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President Trump To Deliver State Of The Union Address Tonight; Chaos And Confusion In Iowa As Democratic Party Delays Results. Aired 5:30-6a ET
Aired February 4, 2020 - 05:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is live on Capitol Hill. Well, this is not what anybody was expecting at this hour, Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. It really feels a little bit like a ghost town here compared to Iowa and New Hampshire.
But, yes, the president is preparing for his State of the Union address to be delivered tonight. With the cloud of impeachment hanging over him, however, there is the question whether or not he is going to be addressing impeachment or even the likely acquittal. That vote scheduled for tomorrow.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): President Trump will deliver his State of the Union address tonight on the eve of Senate Republicans acquitting him. The reported theme for the president's speech, "The Great American Comeback." And a senior Trump administration official tells CNN it will be forward-looking and optimistic.
With the nation watching, Republican senators are urging the president to avoid talking about impeachment tonight.
SEN. MARSHA BLACKBURN (R-TN): You know, we want to make certain that we finish up this impeachment, that we move away from this, and that we get back to things that people want to focus on.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): On the Senate floor, the House impeachment managers and the president's legal team made their closing arguments.
PAT CIPOLLONE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: The president has done nothing wrong and these types of impeachments must end. Reject these articles of impeachment.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): History will not be kind to Donald Trump. I think we all know that. Every single vote -- even a single vote by a single member can change the course of history. It is said that a single man or woman of courage makes a majority. Is there one among you who will say enough? MALVEAUX (voice-over): Those final pitches aimed at senators still on the fence, including Republicans Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, and red-state Democrats Joe Manchin, Doug Jones, and Kyrsten Sinema.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I remain undecided on how I will vote.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Sen. Lisa Murkowski, like many Republicans, denouncing the president's conduct with Ukraine but refusing to remove the president.
SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R-AK): The president's behavior was shameful and wrong. I cannot vote to convict. The Constitution provides for impeachment but does not demand it in all instances.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Minority leader Chuck Schumer saying tomorrow's vote on convicting the president should be an issue of conscience for all senators.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It takes strength and courage -- even when you know that Adam Schiff is right, which I think a lot of them do -- to go against a president who you -- who you know will be vicious and unrelenting against you.
MALVEAUX: Again, senators will take to the Senate floor today to give speeches. We expect them to be impassioned speeches about impeachment and whether or not the president should be removed from office. And again, all eyes tonight on the State of the Union Address to see how the president frames this going into the future, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Suzanne. Thank you very much for the preview.
President Trump's allies are already mocking Democrats for the chaos in Iowa. Can Democrats rebound today? That's next.
CAMEROTA: It is the morning after the Iowa caucuses but we still do not know the winner. The Iowa Democratic Party blames reporting inconsistencies and says we can expect results later today. How will this factor into President Trump's message at the State of the Union address tonight?
Joining us, CNN senior political analyst John Avlon, and CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart. He was President Clinton's press secretary during that impeachment.
John Avlon, this is not what Democrats were hoping for this morning, and you can imagine that President Trump's team is relishing this chaos that seems to have broken out in Iowa. And the reason I say that is if Don Jr.'s Twitter feed is any indication for Don Sr.'s message tonight -- and by that, I mean President Trump -- here's what Don Jr. says. "If the Democrats can't run a caucus that they had four years to prepare for, how the hell can anyone think they could actually run the country?"
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I'm not sure Don Jr. is the person to gauge the seriousness of this moment.
But look, this is a problem for the Democrats. The wheels seem to have come off. But it's an effort to make sure they get it right rather than jump the gun and get it wrong, which is what happened in 2012 in the reporting around the Iowa caucuses where Mitt Romney was declared the winner but it turned out that Rick Santorum had actually gotten the most votes.
So, there's a pressor (ph) for this. They're trying to do it right. It's also a reminder of how seriously we need to take election processes at a time when our elections are trying to be manipulated by other people.
But look, did we think this was going to be an I-o-wait, an I-o-what? That's what we're waking up with this morning. And --
CAMEROTA: Wow, well played, John Avlon.
AVLON: Oh, thank you very much. And it's going to have massive --
CAMEROTA: Hashtag I-o-wait.
AVLON: Hashtag I-o-wait. You heard it here first.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's happening right now -- you got it.
CAMEROTA: Yes, he's -- you're done.
Joe, given the chaos in Iowa, does this just change the momentum now to Tuesday in New Hampshire? I mean, is that just a redo? Is that what's going to happen?
I mean, you've been around a long time. What is going to happen today?
LOCKHART: Well, the -- I mean, the interesting thing is always by about 10:00 or 11:00 at night everything moves to New Hampshire, including the candidates. So, we saw Amy Klobuchar and others arriving. So, New Hampshire will take over by mid to late this afternoon.
LOCKHART: -- but without the traditional winners and losers. And, you know, it just kind of scrambles things a little bit.
But I have to say, people are talking about the fate of the Iowa caucuses. I think this is manageable. We'll know by this afternoon.
What really struck me last night in watching is all I saw was white people caucusing and that really is a problem for Democrats when you don't have the sort of diversity that makes up the strength of the party.
