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Former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh Filed To Challenge President Trump In New Hampshire; Texas Chemical Plant Still Burning 24 Hours After Explosions; Two CNN Families Grateful For The Gift Of Life This Thanksgiving. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired November 28, 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]

JOE WALSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, John, this comes down to Republican voters. Republican politicians are like seals. They will do what they're told, they'll follow popular opinion.

And if their voters move -- if Republican voters move, then I think you'll see Republicans in the House and Senate move on this president because last point, John, they don't approve of what the president did.

And many, privately, will say it was horrific -- what the President of the United States did -- pressuring a foreign government to sabotage our elections. But they won't have the courage to say that publicly unless their voters move.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I will tell you, I don't have the numbers right in front of me but off the top of my head, somewhere around 58 to 60 percent of all voters, outright, say what the president did is wrong. Fifty percent of all voters say they want to see the president impeached and removed, according to the latest CNN poll. But about 90 percent of Republican voters don't want to see the president impeached and removed.

So as it pertains to you in particular, Joe, I am interested. Again, you are running against the president, but every day that passes --

WALSH: Yes.

BERMAN: -- it seems that you're actually running more and more and more against your own party. Does that make sense?

WALSH: Yes, it does, John, but here's what I think. I think Trump's support is soft.

I've been in New Hampshire a bunch, I've been in Iowa a bunch, I've been in a number of states. And obviously, because I'm challenging Trump in the Republican primary, I'm talking to Republican voters. And I've got to tell you, John, they're tired of him. They're sick of his B.S., they're sick of his lies.

You know, Trump stood in front of his voters this week and made up a war on Thanksgiving. We have a President of the United States -- pardon my language this Thanksgiving, John -- who literally just makes shit up. And when you talk to Republican voters, they're generally tired of all of this.

I've had Republican voters, John, tell me they don't want to go through four more years of his crap, but what else am I going to do? What other alternative do I have?

BERMAN: I mean, I will say, nevertheless, that when you ask them about approval rating -- his approval rating among Republicans voters is still very, very high. And you know that if Republican members of Congress had any sense -- if they caught any whiff of uncertainty they might be willing to split. So they're not seeing that just yet.

Mark Sanford --

WALSH: Yes.

BERMAN: -- former South Carolina governor and congressman -- he was also in this primary running against the president. He got out.

And one of the reasons he got out -- I want to read you a statement that he made. He said, "You've got to be realist and what I did not anticipate is an impeachment. There is no appetite for a serious nuanced debate with impeachment in the air."

Is impeachment making it harder for you to run against the president?

WALSH: Oh gosh, no, John -- it only buttresses and enhances what I'm doing.

Look, I got into this race John because Donald Trump is unfit. He's a danger to this country. He cannot tell the truth, he cannot place the country's interest ahead of his own.

I like Mark Sanford -- good guy -- but Mark Sanford ran because of the debt. Look, you don't challenge Donald Trump because of the debt or his stupid tariffs. This campaign is about Trump and impeachment only proves that. It enhances that argument.

And I'm telling you, John -- look, it may be harder for me to get on T.V. because all everybody wants to do is talk about impeachment, but I go into Iowa and I go into New Hampshire and there are issues that voters care about and they're tired of the Trump reality show. They really are.

BERMAN: It is an honor, actually, to be able to travel through New Hampshire and Iowa any time of year, but particularly in the campaign season, and interact with voters.

And just -- I want to leave you this Thanksgiving morning -- as you have talked to voters around the country, what are you most thankful for this morning?

WALSH: I'm most thankful, John, that we have people like you -- I mean this -- people on CNN, we have people in the media, we have a Constitution, we have diplomats, we have patriots in our government -- I mean this -- who are devoted enough to restrain this guy in the White House who is a would-be king. I'm thankful that we have people who are willing to call that out, like you, John Berman. I mean that.

BERMAN: Well, look, our job here is not to resist; our job here is to tell the truth and report the facts --

WALSH: Amen.

BERMAN: -- and we promise to do that each and every day.

