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NEW DAY SATURDAY
U.S. Intelligence Community: Russia Trying To Help Both President Donald Trump And Senator Bernie Sanders; Nevada Caucus Volunteers Being Asked To Sign NDAs; Roger Stone Trial Tests Donald Trump/William Barr Relationship; Polls: Senator Bernie Sanders Leads Democratic Field Ahead Of Nevada Caucuses; Soon: Nevada Caucuses As 2020 Democrats Look Ahead To South Carolina. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired February 22, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Nevada Caucuses will be getting under way in the hours ahead of course it could very well make things difficult for several 2020 hopefuls.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Our democracy hangs in the balance. And you have a decision to make.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let us have the largest voter turnout in the history of the Nevada Caucus.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alarming warnings from on the intelligence community.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The top intelligence official on election security telling House Intelligence Community members that Russia is working in favor of President Donald Trump's re-election.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They said today that Putin wants to be sure that Trump gets elected. Here we go. Aren't people bored?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The President is still throwing his weight around the Justice Department, granting clemency for the corrupt and well connected.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a Trumpocrat. If I had the ability to vote, I'm going to vote for him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: Stay out of American elections. That's the message to Russia, not from the President but from Senator Bernie Sanders. We've learned that the U.S. Intelligence Community believes Russia is putting their support behind both the President and Senator Sanders in the 2020 race.
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SANDERS: It was not clear what role they're going to play. We were told that Russia and maybe other countries are getting involved that this campaign. Look, here's the message. To Russia, stay out of American elections and what they are doing, by the way, the ugly thing that they are doing, and I've seen some of their, you know, tweets and stuff, is they try to divide us up.
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CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: And now we can trust that with President Trump, who is keeping up his skepticism that Russia wants to see him re-elected. Rather, he's calling the discovery by his own Intel Community "Disinformation hoax by Democrats".
And now the loyalist that he's brought in his Acting Director of National Intelligence is making some aggressive personal moves just one day in to the job saying he wants to see the Intel on Russian interference for himself.
BLACKWELL: CNN's Sarah Westwood is at the White House. Sarah, what more are we hearing about the President's reaction to this Intel?
SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor and Christi, President Trump is clearly rejecting this assessment from the Intelligence Community that Russia would prefer to see him re-elected in 2020.
And sources tell CNN that he was angry that he learned from his own aides but from a Republican lawmaker that the Intelligence Community a top official and had briefed lawmakers on that assessment by Intel officials about Russia's preference for him.
The President was told that by Republican Congressman Devin Nunes. He was very angry and that fallout from that led to the out serve his Acting Intelligence Director Joseph McGuire. President Trump since then has characterized this as a disinformation hoax. And he continued to reject that yesterday during a rally yesterday in Las Vegas. Take a listen.
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TRUMP: I was told a week ago, they said, you know, they're trying to start a rumor. It's disinformation. That's the only thing they're good at. They get nothing done. They get nothing done do nothing Democrats, that Putin wants to make sure I get elected.
Listen to this, doesn't he want to see who the Democrats going to be wouldn't he rather have, let's say, Bernie? Wouldn't he rather have Bernie who honeymooned in Moscow? Wouldn't that be - these people are crazy.
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WESTWOOD: Now, Grenell is someone known for his intense personality loyalty to President Trump. He's the Ambassador to Germany and is now doing job on an interim basis the President says he is considering other candidates but his appointment was met by criticism from Democrats who said Grenell was under qualified for that position.
For example Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that Grenell's appointment was dangerous to this country because of implications for national security of having someone without proper credentials running the country's intelligence agencies Victor and Christi.
BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us at the White House thank you Sarah. The Retired Navy Admiral William McRaven and best known as the architect of a ray that killed some of enlightened gives this dire warning in "The Washington Post" about the shake-up that's happening in the Intelligence Community now.
I'm going to read a portion of it. As Americans we should be frightened, deeply afraid for the future of the nation when good men and women can't speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter. When presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.
PAUL: Former Director for Communication for U.S. National Intelligence and CNN National Security Analyst Shawn Turner with us now as well as Samantha Vinograd also a CNN National Security Analyst. Thank you both for being with us this morning we certainly appreciate it.
PAUL: Sam, I want to get your take on Richard Grenell. Help us understand, not just his position, but even some of these others. And all of these other acting positions, positions that are not permanently filled.
