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House Votes to Formalize Impeachment Proceedings; Trump: Impeachment Vote "An Attack on Democracy Itself"; Buttigieg Says Democrats Must Pick a Unifying Candidate; Biden Fades in New Polls Out of Iowa, New Hampshire; One Year Out from Election Day 2020; Warren Releases Plan for Medicare for All. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired November 3, 2019 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): History in the House.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The resolution is adopted.
HENDERSON: The impeachment fight enters a critical new phase.
PELOSI: What is at stake is nothing less than our democracy.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They are coming after the Republican Party and me because I'm fighting for you.
HENDERSON: Plus, a new star shines in Iowa.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I didn't just come here to end the era of Donald Trump. I'm here to launch the era that must come next.
HENDERSON: While a former bright light says good-bye to the 2020 race.
And with just one year until Election Day, the president hones his message.
TRUMP: While we're creating jobs and killing terrorists, the Democrat Party has gone completely insane.
HENDERSON: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.
HENDERSON: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Nia-Malika Henderson. John King is off today. Thanks for sharing your Sunday with us.
For only the fourth time in American history, the House of Representatives is moving toward impeaching a sitting president. Democrats decided to make their month-old inquiry official this past week, both to quiet GOP criticism and to make their pitch to the American people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PELOSI: What is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy. At times I've found each and every one of us in this room and in our country to pay attention to how we protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: And despite pushing for a formal vote for weeks, House Republicans were unified in saying too little, too late.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Trying to put a ribbon on a sham process doesn't make it any less of a sham.
REP. MICHAEL MCCAUL (R-TX): You cannot make your game fair by allowing the opposing team onto the field at the two-minute warning.
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): This is a travesty. No one should vote for this. This is a sad day. The curtain is coming down on this House because the majority has no idea about process and procedure. They're simply after a president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: The result essentially a party line vote without a single Republican crossing the aisle is a break with a bipartisan action seen in past impeachment efforts.
The question now, will the White House continue trying to block testimony by administration officials and how will Congress respond?
Last night at the White House, President Trump wouldn't say, but made his frustrations with House Democrats quite clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Will you block White House officials from testifying next week in the impeachment inquiry?
TRUMP: I don't know. You'll have to speak to the lawyers.
Nancy Pelosi has become unhinged. There's something wrong with her. And this whole impeachment scam, that's exactly what it is. It's a scam. It's a hoax. The Democrats are using it for political purposes to try and win an election that they're not going to win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: At least 11 current and former Trump administration officials have been called this week to testify, including Energy Secretary Rick Perry and former national security adviser John Bolton. Both have said they won't appear voluntarily. And shortly after the president spoke last night another administration official, top Mulvaney aid Robert Blair, announced that he, too, would refuse to testify, with or without a subpoena.
Joining us this Sunday to share their reporting and their insights, we've got CNN's Jeff Zeleny, Rachael Bade with "The Washington Post", Margaret Talev with "Axios", and "TIME's" Molly Ball.
Thank you all for being here this Sunday. What a week behind us and what a week ahead in terms of this impeachment, this historic vote we saw and what's going to unfold going forward.
Margaret, I want to go to you. Democrats did something, right, that Republicans wanted to see, holding this impeachment vote. What does that really change for the White House, for House Democrats and for Republicans in terms of how they're talking about this and fighting this thing?
MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, this marks a new phase going forward, so it takes things from the largely behind-the-scenes process that we've seen so far, which is a process of depositions and Democrats understanding do they have enough to go forward with. And to the next realm of this, which is both a public and a continued behind-the-scenes effort. It formalizes things. On some level, it gives Republicans and the White House what they said they wanted, which the formality of the vote.
But as predicted, the minute that happened, Republicans said we don't want it anymore because you started it too late.
So now the Republicans have a decision to make, which is how much longer does the process argument work or do they need to change strategies, and the Democrats have to come to terms with they have now kind of rolled the dice. Many of them felt that they had no choice. That the president --
HENDERSON: That's what Nancy Pelosi says, right.
