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NEW DAY

Four Days Until New Hampshire Primary; Coronavirus on Quarantined Cruise Ship; Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is Interviewed about Impeachment Acquittal; Aired 7:00-7:30a ET

Aired February 7, 2020 - 07:00   ET

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


[07:00:00]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, how can there not be a winner?

NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The head of the Democratic National Committee stunning Iowa Democratic officials with his call for a full recanvas.

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Whatever they need to do in order to make sure that the information is clear and verified.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is really sad that the Democratic Party of Iowa screwed up the counting process.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's really important, as the Democratic Party, that we get this straight.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump touted the headlines as he claimed vindication.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It worked out. We went through hell, unfairly. Did nothing wrong.

SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D-HI): You don't get acquitted when you don't even get to call witnesses.

TRUMP: We have some that use religion as a crutch.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Romney will favorably be remembered by history. This president will not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY." Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow here with me this morning. Giving 100 percent today, right?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: No alarm.

BERMAN: No alarm.

If you were here for the 6:00 hour, an alarm on Poppy's phone went off right at 6:00 to remind her she had to anchor NEW DAY today.

HARLOW: Trying to wake up before the kids tomorrow morning to have a cup of coffee.

BERMAN: That's --

HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. Good to be with you.

BERMAN: All right, breaking overnight, 100 percent of precincts now reporting in Iowa. One hundred percent and still a mess.

So with all the vote in, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, at least by Iowa's count right now, holding a razor thin lead over Senator Bernie Sanders. We're talking about one-tenth of one percent.

Now, neither the Associated Press nor CNN have declared a winner yet. In fact, our own analysis reveals there are errors in the count. The candidates themselves have just a few more hours to challenge the results. But I should add, there's been no indication that the campaigns, as of now, want to do so.

HARLOW: Yes. They're pretty much saying, let's move on to New Hampshire.

So this comes as the Democratic National Committee steps in to recanvas the vote in Iowa. DNC chair, Tom Perez, with us last hour, said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: This was unacceptable. And that's why we had people -- we still have people on the ground there. We completed the counting last night. And we're going to continue not only to work in Iowa but also to learn the lessons of Iowa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Yes, a lot of lessons learned there. Whoever ends up on top, the Democratic candidates are looking ahead to New Hampshire and the primary there next week. And the big debate there tonight.

Joining us now, CNN political analyst Alex Burns, national political correspondent for "The New York Times."

BERMAN: Also with us, Michael Smerconish, CNN political commentator and host of CNN's "SMERCONISH." So you saw the results as they are with 100 percent of precincts now reporting in Iowa and that razor thin lead by Pete Buttigieg. And we also now have some polling out of New Hampshire. Some post-Iowa polling. This is a Monmouth poll that came out just yesterday and it shows Bernie Sanders at 24 percent, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, I think we have this, at 20 percent, Biden, 17, Warren 13. There's some other polling that you may have seen out there as well.

The basic thing to take out of this is the trends all say the same thing, Pete Buttigieg seeming to rise a little bit in New Hampshire. Joe Biden seemed to fall a little bit in New Hampshire.

Alex Burns, there is a debate tonight in New Hampshire. And, boy, oh, boy, does it seem important. There are candidates who their future in this campaign may hang on this debate tonight.

ALEX BURNS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. And I think you could actually make the case that for basically everybody but Bernie Sanders, their fate in New Hampshire hangs on this debate. That this is a state that's been seen as a Bernie Sanders stronghold for a long time. He's obviously from right next door. He dominated the primary here in 2016.

And if anybody is going to overtake him here, even Pete Buttigieg, who already does have, I seems, some momentum coming out of Iowa, it's probably going to be on the strength of a powerful debate performance. That in order for Buttigieg to get the rest of the way, he certainly can't lose steam tonight.

And for the three other major candidates on that stage, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, it's just crucial to make the absolute most out of the opportunity that you have tonight to be side by side with Bernie Sanders as the sort of home field favorite and Mayor Buttigieg, who is seen, I think, increasingly as the candidate to watch in what we would call the moderate lane if we were going to be cliche about it.

