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Preview Of The Second Democratic Presidential Debates In Detroit; Gillibrand Claims Some 2020 Rivals Don't Like Women Working; Intel Chief Dan Coats Stepping Down, Trump To Nominate Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe As Replacement; Wall Street Watches For Federal Reserve Rate Cut; Sanders Travels To Canada With Patients Seeking Cheaper Insulin. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired July 28, 2019 - 18:00   ET



[18:00:22] ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Good evening. I'm Ana Cabrera, live in Detroit. This is CNN special coverage, the countdown to the Democratic presidential debates.

We are here outside the Fox Theater where in just about 48 hours, 20 candidates will take the stage in a state that narrowly swung for President Trump the last time around. It was less than 11,00 votes.

It is a two-night event with marquis match-ups. You have former vice president Joe Biden promising he won't be so polite this time around as he takes the podium between two of his biggest critics lately, senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. Can he cement his frontrunner status or will attacks on his record dominate the night?

That follows night one match-ups of senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, long-time allies and two of the most ideologically aligned candidates in this race. But with Warren now rising in the polls, will the gloves finally come off on the stage?

Make no mistake, this is also make or break time for the majority of the candidates on the stage. Still looking for that signature moment, that one zinger, that one elegant answer to make American remember their names. Just enough to give them a boost in the polls or throw money their way. Because that's what they need to qualify for the next round of debates in September.

And I'm joined by an all-star political team of analyst this is evening, Democratic strategist Angela Rye, former Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki, former Clinton White House press secretary Joe Lockhart, Democratic strategist on the '91 Clinton/Gore campaign, Paul Begala, former Utah Republican congresswoman Mia Love and former South Carolina house member Bakari Sellers.

So let's get this started, guys. Biden clearly surprised when Harris, of course, attacked his record on Bussing last go around. Let's listen to the reaction and Harris' response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I thought we were friends and I hope we still will be. You know, she asked me to go out -- called me and asked me to go to her convention and be the guy from outside of California to nominate her at her convention for the Senate seat. I did. We have talked. We have worked a lot together. She and my son, Beau, attorney attorneys generals who took on the banks.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to allow us to engage in revisionist history, but I cannot be on that stage and not speak up to make sure that we are having a full accounting for history on these issues.


CABRERA: So Paul, what do you think happens on Wednesday? Do you expect Harris to take another whack at the vice president?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, it worked the last time. You know, politicians are like Hollywood. They just keep going sequels. They find out something, it is what avengers 38 coming up. So, yes. But everyone else will, too.


BEGALA: I think both vice president Biden on the first night, senator Sanders on the second. They are pretty much in the senator of the stage. And on their podium is going be a sign that says kick me, can be bull's eye.

Kamala -- the problem is not everybody has Kamala Harris' talent. She is an attorney general. She is a prosecutor in a bay area before that. So, she is really, really good at this. Not everybody is. And counter punches are always more effective than punches.

And so, Joe Biden is a smart guy. He has really good people prepping him. So does Bernie Sanders. They should actually welcome the attack, because particularly Democrats, you know, we are wussies. We don't like attacks. And so we will take a counter-attack. And Biden did not counter-attack at all or even answer very effectively. He has to this time.

CABRERA: And also, this time around we will have Cory Booker on the other side of Joe Biden. He has got to be looking to get in on this action, obviously, Angela, this week. We have seen he and Biden going after each other's records. Let's listen.



SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: For a guy who helped to be an architect of mass incarceration, this is an inadequate solution to what is a raging crisis in our country.

BIDEN: His police department was stop and frisk people, mostly African-American men. We took action against them. The justice department took action against them. Held the police department accountable.


CABRERA: I wonder, Angela, should Biden be Booker's main target or should it be Harris?

RYE: I think his main target needs to be talking about why he doesn't have an agenda that's answered for what happened with mass incarceration. He Is going to face heat not just for the two of them but other folks. Bernie Sanders was someone who was big on criminal justice reform in the 2016 election. So, there are going to be more than just Kamala and Cory Booker kind of fighting on this issue.

