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Joe Walsh Drops Out Of Presidential Race; Mulvaney's Job In Doubt Now That Impeachment Dust Has Settled; Impeachment Managers On Whether Trump Learned A Lesson; Hillary Clinton: Staying In My Marriage Was My "Gutsiest" Decision; Hillary Clinton Doubles Down On Sanders Criticism. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired February 7, 2020 - 07:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, questions remain this morning about who won the Democratic caucuses in Iowa. The Republican side was much more clear. President Trump cruised to victory with 97 percent of the vote. Joining me now is former Republican congressman and presidential candidate Joe Walsh. You saw there, received about one percent of the vote in Iowa. Congressman, always a pleasure to see you. Thank you for joining us. You have something to say this morning.

JOE WALSH, FORMER CONGRESSMAN AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. John, good to be with you. I am ending my candidacy for President of the United States. Look, I got into this because I thought it was really important that there was a Republican -- a Republican out there every day calling out this president for how unfit he is. I want to stop Trump. I believe he's a threat to this country. He can't be stopped within the Republican Party. Nobody can beat him. It's Trump's party, John. It's not a party. It's a cult. He can't be beat in the Republican primary, so there's no reason for me or any candidate, really, to be in there. The party has become a cult.

BERMAN: You thought there was some kind of an opportunity where you could convince Republicans in these states. What changed?

WALSH: I didn't see how cult like the party was. I mean, 10 states around the country cancel their primaries and caucuses. The state parties are beholden to Trump, the conservative media world, Fox News and all the rest, wouldn't give me the time of day. I'm a Republican candidate for Congress -- for president, but they bow down in front of their king. And then out there every day, John, talking to Republican voters, I just became convinced that these folks have been fed nothing but lies and mistruths about President Trump, and they can't be gotten back.

BERMAN: So, you're out of the Republican race. What now?

WALSH: Same thing I'm going to do whatever I can to stop Trump. I think, John, this is one of those rare moments in American history -- I'm a Conservative -- where Conservatives and Liberals, Republicans, and Democrats, Independents and Moderates got to come together to stop this guy. He's everything our Founding Fathers feared. So, I can't stop him in a Republican primary. But I can sure do my level best to try to stop him outside of a primary by bringing people together.

BERMAN: So, you're going to try to help elect the Democratic nominee. Is that what you're saying?

WALSH: Any democrat? John, Donald Trump is a dictator. He's a king. He literally is the greatest threat to this country right now. Any democrat would be better than Trump in the White House. That's not an easy thing for me to say. But that tells you how serious this moment is.

BERMAN: Which democrat do you think you would be most likely to support? Which democrat would you be most excited to support?

WALSH: I don't know that, yet. I think it's an interesting field. I'm going to spend a lot of my time trying to talk these next few months to Republicans and Moderates and Independents, to encourage them that your only option, John, is a Democrat. It's not -- it's not Trump. It's not the cult.

BERMAN: But you just said that the Republicans that you were talking to didn't want to hear it from you. So, what makes you think you could convince them?

WALSH: Because a lot of people have left the Republican Party. So many people have left the Republican Party. John, he's got his core cult like following that cannot be reached. But there are a lot of Republicans and Moderates on the margins. There are a lot of Independents, who are undecided right now.

BERMAN: Would you support Bernie Sanders? And I asked you, you know, you're a former Tea Party Republican, and you're saying to me that you would support Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren?

WALSH: I would rather have John Berman, a socialist in the White House than a dictator than a king than Donald Trump. I would encourage, John, everybody listening to us right now, you got a Democratic debate tonight. You've got the New Hampshire Primary. We've got to get engaged and pay attention to these Democrats and find out what best democrat can --

BERMAN: You talked to a lot of Republicans, and again, you just told me that they didn't want to hear what you had to say. Did you hear anything from them that indicated which Democratic candidate the Republican voters you spoke to or Republican leaning Independents might be more likely to support?

WALSH: I think most of the -- most of the Republicans I spoke for are looking for a more moderate, reasonable democrat choice. The name Joe Biden kept coming up. The name Amy Klobuchar kept coming up. But we could get to a point, John -- again, this is such a unique moment in time, where we are going to be forced to support any democrat because he's better than this.

BERMAN: You gave up your radio show.

WALSH: Uh-hmm.

BERMAN: You gave up your income. You gave up your job to do this. You think you can get a job back on radio?


WALSH: I don't know and I don't care. My job, John -- again, my job and I don't know what the format is going to look like is to stop this president and make sure he does --


BERMAN: Was it worth it for you? Was it worth it? You have one percent in Iowa.

WALSH: Oh, God, yes. God, yes. If -- look, I think the Republican Party is a cult. I think it's breaking up. I think there's an opening for decent, honorable Conservatives outside of the Donald Trump party.

