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Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) Discusses Impeachment; 2020 Race; Medicare For All; Senate GOP Debates Using Bidens in Impeachment Trial; Billionaire Bill Gates Criticizes Warren's Tax On Super Rich To Fund Medicare For All; France's President: Trump Causing "Brain Death" Of NATO. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired November 7, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: So are other members of the leadership, are the Democratic leadership in total, are they on board with the notion of not limiting it to Ukraine but expanding it to also include Robert Mueller's report?
REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): I don't know that. I think that will be part of our deliberative process. They're not wrong in putting a preeminence on Ukraine because that's clear, that narrative is quite understandable and is in front of us.
But I believe obstruction has to be addressed or we risk setting up a negative precedent that obstruction somehow is OK if it's the president of the United States. And I don't think we want that precedent.
BASH: I want to ask quickly, before I let you go, a 2020 question. The presidential race is likely to be won and lost in the country's suburbs. You represent a suburban district. Do you think it would hurt you and your fellow Democrats to have a nominee who supports Medicare for All?
CONNOLLY: I think if we're going to have a nominee who supports Medicare for All, it's going to have to be very carefully outlined. I think Medicare for All, a lot of it has been bumper-sticker slogans as opposed to careful details.
BASH: Would Elizabeth Warren has given a very, very detailed plan so far. Would that plan fly in the suburbs, like yours, or even more --
CONNOLLY: Well, I still think more details are necessary. There are a lot of experts who believe that she underestimated the cost. We need to explore that.
BASH: Do you?
CONNOLLY: Look, I do. I think there are 160, 180 million Americans with private insurance and like it. And I think Democrats threaten that insurance at their own peril.
We are on a winning streak. We have to be very careful not to upset that.
BASH: Thank you so much. I appreciate that. And I appreciate you joining me today, Gerry Connolly.
CONNOLLY: My pleasure. Thanks, Dana.
BASH: And one -- thank you.
One of the president's biggest allies in Congress is pushing back on the growing chorus of Republicans demanding that Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, testify in the impeachment inquiry. We'll talk about that and much more, next.
BASH: As Republicans who run the Senate get ready to tackle an impeachment trial there, they're debating whether or not on use the process as a way to scrutinize former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Some Trump allies are pushing to call them as witnesses. Others say it would come off as politically motivated. And some Democrats say it would be like a rolling grenade down the aisle of the Senate.
Here with me now is former Republican Senator, CNN Senior Political Commentator, Rick Santorum.
First, just let me ask you about the notion of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, being called by Republicans to testify. Good idea or bad idea?
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's all a larger political calculus as to how broad of a trial do you want. This is really the debate that's going on.
I was in the Senate at the time of the Clinton impeachment, and that was the big issue. Who do you call? Do you have witnesses? Do you have them cross-examined?
How much authority to give to the other side to call witnesses. Because if you call Joe and Hunter Biden, they're going to call Donald Trump. Do you have the president come down to the floor?
We wanted Bill Clinton, the House Republicans wanted Bill Clinton to come testify on the Senate floor, and his counsel said, no, we're not doing it.
BASH: For those who don't know the history of Rick Santorum as I do, since I first met you, covering you during that time. You had sort of recently been elected to the Senate so you still had some ties to the Senate and the House, and you negotiated between the Republicans in the Senate and the House.
SANTORUM: Yes, I was considered the House broker in this whole process. Because the Senate Democrats did want to have a trial. They wanted to have a vote and be done. They wanted to, in a sense, call this political charade that the House Republicans were involved in just that and they wanted it ended.
There are calls now for Senate Republicans to do the same thing. Basically --
BASH: There are. By a lot of Republicans.
SANTORUM: By a lot of Republicans saying this is a political charade. It was done even more in a partisan basis than what the Clinton impeachment was, which was true, by the way.
The House Republicans, as much as certainly it was political to go after Bill Clinton, had a fair and open process that Bill Clinton had a chance and his lawyers had a chance. Not necessarily the case here.
Republicans are saying, let's just shut this off. Others are saying, as you heard here with Biden, no, we want a full trial, we want to expose this for the charade that it is.
That's -- the Democrats are -- Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are going to be caught because a lot of them would love to see a full- blown trial. But at the same time, there's peril to that. Spending all this time on it. Having the administration have their day in court to cross-examine these witnesses could be a bad day for us.
BASH: What do you think the possibility is that he would get called and have to go and testify in his own impeachment trial?
SANTORUM: Bill Clinton had to testify in his own impeachment trial but he did so with a videotape. They were able to interview him via videotape but he was not going to submit himself before the Congress and testify.