I think the frustration I have around this, is this very much like the only two black people in the race are dealing with something that has impacted black and brown communities and low-income white communities. So I look forward to other people challenging Joe Biden on his record and talking about whether or not his new agenda is substantial enough.

[18:05:11] JENNIFER PSAKI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: I think Booker, he will go after Biden because it is more natural for him or it is an easier target for him. But really, what he want to get into is Harris' support. And I think in the first debate, he was watching Harris go after Biden.

And he was thinking to himself, this is why I'm in public office. I'm the criminal justice candidate. He kind of has a point. He hasn't really picked up that way in the polls but I think he will go after Biden but really he is trying to go after Harris.

CABRERA: And Joe, I'm wondering about the Warren and Sanders dynamic on night one because we know these two are friends. And the camps are telling us that neither of them are planning to go after each other and to differentiate against each other or try to, you know, one up each other in that first round of debates. And yet when Sanders recently was asked to say something nice and senator Warren, well, here is his answer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the thing you admire most about Senator Elizabeth Warren as you get ready to take her on, on the debate stage?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Senator Warren is a friend of mine. And I admire the fact that we have worked together over the years on a number of issues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything specific?

SANDERS: Well, look, we have worked together on a number of issues and she say very good senator.



little bit like Barack Obama when asked if Hillary was likable and he said likable enough, yes.

You know, I think one of the downside to the draw being the way it was is that Democrats are going to have -- I mean, they are going to have a big debate about what Medicare for all means. You have got Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren arguing for abolishing private insurance, which is very problematic in the general election.

And then you have got, you know, Kamala has been the kind of all over the place on it, but I think she will come down more towards where Biden is eventually and where Pete Buttigieg is. And then you have everyone the next night. So that debate won't be joined.

So I don't suspect you'll see fire works between Warren and Sanders. And, really, it's a problem for Sanders because, you know, Warren is just a better performer. And if they are arguing the same, you know, platform, it will be done on, you know, who performs better as opposed to who has got the better plan. So I think it's bad luck for Bernie Sanders. And I also think a little bad luck for Democrats that we are not going to be able to join this debate as early as this week.

CABRERA: Bakari, I will point out in the latest Fox polling, Warren is three points behind and in the other polls she's a point ahead or even with him. Do they need to make a move? Do they need to try to, one of them, put themselves out there more?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: No. We are still very, very far out from Iowa. So people are still learning who these candidates are. And the first thing you have to do when you go into this debate, take it from somebody who actually debated and half the state didn't know who they were or more than half. You just have to introduce yourself to voters and make them remember you for who you are.

I mean, I think that on night one I expect the person on stage who has the most pressure to be Beto O'Rourke. Because if Beto O'Rourke has another disappearing act, then he is going to disappear from this Presidential race. He cannot afford to have another bad performance.

He is going to go after Pete Buttigieg. Because everybody who watches this, somewhat unbiasedly or from a step back told you that they are getting everything out of Pete Buttigieg that they thought they would get out of Beto O'Rourke.

CABRERA: In what way, though?

SELLERS: You have someone who is a mainstream candidate, someone who is very likeable, somebody who is young, who is refreshing and if I hear this phrase one more time, I'm probably going to jump off this platform, who is Kennedy-esque as they said down in Texas every time that he was running, and you know, who the media adores, who has progressive politics, who is very, very acknowledgeable and he says it.

And Pete says things in such a way that it's refreshing, in such plain language. So I think that is going to be an interesting dynamic on night one. On night two, we are getting caught up in Kamala Harris and Cory Booker. I think Kamala Harris is going to her best to stay above the frame, only hit when swung when hit at. But I am also looking at, I think that Kirsten Gillibrand could telegraph an attack on Joe Biden over Anita Hill in Iowa recently.

And I also think, to your point Angela, one of the best people on the stage in terms of criminal justice platforms is not Kamala Harris, is not Cory Booker, although they have strong plans, it is Julian Castro.

