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AT THIS HOUR
Coronavirus Impacting Americans on Cruise Ship Docked in N.J. & Quarantined Cruise Ship in Japan; Outrage in China Over Death of Coronavirus Whistleblower; Seven Democratic Candidates to Debate in New Hampshire Tonight; Sanders Attacks Buttigieg for Money Raised from Wealthy Donors; Biden Off Campaign Trail Ahead of New Hampshire; Soon, Deadline for Candidates to Ask for Iowa Caucus Review; Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) Discusses Trump Impeachment Acquittal, High Approval Rating, Strong Economy Amid Democrat Disappointments & State of the Union Tension. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired February 7, 2020 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me.
We start this hour with the breaking news on the coronavirus outbreak. The virus, which killed more than 600 people in China, is now infecting more Americans. And impacting now two cruise ships.
A Royal Caribbean ship just pulled into Bayonne, New Jersey, this morning, amid fears that some passengers may have contacted the virus. Four members of a family are being currently screened. They had reported feeling sick and recently travelled from mainland, China.
Then a second cruise ship, which is off the coast of Japan. And 61 people have tested positive for the coronavirus, including 11 Americans.
CNN spoke to some of the passengers under quarantine currently, including a woman who says she tested positive for the virus. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REBECCA FRASURE, AMERICAN CRUISE SHIP PASSENGER: A little bit scared. Hard to know what the future holds since I don't really feel sick right now. Like is it going to get worse?
Trying not to freak out with all of this. So just take it in stride.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: As much as you can. All of this comes as anger is growing as it has been confirmed the
doctor, who first warned Chinese officials about the outbreak, he has died, died from this very virus.
CNN has reporters stationed from around the world to cover this.
Let's start with Polo Sandoval. He's in New Jersey where this latest ship is docked.
Polo, what are you hearing there?
POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So basically, what happened here this morning, Kate, about 27 passengers aboard the "Anthem of the Seas," the cruise ship behind me, said that they had recently traveled to mainland China.
So as a result, New Jersey state health officials and Centers for Disease Control met the ship as it docked before sunrise this morning to preliminarily assess those 27 passengers.
Out of those, a majority of them were cleared. And only a family of four was then transported to a nearby hospital for further screening. The main reason being that two of them reported feeling ill during the course of this most recent cruise.
Those first 27 passengers were screened because they had said they had recently traveled to mainland China.
And as for the family of four that's currently being screened, though they recently reported being in mainland China, they did not travel to Wuhan Province, the epicenter of this outbreak.
So at this point, we need to be very clear, officials have not confirmed any sort of positive tests for the coronavirus. This is simply being done as an abundance of caution based on what we have seen, based on what we've heard.
This ship is still scheduled to head out of port later this afternoon, as scheduled.
And, again, a majority, if not nearly all of the passengers were allowed to disembark earlier this morning while the focus remains on those four, that family of four that is currently undergoing further screening for the coronavirus -- Kate?
BOLDUAN: So take some comfort in that. The passengers were able to leave. But let's wait and see what happens from the four family members.
Thank you so much.
Let's get to Will Ripley, in Japan.
Will, you talked to those passengers that we played a sound bite of who are under quarantine on that ship. What more are they telling you about the situation there? WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, yesterday,
when we were talking with them, Kate, people were still trying to keep their spirits up. But today, people sounded downright scared.
And, you know, it is not just the fact that the number of cases overnight tripled from 20 to 61 on that ship, making it the single- highest concentration of coronavirus cases outside of mainland China in the whole world.
It is the fact that, one, they're not getting a lot of information. It is trickling in.
Two, they have to stay confined in their cabins on the ship for 23 out of the 24 hours of the day. They're allowed outside for, you know, less than an hour under strict supervision. They have to stand three feet apart from each other and wear masks the whole time.
Some of these people are not lucky enough to have rooms with a balcony or a window. A lot of the cabins are inside of the ship. They're cramped. And they're breathing in this air that being circulated around the shim.
Because scientists don't know much about the coronavirus and how it spreads, imagine just the mental anxiety if you're healthy, but in your room, you've been in your room for days with nothing to do.