TALEV: They're in a position where they couldn't not vote to go forward to continue with this process. But as a result now, there are political targets on the backs of every Democrat in a vulnerable district and the House speaker has to figure out the way to corral this, because for all of us inside Washington, we live this every day. Most of us understand the process. When you talk to people outside, it's very confusing and convoluted.
And that is why the process arguments have sort of been working so far, which is like when you say the Democrats don't understand the rules or they're making it up, that's not true. The Democrats have followed all the rules. But your average American doesn't know how it's supposed to work, what is supposed to happen. HENDERSON: Rachael, we've already seen from the White House and the
Department of Justice basically block some folks who were supposed to be on the Hill next week. What do Democrats do the about the fact that some of these key witnesses in some instances, when you think about John Bolton, for instance, and the aid to Mick Mulvaney saying they're not going to come?
RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, no, I mean, Democrats have had a lot of success in convincing Trump administration officials lower down to come in and tell their stories. As we get higher up the food chain, they're expecting a lot of people are going to stonewall and are not going to show up. So, Democrats have this planned and they're going to incorporate that into an article of impeachment and obstruction of justice and they're going to say, look, the president is obstructing us from doing our job, obstructing Congress, and that's going to be part of this whole articles thing.
I think it will be interesting to watch specifically John Bolton. They called him, the former national security adviser to testify on Thursday.
BADE: He has a lawyer who has advised somebody else that they called to testify basically to wait until the court weighs in on this. Don't show up.
There are some people who think John Bolton might show up. He's writing a book right now. He would be a huge fish for Democrats if they can catch him because he had a lot of problems with the president's policy on Ukraine, didn't like what Rudy Giuliani was doing.
HENDERSON: Had a complicated relationship with this president more generally, even though he is a Republican in terms of how he sees the world.
We saw Vindman this last week testify and you saw the headlines that came out of his testimony from the times army officer who heard Trump's Ukraine call reported concerns, key there the army officer. "The Washington Post" White House lawyer moved the transcript to classified server after Ukraine adviser raised alarms. Out of CNN, Vindman said they omitted the reference in the call.
This was blockbuster testimony for Democrats, these behind closed doors depositions in the White House in some ways trying to taint Vindman but then getting blow back from some Republicans.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No question. And if this becomes part of the public hearing and testimony, that will be a shocking image of someone in a military uniform testifying what he saw. And I think when you take a step back to all of this, the burden is still on Democrats to make their case, and you've heard Nancy Pelosi, the speaker, trying to simplify the argument, trying to take it away from the process, to make it with the Ukraine phone call. And they're not necessarily arguing about the facts. But I think when you take a step back, the Democrats' burden -- this
is why Speaker Pelosi was always wary of this. The president has politicized this as another thing and we've also heard him make the argument in his rallies, which he's holding three rallies in six days: they're coming after you. They're not just impeaching me, they're coming after you who voted for me. So that is the burden here. And the megaphone the president still has.
So all of this sounds complicated and it is complicated, so that is why the burden remains on Democrats to explain this. That vote, the party-line vote, I was a little surprised.
HENDERSON: No Republicans came on --
ZELENY: I thought there would be a couple of House Republicans who would vote for that, and I thought -- a couple of Democrats voting the other way as well.
HENDERSON: Yes, two on the other side.
ZELENY: Not all those Democrats may have been walking the plank, their own election.
HENDERSON: Yes, Pelosi, there -- you talked about her. She says impeachment can't drag on and Democrats need ironclad proof in addition to making things simple. She acknowledged the Democrats have a limited amount of time to make it, suggesting the investigation and decision on drafting articles of impeachment won't drag on long.
The public has only so much space for drama, she said. When does the law of diminishing returns set in? When is the value added not worth the time?
MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And this is the balance that the Democrats are trying to find, because on the one hand, they want to build a case that is strong.
They want to be able to put that case before the public. And that's going to be the next phase of this. Now that the vote has been held, the House is off this week, but they will still be taking these depositions in private.
