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THE SITUATION ROOM
Energy Secretary Rick Perry Subpoenaed; Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Interview With Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA); Associates of Rudy Giuliani Arrested; Sen. Sanders: I'm Feeling Great, Will Run A Vigorous Campaign; Feds Arrest Giuliani Associates Who Sought Dirt on Biden; Casualties Mount As Turkey Strikes Syrian Kurds. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired October 10, 2019 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Two men who worked with Rudy Giuliani to try to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine have been arrested trying to flee the United States. And they're now charged with breaking U.S. campaign finance laws, reportedly just hours after having lunch with Giuliani.
Panels subpoena Perry. Another administration official is swept into the impeachment inquiry. Three House committees have just subpoenaed Energy Secretary Rick Perry for key documents pertaining to Ukraine. Was Perry involved in the effort to dig up dirt on Joe Biden?
Bernie Sanders live. The Democratic presidential candidate sits down this hour with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta to talk about his recent heart attack, the 2020 race for the White House, the impeachment inquiry, and more.
And historic town hall. Democratic presidential candidates are about to take the stage and take on the issues facing America's LGBTQ community in a night of groundbreaking back-to-back town halls right here on CNN. And we're calling it "Equality in America."
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BLITZER: The breaking news tonight: dramatic new details of the arrest of two men who helped President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani try to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine.
They're now charged with funneling foreign money into a U.S. election by making illegal donations to a U.S. congressman, while pushing him to help get rid of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
And we're also now learning they were arrested at an airport trying to leave the country just hours after having lunch with Giuliani, that according to "The Wall Street Journal."
Also breaking, three House committees have just subpoenaed the energy secretary, Rick Perry, for documents about Ukraine as part of the expanding impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
We will talk about the breaking news and more with Congressman Ted Lieu of the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees. And our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.
First, let's get the details of this latest twist from our justice correspondent, Jessica Schneider. She's outside the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.
Jessica, there's new information tonight about these men, their alleged crimes, and their ties to Giuliani.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Wolf.
And prosecutors here had to act fast. That's because hours after these two men met with Rudy Giuliani at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, prosecutors say they quickly made their way to Dulles Airport with one-way tickets to Frankfurt, Germany.
That's when federal authorities moved in, made the arrest, and the dramatic indictment was unsealed this morning.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Tonight, two associates of President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani indicted on charges they made political donations to a U.S. congressman while pushing him to help get rid of the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine on behalf of at least one Ukrainian official who wanted her gone.
That's the same ambassador Trump removed from Ukraine this year, partially at the behest of Rudy Giuliani. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and are charged with conspiracy, false statements and funneling foreign money into U.S. elections.
GEOFFREY BERMAN, U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: Parnas and Fruman were arrested around 6:00 p.m. last night at Dulles Airport as they were about to board an international flight with one-way tickets.
SCHNEIDER: The two men, along with two others also indicted, allegedly gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to a Trump-aligned super PAC. The indictment laying out that the contributors were made to advance their personal financial interests and the political interests of at least one Ukrainian government official with whom they were working.
The men also allegedly made contributions to state candidates in Nevada to further a recreational marijuana business venture that never happened, that foreign money coming in part from an unnamed Russian city whose involvement they hid because of his Russian roots and current political paranoia about it.
WILLIAM SWEENEY, ASSISTANT FBI DIRECTOR: This investigation is about corrupt behavior, deliberate lawbreaking. SCHNEIDER: According to prosecutors, the men pushed a former U.S.
congressman, who sources say is Texas Republican Pete Sessions, to help get former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired.
The indictment alleges Parnas and Fruman attempted to gain influence by committing to raise $20,000 or more for a then sitting U.S. congressman and that Parnas sought that congressman's assistance in causing the U.S. government to remove or recall the then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, at least in part at the request of one or more Ukrainian government officials.
Yovanovitch was recalled by President Trump in May, in part because Rudy Giuliani accused her of hampering efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard very, very bad things about her for a long period of done. Not good.
SCHNEIDER: One key question is how these two men fit into the broader scope of the Ukraine impeachment inquiry. House Democrats today subpoenaed the men for documents.
Today's indictment adding intrigue to what is already known. Parnas and Fruman worked with Giuliani to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, the same dirt Trump brought up in his July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president, the same phone call where Trump mentioned the ousted ambassador to Ukraine who the indictment alleges Parnas and Fruman were trying to get Trump to fire because a Ukrainian official asked them to.
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): It will be interesting what they have to share and what Giuliani's involvement in all of this was.
SCHNEIDER: And the former Republican Texas congressman who was mentioned in this indictment is speaking out tonight.
Pete Sessions says he could not have known about this alleged scheme from Parnas and Fruman. And this was a scheme that was alleged that they funneled thousands of dollars into Sessions' campaign fund.
This is despite the fact that Sessions is mentioned in the indictment as having met with these two men.
Now, as for the Trump super PAC that accepted this about $300,000, they now say that that money is in a segregated fund, but haven't said when it was put into that segregated fund.
