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State Department works to Evacuate Americans from Wuhan as President Xi Warns Outbreak is Accelerating; VFW Demands Apology from Trump over Brain Injury Comments; New Iowa Poll: Sanders Surges as Warren's Support Drops; Warren Campaign Downplays Expectations in Early States; Some Odd Rules Make for Curious Moments in Senate Chamber. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired January 25, 2020 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR, THE SITUATION ROOM: I'm Wolf Blitzer, live in Washington with a special edition of "THE SITUATION ROOM." The Impeachment Trial of President Donald J. Trump.
Today, the trial entered a critical new phase as the president's team took center stage in a shortened Saturday session. One name missing from the opening statements, Joe Biden. No mention of the Democratic presidential contender, despite many expecting the president to use his defense to attempt to put Biden on a trial.
A source from the president's legal team declining to say whether Biden will come up at all as part of the president's defense. And a potentially very important development as Republican Senator Mitt Romney now says he is quote, very likely to support calling witnesses, though he stressed he will wait until the conclusion of opening arguments before making a final decision.
What Romney and the rest of the Senate saw today was a defense that accused Democrats of omitting facts, slammed them for wanting to call witnesses, and even claimed they were trying to interfere in the next U.S. presidential election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY SEKULOW, OUTSIDE LEGAL COUNSEL FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP: Let me be clear, disagreeing with the president's decision on foreign policy matters or whose advice he's going to take is in no way an impeachable offense.
MIKE PURPURA, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: They established what we have known since the beginning. The President Did absolutely nothing wrong.
PAT CIPOLLONE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: That they're here to perpetrate the most massive interference in an election in American history, and we can't allow that to happen. It would violate our Constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BLITZER: A GOP source tells CNN some of the president's allies were actually disappointed with the presentation today, because they had hoped for a more fiery defense.
Let's get straight to Capitol Hill right now. Our Congressional Reporter Lauren Fox is on the scene for us. Lauren, let's talk, first, about the Republican Senator Mitt Romney. He now says it's very likely that he will be in favor of calling witnesses in this trial. But what's the likelihood that at least three other Republican senators might be leaning the same way?
LAUREN FOX, CNN CONTRESSIONAL REPORTER (on camera): Well, Wolf, four is the magic number, when it comes to whether or not Democrats can win over enough Republicans to actually get the witnesses that they want to see. But you know that the president's defense team was speaking directly to some of those moderate Republicans today, as they made their opening arguments.
CIPOLLONE: The President did absolutely nothing wrong.
FOX (voice-over): That was the refrain of the president's legal team as they began their defense, trying to shoot holes in the Democrat's nearly 24-hours-long arguments.
CIPOLLONE: We don't believe that they have come anywhere close to meeting their burden for what they are asking you to do.
FOX: Over two hours, the president's team emphasized the high stakes of the Impeachment Trial.
CIPOLLONE: They're asking you not only to overturn the results of the last election, but, as I've said before, they're asking you to remove President Trump from the ballot in an election that's occurring in approximately nine months.
FOX: And claiming that Democrats were not forthcoming in their case, ignoring some of the testimony from the Impeachment Inquiry, like that of former National Security Council official, Tim Morrison.
REP. MICHAEL TURNER (R), OHIO: Do you believe, in your opinion, that the president of the United States demanded that President Zelensky undertake these investigations?
TIM MORRISON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL: No, sir.
CIPOLLONE: The fact they came here for 24 hours and hid evidence from you is further evidence that they don't really believe in the facts of their case. Impeachment shouldn't be a shell game. They should give you facts.
FOX: The president's team repeated the Republican argument that the transcript of President Trump's infamous July 25th call with Ukrainian President Zelensky exonerated President Trump.
MIKE PURPURA, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: The President did not link security to any investigations on the July 25 call. There was no discussion of the paused security assistance.
FOX: Just as the House managers tried to use the administration's own words against them, the president's team played a clip of the lead manager, Adam Schiff, paraphrasing the call in September to attack his credibility, blasting him for mischaracterizing that call.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA, LEAD IMPEACHMENT MANAGER: And, in not so many words, this is the essence of what the president communicates.
