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Williamson Confronted Over Past Views on Antidepressants, Depression; Nikki Haley Responds to Trump's Tweet: "So Unnecessary"; 117 House Democrats Back Impeachment Inquiry; Rick Santorum Shares Lessons from 2012 Campaign. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired August 2, 2019 - 12:30   ET

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


[12:30:00] JOHN KING, CNN HOST: -- why did it take so long to get there?

TARINI PARTI, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, BUZZFEED NEWS: So, Gabbard currently has only qualified and made the qualifications for the DNC debate in one poll, so she is close to the 130,000 mark but she still needs to go out there and convince people that she is a credible candidate. And I think that was part of that. She needs to qualify for this debate because if she doesn't, we have -- we'll have a bunch of these candidates still trying to make this electability argument to voters. But if they don't qualify, that argument will become even harder to make. I was talking to one strategist yesterday who said that they'll be at the kids' table but there won't even be a table, they'll be eating on the floor. So that was -- that's the hard argument to make.

KING: I hope the catering is good. And look, the longer some of these candidates -- it's early -- especially when you have 20-plus candidates in the race, the media starts to give scrutiny to those candidates at the top of the polls. Kamala Harris' record in California, Joe Biden's history. Some of the other top-tier. The lower tier candidates actually sometimes get a pass. The longer they're in the race, they get more scrutiny like Tulsi Gabbard and her meeting with Assad in the past. And Marianne Williamson, the spiritual book author who's been in the race, these are some of the past things that she has said about depression.

This is going back to June 2016. "The answer to depression is more scientific research only if you think of it simply as biomedical terms. The medicalization of depression is a creation of the medical industry. For millennia, depression was seen as a spiritual disease and for many of us it's still is."

June 2018. "There was no stigma to depression until it was medicalized. If you would help yourself, that's wonderful but it doesn't change the fact that most antidepressants are being prescribed by doctors who aren't even mental health professionals and many times when people are simply sad."

June -- September 2017. "There's no blood test for clinical depression." You see more of them here. Last night she went on with CNN's Anderson Cooper and he pressed on this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When we go through a divorce, when we have a pain over a breakup, when someone that we love has died, when we have been through a financial loss or failure, there is value sometimes in feeling the sadness, feeling that dark night of the soul. So what I speak to is not serious what is today called clinical depression, although I have questioned sometimes how that is looked at.

You know, Anderson --

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: You said it was a scam.

WILLIAMSON: Do you know how many women in America are prescribed their antidepressants by their gynecologists? Anderson, if somebody is helped by an antidepressant, I'm happy for them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: She tweeted today, "Let's make it clear, let's state it again, I'm pro-medicine, I'm pro-science." So again, she's trying to move to a different place.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Listen, there is a real debate in the medical community, in the therapy community, about whether or not there is too much antidepressant prescriptions happening for women and men. But to have that be kind of where you're leading as a candidate for president is not necessarily, you know, ideal.

ELIANA JOHNSON, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's also not what she said at all.

BASH: Well, right. OK, but it's not ideal. But my point is that this is what happens when you are a private citizen making money and making your name genuinely as somebody who people look to for guidance on these kinds of things. And this is also what happens when you realize politics ain't bean bag and she obviously wants and needs attention to keep going, to keep her race viable, but that does mean that these statements are fair game for not just journalists but for her competitors when and if they believe that she is worthy of attacking on these things.

KING: When and if or if she -- it's the -- if she keep -- every -- you know, people laugh sometimes at the candidates at the bottom. Every one percent they get is coming out of somebody else who's trying to make that next debate.

Up next, President Trump's former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley has a blunt message for her former boss, the president.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:38:15] KING: Topping our political radar today, the New York City Police Department has suspended officer Daniel Pantaleo after a key police official and the New York Attorney General recommended he be terminated. Pantaleo was the officer who was caught on video in 2014 putting 43-year-old Eric Garner in what appears to be a chokehold. Chokeholds are banned by the police department. Garner was unharmed and repeatedly told the officer he could not breathe. The NYPD commissioner will make the final call about Pantaleo's career. He's been on desk duty since Garner's death and protesters have called for his firing.

Senate Democrats vowing to stop Congressman John Ratcliffe from being confirmed as the next director of national intelligence. This comes amid questions about whether the Texas Republican exaggerated his resume as a federal prosecutor working on terrorism cases. CNN's initial search of court records did not find any terrorism cases Ratcliffe was listed as prosecuting. The Justice Department yet to comment on the matter.

Some scary news out of Baltimore. A criminal tried to break into the home of Democratic Congressman Elijah Cummings. In a statement, Cummings said it happened just before 4 a.m. this past Saturday. The congressman chased the intruder away he says by yelling. The president adding his, let's call it sarcastic two cents this morning, quote, really bad news. Too bad. That from the president.

He, of course, has repeatedly attacked Cummings starting on last Saturday after the attempted robbery calling Baltimore infested on Twitter with little pushback from other Republicans. But, this is important, this morning one former Trump cabinet official publicly rolling her eyes. Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador re-tweeting the president with this reaction, quote, this is so unnecessary.

