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INSIDE POLITICS

Biden Gets Post-Announcement Bump in New CNN Poll; Sanders Critizes Biden's Record on Trade, Iraq War; Trump Proposes Sweeping Changes to Asylum Process. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired April 30, 2019 - 12:30   ET

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


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[12:32:50] JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Former Vice President Joe Biden enjoying a double-digit boost in the polls as he heads to Iowa today. A brand new CNN poll conducted after Biden's campaign launch shows him with an 11-point polling bounce nationwide. Thirty-nine percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning independents say Biden is their top choice for the Democratic nomination in 2020. That's up from 28 percent in March. That puts the former vice president more than 20 points ahead of his nearest competitor, Senator Bernie Sanders.

Biden will hold his first event in Iowa later this hour. He'll be visiting Cedar Rapids and Dubuque today, Des Moines and Iowa City tomorrow. If you know history you know Biden's prior White House runs have cratered in Iowa. But a new video shows us one reason Team Biden thinks this time could be different. Eight years at the side a president whose path to the White House began with a big Iowa win back in 2008.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He has never once forgotten the values, the more fiber that made him who he is.

JOE BIDEN (D-DE), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This country wasn't built by Wall Street bankers and CEOs. You built this country, the great middle-class built this country. That's the story of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Let's go to CNN's Jeff Zeleny, he's live in Cedar Rapids. Jeff, the voice of Barack Obama. Tell us more about this new video.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, there's no question. Vice President Biden is coming into Iowa like he's done several times before as a presidential candidate but this time he has a different title and that's the frontrunner in this race. It is very early, they know that, but he is trying to keep that sort of momentum alive so he's going to be having his first rally here in Cedar Rapids. And they started it with that campaign video from former President Barack Obama.

Now, we know he did not endorse Joe Biden, his friend, but those words certainly sound like it. And I am told by advisers to former President Obama that they're very well aware that they are using this ad. The former president is just fine with it, of course, he gave them his blessing. We're going to see a few more Obama touches, if you will, over the next couple of weeks as Joe Biden continues his rollout. But he also knows that he has to win this on his own so it is why he's here in Cedar Rapids.

You can see the crowd gathering behind me here. There's a little bit of lunchtime music here as well.

[12:35:01] John, this is not the biggest crowd we've seen certainly, not the most enthusiasm, certainly an older crowd, but these voters here are committed to Joe Biden, and they say Democrats have one priority, that's beating President Trump.

John, one thing I noticed here in the audience talking to several voters, there's some old Biden shirts from 2008. One woman was wearing one who said she put it on here today. She believes in Joe Biden and she's been waiting for him to get in. Now, of course, the question is can he prove that he is actually a frontrunner and can he hold on to it for some nine months or so before the Iowa caucuses?

John?

KING: Jeff Zeleny live in Iowa. Zeleny never looks happier than when he's in Iowa. Jeff, appreciate the live reporting there. I actually think I have one of those t-shirts, have some crates of old t-shirts in my basement. I think I have a Biden 2008 in there.

This is the big test. Every other presidential run and they're a long time ago in 1988, 2008, he's gone to Iowa, and he collapses. This time he goes in with a -- this is a national poll, but a 20-point lead over Bernie Sanders. Like it or not, being the frontrunner is a great blessing, can also be a curse, but it is -- what's -- I guess the question is what's the test? What's the first test now that you're up here, how do you stay up here?

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, one of the things I'm going to be looking at is the first debate which I know is a little bit off at this point. Sorry, I'm a little hoarse. But putting him against the other candidates, putting him right next to them, we're hearing -- because we're starting to see ideologically where everyone is falling on various issues. Putting him next to those voters -- those candidates I think will be very interesting.

But in Iowa, Joe Biden really does have a bit of an advantage. He's kind of just right. He is not too conservative. He is not too liberal on most of these issues which appeals to a lot of Iowa voters.

KING: A lot of Iowa voters. And to the point about contrast, we'll learn a lot before the debates in June. But I get your --

KUCINICH: Because people don't know who a lot of these other people are.

KING: I get your point but so Biden gets into the race, the guy who's been with him at the top of the pack is Bernie Sanders who we know is well organized from 2016. Underestimate Bernie Sanders at your peril, but this from last night told me that even Bernie Sanders gets wow. Biden gets a bounce, I cannot wait to draw a contrast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think when people take a look at my record versus Vice President Biden's record, I helped lead the fight against NAFTA, he voted for NAFTA. I helped lead the fight against PNCR with China, he voted for it. I strongly opposed the Transpacific Partnership, he supported it. I voted against the war in Iraq, he voted for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Welcome to the race, Joe.