PURPURA: That's fake. That's not the real call.
FOX: The president's team elected not to get into as much detail as the House managers did when they opened their case.
CIPOLLONE: You heard the House managers speak for nearly 24 hours over three days. We don't anticipate using that much time.
FOX: They said the best evidence that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine were the words of the Ukrainian president, himself.
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE: I think and you read it that nobody pushed it.
SEKULOW: They think you can read minds. I think you look at the words.
FOX: The president's outside legal counsel, Jay Sekulow, brought up the debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine may have meddled in the 2016 election.
SEKULOW: Mr. Schiff and his colleagues repeatedly told you that the intelligence community assessment that Russia was acting alone, responsible for the election interference, implying that this, somehow, debunked the idea that there might be in -- you know, interference from other countries, including Ukraine. And this is, basically, what we call a straw man argument.
FOX: The impeachment managers later pushing back on the idea that they didn't present all of the facts, renewing their call to allow witnesses, despite it now seeming unlikely that enough Senate Republicans would vote with Democrats to allow them.
SCHIFF: They know exactly what the President did. The president's men know exactly what the President did. We proved what the President did. And the last thing they want is more of the truth to come out.
FOX (on camera): The defense team will continue to make their case, Wolf, when the trial resumes on Monday.
BLITZER: 1:00 on Monday. Laura Fox, thank you. We also know, now, how President Trump feels about what he saw today. A Republican source spoke to the president after his defense team wrapped up their first day of arguments before the Senate. Let's go to our White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlyn, we're hearing the president, what, he's happy?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf, he watched it this morning very closely, and he says he's pleased with how his defense team acted. He believes they made his argument.
We know that there were key points the president had worked closely with his team, and he made clear he wanted them making those points. One was criticizing Adam Schiff and, of course, that was the first video out of the gate, as Lauren just laid out there, where Adam Schiff read the parody of the president's call. And that is something he wanted them to focus on.
But, also, of course, essentially, what you saw, the argument that his attorneys were making, was the one he's been making about reading the transcripts. That was basis of their defense as they went through the transcript, of course focusing on the parts that they believe exonerated the president and show that there wasn't this pressure campaign, while largely ignoring the other details that you saw Democrats lay out.
The question is what that's going to look like on Monday when they continue their defense at 1:00 in the afternoon. That's going to a little bit different than what you saw today. Where you say Jay Sekulow, the president's outside attorney; Pat Cipollone, their deputies; also their presenting on the floor for just those two hours a lot different of a time span for what you saw when it was the Democrats and the House managers. But, also, on Monday, Wolf, you're going to see new faces. Ken Starr and Alan Dershowitz, the other two attorneys that the president has on his team, are expected to present on the floor.
And, of course, the big question is going to be about what they're going to say about the Bidens. Because they've made clear, in recent days, they are going to invoke the Bidens as they are making this defense of the president. Even though they did not do so today, we are told you can expect them to do so on Monday.
BLITZER: We'll be watching very closely together with you. Kaitlan, thank you.
Joining us now, CNN White House Correspondent John Harwood; Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson; congressional editor for "The New York Times," Julie Hirschfeld Davis; and former federal prosecutor, Shanlon Wu.
Nia, so, Mitt Romney said he is likely to vote --
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes.
BLITZER: -- for witnesses. Did that, potentially, pave the way for three other Republican senators to do the same thing?
HENDERSON: Democrats certainly hope so. It's not clear that they're actually hopeful that they can get those other three. And who are we talking about, when we talk about the other three in addition to Mitt Romney? These are, sort of, household names, at this point, because we've been talking about it so much. Susan Collins who has said that she is likely to back witnesses when that comes before this impeachment court.
The other person, Lisa Murkowski, seems like she's been open. Even though, recently, she's been very critical of the impeachment leader -- impeachment manager on the Democratic side, Adam Schiff. The other person people are looking at is Lamar Alexander. He's retiring so people say, well, maybe that frees him up to buck his party, but the president, and buck Mitch McConnell. The problem there is that he's actually really good friends with Mitch McConnell and might not be likely to break.
