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Pence And Pompeo Dispatched To Turkey To Push For Syria Ceasefire; Moderate Democrats Take Shots At Warren In Democratic Presidential Debate; Former Top Pompeo Aide Set To Testify In Impeachment Inquiry. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 16, 2019 - 05:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo depart today for Turkey, leading a U.S. delegation to try to stop the Turkish military incursion into northern Syria. That attack began after President Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the area. Turkey's president is already dismissing the U.S. demand for a ceasefire.

CNN's Arwa Damon is live on the ground for us on the Turkish-Syrian border. What's the latest this morning, Arwa?


Well, President Erdogan being quite blunt about it, saying that he will not negotiate with terrorists. Meanwhile, that U.S. delegation headed by Vice President Pence expected here over the next few days to meet with -- it would have at least initially seemed -- the president. But now, we are hearing that he may not attend that meeting and instead, have the U.S. delegation meet with their Turkish counterparts.

And, Erdogan also has recently accepted an invitation from Russian President Putin, and I think that really highlights exactly who holds the cards here and who has the leverage. It most certainly is not the United States, especially after they effectively sidelined themselves by withdrawing or announcing that they would be withdrawing forces from northern Syria.


That is what effectively led to this significant change in dynamics in this battlefield that's seen Bashar al-Assad's regime forces in parts of the country that they have not been in, in years, as the U.S. forces are trying to now move out of the country.

We are hearing that they have found themselves in, on a couple of occasions, some fairly dicey position, at least once coming quite close to those Turkish-backed Syrian Arab rebels on the ground, having to take up some measure of a more defensive posture. Now it seems like there is a race to control territory between the Turks, on the one hand, and then the army of the regime on the other.

And then, if there are going to be negotiations or mediations that take place that is going to be through the Russians because right now, as experts say, they are both the playmaker and the kingmaker when it comes to Syria.

CAMEROTA: Arwa, thank you very much for reporting from the ground for us. We'll check back with you.


A pipedream, vague, punitive -- just a few of the terms the rivals to Elizabeth Warren hurled at her last night to describe some of her policies. Did they land?

Up next, our all-star panel breaks it all down, next.



CAMEROTA: OK. Did the moderates have a moment?

Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar led the charge against Sen. Elizabeth Warren's Medicare for All plan and her wealth tax plan at last night's CNN Democratic Presidential Debate.

Joining us now talk about all of this is commentator Bakari Sellers, who has endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris; CNN political analyst April Ryan; and, CNN political commentator Angela Rye.

So let's just watch a moment of the debate where Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar went after Warren -- watch this.


MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Your signature, Senator, is to have a plan for everything except this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multitrillion-dollar hole in this Medicare for All plan that Sen. Warren is putting forward is supposed to get filled in.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I appreciate Elizabeth's work but, again, the difference between a plan and a pipedream is something that you can actually get done.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We all have good ideas. The question is how -- who is going to be able to get it done? How can you get it done? And I'm not suggesting they can't but I'm suggesting that that's what we should look at, and part of that requires you not be vague.




BERMAN: It's got an extra syllable. When you're serious about it's got an extra syllable.

CAMEROTA: Or the em-phasis.


CAMEROTA: Angela, did you -- wow.

SELLERS: Em-phasis.

CAMEROTA: I mean, we're off. We're off to the races.

Did you see it as moderates versus progressives and moderates getting the upper hand?

RYE: You know what I saw it as? I had not really seen a moment before last night where Mayor Pete was more moderate. It was like he is going to come in and just like every place where I've been in a single digit, I'm about to pick up a point.

And so, it really looked to me last night like he was trying to chip away at the eroding-now lead that Biden has had. That's the first thing.

I think the second thing is Mayor Pete, I generally have liked and appreciated most of the debates. I thought that he was a little smug yesterday -- almost stiff -- and I know that my colleagues disagree. But I think -- I think that was really, really interesting.

And then, Sen. Klobuchar -- I don't know that that was moderate or if she, like -- if Cardi B was her theme music going into last night because she showed up as Amy K. Like, she was ready with the shake. No, Elizabeth. It was like all the respect is gone.


RYE: I'm not putting respect on your name. I'm actually going to call you all the way out and let me tell you about your little pipedream.

