Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Bernie Sanders To Win Nevada Caucuses; Buttigieg Campaign Alleges Irregularities In Nevada Vote; Interview With Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Russia Trying To Help Both Trump And Sanders; Buttigieg Campaign Alleges Irregularities In Nevada Vote; Biden Flip- Flops After Repeatedly Calling South Carolina A Firewall. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired February 23, 2020 - 14:00   ET

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


[13:59:56]

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: Now American and Filipino negotiators have six months to restore the pact or we will witness a sharp geopolitical shift in Asia.

Thanks to all of you for being part of my program this week. I will see you next week.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

It was a huge night for Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail. CNN is predicting the Vermont senator to win the Nevada caucuses pulling in nearly 50 percent of the county delegates confirmed so far.

The win cements Sanders' status as the Democratic frontrunner as we enter a critical stretch in this election season. The South Carolina primary is not only six days away but Sanders is already looking to Super Tuesday coming up March 3rd.

Campaigning today in Texas, his message after the Nevada victory, only he has the momentum to win in November.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: In Nevada and in New Hampshire and in Iowa, what we showed is that our volunteers are prepared to knock on hundreds and hundreds of thousands of doors. That no campaign has a grassroots movement like we do, which is another reason why we're going to win this election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: And as Sanders celebrates, he is getting support from the most unlikely of places, the White House. President Trump defending Sanders this morning, blasting Democrats for trying to take away his possible nomination and treating Sanders as what he calls very unfairly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They don't want Bernie Sanders to represent them. It sounds like it's '16 all over again for Bernie Sanders. He won. He had a great victory yesterday, but you know what's happening. You can see the handwriting on the wall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. For more from the campaign trail now, I'm joined now by CNN's Jeff Zeleny in South Carolina and Athena Jones in Texas.

All right. Jeff -- to you first, you know, a big win for Senator Sanders. And now Joe Biden is also weighing in.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Fredricka -- there's no doubt it was a big win for Senator Sanders, now coming into South Carolina, the primary just six days away. And Senator Sanders is the clear frontrunner without question in this Democratic nominating contest.

One of the worrying signs for the Biden campaign and others is the fact that Nevada looks more like the rest of the country, the most diverse electorate at this point, certainly more so than Iowa and New Hampshire. So Senator Sanders gaining strength among Latino voters, even African-American voters.

But just a few moments ago here in North Charleston, I spoke to Joe Biden about the state of his campaign and if his firewall still holds. Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: So finally, South Carolina.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Finally.

ZELENY: This is what you've been waiting for.

BIDEN: Yes.

ZELENY: Is this state still your firewall, sir?

BIDEN: Well, I think it's a state that I'm going to do well in. I think -- you know, it has 60 percent of this vote is the African- American vote. They have an opportunity to basically choose who the nominee is because depending on what they do and if they do it strongly, I think it's a real -- look, the issues are the issues of great concern.

Well, it's not yet health care, that's actually available. This governor, the previous governor did not extend Medicaid. Under my proposal for anybody who qualifies for Medicaid, they're automatically enrolled. We're able to pass it and we're able to get it done quickly.

And also, you know, it's a state where there is not a lot of gun violence. And the idea that we still have -- allow, you know, clips of 100 rounds in it and people can buy guns without a waiting period if they haven't been checked out -- I'm the only guy that's beaten the NRA. I've beaten as well the gun manufacturers. And this is on the menu here.

And lastly, I think it's basically about do people who are struggling like the devil, all this talk about a great economy. It's a great economy if you're an upper income, but it's a tough economy if you're a working class person or you're struggling and making an hourly wage.

It's awfully hard if you can't educate your children, if you can't find yourself in a situation where you have health care, it really puts you in a bind. And that's why I'm running.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ZELENY: There is no question that former vice president Biden is counting on voters here in South Carolina where about 60 percent of the Democratic primary electorate is comprised of African-American voters. Certainly he has a long history with the voters here. But it's an open question if that firewall still holds.

