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Philip Reeker Is Expected To Testify; President Donald Trump Has New Phrase On Defending Himself In The Impeachment Inquiry; Catastrophic Wildfires In Northern California; Around 50,000-Plus Under Mandatory Evacuation Order In Northern California Ahead Of Wildfires; Harvey Weinstein Confronted At Comedy Event; A Look At How Iowa Caucus-Goers Feel About Democratic Frontrunners, Impeachment; Trump Bucking World Series Tradition. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired October 26, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


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ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Hello. On this Saturday, you are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

And we are following some fast moving developments in the impeachment scandal including a major court ruling, more subpoenas, a raid where the feds actually blew the door off to safe, and not kidding, Rudy Giuliani butt dialing a reporter and leaving voicemails about Joe Biden and Giuliani's need for hundreds of thousands in cash.

But first, a big victory for Democrats investigating the President. A federal judge ruling, the impeachment inquiry is legal despite everything Republicans have said about it being a sham.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This was the worst hoax in the history of our country. This is a hoax, a hoax, a phony witch hunt.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: And we have action on the hill right now. Lawmakers are hearing from Philip Reeker. He is a top state department official. He is expected to shine light on a smear campaign against Marie Yovanovitch, the former Ukrainian ambassador ousted after Giuliani complained she got in the way of him digging up dirt on Joe Biden.

And speaking of Giuliani, the investigation into President Trump's personal attorney is also escalating. A source telling CNN investigators had to literally blow the door off a safe while conducting raids on Giuliani's associates. And that brings us to the rather unfortunate faux pas known as a butt dial.

NBC reporting Giuliani unknowingly called a reporter leaving voicemails where he said things like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tomorrow I have to get you, you know -- you get to Bahrain. You got to call -- got to call Robert again.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Is Robert around?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rob? He is in Turkey.

GIULIANI: The problem is we need some money. We need a few hundred thousand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Giuliani later told CNN's Dana Bash those calls had nothing to do with Ukraine and were about other overseas projects he was involved with. All, he says, perfectly legal.

Staying with me, we have got lots to talk about this hour. First let's get right to CNN's Jeremy Herb on Capitol Hill with breaking news on that deposition from Philip Reeker.

Jeremy, fill us in.

JEREMY HERB, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Thank you. We are learning new details about what Philip Reeker is expected to testify. A source familiar with his testimony tells CNN, Reeker is expected to say he was not aware that there was a push within some in the Trump administration to try to get Ukraine to announce publicly an investigation into the Bidens in the 2016 election.

Reeker is also expected to provide some additional details on the firing of the U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine who was removed earlier this year as part of that push from Giuliani. He is expected to say there was an internal push within the state department to try to show support for her. But that was rejected by top officials under secretary of state Mike Pompeo.

Now, Mr. Reeker appeared today under subpoena. And the testimony is still ongoing. And it comes, there was a major court victory for Democrats on obtaining Robert Mueller's grand jury material. The court said that this impeachment inquiry is legitimate undercutting the arguments that the White House is making that witnesses should not testify because this is invalid -- Ana.

CABRERA: OK. Jeremy Herb, keep us posted, please, on anything that you learn of Reeker's testimony. We appreciate that reporting.

Joining us now, CNN Presidential Historian and former director of the Nixon presidential library Timothy Naftali and CNN Global Affairs Analyst and Senior Fellow on the Council on Foreign Relations, Max Boot.

Guys, I want to start right where he left off with there at the end of that report about this, you know, new ruling on the grand jury material from Robert Mueller's investigation.

Tim, first explain the importance of Democrats now getting access to this as well as this judge now validating the impeachment inquiry that is underway.

TIMOTHY NEFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Well, the judge's ruling is not a surprise. Because under our constitution, there is no specific explanation as to how the House undertakes an impeachment inquiry. You don't have to have a resolution. You don't have to have the Judiciary Committee do it. Speaker Pelosi has wide latitude as all previous speakers n our history have had if they want to undertake and impeachment inquiry.

