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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) Releases $20.5 Trillion Medicare- For-All Plan; Going Public, Democrats Prepare For Next Phase Of Investigation; House Republicans Stand Behind Trump In Impeachment Vote. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired November 1, 2019 - 10:00   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: I'm Jim Sciutto in Washington.

After months of facing hard questions about how she would pay for her Medicare-for-all plan, presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is revealing her answer, the 2020 hopeful unveiling the $20 trillion, trillion with a T, proposal just a short time ago in it, a pledge that she will not raise taxes on the middle class.

CNN Political Correspondent M.J. Lee following the story. M.J., this is a question she did not answer, even refused to answer in some of the debates. Now she has a plan. Tell us the details.

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This is after facing weeks of intense criticism, Elizabeth Warren putting out a plan and how to pay for Medicare-for-all and answering the one question that she has dodged repeatedly, will middle class taxes go up under Medicare-for-all. Today, she is saying no. She says there is no need to raise one penny of middle class taxes to pay for Medicare-for-all.

Now, this is an interesting split screen now we are seeing between Senator Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders, the author of Medicare-for- all who earlier this week said he doesn't think that it is quite necessary yet to put out the full details of how to pay for this plan. Warren is saying today that it is important to hit back at the misinformation that's out there and hit back at the critics of Medicare-for-all.

Now, to talk about the numbers, the price tag that she is putting on this is $20.5 trillion in new federal spending over the course of ten years. And how does she get to that 20.5 trillion? We are talking about things, as you see on the screen here, like employer contribution continuing. That counts for about a half of the total and other things like taxing additional take home pay.

If employees are no longer having to pay for healthcare premiums out of their paychecks, that means their paychecks will go up, their take home pay will go up, and so that would be subject to tax, and then other things like taxing big corporations and the financial sector and beefing up the wealth tax. This is a plan that she's already put out. But now she is amending that and saying that people with wealth of more than $1 billion will now have to pay more than she initially envisioned in the release of a wealth tax.

So a lot of numbers here that analyst and experts are going to have to go through and certainly the critics will continue to say that this is not realistic. I will just finally note though that Warren says that she is going to put out another plan in the coming weeks on the transition for Medicare-for-all so we will see if she differentiates herself anymore from Bernie Sanders when that plan eventually comes out, Jim.

SCIUTTO: And the biggest chunk there, you do the math, paid for by employers, corporations, financial corporations, well more than half, trillions of dollars. They're certainly not going to like that M.J. Lee, thanks very much.

After weeks of learning bits and pieces about closed-door impeachment testimony, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff says that full transcripts of those closed-door interviews could be released as soon as next week. Then after that, more crucially, there will be public hearings that all of us can watch. And as they unfold, there is certainly a lot at stake for both parties, for the country.

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows public opinion still split fairly evenly over impeaching and removing the president. There are still several more closed-door interviews ahead next week, including what could be testimony from former National Security Adviser John Bolton. That would be crucial, him directly involved in some of these conversations.

CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju is live on Capitol Hill.

John Bolton and his lawyer is not entirely clear as to what happens here. Does it look like he will be one of the witnesses who defies the White House to come testify or goes to the courts?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We just don't know that yet. Adam Schiff said the last night that he was not clear whether or not John Bolton would come next week when he's scheduled to testify.

Bolton's attorney has said that he wants a subpoena to testify but has not committed to definitely coming to Capitol Hill if he gets a subpoena. Also, Bolton's attorney has not commented yet about whether or not they will file a lawsuit about whether or not he should comply.

Bolton's attorney also represents Charles Kupperman. Kupperman is a former deputy under Bolton. And the lawsuit is now pending in court about whether or not he should comply with the subpoena. And according to the judge in that case, that may not be decided until much later in the year or so.

The question is whether or not Democrats will pursue these witnesses who may decide to go to court and try to drag this out. [10:05:03]

Democrats at the moment are signaling that they're not going to go that route and instead will continue to move forward in this inquiry.

