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Giuliani's Business Dealings in Ukraine; Impeachment in Vulnerable Democratic Districts; E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine; Carter Released from Hospital; Skipping Reception for Trump. Aired 6:30-7a ET
Aired November 28, 2019 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: New questions this morning about Rudy Giuliani's involvement in U.S. foreign policy. Really not even just that. This guy was going to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and the Biden family. At the same time he was trying to work out business deals to get paid by the people he was trying to dig up the dirt.
I know it's hard to follow, but it's just a little messy and murky. And Giuliani apparently right in the middle of it.
Joining us now, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig and CNN political analyst Margaret Talev. She's the politics and White House editor for Axios.
Elie, it's hard to describe because it is so complicated, but Giuliani went to Ukraine, says "The Times" and "The Post," to try to dig up dirt on the Bidens. But at the same time, he was soliciting work or involved in contracts negotiations with one of these Ukrainians figures that was going to do some of the dirt digging here.
What kind of legal issues does this pose for Giuliani?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So this is why they have the Foreign Agents Registration Act. It's sort of an obscure, federal, criminal statute. But the point of it is, if you are representing a foreign interest, it can be a foreign government, a foreign business, a foreign national and you're here in the United States doing business on behalf of that foreign national with the government, lobbying, you have to register because our public officials, up to and including the president, have a right to know who they're talking to, who they're dealing with.
And the problem Rudy's created for himself is, he has so many crossed wires, so much money flowing back and forth, so many sort of mixed, conflicting interests that he may have run afoul of that. He certainly never registered. And this story, I think, puts him closer with this corrupt Ukrainian prosecutor. He could have a real problem.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Does it matter that he didn't actually follow through on the deal so that they didn't have a deal, he didn't get paid?
HONIG: It does help his cause. If he does -- right, it makes it harder to charge if there was no exchange of money.
HONIG: That said, you could still be lobbying in exchange for other consideration, future promises, I scratch your back, you scratch mine. So --
HILL: You mean a quid pro quo?
HONIG: You could --
HILL: I'm just saying --
HONIG: One could call it that.
HILL: It just -- it just came to mind. I'm not really sure where it came from.
BERMAN: So, Margaret, people noticed this week the president using a certain kind of language that sounded like maybe now he is trying to put some distance between himself and Rudy Giuliani.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, I know he was going to go to Ukraine and I think he canceled the trip. But, you know, Rudy has other clients other than me. I'm one person that (INAUDIBLE) him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you didn't -- you didn't direct him to go there on your behalf? You didn't --
TRUMP: No, but -- no.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Oh, no.
BERMAN: No, no. Remember, Margaret, in the July 25th phone call with President Zelensky, President Trump tells Zelensky, talk to Rudy.
MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
BERMAN: Talk to Rudy. He knows everything here. It's going to be hard to create that distance is that's what the president is trying to do.
TALEV: Right. And, well, John, the fact that he didn't answer any of those questions with complete sentences is also sort of a clue that he -- the answer is more complicated than it seems. The question is this, the more we learn about Rudy Giuliani's side deals for business deals, the more it potentially gives president Trump the ability to distance himself and to say, I don't really know what he was doing, or maybe he was doing all this other stuff. The question is, does anyone really believe that? Does anyone think that President Trump sat down with Rudy Giuliani and said, I want you to be my emissary on foreign policy, I need to make sure that you have no business conflicts whatsoever and this has to be by the book and squeaky clean and totally right, or is it just kind of a general understanding that if you're involved with the president and you're doing this kind of work, you may also be kind of running your own game on the side and it doesn't matter, it's all fine.
So I think the Rudy Giuliani story is certainly interesting. Everybody wants to understand his business dealings and connections in Eastern Europe or South America or all of the above.
But for political purposes and for kind of public policy purposes, the focus of Congress still remains on the president's actions and what he directed. And -- and sort of as we follow the impeachment inquiry, this has really only to deal with what was the president's goal, what was the president trying to accomplish as he was authorizing the holding back of this money for the Ukraine.
HILL: I also want to get your take on -- so there's new reporting from both -- from "The New York Times," rather, about this report that's coming out from the inspector general at the DOJ about potential spying on the Trump campaign, about the FBI's work to -- in getting that -- that warrant for Carter Page.
So what they found is no evidence the FBI tried to put undercover agents or informants inside the Trump campaign, despite what we've heard from the president and a number of his allies. That the wiretap was not politically motivated, but that there were some issues in the way they went about that application and the FBI was sort of sloppy in some areas, Elie.
What's the takeaway here? Because there's actually something for everyone.
