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CNN RIGHT NOW
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Says, He Shredded The Truth So I Shredded His Speech; Biden On Disappointing Iowa Results: We Took A Gut Punch. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired February 5, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Brianna Keilar starts Right Now. Have a great afternoon.
BRIANNA KEILAR HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar live from CNN's Washington's headquarters.
Underway right now, for just the third time, the Senate will vote on whether to remove an impeached president. But President Trump has history and the Republican majority on his side as he expects the Senate to hand him a pass. And now the question is will any Democrats vote to acquit him.
And two days after the Democratic Iowa caucuses, the results have still not been finalized after problems with an election app used by local precincts to report the results to the state party drew the 2020 presidential race a curveball.
More than one campaign is declaring victory even without all the results and now New Hampshire is on deck. We will take you there live.
After a presidential snub at the State of the Union, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore up her copy of Trump's speech saying it was a disgraceful campaign speech that shredded the truth so she shredded the speech. Fellow Democrats also came to her defense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): As far as I'm concerned, a shredder wasn't available and so she did what she needed to do.
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D-MD): Look, I think she had the reaction many of us have. I think many of us were tempted to walk out. We didn't only because we still have some respect for the occasion.
REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): Well, I don't know what was in her mind. There was a lie on every page. So maybe it could have been worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: President Trump used the State of the Union to make his case for re-election. For Democrats, the campaign trail officially started with Iowa, but with a hitch, of course. We are still waiting for a final tally two days after the caucuses.
Let's go live now to Jeff Zeleny. He is in Des Moines, where I'm sure, Jeff, you did not expect you would still be. We're hearing that more results are imminent. Tell us about this.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Brianna. Of course, the campaign has moved on to New Hampshire. We are still here in Iowa just counting and waiting for the next batch of results. We are told there will be more results coming early this afternoon.
But for now, there are just 71 percent of the results reporting. And with that, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is still narrowly leading Bernie Sanders. A little behind Bernie Sanders is Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and then Amy Klobuchar. But the question here is will that lead hold for Pete Buttigieg?
The Sanders campaign is expressing confidence that they still believe there is enough support out in different pockets of the state that he could overtake Pete Buttigieg. But we will see when that comes out.
But, Brianna, so many questions here about the timing and why this indeed has taken so long. We are, in fact, still awaiting for results about 30 percent or so from here in Des Moines as well as in some other larger metro areas. So we are keeping an eye on this and eagerly awaiting the next batch of results, I'm told, they'll be coming in early the afternoon.
This is what's sort of been happening behind the scenes here, if you will. There have been volunteers from the Iowa Democratic Party and others literally driving around the state literally picking up those preference cards and the scorecards, bringing them back to Des Moines. They're working out of a law firm to go through them one by one to verify them and count them and then they are planning to release these numbers. So a slow process but they say they want to make it as accurate as possible.
Of course, the question of the Iowa caucuses is very much in doubt in the future. But they want to get the numbers right. So 71 percent for now, we'll see how much that grows by this afternoon. Brianna?
KEILAR: All right. Jeff, thank you so much for that report from Des Moines for us. And we have Chris Cillizza with us here. So tell us what are your takeaways form what we've seen so far?
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICSL REPORTER: Okay. Biggest takeaway just to start is this is such a bad look for the Democratic Party and for democracy, more generally. It's Wednesday afternoon. We're still at 71 percent of the vote for a caucus that was Monday night.
Okay. Let's get into the candidates. Okay. So Pete Buttigieg is ahead, right? Hasn't won yet, but he's ahead. And I'll note he needed that. Now, he ideally would have liked that result, Brianna, on Monday night, not Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday, but he is ahead. He is going to be in the top one or two. It's hard to imagine he would slip below that.
Interestingly, and I'll note this, Bernie Sanders has been quite close in all of this. Remember, Bernie Sanders only lost the state delegate count by 0.3 percent to Hilary Clinton, bigger margin between Pete Buttigieg and Sanders this time.
So, okay, to Biden and Elizabeth Warren, Elizabeth Warren, not a breakout, right, seems likely to finish third behind Buttigieg and Sanders, but ahead of Biden and Klobuchar, not terrible, not great. New Hampshire has to have a showing.
Now, Biden, we can do a whole thing on this. But I tend to think damage done to Biden has been undersold here. He is the sitting former eight-year vice president of the United States, the frontrunner from the day he got into this race. Yes, I know his campaign was downplaying Iowa expectations. Sure, that's fine. But --
KEILAR: They weren't expecting they would fourth, right?