A big question now, Jim, is whether or not Democrats have what they believe is enough evidence to move forward in impeachment because it's unclear how many more witnesses will ultimately come and testify. Next week, behind closed doors, they do have a bevy of witnesses who are coming. Monday will be a key day. There are four people who are scheduled to come testify, including John Eisenberg, who's the National Security Council attorney, Robert Blair, the deputy under Mick Mulvaney, Michael Ellison (ph), and deputy under Eisenberg, and Brian McCormack, who works currently at the Office of Management and Budget, used to be chief of staff for the Energy Department, which is, of course, also wrapped up in this matter.

But there are also several other witnesses next week, including other officials in the Office of Management and Budget, State Department and John Bolton. It's possible none could show next week. And the question for Democrats is does that mean the end of the closed-door session before they move into the public phase after that. That's going to be a question they're going to have to probably answer next week, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Manu Raju on the Hill, thanks very much.

Joining me to discuss all this, CNN Legal and National Security Analyst, Asha Rangappa, former FBI Special Agent and CNN Counterterrorism Analyst, Phil Mudd, he's a former FBI senior intelligence adviser.

Asha, let me begin with you, because Republicans are making an argument here that even with the powers granted by these rules for the impeachment inquiry, powers given to the opposing party, that they don't have enough by historical standards here. It's our own Elie Honig's analysis that if you -- in both the Clinton and Nixon impeachment inquires, the minority party's subpoena power, specifically, still required or could be overruled by the majority party. I wonder, historically, legally, are the rights Republicans being given here consistent in your view with past impeachment inquiries?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: You know, I don't think that the Nixon and Clinton impeachments are really great guides for our current situation. If the House had picked up an impeachment inquiry based on the Mueller report, I think that the analogy would be more apropos. But here, what you have is essentially an investigation that's begun from scratch, without any kind of independent counsel or special prosecutor who is engaged in the original fact-finding mission. And they have started this. And now, they're moving into the public phase.

You know, the other piece is that the House has the power to conduct this inquiry the way that it wants. And two incidents in the recent past don't constitute the kind of precedent that it's bound to. A federal judge has already basically said that they are engaged in a legitimate impeachment inquiry.

So I think that these process arguments are just not going to go very far, especially once we start seeing people speaking out in public, on television and giving the substance of what took place.

SCIUTTO: Exactly. Public testimony will be a different phase, no question.

Phil Mudd, you and I have talked about the dangers for Democrats here. You look at that vote yesterday, it was very much along party lines. In fact, two Democrats go to the other side. Now, may be different to Asha's point after public testimony. It may be. But at this point, do Republicans have a point on this being a partisan, largely partisan inquiry?

PHILLIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: I don't think they have a point substantively. I mean, it's a fair conversation actually to have about, whether it's appropriate for the president to withhold our tax dollars to get opposition research.

In terms of policy, I think they have a terrific point because -- I'm not saying I agree with them. I think it's a terrific point. They're going to go into a situation where the president needs an enemy. Ever since he came into the campaign process years ago, his enemy was I'm going to change things. There is a partisan group of people who are the deep state, who are out to stop this. The lack of bipartisanship yesterday gives him the ammunition to say, same thing I faced three years ago. This is why I can't get stuff done. It's these old guard people, like Nancy Pelosi, who won't let it happen. I think this is an advantage for the Republicans.

SCIUTTO: And he is already fundraising off exactly that argument.

MUDD: Yes.

SCIUTTO: Asha, there is another argument that is being floated increasingly as a trial balloon. I've heard it from some Republicans, made its way into a Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday. It is the following. And let me quote from the Wall Street Journal here.

Democrats -- this is the editorial page. Democrats want to impeach Mr. Trump for asking a foreign government to investigate his political rival for corruption though the probe never happened, and for withholding aid to Ukraine that, in the end, wasn't withheld. It goes on to say that the facts on the public record so far, at least, falls short of justifying short circuiting a presidency.

The argument in shorter terms is basically, yes, it might have been an attempt of abuse of power but it was a failed attempt at abuse of power. From legal perspective, from an impeachment perspective, does that argument hold water?


RANGAPPA: It does not hold water. I mean, we know just from criminal law that an attempt to do something illegal is itself criminal, even if you don't succeed in bringing it to fruition.

