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New 2020 Poll Numbers; Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) is Interviewed about Trump's Impeachment; Anonymous Book on Trump. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired October 23, 2019 - 09:30   ET

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


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[09:31:55]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: New this morning, it looks like Joe Biden has not been hurt by the outcry among some over his son Hunter's work in Ukraine. There is no evidence that either Biden -- that either Biden did anything wrong. Voters, at least according to this poll, may be moving on. A new CNN national poll shows the former vice president has widened, in fact, his lead over his 2020 Democratic rivals. Biden now has 34 percent support of potential Democratic voters, his best showing since just after his campaign launch. That is a 15-point lead now over Elizabeth Warren, who's in second place.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's senior politics writer Harry Enten is with us to look at all the numbers.

He's got to be feeling good about this, this morning for sure.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes.

HARLOW: He's seen a ten-point boost since September. But what struck us a lot is how he has consolidated his support among non-white voters, 42 percent there.

ENTEN: Yes. Look, 30 percent. Joe Biden is solid as a rock. All the polls. We see consistently is sometimes he's a little bit above, sometimes he's a little bit below. But, consistently, he has been right around that 30 percent mark.

HARLOW: Yes.

ENTEN: You just can't seem to move him off of that. And in this particular poll, he's picked up some support from some of those lower tier candidates, right, who haven't been making the debate stage. And that's why his numbers have risen while Warren's and Sander's really have sort of leveled off.

SCIUTTO: OK. Polls broken down, race, age, education, how they lean politically. What are the surprises?

ENTEN: Yes, look, I think this is what I call the hidden Democratic Party. That is Joe Biden is getting support from places that I think a lot of the media oftentimes misses, right? So you look, he's doing best among non-whites. Among whites it's a very close race with Elizabeth Warren.

HARLOW: Yes.

ENTEN: That's within the margin of error. But with non-whites, he's well out ahead.

Then, you know, you can flip forward and you can look at something like age, right? I think we tend to think of the Democratic Party as a very young party. But what do we see here. We see that Joe Biden is overwhelmingly leading with voters over the age of 45. Among those under the age of 45, it's basically a three-way tie. Look at college degree versus non-college degree, right? We tend to think, oh, the well-educated Democratic Party. Joe Biden, though, is running up the score among those without a college degree versus those with a college degree. It's rather close.

And then, finally, on ideology, we tend to think of the Democratic Party as this very liberal party, and Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden and Sanders are very close among liberals.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

ENTEN: But among moderates and conservatives, that's where Joe Biden continues to run away with this race.

HARLOW: What about if you take the Sanders and the Warren numbers together, right, and you put them against Biden because -- can't you make the argument that it's harder to see Sanders supporters going to a Biden than a Warren or vice versa?

ENTEN: You could. But the one thing I would point out is that supporters support also tends to be among those without a college degree, and that's where Biden supporters tend to be, versus Warren supporters, going to be those with a college degree.

HARLOW: Oh, interesting.

ENTEN: So it's not just moving along ideological lines, it's also moving along educational lines.

One other thing I just, you know, sort of want to point out, you know, if we look at the enthusiasm for the different Democratic candidates --

HARLOW: Yes.

ENTEN: Or the mind made up right now.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

ENTEN: And I think this is rather important in terms of the mind made up. Look, most voters have -- or, actually, we're going to go to enthusiasm.

Look, most voters are pretty satisfied with this field. If you look at enthusiasm -- well, we're going back to the other one, but it doesn't matter. The point is, if you -- most voters right now are pretty much made up on their mind, or they're about 50 percent are made up on their mind but most Biden voters are overwhelmingly made up on their mind. And I think this is rather important.

[09:35:17]

SCIUTTO: That's interesting.

ENTEN: You know, a lot of people are saying, oh, you know, voters will move away from Biden when they start hearing about other people. But among those who definitely know where they're going at this point, Joe Biden is overwhelmingly out in front, versus on the uncertain side, that's where Warren tens to do best, and that's not so much of a surprise to me given that Warren voters are new to her cause versus people have been with Biden all along.

SCIUTTO: That number there really strikes me because that indicates, does it not to you, that this lead he has, that staying power.

ENTEN: I think that's exactly right. I think his lead has had staying power.

And one other thing that I think is sort of important also is, you know, people are actually fairly enthusiastic about where, you know, Joe Biden is. They tend -- they would be fairly satisfied if he were the nominee.