But then the question is do we go to public hearings, do we start this televised circus? And then in the current political media environment, does that actually sort of transfix the nation the way you can imagine it might have a few decades ago?
BALL: Do we have the same kind of environment where people can really all gather around the TV in prime time and be, you know, transfixed by all of this? Or has the president succeeded in framing this as another distraction and it will be a blip and people will sort of regard it as not that serious?
So I think that's a big open question and so the Democrats want to be able to put enough evidence before the public that it's convincing. And knowing that there's a lot they won't be able to get because of the witnesses who have declined to testify.
HENDERSON: And try to move on.
BALL: Knowing that they have a limited attention span in -- with the public and with the media, to put this in front of people and not get bogged down and dragged down by whether it's procedural arguments or other kinds of quibbling. I mean, I do think it's notable, however, that in the private testimony so far, the president and his allies have not been able to come up with much in terms of substantive quibbles. There hasn't been a lot of testimony behind closed doors that Republicans have been able to point to complicate.
HENDERSON: Latch on. Yes, that's right.
BALL: And Democrats have actually been pleasantly surprised that so much of what they initially suspected has been corroborated.
HENDERSON: Corroborated -- witness after witness, and Democrats and Republicans back home in their districts. I'm sure they'll be hearing from their constituents on this, in this upcoming week.
Up next, the president's impeachment strategy includes t-shirts and a fireside chat.
HENDERSON: President Donald Trump rallied the base in Mississippi Friday night, saying last week's impeachment vote was not just bad for him. It was also bad for democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Yesterday's vote by the radical Democrats is an attack on democracy itself. I'll tell you, the Republicans are really strong, the strongest I've ever seen them. The most unified I've ever seen them.
The Democrats' outrageous conduct has created an angry majority that will vote many do-nothing Democrats out of office in 2020.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: On the house floor before the vote, GOP leaders switched their argument from process to patriotism.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Why do you not trust the people? Why do you not allow the people to have a voice? REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): When you look at the Soviet-style process,
it shows that they don't really want to get to the truth. They want to remove a sitting president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: But on the Senate side, the "Washington Post" reports a growing number of Republicans are considering acknowledging Trump's quid pro quo on Ukraine. Senator Kevin Cramer of North Dakota told "The Post": We've done quid pro quos a lot of times, he said. The question isn't whether it was quid pro quo. The question is, was it corruption?
And, Rachael, this is your fantastic reporting. Tell us about this strategy shift, how big is it, and what does it mean?
BADE: I mean, it's huge. Since the impeachment inquiry started, Trump's number one line on this has been no "quid pro quo", which is the sort of same message we're hearing from House Republicans right now. But a lot of Senate Republicans are looking at the headlines and reading about these depositions and witnesses, and there are tons of witnesses who are saying there was a quid pro quo, not only for military aid, but also trying to get a head of state meeting with the Ukrainian president. It was all leveraged on them going after Joe Biden and the president's adversary.
So, Republicans in the Senate are like how do we defend this? One is to say quid pro quos happen all the time in foreign policy if we're going to give foreign aid to another country, it's OK if we put springs on it. The other is to say the president had no criminal intent and that was the argument that Senator Ted Cruz made in a private meeting on Wednesday.
So, we'll have to see if this sticks. It's making a lot of moderate Republicans very uncomfortable.
HENDERSON: Susan Collins, folks like that --
HENDERSON: -- who are for re-election.
Jeff, I want you to take a look at these numbers. Trump's approval rating dips a bit among Republicans according to the ABC/"Washington Post" poll, 87 percent in July, 74 percent now. Now, you heard him talking about unity he's seen from Republicans and that was certainly the case in the House vote.
But these numbers I imagine might be concerning for this president.
ZELENY: Perhaps a little concerning. A lot of those are probably soft Republicans, people who are just not necessarily so proud to say that they are Trump supporters. But I still think those numbers are quite high and the overall take-away of all of this is the president has been able to hold his party. People are afraid of going against him. At least the elected officials are. HENDERSON: Yes.
ZELENY: Voters, we're not sure about that.
