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Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) Open To Witnesses In Senate Trial; Signs Of Hope Amid Grim Gun Violence Statistics; Civil Rights Icon John Lewis Diagnosed With Pancreatic Cancer. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 2, 2020 - 07:30   ET

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


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[07:31:29]

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SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I am open to witnesses. I think it's premature to decide who should be called until we see the evidence that is presented and get the answers to the questions that we senators can submit through the chief justice to both sides.

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POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: That is Republican Sen. Susan Collins talking about President Trump's Senate impeachment trial if there is one. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell wants a quick trial that he says will be in total coordination with the White House.

Joining me now, CNN political commentators and former Republican congressman Charlie Dent, and former Republican senator Rick Santorum. Happy New Year, gentlemen.

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. SENATOR, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Happy New Year.

HARLOW: Thanks for getting up early for us.

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Happy New Year, Poppy.

HARLOW: So, Congressman Dent, let me begin with you because as I understand, you know Susan Collins quite well. Obviously, both of you -- Rick, you served in the Senate as well.

But let me start with you Congressman because if you actually listen to her words it's -- she -- it sounds like she's actually in total agreement on the witnesses part of this with Mitch McConnell because she's saying wait until the middle of a trial and then see who you need to call. Is that how you hear it?

DENT: Yes. It seems to me that Sen. Collins certainly supports bringing witnesses to this trial. The only question for her is the timing and who. HARLOW: Yes.

DENT: So I think she wants to hear all the facts and see the evidentiary record before calling some of these witnesses. But I think we all know who those witnesses will likely be. People like chief of staff Mulvaney, perhaps Pompeo, Esper, Bolton, Blair, Duffey, others. So, I mean, it's pretty clear who the witnesses will be. She's just, I think, quibbling about the timing.

HARLOW: It sounds like you think the witnesses will be called. Do you?

DENT: Well, I think they should -- I think there at least should be some witnesses called. Maybe they should be video depositions like they did during the Clinton trial. Rick knows certainly a lot more about that than I do.

But bottom line is I think there should be witnesses. I think that's why we're having a trial here. I think -- and I don't think the Senate should rush this thing the way the House rushed their proceeding just to meet an arbitrary deadline of Christmas.

HARLOW: Well, Sen. Santorum, given "The New York Times" reporting, especially by Maggie Haberman, Mark Mazzetti, and others, revealing that Oval Office meeting with Pompeo, Esper, and Bolton at the end of August raises even more questions.

Do you agree with the congressman? Should there be witnesses? Should it be those men?

SANTORUM: Yes, I think there very well may be witnesses. I highly doubt any of the people that Charlie mentioned are going to be -- are going to be called as witnesses.

I think what most senators believe is that the House has the duty to make the case. They are the ones that put together the record and the record will be what the House put together. You know, it's not the duty of the Senate to do their job and to -- and to further investigate things.

What the second charge is all about is the fact that these people didn't testify and that -- and they -- and that those records weren't made available.

HARLOW: Yes.

SANTORUM: So, you know, there's a double-edged sword for Democrats when it comes to that second charge -- number one, having these witnesses come. But even if they would come there might be, again, resistance on the part of these people to come and testify.

And again, do you want --

HARLOW: Yes.

SANTORUM: -- to drag this out for another however long it takes the court to do it? I don't think the Senate is going to want to do that.

So I think it's unlikely that these people will testify and, you know, we'll have a trial that will be sort of a rehash of what the House record is.

HARLOW: Rick, if you were still in the Senate, who would your key questions be for -- meaning, what witness or witnesses would you want to be called?

[07:35:02]

SANTORUM: Yes. Again, if you look at the two separate charges that are -- that are leveled out there, the second one is on obstruction of justice. There really isn't a whole lot of witnesses there to call. I mean, it's -- that's just a legal matter -- a dispute between the two branches of government, so I'm not sure there's any witnesses that would be appropriate in that case.

On the first matter, again, all the -- all the people that testified in the House, their record is pretty clear. There may be additional questions.

That's what happened back in 1999. We had depositions. We had --

HARLOW: Yes.

SANTORUM: -- the Ken Starr report. But there were additional questions of the witnesses that were on the record for the House impeachment and we wanted to dig in a little bit more.

I think that's more likely going to be the case in the Senate when those witnesses are called.

HARLOW: All right. Well, someone who will be in focus in the Senate trial is the chief justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts. He will have a key role in that. He will have -- could have a lot of power to compel some folks to talk.