And so, if I was advising Joe Biden, as we say on south, keep your good eye on Julian because you won't see that punch coming. So I think a lot of things will be coming. And I know Gabbard is going to take her shots as well, especially at Kamala. I think she is going to learn (INAUDIBLE) proverb that we have in the African-American community which is don't come for me unless I send for you. She is going to learn that from senator Harris.

So I do expect there to be some things that are not in this Biden/Harris, Biden/Booker kind of realm that we want to see. The second night is going to be pretty exciting.

[18:10:08] CABRERA: Mia, what do you think President Trump will be watching for on that stage?

MIA LOVE (R), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: He is going to be watching for who he can make fun of and he is going to be watching for those -- the tag lines, you know. That was like lock her up or, you know, whatever he can come up with.

I think that one of the things that people really need to watch is the fact that Biden, even though he took a beating, he came back up in the polls, which tells me that Americans are still looking for the grown- up in the room or somebody who has some sort of -- who can be the calm amongst the storm that's going on in terms of this division in America.

I think that Biden is going to have to differentiate himself because he has a problem. Everyone is going to come after him. He has to be able to say, yes, I was part of the Obama administration, but I'm my own person. This is what I'm going to offer.

I think that he actually took a step out in saying that Bernie Sanders' policy on Medicare for all, he thinks it's a fantasy if he is not going to raise taxes. I think that was actually a step in the right direction because most people, they don't want to lose their private policy, their private health insurance, which is what Elizabeth Warren is offering ands which is what Bernie Sanders is offering.

So I think that, you know, you just -- everyone is going to be coming after Joe Biden. We are going to see how he actually handles that. And everyone also has to remember what you say on stage will come back against you. So the further they move to the left, those will be the commercials that will be out there in this general election.

CABRERA: Especially in this digital age.

LOVE: That's right. You cant pull away from any of it.

CABRERA: Grab those moments and spread them all over the place. They go like wildfire.

But standby because coming up we will be looking at lessons learned from debates past, from gaffs to one liner, zingers. What it takes to stand up in both good and maybe not so good ways. Speaking of which, walking on stage should be the easiest the part, right? But remember this moment?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Businessman Donald Trump. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.



[18:15:45] CABRERA: Back live in Detroit, the site of this week's CNN democratic presidential debates.

As we mentioned before the break, Joe Biden thought he was too polite in round one. But while a more aggressive approach in debates has certainly worked for other candidates, it can take a wrong turn for others. Remember this?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have mocked Mr. Trump's tan. You have made fun of his spelling. You called him a con artist. You suggested he wet himself backstage at the last debate.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He hit my hands. Nobody has ever hit my hands. I have never heard of this. Look at those hands. Are they small hands? And he referred to my hands, if they are small something else must be small. I guarantee you there's no problem. I guarantee.



CABRERA: That definitely backfired for Senator Marco Rubio in 2016.

Remember, guys, here are the poll numbers right now, at least involving the top five polling Democrats currently. Biden has actually gone up since the first debate. Senator Harris has gone down. So, Joe, as Biden is signaling he is going to have a more aggressive strategy here. Is that necessary?

LOCKHART: Well, I think he is going to hit back when he gets hit. Because I think the criticism from the first debate, which was fair from the first debate was he just let things go by. I think, you know, Biden, his numbers depend more on what Trump is doing than what the other Democrats are doing.

And as Trump has ratcheted up the somewhat bizarre behavior, the somewhat racist behavior, I think Democrats are coming around to this idea of boy, we better nominate someone who can win. And that plays to Biden's strength. It may not be the case, but that's the current thinking.

So I think the more Trump injects himself into the race, the better it is for Biden. And, you know, whether that means he has to hit back every time, I don't think so. But he does have to show he can take a punch because he is going to take them in the general election from Trump.

CABRERA: Or does he mean he get business, avoiding a big mistake?

PSAKI: I think it has to be more than that. It is not going to be a race that is frozen in time. As Bakari said, it's so early. But you know, the first debate which Biden did terribly in, everybody on his team knew that.

It was actually, I would say a good thing because as somebody who has had worked for candidates who have had terrible debates, it can be a huge wake-up call or they know they have to bring their a game, they have to be sharp, they have to be swift. And from talking to his team, they know that. And they are hopeful that is who he will bring.

