Return to Transcripts main page
Iowa Results Almost Complete; Biden Opens Up about Struggle; Romney Votes to Convict on Abuse of Power; Aired 7:00-7:30a ET
Aired February 6, 2020 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: LeBron All-stars are all going to be wearing Gigi's number two for the game, while Team Giannis, they're all going to wear Kobe's number 24.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It doesn't get easier, Andy, but thank you very much for that.
SCHOLES: All right.
BERMAN: So we have new results coming out of Iowa overnight, just adding to the drama and, frankly, the controversy of the 2020 race.
NEW DAY continues right now.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.
And new Iowa numbers were released overnight. At this hour, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are virtually tied in the Iowa caucuses. This is with 97 percent of the precincts reporting. Buttigieg, as you can see, remains narrowly on top. But his slim lead has basically evaporated.
The Iowa Democratic Party chairman expects to have the full results this morning, they say. The latest numbers should give both Buttigieg and Sanders some momentum heading into New Hampshire, but it is Sanders that is cashing in the most.
The Sanders campaign has just announced a massive fundraising haul of $25 million in January alone. Four of the 2020 contenders appeared at a CNN town hall last night -- town halls, I should say, plural, including Joe Biden, who explained that he expected to do better in Iowa.
BERMAN: So the other big story this morning, the Senate acquitted President Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of justice, closing the book on the impeachment trial. Every Democrat voted to convict the president, as did this man,
Republican Senator Mitt Romney, the first senator ever to vote to convict a president of his own party in an impeachment trial. He bucked his party to find the president guilty of abuse of power and already he is being hit with savage attacks, including one that you will almost not believe from Donald Trump Junior. Almost.
President Trump plans to make a statement in just hours.
Joining us now, Jonathan Swan, national political reporter for Axios, CNN's senior global affairs analyst Bianna Golodryga, and CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart. He was Bill Clinton's press secretary during his impeachment.
CAMEROTA: I love when you tell me somethings happening in just hours because keep me guessing. I think that's great. Don't give me an exact time. I like that.
BERMAN: In just hours. Pay attention and stay tuned.
CAMEROTA: Oh, I will.
Hi, should I start this?
BERMAN: I thought so.
CAMEROTA: Let's do it.
Joe, these new numbers are -- they separate Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders I think with one-tenth of one percent. that might even be less than one person in Iowa.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
CAMEROTA: I don't know how it translates. But what a mess. I mean the -- as we were talking -- as we've been saying all morning, it robs them of the narrative going into New Hampshire. And all of it. It's just not how it was supposed to go.
LOCKHART: Well, it's certainly not how it's supposed to go and it's an embarrassment for the Iowa Democratic Party.
I don't subscribe to the theory that it's an embarrassment for the candidates. They had nothing to do with it. You know, the republicans are piling on about how Democrats can't even count the votes. That's silly.
What it does do is it kind of froze things in place. And Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders, who both have done very well, even if you don't count any more votes, were, as you said, robbed of going into New Hampshire and saying, so it is a loss for them. You know, you'll have Rick Santorum talking later in the program, I think, about what a loss it was for him when he won and he -- it was 30 days later when -- and he was generally out of the race by then.
So everything shifted to New Hampshire. They've lost it. But, you know what? They're going to go and have to win New Hampshire. And if you look at the polls, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are at the top of the polls. They're going to fight it again there.
BERMAN: So if you're keeping score at home and, Jonathan Swan, I know you are, Pete Buttigieg was certainly robbed of what would have been quite a story Monday night in Iowa because even tying Bernie Sanders for the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, in Iowa would have been a giant deal. So he was robbed of that.
But then for a day he was holding a slim but notable lead in the Iowa caucuses, right? But then it turns out that Bernie Sanders is basically tied. So Sanders was robbed of the near tie. It's just a debacle.
But I guess the question is, now what? What and how can the candidates move forward? And where is this race in Iowa -- and I'll just throw one other thing into this mix here, I want you to note that Elizabeth Warren is closer to Joe Biden. Elizabeth Warren is even further back in the pack than we knew Monday night when she was claiming it was too close to call, a three way race for the top.
So what do you see here, Jonathan?
JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Yes, so the challenge was, I mean, if you had a crisp, clean result on Monday night, you know, whoever won, Bernie or Pete, would have benefitted. They both would have benefitted. The whole thing got buried under the story of dysfunction that you were just talking about.
