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California Fires; Democrats in Iowa; Trump to Read Ukraine Transcript to American People?. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired November 1, 2019 - 15:00   ET

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


[15:00:07]

ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Top of the hour here on CNN. I'm Erica Hill, in today for Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for joining me on this Friday.

Just one day after becoming only the fourth U.S. president to ever face impeachment, President Trump really seeing a run of developments going his way.

A new poll shows Americans specifically independents are split on impeachment. An inquiry witness, a top adviser who was on that July 25 call, says he doesn't believe he heard anything illegal between Mr. Trump and Ukraine's president.

And when it comes to reelection, the Trump campaign says it raised $3 million in the hours after the House voted to formalize the impeachment inquiry proceedings.

Just a short time ago, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended that historic vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): In that call, he undermined our national security. We have no choice. We took an oath to protect and defend our democracy.

And that is what he has made an assault on. And if the Republicans have a higher loyalty to the president than they do to their oath of office, that's their problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger here with us now.

So, Gloria, we look at this and we look at the vote, and not a single Republican broke ranks.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

HILL: Big deal.

BORGER: It is a big deal. The president had asked for the Republicans to remain united. He said the Democrats are good at doing that. They had two defections. And they did. And maybe that's because it was a process question, or

maybe it's because they don't think that this is an impeachable offense. Well, we're going to have to wait and find out.

It is a risk for the Democrats, though. We know that. They know that going in. They -- that's why Nancy Pelosi was so reluctant at the beginning about impeachment, but, as she said there, they clearly made a calculation that, at some point, they just couldn't look the other way and not deal with impeachment.

And so they want to tell the story to the American public. They think maybe that will have some impact, but I think they're under no illusions.

HILL: Is there any concern that they miscalculated?

BORGER: Sure.

I think some Democrats will say, we did, particularly those Democrats in moderate districts, those ones who won in Trump districts. But they will also say -- and I talked to one moderate Democrat, who said to me, look, this isn't about -- this isn't about my reelection. This is about the Constitution. This is about democracy. And so some things are more important.

And if we can explain why we're doing what we're doing, and if we can tell that narrative to the American people, which is why these public hearings, if they materialize, are going to be so important.

HILL: Right.

BORGER: Then they believe that they will be able to explain their vote and survive politically.

HILL: The president in this interview with "The Washington Examiner" talked about the call, which we know the president likes talking about, and he said he's thinking about doing a live reading.

I mean, he talks about a fireside chat. To me, it sounds more like a dramatic reading. The president's quote here is: "Because people have to hear it. When you read it, it's a straight call."

And he's thinking about doing this fireside chat. I mean, obviously, this would not be a fireside chat a la FDR.

BORGER: No.

HILL: How does that work for the president?

BORGER: I don't know.

HILL: I mean, how doe sit work if he sits there and reads the call, because, to his point, he believes that if the American people hear him read this rough transcript that the White House put out, which we now know is not complete, right, despite what he's told us a number of times. BORGER: Right. Right.

It's not a transcript. It's not a summary, right.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: That they will then understand and, in his words, they will understand that it's a straight call, as he says.

BORGER: So there are a few things.

First is, I wonder how he would read the part where President Zelensky talks about, we'd like to buy some Javelins from you, and then the president says, well, I'd like you to do me a favor, though.

Well, so I'm kind of wondering, who's going to read the Zelensky part? How's that going to go? Number two, if he decided he wanted to do that, would the broadcast networks take that? Would we take it?

HILL: Great question.

BORGER: I don't -- I wouldn't want to be making those decisions. There are people way above of my grade...

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: They're above my pay grade, too.

BORGER: Right.

So we don't know how that would work. But the president is an entertainer, and he's a performer. And he believes that he can talk anyone into anything, as he tells you about his real estate deals.

And so he believes that, by just reading this document, which we have all read, not in his voice, but we have all read it, which seems to say, wait a minute, I am telling the president of Ukraine to do me a political favor, though, and dig up dirt on my opponent Joe Biden.

