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Columnist Who Accused Trump of Rape Sues Him for Defamation; Sanders, Warren Spell Out Differences in Medicare For All Plans; Ukraine's War with Russia Shows Why U.S. Aid Is So Crucial; Acid Attack Being Investigated as Possible Hate Crime. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired November 4, 2019 - 15:30   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: -- for defending himself against false allegations I guess since the book did not make any money, she's trying to get paid another way, the story she used to try and sell her trash book never happened, period. Her version of events is not even feasible if you've ever tried on clothing in a dressing room of a crowded department store. The lawsuit is frivolous and the story is a fraud just like the author.

Wow. That's a strong statement obviously from the White House. Yes, sir.

JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I mean listen you know what, he is though in making that statement, you're putting the fact factual essence of this case at issue. And so in the event that she could establish its truth, right, defamation is about falsity that you that you're being accused of that affect the reputation and the battle lines have been drawn?

BALDWIN: Clearly. All right guys, thank you very much.

A man is attacked with acid over a parking spot. It is all caught on camera, we are learning the attack may have been motivated by hate.

And Senator Bernie Sanders takes a swipe at Senator Elizabeth Warren on her Medicare For All plan. Both how do both of their plans actually compare when you stack them up, side by side? We'll take to Tami Luhby about that coming up.



BALDWIN: Some of Senator Elizabeth Warren's policies are getting hit from all sides. On Friday in Iowa she finally released some details on how she would pay for her version of Medicare For All. And as soon as she did, her Democratic rivals took issue with the 20 trillion- dollar price tag. Republicans called her cost estimate staggering and even "Saturday Night Live" piled on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're talking trillions, you know, when the numbers are this big, they're just pretend.


BALDWIN: SNL lampooned Warren's plan is a skit that went on for nearly eight minutes. And as soon as Senator Warren let us know what was in her proposal, Democratic rival Bernie Sanders jumped in saying his plan is better.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT) DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that would have a very negative impact on creating those jobs. I think we have a better way, which is a 7 1/2 percent payroll tax, which is far more I think progressive --

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Bernie and I have a different vision how to pay for it, but let's be really clear, Bernie and I are headed in exactly the same direction?


BALDWIN: So, who has the better plan? Let me bring in CNN's Tami Luhby who has analyzed both plans. How are the plans different?

TAMI LUHBY, CNN SENIOR WRITER: Well, Sanders hasn't come out with a full menu like Warren has. And that's one of the big differences. But among Sanders' options some are the same you know he wants -- they both want to tax the wealthy, tax financial firms. But Sanders unlike Warren is very clear that he would tax the middle class, he wants to put a 4 percent tax on all workers as well as he mentioned the 7.5 percent tax on employers.

But Warren, she wants to do something different. She would tax employers and have them pay what she calls an employer Medicare contribution to the federal government instead of paying premiums to the private insurers. So she says that it washes out. But it's a flat tax, the employers will pay the same for everyone unlike a progressive tax that Sanders is calling for. So that's what he is attacking her on.

BALDWIN: Specifically, he's attacking her on how her plan will hurt job growth.

LUHBY: Right.

BALDWIN: How so?

LUHBY: Well so, when the economists say if you make it more expensive to hire somebody, then they're going to -- employers are not going to want to hire. So now if employers have to pay X amount to the federal government as a tax for everyone for their insurance, they're going to be less likely to hire that person. Sanders is saying, even though he also would also raise taxes on employers, but that that's not going to happen under his plan or not -- it won't have as great an effect. But you know they made the same argument with the employer mandate

under Obamacare, and the studies are mixed as to what the reaction was from employers. And we also had The Great Recovery from The Great Recession. So at this point it doesn't look like the employer mandate hurt the hiring. So it's unclear whether Warren's contribution requirement would also. But it gives her opponents a lot of fodder.

BALDWIN: I mean you talk to anyone around this country and they say health care is the number one, right, so as people have that front of mind, as they head to the polls in a year, what is your biggest takeaway from this?

LUHBY: I mean it just shows that this is very expensive. I mean health care is very expensive. It's also very expensive for employers. I mean one thing that Sanders is arguing is that his Medicare For All plan would lift the responsibility from employers that they wouldn't have to pay premiums anymore. Warren keeps the premiums on employers but changes it to a federal tax.

So clearly healthcare is going to be you know number one for people, number one for employers. But it shows when you see what Biden and Buttigieg want to put in, which is the public option versus Sanders and Warren who are putting greater change to the system as Medicare For All. It's very hard to solve.

