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Warren Surges In Iowa; President Trump And Ukraine; Selfies, Social Media And Straight Talk On The Campaign Trail; Mother & Son Escape North Korea, Starve To Death In The South; NY Judge Orders Trump To Testify About 2015 Scuffle. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired September 21, 2019 - 20:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Good evening, I'm Alex Marquardt in for Ana Cabrera. Thanks so much for joining us.

We are beginning tonight with breaking news and a brand-new snapshot of the Democratic race for president in Iowa. A neck-and-neck race at the very top. In just a moment, we're going to be reviewing those numbers, those results from the CNN Des Moines registered poll.

And this is why it matters. The history. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Al Gore in the last four presidential elections, when no Democratic incumbent was running, the winner of the Iowa Democratic caucuses went on to be the nominee. And, tonight, these numbers will offer critical clues about how these Iowa voters are feeling 135 days out for those first-in-the-nation caucuses.

So, let's get right to it. CNN's Jessica Dean is live in Des Moines, where the candidates gathered there today. But we are beginning with CNN Political Director, David Chalian and the new numbers everyone has been waiting for.

David, lots to get at in this new poll. What does it tell us about where this race stands right now?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it tells us, Alex, that this race stands in an entirely new place right now. Take a look at these top-line horse race numbers in Iowa, the critical first contest. You see Elizabeth Warren has been surging in Iowa.

She's at 22 percent in this poll. Joe Biden has been fading a bit. He's at 20 percent. They are in a tier, a top tier, to themselves. You see there, Bernie Sanders at 11. Pete Buttigieg at nine percent. Harris at six percent. Booker and Klobuchar at three percent each.

You see that Warren and Biden are in a tier to themselves, and there is no clear leader between them. We should note, this is a margin of error plus or minus four percent. The difference between them is well inside that. There is no clear leader.

But what is clear is the direction these candidates are moving in. Look at where they were in June to where they are now. And the story of Warren's surge becomes that much clearer. In June, she was at 15 percent. She's up seven points, Alex. She's at 22 percent now. Joe Biden down three points. Bernie Sanders down five points. Pete Buttigieg down six points. Kamala Harris holding steady and even there at six percent.

But there is only one person there making substantial forward movement in Iowa that first-in-the-nation contest and that is the Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. We also ask folks about a different kind of score. We say, hey, your first choice or your second choice or you're actively considering them, just to get a sense of the, sort of, menu of options and where the candidates stand in Democratic voters' mind.

Take a look at Warren's score here; 71 percent of likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers say she is either their first or second choice or they are actively considering her. Look at that to where she was in June. She was at 61 percent.

Again, the only person on this chart, yes, Buttigieg and Harris have ticked up a bit three points there. The only person making substantial upward movement on this score as well is Elizabeth Warren. Biden holding steady. Sanders seeing a bit of a dip. This is all telling us, Alex, that Elizabeth Warren is surging in that first state.

MARQUARDT: And, David, when we look at this, age and ideological divide are big factors in this poll. So, what are the numbers in those categories showing?

CHALIAN: It is so interesting to see. So, how is Elizabeth Warren coming to this moment? Well, part of it is she is digging into key pieces of Bernie Sanders' strength. Look at young voters, voters under the age of 35, over the course of the last year in Iowa across our polling with the Des Moines register. Take a look in March. Bernie Sanders was at 34 percent, among these under 35 voters.

Take a look where he is now, down to 21 percent, in June 22 percent in September. Look at Warren's numbers here. She is climbing. 10 percent in March. 19 percent in June. And, now, she's overtaken Bernie Sanders with this core piece of his constituency. That's part of what's happening here. She is taking slices of the Sanders' coalition.

Now, Joe Biden continues to own the 65-and-over vote. The senior citizens in Iowa. Look at this, running away. Joe Biden gets 35 percent of them. Elizabeth Warren at 12 percent. Nobody else in double digits. So, that maintains as a real strength for Biden.

And, ideologically, I think this story is going to define everything for the next 135 days. Among people who identify as liberal Democrats, Warren is at 35 percent. Biden's at 11 percent.


