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Bernie Sanders Campaign: Elizabeth Warren Got Her "Wires Crossed"; Sanders And Warren Feud Escalates Before CNN Debate; Six Candidates Take Stage Tonight In CNN Iowa Debate; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Announces Impeachment Managers Vote For Tomorrow; Cornyn Urges Donald Trump Not To Pick House Republicans For Legal Defense. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired January 14, 2020 - 12:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Welcome to "Inside Politics." I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

It's debate night for the six leading 2020 Democrats. There are new tensions between progressives Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders while Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar look to sell Iowa Caucus covers on the idea a centrist has the best chance to beat President Trump.

Plus, not just yet House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tells House Democrats they have to wait one more day to find out who she will tap to manage the Senate impeachment trial. And the Senate should have those two articles of impeachment by Wednesday night. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is waiting and he is counting.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Tomorrow will be four weeks - four weeks since House Democrats impeached the President of United States with purely partisan support.


KING: Back to the new impeachment developments in a moment, but we begin with tonight's debate featuring the leading 2020 Democrats. It is the last debate before the first voters are casts and it comes amid a big new fight between the races two leading progressives. Senator Elizabeth Warren yesterday saying Bernie Sanders told her back in December 2018 that in his view, a woman not beat President Trump. Senator Sanders disputes that, says of course a woman can win.

The question now is not just about this episode but the dispute about the details, how that plays out on a debate stage 20 days before the Iowa Caucuses? This race is very, very tight. Progressives are already worried about signs that the Sanders and Warren on aggression pact was about to crack. Let get straight to Iowa, CNN's Arlette Saenz along with POLITICO's Alex Thompson.

Let me start with you, Alex. You've been writing about the tension between camps Warren and camp Sanders. What are we looking for tonight?

ALEX THOMPSON, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: Well, I think over the weekend you saw Warren's team really felt something of a betrayal when the campaign script leaked for volunteers that portrayed her and her supporters as highly affluent and highly educated.

You saw the campaign manager and all of the Warren staff host on social media saying that you know highlighting their own personal stories, that they weren't affluent that they're weren't necessarily highly educated. And the fact that these attacks weren't going public, they weren't on television.

They were campaign scripts for doors, there wasn't a lot of transparency there and then you saw the escalation yesterday when the story of this private meeting where Bernie Sanders allegedly, according to Elizabeth Warren herself, said that he didn't believe a woman could win in 2020.

Now, there was a little bit of back and forth earlier in the morning when the CNN report came out, because the Warren Campaign did not comment for that report. And then Sanders issued a strong denial. Now, he acknowledged that sexism and Trump did come up, but then later in the day we saw that Elizabeth Warren went on the record, and basically we have a he said she said situation, which on a debate stage, is an awkward way to have a conversation between people that have been friends for well over a decade.

KING: And so Arlette, if you're the other candidates - let me just jump in. If you're the other candidates, including Joe Biden, you're looking to make your point. This is the last debate before Iowa votes. But boy you might be thinking let me just step back a little bit and see if these two want to duke it out.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, and what is going to be really interesting is that Joe Biden will be standing on the stage right between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. We've seen that clash developing between Sanders and Warren off stage, but there could also be clashes particularly when it comes to foreign policy.

Foreign policy is going to be front and center at this debate. Really domestic issues have dominated much of the Democratic Presidential Primary. The Biden campaign has been itching for foreign policy to be a focus at these debates. They believe that Biden's decades of experience is really a major selling point for him and that he can make the case that he is best prepared to be Commander in Chief on day one.

But we've also seen Bernie Sanders go after Joe Biden when it comes to that vote he took relating to the Iraq War. Bernie Sanders has brought this up in past debates and he and his campaign have been really hammering away at Biden over and over. We're going to see if there are any further clashes between the two when it comes to foreign policy. Also Pete Buttigieg is going to be on that stage. He's been sliding a bit in Iowa polls so he wants to reclaim his position here in Iowa, and then Amy Klobuchar and Tom Steyer are really looking for breakout moments as we're now 20 days from the Caucuses, John.

KING: 20 days which makes this a very, very big night in Iowa Alex and Arlette I appreciate you're starting your day a bit early to help us understand. Here with me in the studio to share their reporting and their insights Julie Pace with "The Associated Press" CNN's MJ Lee Sahil Kapur with "Bloomberg" and Jackie Kucinich with "The Daily Beast."

