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THE SITUATION ROOM
Attorney General Bill Barr Helping Another Trump Ally; Interview With Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL); McCabe Responds To DOJ Declining To Charge Him And Trump's Fury; Biden Tries To Assure Donors He Can Win Nevada, South Carolina; Experts: Number of Coronavirus Cases Could Be Ten Times Higher. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired February 14, 2020 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: U.S. officials say Barr has privately ordered a review of the case against former National Security Adviser and Trump loyalist Michael Flynn.
But, at the same time, the DOJ is dropping its criminal probe of a top Trump target, the former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. And it's all raising more questions about Barr's motives and independence a day after he went on national television to deny he is doing the president's bidding.
I'll be getting the reaction from Senator and former prosecute Doug Jones. And our correspondents and other guests are also standing by, including three of CNN's top legal analysts.
First to CNN crime and justice correspondent Shimon Prokupecz.
And, Shimon, just walk us through these two major developments from the Justice Department tonight.
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: It's been a very busy week here in Washington, D.C., certainly with the Justice Department.
Late today, we get news that the investigation into Andrew McCabe has been dropped. The Justice Department, the Washington U.S. attorney's office is no longer investigating. It's been about two years since Andrew McCabe got into some trouble with the inspector general who was doing an investigation on whether or not he lied during an investigation that they were doing about whether or not he was communicating with reporters.
They had referred that case to the Justice Department for potential criminal charges. And then, all of a sudden, this morning, just before noon, we get word that they are no longer pursuing charges in that investigation. We don't know why, all of a sudden, certainly that came.
The other thing we're learning today is on the Michael Flynn investigation, of course. We got word from sources at the Justice Department that they are now looking at the Flynn investigation. They're looking at how the FBI conducted some of the interviews specifically of Michael Flynn.
They're looking at some of the procedure and the process that went into the Michael Flynn investigation. Of course, he and his attorneys have been battling it out before a judge here in Washington over a plea that he took and his cooperation. That is still very much ongoing.
So we will see. There's been a lot of stuff going on this week, certainly, and the attorney general in the news a lot this week with a lot of what he's saying and a lot of what he's been doing.
KEILAR: And it's kind of a split personality thing, because, on one hand, you have them dropping the investigation of Andrew McCabe, which we already know is upsetting the president.
And then he says the president's tweets aren't helping. But on the other hand, you have the intervention in the Stone case and this Flynn business. How do you square that?
You would have to assume that the Department of Justice knew this -- the investigation of Andrew McCabe, the announcement that they were no longer going to pursue charges, it was coming. So they had that, perhaps, maybe in the back of their pocket.
It's very unclear if it was all timed to come around ending this week on a Friday, after -- given all the other news. So it is interesting. We're seeing two different sides. We're saying here -- we're seeing one side where we know, based on the president's tweets, he wanted to see Andrew McCabe in handcuffs. He wanted him brought before a court and to have to face charges.
But, ultimately, the Department of Justice defying in some ways what the president wanting choosing not to bring any charges against him. You have what could be helpful to the president here and certainly for Michael Flynn is them looking at parts of this investigation, the Michael Flynn investigation.
And then, of course, you have the Roger Stone situation. And there's a lot still that we don't know about and a lot other things that are going to happen probably in the coming weeks.
KEILAR: Makes you wonder if, in a way, there is an aid to helping his friends, but not hurting his enemies a little bit.
PROKUPECZ: That's right.
KEILAR: But I also wonder -- there's some new Roger Stone news. Tell us about this.
PROKUPECZ: Yes. So, we just got word there is a notice. The judge is notifying on the record, on the public record, on the docket, that Stone is asking for a new trial. We don't know why he's asking for a new trial. That's not revealed in this. But there is notice that he is, again, filing a motion with the court
asking for a new trial. The Justice Department has not yet responded to that request.