He did not directly answer my question on that -- Fredricka. But he did go on to say that he believes Senator Sanders would be trouble for the Democratic Party overall in terms of holding the House majority, of winning seats in the Senate. So that is something that is going to be litigated.

[14:04:54]

ZELENY: But there's someone else here that is also complicating potentially the Biden campaign staff. That is Tom Steyer. He's been spending millions and millions here on advertising and other matters.

I did ask the former vice president about that as well, and he said look, take a look at my record versus his.

So the next six days -- Fredricka, without question are the most significant and important of the former vice president's political life here. How South Carolina goes will determine if he will continue his presidential candidacy -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Right. Speaking of Steyer, Jeff -- you know, he spent a lot of money, a lot of campaign money --

ZELENY: Right.

WHITFIELD: -- ads there in South Carolina. So he, too, is banking on a pretty good response from voters there in South Carolina.

Athena -- you in Texas now, Senator Sanders already capitalizing on his Nevada victory, you know at the campaign in Super Tuesday states but his win is already being called into question. What are you learning?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi -- Fred.

Well, this is coming from Pete Buttigieg's campaign. They're not saying that Bernie Sanders did not win outright in the Nevada caucuses but their campaign -- Buttigieg's campaign -- is arguing there is a razor-thin margin for second place. They believe they're chomping -- coming up close behind Joe Biden in Nevada. But still 20-plus points behind Senator Sanders.

They sent a letter to the Nevada State Democratic Party talking about what they call material irregularities pertaining to the process of integrating the early votes into the in-person precinct caucus results from yesterday.

So they're asking the party to do a few things. They want them to release early vote and in-person vote totals by precinct, correct any outstanding errors in the second alignment -- this is sort of in the details here, and explain any anomalies in the data.

Now the Nevada Democratic Party says they're still going through the results. They never said that they would be putting out some of the things like early voting and in-person vote totals that Buttigieg's campaign and that there is a formal process for asking for a review.

So we'll have to see how that pans out. But as you said, here we are in Texas. This is where Bernie Sanders spent last night. He was confident enough that he would do well in Nevada that he came over to Texas, had two events, two big rallies in El Paso and San Antonio.

Today he's in Houston and he comes finally to end the day here in Austin, because he is still looking -- he is now looking ahead to these Super Tuesday states.

Of course, South Carolina is next, but right around the corner after that, 14 states will vote. And after Super Tuesday -- something like about 40 percent of the delegates will have been be rewarded in this contest.

And so Sanders is hoping to do what he did in Nevada. He's talked a lot about building a big coalition, a large grassroots volunteer army and a multigenerational, multicultural coalition of people -- many people who may have been left out or felt left out of the Democratic process, working class voters.

And he was able to pull together a diverse coalition in Nevada. If you look at the numbers, he performed well among women, among men, he won votes. He won Hispanics and he won whites. He improved his standing from four years ago when it comes to Hispanics.

He won across education, people who have a college degree, no college degree, post college. So he's showing that he is able to expand his coalition and he's hoping to do be able to do that here with a lot of organizing events and rallies like this in a state that is already voting -- early voting here already underway. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right. Athena Jones -- a very windy Texas, and Jeff Zeleny. It happens so often though, doesn't it, in the state? I lived there -- know it well.

All right. Jeff Zeleny, see you as well. Thank you so much. All right. Joining me right now -- another place I lived -- South Carolina. But with me now, South Carolina Democrat and the Majority Whip in the House, Congressman Jim Clyburn. Congressman -- so good to see you.

All right. So this is a really --

REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Thank you --

(CROSSTALKING)

WHITFIELD: -- yes, a really busy weekend, a very busy week particularly as we get ready for the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

And this morning, you know, you've already been talking about Senator Bernie Sanders and his win in Nevada. You said he brings a lot to the table -- and I'm quoting you. You know, is that a compliment, is that alluding to your endorsement of him?