HARLOW: Michael --

BERMAN: But we're not. We're not going to be cliche about it.

HARLOW: But why would we do that?

Michael, on tonight and specifically what's at stake for Joe Biden, you said last night on this network, Joe won't finish in the top two in New Hampshire. The question is, will he become wounded too early.

Is there any sort of miracle that he can pull off tonight after grouping with his advisers yesterday back home that could make him not be wounded too early?

MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Poppy, I've watched every one of these debates. I don't know that any one of them has been a game changer for any of the candidates. I'm wondering if Joe's strategy will be different because of the retreat that you just mentioned. [07:05:03]

HARLOW: Yes.

SMERCONISH: My own criticism of the way he has debated so far is that when -- first of all, this forum and the rapid fire response that it necessitates does not come naturally to him. And when I watch him respond, it's if the wheels are spinning in his mind and he's trying to remember five different things that he wants to say in response to whatever the question was. Joe needs to be Joe. He should stick with themes, ala Reagan, and not facts and just offer a gut check on whatever question is presented to him tonight because, frankly, the chips are down now for him.

BERMAN: Yes, the difference for tonight is, in past debates, he's been there more or less as the frontrunner.

HARLOW: The frontrunner.

BERMAN: And now that's very much in question.

SMERCONISH: Right.

HARLOW: That's true. That's a great point.

BERMAN: And you have to approach the debate, I imagine, very differently.

Alex, all kinds of reporting today in "The Washington Post," also in your paper as well, about the last 48 hours in Biden world, which included a day not in New Hampshire for Joe Biden. It included some self-reflection on what went wrong in Iowa and how he needs to do things, I guess, differently as of today.

What do you think we can expect?

BURNS: Look. I'm not going to try to get into Joe Biden's head before the debate tonight. But what I do think we can say is, based on all the debates we've seen so far, his performance is pretty consistent, that it's within a relatively narrow range of, you know, his best debate is not all that different from his worst debate. And so if he is going to have some kind of breakthrough moment under pressure, it's going to be a side of him that we've not really seen in this campaign so far.

It's a side of him that we've seen in campaigns in the past. That Joe Biden used to be a far more effective televised debater, even in the sort of rapid fire format that Michael is talking about when he ran previously and not that successfully for president and more successfully for vice president.

But what we've seen so far in this campaign, and I think this was reflected in the way he approached the state of Iowa, and the state of New Hampshire more generally as well, is an unwillingness to take risks and an aversion to direct conflict with opponents who he sort of hoped to sail above. And you can't sail ahead -- you can't sail above Mayor Pete anymore. And you can't sort of pretend that Bernie Sanders is this guy off to the left who's not all that relevant to the fate of your campaign.

Now, everybody on that stage is incredibly relevant to Joe Biden's campaign and they are all direct competitors in a way that his campaign has resisted seeing them so far.

HARLOW: Michael, what more do you think America wants to learn about Mayor Buttigieg or Senator Sanders? And specifically Major Buttigieg because I mentioned last hour, we saw Senator Sanders open up a little bit more in the town hall this week about himself, his family, his Jewish faith, something we don't see a lot from him. Do Americans want more of that from him? Do they want more of that from Mayor Buttigieg?

SMERCONISH: I think that Mayor Pete has survived, you know, that first prism through which he was viewed in Iowa.

HARLOW: Yes.

SMERCONISH: And now -- now that he's perceived by everybody to be legitimately a frontrunner, maybe not the frontrunner, but a frontrunner, there's a calculous. Can we really see someone go from the mayor of South Bend to commander in chief, to president of the United States?

I think, among other things, he's got to impress on his foreign policy chops. I think he's got to convince people that he's ready to have a seat at the table with Vladimir Putin and hold his own. That's the challenge that I see for him.

BERMAN: So, Alex Burns, I occasionally like to introduce you as the reporter who broke the Michael Bloomberg is jumping into the presidential race story. And I do that because it's true.