What is the risk to national security when you've got someone not appointed to that position, necessarily, because the Senate hasn't appointed anybody but filled by the President, with somebody who has no experience and, therefore, what is the risk to this country, true risk to our national security? If at all, how does he command the CIA, the FBI and the departments, the Intel Departments in State and Treasury?
SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Christi, intelligence should not be used as a PR tool. Nor should it be run by one. Grenell's experience before he was appointed as Ambassador to Germany was largely as a spokesman at the United Nations.
He does not have deep experience in intelligence and this is deeply important when you think about the role of the Director of National Intelligence. There's 17 component parts at the Intelligence Community which means that Grenell in addition to serving as Ambassador to Germany and Special Envoy for Kosovo would in a best case scenario have to develop an understanding for the various component parts of the Intelligence Communities.
How they work together? And how they integrate intelligence from all of those places? At the same time, let's remember, he's responsible for whistle blower protections, aspects of the Intelligence Community Budget and figuring out how to communicate with this President about intelligence analysis on a range of issues?
He does not have that experience. Instead, what he's bringing to this job is loyalty to the President. What's deeply concerning is not just his lack of experience, but also the fact that he has reportedly asked to review the underlying intelligence associated with the current assessment that Russia still has a preference for President Trump.
DNIs often may request access to underlying this intelligence. Grenell has no background that he can bring to assess the sourcing the underlying Intel. Instead, the fear is that he'll weaponize this information he'll look at who compiled it and he'll use that to clean house which is something based on separate reporting he is looking to do.
BLACKWELL: All right, Shawn let me come to you. I want to stick with this reporting both about Senator Sanders' Campaign and the President's reelection and the Russian preferences. If the Russians don't do another thing during this election cycle, what has been the impact of reporting of just the last 48 hours that the Russians are still involved, are involved in the 2020 election? And that they prefer Trump and want to help Sanders win the primary.
SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Victor, I don't think we can underestimate the significance of what's happened already with this reporting. Look, on a couple of different fronts, first let's look at what this means here in the United States.
I think the American people have been kind of prompted to the fact that Russia was going to continue to interfere in the 2020 Presidential Election just like they did in 2016. It was unclear until these revelations exactly how that would manifest itself?
But what you've done here with this announcement with this information being getting out there, is you've already cost the American public to begin to, you know, wonder whether or not the veracity of our election will be promoted. And whether or not the security measures that we have in place to make sure that every vote that is counted as cast will actually work.
So here in the United States, it's doing exactly what Russia wants to do, it's kind of certain discord it's causing doubt in making people unsure about the future of our election. But we also have to look at what this means outside of the United States.
Look, Russia wants nothing more than for the rest of the world, for the international community to recognize its strength, its ability. And the idea that now the entire world knows once again that Russia is in position to perhaps influence who the next leader of the free world is, whether that's Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders or one of the other Democratic candidates is a major win for Russia. So you know we're not just looking at Russia's influence here in the United States, we're looking at what this is doing for them across the board. The important thing, Victor is that, there has been very little incentive for Russia to stop. I know people have said the President has been hard on Russia. But clearly, if Russia continues this behavior he hasn't been hard enough on them.
PAUL: You know the interesting thing is, and you bring it up, a lot of people in the last 12 hours when this information came out about, Bernie Sanders being supposedly helped by Russia or that he was one of the targets of Russia, people were asking why - are we just learning about this if his campaign has known about it for a month, and he was briefed a month ago?
PAUL: But beyond Bernie Sanders or beyond President Trump it comes down to the question of, the Intel Community has been on record that Russia's been involved in 2016, 2018, and the warning for 2020. How do voters Samantha, how do voters in this country go to the polls in November, or before that, in these caucuses, and be confident that their vote will count?
Have you seen anything from this President, anything from this White House, that it is indicating they're trying to thwart that interference?
VINOGARD: Well, I think it is a positive step that we have regular intelligence briefings to the Senate and to the House, with respect to election security. That's what this briefing was last week that set off President Trump. Election security officials' trying to inform members of Congress about what was happening as an input potentially to legislation or other policy decisions that is a positive?
And hopefully, Republicans will actually allow election security bills to move forward. The key question, though, is on the misinformation and disinformation front. Christi, you don't fight a Russian misinformation campaign with misinformation about the Russian Campaign.
