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Interview With Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA); Republicans Object to Debt Increase; Marianne Williamson Most-Searched Candidate After Yesterday's Debate. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired July 31, 2019 - 10:30   ET

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


[10:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, welcome back. We are live in Detroit. Hours from now, the second group of 10 candidates will take the stage for round two of CNN's Democratic presidential debates. It is a highly anticipated rematch for former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris.

Joining them, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, both clearly planning to take on Biden. And his response to the increased pressure? "I'm not going to be as polite this time."

With me now, Louisiana Congressman Cedric Richmond, national co- chairman for the Biden 2020 campaign, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Good to have you.

REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA): Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: Feeling good?

RICHMOND: I do. We feel real good about tonight.

HARLOW: OK. So, 10 candidates on the stage last night, two and a half hours, not one mentioned Biden. What did you make of that?

RICHMOND: Well, there may have been some indirect mentions. But I think that everybody saw that Senator Harris did get a bump, but she went right back down. It's going to take long, sustained, I think, policy to move voters. And I think the vice president is very clear now. If punched, he will counter-punch.

HARLOW: OK. So let's take that one step further. If punched -- we know that's coming, he will get punched -- will he punch first? Is he going to be reactionary or is he going to punch at people where he thinks there is a legitimate space for that?

RICHMOND: Well, I think he may highlight some policy differences. But I would not expect him to do that. He's made a commitment that he's not going to tear down Democrats because Trump is the real enemy, for lack of a better description.

So he's unfit to be president. I think that's where you will see a lot of the president's (ph) --

(CROSSTALK)

HARLOW: OK.

RICHMOND: -- focus.

HARLOW: You think that Cory Booker is going to hit the vice president hardest tonight. What's he going to do about it?

RICHMOND: Well --

HARLOW: And on what specifically?

RICHMOND: Well, Cory's going to come out -- you saw him recently call the vice president the architect of mass incarceration. But what Cory doesn't do is talk about his own record, where he --

HARLOW: In Newark?

RICHMOND: Right. Where he went to New York and got one of Rudy Giuliani's police officers to come be his police chief. He instituted stop-and-frisk that disproportionately affects black males. So I don't think that he'll get that pass that he's been getting on his record.

HARLOW: Except you know from reading his book, which I'm sure you have, that he talks about how he was wrong and how he handled the DOJ intervention in Newark at first, and really came around and welcomed that.

RICHMOND: Well, I think part of that is convenient history. He did not welcome the DOJ lawsuit. When the ACLU sued, he hit back hard. When the federal government, when Barack Obama's federal government and Eric Holder come in and sue you for a rogue police department, police misconduct, the way you treat African-Americans, the way you treat black men, and your answer is, "This is an overreach by government," that is not a welcoming sign.

HARLOW: At the end -- I hear you. At the end, he came around and said, "OK, this policy is making us better." But let's move on. We'll save that --

RICHMOND: Right.

HARLOW: -- for the debate stage. On the issue of mass incarceration, we heard Joe Biden in New Hampshire say, the idea that the crime bill generated mass incarceration, it did not generate mass incarceration. Should he stay away from things like that tonight? Because he got slammed for saying that.

RICHMOND: Well, the problem is, I think people don't really know the crime bill. So right now, when you talk about progressive ideas, we talk about drug courts.

HARLOW: Yes. RICHMOND: We talk about diversion. And we --

HARLOW: Well, I know that he was supportive of --

RICHMOND: -- talk about -- no, but we --

HARLOW: -- billions in more funding for prisons.

RICHMOND: -- but we put drug courts in that -- he put drug courts in that crime bill. He put diversion there. He put safety valve as a relief to mandatory minimums.

Here's what happened with the crime bill. Prosecutors across the country, that if you were white, you got drug courts, you got diversion, you got the safety valve. If you were black or if you were poor, you didn't get it. So the disparity went far and wide, which is why you see, in this new crime bill, that he's willing to do pattern and practice investigations into prosecutors' offices.

[10:35:05] So, look, was the bill perfect? No.

