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Buttigieg Announces $24.7M Fundraising Haul to End 2019; Chief Justice Emphasizes Maintaining Public Trust in 2020. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired January 1, 2020 - 12:30   ET

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


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NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN HOST: Pete Buttigieg is kicking off the election year with a bang. Early this morning, his campaign reported it raised more than $24.7 million in the last quarter of 2019.

Now, that's a big jump from the previous quarter and essentially matches his best showing of the year. The campaign says that the money came from the 326,000 individual donors with an average donation of 33 bucks.

All told, Buttigieg raised more than $76 million in 2019, quite an impressive number for a small town mayor who started the year with low visibility on the national stage and ended it as a top contender. In his strong showing as a reminder to his opponents that despite a rocky news cycle in recent weeks, he's still a force to be reckoned with.

We got CNN's Ryan Nobles who's going to join us live from New York.

Ryan, first of all, happy New Year.

And I want you to talk about what these numbers tell us about the state of Buttigieg's campaign going into 2020. And are we going to expect similar numbers from some of his competitors?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, Nia, happy New Year to you as well.

You know, first of all, let's just take a step back and think if anyone would have predicted that on the first day of 2020, that the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, would post $76 million in fund raising in 2020, I don't think too many people would have taken that bet. And I think what this latest round of fund-raising shows us about Pete Buttigieg is that there's a level of resilience and perhaps staying power that we weren't sure the mayor was going to be able to, at least, get to.

And so, now, he certainly goes into the Iowa caucus as someone that is -- has a viable shot at winning. Now, as you get further down the calendar things get a little bit more difficult for him. And he still hasn't cracked the national top tier yet but there's no doubt that he's going to be a legitimate force in Iowa for sure.

But we are getting some hints as to what the numbers are going to be for some of the other candidates as well. No one else has released their fundraising numbers in totality. Elizabeth Warren hinted toward the end of December that she had about $17 million in the bank. They were shooting for a goal of around $20 million.

We expect Bernie Sanders' numbers to come in sometime this week as well. He has consistently shown to be a fund-raising force. And we imagine his numbers will be somewhere in that same ballpark.

Nia, the numbers that I'm really most interested in, though, are those of former Vice President Joe Biden. He continues to be the front runner, you know, despite the fact that he has faced some head winds. He's number one in all of the national polls. He is competitive in every single one of these early states.

Where he has lacked has been in the fund-raising department, which is where we expected to have the most strength. He had a little bit better quarter in the third quarter but the question now in the fourth quarter is, can he raise the type of resources that he needs to get him through these first four early states and then on into Super Tuesday and beyond? No idea what that's going to be, but there's still a lot we need to learn about the state of this campaign and it will start to come into focus here over the next couple of days.

HENDERSON: Yes, I think that's right. Those numbers from Biden and other folks, also we'll wait to see what they bring. So, thanks so much for -- Ryan, for keeping an eye on those fund-raising numbers for us.

And bring in to the room here.

And, Karoun, I want to start with you. The big issue with Pete Buttigieg remains, right? A lot of money he's been able to raise and he is getting huge crowds in these early states, Iowa and New Hampshire, ahead in some of these polls as well. But no broad support, right? He's not doing well among young folks. He's not doing well among African-Americans. He's not doing well among Latinos.

Sort of comparisons to Obama sort of end with his inability to actual have a broad coalition.

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, and not all of those factors matter that much for the showing, because that's been the argument about, is Iowa representative of really the whole electorate, especially the Democratic Party?

HENDERSON: Right.

DEMIRJIAN: But, look, Buttigieg has had really good fund-raising numbers, surprisingly good fund-raising numbers since the very beginning really and he's only grown from there. I think him bringing in this number does potentially put others on notice who maybe aren't going to match his haul for this quarter. HENDERSON: Right.

DEMIRJIAN: That he is a force to be reckoned with.

However, the question is, can he translate the money, which he's always had, into votes, which he's sometimes had. You need to break -- you need to be significantly into the double digits in order to actually be able to claim any electoral votes out of the Iowa caucus or any of the districts in the matter.

HENDERSON: Right.

DEMIRJIAN: Excuse me. And can he do that is really the question?

I think Biden has been fairly solidly in the top three, same with Sanders and same with Warren, even though she and Buttigieg have find of fought it out for that third spot in that stable leaders' pack.

I have not spent time on the ground in Iowa like some of my colleagues, so I don't know if there's a rumbling on the ground that suggests he could upend this.

[12:35:04]

HENDERSON: Yes.

DEMIRJIAN: And solidify that a little better with this money.

HENDERSON: And you look here, sort of compare where he has been with other folks in the field, he's done well. I mean, if you look -- he's the blue line here. He was there, he's here and he kind of dipped and he's up again, and then some others.

