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Debate Preps of Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Examined; House Dems Looking at Impeachment?; Latest North Korean Missile Tests; Teens Sought in Canadian Murder Case; Two U.S. Teens Arrested in Italian Policeman's Murder; Francisco Galicia Home in Texas Following 23 Days in ICE Custody; Flying High in Europe. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired July 27, 2019 - 08:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Good Saturday morning to you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: Hi, everyone. I'm Jessica Dean in for Christi Paul this morning. Ahead of the CNN Democratic Presidential Debates next week...

BLACKWELL: Yes, we are seeing the first hints of a more aggressive Biden campaign as he takes on rival Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Cory Booker. Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren is staying out of the fray and announcing her 1 millionth donation as she tries to make the case she can run a successful campaign without high-dollar fundraising. But can she do it in a race against fellow progressive Bernie Sanders? Joining us now from New Hampshire, CNN Political Reporter, Rebecca Buck. Rebecca, good morning to you. I mean this announcement, obviously an important moment, that 1 millionth donation but it's interesting that neither she nor Senator Sanders who also surpassed that $1 million threshold were the top fundraisers for that - t his second quarter.

REBECCA BUCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. I mean there are limitations when you're taking the approach of either Elizabeth Warren or Burnie Sanders. They've ruled out pretty much these high-dollar donations, these closed-door fundraisers with extremely wealthy people, the sort of fundraisers that we've seen Pete Buttigieg doing, Joe Biden doing. But what Elizabeth Warren and Burnie Sanders have been able to demonstrate by only accepting these grassroots donations is the level of momentum of their campaigns and there's no question that Elizabeth Warren has quite a bit of momentum. The question, of course, though going into the debates next week is can she continue that momentum and build on it.

Of course the other candidates jockeying for position as well and trying to have their moment in the sun and keep their campaigns going. Joe Biden saying this week that he plans on being less polite on the debate stage this time around after, of course, that very interesting moment he had with Kamala Harris in the first round of debates. Kamala Harris was asked is she was going to be polite? Well she said she was raised to be polite but we've seen her be aggressive on the debate stage before. It certainly wouldn't be a surprise to see her aggressive up there once again. Pete Buttigieg was asked about his approach to the debate. Take a listen.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to do it for its own sake but of course I'm going to vigorously defend what I believe in and when there are contrasts to be drawn, we're going to draw them. But for me this is not having some canned moment. This is about making sure that the American people can understand what I believe in and why my candidacy is not like any of the others.


BUCK: Now one of the big challenges in this race, of course, and in the debates next week is standing out when there are going to be ten candidates on stage each night over these two nights. Andrew Yang had an interesting, novel approach to getting attention. He tweeted yesterday that he's putting the press on notice. He plans on going after Senator Michael Bennet on the debate stage. He said in his tweet, Bennet knows what he did that sparked a very humorous, fun sort of back and forth between these two candidates.

Another light-hearted moment on the trail yesterday, Senator Cory Booker was in Iowa. He had a moment in one of his campaign stops where he offered to shave the heads of his supporters in exchange for money donated to charity. Three people took him up on it on the campaign trail there. We're not expecting any moments like that here on the campaign trail in New Hampshire with Senator Elizabeth Warren today. But of course as I mentioned at the top, she's really trying to build on this momentum, set up this very interesting matchup between her and Bernie Sanders. So far she has not been going after him as we've seen among Kamala Harris, Joe Biden and Cory Booker but we'll keep eye on that today for you. Jessica and Victor.

DEAN: Yes, it will be interesting to see. Warren and Sanders there side by side on the CNN debate stage. Rebecca Buck in New Hampshire for us, thanks so much.

BLACKWELL: Joining me now to discuss Joel Payne, former senior aide for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Joel, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: So let's talk about this matchup between former Vice President Biden and Senator Booker. The vice president has been taking incoming on the crime bill and actually he's put out his criminal justice reform plan and I ask you what I asked the former president of the NAACP a few moments ago, is the former vice president on secure enough footing that he can now approach criminal justice reform offensively? He's now going after former Mayor Booker's record in Newark.