So the judge's ruling constitutionally is not a surprise. It may be a surprise to the Trump administration but it isn't a surprise -- shouldn't be a surprise to Congress.

Of course, this is one more nail in the coffin of the Trump administration's argument that this is an illegitimate inquiry. No, constitutionally, it is totally legitimate. One thing I would stress, is that Democrats and Republicans both tell everyone that they are participating in the inquiry. Up to now, it is only the Democrats who are admitting that there are Republicans sitting there during these depositions.

Both parties are involved. And it is important for Americans to understand that this is a bipartisan investigation. It is not a Democratic investigation.

[15:05:14] CABRERA: That's a very good point because we saw earlier this week when the Republicans really came to the hill. They went to this give (ph). They barged in. It was bit of a stunt to say this isn't fair.

And I wonder, Max, if this new ruling, the judge validating the inquiry, changes how they respond to this investigation. Remember, this was Matt Gaetz who led the charge here. And here's what he said after.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MATT GAETZ (R), FLORIDA: We were like, you know, the 300 standing in the breeze to try to stop the radical left from storming over our democracies. And I think we made the point that President Trump deserves to process.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did the President tell you guys t do this?

GAETZ: No, I haven't chatted with the President about it. Though, I suspect he might want to share after today. We sent some requests to the house Democrats with hopes that they will change the way they have run this process in secret. And if they don't, who knows what we will do next?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Who knows what we'll do next? What do you expect, Max?

MAX BOOT, SENIOR FELLOW, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS: Well, who knows because I think that the only way Republicans can fight the charges against Trump is with these stupid stunts because they have no case on the merits. Because it has already been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the President tried to blackmail a foreign country into helping his campaign. That's an attempt at bribery on the part of the president. That is the very definition of a high crime and misdemeanor for which he should be impeached.

Republicans cannot really dispute the facts and so they are trying to distract from the facts. And so they are trying to argue process. And these arguments are fundamentally frivolous silly because as Tim was suggesting, there's already 46 Republicans or something like that on the committees that are hearing these charges. So this is not being done in secret from them. And those process arguments have a very short shelf life in any case because House Democrats have made cheer, that once this phase of the closed door depositions that is finished, they are going to hold that you can hearings and have a vote on impeachment.

So Republican there's get everything they want. It is going to be out in public. There is gong to be people voting on it. Is that going to make them happy? Of course not. Because this is not about procedure and it is not about the facts. It is about putting loyalty to party above their patriotism. Above their loyalty to the constitution.

CABRERA: Guys, the former chief of staff John Kelly said something really interesting to the "Washington Examiner" this weekend. And I quote, "someone has to be a guy that tells the president that you either have the authority or you don't, or Mr. President, don't do it. Don't hire someone that will just nod and say, that's a great idea, Mr. President. Because you will be impeached." He goes on to say, he feels bad that he left. There's another quote in which he said, I said whatever you do, don't hire a yes man. Someone who won't tell you the truth. Don't do it. Because if you do it, I believe you will be impeached.

He said that multiple times, Tim, in this article. Kelly seems genuinely apathetic that he left. He felt bad for the president. But I just wonder, I mean, is this him essentially saying if there's someone not there to check the president, he is going to commit crimes?

NAFTALI: I think that's what he's saying. And there have been moments in our history when this country has needed a strong chief of staff who provides guardrails to the president.

Richard Nixon needed a very strong chief of staff. That chief of staff had blind spots. And so Richard Nixon despite having a strong chief of staff undertook and engaged an impeachable actions.

Clearly President Trump needs someone with guardrails. He needs restraints. He doesn't want them. We know this. There has been so much turmoil in this administration. Why? Because he president doesn't want anything less than 100 percent loyalty and that's a flaw that is going to hurt him. And clearly has led already, and I agree with Max, to at least one impeachable offense.

