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NEW DAY

Interview with Democratic Candidate Pete Buttigieg; Interview with Democratic Candidate Tom Steyer; House to Release Articles of Impeachment to Senate; Nancy Pelosi to Name House Managers for Impeachment Trial; Text Messages Between Giuliani Associate Lev Parnas and Republican Congressional Candidate Robert Hyde on Former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch Released. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired January 15, 2020 - 08:00   ET

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


[08:00:00]

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D-IN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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.

MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: The House is likely to finally send the articles, which would set us up to begin the actual trial next Tuesday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, January 15th. It's 8:00 in the east. We have now seen the final debate before the Iowa caucuses. So what has changed this morning? I will tell you one thing that is different. One-time allies Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the two senators, they are working through issues. They had this moment after the debate where Senator Warren left Bernie Sanders hanging as she tried -- he tried to shake her hand. That was followed by a brief but noticeably tense exchange. Tom Steyer there deciding, I'm not going to get in the middle of this.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Too late.

BERMAN: The longtime friends and colleagues and allies are feuding over whether Senator Sanders said a woman could not win the 2020 election. Senator Warren says that discussion happened in 2018. They both addressed it in the debate last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-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.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: 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 have been in are the women, Amy and me.

(APPLAUSE)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So true. So true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: We will talk more about that moment coming up. But it's an historic day on Capitol Hill. In two hours, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will announce the impeachment managers. And after a debate the House will vote to send those articles of impeachment to the Senate. Senator Mitch McConnell said the Senate impeachment trial could begin as early as Tuesday. This comes as House Democrats have just released dozens of pages of new text messages and documents that lay out whatever Rudy Giuliani and his associate Lev Parnas were doing in Ukraine, they say, on behalf of President Trump. And you will see that the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, had reason to fear for her safety when you see these text messages. She's now calling for an investigation after this new evidence has come to light about exactly who was surveilling her and what they were planning to do when they figured out her whereabouts.

We have a lot to talk about. Joining us now is CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, CNN political analyst David Gregory, and CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart, who was President Clinton's press secretary during impeachment. And that earns you the first question. Joe, I know you have been waiting for this moment. Impeachment in the Senate is beginning, it seems to be, after a cooling off period. So today the managers -- what are you looking for in terms of what will be announced today by Nancy Pelosi?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Today is primarily a ceremonial day. I think who she names as the managers are important. I think she will go smaller than the Republicans did.

CAMEROTA: Who do you think? Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler?

LOCKHART: Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler. I think she will want a diverse group. I look at people like Val Demings, Hakeem Jeffries, I think Eric Swalwell did a good job. People who are on both committees I think have an advantage, two of the three that I just mentioned. But I think it will be six or seven because she wants the most effective people as opposed to the whole group coming over.

And it won't be 12 or 13 angry white men coming over. It will look like the Democratic Party, which looks like America. The ceremony is important, though. You literally are going to have, my guess is Adam Schiff, reading the charges against the president of the United States. That brings it home for a lot of people. A lot of stuff that happened in the House happened in a circus-like atmosphere. The Senate is very different. This will seem very solemn, very serious. And if there's anyone out there thinking, oh, this is not a big deal, I think if they watch today, they will realize it's a big deal.

BERMAN: It's a big deal. The ceremony makes the case. You know what also makes that case is there's brand-new evidence that the American people are seeing for first time. House Democrats yesterday released information provided to them by Giuliani associate Lev Parnas. Some of the highlights, a letter from Rudy Giuliani to the president of Ukraine, Zelensky, saying that Giuliani is working on the personal behalf of the president. He wanted a meeting. There's a note from Lev Parnas saying that he needs the President Zelensky to announce an investigation into the Bidens.

[08:05:03]

And then there is the most bizarre and potentially dark text exchange between Lev Parnas and this new character that we're all meeting for the first time, Robert Hyde, who is a Republican congressional candidate out of Connecticut. Unclear what on earth his involvement in this all is, except for the fact that he seems to claim he is involved with surveilling former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

CAMEROTA: At least surveilling.

BERMAN: Let's read some of this.