I would just add one thing to what Joe said. The problem for Biden, though, is that he doesn't control everything. You know, Senator Harris rose, and I know she came down a little bit, but she rose after the first debate because I think people saw her as somebody who could take on Donald Trump, who they thought they could have license to support because she seemed presidential, she seemed strong, she seemed fierce.

He can't control how the other candidates present themselves. And I don't think it's necessarily about him. I agree on the counter punching. Punching other people as much as it is telling his own personal story, reminding people who he is. That's why Harris did so well. Because people wanted to know about who she was and what she was about.

CABRERA: Debate pitfalls is how we started this segment. So, you know, one of the big mistakes we have seen in recent debates was this one involving Governor Rick Perry at the time and he was running for the White House back in 2011. Here it is.


RICK PERRY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's three agencies of government when I get there that are gone, commerce, education and the, uh -- what's the third one there? Let's see.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't name the third one?

PERRY: The third agency of government I would do away with the education. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The commerce.

PERRY: Commerce and, let's see -- I can't. The third one, I can't. Sorry. Oops.


CABRERA: Big oops. I guess Perry got the last laugh though because he ended now leaving that agency he couldn't remember that he wanted to get rid of. I mean, how does something like that happen?

BEGALA: He is in charge of our nuclear weapons production. He stick a fork in your eye stupid. And he is now running back.

[18:20:04] CABRERA: Stick to the debate mistake here.

BEGALA: I'm sorry. You don't sleep at night thinking he's in charge producing --

LOCKHART: And he has seen as one of the cabinet secretaries that's performed the best.

BEGALA: That's a good point.

LOCKHART: So go figure.

BEGALA: In Governor Perry's defense now that I personally attacked him, he had a terrible back injury, wasn't sleeping well. It can happen to anybody. He is actually a terrific politician. I don't support him as far as his agenda and he is probably is not the smartest person to come out of my own state but he was having a hard time then because of his health. And that's a factor, too, sometimes.

LOVE: It's not rare. Remember the first Presidential debate with Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama, there was talk about the altitude. It wasn't the best debate. We actually thought that mitt Romney did a great job.

BEGALA: He did.

LOVE: He won that hands down.

SELLERS: The problem is that Barack Obama still thinks today he did OK. And he's still wrong.


CABRERA: OK. Let me get another one because we took a cheap shot at Rick Perry, Republican but we are talking about Democratic debate. So here is another one. This is, you know, when the canned line falls flat. Watch.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, lifting whole passages from someone else's speeches is not change you can believe in. It's change you can xerox and I just don't think --


CLINTON: Barack, it is. Because if you look -- if you look --


CABRERA: I mean, that's a classic example, right?

RYE: It didn't fall flat. She got booed for it. And I think that, you know, that is one of those moments where folks on the team, no shame to the Clinton team, but folks on the team should have advised her if you have challenges not with how brilliant you are or how intelligence you are, but how people feel warmer -- I'm not a warm person.

We are born the same day. This is where the likable enough thing comes from. You know, it's like you threw epic shade at somebody who people saw hope in. Not good. You are not going to win that. That was a Teflon don moment for Barack Obama. I wasn't finished, Bakari. Go ahead. I had one word left, one word!

SELLERS: But we just saw this happen. We saw a line from a friend of mine so I can say this. A contemporary, a millennial who went on this pass the torch thing, and he had like, Eric Swalwell. It was like too many pass the torches. I don't even know if people remember that.

LOVE: One was too many.

SELLERS: It was a line that did not go over well. And you saw Joe Biden with his smirk in the other camera and now Eric Swalwell is out of the race. And so you do these things happen all the time.

And part of this -- the one thing Iowan the Biden camp to do is simply prepare their candidate. I'm kind tired of everything else. Just prepare him. But you also have to know what your candidate is capable of doing. And I think that is somewhere, where you get lines like Rick Perry or you get lines like Hillary Clinton because every candidate is not able to go off and be witty or be charming or have those moments. And so, we just have to see who is prepared for that moment.