CLYBURN: It is a compliment. I think he does bring a lot to the table. He has demonstrated that he can generate a lot of enthusiasm among young people, he can energize a crowd. He does that very well. And I think that he's bringing a lot to the table.

But I also said he brings a few other things that we have to be concerned about here in South Carolina especially, throughout this region.

WHITFIELD: Like what?

CLYBURN: On Super Tuesday, people are concerned about this whole self- proclaimed Democratic socialist. Socialism since I was a student in grade school, it was something that engendered a kind of -- a vociferous reaction among people of a negative nature.

[14:09:52]

CLYBURN: And socialism, though it's kind of interesting -- we have Social Security, we've got Medicare, we've got Medicaid -- but we do it in such a way that we divorce those things from socialism as economy.

And people are very concerned about that. And we are trying to rebuild our party in South Carolina. We are trying to elect more people to Congress. There are only two of the seven members from South Carolina who are Democrats.

And we have a candidate, Jaime Harrison, running for the United States Senate. He is of great interest to us. And we think we have an opportunity to pull off a great win in South Carolina with Jaime Harrison, and so we are concerned about having taken from top to bottom that we can really be successful with.

WHITFIELD: Because you said just this morning on ABC, you said, you know, for South Carolina voters, you know, the words Democratic socialist have always had dire consequences.

CLYBURN: Right.

WHITFIELD: And you're also talking big picture. You're worried that the Democratic socialist label that Bernie Sanders embraces might cost you seats in Congress.

CLYBURN: Yes, I am worried about that, you know. We just got back -- I mean I've been in Congress 28 years. And for 22 of those years, I've been in the minority. And there are some things that we need to do.

We've got to make this great country, all of its greatness -- accessible and affordable for all of its citizens. And to do that, Democrats need to be in charge in the House. We've just passed over 400 bills that are sitting over in the Senate, and we need somebody over in the Senate that will bring those bills to the floor.

So the way to do that is to maintain our majority in the House, regain the majority in the Senate, and put somebody in the White House who will sign these bills once we pass them in these two bodies. That's what my number one goal is. So some say this is --

(CROSSTALKING)

WHITFIELD: I think we can then surmise that your endorsement --

CLYBURN: I'm sorry?

WHITFIELD: I guess we can then surmise that your endorsement is not that of Bernie Sanders. On Wednesday you plan to make public your endorsement a few days ahead of voters going to the ballot at the primaries on Saturday. Your vote is very influential, your endorsement is very influential. You've been called a king maker.

Why Wednesday, are you revealing who you're endorsing?

CLYBURN: Well, I got to Charleston around 1:30 on yesterday afternoon, stopped off at my favorite eating -- one of my favorite eating places here in Charleston, Bertha's Kitchen. And from the moment I got there, people were coming up to me and asking, are you going to endorse? Who are you going to -- let us know who you think is best for us to vote for.

So I came to the conclusion that I need to say to people immediately after this debate on Tuesday night who I think is the best choice.

So sometime around 9:30, 10:00 on Wednesday morning, I'm going to reveal exactly who I think is best and why I think that person is best. And I hope that there would be a majority of South Carolinians agreeing with me.

WHITFIELD: And is it your hope that making that public endorsement will also persuade voters, influence them?

CLYBURN: I hope so. I think if people are asking me who I'm for, I don't know if I need to persuade them. All I need to do is inform and tell them why. They're persuaded to vote already. They are persuaded to be Democrats. They want to --

(CROSSTALK)

WHITFIELD: Did you make up your mind a long time ago?

CLYBURN: I think so. I've been telling people that I've known for some time who I am going to vote for. But I have promised the Democratic National Committee and the sponsors, media sponsor of our debate, that I would not get out in front of the debate and render that any kind of confusion about it.

And, really, I should not do anything to jeopardize South Carolina's status as the first in nation -- or first in the south primary.