I think Warren for -- or this is Biden did well and a bit of a dip. We'll see where he goes. We don't know what his numbers will be. Warren too had a bit of a gain and we'll see where she goes. Their campaign seems to be telegraphing that her number this quarter won't be as strong as previous quarters, Lauren.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, that's right. And on the ground, there's been a bit of a shift in her messaging, right? I mean, at first, she really went out there and was a lot talking about Medicare-for-All. That's started to shift. She's also taking more questions on the ground when she is giving these speeches.

I think it's very different than what we saw from her perhaps a couple of months ago. This is a very critical time for her campaign. She's the leading woman on the trail. She really represents the next phase of the Democratic Party. I think you could argue that Buttigieg and Biden really represent the old guard of the Democratic Party.

So, there's a question --

HENDERSON: Ironic for Buttigieg --

FOX: Who's very young, yes, exactly. HENDERSON: Right.

FOX: But I think, you know, in terms of their philosophy -- very, very different. So it will be interesting to see how Buttigieg and Warren compare in Iowa.

HENDERSON: And Warren addressing what you see as a bit of a shift in terms of her messaging on the stump in terms of Medicare-for-All.

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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I take whatever questions come my way. Sometimes I get questions about health care and sometimes I get questions about climate.

I'm still with Bernie. We're still there on Medicare for all. I think it is the right place to provide the maximum amount of health care to everyone who needs it at the lowest possible cost.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HENDERSON: Yet, she says there I am still with Bernie. This seems to in some ways if you look at her recent polls narrative, it seems to have hurt her, focusing on Medicare-for-All and she seems to be kind of trying to straddle the sort of Buttigieg and Biden wing of the party -- the Buttigieg and Biden wing with the sort of Sanders wing, which is much more progressive.

MERIDITH MCGRAW, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, POLITICO: Right, and it's an interesting dance to watch her go through. You have somebody like Bernie Sanders, of course, who has such a strong base, strong grassroots, you know, base. And, of course, Buttigieg and Biden, you know, sort of on the other side of the spectrum. It puts Elizabeth Warren in a very particular spot.

But, I think, you know, watching all of this and of course coming from covering the White House and covering Trump, if we've learned anything from any of this and from 2016, a lot can change and we're seeing it happen in real-time.

HENDERSON: Yes. And one of the things we see, we're talking about fund-raising numbers here. The energy in terms of who's been able to raise the most money, Sanders and Warren, the progressive wing, $111.1 million. And the more centrist wing, Buttigieg and Biden, about $88.2 million.

So, that's where the energy is. And if we learned anything from 2016, Trump certainly had the energy.

KATIE ROGERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: We should also -- yes, we should also learn that the Trump campaign just as Buttigieg has done and other candidates, they are a fund-raising juggernaut especially with small dollar donors. And, Medicare-for-All is actually one of their biggest battering rams, if you will, with the Democrats. I think watching Warren sort of back away from that is proof that that can be weaponized and not every -- not -- the Democratic electorate might be a little more moderate than that and they don't want to see the entire system dismantled, and the Trump campaign certainly has weaponized that sentiment.

HENDERSON: Yes, just -- got a month to go before Iowa. As you said, a lot can change. We'll keep an eye on it.

Up next, Congressman John Lewis talks about his fight with cancer and his plans to be in D.C. this New Year.

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HENDERSON: Topping our political radar today, 2020 might be the year the robocall finally meets its demise. President Trump has now signed a bill into law that cracks down on companies making unsolicited robocalls.

I'm going to go to CNN's Alison Kosik.

Happy New Year.

I wonder, Alison, is this it? Like is this over, sort of the scourge of robocalls?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I wish it was over but I don't think that's really going to be the case here. I mean, the law should reduce the number of calls we're getting, but it's not really going to make all the calls magically go away all together.

But here's what the law does. It increases the fines on robocallers who knowingly ignore the rules of up to $10,000 per call. It also instructs the FCC to crack down on these robocalls along with the help of the DOJ. Though the reality is, it's a real struggle to enforce any of this because many of the calls originate overseas.

Now, part of this law that really has a chance to making a difference is that the law looks to accelerate the rollout of what's called call authentication technologies. And this is what the industry is currently developing. This kind of technology would block calls coming from unverified numbers. These are calls that look real because they share your area code or they look like they're coming from an important government agency.

[12:45:03]

Finally, the law says phone companies cannot charge extra to block unwanted calls and tells companies to block the calls even without getting consumer consent. Now, customers can opt out. But not sure why you'd want to opt out, because if you look at the big picture here, Americans in total receive billions of calls every month.