It's the complete opposite, when you look at the column that says folks who identify as moderate or conservative Democrats. Biden there is at 31 percent. Warren's down to 10 percent. That's the ideological divide between these two that are in this two-point race. MARQUARDT: Fascinating. But, David, when it comes to enthusiasm

among Democratic caucus-goers, we are looking at numbers there, and what voters see as the most important quality for the winner of Iowa caucuses.

CHALIAN: You know, Alex, enthusiasm is everything, especially in an organizing state like Iowa, where you have to get people out on a Monday night in the dead of winter. And, right now, Warren backers are super energized. 32 percent of them call themselves extremely enthusiastic.

That's only 22 percent among Biden backers. Then, we combined everyone else, all the other supporters combined for the other candidates, and it's at 39 percent. It's, overall, an enthusiastic electorate. But Warren has a clear advantage here over Biden, in terms of the enthusiasm that we're seeing.

Now, you mentioned, also, what are Democrats looking for? We've seen this in poll after poll, nationally and in Iowa. They want somebody who has the best chance to defeat Donald Trump. That is issue number one for Democrats. 63 percent of them say so in this poll, compared to only 31 percent who want a candidate who shares their position on the issues.

Joe Biden's strength in this race to date has been the perceived electability. That he is the one best positioned to defeat Donald Trump. And that's what people are looking for. But what you see happening in this critical first contest is that, ever since he got in the race, he's been ticking down, and Elizabeth Warren has been on the rise.

MARQUARDT: And that has been his main message, from the outset, that he is the man to defeat Donald Trump.

David Chalian, numbers wizard, thank you so much for breaking all of that down.

CHALIAN: Thanks a lot, Alex. Sure.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, this poll is certainly going to be a hot topic among Iowa's Democratic voters, who had the chance to hear directly today from a number of the candidates. There on the ground is CNN's Jessica Dean. She's been spending the day at the Poke County steak fry in Des Moines. Jessica, you just heard David with all those numbers there. Lots of news in there.


MARQUARDT: When you look at these new poll numbers, do they seem to reflect what you're seeing and hearing there, in terms of this enthusiasm for Senator Warren and former V.P. Biden?

DEAN: Yes, there's certainly that. And, also, too, I think when David was talking about, overall, the electorate is very enthusiastic here in Iowa, we certainly saw that today, Alex. I mean, people here are taking this incredibly seriously. They are excited to go to the caucus on -- you know, in February. They're ready to pick a new Democratic nominee to take on Donald Trump in 2020.

Certainly, those Elizabeth Warren supporters that we talked to were fervent in their support. Joe Biden putting on a big production here today with what was, kind of, being called Biden fest. They all had different events and festivals. We talked to some people, after the day was kind of winding down, to get their read on everything. Here's what they had to say.


LINDA BOARDSEN, VOLUNTEER, ELIZABETH WARREN CAMPAIGN: Well, I'm for Elizabeth Warren. I liked it, because she got in right away. She definitely has a lot of policies in place. She also came out, read the Mueller report, and, right away, said, this man, we need to start a committee to investigate the possibility of impeaching Donald Trump.

JEAN STURGIS, SECRETARY, DES MOINES COUNTY DEMOCRATS: Among my favorites, today, actually, the Buttigieg campaign. I came up with them. And, certainly, I think he would bring a new vision to America as someone younger. I don't think that somebody older than I am should be president and I'm 66.

MARK KUHN: Elizabeth Warren has the courage, the conviction to deal with the three issues they're facing in the United States. The three largest topics of climate change, Medicare for all, and common-sense gun control.


DEAN: And, of course, Warren doing her famous photo line here, taking pictures with everybody that asks. A lot of pictures, a lot of hand shaking. As we all know, this is about getting in here and talking to these voters, getting to know them, letting them get to know you. This was more of that today, Alex.

And may I add not the best weather here in Des Moines today. By the end, when Tim Ryan was speaking, it was pouring rain. And people really were here. They wanted to hear it. And even some brave souls stood out in the driving rain to listen to the final speaker of the day.

