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Fundraising Numbers for Democrats; Destruction at U.S. Embassy in Baghdad; Remembering David Stern. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired January 2, 2020 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:00]

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Policy Act in December by a vote of 407-1, which would allow the U.S. to put targeted sanctions on China over the crisis. And the Senate will likely take up and pass this bill soon. And then, of course, it would be up to President Trump to sign the bill into law, something that could complicated the trade deal still being worked out by both sides.

John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, indeed it will, Matt. I'm so glad you're shining a light on this.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.

BERMAN: This is something that simply cannot be ignored. We're talking about millions of human beings here. So thank you so much for your reporting.

We have breaking 2020 campaign news.

NEW DAY continues right now.

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

BERMAN: All right, welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow is here with me on 2020. It's 2020.

HARLOW: It's going to be a slow year, don't you think, Berman?

BERMAN: We can't even say the 2020 campaign anymore because it's the now campaign.

HARLOW: It's like right now.

BERMAN: It's the now campaign. You don't put the year on it when it's actually now.

And we have breaking news this morning in the race for president.

We are here and here feels like Bernie Sanders. The Vermont senator, he just released new fundraising numbers, $34.5 million in the fourth quarter. $34 million. And you're going to remember that this quarter for him started with a heart attack three months ago. That is an impressive number.

We have a couple other numbers in at this point. You can see former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg raised about $24.7 million. Businessman Andrew Yang, $16.5 million.

We do want to also note, this is different, it's a little bit apples and oranges right now, the president's re-election campaign just announced $46 million for the last quarter.

Back to the Democrats, though, that is what is important this morning.

The Iowa caucuses just one month away. We could hear from the Warren and Biden campaigns soon about their fourth quarter fundraising numbers.

HARLOW: Yes, we'll get into all of it in a moment. But also we want to bring you these dramatic, remarkable, troubling images of the extent of the damage at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. The Iran-backed militia have withdrawn from protesting around that compound, that they've been doing, after two days of violent clashes with security forces there. Still, though, tension between the U.S. and Iran remains high as highlighted by these images. We'll bring you to Baghdad for a live report from Arwa Damon in a moment.

But joining us here, let's begin with those numbers, CNN Washington correspondent Ryan Nobles, CNN political analyst Seung Min Kim, she's White House reporter for "The Washington Post," and CNN political analyst Alex Burns, national political reporter for "The New York Times."

Good morning to all of you.

Ryan Nobles, let's walk through these numbers. $34.5 million for Bernie Sanders. John is so right to point out, he began the quarter with people questioning if he could even keep running after the heart attack.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Even people that supported Bernie Sanders are wondering whether or not he was going to have staying power.

HARLOW: Yes.

NOBLES: And there's no doubt that we've seen somewhat of a reinvigorated campaign since the heart attack. And these numbers show us just how strong his support remains with that core group of people that have been with him from the beginning.

A couple of things I want to point out about the way he's raising this money. Obviously, this is all, for the most part, online, small dollar donations, average about $18 a donation. And 99.9 percent of the people that have donated to the Bernie Sanders campaign have the ability to continue donating. They haven't come anywhere near that $2,800 threshold.

And get this, guys, he raised $18 million just in the month of December. So that shows that his momentum is growing. There is beginning to be more of a realization that he could actually win the Iowa caucus. And that's exactly the position you need to be on, on January 2nd, when we are now just about a month away from voters actually heading to those caucus sites.

BERMAN: So, Seung Min, as you look at this, and as we see those numbers for Bernie Sanders, and you think about the possibility that maybe he will or could win in Iowa, what does that mean for the campaign? What does that mean for the Democrats? Where are we headed?

SEUNG MIN KIM, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think that's a great -- that's certainly a question that will be answered in the coming weeks, but there's no doubt that Bernie Sanders has enjoyed the momentum right now.