Congressman Walsh, have a happy Thanksgiving. Our best to you.

WALSH: You, too, John -- thanks.

BERMAN: Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump has been invited to next week's impeachment hearings, so will the president or White House lawyers show up?

[07:35:00]

We discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HILL: Next week is shaping up to be yet another big one in the battle to impeach President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first public hearing on Wednesday and this time, the president and his attorneys have been invited to participate.

Here to walk us through the next steps of impeachment is CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor, Elie Honig.

OK, so they've been invited, of course. The big question is will they show up?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Right, Erica. Well, today we're getting a Thanksgiving breather but next week we're right back in it. Two big events scheduled for next week.

First of all, as you said, on Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee is going to hold this hearing on the constitutional grounds for impeachment. We shouldn't expect to see -- we will not see live fact witnesses like we've seen in the past. We'll see scholars and constitutional experts laying out the framework.

The big question is will the president send his attorneys? He's allowed to under the rules.

On the one hand, why not take a shot to try to drag down the Democratic argument. On the other hand, if the president sits it out he can still claim this is an unfair process and there won't be pressure on him to articulate a specific defense. I think he will not send his attorneys.

[07:40:11]

Also next week -- we don't know the exact date, but Adam Schiff has told us soon after the recess, he will be issuing his public report on his findings and recommendations. That will be a big moment. That will be sort of like the Schiff report only, hopefully, a little more clear and conclusive than the Mueller report, one way or another.

After that happens, the House Judiciary Committee -- they can hold more hearings and call more witnesses. We'll see if they decide to do that.

But the big moment will be when they draft and recommend Articles of Impeachment to the full House, if any. At that point, we are on to the full House. Of course, the Constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment and the standard is treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

The full House will then vote on the proposed articles, each one individually. They can vote for some and against others. That's what happened with Bill Clinton in '98 and '99.

A simple majority in the House of Representatives is all that's required. The House needs 218 out of 435 votes. -- I did the math -- that's just over 50 percent -- in order to impeach. If that happens --

HILL: On to the Senate.

HONIG: -- on to the Senate.

Now, what will happen in the Senate? Of course, the Constitution gives the Senate the sole power to try all impeachments.

Now, we've had two prior presidential impeachment Senate trials in our history. In 1868, Andrew Johnson was tried --

HILL: Yes.

HONIG: -- and he was acquitted by one vote.

And then, in 1999, we all remember this. Bill Clinton was tried in the Senate. Noteworthy there, every Democratic senator there voted to acquit. Not a single one flipped over --

HILL: Yes.

HONIG: -- and voted against Bill Clinton in 1999.

We actually have had an impeachment trial more recently, though. Other officials other than the president can be impeached, too. Federal Judge Thomas Porteous was tried and convicted in the Senate and thrown out of office in 2010.

HILL: So remind us then how it works when we get to the Senate. What does this look like in terms of a trial and who participates?

HONIG: So this will -- do not expect this to look like a usual criminal trial. It will be different in a lot of key respects.

First of all, the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Roberts, will be presiding. The jury will not be 12 --

HILL: Yes.

HONIG: -- men and women -- a jury of peers. The jury will be the 100 members of the U.S. Senate.

The case will be presented by a team of House managers, probably members of the House of Representatives who will serve as prosecutors. And the president can afford and appoint whoever he wants to represent him.

HILL: Yes.

HONIG: So, quick question. Who was the only person who prosecuted Bill Clinton as a house manager in 1999 --

HILL: OK.

HONIG: -- and now is in the U.S. Senate and will serve as a juror if this case goes to trial?

HILL: You're putting me on the spot here. I'm going to say Lindsey Graham.

HONIG: Got it -- very good.

HILL: Very nice.

HONIG: A-plus, Erica -- all right.

We will have the Senate trial. At the end of the hearing, the Senate will vote. The Constitution tells us that it requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate in order to convict and remove.

HILL: Yes.

HONIG: That would be 67 senators. So how does that play out? Well, right now, we have 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, plus two Independents who caucus with the Democrats. That means 20 Republicans would have to flip over and vote with all of the Democrats in order to convict.

