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Bloomberg Gears Up For Potential Presidential Bid; Bolton May Not Testify, But He Has A Book Deal; Dressing To Impress The President; "Baby Trump" Blimp Attacked At LSU-Alabama Game; Vanna White Fills In For Pat Sajak After Emergency Surgery; Impeachment Inquiry; Ukraine Scandal. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 9, 2019 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. Thanks for being here on this Saturday morning. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York.

And public testimony begins in just days. We still don't know the full lineup. Already so many key players have refused to testify in the Impeachment Inquiry, saying no to a formal subpoena from the United States Congress. The most prominent being the acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. He was ordered to testify on Friday and he just didn't show up. Since then, there's also a couple of other people who haven't been subpoenaed, but whose testimonies have been requested.

Republicans want to hear from the whistle-blower whose name and face we still don't know and former National Security adviser John Bolton. House Democrats scheduled Bolton to go under oath this past week as well. He said, no. Again, he wasn't subpoenaed. But, since then, Bolton has made an interesting statement through his lawyer. He says he's got information to share from meetings and conversations that haven't been part of the testimony so far. But he's still not volunteering to come forward.

Then, today, President Trump dropping a tease of his own, telling reporters there's another transcript from another phone call with the president of Ukraine. He wants everyone to read about it and promises to release that transcript after the Veterans Day holiday.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is here with me. Jeremy, a lot to peal apart here. What are you hearing about this other phone call that we haven't released, seen anything about yet?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Well, the president had talked months ago about potentially releasing the transcript of this call. And so, it's interesting that we're only seeing him saying this now.

Now, as far as what we actually do know about this call, very little. The White House has described this as a brief congratulatory call that happened in April after President Zelensky won a landslide election there. And they had also mentioned that President Trump did raise issues of corruption. To what extent, we don't actually know. But what we also know is that

this was not a call that prompted an enormous degree of concern among Intelligence officials or National Security officials, something that was very much the case with this July call. So, obviously, the timing of this is notable. The Impeachment Inquiry goes public next week with several rounds of public testimony.

And also, despite the president suggesting that this is an effort at transparency, it comes following a week during which his White House instructed White House and administration officials not to testify, not to comply with this House Impeachment Inquiry.

CABRERA: We mentioned Mick Mulvaney being one of those officials. And he's making new moves today, right, to try to keep himself from testifying.

DIAMOND: That's right. There was already this lawsuit that was filed by the former deputy National Security adviser Charles Kupperman, essentially saying, look, the White House is telling me not to comply with this. The House is telling me, you've got a subpoena. You've got to come forward and testify, asking the courts, the third branch of government, to actually decide this case.

And Mick Mulvaney, last night, after defying a Congressional subpoena to appear, has now joined that very lawsuit. Very interesting because, of course, he -- this is not the course that other White House officials have taken so far. The other White House officials that defied subpoenas simply defied those subpoenas. They didn't go to the courts and ask. So, very interesting to see the White House chief of staff now asking to join this lawsuit, essentially leaving it up to the courts.

CABRERA: All right. Jeremy Diamond, thank you for that.

Joining us now to continue the discussion, CNN Political Commentator, and former special assistant to President George W. Bush, Scott Jennings; CNN Political Commentator, and former GOP Congressional communications director, Tara Setmayer; and former House GOP investigative counsel, Sophia Nelson. She's also the author of this book, "E Pluribus One: Reclaiming our Founders Vision For a United America."

Thank you all for being here. Sophia, I'll start with you. You've got two witnesses directly tying the White House chief of staff to this quid pro quo. How significant is that?

SOPHIA NELSON, FORMER HOUSE GOP INVESTIGATIVE COUNSEL: Well, it's very significant. But I still think more significant, Ana, is that Mick Mulvaney, during his press conference, tied himself to this whole issue. And then, he tried to backtrack. I think it's also interesting that he's joined in with Charlie Kupperman on his suit to let the courts decide whether or not he has to respond to a Congressional subpoena or whether or not he can cover under executive privilege.

