Return to Transcripts main page
Sen. Kennedy: Many Senators Hearing Trump Case "For The First Time"; Dems Make Case For Removing President Trump From Office; Strong Storm Packing Rain & Snow Moves Across The U.S.; With 11 Days To Iowa, Top Candidates Are Off The Trail; Soon: House Managers Begin Second Day Of Arguments; Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) Discusses About His Read Of The Room; Senators Buck Rules, Leaving Their Seats During Trial. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired January 23, 2020 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Well, no, I know that's the response --
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So providing more information isn't going to help.
CAMEROTA: -- by Republicans, except that - then things like Senator John Kennedy, come out and say this yesterday, "I think most if not all senators are hearing the case by the prosecution and the case by the defense for the first time, if you polled the United States Senate, nine out of 10 senators will tell you they have not read a transcript of the proceedings in the House. And the 10th senator who says he has is lying."
So Paul, I mean, what do you think about the fact that Rick says they've all heard it before so what and Senator Kennedy says I'm hearing this for the first time?
PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, and at least Senator Kennedy is hearing it instead of hiding in the cloakroom like some of his colleagues. Jesus said, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." I think Mr. Trump's view is the truth scares the hell out of me.
The only reason to block witnesses evidence, documents, testimony, facts is because you think they're not going to help you. But John Avlon's Reality Check was so great. The President yesterday bragging, I have all the information and they don't. He's mocking the American people in the Senate and so far Republicans in Senate are just taking it.
I thought Adam Schiff's presentation yesterday was masterful. I still go back and watch the 40, what, 45-year-old tape of Barbara Jordan speaking about impeachment and the Constitution in 1974. It is one of the most brilliant summations I've ever seen about the constitution and impeachment. I studied it during the Clinton impeachment. I believe what Adam Schiff said yesterday is going to be studied 40 and 50 years from now, that's how powerful that was.
And I think it's really difficult to listen to that with an open mind and not say, geez, we ought to at least have witnesses. CAMEROTA: Well, if you want to get in the wayback machine and since
you both were there in 1999, maybe we should do that because back then there was this very sharp senator who made the case that there should be, if there's new information to be heard, those documents should be presented and new witnesses should come forward. And that senator, let me make sure I have it right, was named Rick Santorum. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SANTORUM: I think that there will be a call and there will be a vote on witnesses and there will be witnesses.
LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: There will be witnesses, many witnesses.
SANTORUM: I don't think they'll be a lot of witnesses, but I think as Olympia said that there's a lot of fact questions out there that I think we need to get to the bottom at and have as completed record as we possibly can.
SANTORUM: ... so we know the whole story. I mean, the House says that they have additional information they'd like to bring forward. They like to ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They do, that they didn't bring forward.
SANTORUM: ... they'd like to be able to question witnesses and clarify some of the testimony that's on the record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Senator, back then you wanted to know the whole story and the House said they had additional information to bring forward. What's changed?
SANTORUM: Yes. Again, I don't have any problem with calling witnesses. What I hear, I hear Paul said here, all of these analysts talk about, oh, what we don't know. To anyone who believes that John Bolton is going to go out there and throw some bombshell or that Rick Perry is going to throw a bombshell or Mike Pompeo.
The reality is that there are legitimate questions about the President's behavior on that phone call. But again, I keep going back to the fact that unlike in the past, in the other impeachment where you had criminal violations that were alleged in the impeachment ...
SANTORUM: ... and I believe admitted to by a president. The reality is in this case, you don't. You have something just fundamentally different and providing more evidence of something that people don't think is an impeachable offense isn't going to help the case.
CAMEROTA: OK. But all I'm asking is should they be open to getting more transcripts that have been blocked by the White House, more documents, more witnesses?
SANTORUM: I think what you said and you saw it in the run up to the actual proceedings the other day that Mitch McConnell had to back down because senators do want a fair process.
SANTORUM: This idea that Republicans are just trying to obstruct and cover up and Democrats are all about light and everything. I just go back to 1999, Democrats moved to close this proceeding without a single, not even opening testimony.
CAMEROTA: Fine, but I just want to have this one, just this one, shouldn't the White House give all of that information that they're asking for and shouldn't, if they can't get it, they subpoena it in the Senate? I mean, that's how you felt in 1999.
SANTORUM: Obviously, this is a very different case having to deal with public policy and national security unlike the other case which had nothing to do with anything public policy-wise, had to do with the personal behavior of a president.
BEGALA: Which is why it is an unjust impeachment.
SANTORUM: Well, it had to do with the personal behavior of the President and the fact that he lied and tried to obstruct justice and in fact corrupted witnesses and had them not testified correctly.
CAMEROTA: And which one is more important?
SANTORUM: Those are very important factors in the law of our country that our president shouldn't be violating.
