Return to Transcripts main page


Ukrainian President Speaks At Munich Security Conference; Barr's Public Rebuke Of Trump Sparks Debate Over Motives; Zelensky On Ukraine Corruption: We Want To Change This Image; How Millennials Will Impact The 2020 Race And Beyond. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired February 15, 2020 - 07:00   ET





WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'm not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the Attorney General's really saying is I'm going to do exactly what Trump wants. I just wish he wouldn't tweet about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Justice Department announced Friday it won't bring criminal charges against McCabe.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR THE FBI: We are guilty of doing our jobs and nothing else.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: McCabe certainly what he's done is just despicable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As Attorney General William Barr is privately caught on prosecutors to review the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

TRUMP: What they did to him is very unfair, in my opinion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to handle each case as I think law requires.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's just eight days until the Nevada caucus is growing questions about whether there is any risk of an Iowa debacle repeat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Nevada Democratic Party, I have great confidence that they're not going to be using an app. Let me be clear.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome. It's good to be with you. I'm Victor Blackwell.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. I'm Amara Walker in for Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: We're following breaking news out of Germany. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky sat down for a wide-ranging interview with CNN Christiane Amanpour. This is at the Munich Security Conference. They talked about how the impeachment in the U.S. affected his ability to secure that much needed aid for Ukraine. At one point he joked, he always wanted to be popular in the U.S., just not like this.


VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE: Now, I'm very popular in USA, but I didn't want to find such way. But, you know, but if this way will help Ukraine, I'm ready for next call with Mr. Trump.


BLACKWELL: The U.S. is perhaps the most important supporter of Ukraine provides both military, monetary support. Zelensky spent a lot of the interview saying that he wanted to begin rebuilding the relationship with the U.S.


ZELENSKY (through translation): I want to come and started from scratch. Our relations to agree on some contracts to sign some arrangements to agree on the strategic things and investments. Let's prepare the package of the documents and arrange the meeting yet. So, the bow is in the courtyard of the United States of America.


WALKER: All right. Joining us now to discuss CNN National Security Correspondent, Vivian Salama, who is in Munich. We also have Toluse Olorunnipa, CNN Political Analyst and White House Reporter for The Washington Post. Thank you both for being with us. Vivian, let's start with you, again, a wide-ranging interview, but what Zelensky really kept hitting at was the fact that he needs United States support.

We did hear from senators, U.S. senators at the end, both Republican and Democrat, both saying: look, we support your efforts, especially fighting the separatists in the east. Tell us more about how important, clearly, Zelensky was saying this is going to be very important to maintain a strong relationship with the United States.

VIVIAN SALAMA, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: That's right. And so, he was actually requesting that we essentially start the relationship from scratch after the impeachment trial ended. He said that this is a time for essentially a reboot in the relationship with the United States.

He talked a lot about some of the challenges that Ukraine faces but also suggested that Ukraine basically has a bad rap, especially out of Washington where the President, President Trump's rhetoric has been very critical of Ukraine as far as it being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. He really pushed back on that notion. And he said, you know, yes, we have problems, he acknowledged those problems. But he said that he came into power, wanting to tackle those problems

and change course, and so he really pushed back on the notion of corruption. He also emphasized the need for Western support from the United States and European allies, especially as they face challenges with Russia.

Russia, of course, launching incursion several years ago in Eastern Ukraine, and they still continue that battle until today. And so, specifically with regards to military aid and other kinds of support, he said that it is so critical, and he hopes that moving forward, the United States can see why Ukraine is a good partner and someone that they should continue to deal with.

BLACKWELL: Toluse, we heard from President Zelensky that he's looking forward to this White House meeting that was offered. We all remember from, from that July transcript, but it has not happened. We know that President Trump and President Zelensky, they met back in September at the U.N., but what are we hearing from the White House, from the administration about timing, and about why this has not happened?


TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, the President's still fresh off the acquittal in the Senate from impeachment. And right now, he's more focused on domestic politics, focused on retribution for the people who testified against him as part of this impeachment process.