President Trump's tweet calling this intelligence assessment a "Democratic Hoax" is exactly what Putin is hoping for from this President. This Intelligence Community Assessment builds on a 2016 assessment that was high confidence from the Intelligence Community. That means that the FBI, CIA, and NSA who worked on that 2016 high confidence assessment agreed on the conclusion that President Trump is the preferred candidate.
Now in 2020 there was another coordinated assessment from the Intelligence Community which was briefed to Congress. President Trump is spreading misinformation about that assessment. And the largest question is with President Trump taking that kind of action. What are the specific campaigns going to do to thwart misinformation and disinformation? And what are other members of the administration going to do while President Trump continues this activity? BLACKWELL: Shawn, let me ask you about this disagreement I guess on the interpretation, of the briefing for House Intel that President Trump is so upset where House Members learned that Russia is interfering in 2020 that they have a preference for him?
I want to read this from the Senate Intel Community. This was just two weeks ago, that they put out the report on 2016 and recommendations as they call it, the next attack one of the recommendations that executive and legislative branch officials regardless of party affiliation should jointly and publicly reinforce the DNI's findings, particularly if a foreign influence effort is directed at specific candidates speaking office.
Now with that context, if there is a difference of interpretation how do you reconcile those? Listen, I believe the DNI, this is what is happening but maybe it took a step too far? Where's the line?
TURNER: Well, look, I think a recommendation like this, particularly if this is a recommendation with high confidence, the bottom line is that there should not be a line.
Everyone has to understand that after everything the Intelligence Community has been through, with all the doubts that have been cast on the work of the Intelligence Community and all the attacks the Intelligence Community has undergone over the past three years.
The Intelligence Community is going to be extremely diligent in making sure that any recommendation or any finding with regard to Russia's intentions in the next election is one that has high confidence and one that the Intelligence Community feels like it's one they can stand by.
So when they go to Members of Congress when there's any suggestion that everyone should get on board with this recommendation, then I think that is the kind of recommendation that everyone should heed.
I do think that what you're seeing here is, look, we could have expected that the President might get angry over a finding like this. But what I think is new here, what I think is particularly troubling is the fact that if as the reporting suggests we have Members of Congress, we have Republicans who are getting upset over the facts.
TURNER: And what that suggests for all of us are that there's going to be a desire here to keep those facts from the American public. And that is one of the real issues with regard to making sure that our elections are secure going forward.
BLACKWELL: All right.
PAUL: Shawn Turner and Samantha Vinograd, we appreciate you both. Thank you.
VINOGRAD: Thanks. BLACKWELL: Still to come, at least one Nevada Caucus site volunteer has quit after being asked to sign a confidentiality agreement ahead of today's contest. Why? He's with us next.
BLACKWELL: Eighteen minutes after the hour now. In just a few hours, Nevadans will Caucus across the state in the third contest of the Presidential Primary season. And at the last minute, the Nevada State Democratic Party is asking site leaders at each of these Caucus sites to sign a confidentiality agreement.
CNN obtained a copy of the four-page agreement which states in part, that I will take all measures necessary to protect the secrecy of and avoid disclosure and unauthorized use of confidential information of Nevada State Democratic Party. At least one volunteer who planned to help, quit because of it. He's with us now. Seth Morrison.
Seth, welcome back.
SETH MORRISON, FORMER SITE VOLUNTEER, NEVADA CAUCUSES: Thank you.
BLACKWELL: So when we spoke about this time last week, you were talking about some of your concerns at training and men. Friday, they spring on you an NDA. You decided not to sign it why?
MORRISON: I totally support nondisclosure agreements for confidential information. I heard your last section on this. The problem is the agreement they asked me to sign said I could not disparage the party in any way. And if I did, in their opinion, disparage them, they could sue me for everything I own. The agreement is so broad. That nobody in their right mind would sign it.
BLACKWELL: It is several pages long. When they presented it to you, you read it. Did they explain why they wanted you to sign this agreement?
MORRISON: They did. And they talked about the security of the election. And I said I will be happy to sign an amended agreement that refers to this election. And to truly confidential information that doesn't say I can't disagree with my own party.
BLACKWELL: So, I'm curious, when did you agree to be a Site Leader for the Caucus? How long ago was that?
MORRISON: Back in November.
