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Rep. Joe Kennedy, III (D-MA) Discusses Ukraine Controversy, Resignation Of Energy Sec. Rick Perry, And His Senate Campaign Bid; Houston Astros One Win Away From The World Series; Biden Fundraising Numbers Raise Questions About His Campaign. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 18, 2019 - 07:30   ET

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


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[07:33:30]

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ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I think whoever it -- hi -- hi, and welcome back, everyone. It's -- we're going to fix our technical problems right now.

It's been a busy week in the impeachment inquiry, including after months of speculation, Energy Sec. Rick Perry announcing yesterday that he'll resign by the end of the year. This, as he faces scrutiny over his involvement in the Ukraine controversy.

Joining us now is Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts. Congressman Kennedy sits on the House Energy Committee. And I hope he can hear me -- Congressman?

REP. JOE KENNEDY, III (D-MA): I can, Alisyn. Thanks for having me back.

CAMEROTA: Fantastic.

What do you think -- because you're on Energy, what do you think of Energy Sec. Rick Perry resigning, and do you think this is connected to the Ukraine controversy?

KENNEDY: Well, I think we need to know. Obviously, there was speculation that Sec. Perry was going to resign as of months ago, but the fact that he's been wrapped in this controversy means that Congress and the American public deserve to know exactly what happened. We intend to understand exactly what happened.

And I would encourage the secretary to comply with the subpoena that is due today and that if he -- and to comply with the desire for him to come testify before investigators.

[07:35:00]

This -- look, this is getting worse and worse I think for everybody by the day including, obviously, the president, given the acting chief of staff's comments yesterday.

I'm not sure how many times how many people could admit to committing an impeachable offense before some of our Republican colleagues finally come on board and decide to stand up for the Constitution.

CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about what Mick -- acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said yesterday because at this press briefing he admitted there was a quid pro quo and he said something to the effect of we do it all the time.

You worked with him for many years or several years, at least, in Congress. What did you make of that?

KENNEDY: I was stunned, I think like everybody else.

I -- the fact that you have an administration that is now admitting that there was, in fact, a quid pro quo and $400 million of taxpayer- funded military assistance to a nation that is under attack by Russia -- that that was being held up for political purposes is extraordinary.

And listen, we've heard that from the president who has now tried to indicate that this was OK because he just did it publicly in a press conference asking the Chinese to do the same thing.

This has got to stop. This has got to stop.

And I would hope that at some point there's going to be enough members here in both chambers that will stand up and say the Constitution is supposed to matter. You're not supposed to use your position as an elected official to undermine -- to ask a foreign entity to investigate a political rival. It is illegal, it is unethical, it is immoral, it is -- it's wrong, and yet, the president continues to do it.

CAMEROTA: We just had one of your Democratic colleagues, Congressman Ro Khanna, on. He said that he, at this point, has enough information to vote yes on impeachment.

Do you think that it is time -- what is the time line for Nancy Pelosi to actually present articles of impeachment and do you think that now is the time?

KENNEDY: So, Alisyn, I think the president should have been impeached months ago based off of the report that special counsel Robert Mueller put together where he indicated on a number of occasions there was more than sufficient evidence to believe that the president obstructed justice. That, in and of itself, was plenty of reason to impeach the president.

Now, I think that given the latest controversy with regards to the Ukraine and the president's own comments -- administrators and officials, their comments -- that certainly there's probably enough there for me to do.

But I think we've got to be clear about this. If you're going to go through with articles of impeachment, you want to make sure that you have as tight a case as you possibly can.

I was a prosecutor. Just because you think you've got enough evidence to try a case doesn't mean you don't want to get more to make sure you're 100 percent certain.

And so, I support the investigations moving forward at the pace that they are. I think we've got to get as much of this information as we can. I think the administration's decision to continue to not comply with our investigation is, in fact, evidence of obstruction.

And I would just close with this point.

I tried plenty of cases. If you had the facts you argued the facts. If you had the law you argued the law. And the old adage was if you had neither you got loud.