CAMEROTA: Oh, OK. And Paul, which one do you think is more important for the American public to know about?
BEGALA: Well, one is the violation of marital vows and Clinton pay a terrible price for that.
SANTORUM: (Inaudible) ...
BEGALA: But the American people - listen, I'm a partisan. I love Bill Clinton, so I'm not a good judge.
But the American people - Clinton had a strong economy. He had a partisan impeachment. He's at 71 percent.
BEGALA: Trump has a strong economy. He has a partisan impeachment. He's at 43 percent. The difference is, this is exactly what the founders said that they put impeachment in place for. The corruption of our elections by a foreign power.
And look, Mitch McConnell is a very good politician. He is making his vulnerable Republican senators walk the plank on an issue that 70 percent of Americans agree on. We're 50/50 on impeaching and removing which is extraordinarily high, by the way. We never got above 30 with Clinton. But 70 percent want witnesses.
Mitch is making them vote no, why? Because he's scared to death of those witnesses.
CAMEROTA: OK. On that note, Rick Santorum, Paul Begala, we always love the trip down the nostalgia lane with both of you.
BEGALA: That guy hasn't changed a bit, I hate it.
SANTORUM: A lot of darker hair.
BEGALA: It's like I got The picture of Dorian Gray in the basement that looks like hell.
CAMEROTA: That's the headline here. Thank you, both.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I need to see his dietitian. Seriously, he hasn't aged a minute.
All right. The final push to Iowa with several of the top-tier candidates off the campaign trail because of the impeachment trial. Stay with us.
CAMEROTA: Extreme cold is moving out but a strong storm system packing rain and snow is moving across the U.S. CNN Meteorologist Chad Myers has our forecast. That sounds wintery.
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is, on the north side. We have snow in Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City today but then rain in south of there, heavy rainfall where certainly they don't need it.
This weather is brought to you by Celebrity Cruises. Go to celebrity.com and book your award winning vacation today.
So what do we have? We have rain, snow in the north, maybe northern half of the country and then rain to the south. That's where it's really going to be for most of the day today. We'll move you ahead and take you to advance this thing all the way through the weekend, though, and show you that New York, D.C., Boston, not going to be cold enough to get the snow.
You're going to have to go upstate, you're going to have to go northern New England to get any snow if you want to go play in it this weekend, because it'll be warm enough. It'll be in the 30s, 40s and even 50s in places up the East Coast. So that's our story for it. We'll stick to it.
Mostly rain across the south, snow in the highest elevations. You get above about 3,000 feet and you will see some snow and that's where most of the ski resorts are anyway. But temperatures for you, John, really nice, 50s, for this time of year. Take anytime you can get it.
BERMAN: Just for me.
MYERS: Yes, for you.
BERMAN: From you, Chad, thank you very much for that.
We're just 11 days away from the Iowa caucuses and several top Democratic contenders are off the trail in Washington for the Senate impeachment trial. How are the other candidates taking advantage of that?
Joining me now is Brianne Pfannenstiel. She is the Chief Politics Reporter for the Des Moines Register. Brianne, thank you so much for being with us.
Look, you have those four U.S. senators, including three of the top- tier senators; Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren stuck in Washington. That leaves the likes of Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg in Iowa alone. How they've been taking advantage of it?
BRIANNE PFANNENSTIEL, CHIEF POLITICS REPORTER, DES MOINES REGISTER: Well, they're being here. They're just being very present. They're taking advantage of this time when their competitors are stuck halfway across the country.
And to put into perspective just how critical these last 11 days are, our last Des Moines Register-CNN Iowa poll showed that 40 percent of likely Democratic caucus goers have made up their minds. That leave 60 percent of Iowa Democrats who say that they can still be persuaded. And so this is a time when candidates really need to be taking advantage of that.
BERMAN: Paul Begala who knows something about running campaigns even in Iowa wanted to know, he asked me, I said I was going to speak to you, he said, "Ask her who's got the best organization right now." Organization and the political machines are so important in Iowa for the caucuses. So what do you see in terms of which candidate is best organized?
PFANNENSTIEL: Well, I think most Iowa Democrats and activists will point to Elizabeth Warren as having the most organized campaign. She was on the ground first. She did the most hiring. She put it all together very early and has been very consistent about using that to her advantage.
But over the last year, we've seen some other people catch up to that. I think Bernie Sanders by now has the largest ground game and they've been playing a little bit under the radar. They've been putting things together. They've been very active and you're seeing that play out now. Again, our last Iowa poll had him on top here in Iowa. BERMAN: One of the dynamics we're seeing nationally and to an extent
this is happening in Iowa, too, is Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders separating themselves from the rest of the field. And as that separation happens, they're engaging each other more directly than before. How is that playing out in Iowa?
