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EARLY START

Sanders Edges Buttigieg in New Hampshire; Trump: Stone Sentencing Guidelines a "Miscarriage of Justice"; Coronavirus Quarantine Ends for 195 at California Military Base. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired February 12, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:02]

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: She took home in the top prize best in show at the 144th Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York on Tuesday. Siba was chosen from seven finalists. Nearly 3,000 dogs from around the world entered the competition.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: My chocolate lab would do well at all.

JARRETT: She doesn't behave --

ROMANS: She's a slug.

JARRETT: All right. EARLY START continues right now.

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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A great victory tonight.

(CHEERS)

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JARRETT: Bernie Sanders with the win in New Hampshire. But it was razor thin. Who's right behind him and who's on life support in a crowded field?

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is Wednesday, February 12th. It is 4:00 a.m. in New York.

All right. There's an established front-runner in the Democratic race. CNN projects Bernie Sanders winning the New Hampshire primary on the heels of a win in the popular vote in Iowa. The win for Sanders surprisingly tight in a state where he cleaned up four years ago.

JARRETT: Moderates advancing as they try to slow the party's move to the left. Pete Buttigieg coming in a very close second, and Amy Klobuchar surging into third place. Elizabeth Warren, a distant fourth even though she's from neighboring Massachusetts.

ROMANS: Joe Biden wasn't in New Hampshire for election returns. He came in fifth. CNN predicts neither Warren nor Biden will make the threshold to get delegates. Since 1968, every single Democratic presidential nominee took first or second in New Hampshire.

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SANDERS: This victory here is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump.

(CHEERS)

We are taking on billionaires and we're taking on candidates funded by billionaires.

(CHEERS)

We're going to Nevada, we're going to South Carolina, we're going to win those states, as well.

(CHEERS)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I admired Senator Sanders when I was a high school student. I respect him greatly to this day, and I congratulate him on his strong showing tonight.

And thanks to you, a campaign that some said shouldn't be here at all has shown that we are here to stay.

(CHEERS)

And a politics of my way or the highway is a road to re-electing Donald Trump. If today's Washington were serving is America well, a guy like Donald Trump would never have come within cheating distance of the Oval Office in the first place.

(CHEERS)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm Amy Klobuchar, and I will beat Donald Trump.

(CHEERS)

We have beaten the odds every step of the way.

(CHEERS)

We -- we have done it on the merits. We have done it with ideas, and we have done it with hard work.

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JARRETT: The reality of Sanders at the top setting in for one influential group. The Culinary Union now distributing a flyer that says Sanders would end culinary health care if elected.

The biggest change for the candidates going forward, the demographic map. The race now moves from mostly white Iowa and New Hampshire to a far more diverse Nevada and South Carolina.

CNN's Phil Mattingly is still standing at the magic wall with a look at what happened overnight -- Phil.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Did I have an option to leave?

JARRETT: No.

MATTINGLY: I don't want to leave. No, this is great, because again, we actually have data, which is nice. Let's focus on who won.

That's Bernie Sanders. There was some expectation that we would win. He's the light blue, and obviously you see a lot of light blue when look at the space, especially Manchester, Concord, Nashua, in university towns like Plymouth and Keene.

That's why he won. I think one of the big questions going into the night was what would be the scale of his victory and why is that the case? Want to pull this out here. Why is it the case?

Well, guys, go back to 2016, you mentioned it, it was a wipeout. Bernie Sanders with a 20-plus-point victory over Hillary Clinton at that time, and Bernie Sanders from Vermont, a neighboring state. So, why did it tend up being so tight?

I think look at this map and you see a lot of light green. That's Pete Buttigieg. A lot of dark green, that's Amy Klobuchar. It's unclear why they cut into places that Hillary Clinton could not in 2016. Pete Buttigieg right on the border in Vermont, winning a number of townships, also in a populated mostly affluent area in the southeastern part of the state. Doing well.

Amy Klobuchar in the center of the state, Republican-leaning areas, taking advantage of those. I think one of the most interesting part of the night, guys, when you saw the early returns, it was clear 5 percent on this was a three-person race. It wasn't necessarily by ideological lanes were liberals were going in one direction and moderates in another.

I want to pull this up, you look at where Bernie Sanders was in first, second, and third, and it fills out pretty much the entire map.