HARLOW: Wait, wait, wait. Stop. Guess who's a prosecutor? Senator Kamala Harris. Is he going to go after her prosecutorial record in California tonight?

RICHMOND: Well, I'm not sure. I think it's fair game.

HARLOW: You don't know?

RICHMOND: No, I don't.

HARLOW: OK.

RICHMOND: And I think it's fair game, and I think that there are issues there. And that deserves scrutiny.

HARLOW: Let's talk about the African-American vote.

RICHMOND: Yes.

HARLOW: That's looking really good for you guys right now. New Monmouth polling out of South Carolina shows the vice president has 51 percent of the African-American Democratic voter base. Kamala Harris has 12, Cory Booker has two, Bernie Sanders has 10. Those are good numbers, but are they numbers that you guys need to be careful not to take for granted because it's early days?

TEXT: July 18-22, Monmouth University Poll, Support among likely black Dem primary voters in South Carolina: Biden, 51 percent; Harris, 12 percent; Sanders, 10 percent; Warren, 2 percent; Booker, 2 percent

RICHMOND: No. We don't take it for granted, which is why, in his education policy, you saw him triple money for Title1 schools, you saw a universal pre-K, he's for a summer jobs program. You -- all of his policy recommendations, and his vision, is centered on working people. When we talk about working class, most times, people just think that

we're talking about white working-class voters --

HARLOW: Right.

RICHMOND: -- but we're not. We're talking about all working-class voters, and those that aspire to be in the working class. And that's the part, I think, that the vice president has a very unique niche with.

HARLOW: How -- you watched last night. And I wonder what you think of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and Marianne Williamson, essentially saying, "Shoot for the moon, guys. We as Democrats have to be aspirational. Why are you fellow Democrats running on these moderate messages that say what we can't do, not what we can do"?

How does Joe Biden respond to that, even not on the same stage, but how does he tell voters, "I'm not going to promise you the moon and the stars because you can't get them, but you should still vote for me."

RICHMOND: Look, I love Senator Warren. I think she is an outstanding person. But she's also in the Senate. And Senator Sanders is in the Senate. They know full well that we don't have 60 votes to pass Medicare for all. They know it costs $32 trillion, and they've only identified $16 trillion to pay for it.

So I don't think there's anything wrong with a candidate saying, "Look, I'm not going to mislead the American people. This is what I'm going to do. This is how I'm going to get there."

HARLOW: Wait, wait. Are they misleading? Does -- does Biden think --

RICHMOND: Well, where's the --

HARLOW: -- that Sanders and Warren are misleading, intentionally, the American people?

RICHMOND: No, I don't know if it's intentional or not. But I know that there's $16 trillion that they've not identified to pay for Medicare for all. It takes people's private insurance.

And here's the other thing. With all the candidates on the stage last night, Donald Trump asked, "What do we have to lose?" when he ran the last time, and it got him 13 percent of African-American male voters.

I think what the vice president is going to do is show people what we have to lose. This guy is unfit to serve the American people, just like he was unfit to serve in the military. And I believe that the vice president will show the country what's at stake.

His numbers are great, he's beating Donald Trump handily in the battleground states, and I think that people are recognizing that. And we can't lose this race. And I don't think the characterization that Joe Biden wants to go back to the past, that's not true. HARLOW: OK.

RICHMOND: If you look at all of his plans, they are far-reaching and they are very, very progressive.

HARLOW: It's going to be an exciting night.

RICHMOND: It will.

HARLOW: We're looking forward to it. Not a lot of sleep in the last few days for anyone --

RICHMOND: That is true.

HARLOW: -- but that's all right. Thank you, Congressman.

RICHMOND: Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: I really appreciate it, Congressman Cedric Richmond.

[10:38:16] Still to come, the man the president wants to lead the nation's intelligence community has a history of questioning the intelligence community. The president just said yesterday he would rein it in. How's that going to work?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump and a few other administration officials have made a handful of calls to GOP senators to talk about the budget deal today. Senate leaders are expected to vote on that package as early as today.