If that happens, the president is removed from office and disqualified, meaning can he run again in 2020?

HILL: No.

HONIG: No, he cannot. A lot of people have that question.

If that happens -- if the president is convicted, he is removed immediately. There is no grace period. The vice president is then sworn in as president and the 25th Amendment tells us where we go from there to fill the vice presidential vacancy.

HILL: Yes.

HONIG: The new president appoints somebody and then that person has to be approved, nominated -- excuse me, approved and ratified by a majority of both the House and the Senate.

HILL: There's a lot coming our way.

HONIG: This is going to be really interesting to watch.

HILL: It is.

HONIG: This is history in the making.

HILL: It is history in the making and it's good to have a front-row seat to it. And always great to have you here, too, to walk us through it. Elie, thank you.

HONIG: Thanks, Erica.

HILL: Happy Thanksgiving, again.

HONIG: You, too.

HILL: John.

BERMAN: Trivia champ Erica Hill.

All right, two members of the CNN family are extra grateful this Thanksgiving. The story of two little girls who were given the gift of life, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:48:32]

HILL: You are looking at live pictures of a chemical plant in Texas, and if this looks familiar, it should. It is still burning more than 24 hours after massive explosions there.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Dallas this morning with the latest for us. Ed, good morning.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Erica.

Well, it's been almost 30 hours since the explosion that ignited those flames at that chemical plant in southeast Texas. It has been a stressful day there in those neighborhoods that suffered extensive damage because of that blast. And then -- or late yesterday afternoon, a second blast.

And company officials and firefighters say at this point, they are simply trying to contain that fire. They need to wait for all of these chemicals in those tanks to essentially burn themselves out and then they can go into putting out these flames.

But essentially, they're concerned that these flames could spread to other parts of this chemical facility, ignite other tanks, and cause more explosions. That is the concern.

Also, air quality in the area -- state officials and company officials say they have been monitoring the air quality around the chemical plant over the last 24 hours. They say, so far, there are no signs of hazardous or concerning air quality levels there in that area around the chemical plant. They say they continue to monitor that as well.

Extensive damage, Erica and John, as I mentioned, throughout that neighborhood because of that blast. Ceilings and walls were rippled, garage doors were blown off, front doors were blown open.

[07:50:05]

Now, the company says that they are setting up an insurance hotline so that neighbors and residents there can begin filing claims on the damage that was done because of this explosion.

BERMAN: Incredible pictures even a day and a half later.

Ed Lavandera, happy Thanksgiving to you. Thanks for being with us this morning.

LAVANDERA: Same to you, guys.

BERMAN: So, two families who are part of our CNN family have much to be thankful for after both of their daughters received liver transplants earlier this year.

Here with us for our favorite moment of the day and to give us an update on how everyone is doing, CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers and his wife, Ellen Rucker are here. Also with us, CNN contributor Wajahat Ali.

I just want to let this sink for a minute and look at the picture of these beautiful people who are with us this morning. It's so great to have all of you.

Bakari, first off, tell us -- and I want to say hi, by the way, to Stokely there, and Sadie. How is Sadie doing this morning? We talked to you in September when Sadie was receiving a transplant.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: She's doing great. She's not a morning person that much but she's happy to be here. She doesn't like early-morning hits, but she's very thankful.

We're very thankful, and I'm sure Wajahat is as well for the donor family this holiday season and we know it's --

ELLEN RUCKER SELLERS, SADIE'S MOTHER: Yes.

B. SELLERS: -- difficult for them. We're thankful for all the donors our there --

SADIE SELLERS, LIVER TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT: (Sneezing).

E. SELLERS: Bless you. B. SELLERS: Bless you.

We're thankful for our little family and our daughter Kai being able to spend the holiday together and everybody being healthy -- healthy and happy.

And shout out to all the doctors at Duke University as well.

HILL: It is -- it is so good to see you all sitting there and to hear that everyone is doing well. And, Wajahat, just give us a sense -- how's your daughter doing?