I think you're absolutely right about what Senate Republicans are doing. That is going to be a fascinating thing to play out, if there is a difference between Senate Republicans and House Republicans, that gives Republican voters and others an opportunity to say, hmm, maybe something is sort of weird about this. So I think that that's a fascinating development.
HENDERSON: Yes, in the Trump campaign, Donald Trump himself, selling t-shirts, trying to rally the base and make money off of this thing, too, as well. There is a "read the transcript" t-shirt that they're selling on the campaign website, and Trump again with his strategy on this says: At some point, I'm going to sit down perhaps as a fireside chat on live television and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it. When you read it, it's a straight call.
Bill Clinton did things wrong. Richard Nixon did things wrong. I won't go back to Andrew Johnson because that was a little before my time. But they did things wrong. I did nothing wrong.
This is Trump going on the offense, and sort of trying to brand the transcript is sort of nothing to see there.
BALL: That's right, and it's an odd strategy, I would say, and it's got a lot of Republicans nervous about sort of where will he go next, what is he going to ask us to defend next? How are we going to make potentially conflicting arguments?
And then there's the issue of the transcript itself, right? There's been some reporting that the non-transcript transcript, the basically readout of the call that was composed after the fact and is not technically speaking a verbatim transcript, that there are some omissions from that, and potentially significant omissions, according to Vindman's testimony.
So will we ever see a fuller version of the transcript? Is something going to come out that has even more in it? This is the kind of things that makes Democrats heads explode. They thought the transcript that we do have was damning enough and for the president to embrace it and say this is just fine has a lot of people wondering whether this is sustainable.
HENDERSON: Yes, and it could be, as Rachael alluded to, that maybe that's where Senate Republicans end up, too. Everything is fine with the transcript. We'll have to see.
Pete Buttigieg shining bright in Iowa. That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETO O'ROURKE (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I entered this campaign because I believed that we had the ability to bring together a very divided and highly polarized country, in the face of the greatest set of challenges that we have ever known.
This has been the honor of my lifetime. I love you all and I know that I'll be seeing you down the road.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: That was former Congressman Beto O'Rourke dropping out of the race on Friday, after failing to recapture the magic of his underdog Texas Senate campaign last year.
On the other hand, you've got 37-year-old Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is surging in Iowa. The new poll has him in a virtual tie with Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. All three about twice his age, and they were all in Des Moines this weekend to address thousands of die-hard Democrats at the Liberty and Justice dinner.
Buttigieg was first to speak and argued that Democrats much choose a candidate who can unite the country.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUTTIGIEG: I didn't just come here to end the era of Donald Trump. I'm here to launch the era that must come next.
I will not waver from my commitment to our values or back down from the boldness of our ideas. But I also will not tire from the effort to include everyone in this future we are trying to build -- progressives, moderates and Republicans of conscience who are ready for a change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Elizabeth Warren spoke later with a jab that some saw as aimed at Buttigieg.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not running some consultant-driven campaign with some vague ideas that are designed not to offend anyone. I'm running a campaign based on a lifetime of fighting for working families.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Clearly, clearly, clearly speaking about Mayor Pete Buttigieg there.
Jeff, I'm going to go to a couple you talked to in Iowa when you were there this weekend and here's what they had to say about their choice. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRI HALE, IOWA DEMOCRAT: We need the voice of the next generation, we need someone who has grown up in this world of rapid change and is used to it and can respond to it quickly. And I think Pete Buttigieg is that person.
JOHN HALE, IOWA DEMOCRAT: It's time to pass the torch to a new generation. I hear a lot of people our age and older saying that we really do need more energy, more vigor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: And, Jeff, this is what you found, that older voters really like Buttigieg. NYT poll had him second among older voters.
ZELENY: In many respects, we have heard that again and again. And that was John and Terri Hale who lived in Ankeny, just outside Des Moines. They were big Obama supporters, big volunteers for Obama. They came to his inauguration.
So I was intrigued by who they are supporting. And they did in fact go see Joe Biden initially. John Hale was at the first event in Iowa some five months ago or so. He said now is not his time.
