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Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) Weighs In On Bloomberg's Presidential Bid; President Trump Ordered To Pay $2 Million For Misusing Foundation Funds; Orangutans Threatened As Borneo Rainforest Burns. Aired 7:30- 8a ET

Aired November 8, 2019 - 07:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: "The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared."

What's your reaction to the -- what seems to be the probable entry of Michael Bloomberg?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Well, John, do you think the country really wants another New York billionaire after Donald Trump? Usually, we elect the opposite. And so, I just don't think this is the time where his vision or his ideas are going to resonate.

BERMAN: Do you support the causes that Michael Bloomberg has put an enormous amount of money behind? He put a lot of money into Virginia to elect candidates who would fight gun violence. He's put an enormous amount of money into people supporting efforts to fight climate change.

KHANNA: Sure. There are places that I think he has made valuable contributions on climate change, on gun violence, but there are a lot of other areas where I am concerned.

His comments on the MeToo movement, his comments about stop and frisk and the policies had there. I don't think he has progressive economic ideas.

And frankly, I just don't think this country needs another billionaire running for political office. I think there are plenty of people from working-class backgrounds or other backgrounds that should be leading.

BERMAN: What is the level of concern, finally, that an impeachment trial in the Senate, if you pass articles in the House and ultimately vote to impeach the president -- that an impeachment trial in the Senate would take Sen. Sanders and some of these other senators running for president off the campaign trail?

KHANNA: They have a constitutional duty to do their jobs and I don't think that should weigh into our decision. I mean, obviously, it would be a disruption -- but ultimately, we all have sworn an oath to the Constitution and we have to put that as the highest priority.

BERMAN: Congressman Ro Khanna, thanks for being with us this morning.

KHANNA: Thank you, John.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Quite ambitious, him saying that this investigation could be over by Christmastime -- at the end of the year.

BERMAN: That's what they want -- that's what they want. But that does put the senators in a bind who want to run for president and will have to sit in an impeachment trial in January.

GOLODRYGA: It takes them away from the trail.

Well, Mike Bloomberg preparing to mount a 2020 bid, but do voters want another Democrat in the race? What do the polls tell us? We'll tell you, coming up next.



GOLODRYGA: I love that music.

Well, a big shakeup in the 2020 race as billionaire businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is preparing for a presidential run. Bloomberg is filing paperwork to enter the Alabama Democratic primary today.

And joining us now is CNN senior politics writer and analyst, Harry Enten. Harry, good morning to you.


GOLODRYGA: As always, you come with polls in hand.

ENTEN: I come with polls in hand. So let me just give you a picture, perhaps, into why Mike Bloomberg has decided to get into this and that is what I call a very messy Iowa caucus at this point, right?

We have these four candidates in the top tier. Elizabeth Warren at only 20 percent, who is technically leading the field. But remember, this is all within the margin of error. And, Joe Biden, right here, at 15 percent.

And I think that this is rather important that Mike Bloomberg sees these two very liberal candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, right at the top tier. And he's wondering whether or not Joe Biden can really sort of hold onto this -- this more center lane.

And we can see the numbers here in Iowa, how basically over the last year we've seen Biden's numbers drop in half from 32 percent in December, then down to 27 percent in March, 23 percent in June, 20 percent in September, and now down to 17 percent in the recent Quinnipiac University poll.

BERMAN: And, Mike Bloomberg's people say this is all about beating Donald Trump. He desperately wants to be the president.

ENTEN: Right. And I think that this is rather important is that he is with the Democratic voters on this, right? What's more important for the Democratic nominee? Fifty-four percent in a recent CNN poll said beating Donald Trump versus just 39 percent share your positions on the issues.

And so, he's thinking to himself -- OK, look at these polls that I'm seeing right now. Normally, we've been paying attention to these national polls which show all the top Democrats beating Donald Trump.

But look at those six closest states that Trump won in 2016. We saw -- we saw this earlier this week, right? In those swing states -- Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin -- Biden was up by only a point in those states. Sanders and Warren were both down, but within the margin of error, but a very tight race.

And, Bloomberg's saying I've got to beat Trump, I've got to beat Trump. And I'm not sure any of these candidates can.


