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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Trump Makes Nearly 20 False Claims in 53 Minutes as He Pushes Back on Impeachment Inquiry; 2020 Democratic Presidential Pete Buttigieg is Interviewed About His Presidential Campaign. Aired 4:30- 5p ET

Aired November 22, 2019 - 16:30   ET

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


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[16:31:35]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And we're back with our politics lead.

President Trump spewing at least 18 false statements in 53 minutes today. That's an average of one lie every three minutes or so. See if you can spot what's wrong with this claim about the whistle-blower complaint.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It bore no relationship. It said there were eight, seven or eight quid pro quos. There were none. It bore no relationship to my call. Nobody brings that out. The whistle-blower is, in my opinion, a political operative.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

TAPPER: CNN's Daniel Dale, a fact checker extraordinaire, found the problem. He fact checks every word the president says.

Daniel, let's start with that claim about the whistleblower. He says this a lot.

What's your issue with this?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Yes, so, he said this more than 45 times at this point. And the whistle-blower complaint not only bore a relationship to Trump's call, it has been overwhelmingly corroborated by the rough transcript Trump himself released.

So, the whistle-blower's three main allegations about the call were, one, Trump wanted Zelensky to investigate Biden, that's been confirmed; Trump wanted the investigation of the debunked 2016 server conspiracy theory, that's been confirmed and he wanted Zelensky to speak to Giuliani, his personal lawyer, and Attorney Barr. That was confirmed as well. So, this is overwhelmingly again confirmed.

TAPPER: I want you to take a listen to this from President Trump attacking the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: Now, Schiff, remember this, he makes it all up. He's sick. There is something wrong with him.

So he made up my phone call. He made it up. He made up a phone call and then when I released it, everybody was embarrassed.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

TAPPER: Now, there is this thing when Adam Schiff did kind of a dramatic re-enactment, a paraphrase of the president's phone call. He -- I don't think he was lying about it, but it's probably not politically the smartest thing.

But he -- the president has a timeline issue here.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DALE: He does. So I've heard that Schiff's rendition was exaggerated and Trump is reasonable to be miffed about it, but Trump is switching out one thing that's happened. So, Trump is saying that Schiff spoke and then he outsmarted Schiff by releasing the transcript the next day or sometime after.

TAPPER: Not what happened.

DALE: Trump released the transcript first. Trump's initial complaint about Schiff was that he hadn't hewed closely enough to the transcript that had already been released. Why Trump is pushing this up, I have no idea.

TAPPER: Well, it's a lie that makes him look better and Adam Schiff look worse.

DALE: That's probably it.

TAPPER: I mean, that's just one hypothesis.

DALE: Reasonable.

TAPPER: The president revealed at least one new issue he had with former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, a woman he's been smearing now for weeks. Take a listen.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: She won't hang my picture in the embassy, OK? She's in charge of the embassy. She wouldn't hang it. It took a year and a half or two years for her to get the picture up.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

DALE: So, we don't have an official comment from Yovanovitch yet, but what we know is that there was a worldwide delay in the hanging of Trump's official picture because Trump himself didn't sit for the picture. So, we know it took the White House nine months to send it to embassies and other government buildings, and our Kylie Atwood heard from a State Department official who served in Kiev who said she didn't refuse anything we didn't get the picture until late 2017.

So, it seems like Trump was at fault for the thing he's blaming Yovanovitch for.

TAPPER: So he tells more lies and untruths and falsehoods than any president in modern memory. Is there evidence that this has eroded his credibility at all?

DALE: Well, we've seen it in the polls consistently that about two- thirds of Americans do not think the president is honest and trustworthy. We pay a lot of attention to his base and that's important. We have to understand where his staunch supporters think.

[16:35:02]

But we also have to remember that the overwhelming majority of Americans simply do not believe what this president is saying.

TAPPER: Daniel Dale, thank you so much.

And you can see more of Daniel Dale this Sunday night. I have a CNN special report taking a deeper look at the president's strained relationship with the truth. It's -- we're taking a look at the impact of all of the lies, the impact on Wall Street, on Congress, on the American psyche. It's called "All The President's Lies". It airs at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, this Sunday night, only on CNN.

Coming up, it's not about who got the endorsement from a South Bend, Indiana, lawmaker, it's about the candidate who did not get it. We're going to talk to 2020 candidate South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, next.

Stay with us.

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[16:40:04]

TAPPER: In our 2020 lead now, Democratic candidates are courting the African-American vote. Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, speaking at Clark Atlanta University, a historically black college, last night.

Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigning in South Carolina and getting the endorsement today of Dr. Oliver Davis Jr., one of the longest serving African-American councilmember in South Bend, Indiana, the city that Mayor Pete Buttigieg leads.