So they have settled on Pete Buttigieg, and we are finding that again and again, that some older voters are saying it's time for a new generation of leadership. But Senator Warren would also represent a new direction, no question about that.
HENDERSON: Right, some bold change.
ZELENY: So my take-away from the weekend is this really is crystallizing for now as a Warren/Buttigieg fight. And they're going after the ideology of the party.
Senator Warren is saying dream big, think big, but she also is defending her Medicare for All plan.
Mayor Buttigieg also said I'm not naive, I know how to get this done. So, what he's doing is trying to cross a threshold, in getting to people's minds that he could be seen as presidential.
All the while Joe Biden is struggling to hold on in some respects, show energy. There were hundreds of empty seats at the thing on Friday night. His campaign did not turn out all his supporters. Who knows what that means exactly?
ZELENY: There are three months to do that before caucus night, but that's where it shakes out.
HENDERSON: And you mentioned Buttigieg's strategy, essentially trying to say it's a race between him and Warren. He said exactly that in an interview recently. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUTTIGIEG: I think this is getting to be a two-way. It's early to say. I'm not saying it is a two-way.
REPORTER: You see it coming into focus, you and Warren?
BUTTIGIEG: Yes, and certainly a world where we're getting somewhere, it's that world, where it's coming down to the two of us. The contrasts are real. There are substantive, respectful policy contrasts, but they're real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Pete Buttigieg echoing the brilliant Jeff Zeleny. He then sort of walked it back and said I don't think that came out right.
TALEV: The magic of John Heilemann's interview was that he got Mayor Pete to say what he was thinking.
TALEV: Which is like, that's why (INAUDIBLE) right?
So he has always been in this kind of understudy to Joe Biden role waiting for the moment. And I know in those early months where we were waiting to see was Biden actually going to run, and remember it was taking a long time and it was like the decision kept pushing weeks and months.
Back then talking with Democratic donors, the donor class and the bundler (ph) class and many of those guys I was talking to, men mostly, were saying I really like that Pete Buttigieg, he's really interesting. If Biden doesn't run, I think that's who I'm going to get behind.
So to the extent that that's been part of his strategy, he has been waiting to see whether there would be a moment for the strategy. And the cracks that we're starting to see, the softness that we're seeing in places like Iowa may give him that chance. The polls still show Biden in a much stronger role, but all of us are waiting to see how long those national trends really hold.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN HOST: And you talk about Iowa and New Hampshire. You look here -- Joe Biden struggling, 17 percent in Iowa, fourth place again. This is just a snapshot. Joe Biden in New Hampshire, 15 percent in third place.
But listen, you look nationally and all of the polls have shown him much stronger nationally than in some of these early state polls. Best chance to beat Donald Trump, he's got 42 percent there. And closest on the issues, 25 percent. So some good news there for Biden, at least nationally. Still struggling in some early states. MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And I think that understudy
is a good word that Margaret used and that's sort of the moderate lane, if you will, the sort of mainstream Democrat lane.
And then there's also an understudy problem in that left leaning lane, right where it's not clear which one is the understudy --
BALL: -- Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders but they're both in that lane. That lane is crowded by the fact that they're both there. And I think, you know, for a while it looked like Warren was really taking off and leaving Bernie Sanders in the dust, but Bernie now has gotten a second wind, if you will, both literally and medically, right.
HENDERSON: Yes. And medically.
BALL: He has sort of recaptured the imagination of a lot of those people who supported him the last time around. And there's a wonderful irony there too that even as Pete Buttigieg, the youngest candidate, seems to be persuading a lot of the oldest voters --
BALL: -- Bernie Sanders is the oldest candidate who still seems to have a hold on the imaginations of the youngest voters.
HENDERSON: Right. And Rachael, some of the younger candidates -- Beto O'Rourke obviously dropping out, an early front-runner, not so much now. Kamala Harris also seeing some lagging in her polling numbers, having to shutter some offices both in New Hampshire -- yes.