And in terms of what it may mean for the campaign, I think one interesting dynamic has been so far is that while Bernie Sanders has had that durability, kind of throughout the campaign season, he hasn't been attacked so viciously by the other candidates as perhaps some of the other candidates have gotten in the race. You've seen, obviously, the former vice president, Joe Biden, Senator Elizabeth Warren, now former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, kind of all take their turns being kind of -- having their arrows thrown at them as a frontrunner. So now that Bernie Sanders gain -- is really -- has solidified himself for now as the frontrunner in the race, we'll be -- it will be really interesting to see for the campaign how the other campaigns respond now in terms of what they -- this may mean for the broader campaign while, obviously, Senator Sanders has this popularity, has this durability with Democratic voters.

Republicans are very eager to seize on his positions. Obviously he has among the more progressive positions on health care or climate change and whatnot in the Democratic race, which could be the appealing part to the Democratic voters.

[07:05:09]

But Republicans will be really eager to make that contract should he -- should he become the nominee.

HARLOW: Alex, the way that Bernie Sanders has raised this money will small dollar donations is very notable. They can keep giving more. They have -- most haven't reached a threshold, as Ryan pointed out. It's also akin to the way that Elizabeth Warren has raised money. No wine caves for either of them. But her numbers, they'll come out at some point. Could be in the next few minutes. Could be in the next few hours. And her team a week ago trying to sort of set expectations that it doesn't look like they're going to be as strong as they were last quarter.

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. You know, they sort of telegraphed that maybe the number -- the sort of number to beat for them was $20 million, which would be less than she raised last quarter, more than she raised the quarter before that. I think Joe Biden is expected to sort of cross the $20 million mark, but certainly not hit $35 million or nearly $35 million. Look, these are all campaigns that are going to have the resources to

compete through the early states, right? When you look at somebody like Buttigieg, like Warren, like even Andrew Yang, you're looking at people who have the money to make it to South Carolina. The question is, do they have the fundraising muscle to compete beyond that? Could you take a hit in Iowa, take a hit in New Hampshire and keep going? Bernie Sanders clearly has a fundraising operation that can do that for him. It's far from clear that anybody else in the race does.

BERMAN: So let's just give a sense of people -- give people a sense, rather, of where this race stands this morning. The CNN poll, the national poll from a couple weeks ago has Joe Biden out in front at 26 percent, Bernie Sanders at 20 percent, Elizabeth Warren at 16 percent, Buttigieg at 8, Bloomberg at 5. That's the national poll.

We don't have really good recent polling from Iowa. Some of the more recent stuff we have includes the CBS/YouGov poll from Iowa, which basically showed a three-way tie, four-way tie close to the top there.

So, Ryan, where do you see this race? You know, 30,000 foot view.

NOBLES: Yes.

BERMAN: It's 2020. We don't have to call it the 2020 race. It's the now race. Where is it this (INAUDIBLE)?

NOBLES: Well, I'll tell you, the Sanders campaign would look at those numbers, the last poll that you put up, that showed a four-way tie, and make the argument that they have the advantage because of those resources they have at their disposal and because the Iowa caucus requires so much effort to bring people out for four hours on a random Tuesday night. It could be very cold and windy in Iowa. And you've got to have the organization on the ground to make that happen. Remember, Bernie Sanders almost won the Iowa caucus four years ago without those organizational resources at his disposal. And now he has them.

And then the other argument that they would make is that the volume of his donors, he's had, you know, somewhere in the range of 5 million dollar -- 5 million individual contributions. That's not individual donors, but people that have donated individually. They would argue that that shows that there's a level of support for him that's not necessarily reflected in the polls. And they believe that a lot of his supporters are people that have not necessarily participated in the process before. So they're not necessarily getting phone calls from pollsters. So they -- they would love to be able to go into Iowa with a tie because they think that they've got the skin in the game and on the ground to overcome that tie and then, you know, coast to victory.

BURNS: One of the -- one of the most consistent features of the polling in the early states, as Ryan certainly knows, is the candidate whose supporters are least likely to say they are open to changing their mind is Bernie Sanders, right? So when you look at those numbers in Iowa, for Buttigieg, Biden, Warren, you can imagine significant shifts between those three --

HARLOW: That are least open, you said? BURNS: Least open to changing their mind.

HARLOW: Yes, that's a good point.

