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Sen. Bernie Sanders Raises $34.5 Million in 4th Quarter; New Images of Destruction Inside U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; Kim Jong-un Threatens to Test Nuclear Missiles Again. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired January 2, 2020 - 06:00   ET

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


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

[05:59:20]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, January 2, 2020.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: 2020, Berman.

BERMAN: Happy new year.

HARLOW: Happy new year. Good to be next to you.

BERMAN: What did you do for new year?

HARLOW: I was in bed before midnight.

BERMAN: Yes. I took a healthy dose of antibiotics.

HARLOW: You're all better.

BERMAN: And so I'm all better.

We do begin with breaking news in the race for president. First of all, can we acknowledge that the 2020 race is now finally taking place in 2020? It is here, and this morning it has a distinct Brooklyn accent.

CNN just learned that Senator Bernie Sanders raised a huge amount of money last quarter. That number released just moments ago: $34.5 million. That's $34 million in the three months that began with a heart attack.

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: I want you to compare that to a good quarter from now former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. He raised $24 million. That's a good number but not in the stratosphere we are seeing Bernie Sanders right now.

Remember, the Iowa caucuses just one month from tomorrow. We're waiting to hear from the Warren and Biden campaigns. Maybe as soon as this morning.

HARLOW: That will be very, very interesting.

We're also seeing remarkable images of the destruction and the damage inside of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Iraqi security forces have regained control of what is America's largest embassy after Iranian- backed protesters tried to storm it in two days of continuing clashes. We'll bring you there and bring you a live report from Iraq in just a moment.

But let's begin with what Berman just laid out. A big number for a Brooklyn guy on the 2020 race. CNN's Ryan Nobles is here with the fundraising numbers. It's all the accent, clearly.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Poppy and John, we've been accustomed to Bernie Sanders bringing in big, big fundraising totals every quarter, but I have to say, even this number shocked those of us that have been covering this campaign from the very beginning.

Let's take a look at the numbers once again. This is where Bernie Sanders is right now: $34.5 million. Compare that to Pete Buttigieg's fourth quarter, which was 24.7. When we saw Buttigieg's number yesterday, we thought that was a big number. Sanders has bested it by almost $10 million.

And when you compare the trend line, Bernie Sanders raised about $25 million in quarter No. 3. Pete Buttigieg at about $20 million. We thought those numbers were pretty impressive, as well.

I think one of the things we always have to keep in mind when we talk about Bernie Sanders' fundraising, he is not doing this by calling up billionaires and millionaires, holding high-dollar fundraisers. This is largely an online operation fueled by small-dollar donations, somewhere in the range of $18 a donation. And the vast number of Sanders's donors still have the ability to give more. Most have not reached the maximum $2,800 threshold.

Now, we do have to put this in context, because these Democratic candidates have been raising a lot of money, but when you compare it to Donald Trump and his campaign, it is still pretty competitive. In fact, right now the Trump campaign, the RNC, has raised $125 million. All that money goes to support the Trump re-election campaign. Trump's campaign itself has a cash-on-hand advantage of $158 million.

You know, John and Poppy, for the most part, Bernie Sanders has been, you know, right in the top tier but not necessarily the frontrunner. You have to take a look at these numbers, take a step back, and realize, if you don't believe it yet, that there is a very realistic chance that Bernie Sanders could win Iowa. These resources are very impressive. Organization and on-the-ground efforts are so important to winning the Iowa caucuses.

As John mentioned, 2020 is off and running.

HARLOW: It certainly is.

BERMAN: We just did get some other news in, right?

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: The number from the Trump campaign. What's that number?

HARLOW: Forty-six million in Q4.

BERMAN: Forty-six million in the fourth quarter. Now, it's a little bit apples and oranges right now, because he's the sitting president and not running against anybody.

HARLOW: Sure.

BERMAN: But it just does go to show how much money the has in -- will have in this re-election battle. Much more ahead on the Democratic numbers and, really, the race for Bernie Sanders right now and what that all means.

