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Biden Tweets He Will Be More Mindful About Respecting Personal Space; House Intelligence Committee Seeking Interview with Inaugural Party Planner; Sen. Sanders Has Yet to Release Promised Tax Returns; Op-Ed, Bernie Sanders is the Donald Trump of the Left. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 3, 2019 - 15:30   ET


[15:30:00] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Score if not hundreds of people come up to me and reached out for solace and comfort. Something, anything that may help them get through the tragedy they're going through.

And so it is just who I am. And I've never thought of politics as cold and antiseptic. I've always thought it about connecting with people and as I said, shaking hands, hands on the shoulder, a hug, encouragement. Now, it is all about taking selfies together. You know, social norms begin to change and they have shifted and the boundaries of protecting personal space have been re-set. And I get it. I get it. I hear what they're saying. I understand it. And I'll be much more mindful, that is my responsibility, my responsibility and I'll meet it.

But I'll always believe governing quite frankly, life for that matter, is about connecting, about connecting with people. That won't change. I will be more mindful and respectful of people's personal space and that is a good thing, that is a good thing. I work my whole life to empower women. I've worked my whole life to end abuse. I've written -- and so the idea that I can adjust to the fact that personal space is important, more important than it has ever been is just not thinkable -- I will. I will.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Let's talk all about this. I've got with me CNN chief political analyst, Gloria burger, presidential historian, Douglas Brinkley and CNN political commentator, Sabrina Siddiqui. And so let's drive into it. Gloria, just starting with you. You know, this is an important moment for the former Vice President. He appeared incredibly genuine. Is this enough?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he did it on a video, which is interesting and why he didn't do it to an audience or an interviewer is a question. But I think this is the authentic Joe Biden describing who he is, and who he has been over the years. And taking on the generational issues saying, you know, I used to hug people, now it is all about taking selfies. And using Nancy Pelosi's words where she said the other day, you have to respect personal space. I mean, he just picked that up from her. And maybe she said it to him privately. And he repeated it a bunch of times and said, look, I have to adjust to this and I will. But I can't change who I am as a politician because for me it is always been about connecting and that is true about Joe Biden.

BALDWIN: Sabrina, you've been covering him. What do you think?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's important to emphasize that no one has accused former Vice President Joe Biden of sexual assault or harassment but what this speaks to is that the conversation around what is and what isn't acceptable behavior toward women has changed. Particularly in the after math of the me-too movement.

And I think that Biden got the message loud and clear that his statements up until this point were insufficient. It is not enough to simply apologize for unintentionally making women feel uncomfortable. He had to take more ownership of his behavior and commit to some kind of change.

Now prominent Democrats have been very careful to say that they don't think that the allegations disqualify Biden. I think a lot of them were waiting to see how he would address this issue and whether he would take it on more directly, but it does remain to be seen what kind of damage this may have inflicted on what is widely expected to be his third run for the presidency.

BALDWIN: Doug, do you think it is enough? You've been in Biden world talking to people.

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: I think it's a really good opening salvo. It was a great video. He covered all of the key points. But to Gloria's point, he'll have to talk about this some more any time he does a major interview. If you're interviewing him, you're going to ask about it. Because they're going to be thousands of photos that come out of him hugging and touching. I mean, he is of a generation of kissing babies, pressing the flesh and you know, he's doing a cancer moon shot and he's talking to people that are affected with cancer a lot. And he grabs them a lot. But it means to me that if Biden gets the Democratic nomination, he's going to have to have a woman as the Vice President. There is no way that he has to address the gender problem. It's going to be lingering, so someone like Stacy Abrams or Kamala Harris or Amy Klobuchar could very well be a VP if Biden procured the Democratic nomination. And that's a big if.

BALDWIN: Does this signal to you, Doug, that this is a man who is running for President?

BRINKLEY: I think he's running for President.


BRINKLEY: And he's ready to roll and this was a good move -- if he didn't do it this afternoon, I think it would have been a blown opportunity. I think he got it in under the whistle with a pretty good response. But he's going for it. And he's going to be one of the big three in the Democratic -- there is no way Biden is going to be shrinking to the 1 percent that Donald Trump tattoos him with.

[15:35:00] He spent years building bridges in the state like Iowa, Joe Biden. He is a Catholic politician who does the Mississippi River belt well. Same area Klobuchar is trying to hit, meaning Devonport and Dubuque. And he stayed in touch with farmers and old-time Iowa caucus leaders. So he's going to be well received when he gets into the Iowa game and New Hampshire is basically right up in his backyard and it's in Bernie Sanders's and Elizabeth Warren's backyard too. New Hampshire will be very interesting.

BALDWIN: Gloria, I hear you wanted to jump in.

BORGER: Yes, he all but announced in this statement today.

