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Warren Snubs Sanders' Handshake after Iowa Debate; House Dems Release New Docs on Eve of Impeachment Trial. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired January 15, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Can a woman beat Donald Trump? The only people who have won every election that they've been in are the women.
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We've got to move past the Washington mentality that suggests that the boldness of a plan only consists of how many Americans it can alienate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: House Democrats unveiling new documents about President Trump's pressure campaign in Ukraine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The documents show Giuliani was pushing for a meeting with the president of Ukraine.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The House is likely to finally send the articles, which would set us up to begin the actual trial next Tuesday.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Wednesday, January 15. It's 6 a.m. here in New York. The final debate before the first votes in the Iowa caucuses.
The big question this morning, what has changed? Well, one thing that's different this morning is that one-time ally senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, they're working through some issues. They had a moment after the debate. Warren left Bernie Sanders hanging when he tried to shake her hand, and that was followed by a brief but tense exchange, including Sanders' hand gestures and return of a gesture there from Elizabeth Warren.
The long-time friends are feuding over whether Senator Sanders said that a woman cannot win in the 2020 election. There were other big moments from the debate, as well. And the world's
best analysts will break them down shortly.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Then, on Capitol Hill, it's an historic day ahead. This morning, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will announce the impeachment managers. After a debate, impeachment articles will be formally delivered to the Senate. The president's trial is expected to begin on Tuesday.
And House Democrats have just released dozens of pages of new evidence that lays out the work, if that's what you want to call it, that Rudy Giuliani and his associate, Lev Parnas, were conducting in Ukraine, they say on behalf of President Trump; including this letter from Giuliani, requesting a meeting with the president of Ukraine; and a hand-written note, apparently from indicted Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, about getting Ukraine's president to announce an investigation of the Bidens.
And perhaps most bizarre, there are new questions this morning concerning the safety of ousted ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. She's calling for an investigation after the release of text messages between Parnas and a Republican congressional candidate seen here with President Trump, that suggests some kind of surveillance or threat against the ambassador.
So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Ryan Nobles. He is live in Des Moines, Iowa, with all of the action from last night -- Ryan.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, good morning.
Of course, half of the candidates that were on the stage last night are going to be forced to head back to Washington to participate in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. That meant the stakes last night were huge.
But despite that, it seemed that many of these candidates were not looking to hit a home run but instead trying to escape without making a big mistake.
NOBLES (voice-over): A tense ending to the Democratic debate when Senator Elizabeth Warren declined to shake Senator Bernie Sanders' hand after the two progressives sparred about whether Sanders made a sexist comment to her.
WARREN: I disagreed. Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie.
NOBLES: Warren standing by CNN's reporting that Sanders told her in a closed-door meeting in 2018 that a woman could not win against President Trump in 2020, a claim he vehemently denied.
SANDERS: I didn't say it. Anybody knows me knows that it's incomprehensible that I would think that a woman could not be president of the United States. NOBLES: But despite their stories not matching up, Warren used the
opportunity to insist that a woman's time in the White House has come.
WARREN: Can a woman beat Donald Trump? Look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost ten elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they've been in are the women.
NOBLES: Sanders wasn't interested in a squabble with Warren. Instead, he focused on President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders and Biden drew sharp lines about their stances on trade, the economy, and war with Sanders accusing Biden of having bad judgment when he voted in favor of the war in Iraq.
SANDERS: Joe and I listened to what Dick Cheney and George Bush and Rumsfeld had to say. I thought they were lying. I didn't believe them for a moment. I took to the floor. I did everything I could to prevent that war. Joe saw it differently.
NOBLES: Biden defended his record, arguing his experience matters.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It was a mistaken vote, but I think my record overall on every other thing we've done has been -- I'm prepared to compare it to anybody's on this stage.
NOBLES: Sanders also said he made a mistake in supporting the war in Afghanistan. Meanwhile on health care, Warren, a supporter of Medicare for all, making the case that Biden, Pete Buttigieg, and Senator Amy Klobuchar aren't thinking big enough.
WARREN: The problem is that plans like the mayor's and like the vice president's is that they are an improvement. They are an improvement over where we are right now, but they're a small improvement.
NOBLES: A claim Buttigieg rejected.
BUTTIGIEG: It's just not true that the plan I'm proposing is small. We've got to move past a Washington mentality that suggests that the bigness of plans only consists of how many trillions of dollars they put through the treasury. That the boldness of a plan only consists of how many Americans it can alienate.