CILLIZZA: He is in fourth currently. And I'll note, obviously, 71 percent in. But although he's closer to fifth, Amy Klobuchar, in terms of percentage of state delegates assigned, than into third, Elizabeth Warren. Imagine, let's say, Hillary Clinton finished fourth in a primary caucus, it would be a giant deal. So I think Biden has trouble there.
Last but certainly not the least, this guy, right, Mike Bloomberg, billionaire, where $65.5 billion, has spent upwards to $250 million on ads already, isn't playing in the first four states, really. That includes Iowa. What does Bloomberg need? He needs chaos, he needs uncertainty and he needs a weakened Joe Biden, because he wants to step in on March 3rd, Super Tuesday, and say, hey, I'm a moderate establishment voice, businessman, I know Donald Trump, I'm from New York, et cetera, et cetera. He needs a little chaos and a weakening of Joe Biden.
Well, he got a lot of chaos in Iowa and maybe even more of a weakening of Joe Biden than we thought. I don't think anyone thought Joe Biden would be running fourth right now. It's all setting up not bad for him. And he can continue to spend and spend and spend. He is doubling his ad buys in the wake of the Iowa caucus results. And it wasn't a little bit before. He's not doubling $10,000, he's doubling tens of millions of dollars, he's dumping it in places like California and Texas, Illinois, states that are going to vote on March 3rd or later.
KEILAR: He is by far spending the most in ads astronomically.
CILLIZZA: Tom Steyer, the other billionaire in the race, wasn't in this race, he beat Bloomberg, who got into race very late, would be outspending all the other candidates combined by a function of two or three times.
KEILAR: Chris, thank you so much for taking us through that. We appreciate it. And the candidates are trying to spin these partial caucus results coming out of Iowa. The top five have all declared a victory in any way that they can. They're trying to get supporters energized in spite of the caucuses being such a mess.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-SOUTH BEND, IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is definitely a victory for this campaign. I know we've got some more math coming in, but any way you cut it for a campaign that folks said had no business, even daring to try to get on the stage a year ago, we've been able to do something extraordinary.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In Iowa, we received more votes on the first and second round than any other candidate.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's a tight three-way race at the top. We know that the three of us will be dividing up most of the delegates coming out of Iowa. I'm feeling good.
JOE BIDEN (D), FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As long as I come out with any delegates, and there has been full count, the last I heard, they didn't have the rural counties counted. And I was number four.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why look at it that I'm 800 votes from the vice president and we still have 38 percent left to be counted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Now, Pete Buttigieg is emerging a winner in Iowa no matter how the votes shake out here. I want to go to Vanessa Yurkevich. She is following the Buttigieg campaign. They're in Concord, New Hampshire right now.
And Joe Biden just called out Buttigieg by name, Vanessa.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hi, Brianna. The mentality here with the Buttigieg campaign is if it's not broke, don't fix it. They like what happened in Iowa. They're going to try to replicate that here in New Hampshire.
Of course, Buttigieg out there leading in the Iowa caucuses, not the winner quite yet. But with that leading status comes the attacks. As you mentioned, we've just heard one from Joe Biden. Take a listen to what he just said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Is he really saying the Obama-Biden administration was a failure? Pete, just say it out loud. I have great respect for Mayor Pete in his service to this nation. But I do believe it's a risk to be just straight up with it, for this party to nominate someone who has never held an office higher than mayor of a town of 1,000 people in Indiana. (END VIDEO CLIP)
YURKEVICH: We reached out to Pete Buttigieg's campaign looking for a comment responding to Biden there. But, really, the campaign is focused on the ground game in New Hampshire. We know that after these initial results were announced last night, Brianna, they had their single best hour of fundraising ever. And they're hoping that when these full results come in, that this will prove that Pete Buttigieg is the winner. They obviously want to come out on top. That will lead hopefully, according to the campaign, to more fundraising, and that will be helpful for Pete Buttigieg as he needs to continue on to Nevada and South Carolina, Brianna, places that he's not polling as well in Iowa and here in New Hampshire. Brianna?
KEILAR: Vanessa, thank you so much for that in Concord, New Hampshire, with the Buttigieg campaign,
I want to bring in Symone Sanders now. She is the senior adviser for the Biden campaign. Symone, thank you for joining us.
SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISER, BIDEN CAMPAIGN: Thank you for having me, Brianna. It's a great day in New Hampshire. I've got my gloves.
KEILAR: I know. It's always cold there this time of year. So tell us, because this is a case that the Biden campaign and Joe Biden need to make, what is your case for why he can still hold up in the general, even with a fourth place finish in Iowa?
