frightening. It gives you a sense of just how concerned these senior-level officials were about what was going on in our government. Let's put this in context. I mean, at this point, you know, the president of the United States had gone through an election in which there were concerns about Russia having interfered. The Intelligence Community in our country was unanimous in the

conclusion that Russia had malign intentions toward us and in fact did interfere in the election. The president chose to ignore that, in fact deny it. Given the choice between standing with American Intelligence officials and Vladimir Putin, he chose Putin.

He fired the head of the FBI, James Comey, and then proceeded into the Oval Office and literally yuck it up with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador. I mean, it was an embarrassment to the country. Putting myself -- I can't possibly put myself in their shoes, but I'm certain that had I've been in their shoes or been in the room with them, I would have been enormously alarmed about what was going on, about what the president was doing.

Now, I will also say that neither of them really have read the 25th Amendment because it was not something that could be invoked in that -- in the circumstances. And it's certainly implausible given that it would require almost unanimity -- well, a majority of the cabinet and the vice president. It was sort of a crazy thought.

BASH: And it's unclear if it got that far. But on that note, Phil Mudd, Rosenstein at the Justice Department, they released a statement, very carefully worded statement on that saying the following. "The Deputy Attorney General again rejects Mr. McCabe's recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect. The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any reporting that Mr. McCabe references." That's just one.

Let's just start there, Phil Mudd. That's not a denial, didn't authorize. And also said, on the 25th Amendment, didn't see that it was necessary and again didn't authorize it, didn't say I didn't talk about it.

PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I'm with Jack. This makes me uncomfortable but for different reasons. Look, when you're in tough situations in Washington, D.C., I served at the CIA and the FBI, the hotter it gets in the kitchen, the cooler the cook better be. During the Comey investigation, the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton, the inspector general of the FBI said bluntly, Comey mishandled that, he got hot in a hot kitchen.

[23:35:01] I watched that conversation about wires and the 25th Amendment. Whether or not anything was authorized and that's obviously a language you just spoke about from the deputy attorney general, the question is beyond coming back from the Oval Office and memorializing a conversation in a memo which I think is perfectly appropriate, a conversation about secretly wiretapping the president with a wire from the deputy attorney general or finding people who support the 25th Amendment in the cabinet, I thought was over the top.

It sounds to me like people again, like the Comey investigation, when things got hot, they stayed hot. You can't run an organization like that in difficult times.

BASH: And Jack, let's just talk about Andrew McCabe's credibility. The White House responded to his claim saying that he has no credibility. The Justice Department inspector general did find that McCabe lied. So, do they have a point? Maybe he doesn't have total credibility here. Maybe he shouldn't be believed.

QUINN: I don't know if the two things can -- if one follows the other, Dana. And look, I'm not trying to defend him in terms of the beef that the inspector general has with him. Clearly a conclusion was arrived at by the inspector general, himself an honorable who said that, you know, on three separate occasions, Andrew McCabe misled people in the inspector general's office. That is a serious accusation and one that can't be just brushed aside lightly.

But again, I think the context is terribly important here. Andrew McCabe is out of a job. He's gone. He's not in the government anymore. Rosenstein is leaving. But remember -- and again, the context. These guys were concerned that the president of the United States might be for one reason or another under the influence of not just a foreign power but a malign foreign power, one who was our enemy, and that must have just really set off alarm bells.

And I can think in those circumstances that -- did they overreact to -- there's no evidence they overreacted. But were they obviously awfully concerned? Sure, they were. And I think all of us should be concerned, you know, particularly given what we now know about activities were going on during this time period, about the Trumps building a tower in Moscow.

We now have Roger Stone under indictment, beginning to bring WikiLeaks and Russia closer together with the Trump campaign. These things were setting off alarm bells then, and they're only now beginning to set off similar alarm bells, I think, across the country.

BASH: You don't think they overreacted, but Phil Mudd, you think they did.

MUDD: I think it was appropriate for them to look at the situation, say, if we see facts, for example, a conversation with the president where he's talking about replacing the FBI director because of the Russian investigation, those facts should be memorialized in a document. That's what Jim Comey did at that time, perfectly appropriate.

But then taking that a step forward and saying what do we think about the 25th Amendment and what's the FBI's role in potentially looking at cabinet members who might support putting in place the 25th Amendment, I think that's out of line. If that happened, it should not have.

BASH: Jack Quinn, Philip Mudd, thank you so much for joining me this evening. Appreciate it.

QUINN: Thanks.

MUDD: Thank you.

BASH: With a record number of women running for office and winning, are we at a tipping point for women in politics or are women still facing a different litmus test on the trail than their male opponents? Stay with us.


BASH: The Democratic presidential field is far from complete, but as of now, there is a big theme among the candidates, women. Senator Amy Klobuchar was asked at tonight's town hall about the changes female candidates face.


SONIA PRINCE, MOTHER OF THREE FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE: Knowing the misogynist history of our country and the previous smear attacks against women candidates, what is your plan to break through the systematic anti-feminist comments or attacks when the bar has been set so high for women and set so very low for male candidates?


