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Support For Joe Biden Continues To Drop; White House Wants Congress To Release Funds To Battle Coronavirus; A Potential Bernie Sanders Versus Donald Trump In November; Pete Buttigieg Not Happy With Nevada Results; Healthy People Being Quarantined In China; A Tribute To NBA Legend Kobe Bryant. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired February 23, 2020 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00]

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN HOST: And the men and women running for president, most of them are now looking really focusing, zeroing in on that next primary state of South Carolina.

I say most of them because there is one top tier Democrat who has a problem with the results from Nevada. We'll have details on that in just a moment.

Now the final tally from yesterday's Democratic caucuses in Nevada, that is still not in. But it is clear from the count so far that it is going to be a runaway victory for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Now, next up, that next state, South Carolina, there it is not so crystal clear. It's a different part of the country. There are different attitudes and demographics and a much different list of people that voters say they want in the White House.

Now look at this. This polling released this morning from CBS News and YouGov, Joe Biden has a slight edge over Bernie Sanders but that edge is very much within the margin of error. We're also seeing businessman Tom Steyer he's got a sudden surgery, especially among the all- important African-American voters in South Carolina.

Our Senior Washington Correspondent, Jeff Zeleny is in South Carolina, in Charleston right now, CNN's Abby Phillip is in Arlington, Virginia. Jeff, first to you, you got to talk to Joe Biden just a little while ago.

Now, he has yet to win a primary state in the first three contests. He's very much counting on South Carolina for a Biden bounce, if you will. So, what does it look like for him?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Alex, there's no question that Joe Biden is counting on South Carolina to revive his campaign. And it is, indeed, a lifeline.

I mean, this is not what Joe Biden was expecting a year ago, when he jumped into his presidential campaign. He thought South Carolina would be the place that propelled him on to Super Tuesday and beyond. But now it's very much an open question if that's still possible. And even a Joe Biden win here is not going to erase the Bernie Sanders

victories from Iowa and New Hampshire and Nevada, at least in terms of delegates. So, the question for Joe Biden, can he reset this conversation?

We should point out the South Carolina primary over the years has been one that surprises voters on Republicans, on the Democratic side, there's always something that happens here in South Carolina.

So, Joe Biden believes that the voters here, some 60 percent of the Democratic electorate are African-American. He believes that he can reset this conversation. We caught up with him early this afternoon. He said this. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: As entrance polls in Nevada showed that Senator Sanders is gaining strength, certainly among Latinos, but also among African- American voters. Is that a warning sign to you here in South Carolina?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No. Look, I don't take anything for granted. I have to -- I have great relationships with this community and the African-American community nationally as I won it in Nevada. But it has to be earned. I'm not expecting anything. I'm coming down here saying, look, I'm back, here is why I want to be your nominee. I need your help and I want to earn your support.

ZELENY: But Senator Sanders as the nominee be a McGovern like mistake for this party?

BIDEN: Well, that's got the voters. Look, I think it's going to go down to race between Senator Sanders and me for the nomination. As I said all along, it's not just can you beat Donald Trump, can you bring along, can you keep a Democratic House of Representatives and the United States Congress and can you bring along the Democratic Senate? Can you help people up and down the line? I think I'm better prepared to do that than Senator Sanders.

ZELENY: Tom Steyer is spending a lot of money here. Let me just ask you this. Tom Steyer is spending a lot of money here. What should voters know about the difference between your record and what Tom Steyer is saying?

BIDEN: Look, Tom has spent a lot of money also in Nevada, and look, Tom has a very -- Tom is a recent convert. Tom has made $90 million on private prisons. Tom has -- you know, now he says it's a mistake and I believe he means it, but you know, the record is you could spend all the money in the world but you can't erase the past.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ZELENY: So. the fact that Joe Biden is here, talking about Tom Steyer, you know, in the days before the South Carolina primary tells you everything you need to know about this race. He cannot afford anyone to encroach on his support in African-American voters and others. I mean, so the reality here on the ground for Joe Biden is, can he

revive things in the next six days or not? If not, his candidacy is all but certainly going to extinguish here. But keep an open mind because many voters we talk to say they do believe Joe Biden is the strongest candidate to take on President Trump. So. the next six days, so critical for Joe Biden. Alex?