I want to show why South Carolina ought to be first in the nation as a primary because we got the demographics that make up the Democratic Party. We've got African-Americans, Hispanics -- how our numbers are different.

We've got quite -- progressives who want to see Democrats in office. That's why Jaime Harrison is doing so well in his race for the United States Senate. A lot of people seem to be surprised at that. I'm not. Because we have some pretty progressive people here in South Carolina.

[14:14:57]

CLYBURN: A lot of people who are white really would like to see new leadership in the Senate and new leadership in the White House. So we're not doing anything here to jeopardize our being successful with that.

All right. I want to shift gears just a little bit if I could, you know. Last night at the NAACP Image Awards, American hero to all of us, your colleague Congressman John Lewis was honored with the Chairman's Award. He did not attend the ceremony as he's fighting stage 4 pancreatic cancer. What are your thoughts about your good friend today?

CLYBURN: You know, John -- I get so emotional when I talk about John. We first met each other in autumn of 1960 when we were organizing what became known as SNCC -- the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. And we've maintained that friendship all through the years.

And it turned out that he made a choice to get married -- he married a librarian. And I married a librarian, and the two of them became fast friends. And we are now both widowed.

John and I are very close. When I saw that he was going to be honored by the NAACP and watching him making that acceptance speech last night, I got very emotional about it. I love John. And I hate to see what he's going through. I just think they made a great choice.

And quite frankly, on Tuesday evening, Bennie Thompson and I will take to the stage at the debate, before the debate starts, and we will have things to say about John Lewis and Jesse Jackson, who is now suffering with some health issues. So the two of them have great ties to South Carolina. John Lewis was first physically attacked here at Rock Hill, South Carolina. The first time, long before Selma. And this is the birthplace for Jesse Jackson.

In fact, Jesse and I were on competing football teams when we were growing up. He was up in Greenfield Spalding High School, I was at Camden Military Academy, and we have been friends ever since as well.

So on Tuesday night, we will honor both of those people, and John Lewis, he (INAUDIBLE) had been a national icon. And what this country is all about is John Lewis.

WHITFIELD: He is indeed. He is all of our great American heroes.

Congressman James Clyburn -- thank you so much. Appreciate it.

CLYBURN: Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: And of course, our prayers continue to go out to the Lewis family and the Jackson family. Thank you so much.

All right. With the days counting down until the South Carolina primary, six presidential candidates take voter questions in a special two-night "CNN TOWN HALL EVENT" live from Charleston. It all starts tomorrow night 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.

[14:18:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

WHITFIELD: All right. Right now, President Trump is en route to India aboard Air Force One with the First Lady. He will be making a brief 36-hour visit to India to meet with the Prime Minister Modi, tour the Taj Mahal and attend a rally.

Before departing the President stirred up more confusion over reports from his own intelligence community that the Russians plan to interfere in the 2020 election to help his campaign as well as that of Bernie Sanders.

Today Trump claimed he had not been briefed on the matter but still accused Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of leaking the information as a way to hurt Bernie Sanders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: I read where Russia's helping Bernie Sanders. Nobody said it to me at all. Nobody briefed me about that at all.

I think what it could be is you know the Democrats are treating Bernie Sanders very unfairly. And it sounds to me like a leak from Adam Schiff because they don't want Bernie Sanders to represent them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. For more on this, let's bring in CNN's Jeremy Diamond at the White House. So Jeremy -- what more did the President have to say about this and how is Adam Schiff responding?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred -- there is no evidence to suggest that Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, leaked this information about Russian interference to help Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries. But that hasn't stopped the President from accusing Schiff of doing exactly that.

The President there accusing Schiff of leaking this information for some reason to damage Bernie Sanders' campaign for the Democratic nomination. And he is also essentially saying that Schiff ought to be investigated.