I suspect if they do a trial or some version of a trial, the president is going to have to put some things on the record.
So that's the rub between the Republicans saying, we just want to ignore this, do we want to do an abbreviated trial or a full-blown trial?
BASH: One question before I let you go. I also covered you extensively when you were the chief communicator for Senate Republicans. You were the chair of the conference there.
Watching what your fellow Republicans are doing, like 50 different types of defenses today, as I said before, throwing spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks, is that a good strategy? SANTORUM: I think part of the problem --
BASH: By the way, all of it is not the actual substance of what we've heard.
SANTORUM: No, no. I think part of the problem is, as much as we think we've heard a lot about the Ukraine situation, we still don't know a lot. The White House is telling Republicans, look, give us an opportunity to cross-examine all these witnesses and their stories are going to fall apart. This is not what everyone is suggesting it is.
So I think Republicans are doing just what you said. Everybody is sort of doing whatever they can to hold off the horde until a more definitive story comes out, because right now, they really don't have one.
BASH: And the notion the Trump administration was too inept to do a quid pro quo?
SANTORUM: I know Lindsey said that. And I think that goes back to the Mueller investigation --
SANTORUM: -- yes, which is they couldn't run their own campaign, but much less collude with someone else to run a campaign. I'm not sure I buy that. But it's a fun line.
BASH: Points for creativity.
SANTORUM: You always give points for creativity.
BASH: Senator Rick Santorum, thank you for joining us --
BASH: -- and giving us the history lesson.
Billionaire Bill Gates won't say if he would vote for Elizabeth Warren over President Trump. Hear his reasons, next.
And a blunt assessment from the French President Macron who warns President Trump is killing NATO, which he says is, quote, "brain dead."
BASH: Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, joining the list of billionaires speaking out against presidential hopeful and Senator Elizabeth Warren and her plan to tax the super rich.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Have you ever talked with Elizabeth Warren about it before?
BILL GATES, FOUNDER, MICROSOFT: I have not.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Would you? Would you want to?
GATES: I'm not sure how open-minded she is or that she would even be willing to sit down with somebody who has large amounts of money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: As part of Warren's Medicare for All plan, the wealthy would pay more in taxes to help cover the costs.
Here with me now is former governor of Virginia and former DNC chair, Terry McAuliffe.
Let's get real here, no one can match Bill Gates --
BASH: -- and the type of wealth she's talking about.
Talk about the Medicare for All plan and what that does if she's the nominee, to Democrats' chances against Bill Clinton.
BASH: I mean, I see you and I see Bill Clinton. Against Donald Trump.
TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: When people look at Medicare for All and realize they could lose their private insurance, it drops dramatically. I think only 20 percent of Democrats are for it.
We have real issues on health care. People are worked about medical care costs. We're not talking about that. We're confusing people. It's problematic.
If you look at what happened this week, Dana, in Virginia and Kentucky. Why did we win in those two states? It's the issue of health care. That is an issue that people support the Democrats on. And we shouldn't give it away and confuse folks.
I don't like this Warren-Biden fight going on, either.
BASH: I'll ask you about that in a second.
BASH: But if Elizabeth Warren was here, she would say she's not confusing people, she's got a clear plan now that would help people in their health care costs.
MCAULIFFE: Like I said, 20 percent of Democrats don't like the idea they lose their private insurance. She has to get through that.
That's what these campaigns are all about. She's very substantive. Trump doesn't get asked substantive questions. It's a big thing to move it to the next level.
I come back to the point we better focus on what people are concerned about every day, lowering prescription drug prices. That's what they face every single day.
This idea out here, I'd like people to get coverage but I don't want to lose my private insurance, is somewhat confusing.
BASH: You alluded to the fact that Vice President Biden attacked Elizabeth Warren saying an elitist attitude. In fairness, he was responding to her basically saying he's effectively acting like a Republican.
MCAULIFFE: I don't like any of this. First of all --
BASH: Isn't this what the nomination process is all about?
MCAULIFFE: She accused him of being a Republican and he came back -- we have bigger issues.
We just came off a huge victory in Kentucky and Virginia. We picked up suburban women all over the country.
You look at some of these elections up in Pennsylvania, what we were able to do in Ohio, in Missouri. We won in the suburbs of St. Louis on a House seat there.
Let's not give this away. Talk about the issues that matter. The name calling back and forth is not good.