PFANNENSTIEL: Well, we're seeing them start to go after each other just a little bit more. We're seeing that play out over Social Security here in Iowa on the ground right now. But you're seeing kind of their surrogates take a lot of that over.
As they're stomping on the trail, as they're speaking to Iowans, they're trying to make it about themselves. They're trying to make a positive argument for their own candidacy and trying to convince Iowans that they have what it takes to beat Donald Trump in a general election.
BERMAN: You said the poll number is up for Iowa. It shows for candidates really bunched at the top and very near each other, which could set up something in the likes of which we really haven't seen before, which is a near four-way tie for first place.
And Iowa, of course, is unique in the caucuses that when it comes to apportioning delegates and traditionally when it comes to declaring winners, if you have less than 15 percent in any one caucus site, all of that support goes away, it ends up going somewhere else. And there could be one, two, maybe three candidates in these caucuses who do well even finish second or third who don't reach that 15 percent threshold, that could have a real factor going forward.
PFANNENSTIEL: Absolutely. Caucus night is going to be really fascinating this year, frankly because we just have so many candidates. Even the top-tier are going to struggle to make that 15 percent viability mark in certain precincts. And so that's why these campaigns really do need to be organized.
You mentioned ground game. They're going to have to be able to persuade second choice voters to come on to their side. They're going to have to be able to convince people who may not be their first choice to come on and support them in their precincts.
BERMAN: Brianne Pfannenstiel, it was great to have you part of the CNN Des Moines Register debate. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.
PFANNENSTIEL: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: OK, John, the second day of the House Democrats case against President Trump will begin in a couple of hours. One of the impeachment managers will join us next with how he read the room yesterday and what he expects today.
BERMAN: He had to be like the tough teacher at one moment.
CAMEROTA: Absolutely. We'll play that.
CAMEROTA: House Democratic impeachment managers have roughly 15 hours left to make their case to the American people and Republicans in the Senate for why President Trump should be convicted. So how do they think they're doing?
Let's ask one of those House managers. It's Democratic Congressman Jason Crow. He is a former Army Ranger who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Good morning, Congressman.
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Good morning.
CAMEROTA: We really appreciate you making time for us. We know that these things are going late. They're taking a lot of energy from all of you. So can you just start by giving us a read of the room? Our reporters have been watching the Senate chamber and they think that not all senators are sitting quietly in their seats.
They seem to be moving around. They're going to the Senate cloakroom. They're checking out, somewhat. What was your read of the room?
CROW: Yes. Well, to be clear, I mean, the senators do have a tough job too. I mean, they're having to sit there in their chairs silent. They can't talk to one another, at least the managers and the counsel for the President can talk and confer and strategize with each other. So it's a tough job for them as well.
But from what I've seen, people are taking notes. They're paying attention, have a lot of eye contact with the members on both sides. So they're, from my perspective, taking it in the serious way that they should, because this is a serious issue. They've sworn an oath. They have a constitutional duty and I hope they continue to do that. But we will see when the votes start happening how seriously they do take that oath.
CAMEROTA: Well, that's really good to hear. I'm glad to get your assessment because I think that there was a moment yesterday where you were up speaking and I think that you sensed some restlessness. And in fact, you wondered if some of the senators needed a little break to sort of, I guess, stretch their limbs. So let me play that moment and you can tell us what happened after that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROW: Mr. Chief Justice, I do see a lot of members moving and taking a break. We would like to take a break at this time. I have another probably 15 minutes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: How did that go over, Congressman?
CROW: Yes. I was just trying to be responsive to something that Mitch McConnell had actually just said a few minutes before he had indicated that they wanted to take a break. I knew I was going to go slightly over the amount of time that I thought. I was originally going to present, so I wanted to be courteous to them and kind of give them a heads up so to speak about that time and if they wanted to take that break, they could do it.
Again, it's hard for them too to be sitting there for very long periods of time. And all of the managers want to make sure that we're being responsive to their needs as well so that they have the attention span that they need to have to consume all of this material.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I know. For sure. I mean, that is really considerate. But just so that we're clear, do you get the sense - is there more movement in the room or are they paying the rapt attention that you would like? Because, again, some of our reporting is that they're leaving the room during some critical points.
CROW: Well, I'm not a mind reader. I'm really bad at doing that as I've learned over the years, so I don't know what's going on inside their mind and whether or not they're receiving what we're presenting and what they're listening to and what they're not.
I mean, from my perspective, people are paying attention and they're sitting there and doing what they need to do.
CAMEROTA: OK. So tell us what your plan is today. What are the House managers going to do? What's the case that you feel that you want to get across today?
CROW: Well, we're going to continue to talk about the facts. The facts are overwhelming. There's a lot of them, because you can't withhold almost $400 million of military aid to a partner without a lot of people being involved and a lot of people knowing about that and it was done illegally. We now know that clearly.