CABRERA: Max, you write this. Republicans should forget about saving their seats and focus on saving their souls. They shouldn't worry what Trump will think of them. They should worry what their grandchildren will think of them. What made you say that?

BOOT: I think this is a gut check moment in Washington. This is not politics as normal. This is going to be the most important vote that everybody in Congress will take. Whether they are going to allow this kind of conductor whether they are going to make Trump pay a price.

Republicans have to ask themselves, is it OK for a president to blackmail foreign countries into helping his reelection campaign? Do we want to make that the new normal? Or are we going to uphold the constitution and do what the founders wanted us to do? Because the founders were terrified of foreign influence in our elections. And they were also terrified of a president misusing his public authority for private gainful and that's exactly what Trump has done.

So Republicans need to look beyond their petty political considerations. They need to look beyond whether they are in favor or not with Trump. They even need to look beyond the next election. They need to look at the burden verdict of history and how will history judge them? And if they are partisans (INAUDIBLE), if they are enablers for Trump in this attack on the constitution, history I think will judge them very harshly. Their own grandchildren I think will judge them very harshly.

[15:10:17]

CABRERA: And yet the vast majority of Republicans continue to back the president and to attack this inquiry, this impeachment inquiry.

Tim, I wonder, at what point in the Nixon administration did Republicans start turning?

NAFTALI: Well, two things. First of all, everyone should think about this as a split screen. We don't know what Republicans are saying to themselves privately. I can tell you that now that there's access to this material from the Nixon period, a lot of them were hoping the president would resign months before he resigned. The question is, one, how public opinion shifts. And two, the nature of the data they get.

One thing that the Democrats did among the many smart things they did in 1974, was they actually had the Republicans write the articles of impeachment. Republicans and southern Democrats were the ones that were ultimately passed. So what is gong to be very important is to watch what speaker Pelosi does to bring Republicans into the process once the investigation is completed.

I wouldn't be surprised if the articles of impeachment are written in part by Republicans who understand just as Max was saying, that you can't let future presidents do what Donald Trump has done thus far.

CABRERA: You know, Lindsey Graham has this resolution. He now has 50 Republicans co-sponsoring it. Senators, who of course would be integral in any vote that would be taken if the President is indeed impeached. And of course, then it would go to the Senate to vote on whether to convict and remove him from office. And Lindsey Graham is condemning the impeachment inquiry.

He thinks President Trump isn't getting due process which you kind of already touched on. But let me just tick through some of the things that he points out. He says, you know, under Clinton, for example, the House voted on an inquiry. It defined the scope of the inquiry. It allowed members to see evidence.

Allowed the President's counsel to attend. Set specific rules for the investigation. Allowed evidence to challenged. Gave the minority subpoena power. So that is his reasoning for getting more senators to join him in saying this isn't fair. Is what his point being made there accurate? And is it fair to draw that comparison?

BOOT: You know, I can only imagine that John McCain is spinning in his grave, seeing the way his former side kick Lindsey Graham is now behaving as a sycophant for Donald Trump and defending whatever conduct that Donald Trump engages in.

I mean, this is such a ridiculous argument that Lindsey is making. I am sure he knows better. I mean, the notion that he is seriously holding up the 1998, 1999 impeachment of Bill Clinton as a model to follow, let's remember, that was laughed out of the court of public opinion. Most people in this country decided it was frivolous and political because Republicans were trying to impeach Bill Clinton for lying about sex. There was never more than 36 percent of the public that favored the impeachment and removal of Bill Clinton.

Right now, about 50 percent of the public fares the impeachment and removal of Donald Trump because this is a much more serious case. This is bribery, this is inviting foreign election interference. These are issues that go to the very core and integrity of our constitution and of our political system. And Lindsey Graham should realize that. I'm sure that if John McCain were still around, he would have realized that.

NAFTALI: Two things, one, a totally different situation. Most of the investigation was done by the star inquiry. And then the Republicans made it public. All the House voted this but it was the idea that the Republican leadership to make it public. So totally different. The second thing that is completely different.

