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INSIDE POLITICS

Vice President Mike Pence: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Tearing Up Donald Trump's Speech "A New Low"; Soon: Senate Votes On Verdict In President Trump's Trial; Senator Susan Collins: President Trump "Has Learned" Will Be "More cautious" In Dealings With Foreign Countries; Partisan Tension Spill Over At The State Of The Union; 2020 Senators Head Back To Washington For Impeachment Vote. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired February 5, 2020 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:00:00]

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JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Welcome to inside politics. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us. It's verdict day in the Trump Impeachment Trial. And Washington's raw partisan moot is on full display the Senate vote is four hours away the President preparing to claim vindication.

Plus, the election year's State of the Union It is divided Immigration, judges, school prayer. The President uses his platform to frame the campaign ahead. And one relationship captures it all. He won't shake her hand she ripped up his speech the President and House Speaker at war across the wide and very partisan divide.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Members of Congress, the President of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP):

KING: We begin today in Washington with the President's shredded speech and last chapter of the impeachment trial. In just hours, the United States Senate set to vote down two articles of impeachment against President Trump, one for abuse of power, the other for obstruction of Congress.

Forever impeached is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi likes to frame it. But President Trump will cast his Senate acquittal as a big win and as vindicated the volume of Democratic anger fueled by impeachment frustration spilling over in drowning out in the ceremony of the State of the Union.

There were boos, tears chanting in the House Chamber and a shocking and surprise act of defiance by the House Speaker. Those ripped up pages, a new symbol of America's fractured politics. He shredded the truth, so I shredded his speech. That is how Speaker Pelosi explained herself this morning to fellow House Democrats. What is principle protest to Democrats is an outrage to team Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: It was a new low. I wasn't sure if she was ripping up the speech or ripping up the constitution. To have her stand up and tear up that speech really dishonored the moment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The next test of this divide, today's impeachment trial vote. So let's get straight up to Capitol Hill with CNN's Manu Raju. Raw tensions last night, raw partisanship last night and I suspect we're going to see a lot more of it today in the Senate.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes no question about it the ultimate only question right now in the Senate is where handful of vote's lye does and will they break with their party ranks.

We just heard from Doug Jones, an Alabama Democratic Senator someone who had been closely watched given his difficult reelection race that he faces this fall in a red state but he signaled just moments ago that he plans to vote to convict the President on both counts.

Now there are also question about whether Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia where he will come down a moderate Democrats saying that he is not going to make his decision known until he actually votes at 4:00 pm eastern.

Also Kyrsten Sinema who is an Arizona Democrat won her election last year has not said what she will do. And then on the Republican side the only question right now is what Mitt Romney will do, the Republican Senator from Utah, someone who has criticizes President's conduct, someone who voted with Susan Collins of Maine to move forward on witnesses.

Collins of course is voting to acquit the President but Romney will deliver floor speech this afternoon where knowing where he lies. But even after this vote which will mostly along party lines if not straight party lines. The question will be what's next?

Democrats in the House are signaling today that they are not done investigating this President. Jerry Nadler the House Judiciary Committee Chairman told me earlier that he has likely or Democrats are likely to subpoena John Bolton in the days ahead, which of course is something that they've been demanding happen.

They asked the Senate to do that, the Senate stood in front of that process. The House Democrats initially opted not to do that but a sign that they planned to move forward there. Even though today's vote will be a decisive one, President will claim vindication the Democrats in the House are signaling they're not done looking into what they view as the President's misconduct in office. John. KING: Closing the impeachment chapter and maybe another investigative chapter. Manu Raju, live on a very busy day on Capitol Hill. I appreciate it. Come back if there is more news in the hour.

With me here in studio to share their reporting and their insights CNN's Vivian Salama Oliver Knocks with SiriusXM Paul Kane with "The Washington Post" and Lisa Lerer with "The New York Times".

You were talking as we were getting ready for the program just about how unusual last night was? Today there is going to be a historic moment. Presidents are not impeached very often the trial doesn't make it to the Senate even less often. The atmosphere around it, which the impeachment thing has been partisan from the get go but last night was just wide open example of how this town is busted?

PAUL KANE, SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, and you had this incredible confluence of events. It was Democrats out there in chamber floor, you could see their faces getting angrier and angrier and also more fearful because the whole political environment.

You have got a failed Iowa Caucus a completely muddled field right now out on the trail. They don't know who is going to be - who is going to hold the mantle for them in the election against Trump and it was just - it was on fire. One of Speaker Pelosi's own guests Fred Guttenberg who lost the child in one of the mass shootings he stood up and was yelling at Trump and that doesn't even make the top five of the most interesting things that happened last night.