And Mayor Pete Buttigieg joins me now.

Mayor Pete, thanks so much for joining us.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-SOUTH BEND, IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be with you.

TAPPER: So, you know this -- no Democratic candidate in modern presidential history has won the Democratic nomination without winning the majority of black votes. A Quinnipiac poll out this week has you polling at 0 percent among black voters in South Carolina.

Now it's just one poll, and it's just a snapshot, but it's not good. You said voters are still getting to know you. The South Carolina's primary is just 92 days away, is that enough time?

BUTTIGIEG: It is. I recognize and welcome the work we have ahead. That same poll you mentioned showed that a majority of black voters in South Carolina say they don't have an opinion of me right now.

That means we've got work to do, but we're doing the work -- we're making investments, both on the air and on the ground, I'll be engaging a lot personally.

And what we do know is that when black voters hear the agenda that I have for black America and what motivates me to deal with these issues -- the response is supportive, it is powerful, and I believe that that is going to carry us to success in South Carolina and across the country.

TAPPER: So the vice president of the South Bend, Indiana Council, Doctor Oliver Davis Junior, as I'm sure you know, just endorsed your rival Joe Biden. And Doctor Davis said your struggle with the black community in South Bend has been, quote, "a consistent issue that has not gone away."

These are voters who have known you now for years. What's the issue?

BUTTIGIEG: Well Councilman Davis, I respect him a lot. We have definitely disagreed on politics a great deal, not to take you into the whole story of South Bend politics, but you know, I respect him coming from a different place politically.

Obviously no one person speaks for black voters in South Bend, and I'm proud of some of the black supporters who know me best from Indiana and from South Bend, who have -- not only supported our campaign, but traveled with us and helped tell the story of our community.

TAPPER: So some of the issues, at least this week seem to be self- inflicted wounds. Your campaign website used a stock photo -- it's been taken down -- of a woman in Kenya that was used to promote your black economic empowerment plan.

Separately you mistakenly listed two black South Carolinians as endorsing you when they only endorsed the plan.

And "The New York Times," noted there was a photo that your husband posted in New Orleans that was scrutinized for having a nearly all white crowd. I mean, this is an issue, and it seems like you're not making it any better.

BUTTIGIEG: Well, when there's a misstep on the campaign I'll own it, because it's my campaign. But we're also proud of the hundreds of people who have stepped up to support the Douglass Plan, which has been praised as the most comprehensive plan put forward in the 2020 campaign for doing something concretely and systematically about systemic racism in this country.

Again, it gets a powerful and favorable response as I reach out to voters and make sure I communicate exactly what we're going to do. And we're going to make sure that we do the strongest possible job as we go forward of getting that message out.

TAPPER: You're an Afghanistan Veteran, I'm wondering what you think -- there's friction right now between President Trump and the Navy, over Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, he was demoted after he posed for a photo with a dead ISIS prisoner.

The latest seems to be that the Navy SEALs wanted to strip Gallagher of this pin, and the president tweeted that the Navy should get back to business and should not strip him of his SEAL status.

It's not clear what the Navy is ultimately going to do. You're a Navy Veteran. Do you support the president at commander-in-chief being able to overrule the military in these cases?

BUTTIGIEG: The president should know better. I don't know what the legal authorities are here, but I know the moral authority.

And for a president of the United States, who avoided serving when it was his turn, to think he knows better than the Navy SEAL command, who deserves to wear the trident, shows you just how poorly he understands military discipline, and military honor.

And it's one more of many, many examples that we've seen of what it means to have a commander-in-chief who has no clue about how the military works, or ought to work.

TAPPER: Republican Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn today tweeted about Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, he's on the National Security Council staff, he testified in the impeachment inquiry this week.

Senator Blackburn wrote, "Vindictive Vindman is the 'whistleblower's' handler." What's your response to that?

BUTTIGIEG: I feel sorry for Senator Blackburn, and for anybody who feels required by partisan politics to embarrass themselves by smearing the good name of a patriot. And unfortunately, that has happened to a great many congressional Republicans.

[16:45:13]

I think most of us have already made up our minds about this president's character, but there are a lot of folks in the Senate and in the Congress who deep down know better and ought to remember that, for the rest of their lives, they will be remembered for their conduct during these weeks and months ahead. TAPPER: Also, finally, I want to give you an opportunity to respond to something President Trump said today in his free-willing appearance on "Fox & Friends." He said it was difficult to picture you dealing with someone such as North Korea's Kim Jong-un or China's President Xi Jinping.

What is your response?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, that might have been a swipe at my age. If so, I would point out that President Trump has been repeatedly manipulated and misled, and that was by Kim Jong-un himself, who is younger than I am.