CABRERA: Completely different from the Clinton --

NAFTALI: From the previous impeachments. And that's that there is no obligation to do the things that Lindsey Graham said. I think the Democrats would be wise to bring the Republicans in closer and to bring the president closer once the investigation is done.

There was no investigation in the Clinton case. The problem now is that the House is trying to do an investigation while also doing an impeachment inquiry. Impeachment inquiries usually don't have an investigation attached to it. It is like they are doing the Watergate Senate inquiry investigation. At the same time as the house impeachment inquiry. These two things have merged.

There will come a time when there is all the evidence and then as jurors, members of the Republican party and the Democratic Party who are elected will actually sit there and decide, is this impeachable? And then articles will be written and then they will have a vote.

CABRERA: And then we will also all be seeing the impeachment hearings on TV which a lot of people remember from the Clinton days as well. That, too, is coming to a TV near you soon.

Tim Naftali and Max Boot, thank you both. Good to have your perspectives.

We want to let you know CNN's Fareed Zakaria will have a special report tonight investigating impeachment and it is roll in our democracy "on the brink, when a president faces impeachment." Airs at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.

President Trump no longer repeating the words no collusion over and over. Not as often, anyway. He has a new phrase on defending himself in the impeachment inquiry. But does saying no quid pro quo even matter anymore?

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera. Thanks for joining us. Stay right there.

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[15:18:56]

CABRERA: If nothing else, President Trump wants his supporters to remember one thing about this impeachment inquiry. Master branding claims there was no quid pro quo in his dealing with Ukraine. That term has become his new no collusion.

But as CNN's Tom Foreman reports, the President might be latching on to a point that may not even matter.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's no quid pro quo.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The President has grabbed on to the phrase, no quid pro quo, like a new campaign slogan.

TRUMP: No quid pro quo.

FOREMAN: Or a life raft, depending on how you see it. Splattering the words across his public comments.

TRUMP: There was no quid pro quo --

FOREMAN: His twitter feed and into the statements of his followers.

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: There is no quid pro quo. FOREMAN: Latin phrase is most often heard in legal circles, It

roughly means something for something, an exchange of favors. For team Trump, no quid pro quo is a denial. A quick way to say the president did not hold up military aid to Ukraine as a way of forcing that government to investigate his potential democratic rival, Joe Biden and his son.

But there are problems.

[15:20:03]

TRUMP: If you take a look at that goal, it was perfect.

FOREMAN: For starters, according to testimony and documents presented to congressional investigators, Trump was pushing the no quid pro quo line in private conversations well before the Ukraine scandal became public. At the very time critics say he seemed to be asking for an exchange of favors.

What's more, impeachment by law would not require proof of a quid pro quo but could be invoked merely over the president abusing his power by asking for such a personal political favor from a foreign government, whether or not he offered anything in return.

TRUMP: No collusion. No obstruction.

FOREMAN: It's not surprising Trump might grab on to the phrase. He has had luck doing that sort of thing before. Claiming time and again the Russia investigation had cleared his name, which the Mueller report did not do.

TRUMP: No collusion. No obstruction.

TRUMP: Still, it may not work so well this time. Because while the President is clearly trying to restrict the charges to something he thinks he can beat, the constitution has already defined the terms for impeachment. And quid pro quo does not even show up.

Tom Foreman, CNN. Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: And I want to bring in CNN Legal and National Security Analyst, Asha Rangappa. She is also a former FBI special agent.

Asha, it has become the President's rallying cry, right? No quid pro quo. But for those who may see that as a defense against impeachment, you say what?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL/NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think Tom has it exactly right. He's trying the Mueller play book, the no collusion. Collusion had no legal meaning. And more importantly, there was a criminal inquiry going on at the time. So they were trying to change the terms of what needed to be found.