They're handing out games to people. They added extra television channels. They made the Wi-Fi free so people can text and talk with their family members.
But yet, you're still sitting in this tiny little room looking at the air vent and wondering, am I the next one that is going to test positive. That's the big fear that 2700 people onboard that ship are experiencing now.
There's another ship in Hong Kong with people that are also experiencing the same thing.
So you have 7300 people now on two cruise ships under quarantine. And this is a situation that is going to go on at least for the next two weeks, possibly longer.
And if more people test positive, that 14-day quarantine period, Kate, starts all over again.
BOLDUAN: Oh, my gosh. Such uncertainty of what is going to be happening next.
Thank you so much.
David Culver, he's in Beijing.
David, Chinese authorities are saying now they're going to be investigating the death of this doctor that we mentioned at the top, who blew the whistle on the coronavirus. Who, by all reports, wasn't taken seriously at the time when he was raising alarm. What are you learning about this?
DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So this is the country's top anti-corruption agency and, in a one-line statement, essentially, they say they're going to Wuhan, the epicenter of all of this, and they're going to investigate further.
Now, part of that is President Xi Jinping's initiative where he, for many years, has been anti-corruption and cracking down on leadership that is seemingly corrupt.
The other part of this is likely, Kate, that they're trying to appease to the masses. The reality is this has gone viral in a way that folks have not seen here in years.
You have a lot of emotion coming in on this, with this doctor's passing, is a guy who didn't really want to be a hero, just trying to alert his friends. And, suddenly, that got screen-shotted and that went out public. And he became this kind of tragic hero in the center of all of this. And now, as we learned, he's passed away.
But the other thing that is underlying here is the contrast between state media and social media. So state media initially came out reporting this, and then withdrew it, saying the hospital said he wasn't yet dead. But a few hours later, the hospital put it back out. It was confusion.
Online people here didn't buy it. They felt like the state media was being told essentially to back down.
And it was this censorship that now we have seen on social media where people are posting things about freedom of speech. They're posting things about calling for the Wuhan government to apologize to this doctor and his family.
And those are getting tens of thousands of likes. And then they're disappearing. They're being censored and taken out altogether.
Now how does this play up to President Xi Jinping himself?
Well, this is something that we know actually even involves President Trump. President Trump was asked essentially to approach things with China in a calm manner, in a measured way.
President Xi trying to get things a little bit under control because China's become essentially isolated in the world.
Now, President Trump has even said on Twitter, just a few hours ago, that President Xi is somebody who is strong and essentially capable to handle this.
But the reality is, Kate, this has gone from a local government issue all the way up to the central government now.
Initially, just the local government seen as covering things up and not doing a good job and the central government came in at first to clean up their mess.
But when the central government took command and President Xi said he personally is handling the deployment and coordination of all of this, well, now he's the one who essentially everything stops at.
So it puts a lot of pressure on him. And internationally, he's trying to ease things. But, domestically, it's getting really tense, no question --Kate?
BOLDUAN: David, thank you for your amazing work you're doing there.
Polo, Will, thanks, guys. I really, really appreciate it.
A quick note for you. Later this hour, we're going to speak to the top U.S. official on infectious disease to see what the very latest is on that from the U.S. perspective. We're going to get an update on that. You'll want to stick around for that.
Now, let's turn to 2020. The Democratic candidates are gearing up for the final weekend before the New Hampshire primary. As amazing as it is to say this, as the candidates are full speed ahead, the mess in Iowa still lingers in the rearview mirror.
With 100 percent of precincts now reporting, Pete Buttigieg holds a razor-thin lead over Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren is there in third place and Joe Biden in fourth in Iowa. The race, though, still has not been officially called.
And the DNC chairman, Tom Perez, he's now calling for a full review of the Iowa caucuses.
As for New Hampshire, seven of the top Democratic contenders are sharing the stage tonight as a final debate before -- as the final debate before Tuesday's primary, which remarkably might end up actually being the first official tally called.
So there's clearly a lot going on here.
