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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Amy Klobuchar Targets Sexism In Presidential Race; Joe Biden Speaks Out; Klobuchar Says Women Candidates With Buttigieg's Experience Would Not Reach Debate Stage; Trump Honors Vets: It's Our Duty To Serve And Protect Them"; Beekeeping Program Used As Therapy For Veterans With PTSD. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired November 11, 2019 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:03]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, I think sleepy Joe may be able to limp across the finish line.

DANA BASH, CNN HOST: Are Donald Trump's attacks on you helping you?

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, they are.

BASH: How so?

BIDEN: Well, they're helping me in every way.

BASH (voice-over): Because, he argues, Democratic voters see that the president considers him a threat.

Riding in his car to an event, he elaborated.

(on camera): Are you trying to win the primary by talking about the general?

BIDEN: The reason I'm running is because of the general.

I'm not running against with anything having to do with the character any of the candidates who are running. What I'm doing is trying to make the case that Trump is a gigantic impediment to this country moving forward.

BASH (voice-over): But many Democrats see this primary as a philosophical debate inside the party, increasingly playing out in a battle with Elizabeth Warren over her Medicare for all plan.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are the richest country in the history of the world. And, yes, we can afford health care for our people.

BASH (on camera): What is elitist about structural change?

BIDEN: There is nothing elitist about -- I was responding to a comment she made.

She said that anyone who disagreed with her and took her on, on her issue for Medicare for all somehow either was a coward, wasn't willing to stand up and state what they thought, was somehow doing something -- I think the phrase was should be in a Republican primary.

When we talk about Medicare for all -- and people talk about it taking two years, five years, 10 years to get it done -- that doesn't give any real reassurance to people out there.

BASH: Can somebody who supports Medicare for all beat Donald Trump?

BIDEN: I'm not going to make that judgment. I think there is a much better way.

BASH (voice-over): On the stump, an issue in his wheelhouse, the Violence Against Women Act, which he helped write.

BIDEN: There is a lot that happened that has been good. So much more work we have to do.

BASH: Later, a town hall, where kids asked some tough questions.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: How are you going to make schools more safe from mass shootings?

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: Think about this. Those of you who are over 30, could you imagine having asked that question when you were a kid?

BASH: This is Biden's third go at the presidency, which he admits is tricky.

BIDEN: The good news is the bad news. Everybody knows me. Everybody has an opinion. So, it is harder to mislabel me or to say something about me that is not true. I have weaknesses. It is easier to talk about the weaknesses. But the generic point is that people know who I am.

BASH: Familiarity and comfort draw voters to see him, even though some aren't completely sold.

(on camera): You're holding Biden signs, and you're still not 100 percent?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, as I say, you know, we like the message. We have always loved Joe Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's a likable guy. He says what it is. Sometimes, he has his little gaffes, but I think that is what makes Joe, Joe.

BASH: The first time you ran for president, it was 1987.

BIDEN: That is right. BASH: The world has changed.

BIDEN: Yes.

BASH: A lot.

BIDEN: A lot.

BASH: Have you changed with it?

BIDEN: Yes, I have. I mean, if you -- look, you have to grow. Everything is totally different.

BASH: I have been wanting to ask you this, because I have been hearing it anecdotally from voters who are about your age who say, I love Joe Biden, but I'm his age, and I can't imagine being president.

What do you tell them?

BIDEN: Well I tell them is that watch me.

Look, the one thing I have learned is, hopefully with age comes experience, and with experience comes some judgment, and with judgment comes some wisdom.

BASH (voice-over): Eric Swenson (ph) came to the town hall with concerns about Biden's age.

(on camera): Now that you have seen him up close and personal, do you still have that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he will be fine. I think he would be just fine.

BASH: If, here in New Hampshire, you don't come in first or even second, do you feel confident that your candidacy can survive?

BIDEN: First of all, I think I'm going to do better in both places than that.

BASH: But let's say, just hypothetically, it doesn't happen.

BIDEN: I'm not going to go there.

BASH: On this day on the trail with Joe Biden, he was relentlessly on message.

BIDEN: I think I'm better prepared at this moment than any time in my entire life to deal with the problems the next president is going to be able to -- have to face.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BASH: Be sure to tune into CNN's town hall with the former Vice President Joe Biden live tonight.

Erin Burnett is moderating. That's at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.

And we have some breaking news on the impeachment inquiry. Another transcript of testimony from a top Trump official has just been released. Laura Cooper is this official. She was a top career Pentagon official overseeing Ukraine policy.

I want to get straight to Capitol Hill. CNN's Phil Mattingly is there.

Phil, what have you found so far?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Dana, there's a couple of pieces of testimony that are very interesting.

First, you will remember Laura Cooper, because she was actually the official who was waiting to testify as several Republican House members actually stormed the compartmentalized -- the SCIF, as they call it, the classified information room, in an effort to try and what they thought was unveil testimony that was taking place behind closed doors, spent more time, in fact, waiting for those Republicans to leave than testifying itself.

[16:35:15]

But when she actually got down to testifying, there's a couple elements here that I think are worth focusing on. One, she has on- the-ground details of what was happening inside the government as the security assistance to Ukraine was withheld.