That's what it says. So if he wants to read that, more power to him, I'm wondering whether people in the White House agree with that strategy. But, then again, they seem to have very little to say about strategy.

HILL: I believe Stephanie Grisham said earlier that we don't know -- there are no plans in place for that, but could happen.

[15:05:01]

BORGER: Could change.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: I'm paraphrasing, obviously, there, but as I was going through my e-mail, I noticed that earlier today.

BORGER: He's the chief strategist, yes.

HILL: OK, so stay with me on this one.

We also want to go to Iowa, a state, of course, the center of the Democratic universe today, 14 presidential candidates preparing to take the stage tonight at a major dinner for the Iowa Democratic Party.

Now, in the past, this event really give a boost to the candidacies of Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. And if the latest polling is any indication, the more candidates for voters to choose from, the merrier, as the fight to be the front-runner shows no clear winner, at least not just yet.

CNN's Leyla Santiago is on the trail in Des Moines.

So, Leyla, what can we expect to see tonight?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well just right now alone, Erica, it is rainy, and yet I have still seen supporters out and I am surrounded by campaign signs, because this is about seizing excitement, support and really distinguishing one candidate from the other, so much so that, I mean, Yang has a tractor out here.

We have seen Mayor Pete Buttigieg, that he's having a rally with musician. Senator Warren has an inflatable, massive inflatable, her pet dog, Bailey, who, quite frankly, that thing is ready for the Macy's Day Parade.

So you get the point. This is about seizing the moment and really making sure that they are making a clear, concise pitch to the faithful. We expect 14 candidates to hit the stage tonight, speaking to 13,000 people here that are really waiting to hear what they have to say.

So those are some of the numbers. But let's talk about the numbers that came out this morning, and talking about the polls here in Iowa from "New York Times" and Siena college, Elizabeth Warren taking the top spot at 29. You also have Sanders, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Biden right behind her, really no clear, clear winner, as you mentioned off the top.

But I also want to mention one more thing that is of note that came from this same poll, and that is that that same poll found that two- thirds of likely caucus-goers still say they could change their minds.

And if you're one of these campaigns or you're one of these candidates, you're hoping that starts now, that you can change enough minds that translate into support and votes -- Erica.

HILL: Leyla Santiago with the latest for us in Des Moines, we will see if that works. Good to see you, as always.

So, Gloria, when we look at this, that polling, Elizabeth Warren at 22 percent.

BORGER: Right.

HILL: But we're seeing Buttigieg rise, and we're seeing Biden fall.

BORGER: What's interesting to me about this poll is that you see -- and you may not expect it -- that Buttigieg and Biden are appealing to the same cohort in many ways.

They're appealing to moderate voters. And Buttigieg and Biden are also both appealing to older voters. Buttigieg, who is making a generational argument, seems to be appealing to people 65 and older as well, probably because of his moderate politics.

But -- so they're kind of splitting -- they're splitting the vote there. If I were Biden, I would look at this poll and it would make me very unhappy, because I would have said, oh, God, we have dropped precipitously.

But we also know that Iowa ain't what it used to be, and you don't have to win Iowa in order to win the nomination. So, if I were Warren, I would be thrilled.

HILL: What if you're Kamala Harris?

BORGER: I would be upset, because -- and, again, there's margin of error differences between the top four, but if you're Kamala Harris, you would be upset because you're not in that top four. And you said, I'm moving Iowa. Remember that?

HILL: I mean, is it -- serious question. Is it really time for her to make a decision?

BORGER: Well, I think...

HILL: How close are we to that day?

BORGER: I don't think you're there.

HILL: OK.

BORGER: I think, as long as the money holds out, you're fine. And I think, look, people will reassess after Iowa. They will take a look and they will say, well, where did I -- I put all my beans into Iowa.

And if I'm not doing well, if you're Governor Bullock of Montana, for example, if you're Kamala Harris, who said, I'm going to move to Iowa, if you're Amy Klobuchar, who has moved up, but not quite enough, I would -- but they're all going to look at Iowa and say, do we have the money? Do we have the support? We will be able to hang on through New Hampshire?

