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Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) Is Interviewed On The House Panel's Vote On Articles Of Impeachment; Frantic Search For Victims On New Zealand's Volcano Island; Jersey City Mayor On Kosher Market Attack Being Investigated As Domestic Terrorism. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 13, 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]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: The House, in all likelihood next Wednesday -- and you'll have a vote and this will impeach the President of the United States. That's just the third time that will happen in our history.

Next month, there will be a trial in the Senate. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell told us overnight what he thinks the outcome will be -- listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The case is so darn weak coming over from the House, we all know how it's going to end. There is no chance the president's going to be removed from office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: We all know how it's going to end. There is no chance the president will be removed from office.

Now, you've written about this next question so I want your take on this. Given that the outcome is likely inevitable, why then is it worth it to go through this?

REP. SETH MOULTON (D-MA): Because this is not about politics. This is about doing the right thing by the Constitution.

And the oath that we all took in Congress, whether House or Senate, is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. It's not an oath to the president, it's not an oath to the Speaker of the House or the majority leader of the Senate. It's an oath to defend the Constitution.

Now, the Senate, of course, they're supposed to act as judges. And you might say that the majority leader McConnell is sort of presiding -- the senior judge. He's just rigging the trial right now. Have you ever seen a trial where the judge comes out ahead of time and says oh, well I know who's going to win?

I mean, that's how corrupt this is. It's a corrupt process in the Senate, care of the Republicans; not care of the Democrats.

But the Democratic Party is going to continue doing what's right, which is following the law, focusing on what the president did, prosecuting him for his actions, which you'll notice McConnell never defends. He doesn't get on T.V. and try to defend what the president did because he knows it's so wrong.

BERMAN: It's the chief justice of the United States who will preside over the trial in the Senate with the senators acting as jurors. But even jurors shouldn't be necessarily talking to the lawyers for the defendant, which is what Mitch McConnell has done.

I do want your unique take on something, though. You have served overseas in combat for many years before you got into politics.

If you're sitting overseas right now and you're watching on television the fighting that's going on in the House Judiciary Committee, what are you supposed to make of that? You're over there defending the United States and this is what's happening in the United States.

MOULTON: You know, most importantly, you want a commander in chief that you can trust. Someone that you know will do the right thing.

And I think it's pretty disillusioning to the troops to even have to have this discussion about a commander in chief who seems to show more loyalty to Russia than to our own democratic process. And that's disillusioning -- that should be disillusioning for everybody. So look, we can focus on the fighting but the true thing at stake here is the President of the United States.

You know, I disagreed with President Bush. I didn't like his decision to send me and my friends to war. But I never imagined that George W. Bush would literally be spreading Russian propaganda -- trying to use Russia's excuse for meddling in the 2016 election, which is to say that it was actually Ukraine that did it -- a completely debunked conspiracy theory.

To see the commander in chief -- my commander in chief peddling that theory has got to be so disillusioning for our troops. As many disagreements as I had with George W. Bush, I never imagined he would do something like that. That's how high these stakes are and it's why it's so important that we hold Donald Trump accountable.

BERMAN: If you are in Congress, you likely are a political junkie like the rest of us and you may have been up last night watching the Judiciary hearings and the United Kingdom election results.

MOULTON: John, to be brutally honest, I was not. I was up last night because my 14-month-old daughter was up last night.

BERMAN: The exception -- the baby exception, the young child exception to the rule.

But you are aware of the United Kingdom election --

MOULTON: Yes. BERMAN: -- where the Labour Party wiped out. And there are people this morning thinking there's a lesson in that for the Democratic Party. Be careful, people suggest, about going so far left.

Do you take anything away from the U.K. election?

MOULTON: Well, I think in these very tribal, populist, sometimes nationalists times we need leaders who will bring together and we need a nominee in the Democratic Party who is going to bring America together. Someone who can relate to all the different parts of this country.