About 43 percent in our poll say they'd be enthusiastic. And that is exactly the same number as Hillary Clinton four years ago. So if you, in fact, say -- you read that "New York Times" piece that came out yesterday, oh, the Democratic elites are so worried about Joe Biden and whether or not he can hold onto this lead. The Democratic voters are actually saying, you know what, we actually like Joe Biden the same amount that we liked Hillary Clinton four years ago.

SCIUTTO: Are you saying the elites are out of touch with the voters?

ENTEN: I am saying that --

SCIUTTO: Has that ever happened in the history of --

ENTEN: I know, it's a huge shock and it kind of reminds me of Donald Trump last time around where, you know, a lot of elites were out of touch with what the Republican voters wanted.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: There you go. Harry, good to have you.

ENTEN: Thank you very much.

HARLOW: Thank you so much.

SCIUTTO: Testimony from the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine has refuted the president's claims that there was no quid pro quo in U.S. dealings with Ukraine. We will talk to one Democrat who was in the room for that testimony. That's coming up.

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[09:41:26]

HARLOW: All right. Welcome back.

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, appeared to directly refute the president's claim that there was no quid pro quo in his dealings with Ukraine.

With me now, New York Democratic Congressman Gregory Meeks. He serves on the Financial Services and the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Sir, thank you for being here.

You were in the room yesterday for Bill Taylor's testimony. Your fellow Democratic congressman, Stephen Lynch, called his testimony, quote, a sea change that he believes will accelerate matters.

Is he right, will this accelerate matters? Is this the smoking gun for you guys?

REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): Look, the transcripts are out there. And I just urge the American people just to read it. He had --

HARLOW: Well, not the transcripts, the opening statement is out there.

MEEKS: The opening statement. I should say, the opening statement is out there, and I would just urge the individuals, American people, to read it.

He was a career diplomat. An individual who was weighing whether or not he should go back into Ukraine and serve. And he went to an advice -- and asked the advice for a friend who said, if you can help your country, you do it.

He went there only for one reason, to help the country with reference to our relationship with Ukraine because Russia was attacking it. And he made a statement to the secretary of state saying that, as long as we have this clear, then I will do this job.

And then to hear what was taking place, these -- this separate group that was going on talking about U.S. policy where 2020 elections, political elections interest was taking place, led by Mr. Giuliani, it was absolutely stunning as to what took place in his testimony. Stunning.

HARLOW: OK. So the White House is pushing back on this, right, calling it a smear campaign. Obviously, you know, Bill Taylor's resume is just -- says it all. I think his career in public service. But the White House, Jay Sekulow, making the argument that due process is being ignored here. He says the American people are smart enough to know when someone is being denied due process. Not just the president, but the presidency. You mentioned the transcripts. We don't have the transcripts from any

of these behind closed doors, you know, sets of testimony in this inquiry. Should the American public see it?

MEEKS: Let me just say first, one of the things that I want to say, talking about a smear campaign, looks like anybody that's a patriot to this country must be anti-patriotic. When you look at all of the generals and people who have put their life on the line for this country, they are all saying something. General Mattis, just the other day.

So it is clear that what the president wants is individuals who will just go with him no matter what he does. He thinks he is above the law. No one is above the law. No president, no one with his abuse of power.

And to direct answer to your question, there will be a time where there will be an opportunity for folks that have the view (ph) transcripts and open hearings.

HARLOW: OK.

MEEKS: Right now this is an inquiry. And just as -- and we're doing investigations into what did or did not happen.

HARLOW: So, Congressman, part of the reason I asked you that is because when you look at the polling specifically in some key swing states, the majority of voters are not convinced that impeaching and removing the president is the right call.

Look at this "New York Times"/Seneca (ph) poll just out in the battleground states of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina. Let's pull it up. Fifty-three percent of voters there do not believe -- do not believe that impeaching and removing the president at this point is the right call.

[09:45:00]

So should more of these hearings be in public? Should transcripts be released quickly if you want to change their minds?

MEEKS: Which is why we have to do our investigatory work. We don't make assumptions. This is not a game. This is not something that we're just playing out to the public. We are doing our work in a very similar manner that, you know, you had special prosecutors in the prior impeachment investigations.

In this case, clearly, Mr. Barr, based upon the other (ph) testimony, he's part of that other crew that's working behind the scenes for the president and not for the American people. So it is our job to now do the same kinds of things. And I would dare say it is fairer than it was in the past because the Republicans are in the room, their attorneys are in the room. When you had the others, there was nobody in the room.

