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R. Kelly's Attorney Enters Not Guilty Plea on All Counts; Pence Meets with, Declares Support for Guaido & Calls on Maduro to Step Aside; Sanders Faces Voters at CNN Town Hall Tonight Before Kicking Off 2nd Presidential Bid; Warren Makes Big Fundraising Announcement; In CNN Interview, Former Sen. Harry Reid Takes on Trump after Cancer Battle; Oscar's Ratings Up After Last Year's Record Low. Aired 11:30- 12p ET

Aired February 25, 2019 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00] JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: The first trial you alluded to, 2002 arrest, trial 2008, related to the issue of possession of child pornography. That is separate and distinguishable from the current offenses he is charged with, which is the actual sexual assault aspect of it.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Right.

JACKSON: So remember, what double jeopardy is. You cannot be tried for the same offense twice. To the extent this is a difference offense, I have concerns as to the viability of the argument that this is no good for this forum.

(CROSSTALK)

JACKSON: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: -- if you will.

JACKSON: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: OK. Much more to come.

Thanks, Joey. I really appreciate it.

JACKSON: Always. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Just minutes ago, Vice President Mike Pence met with Venezuelan opposition leader, Juan Guaido. The meeting took place in neighboring Colombia as the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela continues to escalate, especially along the border. That is because trucks carrying desperately needed aid have been blocked from going into Venezuela, blocked by the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. Some of the humanitarian shipments were set on fire. The vice president today declaring unequivocal support for the man, telling Maduro to step aside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I send you and President Duque the greetings of the president of the United States of America.

And to you, President Guaido, a very simple message from President Trump that we are with you, 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is in Bogota, Colombia, with much more on this.

Nick, what impact do you think this has on Maduro and the worsening crisis in Venezuela?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is sort of a two-pronged thing here for Juan Guaido. He just held a minute's silence inside there with Mike Pence, essentially for those who lost their lives in the violence over the weekend, five by one count, 300 people injured. That is not normal in this particular crisis at all. This was a symbolic day where started calmly and it ended in those violent scenes.

This meeting today, two pronged, is good for Juan Guaido because, here he is with all of Venezuela's regional allies and the United States pledging their full support, looking like a man with an international coalition behind him. Many of his supporters referring to Nicolas Maduro as the former president of Venezuela. Although he is still in charge inside the country.

The second problem for Juan Guaido is getting back because he is here in Colombia. He left for the first time since he declared himself president on Friday to declare an aid concert and to help try and get the aid in. That failed. Does he now become a leader in exile or try to go back in?

We have heard from the United States that more measures are afoot after the violence over the weekend against Nicolas Maduro's government. We got a sniff of that from a White House official a few hours ago. And 30 minutes ago, some of the senior governors in Venezuela are going to end up being personally sanctioned. That's key.

Is there more in the American tool box here? We heard more sanctions and isolation from John Bolton, the national security advisor, and Mike Pompeo, who called Nicolas Maduro a, quote, "sick tyrant," after the weekend's scenes. Some cynics say that what happened on those bridges trying to get aid in, the violence was inevitable. And perhaps that scene of Nicolas Maduro's brutality, brutality, not -- he didn't gun, where we were, people down. It was the use of tear gas and rubber bullets. Was that scene, that back drop of violence essentially to some degree, the point to enable a tougher response here from Guaido's regional allies? That's the question in the next hours ahead that could be answered. And Juan Guaido has to work out, does he stay here or try to go back and maybe risk arrest -- Kate? BOLDUAN: That is such an interesting point about Guaido leaving for

the first time and what happens now if he tries to go back in. It's fascinating. Nick, an important moment it looks like.

Thank you so much. Good to see you.