BERMAN: Given that you are someone and you've owned this in the past, you called Barack Obama Muslim, said a number of other things. What makes you think the Democrats wants your support?

WALSH: Because Donald Trump is the greatest threat to our republic right now. And I think outside of Trump's cult-like following, everybody feels that way. And I would encourage, John, everybody to go to my website,, we all, I don't care where you are, politically, the rest of this country needs to come together, all of us Conservative and Liberal, and stop this guy, period.

BERMAN: Joe Walsh, you've been through this before. I say this to all candidates, running for office is one of the hardest things you can do.

WALSH: Most difficult thing I've ever done.

BERMAN: Thanks for being in the arena. Thanks for joining us this morning.

WALSH: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: Appreciate your time.

WALSH: Thank you.

BERMAN: Poppy?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: A really interesting interview. All right. Now, the developing story, a potential staff shakeup in the West Wing. CNN has learned that one of the President's most trusted advisors may be on the way out. Let's go to our Kaitlan Collins who has the reporting live in Washington this morning with details. So, who is it?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mick Mulvaney, the Chief of Staff, who of course, is someone that really lost the President's confidence months ago, essentially. He's not seen as someone who has a lot of power inside the West Wing. And now, eyes are looking to what is going to happen to his job now that the impeachment dust has essentially settled. He was someone who was saying he wasn't going to leave during impeachment because, of course, they didn't want any additional chaos happening in the White House, as they were trying to make sure that there were going to be witnesses in the impeachment trial. But now that that's behind them, Poppy, the question is, how long he's going to remain in the job, and a lot of that could have to do with who it is that's going to replace him.

So far, the President has wanted the North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows to take that spot. The question is still whether or not Meadows is willing to come into the job and do that. And the President is essentially waiting to see what happens there because he doesn't want a remake of what happened last year, when John Kelly was leaving, the candidate the President wanted to become Chief of Staff, said they only wanted to do it for a few months. And that is really how Mick Mulvaney got this job, which surprised them, not only Mick Mulvaney but also others in the West Wing.

So, we'll be keeping our eye on that. But there's also a another staff shakeup that we could be watching as soon as today. That's at the National Security Council, you'll remember that the top Ukraine expert testified in President Trump's impeachment inquiry with those House Democrats on Capitol Hill back in the fall and Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman is, of course, someone who was on the call that the President had in July. And now, we are expecting that there is a chance he could be leaving the National Security Council much earlier than he is slated to.

He's not slated to leave until the summer. He took the job in July 2018. He's supposed to have a two year stint. But Poppy, we have sources telling us he's been telling people that he expects he could be leaving the National Security Council in the coming weeks. And of course, that would be coming on the heels of the president fuming about the fact that Vindman still works on the council, and his job and his duties have been significantly curtailed ever since he did go and testify.

HARLOW: Kaitlan, thank you for the reporting. You heard how the president, the way he said Vindman yesterday, right --


HARLOW: -- when he was talking. Indicative of what seems like it's coming. Thank you for the reporting.

BERMAN: All right. Coming up, we have a CNN Exclusive with all seven of the House impeachment managers.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Others have indicated they think the President has learned a lesson. Do any of you believe that he would not try to do this again? (END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: Their response and their warning about what could happen, next.




BERMAN: So, did President Trump learn anything from the impeachment trial? Some Republicans claim they think he did. CNN's Anderson Cooper sat down with the seven House impeachment managers. They're not buying it one bit.


COOPER: Joni Ernst, Lamar Alexander have -- and others have indicated they think the President has learned a lesson. Do any of you believe that he would not try to do this again?

REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): Of course, he hasn't learned the lesson because, as we repeatedly pointed out throughout the trial, Donald Trump is a serial solicitor as it relates to trying to solicit foreign interference in our elections. He solicited foreign interference from the Russians. He solicited foreign interference from the Chinese. At the heart of this scandal is that he tried to solicit foreign interference from Ukrainians to pressure an American citizen, Joe Biden, to elevate his own personal political gain as part of an effort to cheat in an upcoming election. And absent any consequences to the extent that he perceives the acquittal as an exoneration, it's a fake exoneration. But to the extent that the President perceives it as vindication of his bad behavior, his constitutional crime, his wrongdoing, then there's reason to believe that he will endeavor to do it again. And --

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): The best -- yes, the --

JEFFRIES: -- one of our responsibilities, you know, moving forward is going to be as the -- as the watch guards of that investigation, but we're also going to have to rely on the American people.

DEMINGS: The best indicator of future performance is to look at past performance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Past performance.

DEMINGS: I call Donald Trump a habitual offender. He was in Florida during the campaign when he said, Russia, if you're listening, and obviously, they were. And then, the day after, as has been indicated, the day after the special counsel testified on the Hill, the President is on the phone inviting another foreign power to interfere in our election.

