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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
White House Faces New Deadline On Impeachment; House Dems Give Trump One Week To Say If His Lawyers Will Take Part In Impeachment Hearings; Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) Is Interviewed About His Decision On Impeachment; Sources: Ukraine Officials Want To Improve Standing With Trump, Could Still Announce New Investigations; Sources: Attacker Who Killed Two On London Bridge Was Previously Jailed On Terror Offenses; Sources: Attacker Who Killed Two on London Bridge Was Previously Jailed on Terror Offenses; NYT Report Reveals Discord, Finger-Pointing in Harris Campaign. Aired on 7-8p ET
Aired November 29, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: All right. And stay safe out there, everybody. Ivan Cabrera, thank you so much. I'm Jim Acosta. Thank you so much for watching. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, the White House facing a new impeachment deadline tonight but will Trump take Democrats up on their own offer to participate in his own hearing. Also breaking tonight, police say the suspect in the deadly London Bridge attack had been jailed for terror offenses. So why was he released? And is Senator Kamala Harris' presidential bid falling apart? A devastating New York Times story details the chaos from inside of her campaign. Let's go out front.
Good evening, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in tonight for Erin Burnett. Welcome to a special edition of out front and tonight breaking news, the White House hit with a new impeachment deadline. The Chairman of the powerful House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler sending a letter to the President this afternoon informing him and his counsel they have until next week to decide if they want to take part in the impeachment proceedings. That includes calling witnesses, presenting evidence and even having the President potentially question witnesses himself.
This new deadline comes as the White House is still debating whether or not to participate in the Judiciary Committee's first hearing on impeachment that is this upcoming Wednesday. That decision must be made in the next 48 hours. One person close to the process tell CNN tonight, the White House is still debating whether it's even 'worth it'. But this is something the President has been asking for. Since the
beginning of the investigation, he has complained time and time again that the process is unfair.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was no due process. You can't have lawyers. We couldn't have any witnesses.
They're not allowed to even ask a question.
Because it's the minority. We have no lawyers. We can't question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Well, now you can. Now the ball is in the President's court and the clock is ticking. Let's go to Kaitlan Collins. She is traveling tonight with the President. She's out front live in West Palm Beach, Florida. Kaitlan, the President facing two very important deadlines, decisions, any indication where his head is on this?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, before Chairman Nadler gave the White House essentially an extension on this deadline to decide whether or not they're going to send an attorney, the thinking inside was that they were not likely going to because essentially they're trying to figure out if it's going to be worth it to participate if they're really going to reap any benefits from this.
And right now the thinking is they are not going to if they do send an attorney. Now, whether or not they're going to participate full stop is still a question that Sunday deadline about whether or not they're going to send witnesses this week. It's still something that they were considering though, of course, the fact that it's going to be these constitutional scholars who are in the room has changed to the White House's thinking on that so far.
Now, you're right, the White House and the President's allies have been complaining for weeks, saying that this process is unfair to them because they aren't able to have an attorney in the room. And these new rules in this letter laid out by Chairman Nadler does not only allow them to have an attorney in the room, but also they can cross- examine. They can raise objections. They can continue to suggest witnesses.
So that is something they're considering because they think if they did send an attorney, they would be able to push back on these obstruction allegations from the House Intelligence Committee that they had been facing from blocking those officials. But essentially their question inside is, maybe we should just wait, let this get through the Judiciary Committee, let it be at this House vote that they believe now is likely going to be a vote to impeach the President and potentially wait to bring out their defense when it's actually in the Senate trial.
So regardless if they don't send anyone, it's still going to be a pretty pivotal week and month for the President because it's going to be fast tracking through this. We could see a vote soon. So the White House behind the scenes while they've been here and the President in Afghanistan, they're essentially mapping out what their defense is going to look like for the next several weeks.
HARLOW: OK. Again, the next public hearing on Wednesday. Kaitlan, thank you very, very much. We appreciate it.
Out front now Democratic Congressman Dan Kildee of Michigan. Thank you for being with us. Happy Thanksgiving.
REP. DAN KILDEE (D-MI): Thank you. Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you.