She laid out very clearly the concerns inside the Pentagon. This assistance was considered integral for Ukraine. She was helping to oversee Ukrainian peace negotiations with Russia, how important it was for the posture of those negotiations for this security assistance go through.

There was also the possibility of the fact that, given Congress had allocated this assistance, the fact that it was being held and was not being sent out may, in fact, have been illegal. And that was a concern people in the Pentagon might have as well.

But there's also one more piece, and I think this is very important, Dana, because much of this testimony is very technocratic, how funding is disbursed, how the Pentagon was reacting here.

This is different. On August 20, Laura Cooper details a meeting that she had with then special assistant to Ukraine Kurt Volker, now former, about the funding assistance. She said this meeting is not necessarily out of the ordinary, she would meet with him to strategize, given her role overseeing Ukraine policy and his role inside the country.

But part of that meeting where they discussed the security assistance and how to get -- get it freed was this.

This is a quote: "In that meeting, he did mention something to me that was the first about somehow an effort that he was engaged in to see if there was a statement that the government of Ukraine would make that would somehow disavow any interference in U.S. elections and would commit to the prosecution of any individuals involved in election interference. And that was about as specific as it got."

The questioner then asked: "OK, did he indicate to you that if that channel he was working on was successful, it might lift the issue, as in let the aid go forward?"

Laura Cooper responds: "Yes."

Now, here's the context there, Dana. If you have been reading through these transcripts, I know you have been reading them, I have been reading them, that statement was discussed ad nauseum throughout through the irregular channel, as people called it, with regards to Ukraine, the efforts from some in the administration to push President Zelensky and his top advisers to release a statement, a public statement, that would be read by Zelensky that would talk about opening investigations into Burisma, into Hunter Biden, and also 2016 allegations, unsubstantiated allegations, into election meddling.

That is now mentioned. It has been mentioned over at the Pentagon. We have seen it repeatedly over the course of these transcripts. Here's another element of that, as Democrats continue to try and paint the broad picture that we're going to see spill out into a very public manner starting on Wednesday, but also on Friday -- Dana.

BASH: And, Phil, I know you want to keep looking through this transcript. So right -- real quick, before I let you go, I think what you just said at the end is really important, because we get these transcripts and we're just bombarded by details.

But what it means big picture -- correct me if I'm wrong -- is another official corroborating the events that were going on that made -- that make the Democrats say that this is impeachable, meaning a quid pro quo.

MATTINGLY: Yes, the most -- and I will make this quick.

The most important thing that you can pick out of these transcripts, there's thousands of pages. There's a lot of detail. There's a lot of kind of just mind-blowing, kind of jaw-dropping details in terms of how the irregular channel or kind of shadow government was working here -- is how many things are corroborated, how many different officials knew about the statement, knew about specific meetings, knew about events that others then backed up multiple times over.

And this is another instance of that. I think you're going to see more of that when this becomes public, Dana.

BASH: Thank you for that, Phil. Appreciate that.

We will get back to you as you continue looking through the transcript.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg is climbing in the polls. And one of his opponents says it's because of sexism. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:43:01]

BASH: We're back with our 2020 lead.

And Senator Amy Klobuchar taking direct aim at Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as he rises in the polls, and doing so in her moderate lane.

Klobuchar is suggesting a woman with the mayor's experience wouldn't make the debate stage.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm the one from the Midwest that's actually won in a statewide race over and over again.

And that's not true of Mayor Pete. That's just a fact. Senator Harris, Senator Warren and myself, do I think that we would be standing on that stage if we had the experience that he had? No, I don't. Maybe we're held to a different standard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: OK, this is my favorite story of the day. I cannot wait to discuss this with all of you.

Kirsten, let me start with you.

The thing -- there's so many takeaways. One of the things I was thinking is, wow, four years have made a huge difference. Can you imagine anyone in 2016, any of the women even wanting to at least throw this out there at all?

And Elizabeth Warren is doing similar, talking about running as a woman and putting the question out there about whether it is harder -- or saying flatly it is harder to do it as a woman than a man.

Hillary Clinton would never go there.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: Yes, it's because it's risky, frankly.

BASH: But it's also a new era.

POWERS: Yes. Yes, it is a new era, but it's also risky to do it yourself. It's always better, I think, to get other people saying it vs. you saying it yourself.

I think this is a tough one, because Mayor Pete is extremely impressive. And he has -- he had this very aggressive press strategy where he talked to every single person who wanted to talk to him. He was just out there. He was saying things that were very different. He was talking about progressive Christianity.

So that kind of caught people's attention. He was doing things that were very different. He's a veteran. So he has a lot of different things going for him.

BASH: He's a gay candidate married to a man.

POWERS: He's gay, exactly.

BASH: Yes.

POWERS: And he's a gay Christian, somebody who's outspoken about that.

BASH: Right.

POWERS: So, there are a lot of things about him that I think -- I just really want to back Amy up on this one, but I'm not sure about it.