So, people very engaged, really thinking about this one, really trying to make the best choice, from the voters we talked to, of people who make the most sense for them. And, as David alluded to in those numbers, who can beat Donald Trump in 2020.

MARQUARDT: Those Iowans certainly very engaged, taking the first-in- the-nation caucus responsibilities very, very seriously; 135 days to go until the Iowa caucuses.

Jessica Dean in Des Moines. Thanks very much.


Now, to dig down further into these new numbers, with me now are former Clinton White House Press Secretary, Joe Lockhart and former Hillary Clinton Campaign Spokeswoman, Karen Finney.

Joe, I want to go first to you. We see now here, this dead heat, really, at the top of these polls. We have Warren at 22 percent. Biden at 20. But given the four percent range there, they are, essentially, tied or at least in a dead heat. How important a sign is this for Warren?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it signifies and memorializes what a good campaign she's been running. She's really been the candidate who has moved. Biden started at the top. I'm sure he expected someone to move, to be, you know, the co- frontrunner. And she's done that.

You know, the one word of caution here, though, is where we are in the calendar.


LOCKHART: That this race is most analogous to 2004, where you had lots of candidates. And, yes, John Kerry went on to win and he won Iowa. But, at this time in September, he was way back in the field. Everybody was talking about Howard Dean.

So, it is very good news for Elizabeth Warren. I don't think it's bad news for Biden. I think he's holding steady there. It is -- it is terrible news for the rest of the field, especially Bernie Sanders.

MARQUARDT: Yes. Let's pick up on that. Karen, is this a bad sign for Bernie Sanders? When you look at the numbers there, he's dropped from 16 percent to 11 percent. And then, he lost --


MARQUARDT: -- the endorsement of the progressive working families party to Warren. Of course, the two of them competing for the progressive wing of the party. Should he be thinking or starting to think about throwing in the towel now, in order to benefit that progressive movement and endorse Warren?

FINNEY: Well, it's a little bit early, I would say, for that. I -- that's kind of -- the kind of the decision I think someone would make over course of the next couple of months. I mean, look, this is an important snapshot. I agree with Joe for starting off the fall.

We know that this is the period in time when voters start to, more seriously, take a look at the candidates. I like to say that, you know, you're sort of dating. Maybe some are getting married or they're engaged, right? But they're still -- clearly, there's still some room.

What I would say is problematic for Bernie, and probably explains why we've seen some serious campaign staffing shakeups, is the fact that the numbers continue to move downward. And we've seen that both in other state polls and we've -- that's been the trend in the national polls. So, that's to end (ph) that we -- from what we can tell, Elizabeth Warren seems to be the person who is benefiting from that, picking up those voters.

So, that's the trend that it seems like the Sanders' campaign probably doesn't quite know how to figure out, yet, how to stop that. And there is so much more room for Warren to grow. I think that, you know, probably Sanders, they're going to -- you know, I'm sure he'll try to have a moment at that next debate.

Now, those debates are going to be even more important, because those are, you know, opportunities to get in front of a national audience. I suspect we may see things -- you know, there were some stories this week about Elizabeth Warren being attacked. I suspect some more oppo (ph) research is coming because that's -- you know, when you're the frontrunner, that's what happens.

MARQUARDT: Right. The next debate on October 15th being hosted by CNN and "The New York Times."

But, Karen, just to follow up quickly. If your priority --


MARQUARDT: -- is that progressive movement, in terms of the Bernie backers, at this point, should they be shifting their priorities to Warren or is it -- is it also too soon?

FINNEY: It's probably a little bit too soon. You know, look, Bernie will probably have the money to make it to early next year when voting starts. Right. And a lot of these candidates, you know, that's, really, the calculation you're trying to make right now.

I would say, you know, for those who are in that bottom half, I doubt -- I will bet you that those are going to be the folks we'll see starting to think more seriously about getting out. But if you're in that sort of top half, you're trying to figure out, can I hold on? Can I -- in the case for Bernie, can I, you know, built up -- can I get those progressive voters?