HARLOW: Thank you, Congressman. Let's begin with Wednesday, public hearings, first from the Judiciary Committee. We don't know yet who is going to be called, but you have been slow to make judgments in terms of saying how you will vote and I wonder if that has changed tonight. Have you decided yet, Congressman, if you will vote yes or no on impeachment at this point?
KILDEE: Well, I don't think I can make a decision yet until all of the testimony is provided. But I will say this, I have not heard the President offer a defense against the really compelling witnesses that testified before the Intelligence Committee. They painted a picture, all of them painted a stunning picture of a president that was willing to extort or bribe or even use a softer word trade military aid for Ukraine in exchange for investigating one of his political opponents and no real world is that OK.
And the President really has not offered a defense other than as the Republicans have done all along, criticize the process. So here's a chance for them to participate in the process.
HARLOW: So if they don't ...
KILDEE: And I think at that point in time, obviously, unless they offer something that I have not heard, I can't imagine that the framers would include an impeachment provision in the Constitution and have us ignore the facts that we've seen before us and not use that tool.
HARLOW: OK. That's a pretty clear answer to me, unless we see more fact witnesses called or unless the White House participates in a meaningful way here and hear something very new. So let me move on and ask you about what some of your fellow Democrats in the House are focusing on and that is multiple articles of impeachment against the President. Some of them want to include articles about what was laid out in the Mueller report. I wonder if you're in that camp or if you're in the camp that believes this should focus strictly on Ukraine.
KILDEE: Well, I think we have to listen to what we hear in these hearings. I think the witnesses that will testify about the authority for impeachment could address some of this. But we also have to figure out where we have 218 votes within the Democratic caucus. The game changed for the Democratic caucus and really for Congress after the Ukraine story came out.
And remember those several Democratic freshmen who really have a National Security background, they had been quite reluctant to move on an impeachment process until the Ukraine story came out and it became clear that the National Security of the United States was being put at risk in order for the President to advance his own political interests.
So I think there is a good argument though, Poppy, for an article that would focus on the obstruction that the President has been continuously involved in throughout this process. And some of us are still concerned about whether Mr. McGahn is going to be able to testify.
And if he does, the question about the order to fire Mr. Mueller could also, in my mind anyway, rise to the level of a potential impeachment article.
HARLOW: OK. So it sounds like you would be in the camp of say your fellow Democrat, Congressman Ro Khanna who says it's important to include the Mueller obstruction evidence to uphold what he calls the principles of separation of power. He says what we are doing is not just for today, but it is for safeguarding American constitutional democracy for generations to come, but then you've got another fellow Democrat of yours, Congresswoman Veronica Escobar of Texas who's on the Judiciary Committee and she said this, this week, "I think the broader we go that may pose challenges for the American people." Do you think she has a point especially selling it in a state like yours in Michigan?
Yes. I mean, I think we have to think this through, obviously. The Ukraine issue is the one that has unified not only Democrats but many Americans across the political spectrum. Even many Republicans honestly who are afraid to come out and say how wrong they think this is. But the potential of an obstruction article, I think, has to ...
HARLOW: Who are you talking about? What Republicans are you talking about, in Congress?
KILDEE: Well, I mean, I think you can - yes, for sure, Republicans in Congress. And I just - I'm sure you saw the interview with my former colleague, Charlie Dent.
HARLOW: I did.
KILDEE: Where he referred to conversations that he's had with Republicans. I've had those same conversations. I'm not going to out them, because I think it's up to them to speak their own truth. But I will say this, many of my Republican colleagues have tremendous courage in the elevator on the way to the second floor, where the floor of the House is and somehow leave that courage behind when they walk onto the floor of the House.
This is a moment, I think, they're really going to have to think about. In retrospect, 15 or 20 years from now, are they actually going to want to have to explain to their children and grandchildren why they thought that the President was actually OK when he tried to trade American National Security to investigate one of his political opponents. And then obstructed the process of actually looking at that question. I don't think that's a place they're going to want to be.
HARLOW: Final question, you're home. I hope you had a nice Thanksgiving with your family and I know you've had time to talk to constituents before the public hearings of the House Intel Committee. The latest polling that we saw out of Michigan specifically New York Times/Siena College poll in late October found 53 percent there oppose impeachment and removing the President from office. Has that changed anecdotally among your constituents?