So, I -- you know, if it takes this snafu to get rid of Iowa first and caucuses, I'm all for it.
AVLON: And there had been a move for rotating regional primaries. A lot of the leaders in the Democratic Party have pushed it. This may be the catalyst that actually does move it.
CAMEROTA: Well, what does all of this mean for the State of the Union tonight? What's President Trump going to do about this?
AVLON: Well look, you know, when Joe was there, Bill Clinton gave an unbelievable speech -- State of the Union -- in the height of impeachment.
Republicans senators are basically begging him via reporters to stay on message, look forward, don't dwell on the impeachment. But that's going to be a struggle between the president's teleprompter and his tempter -- temper because you know he wants to gloat about this.
AVLON: You know he wants to condemn the folks in the audience.
CAMEROTA: But not dwelling on impeachment is different than not capitalizing on Iowa chaos.
LOCKHART: Well --
CAMEROTA: Will the Iowa chaos --
AVLON: Oh --
CAMEROTA: -- come up now?
LOCKHART: Here -- I mean, and here's the problem if you're a senior aide to Trump. It's not like something you can turn off.
Trump has given State of the Unions where he stuck to the teleprompter and gave reasonable speeches -- he seemed subdued, almost -- but it was what Republicans wanted and it's probably what the smart people in his campaign want. But if he going to jump into this, we -- he runs the real risk of going full rally speech.
It is very hard to do the 'I'm going to make fun of Democrats for Iowa' and then stop right there. That takes some discipline and the one thing we know about Donald Trump is he has none of it.
CAMEROTA: Impeachment, as you point out, is still going on. There will be a vote tomorrow.
And, Sen. Joe Manchin floated an interesting idea that we've been talking about here --
CAMEROTA: -- on this set and that is is there something between complete acquittal and conviction and removal from office? And he has suggested, as you have John, censure. I can't tell if that's getting any traction but he made a compelling case for that yesterday.
AVLON: It should -- it's the obvious. Joe did a great op-ed with Charlie Dent that came out of a conversation we had here on NEW DAY, suggesting that as a third way. Because Republican senators were saying look, this is binary. It's either remove or acquit.
If they're going to admit his guilt -- they're going to admit he did something wrong, this is -- you know, as I think around a half-dozen Republican senators have done -- this is a great off-ramp for the country and the Constitution because it only requires a simple majority. Will Mitch McConnell give it a vote? Will Republicans fight for it? Because a lot of the integrity of this Senate and, frankly, constraints on this president depend on it.
So, Manchin's out there. Let's see who else supports it. It's an uphill fight but it's the obvious thing for the country and the Constitution.
CAMEROTA: Quickly, Joe.
LOCKHART: Listen, I think that if it's written properly and if they use the words of Lamar Alexander, Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, and Lisa Murkowski -- just their words -- Mitch McConnell is going to have to a tough time blocking this coming to the floor. And we should not underestimate the second president in our history being censured on the floor of the Senate. That is a -- that is a win for Democrats who will be able to capitalize on that.
CAMEROTA: We say this a lot but it's going to be a big 24 hours.
AVLON: Oh, yes.
CAMEROTA: Thank you both very much for all of the analysis.
OK, John, this is not the morning that we were planning in terms of not knowing what's happening in Iowa at this hour.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: You know, at this point, what more could surprise us in this life over these last few years? Really, there's nothing left.
But my question for you Alisyn, is when you tell Joe Lockhart you've been around a long time, what exactly are you saying?
CAMEROTA: You know what? He didn't even bat an eye. After I said that I was like uh-oh, is Joe going to give me one of his, like, notorious icy glares? No, he didn't even bat an eye. That's how professional Joe is.
AVLON: Slash beaten down.
BERMAN: I was like, ooh, she's going there -- going hostile in the interview this morning.
All right, friends, we have no results out of Iowa. The candidates are arriving here in New Hampshire already. We've caught up with a few of them on the ground at the airport. How will they approach the first primary state when the first caucus state hasn't told us anything yet?
BERMAN: This morning, frustration and so many questions as to what happened with the results for the Iowa caucuses.
Just a few minutes ago, I caught up with Andrew Yang, a candidate, when he arrived here from Iowa, in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Do you have questions about the legitimacy of the process in Iowa when the results do come out? Are you going to wonder a) are these fair?
ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I'll certainly take the folks in Iowa at their word. I mean, I'm sure they would not have wished this kind of delay on anyone. And so, the data, I'm sure, will prove out. They have a record of most all of it. A lot of it happened in public.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: All right, joining me now, CNN political commentator Andrew Gillum. He was the Democratic gubernatorial nominee in Florida. Mayor Gillum, great to see you.
ANDREW GILLUM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (D) FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR CANDIDATE: Hey, John.
BERMAN: Andrew Yang is frustrated but he trusts the process.
And I suppose better safe than sorry, right? Iowa didn't want to put out bad information -- we'd all rather wait for good information -- but it is frustrating that they have no information.
GILLUM: Yes. No, you're right and I have to say I think that Andrew Yang is taking the right and appropriate tone.