You've got an administration that will not argue the facts -- they've essentially conceded them -- and nobody will defend them. They're arguing a process that they're saying is somehow polarized. Well, they've got folks that are participating in it every single day.

They're there for all of the questions. They get to ask whatever questions they want. That's why these interviews go on for seven, eight, and nine hours each. They're complying with it, yet politicizing it as they are.

At a certain point, one would like to know if that's what's your criticizing, do you really have much of a defense?

CAMEROTA: Congressman, let's talk about your race for the Senate. Why are your primarying Sen. Ed Markey, who's seen as this dependable Democratic stalwart?

KENNEDY: Because, Alisyn, we have a nation, at the moment -- the richest, most powerful nation in the world where far too many people are being left out, cut out, and left behind.

Last night alone, 500,000 people went homeless. Thirty-seven million Americans went hungry. We've got some of the highest rates of incarceration in the developed world and the highest rates of maternal mortality. We've got millions of Americans across our country that are victims of bad policies, bad politics, and a broken system.

And I don't know how much worse it has to get before somebody can say hey, you know what, I've got ideas, I've got an approach. I want to try to give a shot.

And that's what this campaign is about and it's about running in every corner of our commonwealth making the case as to why a politics --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KENNEDY: -- of inclusion is actually the way that you heal the wounds that started long before Donald Trump came into office, but he makes worse every single day. CAMEROTA: But, Congressman, if you're saying that Sen. Markey hasn't delivered on those things, then why do you think leading progressives such as Elizabeth Warren and AOC -- I mean, progressive poster children have endorsed him?

KENNEDY: So, I've got immense respect for our -- my colleagues here in Washington and colleagues back home.

One, I've been in this campaign for about three weeks. I think you'll see a number of our colleagues step out and endorse me as well.

Two, this campaign isn't going to be won by endorsements, whether it's Massachusetts or whether it's here in Washington, D.C.

It's going to be won by making the case to voters across Massachusetts as to what's at stake, who can best address the policies to actually make sure that their government is responding to all those people, and who can try to make sure that we do the better job and a bigger job of moving our country forward to a more progressive, inclusive place.

[07:40:18]

And on those fronts, I'm confident I can do a better job. That's what this campaign is going to be about and I look forward to proving it over the course of the next year ahead.

CAMEROTA: Congressman Joe Kennedy, III, we appreciate you being on NEW DAY. Thanks so much.

KENNEDY: Alisyn, thanks so much. Always a pleasure.

CAMEROTA: John --

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right.

So with the daily drip, drip, drip of impeachment inquiry based on foreign influences it's worth remembering that somebody warned us about all of this already. They're called the Founding Fathers.

John Avlon explains in our reality check. And, John, I love that you're doing this because this was one of the foundational issues of the Republic.

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: This is basic stuff.

Look, every day it seems there are new democratic norms being broken -- decency and civility discarded and foreign policy driven by self- interested whim (ph). And in the sea of partisan spin and situational ethics we're seeing what were once considered clear wrongs get rationalized on a regular basis.

We've seen an alleged constitutional conservative argue that withholding congressionally-approved military aid to urge an investigation against political rivals is just fine and we should all get over it. We see a Fox News host who supported Bill Clinton's impeachment now talk about a secret Soviet-style impeachment coup attempt, while one of the president's legal advocates claims that the impeachment inquiry is a form of regicide. That's the killing of a king.

And we hear folks argue that foreign meddling in elections is no big deal, as President Trump reportedly told Russian officials in the Oval Office.

But amid all the incoming, remember, the baseline issue in the impeachment inquiry is about foreign interference in our elections being solicited by the president for his personal gain. And this is a core constitutional concern.

So let's play a quick game of 'What Would the Founders Say?'

George Washington warned us explicitly that history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government.

It was also a core concern of Alexander Hamilton at the constitutional convention where he argued that foreign powers also will not be idle spectators. They will interpose, the confusion will increase, and a dissolution of the union ensue.

Look, that's serious stuff even if the line wasn't catchy enough to make the musical.

