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Biden Dominates Democratic Field In New Polls; Democrats Worry Window Is Closing On Impeachment Probe; Senate Intel Report Warns Of Ongoing Election Threat. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 26, 2019 - 06:00   ET

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


[06:00:00]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Happy Friday, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is New Day. It is Friday, July 26th, 6:00 here in New York.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: In New York. We're back in New York.

CAMEROTA: We're back here in New York, that's right, after a wild ride in Washington, D.C. We'll talk more about the fallout from that.

But, first, this morning, former Vice President Joe Biden has a new plan and CNN has new details about his strategy. A senior campaign official says that Biden himself is behind this new more aggressive approach which will take on his competitors directly. He is reportedly bracing for attacks at next week's democratic debate. And this time, his campaign says he's not going to just roll over, their words.

He also comes armed with some very strong poll number we want to show you. A new national poll shows Biden's support increasing among voters, leading his competitors by 18 points. In South Carolina, Biden has more than a three to one lead over his nearest competitor. And in Ohio, he is polling higher than Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris combined. And Biden is the only democrat who beats Donald Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup in that key swing state.

BERMAN: Also new this morning, CNN has learned that some House Democrats are now concerned that time a running out to pursue any kind of impeachment inquiry, that it needs to happen by September, some or saying, or not at all. And that the House Judiciary Chair, Jerry Nadler, has at least considered the possibility of beginning an inquiry without a full House vote.

Other big news in the democratic caucus this morning, we're waiting to see this highly anticipated meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This is their first private meeting in months and the first since a very public feud.

CAMEROTA: All right. Joining us now to talk about all of it, we have Errol Louis, CNN Political Commentator, we have Kaitlan Collins, CNN White House Correspondent, and Bianna Golodryga, CNN Contributor. Happy Friday, everybody. Let's get right to these interesting polls. First, let's show this Fox News poll, okay? So this shows where Biden is today, July 2019 versus a month ago. He has actually ticked up a hair. He is as 33 percent, more than twice where Sanders, his nearest competitor, is. And then you see Warren -- Sanders at 15 percent, Warren, 12 percent, Harris, 10 percent, Buttigieg, 5 percent.

Let's look at the Monmouth University poll. For South Carolina, Biden is more than three times his nearest competitor who is Kamala Harris there at at 39 percent.

I won't hog all the polls. I'll let John show you some also. But the point is, Errol, maybe he shouldn't change his strategy. Whatever he is doing is working really well. And the idea he's going to this debate with a whole new strategy, I don't know if that's wise.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, he can take comfort in those numbers but not for long, because as we saw on the debate stage, everything can change. These are big major events. They can boost his competitors. They can lead to problems for him. They can put him in a light. And this is, I think, the more important thing, where it looks like he can't take on Donald Trump, which we know from all of the polls, because they're all asking it, it's the most important concern of democratic voters.

So he can't let himself get beat up on a debate stage because that will sort of really kind of spoil the whole brand. The whole brand is supposed to be, I'm Joe Biden. I'm big enough. I'm bad enough. I can take on Donald Trump head-to-head. If it looks like he can't do that, it's becomes a real problem for him.

BERMAN: And he's telegraphing that. He is telegraphing that he's going to go on this debate stage and be different than he was last time. And the word he has used, and I can play some sound here to this effect, is he thinks he was too polite. Let's listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I was probably overly polite in the way I didn't respond to an attack, you're not a racist, which was a nice thing to say. It was really reassuring. And so my guess is that it has more to do with are people convinced that I still am the strongest person to fight back against Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: It's really interesting. The former Vice President said exactly what Errol Louis just said.

CAMEROTA: He is listening.

BERMAN: He is listening. No, he is telegraphing his strategy. It's always interesting to me, Bianna, when you're in the weeks of debate prep before a big moment, sometimes the candidates give you the stage directions out loud. Sometimes they tell you exactly what's happening behind the scenes in their deliberations. And it seems to me the Vice President is telling us that they know he has to go in there and just appear more aggressive.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: But he said he's still going to do it with a smile. Look, clearly, he has been pressured to come in better equipped for this next debate.

[06:05:02]

What struck me in the CNN reporting is that he said he actually watched that first debate as well. Remember this interview with Chris Cuomo, he said that he did not watch it. So, clearly, he didn't like what he saw, the optics did not look good and he took it personally when he was called -- you know, he was told that he wasn't a racist given his history.