PAYNE: Well, his competitors are certainly going to test him. I think about this as styles make fights. You know, in the first round Kamala Harris found a weakness in the former vice president and she exposed it. I think now the other competitors are looking for their opportunity to expose it. You could say Cory Booker actually was looking for that moment last time around. He's trying to capitalize on it now. I think the difference here is he's telegraphing his move a little bit whereas Kamala Harris sat on that and waited for the right moment in the debate.

What the Biden folks have shown you is that they're ready. They had a pretty detailed pushback already prepared for Cory Booker for the right moment in the debate.


What the Biden folks have shown you is that they're ready. They actually had a pretty detailed pushback already prepared for Cory Booker, talking about his record as Newark mayor and what they also did was really kind of put everybody on notice that they're not going to be beat up on, kind of like the former vice president was last time. So it will be really interesting to see whether or not the other candidates decide to back off or whether they decide to be more aggressive with the former vice president.

BLACKWELL: Do you think it's a mistake to telegraph that punch? Because if you don't land it properly, then people are let down and then you take the sting out of it if you land it properly.

PAYNE: I see both sides of it. So from Cory Booker's perspective, he's -- he's essentially established one of the subplots for the debates next week which is this battle between Booker and Biden over criminal justice reform is going to be something that I imagine the moderators will pay extra attention to. So from that perspective, that's good for Booker but again, you take away that element of surprise. I've worked on these campaigns before and you prepare for all scenarios but it's always helpful to know where that incoming is going to come from.

BLACKWELL: All right, so I want you to listen and everyone to listen to this was former Vice President Biden back in May, soon after he started his campaign and the pledge he made for the primaries.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will not speak ill of any of the democratic candidates. I will not do it.


BLACKWELL: I think most people were waiting for when that would expire. That may expire on Wednesday night when he's on stage between Booker and Harris but does the democratic primary electorate need to see 2019 Joe Biden land a punch because that is what lifted Senator Harris in the polls after the first debate and everyone's wondering what that debate of a democratic candidate will look like against the sitting President Donald Trump.

PAYNE: What the primary audience needs to see is Joe Biden show some life. I do think you've seen signs of life from the Biden campaign. They clearly went to school on their performance last time and licked their wounds. You've seen the former vice president has actually had more of a strategy of being a little bit more open with doing interviews and obviously again telegraphing that he's not going to be taken advantage of on the debate stage just because he is the front- runner for all intents and purposes now.

But I think that the primary electorate is looking for a candidate that can stand on stage with Donald Trump. It's interesting because Biden takes advantage of idea of electability. That's really built on the fact that he can fight Donald Trump better than anybody and he can counter Donald Trump better than anybody. Well you can't do that if you can't even take oncoming from your rivals like a Kamala Harris or Cory Booker. He's got to pass that test to make sure that primary voters understand that he can be that candidate.

BLACKWELL: Let me ask you about aides, there's an op-ed in "USA Today," headline here, "Mueller's Performance was Bad for Essentially Sanders, Biden and Trump." And let's put it up on the screen. One of the line from Ross Baker that "raising the question of a candidate's age may be insensitive but it not irrelevant," suggesting there is some carryover from the criticized performance by 74-year-old Robert Mueller and now you have two men in their late 70s and the president 73 this year. Do you think that holds water that the performance that people saw from Bob Mueller this week hurts Biden, Sanders and maybe the president?

PAYNE: I'm sure. Look, you can find an audience for anybody or any thought and I'm sure there are some segments of society where that's true. I think more broadly, I think what people are paying attention to is content and they're paying attention to what somebody is able to deliver. Bernie Sanders is 78 years old and I can challenge you that he is probably more energetic than people two decades younger than him. Donald Trump is 73, right, but people don't take that into account and Joe Biden and Donald Trump are essentially the same age. I always say they could have gone to high school together. You know Joe Biden would have been the senior quarterback and Donald Trump would have been the freshman flunkie trying to come up behind him.

