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INSIDE POLITICS

Trump Rages On Twitter About Impeachment Trial Delay; Trump Touts Strong Economy Heading Into 2020; Warren Campaign Warns She's Falling Behind In Money Race; Thirty-Six Days Left Until Voting Begins With Iowa Caucuses; NY Governor Meets With Rabbi After Anti-Semitic Attack. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired December 29, 2019 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:21]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN HOST (voice-over): Impeachment impasse. No one is budging in the debate over how to run the Senate trial.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We say to President Trump, if you are so confident you did nothing wrong, why won't you let your men testify?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They had no evidence at all, they had no crime. We have a perfect case. They had no case.

MATTINGLY: Plus, with five weeks left until the voting begins, will Bernie Sanders surprise us all?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With your help, we're going to win the Democratic nomination and we will defeat the most dangerous president in modern American history.

MATTINGLY: And a look back at the moments that mattered in 2019 and what they mean for the year ahead.

INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MATTINGLY: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm Phil Mattingly, in for John King. Thank you for sharing your Sunday morning with us.

And we begin with that impasse on Capitol Hill, which to some degree has devolved into I guess you could call a high stakes game of chicken between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Eleven days after President Trump's impeachment, there's still no firm answer as to what's actually going to happen next.

Now, Speaker Pelosi says she wants to ensure the Senate holds a fair trial and won't submit the articles of impeachment until McConnell lays out an acceptable path forward. McConnell already believes he has done just that.

As for President Trump, well, he's infuriated by the delay.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: She's doing a tremendous disservice to the country and she's not doing a good job. And some people think that she doesn't know what she's doing. A lot of people think that, a lot of people have said it.

We're in a very good position. Ultimately, that decision is going to be made by Mitch McConnell and he will make it. He's going to do what he wants to do. Very smart guy, very good guy and a very fair guy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Now, the president is absolutely right about at least one thing he said, that Mitch McConnell is probably going to do what he wants to do. And his strategy for the moment, shrug off or maybe laugh off, is a more apt description, Pelosi's attempt at leverage and leave any decision-making until the New Year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): She's apparently trying to tell us how to run the trial. You know, I'm not anxious to have this trial, so if she wants to hold onto the papers, go right ahead. It seems to me a rather absurd position to say after you've impeached the president, you won't send the papers over.

Look, we're at an impasse. We can't do anything until the speaker sends the papers over. So, everybody enjoy the holidays.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Enjoy the holidays, guys. That's what McConnell says.

The message President Trump does not seem to have quite received. Let's just take a look at his Twitter feed. Dozens of angry tweets and re-tweets since the impeachment vote, raging about Pelosi's delay and demanding a, quote, immediate trial. Now, if those tweets don't make it clear enough, sources tell CNN the president is, in fact, growing increasingly frustrated over the state of limbo in the Senate.

The Democrats' strategy is to get under the president's skin and put pressure on Mitch McConnell. Well, at least one element of that may actually be working.

All right. Joining me now with their reporting and their insight, Catherine Lucy of "The Wall Street Journal", "Politico's" Alex Thompson, Karoun Demirjian of "The Washington Post", and Francesca Chambers from "McClatchy".

All right, team. Impasse, yes, what's next?

CATHERINE LUCEY, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: The president tweeted just a few minutes ago. So his frustration is clear, and a part of it obviously is that the White House has been looking forward to getting to a stage of this process where we are going to have some more influence and we are still at an impasse.

But I think another thing to think about is that they also recognize that frustration and complaining about this process is something that motivates and galvanizes their supporters. So they have seen since impeachment started, they say they have seen an increase in fundraising and enthusiasm and support. And so, it can -- it can serve two functions here. So, that is also a thing that I think they see as being helpful.

MATTINGLY: Francesca, you obviously keep a close eye on the White House. What's your sense? You know, you've seen the president's tweets. I think he retweeted the name of the alleged whistle-blower the other night, kind of firing up on that front as well.

What's your sense of how they want to approach the next couple of weeks?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, MCCLATCHY: Well, there's very little that they can do besides what the president is doing, which is on Twitter putting pressure on Nancy Pelosi. He said that he's going to leave this to Mitch McConnell and so once you take that out of his hands, other than the tweets, what can he do besides pick his impeachment lawyers, which we still don't know who those people will be. He could produce the documents that they're requesting, Democrats requesting, which he's not going to do.

[08:05:03]

He could allow witnesses, which he's also not going to allow that to happen. So what else is there for him to do besides send these tweets right now, particularly since he's still in Florida and is not expected to be back at the White House for at least another week?

MATTINGLY: Enjoying the holidays as Mitch McConnell might say.

Karoun, I want to read you think, because I was struck this week. We heard from Lisa Murkowski and I think you, along with me, and many others have tried to talk to about impeachment in the hallways for the better part of the last four weeks. She finally weighed in and said she was quote, disturbed, by kind of Mitch McConnell's relationship with the White House as this moves forward.