But this comes after word of a juror there's been who spoke out publicly in a Facebook posting in support of the four prosecutors who presented the case in court when she sat as a juror. After the four of them resigned from the case, she wrote on her Facebook post -- she came out in support of them.
And she has now been sort of caught up in the middle of this, with allegations from -- the president tweeted about her, and, certainly, from Roger Stone's side that she was somehow biased and unfair and against the president. And, therefore, perhaps they could be using that as a case for wanting a new trial.
KEILAR: The verdict was in, though, to be clear when she posted that, right?
PROKUPECZ: Oh, yes. It was way after. This was recently. She posted it this week right after the four prosecutors resigned.
KEILAR: OK. Shimon, thank you. Really appreciate it.
And now to the White House and the president's reaction to the news out of the Justice Department.
This is our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, joining us now.
And, Jim, the president has publicly defended Michael Flynn and railed against this conviction.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
And President Trump did not talk to reporters, we should point out, about this decision at the Justice Department to review the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. That move obviously is not going to sit well with many federal career prosecutors, who are already becoming alarmed that the president was meddling in the Justice Department's probes of Trump associates.
But I am told the president is angry federal prosecutors won't pursue charges against former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The president made those feelings clear to staffers earlier today, we're told, sounding like he's not ready to let it go.
ACOSTA (voice-over): The president is finding his convicted associates have friends in key places, as Attorney General William Barr's privately called on prosecutors to review the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation. Mr. Trump has repeatedly complained about the Justice Department's
handling of Flynn, just as he's voiced frustrations about the trial of another former Trump associate, Roger Stone, who now faces a lighter sentence after Barr intervened in that case.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's a good person. And what they did to him is very unfair, in my opinion. And what they did to General Flynn is very unfair, in my opinion.
ACOSTA: Still, the president isn't getting everything he wants out of the Justice Department. A White House official said Mr. Trump was angry when he learned federal prosecutors won't pursue charges against former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who faced accusations of misleading investigators about his conversations with the press.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm actually not disappointed that the president is angry today about this outcome. I don't think I will ever be free of this president and his maniacal rage that he's directed towards me and my wife since October of 2016 for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
ACOSTA: But the president is brushing off the attorney general's claim in an interview with ABC that he hasn't been asked -- quote -- "to do anything in a criminal case," asserting: "This doesn't mean that I do not have, as president, the legal right to do so. I do. But I have so far chosen not to."
CNN has learned the president was generally aware of what Barr was planning to say in the interview.
WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job.
ACOSTA: A sentiment echoed by some top Republicans.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): The president made a great choice when he picked Bill Barr to be attorney general. And I think the president should listen to his advice.
ACOSTA: But Democrats aren't buying, suspecting Barr is simply looking for more cover to carry out the president's wishes.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): What the attorney general's really saying is: I know what President Trump wants. I'm going to do exactly what Trump wants. I just wish he wouldn't tweet about it, because it is so embarrassing.
ACOSTA: It's worth recalling what the president's former personal attorney Michael Cohen once told Congress, that Mr. Trump rarely gives direct orders.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: He doesn't give you questions. He doesn't give you orders. He speaks in a code. And I understand the code because I have been around him for a decade.
ACOSTA: As for his current personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, the president is now admitting he sent him to Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS: Was it strange to send Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine, your personal lawyer? Are you sorry you did that?
TRUMP: Not at all. Rudy was a great crime fighter. You know that maybe better than anybody.
RIVERA: Of course.
ACOSTA: Something he denied last year.
TRUMP: No, I didn't direct him. But he is a warrior. Rudy's a warrior. Rudy went. He possibly saw something.
ACOSTA: Now, all in all, Trump advisers see the president on something of a win streak as he continues this apparent revenge tour. As one Trump adviser put it to me earlier today, if Mr. Trump drank champagne, he'd be enjoying some this weekend -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Jim Acosta, thank you so much.
And joining me now, Senator Doug Jones, Democrat of Alabama. He is a former federal prosecutor as well.
Sir, thanks for joining us.
SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): My pleasure, Brianna. Thank you for having me.
KEILAR: Well, as you know, Roger Stone is looking for a new trial, and the attorney general is having outside prosecutors review Michael Flynn's case.
Did you ever see anything like this during your time as a U.S. attorney?
JONES: No, not at all.
I don't recall ever seeing this in any administration. I think you almost have to go back to John Mitchell, who was Nixon's attorney general, who went to prison for some of the things he did for Richard Nixon.
This is unprecedented. This is not what I think is in keeping with the pillars of the Department of Justice, the professionals that are there that are supposed to stay out of politics and that are supposed to do -- follow the rule of law. It appears that that is just going out the window at this point.
[18:10:10] KEILAR: Do you think the attorney general is trying to undo the work of the Mueller team?
JONES: I don't know if he's trying to do the -- undo the work of the Mueller team.
What I think he's trying to do is, apparently, try to do the bidding of the president. You know, look, the president does not have to talk to anybody to relay his wishes. He's got a telephone and he does it via Twitter. He does it on in media interviews. Everyone knows what he wants.
Everyone knows he wants revenge on the people that have testified against him, who have moved against him in any form or fashion. He would like to help his friends. I think you see that.
Michael Flynn and his lawyers are getting them the message. And that's why they filed the motion they did. I think it was kind of a -- I don't think it was a coincidence, actually, that all of a sudden the president tweets about the Roger Stone juror foreman, and the next day, Roger Stone files a motion for a new trial, probably alleging the same thing.
There's got to be some communication going on there. I just think that this is part, as you all have said, a revenge tour. And I think it's a very dangerous precedent for the Department of Justice.
KEILAR: This comes after the attorney general pushed back on the president's interference in an interview yesterday. How do you square his words with his actions?
And do you agree with Senator Blumenthal's assessment that this is essentially the A.G. saying, no, I already got you, I don't need you to tweet about it?
No, I said that yesterday in a couple of interviews. This is -- I think everybody has got his the president's back. That's all the president wants. He wants people in Congress, he wants people in the Department of Justice, he wants everybody to do nothing for the American people. He just wants people with him that's got his back. And that's all he wants.
And so I think the tweets do get in the way. They do create a firestorm that are unnecessary, that puts the attorney general in a tough spot. But I think the attorney general knows exactly what the president wants and why he's doing it.
I think it's really unprecedented that he is having this looked at, the Flynn case, by a second set of prosecutors. Remember, Brianna, Michael Flynn -- Michael Flynn stood before a United States district judge. He said, under oath, that he was guilty. He said, under oath, that he had not been pressured, that he was pleading guilty solely because he was guilty and for no other reason. And now, all of a sudden, that's going to be reviewed? I think it's an
uphill battle to try to get that overturned that his lawyers have. But I think he's -- the message is coming from the president. And this is really directed to try to help the president because, one of these days, I think that we're going to see a bunch of pardons coming out of the White House, sooner, rather than later.
KEILAR: Sources had told CNN to expect some more resignations from the Justice Department. But it's really interesting because you urged prosecutors to -- quote -- "stay strong and stand up to any political interference they see."
Explain what you want to see them do. Explain that sentiment.
JONES: Well, look, I can understand the frustration.
And I think when you are in a position that these prosecutors were the other day, when you have a direct rebuke like that, the way the department handled that, you get off of that case. And somebody may have -- you know, one of the prosecutors resigned.
And I understand that sentiment. But at the same time, these are career folks. They have been there a long time. They have come across administrations in different parties. They're career people. They're dedicated to the rule of law and they believe that no one is above the rule of law. No one is above the law, not even the president.
And we need people like that in the Department of Justice. There's thousands of them like that. And every now and then, they're going to bump up against these political shenanigans. Every now and then, they're going to bump up and get pushback from political winds.
