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Democratic Debate in Iowa; Surveilling the Ukraine Ambassador; New Video of Iran Missiles Hitting Plane. Aired 7-7:30a ET
Aired January 15, 2020 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I disagree.
I am not here to fight with Bernie.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My record overall, I'm prepared to compare it to anybody's on this stage.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: House documents unveiling new documents about President Trump's pressure campaign in Ukraine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They include a previously undisclosed letter from Giuliani to President Zelensky making clear he wants a meeting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have impeachment articles being send over. This is an incredibly important moment for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.
And in a matter of hours, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will finally make her next move after impeaching the president. The speaker will announce which members will serve as impeachment managers, presenting the House case in the Senate.
Then, a ceremonial and historic event. The managers will march across the Capitol to deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate. The impeachment trial is set to begin on Tuesday.
At the same time this is happening, there is new, damning evidence about the Ukraine scandal that is coming out. Dozens of pages of text messages and documents appear to lay out what Rudy Giuliani and his associate, who is now charged, Lev Parnas, were doing in Ukraine, they say on behalf of President Trump.
These text messages also show that U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, had reason to be concerned about her safety. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This is new evidence we haven't seen?
CAMEROTA: We have not seen it until this morning.
BERMAN: New evidence we haven't seen. How about that?
The other big story this morning, the final debate before the first votes in Iowa. You watched right here on CNN. But what happened immediately after last night's debate is creating some buzz.
Elizabeth Warren, apparently, if you watched this video, seeming to snub Bernie Sanders when he tried to shake her hand. And then they had a moment of what looked like certainly heated discussion. The long- time friends and allies are at odds over Warren's claim that Sanders told her in a 2018 meeting that a woman could not win the presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Anybody knows me knows that it's incomprehensible that I would think that a woman could not be president of the United States.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I disagreed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, joining us now, CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, CNN political analyst David Gregory, and CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart.
Thank you all for being with us.
I want to play a little more from this debate last night and specifically having to do with this tension between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, because you saw them both take it head on. But then Elizabeth Warren tried to do something else with it as well. She didn't want to engage fully in the back and forth with Sanders over what was said behind closed doors, but she tried to make it an argument about electability.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: 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.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have won every race, every place, every time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Senator Klobuchar.
KLOBUCHAR: Every single person that I have beaten, my Republican opponents, have gotten out of politics for good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: I don't know why I find that so funny that Amy Klobuchar said she didn't just win but she drove them out of the business completely.
David Gregory, this morning, the dust has settled. Who got the most out of last night's debate and what changed?
DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, on this particular question, I thought that Elizabeth Warren had a clever response to make it about electability because there's no question that a woman can be elected president. There's also no question that there's lots of factors that go into why people don't vote for someone. There is sexism. There is racism. There is whether someone thinks you're up for the job. So there's all kinds of different factors and I think her point in all of that was to call out Bernie Sanders and say, look, you know, you guys have been rejected on different basis as you've gone before voters and we've demonstrated that we can be elected to the positions that we hold.
And, you know, the moment afterward, which is -- was familiar to me. I actually moderated a debate with Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren and she didn't shake my hand afterward either as I was the moderator. So she doesn't fake it if she's not happy with you, that's for sure.
And, you know, I think the larger point on this issue is dividing up the progressive vote. You know, they can't both be there at the end. And that vote is going to be splintered some.
CAMEROTA: Joe --
BERMAN: David has very nice hands, too.
BERMAN: That was a missed opportunity./
CAMEROTA: Yes. Totally. She lost there.
Joe, who do you think had a really strong night and who didn't?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I thought that Bernie Sanders probably had the most difficult night because I think the people who matter most, who care the most about this electability issue and women as not being electable are women. And I can't imagine any woman watching last night and say, I believe Bernie. I think people believe Elizabeth. And his explanation was not great.
I think there's some peril in this for Warren, particularly at the end where it -- there appeared to be a little bit of lack of graciousness. There's a reason people haven't gone after Bernie Sanders. You know, this is two elections in a row where people have made the decision to, you know, not really attack him because his supports are very committed to him. And --
CAMEROTA: Is that another way -- is that a nice word for sort of bullying? I mean his supporters have -- are committed to him but they've also been known to go after people who go after him.
