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Tom Steyer is Interviewed on the Democratic Race; Surveilling Ambassador to Ukraine; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is Interviewed about the Democratic Race. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 15, 2020 - 08:30   ET

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


[08:30:00]

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, but the reason that we are a little fixated on this is because there's been days of recrimination's, you know, between these two. And I'm just wondering, do you believe Senator Elizabeth Warren that that's what she heard Bernie Sanders say in 2018, that a woman couldn't win?

TOM STEYER (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Alisyn, I obviously wasn't there. There's no one on that stage who can believe that a woman can't win as a president. I think if there's anybody on the Democratic stage who thinks that, they should get off the stage.

Heck, as Bernie Sanders himself said several times last night, Hillary Clinton got 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. Definitely, a woman can win. And the question is, who -- not can a woman win, of course a woman can win. The question is, which of the people which are Democrats are best able to beat Donald Trump?

We're down to the short strokes. That's got to be in front. And I keep saying, it's all about the economy.

CAMEROTA: OK, so let's talk about your strategy to win the nomination. How much time and money are you investing in Iowa versus South Carolina and Nevada? And the reason I ask is because you have been surging in the latest polls in South Carolina and Nevada.

So here you are at -- this is the one with South Carolina. You're in number two place. You're basically tied with Bernie Sanders. You're right behind Biden. You've leapfrogged Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren. And then, in Nevada, you are tied with Elizabeth Warren basically at number three.

So, clearly, you -- well, let me ask you this, do you think that that shows in part the power of television ads?

STEYER: I think what it shows is that when people -- people hear my message, that I'm a really different candidate from everybody else on that stage. They're all career politicians. I keep saying, look, this government's broken. It's been bought by corporations. As an outsider, I've been fighting those corporations with coalitions of American citizens for a decade. I can take back this government from the corporations who bought it. I'm the only person who will say that climate is my number one priority. You heard that over and over last night. And I can beat Trump on the debate stage on the economy.

That's what I say every place, Alisyn. I say it in every one of the states. I say the same thing. I -- you know, the key to me in this whole race is this, most primary votes still don't know who they're voting for. We know the polls are going to change a lot. I'm moving up in every state. But the one thing we know for sure, these polls are not set. People act as if they're set in stone. The exact opposite is true. Things are going to change dramatically between now and February 3rd, which is when the Iowa caucuses are, and dramatically over the whole next month.

And so the idea that things are going to change and that they changed last week in my favor, that's the world we're in.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

Can you share with us your fundraising numbers? I think that the last time that we spoke, you said that you would be sharing some of those. So tell us what they are in general and then how much you made last night.

STEYER: I don't know. You know, I -- what I have said is, I have been paying for the overwhelming bulk of my campaign, that more than 225,000 donors, I know that number, have contributed to my campaign. But I have spent all of my time, honestly, Alisyn, trying to make sure that I get face to face with as many American voters in those four early primary states as I possibly can.

You know, I'm the candidate. My job is to try and talk to people, both to tell them who I am and what I'm fighting for, but also to listen to them, to understand, to go to every place in Iowa and find out what it's like in northwest Iowa, find out what it's like in Des Moines, you know, go to Sioux City. That's what I'm doing. And, you know, I've been doing it in all four states. I'm doing it in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Yes.

STEYER: And, honestly, I try and make sure that we get as many people involved as possible. And that's how I see fundraising is how many individual donors do we have. That I'm focused on.

CAMEROTA: Yes. And what's the -- what -- and what's the answer?

STEYER: I don't know exactly how much money. I know that I have over 225,000 individual donors and that that goes up several thousand a day.

CAMEROTA: I see. Got it. Understood.

OK, Tom Steyer, thank you very much for explaining your feelings about last night, as well as what you're doing on the campaign trail.

Thanks for being here.

STEYER: Alisyn, thank you so much for having me. CAMEROTA: John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, developing this morning, new evidence released by the House. New evidence in the case against the president. Notes from Lev Parnas suggesting possible surveillance of a former ambassador to Ukraine.

[08:35:04]

Rudy Giuliani writing letters to the president of Ukraine. What does this all mean for the impeachment trial? Might this affect the case? Jeffrey Toobin joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: On the eve of the Senate impeachment trial, House Democrats just released new evidence that shines light on the pressure campaign on Ukraine, including a text message exchange which seems to indicate --

CAMEROTA: Several.

BERMAN: Some kind of surveillance effort on the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

I want to get "The Bottom Line" on what this all means. We're joined by CNN's chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

And just to give people a sense of what's here, number one, you have a letter from Rudy Giuliani telling the president of Ukraine, I'm working on behalf of Donald Trump, the person. I'm his personal lawyer. Will you have a meeting with me? Number two, there's a handwritten note from Lev Parnas saying he wants the president of Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens. And then, number three, these dark text messages which indicates an effort to surveil Marie Yovanovitch.