Now, as for those two men, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, they are being held here in Virginia on $1 million bond. But, of course, Wolf, they will ultimately face these charges up in New York -- Wolf.
BLITZER: The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York filing these charges.
Jessica Schneider, thanks so much.
The other breaking story we're following, the energy secretary, Rick Perry, subpoenaed by House Democrats as part of their impeachment inquiry.
Our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju, is working the story for us.
Manu, three House panels are demanding documents now from Perry.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and this is the latest in an escalating impeachment probe that has already sent subpoenas to the State Department, to Rudy Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani's associates, the White House, the Office of Management and Budget, the Pentagon.
And now Rick Perry getting hit with a subpoena after questions were raised about conversations that he had with the Ukrainian president, Zelensky, and conversations that he had with President Trump, including President Trump, reportedly, according to CNN's reporting, urging Rick Perry to talk to Rudy Giuliani in his discussions with Ukraine.
Now, Rick Perry has said that all his conversations with the president, Zelensky, of Ukraine were simply about energy. He said he did not talk about the Bidens at all, about investigating the Bidens, that it never came up.
But the Democrats say this in their letter to Perry today. They say: "These reports have raised significant questions about your efforts to press Ukrainian officials to change the management structure at a Ukrainian state-owned energy company to benefit individuals involved with Rudy Giuliani's push to get Ukrainian officials to interfere in our 2020 elections."
And, Wolf, they are asking for documents by October 18. Perry has signaled in the past that he'd be willing to cooperate. But that was before the White House letter came that said that they would not -- the Trump administration would not cooperate with these documents.
One person we're trying to make sure -- we're trying to see if she will cooperate tomorrow is that former Ukrainian ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, who is scheduled to testify behind closed doors with these three House committees.
At the moment, I'm told she's expected to come, even though she's still a State Department employee, and a lot of questions about her role, the efforts to get her out of the position, and all -- everything she knows about what the president did to urge the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens -- Wolf.
BLITZER: We will see if she does in fact testify tomorrow, as scheduled, or they prevent her from doing so.
Manu Raju, thank you very much.
Amid all of this, President Trump is heading to Minneapolis right now for a political rally tonight.
Our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, is on the scene for us in Minneapolis.
Jim, new complications for the Trump team tonight.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf.
The president is on his way to Minneapolis for this rally tonight. But before he left the White House, he talked to reporters. He was asked about those two Giuliani associates who are facing federal charges.
The president said he didn't know those two associates of Rudy Giuliani's and didn't know what they were up to. He said, when asked about their activities over in Ukraine, he told reporters, "You will have to ask Rudy."
ACOSTA (voice-over): With two men involved in his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani's efforts to dig up dirt on Joe Biden now suddenly indicted on campaign finance violations, President Trump sounded off to reporters as he left for a rally in Minneapolis.
TRUMP: I don't know. I don't know about them, I don't know what they do. But, I don't know, maybe they were clients of Rudy. You'd have to ask Rudy. I just don't know.
ACOSTA: The arrest of Giuliani associates Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas as they were allegedly trying to flee the country are only adding to calls from Democrats for the president's outside lawyer to testify in the impeachment inquiry.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Giuliani's been involved up to his neck in this entire mess. He has an obligation to testify under oath, so he can be asked questions and so this can come to light.
ACOSTA: The president's lead impeachment lawyer, Jay Sekulow, responded in a brief statement: "Read the indictment. Neither the candidate nor the campaign have anything to do with the scheme these guys were involved in."
But photos are surfacing of Fruman and Parnas meeting with Mr. Trump and his family. Giuliani was just boasting earlier this week that he wants to tell his story to lawmakers.
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I would love to testify and give me a half-hour to point out Biden, Inc., four decades of crime. I would love to do it. ACOSTA: The president continues to blast the fast-moving impeachment
proceedings, tweeting: "The president of the Ukraine just stated again in the strongest of language that President Trump applied no pressure and did absolutely nothing wrong."
TRUMP: They have eviscerated the rules. They don't give us any -- any fair play. It's the most unfair situation people have seen. No lawyers. You can't have lawyers. You can't speak. You can't do anything. You virtually can't do anything.
ACOSTA: But past supporters are coming forward to criticize the president's call on the leader of Ukraine to investigate Biden and his family, including Mr. Trump's former National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.
QUESTION: Do you think it is appropriate for the president of the United States to solicit foreign interference in our political process?
H.R. MCMASTER, FORMER U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Yes. Of course no. No, it's -- absolutely not.
ACOSTA: George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, has formed a group of conservatives slamming Mr. Trump's actions, saying in a statement: "These acts, based on what have been revealed to date, are a legitimate basis for an expeditious impeachment investigation."
Conway told CNN contributor Preet Bharara the White House refusal to cooperate with the impeachment probe doesn't hold up.
GEORGE CONWAY, HUSBAND OF KELLYANNE CONWAY: The trust of it is that there are some kind of constitutional obligations that the House has failed to meet that therefore -- that therefore render its impeachment inquiry illegitimate and unconstitutional, which is complete nonsense, because all the Constitution says is that the House has the sole power over impeachment.
