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Sen. Bernie Sanders Gains Momentum In New CNN Poll; Sen. Angus King (D-ME) Discusses Trump Impeachment Trial; Fact-Checking The Senate Impeachment Trial. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired January 22, 2020 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER SENIOR ADVISER, HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN: They've got that experience so they know what they need to do in terms of the ground game.
And I think -- you know, the other piece of this is Sen. Sanders really has to show that he can bring the country together and that he can lead our country. He has not -- he has not always been seen as someone who would be a uniter.
And it's interesting to see in our poll two things that really stand out, right? One is can they beat -- can you beat Trump. That's what people care about the most. That's been very consistent. But also, people want somebody who can unite the country.
And I actually think the fray back and forth between Sens. Warren and Sanders -- people -- I think voters just don't want to see that. They want to see who's going to bring us together, who's going to move us forward. They don't really want to see this --
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
FINNEY: -- sort of infighting within the field.
CAMEROTA: Well, Hillary Clinton didn't get that memo in terms of this documentary. Cameras have been following her around and she spoke in a pretty candid way. For the first time, I mean, she went further than people had heard in terms of her feelings about Sen. Sanders.
So here is this moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD STERN, RADIO SHOW HOST, SIRIUS XM "THE HOWARD STERN SHOW": Do we hate Bernie Sanders?
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: No, I don't hate anybody.
STERN: Bernie could have endorsed you quicker after you beat him.
CLINTON: He could of. He hurt me. There's no doubt it, he hurt me. But going back to the indictments because that's what's really important --
STERN: All right. You haven't spoken to Bernie about that?
CLINTON: No, no. I mean --
STERN: You haven't talked to him?
CLINTON: I don't talk to him. Yes, I mean, we did when he finally endorsed me and all that.
STERN: But you're upset with him?
CLINTON: No, disappointed, disappointed.
CLINTON: OK. So -- and I hope he doesn't do it again to whoever gets the nomination.
CLINTON: Once is enough.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That was interesting but completely different than what I was looking for.
This is the -- what she told to "The Hollywood Reporter"
"He was in Congress for years. He had one senator support him. Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done. He was a career politician. It's all just baloney and I feel so bad that people got sucked into it."
So, Crystal, what did you think when you heard Hillary Clinton's words?
KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST, "RISING" ON HILL T.V., AUTHOR, "THE POPULIST GUIDE TO 2020": I mean, those comments are -- first of all, they're just sort of mean, like nobody likes him. I mean, are we in junior high?
But second of all, especially with this poll coming out, look how out of touch this looks. And this is, I think, a failure that a lot of D.C. heads had which has made them underestimate Bernie Sanders.
Yes, if you listen to cable news all day -- if you just hang out in this town you're going to think nobody likes Bernie Sanders. But again, the polls consistently show he is actually the most popular candidate in the race. New rankings came out. He's the most popular senator in the entire country.
So part of why -- FINNEY: That's not true, Krystal.
BALL: No, that literally came out last week.
FINNEY: That's not true.
BALL: Morning Consult polling ranked him as the number-one most popular senator in the entire country.
BALL: But second of all, why do people like him so much? It's precisely because D.C. hates him. People hate D.C. The fact that he didn't come here to make friends -- that he came here to stand up for the working class is precisely why he is so consistently popular across polls.
CAMEROTA: And, Krystal, why haven't you endorsed him in 2020?
BALL: Well, I mean, I work for "The Hill." I like all of the antiestablishment candidates and so I'm staying out in terms of putting out an endorsement.
But, I mean, there's no doubt about it. I like Bernie. I like his focus on the working class. I think that's exactly what we do need to bring the country together.
And by the way, worth noting with all this, like, Bernie Bro narrative that's arising, it's really ugly to sort of invisibilize his supporters of color. And in the CNN poll --
BALL: -- he leads Joe Biden among people of color.