HONIG: They're -- this is going to be the ultimate Rorschach test. It's going to -- everyone's going to look at this and take something different out of it. On the one hand it completely undermines the most dramatic conspiracy theories. It takes away this whole idea of spying.
And let's remember, by the way, Attorney General Bill Barr said, I think there was spying. Wrong. Wrong.
HILL: At some point.
HONIG: On the other hand, how much does Donald Trump ever need? He needs a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a kernel to hold it up and claim, I was right, I was vindicated, victory for me. This report reportedly refers an FBI agent for potential criminal prosecution. They do cite the omissions reportedly. So he's going to have more than enough fodder to claim, I'm vindicated.
BERMAN: I will say, though, Margaret, and we've played some sound from before, the drum beat from the administration and the allies on Fox saying spying, spying, spying. If the reports are true from "The New York Times," this -- the IG is just going to completely undercut that argument. And, to me, it shows the noise and the influence that just spreading misinformation can have. It's been a year and a half of this crap, frankly, and the IG went and did the study and found, no, there was no spying.
TALEV: Yes. I mean, that's right. There -- there -- this was the subject line for a lot of rallies. It was the framing for a lot of discussions, criticism of the FBI, criticism of the legitimacy of the Mueller probe. And now that that's sort of run its course, I'm not sure how much it matters for the president's kind of rhetorical lines. So you don't hear him talk much about Jim Comey or even Strzok anymore anyway. They've moved on now. Impeachment is kind of what the talking points are framed around. So I think it -- it may prod the president to change his rhetoric or to move away from that storyline, but he's gotten quite a bit of political utility out of it already.
HILL: Or he may continue with parts of it, you know, as we've heard in the past.
HILL: Margaret, Elie, thank you both.
Ninety percent of Democrats now support impeaching President Trump. For Democratic lawmakers, though, in red districts or perhaps districts in flux, well, it's not as clear cut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Have you decided how you're going to vote? Are you going to vote to impeach?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: We'll share her answer, next.
HILL: The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first public impeachment hearing on Wednesday. Some lawmakers, though, are seeking to distance themselves, especially those in vulnerable Democratic districts, as CNN's Evan McMorris-Santos found in Virginia.
REP. ABIGAIL SPANBERGER (D-VA): Thank you so much to everyone for joining us.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger has a complicated relationship with impeachment. In September, she joined six fellow first term Democrats with national security background in writing an op-ed pushing to open an inquiry.
But now, Spanberger's keeping her distance from the topic.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS (on camera): Have you decided how you're going to vote? Are you going to vote to impeach?
SPANBERGER: I mean I'm going to cast my vote depending fully on what articles are put forth.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS (voice over): Spanberger's approach could be a reflection of the politics she has to navigate between now and next November, the district she won by fewer than 7,000 votes.
JEAN GANNON, CHAIRWOMAN, POWHATAN COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY: A majority of the district is rural and it's very conservative.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS: Virginia's Seventh Congressional District is a wildly unpredictable place politically. It was home to one of the Tea Party's biggest wins when one of the faces of the Republican establishment was defeated in the 2014 primary. President Trump won it by six points in 2016.
As the House prepares for another round of televised hearings next week, Spanberger conducted a two-day tour through her district, focused on health care. She didn't mention impeachment at all.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS (on camera): So I figured when I went out to go hang out with the Democrats, the week after last week --
MCMORRIS-SANTOS: The topic could be the president. But I'm looking at your schedule. It doesn't seem to be the topic. Why is that?
SPANBERGER: It's always health care, because that's -- I mean it's the top issue for people with -- in my district.
This is great.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS (voice over): While she's out in the district talking about kitchen table issues, her Republican opponents are throwing the impeachment kitchen sink at her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their partisan impeachment is a politically motivated charade.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS: A GOP-allied group is putting TV ads like this one in 18 districts like Spanberger's, hoping an impeachment will trigger a red wave in 2020.
Can that theory work here? Virginia Republicans have had a bad month. In statewide elections, Democrats gained total control of the state government for the first time in nearly three decade. Yet the GOP faithful here see impeachment as a potential political winner. MCMORRIS-SANTOS (on camera): What would you lead off with to flip this district back to the GOP?
MARCIA SUGUMELE, MEMBER, CHESTERFIELD COUNTY REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE: I'd talk about how Abigail Spanberger has not met up -- has not made good on her promises to be a moderate and to -- she vote -- she said she would not vote lock step with Nancy Pelosi.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS (voice over): On Tuesday afternoon, Spanberger talked to constituents in Henrico County, at a forum about prescription drug prices.
No one talked about the president.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS (on camera): Your opponents think the more we're talking about impeachment, the better it is for them and the worse it is for you.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS: Are they right?