[12:05:00]

KING: In this climate the Senate will have the conviction or acquittal votes today. Among the people we said we were going to watch closely are the Senators who are on the ballot this year. Susan Collins of Maine is going to vote to acquit the President. We'll see how that one goes over back home.

Corey Gardner of Colorado, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Martha McSally of Arizona. The Republicans are lining up with the President. Doug Jones, Alabama Ruby Red Alabama, the Democratic Senator surprised us all by winning this election went to the floor today and says, I'm going to cast votes that may cost me my job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): His actions were more than simply inappropriate, they were an abuse of power. I believe that the President deliberately and unconstitutionally obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with the investigation in any way. I will vote to convict the President on both articles of impeachment. It is simply a matter of white and wall. We're doing right is not a courageous act it is simply following your oath.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You could make the case Doug Jones was probably going to lose anyway. However, that's a bold move to at least not yell not say I'm going to vote with my people in Alabama don't want to impeach the President or remove the President?

LISA LERER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, look I mean, Doug Jones won last time around it was very tight. He had an opponent that was highly problematic that was accused of sexual impropriety with multiple under-age girls.

So he got a lucky break last time around. But his collation was built on the strength of black voters in that state and black voters particularly black women who really came out and organized for him, they want to see the President impeached.

So he is in a tough spot. Alabama is a tough state for a Democrat to win. He had to choose politically between his base and potentially flipping some may be swing voters who like the President. I'm not sure that latter category is particularly gettable for him. So I think in the end, he probably went with his conscious.

VIVIAN SALAMA, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: And we saw a lot of that playing out during the House portion of this as well, where a number of Congressman and women from very vulnerable districts were very torn as far as which way to go. For the most part almost all of them went on party lines but along party lines.

And so that's something we've seen in both portions and that's something that the Republicans, especially the President's legal team has been emphasizing that this was just purely partisan and hit job on the President.

KING: And another again it's because of the election year we're in, it is hard sometimes to figure out where to turn your focus. The President of the United States was impeached, as Nancy Pelosi says he is forever impeached. The Senate like just like it did in the Clinton days appears might be today to acquit the President and to leave him in office and this will become a conversation in the election year.

The President wants to use it to his advantage thinking he can chin up the base. Democrats say you know to your point about Anti-Trump voters, they might feel disappointed that they didn't remove the President so maybe that animates them to come out.

If you are Republican Senator Susan Collins running in Maine, purple state, probably blue in the Presidential Election. We'll see how it turns out. She says the President did wrong but she will vote to acquit and she says she believes he has learned a lesson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I believe that the President has learned from this case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you believe the President has learned?

COLLINS: The President has been impeached. That's a pretty big lesson. There has been criticism by both Republican and Democratic Senators of his call. I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Is there any reason in past history or recent reporting to suggest that's accurate?

OLIVIER KNOX, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: No. What he's learned, as long as he can keep his Republican Senators together, he can do whatever he wants. That's the best the other lesson. I mean, I think it was Susan Collins who at one point earlier in his term said okay, well, now he has learned his lessons and now he is going to change from what he was like in the campaign. I think she has done this a couple different ways now.

KANE: Three hours after that interview aired on CBS, he was giving the Medal of Honor to Rush Limbaugh. It was not a constrained or restrained President.

KNOX: And he was telling the TV anchors, that no, he hadn't learned anything because his call was perfect. I mean, we have sort of in real-time rebuttals to what Senator Collins is saying publicly.

KING: And then so that, and then where do we go from here? Manu touched on this at the top. Again you know stay with us, let's watch this vote play out today but by all counts the President will be acquitted. The question is does do one or two Democrats about to acquit him as well and will the President then claims it bipartisan. We'll watch as the vote plays out.

You have some new reporting today though Manu Raju says the House Judiciary Committee might want John Bolton. They want try to get him the Democrats did as the Senate witness. He's about to write a book. It's going to come out.

The transcript that's come out so far, some manuscripts of that book pretty damning things about the President. Your reporting has even new information from e-mails that are out today underscores how the July 18th decision to hold the military aid stunned officials who are assessed Ukraine deserved to receive it and were preparing a javelin missile order as well.

[12:10:00]

KING: The decisions reverberate across the government for weeks. Officials grew so concerned over the deferrals by the Office of Management and Budget that they noted the aid was at serious risk and questioned if the move was legal under the Empowerment Control Act.