So, you know, the age I think is less material to what they do when they are challenged, how they react. Biden's problem is not his age; it's the fact that he's been slow to react and his campaign has been slow to react. That's the challenge, that's what he's got to push back on. There is a broader generational discussion here that does not work in Biden's favor. But again, I think that the actual number age, whether you're 60, 70, 80, that's less important than your style and whether or not you show yourself as somebody that is going to push back and is going to fight for your values.

BLACKWELL: Yes, that generational argument, you'll see the stark difference on Tuesday night when you've got Bernie Sanders who is in his late 70s standing next to 37-year-old Pete Buttigieg, literally less than half his age and Buttigieg making that argument as part of his campaign. Joel Payne, good to have you on the show.

PAYNE: Thanks for having me.

BLACKWELL: All right, Jessica. DEAN: Well House Democrats are pushing forward on impeachment but they aren't opening an official inquiry just yet. Instead, the House Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit Friday to get grand jury information from the Mueller report. CNN's Sunlen Serfaty has more.

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are going farther than ever, admitting the investigation they are already conducting into President Trump could lead to recommending Articles of Impeachment against him without the full House ever formally voting for an inquiry.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're saying there's no difference between what you're doing now and an impeachment inquiry, correct?

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN: In effect, we are going to see what remedies we could recommend, including articles of impeachment. We are not limited to that.


SERFATY: The committee filing a lawsuit in federal court to get the underlying grand jury material from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report arguing, quote, "The committee is conducting an investigation whose purposes include determining whether to recommend articles of impeachment," Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler now openly threatening impeachment proceedings.


NADLER: The House must have access to all the relevant facts and consider whether to exercise its full Article I powers, including a constitutional power of the utmost gravity, recommendation of articles of impeachment.


SURFATY: While also readying a second court case to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn to comply with his subpoena.


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: This court filing is the first time that you're seeing us telegraph to the court that one of the remedies we have is impeachment.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD), JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I would say we are in an impeachment investigation.


SERFATY: This comes as 100 democrats support opening up an impeachment inquiry and as some are growing impatient with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's strategy worried the window for starting impeachment proceedings may be closing. (BEGIN VIDEO)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: No, I'm not trying to run out the clock. Let's get sophisticated about this, okay? We will proceed when we have what we need to proceed, not one day sooner.


SERFATY: But pressure is growing behind closed doors from top deputies like Chairman Nadler who has pleaded with Pelosi privately to allow him to lean into impeachment.


NADLER: We may decide to recommend articles of impeachment at some point, we may not. That remains to be seen and there's no point speculating on whether the speaker or anybody else will agree with our decision at that point.

DEAN: And that was Sunlen Serfaty reporting for us from Capitol Hill

BLACKWELL: Well there were Pentagon funds laid out for recruiting, aircraft upgrades, training Afghan security forces, but now the Supreme Court says the president can use that money to build a border wall. The high court overturned a lower court decision dealing a win to the White House but it may only be temporary because the court battle is not over. This ruling just allows the money to be spent while the legal fight continues but that is not stopping the president from declaring victory.

He tweeted this, "Big win for border security and the rule of law."

Coming up, President Trump is downplaying North Korea's new act of defiance claiming that he still has a good relationship with Kim Jong- un, despite new missile tests. Details ahead.

DEAN: Plus the Coast Guard releasing this video of a high-speed chase involving a boat carrying a lot of cocaine. What they're saying about that big bust, that's next.



BLACKWELL: President Trump is downplaying North Korea's latest short- range missile tests. The tests are the first since he and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met last month and agree to restart denuclearization talks.

DEAN: According to North Korea's state-run media, Kim Jong-un is calling the test, quote, "A warning to South Korea," but President Trump says it's not a setback to denuclearization talks.


TRUMP: They are short-range missiles and my relationship is very good with Chairman Kim and we'll see what happens but they are short-range missiles and many people have those missiles.


DEAN: Joining us, Gordon Chang, author of "Nuclear Showdown,North Korea Takes On The World" and columnist for "The Daily Beast." Good morning to you Gordon.