That's why I ran for president and, you know. This is a time when sometimes people who are talking about unity don't get very far in our elections, and so I'm sitting here with you this morning. But that's the kind of leader that I think Americans want on both sides of the aisle.

BERMAN: Do you see someone in the Democratic primary who fits that mold right now?

MOULTON: Well, I do think there's a difference between leaders who are talking about unity and leaders who are really just exacerbating the divisions that we have, kind of going far -- as far to the left as Trump is trying to go to the right. So I'm not going to name names. I haven't endorsed anyone in the primary yet.

But look, I think that's what we need to be looking for. We need to look for someone who can bring us together and truly lead us forward. We don't need a nominee on either side -- we don't need someone --

Look, the President of the United States spent the morning tweeting about a 17-month-old -- a 17-year-old woman who is the nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Greta Thurnberg. I mean, a true hero to so many people across this globe because she's focused on the future.

[07:35:07]

She is bringing people together and getting us unified to tackle climate change and we have a president who is disparaging her.

Let's get someone who can lead this country. Let's get someone who can set an example for the world. Let's get someone that our troops on the ground, fighting every single day, can be proud of.

BERMAN: Congressman Seth Moulton from Massachusetts, always a pleasure. Come back.

MOULTON: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Bianna.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: Seth Moulton's a congressman but, first and foremost, he's a father. We've all been there -- a 14-month-old keeping you up at night. Well, a dangerous recovery mission in New Zealand as divers risk their own lives to recover the bodies of victims. Details in a live report coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GOLODRYGA: Fifteen people are now confirmed dead after a volcano erupted on New Zealand's White Island. Efforts to recover some of the victims' bodies will continue this weekend despite the serious risk of yet another blast.

[07:40:05]

CNN's Will Ripley is live in New Zealand with more.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Bianna, that number 15 -- the reason why we can say that now is because six bodies were recovered from White Island in the early-morning hours here, local time. And it was a really creative kind of plan that they came up with. It took three days, lots of meetings.

What they did in the end, the New Zealand Defense Force enlisted their bomb squad -- the people who would take apart explosive devices. In their full-protective gear, they left from a frigate which is just offshore and they took a small boat to White Island. And then, they knew where those six bodies were because they had flown drones overhead, so they went directly to that spot.

A helicopter landed and airlifted the bodies back here to Whakatane, where they were put in six coffins and put in a room and the family members who had gathered here had an opportunity to sit in the room with the closed coffins. But the bodies have not yet been identified. They were then flown to Auckland Hospital and that process is currently underway.

So imagine if you are one of these family members basically sitting in this room not knowing if your loved one is in one of those coffins or if they're one of the two other bodies believed to still be on White Island. One was spotted floating in the water on Tuesday but it was too dangerous to get that close and retrieve it. And the other body, they said we don't know where it is.

So imagine the agony that these families still are enduring right now. They still don't have the closure but it certainly was an important step forward.

The crews will be back out searching in the early-morning hours here -- Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yes, it really is unimaginable and also a reminder of what a dangerous mission this is now because as you said, there could be more eruptions to come. We're thinking of all those families, Will. Thank you.

Well, Russia says it is alarmed by a U.S. missile test that was previously banned by a nuclear treaty. The Pentagon tested a ground- launched ballistic missile yesterday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Now, this comes just two days after Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov met with President Trump and criticized the administration's decision to pull out of the INF Treaty with Moscow earlier this year.

BERMAN: The New York City Police Department is stepping up patrols after a college freshman was murdered.

Eighteen-year-old Tessa Majors, of Virginia, was walking through Morningside Park -- which is near the campus of Barnard College -- Wednesday night when police say she was stabbed to death. Authorities say a group of teens tried to steal her phone, which led to a struggle. Reports say she staggered to a security booth for help but the guard was out doing rounds.

Several minors are now being questioned but so far, no arrests.

GOLODRYGA: The FCC has approved a new three-digit number for a suicide prevention hotline. The new number, 988, will make getting help for mental health crises a lot like calling 911 in the event of a medical emergency. Service providers will have 18 months to launch the new number. And in the meantime, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.