MJ I want to start with you, you have the exclusive report yesterday morning about this meeting that Sanders initially denies it the Warren campaign was mum for a bit then the Senator last night did put out a statement confirming what you reported based on sources earlier that at September 2018 meeting they were both feeling each other out.


KING: They know they're going to run or they're likely to run the idea being what are we going to do? Are we going to get along? May be I can get you to blank? May be you can get me to blink? That Senator Warren now says and you reported this first that Bernie Sanders brought up you know what running against Trump I don't think a woman can win. Listen to his Senior Adviser Jeff Weaver of the Sanders Campaign saying oh know, could not have happened that way.


CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: You're on a box now, where either you're saying she is lying or you got to own it and give a context argument which is it?

JEFF WEAVER, SANDERS CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: Well look Chris, I think there were some wires crossed--

CUOMO: What does that mean, wires crossed?

WEAVER: --they had - and so what you're saying is that she said, hey, Bernie, glad to see you. Hi Elizabeth, how are you? Hey, I'm running for President Bernie. Oh, a woman can't win. Is that how the conversation went? I don't think so.


KING: Senator Warren thinks that's how the conversation went.

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Remarkable now that she as Alex was saying has put out this on the record statement right, this is a top Female Democratic candidate running for President now saying on the record that her long time friend and male a top male rival told her over a year ago that he believed a woman could not win.

As to how this is going to play out tonight, though, I think it's very different to put out written statements versus when you are a few feet away from each other. They're going to be separated by a single podium it going to be Joe Biden standing between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

And I think based on the statement that we saw from Warren last night, even though there was that key statement that said, I thought a bottom could win and Bernie Sanders disagreed, the rest of that statement really emphasizes the fact that they have been friends and allies for a long time, that they have a shared vision, that they have worked together for a long time.

I think that really foreshadows that she is not interested in talking anymore about this private meeting than she already has.

JACKIE KUCINICH, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE DAILY BEAST: But here's why your excellent story can leave a mark. It really re-emphasizes some of the issues that Bernie Sanders campaign had during the last campaign, some of the Bernie Bros the swirling sexism that was around him.

Maybe not out of Bernie Sanders' mouth, he obviously there were some clips going around last night of him saying that a woman could be President, but that undertone, that was very much present in the last campaign. That coming back is not good for Bernie Sanders.

KING: You just guaranteed to step a grade after--

LEE: I can't handle this.

JULIE PACE, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, ASSOCIATED PRESS: We have to be honest about this. Anyone who has been out talking to voters over the last year knows that this exact question, can a woman beat Donald Trump, is something that voters have been grappling with really actively.

What's different is that you have a candidate who gave voice to it himself, and I'm curious to see how voters interpret this? Do they say you know what, I'm kind of wondering about the same thing after 2016. Hillary Clinton suffered in part because of sexist attacks her wooden Elizabeth Warren or Amy Klobuchar suffer from the same thing? Or does it turn the other way? And women in particular who really want to vote for a woman, see a woman become President really could go all way around in on one of those two candidates.

KING: To that point, I think the challenges on Senator Sanders to be as clear as he can about his recollection of the conversation. We'll see then if Senator Warren accepts it, or if this is a disagreement or if they just decide we don't want to have this fight on a debate stage at this time. Set this aside a lot of progressives were worried about this.

Number one, that they were taking up so much space that a moderate sneaks through, and number two, that if they did go at each other that it would hurt the progressives but to your point the other woman who will be on the stage tonight is Senator Amy Klobuchar.

Listen to this asked by POLITICO yesterday, do you think, I asked her this country is a country that would vote for a young gay man for President before it would vote for a woman of any kind? She answered my blunt question with a blunt answer. Yes. Does that disappoint you I said? No she said, I think that's the way it is.

This from a woman Senator who has been on the campaign trial for President for months now picking up a lot of this question among even women voters, women Democratic voters were saying, I want to vote for a woman, I want a woman President but having gone through the 2016 experience I'm a little worried.

SAHIL KAPUR, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, BLOOMBERG: Women Democratic voters definitely worry about this but they don't want to hear it from a male Democratic candidate. That's the big thing, they want the male Democratic candidates to use their mega phones to argue that, of course a woman can run, they should run, they should be able to win.

This is an irreconcilable he said-she said right now between Warren and Bernie Sanders. She may not want to talk about it anymore but this is not going to be the end of it. They're basically accusing each other of being liars. The non-aggression pact that they had for a long time is very clearly fizzling and it is escalating.

