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CNN NEWSROOM

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden Criticizes President Trump for Pressuring Ukrainian President to Investigate Biden's Son Hunter Biden; Whistleblower Files Complaint regarding President Trump Making Promise to Foreign Leader during Phone Conversation; Saudi Arabia Repairs Oil Refineries after Drone Attacks; Interview with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Presidential Candidate; Booker Announces Need to Raise $1.7 Million in 10 Days to Continue Presidential Campaign; Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy Officially Announces Senate Candidacy; At Least Four People Killed in Tour Bus Crash Near Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah; Man Gives Proceeds from Donations towards Beer Money to Hospital. Aired 2-3p ET.

Aired September 21, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:19]

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: Hey there. Thanks for joining me. I'm Martin Savidge in for Fredricka Whitfield.

We're going to begin this hour with Joe Biden on the attack against President Trump. It was a fiery exchange with reporters he held. The Democratic presidential candidate calling for an investigation into President Trump's controversial phone call with the president of Ukraine. It was all taking place at a campaign stop in Iowa today. Biden pushed back at unproven claims that he and his son had acted inappropriately in their dealings with the Ukrainian government during Biden's time as vice president. And he accused President Trump of abuse of power.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Here's what I know. I know Trump deserves to be investigated. He is violating every basic norm of a president. You should be asking him the question, why is he on the phone with a foreign leader, trying to intimidate a foreign leader, if that's what happened? That appears what happened. You should be looking at Trump. Trump is doing this because he knows I'll beat him like a drum, and he is using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me. Everybody looked at this, and everybody that looked at it said there's nothing there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: This all centers on a conversation that President Trump had at the end of July with the Ukrainian president which prompted a whistleblower complaint to the intelligence community inspector general. A source telling CNN during the call Trump pressed Ukraine's president to investigate Joe Biden's son Hunter, who once worked for a Ukrainian energy company. It's important to note there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Joe or Hunter Biden.

In a tweet today, the president insisted, quote, "Nothing was said that was in any way wrong" in his conversation with the Ukrainian leader. Jeremy Diamond is covering these developments at the White House, but we're going to begin with CNN's Jessica Dean who is in Iowa. And Jessica, what else did Biden have to say? He really was fired up.

JESSICA DEAN: He was very fired up, Martin, and he had a lot to say to the press. We talked to him yesterday and he was very short with his answer, but today he came ready to talk to the media and, as you see, really point all the attention back on President Trump and his allies. It is interesting, if you go to a fundraiser he had in South Carolina back in May, he told the group there, I know they're going to go after me and my family. He foreshadowed this months ago. He's talked about how this weighed heavily on him when he was deciding whether he should run or not, about the personal attacks that he anticipated from President Trump. Here's what he had to say to that. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know what I'm up against. I know what I'm up against, a serial abuser. That's what this guy is. He abuses power everywhere he can, and if he sees any threat to his staying in power, he'll do whatever he has to do. But this crosses the line. This crosses the line.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEAN: So Vice President Biden will be taking the stage along with many other of the presidential candidates here in Iowa. We'll see if he talks more about this. But, Martin, certainly this is the story that is driving the day here, and we expect to hear much more about it. The vice president just starting to talk about this. Martin?

SAVIDGE: Jessica Dean in Iowa, for us, thank you very much for that.

Now let's bring in Jeremy Diamond. He's at the White House. And Jeremy, what is the president saying, or maybe I should say tweeting about all of this?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Martin, what we're seeing is the president once again turning this into a new political attack line, once again painting himself the target of partisans, of Democrats, who are trying to undermine his presidency, just as he did, of course, with the investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. And just as he called that investigation the Russia witch hunt, he is now referring to this whistleblower complaint and everything that has stemmed from that as the Ukraine witch hunt.

But at the same time, the president is not disclosing much about his conversation with the Ukrainian president. He has so far declined to say whether or not he did indeed, as reporting indicates, bring up Joe Biden in his conversation with the Ukrainian president this past summer. He is referring to the whistleblower now as a partisan, as a political hack job, even though he says that he does not know the identity of this whistleblower.

