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House GOP Lays Out Defense Strategy Ahead Of Public Hearings; Supreme Court Hearing On DACA's Future; Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick Considers Jumping Into 2020 Race. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 12, 2019 - 07:30   ET

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


[07:30:00]

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT): The only thing that stopped this extortion scheme from coming to fruition was the fact that the whistleblower came forward that prompted all of these folks working for the White House to clear their conscience by telling the truth, as well.

If not for those heroes -- if not for those truth-tellers, this would have been a massive corruption campaign and scheme that actually -- that actually occurred -- that actually happened.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It is interesting. One of the things the Republicans brag about here is that the aid was released to Ukraine on September 11th. But, of course, the timing there was days after the White House became of the whistleblower complaint.

Sen. Chris Murphy from Connecticut, thanks for being with us this morning.

MURPHY: Thanks a lot.

BERMAN: Erica --

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Breaking overnight, CNN obtains a memo of the Republican playbook. It shows just how some of which John went through -- just how they plan to fight back during tomorrow's impeachment hearings. We'll take a closer look and look at whether that will work.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:35:07]

HILL: A new memo shows four key arguments Republicans in the House will use to defend President Trump during tomorrow's public impeachment hearings.

Let's bring in Tim Alberta, chief political correspondent for "Politico." He's also the author of "American Carnage: On the Front Lines of the Republican Civil War and the Rise of President Trump." Good to have you with us this morning.

So, as we look at this and we look at these four talking points that have essentially been put out this morning, what's remarkable and what I know we've been talking about this morning is that these points are actually easily discredited by a lot of what we have already seen.

What does this tell you based on both this memo and your reporting, and the lawmakers you've been talking with about where they're really at this morning?

TIM ALBERTA, CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, POLITICO, AUTHOR, "AMERICAN CARNAGE: ON THE FRONT LINES OF THE REPUBLICAN CIVIL WAR AND THE RISE OF PRESIDENT TRUMP": Well, I think where Republicans are this morning is basically where they've been for the last several weeks, which is at the end of the day, they're going to argue that this is very much about intent more than it is about substance.

That it's important to recognize that if the president had wanted to approach his dealings with the Ukraine in a manner that was inherently corrupt and that if the president was intent on trying to extract concessions and lean on the Ukraine, that we wouldn't be hearing from Bill Taylor, from Gordon Sondland or from anybody else that this was a perceived quid pro quo. That it would have been a very explicit quid pro quo.

House Republicans will say look, this is a president who always says what's on his mind, so why would this case be any different? That is a lynchpin of the defense argument that many of these House Republicans will make, which is to say that this is not somebody who leaves a lot of things open to interpretation. This is not somebody who is ambiguous with his messaging.

If the president wanted Ukraine to understand the pressure that he was exerting on them that he would have been very clear about that. But because he was not, it gives them the space -- the oxygen they feel like they have that they really need to make the argument that, in fact, he was just having a polite conversation. That he was bringing things up in a suggestive manner the way that any president might do in that sort of a foreign policy setting.

HILL: And also in terms of things he's said -- his state of mind. That he -- they will also make the point that he was doing this, of course, because he saw this deep-seated, genuine, reasonable skepticism that he had of Ukraine due to its history of pervasive corruption, as we learned in that -- in that memo.

There's another -- there's another factor at play here though, of course, when it comes to the president and that is the president's influence over Republicans.

And you wrote in your latest piece for "Politico" about how the president and his allies are really obsessed with potential Republican defectors and what has been done with them, writing, "Rarely does the president become more wrathful, his allies say, than when he learns of a Republican criticizing him, particularly if done in a public setting.

And even when he hears of an internecine attack launched behind closed doors, Trump has been known to fly into a rage, calling people who were in the room to grill them for details on the alleged act of duplicity."

And that stood out to me, in addition to the fact that you talk about as you were reporting for your book and sitting in on this -- in an interview with the president, he kept returning to this notion of fidelity. The fact that in his mind, he is the one who returned Republicans to power and at the end of the day, they owe him.

ALBERTA: That is very much how the president feels. This is somebody who has made a case study of sorts of the modern Republican Party and believes that if it were not for him -- that if he were not this singular political phenomenon, that Republicans would still be in the -- in the wilderness and out of power, and that they would have no wins on anything from taxes to abortion policy to Supreme Court justices and federal judicial vacancies that he has filled by the dozens.

So obviously, as -- he does feel as though not only has he done these things for the Republican Party, but that because of that, the Republican Party owes him. That is, owes him its allegiance, its loyalty, its unwavering devotion.

And this has been a reoccurring theme throughout the Trump presidency. There has been a slow and steady purge of anybody in the party who has spoken out against the president. That purge will continue.