Are they going to go after each other again? Or are they going to try to rekindle that and say okay, this was a misunderstanding. It didn't come out off in the press as it was really intended. Will Bernie say, I wasn't saying that a woman can't win but that it will be tougher? I don't know what they're going to do but it will have huge implications going ahead.

KING: And I think his answer, again, what does he say? Does he try to clear this up? Does he try to make amends does he try to do anything? We'll dictate what happens next because there are these other disagreements. The Sanders Campaign Alex Thompson's reporting has a script of voters knocking on doors saying Elizabeth Warren she is the candidate my paraphrasing but at the - the affluent like her, she can't build a Democratic Party.


KING: Bernie Sanders and his supporters questioning her purity now on Medicare for all because she's had some changes to her plan. We also know that there will be up those other candidates on the stage. It's the last debate before Iowa. They're going to be trying to duke it out. Biden has been under attack from Sanders' past week for the Iraq War vote something Sanders used against Hillary Clinton. Cory Booker just out of the race says ladies and gentlemen, please?


SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D-NJ): I know these folks. Nobody should be attacking their character. They are deeply good people. I see them in rooms where nobody else sees them. Let's keep it to the issues.


KING: 20 days till Iowa votes, a race that is a four-way cluster at the top between Biden, Sanders, Warren and Buttigieg. Klobuchar has shown some growth. The question is can she get one of those late Iowa surges? Mr. Steyer on the stage as well, he has struggled in the polls but he is enough to get into the debate. The moment tells you look for fireworks but sometimes just because the moment says that the candidates step back?

PACE: This has been a moderately nice Democratic Primary with some few high-profile exceptions because a lot of the candidates look to the Clinton Sanders race from 2016 and say Clinton emerged from that so damaged by the attacks that she took from her own party that they don't want to send their eventual nominee forward with similar damage.

At the same time, they all want to win. You win in part by drawing contrast you don't, to Booker's point, have to necessarily get deeply personal, but this is still a very active contest and the eventual winner is going to have to nudge some of these other people out to claim more voters here.

LEE: And there are many potential match ups that we can imagine coming tonight between any of the candidates that are on stage. I will say though and I'm sure you guys have heard the saying just out on the trial. There is not a lot of enthusiasm among voters when you're talking to them for this kind of infighting.

In fact, there is a deep, deep wariness, whether it is the kind of character attacks or even arguments based on policy. People see that, and they see it as, this is a distraction away from the most important goal and the overarching goal of taking on Donald Trump. They do not want these candidates to be weakened and hurt before November.

KUCINICH: Particularly among the ideological divides, right? This is what we saw in the wake of that story yesterday. You saw that Bernie and Warren camps they kind of - people saying, okay, we just need to work this out. We don't need to be infighting on the progressive left. And there is hope that this would be - he would explain himself, this would be put to bed quickly because those are the two candidates that are carrying that message right now with some success.

KAPUR: Yes, they were Bernie supporters who were lighting up Twitter yesterday with Anti-Warren hash tags, and this really throws a wrench into the hopes of movement progressives that these two would ultimately be on the same page. Some of them have been pushing for one or the other to drop out whoever is behind before Super Tuesday to consolidate the left and take on Biden.

Others want them both to stay in and amass delegates, and between the two of them win a majority of delegates and challenge Biden at the convention even if he's the plurality leader. None of that is going to happen if these two are not on the same page and trying to work together toward some outcome.

KING: It will be interesting to watch. We'll come back to the Democrats in a little bit. Before we go to break, I want to clear this up. I read you something I said was from Senator Amy Klobuchar. I'm now told that it was from a Klobuchar voter at an event. It was handed to me from Senator Klobuchar. We apologize for that error fix this as quickly as we can.

The CNN Presidential Debate, you don't want to miss it. It is in partnership with the Des Moines Register, it begins right here at 9:00 pm CNN. You don't want to miss it. If you have a question for anyone here at the table about the 2020 race, impeachment, any other issue you can tweet us use the #insidepolitics, we will try and time permitting to answer those questions on the back after the show or may be in the podcast. We'll be right back.



KING: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi telling her Anti-Democratic Caucus today hurries up and waits one more day. Pelosi behind closed doors deciding not to tell her own party who will prosecute the case against the President once the Senate begins the impeachment trial this as many House Democrats remain in the dark or in her plans, including some of those who want to impeachment managers.