GORDON CHANG, AUTHOR: Good morning, Jessica.

DEAN: We just we just listened to President Trump there explaining his take, his assessment of these tests. Do you agree with what the president - with his assessment? Do you think it's - it's not an issue?

CHANG: No certainly it is an issue because even short-range ballistic missile tests are a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions. And if you let the North Koreans violate these resolutions, they will escalate. Also these short-range missiles target our ally, South Korea, and they almost can get to Japan which of course is our cornerstone ally in Asia. And so by saying it's not a big deal, what President Trump is saying to Tokyo and to Seoul is, "Oh they can threaten you and that's okay with me." That's not a very good thing for our alliances in the region.

BLACKWELL: Yes, short-range missiles mean more when you're within range. Let's talk about what this strategically means for North Korea. They say this is a warning to South Korea, but what's the message to the U.S.?

CHANG: The message to the U.S. is that the North Koreans have not made a strategic decision to give up their missiles and their nukes. American policy under Trump since the middle of May has been based that the North Koreans have in fact made that decision. So if they made that decision, our policy makes sense. But clearly they haven't, which means I think President Trump needs go back to the policies that made him successful and those were the policies that were in place through the middle of May of 2018.

DEAN: Do you believe that Kim Jong-un is getting the better of President Trump in this deal because he's continuing to have these negotiations. He's continuing to interface with the president, with the United States, but at the same time continuing with these tests and all of these other different things like that. Do you think he's getting the better of the president?

CHANG: Well since the middle of May of 2018, we've been making all of the concessions and Kim has been making virtually none. This is a stark contrast to the middle of May before where the North Koreans were making all the concessions and we weren't making any so I think we need to go back to a more resolute policy on sanctions enforcement to go back to make sure that the North Koreans realize that they have no choice but to give up their nukes. We can do that without the use of force even without the threat of use of force but we need to enforce those sanctions and we haven't been as vigorous as we should have been this past year. BLACKWELL: Returning to that prior May 2018 footing without the use

of force or threat of use of force, where do the military exercises that the president calls war games, where they fall in there? Should the U.S. return to those with South Korea?

Chang: Well, yes and the reason is in the June summit in Singapore last year, President Trump said he wasn't going to go forward with the major exercises and we have cancelled all the major ones, Foal Eagle, Ulchi-Freedom Guardian. But we've done the small-scale ones and we need to do that in order to maintain readiness.

On the other hand, the North Koreans have continued with their major exercises, especially their winter training cycle this year, which really is massive. So what we need to do is, OK, yes, we can stop our exercises but the North Koreans need to stop theirs as well.

DEAN: All right, Gordon Chang, thanks so much for being with us, for your insight this morning.

CHANG: Thank you.

DEAN: Have a good one.

BLACKWELL: The search for two teenage murder suspects in Canada is ramping up. Coming up, why investigators say some good Samaritans may have inadvertently helped the teens get away.

DEAN: Plus two American teen-agers on vacation in Rome are now accused of killing this Italian police officer after a botched drug deal. We're going to have a live report.


BLACKWELL: Police in Canada are going door to door searching for two teen-agers wanted for the murders of three people.

DEAN: Investigators initially thought the teens were missing after their car was found burning on the side of the highway Sunday, but two days later authorities named them as suspects saying they should be considered armed and dangerous.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval joins us now. Polo, the Canadian Mounted Police are going over a pretty large area looking for these suspects. Give us an idea of the breadth of the search area.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Jessica, Victor, I can tell you that at this point there's no sign that Canadian police are actually going to scale back their search. If anything, it's growing more intense. This weekend they'll be going door to door in that tiny town of Gillam in Mannitoba trying to potentially track down some leads. Also late yesterday they released brand new video of both Bryer and Kam.

This would have been video that was shot at a business in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, on Sunday. This was about 800 miles just west of Gillam which is where that search continues right now. Authorities now also looking into the possibility - again I say the possibility that these two young men could have received some form of assistance to try to essentially get out of that area. However, authorities are saying if somebody helped them, that person or persons main not have known who they were dealing with.