LOCKHART: But almost all of these moments, if you look back over the last 40, 50 years, are rehearsed and prepared but you have to know when to use them, you know, when to pull the trigger on these. And I was going to make the same point about Eric Swalwell, who does very well on TV, did very well in the hearing. He just, you know, he was just so anxious to get the line out that it just fell flat.

CABRERA: OK, everybody, stay with me. The majority of these candidates have yet to qualify for the next round of debates. So they are hoping for a signature moment to grab everyone's attention but perhaps not in the style of the admiral Stockdale at the 1992 vice presidential debate.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Admiral Stockdale, your opening statement, sir?




[18:27:09] CABRERA: What's a debate without a little friendly trash talk? Already a couple of candidates are having some fun with this tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang and Colorado Senator Michael Bennett throwing down this hysterical got-lit (ph) on Twitter for a mock pre- debate feud.

Yang firing first, quote, "I would like to signal for the press that I will be attacking Michael Bennett at next week's debate. Sorry, Michael, but you know what you did." Then in responding, Andrew, how do you know I got a C in the pre-calculus in high school on the retake? Well that went back and forth escalated with Yang (INAUDIBLE) devote his entire rebuttal to trashing Bennett who mock threaten to mute Yang's microphone.

And everyone is back with me no. I mean, that's some fun games going in. I guess (INAUDIBLE) for the next debate. But the reality is here, I mean, half of these candidates, maybe more than half, are looking at not qualifying at this points for the next round of debates. The ones in September you have to have at least two percent support in four qualifying polls. Andrew Yang has a number of those but still hasn't made it. Michael Bennet hasn't made it. A bunch of these others are asterisks.

So I guess, if you are trying to survive and you want a moment in this debate to get you to that number, what do you do, Mia?

LOVE: Well, I think one is you don't dedicate your entire time to going after one person just because they made you upset. Look, this is the last chance for a couple of these guys to get out there. There is no other chance for them. They have to make their presence known. They actually have to do something more than the others. They have to do something significant and memorable.

I don't know what that is. One of the things I do agree with that Bakari was talking about, if you have to know what your strengths are. You can't go out and do something because somebody else did it. You are going to see a lot of people go after Joe Biden because it worked well for Kamala. But Kamala, that's her game. That's what she does really well. So, you have to know what your strengths are. And if you don't have any, it's time for you to step off stage anyway.

SELLERS: To that point, the people I'm looking at who are not in the top three, four, five in this race are bullock, of course, Michael Bennet but Jay Inslee. And the reason that I say Jay Inslee is because the two looming issue in our primary are climate change and health care. And the person who has done the most on the health care front in their own particular state has been Jay Inslee. It has been progressive on reproductive rights, he had a public option in Washington state. So he has been able to do these things and he has the most bold climate change agenda.

Now the question is, when Jay Inslee comes on stage, my mom is going to ask the question, now, who is that? So, you know, how does he break through to tell about some of the things that he did? And that's when you, I don't want to say it's a gimmick but Jay Inslee then has to be able to rise above and have his, quote-unquote "moment."

[18:30:00] RYE: Can I just say really quick, Ana? I'm sorry, but I'm from Washington state. Jay Inslee hasn't even been a standout governor like.

SELLERS: On paper, he looked good, OK.

RYE: Yes, on paper, and that's the whole entire problem. And I could get up here and tell you some other day the stories, but he's a problem. What I think has been fascinating is Andrew Yang going back to their Twitter fight. I have no -- like, so many random people that will come up to me and be like, what do you think about Andrew Yang? Which is fascinating to me because there's been nothing that sticks about him to me, but there are random people who are not really into politics who, for some reason, are excited about his online presence.


CABRERA: He wants to give every American adult $1,000 a month when they turn 18.

RYE: I get it, but that's not even what they're saying. They're just like, who is this guy? Where did he come from? And I'm like, exactly, I have no answers for you.

CABRERA: You know, one person who did get a lot of buzz after the first debates was Marianne Williamson.

RYE: Yes.