Here, this is an impeachment inquiry and it does not have to meet any kind of statutory elements or beyond a reasonable doubt standard. And actually, I'm not really clear why he keeps saying quid pro quo because there was a quid pro quo. He was asking for something of personal value in exchange for releasing the aid. And he took actions toward that, holding the aid. Drafting a statement for the Ukrainian president to deliver on TV. So they were kind of actually acting on that request, or the demand. So I think that it is not going to work for him this time.

CABRERA: So as Republicans continue to say this is not a legitimate impeachment inquiry because there was not a vote that they had to take to officially embark the inquiry. There was a judge ruling just yesterday now, essentially throwing that argument out saying, not only do Democrats now have access to secret grand jury material from the Mueller probe, but the reason she gave for granting that access is because they are conducting an impeachment inquiry, legitimizing it. How significant is that?

RANGAPPA: That is the big take-away from the court decision yesterday. It is the court basically saying, look, as a matter of law, the House is conducting an impeachment inquiry. So she rejected this argument that the Republicans have been making out of hand.

The other notable thing about the order is that she used the White House's attempts to obstruct as a reason that the grand jury material needed to be disclosed. She said that the need for Congress to have this material is only heightened when the executive branch is willfully obstructing. And also let's note obstruction itself could be an article of impeachment and she is stating the fact is in fact what's going on here.

CABRERA: Now, the whistleblower testimony is still up in the air. Democrats now signaling they may not try to bring this person in for any kind of deposition or interview. Republicans are now crying foul on that saying they want to question this whistleblower. What is your perspective on that? Should Congress speak with this whistleblower?

RANGAPPA: At this point, we have the written complaint of the whistleblower which has now been corroborated by actual people who were either participants on the call. Observed things before or after, you know. We have the transcript of the call itself.

The need for the whistleblower is not there anymore and the anonymity of the whistleblower is especially important because we don't want to chill future whistleblowers from coming forward if they expect, if they come forward they are going to be reveal and then subject to all kinds of questioning. There's really no unanswered question that the whistleblower him or herself needs to answer at this point given all the witnesses that have come forward corroborating what he or she said already.

CABRERA: Asha Rangappa, as always, thank you so much for your expertise and providing some guidance for all of us as we work through this major, major story and developments.

RANGAPPA: Thank you. CABRERA: Coming up, the fire emergency in California. Thousands

being evacuated. And now nearly one million people will have their power cut off during this firefight.

CNN is live on the scene next.

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[15:29:00]

CABRERA: Now to some breaking news on the west coast. In an effort to prevent catastrophic wildfires in northern California, the state's largest utility, PG&E, says it is cutting power to nearly one million customers. This as firefighters are working around the clock to try to beat back two major wildfires both in northern and southern California.

First in Sonoma county, the Kinkade fire has burned more than 25,000 acres since it broke out late Wednesday. Dry windy weather making things even more challenging. Forcing more than 50,000 people now to evacuate. Even the evacuation centers are having to be evacuated.

And in southern California, firefighters are battling the tick fire which has destroyed more than 4,500 acres.

I want to bring in the CNN Correspondent, Lucy Kafanov. She is joining us from Geyserville in Northern California.

Lucy, it could be days we are learning before the power come back on. What more are you learning?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ana.

[15:30:00]

Days before the power comes back on, the bigger question is, what could possibly burn.

We are standing in the heart of wine country. Residents here already feeling the impact. All morning long, we've seen fire crew trucks zooming back and forth. They're trying to dig containment lines, trying to prevent structures from burning down.

Too late for the one behind me. I want to show you what we're seeing here. That's the burnt out remains of a bed. To my left is a stove. That used to be a kitchen. This was somebody's home.

If we can pan the camera, I can reveal it a little bit more. There's almost nothing left from the structure. No walls. You can see in the distance, the burnt-out hulk of a car.

