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Aired February 17, 2020 - 19:00   ET


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And so I want to offer the NBA family Michelle and my deepest condolences and obviously the families of the Sterns and the Bryants.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Very emotional moment, indeed. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, John Bolton speaking out publicly for the first time since President Trump's impeachment trial. So what is the man who was the most anticipated witness say?

Plus, a tidal wave of calls tonight for Attorney General Bill Barr to go, but what is the White House saying about Trump's Attorney General?

And the battle between Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg, hitting a new level tonight. Are the insults helping or hurting their campaign?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett. Welcome to a special edition of OUTFRONT.

Tonight, we have breaking news. John Bolton breaks his silence. The President's former National Security Adviser speaking publicly for the first time since President Trump's impeachment trial. Bolton was, perhaps, the most important witness.

Bolton had said he wanted to speak out about what President Trump did with Ukraine, but he chose not to. And the Senate of course, if you'll remember, never called witnesses. Why didn't Bolton just speak out?

Well, he just told an audience at a speech at Duke University the following. I'll read it for you. "My conclusion was that if I got a subpoena, I would testify, why? Because Mr. Impeachment Power and Mr. Executive Privilege, meet Mr. First Amendment."

Then, Bolton was asked a follow up question of why he didn't just speak out. His response, "The threat of possible legal action by the executive branch."

Bolton is pushing his book which is supposed to come out next month, according to The New York Times. In the book Bolton alleges that Trump directed him to hold up aid to Ukraine until the country announced investigations into the Bidens.

And so right now I want to go to our CNN's Vivian Salama who was in the room with John Bolton. She just left the room. We're going to get to Vivian as soon as we can get her hooked up, until then let's get over to Kaitlan Collins who's at the White House with much more on this.

Kaitlan, how is this likely to go over because, at the White House tonight, this seems to be the furthest that Bolton has gone since in promoting his book about what happened?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It'll be interesting to see how the President responds because, of course, that is one of the primary things John Bolton was asked about is the President's tweets, essentially calling him a liar, saying the account that he has given in his manuscript of what the President said to him isn't true and that's really how this kick started off in this room tonight where Vivian was hearing these questions that John Bolton was being asked.

And, of course, the question here at the White House and what people have essentially been looking at and not only people at the White House, other critics are saying this, well, John Bolton as well is why is he speaking behind closed doors. And if he feels that this is so important, why isn't he's saying so publicly.

And he seemed to shed some light on that tonight talking about this prepublication review that's ongoing for his book, essentially saying that that's why he can't say more about what it is. And he talks about how the Ukraine saga and essentially what unfolded there is just one chapter in a larger book and he essentially makes clear that this review process is still ongoing.

The question is, is whether or not that book is ultimately going to come out in the form that he's sent it to the White House. Because, Kate, if you judge it based off of those letters that we saw that were exchanged between the National Security Council and John Bolton's attorney, they do not believe it can come out the way it is now.

Other people have raised questions about that saying, well, John Bolton was the National Security Advisor. He knows what was classified material, what can be published and what can't. But it is notable he keeps doing these events behind closed doors likely paid speaking gigs and he's got another one this week. This isn't his only one.

He's also going to appear with Obama's National Security Advisor Susan Rice. So essentially, this is something we're expecting to keep playing out, Kate, until this book is expected to come out in March. Though tonight he said, he believes about the censorship and so still a big question about whether or not we're going to see it in its full form.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Hearing more but really still teasing to his book. Thanks, Kaitlan. I really appreciate it.

All right. Let's get back over to Vivian Salama. I think we've reconnected with her. As Kaitlan mentioned, Vivian was in the room with John Bolton hearing all of this. Vivian, thank you for running out. So what happened in there? Tell us what you heard.

VIVIAN SALAMA, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Of course. So right off the bat, the folks at Duke University actually warned us that they signed a contract with Ambassador Bolton prohibiting the use of any video or the dissemination of any video with voice. The TV crews were allowed to film a couple of minutes off the top, but even that was without voice.

That's how protective he's being of some of the information that he's talking about. And for a big portion of the top of his discussion tonight, a lot of it was discussing the general foreign policy issues even dating back to the first Gulf War. He talked a lot about his views of Saddam Hussein. He talks a lot about his views on Iran, but then it started to get to the President.