The real challenge for Biden in New Hampshire, and frankly a number of the other candidates, is, they have spent a stunningly little amount of time there.
If you actually look at the amount of time they've spent in New Hampshire, it is tiny because a lot of them were looking at the polls. They saw that Bernie Sanders was very, very strong in New Hampshire, to a lesser extent Elizabeth Warren, and they figured, you know what, we're going to throw all our eggs into Iowa. So you saw in the later stages Joe Biden's campaign redirecting planned advertising money from New Hampshire into Iowa. He camped out there. They threw everything in there and had a very disappointing result.
So you have a number of candidates basically marching into New Hampshire needing a great result, but they're sort of politically naked. They haven't done the work that you need to do in terms of ground game and advertising to give themselves the best chance of winning there.
There's obviously a debate which becomes very, very important now. And we saw from the last campaign in '16 with, remember, Marco Rubio had that terrible moment where Chris Christie sliced him up. And that was the end of his campaign. So there are people, you know, looking for that kind of a moment on Friday night. CAMEROTA: Well, Bernie Sanders just released his fundraising numbers
and they are stunning. $25 million raised in January alone. Basically 650,000 donors.
Is it time, Bianna, to call Bernie Sanders the frontrunner?
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, in his mind, he considers himself that, right? We know that he's not going anywhere. And this may have been a setback for both he and Pete Buttigieg to at least proclaim that either one of them were the victors this week.
But they've been going out on television and their surrogates have been going out there and they've been out there campaigning as if they did win. So, for them, this was a big get for them in Iowa and it was a big setback for Biden. And Biden, you talk about the fundraising that his camp is doing, much less, right? He's losing money quickly. There was a lot of disorganization that we saw in Iowa. And as Jonathan said, there's not much time and not much effort spent in New Hampshire.
And so what does that mean going forward and what does that mean for South Carolina? The voters that he clearly needs. They're all watching this now. They're voting for the person they think can beat Donald Trump. And if they're going to start questioning that, then he's in a real heap of trouble.
BERMAN: Another thing, by releasing this number last night, Bernie Sanders, $25 million. Just context. Bernie Sanders raised $20 million in January of 2016. So this is more than that. Barack Obama raised $36 million in January of 2008, which was a mammoth haul. Granted, Iowa was earlier then. But just to put it in perspective.
Elizabeth Warren, Joe, just canceled or --
BERMAN: Redirected or pulled back on ad buys in Nevada and South Carolina. Pete Buttigieg was at a fundraiser in Summit, New Jersey, yesterday, OK.
CAMEROTA: What's so funny about Summit, New Jersey?
BERMAN: Nothing except that if you don't need to raise money, you're going to be in New Hampshire, right? To go to Summit, New Jersey, the week of the New Hampshire primary is not where you want to be. So I think that the Bernie Sanders campaign, by releasing this number the way they did, is to send a message that, look at us, we're in the best position going forward and we're here for the long haul.
LOCKHART: Listen, I don't think we have to debate whether Bernie Sanders is the frontrunner. He is the frontrunner. He's --
CAMEROTA: But people aren't calling him that. I mean --
LOCKHART: Well, and that's -- you know what, there are some advantages to that also. The -- you know, he's not had the sort of Joe Biden frontrunner scrutiny. He's not had that Pete Buttigieg moment where they took his short career record apart. But he is.
And, you know, one of the things about -- one of the reasons Biden hasn't spent more time in New Hampshire is he's raising money differently than Bernie Sanders. He has to go to New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and spend time with big donors because that's the way he -- that's the model he's using. Bernie Sanders has to go to sleep at night knowing that people are online giving him money while he's sleeping. That is a grave (ph) -- warm feeling.
BERMAN: Can you imagine that feeling (ph).
GOLODRYGA: But think about how he's been characterized over the past nine months. He's gone from crazy Uncle Bernie, right, to somebody who was a hazbend (ph), who Elizabeth Warren was going to be taking over for and having gone through what his campaign did in 2016 with Hillary, we've read all of these stories, and we've seen the narrative shift constantly with him. And now he is the frontrunner and he needs to be treated as such.