BERMAN: All right. A new trade agreement between the United States, Mexico, and Canada has American farmers hopeful that their darkest days are over. And there's new optimism of news of a -- of a possible U.S.-China trade deal on the horizon, maybe as soon as today.

Vanessa Yurkevich visited with farmers in Michigan to get their reaction and she joins us now with that-- Vanessa.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning, guys.

This deal, USMCA, is clearly a political win for the president, but how do farmers feel about it? They have been badly hit by the president's trade tactics in the past but now they're telling us in this key state of Michigan that they are cautiously optimistic and say this is a small victory.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

YURKEVICH (voice-over): It's the morning milking at Horning Farms.

JEFF HORNING, MICHIGAN DAIRY FARMER: Here's a friendly cow.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): For five generations, 365 days a year, Jeff Horning's family has been producing dairy in Michigan.

HORNING: Come on, girls.

The past five years have been very difficult. We've had cycles in the past where it's been extremely bad, but it lasts for maybe two years. To go for four years was almost unbearable and it has been unbearable for several. YURKEVICH (voice-over): But with a handshake deal on the new NAFTA, USMCA, a glimmer of hope.

HORNING: I was surprised, actually. Getting stuff done in today's Congress has not been very quick. There's been too many political moves rather than action.

But I'm really excited if it gets done. That would be great.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Farmers stand to gain a lot from the deal, especially dairy farmers.

The United States has lost almost 3,000 dairy farms in the last year. Among the most, here in Michigan -- nearly one in seven. But now, Canada has agreed to buy more dairy while eliminating pricing models that allow its farmers to undercut U.S. dairy farmers.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Who is this a win for, Democrats, Republicans?

HORNING: Well, if they get it signed off, it will be a win for the people.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): President Trump flipped Michigan in 2016, supported by farmers with the promise he would help with trade. About two-thirds of the state's agricultural exports went to Mexico and Canada in 2018.

[07:45:07]

JASON RUHLIG, MICHIGAN FARMER: We're only 42 miles from Canada right here and so our ability to compete with a Canadian product coming in, imported into Michigan, is important. We need to be able to be on a level playing field.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Jason Ruhlig says USMCA is a small victory during one of the most challenging times in farming, but the agreement fails to help specialty farmers like him --

RUHLIG: We do a lot of the hot peppers.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): -- who rely on foreign labor to work his fields.

RUHLIG: If we don't find a way to address these shortcomings in a guest worker program we are going to be nonexistent in three years.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): Laurie Isley grows soy and corn, two corps hurt most by the trade war with China. She says USMCA is welcome news.

LAURIE ISLEY, MICHIGAN FARMER: It's a win. It's not going to be the same size as a win -- as an agreement with China would be but certainly, it's a significant one.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): USMCA won't save all of Isley's hardships on her farm but it does give her hope there's an end in sight. ISLEY: Being able to see this one, which we have been talking about for over a year, move forward certainly paves the way, so to speak, for us to say OK, let's move on to the next step. Let's see if we can take this and replicate it with China.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

YURKEVICH: Now, it looks like the House is going to be taking up USMCA next week, but the Senate is probably going to have to push this off into 2020 and that's because of impeachment, guys.

And, you know, I spent a lot of time with farmers and they are very stoic people. This is about as excited as you're going to get with this right now from them.

But another reason they're sort of holding back a little bit is they've been burned before, especially on this China deal -- the back and forth. And the big thing is if the president and Congress can push USMCA through next year and this China trade deal, it's going to be a huge win for farmers and a huge win for the president.

BERMAN: You spent so much time out there talking to farmers about this. I am curious. You know, we talk about adherence and abstraction. For them, it's really not. It's every day -- you know, life and death, yes?