But it's also the entirety of her comments that I thought was more interesting, including this line. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): I don't want this to be a partisan approach. That's what the House did and we were very critical of it and I think rightly so. So, my urging has been for the two leaders to come together. I think that Senator McConnell has proposed something that is understood. This was the path forward in the Clinton impeachment trials.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTINGLY: So I'm not an expert tea leaf reader, but when you read the entirety of what she said in the local interview, she seemed to be backing where McConnell actually is on this. And so, while she might be disturbed, the full context of her comments pretty much lines her up with where the leader has been about the structure of the trial.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I was going to say, exactly about the structure of the trial. Because if you start to dig into what McConnell is saying about following the Clinton impeachment model, they still had witnesses in the impeachment trial and he's against that this time. So, you can argue that the nitty-gritty and where Lisa Murkowski falls down on where what a fair trial is, vis-a- vis, witnesses.

But, yes, she is basically saying I'm disturbed by the comments you're making, Mitch McConnell, but I am not disturbed by the plans that you're actually laying out, which shows you exactly what the middle of the road Republicans may end up doing here, which is voicing their aggravations with the partisanship, maybe taking a few votes that actually ends up siding with Democrats on certain witnesses here or there. But ultimately that frustration, those votes do not say anything about whether they're actually going to say overall this wasn't a fair process or I'm going to vote to convict the president. That's a far cry from where they are right now.

And Lisa Murkowski is used to being the first voice out from the GOP side. I mean, she was with Kavanaugh, which is the political precedent for this whole thing, right? And so, the question really is does she bring anybody along with her, does Mitt Romney follow suit, or Susan Collins follows suit? Do you get to Lamar Alexanders and the Cory Gardners of this world to follow suit?

And it's not clear. Because she's not saying here's a hard red line of everything I think is wrong. She's saying I'm disturbed by the tone. I'm OK with the function. And there's a lot to fall in between.

MATTINGLY: Yes, it does seem like a fairly comfortable place that people could end up, and I just want to ask you because you have the best sense of the political landscape right now. I want to play an ad from an anti-Trump group that's seeking to pressure vulnerable senators, like the people Karoun just mentioned. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POLITICAL AD NARRATOR: Key witnesses in the Ukraine scandal must testify in the Senate impeachment trial. These witnesses include Rudy Giuliani.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden?

RUDOLPH GIULIANI, TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: Of course I did.

POLITICAL AD NARRATOR: Call Senator Collins and tell her these witnesses must testify.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: So that ad is running on Fox. It's targeting Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Lamar Alexander in their states. Now, it's $150,000 buy, so it's not like a huge distribution of cash or ads.

I guess my question is, will pressure campaigns work? Clearly, money is going to be dumped in over the course of the next couple of weeks, but is it your sense maybe with folks who are up in 2020, that this is something that can actually move them?

ALEX THOMPSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Yes, I mean, I don't think it's just the Republicans, either. I actually think you're going to see some of the Democrats who may not be up in 2020, but will be up soon, you're seeing like Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin. You're seeing a few other Democrats. You have Doug Jones down in Alabama who is up for re-election in 2020. Is he going to vote for impeachment?

I think you're going to see a lot of pressure on both sides and it's actually unclear, if you're going to have more Republican defections or Democratic defections, and that's going to be sort of this interesting tea leaf reading as we're all chasing people through the halls.

MATTINGLY: Yes, the beauty and glory of our job.

That's a good point. I feel like we've been so focused on what Republicans might be in play not to remove the president, but to vote for a different kind of trial than what McConnell wants where there's actually Democrats here who aren't set on moving forward necessarily on this, clearly backed Schumer's push to have a more fulsome trial, but aren't quite there yet.

One of the things that I guess I tried to figure out is what actually comes next after this, which, Karoun, I'm looking directly as you because we have been locked in the Capitol for the better part of the last three months. But if you look -- there's a court filing from House Democratic attorneys where it talks about they may -- basically they're trying to keep the investigations going and part of this I think is a legal play as it relates to Don McGahn's testimony and the effort to compel that. But essentially saying they need this in case considering whether to recommend, quote, new articles of impeachment.

[08:10:04]

Are Democrats going to impeach again?

DEMIRJIAN: Well, that's exactly what it sounds like.

MATTINGLY: Yes.

DEMIRJIAN: But this goes to the entire debate that was happening among the House Democrats in the month leading up to their actual vote, right, which is do we stop short of the Russia probe stuff, do we wait -- do we pull back on the reins a little bit to give the court process and appeals process for Don McGahn, who is the former White House counsel, who is considered the witness that could break the log jam on the former administration witnesses who were told by the White House not to testify, coming forward under subpoena, do we let that happen so we can build a case for obstruction of justice, too.

And in a way, that would have answered the GOP's main criticism of these articles, too, which is that if you weren't the president in a normal court of law, these are not crimes so to speak across the board. Obstruction of justice very much is.

So the fact that there's these open windows, I suppose, we really want to keep going with this, we might be able to pull another article in. Look, legally speaking, why not? If you get more evidence, you can bring a case back. You can do that -- we see that in courtroom dramas all the time.