BALDWIN: Wasn't that what that was? Yes.

BORGER: He said folks in the coming months I'm expected to talk to you about a whole lot of issues. Well what is that say to you?

BALDWIN: There you go.

BORGER: I mean, that's as close to an announcement -- a pre- announcement as you're going to get. I mean, it's very clear from this that he's running. And that he wants to attack this head on and he'll have to deal with it over and over and over again. But it was -- it was the apology that a lot of people, I think, had been waiting for. And taking responsibility for this. Saying, look, this is my responsibility. And don't think I can't change, I can. You know, but I am who I am. But he's running. There is no doubt about it.

BALDWIN: Sabrina, close us out. Final thought.

SIDDIQUI: Well, I think that this does pave the way for an interesting debate among Democrats. Particularly in the Democratic field about how they want to address me-too and the spectrum of inappropriate behavior. They had more of a zero-tolerance approach to former Senator Al Franken. Now the allegations he faced were very different in nature, he was accused by multiple women of groping. By at least one of forcibly kissing her.

With former Vice President Joe Biden, like we said, the allegations have not been sexual in nature, they've been framed as a violation of personal space. So it does sort of force Democrats to have a more nuance conversation around allegations of inappropriate behavior and to define maybe a more distinctive platform when it comes to the me- too movement.

BALDWIN: Sabrina, thank you. Gloria, thank you and Doug Brinkley. Everyone, he's got a new book out, "American Moonshot". Douglas Brinkley, good to have you on, thank you.

Just into CNN, the House Intelligence Committee is seeking an interview and documents from a party planner involved in Trump's inauguration. We have details on what it is they would like to know, next.


BALDWIN: Here is some more news just into CNN. A new development in the investigation into the President inauguration committee. The House Intelligence Committee is seeking an interview and documents from a woman by the name of Stephanie Winston Wolkoff She's one of the top planner for the President's 2017 inauguration. Kara Scannell Has the scoop. She is joining me now from Washington. So Kara, who is this woman and what do you know?

KARA SCANNELL, CNN REPORTER: Yes, that's right, Brooke. So the House Intelligence Committee has asked this woman Stephanie Winston Wolkoff -- she's a top party planner in Manhattan who worked on the inaugural committee -- for an interview and documents relating to the committee.

Now a source close to the committee tells us that the Democrats are looking very broadly into foreign influence and that is why they're interested in the inauguration. Now, it's not clear exactly why they are looking at her versus seeking documents from others associated with the inauguration. But according to the "Wall Street Journal" which first reported this story, they did ask Ms. Wolkoff for information about any gifts or items of value that foreign governments may have given to Donald Trump, to his daughter Ivanka Trump and to his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The journal is also reporting they were asking Miss Wolkoff for any information relating to any foreign governments, communications with foreign governments around the inauguration including Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. Now most of the people involved in this have declined to comment or haven't gotten back to us. But the latest here is that the House Intelligence Committee, which is conducting this broad investigation, is now looking for information about the inaugural committee through the lens of foreign influence -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Got it, Kara, thank you for that development.

Coming up next here, an angry old white guy with crazy hair railing against the media and the political establishment. My next guest said that could perfectly describe President Trump or Senator Bernie Sanders. He explains why he thinks they are two sides of the same coin.


BALDWIN: Senator Bernie Sanders has railed against President Trump for not releasing his tax returns and pledged to release ten years of his own right here on CNN.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Will you release ten years of your tax returns as you know, Elizabeth Warren has decided to do that?


BLITZER: What was the delay. Why haven't you done that so far? SANDERS: Well you know, the delay is not -- it will -- our tax

returns will bore you to death. It is simply -- nothing special about them. It was just a mechanical issue and we don't have accountants at home. My wife does most of it and we'll get that stuff out.

BLITZER: So when do you think we'll get to see your taxes?

SANDERS: Sooner rather than later.

BLITZER: What does that mean?



BALDWIN: That was over a month ago. So CNN's Ryan Nobles is with me. What's the hold-up?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: The simple answer is, Brooke, we don't know. Their answer continues to be soon. We ask almost every day when we're going to see Senator Bernie Sanders tax returns? And his campaign really can't give us a clear idea as to the timeline of when we should expect them.

In fact, Senator Sanders was asked about it this weekend on CBS and he said it was just a matter of dotting the "I"s and crossing the "T"s before they get them out. But what's so interesting about this, Brooke, is, there seems to be a disconnect here. Senator Sanders told Wolf at that town hall -- shortly after he announced his candidacy -- that there isn't anything all that exciting about his tax returns. That there's not really a whole lot to comb through.