So, he's not necessarily looking to move forward with the U.S. Ukraine relationship just yet. It seems like he's obsessed with taking a revenge on the people who testified against him. At some point, there may be a meeting between Presidents Zelensky and President Trump, but President Trump still has very raw feelings about impeachment.

He still feels like he was treated unfairly by the House and he doesn't like the fact that impeachment is forever going to be tied to his name. So, I think it may be early for the President himself to want to bring Zelensky back to the White House. There are several people within his administration who are saying: yes, we need to move forward with this meeting.

We need to go ahead and have this meeting happen, put this behind us, try to move forward. But the President is looking backward and looking at trying to exact revenge on the people who made him the third impeached President in history. So, it may be a while before we actually have this White House meeting between President Trump and President Zelensky.

AMARA: You know, we also saw Zelensky push back pretty hard when Cristiane asked him about corruption in Ukraine, which is one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Here's what he said.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Mr. President, as you know, because of all of this, Ukraine has been labeled one of the most corrupt countries in the world, that, that is one of the reputational damages to your country, in the wake of all of this. And recently, I mean, you know, really recently in November, around Thanksgiving, President Trump told Fox News: "Why should we give money to a country that's known corrupt? It's a very corrupt country. I mean, I love the people in Ukraine. I know Ukrainian people, they're great people, but it's known as being the third most corrupt country in the world."

ZELENSKY: That's not that's not true. That's not true. When I, when I had meeting with Mr. President Trump, and he said about that three -- he said that the previous years it was so corrupt, this country, Ukraine, I told him very honestly, and I was very open with him. I told him that we fight this corruption. We fight with this fight each day, but please, please stop to say that Ukraine is corrupted country, but because from now it's not true. We want to change this image.


WALKER: And he wants to change his image because again, you know, we've seen and heard at least from the U.S. that military aid has been contingent, apparently on the view that Ukraine is corrupt. And Vivian, to that point. I mean, Zelensky campaigned hard on ending the war in the East of Ukraine. I think he promised that he would, you know, wrap it up within 12 months, clearly, that's not going to happen. So, again, this is a pressing issue for the Zelensky, especially when it comes to his viability as President.

SALAMA: That's right. He was essentially a political newcomer when he came to power last spring. And he won primarily on that anti- corruption platform where he said we had to do away with the old and bring in some new values into the Government of Ukraine.

And so, for him to hear that repeatedly uttered by the President of the United States, especially but even others, he says, you know, we're changing course at this point. And so, he's trying to get others to put their faith in him and he wants that rhetoric to go out in public as well.

But until now, he hasn't really found that out of President Trump in particular, who continues to raise the issue not only of Ukrainian corruption, but also of the lack of will by European allies to do more to help Ukraine, both in terms of its military aid, as well as its battle with corruption.

And so, this is something that he said we really have to try to work together to change the image of Ukraine and he hopes that President Trump will get on board with that image.

BLACKWELL: Getting on board but also more than a photo-op, more than a handshake. He wants something concrete when he speaks with the president and that White House meeting that was offered. Vivian and Toluse, thank you both.

OLORUNNIPA: Thank you.


BLACKWELL: Still to come, a stunning week in Washington. The Justice Department made some pretty controversial decisions involving Trump allies and Trump foes. Critics now are asking who is really in charge? The attorney general or the president?


BLACKWELL: Well, this morning there is plenty of skepticism, the rift between the President and his appointed Attorney General Bill Barr is growing and taking some twists and turns.

WALKER: It sure is. Barr saying this week, the President's tweets make it impossible to do his job. The President responding to the rebuke with what else, a tweet, writing: As President, he can intervene in a criminal case if he wanted to, but hasn't so far.

BLACKWELL: Well, after that tweet, Barr delivered a big blow to the President's Deep State conspiracy theory. He announced common Trump target former FBI Deputy Director Andrew, Andrew McCabe will not face any charges. We'll talk more about that at the moment. As the Justice Department actively faces accusations that it caved to political pressure over Roger Stones case, Barr is now reviewing the case of another Trump ally, Michael Flynn.

WALKER: The President, escaping Washington now at Mar-a-Lago and Florida for the weekend and Sarah Westwood is in West Palm Beach covering the president, Sarah?