BLACKWELL: So, November. So, it's been what? Three months, three or four months - three months--
MORRISON: Correct. BLACKWELL - since you were selected. And the day before the Caucuses, they present this to you. So there are more than 2,000 caucus sites across the state of Nevada. We know that you have quit. And "The Washington Post" is reporting of several others. What's the impact on the votes and reporting now that they're losing some Site Managers just hours before the Caucus is beginning?
MORRISON: That is going to be a challenge on top of the fact that they've had a shortage of volunteers and very last-minute training. I mean, we didn't get final training on the new tool until yesterday. So, unfortunately, there are a lot of risks to this Caucus.
BLACKWELL: You say final training yesterday. When did training start? When did you first see this New Caucus Calculator?
MORRISON: We only saw the Caucus Calculator through webcast on Tuesday, during the day. And then if you made a special effort to travel to real life training, you could have done that Tuesday or Wednesday or Thursday evening.
BLACKWELL: Hmm. So for people, who are just joining the conversation about Nevada, the Caucus Calculator is this - it's not an app. It's a program that's on an iPad that counts both the --or combines the early vote, about 75,000 people voted early until Nevada with the in-room Caucus, combining them to determine how many delegates out of a specific precinct, any candidate can get?
So, let me ask you about the Caucus Calculator. And if it doesn't work, this is what we heard from the Chair of the Democratic Party there. There's this new program that's on an iPad, in a process that's never been tried by any state that runs a Caucus, the early vote. Here's what he said about the calculator and what Site Managers will be able to do.
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WILLIAM MCCURDY, NEVADA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR: We've made sure to implement off-the-shelf low-tech option which is our Caucus Calculator that will enable our Precinct Chairs who will be largely working with the Caucus Calculator on Caucus Day to be able to enter in that data and also help them eliminate human error. At the end of the day, everything that can be done on our Caucus Calculator can also be done on pen and paper.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Are you confident everything that calculator can do, can be done on pen and paper?
MORRISON: No. It's an amazingly complex process to take, first, second, third and fourth places from thousands of early votes. And the people in the party said to us, we're going to give you that paper in a sealed envelope. And if the calculator doesn't work, you open it, and we'll have a video to show you how to read the paper because it's so complicated. BLACKWELL: Wait a minute - let me ask you, I just want to make sure before we move on to the next thing. That they're expecting you to do this complicated math. They don't even want you to look at the worksheet to be able to complete it until you absolutely need it. And there's a video they're going to send you to be able to do the math?
MORRISON: Along with an instruction sheet in the envelope. And they were saying, when I went to pick up my materials yesterday, that afternoon, they would show us the process. And that's only the Site Leaders. So we would have to train our individual Caucus Chairs.
BLACKWELL: Hmm. Final question here, when we spoke last week, you were not very confident. You're now - I guess a would-be Site Leader since you quit because of the NDA, are you more or less confident that this Caucus process will be smooth today based on the last seven days?
MORRISON: I'm more confident than I was still very concerned.
BLACKWELL: All right. Seth Morrison who was up until yesterday a Site Leader there in the Nevada Caucuses but because they asked him to sign a confidentiality agreement he quit. Thanks so much, Seth.
MORRISON: Thank you, sir.
PAUL: Up next, how the Roger Stone trial tested the relationship between President Trump and his Attorney General William Barr.
PAUL: Well, according to a Justice Department Official, Attorney General Bill Barr felt vindicated after Former Trump Associate Roger Stone was sentenced to just over three years in prison. Of course, this was after more than 2,000 former prosecutors and other DOJ officials called on Barr to resign.
And Barr overruled career federal prosecutors before that and their sentencing recommendation for Stone. So his discussions about the Stone pardon are buzzing through Washington, the question may be where will Bill Barr stand?
PAUL: With us now two CNN Legal Analysts, Elie Honig and Joan Biskupic. Thank you both so much for being with us. Elie I want to ask you let's get to that question what is the status Bill Barr?
ELIE HONIG, FORMER ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK: It's interesting, Christi, the relationship between Trump and Barr seems to be on the rocks. We saw Bill Barr really for the first time in his tenure as Attorney General step up and show some spine show some independence when he said in his interview with ABC News, the President needs to stop tweeting he is making my job impossible.