And in the last 24 hours, he picked up the endorsement of New Jersey member of Congress Mikie Sherrill. And she is one of the ones -- she was one of those ones who came out in favor of impeachment. She's seen as being on the front lines for possibly Democratic vulnerable congressional candidates.

And Richard Spencer, the former Navy secretary --

HARLOW: Yes.

BERMAN: Who was pushed out of the administration. And I know endorsements don't mean everything, but it really does seem that Bloomberg is trying to exploit this vacuum right now.

BURNS: Sure. And I think the evidence so far is that he's exploiting it pretty successfully. In addition to the two folks you mentioned, this week he was endorsed by the governor of Rhode Island, Gina Raimondo. We've seen very, very few sitting Democratic governors endorse anybody in this presidential primary.

And I think it's absolutely true that endorsements aren't everything and it's very much an open question how valuable they really are. But these are serious people who are getting on board with him and they are certainly people who would not be endorsing someone they saw as a side show candidate or a mirage or just a guy who is spending a lot of money on television ads. I think it's sort of in some ways a lagging indicator of how seriously Bloomberg has emerged as a force in this race, that he is now getting these endorsements.

And what we will see next is whether -- first, whether more endorsements follow. And my reporting suggests that that is likely to happen as Joe Biden struggles, if he continues to struggle, that folks in Congress and out in the states may be more willing to break ranks and go with Michael Bloomberg.

[07:10:04]

And we'll see if he can use these endorsements to greater effect, right? That there is the value of being able to roll out someone on the day they endorse you and say this person is my supporter. But what we've started to see Bloomberg do is, you know, travel around the state of California with mayors who have endorsed him and do things like that. Will he put some of these people on television as we get into the bigger Super Tuesday landscape where his Democratic rivals are more directly competitive with him? Will we start to see his endorsers get out there as surrogates?

BERMAN: Michael, very quickly, closing thought?

SMERCONISH: I think this is the most important story of the day, that which Alex co-authored, this idea that Michael Bloomberg is meeting with major donors and saying, look, I don't want your money, I want to introduce myself to you and tell you about my campaign and thereby hopes to freeze them. He's not freezing out Bernie money, it's the Biden money I think that he's seeking to preclude.

HARLOW: Interesting.

BERMAN: I will say, when Alex Burns says my reporting indicates that something will happen, my radar goes up.

HARLOW: More to come.

BERMAN: And I know Michael Smerconish's does as well.

And be sure to watch CNN's "SMERCONISH" Saturdays at 9:00 a.m.

We do have breaking news.

A dozen passengers have now been isolated on board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship arriving this morning in Bayonne, New Jersey. We're talking about New Jersey here. The CDC is on hand to test for coronavirus. Several ambulances have just left the port in the last few minutes. These pictures are from just moments ago.

We have a team on the way. We'll bring you more on this story next hour.

HARLOW: Meanwhile, 61 people have tested positive for coronavirus on that quarantined cruise ship that is docked right now off the coast of Japan. That includes 11 Americans testing positives. That's triple the number that were reported to have contracted this just yesterday.

Our Will Ripley spoke to some of the passengers quarantined on that ship. He joins us live again this morning in Japan with more.

Will.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Poppy.

Yes, you know, we've been speaking with these passengers for a couple of days now. They've been taking videos for us, showing us what their life is like on board the Diamond Princess behind me. And it really has changed dramatically from, you know, when they are at sea a week ago, you know, dining at the buffet, enjoying the entertainment and the amenities on the ship. Now, 3,700 people, including, you know, 2,600 passengers, they have to basically spend most of the day isolated and confined in their cabins.

And, you know, the lucky ones have balconies, or maybe windows, but there are a lot of people who are in these interior cabins that are cramped. They don't have any sunshine. They don't have a way to look outside. Those are cabins that people are supposed to kind of stay in for a couple minutes, change clothes and get back out and enjoy the ship. Now they're feeling more like prison cells for these people.

And they're going to have to stay on board under quarantine for the next two weeks or so. Possibly until February 19th.

We spoke with an American who is one of the people taking video. First they learned that the number of coronavirus cases tripled overnight, from 20 to 61. And then we actually saw the moment when they got a knock on their door and she learned that she's one of the people who is infected.