LOCKHART: But he never -- listen, the -- the -- if you look at this subjectively, Bernie Sanders was always going to be, with his money and with his base, a significant player. Maybe not the frontrunner, but a close member two. The -- there were a lot of false narratives out there. Now people are voting and we find out what's true.
CAMEROTA: Let's take a look at what happened last night at one of the CNN town halls. And Joe Biden had this, you know, really emotional, authentic moment where he has been talking on the campaign trail more about his stutter and how he has struggled with his stutter and he talked about what it meant as a child.
So listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I had a mother who had a backbone like a ramrod and she'd look -- she's go, Joey, look at me. Look at me, Joey. You're handsome, you're smart, you're a good athlete, Joey. Don't let this define you, Joey. Remember who you are, Joey. You can do it.
And so every time I'd walk out, she'd reinforce me. I know -- I know that sounds silly, but it really matters.
I would practice and practice and practice, because I was determined -- determined to overcome it.
And I was led to believe I could. And I basically did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: And, Joe, I know you were struck by that because of the -- that is the everyman quality that Joe Biden brings.
LOCKHART: Yes, it's rare in politics that you get a moment where you get to demonstrate something that's really important in elections, that you understand what other people are going through.
Bill Clinton's moniker was, I feel your pain. Well, Joe Biden was able to -- and it wasn't just about stuttering, it was about, you know, growing up, you know, poor. It was about struggling through personal tragedy, cancer. And that's a real moment. I -- I -- my thought is that I've done five of these presidential campaigns. It's very rare one of these things that you get a moment where you get to show who you really are and you're authentic and I think he got to do that last night.
BERMAN: Yes, again, but, Jonathan, what you often have after campaign disappointments is a moment like this where people say, well, where was that Joe Biden in Iowa? Can he use something like this to turn his campaign around?
SWAN: Look, I think people -- OK, he had a terrible showing in Iowa and needs a strong one in New Hampshire. But I think there's also the risk of over-interpreting results. I mean, I don't think this is the first time Joe Biden has shown his authentic self on this campaign.
In fact, I think he's showing this almost everywhere he goes. It's, you know, he -- he's not scripted. He does have these emotional moments with people. People come up to him and, you know, hug him and he comforts people. And that's where, you know, what he's been doing the whole time.
The real question is, if Bernie Sanders has a strong victory in New Hampshire, do you -- and then obviously Nevada is another strong state to him, do you start to see that African-American support sort of drip away from Joe Biden because that's been holding very strong for him and that's the real question.
BERMAN: Yes, what happens if he goes into South Carolina, Bernie Sanders, three for three in the first three primary contests?
BERMAN: Or first three contests? It's possible. Of course we don't know because we don't know who won Iowa yet, but that's a whole other thing.
CAMEROTA: Let's not get ahead of ourselves.
BERMAN: Jonathan, Bianna, Joe, thank you very much.
SWAN: Thank you.
BERMAN: More tonight. CNN presidential town halls in New Hampshire including the two candidates on top in Iowa. Pete Buttigieg and Senator Bernie Sanders. So tune in tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. CAMEROTA: Senator Mitt Romney is now the only senator in American history to vote to remove a president from his own party.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Corrupting an election to keep one's self in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one's oath of office that I can imagine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: What does this mean for Mitt Romney's future? What does it mean for the country? We'll talk to someone who knows him well, next.
CAMEROTA: An emotional Mitt Romney explained on the floor of the Senate why he believes President Trump is guilty on abuse of power. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to cross party lines with his vote. He becomes the only senator in history to do so.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before God as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party, would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced. I was not wrong.
The grave question the Constitution tasks senators to answer is whether the president committed an act so extreme and egregious that it rises to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor. Yes, he did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Joining us now to talk about this, we have CNN's senior political commentator and former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum.
Senator Santorum, great to see you.
RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Good morning.
CAMEROTA: You obviously have a long history with Mitt Romney.
SANTORUM: Yes, I do.
CAMEROTA: You ran against him for president in 2012.
CAMEROTA: What did you think of his words yesterday?
SANTORUM: Look, I'm sort of two minds of this. Did Mitt Romney, as you say, you know, have this sort of cathartic moment and felt like this was his call to history. I think Mitt Romney has been looking for his call to history and I think he felt like this was a moment to sort of stand up to a president that he doesn't like. He doesn't see as a man of high character or who is prudent and I think through that lens he felt he was doing the right thing.