WALKER: That's, that's right, Amara, President Trump heading down here to Florida after that tumultuous week in Washington that saw increased scrutiny of the Justice Department and whether it operates independently. And President Trump deep into that scrutiny yesterday when he tweeted that he does have the legal right in his eyes to intervene in criminal proceedings that of course, raising new questions about DOJ impartiality because it came just days after the president openly criticize the Justice Department sentencing recommendations for a former confidante, Roger Stone.

Those sentencing recommendations were later adjusted the federal prosecutors on the case quit in protest. So, there was a lot of back and forth between the White House and the Justice Department with Attorney General Bill Barr issuing a rare rebuke to his boss, saying that the President waiting into open active cases hurts his ability to do his job. Take a listen.


BARR: To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about the 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 and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the, in the department that we're doing our work with integrity.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN REPORTER: Now, this comes as CNN reports that Barr

quietly ordered a review of the case of Michael Flynn. We recall that Flynn was the Former National Security Adviser who in 2017 pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about a conversation he'd had with the then Russian ambassador. That case, now under review by the Justice Department and a move widely perceived as something that could be placating President Trump.

And this has caused a lot of criticism from Democrats, even some reservations expressed by Republicans. The President's seeming intervention in Justice Department issues. Senator Doug Jones, Democrat from Alabama, said that the President's actions here with regards to the Justice Department are unprecedented. Take a listen.


SEN. DOUG JONES (D-AL): I think you almost have to go back to John Michell who was Nixon's Attorney General who went to prison for some of the things he did for Richard Nixon. This is unprecedented.


WESTWOOD: And complicating the relationship between the White House and the Justice Department this week was the DOJ decision to drop its criminal investigation of former top FBI official Andrew McCabe. CNN reported that President Trump was not happy with the Justice Department's decision not to pursue criminal charges of McCabe who the President has long attacked as a foe.

WALKER: All right, Sarah Westwood with the latest. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about that. Because more than not happy, it's reported that President Trump was downright angry when he learned that the Justice Department was dropping that two-year criminal investigation into the former FBI Deputy Director McCabe spoke with CNN about the dropping of the investigation last night. Here's a portion of that conversation.


MCCABE: Absolutely the right thing to do then, and I would do it again tomorrow if I was in the same situation and looking at the same facts. What -- look, what we have seen through the multiple investigations so far, all of the work of the I.G. looking at everything each one of us did, the decisions, we made, the communications around them everything you could possibly imagine millions of documents.

Even the biggest critics have concluded that we were absolutely authorized in opening the cases we did. In my judgment, it would have been a dereliction of duty not to open the cases we did under the concerns that we had and the facts we're working with at the time. We are guilty of doing our jobs and nothing else.


WALKER: According to transcripts, the federal judge who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush told prosecutors last year that the involvement of the White House and the case gives the appearance of a government run like a banana republic.

BLACKWELL: With me now to discuss is Page Pate, a Criminal Defense and Constitutional Attorney. Page, welcome, thanks for being here. Let me start with McCabe. I mean, it was a hell of a week for DOJ. But let's start here, because back in September, you had attorneys -- DOJ attorney saying, listen, we're just a couple of days out. Just give us a little more time. That was in the summer. And to go this long and nothing, what's your reaction to the dropping of the case?

PAGE PATE, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I'm surprised by it, because we know that the President was always interested in having McCabe prosecuted. We know the Department of Justice took a very long time with the case; they actually took it to a grand jury on one occasion. So, I think the decision not to bring formal criminal charges was a surprise, clearly a surprise to President Trump. Now, the question: now, what's he going to do about it? Is there going to be another reversal from the Department of Justice just simply because Trump thinks it was the wrong decision? We'll see.


BLACKWELL: Yes, there was a headline every day. Let's go to Thursday when the Attorney General essentially asserts his independence and says he will not be bullied. Then on Friday, we learned that he has ordered this review of the Michael Flynn investigation. Optics are terrible. If you're trying to assert your independence, do you see a direct contradiction, though?