The only thing left standing are the vineyards behind me. That's been a silver lining. This is a largely rural, agricultural area. Not as densely populated as the Los Angeles area, in southern California, where fires are also raging. That has made things a little easier. But the worst, Ana, is yet to come. Officials are predicting strong winds starting about 8:00 p.m. local time. Sustained winds of about 40 miles per hour, gusts of nearly 80 miles per hour. And that means that fire could spread very quickly in all directions.

Now, one of the things that really struck me is the random nature of the fires. This area completely devastated.

But we met one homeowner who is very, very close to the fire. Firefighters managed to save his home in the nick of time. Take look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN SPEIRS, HOMEOWNER: It's all completely burned. The landscaping is what caught fire. You can see in it both directions. And this structure caught fire. You can see the fire department pulled the siding off. All the hoses are here. They put it out quickly. I think if they had not been here, I would have lost this structure and quite possibly all the structures.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAFANOV: So no injuries so far. No deaths. Firefighters, state officials working very hard to make sure it stays that way. But, again, very unpredictable.

What we're expecting this evening through the weekend, those red flag conditions, Ana, expected to last through Monday afternoon. A lot can happen in that time -- Ana?

CABRERA: Absolutely. We're seeing how damaging it is, how hot that fire is burning and, of course, the devastation that you're showing us. It is really heart breaking.

Lucy Kafanov, thank you for that reporting. And welcome to the CNN family. Good to have you with us.

KAFANOV: Thank you.

CABRERA: Harvey Weinstein took a break from his secluded life and it went viral. The comedy event that turned into a #metoo confrontation.

Stay with us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZOE STUCKLESS, ACTRESS: -- and nobody is going to say anything.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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[15:36:34]

CABRERA: Harvey Weinstein's trip to a comedy show ends in a #metoo confrontation that's now going viral. CNN's Brynn Gingras reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STUCKLESS: Nobody is going to say anything? Nobody is really going to say anything?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Twenty-one-year-old Zoe Stuckless enraged at the sight of Harvey Weinstein at a private event in New York City.

STUCKLESS: I'll get out of here. That's fine. I'm happy to leave. And nobody is going to say anything.

GINGRAS: Unleashing their fury at the crowd.

STUCKLESS: I'm going to stand four feet from a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) rapist and nobody is going to say anything?

GINGRAS: Weinstein, among those in attendance at Actor's Hour, a monthly event in New York City dedicated to artists.

He is accused of sexual misconduct by more than 80 women and set to go on trial in January. Weinstein has pleaded not guilty in the criminal case and maintains the sexual encounters he's had with women have been consensual.

Stuckless told CNN they needed to confront the disgraced movie mogul after other people in the room seemed to welcome him being there.

"I kept thinking about the fact that we were in a room full of young artists, creating art and being vulnerable on the stage and this was the very community that Weinstein was able to terrorize for so many years."

The video shows Weinstein listened to Stuckless but didn't react.

In a statement provided to CNN through his spokesperson, Weinstein said, quote, "I am happy to address anyone's questions. We should all be offered the courtesy to voice opinions and to be heard and to even get answers. I am glad we all still have these rights."

Stuckless wasn't alone in the protest. Comedian, Kelly Bachman, who says she is a rape survivor, addressed the, quote, "elephant in the room" during her act, calling Weinstein Freddy Kruger.

KELLY BACHMAN, COMEDIAN: I didn't that we have to bring our own mace and rape whistles to Actor's Hour.

(BOOING)

GINGRAS: Some guests booed Bachman. Even told her to shut up.

(BOOING)

GINGRAS: She kept going. BACHMAN: I've been raped by no one in this room but I never got to

confront those guys. So just (EXPLETIVE DELETED].

GINGRAS: Bachman walked out when Stuckless was asked to leave by the venue.

It is unclear if Weinstein was invited to the private event. The event organizer told CNN, "I am deeply saddened that his presence was not only a trigger point for some attendees but that some women ultimately felt unsafe when a safe environment is what I set out to create for the acting community."

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: That was Brynn Gingras reporting.