This is what she told us.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REBECCA FRASURE, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: 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.

RIPLEY: What's the hardest part?

FRASURE: I'd say the unknown. Like, I don't know what's going to happen an hour from now, tomorrow. Like, for all we know, we could stay quarantined on this ship for a month.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIPLEY: It is an incredibly unsettling situation for the people who are on board because, think about it, 61 confirmed cases on that tiny, you know, space. That's the highest concentration of coronavirus patients anywhere in the world, Poppy, outside of mainland China.

HARLOW: Oh, wow. All right, let's see how this all develops. Thank you very much for being on top of it, Will.

As for the president, if you saw him for 60-plus minutes yesterday, he wasted no time bragging about his acquittal in the impeachment trial. Has he learned any lesson, the lesson that some of his Republican allies say he has? Next.

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[07:18:24]

HARLOW: President Trump pulled no punches in that victory lap yesterday at the White House.

Here's a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We first went through Russia, Russia, Russia. It was all bullshit.

Then went through the Mueller report. And they should have come back one day later. They didn't. they came back two years later, after lives were ruined. They made up facts. A corrupt politician named Adam Schiff.

Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and his twin brother, right?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: OK.

Joining me now to talk about that and a lot more is Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.

So let's begin there and then we'll move on to your op-ed and much more about the party right now.

But, look, I mean, a number of your Republican colleagues in the Senate, ones like Susan Collins, Rob Portman, John Thune, told us and other outlets this week that the president learned his lesson. Nothing like the Ukraine call will happen again, et cetera.

Did you hear anything to that effect from the president? Do you believe they're right?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D-OH): No. As disturbing as that was, I watched the -- I watched it from the beginning. I didn't watch it live, but I watched it from the beginning a little later. And I remember the president of the United States, the former president, walking, making that long walk up to that -- through that door to that microphone and talking about killing Osama bin Laden. And I just look at that.

But what was every bit as disturbing is the president talking that way and swearing and attacking people was the audience reaction. The enablers, because of their fear, because of their whatever it is and they keep making excuses. [07:20:01]

And the excuses that you just cited, you -- what -- the masterful contrast you did in the former hour, putting up, you know, what Clinton did and what Trump did, it just -- it's just stunning. And I -- you just shake your head. You just kind of can't believe it. But -- but he's got more than 50 enablers in the U.S. Senate that -- out of fear, out of something that continue to play up to that. I would assume nobody took him aside afterwards, any more than they did after the State of the Union, and said, Mr. President, you've got to stop doing that.

HARLOW: Let's get to -- with the exception of Mitt Romney, who was, you know, the sole Republican to vote to convict the president on one of the counts, can we get to the why, because you addressed this in your op-ed in "The Times" this week and you write, in private, many of my Republican colleagues agree that the president is reckless and unfit. They admit his lies. They acknowledge what he did was wrong. They know he's done things Nixon never did. They know that more damning evidence is likely to come out.

Help us, because you are a the chamber, you are a member of the Senate, then why?

BROWN: Well -- yes.

HARLOW: Are you saying all of them are terrified? It is only about re- election? Are all of them, Romney excluded?

BROWN: Well, I don't know that it's all of them. I didn't talk to all of them. I've talked to enough Republicans, through the last -- through the whole Trump presidency, but especially the last few weeks, and you see the fears in the eyes of a lot of them. They fear the -- they fear Fox television turning on them. They fear right wing radio going after them. They fear Trump tweeting about them and calling them a name that sticks. They fear him coming into their states and campaigning against them.

And I -- as I said in that op-ed in "The Times" earlier in the week, it took me back to when I voted against the Iraq War and when I was in the House. It took me back to that feeling that same fear around me where President Bush convinced a whole lot of -- I mean President Bush essentially threatened that he would call them un-American -- that they were un-American, that they were soft on terrorism, that they were all of those kinds of things, unpatriotic.

And fear does the business with politicians. And far too often, and this was his poignant and sad example that I've seen in a long, long time, what happened this past week.

