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Bolivia with No Clear Leader after President Resigns; Biden Stumps in New Hampshire Ahead of Tonight's CNN Town Hall; Anthony Scaramucci Is Interviewed About Nikki Haley's Revelation. Aired 7:30- 8a ET
Aired November 11, 2019 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: "Giving up a huge chunk of our business and all international deals to avoid appearance that we were 'profiting off the office'".
PAUL RIECKHOFF, FOUNDER, IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN VETERANS OF AMERICA: I mean this is the tone. I mean every week there's something new like this. There is tone deafness from the president and from his family around what it means to serve.
Don Jr. is of age. If he really wants to understand what sacrifice is all about, he can join the military. You know folks like Sean Spicer and others have done it. Reince Priebus just joined the military. There are plenty of ways you can serve your country. But you've got to understand the cultural competency and understand what the military community is really all about. And comparing, you know, that to the dead people at Arlington is ridiculous. And unfortunately it has kind of tone that's permeated the last three years of this administration time and time again.
They hit political guard rails that they shouldn't hit. And just last week, the president is going to be at the - fined -- his foundation is going to be fined $2 million for diverting funds that were raised for veterans, that were instead put into politics. This is the charade they did back in 2016 in Iowa, where he was going to boycott the Fox debate and raise money for veterans. Looks like the money didn't go to veterans. It went into politics.
So, time and time again, there's this politicization of the military and over veterans, but I think it's very, very dangerous. And I've brought it up on your show and others for the last three years. And I think it's about the core of our values. It's about the core of our democracy. Our veterans and military folks should be off limits when it comes to politics.
BERMAN: Do you think Don Jr. was comparing his sacrifice to the sacrifice of those made inside Arlington?
RIECKHOFF: You showed it for a reason. I mean, I think that's how folks are viewing it. And again, it shows tone deafness to the military community and the extent of the sacrifice, you know, being attacked politically. I've been attacked politically and I've been in combat. They're not the same. They're not even close. Don Jr. and anybody else serving in higher office or close to higher office should know that.
BERMAN: Where do you see as the state of veterans issues in the United States during the Trump presidency? Has the position of veterans improved over the last few years?
RIECKHOFF: No. I mean, I think it's - we're facing an uphill demand, like suicide is climbing. You know many more veterans are coming home. You know unemployment, homelessness continue to be challenges. And so, there's already a spike in demand, but I think the politicization has really been a challenge. The VA is not getting better. In some ways, it's getting worse. And I think we're hoping every day Veterans Day. But I think it's important to know, when the president continues to wrap himself in military and veterans, it politicizes veterans. It makes it tougher for the average Americans to support veterans. And I think that might be one of the most damaging long-term impacts of this consistent politicization.
BERMAN: All right. Paul Rieckhoff, thank you for being here with us today. Again, we thank you for your service.
RIECKHOFF: Thank you, John.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Great conversation. All right, breaking overnight, chaos erupting in Bolivia as President Evo Morales resigns and leaves the nation without a leader.
CNN's Patrick Oppmann is live for us in Mexico City with more. What's the latest, Patrick?
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a political earthquake that is not only rocking Bolivia, but the entire region. This is one of Latin-America's longest serving and was staunchly leftist. He seemed untouchable. He's been battling allegations over the last several weeks. That he'd stolen an election that would have given him a fourth term as president. These protests were getting more and more violent as we're seeing, police taking part, actually supporting the protesters.
And yesterday, it was just an incredibly historic day for Bolivia. Developments happen throughout the day. And finally, they ended when the military essentially said that Evo Morales needed to step down. Within a few hours, he had done just that. He was still defiant but he says that to void bloodshed, he will no longer be president. We're waiting to see who will now lead this country, whether it will be new elections.
For the moment though, Evo Morales says he's not going to take the offer of asylum. Even though he may face arrests in Bolivia, that he is staying put and that he is continuing to fight even if he is no longer president. John? BERMAN: All right, Patrick. Patrick Oppmann for us, thank you very much. Please keep track of that situation because it is chaotic in Bolivia.
Up next, CNN catches up with Joe Biden on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Are Donald Trump's attacks on you helping you?
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, they are.
BASH: How so?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Ooh. We'll have to find out. We'll have to stay tuned to find out how.
CAMEROTA: What are they talking about there?
CAMEROTA: Former Vice President Joe Biden will take questions from Democratic voters at a CNN town hall tonight in Iowa. The former vice president is still the party frontrunner nationally, but his 2020 rivals are gaining on him.
