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New Polls on 2020 Race; Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) is Interviewed on Impeachment; Kosher Market Was Targeted Attack; Murder Victims' Relatives Want to Spark Killer's Life. Aired 8:30-9a ET
Aired December 11, 2019 - 08:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, how's Bloomberg doing?
HARRY ENTEN, CNN POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes, you know what, top choice for nominee in the Quinnipiac University poll. Three percent in November. Five percent in December. He gained two points after declaring having spent about $60 million on television ads. I'm not sure that's a great actual investment.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: $30 million per percentage point.
ENTEN: That's what it is, $30 million per percentage point. So I can't do the math so quickly. He'd have to spend millions upon millions upon millions of dollars, which maybe he will, but at this point he's not really moving anywhere.
CAMEROTA: Who's in the December 20th debate?
ENTEN: Who's in the December 20th debate, Andrew Yang got 4 percent in that Quinnipiac University poll. He qualifies for the debate. These are the folks we're looking at right here, Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, Warren and Yang. Those are the people who are going to be on the stage on December 20th.
BERMAN: And one of the people who doesn't look like will be on the stage -- there just aren't enough polls left at this point --
BERMAN: Cory Booker.
ENTEN: Is Cory Booker. You know, he's making this plea, we need a more diverse stage. Top choice for the nominee in the December polls, Monmouth, 2, Quinnipiac, 1. He needed 4 percent in four qualifying polls. He's not getting there. And among black voters, who he's really trying to appeal to, only 1 percent in the Quinnipiac University poll. Biden leads that with 51 percent.
What's your kicker? ENTEN: My kicker is, remember last week where there was that poll that
said, who was the better president, Lincoln or Trump? And Republicans said Trump and all the liberals are like, oh, we got him now. Whoo.
Well, take a look at this. Who's the better president among Democrats. And this is in the Monmouth poll, Barack Obama or George Washington. Obama beat Washington, 63 percent to 29 percent. Among Republicans, Washington slightly ahead of Trump, 44 percent to 37 percent.
These questions don't tell us anything, folks. They're (INAUDIBLE) bias. Stop trying to make fools of the other side, please.
BERMAN: That's right, it's all about the Electoral College anyway.
ENTEN: Well, that's probably true. George Washington swept the Electoral College. Only president ever to do so.
CAMEROTA: Yes, it's a good thing nobody highlights these polls and talks about them.
ENTEN: Yes, thank God.
BERMAN: You're right, they're so silly.
Harry, thank you.
ENTEN: Thank you.
Will swing district Democrats support these two articles of impeachment against President Trump? Well, we're going to talk to a Democrat from a district that Donald Trump won in 2016. That's next.
BERMAN: Sources tell CNN that Democrats settled on two articles of impeachment among other reasons because it gave them the best chance to avoid large-scale defection among members of the Democratic caucus. The belief was an article based on the Mueller report, which would be obstruction of justice, might be difficult for some Democrats to vote for.
Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. He is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and he comes from a district that Donald Trump won in the 2016 election.
So, Congressman, what are the challenges facing Democratic members in Trump districts as you face this impeachment vote?
REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Well, look, it's no -- it's no secret that in districts like mine there are people who are skeptical of this constitutional process. And I understand that. I understand that there were people who hoped for better from this president. It doesn't take away my responsibility to live into my oath. It doesn't take away my responsibility to the Constitution. It doesn't mean I'm not going to know right from wrong, that he pressured solicited foreign help, pressured a foreign leader for help in an election in the form of trying to smear his rival to try to cheat in the next election. That's abuse of power.
And if we've shown some discipline in crafting the strongest articles with the most clear and compelling, really overwhelming evidence supporting them, then I think that strengthens the case and I think it makes it easier, the project of communicating its necessity to voters and constituents who might be skeptical.
BERMAN: There have been meetings among some, a small number of House Democrats, so-called moderates, about the possibility of offering censure as an alternative to impeachment. You haven't been part of those meetings, have you?
MALONEY: Absolutely not. And I think it's a terrible mistake to negotiate against ourselves. I mean has the president acknowledged wrongdoing? Has he offered an apology? Are the Republicans willing to admit that what he did was wrong? Why in God's name is any Democrat, you know, trying to lower the bar when the president himself says, to this day, the call was perfect, when Rudy Giuliani, this week, was in Ukraine furthering the scheme to fix the next election, when not a single Republican in the House is willing to step up and say, you know, what the president did constitutes an impeachable offense. I think we -- I think this is a moment where we need to get clear about right and wrong and just listen to what your mama always told you, which is, just do the right thing.
BERMAN: In fact, our reporting is that the White House hates the idea of a censure because, just of what you said, they will not admit, the president will not admit that he did anything wrong.
I want to ask you about something the president said last night. The articles of impeachment, there are two of them, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, are very serious charges. Among the most serious you can have. Exactly what the framers intended when they created impeachment, when they put impeachment in the Constitution, abuse of power, foreign interference in elections.
Yet President Trump called them the lightest, weakest impeachment you could have.
