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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
French President Emmanuel Macron Is Saying That NATO Is Going Brain Dead; Warren And Biden's Escalating Fight Gets Personal; Pence Files Trump-Pence 2020 Ticket For NH Primary; Prosecution Makes Line Chart Showing Stone's Close Ties To Trump And Campaign Associates. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired November 7, 2019 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: But Kennedy being sophomore comes after Rand Paul, which is a similar podium in Kentucky and called for a crime essentially for the whistleblower to be outed. And this is something -- he is someone who has advocated for whistleblower protection in the past. So the absolute reversal, turning yourself out in order to impress the president and I assume just to be close to power, right, and to not have his ire.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Very quickly, Jeff Sessions plans to enter the race. We talked about Sessions a second ago, for his old Alabama Senate seat. This is one year after he was fired. "New York Times" Maggie Haberman reporting that Trump has warned Sessions through allies that he would publicly attack him if he ran.
And here is vice president Pence, asked if he will campaign for Sessions in 2020. There is expected to be a primary in Alabama. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, we -- we will let the people of Alabama make that decision.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: We'll let the people of Alabama make that decision. Not exactly a strong endorsement.
KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, FORMER OBAMA ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Right. Former colleague. You know, this is the thing about this whole Sessions thing. Because as you were saying, Donald Trump can just take this whole thing because he is so upset and angry with Sessions, as you said, for recusing himself. And if that happens because sessions apparently, you would know better, is probably the strongest of all in the Republican nominee. OK, maybe not.
BILL KISTOL, CONSERVATIVE WRITER: I think the Trump people don't like him and the people who aren't so crazy about Trump -- I would not bet on Sessions.
JEAN-PIERRE: Well -- but here is the thing. It could hand over back the Senate seat to Doug Jones.
JEAN-PIERRE: Because if Donald Trump gets involved in this.
TAPPER: And Roy Moore gets the nomination. That's Doug Jones' Christmas present.
JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, exactly.
TAPPER: Thanks so much, everyone. It is an alliance created to prevent World War III from ever happening. But now the leader of America's oldest ally says that the NATO alliance is dying. And guess whom he blames. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Our world lead now, NATO, the U.S./European pact that helped beat back the threat of communism during the cold war and one that came together to defend the United States after the attacks of 9/11. But now French president Emmanuel Macron is saying that NATO is going brain dead.
Who is pulling the plug on this once striving alliance? Well, President Trump, Macron says. Macron says is quote "turning his back on us."
Joining me now to talk about this is Chuck Hagel, former defense secretary under president Obama and a former Republican senator from Nebraska.
Senator, good to see you as always. Thanks for being here.
So Macron cites among other issues that NATO is not uniting on the rise of Russia. It is no secret, obviously, that Putin would love nothing more than NATO to die. What's your reaction?
CHUCK HAGEL, FORMER DEFENSE SECRETARY UNDER OBAMA: Well, we have seen this coming, Jake. And President Trump has instigated, I think, more than anyone. And the credibility and trust of the United States is in question. Not only by NATO allies, but countries all over the world. I think his latest tweet two weeks ago, regarding the Kurds and Turkey probably set it in motion in a way we hadn't seen before.
But when you lose trust and confidence in institutions, and that's happening here in the United States, it is happening in western democracies, but this institution in particular, the most important collective security institution in the history of the world, that's done so much for our interests. We wouldn't be able to project power in the world if we had not had NATO allies all over the world. So this is a dangerous time. And we all need to sober up because NATO
has prevented an awful lot of bad things from happening. Plus it's not just a defense institution, it's foreign policy and state departments involved, too. The ministers of state and our secretary of state meets regularly just like defense ministers and secretary of defense at NATO.
So it's more than just collective defense security. It's economic, trade, state craft. It's all our interests rolled into one institution.
TAPPER: And it's not just that President Trump is suspicious of institutions which obviously he is. And to a degree he was elected to disrupt the normal way of things, quote-unquote.
But take a listen to one of these quotes from Macron. Quote "in my discussions with President Trump when he says it's your neighborhood, not mine. When he states publicly the terrorists, the jihadists that are over there, they are European. They are not American. When he says it's their problem, not mine, we must hear what he is saying. He's stating a fact which means what was only implicit under NATO until now. I am no longer prepared to pay for and guarantee a security system for them and so just wake up."
And I think President probably speaks for his base and a lot of Americans when they think that's thousands of miles away. What is it matter? So what does it matter?
HAGEL: Well, it does matter because there is nothing that goes on the world today, certainly post World War II that does not affect America's interest whether it's trade, whether it is safety, security, intelligence sharing so that we don't have another 9/11, whether it is our own security power projection.
