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NEW DAY SATURDAY

DOJ Watchdog Report Expected To Debunk "Russia Hoax" Conspiracy; Giuliani Associate Willing To Testify GOP Rep. Nunes Went To Europe For Biden Dirt; Don Lemon Sits Down With Joe Biden; Biden On Obamacare And Medicare For All; Middle School Shooting Thwarted By Police. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 23, 2019 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:00]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Devin Nunes had last year with an ex-Ukrainian official to get dirt on Joe Biden.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This whole impeachment is about a shadow foreign policy, that Devin Nunes appears to have some involvement in. He has a drama in this play himself, and yet he has not told anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president's ousted National Security Advisor John Bolton, he's accusing the White House of blocking his Twitter account over the past two months since he was fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you guys freeze his account?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, of course not.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody who is in a of an advanced age may not understand that all you have to do is contact Twitter and reset your password.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you concerned that they're trying to stop you from testifying?

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: You'll have to ask the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Good Saturday morning to you. Top of the hour now and a lot has happened in the last several hours that could have a huge impact on the impeachment inquiry against the president. First, we've got those new allegations that Top House Intel Republican Devin Nunes went to Vienna to meet with the disgraced Ukrainian prosecutor and that he did it to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Also this morning new evidence that the White House helped coordinate Rudy Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine, and no bias. That's what a Justice Department watchdog report is expected to say about the origins of the FBI probe into Russian interference in 2016. But it does acknowledge there were mistakes made.

BLACKWELL: We're starting with that indicted Associate of the President's Personal Attorney Rudy Giuliani, though.

PAUL: The attorney for Lev Parnas says he is willing -- Parnas, is willing to tell Congress all about visits Republican Congressman Devin Nunes allegedly made to Vienna to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, of course. CNN's Kristen Holmes joining us now from the White House with more. Are we hearing from the White House about this yet?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor. Well, no word from the White House yet and I want to talk about what we saw this week when it applies to Devin Nunes. He has been a staunch supporter of President Trump and ally, especially during this impeachment hearing. Take a listen to how he talked about these investigations into President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): No conspiracy theory is too outlandish for the Democrats. You would think they would take some interest in Burisma, and you think they would be interested in Joe Biden. We need to subpoena Hunter Biden.

I think one of the mothers of all conspiracy theories is that somehow the President of the United States would want a country that he doesn't even like he doesn't want to give foreign aid to, to have the Ukrainians start an investigation into Bidens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Well, obviously, this is very interesting now that Nunes is allegedly part of these efforts here. So, let's break it down; the lawyer for Lev Parnas, essentially saying that Parnas wants to speak in front of Congress, and what he wants to say is that Nunes traveled to Vienna in December to meet with ex-Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin to get dirt on the Biden. Now, who is Viktor Shokin?

Well, he is a man who is really at the center of all of this. Again, ex-Ukrainian prosecutor. He was fired back in 2016, because of Western leaders, including Vice President Biden, putting pressure on the Ukrainian government in order for them to fire him. And now, he claims to have dirt on the former Vice President and his son, Hunter. So -- but clearly, you know, here, there's a little bit of revenge since Vice President Biden was a part of that effort.

So, how does Parnas get involved in all of this? Well, Parnas says that Nunes reached out to him that he asked Parnas who has an ongoing effort to get information on the Biden's with Giuliani to merge efforts with him, and that an aid for Nunes reached out to Parnas to try to brainstorm what Ukrainian Prosecutors might have information on this. So, clearly, this is not a good look for Devin Nunes, and of course, Devin Nunes as deflecting. He met with some of our colleagues and said essentially, he's not going to answer any questions. BLACKWELL: Yes, this time or next lifetime, he said. Kristen, let me come to you about Giuliani and Pompeo, what we're learning from these court ordered documents, the release of the documents, what have you learned?