SPANBERGER: I don't know.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS: You sound like you don't know how things are going to go with this.
SPANBERGER: You know, the thing -- the thing about it is --
MCMORRIS-SANTOS: Its your risky waters?
SPANBERGER: I mean, I've been in risky waters before.
MCMORRIS-SANTOS: We had a big impeachment week last week. We have a big impeachment week next week. And the problem for Democrats who don't want to talk about impeachment is that it's dominating the news. But the fact is, I've been out with voters a lot during impeachment and it's not top of their minds, which is no surprise. Opinion on this is already basically locked in according to our own polling. So the question for Democrats going forward is, can they talk about impeachment and also talk about what they want to talk about?
Evan McMorris-Santos, CNN, Richmond, Virginia.
BERMAN: Our thanks to Evan for that report.
So, here's a question you may not want to consider, are you serving salad for Thanksgiving tonight? You're going to want to stick around for the next segment. The details about a new, alarming e. coli outbreak, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HILL: You may want to forget the greens today. The CDC issuing a food safety alert over romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli. Sixty- seven people across 19 states have now been infected with e. coli linked to romaine lettuce grown in Salinas, California.
Joining me now is Keith Schneider. He's a food safety professor at the University of Florida.
Good to have you with us.
When we look at this, it seems that it spread rather quickly. We're talking about 19 states here. Yet it's just a warning, it's not an official recall. Does that surprise you?
KEITH SCHNEIDER, FOOD SAFETY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: Not at all. Right now the investigations in its early stages and until there's a source, a specific source, there's really nothing to recall. Again, right now they're -- it's a loose association. And once they pin it down to a specific forum or a vendor, then they'll be able to issue an official recall.
HILL: It is fairly broad though because the warning includes whole heads of romaine, organic romaine, hearts of romaine, romaine in salad wraps, packages of pre-cut lettuce, salad mixes that may contain romaine, including baby romaine, spring mix, caesar salads. I mean those are -- these are all things that people really go for. So if you don't see where it's grown on the package, because, again, if it's grown in Salinas, they say, don't eat it. But if you can't tell where it's from, do you just throw everything out?
SCHNEIDER: That's the recommendation right now. If you can't find an area where it's being harvested, they recommend that you discard it and then sanitize your refrigerator just to make sure that if, in fact, it was contaminated, that you don't spread it to other products in your refrigerator.
HILL: It may be me, but it feels like romaine is often the subject of an issue with E. coli. Is there something in particular about this lettuce that makes it more susceptible?
SCHNEIDER: Well, right now, again, we have several outbreaks in the last couple of years. As a matter of fact, just this time last year, almost to the day that we're having another romaine outbreak. We're a little bit sensitized to it. So now, when we go in and look for it, when we see these outbreaks, again, romaine's sort of the number one on that list. So, again, we're -- we're actively looking. So finding it again is not all that surprising.
SCHNEIDER: Romaine itself, the way it's grown close to the proximity to the ground, again, it does make it a target for contamination though.
HILL: And how does it get contaminated?
SCHNEIDER: A lot of different ways. In an outbreak this large, typically the first thing we would look at is irrigation water. Again, if it was a small outbreak, animals in the field. It may be limited to several plants. But when we see large outbreaks of this size and what we ascertained from the outbreaks from last year, again, typically we're looking at irrigation water that has become contaminated with this particular strain of E. coli. And, again, once it gets on the plant, really, there's nothing to do to get it off. It's -- you're not going to cook the product and washing it -- washing hat lettuce isn't going to be effective in removing this pathogen.
HILL: Just have to get rid of it. And as you -- as you point out too, the recommendation is also to then clean out and sanitize your refrigerator.
Keith, appreciate you taking the time for us. Happy Thanksgiving.
SCHNEIDER: Happy Thanksgiving.
BERMAN: Why I just deep fry everything.
All right, former President Jimmy Carter is back home for the Thanksgiving holiday. He spent two weeks in the hospital following surgery to release pressure on his brain. So what is his recovery looking like?
CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now with more.
Jimmy Carter, the longest living ex-president. He's done so much work for so many people in the last four decade.
What does -- what does it look like for him now?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, John, the fact that he has done so more -- so much work really bodes well for his recovery. Geriatricians telling me, the more that someone did before they had a fall and a surgery, the more they can probably do after.
COHEN (voice over): President Jimmy Carter release from an Atlanta hospital Wednesday morning following an operation to relieve pressure from blood that had accumulated around his brain after taking a serious fall.
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: And I fell down and hit my forehead on a sharp edge and had to go to the hospital. And they took 14 stitches in my forehead. And my eye is black, as you noticed.