RYAN: Yes, it was a trip for me last night. It was a trip to me last night.

SELLERS: I know. Drop the mic and keep going down.

No, so let -- so I thought Pete Buttigieg did an amazing job last night. I thought that he was very sharp, he drew the line in the sand. I sat here yesterday morning and I said that people have to ask

Elizabeth Warren questions. She has a plan for everything. She does not have a health care plan. The fact that I'm with Bernie is not a plan.

And everyone around this table, I believe, thinks that eventually she's going to back off Medicare for All. I mean, I think that she's going to try to find a lane that is not Medicare for All. I think that's going to hurt her.

I thought Amy Klobuchar did extremely well last night. I actually thought Tom Steyer, for his first time on stage, was surprisingly sound.

I just think that for the -- for the four individuals on stage who did not qualify for the next debate -- that's Castro, that's Klobuchar -- give me some help here.

CAMEROTA: Has Tulsi Gabbard qualified?

SELLERS: Tulsi Gabbard.

BERMAN: Cory Booker hasn't yet, I don't think.

SELLERS: Cory Booker qualified, yes.

But I do believe that Klobuchar and Tulsi Gabbard are going to -- and Castro and Beto -- that's who I was thinking about -- are going to have a very difficult time finding any lane to qualify for the next debate.


I thought Beto had the most disappointing night of anybody on stage. I thought he struggled extremely well. I think people even forgot for a minute that he was --

RYAN: Struggled extremely well.

SELLERS: I mean, struggled extremely bad.

RYE: He meant -- he meant --


RYAN: Oh, Biden -- you did a Biden.

RYE: He's been Biden-ing all morning but more on that later.

RYAN: So at the end of the day, just looking from the strange, unique perch that I happen to sit, I believe that no matter what side you are on on this debate of health care of paying for whatever, I believe it was about Elizabeth Warren and just taking her down no matter what.

RYE: Yes.

RYAN: She was the front-runner. I'm going to take you down.

I have never seen Amy Klobuchar, in all of these debates, go in -- she was together in the eleventh hour. She has it going on. She was clapping back and she was just smooth.

I remember in Detroit she was wiping her brow. She was like she was frustrated because she could not find her way in.

She found her rhythm at the last moment but it was all about taking Elizabeth Warren down like they had been doing with Joe Biden. So that's the bottom line. It was about taking her down.

RYE: The only thing about Amy Klobuchar that I -- that I do want to say, I felt like it wasn't her finding her stride, like this is where I disagree with these two. I felt like she was trying to find the viral moment and it looked desperate. So I appreciate her clawing her way up --

RYAN: She was calm while she was desperate, though.

SELLERS: She might have been desperate though because she's --

RYAN: But she was calm.

SELLERS: -- trying to make the next stage.

RYAN: She had to --

SELLERS: A lot of them were.

RYAN: Yes.

RYE: She was clapping back --

SELLERS: And I think that -- I think that of all --

RYE: -- when nobody clapped first, right?

SELLERS: Out of all the people -- of all the people who needed that -- of all the people who needed a night like last night --

RYE: Yes.

SELLERS: -- I think Klobuchar was that person.

Now, we'll see if it -- if it has some --

RYAN: Yes.

SELLERS: -- uptick in the polls.

And, I mean, I think the winner of last night has to be like all of the Democratic primary voters who have not made up their mind yet. I think last night proved that this is a wide-open primary. I don't think that Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden are running away this thing by any stretch. RYAN: No, no.

RYE: Yes.

SELLERS: I think that there's still an opportunity --

BERMAN: Well, that's clearly what I think the candidates were trying to do -- to sort of level all of this at once.

RYE: Yes.

BERMAN: Elizabeth Warren, you're on the rise. I think Medicare for All was a proxy for them to question her credibility and why she won't answer that question and let people see her not answer that question --

RYAN: Where are the (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: -- again and again.

RYAN: She's got to bring the deet (ph) in.

BERMAN: Yes. And to know the failure or the decision not to go after Joe Biden by any of them in any way last night really, to me, was notable.

RYE: It's --

BERMAN: I'm not sure Biden should be happy about it.

RYE: No, he shouldn't be.