HOLMES: Right, so late last night, a document dumped by the State Department about 100 pages here, and the big takeaway is that the White House was part of this effort to put Pompeo and Giuliani in touch. The document show that Pompeo talked to Giuliani twice before Giuliani turned over that packet of information that he said had dirt on the Bidens to Pompeo.

Now, this is important for two reasons. One is that the White House coordinated one of those phone calls; the second phone call was done through President Trump's own personal assistant. Giuliani calling up, saying that he couldn't get in touch with Pompeo and then the White House, putting the two of them in touch. So, this shows just how deep that White House effort is. And second, it really goes to Secretary of State Pompeo, who has tried to distance himself one from that packet of information to from Giuliani's dealings in Ukraine.

[07:05:15]

And I hope this is coming after a week of bombshell testimony, particularly from his own ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, who said that Pompeo was in all of this was involved in this. Now, I want you to listen to what Pompeo said about that testimony.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you respond to Ambassador Sondand's evidence today that you directed to coordinated Ukraine policy with the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani?

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: The second one's easy. I didn't see a single thing that I was working; sounds like you might not have been.

I was in meetings all day and haven't had a chance to see any of that testimony.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: So, clearly, there a deflection but I know one other thing the: The U.S. Special Envoy Kurt Volker, also testified, he said that Giuliani Pompeo we're in touch, but that the Secretary of State did not always agree with what Giuliani was doing.

PAUL: All right, Kristin Holmes appreciate the breakdown, thank you. Now, President Trump routinely called the Mueller investigation into Russian election meddling, a political witch hunt.

BLACKWELL: Now, the origins of the FBI probe that started it all, are now the subject of a lengthy official review by the U.S. Justice Department, as the so-called Horowitz report is expected to show mistakes were made, yes, and CNN Evan Perez has more for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

EVAN PEREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Justice Department is investigating a former FBI lawyer who allegedly altered an internal document used to prepare the 2016 surveillance warrant application on a former Trump campaign advisor.

The altered document is among a number of mistakes that are expected to be cited in an upcoming report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Despite those mistakes, Horowitz is his report is expected to find that the court ordered surveillance of Carter Page was valid, and the report is also expected to conclude that the FBI properly open an investigation into connections between Trump campaign figures and Russians in 2016.

But it's those mistakes including the altered document that will likely add fuel to criticisms of the FBI by President Trump and his allies. The low-level lawyer who allegedly altered the document is now the subject of a criminal investigation by John Durham, who was appointed by Attorney General Bill Barr to take another look at the intelligence used in the 2016 Trump Russia investigation.

The President has said that he and his campaign were illegally targeted by the Russia investigation. But the Horowitz, inspector general report, is not expected to support that claim by the President. Evan Perez, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: Well, we have a lot to talk about Joining me now to do that. Kevin Robillard, Senior Political Reporter from the "Huffington Post." Kevin, welcome back.

KEVIN ROBILLARD, SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER, HUFFINGTON POST: Good to be on. So, let's start here with Lev Parnas saying that we're hearing from his attorney the accusation that he actually helped setup these meetings between ranking Republican on House Intel Devin Nunes, and Viktor Shokin, this former prosecutor general in Ukraine. If it's true, big asterisks there and I'll save that for a legal expert, frame the significance.

ROBILLARD: It really puts a significant dent in the Republican defense, that's when you use this entire week. Because if Devin Nunes is standing there saying this is a conspiracy theory, they're waving out all these ridiculous theories to try to get Trump, but it turns out, Nunes was himself involved in what Trump was doing and knew about it.

It sort of vastly undercuts everything he said over the past week, which we should know most of what he said over the past week, you know, isn't backed up by any evidence anyway, and is often you know, conspiracy theories of his own.

BLACKWELL: Yes, you know, we got a reminder from Errol Lewis earlier that this happened during the Russia investigation where he said I have learned something I have to tell the White House about and he went back to the White House turned out that he actually got that from the White House, and that, in part was why he was recused from much of what happened with the committee and the Russia investigation, but now we're past this phase of the of the impeachment inquiry. So, what really does it mean? Does it change your mind? Does it change your vote?