Listen, I think if you think about the way the president reacted to what he heard today, he liked what he heard, and you'll imagine that most of the folks in the -- in that body today, certainly the Republicans, feel like they've got enough evidence going in so far. Enough of an argument where they feel like that can back the president and not necessarily back (INAUDIBLE.)
BLITZER: What do you think, Julie?
JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, I think it was interesting to hear the way the president's team framed the argument today, because I do think it was aimed, primarily, at those four senators and other Republican senators who is are looking at this situation who may not be comfortable with what the President did, as it's been laid out by the House managers now very thoroughly.
But are looking for reasons to acquit him. Are looking for reasons to say, you know what? We don't need to hear from more witnesses. We don't need any more evidence to make a judgement here. And what you heard them do is try to offer some alternative rationales for why he might have done what he did. And rationales that would be innocent ones.
And it was interesting to me that Pat Cipollone led off with talking about how President Trump talk -- hurt -- cared so much about burden sharing. This is a -- you know, an argument you hear a lot. He wasn't trying to shake anyone down for political favors. He just wanted to share the burden of military assistance to Ukraine.
Now, there's nothing in the record that really points to that, in the case of Ukraine. But that is going to be something that we continue to hear going forward. But they talk about, you know, his concern with corruption. And so, I think what they're trying to do is give those Republicans something to hang onto to say, you know, this could've been innocent behavior. This is not something that we feel comfortable removing a president for.
BLITZER: Shanlon, you're a former federal prosecutor. You -- we heard the Democratic leader, the minority leader, Chuck Schumer. He came out saying that what they heard, during those two hours from the White House lawyers actually, helped the case that they need more witnesses and more documents.
SHANLON WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I agree with him. It's rather ironic because Jay Sekulow had said that it was the Democrats who opened the door to the Biden idea. And then, first of all, they didn't mention it. But, really, they were just swinging that door wide open constantly, inviting, basically, the need for new witnesses.
So, from the advocacy point of view, Wolf, I really thought that hands-down win for the House Democrats, for the House managers. But, of course, they're not really playing to a true jury. They're really playing to a jury of one. And, actually, their organization, a little bit lacking, reflects the fact that you have a client, the president, who is very micromanaging what talking points they have to use and their presentation reflects that.
BLITZER: You know, John, a lot of us thought, including me, they would come out in first presentation, the White House lawyers, and really go after the former vice president Joe Biden and his son. Hunter Biden. The president makes a huge issue out of this. But we didn't hear anything about that, at least not yet.
JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're either going to skip that or they're saving it. It -- I think there's some risk in that for them. Because, first of all, the more you go after Joe Biden, the more you turn the Impeachment Trial into the instrument that you are hoping to get from Ukraine in the first place. In other words, they prove the point that their goal is to muddy up Joe Biden, as opposed to defend Donald Trump. I was surprised that Cipollone went to Ukraine and election interference today. That was identified, by Fiona Hill in the House Intelligence Investigation, as Russian propaganda, fabricated Russian propaganda. He offered that as part of the defense.
I agree with Julie that the temperate tone, the low-key demeanor that the White House lawyers did was a smart decision by them. It was aimed precisely at those wavering Republican senators to the extent that any are wavering. The kind of Jim Jordan-Devin Nunes presentation, that we saw in the House, would not have served that purpose.
But we've got to see whether Trump is going to be satisfied with low key. And when we get to next week, how aggressively is he going to try to go after his Democratic rival, Joe Biden?
BLITZER: I think these White House lawyers, at least today, thought less is more.
BLITZER: Let's see if that continues on Monday. Everybody stand by.
We have a lot more news we're following. A newly-revealed audio tape capture the president in his own words. President Trump can be heard in the 2018 tape speaking with Lev Parnas and demanding the firing of the then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. You're going to hear that tape. That's next.