CNN's Dana Bash caught up with Biden on the stump in New Hampshire. And Dana joins us with more. So, tell us what you guys talked about.
BASH: Well, Alisyn, we went to several events in the Granite State with the former vice president. We got a front row seat to his unique challenge, beating back the president while still very much having to beat his Democratic rivals.
BASH (voice-over): It's the right of passage for anyone running in New Hampshire, filing for the primary in person.
And for Joe Biden a chance to show passion behind a candidacy that leans into the practical.
BIDEN: Eight years of Donald Trump will forever and fundamentally change the character of this country. And that's why I am running.
BASH (on camera): Do you feel that people are saying, you know what, I'm thinking about Joe Biden because they love you and they want you to be president? Or is it more you're the guy who can beat Donald Trump and is that OK?
BIDEN: I think it's both. BASH (voice-over): Standing the day with him on the trail, we saw both.
PAUL REMUS, NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY VOTER: He has the best chance of beating Trump.
BASH (on camera): Is that what matters most?
REMUS: Yes, absolutely.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I think Joe Biden is just an excellent man.
BASH (voice-over): Out here, he's fighting a two front war against Democratic rivals and the president.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think sleepy Joe may be able to limp across the finish line.
BASH (on camera): Are Donald Trump's attacks on you helping you?
BIDEN: Yes, they are.
BASH: How so?
BIDEN: Well, they have to be in any 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.
BASH (on camera): Are you trying to win the primary by talking about the general?
BIDEN: The reason I'm running is because it's the general. I'm not running against with anything having to do with the character or 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's nothing Elizabeth was -- I was responding to a comment she made. She said that anyone who disagree with her and took her on, on her issue of 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, when 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 judgement. I think there's a much better way.
BASH (voice-over): On the stump, an issue in his will house, the Violence Against Women Act, which she helped write.
BIDEN: There's a lot that has happened that's been good. So much more work we have to do.
BASH (voice-over): Later, a town hall where kids asked some tough questions.
QUESTION: How are you going to make schools more safe from mass shootings?
BIDEN: Think about this. Those of you who are over 30, could you ever imagine having asked that question when you're 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's harder to mislabel me or to say something about me that's not true. I have weaknesses. It's 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. You're holding Biden signs and you're still not 100 percent?
RUTH KOVACS, NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY VOTER: Well, as I say, you know we like the message. We've always loved Joe Biden.
He's a likable guy. He says what it is. Sometimes he has his little gaffes but I think that's what makes Joe, Joe.
BASH (on camera): The first time you ran for president, it was 1987.
BIDEN: That's right.
BASH: The world has changed a lot.
BIDEN: A lot.
BASH: Have you changed with it?
BIDEN: Yes, I have. I mean if you - look, you have to grow. I mean everything is totally different.
BASH: I've been wanted to ask this because I've 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 that I've learned is hopefully with age comes experience. With experience comes some judgment, with judgment comes some wisdom.
BASH (voice-over): Eric Swendsen told us he came to this town hall with concerns about Biden's age.
BASH (on camera): Now that you've seen him up close and personal, do you still have that?
ERIC SWENDSEN, NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY VOTER: I think he'll be fine. I think he'll 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: Let's just say just hypothetically.
BIDEN: I'm not going to go there.
BASH (voice-over): 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 of my entire life to deal with the problems the next president is going to be able to - I have to face.
CAMEROTA: Dana, what an interesting piece. I mean, he was - that was a really reflective Joe Biden. John and I were remarking. We hadn't heard him with - I don't know, share some of that self-awareness before, but how about those two women?
They're wearing the Joe Biden buttons -
BIDEN: I know.
CAMEROTA: They're holding the Joe Biden posters, but they haven't decided yet. Had there ever been two more New Hampshire voters?
BASH: Right. So New Hampshire. They - look, you know this, we've all been up there. They take their role incredibly seriously. And they weren't the only ones. The campaign did a good job. They gave everybody signs and stickers. And what's fascinating is even people who are there to candidate shop to see him, to shake his hand, to talk to him. They're fine to wear the sticker. You know, they're all in.
But they're absolutely still as - a reluctance about - among many of the voters we talked to, to make a decision at all, whether it's about Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar or people to judge. There was definitely as you can imagine that's the lane if the voters were choosing the candidate based on the fact that they say that they're more moderate or more middle of the road. That's the term of one of those women use. Those are the three candidates that they are choosing from. And they have -- those women I talked to, they went to see all three of them and will probably do it multiple times.