JULIE COURCHAINE, MANITOBA RCMP MEDIA RELATIONS OFFICER: Our investigators are also exploring the possibility that the suspects may have inadvertently received assistance in leaving the area. To restate, there have been no confirmed sightings outside of the Gillam area.


SANDOVAL: As RCMP made very clear, because of that they have put out that brand new surveillance video hoping that somebody in and around the Gillam area which is only a town of about 1,200 people may recognize them and may come forward because they are essentially running out of leads here based on what we're getting from authorities. They have confirmed that they do have two corroborated sightings, the latest one happening on Monday in the town of Gillam when they found their vehicle but authorities now working with that possibility that they may no longer be there but at this point, they may not have much to go on, specifically if there haven't been any vehicles reported stolen in Gillam and because the terrain is so unforgiving, then they do believe that they likely would be in and around that area. Jessica and Victor.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval joining us. Polo, thank you so much.

SANDOVAL: You bet.

DEAN: Also this morning we're learning several USA water polo athletes were injured in a night club in South Korea.

BLACKWELL: According to a statement issued by USA Water Polo, the incident occurred after an upper floor of the night club collapsed. A handful of athletes suffered nonlife threatening injuries. Right now all U.S. water polo athletes are safe, accounted for. The athletes were celebrating the women's national team winning the world championship yesterday.

DEAN: In Rome two 19-year-old Americans have been arrested for allegedly murdering an Italian police officer.

BLACKWELL: Italian police say they stabbed the officer eight times over a stolen backpack. With us now, CNN Contributor Barbie Nadeau. Barbie, tell us about what happened during this attack.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well the narrative right now is being driven entirely by the police and they're saying that these boys bought what they thought was cocaine from a local pusher. When they determined that this was just crushed aspirin, they went back to the pusher, stole his back pack and somehow and this is the confusing part, the police got involved in this whether they were undercover and whether the pusher was actually an informant are a couple of theories that are being floated here, and these boys then apparently got very violent, attacked the police officer, stabbed him to death and then fled the scene. And there's lots of surveillance tape that's been provided by the Italian police to the media here that show these young men fleeing the scene. They were arrested in a hotel room in central Rome, not far from the Vatican, and police say that they had plans to leave and escape potentially back to the United States just hours before they were arrested.

But we haven't really heard anything from the boys. We don't know who their lawyers are yet and we're expecting that there will be some sort of explanation or - or more information given from their side but right now the police are driving the narrative and they say that these boys confess to the crime, confess to their involvement and were part of this terrible murder of this 35-year-old police officer, Victor, Jessica.

BLACKWELL: Yes, of course, hoping to hear some more from both sides here in this case. Barbie Nadeau, thank you.

DEAN: Well take a look at this new video of the San Diego coast guard chasing down suspected drug smugglers.

BLACKWELL: In the video, the suspects are seen throwing large bags from this boat. I mean you can you see how fast it going. The Coast Guard says in all 2,300 pounds of cocaine was seized in the case. The haul made up part of 26,000 pounds of drugs the Coast Guard cutter "Steadfast" offloaded yesterday. The Coast Guard says an estimated $350 million worth cocaine has been seized between late June and mid- July off the coast of Mexico and Central and South America.

DEAN: A U.S. teenager has been released after about three weeks in ICE custody. We'll tell you how he ended up there. That's next.



DEAN: A U.S. teenager has been released after about three weeks in ICE custody.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Nick Valencia talked with him about his harrowing experience.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Francisco Galicia is home at last, but the reminders of his detention are never far away. Sitting in his south Texas home, the 18-year-old American says what he went through should never have happened, even if immigration officials allege he's partly to blame.

Immigration officials say there was confusion about your status because there was conflicting documents. Do you think this was about the documents or do you think that this was about something else? FRANCISCO GALICIA, AMERICAN TEENAGER CAPTURED BY ICE: (Through

translator) They thought they were superior. They looked at us with such distaste. I think it was a certain type of racism.