So even back then everyone knew the danger of foreign influence on democracy. The disinformation would be spread, designed to divide us, while foreign money would grease the wheels of corruption. And that's why the founders warned about the corrupting influence of money and gifts.

And the incident that spurred it is absurdly small -- concern that a miniature portrait of the French king might corrupt the judgment of Benjamin Franklin. So they passed the emoluments clause forbidding federal officials from accepting gifts or payments from a foreign state.

So if a tiny portrait got the founders freaked out, it's safe to say they would have really hated the idea of a president making world leaders stay at his resort. But that's exactly what was announced yesterday afternoon.

And as "The Washington Post" pointed out, "That decision is without precedent in modern American history. The president used his public office to direct a massive contract to himself."

So don't get distracted by the constant moving of goalposts and attempts to muddy moral clarity with hyperpartisan appeals. Instead, let's try to be guided by the fundamentals set out by our founders. Basic moral standards of right and wrong, remembering that when people resort to fearmongering and lies it's because the facts aren't in their favor.

Congressman Elijah Cummings, who passed away yesterday, might have said it best.

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REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D-MD): When we're dancing with the angels the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact?

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AVLON: And that's your reality check.

CAMEROTA: John, that's such a good one. That historical look back at what the framers intended is so helpful.

BERMAN: They warned us, specifically.

CAMEROTA: Oh, they were quite concerned about it. And I learned --

AVLON: And not a jump ball.

CAMEROTA: -- regicide -- I thought it was doing away with Regis Philbin but no, you've taught me that it's actually the killing of a king. Thank you.

BERMAN: OK.

The Houston Astros one win away from their second World Series appearance in three years.

Coy Wire has that and just a very scary moment on the football field last night.

CAMEROTA: And a raucous crowd.

BERMAN: And a raucous crowd live from Norman, Oklahoma in the "Bleacher Report" -- Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the number-five-ranked Oklahoma Sooners are pretty excited. We'll chat with them in a minute.

But how about those Yankees? They're not just facing an uphill battle, this is a mountain. New York on the cusp of missing the World Series for an entire decade. It's the first time they've been in this position in a century.

Houston hitters absolutely shelling the Yankees pitchers again in last night's ALS-ALCS game four. George Springer and Carlos Correa doing the damage for the Astros, both hitting 3-run home runs. Those all- star sluggers have combined for just five hits all series, but four of them have been homers.

[07:45:05]

The Astros walk away with the 8-3 win and go up three to one in this series. The Yankees in a must-win situation now in tonight's game five. Teams that fall behind three to one in a series come back to win just 15 percent of the time.

Now, John, you mentioned that reigning NFL MVP. He could be sidelined for a while -- Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

This is the play here, dislocating his knee, against the Broncos last night. He left the game in the second quarter after a successful Q.B. sneak on the fourth and one.

Mahomes laid on the field for a couple of minutes in obvious pain. He was eventually helped to the sidelines. He is set to have an MRI later today to see about any possible ligament damage.

Journeyman Matt Moore did come in and get the win for the Chiefs -- a 24-point win over the Broncos.

Now, we're here at the University of Oklahoma and have some special students here. I'm with Paxton Leaf, not just a drum major, he's a double-major -- systems and what -- engineering?

PAXTON LEAF, ENGINEERING SOPHOMORE, DRUM MAJOR, UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA: Industrial and systems engineering.

WIRE: And jazz performance.

LEAF: Yes, sir.

WIRE: Incredible stuff. What do you love about the University of Oklahoma?

LEAF: It's a beautiful place, you know. You get the feeling every time you step on campus that somebody cares about what happens here. The architecture is beautiful, the landscaping is beautiful.

People really care what goes on here. It's laced with tradition and, of course, it helps that we're pretty good at football.

WIRE: Pretty good at football and pretty good at music. Take it away, Paxton.

The number-five-ranked team in the nation and they have the last two Heisman trophic winners, Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray -- and maybe this year Jalen Hurts if he keeps this team rolling.

Happy feel good Friday. Back to you, Alisyn and John.