BURNS: Between those -- you know, the three other candidates at the top of the pack in Iowa and New Hampshire. You can see a lot of movement, you know, Buttigieg to Biden, Biden to Warren, et cetera. Those Sanders folks are really very unlikely to go anywhere else.

NOBLES: And his biggest problem to this point had been growing that base of support.

HARLOW: Yes.

NOBLES: So now if he starts adding people and they get locked in, generally when you decide you're going to support Bernie Sanders, you stick with him. So the idea that he's growing, they feel is a very good sign.

HARLOW: Seung Min, on top of all of that, MJ Lee smartly brought up this point last hour, and that is the fact that Bernie Sanders is not holding the big dollar fundraisers, nothing in wine caves, et cetera, that he has not done that and he has been able to surpass by a long shot here, by $10 million, Pete Buttigieg, who is doing that, and likely some of these others that are about to give their numbers. How significant is that alone?

KIM: I think it's significant in a number of ways. Obviously shows that he will continue to have -- you can continue to reach out to these sources of funding and have the resources for the long run. But also just gives him a good message in the Democratic primary as the issue of campaign finance has become so important to Democratic voters and sort of that purity, if you will, of not taking -- not, you know, doing high dollar fundraisers or not taking donations from certain sources.

And we saw how contentious of an issue that came in the last several weeks, especially in the last Democratic primary when there was the big spat between Mayor Pete and Senator Warren over the wine cave issue.

[07:10:01]

So I think Sanders being able to kind of rise above and that saying, I'm able to raise this amount of money without having to do those high -- spending time with these high dollar donors, and especially as -- as we noted earlier, the Trump campaign releasing pretty sizable numbers this morning, I mean Bernie can point to that saying, I could -- you know, I could be able to match the fundraising prowess of President Trump. And I think that's an important message to get across for Senator Sanders.

BERMAN: All right, there is some breaking news out of Iowa, which is that Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer, who I understand is the second youngest member of Congress besides Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is endorsing Joe Biden for president. So there are three Democratic House members in Iowa, only one has endorsed so far, and it just came this morning. Abby Finkenauer endorsing Joe Biden.

Look, I don't know whether one endorsement means that much or not, but we're waiting for Joe Biden's fundraising numbers. We expect them to be better than last quarters, which were poor for him, Alex.

Where does he sit this morning?

BURNS: Look, I think Abby Finkenauer's endorsement is really important for a couple different reasons. I think it shows where a lot of those vulnerable first term Democrats are inclined to go in this primary. That she was just elected last year. She's got a very tough -- the year before last, I should say. She's got a very tough re-election fight ahead of her.

And for Joe Biden in this last month to be able to crisscross Iowa with her by his side and make the case that he does actually have appeal across the generations, he does actually have appeal to folks who are rising leaders in the party, not just the leaders of yesterday, and to say, look, you know, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have some of these very prominent freshman Democrats like AOC, like Ilhan Omar, like Ayanna Pressley, here I am --

HARLOW: Yes.

BURNS: Campaigning beside a 31-year-old freshman Democratic woman member of the House --

HARLOW: Yes.

BURNS: Who actually has a tough election in front of her, right?

HARLOW: Yes.

BURNS: That's something that none of those others endorsers can claim.

HARLOW: And he endorsed her and she worked for him, volunteered for his campaign there in 2008.

BURNS: Yes. Right. And so he --

HARLOW: Yes.

BURNS: You know, this is I think an underestimated potential strain for Biden in the close of this race. He needs to perform well on the campaign trail in a way that he hasn't always in the past. But if he closes strong, you are going to hear, I think, more voices from those folks who just see him as the safest guy to have at the top of the ticket when they are running for the House.

NOBLES: And he's still been pretty durable, right? He's still leading all the national polls.

BURNS: Sure.

HARLOW: That's a good point.

NOBLES: I mean as much as we tried to write his obituary, Biden is still in a very strong position heading into Iowa.

HARLOW: All right, thank you to all three of you. Happy New Year.

Now to shocking, new images of the damage done to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Take a look at this. OK, this is what the reception area of America's largest embassy looks like this morning. Of course this is after pro-Iranian protesters vandalized it while trying to storm the compound. The immediate threat has subsided, but the Pentagon is still sending hundreds of troops to the region as tension escalates with Iran.