They need to stay strong. The American public depend on them, more so than they depend on the president, more so than they depend on the attorney general. They depend on those line prosecutors and people in the office to stand up and do the right, thing because it's those folks who are standing in front of a U.S. district judge or a court of appeals judges to say, this is what the Department of Justice stands for.
That's what I want to see them, to just stay strong. There are thousands. There's people with them in places of power, to just stay there and stand there with them, and this, too, will pass.
KEILAR: Senator Doug Jones, thank you so much. Have a great weekend, sir.
JONES: My pleasure, Brianna. Thank you.
KEILAR: And just ahead: Is Attorney General Barr trying to undo the work of the Mueller investigation? We will talk about all of Barr's new moves and the questions about his motives three of CNN's top legal analysts.
We have Jeffrey Toobin, Preet Bharara, and Jim Baker joining us next.
KEILAR: Attorney General William Barr is pouring fresh fuel on concerns about his independence from the president a day after he insisted to the world that he wouldn't be bullied by Mr. Trump.
We are digging deeper into Barr's decision to order a review of the Michael Flynn case and another late-breaking story, Roger Stone asking, once again, for a new trial.
And we are joined now by our legal analysts to dissect all of this, the former top lawyer at the FBI Jim Baker, former U.S. attorney Preet Bharara, and former federal prosecutor Jeffrey Toobin.
And, Jim, I want to start with you.
You were the top lawyer at the FBI during the Russia investigation. You have been watching these developments with Roger Stone, multiple developments, Michael Flynn. Do you worry that this is just undoing all of that work of the Mueller investigation?
JIM BAKER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: This is a terrible week, I think, for the Department of Justice on many, many levels.
I mean, I'm very happy for Andy McCabe personally. He's the way -- he was treated over the past several years has been outrageous. The way the department treated him, the way the FBI treated him, the way the president treated him, it's just been outrageous.
And the way that they are treating the Department of Justice is outrageous. The way they're handling these cases is outrageous. It's terrible for the men and women of the Department of Justice who try their best every single day to do justice. That's what the place is all about. That's how people think.
And when you work there, you put aside your personal interests, your views. I don't care what people say on Twitter or anywhere else. I mean, it's just not true. People that go there put aside their personal views and try to do the work of the American people in an independent, impartial way. That's what everybody is about.
That's what the culture is like. And so this has just been terrible. And it's very disruptive. And so I think, you know, the attorney general's comments yesterday in that interview were an effort to try to get ahold -- to try to deal with I think what sounds like a rebellion from within and a demoralized work force. And so, to me, as somebody who worked a long time there, I'm distressed for the department.
KEILAR: Jeffrey, I wonder.
As you watch, let's just hone in on one part of this, the Roger Stone developments. He wants a new trial. We don't know the grounds that he is asking for a new trial on. But you can kind of guess, right?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Right.
KEILAR: Considering this juror who's come out and sided with the prosecutors. Is there any chance that he would actually get a new trial?
TOOBIN: Well, I you know, to be fair, we obviously have to read the court papers first.
But based on what the juror has said, I think there is no chance for a new trial. He's already been denied a new trial once. And it's very typical for defendants, after they're convicted, to ask for a new trial.
Here, the statement by the juror, it's almost impossible to get a new trial based on a juror's after-the-fact statement unless it's incredibly outrageous, like, they went and inspected the crime scene themselves or they betrayed some horrible, bigoted bias.
Here, this was just sort of words of support for the prosecutors who quit. I don't see any basis for a new trial here.
KEILAR: Preet, on Michael Flynn. I just wonder if you can put into context, how rare is it for the DOJ to bring in outside investigators to look at a case like this?
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's very rare.
In fact, lots of things have been going on in the last week where I have gone back, racked my own memory, consulted with my former deputies to say, has this happened before? Do you remember this happening during the eight years that I was U.S. attorney, almost?
And the answer most of the time this week has been no. And with respect to this, there are times when there are questions raised about a prosecution, because people are human beings. And you have two agencies within the Justice Department, two subdivisions. You have the Office of Professional Responsibility and you have the Office of the Inspector General.