You can bet that if any Republicans in the House or the Senate work up the courage to ultimately come out and vote for impeachment or for removal from office, this president and his family and his allies -- they will not rest until they see that that person's political career is finished in the Republican Party. We've seen time and time again that that has borne out -- that there are really very few Republicans left standing who could be potential critics of the president.

And at the end of the day, if you're considering how many Republicans might be willing to come out and cross the president on this matter of impeachment, the reason -- part of the reason that the number is so low is because many of the usual suspects -- the people who would have spoken out -- they're already gone. They've already been eliminated from the Republican Party.

HILL: Always appreciate you taking the time to join us. Thanks for being with us. And the piece, again, is a great read just to really wrap a bow on where their heads are at this morning, so thank you.

[07:40:03]

ALBERTA: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right.

In just a few hours, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the Trump administration's attempt to terminate DACA. That's the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program that protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. It protects them from being deported.

So far, lower courts have stepped in to keep the program alive.

CNN's Jessica Schneider live at the Supreme Court with a preview of this very important case -- Jessica.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this really could be a make or break moment for these more than 700,000 so-called Dreamers who really do rely on DACA to stay in this country and to work here.

When the justices hear arguments this morning it really will be a technical argument all about the Administrative Procedure Act and whether or not the Trump administration adequately explained why they wanted to end the DACA program. But the people out here -- the dozens of people who have been waiting in line, standing outside in the rain, they say they want the justices, really, to look at the human element.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Eliana Fernandez left her Long Island home more than two weeks ago to walk 230 miles to the steps of the Supreme Court. She's one of the plaintiffs suing the Trump administration for its decision to end the program that currently protects her from deportation -- DACA.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): Are you afraid that at any moment you could be deported if DACA doesn't continue?

ELIANA FERNANDEZ, SUING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: As a parent, one of the biggest fears that I have is losing protections against deportation that could lead to me being separated from my children. So that's something that is in my head every day.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Fernandez came to the U.S. illegally from Ecuador when she was 14 and has lived undocumented in New York for 17 years. She's struggled as a mom to her now-seven and 12-year-old kids.

But when President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- or DACA -- in 2012, Fernandez felt like she finally had a place in the country she called home.

FERNANDEZ: When DACA came about I was able to get better jobs. I returned to school. I spent hours and days away from my children but always thinking in my head, you know, at the end, everything will be worth it. And it was until the Trump administration took office.

JEFF SESSIONS, THEN-ATTORNEY GENERAL: The DACA policy produced by the last administration could not be sustained.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The Trump administration announced it would end DACA in September 2017, part of the president's plan to crack down on illegal immigration.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In some of the cases, they're having DACA and they're gang members and they're drugs dealers, too. SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The Trump administration says President Obama never had the authority to enact DACA in the first place, and so President Trump could easily end it.

But groups like the National Immigration Law Center immediately sued and several federal courts agreed, ruling the administration did not adequately explain why it was ending DACA, which made the wind-down not legal.

MARIELENA HINCAPIE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL IMMIGRATION LAW CENTER: The Roberts court has a very easy way forward, which is uphold the lower court's decisions and basically say no, the administration did not follow the proper procedures in ending the DACA program.

FERNANDEZ: I'm giving back to this country. I'm paying taxes. We contribute to this amazing country in many different ways. We are Americans in every way but papers, and I -- and I want people to understand and see that.

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Antonio Alarcon is also a plaintiff in this case. He came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico when he was 10. Now 25, he wants the nine justices to think about the lives their decision could impact.

SCHNEIDER (on camera): What would you tell the justices about why it's so important that you and these 700,000 others like you are able to stay here?

ANTONIO ALARCON, SUING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: I would tell them to see our humanity. At the end of the day, we are -- we are Americans. We belong here. And, you know, we are humans just the same.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHNEIDER: And arguments begin this morning at 10:00 a.m. You can see behind me just some of the dozens of people who have waited in line through the elements -- through the rain and throughout the night to get in here.

Now, the justices likely won't decide this case until June. That would be at the height of the 2020 election, making immigration possibly even more of a focal point for these candidates.

And if the justices do, in fact, decide that the Trump administration had the authority to end DACA and did it the right way Erica, it could mean that these 700,000 Dreamers would lose their work permits and eventually be deported -- Erica.

HILL: Jessica Schneider, appreciate it. Thank you.

Elijah Cummings widow is running for her late husband's congressional seat in Maryland. Maya Rockeymoore-Cummings said she is determined to extend and carry forward her late husband's legacy. Her primary focus will be on health care, education, and protecting Social Security.

Rockeymoore-Cummings is undergoing a preventative double mastectomy on Friday but plans to hit the campaign trail following her recovery.