CAMEROTA: OK, so Robert Hyde is sending text messages, David Gregory, to Lev Parnas, who, as you know, has been charged with funneling, successfully, Russian money into U.S. elections. He is talking about Marie Yovanovitch, the ambassador. He says, "She's under heavy protection outside of Kiev. My guy thinks maybe FSB." Next, two days later, "They're moving her tomorrow. The guys over there asked me what I would like to do and what's in it for them. She's talked to three people. Her phone is off. Her computer is off. She's next to the embassy, not in the embassy. She has private security. Been there since Thursday. They will let me know when she's on the move." Then later that day, "They are willing to help if you, we, would like a price." It couldn't be any more ominous sounding. And no wonder she was worried about her safety as she mentioned when she testified.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, and she gets fired by the president, removed by the president. And here you have Rudy Giuliani and people he is associating with appearing to be discussing something that could lead to threatening her safety, to endangering her. This is a United States ambassador. So there's a lot more to learn here, and it sounds menacing.

The question is, are we going to learn more about it? This on a tactical level seems to me to be a way to persuade senators that, hey, we've got to have a fuller airing here. This ought to be a real Senate trial where we know more than we even know today about what this potential plot was all about, to dig up dirt on a political opponent. You do have other Republicans, namely the leadership, who say, hey, facts not in evidence yet, and we're not having a trial to just add on new information, new witnesses. That's going to be the tension here after the ceremony. That's where the fight is going to go.

BERMAN: It's hard. It will be hard for Republican senators just to hold their hands over their eyes and over their ears and say we don't see this or we're not hearing this new evidence that clearly raises these new questions. And I do want to note about Robert Hyde, one thing we do know about him, a big supporter of Donald Trump. We have seen his picture with the president and many of the Trump children and Trump associates. He clearly knows them.

And Kaitlan, this reminds me of something that Republicans connected to the Senate were telling me in December as the impeachment process moved on, which is one of the things that always has made them the most nervous is what they don't know. They just never trusted that there wasn't more information. Not with Rudy Giuliani, not with Giuliani's associates, they didn't know what was around the next corner.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And now there's going to be so much more pressure on these Senate Republicans to find out more about what's going on, because what we are learning from these documents and these materials just released last night is that there's still a lot more to learn.

And there are going to be questions about this Robert Hyde figure and what his connections were and how close they were to the president and his family because, yes, there are all these photos. But there's a lot to be learned about his connections to Lev Parnas, and of course, Roger Stone, all these official U.S. that you see him in photos with.

And I don't think U.S. diplomats overseas are all that not used to being followed by people. I think that's pretty typical for people in those positions when you are in Russia or some of the countries. But having an American citizen following an American ambassador in Ukraine, talking about whether her phone is off, what her location is, those are going to be questions that these lawmakers want to know about, and the Democratic lawmakers are going to make sure they are talking about out in the open.

And one thing I do want to note on this is, it's been a little over 12 hours since these materials first came out, reading these text messages written about Marie Yovanovitch, and yet we have not heard anything from the State Department or the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on this yet. We may get something in the time to come, but so far they have not said anything about these pretty threatening text messages written about one of their own ambassadors.

CAMEROTA: Joe, you've pointed out, there was a time in the recent past when Republicans cared very deeply about U.S. ambassadors' safety around the world, and of course, we imagine they still would. So you can never -- you could not ignore what you are reading in these text messages. If they read these this morning, how could it not raise eyebrows and say, what is this?

LOCKHART: The reason that a lot of Americans know Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was his role in the Benghazi hearings. He was a strong accuser of Hillary Clinton for being derelict in her duty. That all got aired out. I think she was acquitted properly in that. It is a tragic situation.

[08:10:08]

But given his past, and given this is a potentially similar situation where someone is trying to do harm to an American ambassador, and these are friends of the president, I'm sure it's tough politically for him, but he cannot sustain not supporting his ambassadors, his foreign service officers. I just have a hard time seeing him being quiet or staying in the position that he is in.

BERMAN: I have to say, look, we don't know if Robert Hyde is living in a fantasy world, if this is all made up. That's a fair question to ask, I suppose. But if any of this is in any way real, this is alarming. It is alarming that a U.S. ambassador was being --

CAMEROTA: Marie Yovanovitch felt something. She knew something was amiss. She felt scared, and when they say get on the plane, she did it and didn't ask questions as she testified to.

BERMAN: David, Joe, Kaitlan, thank you very much.

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg talked up his military experience at last night's Democratic debate. What did he get out of this final face-off before Iowans actually vote? We'll ask him, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: The final debate before the Iowa caucuses last night right here on CNN, really, the paramount issue, you heard it from every candidate on the stage, was electability.

