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Biden: Senator "Spilled the Beans" on Using Impeachment Trial to Smear Him; Biden Aides Float Idea of Alliance with Klobuchar; Iowa Caucus Five Days Away; Injuries Rising from Missible Attack; 50 U.S. Soldiers Diagnosed with Brain Injuries From Iran Attack; Americans Evacuated from Virus Epicenter; 200 Americans Evacuated from Epicenter of Coronavirus Outbreak; Soon: Impeachment Trial Enters Question and Answer Phase. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired January 29, 2020 - 07:30   ET




JOE BIDEN, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She spilled the beans. She just came out and flat said it. The whole impeachment trial for Trump is just a political hit job to try to smear me because he is scared to death to run against me and he has good reason to be concerned.

You can ruin Donald Trump's night by (inaudible) and you can ruin Joni Ernst's night as well.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: That was former Vice President Joe Biden seizing on remarks by Iowa Senator Joni Ernst that suggested she was eager for the impeachment process to take a political toll on Joe Biden. Joining us now, we have CNN Political Commentator, Andrew Gillum and Krystal Ball, coauthor of the new book, "The Populists Guide to 2020" which is doing so well it is beating the Bolton book on Amazon at the moment.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: Maybe you'll be called to testify in the Senate.

KRYSTAL BALL, CO-HOST RISING ON HILL TV: I'm ready. Give me a call.

CAMEROTA: That was an interesting argument there that Joe - Joe Biden has not shied away from the political attacks on him.

BALL: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Do you think, Krystal, that he has done a good job of turning the table on those attacks or do you think some are sticking?

BALL: Well, I do think that the impeachment process overall has helped Joe Biden in this race because number one, it is elevating that he's the center of all of this, even though a lot of reporting says that Trump is more afraid of Bernie Sanders. The certain perception is that he was fixated on Biden, he was going after Biden, so that's one piece. The other piece is there are real questions about Biden's corruption.

I mean there was just a report out in "Politico" about a shady land deal involving his brother. This goes back decades including relationships with a credit card processer in Delaware, et cetera, et cetera.

Those attacks for Democrats have been totally taken off the table because they don't want to give Donald Trump a talking point, so none of that has been able to be brought up in the context of the primary. Of course if he does become the nominee, and make it to the general election, all of that will be very much on the table and front and center coming from Donald Trump.

ANDREW GILLUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well Donald Trump is the last person who could come after Joe Biden on corruption when you consider that this is the most corrupt administration that we have seen in the history of this country. I would agree that I think the vice president has really leaned into this.

Frankly, every time he gets attacked, he gets to make the argument that Republicans are most terrified of running against me, that I'm the most electable Democrat, and they're coming after me because they're terrified of me.

But to Joni -- Senator Ernst's comments, the president is right now in the impeachment process because he solicited help from a foreign government to go against a political adversary. She is now trumpeting the very, very same thing that he is in trouble for in the first place which is to say we're going to go after Joe Biden and turn this thing - this process against him.

And so I just - you know, they took a solemn oath, and I wish that so many more of the Republicans in the Senate would take that seriously, be deliberative about this, and at least be open to hearing what the facts of the case have to say.

BERMAN: There's a new development apparently overnight, out of Iowa which is there was a discussion between representatives from the Biden campaign and the campaign for Amy Klobuchar to make a deal, perhaps vote swapping in individual caucuses. The way this works, in each precinct if you don't get 15 percent, you're not considered viable and all the people voting for you get to go to someone else.

What would happen here is if say Joe Biden didn't get 15 percent, but Amy Klobuchar did, the Biden people say go vote for Amy Klobuchar, and vice versa. The Klobuchar people at least publicly at this point are saying no, no, no we're not into this, but Krystal Ball, what does the fact of these discussions tell you?

BALL: Yes, well I think it tells you that they can read these polls as well as we can. Biden is slipping. Bernie Sanders is surging and so if some of the moderates don't combine their forces, you're going to end up with Bernie Sanders coming out of Iowa, and oh, by the way, he's also up significantly in the polls in New Hampshire.

Now advisers can make whatever deals they want. Ultimately voters have a mind of their own here. I would tell you though that second choice element is really important and that 15 percent threshold is really important.

The other thing to keep an eye on is the fact that Elizabeth Warren in some of these polls has been slipping below the 15 percent viability threshold as well.

Her voters overwhelmingly prefer Bernie Sanders as the second choice so there's a lot of dynamics that could play out but I think it tells you, they're looking at the polls and they're saying, we've got to do something if we're going to stop Bernie Sanders right now.

CAMEROTA: Do you find that to be an interesting or curious alliance, the Amy Klobuchar - or Biden one?