Joining me now, Mark McKinnon, former senior adviser to George W. Bush and the McCain campaign, and CNN senior political analyst, Mark Preston.
Good to see you guys.
For the purpose of this conversation, we're going to go with last names today, just because. I can't say Mark that many times.
McKinnon, you've been on the ground in New Hampshire. You've been there many times before. Where do you see the race now? What is your sense?
MARK MCKINNON, FORMER SENIOR CAMPAIGN MEDIA ADVISER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH & FORMER MEDIA ADVISER TO SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: Well, despite the sort of disaster in Iowa, things are really starting to shape up here. I always say that, in politics and primaries, particularly, that it is
not who wins, but who beats expectations and who doesn't meet expectations.
So Bernie did really well, which was not a surprise. The guy who beat expectations is Pete Buttigieg. And the guy who didn't meet expectations is Joe Biden.
That's reflected today in a "Boston Globe" poll, the most recent poll we're seeing, where, just since Monday, Pete Buttigieg has increased his support by 12 points. Sanders is exactly the same and Biden has dropped seven.
So the dynamics and momentum that typically happen from Iowa, despite the confusion out there, is happening. And Buttigieg is on the move and Biden is in real trouble.
BOLDUAN: The Monmouth poll, that came out, I believe, just yesterday, you've got Sanders still in the lead. Actually, increasing his lead from last month and Buttigieg holding in second. You're seeing -- you're seeing where the trend lines are there.
BOLDUAN: So, Preston, I was going to ask you kind of what all of this means that we have listed out that has been playing out this week, what all of it means for tonight's debate. But we may be just maybe got a bit of a preview.
Let me play for everybody what Bernie Sanders just said, seemingly unprompted, at an event in New Hampshire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): I'm reading some headlines from newspapers about Pete Buttigieg.
"Pete Buttigieg has most exclusive billionaire donors of any Democrat." That was from "Forbes."
"The Hill," "Pete Buttigieg tops billionaire donor lists."
"Fortune," "Pete Buttigieg takes lead as big business candidate in 2020 field."
I like Pete Buttigieg. He's nice guy. But we are in a moment where billionaires control not only our economy, but our political life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: So tonight, is it going to be wine caves 2.0?
MARK PRESTON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Kate, that's like me walking over to McKinnon now, punching him in the nose and being like, I like Mark McKinnon, he's a good guy.
BOLDUAN: Actually, that was going to be my question.
BOLDUAN: Anytime I say, I like you Mark Preston, you know something's bad is about to happen.
Look, as Mark noted, the fact of the matter is, it is on right now. It is on like Donkey Kong.
We are in New Hampshire. People have to show -- these candidates have to show that they are strong enough to take on each other. Because if they can't fight each other and can't knock each other off, then none of them will be able to take on Donald Trump in November.
That's a message that they're going to have to deliver to Democratic voters. It is a dangerous message to deliver, because it will turn off some Democrats. But the fact of the matter is you have to leave it all on the field now.
Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, any of them, Andrew Yang, they can't look back 30 days from now and say, why didn't we go all in. They're going to have to go all in.
BOLDUAN: And counter to that point, McKinnon, there's good reporting. I was reading in the "Washington Post," how Biden was off the trail yesterday, and the reason being, he and top advisers were gathering in Delaware to figure out what next, or how to reset.
I'm seeing quotes from folks close to the campaign saying he needs to have sharper elbows tonight and beyond.
But what do you think, if it is a reset, what do you think a reset- likes like tonight for him?
MCKINNON: Well, I've had to reset before. I remember when we had to do a definite reset when I was with George Bush in 2000, where we came in as a frontrunner and lost New Hampshire by 18 points.
MCKINNON: And we had to do a huge reset. So I know what that is.
They got to do something. They've got to send a message we're -- we understand we're in trouble and we're course correcting in a big way.
This is a classic phase of the campaign, where you go into hyper speed and good gets better and bad gets worse fast. They have to do something significant to send the message. Tonight is the last opportunity to change that dynamic very much at
But Biden's really going to have to make big decisions about resources and where they put them, where they set expectations now. South Carolina is supposed to be firefighter wall. Do they move resource to South Carolina or do they go all in, in New Hampshire, and try to maintain some level of a showing here? That's the big question for them right now I think.