Let me ask you both about what he said in his end-of-the-year statement that he put out. He does this every year. Two years ago it was about defending the independence of the judiciary. Last year was in the midst of the MeToo movement.

This year, here's a line that struck Berman and I a lot in his remarks. Quote, "In our age when social media can instantly spread rumors and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government and the protections it provides is even more vital."

Do you think, Congressman Dent, there was any message in there that he was sending, perhaps, to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

DENT: Well, I think that's quite likely. And, hey, good for John Roberts for standing up and defending democracy, in defending democratic institutions, for defending an independent judiciary -- you know, a free media, rule of law. He should be doing those things because those institutions are under assault not just in this country but throughout the world, and so I think it's important that John Roberts say that.

And by the way, on a personal note, my father and John Roberts worked together at Bethlehem Steel, right here at the plant.

HARLOW: Oh, wow.

DENT: I'm sitting right next to the plant where they had worked for years in the early 80s. So --

HARLOW: Wow.

DENT: -- I just wanted to share that.

HARLOW: Wow, yes. That's a great -- I had no idea.

What about you, Sen. Santorum? I mean, the fact that he chooses his words very carefully and especially in his end-of-the-year choice of what message to send.

SANTORUM: Yes, I --

HARLOW: So how important is it to hear that from him?

SANTORUM: Well, I -- let me talk about the broader message first, which I think is actually a message to members of the judiciary for getting involved in political decisions and not having the rule of law be the guide of what you do.

And I think you say -- you saw a lot of judges in the -- in the past year or two make decisions that looked to be more personal against this president and not necessarily based on the law. So I think there was -- there was a little bit of a -- you know, a slap at some of those judges.

And I would agree that the social media slap certainly was directed at the president.

So I think it was as a judge should be, evenhanded in its -- in meting out the criticism.

HARLOW: There you go. Gentlemen, thank you very, very much. We've got a busy week ahead and a busy year ahead. We'll be seeing you a lot -- appreciate it.

SANTORUM: I think so, yes.

HARLOW: Happy New Year.

SANTORUM: Happy New Year.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right.

A new decade means a new opportunity for cities to take on new challenges, including gun violence. New challenges that have existed for a long time, as well. We'll tell you some of the new tactics to keep the streets safer, next.

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BERMAN: Gun violence numbers grim nationwide last year but there were signs of progress in some cities, including Chicago.

CNN's Omar Jimenez joins us live from Chicago now to explain -- Omar.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, as you know, President Trump has frequently made Chicago a punching bag of his, but this is now the third year in a row that we are seeing double-digit declines in violent crime percentagewise. There are other cities, however, who were hoping to use the start of this new year, this new decade to try and reset what has become a violent narrative.

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JIMENEZ (voice-over): While mass shootings, at times, leave the country in disbelief, in places like Baltimore and Chicago, gun violence is a grim part of life.

CHARLIE BECK, INTERIM CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: What people think of as traditional policing has to be much smarter, has to be much more focused.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Former Los Angeles police chief Charlie Beck is now the interim police superintendent in Chicago, a city that ended 2019 with a more than 10 percent drop in murders for a third year in a row, and down more than 30 percent since a spike in 2016 that saw more killings than New York and L.A. combined.

JIMENEZ (on camera): What are some of the questions that you get about the city of Chicago, about crime in Chicago, and how do you answer those questions?

BECK: To be brutally honest, you know, it's still not safe enough. Five hundred homicides is -- even though that's a nice milestone, it's way too many.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): But it's not just policing. Even hospitals are trying to break this deadly cycle, taking the time to sit with shooting victims and evaluate the direction of their lives.

CAROL REESE, VIOLENCE PREVENTION COORDINATOR, DEPARTMENT OF TRAUMA, JOHN H. STROGER, JR. HOSPITAL OF COOK COUNTY: We use this unique opportunity to really drill down with people on not only their risk factors but their hopes, their dreams, their emotional experience of being injured.

[07:45:02]

JIMENEZ (on camera): The goal is not to see them again?

REESE: The goal is not to see them again, ever. JIMENEZ (voice-over): They're among the tactics being used in cities across the country trying to change what has become, in some places, an unshakable narrative.

Often among the highest murder rates of big U.S. cities, New Orleans has made progress, seeing its third consecutive drop in homicides last year. But, St. Louis, which had the highest murder rate of big U.S. cities in recent years, saw an increase in homicides compared to 2018. And, Baltimore ended the year with the second-most homicides they've had on record, just under 350. Cities like New York and Los Angeles didn't even hit that mark and they have more than five times the people.

