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THE SITUATION ROOM
Pelosi Sets Vote Tomorrow On Sending Articles Of Impeachment To Senate; McConnell: Trump Impeachment Trial May Start Next Week; House Dems Consider Giuliani Associate's Evidence For Senate Trial; Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY) Is Interviewed About Senate Impeachment Trial; Sanders Plans Attack On Biden's Foreign Policy; NYT: Russia Hacked Ukrainian Company Tied To Bidens; Democratic Candidates Hold Final Debate Before Iowa Caucuses; House Committees Sending Additional Evidence To Senate From Giuliani Associate; Six Democratic Candidates Face Off Tonight In Critical CNN Debate. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired January 14, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: And you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @jaketapper. You can tweet the show @theleadcnn. Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks for watching, I'll see you tomorrow.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, all eyes for Iowa for the CNN Democratic presidential debate. The final debate for the first contest of the Democratic primary. Wolf Blitzer is preparing to moderate tonight's event here in De Moines, I'm Anderson Cooper in "The Situation Room."
In just under four hours, six Democrats will have one final chance to make their case to Iowa voters on that debate stage right behind me.
We're also following a dramatic day in Washington where House Democrats are finally prepared to send over the articles of impeachments to the Senate. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi is almost ready to reveal the team of lawmakers who will present the case against the President.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell now saying that the trial could begin one week from today.
First, we want to go to our Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju on Capitol Hill for the latest on all of that.
Manu, give us an update?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. We expect the arguments to begin in the President's impeachment trial to occur starting on Tuesday when Democrats in the House will make the case about why they believe the President should be removed from office.
And the first procedural step to set up that trial will occur tomorrow when the House takes a formal vote to name those impeachment managers. We don't know who those managers are yet. Nancy Pelosi has not said who they were. But after that vote occurs, that's when the ceremonial steps will take place, the procedural steps including the managers delivering those articles of impeachment to the Senate reading from those articles themselves. And then afterwards after a few days of process matters, then those arguments will actually be heard by the American public.
Now, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority leader is hesitant to put a time frame on this, and he is not saying whether he support actually having witnesses ultimately come and testify, but when he talked about this today, he made clear that this, the arguments in the case will start to occur on Tuesday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MAJORITY LEADER: The House is likely to finally send the articles over to us tomorrow. And we'll be able to -- we believe if that happened, in all likelihood, go through some preliminary steps here this week. We hope to be able to achieve that by consent which would set us up to begin the actual trial next Tuesday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Now, Anderson, behind the scenes House Democrats are poring through reams of material that had been provided to the House Intelligence Committee by an indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. They're trying to determine whether or not this material that Parnas has provided, the committee would be -- could be use in the Senate impeachment trial.
He's provided photographs, documents, other things about his involvement with Rudy Giuliani. Giuliani, of course, is a central character in this impeachment saga as the President dispatch his personal attorney push forward on Ukraine policy, push for investigations into the President's political rivals. So the ultimate question is whether Democrats had any new information that they plan to provide, but they do plan to provide a record of everything they plan to present in trial in the days ahead as they set up this dramatic trial which could potentially extend beyond the state of the union.
The White House, Anderson, want this wrapped up by the State of the Union, but the Republican senators tonight aren't sure if it can be done in that time frame. Anderson.
COOPER: All right. Manu Raju. Manu, thanks very much.
Now to the White House, CNN's Jim Acosta has the latest on President's Trump --
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
COOPER: -- preparations for his trial in the Senate.
Jim, it does not look like the President is going to get the swinney dismissal that he's been asking for.
ACOSTA: That's right, Anderson. White House officials are scrambling to limit the potential for damaging revelations of President Trump's upcoming impeachment trial in the Senate. First day (ph) to the President and his allies up on Capitol Hill were pushing the idea of a quick dismissal of the trial, but it looks like that's not going to happen. Now the President's team is hopeful for a trial without any witnesses who could hurt Mr. Trump. But that is very much an open question.
ACOSTA (voice-over): With President Trump's impeachment trial fast approaching aides to the President had been quietly pushing an idea opposed by even some Republicans, killing the whole thing altogether with the vote to dismiss the proceeding.
HOGAN GIDLEY, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Whether this thing is going to a full trial, whether it's modified or whether it's just dismissed out of hand for the sham, illegitimate scam it has become, we will be ready.
ACOSTA: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is rejecting a quick dismissal, the move could imperil vulnerable Republicans up for re- election, not to mention why in the face of what the President has said for weeks that he wants a trial with witnesses.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm going to leave it for the Senate, but I'd like to hear the whistle-blower. I'd like to hear shifty Schiff, I'd like to hear Hunter Biden and Joe Biden.