And slowly, he started to allude to the fact that a lot of his material is held up in the prepublication process, a lot of teasers. Every single time questions were asked about anything related to the Trump administration. A lot of it, he would say, either I can't discuss that but you'll read about it in my book.

One of the interesting questions, one of the last questions he was asked is whether or not he agrees with President Trump's assessment that his call with President Zelensky of Ukraine in July was perfect.


SALAMA: And he simply answered, you'll see in chapter - you'll love chapter 14, and that was his response. And so a lot of issues like that, but also going as far as what Kaitlan was just saying, referring to the prepublication process with the White House as censorship. He called his book suppressed.

And so obviously, there was a very bitter rivalry going on, a feud over what the future of this manuscript will be, and he certainly did not make any secret of that tonight.

BOLDUAN: Vivian, thank you so much. I really appreciate it. It's so important that you were able to be in the room considering the access that they were not granting to the media.

Joining me right now tonight, OUTFRONT tonight Democratic Congressman Denny Heck. He sits on the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman, thank you for coming on. What do you think of what Bolton is saying tonight?

REP. DENNY HECK (D-WA): That would be John please buy my book Bolton. Look, Kate, the truth of the matter is that anybody that thinks that any public utterance by John Bolton or private utterance, for that matter, or any action on his part is designed to do anything other than sell more copies of his book, frankly, is just being naive. That has been the case from the get go. We told him we would subpoena

him and he said, I will not respond to that until the court orders me to. He had every opportunity to voluntarily come forward. He refused despite the fact that many others did.

What John Bolton is interested in, frankly, is selling as many copies of his book as he can, period, full stop.

BOLDUAN: I want to reiterate what Vivian heard John Bolton say on one of many critical questions that would be asked of someone who was so closely involved in the discussions and the thinking of Donald Trump around this time of everything that was going on with Ukraine is asked if he agreed with Donald Trump's characterization that the July 25 phone call was perfect. And his response tonight was, you'll love chapter 14.

Just to reiterate, what is stopping him from speaking out? He says the threat of legal action from the executive branch. Do you believe it?

HECK: No, it's simply not true. It's categorically untrue. Kate, let me put this in perspective. The last three years, what we've seen is wholesale degradation of norms and degradation of institutions. Despite the latter, we've been fortunate the individuals have been willing to step up and frankly act in profiles in courage. If you stop and think about it, the Justice Department, the leadership fail, Attorney General Barr when he misrepresented the Mueller report, when he ordered the Stone sentencing to be - recommendation to be reduced.

But more than 2,000 former assistant attorney general stepped up, spoke truth to power and said he should resign. The Senate failed in spectacular fashion recently on the impeachment inquiry. But Senator Mitt Romney stepped up, spoke truth to power. The State Department leadership failed in spectacular fashion as well, but Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch stepped up and spoke truth to power.

And now John Bolton has an opportunity from the intelligence community to step up, speak truth to power and do what is right.

BOLDUAN: Do you care what he has to say at this point?

HECK: Sure, I think the American people deserve to hear from somebody who was in the room about what it is that President Trump ordered Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and others at the Office of Budget to do in the form of withholding aid to Ukraine.

BOLDUAN: So then Congressman ...

HECK: Now, look, the truth of the matter is that the evidence is over ...

BOLDUAN: ... to that point then, I mean, we've heard from Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff saying he didn't want to comment on whether or not he plans to subpoena John Bolton, Speaker Pelosi recently was really basically saying the same that she says that there are no plans right now to do so. Why not subpoena John Bolton? HECK: Because his most recent position is that I will only do it if

the court forces me to. And that's just an unending series of playing rope-a-dope with him for which there's no constructive purpose served. The truth of the matter is, again, I want to repeat it, I want to reiterate it, Kate.

This is all about John Bolton selling more copies of his book. If he wants to do the patriotic thing. He could do it today right now. He could have done it yesterday and he should.

BOLDUAN: But if it is about getting to the truth, you don't know unless you try. You've seen what the court has done in the past with regard to efforts to get others to testify. Why not move ahead with the subpoena? Why not?


HECK: Well, again, Kate, we told him we were going to issue him a subpoena. He said I will not do it unless the court orders me to go along. He was piggybacking the McGahn decision. Remember the former White House Counsel for President Trump?