Let's go straight to our Arwa Damon. She joins us this morning live from Baghdad.

Good morning, Arwa.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy.

And, yes, this is a situation that is far from resolved. Those protesters who are not ordinary protesters, worth pointing that out once again, but rather members of or supporters of a Shia paramilitary unit that is ostensibly under the umbrella of the Iraqi security forces, have withdrawn to another location just across the Tigress River from the U.S. embassy.

Kataib Hezbollah, that group that was the target of those U.S. air strikes on Sunday, put out a statement saying that this was done based on an understanding that the Iraqi parliament would, within a week, begin working towards legislation, working towards a bill that would address the U.S. troop presence in Iraq. They continue to state that their main goal of ridding Iraq of all foreign soldiers, all foreign military presence, is going to be their main goal in all of this. And they say that if all else fails, they do have other steps that they can take.

There is this growing concern here over what is unfolding, not just for the stability of Iraq itself, but also when it comes to this proxy battle that we have been seeing unfolding for quite some time now, it must be said, between Washington and Tehran. And there has been rhetoric that has been traded between the Trump administration, President Trump himself on Twitter, as well as senior members within the Iranian military and political apparatus.

One of the top Iranian commanders has effectively told the United States that it should watch its language when it comes to how it is addressing Iran and what it is threatening Iran with, saying that while they are not looking for a war, they are not afraid of one. And also going on to say that they can damage the U.S. a lot more than they already have, John.

[07:15:04]

So you have this extraordinarily tense situation right now in a country that is already very, very fragile.

BERMAN: I think both sides waiting to see the next move. Where does it go next?

Arwa Damon for us in Baghdad. Lucky to have you there. Please stay safe. Thank you for being with us.

David Stern, the long-time commissioner of the NBA, died after suffering a brain hemorrhage. How some of basketball's biggest stars are remembering him. Ernie Johnson from "Inside the NBA" joins us next.

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DAVID STERN, FORMER NBA COMMISSIONER (AUGUST 8, 2014): The reason I'm here is because of thousands of people, thousands of people over the years who have done so much. You're responsible for it and the league is in spectacular shape going forward under the extraordinary leadership of Adam Silver.

Thank you for having me. Good night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: That was then NBA Commissioner David Stern discussing his retirement in 2014.

[07:20:00]

Stern passed away yesterday from a brain hemorrhage. He was 77 years old. Condolences have come in from far and wide.

Joining me now is Ernie Johnson, host of TNT's "Inside the NBA."

Ernie, thanks so much for being with us right now.

Obviously you knew him. Just tell me about the man.

ERNIE JOHNSON, HOST, "INSIDE THE NBA" ON TNT: John, thanks for having me on, and Happy New Year to you.

Yes, he was -- he was a character. And he was an innovator. And he was a visionary. And he was a very demanding commissioner and one of the best to ever hold that, you know, that title in all of sports. He was driven. And I think you can tell just from working with those who worked for him, that he demanded a certain measure of excellence in everything that you did.

And I just -- I just now what he's done for the league. I -- shoot, I've been at TNT for 30 years doing "Inside the NBA," OK, so he was -- he was there that entire time. And I -- you know, I interviewed him at the end of -- at the end of his tenure, which was exactly 30 years to the day from when he began. The way you see the NBA these days, the global impact of the game, the WNBA, the development, the g-league, all of that came from this vision that David Stern had. And so I think when you -- and, you know, when you marvel at some of the young players you see, like the Luka Doncics of the world in Dallas, who's only 20 years old, you know, these are kids who grew up watching David Stern shake the hand of a draftee and said, I want to be that guy. I want to be on that stage when that commissioner shakes my hand.

You know, it was Adam Silver for Luka Doncic, but it was for all those -- LeBron James and the rest. And I think, guys, that's been one of the -- one of the coolest things about the last couple of days is all these players who have posted that picture of draft night, of standing there with David Stern and having a dream realized. He was as much an icon in this as anybody who played the game.

