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10 Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Face Off in the First 2020 Primary Debate; Trump Arrives in Japan for G-20 Summit; Another Flaw Discovered in Boeing 737 MAX Jets. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 27, 2019 - 06:00   ET



[06:00:00] SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That we can make our government. We can make our economy. We can make our country work not just for those at the top, we can make it work for everyone. And I promise you this, I will fight for you as hard as I fight for my own family.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There were some big moments and some big surprises last night in the first debates. Some of the candidates who had been polling lower recently, they managed, perhaps, to break through. Listen to Julian Castro when he was talking to his fellow Texas Beto O'Rourke about the issue of immigration.


JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Title 18 of the U.S. code, Title 21 and Title 22 already cover human trafficking.


BETO O'ROURKE (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If we apprehend known smuggler or drug traffickers we're going to make sure that they are deported --

CASTRO: I think you should do your homework on this issue. If you did your homework on this issue, you would know we should repeal this section.


BERMAN: All right. We're getting some new data in this morning about who might have generated the most interest during the debate among the 10 who were on stage. And of course, tonight, round two. Four of the leading candidates take the debate stage including the front runner Joe Biden and we should note just moments ago President Trump, you can see it right there, he touched down in Japan for the G-20 summit. There are some really important meetings going to take place in the next few days including with the leader of China, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, the issue of Iran are very much on the table. So a lot to discuss as the president arrives there before our very eyes. But first, the debate. The first Democratic debate. Joining us now

to discuss, CNN political analyst, Sarah Isgur, she advised multiple Republican political campaigns, Elaina Plott, White House correspondent at the Atlantic, David Gregory and Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of "Inside Elections."

David Gregory, we gave you the shortest intro but we're going to give you the first bite at the apple here. I want to know your big picture take on what happened. We saw two hours, 10 candidates go at it for those two hours. Your number one takeaway?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, that the Democratic Party is moving to the left. That a lot of the progressive impulses that we saw over the last two cycles that got kind of quashed I think were more center stage. You saw that in the most pronounced way over the future of health care in the country. You saw it around going after Trump, although that was not as big of a theme as we could have seen. There's no question that they rallied around that.

And I think, you know, the issue of who's really willing to fight. I thought Elizabeth Warren played strong some of the lesser tiered candidates at the moment as well on the issue of immigration. I thought that came through and I think this will set up the big test which is the front runner at this early stage is someone who's a more moderate Democrat. And that'll be a primary of tension here in this Democratic movement.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sarah, you have helped prep candidates for things like this in the past. What was your takeaway?

SARAH ISGUR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: My takeaway was that while it wasn't intentional, last night in some ways was the underdog, the second tier debate just because of the way things shifted out. Joe Biden is up by 20 points in a lot of these polls. And you have Senator Harris and you have Pete Buttigieg and other people who are well more known to the Democratic primary electorate right now.

Electability is the number one thing that Democratic voters say that they're looking for more than any single policy issue. And we didn't hear that last night because in some ways this was the progressive lane fight for who's going to go up against Biden. And so my takeaway was Elizabeth Warren did well. Booker had a good night, I thought a better night. And Elizabeth Warren, though, was clearly do no harm. She had her opening statement, she made her economic pitch. And then when it got to topics she was less comfortable with, she pivoted, she dodged a bit. It worked for her, not in a bad way, but definitely a "get into the next round, thanks for my ticket."

BERMAN: Let me tell you because you guys both brought up the issue of Medicare-for-All and the public option. That was one of the first issues that came up with Elizabeth Warren raising her hand saying that she would get rid of private insurance for Americans and replace it with Medicare-for-All. Look at the back-and-forth here. This is S- 14. Amy Klobuchar who maybe had a more quiet night there, she's explaining why she is in favor of keeping private insurance if people want it. And Elizabeth Warren, they have a back-and-forth. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think it's a bold approach. My proposal is to do something about pharma, to take them on, to allow negotiation under Medicare, to bring in less expensive drugs from other countries. And Pharma thinks they own Washington, well, they don't own me.