BALDWIN: There will be options on all of the above. Tami Luhby, thank you so much.

LUHBY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: More on the breaking news, two transcripts released from key witnesses in this impeachment investigation. In one of them a former U.S. ambassador who is warned to quote/unquote, watch her back, in regard to the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.


Plus, as we learn more about this shadow foreign policy operation involving Ukraine. See what life is like on the front lines. And why U.S. military aide is so crucial there. A CNN exclusive from Ukraine up next.



BALDWIN: With so much focus on Washington right now, on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump so much of the focus is on this phone call between President Trump and the newly elected Ukrainian President in the end of July. With the yet unanswered question was nearly $400 million of military and security aide to Ukraine held up for President Trump's political gain.

And while all of this is incredibly important let's not lose sight of what the aid was for and what it means to the often-desperate situation in Ukraine in its ongoing war with Russia. In this exclusive report, CNN's Clarissa Ward takes us behind Ukraine's front lines to see what's really happening there.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, we have literally traveled the length and breadth of this country over the past ten days trying to get a sense of how the political crisis in Washington is playing out here on the front lines. And what the impact was, if any, of nearly 400 million U.S. dollars in U.S. military aid being withheld for months.

On the front line of Ukraine's war with Russia, conditions are basic and the enemy is near. This position, just 600 yards from Russian- backed separatists. Soldiers stand guard in dirt trench, reminiscent of the first world war.

Commander Pavel Sergeevich tells us one of his men was shot dead by a sniper 10 days ago. He says Ukraine needs all the help it can get.


WARD (on camera): So he's saying that when he heard the news that President Trump had frozen the military aid, he was unhappy because he says America is our most important, our strongest ally.

(voice-over): That aid was released in September but the temporary freeze left a chill.

The nearest village, Shyrokyne, used to be a popular seaside resort. Now, there are no people left, just devastation. Even the church was hit. In war, nothing is sacred.

(on camera): After five long years, the world's attention has basically moved on from Ukraine. But the war here is not over yet and Ukraine is still very much dependent on the support of the U.S.

(voice-over): Ukrainian Marine Alexander shows us what is left of the local school. It was destroyed by Russian artillery at the start of the war.


WARD (voice-over): It will be 10 years before people can come back, he says. All of this territory needs to be demined. But that process can't even begin until the fighting stops.

(on camera): Our guide has asked us now to put on our helmets because apparently, the separatists have actually been using drones to drop ordnance on some of the soldiers here.

(voice-over): Alexander says it's time to move on, concerned we may have been spotted.

We push further north to the mining town of Torestsk. Once under the control of Russian-backed separatists, it was taken back by the Ukrainian army in a bitter battle in July 2014.

TERESA FILMON, AMERICAN CHARITY WORKER: You can now see the flames shooting out of the top of the building.

WARD: Teresa Filmon watched it all from her home. The Florida native runs a Christian charity called His Kids Too and has lived here for many years.

FILMON: I mean, we were shelled for days on end. And, you know, I would go to sleep and I'd literally just lay there and just say God, protect me.

WARD: During the worst of the fighting she would bring home-cooked meals to Ukrainian troops on the front lines.

FILMON: So, when you start knowing those people and putting a face -- putting a name and a face together -- I mean, I have friends that were killed. It's not -- I'm not going to minimize this.


WARD (on camera): Were you aware of the fact that the White House had temporarily frozen military aid to Ukraine, and what was your reaction?

FILMON: Probably frustration because as far as I'm concerned, we're in a David and Goliath situation that we are outmanned and outgunned.

WARD (voice-over): But that hasn't flowed Filmon down. Her days are a blur of activity, distributing food to the needy and displaced.

Across this country, more than a million people have been forced from their homes. Like pensioner Yelena Salaeva, she was hit by shrapnel while picking tomatoes in her garden. She fled and has been living in this care home ever since.

YELENA SALAEVA, RETIRED RESIDENT: (Speaking foreign language).

WARD: What can I do? I can never go back, she says. It's five years since we left.

Like so many here, Yelena no longer cares who wins this war.

SALAEVA: (Speaking foreign language).

WARD (on camera): So you just want peace. You just want an end to the war.

(voice-over): Ukraine's president is trying to make that happen but peace is best negotiated from a position of strength and having the U.S. as an ally is key.


In the west of the country far from the front lines, Ukrainian forces carry out military exercises under the watchful eye of their American trainer.