BERMAN: I'm not so sure his numbers would be different in the six battlegrounds but --

ENTEN: Neither am I.

GOLODRYGA: Right, right -- and Bloomberg seems to be in the school of thought that Democrats just aren't satisfied --

ENTEN: Right.

GOLODRYGA: -- with the candidates that we're seeing in the field right now. But your numbers suggest that may not be the case.

ENTEN: So, I think this is perhaps the fundamental flow with the Bloomberg idea, right, which is that Democratic voters -- this is one of the polls that shows the lowest number of satisfied with their choices and it's still 69 percent. Sixty-nine percent of potential Democratic primary voters say they are satisfied with their choices. Just 28 percent said they wish there were other options.

So the idea that he's going to come in and save the day -- Democratic voters are like nah, actually, we're pretty good -- thank you.

BERMAN: I've seen numbers up in the 80s --


BERMAN: -- so this is actually a low percentage in satisfaction.

We have some polling that shows what people have thought about the idea of Bloomberg running.

ENTEN: Right. And so, this is back from March before he said I wasn't going to run -- before he's now obviously changed his mind.

This was a national poll taken in March by Monmouth University. And where was Mike Bloomberg polling? He was only polling at two percent. I don't have to tell you, even if you're not good at math, two percent not very high.

So the idea that he's going to come in and magically pick up all this support -- let's just say I'm a little skeptical.

GOLODRYGA: And coming in this late, where does his favorability lie?

ENTEN: Right, so this is very important. In the state of Iowa, right, which we started off with where you saw that basically, you had all those candidates bunched up --

Back in March in our CNN-Des Moines Register-Mediacom poll, he only had a 27 percent favorable rating among likely Democratic Iowa caucusgoers. Unfavorable rating was higher at 38 percent. That's not very good, folks. It's not very good.

BERMAN: Harry, I don't know if you know this about me but I've been telling everyone here and they're not impressed.

GOLODRYGA: All morning long.

ENTEN: I know.

BERMAN: I covered the Wes Clark campaign in 2004. He was a late entry.

ENTEN: Yes, he was a late entry and so was Fred Thompson in 2008. It turns out the record of late entrants not very good. Wes Clark lost all but one state primaries.

BERMAN: Oklahoma, Oklahoma.

ENTEN: That's correct -- very good -- you got it -- Oklahoma.


Fred Thompson lost all the state primaries.

So getting in late -- and this is within two months, essentially, or three months -- very difficult.

GOLODRYGA: That Oklahoma live shot was incredible.

BERMAN: It was a good one.

GOLODRYGA: I still remember it like it was yesterday, Berman.

BERMAN: It was a good one.

Look, I will also say just in closing -- we don't time to get into it -- it's not clear to me that the Michael Bloomberg constituency is the Joe Biden constituency. ENTEN: It's not. And, non-white college voters -- non-college voters

or white and black voters, not really the Michael Bloomberg constituency.

BERMAN: Harry, thank you very much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: As if there isn't enough talk about billionaires this morning, yet another businessman, Tom Steyer, will be making his case in a CNN town hall live from Iowa, Sunday night, 7:00 Eastern.

BERMAN: All right. A Michigan conservation officer has made saving lives part of the job. CNN's Ryan Young tells us how he goes beyond the call of duty.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Michigan conservation officer Jeff Ginn patrols busy fishing waters of the Muskegon River in western Michigan, keeping hunters and fishermen safe while enforcing the laws of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which cover hundreds of square miles in Newaygo County, Michigan.

But, Officer Ginn, who at times can be the only peace officer for miles, has a knack of being in the right place at the right time.

JEFF GINN, MICHIGAN CONSERVATION OFFICER: Finding the girl was just pure luck and that's OK.

YOUNG (on camera): Yes.

GINN: I'd rather be lucky than good.

YOUNG (voice-over): Officer Ginn is humble but during the last 12 years he's saved five lives while on duty. The Department of Natural Resources has awarded Ginn with four lifesaving awards.

Most recently, helping save the life of a 75-year-old man suffering a heart attack. Within minutes of the 911 call from this small motel, Ginn was on the scene.

