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Lockdown in China; Fact-Checking House Managers; Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) is Interviewed about the Impeachment Trial. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired January 23, 2020 - 08:30   ET



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They are working on vaccines. That's going to take some time. But in order really to try and slow down, I should say, the spread as much as possible, I think you're going to hear more and more about policies like the one that David just described.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay, just as you were speaking, I'm being told that Saudi Arabia has just confirmed a case.

What does that tell you, Sanjay?

GUPTA: I mean this is -- this -- I mean this is -- this is a really rapidly changing story and growing story. We saw some of that again during the SARS epidemic and MERS. With SARS ultimately it was nearly two dozen countries that were affected over several months. So my guess, Alisyn, and this is obviously not the news that people want to hear, is that this is going to continue to spread despite these containment policies.

Even as David was talking about people being Wuhan, you know, over the last, you know, day or so, there could be people who are infected and yet not showing any symptoms. And they're in that incubation period. They then arrive wherever they're going and they could potentially start to spread the virus at that point.

What we don't know, and I hope that this is going to be better news, Alisyn, ultimately is that despite the fact that there have been 17 people that have died from this, that hopefully, if there's many, many more people that have been infected but have no symptoms or have very mild symptoms, which is quite possible, then what we call the fatality ratio or the mortality ratio, the number of people who die versus number of people who are infected hopefully is much smaller. We don't know those numbers yet.

We are starting to learn about who is most affected by this virus. We know, for example, the average age of the people who have died from this, around 73 years old. People that are getting very sick, average age around 40 years old. So that's pretty young. Many of them having pre-existing illnesses, the ones that got very sick or died. So those numbers are going to change. We're going to learn more about

who's most affected by this I think in the hours possibly, Alisyn, to come. Not even days now, hours to come. We'll be getting more information about this.

CAMEROTA: So, David, last, I mean, because we said you were just in Wuhan, can you just give us some color of what it was like on the streets there? How alarmed are people there? And do they trust the Chinese government to be forthcoming about the information?

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I can tell you, as a team here, our adrenalin is just now starting to subside after what was a rather unnerving night, to get that phone call in the middle of the night to say, things are locking down, there's only going to be a few options to get out. You've got to mobilize now.

And as we went, Alisyn, even to the train station, as I reflect this morning, I mean the lines were so long they were stretching out the doors and it was 4:00 in the morning by that point and you had young children who were clearly sleepy-eyed trying to get into position there and figure out what exactly was going on. You saw families juggling a bunch of luggage and trying to get a ticket and trying to get out ultimately.

But I'm also reflecting on a lot of the folks that we connected with in the 24 hours we were on the ground there. And we went to an open market, the one that wasn't impacted, and I think about the sugarcane vendor who she is -- trying to get out of there, telling her family, I would love to go, but I can't. Her daughter was pleading with her on the phone, Alisyn, saying, mom, come home. Leave it all behind. She goes, financially, I cannot do it.

And there were a lot of stories like that. It's very difficult to think about the folks who genuinely wanted to get out but couldn't.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it's really scary. It's scary to think about all of this and how fast there are developments. So, obviously, we will keep everybody posted.

David, we're pleased that you've brought us all this reporting. Thank you very much.

Sanjay, obviously, we'll talk to you soon. Thank you both.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So how closely did the Democrats stick to the facts during their opening arguments yesterday? Our fact-checker reports what he found, next.



CAMEROTA: All right, the stage is set for day two of arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. But let's examine just how truthful day one was.

Joining us now is Daniel Dale, CNN reporter and fact-checker extraordinaire. The man who doesn't sleep.

Great to have you with us.

So, Daniel, first just give us an overview. You're fact-checking this whole Senate impeachment trial. So how have the Democratic House managers done in sticking to the facts so far.

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: In my view, they've done better than Trump's legal team did on the first day before the -- before the opening arguments. It was easy to find false claims from Trump's lawyers. They were saying transparently inaccurate things.

What the Democrats, they're obviously subjective claims, debatable claims they're making. But in terms of out and out falsehoods, I think there were certainly fewer than we heard from Trump's team the day before.

CAMEROTA: Here's one that the White House took issue with. They didn't like how Adam Schiff talked about Mick Mulvaney's now-infamous press conference.

So let's listen to how Schiff categorized it.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Mulvaney didn't just admit that the president withheld the crucial aid appropriated by Congress to apply pressure on Ukraine to do the president's political dirty work. He also said that we should just get over it.

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: And I have news for everybody. Get over it. There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.


CAMEROTA: OK. So were they accurate or not accurate?

DALE: So, I think this is a debatable one. I'm not inclined to say that what Schiff said was a lie. Basically the question is, what did Mulvaney mean when he said "get over it?" Was he just talking about politics broadly and saying that there's going to be a change in the foreign policy of the Trump administration compared to the Obama administration, or was he specifically referring to this alleged quid pro quo? Going back to the transcript, right before he said get over it, he was talking about how Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate this debunked conspiracy theory about Democratic servers in order to get that aid released by Trump. Soon after that he said, look, this is normal, and then said, look, political influence is normal and it's going to happen in foreign policy.