Here's the thing about the Bernie voters though. Remember what we saw in 2016 that some of those Bernie voters ended up being Trump voters. So, under -- we'll have to --


FINNEY: -- try to track those voters to see, do they -- are they going to continue to move towards Warren and build up that progressive movement? Or are we going to see them, sort of, be more undecided and potentially wait it out. And maybe they end up Trump supporters. We don't know this time.

MARQUARDT: Let's take a look at the middle of the pack. Joe, Kamala Harris is really betting it all on Iowa. And she's, basically, maintained her level of support now. But she came out of the gate really strong. There's a lot of enthusiasm. But she seems to have lost that momentum.

LOCKHART: Yes. I think -- and it's -- while Elizabeth Warren's support has been -- some of her support has come from Bernie Sanders' voters. I think a lot of her support has come from Kamala Harris' supporters, Pete Buttigieg supporters. Those numbers are all down.


So, she's drawing which is great news for Warren but bad news for Kamala Harris. I think those candidates are stuck. They -- you know, they are betting it all on Iowa.


LOCKHART: And they are just not seeing the movement.


LOCKHART: And, again -- but, again, the caveat, I'll say it again, is things have a way of moving in Democratic caucuses in Iowa very quickly. And that could happen. And I think the second thing, picking up on Karen's point, is Elizabeth Warren, as of tonight, is moving into a different phase of the campaign, where she is -- she'll be seen by some in the media as the frontrunner. That brings with it the kind of scrutiny that you don't see as an insurgent candidate.

And we've seen a lot of candidates, you know, Howard Dean who surged to the front and that people started treating him like, you know, the guy who might be president. And he fell away. So, she's got a test. The thing about Elizabeth Warren is she seems pretty good about passing these tests.

MARQUARDT: And someone who's out there listening and hoping that you're absolutely right is Senator Cory Booker. Karen, today, Booker's campaign manager said that they only have 10 days to raise almost $2 million, in order to stay in this race. And they're also warning that other lower-tier campaigns are in a similar bind, in terms of the money they need to keep going.

So, why is it --


MARQUARDT: -- that these candidates who are polling at the bottom are staying in?

FINNEY: Well, for those who already made it on the stage for our upcoming debate in October, again, I think they are hoping to, potentially, have some kind of a moment that gives them some kind of a bump up. Right. And, you know, for someone like Kamala given that she's now said, hey, I'm all in in Iowa. Remember that, just as we were listening to in the package before, Iowa voters, they will come out. It's like in New Hampshire. They want to have you, you know, sitting on their porches and having those conversations.

So, it will be to see if that pays off for someone like Kamala actually spending more time on the campaign trail with voters. We'll have to see. But for folks like Cory Booker, he doesn't have a lot of room to grow. It was a smart strategy to, sort of, signal that, hey, we've got 10 days to make this kind of money.

It's a great fundraising trick. Right. And to see if he can actually raise the money that he would need to go beyond November. I suspect that's part of what they're thinking about, as well as some of those other candidates.

MARQUARDT: All right, Joe Lockhart, Karen Finney. Guys, stay with me. We've got lots more to discuss.

Coming up, former Vice President Joe Biden, he is on the attack against President Trump, after reports that the president asked Ukraine's leader to dig up dirt on him and his son. You'll hear what he had to say to a reporter asking him about those debunked claims. That's next.



MARQUARDT: Tonight, Joe Biden is on the campaign trail and on the attack. Not against his Democratic rivals, but the president, after reports that President Trump asked the leader of Ukraine to dig up dirt on him and his son.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice president, how many times have you ever spoken to your son about his overseas business dealings?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have never spoken to my son about overseas business dealings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so, now you know --

BIDEN: 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's appears what happened. You should be looking with Trump. Trump's doing this because he knows I'll beat him like a drum. And he's 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's looked at it and said there's nothing there. Ask the right questions.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, but if you've never spoken to your son --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could he be impeached for this?