Now, here's the answer that we have -- the response from Adam Schiff. He writes in a tweet, "Nice deflection, Mr. President, but your false claims fool no one. You welcomed Russian help in 2016, tried to coerce Ukraine's help in 2019 and won't protect our elections in 2020. Now you fired your intel chief for briefing Congress about it. You've betrayed America. Again."

Now, the Sanders campaign for its part has suggested that it was the Trump administration in fact, now Adam Schiff, who was responsible for leaking this information. There's also no basis at this point to suggest that.

As for the President he was asked what he thinks about this assessment from the intelligence community that Russia is interfering to help Bernie Sanders win the Democratic nomination. He would not say one way or the other. But what he certainly didn't do was offer the same kind of warning to Russia that Bernie Sanders said in the wake of this report. Bernie Sanders told Russia unequivocally, do not interfere in American elections -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. Jeremy Diamond at the White House -- thank you so much.

All right. President Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien is pushing back on information relayed to members of the House Intelligence Committee. Lawmakers say intelligence officials told them Russia is interfering in the 2020 election in order to help President Trump. Today O'Brien cast doubt on those reports.

[14:25:03]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERT O'BRIEN, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: So -- look, who knows what happened over at the House in the Intelligence Committee. But I haven't seen any evidence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump reelected. And our message to the Russians is stay out of the U.S. Elections. We've been very tough on Russia and we've been great on election security. So I think it's a non-story.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Bob Baer is a former CIA operative and a CNN intelligence and security analyst. Bob -- good to see you.

Ok. So what do you think about that? That it's a non-story, not to be believed?

ROBERT BAER, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY ANALYST: Well, there's two things. One is the FBI director a couple of weeks ago said the Russians are interfering and will interfere. He said that in public. And the President is talking about a leak, in other words, classified information got out.

So it's just disingenuous.

Or there's the alternative is that the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence isn't briefing the White House about Russian assault on our elections. That's equally bad. I mean --

(CROSSTALKING)

WHITFIELD: And if it were that -- if it were that, intentionally not providing, what does that say to you?

BAER: Well then, no one would. If you're in the CIA or the FBI and you get a Russian lead, the last thing you wanted to do is show up in the White House because you might get fired the next day. And that's the word among FBI and CIA agents.

WHITFIELD: Now, let's talk about what, you know, representatives have said. They were briefed on from intel with the reports you're saying that, you know, Russia was trying to help both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in this same election.

You know, to some people that might seem rather confusing. To others that might infer a reassurance of an outcome. What do you see here?

BAER: Well, I think the way Moscow thinks, and they look at Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders as two hand grenades. If you've got both of them to throw into the American electorate, throw them both. It means they're both disruptive, they both at the end of the day will undermine the legitimacy of our democracy because they're two ends of the spectrum and it serves Russia's interest. And they don't care.

They just want to destabilize us politically and they're doing a wonderful job so far.

WHITFIELD: And sowing chaos is already happening.

BAER: They're doing a great job. I've never seen anything like it.

WHITFIELD: Bob Baer, thanks so much. Good to see you.

All right. Still ahead, Mayor Pete Buttigieg now challenging Bernie Sanders' decisive win in Nevada. Why Buttigieg says a potential Sanders nomination could alienate most Americans.

[14:27:38]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:30:00]

WHITFIELD: Right. Following a commanding victory in Nevada, Senator Bernie Sanders appears to be on the path to an insurmountable delegate lead, but now, former Mayor Pete Buttigieg is questioning the integrity caucuses claiming there are irregularities.

Campaign's allegation comes just hours after Buttigieg used his concession speech in Nevada to go after Sanders by name and to question the impact Sanders would have on down ballot races if Sanders were to become the nominee.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And that is a real difference from Senator Sanders' revolution with the tenure of combat and division and polarization leading to a future where whoever wins the day, nothing changes the toxic tone of our politics. I believe the only way to truly deliver any of the progressive changes that we care about is to be a nominee who actually gives a damn about the effect you are having from the top of the ticket on those critical frontline house and Senate Democrats that we need to win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me now, Sanders supporter and Democratic Congressman Jesus "Chuy' Garcia.