CAMEROTA: But --
BALL: So I think we need to put this whole Bernie Bro narrative to bed, too.
CAMEROTA: But, the Bernie Bro stuff is that some of his supporters are aggressive online.
FINNEY: Well, actually -- but, hold on, hold on. The Bernie Bro stuff --
BALL: Well, but it's about toxic young white men --
FINNEY: Hold on, guys.
BALL: -- is what it's about.
FINNEY: But, Krystal, the Bernie Bro stuff is very real. And actually, I do give his campaign -- and in 2016, to the point where -- I mean, we actually had to ask his campaign because women -- it was so bad for a lot of women. I give his campaign credit this time in that I don't think they're trying -- I think they're trying -- they recognize that it was problematic.
But I want to go back to what Hillary said because I think she was -- as you could see in the interview with Howard Stern, what's more important is how we move this country forward. And as she has said, she's going to support whoever the nominee is. I think it's very important to a lot of voters -- to all voters, frankly, that whoever the Democratic Party nominee is that that person is supported full- throated --
FINNEY: -- by all the rest of the candidates.
And frankly, you know -- you know, like Hillary said in her tweet last night --
FINNEY: -- people wanted the unvarnished truth from her, you got it.
CAMEROTA: Yes. Well, let me read that because I do think that there was a damned if you do, damned if you don't quality --
FINNEY: That's right.
CAMEROTA: -- to her speaking out. So she said -- she said, "I thought everyone wanted my authentic, unvarnished views! But to be serious, the number one priority for our country and world is retiring Trump, and, as I always have, I will do whatever I can to support our nominee."
CAMEROTA: So it sounds like she has changed her opinion on that.
CAMEROTA: Krystal Ball, Karen Finney, I'm sorry -- I could talk to you guys for another hour about all this because we have much we've resolved some of this tension. But we will have an opportunity to talk again. Thank you both so much.
BALL: Thank you, Alisyn.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I mean, you couldn't resolve it right here right now after everybody had said it (ph)?
CAMEROTA: No, and you know that's always my goal.
BERMAN: So, one day into the Senate impeachment trial and the differences between this one and the last one for President Clinton could not be more clear. John Avlon has a reality check -- John.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, guys.
Who would have thunk that the Clinton impeachment wars would be seen as an era of good feeling where reason reigned in the Senate? But that's where we are today because debates over the Clinton Senate trial standards dominated the first day of Donald Trump's Senate trial.
Republicans argued they could deal with the question of witnesses after opening statements, but Trump's lawyers clearly don't want it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAT CIPOLLONE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: If I showed up in any court in this country and I said Judge, my case is overwhelming but I'm not ready to go yet -- I need more evidence -- I would get thrown out in two seconds. And that's exactly what should happen here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AVLON: It's a good line but it only works in a vacuum because the Clinton White House had already turned over 90,000 pages of documents ahead of his impeachment.
By contrast, President Trump directed the executive branch to block documents and ignore subpoenas for 71 records and at least 12 White House and senior administration staff, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, former national security adviser John Bolton, former secretary of energy Rick Perry, and senior staff at the OMB and the National Security Council.
Now despite this, we have heard Republicans argue over and over that Democrats have pursued impeachment without firsthand witnesses when the firsthand witnesses were being blocked by the Trump administration, itself. And since the House ended its inquiry, John Bolton said he'd be willing to testify.
Late last night, a new cache of redacted e-mails revealed OMB officials were preparing to freeze Ukraine aid before President Trump's phone call, where other e-mails showed Pentagon and OMB officials fighting over the delay, as well as messages showing that the order to withhold the aid came from President Trump, himself.
The Government Accountability Office releasing a finding that withholding Ukraine aid broke the law, while Lev Parnas turned over documents showing that he was pressuring the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into the Bidens.
Now, all of this is highly relevant to the Senate trial. It's come up despite the Trump administration's best efforts, knocking down talking points by the president's defenders.