BIDEN: Depending on what the -- on what the House finds, he could be impeached. But I'm not making that judgment now. The House should investigate it. The House should investigate this. This appears to be an overwhelming abuse of power. To get on the phone with a foreign leader who is looking for help from the United States and ask about me and imply things, if that's what happened, that's appears to be what happened. We know that's what Giuliani did. This is outrageous. You have never seen anything like this from any president.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Vice President, you said, before you entered the race, that one of your concerns was about your family being brought into this race. Are you comfortable running a campaign in which --

BIDEN: I know I -- I know what I'm up against. I know what I'm up against. And a serial abuser. That's what this guy is. He abuses power everywhere he can. He -- and he sees any -- 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.

UNIDENTIFED FEMALE: Sir, what are you calling the president to do?

BIDEN: I'm calling the president to release the transcript of the -- of the call. Let everybody hear what it is. Let the House see it and see what he did. That's what I'm calling for.



MARQUARDT: The president's team has suggested that Biden leveraged his position, as vice president in 2016, to shield his son, Hunter, from an investigation involving a Ukrainian gas company. But, to be clear, there is no evidence of any wrongdoing. The story has been widely debunked.

Back with us are CNN Political Commentator, Karen Finney and former White House Press Secretary for President Bill Clinton, Joe Lockhart.

Joe, let's start with you. Sources are telling us that on July 25th this call between President Trump and President Zelensky. The president of America, Trump, pushed him to investigate Joe Biden and his son.


MARQUARDT: We now know that this call is also part of a whistleblower complaint --


MARQUARDT: -- that was filed with the intelligence community inspector general that the White House and Department of Justice told the director of National Intelligence not to forward to Congress.

LOCKHART: Right. MARQUARDT: Put this into context for us. How extraordinary is this?

LOCKHART: It is -- it is -- it is extraordinary. I've never seen anything like this. And you need to understand some facts here. The Ukraine depends on U.S. aid. It is a counterbalance to Russia. Russia, that interfered in our election, interferes with our democracy. And is the enemy of the United States.

And for the -- what the president was trying to do here is to say, I am holding up that aid that you need until you do a partisan investigation that digs up some dirt or fabricates something on Joe Biden. There is nothing there. This was widely debunked, as you said. So, it's an extraordinary abuse of power.


Now, the president and his team, Rudy Giuliani especially, their M.O. is to go out and throw stuff against the wall and expect the media to chase after it.


LOCKHART: So, I think the second level of this is it is a real test for the media --


LOCKHART: -- to do what you have done here tonight which is to say there is nothing to this. This has been debunked. They will continue to make outrageous charges. We know they will. I expect Rudy Giuliani to be on T.V. tomorrow and the next day.

But he's not telling the truth. And, at some point, you have to just turn to say, you've lied. You're discredited. We're not going to give you the attention that you're trying to get.

MARQUARDT: Right. We should note that there has been no quid pro quo confirmed. There was this 250 million in military aid that was --

LOCKHART: Yes. That was on hold.

MARQUARDT: -- put on hold and had been approved by Congress.

LOCKHART: At the same time frame --


LOCKHART: -- as the -- as the phone call.

MARQUARDT: Absolutely.

LOCKHART: And this could all be cleared up, if they release it.

MARQUARDT: And the whistleblower complaint also includes a promise to a foreign leader.


MARQUARDT: So, it is quite fishy.

Karen, to you. George Conway who is, of course, the husband of White House Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway, he wrote an op-ed. And in it, he says that the president threatened to withhold that military aid, that we were just talking about, in exchange for this help on Joe Biden, his political opponent.

And he says that that would be, if that is proven, again, that has not been proven yet, he called that the ultimate impeachable act. So, how does this change the impeachment calculus for Democrats in the House?

FINNEY: Well, look, I think the most important thing will be that the Democrats have -- really have to chase this down. I mean, we know that someone in the intelligence community was so concerned about what they heard on a call that they went to -- you know, they went through the proper channels. They went to the inspector general.

Legally, what was supposed to then happen was that that was supposed to go to Congress. Instead, the White House -- they, you know, briefed the White House. The White House intervenes. That's a very big deal. And now, Congress is trying to -- we don't --you know, they haven't even seen the initial report.

So, I think it's critical whether they release the, you know, audio or the transcript from the call or, you know, whatever they can do. I think -- the role -- the role of Congress is to investigate and find -- and get to the bottom of this. Because, certainly, Donald Trump, you know, can't be trusted.