What happens though in the days after that, the President keeps tweeting about cases keeps reasserting that he the President is in charge of Criminal Justice throughout the country which is not correct. So the President basically openly defied Bill Barr. What will Bill Barr do now?
He threw down the gauntlet that President laughed about. And Bill Barr seemingly is just putting his head down absorbing all the abuse and going about his business and I think that's part of what makes him unfit to continue leading DOJ.
PAUL: And a lot of people are looking at the President seeming to insert himself into all of this. So Joan, I want to ask you what is the cost to the Justice Department to the Justice System, of the President shifting away from the judicial norms that they've always known?
JOAN BISKUPIC, SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: Yes, Christi, I don't think we can overstate how different this is? We saw this week merely an escalation of what has been going on for the last three years where President Trump's challenge to judicial norms to legal norms has become the norm.
Just think of what he did right after the sentencing of Roger Stone. He dangled a pardon which we knew it was in the air already. He talked about the scum, that's his word, and top FBI officials who've been there. He talked about dirty cops. He's constantly sort of undermining the structure of our constitutional system and democracy.
So it's not just what he's signaling to the Justice Department, but to the broader justice system. And I think he's been emboldened by the Senate acquittal earlier this month. That's one thing. And it's showing up not just in the sentiment that we're hearing from career prosecutors and others at the Justice Department, but from the judiciary.
Consider what Judge Amy Berman Jackson said as she sentenced Roger Stone. She has very veiled or maybe unveiled criticism of President Trump and others who would try to interfere with their prosecutions. Interfere with federal judges.
And she said, you know, our adherence to the rule of law should transcend parties. This shouldn't be just about Republicans and Democrats and liberals and conservatives. There are more fundamental norms at issue here.
So, I think that as much as we all, you know, have become accustomed to this during the past three years, people should really pay attention to the different tone and what is so different from other Presidents of the United States.
PAUL: And you know, Elie, there may be a lot of people who voted for President Trump who say this is what we wanted. We wanted him to shake things up. We wanted him to do things differently. Do you think that the judicial process at this point is forever changed? Or is there a chance the ship will right itself again, back to what is the norm?
HONIG: I think both our Judicial System, the Judge side of it, and the Department of Justice are strong enough that they will survive this. But Joan's right. This is an attack. This is a crossing of lines and a violation of norms.
When I worked at the Justice Department, Joan is exactly right, it made no difference who was in the White House, really even who was even Attorney General to the day-to-day work that I did as a prosecutor. It was about doing the right thing. It was about doing justice.
And Donald Trump just look at how he reacted to one case he didn't like, the Roger Stone case which touched on a close political associate. He attacked the FBI. He attacked his own Justice Department. He attacked the Judge on the case. He attacked a juror, a civilian, doing her most basic civic duty. So Donald Trump is trying to tear it down but he's not going to succeed long term.
PAUL: Joan, if the President has not or had not surrounded himself with as we say are loyalists to himself wouldn't there under normal circumstances be a repercussion for the President in trying to insert himself this way?
BISKUPIC: Well, we have seen it in the past, when you think of you know everyone is making comparisons back to the Richard Nixon Era in the '70s when there were some individuals around him who challenged him.
Of course, we did see a partnership between Richard Nixon and his Attorney General John Mitchell. But there were people who stood up and after the whole Nixon/Watergate scandal, guard rails were put up at the Justice Department to stop the President, or presumably to stop the President from interfering in cases.
You know, when we think back to that era, and how troubled the nation was, and how it seemed like so many reforms were in place, that all kind of looks like child's play today.
BISKUPIC: But I do think that when you hear these voices from individual judges and individual prosecutors, and people all over the country who are - who try to challenge him, I think it can make a difference.
And I do agree with Elie that you know the system is stronger than one individual. But you know I cannot overstate enough the unusualness of the man who leads our country. Considers the perch he speaks from, consider the fact that he's a model, or presumably a model for all Americans.
And he controls so many people in the ranks under him, he has much more of a voice than, you know, some radio talk show host. And that's what makes this so dangerous, I think.
PAUL: All right. Elie Honig and Joan Biskupic, we are so grateful to have you with us in the morning thank you.
HINIG: Thanks Christi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, FORMER ILLINOIS GOVERNOR: I am a political prisoner. I was put in prison for practicing politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: CNN's Anderson Cooper was not going for that claim from Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. We'll hear more from their conversation, next.
