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Some L.A. Evacuees Returning Home; Independent Wisconsin Voters Weigh In On Impeachment & Election; Sanders Talks Heart Attack Recovery & Future Of Campaign; Harry Reid Warns Democrats: Trump Is "Very, Very Smart Man;" Impeachment Inquiry; Kurdish Partner Forces. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 12, 2019 - 17:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: Good evening, I'm Alex Marquardt in New York.

We are following, at this hour, some fast-moving developments in the impeachment saga, beginning with the man that the president is now trying to distance himself from, his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani told CNN today that he is not aware of being under any sort of investigation, after "The New York Times" reported that federal prosecutors were looking into whether his work with Ukraine violated federal lobbying laws. Giuliani is dismissing that reporting as a political attack.

But two associates who did help to try to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in the Ukraine have already been charged with campaign finance violations. You can see them right there, sandwiched between the president and the vice president.

And, just yesterday, the former ambassador to Ukraine, she testified before Congress, saying that she suspected that Giuliani had a big hand in getting the president to recall her from her post, because whatever scheme was at work conflicted with her anti-corruption policies.

Let's get right to CNN's Jeremy Diamond at the White House. Jeremy, the president today seeming to come to Giuliani's aid after yesterday not being able to answer whether Giuliani even worked for him.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And that question, that the president was posed yesterday, well, he wasn't quite sure what to say when he was asked whether Rudy Giuliani was, indeed, still his attorney.

But a source, close to the president's legal team, confirms that Rudy Giuliani is, indeed, still one of the president's lawyers. But that he won't be representing him anymore, as it pertains to any matters on Ukraine. And this all comes as Rudy Giuliani is facing increased scrutiny for his work in Ukraine.

Earlier this week, two of his associates, in that matter, were arrested on campaign finance charges. And now, we're learning that Rudy Giuliani is under investigation by federal investigators who are probing whether or not he violated foreign lobbying rules.

Now, the president is defending his personal attorney. He took to Twitter to say that Rudy Giuliani may seem a little rough around the edges sometimes, but he is also a great guy and a wonderful lawyer.

Now, as the president looks to defend his personal attorney, he's also focused on mounting his own defense to the impeachment inquiry that is creeping up on him from House Democrats. Here he is at the rally last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The radical Democrats' policies are crazy. Their politicians are corrupt. Their candidates are terrible. And they know they can't win an Election Day, so they're pursuing an illegal, invalid, and unconstitutional (INAUDIBLE) impeachment.

(END VIDEOCLIP)

DIAMOND: Now, Alex, that has certainly been the president's line of attack for several days and weeks now, as this impeachment inquiry has mounted, but while it may be firing up the president's base, helping with Republican fundraising, it's certainly not doing anything to slow the pace of Democratic subpoenas in this impeachment inquiry -- Alex.

MARQUARDT: Yes, a busy week next week in this impeachment inquiry. Jeremy Diamond on the north lawn of the White House. Thanks very much.

To get into all of this and more, we have an all-star panel for you. Joining me are CNN Political Analyst and former adviser to four presidents, David Gergen, CNN Political Commentator, and Host of "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED," S.E. Cupp, herself, and CNN Political Commentator and former Clinton White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart. Thank you all for joining me in the flesh on set.

David, I want to start with you. As we were just mentioning with Jeremy there, the president was asked, yesterday, whether Giuliani was even his lawyer still. Let's take a listen to that sound.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Giuliani still your personal attorney?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I don't know. I haven't spoken to Rudy. I spoke to him yesterday, briefly. He's a very good attorney. And he has been my attorney, yes, sure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: He has been my attorney, yes, sure. Are we making too much of that moment? Should we -- should we read into anything there, now that Rudy is, kind of, in hot water? DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I'm not sure which

moment we're talking about anymore.

MARQUARDT: Well, the moment when the president said --

GERGEN: First, he leaned back. And, now, he's leaned forward. And what we know is that Giuliani has his full support until tomorrow.