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: That is called --



DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Good question, huh?


KLOBUCHAR: That is called a loaded question.


KLOBUCHAR: Someone once said -- and I agree with part of this but not all of it -- that woman candidate should speak softly and carry a big statistic.


KLOBUCHAR: OK, so, I think you know I don't always speak softly. It's been established. But I think what you find in a lot of these women is they've had to prove themselves in different ways. They have to carry a big statistic, which means be accountable and show what they're doing.


BASH: Joining me now, two women who know what it's like to run for office, former Democratic Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and former GOP Congresswoman Claudia Tenney of New York.

Thank you, both of you, for joining me at this hour.

Governor Granholm, I want you to look at this list. Senator Klobuchar, as I mentioned, is among a record number of women running for president. You were the first female attorney general, first female governor of Michigan. Back then there were fewer women running for office. What kinds of challenges will these women or are they already facing that the men just don't?

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, they face challenges. There is no doubt. All you have to do is look at their Twitter feeds to know that there is still rampant sexism out there. But here's the thing. I so love Amy Klobuchar's response to this, that women should speak softly and carry a big statistic although she doesn't speak softly.

I think we're just in a whole new realm. I'm so excited that these young women who have run for Congress and have won, they are fearless. They are not allowing the sexist tropes that are appearing in their social media, you know, to define them.

They're not victims. They are fierce warriors. And that's the thing that I love. They call them out and they move on. And they're going to get stuff done. So to me, unlike when I ran, you know, when I ran, first of all, you certainly wouldn't talk about it. But you also would like --

BASH: You didn't talk about the fact that you are a woman, it was beside the point?

GRANHOLM: No. Well, I mean, because you could kind of see it.


GRANHOLM: But you didn't talk about your family like you were told, you know, don't bring your kids out because they are all going to be worried about whether you can hold this office and take care of your family. So, I'm so glad that times have changed.

BASH: Gosh. That's amazing. I'm sorry, that was explicit, like don't bring your kids out on stage because it's going to remind them that you're a woman?

[23:45:02] GRANHOLM: I would say especially for me because I -- when I ran for attorney general, I happened to be married to a saint. My husband was willing to take the family lane. But my youngest, when I ran for attorney general, was only 10 months old. So everybody was saying, oh, please, do not, you know, do not emphasize them. Don't put them in your literature. Of course, you don't hide it if you're asked about it and they, you know, they showed up at parades. Only so often, though, because there are only so many times you can take kids on parades.

But bottom line is it wasn't something you would emphasize like a man would do, to hold them up. But I do think times are different. Amy Klobuchar had her daughter there today and she used the story of her birth to further the notion of compassion. So I'm so glad that those days are over.

BASH: And Congresswoman Tenney, we talked about Senator Klobuchar being asked tonight about reports that she's too tough on her staff. You don't really hear these kinds of stories about men. It's not that they don't exist. You've served. You probably watched men and women and how they interacted with their staff. Why do you think we tend to hear this about women and not men?

CLAUDIA TENNEY, FORMER NEW YORK REPRESENTATIVE: I do think there still is a double standard although as a woman running in upstate New York, I had to fight against a culture that was a little different than maybe in the cities. But I did find even in -- and I think the governor and I are from the same generation. It's a lot different now than it was then. It was a lot more difficult.

I was a partner in my law firm and it was difficult. I mean, I remember my first partnership meeting. I got a memo on my desk that said meeting, noon, all the men, conference room. And I was like, does that mean me too?


TENNEY: So it is challenging. And look, we have to be tough. And often women are looked at negatively because they're strong and they're tough. And I've had to fight against a lot of obstacles as a woman in upstate New York --

BASH: How so?

TENNEY: -- and the first woman to hold the seat. First of all, I had to fight against my own party as a Republican. I was never endorsed by the Republican Party until 2018, the only time ever. So I served three terms in the state assembly and I also served in Congress. So I had to, you know, fight to win those against men as well.

But I don't like to focus so much on that. I do think that sometimes it's unfair. But I also served in the state assembly which I thought was a lot more sexist, to be honest with you, than even Congress. I think there was a different level of leadership in Congress for sure. But I think women are -- women are really setting a new stage now. It's not that it's easier. You always have to struggle.

Politics is very difficult. It's a very tough arena. There's a lot of bullying, whether you're a woman or a man. There's a lot going on. There's a lot of difficult campaigning and a lot of difficult issues. And I think women need to be tougher. I think that's part of the formula. I would never subscribe to victimhood. And that's one thing my dad and my mom would always emphasize, you know, be who you are, be strong, and don't feel sorry for yourself, just keep fighting.

BASH: Such a fascinating conversation.


BASH: We're going to take a quick break.

GRANHOLM: Ok, sure.

BASH: And we're going to get to whatever you're going to say on the other side. How's that for a tease?


BASH: You want to know what Jennifer Granholm is going to say, and the congresswoman.