But this is not a pure courtroom situation and it was politically testy enough for the Democrats to say we're going to risk the capital that we might lose on the campaign trail to impeach the president on these grounds and we feel like this is our strongest case so we're going to go now with what we have before the delay of the holidays, right? To then say, OK, well, it didn't work the first time the way we wanted to, so we're going to do it again, is a politically very not secure place to be.

LUCEY: There's also a real question of how long you want this to go. You have a large number of Senate Democrats running for president, and the longer this drags out, suddenly, it bumps up into or goes over Iowa, New Hampshire, the early voting states. Are they going to be able to campaign or be stuck in Washington? This should be a real concern for a lot of them.

(CROSSTALK)

MATTINGLY: Yes.

CHAMBERS: And it goes right into the president's argument, which is that they didn't have enough evidence to impeach me the first time, so now they're going to have to go back and search for more. That is how the White House is characterizing this latest effort.

DEMIRJIAN: And the president's argument that all the Democrats want to do is impeach me. They don't want to do the business of the country, and this is basically potentially undercutting Pelosi's main point, which is, let's get rid of impeachment so we can go back to kitchen table issues. And the longer you talk about impeachment, as we see her during press conferences, you can try all you want to try to talk about prescription drugs, everyone is focused on this.

MATTINGLY: Yes, no question about it. I think we're going to have a lot more to talk about this in the months ahead. However, to quote your colleague, my friend Burgess Everett, if the -- paraphrase, if House Democrats impeach again or try to, I will eat my shoe on live television.

Up next, an election year economy that any White House would love to have. As we go to break, President Trump has posted more than 7,500 tweets or re-tweets this year. Here are five of the most popular. You're welcome.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:15:56]

MATTINGLY: It's been ten years since the official end of the great recession, a decade of uninterrupted economic growth here in the United States. But now, more than ever, there are very good reasons the president's team wants him to make this the focus, the economy.

Here's why: I want to walk you through a couple of numbers that I think are indicative about why people feel good about the economy right now, according to numbers. All right. Let's -- the baseline, top line number, everybody always pays attention -- the unemployment rate at 3.5 percent, November of 2019. That is the lowest since 1969. That's a pretty good number to tout.

Again, there's a lot of indicators. But move over into equities, we're going to narrow it down a little bit to the S&P 500, essentially a gauge of where the top 500 companies in the Dow are currently resting at this point in time. 2019, up 29 percent year-to-date, right up against the line of the best year since 1997. We'll have to see how the market goes over the next couple of days, but right there. So, equities looking pretty good, too. Obviously, a fickle indicator but one the president likes to talk about quite often.

Here's where things get probably more important from a campaign perspective. Feel-good about economic conditions, 76 percent as of this month, that is the highest since 2001, right before the dot-com bubble burst, but 76 percent, that is a very good number any president would want.

Move over a little bit further. Here's what any president or anybody running a campaign would be interested in, if the economy is good. Most important issue among independents -- take a look -- the economy, 30 percent, eight points higher than health care, by far the number one issue that people care about in the independent sphere.

If you're running for president, if you're running for any office, you want to know what those folks are and what they care about, they care about the economy. The Trump campaign wants to talk about the economy. Well, we'll have to see if they can get the president to do just that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Do you ever hear it's the economy, stupid it? You know, that was Clinton saying. If you have a good economy -- I have the greatest economy in the history of this country.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

And nobody talks about it. Nobody talks about it.

There's never been a time like this. Think of it. You have the greatest economy in the history of the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Nobody talks about it? Why would anybody be talking about -- Catherine, you cover the White House. Is there ever any reason to talk about something else? Has anybody given anybody any reason to talk about something else than the economy?

LUCEY: I mean, the rally makes a point. The president does talk about the economy.

MATTINGLY: Right.

LUCEY: He talks about it on Twitter. He talks about it at his rallies.

But when you do a two-hour rally you have a lot of time to cover a lot of material. And there's no evidence that he's going to exclusively talk about the economy for the next year, whatever Republicans would like. And we've seen this movie before.

In the run-up to the 2018 midterms, Republicans, especially vulnerable Republicans, really wanted the president to focus on the economy, stay away from more hot button issues. At some point he basically told reporters that he couldn't keep a rally going just talking about the economy for the entire time.

So that's not going to happen. But the campaign recognizes that this is a powerful argument and one of their pitches to moderate voters, women in suburban areas, some of the people that they've had a harder time keeping or trying to stay with him, is to say -- look, focus on your 401(k), focus on the economy, focus on your pocket book, don't pay so much attention to the Twitter. And so they will keep doing that as this goes forward as well.

MATTINGLY: Yes, for the record, as a former economics reporter, I'm here for two hours of rallies.

And I want to show you two things that I think kind of underscore kind of the broader point here when people aren't necessarily talking about the economy. Well, take a look at this moment from September, which I think we probably all remember.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It was going to be hitting directly and that would have affected a lot of other states, but that was the original chart, and you see it was going to hit not only Florida, but Georgia, it could have -- was going toward the gulf. That was what was originally projected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Yes, there was like a two-week news cycle on a sharpie which was something.

