Return to Transcripts main page


Dems Win Control in Virginia, Claim Win in Kentucky Governor's Race; Sondland Reverses Testimony about Quid Pro Quo in Ukraine. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired November 6, 2019 - 06:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, November 6. It's 6 a.m. here in New York and the president waking up this morning to huge setbacks at the ballot box and in the impeachment arena.

Breaking overnight in Kentucky, the Democrat, Andy Beshear, is declaring victory in the governor's race over the incumbent Republican governor, Matt Bevin, who has not conceded yet. This is a state that President Trump won by 30 points in 2016. He was there just two nights ago to push for Bevin, but it wasn't enough, not enough to counter what might be described as a suburban tsunami there and also in Virginia, where Democrats flipped both the House and the Senate for the first time since 1992. We will tell you what this trend means for 2020 in just a moment.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, also a setback for President Trump's impeachment defense. A crucial witness and a key Trump ally revising his testimony and admitting there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

U.S. ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, now says he told a Ukrainian official that military aid to the country would likely resume only if Ukraine announced it was opening investigations into the Bidens and the Democrats, as requested by President Trump.

So we'll get more transcripts, and we will hear from more witnesses as early as today.

But we begin our breaking news on the election. Harry Enten is here, and he has all of the results. You've been up late, Harry. What happened?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS SENIOR WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes, I have been up late, I'll tell you that much. But I'm happy to be here early with you to tell you what just happened.

So obviously, in Kentucky, you hit on it. Andy Beshear has declared victory. Very close, very close, but close is good enough, probably. But what are the reasons that he won? Well, first let's take a look

at the map here. It sort of gets at a few trends that we've seen throughout the Trump era, and then one particular aspect that is consistent with Kentucky history.

So if we look at this map, what we see is that Beshear ran up the scores in Louisville and Lexington, the two major cities in Kentucky. But a key part of his victory was he also ran up the score in the Cincinnati suburbs. He actually won a few of those counties there. Those are traditionally very Republican turf. And that's very consistent with what we've seen in the Trump era so far of those traditionally Republican-leaning suburbs flipping over to the Democrats.

But there is one part of this story that is not consistent with the Trump era. And that is in coal country. These coal counties, down by the bottom of this screen, ancestrally Democratic territory. A lot of these counties went for Trump by 40 or 50 points back in 2016. But this year, they went back to the Democrats; and that was the key part of Beshear's victory, or supposed victory in the state of Kentucky.

Look, obviously, we know Trump's standing in the state of Kentucky, he was a popular guy. Approval rating, 55 percent; disapproval rate, 41 percent, according to Harry's average. But you know what? Candidates do, in fact, matter. And we see this right here. Bevin's standing. Approval rating, 40 percent. Disapproval rating, 51 percent. So Trump went in, tried to get him over the top, but it just turned out it was not enough. And Beshear is declaring victory.

How about in Mississippi? Obviously, that was a different race. Here what we see is the Republican, Tate Reeves. He has won that race, 52 to 47 percent. And why was that? Well, look.

Jim Hood, popular attorney general, but Trump was just too much in that state. His approval rating, 56 percent; disapproval rate, 42 percent. That is pretty much consistent with the story we've seen during the Trump era. Where Trump is popular, Republicans usually win, unless those Republican candidates are very, very flawed.

Let's flip over to Virginia, which you were talking about at the top here. This is rather important. Take a look at these important trends.

So last night in the House of Delegates, there are 100 seats. Democrats have already won 53 of those seats, so they get a majority. That is a flip to the Democrats.

How about in the state Senate? Democrats got 21 seats already declared victory for them. There are only 40 seats in that House of Delegates -- excuse me, the House -- the state Senate. So that is also a flip to the Democrats.