WARREN: Yes, I'm with Bernie on Medicare-for-All. There are a lot of politicians who say, oh, it's just not possible, we just can't do it, have a lot of political reasons for this. What they're really telling you is they just won't fight for it. Well, health care is a basic human right. And I will fight for basic human rights.


BERMAN: In that fight, Elaina, she raised her hand. And very early on in the debate said that she would fight to get rid of private insurance.

ELAINA PLOTT, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: She did but what I think is important to note and maybe to play devil's advocate a bit to this notion that Warren, you know, really did win the night, that -- you have to remember that she piggybacked off of Bernie Sanders when even beginning that answer, which is to say that it was Sanders who set the tone for that conversation, not necessarily Warren.

[06:05:09] She is the person who has been known as the "I have a plan" person on this debate stage, but when it came to what she actually went into the most specificity on this health care plan, again, this was really the brain child of probably her most likely competitor in this field.

CAMEROTA: So, Elaina, what stood out to you of the night?

PLOTT: I think Julian Castro did exactly what he needed to do as somebody who was arguably nameless before this. And you know what I think he did so well is he went in with a specific goal which we clearly saw to be Beto O'Rourke is somebody I need to take out. He -- I don't think Castro went on to that stage saying I need to beat out this whole field. He saw this is my lane. I need to win the Texas primary of sorts. And that's what he did. He did it quite well.

CAMEROTA: He also seized on of course the shocking news of the day. So to do that, in which to do that.

BERMAN: We have that. I think we do have that. One of the issues coming into this debate is we all saw the photo, the photo of Oscar Ramirez and his daughter Valeria, 23 months old who died while trying to get into the United States. And one of the questions that went to these candidates was, you know, what are you going to do about that? Do we have that sound? Do we have Julian Castro talking about that? Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CASTRO: Watching that image of Oscar and his daughter Valeria is heartbreaking. It should also piss us all off. If I were president today --


CASTRO: And it should spur us to action. If I were president today, I would sign on executive order that would get rid of Trump's zero tolerance policy, the remain in Mexico policy, and the metering policy. This metering policy is basically what prompted Oscar and Valeria to make that risky swim across the river.


BERMAN: What you see there, Nathan, is sort of the three P's in that answer. You have passion. You have policy. And then when he got into the policy, it's very progressive.

NATHAN GONZALES, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And I think that he did do a good job of trying to carve out some space for himself where most people I think didn't know who he was coming into this race just based on the polling. But we have to remember that his window is closing. And I mean, he has a few hours to capitalize on this moment.

In a few hours we're going to get a few Supreme Court decisions including a couple on redistricting that I think are going to take up a bunch of the national conversation. Later tonight, there's going to be 10 more candidates on the stage that are going to take up oxygen in this news space. And so he has to capitalize on this now. Raise money now in order to help him further in the race.

I think taking a step back, I think, you know, we're all kind of obligated to choose a winner from last night. But ultimately the people that matter most, they're not -- you know, not us. It's not even the people that were in that room last night. It's the people or the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire. Because they are the ones that are going to, you know, really set the -- have the early impact on this race. And until, you know, we get a few days down the line when we get some polling out of Iowa and New Hampshire, it's going to be ultimately tough to choose who really had the best night or best nights coming out of these debates.

GREGORY: Right. But the problem is that in Iowa and New Hampshire, voters aren't going to speak for a long time. So it's really the media who's going to determine who has a pulse coming out of this debate. I mean, you've got a huge stage. Who's even going to remember who was up there? Certainly by this afternoon. So I agree with Nathan that, you know, Julian Castro, who did have a good night, has got to capitalize on that.