NOBLES: Klobuchar accused Warren of a plan with numbers that don't add up.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't buy that it's not enough. It is a big, big step to say to people making $100,000 a year that your premiums will cut -- be cut in half, which is what the nonprofit public option will do. And as you talked, Mayor Buttigieg, about Medicare and having negotiation, I actually have led that bill for years.
NOBLES: And billionaire Tom Steyer made the case that he is about more than just his money. TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whoever is going to take --
beat Mr. Trump is going to have to beat him on the economy. And I have the experience and the expertise to show that he's a fake there and a fraud.
NOBLES: Now, we just have 19 days left to go before voters here in Iowa get together for their caucuses and pick their choice for president of the United States. But this race may now take a back seat, with the focus shifting to Washington and the upcoming Senate impeachment trial of President Trump -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Well, that is very true, Ryan. Thank you.
And so the question is where does the presidential race stand, now that so many Democratic candidates are going to jump off the campaign trail to be part of President Trump's impeachment trial? We look at that next.
BERMAN: So the six Democratic candidates on stage last night for that two-hour debate, but some of the fireworks really happened after.
Here is the moment that people are talking about this morning, where Elizabeth Warren appears to snub Bernie Sanders as he attempts to shake her hand. Then the two kind of have this awkward moment. There are gestures, what appear to be some harsh words.
This all stems from Elizabeth Warren saying that they had a conversation in 2018 where Bernie Sanders suggested he did not think a woman could win in 2020.
Ryan Nobles is back with us. Also joining us, CNN political correspondent M.J. Lee. She broke the story about that meeting between Warren and Sanders.
M.J., when you see that moment after the debate. Two hours. They're on stage together for two hours. There's a back and forth. There's a day and a half of a back and forth over your reporting. And then after it's all said and done, there's no hand shake. What does that tell you?
M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: If only they had still been mic'd at that point. I mean, we don't know what was said between the two of them after the debate, but I think reading body language, clearly, there was tension there, which is so remarkable, given that, on stage during the debate, it was very clear that neither of them wanted to escalate the situation, at least on the exact back and forth between the two of them in this meeting in 2018.
And I think Bernie Sanders, for one, you know, accomplished what he wanted to accomplish, which was, one, to vehemently deny that this was something that he said. He said there's no way that this is something that I would have said. I do not believe this.
And then he pointed to Hillary Clinton, which was not an accident. I thought it was very interesting that he used her to make the point that, of course, he believes a woman can win.
And then the promise that he made on the debate stage, saying that, if any of the women who are running right now ends up being the nominee, they will have my full support.
And then for Elizabeth Warren, she also was not interested in relitigating this conversation. She said, he disagreed with me at the time, and then dropped that portion of it. But then made this bigger general gender -- excuse me -- electability argument. And I think it was very clear that she was prepared to go on that stage and make exactly that argument.
CAMEROTA: And we'll get to that argument in a second. But I do think that you're pointing out something that is notable, which was we're above this. We're not here to argue with each other. And then that private moment where, clearly, they're not over it.
And so Ryan, do you have any reporting on what the Sanders camp said after she refused that handshake?
NOBLES: No, the Sanders campaign doesn't want to engage on this. In fact, they've been very -- have tried very desperately not to engage Senator Warren specifically on this topic. But instead just talking about the situation broadly.
But I do have to say, in terms of Sanders' support, at least that base of support that he's been able to so reliably count on over the course of his political career, especially since he became a national figure is really incensed about the back and forth after all of this.
I mean, the backlash is just incredible. And it's led to Sanders and those supporters even getting behind him even more forcefully than they were before. In fact, his campaign told us last night that they had the most successful fundraising day of the entire campaign last night alone.
And that is, in part, because whenever they see Sanders under attack, and they do believe that, in some respects, he's under attack here, they rally behind him.
Now, the question for Sanders is he's never necessarily had to worry about that group of supporters that were always going to be behind him. Their passion is important, but it's about growing this base; and has he alienated voters from other aspects because of this all back and forth? That's something that remains to be seen.
But it is clear that this is one of these things that is going to embolden -- much like his heart attack. You know, after the heart attack, you saw Sanders's supporters rallied behind him. That's exactly what we see playing out right now, as well.
BERMAN: Ryan said something to us last hour, which jumped out at me, which is that Sanders's campaign went into last night, hoping to engage with Joe Biden in a substantive way on foreign policy.