How do you respond to his comments?
MALONEY: Well, I think we should all probably -- you know, I think we should probably all know enough at this point to not put on an equal footing words that come out of the president's mouth and things like facts and evidence and historic precedent. And my coaching to my friends in the media is to stop playing that game. The fact is the president and now his attorney general say things that are simply unsupported by facts in the real world. And when they get treated as equivalent to those facts, I think you do a real disservice to the people trying to know what's going on.
Here's the bottom line. The bottom line is, there's a mountain of evidence about -- about what the president did. He sought the help of a foreign leader to fix the next election, pressured him using official acts, taxpayer dollars. That's soliciting a bribe. It's abuse of his office. And because the president says unsupported things, because he spouts a lot of rhetoric, does not mean there's some false equivalence or -- some equivalence between those things.
BERMAN: Now I am going to ask you about something the attorney general of the United States said, and not because I believe there's any equivalence to it but because I believe he's the attorney general, the chief law enforcement officer in the United States.
And you sit on the Intelligence Committee. And what he said has something directly to do with your oversight.
Now, Russia attacked the 2016 election, which is a very serious thing. Very serious. There have been indictments out. Our intelligence community agrees on that.
Yet the attorney general of the United States yesterday seemed to diminish the importance of that and suggested that somehow the FBI investigation into that attack was a bigger threat.
So I want to play that sound for you and have you react. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: They not only didn't tell the court that what they had been lying on was -- was completely, you know, rubbish, they actually started putting in things to bolster this Steele report. These are --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Hang on. That's not what I want. The sound we have is S-200. Can you play that, please?
All right, we don't have that sound.
We played it earlier in the show where William Barr, the attorney general of the United States, was suggesting that the investigation itself into the Russian attack on 2016 was somehow worse than the actual Russian attack.
You're on the Intelligence Committee. You've seen the classified information. To what detriment is a statement like that?
MALONEY: Well, I'm familiar with the attorney general's remarks. It's -- it's further to what I just said. We had the FBI director, appointed by President Trump, on the job today, saying just the opposite yesterday. You had the Senate Republican Intelligence Committee saying exactly the opposite. You have, of course, all of the intelligence agencies and all of our professional national security professionals saying the opposite. So -- and you had Bill Barr spouting a bunch of words.
So you tell me how much time I should spend talking about whether that's a serious statement or not when the facts and the evidence are overwhelmingly on the other side. And I do think it is the responsibility of our friends in the media to say not, gee, one side says this, the other side says that. Sides disagree. The headline is, one side's talking nonsense and the other side has a mountain of evidence.
BERMAN: All right, Congressman Maloney, thank you for being with us this morning. We appreciate your time, as always, sir.
MALONEY: You bet.
CAMEROTA: All right, we do have some breaking developments right now, John, on the kosher market attack that left four innocent people dead. Police have learned more and we're going to bring that to you next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CAMEROTA: We do have some breaking news right now.
Authorities just announcing that the deadly shooting at that kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey, was a targeted attack. Police say the shooters shot and killed a police officer and three other innocent people.
CNN's Alexandra Field is live in Jersey City with the breaking details.
What did they just announce, Alexandra?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey there, Alisyn.
We are now hearing from city officials who say that they reviewed CCTV video from the streets of Jersey City. They are able to see the suspects making their way toward this kosher market. They say they see the car going slowly through the streets and then stopping in front of the market. Then they see the two suspects coming out with long rifles and firing into that storefront where there were, of course, civilians inside. This is what the city's safety director is saying about what happened next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES SHEA, JERSEY CITY DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC SAFETY: This did not begin with gunfire between police officers and the perpetrators and then move to the store. It began with an attack on the civilians in the store and then our officers who were posted a block away immediately responded to the sound of the gunfire, heroically. (END VIDEO CLIP)
FIELD: Two officers were wounded. Other officers, of course, swarmed the location. The standoff lasting for hours with shots being heard for hours in this community.
In the end, police saying they found five bodies inside, three civilians, two suspects. They haven't publicly identified any of them. And also, at this point, Alisyn and John, they are not yet making clear what the link is to a previous shooting. The shooting that happened just before the standoff at the kosher market in which a Jersey City detective, a 15-year veteran of the force, was killed near a nearby cemetery. That started with the suspects, they say. They say the suspects then continued to this kosher market.
All the links not yet being put together, but at this point they are saying very clearly that this market was targeted. They are not, however, saying that the motive was an anti-Semitic attack. They have not made that connection. They say they're not ready to make that connection yet. But the mayor of Jersey City did tweet this morning saying there is no place for anti-Semitism in Jersey City.
A lot of police work still to happen here, guys.
BERMAN: Yes, it does beg to question why it would have been targeted. Really interesting developments. Alexandra, please keep us posted as you learn more.
So, last week, the Supreme Court put a series of federal executions that were supposed to start this week on hold. That's a bit of comfort for a mother and daughter looking to save the life of a white supremacist who murdered three of their family members. Why are they trying to save him from the death penalty?