But, Martin, all of this is surely not going away. Congress is continuing to demand transcripts of this call, as you just saw the former vice president Joe Biden also doing so. And this coming week the president will be bringing this story back to the fore once again as he sits on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly with the Ukrainian president. Martin?

SAVIDGE: There is no doubt this story is not going away. Jeremy Diamond, Jessica Dean, thank you both very much.

[14:05:02]

Now to talk about this further, let's bring in Brett Bruen. He is a former director of Global Engagement at the White House under President Obama. And it's good to see you.

BRETT BRUEN, PRESIDENT, THE GLOBAL SITUATION ROOM: Good to be with you.

SAVIDGE: So CNN is reporting that Trump asked the Ukrainian president to look into the Bidens and their connections to the Ukrainian prime minister. Do you take this as kind of a normal line of questioning?

BRUEN: It's absolutely not normal. I would say it is bordering on unethical if not illegal. And what was surprising to me, and we've become accustomed in the last two-and-a half years to cringeworthy, moments of perhaps national embarrassment or the erosion of American credibility, but this goes farther. This is about more than Donald Trump's ego. It is an egregious violation of the rules of diplomacy, how heads of state interact with one another. The fact that he brought this personal political issue up eight times, allegedly, with the Ukrainian president would cross several lines.

SAVIDGE: And, as you've already heard, Joe Biden is calling for a full investigation into the president's call. Based on what you know and what you've seen, what is the proper way to sort of respond to what the president appears to have done here?

BRUEN: Well, let me first say how unusual it would be for a member of the intelligence community or the national security staff to file a whistleblower complaint. Those are jobs of incredible trust. And you know you won't be allowed back into the Oval Office or into those meetings if you take that action. So you have to believe this is really meriting that sort of step. And clearly, this individual felt that it was and that they needed to sound the alarm bell.

I also would just add that I have spoken to a number of friends who have served in the Trump administration's National Security Council. They have become alarmed by how the president treats these conversations with heads of state as times to address his personal insecurities, not the nation's security. SAVIDGE: So, again, how do you think the follow up should be on this?

Impeachment, prosecution? How do you move forward on the president?

BRUEN: First and foremost, the White House needs to release the transcript. They need to release it to Congress. If there is classified information in it, it should be redacted. But we need to know what was said. And we need to know if there are other instances in which the president has pressured foreign leaders inappropriately or illegally. These conversations directly impact the national security of the United States. They are to be overseen by the Congress, and the Congress has the right to that information.

SAVIDGE: And as I think Jeremy Diamond alluded to, President Trump is expected to meet the Ukrainian president next week, I think it's Wednesday, during the General Assembly. What do you expect to come of that, and what are the optics of it?

BRUEN: Well, we've clearly seen Trump's difficult relationship, both with Ukraine and with Russia. The U.S. had put aid to Ukraine on hold for a period of time. I think they've got to work past what has been a handicap for this administration when it comes to a strong line on Russian intervention in Ukraine. Let's remember that Russian troops still occupy parts of Luhansk, Donetsk, and Crimea in eastern Ukraine. That's top of mind for the Ukrainians.

SAVIDGE: Of course, yes. Good points for the public to understand. Brett Bruen, thanks very much. Good to have you on the show.

BRUEN: Thank you.

SAVIDGE: President Trump is again insisting today that reporters should dig into a conspiracy theory involving Biden, Ukraine, and a Ukrainian prosecutor. Joining me now, CNN reporter Daniel Dale. And Dale, Democrats are accusing Trump of wrongdoing. He is pointing a finger back at Biden. So let's dig into these unproven claims that the president is making about Biden. What's the story and the facts as we know them?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Sure. So what we know for sure is that in 2016 Joe Biden, then the vice president, pushed Ukrainian leaders to get rid of a senior prosecutor who was widely seen as ineffective in fighting corruption. It's important to know that this was not a personal Joe Biden crusade. This was the position of the United States government, of the International Monetary Fund and other U.S. allies. All of them agreed that this prosecutor needed to go. The Ukrainians eventually agreed after Biden threatened them to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, and the parliament overwhelmingly voted to get rid of the prosecutor.