At the same time, though, the other thing I wanted to add in, Alex, I mean, having gone through this but in the middle of this in 2016, this -- I've seen this pattern. I lived this pattern every day of the general election in 2016. And I bet if you ask the Republicans who went up against Trump in 2016, they would tell you the same.

And I have to tell you, you know, it's so important that we -- that the media and all of us stay focused on this is not about -- there is no equivalence between what we're talking about with Joe Biden and what we're talking about with President Trump. Right. The Biden story -- that has completely been debunked.

And I think, you know, to what Joe was saying, get ready because this is what this campaign in 2020 is going to be like. The difference now from 2016 is he's got a whole trail of misdeeds, of lying and misleading and using his sharpie to color outside the lines. And this is a -- this is very, very serious. I mean, this president -- essentially, the president of the United States of America asked a foreign leader to investigate --


FINNEY: -- an American citizen. And I think we -- I think Biden was so right and his campaign is so right to push back and keep the focus there. And not let it become this false equivalence because that's the pattern that, you know, the Trumpers like to use.

MARQUARDT: And a private American citizen at that. We could be talking about this --


MARQUARDT: -- all evening, but we've got to leave it there. Joe Lockhart, Karen Finney, --

FINNEY: You bet.

MARQUARDT: -- thank you so much for break this all down for us.

FINNEY: Thanks.

MARQUARDT: All right, well, this new CNN poll has some 2020 Democratic candidates reaching new heights. We will be taking a look at the media strategies that are boosting some candidates and having others struggling to make it to next week. That's coming up.




MARQUARDT: We are still 408 days away to be precise from the 2020 election. And the herd of Democrats is slowly thinning. For front runners, their messages are being revamped and hone for those at the back of the pack, many are still hanging on at least for now.

And at least one campaign, Senator Cory Booker's, is outright begging for money to stay in the race.

Let's start instead with a success story. Here we have Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. We've just reported new numbers showing her surging in Iowa. And she may owe, at least, some of her success to selfies.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): I'll stay afterwards for as long as anyone wants to take selfies.

Some things we just don't mess with.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you keep doing that if the lines keep getting longer as we get closer to Iowa?

WARREN: Yes. The lines keep getting longer. That's a good thing.


MARQUARDT: It's a good thing she says. Elizabeth Warrens stayed four hours on Monday night in New York to work that photo line. Her campaign estimates that she's taken nearly 60,000 selfies with voters so far.

To discuss all this, CNN's Chief Media Correspondent, Brian Stelter is here to look into this as a media strategy. She's obviously, Brian, far from the only candidate to take selfies on the trail. But she's clearly turning this into a key tactic, a key arm or strategy in her campaigning. So how powerful is that?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is a photo line technique that we're seeing as a digital age campaign strategy. And if you think about what's happened in the past 10 years, the promulgation of smartphones and Instagram. This is still quite new.

The idea that you get a picture with a politician, you post it to your Instagram, let's say 100 people do that. And a hundred people see each photo. That's 100,000. You know, you're starting to get to millions of people over time if you start to do the math about the way photos and videos can go viral. So that's obviously a smart strategy to this.


You're actually not the only candidate having these photo lines. But because the lines have been so long, they're getting more attention. And then that's a virtuous cycle. It builds every day this idea that she's getting lots of support, that people are showing in these lines, that they're willing to wait four hours. It builds on itself.

MARQUARDT: People love access.

Let's look at the other end of the spectrum. Today, we saw Senator Cory Booker's campaign, his campaign manager and he himself putting out tweets saying that, we need $1.7 million before September 30th which is the end of the third quarter in order to continue this campaign.

When we're talking about strategy, yes, he's being transparent. But do people want, do you think, to support financially a campaign that is seen -- and by his own admission as a sinking ship?

STELTER: That is saying that it's on the brink and that it seems desperate.


STELTER: I thought it was notable that in the e-mail, the message says, this is not a stunt. Because oftentimes, there are these stunts. Anybody who's ever signed up for a politician's donor list gets these e-mails, and that seem desperate all the time at the end of a quarterly cycle. But the Booker campaign does say this is different.