LOCKHART: Sure. And they have been in a very aggressive campaign and Sanders, you know, tries to rise above it, but it's hard to believe he's not part of this.
But there is a reason why so many candidates have said, I don't want to take him on.
I think the last thing is there -- I think there's this conventional wisdom that they're splitting the progressive vote. There's as much competition going on between Biden and Sanders as there is between Warren and Sanders because if you look at the polling, education level is important, which is how Bernie got into trouble in the first place here. Working class voters in Iowa are deciding, like that gentlemen that your previous guest was talking about, between Biden and Sanders. They're not considering Warren and Buttigieg because they do think they're elitist and they have a connection to Biden and Sanders.
So, in that respect, I think Biden had a pretty good night by being a little bit in the shadows.
BERMAN: It is interesting, Biden had what many consider to be one of his better moments toward the end of the debate.
BERMAN: And this is when he talked about electability. And electability was a big part of the theme, overarching. Every candidate tried to make their own pitch that they were the most electable, I think for obvious reasons.
And Biden, and this is S-28 in the control room, he was talking about how he has already come under the most attack from Donald Trump. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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.
And they've gone after savage (ph) 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 about the American people. I can't hold a grudge. I have to be able to not only fight, but also heel.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: You know, Kaitlan, you cover the Trump administration day in and day out and it's interesting because lately Donald Trump's been doing more to talk about Bernie Sanders or say he's going to go after Bernie Sanders. But if you look at the facts of what's gone on for the last six months, and by that I mean the entire Ukraine mess, it's clear that Donald Trump's got concerns about Joe Biden.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and if you talk to campaign officials, they will tell you Biden is their primary concern because they're looking at those poll numbers and they see that he is someone that is giving President Trump a run for his money in states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And so those are their questions going forward about exactly how they're going to run this race.
And so I think that was actually a pretty notable moment of the debate with Joe Biden making that argument because that gets at the concern for these Democratic voters, which is when they have a candidate that is going to be on stage with President Trump, who is going to be able to be the one to go head to head with him. So seeing Joe Biden say, yes, he's not taking a lot of incoming from those around him on the stage last night in Des Moines but saying he is the one who has taken the most incoming from the man in the White House was a pretty good argument because it is true that he has been Donald Trump's number one essential target as it comes to who it is that he could be up against.
The president has, of course, targeted Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, but Bernie -- but, excuse me, Joe Biden has certainly been the number one person on his list. Obviously, if you look at what's happening on Capitol Hill today, this is at the center of all of this. So that was one of the most interesting arguments that I think you heard from any of those candidates trying to appeal to those voters.
CAMEROTA: So, David Gregory --
GREGORY: I think --
CAMEROTA: I just want to move on because we need to.
CAMEROTA: There's so much happening in Washington today that we need to move on to all that last night happening on the eve of the Senate impeachment trial that beginning in earnest really today. I mean the process for it. And at the exact same time, there is this new, damning evidence that has, this morning, basically, been released and come forward of these text messages that show more about what Rudy Giuliani and his associate, Lev Parnas, were doing, they say at the behest of President Trump, in Ukraine.
And there's also this new character added to the mix, a Republican congressional candidate named Robert Hyde who seems very interested in getting Marie Yovanovitch out of the picture. We're not sure through exactly what tactics. But they sound intimidating.
Let me just read some of the new text messages that have come to light that obviously now Congress will have to figure out what to do with. OK? So Robert Hyde says things like this about Marie Yovanovitch, who, as we know, was the ambassador to Ukraine that they wanted out of the way because she was a corruption fighter. He says, they're moving her tomorrow. He's watching her or someone is surveilling her. They're moving her tomorrow. The guys over there, they ask me what I would like to do and what's in it for them. She's talked to three people. 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. They'll let me know when she's on the move.
What -- no wonder she testified that she felt threatened while she was in Ukraine and that people might be watching her.
GREGORY: Well, and if this is all under the (INAUDIBLE) of Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, who appears to have been working at the direction of the president, if you remember Gordon Sondland testifying, that line sticks out to me when the president says talk to Rudy. Talk to Rudy. Rudy's running this campaign to dig up dirt on my opponent and to intervene in Ukraine.