And, generally speaking, when there is some question about the behavior of prosecutors or law enforcement officials, you go through that route. And you don't call up people in other parts of the country who are in other U.S. attorney's offices to take a look, especially after you have had a guilty plea like you have in the Michael Flynn case, and especially after some of those allegations have been made by the defense and they have been shot down by the judge.
So maybe it has some precedent, none that I am aware of. And I was not at the department for a short period of time.
TOOBIN: Can I just make one point about the Michael Flynn case? Preet just referred to it in passing. Michael Flynn pleaded guilty.
KEILAR: That's right. TOOBIN: He was represented by fine lawyers at the law firm of
Covington & Burling, one of the most distinguished firms in Washington.
He had what's called an allocution, where the judge asks him a whole series of questions. Are you sure you want to plead guilty? Are you pleading guilty because you are guilty? Do you understand the penalties against you?
This is not some 16-year-old kid railroaded by a judicial system that he has no support in. This is a guilty plea by an extremely knowledgeable, educated person, advised by the best lawyers in the country.
And this is what the Department of Justice is investigating? The only reason they are investigating it is because Donald Trump didn't like the result. That's what's going on here. And that's what's so disturbing about this.
KEILAR: All right, we have much more to discuss.
All of you, stand by.
Ahead, we will talk about Andrew McCabe. A good day for him after a long two years, his investigation now dropped. We will discuss that as soon as we're back.
KEILAR: We're back now with our legal analysts.
And the other big story out of the Justice Department today, the criminal investigation of former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe has been dropped.
I spoke with McCabe, who is a CNN contributor, a short while ago. And I asked him about President Trump's apparent anger that he is not facing charges.
He told me he will never be free of the president's wrath. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCABE: I'm not surprised. And I'm actually not disappointed that the president is angry today about this outcome.
So, I guess, to answer your question, no, I don't think I will ever be free of this president and his maniacal rage that he's directed towards me and my wife since October of 2016 for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
The president has been lying about us and in defaming me and my family consistently for years now. [18:30:04]
So do I think that will stop because of the DOJ's decision today? No, I have no illusion (ph) that that will ever stop.
He's made it pretty clear in the way that he's conducted himself over the last week that he's, you know, high and mighty on the tour of retaliation against everyone who had anything to do with his impeachment inquiry. So he's a vindictive guy. And I fully expect that he'll continue to hound me and my family.
It's just another absurdity from someone who really has no understanding of the fundamental tenants of our system of justice and how we go to incredible lengths. You know, the Constitution creates -- gives us the rights that we enjoy as Americans and it is our criminal justice system that delivers and protects and ensures those rights for all Americans.
And the president has a responsibility to step back and allow that process to take place in a fair and unbiased manner. But he has proven, time and time again, that he doesn't understand or respect that system as he's weighed in repeatedly on criminal cases about his friends, both lobbying for leniency for his friends like Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, and also advocating for vengeance to be meted out against his perceived enemies, like myself and Jim Comey, and many others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Jim, he is your former colleague. He's Andy to you, not Andrew. You are very familiar with him and he's clearly angry, I think, justifiably. And this clearly just weighs so heavily on him, what he's been through the last couple years. Take us into that a bit.
BAKER: Yes, it's been terrible. It's been terrible for all of us to have live through this. I mean, it's traumatic. It was traumatic at the time to go through the Hillary Clinton case, the Russia investigation, Jim Comey being fired, everything that happened to Andy. And it continues because the trauma continues. You can't escape it because it's constantly being talked about. And, frankly, we're sitting here on T.V. talking about it still. You're living in that. So it's extremely difficult.
I always thought about the human development or -- excuse me -- the human element of this when I was a prosecutor too. And prosecutors wield enormous power. The government has enormous power over individuals. And people have to exercise that wisely, impartially, appropriately, because it does take a huge toll on everybody.
