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Buttigieg Raises $24.7 Million in Final Quarter; Chief Justice Roberts: America May "Take Democracy for Granted"; Netanyahu Requests Immunity in Corruption Cases. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 1, 2020 - 13:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:32:06]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Now to the 2020 trail and a big money announcement from Pete Buttigieg. His campaign says he raised $24.7 million in the final quarter of 2019. That is a substantial number just one month shy of the Iowa caucuses.

This is a sizable increase from the $19 million that he raised in the previous quarter, still nothing to sneeze at, but about the same as what he brought in in the second quarter. And keep in mind, we still don't know what other candidates brought in. They have not shared that information yet. So, we'll be looking for that.

I've got Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis here. He served as John Edwards communications director.

When you look at that number, I mean, how big of a deal is this to you?

CHRIS KOFINIS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It's a pretty good number. I mean, you know, once you get to this stage of the campaign, you know, there's usually two key measures, how much grassroots energy do you have on the ground, how excited people are about your candidacy, and then money, because money fuels everything else.

And so, you know, this has been, I think, one of the key advantages that Buttigieg has had. He has been able to raise money online as well as off, more kind of traditional donors. And that's an advantage that he has going into races like Iowa and New Hampshire, where you need money to have an operation actually function.

KEILAR: And so, he's hit these two marks that you're laying out there, right?

KOFINIS: Yes.

KEILAR: So that's very important.

There was a CNN poll from November that has Buttigieg nine points ahead in Iowa. This is a big lead. And there's a term actually, an Iowa cyclone candidate, right? An Iowa cyclone candidate. And this is how "The Washington Post" describes it. Like a cyclone,

this person comes from out of nowhere to cut through the field leaving broken candidates in their wake. The paper goes on: Iowa has produced at least one such person in each of the past four election cycles. In 2004, it was Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, who, of course, you worked for.

If Buttigieg is an Iowa cyclone, how and does he appear to be to you, how does that reshape the race?

KOFINIS: I don't know. Here's the part where I think this race is very different than other ones. If you take 2008 with Obama, right?

KEILAR: Yes.

KOFINIS: Even though nationally he was lower in the polls, there was this energy that was palpable. I know because I was there and I saw it. And it was -- you could feel it and everybody knew it was coming.

But then, you know, he wins Iowa, then he loses New Hampshire. But then he crushes in South Carolina. The question that I have is, what happens in the first four races, right, particularly the first three? You're talking about Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina.

KEILAR: Because Buttigieg isn't going to crush South Carolina.

KOFINIS: He's not going to crush South Carolina because his numbers really haven't moved.

KEILAR: Yes.

KOFINIS: And the question is, does he win Iowa and get a bump? Now, you've seen that before.

You saw that with Kerry, for example, in 2004. I don't know if that's the same situation here. And what you may have and this is where I think Democrats need to kind of gird their loins.

KEILAR: Yes.

KOFINIS: This could be a very long race because you have a scenario where, you know, Buttigieg wins Iowa.

[13:35:02]

Warren, you know, potentially wins New Hampshire. Biden, you know, then wins South Carolina. And then, who's in the lead?

And that's I think a chaotic situation that gives some Democrats a stomachache. Not -- it doesn't give me a stomachache because I think that's the process, but it will make for a more chaotic primary. And people like resolution, people like clarity. I'm not sure we're going to get the clarity everybody wants.

KEILAR: All right. Hold on to your hats and glasses, everybody. And thank you, Chris, so much. Happy New Year. KOFINIS: Happy New Year.

KEILAR: I really appreciate you coming in.

Before Beyonce or Lady Gaga, Linda Ronstadt was the first female pop icon. The new CNN film, "LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE", tells the inside story of her meteoric rise to fame.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She came to Los Angeles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ladies and gentlemen, it's Linda Ronstadt.