[04:05:00]

He was in first, second and third places that Amy Klobuchar won, in places that Pete Buttigieg won. And it was the same for the other two candidates as well. It was a three-person race throughout the course of the night. It ended up in a tight three three-person race by the end of the night.

So, what does that mean for, say, Joe Biden? Well, there's a reason he was in South Carolina and not in New Hampshire. This obviously is not a good number. The idea that this equals zero delegates is not a good number.

When you look at the broader map and you see where Joe Biden came in first, second, or third, you realize when none of those states were able -- none of those towns were able to produce delegates and none had more than 100 voters in them, that was a bad night. I think Elizabeth Warren, as well, somebody who over the summer was doing very well in New Hampshire, obviously also from a neighboring state. That would seem to be problematic that she only came in fourth place, too.

But I think everything you're hearing from the campaigns right now is they recognize that these were just the first two states, Iowa and New Hampshire. While we have two clear front-runners, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, leading the delegates, there's a recognition of what comes next.

And, Laura, you hit on it, it is a very different demographic set for the next two contests. Like take a look right now at Nevada, which comes next and South Carolina. Nevada basically a much larger Hispanic and Latino population, nearly 20 percent. In South Carolina, in significant larger African-American black population, obviously, it's a huge part of the Democratic coalition. That's what candidates, most especially Joe Biden who's there right now, are looking toward as they go forward. That's what everybody is pointing to right now, and you guys already hit on the culinary union in Nevada, that will play a big role with Bernie Sanders.

Guys, based on the results tonight, here's where things stand -- Pete Buttigieg leading in delegates even though he came in second tonight, with the Iowa finish that he had. Bernie Sanders close by, then Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar obviously having a good night of her own, doing a lot better than people expected, the momentum out of the Friday debate.

JARRETT: Right.

MATTINGLY: The big question is we know where things are after the first two contests, but the map is about to look differently demographically with the contest to the come, guys.

JARRETT: Very, very different. Phil, thank you so much.

ROMANS: All right. It's going to be a long 17 days for Joe Biden before the South Carolina primary. The former vice president led the Democratic polls for the better part of a year, but he left New Hampshire before most people even voted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We just heard from the first two of the 50 states, two of them. Not all the nation, not half the nation, not a quarter of the nation, not 10 percent, two. Two.

Now, where I come from, that's the opening bell. We need to hear from Nevada and South Carolina and Super Tuesday states and beyond. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Jessica Dean covers the Biden campaign. She's live in New Hampshire.

The former vice president is right, it's just two states. But no Democrat has won the nomination coming in fourth or fifth in Iowa and New Hampshire.

JESSICA DEAN, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Christine. So you're looking at history and wondering, okay, what is the path forward here?

Well, the Biden campaign will tell you, it's about to look a lot different in terms of what will be voting in this Democratic primary. Up until now, we've had primarily white voters in Iowa and New Hampshire.

The Biden campaign is really ready for a more diverse electorate to start participating within this primary process. They have long looked to South Carolina as what they've considered their firewall where Joe Biden has maintained very high support among African-Americans.

They're also looking to Nevada, to the Hispanic population there, and then beyond, into Super Tuesday states, to the south, into Texas and California. They want to expand the map to expand who's voting in this primary because they believe when that happens, Joe Biden is going to be positioned to do very well.

Now the problem with hanging everything on that premise is then you have to do really well. So it is -- there's a lot of pressure on Joe Biden and his campaign to not only win in South Carolina, for example, but to really win in South Carolina, to really make a statement on Super Tuesday as they look ahead.

As one person close to the campaign told me, it is put up or shut time in South Carolina. You can talk about it all you want, but you got to deliver results there.

So, not -- you know, not surprising that they would go right to South Carolina. Surprising they would do it before the polls closed in New Hampshire. When you look at the results it explains in, and you can tell by what they decided to do yesterday morning, when they made the announcement that they'd be going to South Carolina, that the writing was kind of on the wall there.

We also saw Elizabeth Warren last night in New Hampshire, a neighboring senator, of course from Massachusetts. She like Joe Biden won't be taking any delegates away from New Hampshire. We heard her come out and talk about party unity. We heard her hit Donald Trump, the whole Roger Stone situation that's gone on right now. But they said they are fighting ahead, pushing ahead. So, we'll keep an eye on the Warren campaign.