So, I think that as the hearings begin this week as they come up, I think that Bill Taylor's testimony is going to be riveting, as well as the others. And I think that the public's going to begin to really tune in to this. So, I think this is all very significant.

[20:05:00]

CABRERA: Scott, you've worked in a White House, as we mentioned. Can you possibly imagine the chief of staff running an entire Foreign Policy campaign without the president's knowledge?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, I cannot imagine that. And I assume that that would not be the case in any decision that was being made like this. Mulvaney is an interesting position. I was in a position, back during my years working for President George W. Bush. I received a subpoena from the Senate Judiciary Committee once.

And I described it, when I appeared before Congress, as being between a Scylla and a Charybdis. On the one hand, you had the president, who was directed me to invoke executive privilege on certain matters. And on the other hand, you had Congress demanding testimony. I ended up showing up and answering some questions and invoking privilege on others. Other White House staffers did not come at all.

And so, it was an interesting moment. Because when you work for the president, there are certain equities that the Executive Branch has and certain privileges that have to be respected so that you have separation of powers. So, I'm interested to see how the courts end up treating Mulvaney. Now, he's at the rung of the White House staff list. And, traditionally, those people are given the most latitude on privilege. So, it would be interesting to see exactly how they're treated in the confines of an Impeachment Inquiry.

CABRERA: Yes. Should the courts end up making a decision on this. Because Congress is, essentially, saying we're moving on without those testimonies, at this point. And now, we have Congressional Republicans, Tara, who have released a list of witnesses they would like to see testify. And, as you see here, Hunter Biden is on that list, the son of Joe Biden. Also, the whistle-blower, the whistle- blower sources, and even a former Fusion GPS contractor.

Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, he responded because he is the chairman of the Intelligence Committee which is leading this inquiry. He says this. The inquiry will not serve as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016. Tara, is this just an effort by Republicans to try to muddy the waters?

TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course, it is. What else are they going to debate? They can't debate the substance of it. You've had half a dozen White House officials come forward and admit that there was a quid pro quo. I -- it's actually more than just a quid pro quo. At this point, the president has abused his power. It was bribery and extortion. And that's what's going on here. And that's why we have an impeachment.

It's shameful to see what Republicans are doing now, because they -- these are their -- it's in complete contrast to how Republicans behaved in other administrations. They never would have tolerated this level of abuse of power, if it had been Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton. But, yet, they're obfuscating because they cannot argue the substance of what's going on here.

So, I'm looking forward to the public hearings next week, where you have people with unimpeachable character, like Ambassador Taylor, like Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, like others, Fiona Hill, even John Bolton, if he ever does come and testify publicly. These are people that the president of the United States hired who work for him directly. They're not never Trump plants.

CABRERA: Right.

SETMAYER: They can't use those insults against them. These are people that the president of the United States put in those places who saw wrongdoing and sounded the alarm. Flat out.

CABRERA: And let's remember, for something to be impeachable, it doesn't have to be a criminal offense.

SETMAYER: That's correct.

CABRERA: But earlier, I did speak to Congressman Gerry Connolly and a former federal prosecutor, Gene Rossi, and here's what they said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D), VIRGINIA, OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: The White House released the transcript of the phone conversation of July 25th. That is the president talking. By the way, witnessed by one of our witnesses, Colonel Vindman, who was on the call and heard the same thing the transcript reflects. And in that transcript, out of the president's own mouth, not somebody else's, he says, yes, we can start to consider that military aid you need that I've suspended. But we need a favor, though. We need a favor first, though. That is a -- that's extortion.

GENE ROSSI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: He mentioned extortion. I agree with him. But what you also have here, Ana, is textbook bribery. 18 USC 201, it fits all the elements of a bribery scheme.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: So, let me bring in our legal expert of this group, Sophia. Bribery and extortion.

SETMAYER: I set it up for you.

CABRERA: I know, you mentioned it too, Tara. Sophia, would you go that far, though?