[08:15:01]

Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says his military experience and faith give him the best chance of defeating President Trump.

Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm ready to take on Donald Trump because when he gets to the tough talk and the chest thumping, he will have to stand next to an American war veteran and explain how he pretended bone spurs made him ineligible to serve.

If a guy like Donald Trump keeps trying to use religion to somehow recruit Christianity into the GOP, I will be standing there not afraid to talk about a different way to answer the call of faith and insist that God does not belong to a political party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: And joining us now is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg.

Mr. Mayor, thank you very much for being with us.

This was the last debate before Iowa votes, the caucuses are less than three weeks away.

What do you hope voters took away from you last night?

BUTTIGIEG: Look, thanks for having me on.

Our main goal was to make sure that voters could understand what kind of president I would be and what kind of nominee I would be. We are within days now of the caucuses.

And so many of the voters I talk to more than anything else want to know that we can win. To me, demonstrating how you are going to win and demonstrating how you can govern are actually the same thing. So I've talked about the values that we can use to unite as a country, to solve big issues. And a lot of these are values that are shared across the aisle and being trashed by President Trump, including a lot of values that you hear about a lot from the more conservative side like faith, like service, like national security.

Time to show what is really means to live up to those values and to govern and campaign accordingly.

BERMAN: One of the things you hear a lot about in campaign analysis is the idea that there are lanes that the candidates are running in. There's the progressive lane. People talk about Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in that.

In these days, people are talking about you running in a more moderate lane against former Vice President Joe Biden, maybe Senator Klobuchar.

What do you think of this notion of lanes? What lane do you see yourself in?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, I think pundits use those terms to simplify things a little bit. It's certainly the case that I would caution against going to the extreme when we can solve big problems like delivering health care to every American without alienating half the country.

But I also believe we can be very bold at a time like this. That's why I have worked to lead the field in calling for Democratic reforms, because the way our system works, that's the issue of how we deal with every other issue and with everything from gerrymandering to the aftermath of Citizens United and what that means for money and politics. We've got a lot of work to do and shouldn't afraid to be bold.

The point I'm making to voters, to the American people is that I'm prepared to be the boldest president we've had in a half century when it comes to big reforms, big game-changing improvements and advancements in our access to health care, education and more, and that there's a way to do it -- that we can actually unite American rather than chasing for the most extreme idea. BERMAN: You say bold but not extreme. By extreme, I assume --

BUTTIGIEG: Yes.

BERMAN: -- you're referring to Senator Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Are you saying you are more moderate, for lack of a better word, than them?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, for example, on something like health care, I think it's more reasonable to do it in a way that doesn't force Americans off their plans if they don't want to give those plans up. But again, this would also be the biggest, boldest thing we've done to American health care in a half century.

When it comes to college, a game-changing opportunity to make sure that nobody faces cost as a barrier. But I think it's better do that in a way that's targeted while some of the others think even the children of millionaires should pay no tuition at all.

So, certainly, I think there can be a temptation in the course of a primary to go all the way off the cliff where a lot of Americans just don't think it makes sense and where I don't think the best policies lie. We have other better ways to get these things done. Still solving the problem and allowing us to hold together that American majority.

Remember, on issues where my party has been trusted, like health care and the economy, and on issues where my party has been more on defense in the past, like immigration or common sense gun law. Right now, there's a strong American majority to do the things that we're calling for. Matter of fact, it's hard to find an issue, a major issue being debated right now where most Americans agree with the Republican Party.

Let's hold that majority together not just in order to win but in order to govern.

BERMAN: I will say, a majority of America right now approves of the job that Donald Trump is doing with the economy.

[08:20:03]

So, there is a majority agreement on that.

I want to ask a different question though. Three of your colleagues who were on that stage last night are going to spend most of the next two weeks in Washington at the Senate impeachment trial. Do you think that is an advantage for you in Iowa? Is there any part of you that feels badly for them?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, they will be doing an extremely important job in the Senate. And, you know, part of running for president, just like part of being president, is doing many things at once.

Of course, I value every opportunity to be with voters on the ground, whether it's in Iowa or New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada or the other states that we're traveling to. And as we make the closing arguments here in Iowa, my focus is not

going to be on myself or my competitors or even this president. It's going to be on the voters we're talking to, because you can see voters asking what I think is the fundamental question of every election, which is, how is my life going to be different depending on who is president? If it's you versus if it's you.