CNN's Sara Sidner live in Los Angeles with the answers.
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, they've been fighting for years. The family of the victims of Daniel Lewis Lee say they have no doubt that he is guilty of murder, but they are extremely concerned because they don't think that his sentence was just compared to the other man that was on trial with him. And they say they -- even though they have suffered immeasurable pain, they simply cannot stomach the idea of the government executing him. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
SIDNER (voice over): Daniel Lewis Lee could become the first federal prisoner executed in 16 years.
SIDNER (on camera): How many people in your family did Daniel Lee kill?
KIMMA GUREL, VICTIM'S SISTER: My brother-in-law, my sister and my niece. SIDNER: How much of a toll has this taken on you?
EARLENE PETERSON, VICTIM'S MOTHER: A lot. A lot. The whole back side of my heart is gone.
SIDNER (voice over): Still, Kimma Gurel and her mother, Earlene Peterson, are pleading with President Trump to keep their family members' murderer alive.
SIDNER (on camera): Did you vote for President Trump?
PETERSON: Yes, I did.
SIDNER: Will you vote for him again?
PETERSON: Yes, I will.
SIDNER: So what would you like to say to him because you disagree on this point?
PETERSON: For one time in your life, lean (ph) to yourself and know that this is wrong.
SIDNER (voice over): The attorney general suddenly announced Lee's date with death, along with four other federal prisoners in July. The move spurred on by President Trump's desire to resume and speed up the federal execution process. The AG said it would finally bring justice to victims of the most horrific crimes.
SIDNER (on camera): Do you think letting the government execute him will be final justice for you?
PETERSON: No. Not at all. I don't think killing is going to cure killing.
SIDNER (voice over): Lee and Chevy Kehoe (ph) were convicted in 1999 in a white supremacist plot to steal guns and money to help fund a white ethsnostate (ph) in the Pacific Northwest. Prosecutors say to further their cause, they went to this home, then they robbed and murdered William Mueler (ph), his wife Nancy, and her eight-year-old daughter Sarah (ph).
SIDNER (on camera): Their bodies were found weighted down and tossed into this bayou. They'd been shot with a stun gun, bound and suffocated with plastic bags secured over their heads with tape. In the end, the jury recommended life without parole for Kehoe but death for Lee for the same crime.
You have no doubt that he's guilty.
SIDNER: Why are you fighting so hard to keep him alive?
GUREL: In this case, it just doesn't feel that justice was served. When Chevy Kehoe was the man that planned it. SIDNER (voice over): They say jury bias played a role. Lee, with his
missing eye and swastika on his neck looked the part. Kehoe did not. The prosecutor and trial judge called Kehoe the ringleader and agreed the sentence was arbitrary, Kehoe getting life while Lee received death.
RUTH FRIEDMAN, FEDERAL CAPITAL HABEAS PROJECT: In whose interest is it to execute this man when you have the victims, the lead prosecutor in the case, the judge who tried the case and oversaw the following -- the proceedings that followed it, why? They're all saying this should not go forward.
SIDNER: But Lee has lost his latest appeal on the merits of his particular case. The thing now keeping him from lethal injection is the latest Supreme Court decision to temporarily halt all federal executions.
PETERSON: Could I inject him to die?
SIDNER (on camera): Could you?
PETERSON: God, no. Then how can I put it on somebody else to do in my name?
SIDNER (voice over): A family Lee made to suffer for the rest of their lives will continue their fight to let him live out the rest of his in prison.
SIDNER: And now, John, they feel a sense of relief because the Supreme Court has sent the case back down to the lower courts to let this play out there. And we should remind people that the execution hiatus is due in part to the drug cocktail that was being used for lethal injection for these federal prisoners. That was deemed inhumane by many of the defense attorneys and so the Trump administration has decided, look, we have now a single drug, but that protocol still needs to be decided by the lower courts.
CAMEROTA: Sara, what a fascinating story --
CAMEROTA: And great interview with those victims --
SIDNER: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: Who expressed very clearly why they don't want this to happen.
Thank you so much.
All right, we have a very extra special "Good Stuff," next.
CAMEROTA: OK, a very timely "Good Stuff."
"Time" magazine has just announced --
BERMAN: I see what you did there.
CAMEROTA: You like it? Moments ago its person of the year. Look at your screen. It is climate activist Greta Thunberg. At 16 years old, she is the youngest person ever selected by "Time." Thunberg single handedly sparked a climate change movement after protesting alone outside of Sweden's parliament. She was chosen over Nancy Pelosi, President Trump, the Hong Kong protesters and the whistleblower from the Trump Ukraine call.
There you go.
BERMAN: She really has shown incredible courage and perseverance. And if you talk -- I happen to live with some young people. I don't know if you (INAUDIBLE) --
CAMEROTA: Yes, so -- I do sometimes, yes.
BERMAN: She's making a giant difference. And people -- these kids notice her. She is inspiring them.
CAMEROTA: So you're pleased with this choice from "Time" magazine?
BERMAN: That's my official