I don't think voters are going to remember whether, you know, Bernie Sanders should get more kind of intellectual credit on Medicare-for- All than Elizabeth Sanders. I mean, she has -- excuse me, Elizabeth Warren. She has a lot of fight in her. And I think you're seeing candidates who are trying to make an impression by showing that they've got some passion, that they've got some fight. And I agree with what Sarah was alluding to earlier, which is this is ultimately the fight for the progressive lane of the party.

You've got the front runner in the establishment in Biden. You've got those who were fighting for the progressive lane. And somebody like Buttigieg who I think is just kind of in his own lane. And how many lanes can there be as we start to whittle this down to when voters start taking a hard look.

CAMEROTA: Well, this is a multi-lane superhighway at the moment. And --


GREGORY: Certainly it is.

CAMEROTA: Certainly is.


CAMEROTA: Bill de Blasio, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Sarah, who also needed to introduce himself to the national stage and he did it in part by interjecting at any possible moment. But he also talked about immigration, I think, in an interesting way. Sort of appealing to people who are angry or feel unsettled by immigration. So listen to a moment of that sound.


MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For all the American citizens out there who feel you're falling behind, who feel the American dream is not working for you, the immigrants didn't do that to you.


DE BLASIO: The big corporations did that to you. The 1 percent did that to you.


CAMEROTA: Effective?

ISGUR: He had a better night than a lot of people were expecting. I did see one meme on Twitter of him with Phil the Groundhog when Phil dies when he drops Phil.

[06:10:05] And it was Beto -- named Beto the Groundhog. So I thought he was effective at times. That being said, his negatives are so high. His favorable versus unfavorable ratings. Voters do not like his style very much. I don't know whether he disproved them. He sort of came off as overly aggressive I thought even though that was a great, great moment.

CAMEROTA: That was a really I thought effective framing of -- for all of you people who feel that your jobs have been taken by, here's how I see it. I thought that was interesting. ISGUR: For progressives. Not actually for those people who would

find that to be a somewhat insulting and patronizing version of their feelings.

BERMAN: All right. Guys, stick around. We have a lot more to discuss including maybe what was not said or focused on as much in that debate which I think is as interesting as anything. Also we have three of the presidential candidates who were on that stage who in many ways were right at the center of everything that was going on. Julian Castro, we just spoke about him, Beto O'Rourke, and also Jay Inslee, the governor of Washington state. Part of some very interesting exchanges. Much more on all of this coming up.


[04:15:44] CAMEROTA: All right. If you missed the debate last night, no worries. We have lots of moments for you. The high and low lights that we're going to show you so we're back with our CNN political analysts right now.

BERMAN: Including David Gregory who is now back with us as well.

CAMEROTA: David Gregory is ready. Thank goodness. Sarah Isgur, Elaina Plott, she's the White House correspondent at the "Atlantic," and Nathan Gonzales, he's the editor and publisher of "Inside Elections."

OK. Let's talk about this moment between Jay Inslee of Washington and Amy Klobuchar about abortion and who has done more to protect women's rights. So listen to this.


GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We do have one candidate that's actually advanced the ball and we got to have access for everyone --


LESTER HOLT, DEBATE MODERATOR: Senator -- Senator Klobuchar, I want to give you --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's a false claim.

HOLT: I'm fascinated by this. Senator Klobuchar?

KLOBUCHAR: I just want to say there's three women up here that have fought pretty hard for a woman's right to choose. I'll start with that.



CAMEROTA: I know that was kind of a no brainer for her to pick up and run with. PLOTT: It was a no brainer and it was a standout moment for her

precisely because the rest of the night was a bit muted for Senator Klobuchar. I mean, I think she was somebody -- a line that for instance that stuck out to me was when she said I can't make all of the promises that the people standing beside me can make, but I can govern with integrity, which that sounds really nice, but in the kind of, like, race to the left that was taking place on that stage, it didn't really resonate. So that's the moment that I think her campaign if they're smart will likely latch onto.