ACOSTA: The problem is the President and his allies are threatening to block potentially damaging witnesses like former National Security Advisor, John Bolton, even as a small number of Republican senators want to hear that testimony. Democrats are insisting former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was right to delay, sending the articles of impeachment over to the Senate.
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) MINORITY LEADER: Some of the Republicans are now beginning to say, maybe we need witnesses and documents. Had Nancy sent the stuff right over, and McConnell moved to dismiss, who knows what would have happened.
ACOSTA: Other witnesses want to get in on the act, including Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. An attorney for Parnas twitted out this video, trolling the President, showing his client in photos with Trump family members with the #letlevspeak.
As for Giuliani, a central figure in the administration's alleged scheme to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine, his been pressing Mr. trump for a spot on the impeachment legal team.
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: I do what I do best. I tried the case. I'd love to try the case.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you dealing back the Ukraine?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to or you're telling us --
GIULIANI: Well, I don't know if anybody would have the courage to give me the case.
ACOSTA: But a source close to the White House told CNN, "The President is never going to have him in the Senate trial, starting with the problem that he is a potential witness."
A new potential headache has emerged for the President in Ukraine as "The New York Times" is reporting Russian military operatives hacked into Burisma, the energy giant where Biden's son Hunter once served as a company board member. The administration critic say the hacking is proved the Russians are at it again in 2020.
JAMES, CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The effort they expended and what they gained in 2016 and we really haven't handled that badly, so, why not from their standpoint.
ACOSTA: Democrats are still hammering the President over Iran, seizing on the reports that Mr. Trump was privately talking up the idea of a military strike of the Iranians in the holidays.
President contender Elizabeth Warren is senator questioning whether guest at President Trump's resort may have obtained confidential market-moving information and had the opportunity to trade defense industry stocks or commodities.
Publicly, Mr. Trump was calling for peace.
TRUMP: Do I want to know? I want to have peace. I like peace. And Iran should want peace more than anybody. So I don't see that happening.
ACOSTA: Now one big potential hiccup imposed by the Senate impeachment President Trump is scheduled to deliver his state of the union speech address in three weeks. But at the moment, White House official say there are no plans to delay that speech with one official noting former president Bill Clinton appeared at his 1999 state of the union during his impeachment trial. President Trump's trial is scheduled to begin as he heads off to the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland. The White House says at this point, Anderson, he is still going. Anderson.
COOPER: Well, all right. Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
We want to discuss all of the latest developments with Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
Congressman, take us through what's going to happen tomorrow as the House votes to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate. REP. SEAN PATRICK MALONEY (D-NY): Well, it's a solemn day. I've lived through this on the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, I was the White House staff secretary, and actually received the Sergeant of Arms of the Senate when the articles were served on the President.
The House will formally transmit the articles of impeachment tomorrow, those would be physically carried from the chamber right down the and they are going to be physically carried from the chamber right down the hall here to the other end of the capitol. And those occasions have the way of bringing home the gravity of the situation.
This is a President who was impeached forever on the pages of history, who deserves it. And tomorrow starts the process of finding out whether the Senate will take their constitutional duties seriously.
I'm encouraged, by the way, and it really bores out the strategy that the Speaker has pursued to let this air out a little bit. And you're seeing now, the members of the United States Senate demand something approaching a real trial.
COOPER: What is, I mean, do you actually think something was accomplished by Speaker Pelosi holding back this?
MALONEY: Absolutely, yes. I mean, I think it's been overstated a little. We did have the holidays and a lot of days off around here in between.
So there's been no real loss of time, but allowing it to air out, and allowing it to marinade a little bit in the public mind, I think, has created the release of very important information from the administration, we've seen that. More information has come out, all of it damning to the President
We've seen people like Mr. Parnas start to move closer towards revealing what they know. Mr. Bolton has said he wants to testify. And now you've seen multiple members of the United States Senate Republicans talking about how they're open to witnesses. That wasn't true a couple of weeks ago. So as usual, the speaker is half a step ahead.
COOPER: If the House Speaker asked you to be an impeachment manager, would you say yes?
MALONEY: Absolutely. I'd be honored to do it. But that's her decision. And she doesn't need any help from me. She's got a lot of good choices.
COOPER: What are you hearing about moderate Republicans and their willingness or potential willingness to call witnesses in the Senate trial, do you think there are actually are enough Republicans who might back the idea of the witnesses?
MALONEY: I think this is a dynamic. And I think when your project is to keep the truth from coming out, you're always on thin ice. And the road that Mitch McConnell has set down is a difficult one. He's asking a bunch of members of the United States Senate to pretend like you can have a trial without any evidence, that you can have a trial without any witnesses. But the Americans know better than that, and we all know what a trial is supposed to be.