Trump's standing, this is rather consistent. Right? Trump very, very unpopular in the state of Virginia. Very unpopular in the suburbs of Virginia, the Washington, D.C., suburbs. And so that was a big flip. Looking forward to 2020, I think this is rather important, folks. If

you look back at 2017, all of Virginia House of Delegate seats were up that year, the Democrats won that House popular vote by nine. One year later, Democrats won the U.S. House of Representatives by nine points in the popular vote.

Tonight or last night, Virginia House 2019, they won it by nine points. What does that mean for 2020? We'll see, but it's certainly good news for Democrats. They ran up the scores in the suburbs that they'll need to win in 2020.

BERMAN: Virginia, a fairly blue state now in presidential elections. Harry, very quickly, any way to extrapolate out what the shift in the suburbs might mean in other states?

ENTEN: Yes. I think it's rather important to understand that, in states like Pennsylvania, which obviously flipped towards Donald Trump in 2016, there were a lot of suburbs there that couldn't flip back towards the Democrats in 2020. That's something I'll really be watching.

CAMEROTA: OK, Harry. Thank you very much for all of that context. Really interesting, everything that has happened overnight.

So this suburban revolt that Harry just talked about against Republicans may be growing. How worried should the GOP be heading into 2020? We take that up.



CAMEROTA: We are standing by for the release of more transcripts from those closed-door depositions in the impeachment inquiry. On Tuesday, a key witness and Trump loyalist, Ambassador Sondland, reversed his testimony confirming a quid pro quo with Ukraine.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is live on Capitol Hill with the latest.

Wow. That was a shocker.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, you know, everybody was just so surprised at this and, really, it was a bombshell yesterday when this came forward.

This is a key witness, as you said, who is changing his testimony. He said there was no quid pro quo. Now he says there was. It was damning detail, which really corroborates what many of the other witnesses have testified to.

This while the president and the White House insisting that this testimony and these transcripts are great for the president, even while some of his closest allies are now refusing to even read the transcripts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX (voice-over): A stunning reversal from Gordon Sondland, now admitting there was a quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukraine over military aid.

The Trump campaign donor turned U.S. ambassador to the European Union submitting a three-page revision to the testimony he gave last month, saying statements of top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, and former top advisor on Russia, Tim Morrison, "refreshed my recollection about certain conversations."

Sondland writing, "I now recall speaking individually with an aide to Ukraine's president, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks."

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): His defense, in case anyone hasn't noticed, is now on the floor. It's crumbled. Because Ambassador Sondland explicitly admitted in his corrected testimony today that a quid pro quo most certainly did occur.

MALVEAUX: Sondland also detailing Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani's, involvement, testifying, "It kept getting more insidious," and "The State Department was fully aware of the issues," adding, "There was very little they could do about it if the president decided he wanted his lawyer involved."

Giuliani also a highlight in former U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker's testimony, recalling a May meeting with the president in which he directed his aides to speak with Giuliani about Ukraine.

On meeting with the Ukrainians, Volker says Trump pushed back, saying, "They're all corrupt. They're all terrible people. I don't want to spend any time with that."

President Trump's allies praising Volker's remarks when asked if he talked to other diplomats about a possible quid pro quo. Volker telling investigators, "None, because I didn't know there was a quid pro quo."

The White House maintaining that both transcripts are good for Trump.

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The transcripts that were released today show exactly what the president has been saying all along. And that is that he did nothing wrong and that there was no quid pro quo.


MALVEAUX: Jennifer Williams, who is an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, she's going to be the first person to testify before the impeachment inquiry from his staff. That is likely going to happen on Thursday to explore the vice president's role and what he knew in all of this.

And Democrats also still holding out hope that they might see and might hear from the former national security adviser, John Bolton, on Thursday to answer questions, as well, John.

BERMAN: They can hope. We'll see what happens there. Suzanne, thank you very much.

We're going to talk about the impact of this major reversal from Ambassador Sondland in just a moment. But first, Democrats celebrating this morning, claiming the victory in the governor's race in Kentucky. Huge swings in the suburbs there and in Virginia. What does this mean for the future? Next.