The special primary election is in February. The general election is in April.

[07:45:03]

BERMAN: So a new Democrat -- not Michael Bloomberg -- yet another might be jumping into the 2020 race. We'll tell you who it is and why this person thinks that he or she needs to jump in. That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:50:37]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR, "ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT": You attacked her. I think it's a fair word. The quote was, from you, "It's just an elitist attitude about you're either my way or the highway."

What --

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let's get something straight, she attacked me. It's not about here. It's about the attitude that exists right now. If you disagree with me, you must be bad.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That's former Vice President Joe Biden defending his comments about Sen. Elizabeth Warren during last night's CNN town hall event. This comes as polls show the two candidates in a group at the top of Democratic primary, and not just nationally but in the key states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

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

And, Jonathan Martin, national political correspondent for "The New York Times" and a CNN political analyst who broke a story about yet another possible new candidate jumping into the race. You'll have to wait to talk about that, Jonathan.

Chris, I want to start with you. I think the 'he or she did it first' argument doesn't typically matter to voters when you're talking about comments.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes.

BERMAN: But what struck me was the substance of Joe Biden's argument about Elizabeth Warren. I want to play a little bit more of that where he talks about an elitist mentality.

CILLIZZA: Sure.

BIDEN: Where I come from, growing up in a middle-class neighborhood, the last thing I liked is people telling my family and me what we should know and what we should believe as if somehow we weren't informed. That we -- just because we didn't have money we weren't knowledgeable. I resent that.

And I wasn't talking about her. I was talking about the attitude that if you don't agree with me, get in the other party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Why is he making this argument and why might it be effective?

CILLIZZA: He's making the argument because first of all and most basically, he sees Elizabeth Warren starting to move past him. Why might it be effective -- and I actually think it might be effective -- two reasons.

One, because it's true to him. I think he does feel that way. This is not a political affect.

I think he does feel as though he's spent his life being told you're lesser than, you don't know as much, you don't have money. And he feels as though, like, this is ridiculous.

Number two, because I think it plays to a potentially problematic image of Warren -- Harvard professor, liberal. She's going to tell you what to do because she knows better. That image is out there among some people within the Democratic Party and certainly within the general electorate.

So I think that's -- any time an attack both resonates with the person making it -- that it feels like it's personal and they believe it -- and it plays to an existing stereotype with another candidate, it at least has the potential to work.

BERMAN: It also plays a little bit to Biden voters, Jonathan, who have been told --

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes.

BERMAN: -- you know, they're really not hardened supporters of Joe Biden. Their support is soft. It's just name recognition that's keeping him up --

MARTIN: Right.

BERMAN: -- in the polls so it may play to that.

And as we look at the polls -- let me just put up this New Hampshire poll from Quinnipiac that came out yesterday -- Joe Biden at 20 percent. Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, they're all grouped at the top there.

Joe Biden doesn't seem to be going anywhere. He's not dropping out in these --

MARTIN: Right. BERMAN: -- poll numbers at all. And, in fact, in some cases, he's rising.

MARTIN: And, John, if you look deeper into the polling, especially in Iowa and South Carolina -- a little less so in New Hampshire, which is a more affluent state -- you see that Biden has much more support among working-class voters.

And I think what he's doing there in that clip that you played is trying to tamp down Warren's growth with working-class Democratic voters. This is one of the challenges that she's had.

Even as Warren has risen in the last few months her growth has mostly come from sort of college-educated voters -- the more informed super- engaged element of the Democratic primary electorate. And I think Biden recognizes that and is trying to sort of consolidate his working-class coalition by portraying Warren the way he is.

BERMAN: All right, Jonathan, you broke yesterday that former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is making calls -- calling people --

MARTIN: Yes.

BERMAN: -- including Joe Biden, saying --

MARTIN: Yes.

BERMAN: -- I'm thinking about jumping into the Democratic race. Why? What does he see and what are the considerations?

MARTIN: Yes, from your -- from the Bay State, John -- your great state.

Look, I think he sees a fluid race. He believes that there is nobody who has kind of unified the progressive wing of the party and the more center-left wing of the party. He believes that he's somebody that can do that.

He's got liberal credentials, obviously -- a two-term governor of Massachusetts -- but also somebody who is close to President Obama and advisers. So obviously, has creds when it comes to kind of mainstream Democrats as well.

[07:55:09]

And he wanted to run. He almost ran last year. He sort of begged off late last year but the fire never really went away.

And I think just watching this race unfold, he's realized that there -- it's still fluid. He looks at a poll like you just showed there where you've got four candidates breaking up the vote in New Hampshire in mid-November and he sees an opening.