S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

GERGEN: And we'll see what happens tomorrow. We don't know. I mean, he's so volatile that we can't tell for sure.

[17:05:00]

But I can guarantee you this. If Rudy Giuliani is called to testify, and that's going to be on national television, the president is going to distance himself from that, because it's going to be -- it's likely to be damaging, and he wants to be as far away from it as possible.

MARQUARDT: And he's known to stand by his allies until he doesn't.

GERGEN: For a while, yes.

CUPP: Same Michael Cohen, you know, whom the president was defending, up until the very last minute, until he wasn't. And then, he barely knew the guy.

GERGEN: Right.

CUPP: And, in so many ways, I think Rudy Giuliani is looking at a -- at a similar fate. And so, advice to both of them is to lose each other's numbers. Rudy should stop talking to the president, and the president should stop talking to Rudy.

MARQUARDT: Do you think there's a chance, S.E. -- and, now, we're hearing from sources at the White House to our -- to our White House team, that Giuliani will no longer handle Ukraine matters. Do you think it's likely that Giuliani goes silent?

CUPP: What else would he be doing, then? I mean, this is the president's full plate right now, and it's the most important thing. And if Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney, is not handling this, I'm not sure what he'd be handling.

That said, we all -- well, those of us who had to work with Michael Cohen to get to Donald Trump, knew that his personal attorney did other things, --

MARQUARDT: Right.

CUPP: -- besides just a lawyer for him. He was a fixer. He was a body man. Rudy Giuliani has been doing a lot of that extracurricular work as well.

Are there other areas in which Trump would want him to, sort of, focus his attentions? Maybe. But this is the -- this is the ball game, right now, for Trump. And so, if Rudy's not on that, I'm not sure what his usefulness is.

MARQUARDT: His name, at least as far as we know, didn't come up yesterday, when Ambassador Yovanovitch testified in front of Congress. But she made clear reference to him and his associates. And she said, and this is according to "The New York Times," although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the president, I was, nevertheless, incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an ambassador based, as best as I could tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with, clearly, questionable motives.

Joe, that was -- that was a clear reference to Giuliani there. How impactful, how damaging do you think Yovanovitch's testimony was?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think her testimony, in and of itself, was very damaging because it laid out, for the committee over nine hours, what she knew. Because she was in the middle of all this. She saw Giuliani. She saw some of his unsavory associates. And she saw the administration catering to the worst of Ukraine's political players and punishing the best of them.

But the real impact for her, and I think yesterday is a turning point in this, is she sent the message to everybody else in the government that Donald Trump can't silence her. She said Donald Trump will not silence me. And the rest of the government, whether it's the whistle- blower or the people who talked, the people with the knowledge of the corruption and the abuse of power can walk up to the Hill and tell their story, without fear of retribution. Because I think, at this point, you know, she still works for the State Department.

CUPP: Yes.

MARQUARDT: She does. We don't know if there's going to be retribution, yet. It's going to be a fascinating week, because, as you point out, she went up there, defying the orders from the State Department and the White House to not testify. She did so because the Democrats, very quickly, issued a subpoena.

But, to that point, David, do you think that this is going to allow, essentially, people like Ambassador Sondland who is the ambassador to the E.U., Ambassador Bill Taylor, who's now the Charge d'Affaires in Kiev, and others, to be much more honest about what they know? Are they going to be encouraged by what Yovanovitch did yesterday?

GERGEN: I think so. She (INAUDIBLE) yesterday. She became the truth teller. And what I think is striking is that, all this while, we've been looking at what's going to happen to the Republicans? Are they going to break? Are they going to break? Are they going to break? They're not breaking very much yet.

But what is breaking is there is a tidal wave of people who worked in government, whether as civil servants or as appointees, in one field after another, whether it's the foreign policy or environmental policy, you know, or, you know, policy toward the Kurds. You know, everybody is coming out now against the president. And I do think, to go to Joe's point, it is -- that could be --it could be a turning point. We're always looking for turning points.