PATE: I see a lot of contradictions. First, I'm trying to figure out what exactly are they going to review about the Michael Flynn case? He was prosecuted. He pled guilty. The case was set for sentencing. His cooperation didn't turn out maybe as well as the government had expected. So, they were going to recommend some prison time. That's fine. It happens all the time.

What does not happen is what we saw on the Stone case, where main justice, the Attorney General comes in and says: Look, I understand you're handling the case, you're the frontline prosecutor. I don't agree with what you're doing anymore. So, I really don't understand the Attorney General's involvement in the Flynn case by taking some prosecutor from outside of the district having him come in and review a case that's already been handled. It's already been completed.

BLACKWELL: What did you make of the, the interview with the Attorney General this week where he says the President makes it impossible to do his job? If he continues to tweet, and then the president tweeted. I mean, no one expects that Barr is now going to resign because the President still tweeting. What was the practical fruit of saying here?

PATE: It is impossible for Barr to do his job the right way, as long as the President continues to interfere with these investigations in these cases. But I think it's clear that bar is not going to do the job the right way. What happened in the Stone case, and I don't know that everyone appreciates how extraordinary that is? I've been handling federal criminal cake federal criminal cases for

over 25 years now. And to have the Department of Justice step in after a sentencing recommendation has been made by the frontline prosecute and say no, no, now we've changed our mind. That's not our recommendation. That's extraordinary, because that initial recommendation had to be approved to begin with.

So, what I know happened here, even though there's no, you know, trail of it, the president probably didn't pick up the phone and talk to Barr was that the decision to reduce the sentencing recommendation from for Stone was made because of Trump's involvement. There's no question about that. And that's highly extraordinary in it. It leads to a lack of confidence in the Justice Department, because we're all watching this unfold before our eyes.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and what's interesting is that two days after we learned that the judge denied Roger Stone's request for a new trial. He's now requesting another trial again.

PATE: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: Again, and we'll see where that goes now that there's this degree of intervention. Page Pate, good to have you.

PATE: Thank you, Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right.

WALKER: Still ahead, the ball is in your court. To President -- a message to President Trump from Ukraine's President Zelensky about a future White House visit. CNN's Christiane Amanpour asked Zelensky about that and about the call that lead the president's impeachment, she will join us after this break.



BLACKWELL: More now on the breaking news. This morning, the president of Ukraine says he is ready to reset his country's relationship with the U.S.

WALKER: Speaking with our own Christiane Amanpour, Volodymyr Zelensky thanked President Trump for U.S. support in his country's war with Russia. And he also talked about fighting corruption in Ukraine. CNN's Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour joining us live now from Munich.

Really great interview, and have to say, we were quite entertained by it as well. I mean, we saw the comedian that Zelensky was before he became President of Ukraine, but we also saw in your interview Christiane that he really wants to move beyond the impeachment scandal that he unwittingly found himself at the center of and how much he really needs the United States.

AMANPOUR: That's exactly right, Amara and Victor. It's an incredible gathering here; it's the annual Munich Security Conference where world leaders come and talk about what's at stake in the world, and particularly between Europe and the United States in terms of alliances and challenges.

And of course, Ukraine is smack dab in the middle of that, because as President Zelensky told me and told the group here, the war in Ukraine, which is because of Russian intervention and annexation of Crimea and parts of intervention in East Ukraine is not just a Ukrainian war, he said it is a European war. So, so much is at stake.

And he had to because of the impeachment scandal, and because all the, the, the unwanted publicity, the distrust, him, and his country center stage, he had to tread a very delicate, but very important line. On the one hand, absolutely thanking the United States, President Trump for their support for Ukraine. On the other hand, when I asked him about, you know, being dragged into this, this is how he responded.


ZELENSKY: Now, I'm very popular in USA. But I didn't want to find such way. But you know, but if this way will help Ukraine, I'm ready for next call with Mr. Trump.


AMANPOUR: Well, there you go. So, he's bringing to bear -- he's very charismatic. He was an actor as you pointed out. He played a president in his T.V. show called "Servant of the People." In fact, his party is called that now. Remember, he won 73 percent of the popular vote in the second round. So, he was very, very harshly endorsed by the Ukrainian people.