KILDEE: I think it's changed marginally. The President clearly still has a strong base that is with him, 40, 43 percent whatever it might be. But I've been saying from the beginning, the polls are interesting in this case but we don't poll tests the Constitution. We don't poll test whether or not we uphold the Constitution.
So it's important that we try to explain to the public what we're doing and justifying our actions, but I don't think that any of us on either side of this question ought to be making decision this consequential based on the popularity in the moment. I think that would be a mistake.
HARLOW: And you yourself have told me previously, there is a political risk for Democrats here as well. Congressman, we appreciate your time, especially after the holiday. Thank you very much.
KILDEE: Thank you, Poppy.
HARLOW: You got it. OUTFRONT next, CNN learning Ukrainian officials are still talking about ways to get on the President's good side including potentially opening new investigations that could help Trump politically. We'll dig into that. Also, the suspect in the deadly attack in London was previously jailed on terror offenses. What officials are saying about this release tonight? And Kamala Harris' once promising candidacy now reportedly unraveling, why and can she turn it around?
HARLOW: Tonight, Ukrainian officials still considering investigations that could help President Trump. CNN has learned Ukrainian officials are discussing ways to improve their country standing with the President in the middle of this whole impeachment inquiry and they could announce new investigations that could be seen as political beneficial to the President. Let's talk about that and a lot more.
John Dean is with us, former Nixon White House Counsel, Juliette Kayyem, former Assistant Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and CNN Presidential Historian Tim Naftali. Good evening one and all. Thank you for being here.
And Juliette, let me just get your read on that CNN reporting from our Kylie Atwood. What do you make of that, that Ukrainians are still talking about launching investigations that could help the President?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, FORMER ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY: I mean, that bribery works and that they do not want the relationship with the United States to be ruined or undermined because of a bad relationship with Donald Trump. So it means sort of two things, one is I just want to make it clear that the Ukrainian offer to start an investigation is an offer to make up an investigation.
In other words, there's no investigation to be had. And so basically they're sort of offering or they could be offering just made up stuff. So we shouldn't report on it as if there's a real investigation. This is to curry favor with Trump.
I think the other thing that's important is I think as reporters and analyst, we should not minimize or should not focus solely on this being about Trump and corruption. It is actually about the American voter and all of us. It is about the sanctity of our democratic processes from foreign influence utilized and abused by the President of the United States.
So for me this is a National Security story in the same way that the Mueller report was not about obstruction of justice. It was about 2016 and foreign influence. This is now about 2020 and foreign influence.
HARLOW: And to be clear from our reporting, it is not clear what those potential investigations that the Ukrainians may launch would be specifically focused on.
But, Tim, it reminded me of David Holmes's testimony just about a week and a half ago where he said under oath, "The Ukrainians still want things from the Trump administration." And then he said, "Including a meeting with the President in the Oval Office, I think that continues to this day. I think they are being very careful, they still need us going forward."
TIM NAFTALI, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Yes. Mr. Holmes and Dr. Hill and all of the other members of the foreign service and our National Security team expressed and explained how vulnerable the Ukrainians are. This is why all of these matters.
And as Juliette said, this is about how a super power conducts foreign policy.
HARLOW: And Zelensky goes to meet with Vladimir Putin on December 9th.
NAFTALI: What we have done is we've made ourselves vulnerable. Our President has said, "Hey, help me. Help me. What's most important is it's not what the American people need but my political future. Give me whatever I need," especially vulnerable countries.
The Chinese may not do it, because the Chinese are powerful. The Russians will make use of this, but for vulnerable countries that need our help, they're going to scrounge around to find something to make our President happy. That's so dangerous for our National Security and it's not what you'd expect of a superpower.
HARLOW: John Dean, let's fast forward to this week. People will be coming off the holiday, the long weekend and boom on Wednesday another public hearing. The first of the Judiciary Committee. We don't know yet if the President plans to send his counsel. We don't know who's going to testify.
So if you were calling witnesses, who would you call knowing the goal is to essentially explain to the American people what is an impeachable offense?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Well, I started thinking about that this afternoon after I contacted the committee to see if they had decided who they were going to call. And they're still winnowing their list to decide who they want to bring in.
DEAN: They are. And it occurred to me so I sent them a recommendation. I said Hillary and Bill Weld. And the reason I said that is ...