We're going to be keep answering that question and talking with voters about the things that impact them most all the way until the caucuses and then beyond in the states that follow.

BERMAN: You're running out of time. Every candidate is running out of time to an extent in Iowa, less than three weeks away. After that, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

It has been slow-going for you making progress with African-American voters. Do you see the clock running out for you to start gathering African-American support? Because that really will matter after Iowa and New Hampshire.

BUTTIGIEG: What we see is certainly a sense of urgency about building on the support we have. My support in the African-American community is strongest with those who know me best, in the Midwest, in my home community and in places like Iowa. But, of course, we've got to build on that going into the South.

Now, I have also engaged with a lot of black voters in the South who have asked very pragmatic questions about how to make sure that we have a candidate who can win. And for all the talking that every candidate does about how and why we can win, the truth is the best way to demonstrate that is to actually do it somewhere. Iowa is the first opportunity to do that. So that will be very important, too.

BERMAN: I do want to ask you about this tension that seems to exist between Senators Warren and Bernie Sanders. It has to do with a conversation that happened in 2018. Senator Warren suggests that Bernie Sanders said that he believed a woman couldn't win.

Let's replay that moment from the debate last night.

(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.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN DEBATE MODERATOR: 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: Now, look, I know you think that a woman could absolutely win the nomination and win the presidency. There's a question about honesty here though. Can they both be telling

the truth? Who do you believe in this?

BUTTIGIEG: I don't know what happened between them in a private conversation.

What I do know is, of course, a woman can win the presidency. After all, in 2016, the candidate -- our party's candidate who was a woman, got millions more votes than Donald Trump did.

I think now is the opportunity for each of us to explain what it is we bring to the table, to offer a vision for the future of the country. And I think at the end of the day, whichever nominee and whichever candidate has the best answers to the voters' question about how this is going to affect our everyday lives will be able to win no matter what.

BERMAN: Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, thank you very much for being with us this morning from an Iowa diner. I expect you will be in many Iowa diners over the next 18 days.

BUTTIGIEG: I imagine so. Thanks for having me on. Appreciate it.

CAMEROTA: OK, John.

There was a lot of substance obviously on stage last night. But there was also this awkward moment between Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. This morning, it has a lot of people buzzing.

Well, nobody had a better view of what was going on there than Tom Steyer. What did he hear them say? He is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:28:00]

CAMEROTA: Perhaps the most memorable moment on last night's debate stage happened in the moments after the debate ended.

Elizabeth Warren here seems to refuse Bernie Sanders' handshake. The two senators exchanged some words which Tom Steyer seemed to inadvertently wander into the middle of.

So, what was happening here?

Tom Steyer joins us now.

Good morning, Mr. Steyer.

TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good morning, Alisyn. How are you?

CAMEROTA: I'm well.

So, just about that moment, how many seconds did it take for your brain to compute, uh-oh, I've wandered into something quite awkward here?

STEYER: It didn't take a long time, Alisyn. But I didn't really hear anything. I was going over to say good night to two senators who I respect who are on the stage with me. They were in the middle of a moment.

So I just said my good nights as fast as I could. I wasn't trying to intrude on somebody else.

CAMEROTA: No, I know you weren't trying to intrude. But it does seem like you heard more than you are letting on, because you had to stand there for a few beats while they were still kind of going at it.

And so, maybe you could just share with us, was it your impression they were burying the hatchet or still sniping at each other?

STEYER: You know, I didn't really hear it, Alisyn.

You know, I thought that was, for me, a chance to say good night to a conversation.

Look, I know everyone is interested in that conversation. But what I thought was interesting about last night was really an opportunity to get on this stage and for everybody to talk about how to beat Donald Trump. That's actually what I thought last night was about.

We're finally down to the short strokes. And I have been saying, I can beat him on the economy. That's what he is running on. I spent 30 years on it. Let's beat Donald Trump and let me get on the debate stage with him and take him down on the economy.

CAMEROTA: And don't worry, Mr. Steyer, we will get to that. I mean, there was a lot of substance, obviously, last night on the stage. But, I mean -- I mean, the reason that we are a little fixated on this is because there's been days of recriminations, you know, between these two.

END