ROBILLARD: I mean, honestly, it's hard to say what's going to change minds or change votes. In this, opinions of this have been pretty well fixed in public opinion polling for a while.

BLACKWELL: Yes.

ROBILLARD: It'll be somewhat interesting to see sort of what the next round of polling maybe over the next week or so says after these hearings have happened. Television ratings for the hearings were fairly high, although not nearly as high as they were for, say, the Watergate hearings, which really did change American public opinion. So, it'll be interesting to see if anything does change. Right now, I don't see how this immediately, you know, makes a Republican vote for impeachment or makes Republican vote to convict in the Senate.

BLACKWELL: So, let's go to the Justice Department inspector general report, this Horowitz report due out soon. Times -- New York Times reports: "It will criticize low level FBI employees as sloppy initially, but we'll find that there's no political bias. report this Horowitz report due out soon times, New York Times reports it'll criticize low level FBI employees as sloppy initially.

But we'll find that there's no political bias in the birth of the Russia investigation. President told Fox News yesterday, it's going to be the biggest scandal in American history." What's the potency really of what we're expecting from this report?

[07:10:21] ROBILLARD: I mean, from what we've heard so far, it doesn't seem like the report is going to back up the President's frequent sort of complaint, that this was all hoax that this was all made up and attempt to get him. But that doesn't mean the President is not going to take a few details out of this report, and try to make that case. I think we can fully expect some all caps tweets about this report.

And look, if that's might be what they'll sort of pitch to his base to sort of get them riled up. But again, this is the type of thing where public opinion on a lot of these matters has been really fixed for a long time. I don't see this changing public opinion trust on and either.

BLACKWELL: Kevin Robillard, always good to have you, sir.

ROBILLARD: Great to be on.

BLACKWELL: All right, now, let's take a look at the legal angles of the stories. Elie Honig joins us now, former Federal and State Attorney -- and Federal Prosecutors, State Attorney and CNN Legal Analyst. Good to have you, Elie. ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Hey, Victor, how you doing?

BLACKWELL: Doing well, thank you. Let's start with Lev Parnas. Before we discuss the significance of these meetings, I want to talk about the credibility of the claim, consider the source, consider the circumstances. From your perspective, how much credibility should be put into this claim from Lev Parnas?

HONIG: Well, we have to be careful anytime we're talking about someone in Lev Parnas' situation: let's keep in mind, he is currently under indictment by the Southern District of New York, my old law office, for funneling illegal foreign campaign contributions into the United States.

That said he you have to ask now, what's his incentive? Now, the way cooperation works and it seems to me clear he is trying to cooperate both with Congress and with the Southern District of New York to benefit himself, but the way that works is always if the person comes clean, tells the truth and really is supported by other backup documents.

So, if I'm a prosecutor or member of Congress deciding whether I want to credit and believe, Lev Parnas, I need to see some backup documentation before I take that leap.

BLACKWELL: So, as it relates to let's say -- now, if true, what does this portend for the question of the day, the potential impeachment of the president? Is this just an interesting element? Or could this go to the question of has the President committed impeachable offenses?

HONIG: Well, look, it goes to the broader atmosphere. I don't think it directly hits at Donald Trump; it certainly directly hits at Devin Nunes. I mean, it is really bad news for Devin Nunes, that the sheer hypocrisy that he has shown up on his high horse over the last couple weeks preaching about what's right and wrong and conspiracy theories. Turns out, he was according to Parnas, was trying to do the exact same thing that's on trial here.

Devin Nunes, according to this report, was meeting with it with a corrupt prosecutor; somebody who everybody who knows this area says was corrupt, Shokin, all the experts, we heard from some of the witnesses these last couple weeks trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and not to mention, Victor, that's arguably a crime. It is a federal crime for a person to try to solicit something of value to a political campaign from a foreign national.