TAMARA KEITH, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NPR: Well, and, you know, the great thing about this is that this argument that Bernie Sanders is making right now is the same argument he made against Hillary Clinton in 2016. And it is literally Donald Trump, the president of the United States could make the same argument against Joe Biden in the general election, the same views on trade, same idea about the Iraq War. He could basically say the same words.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And I think that that's why what Bernie Sanders is saying is really important, that he's actually making a bet that what Iowans want isn't actually somebody who's just right. What they want is somebody who is -- is where he is, a little bit more to the left, a little bit bolder on these issues, in his view right on the Iraq War, right on trade. And so for Biden I think the challenge is going to be, does he get out of this sort of messy mushy mode or a place where he could be sort of boxed in by some of these candidates who are being a lot more kind of aggressive about how far to the left that they are in this particular primacy.

And that's why I'm also obsessed with the drops in this poll that we put out this morning. I mean, just the movement that we've seen among some of these candidates who were in the double digits a few weeks ago and are now in the single digits. That is a sign to every candidate in this race that this is an incredibly fluid and that you can be where Joe Biden is in one moment and then be further down the next.

KING: But none of the others with the exception of Sanders, none of the others have anywhere near Biden's history, his name identification, his recognition so he gets a bounce and it's a great thing to have that gap. You're right, the others suffer. Will their fundraising change? This is why those debates will become so important because a lot of them are going to be lost from the race at some point or somebody has to break out.

What's interesting though is you made this point so let's illustrate. You just heard Bernie Sanders criticizing Joe Biden mainly on economic issues, trade issues. He says Biden was on the corporate side, the wrong side. Guess what, that is the same criticism plus a little crowd reference here, listen to Donald Trump -- President Trump's campaign manager.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRAD PARSCALE, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN MANAGER: The president has a -- you know, following behind him is just so many -- so much larger, incredible. I saw that rally -- was -- is that like a rally or is it like a -- I don't know what that is. But I think it's even funny that he goes to Pennsylvania, a place where his policies like NAFTA, put more jobs in Mexico than Pennsylvania, TPP which would be the destruction of the Rust Belt. I mean, for a guy who says he's with Pennsylvania seems like he's pretty much their enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It is quite striking when you hear, you know -- and, again, this is -- President Trump will be the first to tell you if you're having a conversation about 2016, that he's noticed Bernie Sanders tapping in on the trade stuff and realized out especially on those Midwestern industrial states, it helped.

[12:40:09] KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, look, this is both -- if everybody feels that they are running against Biden at this point you're going to hear that parallel argument against him. This is the peril of a primary which is that people in your own party who may end up needing to back you say things that your opponent will then capitalized on several months down the line if Biden ends up being the nominee. But it was kind of inevitable that you'd have this anyway about Biden. He's been in public life, he is been making these positions known for almost half a century. You can't -- that is his greatest asset and it's also his potential greatest liability for anybody who wants to best him in this contest at whatever point in the contest we're talking.

KING: All right, but all the Trump team talking about him, including the president tweeting about him and talking about him, it elevates him which helps him to a degree. If Democrats think who's most electable, why is the president worried about him but now he has to prove it. Now he has to prove it up on the road.

Next for us, a rising Democratic star says no to a 2020 Senate run.

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[12:45:23] KING: Topping our political raid rather today, Democrat Stacey Abrams she will not run for Senate in Georgia next year. The former gubernatorial candidate telling the Atlanta Journal- Constitution while she's honored so many supporters think she should challenge Republican incumbent David Perdue, she says she only if it's a job she wants. Abrams says she's keeping an open mind about other future races but she says right now she's focused on her efforts to fight alleged voter suppression.

The Justice Department says they're against giving Roger Stone the full unredacted Mueller report before his November trial. The question came up today at a court hearing about what material Stone is entitled to review. Stone's lawyers want to review documents from the special counsel's office. Jonathan Kravis, an assistant U.S. attorney says the government has no obligation to provide that information that Stone wants. Stone pleaded not guilty earlier this year to lying to a congressional committee that was investigating Russian election meddling.

Democrats holding the line on two fronts facing the Trump administration, number one, the House Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler says he thinks Attorney General William Barr is threatening not to testify before his committee on Thursday because he's, quote, afraid to answer questions from staff attorneys.