Still ahead for us, Bernie Sanders is back in the race and already making waves with a massive fundraising haul. Can he stay ahead of an increasingly crowded Democratic field? He faces a big test tonight in the CNN town hall. Details on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:38:38] BOLDUAN: Bernie Sanders is set to face voters in a CNN town hall tonight. This all before kicking off his first campaign swing of his second presidential bid. He is starting out with the wind at his back. Sanders' campaign saying they raised almost $6 million in the first 24 hours after announcing. A big part of that coming from small-dollar donations. Now one of his Democratic challengers, Senator Elizabeth Warren, is making a big fundraising announcement of her own.

CNN's senior political analyst, Mark Preston, joins me now with more.

Mark, first on the town hall. Sanders is the most well-known of the Democratic candidates. This isn't a getting-to-know-you tonight. What is it tonight?

MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's a couple of things. You are absolutely right. Everybody knows who Bernie Sanders is. They know he almost won the Democratic nomination and that he continues to be a force when it comes to Democratic politics. In this crowded field of many newcomers, he will have to try to distinguish himself. While they know Bernie Sanders as a person, what is going to distinguish himself from, say, Elizabeth Warren, as you have just noted, how does he distinguish from, say, Kamala Harris? Many of these folks had similar positions when it comes to policy. He has to do a lot of distinguishing.

BOLDUAN: That's a good point. Sanders does, this time, come with baggage that he didn't have last time. Sexual harassment allegations from his 2016 campaign, criticism of his supporters, harassing Hillary Clinton supporters, even some female journalists during the 2016 campaign. He has condemned both. Are the questions going to go away?

[11:40:08] PRESTON: Certainly not. We continue to be in this #metoo movement, which is a very good thing because we are finally shining a light on some of the bad practices and terrible practices that we have seen not only in politics but in everyday life. The question for Bernie Sanders is, has he adequately addressed concerns raised. Some people say no. Some people say yes. I think what works against him is that Bernie Sanders' personality never changes. So when he shows empathy ,sometimes I think it is hard for him to break through because he comes across, as we know, a very like aggressive like "we need to get this done" type of person. The empathy part, I think, sometimes doesn't show through. He certainly needs to address these even more because he will have to address it. It will continue to dog him.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely, 100 percent agree with you.

So we are talking about how he had an amazing 24-hour fundraising announcement after announcing.

Now Elizabeth Warren is making a big fundraising announcement of her own, telling supporters in a new e-mail this, that she is going to forego any fancy receptions or big-money fundraisers only with people who can write big checks as well as phone calls to wealthy donors. Does that mean she is not accepting large-dollar donations anymore? Wouldn't it be more effective to say you would put a dollar cap on donations you are accepting if you're going to make a point?

PRESTON: Yes. Politically, that probably will sell very well with the liberal base and certainly those who thinks Citizens United, which is mostly Democrats, which is the law that allowed unfettered spending, you know, in elections to move forward. But I don't really understand how far she is going to go. To your point --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: It's not clear.

PRESTON: What is a wealthy donor? What is the cap going to be? If you are somebody that says you make $2.5 million a year, and you want to be politically active, because you make that amount of money, can you not be politically active with Elizabeth Warren? I don't know? Does it make you a bad person if you make that amount of money? It adds a whole other layer of questions into her saying that. But the point we said at the top, Kate, they are all going to try to outdo each other, whether it comes to raising money, the minimum wage or cutting taxes. What it is, they're going to be outdoing each other, all of them, over the next two years.

BOLDUAN: It might be headed to a good place of we are not accepting money at all from anyone and it should all get back to campaign finance. John McCain would be smiling from his grave if that was the case.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: It is good to see you. Mark, we'll see you tonight.

PRESTON: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Don't miss Senator Bernie Sanders in the CNN town hall event, tonight, at 8:00 Eastern, here on CNN.

Coming up for us, fighting words for President Trump. Fresh off a fight for his life, in an exclusive interview with CNN, former Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, doesn't speak out very much anymore. Well, he does sounds off here on his battle with cancer and explaining why he misses the days of George W. Bush. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [11:47:36] BOLDUAN: It's the one thing that has Harry Reid missing the days of President George W. Bush. Yes, the same former Democratic Senator who used to vilify Bush. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Dana Bash, Reid does not mince words about President Trump. He also opens up about his battle with pancreatic cancer.