The reason there are some questions about this is that at the same time as Biden was making this push to oust the prosecutor, his son Hunter Biden was sitting on the board of directors of a Ukrainian natural gas company owned by someone who is theoretically under investigation by the prosecutor. I say theoretically because that's important. We don't know to what extent even the company was under investigation. "Bloomberg" has reported that it has been told the investigation was essentially dormant at the time that Biden made this push.

[14:10:05]

Regardless, Trump has insinuated that Hunter Biden himself, the vice president's son, was personally under investigation, and we have no evidence for that in particular.

SAVIDGE: So what has Biden said about his involvement in Ukraine? And does the story check out?

DALE: Well, Biden has boasted about his effort to oust the prosecutor. He's openly told the story as an example of his efforts to fight corruption in Ukraine. Everything he said about it is true as far as we know. Now, the way he's told the story, he hasn't even hinted at the possibility there might be some wrongdoing. This allegation has come from conservatives, from the Trump side. After they began making an allegation and Biden reacted angrily. He said everyone who has looked into this has found no evidence that there was anything improper whatsoever.

SAVIDGE: And what are the Ukrainians saying about all of this? They are obviously caught in a very awkward spot.

DALE: Yes, well, they haven't said very much. There have been reports that the successor to this prosecutor has made clear that Hunter Biden has not himself been under investigation and that there's no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden, but they're caught between a rock and a hard place. They don't want to anger a potential president in Biden. They also don't want to anger the current president in Trump. So they haven't said very much at all.

SAVIDGE: Right. And of course, this is going to be that meeting we anticipate between both presidents in New York this week. Daniel Dale, thank you very much for sort of clearing things up for us.

Still to come, the 2020 Democrats, they're going all in, in Iowa. And one is making an urgent plea for support.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:15:14]

SAVIDGE: Right now, 2020 presidential candidates are making their case to voters in Iowa's biggest city. That's because the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry is under way. It got started a few minutes ago in Des Moines. Seventeen candidates were on hand for the event, and they've got just 135 days until the Iowa caucuses to make their pitch.

I'm joined now by Rachael Bade, she's congressional reporter for "The Washington Post," and Daniel Strauss, he's politics reporter for "Politico." Hey to you both.

DANIEL STRAUSS, POLITICS REPORTER, "POLITICO": Hey.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning. SAVIDGE: Rachael, let me ask you this. I think we've talked about this earlier. Today's event, Senator Cory Booker took to Twitter to make a plea to donors. He wants more campaign funds. He wants money. He says he needs $1.7 million in 10 days. And I'm wondering, how is that supposed to resonate with voters? Is it like, hey, help me out, we'll begin the road to victory, or does it look like he is desperate and really in trouble?

BADE: I think it's both. It is a plea for help, and he is clearly feeling a sense of desperation right now. Look, this is a crowded field, 17 candidates, and only so many donors to go around. And so he is clearly struggling. He has not really had a big standout moment. He is not doing too well in the polls, even in his home state of New Jersey. He is actually fourth coming in at something like nine percent for Democratic primary voters in recent polling. So he is struggling right now.

And I think that the campaign's thought right now is if they're going to put out this cry for help and they can't raise this amount of money, which by the way, is not a lot of money, $2 million is not a whole lot in the scheme of things when it comes to campaign donations, but if they can't do this, then maybe it's time that he looks at doing something else and puts this up for now.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Well, let me move on. Daniel, let me just ask you this real quick. A short time ago Joe Biden -- Iowa just seems to be generating so much news -- he called for an investigation into the president for the abuse of power over that call with the Ukrainian president, that fiery reaction -- of course he knew the question was coming, but he was locked and loaded and ready to respond.

STRAUSS: Yes. And look, for Biden, this is actually something that the Biden campaign really wants to do. They want to focus their energy on attacking Trump. He is the frontrunner, so he doesn't gain much by attacking any of his opponents in the primary. But he does build up that contrast, that focus on Trump that the campaign wants voters to see. They want to see him versus Trump all the time. And this is really just the latest example of that.