HARLOW: Well, you were so right to point out, in a quarter that started with him having a heart attack, people are not counting him out at all --

BERMAN: No.

HARLOW: -- and giving him more and more and more. Much more on that ahead, but let's turn to Iraq and the latest on the clashes at the U.S. embassy there in Baghdad.

This is what the reception area of America's largest embassy looks like this morning after pro-Iranian protesters vandalized it and tried to storm the diplomatic compound. While the immediate danger has subsided, the Pentagon is sending hundreds of troops to the region as tension with Iran there escalates.

Let's go back to Arwa Damon. She's on the ground in Baghdad for us with the latest.

It's remarkable, stunning to see those images. Some flames still burning.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was. And things today have returned back to normal. In the sense that that area is once again restricted access unless, of course, you have the proper badge that would allow you to go through the various check points leading up to it or have some sort of an escort. A cleanup effort is currently underway.

But big questions as to how and why this particular group of protesters were able to not just reach the compound itself, but also not stopped while they were attempting to scale the walls and torching various parts of the outer building.

And when we were down there, we spoke to one member of the Iraqi security forces who said, Look, what were we supposed to do? If we tried to stop them, we could have potentially escalated the situation into an even bigger blood bath, one that the country would not necessarily be able to dial back.

[06:05:10]

And that goes to the very crux of what's happening here. Who were these protesters? The vast majority of them are either members of or supporters of this Shia paramilitary unit that is ostensibly under the control of the Iraqi security forces. Although how much power Baghdad actually has over them remains very much in question.

Now, Kataib Hezbollah, the group that the Americans struck on Sunday, is part of this paramilitary force. Their spokesperson said that they had decided to withdraw, because they delivered America a message. But that they were going to give the Iraqi parliament a window of time to address what still remains their key demand, that the Americans leave Iraq.

Now, this group is very closely allied with Tehran. And you have this war of words and rhetoric playing out right now between Washington and top Iranian officials with one of their senior commanders, basically telling the U.S. that they're not afraid of war, that America should be addressing them with more respect, and that they can deal an even more severe blow to the Americans, John.

And so while the situation right now in front of the embassy is to a certain degree over, what's happening here, the bigger picture is very far from being resolved.

BERMAN: Very fluid to say the least. Arwa Damon in Baghdad, please stay safe. Keep us posted. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

So the lead story this morning, Senator Bernie Sanders bringing in $34 million in the fourth quarter. A huge fundraising haul. What happens if Bernie Sanders wins Iowa? Where are we, now that the 2020 race is in 2020? That's next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[06:10:10]

HARLOW: Breaking news. It is 2020, if you didn't know. But bigger breaking news for Bernie Sanders's campaign. A whopping haul. Thirty-four and a half million dollars brought in in the fourth quarter of last year. Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg raising $24.7 million. Businessman Andrew Yang raising $16.5 million. We're waiting for the other numbers. What will Biden's number be? Big question.

CNN political correspondent M.J. Lee is here. CNN political analyst Alex Burns. Also national political correspondent for "The Times."

Morning, guys. Happy new year.

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Happy new year.

HARLOW: We're a month away from Iowa. We are officially in 2020, and Bernie Sanders has a lot to smile about this morning.

LEE: This is a holy moly number from Bernie Sanders. He has had some good fundraising in the past, but this is going to be, you know, setting him apart as he launches into the new year.

And look, I think if we take a look over the last year, 2019, that is, the fact that he had this heart attack and, when it happened, we really weren't sure if he had much of a political future, especially when we weren't sure what the status of his health would be.

But by all accounts, he is physically feeling great; and he should be politically feeling amazing heading into 2020. I mean, this is a number that the other candidates we don't expect will be able to beat. And this is a number where in a scenario where there isn't a clear sort of winner coming out of the early states, this kind of treasure chest allows you to be strong as you head into, potentially, a longer competition in the primaries. I mean, this is -- he should be feeling amazing right now.

