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Michael Bloomberg Enters Democratic Race for President; Mulvaney Subpoenaed to Appear Before House Committees Today; State Department Official Outlines Trump's Demands of Ukraine. Aired 6- 6:30a ET

Aired November 8, 2019 - 06:00   ET



CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS WRITER AND EDITOR AT LARGE: Bloomberg sees an opening. He wants to be president, so he takes it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It shows that there's a weakness or something lacking in the field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that Bloomberg's wanted to do this all along.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rudy Giuliani's influence is coming into focus, with the release of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent's testimony transcript.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Giuliani is all over the place and is himself in legal jeopardy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats have a lot of information already. And it would be great to have Mick Mulvaney.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's been in the middle of this. He was actually putting a freeze on aid to Ukraine.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, November 8. It's 6 a.m. here in New York. Alisyn is away. Bianna Golodryga joins me this morning.


BERMAN: All over the place --

GOLODRYGA: So much news. BERMAN: -- we have news. We're going to begin with the thunderclap in the race for president that can only be describes as Bloomberg late than never.

Former New York City mayor and multi-multi-billionaire Michael Bloomberg is preparing to enter the Democratic race for president. Now, in November. This after declining to jump in several months ago.

CNN has learned that Bloomberg spoke with the head of the DNC last night and has been making calls to connected Democrats, including a handful in Iowa. So what moved the 77-year-old to reconsider? What does it say about Joe Biden and the current field of Democratic contenders? And what are Bloomberg's chances? We have it all covered.

GOLODRYGA: And what does the president think about this, too? So many questions this morning.

We also have major developments ahead of next week's televised impeachment hearings. Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney subpoenaed to testify this morning. But no surprise here, he is not expected to appear.

Also a lawyer for the whistle-blower sending a cease-and-desist letter to the White House, demanding that President Trump stop attacking his client, saying that it's putting his client in danger.

And "The New York Times" reports that in September, when crucial military aid was being held up by the Trump administration, Ukraine's president was preparing to bow to President Trump's demands and announce an investigation into Biden in an interview with our own Fareed Zakaria.

Well, just-released transcripts show to State Department official George Kent testified that he saw President Trump's demands for Ukraine to initiate politically-motivated prosecutions as corrupt. That's big.

BERMAN: We're going to begin, though, with the Democratic race for president and what David Axelrod described as the thunder clap. Michael Bloomberg getting in.

CNN's Cristina Alesci here with the top story -- Cristina.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. No surprise that Michael Bloomberg wants to be president. But what is somewhat surprising is that he may jump in this late. But now that Biden is struggling, Bloomberg sees a potential path for another centrist.


ALESCI (voice-over): Billionaire businessman and former New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, preparing for a potential 2020 run. A spokesperson tells CNN that Bloomberg will file necessary paperwork to get on the Democratic primary ballot in Alabama. That's despite suggesting earlier this year that he was ruling out a presidential run.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: When you look at the layout of who's going to vote and where the country is, I would be very unlikely to get re-elected -- to get elected, but in the private sector, I can make a difference.

ALESCI: While Bloomberg is filing now to meet the state's early deadline, he has yet to make a final decision on entering the race.

ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a phenomenal entrepreneur and businessman. I will say that I think it would be very tough for someone to jump into the race at this point in time.

ALESCI: A person familiar with Bloomberg's thinking says he's reconsidering the run because of his longtime adversary, President Trump.

BLOOMBERG: I'm a New Yorker, and I know a con when I see one.

ALESCI: CNN has learned that Bloomberg is concerned that the Democrats in the race can't defeat the president. That includes former Vice President Joe Biden.

Bloomberg also eyeing Senator Warren's rise in the polls. A source telling CNN, "He certainly disagrees with a lot of what she's put out there, but he thinks she's smart and has put a lot of thought into her policies."

Progressive Democratic candidates speaking out against the potential rival, who "Forbes" says is worth about $52 billion. Senator Sanders' campaign manager lashing out at Bloomberg, stating, "More billionaires seeking more political power surely isn't the change America needs."

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not enough just to have somebody come in. Anybody. And say they're going to buy this election.