So I very much understand what Schiff is saying. I also understand how the White House could say, well, he didn't really mean that. [08:40:02]

I think this one is at least an open question, but, no, it's not a Schiff lie.

CAMEROTA: You're not only looking at the Senate impeachment trial, you're also, of course, fact-checking things that the president said. And the president said something in Davos that was interesting. He said that Ukraine not only received their military aid, he said they received it on schedule.

Listen to the president.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They got their money long before schedule. They got all their money.

They got the money. In fact, they got it very early.


CAMEROTA: How is getting it three months late early?

DALE: Yes. So what Trump is referring to is a legal deadline of the end of September for the funds to be what they call obligated by the U.S. administration. And what we heard was testimony from an Office of Management and Budget official who said that, no, this -- although Trump released the aid before the deadline, on September 11th, the delay meant that $35 million of that amount could not get out the door in time. And, in fact, that delay meant that in order to get that $35 million out the door, Congress had to go ahead and pass a deadline extension so that they didn't have to meet the September 30th deadline anymore.

And so some did get there on time, even though it was delayed. At least if you consider on time by the deadline. But there was a big chunk, $35 million, that was not on time by any standard.

CAMEROTA: That's the whole heart of the matter, that they were expecting it in May and June and July and August and whatever.

DALE: Right.

CAMEROTA: Of whenever they first learned about it. But tell us this, Daniel, did the president break a record yesterday with tweets?

DALE: He did break a record, at least for his presidency. According to the website Fact Based, this was the second most frequent tweeting day for Trump in his entire Twitter career, if you can call it a career and his number one day as president. Now most of these tweets were retweets, so it's not exactly clear if this was Trump himself or, for example, social media chief Dan Scavino (ph) clicking that retweet button. But, in terms of total tweets, yes, this was the most vigorous he's been during his entire administration.

CAMEROTA: Daniel Dale, thank you for crunching all those tweet numbers and for always for always checking the facts. Great to talk to you.

DALE: Thank you. Thank you.


BERMAN: So the comics having a field day with the impeachment trial. Here are your "Late Night Laughs."


JAMES CORDEN, HOST, "THE LATE LATE SHOW WITH JAMES CORDEN": Republicans started the trial by refusing to introduce evidence or hear from witnesses, which is like me throwing a Super Bowl party and then going, just a few quick rules, no food, no drinks, and no watching football.

JIMMY KIMMEL, HOST, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE": Schiff spoke for two and a half hours and made a very persuasive case. He had visual aids and everything. It was a real abuse of power point presentation. He laid out a ton of evidence against the president. Much of it sound bites of Trump himself. And he invoked the founding fathers in their words a lot. Schiff quoted Hamilton so many times today, he was nominated for five Tony Awards.

STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": The sketch artist did take some liberties, like this picture of Marco Rubio writing with a quill pen. He actually drew that. It seems weird, which is why Rubio's office told reporters that he does not use quill pens. So that means the sketch artist can just make things up? Well, that explains this rendering of Senator Dianne Feinstein.


CAMEROTA: I -- that is a quill pen controversy. Does he use one or not? Why did the artist capture that?

BERMAN: Daniel Dale tomorrow on our show will reveal the truth about quill pen.

CAMEROTA: That's his assignment.

BERMAN: A top Democrat in the Senate says the push for witnesses gains every day. A Democratic senator joins us next.



BERMAN: House impeachment managers resume their arguments just a few hours from now. They will focus on the first article today, abuse of power. One of the senators who will be listening carefully, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. He joins us this morning.

Senator, thank you very much for being with us.

I want to talk about the substance of the arguments in just a moment. But first I want to talk about a picture which you're in first that comes from late last night that shows Senator Lindsey Graham shaking the hand of lead House manager Adam Schiff and we understand saying, good job, really well spoken.

You were standing there to your left. You're the Tom Steyer of this picture here.


BERMAN: Can you tell us exactly what transpired in that conversation?

WHITEHOUSE: Yes, sure. Lindsey and I were walking out after the proceedings were over. And by coincidence, we ran into Adam Schiff. All three of us are lawyers and former prosecutors. And we stopped and we congratulated Adam on what was a very well done day by him and his team. You can agree or disagree on the conclusions to draw, but I don't think anybody can argue that Adam Schiff did a very good job as an advocate in a very long day on the Senate floor yesterday.

So it was a -- sort of a nice human moment in which Senator Graham, who are I think adversaries on this subject, but friends, both stopped to congratulate a man who had a hard day, but a good day.

BERMAN: So Senator Graham, again, I don't think he agrees with Adam Schiff, but he thought that Schiff made a compelling presentation?

WHITEHOUSE: A professional compliment, I would call it, by another prosecutor.

BERMAN: One of the things that Adam Schiff is trying to do, not just convince the Senate to convict the president, but there's a separate argument as well, which is to convince enough senators to call witnesses and ask for new evidence. The minority leader, Chuck Schumer, thinks that gains are being made in trying to convince four Republicans, because that's what it will take.