So as I was saying earlier, the way Andy has been treated by the government has been outrageous and it's high time that they concluded this matter.
TOOBIN: But at least the U.S. Attorney's Office came out with the right decision. I mean, I'm familiar with the facts of the case. And the idea that it took two years to decide that this was not a prosecutorial case is ridiculous. This case, if this had been anyone else, would have been kicked out of the U.S. Attorney's Office in probably a week. This was never an appropriate criminal case.
But, again, because Donald Trump has been, you know, harassing McCabe and his wife, who ran for the state Senate in -- she's an emergency room doctor in Virginia. She -- because he was obsessed with the fact that she ran as a Democrat for the state Senate there, you know, he's been hounding both of them for a year. And that's the only reason this has taken so long because it never should have even gotten this far.
KEILAR: It's hard to think, Preet, that this is completely over because he's become this caricature that Donald Trump has created and who has so much ire from the president.
BHARARA: Yes. Look, I want to echo what the other folks have said. Andy McCabe, I know Andy also. He was a colleague of mine. We were both young law enforcement folks going back 15 or 16 years in New York. As a line FBI agent, he was, and I was a line prosecutor, doing cases related to Russian organized crime.
The judge in the case has indicated in documents that were made available, I think, today for the first time was also concerned about how long this was taking, and also, more importantly, concerned about the hounding of the president.
And I think even used the phrase banana republic to refer to the kind of country we would be in if you had people at the highest level of government who don't know about the facts and have a personal vendetta or animus toward somebody saying publicly, like the president did, over and over again, he wanted something to be done about Andy McCabe or wanted something to be done about Jim Comey or anyone of the number of other people, which is why the incidents of the last week are so incredibly troubling.
The president of the United States needs to stay out of naming individuals he doesn't like or are his campaign rivals and asking for prosecutions of them. And he also needs to stay away from figuring out ways to protect people who are his allies. There are lots and lots of people who get swept up in the criminal justice system in this country federally and on the state level. And the president only seems to involve himself when it relates to an enemy or to an ally. And that needs to stop if we're not going to become like the judge in Andy McCabe's case said, a banana republic.
KEILAR: I want to get all of your perspectives maybe quickly here. But I just want to read something that Sally Yates, the former deputy attorney general, wrote in The Washington Post in an op-ed. She said, from virtually the moment he took office, President Trump has attempted to use the Justice Department as a cudgel against his enemies and as a shield for himself and his allies. With every blow, the wall of justice independence has wobbled a bit more. This week, it teetered on the verge of collapse.
To you first, Jim, do you agree with Sally Yates? BAKER: Yes. This was a bad week for the Department of Justice. And I think it fits the pattern though of the president attacking the Department of Justice and the FBI saying we're corrupt for all these years in order to make it easier for people to believe then that he could use the department in the same way because, hey, they're all corrupt anyway, I'm not doing anything different so it's okay if I exert this authority on the Department of Justice as well, because, hey, the whole thing is corrupt, the system is corrupt, it's all a swamp.
KEILAR: Real quickly, Jeff?
TOOBIN: It's not a swamp. I mean, you know, I was at a much lower level in the Justice Department than these two guys. And, you know, I was so proud to be associated with the lion prosecutors who were there through one administration after the other just trying to do the right thing. And, you know, to see the president using the judicial system in a way that Richard Nixon didn't even do, that Richard Nixon wouldn't have stooped to is something that is really chilling and we are not at the end of it. We are in the middle of this effort, and I don't know which way it's going to go.
KEILAR: Preet, just lastly, we actually have some breaking news that I want to share. The Washington Post just now, the reporting that the impeachment trial, as it was ending, the impeachment trial, federal prosecutors in New York were reaching out to witnesses and they were collecting additional documents relating to Rudy Giuliani. So, I mean, here we are, again, right, Giuliani is not out of the woods yet. What's your reaction to that news?