[08:20:05]

But also this. Take a look at we have -- our great staff here has combed through the president's tweets and pulled up a somewhat comprehensive list of everybody he has attacked in 2019. This includes Democratic lawmakers, presidential candidates, major news organizations, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, Bette Midler, Debra Messing, Chrissy Teigen, Google, General Motors and the very random but totally fantastic Kentucky Derby race stewards.

Look, this is who he is and I think we all understand that. But I think the big question, you know, Catherine laid out the theory of the case for the campaign, does it fly in the end?

CHAMBERS: But the campaign is actually playing up that this is who he is at this point. And the way that they're doing that is they have that seven-figure ad buy that they put out during the World Series and they made the case that he's no Mr. Nice Guy. So, their case is, look, you know with Donald Trump what you're getting. You may not like what you're getting, but you know what you're getting.

And they're casting that as but with some of these Democrats, you may not know what you're getting. So they're playing up the idea that Donald Trump's image is very, very defined and playing into it.

The other thing about the president's tweets is that he is able to say things that other people in the White House aren't able to say. So he's sending out his economic advisers, like Larry Kudlow, to say all those things about the economy and other people at the White House, while essaying these things and going on the attack in ways that other White House officials simply can't.

MATTINGLY: Yes, Francesca, just real quickly, Francesca is apparently completely simpatico with our producers, who pulled that campaign ad, and I want to show, because I actually do think, this is like the overarching message for the campaign. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POLITICAL AD NARRATOR: President Trump is changing Washington, creating 6 million new jobs, 500,000 new manufacturing jobs, cutting illegal immigration in half, obliterating ISIS, their caliphate destroyed, their terrorist leader dead. He's no Mr. Nice Guy, but sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: Yes, I mean, he's a jerk, but he's your jerk, is sort of the message. And I think Donald Trump, while the conventional wisdom is to talk about the economy, I think Trump, probably even more than someone on the staff realizes or understands, that his appeal, the Trump phenomenon goes well beyond GDP numbers. The reason why no Republican dares crosses him in the House or the Senate is not because the economy is really strong. It's because he has devotion, unwavering devotion from the Republican base.

His support is at 80 percent or 90 percent. And that is cultivated not by just a strong economy, but by his attitude, by the things he says. And yes, there's a lot of self-inflicted controversies, the sharpie-gate, there's every single thing.

But for every small controversy, he has developed in some ways like a cult following, a large cult following. And so I think that's where the Trump campaign, to both your points, it's like this balance of we're going to have a good economy for the suburbanites, these moderates, but then we're going to really cultivate the base.

MATTINGLY: I feel like he's a jerk, he's our jerk would have been a good (INAUDIBLE) counsel president, I lost the race --

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

MATTINGLY: All right. Next up, a warning from the Warren campaign ahead of a key deadline and as we go to break, a campaign flashback on this final Sunday of 2019. How the Democratic candidates launched their runs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are in a battle for America's soul. I really believe that. And we have to restore it.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are in this fight for our lives, for our children, for our planet.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We stand together not as red state and blue state, but as working people fighting for dignity.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is time to walk away from the politics of the past and towards something totally different.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That is why --

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): -- I'm running --

JULIAN CASTRO (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- for president --

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- of the United States --

BETO O'ROURKE (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: -- of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:26:52]

MATTINGLY: Senator Elizabeth Warren's summer surge has given way to a winter swoon, at least if you're looking at the polls, and now, the campaign is warning of lackluster fundraising levels, too. In a Friday afternoon email to supporters, her campaign writes that so far she's raised $17 million this quarter, saying, quote, that's a good chunk behind where we are at this time last quarter. If the numbers don't pick up, we run the risk of having to pull back plans to organize for Elizabeth Warren in all 50 states during the primary, and that plan is central to her path to victory.

Now, Warren raised more in the last quarter than any Democrat besides Senator Bernie Sanders, who's almost certain to lead the field in fundraising.

Now, combine that with steady second place poll numbers and you get headlines like, quote, Democratic insiders, Bernie Sanders could win the nomination.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: If you want to beat Trump, you're going to have to create a campaign of energy and excitement. Same old, same old is not going to work in my view, OK? So when you have candidates out there, without naming them, you know who they are, who have voted for terrible trade agreements, you don't think Trump would be talking about that? When you have candidates who are not going to lower the cost of health care for people -- which many of my opponents are not -- OK, that is a real vulnerability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: So I guess my question, guys -- and again, Karoun and I have been locked in the Capitol building for three months, so forgive us if there's ignorance on this level. But is there a Bernie Sanders surge right now? We've seen a number of headlines. Or is he just where he's always been and other people have floated up and down?

What's your read on this?

LUCEY: I think a big part of it is that Bernie support has remained stable. The people who like him really like him. They liked him in '16, they're not going anywhere.