MARQUARDT: Right.

GERGEN: This is a good candidate.

MARQUARDT: Yes, I asked -- I'm asking, you know, smart folks, like you, all the time, whether this is going to change anything in the Republican electorate among Republicans on Capitol Hill. S.E., now we know, next week, obviously, they're coming back from recess. But you had these dueling stories that David was just talking about. The scandal involving Ukraine.

CUPP: Right.

MARQUARDT: And then, also, the U.S. -- the president pulling back U.S. forces --

CUPP: Right.

MARQUARDT: -- on the border with Syria. And, essentially, allowing the Turks to run over the Kurds. We've already seen hundreds of deaths.

CUPP: Yes.

MARQUARDT: Is that a turning point? To ask a question (INAUDIBLE.)

CUPP: You know, it's so interesting because Syria has always been one of the rare issues with which Republicans have felt comfortable breaking with the president since the beginning of his term. I talked to a number of Republicans last week, including two members of Congress and one senator who said the same thing, almost using the same language.

[17:10:00]

The issue of Syria is far worse, to me, than the issue of Ukraine. I don't know if a lot of Republicans harbor those same feelings. I have to imagine they do because so many more Republicans have been vocal about their condemnation of what the president did in Syria. But we'll see to what end.

Lindsay Graham has promised to wrangle votes for sanctions against Turkey when he returns on Monday. You know, we'll see if there are more John Shimkuses out there who are going to say, take my name off the list --

MARQUARDT: Yes.

CUPP: -- of people who support Donald Trump. Now, he's retiring.

MARQUARDT: Yes.

CUPP: You know, to be very clear. But we'll see just how far their condemnation goes, if it goes beyond tweets. MARQUARDT: And that can be -- the Syria-Turkey story can be a very

complicated one. You know, we throw around these names, PKK and SDF, and-- but I think it's very easy, Joe, for Americans to understand, the Kurds were our main ally, when it came to fighting ISIS. And they have been guarding these ISIS detainees. They were the ones who really helped bring down the so-called caliphate.

Do you agree, Joe, that this will resonate with the -- with the U.S. -- with the Republican electorate?

LOCKHART: I -- well, I think it certainly resonates with Republican leadership. There's two different issues. I think the Ukraine story is resonating with the public. I don't know how much this will get into the, you know, dinner table conversation of, you know, average Americans.

But, for Republicans, it's safer. You can't remove the president, because he makes a foreign policy decision. He has that constitutional right. He has a constitutional right to do the wrong thing. He doesn't have the constitutional right to abuse power, which he's doing -- which he -- which I believe he did in Ukraine.

That's why Republicans don't want to touch that. They want him to stay in office. They don't want to have to face a decision of defying him.

MARQUARDT: Yes.

LOCKHART: And that's why you see this split.

GERGEN: I think it's a much easier one to understand than Ukraine. It's very clear. It's about betrayal. It's about having friends in the world, sticking by your friends, especially when they fight on your side. And, now -- see, I've talked to -- conversations I've had with Republicans, almost uniformly, they say this is the worst thing he has done in his presidency.

CUPP: Yes. We should point out, I think, 12,000 Kurds --

MARQUARDT: Yes.

CUPP: -- lost their lives in fighting off ISIS so we didn't have to. There's a real cost to their commitment to us.

MARQUARDT: Right.

CUPP: And so, our lack of commitment to them is, really -- it's a bad -- it's a bad thing.

LOCKHART: And, in the same week, we're sending 1,500 troops to Saudi Arabia. And the president says because they'll pay for it.