BOLDUAN: Yes. Right.

HECK: Well, the court ordered him to do it and what did they do? They appeal. We're going to be in the appellate process for months and months and maybe into next year, so unless you can answer the question for me what constructive purpose would be served by this unending litigation when all the while John Bolton could do what he says he wants to do, which is step forward.

BOLDUAN: If John Bolton does come forward in book or in some other fashion in the coming days and further implicates the President, do you want to see another impeachment charge brought against him?

HECK: I think we've already fallen below the Fifth Avenue standard. When the President said that he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and he could be held harmless for it, I think we're already there. The truth of the matter is he could say exactly what the evidence overwhelmingly already indicates, namely the President ordered the aid withheld in furtherance of helping his own political objective and it would not matter.

There is absolutely no evidence to suggest that the Senate Majority is willing to approach this thing with an open mind. The evidence that we did take to the Senate, again, I keep using the word was overwhelming and they chose to ignore it. So the fact that we get a firsthand confirmation of that, which we already know, I do not believe will change the trajectory.

This is ultimately only going to be litigated to conclusion in one possible way and that's November, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thanks for coming on tonight.

HECK: You're welcome, Kate. Thanks for having me. BOLDUAN: Thank you. OUTFRONT for us next, the call is growing for

Attorney General Bill Barr to step down. Now, more than 2,000 former DOJ officials demanding he resign. But what does the President think about it?

Plus, Joe Biden facing questions from voters about the future of his campaign?


JOE BIDEN, FORMER UNITED STATES VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He complimented me very highly and then said what the hell is the matter with your campaign. That's a good question. No, no, it's a legitimate question.


BOLDUAN: And an American trapped on the cruise ship that was hit with a Corona virus is back in the United States. But her ordeal far from over, now quarantined. What is it like? She's our guest.



BOLDUAN: New tonight, now more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials are calling for Attorney General Bill Barr to resign. That number nearly doubling in the last day.

This all comes after Barr intervened in the Roger Stone case. The open letter from these 2,000 former officials saying this in part, "Mr. Barr's actions in doing the President's personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words. Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice's reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign."

But a White House official says tonight, President Trump still has confidence in the Attorney General. Evan Perez is OUTFRONT with more. Evan, how is this all landing over the Justice Department?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, I think one reason why you saw that letter is because there is a lot of discomfort inside the department. These are former officials who are now speaking out.

People who are inside the department, however, I think is what Bill Barr is more worried about and I think that's one of the reasons why you saw the Attorney General do that interview last week with ABC, in which he tried to put a little bit of daylight between himself and the President. He was beginning to realize that he might begin to lose the building, Justice Department headquarters, which up until this time really has been OK with a lot of the things that Bill Barr has been doing.

It's the actions against - taking action against those prosecutors last week in the case of Roger Stone is what really made people start realizing is that that there was some concern about whether or not politics was playing a role in the management of the department. And so I think this letter is a symptom of a larger problem that I think the Attorney General realizes he has to put a stop to or else he will lose the department.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Good to see you, Evan. Thank you.

PEREZ: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT now, one of the former DOJ officials who signed on to that letter, Roger Bernstein. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney under President Reagan. And Ryan Goodman, the Co-Editor in Chief of Just Security and a former Special Counsel for the Defense Department. Also with us, David Gergen, CNN Senior Political Analyst.

Gentlemen, thanks for being here. Roger, let me start with you. What was it that got you to a place of saying that Bill Barr has gone too far and you wanted to sign on to this effort?

ROGER BERNSTEIN, FORMER ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY UNDER REAGAN, SIGNED LETTER URGING BARR TO RESIGN: Well, it's a general understanding that he's not carrying out his functions as top prosecutor in the United States in the way that we expect him to. The alumni of the Justice Department are very proud group and have very long memories and very well understand that it was an excellent place to work and we don't like seeing it degraded.

And that was the way I felt, because it's degraded when the decision making is not based on the law and the evidence, but on the President's friends. And so I don't think that's an uncommon motivation. I think many people who signed share that feeling.