The president has repeatedly attacked Baltimore in the past week including calling it infested. Last night he blamed Democrats for inner-city problems.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No one has paid a higher price for the far-left's destructive agenda than Americans living in our nation's inner cities.

[12:40:07] It's been one-party control and look at them. We can name one after another, but I won't do that because I don't want to be controversial. We want no controversy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: This is so unnecessary from Nikki Haley, the former U.N. ambassador and South Carolina governor, a woman with a future in Republican politics. What do we make of that?

JOHNSON: That is really noteworthy, I think, because we've either seen Republicans really queue closely to the president and act almost like lackeys or we've seen them not make breaks and write tell-all books or break with him completely like Rex Tillerson or, you know, like John Kelly who really hasn't said anything but we know they didn't leave on great terms. Nikki Haley is kind of making a middle path where she is supportive of the president but she also makes her own views known at I think strategic times like this when I think she thinks most Americans are sort of disgusted by what the president is saying. She's got a book coming out in the fall and she's certainly someone to watch. But I think there are also a lot of other Republicans like her who are looking to a post-Trump era and there will be many others to watch. How do they navigate that?

KING: What's the lion from the -- lion in the "Wizard of Oz", courage?

Next, how long can Speaker Pelosi hold the line on investigate but don't impeach?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:46:15] KING: The Speaker Nancy Pelosi now and her growing math problem. There are 235 House Democrats and 117 of them are now in a place the speaker does not want to go. As in 117 who now say they support opening an impeachment inquiry against President Trump. There are 235 House Democrats, so the math is pretty simple.

The next one to join the impeachment call will tip the math to mean a majority of Pelosi's caucus disagrees with the speaker's position. The trend line is clear, two more added their names yesterday, more than 20 have come out for impeachment since Robert Mueller, the former special counsel testified. So in the upper case D, Democratic Party, will lower case D, democracy rule?

BASH: That's a good question, that's a great way to put it. Look, with each person never mind the majority of the majority, as Denny Hastert used to say, it gets harder for Nancy Pelosi to say no. And what -- and the question on the table isn't, are we going to impeach this guy. The question on the table is, are we going to at least begin an inquiry into impeaching him?

Now, having said that, we know how it works. It's hard to stop a train in motion, particularly when it's a political train in the House of Representatives when they're hearing from their constituents and the grassroots. You've got to keep this thing going. One of the questions on the table was when the House members went home, would there be loud calls and would the numbers start to creep up or not? And at least slowly the answer is yes.

KING: And progressives are trying to push that. Progressives who are pro-impeachment, they have this hashtag impeachment August and they list -- they're listing all the town halls and they're trying to get their activists to go out especially for those who have not done so yet and say go out, go out and push, push, and push.

Here's the thing that has kept the speaker where she is. These so- called front line Democrats. These are the 44 Democrats that the Democrats own campaign committee use as most vulnerable in 2020. You want to keep the majority, these 44 have to win. Only 18 percent of them, meaning eight, eight of the 44 are in favor of impeachment. Eighty-two percent of them, the rest, the bulk, are like please, please, I've got to go home and run in a district where the president is strong, where the president might win my district in 2020.

Will she continue? Her position has been they matter more. Can she stay there if a majority of her members say we want to go forward?

CARL HULSE, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think she will try to. I think that 218 is still the number two in the House, right? You have to have the votes if you're going to go ahead and do this. But I think that you're seeing a lot of reaction to pressure, exactly what you said. They're feeling it a little bit. We'll see what happens. Nancy Pelosi wanted to get to this six-week recess and try to let some of the air out of this. So if they can put pressure on at home, maybe they'll be successful. But I still say it's so risky to do a partisan impeachment. And the Clinton impeachment inquiry, 31 Democrats voted with the Republicans. So Nancy Pelosi is thinking, wow, we're going to go and do this on a straight party-line vote? That's going to be very, very difficult.

I think she's going to try and hold the line. I thought she would certainly be able to hold the line. I'm wondering if she'll be able to hold the line.

KING: We'll wait. We'll see how this August recess whether she wants it to be about healthcare, jobs, and the like. We'll see what the report is when they come back.