Absent from this new law, any mentioned of political campaign robocalls, although the FCC already has some rules in place. Campaign robocalls aren't allowed on cell phones without your consent but, Nia, land lines, that's fair game -- Nia. HENDERSON: Yes.

All right. Thanks so much, Alison, for that --

KOSIK: You got it.

HENDERSON: -- report.

And we're going to go to Congressman John Lewis as he stares down a fight with cancer. Lewis telling "The Atlanta Journal Constitution" in a New Year's Eve interview: I am ready and I am doing good. The 79-year-old revealed his pancreatic cancer diagnosis on Sunday and since, he says, has been overwhelmed with calls and messages of support. We certainly pray for him and his family.

It's Mayor Pete's final day to call himself Mayor Pete. Pete Buttigieg's successor, Mayor-elect James Mueller, will be sworn in as mayor today in South Bend, Indiana. Buttigieg was mayor for eight years and, of course, he's now running for president.

And we are lucky enough to be joined here today by someone who grew up in South Bend.

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HENDERSON: Yes, that's right. So what you make -- what do we know about this new mayor? What do we know about how folks in south bend feel about the outgoing mayor?

ROGERS: Well, depending on how you look at it, he has a great or unfortunately last name.

HENDERSON: Yes.

ROGERS: No. But he's basically Pete Buttigieg's hand picked successor. He is -- his chief of staff, former chief of staff.

HENDERSON: Right.

ROGERS: Fellow Democrat. He will be taking the helm of a city that's kind of an anomaly in Indiana. It's a college town, it's relatively urban. If you can it's very diverse for Indiana standards.

And it's actually one of the things that residents there will probably be looking to Mueller to pay more attention than Mayor Pete did in terms of addressing the African-American community's concerns about how they're policed.

HENDERSON: Right.

ROGERS: There was an officer involved shooting that Pete took a lot of harsh headlines for. So, they're looking for somebody who wants to hang out in the town, fix the potholes, you know, talk to the diverse communities that are actually in South Bend and do some -- do some mayoring.

HENDERSON: Yes, I think a lot of (INAUDIBLE) more about South Bend --

ROGERS: Yes.

HENDERSON: -- than we ever thought we would when Mayor Pete is running.

ROGERS: Yes.

HENDERSON: Up next, as the Senate impeachment trial looms, the man set to preside over it, Chief Justice John Roberts, has a warning for Americans. More on that after a quick break.

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REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Today is the day that Hamilton warned us.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): These are the words of Alexander Hamilton written in 1792. Could we find a more perfect description of the present danger emanating from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Hamilton said explicitly in Federalist 65 that impeachment involves not just legal questions but inherently political judgments.

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HENDERSON: Alexander Hamilton, the favorite congressional reference during 2019 impeachment hearings.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the Senate impeachment trial, started the New Year with his own historic nod to Hamilton. In his annual message, Roberts celebrated the Federalist Papers as a high point of American confidence in the Constitution but included this warning: We have come to take democracy for granted and civic education has fallen by the wayside. 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. The judiciary has an important role.

CNN's Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue joins me now.

Happy New Year. Thanks so much for coming in.

Talk about what this report that the Justice has released. What does this tell us about what's on his mind?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: It's an unusual report, right, because he never directly talks about his past fractious relationship with the president or the impeachment proceedings. But clearly, it's aimed at the president and the role of judges. He knows that in the coming days or weeks, he might have to cross the street and preside over impeachment hearings. He wants the public to understand what's going on.

He laments the fact that schools aren't really teaching civics anymore and he's worried about social media. And that is a dig maybe at the president.

HENDERSON: Right, right, we know the president loves his social media.

And this was something from his letter where he talks about maintaining the public trust to the courts, maintaining the public's trust. I asked my judicial colleagues to continue their efforts to promote public confidence in the judiciary both through their rulings and through civic outreach. We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary but we should also remember that justice is not inevitable. We should each resolve to do our best to maintain the public's trust that we are faithfully discharging our solemn obligation to equal justice under law.

DE VOGUE: Right. And there he's talking right at the federal judges. He's got two messages. He says stay above the fray and stay in your lane.

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Don't become political.

And it comes, of course, as the president in his tweets has attacked the judiciary but also some federal judges have attacked the president.

So, here, Roberts is saying stay in your lane. We need to inspire confidence in the judiciary. And it was an interesting report to issue at the time.

HENDERSON: Fascinating insight into the justice at this critical time.

And before we go, a quick CNN programming note. Before Beyonce and Lady Gaga, Linda Ronstadt was the first female pop icon. CNN films "LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE" premieres tonight at 9:00 right here on CNN.

Thanks for joining us on INSIDE POLITICS.

Brianna Keilar starts after a quick break.

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