BOLDUAN: And Ryan, you said that you think that this letter could be a turning point. I wonder why you think that is, because there have been maybe not from former justice officials, but former NSC officials, like there had been groups who have signed on to letters and has done very little to move things with regard to the President. Why is this a turning point?

RYAN GOODMAN, FORMER DEFENSE DEPARTMENT SPECIAL COUNSEL: So I think it's a turning point, because there are very few pressure points on AG Barr. There's very few things that he could respond to. He doesn't worry as much about Congress and he controls the Justice Department.

BOLDUAN: So true.

GOODMAN: But here the colleagues, the alumni from the Justice Department speaking to their colleagues, because there's another part of that statement where they don't just say that AG Barr should resign but ...

BOLDUAN: That's exactly right.

GOODMAN: ... they actually say, look, people who are there now, if you see something, say something. If you see wrongdoing or unethical behavior, report it and don't follow directives that are illegal or unethical. And that's what could be a very strong turning point because it does seem as though based on the ABC News interview, that's his weakness. He does realize if he loses the building, how can you then keep leadership at all. And if this is speaking to the people who are there now, that's the pressure point.

BOLDUAN: And that's a good point. I want to ask you more about the ABC interview in just a second.


But David, with all of this in mind, President Trump is standing by Bill Barr I say with the caveat as we always have to say, at least at this moment, at least tonight. But why does official said today that he still has confidence in Barr as Attorney General, that might not be a surprise, but what do you say to that?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, listen, he chased Jeff Sessions out, because Sessions insisted that he wanted to be independent and he eventually fired him. And I think Barr is going to stick by his side as best he can. The President knows if he fires him, he's going to have a huge crisis on his hands just months before the election.

Having said all of that, 2,000 alumni signing this, that's an eye- popping unprecedented outbreak among the alumni of the Department of Justice. And we know there's a revolt going on inside. This is unsustainable in its current position.

Barr, I don't think, will step down but he should step back. He should recuse himself. We should not be further involved in the Stone case. He should not be resolving the future of General Flynn. He should not be handling a Giuliani matter. He's going to lose the building if he simply continues on the current course. It's not what he's saying, but what he's doing that people are watching.

BOLDUAN: And Roger, let me get you on that. Let me play what some of what Bill Barr said in the ABC interview, specifically about the President and him weighing in on Twitter and his reaction to it. Listen to this.


BILL BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department, our men and women hear, about cases pending in the department and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job.


BOLDUAN: The way Evan put it was that Barr was trying to create some daylight between him and the President and the President's position. Do you think that helped Barr?

BERNSTEIN: Not particularly. I think actions, as everyone has noted, speak louder than words. If this was a very strong position that he was taking, it needed to be taken much earlier and not when the crisis hit. And it's a finger in the dam that's not working so well, because fingers in the dam don't work so well.

But anybody who's observing what's going on will be a realist, if not a cynic, and not take all of those observations at face value. They might work well for people who are not following and I think the number of people actually following these kinds of things were limited than we'd like to think. They're not generally former lawyers and the like, but I think that many people don't see those statements as being very meaningful.

BOLDUAN: And Ryan, let me ask you about the case that this is all about is the Roger Stone case and the judge in the case has scheduled a conference call for tomorrow with both the prosecutors and the defense. It's unclear exactly what that means and what could happen, but do you think the judge is phased by President Trump? It's hard to think that the judge doesn't know what is going on, on the outside world, but what do you think this conference call could mean?

GOODMAN: So I think the conference call could peer deeply into what happened in the Justice Department because the judge could ask for the lawyers themselves before that resigned and asked for her permission to withdraw from the case. She could actually say what's going on. She could do that or she could kind of race ahead to the sentencing.

But then also say what on earth is going on with the second submission, because the revised proposal for Roger Stone's sentencing is the most unusual document. It doesn't look like any other Justice Department document. And I think there she can just - like straight to the law and go through it in a very methodical way and it will not look good for the Justice Department and I think that's what might be coming this week.

BOLDUAN: We'll see. Oh, go ahead.

BERNSTEIN: Let me offer you a less exciting interpretation. The conference is about scheduling as stated and Stone is filing for a second application rather than for an alternate trial, a new trial. And normally judges would look at that first, so that might be all that this is about, a postponement of sentencing while the judge considers that motion which I believe is yet to be filed.