GILLUM: Well, I mean they both clearly in the context of this race have run the moderate lane. They obviously don't think that they can make this deal with Pete Buttigieg because he's been pretty stable as it relates to his popularity there.


But I think more than anything, coming out of Iowa I'm not certain that we're going to have this landslide victory by any of the candidates. Even if Bernie Sanders is able to pull off a victory there, we're talking about what, between the first two or three states, 3.5 percent of the total delegates that will go toward deciding.

BALL: That is true but on the other hand, in modern history there has never been a candidate who has won Iowa and New Hampshire who has failed to win the nomination. That has never happened.

So if you look at a Sanders coming out of Iowa and New Hampshire with two wins under his belt going into Nevada where he's also very strong, you can have a real shift in this dynamic. It actually reminds me of 2008. Joe Biden has a lot of sort of Hillary 2008 energy. The polls are there.

The institutional support is there but the energy and enthusiasm isn't. He's sliding in these last days. He never took his main competitor, Bernie Sanders, seriously and Sanders has a lot of Obama 2008 energy.

He's kind of a rock star among his supporters. He's got this massive grass roots following, big rallies, et cetera and they've laid the groundwork in later states to be able to capitalize if he does win early in the same way that Barak Obama did.

GILLUM: I think it's going to be important however, even if he wins in those first three states that by the time you get to South Carolina, if black voters are not moving in his direction in significant form, I don't see how you can be the front runner for the Democratic nomination without significant African-American support in this party.

BALL: He does have significant African-American support--

GILLUM: Young.

BALL: -- it's very generational.

GILLUM: It's very generational, absolutely.

BALL: That's what this - this whole contest has come down to these generational battle between, you know, older folks in the party who want more of a safer choice. Let's go back to before Trump and younger folks who are saying, we got to do something. This whole thing wasn't working even before Trump came along so it's this incredible generational ideological struggle.

GILLUM: It is.

BERMAN: Overall - overall though, the vice president -- the former vice president enjoys enormous, overwhelming--

GILLUM: Of course.

BERMAN: -- support among African-American voters. The question is, will they stick with him or will Bernie Sanders or could Bernie Sanders make inroads with those voters as the primaries go on? There's a generational split among all --


BERMAN: -- voters which is one of the most interesting things about Iowa right now which is why there is some divergence in the polls. We're going to talk about this with Harry Enten later in the show --

BALL: Yes.

BERMAN: One of the things that uncertain is that some of the overwhelming support for Bernie Sanders in these recent polls in Iowa comes from younger voters but often they're not the ones.

GILLUM: Well I was going to say, the question is will they show up to vote? Now, the enthusiasm is going to be important but I think Biden's team signaled this week, his voters are not the type of voters who are going to sit through a caucus process sort of forecasting that if he didn't perform well, it isn't because he didn't have the support. It's just that older voters maybe in their opinion are not going to show up.

The sub text here, and this is going to be important for the Biden camp is that if Vice President Biden does not perform well in these first three states, four states, does this then open up the possibility of many people considering what Bloomberg may be able to do in this race, as we approach Super Tuesday and beyond.

BALL: Yes.

GILLUM: My fear with that obviously is that you break up a lot of these delegates and we may not end up with a clear nominee.

BALL: Sure.

BERMAN: I don't mean to interrupt --

GILLUM: But there was a sound byte that you really wanted to play here, which I do think is --

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean I wanted to just talk about if this appeal to Independents that Joe Biden keeps making the case that he won't hold grudges and he's sort of making the case that he's the anti-President Trump in terms of temperament. So listen to this and tell me if this is winning over people.


BIDEN: These guys are attacking me and my family. I get it. And the press corps with me, they're all good people following me. They keep asking me, you know, they just brought up your son, Hunter, and they're doing this and that and the other thing. Well guess what? I don't hold grudges because presidents can't hold grudges. Presidents have to be fighters but they also have to be healers.


CAMEROTA: I just thought that that was striking in this moment that we're in right now of getting back to the idea that somehow in some mythical land a president could bring different sides together and be a healer. Is that - is that a compelling argument right now?

BALL: I do think it's a compelling argument and it's the core of his argument, and this is - this really is the divide, though, because at the same time that you have that, you have 70% of Americans saying that they have a boiling anger at the political establishment.

You have 40% who say when they think about our institutions they want to just burn it all down. So that is really the divide here is if we go back to the time before Trump, that time wasn't so good for a whole lot of Americans. That's why we ended up with Donald Trump.

So for a certain segment, yes, it's appealing; that's why he's so durable in the polls. But, for another group, a large group with a lot of energy, going back is not enough.