BERMAN: Breaking overnight, Democrats have won control of Virginia's legislature, both houses, for the first time in decades. And a Democrat is poised to become Kentucky's next governor. So what does this all mean going forward?

Joining us now is Terry McAuliffe. He's the former governor of Virginia, former chair of the Democratic National Committee. He's a CNN political commentator. Also joining us, CNN political commentator Scott Jennings, essentially the emperor, the unelected emperor of Kentucky. So we're joined by two men who --


BERMAN: -- were up all night, all night last night. And Governor, I want to start with you. Virginia, big win for Democrats. I know this is something you personally were working for. What do you attribute the victory to? What does it mean?

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, No. 1, strong candidates. Democrats are right on the issues.

But as you say, John, first time in 26 years the Democrats have taken over the House and Senate and to have the governor's mansion. But what also is important last night is that, in two of our biggest counties, in suburbs here in northern Virginia, Prince William and Loudoun County went Democratic. The board of supervisors switched. We won the new county chair in Prince William. I mean, that is some of the biggest news coming out in suburbia, that the Democrats took control.

So now we have the biggest counties here in the commonwealth of Virginia.

And I think for a lot of folks, you know, we got Medicaid expansion done in 2017. They've seen Donald Trump try and roll back Obamacare and parts and elements of it. They didn't like that here in the commonwealth of Virginia.

So this was an astounding victory, as I say. The first time since 1993. But now we've got to lead. We're going to have common-sense gun restrictions. We're going to raise the minimum wage. We're going to have environmental policies that make sure we protect our air and water.

So this is a big, big win as I say, first time in 26 years. But if you look deep in Virginia, what we were able to do at the county level and win at the local level, if I were a Republican, I'd be very scared. I think Donald Trump was humiliated last night, losing the Kentucky governorship, a state that he won by 30 points.

BERMAN: You've crossed borders there, Governor.

MCAULIFFE: Even the other races in Kentucky.

BERMAN: You've stepped past your boundaries. You've stepped into Scott's territory there, so we have to cut you.

CAMEROTA: Scott, your response to whether or not you feel very --

MCAULIFFE: Tried to be national.

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Scott.

JENNINGS: Sure. Well, I wouldn't pretend to be an expert on Virginia elections more than Governor McAuliffe. And I'll take my expertise on Kentucky better than his.

Look, here's what happened in Kentucky last night. We had an extremely, extraordinarily unique -- uniquely unpopular governor, and he got beat.

The rest of the Republicans running for every other office -- attorney general, secretary of state, down the line -- all swept. And it wasn't even close.

So the Republican brand in Kentucky last night was really fine, but Matt Bevin worked really hard over four years to make a lot of people angry, and he succeeded.

Now, the race was really close: 1.4 million votes cast, and Andy Beshear won by about 5,000 votes. Neither candidate, of course, beat 50 percent, because the libertarian got two points.


So I tend to think that it's an anomaly because of Bevin's unique problems. In the case of the Republican Party in Kentucky, one bad apple did not spoil the bunch last night.

Also, one more interesting thing. The urban-rural divide was on full display. We saw it in the 2016 election last night in Kentucky, Louisville and Lexington. Huge margins for Democrat Beshear. And in the rural areas, they largely stayed Republican.

So that divide continues in our country, and I suspect it's going to be even more exacerbated in 2020.

BERMAN: So what's the implication of that, then? Both of you, if we can. That is the biggest message out of last night. And both of you agree on that. If you look at the suburban counties in Virginia, huge margins or huge swings there. If you look at the urban and suburban counties in Louisville, big margins there. What does that mean, quickly, going forward, Scott?

JENNINGS: Well, I think it means that Republicans have to acknowledge we have had some slippage in the suburbs. We've obviously had, you know, clear movement away from the Republicans in urban areas. You know, this for the Electoral College purposes, you know, this doesn't matter in the big blue states. You know, they're going to get bluer, and it doesn't really matter.