And then two things -- two people to note that are dropping out of the race, Andrew Yang and Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado. Those two had really hinged a lot of their hopes here in New Hampshire. And it just did not deliver for them, starting to see the field narrow a little bit. Likely see more of that as we continue on down this road -- guys.

ROMANS: I would say so.

All right. Jessica Dean, thank you so much for that.

JARRETT: So more ahead on the primary results.

Plus, the president of the United States is making a mockery of the enforcement of justice with a tweet.

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ROMANS: So Democrats now have a clear front-runner in the race to the party's nominations.

CNN projects Bernie Sanders eking out a narrow win in New Hampshire overnight. But moderates Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar close on Sanders' heels.

What does this mean for the race going forward?

JARRETT: We're joined this morning by "Washington Post" White House correspondent Toluse Olorunnipa, a CNN political analyst.

[04:15:01]

Thanks so much for getting up with us this morning.

ROMANS: Hi.

JARRETT: So, I want to tick through some of the exit polls that I think are telling, Toluse. Take a look at this. When they're asked which candidate quality matters the most, Sanders, 35 percent. But then the numbers go a completely different direction. When they're asking about uniting the country and who's in the top? Buttigieg.

I mean, it's a diametrically opposed. It's Democrats agree they want Trump out of office. But they totally disagree --

ROMANS: About who can do it --

JARRETT: -- about who can do it and how best to get there.

What do you make of this? I mean, how does the party figure out how to capitalize on that?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, that speaks to the broader elect ability airport that's taking place within the Democratic Party now. Do Democrats, did the voters across the country want someone who's going to bring change, who's going to be a change agent, who's going to shake up Washington even more than it's been shaken up the past three years, or do they want someone who will bring calm and unity and sort of have a period after Donald Trump that allows the country to come together and heal.

You see different candidates making different messages. Bernie Sanders saying, you know, it's time to have a political revolution. It's time to take on the billionaire class while Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar are saying we don't necessarily need a revolution. We need to get as much done as possible for the most people.

And that is an argument that's likely to take place for several weeks going forward in this primary because voters are split on that. There are some who want that political revolution, and they are powering Bernie Sanders' campaign. There are others that are saying, we don't want to go that far. We want someone who's going to unite the country, and they're looking at people like Buttigieg and Klobuchar.

ROMANS: Amy Klobuchar, you know, they're calling it the Klobu-surge, Klobu-charge. She's got a nickname for what's happening here.

But does she have the, I guess, the on-the-ground machine to help her in the next states?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, she's shot out of a cannon out of Iowa and then New Hampshire. It remains to be seen whether or not she can capitalize on that. She's had the benefit of momentum. We've seen others go up in the polls very early. She seems to have timed her rise in a very strategic way.

It remains to be seen whether or not she can capitalize on that quickly and go into more diverse states in Nevada and South Carolina and Super Tuesday, and show that she has a broader electorate, an appeal to the broader electorate beyond the early states where she's spent a lot of time over the past several months campaigning in Iowa, having that debate in New Hampshire. Now things happen rapidly, very quickly, and she's going to have to be able to ramp up the organization very quickly if she's going to compete over the long term.

JARRETT: Noteworthy, she's able to do that even though for a good part of the last few weeks she was a juror in the Senate impeachment trial.

ROMANS: That's right.

JARRETT: And so she was still able to get it done even though some of her colleagues weren't so much.

Toluse, I want to get your thoughts on Elizabeth Warren. Obviously she comes in fourth. There's focus understandably on Joe Biden, the presumptive front-runner, at least in national polls.

But how does -- how does Elizabeth Warren recover from this? How does she reset going into Nevada and South Carolina?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, she's going to have to do something differently. There was an article in the paper yesterday about how she was planning to double down on her strategy. And that hasn't worked so far. Even if she struggled in the state that's close by to her home state,

if she struggled in New Hampshire, staying in the single digits, there's not much of an argument for why she would do better in Nevada or South Carolina or going to the South, going to some of the Super Tuesday states.

So, unless she does have a reset and retool her campaign, it will be difficult to see her being able to compete with Bernie Sanders. As you see, Bernie Sanders has been able to take a significant part of the progressive wing. And he's been able to consolidate that vote.

She was competing for that vote earlier this summer. It seems like at this point Bernie Sanders is running away it.

ROMANS: Toluse, you cover the White House. We have got to talk about this earthquake yesterday with the Department of Justice. I mean, we have never seen something like this before. If there weren't a New Hampshire primary, we would be talking about this nonstop.