RACHAEL BADE, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, "WASHINGTON POST": Yes, we're getting closer to Iowa --
BADE: -- and clearly we're seeing the candidates who are starting to sort of peter out. I mean with Beto, there was so much potential early on with his senate run and, you know, he did so well in Texas, raised a lot of money and a lot of people thought he would be an early star.
But that just really never panned out. He had problems raising money. He had organizational issues, was really slow to sort of create structure in his campaign.
And, you know, his greatest asset also turned into kind of a weakness. People really loved that he was very care free and easy to relate to. He seemed like an, you know, average Joe, driving across the country talking to voters, not caring about media limelight. But you know, that sort of back fired on him.
HENDERSON: Yes. It became --
(CROSSTALKING) JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: And Buttigieg overtook that spot.
HENDERSON: Yes. He's the young guy now, right.
ZELENY: But can Buttigieg take a punch. We have no idea if he can -- a little arrogance dripping out in that interview with John Heilemann --
ZELENY: So we'll show how that plays with voters. And also some other candidates. So over the next few weeks we'll see who is going after Buttigieg --
HENDERSON: Can he take a punch --
HENDERSON: Yes. And sort of scrutiny of his record which, you know, a bit of that already.
Up next, President Trump is picking up his New York roots and heading down south.
HENDERSON: Let's turn now to some "Sunday Trail Mix" for a taste of the 2020 campaign.
The critical swing state of Florida just gained another voter. President Trump may be New York born and raised, but he's officially changing his residency from the Empire State to the Sunshine State. He's blaming high taxes and hostility from New York's Democratic leaders.
Florida Republicans -- they're delighted. The state's party chairman took to Twitter to declare November 1st as President Donald J. Trump Florida Residency Day.
Plus it's exactly one year until Election Day and while Democrats are busy battling it out for the nomination, President Trump is sharpening his campaign message.
Trump and the RNC raised a staggering $125 million last quarter and they've already put it to good use with this campaign ad during game seven of the World Series.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is changing Washington, creating six million new jobs, 500,000 new manufacturing jobs, cutting illegal immigration in half. Obliterating ISIS, their caliphate destroyed, their terrorist leader dead. He's no Mr. Nice Guy, but sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Jeff, very early ad we're seeing here from the President.
ZELENY: Super early ad and it's a good reminder that there is another candidate, another 2020 candidate in this field who is running -- Donald Trump. And he has so many advantages. And the biggest thing at this point is money.
He can use that ad and he can advertise in a big way. So that ad was even praised by David Plouffe, who was the campaign manager for Obama in '08. It was a smart ad and a reminder that this is going to be a close race.
For all the Democrats out there who think there's no chance that the President could be re-elected -- not true. Most sitting presidents are re-elected.
ZELENY: So I think as we sit here today one year from the general election day, we have no idea what the next year will hold, who the nominee will be. But we do know that President Trump is going to enter with a consolidated Republican base. Of course, it's the voters in the middle --
ZELENY: -- who he's trying to reach out to with that ad at this point. But I think a very strong ad.
TALEV: And to focus on the message, which is while they try to impeach me, I'm here getting stuff done.
BADE: Yes. But can he do that?
TALEV: That's the big question.
HENDERSON: An ad is one thing -- yes, the President daily sort of Twitter activity is another.
Next, does Elizabeth Warren's Medicare for all math add up?
Politicians, the fake ones, they say the darnedest things.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cost $25 trillion, but other economists have said it could cost $34 trillion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Let me stop you right there. We're talking trillions, you know, when the numbers are this big they're just pretend.
You ready to get red pills -- money doesn't exist. It's just a promise from a computer. You might as well say it costs 13 nonillion over -- same difference.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: Senator Elizabeth Warren now says she has a plan to pay for Medicare for all, and that it doesn't involve a middle class tax hike. But critics already calling the proposal unrealistic at best and outright deceptive at worst.
Here's what's in it. Private companies that currently pay premiums to insurance companies would instead send that money to the government. She will also boost the wealth tax on billionaires, raise taxes on capital gains, and impose a new tax on anyone buying or selling a stock or bond.