I mean the specter of this, of surveilling her, let alone the treatment she got just in official circles and ultimately being fired. All of this is just more of the record. It raises new questions. And, therefore, it raises a bigger question, which is, where does it go? Besides being reported and discussed here, does it become part of the Senate trial.
And this, I think, is an attempt by House Democrats to say, there's more to this story that we've uncovered. Now, if it's going to be a real trial, you're going to have to give a real airing to some of this information. And that's going to be the subject of a real battle.
BERMAN: And, look, Rudy Giuliani, in some of the new evidence that was released, tells us that he's doing this for the president's personal gain.
LOCKHART: Right. Yes.
BERMAN: He tells us in a letter to the president of Ukraine, I want to talk to you and I'm not working for the president of the United States in a professional capacity, it's a personal capacity for the person pf Donald J. Trump.
And David raises a good question here, which is, what happens now with all of this new information? Are we going to get more?
LOCKHART: Yes, well, I mean, and will this be allowed into the Senate record. In 1999, there was a movement among House managers to put some damaging, new information that had nothing to do with Ken Starr in and the Senate resisted that. So I think you'll hear McConnell talk about the Clinton rules again.
CAMEROTA: But this is relevant. LOCKHART: But -- it -- no.
CAMEROTA: This does have to do with the Ukraine scandal.
LOCKHART: It is --
CAMEROTA: How could they ignore this?
LOCKHART: Well, they can ignore it because they set their own rules and they can ignore anything. And if -- and if we think that the purpose of what the Senate is trying to do is to do a trail that's fair and gets to -- gets to the bottom of it, that's a naive idea. This is about politics.
I do think that this puts incredible pressure on the Republican senators on witnesses for this reason. It is a little bit esoteric, you know, aid to Ukraine and all of that stuff. This -- we don't know the answer, but we need to get the answer.
This appears like someone was trying to physically intimidate a U.S. ambassador. And let's remember, the reason everybody in this country knows who Mike Pompeo is, because he was a pretty anonymous Kansas congressman was his Benghazi performance in the -- those endless hearings where he talked about how the U.S. cut and run and didn't protect our ambassadors. Now it appears U.S. citizens were threatening in some way and we've got to get to the bottom of this. And I can't see how a Republican senator, particularly one in cycle, can say, I don't want to know more about this. This is an American -- this is a person who potentially was put at danger for doing their job and that's very different than I think a lot of the other things that have come before that.
BERMAN: All right, Joe, Kaitlan, David, thank you very much.
In light of all this, what's Mitch McConnell's next move? What will he allow or what will he try to allow or disallow once the articles of impeachment are delivered to the Senate? And where are we this morning on whether we will hear from actual witnesses? We'll discuss, next.
BERMAN: We're just hours away from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing her proposal for impeachment managers. These are the people who will actually prosecute the case against the president in the Senate trial.
This means it will all get started very, very soon. Mitch McConnell says the trial will begin in earnest next Tuesday.
So what does this all mean? This new evidence? How will this affect the senators and perhaps the issue of whether witnesses will actually testify.
Joining us now, CNN host and political commentator, Michael Smerconish.
And, Michael, can I just read you a little more of this new information that just came to light from this character Robert Hyde, a Connecticut congressional candidate, interacting with Lev Parnas, a Giuliani associate, where Hyde suggests somehow that he's surveilling or involved with surveillance of a U.S. ambassador.
He says, they're moving her tomorrow. The guys over there, they asked me what I would like to do and what's in it for them. Wake up, Yankees man. She's talked to three people. Her phone is off. Computer is off. She's next to the embassy. Not in the embassy. Private security. Been there since Thursday. They will let me know when she's on the move. The address I sent you checks out. It's next to the embassy. They're willing to help if we/you would like a price.
I mean, this sounds like dark stuff.
And, again, it's just coming to light now. So the bigger question, Michael, is, what role does this play in a Senate trial? How does this impact the ultimate decision about whether to get new evidence, see more documents, or hear new witnesses?
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Both you and Alisyn have asked me previously if I thought that Speaker Pelosi had aided her case, the case for impeachment, by delaying the delivery of the articles. And my position has been, she harmed her case, that there was a momentum shift that was taking place and was interrupted because of that delay. Maybe I was wrong because this new evidence that comes to light, I think what it does in the big picture, John, is that it creates this image of the fluidity of the situation. Meaning, it's not yet ripe for determination by the Senate based on the record solely established by the House. And the big picture answer to your question is, I think it -- it increases the pressure that new witnesses be permitted to testify in the Senate proceeding.