The president of the United States saying he has every right to but didn't intervene against the sentencing recommendations to his friend Roger Stone even as he's intervening on Twitter about the -- about the event. Walk us through how monumental that was that we saw yesterday.

OLORUNNIPA: Yes. This looks like a textbook case of political interference in a Justice Department matter which is normally something that is anathema to Justice Department activity. They say that they are independent of political interference. They don't allow the president to decide who gets a harsh sentence, who gets prosecuted, who doesn't get prosecuted.

But it seems that's the case. The president tweeted his thoughts about the potential sentence for his friend and confidante Roger Stone, and immediately the Justice Department decided that they wanted to reverse themselves.

[04:20:07]

And we saw what amounts to some sort of a Tuesday night massacre in which three -- four prosecutors on the case decided to leave the case after they were overruled by the Justice Department. So, it is a very messy situation that's hard for the White House or the Justice Department to try to explain this as a condense, if the president didn't have anything to do with it, when anyone with an unbiased view would say it's clear he had an agenda of his own and things turned in favor of the president's ally.

And whether or not the president continues to do that, continues to use the Justice Department to help his friends and go after his enemies is something that remains to be seen.

JARRETT: Part of what's so mind-boggling about it is that the justice department won that case. Jurors found Stone guilty. I mean, it is just confounding --

ROMANS: The witness tampering is one of the reasons -- there's a formula for these sentencing guidelines. And the witness tampering -- I mean, one after another, there were elements of the case that made it tough for Roger Stone, seven to nine years --

JARRETT: That's exactly right.

ROMANS: Up to the judge.

JARRETT: Up to the judge. We'll see what she does. Something tells me she's going to have questions for the DOJ.

Toluse, thank you so much for getting up with us this morning. We'll see you soon.

OLORUNNIPA: Thank you.

JARRETT: Well, almost 200 people released from a two-week quarantine over coronavirus, but now a ship in Japan reporting more cases. What it means for thousands on board. Live from the port, up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[04:26:04]

ROMANS: The first group of Americans evacuated from Wuhan and quarantined over the coronavirus have been released. A graduation-like moment with some of the people tossing their facemasks in celebration.

195 people spent 14 days under mandatory quarantine at the California military base. None tested positive for the virus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JARRED EVANS: It's been a long journey, 14 days. We're just glad that we are healthy, we're clean, ready to go home to our communities and family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROMANS: Overnight, 40 new coronavirus cases confirmed on a quarantined ship off the coast of Japan, including one so-called quarantine officer. It brings the total number of cases on board that ship to 175. Our -- CNN's Matt Rivers is live at the port in Japan.

I mean, you've been talking to some of the people on that ship every day. What are they telling you?

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, they're frustrated. They're scared. They're tense. They're -- some are angry. Some are just really -- I mean, they all really want to get off the ship.

I mean, the common sentiment is how do we get off, when do we get off, is this February 19th deadline going to hold?

According to Princess Cruise Lines, which is in charge of this ship, they do believe that the quarantine period that is mandatory right now for all passengers will end on the 19th. But in the meantime, that's a long time from now from people waking up every day just waiting to see if more cases will be announced.

The Japanese government said that even the cases that were announced today, they believe that all of those cases, those people picked up the virus before the quarantine started. They still believe that the quarantine is working and that the best way forward is to keep it in place. But, you know, people are getting tired of hearing that as the cases continue to go up.

Here's what one man had to say when we spoke to him earlier today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENT FRASURE, DIAMOND PRINCESS PASSENGER: Yes, feels a lot like -- just another day, more passengers, it gets a bit tiring for sure. Kind of feel like a punching bag. You just don't know what's going to be next.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RIVERS: Now, this comes as the WHO, World Health Organization, is warning that the coronavirus, if it spreads to countries less robust health care systems, places in Latin America and Africa, they could be harder to contain this virus. They are urging countries to invest in preparedness now to try and take advantage of this window of opportunity to keep the virus relatively contained and keep the death toll and infection rates as low as possible.

ROMANS: All right. Matt Rivers for us in Japan -- thanks, Matt.

JARRETT: Well, a razor-thin win, but still a win for Bernie Sanders. What the New Hampshire primary results mean for a muddled 2020 Democratic field.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END