I -- on the other hand, I mean I look at the consequence of what he's doing and, you know, I think most of his colleagues are not going to be particularly happy with him. You know, as Mitch McConnell said yesterday, this was not as much to go out and get Donald Trump, this impeachment, but was to get, you know, control of the Senate and try to -- and try to, you know, defeat a handful of Republicans who are up for re-election so the Democrats can take the Senate.
And I think Mitt Romney voting with the Democrats on this really makes these vulnerable Republicans more vulnerable. And I think that's where the pushback I think inside the caucus is going to be a lot harder on him.
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, you make it sound more calculating than Mitt Romney did. I mean when you said that he's been looking for his call to history, you know, he said that it's about his faith.
SANTORUM: I know what he said. But, you know, I'm sure that was a motive. But I don't think anyone acts on a -- one particular motive when it comes to that. You think about a lot of different things. A lot of -- and I know that you think about how you're going to be viewed in history.
Everybody -- everybody who casts that vote thinks about, you know, how is this going to stand up to history? And I think what most Republicans felt is that removing a president -- I mean I think people sort of pass off this idea that removing a president -- that if there was actually the votes to remove Donald Trump, the impact on the country today, can you imagine had the Senate -- just because Mitt Romney gave a great speech and motivated all these other Republicans to join him, can you imagine if Donald Trump had been -- had been convicted what -- what this country would look like this morning?
I -- people don't think about those consequences. Well, I think Republicans did think about those consequences and what it would mean to a nation to remove this president right now and ban him from running for the election. You want to talk about disrupting the country.
CAMEROTA: Well --
SANTORUM: That would really disrupt this country. A country that's already fractured.
And I think what Republicans did was the prudent thing given the charges that were (INAUDIBLE).
CAMEROTA: Well, look -- SANTORUM: And I don't think what -- what Mitt Romney did was prudent. So I accept that fact that he felt compelled by that, but I don't think he considered all the aspects of what his decision was about.
CAMEROTA: Well, he says that he considered the aspects of the political consequences that would come his way.
SANTORUM: Yes, how about the country? I mean that's what he didn't talk about. He didn't talk about the political consequences of his vote to the country.
CAMEROTA: Well, he sort of did, Rick.
SANTORUM: Imagine if he'd been successful.
CAMEROTA: I mean he did talk about what compelled him. He talked about his faith. He talked about his conscience. And then he talked about why he wanted to vote this way.
Here he is explaining his vote on -- with Chris Wallace on Fox.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): It's hard for me to imagine a more serious attack on the Constitution and on a republic like ours than saying that a president would be able to enlist a foreign government to corrupt our election so that our president could keep in power. That's what happens in tin horn autocracies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: He doesn't think that there is a more --
SANTORUM: I just don't -- well, I just don't accept that premise. I don't think that -- that he was -- that this was corrupting the election. I mean really the seriousness --
CAMEROTA: He's asking a foreign government for help.
SANTORUM: He asked the foreign government for help, which, again, on an investigation that many of his advisers were saying was a legitimate investigation. Others were saying it wasn't.
CAMEROTA: With his -- against his political rival.
SANTORUM: Ultimately -- ultimately, the president decided not to -- not to do any of the things that he was charged to do.
CAMEROTA: After it came to light. He didn't decide this on his own.
SANTORUM: After -- after the Congress basically said, we want you to release this aid, and a lot of people were putting pressure on him to do so, he did it. And he also had other reasons not to release the aid, not the least of which was that, number one, he's against -- he doesn't like foreign aid to begin with.
SANTORUM: And, number two, he -- he believes that Europe isn't holding their fair share, which, by the way --
SANTORUM: Was mentioned in the call.
CAMEROTA: I get it. I don't want to re-litigate all of that, but I just --
SANTORUM: I understand that, but my point is --
CAMEROTA: Yes, your point is not --
SANTORUM: To say that -- to say that Romney is this, you know, voice of conscience, I just -- I just think his judgment was flawed. And I think the consequence to things that he says he cares about is going to be potentially profound in the United States Senate if we end up losing a bunch of these seats.
Now, I don't think that's going to happen, but I think they could.