NELSON: Absolutely 100 percent correct. My biggest concern right now is the whistle-blower. And the fact that we have a federal act, the Whistle-Blower Act of 1989, which, as I said on previous programs, dates back in this republic to 1778, when the Continental Congress passed a resolution protecting whistle-blowers, as it were. So, it is very important that we stop using quid pro quo and start using extortion, threatening, subtly, but threatening. And bribery and we start using big words, adult words, grown-up words that everybody can understand in the public. Because that's exactly what happened.

[20:10:00]

If I say to my 17-year-old niece, I'm going to give you X, but I need something, though. It means there's -- you've got to give me something for me to give you something. She understands that at 17. So, how come we're going to act dumb and act like the president didn't know exactly what he was doing. He knew what he was doing.

CABRERA: Well, the president was at the Alabama-Louisiana game in Tuscaloosa, Alabama today, and here's how he was received. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: (INAUDIBLE.)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Tara, a pretty big cheer there. A much different reception than he got than at the World Series and the UFC fight. Oh, I don't know if you heard me, Tara. I was coming to you with a --

SETMAYER: Oh, that was to me. I'm sorry.

CABRERA: Yes, I mean -- I mean, it was interesting to see, because we've been watching him at these other sporting events and he's been booed. But he received a lot of cheers today.

SETMAYER: I mean, of course, he was in Louisiana or Alabama wherever he was in the south. And they --

CABERA: It was Alabama.

SETMAYER: -- he won those states. It was Alabama, right, yes. So, he won that state by double digits. That was what he was going to get. I just think that this is a sick desire for his need to be adored and it's just sad to me.

I just want to pick up on something that Sophia said, when she was talking about the whistle-blower. These Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for trying to out this whistle-blower. This is just nothing but a distraction. This is not about corruption. And this is not about corruption in Ukraine.

We already know that the president's intent was corrupt. Why? Because the Congress passed this military aid in September of last year. They go through an investigative process, mandated by statute, to make sure that the Ukraine is, in fact, living up to their anti- corruption mantra, which they've been trying to do. The Pentagon determined, after that investigation, that, yes, Ukraine was worthy of having this military aid released in May. So, this is -- this nonsense about that it was all about worrying about corruption is B.S. Because we all -- look, our government already did its due diligence to make sure that Ukraine was worthy of getting that military aid. The president held it up because he wanted dirt on Biden. So, that's important for people to know.

CABRERA: OK. But the bottom line here is -- I think you made your point. And I think the other piece, though, is the politics of this, right? Because Republicans are not breaking from this president, and, I mean, another sign of just how tied Republicans are and how much they seem to think they need this president with what we heard from Jeff Sessions this week. I mean, he was, you know, coming out entering the primary in Alabama.

And, by the way, if you go back to that video of the president at the game, if you happen to zoom in there, that guy who is circled is, actually, a Jeff Sessions primary opponent. His name's Bradley Burn. He was in the box with the president today. But this was just days after Sessions went out and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF SESSIONS (R), CANDIDATE FOR SENATE, ALABAMA: When I left President Trump's cabinet, dd I write a tell-all book? No. Did I go on CNN and attack the president? Nope. Have I said a cross word about our president? Not one time. And I'll tell you why. First, that would be dishonorable. I was there to serve his agenda, not mine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Scott, how do you see this one playing out?

JENNINGS: Well, this is an interesting race for Republicans. It's the only race on the board in 2020, where they have a legitimate chance to pick off a Democrat, Doug Jones, who won the Senate seat, of course, last time around.

And so, Sessions entry into this primary, though, has really scrambled the deck. Because there's a concern, among Republicans, that if Sessions were to somehow get the nomination, then Doug Jones might just run commercials for the entirety of the general election of clips of Donald Trump slamming Jeff Sessions. And, as you heard in the cheering there in the stadium, I don't think that would go over very well with the people of Alabama, to be reminded that President Trump doesn't like Jeff Sessions.