HARLOW: Hillary Clinton?
DEAN: ... Hillary Clinton and Bill Weld were the people who first dug out for the Nixon impeachment what was an impeachable offense and that's what these hearings are all about. No two people know it better and have historically followed it more than those two witnesses. So maybe they'll call Bill and Hillary.
HARLOW: Maybe. There was a warning from, frankly, a bit of a surprising place to Democrats saying slow down on this from the New York Times editorial board just last week saying, "Don't go fast, don't rush this, there are fact witnesses you're yet to hear from that you need to."
And Tim, I bring that up because you think that that Jerry Nadler is rushing here.
NAFTALI: Oh, I really do. I think that the issue here is very, very important but it may not be completely accessible to people who aren't following closely.
And I think that this is an issue of our National Security. I agree with Juliette and I think that if you rush the process you allow loyalists of the President. By the way I didn't say Republicans, because I don't think this should be a partisan issue at all. Loyalists of the President to send up smoke and to distract from the main issue.
So what I think you ought to do is you ought to give the President enough time. I don't know what enough time is, but saying in a week, it's not enough time, to decide which witnesses he feels should be included to argue his case. At the same time, the Democrats should be willing to wait to see if they can get former National Security Advisor Bolton to testify, Mick Mulvaney to testify and Mr. McGahn to testify.
HARLOW: So one point on that, Juliette, Jake Tapper did a fascinating interview with Adam Schiff over the weekend on STATE OF THE UNION. If anyone hasn't seen it, you should watch the entire thing. And at one point they discussed the possibility in a Senate trial Chief Justice John Roberts compelling - having the power to compel Mulvaney and John Bolton to come testify that that may be more quick frankly for the Democrats and may prove to be more fruitful than waiting for the courts.
KAYYEM: Right. I mean, I think we can't know. The courts have actually been acting rather quickly and so I think we can't judge this by pacing. I'm a lawyer, but I don't play one on TV. And so I wanted to just look at this through the National Security lens, which is this, the impeachment proceedings serve as a deterrence.
I'm solely focused on 2020 at this stage. I am not convinced that this White House or this president are committed to protecting this election. And so to a certain extent, having public hearings is just beneficial because it serves as a deterrent to the people in power that there are eyes on this election this time. So whether it results in a conviction or the Senate doing something or the courts doing something seems less relevant to me at this stage than in a few weeks it's 2020 and we are in election season.
HARLOW: John Dean, final word. I'd love for you to respond to this Republican Senator Lindsey Graham who obviously chairs Senate Judiciary Committee. Listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): The trial in the Senate should mirror trials all over America. Hearsay is not admitted unless there's a valid exception in any trial in America. My belief is that 90 percent of testimony being used by the House violates the hearsay rule.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: Is he right?
DEAN: I don't think Lindsey has the chops in the Senate to get that rule ever adopted by the Senate for impeachment trial. They've got the precedent of several trials before. There were a number of judges who have been impeached where they have laid the rules down there. They didn't adopt any such special rules for those proceedings. They're not going to for this one.
HARLOW: OK. Thank you all. Have a nice weekend. Busy week ahead. KAYYEM: Have a good weekend.
HARLOW: OUTFRONT next, troubling new details tonight about the suspects in the deadly terror attack in London. I will speak to an Americans nurse who was on London Bridge right when the attack happened. Plus, Senator Kamala Harris' campaign struggling to gain traction and facing new questions about whether it can even last to Iowa.
HARLOW: Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT. Breaking news, the man who stabbed and killed two people near London Bridge was known to police. British authorities revealing tonight the attacker had been in jail on terror offenses. This is the frightening moment from earlier today in London.
According to witnesses, the suspect went on a stabbing rampage. Video shows at least one civilian wrestling that suspect to the ground and that is when the police stepped in, surrounding the man. Seconds later they open fire, killing the suspect. We are now told was wearing a fake explosive device.
Let's go to my colleague, Nina dos Santos. She joins us live in London tonight. Nina, what more are we learning about the suspect who London police knew?
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Yes. Hi, Poppy. Big question for the authorities this evening as it is emerged that this was an individual, not just known to authorities, but somebody who had committed terror offenses and served time in jail for that. It appears as though he'd only recently been released on license. That is a slightly stricter form of parole that may have involved wearing an ankle bracelet to try and keep tabs of his movements and also the necessity to check in with parole officers every single evening.