Why would you have a trial? Why would the Founders of the Constitution lay out a trial in the Senate if not for the opportunity to have witnesses, for the opportunity to see documents and evidence. Everyone knows that's what a trial is. Everything else is a cover-up, plain and simple. And so it's a hard thing Mitch McConnell is doing to ask senators like Mitt Romney or Lamar Alexander or people maybe with political vulnerability like Susan Collins to engage in some sham process.
And I that as this thing starts to develop and more information comes out, that make it harder and harder. So I have not given up on a real trial happening in the Senate. But I am proud that the House has done its constitutional duty.
COOPER: An attorney for Lev Parnas who is Rudy Giuliani's indicted associate has turned over thousands of pages of documents to the House impeachment investigators, you're on the House Intelligence Committee, can you tell us anything about the contents of those documents?
MALONEY: You know, I don't think it'd be appropriate to comment on that at this stage. I think there is a process going on where I think the staff is trying to define the importance of that information in a professional way. And there are some other equities and sensitivities involved with a criminal proceeding to sensitive issue. But obviously Mr. Parnas has important information potentially, and so it's appropriate to go down that process of discovery with him. And it underscores the need to have a full airing of the facts and the evidence in the Senate.
COOPER: Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, thank you very much.
MALONEY: My pleasure.
COOPER: Coming up next, we got a preview tonight's Democratic debate, six leading candidates on the stage together for the final time before the Iowa caucuses. And how the campaign be affected by President Trump's impeachment trial which is likely to start next Tuesday. More ahead.
COOPER: We're just hours away from CNN's Democratic presidential debate here in Des Moines, Iowa. Wolf Blitzer is preparing to moderate tonight's event, the final debate before the Iowa caucuses.
Our Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny is joining me now with a preview. What are you expecting? JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, there is no question that we've seen debates before. We've not seen a debate like this.
The biggest change going into this is the acrimony between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, that is the potential to change the dynamic. One liberal activist said it looks like mom and dad are fighting. But that's not all, also foreign policy will be front and center in this debate.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Function of health care --
ZELENY (voice-over): Tonight, new tensions among the leading Democratic presidential candidates as they take the stage for one last debate before voting begin in the party's primary fight.
Long time liberal allies, Bernie Sanders Elizabeth Warren are suddenly sparring over a comment Warren says Sanders made during a private meeting in 2018 that woman couldn't beat President Trump.
In a statement Monday night, Warren said, "I thought a woman could win. He disagreed."
When CNN first reported the exchange, Sanders dismissed it as ludicrous and suggested she or her campaign were lying. And even after Warren confirmed it, a top Sanders adviser suggested she was wrong.
JEFF WEAVER, SANDERS CAMPAIGN SENIOR ADVISER: There's some wires crossed here, but clearly Bernie Sanders did not say that a woman could not win.
ZELENY: As that remarkable feud plays out, Joe Biden will be in the middle, literally standing between Warren and Sanders. Those three rivals and Pete Buttigieg are all locked in an extraordinarily close race just 20 days before the Iowa caucuses.
The latest CNN/Des Moines Register Iowa poll shows that only 40 percent of likely caucus scores have picked the candidate, with 45 percent saying they could still change their minds.
JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a real toss-up. And the last couple of weeks here is makes a gigantic difference.
ZELENY: Biden is trying to break out of the pack and is making the case in a new ad tonight that he's the strongest candidate to take on Trump.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got Joe Biden on his mind, because Trump knows Biden will beat him in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, the states we need to take back the presidency.
ZELENY: Biden is touting his experience on the world stage, but that long record is facing new scrutiny as foreign policy is suddenly front and center. Sanders intends to aggressively challenge the former vice president on this front, his aides tell CNN as he's been doing since the Iran crisis escalated.
SANDERS: Joe Biden voted and helped lead the effort for the war in Iraq. The most dangerous foreign policy blunder in the modern history of this country.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Where are we?
ZELENY: Amy Klobuchar is looking for her own breakout moment, selling herself as a Midwest moderate who can win in Trump country.
ZELENY: So the strains of electability, also foreign policy. But Anderson, we have not seen a major foreign policy debate inside the Democratic party for more than a decade, so that will be one thing. But that dynamic between Warren and Sanders, everyone is watching that.
COOPER: Yes. And Senator Sanders certainly seems who want to have that fight with Vice President Biden --
ZELENY: He certainly does.
COOPER: -- about the war.
Jeff Zeleny, thanks very much.
Joining us right now is Kate Bedingfield, the Deputy Campaign Manager for Vice President Joe Biden. Thanks so much for being with us.
KATE BEDINGFIELD, BIDEN DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Thanks for having me.
COOPER: You -- I assume you expect that Vice President Joe Biden expects that Senator Sanders has been very front and center lately talking about Vice President Biden's record on the war. His campaign manager put out a statement saying, "there's appalling that after 18 years Joe Biden still refuses to admit he was dead wrong in the Iraq War, the worst foreign policy blunder in modern American history."