MARQUARDT: All right. Jeff Zeleny. From one side of the country to the other. Let's go over to Abby Phillip in Virginia. Abby, you're one step ahead of Jeff there in terms of the calendar.

You're in Virginia, which is a Super Tuesday state, and that's where Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, he's rallying his supporters. And he's saying he's not ready to put Nevada behind him just yet. He's not happy with the results. Why is that?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Alex. Yes, here in northern Virginia Pete Buttigieg is having one of his largest rallies that we've seen. A pretty full football field here.

[17:05:00]

At the same time, his campaign is still contesting these Nevada results, which more than a day after that contest. We know the clear winner, but who is second and third place is a lot less clear.

Now, the Buttigieg campaign says that they have some problems with the early vote and how that was integrated in the in-person precincts.

Now the early vote was new to the Nevada caucuses this year and a lot of campaigns had a lot of nervousness about how that would play into how all of the final results were tabulated.

They're saying the Buttigieg campaign are saying that they believe that there are some irregularities. Now, the question over to the Nevada Democratic Party is whether they will concede to the Buttigieg's campaign demand that they release this early voting data and explain the irregularities.

We have a statement from the Nevada Democratic party saying essentially, we never indicated that we would release a separate breakdown of the early vote and in-person attendees by precinct and we will not change our reporting process now.

So, it seems clear that the Democratic party is not going to simply release these numbers. They're saying if the Buttigieg campaign has problems with the vote count, they have to put in a formal request for the recount. How that will be resolved it's unclear. But as you can see here, Alex, the campaign trail doesn't stop. It doesn't stop even if we don't know who came in second or third place in Nevada.

He is up on to South Carolina after the stop here in Northern Virginia, and it's just a race until the next debate and the next primary on Saturday in South Carolina. Alex?

MARQUARDT: All right. Abby Phillip in Arlington, Virginia. Jeff Zeleny at Charleston, South Carolina. Thanks to you both.

So, Bernie Sanders is riding that wave of momentum into South Carolina after that decisive Nevada win. And the Vermont senator is now looking ahead to the next two crucial contests.

First up, that first in the south primary in South Carolina, that's next Saturday. And just a couple of days later, the all-important Super Tuesday on March 3rd. That's when voters in 14 different states are going to be casting their ballots, including in California, and Texas with their huge number of delegates.

So joining me now is CNN's Senior Political Writer and Analyst, Harry Enten, our forecasting wizard of odds. Harry, the delegate count, how does the victory, the Sanders' victory in Nevada affect that all- important delegate count?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes. I mean, look, here's the deal. The deal is that Senator Sanders is riding a wave of momentum right now. And if, you know, we look at how it's going for him, we know that before Iowa, you know, I have been looking at the national polls, I've been looking to state polls and trying to project that odds of each candidate and receiving the plurality of delegates.

Before Iowa voted Bernie Sanders had just three in 10 shot of winning the plurality of delegates. Now he's up to a seven in 10 shot and that's not just because of what's happened so far. It's also looking ahead. So wight now, Bernie Sanders has a majority shot to win the most amount of delegates and it's up to the other candidates to try and stop him.

MARQUARDT: Given the success that Sanders has seen so far, can we assume that that momentum is going to continue when you broaden it out to Super Tuesday, to all these different states, particularly in those major states, California and Texas?

ENTEN: You know, in all honesty, I do believe so. You know, if you look at the national polls right now, in the Super Tuesday states are largely representative of those -- of those polls. What do we see? We see Bernie Sanders gaining momentum, right?

We see that before Iowa he was just at 22 percent. Now he's up to 27 percent. I wouldn't be surprised if after Nevada that number jumps even higher. And again, it's so important to point out that Super Tuesday is largely representative of the nation as a whole.

And keep in mind, on Super Tuesday look at how many delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday. Thirty-four percent of the available pledged delegates are up for grabs on Super Tuesday.