And then you go to states with a completely different electorate, which is what Joe Biden is counting on. You go to South Carolina, very large African-American electorate, where Joe Biden is very popular.

So they're all going to make -- they're all going to make their own judgments here. But Biden isn't floating anymore in the stratosphere the way he once was.

HILL: Oh, Iowa, here we go. Buckle up.

BORGER: Yes, here we go. And it's cold.

(CROSSTALK)

HILL: It's cold. And it's cold in here too, just for the record. It feels like it's Iowa in the winter right now.

BORGER: It is. It is.

(LAUGHTER)

HILL: Gloria, thank you.

Senator Elizabeth Warren hoping to make a big splash, as we just talked about, in Iowa, part of that coming with the rollout of her Medicare for all proposal today, talking about how she will pay for this.

So how does it work? We're going to break down those details and take a close look at who would pick up the tab here. That tab, by the way, runs into the trillions.

[15:10:01]

Plus, President Trump announcing he is officially switching his residency. Goodbye, New York. Hello, Florida. We will speak with a tax attorney who can explain the possible benefits of that move.

And a little later, former President Obama getting some backlash for criticizing woke culture and also finding a lot of bipartisan praise. What it shows about the two sides of the Democratic Party.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:15:17]

HILL: For a few weeks now, and as her 2020 campaign has been gaining traction, Elizabeth Warren has been under fire for not offering more specifics on her Medicare for all plan, specifically, and this is a pretty important one, how she would pay for it.

Well, today, Warren took a step to quiet her critics, unveiling a $20 trillion proposal that would rely heavily on taxing Wall Street and the wealthy, while sparing the middle class.

CNN political director David Chalian and CNN senior writer Tami Luhby are joining me now.

OK, so Tami, first to you, because you are my go-to. And, thankfully, we have you at CNN to make sense of all things health care and plans.

So where exactly is this money coming from, Tami?

TAMI LUHBY, CNN SENIOR WRITER: Well, it's going to come from a lot of places.

And some of those places are different than what Bernie Sanders wants to do. So she's going to have states pay money. She's going to actually have employers pay money. Both of those are different than what Bernie Sanders wants to do.

But she's also going to require financial firms, big companies, and, of course, billionaires. She wants to put an additional tax on billionaires. And, interestingly, she also wants to beef up the IRS to make sure that billionaires are paying their fair share.

But one thing is that all Americans will actually be paying more in taxes. That's also part of her plan. The rates are not going up. That's important. She says Americans will not pay one penny more in taxes. It's not the rates, but take-home pay will go up, because Americans will no longer be paying health care insurance premiums out of their paychecks.

So their paychecks will be bigger. And that additional money will be taxed.

HILL: Aha.

So, David, as we're looking at all this, Joe Biden's campaign really came out swinging, saying that Warren is using double-talk, sleight of hand, even mathematical gymnastics. Is it your sense that this critique is more about the plan, or is it about where we're seeing Elizabeth Warren in the polls and her rising appeal to voters?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right.

I mean, the heart of that statement from the Biden campaign, Erica, was about how important it is to be truthful with the American people about your plans and how you pay for them.

It's sort of trying to call into question her character a bit on this, not just the specifics of the math adding up. And Elizabeth Warren's not having it, right? She, as you know, has been arguing for this, as she calls it, big structural change. She is not in it for small ball.

And when that critique was presented to her earlier today here in Iowa, here's what she had to say back to Joe Biden:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The cost projections that we have on Medicare were authenticated by President Obama's head of Medicare.

Our revenue projections were authenticated by President Obama's labor economist. And the employer contribution is already part of the Affordable Care Act that President Obama put into the Affordable Care Act.

So, if Joe Biden doesn't like that, I'm just not sure where he's going. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CHALIAN: So there you go, Erica, not sure where he's going.

This is the pushback from Warren that Biden isn't proposing big enough change here to alter health care in the most positive direction possible for Americans.

HILL: It feels like all that was missing at the end there was some sort of a snap.