BERMAN: Coy's got a band. Coy's got a band.

CAMEROTA: Coy has theme music. But that major -- the drum major is so impressive. He also could have a future in broadcast.

BERMAN: Yes, overachiever.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

BERMAN: Overachiever.

CAMEROTA: I know. It disgusts us.

BERMAN: All right.

Is Joe Biden facing a cash crunch with months to go before the first 2020 votes are cast? Our experts crunching the numbers and will weigh in on if they think if Joe Biden can go the distance.

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[07:52:13]

CAMEROTA: New fundraising numbers were out this week and they show the Biden campaign has spent more money than it has taken in, in donations, last quarter. That includes nearly $1 million spent on private jets alone. That's like your bank.

BERMAN: Whoo.

CAMEROTA: Some of the opponents have nearly doubled that fundraising number.

So joining us now to talk about all of this --

BERMAN: It's the legroom. I just want you to know it's the legroom.

CAMEROTA: It's worth it.

BERMAN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Ana Navarro, CNN political commentator. And, Jess McIntosh, CNN political commentator and former director of communications outreach for Hillary Clinton campaign.

Let's pull up the numbers right now so that people can see how much the Democratic candidates are pulling in.

Sanders has the most at $25.3 million. This is the third quarter, again. Warren right behind him -- $24.6 million, Buttigieg.

Biden at $15.7 million. But as we've talked about, he has a really high burn rate --

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right.

CAMEROTA: -- as they say, Ana. And we now know that he's been spending a lot on private jets. Why?

NAVARRO: You know, I've seen this movie before. I've seen it starring Jeb Bush and I've seen it starring John McCain.

I think there was an assumption of building a general campaign in the primary and so he's got a very big structure that he keeps feeding. Also, raising money -- raising money the way he's raising it, that old-school way, takes a lot of money.

And it takes a lot of traveling around to some of the major cities. You've got to from places like Miami to L.A. to San Francisco. And then somewhere in the middle you've got to campaign in places like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Remember when John McCain hit rock-bottom because he ran out of money? He had been spending money like a drunken sailor and it was actually the best time of his campaign when he went lean and mean and had to go schlep his own bags, take puddle hoppers, and show just how hungry he was to do it.

BERMAN: The John McCain joke about drunken sailors was he used to say he has met drunken sailors, so don't insult them.

Jess, if I could change focus here a little bit --

JESS MCINTOSH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS OUTREACH, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: Sure.

BERMAN: -- because Elizabeth Warren has done something interesting. The Warren campaign has done something interesting in the last few days on Medicare for All.

MCINTOSH: Yes.

BERMAN: Our MJ Lee reporting that for the first time, the campaign is exploring ways now to come up with different revenue streams to pay for it. This is after she has refused to say whether or not taxes will be raised on some middle-class families to pay for it.

What do you see going on here?

MCINTOSH: I mean, I see -- so there are a lot of gaps to be filled in anybody's Medicare for All plan. Even Bernie's doesn't completely close the loop on how this all happens.

I think what Elizabeth Warren is doing is really smart.

She has said she's in favor of Medicare for All. She has said that she will not sign anything that raises overall costs on middle-class families. And she seems to be reframing this conversation every time it comes up to what insurance companies are doing to American families right now. That is how voters are experiencing this issue.

[07:55:09]

When I think about my health care costs, I don't think about premiums versus co-pays versus taxes. I think about I have -- I have one line item on my spreadsheet for that. It's just the one. That's how American families experience it.

And we spend a lot of time talking about why something is going to be politically difficult as opposed to talking about why something is morally necessary.

Elizabeth Warren keeps reframing this issue every time we bring it up. I think that's what people are looking for. We're not electing a health care plan, we're electing -- CAMEROTA: Do you mean you think she's doing it effectively?

MCINTOSH: I do. I mean, she took a pile-on like she's never taken before and polls suggest she still won that debate.

People aren't looking for a health care plan to elect a president, they're looking for a leader.