And I think to the point to -- like if -- I would be surprised if Amy Klobuchar did not have the most amount of time last night.

BERMAN: Third.

RYE: Oh, really?

BERMAN: But that's a lot for her. That's way more than she's had.

RYE: Yes. OK, that's surprising.

RYAN: She's been wiping her brow because she couldn't get in before. I saw her. She was like oh my God, you know -- in Detroit.

RYE: The thing I was -- I was going to say about Elizabeth Warren -- I know that we're seeing a lot of folks were clawing at her.

I think that makes her the winner of the night because it was clear, to your point, that Joe Biden -- nobody was really coming to Joe Biden. There was not the amount of attack that I thought there was going to be about the Hunter Biden piece. People kind of passively talked about it.

I know Bernie Sanders talked about foreign interference in our elections and government and he passively talked about it, but not directly taking it on.


RYE: I think he's --

BERMAN: Can you hang on one second because I know Alisyn wants to get in on this and so do I?

There was a 13th person on the debate stage last night --

CAMEROTA: Hmm -- named Bakari Sellers.

BERMAN: -- named Bakari Sellers.

CAMEROTA: And so --


CAMEROTA: Tulsi Gabbard immediately took issue with CNN as well as some other media outlets and you, in particular, because she thought that it was out of bounds what you had said on our air exactly 24 hours ago. So let's play that moment.


REP. TULSI GABBARD (D-HI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: "The New York Times" and CNN have also smeared veterans like myself for calling for an end to this regime-change war.

This morning, a CNN commentator said on national television that I'm an asset of Russia -- completely despicable.


CAMEROTA: Do you take that back?

SELLERS: No, and I didn't call her an asset, I called her a puppet. And I'm very respectful of those individuals who have served in our military -- very respectful. I have the utmost for those individuals who did something I did not do, which is to --

CAMEROTA: Yes, like Tulsi Gabbard. But, I mean --

SELLERS: To where I -- but that does not -- but that does not erase the fact that this is not a regime-change war. The fact is that's a Vladimir Putin talking point that this is a regime-change war.

Bashar al-Assad is a bad person.

RYAN: He is.

SELLERS: He is a war criminal. He is gassing and using chemical weapons on women and children who are his own citizens.

And the fact that she could find everyone to blame last night for Syria but Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, and Donald Trump is a problem. And I stand by those comments.

BERMAN: But look, I will say being an Assad apologist -- which, arguably, she is -- is different than being a Russian asset for which there is no proof.

SELLERS: I literally called her a puppet of. And this was the same --

CAMEROTA: That's close.

SELLERS: -- and this is the same discussion that we were having in last year's presidential debate. This is the same discussion we were having when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were on stage. And I think last night actually bared my point out even more so than anything else.

There's only one candidate on the stage who Russian bots are propping up. We know that to be a fact.

"The New York Times" actually ran an entire article about the Russian influence that is -- that is playing --


CAMEROTA: Yes, but just because Russian bots like her doesn't make her a puppet.

SELLERS: I mean, we can talk about her foreign policy plans right now, which make no sense to any other Democratic on stage.

And I understand -- and listen, if people have a problem with my tone or the harshness or the way that I characterize her, that is fine. I do not mean that as any disrespect to a member of the military per se. That is not what I'm attempting to do.

But what I am going to do is push back on anybody who thinks that Tulsi Gabbard's foreign policy is good for America or good for -- good for anybody who believes in justice or human rights. That's --

RYE: Can we just note this is more time that she had on the debate stage last night?

RYAN: That's true.

RYE: So that -- that's -- this is very kind of you all this morning. And that white suit is riding off into the sunset --

RYAN: And that last question -- that last question last night that she answered -- Anderson Cooper asked --

RYE: Yes.

RYAN: -- who across the aisle are you friends with and she said Trey Gowdy. I was like, ooh. That was interesting. That was very interesting.

CAMEROTA: There's a lot of interesting --

BERMAN: All right.

CAMEROTA: -- things here from last night. A lot of interesting things.

Thank you very much. Thank you, guys. Great insights.

OK, so new revelations in the Trump impeachment inquiry. There are details about the witness who claims he was warned after raising complaints about Rudy Giuliani. We'll explain all of that, next.