[15:50:00] So what is taking them so long to release them to the public so that they can see them. Especially when he's so critical of President Trump in particular for not releasing his tax returns. And we should point out that there are a number of 2020 candidates that have already stepped up and taken on this challenge. Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand, Amy Klobuchar just released her tax returns, and so has Jay Inslee. So This is becoming the trend for 2020 candidates. And it's something that at this point, Bernie Sanders has not done yet. Although his campaign continues to insist, we will see them soon.

BALDWIN: OK. Ryan Nobles, thank you for the set up. I want to stay on this disconnect. Because as you well know, Senator Sanders delay in releasing his taxes, one of the curious comparisons to be drawn between the Vermont Senator and President Donald Trump. Dana Milbank is a political columnist for "The Washington Post" and wrote this piece (INAUDIBLE). And you know, let me point out the obvious, that everyone has been obsessed with President Trump releasing his tax returns. Including Senator Sanders, but as Ryan just reported, you know, he still hasn't done it. How longer can he get away with it and why do you think so far, he's been untouchable on this issue?

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: You know, it is strange and I think that this is why I drew parallels between President Trump and Senator Sanders. It's not on substance, obviously. They're opposite in terms of that, but they seem to play by different rules and get away with things like that. So I'm not going to sit here and say, Bernie Sanders definitely is going to turn over his tax returns. He may not. Just as President Trump did. Similarly with the accusations recently of the mistreatment of women by his campaign in 2016. He sort of just road that out in a Trumpian way. And I think the idea is, he's a different kind of candidate. He's an insurgent. He's against the establishment. So I think he gets a pass for things --

BALDWIN: But why?

MILBANK: -- that other candidates might not. Well that's the mystery, right? We've been asking this about President Trump all along. So why aren't we asking, you know, well is Bernie Sanders, he'd be 79 when sworn in as president. Is he too old? The questions about women, the question about the taxes. I think it comes from being an insurgent against the establishment. Since he has never played by those rules, so he's held to a different standard of rules. And I think that is similar to the way President Trump has been treated. He gets a pass where more conventional politicians don't get a pass. And now Sanders benefits from that as well.

BALDWIN: Dana, I have to read this graph from your piece. This is what you write.

Sanders isn't Trump and the race baiting, lender cheating, fact avoiding, porn actress paying, Putin loving since, but their styles are similar. Shouting and unsmiling, antiestablishment and anti- media, absolutely convinced of their own correctness, attacking bogeyman (the "1 percent" and CEOs in Sanders's case, instead of immigrants and minorities) offering impractical promises with vague details, lacking nuance and nostalgic for the past.

So do you think, Dana Milbank, that this makes Bernie Sanders quite a, quite a match for Trump come 2020?

MILBANK: Well, we don't know because Trump has thrown out all the rules. What we know is Sanders brings out the rage, brings out the anger in people. Different people admittedly, the same way that Trump did. So it is possible that by having the same kind of uncompromising, unbending, angry politics on the left, that that will bring out the left in droves the way it brings out the right for Trump in droves.

Of course it leaves out a lot of people in the middle who don't feel that way. But you know, President Trump has brought out a lot of people talking about saying immigrants, foreigners, minorities are to blame. It's certainly much nicer to hear what Senator Sanders is saying, it's the 1 percent. It's the CEOs. But it's the same idea. Those people are responsible for your problems. This is really powerful stuff. So I don't at all rule out that he could become the nominee, and that he could beat Trump. It just means that our politics on both sides is now taking a more bitter turn where everybody's going to be angry and everybody's going to be uncompromising. BALDWIN: Quickly, you know who may challenge him -- I don't know if

you've seen the video tweet from the former Vice President, but that is certainly making news and making the rounds. And it all but, you know, secures his, you know -- the fact that he will be running. What's the headline on the Dana Milbank, Joe Biden piece tomorrow?

MILBANK: People have been taken a chunk out of Joe Biden. They're going to continue to do it. He is vulnerable to the traditional rule of politics, whether it's the treatment of women or his past votes, in a way Bernie Sanders isn't. And it's not a coincidence. I think the first accuser of Joe Biden was a 2016 Sanders volunteer. This is going to be really rough stuff coming up.

[15:55:00] BALDWIN: OK, Dana Milbank, thank you for joining me. Good to have you on.

MILBANK: Thank you, my pleasure.

BALDWIN: Still ahead here on CNN, a woman carrying computer malware has been arrested at President Trump's Mar-a-Lago club. We have details on these charges against her and who she says sent her.


BALDWIN: Troubling new details today about the final moments before the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash. "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that the pilots of the 737 Max jet initially followed Boeing's emergency procedures, but still failed to recover control of that jet before it went down. That calls into question claims from both Boeing and the FAA that the crash may have been avoided if pilots had followed safety procedures. Ethiopia's ministry of transport will release a preliminary report tomorrow.