She claims she can raise more than $2 trillion by cracking down on tax evasion and she'll also save money by paying hospitals and doctors less. She'd also slash defence spending and says that passing immigration reform will bring more tax money into the Treasury.
Rachael, even that last part, the idea that immigration reform, she gets like $400 billion from that. People are saying that seems like an unrealistic thing to hang your hat on for this point.
BADE: Yes. Good luck getting that through Congress, who has been trying to do that for more than a decade. Look, you have to give her credit for putting out these details. I mean this has been a --
ZELENY: Under pressure.
BADE: Yes. It's a huge vulnerability for her, you know, talking about Medicare for all but not saying how to pay for it. And you know, I ran into Kevin Hastert, a former top economic adviser to the President in the green room a couple of days ago, and -- I guess just yesterday -- and he was saying the details are impressive though he completely disagrees with them.
BADE: So you have to give her credit in that regard. But, you know, closing the tax gap, like getting money from revenue that the IRS has not been able to get. I mean the IRS has been trying to do it --
HENDERSON: Yes. The sort of waste, fraud and abuse -- it's always an interesting way to try to get money. And this is what Elizabeth Warren said on Friday about Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a plan that shows how we can have Medicare for all without raising taxes one cent on middle class families. It's all fully paid for by asking the top 1 percent and giant corporations to pay a fair share.
SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not going to say that it is --
WARREN: If anyone wants to defend keeping those high profits for insurance companies and those high profits for drug companies and not making the top 1 percent pay a fair share in taxes and not making corporations pay a fair share in taxes, then I think they're running in the wrong presidential primary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENDERSON: And Biden's campaign manager shot back with this. "You have to be kidding me. Warren was a Republican until she was 47 years old, while Joe Biden has spent his life helping elect Democrats across the country and served with honor in the Senate and with President Obama." It's getting real -- Molly.
BALL: It is. And you can hear it in Elizabeth Warren's voice, a little bit of frustration that she's being pressed so hard for details on something that, let's face it, it's imaginary. You know there's a better chance that immigration reform gets through the Congress than that they suddenly start taking on a multi-trillion dollar Medicare for all plan -- that.
And secondly, health care is not one of her top priorities. It is not the center piece of her agenda. The three pillars of the campaign that she's running on do not include health care.
The Democrats have -- I think the entire field feels like why are we having so much of a discussion in the primary over health care when it's not necessarily the number one thing any of us want to do when and if we become president given that Obamacare is already the law of the land.
So you know, I think she's just fighting feeling some frustration over that and I think there's a couple of ways this could end up playing out for her. There's a possibility that it continues to dog her and she continues to have to explain and explain and explain.
HENDERSON: She's making herself a bigger target.
BALL: -- level of detail. And then there's the upside, the better outcome for her would be that this just goes to the brand that she's built of the candidate of plans, the candidate of specificity, the candidate who just knows the issues on a level of detail that the other candidates won't be able to match.
HENDERSON: You dream big and try hard.
ZELENY: If you live by plans, you must explain your plans.
HENDERSON: Yes. And she might die by the plans.
We'll see. We'll see where this goes.
Our reporters share from their notebooks next, including the White House getting ready for some attitude tomorrow.
HENDERSON: Time now for our great reporters to share a page from their notebooks to help you out in front of the big stories in the days and week ahead.
We're going to start with Jeff.
ZELENY: Nia -- it might be tempting to write off some of those second tier candidates in that crowded 2020 Democratic field but that might be a mistake. Is there a king-maker lurking among the second tier?
This is what I mean. We're going to be hearing now a lot about 15 percent. Viability for the Iowa caucus means you must get 15 percent of support to be able to be viable. That means probably only right now four maybe five candidates at most will be viable to go forward. So that means the ones who aren't the supporters of the candidates pick a second choice.
That is why among the Biden campaign, the Buttigieg campaign, and the Warren campaigner they're being extra nice to those Iowa voters who don't necessarily like them but they like them as a second choice. So the second choice strategy is coming into play here three months before the Iowa caucus.
HENDERSON: Three months. All right. We'll keep an eye on that.