And he knows that he depends to a great extent on support from his most powerful ally, the U.S. So, he was very, very clear to say that they still needed that, that he thought that anybody if there was ever any quid pro quo, which he says he knew nothing about, but it would be not fair because that would be essentially holding Ukraine hostage to a sort of a global chessboard, but also to us domestic politics. So, it said it would be unfair.

And then, when I asked him about the perennial accusations of corruption against Ukraine, he admitted absolutely, that in the past, there were these issues. But I asked him about President Trump talking about it, and this was the back and forth between us.


ZELENSKY (through translator): I want to come and started from scratch. Our relations to agree on some contracts, to sign some arrangements, to agree on the strategic things, investments. Let's prepare the package of the documents and arrange the meeting. So, the ball is in the courtyard of the United States of America.

AMANPOUR: Mr. President, as you know, because of all of this, Ukraine has been labeled one of the most corrupt countries in the world. That is one of the reputational damages to your country, in the wake of all of this.

And recently, I mean, you know really recently in November, around Thanksgiving, President Trump told Fox News, why should we give money to a country that's known corrupt? It's a very corrupt country. I mean, I love the people in Ukraine. I know Ukrainian people, they're great people, but it's known as being the third most corrupt country in the world.

ZELENSKY: That's not true. That's not true.

When I have -- when I had meeting with Mr. President Trump, and he said about that -- he said that previous years, it was so corrupted country. Ukraine, I told him very honestly, and I was very open with him. I told him that we fight this corruption. We fight with this, fight each day, but please, please stop to say that Ukraine is a corrupted country, but -- because from now, it's not true. We want to change this image.


AMANPOUR: So, he was very passionate on that level. rock-solid about a new administration, talking about a new era in Ukraine and pushing back against those accusations.

And previously, what you heard him say is that he actually would like to have that meeting that President Trump invited him to in the famous first phone call to the White House after his election.

And he's waiting for that, he would love to have that, and again, just making it absolutely clear that the relationship with the United States is vital for both Ukraine and the United States. Because Ukraine, as he said, is holding the wall between interference from Russia, and the freedom of the rest of the world -- the rest of the western world.

There was a distinguished panel of bipartisan U.S. senators there. And they also spoke about the rock-solid support from the United States for Ukraine. This whole done in front of a live audience of officials from all over the world, including, as I said, a delegation of U.S. senators.

Later this afternoon, I will be interviewing the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. So there's a lot going on here.

Amara, Victor?

WALKER: Yes, yes, great stuff. Christiane Amanpour, appreciate you as always. Thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: Let's turn to the 2020 race because several Democratic candidates are sweeping through Nevada. Early voting starts two day -- one week before the caucuses. The latest from the campaign trail, next.



WALKER: Today, early voting kicks off in Nevada, ahead of the state's caucuses next Saturday. This morning, several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates are campaigning across the state, trying to woo voters.

BLACKWELL: Now, the Nevada Democratic Party is also trying to calm some worried people and avoid the vote reporting chaos that we saw in Iowa. Remember that? The state will scrap plans to use the same app that caused all those issues there. And the party says it worked with Google, and the Department of Homeland Security to create a caucus calculator.

WALKER: DNC Chairman Tom Perez, spoke to CNN's Erin Burnett last night.


TOM PEREZ, CHAIRMAN, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Well, listen, the Nevada Democratic Party, I have great confidence, and our team is out there as well, and they're not going to be using an app.

Let me be clear, the app that was in place in Iowa, they're not using it. Our goal is to have a caucus that is as low tech as humanly possible while preserving efficiency. So, what does that mean, Erin? Well, tomorrow when early voting starts, people are going to use a paper ballot, and they'll use paper ballots for the next four days.

In the meantime, one of the lessons we take from Iowa is that we need to be talking relentlessly with our volunteers. And so, we're doing that day in and day out. Now, they had to make some adjustments after Iowa. But the good news is that they always had a backup plan. So, they're not starting from scratch by any stretch.



BLACKWELL: And the millennial generation has a really big role to play in the 2020 race, more so than ever before. In 2014, the census counted about 83.1 million millennials in the U.S. and they're already changing politics.