CABRERA: She was the most-searched candidate on Google, and a lot of it happened after this big moment. Watch.


MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My first call is to Prime Minister of New Zealand who said that her goal is to make New Zealand the place where it's the best place in the world for a child to grow up. And I will tell her, girlfriend, you are so wrong because the United States of America is going to be the best place in the world for a child to grow up.


CABRERA: Well, that buzzy moment, it didn't help her in the polls.



BEGALA: Because she's not a serious candidate for the presidency of the United States of America. Now, I said that about Donald Trump, which I still maintain, because Democrats, this is -- particularly in Iowa, where I've been to all 99 counties, they think this --

CABRERA: She moved to Iowa, in fact, in order to immerse herself.

BEGALA: Yes, so did --

RYE: Chris Dodd.

BEGALA: And so did Chris Dodd when he ran against Barack Obama.

LOCKHART: And so did Delaney.

BEGALA: How did that work out for him? No, Iowa, especially. But I also -- Bakari knows South Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, these early states, they take their role in this very, very seriously. And when you talk to them, a lot of times they'll say, well, I don't want to squander my vote. I don't want to waste my vote. I don't want to pick the wrong person.

It doesn't mean they go for the establishment. Democrats like an insurgent and an outsider, but they're not going to go for somebody who is -- I mean, she is a terrific author and very successful in many ways, just not a president of the United States.

CABRERA: Well, you know, there is a senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, who a lot of people has been surprised that she hasn't gained more traction.



CABRERA: She made some interesting comments this week maybe about her debate strategy, perhaps. Watch.


SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have Democratic candidates running for president right now who do not believe necessarily that it's a good idea that women work outside the home. No joke. We have presidential candidates running right now who thinks the Me Too movement has gone too far. We have members of -- we have people who are running for president of the United States as Democrats who believe the standards for the Democratic Party are too high.


CABRERA: Jen, I mean, she's talking about her fellow Democratic candidates. Who do you think she's talking about? PSAKI: I have no idea.

RYE: No idea.

PSAKI: I mean, I can guess. I've known Kirsten Gillibrand for 13 years since she ran for Congress. She is tough and smart, and I'm actually surprised she hasn't gotten more traction. She has only a limited amount of time left here, though, and she's not on track either with the number of donors or with polls to make the September debate stage. So, she is going to pull out all the stops here. She ran a campaign ad, spent a huge amount of money, cash on hand, she had.

She's making that attack because she wants to be known as the women's candidate. She has a valid argument to be made. So, the fact that we're talking about this, the people are wondering who she's talking about, that's probably playing to what she was trying to do here. They're all trying to -- they know they're going to have a limited amount of time on stage, all of them, even Biden, and they want to just send people in the direction of what they should be watching for.

BLITZER: Do you think she'll name names on stage?

PSAKI: I doubt it, but I think she will be tough on some of her fellow candidates on how her woman's record is better.

CABRERA: Is it useful, Joe, for these particular candidates who don't have maybe a big chance of going very far to go after their fellow Democrats, or are they better off sticking to their own agenda?

LOCKHART: I think it's useful for them to go after them before the debate, to prompt the question at the debate.


LOCKHART: Maybe not going after. I think -- I agree with Bakari on climate change being a particular issue, health care where there's going to be some back and forth, but I was really surprised in the CNN Des Moines registry poll in Iowa. The single biggest issue among caucus-goers was abortion and reproductive rights.

And I think Kirsten Gillibrand has the record and the personal experience to be sort of the woman's candidate. It hasn't been effective as yet, but I think we should watch for that on -- this week, just to see if she can. Because I think what they're all trying to do is to take their issue and elevate their issue to build more support, and then show that they're the candidate that can deliver on it. And for her, it's women's issues.

CABRERA: All of you, thank you so much for contributing to this great conversation. Much more of our special coverage here live from Detroit.

We're also following some breaking news on the fate of the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Don't go anywhere.


CABRERA: Breaking news, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is out after a tumultuous tenure in which he clashed with the President on everything from Russia to North Korea. CNN's Boris Sanchez joins us from the White House with news on who Trump wants to replace him.