When you look at polling from the early states, people who say they've made their mind up and aren't changing their mind, those numbers are much higher for Sanders than for the candidates. Which suggests his support is real locked in.

I think the other thing that happened to him was the endorsement from AOC gave him a huge, sort of, boost of momentum going into the fall and that's also been significant for him.

MATTINGLY: Yes, you talk about the support. We are in bed with the Sanders campaign and some really great sound from New Hampshire on Saturday. I want you to take a listen to it because I think it underscores why his floor is where his floor is and never scores. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can trust him that he won't flip on his message. I feel like in general, it might be hard to trust politicians, because they might go back on the (INAUDIBLE) -- but we know that Bernie has been fighting for these issues since day one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like the fact that he's just been extremely consistent year over year. We haven't had -- this is not a new Bernie for 2020. So I think we know who he's going to be when he gets in office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[08:29:43]

MATTINGLY: Part of the thing that's interesting, is when a lot of folks got on, you realize that they had co-opted all of Bernie Sanders' 2016 proposals, into some way they could be fresher or newer or shinier object, to have a better delivery on the message. And yet, Bernie Sanders is still where he is.

You've covered him for years on the Capitol. He hasn't really changed.

DEMIRJIAN: No, he hasn't -- I mean yes and no, right. I mean there's people that came in that kind of seemed to take parts of the Bernie Sanders message and motto when it came to climate change and when it came to health care.

And then there's a whole group of Democrats in the field that are saying, no, that's too progressive for where the country is and try to stick to the middle and just improve on Obamacare and do other things that way.

So you've got a real split there and I think that it's interesting to see both people falling into those two groups though, right. There's that embrace of Bernie, but with a different face.

And then they're saying that those are very high-minded ideals but you guys don't actually get things done. When you talk about that, it's great to have ideas, but I have a proven track record and that's the Klobuchars and the Bidens of this world, right? And then Buttigieg is some place in the middle, you know, policy wise he's probably closer to the moderates.

So it's interesting to see how he's kind of been a circle (ph) leading part of the party along to his side, and yet kind of the opposite of what Catherine is saying, is that the people that are with him are with him, and yet clearly not enough people are with him. That there wasn't room for other people to get in that sandbox and say I can actually put a better spin and a better face on this than you can.

MATTINGLY: Yes.

Alex -- I want to get to you.

(CROSSTALKING) MATTINGLY: Yes. I just want to get to you. I know you keep a very close eye on Senator Warren and her campaign. First, I want to play the ad that she just popped in Iowa which I think is kind of framing as we head into the last five weeks. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our country is deeply divided, but people across this country -- Republicans, Independents and Democrats -- agree that our top priority has to be fighting corruption in Washington.

My first priority as president will be to pass the biggest package of anti-corruption reform since Watergate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: It seems that's the message or at least one of many messages, but certainly that one she's putting a lot of money into going into the final stage.

Want to get to the fund-raising in a second but what's your read right now about kind of where they stand in Iowa as we hit this kind of home stretch?

THOMPSON: Well, they have put a lot of eggs in the Iowa basket. From the very, very beginning that was her first stop on the 2020 campaign trail. That was where she's hired earliest and often. It's usually among the first four states. If you talk to people in those states, they say the Iowa team is by far the best of those first four.

She -- and, you know, Mayor Pete Buttigieg's surge has come at her expense. And his role in this race could be as a Warren killer, if not the nominee. And so, she is now going back to her -- I mean, she hasn't had many messages but her central message all along has been corruption.

The corruption message began in August of 2018, six months before she even declared her candidacy. It started with the rollout of that same bill that she's talking about, this anti-corruption bill. It has been central to her candidacy from day one.

And the question is, does it motivate voters? I mean does corruption just by itself, is that motivating enough for voters? Are voters going to think that like that is the top issue on the list and we're going to find out.

She is putting it all out there. She's being authentic to who she was. Question is whether or not it works.

MATTINGLY: Real quick, I want to get to Francesca on something before we break. But you said something -- we're talking about the fundraising during the break. I don't think that was off the record.

THOMPSON: No, no, no.

MATTINGLY: So what's your read on that email that was sent out raising some concerns about where they are?

THOMPSON: I mean she's in trouble. I mean the fact of the matter is they are lowering expectations on their fundraising numbers. They raised about $25 million last quarter. They're now putting their goal at $20 million.

And the fact of the matter is that Joe Biden was already at $15 million with high-dollar fundraisers at the very beginning of December. Bernie Sanders is likely to raise, I would guess, over $30 million.

So they are going to be behind a lot of the pack and it reinforces the message that after this surge, you know, that we're having this winter swoon. And that if she's not stalled and she's declining and they're trying to make it seem like a victory just to get to $20 million. But I don't think anyone, any of the allies of Warren world think that's truly a victory.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Francesca -- I want to get to you on this because we talk about all the different kind of elements of the race, the different people at the race. And one man continues to at least, for the most part, be a top or right around the top of all the state polls, definitely on the national polls. And that's Joe Biden.