And speaking to Ryan's mind for a moment, an excellent strategy for the judge would be to ignore all of the issues and focus only on the sentence.

BOLDUAN: As we have to say, we will standby for that one. Thanks, guys. I really appreciate it. David, thank you so much.

OUTFRONT for us next, the 2020 candidates focusing their attacks now Mike Bloomberg, trying to tear down the billionaire. Are their attacks working? Are they landing?

Plus, an American trapped on a cruise ship for 13 days evacuated, flying with several people who tested positive for the Coronavirus. She is back in the United States. What are her concerns now? She's my guest.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, Bernie Sanders upping his attacks on a candidate not on the Nevada ballot, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, Mr. Bloomberg, like anybody else has a right to run for president. He does not have a right to buy the presidency, especially after being Mayor of New York and having a racist stop-and-frisk policy.


BOLDUAN: This started last week and now Bloomberg's campaign is responding in kind. His campaign manager releasing a statement today linking Sanders to Donald Trump writing this in part, "It's a shameful turn of events to see Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump deploy the very same attacks and tactics against Mike, but the reason is clear. At this point, the primary is Bernie's to lose, and ours to win."

OUTFRONT now Alexandra Rojas, Executive Director of Justice Democrats and former Mayor of Miami Beach, Philip Levine. He's endorsed Mike Bloomberg. Thanks, guys, for coming on.



BOLDUAN: So Mayor, the message from Sanders is pretty clear. His surrogates say that Bloomberg is trying to buy the nomination. We just learned that Bloomberg has spent $400 million on ads so far, that is an eye-popping number. How do you respond to that accusation?


LEVINE: Well, I can say this, Kate, it's nothing compared to how much President Trump is going to spend to beat the Democrats. But think about this, Mayor Bloomberg started from nothing. It wasn't like he began on the 50th floor and went to the penthouse. He didn't, you know, start on (INAUDIBLE).

He made the money himself. He wants to invest it in helping our country.

Remember something: Mayor Bloomberg really had no intention to run for president. He ran not because he was concerned about any of these other candidates running, he was concerned that none of them would win. And I think what you're seeing from Bernie Sanders right now is a sign of desperation, because Mayor Bloomberg's rising in the polls, he's moving forward, and he's going to win this nomination.

But remember, you can't buy an election. You may be able to buy name ID, but Mayor Bloomberg has a history and a track record. And not just as mayor, afterwards, of getting things done for the people and, of course, he's going to do when he wins this nomination.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Well, look, as everyone does, he also has to answer for that record. There's no question about that.

Alexandra, do you think -- the mayor calls it desperation on the part of Sanders. Do you think it is helpful that Sanders seems so focused on Mike Bloomberg right now? I mean, he's not on the ballot this weekend. This clearly is a look ahead maybe to Super Tuesday?

ALEXANDRA ROJAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, JUSTICE DEMOCRATS: Well, I think that Mike Bloomberg is the embodiment of everything that Bernie Sanders stands against, which is a rigged system that has put, you know, corporations, special interests, with much more power than in the hands of working people. And so, I think that Bernie Sanders is going to continue to position himself as the candidate that is on the side of working people.

And I think it's interesting that in poll after poll, consistently, you know, Bernie has come out defeating Donald Trump. I think it's, you know, a case to make right now that he's the current Democratic front-runner.

And so, I think that Michael Bloomberg, also over the past week, has had his record, like you've said, come to bear, whether it's, you know, for racist policies like stop-and-frisk, but also his questionable record on women. The 58 that, you know, have filed against his company for discrimination based on pregnancy and a number of other things from the fact that he sort of switched from being Republican to Democrat, depending on what suits his best interests.

So I think that Bernie Sanders is one of the most trusted candidates in the Democratic field outside of, irregardless on issues like health care, on taking serious action on climate change, and is going to continue to make that case, despite being outspent by billions of dollars with an average contribution of, what, I think 25 bucks? And is accepting donations that are powered by millions of real people and not just as the surrogate just said, purchasing name ID, which is what this is called, it is not name support, it is purchasing name ID through television ads and digital advertisements.