BLACKWELL: Alright, so Democrats could impeach by Christmas. Sources tell CNN, there are eight days on the house calendar between now and Christmas -- I mean, that's a great job if you got eight days to work between now and Christmas to put that aside. A lot to do. What's next in the process?

HONIG: So, the next big step will be the Adam Schiff and the judicial -- excuse me, the Intel Committee have to issue a public report of their findings or recommendations. What I imagine Schiff will want to do is have some sort of public presentation of his findings, sort of like a closing argument in a jury trial that will be his chance to appeal directly to Congress and the American people to make his case. Those then go over to the Judiciary Committee.

The Judiciary Committee has to draft up articles of impeachment. I -- nearly certain they're trying they're working on that right now. And then those articles of impeachment go to the full house for a vote where we need to see a majority vote in order to impeach. If they get a majority, and they do have a majority plus about 15 votes on the Democratic side, then the President will be impeached. And if not, then it's over.

BLACKWELL: All right, Elie Honig, thanks so much.

HONIG: All right, Victor. Thanks.

PAUL: Well, President Trump continues to attack one of the key witnesses in this week's impeachment hearings. Coming up, we hear from one of the 50 women ambassadors who say the attacks on ousted ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, are unwarranted and downright dangerous.

[07:14:37]

BLACKWELL: Plus, former Vice President Joe Biden is talking about a possible senate investigation into his actions in Ukraine or with Ukraine. Why he says he's embarrassed for Senator Lindsey Graham, the man who is launching that investigation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

PAUL: An attorney for an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani says his client is willing to testify that Congressman Devin Nunes met with a former Ukrainian official to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden. Now, Nunes is the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, and he's been one of President Trump's strongest supporters during the impeachment hearings.

Lev Parnas is who we're talking about. He says, Nunes met with an ousted Ukrainian prosecutor last year. Paras is accused of working with Giuliani to push Rudy Giuliani -- to push unfounded claims about the Biden's and Ukraine's role in the 2016 election.

Well, Laurie Fulton, former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark is with us right now. Ambassador, thank you so much for being here. When it comes to Nunes, he sat through the hearings for the last two weeks. He was a staunch supporter of the president during that time. If this is true, this allegation is true that he met with Shokin, does Nunes now become a witness?

LAURIE FULTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO DENMARK: You know, this is an incredible breaking news in many ways to imagine that this congressman was himself involved in some of what's been going on with this White House trying to trade foreign aid for dirt on political opponents. It's just amazing.

Yes, I think it does make him become a witness. It will be very interesting to see how the House of Representatives handles this. But he should be, I believe, held to account, if not within the impeachment inquiry, then certainly by the voters.

PAUL: I want to listen because I know that you watched Ambassador Yovanovitch's testimony. Listen to something specific. She talked about when debunking this conspiracy theory about Ukraine, being behind the 2016 election interference. Let's listen to what she said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps, somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[07:20:09]

PAUL: So, President Trump, the White House, Rudy Giuliani, Nunes is pushing the same narrative that Russia is pushing, what does that say to you?

FULTON: Well, you know, and it's the Republicans on the Impeachment Committee, and the Republicans in the House and the Senate. They seem now all to be pushing that same narrative by protecting Trump.

They're pushing this same narrative that I understand from other news reports that have members of the House and the Senate have been briefed, as Fiona Hill said that this alleged conspiracy by Ukraine to interfere in 2016 elections is something put up by the Russian intelligence services.

The Republican and the Democratic members, some of them at least have been briefed. They know this. So, they now know that they are perpetrating not only a falsehood, but a falsehood that clearly benefits Russia to the detriment of the United States.

PAUL: Now, the Ambassador Yovanovitch did testify that when she was asked by E.U. Ambassador Sondland to tweet something, some sort of praise for President Trump. She didn't do so because she said: "It felt partisan. It felt political."

What as an ambassador, would you have done in that situation if you'd been asked the same thing?