Any phase of our interest is very wrapped up into our partners and our allies and our alliances in that institution. It's one of the best investments this country has ever made in its history. And this nonsense about we have been the ones supporting it. It's a burden for us to lead the world in this role of world leadership, we just don't want to do it anymore, that's very dangerous.
Because if the world starts to disintegrate and come apart, what happened in the first 50 years of the 20th century, we better bring all of that back up and understand, how did that happen? That was a world that just went by itself, every man, every woman for themselves. In this kind of complicated world, highly technical, integrated economies everywhere, it's not in our interest to do that. Our interests are everywhere. And certainly in Europe.
[16:40:27] TAPPER: I want to ask you about impeachment as long as I have you here. because in addition to being former secretary of defense you are a former senator from Nebraska. What do you think when you watch your colleagues, Republican senators, Republican members of the house react as they have been to the very credible assertions being made by administration officials, Trump's own officials that the President -- look, it's in the rough transcript itself, that the President was asking the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden.
And, according to many accounts by Trump administration officials, he was saying you can only get a White House visit and $400 million in aid if you do this, what do you think?
HAGEL: Well, at the risk of a former United States senator responding to what the current senators should be saying or more to the point how they are handling this, my advice would be they listen to the evidence and take the evidence serious. Because it is serious.
In 1998, the Clinton problems that eventually led to his impeachment and me and 90 other senators sitting as jurors was a different dynamic. It was different charges. This is clear dangerous abuse of power. And that is serious. And I think our senators, all of our senators need to listen to this very carefully, get the evidence and stop just pushing everything back no matter what.
You don't owe your allegiance. You don't owe your office and your trust and your commitment and integrity to a president or a party. You owe it to the constitution of the United States. We all take an oath of office. That oath of office is to a constitution. Not defending a president. Not defending a party. Get the facts. The constitution or country is first. Everything else has to be second.
TAPPER: Senator Hagel, thanks so much for being here, ahead of veterans day, thank you for your service. Vietnam veteran. Still have shrapnel in your chest, I believe.
HAGEL: I do. But I have been lucky, Jack. And I appreciate all the courtesy s courtesies I have had in my life and opportunity because of this country and because of veterans.
TAPPER: Thank you so much, sir. Appreciate it.
HAGEL: Jake, thanks.
TAPPER: Coming up, well that escalated quickly. Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren are feuding in a very public fashion. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our "2020 LEAD," he suggests that she is an out of touch smarty pants elitist. She suggests he's basically a Republican who surrounds himself with fat cats. The rivalry between Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden escalating and getting personal. As CNN's Leyla Santiago reports for us now.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, North Carolina!
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Campaigning in North Carolina today, no mention of Vice President Joe Biden from Senator Elizabeth Warren despite a series of swipes between the two front runners. First, on the radio.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you don't agree with Elizabeth Warren, you must somehow be not a Democrat, you must somehow the corrupt, you must not be as smart as she.
SANTIAGO: Then at a fundraiser, Biden continuing to paint Warren as an elitist, never mentioning her name but declaring, "Now the people that are running against me tell me I'm naive. One said I should be in the Republican primary. God love her. That's not the way you get things done."
She started it, he says. But Biden was responding to what Warren had said when she released her plan to pay for Medicare for all which Biden's campaign called mathematical gymnastics, sleight of hand and double talk.
WARREN: If Joe Biden doesn't like that, I'm just not sure where he's going.
SANTIAGO: Warren adding Democrats will not win by repeating Republican talking points.
WARREN: If anyone wants to defend keeping those high profits for insurance companies and those high profits for drug companies, then I think they're running in the wrong presidential primaries.
BIDEN: Thank you very much.
WARREN: For Biden, a shift in approach. A source close to Biden's campaign telling CNN, it is no longer that she's a liar, it's Warren is a smarty britches who thinks if you don't agree with her, you're an idiot. The late CNN poll of polls shows a tight race nationally with Biden at 27 percent and Warren at 23 percent.
Warren steadily rising not the case for Biden who has made the pitch to voters that he can reach across the aisle to get things done and win over moderates.
WARREN: We are in a time of crisis. And Washington insiders and political pundits and even people in our own party don't want to admit it.
SANTIAGO: Warren says that's not enough and pushes for bold, progressive change that is now the focus of sharpen criticism from Biden.
BIDEN: It takes a lot more than plans. We're not electing the planner.