Earlier, CNN's Manu Raju asked him about Barr's concerns.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you say to Republicans who say there's no precedent for allowing staff attorneys to question at hearings?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): It's nonsense. There is a considerable precedent.

RAJU: Would you consider fines for subpoenas?

NADLER: We're going to see.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And on another front, the House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters says, she's not concerned about President Trump and members of his family suing two banks overnight. The suits trying to stop those banks from releasing the president's financial records to Congress. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): We have representation from Deutsche and Capital One that they will cooperate with us, so he can file these lawsuits. They need a subpoena in order to do what they need to do to give us the documents. They have said they will cooperate. So, so far his lawsuits aren't doing any good.

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KING: Up next, President Trump using executive powers to propose big changes in how the U.S. treats asylum seekers.

[12:51:35] KING: President Trump is taking executive action to tighten asylum rules as his new point man on immigration makes his first appearance before Congress. In a memo overnight to the attorney general and the acting homeland security secretary, the president asked for big changes in the asylum system, including implementing a fee to apply, requiring courts to resolve claims within 180 days, and prohibiting anyone crossing the border illegally from obtaining a work permit. The acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan says the system is at a breaking point. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: The system is full and we're well beyond our capacity. This means that the new waves of vulnerable populations arriving here and exuberating the already urgent humanitarian security crisis at the border. We don't have rooms to hold them, we don't have the authority to remove them fairly and expeditiously, and we are not likely -- and they are not likely to be allowed to remain in the country at the end of their immigration proceedings. The status quo is not acceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You can be a Democrat or a Republican or independent, the status quo is not acceptable and yet the outlook for any legislative changes is zero, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Correct.

KING: And so the president uses his pen. How significant are these changes?

PHILLIP: I think would make it extremely difficult to claim asylum in this country and to -- even if you are in the process, the fact that they are delaying work permits, making it almost guaranteed that these individuals would have to rely on either some kind of government service or charitable service just to survive, this is a deterrent. It's designed to stop people from coming here on the basis of some kind of credible fear of asylum claim. And that's what they have been trying to do all along.

If you talk to advocates, they've been trying to chip away at the asylum system for a long time. So this is just one part of the process. There's a bit of a delay in this going into effect, and I don't know what's going to happen in that gap period if it's going to be challenged but --

KING: I would assume a lawsuit.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- especially a lawsuit.

KING: Again, whatever your views on these issues, whatever your views, this is how we do immigration policies now in the courts --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.

KING: -- because there's no adult conversation in Congress.

DEMIRJIAN: And look, certain elements of this proposal are more concerning than others in terms of the legal challenge. I mean, when you have a fee for people making a credible application for asylum that's kind of, you know, cross-purposes. Addressing the courts, though, they do need to address the courts in some way. There's a huge court backlog but there needs to be more money put into that system to have those cases moved more quickly.

So you cannot necessarily create all these disincentives at the border that gum up the legal -- people's legal rights are in claiming asylum but also do get the system flowing a little bit more. But it seems like they're trying to kind of build a bit of a financial disincentive wall as they do all of that -- as they talk about making changes in a system that do need to be made in some way but probably first before the (INAUDIBLE).

KUCINICH: But also, none of this has worked.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes.

KUCINICH: None of this has worked. None of this has worked as a deterrent because if your home country is that horrible, you're still going to make the trip. And so that is -- they haven't found a way to actually, despite these, all of the regulations and all of the barriers they're putting up, nothing has worked.

KEITH: Right. They haven't created a way to change the incentive system back at home. Because it is so rough where people are coming from, and this is seen as a better place. But, you know, I think the president and his administration are incredibly frustrated that everything they try hasn't worked, everything they try gets blown -- blows up in their faces one way or another and they're going to get a lot of pushback on this as well.

[12:55:06] I will say that Jared Kushner said he's working on an immigration plan. I guess we'll wait to see what is when it comes and if it ever is released but certainly the administration on some level realizes they need to do something more permanent than executive action.

KING: And we started the hour with, should we have any optimism they can have a deal on infrastructure after a big meeting at the White House? I would have even less optimism just because of the politics of not just in the Trump administration, going back years, but let's just see if they have a plan or at least have a date on an adult conversation as I said.

Thanks for joining us today on the INSIDE POLITICS. See you back here this time tomorrow. Don't go anywhere. Busy news day.

Brianna Keilar starts after a quick break. Have a great afternoon.

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