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Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) Discusses Veteran Suicide Program; Former Russian Foreign Minister On America's Global Role; Pete Buttigieg Taking More Aggressive Tone In His Campaign. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 24, 2019 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00]

REP. CHRISSY HOULAHAN (D-PA): I am very worried about the safety of the Kurds. I am very disappointed about what we just did in terms of our message to them, as our allies, and also to other allies around the world.

We have enabled a very troublesome -- I guess I would put it as authoritarian regime in Turkey. We have also enabled Putin and that's very worrisome to me and should be to everyone.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: He says it empowers Putin. How?

HOULAHAN: Well, I mean, you saw -- you saw recently, a press conference with Erdogan and Putin together.

They are patrolling the area now together that has basically seeded that part of the world to Putin's control and destabilized that part of the world and allowed, possibly, many -- hundreds, definitely at this point in time -- of ISIS fighters to be freed to the world at large. And that's completely an unforced error on our part.

BERMAN: When the president calls what's happening in Syria a great outcome, what message does that send to the rest of the world?

HOULAHAN: Again, I think that's an enormous distortion of truth and it definitely sends a message that we are acting in isolation and alone and with less than perfect facts.

BERMAN: Yesterday, you were not in the House of Representatives. You were not on Capitol Hill for the hearing that the Republicans broke into because you were at the White House for a meeting dealing with veterans' suicide.

And there is a bipartisan effort right now on a number of fronts, frankly, in the House and the Senate -- bipartisan, bicameral effort to deal with veterans' issues.

But talk to me about this meeting you had yesterday at the White House on veterans' suicide.

HOULAHAN: And, thank you. I was down at the White House. I was invited by the administration -- by the secretary of Veterans

Affairs bipartisanly and bicamerally, to talk about veterans' suicide, which is increasing very dramatically and in a concerning manner. And we have legislation that we're putting forward bipartisanly and bicamerally to address this scourge.

There are 17 people a day who are dying by suicide who are veterans and we should all be very, very concerned about the increasing rate of that happening.

And I think one of the things I'd like my community in Pennsylvania to know is that the work of the people is still happening bipartisanly and bicamerally. And even with the inclusion of the administration, itself, we are doing the work of the people.

I was not on the Hill at that time, but I was on the Hill for hearings on shipping -- on our shipyards -- on the Kurds, as I mentioned -- on a variety of different issues that I think that the vast majority of people don't understand that most of us are not sitting in those hearings.

BERMAN: Well, to that end -- because one of the arguments the president is making -- he's calling the Democrats do-nothing -- is the impeachment inquiry getting in the way of your work on veterans' suicide or veterans' issues? Is it getting in the way of investigating the troop withdrawal from Syria?

HOULAHAN: No. And, in fact, I believe that that bill that we're talking about on veterans' suicide will go to mark-up in the Veterans Affairs Committee next week. I hope it will come to the floor for a vote shortly.

It will join what is about 500 and something bills that have been passed in the floor of the House in the last nine months or 10 months of my freshman year. Only about 50-some of those have actually passed through the Senate.

And so, we don't have an issue of being prolific in the House; we have an issue with the Senate, and the Senate is not passing forward our legislation to the administration and to the president.

BERMAN: Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan, thanks for coming on this morning and telling us --

HOULAHAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: -- what you've been working on and the reality of the legislation that is being produced.

HOULAHAN: Thank you.

BERMAN: Appreciate it.

HOULAHAN: I appreciate it.

BERMAN: Alisyn -- ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John, we do have some breaking news because wildfire is raging again in California, threatening hundreds of homes in wine country. We have the breaking details on this developing story, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:37:54]

CAMEROTA: Breaking news. Evacuations are expanding in Sonoma County, California as a raging wildfire explodes to 10,000 acres overnight. Some 500 homes are under mandatory evacuations.

Pacific Gas and Electric is proactively cutting power to hundreds of thousands of customers as strong winds would make the situation worse.

Congressman Elijah Cummings will lie in state today in the National Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol. The Congressional Black Caucus says Cummings is the first black lawmaker to receive this honor.

A formal ceremony will be held for his family and members of Congress this morning, followed by the public viewing.

A wake and funeral for Cummings will be held tomorrow in Baltimore at the church where he worshipped for nearly four decades. Speakers will include his widow and two daughters, former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Well, a former high-ranking Russian official says that America's role as a beacon of strength for the world -- the America that he knew -- is gone, and that has huge global ramifications.

Former Russian foreign minister Andrei Kozyrev joins me now. He has just published an op-ed in "The New York Times." Mr. Kozyrev, thank you so much for being here.

Let me just read a portion of that op-ed for everyone.