GRANHOLM: Really good.

BASH: Stay with us.



BASH: We're back with former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and former New York Congresswoman Claudia Tenney. Governor Granholm, you have the floor. What were you going to say in the last segment?

GRANHOLM: Yeah. I was -- you know, you raised an issue about Amy Klobuchar and the treatment of staff. I thought her answer was really good. It's not something that often men are called on to respond to, right? Donald Trump had had 86 percent or 83 percent staff turnover. We are talking about that but it's not about his being tough.

When she's asked about her toughness and she says, I'm going to be tough, I'm going to hold high standards for America, I think, you know, that is something unusual for a woman who is running for office. And I think it will end up -- if she can continue to answer that in a way where her staff supports her like I just -- I got off the phone with a former student of mine who was a staffer of hers and said, she has grit and she made us all better. Yes, she was demanding, but she made us better. So I think that was good.

Can I just tell you a quick, quick story about Ann Richards, the former governor of Texas. She came to see me when I was governor. I had all men in the House and the Senate, the Supreme Court and the attorney general. And she said to me in her accent, she had her white hair and her pearls, she said, 'Jennifer, are those boys giving you the blues?' I said, 'oh, it's terrible.' She said, 'oh, honey, when they do that, you just sit up and smile and give them the finger.'


BASH: Did you do that?


TENNEY: Oh, dear.

GRANHOLM: Well, yes, in my own way.


BASH: OK. Pretty good advice. Congresswoman, there was a story in Axios that really struck the team here entitled "The End of Shame." I want to read part of it there on the screen. "Resigning in shame isn't really a thing anymore. Hanging on for dear life, and hoping everyone will forget about your scandal, is the new thing."

We've really seen this on both sides of the aisle. Virginia Democrats, of course, Governor Ralph Northam, Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. On the Republicans, some of your former colleagues, Steve King, Jim Jordan, the list goes on and on. Why are these people still in office? And does it strike you also that for the most part, we're talking about guys?

TENNEY: I think I'm going to say something that's going to surprise you. As a lawyer --

BASH: Yeah.

TENNEY: I think everybody is entitled to due process. I think that there is often an awful lot of mud being slung in politics and against a lot of people. And although we don't have all the facts on all these things, some of these things look terrible. But until somebody has really been convicted, especially for -- I'll give you a great example.

When I was a member of the New York State Assembly, Sheldon Silver, it was revealed that he used taxpayer money to cover up sexual harassment claims. So I called for his resignation in 2012. I was the first person to call for it. And everyone was horrified.

But I called for his resignation as speaker, a role that we as members have the opportunity to vote for. But because he did not get convicted of a crime, he did not need to step down as a member of the state assembly. So, eventually, you know, he was moved to his role as just a member. But I think we have to be very careful in using these things as a club. And some things are really bad behavior. I'll give you a great example. Attorney General Schneiderman.

[23:55:00] I mean, I very rarely call for a resignation before due process. But there was just so much in that situation and so much in terms of the sexual harassment nature of it and really an abuse of power for someone who is serving as our attorney general and our top law enforcement officer.

So, yes, there are some cases where I think we can rush to judgment. I think, you know, there are often times these cases don't turn out to always be true. But I think you have to give people the benefit of the doubt in a country like ours. And we are also, you know, a country of imperfect people who run for office. And sometimes people are accused of things that simply aren't true. And we've seen that in the media over and over.

BASH: You think it's a change for good. Governor, last 20 seconds. What's your view?

TENNEY: You know, I think -- I do think it's -- the governor is, you know, he's saying he's going to do -- Governor Northam is doing a tour, highlighting and using his role. To be honest with you, it's probably politics. Virginia is a one-term governor state. He probably figures, where else am I going? I'm going to stay in this position.

I think that's a decision he has to make and the voters have to make. But the voters don't get to weigh in again. He didn't commit a crime. He has bad behavior. And I think sometimes, you know, I just think that there's just a narrow interpretation where I think we need to be a little more subjective when we deal with each case-by-case basis.

BASH: Governor Granholm?

GRANHOLM: Yeah. Here is what I would say. I think in a lot of the sexual harassment cases, in fact, there was an article that tallied 30 state legislative cases from 2017. Of the 30, 29 -- this is back to the issue of men and women -- 29 were men. A lot of them related to sexual harassment. They ended up stepping down.

There was one woman who was the mayor of Tennessee who also -- of Nashville, Tennessee, she also stepped down. I think when people do feel a sense of shame that impels them -- that should impel them to step down and then make amends. I hate the word shame. It's my Catholic background. It makes me think of sin and hell and all of that.

And there's a moment for not just sin and shame but also reconciliation and forgiveness. And so, the question is, do you do the forgiveness inside of office or outside of office? Those are questions we're going to be grappling with through 2020.

BASH: Jennifer Granholm, Congresswoman Tenney, thank you so much for joining me. It was a great conversation.

TENNEY: You bet.

GRANHOLM: Thank you.

BASH: And thank you for watching. Our coverage continues.