And it's the end of the year. So I want to play this sound which made everybody think that maybe this was the end for Joe Biden. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was hurtful to hear you talk about the reputations of two United States senators who built their reputations and career on the segregation of race in this country.

And it was not only that, but you also worked with them to oppose busing. And you know, there was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public schools, and she was bussed to school every day. And that little girl was me.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That's a mischaracterization of my position across the board. I did not praise racists. That is not true.

[08:34:56]

BIDEN: The busing, I never -- you would have been able to go to school the same exact way because it was a local decision made by your city council.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: So I'm not making light of that specific exchange, but one of those people is still in the race --

CHAMBERS: I was going to say -- MATTINGLY: -- one of those people is not in the race. There was also

several of these Biden moments where people are like that seems like it could be a problem for him and then nothing actually changes. What is the story behind his durability?

CHAMBERS: That feels like ages ago, right. She's gone, he's still there. We're heading into Iowa and a lot of this will come down to organization, right.

People forget that you have to have 15 percent to be viable in the Iowa caucus. So how well these folks are organized in that first round will be very, very important. And that is what you need to watch heading into the Iowa caucuses is who can actually get over 15 percent, who can't, and where do the supporters of the people who can't get over 15 percent go?

Do they go to Bernie Sanders? Do they go to Joe Biden? That's how this will be decided.

MATTINGLY: Yes. I think stop paying attention to national polls. You've got to pay attention to the state polls which has been kind of a dirt (ph).

All right. Next, Senator Amy Klobuchar tells Iowans she keeps her promises, no matter how far she has to drive.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTINGLY: Let's turn now to some "Sunday Trail Mix" for a little taste of the 2020 campaign.

Senator Amy Klobuchar has something to celebrate, becoming the only top Democratic candidate to visit every county in Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had this promise to visit all 99 counties before I really knew just how far apart some of them were. But the point of this, which is you should learn something about me, I kept my promise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Yes. The drives can be very long in Iowa, the jet lag (ph) and you're out there. The Minnesota senator says she wanted to visit every corner of the state to prove she's ready to be a president for quote, "all of America".

Now, like Amy Klobuchar, Senator Cory Booker says Iowa is where he'll make his stand. But unlike Senator Klobuchar, Booker failed to qualify for the last debate and appears unlikely to qualify for the next one.

His poll numbers just too low at this point. But he has raised enough money in recent weeks for a new Iowa ad campaign and insists he sees something happening on the ground. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our campaign on the ground in Iowa is incredibly strong. It's outrageous that I'm not on that debate stage when we've got one of the top campaigns on the ground.

We intend to upset in Iowa and I am so excited about our pathway forward. Keep your eyes on Iowa. We are seeing things on the ground. Local media is already calling out where one of those candidates is most likely to upset in Iowa. We've got all the ingredients.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: And while Klobuchar and Booker focus their campaigns on Iowa, don't worry first in the nation folks, we got this. Senator Michael Bennet is hoping for a lift out of New Hampshire. Bennet at this point is an asterisk in most polls and hasn't qualified for a debate in months.

But he's promised to hold 50 town halls in the Granite State in the weeks before primary day. And he's unveiling a new campaign message in a statewide ad campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL BENNET (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: To beat Donald Trump, we need the opposite of Donald Trump. That's what I am. Trump has divided our country like no other president. I'll unite the country and we'll fix it together.

So if you want a president who is focused on the next generation and not just the next tweet, then give me a look.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Up next, a speaker stands up to a president, a surprise summit, and a new political generation emerges. We're looking at some of the biggest political moments that mattered in 2019.

[08:39:54]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTINGLY: Right now you're seeing Andrew Cuomo showing up at the house, the rabbi's house in Monsey, New York where stabbings took place last night. This is coming in the midst of a series of anti- Semitic attacks and threats in the New York -- metro area New York and New Jersey over the course of the last couple of weeks. Something that's clearly set folks there on edge.

We are going to keep you posted on the story. Obviously it's fast developing. It happened last night and is still going. Andrew Cuomo there at the moment.

We will let you know if he speaks and we will obviously keep you posted as the show continues to move through.

It is the year end and we do want to count down to the New Year. We've been exploring some of the political moments that mattered in 2019.

I want to take a look at a couple of them right now. Starting with two now iconic photos of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Trump.

Actually, hang on, we're going to toss back to the governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo speaking. Take a listen.

[LIVE EVENT]

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: I just visited with the Rabbi Rottenberg and his wife to bring the best wishes and condolences from the people of the state of New York.

The rabbi's son was one of the victims of the attack and he says that he is recovering, and that's good news. One of the victims who was attacked is still in very serious condition. And the rabbi had recently gotten an update, but that person is still in very serious and critical condition with wounds to the head.

The rabbi spoke about what happened last night, which is much of what has been reported in the press. It's important for me to express to the rabbi and to all the people of the state of New York that this is intolerance meets ignorance meets illegality.

[08:44:58]

CUOMO: This is an intolerant time in this country. We see anger. We see hatred exploding. It is an American cancer in the body politic. It literally turns one cell in the body against others. And we have seen it here in the state of New York.