SAVIDGE: But Rachael, at the same time, when Joe Biden talks about this, isn't there a part of some constituency somewhere that goes, oh, yes, what about that whole conspiracy? Or what about the whole allegations that have been made against Biden's son or against Biden, himself? And they begin to look into that. In other words, can it be harmful for him?

BADE: Yes. Clearly, this is not something he wants to be talking about. I don't think this is going to hurt him with Democratic voters, but what it can do, is if he is the nominee and he's running against Trump, what this whole narrative does is it gives Republicans a chance to try to dilute the narrative that Democrats are using against the president, which is that he is corrupt and he should be ousted from office, that we can't have him for another four years in the White House.

If you look at them side by side, I think a lot of people would say you're comparing apples and oranges. We're not even talking about Biden. We're talking about his son being on a board that was in potential trouble in Ukraine, and the whole thing was dismissed. Then you look at the president, who obviously the former FBI director, Robert Mueller, who became the Special Counsel, identified 10 areas of potential obstruction of justice that he may have committed. You have federal prosecutors who said that the president was all but a coconspirator in a campaign finance violation that sent his lawyer to jail for three years.

So Democrats will say you can't even compare these two, but Republicans, we have seen over and over again, they're really good about communicating a potential controversy and really blowing it up. I saw them do that when Obama was in the White House. And they are very effective at it. So this could hurt him in a general.

SAVIDGE: Daniel, I'm coming to you in a minute, but Rachael, one more before I move on to Daniel, and that is the economy. It has been really the president's bread and butter issue. But there's been some volatility in the stock market and some other areas where there's concerns financially. I'm wondering going into 2020, if you're the president staking everything on your reelection, do you pin it on the economy? Do you try the Second Amendment? Do you go about blaming Democrats who have gone far to the left? What is the strategy that wins here?

BADE: Yes, clearly Republicans would want the president to talk about the economy. They begged him to do so in 2018 before the midterm elections.

[14:20:03]

But we've seen the president time and time again, it's really hard for him to focus just on the economy. He wants to talk about controversial immigration issues --

SAVIDGE: But what if the economy fails, I guess, we're getting at here? What if there's something that takes a really nasty turn, what is plan b?

BADE: It's a good question because it is the bright spot for the president right now. And it's interesting because he is trying to fulfill promises when it comes to trade and play tough on China, renegotiate a whole bunch of trade deals. And that actually could undercut that bright spot that he has in the economy. So he's really going to have to potentially pick which one he wants with his whole reelection campaign.

SAVIDGE: And Daniel, Senator Elizabeth Warren, she has been rising in the polls. She's also starting to take hits from fellow candidates. And I'm wondering, do you think that those attacks can make Warren alter her own strategy?

STRAUSS: We haven't seen that so far. And frankly, Warren has kept a pretty consistent approach to this campaign. It's been a steady as you go campaign of not apologizing, not backing away from being a liberal candidate, supporting things like Medicare for all, and really eschewing the more moderate calls in the Democratic Party.

At the same time, though, it's inevitable that she would start to face attacks from her fellow Democrats in this primary. Vice President Biden has consistently led polling. And Warren has sort of maintained a second-place position. But it's a little unclear if that, how strong and how firm that perch is in the primary. And frankly, she seems a little more vulnerable than Biden at this moment.

SAVIDGE: And real quick, does that hurt the overall Democratic Party when you've got the candidates taking shots at one another?

STRAUSS: There are consultants who will always say that there should be more attention paid to the general election opponent, but it's so early right now. I'm really not convinced any fighting so far, especially in this primary, which has been pretty mild, is going to leave a lasting impression into the general election.

SAVIDGE: All right, I hear you. Daniel Strauss and Rachael Bade, good to see you both. Thank you.