BADE: In the wake of the resignation of Congresswoman Katie Hill there has been a lot of talk in Washington about double standards when it comes to male and female politicians, and sex scandals.
Now Katie Hill gave a fiery speech, her last moment on the Hill, where she said she is leaving Congress because her soon to be ex-husband which really should (INAUDIBLE) -- pictures of her hat were being published while male lawmakers were accused of much worse including sexual harassment, sexual (INAUDIBLE) and remain in office.
But I think it is important to remember that it wasn't the pictures that put Katie Hill find herself in trouble. It was because she was accused of having sexual relationships with underlings which goes against the rules that were set up in the wake of the me-too movement that are there to protect young women people from male or even female lawmakers and so, you know, two wrongs don't make a right and in this regard, you know, she broke the rules.
HENDERSON: Yes. Interesting case. Thanks -- Rachael.
TALEV: Washington Nationals will be coming to the White House tomorrow for a big visit. And I'll be watching this because it really brings into play the President's strange relationship with baseball. He was actually really good at baseball as a child so much so that he wrote a poem about it once.
But in recent years it is not sort of like not his favorite sport and it is a really interesting sport because on the one hand it is not been as front and center in some of these controversies about what players kneeling to protest or make remarks about social movements and it is also a pretty neutral crowd politically.
Surveys show that your average baseball fan is sort of moderate or maybe leans slightly center right. But we do know at least one player Sean Doolittle, the pitcher, its not going to go to tomorrow's event because both of his activism with Syrian refugees and his wife's views on the LGBTQ community.
Also important to note that about one in four baseball players is foreign-born.
HENDERSON: Yes. That will be an interesting event. I wonder if they're going to play "Baby Shark". They better.
BALL: Now I have that stuck in my head. I'm looking ahead to a trio of red state gubernatorial elections that are coming up this month. This week we have the elections in Kentucky and Mississippi and then later in the month Louisiana. You would think that these would all be slam dunks for Republicans but it is not turning out to be that simple.
In three cases some very interesting dynamics. The Republican incumbent in Kentucky trying for a second term. He is not popular and he's got a serious well-regarded Democrat opponent. Even in Mississippi Democrats feel good about their candidate -- the only state-wide elected Democrat in Mississippi who's never lost a race going up against a Republican for an open seat.
And then the Democratic incumbent in the Louisiana gubernatorial runoff which will be held on the 16th and then of course the Trump factor in all of these races.
BALL: You have the President who has inserted himself or maybe he's been invited to play a part in all of these the races, campaigning very hard for the Republicans in question. And so it will be an interesting test. No matter what the result is, I think people are looking at the dynamics, the where of people turns out and how to see a year before the Presidential election what is turnout looking like for both parties and what is that enthusiasm looking like. And particularly in what different parts of the state are we seeing it?
HENDERSON: And do Democrats have strength in the southern states in a way we haven't seen necessarily before. Thanks -- Molly.
And I'll continue on state races. Big stakes in Virginia on Tuesday as the state senate and house are up for grabs. The Democrats are just two seats away from taking over both chambers but it won't be easy.
It is an off-off year with no state-wide candidates on the ballot and the top Democrat have these multiple controversies and scandals possibly dragging down Democrat chances. High-profile surrogates have flooded the commonwealth, among them vice president Pence as well as Democratic presidential hopefuls. Vice President Joe Biden, Joe Biden stumps today and Bernie Sanders will be there tomorrow.
Candidates have been debating drug prices, gun laws and of course Donald Trump as they seek to help their party either hold the line for the GOP or continue the trend from 2017 and flip seats from red to blue.
The results could have big implications for redistricting and provide a glimpse into where the enthusiasm lies in a purple state just under a year away from 2020.
And we'll end there. That is it for INSIDE POLITICS. Hope you can catch us weekdays as well at noon Eastern.
Up next, "State of the Union" with Dana Bash. She's talking with White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway plus an exclusive interview with presidential candidate Andrew Yang and his wife Evelyn.
Thanks again for sharing your Sunday morning with us.