An independent nonpartisan watchdog came out last week and said that, so there were a lot of concerns, a lot of people involved and we have to walk through that so that people get the full picture both in the Senate chamber and the American people. So now we're going to start talking about the law, the impeachment articles and really bringing together the facts in the chronology here with the articles of impeachment.
CAMEROTA: Senator John Cornyn basically suggested yesterday that they've already heard all of that, that this is getting sort of redundant. He said, "Certainly senators are struggling to try and see why we have to sit there, sit hearing the same arguments over and over and over again." What's your response?
CROW: Well, there's a lot of material to cover.
[07:55:01] Some of it might seem redundant and I don't know what that senator
thought was redundant in particular. But there are two people that we're really talking to here as well. We're talking to the American people, because the American people deserve to know this as well. They have a vote in this at the end of the day.
And the American people are busy. They're going to school. They're dropping their kids off. They're going to work. They're not sitting there eight, nine, 10 hours a day tuned in watching this entire thing. They're tuning in, they're tuning out depending upon their very busy schedules and we want to make sure that they have the benefit of getting all of the information too.
CAMEROTA: Well, if you don't get witnesses, will the American people have gotten all of the information?
CROW: Well, if we don't get witnesses and documents, they won't have the full picture of what happened and that's why over 70 percent of America wants witnesses and documents. Because a lot of those folks, by the way, have spent time on juries. That's an important part of our constitutional system is that we have juries of your peers throughout the country.
So they've sat in county courthouses and district courthouses around America. They've sworn in, taken an oath. They have sat there and listened to witnesses, saw documents. And they're thinking to themselves, why should Washington be any different? Why should Donald Trump be any different than the standard that we're held to?
The answer, obviously, is that they shouldn't. That Donald Trump shouldn't be held to a different standard. That Washington shouldn't be different from the standard of their county courthouses. They know that very clearly and that's what needs to happen.
CAMEROTA: Congressman, I should mention that you are a combat veteran and I'm wondering what you thought of the President's comments yesterday, where he seemed to downplay the injuries of some U.S. troops after that Iranian missile strikes. So let me play this for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things, but I would say, and I can report it is not very serious, not very serious.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you don't think that their potential traumatic brain injury serious?
TRUMP: They told me about it numerous days later. You'd have to ask Department of Defense. No, I don't consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: What did you think of that assessment, Congressman? CROW: Yes. Well, that's just another in a long line of statements by
the President that really just showed me that he doesn't get it. He a couple of weeks ago after a ballistic missile attacks on American bases just said all is fine.
Well, I know that all is not fine, because I've been on those bases that have come under attack. I know how terrifying they are. I know that the families were terrified. I know that there are injuries like this, like TBI that can happen to those soldiers and we're seeing that's what happened. It's serious.
Men and women have made a lot of sacrifices for the last 20 years fighting these wars. They continue to, we should take that seriously. We should take those sacrifices seriously. We need to make sure that they're getting the attention and care that they need.
CAMEROTA: Well, what does it tell you that the Commander-in-Chief doesn't think that these are serious injuries and that they're headaches, as he said?
CROW: Well, if you zoom out at a high level, I think there's this larger sense that the President truly doesn't understand the experience of men and women in uniform. The thrust of this issue that we're talking about in the trial, the use of national security money, national security aid that jeopardizes not just our national security, but our 60 plus thousand soldiers stationed throughout Europe to benefit his own political campaign speaks volumes in and of itself.
It says that he's more concerned about his own politics and his own interests than he is and being the commander-in-chief that he needs to be to put our men and women in uniform first class.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Jason Crow, we know you have a busy day ahead. We really appreciate you taking time to be on NEW DAY. Thank you.
CROW: Thank you.
BERMAN: Thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN NEWSROOM is next. For our U.S. viewers, we are getting ready for the impeachment trial to resume again and what to look for today. NEW DAY continues right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Democrats have two more days to make their case against the President.
CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think this is a hugely damaging narrative that was laid today and that Mitch McConnell understands.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): The president this unapologetic, this lawless, this unbound to the Constitution and the oath of office, must be removed from that office. JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: Are we having an impeachment
over a phone call? Or has this been a three-year attempt to take down a president that was duly elected by the American people?
ALAN DERSHOWITZ, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S ATTORNEY: You could never have witnesses here without Hunter Biden being a central witness.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the republicans don't want him. He would make a circus of the whole thing.
JOE BIDEN, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a constitution issue and we're not going to turn it into a farce, into some kind of political theater.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, January 23rd, eight o'clock now in the East.
And house managers will continue making their case against President Trump today. They are still trying to convince at least four Republicans that the trial should include witnesses and documents.