GINN: I started CPR, I shocked him. I did CPR for another cycle -- the AED shock. And then EMS arrived, firefighters arrived, and they hooked him up to their more advanced equipment and went from there. He was breathing on his own when I left and I was just like holy cow, this stuff works.

YOUNG (voice-over): In 2014, the father of two was part of a 2-day search for a 2-year-old girl missing in the woods. On the second day, Ginn says he spotted something moving that he'll never forget.

GINN: It was like time stood still. I saw her. I had to like almost tell myself that's who you're looking for because I did not expect to see her standing upright. I took my helmet off and threw it on the ground and walked right over to her. And she reached her arms up for me and I gave her a big hug.

YOUNG (voice-over): And before that, Ginn saved two boaters from the fast-rising Muskegon River.

GINN: The river was so high that we couldn't run our boats underneath this railroad trestle.

YOUNG (voice-over): A man and his son were caught in fast-moving currents when their boat capsized.

GINN: We got them out of the water and gave them an emergency blanket, and we continued upriver for the child.

YOUNG (on camera): And then you find the kid.

GINN: And then we get the kid.

YOUNG (on camera): What's the --

GINN: Yes, they had a little reunion on the boat, you know. There were some tears. They were pretty emotional.

LT. JOE MOLNAR, MICHIGAN CONSERVATION OFFICER, GINN'S SUPERVISOR: I feel exceptionally proud, you know, to talk with Jeff and the steps that he takes to be prepared. It's exceptionally proud for me as a supervisor knowing I have officers that are as passionate as he is.

GINN: I really think this county and my assignment is fantastic. I love where I work. We have so much to do.

YOUNG (voice-over): Ryan Young, CNN, Newaygo County, Michigan.


GOLODRYGA: He loves what he does.

BERMAN: It's so nice to hear that.

GOLODRYGA: He's so modest.


GOLODRYGA: And his two kids have a lot to be proud of.

Well, coming up, an epic clash between Donald Trump, Jr. and the hosts of "THE VIEW." They weren't holding back. We bring you the moment everyone is buzzing about this morning, coming up next.



BERMAN: This morning, a New York judge is ordering President Trump to pay $2 million to a group of nonprofit organizations as part of a settlement of a civil suit in which the judge found President Trump, quote, "breached his fiduciary duty to the foundation when he allowed the campaign [his presidential campaign] to misuse charity funds for political purposes."

Joining us now is "CNN POLITICS" reporter and editor-at-large, Chris Cillizza.

Chris, I like almost all your work.


BERMAN: I found this, yesterday, to be particularly important when you did a write-up --


BERMAN: -- of this finding, pointing out why this is a huge, huge deal.


I mean, it's very hard, John, and we do this every day and I think we remind ourselves every day, don't normalize this behavior. This is abnormal behavior. But sometimes, I think things like this are bigger deals than we even almost can make people realize, and here's why.

What Donald Trump did for decades -- 1987 is when the Trump Foundation charity was formed. He used it as a slush fund. It's not complicated.

My former colleague David Fahrenthold, with "The Washington Post," won a Pulitzer Prize for documenting that fact.

This feels to me like even worse than that, which is he holds a fundraiser ostensibly for the Trump Foundation to raise money for veterans. Now, he says he raises $6 million. He winds up raising $2.8 million.

It is now clear that that fundraiser was organized by his political people -- his campaign -- was run by them -- and the money that was supposedly raised for veterans -- some went to veterans' groups. We're not sure where all the rest of it went. My guess -- strong, very educated guess based on Donald Trump's past -- is that it went to his own political purposes.


So, the President of the United States, who says he's the biggest champion of veterans ever in the world, said he held the fundraiser to raise money for veterans' causes and then at least kept some of that money for his own political purposes.

I mean --

GOLODRYGA: So, Chris, can we read the president's response --


GOLODRYGA: -- to this --


GOLODRYGA: -- where he said, "I am the only person I know -- perhaps the only person in history who can give major money to charity ($19 million), charge no expense, and be attacked by the political hacks in New York State. No wonder why we are leaving [for Florida]!