R. SELLER: Uh --

WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Nusayba is -- oh, sorry. Go ahead, Ellen -- pardon me.

HILL: No, go ahead.

ALI: Oh, Nusayba is doing fantastic. She hopefully had what should be her last chemo two days ago. She's at home with mama bear, with her brother Ibrahim, and with our latest, Khadija, who dropped two and half weeks ago -- 10 days early -- a little Christmas present.

And it's so beautiful to see Bakari's family and Sadie.

And look, there's no war on Thanksgiving. I know the Muslims and Jews teamed up for Christmas -- to take out -- take out Christmas, but look, we are just grateful.

We're grateful to have a happy family, to have a happy, smiling daughter, to have a new liver, to see our children smile and play. The small joys of life is what keeps us going and you know, I'm just so grateful to everyone at the CNN family, to the liver donor, Shawn, who stepped up.

And to everyone who really prayed for us. I mean, people had innate kindness and decency and they were able to oversee politics and just come together for our family. So thank you to everyone who is watching.

BERMAN: Oh, you know, these aren't the small things, being able to laugh and enjoy our children. They really are the biggest things.

And I'm watching Sadie here, who is a complicated morning show guest --

R. SELLERS: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: -- much like her father is, Ellen.

E. SELLERS: Yes.

B. SELLERS: She wants her own microphone. Got to go big here.

E. SELLERS: Seriously. She's taking that. BERMAN: She watches her daddy on T.V.

So, Ellen --

E. SELLERS: Yes.

BERMAN: -- just talk to us about what you've learned throughout the last several months of this.

E. SELLERS: I -- you know, I think that the main thing, as a mother, you just have to trust in God first and then also your doctors.

The 93 days that we waited for Sadie's liver, that was like the toughest time in my entire life, I believe, as a mother, watching her suffer. And I played different scenarios over in my head and I never could imagine how it actually happened, but we're just so grateful. And, you know, patience is a virtue, seriously, but that 93 days was just -- it was terrifying.

And we're just thankful this morning and this Thanksgiving for all the donor families and that we can spend Thanksgiving with Sadie because that was definitely a concern of ours throughout the wait --

HILL: You both --

E. SELLERS: -- that we wouldn't have this day.

HILL: You've all been through so much and you have also helped to restart such an important conversation about donors and how important they are.

And I was struck by, Wajahat, the story of Shawn, the donor for your daughter -- when the surgeon came out and said you're really lucky because this donor is such a good man.

ALI: Yes.

HILL: How important -- how important do you think that was to just knowing not only how selfless this person was in coming forward and saying I want to help, but knowing that they have that good heart and part of them is now helping your daughter to thrive?

ALI: Yes, Shawn is an anonymous liver donor who stepped up, thanks to a Twitter message -- one of the few times in life that Twitter actually does good instead of divide.

[07:55:00]

And he said right when he woke up he -- the first question he had from the surgeon -- he asked the surgeon was when can I donate blood again?

And he visited Nusayba just a couple of days ago. Him and his wife Rida came over and they gave her a dollhouse.

And, Nusayba and him compared scars -- warrior scars -- she lifted up her shirt -- and that's a bond and a friendship. She got like another surrogate father.

And so many people have really stepped up and helped all of us.

And I just want people who are watching and listening, you can save a life by being a liver donor. The liver grows back -- I had no idea. Within two months it grows back. You can donate a liver, you can donate a kidney, you can save a life.

And another thing I'm really grateful for is the fact that we had health insurance. The fact that we had health insurance --

B. SELLERS: Amen to that.

ALI: -- gave us the ability to have a doctor, to have treatment.

And there's so many fellow Americans who are dying because they simply cannot afford insulin. So thoughts and prayers are fantastic, but let's have everyone have affordable health insurance.

E. SELLERS: Yes.

ALI: And look, you know, last year at Thanksgiving I was all alone because I was working and my family was away. In April, my wife and I did not think Nusayba would survive because she had so many complications. We didn't think she'd make the month.