He took it personally also when he thought that Kamala Harris, who was a personal friend, went after him. He is now going to come in with these new poll numbers, he's going to come in with his own record and try to defend it, obviously on issues of race relations and his approach, and I also think healthcare as well, because this has been the one tangible he has compared to the other candidate, specifically Kamala Harris, who has been sort of all over the place when it comes to healthcare and undecided about how she would pursue it going forward. He's got the Affordable Care Act, which he said he's going to focus on improving as opposed to focusing on Medicare for all or blowing up the system.

So a lot of pressure on him, but he's clearly feeling a little bit more emboldened now with his numbers.

CAMEROTA: It's always interesting to look at the key State of Ohio. So shall we do that?

Here is the Quinnipiac poll. That shows Biden more than twice ahead of his closest competitor in Ohio, and that is Kamala Harris. He is 31 percent. She is 14 percent tied with Bernie Sanders at 14.

BERMAN: What's really interesting about Ohio though is the head-to- head matchups with President Trump. We have those numbers also. He is the only candidate who is decisively leading President Trump in Ohio.

Now, look, the Quinnipiac poll may be an outlier there, but it's a decidedly different number, the one between Joe Biden and President Trump and any of the other candidates.

CAMEROTA: And, of course, Kaitlan, the challenge for all candidates is how to have an aggressive primary without leaving somebody so battle scarred for the general. So that will be what the, I guess, dance we see at the debates this coming will be?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And that's really what the Trump campaign has been counting on, is that somehow during this whole primary battle, they're going to push all the candidates so far to the left that it helps them when it's the candidate who is running against President Trump. And that's why they fear Joe Biden the most. Because they're looking at polls like that one in Ohio and they know that he is the one who has the best ability right now to get those Trump voters, those people who may have voted for President Obama before and then voted President Trump. Those are the voters they're looking to hang on to in this next election, wondering what those swing voters are going to be doing in this upcoming election. So that's why they're worried about people like Joe Biden.

And you see the President going after him, even as recently as last night in his interview, where he was talking about his age. Even though the President and Joe Biden are only a few years apart, the President was trying to make a reference to his age, also referencing the Special Counsel's age after people watched Robert Mueller testify on Capitol Hill and noticed that he didn't testify in the way that he was once known as this tough prosecutor.

And the President was trying to draw a comparison between the two of those, which people we've spoken with inside the White House don't think that's the best idea for the President, like how I think he should just take the win here. But it really does frame up how the President is looking at this. Because, still, on a day-to-day basis, the President is regularly polling people about who they think is going to be the most formidable person that he's running against.

BERMAN: In Ohio, we have an answer at least right now, today. Now, that could change. But it's interesting to see what those people in that poll think.

Errol, another thing that continues to fascinate me is the African- American vote and how they are looking at Joe Biden as compared to at least two African-American senators who are running for this office right now. In South Carolina, and this is P110 (ph), Joe Biden is at 51 percent, 51 percent among African-Americans in South Carolina. Way back in second is Kamala Harris at 12 and then Bernie Sanders at 10.

Now, I know it's early and I know that we have seen in past elections, particularly in 2008, the African-American vote change en masse toward Barack Obama.

But there has been an intervening event here. There was that debate where Kamala Harris was seen is doing incredibly well and yet you still have that chasm in South Carolina.

LOUIS: Yes. You know, I tie that to some of the other numbers that are in that poll sort of buried or embedded within the poll, which suggests that there's a very high concern among black voters in South Carolina about who can beat Trump. And so that, in some ways, is going to sort of push everything else aside and be why they're going to cleave to a proven vote-getter.

He's the only one out on the field who has run in national elections. He's won twice. He helped the first African-American president win. There's nothing not to like if what your only concern is or your main concern is, your overriding concern is defeating Donald Trump. I think that's really what explains it. For Harris, she does know that in 2007-2008 in the race, black voters were not on board with Obama until he won Iowa, and then then they all came. So for Booker, for Harris, they're maybe hoping for a breakthrough somewhere down the line. But for right now, yes, black voters at least in South Carolina are going to be sticking with the favorite.

[06:10:00]

CAMEROTA: Bianna, it's just interesting psychologically to think if voters are sure that Joe Biden can beat Donald Trump or if he's just familiar and there's something comforting about knowing somebody, about this time, this tumultuous time, of feeling that you have a known commodity.

GOLODRYGA: Well, there is I think a bit of both going into that as well. I agree with Errol. I think if there's any lesson to be learned from Hillary Clinton is that you never take the black vote for granted. So they're with Joe Biden until they're not.

I think Cory Booker is going to come into this fight as well and talk about race relations. Joe Biden seems to be prepared to go after Booker's record as Mayor of Newark and some of the policies stop-and- frisk.