I do want to say look, on the diversity of -- of these two coalitions, I mean the CNN poll showed Bernie Sanders with the most diverse coalition. So he has a lot of strength across demographics here.


We'll see what happens. I think if he comes out of Iowa and New Hampshire with two early wins that could really be a game changer like we saw in '08. CAMEROTA: Krystal Ball, Andrew Gillum, than you both very much for the

really interesting perspective. So the number of U.S. service members who are suffering from traumatic brain injuries from that Iranian missile attack has jumped again. We now have new numbers and the latest from the Pentagon for you.


CAMEROTA: The Pentagon now says 50 U.S. service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries from that Iranian missile attack earlier this month. That is 16 more causalities than we'd know about. Joining us now, CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.


Barbara, why does the number keep shifting?

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Well over time what they are finding is that troops are developing symptoms. They didn't all emerge right away, it's happened over many days.

Remember, this all dates back to the January 8, Iranian ballistic missile attack on the al-Asad Base in Iraq. That missile attack set off a huge blast wave, thousands of pounds of explosive across the base and troops began reporting symptoms -- traumatic brain injury, concussion-like symptoms.

There could be even more as the days go on and symptoms continue to emerge. They've been assessing about 200 people that were in the immediate blast area, but what we're really looking at here is perhaps a first-time medical event for U.S. troops in recent history on the battlefield.

Ballistic missile blast wave -- this is so significant, it is so much larger than anything else they have been facing, and they are trying to make sure that all the troops who have symptoms come forward and report them. John, Alison?

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, the fact that these symptoms are presenting late -- later than the first week, does that mean they're less serious?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think you can make that case. You know, certainly, first of all the symptoms can present later, as Barbara is saying.

What the military uses is something called the MACE-sort of screening test which is the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation, if you could take a look specifically they have various things that they're looking for, and they continue to do this -- so it's not just in the immediate aftermath of some sort of suspected injury, but in the days and weeks after as well.

But to your question, Alisyn, symptoms can appear later, if they do they're certainly -- they are still classified as traumatic brain injury, but are generally milder the more delayed that they are. CAMEROTA: Barbara, the fact that there are now 50 U.S. Service Members

who were injured in this attack, does that change the feeling in the Pentagon about what Iran had planned?

STARR: Well there is still this -- a very good piece of news, at least over half of them have been able to return to duty. From the military point of view, I don't know of anyone in a uniform that embraced the notion Iran wasn't trying to kill them.

If you're in a military uniform standing in Iraq and Iran has fired a ballistic missile at you, you believe you're -- you know, you are in their crosshairs. So there is a lot of continuing concern about Iranian aggressive military behavior in the region. But again, they just hadn't faced this, you know, the bunkers that

troops tried to shelter in were designed for relatively lightweight rockets and mortars -- Iran sends ballistic missiles which are multiple times heavier in terms of the blast wave that they send out. Iran was able to reach out and touch, and essentially cause a mass casualty, mass injury incident that the Pentagon is still trying to get its arms around.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, I know that there's a lot of deviation, or variation, I guess I should say in terms of recovery time -- but generally speaking, with this kind of traumatic brain injury, what are these service members looking at in terms of getting better?

GUPTA: Yeah, no, it's a good point -- and there are people who develop sort of longer term concussive symptoms. Longer term traumatic brain injury symptoms -- it's called post-concussive syndrome and it's about 10 to 15 percent of people. So I think that they're looking for overall are insomnia, headache, dizziness, balance issues, cognitive issues.

Sometimes part of the reason there's delays is that sometimes they may have other symptoms that the person they themselves may not recognize. They could have a little bit of numbness, a little bit of blurriness of vision, ringing in the ears -- that's not interfering with their way of daily life, but upon exam a good neurological exam, they find these sorts of symptoms.

And let me remind you, Barbara's made a point of this and it's a good point that, you know, we use the term concussion -- it is traumatic brain injury. You don't want to minimize it, sometimes the term concussion sounds like it's minimizing it.

If you look at what happens to the brain, I think we have some animation of this -- you see that the brain is moved around within the skull in response to that blast wave.

So even though they call these the invisible wounds of war, when you look at this -- this sort of imagery you're reminded of the impact on the brain. The brain may recover, and recover well from that -- but again, it's worth watching that to just be reminded that the -- when you talk about traumatic brain injury there is an injury to the brain, and that's why the screening continues to happen.


CAMEROTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Barbara Starr -- thank you very much for all the information. John.