Nobody is happy with what transpired last night -- not the campaigns, not the candidates, certainly not the hundreds if not thousands of volunteers who have built strong organizations all across Iowa for more than a year, in some cases. And also, you've got to imagine that the voters there in Iowa feel a bit shaken as well. [05:50:08]
But I'll agree with Andrew Yang. And I think Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren took very similar tones where they basically said that you know what, nobody's pleased by the fact that they don't know what came out of Iowa last night by way of a winner or folks who placed lesser, but they trust the process.
And I think all of us should be very, very careful -- the campaigns and their surrogates, particularly -- to throw cold water or to undermine this thing to suggest something untoward if the facts don't necessarily point that way. I think we should demonstrate a little bit more patience and let them get it right so that we're clear about what ultimately results from this night's primary -- or caucus, rather.
BERMAN: Yes. There's no evidence at all there's -- it's a caucus -- for sure, it's a caucus.
BERMAN: And there's no evidence that there's anything wrong with the count. The evidence is that there's something wrong with the reporting process. Still, it is frustrating.
It has been interesting in the vacuum watching how some candidates have handled it because --
BERMAN: -- to different degrees, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar all declared a kind of victory. Is it smart for them to come out with no numbers and say hey, we won?
GILLUM: Yes, it very much so is. I've got to tell you, you know, we look to Iowa to be one of those winnowing states. Undoubtedly, someone comes out, they're -- you know, they thank their supporters. And then the next morning we may get a press release that says such and such candidate is withdrawing.
The good news for these candidates is you probably have five tickets, at least of candidates -- five to six candidate -- tickets coming out of Iowa going into New Hampshire. And nobody's really going to question whether or not they should continue on in this fight, largely because of the delay in the outcome of these results.
GILLUM: Amy Klobuchar probably could not have been more buoyed getting off that plane last night. I saw your interview with her and she certainly gets the champion award being the first to come out and give a speech, number one. Number two, getting on a plane flying down to -- flying up, rather, and over to New Hampshire and getting out there and showing great resilience and spirit.
BERMAN: There she is right now.
BERMAN: We're showing pictures of when she arrived just before 4:00 a.m. this morning. And she had her crowd out there. She knows you've got to get on T.V. It's good for you to get on T.V. in Iowa so the people here see you on the local news when they wake up. Traditionally, that's what you have to do.
GILLUM: That's right.
BERMAN: And as you said, no one's asking any candidate whether or not they need to drop out this morning because we have no idea who did badly, even now.
GILLUM: That's exactly right, John. And, John, I was just saying I was confused that more candidates, frankly, did not take more advantage of that moment. Joe Biden, we saw him looking a little bit low -- low energy when he got off that plane.
But this is the time, optically, that you say I'm in it to win it. Let's go. Bring it on, New Hampshire.
Can I ask you one question? We don't have definitive numbers out yet but the Iowa Democratic Party basically says that the turnout resembled 2016, which is not a high for them. Twenty sixteen was about 170,000 -- a little bit north of that -- whereas, in 2008, it was 240,000.
Are you concerned, as someone who cares about the Democratic Party, that the enthusiasm might not be where you would want it to be right now?
GILLUM: Yes. No, I'm not concerned. I mean, we've got a ton of candidates out there. Increasingly -- you know, people want a winner. Some folks are laying back. You saw just as well as I did the undecided numbers even going into the primary -- the caucuses -- and the polling leading up to it.
I have no doubt that once we have a nominee that you're going to see the enthusiasm, certainly on the Democratic side, off the chart to defeat Donald Trump. I've heard the comments from Eric Trump and Donald Trump. I could -- I could not care less what the Republicans have to say about this process. They need to be worried about whoever we produce, I believe, with our momentum, is going to be prepared to take them out.
BERMAN: Mr. Mayor, Andrew Gillum, always a pleasure to have you on. Wish you were up here in the cold --
GILLUM: Oh, yes.
BERMAN: -- with me in New Hampshire.
GILLUM: You can have it.
BERMAN: Thanks very much. Yes, you're like, oh, not so much. I'm OK.
BERMAN: I feel good in D.C. I appreciate it, Mayor.
So, it is the morning after Iowa. This is when people are supposed to be in New Hampshire declaring victory, but we don't have any results from Iowa. What is going on? We're trying to get some answers this morning and we'll bring you all the breaking developments next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BERMAN: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, February fourth. It's 6:00 in the east.
Alisyn is in New York and I'm in New Hampshire this morning because this was supposed to be the next contest in the Democratic nominating process. The question is, will we know who wins here in New Hampshire before we ever find out who won in Iowa last night?
The candidates have already started arriving here even though the results there are not yet known. Nothing yet out of Iowa -- zilch. This really is something of a political debacle and according to the Iowa Democratic Party, there won't be any results until later today at the earliest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TROY PRICE, IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR: We want to emphasize that this is a reporting issue, not a hack or an intrusion. And it's exactly why we have a paper trail and systems in place to uphold the integrity of our process. We are validating every piece of data we have against our paper trail. That system is taking longer than expected, but it's in place to ensure we are eventually able to report results with full confidence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)