And I think going back to Kaitlan's point though a bit more subtly (ph), there is going to be an interesting dynamic when it comes to the generational gap between these candidates. I don't think they're going to take the President's route in just attacking Joe Biden for his age and some of these candidates, particularly in relation to what we saw from Bob Mueller this week.

But we have seen more subtle digs from the Pete Buttigiegs and even other candidates referencing the age gap. And we're going to see if that's going to be an issue here in the next debate.

CAMEROTA: It is funny to see a septuagenarian making fun of other septuagenarians when they're just within months away --

LOUIS: That little guy.

CAMEROTA: So we'll see how that works out. All right, thank you all very much. So the lineups are set for the CNN democratic presidential debates. Two big nights, ten candidates each night, Tuesday and Wednesday night at 8:00 live from Detroit. We'll be there only on CNN.

BERMAN: We are moving to Detroit.

CAMEROTA: We really are.

BERMAN: All right. New reporting this morning about what House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler might have up his sleeve, an impeachment maneuver that could change the equation. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [06:15:00]

BERMAN: This morning, we are waiting to see a highly anticipated meeting between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. This is their first private meeting since they had this very public feud.

Also this morning, we're getting new reporting on how democrats are struggling to implement a strategy on investigating President Trump. Lauren Fox is live on Capitol Hill with the very latest from there. Lauren?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Good morning, John. 95 democrats at least support moving forward with an impeachment inquiry at this point. But democrats are still very divided over the next steps with Speaker Pelosi very hesitant to move forward. She wants instead for her caucus to focus on their legislative agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FOX: The heat is on for House Democrats.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We will own August and make it too hot to handle for the Senate not to take up our bills.

FOX: Looking to move forward now that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's testimonies are over. But growing calls for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump overshadowing their legislative agenda, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at the heart of her party's battle.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Are you going to discourage your members at all from announcing their support for an impeachment inquiry?

PELOSI: I never have done that, never, never have done that.

FOX: A source tells CNN Pelosi put the issue into members' hands giving them this message when it comes to impeachment. Do your own thing. For some, that time is now.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): If we don't take action come September 1st, then we should just shut it down.

I feel strongly that we should, but I think we're running out of time.

FOX: Sources attending a Wednesday meeting say Pelosi emphasized an impeachment decision should require the support of the entire caucus, not just one individual, and that fighting Trump should begin in the courts first.

REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): I totally understand why the Speaker is where she is and I don't think that the Judiciary Committee and those of us who have called for impeachment inquiry are at odds with her.

FOX: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler unable to say if he'll move forward without Speaker Pelosi's approval. REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): I don't know. What I do know is that we have to go step by step. And our next step starting tomorrow is to get the evidence before the American people.

FOX: Two Committee Chairman, Adam Schiff and Elijah Cummings tell CNN they support beginning formal impeachment proceedings if the President defies a court order.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I'm keeping an open mind, but I have yet to be fully persuaded.

FOX: President Trump is still taking a victory lap, ramping up his criticism of the entire Mueller investigation.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: This was a fake witch hunt and it should never be allowed to happen to another president again. This was treason. This was high crimes.

FOX: Republicans stressing that democrats are wasting their time.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): That should be put to bed. That is over. We watched it. We heard it. We've read it. What more can they make up?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

FOX: And then just a little over two hours, we expect Nancy Pelosi to sit down with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to discuss some of their differences over impeachment, over a feud they had over an emergency border supplemental bill a couple of weeks ago. We expect that meeting to open a line of communication, according to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That's the hope at least.

But the big question, of course, can progressives and moderates go back to their districts for the six-week recess and come back to Washington united/

BERMAN: Lauren Fox for us on Capitol Hill. I am very interested to see what the Speaker and Congresswoman say after that meeting if they have the same view and what comes out of it.

[06:20:03]

Back with us now, Kaitlan Collins, CNN White House Correspondent, and Rachael Bade, CNN Political Analyst and Congressional Reporter for The Washington Post.

And, Rachael, you have your own reporting on much of the stuff that Lauren was just talking about on really how there's some dissatisfaction and unrest and uncertainty inside the democratic caucus right now, more now than ever in terms of how to investigate the President.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. It's a little, perhaps, counterintuitive especially after Wednesday when democrats, you know, failed to land a new blow on the President coming out of the Mueller hearing. A lot of people felt that there wasn't that made for T.V. moment. He wasn't able to sort of bring the report to life and to give it this heft that they would need to move public sentiment to try to oust the President.

