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Poll: Sanders, Warren Split Shows Progressives Divided; Turmoil Rocks NRA As Three More Resign, Including Two Board Members; Jill Biden's Unusual Pitch To Voters; Actress Susan Sarandon Takes Aim At Warren While Stumping For Sanders; Nineteen-Year-Old Allegedly Threatened "Slaughter" At Abortion Clinic; Pentagon: ISIS Resurging In Syria Following Troop Withdrawal; Trump Confirms He's Considering Payroll Tax Cut. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired August 20, 2019 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Another way to interpret these numbers here is you have 29 percent of Democrats polled support Biden and then the other 29 percent are split among the progressives, right?


BALDWIN: So between Sanders and Warren. So do you think that's just more evidence of how severely divided the party is right now?

BORGER: Yes, sure. The progressives are really divided. And Sanders and Warren are locked in a battle. They're looking at different parts of progressives. I think that Warren appeals to younger progressives, for example, better educated. Sanders more blue-collar, older. They're fighting for that wing in the party. That's another reason Biden continues to float above everybody else.

Also, this notion of his electability. I've never heard as long, as I've cover politics -- I'm old enough to remember when Hillary Clinton used the electability argument, and that didn't work really well for her, and the inevitability argument, and that didn't work really well for.

For Joe Biden right now, because Donald Trump is the Republican nominee, that electability argument worked very well with Democrats, more than half of whom think it's the most important thing a Democrat can be, which is a winner. They're looking for someone who can beat Donald Trump above all else.

BALDWIN: I want to ask you about that. We'll play the sound from Dr. Biden when she was talking to those teachers in New Hampshire.

BORGER: Oh, yes.

BALDWIN: So we'll let people watch it and be the judge and how affective it is. And then I'll ask you about it in a second.

Gloria, stand by for me.

Also ahead, the NRA has been rocked by these resignations. Two more board members have stepped down in the past couple hours, a former NASCAR driver and country music singer. We have details on that. And more Gloria Borger, coming up next.


[14:36:27] BALDWIN: In the wake of a recent back-to-back shootings and mounting calls for gun control, turmoil continues to plague the National Rifle Association.

CNN has learned three more prominent members of the powerful gun lobby are stepping down. NASCAR team owner, Richard Childress, and country music sing, Craig Morgan, they both resigned from the NRA board. Top NRA official, David Lehman, is also leaving as these latest departures continue this exodus of the NRA leadership in recent months over the controversy of the group's spending.

CNN's Sara Murray is covering this for us today.

Tell me more about the genesis of these resignations and also whether you think this is a sign the NRA is weakening.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: We know the NRA has been under pressure, in part, as you talked about, they always face a wave of criticism when they come out against additional gun control measures in the wake of these mass shootings. But they also have a lot of internal messiness going on. There's been a lot of uncertainty about how the NRA has been spending it's money.

And Richard Childress is one of the people who signed on to a letter, this was months ago, questioning how much the NRA has been spending on its outside council. The other person who signed onto that letter was Oliver North, who had been the NRA president, who got kind of unceremoniously ousted from the group.

So now Richard Childress is stepping down from the board. He wrote a resignation letter. It doesn't mention any of these financial issues. It's sort of a more of a "we're all on the same team" letter.

But I think the fact that you see him stepping aside, that you see Craig Morgan, stepping aside, it is an issue for the NRA, because these guys were both big names within the National Rifle Association. They were prominent surrogates. So it's an indication that this messiness is going to continue.

This is the kind of thing the NRA hoped to be wrapping up soon. But when you go week after week and you have this drip, drip, drip of more people who are leaving the board, more questions about their finances, it's hard for those inquiries to wrap up.

And, Brooke, of course, as you know, their finances are under scrutiny by the attorney general in Washington, D.C., as well in New York. So board members leaving is probably the least of their problems.

BALDWIN: Yes, it's like what signal is this sending, you know?

Sara Murray, thank you very much, from the NRA.

In just moments, a Chicago man accused of threatening to attack a women's clinic is set to appear in court. How a posting on social media caught the attention of law enforcement.


[14:43:10] BALDWIN: As we wait to hear a little bit of sound from President Trump at the White House with the visiting Romanian president, I want to bring our conversation back to electability in this Democratic crop of candidates.

Let me bring back Gloria Borger, our CNN chief political analyst, to jump back to where I think you left off.

Let me play this sound. This is the former second lady, Dr. Jill Biden, talking to a group of teachers in New Hampshire. And she's trying to recruit voters for her husband, like this.


DR. JILL BIDEN, WIFE OF JOE BIDEN: Your candidate might be better on, I don't know, health care than Joe is, but you've got to look at who's going to win this election, and maybe you have to swallow a little bit and say, OK, I personally like so and so better, but your bottom line has to be that we have to beat Trump.


BALDWIN: She's saying, my husband may not be your top pick, but --

BORGER: Right.