And they say that today, they've raised about $200,000 in nine hours off of that initial plea.

Now, they're going to have to keep raising that amount of money every nine hours in order to get to the 1.7 million they say they need. So I would say this is off to a tepid start if he wasn't able to bring in more in the first few hours. But again, an interesting strategy when you've got so many candidates, even something that seems like a little bit of a desperate plea might stand out.

MARQUARDT: And then right there in the middle of the pack is Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He's holding steady, but he hasn't really been able to breakout. And now, he's just announced that he's going to embark on a four-day bus tour ala-straight talk express from John McCain's days.

I was on the street talking express with John McCain. Reporters loved it because you ride around with a candidate and he would answer questions until we ran out of questions.

STELTER: Out of question.

MARQUARDT: And then, of course, McCain would joke. The reporters were his base. Do you think that this is a tactic that could help Buttigieg break out of the middle of the pack?

STELTER: I would point out that McCain never actually made it to the White House.

MARQUARDT: That is correct.

STELTER: It was an effective tactic at times though. And Buttigieg, is trying for something similar. His campaign tells me this entire thing is on the record. Ask whatever you want.

I think it's an interesting strategy and a contrast to Trump. A lot of these are about a contrast to President Trump. Someone like Buttigieg who is in the middle of the pack in this new poll looking for what he can do to try to stand out, whether it's Elizabeth Warren taking pictures for hours, whether it's Pete Buttigieg going on the record answering every question possible.

All of these are in interesting contrast to Donald Trump who is relatively sequestered really only interacting with the public at his rallies. And even then, you're not seeing him in photo lines.

MARQUARDT: Although he does love to give and take with reporters.

STELTER: He likes to give and take with reporters. But oftentimes, misleading or sort of lying to the press. I think we have to judge all the candidates, the Democratic candidates in the same way we judge Trump.

How much the information they're sharing is actually misinformation. Thankfully, the bar much higher, so far, for the Democrats.

MARQUARDT: All right. Well, all fascinating tactics on display from a number of different candidates.

Brian Stelter, thank you very much.

STELTER: Thanks.

MARQUARDT: All right. And a reminder, you can catch Brian on his show "RELIABLE SOURCES," that is tomorrow morning at 11:00 A.M.

Now, coming up, a shocking story of a North Korean defector and her son who fled the brutal and murderous dictatorship of Kim Jong-un only to starve to death in an apartment in South Korea. That's next.



MARQUARDT: A mother and her young son risked their lives to escape the poverty and brutality of North Korea dreaming of a better life in the South. But it's believed that they then starved to death. Their bodies were found by someone coming to check the water meter in their small apartment in the South Korean capital of Seoul. It's either a damning indictment of the way that the South treats defectors or a really tragic story of a young family that fell through the net.

As the mother and her child are laid to rest, our Paula Hancocks looks at how this could have happened.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They are believed to have starved to death in a land of plenty. A North Korean defector mother and her six-year-old son are remembered by hundreds who never met them.

Han Sung-ok led the brutality of North Korea in 2007. Years later, she left her husband, looking for sanctuary with her son in Seoul but they never found it.

In July, police found the body of Han and her son in their home with no food in the house. The responding officer said he suspected starvation.

Kim Yong-hwa helped Han come to South Korea from China. Last year, she called him to ask for his help in securing monthly financial support from the government.

KIM YONG-HWA, NORTH KOREA DEFECTOR ACTIVIST (through translator): She went to the welfare office but was denied help because she didn't have her divorce papers.

HANCOCKS: Han told Kim her ex-husband would never help her get the papers. He says she then hung up and that was the last time he heard from her.

Kim says after hearing the news, he thought of his decision to rescue her.

KIM JEONG-AH, NORTH KOREAN DEFECTOR (through translator): Why did I bring her here from her farm? Even in rural China, you don't die in starvation. HANCOCKS: Kim Jeong-ah didn't know Han but she knew her story, because it could just of easily have been her story. She fled the North. She was sold to a Chinese farmer, eventually escaping to the South to raise her son alone.