This is about the 13th incident of anti-Semitism in just the past few weeks. It comes during a period of high holidays for the Jewish people. It is intolerant. It is ignorant. But it is also illegal.

And at the end of the day it's not just about words, it's about action. And we have seen enough in New York.

This is violence spurred by hate. It is mass violence. And I consider this an act of domestic terrorism. Let's call it what it is. These people are domestic terrorists. And the law should reflect that and they should be punished as if it was an act of terrorism.

And we're going to take the lead here in the state of New York and do just that. And I'm going to propose that in the beginning of January when I lay out my state of the state address.

But in the meantime, we stand in solidarity with all members of the Jewish community. It is a very important part of this state, very important part of this country, certainly.

And we're going to enforce the laws and make sure that acts like this do not happen. And if they happen, they are punished to the full extent of the law.

Ok.

(CROSSTALKING)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Community leaders have openly talked about (INAUDIBLE) security measures. What is the government doing to stem the explosion of hatred (INAUDIBLE) in your state and across the nation?

CUOMO: Look, it is a nationwide problem, and I referred to it as an American cancer and I believe that. You see it against members of the Jewish community. You see it against members of the LGBTQ community.

What's happening is this nation's diversity, which is our greatest strength, is turning into a weakness. Once you demonize differences, you attack the very fabric and culture of this country. Because we are all different.

Once you start saying, well, if you are different, then I am uncomfortable with your differences, then you're saying we're all uncomfortable with one another.

And that is what is happening nationwide. Lack of tolerance, ignorance, and people breaking the law based on different religions, difference races, different creeds.

We have increased security in this state. I think it's time to step up the law enforcement. We have hate crimes, we have very aggressive hate crimes that we prosecute.

But I think it's gone beyond that. I think this is an act of terrorism. I think these are domestic terrorists. They're trying to inflict fear. They're motivated by hate. They are doing mass attacks.

These are terrorists in our country perpetrating terrorism on other Americans, and that's how we should treat it. And that's how I want the laws in this state to treat it.

I'm on my way to meet with the leaders of the community and I'll have more to say after that. Thank you for being with us.

[SHOW]

MATTINGLY: Just to recap, that was Governor Andrew Cuomo visiting the house of a rabbi where five were wounded in a stabbing attack last night. He said there was one victim in very serious condition.

He also said let's call it what it is. These people are domestic terrorists. Particularly to an Orthodox Jewish community. If you don't think there's a problem here, you haven't been paying attention.

I'm going to pull up just a look at the recent attacks that we've seen over the course of the last couple of weeks, last couple of months. Governor Cuomo mentioned them, I think saying at one point there were 13 instances of anti-Semitism related attacks or taunting over the course of the last couple of months.

This is a serious issue. And it's occasionally touched on in Capitol Hill, occasionally bursts up. But this is a thing.

DEMIRJIAN: Yes. I mean, the list you just showed was from the last week. The ADL tracks these numbers, generally speaking, and there's been a rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the last few years especially I think it started to change course in about 2014. But since 2017 there's been a sharp rise in the number of incidents you see about this. And it's a real issue and that leads to the question of why.

And I thought it was interesting that the governor was talking about domestic terrorism because that has been a national debate we've been having. Not just about attacks against Jewish communities, but attacks against Muslims, attacks against immigrant communities, too.

[08:50:06]

DEMIRJIAN: And you know, the government for a long time was more focused under this administration looking outward for foreign terror. Not so much of domestic terrorism.

There has been a renewed debate about should we be looking internally given the type of attacks that happen and can we do something about this both in terms of laws and in terms of just more tolerant society.

We're in a divided country right now, but that doesn't have to turn into actual physical attacks against people who look different, worship a different god.

MATTINGLY: Yes. And the governor saying that he's going to have some proposals that he's going to talk about in the state of the state address coming up related to this issue.

Look, again, I don't know what answers are, certainly, but these are Americans. They are clearly being targeted for their faith, particularly Orthodox Jews. And that would seem to be a pretty significant problem that needs to be addressed.

We're going to keep a very close eye on this. See if anything else. A couple of situations, again -- just real quick. one victim in very serious condition in the knife attack and months in New York last night and the governor now calling it a domestic terror attack.

We'll be back with more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MATTINGLY: Time now for our great reporters to share a page from their notebooks and tell us about an under the radar story they'll be watching in the year ahead.

Catherine -- you better leadoff. LUCEY: Well, one thing I think we'll be watching in the first part of

the year is the ongoing fight over President Trump's efforts to keep his financial records private.

There have been congressional and criminal subpoenas seeking records and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear cases relating to these. That's expected to come in March. If these records -- if the courts rule against the President, this could have long-reaching implications for presidential power and also have an impact on the 2020 race.

And the timing is significant because currently a ruling is expected to come in June which is right at the height of the campaign.

MATTINGLY: Yes. It is a good point. It is not just about President Trump's records, it's about the precedence it sets as well.