Pelosi now saying tomorrow is the big when she will finally reveal those managers as part of her resolution that sends the impeachment articles across the Capitol to the Senate. On the Senate floor this morning, the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell once again takes a moment to question the impeachment inquiry.


MCCONNELL: Nothing, nothing in our history or our constitution says a House Majority can pass what amounts to a half-baked censure resolution and then insist that the Senate fill in the blanks. There's no constitutional exception for a House Majority with a short attention span.


KING: CNN's Manu Raju joins us live from Capitol Hill. Manu, what is the biggest takeaway about what happened in that behind closed doors in that Democratic meeting?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she made very clear that she does not approve of the process that Mitch McConnell is now pushing in the Senate trial. She criticized the Majority Leader very aggressively in talking about how it is not a fair trial.

She contended, she's done publicly, that in her view this is all part of an effort to cover up the facts from coming out. And she made that clear because a number of her Democratic colleagues agree. And essentially she defended the decision to withhold the articles of impeachment for some time, the waiting process for about a week from when we initially expected.

But she made it very clear she did that because of the concerns of this process moving forward in the Senate in her view is not happening the way it should. She believes there needs to be witnesses agreed to up front. But she finally did make that decision, John that tomorrow would be the big day when they actually vote to name those impeachment managers, and that is going to set the stage for several things.

One the transmission of those articles of impeachment from the House to the Senate there will probably be a formal enrollment ceremony. The Speaker would actually sign those - that resolution she will sign the articles and kick off that process. Then the impeachment managers, once they're finally named, they'll go across the Capitol, they'll go to the Senate floor, they will read those articles of impeachment on the floor of the Senate to the Senators.


KING: And then we'll see the swearing in of the Senators, the swearing in of the Chief Justice before those opening arguments take place. Probably next week when the House Impeachment Managers makes their case, the defense team makes their case and we could see a resolution here potentially if the President has his way before the State of the Union on February 4. John?

KING: Okay, we've got to wait one more day but then I think things are going to speed up pretty quickly. Manu appreciate the live reporting from Hill. Paul Kane with "The Washington Post: joins our conversation in the studio. While Democrats showed up today, thinking they were going to find out this morning. The Speaker, this is what she does. She holds her cards close until she believes it's time to play them. Why?


PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: There's a sense of drama to it and maybe there are one or two final choices that she's trying to make here. Everybody knows one thing. It will be a diverse set of managers. Last time there were 13 white male Republicans who went across the Capitol from the House. That's not going to be the case this time.

Everybody suspects that Adam Schiff and Jerry Nadler, the chairs of the Intelligence and Judicial Committees respectively will have the more senior posts. Then it's about filling up the line-up card. There will be a mix of people probably from those two committees because they had the big roles on this. You know, it's just one more extra day, you know. What's wrong?


KING: Again, the Republicans were saying she ended up blinking. What did she get from this four four-week hold? There are others who say, well, at least she did get the emails that were released through public information request that showed some of the - about the Ukraine aide being held up and how people were, A questioning whether it was legal and B making was the President to his ordering him to do it. John Bolton raised his hands.

One another factor in the delay it is if you're President and you're trying to figure out who your team is, you know you are going to have to counter the House prosecution team. So it takes another day to get that. Is that a big deal? PACE: I mean, I don't know I'm a little bit with Paul here where I feel like once we get into this, I feel like some of this process that we've been through here will just get wiped away pretty quickly. I do think that this is going to be quite dramatic. We're going to hear from the President's team for the first time, potentially some of these witnesses.

And I think that Pelosi she didn't get a ton out of this process, but she may ultimately look like a victor if a John Bolton ends up before the Senators. I mean, that is something that at the end of the House process looked like it was nowhere in the cards. Now it's at least a possibility. That is something.

KING: Go ahead.

KAPUR: She likely didn't change the outcome of the trial, but one thing Pelosi's advisers were worried about, according to the sources I'm speaking to, is that McConnell would move quickly to spike this. It would either be a dismissal or if not be a very speedy trial late in December, probably around the holidays when people aren't watching, and they really want scrutiny on this.

The way House Democrats are thinking about this is they would like to get a conviction. That is extremely unlikely that still extremely unlikely. And if they don't get that they want to at least make it politically painful for the vulnerable Republicans Senators and support it.

KING: Right.

