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Impeachment Politics Faces Test In Kentucky Governor's Race; Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) Discusses Release Of Testimony, Impeachment Inquiry Impact On PA Elections; Volunteers Are Set For Tough Fight In Battleground Wisconsin. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 5, 2019 - 11:30   ET





DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you need something for Kentucky, like money, like aid, like he wants me to call one of the many manufacturers now that are coming into Kentucky.

He is such a pain in the ass, but that is what you want.



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That was President Trump in Kentucky last night making a last-minute visit to try to rally supporters to turn out to support Republican incumbent governor there facing a real challenge from a well-known Democratic attorney general. Making the case that it is his name that is on the line, Trump's name that is on the line.

So along with Kentucky, voters are right now heading to the polls in Mississippi for another closely watched governor's race there.

And in Virginia, also eyes are all on Virginia as well where the entire state legislature is up for grabs.

It is the first significant election, kind of round of elections, if you will, since last year to test the political landscape. And also ask the question, is this today a test of the impact impeachment could be having one year out of the presidential election? Polls, of course, close later this evening.

But here with me now to discuss is CNN Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Isn't Election Day great, Kate? Gives you all the feels, Kate?

BOLDUAN: It gives me all the feels. I woke up like yay, yay. Here we go. When it comes to the governors' races, is this really a test of -- are

you hearing of whether every election is now about Donald Trump?

BASH: Largely. And as you played, Donald Trump is making it about Donald Trump. And rightly so. He should be.

The Republicans in these races both this Kentucky and Mississippi, which, if you think about it, those are the rubiest of red states, maybe they, in theory, wouldn't need a president to come in, but they do for various reasons.

Let's take Kentucky where the president was last night. The Republican governor, Matt Bevin, is really unpopular. So that is the main reason that his Democratic rival is giving him a run for his money there.

And the president coming down, giving Matt Bevin his blessing, rallying the troops, is huge for that candidate.

And Republican strategists argue definitely that they believe that at least now you because impeachment is so fresh, so current, the inquiry is happening as we speak, will rally Republicans in Mississippi and in Kentucky as well.

But perhaps it could have the reverse affect in Virginia, which, of course, is trending blue and is neighboring -- the northern part is a suburb of Washington.

BOLDUAN: We'll talk Virginia in a second.

I want to play a little bit more of what Trump said last night. People are -- this is the final message from last night from the president in Kentucky. Let me play this.


TRUMP: You got to vote because, if you lose, it sends a really bad message. Just sends a bad -- and they will build it up. If you win, they will make it like ho-hum. If you lose, they will say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the histories of the world. This was the greatest. You can't let that happen to me!



BOLDUAN: He always has a way with the crowds when it comes to this.

BASH: Yes.

BOLDUAN: And that is as honest as the man can be. I mean, if in Kentucky the Democrats are going to overcome the fact that the president won the state by, what was it, 30 points?


BASH: Yes, 30 percentage points.

BOLDUAN: Where is -- I mean, what is the reason not just because Bevin's dislike being but what is it inside the state that will be the reason why?

BASH: Well, to be fair, Bevin is really disliked in a way that we haven't seen in a long time. But, yes, he is right. It will be red in the state of Kentucky if the Democrats win and the sort of galvanizing effect that Republicans are predicting on impeachment doesn't take the governor far enough over the finish line.

He's right, it will be read as a referendum on him and he is right that it is Kentucky, which is very Republican, it is a Republican governor and if he win, it will be OK, that is the way that -- that is the state of play as it was expected it would have been had there been somebody else at the top of the ticket that was more popular.

BOLDUAN: So what is it about Virginia?

BASH: It has been shifting. Even in the past five, 10 years, it has been shifting dramatically. And very quickly, maybe among of all of the states, this is the commonwealth, of course. But of all of them, this may be the fastest demographic shift from red to blue. And right now it is blue. A little bit purple.

This statehouse election is going to be -- remember, the last time we saw this question about whether the Democrats could take over the statehouse, it literally got down -- it was so close, they had to pick out of a hat. That is how close it was.

BOLDUAN: Like a literal coin flip.


BASH: Yes. And they are still on the ballot. So this will be a real question of whether or not there's anyway that Donald Trump can play in Virginia or not or whether he will just let it go.

BOLDUAN: Super interesting.

Good to see you, Dana.

BASH: You, too.

BOLDUAN: Still ahead for us, Pennsylvania was key to the 2016 victory and it will likely be critical once again in terms of a battleground in 2020. So how is the impeachment inquiry playing out there? We'll talk to House Democrat from a swing district who is back home this week.

Be right back.


[11:42:17] BOLDUAN: Coming anytime now, more transcripts from the closed-door interviews. What is sure to be hundreds of pages following hours of interviews with the former special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, and the current ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. Both have become central characters in this inquiry.

And one person to pay close attention to all the details, President Trump. Listen to his interesting take on the impact of all of this on his political future.


TRUMP: The concept of impeachment is such a terrible thing. I think that it is terrible. And probably it is good politically because I see the poll numbers how good they are. I see the fundraising how good it is and all of the things. But it is not a good thing for our country, I can tell you that.


BOLDUAN: A good thing politically.

Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

REP. MATT CARTWRIGHT, (D-PA): My pleasure. Thank you. How have you been?

BOLDUAN: Very well, thank you.

What do you think of what President Trump told voters in Kentucky last night when he said that this is good politics for him? I ask this knowing that you represent a district that voted for Trump in '16. Do you think the impeachment inquiry is good for his re-election?