BLITZER: And now, to our rather bizarre story involving the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. He's accused of screaming obscenities at an NPR reporter and demanding she prove she could find Ukraine on an unmarked map. The tirade coming after an interview yesterday in which the reporter, Mary Louise Kelly, asked Pompeo whether he owed former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, an apology. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I have defended every State Department official. We've built a great team. The team that works here is doing amazing work around the world.
MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST, NPR: Sir, respectfully, where have you defended Marie Yovanovitch?
POMPEO: I've defended every single person on this team. I've done what's right for every single person on this team.
KELLY: Can you point me toward your remarks where you have defended Marie Yovanovitch?
POMPEO: I've said all I'm going to say today. Thank you. Thanks for the repeated opportunity to do that. I appreciate that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: All right. Kelly, then, described exactly what happened when Secretary Pompeo called her back into Pompeo's private living room over at the State Department following the interview.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KELLY: I was taken to the secretary's private living room, where he was waiting and where she shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview, itself, had lasted. He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine. He asked, do you think Americans care about Ukraine? He used the F word in that sentence and many others.
He asked if I could find Ukraine on a map. I said, yes. He called out for his aides to bring him a map of the world with no writing, no countries marks. I pointed to Ukraine. He put the map away. He said, people will hear about this. And then, he turned and said he had things to do. And I thanked him, again, for his time and left.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BLITZER: Well, people will hear about this and they have been hearing about it. Nia, what's your reaction to this? She's a highly-respected journalist.
HENDERSON: She's highly respected.
BLITZER: And the question she asked were reasonable journalistic questions.
HENDERSON: Completely reasonable. And he -- and, listen, he still doesn't have a good answer, right? There is no evidence that he has, at least publicly, defended Marie Yovanovitch, who, of course, was targeted and lost her job.
And so, listen, I mean, this is, in some ways, shocking but not surprising from this White House, given what we know in this administration. Given what we know about the kind of culture that this president has created, in terms of treating -- treatment of the media.
The idea that there's fake news. The idea that the news is the enemy of the state. This is all the language that the president has used, in talking about the press. And, in some ways, it's not surprising that the secretary of state feels like he can -- he can get away with this. But I think his statement, he had a pretty --
BLITZER: I'm going to read it.
HENDERSON: -- oh, yes, (INAUDIBLE), yes.
BLITZER: Because this is pretty extraordinary. This is on U.S. Department of State letterhead. Office of the spokesperson. A statement by Secretary Michael R. Pompeo. And, John, I want you to react to this. January 25, 2020. NPR reporter, Mary Louise Kelly, lied to me twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview. And then, again, yesterday, in agreeing to have our post interview conversation off the record. It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency.
This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this administration. It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media, when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity. It is worth noting that Bangladesh is not -- not in all caps, not Ukraine.
I mean, have you ever seen a statement like this on Department of State letterhead from a secretary of state blasting a real journalist like this in the -- in this way?
HARWOOD: First of all, Mary Louise Kelly is a complete consummate professional. She would not lie about this situation. She just wouldn't. The administration doesn't just have a problem with the media. The reason they have a problem with media is they have a problem with the truth -- the truth that the media is telling. OK? So, that's the core point.
Secondly, Mike Pompeo, himself, has a track record of this, apart from the rest of the administration. We all remember the way, in unsuccessful attempts, to intimidate our colleague, Judy Woodruff. He derided her as repeating DNC talking points. He did the same for a very capable newswoman from a Nashville television station, trying to intimidate her. Failed to do that. And, here, he takes it to another level because he doesn't respond very well to pressure.
BLITZER: And, very quickly, Julia. You know, their -- one of the criticisms of Pompeo has been, you know, he, sort of, singles out women journalists for this kind of criticism. I don't know if you agree.
DAVIS: It certainly does seem to be pattern. I mean, John just mentioned a few. He's had some tussles, as we know, from an -- with Andrea Mitchell, as well. And, you know, it's just -- it's striking because the Department of State is supposed to be in a position, has been a position to defend press freedom around the world. And to see a statement like on State Department letterhead just really lets you know the position of the secretary of state.