[16:45:00]

BASH: Well, you know, one of the things that we were talking about preparing for this, Kristen Donnelly, one of the producers on the show, said something so smart, which is, if it was a female mayor, they wouldn't even think about running because they would think that they would need more time, right? I mean, that is -- tends to be the more female approach to things.

ANTONIA FERRIER, FORMER STAFF DIRECTOR, SENATE GOP COMMUNICATIONS CENTER: That is true. But the other thing is, there's an insider versus outsider thing here going on as well, which I think we need to sort of step back. He's running as a mayor. He's an outsider, not of Washington. So the three senators that she mentioned, they're all senators.

BASH: But would he -- but would he had been doing as well, if you were a woman, outsider or insider?

FERRIER: I mean, I got to say she's got a point but I also think it smacks a little bit of sour grapes in the sense that Elizabeth Warren is the front runner in Iowa. She is a woman and is the front runner. I got to tell you --

BASH: So you -- I'm glad you brought that up because you guys have to hear what happened just now with Elizabeth Warren. She was at a town hall and she was asked by a voter how to get men to vote for a woman. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How about we give them a tough, smart woman to vote for. I was told what I needed to do is smile more.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: I don't want to discriminate against you, right, because you're the man on the panel. So go for it.

RAY SUAREZ, CO-HOST, WORLDAFFAIRS, KQED: Well, actually, she is one on one, funny, witty self-deprecating, and smiles. So I mean, it's not -- it's not like she has to force it the way some politicians might have to. The only thing you can do, and I think it's smart to make fun of that idea.

You can't take that idea on and say, gee, maybe I should smile more. No, you have to make it sound ludicrous, which is what she was trying to do there.

BASH: But she did go after Joe Biden for calling her angry saying that that remark is sexist, which I should say he denied. He said, that's not what he meant at all.

JACKIE ALEMANY, ANCHOR, WASHINGTON POST POWER UP: Yes, I don't know. I just have to say, I do think we still live in a time where women have to work twice as hard in order to be taken seriously and in order to prove themselves. And I'm excited to cover a campaign where we don't have to ask voters, are you scared to vote for a woman because you think they're going to lose because of their gender?

So I think Elizabeth Warren hit the nail on the head there. And I like that she attacks that in a self-deprecating, humorous way.

BASH: Yes. But as somebody who is probably a couple of years older than you, I will tell you that things have changed. And we're not there yet. All right, everybody stand by. On this Veterans Day, a look at how one place is helping America's heroes with a little honey.

[16:50:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BASH: President Trump honoring those who serve today kicking off the 100th Annual Veterans Day Parade in New York while Vice President Mike Pence laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Another way to honor the service of veterans is to make good on the promise to take care of them all year round. In New Hampshire, one program is experimented with a new therapy to treat veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress. And as Jake reports, it's getting a lot of buzz.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up, up, up, up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, when we have an incident like that, we need to calm everything back down.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Staying calm amid a swarm of bees. It's hard to imagine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you smell that?

TAPPER: But for these veterans, it's not just calming, it's therapeutic.

VINCE YLITALO, VETERAN, HIVES AND HEROES: It's helped me dramatically only because of fact it's bringing me into the moment.

TAPPER: Retired Army Master Sergeant Vince Ylitalo says he has tried nearly everything to get better.

YLITALO: I've done many different classes for PTSD.

TAPPER: Ylitalo served for nearly four decades including two tours in Iraq.

YLITALO: You know, I've been going through problems.

TAPPER: But it wasn't until a few months ago that he finally found relief. First with his therapy dog Tippy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Careful with your fingers.

TAPPER: Then with this beekeeping program.

YLITALO: They called me and said, hey, do you want to join and working with the bees? I said, what bees?

TAPPER: The program Hives for Heroes started in May as an effort by the V.A. in Manchester, New Hampshire to expand its recreational therapy program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, I need two people.

TAPPER: And little has been there from the beginning. Joined by several other veterans, all taught by local beekeeper Karen Eaton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get ready for extraction day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's going to be a great time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great sticky time. Yes, exactly.

TAPPER: Eaton joined forces with recreational therapist Valerie Carter to start this program, which Carter says has resulted in remarkable changes for these veterans.

VALERIE CARTER, RECREATIONAL THERAPIST, V.A. MANCHESTER: They're able to control that anxiety and know that, hey, I've got control of it. I can calm myself down and I can be in this spot with all these bees flying around me and be totally fine. And they're able to carry that over throughout their day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to brush the bees.

TAPPER: They're now taking steps to expand the program which Ylitalo says would help others with whom he served. YLITALO: I know it will help them dramatically because I can still

hear in the voices and know what they're talking about.

TAPPER: Legislation in Congress right now would fund more outdoor recreational therapy for veterans on public lands which would allow for Ylitalo and his new beekeeping community to expand even further.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I don't mind doing it. Actually, I like learning how to do more things.

TAPPER: Which everyone seems to be on board with, except for possibly Tippy.

YLITALO: She ate one. She didn't like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BASH: A Special thank you to our veterans today. And up next, the new details from the closed-door deposition just out what officials thought might not be legal.

[16:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BASH: Be sure to tune in to CNN's Town Hall with the former Vice President Joe Biden live tonight.