Still to come, as the U.S. prepares to send troops to Saudi Arabia, CNN visits the oil facility that was targeted in the airstrike.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:26:18]

SAVIDGE: The U.S. says that it's sending more troops to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, that's following the attack on Saudi Arabia's main oil fields. The White House is blaming Iran for that, by the way, a charge that Tehran is denying. Defense Secretary Mark Esper called the attack a dramatic escalation of Iranian aggression, but added the U.S. does not want conflict with Iran. Esper also explained the scope of the mission of the U.S. troops.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARK ESPER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: What we would be deploying to the theatre would be what would be necessary to help support and contribute to the Kingdom's defenses. And at the same time calling we're calling on many other countries who would also have these capabilities to do two things. First of all, stand up and condemn these attacks. And secondly, look to also contribute defensive capabilities so we could defend those things that I outlined in my remarks, whether it's the infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, and then the broader issues with regard to freedom of the seas and navigation in the Strait, and then the international rules and norms Iran is clearly violating.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: For more on the attack on be the Saudi oil facilities, here is CNN's Nic Robertson.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: At ground zero in the attacks last weekend, the cleanup is under way. Workers at Khurais refinery barely pausing. The Saudi government officials bring us along to see. What we could film, carefully controlled. No one here in any doubt this strategic site is a target. It is the beating heart of the Saudi economy, punctured by four cruise missiles last Saturday.

This gives you an idea of the size of some of the shrapnel flying around here. Look. Palm sized, huge holes punched in this thick, quarter-inch thick steel piping. That's the ferocity of the attack.

Only six days ago the Kingdom's lifeblood here burning out of control, spewing smoke, clouding the plant and the country's prospects. Now all energy and confidence being thrust into the repairs.

So it's the piping that is the worst damaged of everything? It's the most important.

FAHD ABDEL KARIM, ARAMCO OFFICIAL: The piping, the stabilizers, and the boilers, and many things.

ROBERTSON: And how long is it going to take to repair?

KARIM: It's coming back. You see it. This was not the same. This was burned.

ROBERTSON: What have you done to it already?

KARIM: We fixed the shield. We fixed the piping. We fixed the system. We changed the whole thing. Supply chain is moving like a train, and people are working day and night.

ROBERTSON: And 160 miles away at the world's largest oil refinery, Abqaiq, a similar cleanup is under way, 18 drones that the Saudis say were manufactured by Iran made multiple precision strikes at critical choke points.

And this huge hole here gives you an idea of just how big the strike was. This steel is a quarter inch thick, and it just punched right through, splayed it back.

The plant is vast, the accuracy startling. Each strike, officials say, a clue to culpability. The impact is up there at the top of the scaffolding. The sun is setting to the west over there, north is up here. The strike from the northwest, and that's another reason Saudi officials say they believe that Iran's hand is behind this attack.

Iran vehemently denying it was. Officials here say they will be back up to full capacity by the end of September. But that may be the easy part done.

[14:30:07]

Despite all the repairs here, the real test of recovery will come rebuilding international confidence that this was a one-off strike and not a step towards a wider wall.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Khurais, Saudi Arabia.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: And with just 135 days to go until the Iowa caucuses, Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker is asking for a major boost from his supporters in order to keep in the race for president. In a series of tweets this morning, Booker said bluntly he needs nearly $2 million in the next 10 days to remain competitive. CNN's Jessica Dean standing by with the New Jersey senator. Jessica?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martin. That's right, we're here with Senator Cory Booker who was dancing there just a second ago. I want to talk to you about what you're saying to your supporters today, $1.7 million by the end of the month. That's a big ask. Do you think you can get there? And why do you think it matters you stay in this race?

SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D-NJ) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: First and foremost, we have run a race to win. I'm not in this for some endeavor of ego. We have said from the beginning we're going to be in this race if we can win it.

And right now we're here in Iowa. We have, with the number one endorsed campaign by state legislators and state elected officials of any campaign. We are building a campaign to win. But we are now into the fourth quarter of the year, and if we can't continue our growth, then we're not going to have a campaign to win. And I don't think people should be in this race if they can't win. I'm in this race to win the nomination and beat Donald Trump.