Here what is really important is both the intent of the actor here, the president in undertaking these actions, and what he hoped to achieve, whether or not he ultimately achieved them. And his intent was basically to secretly and corruptly ask another government to engage in actions that would benefit him personally. In doing, so undermining Congress' authority to appropriate funds, endangering national security, and, you know, abusing his power for personal gain. So I don't think you can escape that even though it was never fully completed

SCIUTTO: And I try to, Phil Mudd, always to bring the conversation back to this is the broader context here. You have Ukraine, a small country, fighting Russia, a large country, at war. 13,000 Ukrainians have died that had crucial military assistance that they depend on taken away from them for a time in the midst of the war.

MUDD: I think this is fascinating for Republican Party that, since World War II, has been the party of national security. Democrats typically have been the ones concerned about, you know, the encroachment of the security state. You have the president attacking the entire national security apparatus, the FBI, the CIA, attacking the military. You see when General Mattis left, he got a kick in the pants on the way out the door.

Then you see also NATO, the bulwark of what happened after World War II, Republicans have funded that for years, as have Democrats, and it's the Republicans saying, well, maybe when we won't face up to the former Soviets now. I mean, the way this town has flipped on its head in just three years is remarkable.

SCIUTTO: And, I mean, you saw that yesterday using the Soviet-style talking point, you know, for the impeachment hearing. Remember -- let's remember how the Soviet Union behaved, which is like the way they are behaving right now in Ukraine.

Phil Mudd, Asha Rangappa, great to have you both on today. Thanks very much.

Every House Republicans stands behind the president on impeachment so far. What would happen if they did not? We may getting a clue.

Plus, dramatic video of the frantic attempt to save homes from ongoing, raging wildfires in California. CNN is live on the front lines of these fires. It's an alarming picture.



SCIUTTO: House divided, Republicans united. The party standing behind the president even as a new poll shows his disapproval country across the country at 58 percent.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN Political Commentator Charlie Dent, former Republican Congressman, of course, and CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, presidential adviser to Nixon Ford, Reagan and Clinton, just a few presidents. Good morning to both of you.

Charlie, I'm going start with you. You served in Congress as a Republican. You saw folks line up yesterday. And I wonder if the experience of Francis Rooney, one of your few colleagues who stood up and said he was open to possibly of impeachment, stood out to them. I'm going to play an interview he had on this broadcast a couple of weeks ago and then describe what happened afterwards. Have a listen.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It's clear to me you're saying at this point you are not ruling out the possibility that this is an impeachable offense for the president.

REP. FRANCIS ROONEY (R-FL): I don't think you can rule anything out until you know all the facts. Every time one of these people testifies, we get more information about what was going on over there.


SCIUTTO: What happened in the hours after that? He was attacked by Republicans in his district, around the country, and within 24 hours, he was no longer running. Is that -- is fear driving Republicans to stand in line with the president, Charlie?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think that is certainly a big part of it, no doubt about it. We have seen this on many issues during the Trump presidency. But I would also say yesterday's vote, I think many Republicans viewed it as a procedural vote rather than a substantive vote. I don't think they should have done that. Frankly, a member can stand up and say, hey, this is some really bad behavior and that it's at least worthy of some kind of an impeachment inquiry.

You know, whether or not they want to cross the Rubicon and then impeach is another question. But I think this is the easier vote. Back during the Clinton impeachment, there were Democrats who voted for the inquiry then ultimately voted against impeachment. But at the end of the day, a lot of Republicans will melt once the president liens on them.

I experienced that during the healthcare debate. He tried to bully me into supporting the bill. I wouldn't do it. I didn't melt. But there were others who just rolled right over. And I never quite understood why. There is nothing to fear here.

SCIUTTO: David Gergen, there is some percolating news indications that the in the Senate side, there are some Senate Republicans who, if they see in the public inquiry something substantive and air tight case, that they might vote to remove.

Now, there's been a lot of speculation along those lines at every stage of this investigation. But I wonder, do you find that credible?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I find it credible that at least two or three may break, you know, whether it's Susan Collins or Murkowski or Romney, and you could think of one or two others that they may break at the end of the day, especially if there is -- if public opinion moves swiftly over in the public hearings.


But even so, Jim, it's far short of what they need to actually unseat the president. You know, they need 17 to 20 to make it, so they're a long way from there.