ACOSTA: The president is lashing out at a new FOX News poll finding 51 percent want to see Mr. Trump impeached and removed from office, tweeting: "I have never had a good FOX News poll. Whoever their poster is, they suck."
BLITZER: Jim Acosta reporting for us from Minneapolis.
Let's get some more on all of this.
Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California is joining us. He's a member of both the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees.
Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.
So, what does it tell you that these two associates of Rudy Giuliani are now charged by the federal government with conspiracy to buy political influence?
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): Thank you, Wolf, for your question.
We have a clear pattern here. In 2016, Russia interfered in our elections and help Donald Trump. In 2018, we now know that these two associates Rudy Giuliani help funnel hundreds of thousands of dollars of foreign money to a pro-Trump super PAC.
And then, last month, we learned that the president of the United States solicited Ukraine to target his American political opponent. We're all Americans. And we cannot have the American president continue to receive or solicit illegal assistance from foreign powers.
BLITZER: How will this indictment, Congressman, impact your ability to get documents, to get testimony from these two men?
LIEU: So, I'm on two of the committees of jurisdiction, and on Foreign Affairs, Oversight, which is being led in this investigation by the Intel Committee.
We have sent out subpoenas to those two associates of Rudy Giuliani's. As you know, we also have recently subpoenaed Rick Perry. We have subpoenaed numerous other witnesses.
And why are there so many subpoenas? It's because we're seeing epic corruption, corruption at an unprecedented level among senior White House staff, going all the way up potentially to the president.
BLITZER: What questions do you have for Rudy Giuliani at this point?
LIEU: It is very suspicious timing that, right after his two associates had a lunch with him, that they immediately tried to escape the country.
And they were thankfully stopped by law enforcement at Dulles Airport. I want to know what Rudy Giuliani knew about the funneling of money to a pro-Trump super PAC, about what the associates were doing in trying to get a member of Congress, then Congressman Pete Sessions, to write a letter criticizing the former U.S. ambassador.
This is all very corrupt, very shady. We want to get answers.
BLITZER: House Democrats have also, as you know, subpoenaed the energy secretary, Rick Perry, for documents.
The administration has made it clear, though, it won't cooperate. So how likely is it that you get any information from Secretary Perry?
LIEU: If Secretary Perry wants to clear his name, he would come in and testify and provide documents. If he did nothing wrong, he would give the information for the American people to see.
What we already do know is that Donald Trump cut off military aid to Ukraine. And then, about a week later, he had a phone call with the Ukrainian president. And right after the Ukrainian leader raises the issue of military aid, Donald Trump asks for a favor. [18:15:01]
One of those is to target Biden. And then we know there was a full-on pressure campaign to get Ukraine to target and investigate the Bidens. This was not a one-off conversation Donald Trump had. It was a full- on campaign. And we want to know what Rick Perry's involvement was in that campaign.
BLITZER: You're scheduled to also hear from the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch tomorrow morning.
Are you confident that that will go ahead as scheduled, or do you expect the Trump administration to intervene and prevent her -- she still works at the State Department -- from appearing?
LIEU: I wouldn't be surprised if the Trump administration continues to obstruct and prevent her testimony.
But she is free to come, and she is free to speak her mind and provide information and documents, just as Ambassador Volker did. And we understand that she was recalled earlier, and she is not particularly someone that is a loyalist to some of these enablers of Donald Trump.
I think she has a story to tell, and the American people should be able to hear her story.
BLITZER: But the difference is that Ambassador Kurt Volker, who was the special envoy to Ukraine, he had resigned a few days earlier. So he was a private citizen when he went and answered questions before the committee.
She still is a U.S. government employee. She's a career diplomat, a Foreign Service officer.
LIEU: She is.
But she's getting a formal request from Congress to appear and testify about potential misconduct in our federal government. I believe she has every right to come forward and to give that testimony. And I expect her to come forward.
BLITZER: But what if Secretary Pompeo says, you can't go?
LIEU: Then we will subpoena her as well.
And Secretary Pompeo needs to be careful, because I don't think he would want to have an article of impeachment leveled against him for obstruction of Congress.
BLITZER: We have also learned, Congressman, that a political appointee over at the Office of Management and Budget, Michael Duffey, was involved in freezing that U.S. military assistance to Ukraine.
And career officials raised lots of concerns about whether that potentially broke the law.
Do you want Duffey to testify in your investigation?
And, again, this new development shows that this was not a random conversation Donald Trump had with the Ukrainian president. It was very clearly deliberate that Donald Trump halted critical military aid. And then they passed it off to a political appointee to continue withholding that military aid, even though it was likely illegal.
And they kept doing that. And then they sent Mike Pompeo to tell the Ukrainian leader that aid was still withheld. They would continue to pressure the Ukrainians to investigate Biden. This is so wrong on so many levels. It's un-American. It's corrupt. It's a betrayal of our values.
BLITZER: Congressman Ted Lieu, thanks so much for joining us.
LIEU: Thank you, Wolf.
BLITZER: Just ahead, Senator Bernie Sanders sits down live with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta to talk about his health, his campaign, the impeachment inquiry and more.