[08:40:02]

CAMEROTA: At least surveil.

BERMAN: At least surveil.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Right. It's spooky stuff.

If this were a trial in front of a jury that was unbiased, that was objective, that was trying to determine the facts the way juries do, it would be extremely significant because the whole core accusation here is that the president of the United States did not deal with Ukraine out of the United States' national interests but out of his desire to get the -- to get dirt on his political opponent. This is certainly evidence, more evidence, that this is what's going on.

But that's not the kind of jury this is. So I don't expect this is going to shift votes. But it may shift people's perspective out in the real world about what was really going on. CAMEROTA: But is there any way that in the Senate trial they can say,

no thank you, we don't need to see that new evidence that's come to light in the past 12 hours?

TOOBIN: Well, you know, what's interesting about this evidence in particular is that it's documentary evidence. It's texts. It's that -- it's that handwritten note. That can be submitted. The House managers can definitely submit that. Whether the jurors, that is the 100 senators, pay any attention to it is, of course, a separate question. But there is no doubt that they can submit it.

The question that, you know, hovers over this whole trial is whether there will be any live witnesses to testify. And we don't know that at this point.

BERMAN: It does put some political pressure -- I understand now legal binding pressure, but some political pressure on Republicans who might be wavering one way or the other. It makes it harder to say, we don't want to see any more, we don't want to hear any more, when there keeps on being new information, which does shed light on things.

TOOBIN: Well, that -- you know, that's been the core issue here from the very beginning, that if you are serious as a juror in trying to determine what actually happened here between the United States and Ukraine, you have to listen to witnesses, especially considering that several of the key witnesses have never yet given testimony under oath. Chief of among them, John Bolton, the former national security adviser.

If you were at all serious about wanting to know what happened here, would you have to hear Bolton's testimony. But, you know, this is a political process more than a legal process. The president has strong support among Republicans. And there are not yet 51 senators, as far as I'm aware, that are willing to say, we want to hear live witnesses, including Bolton.

CAMEROTA: But, you know there are these four senators who have said that they're open to hearing from witnesses. And so maybe as new evidence comes out, every week, and I don't think I'm exaggerating, how could they justify not hearing from witnesses?

TOOBIN: Because this is political.

BERMAN: What do you make of --

TOOBIN: Because they want to -- they don't want to offend Donald Trump. I mean that is -- that is the primary goal of most Republicans in elected office in the United States today. So they can ignore anything they want if that's their real goal.

BERMAN: Jeffrey Toobin, thank you so much for being here.

TOOBIN: It's going to start soon.

CAMEROTA: It sure is.

BERMAN: It is.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

President Trump is expected to sign the first phase of a new trade deal with China today. Christine Romans with details and how the markets are reacting, next.

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[08:47:16]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And when you look at what I have done, 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. 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)

BERMAN: That's Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar making her electability argument last night at CNN's Democratic debate. And the Minnesota senator joins us right now.

Senator, thanks so much for being with us. We've played that sound a few times this morning.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: And it amuses me every time. It makes it sound like you're saying you didn't just beat your opponent, you made them cry. Why -- why is that important?

KLOBUCHAR: That's for them to know.

Well, I think one of the points is I've -- I've won every race in a big, big way. And when I've won in these state races, it has actually been against men. But yet I've brought a lot of men with me voting for me.

And when we have that gender discussion last night, one of the things I wanted to add to it -- and I'm the one for months now that's been saying, yes, there's a double standard for women in politics, but I'll make it. One of the things I wanted to add is that you want to have someone that can win, men or women. And what I have -- bring to this, which is different than anyone on that stage, is that I've got the receipts. I literally have won in those counties, 42 of them, that Donald Trump won. I've won every congressional district, rural, the steel worker area, suburban areas that Republicans have won. And I think that's because I bring people with me. I don't shut them out. And as I said in my conclusion, if you're looking for someone that

doesn't involve all the noise and the nonsense and not the extremes, you've got a home with me. And that's the case I made last night in terms of my debates with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on things like free college and Medicare for all.

I think we can do a lot better than we're doing right now and bring down the cost of premiums and make it easier for kids to go to college. But I don't think we have to do it in a way that blows up the whole system, cannot pass, as I pointed out to Bernie, two-thirds of the Democrats in the Senate aren't even on his bill. It is not going to happen. It's not real.

BERMAN: Senator, you just talked about the gender issue, as you put it, which did come up last night, having to do with the discussion between Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders. And you just said, you think there is a double standard when it comes to women in politics.

And I'm just wondering, as you reflect back on the now many months that' you've been running for president, how gender has affected you in your candidacy.

[08:50:03]

KLOBUCHAR: Not as much as you would think. I'm still my same person that I was from the beginning on. I have been struck by how many times people will say, well can a woman beat him? I think they're ready to have a woman in power. As I pointed out last night, Laura Kelly is the governor in Kansas and Gretchen Whitmer is the governor in Michigan. They've put women in power in all kinds of states.