So, if Bernie Sanders holds on to the lead that he has right now, if in fact he probably will build it after Nevada, it's going to be very, very tough to stop that train, especially considering that he is above that all-important 15 percent threshold in --

MARQUARDT: Right. ENTEN: -- pretty much all these states and a lot of the other candidates really can't say that with maybe the exception of Biden, and even he is below that 15 percent threshold in a number of states.

MARQUARDT: We hesitate to get ahead of ourselves before we see the returns in the Super Tuesday states but when you do look at the polling there, and in the polling nationwide, what are you seeing in terms of Sanders' electability and his ability to defeat Donald Trump?

ENTEN: You know what, look, we know that the most important thing in terms of the general election is the Electoral College, right? We learn last time the popular vote isn't necessarily what determines winners.

And what we see in the, you know, there were three polls that came up this week from Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan. Those three states that blue wall that Barack Obama won in 2012, that then Donald Trump won in 2016.

We see that, look, Bernie Sanders is up in Pennsylvania. He's up in Michigan. But Wisconsin, he's in fact not ahead, at least in this Quinnipiac University poll. If that in fact hold, we could be in for a very, very tight general election match up. And just because Donald Trump hasn't been popular all along, if we're looking at the polling now, we could in fact have a very tight race between Sanders and Trump heading into November.

MARQUARDT: Well, very, very busy week ahead of us and for all the candidates across the board.

[17:10:00]

ENTEN: You got that right. I'm looking forward to it.

MARQUARDT: It's going to be a good one.

ENTEN: Yes.

MARQUARDT: Harry Enten, thanks so much.

ENTEN: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: All right. With another debate in just two days, some of the Democratic candidates are hoping what happened in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas. We'll have much more. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: Now as Bernie Sanders adds those Nevada delegates and the momentum to his presidential bid, the rest of the Democratic field is insisting that the primary race is far from over.

And the next major test is coming on Tuesday in Charleston, South Carolina in a debate that is ahead of that state's first in the nation primary. That's on Saturday. In the latest South Carolina polling from CBS News and YouGov, there really is no clear winner. Biden does have a slight edge in that poll, 28 percent over Sanders' 23 percent. But that is, we should say, within the margin of error.

There is one key group of voters that everyone is watching. South Carolina's African-American voters, voters that Joe Biden is very much counting on in this fourth contest.

[17:15:04]

Now in polling from Winthrop University, Biden holds a more commanding lead, 31 percent with Tom Steyer at 18, Bernie Sanders at 17.

The debate on Tuesday is being co-hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, BET Network is also airing the debate.

So, to discuss all of this and break it down is CNN political commentator and Democratic strategist Aisha Moodie-Mills, and Todd Graham, the debate director at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Thank you both for joining me. Aisha, I want to turn to you first. Thirty-one percent of South Carolina's African-American voters support Biden. But when you look at nationwide, he has seen some of that African-American support being eroded. So, to what extent are there major cracks in what he has considered his firewall? Because he really -- this is -- this could be a make or break state for him.

AISHA MOODIE-MILLS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. I think he's banking on it being a make or break state for him. Think about African-American voters that we've been polling all along is that, overwhelmingly we've been talking to the traditional African-American voters who are people over 50 that always come out and vote.

What we're seeing now as these primaries have started in February, is we're starting to see the diversity of the black community. It's not just church-going African-American women that are the black vote, and those are the folks that I think that Biden has had a very longstanding relationship with, more of the traditional communities of black people, civil rights community, et cetera.

We're seeing now the diversity of black voters who are younger, who are far more progressive, who have something to say and there are other candidates who are speaking to them.

So, yes, it looks like that's eroding away in terms of the polling. Because ultimately, the polling where we're doing in the beginning, as I was looking at it, we weren't really tracking the fullness in the black community and now we are.

MARQUARDT: Now we are six days before -- before the South Carolina primary. I want to turn to a name that we haven't mentioned yet. And that is Mike Bloomberg. Todd, we saw that he had a really rough outing in that Las Vegas

debate. He really struggled. And in fact, our newest CNN political contributor, Andrew Yang, a former candidate himself, he's got a theory on that. Let's take a listen to what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You can only be coached if you're willing to be coached. I mean, everyone who works for Bloomberg works for Bloomberg. So, it goes with that where there could be like, hey, Mike --

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You suck.