Every penny of the $19 million raised by the Trump Foundation went to hundreds of great charitable causes with almost no expenses. The New York attorney general is deliberately mischaracterizing this settlement for political purposes."

CILLIZZA: Yes. So, Bianna, here's the problem with that. Well, there's two problems with it.

One, the Trump Foundation -- its lawyers -- agreed to shut it down at the end of last year as a part of this deal -- this civil case. That's point one.

Point two, the Trump lawyers agreed to allow this judge to decide the proper compensation to make some restitution for the fact that the money did not make it all to veterans. That's why we got this $2 million ruling on Thursday. So, the issue here is not an out of control judge. Trump's lawyers agreed to these things.

And I'll remind people in June 2018, Donald Trump famously said I will never settle this case. Guess what happened on Thursday? They settled the case.

BERMAN: And you don't settle a case unless you feel like you have to.

CILLIZZA: Correct.

BERMAN: All right, Chris, another big moment in the last 24 hours --


BERMAN: -- and that's the president's son -- who, by the way, was on the board of this foundation, which has had to pay all this money -- went on "THE VIEW" to promote his new book and it went just about how you might expect it to.

This is an exchange between Donald Trump, Jr. and Meghan McCain -- watch.


MEGHAN MCCAIN, HOST, "THE VIEW": You and your family have hurt a lot of people and put a lot of people through a lot of pain, including the Khan family, who was a Gold Star family that I think should be respected for the loss of their son.

Does all of this make you feel good? DONALD TRUMP, JR., EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, THE TRUMP ORGANIZATION, AUTHOR, "TRIGGERED: HOW THE LEFT THRIVES ON HATE AND WANTS TO SILENCE US": I don't -- I don't think any of that makes me feel good, but I do think that we got into this because we wanted to do what's right for America.

My father has been working tirelessly to bring back the American dream who have watched politicians with no business experience send that American dream abroad to countries that hate our guts. He's brought jobs back. He's created unprecedented levels of unemployment numbers for African-Americans --


TRUMP, JR: -- for Hispanic Americans.

You can argue but this is facts.

GOLDBERG: No, it's not fact.


BERMAN: So it was interesting to me, Chris. He didn't actually deny the assertion that Meghan McCain made. That was interesting.

And at the end of that clip you heard much more about what the rest of the show was like with a lot of --


BERMAN: -- a lot of crosstalk and a lot of chaos.

CILLZZA: Yes. Look, I actually think Donald Trump, Jr. is more strategic than his father in that I think he is trying to be the next Trump to run for president. I mean, I know people think that's crazy but look, Don, Jr. has talked about his interest in being president and Donald Trump has absolutely empire-building tendencies.

If you think the choice will be between handing off his legacy to Mike Pence or to his son, look back at everything he has done in his life. What's the only thing that he's ever been loyal to other than himself? His family.

So I think Don, Jr. is positioning himself, whether it's in politics or just more broadly in the culture, as the heir to his father's political legacy, which means being a giant troll. And that is what he does online, on T.V., and I don't know him but my guess is offline as well. That's who he is.

This is, I think, a calculated personality designed to appeal to those people who are drawn to his dad.

GOLODRYGA: And they really are drawn to him as well. If you go to his rallies --

CILLIZZA: Yes. GOLODRYGA: -- and you watch his rallies, when he comes out --


GOLODRYGA: -- and speaks on his father's behalf.

CILLIZZA: People go.

GOLODRYGA: They come there to watch him just as much as they come to follow his father as well.

CILLIZZA: That's right, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: All right, Chris, always brilliant analysis. Thank you. Great to see you. Have a great weekend.

CILLIZZA: Thank you, all. Have a good day.


Well, orangutans are being threatened at one of the world's largest rainforests in Indonesia as it burns. The fires in Borneo are a largely manmade phenomenon to grow a valuable cash crop. However, the industrial-scale deforestation puts one of the world's endangered animals at risk.

CNN's Ivan Watson has more.


IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A grinding battle deep in the jungle. Firefighters on the Indonesian island of Borneo struggle to control a forest fire that threatens a national park.

WATSON (on camera): This is just brutal, brutal work they're doing here.

WATSON (voice-over): Toxic smoke in the tropical heat.