So, one thing Republicans are looking out for here is will Donald Trump wade into the primary and remind people in Alabama that he no longer likes Jeff Sessions, that he prefers somebody else? And the reality is --

CABRERA: Do you think he should weigh in?

JENNINGS: -- almost anyone else in this primary could win the -- could win the general election, as long as Donald Trump is with them. And so, what Republicans want to do here is nominate someone the president likes who could, then, probably coast, frankly, to victory in November.

SETMAYER: Sad commentary.

CABRERA: So, do you think Jeff Sessions should not be one of those people who are going for the primary?

JENNINGS: I'm sorry, what was the first part of that question, Ana?

CABRERA: Are you saying Jeff Sessions shouldn't be in the primary?

JENNINGS: Oh, well, I'm concerned about the Sessions candidacy. Because if he were to win the primary, I think Doug Jones could possibly defeat him, on the strength of what Donald Trump has already said about Jeff Sessions --

CABRERA: Interesting.

JENNINGS: -- heretofore. And so, in my opinion, the cleanest way for Republicans to resolve this primary is to nominate somebody that supports the president's agenda, that hasn't gotten on the president's bad side.

[20:15:01]

And, frankly, that's all you need to win the general election in Alabama. So, I would prefer a non-controversial candidate.

NELSON: You know what, Ana, --

SETMAYER: Sad commentary that --

NELSON: Yes, that is outrageous.

SETMAYER: -- Jeff Sessions -- Jeff Sessions sin was that he -- that he held up --

NELSON: Yes, God forbid.

SETMAYER: -- oath of office and was -- because he wasn't loyal to the president who wanted him to do something unethical. Jeff Sessions was actually doing the business for the American people and was loyal to the president's agenda. He just wasn't going along with the president obstructing justice.

NELSON: Yes.

SETMAYER: So, Jeff Sessions was very --

CABRERA: OK.

SETMAYER: -- popular when he was in Alabama for years and years. But because his cardinal sin was not bowing down to the president the way he wanted to and commit crimes, now he's no -- now, he's persona non grata in Alabama. That's a sad commentary. CABRERA: Quick final thought there, Sophia.

NELSON: Yes, Ana. If you look at the transcripts, particularly with Yovanovitch, Ambassador Yovanovitch, one of the things that kept coming up was his fear of Trump and his Twitter.

CABRERA: Yes.

NELSON: And Trump and his ego and you see this playing out in the Alabama Senate race. And, at some point, we to have say, Scott, that enough is enough.

SETMAYER: Yes.

NELSON: This guy's ego. He's a big fat baby. And I don't mean fat as in his weight. I'm talking about he's a big cry baby. And it needs to stop. And Republicans need to find their courage and find the Margaret Chase Smith in themselves and rise up and put a stop to this.

CABRERA: Sophia Nelson, Scott Jennings and Tara Setmayer.

JENNINGS: If I might respond to that.

CABRERA: I've got to go. I'm sorry. It's already gone over. We've got other people -- other guests waiting for us today. Thank you, both, all three of you, Scott, Tara and Sophia.

JENNINGS: OK.

CABRERA: I appreciate it.

As the Republican lawmakers and the White House try to spin the damning testimony this week in the Impeachment Inquiry, we'll take a look at the different ways they're bending themselves to defend the president's actions. That's next.

[20:16:40]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Before next week's public hearings, I want to take a moment now to talk about logic and facts. Because the president and his defenders have tried to confuse and muddy the waters. They seem to be betting on the idea that the American people won't keep track of what's true and what's false. So, we're going to help you out, OK?

Let's start with the basic pillar of the president's defense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No quid pro quo. There's no quid pro quo. No quid pro quo. No quid pro quo. No quid pro quo.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CABRERA: OK. But then, as more details began to merge, including the White House's own rough transcript, or memorandum of that call, acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, says the exact opposite.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's be clear, what you described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the -- into the Democrat server happened as well.