VALENCIA: For three weeks he slept on the concrete with nearly 70 others who were doing the same. They didn't even treat you like human beings?


VALENCIA: He survived off of bologna sandwiches and says every three to four days he was given a wet wipe to clean himself. You didn't shower at all?

GALICIA: No for 23 days.

VALENCIA: You didn't shower for 23 days?

GALICIA: For 23 days with bad diet, I lost nearly 30 pounds.

VALENCIA: It is 27 days in custody Galicia said no one ever believed he was American. At one point tired of trying to explain himself, he considered self deporting to Mexico. They just mess with your mind.


VALENCIA: How? Explain.

GALICIA: (through a translator): The truth, threatening me that they were going to press charges - charges for falsifying documents. The whole time insulting me that how could I not know where I was from?

VALENCIA: This all started on June 27th, when Galicia, along with his brother and two friends left their home in Edinburg and headed north. They were stopped at a checkpoint in (inaudible) about 100 miles north of the border while on their way to Ranger College in central Texas for a soccer camp. Galicia who was born in the U.S. but grew up in Mexico was carrying documents proving his was an American but he also carried a tourist visa that mistakenly listed his birth country as Mexico.

This individual provided conflicting reports regarding status of citizenship after being apprehended. Situations including conflicting reports from the individual and multiple birth certificates can and should take more time to verify. CBP and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a joint statement Wednesday, Galicia thinks border agents would have believed he was an American if not for his broken English.

There are going to be people that watch this interview and say that you live in the United States, you're an American, you should be speaking English. What -- you smile. What do you say to those people?

GALACIA: (through interpreter): I don't speak English but I'm going to learn it and speak it later.

VALENCIA: Is this more of a reason to learn English now?

GALACIA: I have to learn it to talk to everyone and everyone so that the next time this happens, they'll believe me.

VALENCIA: Somehow he's able to laugh about his time in custody which he said ended after media picked up his story but just a few days removed from detention, he spends a lot of time thinking about those who aren't as lucky.

Our president talks about how there's a lot of bad actors, a lot of people that are here to do harm among those that are coming to this country. But you're telling me you felt more scared being in the presence of the ICE officials and the officials - the immigration officials than you did with the migrants. When you were there, how many of the migrants would you say were here to do harm to the United States?

GALACIA: (through translator): None. None wanted to come to do harm. All came in search for a better future.

VALENCIA: After being locked up with them, he now considers some of them friends. He keeps a handful of phone numbers on tiny pieces of paper he received from those friends while in the facility. He's calling families in Central America to tell them their loved ones are still alive.

GALACIA: (through interpreter) To see the suffering of other people, it made me understand many things. One can live life is life here in a certain way while others suffer.

VALENCIA: You speak for them now?

GALACIA: (through interpreter): Yes, I mean I try to because they can't talk. I'm like their eyes and ears from there inside.

VALENCIA: Walking outside, Galacia says the air to him smells fresher than before. Things look and feel different too and so does he. Even though he lives on the border, prior to his detention, he never paid attention to the migrant crisis, now he's lived it.

DEAN: And that was Nick Valencia reporting from McAllen, Texas.

BLACKWELL: Some of the top 2020 democratic candidates are hitting the trail today while others are laying low prepping for next week's debate. So what is it going to take to stand out in a crowded field of candidates? We'll talk about that next.



BLACKWELL: All right, the countdown is on. The highly-anticipated CNN democratic debate just three days away now. So what does it take to have a successful outing at a debate? CNN's Gloria Borger sat down with two experts and former 2020 candidate Eric Swalwell to see what it takes to stand out on the national stage. GLORIA BORGER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At his kickoff rally, California

Congressman Eric Swalwell was center stage, but at the first primary debate, he was nearly off the stage.

ERIC SWALWELL, (D) CALIFORNIA AND 2020 FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Walking out, that is really intimidating. You're just pointing at people like I don't know if I know you or not but I'm pointing, I've waving then you feel like you're just completely vulnerable and just everyone's looking at you.