BOLDUAN: That is interesting.
So, Mark Preston, what is the deal with the potential recanvassing in Iowa? Tom Perez is calling for one. But the ask has to come from the campaign. What gives do you think?
PRESTON: Well, we certainly haven't heard that ask from the campaigns. Pete Buttigieg was asked last night about it.
In many ways, I think it would be a mistake for Buttigieg or Sanders to try to recanvass and try to litigate what happened in Iowa. They're out of Iowa now. They're both claiming victory. They need to focus on New Hampshire.
Does there need to be a recanvass done?
BOLDUAN: What about Biden?
PRESTON: Does there need to be an investigation done?
BOLDUAN: Good or bad for --
PRESTON: I think Joe Biden should focus -- as Mark McKinnon was saying --
PRESTON: -- I think, Joe Biden needs to focus on New Hampshire, make sure he can come out of New Hampshire to go to South Carolina.
Look, we know what happened in Iowa. Specifically in this time we live in right now. As Mark said, we're in warp speed of the campaign. People forgot about Iowa.
All we're talking about now is, how are you going to do in New Hampshire. Hopefully, if you came out of Iowa with some momentum, that wind can help push you forward.
But to relitigate it right now, I think these campaigns would be foolish to do so. And I don't think they're going to do so. You can wait until after the campaign. Plenty of time to do that.
BOLDUAN: It is so great. You guys are talking about Iowa as if it was literally six months ago and -- but it was just days ago. [11:15:06]
PRESTON: If was, kind of.
BOLDUAN: But just an example of what the warped speed is you're talking about in terms of onward and upward. Never say the word Des Moines again, except I will later on in the show.
Good to see you guys. Thank you.
BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, as we've been talking about, it has been quite a week for everybody, especially the president. Impeachment acquittal, chaos for Democrats in Iowa, and more evidence now today of a strong economy. How does all this impact the presidential race?
And coming up later, new cases of the coronavirus popping up on cruise ships under quarantine. What is the United States doing about it? Do they trust what they're hearing from China? We're going to ask a top official from the nation allege National Institutes of Health.
BOLDUAN: As you begin to look towards the weekend -- I know, still only 11:19 but just go with me on this - this really was a trail of two weeks.
On one hand, you have Democrats facing disappointment and a mess, losing the vote to convict the president on impeachment, and still dealing with the Iowa debacle of the caucuses. In short, not great.
On the other hand, you have the presidency. Acquitted on impeachment charges -- you see, that was the celebration yesterday at the White House -- enjoying the highest approval rating of his presidency, according to Gallup, and as of this morning, facing more evidence of a strong economy. A far-better-than-expected jobs report with 225,000 jobs added to the economy in January.
So, what are the lessons here when we look ahead to 2020?
Joining me now, Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, of Michigan.
Great to see you, Congresswoman.
In 2016, we talked about this many times, when so many other Democrats were saying Trump couldn't possibly win, there's no way, you saw the strength in his message that he had in Michigan. You predicted he could win. And you saw it on the ground in your district.
What are you hearing and thinking today, now, when you see, I don't know, the tale of these two weeks and what we have seen recently when you look at 2020? REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): So I'm going to sort of react to that
question in a couple of different ways. Because I also want to say to you I think last two weeks have been some of the saddest I've seen in my professional career at the division that we even see in this capital dome.
The State of the Union, both sides, it was just -- it is supposed to be a time of coming together as Americans. And it is clearly been a difficult week.
So having said that, right now -- I don't ever tell people what I don't think. So I think President Trump could win again.
But I think it is a long time between now and November. I think Democrats have a challenge that we have really got to talk about the issues that matter to working men and women in language that they understand.
But I think the president has to be careful because his job as president is to try to find a way to bring this country together. And I think that division could hurt him in the end.
BOLDUAN: You mentioned the State of the Union, and I have been wanting to ask you about this. I was so thankful you could come on.