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We do -- we do that all the time with Foreign Policy. I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in Foreign Policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Now, he walked those comments back. But the GOP went from arguing no quid pro quo to arguing essentially no harm no foul, if Ukraine didn't know about the aid being held up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: How do you have a quid pro quo, when the person who is the subject of the pro said it didn't happen?

REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R), TEXAS: Neither he nor any other witness has provided testimony that the Ukrainians were aware that military aid was being withheld. You can't have a quid pro quo with no quo.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: Ukrainians never knew aid was withheld. And then, of course, maybe most importantly, we have the simple fact the Ukrainians did nothing to get the aid released.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: OK. But then, the guy the White House literally signed it as prove there was no quid pro quo blew that up. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, revised his testimony and revealed he told a top Ukrainian aid that the resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement.

And just take a listen to how the president's opinion of Sondland, who he once called a really good and great American, changed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hardly know the gentleman. But this is the man who said there was no quid pro quo. And he still says that. And he said that I said that. And he hasn't changed that testimony. So, this is a man that said, as far as the president is concerned there was no quid pro quo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Now, Sondland, by the way, gave $1 million to Trump's inauguration.

Let's move on to another argument you maid have heard. You can't trust people, like the whistle-blower, who started this, because they only have secondhand knowledge of what happened with Ukraine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That person never saw the report, never saw the call, and he never saw the call, heard something.

GRAHAM: We're not going to try the president of the United States based on hearsay.

JORDAN: He had no firsthand knowledge. He heard something from someone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I understand it right, it's from someone who had secondhand knowledge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He says he heard this from other people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The complaint relied on hearsay evidence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's always, I talked to somebody else. It's hearsay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The secondhand of account of something someone didn't hear isn't as good as the best evidence of what was actually said.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: OK, but then, we actually did hear from people who were on the phone call, like Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukrainian expert, who testified that he was so concerned about what he heard, he immediately went to his supervisors to say something. But the president's allies say don't trust that person either.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, ANCHOR, FOX NEWS: Here we have a U.S. National Security official who is advising Ukraine, while working inside the White House, apparently against the president's interests, and, usually, they spoke in English. Isn't that kind of an interesting angle on this story?

JOHN YOO, ATTORNEY: I find that astounding. And, you know, some people might call that espionage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Vindman is a Purple Heart recipient who was injured by a roadside bomb in Iraq. So, what's happening here? Perhaps John Dickerson of "60 Minutes" said it best. Quote, "It used to be that public shame meant that people would give answers that range from A to D. They might not give you the God's honest truth, but they'd be too afraid or embarrassed to go beyond D.

Now, many politicians have no fear. They give responses instead of answers and the range is between A and Z. Maybe it's even worse than that, because it's hard to figure out what letter in the alphabet would cover this logic-crushing explanation from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

[20:25:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine, it was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to. They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Just to be clear, you're now supposed to believe the Trump White House is so inept they couldn't possibly have pulled off a quid pro quo.

Joining us now is Bruce Bartlett. He's an American historian and the author of "The Truth Matters." He also worked in the Reagan White House and up on Capitol Hill. Bruce, thank you for being here.

BRUCE BARTLETT, AMERICAN HISTORIAN: Happy to be here.

CABRERA: Let's start with the constant deflection we see almost daily now from Trump and his Republican defenders. First, they said the transcript showed no quid pro quo. Then, it was, OK, there might have been quid pro quo, but it wasn't illegal and get over it. And now, it seems like the White House is using disorganization as a line of defense? Do you find this concerning?

BARTLETT: Well, absolutely. But, unfortunately, it seems to be working. I mean, all the polls show that Trump has not lost a single Republican vote, during all of these circumstances. He still got, you know, 90 percent support. And all he really cares about are the people who voted for him.

All the other people, the people who vote the against him, he cares nothing about and doesn't -- and isn't at all concerned about them. Because I think he knows that, at the end of the day, his party will stand with him in the House and the Senate. And that will be enough to prevent impeachment.