So this is one other things Democrats warned about in saying the Senate should slow things down, bring in these documents bring in new witnesses. The e-mail suggests that now President Trump will call it political but that there are plenty of materials for the Democrats to say, fine, we're going to keep looking.

SALAMA: And I think there is something that we're going to be talking about for the weeks to come, one of the e-mails that we obtained was directly to Secretary Esper, the Defense Secretary, where it warned him that the President has a view of "Endemic corruption in Ukraine and wants to cease all aid to Ukraine", and that's a direct quote.

The senior official at the State Department at the Defense Department actually warned Secretary Esper that this would be a huge mistake if they go through with this. And so this was reverberating across the Department of Defense especially for weeks leading up to the call with President Zelensky July 25th but also after that.

That e-mail to Secretary Esper was the same day as the call to President Zelensky. And so even as all this was going on and the President was trying to kind of assure him, that we have good relations with you but please go and investigate the Bidens, still, Defense Department officials were panicking and believing that they could put a stop to this somehow.

KING: So the impeachment chapter ends today but the story may continue. We shall see and as we go to break, one of those Senators we're watching, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, just watch how she responded to part of the President's State of the Union Address last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Thanks to opportunity zones, a planned spearheaded by Senator Tim Scott as part of our great Republican tax cut. So long as I am president, I will always protect your second amendment right to keep and bear arms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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[12:15:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Three years ago, we launched the great American comeback. Tonight, I stand before you to share the incredible results. Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting and crime is falling. The State of our Union is stronger than ever before.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: As the President last night using his "State of the Union" Address as a reelection road map including several detours from the facts. There were constant appeals to his base, on immigration, judges, abortion and more and constant reminders of the election year climate and visceral divide between the President and Democrats.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(APPLAUSE) TRUMP: But as we work to improve Americans' healthcare, there are those who want to take away your healthcare, take away your doctor and abolish private insurance entirely. Tragically, there are many cities in America where radical politics have chosen to provide sanctuary for these criminal illegal aliens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It was fascinating. No mention of impeachment. The President listened to his political advisors, there and leaves that out. Bullet point after bullet point after bullet point, play to his base and try to shave the margins among suburban women among minorities in the like.

The boos in the Democrats were you could feel it building. They felt the President says, I'm for protecting pre-existing conditions, his administration is in court trying to abolish Obamacare. The President says I'm for lower prescription drug costs. The Democrats say you know we passed a bill it is sitting in the Senate.

Chuck Grassley Republican has a different bill. If the President cared he could them together why said it, they just lost patience.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LERER: Yes I think what was fascinating about the State of the Union, is that it felt a lot more like a campaign speech, not quite a campaign rally of course because the President stayed fairly on script and was sort of measured for him.

But you could see where this campaign is going in really clear terms you can see that's going to be really divisive, that's going to be very intense on both sides, fierce you know characterized by fierce partisanship.

You could see that the President as he is done throughout his Presidency is playing to the base. You heard a couple mentions of socialism which is something the President's team thinks could be a strong argument, particularly if the nominee is being Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

And you saw the places where they thought maybe they were a little weak on some of those healthcare issues that you mentioned. So it was a really good template for those of us who want to see where the election is going. It was not as we said before a traditional State of the Union.

SALAMA: One of the other differences which has been yesterday's speech and his usual campaign rallies is you don't have Nancy Pelosi sitting behind you shaking her head literally at many of the points that he was making.

One of the most notable ones for me was when he started talking about the trade deals. One of the ones that the House and especially Nancy Pelosi was working very closely with the U.S. trade Representative Lighthizer for weeks leading up to it and the President chose to take all the credit for himself which is fine, a lot of Presidents do that and but you have Nancy Pelosi behind him shaking her head the entire time.

KING: Well, that's why they get mattered. At the top of the speech, the President was talking about economy. He has every right and every reason to brag about the American economy. Any President would. But he portrays it as if when he came to the office, the patient was dead buried there were no jobs in America.

There was no stock market in America if you listen to the President. Yes, if you look at the last and first 35 months of Trump compared to the last 35 months of Obama, guess what, the Obama economy created more jobs over the same period of months.

[12:20:00]

KING: Now there are other factors that Trump can brag about but he just can't get the - or he refuses to accept the context he inherited a pretty good economy and yes it has gotten better some ways.

KNOX: At this point the U.S. people typically credit the incumbent President with this to the economy but I have no particular insight into what the Trump Campaign's internal polls tell them. But over the past few weeks and months they've aggressively tried to break off the current economy from what they inherited with Barack Obama.