BERMAN: I also think there were three women on that stage last night. And that's an historic moment to have that. And I think that was a reminder of that moment. You took a step back and said, hey, we are seeing something here different than we've ever seen before in a presidential election.

David Gregory, you brought up what I think was one of the major trends or the major facets of this debate, which is sort of the leftward tilt. But there was something else here that just jumped out to me which is the absence of President Trump as a target really, an explicit target in this. You didn't hear it so much from these 10 candidates, and when you look at the front runner who'll be on the stage tonight, former vice president Joe Biden, that's almost exclusively what he talks about.

GREGORY: Yes, I think that's right. And I think it shows that there's a different argument that Biden is making which is we can have a fight over who's the best progressive and what the progressive values are that we ought to take the country as a Democratic Party, a kind of redefining of the party which I think is happening, or we can focus on job one which is getting rid of President Trump at the ballot box.

I mean, Jay Inslee got that big applause line when he said that Trump was the biggest threat to the country. So it's certainly something that people are feeling. But I think this is a big area of tension. And I think Biden will really bring it into sharp relief tonight, which is what's my best progressive claim, and that is that I can beat President Trump. And that's all that we should be really focused on.

And I think, you know, one of the things that Elaina points out about -- that I think is right about Klobuchar and why she's kind of in the middle of the pack right now, there is a huge emphasis right now on fight and passion. And it is because there's an urgency that so many Trump critics feel to beat him in this election. And I think that's why whether it's, you know, making the case on progressive values and health care or beating Trump, that's where the passion is. And I think that's what's called for here in this large field.

CAMEROTA: There were also a moment, Sarah, where Tulsi Gabbard talked about her experience and about why she doesn't believe in all of these different military interventions. And she had some sparring with Tim Ryan or back and forth. So let's watch that for a moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- keep U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan thinking that we are going to somehow squash this Taliban that's been there --

REP. TIM RYAN (D-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn't say -- I didn't say squash them. I didn't say squash them. When we weren't in there, they started flying planes into our buildings. So I'm just saying right now we have --

GABBARD: The Taliban didn't attack us on 9/11, al Qaeda did.

RYAN: Well, I --

GABBARD: Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11.

RYAN: I understand. I understand --

GABBARD: That's why I and so many other people joined the military. To go after al Qaeda, not the Taliban.

RYAN: I understand that. The --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead, Congressman. Finish up. Ten seconds.

RYAN: The Taliban was protecting those people who were plotting against us. All I'm saying is if we want to go into elections and we want to say that we've got to withdraw from the world, that's what President Trump is saying.


CAMEROTA: As a veteran, she can speak with a command of the issue.

[06:20:03] ISGUR: Yes, she did. She did. I actually did think it was one of the better moments of the debate if you wanted to know where people stood on issues. I don't know at this point how much voters want to get into the policy details. We were talking earlier about Julian Castro talking about 18 USC 1325 on immigration. How many voters really want to get into the U.S. Criminal Code, I don't know right now.

But it was a very helpful moment to see two different wings of the party as the Democratic Party figures out what it wants to be going into 2020, that might have been one of the best moments if you were explaining to someone what the Democratic Party is grappling with right now.


GREGORY: Can I just add to Sarah's point which is look at the -- how things have changed in the Democratic Party. Barack Obama ran as a candidate saying that he would in fact deny safe harbor, safe haven for any terrorist around the globe. That's what the Taliban was. It was safe harbor for al Qaeda which provided a basis to attack the United States. That has never been in dispute despite their back-and- fort. Barack Obama said yes, I'd send forces into Pakistan to take out key terrorist figures, something that was scoffed at by then- President Bush.

Now we have this move away. It's not just Trump but it's certainly on the left as well after all these years in Afghanistan saying, this is all kind of military adventurism.