MAYOR BERNARD "JACK" YOUNG, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND: We can talk all day about what to do after someone is killed, but we must also have the heard conversation about why the perpetrators of violence have no regards for human life.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Baltimore is now one of seven cities within the Department of Justice's Operation Relentless Pursuit, an initiative aimed at combatting violent crime.

And in Washington, Congress approved millions for federal research into gun violence for the time in over 20 years. Federal and city efforts meant to go hand-in-hand at the dawn of the new decade.

BECK: I know it seems difficult when you're -- when you're in the middle of this, but I have nothing but the most positive belief in the outcome of what we're doing.

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JIMENEZ: And if there was ever a reminder as to how much work still needs to be done and the stakes of the work, just yesterday in St. Louis, literally hours into 2020, the city now reporting five homicides in total -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Wow -- oh, that's tragic. It is very encouraging though to see what is happening now for three straight years in terms of the turnaround in Chicago. Let's hope it continues.

Omar, thank you for the reporting.

Civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, in the fight of his life. His legacy of courage in the battle ahead, next.

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[07:51:01]

BERMAN: Support continues to pour in for civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis after he announced he was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Lewis, who famously marched alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, says he will begin treatment in the coming days. Joining me now is Prof. Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University. He is the author of the new book, "JAY-Z: Made in America." And we're going to get to that book in just a second, professor.

But first, you know, Congressman Lewis, he writes, "I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done. I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the beloved community. We still have many bridges to cross.

I wonder what your reaction was when you heard the news about Congressman Lewis.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, AUTHOR, "JAY-Z: MADE IN AMERICA": Well, he's an extraordinary American -- a great American hero. A man who was born in poverty in Alabama, the son of sharecroppers.

Went to college in Tennessee and became one of the first students involved in the student sit-in movement. Eventually went on to become, at 23 years old, head of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

Joined with the Big Six leaders, including Whitney Young and A. Philip Randolph, and Dorothy Height, and James Farmer with Martin Luther King Jr. to helm the march on Washington. He was the youngest speaker, 23 years old -- the only living speaker from that day.

There he went on, of course, famously, to be involved with Selma and to be bloodied in his attempt to get public transportation in this nation desegregated as a Freedom Rider -- one of the first 13.

And then, of course, after that in 1987, being elected to Congress, now in his 17th term.

This man is an American heroic figure. And when you contrast his statesmanship -- being on the front line, having received blows in defense of freedom, trying to make sure that America could become all that it was meant to be -- in his own body, he suffered for the redemption of this nation.

And when you contrast that kind of high-minded, morally-sensitive leadership to what we have now it is even more the case that people around the globe embrace John Lewis, pray for him, want him to continue to survive and thrive because he represents the best of who we are as a people.

BERMAN: You know, what struck me when I heard the news is that there are generations of Americans and of people around the world who haven't been alive --

DYSON: Right.

BERMAN: -- in a civil rights struggle without John Lewis. There are generations and members of Congress who haven't been there without John Lewis to serve as a bit of a moral guidepost there. DYSON: That's a great point.

BERMAN: And I think sometimes that can be taken for granted.

DYSON: That's an excellent point. He is, after all, the conscience of the Congress. And you're so right. People don't know any other Congress without him, any other struggle for civil rights without him.

He is a powerful symbol of what is achievable when Americans put their hands to the plow, so to speak. When they look forward and refuse to ignore the vicious white supremacy social injustice and economic inequality -- the struggle against all forms of oppression, no matter what its face looks like.

So, John Lewis represents for so many millions who have never known a day on this earth without his extraordinary struggle, without his eloquent articulation, of the very fundamental premise of American justice and democracy.

And think about it. He was -- he gave a speech in 1963 at the March on Washington. They had to edit that speech. He was disappointed that the Kennedy administration had not been more vocal. He wanted to talk about the '64 civil rights bill that didn't include provisions about police brutality or voting.

So he was a revolutionary figure from a young man and yet, he has matured into one of the great American leaders and statesmen because of his willingness and his ability to face the problems we confront, but to do it with love, and to do it with justice, and to do it with balance and unquestionable courage.

[07:55:00]

BERMAN: Let me ask you about your book which came out last month, "JAY-Z: Made in America." This springs out of the class that you've been teaching at Georgetown for some time. And we should note that Jay-Z just turned 50, so happy birthday.

DYSON: Right, exactly.