You write, "As the foreign minister of a newly-democratic Russia in 1992, I was in the same shoes as today's Ukrainian leadership when we needed and received American aid to consolidate our democracy. Nobody took it for granted, but it was not viewed as just another diplomatic quid pro quo either. The American generosity was an expression of another moral truth: that democracies help each other."

And so, Mr. Kozyrev, what is it like for you to watch this whole Ukraine controversy play out now?

ANDREI KOZYREV, FORMER RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, AUTHOR, THE FIREBIRD: THE ELUSIVE FATE OF RUSSIAN DEMOCRACY: Yes, that's the problem. The problem is that it's not even a quid pro quo, which is normal in diplomatic relations, but not in these cases.

[07:40:00]

This case looks to me more like abuse -- abuse of power inside -- I mean, from an American point of view -- and abuse of the partner who desperately needs help from the free world. And America used to be leader of the free world and that was America that I knew and I hope it will be great again.

CAMEROTA: But if you're saying that quid pro quos are normal, then why is this one different? Why do you call this one abuse?

KOZYREV: Quid pro quos is normal in dealings between more or less equal partners in equal situations when you do some trade-offs. But in some situations, America -- especially America because of its generosity, because of its leadership in the world -- in the free world -- played a deeper role -- a role of supporting democracy.

Supporting good, if you will, in the world like Germany, for instance, after the Second World War or Europe. It was in ruins and then America came with the Marshall Plan and NATO, actually, and helped to rebuild it.

The same with the enemy of America, Japan. Despite, however, after the defeat of the militaries there, America came and helped.

The Soviet Union used to be an enemy of America but you came and helped us in new Russia.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KOZYREV: And now, Ukraine. Just think of it -- its historic achievement that they had free and fair elections and there is a new elected president by the overwhelming majority, and peaceful transition --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KOZYREV: -- and orderly transition of the power.

And, America -- the Congress voted to help, you know, not for any kind of move from their side, just to be sure that there is democracy in that part of the world.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I see what you're saying.

KOZYREV: So that's what -- that's what America is.

CAMEROTA: Yes. In terms of foreign policy, there are deals. You're saying there are exchanges, there are deals, there are expectations. But not in terms of needing help with vanquishing a political rival.

But another question that I have for you since you watched this all so closely in 1992 as foreign minister, what do you make of President Trump wanting to be close to Vladimir Putin and seeming to make special deals with him and have special conversations? What is all of that through your lens, as you see it?

KOZYREV: Well, at best, it's naivete. But after three years in power, the naivete is a little bit too much. You know, sometimes people who are newcomers just come to White House

or campaign -- yes, they entertain some kind of naive ideas, but having all this research and knowledge in the State Department or CIA or elsewhere in America. You know, after three years, that's -- that looks strange to me.

I don't know. There are many explanations.

But I do know that -- for instance, from this hasty withdrawal from Syria --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KOZYREV: -- that Iran and Russia are the main beneficiaries -- Iran and Russia.

CAMEROTA: And do you think -- I mean, from your knowledge of Vladimir Putin -- if you think that President Trump has acted out of naivete, do you think that Vladimir Putin is taking advantage of President Trump?

KOZYREV: Well, of course. I mean, that's what he does. He wants to discredit America and that's his aim to paint America like not a leader of the free world but exactly like a commercial kind of small guy trading bucks (ph) all around and looking for immediate profit and other things.

And when I said that helping democracies is not quid pro quo is -- does not mean that it is not in national interest of America. It is very much international interest of America because that way, America creates the world of free markets, of free trade, of investment, of prosperity -- you know, of freedom after all -- of free travel.

[07:45:00]

You go to Europe -- which was, as I said, rebuilt with American help -- and you see how you benefit from all of that.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KOZYREV: Imagine it would be like Nazi Germany or Japan would again come back to military. There would be Pearl Harbor instead of the best allies of America.

So, yes, it is in American interest but it's wrong view. It's a different --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

KOZYREV: -- view of the world. That's what I call America, the leader of the free world.

CAMEROTA: Yes, understood. You're saying that it's an investment in the future and in the future of --

KOZYREV: Absolutely. CAMEROTA: -- democracies.

Well, Mr. Andrei Kozyrev --

KOZYREV: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: -- thank you very much for giving us your perspective from having been a Russian foreign minister. We appreciate talking to you.

KOZYREV: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: John --

KOZYREV: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right.

There was this new national poll just released a short time ago in the 2020 race. Who's on top, who is seeing a surge? Harry Enten -- he's been knee-deep in the numbers all morning. He joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:50:38]

BERMAN: Breaking news. This new national poll in the Democratic race out just moments ago. So let's get the forecast with CNN senior politics writer and analyst, Harry Enten.

And it's the Quinnipiac poll and just to confuse everybody --

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: Oh my God.