BERMAN: Nathan, I want to give you the last word here. And again you look at the numbers very, very deeply and closely. We look at what happened last night, Elizabeth Warren was the only candidate polling above 5 percent. Tonight again you have the frontrunner Joe Biden consistently above 30 percent. Where is the Democratic field? Is there space for someone to break through?

GONZALES: Well, I mean, I think there are a lot of voters even if they're saying, they're telling pollsters that they have a favorite right now are open to other candidates. So I think there's an opportunity. But by and large we've had a fairly static race. You might see a few, you know, candidates go up and down by a few points. But I kind of start -- I start from the standpoint of that nothing matters until proven otherwise.

And I mean, every, you know, debate that's going to be upcoming or news event, it's like well, this is the game changer. This is the game -- well, most things aren't the game changer. The president's job approval rating has been very steady for months. And so I think we have a long way to go. And I think this is just the beginning of a Democratic primary that's going to get more heated and more divisive.

But I think Democrats are going to be united in November of 2020 because ultimately they want to defeat President Trump. And that's the thing that's going to pull them together after all of this uncomfortable in-fighting.

BERMAN: All right, friends. Stand by. We have much more to talk about in terms of the debate and the impact going forward.

Also this morning, President Trump, he just landed in Japan for the G- 20 summit. Big issues including meetings with Xi Jinping trying to end this trade war with China. Is a possible break in that work on the horizon? We have a live report next.

CAMEROTA: Plus an American tourist killed by sharks in the Bahamas. We have the details. Next.


[06:27:09] BERMAN: All right. Happening now. Just moments ago, President Trump, you can see the pictures right here, arriving in Japan. He is there for the G-20 summit. CNN has new reporting on the discussions with China. Could there be a possible truce in the trade war?

Kaitlan Collins is live in Osaka with the details. Kaitlan, what have you learned?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, if you would ask this question two months ago, officials would have said they thought maybe a trade deal could happen at this summit here in Osaka. But now what they are looking for essentially is a truce. And what that truce would look like is potentially the U.S. holding off on imposing a new round of tariffs on Chinese imported goods in hopes that they can continue to renew these talks, and maybe establish some kind of new deadline for these talks to continue.

Now we reported back in May that after Chinese officials visited Washington, the talks between the two sides, the U.S. side and the Chinese side, largely broke down. And our latest reporting shows that what U.S. officials believe is there is still internal opposition on the Chinese side to these American demands that the Chinese essentially reform their economy and reform the way that they do trade.

Now the question is what is that going to do to this meeting? This high stakes meeting that is going to be one of the biggest that President Trump has here while he's in Osaka at the G-20 summit? And so the question that we're looking for right now is if they do agree to a truce here. Because essentially there's three options here. They could strike a trade deal, which our sources say is pretty unlikely. They could not meet at all which right now there is a meeting on President Trump's schedule. But the truce seems to be the most likely option to come out of this.

Now an indication that the president may not be willing to meet what the Chinese demands are on the American side is he brought along his chief China critic. That's Peter Navarro who some officials have complained has hampered these trade talks at time. He's not normally on the same side as the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. So that will be something to watch. How big of a role does Peter Navarro play over the next few days here. But John and Alisyn, essentially what we're going to be looking for is meetings at the deputy level between -- before President Trump and President Xi actually sit down on Saturday here in Osaka.

CAMEROTA: OK, Kaitlan, thank you very much for all of that reporting. It sounds like something very interesting could happen while he is there.

Also new this morning, another flaw discovered on the Boeing 737 MAX jets. Now United Airlines is cancelling -- excuse me, all of their scheduled flights using that fleet until at least September.

CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin joins us now with details. What now, Drew?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Exactly, Alisyn. What now? Our sources are telling us that it was government pilots, FAA pilots, test pilots working through a simulator, found a problem with the microprocessor on board the 737 MAX.

Alisyn, that created the same situation that is suspected of downing the two flights, the Ethiopian Air crash and the Lion Air crash, where you have the plane pointing in a downward position. And most importantly, according to our --