What are we learning, Boris?

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Ana. Yes, we're hearing from White House sources that the President and Dan Coats sat down and had a conversation some weeks ago about his departure, ultimately determining that the Director of National Intelligence would leave the administration around mid-August. The White House had sort of seen this coming. Sources had indicated that Coats had eyes on retirement.

The two men disagreed on multiple occasions on a variety of issues, the President being contradicted frequently by Coats when it comes to Russian election meddling, on his outlook on not only Vladimir Putin but Kim Jong-un, North Korea, Iran, Syria, the list goes on and on. And we know from sources in the White House that that infuriated President Trump. But it appears that this departure was relatively on good terms, the President tweeting out, thanking Dan Coats for his service and announcing that Representative John Ratcliffe would be his nominee to replace him.

You see the President writing, quote, I am pleased to announce that highly-respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the DNI. A former U.S. attorney, John will lead and inspire greatness for the country he loves. Dan Coats, the current director, will be leaving office on August 15th. I'd like to thank Dan for his great service to our country. The Acting Director will be named shortly.

[18:40:00] Ratcliffe, we should point out, made news just last week when Robert Mueller was testifying before the House Judiciary Committee because of his questioning of Robert Mueller, very aggressive, clearly in line with President Trump's belief that this investigation was inappropriate and potentially the result of a deep state conspiracy against him.

President Trump, apparently, a big fan of Ratcliffe. And he was someone who the administration had considered for different posts. Ultimately, he will go through this process to become, potentially, the next Director of National Intelligence, Ana.

CABRERA: OK, Boris Sanchez for us at the White House tonight. Thank you, Boris.

On the same week that saw Robert Mueller warn of ongoing attacks from Russia, a look back at when the time came that Trump offered his own theory.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?



CABRERA: Updating you on our breaking news, the President has announced the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, will leave office August 15th. Now, Coats spent his tenure in the administration at odds with the President, and CNN has reported Trump had been thinking of firing him in the past. With us now, CNN national security analyst, Samantha Vinograd.

[18:45:06] Sam, you served as a senior adviser to the National Security Adviser under President Obama. What's your reaction to this?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Ana, I want to clarify one thing. When we say that Dan Coats was at odds with President Trump, I want to ask our viewers what they think President Trump was basing his opinion on.

Dan Coats, as Director of National Intelligence, wasn't presenting a personal opinion when he shared analysis on Iran or North Korea or Russian election interference. The Director of National Intelligence represents the entire U.S. intelligence community.

That's 17 component parts. And he is basing his analysis presented publicly or to the President, if he chose to listen, on what the coordinated assessment of the U.S. intelligence community is. President Trump had a different view based on, I don't know, segments on Fox News or something that he heard from Vladimir Putin or other leaders.

But President Trump chose to relegate the position of the Director of National Intelligence to really just something more internal within the intelligence community. To a large extent, intelligence is only as useful as the President chooses to make it, and that's why we've had myriad briefings on election security.

We've heard about various threats impacting U.S. national security from the intelligence community, and President Trump chooses not to integrate that intelligence and, again, to rely on his gut or his shadow cabinet of T.V. personalities and hostile foreign powers.

CABRERA: President Trump, he tweeted he's going to nominate Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe, a big ally of the President to hit Robert Mueller hard this past week. What do you think of him as possibly the next Director of National Intelligence?

VINOGRAD: Well, I really worry that we're going from a lame-duck DNI to installing someone who views himself as a henchman for President Trump's political ambitions. Ratcliffe has been very vocal about his desire to see Attorney General Barr investigate the intelligence community. We should all want a Director of National Intelligence that is a huge

supporter of the I.C.'s work rather than trying to use his position of power, whether as a member of Congress or as the Director of National Intelligence, to investigate that work.

CABRERA: I'm here in Detroit, of course, where the next 2020 Democratic debates will be on Tuesday and Wednesday night. You can be sure election security is going to be a topic. A new ABC News poll shows that a majority of Americans, Sam, don't have confidence that the U.S. can stave off foreign election attacks in 2020. How vulnerable are we?