ALESCI: Senator Warren also tweeting out her tax calculator for billionaires. Under Warren's tax plan, it figures Bloomberg would pay over $3 billion.


ALESCI: Now, of course, Bloomberg hasn't made a final decision, but a source reminded me last night that Bloomberg likes to take big risks.

The next thing I'm watching for, whether or not he files to run in other states like next week, like New Hampshire next week. According to everything I'm hearing, he will -- John, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: He doesn't have much time to do that, too. Another big headline this morning.

BERMAN: Yes, we'll know all this.

GOLODRYGA: We're going to talk more about it. BERMAN: We'll know all this within the next seven days. I mean, I

don't think you file in Alabama unless you're going to run.


BERMAN: But we'll for sure if he files in New Hampshire.

GOLODRYGA: I like that, thunder clap. David Axelrod.

BERMAN: That's what David -- yes.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. Described it as.

Well, you've never been described this way, but one person surely has. How about this for a description? It's like showing up at a nursing home and finding your elderly uncle running pantless across the courtyard and cursing loudly.

BERMAN: Only because I don't swear.

GOLODRYGA: You would never be described that way, John Berman. But that's how Anonymous, the unnamed Trump official, describes waking up to President Trump's tweets. Wow. We have more stunning excerpts coming from the book, coming up next.


BERMAN: So we have new details this morning about Michael Bloomberg preparing to enter the presidential race. He plans to file to be on the Democratic primary ballot in Alabama. The reason for Alabama is the deadline there is today. He has to do it by now.

CNN has learned that Bloomberg spoke with the head of the DNC last night. He's been making all kinds of calls.


Joining us now, "The New York times" reporter who broke this story, CNN political analyst Alex Burns.

Alex, thanks for being with us. Congratulations. You broke this wide open yesterday afternoon. Why? What does Michael Bloomberg see today that he didn't see a few months ago?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, what -- the biggest change from March, when he announced he would not run for president, is that back then he looked at this race, did a lot of polling, and concluded Joe Biden is just too popular. If he runs, he is dominant in that centrist lane, and there's not a space for a guy like me.

That's not what Bloomberg sees today. He has been doing consistent polling in recent weeks to examine this race, to see if there's an opening, to check in on the state of the field. He sees Biden as much, much weaker than the start of the year, though not, by any means, a cooked goose.

And he looks at the lefty candidates in the primary and says, I don't think these people can win the general election.

Some of this may be Bloomberg, who's always wanted to run for president, looking for reasons to run for president. But he is seeing reasons that he didn't see at the beginning of the year.

GOLODRYGA: You talk about him worried that Biden is losing in popularity. Mike Bloomberg is not very popular in this country either. Why not take his vast wealth and support one of the other moderate candidates, like Amy Klobuchar or like Michael Bennet? Why not do that?

BURNS: He's never really done anything like that at the presidential level, right? That he has gotten behind congressional candidates, Senate candidates, you know, candidates at the state level, including in Virginia just this last week.

But he has never said, I believe so strongly in this one other person and their presidential ambitions that I'm going to spend a billion dollars electing somebody else. And on a human level, you can kind of understand that.

GOLODRYGA: So was he emboldened by what he saw what his money could do in the Virginia election? Because as we just played, Kate Bolduan a few weeks ago interviewed him, and he said that he wouldn't be able to make a difference. How did we see such a huge change in just a few weeks?

BERMAN: And that was money to fight gun violence.


BERMAN: He poured $2.5 million in, in support of Democrats there.

BURNS: I think what he has seen over the last couple years is that his message resonates in the moderate areas of the country that he believes Democrats need to win in order to win general elections. Places like the suburbs of northern Virginia. Places including in some red states, where there are suburban districts and - -and precincts like in Kentucky this week that helped flip that -- appears to have helped flip that governor's race to the Democrats.

So I don't know that he looks at the results in Virginia and says, that's the sign that I needed in order to run for president, but he has been getting closer and closer just on a personal level to the Democratic Party establishment. He has become such a core funder of the Democrats at every level of the ballot. At the federal level, state, and in some local elections, as well.

And I do think that he and his advisers believe there's now a level of good will attached to Michael Bloomberg in at least Democratic elite circles that he's not going to get a uniformly hostile reception in this race.