BERMAN: The Sanders campaign and Sanders supporters rightfully, I think, feel that sometimes he gets the short sell from the national press and I think from a lot of people. But all he does is raise more money than everybody else. If you look at the polls and you put up the national poll from CNN, this is 415. You know, he is strong. He's at 20 percent. He's close to Joe Biden in the national polls there.

If you put up Iowa polling -- there's not recent Iowa polling, but you look at November from Iowa, and Bernie Sanders is right at the top of the pack there in Iowa.

I mean, Alex, at some point we have to assume that Bernie Sanders could win Iowa. He could win New Hampshire. Then what?

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I think there is -- there was this -- there has been this attitude for much of the race. Not just by the media but by many of his rivals in this race. That, look. Bernie is a popular, but he represents a faction of the party. Right? He's not somebody who can actually unite the party and become the nominee.

And all he really has going for him is this massive fundraising base. Strong poll numbers in all the early states. A strong national political organization. And a really, really high personal favorability with all Democratic voters, except for sort of a faction that really resents him for how he handled the primary in 2016.

You add that all together, there's an argument to be made right now. And we'll see what Joe Biden's fundraising numbers, see what Elizabeth Warren's numbers looks like.

There's an argument to be made right now that, when you balance out all the candidates' strengths and witnesses, Bernie Sanders does have the broadest, most balanced set of strengths heading into first the early states and then a national primary. Nobody else has this kind of financial might and the popularity that he has in Iowa, New Hampshire, and everywhere else.

HARLOW: With no wine caves, as his team --

BURNS: No wine caves.

HARLOW: -- likes to point out. And M.J., so what he has is small donors, and that inherently comes at the fact that most of them have not reached the limit to which they can donate. Meaning they can give more and more and more.

He shares that with Elizabeth Warren. You cover her very closely. We're waiting for her numbers. We got some indication from her team about a week ago that they aren't likely going to be as strong as last quarter.

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. The fundraising appeals that we've seen from Senator Warren's campaign has been that they raise a little bit over $17 million. They would like to get that number up. So we expect that number to be, I mean, if she were to raise a couple million more in the final days of the quarter, maybe around 20, maybe a little bit over 20.

Certainly, that's what they seem to be aiming for. I do think the points that you make about the wine cave, though, is worth stressing that there are these few candidates who have been raising money without doing the sort of traditional high-dollar fundraisers. They're not going to these events or accepting high checks or soliciting high-dollar checks.

And meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is able to raise that kind of money without doing the traditional fundraising. And then we talk about somebody like Buttigieg or Joe Biden. And they are spending a lot of their time doing that, right? And still not able to meet --

HARLOW: Get those numbers.

LEE: -- come anywhere near Bernie Sanders's number. I mean, that really does just show the sort of grassroots support and strength that he has on the ground right now. It is pretty stunning.

HARLOW: It's a good point.

BERMAN: I'm just so glad it's 2020 finally, so I don't have to have the fight with everybody.

HARLOW: You mean Berman likes an election year?

BERMAN: No, it's just that. It's that everyone's, Oh, the election's so far away. Well, now it's not.

HARLOW: No, it's not.

BERMAN: And I'm finally right when I argue that it's right around the corner, Alex. So where are we? I mean, where are we on January 2 with Iowa just one month away?

[06:15:06]

BURNS: I think we have a pretty clear sense now of who's going to have the resources and who has the sort of campaign apparatus to run a long primary campaign, right? And it's not everybody in this race who's competing in Iowa and New Hampshire.

What we really don't know right now. because there's been this sort of holiday polling blackout. And there has just not been that much public polling information from the early states in a while. We don't really have a sense right now of whether Iowa still looks like Mayor Pete's to lose -- I should say former Mayor Pete now that we are past.

BERMAN: And he's done. Out of office as of yesterday.

BURNS: Right. Which could be helpful to him as he tries to put it all in the campaign.