This means that they would have been fully aware of his whereabouts. Their extensive reports, as yet unconfirmed in British newspapers this evening suggesting that he was actually here in Central London to attend a conference alongside other offenders who were out on day release as well about rehabilitation for those who had committed serious crimes.
In fact it's also been suggested that some of those other conference attendees with criminal records were among some of the group of bystanders who had managed to wrestle this person to the ground. And also, you can see in that dramatic image, a commuter appearing to pull the knife out of his hand.
One of the witnesses who took part in trying to disarm this individual, Poppy, has also said that they believe he was carrying two knives. So many questions for authorities this evening just on the eve of a general election when the ruling Conservative Party is pledging more money for the police and zero tolerance approach to incidents like this and a reinforcement for law and order, Poppy.
HARLOW: Nina, thank you very much for the reporting tonight.
And OUTFRONT now, Jackie Bensfield. She was on the bridge during the attack. She's from Illinois. She has lived in London for about a year.
Jackie, thank you for being with us. I'm so, so terribly story.
Can you just walk us through what happened around you?
JACKIE BENSFIELD, WITNESSED LONDON TERROR ATTACK (via telephone): Sure. Yes, I was on the bus on my way home from work, and the bus, all of a sudden, just stopped on the London Bridge. Usually, there's a lot of traffic, but we weren't moving for an abnormally long amount of time, and then, all of a sudden, I see people getting out of their cars. I see people getting out of the bus. I see police officers running by.
And then I just hear a rush of people just run, trying to get off the bridge as soon as possible. I, on the bus, started freaking out thinking -- my first thought that there was a bomb on the bridge, in all honesty. That was my first thought.
And so I was slamming on the doors to try to get out of the bus, to get the bus driver to open the door, excuse me, and I got out and I heard gunshots. I just started running, running as fast as I could. I just ran like hell, tried to get off that bridge. And then I just see a bunch of police officers with huge guns running past me across the bridge, which is an abnormal sight in itself because, obviously, guns -- we don't ever see them here in London.
HARLOW: Sure. Of course.
Jackie, you were previously an E.R. nurse in Chicago and you've talked about seeing people come in with stab wounds and gunshot wounds before, and hearing about attacks like this. But being on the other side of it completely different. What was that like for you?
BENSFIELD: Yes, yes, you know, as an E.R. nurse in Chicago, we were often on the other side of things where we would see the aftermath of all the violence that happened. So, you can compartmentalize it a bit better and react and treat because that's your job. Being on the other side of it is just absolutely horrifying.
I mean, your life literally flashes in front of you and all you can think is get to safety as quickly as possible.
HARLOW: Jackie, it's horrible. I am so sorry. Obviously, for the lives lost and I'm so sorry that you were caught up in the middle of it. We're thinking of you tonight.
Jackie, thank you very much. BENSFIELD: Thank you. Yes, the real heroes today were the civilians
that were able to get the knife out of that guy's hand. And they probably saved more lives today. Would have been more catastrophic had they not, you know, really stepped up and been brave. So --
HARLOW: Absolutely. Very well. Very, very well said. Jackie, thank you very, very much.
BENSFIELD: Yes, thank you.
HARLOW: OUTFRONT now, Phil Mudd, former FBI senior intelligence adviser, former CIA counterterrorism official.
Phil, good evening. Police say the suspect was known to them. Had been in jail on terror offenses.
What does it tell you, and how does that happen?
PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: That doesn't tell me much, Poppy.
Let me make you -- or give you a sense of this. Let's take a child pornographer, let's take a murderer, let's take a rapist, let's take a terrorist. That's person gets out of prison or in prison, you are saying that person is known to police officials. What are you going to do?
For thousands or tens of thousands of people in that category, you're going to follow their email? You're going to follow their phone messages? You're going to follow their texting? Are you going to surveil them?
I'm going to tell you, as someone who served in the business, you can look at dozens of people at once. You cannot look at thousands or tens of thousands.
MUDD: When you say they knew this person or they're looking at them, I want to know how up on the radar they are because you can't look at thousands or tens of thousands of people at once. You can't.