MARQUARDT: We're going to -- we're going to talk about all this a little bit later in the show as well. I do want to switch gears quickly. We saw -- we have seen the president, repeatedly obviously, praise Fox News and his favorite anchors over there. And then, we, very abruptly, very surprisingly yesterday, saw Shepherd Smith quit, essentially, and announce that, at the end of his program, leaving his colleagues shocked. Let's take a look at that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEPHERD SMITH, FOX NEWS: Even, in our currently polarized nation, it's my hope that the facts will win the day. That the truth will always matter. That journalism and journalists will thrive.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS: Well, I'm Neil Cavuto. And, like you, I'm a little stunned and a little heartbroken. I don't know what to say. John, I apologize at being a little shell shocked on this other development here, but take it away, sir.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS: I've just been trying to compile my thoughts, too. Neil, I walked out here to do the hit, and suddenly got hit by a subway train. Holy mackerel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Holy mackerel, indeed. I mean, that's a major shift in the media landscape. S.E., what do you make of his sudden departure?

CUPP: Yes, it's a -- it's a huge deal. Shep, at his hour, was one of the most reliable straight news reporters that Fox put on. He was part of the franchise. And I think it's a reflection of this war at Fox, between the opinion prime time hosts and the news -- the news side.

I can't imagine -- Alex, you and I work together.

MARQUARDT: Right.

CUPP: I can't imagine if you, on your show, started mocking me, another anchor at this network, --

MARQUARDT: Right.

CUPP: -- repeatedly.

MARQUARDT: Right.

CUPP: That would never happen here. And that happened repeatedly to Shep and others. Judge Napolitano faced similar things. By the opinion side. So, that's a really bad environment in a newsroom. It's also a really bad way to run a business.

So, I don't know if this is a reflection of more to come, but certainly Shep was at his breaking point, and I can, very clearly, understand why.

MARQUARDT: Yes, and it was clear that he left in -- probably in the middle of his contract.

CUPP: Yes.

MARQUARDT: But he's also said that he's not retiring. He's going to be back.

Folks, we've got to leave it right there. David, you're going to be back with me. S.E., Joe, thank you so much.

CUPP: Thanks.

MARQUARDT: All right. You can be sure to also tune into S.E.'s show, "S.E. CUPP UNFILTERED." That is at the top of the hour right here on CNN.

[17:15:00]

Coming up, a CNN exclusive. The Kurds are sending a desperate message to the U.S., as Turkey pushes deeper into Syria. They're saying, quote, "You are leaving us to be slaughtered."

Plus, breaking news out of New Orleans. At least one dead, more than a dozen injured, after a building under construction collapses. The search now under way for people still missing.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: Breaking news, a CNN exclusive. The military general who commands the Kurdish forces in Syria tells a senior U.S. diplomat, quote, "You are leaving us to be slaughtered." That's according to an internal U.S. government read-out that was obtained by CNN. That general also demanded to know whether the U.S. will do anything to protect their Kurdish allies, adding that he feels that the Americans, quote, "sold us."

This as Turkey continues its military incursion into Syria. It launched its long-threatened incursion there into Kurdish-held areas in northeastern Syria, after President Trump ordered a small contingent of around 50 U.S. special forces troops to be pulled back from the border area.

The U.S. defense secretary denies that the Kurds in Syria are being abandoned. But he made it clear that U.S. troops would stay out of any fighting between Kurdish and Turkish forces.

David Gergen is back with me. Also joining us is CNN Global Affairs Analyst Max Boot. Max, I want to get your reaction to that exclusive reporting by Barbara Starr there. Words like abandoned, sold us, leaving us to be slaughtered. Is that what's happening?

[17:20:03]

MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I think that's pretty accurate, Alex, and it's heartbreaking. I mean, we've seen this movie before. We've seen it at the Bay of Pigs. We saw it with the fall of Saigon in 1975. It's never a good thing when the United States abandons its allies on the battlefield.

And, remember, the Kurds, I mean, you know, Donald Trump is saying, oh, who cares, the Kurds weren't with us in Normandy. But the reality is the Kurds have been with us in the last few years. They have suffered 10s of thousands of casualties to defeat Islamic state. And they've done that. They've achieved that objective, with minimal help from the U.S.