Congressman, good to see you.

REP. JESUS GARCIA (D-IL): Great to you join this afternoon, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Thank you. So top campaign strategist from both parties for House and Senate candidates seem to echo exactly what Buttigieg is saying. And according to The Washington Post, they see Sanders' success as a -- I'm quoting now -- a potentially tectonic event which could narrow party's already slim hopes of retaking the Senate majority and fuel GOP dreams of reclaiming the House.

And then earlier, I spoke with South Carolina Democratic and House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who reiterated those same kind of concerns among South Carolinian voters. They are worried about Democratic socialist. What's your response?

GARCIA: Bernie Sanders is building a movement in this country, the type of energy that we saw in Nevada in his 2-1 win, in a very working class part of the country. I had the opportunity to visit flea markets, to speak with hotel and hospitality workers. This is the real nucleus of working class America. They're struggling in real life to make ends meet, to provide for their families, their concern about access to healthcare, their concerned about climate change and they are being tested with the tremendous debt that students have who are trying to get a college education.

And that's what the results in Nevada showed. He is bringing new voters into the mix like never before. That's what gave him such a big win in Nevada. He has a real message of hope for the future, and to engage the issues of the day that we must engage if we're going to continue to be a leader in the world.

WHITFIELD: Well, do you have confidence, you know, in his momentum? Because leading Democrats running for four of the most vulnerable Republican seats, Arizona, North Carolina, Maine and Colorado, have all come out against Sanders' Medicare-for-all plan, and so have many House candidates.

[14:35:12]

So you don't see or recognize that some of these candidates see a potential problem.

GARCIA: I understand their nervousness, and I understand candidates being concerned. I've been there many a time. But I think that when we see a candidate speaking to the crushing debt, having no insurance or having to -- if you have Insurance, rely on a negotiation of that every year by your union, or if you lose your job temporarily, losing your healthcare. People have told me across the country when I talk with them that they're tired of the co-payments and the out-of-pocket expenses and the high cost of prescription prices. And they're worried about climate change and the monster flooding that we see and the forest fires all over our country.

These are issues that must be addressed, and Bernie Sanders is the only one that's honestly talking about the urgency of acting, and that's why he will draw many new voters into the political process. He has done what the Democratic Party has refused for many years now, and that's to invest in engaging people who have stood away from elections and politics and the payoff is demonstrably evident in the results in Nevada. He reached out to new voters, he reached out to voters that had not voted in a long time, and there is a big payoff. That's how you build the broadest coalition to defeat Donald Trump in November.

WHITFIELD: And then why do you think the president, Donald J. Trump, would be defending Bernie Sanders, saying Democrats are treating him very unfairly? Why would this president be defending and supporting Bernie Sanders?

GARCIA: Because obviously he wants to sow confusion. We can't take anything that the president says to mean anything meaningful. He needs a sound bite, he'll take his best shot whenever. What's really happening is there is growing concern by Republicans that Bernie Sanders is attracting people from all stripes who have stood away and lost confidence in the political system. The fact that he's raised more money, for example, than Joe Biden by a 2-1 margin is most telling. He has made 1.5 million contacts already leading into South Carolina for Super Tuesday. He has this weekend alone gotten 33,000 votes.

WHITFIELD: Do you also think that the president feels like if Bernie Sanders is the nominee that he could easily defeat Bernie Sanders because of this growing concern among many elected officials who have already spoken out about the whole Democratic socialist, you know, banner that Bernie Sanders has claimed?

GARCIA: Let's face it. Whoever the Democratic nominee is going to be pegged with those labels, let us not forget the fellow Americans that what got us out of the depression were a bold initiative by Franklin Roosevelt. What prepared us to win World War II was that previous investment and what built the interstate highway in America were bold measures.