SANDERS: Well, I would just point you to Vice President Biden's remarks and the community event that he's wrapping up right now today. Vice President Biden said he took a punch in Iowa but this is not the first time he's been knocked down. And for anyone who was wondering, he's not going anywhere, he's going to fight. He is used to fighting for what he wants, fighting for what he believes in, and this nomination is no different.
Look, Brianna, I think we have a very strong case to make. I watched the State of the Union last night and I've been listening to the cable news coverage but I've been listening to what folks are saying right here on the ground in New Hampshire. And they know two things. One, it's going to be hard to beat Donald Trump but also we have to beat Donald Trump. And that means we have to get real about this election. We have to get real about the candidates in this race.
And you are going to see Vice President Biden over the next week or so here in New Hampshire continue to make his case that he is the strongest candidate to take on Donald Trump and talk about the issues. Healthcare is the most important issue facing people in this country, especially here in New Hampshire. And there are real differences between the candidates, Brianna, and we're going to talk about them.
KEILAR: To that point, I think part of what the Biden campaign wanted for positioning was on healthcare, for there to be this alternative choice between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. And that's not as much of a case that can be made right now coming out of fourth place in Iowa. How do you tackle that issue so that people, so that voters in New Hampshire see it that way?
SANDERS: Brianna, no surprise, I disagree with your assessment. The reality is the majority of voters in America, voters in New Hampshire, that we don't have a case to make on healthcare.
KEILAR: Symone, which part of my assessment do you disagree with?
SANDERS: I just -- Brianna, I just told you, on healthcare, because the majority of voters are where Vice President Biden is when it comes to healthcare.
Look, you want to talk about big fights, hard fights being won and progressive vision, I give you Obamacare. And it was Vice President Biden who was there and helped that to fight that fight. And a majority of voters want to build on Obamacare but also help fix the parts where we're lagging. And that's when it comes to our plan which builds on Obamacare but provides for Medicare-like option that lowers costs, lowers deductibles, that allows folks to keep their private health insurance, unless they want it. And a very important here, Brianna, it doesn't raise taxes on middle America.
Bernie Sanders doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to that assertion. He has said by his account earlier I this race that his plan will lower cost on middle class Americans -- pardon me, will raise taxes on middle class Americans and it's going to cost $30 to $40 trillion. Now, he's saying, we don't know what it will cost. That's not going to fly with Donald Trump, Brianna.
And the last thing that I'll make, and I think is something many people are talking today is, Senator Sanders has branded himself as a socialist. And that is a moniker he himself has embraced but that is not a moniker that folks across this country, when it comes to down ballot candidates will be able to embrace and be successful.
This is about keeping the House. This is about gaining seats in the Senate. And this is about getting -- beating Donald Trump. And you can't beat Donald Trump with double-talk on healthcare and Donald Trump is going to brand -- we can't beat Donald Trump with socialism across this country. It's just not going to happen.
KEILAR: I am curious. I have a number of other questions to ask you, but just having covered Bernie Sanders and dealing with you a lot when you worked for him in 2016, it just strikes me that you're making a case against the very thing you were making a case for. And that clearly a lot of voters are interested in.
SANDERS: But, Brianna, if I may -- Brianna, if I may, I was a good spokesperson in 2016 and would offer them a great spokesperson now. And our message today that we are carrying and that Vice President Biden forcefully delivered here in New Hampshire is that we have to get real about this election. We can talk about the rest of the plan Vice President Biden has but we also have plans that can get done, Brianna, and that's when it comes to on healthcare. KEILAR: As we're awaiting, and our viewers can see this, the Iowa results, they're not totally in right now. Your campaign has raised questions about the legitimacy of the process, which, of course, I mean, granted, right, Symone, we have seen this has been a total debacle. But the party says the raw data is correct, it was just backend issue.
Yesterday, your Comms Director, Kate Bedingfield, was raising concerns about the legitimacy of the results. Is that a concern you still have?
SANDERS: Look, I stand by Kate Bedingfield's comments and I would also underscore that the integrity of this process is very important.
KEILAR: So you're saying the results that we are currently -- Symone, this is very important. This is important, Symone, and we're running out of time. The results that we're seeing -- no, because you're not answering my question.
The results --
SANDERS: Brianna, what I'm saying is that the results that we have seen are partial results. We do not have all the data. But we are moving forward.
KEILAR: But the data that you have, are you putting that into doubt? Are you saying that they may -- no, Symone, this is important. Symone, apples to apples, because I want to pin you down on this, this is very important. Yes, the data is partial. I already said that, the data is partial.