And I think the American people --

BOLDUAN: Look --

ROJAS: -- should be very concerned about what it takes to defeat Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: Mayor, that criticism is not going to go away, right? Because it's not just -- it's also not just Sanders that's going after Bloomberg, really, when it comes to, mostly, money. I mean, let me -- here are some of the other candidates.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Sixty billion dollars can buy you a lot of advertising. But it can't erase your record.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I've got to answer questions like I just did on my record. And he has to do the same thing. I don't think he should be able to hide behind airwaves and huge ad buys.


BOLDUAN: Look, say what you will about spending and where he came from in building his own -- building his own empire. In this Democratic primary, in this moment, are you concerned that this could backfire?

LEVINE: No, not at all, Kate. As a matter of fact, the people are going to decide, and we see it in the polls here right now.

But I think what you see here is desperation coming. I mean, you know, Ben Franklin had a great where he said, we should all hang together, because rest assured, we shall hang separately. And I think the Democrats need to come together and understand that we need to beat Donald Trump.

The bottom line is this. Bernie Sanders cannot beat Donald Trump, and let me tell you why. I'm going to look at it from the lens of Florida point of view. Bernie Sanders cannot win Florida. In order to defeat the president, you must win Florida.

I know we have all of the various SATs, where you can win this state and that state. But the bottom line, you win Florida, you can become president. You don't win Florida, you can' become president.

And Bernie Sanders' background, whether it was with Sandinistas or with the Soviet Union or taking away 150 million people's health insurance will not, cannot win the state of Florida. So, the Democrats have a big decision to make. Would they like to make a point with Bernie Sanders? Or would they actually like to beat Donald Trump?

I think we want to beat Donald Trump and this is the way we're going to do it with Mike Bloomberg.

BOLDUAN: Alexandra, last word.

ROJAS: Yes, well, I think it's interesting. You know, I think that, you know, we're also interested in being able to defeat Donald Trump. And I look back anecdotally at 2016, when we look at states that we lost, like Michigan, for the first time, Democrats lost in 28 years. Like Wisconsin, the first time Democrats lost in 36 years.

And in the primary, who won 71 out of 72 counties? That was someone like Bernie Sanders. And so, looking at states in addition to Florida that we also need to win that are critical, Bernie Sanders is putting together one of the most diverse coalitions ever seen in American history when it comes to young people, when it comes to people of color.

[19:35:06] And so, it's really, really critical that we also bring in those working class blue collar workers who are attracted to someone who they trust, who is really fighting for them. And that person so far in the polls has been Bernie Sanders.

LEVINE: Kate --

BOLDUAN: Alexandra, Mayor, thanks for coming in, guys.

ROJAS: Thank you.

LEVINE: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Really appreciate it.

OUTFRONT next, Joe Biden trying to mount a comeback.


BIDEN: I'm here in Nevada, then South Carolina, then moving on to the meat of the contest.


BOLDUAN: Can Biden keep kicking the can down the road?

Plus, she escaped the coronavirus-infected cruise ship, but now she's being held at a U.S. military base in quarantine again. What is that like? She's my guest.


BOLDUAN: Tonight, the Biden campaign banking on at least second place in Nevada this Saturday. According to "The New York Times," with their big focus remaining squarely on winning in South Carolina after that.

And just today, Joe Biden made clear he doesn't think his fate will be decided until at least Super Tuesday.


BIDEN: I'm looking forward to getting through these two.


I'm here in Nevada, then South Carolina, and then moving on to the meat of the contest. Only less than a percent of the delegates have been picked so far.


BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT now, Democratic Congressman Steven Horsford of Nevada. He announced his endorsement of Biden just on Friday.

Congressman, thanks for coming in.

REP. STEVEN HORSFORD (D-NV): Thank you, Kate. Appreciate being on.

BOLDUAN: Of course, so, Biden has staked his candidacy on being the most electable candidate. You know he didn't finish higher than fourth in the first two candidates. Do you consider second place a win in Nevada?

HORSFORD: I'm riding the Biden, because I know that he is ready to lead our country on day one. And look, we have a lot at stake. We all need to take a step back and really what's at stake.

The courts are at stake, the future of our Congress, the House majority and the Senate are at stake. Our reputation and standing in the world is at stake. And there is no one better positioned to lead us and make sure that we win up and down the ticket than Joe Biden. I think he's going to do great here Nevada. He has tremendous support.