Now climate change is a real challenge. Inequality all over the country is what is keeping workers from earning better wages. Raising the minimum wage is important. That's what Bernie Sanders is offering people across the country, and we begin to see already in three states a historic series of wins that people are responding to that message, that will grow and become a tidal wave that will produce many, many wins for Democrats all over, on the ballot, from the top to the bottom.

I understand some of the reservations that candidates are expressing, I appreciate that. But the big picture is the need to defeat Donald Trump and to usher in a new period of prosperity for people who have struggle over four decades.

WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. Congressman Jesus Garcia, good to see you. Thank you so much.

GARCIA: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: And we'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:40:00]

WHITFIELD: All right. The Biden campaign has repeatedly called South Carolina its firewall, appearing confident that Biden would win the state's primary contest. That was just a few weeks ago. Well, now, just six days before voters head to the Palmetto State polls, the former vice president doesn't appear nearly ascertain that his firewall will hold up.

Joining me right now, Margaret Talev, Politics and White House Editor for Axios, along with Jeff Mason, White House Correspondent for Reuters. Good to see you both.

All right, Margaret, you first. What do you make of Biden seeming a little less confident?

MARGARET TALEV, POLITICS AND WHITE HOUSE EDITOR, AXIOS: Well, look, he's got encroaching problems from two sides. We've seen his lead among African-American voters in South Carolina, a key bloc drastically narrowed in recent weeks as Bernie Sanders has picking up steam there. And we've seen a real challenge from another, perhaps more unexpected force, billionaire Tom Steyer, one of the candidates in the Democratic Field who has become a major factor in South Carolina, and according to a new CBS poll, is now in a fairly close third position, and both of these spell trouble for Joe Biden. He has to come in first in South Carolina, and he may still be able to do it, but it looks like it will be by much closer margins than originally expected.

WHITFIELD: And, Margaret, you heard my interview perhaps with South Carolina Representative James Clyburn. Earlier today, you said, Wednesday, he will publicly announce who he is endorsing. What kind of difference might it make for any candidate if they are the one selected by Clyburn? I mean, he is the so-called king maker.

TALEV: Yes. Jim Clyburn's endorsement is still very important in South Carolina, and he's been a longtime friend and supporter of Joe Biden.

[14:45:01]

If it's not Joe Biden, it would be disastrous for Biden's candidacy, I think it's fair to say, in South Carolina. But he's been keeping some mystery about all of this and waiting until the day after that debate. And that debate for which Tom Steyer has just qualified is going to be very important, a lot to watch if you are voter nationally and a lot to watch if you're a Democratic voter in South Carolina.

WHITFIELD: All right. Jeff, so you were at the White House this morning when President Trump congratulated Bernie Sanders on winning Nevada before responding to reports that Russia is trying to help the Sanders campaign along with Trump's campaign. And Trump is saying, I'm quoting him now, the Democrats are treating Bernie Sanders very unfairly, and it sounds to me like a leak from Adam Schiff because they don't want Bernie Sanders to represent them. It sounds like it's 2016 all over again for Bernie Sanders.

And then listen to what Joe Biden said in an interview with CBS. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The Russians don't want me to be the nominee. They spent a lot of money on bots on Facebook and had been taken down saying Biden is a bad guy. They don't want Biden running. No one is helping me to try to get the nominee. Isn't that a good reason?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: So, Jeff, what did he interpret from the president that he would kind of defend Bernie Sanders not being treated fairly, he says, and then Biden saying he knows what's at the root of Russia's meddling?

JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Sure. Well, let's take those two things separately. First of all, with President Trump, I think it's pretty clear that President Trump would like to run against Bernie Sanders. I mean, number one, if Bernie Sanders ends up being the Democratic nominee, then the arguments that Trump has made for months now, probably longer, that Democrats are pushing the socialist agenda will be even easier for him to make because the candidate at the top of the ticket on the Democratic side describes himself as a Democratic socialist.