And so this is a decisive moment for our campaign. If you believe in my voice and want it on this stage and want it part of this process, if you believe in me as the nominee, this is the time, because if we can't raise this $1.7 million, we're going to have to make the tough decisions I think any campaign that doesn't have a pathway to victory should make.

DEAN: And are you prepared to drop out if you can't get there?

BOOKER: I believe people will respond. I believe that, look, we are here right now. We've been in this race. In fact, if you take a step back, the four top fundraisers in this campaign, we're running a better campaign with dollars because we're competing with them right now with fractions of the resources that they have. And so I want to stay in this race, and if people believe that, please don't look at this as a point where we're going to say goodbye to Cory. Keep me in this race, please help us by going to CoryBooker.com.

DEAN: And respectfully, there are a lot of fundraising emails out there that people get or words from candidates that are like, if I don't make x money, I'm out, or this is a dire situation, and it's these very stark terms. But you said this is real. This is not some plea for money. You said there is no courage without vulnerability. You are trying to give people a look inside your campaign. So this is an actual dire situation for your campaign.

BOOKER: It is. We decided when we looked at budget numbers over this week that we cannot continue a winning campaign into the fourth quarter where you need to hire up or you need to do ads. There are so many things that you have to do to win. So far we've positioned ourselves to win this election. Right now, on so many metrics on the ground we're running a great election to win.

But we can't continue this without more support. I won't continue this unless I can look people in the eye and say we have a chance to win it. And so if you believe in me this is the time to help, because without it, we shouldn't be in this race.

DEAN: And you've struggled to get out of single digits. Obviously, you need more money, more funding. Why don't you think you are connecting? What is holding you back from connecting with people?

BOOKER: That is the irony is we are connecting. If we look at measures like local support, we know that from Iowa to New Hampshire we are leading all the candidates in this field in endorsements from state senators, state representatives, mayors, people who know politics. In this state where we're standing right now, more of them have chosen my campaign than others.

But the problem we're facing right now is to continue to do what John Kerry did who was polling at four percent and won Iowa. Barack Obama was about 20 points behind Hillary Clinton and won Iowa. We know what the plan and the play is. You have to have organizers on the ground. If we're going to do that, we need help now. If not, we shouldn't continue. So please, this is the moment to make a decision on our campaign. Do you want me in this race or not?

DEAN: And very quickly, before I let you go, President Trump and his allies attacking Vice President Biden. What do you make of what is going on with that?

BOOKER: The allegations, this isn't a partisan attack. The allegations we're hearing right now is that the president of the United States, with a nation that is under physical attack, the Russians invaded Ukraine, they annexed the Crimea, they are in the Donbas region, people are dying. And this president was trying to negotiate aid contingent upon whether or not they investigate a political official? This is a level of misconduct I've not seen in my lifetime. This is something that should have -- I don't think Donald Trump could have shocked me any more. I've seen so much. This is shocking if it's true. So this is a moment that this is about patriotism, not about party.

[14:35:01]

And I'm sorry. This is unacceptable if it is true. What we need now is a transcript of that call, all of it that doesn't jeopardize national security, and we need the inspector general to come forward and share with us what the whistleblower has said.

DEAN: Senator Cory Booker, thanks so much. You have to speak here in just a few minutes. Thanks so much for joining us. Martin, we'll send it back to you.

SAVIDGE: Jessica Dean, thank you very much.

And we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SAVIDGE: Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy made it official earlier today that he is making a run for the Senate. He says that President Trump has, quote, forced a reckoning in America. Kennedy, who is the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, will be taking on established Democrat incumbent Senator Ed Markey in a primary fight. Athena Jones was at the announcement this morning. And Athena, just why is Kennedy choosing to take on Senator Markey now?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Martin. Well, he said in the announcement video that this is not a time for waiting, this is not a time for sitting on the sidelines. He says he has new ideas and a new approach.