[07:45:11] And then, when he's caught, he goes to the microphone and doubles down and invites China and reminds Ukraine that, yes, you should investigate the Bidens. We have no reason to believe that this President has learned anything. If he had, perhaps he would have began the State of the Union Address the other night by apologizing to the American people that he, you know, he did -- what he did was wrong and he's regretful for it. We haven't heard that.


BERMAN: You can watch Anderson's full interview with the House impeachment managers tonight, 8:00 p.m. Eastern on AC360.

HARLOW: All right. We saw something yesterday. It might be hard for anyone to say, I'm sorry. But as the President's celebratory speech yesterday proved, it may be downright impossible for him.

BERMAN: John Avlon here with the "REALITY CHECK."

JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right, guys. So, it's supposed to be a solemn occasion, the impeachment and acquittal of the President of the United States. And here's how Bill Clinton handled it.


BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to say how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did.

AVLON: And here was Donald Trump.



AVLON: So, to all the Republican Senators who hope that Donald Trump would learn his lessons from impeachment, well, not so much. But this was totally predictable. Donald Trump famously hates apologizing. Apologies are seen as a sign of weakness and admission of guilt. It's a lesson from Roy Cohn, the infamous lawyer to Joe McCarthy and the mob who mentored Trump in the 70s and 80s. Roy Cohn had a simple code, "always attack, never apologize." And Trump learned the lesson well. It is core to his combative approach to politics. And Alec Baldwin memorably set it up on SNL.


ALEC BALDWIN, COMEDIAN, SNL: I deeply apologize.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you trying to say I apologize?

BALDWIN: No, I would never do that. What I am doing is apologizing.


AVLON: So, the day began with President Trump at the National Prayer Breakfast. And the writer, Arthur Brooks, spoke about Jesus's teaching that we should love all our enemies. Well, Trump took to the podium and literally said, Arthur, I don't know if I agree with you. And then proceeded to question the faith of Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney. After that, all eyes were on the new speech Trump is scheduled to give it the White House in a safe space of partisan supporters. It was angry, aggrieved and very, very strange, even by Trump standards. So, despite all the evidence, the President stuck his insistence that he was the real victim in all of this.


TRUMP: We went through hell, unfairly, did nothing wrong. And they took a phone call that was a totally appropriate call. I call it a perfect call. And they brought me to the final stages of impeachment.


AVLON: But the real choice bits of bile were left for his political opponents.


TRUMP: It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was leakers and liars. Bad people. My opinion, it's almost like they want to destroy our country.


AVLON: This went on without notes for more than an hour, almost as long as the State of the Union Address. Trump's patented moves of deny, deflect, and project we're in full display as he rambled. But there's a method to the madness, Trump's feelings and alternative facts will be amplified by allies and partisan media and social media until the supporters believe they're real. And this is how the President drives disinformation while dividing the country and politically profits from polarization. So, the man dubbed "Teflon Don" doesn't want our country to have its common set of facts, because the facts are so often not on his side. But as with the original Teflon Don, John Gotti, the mob boss also represented by Roy Cohn, Trump tries to deflect misdeeds by invoking family. And for them, he offered that rarest of things, an apology.


TRUMP: I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people.


AVLON: Well, The word was there, even if the spirit was not. And that's your "REALITY CHECK."

BERMAN: Yes. Without the spirit, though, the word means nothing, as you point out, John. And I will say that Donald Trump as arbiter of faith and prayer, is something beyond rich, or a little short.

AVLON: All right, John. Thanks very much, guys.

POPPY: Hillary Clinton opening up in a new interview about her time, all of it, as First Lady. Doubling down on her criticism also of Senator Bernie Sanders, that's next.





HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Staying in my marriage was the gutsiest personal decision I ever made. And so, for me, revisiting that, talking about it for my husband also to agree to be in the film and then also to be asked, you know, made -- you know, made it a bit difficult. There's no doubt about it.


HARLOW: Really candid moment from the former First Lady, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton there with Ellen DeGeneres, opening up about her husband's affair with Monica Lewinsky and a lot more we'll get to in a minute. This is all for this upcoming docu-series. With us now, CNN Political Commentator, Karen Finney. Of course, she worked as the senior spokesperson for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Karen, thank you for being here. We'll go sort of chunk by chunk, but just your reaction to hearing that from her and the way she said it at this moment.

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I mean, I'm -- I was pleased to hear her talk about it in real personal terms. I mean, I've heard her speak about it. This issue came up when she ran for Senate in 2000. Obviously, it's a question that's been on people's minds. And from a personal perspective, as a young woman who worked for her and then actually also worked for President Clinton in the Clinton administration, it was painful to watch because, I mean, you know, imagine having to live out in public such a painful moment in your own life, in your own marriage, and she really had to go inside and try to make the best decision for herself and her family, knowing that no matter what she decided, she was going to get attacked and criticized.