I think the other part of this is that we forget this is the starting point of a negotiation. We've all been through a health care fight before. You don't walk in and rubberstamp the plan that you campaigned on.

I think people want to know that the person at the starting point of the negotiation has the right priorities in mind.

NAVARRO: You know, watching as a Republican with debate envy because they're actually talking about real policy as opposed to the size of hands, to me, the winners of that debate were Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg.

I think it's very hard to, in a 12-person debate, stand out. And they stood out, in part, because of their pragmatism and because they confronted Elizabeth Warren demanding numbers -- demanding more than a plan.

If she is ultimately the nominee that will make her a better candidate. That kind of having to be tested and having to give real answers that are more than just theory, I think is a very good and vigorous thing that's going on on the Democratic side.

While on the Republican side, it's nothing but chaos, and Ukrainians, and mafia, and emoluments clause, and violations. And just cross yourself early in the morning because they're going to -- I mean, it's 8:00 in the morning. It can only go bad from here.

BERMAN: You know what's interesting to me as you both sit here as this table is I think you're both anti-Trump. Is that fair to say?

NAVARRO: Oh, you think?

BERMAN: OK.

NAVARRO: I know I've been very subtle about it so I'm glad you caught on there.

BERMAN: But as you're looking at the Democratic primary I think you're looking at very different things --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

BERMAN: -- and have different concerns here because Ana, I've heard you talk about the risks for Democrats for voters, like you, if they nominate someone who is more progressive.

And I doubt, Jess -- MCINTOSH: Yes.

BERMAN: -- that you see the same risks. And now, I'm just going to shrink here and let you guys talk.

MCINTOSH: I think Ana's entirely right about Mayor Pete and Sen. Klobuchar having breakout moments in the debate. I think that moderates were looking for a standard-bearer. If Joe Biden's campaign isn't up to what they thought it was going to be there needs to be something in that lane to have that debate and I think both of them put a pretty good stake in the ground for themselves there.

But I think that what makes me nervous about that is that when I think of electability I want enthusiasm. I want people who are willing to door-knock 24/7 because Donald Trump's voters are going to be enthusiastic. We need a nominee that can do what Barack Obama did and have people wait in line for five hours.

CAMEROTA: Well, what we often hear is that Donald Trump, himself, excites the Democratic base. You don't need somebody like Obama who excited the Democratic base. You've already got that built in with Donald Trump. Is that fair or not?

NAVARRO: You know what, I've heard that before.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

NAVARRO: I heard it before in 2016. I think a lot of people thought, of course, African-Americans are going to come out and vote for Hillary Clinton because who are they going to vote for, Donald Trump? Of course, Latinos are going to come out because who are they going to vote for? This guy who calls Mexicans criminals and rapists?

But not enough came out to beat -- you know, and that's how he won some of these purple states.

Look, on the Democratic primary, I feel like the guest with no family that's gotten invited to Thanksgiving dinner. I'm not going to complain about what they serve me.

I am going to vote for a stump over Trump. That is my motto, that is my logo, OK?

That being said, I think some of these candidates are a little scary to Republicans -- a little scary to people who rely on business. I think some of those Democrat debates -- Democratic debates are a little unsettling. When you hear people like Beto O'Rourke talking about guns, it unsettles people.

It does not unsettle me because I think any of the 12 up there are better human beings than Trump. And, I'm like, look, I will vote for an inanimate object if I have to in order not to vote for Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: You should --

BERMAN: Are you going to write that in?

CAMEROTA: -- put a fine point on it.

NAVARRO: I might have voted for inanimate objects in the past.

CAMEROTA: Ana, Jess, thank you both very much.

BERMAN: All right.

Thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Kristie Lu Stout is next.

For our U.S. viewers, this head-spinning press conference where Mick Mulvaney admitted to a quid pro quo -- does this blow open the impeachment investigation? NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JONATHAN KARL, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: What you just described is a quid pro quo.

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We do that all the time with foreign policy.

REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): Mulvaney thinks he can put lipstick on that pig and not think it's still a pig.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is hardly an Agatha -

END