We will be right back.
BLITZER: We're following multiple breaking stories related to the arrest of two associates of President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.
And we're just over an hour away from the start of CNN's groundbreaking town halls on "Equality in America."
Due to his recent heart attack, the Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders won't be joining nine of his rivals in Los Angeles for tonight's town halls.
But he is joining us now live from Vermont, his home state, to talk with CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, thanks so much for doing this.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You got it, Wolf. Thank you.
And Senator Sanders, thank you. Thanks for having us in your home.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you for visiting us in Burlington.
GUPTA: It's a house call.
(LAUGHTER) GUPTA: We're going to -- we're going to talk about health.
But I do want to talk about the news Wolf was just talking about, two associates of Rudy Giuliani, who is the president -- who is President Trump's personal lawyer, arrested, indicted on campaign finance violations.
What do you make of that?
SANDERS: Nothing about Trump ever shocks me.
He is, I think, the most corrupt president in the modern history of America. I think he is a pathological liar who probably does not know the difference between truth and lies.
I don't think he understands the Constitution of the United States, and certainly not the rule of law. He was born with a lot of money. He is arrogant. He thinks he can do whatever he wants to do.
So, frankly, nothing shocks me.
GUPTA: One of the things you may know as well, Senator, that these two gentlemen were found at Dulles Airport with one-way tickets out of the country.
Pretty obvious what that means, right?
SANDERS: Yes, of course it's obvious what it means.
GUPTA: They were trying to leave the country and not come back.
SANDERS: Yes. Yes.
SANDERS: But, again, I think the impeachment process is going to unveil so many things about this administration that the American people have to know.
But the bottom line is, this is so clearly a president unfit to hold the highest office in this country.
GUPTA: It's good to be here with you, Senator.
And you look well. I want to talk specifically about what happened to you this past week.
I want to clarify something. You said that you misspoke yesterday when talking about changing the nature of your campaign, dialing it back, not doing four rallies a day anymore.
What did you mean? Did you misspeak, or are you going to dial it back?
SANDERS: Well, what I mean, is, probably, next week, I'm not going to do four rallies a day.
I think I have done more rallies than any other candidate who's currently running for president of the United States.
But I'm feeling great. And we're going to run a vigorous campaign. We're working on our schedule right now, which is going to take us to Iowa, to Nevada, probably back to New Hampshire. We're ready to go full blast.
GUPTA: You had had a doctor's appointment, I believe, this week and a follow-up appointment now back here in Vermont.
GUPTA: What did they tell you?
SANDERS: Well, the reason -- I have been blessed with such good health throughout my entire life.
To be honest with you, I have never gone to a cardiologist, I don't think, before this event. And I didn't have one here in Burlington. So we found a very good cardiologist. They did a -- they looked at my heart.
And what he says is, the recovery is going very, very well. And we look forward to a full recovery.
SANDERS: Echocardiogram was what the...
GUPTA: Echocardiogram, which is an important test.
GUPTA: An echocardiogram tells the function of the heart, how well the heart is beating, and it can also give some indication of how severe the heart attack was.
SANDERS: Right. Right.
GUPTA: What did they tell you?
SANDERS: Well, what they told me is that we're on the road to a full recovery.
There was some damage. But what happens is, as -- within the next month, we will see what happens, but so far, so very good.
GUPTA: There's a video of you actually swinging a baseball -- that was this morning -- swinging a bat.
SANDERS: Trying to keep up with my grandchildren. That is very exhausting, I must tell you.
GUPTA: It's almost a silly question to ask how you're feeling, because you said that you feel great.
SANDERS: Sanjay, the God's truth is that if you -- you sitting there, and you said, Bernie, did you have a heart attack last week, I would say, what are you talking about? I feel great. I -- not an ounce of pain.
I have been walking around a whole lot, playing ball with the kids. So I feel very good. And I'm confident that we're going to be running a very, very vigorous campaign.
But what I would say -- and I don't know if you wanted to talk about this -- is what I do kick myself a little bit about -- and I hope people understand this and hear this -- is that I should have paid more attention to some of the symptoms that were occurring.
When you do four rallies a day, and you run all over the country, you get tired. Everybody would get tired. But I was more tired than I usually have been, had more trouble sleeping than ordinarily.
Occasionally, I'd be up there at the podium, and I would feel a little bit unsteady.
And one time, I was just lifting, literally holding the mic up to my arm, and my arm hurt -- up to my mouth, and my arm hurt.
SANDERS: And I should have paid more attention to those symptoms.
So I hope that people learn from my mistake.
GUPTA: It's such an important point. The symptoms that you're describing may not be coming classic sort of symptoms about left arm pain. Some of the stuff were indicators.
In retrospect, how long had you had symptoms, Senator?
SANDERS: I think probably -- it's hard to say, because, as I said, when you're running around the country, and you're working hard, you're tired. Well, what else is new? You're going to be tired.
I would say several weeks anyhow. And I should have paid more attention to that.
GUPTA: They tell you you're having a heart attack. This is when you go into the clinic. This is Tuesday night.
GUPTA: I mean, obviously, that's frightening. It's the worst kind of news.
SANDERS: Shocking. Shocking. GUPTA: Did -- I mean, did you think that this could be fatal?
What I -- this is what I thought. First of all, we were driving, my staff and I. I was at an event. And I -- and I -- because I was speaking, and, for the first time in my life, I said to somebody, give me a chair. I have to sit down. And I was sweating profusely.
And, normally, we do selfies, and we take questions, and we have discussions. I was in no state to do that. And I felt badly for the people in the audience. But, essentially, I took a few very -- questions. I was very brief in my response. And I said to my staff, guys, we got to get out of here.
And my first thought was, let's go to the -- let's go to the -- back to the hotel. Then I started feeling...
GUPTA: You felt the pain.
SANDERS: ... a pain in my arm.
And we went to what was an urgent care place in Las Vegas near the hotel. And the doctor there diagnosed -- she made a diagnosis in about three seconds.
And then I went by ambulance to Desert Springs Hospital. And they had been warned that I was -- told that I was coming. And the procedure was done in about 45 minutes, I think.
GUPTA: So, it was pretty quick.
SANDERS: Very quick.
GUPTA: I mean, they were concerned.
I don't know, Senator, if you have ever seen this before. I went and took the liberty of actually finding a stent and a balloon. This is now -- you have two of these now in one of the blood vessels in your heart.
They use the balloon to sort of open it up. And there's the stent. Is that -- that strange to look at?
SANDERS: It is.
Well, it's not strange to look at. It's strange to know that it's in here somewhere.
GUPTA: It's in your body, but it's doing the job.
SANDERS: Look, who knows? There are some folks who think that I may be a little bit stronger because I will have an artery that's not blocked.
But what I have learned in the last week more about cardiology that I've ever wanted to know is that my understanding is many hundreds of thousands of people a year have this procedure.
GUPTA: How is this going to impact -- how are you going to balance the campaign and the follow-up visits and the things that you need to do now to keep your heart healthy?
SANDERS: Well, we have a great doctor in D.C. and we've made a new doctor friend here in Burlington, and the folks in Las Vegas were great as well. But we're going to play it by ear. But I am feeling great and look forward to a very vigorous campaign. I'll be at the debate next week.
GUPTA: You'll be there, yes. You said it was -- someone said that, Tuesday night, you knew that you had a heart attack. You waited until Friday to talk about it. You said it was nonsense. This wasn't a lack of transparency. What was it then? Was the intent that we are going to disclose this at some point or just not now?
SANDERS: Of course, we're -- of course, people do have a right to know about the health of a senator and somebody who is running for president of the United States, full disclosure. And we will make, at the appropriate time, all of our medical records public for you or anybody else who wants to see them.
But the first concern I think that people had was to understand what was going on before we're going to reveal information dribble-by- dribble. But we released -- we will release all the records.
GUPTA: You think this is a fair -- obviously, you're doing this interview with me, it's a fair conversation to be having about health, about age.
SANDERS: Of course, it is, absolutely.
And by the way, it's a fair conversation. People have a right to know how I'm feeling. But if I may at this moment just say thank you to so many people all over the country who have expressed their concerns and written us in so many ways with their love and concern. And I appreciate that.
GUPTA: Well, I'm glad to see you're doing well.
Senator, let me take a few minutes to ask you a few questions about the town hall tonight, the LGBTQ town hall. You can't be there, obviously.
SANDERS: Let me apologize to the Human Rights Organization for not being there, but I'm glad we have this opportunity (ph).
GUPTA: Thank you. You have been fighting for gay rights since the early 1970s. There's this picture of you actually from '63, I believe, in Chicago, a civil rights protest at that point. Has civil rights and gay rights, have they always been part of the same thing?
SANDERS: Yes, they are. I think the picture you're referring to is when I was a student at the University of Chicago. I was arrested for involvement in a demonstration against segregated housing in Chicago. I know I'm dating myself a little bit but I was there for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech on jobs and justice.
So the issue of justice, ending discrimination, is something that I've been involved in my whole life when I was mayor in Burlington, I was involved in it.
GUPTA: When you read the civil rights language, specifically at '64, it says, prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It doesn't say sexual orientation. How do you sort of reconcile that?
SANDERS: Well, I think we can argue what the intent is. What I will tell you, Sanjay, is I am very worried about the right wing in this country now using the argument of freedom of religion to force discrimination. We all believe in freedom of religion. We're all proud Americans, everybody has the right to practice their own religion.
But we cannot now use the argument that it is my religious belief that if you are gay, I will not sell you a cake, or I will -- if you are black, it is my religious belief you can't come into my store, if you're Jewish or, whatever. We've gone way, way beyond that. And it worries me very much that there is a strong movement trying to bring, under the guise of freedom of religion, racism, sexism and homophobia back into this country.
GUPTA: There are two arguments that are being heard in front of the Supreme Court this week, specifically about discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. If the Supreme Court doesn't rule in favor of the plaintiffs here, what could you do if you were president of the United States to offer those protections?
SANDERS: Everything that's humanly possible. If you think back on the history of our country, from the first settlers coming here and the terrible things they did to native Americans, we think about the atrocity of slavery, we think about the assaults on so many Asian expulsion acts, Asians who were thrown out of the country, the anti- Semitism, anti-Irish sentiment, the Italian sentiment, we have been through it all.
But what we should be proud of, as a nation, having gone through all of that, that we put so much of that behind us. Does racism exist now? Of course it does. But we've come a long, long way.
We elected something -- we elected an African-American as president of the United States, something that people 30 years ago never would have dreamed was possible. And it upsets me very much that Trump and some of his allies are trying to roll back the clock and take us to a place that we have gone far beyond.
GUPTA: And President Obama, as you talked about, signed an executive order prohibiting discrimination against federal workers. What would you do specifically though as president to offer protections to the population -- SANDERS: We would pass federal legislation that makes it clear, absolutely clear, that it is illegal to prohibit, to have discrimination against anybody because of their sexual orientation. That's clear. And it would be a very broad and sweeping legislation, at work and any other capacity of life.
GUPTA: Some of these things when we talk about -- they're all sort of based on this idea as well that it's still a Republican -- likely to be a Republican Senate. How does this work then? How do you get something like that through a Republican Senate?
SANDERS: I think, interestingly enough, while you have a small group of right wing folks who want to push this discriminatory agenda, the climate has changed so much in this country. We're sitting in Vermont now. Vermont has been a leader in gay rights. In fact, we were the first state to pass what was then called civil unions legislation, which was a precursor to gay marriage. And I can remember 25 years ago, 30 years ago, whatever, marching in brave (ph) with people who were really, really upset about this concept. It's all gone.
The younger generation, if you tell somebody, what's your view on gay marriage when they're 20 years of age, you know what, they don't know what you're talking about. They really don't. Their grandparents may be concerned but the world has changed very dramatically and in a good way.
So my administration will do everything humanly possible to fight homophobia, involving the gay community in that liberation as to how we go forward, fighting racism, sexism and the religious bigotry, by the way, that the Trump administration is forcing on us.
GUPTA: Some of it is so atrocious. According to HRC, 19 transgender people were killed this year. The American Medical Association calls it an epidemic. And we're talking about protections. I mean, we're talking about life and death situations. What about -- as president, what could you do to protect transgender population?
SANDERS: Well, first of all, we will make it clear that every transgender murder will be investigated by the Department of Justice as a severe hate crime. We will not tolerate that type of behavior.
And I think the good news is that the American people understand that, the American people want us to move away from this kind of vulgar, disgusting discrimination into a society where we treat people as human beings no matter the color of their skin, what their sexual orientation, whether they're transgender, whatever it may be. That is the goal that we have come to fight for.
And we have come a long way, and it breaks my heart, to see a president who is taking us in exactly the direction that we have overcome, that we've wanted to overcome.
GUPTA: Senator Sanders, I just want to ask, again, about your health. What are you doing differently now? Are you -- there're new medications, I imagine. Are you taking care of yourself differently in some way, diet? SANDERS: I am. Look, I won't tell you that I have been the worst either eater in the world but I surely was not the best. I did my best to stay away from junk food and so forth and so on. But we're going to do better. We're going to do better with food.
GUPTA: During this whole process, at any point, from last Tuesday, nine days now, was there any point when you said, you know what, I think the best course of action may be to drop out?
SANDERS: No. Because, you know, I don't know how -- again, you know, when you hear the word, heart attack, you think it was somebody lying on the ground in terrible pain. It wasn't the case, okay? The day I woke up after the procedure, no pain, zero pain. No pain right now. I feel really good.
So, you know, my feeling was, once I assessed the situation and learned what happened, that given that my whole life struggle, and I don't mean to be overly dramatic here, but I have spent my entire life trying to fight injustice, not only against homophobia but for workers rights, to create an environment that is not destroying our water and our air, to deal with climate change, all of those issues.
And we've had significant success in kind of transforming the dialogue in America. Many of the issues that I've talked about four years ago on how -- that were considered radical then and are kind of mainstream today.
Many of my Democratic opponents are saying today what I said four years ago.
So we've struggled really hard to get to where we are right now, bringing millions of people together if the fight together in the fight for justice. And I'm not a quitter. And I've had adversity. No question about it.
I do not want anybody to have a heart attack, not a good thing. But you know what, there are a lot of people watching this show right now who are dealing with adversity. Unlike me, they could not afford to get the healthcare that I got. I got really high quality healthcare. We haven't gotten the bill yet. But I have, you know, strong private insurance, I have Medicare, I'm sure my wife and I will be paying money out of pocket, we can afford to do that.
But what happens to somebody who is 63 and they felt the same pains that I felt, and they would be thinking, I'm feeling pretty crappy, but if I go to the doctor, if I go to the hospital and run up the bill by thousands of dollars, how am I going to pay for that, all right? Am I going to go bankrupt? Am I going to be able to put food on the table for my kids?
So one of the things that did occur to me, it's not a secret to any American that I believe that healthcare is a human right, that 50 miles away from here, in Canada, if you're in the hospital for three months dealing with cancer or whatever else, you leave that hospital without paying a nickel, because it is publicly financed.
But I think that this incident made me really think on a personal level what happens to people who don't have decent health insurance.
GUPTA: Well, I think -- yes, you said before that I think this incident has --sounds like it's reinforced that.
GUPTA: Senator Sanders, we're out of time. Thank you very much. I'm glad you're doing well.
SANDERS: Thank you so much.
GUPTA: Yes, absolutely.
Wolf, back to you.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN THE SITUATION ROOM: Sanjay, thanks so much, we're glad he's a doing well as well. Thank very much, a very important and very interesting interview indeed. We're going to l discuss that and a whole lot more, including all the breaking news.
Right now, two of Rudy Giuliani's associates have been arrested today. We've got our experts, our analysts, they are here. We'll be right back.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: We just heard Senator Bernie Sanders talking to our Dr. Sanjay Gupta about his recent heart attack, his presidential campaign, and more.
Let's dig deeper with our correspondents and our analysts.
And, David Chalian, what did you make of what you heard from Senator Sanders?
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, I think the senator was accomplishing a really important political goal here in talking about his health to Sanjay. Wolf, you heard Senator Sanders say that he is on the road to a full recovery, that's what the doctors have told him. And you heard him say that he -- not an ounce of pain, he doesn't have an ounce of pain. So, while he described what he went through in this process, what he made clear is that his campaign is going to continue in earnest.
He -- you know, you had -- Sanjay asked him about scaling back the campaign, and he did suggest that it is going to be a different rhythm out of the gate here of him returning to the campaign trail. It might not be as active a schedule as it once was. But what he made clear I think in doing this interview is that by saying he's on the road to full recovery, he's trying to make sure his supporters understand, his competitors understand and the political world at large that Bernie Sanders intends to stay very much in this race for the Democratic nomination.
BLITZER: Abby, I'm anxious to get your thoughts.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I thought he was definitely trying to put a strong face on this situation. But I did note that when Sanjay asked him what did your doctors tell you about the severity of what you experienced, he didn't answer that question. And there have been some questions for his campaign about how quickly they have been getting information out about what he experienced, the fact that he had a heart attack in the first place which was only revealed until -- you know, days after he was hospitalized.
So, there are still a lot of questions here. But for Sanders, it's really important for him to make clear to his supporter that's he's still up and about and this is not going to slow him down. But I think there are also some questions about the level of transparency around this whole situation and what his supporters and donors deserve to know.
BLITZER: I thought Sanjay did an excellent job, as usual.
Susan, let's talk about the breaking news we're following today. Two associates of Rudy Giuliani arrested by federal authorities, FBI agents arrested them as they were about to board an international flight out of Washington's Dulles Airport for Frankfurt.
What's your analysis of this? Because the charges are very serious.
SUSAN HENNESSEY, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY AND LEGAL ANALSYT: Yes. So, they stand accused of campaign finance violations. Obviously, we've learned a lot about campaign finance violation as a country over the past years, but essentially of hatching a scheme to illegally funnel foreign money into the U.S. political process, primarily aimed at Republicans.
These are really serious charges. Now, they were arrested at Dulles airport after having purchased a one-way ticket out of the country that apparently caused investigates investigators to think they might be fleeing the jurisdiction. You know, ordinarily, if you're just going on a quick trip and you're planning to return, you would buy a ticket back.
That said, it does look like this has been a longstanding investigation. This isn't something that cropped up in the last few weeks as we've learned more about sort of the president's scandal related to Ukraine and, of course, their involvement with Rudy Giuliani.
This appears to be a separate or at least for now appears to be sort of separate criminal activity. And the fact that these people were attempting to leave the jurisdiction appears to be the trigger that cause SDNY to go ahead and move and say, we need to make this arrest, you know, before they flee the jurisdiction where we might not be able to obtain custody. BLITZER: Listen, Pamela, to what the president had to say in exchange
with reporters as he was leaving the White House just a little while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don't know those gentlemen. Now, it's possible I have a picture with them because I have a picture with everybody. I have a picture with everybody here.
I don't know if there's anybody I don't have pictures with. I don't know them. I don't know about them. I don't know what they do, but -- I don't know, maybe they were clients of Rudy. You'd have to ask Rudy. I just don't know.
REPORTER: Are you concerned that Rudy Giuliani could be indicted in all of this?
TRUMP: Well, I hope not. Again, I don't know how he knows these people.
REPORTER: They're his clients.
REPORTER: They're his clients.
TRUMP: OK, well, then, they're clients. I mean, you know, he's got a lot of clients. So, I just don't know. I haven't spoken to Rudy about it. I don't know.
I will say this, from what I heard, I just heard about this, they said we have nothing to do with it. We're totally -- we have nothing to do with it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: Let me get your analysis when you just heard that explanation.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mea, clearly, the president is trying to distance himself from all of this -- this indictment of Rudy Giuliani's clients who Rudy was working with to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and Ukraine.
This is not good for the president. Sources I've been speaking to say even if there isn't a direct relationship there with President Trump, it still muddies the waters and there is concern that Giuliani could be a political at the very least, a political liability for the president.
So, the question is moving forward, is Rudy even working with the president as his personal attorney? That hasn't really been answered yet, but there are some clues that the legal team is trying to distance themselves from Rudy, bringing on board Trey Gowdy, to be more -- to play a more outward pacing role, even though the president said today, Trey Gowdy wouldn't start until January because of lobbying issues, it is clear they're taking a new tact.
HENNESSEY: And keep in mind, that one thing that was significant during the Mueller investigation was as other people like Paul Manafort or Michael Flynn found themselves in unrelated legal trouble, that was a reason they'll provide information to federal regulators, it might be a reason why they might be more inclined to provide Congress information. So, these related crimes can -- unrelated crimes can end up being an important leverage point.
PHILLIP: I do think that we should kind of make it clear that, you know, we talk about this as a campaign finance violation, but what the indictment seems to lay out is an influence campaign in which these people were funneling money through the U.S. political system in order to influence U.S. officials, President Trump. And the nexus here, in addition to that is A, Giuliani and B, the ambassador to Ukraine who is also caught up in the president's impeachment scandal.
These two individuals according to this indictment allegedly were trying to get her fired. She was removed from her position. So there are some interesting, unanswered questions here that definitely seem to link back to Giuliani and link back to some of the characters who are in this whole impeachment.
BLITZER: Yes, let me get David Chalian into this, because if you read, as you have, all of us now read this 21-page indictment, it's very specific in allegations that hundreds of thousands were illegally funneled for political purposes by these guys.
I don't know if David can hear me. Can you hear me, David?
CHALIAN: Oh, sorry, Wolf, I didn't realize that was to me.
CHALIAN: Yes. And it's a clear pay to play scheme that gets sort of alleged here, right? I mean, in some cases, you see that these two associates of Rudy Giuliani either promised to raise money for or donated to Pete Sessions, the Republican congressman of Texas, and guess who was involved in passing along recommendations that Yovanovitch, the ambassador there in Ukraine, be removed from that position?
There is a clear allegation here of a pay to play scheme and this is why I think that, you know, when you have the president of the United States on the south lawn saying talk to Rudy, it's because the facts that are here are problematic and Donald Trump wants nothing to do with it and that's why he's sort of pushing it back off to his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
BLITZER: So, David, what's going to be the political fallout from these charges that have now been leveled?
CHALIAN: Well, the political fallout is going to be that we have another set of facts in this case that is going to make it that much harder for the president to just rally -- have every single Republican rally around him. It draws in other people, tentacles are everywhere and so, if you're looking at the political impact here, you are once again learning a new set of facts each day that makes the president's case more difficult to make here in the public arena not easier.
This isn't -- this isn't sort of like evidence that completely clears what the president or associates of his were trying to do in terms of getting a foreign government involved to dig up dirt on a potential domestic political opponent. It keeps coming back to the central idea which is what the House Democrats are basing the entire impeachment around.
BLITZER: You know, Pamela, it's not as if Trump supporters can say deep state, hoax. This is a 21-page indictment that was signed by the United States attorney for the Southern district of New York, Geoffrey Berman, who is a Trump appointee. He was nominated -- named by President Trump.
BROWN: No, that's absolutely right. And we know from our previous reporting that Trump has been unhappy with the U.S. attorney's office in New York because of the Michael Cohen charges. And so it will be really interesting to see how this plays out. Clearly, you know, they believe they have enough evidence there to bring a case and in talking to sources that are familiar with this case and close to the president, as well, there is certainly a concern that this is just the beginning, right?
I mean, the concern here is that perhaps these two associates of Rudy Giuliani could flip and that, you know, something could happen next involving Rudy. My colleague, Evan and Shimon are reporting that as part of this investigations, investigators scrutinized Rudy Giuliani as well. So, again, politically, at the very least, this is not a good thing for the president.
BLITZER: Yes. I suspect we only know the very, very tip of what's going on.
Everybody, stick around. There's a lot more on the breaking news we're having.
Once again, an important note, tune in to CNN later tonight, starting at 7:30 p.m. Eastern for a night of back-to-back town halls as the Democratic presidential candidate discuss issues facing the LGBTQ community.
Much more on the breaking news right after this.
BLITZER: Breaking news, President Trump says he's considering tough sanctions on Turkey as casualties mount in Northern Syria. Turkish military is striking Kurdish targets in the region, and Mr. Trump's critics are accusing him of abandoning longtime U.S. allies.
Kurdish fighters appeared to return fire today at several Turkish border towns were hit with mortar rounds killing, five people and injuring at least 46 others, that according to Turkish government statements. Turkey's foreign minister is now saying that the goal of the operation is to remove terrorists from the region and today, Turkey's president threatened to allow millions of refugees into Europe if leaders there describe Turkey's military offensive in northeast Syria as an occupation.
That's an awful situation that's unfolding right now.
And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WolfBlitzer. You can always tweet the show @CNNsitroom.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.