Now, in the Clinton impeachment there were ultimately three witnesses called, including Monica Lewinsky, despite objections from Democrats like Chuck Schumer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It seems to me that no good case has been made for witnesses.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AVLON: Now, those witnesses didn't have an impact on the ultimate outcome. Remember, no president has ever been removed from office as the result of an impeachment trial.
But perhaps the most relevant difference is that during the Clinton impeachment, the president admitted wrongdoing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Indeed, I did have a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AVLON: His behavior was condemned by Democrats in the House and Senate.
While President Trump has refused to admit any wrongdoing despite all the evidence we've seen to date. What's even more troubling is that Republicans seem to want to fall in line with the president's self- serving fiction despite the fact that in CNN's most recent poll, Trump's 43 percent approval rating is well below the 51 percent of Americans who say they want to see the president removed or the 69 percent who want to see witnesses in the trial.
Ultimately, of course, this is about the Constitution and not the polls. But senators will be judged by history, as well as their children and grandchildren. And they shouldn't forget that being able to accept basic facts, even if you disagree on the proper punishment, is an essential component for being able to reason together.
And that's your reality check.
CAMEROTA: John Avlon, thank you very much. We needed some reality today. Thank you.
We are just hours away from the first day of opening arguments following this marathon debate over the rules last night. We'll speak with one of the Senate jurors. I'm not sure he's had any sleep yet. That's next.
CAMEROTA: In the wee hours of the morning, the Senate approved the rules for President Trump's impeachment trial after a fiery marathon session. Today, the House Democratic impeachment managers will begin three days of their opening arguments.
Joining us now is Independent senator of Maine, Angus King. Good morning, Senator.
SEN. ANGUS KING (I-ME): Good morning, Alisyn. How are you?
CAMEROTA: I'm well. I may have gotten more sleep than you. Have you gone to sleep yet?
KING: I did. I had a few hours but I'm ready to go.
CAMEROTA: I can see that. You look fresh as a daisy.
So tell us what those 13 hours -- I mean, before we get to the substance of what happened --
CAMEROTA: -- just give us the color in the room of what those 13 hours were like. I mean, how were senators sitting still, how were they entertaining themselves? What was going on there?
KING: Well, believe it or not, they were listening, and I sat and scanned the room pretty frequently. And I took a whole bunch of notes last night and one of my notes was everybody seems to be listening. As you know, the rule was no phones, no electronics, no staff, and everybody had to be in their seat. And so, the first observation was people were listening.
And when I saw Adam Schiff making some important points I looked around on the Republican side, I saw a few furrowed brows and -- but I think that was one of the first things.
Here -- another thing that's sort of funny happened. The chief justice came in and we started the process. The chief justice left -- there was a break. And after he left and before the break really took hold, Mitch McConnell got his microphone and said I think from now on we should stand when the chief justice enters. And that's, indeed, what happened.
And it was actually an important moment because people were milling around during the breaks and then all of a sudden, the chief justice would come in. Everyone would get in their chair and stand up and go silent and it sort of set the tone for the seriousness of the evening.
So those were some of the atmospheric things --
KING: -- that I saw.
CAMEROTA: And did you -- in terms of when you thought that everybody was paying attention, did you think that Idaho Sen. Jim Risch was just listening with his eyes closed because there are sketches of him possibly napping for a few moments.
KING: I know Jim and I'm on the Intelligence Committee with him, and I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because I think sometimes he does just sit back and listen. And I'm not going to go there but I've seen that phenomenon. But then, when the moment comes to ask the question he's right there. So I'll let that one go.
OK, let's talk about the substance. Is it fair to say or was it your impression that yesterday, Democrats -- the House managers seemed to be focused on the evidence and the president's defense team seemed to be focused on process?
KING: That's right. In fact, again, I mentioned I just wrote a whole lot of notes of what was going on.
The president's team just kept coming back to well, if you wanted witnesses you should have gone to court. You should have done it in the House. You didn't give the president due process. That was really the substance.