SANTIAGO: And here in Raleigh, North Carolina tonight Senator Warren will be taking the stage, will be joined by fellow Democrat of Massachusetts Representative Ayanna Presley with her endorsement, Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Leyla Santiago in the beautiful Tar Heels State, thank you so much. Earlier today Vice President Pence officially added the Trump-Pence ticket to the ballot for the New Hampshire primary. And this time around, the Trump camp does not plan on losing the Granite State in the general election. CNN's Jeff Zeleny has this inside look.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: Keep America great. New Hampshire, we need for more years for President Donald Trump.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: And now it's official. President Trump is on the 2020 ballot with Vice President Pence signing the ceremonial paperwork today for the New Hampshire primary. As a parade of Democrats and even a few longshot Republicans pass through the first in the nation primary state, Team Trump is taking advantage of its head start.
While the President loves his big rallies, the Trump reelection campaign is also going small inside living rooms like this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're members of the women for Trump group, right? This is the official year.
ZELENY: They come wearing Trump hats in shirts, women both young and old, with a campaign collecting names of those supporting the president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who in here is done hearing about the impeachment madness? Anyone?
ZELENY: Under fire in Washington, across America, the Trump campaign is focusing on things it can control through intimate organizing events.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He has me hope again in America.
ZELENY: Regina Barnes has been a Trump fan from day one.
REGINA BARNES, TRUMP SUPPORTER: The rallies are great, but I think that when he's not in a rally, we need to keep the momentum going.
ZELENY: So for the next year, what do you plan to commit to do to elect -- reelect President Trump?
BARNES: Just talk about him all the time. Get the word out. Once you start talking about it, I think it makes people feel a lot more comfortable to be open to talk about it.
ZELENY: For Trump, the 2020 battleground begins where the 2016 campaign ended, fighting to defend once blue states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and trying to hold Iowa, Ohio, and Florida. The campaign is also working to expand its map trying to flip to have its narrowest defeats in Minnesota and here in New Hampshire, where Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by 2,736 votes or less than one percent.
So far the Trump campaign and its outside allies are dramatically outspending most Democratic candidates investing $33 million on Facebook and Google ads and nearly $8 million on television spots.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's no Mr. Nice Guy, but sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington.
ZELENY: Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee said Democrats underestimate Trump at their own peril.
RONNA MCDANIEL, CHAIRWOMAN, RNC: I think that Democrats don't understand the Trump voter in a lot of ways. That's important to understand why he connects and why they're so engaged with him and will continue to turn out and fight for him.
ZELENY: Now, there's no question, Jake. Many of those women we met were true Trump believers. That is the point. The campaign trying to find them, identify them, and urge them into finding their friends now. They know they have problems in the suburbs across the country. One thing is clearer, the Trump campaign has a head start on who other Democratic rival maybe next year. Jake?
TAPPER: Jeff Zeleny in New Hampshire for us, thank you so much, sir. Connecting the dots in the Roger Stone trial. According to prosecutors, it's getting very close to President Trump. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our "POLITICS LEAD" now, prosecutors presenting a line chart in the Roger Stone trial today showing just how closely tied Stone was to the Trump campaign and to Trump himself in the lead up to the 2016 election citing dozens of phone calls between the President and his associates.
Stone is facing charges of lying to Congress and obstructing justice in the Russia investigation. Joining me now to talk about it former Federal Prosecutor Elie Honig. Elie, thanks so much for being here. Could this trial actually have any implications for President Trump or anyone around him?
ELIE HONIG, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Potentially. If there's evidence that Donald Trump or someone around him instructed or encouraged Roger Stone to coordinate with Wikileaks, then theoretically, there could be criminal charges for conspiracy to obtain foreign election aid, for conspiracy to obtain stolen property.
The problem is that ship has already sailed. Robert Mueller has already packed up his shop and made clear he's not charging those people. But bigger picture, the central theme of the Roger Stone trial really reinforces the central theme of what we're seeing with the Ukraine impeachment inquiry, which is that Donald Trump and people around him were eager and encouraged for an election interference.
TAPPER: And Stone's associated Randy Credico who Stone is accused of threatening -- I think he threatened his cat or his dog --
HONIG: Dog, yes.
TAPPER: Is on the stand right now. Prosecutors are calling Steve Bannon and Rick Gates to testify on behalf of the prosecution. How might those testimonies play out?
HONIG: So Gates and Bannon are to me two ends of the spectrum of cooperators. Rick Gates is your exemplary cooperator. He's come clean, he testified in the Manafort trial, the jury credited him, there was a conviction. He's really the only person in this whole case who's cooperated properly. Bannon on the other hand, is a real wild card. It's all about credibility. I would think twice and a third time if I was a prosecutor writing my case on someone like Steve Bannon.
TAPPER: All right, Elie Honig, thanks so much. I appreciate it. You can follow me on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter @JAKETAPPER, you can tweet the show @THELEADCNN. Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks so much for watching. I'll see you tomorrow.