BERMAN: At least there was that good will until about 4:30 when you published your story yesterday.


BERMAN: And the news all broke, and this became real. So what's the path that they see?

BURNS: Well, it's a challenging path. There's no question about that. That he is not a natural fit, culturally, for a whole lot of the states early on the primary map.

His best bet, they have consistently believed, is to make some kind of a move in New Hampshire, which is a somewhat more moderate state, allows independents to vote in primary parties. So this message of being an outsider who has not been a partisan, not an ideological kind of guy, could get him some kind of traction there.

But the reality of his immense personal wealth is that he doesn't necessarily need to win an early state in order to press forward in the race. That for, basically, anybody else in this race except for Tom Steyer, the other billionaire, although a lesser billionaire.

BERMAN: Yes. Tom Steyer is chump change compared to Michael Bloomberg.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. A single-digit billionaire versus double-digit.

BURNS: A rounding error for Michael Bloomberg.

With the exception of Tom Steyer, everybody else, besides again the lefty candidates, needs to do very well in those early states in order to have the financial support to compete in the really big, expensive super Tuesday states like California and Texas.

We know that Bernie Sanders is going to have the resources to do that. Looks very much like Elizabeth Warren will have the resources to do that. If you are a Joe Biden, it's tough to compete in California if you haven't done well in those early states and Texas, as well.

So if you're Mike Bloomberg, you look to make something in New Hampshire to not embarrass yourself in the four early states. And then you do have the money to make a big bet on Super Tuesday.

BERMAN: How much money? Let's put it up.

GOLODRYGA: Let's put it up. Can't get enough of this graphic. So we're talking about the war between the billionaires. And look at the net worth. Bloomberg, $52 billion, versus Trump's net worth of $3.1 billion.

We have not heard from President Trump yet on Bloomberg's news. I'm sure we will get a tweet imminently. What does that graphic do to President Trump, though?

BURNS: Look, I think that, for the president, on a bunch of different levels, that's scary in a general election. I think that there's all kinds of, you know, more -- deeper emotional things than it probably does to President Trump. But on a practical level, it's scary to think about going up against

that in a general election. Money is one of the few assets that President Trump clearly has over the Democrats right now in this campaign.


And in an election against Mike Bloomberg, not only can Michael Bloomberg wipe that out with his own personal checkbook, but a lot of those wealthy donors in the political middle who have been flirting with President Trump probably do not side with him over Mike Bloomberg.

BERMAN: Alex Burns, terrific break yesterday. Thanks for being with us this morning.

We're going to have much more time to talk about Bloomberg entering the race and, perhaps, how the constituencies with Joe Biden don't line up as perfectly as some might assume.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. We have not heard from Joe Biden. He hasn't weighed in on this news, either.

But a quick programming note. Former Vice President Joe Biden will take questions from Iowa voters in a special CNN town hall. That's next Monday at 9 p.m. Eastern. I guess we can be sure he's going to be addressing this issue, as well.

BERMAN: Indeed. All right. So you scratch your back, I scratch yours. That's the way one witness describes Rudy Giuliani's dealings with Ukraine. We'll break down what else we have learned from a top State Department official.

Also, a new possible defense of the president from Republicans, making Rudy Giuliani the fall guy. Next.



GOLODRYGA: All right. Breaking overnight, House investigators subpoenaing President Trump's acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney. Mulvaney is scheduled to testify this morning, but no surprise here, he is not expected to appear.

Joining us now, CNN political commentator, Joe Lockhart. He is President Clinton's former press secretary. And CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero. She's a former counsel to the U.S. assistant attorney general. Thank you both for joining us.

So what do you make, Joe, of the fact that Mick Mulvaney was subpoenaed, especially given what we saw from him when he said on the podium that there's nothing wrong and get -- get over it. Get over the quid pro quo.

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think if Mick Mulvaney testified, which I agree he won't, he -- he fills you in on two important things.

One is that, you know, the president's role in directing this policy. Chief of staff traditionally is in the Oval Office half the day and, you know, implementing the orders of the president.