When we come back, if you're at two percent, one percent, maybe three percent in the polls six months to the Iowa caucuses, can you win? An example of someone who did in just a few minutes.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:54:11] KING: A little campaign reality check here. Six months to the Iowa caucuses, barely a blip in the polls despite months of exhausting campaigning, desperate for a breakthrough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND (D-NY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We need a nominee who will take on the big fights and win. We need a nominee who doesn't know the meaning of impossible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: If you follow past campaigns, you know how this movie ends, almost always.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need to respond to that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michelle, Michelle, it's the people --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand. I understand. You have the next question. You have the next question, Senator. I promise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: No, Rick Santorum did not win the Republican nomination in 2012 but he did win the Iowa caucuses despite a very bleak early outlook. Take a look here at the polling. Six months out from the Iowa caucuses, Santorum at just four percent even two months out, two months out. [12:55:04] A little flashback here, he had barely moved in the polls.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), 2012 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So the fact that someone (INAUDIBLE) is for one candidate or not, our five percent is solid and building. And we feel like we've got a great grassroots team here, we've spent the time, people have kicked the tires. And we feel a buzz out here. We know that our campaign is going to do much, much better than those polls indicate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: He did do much, much better actually eking out an Iowa win over eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Senator Santorum, now a CNN contributor is here with us. I wanted to have you here because Senator Gillibrand, I wasn't trying to beat her up, Senator Gillibrand, Mr. Yang, Senator Bennet --

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Fifteen of them. KING: Senator Bennet, Governor Inslee, they're all trying to make this decision now. And for some of them it's going to be can I go to Iowa or New Hampshire and camp out and somehow get from 2 percent to whatever the victory line or at least top two or three is. Can they? What do they have to do?

SANTORUM: Hypothetically they can. I just think it's tougher in this race and it's tougher in this race for a couple of reasons. Number one, in Republican primaries, there's a lot of lanes, there is the establishment lane, there is the social conservative lane, there is the libertarian lane, there's the populist lane, which Donald Trump -- in the Democratic Party there's two lanes. And so there's just a lot more people in each lane. And it just makes it a lot harder.

I would say that it's possible, but again, the fact that there's so many candidates. When I ran, there were seven or eight and you got on the stage. Now you're -- half the folks may be off the stage. Very hard to make a difference if you're not on the stage.

KING: That's a key point there because you had how many, 18 debates -- how many debates were there in 2012?

SANTORUM: Twenty-two in 2011.

KING: Twenty-two in 2011. And so the Democratic National Committee has these rules that if they're not at two percent in at least four polls, if you don't have 130,000 unique donors, you're gone in the third -- just the third debate which is next month. SANTORUM: The Republican Party had a one percent threshold. I mean, that wasn't -- they didn't have any donor threshold. So pretty much anybody who was a legit candidate was in there. And we had an opportunity to make our case.

Look, you did that interview back in November, I was sitting at four percent in the polls or five percent in the polls and I thought, well, I had a chance. The reason I felt I had a chance is because I was still being heard. I was still on the stage.

I think the Democrats are making a mistake. I know it's a big field but I think trying to narrow it too soon, we're still way too far out. I think it's going to hurt some candidates who could be -- you know, could be winners.

KING: I want to put the vote board up from that night, and I know this still burns you in some way. Rick Santorum wins by 34 votes over then, you know, Governor Mitt Romney, now in the United States Senate, 24.6 to 24.6. It was reported early on as a tie. A lot of people early on had Romney winning because you passed him in a very late count.

The Iowa winner --

SANTORUM: Well, actually on election night, I lost by eight votes. It was the recount two and a half weeks later that I was declared the winner. And so --

KING: You did not get the Iowa bounce.

SANTORUM: I got no bounce, I was second. And in fact what -- and, you know, I don't think that's going to happen in this race. But the reality is, to your point, someone in this race is going to connect and have an opportunity in Iowa and maybe New Hampshire to build a base of support there. And that's really -- I wouldn't give up on those folks. They may get bumps from this next debate, but I would say that there's somebody, particularly in the less radical strain, not the Sanders/Warren lane but more the Biden lane. I think Biden is going to fall and there's an opportunity for someone to connect in Iowa and New Hampshire and fill that.

KING: So how do you do it in your Iowa experience? I came and saw you a couple of times because you kept saying you're starting to feel it. Now if there's only one way to do it is to go out, go to the town halls, see who is showing up --

SANTORUM: Three hundred eighty-five town hall meetings.

KING: There weren't a lot of reporters around in parts of that, you know, just come out and do it but 385 you say. You went to all 99 counties. You didn't have much money. How do you put that -- the Republican coalition is a little different from the Democratic coalition but if you're Andrew Yang watching right now or Governor Inslee watching right now and you're thinking do I take this chance, how do you do it? SANTORUM: Well, connecting with people. I mean, that's it. I mean, in Iowa and New Hampshire you have the opportunity to actually run almost like a congressional race for president and connect with enough people. What happened to us, and this is the difference, what happened to us is we were -- people liked us but no one, two months out was going to vote for us because they didn't think we could win.

And so it's a matter of getting the momentum at the right time. We got it in the last few weeks. Someone is going to have an opportunity. As these candidates get beat up and falter, someone is going to have an opportunity, they just have to hang around long enough to get it.

KING: Fight for it too.

SANTORUM: Fight for it.

KING: You got to fight for it.

SANTORUM: Got to fight for it.

KING: Maybe you should -- you look great in a suit but maybe they should get a sweater vest. Maybe that would help, right?

SANTORUM: It worked for me.

KING: It did work for you.

Thanks for joining us today in the INSIDE POLITICS. Pamela Brown is in for Brianna Keilar. She starts right now. Have a great day.

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