KRISYOYO, LAHG SEBANGAU PATROL UNIT MEMBER: The outbreak in here, almost two weeks already in here. Stay in here. Sleep in here.

WATSON (on camera): The rainforests in Indonesia are burning. Firefighters have been battling this blaze for weeks. And at its peak this summer, there were thousands of similar fires in other parts of the country.


WATSON (voice-over): The fighting on the ground and in the air.

WATSON (on camera): These are aerial firefighters and right now, we're on a water-bombing mission.

WATSON (voice-over): Helicopters dump giant buckets full of water on the flames.

WATSON (on camera): Bombs away.

WATSON (voice-over): Firefighters say this crisis was ignited by man.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From the fire coming, I think from human, yes.

WATSON (on camera): You think humans started this?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course.

WATSON (voice-over): An unusually dry summer fuels this inferno, visible from space. The haze engulfed cities in neighboring countries like Singapore and Malaysia, while in Indonesia, the smog closed airports and schools, creating apocalyptic skies.

This doctor saw panicked civilians flood his hospital. Indonesian authorities estimate about a million people suffered respiratory problems.

DR. KEVIN SUTRAPURA, PALANGKARAYA HOSPITAL: The air that we have, it is not toxic like this because not everyone can enjoy a fresh air.

WATSON (voice-over): The forest fires also threatening one of Asia's last great rainforests, home to orangutans, symbols of an entire ecosystem under threat.

WATSON (on camera): This is Poppy and she's a 1-year-old example of one of the world's most endangered species. Right now, she's attending a class in jungle school.

WATSON (voice-over): Activists from the Center for Orangutan Protection take orphaned animals and teach them to survive and hopefully, one day return them to the wild.

As Borneo's rainforests shrink, the orangutan population has plummeted.

FLORA FELISITAS, VETERINARIAN, CENTER FOR ORANGUTAN PROTECTION: The threat is deforestation maybe because of illegal logging or like conversion of the forest to make building or something by human, and also for the forest burning.

WATSON (voice-over): These activists also rescue and relocate orangutans stranded by mass deforestation. The clash between man and nature on display when an ape confronts the heavy machinery ripping down its home.

And this is what's replacing much of Borneo's jungle -- sprawling plantations of palm trees, Indonesia's most lucrative cash crop.

Palm fruit like this makes a vegetable oil used in around half of all household products sold in your neighborhood grocery store. As palm oil exports ballooned over the last 20 years, so did the Indonesian territory used to grow palms. It's now bigger than entire countries, like England or Greece. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's now way out of our control in Indonesia.

WATSON (voice-over): Even this industry insider is calling for a stricter government regulation of the palm oil industry.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we just do it halfway we should always expect this forest and land fire in the future.

WATSON (voice-over): But this cash crop has also lifted millions of Indonesians out of poverty -- people like this farmer. Before I grew palms, I couldn't even afford to feed my children chicken, he tells me. Farming palm, I've been able to buy a T.V. and a refrigerator.

The cheapest way to clear land for farming is to burn it. The government says it's trying to crack down on these manmade fires.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For us, forest fire is a serious crime.

WATSON (voice-over): Officials show me how they use thermal satellite imagery to detect fires to then prosecute palm oil companies. They say they've opened cases against 21 companies in the last four years, but some activists fear it's too little too late.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE). Please put out the fires.

WATSON (voice-over): Ramadhani (ph) is trying to reintroduce a rescued orangutan named Michelle to the wild. But the island halfway house where she now lives is in the shadow of a growing coal mine. Yet another industry, yet another threat.

Michelle's protectors fear that in 20 years' time there may be no forests left for these incredible animals.

Ivan Watson, CNN Indonesian Borneo.



BERMAN: What amazing creatures they are.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, yes. You see the impact they have on people who live there and work with them, too.

BERMAN: And our thanks to Ivan for that story.

Thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Max Foster is next.

For our U.S. viewers, this huge new entry late in the game to the Democratic race for president. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bloomberg sees an opening. He wants to be president so he takes it. ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I admire Michael's work a great deal. But, to me, the focus ought to be on solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that Bloomberg has 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.