BERMAN: -- it's different than the CNN poll yesterday.

ENTEN: Why do they do this to me? Why, why why?

OK, so look, this was our CNN poll out yesterday. Biden was at 34, well ahead in the pack.

This is a Fox News poll from earlier this month which showed something very similar. Biden, 32 percent, ahead of Warren, 22 percent; Sanders, 17.

Quinnipiac University out this morning -- a little bit different, folks. Warren at 28 percent, Biden at 21 percent, Sanders at 15 percent.

So what do we do in this situation? What do we do?

CAMEROTA: Just ignore all polls.

ENTEN: No, we do not ignore all the polls because you like me on your program.

CAMEROTA: Got it. ENTEN: What we do is we take an average of the polls because that gives us a pretty good indication of what's exactly going on. So I did that.

So when we average all of the polls that were taken in October, nationally, what we see is Biden at 29 percent, Warren at 22 percent. And just post-debate -- our CNN debate -- look, pretty much the same thing. Twenty-eight percent for Biden, 22 percent for Warren.

So we're basically in that middle ground but I think it's still fairly safe to say that at least nationally, Biden does have a slight edge on Warren, although she's fairly close.

BERMAN: And has been fairly consistent. Wouldn't you say that?

ENTEN: I would say it has been very consistent.

So this is our CNN polls all taken throughout this year. So I -- look at this. A lot of numbers on this but here's the key one, the average -- down here, folks.

Thirty percent -- Joe Biden is the 30 percent man, as I like to call him, because he's basically continuously circling around that. Some polls have him a little bit below, some have him a little bit above. But on average, 30 percent is where Biden has generally been.

CAMEROTA: I don't know if he'd like that title as a campaign slogan -- 30 percent man -- but, OK, we'll --

ENTEN: You know what? It's better than being a zero percent man.

CAMEROTA: Good point.

Let's talk about the other top Dems.

ENTEN: Yes. So look, I think that this is a rather important point just sort of looking why Biden has been so solid at 30 percent.

So in our last CNN poll, basically we asked do you definitely support your candidate or may you change your mind or are you undecided. Among those who say they definitely support their candidate, Biden is way out ahead in our CNN poll, right -- 47 percent. Sanders at 25 percent; Warren, 11 percent versus those who may change their mind or are undecided.

This is the group that Warren does best among, basically in a tie with Biden, 25-24. And I think that's rather important because we see the same basic thing going on in Iowa, which is that the Biden voters are definitely with him.

Among those who definitely support their candidate in Iowa in our last poll, Biden at 26 percent, leading the pack. Sanders, 19; Warren, 14.

May change their mind -- again, that's the Warren where she does best. She tends to do best among those voters who are not exactly sure of their choice. BERMAN: It's interesting because people covering things say oh, Biden doesn't draw the crowds, not the enthusiasm there. But certainty and enthusiasm might be a different thing and his supporters say they're going to show up for him.

ENTEN: That's exactly right -- exactly right.

BERMAN: Now, another issue that has to do with the overall enthusiasm -- one of the memes, narratives. Can I use both words about this week?

CAMEROTA: Narratives, yes.

BERMAN: Is that Democrats are panicking. They don't like their options in candidates.

ENTEN: I would say the elites don't like their candidates and elites aren't voters, folks.

So take a look at this. Would you be enthusiastic if a candidate became the Democratic nominee? Forty-three percent say yes to Biden; 41, Warren; 39, Sanders.

Democratic voters are pretty OK with their choices, especially when we compare that to prior years at this point. Back in September of 2015, 43 percent said they'd be enthusiastic about Clinton. The same number for Biden here.

Go back to November of 2007. Remember, Barack Obama was -- oh my God, he's come down from the heavens -- I feel a tickle coming up my leg. Only 30 percent of Democratic voters back in November of 2007 said they'd be enthusiastic if Barack Obama was the nominee. All these candidates right here are higher than Obama was on the enthusiasm factor back in 2007.

CAMEROTA: That is really interesting.

ENTEN: Yes.

CAMEROTA: OK, and about the match-up against President Trump?

ENTEN: Yes. I would just point this out -- you know, just sort of -- we asked all these matchups -- 2020 -- and basically all the Democrats were leading Donald Trump by pretty clear margins.

What's one of the big reasons for that? Well, I would just say this. The big reason Donald Trump won in 2016 was among those who had an unfavorable view of both Trump and Hillary Clinton, he won by 17.

Among those who have an unfavorable view of both Joe Biden and Donald Trump in our polling -- look at that. Joe Biden up by 60 points. That is a huge, huge difference and that's why the Democrats -- one of the big reasons the Democrats are headed right now.

This election is about Donald Trump and since he's unpopular, the Democrats lead. [07:55:01]

CAMEROTA: You really delivered, Harry. Do you want a kicker of sports?