What is Biden going to do tonight on that?
BEDINGFIELD: Well, this is something that Vice President Biden addressed 13 years ago. He said that he regretted his vote to allow George W. Bush to send inspectors into Iraq, because the president abused that power to take us to war.
COOPER: It was a vote to authorize the war.
BEDINGFIELD: He's been very -- and he's been very clear about and that's something that he has answered for and spoken to many, many times. And, you know, this is an attack, frankly, that we've seen from Bernie Sanders since two days after Joe Biden got in this race back in April.
It's a case he's been trying to make. And I think that he's not been successful in changing the way people view Vice President Biden because they're looking for somebody who can handle America on the world's stage, somebody who has the experience, somebody who's been in the situation room. You know, Vice President Biden has a record in foreign policy that includes, you know, fighting for nuclear nonproliferation, it includes standing with the United States to support --
BEDINGFIELD: -- ending apartheid in South Africa. So, the totality of Vice President Biden's record on foreign policy up against the totality of Bernie Sanders' record on foreign policy, I think voters will make that judgment and decide who they want to be the commander in chief, and I think there's no question who that candidate is.
COOPER: One of the things that Senator Sanders has said repeatedly and probably will tonight is that he saw the same intelligence that Vice President Biden than Senator Biden saw, and made a decision not to authorize the war in Iraq.
BEDINGFIELD: Well, again, this is something that Vice President Biden has spoken to. I know this is something that Bernie Sanders has really wanted to try to draw a contrast. And I think --
COOPER: But he has mischaracterized his position --
BEDINGFIELD: No, he has said --
COOPER: -- on the trail several times, he had to walk it back.
BEDINGFIELD: No, he has said that he voted to allow that authority, that he regretted it. It's something he said at the time.
But, you know, I think what voters are interested in is who is going to -- who's the person who's going to clean up the messes that Donald Trump has made. We're at a moment in time where people feel afraid. They are worried that we have an erratic president who makes impulsive decisions on the world stage and they're looking for somebody like Vice President Biden who has experience, who, you know, has been through the crises on the world stage, who can advance the smart rational foreign policy, the Obama/Biden administration into the next presidency.
I think they are looking for reassurance. And I think that they see that in Vice President Biden. And they'll see that from him and on the debate stage tonight as well.
COOPER: Once the impeachment starts, three of these senators are going to be stuck following the impeachment, stock everyday on Capitol Hill following the impeachment, how does the vice president make the most of that?
BEDINGFIELD: Well, look, for him it's not about politics. I mean he's going to be out making his case in the way that he has from the outset of this campaign.
I think one thing that's very interesting about impeachment, I think -- you know, if Democrats are looking for somebody who can stand up to Donald Trump, who can withstand the attacks, we know that no matter who the Democratic nominee is, he is going to throw lies, smears at the nominee.
And what we've seen is that Joe Biden can withstand that. He's been withstanding it from the day we got in the race. Donald Trump has been preoccupied with the idea that Joe Biden would be the nominee. He's afraid he's going to beat him. He's gone so far to get himself impeached trying to not have to face him in November of 2020.
COOPER: He has yet to be on the stage with a candidate like Donald Trump, or with Donald Trump and face that kind of tactics.
BEDINGFIELD: He has taken -- I think it's tough to argue that he hasn't taken everything that Donald Trump has to throw at a candidate. Again, I don't see any other candidate in the field that Donald Trump has gotten himself into a constitutional crisis trying to not have to face him at the ballot box. So clearly Donald Trump is afraid of having to face Joe Biden.
I think as we come down to the last few weeks before people start voting in Iowa, they're asking themselves the really fundamental key question of the race which is, who can beat Donald Trump, who can help get Democrats elected in marginal districts, in purple states, who can help build the kind of coalition that we have to build to advance progressive change in this country. And I think Biden is very clearly that candidate.
COOPER: "The New York Times" reporting yesterday that Russian hackers backed by the government of Russia have been hacking Burisma. Are you concern or the campaign concerned about what they may find?
BEDINGFIELD: Absolutely not. And I think it's appalling that we've gotten into a place where we don't even expect the President of the United States to condemn an adversary openly looking to interfere in our elections. I think it underscores the point the point that I was just making, which is that Trump and his allies do not want Joe Biden to be the nominee. Vladimir Putin does not want Joe Biden to be the nominee.
And so I think there's absolutely zero concern about what might be found. I think the concern is that we have a President who is openly calling on one of our adversaries to undermine our sovereignty, because he's afraid to have to face Joe Biden at the ballot box. So I think as voters are thinking about who is the candidate who's going to bring us together, who's going to unify the country, who's going to move us past this incredibly divisive moment that we're in, it's clear that Donald Trump believes Joe Biden is that candidate. And I think that the voters will, too.