BALDWIN: -- when it comes to this group of Democratic candidates, he's the guy who's going to beat Donald Trump.

BORGER: Right.

BALDWIN: Does that get to the heart of that strategy, do you think?

BORGER: I think it does. He's the guy you want to marry, she says as his wife. He's not perfect, he may not be perfect to you, but he's going to be loyal to you. And look at the person and look at the other person he would be returning against, and he's the only one who can beat that person.

I think that it's interesting to me, and important in a way, that it's coming from the wife. The candidate doesn't look good saying that. The candidate can't say, oh, I know there are things you may not like about me, but you might --

BALDWIN: Yes. But she can.

BORGER: Remember when Donald Trump -- yes. Remember when Donald Trump said to African-American voters, what have you got to lose? Remember that? That didn't sound so great.

She's saying a version of that. But coming from the wife, she's saying, he may not be perfect to you, but keep your eye on the prize here, and the prize is beating Donald Trump. [14:45:15] And I think coming from her, it makes a lot of sense. It

softens the message a little bit. And I think it's a message she can carry, because she can say, OK, he's not perfect, and coming from a wife, everybody says, OK, fine, he's not perfect. She knows that.

BALDWIN: Yes, yes.

BORGER: So I think it makes sense. It makes sense.

BALDWIN: We were talking a second ago about how divided the Democratic Party is between more middle-of-the-road folks and progressives and that divide. What about the divide among the progressives? Senator Bernie Sanders held this event at the Field of Dreams field in Iowa where a longtime supporter of his, Susan Sarandon, appeared to take a swipe against the candidate who has been drawing some of his supporters. Here she was.


SUSAN SARANDON, ACTRESS: When people know and when they hear the Senator's policies, when they see his track record, when they know how authentic he is, and how he's been fighting for these issues for so long, and he is the only one that has that reputation. He is not someone who used to be a Republican. He's not someone who used to take money or still takes money from Wall Street. He is the real deal.


BALDWIN: Now, she wasn't naming names, but we know she's -

BORGER: Ding, ding, ding.

BALDWIN: Elizabeth Warren, anyone, right?

BORGER: Hello?

BALDWIN: She was registered a Republican up until the mid '90s.

Do you think with this swipe from Susan Sarandon, who is the supporter of Sanders, do you think this may be a beginning of the sign of the two campaigns going after each other?

BORGER: Could be. It could be.

BALDWIN: Or do you think it's isolated?

BORGER: You could talk about Bernie Sanders and say, wait a minute, oh, Democratic Socialist? What about that? OK.

If I were Elizabeth Warren, I'd say, yes, I used to be a Republican and here's the reasons I changed. I changed because I thought their policies were bad for working people, which is what she should be talking about.

Remember, Ronald Reagan used to be a Democrat. And talked an awful lot about why he switched from being a Democrat to being a Republican, and it didn't hurt him one bit.

So if they want to play on that territory, I think Elizabeth Warren can say, OK, you want to have that fight --


BALDWIN: They haven't gone after each other.

BORGER: Right. Right.

BALDWIN: I remember, back to our Detroit debate, you had Sanders and Warren sitting next to each other. They almost had their backs together like they were this one force fighting the wings of the stage.

BORGER: Right.

BALDWIN: I'm wondering if eventually they're going to have sharp elbows toward one another.

BORGER: Eventually, they're going to have to. During our debate, they were fighting off everybody else, and everybody else was attack willing them. They were playing defense largely against the other people in the field.

When it comes to a point -- and it will come to that point when they have to go after each other. I think it's clearly going to be a point of attack where they might say, look, you were a Republican, but I do think she has a good answer for that, if she wants to use it, and I think she will use it.

And there's nothing wrong in politics, by the way, with changing your mind about things if you have a good reason and it's not just politically expedient.


BORGER: I think she can make the reason. Say, you know, I was a Republican, until I discovered that I didn't agree with anything they stood for and that they were hurting working people.

BALDWIN: Gloria Borger, thank you very much.

BORGER: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you, thank you.

We turn to this, the return of ISIS. Why and where the terrorist group is resurging after the president declared them defeated.

Plus, another group of high school students seen on video giving a Nazi salute. We have those details ahead.


[14:53:25] BALDWIN: Happening in a moment now, a Chicago teenager is due back in federal court for a detention hearing related to charges he threatened to shoot up an abortion clinic and, quote, "slaughter anyone inside."

Prosecutors say he posted on the social media site, iFunny, that he was, quote, "tired" of his state's abortion laws.

Police say this is the latest in a string of foiled plots to inflict mass violence.

Omar Jimenez is our CNN national correspondent following the details for us live in Chicago.

Omar, in addition to what I just mentioned, this young man issued a dire warning to federal agents? What else have investigators uncovered?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, he made mention of federal agents as part of these iPhone messages that prosecutors put forward, in regard to this hearing. That hearing that he's going in for is just in an hour and a half.