CAMEROTA: Well, but let's talk about that. Are -- do you believe that he now is on -- in no man's land? That -- what happens to Mitt Romney now? Is he a pariah in the Senate? What does this look like going forward?
SANTORUM: I think everyone -- my guess is that people are feeling what I'm feeling. They're sort of two minds on this, which is, look, everybody has a right to vote their conscience and I accept that. But at the same time, recognizing the political fallout that's going to come -- yes, some political fallout will come to him, but he's not up for election for four more years.
You've got folks who are on the firing line right now who are -- they're going to -- this vote of Mitt Romney's is going to be used to be beat them up pretty badly in a lot of purple states. And that -- that I think is what's causing -- what will cause most of the bad blood in the short term.
CAMEROTA: Hey, while we have you, Rick, I do want to talk about what's happening in Iowa and --
SANTORUM: Sure. Oh, Iowa, another -- another thing I have a little experience in.
CAMEROTA: You really do. And just to remind people, in 2012, you waited 16 days to find out the results and to find out that you won. And by that time, 16 days later, when you found out that you won the Iowa caucuses, history -- you know, the die was cast. And I'm sure that --
SANTORUM: Well, I mean, people are talking now that, you know, Bernie and Pete have been disadvantaged by having two or three days of not knowing the winner. Imagine if someone, you know, and this is -- I wrote this on cnn.com in an op-ed that said, you know, it's more important to get it right than -- and to get it fast.
I mean imagine had, you know, Elizabeth Warren been declared the winner or, you know, Bernie been declared the winner and ultimately find out that Buttigieg was two weeks later. Well, the lift for Bernie going into New Hampshire of winning Iowa leading in New Hampshire would be a pretty big tsunami saying, how do you stop Bernie? And that's pretty much what happened in 2012.
So, look, these are -- as you can see in this race, this is a very close race. I mean you're talking about three delegates.
Three state delegate votes. I mean it's less than one-tenth of 1 percent. That's -- that's a close race. And, you know, the -- this is -- that's great. It's great to have that, but you've got to get it right and you've got to get it right the first time. So as badly --
CAMEROTA: Too late.
SANTORUM: As I want to criticize the Iowa Democrats, they're doing it the right way.
CAMEROTA: OK. I mean they're doing it the right way now that they're waiting to take their time, but they didn't do it the right way to begin with. I mean --
SANTORUM: Oh, no, I mean they made fundamental mistakes in the app and everything else.
SANTORUM: I mean, look, they've had -- and I'm not giving them a pass, I'm saying, given the mess that they had in front of them --
SANTORUM: They haven't tried to rush out there and just -- to get a winner, which would have been a big mistake.
CAMEROTA: Is what you thought happened with you.
CAMEROTA: But, very quickly, do you think it's time to call it quits on the Iowa caucuses?
SANTORUM: You know, look, the answer for me is no, only because I just believe -- certainly on the Republican side, I think -- I think it's time to call it quits on the methodology that the Democrats use. I mean what Republicans do, as you remember, is very different than how the Democrats caucus.
CAMEROTA: Well, now it is.
SANTORUM: Republicans just have -- they go in and you cast a ballot and it's a popular vote. There's no grouping people together. There's no reallocation of delegates. That's a very complex and I think antiquated process and not necessarily consistent with, you know, Republican and Democratic norms. So I would go back to -- go to a very simple straightforward caucus. You have a popular vote winner. And a much easier way of reporting and you don't run into these complexities.
CAMEROTA: Rick Santorum, we appreciate you sharing your personal experience in all of this with us.
SANTORUM: Thank you.
BERMAN: He was being even keeled.
Mitt Romney was declared the winner in Iowa.
CAMEROTA: I know, that's what I'm saying.
BERMAN: It was much worse for Rick is that --
CAMEROTA: It was much worse.
BERMAN: Is that for 16 days Romney was the winner. And then it turned out it was Santorum.
CAMEROTA: Yes. What he was saying, imagine it Elizabeth Warren had been declared the winner --
BERMAN: Yes. Yes.
CAMEROTA: And then you find out it's one of these other two. Yes.
BERMAN: At least here they didn't declare a winner, at least not yet.
So the impeachment trial is over. What will House Democrats do now with some of these outstanding issues? Will they push to hear from former National Security Advisor John Bolton? That's next.