FULTON: Well, my situation was perhaps different because I was appointed by President Obama, I was not career Foreign Service. And I agreed wholeheartedly with my president. Ambassador Yovanovitch has served many presidents of both parties. She's been ambassador for both Republicans and Democratic presidents. Her -- the Career Foreign Service are taught and comport themselves to support the national interest without becoming partisan.

It never, ever would have occurred to me to ask the political association of any of those ambassadors. And I knew Marie Yovanovitch. I've known Bill Taylor. I know them. They act without regard to party. They put our public interest first. So, I can see from her point of view, that that demand might not have been appropriate.

PAUL: OK. Ambassador Laurie Fulton always appreciate getting your insight. Thank you for making time for us.

FULTON: Thank you, Christy.

BLACKWELL: Well, the Senate is preparing to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's accusations or actions with Ukraine. Coming up, why Biden says he feels embarrassed for South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, the main leading that investigation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:26:38]

BLACKWELL: 26 minutes after the hour now, we're hearing more from former Vice President Joe Biden in this exclusive interview with CNN, Don Lemon.

PAUL: Yes, the former vice president says his former senate colleague, Lindsey Graham, "should be embarrassed." This is after Graham announced his intention to launch an investigation into the Biden family.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I want to talk to you about impeachment.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.

LEON: Do you think Democrats have made their case? Do you see an impeachable offense?

BIDEN: I think it's clear on the record that Donald Trump went in, in addition to the violations that have been uncovered relative the Mueller report. I think Donald Trump is no doubt, he's asked foreign countries to interfere in our electoral process, period. It's been established.

Now, Republic, you're trying to make it that that has nothing to do with anything. The truth is, it's a violation of the Constitution to do that. So, I think the case has been made clear. What the Republicans do when it gets over to the Senate or the actual trial begins impeachment, indictment -- that I'm using indictment.

So, I believe he should be impeached and have the Senate try whether or not they are high crimes and misdemeanors that would cause him to be thrown out of office. That's a decision for them to make. I hope they have the courage. I hope they'll remember, this is a moment, a moment when their record is going down in history, is whether they played it by the rules.

LEMON: The Republicans are still trying to make this about you and your son.

BIDEN: Sure, they are. But you know, look, there's not a scintilla of evidence that I did anything wrong. The -- if you notice, what's happened is the entire spectrum of people involved from, from our folks in the E.U. or friends, to the IMF, the International Monetary Fund, to our allies, to the Ukrainians, not a single shred that I did anything other than my job and really well.

LEMON: But that has to anger you because they keep bringing you up over and over.

BIDEN: Sure, it does.

LEMON: You say there's not a scintilla of evidence -- let me ask you, because Lindsey Graham now who you've worked with, who was a friend, who I know there's video of him saying over you are the nicest person he's ever met, you're the greatest man. And now he's asking the State Department for documents for you and your son, what do you say that Lindsey Graham and folks like him?

BIDEN: They're asking Lindsey Graham, they have them under their phone right now. They know he knows if he comes out against Trump, he's got a real tough road for reelection. Number one, I am disappointed. And quite frankly, I'm angered by the fact he knows me, he knows my son, he knows there's nothing to this.

Trump is now essentially holding power over him that even the Ukrainians would kneel to. Ukrainians would not yield to "investigate Biden" even nothing to investigate about Biden or his son. And, and Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he's going to regret his whole life.

LEMON: What do you say to him?

BIDEN: I say, Lindsay, I just -- I'm just embarrassed by what you're doing for you. I mean, my Lord, and it's just -- I mean --

LEMON: Have you watch these hearings?

BIDEN: I've watched some of them because I've been on the road.

LEMON: What do you think of their defense when you hear them questioning? The witnesses and the patriotism of these people will come forward.

[07:30:04]

BIDEN: It angers me. It angers me. Especially, Trump trying to intimidate witnesses while they're testifying. What, what, what kind of man is this? That alone is enough for him to be viewed as a pariah.

LEMON: Yes.

BIDEN: I mean, think about it.

LEMON: But it seems you talk about always healing the part and working with people on the other side.