And 19-year-old Farhan Sheikh, who was charged, facing federal criminal charges, of threatening violence against an abortion clinic in the northern part of the city here.

I want to show you some of the exerts from the iFunny messages. You can see just why federal authorities were so concerned about him. Reading in one message, "I'm done with my state and their B.S. abortion laws and allowing innocent kids to be slaughtered for the so- called women's right B.S."

Also, "I'm done. On August 23, 2019, I will go to the" -- abortion clinic - "in Chicago, and I will proceed to slaughter and murder any doctor, patient or visitor I see in the area, and I will not back down."

[14:55:00] According to the FBI, he later claimed it was a joke. But also as part of his messages, he specifically wrote, his account was not a satirical account and, quote, "I post what I mean and I will carry out what I propose."

We have yet to hear back from his attorney -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: How about anything from this Web site, iFunny? Are they commenting at all?

JIMENEZ: We haven't heard back yet from iFunny.

But what's interesting about this particular case, this is actually the second arrest in recent weeks tied to the iFunny social media platform. And actually, Sheikh here made mention of the previous arrests by a guy named Justin Olson, out of Ohio. He was arrested for making threatening messages toward federal agents, including saying, at one point, according to prosecutors, to shoot any federal agent on site. Again, this, according to the criminal complaint we saw from

prosecutors, this was an iFunny user that this Chicago teenager made mention of as part of his arrest as well.

BALDWIN: OK. Omar Jimenez, in Chicago. Omar, thank you.

Just five months after President Trump declared ISIS was totally defeated, the Pentagon now admitting the terror network is making a comeback in Syria and Iraq. Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is acknowledging that ISIS is not only resurging but, in some cases, he says, the terrorist group is stronger than it was a few years ago.


UNIDENTIFIED CBS ANCHOR: Last year he said, ISIS was done and done.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: Yes, well, what we've always said is the caliphate has been gone and there's always risk that there will be a resurgence, not just from ISIS. There's a risk from al Qaeda, other radical Islamic terrorist groups.

UNIDENTIFIED CBS ANCHOR: Is it gaining strength in your opinion?

POMPEO: It's complicated. There's certain --


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That should have happened a long time ago. I think they're being very tardy in not doing it and not having done it sooner. They raised too quickly. And I've been quite vocal on that. They also did quantitative tightening, which was ridiculous.

And so -- despite that, if you look, I guess you could call it normalized, but if you look, our economy is doing fantastically. And if you take a look at the previous administration, they weren't paying interest. They have no interest rates. They had loosening, not tightening. And frankly, it's a big difference. And our economy is incredible. Our jobs - you look at the jobs market.

But, you have to be proactive. We need a Fed cut rate, because if you look at what's going on with the European Union, as an example, they're cutting. You take a look at Germany, what they're doing and what they're paying. They're actually doing something in verse. Nobody's ever seen it before. We have to keep up to an extent.

So right now, we're paying a higher rate of interest. And we didn't follow the world. And, generally speaking, that's OK. But you can't have that much of a disparity. We're looking for a rate cut. It can be greatly helped if the Fed would do its job and do a substantial rate cut.

Also, they were doing quantitative tightening, very bad to do. They should do easing, actual easing, no tightening. At a minimum, they should be doing nothing about that. But they have to do a rate cut. The other thing is, we're looking at various tax reductions, but I'm

looking at that all the time anyway, tax reductions. That's one of the reasons we're at a strong economic position. We're right now the number-one country anywhere in the world by far, as an economy.

Europe's got a lot of problems. Asia's got a lot of problems. You look at China, China's had the worst year they've had in 27 years. They want to make a deal with us. I'm not ready to make a deal, unless they make the right kind of a deal. I'm not ready to make a deal. So I don't know. But I will say this. Something will happen, maybe soon and maybe a little bit later. But China very much wants to make deal.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What kind of tax cuts would you look at? We heard a cut in the payroll tax, indexing capital gains. What would you accept?

TRUMP: We've been talking about indexing for a long time. And many people like indexing. It can be done directly by me. We've been looking at that. I can do it directly. We're talking about indexing.

And we're always looking at the capital gains tax, payroll tax. We're looking at -- I would love to do something on capital gains. We're talking about that. It's a big deal. Goes through Congress.

Payroll tax is something we think about. And a lot of people would like to see that. That very much affects the workers of our country. We have a lot of workers.

Right now, by the way, we have more people working today than we've ever had before in the history of our country. We have almost 160 million people working today.

I think the word "recession" is a work that's inappropriate because it's just a word that the -- certain people -- I'm going to be kind -- certain people and the media are trying to build up, because they'd love to see a recession. We're very far from a recession. 2 [15:00:09] In fact, if the Fed would do its job, I think it would have a tremendous spurt of growth -- a tremendous spurt.