Lawmakers want to avoid the showdown that happened in the House, where there was a massive Republican uprising against the package -- remember the party in the past has been against big deficit-building bills, budget bills. CNN politics congressional reporter Lauren Fox is on Capitol Hill.

So does the Republican Party have the votes for this one?

LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, you know, Jim, we expect that this bill will pass. But the biggest question is whether or not they can get at least half of their conference to support it.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, just a few minutes ago on the Senate floor, said that they were going to vote in the, quote, "near future." Does that mean this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow morning? Well, that's up for discussion. And it's still a little bit unclear.

TEXT: Budget Deal: Suspends debt limit through July 2021; Sets budget of $1.37 trillion for fiscal 2020, $738B for defense, $632B for nondefense spending; Sets budget of $1.375 trillion for fiscal 2021; Boosts spending by $321 billion

FOX: But, look, the view is that August recess is just around the corner. Jet (ph) fumes (ph) can be a very powerful tool to get the votes that they need. Again, we expect this bill to easily pass. There will be more Democratic votes than Republican ones, in part because of that question of how much this drives up the debt.

A lot of conservatives I've talked to say they have a lot of concerns about that. I talked to one Republican who was on the fence yesterday. They said, you know, they were leaning towards supporting it, but there are so many colleagues voicing how frustrated they are about this driving up the debt, that this is making it very difficult.

They said there's a lot of Republican colleagues who are going to vote against it and then still hope it passes, and that's a little bit of the frustration within the Republican Conference when it comes to this bill.

But, again, we expect it to pass. It's just a question of how many Republican votes it gets, and when precisely it gets to the floor -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes. They used to be deficit hawks. You don't hear that so loudly these days. Lauren Fox on the Hill, thanks very much.

New remarks have surfaced from President Trump's nominee to be the next director of National Intelligence, the highest ranking intelligence official in the country.

[10:45:02] Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe pushed the Justice Department to investigate the role that the agency and the broader intelligence community played in the origins of the Russia investigation, a point you've heard the president make many times. CNN's senior national correspondent Alex Marquardt, here with the details.

Tell us what he said and how those views align with the president's.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jim, frankly, as you know, this is a huge job and this is a man about whom not much is known. So we here at CNN have been diving into closed- door transcripts with former Obama officials, as well as John Ratcliffe's many, many dozens of appearances on "Fox News."

TEXT: Who is Rep. John Ratcliffe? 3-term congressman for the Texas' Fourth District; Member of House Intelligence, Homeland Security, Judiciary and Ethics Committees; Former U.S. attorney and federal terrorism prosecutor; Former mayor of Heath, Texas (population 8,100)

MARQUARDT: And what we have found -- and Jeremy Herb, our colleague, has done the bulk of this work -- has painted a picture of someone who is in lockstep with the president, who is deeply skeptical of the Russia investigation, and deeply skeptical of the intelligence community that he is -- has now been designated to lead.

Now, in these comments, he has not used the words like "witch hunt" and "hoax" that the president has, but he has repeatedly voiced his skepticism about what the special counsel was doing, about -- he said that the investigation was tainted by the early actions of the investigators. And he has also accused the Obama administration of potentially committing crimes.

Let's take a listen to one sound bite from one of his very many "Fox News" interviews.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R-TX): There was spying. The Obama Justice Department and intelligence community did spy on the Trump campaign. The question now, that needs to be answered is, was there a predicate for that?

This is why the focus needs to shift, now, to those folks in the intelligence community and at the Justice Department that made representations that there was probable cause, that there was evidence of collusion when in fact the special counsel has found that there was not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: So perpetuating, there, the line from the president that the Obama administration spied on his campaign, when in fact the FBI opened an investigation in the summer of 2016.

Jim, this, of course, paints -- shows -- highlights the fears of Democrats, that they are not getting someone who is apolitical for this very important intelligence role, but someone who is very aligned with the president -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: And a fact-check there, too. He said that they're -- they determined, the special counsel, no evidence of conspiracy. No, he determined that there was not sufficient evidence --

(CROSSTALK)

MARQUARDT: Right.