BIDEN: Yes.

LEMON: You've worked -- I don't know if this is the same party as when you were a senator and when you were vice president. Can you work with this party? Can you heal this divide?

BIDEN: With Trump defeated, yes, I can. And where we can't work with them, we go out and defeat them.

LEMON: I got to ask you, this is a grueling process.

BIDEN: Yes.

LEMON: You're 77 years old. You and Bernie Sanders, the oldest. Why are you the guy? Do you have the stamina? Why are you the guy?

BIDEN: Come out, run with me man. Come to the gym with me and lift with me. I'm -- thank God, I know I can change in a moment, I know that. And never can't take for granted your health.

But I'm in great health, I'm in physical health. And again, I just, just, just sort of watch me, like I was doing a parade. And there are some Trump lights there -- you know, what -- it was a -- it was a 4th of July parade, and I said, sleepy, I said come run with me, Jack. Come run with me.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: We have more this exclusive interview with former Vice President Joe Biden. Coming up, his thoughts on health care, on the economy, and his emotional connection to voters.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLACKWELL: So, Thanksgiving is just a few days away. And that means they would likely be plenty of leftovers. In today's "FOOD AS FUEL", CNN's Jacqueline Howard, shows us how to transform some of that extra food and to healthier dishes.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN FEATURE WRITER, HEALTH AND WELLNESS: With all those holiday leftovers, you can get creative, practical, and even healthy. Chances are you'll have extra cranberry sauce on hand. It's good in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Cranberries are packed with antioxidants and studies suggest that they may help curb inflammation. For a protein and fiber-rich breakfast, try layering cranberry sauce into a parfait with Greek yogurt and low sugar granola.

Or for lunch, spoon it onto a whole-wheat wrap with leftover turkey for plenty of protein, potassium, zinc, and iron. You can do a lot with leftover sweet potatoes too, and they're so good for you.

They're full of vitamin A, which keeps your eyes and immune system healthy. Think of these sweet spuds as a blank canvas. Try stuffing them with lean taco seasoned ground turkey. Or for vegetarian options, topped with beans and quinoa or lentils.

Cooked sweet potatoes will last in the fridge for up to four days. Before you store your leftovers, make sure your fridge is set to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. That can help harmful bacteria from spreading.

ANNOUNCER: "FOOD AS FUEL", brought to you by the deliciously healthy snack that's fun to crack. Wonderful Pistachios, get cracking.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:37:21]

BLACKWELL: Got more now from that CNN exclusive interview with former Vice President Joe Biden.

PAUL: Yes, here's the former vice president. And really a host of issues, important ones in the 2020 race. And the importance of having empathy on the campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: One area where that you have no issue and that's grief and empathy. And the current president does not have that. Why do you think that is? Why do you have it, and why doesn't he?

BIDEN: Look, I don't think he's capable of empathy. I really don't. I've not seen a single thing that ever indicates to me that he can -- he has any understanding of what other people are going through. And in a sense, I wish I didn't have so much empathy.

LEMON: You face a lot of loss.

BIDEN: Well, a lot of people have. They've -- a lot of people have faced more than I have. And they get up every day without the kind of help I have with my family, and get up every day and put one foot in front of the real heroes they go out every single day and they do it.

And so, that's what America is made of. That's the soul America. And I just think that most of the people, Don, who come up to me and rope lines, and they -- you know, even the press now is getting straight, know what why are these people hugging Biden? You know?

They're hugging because they grab me and saying, basically, I'm going to be all right, I just lost my son, I just lost my daughter. Or -- and little boys will stand there, a little girl said, I stutter -- can I -- and I -- there's a whole group of kids that I keep in contact with more than a dozen that, in fact, because I let them know it shouldn't let them define them. It's not who they are.

And so, there's just a whole lot out there that I've learned a lot from loss. And I've learned a lot about the abuse of power and bullies.

LEMON: You have said that we need to build -- meaning, this country build on Obamacare. Is that enough, especially, with what people are facing now when it comes to debilitating diseases, cancer, so on?