CAMEROTA: A Democratic lawmaker says a State Department official testified that he was told to lay low after complaining about Rudy Giuliani's efforts to undermine U.S. foreign policy in Ukraine. Today, another official who unexpectedly resigned last week will share his story with impeachment investigators.

So here to discuss all of this we have Samantha Vinograd, CNN national security analyst and former senior adviser to the national security adviser. Sam, great to have you and all of your experience.

John Bolton is saying that Rudy Giuliani -- the quotes got our attention yesterday and continue to -- was a hand grenade, he's going to blow everybody up, he was running a shadow foreign policy.

What do you think about John Bolton now speaking out about this?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER TO THE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We, as national security advisers, have more than a feeling. National security advisers are supposed to address concerns, not just commiserate with staff about them.

We learned yesterday that Fiona Hill, the former senior director for Europe and Russia, went to John Bolton and that he shared his concern -- her concerns about Rudy Giuliani. But, Alisyn, he didn't do anything about it.

As the national security adviser, his job was to make sure the NSC ran efficiently and lawfully.

CAMEROTA: What could he have done about it? I mean, this is what President Trump, from all the reporting, wanted from Rudy Giuliani. What could John Bolton have done about it?

VINOGRAD: Several things. He could have directed Fiona Hill to a NSC lawyer that wasn't part of the cover-up. We learned he sent Fiona Hill to John Eisenberg, who was reportedly the lawyer that told staff to stash these documents on a code-word server.

He could have not signed his name on scheduling requests and memoranda about Ukraine. He could have refused to do that.

And, Alisyn, he interacts with the FBI Dir. Wray and the Attorney General Bill Barr, regularly. He could have voiced concerns to them that something was fishy at the White House, again, rather than just commiserating with his staff.

I worked for two national security advisers. They had an open-door policy not just so they could sit there and talk about things that were wrong with their staff; they tried to act on those feelings so that that could again make sure that the NSC was functioning lawfully.

CAMEROTA: So what do you think John Bolton's doing now by letting these criticisms leak out?

VINOGRAD: I think that he, Mulvaney -- and we'll see what Pompeo does -- are trying to paint themselves not as part of the problem and to try to get credit for feeling badly about what happened.

But the State Department, for example -- we're learning that Secretary of State Pompeo, unlike John Bolton, apparently didn't see anything wrong with what certain members of his team were doing. And even more recently, he has defended the president's soliciting foreign election interference from the Ukrainians.

CAMEROTA: What's your impression of how Secretary of State Mike Pompeo feels about Rudy Giuliani operating this shadow foreign policy?

VINOGRAD: Well, I don't want to call it a foreign policy. I hear a lot of people talking about this being a shadow foreign policy. What Giuliani, Volker, and Sondland were doing were not -- was not foreign policy. It was a political smear campaign.

I think Pompeo wants to just keep the president happy. The State Department has an inspector general, the State Department has lawyers. And the State Department has cabinet-level officials -- the secretary that, again, is supposed to make sure that their actual staff are doing their jobs.

Instead, he knew that Sondland and Volker were operating on Ukraine, which -- and the investigation into Biden which, by the way, wasn't part of their actual job descriptions. They were not confirmed by the Senate to work on this portfolio. According to text messages between Sondland and Volker, he was on board with it.

And again, more recently, he has defended the president, which really just makes me think his primary customer isn't the American people, it's Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: Samantha Vinograd, we always appreciate getting your expertise.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much for being here with us.

All right, five candidates from last night's debate will join us this morning. NEW DAY continues right now.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, "EARLY START": A tough welcome to front-runner status for Elizabeth Warren.

KLOBUCHAR: I want to give a reality check to Elizabeth. No one on this stage wants to protect billionaires.

BIDEN: I went on the floor and got you votes.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am deeply grateful to President Obama.

BUTTIGIEG: I don't need lessons from you on courage, political or personal.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The evidence of obstruction of Congress continues to mount.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): House Democrats have wasted no time throwing fairness and precedent to the wind.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't really think this impeachment process is going to take very long. I know a confession when I see it.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is a special edition of NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, October 16th. It's 6:00 here in New York.