CABRERA: And it seems like, in this White House at least, the facts don't matter. Shout and deny until people believe what you're saying. And you talk about his believers listen to him. You worked in the White House for Ronald Reagan. What would the consequence be for putting out a statement with any sort of factual error? BARTLETT: Oh, it would be a firing offense. Absolutely. I mean, it

astonishes me. I'll see statements come out of the White House, suppressed statements, that have ridiculous misspellings and typographical errors. I mean, there was a large staff of people in the White House whose only job was proofreading and editing and fact- checking.

I don't think they employ any of those people any longer or if they do, they're completely incompetent. And there are, apparently, no consequences for doing things that embarrass the president, because he does the same things to himself and he's not embarrassed by them. So, I'm, you know, gobsmacked.

CABRERA: Yes. So, how do you explain, though, these two different worlds that you describe, in terms of what was and what is now?

BARTLETT: Well, I think there's been a great sorting in our political system. The party of Trump has become the party of stupidity and ignorance and corruption. And the people who are in the bubble don't know they're in the bubble any more than a goldfish knows that it's in a bowl. They get all of their information from approved right-wing Republican sources.

And they explain everything away, just the way you did in your report where they just, you know, one day we didn't do it. The next day we did it but it was OK. And the next day, it was a brilliant strategy, you know, that everybody should have been following. It's just constant deception that is so regular that people can't keep track of it, you know. I mean, "The Washington Post" lists of Trumps lies is up over, I think, 13,000.

CABRERA: Yes.

BARTLETT: So, --

CABRERA: So, as we move to this next phase of the Impeachment Inquiry, and we hear public testimony from these witnesses, I mean, you see those three on your screen right now, Bill Taylor, George Kent and Marie Yovanovitch who are among those who will testify this coming week. Do you think these public hearings will move the needle or change people's perspectives?

BARTLETT: Well, I hope so but I'm not optimistic. Because what are they going to say that we don't already know, really? And none of these things, none of these facts that have come out already, have had any impact. I think the Republicans will just disseminate, lie and make up things. And, unfortunately, their brain-dead followers will go along with it.

CABRERA: Well, I have faith in the American people and hopefully the truth will prevail. Bruce Bartlett, thank you very much for joining us.

BARTLETT: Thank you.

CABRERA: Another billionaire is toying with a presidential run. But does Michael Bloomberg stand a chance this late and in such a crowded field? Hear how two front-runners are reacting.

[20:29:53]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CABRERA: Tonight, some of the democratic presidential candidates are reacting to the news that billionaire, Michael Bloomberg, is gearing up for a potential presidential run.

The former New York City mayor filed paperwork yesterday allowing him to compete in Alabama's democratic primary contest, that's on Super Tuesday. A spokesman for Bloomberg says if he does, in fact, run, the late entry will mean he will forgo campaigning in the early voting states like Iowa and New Hampshire and really just focus on winning states voting on Super Tuesday and beyond.

But it wasn't that long ago Bloomberg told me he had no intention of running for the nomination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: When is the last time you thought about running for president?

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, BLOOMBERG L.P.: A long time ago.

CABRERA: Have you completely ruled it out for 2020?

BLOOMBERG: I think -- the only thing I'm considering, somebody suggested that I should think about 2024 and run then, so I'll consider that one.

CABRERA: Are you ready to endorse any of the 2020 candidates currently?

[20:35:04]

BLOOMBERG: I'm afraid I'm not. We'll see down the road. There's 15 months to the election. I think it's a bit premature. Don't you?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Earlier tonight, CNN's Ryan Nobles caught up with presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders, in Iowa not just to shoot some hoops but also to talk about Bloomberg being his potential democratic rival so late in the game.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I talked about this country moving toward an oligarchy, we're talking about a handful of billionaires who exercise enormous power of the economic and political life of this country.

Now, if he decided to run for president, nobody would give a damn. But because someone is worth $50 billion and has the capability of literally buying the media in a state like California, everyone is like, oh, my goodness. How important, how monumental that he's running for president?