CAPT. MATTHEW CHAPMAN, U.S. ARMY: They'll be engaging targets and shooting.

WARD: Captain Matthew Chapman has been working with this unit for two months.

(on camera): Can I ask what your reaction was when you heard that military aid had been frozen to Ukraine?

CHAPMAN: Personally, I don't pay attention to U.S. domestic foreign policy or politics while I'm here. We are solely focused on the mission at hand.

WARD: And it didn't create an awkward atmosphere at all with your Ukrainian fellow soldiers?

CHAPMAN: It has not even come up in conversation with our OCs.

WARD (voice-over): His Ukrainian counterpart agrees.

NAZAR SHPAK, UKRAINE ARMY LIEUTENANT: You know, I don't like to speak about politics. My mission and my main role is to protect my land and my country. That's all I want and it's all I know for myself.

WARD (on camera): Do you believe that America is an ally Ukraine can rely upon?

SHPAK: Completely is, completely is.

WARD (voice-over): Privately, some Ukrainian soldiers admit to feeling uneasy. They fear that the White House's fickle behavior may strengthen Russia's position. But all agree that with or without America's help they have no choice but to continue this fight.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, Ukraine.


BALDWIN: Clarissa, thank you so much for that.

Breaking news continues. New details from the transcripts from key impeachment witnesses including why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wanted information about Ukraine from Fox News host, Sean Hannity.

And the President hosts the World Series champs at the White House with a few notable exceptions. See what happened involving a red MAGA hat.



BALDWIN: Just in, the Trump administration just made one of the most -- President's most controversial decisions official. The State Department formally notifying the United Nations that the U.S. will withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Keep in mind that agreement includes dozens of countries setting their own targets for reducing or controlling pollution. The deal was negotiated back in 2015.

And now to this horrifying attack caught on security video in Milwaukee. You'll see the black and white video shows two men talking when suddenly one of them throws this liquid -- there you go, in the other's face, it turns out the liquid was acid. The victim, a U.S. citizen who was originally from Peru suffered second-degree burns, he tells police his attacker told him to go back to his country.

CNN's Ryan Young is live on this one for us. Absolutely horrendous. I know police have arrested a suspect. He could face hate crimes. What more do you know?

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: He could. Right now we've been told the man has been arrested but hasn't been officially charged. That is why we don't have his mug shot just yet, Brooke. And I've been asking questions all day not only to the police department but the DA's office there just to figure out exactly what the next steps are. We're told maybe Tuesday they'll figure out whether or not they charge him with a hate crime or other assault charges. But when you watch this video, it's so horrifying.

This may have all started over a parking spot. And of course the two men decided to kind of go machismo with each other and have that argument right there. But then it takes that turn when the man starts pointing in his face. It looks like there might be a reaction but then you see whatever spilled toward his face. And when you see some of the video and see how the burned jacket this man is left with, you could see how much of his face probably hurt during this attack. In fact, listen to the victim talking about this attack and how he felt right after.


MAHUD VILLALAZ, ACID ATTACK VICTIM: I don't know that guy. I never saw him in my life. And he did that to me. Who carries a bottle of acid?

My son called me today, daddy, what happened to you? What can I tell him? That some crazy guy did this to me.


YOUNG: Brooke, you could feel his pain. One of the things the victim also said, Mr. Mahud, he said, he said the man started screaming at him, you come to my country and try to evade it, you try to change my laws. Obviously, that was what was said apparently before that splash happened. Be interesting to see what happens tomorrow when the DA makes the decision in terms of charges, also to figure out has this man has had any run-ins before?

BALDWIN: Let us know what happens tomorrow, Ryan. Thank you very much. President Trump welcomed the World Series champs the Washington

Nationals to the White House today. A handful of players from the team were absent from the celebration for unknown reasons. The catcher donned a MAGA hat and got an awkward hug from the President. The players also presented President Trump with a National's jersey and while the President praised the team for capturing the hearts of fans across the country, he couldn't pass up a chance to take a jab at the impeachment inquiry.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Throughout this season, the Nationals captured the hearts of baseball fans across the region and across the country. America fell in love with the Nats baseball. They just fell in love with Nats baseball. That is all they wanted to talk about. That and impeachment. I like Nats baseball much more.


BALDWIN: This is the President's third public sporting event in the past ten days and got mixed reaction when he showed up for game five of the World Series. The President is now planning to attend the Alabama/LSU football game this weekend in Tuscaloosa.

I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank so much for being with me. Let's go to Washington. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine said she --