HARLOW: The facts that he was found with a hoax explosive device, is that indicative of anything to you in the planning?
MUDD: Yes, it is. Look, one person operated individually. So, he was not part of a conspiracy. In other words, he was not part -- as far as we can tell so far, of a broader plan.
What does it tell you if someone goes into a circumstance like this with a knife instead of a gun -- in other words, you can't maximize casualties which is what terrorists want to do with a gun. And you have a hoax device instead of a real device. It tells me potentially, and we see this in many circumstances, that the individual may have anticipated and may have even wanted to have died in the event.
If you have a fake device on you, that means you didn't take the time to create a real device and you anticipate the cops are going to kill you. It's suicide by cop.
HARLOW: So many questions. Two people left dead. Our hearts with their families, obviously --
HARLOW: -- and the amazing heroes who wrestled him to the ground.
Phil, thank you very, very much.
MUDD: Thank you.
HARLOW: OUTFRONT next, her support surged after this exchange.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And that little girl was me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HARLOW: But now, a devastating new report about the chaos inside Senator Kamala Harris' campaign.
Plus, Bernie Sanders surprising support deep in the heart of Trump country.
HARLOW: Tonight, a devastating report on the state of Kamala Harris' campaign. "The New York Times," after speaking with more than 50 current and former campaign staffers and allies, details discord throughout the campaign, with some aides pointing fingers at the campaign manager, others at the campaign chairwoman, Harris' sister, and the blame also placed on Senator Harris herself with advisers frustrated that she backs off attacks on rivals and for what they argue is not choosing a side in the growing gulf between liberals and moderates in the party.
Let's talk about it and debate it.
OUTFRONT now, Gil Duran, who served as Harris' communication director when she was California attorney general. And Bakari Sellers, a former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. He has endorsed Senator Harris.
We did invite Senator Harris to join us and members of her campaign. They declined.
Good evening. Thank you for being here. Bakari, let me just begin with you. You spoke to the Harris team
today. What are they telling you?
BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, I think it's the same thing. This is week by week from "Politico" to "Washington Post" to "The New York Times." Every week, we get a new obituary saying the Harris campaign is dead.
But, you know, I have a great deal of respect for Jonathan Martin and Astead Wesley (ph), they are brilliant writers. I have no problem with the journalism they put out today. In fact, there's only one glaring error. My friend Jalisa Washington-Price is not seeking jobs. She's the South Carolina state director. But other than that, I have no qualms with their journalism today.
But what I will say is that this is a growing trend of the way that journalists cover the Harris campaign. Sure, there are faults in this campaign but we don't see the obituaries written on the Michael Bennet. We don't see them on Steve Bullock.
We don't see them on John Delaney. We don't see them on Julian Castro. We don't see them on the Cory Booker campaigns. But we do see them on Kamala Harris campaign --
HARLOW: But you're quoted in the piece, Bakari.
SELLERS: -- week after week after week.
HARLOW: Let me just read people the quote, if they ever read the piece for you.
HARLOW: Quote: I'm cool with the t-shirts. This is talking about sort of --
HARLOW: -- gear that was sold after she was surging in the polls. I'm cool with the t-shirts, but you also have to have a strategy.
So, it seems you have some concerns with the campaign, no?
SELLERS: I don't think that there is any doubt. In fact, I did that interview with Jonathan Martin about two months ago when there was a question about the general trajectory of the campaign and what we had to do to get our footing. Over the last month, the campaign has been doing everything it's supposed to do from the LJ Dinner to the debate. It's hitting on all cylinders right now.
And yes, she had to find her footing, yes, she had to understand kind of where she was at this campaign leads forward. But let me also tell the viewers this one thing that's very important. Senator Warren came in with $10.8 million in her Senate account. She was able to transfer over. Joe Biden came in as a vice president. Bernie Sanders ran for president before. Senator Harris did not start with those advantages. And covering a
black woman for president, yes, the campaign has messed up, but, Poppy, I will tell you this -- journalists have screwed this up royally as well and we're seeing that day after day with all of these obituaries.
The campaign told me today something quite simple. She's still here. We'll see you guys after Iowa.
HARLOW: Let me get Gil in here. I would note, again, that they spoke, these reporters spoke to 50 current and former campaign staffers and allies.