But look, I think we are, in some ways, not entirely back where we began, because Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren are much stronger now than they were at, say, last spring or the beginning of the summer.

But where, in a lot of ways, the two candidates who we're looking at most closely are Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. The two guys with the national profile, the national fundraising base, and the national popularity with grassroots Democrats, particularly older Democrats and folks who are not necessarily tuned in day-to-day on this race. Those fundamentals have really started to kick in in a big way for both of them.

LEE: We should also mention the giant wild card right now, right? We don't know what's going to happen in the Senate impeachment trial. A number of these candidates, these 2020 Democratic candidates, will have to spend time in Washington, D.C., not able to campaign full-time if that is going on. I mean, that is their job and their duty before anything else related to the campaign. So we have no idea.

HARLOW: And imagine if it's a Senate trial that reaches into early February, like, say on February 3. That can -- that can very likely happen.

BERMAN: You think it would. I mean, at this point --

HARLOW: At this point, yes.

BERMAN: -- it hasn't started. It starts any time in January.

HARLOW: I would just say to your point about the dearth of state polling, like the Iowa poll you had to reference was November.

BERMAN: November.

HARLOW: And that's Andrew Yang's issue. And I think, you know, there's a point to be made there that who is going to be on that stage, it's whiter, it's less diverse, it's older. And h e's saying, you know, why don't we have more early state polling to show where people feel right now?

BURNS: This is, I think, the fairest and most consistent complaint I've heard about the DNC's qualifying rules from some of the underdog campaigns. Is that if you're going to designate certain polls as qualifying and other polls as not qualifying, then surely, you ought to do something to make sure there are going to be qualifying polls taken. Right? This is --

HARLOW: In those key early states.

BURNS: Right. And this is something we've seen over and over. Last summer, Kirsten Gillibrand goes -- you know, essentially pushes all her chips in the middle of the table, runs all these ads in Iowa trying to get her polling numbers up there to qualify for the September debate. There just isn't any polling. Right?

And so you burn through all the money you have left, and you're out of the race. Doesn't mean that, if there had been polling, she would have qualified. But if you're Andrew Yang, Cory Booker at this point, you're looking at that mid-January debate as your last chance. And you have no idea whether you'll even have the chance to qualify.

BERMAN: Alex Burns, M.J. Lee, happy new year.

LEE: Happy new year.

HARLOW: Happy, happy.

BERMAN: Happy 2020.

HARLOW: President Trump is starting the new year with international threats, major ones from Iran and North Korea. Is his playbook backfiring on the world stage? We'll discuss that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: President Trump begins 2020 facing several crises. Escalating tensions in Tehran after pro-Iranian protesters tried to storm, and they vandalized the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in Iraq. And this new threat from the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, that risks the prospect or really -- or throws open the question of what's going on with the U.S.-North Korea relationship and the nuclear development inside North Korea.

Joining us now, CNN political and national security analyst David Sanger. He's national security correspondent, "The New York Times." And he has a great piece on all of this in this morning's paper that includes this quote, David.

Let me read this. "Both the Iranians and North Koreans seem to sense the vulnerability of a president under impeachment and facing re- election, even if they're often clumsy as they try to play those events to their advantage."

Let's start with North Korea this morning. Kim saber rattling again. How is it that President Trump so misjudged his relationship with him? DAVID SANGER, CNN POLITICAL NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: John, I think

the core of it is that the president believed that the force of his personality, the personal relationship that he put together with Kim was going to do it. And that that, combined with the economic lure of -- of development in North Korea, would make this happen.

You know, remember that in Singapore and then at some later meetings, the president delivered these videos that showed, you know, hotel --

HARLOW: On the iPad.

SANGER: On the iPad. That's right. That showed hotels they were going to build along the beaches, the east coast of North Korea.

By the way, I've been on some of those beaches years ago. They're all mined. They may want to de-mine them before they -- they get kids out on the beach there.

But the truth of the matter is, in the end, the president didn't get to the core issue, which is that Kim views the nuclear weapons as his great insurance policy.