SCIUTTO: -- to pursue criminal charges there. Alex Marquardt, great to have you on the story. Thanks very much.

[10:47:32] Democratic 2020 candidate Marianne Williamson is turning into a social media sensation, becoming the top-searched candidate on Google. What led to that? We're going to discuss. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: Other than googling "Jim Sciutto," the most-searched candidate on Google last night, Jim? Who do you think it was?

SCIUTTO: Marianne Williamson, apparently?

HARLOW: Yadda, yadda, yadda. Obviously. Likely due to standout moments like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you think any of this wonkiness is going to deal with this dark psychic force of the collectivized hatred that this president is bringing up in this country, then I'm afraid that the Democrats are going to see some very dark days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: That phrase by Williamson, "Dark psychic force," catching the eye of a lot of people. It was trending on social media as well. Joining us now, Oliver Darcy, CNN Business senior media reporter with Moore's (ph).

So tell us how a big a spike you saw for that. And I guess I'm curious as well, does that often translate into political support, following a debate like this?

HARLOW: Yes.

OLIVER DARCY, CNN SENIOR MEDIA REPORTER: Yes. If we're talking about a candidate that generated a lot of online buzz last night, the clear winner -- clear winner is Marianne Williamson. Despite being one of the candidates who actually received the least amount of speaking time -- we tallied it up and outside Hickenlooper, I believe she was the person that received the least amount of speaking time.

TEXT: Top searched Democratic candidates during the first Detroit debate: 1. Marianne Williamson; 2. Bernie Sanders; 3. Elizabeth Warren; 4. Pete Buttigieg; 5. John Delaney; 6. Beto O'Rourke; 7. Tim Ryan; 8. John Hickenlooper; 9. Steve Bullock; 10. Amy Klobuchar

DARCY: She seemed to have generated the most online buzz. Google released those search results and said that she was the most-searched candidate during the debate last night. And that stat even becomes more striking when you look at the state-by-state breakdown before the debate.

Before the debate, you could see support divided between Sanders and Warren and Buttigieg. But after the debate -- if we have a map I think -- if you look at it, Williamson is dominating every single state except for Montana where, of course, Bullock is governor. So a clear win in terms of generating online buzz on Google for Williamson last night.

I should note, though, that this does not mean that she's, you know, the most-supported candidate. People google candidates because they might want to see more about them, learn more about them, really have that viral moment that she had. And she had a few, but she is the most-searched candidate coming out of last night's debate.

HARLOW: All right. So there's that. And then there's Twitter. The most-tweeted politician of the night, apparently not even on stage. Is that right, Oliver?

DARCY: That is right. Donald Trump was not on stage last night, but he was obviously in the air. He was the most tweeted-about U.S. politician last night according to data that Twitter released. [10:55:08] Another interesting thing that Twitter did release was the

most tweeted-about moment. And that came, actually, when Warren shot down Delaney, and she said that she could not understand why someone would run for president if they did not want to dream big and show what they could do for the American people versus what they could not do. That was the most tweeted-about moment in last night's debate according to Twitter.

TEXT: Top Twitter trends for the U.S.: 1. #DemDebate; 2. Marianne Williamson; 3. #TheBacheloretteFinale; 4. Puig; 5. Delaney; 6. Bernie; 7. Warren; 8. Tim Ryan; 9. Reds; 10. Amir Garrett

SCIUTTO: And "The Bachelorette" final, too, up there as well. Oliver Darcy --

HARLOW: My Gosh, Sciutto --

DARCY: That was number one.

SCIUTTO: Well, that -- it jumped out at me.

HARLOW: Is that what you were doing last night, Sciutto?

SCIUTTO: No, I'm not going to make confessions on-air.

Oliver Darcy, great to have you on.

Night one was moderates versus progressives. Tonight, the "CNN DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE" may end up being Joe Biden versus everyone else.

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Our special coverage continues from Detroit.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:00:00]