But that said, that's not what we heard from Kate Bedingfield. She wasn't saying that it was partial. She was raising -- she was saying that this process threw into question the legitimacy of the data, as we have seen it. Is that true? Should we doubt, in your view, in the campaign's view -- no, let mefinish, Symone. I'll let you finish, let me finish.
SANDERS: You didn't actually, but go ahead.
KEILAR: I did before, multiple times.
SANDERS: Go ahead, Brianna.
KEILAR: Are you saying that we should doubt the results as we see? Is that what you're saying, that we should doubt the numbers that we see?
SANDERS: Brianna, what I am saying is that on Monday night in Iowa, there were failures across the process when it came to the Iowa caucuses.
KEILAR: Do you believe the results? Do you believe the data we are seeing? We know that, Symone. Do you believe -- we understand. Do you believe the data is correct?
SANDERS: People were waiting for two hours.
KEILAR: Why can't you say if the data is correct or incorrect?
SANDERS: And then when people try to do drive their to the Iowa Democratic Party headquarters, they were unable to get that data into --
KEILAR: Is this correct, what we're seeing? Symone, is this correct?
SANDERS: The presidential preference cards are very important. So all our campaign has said and what Kate Bedingfield said --
KEILAR: Okay. Symone, I am going to -- Symone, here is the deal. I'm going to interrupt you when you're not answering the question. Is this data correct? In your view, is it correct?
SANDERS: Look, Brianna, I have not analyzed the backends of the data. What we are saying and what we have implored to the Iowa Democratic Party are two things. One, we have to make sure we get it right. Getting it right means checking again and triple checking, making sure that there is a paper trail, the presidential preference cards. Don't try to paint this as we're trying to say this is some kind of a conspiracy theory, okay?
KEILAR: Hey, Symone -- Symone -- I'm repeating what your communications director is saying, no, no.
SANDERS: The integrity of this process and our communications director is trying to preserve the integrity of this process.
KEILAR: No, no, stop. Symone, we're going to roll the sound bite. Let's roll the sound bite, you guys, roll it right now.
SANDERS: And what we think --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATE BEDINGFIELD, BIDEN DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER AND COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: If you have a process where you can't be confident, that the results that are being reported are reflective of the votes that people cast last night in the process, that's a real concern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Symone, for detractors of President Trump's, one of --
SANDERS: Yes, that is a real concern.
KEILAR: No, no. I'm speaking now. For detractors of President Trump's, including you, including a lot of Democrats, one of their major concerns with him is that he throws into question the legitimacy of institutions, not the least of which is the election process. And that appears to be what you are currently doing now by saying -- by not stating that we can trust the numbers we're seeing.
SANDERS: I'm just looking for clarity in your question. Are you equating us raising legitimate concerns about a process where the app broke down, that we don't have a counting for presidential preference cards, the phone lines and the backups in the work? Are you equating us raising legitimate questions that everyone could see from Monday night is what Donald Trump and his campaign is doing? Because if that's the case, I think that's --
KEILAR: Symone, then let me clarify. I'm asking --
SANDERS: I'm asking. Please clarify.
KEILAR: Yes. I am asking, and this is my question, do you believe the numbers that you see coming in right now are correct?
SANDERS: And, Brianna, what I am saying is we have asked the Iowa Democratic Party to check, check again and triple check.
KEILAR: Those numbers coming in are correct. The partial data is correct, they say. Do you not believe them?
SANDERS: Well, I guess we have to take the Iowa Democratic Party at their word, Brianna. But, again, we're moving forward and the questions that we have raised are frankly legitimate questions. And I think this just makes all the more case about why we have to take our time, Democrats have to make sure we get things right. And we are looking forward to a primary in New Hampshire.
And the next caucuses we have are in Nevada. And the Nevada Democratic Party has already come out and said that they are taking steps to insure that the failures that happened in Iowa don't happen in Nevada. And we look forward to getting there.
Look, we feel good, Brianna. We feel really good about what's going on. Vice President Biden delivered a forceful, a very forceful defense and case for his campaign today. I know he will be on the stage with Anderson Cooper tonight at the CNN town hall and we hope people tune in. This election is too important. This is a battle for the soul of the nation and Vice President Biden is the candidate in this race that can get it done. Thank you so much.
KEILAR: I wish we could have spoken more about that, Symone.
Those questions back and forth were exhausting. Symone Sanders, I really appreciate you joining us from New Hampshire.
SANDERS: I know. I need coffee now. Thank you so much, Brianna.
KEILAR: And still we have questions -- there are still questions at this point for the remaining candidates, Democratic candidates. Starting tonight, CNN hosts the last Democratic presidential town halls before the New Hampshire primary. It is a special live two-night event. The CNN Democratic presidential town halls are starting tonight at 8:00 P.M. Eastern.