HARLOW: Are you referring to Benghazi? What are you referring to? MEEKS: No, no, no, I'm referring to other -- the other impeachment

proceedings, whether it was with Nixon or whether it was with Clinton, when we had independent prosecutors that was there.

HARLOW: Well, you actually had rules -- you had rules then that actually gave the minority party more power, and that's what's -- many Republicans are calling for now.

I want to get to FaceBook with you because you're heading in to listen to FaceBook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testify today that the hearing is about Libra, their, you know, digital currency push.

But my question to you is, there's so many other things going on with FaceBook right now, airing false political ads being one of them. What are you going to ask Mark Zuckerberg today?

MEEKS: Yes, I'm very concerned. I'm going to ask him and I'm going to listen to his testimony also. But I'm going to ask him, what are they doing to secure our democracy and not allowing the kinds of false postings that are going on in FaceBook that has divided us or that caused -- divided us as a nation with the Russian bots and others that are trying to get involved in our public elections.

HARLOW: OK.

MEEKS: There's a danger there. And I want to find out what they intend to do about it.

HARLOW: It's important testimony. We'll be watching it. We'll bring our viewers some here when it begins at 10:00 a.m.

Let me ask you finally, you condemned the president's use of the word lynching to describe the impeachment inquiry yesterday, but back in 1998, Congressman, here is how you described the impeachment of President Clinton.

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MEEKS: What you are doing and what we are doing here is not a prosecution. It's a persecution. And, indeed, it is a political lynching.

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HARLOW: Sir, were you wrong to use that word back then?

MEEKS: No, let me tell you something. Number one, if you come from my persuasion, my parents came from the south. Those were individuals that would have been victimized and threatened by lynching. I can say certain words that an individual like Donald Trump, who has a history of associating himself with reference to the Charlottesville people that he talked about were good people who would have lynched my folks, when you talk about the discrimination in his company in New York, when you talk about the creator of the birther movement. No, he cannot say the same things I say because he keeps catering to the ugliest people of our society and the context of the word is completely different when it comes out of his mouth than when it comes out of mine.

HARLOW: Congressman Meeks, I appreciate your time. I'll let you get into that hearing with Mark Zuckerberg.

Thank you so much.

We'll be right back.

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[09:52:55]

HARLOW: Next month, a senior Trump administration official is releasing what is expected to be an explosive new book. The title "A Warning." It is being billed by the book's publisher as a first-hand account of President Trump and his record. The book's author, though, unknown, anonymous.

SCIUTTO: Yes, listen, it probably sounds familiar because last year the same person caused a headache for the White House with a scathing and also anonymous op-ed in "The New York Times." Still remarkable, though, to have a whole book be anonymous.

CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins joins me now.

Is there concern among the White House officials you speak with about what such a book might reveal, particularly in an election cycle?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's concern and frustration because ever since that op-ed came out anonymously and still to this day is anonymous, it frustrated people inside the White House who thought essentially that it was cowardly, in their opinion, that this person would publish this without putting their name on it, alleging these things about the president's behavior and conduct and how he operates not only domestically but on a foreign policy level. And so that was really the frustration inside the White House. And that was a similar feeling that we heard from White House officials yesterday when it was announced that they were going to write this book.

But also it has to do with concern about the timing of this, because this comes at a very politically sensitive time for the president where he's facing fire on so many fronts, mainly, of course, from this escalating impeachment inquiry. And so now that this book is going to come out next month, likely going to detail some things inside the administration, that's something people are going to be worried about, essentially dreading it when it comes out.

But what's interesting is who it is that wrote this because they published that op-ed. Only "The New York Times" knew who it was. It was never divulged even though people thought it was going to come out. So the questions now that people have been asking is whether or not this person still works inside the White House. Some people have said they likely do not believe that they do because typically when you're in the administration, if you write a book, you have to file it on paperwork, on your financial disclosure form, note the fact that you're writing a book. So, of course, that would raise concerns about this person, even though the publisher said this author did not take an advance, a payment that you typically get when you're writing a book.

[09:55:04]

So that will be a big question going forward and whether or not this person can remain anonymous once this book comes out because it's going to be a lot longer than that op-ed. I think it's about 300 pages. And so people do feel it will give them more clues as to who it is that's revealing all of this information.

HARLOW: It will be fascinating, that's for sure.

Kaitlan, thank you very much.

SCIUTTO: Well, the top diplomat in Ukraine directly ties President Trump into a quid pro quo. How much will this undermine the president's case?

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