BERMAN: You've chosen this as an area of academic research, in a way, to discuss, I think, so many broader issues. Why?

DYSON: Well, no, it's a great point. Because hip-hop is -- and this conversation is not discontinuous between one J (John Lewis) and another J (JAY-Z) because hip-hop culture has been a lens for American society.

It has been a prism through which we have refracted the light of American ambition -- desire economically, wanting to be up on the come-up, trying to get money, trying to make meaning. How do you deal with the suffering you see around you? How do you put words to the horror that you confront?

Jay-Z has been one of the most brilliant, articulate spokespeople for those whose backs are against the wall and who have been trying to talk about issues in American culture. Not only their money, not only their pocketbook when it's important -- Jay-Z is now a billionaire -- but police brutality. Bin Laden been happening in Manhattan back then -- back when police was al Qaeda to black men, he says.

So here's a figure who has not only talked about money and cash and that kind of thing, he's also spoken about criminal justice reform, economic inequality, social injustice. How it is to be a poor black person growing up in Brooklyn without resources that the society then judges these young people for.

So both of these figures, in that way, have used the resources that God gave them to amplify ideals and ideas that are critical to the reformation of American society.

BERMAN: We've got just about a minute. And you eluded to something right there, which is Jay-Z is now a multibillionaire and something of a corporate icon.

That you say, "While it's true that Jay-Z has matured politically over the years, his obsession with hustling and his unabashed capitalist aspirations may have blunted our appreciation for how 'woke' he's been from the start."

What do you mean?

DYSON: He's been woke from the very beginning. I mean, he's talked about slavery, he's talked about criminal justice, he's talked about the unfairness of being young and black and poor. He's a person who has matured. Think about his progress from "Big Pimpin'" -- a song he's celebrating the kind of bacchanalia of toxic masculinity to apologizing to his wife for infidelity.

This is a man who was taken on in public an extraordinary range of issues and in his own life revealed to us what the consequences are when a mature estimation of yourself matches your ability to change and transform and to inspire millions of others who look up to you.

BERMAN: Professor Michael Eric Dyson, it's always a pleasure to speak with you. The book is "JAY-Z: Made in America." Thanks so much for being with us this morning and we hope you have a wonderful new year.

DYSON: Thank you, sir. Happy New Year to you as well.

HARLOW: I'm actually really looking forward to reading that book.

BERMAN: You can't read my copy.

HARLOW: Well, I know. I ordered my own on Amazon. But I interviewed Jay-Z three times and what always struck me is I think a lot of people just assume they know his political views, et cetera. And he had a -- you know, he's very politically involved and a ton to say about the systems that we have and how taxpayer money should be used, and how best to help bring people up.

BERMAN: Maybe you can audit the class. We can get you in.

HARLOW: I would actually love that. Love to sit in the back there.

All right, thank you for watching. To our international viewers watching, for you, "CNN NEWSROOM" with Max Foster is next.

For our U.S. viewers, we have big, breaking news in the 2020 presidential race. NEW DAY continues right now.

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BERMAN: Sen. Bernie Sanders raised a huge amount of money last quarter -- $34.5 million.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a holy moly number from Bernie Sanders.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is largely an online operation fueled by small-dollar donations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a number we don't expect the other candidates to beat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are two global crises that are escalating for President Trump.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is Iranian- backed terrorism that have threatened American interests.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a careful show of political force that could have gotten a lot more violent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump sends mixed messages when it comes to Iran, in particular, and in other areas of foreign policy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

BERMAN: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, January second. It's 8:00 in the east.

Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow joins me for the second morning of 2020. How's it going for you, so far?

HARLOW: Very excited for this year.

BERMAN: I just -- you know, first of all, it's an even number.

HARLOW: You, too.

BERMAN: It's a lot easier for me to remember, right? Number two, there's a presidential election this year.

HARLOW: It's going to be slow.

BERMAN: Yes, and I don't have to pretend that it's not an election year.

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: Like, we've been pretending oh, the election's not close --

HARLOW: But it's here.

BERMAN: -- and now it's here.

HARLOW: This is it.

BERMAN: It is.

HARLOW: Iowa is a month away. And we begin with big, breaking news, especially for Sen. Bernie Sanders. His campaign announces a whopping $34.5 million fundraising haul in the final quarter of the year.

BERMAN: Yes, $34 million in the three months that began with a heart attack for Bernie Sanders. So think about that -- he raised $34 million. Three months ago people were wondering whether he'd even stay in the race.

END