CAMEROTA: Oh, yes. They will. You know, John McCain, who I covered in New Hampshire. I know you both have -- he used to make the joke all the time that he overheard two women like them talking. What do you think about John McCain? And what the other ones said, I don't know. I've only met him five times.
CAMEROTA: Dana, thank you very much.
BASH: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Former Vice President Joe Biden will take questions from voters in a CNN town hall live from Iowa. That is tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern only here on CNN.
BERMAN: So the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley claims in her new book that two top Trump administration officials tried to recruit her to subvert the president and save the country. Reaction from Anthony Scaramucci who doesn't need to stand on the stairs to prove how tall he is --
CAMEROTA: But he's doing it.
BERMAN: This morning, the shocking new claim from former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. She says the former Chief of Staff John Kelly and former Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson attempted to recruit her to undermine the president. Haley writes in her new book, "Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the president, they weren't being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country. It was their decisions, not the president's, that were in the best interest of America," they said. The president didn't know what he was doing.
Joining me now is Anthony Scaramucci, former White House communications director. Anthony, thank you so much.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Hey, good morning.
BERMAN: I think there are two things going on here. Nikki Haley makes clear that she wouldn't work with those two men to subvert the will of the president. There's that, but there's also the notion that two senior officials, including the Secretary of State, according to Nikki Haley, thought the president was a danger to America.
SCARAMUCCI: Yes. Well, there's a lot going on there. I mean, I think the first thing you say is obviously I'm a Governor Haley fan or Ambassador Haley fan. She has a difference of opinion on this than I do. But I think the big issue for her if she decides to run for president she has to be careful because these are colleagues of hers and it's sort of, you know, that's a pretty rough commentary on her colleagues. Now, if it's true, then it's true, but I don't really think it's true knowing -- I got to know John Kelly --
BERMAN: What part is not true?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, listen, I got to know John Kelly after I was fired, OK.
BERMAN: By John Kelly.
SCARAMUCCI: We started in very a rough spot and we built, I think, a pretty incredible relationship in the last year. And I think at the end of the day, he's a patriotic American that was really just trying do what he thought was the best thing for his country. And I think he was really trying to give the president a range of information and to narrow it down to a few decision making choices and to allow the president to choose. And so, I think, you know, I'm not going to speak on behalf of General Kelly but having spoken to him about this sort of stuff, that's where I think he was directionally.
I also think Ambassador Haley is probably not aware of this but I think General Kelly was supportive of her in certain times where she needed his support vis-a-vis the president and other people in the cabinet. So, I just want to say, the problem is the president has such a horrific management style. That he spits these people against each other and they start strafing each other when they should be collaborating.
BERMAN: So this is what John Kelly said in response to all this. He said, "If providing the president with the best and most open, legal and ethical staffing advice from across the government so he could make an informed decision is 'working against Trump,' then guilty as charged." That's how John Kelly sees it.
SCARAMUCCI: OK. So, that's consistent with what he has said to me over the last year as we developed our relationship. So listen, whatever General Kelly thinks about the president, he'll have to say that, obviously Secretary Tillerson as well. I think Ambassador Haley has decided that she's, you know, definitively in the president's camp. Maybe that's a good strategy as a fellow Republican of the president.
For me, I'm -- I look at it a little bit differently. I think there's so much going on here that has been ridiculously lawless. And there's so much going on here that should be unacceptable to a person as an American, as an American citizen and somebody that loves the country, so we differ on that. But that doesn't mean -- here's the thing. I like Ambassador Haley. I don't want my differences with her to get in the way of our friendship, frankly. But the flip side is she's got to be careful with stuff like this because somebody who has managed a recently large organization, you got to make sure there's a symphony inside the organization.
BERMAN: What she is describing isn't necessarily all that different than the excerpts we're seeing from this new book by anonymous in the book that's coming out shortly called "A Warning." This author writes, "Trump is like a 12-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport."
So, again, you see this picture of chaos in the White House. And my question to you as someone who was there, albeit briefly, what's the more honorable path if this is the way it is? Is the honorable path the Nikki Haley path, which is to say, Donald Trump was the one elected, so I'm going to let him do what he wants to do, or is it the path of as she describes it John Kelly and Rex Tillerson trying to stop him?
SCARAMUCCI: I think there's a balance, John. I mean, at the end of the day, he was elected and so you have to give him the opportunity to project his agenda. If you reject the agenda then you have to resign and declare yourself and say, look, this isn't working, here are the reasons why it's not working.