Consider this, 26 millennials from both parties are serving in Congress right now. Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, he is running, he is a millennial. Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, she is a millennial as well, both running for president.

Our next guest says a progressive youthquake is coming. Charlotte Alter is with us. She is a national correspondent for Time and author of The Ones We've Been Waiting for: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America. It's coming out Tuesday.

Charlotte, thanks for being with us today. CHARLOTTE ALTER, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, TIME: Thanks so much for having me.

BLACKWELL: So, over the last couple of cycles, millennials and baby boomers in their -- you know, late 50s 60s, early 70s. As a share of eligible voters, they've gotten closer and closer. And in 2020, they're going to be about the same somewhere around 28 percent. How does that change campaigning? How does that change the parties?

ALTER: So, I think that what we're looking at here is essentially a battle of the generations. And you can see that in, for example, the massive youth support for Bernie Sanders, even though many baby boomers can't seem to figure out why so many young people love this 78-year-old socialist. You can see that in the unlikely surge of the candidacy -- of the candidacy of Pete Buttigieg, who, as you just mentioned, is, you know, one of two millennials running this cycle.

And you also see that in the way that campaigns are trying to reach voters. For example, this week, it was reported that Michael Bloomberg has been investing millions in digital advertising and social media, hiring influencers to try to post memes on behalf of his campaign. That is an effort to reach millennial and Gen Z voters. That's a recognition of how important this generation is going to be politically for this year.

BLACKWELL: So, you said that there are a lot of people who can't understand why millennials are voting for the 78-year-old Democratic socialist. The polls show that he's got north of 50 percent 18 to 34, just off of the millennial generation. Did your research answer that question?

ALTER: Yes, you know, there -- I did. Yes, I did look into that. It's actually a very significant part of the book. Basically, what it -- what it boils down to is that the formative experiences of this generation are significantly different than their parents.

They grew up during the financial crisis, they were burdened with massive student debt, they didn't have the experience of terror of the Cold War and fear of communism and socialism that their parents did. You know, the oldest millennials were eight years old when the Berlin Wall fell.

So, they don't really have the same kind of context around socialism that many of their parents do. When they think of socialism, they think of economies in Northern Europe where everyone gets free health care and free childcare. And they think to themselves, hey, that sounds pretty good.

So, a lot of the sort of scary buzzwords that older people sometimes use around Bernie Sanders don't seem to land with the younger generation who's really more concerned with creeping capitalism, than creeping socialism.

BLACKWELL: So, you say that there is a youthquake coming. If we look at the 2016 numbers, they really didn't show up at the polls at the same rate as other age groups. Just north of 60 percent here -- actually, just north of 50 percent when you have 60 and 70 percent for the older groups, why is that, and why would we expect something different this time around?

ALTER: So, younger voters always vote at lower rates than older voters do? And there have been a couple of exceptions. For example, Barack Obama's 2008 campaign mobilized young voters to an unprecedented degree.

And actually, in the most recent midterm elections, we saw young voters almost double their voter turnout from the previous midterms. So, when young voters are engaged, they absolutely do show up, and that margin can be the difference between a Democrat winning and losing.

Because again, this generation leads towards -- leans towards Democrats by roughly two to one.


ALTER: So, if the Democrats nominate someone who doesn't mobilize this younger generation who doesn't seem to speak to the issues that they care about, they really risk leaving a lot of votes on the table.

BLACKWELL: Which is interesting, we've got to wrap it here. But if -- guys, we could just put up full screen forward to show here that when she talks about a candidate who speaks to their issues, 68 percent of the youngest group polled by Quinnipiac this week, look at what's important to them.

Shares views, that's what they prefer. Go to the other end, 65 and older, it's an inverse. 68 percent of that group cares most about who's most electable. And as you go through the age groups, you can see there's a correlation between age and if it's more -- and if the person is more electable, or if that candidate shares their view.

Charlotte Alter, the book is The Ones We've Been Waiting for: How a New Generation of Leaders Will Transform America, it comes out to Tuesday. Thanks so much for your time.


ALTER: Thanks so much for having me.