VINOGRAD: Well, those Americans are right in line with where the bipartisan Senate Intel Committee is. They said exactly the same thing in their report last week. And unlike 2016, we know that there's a complex set of threats facing U.S. elections. China, Iran, Russia, according to our intel community, are all intent on attacking our elections. And that really means that our deterrence efforts to stop these attacks, whether it be sanctions or cyber operations, haven't worked.

And we also know that our defenses really aren't up to the task when it comes to our election infrastructure. We learned last week that all 50 states were targeted by Russian cyber ops in 2016. Yet over a third of those states -- of our states are still using paperless voting systems, to some degree. We also know that Russia is still engaged in a highly sophisticated information warfare campaign against the United States. And this time around, Ana, they have a megaphone in the Oval Office.

President Trump's Twitter feed alone, just by retweeting that, helps Russia advance its information warfare mission against the United States. And for all those reasons, we are entering this election cycle knowing what the threat environment looks like and policymakers, whether it be Mitch McConnell in Congress or President Trump himself, are refusing to take action to stop it.

CABRERA: Samantha Vinograd, as always, good to have you. Thank you.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: Coming up, why Bernie Sanders crossed the border into Canada ahead of this week's CNN debates. But, first, remember this moment?


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn e-mails.



SANDERS: Well --

CLINTON: Thank you, Bernie.


CLINTON: Thank you.



CABRERA: Welcome back. What should you be watching for when markets open tomorrow morning? CNN's Christine Romans has your "Before the Bell" report.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana, this week on Wall Street, it's all about the Fed. Policymakers meet to decide on a rate cut. Investors are certain it's going to happen. Wall Street puts zero percent chance on the Federal Reserve actually holding rates steady. Most predict a quarter-point cut -- that's 25 basis points -- but a good chunk believe it could be 50 basis points.

The anticipation of a rate cut has pushed stocks to record highs in recent weeks. There were some down days last week as a flood of earnings hit Wall Street. Still, the Dow is up more than 15 percent this year. The NASDAQ and the S&P 500, they're up more than 20 percent this year. So, it's up to Fed Chief Jerome Powell and company to keep that rally rolling.

Investors and, of course, the President will likely cheer a rate cut if the Fed decides to make the move following its Wednesday meeting. Also, in the mix, some big names report earnings. We'll hear from Apple, Mastercard, Pfizer, General Motors, and ExxonMobil, among many others. Plus, the first results as a public company for Wall Street darling, Beyond Meat. That stock is up more than 700 percent since going public earlier this year.

In New York, I'm Christine Romans.

CABRERA: Now, just a couple of days before our big Democratic debate here in Detroit, 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders boarded a bus this morning from Detroit to Canada, hoping to draw attention to the plight of diabetes patients who regularly make this trip because insulin, the life-saving drug they need, is cheaper so much cheaper across the northern border. He took on big pharma before boarding that bus.


[18:54:59] SANDERS: Somebody goes out and shoots somebody, they're called a murderer. We all agree with that. Put them away. But what happens -- what happens if somebody runs a pharmaceutical industry and artificially jacks up the price --



CABRERA: Sanders says insulin is one-tenth of the price in Canada as it is in the U.S., and he accused drug company executives of, quote, unbelievable greed.

With three front-runners over the age of 70, is age really just a number? Here's what Ronald Reagan thought.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent's youth and inexperience.



CABRERA: And as we count down to the debates, one more programming note, be sure to tune in tonight for the CNN original series, "THE MOVIES" when we relive the best of the '70s with hits like "Jaws," "Rocky" and "The Godfather." That's tonight at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.


CABRERA: Good evening, I'm Ana Cabrera live in Detroit. This is CNN's Special Coverage, great to have you with us. We are counting down to the Democratic presidential debates. We are here outside the historic Fox Theater where 20 Democratic candidates will gather for two nights of debates. All of them want to face President Donald Trump next November and replace him in the White House.

[19:00:01] And for many of them, this is make-or-break time as candidates still struggling in the polls hope for that breakout moment to help them qualify for the next debates.