It's never been personal for me with the president. At the end of the day, as an entrepreneur you're hiring somebody for a job. You're evaluating their job performance. And saying this guy is terrible at this job. We have to seek his removal and replacement. If this was a publicly traded company and those three people that you just mentioned or myself were on a publicly traded board, Donald Trump would last five seconds. He would be the first one out.
BERMAN: If there are still people inside the administration who think he is a threat to the nation, if --
SCARAMUCCI: They got to speak out.
BERMAN: Do you think they would speak out?
SCARAMUCCI: No question. And you know, I'm -- I don't know who the anonymous person is --
BERMAN: You know who the anonymous -
SCARAMUCCI: I don't know who the person is, but I sort of think it's, you know, there's an act of cowardice there. You've got to put your name on something. You got to speak declaratively about it because it's a serious thing.
Now, if what Ambassador Haley is saying is true, then it confirms what I was saying to you guys over the summer that there's a very large group of people that have worked for the president and think he's unstable, that think he's nonsensical. They can't really form a decision. He can't define a problem and take his team through a process to get to the right outcome. He's very flippant. He's very half-cocked most of the time. And he represents a danger to America.
And then, of course, now we've learned about all of his significant lawlessness. And so, it's just interesting that there's a very large group of Republicans that have decided we're going to ignore all that for political purposes and for self-preservation purposes. And I think history will judge them very, very poorly.
And you know, I don't know if Ambassador Haley has, you know, political ambitions beyond where she is today, but it's going to be, in my opinion, in 2024, what standing are you going to have when whistling past the President Donald Trump graveyard and the lawless activity? What standing are you going to have?
BERMAN: You think history will look on her poorly?
SCARAMUCCI: Well, no. I think history will look on her well, but I think they'll say this is probably not the best judgment looking at the facts on the ground and saying hey, this is OK by me.
BERMAN: Do you think -
SCARAMUCCI: The whole notion about the --
BERMAN: Do you think -- if you're Mike Pence -- if you're watching -- if you're Mike Pence watching this book come out, President Trump praised the book from Nikki Haley, by the way. Do you wonder maybe that Nikki Haley will end up on the ticket?
SCARAMUCCI: I think the president would be very smart to stick with Mike Pence, Vice President Pence. I think Mike Pence is a great guy. He's been always very good to me. You'll never hear me say anything otherwise. But again --
BERMAN: You want to put him in office. You want to impeach the president, have him removed, put Mike Pence in office.
SCARAMUCCI: I don't want to impeach the president. I think it's a horrific thing that the country has to go through. But if you're acting like a criminal and you're a traitor to the Constitution. Remember what he's doing, OK. He's going after a fellow citizen.
At the end of the day, Joe Biden right now is a political adversary but he is a fellow citizen of America and that's a form of fascism. You can't ask a foreign official to please help me bury one of my fellow citizens. OK. It's just a violation of so many things in the Constitution, so many things about what it means to be an American person and in so many things about our system where every person is below the system of law.
And now we're going to put a person, there's a group of Republicans that want to put one person above the law. John, I think that's a very, very dangerous place for us to be. But I predict that won't happen as these things unfold over the next couple of days, this waterfall of information I think will be overwhelming.
BERMAN: We'll see. It all goes public on Wednesday.
SCARAMUCCI: But you are learning from Ambassador Haley there's a few people out there like me, probably not as outspoken, but a few people like me saying this is unsustainable.
BERMAN: Right. But Haley is not one of them. She talks about people --
SCARAMUCCI: She's not. So, we're going to disagree on that respectfully.
BERMAN: Thank you very much for being here. Respectfully.
And thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you CNN NEWSROOM with Max Foster is next.
For our U.S. viewers, this historic week on tap in the history of the United States as a public impeachment inquiry begins.
NEW DAY continues right now.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Several administration officials slated to head to Capitol Hill this week for public televised hearings.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans have been demanding that the public be able to judge for itself.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is inappropriate for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do not believe it was impeachable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a very simple, straightforward act. The president broke the law.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we've gotten lost in this whole idea of quid pro quo. If you're not allowed to give aid to people who are corrupt, there's always contingencies on aid.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These aren't Democrats on a mission to bring down the president. The president's own people will testify to what they knew.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, November 11th, Veterans Day. It's 8:00 in the east.
Historic public impeachment hearings begin this week.