YURKEVICH: Yes. I mean, these numbers that they watch on their screen -- the markets moving, the corn prices, the soy prices -- I mean, a 50 cent move to them is huge. So when you're talking about trade and this big abstraction between foreign countries, for them, cents on the dollar matter and they are watching this so closely.

And they really want these deals to go through but as I said in the past, they know that the Democrats and the Republicans sort of play ball with this. So they're cautiously excited about this.

GOLODRYGA: And it's really important for Americans to get an eye into how important farmers and the work that they do is to the overall economy and how this has really impacted them. And if anybody deserves a break it's the American farmers and hopefully, this is the holiday gift that they've been waiting for.

YURKEVICH: It would be a big Christmas gift for them.

GOLODRYGA: Vanessa, thank you.

YURKEVICH: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: Well, the deadly shooting at a kosher market in New Jersey is being described as an act of domestic terror. The city's mayor is now speaking out against this as well, and he'll tell us why that's so important.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:52:43] GOLODRYGA: This week's attack at a kosher market in Jersey City, New Jersey is being investigated as domestic terrorism and a hate crime. While an exact motive has not been determined yet, the city's mayor is not mincing words, tweeting, "This was a hate crime against Jewish people and hate has no place."

And joining me now is Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop. Mayor, thank you so much for joining us.

MAYOR STEVEN FULOP, JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY: Thanks for having me.

GOLODRYGA: And our thoughts, of course, are with you and your residents there and, of course, the families of those --

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: -- who were lost.

And I want to begin by talking about one of those victims, Mindy Ferencz.

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: She had her funeral Wednesday and it coincided with her son's birthday.

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: You were there for that.

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: Talk to us about it because you hear about so many of these shootings that we become, unfortunately, numb to them in this country.

FULOP: Yes, yes.

GOLODRYGA: You see the reality playing out.

FULOP: Yes. So, this story just seems to get worse and worse as more and more layers come off of it.

The funeral was tough, not only because of the normal crying and all of those components of it, but when you saw her oldest son -- he was 11 -- a very cute kid that you just wanted to hug -- just sitting there with a box of tissues. And then they said today's his 11th birthday and for the rest of his life, obviously, his birthday will never the same.

And it's just a really sad time for Jersey City -- for that community -- for the country, and unfortunately, we have to go through this.

GOLODRYGA: And as you said, the investigation is ongoing. But this has been identified as perhaps both terrorism and you want to focus on the hate crime aspect -- FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: -- of it as well. And I want to play some sound that you mentioned about this specific issue just earlier this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FULOP: If the world is watching, it's important to call it anti- Semitism, and hatred, and domestic terrorism. Whatever terms you want to use but you need to call it out for what it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GOLODRYGA: Why is it so important for you to call it out as anti- Semitism?

FULOP: So, I mean, Jersey City, like New York City, is built on its diversity. We've always had a diverse community and I think people need to realize that if anti-Semitism can exist in a place that's accustomed to diversity, it could really exist anywhere.

And every day and every moment that you don't call it out you're wasting an opportunity to bring attention to it because there's less eyes focused on it. So it was important and I'm happy they finally did it yesterday.

GOLODRYGA: And this is something that your two senators, Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, spoke out as well on.

[07:55:04]

They issued a statement and what really stood out was this line.

They said, "New Jersey is the most diverse state in the nation where we take pride in welcoming people of different faiths and backgrounds and live together as neighbors, friends, and coworkers in pursuit of our shared common goals. Our strength is rooted in our differences and our ability to worship freely. There is no room in our communities or in our hearts for this evil. Not today, not tomorrow, never."

And what really stands out about this and why I am so glad we're talking about this from a national standpoint is that this has been covered extensively here in the New York area and the tristate area. But this is a story that had there not been impeachment going on and all of these other political headlines really would have been front and center.

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: What is your message to our others across the country that may not be mayors of communities as diverse as those in Jersey City?

FULOP: I just think people need to be aware that anti-Semitism and hate and racism exists in every community and we need to be aggressive in calling it out. That's the only way you're going to push down on it. And we try to do that in Jersey City.