COOPER: Kate Bedingfield, thanks very much. Appreciate it.
BEDINGFIELD: Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. COOPER: It's going to be a fascinating night tonight. Coming up, one of Rudy Giuliani's associates just gave information that congressional investigators (INAUDIBLE) could affect the course of President Trump's impeachment trial. We'll look at that and more from here in Des Moines.
COOPER: We're counting down to the final debate before the Iowa caucuses. Joining us now, CNN's Gloria Borger, Jeff Zeleny, and Nia- Malika Henderson.
Gloria, what are you anticipating tonight?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think what we're all looking for is something we may not get and that is the question of whether Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are going to keep going at each other, and my guess, and I have no idea is that they're going to call it quits, and say we've done that and we need to move on and take on Donald Trump.
COOPER: I can certainly imagine Senator Warren will do that because she put the -- or, you know.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: People from her campaign.
COOPER: Her people put out the information --
COOPER: -- and she verified it.
BORGER: And he denied it.
COOPER: And then -- then she can walk away from it.
BORGER: Right. And he denied it, and I don't think he wants to raise it again. And I think, then, you're going to have the question I'm really looking for, a foreign policy debate. And you're going to see a lot of differences on that stage among the candidates, particularly between Biden and Sanders.
COOPER: And there's no doubt that Senator Sanders is going to go after Vice President Biden. I mean, he's been much more vocal on the campaign trail about his Iraq War record.
HENDERSON: I think that's right. And at times in different debates, he's brought it up, too, talking about his record on the Iraq War vote and versus Biden. I think the question is, how effective is it going to be? Does it stick to Biden? And what is Biden's comeback, right?
Biden's argument about his candidacy was that he spent time in the situation room. He knows, you know, foreign affairs. He knows foreign leaders all across the globe. So we'll see what that fight is like.
The other thing is, do other people attack Biden, right? We obviously know that Sanders will. Klobuchar, what does she do? Does she feel like she needs to go after Joe Biden?
COOPER: Mayor --
COOPER: Mayor Pete.
HENDERSON: Mayor Pete. Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
COOPER: Mayor Pete Buttigieg has already done that on the campaign trail.
HENDERSON: Yes, exactly, because he says, you know, listen, experience doesn't actually equal judgment.
HENDERSON: And he's got, obviously, the boots on the ground experience in Afghanistan. So we'll see what happens, is there sort of a pile-on on Joe Biden?
COOPER: But Biden has, I mean, I think on two occasions, kind of mischaracterized his thoughts about the Iraq War at the time. He's now -- he walked those back very quickly. But what he will argue to Sanders' point, which Sanders will know he's going to argue this because this is what he always argues, is that I wasn't voting to authorize war, I was voting to, basically, authorize diplomacy.
COOPER: And we were tricked or I was tricked.
ZELENY: Right, he will do that, I believe. And then he will pivot quickly to President Trump.
We'll see -- we're seeing what the Biden campaign is doing. They're up with an ad here in Iowa. It is the words of the President saying Biden, Biden, Biden. So that is what Biden's going to do, trying to say Trump, Trump, Trump, really try and turn this to the conversation here and now.
I was out with the voters here last week, and I was really interested in if they're interested in having an old debate about the Iraq War. This is fourth Democratic primary in a row where the Iraq War has been sort of hanging over at that vote. And every voter I talked to, at Sanders events and Biden events, were saying, look, they're much more concerned about what's happening at the moment here.
So I think the exchanges that I'm also looking for, Pete Buttigieg. He has fallen a little bit here, so I talked to one of his close supporters and advisers, who said he needs to get his confidence back.
But one thing we can't say enough, it's unsettled race.
ZELENY: And people are still looking for who their favorite candidate is, and they'll be making decisions about it (ph).
COOPER: The latest poll shows 60 percent of people --
COOPER: -- have not decided or could change their minds.
ZELENY: Right, exactly. And I think that that's what they'll be looking for. And the people out there who liked Cory Booker, the people who are still looking around, they are looking for a candidate tonight. Tonight is the last best chance to make the argument here. The stakes could not be higher.
COOPER: Yes, I mean, this is the last debate before the Iowa caucuses.
BORGER: It is.
HENDERSON: And in particular, you think about these senators who are going to be trapped --
HENDERSON: -- in impeachment hearings for days and days on end.
BORGER: Trapped? Oh, they'll love it.
HENDERSON: Yes, they'll love it.
HENDERSON: They can't talk --
COOPER: You know who's going to like it more is --
HENDERSON: Is Pete Buttigieg --
COOPER: -- Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden.
BORGER: Joe Biden.
