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Biden Calls for Trump's Impeachment; Death Toll Climbs as Turkish Forces Advance in Syria; Outcome to China Trade Talks. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired October 10, 2019 - 09:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this morning, Senator Bernie Sanders is saying he misspoke when he said a few days ago that he'd be scaling back his campaign a bit. He now says he's going to build up a vigorous schedule.

His new comments come a day after Sanders said he would slow down and, quote, change the nature of his campaign after he suffered a heart attack.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I misspoke the other day. I said a word I should not have said. Now the word was, I was going to slow down. Surprise, surprise that we're not going to, tomorrow, start doing four events a day. But I -- we're going to get back into the groove of a vigorous, very vigorous campaign.

I love doing rallies and I love doing town meetings. We've done some extraordinary town meetings. And we'll get back into that quite soon. But I want to, you know, start off slower and build up and build up and build up.


HARLOW: OK. We wish him the best in his health and we'll see what his campaign does next.

Meanwhile, for the first time, former Vice President Joe Biden is calling for President Trump to be impeached formally over the Ukraine controversy. His move comes one day after the White House said it would not participate in the House impeachment inquiry.

At the same time, the Biden campaign is slamming "The New York Times" this morning calling their coverage baseless. Their coverage of his son Hunter Biden's dealings in Ukraine.


Our correspondent, Jessica Dean, is here with me for more details. I do think it's interesting because a lot of people were wondering,

and I was one of them, you know, is the -- is team Biden going to come out more forcefully --


HARLOW: Against these attacks and explain Hunter's role and, you know, lay out facts versus fiction. And for a long time Joe Biden was just saying, I'm not acknowledging this. There is no evidence, et cetera. Now his team has this long letter to "The New York Times."

DEAN: That's right. They've gone into "The New York Times" and, I think, Poppy, you hit the nail on the head there, they're trying to really refine this strategy as to how they want to move forward.

What they certainly don't want to do is repeat 2016. They feel like Hillary Clinton's campaign got dragged into media coverage that they never fully got a hold of with the e-mails --

HARLOW: Like the e-mail server?

DEAN: Right. They don't want this to turn into that.

So you see in this letter that they're -- they're talking to "The New York Times" about their coverage of Ukraine and Hunter Biden. There was an op-ed that ran yesterday that they --

HARLOW: Right, Peter Schwitzer (ph).

DEAN: Right, which they were very concerned about.

I expect -- remember, too, this is coming on the heels of them writing to FaceBook and Twitter --

HARLOW: Right.

DEAN: Asking them to take the ads from President Trump's campaign that has those falseless (ph) -- those baseless claims in them off of their platforms, which they have so far refused to do.

So this is part of a bigger strategy. If you zoom out also, we saw Vice President Biden yesterday coming out and finally saying, I am for impeachment, I think President Trump should be impeached.

Take a listen to what he had to say yesterday.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In the full view of the American people, Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed the nation and committed impeachable acts. To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, I believe he should be impeached.

I'm not going to be -- I'm not going to be distracted by his lies, his distortions, his name calling. None of these attacks are true and I'm going to stay focused on your lives. That's what this election is about, your lives, your kids, your children, your family.


DEAN: And we heard from a lot of Biden allies and also Democrats who had wondered why he hadn't come out and said this earlier. And what we've heard from people I've been talking to is, look, he is a creature of the Senate. He respects the process, Poppy. He was trying to let that process play out and play his own role in it. But, at this point, you heard him yesterday.

HARLOW: And he is the last of the 2020 presidential candidate frontrunners on the Democratic side to make this call.

DEAN: That's right. Right.

HARLOW: Thank you. Jes, we appreciate it very much.

DEAN: You're welcome. Good to see you.

HARLOW: So next hour I'll be joined by Simone Sanders, a senior adviser to the Biden campaign, and we'll talk about all of those developments with her.

And a reminder that tonight, CNN partners with the Human Rights Campaign to present a groundbreaking town hall event, "Equality in America." Join many of the 2020 Democratic candidates as they discuss issues facing the LGBTQ community in back-to-back town halls. They start at 7:30 Eastern only on CNN tonight.

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan warning European nations not to criticize his military incursion into northern Syria against the Kurds. He says he will send millions of refugees their way.



HARLOW: Welcome back.

This morning, as Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria enters its second day, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says that over 100, quote, terrorists have been killed. Of course he qualifies the Kurdish fighters there as terrorists. Now he is warning European countries not to go too far in criticizing the operation or he will release, he threatens, millions of refugees into Europe.

With me is Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, contributing editor to the Atlantic Media's Defense One.

And, Gayle, your voice is invaluable at this moment. You have travelled to northern Syria six times in the past two years. You have been there. You have talked to me extensively about the success story that was becoming and coming to light there.

What do you expect to happen at this point after these two days of incursions? GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, ATLANTIC MEDIA'S DEFENSE

ONE: You know, my phone has been quite active as everybody tries to figure out what comes next. You know, these are folks who served as the ground force in the ISIS fight. You know, you talk to people. Go back to 2014 when ISIS was on a tear. These were the first team to hand ISIS a battlefield defeat. And so, so many of the young women I talked to who were really at the front lines of that fight, and that's the work I've been doing the past two years, Poppy, you and I have talked about for this next book is about the young women who were on the front lines of that fight, really pushing for so much change in their own society while fighting ISIS, a force which enslaved and raped women as a matter of course.

And so now you see folks who are trying to figure out what to do. There's no place to go. And this is a battlefield partner that really did take bullets for the United States as the ground force while Americans provided air power. And they are now facing a Turkish offensive.