Do you see gains being made here in convincing those four Republicans?


WHITEHOUSE: Well, the American public clearly understands that a trial is evidence and witnesses and that a trial without evidence and witnesses is something other than a trial. Certainly not a fair trial. And the numbers from public polling seem to show that very strongly. So the Republicans are dealing with that headwind. And I think that's affecting a number of them, particularly those who are going to face the voters in November.

And I think there's also kind of a bit of a resurgent caucus in the Republican Party that want to try to get the Bidens in and want to, you know, try to turn this to their advantage and want a witness deal. So I think Mitch is seeing two groups, one, a more cautious and responsible groups that thinks, wait a minute, a, this probably should be a fair trial, or at least look a little bit more like it if we're going to face the voters in November. And the second group that is more boisterous and is looking for an opportunity to try to embarrass the Bidens.

BERMAN: If you had to sit here and bet, do you think there will be witnesses?

WHITEHOUSE: Mitch is a master at managing and venting that internal caucus pressure of his. I think he has determined that there will not be witnesses. That this episode needs to be brought to a close. And he has zero interest in it either being or resembling a fair trial.

BERMAN: The president yesterday said something while he was still overseas, which caught a lot of people's attention, and it had to do, we think, with the evidence that is not being presented here. I want you to listen to this.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're doing very well. I got to watch enough. I thought our team did a very good job. But, honestly, we have all the material. They don't have the material.


BERMAN: We have all the material. They don't have all the material. What are you thinking he meant by that?

WHITEHOUSE: I think it's pretty self-explanatory, particularly when the biggest issue and the biggest thing happening in Washington is whether the evidentiary material that the White House is sitting on has blockaded, much of which is actually waiting in boxes to be delivered, if the president would only say so, is at issue. So I think he clearly is in his own peculiar way crowing about his success at having interfered with and obstructed this investigation.

BERMAN: We had spies, reporters inside the Senate chamber watching very closely yesterday. And there were times when they report that there were many senators, handfuls of senators, not at their desks listening.

Now, you did not appear in our report in the hall of shame. I did not read your name mentioned as someone who was in the cloak room. But did you stay at your desk for the whole time?

WHITEHOUSE: No, I stood from time to time behind my desk to just stretch. The breaks were sometimes three hours apart. And I don't see it as any dereliction of duty to stand instead of sit in the chamber as long as you're standing quietly at the back and not interfering with anybody's view or anybody's ability to hear or take in what's going on. And people do go in and out to the cloak room, through the cloak room from time to time for a variety of reasons. Sometimes nature even calls senators.

BERMAN: Right. But at one point we had counted 25 senators not at their desks. Some in the cloak room, supposed to be in the chamber, listening. And at one point Rand Paul --

WHITEHOUSE: I suspect the majority were standing in the backs of the chamber just for reasons of physical comfort, to stretch a bit. You can still hear very well. You're not missing a thing if you're standing instead of sitting.

BERMAN: You've got to stretch your legs.

Doesn't explain crossword puzzles, though, which we understand Senator Rand Paul was working on. Should the Kentucky senator have been working on a crossword?

WHITEHOUSE: I'll leave that between him and the Kentucky constituents.

BERMAN: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island, we appreciate you being with us this morning. Good luck staying as close to your desk as you can manage today.

WHITEHOUSE: Thank you. Thanks.

CAMEROTA: That got a chuckle. Crossword puzzle chuckle.

BERMAN: I -- look, I'm glad he thinks it's funny. I mean the president of the United States is on trial today. And as I said before, I don't think one of the clues on the crossword for 45 across is, is the president guilty of abuse of power?

CAMEROTA: Remember when they read the rules at first and they said under penalty of prison time if you weren't quiet? We'll see who goes to prison at the end of this.

Meanwhile, time for "The Good Stuff."

A former New Jersey fire chief's daughter is being called a hero for making sure her family evacuated when their smoke alarm went off in the middle of the night. This is according to a FaceBook post by the fire department. Six-year-old Madeleine Karlbon (ph) woke up her dad, who helped get the family out of their burning house.


JAMES KARLBON, HOME CAUGHT ON FIRE: I heard my daughter screaming that there's a fire, there's a fire. So I jumped out of bed. And when I realized it, the house was full of smoke already. Used to always going in, not running out.


CAMEROTA: Their house was deemed uninhabitable. Look at the screen there.


So they're staying at a hotel as they start to rebuild.

Meanwhile, toys, clothing and other donations have flooded in, we are happy to report. She did the right thing.

BERMAN: And we hope they get all the help that they need. The trial of the president of the United States picks up again in a few hours. Something to watch for today, can the senators muster the courage to sit and listen to all the arguments? How will the House managers make their case perhaps differently today? Will we see more of Adam Schiff? And the president of the United States, who is back on U.S. soil, how much will he be weighing in?

CAMEROTA: We'll be watching all of that. CNN's coverage continues coming up.



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: A good Thursday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.