HARLOW: So, to that point, and it's an important one, because it's not only that she had to endure this, right?

FINNEY: Right.

HARLOW: It was the criticism of her for the decision she made largely by other women. Here she is reacting to that.


H. CLINTON: So many women would be really upset because I chose to stay with my husband. Some of the very same people who would say, I could never support her, would say literally in the next breath, but I love her husband. I love Bill Clinton, as I do, too. But it was -- you know, it was really emotionally draining experience to go through it again. I hope that our talking about this, my willingness to address all of this really does help other people.


HARLOW: You know, and it's notable, this is the first time in, what, like three decades that she's saying this stuff, not running for everything, not holding an office, and you can feel that.

FINNEY: Sure, absolutely. I mean, look, it's hard to talk about these kinds of issues no matter when or what, how you do it. Certainly in the context, you know, when you're running for office or you're in office, because you do -- you know, there are some things you want about your family you want to have private. Remember, you know, Chelsea was still a teenager when this was going on. And I think she felt the real responsibility to protect her from all of this.

But I think she's right that, you know, look, if we're going to support women, and that we all have to make our decisions and support our decisions, then we've got to -- I believe we have to support her. But this is a tough conversation. You know, we all have friends who are in difficult relationships. And I do hope that people take some lessons or comfort -- and I haven't seen the film yet, but I can imagine for both -- like she said, for both of them, what a hard conversation to have, but hopefully a really cathartic one and a helpful one for people who may be facing these kinds -- same troubles in their own lives and marriages.

HARLOW: And in this upcoming docu-series, it's not just her that you're going to see talking about this, it's the former president, right?

FINNEY: That's right.

HARLOW: He agreed to sit and talk about this, as well. Something else very notable is this question from Ellen DeGeneres about her open and repeated criticism of Senator Sanders in the midst of this, you know, important moment in the Democratic race. Here it is.


ELLEN DEGENERES, HOST, THE ELLEN DEGENERES SHOW: You're getting some heat for some stuff you said about Bernie Sanders.

H. CLINTON: Uh-hmm.

DEGENERES: It must feel good that you can say whatever you want now.

H. CLINTON: Uh-hmm.

DEGENERES: But you want to talk about that moment?

H. CLINTON: You've got to be responsible for what you say and what you say you're going to do. We need to rebuild trust in our fellow Americans and in our institutions. And if you promise the moon and you can't deliver the moon, then that's going to be one more indicator of how, you know, we just can't trust each other.


HARLOW: All right, every politician promises the moon, but that aside, just in different ways and with different price tags, I suppose.


HARLOW: But that aside, are you glad to see her repeatedly going after Senator Sanders, is it helpful for the party in beating the president, or would you rather she not do that right now?

FINNEY: Oh, I think Hillary is speaking to her experience in 2016. I was obviously part of that experience. And our experience of Senator Sanders as a presidential candidate in 2016, I will tell you, I think it's different than the person that I think we're seeing in 2020. I do think that Senator Sanders is a better candidate this time around, a different candidate. I think he's trying to be more inclusive in his campaign, and I think, you know, some of these issues, you know, in particular, what she was talking about there is when he talked about free college in 2016. And she felt like, well, from a, you know, legitimacy standpoint, I don't -- you know, you can't pay for that. So, we shouldn't be talk -- you know, we should be honest with people.

We're having a different conversation, I think, in 2020. So, you know, look, I think -- I personally think she's earned the right to say whatever she wants, this woman has been so characterized and vilified and, you know, without really listening to who she really is. But -- and this original interview that came out, I guess, she had made these comments about a year and a half or so ago.


FINNEY: You know, she has a right to her opinion. And look, as voters and Americans, we have a right to our own opinions and we make our own decisions about who we're going to support. I do think, though, one thing that she has said that I think is really important, whoever the nominee is, this person will have to unify the Democratic Party, you can't assume everybody is just going to get on board. Hopefully, they will, because they recognize how important it is to defeat Donald Trump. But some of that -- a lot of that has to come from the gravitas of the candidate themselves.

HARLOW: Karen, good to have you. Thank you.

FINNEY: Great to be with you.

HARLOW: Have a good weekend.

FINNEY: You, too.

HARLOW: All right. Thank you to our international viewers for watching. For you, CNN "NEWSROOM" with Max Foster is next. For our viewers here in the United States, we have breaking news on the coronavirus outbreak. NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

BERMAN: All right. Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Friday, February 7th. It's 8:00 in the East. Alisyn is off. Poppy Harlow with me this morning. And we do have breaking news. Brand new fears of coronavirus, right now, involving Americans on two cruise ships.