CARTWRIGHT: I really can't comment. I don't know about that.

And I have a confession to make, Kate. I haven't really been focused on impeachment. I'm coming to you from Luzern County. People sent me to Congress to work on lowering the cost of prescription drugs, to create more jobs and get corruption out of government and dark money. And I'm proud to say that the Democrats have really been working hard on those issues and I have, too.

And it is really only recently that this talk of impeachment has attracted my attention.

In fact, I think it was about a month ago I read in the "Wall Street Journal" an article about Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch --

BOLDUAN: Yovanovitch.

CARTWRIGHT: -- about how Rudy Giuliani was pressuring to get rid of her because she was hindering his efforts to get the Ukrainians to investigate Democrats. So I've been following it.

But I must say this, is a sad time for our republic. It is a dark time for our country. It is not something anybody wanted to do. But I do agree that it is something that we should look into.


And I do tend to favor doing it in public. So that the folks at home can listen to public hearings, listen to these folks testify, kind of chew on it for themselves, make up their own minds --


BOLDUAN: And that raises an interesting point, Congressman. Because you have been cautious to say the very least about when it comes to impeachment. Have you heard anything from constituents about your vote last week, vote in favor of the inquiry?

CARTWRIGHT: A little bit. Keep in mind, I had come out in favor of doing the investigation. I think that is part and parcel of our constitutional mandate of oversight of the executive branch.

But, yes, when I came out in favor of making it public, a lot of that was in response to the Republican insistence on doing that. I tended to agree. I think that it was proper to start with depositions.

And I must say that I have a lot of reading do of these depositions as they come out because I have to catch up on this process.

BOLDUAN: How is this going to work for you? Because I find that you are in a very interesting position.


BOLDUAN: You are one of 31 maybe Democrats who won in districts that Trump won.

Are you going to wait to see whether or not there's a majority of folks in your district that support impeachment, waiting for polls to move that direction before you would move there, or do you see it as your job to look at the facts, reach a conclusion and then explain to your constituents why you got where you got?

CARTWRIGHT: The latter, Kate. And that is imperative. People who know me know that I went to Congress to do the right thing in my mind and I'm not going to stick my finger in the air and see which way the wind is blowing. There's no way that is going to happen. I'm going to do the right thing.

And I think part of the right thing is to reserve judgment and to be reserved about it, make sure that both sides have an equal opportunity to be heard and not make up your mind until the end.

Manu Raju there, of your network, ran up to me the day I came out in favor of the inquiry, and he said, if the vote were held today, would you vote to impeach Donald Trump, and I said absolutely not. I want to make sure we sort through all the facts and all of the

details and we give President Trump every opportunity to tell his side of the story before coming to that conclusion.

BOLDUAN: He is definitely telling his side of the story, even before all the facts are out. That is one thing we see on a daily basis.

I'm interested to see your take as it moves into the more public realm and how it impacts your position. We'll check back in.

Thank you, Congressman. I appreciate your time.

CARTWRIGHT: Glad to talk to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: We'll be right back.

Thank you.



BOLDUAN: We are one year out from 2020, the election, and one place where the fight is already on, Wisconsin.

CNN's Kyung Lah takes us there.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's do this Wisconsin. Let's --



KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 2020 battle for Wisconsin starts now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, good morning. We will get you clipboard and some lists.

LAH: Democratic foot soldiers fanning out across the badger state.

(on camera): Are people talking about impeachment here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not what you are hearing at the coffee shop. It's not what I'm hearing when I'm at the hardware store.

LAH (voice-over): A year from Election Day --


LAH: -- this is a door-to-door mission --


LAH: -- to find out what matters most to voters here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Trevor. So, what's important to you in the selection?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jobs and environment especially.

LAH (on camera): Do you feel that it is a house to house battle?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is, completely. You know, here you have a community that is in the county that voted for President Obama and also Donald Trump.

LAH (voice-over): Racine, a swing county in a critical swing state. President Trump won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes. We meet Democrat Bruce Dunn).

(on camera): How long have you work for Chrysler?

BRUCE DUNN, DEMOCRATIC VOTER: Twenty-six years and two weeks. It's not too many jobs like that now.

LAH (voice-over): He's lived Racine's ups and downs. During trump's term, he seen some jobs come back. Dunn cares most about the economy and health care.

(on camera): What about impeachment? You did not mention impeachment.

DUNN: Well, I kind of don't like the impeachment. You know the people on the other side. I don't think they're going to jump ship because of it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely ridiculous.

LAH (voice-over): Unlike the Democrats, Wisconsin Republicans are talking about impeachment.

This Racine Packers and Politics Party is one of the 150 GOP events in Wisconsin just this week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These Republican people are very enthused.

LAH (on camera): Is impeachment then helping you or helping the Democrats?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's definitely helping the Republican Party right now. I say go for it, go bring it on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are just digging in our heels deeper, to fight what they're going to do and we will do it by voting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, my name is Elisha. I'm with the Waukesha County Democratic Party.


LAH (voice-over): But driving Democrats, the bitter sting of 2016 and the determination to not have it happen again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I can convince at least one maybe two. Every time I talk and I take a packet out, that's going to sway on election.

LAH (on camera): We're talking and it's snowing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to keep doing it through the snow. I've done it through worst. We're a swing state. We've been a swing state, but we can swing back.

Kyung Lah, CNN, Racine, Wisconsin.


BOLDUAN: Kyung, thanks so much.

Coming up, any moment, hundreds of new pages of closed-door transcripts are expected to drop. What could be next?

Stay with us.