And, really, as much as this is a personal issue with -- it seems to be a personal issue with the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, that statement is very much, it seems to me, targeted to President Trump. That was for his consumption. That was to show him that, you know, I'm fighting for you. And I'm not going to let, you know, this story get in the way of, you know, your political agenda. And I think that's the reason that it's worded the way that it is.
HARWOOD: By the way, I would challenge him to pull out an unmarked map and lay it in front of President Trump and ask him to identify a handful of countries there.
BLITZER: And let's point out, also, Mary Louise Kelly, who many of us know, she has an advanced degree in European Studies --
BLITZER: -- from Cambridge University.
HARWOOD: She knows where Ukraine is.
BLITZER: She knows where Ukraine is. That's not a tough one.
All right, everybody stand by. We're following breaking news also out of China. The U.S. government is preparing a charter flight to evacuate American citizens from the Chinese city, right at the center of the Coronavirus outbreak. This is a number of cases. The number continues to grow around the world. We have details.
BLITZER: New tonight, the State Department is now leading an effort to evacuate American diplomats and citizens from a Chinese city that has become ground zero for a new, deadly strain of the Coronavirus. Wuhan, the epicenter of the breakout, is now reporting hundreds of cases and dozens of deaths.
At local pharmacies, people in hazmat suits are behind the counters as long lines of people buy face masks and bleach. Wuhan and at least 14 other Chinese cities are on virtual lockdown. At least 60 million people, potentially, are affected.
Our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is joining us now. Sanjay, 42 deaths have now been reported in China. The toll just increased. And we know of, what, two confirmed cases already here in the United States. One in Seattle. One in Chicago. What more do we know about this virus?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, so, we, obviously, are seeing the numbers out of China. We're hearing about the containment, sort of, strategy there.
And now, we're, sort of, keeping an eye to see how quickly this virus is spreading. You know, two patients, as you mentioned, here in the United States. They are being followed. You can -- you can see what their travel history was like.
They -- you know, this woman in Chicago, she arrived on January 13th. Didn't have much contact with people. Several days later, she started to develop symptoms. And that's important. There's an incubation period between the time someone is infected and the time they develop symptoms. She's in isolation but appears to be doing well.
What they're also doing, Wolf, is looking at the context of both that patient in Seattle, this person in Chicago, seeing if anybody else develops symptoms. So far, they haven't. And that's really good because as much as this spreading in China right now, we haven't started to see that same level of spread in the United States. And if we don't, I think that's certainly going to tamp down the level of concern.
BLITZER: And let's hope China says it's -- it has learned its lessons with the SARS epidemic back in 2003.
But we're hearing reports that some doctors over there, they're going all day without eating.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: China says it's learned its lessons with the SARS epidemic back in 2003. We're hearing reports that some doctors are going all day without eating, wearing diapers because they can't take off their hazmat suit. Is that necessary?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You're dealing with a novel virus. That means a virus the world has not yet seen. This is not even a month into this outbreak.
I think it's the fear of the unknown. Right away, the public health community, people in these positions think is this the next one, so to speak, the next big pandemic. We had one in 1918 and 1919. We had one in '68, '69. Is this the next one? The idea is could this spiral into the worst-case scenario. It doesn't look it is. As much as the numbers are increasing, you want to know how many people are affected and how many people have died. You want to look at that ratio.
I suspect there's a lot more people out there infected in China who don't have much in the way of symptoms, who may not have any symptoms and aren't getting tested. So the ratio drops down to a much less concerning level.
BLITZER: Let's hope they can find way to contain this.
While I have you, Sanjay, as you know the Department of Defense said Friday that 34 American servicemembers now have traumatic brain injuries from Iran strikes on that air base in Iraq. The Veterans of Foreign Wars now want an apology from Trump for seemingly downplaying those injuries this way. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard that they had headaches and a couple other things but I would say, I can report it is not very serious. Not very serious.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: You don't think potential traumatic brain injury serious.
TRUMP: They told me about it numerous days later by Department of Defense. No, I don't consider them serious relative to other injuries that I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: What do you make of that?