BHARARA: My reaction is, if it's true, Rudy Giuliani should not be playing any role in bringing information from Ukraine or anywhere else into the Justice Department under some special arrangement that Bill Barr seems to have acknowledged and that Lindsey Graham seems to have acknowledged.
And going back to the prior point, Donald Trump likes to say we should build a wall. He wants to build a wall. The wall he should build is one between law enforcement and politics. That's the wall that has been eroded that Sally Yates was talking about. And the other thing about that is that's a wall you can build that doesn't cost a penny. It just takes some integrity.
KEILAR: Preet, Jeffrey, Jim, thank you so much. I really appreciate the conversation.
And just ahead, we're going to check in on the Democratic presidential race as Joe Biden is making predictions and trying to calm concerns about his chances.
And the startling new warning that the number of cases of coronavirus could be much, much higher than currently reported.
[18:40:00] KEILAR: Joe Biden is trying to reassure donors that victories are within his reach after his disappointments in New Hampshire and Iowa.
CNN Political Correspondent Arlette Saenz is in Nevada, that holds caucuses just eight days from now. And, Arlette, tell us because Biden has an event there tonight.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Brianna. Joe Biden will be appearing here in Henderson, Nevada in just a short while. And yesterday in New York City, he told donors that he believes he will place either first or second here in Nevada as he is looking to regain his place in the race following those disappointing finishes in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
The Biden campaign really sees Nevada as a launching pad for the former vice president in part because of the diverse demographics here in the state and also the strong presence from unions. They believe that that group is also beneficial for the former vice president. Today, he picked up a key endorsement from one of the congressmen from the state, the only African-American member of Congress from Nevada.
And as the Democratic candidates prepare to descend on the state, one candidate who will not be here is Michael Bloomberg. But right now, his record is really coming into sharp focus. And he is apologizing for his defense or his past defense of the stop-and-frisk policing policy. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL BLOOMBERG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is one aspect, approach, that I deeply regret. the abusive police practice called stop-and-frisk. I defended it, looking back, for too long because I didn't understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids. I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it. I didn't, and for that, I apologize.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAENZ: Now, next week, the Democrats will be gathering here in Nevada for the next democratic debate. And one question is will Michael Bloomberg meet the qualifications to be on that debate stage. And if he does, his rivals could be ready to pounce. Brianna?
KEILAR: Arlette Saenz, thank you so much.
And just ahead, experts issue a new warning about the spread of the coronavirus.
KEILAR: Tonight, new concerns about the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Over 64,000 cases are confirmed around the world.
And CNN's Lucy Kafanov is following all of this. Tell us what you're learning, Lucy.
LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, U.S. officials are frustrated with the lack of reliable data coming out of China, but some Americans under quarantine are demanding more transparency from their own government.
KAFANOV (voice-over): As the coronavirus crisis grows so are fears and frustrations among Americans in quarantine. At the Miramar Air Station near San Diego, evacuees from Wuhan increasingly worried after two were diagnosed with a virus, now in isolation at a nearby hospital but not before spending time among the healthy evacuees.
Jacob Wilson is among those in quarantine worried about the risk of infection.
JACOB WILSON, QUARANTINED AT MIRAMAR AIR STATION: We're all coming from the epicenter of this virus, and we were also exposed in Wuhan, so we wanted to get tested because in cases of people in our facility that were walking around with us, going to meals with us, not wearing face masks with us were infected and they just had mild symptoms or they even had a reason to hide their symptoms, they could potentially be transmitting the virus to us within the quarantine facility.
KAFANOV: He and other evacuees sent this petition to the CDC, demanding what they called critical changes, including preventing people from gathering in small, enclosed environments, and having protective gear delivered to their rooms. He shared this video showing clean-up crews in hazmat suits, a new precaution with the top request for all evacuees to be tested for the virus, for now denied.
The CDC saying it's not necessary.
WILSON: Our biggest concern, the ability to be voluntarily tested for the coronavirus has still fell on deaf ears.