I think what's going on right now is people are thinking in their mind, who is the best person to beat Donald Trump. And sometimes they think, can a woman beat him? And so that's why I keep making the point, Nancy Pelosi does it every single day. And bringing them to the fact that if you're looking in these Midwestern areas that he won, I'm actually the best candidate to put at the top of the ticket. Regardless of gender, I am the best candidate. And so that's why I keep making that argument.

I do think in some of my past races, I've always mentioned -- because I was the first woman in all my jobs. I always would say things like, you know, I'm proud to be a woman candidate, but you shouldn't vote for me because of that. You should vote for me because I'm the best person for the job, best person to win and best person to get things done for you when I get into the job.

And that's the same argument I'm making as president.

BERMAN: You are --

KLOBUCHAR: Just talking about gender doesn't mean that that is the reason to vote for you.

BERMAN: You're about to spend more time in Washington over the next 18 days than I think you would like. The Senate impeachment trial is set to begin shortly and it will keep you away from Iowa in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses.

What's your plan? What's your plan to physically get to Iowa as much as you can? How will you do that? And what will you do on the days you can't?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, my first plan is to do my constitutional duty, to be in the Senate, to be a jury. This couldn't be more important. There's only 100 of us and right now the big issue is we're trying to get those witnesses. It's unbelievable to me when the president says these witnesses can exonerate him that they won't allow those witnesses to testify. As I said last night, you may as well give him a scepter and a crown and make him king if you're not going to allow for a fair trial. So I'm going back to Washington to push for that.

At the same time, my presidential campaign will keep going strong. I have more elected and former elected legislatures in the state of Iowa supporting me than anyone else. In New Hampshire, we have an incredible group of people, incredible staff there, and we're building in Nevada and South Carolina.

I'm going all the way with this and I am very serious about that. And I can do this because I've got -- I don't need a lot of sleep. I'll get back whenever I can leading into these caucuses. My husband and my daughter are ready to help. And I'm just going to make that case every single town. I've already visited all 99 counties in Iowa. I was the only one up on that stage that have done that in our green bus. I think that's how you win.

BERMAN: I want to read you something that Peter Hamby, a former colleague of mine, in an article for "Vanity Fair," he wrote that he doesn't see the Democrats right now running for president connecting with some voters who have dropped off over the last few years, Democrats who haven't been paying as much attention. He writes, Democrats aren't even close to grabbing the hearts and minds or even the eyeballs of the drop-off voters who stayed home on Election Day in 2016. In fact, it's worse. Many of those voters can't even tell you who was actually running for president. This doesn't mean voters are dumb, it means they're normal and that Democrats have serious work to do to reach them.

What do you think of that?

KLOBUCHAR: Yes, I think there's some truth to that but it's because it's such a big field and it's getting winnowed down and that will help.

I have been making the case to them in nearly every debate. I talk about bringing in moderate Republicans and independents. That argument I made about the decency check of this election, a whole lot of those voters may not agree with everything that's said on that debate stage. I don't agree with everything that's said on that debate stage. But they see this election as a patriotism check, a values check, a decency check. And we better not screw this up. We better bring those voters with us.

And that is how you win in those states. The carpenters I talked to in Pennsylvania, the dock workers in Michigan, the dairy farmers in Wisconsin, they're looking for someone that can make good on the promises that Donald Trump has not kept.

BERMAN: Senator --

KLOBUCHAR: And that means making it easier to afford prescription drugs, doing something about infrastructure, doing something about college costs, you name it.

BERMAN: Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you for being with us this morning. Appreciate it.

KLOBUCHAR: OK. Great to be on, John. Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: We've had some great conversations with the candidates this morning.

And now it is time for "The Good Stuff."

When police in Arizona heard a little girl might miss her chance to see snow this winter, they brought five tons of it to her driveway.

[08:55:04]

Look at how cute this little girl is. That's two-year-old Quinn Walker. She was born without the left side of her heart. Her doctors say she's too sick to go to the mountains to see snowfall. Quinn's mom posted about this on Facebook and police noticed and they showed up with this snowy surprise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDEE WALKER, QUINN'S MOTHER: She looks completely healthy and normal and you would never know that this little girl is fighting to stay alive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Priceless. Just overwhelming.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Quinn's third heart surgery is set for April. She will likely need a heart transplants.

BERMAN: That's so nice of them bringing the mountain to Mohammed -- or mountain to Quinn in this case, literally, as the case may be.

CAMEROTA: I mean that's not easy. That -- I mean when we do these stories of police officers going above and beyond, it is so wonderful and heartwarming.

BERMAN: All right, you've got a big morning ahead of you. Nancy Pelosi, very shortly, will announce the House impeachment managers. They will be the ones who prosecute the case in the Senate impeachment trial. And this as we're seeing new evidence in this case by the hour.

CNN all over it, next.

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