Gil, you're a former aide to Senator Harris when she was attorney general in California. You're quoted in the piece as saying, quote, you can't run the country if you can't run your campaign. In a November 20th piece for the "Sacramento Bee", you write that she should drop out.
GIL DURAN, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER & COMMS DIRECTOR TO KAMALA HARRIS WHEN SHE WAS CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, denial is the first stage of grief, but it appears that most of the Harris campaign has already moved on to anger, and they're angry with each other.
I can't recall ever seeing a campaign so thoroughly torch itself as the campaign of Kamala Harris is doing right now. This is arson and it's from the inside. If you want to attack journalists for writing obituaries, you got to remember that this is coming from her staff. These are coming from the people who are advising her, who know everything.
You don't see these stories being written about other campaigns because other campaigns aren't doing this. So, this does not really come as a surprise. And when you have a staff that is so dysfunctional they're torching her own campaign, this is what you get.
HARLOW: Do you think that Bakari has a point, Gil, at all, saying that, you know, that essentially an African-American female for president is being treated unfairly by the press? Do you see any merit in his argument?
DURAN: No, I don't. I think it's not about race. It's not even about her gender. It's about the fact that Kamala Harris is a poor manager and made some very big mistakes and hasn't corrected them. And the fact is that there are more interesting dynamic candidates in the process, people who came out of nowhere and captured a lot of attention.
So, I think misogyny and racism are serious issues in America. I do not think they explain why this campaign burned itself down.
HARLOW: Bakari, does he have a point?
SELLERS: Yes, I don't know why he's speaking about this campaign in the past tense. The fact is she had more cash on hand than Joe Biden who you may articulate as being somebody more dynamic, but that's his own opinion.
This campaign, if you look at the last CNN/"Des Moines Register" poll was tied with Pete Buttigieg or running right after with those candidates still being strongly considered. So, this campaign is by no means dead.
HARLOW: Well --
SELLERS: The crux of this article was -- the crux of this article was a resignation letter. And the resignation letter is one thing. The resignation letter being sent to "The New York Times" is another.
HARLOW: Well --
SELLERS: The resignation letter being sent to "The New York Times" from a Bloomberg staffer who she now currently works for the Bloomberg campaign.
HARLOW: I don't know who "The New York Times" opinion letter.
SELLERS: You don't know what?
HARLOW: I'm just saying I don't know who "The New York Times" obtained the letter from, but I do want to read for people who haven't read the full piece. This is the resignation letter written November 11th by the state operations director for the Harris campaign, telling Mehlenbacher.
And here's the key line out of it. Quote: This is my third presidential campaign, and I have never seen an organization treat its staff so poorly.
SELLERS: Let me also say this. I think that there are lessons to be learned. I think that it's in poor taste for Kelly who is now a Bloomberg staffer.
However, "The New York Times" got it, she's currently working for another presidential campaign to now be the vocal point of a hit piece on another candidate.
But let me just push back on Gil for one second so that we all understand and we're extremely clear. To be an African-American woman in this country and rise from the level of local politics to the United States Senate to being the first formidable presidential candidate we've had is a feat. And to say she's a poor manager is disgraceful and disrespectful. Kamala Harris is still here and she'll be on the stage in December.
HARLOW: We'll have you back. I'm sorry that we're out of time. There's a lot more to this conversation for sure. I appreciate it, Gil. I appreciate it, Bakari. Thank you.
DURAN: Thank you.
HARLOW: OUTFRONT next, a group of activists trying to turn a deep red state blue, and people are taking notice.
HARLOW: Well, tonight, Senator Bernie Sanders drawing surprising support from deep inside of Trump country.
Elle Reeve is OUTFRONT.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rand Paul.
TANYA TURNER, CO-HOST, "THE TRILLBILLY WORKERS PARTY" PODCAST: He's here?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rand Paul was there looking all bit of 4'7" after his procedure.
ELLE REEVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the Appalachian Mountains of Eastern Kentucky,
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former city council just out --
REEVE: -- a trio of leftist activists have figured out how to make people listen to them.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this really where the Democratic Party is?
REEVE: The Trillbilly Workers Party is Tanya Turner, Terrence Ray and Tom Sexton. Their popular leftist comedy podcast is recorded in a cabin in Whitesburg, town of 2,000 in what in the popular imagination is rock solid Trump Country.