BORGER: That debate would be his last.


SWALWELL: Today ends our presidential campaign.


SWALWELL: Our polling just stayed flat. It didn't go anywhere.

BORGER: Remaining at less than 1percent and as the field lines up for the two CNN debates, the pressure is really on because in the fall, securing podium spots will be twice as hard so Detroit could be the end of the trail.

ROBBY MOOK, 2016 HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Maybe 12, 13 of these candidates, there's not going to be another shot after this. To some extent, not qualifying for the debate is a death sentence.

STUART STEVENS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There's a lot of ways to screw up a debate. What is essential is to think about what can I do so there won't be a total disaster here?

BORGER: McCain attack phrases, Bradley attack phrases, Stuart Stevens has prepped republican candidates from George W. Bush and Dick Chaney to Mitt Romney.

STEVENS: Now ideally before a debate, you'd look at your polling and say who would I need to talk to? You would never make an ad that just says, well I don't know. I'm not sure who it's going to apply to would be like shooting a shotgun in the air and hoping ducks fly by.

MOOK: What really drives coverage in these debates is friction. It is taking someone on.

BORGER: As Kamala Harris did attacking Joe Biden's record on bussing.


KAMALA HARRIS (D) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.

STEVENS: She's won once she says that because she's defined herself. And she got her bio in. You like that person and you're pulling for that person.

BORGER: So it didn't seem contrived?

STEVENS: There's a difference between prepared and contrived. I think prepared is you've thought about it. She's comfortable talking about race and it shows.

BORGER: Biden was uncomfortable being challenged in that way and that showed too.

STEVENS: I mean you're President of the United States or you're vice president. You walk in a room and people usually applaud and you're not used to having somebody get in your face.

BORGER: If you were advising Joe Biden right now, what would you tell him to do?


MOOK: Be on offense.

BORGER: Offense?

MOOK: Be on offense. You are there to win votes. You are not there to defend your lead.

BORGER: That's fine if you're Biden or if Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders fighting over many of the same voters. But if you're not a name brand candidate, breaking out can be hard to do.

STEVENS: And there's other alternatives that are acceptable. There's always this question like why are you on the shelf? I mean do we really need like eight variations of barbecued potato chips?

SWALWELL: When you're speaking, you just like feel the glare of the moderators looking at you like you're not a top tier person. Stop speaking.

BORGER: What are you doing here?

SWALWELL: Yes. Yes. And like you can just feel that.

BORGER: So you had like five minutes?

SWALWELL: Four minutes and 45 seconds.

BORGER: But who's counting?

SWALWELL: Yes, yes.

BORGER: What can you do really in that amount of time?

SWALWELL: Have a moment that gets replayed.

(BEGIN VIDEO) SWALWELL: If we're going to solve the issues of climate chaos, pass

the torch. If we're going to solve the issue of student loan debt, pass the torch. And if we're going to end gun violence for families who are fearful of sending their kids to school, pass the torch.


BORGER: Do you think you got a little too torchy there?

SWALWELL: Again, you know I thought all of these issues as someone who has worked on gun violence and student loan debt that many of them are generational.

BORGER: Did it look a little contrived though, too many torches?

SWALWELL: Yes, maybe I could have done one fewer torch.

BORGER: In these debates, preparation can be everything.

MOOK: You can't do it for five minutes here or there. They get no lifeline. It's them. It's the camera, the audience, the moderator and the opponents.

BORGER: No phone a friend?

MOOK: There's no phone a friend and they're going to sink or swim and that's where, you know, this is an important test in the process.

BORGER: And after all that studying and those rehearsals, how does it feel backstage when your candidate goes off script?

MOOK: It's a very special feeling when you're standing there watching the television and you're thinking what are they doing? That is not what we said, right? On the other hand I will say as a campaign manager, there is no way for you to know what it is like.

BORGER: Public failure is never easy, but with 20 candidates, it more than likely.

STEVENS: You have to be willing first of all to admit that you're probably going to lose and be willing to lose and stand for something. You can try too hard running for president and it will always come back and bite you.