There was a fact cheat from the White House not that long ago, that said at the very top this is not a continuation of past trends. Well, if you can pull up a graph of wages and unemployment, a lot of other things you can see it is in large part a continuation of existing trends. But they really stepped up this campaign to say, Obama had nothing to do with anything good about this economy. It makes me wonder what they're seeing behind the scenes.

KING: Well, maybe people are starting to understand to do the math, the recovery started a long, long time ago. But the Democrats sitting there, one of the reasons they're getting mad, as you mentioned us earlier they're not sure how their nominating process is going to work out right now.

And they see the President at probably the strongest point of his Presidency just as we head in to the reelection cycle. The President's job approval these are Gallup numbers if you look back here January 2019 he is below 40 percent.

Where was he January 2020, he is kicking 50 percent as he moves toward election. That might not look like a giant jump the trajectory is going the right way at the right time for the President of the United States. Clearly that outcome over here and look at Trump on the economy.

May not look like a huge thing, the economy has always been his strongest point, but if you go back to the beginning of the year, last State of the Union, he is just above 50 percent. You look at where we are now, he has crossed 60 percent. That is a slow trajectory up, but that is heading the way you wanted to go as voters now being reminded by the primary for season. We're going to be picking a President soon, how do I feel?

KANE: The House Democrats this morning were just all over the map. They really didn't know what to do or think because on one hand, with Nancy Pelosi, great, rip up the speech in pure anger. On the other hand, they talked about working with him on infrastructure on these other on prescription drugs and lowering prescription drug costs.

And so it was kind of jarring as to sort of what you want to do. Do you want to keep giving him wins on issues that he is going to turn around and give you no credit for? He is going to take it and own it all himself. And they keep saying they want to do that but there's a risk at a certain point.

KING: I think the prospects are very low. I think the Senate wants to do judges after impeachment and then get out of here because the Senate is more implied in the House if you will. This takes them in, but I want you to listen to you brought this up.

One other thing Democrats watch rally Trump and they say he is going to further alienate African-Americans he is going to further alienate suburban women. Watch the President, same issues, different tone rally, State of the Union.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Before I took office, health insurance premiums more than doubled in just five years. I moved quickly to provide affordable alternatives. Our new plans are up to 60 percent less expensive and better.

Remember Obama, 28 times, you can keep your doctor. You can keep your doctor. 28. You can also keep your plan, you can keep it. 28 times he lied. We should impeach him.

We're working on legislation to replace our outdated and randomized immigration system, with one based on merit, welcoming those who follow the rules contribute to our economy, support themselves financially and uphold our values.

Today's Democrat Party glorifies immigration. Many are fine people and all of that but some are stone-cold rapists and murders and people that their countries don't want.

Whether we're Republican, Democrat or Independent, surely me must all agree every human life is a sacred gift from God.

Virtually every top Democrat also now supports late term abortion ripping babies straight from the mother's womb, right up until the moment of birth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: His campaign team was very happy, that in a - again, there are fact checks, there are questions about issues, but that he was able to talk about the issues they wanted him to talk about to motivate his base in a less rally Trump way, standing in the House of Representatives.

KNOX: Yes, I mean I think this is - so the conventional wisdom, this is the largest audience that President will get all year and it is the only thing that only the President can wield to the State of the Union. The response never has the same kind of political power.

So obviously to the degree that he can sort of modulate some of the messaging here he could win for to just point out there are a lot of a harsh words on the immigration stayed in the speech last night. A lot of the Democrats are scary of - Americans stayed in the speech last night. So it was modulated but let's not pretends he really dampened the damage.

SALAMA: Or that he wouldn't go back to that and I think speaking to folks at the White House right now, yes they've been pretty battered, even if they go out and they put on a brave face about this impeachment inquiry, they're pretty battered they're all exhausted with it. It took a lot out of them but at the end of the day they're getting the acquittal that they wanted and it's really emboldening both them and the President's campaign to move ahead and really just kind of try to grab this in whatever it takes.

[12:25:00]

SALAMA: And so I think we're going to see a lot that more bombastic rhetoric that we've seen on the campaign trail.

KING: If they remember the last campaign, it is February things changed a lot over the course of campaigns. But at this moment, they feel a lot better than they have in quite a long time.

Coming up, Democrats try to focus on New Hampshire with the Iowa and the impeachment trial still hanging over them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The reason I'm wearing a tie, is I'm going to be on a plane in a few minutes going to Washington, D.C. to vote for the impeachment of President Trump.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Usually, I can stay forever to do selfies. Today, I'm headed to Washington to vote for the impeachment of Donald Trump.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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