HENDERSON: -- Biden, Steyer, all these other folks.
HENDERSON: So, yes, they've got to bring their case to these folks in Iowa. It will be interesting the way they tailor it, right, to the issues that Iowans care about. Healthcare, for instance, is a big issue for folks here. And you've got people like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar who say they are tailor-made for a state like this because they're mid-West raised.
BORGER: Particularly Amy Klobuchar.
BORGER: Because she is not bunched up with the top four, and this is make or break for her in many ways because she --
COOPER: She is one of those people who's going to be on impeachment.
BORGER: Maybe they'll all carpool back and forth, I don't know, but she -- you know, she really has to show that she can break through. And she has had really good debates and it's enabled her to raise money and to stay in, but this is important for her.
COOPER: The other thing that's interesting about this hall until I -- I didn't realize until I was in it is just how small and intimate it is.
COOPER: I mean, we're used to having debates in, you know, thousands of seats. I'm not sure how many seats there are here, but it's maybe a couple hundred.
ZELENY: Maybe just a hundred.
HENDERSON: I was --
HENDERSON: Yes, I mean, I was shocked. I came in yesterday and I was, like, my goodness, this is such a tiny hall. It's going to be the smallest stage, right?
COOPER: Yes. I mean, the candidates, for those --
COOPER: -- watching at home, the candidates are -- I mean, they're right --
HENDERSON: Right on top of the audience.
COOPER: -- on top of the audience, I mean.
BORGER: That's right.
HENDERSON: Yes, and not a lot of folks here. And we'll see what that means in terms of the intimacy created among the folks on stage because it's only going to be a few of them, unlike prior debates.
BORGER: Only six candidates.
HENDERSON: Six candidates.
BORGER: Don't forget, we're used to this --
COOPER: It's the smallest debate so far and -- and --
BORGER: -- this -- this huge field. And so, now, they're going to look directly into someone's eye and say, OK, you did this, and not across a big stage. Although, Biden is standing between Warren and Sanders --
COOPER: Also, the fact that --
BORGER: -- so maybe just get that out of the way.
COOPER: The fact that there are fewer people allows for more back and forth. I mean, it just allows for a very different debate.
ZELENY: It does. And I think there will be a substantive conversation here. There are still many new things to litigate and new dynamic, but I think what I'm watching to see is, who is the first person to jump into a fight and say, no, no, no, we have to focus on --
ZELENY: -- focus on the President --
ZELENY: -- not Democrats. Pete Buttigieg has done that. Amy Klobuchar has done that. So that is one thing that --
COOPER: It's an oldie but a goodie.
ZELENY: It is.
ZELENY: That is one thing that Bernie Sanders has to be careful of here as well. Senator Elizabeth Warren said something, very interestingly, on Sunday night here in Iowa. She said this type of a feud, it leads to the factionalism of 2016.
So some Democrats are suspicious of Bernie Sanders if he's out for himself or the party here. So that's why he has to sort of heal the divide with Elizabeth Warren. I'm with you, Gloria. I do not think that they're going to be fighting as much as we think. I think they'll be going after Biden.
HENDERSON: And Trump (ph), yes.
ZELENY: But Bernie Sanders has a risk there. He's an independent. He's not -- you know, his core supporters love him, but he has to grow his support a little bit, you know, to win.
COOPER: And the question of Commander-in-Chief, I mean, that's something that --
BORGER: Well, he is --
COOPER: -- he's got to address.
BORGER: Yes, they have to cross that hurdle. I think, obviously, Joe Biden, having been Vice President, has less of a hurdle. Although his vote on the Iraq War hovers over him and it will be, I'm sure, discussed tonight. I think that's a big hurdle for him.
But everybody is looking for somebody who can beat Donald Trump. That is the number one thing that voters in Iowa, Democrats, want. And so, they're looking to see whether that person is on the stage tonight.
COOPER: Also, healthcare. I mean, that's still the issue here in Iowa.
HENDERSON: Yes, that's a big issue here. And it's been litigated a bunch, obviously, in the prior debates, but it is top of mind for voters as well as climate change. Obviously, the economy, too, dominating a lot of the debate now, at least nationally, impeachment, and what's going with Iran. But people do care about those bread and butter issues that affect them every day.
ZELENY: And that's one of the differences in healthcare between Warren and Sanders. I could see Senator Sanders point out that Senator Warren used to be a full supporter of Medicare for All; now, she's -- she still supports it but saying she, you know, supports a slower approach to that. So that is a key issue as well.
She's taking it on both sides. The progressives aren't pleased with her.
COOPER: Right. ZELENY: The moderates, they think her plan is too expensive. So she
may try and explain that a little bit as well.