And the State of the Union in two pictures, what Speaker Nancy Pelosi just told her caucus about why she ripped up the president's speech.
Plus, just a short time from now, the Senate will vote on whether to convict or acquit the president. And we've just learned how one key Democrat will vote.
KEILAR: And now to headline-making moment during President Trump's State of the Union Address.
That was Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripping up her copy of the president's speech, and she later explained it like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I've put out a statement, read my statement.
PELOSI: Because it was manifesto of mistruths.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: And during a caucus meeting today, she told fellow Democrats she shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech.
I want to bring in Speaker Pelosi's daughter, Christine Pelosi, joining us now. She's a Democratic strategist and she is chair of the California Democratic Party Women's Caucus. Christine, thanks for joining us.
CHRISTINE PELOSI, CHAIRWOMAN, CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC PARTY WOMEN'S CAUCUS: My pleasure. Thank you.
KEILAR: You know her better than almost anyone. Take us through this. What was your reaction to this?
C. PELOSI: Well, actually, my reaction to it was I thought of my grandmother, my mother's mom, Nancy D'Alesandro, who, years ago when I was went to college, I went to her home and there was a guest in there, my grandparent's home, who was being incredibly rude and disrespectful to my grandfather. And without saying anything, my grandmother picked up the plate that the person had been eating on, walked into the kitchen, we heard a crashing sound and she had broken the plate in half and thrown it away, walked back in, set back down, and the evening continued. So when I saw my mom do that with the speech, I thought that's an Italian grandma move.
KEILAR: Italian grandma move. I will say, I think it surprised a lot of observers that that the speaker did that. They thought perhaps it was uncharacteristic. You clearly do not. In fact, you may seem to think it's nurtured or genetic.
C. PELOSI: Well, I think it's one of those things. Listen to that speech. In all the places where Democrats have reached across the aisle, not only did the evening begin with my mom physically holding out her hand and shake the president's hand and get snubbed, but throughout the speech, he was not only flat out lying about his lawsuit to destroy the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and sabotage of the healthcare bill.
The fact that when he bragged about the accomplishments that did happen, like the First Step Act, which his own Justice Department is trying to undo and keep people locked up, that the law says should be released, non-violent offenders who should be released, or the trade deal, which the labor unions and the Democrats had made better and stronger and passed in the House of Representatives, he took credit for all of that while trying to draw wedges between African-Americans and Latinos to get slivers of those votes for his re-election.
And so it was lie after lie after lie. And if you're going to give the Medal of Freedom out in the middle of the State of the Union Address, that should have gone to the Tuskegee airman and not to a vitriolic radio show host. So hearing all those lies, come on.
KEILAR: Okay. I want to ask you about Rush Limbaugh. But you also mentioned the snub that the speaker went to shake the president's hand, he snubbed her, he clearly ignored her. Do you think that that's part of the reason why she ripped up the speech?
C. PELOSI: I think that she said, listening to lie after lie after lie about her home State of California, about immigrants, about healthcare, about gun violence prevention, not even mentioning gun violence prevention, and clearly putting the people who love their guns over the people who love their children, it was a really divisive speech. And she saw the lies and so I thought that that smooth three seconds was just her reaction in the moment.
KEILAR: What you said about sort of the case he was making, I mean, I think you could probably say that about past addresses that he's made. So there was something different about this time. Impeachment, the handshake, I mean, how much do you think that has to do with it?
C. PELOSI: Well, I think that, again, when Bill Clinton was in the middle of being impeached, he came and made a bipartisan speech in the middle of his impeachment. He made a bipartisan speech about working together, focusing like a laser beam on the economy, finding ways that Democrats and Republicans can work together. This president came in and made a very, very different kind of speech aimed only at his base, aimed on only one side of the chamber.
And so the responses, frankly, ranging from people walking out, from people chanting HR3, the bipartisan drug, Elijah E. Cummings lower prescription drug bill, now, bill. There were lots of ways in which the Democrats were saying, hey, look, if you really want to get something done, pass the 275 pieces of bipartisan legislation that are sitting on Mitch McConnell's desk. That's how we could work together. I still think that remains the case.
And the battle for the budget, Brianna, that's coming up now, I think what you're going to see are people really drawing some more lines in the sand and saying, you have to protect healthcare, you have to protect public education and you have to do something about infrastructure in order to give people an economy that's working for them, not just for people who own stocks.
KEILAR: Christine, thank you so much for joining us, Christine Pelosi.
C. PELOSI: My pleasure. Thank you.