HARLOW: So given that, I'm really interested in what you make of the White House response, because from the president, it has been very subdued, sort of we hope for the best. No "fire and fury." No "Little Rocket Man."

From Mike Pompeo, "Chairman Kim will make the right decision, and he'll choose peace and prosperity over conflict and war." Is that a strategy, or is that cross your fingers and hope?

SANGER: That's a hope. It's not a strategy. At this point, the president is so invested in this policy, Poppy, that I don't think there's a way he can really go back to "fire and fury." Because it would be acknowledging that everything he's been putting together for the 18 -- past 18 months has failed. And, you know, his base believes that he actually disarmed North Korea.

BERMAN: Well, he -- I think he believes it. I mean, what's the tweet?

HARLOW: Yes, that's a good point.

BERMAN: What's the tweet he's saying? He said -- and this was from June 13, 2018 -- "There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea."

SANGER: That was just as he was leaving Singapore.

BERMAN: And it wasn't true then, and it's not true now.

SANGER: Well, it's less true now than it was then. Because the fact of the matter is, what he failed to get in Singapore was a freeze --

HARLOW: Freeze.

SANGER: -- on any of their nuclear development.

HARLOW: Right.

SANGER: So we think that, at the time of Singapore, Kim had 20, 25 weapons or, at least the fuel for those nuclear weapons. The best guess now is 38 to 40.

HARLOW: Yes. As you -- as you point out in your piece, you know, rightly so, they even have -- the president and Kim -- fundamentally different understandings of what denuclearization on the peninsula even means. They're not even on the same page there.

And you talk about the vulnerability that the president is in and viewed as vulnerable by Chairman Kim but also by Iran. And how that vulnerability, you believe, fueled what we saw play out in Baghdad over the last few days.

[06:25:12]

SANGER: First of all, these leaders, they all read "The Times." They all watch CNN. They know what's going on. They understand the president's in a very sensitive year.

The president knows they know it. That's why he said a few weeks ago that Kim shouldn't interfere in the presidential election. What does interfere mean? It means create a crisis, OK? The Iranians get that, too.

And so all the Iranians were doing, I think, in stoking these protests in Baghdad was making a point that your diplomats, your troops, are vulnerable. Anybody want to drop by and tell the president about the hostage crisis, you know, in Iran exactly 40 years ago?

BERMAN: Yes. Look, I mean, this is the U.S. embassy in Baghdad or outside the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. One of the most secure structures in the world.

But still, it's remarkable to see the damage that can be done. And I wonder, David, just big picture. What does this do to the U.S. position in that part of the world and our strategy to fight ISIS, for instance?

You know, our presence in Iraq is crucial --

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: -- now as the U.S. withdraws from Syria. If we can't be in Iraq safely, the U.S., how are they going to battle ISIS?

SANGER: Well, one of the great oddities here is that the U.S. and Iran were on the same side of the ISIS battle. And after the 2015 nuclear agreement, President Obama had hoped -- and really did not follow up to try to make it happen -- that the Iranians would make fighting ISIS their next common move with the United States. Obviously, we went in different directions on that. But I think the Iranians clearly understand that the president's view

of American troop presence in Iraq and Afghanistan and every place else is get them out. And if they can just push that along a bit, they might actually get the withdrawal they want in the midst of a presidential election.

I mean, it happened in Syria with much smaller numbers. It would be a harder thing to do in Iraq. But the president's overall instinct is, Why are we there?

BERMAN: Watch this space. David Sanger, terrific piece this morning.

SANGER: Thank you very much.

BERMAN: I'm sure we're going to see you again soon.

SANGER: I suspect we will. Happy new year to both of you.

HARLOW: Happy new year.

BERMAN: Happy new year.

HARLOW: Enjoy.

BERMAN: All right. There's this brash move from Israel's embattled prime minister. What he is now asking lawmakers as he faces corruption charges. That's next.

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