COOPER: All right. We're going to take a quick break. Tonight -- tonight's debate features two women, four men, no people of color. How big of a problem is that for the Democrats? We'll look at that and a lot more tonight, ahead.
COOPER: We're getting some new information about what's going to happen tomorrow when the House votes to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate. I want to go quickly to CNN's Manu Raju on Capitol Hill. What have you learned, Manu?
RAJU: Yes. House Democrats just announced that they are going to present some new evidence in the Senate trial after getting reams of information from an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, Lev Parnas.
Parnas had turned over documents to the House Intelligence Committee in recent days. They've gone through all this information, and they just -- the Democrats just announced the information they plan to present in the trial as part of this new document dump, including that note that you see here on your screen of Lev Parnas, writing, go -- get to Zelensky to announce that the Biden case will be investigated, start communicating with Zelensky.
Now, that, of course, referring to the -- the effort to try to get the President of Ukraine, Zelensky, to announce an investigation into Joe Biden, the President's political rival, something the President himself asked for.
But what Democrats say that these text messages and other documents reveal is a more -- is a clearer picture of the role that this individual played as a direct channel, in the Democrats' view, between President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, and President Zelensky of Ukraine and Zelensky's associates, as part of that push to try to get the Ukrainian government to announce and move forward with those investigations.
They say that they have documents, including encrypted messages, showing -- WhatsApp messages and the like, showing these discussions that occurred through key junctures, as the Democrats say, in 2019 while the President was pushing for these investigations.
So these documents that we're still going through will be presented as part of the Democrat's case going forward, Anderson. But Democrats say they have new information they plan to present after the White House has resisted and blocked other documents from coming forward. This new information coming from Lev Parnas himself -- Anderson.
COOPER: And that's something that they will be able to do with the rules in the Senate? RAJU: It seems that way at the moment. We have not seen the Senate
rules yet, but Democrats believe that they should be able to do just that, Anderson.
COOPER: All right. CNN's Manu Raju, thanks very much.
Much more from Des Moines, Iowa. We will take a look at the -- a preview of the debate tonight, which is starting in just a few hours. We'll be right back.
COOPER: In a few hours, the leading Democratic presidential candidates will be here for their final debate before the Iowa caucuses. We brought in three of our political commentators, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, former Tallahassee, Florida Mayor Andrew Gillum, and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Mayor, what are you --
ANDREW GILLUM (D), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: What's up?
COOPER: What are you expecting tonight? And this is --
COOPER: I mean, this is really it.
COOPER: I mean, this is the final debate before the Iowa caucuses. There's 60 percent of the electorate, according to the latest poll in Iowa, who say that they either don't know who they're going to vote for or caucus for, or they can change their minds.
GILLUM: Yes. I mean, and I guess the point that we should draw there is that this thing is still wide open. I know a lot of folks have seen the polls, and we've seen some folks who looked like their leading. I expect, obviously, for the four candidates that have largely been at the top to try to have their own moments tonight.
If you're Joe Biden, you probably want to just stay steady, not be, frankly, mentioned too much or get out there too much. He does best, frankly, just kind of being in the middle there.
Amy Klobuchar, to me, however, I think, probably has the most to try to get out of tonight. She always tends to have, at least these last two times, pretty decent debates. The last one, I thought she was excellent. But the question --
COOPER: For her, this is it, though, on the campaign trail, in the sense -- GILLUM: Well, the --
COOPER: -- that she's going to be sucked into impeachment.
GILLUM: She has said, consistently, I've won on a state that Trump has carried, right? Ohio. She's won -- I mean, in Wisconsin -- she's won, Lord Jesus, Minnesota.
GILLUM: One state that Trump has done well in. The question is, I wanted to go a little bit further, help voters understand this electability question. If it's real, then tell us how you're going to do that around the country.
COOPER: Governor Granholm, you know, the Biden campaign is saying they're hoping there's foreign policy. That's a double-edged sword, though, for, clearly, Senator Sanders is -- been going after Vice President Biden for his Iraq War record.
JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), FORMER MICHIGAN GOVERNOR: Yes, but, you know, he's been doing that forever, right? There's been a long time -- and Biden has an answer for that, I shouldn't have done it. He was lied to. Even Colin Powell made the case.
I mean, that, I think, is an argument that has closed. I mean, we'll see. Jeff Zeleny, in your previous segment, said that the voters were full -- you know, fed up with it.
But I do think that because of the context of Iran, that this is a moment for this Commander-in-Chief presence. People are going to want to come away -- the gestalt of coming away from this debate, Iowans are going to want to know, who is going to make me feel safe, both at home and abroad?
Who shows some heart and who has a little bit of humor? You know, who's relaxed enough? This small venue will allow for some give and take and some relaxation.
But as somebody who've had -- has debated like you guys have, I think -- you know, you think about it in terms of what would you do, what would you do.