Well, I happen to be old-fashioned. I believe in democracy, one person, one vote. And I really do resent the idea that billionaires whether it's Bloomberg or anybody else thinks that they have the right, by the way, they're going to skip Iowa, they're going to skip New Hampshire, they're going to skip South Carolina, Nevada.

You know, we have had five town meetings and events just in this last weekend. But they don't have to do that. Take out his wallet, spend a billion dollars in California, whatever you spend and thinks he can buy the election.

Frankly, I don't think that's where the American people are right now. I think the American people are sick and tired of the power of billionaires. I suspect that his venture will not succeed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: And a short time ago, Senator Elizabeth Warren also weighed in about having another billionaire in the race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that our elections should not be something that are bought by billionaires, whether they're reaching into their own pockets or whether they're sucking up to the billionaires who can find political action committees or make big donations. For me, this is about how we're going to build our country going forward.

And the way we're going to make this country work, not just for the billionaires, but for everybody else, is through this campaign process to talk about what's broken, talk about how we're going to fix it, and build a movement to get it done. That's why I'm here and I think that's the right way to do it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Remember earlier this year, Bloomberg was in the news for publicly joking about warren's pledge to held big business accountable, and they asked Bloomberg about that and his interaction with Warren afterwards back in August.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: Made a comment after Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke that's picking up on the Twitterverse. And I just want to play it for our viewers and give you a chance to clarify what you were saying. Let's watch.

BLOOMBERG: I just said to Senator Warren on the way out, Senator, congratulations. It was a nice talk. But just remind you, if my company hadn't been successful, we wouldn't be here today. So enough with this.

CABRERA: Seem kind of --

BLOOMBERG: I did say that?

CABRERA: -- tongue and cheek there. Go ahead. Where were you going with that?

BLOOMBERG: And when I talked to Elizabeth backstage, she thought it was funny as well and she understood that. Somebody has to come up with the moneys to support some of these changes that we want to make in our society.

I'm very proud that my company has made a lot of money, I give 100 percent of my company's earnings to my foundation, the foundation does things like sponsor this conference here in Des Moines so that we can get all 20 candidates, including Elizabeth Warren who is a very competent, very smart senator as we all know, happen to disagree with her on some things. But I disagree with everybody on some things, different things in each case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: It's going to be an interesting race for sure. Quick programming note. These are live pictures from the town hall site where billionaire businessman, Tom Steyer, will make his case to the American people in a CNN democratic presidential town hall live from Iowa. Tune in tomorrow night at 7:00 Eastern right here on CNN. We'll be right back.

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[20:40:03]

CABRERA: Former national security adviser, John Bolton, has a lot of tales to tell. His lawyer says he knows about many relevant meetings and conversations connected the to the Ukraine story. But even if Bolton doesn't agree to testify in the impeachment inquiry, we may be able to read all about it anyway.

CNN' Chief Media Correspondent, Brian Stelter, has more. Brian.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Ana. Yes. As we wait to hear whether Bolton will testify with this impeachment inquiry, we have confirmed that he's working on a new book. Two sources with knowledge on the matter confirming to me today that Bolton has struck a deal with Simon & Schuster, which is one of the country's biggest book publishers.

This untitled book will come out sometime next year. I'm told sometime before Election Day in 2020. This just adds to the intrigue about whether Bolton will publicly break from Trump and what he knows about the Ukraine scandal that's at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

As we know, Bolton's lawyer recently wrote to the Democrats saying, "Hey, my client knows a lot. He has a lot to share. But right now, Bolton is refusing to testify until a federal judge reaches a decision in this ongoing legal fight over claims of immunity for White House officials. It seems Bolton only wants to speak a certain way, in a time and place of his choosing.

But this book deal adds more intrigue to all of that. You know, there's different kinds of book in the Trump age, you know. There have been tell-all the positive which is something like Sean Spicer who had a memoir, then there have been true tell-alls by numerous White House officials, former officials who decided to leave and then speak out against President Trump.

We will see what kind of book Bolton is planning on writing. My suspicion given the Trump soured on him in the latter months of Bolton's tenure as national security adviser is this book could be highly explosive.