GUPTA: This is tough, Wolf. This is my area of expertise as a neurosurgeon. These, quote, unquote, "invisible wounds of war." The military has been dealing with this for some time.
Because they're not easily measurable, because they are not easily visible, they get minimized an neglected. Terms like bell rung, concussion and shell shock. Those minimize what it is, which is a traumatic brain injury. It's concerning.
You saw the symptoms people can develop, insomnia, headaches, cognitive problems. And those 10 to 15 percent of people, the symptoms will last a long time.
It's always struck me, Wolf, because we can't measure certain things as well, we tend not to give them the same attention that other things are easily measurable.
I think maybe that's what the president was referring to. This being more of an invisible wound but no less serious. I think that's an important point. BLITZER: It's a very important point. I have a good friend who has
suffered from a traumatic brain injury. And sometimes, correct me if I'm wrong, Sanjay, it takes a while for the real damage to be felt, to be seen, to understand what's going on.
GUPTA: No question. The symptoms can develop days, weeks, especially when you're in the more chaotic situation within a war.
When you look at the impact of those missiles -- the way it was explained to me, it was sort of mini blast waves, it was like multiple concussive blast hits to the people in close proximity.
We talk about it in football, in that context. But imagine within a small -- just microseconds, multiple blast waves striking the body. What does that do to the body? How long does it last? When do the symptoms develop? It can differ person to person but it can be very serious.
BLITZER: Sometimes it can be bleeding in the brain?
GUPTA: That's right. My guess is, when they took the patients to Germany and Kuwait City, that it was probably to get scanned, to look for that sort of thing exactly, Wolf. In addition to these blast waves, did it cause some sort of bleed on top of the brain that needed to be addressed?
BLITZER: This is really serious issue. I'm glad that folks are dealing with it as well.
Sanjay Gupta, he's a neurosurgeon. He knows the subject well.
Thanks so much for joining us.
GUPTA: Thanks, Wolf.
BLITZER: From impeachment to Iowa. Democratic Senators go from Washington back to the campaign trial. We'll take you there, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): It's disappointing to me not to be in Iowa talking to the people there. I'm accepting my constitutional responsibility. What I'm saying at a disadvantage.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you think it places Biden in at advantage over you?
SANDERS: Politically less on the campaign? Yes, I think it does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The Iowa caucuses are nine days away. Senator Bernie Sanders says his campaign schedule is in the garbage because of the impeachment trial. Still, a new poll finds Sanders surging in that state. He's now at 25 percent, followed by Pete Buttigieg at 18 percent. Joe Biden at 17 percent. Elizabeth Warren at 15 percent. Amy Klobuchar is at 8 percent.
CNN's M.J. Lee is live in Iowa for us.
Elizabeth Warren is about to hold a campaign event after being in Washington earlier for the impeachment proceedings, M.J. What has the past week been like for these 2020 Senators?
M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Wolf, we do expect Senator Warren to take the stage behind me here in Iowa. And she has not been back in Iowa since Monday of last week.
And that just tells you so much about the affect this impeachment trial on the 2020 race. There are several U.S. Senators who have had to sit in on these impeachment trials that have gone late into the evening. That has made it impossible for them to even fly out in the evening to hold Iowa rallies.
We have seen these Senators come up with the creative solutions to make up for the fact they have not been able to physically be here on the ground. Whether it's sending out surrogates to campaign on their behalf or call into tele town halls. We saw Bernie Sanders calling into a rally last night.
Wolf, over the last week or so, the Iowa voters we have spoken to say that understand that the Senators are just doing their jobs but they also say that, here in Iowa, especially, that face time is so important. Take a listen to what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED IOWA VOTER: I know they have a job to do and I'm glad that's the most important thing. In Iowa, we want them to do what they need to do in Washington. I hope it doesn't. I hope they know that the candidates are busy doing their jobs. It's a lifestyle I can't imagine doing because they have to be so many places all the time.