But in these states where, you know, they're swing states that do have suburban areas, Republicans have to take stock of what happened. I mean, you look in the Cincinnati suburbs and northern Kentucky. We saw Republican candidates doing quite well except for Bevin. And so that particular style, that Bevin style just didn't work in those suburbs.

So I think -- one of my favorite movies is "Roadhouse." The main character, Dalton, is a bouncer. He has rules for being a good bouncer. One of the rules is be nice. Be nice. And Matt Bevin wasn't the nicest governor, and it didn't play well in these areas with high concentrations of voters with college degrees.

So I would just say there's a way to govern and be a nice Republican in these suburbs that gets you a few more votes than what Matt Bevin experienced last night.

CAMEROTA: I liked what Matt Bevin said back in July on a radio show, where he said, it's a sad, sad day for Democrats when they can't beat someone like that, referring to himself. Which I thought was some self-awareness there on display. But Governor, do you see this as a harbinger for 2020, even Kentucky, given all of those variables?

MCAULIFFE: Listen, Donald Trump went down to Kentucky the night before the election. He put his credibility on the line in Kentucky, and he was resoundly [SIC] defeated. I mean, he lost a state that he carried by 30 points. You can say whatever you want, whether he was a nice guy or not a nice guy. He was the incumbent Republicans governor of the commonwealth of Kentucky, and they lost. So there's no way you can sugarcoat that.

But to me, it's not a suburban/urban divide at all. It's about delivering on issues. Six years ago, when I ran for governor, I inherited a large deficit from the Republicans. For the last several years, they tried to do Medicaid expansion here. People want results from their elected officials. They don't really care about all these other issues.

You know, record investments in education, they want the roads to be working. So they look at folks who -- elected officials who can actually deliver and take care of their everyday lives. Who's going to lower prescription drug prices? And the candidates are going to put that issue out, regardless of party, those are the folks that are going to win. People want deliverables. They want elected officials to get things done and focus on issues that matter to them. They're not into politics. They want good governance.

And what you saw in Virginia was a repudiation of the Republican Party for obstructionists on so many issues, on gun bills and the environment.


MCAULIFFE: On Medicaid expansion. And the voters said that's enough. And now they've given the keys to the Democrats, and the Democrats now got to produce.

BERMAN: Governor, Emperor, Scott, thank you very much for being with us.

JENNINGS: It's a benevolent monarchy. It's a benevolent monarchy.

CAMEROTA: Obviously, yes.

BERMAN: And "Roadhouse" is the best movie about a bouncer who went to NYU ever made.

All right. Hard turn here. Mexico has announced their first arrest in the ambush attack that killed nine Americans in Mexico. We'll tell you the latest on what we know about the suspect and the victims, next.



CAMEROTA: A key witness and ally of President Trump revising his congressional testimony, admitting there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine. This comes as we expect to get more transcripts today and hear from more witnesses this week.

So joining us now is CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip and CNN political analyst Rachael Bade. She's a congressional reporter for "The Washington Post." Great to have both of you here.

So this was a surprise, Abby, that Ambassador Sondland announced he was revising his testimony and saying -- I will read it -- "I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks."

So that's different than we had heard before. Do we have any idea why Gordon Sondland yesterday revised his statement?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the timing seems to be a little bit of a surprise.

But we've known for some time, based on the other testimony that's happened on the Hill, that Sondland's statements about this did not line up with the other people who testified. And so it seems that, in the interest of protecting himself from

perjury, he came forward and said that he actually has had his memory refreshed. And he does remember having that conversation.

And it coincides with all of these transcripts coming out, giving the fullest picture that we've gotten so far of what is being said behind closed doors and, really, how consistent it is. That's what's really -- strikes -- strikes out to me about all of these transcripts. Is that everybody's basically telling the same -- the same story. Rogue foreign policy led by Giuliani. The president has antipathy toward Ukraine.