BLACKWELL: Rod Blagojevich had his 14-year prison sentence commuted by President Trump this week. The Former Governor of Illinois was convicted of several public corruption charges in 2011. And that included trying to solicit money for President Obama's Senate Seat.
PAUL: Last night on CNN, the Former Governor claimed he'd been unjustly imprisoned. Even calling himself a prisoner from Anderson Cooper who really pushed back on the point he was trying to make.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I don't think they've looked carefully because I am a political prisoner, I was put in prison for practicing--
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Wait a minute, you're a political prisoner? Nelson Mandela was a political prisoner. Political prisoners have no due process and are unjustly jailed you had a jury convict you. You had appeals court to look at your sentencing and you even appealed to the Supreme Court twice, and they refused to hear you. So you're hardly a political prisoner.
BLAGOJEVICH: Well, first of all, Nelson Mandela went before a court; he was convicted in a court of law.
COOPER: Right by a racist apartheid government.
BLAGOJEVICH: That's correct.
COOPER: And in jury of disputers--
BLAGOJEVICH: I think if you were to ask - I bet if you were to ask Nelson Mandela whether he thought the process was fair back in the early '60s in South Africa, he could say what I'm saying today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Now, Blagojevich spent eight years in federal prison before his release on Tuesday. Still to come, Senator Bernie Sanders leads the Democratic Field nationally heading in today's Caucuses in Nevada. Rival candidates are starting to switch up their strategies. We'll talk about that.
PAUL: Big day in Nevada, it's Caucus Day although there's no obvious front-runner in the race. We do have to point out that Senator Bernie Sanders is coming out with pretty strong support here. According to several national polls he leads the Democratic Field followed by Former Vice President Joe Biden and Former Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
BLACKWELL: All of the candidates reassessing strategies and messaging as they prepare for the next presidential debate that happens next Tuesday in South Carolina. Here with us to discuss, CNN Political Analyst and the National Political Reporter for "The New York Times" Lisa Lerer. Lisa good morning to you.
LISA LERER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning.
PAUL: Good morning.
BLACKWELL: So let's start here, I want to ask this question in the context of the polls, Sanders is ahead in all of those, double digits by some, why then the splintered strategies? You've got Buttigieg v Klobuchar Warren v Bloomberg. Sanders is the one who is extending his lead why aren't they going after him?
LERER: That is the question of this race. Not only is he extending his lead there's a lot of quiet fears among Democrats that if he does well in Nevada goes into South Carolina does okay there can do and he does really well on Super Tuesday, he will capture a delegate lead that becomes really difficult for anyone else to catch up or even surmount and that would basically put him on track for being the nominee.
I think because people view Sanders voters as a distinct group of voters that are really loyal and committed to him. And so they really all are battling it out for second place because these are all moderates who are splitting up the same share of the pie so one way to think about Nevada it that it's really a race for second in some ways.
PAUL: So Warren she and Bernie Sanders really pull from the same bloc of voters there. So the question is how likely can she make some strides may be with other end of the local faction?
LERER: So the problem for Warren of course is that if she were to go after Bernie Sanders really hard, she risks alienating some of her base because they may be voting for her, but they also like him. So that puts her in a really tough spot.
And her other really challenge with Nevada is that she has this very well received a bay performance last week or this week rather. She got a lot of praise for going after Mike Bloomberg. And there's some evidence that she really helped tank his favorability numbers. But when that debate happened early voting had already ended in Nevada. So estimates are that maybe half the people who are going to vote in Nevada had already voted before she had that performance. So we'll have to see whether she can make up that ground that she might lost during the first half of the vote.
BLACKWELL: I don't want to get too far away from Nevada because it happens today. But I do want to talk just for a moment about South Carolina because our Arlette Saenz spoke with Former Vice President Joe Biden yesterday. Now last month, Vice President Biden had I think tic was a 21-point lead heading in South Carolina heading into Iowa. You know we're still getting some polls out of there but here's what he said about where he has to finish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Are you looking ahead to South Carolina, is that state a must-win for your campaign?
BIDEN: I think I have to do well in South Carolina. I think I will do well in South Carolina.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLACKWELL: Do well, but if it's not a win, does the second place do enough? Does it continue the narrative that he needs heading into Super Tuesday?
LERER: I mean, it could, it's not great for him, right? His campaign has structured South Carolina as his firewall.