I don't think there was a single time when they contested any of the evidence of what was coming in or really said no, you don't need to hear from John Bolton, you don't need to hear from Mick Mulvaney. There's no need for these documents from the Pentagon because we have the evidence that exonerates the president. That never happened.
And I thought the Democratic managers did a pretty smart. In the course of responding to these motions about witnesses and documents, they essentially made their case. They had the video clips, they had outlines on the screen of what the -- what the e-mails said. And they -- in a sense, they got a head start on the trial through the course of these motions.
And, Adam Schiff demonstrated a really pretty amazing command of the -- of the facts and of the nature of the case. And his demeanor, I thought, was impressive. He was even in tone and as I say, extremely knowledgeable.
But they -- again, one of my notes was they're making their case now before we even start the trial.
CAMEROTA: Were you impressed by the president's defense team -- Jay Sekulow and Cipollone?
KING: Not really. I just -- I'm being honest -- because they didn't make any substantive points.
They kept making their point over and over about executive privilege. But they kept talking about executive privilege but the president has never, thus far, invoked executive privilege. And then they talked about some kind of generalized immunity.
And I thought the Democratic managers made a pretty good case coming back and saying look, if a president who is being impeached for allegedly wrongful acts -- abuse of office -- can control the evidence himself or herself and say you can't talk to this or that witness, you can't look at these documents, then the impeachment clause really means nothing. It's essentially gone from the Constitution. And that just is not a sensible proposition.
But the White House lawyers -- in fact, one of my notes was there's a lot of high-price legal talent there saying the same thing over and over and really not making any effort to rebut the underlying case.
CAMEROTA: Sen. Mitch McConnell, in the beginning of the day, seemed to retreat on his more strict rules that he had first announced in terms of the time and in terms of whether or not evidence in the House was actually going to be submitted into the official record.
Do you -- what does that suggest to you? Does it suggest to you that he may change his opinion on other things?
KING: Well, first, I thought it might be fun for your viewers. I brought the resolution with me. And I don't know if you can -- you can focus on that. But what you'll see is a bunch of interlineations down here at the bottom -- handwritten language. And this is the official resolution that was voted.
The only time I've seen this before was on the tax bill where they were writing things in the middle of the night in the corner of the paper.
But obviously, this was a last-minute change. I think it was a good one to not make us go two 12-hour -- or four 12-hour days. It just -- that just didn't make sense for anybody. And also, to take the record.
But, Alisyn, there's a larger point here and this is what last night was really all about. This is a -- this is a backwards trial.
The Democratic House managers are going to argue for 24 hours about what happened. And then, the White House has another 24 hours about what happened or what didn't happen. Then, there's 16 hours of questioning by the senators about those presentations. And then, maybe, there will be votes on witnesses.
It's -- usually in a trial -- in trials I used to do up in Maine -- you start with the evidence and then you have the arguments. In this case, it's completely backwards.
So, for example, what happens if we get witnesses and it raises a whole host of new questions? There's nothing in the rules that calls for a new session of questions by the senators or even presentations by the House managers and the -- and the -- and the White House.
So why we didn't just go ahead and say these are important witnesses, we should hear from them, and let's get them in here and get this thing going instead of doing it in this kind of backwards way, which I -- you know, I just -- I don't get? CAMEROTA: Huh. Well, you're not alone. And perhaps you could ask majority leader Mitch McConnell about that thinking when you have him in the hallway.
But we really appreciate you, Senator, giving us your perspective on everything that happened yesterday and what we'll be expecting today. Thank you very much for taking time on this sleepy morning -- for us, at least. Thank you.
KING: Thank you, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: We'll talk to you again.
BERMAN: So, you know what was a key feature in the first day of the impeachment trial of President Trump? Lies. There were a few of them and we'll lay out the biggest, next.
BERMAN: Thirteen hours yesterday, the impeachment trial of President Trump went on. Thirteen hours keeping fact-checkers busy because you know what, there were some lies.