I think what we have seen here is a remarkable display of just how bitterly partisan the country has become. To see sitting President Trump, a Republican, with no Republicans yesterday breaking ranks, important to remember when Bill Clinton, a Democrat, was being impeached, 31 Democrats broke ranks and voted in favor of the impeachment. And when Richard Nixon, a Republican, was being impeached, over 180 Republicans voted to go forward with the impeachment proceedings. Only four held back.

SCIUTTO: But, is it -- I wonder, Charlie, is it an entirely equal comparison given the further divisions not, only in the House, the effects of gerrymandering, how those districts are? You don't have back in the Nixon days, less so in the Clinton days, You did have moderate Republicans and Democrats willing to vote against their party. I mean, is some of that just a statement on where we are, politically, today?

DENT: Absolutely. I think the tribalism in today's politics is just so overwhelming that people aren't able to -- many members aren't able just to simply look at the facts of the matter. I mean, I try to look at this not just as a Republican but as an American and say, look, if this had been a Democratic president that had been coddling Putin, that had -- withholding aid to fight the Russians in exchange for an investigation of a Republican presidential candidate, I think Republicans in Congress would be apoplectic. And I think that's what's happened.

We can't -- we can't take off our partisan jackets for a moment to just examine the facts of the matter here, and they're really damning. It's another question whether it's impeachable or not. But I think everybody should agree what we've seen here is simply wrong.

SCIUTTO: David Gergen, I want to ask you about a totally different topic because in the midst of this crazy news cycle yesterday, we learned that President Trump, a native New Yorker, who, by the way, spends a lot of his time in White House north up there on Fifth Avenue in New York in the Trump Tower, has now declared himself a Florida resident. Of course, notable, probably material to that decision, Florida is a state that does not have state taxes. Tell us whether this is something American people should be worried about.

GERGEN: I don't see that they should be worried at this stage. It appears that the lawsuit that is being brought to get the president's tax records in New York can continue. Cy Vance will continue those investigations.

What the president's motives are are hard to tell. I think it is obviously partly about taxes. There are no inheritance or no income taxes in Florida. He will save a lot of money doing that. I also imagine he knows he knows he's not going to win New York State, but he is going to try hard and could easily -- could win Florida. And moving there may give him some advantage there.

One has to note, there are a lot of people in New York that say good riddance. I mean, a lot of the officials up there, he was just in a real fight with a lot of them. They don't like each other. So it's not totally surprising he pick up stakes.

SCIUTTO: We also might note that the tax plan he supported took away a lot of deductions for state taxes, which, of course, impacts people with high taxed states such as New York, where he is now moving from.

David Gergen, Charlie Dent, thanks very much.

House Democrats are pushing ahead with the public phase of the impeachment investigation. Are voters behind them?



SCIUTTO: Democrats are plotting their next moves in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump. They've now laid out the rules as well. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff says transcripts from the inquiry's closed0door interviews could be released as early as next week. Following that, you and I are going to see public testimony from some of these witnesses.

Joining us to discuss, Democratic Congressman from California, Ami Bera. He sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, of course, one of the committees involved in hearing these witnesses here. Congressman, we appreciate you taking the time this morning.

REP. AMI BERA (D-CA): Jim, thanks for having me on.

SCIUTTO: So how do Democrats fight the -- not just the impression but the fact that yesterday's vote was completely along party lines? Republicans are saying this is a partisan impeachment investigation. How do you fight that argument?

BERA: It's disappointing that no Republicans voted for it. Because what they were asking for is moving these hearings to public phase and get some transparency here, and that's exactly what that vote was about. Setting the parameters, moving to a public phase, and that's what they wanted, they should have voted for it.

SCIUTTO: Look at the numbers here, this new ABC News/Washington Post poll out, that it has some concerning signs for Democrats, particularly, look at the independents. Independents leaning, and again, within the margin of error, but split against impeachment and removal. And, again, look at the split there, 82 percent Republicans no, 82 Democrats.

You know as well as I do that for this to move forward, and particularly if you're going to go towards removal in the Senate, you've got to convince a large bloc of non-Democrats, independents and Republicans. You're not doing that yet.

BERA: Well, having sat in a lot of those depositions and listening to career Foreign Service officers, career national security folks kind of lay out what they saw, what alarmed them, et cetera, I do think moving --