Because just when -- I don't know, maybe I'm being Pollyanna. Just when you thought it couldn't get worse in terms of the division and the uncivility that we see, you see the back and forth between the president attacking the speaker and the speaker then going after him in return. This all just really, yesterday.
Let me play this for our viewers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nor do I like people who say, "I pray for you," when they know that that's not so.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): He's talking about things that he knows little about, faith and prayer.
TRUMP: She may pray but she prays for the opposite.
TRUMP: But I doubt she prays at all. And these are vicious people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: There's the short-term and the long-term. I want to get your take on this. When you see that what does this mean for getting anything done in the next 10 months to the election? And beyond?
But also, to the point that you're talking about, the pure and simple need for some modicum of civility to return to the way we talk about each other, in politics, and outside of it, what does this do? DINGELL: I don't know. That's why I can't wait to get out of this
place on Friday and get home and be with real people.
And somehow we all got to take a deep breath and figure out how we're going to work together to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and a lot of other issues that matter to working people, working men and women across this country.
You know, I really -- I do -- I have to take umbrage with what he said about the speaker not praying. She is a Catholic woman. I'm a Catholic woman. I pray for everybody. Right now, I'm praying harder than anybody ever could to find a way to somehow bring us together.
But, you know, at the prayer breakfast, the prayer breakfast is supposed to be a healing time. It is supposed to be a way to bring us together. I mean, I just hope, at some point, it recognizes we got to try to come together. We got to respect each other. We can disagree agreeably.
I'm hoping -- this has been an intense week, a not good week. I guess the president thinks it has been a good week for him. But I'm worried about how people feel, period, in this country, and the division. Let's see where we go in the next few weeks.
BOLDUAN: It is really important to hear your take on it. Because putting politics aside, just look at how you have handled a lot of attacks coming at you, of recent from the president and others. And I would say, without question, civilly is how someone would describe how you have handled it.
I just don't know. Does it come from the bottom up or does it come from the top down of getting back to a place of being able to disagree but not being disagreeable?
I know that sounds -- I know people will roll their eyes at me for saying that. But I don't think it should be a tall order to ask for.
DINGELL: I think it is a combination.
Look, this week wasn't a good week for anybody. Let's leave it at that.
But I think at the grassroots level, the American people have to tell their elected officials, you want to see people respect each other, you want to see people be civil.
I mean, I think we should all just be outraged at what is happening in social media. Which was this tool that was supposed to bring us together. And the vitriolicness, the hatred, the bullying. What is going on there isn't OK.
Every one of us has a responsibility to stand up to this fear, hate that we are seeing in our communities. It is destroying us. It is destroying the root and the fundamental unity of our democracy. And ultimately, it could destroy us.
And I hope more people will step up and make their voices heard and stand up against this ugliness.
BOLDUAN: And obviously, you're speaking to the president on this. But you are -- are you also speaking to Democrats on this? Because I'm --
DINGELL: I'm speaking to everybody.
BOLDUAN: Because there are definitely examples of Democrats not going high when he goes low, you know what I mean?
DINGELL: This whole conversation, I have said both sides.
DINGELL: You know, we are Americans. And people know how I feel.
The State of the Union was just a very difficult night. And by the way, on a good night, when you don't have all of these horrible, horrific dynamics going on, you're never quite sure when you're going to sit, when you're going to clap, when you're going to stand.
It has become instead of, like, really a night of us all being Americans, it has become drama filled, not quite reality TV show like it was this week.
But we got to come together. We have to really think about our democracy. We used to be world leaders. We used to be what people wanted to be. We got to make sure we're protecting that. And that means we have to learn to be civil and respect each other. Not learn it. Remember how to be.
BOLDUAN: Get back there, get back there fast.
Congresswoman, thank you for coming in.
DINGELL: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
BOLDUAN: Really appreciate it.
Still ahead for us, concerns about the coronavirus much closer to home this morning as officials screen passengers aboard a cruise ship that just docked in the New York area. One of the medical experts leading the U.S. response to the crisis will be here next.