[14:40:05]

And of course, you mentioned Senator Markey is a well-established politician. He has been in Congress since 1976, which is longer than Congressman Kennedy has been alive. But of course, you have Kennedy is a Kennedy. He's the grandson of Bobby Kennedy, and this is a city and a state that has shown a lot of love for the Kennedys over the years.

Congressman Kennedy said this is going to be a tough race. He called Markey a good man. Here is more of what he had to say during that announcement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE KENNEDY, (D-MA): I hope that you will join me.

(APPLAUSE)

KENNEDY: For every single day to prove that the way you fight back against the politics of you can't, against the politics of division, against the politics of doubt for what we can do as a country, is to bring every voice in, to lift every voice up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JONES: And Congressman Kennedy said he is eager to take his argument all across the state of Massachusetts. And I should note, just as a symbol of how strong the Kennedy name remains in this state, the recent "Boston Globe"/Suffolk University poll out, this is just after Labor Day, showed Kennedy 14 points ahead of Senator Markey in a head to head matchup, and nine points ahead of Markey and the rest of the field. I should mention Kennedy is one of four challengers to Senator Markey. But this poll is showing him a ways ahead. Martin?

SAVIDGE: I dare say everyone knows the Kennedy name. Thank you very much, Athena.

There is much more ahead in the Newsroom, but first, here is this week's Turning Points.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jessica was having trouble finding a job, or if she'd find something, it would be great until they didn't necessarily want to work with her challenges.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After I graduate, I just want a job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She has Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, and that is genetic characterized by short stature. They have really wide thumbs and big toes. Oftentimes they have learning disabilities.

Jessica had been out of work for a while and was just really getting depressed. We started making dog treats for our dogs, and they liked them a lot. So we decided to take it further. And Jessica opened her store Yadi's Yummies in September of 2018. They handmake their treats. It's all natural, human grade. Jessica from the beginning wanted to hire other people with disabilities because she wanted a place where people could go and be respected and enjoy their work and be valued.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like to work here. I like to get some respect. I am the boss.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[14:47:04]

SAVIDGE: Authorities say at least four people were killed in a tour bus crash near Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. At least 30 people, many of them tourists from China, were onboard the bus yesterday when it crashed into a guardrail. Lauren Steinbrecher from CNN affiliate KSTU reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ROBERT DRIEDONKS, GOOD SAMARITAN: It sounded like a warzone, a big explosion. I saw the bus and I went oh, no.

LAUREN STEINBRECHER, REPORTER: Robert could see something happening from his deck. He rushed down the highway from his business and came upon this, people and belongings scattered across the highway.

DRIEDONKS: I just went to the people who were worst, and then of course the people that were still laying to the side of the bus, I think the bus rolled on them.

STEINBRECHER: The first three people he checked on were dead, all women, Robert says. He found one of the husbands who didn't speak English. They couldn't talk to each other, so they just sat there and hugged. DRIEDONKS: He kept holding his wife's head and hugging her and he was

just looking for his glasses. And I was just trying to hold him, and he was doing a prayer and I tried to hold him.

STEINBRECHER: Robert says he pulled someone off the bus and looked around at who else needed help.

DRIEDONKS: I said, are you OK? And he said, yes. That's my father. And his father was next to him, and he was hurt pretty bad.

STEINBRECHER: He says everyone began to go into shock. Some stayed silent. Others let out cries. It stunned everyone. It stunned Robert.

DRIEDONKS: I was scared, and emotional. So I just kind of prayed for the ones that are alive and their families.

STEINBRECHER: No matter the language, the prayer is the same.

DRIEDONKS: I don't care what country you're from. We're all human beings. I don't think nobody in life should go through something like that.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: And thanks to our affiliate KSTU for that report.

Still ahead, from football fan to fundraiser, one fan's request for beer turns into nearly $1 million for charity. We're going to talk to that man, next.