So the president has been trying to kind of gin up some of the concern that is still left over from 2016 among Democrats about Bernie not being treated fairly. Well, he wants people to be upset about that now, and I think he would like to see probably Bernie benefit from that.

As far as what Vice President Biden said, I'm not sure what his strategy is there. It's -- he wouldn't be coming out saying he is pleased if Russia were intervening in his behalf. Perhaps that's another way of saying what some other Democrats have said that Bernie Sanders hasn't been strong enough or didn't come out early enough to share with the world that this intelligence was there.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll leave it there for now. Jeff Mason, Margaret Talev, thank you so much.

Much more straight ahead in the Newsroom. But, first, here is this week's Staying Well.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JESSICA NELSON-ROEHL, NURSING STUDENT: My name is Jessica Nelson- Roehl. I am a member of the 612 Sauna Society here in Minneapolis.

This is one of the few mobile saunas that we have in the area. The first time I went, it felt like I just got done with a 90-minute massage at a fraction of a massage price.

DR. KAROLINE LANGE, INTERNAL MEDICINE: The effect that sauna has on your body is similar to exercise. It increases your heart rate. It increases blood flow. But it's also a very relaxing experience. It is medically established that it has benefits for your cardiovascular health, so it can reduce the risk for heart attacks and strokes specifically.

One sauna session, so about 30 minutes of sauna bathing, can reduce your blood pressure by about five to ten points. There are some people with heart conditions that should ask their doctor before saunaing. But, generally speaking, sauna is safe.

NELSON-ROEHL: Life could be very stressful. And the one thing I know is that I can go in the hot room, sweat, come out and I just feel like a new person when I'm done.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:50:00]

WHITFIELD: All right. Tonight, watch an all-new episode of the CNN original series, "The Windsors: Inside the Royal Dynasty." Here is a preview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 1917, the First World War rages on. Prince Edward is now an officer in the British army.

TED POWELL, BIOGRAPHER: But he's not allowed to fight. He's not allowed near the frontline.

PIERS BRENDON, BIOGRAPHER: He says to his father, King George, look, I've got to be doing my bit. And his father says, no, no, you can't risk being killed or captured.

POWELL: And that's an experience that he finds extremely humiliating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: His father insists that the Prince of Wales is protected at all times. But Edward defies his father's orders.

JULIAN LORD HARDINGE, GRANDSON OF KING GEORGE V'S ASSISTANT PRIVATE SECRETARY: But at one point, he escaped from his (INAUDIBLE) and stole a motorbike and headed off for the frontline.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: The Windsors, Inside the Royal Dynasty, airs tonight 10:00 Eastern and Pacific right here on CNN.

So much more straight ahead in the Newsroom.

But, first, here is today's Wander Musts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Welcome to Miami.

SAMANTHA NIEVES, BALL AND CHAIN: Miami is very unique. There is a little bit of everything to see in the city. You have your beach, it's always sunny, you have an art district, you have downtown and you also have Little Havana.

The Ball and Chain is like the iconic spot for live music, food and beverage and Cuban culture here in the heart of Little Havana. Our food is authentic Cuban cuisine, one of our favorite entrees.

[14:55:02]

It's a Cuban sandwich inside a spring roll. So inside, you have a slice of ham, pork, Swiss cheese and mustard aioli with a small pickle inside. It's really good.

There is salsa dancing all the time. So even if people that don't know how to dance, they come in here and they come out knowing how to dance salsa, so there is never a dull moment here.

JESSE KENNON, COOPERTOWN AIRBOATS: Welcome to the Everglades. Miami is home to one of the most unique ecosystems in the world.

In Coopertown Airboats, we're in the middle of the heart of the Everglades. You're going to see what Miami used to look like before all the buildings were here. We're going to see some different birds, alligators, we have some endangered species. Most people are really surprised when they come out here and realize that it is so close to the sea. It's basically a stepping back in time.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[13:00:00]