And you want to go in with two hits at least on other people and, probably, the people who are ascendant. Like, he may want to respond if Bernie Sanders attacks him. I mean, I know that you kind of want to be above the fray, but there may be a couple of zingers that you go in with.
But, also, who can make the most of the controversy of the moment? So, for example, if you have Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders engaging on this question about whether a woman can win, Joe Biden there in the middle, will he, or Amy Klobuchar --
GILLUM: That's right.
GRANHOLM: -- say, all right, folks, let's get above it.
GRANHOLM: You know, who can intervene in a way that makes them look good?
GILLUM: Amy's probably most qualified, as a woman, saying --
GRANHOLM: She certainly --
GILLUM: -- let me tell you --
GRANHOLM: -- certainly can do it.
GILLUM: -- a woman absolutely can do it.
GRANHOLM: Although, physically, he's positioned in a way to be able to say --
GILLUM: In the middle, that's true.
GRANHOLM: -- all right, everybody.
GILLUM: That's true.
COOPER: Mayor, just being -- as this is the last before the caucuses, I mean, does it change the strategy for some of these candidates?
MITCH LANDRIEU (D), FORMER NEW ORLEANS MAYOR: I think it does. I think, for Amy Klobuchar, this has to be a big night for her. She's got the greatest opportunity, and she's got the greatest risk.
And, of course, she's perfectly positioned to make -- to begin to make the argument that she started a couple of times about she is electable as well, so I think that's important.
I will say this, all of us on this dais, have run a number of times, but we have not been involved in a campaign where an event that we did not predict has upended the race.
LANDRIEU: And that is what's happened since the last time these guys have been on stage. All of a sudden, foreign policy is front and center. And I agree with the Governor that the people are going to be looking for somebody that fits well into the role of Commander-in- Chief. Who can they see?
So this is game on now because this is the last time they're going to be together for the next three weeks. And a couple of these folks are going to sitting in the United States Senate during the impeachment trial, so tonight's a very big night for all of them.
GRANHOLM: Speaking of taking advantage, though, of the moment, so, yesterday, Donald Trump tweets out about him trying to protect people with pre-existing conditions in Iowa.
GRANHOLM: Healthcare is the number one issue. I want to see who goes after Donald Trump, not one another but Donald Trump, and makes them -- show themselves as the person who's most likely to win.
This issue of Donald Trump being in office is an existential crisis for Democrats. You have to show, even on this platform --
GRANHOLM: -- with other Democrats, that you can take him on.
COOPER: That's interesting because so much of the debate on healthcare in past debates have been about Medicare for All.
GRANHOLM: Correct, right.
COOPER: Because, obviously, that is the division.
COOPER: Now, it really only boiled down to Bernie Sanders still holding on to the original idea of Medicare for All. Senator Warren has, obviously, kind of moved away somewhat from that.
GILLUM: And not enough --
GRANHOLM: Right, and we've covered that. I'm sorry, just quickly.
GILLUM: Yes. No, please go ahead.
GRANHOLM: We've covered that in the -- all these prior debates. These are -- you know, Iowa voters know where they stand on Medicare for All. What they want to see is, can they punch back?
For example -- you know, I didn't help Joe Biden because in this debate because it's a CNN debate, but I have helped in the past. And if I were helping, I would say, look, Donald Trump just put out a budget that's going to cut $900 million from the National Institute of Cancer. I'm just saying -- in the National Cancer Institute. If I were -- if I wanted to go after him, I would be raising that issue.
GILLUM: Yes. And that he's actively working to make sure that folks who have pre-existing conditions can be now discriminated against again --
GILLUM: -- which is what just we got over with ObamaCare. So the fact that the President is actively working against -- in my state, a pre-existing condition is a pregnant woman. So in that case, you can be denied healthcare coverage because you're carrying a child?
So you care about children on one hand and, on the other hand, you want to make sure that women have no coverage --
GILLUM: -- to go in and then deliver that baby and have that baby cared for over their lifetime? It's hypocritical, and we ought to go after him.
COOPER: There's a lot of expectation about tonight. Stay with us for more of tonight's pivotal CNN Democratic presidential debate.
I'm Anderson Cooper in THE SITUATION ROOM. My friend, Chris Cuomo, picks up the coverage right after the break.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Just a few hours now until the CNN Democratic presidential debate live here in Des Moines, Iowa. This is the last chance for the candidates to make a move in direct comparison to their opposition. Remember, just 20 days before the official start of the 2020 campaign, the Iowa caucuses.
Wolf Blitzer, our team captain, is preparing to moderate tonight. I'm Chris Cuomo, and you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
We're going to get a preview of tonight's debate. The candidates at the top, they've got to make space now. There's no other option. That likely means making some waves on stage.