BIDEN: It's more than enough. Look, when I talk about and what Barack and there was President Obama, and I talked about it additionally was that we want to move on beyond Obamacare.

Obamacare fundamentally changed the lives of millions and millions of people. Covered over 100 million people with pre-existing conditions, children, et cetera. But, what I propose is to take all the cuts that were made to Obamacare. Take them back from this guy, being our president -- present president.

[07:40:00]

BIDEN: Provide greater subsidies for people to buy into a goal plan that's in that -- in that -- in Obamacare that will become Biden care. And add a public option, a Medicare option. Because they look, here's the issue. It's not -- I understand my Medicare for all friends saying that that's a good thing to do. But guess what, you got to be honest, it's about $34 to $35 trillion over 10 years.

LEMON: And you said, we can't afford it.

BIDEN: Why not? Look, $3.5 trillion a year is more than the entire federal budget. You can eliminate everything that we do from the military to House, and every single thing, and you can't do it.

LEMON: Got it.

BIDEN: Lastly, but here is the biggest thing.

LEMON: Yes.

BIDEN: I think it should be Medicare for those who want it. That's my plan calls for. If you want to be in Medicare, you can choose my option. But these guys are said, no, no, my way or the highway.

We eliminate the 160 million people who have insurance that they worked out with their employers that they like. If they don't like it, they can get in the Medicare Plan I'm proposing, and get covered, and afford it.

In fact, if they do like it, they can stay where they are. But under the other plan, you, we know best everybody's out.

LEMON: Democrats say they want to fight it right now. Are you the fighter?

BIDEN: They do. I'm a fighter.

LEMON: They said they haven't seen that fighting spirit.

BIDEN: Well, that's not what the Democrats in the polling gap saying, I'm -- some say that they haven't seen that because maybe I've been too polite in those debates. Maybe I haven't -- you know, for example, I mean --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Well, is that changing?

BIDEN: Well, I'm looking forward to a real debate. I'm looking forward to actually getting the stage and be able to debate. And what we now have, as I said, these one-minute assertions and --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: What do you mean by a real debate?

BIDEN: A real debate. Have two, three people, and actually go into it. Have more than 30 seconds to answer an attack. You know, it's -- and what amazes me now is if you look at the -- when we're going into our 99th debate, or ever going to happen, whatever comes up, is you notice that the Democrats -- all of a sudden, most the Democrats don't think Barack did such a good job.

I think he was a great president. I really do. And where I plan on doing is I'd go back in a heartbeat to Barack Obama to begin to build on what we did, what he did. And, but now, it's like, you know, you had one candidate who's running that our second term said he should be primary. Do you have people on the stage saying, 100 years of prime -- of you know, I mean -- it's -- this is Barack Obama did an incredible job.

LEMON: Do you -- do you think that you and the former president get enough credit for the economy that was built -- that you built?

BIDEN: No, but it's understandable. And to understand, well, because look, here is what happened. Everybody forgets everything landed on the president's desk but locusts. I mean, everything. Think about, it was the greatest recession short of an oppression in American history.

This man pulled us out of a crisis, this man with a little help from me was able to take us and get the car out of the ditch on the road, and get it moving. And the -- and we had successive growth, successive, successive progress all the way through just we were getting to the place where we were really going to tune that engine and go back where we are.

The middle class, the middle class was finally starting to have some daylight. And look what's happened. So, I'm going back and I'm going to build on what we did. Move because it's a totally different problem we face now.

And anyway, I was proud to serve with him. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: Thank you for doing this.

BIDEN: Appreciate it. Thank you.

LEMON: Good luck to you.

BIDEN: Thank you. LEMON: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BLACKWELL: And so, we've got more from that interview with former Vice President Joe Biden. Including his thoughts on some of the more left-leaning candidates. They would call themselves the progressives in the 2020 race. So, stay with us for that.