And every Kurd who was killed fighting the Islamic state, that's one U.S. soldier who was safe, who was not in harm's way. They have put their lives on the line. We have repeatedly promised them that we would stand with them. This is just a terrible, terrible moment for America. And, you know, there was that one special forces soldier who was quoted saying -- in Syria, quoted saying, --

MARQUARDT: Right.

BOOT: -- for the first time in my career, I feel ashamed. And that's pretty telling from a soldier on the ground.

MARQUARDT: That reference you just made to Normandy, I want to play some of that sound. This is President Trump defending the orders to pull those American troops back from the border. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, the Kurds are fighting for their land. They didn't help us in the second world war. They didn't help us with Normandy, as an example.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: David, they didn't help us in the second world war. I mean, they're not a country. I mean, they've been fighting for a country. They've never been a country. What do you make of that justification?

GERGEN: I thought it was bizarre. It came out of nowhere. As you say, the Kurds did not have a country. Second world war was a battle between countries. So, if you didn't have a country, you didn't -- you didn't go to fight.

MARQUARDT: Right.

GERGEN: And they've been loyal, as Max has said. They've been extremely loyal to us, in recent years. And, very importantly, with a small number of American troops at the border, there's been like a trip wire that has kept the Turks from coming in and slaughtering people. We didn't have to pay very much for this.

And, Alex, it has been our policy, in many parts of the world, to put a small contingent of American forces, whether it's in the Sinai or a bigger group in the -- in the DMZ in Korea. But across the world, we've been able to keep the peace --

MARQUARDT: Yes.

GERGEN: -- by putting small numbers of people. And the fatality weight on our side has not been high at all. It's been low.

MARQUARDT: We haven't seen, Max, very much support from the Pentagon on this policy. The secretary of Defense, Esper, he was saying that the Kurds have, in fact, not been abandoned.

I want to read part of a very forceful op-ed that you wrote. You argue that Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Attorney General Bill Barr all deserve to be impeached. You say they have betrayed the country and their oaths of office. They have even failed Trump by not acting to save the worst person to ever occupy the White House from his worst instincts. Explain that.

BOOT: Well, the point that I was making there is that this is not all on Trump. I mean, a president depends on his aides to keep him out of trouble, especially a president who knows as little as Donald Trump. And his senior aides have really failed him. He's gotten rid of anybody who would stand up to him. And he's, basically, surrounded by sycophants and yes men.

And, as a result of that, I think that's why he's getting impeached right now. Because there was nobody who could stop him and say, hey, Mr. President, you can't pressure Ukraine for dirt on your political opponent. That's wrong. Stop it. There is nobody who is willing to do that.

And, instead, you have people like Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, and Bill Barr who are, basically, enablers. Who are going along with the unconscionable conduct that Donald Trump is committing. And I think that's a tragedy for the country. And I think they ought to be held responsible.

I mean, I'm not suggesting we should actually launch impeachment proceedings, because you've got to focus impeachment on President Trump. But they are also -- let's for -- let's not forget, it's not Trump by himself. There's a lot of enablers around him, --

MARQUARDT: Right.

BOOT: -- who are also complicit in the crimes that he is carrying out.

MARQUARDT: Well, even if the president has pulled back these U.S. forces, there are other remaining forces inside Syria. The president was asked about that this week. Take a listen to his answer.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have no soldiers in Syria. We've won. We beat ISIS, and we beat them badly and decisively. We have no soldiers.

We don't have any soldiers there because we've left. We won. We left. Take a victory, United States. We left. Take a victory. Take a victory.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: David, we don't have any soldiers in Syria, according to the president. The Pentagon says we have a thousand of them. And among those thousand are some of the most highly trained, most sophisticated fighting forces that we have in the U.S. military. So, how do you make sense of what the president is saying there?

GERGEN: You can't. I mean, let's just face reality. I do think we're going to face stories, increasingly, not only about slaughter, but about ISIS. We've had five prisoners -- ISIS prisoners, escape in the last 24 to 48 hours, have been reported internationally. That's just the beginning.