When I decided to look for a job, she says, I couldn't go to job interviews with a child on my back. The welfare office told me that if I sent my child to daycare, the welfare support would be cutoff the same day.

Kim says the government also underestimates the deep set trauma many defectors arrive with. The welfare office told CNN that there's no record of Han seeking welfare support, though they do have a record of her visit last year.

The unification ministry has apologized for the deaths earlier in September and admits there are blind spots in the defector welfare system which they are working on.


For this mother and child, it's too late.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


MARQUARDT: Devastating story there. Thanks to Paula Hancocks in Seoul.

Now, coming up, a judge just ordered President Trump to sit for videotaped testimony. The scuffle outside of Trump Tower at the center of this trial. That's next.


MARQUARDT: A judge in New York has ordered President Trump to testify, not about whistleblowers, or Russia, or even Stormy Daniels. Instead, it's for a lawsuit that has been brought by protesters who say that in 2015, they were violently assaulted by the president's security team outside of Trump Tower in Manhattan.

This incident was, at least, partially captured on video, as you can see there. Five men who described themselves as human rights activists of Mexican origin filed a suit a month later and their claim has finally made it to the courtroom.

Our Polo Sandoval joins me here now. Polo, this was just a few months into the campaign. Describe what happened and how we got here with this lawsuit.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: At the core here, Alex, it really is fascinating because what you have here is a judge at the state level ordering a sitting president to offer his testimony under oath. The question that, will it actually happen here? We'll certainly have to see.

But let's go back now to 2015 to really paint a clear picture of this ongoing litigation here. I have to remind you that this initially started as a protest outside of Trump Tower where protesters were parity clan outfits and that is when some members of the security team that worked for then-candidate Donald Trump, then were part of an altercation with these individuals.

And now, what you have is this lawsuit here by these five men, that image we're showing, the scene out there on September 3rd, 2015. The subjects of this lawsuit here, you have Donald Trump, this campaign, the Trump organization, and also various agency who were working for him at the time, including Keith Schiller who is actually the man who was holding that sign in this video from our affiliate back then.

Now, Justice Doris Gonzalez writing in her ruling here that nobody is above the law and that includes the chief executive here. The question here, what will be the next move by Donald Trump and his legal team?

We did reach out to the Trump campaign. They did not want to comment on this. We are now actively trying to reach out to his attorneys to see if they do plan on appealing this. And, of course, it's something that would not be surprising, especially since trial is already creeping up part of this ongoing civil litigation.

MARQUARDT: That would certainly be the expectation. There are a number of people who would love to see President Trump testify on a number of different issues on camera, no less.

All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you very much.

New tonight, we are now hearing the 911 call made by a young boy who called the cops on his own school bus driver fearing for the safety of others.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 911. What's the address of your emergency?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We just got off the bus, me and my friends, our bus driver, she was drunk. She passed three red lights and she got on the side -- on the side road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you think she's intoxicated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's like wobbling and then her eyes, you can tell she was drunk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did she smell of alcohol?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Her breath sort of smelled like alcohol.


MARQUARDT: Police in Washington State used the boys' description to track down the driver 48-year-old Catherine Maccarone, arresting her for DUI and reckless endangerment.

Officers say there was a quote, obvious odor of intoxicants coming from her. At the time of her arrest, there were no children on the bus, but police say she had completed two afternoon bus routes.

We'll be right back.



MARQUARDT: Holy anniversary, Batman. Today, people across the globe are marking the 88th anniversary of the caped crusader. On this date, in 1939, Batman made his debut before eventually getting his own comic book in 1940.

From Melbourne, Australia to Tokyo to Rome, fans have been gathering in 13 cities across six continents to honor their favorite crime fighting superhero, and beaming up the famous bat signal at 8:00 p.m. local time.

It lit up just moments ago here in New York at the Domino Sugar Factory -- or sugar refinery, in Brooklyn. We should mention the D.C. Comics and CNN are both part of the Warner Media family.

And that will do it for me. I'm Alex Marquardt. I'll see you right back here tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Up next, it's the CNN Special Report "Friends Forever: 25 Years of Laughter." Enjoy the show.