Dana is joining me back now, joining me live.

Dana, Trump is already -- it's -- you do the best interviews with Harry Reid.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Oh, thank you.

BOLDUAN: Let me say that first and foremost.

He is a tough nut to crack if people know Harry Reid. The president was watching because he is also responding.

BASH: That's right. The president responded with a tweet going after Harry Reid. He sent the tweet out literally seconds after this piece aired on "NEW DAY" this morning, attacking Harry Reid, saying that he got shoved out of town. The reality -- you see it on the screen -- is Harry Reid retired and announced he was retiring well before Donald Trump was even a reality as the Republican nominee, never mind the president. I mean, with Harry Reid, Donald Trump would potentially meet his match in a big way. We certainly see it now with maybe Pelosi and Schumer. But it is a completely different ball game with Reid. As you know, Kate, you covered him, he is a street fighter. Loves that.

The reason I went out there, to talk about that, Kate, but also the fact that the political earth shook earlier this year. Mark Leibovich, of the "New York Times," reported after meeting with Reid, that he doesn't have long to live because he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. It is now in remission. That is the first thing I talked to him about when we met in Las Vegas.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: How are you feeling?

HARRY REID, (D), FORMER SENATOR: You know, I feel so -- I feel very good.

BASH: Your cancer is in remission?

REID: Yes. I had pancreatic cancer and it is in remission. Chemo is gone many months ago. That was worse than the surgery.

BASH: The chemo?

REID: Mm-hmm.

BASH: So for people who are concerned about you, understandably so, your message is?

REID: I'm doing fine. I'm busy. I work quite hard. I enjoy my family.

BASH (voice-over): A big part of what keeps him going? His love affair with wife, Landra, of nearly 60 years, who he met at age 15.

REID: She had on a pair of Levi's yesterday and I said, man, she looks so good.

BASH (on camera): That's amazing.

REID: But it's true.

BASH (voice-over): Reid retired from the Senate in 2017. A former boxer and ever the fighter, not being in the arena with Donald Trump is hard.

[11:50:05] (on camera): You had names for President Trump: "spoiled brat, con man, human leech, big fat guy." And "amoral" seems to be your favorite right now. Is there anything you think he's doing right?

REID: Is there anything I think President Trump is doing right? I just have trouble accepting him as a person. And so, frankly, I don't see anything he's doing right.

BASH: You told the "New York Times" that President Trump is, "Without question, the worst president we've ever had." About a dozen years ago, I remember coming here to Nevada and you telling me almost the same thing about George W. Bush.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID: President Bush is the worst president we've ever had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

REID: In hindsight, I wish every day for a George Bush again. I think he and I had our differences, but no one ever questioned his patriotism. Our battles were strictly political battles.

BASH: I just try to wrap my head around somebody who covered you and was with you, real time, all those years ago in the Bush administration when you were, you know, his chief antagonist in the Senate, calling him a loser, calling him a liar. And now you're saying, please, I wish I had George W. Bush in the White House again?

REID: There's no question in my mind that George Bush would be Babe Ruth in this league that he's in with Donald Trump in the league. Donald Trump wouldn't make the team.

BASH (voice-over): Chemotherapy compromised several vertebrae. He can no longer walk unassisted. But a wry sense of humor firmly intact, he was eager to stand and show us a 2010 letter from Donald Trump hanging in his Las Vegas office.

(on camera): "Dear Harry, congratulations. You are amazing. With best wishes, Donald Trump." REID: That was in the days when he didn't know if he was Democrat or

Republican.

BASH (voice-over): President Trump had tweeted about Reid's 1993 speech opposing birthright citizenship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID: How about offering a reward for being an illegal immigration? No sane country would do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH (on camera): You said those comments were a mistake.