A quick programming note. I will be joined by that comedian, Kelly Bachman, coming up at out 8:00 hour tonight on the CNN NEWSROOM. Stay tuned for that.

[15:39:19]

One hundred days and counting until the critical first-in-the-nation Iowan caucuses. How do the voters there feel about the frontrunners and all the focus on impeachment?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Calendar check. Today marks 100 days until the first real test of the 2020 race for the White House, the Iowa caucus. That's when the candidates for president get their first real indication of how they're doing. No polls. No predictions. Just real people making their primary picks for president. That's now 100 days away.

President Trump won in Iowa in 2016. But CNN asked Trump voters if, after three years, now talk of impeachment, they're still on board.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't see anybody in the Democratic field that I am too comfortable with yet. I guess we'll have to wait and see who comes out.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN REPORTER: So you're open to voting for a Democrat?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm open but not by a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I kind of still like him but I don't like what he says. I don't like hi --, the way he presents himself.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN REPORTER: Does impeachment play into your decision about him or your feeling about him at all in.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not yet.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN REPORTER: But it hasn't broken through for you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it hasn't yet. I guess, to me, the things

seem kind of minor as of yet.

UNIDENTIFIED CNN REPORTER: Minor in that all politician do this sort of stuff?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I'm sure they all do it. I think you can dig up dirt on everyone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Kathie Obradovich is the opinion editor at the "Des Moines Register."

Kathie, good to have you with us. We always want to check in on what the pulse is on the ground in these key states. You just heard from a couple of Iowa voters who are definitely undecided it sounds like.

What is your sense? How is this impeachment inquiry playing out?

[15:44:57]

KATHIE OBRADOVICH, OPINION EDITOR, DES MOINES REGISTER: Well, first of all, I think people are very much undecided. The race here, you look at all the polls and the number of voters, likely caucus-goers who say they're undecided is still quite a bit.

Maybe a quarter of the likely caucus-goers or more, still undecided, and even more than that, could change their mind. So 100 days out, a lot could still happen.

The impeachment, the drumbeat, talking about impeachment is starting to permeate a little more. People are talking about it a little more. The candidates are talking about it more on the campaign trail.

They don't get a lot of questions about it, however. And when you look at the polls, the issues people say they care most about, impeachment is way down the list. It is still all economic, pocket- book issues.

CABRERA: Let's talk about money then. Democratic frontrunner, Joe Biden, seems to have a little bit of a money problem in his campaign. His closest rivals have a lot more cash in the bank than he does. I want you to listen to how he responds.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You have less than $9 million in the bank. Bernie Sanders has nearly $34 million in the bank. Senator Warren has $26 million. How do you compete against?

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES & DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just flat beat them. We're on course to do extremely well. I'm not worried about being able to fund this campaign. I am not. Truly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Now Biden's campaign is showing signs it might be open to accepting money from a super PAC. That's something Biden has long been vocal against. And his fellow candidates are bashing him for that.

Do voters in Iowa care about nuts and bolts, stuff like that?

OBRADOVICH: Voters in Iowa, a lot of caucus-goers are activists, right? So they pay very close attention to those details.

I will say that money is not the most important thing when it comes the winning Iowa. Yes, it takes some money to organize. And Joe Biden has the organization in Iowa. So does Elizabeth Warren and so does Pete Buttigieg, who is climbing the polls.

But the groundwork, the people knocking on doors, making phone calls, doing social media, all of that is a lot cheaper than TV ads and that's what is really important in the Iowa caucuses.

So, yes, Joe Biden needs money to compete in the rest of the states simultaneously while he is working in Iowa. But the person who has the most money doesn't always win the caucuses.

CABRERA: You mentioned Pete Buttigieg. He's been running in Iowa, focusing his campaign, highlighting his midwestern roots. Do you see a scenario where he could break out of the middle of the pack?