And there was a little bit of it. But Ryan, you don't think as much as the Sanders campaign wanted. Biden was able to brush that off. And by the end, Biden was making the overall electability argument, which is something that all of them seem to be trying to make. And this is how Biden framed it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: I've been the object of his affection now more than anybody else on this stage. I've taken all the hits he can deliver. They've gone after, savaged my surviving son, gone after me, told lies that your networks and others won't even carry on television, because they're flat-out lies. It doesn't -- it doesn't really matter whether or not he's gone after me. I've got to be in a position that I think of the American people. I can't hold a grudge. I have to be able to not only fight but also heal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: It was interesting. Again, that was toward the end of the debate. It may have been that Joe Biden would rather have led with that than a discussion about Iraq, but he was making the electability argument there.
NOBLES: Yes. And I think it's important to point out, John, that you know, what the Sanders campaign was hoping for was a back and forth between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders about these topics. And then specifically, the decisions both of these candidates made over the course of their career. You know, both of them have had an opportunity to weigh in on these big foreign policy issues over the past several decades, chiefly the war in Iraq.
And what you saw Joe Biden do was just kind of brush aside Bernie Sanders' criticism and say, Listen, this is where -- this is who I am, and this is why I believe I have the best amount of experience to take on these big challenges.
And I do think that will frustrate the Sanders camp. Because they felt, to a certain extent, that the Biden campaign hasn't really taken the Sanders campaign all that seriously. That they haven't engaged and they don't see him as a real threat.
That may not necessarily be the case. It may be more one of a tactical one. Because especially in Iowa, you do not want to alienate the supporters of any other candidate. And I think the way the Biden folks view this is let -- allow the former vice president to stand on his own, but don't risk ticking off anybody else that supports another candidate, because that could end up hurting them in the long run.
CAMEROTA: OK. Back to the electability argument that Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren were making last night. Let me just play this moment where they talk about why women are such strong candidates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Can a woman beat Donald Trump? Look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost ten elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they've been in are the women, Amy and me.
KLOBUCHAR: When you look at what I have done, I have won every race, every place, every time. Every single person that I have beaten, my Republican opponents have gotten out of politics for good. And I think -- I think that sounds pretty good. I think that sounds pretty good with the guy we have in the White House right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: M.J., those are some compelling arguments they came armed with.
LEE: That's right. And they were prepared for this moment. You know, when Bernie Sanders said on stage, you know, who in the million years would think that a woman could not be elected president? Well, the answer actually is that a lot of voters think that a woman is not ready to be president.
A lot of people that we have spoken to express concerns about whether the country is ready to elect a female president, even a few years after we had a female become the nominee -- the nominee for a major political party. And I think both of these women have sort of seized the moment and the fact there was being a -- a conversation being had about gender to make their final electability argument in Iowa.
CAMEROTA: You know, often things seem impossible until the moment they happen, you know? And then everybody says, oh, well, what took us so long?
M.J., thank you.
Ryan, thank you very much.
BERMAN: Coming up, we're going to have three of the candidates who were on that stage last night. Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer, and Senator Amy Klobuchar.
CAMEROTA: Also, it is an historic day ahead on the impeachment front. House Democrats are going to unveil new evidence about the work that Rudy Giuliani and his associates were doing in Ukraine on behalf, they say, of President Trump. We discuss this new evidence, next.
CAMEROTA: On the eve of the impeachment trial, we find a new trove of text messages and other evidence about what Rudy Giuliani was doing in Ukraine and the threats against U.S. -- the U.S. ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, at the center of the impeachment investigations.
CNN's Kara Scannell is there with details. What have you learned, Kara?
KARA SCANNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Alisyn, so these new text messages and documents were provided to Congress by Giuliani's former associate Lev Parnas. This was a number of previously unknown details about their efforts to dig up dirt on the Bidens and to take down ousted Ukrainian ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
The materials include this letter to Ukraine's president. And in it, Giuliani requested a meeting, noting that he was working with the U.S. president's knowledge and consent. But this is the first document made public, where Giuliani links his efforts in Ukraine directly to President Trump.
There was also this hand-written note that Parnas scrawled on a sheet of hotel paper in Vienna. That mentions getting President Zelensky to announce an investigation of the Bidens.
The documents Parnas provided also contain a series of exchanges between Parnas and Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko. He was the one helping Giuliani dig up dirt on the Bidens. In one WhatsApp message, Lutsenko says he was making progress in getting information on Trump's rivals and appeared to reference then Ambassador Yovanovitch.
He writes, "And here you can't even get rid of one female fool."
Now, the trove of new information also reveals a new player in this endeavor, a Connecticut congressional candidate named Robert Hyde. He's an ardent Trump supporter. So these text messages between Hyde and Parnas show him smearing Yovanovitch and alluding to a surveillance operation.
One of these messages, on March 25, 2019, Hyde texts Parnas, "Wow. Can't believe Trump hasn't fired this 'b.' I'll get right in that."