And then one final point I want to point out is that even in all this darkness there's a little bit of light in that there was a yeshiva directly next door with 50 children in it three feet away. And, you know, I think one can assume that that was probably the intended target, so this could have been much, much worse.

GOLODRYGA: And we have the video that we've played out as well, and what you're mentioning about how this could have been much worse because you see the shooters crossing the street, walking into the store. The yeshiva is next door but it does appear that they knew where they were going and they were targeting, specifically, areas where there would be Jewish people.

FULOP: Yes. I mean, I think there was no question on that. I mean, they drove over a mile. There were a lot of targets they bypassed on the way. There were targets right near the kosher market that they bypassed.

They had a lot of ammunition and they were in a standoff with police.

GOLODRYGA: A huge arsenal.

FULOP: A huge arsenal. So they had intentions of doing more than murdering three people.

And that was not a secret location. That is a known location, really, where the Jewish community congregated. So it was no question, a hate crime; no question, it rooted in Anti-Semitism. I think more and more information will prove out that point. And I'm happy we're calling it for what it is.

GOLODRYGA: Any tragedy like this, of course, is personal for a mayor, but it's especially personal for you given your background.

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: You, yourself, are Jewish.

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: You're family came from Romania --

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: -- neighboring to where I'm from, Moldova. And your grandparents were holocaust survivors.

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: I'm wondering if you turn to them in this week as you try to understand or grapple with --

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: -- the situation as it pertains specifically to anti- Semitism, and what words of wisdom or comfort did they offer you?

FULOP: So -- well, I'll tell you that I had 35 members of my immediate family taken to Auschwitz, of which 20 of them were put into the gas chambers, so anti-Semitism is no stranger to my family. My family immigrated here after World War II.

And the only thing that my parents said to me is my mom called me up after that press conference that you played and just said she's proud of me. So that was really nice.

GOLODRYGA: Of course, we always love to hear those words --

FULOP: Yes.

GOLODRYGA: -- from our parents.

Well, look, your city, Jersey City -- we're Jersey strong here in New York and you're in our thoughts and prayers.

FULOP: Thank you.

GOLODRYGA: And this is such an important story. I'm glad that you're here to talk about it and the steps you're taking to help your city heal and recover.

FULOP: Thank you, appreciate it.

GOLODRYGA: Thank you so much, Mayor.

FULOP: Thanks.

GOLODRYGA: John.

BERMAN: Great discussion, Bianna.

So, this morning we will see a major vote on impeachment. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Let history be our judge. The committee is in recess.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): Mr. Chairman --

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: The committee vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump delayed until this morning.

REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): We suspect there was some strategy to try to drag us into the middle of the night. We want to do it so everyone can see exactly what's going on.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): When you're nervous about next fall's election you have a rigged and rushed process.

REP. JOE NEGUSE (D-CO): Facts matter. I hope that each and every one of us agree, at least on that simple point.

COLLINS: Words cannot describe how inappropriate this was. They have one thing -- their hatred of Donald Trump.

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): To protect this president at any cost is shameful.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

BERMAN: Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Friday the 13th.

GOLODRYGA: You always invite me on quiet days.

BERMAN: Friday the 13th, Freddie Kruger. It's 8:00 in the east. Alisyn is off, Bianna "Freddie Kruger" Golodryga joins me this morning.

The breaking news. This morning, the debate over articles of impeachment against President Trump is going into overtime.

Charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice will be approved shortly by the House Judiciary Committee. The thing is, it was supposed to happen yesterday but the Republicans worked the process so much and for so long that as midnight approached, chairman Jerry Nadler finally said enough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NADLER: The committee is in recess.

COLLINS: Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Chairman, this is the -- this is the kangaroo court that we're talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: More screaming and posturing like this followed, all designed to obscure what is at stake here. Allegations that the president pressured Ukraine, a foreign government, to influence the 2020 U.S. election.

END