BERMAN: Michael Jordon, who is the preeminent icon of anyone who ever played the game, said, without David Stern, the NBA would not be what it is today. He guided the league through turbulent times and grew the league into an international phenomenon, creating opportunities that few could have imagined before.

Just a few things to give people a sense of how the league exploded during this tenure, and, Ernie, you know this well, a few years before Stern took over, the NBA finals, some of the games were tape delayed. People couldn't even see some of the NBA final games live.

JOHNSON: Yes.

BERMAN: Imagine that now. Talk about the value of the teams, the Bulls sold for $16 million the year he came on, now they're selling for $2 billion. The g-league, as you were saying, the Dream Team, the WNBA, the idea of these international stars. None of that -- none of that existed before David Stern. He really made this cultural phenomenon more than just a sport, or he helped alongside the players like Jordan and Johnson and Barkley over the years make it this international phenomenon.

JOHNSON: It was -- it was the perfect combination. It was the personalities on the floor. It was, you know, it was, you know, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson coming along. And, you know, coming out of the college ranks and bringing their rivalry there. But it was having the man in place, David Stern, who said, OK, now we have these pieces. Now how do we get the best out of this? And -- and he was able to do that with his vision and looking far beyond, you know, the sidelines and far beyond the borders of the United States to say this can be a global phenomenon.

And, you know, he's -- he did exactly that. And he was -- you know, he's a -- he's a tough guy. You know, he -- he's a tough negotiator. He was a lawyer who was -- and who got what he wanted most of the time. But it -- but to me it was never, I'm doing this because this is going to be a feather in my cap or because I want it, it's because this is going to make the league better. This is going to make the product better. So I think he always had, you know, the best of the league at heart and he was so driven to getting the league to that -- to that point. So, I mean, and I've seen that for 30 years' worth now.

BERMAN: I have to let you go, Ernie, because we're out of time here, but these drafts, the NBA draft, he would get booed, like all league commissioners do, but he would get booed every NBA draft.

[07:25:00]

I'm just dying to know what he would tell you about that or how he felt about that.

JOHNSON: I mean he -- you know what, it didn't really bother him. But on draft night it was tough for me, I'll tell you this, John, because, you know, I did the draft for several years and I would, you know, have to throw back to the thing. I'd get a -- I'd get the producer in my ear saying the commissioner is ready with a pick, get it to him.

Meanwhile, I've got Huby Brown (ph), who I'm working with, who is -- who was like Moses coming down from the mountain with the tablets when he talks basketball. I hate to cut him off, but I let him have his say and I said, the commissioner is ready, and I turn back to the podium and he's -- he's waiting impatiently and gives me that look. And then the next time I say, OK, the commissioner is ready, and he stood backstage and would wait about 30 seconds before he'd come out just to see me tap dance and have to fill time and say, like, don't mess with me. When I -- when they say the commissioner's ready with a pick, you get it to me.

HARLOW: Yes.

JOHNSON: So he was that kind of a -- he was that kind of a guy and I'll always remember nights like that. But he was a beauty. He really was. And I'll tell you what, Adam Silver could not have learned from a better mentor than David Stern.

BERMAN: Yes.

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: Ernie Johnson, thanks so much for being with us this morning and helping us remember David Stern, a man who really was in charge for a very long time and did so much. Thanks for being with us. Happy New Year.

JOHNSON: John, thank you very much and right back at you. And my grandkids call my Poppy (ph). So, Poppy, back to Poppy and John.

HARLOW: You know, Ernie, people tell me its their grandkids or their dog are named Poppy. And then there's me.

BERMAN: David Ortiz.

HARLOW: And then there's David Ortiz.

BERMAN: You're in good company.

HARLOW: Big Papi.

BERMAN: You're in good company.

HARLOW: I'm little Poppy.

JOHNSON: You got it. HARLOW: Ernie, that was a beautiful remembrance of David. Thank you for that. We appreciate it.

JOHNSON: You got it. No, it's my pleasure. Have a great new year.

HARLOW: You too.

Ahead, a Republican senator now says she's open to witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial, but listen to her words, when she would want those witnesses, that's really key. We'll discuss, next.

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