Two days later, on March 25, Hyde texts Parnas, "They know she's a political puppet. They will let me know when she's on the move."
Parnas replies, "Perfect."
Hyde then makes a quip to Parnas that you can do anything in the Ukraine with money. What I was told. Then Parnas replies, "LOL."
And then Hyde later updates Parnas on Yovanovitch's whereabouts.
And in a statement late last night, Yovanovitch's attorney called for an investigation into whether she was under surveillance in the weeks before she was recalled from her post in May of 2019. We reached out to Hyde for comment and asked if he intended to hurt Yovanovitch, to which he replied in a text, "No effing way." He went on to tell us, "What kind of bull Schiff question is that," an apparent reference to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, who is conducting the impeachment inquiry -- John, Alisyn.
BERMAN: All right, Kara. CAMEROTA: Kara, thank you for all of that.
All right. Joining us now to talk about all this, we have CNN political analyst Seung Min Kim. She's the White House reporter for "the Washington Post." And CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart. He was President Clinton's press secretary during that impeachment.
Joe, it just gets worse. It just gets worse. It just gets worse.
Every week, there is more evidence that comes out about this shadow diplomacy or whatever operation Rudy Giuliani was doing over in Ukraine. And this is particularly disturbing. These text messages that Kara Scannell just laid out.
Let me just read some, because no wonder Marie Yovanovitch didn't feel safe. When she testified that she -- people were making threats. She started to feel unsafe. When somebody told her to get on the plane now, she didn't really ask questions. She got on a plane right then, because she was so, I guess, concerned about her safety.
So this guy, Robert Hyde, who's this Republican candidate, huge Trump supporter, says things like this. They are moving her tomorrow. The guys asked me what I would like to do and what's in it for them.
Here's what he says about Marie Yovanovitch. "Her phone is off. Computer is off. She's next to the embassy, not in the embassy. She has private security. Been there since Thursday. We'll let -- They say they'll let me know when she's on the move."
He knows a lot of stuff. He has people watching her. He has people following her. Because they want to get rid of Marie Yovanovitch, because she was trying to bust the corruption scheme. Wow.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, listen. There's several layers to this. One is we now see that Giuliani on the record is telling Zelensky that he's doing this on the behest of the president. And you see through a variety of ways that the president is directing this from -- from the Oval Office.
The second is I was struck this morning, given my experience in government. The people that we had doing special diplomacy were people like George Mitchell, you know. Tom Foley went out and did some things, the former speaker of the House. Richard Holbrooke.
CAMEROTA: Not Lev Parnas?
LOCKHART: Not two-bit criminals who either are mob figures or are trying to act like mob figures.
The last thing is it's unconscionable that Mike Pompeo allowed all this to go on. You have to believe that, at some point, he was -- read into all of the stuff and he allowed.
If you -- I'm not saying that I know what these texts mean. You can read it one of two ways, which is they're watching or they're planning to do harm. And after Mike Pompeo, you know, from the mountain top screamed about Benghazi and protecting our diplomats, it's possible -- possible that he was allowing a Benghazi in Ukraine and knew about it, and perpetrated by Americans.
BERMAN: Yes. Look, he's been silent on the treatment of Marie Yovanovitch. And this may be the time for him to say something. He should certainly be pressed on it.
Seung Min, it's interesting, right? This comes on the eve of the impeachment trial. Republicans are going to be faced now with this challenge about new evidence that keeps on popping up. And the challenge about maybe witnesses.
What's your reporting on all this?
MIN: So I mean, this only bolsters the Democratics' [SIC] public case that during the Senate impeachment trial, you're going to have to see more witnesses and more documents.
I would be interested in seeing if there's more chatter among Democrats later today about potentially calling Giuliani as a witness to -- to the Senate. So far that hasn't been one of their targets yet.
But what really matters at the end of the day is that, you know, those handful of swing Republicans and what they're thinking and what they're demanding in terms of what they want to see. And now -- if I know -- if I know those senators well, such as Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, they are not going to be weighing in directly on the evidence that we've seen from the House Intelligence Committee.
They will wait until this evidence, this data, this new information is presented to them formally on the Senate floor. But we have seen a lot of drip, drip, drip in terms of witnesses or in terms of documents over the last several weeks. Whether it's those emails, whether it's these documents from Mr. Parnas that come out on the eve of the trial.
But now there is -- so there's going to be a fight over in the next couple of weeks after you've gone through the opening arguments, after you've gone through a round of questioning, whether these senators feel like they do need to see more in terms of witnesses and documentation. And that's going to be the big pivot moment to watch.
BERMAN: I have to believe it's hard -- it will be hard for Susan Collins or --