BASH: You mentioned what happened in Virginia, fellow Democrats won control of the House and Senate. Listen to what FOX News anchor, Laura Ingraham, said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The undeniable fact is that demographic changes throughout the state, but essentially in northern Virginia, have altered what was once a moderate to right-of-center state.
Virginia's foreign-born population nearly doubled from 2000 to 2017. And immigrants are mostly concentrated in northern Virginia, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, outside of D.C., and they are altering the demographic makeup of the state. (END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Former governor of Virginia, your response?
MCAULIFFE: I don't know what she's talking about. First, if you look where we won, we won Prince William, we won in Loudon. College- educated women have left Trump in droves.
BASH: What about the notion and term "foreign born"?
Listen, she ought to take her racist policies, go sit with Donald Trump and have a good afternoon talking to each other. We don't want that in the commonwealth of Virginia. We are a strong state because of our diversity.
BASH: But the demographics are shifting regardless of the term she used.
MCAULIFFE: America is shifting. That diversity makes us the strong country we are. It makes Virginia strong. We love our diversity.
And if Laura doesn't like it -- I think she lives in Virginia, I'm not sure -- she can move out of Virginia. We don't want that racists talk in our state.
We had big wins. Why? We discussed issues that matters to people. First time in 26 years, the House, Senate and the governor's mansion. We are inclusive, open, welcoming. We're booming. That's Virginia.
BASH: Terry McAuliffe, always good to talk to you. Not Bill Clinton. Thank you.
MCAULIFFE: Virginia's for lovers.
BASH: I've seen that on bumper stickers.
BASH: Thank you so much.
Less than a month before NATO countries gather in London, the French president is warning that the group is "brain dead" and allies can no longer rely on the U.S. to defend them. That's next.
BASH: NATO is going brain dead. That's sober assessment is coming from French President Emmanuel Macron, attributing to America's indifference to the alliance. And adds that, under President Trump, the U.S. appears to have turned its back on Europe. Let's talk now to CNN chief international anchor, Christiane Amanpour.
Christiane, looking at this, it seems as though Macron is sending up a flare?
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Certainly.
BASH: Warning ahead of the big NATO summit coming up that NATO is in trouble. What are you hearing?
AMANPOUR: Yes. I think you're absolutely right. It's a warning flare and a mark of massive frustration because Europe dealt with a consistent assault on NATO even before President Trump was elected. Remember, just before the Republican convention in 2016, he called it obsolete and that sent everybody into a tailspin.
In the intervening three years, there has been a gradual but systemic assault essentially on the trappings of NATO, the function of NATO and commitment by the United States to NATO.
Macron is frustrated, and he used that word, which is very dramatic and caused a lot of headlines.
Basically, what he's saying is, "brain dead," in other words, the head, the command structure, the command and control of NATO, is a political alliance between the United States and all of its European allies and, of course, Turkey. So he's saying, look, the U.S. is going it alone in many instances.
What was this business about pulling out the alliance from a real shared and joint interest in Syria? What was it about giving a green light to another NATO ally who had aggressive intentions going into Syria? All of this unilaterally with no coordination. That is what Macron means.
Of course, the armies, the militaries, and all of the tiers that work on the ground to conduct and complete successful operations do work very well indeed. But as Macron says, strategically and politically, there's a problem.
BASH: And let's talk about one of the meanings of this and ramifications of this. A weak NATO, a NATO that does not adhere to Article V, to defend fellow alliance members, is exactly what Vladimir Putin wants. Right?
AMANPOUR: Well, of course. Vladimir Putin's intention for the last many years has been to systematically weaken all Western institutions. Whether it's the E.U., whether it's NATO, whatever it might be.
You see his moves obviously in Crimea and Ukraine directed at the heart of Europe, the heart of the Western alliance. His constant provocations with overflights and near flights and near misses on the western/eastern border.
And, of course, what's going on now, capitalizing on President Trump's sort of not 100 percent commitment to NATO and what it stands for. But I must say, the other major leader in Europe is German chancellor,
Angela Merkel, who has already poured cold water on Macron's assessment, saying she thinks the term is incredibly "drastic" -- her word. And if there's an issue with NATO, it needs to be corrected and fixed, not dismissed and cast onto the dust heap.
I think everybody in Europe is basically very frustrated with the U.S. under the Trump administration. Doesn't know how to count on it in traditional alliance terms.
And obviously, with this NATO summit coming up here in London in December, it's the focus of a lot of attention.
BASH: Sure is.
Christiane Amanpour, always great to get your insight and expertise. Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Thank you.
BASH: And that's it for me.
"NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now.