All of the feedback on the ground has been tremendous. And it's because people know him. They know his character. They know his record. They know that he's fighting for their health care. He's fighting for funding for education. He's fighting for their jobs and for housing. And those are the issues that matter most to people here in Nevada.

BOLDUAN: So, do you consider second place a win in Nevada?

HORSFOPRD: Well, I'll let you know on Saturday how the result comes out. I'm working every single day to make sure that every single voice turns out to make sure their vote is counted in our early caucus. We have had historic turnout so far and a lot of that support is for Joe Biden.

BOLDUAN: If you are running on being the most electable candidate, you do need to win elections to prove that. The first contests do not represent the full diversity of the Democratic Party. We've definitely heard that. And that is true.

How many more times are you comfortable in saying, wait for the next contest?

HORSFORD: Well, look, Nevada reflects the diversity of our nation. We have a broad base of diversity from Latino African-American, Asian American, a very strong middle class here in our state, strong labor unions. And what is also important is, this is not a national election. This is an election that's going to be won in battleground states, like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, and there's no one better positioned to help us win in those states than Joe Biden.

He has a very strong record with the middle class, with seniors, with African-Americans and Latino voters and that is the coalition that we need. He proved it when he served with President Obama as his vice president. We know Joe Biden and more importantly, he knows us. And that is what I am seeing here on the ground in Nevada.

BOLDUAN: You mentioned labor unions. You've worked with the powerful Culinary Union in Nevada. How much does it hurt that Biden didn't get their endorsement, especially after they came out against Bernie Sanders' Medicare-for-All plan?

HORSFORD: Well, what I can tell you is that -- and I was just at the Culinary Workers' Union at one of their early voting sites just before I came over here. And the turnout is tremendous and what the majority of those workers know is that Joe Biden is fighting for their health care. He wants to build upon Obamacare, but he wants to make sure that people can keep the healthcare --

BOLDUAN: But, Congressman, wouldn't it have helped to get the endorsement?

HORSFORD: Well, look, to be clear -- people -- what they've endorsed is their health care plan. It's not about any one candidate. This is not about billionaires and their height. This is about the issues that matter most to the American people.

And here in Nevada, health care matters a lot. What the call narrow workers know, as do other unions, is that Joe Biden is fighting to protect their health care.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thanks for coming in.

HORSFORD: Appreciate it. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: And a reminder all of you, tomorrow and Thursday night on CNN, do not miss town halls with the Democratic presidential candidates. Presidential candidates live from Las Vegas. You see it right there.

OUTFRONT for us next, I'll speak to an American who spent more than a dozen days of quarantined on that cruise ship off Japan. She's now back in the United States, but she is far from free to go. How is she coping?

Plus, Jeanne Moos on the question that stumped two presidential candidates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know who he is? Do you know his name?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I know that he is the Mexican president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But can you tell me his name?





BOLDUAN: Tonight, at least 14 Americans with the coronavirus have been evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the coast of Japan and are back in the United States tonight. They, along with more than 300 other passengers, are now being held at three locations across the country. Travis Air Force Base in California, Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, and 13 of the passengers are undergoing testing and treatment at the University of Nebraska in Omaha.

OUTFRONT with me now, Sarah Arana, one of those evacuated passengers who's now under quarantine yet again at Travis Air Force Base.

Thank you so much, Sarah, for jumping on. How are you doing?


My time is messed up, obviously. We got in really late, so I just woke up like five minutes ago. So, you're getting the raw deal here. But I'm doing good.

BOLDUAN: How do you describe the feeling, what were you feeling when you landed back in the States after such an ordeal?

ARANA: Wow. It's really hard to fully describe. It was very emotional.

I've never been evacuated before. That was a process that I didn't really know that much about. And I didn't know what to expect. And when we landed and got off the plane last night, we were just greeted by a line of professionals and specialists in the field and military personnel and health and human resources and CDC.


Everyone was so warm and kind and welcoming and saying, welcome home, and they had signs up and it was just -- it was amazing. I have nothing but gratitude for the immense effort that was put into getting us all back home.

BOLDUAN: Can you describe what the last 48 hours has been like for you?