UNIDENTIFIED IOWA VOTER: It may hurt them a bit in Iowa, especially. I don't know about anywhere else. But here in Iowa, we like meet them, face to face, and talk to them. It may hurt a bit. But a lot of them have such good momentum going now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: These 2020 Senators have certainly clarified they are just fulfilling their constitutional obligations. I don't think this is what they had in mind for the final stretch heading into the Iowa caucuses -- Wolf?
BLITZER: M.J., Warren's team put out a memo downplaying the importance of the early voting states. What did it say? LEE: It's really interesting. The Warren campaign doesn't often put
out these kinds of strategy memos into the public.
The timing of this memo that came this week was interesting. There's no question the Warren campaign has seen a dip in polls lately, especially in the early states.
What this memo stressed was a vision for doing well in the early states but, more importantly, saying they have a long-term strategy to take them past the Super Tuesday contest and beyond. They also say they have more than 1,000 full-time staffers in 30 plus states.
So clearly the message of the campaign is trying to spread at this moment in time is they see this campaign as a marathon rather than a sprint -- Wolf?
BLITZER: M.J. Lee is on the scene for us in Iowa. Thanks very much.
And Nia-Malika Henderson is still with us.
It's hard to believe, a week from Monday, the Iowa caucuses. Let's see what happens this week.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: That's right. And what it means for Joe Biden. We have been talking about this before. It's likely some scrutiny will fall on Joe Biden. Some fell on him in some ways with the Democrats trying to pre-but what we might hear from Trump's team. We'll see what that means.
Listen, Sanders is in a really good position. He has been able to consolidate or come out with much more of a lead than Warren in terms of consolidating those progressive voters.
Biden is splitting the moderate lane with Pete Buttigieg. And Amy Klobuchar is hanging around. She has about 8 percent in Iowa.
Listen, Sanders has been stuck in Iowa. Klobuchar is obviously in second in Iowa, as has Warren, and Bennet as well. That has probably hurt them. But you wouldn't know that looking at the polls. If you're Sanders, you feel good.
Biden has never really been someone who performed well in Iowa. He dropped out in his previous races before he got to Iowa. So I don't think his team every expected him to do so well there to be begin with.
It's got to be worrisome for his team given he's behind in Iowa, at least right now, and lagging in New Hampshire. That's also a state Sanders will do well in, as he did before.
BLITZER: Bernie Sanders, it wasn't that long ago he had a heart attack --
HENDERSON: A heart attack, yes.
BLITZER: -- and now he seems to be taking votes -- (CROSSTALK)
BLITZER: -- away from Senator Warren.
HENDERSON: Exactly. I remember writing a story, months ago, that was about how Bernie Sanders seemed to lose the magic that he had. He was struggling in polls a little bit. He had the heart attack. People thought maybe he'd drop out after that.
Instead, he seems to be much more energized now and is consolidating his support. Warren -- and M.J. got into this. Listen, you still have nine days. Her path doesn't look as bright as it did before when she was on top of the polls.
BLITZER: Nia will stick around. Don't go too far away.
When lawmakers become rule breakers. Senators have had a hard time following all the strict rules in the impeachment trial in the Senate. So what happens to those who are breaking the rules? We'll tell you. That's next.
BLITZER: No standing, no cell phones and no talking. Senators must a abide by these rules and others during the president's Senate impeachment trial.
Here is CNN's Brian Todd with more.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, there's been some tough rules in play since the trial started. Rules that the Senators have had a hard time adhering to. Just imagine if you're a U.S. Senator in the chamber and you're used to being able to schmooze with anyone at any time. Now you have rules saying you can't stand, you can't talk. And those rules are going to be in place for several more days.
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Do you swear --
TODD (voice-over): After hours and hours of testimony, the Trump impeachment trial has become a supreme test of Senators ability to sit down and be quiet.
MICHAEL STENGER, SENATE SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment.
TODD: Among a restriction for Senator inside the chamber during the trial, keeping your mouth shut, even refraining from whispering to the person next to you.
There's no use of cell phone or other electronic devices in the chamber. No reading materials are allowed unless they're related to trial.