But, again, many months before it would come out, I'm told it would come out sometime before Election Day in 2020.

CABRERA: Before Election Day. Brian Stelter, thank you.

[20:45:59]

Coming up, the emergency surgery that sidelined a legendary game show host.

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CABRERA: We're not sure if he went out with a bang or a whimper. But the sad fact is baby Trump blimp is no more. One of the baby Trump protest organizers tells CNN an unknown man with a knife slashed the giant balloon today as it appeared in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The same day as the president who inspired it stopped in for the Bama-LSU game.

The organizer went on to tell CNN, he saw the perpetrator and someone described as a getaway driver apprehended by police.

CNN has reached out to the Tuscaloosa Police Department for a comment on any charges.

"Wheel of Fortune" host, Pat Sajak is recovering after undergoing emergency surgery fora blocked intestine. Thursday's taping of "Wheel of Fortune" was canceled and co-host, Vanna White is now serving as a fill-in host.

The show tweeted that Sajak is resting comfortably and is looking forward to getting back to work.

Swinging might seem like an outdated term from the 1970s. But even today, millions of Americans have dabbled in what's called the lifestyle.

In this week's episode of "This is Life" Lisa Ling attends the largest swinger party in the country. Here's a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

[20:50:08]

LISA LING, CNN HOST: OK. So tonight is the night that I will be going into the playroom. And I'm extremely nervous about it. As it turns out, you can't wear just anything to the playroom. To keep up an intimate vibe, there's a strict ban on street clothes. Only pajamas, underwear or less. So I decided to recruit my mom friend Jackie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you hold my hand?

LING: I've been trying to kind of prepare myself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think you're going to be surprised. I think it'll be good.

LING: At first, I thought maybe I was intruding or looking at something I wasn't supposed to and so I had to kind of give myself permission just to go ahead and watch.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CABRERA: The new episode of "This is Life" airs tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern and pacific.

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CABRERA: President Trump's new mantra is starting to wear on his supporters. Here's Jeanne Moos.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The human backdrop behind President Trump --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Impeachment witch-hunt. Impeachment.

(BOOING)

MOOS: Booed and chanted.

(CROWD CHANTING)

[20:55:00]

MOOS: And kissed. Even translated President Trump's words to gestures.

TRUMP: These people are crazy.

MOOS: But all anyone noticed was what was on the t-shirts they were wearing?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Read the transcript. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, read the transcript.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Read the transcript, except that we can't.

MOSS: Because it's not a transcript. It's a summary of president Trump's call with the president of Ukraine. Nevertheless to convince people --

TRUMP: It was perfect.

MOOS: Read the transcript has become the president's mantra.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My father put the transcript out. Read it.

The t-shirts that said "read the transcript" evokes responses like read the Mueller report. Alternative t-shirt slogans such as, I would like you to do as a favor though or suggest it.

MOOS (on-camera): There were plenty of doubters asking whether all those human props wearing "read the transcript" actually read the transcript.

MOOS (voice-over): Someone tweeted, so I guess I need a shirt that has the actual transcript on it because these (BLEEP) apparently only read t-shirts and hats.

But Trump supporters loved the "read the transcript" apparel. Classic Trump trolling.

TRUMP: The do-nothing Democrats the hell out of office soon.

MOOS: President Trump has said he might read the transcript aloud as a fireside chat on live T.V. which lit a fire under Washington Post writer, Jonathan Capehart.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to you do us a favor, though. There's a lot of talk of Biden's son. So if you can look into it, dot, dot, dot --

MOOS: Now, selling for 30 bucks on the Trump campaign website, read the transcript t-shirts or maybe you prefer I read the transcript, impeach Trump now. I'll give you this one if you give me that one. Does that count as a quid pro quo?

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

TRUMP: You know what they say? You know what they say?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CABRERA: And that does it for me tonight. Thank you for being here. I'm Ana Cabrera.

Up next, it's the CNN film "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me."

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