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[14:52:15]

SAVIDGE: What started as a joke for one college football fan has quickly turned into a remarkable fundraising effort for sick children. A week ago, 24-year-old Iowa State fan Carson King attended college game day in the ESPN pregame show where fans have become notorious for creative signs. King's sign read, quote, "Busch Light Supply Needs Replenishing," along with his Venmo user name. One fans caught a glimpse, donations, like beer, started pouring in, quickly growing into the hundreds, then thousands. That's when king started to donate the money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital. To make things even better, Venmo and Busch Light agreed to match. Now the beer money request has turned into, get this, nearly $900,000 for the hospital, and the money is continuing to pour in.

So I'm pleased to be joined now by the man behind that sign, Carson King. And Carson, it is so good to see you. And thanks so much for joining me.

CARSON KING, TURNED BEER REQUEST INTO MASSIVE HOSPITAL DONATION: Hey, it's my pleasure.

SAVIDGE: All right, so you've got to tell us, what has this last week been like for you since you first hoisted that sign?

KING: It's been really hectic. To go from a complete joke to almost $900,000 right now, it's crazy.

SAVIDGE: Did you have any inkling, any idea of what you were going to trigger by simply holding up a sign like that, which I presume was just for fun?

KING: No, I didn't think I'd get on TV at all. I thought best case scenario that would come out of this would be someone in the crowd behind me would see the sign and shoot me 20 bucks for a case of Busch Light. So it's been overwhelming.

SAVIDGE: And when did you begin to realize just what you had started?

KING: So I first noticed that I was getting donations right around $400. At about $600, I was like, there is probably something a little bit better than beer money that I could be doing right now. So I called my family and let them know what was going on, my intentions, which were to, aside from enough to cover the cost of one case of Busch Light, I'd donate everything to the University of Iowa's Stead Family Children's Hospital.

SAVIDGE: And that raises the question, because you're an Iowa State fan, but you decided to give this money to your rival school's hospital? Is that right?

KING: Yes, absolutely.

SAVIDGE: So why? What was up with that?

KING: Stead, they do so much work for all the kids around the country. They're huge in Iowa. I'm sure you guys have probably heard of the wave because the Stead hospital overlooks the stadium there. They just do so much to keep those families and those kids happy. It's just anything I can do to help.

SAVIDGE: So the moment you realized, boy, this is not about drinking beer. This is about I got to make a donation. What was the financial number you were at?

[14:55:02]

KING: It was $600.

SAVIDGE: That was it. OK, it's now beyond beer. Busch, I understand, has agreed to send you, what, a year's worth of Busch Light with your face on the can?

KING: Yes. Yes.

SAVIDGE: So what do you think about that?

KING: I love it. I actually have the one they sent me in here in the studio. It's crazy. I was thrilled when they said that to me. They told me to, hey, check your Twitter. And I did. And I lost it. It was crazy.

(LAUGHTER)

SAVIDGE: What originally -- how much money did you think you'd get?

KING: I didn't think I'd get anything to be completely honest.

(LAUGHTER)

SAVIDGE: Well, you've done fabulous for not wanting anything to now getting almost over $900,000. Venmo and Busch have agreed to match the money. How is the beer request coming?

KING: Good, good. It's good. I've had tons of people look for these, so we'll see what we can do to help anyone out that I can. But yes, it's something else, man.

SAVIDGE: I bet they're quite a collector's item, and there, too, could be another revenue stream, either for you or for other worthy causes. Carson King, it's just so good to enjoy this story, because a simple sign and yet you're going to make a world of difference to a lot of families, and that's wonderful. And it's not just you, of course. It's all those who gave and participated.

KING: Absolutely.

SAVIDGE: Great talking with you. Thanks very much, and cheers.

KING: Hey, thank you.

SAVIDGE: Here's to you, all right.

And one more good thing before we go. Today the world is celebrating 80 years of the Dark Knight. Cities worldwide are beaming up the infamous bat signal in honor of D.C.'s iconic masked super hero, we're talking Batman. In Rome fans dressed up as their favorite Batman characters. And then check out the massive bat signal on the side of a building in Berlin. Other places participating include Tokyo, Paris, and of course, the Gotham headquarters, New York City. D.C. comics and CNN are both part of the Warner Media family.

I'm Martin Savidge. The news continues with Alex Marquardt right after this short break.

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