LINDA RONSTADT, SINGER: I was 18 years old and we formed a little band. We called ourselves Stone Ponies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The L.A. scene was in gear, and then the whole damn thing broke loose.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was rock music, folk music, comingling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How can we define what this is going to be?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Linda was the queen. She was like what Beyonce is now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was the only female artist to have five platinum albums in a row.

RONSTADT: "I Can't Help It If I'm Still in Love With You" was a hit on the country charts, "You're No Good" was a hit on both the R&B chart and the pop chart. I became the first artist to have a hit on all three charts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was the first female rock 'n roll star.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE", Tonight, 9:00 p.m. on CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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[13:41:34]

KEILAR: Are Americans taking democracy for granted? The nation's top jurist says yes.

Chief Justice John Roberts also laments how civics education has, quote, fallen by the wayside. Roberts made the remarks in his annual report on the state of the judiciary, which is issued each year on New Year's Eve.

And he adds this, quote, in our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government and the protections it provides is ever more vital.

CNN's Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue is joining me now with more.

And it's really interesting, Arianne, to see what he says because he's clearly worried that trust in public institutions has diminished and that in particular, that trust in the court system has diminished.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right. It was an unusual report with a lot of veiled references.

He seemed to start off with civics to make this larger point. He's lamenting the fact that it's no longer taught in schools. It comes at a time when social media is exploding.

And that part seemed to be a veiled attack at the president, of course, who uses media. But he also had a lot to say about judges, Brianna. He wanted to say, look, stay in your lane, do your job, don't be political.

And that seemed to reference that not only is impeachment coming down the pike, but the Supreme Court itself is in the middle of a momentous term.

KEILAR: Yes, don't maybe break a norm as a reaction to not liking how someone else is breaking a norm perhaps.

DE VOGUE: Stay in your branch of government, judiciary. He wants them to bring back public trust in the judiciary or at least keep it because he sees what's happening in the other branches.

KEILAR: Yes, I mean, it's so important. And then we're looking. I mean, this is going to be a big year in so many ways including impeachment. Give us a sense of what you are looking forward to in 2020. There are certainly going to be some big cases.

DE VOGUE: This is a momentous term. I mean, put impeachment aside where he's going to have to perhaps cross the street and preside over that, but he's got a blockbuster term. He's got social issues in front of him, abortion, LGBT rights, including an immigration case, DACA.

His court may have to look at the Affordable Care Act, cornerstone of Trump's agenda trying to get rid of that. And on top of that, just before their recess, the court decided that it would hear Trump's bid to shield his financial documents.

So, right now, John Roberts is really at the center of a lot of storms, probably the impeachment, but also this momentous term and, of course, all those decisions are going to come out in the spring in the heat of the next election.

KEILAR: Are you ready for 2020? Are you ready?

DE VOGUE: It's coming.

KEILAR: It's coming right at us.

Ariane de Vogue, thank you.

The president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani says he would be willing to testify in an impeachment trial.

Plus, about 4,000 people are trapped on a beach as wildfires rage across Australia.

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[13:49:12]

KEILAR: This just in. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has requested immunity in three corruption cases against him. He faces indictment on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Let's go to CNN's Oren Liebermann live in Jerusalem for us.

Oren, tell us. When could this happen and will it happen and what would this mean?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, Prime Minister Benjamin submitted the official request for immunity just four hours before the final deadline to do so. He made a speech a short time ago, and he said he wanted to request immunity so that he continue to lead the country by will of the people. In doing so, he attacked the justice system calling fabricated cases.

Let me read you a short bit of his statement.

What is being done to me is a field court-martial by misleading the public. The immunity law is intended to protect elected officials from fabricated legal proceedings, from political indictment intended to damage the will of the people.

[13:50:08]

Netanyahu then made a short statement saying he would request immunity and then went on to effectively a political attack against his rival, Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White Party.

Gantz responded a short time later, blasting Netanyahu and saying voters now have two choices before the March elections or the interests of Netanyahu will win or the national interests will win, or there will be an extreme immunity government or there will be a broad unity government or the kingdom of Netanyahu or the state of Israel.

So, how does immunity request work? Well, every parliamentarian in Israel, including the prime minister, is intended or allowed to request immunity from prosecution. Remember, Netanyahu is facing indictment on charges of bribery and fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases in which he insists he's innocent.

But where this falls apart procedurally pretty quickly. Netanyahu's request had to be heard by what's called the Knesset House Committee. But since there hasn't been a functioning coalition here since the April elections, there is no house committee to hear Netanyahu's requests and that means the criminal proceedings against Netanyahu are deadlocked, just like the political situation in Israel -- Brianna.

KEILAR: If the committee is convened, Oren, is Netanyahu likely to be granted immunity?

LIEBERMANN: But as of right now, the indication is no. He will not get immunity, and that's because a key player here, former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman who essentially not only the political kingmaker, also holds Netanyahu's legal fate in his hands potentially said he would not support an immunity government, he would not support an immunity request from Netanyahu.

So, all indications right now are that Netanyahu's request would be rejected. Before we get to that point, can the house committee be convened right now as Israel heads towards an election and state of political deadlock? That is the biggest question in Israeli politics at the moment.

KEILAR: All right, Oren. We know you will be following all of that closely. Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem.

And New Year, new rules for the makers of vape products. After reports surfaced that the FDA may move to ban the sale of certain e- cigarette flavors, President Trump said an announcement is coming soon.

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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to protect our families. We're going to protect our children, and we're going to protect the industry.

People have died from this. They've died from vaping. We think we understand why. But we're doing a very exhaustive examination and hopefully everything will be back on the market very, very shortly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: There's no official word yet on this from the Food and Drug Administration, but according to data from the National Youth Tobacco Survey, more than 25 percent of high school students reported using e- cigarettes just last year. Last week, the president signed a measure that prohibits sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21 including e-cigarettes.

Well, maybe a new job is on your to-do list for 2020. And if so, hiring prospects are strong. What about salaries?

CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik has this forecast.

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ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The American job market has shown incredible resilience. As global economic growth stalled in 2019 and as trade war with China stoked uncertainty among businesses, companies kept hiring.

On average, 180,000 net new jobs a month in the first 11 months of last year. Today, there is so much for workers, there are a near record 7.3 million unfilled job openings. There is hiring in bars and restaurants, hospitals and doctors' offices, insurance and financial service companies, computer sometimes design and computer science.

But pay has not matched the booming jobs market. In theory, companies must fatten paychecks to attract and keep good workers. Wage growth has improved slightly more than 3 percent but hasn't reached pre- recession levels.

The president has called this the best economy in American history. The first 33 months of his presidency, 6.25 new jobs created, slightly below the net new jobs in the final 33 months of the Obama administration.

Trump won the White House promising to restore factory jobs. Four hundred forty-three thousand new manufacturing jobs have been created, but manufacturing fell into a recession last summer, and jobs growth since has stalled. That will be a challenge for 2020.

In New York, I'm Alison Kosik.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KEILAR: Alison, thank you.

And still ahead, a disgruntled Pope Francis seen slapping the hand of a woman who grabbed him in St. Peter's Square. What is he saying about the incident now?

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[13:59:28]

KEILAR: Pope Francis has apologized for smacking a woman's hand after seen grabbing him and pulling him towards her. In this video of the incident you can see the pope become visibly upset as he begins slapping the woman's hand, and the pope apologized, but at the address outside of Vatican today.

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POPE FRANCIS, CATHOLIC CHURCH LEADER (through translator): Love makes us patient. So many times you lose patience, even me. And I apologize for yesterday's bad example.

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KEILAR: So, the pope making his way to the nativity scene at center of the Vatican City when this incident happened and Pope Francis later used his New Year's message to denounce violence against women. That woman, we should say, has not been identified.

That is it for me. Alex Marquardt continues our coverage right now.