Joining us now is CNN's fact-checking in chief, Daniel Dale. Daniel, it is great to have you on NEW DAY. We don't get you here nearly enough so let's take advantage of it.
First of all, Pat Cipollone with a doozy -- a real doozy about who was allowed in the depositions in the House of Representatives -- listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CIPOLLONE: In every other impeachment proceeding, the president has been given a minimal -- a minimal due process -- nothing here. Not even Mr. Schiff's Republican colleagues were allowed into the SCIF.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: What's the truth, Daniel?
DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Every Republican member of the three committees that were holding those closed-door hearings -- that's Intelligence, Oversight, Foreign Affairs -- was not only allowed to be in the room but was given equal questioning time with Democrats. They alternated questioning.
What he seemed to be referring to there was an October stunt in which non-members of the committee -- other Republicans as well as some members of the committee -- stormed the SCIF to make a point similar to this one about the supposed lack of due process. Those non-members eventually had to leave because they're not allowed. But all 48 people who were on the committee got to stay and the depositions proceeded with them there.
BERMAN: Jay Sekulow tried to make a somewhat similar argument about the process in the House. Let's listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, OUTSIDE LEGAL COUNSEL FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I'll give you a trifecta.
During the proceedings that took place before the Judiciary Committee, the president was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses, the president was denied the right to access evidence, and the president was denied the right to have counsel present at hearings.
That's a trifecta. A trifecta that violates the Constitution of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Also, a trifecta of untruth, it seems, Daniel.
DALE: Yes, yes. There are two things here.
One is that the president was allowed to have his counsel present at the Judiciary Committee. In fact, Chairman Nadler actually invited him to have his counsel not only be present but participate.
It was the Intelligence Committee where they could have a fair complaint where Chairman Schiff said you weren't -- Trump was not allowed to have his counsel participate there.
Now, on the question of constitutional rights, he seemed to be referring to the Sixth Amendment, which begins by specifying that it is specifically about the rights of criminal defendants and they do not apply to the rights of subjects of criminal -- of impeachment trials. And so, someone who's the subject of an impeachment trial does not have a specific constitutional right to have a lawyer participate or to cross-examine witnesses.
BERMAN: A trifecta of fact-checking from Daniel Dale right there.
OK, then there was an old favorite when it comes to what Robert Mueller found in his report. This, frankly, has never been true, but let's listen.
We don't have it. All right.
Jay Sekulow said there was no obstruction found in the Mueller report. In fact, the Mueller report, to the contrary of what these managers say today, came to the exact opposite conclusions of what they say today.
I read the Mueller report, Daniel. It didn't say no obstruction.
DALE: It didn't. It very much did not say no obstruction. Now, Trump is free and his lawyers are free to continue to make that argument on their own behalf.
But the report, of course, laid out multiple instances of what we can call possible obstruction. And, Mueller explained that the rules governing special counsels do not permit him to come to a firm conclusion. But there certainly was no conclusion that there was not obstruction.
BERMAN: Daniel Dale, a ray of truth in the mornings. Thanks so much for being with us. I really appreciate it.
DALE: Thank you.
BERMAN: And thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next. For our U.S. viewers, we are waiting for the opening arguments in the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump. NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): We begin just the third president impeachment trial in American history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very interesting and important day. This is much more fluid than people thought.
SCHUMER: Witnesses and documents are extremely important.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think that there was a realistic chance that any of these Republican senators were going to go against Mitch McConnell or Donald Trump.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): President Trump does not want you to hear from Ambassador Bolton. The reason has nothing to do with executive privilege or this other nonsense.
SEKULOW: Is that the way you view the United States Constitution? Because that's not the way it was written. That is not the way it's interpreted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
BERMAN: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, January 22nd. It is 8:00 in the east.
Drama, intrigue, surprises already in the impeachment trial of President Trump.