HARLOW: Eleven thousand died -- have died as a result of this, fighting alongside U.S. soldiers in the fight against ISIS. For those women and children that you have interviewed extensively, you just saw pictures of you with them in northern Syria, what does this mean for them?

LEMMON: You know, it's an excellent question, Poppy.


Right now question marks are really all anybody has because the truth is that this was really a bye (ph) with and through, a partner force, a policy that has been a real success story. A fragile, endangered, but very real success story for the Trump administration.

You know, I met one shopkeeper in Raqqa who talked to me about, you know, how this was a new time for women in Raqqa, that they were coming out. Local security forces were the ones who were providing security. And, as you say, right, 10,000 local forces died. And while every gold star family is a tragedy, fewer than five United States forces were killed in this fight against ISIS, retaking a territory the size of Britain. So I think, you know, you see that people are trying to figure out what comes next.

HARLOW: You have talked to the administration. You've been to the White House. You know, you have lent your expertise. Have you talked to the White House in the last week about this?

LEMMON: I have not. And, honestly, I -- there are folks there really trying to figure out what to do that makes the most sense for people on the ground. And really, I think, they have an opportunity, there is an opportunity for the United States to push for a cessation of hostilities, to get all of these folks to the table because, really, there is the makings of a deal and U.S. officials would talk to you about that, that they really did understand.

Turkey security considerations could be taken into account. Folks who fought ISIS alongside the Americans could have this level of autonomy and some level of grassroots. Democracy that they had really been practicing. I had seen in action, right, in every town that was retaken from ISIS, there was a woman head and a male head of the town. And you would go interview, you know, 19-year-old girls who were part of the security forces, and they would talk to you about wanting to protect their cities after ISIS.

So I do think there's a moment for the United States to step in and help push for a diplomatic solution to a security crisis.

HARLOW: Gayle, quickly before you go, you have spoken with the commander of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. What did they tell you?

LEMMON: They don't want war. They would have done anything the Americans had asked to stave this off. But if they are forced to protect their families, that means they can no longer like watch and care for all the families of the 60,000 women and children from ISIS families they had been caring for since the end of the ISIS fight.

Plus, they now have custody of more than 10,000 ISIS prisoners that no one else wants to take back.

HARLOW: Gayle, thank you very much for your expertise on this. We appreciate it. We'll have you back very soon.

LEMMON: Great to join you.

HARLOW: OK, a quick break. We'll be right back.



HARLOW: This morning kicks off the 13th round of trade talks between the U.S. and China. Hopes of a major deal are dimming. A source tells CNN this morning the most likely potential outcome of this meeting is de-escalation.

Meantime, we've learned that the Chinese wants the U.S. to delay those next round of tariffs that are set to take effect next week.

Our chief business correspondent, Christine Romans, is with me.

So a few points here. I guess, first, you know, what might de- escalation look like?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, not getting worse. And that would be, I guess, considered a win here for both parties. And you've been hearing that from the Chinese side and the positioning all week here.

What the Chinese would like, I think, is for the tariffs that are set to go up next week, up to 30 percent on $250 billion in Chinese goods. The Chinese would like that to just stay where it is at 25 percent tariffs. And there's another deadline in December, and this is really the leverage the U.S. has here. There's another deadline in December where $160 billion worth of tennis shoes and sporting equipment and consumer electronics and cell phones, those are all going to get a 15 percent tariff come December 15th.

And that's something that the consumers would feel right away. So the White House has pushed off some of these scheduled tariff increases. And the Chinese would like them just to keep it where it is now, not raise them again.

What could the U.S. get in return? Maybe some big ag purchases.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: Maybe some kind of concessions on currency.

But, Poppy, you know, the people I've been talking to all week about this say anything could happen here.

HARLOW: Yes. And --

ROMANS: And the president doesn't want a deal that looks like putting lipstick on a pig. He wants a real deal.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: So no one knows what's going to happen.

HARLOW: Well, and look at the cost to Americans. I mean in August alone, Americans paid $6.5 billion in tariffs. That is up 48 percent from a year ago, Romans.

The president just tweeted that tomorrow he will meet with the vice premier, the Chinese vice premier, at the White House.


HARLOW: But, at the same time, Romans, Larry Kudlow, his chief economic adviser, said that a short-term deal, sort of a mini deal if you will, is not off the table.

ROMANS: Yes. So what they really want is a course correction from the Chinese, and you're not going to get it this week. This is the 13th round of talks.

And -- and, look, you know, they're looking at a president who is facing re-election, who's having some trouble at home with an impeachment procedure at home, right? And -- an impeachment inquiry at home, I should say. And maybe they're looking into who could be a president after him or maybe they're waiting for the second term of a Trump presidency to try to hammer this out. They have their own internal issues.

HARLOW: Right.

ROMANS: The kind of things the Americans want them to do is change the way they do business. That's not something the communist party leadership wants to do. So you've got really a culture clash. A real culture clash here in how these two different economies operate.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

ROMANS: And the fact that the president is meeting with the vice premier, I think, is a good -- is a good sign.

HARLOW: Sign. Yes.


ROMANS: If they can spin this not as a mini deal but as we're going to -- it's not going to get worse and we're still talking, that might be the best you can hope for.

HARLOW: Yes. It might be. But, again, the president has the political pressure of 2020 that Xi Jinping does not face, right?

ROMANS: That's right. That's right.

HARLOW: All right, Romans, thank you so much.

ROMANS: Bye, Poppy.

HARLOW: We do have to jump. We have breaking news. We'll have much more of it after the break.

Stay right there.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

HARLOW: All right, 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in Washington. Jim Sciutto has the day off.

And we are following.