WALKER: Great conversation.

Justice in jeopardy? Attorney General Bill Barr is under scrutiny after appearing to take charge of cases involving the president's associates. We hear from a history professor who says Trump is not the first president to try to put his thumb on the scales of justice.

BLACKWELL: But first, CNN takes a look at some of the most-hard fought presidential races with its original series, "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE". The latest episode looks at the 2008 race. That sees freshman senator, Barack Obama, go up against Republican Senator John McCain. watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John knew the campaign wasn't working. He was either going to get out of the campaign and cut his losses, or he was going to have to change the campaign dramatically. And so, John McCain did what was a typical John McCain move. In order to get a little relaxation and clear his mind, he went to a battle zone, he went to Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Baghdad, on the Fourth of July, surrounded by the military, he so admires, John McCain attended reenlistment and naturalization ceremony.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When he got to the ceremony, he saw boots of the guys who are going to be made naturalized citizens there. They have been killed in action. And that got to him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John came back and told us this story, and it was very emotional. And, and he said, I looked at that and I realized I need to fight as much for my country as they are.


BLACKWELL: Wow. That CNN Original Series, "RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE", airs Sunday night at 9:00, only on CNN.



WALKER: Attorney General Bill Barr is facing strong criticism for injecting himself into criminal cases involving the president's supporters. This week, the Justice Department backed away from recommending a stiff prison sentence for longtime Trump associate Roger Stone.

I spoke with Stephen Mihm, an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia, and he says, Trump is hardly the first president to attempt to manipulate the Justice Department.


STEPHEN MIHM, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA: Well, it's more or less comparable in many ways to previous president's transgressions. People like Richard Nixon, for example, leaned on his attorney general to meddle in criminal investigations, most famously ultimately, connected to Watergate.

But he's not the only one, it goes all the way back to Woodrow Wilson, who deliberately hired someone in the position that he felt he could trust to take his side in legal disputes. So, this is not an entirely new phenomenon by any stretch.

WALKER: So, the Justice Department is under the executive branch and you will hear allies of President Trump, say, look, the president has every right to intervene in legal cases such as his friend's Roger Stones case. Historically speaking, the Justice Department, as you point out, was basically the arm of the president. So, but you call it a historical accident, that shouldn't have been the case.

MIHM: That's right. So, when the attorney general's position was created at the very beginning of the country's existence, there was no DOJ. There was no Department of Justice to go along with that position. It was just a standalone guy, who frankly was pretty powerless.

And it's interesting because the 19th century, he was powerless and he was professional. And in the 20th century, specifically, 1870s when they created the DOJ, that's when this particular position became a kind of plaything of the executive branch.

And in the 20th century, different presidents depending on their ethics, I think, is really what it boils down to, in some cases started to abuse the fact that the DOJ was under their direct control

WALKER: I want to show you the president's tweet from Monday night, where you have the president, you know, weighing in publicly, tweeting this about the prosecutor's recommendation of a seven to nine-year sentence for Roger Stone.

MIHM: Right.

WALKER: Some have said it's quite harsh. But if you look at the sentencing guidelines, it looks like it is in line with the federal sentencing guidelines. And you have the president there tweeting this is a horrible and very unfair situation.

Is it unusual, though, that you have the U.S. president weighing in very publicly for modern presidents? Because if you look back at --


MIHM: Absolutely.


MIHM: Absolutely. So, the really -- the high point of bad behavior on the part of presidents was Nixon. And after Nixon, in the 70s and 80s, there was a lot of talk about making the DOJ completely autonomous and independent of the president for precisely this reason.

So, for good or for ill, though, the presidents that followed Nixon observed an unwritten rule that they shouldn't, for the most part, behave the way that the president is now behaving. And that's really the fundamental problem here.

It's not that Trump is violating a law, it's that he's exploiting as he oftentimes does. Unwritten rules that are not really anything more than custom and he's now violating this particular custom.


WALKER: Stephen Mihm, there.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, says he is ready for his next call with President Trump.


BLACKWELL: Hear more from his one on one interview with our own Christiane Amanpour. The next hour of your NEW DAY starts after the break.