REID: Yes, they were a mistake. I had a staff member that was -- I shouldn't have listened to as closely as I did. But that ended pretty quickly when my little Jewish wife, whose dad was born in Russia, reminded me, first time she heard about it, she said, what are you doing? Don't you realize my father was born in Russia?

BASH: What do you make of the president using that tweet?

REID: I guess everything is fair. He found it and they let him use it.

BASH: What's your view on impeachment?

REID: First of all, unless you get some Republicans joining, it's a waste of time. The Republicans in the Senate are so afraid of Trump that they're not going to get involved in this.

BASH (voice-over): Still, he says, House Democrats should do what they think is right.

(on camera): You don't think there would be a political backlash against Democrats for doing that before an election?

REID: I don't think there would be a backlash because the vast majority of the people know something is wrong with Trump.

BASH (voice-over): That's his basis of advice for Democrats running for president.

REID: The candidates running need not talk about how bad President Trump is. They just need to talk about what's good for the country. Everyone knows, even those people supporting him, knows what problems he has.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: And, Kate, several of the candidates for president, even people who are considering running, have gone to see Senator Reid in Nevada. They have called him on the phone. Joe Biden, for example, who, as you know, Reid served with for decades in the Senate, went to see him. They spoke for about an hour and a half. Reid was careful not to give advice on whether to run, except to say, if Biden does get in, then everybody is going to be trying to catch up with him.

BOLDUAN: He is a true fighter through and through. Pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of death among cancer.

BASH: That's true.

BOLDUAN: And it also shows the need for early detection. And the fact that he's doing so well is really an amazing thing.

Thanks, Dana. Thanks for bringing it to us.

BASH: Thanks, Kate.

[11:54:13] BOLDUAN: Still ahead for us, the winner is the host-less Oscars. Probably. Maybe. I would say definitely. Early ratings are in on Hollywood's biggest night. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: No host? No problem. Thankfully, that is not the case for my show, and don't get any ideas, but it might be for the Oscars. Early ratings are in.

And CNN chief media correspondent and host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter, has it all.

How do the ratings look?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT & CNN HOST, "RELIABLE SOURCES": They're actually up over last year. That's notable because the Oscars, all these other big events, they have been on the decline in recent years as TV fragments. The Oscars are up over last year, even though there was no host. No host, no problem. Slightly up over last year. And we're beginning to see a polarized country. All the top-rated markets for the Oscars last night, blue states. All the lowest rated markets, red states.

BOLDUAN: Really?

STELTER: Even though President Trump wasn't mentioned by name, the audience sort of had the sense, you're watching liberal Hollywood to celebrate themselves.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

STELTER: There was some jabs on President Trump and his border wall policy, even though he wasn't mentioned by name.

BOLDUAN: So besides ratings, the most important thing is, what is your verdict on the Lady Gaga/Brian Cooper duet?

STELTER: I just think they're wonderful actors. What, do you think there's anything else going on?

BOLDUAN: I literally do not. And it's ridiculous that people would think so. They're fabulous performers together, some would say. STELTER: Maybe too good. Maybe too good. Maybe that's was the

crime.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Didn't they look so in love?

STELTER: The Internet is lighting up with theories of what's going on here. I wish there had been a cutaway shot so we could see Bradley Cooper's girlfriend. That would have made it more interesting.

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: We did see them later. We saw them hugging later, kissing. Lady Gaga going over to say to her later. I think, if anything, this is a great promotion for "A Star is Born." I know "Green Book" was best picture, but I think, in 10 years, "A Star is Born" is the kind of movie you'll want to rewatch. You'll want to sing the songs along with it.

BOLDUAN: Or wait 10 years and it will be redone again.

(CROSSTALK)

STELTER: Exactly.

BOLDUAN: It also was the first time I think ever that I made it through the entire award show.

STELTER: Exactly. It actually wrapped up at 11:15. No host --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: I was like, what.

OK, Brian, we've decided --

STELTER: You've got it.

BOLDUAN: Great to see you.

Thanks so much for joining me today, everybody.

[12:00:09]