CAMEROTA: You know, Michael, as you know, what some Republican senators have said is, if it wasn't taken care of in the House, we're not going to take it up. They should have -- that's why they should have taken their time. They should have dealt with all of these witnesses and new evidence in the House. It's not really our job.
What do you say to that argument?
SMERCONISH: Well, listen, it's an argument that I raised with you earlier this week because, theoretically, if they'd litigated, right, if Adam Schiff and company had litigated to command the appearance of Bolton, of Giuliani, of Mick Mulvaney, perhaps by now that would have run its course and that testimony would have been included in the record.
This is such a complicated picture now for not the least of which reason is that we are, what, 19 or so days away from Americans actually voting -- casting their first ballots in Iowa. And the juxtaposition of people voting and this still taking place, I think that aides the White House argument that Americans are capable of resolving all of this at the ballot box.
But the new developments today, I think, lend credence to the view that the Senate needs to take account of more than just that which was in the record for the House.
BERMAN: It's interesting, Michael, and I always respect your ability to step back and reassess things as new information comes out. And this is new. It really is. And I'm surprised my ability to continue to be surprised by these developments that keep on happening.
Michael, there was a notion, and this notion was put forth in some reporting, and people have suggested it beforehand, before this new information came out, which is that Republicans, when they're talking about the idea of allowing witnesses, Ted Cruz likes the idea of a one for one. OK, you get John Bolton, but we get Hunter Biden.
BERMAN: How do you assess that?
SMERCONISH: Right. And, you know, I think I said that to Alisyn earlier in the week, that there will be this tit for tat.
I would say this, you know, maybe the lesson for Republicans should be, be careful what you wish for because there's this caricature that has been created of Hunter Biden being a very troubled and ill- equipped individual. He graduates from Georgetown. He went to Yale Law. The only interview that I've seen him do was with ABC on their morning show a couple of months ago and I thought he comported himself well.
So, you know, the idea that, oh, we'll put Hunter Biden into the well of the Senate and, boy, that will really throw a monkey wrench into it, that might not be the case. It's possible he comes off as credible. People may question the amount of money that he was paid, but they might take a look at him and say, you know, where exactly is the beef?
CAMEROTA: Well, that's interesting that you say that, Michael, because what some have suggested on the other side is that Democrats should be careful of what they wish for --
CAMEROTA: Because John Bolton's a wildcard. Who knows what John Bolton would testify if they end up getting him in the hot seat too. So I take your point, anything is possible with witnesses and that's part of the appeal of wanting witnesses at trials.
Michael Smerconish, thank you very much for all of the analysis.
So there was this awkward finish to last night's debate with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders offered his hand there, and she rebuffed him. What does that mean about this feud between Warren and Sanders and how do voters feel? BERMAN: And dozens of people, including school children, injured after
a plane dumps jet fuel on them during an emergency landing. Yes, you heard that right. How could this happen? That's coming up.
BERMAN: All right, developing overnight, "The New York Times" says new video they have obtained shows two Iranian missiles hitting a passenger plane near Tehran minutes after takeoff. This was the incident where 176 people were killed. After days of denial, Iran has admitted to mistakenly shooting down the plane. But this new video raises new questions.
CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson joins us now with the latest.
Two missiles, Nic, spaced out by a significant period of time. What do you see here?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I mean there were two big takeaways from this, John. One is that we get a sense of just the horrible tragedy of this aircraft being shot down. Passengers on board. Now it seems -- and there was about 20 seconds between the two missiles hitting the aircraft -- that they -- it was clearly this extended period of horror on board the aircraft.
The other issue that this gets to is that the Iranian authorities, the president has only once said that it was missiles involved. He said that right at the beginning. And since then the narrative from both politicians and military commanders in Iran has been it was a single missile. The battery commander said they had ten seconds to make a decision, whether it was a plane or an incoming U.S. missile being fired at them.
Now we find they got a second opportunity of 20 seconds to make another determination. You have to wonder if the plane could have survived.
The president of Iran now calling and saying