The second thing is just exactly what happened with between Mulvaney and OMB. Because that is what held the money up. The president can say all he wants -- hold the money up -- and other people can weigh in. OMB actually disperses the money. Those are two key pieces to the puzzle, and if he did testify, we'd know a lot more.

BERMAN: It's interesting to me that the Democrats were calling Mulvaney. He's not going to show. Because Mulvaney appears in some new reporting in "The Washington Post" this morning, which is yet a new -- yet a new Republican defense of the president, which is essentially it wasn't the president. It was these other guys doing bad things.

Let me read you a clip of that, Carrie. "As Republicans argue that most of the testimony against Trump is based on faulty second-hand information, they are sowing doubts about whether Sondland, Giuliani, and Mulvaney were actually representing the president or freelancing to produce [SIC] their own agendas. The GOP is effectively offering up the three to be fall guys."

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, Rudy Giuliani took care of that on Twitter two days ago when he said, I was acting solely in the defense interests of my client, Donald Trump. So, you know, I'm paraphrasing his tweet, but he has said very clearly, I was there doing Donald Trump's business.

And there are now witness after witness after witness who has said that this was a coordinated effort amongst them. I think there -- it is -- it's a talking point if they're going to try to put some distance in between Rudy Giuliani and this effort, but it is absolutely clear from the president's own phone call with President Zelensky that has been released. So there's only so far that they can say don't believe what we're all seeing in print and from the transcripts.

GOLODRYGA: Right. Yet another defense from Republicans. What we haven't seen the president sign onto this defense, right? Just like there was no quid pro quo from the president's standpoint. Republicans say, maybe there was quid pro quo, but it's not impeachable, right?

So where does this go forward from here, given that the president may want to protect Rudy Giuliani, given what Rudy Giuliani himself has tweeted about the president? He may not be the right person to throw under the bus.

CORDERO: Well, you know, the president isn't the most loyal person. So I wouldn't be particularly surprised if he does try to put distance to self-preserve himself in his position.

But look, Congress is going to go to open public hearings next week. And they have some key witnesses. And I don't think they need a Mick Mulvaney or a Rudy Giuliani who's going to come in and have a circus- like atmosphere who is going to be belligerent with members of Congress.

What they need is the key fact witnesses, the individuals who have been in public service for decades, who are credible and who are going to be able to tell the American public what the actual story was.

BERMAN: And next week that's Ambassador William Taylor, that's George Kent who we heard from yesterday, and Masha Yovanovitch.

Let me read you some of transcript of George Kent's deposition, Joe. He says, among other things, "POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to the microphone and say investigations, Biden, and Clinton." Also says, "Mr. Giuliani at that point had been carrying on a campaign for several months full of lies and incorrect information about Ambassador Yovanovitch. So this was a continuation of his campaign of lies."

To me, what George Kent did in his deposition was to explain why he thinks it's wrong. The Democrats need to prove that it happened. That's abundantly clear at this point. But also that it's wrong and why it's wrong. How does George Kent get to that?

LOCKHART: Well, you know, I think he gives context to all of this, which is this isn't -- as I like to say, it's not a victimless crime. There was -- no one -- you know, I think they'll argue no one was hurt, because the aid eventually went.


But this -- there are victims. The State Department. The career foreign service officers were smeared and, you know, their careers were ruined.

The Ukraine military desperately needed this aid. This -- this war is going on. And, you know, there are -- you know, there were lives at stake while we were planning personal politics.

So I think he -- he kind of fills in the blank of why we should all care about this, you know, as opposed to the normal political dealings that go on in Washington?

GOLODRYGA: It running counter to U.S. foreign policy.


CORDERO: Well, but beyond that, it's not just that it ran foreign -- counter to what we all think is the normal policy to Ukraine. It's that it's corrupt and that they were using the office for personal political gain. And that's the piece that they have to make in the hearings.

BERMAN: It's not a shadow foreign policy what this is.

GOLODRYGA: It wasn't foreign policy.

BERMAN: Doing some work for it.

All right. Carrie, Joe, thank you very much.

In a new book, an anonymous Trump administration official likens President Trump's crisis management to a, quote, "12-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately." This astonishing portrait of the president, next.