And as far as dealing with Xi Jinping, he said that he would like to see me negotiating a deal with Xi Jinping. I would like to see him produce a deal with Xi Jinping.

What we have seen is that the Chinese regime has been able to purchase the silence of the American president on human rights issues like what's going on in Xinjiang, like what's going on in Hong Kong, and in the meantime still have not seen results in a trade war that right now is hurting American farmers, hurting workers and hurting consumers.

TAPPER: Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, always good to see you, sir. Thanks so much for your time.

BUTTIGIEG: Good to be with you. Thank you.

TAPPER: Next: CNN's Don Lemon just sat down with former Vice President Joe Biden, what he had to say -- next.

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[16:51:27]

TAPPER: In our 2020 lead, former Vice President Joe Biden just sat down with CNN's Don Lemon. And he has a message to the newest Democratic presidential candidates: Bring it on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: There are some folks who have recently got in this race. They don't think you're in shape, and they say they got in the race because they don't think you're in shape. One of them is Mayor Bloomberg.

JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Come on.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Go on.

BIDEN: Come on.

No, I'm saying, come on. I'm -- I welcome the competition. LEMON: He's saying that -- someone in his campaign said -- or someone

said, specifically, he has specific concerns about your ability to carry this through to the finish line.

What do you say about that?

BIDEN: Watch me. Watch me.

The idea that I'm not in better shape than Mayor Bloomberg, physically and otherwise, look, this -- Trump is so bad as a president and so corrupt as a president that everybody in America who's ever been involved in politics, especially if they have a billion dollars, thinks they can beat Trump.

LEMON: Yes.

BIDEN: Maybe they could.

And so what do you have to do? I'm the guy sitting at the top of the pyramid. I get it. I'm a big boy. Never complain, never explain.

LEMON: Well, Deval Patrick is there too. He doesn't have a billion dollars.

BIDEN: No, he doesn't. But I noticed they showed him the other day.

He went down to -- he went -- anyway, he went down to Morehouse, and there was -- had all these hundreds of seats, and no one showed up.

LEMON: Yes.

BIDEN: So, look, I like Deval. I really do. He's a good guy. And he's a solid guy.

But I think this is about deciding who is ready on day one...

LEMON: Yes.

BIDEN: ... to unite this country and demonstrate that they could, and, number two, who in fact can be ready on day one to be commander in chief?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: You have been out there on the campaign trail, Laura.

That was a very confident Joe Biden. I thought he was actually challenging Mike Bloomberg to take a shot at him.

(LAUGHTER)

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.

TAPPER: What do you think? Is that confidence well-earned?

BARRON-LOPEZ: I think, to a degree, it is, because I was just in Nevada and I was just in Georgia, and I did not hear a single Democratic voter mention Michael Bloomberg or mention Deval Patrick or say that they wanted anyone else in the race.

If anything, there's voters that are saying, I could vote for five of these Democrats. I'm not decided. I like the field.

And they aren't asking for any more options, because they're tired of crowded debate stages.

TAPPER: What do you think, as a Democrat, at this stage? I mean, do you think Biden -- like, I think people in Washington and New York, the political folks, like, maybe might, like, look down on Biden -- not me, per se, but people.

But...

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: But -- well, I don't look down on anyone.

But it looks like out in the hinterlands people still like him.

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN COMMENTATOR: No, I mean, I have said this before.

I think that people underestimate how beloved he is and that he has a really long relationship with Democratic voters. And they like him. And they have -- and I think that they also are obviously less critical than we are.

They're also not following every single thing that he does, the way we do. And so -- but I think that they're willing to, like, cut him slack on some of this stuff. And there doesn't seem to be any evidence that they feel that he's not up to the job because of his age.

TAPPER: What do you think?

AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I guess I'm really curious about what Bloomberg is going to do with all that money, right? He's going to drop tens of millions of dollars in ads starting the 25th.

Are these going to be ads aimed at attacking Biden? I doubt it. Shaping the Democratic Party? Does Bloomberg want to talk about the work that he's done to advance gun control and climate change?

Like, where is he going to take this? Because I suspect he just wants to shape the Democratic Party in a better way, than actually confront Biden on his own.

TAPPER: That might be, but I do think he wants to be president.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: You can see the full Don Lemon interview with former Vice President Joe Biden on CNN. That's tonight at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. [16:55:03]

He won't talk to lawmakers for the impeachment inquiry, but John Bolton is doing some talking on Twitter.

Stay with us.

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TAPPER: This Sunday morning on "STATE OF THE UNION," I'm going to talk to the lawmaker who ran the public impeachment hearings, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff. I'm also going to talk to Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin.

That's at 9:00 a.m. and noon Eastern Sunday morning.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @JakeTapper. You can tweet the show @THELEADCNN.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now.

I will see you Sunday morning.

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