HARLOW: All right. Let's talk about your party and Democrats.

BROWN: Sure.

HARLOW: And Jerry Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, saying they're going to try to subpoena Bolton. They're going to go after everything still when it comes to the president. John Podesta's piece this morning in "The Washington Post" saying that Democrats must continue investigating the president and subpoena witnesses like Bolton, Mulvaney, Giuliani, et cetera. Is that the most prudent move for Democrats right now? Is that where a lot of the energy should be focused?

BROWN: Well, it's not -- it's not a lot -- it's some energy. The real energy coming out of the House is a minimum wage bill and a -- my (ph) Butch Lewis pension bill and the Violence Against Women Act and the Net Neutrality Act. And to strengthen the pre-existing condition consumer protections as Trump tries to wipe them away.

I mean the House has passed bill after bill after bill that will clearly help strengthen the middle class, health care education, wages, labor rights, civil rights, voting rights, all those things. And so they're doing their job. I understand the media -- I don't criticize the media about this. I understand that you're all going to cover the investigations more than you're covering another bill that would help people's lives and pass the House and die in Mitch McConnell's Senate. So it's not like they can't do two things at once.

But, you know, you're -- I mean you all, in the media, are doing your job and you know that more and more is going to come out. Every one of these Republicans that voted against witnesses, which was I guess 51 of them, I believe, are all going to be embarrassed as this -- all this comes out.

Whether it's congressional hearings, whether it's CNN reports, whether it's "New York Times" investigators, whether it's just people on social media digging stuff up and -- all of -- or whoever it is, this is -- they're going to be embarrassed and they're going to really look bad in history. And whether that looking bad is a month from now, six months from now, five years from now is just inevitable to me.

HARLOW: All right, few final questions for you turning the page here.

BROWN: Sure.

HARLOW: Let's just talk about Iowa for a moment and what a week this was for your party, for Democrats.

Your chief of staff said something prescient about Iowa. What is your takeaway from what we saw this week?

BROWN: Yes, Sarah Benzing, my chief of staff, grew up in Neola, Iowa, in west -- southwest Iowa, not far from Omaha, but in the Iowa side. And she knows, as many in Iowa know, that the Iowa caucuses were -- it was increasingly hard to justify the Iowa caucuses to the American public, to the -- both political parties really, even before what happened last week, just because it's an unrepresentative state of the national -- in the national body politic and the diversity of our country. And so its days may have been numbered anyway. And I think now everybody says we -- both parties need to figure out something different here.

HARLOW: OK. Looking at Joe Biden coming in fourth in Iowa, banking on New

Hampshire, we see where he's polling there, struggling there, you told "The New York Times" back in July about Biden, quote, I never thought he'd be the nominee.

[07:25:09]

What do you think now after seeing Biden's performance in Iowa? And do you wish now a little bit that you'd gotten in?

BROWN: No, I don't wish that I'd gotten in. I -- my not getting in the race had zero -- zero to do with Joe Biden. (INAUDIBLE) getting in, if he was going to get in, and I didn't know for sure at that point.

I just didn't have the -- one of the things that I -- I think one of the reasons I won in Ohio, in a state that Trump carried by eight points and I won by 7.5, is that I bring a certain joy to this job. I love the Senate, as people that work with me know. And I -- and I bring a joy to the job and to campaigning. Sort of the happy warrior that Hubert Humphry used to be. And I -- and I kind of think others like that. And I just didn't know that I could -- I just didn't want to be president enough to probably bring that game to it.

So I don't know. I don't know. I don't -- wouldn't want to bet on who the nominee is going to be. Now I think we'll have a little more answer after New Hampshire. But when Super Tuesday -- we'll obviously know by the time the Ohio primary on, of all things, St. Patrick's Day, we will obviously know a lot by then. But I would assume this won't shake out until Super Tuesday and then we'll know.

HARLOW: Senator Sherrod Brown, have a nice weekend. Thanks for being here.

BROWN: Thanks, Poppy. All right, you too. Thanks.

BERMAN: Along those lines, up next, a presidential candidate joins us with a major announcement.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)