ENTEN: You know, I just want to say Buffalo Bills, five and one -- congratulations. Seventy-nine percent chance of making the playoffs per FiveThirtyEight. I'm feeling good. Let's see if we can take down the Eagles.

CAMEROTA: Why do I encourage you?

Harry Enten, thank you --

ENTEN: Because you love me and I love you, too.

CAMEROTA: Indeed, thank you.

ENTEN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks so much.

OK, so that new Quinnipiac poll shows Pete Buttigieg gaining some support and this comes as the South Bend mayor takes a more aggressive approach. We saw that on the debate stage and now on the campaign trail.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich caught up with him during a stop in Nevada.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RALLYGOERS: Pete! Pete! Pete!

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), SOUTH BEND, INDIANA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS REPORTER (voice-over): Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Nevada desert, riding high after the last debate.

BUTTIGIEG: Were you able to catch the debate last week by any chance?

RALLYGOERS: (APPLAUSE)

BUTTIGIEG: OK, good. Did I do OK?

RALLGOERS: (APPLAUSE)

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Buttigieg striking a more aggressive tone on the heels of last week's CNN-New York Times debate --

BUTTIGIEG: I think it's helped us reach the next level.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): -- when he called out Elizabeth Warren over how she would pay for her Medicare for All plan. BUTTIGIEG: Well, we heard it tonight -- a yes or no question that didn't get a yes or no answer. Your signature, Senator, is to have a plan for everything, except this.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): After raking in $1 million in the 24 hours following the debate, adding to his sizable war chest, Buttigieg is doubling down on the campaign trail, including here in Las Vegas.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will taxes go up with your Medicare for All who want it -- yes or no?

BUTTIGIEG: Good question because not everybody has been answering this question.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Buttigieg is seeking to draw contrast with his more progressive rivals, touting his vision for health care -- Medicare for All who want it as a less disruptive approach.

BUTTIGIEG: It's a very important difference between me and Sen. Warren and some of the others, and we will continue making sure that we've made that clear.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Yet, despite his strong debate performance, a new CNN poll shows Buttigieg holding steady at six percent, well behind Joe Biden, Warren, and Bernie Sanders. Of those who say they watched the debate, 21 percent said Buttigieg did the best, trailing only Warren.

Nevada voter Shelly Elmer is one of them.

SHELLY ELMER, NEVADA VOTER: I'm a supporter. I'm here, all in for Pete.

YURKEVICH (on camera): And when did you decide that?

ELMER: The last debate.

YURKEVICH (on camera): And what was it about the last debate that sold you?

ELMER: He was tough in a nice, respectful manner.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): But, Matt DeFalco, a fellow veteran, felt the mayor's tone debating gun control with Beto O'Rourke was too combative.

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

It wasn't bold to me. It just felt unproductive when he was approaching that as well -- when he talked about you don't have to judge my character. We know who Mayor Pete is and I've got a ton of respect for him, but that didn't -- that didn't feel right, either.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Are you concerned that this new tone is going to alienate some potential voters? BUTTIGIEG: Well, as we've seen, the debates really helped grow support for the campaign. And it's still me but sometimes you have to point out differences. I believe in kindness, but sometimes we need to make sure nobody confuses kindness for weakness.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Las Vegas, Nevada.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: We want to thank our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Max Foster is next.

For our U.S. viewers, a top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee joins us as the impeachment inquiry prepares to go public. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They came storming in the room and started disrupting the proceeding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have every right to hear the testimony, to see the evidence.

REP. TOM MALINOWSKI (D-NJ): It's a bunch of Freedom Caucus members having pizza around the conference table, pretending to be brave.

DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR, EARLY START: "The Washington Post" reports House Democrats now say public impeachment hearings could begin by mid-November.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): If you want to impeach a duly-elected president you better be sure the American public is able to see it all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a tension now that is really undermining the Halls of Congress.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, October 24th, 8:00 now in the East.

And, Democrats are preparing to take the House impeachment inquiry to the next step. They are planning public hearings as early as mid- November, just a few weeks from now, really.

This comes after a group of House Republicans, as you can see on your screen, stormed a secure hearing room known as a SCIF, disrupting the impeachment depositions for five hours yesterday. Now, interestingly, many of those Republican lawmakers were free to attend this hearing and ask questions without creating this spectacle. BERMAN: So why are Republicans screaming about the process? Well, what they're not screaming about, the facts, the evidence, the testimony.

If you listen to some Republicans now, including the number-two Republican in the Senate, he's admitting the picture emerging from the testimony is not a good one.

The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine has directly implicated the president in an alleged quid pro quo. And CNN has learned that even before he was sworn in last May.

END