BORGER: So it's a fine line for every candidate on stage. Impress but don't look like you're trying too hard. You know, Victor, just be yourself.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Gloria Borger.

The lineups are set for the CNN Democratic Presidential Debates, two nights, 10 candidates each night. The first round is Tuesday night at 8:00. Then make sure to tune in, round 2 on Wednesday. Live action gets underway 8 p.m. Eastern, live from Detroit only on CNN.

DEAN: Still to come this morning, inside the twists and turns of the Breitling Jet Team. CNN's Richard Quest takes us along for the ride in the sky.



BLACKWELL: He's a maverick in his own right. CNN's Richard Quest gets to fly high with the Breitling Jet Team. The largest air aerobatic display team in Europe.

DEAN: Take a look at Richard's very first and possibly last top gun moment.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: This is not your typical flight where you ensure your seat belt is fastened and the tray table is up. It's rather extraordinary to be flying to close to other aircraft.

Seven thousand feet aboveground and the Breitling Jet Team, it is a battle of laughs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's brilliant.

QUEST: It all began in such an ordinary fashion. Some are good; some are not. Guilty, same(ph) time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I hope he's a better pilot than singer.

QUEST: Because otherwise you're in trouble.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That makes two of us.

QUEST: Excitement, overflowing in the room.

GEORGES KERN, BREITLING CEO: So Richard will be in position number 3 And he will have a fantastic view on the whole jet team, the seven jets. It is frightening but I'm sure he will enjoy it.

QUEST: For this sort of flight, preparation is everything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This one, you have to wear this one; it is your size.

QUEST: You can't fly if you are not dressed properly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just push them through.

QUEST: Perfectly comfortable.

Like any other flight, here there is a safety briefing but this one involves ejector seats.


QUEST: And so into the air, where everything changed.

Absolutely on top of each other all over the clouds.

I was fine for the first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can we go to the (inaudible) OK.

QUEST: The barrel roll had me in stitches.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're really going to sing?

QUEST: And then, the second loop. Oh...


QUEST: (inaudible) requires that you have availed over the rest.

Back on the ground and I can reflect. The pilot's skills, the plane's performance, the excellence of the experience; I feel elated.

UNIDENTIFED MALE: I told you it's...

QUEST: Let's be honest though, I won't be doing this again. I mean it when I say I'm never doing it again. Never. Richard Quest CNN looping the loop with the Breitling Jet Team.

BLACKWELL: I have a feeling he's never doing this again.

DEAN: I think it's - yes, I think he was serious. I flew with the Blue Angels several years ago.

BLACKWELL: How was that?

DEAN: It was so cool. But I will say I only passed out for like five seconds.

BLACKWELL: But you still passed out.

DEAN: But I still passed out. They do. They teach you all the breathing techniques and the ejection seat conversation, very sobering. Very sobering.

BLACKWELL: Would you do it again?

DEAN: Yes, sure.

BLACKWELL: Well, why no.

DEAN: Sure why not.

BLACKWELL: So this is something that I hope I never have to live through. I love Vegas, but not while this is going on. Massive swarms of grasshoppers in the city this week scaring residents and visitors alike I should say. Look at the video. Now OK. You see hundreds of them here outside the store? Look at this next piece of video though.

DEAN: Yes, the experts, they say don't worry about it. Don't worry about that the palid-winged grasshopper, common desert species, it appears when there is a wet, wet winter or spring and then the insects will migrate north soon. But I don't know. If you got out and all in your face, in your mouth, in your hair.

BLACKWELL: It legit gives me like - makes me itch to see the bugs flying around. And, you know, I'm not -- I'm not afraid of bugs. Let that not be said. But thousands of grasshoppers?

DEAN: Not your cup of tea.

BLACKWELL: Not for me.

Dean: Yes, well thanks so much for starting your morning with us on that note.

BLACKWELL: And we will see you back here at 10 Eastern for CNN "Newsroom," "Smerconish" is up next after a quick break.