TURNER: I think some Trump supporters that I know that I would consider a stereotypical Trump voters are completely disassociated and think it's funny.
All of these systems that have -- have screwed us over time and again, yes, they're like, you know, what else do I have but to laugh at this maniac pushing buttons somewhere?
A foreshadowing of the national election.
REEVE: But while they ridicule President Trump, they have contempt for the Democratic Party which they think has made too many moral compromises to help communities like theirs. (on camera): Do you think the Democratic Party speaks to the issues
facing your community?
TURNER: No, not at all. You could look at a lot of the failures of the Democratic Party both in Kentucky and also across the country to lead you to some of the support, of course, of conservatives and bizarre politics like Trump, what Trump has brought about and because they have really just like abandoned communities that used to support them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These reactionary far right conservatives --
REEVE (voice-over): They draw guests relevant to national politics.
MATT JONES, KENTUCKY SPORTS RADIO HOST: There is nobody that sounds like you three.
REEVE: Like Kentucky sports radio host Matt Jones.
JONES: I spoke with the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
REEVE: Jones recently explored a run against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
JONES: Beat Mitch McConnell, it changes the United States of America. It just does. And in my heart of hearts, I believe I'm the person that can do it.
REEVE: Their audience is going. "The Trillbilly" is getting nearly 100,000 downloads a month for their free weekly podcast, and nearly $9,000 in subscriptions to their premium episodes.
And while they very much draw from their own personal experiences, most of their listeners are actually from Brooklyn, Chicago and San Diego, people they think grew up in places like Whitesburg and left for jobs. They think they have a broad audience because their message is universal.
TURNER: There is no way that -- you know these rich people work harder than my mom works and she will never be out of debt. She will never have all the things that she needs.
TARENCE RAY, CO-HOST, "THE TRILLBILLY WORKERS PARTY" PODCAST: Really, we want to describe what our lives are like here. But more than that, we have an analysis of the country the way things are that's important for our very specific struggles and experiences here, fighting against corporations or whatever. And I think that it benefits the left at large to hear that perspective.
REEVE: The Trillbillys are examples of two trends. One, a podcast boom and, two, a generational divide between older people who are more centrists and young leftists who ridicule them, an army of the angriest ones go to war every day on Twitter and get tagged as Bernie bros.
By contrast, the Trillbillys use humor to win people over. (on camera): What would you say to people in the cities from the
coasts who would be surprised that there are Bernie supporting communists, socialists out here in Appalachia?
TOM SEXTON, CO-HOST, "THE TRILLBILLY WORKERS PARTY" PODCAST: We have the internet. It's not good, but we have it and we know about things.
RAY: If you are a leftist in a big city, you know there are other leftists out there in places like this, anywhere where people have boots in their neck, they're resisting. They're fighting back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democratic candidates for president of the United States.
REEVE (voice-over): They're not impressed by the candidates for president in 2020 except for Bernie Sanders.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you!
REEVE: Who only lost the Democratic primary to Hillary Clinton by half a percentage point.
TURNER: You know what you are getting. This man has had the same vision for 40, 50 years and has absolutely moved the dialogue about what is possible in this country.
SEXTON: I could tell you this. My mother, who I wouldn't -- I love her, but I wouldn't consider necessarily a exemplary of progressive thought, loves Bernie Sanders. She's a very overzealous Bernie person.
You know, she's a Pentecostal Sunday school teacher. So --
SANDERS: Health care is a universal right. Medicare for All.
REEVE: The Trillbillys believe Sanders is the only candidate who truly understands the struggles in communities like theirs and trusts he would work toward the fairer future they imagine.
TURNER: We are in the unhealthiest congressional district in the country. There's no one here that doesn't support health care for all people. You would have to be a criminal, an absolute billionaire class sociopath to not want the sick and dying people around you in this community and in your family to not have access to quality health care and very few people here do. That is one of the simplest notes I can give to why Bernie has support here.
REEVE: Elle Reeve, CNN, Whitesburg, Kentucky.
HARLOW: That was fascinating.
We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HARLOW: Thanks so much for joining us tonight.
A CNN special report "ALL THE PRESIDENT'S LIES" starts now.