KAFANOV: A CDC spokesman told CNN several changes have been made to the procedures to address these concerns. We're doing what we can to make everyone as comfortable as possible.
For Jacob, that's not enough.
WILSON: I felt very troubled by the CDC's response and I felt some of the lack of precautions that they had taken from the very beginning of our arrival had put us at risk.
KAFANOV (on camera): That doesn't make you feel very safe.
WILSON: No. And I think that a lot of the people here don't feel safe as well.
KAFANOV (voice-over): Meanwhile, Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, reporting a record spike in the number of deaths. The global toll now topping 1,300.
Chinese authorities resorting to wartime measures, barring citizens from leaving their homes. Beijing revealing for the first time more than 1,700 front line medics are infected with the virus. Short on medical supplies, these doctors are creating protective gear out of garbage bags.
American officials are frustrated with the lack of reliable data. There are only 15 confirmed cases in the U.S. so far, but that number could grow.
ALEX AZAR, HHS SECRETARY: Right now, the risk to Americans is very low, but that can change quickly. This is a virus and viruses don't respect borders.
KAFANOV: And new today, five American cities will start testing patients with flu-like symptoms for the coronavirus. The CDC says this is all part of an effort to determine whether that virus is spreading across communities here in the U.S. -- Brianna.
KEILAR: Lucy, thank you so much. Lucy Kafanov in Denver.
And we have more news ahead.
KEILAR: With the Nevada caucuses just eight days from now in the 2020 presidential election cycle in full swing, CNN is taking you behind the scenes of some of the presidential elections of year's past.
The premier episode tracks the history making 2008 race between freshman Senator Barack Obama and revered campaign veteran, Senator John McCain.
CNN's Tom Foreman looks at the most pivotal moments during the 2008 race.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Democrats, the 2008 contest started with our fifth most memorable moment, Hillary Clinton jumping in with the best odds ever for a female contender.
BARBARA PERRY, UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA PRESIDNETIAL STUDIES DIRECTOR: She's former first lady. She is a well-respected senator. She is married to Bill Clinton.
THEN-SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I'm in it to win it.
FOREMAN: For Republicans, another seasoned pro was emerging. John McCain, a war hero with years in the Senate. SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), 2008 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know who I am
and what I want to do.
FOREMAN: What neither of them could have foreseen is our fourth most memorable moment, the explosive rise of a far less experienced contender.
THEN-SEN. BARACK OBAMA, (D-IL): People call me Alabamer (ph), or they call me Yo'mama, but the name is Obama.
UNIDENTIFIED BOY: He's a candidate running for president.
FOREMAN: Barack Obama electrified young voters and shocked the old guard.
OBAMA: You were a corporate lawyer sitting on the board at Walmart. I was fighting these fights.
FOREMAN: By the time Clinton realized her race was in trouble, the nomination was effectively his, and McCain was waiting along with the third most memorable moment.
JEREMIAH WRIGHT, PASTOR: No, no, no! Not God bless America! God damn America!
FOREMAN: Obama was soon being hammered over his ties to a controversial family pastor and an old acquaintance.
AD ANNOUNCER: Barack Obama and domestic terrorist Bill Ayers, friends.
FOREMAN: Still he weathered those storms and began surging again, triggering the second most memorable moment. Desperate to improve in the polls, McCain made a wildly unorthodox choice for a running mate.
MCCAIN: Governor Sarah Palin of the great state of Alaska.
FOREMAN: Palin drew praise from conservatives.
SARAH PALIN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull, lipstick.
FOREMAN: And scorn from liberals.
But mostly she and McCain failed to deliver the votes the party needed. And in the end, the number one most memorable moment is one that country will never forget.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Barack Obama, 47 years old, will become the president-elect of the United States.
FOREMAN: Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
KEILAR: Be sure to watch the CNN original series "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE." This all new season premiers this Sunday 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, right here on CNN.
I'm Brianna Keilar. Thank you so much for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.