BERMAN: Thanks Alisyn. A lot of panic, but thankfully not much damage from a powerful earthquake in the Caribbean. This is a magnitude 7.7 quake. It struck between Cuba and Jamaica; it could be felt as far away as Miami where several high rises were evacuated. In the southern U.S. at this point, bracing for rain and snow in the Midwest. Let's get to meteorologist Allison Chinchar with the latest. Allison?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: That's right, and it's been a potent system in the last 24 hours. Look at the amount of snowfall that's already come down. Liberal, Kansas, picking up 15 inches of snow. Even areas of the panhandle of Oklahoma picking up over 10 inches of snow.

So the question becomes, where does this storm go? So for that forecast brought to you by celebrity cruises visit, you can book your award-winning vacation today. Here is a look at that particular system.

Notice some of the heaviest snow coming down across portions of Kansas City, spreading into St. Louis. But on the southern edge of this particular storm, it's all rain. The focus for the cold air and the cold aspects of this storm are going to be limited to three states.

Mainly we're talking Illinois, portions of Missouri and also Kansas where an additional one to three inches is expected. Keep in mind though, that's on top of what some of these areas have had. Here's a look at the rain. Places like Nashville, Charlotte, even several cities down into Florida, John, are likely going to have rain in the forecast through the day.

BERMAN: All right, Allison Chinchar, thank you very much for that. Hundreds of U.S. citizens evacuated from China as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread. We'll take you live to where a plane is heading right now.



BERMAN: Developing at this hour, a plan carrying more than 200 Americans from China is heading to Southern California. They were rushed from the Epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak on a plane charted by the State Department.

It's due to arrive at March Air Reserve Base near Los Angeles later this morning. CNN Stephanie Elam live at the base and joins us this morning. Stephanie?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Yes, what we do know is that this plane was prepared to carry as many as 240 Americans out of Wuhan, China on its way to Anchorage, Alaska. But what -- what we've learned since the plane did land in Alaska is

that there were 201 passengers that made it on the flight. And according the chief medical officer in Alaska, Dr. Anne Zink, she says that when they got on the plane and said welcome home to the United States of America that all the passengers cheered.

What we also know is that they were allowed to deplane. They were fed a hot meal, could charge their phones. They were definitely quarantined though. They were -- took them to the north terminal at Ted Stevens international airport, which they did not use very often so that they would have a place for these passengers to be.

They were screened twice in China. They were also monitored throughout the flight. Keep in mind that the crew was kept separate from the rest of the people on the plane, even having separate airflows where they were.

And what they did then when they got them to the terminal, they screened them again two more times, giving them the clearance to continue on the flight. So they said 201 passengers landed in Alaska. 201 are on that plan and are expected to land here in Riverside County, east of Los Angeles somewhere just before 8 AM local time.

At that point they will be held and screened for some amount of time. But John and Alisyn, it's not clear where that will be and it's not clear for how long those passengers will be held.

CAMEROTA: All right. Please keep us posted. I know that you are tracking that flight. Thank you very much. So thanks to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN Newsroom with Max Foster is next. And for our U.S. viewers, the impeachment trial of President Trump enters a new phase and New Day continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Danger, danger, danger. These articles must be rejected. The Constitution requires it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The conscious of the Senate ought to be to seek the truth.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Senator Mitch McConnell is telling Republicans he does not have the votes to block witnesses.

CHUCK SCHUMER, SENATE MINIORITY LEADER: Is there a chance that we might get a vote to allow witnesses and documents, yes. Is it also an uphill fight, yes.

LINDSEY GRAHAM, SENATE CHIAR JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: When Chuck Schumer says I just want to be fair that's such bologna.

TED CRUZ, SENATOR: They just want to drag this on. They're playing a delay game.

ADAM SCHIFF, HOUSE CHAIR INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Are we going to say that in order to get relevant witnesses, we're going to let the president's team turn this into some kind of a circus. I don't think the senators want that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.


BERMAN: Good morning and welcome to your New Day. It is Wednesday, January 29th. It's 8 o'clock in the east and we have come to a rare genuine moment of uncertainty on Capitol Hill with President Trump's impeachment trial entering this new question and answer phase for the next two days.

CNN has learned that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is telling Republicans he does not currently have enough votes to block witnesses. Not yet. This is crucial obviously because former National Security Advisor John Bolton in a draft manuscript of his book says the president personally told him that aid to Ukraine was tied to investigating the Bidens.

Another development, John Kelly, the former Chief of Staff says he believes Bolton, which means that the president's former Chief of Staff thinks the president is lying.

CAMEROTA: A vote on witnesses will likely take place on Friday. President Trump appears concerned. He is attacking Bolton, via Twitter, with a lengthy message just moments ago.