[17:25:00]

And so, it's not at all clear we're going to have -- you know, if ISIS rises again, it's not quite clear what the victory was. Let's not hang too many signs up there, you know, mission accomplished.

But may I say one thing? I think it's really important for your viewers to know that Max was a life-long Republican, seen as one of the most conservative and seen for his career as a conservative. For him to come -- be taking the stance he's been taking, you know, there are principled conservatives still in this country. We're a people of principle. He may be rethinking some of his positions, but at least he's standing on principle. And there are people doing that.

MARQUARDT: Well, that's a good note to end on. David Gergen, Max Boot, thank you so much.

BOOT: Thank you very much.

GERGEN: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: All right, coming up, breaking news out of New Orleans. People are missing after a building collapsed that left one person dead and injured more than a dozen near the French Quarter.

Plus, dangerous wildfires exploding near Los Angeles, putting thousands of people and their homes at risk. We are live with the battle to contain those fires. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:30:00]

MARQUARDT: One person is dead and two others are missing after a building collapsed in New Orleans. The upper floors of this Hard Rock Hotel, which was under construction at the time, collapsed, injuring more than a dozen people.

Officials say they are worried about two things right now. The very strong possibility of another collapse of the same building where they believe the two missing are located, and a crane that is attached to the side of the building that could also collapse.

Right now, engineers are working to figure out exactly what caused the accident. We'll be following this story very closely, and we'll update you as soon as we know more.

Heading to the west coast, firefighters in southern California are working around the clock to contain several fast-moving wildfires. In Riverside County, two people have died in the Sandalwood Fire

that's still burning.

Then there's the Saddleridge Fire, which broke out Thursday night. That has destroyed 31 homes and burned more than 7,500 acres.

Evacuation orders are slowly being lifted, but as of Friday night, more than 100,000 people in the L.A. area were forced to leave their homes.

CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Granada Hills, California, where the Saddleridge Fire is still burning.

Paul, what are you seeing and hearing there?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll tell you what I'm seeing right now, no active flanks of flame. But, Alex, this is the agony right here, people who have lost their homes in this cul-de-sac. Then the ecstasy over here, a homeowner whose home was spared by the flames.

Behind us playing out just off camera, the homeowner going through the gruesome task of having to talk to the insurance adjuster. Drew Silver, who lives here, has two children. He and his wife, Monica, they're both younger. They have a young daughter and a 10-year-old boy.

He's telling me the community already rallying around him as they survey damage. They say some 31 homes like this destroyed. He said one of his son's teachers already has gone ahead and bought the young school child a backpack. Others have offered all sorts of other things.

It's just so emotional to talk to people in this cul-de-sac because everyone here is just so close knit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EYED JARPUR (ph), GRANADA HILLS RESIDENT: You came so close to losing your own house.

That's true, you know. Fire department did amazing job, you know. They were in the back, our backyard. I had to open the gate for them. They did amazing. They turned off the fires so nice and professional. They saved the neighborhood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VERCAMMEN: Now, that man's house was saved. He's very close to the person who lived here. He said it was Drew and his wife who woke him up, which helped him get out and survive. It's just a real mixed bag here.

By the way, they're also saying that this fire is 19 percent contained, but that seems to be more of an effect of them not updating the numbers than not actually making progress. We don't see any heavy black smoke anywhere in this area right now.

The weather is so much better. It was absolutely so dry before. I think I told you it felt like someone took a sponge and rubbed it on your throat. Everybody was parched.

The moisture is coming back into the air. The winds are dying down. That's a good sign. They're looking to call the red flag warning off in just a couple hours.

Now back to you -- Alex?

MARQUARDT: That is some good news. We hope that there's more of it in the coming hours and days.

Paul Vercammen, thanks very much.

Will the president's base stick with him no matter what the impeachment investigation uncovers? We travel to the crucial swing state of Wisconsin to ask that very question. That's coming up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "A.C. 360: How many of you see this phone call and this "ask" by the president of the United States to look into his political rival as an abuse of power? Raise your hand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:37:49]

MARQUARDT: With the 2020 presidential election looming large over the ongoing impeachment investigation, we wanted to hear how voters are feeling at this stage of the campaign.

So CNN's Randi Kaye went to the critical swing state of Wisconsin, where she got together a group of nine Independent voters. They ranged in age from 18 to 82. One voted for President Trump in 2016, four for Secretary Hillary Clinton. Two didn't vote, and the other two wrote in other candidates.

Here's Randi's report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAYE: Do you think an impeachment inquiry is appropriate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely appropriate.

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

KAYE: So all of you agree that impeachment inquiry is appropriate? UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Yes.

MAX PRESTIGIACOMO, WISCONSIN VOTER: I'm witnessing this President go out there and do things that are clearly, you know, following what's in the, you know, the Constitution about impeachment, high crimes and misdemeanors, and bribery.

KAYE: You, Lena, you're an independent but you lean right, but you're OK with the impeachment inquiry?

LENA ENG, WISCONSIN VOTER: Well, absolutely because I also feel like we need to follow the rule of law. And if something smells bad, we need to investigate it.

KAYE: Why are some of you convinced this call sounded like a quid pro quo?

BOB BETZIG, WISCONSIN VOTER: They put the material, the $319 million of aid, and hold just days before. What kind of a signal is that? It wasn't on hold for two months and they're going to -- this was just days before.

MEGAN SMITH, WISCONSIN VOTER: We are looking to buy more javelins. I want you to do me a favor, though. I mean, it's right there. It's in the primary source released by the White House. And you read it word for word. To me, I mean, I'm not a lawyer, I'm not a mobster, but to me it looks like a quid pro quo.

DANIELLE BERGNER, WISCONSIN VOTER: Why is our president ever asking a foreign president for a political favor like this? I mean, it seems so highly inappropriate.

BEN HOESKTRA, WISCONSIN VOTER: I'm not convinced that the withholding of aid a few days before we have enough evidence to say that that was related. I think that the transcript of the call is suspicious but I'm not yet ready to make a decision.

KAYE: How many of you see this phone call and this "ask" by the president of the United States to look into his political rival as an abuse of power? Raise your hand.

(voice-over): And what about the White House putting that phone call on a classified server?

PRESTIGIACOMO: The White House staff, even his own staff saw this as, oh-oh, you might have just done something impeachable.

[17:40:07]

KAYE: Another concern for these voters, text messages in which an ambassador tries to bury any talk of quid pro quo or conditions.

BERGNER: As someone who has worked in government in years past, when you get that message that says, "call me," it's because somebody does not want a written record of something.

KAYE (on camera): And about the State Department blocking some key witnesses from testifying?

ENG: That, to me, is huge warning signs. And I think that's going to be problematic.

SMITH: There's nothing to worry about, then why hide anything? Be transparent.

KAYE: Fair to say though that this inquiry has affected all of your thinking when it comes to who you might vote for, is that fair to say?

UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKERS (in unison): Yes.

BETZIG: Oh, absolutely. I think for me, it's just one more level of distrust. If I can't trust someone, I have a hard time voting for them.

KAYE: If the President is impeached but not removed from office by the Senate, how many of you would still vote for him?

None of you.

Rich, you lean right as well, even though you are an Independent.

RICH (ph): Correct.

KAYE: Are you considering voting for Trump still?

RICH: No, because it looks kind of bad.

KAYE: So knowing what you know now about Ukraine and the impeachment inquiry, do you think he should be removed from office, raise your hand?

Three.

(voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Milwaukee.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Randi Kaye for that snapshot.

Coming up, Senator Bernie Sanders is talking to CNN about his recovery from his recent heart attack. How he's feeling and what it means for his campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): The God's truth is that if you -- you're sitting there and said, Bernie, did you have a heart attack last week? I'd say, what are you talking about? I feel great.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:45:40] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Looks like Bernie lost his chance, right?

(SHOUTING)

TRUMP: Bernie was hitting a baseball today to show how strong he was. There just wasn't a lot of bat-head speed.

Bernie, get better -- but Bernie, get better. Get better fast.

It's the only time I've ever said anything good about him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: That was President Trump reacting to Senator Bernie Sanders' recent heart attack. That was during a rally last night in Louisiana.

Sanders, though, for his part, he says he's ready to go, full steam ahead, and he'll be holding a "Bernie's Back" rally next Saturday in New York City.

The Senator recently sat down with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta to talk about his recovery -- Sanjay?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Alex, we do have a lot more clarity and description of exactly what the Senator was experiencing last Tuesday at that campaign rally when he asked for the chair and had to sit down. But also what was going on in the weeks leading up to this as well.

SANDERS: 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.

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.

GUPTA: So Alex, you can hear there the Senator has no intention of quitting, no intention of dropping out. He says he will get back to 100 percent.

You remember there was a little bit of confusion, Alex. The Senator saying he was going to dial down his campaign, then he said he misspoke.

I asked him about that as well. What he basically said was, look, the doctors have told him that he probably shouldn't be doing four campaign rallies a day for the time being. He's going to have to ramp back up to that level of activity. But the expectation is that he should get there, as the Senator outlined it for me.

It is worth pointing out, Alex, if you think about the heart as a big muscle, you're not getting enough blood flow there, it hurts. Any muscle would. Those are the symptoms the Senator was describing. Open up the blood flow to that muscle, and a lot of the symptoms go away.

The Senator told me he's feeling better now than he did the beginning of last week. He said that bodes well for him continuing the campaign -- Alex?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MARQUARDT: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta there in Burlington, Vermont. Thank you very much.

[17:50:00]

Now, Sanders will be one of 12 presidential candidates participating in next week's CNN/"New York Times" debate. That's Tuesday, October 15th, at 8:00 p.m.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: More and more senior citizens across the country are living in isolation and growing lonely. That can cause major health issues, including dementia, heart disease and depression. This week's "CNN Hero" helps seniors live life to the fullest by helping them cross off items off of their bucket list. Meet Webb Weiman

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEBB WEIMAN, CNN HERO: The reality of living in isolation is out there, and it's real. It's really one of the driving forces for us to keep going, for us to take those people out of isolation and make an example of them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, we're moving.

WEIMAN: I looked at it as much more than a hot air balloon ride. There is a sense of accomplishment, a story that they get to take back to their community. It lifts their spirits.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: For more on this story, head on over to CNNheroes.com.

Now nearly three years after he left Washington, former Democratic Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, is back in the news, with some advice for the 2020 candidates: Don't think the president will be easy to beat, because you're dealing with a very, very smart man.

[17:55:07]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: His strategy here is to say, I'm not corrupt, they're corrupt, they're the ones who are guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors, they are the ones who are treasonous. It's to muddy the waters. It's a cynical strategy, but might it be an effective one?

HARRY REID, (D), FORMER SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I used to think that Donald Trump was not too smart. I certainly don't believe that anymore. I don't think he's intellectually a powerhouse, but he's basically a very smart man.

He -- no matter the subject, any argument he involves himself in, it's on his terms. You're always arguing against him. He never, ever is willing to debate an issue on terms that aren't his.

AXELROD: So how do you deal with that? If you're a candidate, for example, running against him, how would you advise they deal with that?

REID: Well, what I say initially, and I say it right here on your show -- anyone that thinking Trump will be beaten easily should have another thing coming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: You can catch David's full interview with Harry Reid on a brand-new "AXE FILES," airing tonight at 7:00 p.m., right here on CNN.

I'm Alex Marquardt. I'll see you back here two hours from now.

My colleague, S.E. Cupp, continues our coverage of today's news after a quick break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)