KAPUR: And this added scrutiny on witnesses and Bolton coming out and saying it might achieve a little bit--

KUCINICH: And when this started Republicans were in the Senate were pretty hard against witnesses and now there's some talk about perhaps having some there is no promises or anything but there is a lot of talk about voting on them and well perhaps having them. So that's something else that you hear some Pelosi folks pointing out.

KING: Well, I want to go back to that witness question and likelihood of it whether we're just getting some smart politics some Republicans.

KUCINICH: Not impossible.

KING: Not impossible a bit later in the program. But to your point there, the President for weeks and weeks has said, I want a trial. He said he wants to call Joe Biden he wants to call Hunter Biden he wants to call the whistleblower. McConnell has no interest in that most Republicans have no interest in that.

Rand Paul tweeting out you knows they well if the Democrats are going to call witnesses, we might do that. But to your point about quick dismissal of late, the President suddenly said, let's dismiss this quickly. Roy Blunt member of McConnell's lead of senior Senators says, I think I am safe in saying there is almost no interest in a motion to dismiss. Certainly there are not 51 votes for a motion to dismiss. So we know it when the President doesn't get what he wants, especially in a setting where he thinks Republicans were supposed to have the power to do as he wishes, he can get annoyed.

KAPUR: But who knows what he really wants? He started off saying he wants a big, long trial calling in Joe Biden, calling Hunter Biden. Then he said he wants a speedy trial. Now he's saying he want a dismissal. Republicans Senators and Republican House members always have this problem where the President is saying all many, many different things at once. Who knows what he is going to be tomorrow?

KANE: And McConnell's team, they have been very, very - on this. They were never going to be able to dismiss this right away right out of the gate. They left open the possibility after the presentations maybe having a dismissal vote. That probably won't happen, but this idea of dismissing right out of the gate, they just - everybody wants to have some sort of trial.


KING: And the other issue, as I mentioned this could be a factor in Pelosi holding out a little bit, as we know the President watches television. We know the President likes drama. We know the President loves it when his defenders in the hearing stood up and defended him. The ones who fought furiously most of them didn't want to deal with the facts.

They just wanted to question the Democrats. So who is on the President's defense team? We know it will be lead by Pat Cipollone his White House Counsel. We know his Personal Attorney Jay Sekulow will be part of it, we know some of Cipollone's deputies will be part of it.

But Rudy Giuliani there are reports in recent days is trying to get on the team? Give me a break. Anyone thinks that's really jump in? But Senator John Cornyn again joining his Leader Mitch McConnell and trying to send a message to the White House.

I think the President is entitled to a defense counsel of his choosing. My advice to him would be, let's not infect the Senate trial with the circus-like atmosphere of the House. In other words, no Jim Jordon, no John Ratcliffe does not send over House Republicans to - the Senate hates the House anyway, that's an old tradition. But what does that mean?

PACE: I would love the House Senate rivalry when it burst into the spot light like that. I think that one other things that we have heard from Senate Republicans is that they know not just externally but internally within their own caucus that the persuadable members they are the more

And they are not going to be swayed by a Jim Jordan. They're just not, their politics are so different. What you're seeing inside in terms of the key swing Senators and what you're seeing outside in terms of the voters that need to be persuaded that the President did nothing wrong really argues for a more measured, less political case. And I think the President might not like this, but if you look at the reality of the evidence that is before him, it probably does work in his favor to have a more measured case because if you start getting this kind of tied up in some of the kind of conspiracy theories, it really, I think, sends this into a place that he and his team actually don't want to be.

KUCINICH: And there will be enough about it on the outside. And the President will be watching that as well and trying to interject that during the trial, and it will be up to his attorneys to try to keep that on the periphery and not inside that chamber.

KAPUR: And don't forget the Retiring Institutionalists like Lamar Alexander and Mike Enzi who don't want one of their last acts to be a circus-like trial when they don't have to go before the voters again.

KING: It is going to be a discipline challenge for the President - I'll leave it at that. As we go to break, a development that doubles a bit as a warning sign about 2020. The Russians are still hacking and still intent to interfere in the 2020 election. Cyber Security Researchers say Russian Military hackers breached the network of Burisma Holdings.

You'll remember Burisma is that company Hunter Biden was a board member. The hacking, according to "The New York Times," began in early November. The Russians infiltrated the company's systems by setting up websites that mimicked once Burisma employee would normally use. It is unclear what information the hackers were harvesting or trying to harvest or what they were after? We'll be right back.