And no standing. Senators have to sit in their seats when the trial is in session, except to vote.
NORMAN, ORNSTEIN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: You cannot even move during the course of the trial. Now, what that will do for middle-aged and older men who may need to bring in catheters is another story.
TODD: And it turns out, Senators aren't great at following the rules. Senators have been seen leaning into their neighbors, hands cupped over their mouths, whispering to each other. Some have left the chamber. Others have been seen standing, leaving empty chairs.
UNIDENTIFIED LAWMAKER: You're not missing a thing if you're standing instead of sitting.
TODD: Senators have been observed dipping into personal stashes of candy, and other stacks, playing with Fidget toys, drinking milk, one of the few beverages allowed.
Former Senate sergeant-at-arms, James Ziglar, doesn't believe it's too much to sit still, be quiet, and refrain from reading or texting on their phone in a proceeding with the gravitas of a president's impeachment.
ZIGLAR: Jurors in a normal criminal proceeding in our court system are required to sit still and listen to what's going on. And I think it's part of that general culture that they are trying to make it clear to the Senate, you're expected to be there, you're expected to listen to this. You're not expected to be doing other work.
TODD: To be fair, most Senators have been attentive throughout the proceedings. But analyst say, among a group of people not known for wide attention spans or discipline, it's not surprising that some rules have been broken.
ORNSTEIN: Senators are not used to being reigned in. This is not just reigning them in. It's putting them into chairs with straps around their arms and legs. That's not something that's going to sit well with an awful lot of Senators.
TODD (on camera): A key question is, what happens to Senators who break these rules, who get caught violating these restrictions, who is seen talking out of turn or looking at a cell phone. Technically, they could be kicked out of the chamber. They could even be arrested.
But in reality, none of the Senators we know have really been punished so far. We'll see what happens in the coming sessions -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Brian, thank you. Brian Todd reporting.
Just ahead, GOP Senator Mitt Romney now says it is very likely he'll be in favor of calling witnesses in the impeachment trial. Could three other Republican Senators follow suit? We'll discuss. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: Seventy-five years after the last prisoner was liberated, the name Auschwitz still haunts all of us. Scenes of unspeakable horror, but also stories of incredible heroism and courage.
Tomorrow night, I hope you will join me for a one-hour CNN special report "VOICES OF AUSCHWITZ," featuring Steven Spielberg, director of "Schindler's List," among others. Together, we will look back at the place and people the world must never forget.
Here is a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER (voice-over): Walking these grounds changed Steven Spielberg's life forever, as it did mine.
(on camera): I walked under that sign.
STEVE SPIELBERG, DIRECTOR: Be free.
BLITZER: When I saw the crematorium and the gas chambers. It was a powerful, powerful moment.
SPIELBERG: The second time I went to Auschwitz with my wife, a rabbi took us and we said a prayer and he asked me to come near where the crematorium, and you could put your hand in this mud hole and I did. It was very soggy and it had been raining.
And I put my hand in there and I pulled my hand out and there was white sort of bone meal all over my hands, because the remains of everyone over those years of mass murder rained back down on to the earth. Excuse me, and they're still there. And that's something I'll take to my grave.
BLITZER (voice-over): We hear from four Auschwitz survivors. Anita was a cellist as a girl. Martin was a tailor. Renee was also a designer in there.
(on camera): Eva, she was a 10-year-old little girl when she was brought to Auschwitz. Why did they survive whereas others died?
Just to say luck, that's not enough.
SPIELBERG: Not luck. Not luck.
BLITZER: It's more than that.
SPIELBERG: These survivors somehow hung on tenaciously to life. Whatever didn't cause their death -- disease, hypothermia, murder -- somehow this group of kids made it out, and were able to lead very, very productive and almost-inspired lives.
This is the last significant commemoration of the worst atrocity in, I believe, human history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: The CNN special report, "VOICES OF AUSCHWITZ," airs tomorrow night 11:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.
BLITZER: I'm Wolf Blitzer, in "THE SITUATION ROOM," with CNN's special coverage of the impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump.