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Wildfires Burn Dozens of Homes in Los Angeles Area; Men Tied to Giuliani's Ukraine Efforts Arrested Trying to Leave U.S.; Sanders on Heart Attack Recovery & Future of Campaign. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired October 11, 2019 - 07:00   ET

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


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Many of those evacuees were asleep, of course, when these fires ignited overnight.

[07:00:07]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So dozens of homes have already been destroyed, burned through. More than 4,600 acres at this moment. And that's grown. It was 60 acres about three hours ago. Now 4,600 acres.

Two major freeways are shut down at this hour. CNN's Nick Watt, he is on the ground, live in Porter Ranch, California.

Oh, my gosh. Look at that behind you, Nick. Give us the latest.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, we have just watched this house burn over the past hour. We're on this property with the homeowner's permission. He and his family standing out front. I just spoke to one young man who told me he was born in this house.

Imagine, as you say, going to bed at 9 p.m. Everything's fine. The middle of the night, this is what your house looks like.

Now, while we were here also, Jason, the producer I'm working with, noticed that, behind the house on this street, the back porch was on fire. He had to tell the firefighters, guys, you're needed over there.

They went over there. They managed to douse those flames and save that house. But this is gone.

The embers are the issue in these high Santa Ana winds. That is what carried this fire across those freeways. That is what set this house on fire. And that is the continuing danger.

The irony is we've been on fire watch here in Southern California all week. The conditions were perfect with these high winds, low humidity, high temperatures. Those winds are due to change direction Friday afternoon. And the temperature is due to drop.

So just at the end of that fire watch window, this happened. And as you say, this fire has moved so fast. Ignited 9 p.m. last night. In three hours, 1,600 acres. Now, we're up over 4,600 acres. We have 450 firefighters, more than 70 engines, helicopters doing

water drops. We just got hit by one now.

And Jordan, going to ask you to turn around here and see. This is the continuing issue. These are little spot fires, blazes all over this area. All over this densely populated area.

People are being told to get out of their homes. But, you know, those evacuation orders, many of them came after people had gone to bed. So people were asleep. People who were watching the news had to go knock on doors and tell them to get out. Right now, this is what we are watching. Somebody's home, somebody's life gone.

Back to you, guys.

CAMEROTA: Be careful, Nick. We can see already that the satellite is beginning to get affected somehow. Or at least your conditions there are not the best. Please be careful, and we'll check back with you throughout the program.

OK. There are a lot of big developments in the impeachment inquiry. Two associates of Rudy Giuliani's were arrested while trying to leave the United States. They have now been charged with illegally funneling foreign money into Republican campaigns.

The Soviet-born pair met Rudy Giuliani for lunch at the Trump International Hotel in Washington hours before they were arrested and taken into custody at Dulles Airport.

BERMAN: These pictures -- these pictures are from a different time, just to be clear. We don't know when this was taken from, but yes, they were lunching -- they were lunching hours before the arrest.

CAMEROTA: OK. House Democrats have already subpoenaed them to testify, as you can imagine, John. In just hours, the U.S. former ambassador to Ukraine is scheduled to appear before House investigators. We don't know if that will be blocked.

The men just arrested and Rudy Giuliani worked to get her fired from her post, or at least recalled back to the U.S. And the president ultimately removed her, as you'll remember. So we're waiting to see if she is blocked from her testimony, is going to happen this morning.

Let's bring in Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent from "The New York Times" and CNN political analyst; and David Gregory, CNN political analyst.

Maggie, as we have said, these two guys -- these two guys who have been implicated in all of these dirty deeds now charged. Between starting -- opening a shell company so that they could funnel foreign money to different Trump PACs, and to Pete Sessions's campaign, and to try to enlist Pete Sessions in getting Marie Yovanovitch recalled.

I mean, it is as dirty as the day is long, what they're being charged with. And they are clearly friends with Rudy or close associates with Rudy Giuliani there. MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: So the most interesting thing

that I learned in the last 24 hours was that those two men attended Rudy Giuliani's September 11th annual dinner that he holds with former aides. This is how close they had gotten to him. They were around all of the time. A number of people close to Giuliani urged him to distance himself from them.

Supposedly, not knowing the details that we've just discussed but just concerned because they didn't necessarily seem on the level to Giuliani's friends.

And I think that now, the question becomes what this means for Rudy Giuliani in terms of working for President Trump. We saw President Trump yesterday do the beginning of a dance that we have seen him do with any number of people over the years, which is start to distance himself. It's generally been described as saying I hardly know the guy about someone.

That's now what he said about Giuliani. But it got close. You'll have to ask Rudy. I don't know those people. He was asked, is Giuliani going to be indicted. His answer was, I hope not. So I don't know where this goes from here.

[07:05:09]

BERMAN: Let's play that. Might as well. This is what Maggie just described as the "I hardly know the guy" moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), 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 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.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: "You'd have to ask Rudy." One of the things we could ask Rudy, David Gregory, is why one of these men was at his meeting with Kurt Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine, where all these things about investigations in the meeting with the Ukrainian president were being discussed.

Another thing is why these men were central in the effort to dig up dirt in Ukraine about Joe Biden and why they, along with Giuliani, along with the president, were working to push out the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There's a lot of things to ask Rudy. I mean, he is the live wire here who's very close to President Trump, who wanted to be secretary of state, was passed over because of all of his connections and some questions about security clearances in the very beginning.

And now he seems to have this unlimited passport through the White House and the administration and overseas to do the president's bidding and to pursue his own agenda that seems to be closely linked with the president's agenda.

So there's a lot of questions here and a lot yet to learn about Giuliani's role in all of this. The primary problem right now is how much this affects the arguments the White House is making. That the president's primary concern in Ukraine was to root out corruption and to chase down that corruption that he has said baselessly Joe Biden and his son were involved in.

And yet, this is the growing sphere that is around the president, a group of people trying to undermine the Bidens, trying to dig up dirt to try to challenge the basis of the Mueller probe. That's what everybody seems to be up to.

CAMEROTA: I mean, it's just so dirty, Maggie. That's what we've been talking about. To enlist these two guys, who have now been charged with these crimes, all for political dirt digging, about today two hours from now.

Is there any chance that former ambassador Marie Yovanovitch actually is able to show up, or is she blocked by the State Department?

HABERMAN: There's a chance. But I mean, you know, we've all been checking our phones, waiting to see if there's going to be a decision to pull her from testifying. It is hard for -- "A," if she is allowed to, I don't understand why they wouldn't let Gordon Sondland testify but will let her testify.

I think the difference might be that Gordon Sondland was having direct conversations with the president a fair number of times. I'm not sure that she can offer that perspective. She can offer more of a perspective about her understanding of what was being done in efforts to recall her from her role in Ukraine.

But look, the White House posture, as you know, has generally been to deny the House Democrats any witnesses. So this is an open question in the next few hours.

BERMAN: Again, and you don't know. No reporting at this point. Let me play what the president said yesterday on the lawn as he was heading to the helicopter about whether or not he would allow Yovanovitch to testify.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?

TRUMP: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right.

CAMEROTA: I don't think that was the line. BERMAN: I'll read it. It's just "I just don't think -- I don't think

you're running a country. I just don't think that you have all these people testifying about every conversation you've had."

It wasn't a complete linear thought, but the point he was making there was I'm not sure you let these people testify. One question I do have, David, is that now, as all of this spreads, and there are more and more questions raised, what's to keep Yovanovitch from quitting?

If the -- if the situation is that she won't be allowed to testify because she's still a State Department employee. If she cares enough about getting her version of the story out, couldn't she just quit?

GREGORY: I don't see why she couldn't quit. I don't know if that necessarily clears the way for her to testify if administration lawyers assert some kind of privilege. If it's executive privilege, I suppose that'd have to be litigated to prevent her from testifying.

But, you know, the president's non-linear thinking here is pretty clear on one point, which is that Congress should have no oversight authority over what he's doing. Because he has to run the country. It's precisely how he's trying to run the country, that they are entitled to exercise oversight over.

So again, as more of these details become public as corruption around him becomes more clear with indictments unsealed here, you know, I think it becomes more untenable. But you have -- we have to wait for Republicans and leadership to start to apply that pressure.

CAMEROTA: Maggie, one more thing before we move on to your reporting about Bill Barr's meeting with the Murdochs. Why is Rudy Giuliani going through all these hoops? Why is he traveling to Europe to dig up dirt?

Is he so polluted by the crackpot, far-right websites that we know he peddles in and reads, that he -- that he thinks that that's where he should be putting his energy? It all seems to be so crazy to be traveling to Europe to be associating with these two guys who are now charged instead of just staying at home and helping with the re- election campaign.

[07:10:31]

HABERMAN: I think David hit on a point that's really important in terms of trying to understand what Rudy Giuliani has been doing, not just in this instance but over the last two years, nine months.

He was passed over secretary of state for a number of reasons. His international work was one of them but not the only one. And I think that there's a part of him people around him think there's a part of him that is trying to basically play that role in shadow form.

And, you know, the unstated goal of that would be to prove Donald Trump wrong for not choosing him. So I think that's a big piece of it. Listen, Giuliani loves a fight. I mean, one of the things that keeps

getting said is this is -- this is totally different than the mayor that we knew.

And the mayor that we knew had a huge body of impressive accomplishments. He also was very controversial. He had a huge body of impressive accomplishments. But he was also somebody who, you know, went after a radio show call-in guest who was talking about ferrets. He was somebody who read aloud the lyrics to the Billy Joel song "Captain Jack" to criticize Hillary Clinton for playing it at a rally, her kick-off event in 2000.

Some of this sort of being out there this way isn't really out of character, so it's not totally surprising.

BERMAN: We've got to run in a second, Maggie.

But what did Rupert Murdoch and Bill Barr, the attorney general, talk about yesterday?

HABERMAN: Great question. It would be wonderful if aides to him or Mr. Murdoch would answer that question. They won't. They seem to believe that this is something that deserves utmost privacy.

It is certainly newsworthy that they were having a meeting in the middle of all of this. Could have been on a range of topics. But it is noteworthy that it's coming at a moment when the president has been incredibly critical of FOX News and believes, I think, incorrectly, but believes that they have been critical of him.

GREGORY: How about the fact that the attorney general would be the envoy to FOX News?

HABERMAN: Well, we don't know that that's what he was doing, to be clear.

GREGORY: OK, all right.

HABERMAN: We don't know.

GREGORY: But the fact that -- if they were meeting, I think it's -- again, I think that Barr is really emerging as exactly the attorney general that Donald Trump wanted all along.

CAMEROTA: It looks like it until we have other facts about what it was about.

David Gregory, Maggie Haberman, thank you both very much.

Senator Bernie Sanders talks to CNN about his recovery after suffering a heart attack. He tells Dr. Sanjay Gupta how he's feeling now and how he plans to get back on the campaign trail. That interview next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:17:42]

CAMEROTA: Here's to your health this morning. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders talks to CNN about his recent heart attack. He sat down with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta to describe his recovery and the future of his campaign.

And Sanjay joins us now from Burlington, Vermont.

So Sanjay, tell us what the senator told you.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we get a lot of details, Alisyn. Not only about what happened last Tuesday when he was at that rally and he needed to ask for a chair to sit down. What happened after that. But also as we learned, Alisyn, in the weeks prior to this, the symptoms that he'd been having.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 feel a little bit unsteady.

And one time, you know, I was just lifting, literally, holding the mic up to my arm, and my arm hurt. Up to my mouth and my arm hurt. And I should have paid more attention to those symptoms. So I hope that people learn from my mistake.

GUPTA: I mean, it's such an important point. The symptoms that you're describing might not be sort of classic symptoms. But left arm pain, some of this stuff were indicators.

In retrospect, how long had you had symptoms, Senator?

SANDERS: I think probably -- it's hard to say. You know, 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.

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're thinking of somebody lying on the ground in terrible pain. Wasn't the case. OK?

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 -- I don't mean to be, you know, overly dramatic here, but I've spent my entire life trying to fight for justice, not only against homophobia but for workers' rights to create an environment that is not destroying our water and our air. They deal with climate change, all of those issues.

[07:20:11]

And we have had significant success in kind of transforming the dialogue in America. And many of the issues that I talked about four years ago are now, you know, that were considered radical then are now 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, bring millions of people together in the fight for justice. And I'm not a quitter.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, first of all, we applaud his candor there in talking about his symptoms and what he was feeling. Because as he points out, there are misconceptions, so many misconceptions about a heart attack.

But -- but in terms of his future, you know, there was some confusion. Because at first we heard that he was scaling back his campaign. And then we heard no he's not at all. So did he address that with you?

GUPTA: Yes, he did. I asked him directly about that. I said, did you misspeak? You know, what exactly is going on?

And I think the way that he answered it basically was to say, look, you know, next week, for example, he's not going to be doing his more typical four rallies a day, which is kind of what he's known for.

But he plans on getting back to full pace. That's what he said. So it's more that he's going to be sort of ramping it up over time.

He's sort of said both things are true. Am I sort of dialing it down a little bit right now? Yes. But the expectation is that that's not going to be the status quo. I'm going to get back to that full pace.

So he looked good, Alisyn. You know, I think when you restore blood flow to a muscle. In this case that muscle is the heart. No matter what, you often feel better. Because when you're not getting enough blood flow, that's what often causes those symptoms.

CAMEROTA: But again, I mean, anybody listening to him, I think that it's really valuable to hear that he was more tired. He was having a hard time sleeping. And then he had that left arm pain. And I think that -- I think he's doing people a favor by being so candid.

So Sanjay.

GUPTA: He got it checked out, as well. There's a lot of people who have these symptoms, and they -- they blow it off. A third of people who never thought they had heart disease, the first time they learn they have heart disease is when they have a significant heart attack or maybe even die.

CAMEROTA: Really helpful. Sanjay, thank you very much for doing that interview and bringing it to us.

GUPTA: You got it.

CAMEROTA: John.

BERMAN: Yes, and say hi to my mother-in-law up there while you're there.

So two associates of Rudy Giuliani charged with funneling foreign money into the U.S. election. Up next, we're going to speak with a person whose job it is to keep elections legal and fair.

CAMEROTA: She's got her hands full.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:27:06]

BERMAN: So this morning, two associates of Rudy Giuliani are charged with federal elections crimes as the president openly asks Ukraine and China to investigate his political rival.

Joining me now is Ellen Weintraub. She is the chair of the Federal Election Commission. We are always excited to have you on to help us understand what the rules actually are.

And I don't want to read the indictment to you, but basically, these two men are charged with funneling foreign money into the U.S. elections system. Broadly speaking, what laws did they break and why do they exist?

ELLEN WEINTRAUB, CHAIR, FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION: Thanks, John, for having me. And I don't want to talk about the specifics of this case. But I am happy to talk to you about the law.

There are laws against individuals or groups funneling money through other groups in order to hide the source of the money. It's a law against contributions in the name of another, and there's another really important law against foreign contributions.

And both of these laws are laws that are fundamental and really important protections, to make sure that the American public know who's behind the money, who is funding our candidates, where that money is coming from, and whether it is legal.

I've been concerned for a long time about the potential for dark money hiding foreign interference in our elections. I testified about this before the national security subcommittee at the House earlier this year. And I think we have not done enough to protect America from this kind of interference.

BERMAN: I noted that on Twitter the other day, you reposted something you had written earlier in the year, saying is this thing on? And that note that you posted said, "Let me make something 100 percent clear to the American public and anyone running for public office. It's illegal for any person to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national connected with a U.S. election."

I will note that you reposted that tweet the day that the president asked China to investigate Joe Biden. I know you will not address that directly. And I respect that.

WEINTRAUB: Thank you.

BERMAN: But broadly speaking, why is it illegal to ask a foreign country to intervene in a U.S. election?

WEINTRAUB: Well, the laws against foreign interference in our election, really, that principle goes back to the founding of our nation.

We want to make sure that this democracy is our democracy. It's for American citizens to decide who our leaders should be and what our policy should be. And that's why we don't want foreign interference in our elections.

It's part of my job as a federal election commissioner and now this year as chair to make sure that everyone understands what the law is.

The American public, and indeed, the candidates and the political actors who are involved in our election. Everyone needs to understand the law clearly.

We have great information available on the FEC website. But I know not everyone spends a lot of time on the FEC website. So I am willing to use Twitter, op-eds, coming on shows like this to try and get the word out to the American people any way I can.

BERMAN: It's a technical question, but one that has become important in the Mueller investigation and even now. And it has to do with the idea of research and whether --

[07:30:00]