Why? He's next door to New Hampshire -- to his own home state -- so he's pretty widely known across the border from Massachusetts. And also, in South Carolina. Being African-American, I think he

believes that he could actually do well there and kind of move some of those folks off of Joe Biden.

CILLIZZA: Yes, I was just going to add to Jonathan's point. Look, don't undersell the fact that when -- Deval Patrick is considering the race.

Kamala Harris is widely regarded as a sort of top-tier, top four-ish, top-five candidate -- African-American woman. Now, Kamala Harris -- yes, she's still in the race but has cut all staff in New Hampshire and is focusing on Iowa. The campaign has said they're struggling fundraising wise.

So what does that top four have? We focus a lot on liberal versus conservative. We focus a lot on age -- you know, older versus younger -- Buttigieg versus Biden.

But all four of the top tier -- Warren, Buttigieg, Biden, Sanders -- are all white. And we know that if you look back in ways that primaries have been fought in the past, the African-American vote is absolutely essential.

Now, to Jonathan's --

BERMAN: Once you get to South Carolina.

CILLIZZA: But more broadly, to win the nomination -- yes.

And to Jonathan's point, Biden remains strong among that group. But, Warren, Sanders, and Buttigieg are not obvious vessels for the black vote to go to if they don't want Biden. Potentially, Deval Patrick would be and I think that's at least another part of the thinking there.

BERMAN: And we'll know a lot by Friday. This won't take a long time --

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BERMAN: -- because Friday, I think, Jonathan, is the filing deadline get in the New Hampshire ballot. And you would think that Deval Patrick, being from the Commonwealth, would want to run in that primary.

I'm also wondering, though --

MARTIN: Indeed, indeed.

BERMAN: -- if underneath the surface -- you don't have to scratch very hard to get Obama people. I mean, core Obama people --

MARTIN: Yes.

BERMAN: -- to tell you they're not happy with how this primary is going. And I'm wondering if Deval Patrick, who is close to many core Obama people --

MARTIN: Yes, he is.

BERMAN: -- might be tapping into that vein.

MARTIN: Oh, absolutely. I think part of this comes from the Obama world that is sort of uneasy about how this race is going. A lot of them like Joe Biden. Some of them are for Joe Biden, but not all of them are for Joe Biden.

I think they wanted Deval to run in the first place and they are still holding out hope. Well, he's very close to Valerie Jarrett, especially, who was one of Obama's closest friends and advisers and has been public over the last couple of years about her hope that Deval Patrick will, in fact, run. So, yes, that is definitely part of this.

And I would say also that the kind of broader African-American donor class, too, John, sort of looking at the candidates out there and I think Deval is someone that could be very appealing for those folks.

BERMAN: A very quick last question, Chris Cillizza.

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BERMAN: Rudy Giuliani is considering a podcast. I know you're a multimedia --

CILLIZZA: Yes.

BERMAN: -- mogul. How good of an idea is it for a -- for the president's lawyer to launch a podcast about impeachment?

CILLIZZA: So I am not -- as I say many times, to my mother's chagrin, I am not a lawyer. But if I was a lawyer -- and I can imagine anyone who is a lawyer would tell Rudy Giuliani this is a bad idea. More talking for Rudy Giuliani does not seem to be the recipe for success.

But I would remind people he is under not one, but two federal investigations here. I mean, this is not -- we joke about it but the idea of having a podcast where you can just talk about whatever for as long as you want, it seems to me a recipe for disaster if you're Rudy Giuliani.

Though I would guess it would honestly be relatively interesting listening from just a listener's perspective, which obviously, I am.

BERMAN: Which his lawyer may not have the same --

CILLIZZA: His lawyer is not going to want that.

BERMAN: All right, Chris Cillizza, Jonathan Martin. Johnathan, terrific reporting. Thanks for coming on this morning. I really appreciate it.

MARTIN: Thanks for having me, John. BERMAN: And thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Kristie Lu Stout is next.

For our U.S. viewers, we are now about 24 hours until this historic moment when the impeachment proceedings go public on Capitol Hill. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: This a critical week heading into these public hearings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seeing this live testimony as opposed to reading transcripts is a big deal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Laura Cooper testified that the aide was behind held up.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: His argument that the Ukrainians didn't know, this testimony would undermine that argument.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They didn't want to admit that the president had that kind of leverage on them. It made them look weak.

BERMAN: Disarray inside the White House.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been a consistent theme in this White House. Mick Mulvaney and Pat Cipollone have not been on the same page.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

BERMAN: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, November 12th. It's 8:00 in the East.

Alisyn is away. Erica Hill joins me for the countdown.

HILL: I'm here for the countdown.

BERMAN: Twenty-four hours until history. One of the most perilous moments for the Trump presidency.

END