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[07:45:00]

BLACKWELL: Joe Biden has faced some pretty strong attacks from progressive rivals during this 2020 campaign.

PAUL: And he spoke exclusively with CNN's Don Lemon about the Democrats' leftward turn and how he sees the future of the party.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: Do you think the party's turned too far left because the former president said --

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: Look, I don't -- I don't think the party has, I think, some of the candidates.

LEMON: Well, this is what the Barack Obama, your former boss named that the system doesn't need to be torn down.

BIDEN: No.

LEMON: There needs to be -- people want it built up, prove.

BIDEN: They want it built up. The idea, look there's all this stuff about we're going to tear --

Thank you, man.

The fact that we talked about this -- the part I love when candidate say, and by the way, by executive order, I'm going to do this. I have the power to do 90 percent of this stuff by executive order.

LEMON: Right.

BIDEN: And so, the way they talk is this is going to fundamentally change how we run the government, how the government -- we have a constitution. A constitution no matter how you cut it requires there to be some consensus.

LEMON: So, you think that some of the candidates have gone too far, not the party?

BIDEN: Oh yes. No. LEMON: Or do you think the party is moderate?

BIDEN: I think, well, we're going to find out pretty soon. But I do think. I do think the vast majority of Democrats say look, one of the things that I find kind of -- anyway, is that who has the big and bold plans.

I promise you if I get elected, and I get passed without talking about, we're going to be writing about it's a fundamental change. Fundamental change in American politics that's over.

So, the idea you actually go, excuse me -- that you have to be in a position where you're saying that we're going to spend $30 trillion on health care, we're going to tax the middle class to pay for, we're going to -- we're going to -- we're going to take out $1.7 trillion in pay off everybody's student loan.

[07:50:03]

BIDEN: Let's get realistic. We can fundamentally make college more affordable. We can fundamentally forgive loans by having people, in fact, qualify by doing work that, that is public service. We can fundamentally change a lot we're doing.

LEMON: Yes.

BIDEN: But you don't have to say let's rip it all down.

LEMON: Yes.

BIDEN: I think Barack did a pretty good job. No, I'm not just saying because of him. I mean, he's a friend, I get it. But the most important thing he did was we went through eight years without one hint of scandal, not one single solitary thing.

LEMON: Yes.

BIDEN: And I find when we -- when one of the candidates says the corruption in Washington. Show me where the corruption was when we were there, and that was three years ago. Anyway, thanks, pal.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

PAUL: Well, police stop a potential school shooting after students, students, yes, sound the alarm. We'll tell you what we've learned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:55:00]

PAUL: Police in Los Angeles say they've thwarted a potential mass shooting this week. Thanks to a tip from students.

BLACKWELL: Authorities arrested a 13-year-old boy, and they found a weapon, ammo, body armor, and a list of names on what the police called a hit list. Here is CNN's Nick Watt. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A 13-year-old student at this L.A. middle school was arrested Thursday. We're told he'd planned the shooting for Friday.

ALEX VILLANUEVA, SHERIFF, LOS ANGELES COUNTY: Students that the suspect made the threat to report it to the school administration, and they, in turn, reported it to us.

WATT: His home was searched.

VILLANUEVA: A rifle with a high-capacity magazine was seized along with ammunition for the rifle. And that is the rifle that was seized.

WATT: Along with around 100 rounds of ammunition.

VILLANUEVA: The subject also had in his position a rudimentary hand- drawn map of the school, as well as a list containing names of both students and staff members from the school.

WATT: And here in South L.A., see something, say something might just have saved a lot of lives.

VILLANUEVA: The fact that people step forward and said what they -- what they had heard, led to us to be able to prevent a tragedy today. So, definitely, kudos to the staff and students of this school.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: That 13-year-old is now in custody along with an adult relative as the investigation continues. One focus is that weapon that was seized, a semi-automatic A.R.-15 rifle that was unregistered. Authorities want to find out who owned it and how they got a hold of it.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

BLACKWELL: The next hour of your NEW DAY, starts after a quick break.

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