COHEN: It was Carter's third fall in six months. In one, he fractured his pelvis. In another --
CARTER: I broke my hip a few months ago. I'm learning how to walk again.
COHEN: A recovery from three falls might seem unlikely. After all, the former president is 95 years old. But geriatricians tell us that age really is just a number.
What matters most is what shape the person was in before the fall. In President Carter's case, he was building houses, giving speeches, attending events.
ER. ERIC DE JONGE, GERIATRICIAN: That's all a really good prognostic sign for his recovery.
COHEN: The first step, to figure out why he's fallen so many times. Sometimes side effects from medicine are to blame. Other times, it might be arthritis or maybe muscle weakness.
DE JONGE: It's really crucial to understand the reason for a series of falls and then identify what is fixable.
COHEN: Then, physical therapy and rehab. The geriatricians we talked to, hopeful that Carter will recover.
DE JONGE: He was doing carpentry in October before the major event. I think it's likely that he could regain that function.
COHEN: Carter has prevailed over health challenges before.
CARTER: I had a bad, bad impact of cancer three or four years ago in my brain and in my liver, but I've overcome that with very highly organized treatment.
COHEN: And he could overcome this, too, and be back at work at the projects he loves.
COHEN: President Carter told reporters when he had that fall in October that left him with the black eye, he said, I will stop when I have to but not until I have to.
BERMAN: He was working building houses, like, a month ago.
BERMAN: And good for him.
COHEN: The same day that he took that fall and he got those stitches, he went and built houses. BERMAN: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much for being with us.
BERMAN: And our best wishes to Jimmy Carter and his family.
HILL: President Trump and the first lady head to the U.K. next week for NATO's 70th anniversary, but CNN has learned Prince Andrew and Meghan Markle will not attend the queen's reception for President Trump.
CNN's Max Foster is live in London with those new details.
Max, good morning.
MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica, I spoke to the Sussex's office today. The couple won't be at that reception. And that's because they've deliberately stepped back from public life temporarily. They want to have family time. That's why they're not going. And they've literally vanished out of public life altogether. We're not being given any details about where they are or what they're doing. So a real mystery about that. But, yes, it means that Meghan Markle, for a third time, will avoid meeting Donald Trump at that reception.
Prince Andrew also stepping back from public life, but that was forced upon him after that disastrous BBC interview.
Also, lots of senior military top brass expected at that reception. And today in "The Times" they're criticizing Prince Andrew. So it would have been very awkward for them. In this article, "The Times" writes, the Duke of York has become an embarrassment to the armed forces and should be quietly faded out from his honorary military appointments, sources in the services told the newspaper. So it keeps getting worse for Prince Andrew.
I've been trying to find out what's next for him. And people I've spoken to at the palace actually more positive than you might think. They think he might be able to make a comeback at some point if his name is cleared in relation to this underage sex allegation in the United States. And also I've being told he has retained a small office in the palace, which might surprise a few people as well.
HILL: Yes, especially after we had -- we had heard that he had lost that office.
So when it -- when it comes to President Trump and his visit next week, what type of reception are folks expecting there?
FOSTER: Well, anti-war campaigners are organizing a demonstration outside the reception at Buckingham Palace. That's against NATO, also against Donald Trump. It's going to be interesting to see what numbers we get there because despite Donald Trump polling very badly in this country, he's not a popular figure, he doesn't actually get very big demonstrations out. So we'll monitor that to see how big that is.
I think what I'll be looking for more is the reception he receives from Boris Johnson. We're in a general election campaign currently and Boris Johnson's relationship -- close relationship with Donald Trump is actually being used against him by the opposition leader. So during a campaign, I think, the wise thing his advisers would probably say is not to make too much of those moments with Donald Trump. We'll see how he handles that because he's got to be respectful as well to a key ally.
HILL: We will all be watching.
Max, thank you.
BERMAN: All right, it is Thanksgiving morning and the question that everyone wants the answer to, we're on pins and needles, will the balloons fly at the Thanksgiving Day Parade?
NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being Thanksgiving, you can see some of the expected travel delays.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Severe weather threatens travel plans from coast to coast.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The winds will really start to pick up across the New England coastline. And that is going to coincide with the Macy's Day Parade.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump signing legislation that shows the U.S.' support for protesters in Hong Kong who are protesting the Chinese government's crackdown.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Given the veto-proof majority this bill had passed both houses, they realized that President Trump's hands were tied.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some of the language the president used where he's over (ph) signing this law as a gesture of respect for the Chinese president, it can't possibly be a gesture of respect to threaten China with sanctions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
BERMAN: Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.