And I'm going to go back home and hug my daughter Nusayba, my son Ibrahim, and my daughter Khadija, and my wife. My life is complete. What more do I need? This is everything.

BERMAN: There is no better feeling. There's no better feeling than that.

And, Wajahat, you've given us all an education because I think a lot of us did learn for the first time that you can be a living liver donor. As you say, it grows back.

And, Bakari -- and by the way, a special shout out to twins in general. There's nothing better than twins, right. As a parent of twins, I know how wonderful and what an armful they can be, literally.

E. SELLERS: Yes.

BERMAN: And you all are part of our CNN family here. But, Bakari and Ellen -- Bakari, I know your family has really grown as you've gone through this whole process with all the medical professionals who have meant so much to you over the last few months.

B. SELLERS: Yes.

BERMAN: Talk about that.

B. SELLERS: Yes, our surgeons, Dr. Sudan, Dr. Vikraman, Dr. Mavis at Duke University. It's amazing.

We're actually teaming up with Duke University right now to start a Sadie Ellen Gift Fund to raise awareness not only about biliary atresia but other kids who are suffering from pediatric liver disease. We're just trying to raise as much money as we can. We realize that a lot of those kids who are going through the same thing we were going through didn't have resources, so we want them to have an opportunity as well.

And so, while she's harassing her brother --

E. SELLERS: Yes.

B. SELLERS: -- every morning -- yes, I'm talking about you.

We're really thankful, just as Wajahat is. And I plan on being a live, living donor as well. We are encouraging more black and brown people --

ALI: That's right.

B. SELLERS: -- to be living donors --

E. SELLERS: Yes.

B. SELLERS: -- and to actually check the little box on your driver's license because not many black and brown families are actually organ donors. And so, we're just trying to do everything we can so everybody else can get the most amazing gift in the world -- just the gift of life.

E. SELLERS: Life.

ALI: Can I thank -- and Erica and John, if you don't mind can I just thank the CNN family? I think a lot of folks don't realize that I never reached out to a lot of the colleagues, the anchors. They went out of their way while we were in a desperate search for a liver to promote the cause. And over 500 people -- most people I've never met in my life -- signed up to be liver donors for my daughter, Nusayba.

So to every single person who signed up, this is a message on behalf of my wife who couldn't make it today. It's as if you donated a piece of your liver for our daughter. We're very grateful and we hope to pay back and pay it forward.

BERMAN: You're doing it already, Wajahat, just by being here and talking about it.

We are so happy for all of you and we send so much love to you, watching your entire family.

E. SELLERS: Thank you.

BERMAN: Thank you for being with us. Bakari, Ellen, Sadie, Stokely, happy Thanksgiving. What a happy Thanksgiving. Bye, Sadie.

ALI: Sadie and Nusayba for president.

E. SELLERS: Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you. ALI: Sadie and Nusayba for president.

B. SELLERS: Say bye.

HILL: I like it.

B. SELLERS: Sadie and Nusayba for president.

HILL: That sounds like a fine ticket right there.

BERMAN: It does. Happy Thanksgiving.

HILL: Thank you all. Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanks to all of our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Max Foster is next.

For our U.S. viewers, we have a very important update on the Thanksgiving parade balloons. NEW DAY continues right now.

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

BERMAN: That was so great. I'm sorry, that was so great.

HILL: No, it's the best. And they're right, you know. They were saying those are the small moments.

But you're right, John, the small moments are not small; they are big. And they are moments with your family and knowing that your children are healthy and that you can go home and hug them.

BERMAN: All right, so welcome back, everyone. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, November 28th. It's 8:00 in the east.

Alisyn is off. Erica Hill joins me on this Thanksgiving morning. The turkey is here as well.

HILL: The turkey's here.

BERMAN: The highest-paid CNN anchor this morning, we might add.

Will Astronaut Snoopy soar above the streets of New York City this morning? The American people want to know the answer to that question as the countdown to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade enters its final hours.

Just moments ago, the New York City Police Department put out some good news. They wrote, "As of --