ARANA: It's been -- it's been exhausting. It's been really emotional. It's been confusing. Oftentimes, we didn't hear stuff until long after it had been reported in the media.

BOLDUAN: Really?

ARANA: Yes. We were hearing things about, you know, how many positive tests were coming back long after it was already being reported in the media, before it was being confirmed to us on the ship.

And I will say the other thing that's been hard, I'm super happy to be at home, of course. It was hard to leave some of them behind. I mean, there's -- there's many people that are still left on the ship from a variety of different countries and they have a lot of concerns about what it looks like for them to get off the ship, whether or not they'll be able to catch flights home.

So, we are still supporting each other in our little private group. But it's just been a roller coaster this last 48 hours.

BOLDUAN: For sure. And probably adding to that, as we now know from the state department, that 14 passengers tested positive for the virus after getting off the ship, before boarding the chatter flights back to the States.

How did you find out that there were people with the virus getting on the flights?

ARANA: Well, again, that's one of the things that's amazing. So, I didn't hear a single word about that until I literally heard it on the news, when we landed. And so many people were asking how I felt about that. And I didn't have really time to process, at that time, because it was widely being reported everywhere else and we were never informed about that.

You know, there's a lot of feelings about that. And you're going to get different opinions, I know, from different people. My feeling about is it, look, those are fellow Americans of ours. They deserve to come home. They didn't, apparently, find out about the test results until the evacuation process had already started. We were already loading on to the buss to get to the planes.

And I totally support them being brought home. And as far as me being concerned about the exposure, let me just say this, on the plane, we were with specialists, we were with people, you know, very knowledgeable doctors and CDC professionals, that were very knowledgeable about what was going on. And I have no -- I have no doubt that they did everything with extreme caution. I felt that we were being much more exposed and put at danger on the ship, because we didn't have all of those specialists and doctors there.

So, personally, I'm glad that they came home and I'm not worried about being exposed on the plane.

BOLDUAN: And now more quarantine and then hopefully, hopefully, you get to head home. Thank you for spending some time with me. I really appreciate it.

ARANA: Thank you so much.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, Jeanne Moos on the question that left Tom Steyer stumped.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people don't even know his name. So you know --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know his name?

STEYER: I forget. I forget.



BOLDUAN: Tonight, when politicians fail a pop quiz. Here's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Name this guy. No, you can't just call him "guy."

STEYER: How are we going to get along with that guy?

MOOS: He's the current president of Mexico, though two out of three candidates asked couldn't name him.

KLOBUCHAR: I know that he is the Mexican president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But can you tell me his name?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of people don't even know his name. So you know --

STEYER: I forget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know his name?

STEYER: I forget.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell me the president of Mexico is?

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, President Lopez Obrador, I hope.

MOOS: Thus President Lopez Obrador becomes the latest gotcha question joining an illustrious list.


MOOS: From then, candidate Trump being asked --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm wondering what one or two of your favorite Bible verses are and why?

TRUMP: Well, I wouldn't want to get into it, because to me that is very personal.

MOOS: To Herman Cain being questioned on whether he agreed with Obama on Libya.


MOOS: But sometimes even silence is better than speaking up when you're stumped about the city that was the epicenter of refugee crisis in Syria.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would you do if you were elected about Aleppo?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding?


MOOS: And a bit closer to home --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many houses do you and Mrs. McCain have?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ): I think -- I'll have my staff get it to you, condominiums.

MOOS: A condominium conundrum.

Years before President Trump ordered the attack on Iran's highest ranking general, candidate Trump was asked --

HUGH HEWITT, RADIO HOST: Are you familiar with General Soleimani?

TRUMP: Yes? I -- go ahead. Give me a little -- go ahead. Tell me.

MOOS: Trump went on to mix up the Kurds and the Iranian Quds force. Tomato, tomato.

Of course, you can always try to turn a gotcha into a got you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you name the president of Chechnya?


MOOS (on camera): George Bush's communications director defended him, saying the candidates running to be leader of the free world, not a "Jeopardy" contestant.

(voice-over): Gotcha questions for 400.

BUSH: The new prime minister of India is -- no.

MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --

CAIN: All this stuff twirling around in my head.

MOOS: -- New York.


BOLDUAN: Thanks so much for joining us.

"AC360" starts now.