LUCEUY: Yes.

MATTINGLY: All right. Alex -- what have you got.

[08:54:55]

THOMPSON: Well, I would take a look -- while there has been a lot of controversy and scrutiny over Facebook and Twitter and political ads on those platforms. I would actually look to an older technology which is SMS texting.

Now, the Trump campaign is already spending millions of dollars on this tech. You're also seeing one of their top officials is the co- founder of the largest SMS texting company on the Republican side.

They are already way ahead of the Democrats in terms of embedding videos and everything else. And while there is scrutiny with, you know, what ads are on Facebook; what ads are on Twitter. It still larger the wild, wild west.

And (INAUDIBLE) what information is getting to voters, how they're being sent, which messages are being sent and micro targeting going on.

And the Democrats are slowly catching up. Seeing Elizabeth Warren's campaign they've done things where you sign up and you get a photo of Bailey or you get a photo of a lama that was canvassing with their voters in New Hampshire or, you know, Joe Biden's campaign also realized that you may remember the famous line he flubbed at the debate where he was "Go to Joe at 30330 and that was about SMS texting.

So I would look at this technology to be really, really important from just contacting voters in the 2020 election.

MATTINGLY: And for the record, I'm very pro-lama photos.

Karoun, what is up?

DEMIRJIAN: So I'm going to be looking at something that did not really fly under the radar screen in 2019 because it stopped went nowhere which is -- well the question of what to do about Saudi Arabia.

There was a big push, it seemed like a critical mass was building in Congress where you first had resolution about condemning the Saudis including MBS about Khashoggi's murder. You had the ramp up during the National Defense Authorization site to actually do something about curtailing U.S. support for the air campaign in Yemen.

And other questions there was bipartisan angst about what the State Department had done kind of working around Congress' weapons sales and it seems to be building to something and then nothing happened at all.

And then so much so that even when the shooting in Pensacola happened, people barely flinched in terms of policy. So really does that momentum go anywhere especially as Democrats eye potentially trying to gain more power in Congress, looking at the White House, too.

People keep talking about this issue or does it just kind of fizzle and go away again because we really did have about two years in which there was real momentum to changing policy because this affected an American, because it was a pretty emotional thing but to have it disappear like that happens in D.C.

But with something this big it seems like all of that energy has to go somewhere. So questions of where it does in the year ahead.

MATTINGLY: That's really a great point. Also add Turkey or human rights in China. Lots of different things --

DEMIRJIAN: Exactly.

(CROSSTALKING)

DEMIRJIAN: It's like they can only pick one fight at a time.

MATTINGLY: Yes.

Francesca -- what have you got?

CHAMBERS: Well, paid parental leave is gaining more traction among Republican lawmakers and supporters of the policy are hopeful that it will become law in 2020.

The President just signed a bill that gives paid parental leave to all federal workers for a week (ph). But aside from that two senators, Senators Bill Cassidy and Krysten Sinema also have a bill that would provide parental leave to families who have just adopted or just had a child and borrow from advance on the child tax credit.

There is a companion bill in the House by Reps Collin Allred and Elise Stefanik. Now the original thought was that this could get a vote as early as February. We don't know how long the Senate will be tied up at this point with impeachment. But they are again hopeful it will become law in 2020 and the White House has said in a statement that it endorses this bill that they are pushing. MATTINGLY: It is fascinating to watch the Republican Party and how

they've moved on this and kind of a competing policy --

CHAMBERS: Exactly.

MATTINGLY: -- definitely something to keep an eye on here.

I'll end with this. Or with what or perhaps who I'm keeping an eye on heading into the New Year. And this is Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It is no secret he's actively considering leaving the cabinet to run for senate in Kansas despite what he may say publicly.

But it's the effort going on behind the scenes particularly by the Senate Majority Leader that has become really most interesting to me. Now Mitch McConnell has been unabashed about his desire to see Pompeo as the next senator from Kansas.

But sources tell me behind the scenes he and his allies have made clear directly to Pompeo that the Senate is an ideal post- administration landing spot for someone with big or perhaps even the biggest political ambition.

Now beneath McConnell's genuine respect for Pompeo lies his uncertainty about the state of the race in Kansas where internal numbers on the current crop of candidates have raised very real red flags for national Republicans. This was precisely the point McConnell made directly to Pompeo's boss in a meeting earlier this fall, sources tell me.

Trump, I'm told, was receptive and made clear that if the race in the red state was in trouble he himself would urge Pompeo to get in. Now, I'm told Pompeo is genuinely undecided at this point and nothing is likely to happen in either way until the impeachment trial ends but Trump is already working up a short list of Pompeo replacements at the State Department and McConnell tends to get his way on these kinds of things. So keep an eye on that.

All right. That is it for INSIDE POLITICS. Hope you can catch us week days as well at noon Eastern.

Up next, "STATE OF THE UNION WITH JAKE TAPPER". His guests include Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana and Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts. No relation that we know of.

Thanks again for sharing your Sunday morning with us. Have a great day.

[09:00:02]

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