LERER: They've argued that the first two states, Iowa and New Hampshire are not very diverse. They're not reflective of the Democratic Party or the country. They're not wrong about that. But South Carolina is, and that is the place where Joe Biden will do well.
So, they set this bar. He has to do well in that state. If he's the leading moderate, and he's somehow beat by Bernie Sanders, it wouldn't be great for him but at least he could sort of claim that he's the top moderate on that side of the aisle. But I think a win would certainly be better for him in South Carolina.
PAUL: So, I want to ask you about Mike Bloomberg as well because there's an article in "The Daily News" Rick Wilson writing Bloomberg needs to go medieval on Bernie if he wants any chance of beating Trump basically saying that if you're not spending your money to try to take down Bloomberg, as opposed to just pushing all of these ads out there, you're wasting your time. Do you think those funds are misdirected right now?
LERER: I'm picturing Mike Bloomberg with kind of a club with spikes going medieval on Bernie Sanders. I'm not sure that's what he would want to see. I think Bloomberg has been more at Bernie Sanders that he has escalated his attacks on Bernie Sanders and really attacked him harder than anyone else in the field.
But there are risks to that. The concern that some Democrats have is that, if a candidate attacks Bernie Sanders too hard, a lot of his voters are the base of the Democratic Party. And then you really have to work to get those voters back into the fold, should someone other than Bernie Sanders become the nominee and that may not be so easy to do.
Also, you know, Bernie Sanders has proven to have this Teflon-like shield where these attacks traditionally haven't really stuck to him. And maybe different this time of course no one has spent the kind of money that Bloomberg could spend on this effort if he were to want to but the history is not - doesn't give such a positive picture of going after Bernie Sanders as a successful campaign strategy.
BLACKWELL: Mayor Bloomberg his campaign announced that he's going to release three women who made acquisitions or claims complaints against him from NDA is allowing them to speak publicly. Is it too late, I say too late in the context of, if this was a possibility, why not had that answer ready when he was confronted by Senator Warren on the debate stage? Has she made enough hay out of it? So we don't know what is in the NDAs? What do you think about the timing and the decision?
LERER: I mean it certainly would have been better to have the answer ready to go on the debate stage. And you really have to wonder why he didn't? It was pretty clear that he was going to be asked about these NDAs. The candidates have been talking about them. The media has been talking about them. So I think they are trying to clean up a little, his team, from his debate performance with this.
PAUL: All right. Lisa Lerer, we so appreciate you being here thank you ma'am.
LERER: Thanks for having me.
BLACKWELL: This morning, there are more than 77,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus across the world and a surge in cases outside of China. It shows that the disease is not slowing down.
PAUL: We'll get you to that, but I also want to tell you there's an all you episode of the CNN Original Series "The Windsors: Inside the Royal Dynasty" the premier is tomorrow night here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SALLY BEDELL SMITH, BIOGRAPHER: Before he was King, George was living a relatively normal free under the radar life. Happily married and as a younger member of the Royal Family, he does a few public duties and is contented with that life.
PROFESSOR JANE RIDLEY, HISTORIAN: He was always known as Bertie in the family, but when he becomes King his whole life has completely changed. It was - that he's been sort of tasked with this incredibly difficult job. One of the first things he does is change his name to George, strengthening the continuity between his reign and that of his father, George V. ED OWENS, HISTORIAN: The new King George VI is extremely worried on taking over the throne because the abdication looms large. His brother Edward was the most popular man in the English speaking world. And now George has to stand up to the plate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: "The Windsors: Inside the Royal Dynasty" airs tomorrow night, 10:00 eastern and pacific. Right here on CNN.
BLACKWELL: Today, the World Health Organization is sending a team to Wuhan, China, as the number of Coronavirus virus cases in the world grows.
PAUL: Yes, globally, there have been more than 77,000 confirmed cases, and at least 2300 deaths. Now, the bulk of those infected are in Mainland China, there's surge in cases in a neighboring country though showing that there's a long way to go to memory all of this. We'll keep you posted of course.
BLACKWELL: We've got more news straight ahead.
PAUL: Yes. "SMERCONISH" is next, we're going to see you again in an hour.
MICHAEL SMERCONISH, CNN ANCHOR: So, are super delegates really undemocratic? I'm Michael Smerconish in Philadelphia.