Tami, as we look at this, and we're looking at -- so, Bernie Sanders -- this is a -- Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. So, Sanders' price tag is $30 trillion. Warren's is $20.5 trillion.

Who is closer to the actual price tag?

LUHBY: Well, Warren has -- sorry -- Sanders hasn't put an actual price tag on his plan. These are what outside experts say a plan like Sanders' will cost. And that's about $32 trillion, $34 trillion over 10 years.

Warren, one way that it's easier for her to pay for it is that she says the overall price tag is lower, and it's $20.5 trillion over 10 years. Now, she's getting to that in part because, as I said before, she wants states to pick up about half the tab.

They would have to continue paying -- they're no longer going to actually have to pay for Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Plan program, but they're going to have to send that money to the federal government.

And then also, though, she is -- as the Biden campaign is hitting her on, she's making some very aggressive assumptions that she will be able to lower costs through lowering administration expenses, lowering drug costs, paying providers less, paying hospitals and doctors less than they're getting now in some cases.

[15:20:09]

And then also she's expecting health care costs to grow more slowly than they are now. So, all of that makes it easier for her to pay for, because she's saying it's only $20.5 trillion, instead of over 30.

HILL: Oh, we will watch and see what else comes out of this.

Tami Luhby, David Chalian, appreciate it, as always. Thank you both.

LUHBY: Thank you.

HILL: Up next: President Trump says goodbye to New York to make Florida his permanent home. What's behind the move? Is it the tax benefits? Could there be some legal maneuvering here?

We will check in with an attorney who has handled hundreds of these cases.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:26:39]

HILL: Another day, and yet another fire breaking out in Southern California.

The Maria Fire in Ventura County has already burned 9,000 acres. It's forced mandatory evacuations. The fire itself erupted Thursday evening. It was quickly fueled by those ferocious Santa Ana winds. Today, the winds have died down a bit. Temperatures are cooler. But of those, of course, help firefighters.

Fire officials, though, are telling residents that this will not turn into the deadly and massively destructive Thomas Fire of 2017.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN MCNEIL, VENTURA COUNTY ASSISTANT FIRE CHIEF: I also want to assure you that this is not the Thomas Fire.

Based on the location, it's eventually going to run out of fuel. And what I mean, by fuel, it's a combustible growth of the brush, the grasses. We're looking at maybe 12,000 acres at the biggest footprint on this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: CNN's Nick Watt was in Ventura County with an update there on the firefighting.

So, Nick, what are you seeing? Where do we stand right now?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are having a little bit of trouble getting a hold of these fires.

As you mentioned, the winds have dropped. Last night, at about 6:00 local time, a lot of the red flag warnings were lifted, but not in parts of Ventura. Sure enough, about 6:15, this fire popped up as families were out trick-or-treating.

This morning, they had some problems. They had to stop the chopper drops of water because some people were flying drones in the area. They are right now -- there are about 500 firefighters on the ground trying to protect the infrastructure around here, the high-voltage power lines, some radio masts, also some orange groves and avocado farms.

This is a kind of ruralish area north of Los Angeles. And if you look up there -- Jerry (ph), if you push in there -- this fire is still burning, and it actually jumped this little road just not that long ago and we saw a couple of drops of Phos-Chek, that retardant, over here in this farm to try and stop the flames spreading through this valley here now. The forecast is good. The winds are supposed to drop, so this

terrible week in California hopefully is coming to an end. But, Erica, there are still active flames. There are maybe about a dozen fires still burning in California fueled by these winds, the dry brush.

You heard the fire chief they're saying that this fire will eventually run out of fuel. It's been burning pretty much brush, not trees, but it is in the trees now. So they are desperately trying to get ahold of this before it destroys any more homes -- Erica.

HILL: All right, Nick Watt with the latest for us, Nick, thank you.

This just in: The president's counselor to the White House Kellyanne Conway said, yes, it's certainly possible the president will be impeached. Hear her remarks.

Plus, why did the president decide to move his primary residence from New York to Florida? Is it the lower taxes, the investigation into his finances?

That's next.

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[15:30:00]