And yet at the same time, we are seeing a sort of desperation, almost, in the pro-impeachment caucus. There is the timeline right now that they have in their heads and the time is ticking. And they're worried that they're running out of time to impeach the President.

And so what we saw right after Mueller's testimony was a bunch of democrats confront Pelosi in a private meeting and say, listen, we are getting grilled by our base. They're saying, not only do we need to impeach him but that we're not investigating fast enough. And Pelosi basically said, you know, we've got to look to the courts. The courts have to go first.

But then you're hearing people like Jerry Nadler, who's the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, say on television that he doesn't know if he's going to open his own impeachment inquiry on his own. He actually has the power to do that. I personally, just from covering him and covering the democrats, am very skeptical that he would go against Pelosi and actually do it on his own.

But this just shows you as they sort of break for the August recess, they're getting all this heat from their base and even, you know, former Obama acolytes who are saying they haven't really used their authority in the House well and they haven't done a lot to sort of air out Trump's dirty laundry in terms of actually digging into oversight.

CAMEROTA: Well, there you go, Rachael. One more question about your reporting on that note. Isn't there a difference between starting a formal impeachment inquiry, which obviously has been a source of great debate and doing their job which is, in large, oversight. Of course, legislation is another thing, but oversight. So are they suggesting that they would even walk away from the oversight portion of the investigating of the President in this?

BADE: Nobody is suggesting that. I mean, I do think that there are some centrist democrats who don't want it to be the number one issue and they want to focus specifically on legislating. But when you talk to Speaker Pelosi's office, for instance, they are never going to say, oh, we need to drop this, we shouldn't do oversight.

But what people feel they're doing is they're just sort of taking their time on a lot of this when, again, the clock is running out. For instance, Don McGahn, he ignored a subpoena two months ago. Why haven't they gone to court yet to try to force him to come in? And he was just the first witness in the Mueller report. These are people that, if you actually get them in the witness chair, they actually could have that made for T.V. moment just like John Dean had for Richard Nixon.

But Don McGahn obviously ignored a subpoena. And there's a lot of White House official who have done the same. But the democrats have yet to really move to force their hand in court.

BERMAN: Corey Lewandowski, who has no claim of privilege, has not been subpoenaed.

We have Jerry Nadler on coming on later in the show and we're going to ask about the ideas that you just raised there, Rachael, about maybe he would do this without full House approval and what avenues he has.

Kaitlan, there's another big story that's all connected to this, which is at the Senate Intelligence Committee, has released the beginnings of their findings about the Russian attack on the U.S. election system in 2016. And among the findings was all 50 states -- Russia targeted all 50 states, sweeping -- a sweeping assault. Robert Mueller talked about it during his testimony. A sweeping assault.

And also just yesterday, Senator Mitch McConnell and republicans in the Senate once again blocked -- senate -- protection, ways to protect the electoral systems in the United States. It's really interesting to see this all playing out at once.

COLLINS: Yes. And this report is pretty damning if you read it. Because not only does it go into the extensive efforts to interfere in the election, it also talks about how long it dates back. It also warns about what's to come. That's essentially the reason for this report is to essentially have a postmortem. So you can see they want people to know what to do going forward.

But, of course, this does come as McConnell is refusing to take those votes up because he claims that these bills are partisan, that they're not needed, that, essentially, they're just -- so they can have a referendum on the President, because, of course, the chief criticism from democrats as been that the President is not taking election meddling seriously.

And there is a sense of that here at the White House, because aides go out of their way not to bring it up with the President because they know it's a very sensitive topic for him that irritates him. So that's their concern.

And you saw that in a letter from House Democrats to the White House yesterday demanding that the President get this in-depth briefing on election interference that they received because they don't feel like the President has been taking it seriously enough.

[06:25:01]

That is something you hear reflected in our reporting back here at the White House. Because even though sources say aggressively behind the scenes, they are working on this trying to counter it. Of course, the question is whether or not the President's skepticism goes to undermine those efforts. So that's really the question going forward here.

But this report is pretty damning and lays out in detail just how extensive those efforts to interfere in the election truly were.

CAMEROTA: Well, it is complicated. How can you work wholeheartedly on something that your boss, the President, says is a hoax?

So, Kaitlan, Rachael, thank you very much.

So why were 16 marines pulled out of their morning formation and arrested? We have the stunning charges that they are facing and the story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: We're getting new details this morning about 16 U.S. marines who were arrested at California's Camp Pendleton.

[06:30:00]

Their alleged crimes range from drug related offenses to human smuggling.

CNN's Barbara Starr is live at the Pentagon. And, Barbara, I don't think I've heard of.

END