OBRADOVICH: Well, I think he has broken out of the middle of the pack in Iowa. We've had a couple polls. "USA Today"/Suffolk University poll had him in third place behind Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders in third place.

So I really do think that he is in the top tier at this point. He counts off a strong debate performance and that is, people have been attributing a lot of the rise in Iowa to that.

That's not the only. He has been building a strong organization. He has been opening campaign offices all over the state and has a lot of volunteers on the ground.

You need that support so when you have the breakout moment, like good debate, you can back it up with the kind of ground operation that you need to get people to sign up to go to caucus for you.

CABRERA: Kathie Obradovich, great to have you with us. I look forward to staying in touch and checking back with you as we get closer and closer to the election.

Thank you.

OBRADOVICH: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: President Trump planning to attend the World Series. Don't expect him on the mound. Coming up, why there would be a break in tradition this time around. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:52:21]

CABRERA: Welcome back. We want to update you now on one of our top- 10 "CNN Heroes" from 2018. Amanda Boxtel's organization, Bridging Bionics, provides free or low-cost cutting-edge therapy to people with mobility impairments.

Here's Anderson Cooper with the story of one of the many people she's helped.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, "A.C. 360" & "CNN HEROES" MODERATOR: Three years ago, Nate White injured his spine in a kayaking incident and was told he'd never walk again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want to try to stack it?

COOPER: But his hard work and determination, along with Amanda's incredible help, has paid off.

NATE WHITE, BENEFITED FROM AMANDA BOXTEL'S ORGANIZATION: I am a robot.

COOPER: A year ago, he did this. And now just three years after his accident, he's doing this.

WHITE: Amanda always believed that I was going to be walking again.

AMANDA BOXTEL, CNN HERO: He's living the miracle of what we all aspire for.

This is the power of technology that everybody should have access to. That's my goal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Get ready, 2019's top-10 "CNN Heroes" will be revealed next Wednesday.

World Series baseball is back in Washington, but don't expect to see President Trump on the mound during pregame ceremonies.

CNN's Chris Cillizza reports on a break in tradition.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

(MUSIC)

(CHEERING)

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Presidential politics and baseball, two of the great American traditions. And yes, they do often comingle. ANNOUNCER: It's a single!

(MUSIC)

CILLIZZA: Dating all the way back to 1910 when William Howard Taft, yes, he of the rotund girth, was the first president to throw out a first pitch. This was on opening day in the 1910 season.

Now, it was five years later when Woodrow Wilson became the first president to throw out a first pitch in a World Series game. And presidents throughout the time between then and now have largely kept up that tradition. Not always at the World Series but certainly at some time during the season.

(MUSIC)

CILLIZZA: Donald Trump, yes, he is different than his predecessors in lots of ways, including this one. Trump plans to attend game five in Washington of the World Series between the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros but will not be throwing out the first pitch at the first game, by the way, in Major League Baseball that he's attended as president.

[15:55:02]

(on camera): Why? Trump's stated reason is he would look too bulky and heavy in the bulletproof vest that presidents are required to wear when doing this sort of thing.

Another reason might be that Donald Trump wouldn't be getting the reception he would want from the D.C. crowd. D.C. isn't exactly a swing state. It's quite a Democratic place. And Donald Trump would likely to be booed, and loudly.

(MUSIC)

CILLIZZA (voice-over): Now, the most memorable first pitch, and one that would be diametrically opposed to a reception Donald Trump would likely get, came six weeks after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

(MUSIC)

CILLIZZA: George W. Bush, in a World Series game between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks, strode to the mound and delivered a strike to uproarious applause from the crowd.

(APPLAUSE)

CILLIZZA: It wound up being a symbol of toughness, a symbol of fortitude, a symbol that we were unbowed and unbroken.

(on camera): And it was one of the most memorable moments of George W. Bush's eight years in office.

Donald Trump, unlikely to have a moment like that, takes a pass on trying to throw a strike. Back to you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: Chris Cillizza, thank you.

Quick break, we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)