YANG: -- you have to like, yes, that was terrible. You have to do it again. We're going to videotape you and show it to you. In Mike's case if he didn't want to be there, he's not going to be there. Like, you know what I mean?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.

YANG: Like, there's no one on his team. You could be like that was terrible. This is going to potentially damage your campaign to a very, very high degree. And you need to not -- and I know this is the case because I saw him on stage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: So, Todd, how much does a single debate performance like that matter for Bloomberg when he's already out there and will continue to be out there, spending tens of millions of dollars on ads and essentially feeding voters the information that he wants them to see?

TODD GRAHAM, DEBATE DIRECTOR, SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY CARBONDALE: I think a single performance makes a difference. As you saw, his polling numbers went down after the debate. But it's not just about a single performance.

The first thing I was thinking by the way, when you had Andrew Yang on is, because I actually liked Andrew Yang in most of the debates, was that I could never work for Michael Bloomberg, perhaps, because all I ever do is tell my debaters how terrible they are.

So that's sort of my coaching strategy. So, I'm not sure I would be good for him. But he is right. Andrew Yang is right when he says you have to be able to critique them.

Now I see problems in the future. So, it's not just one debate for Michael Bloomberg. I see problems in the South Carolina debate. And on that, nobody has talked about that. Two reasons why I think he'll have some issues in the South Carolina debate.

Remember, he just started the debates. So, he's coming in way late. There's already been eight debates. So, the first problem he'll have is that there will be new lines of attack that he's not prepared for. So, yes, he'll prepare on the ones he heard in the last debate by they'll think of some new attacks that probably he hasn't heard of.

So, he'll be back on his heels on that one. But the second one, and the one that I think is really juicy is most debaters don't know how to go on the offensive without being offensive.

So, in other words, Michael Bloomberg might think in this next debate, OK, I need to attack a little bit more, but that takes skill and practice so that you don't come across as arrogant, smug, condescending, et cetera.

And my prediction is that that is exactly what will happen in the South Carolina debate. That requires practice just like everything else.

MARQUARDT: And that was essentially the excuse that the Bloomberg campaign trotted out after that debate, just saying that, you know, that was his first debate and he's just a little bit rusty, he hasn't done it in a long time.

Aisha, when we look at the results from Nevada, what was really impressive was, when you look at it by category, by demographic, Sanders essentially swept it with a few exceptions. So, I imagine that that gives a lot of his Democratic opponents a certain amount of pause as they head into this debate on Tuesday night.

[17:19:59]

So, do you think that we're going to see those other Democrats start training their fire on Sanders in particular, the way that they might have, and did, in fact, in the Las Vegas debate with Mike Bloomberg?

MOODIE-MILLS: Absolutely. They'll always try to undercut the front- runner. And what's interesting is, I mean, even right now this weekend Joe Biden has put out all his talkers to kind of beat down the idea that Bernie Sanders wanted to primary Barack Obama, as if to suggest that he's a traitor to black people because he wanted to primary the first black president.

I mean, they're already coming at Bernie Sanders now, so you're going to see that. What's interesting though that I don't want us to discount is the fact that Bernie Sanders, whether you like him or you don't like him, or you agree with his policies, you don't agree with his policies, he has ignited a movement in this country that can't be ignored.

And all of those people on that stage in South Carolina are going to need to be able to really address how it is that they're going to bring people to the polls, that they're going to get Democrats animated and excited to get rid of Donald Trump.

Because you can't -- you can't argue with the fact that there is a movement of people around this country who are progressive, who really support and believe in the things that Bernie Sanders is talking about. And that energy, I think, is something that we don't always talk about on the debate stage. Amy Klobuchar and the other moderates, Pete Buttigieg they can all

say, yes, some Republicans like us. But unless they can speak to how they are going to get a groundswell of people --

MARQUARDT: Right.

MOODIE-MILLS: -- to show up, then I don't know that there's any way for them to go. So, I hope that they could challenge on that.

MARQUARDT: Well, if the one thing that is uniting Democrats is this desire to beat Donald Trump in the general election.

Todd, is there a way to balance the fire that they're going to be pointing at Bernie Sanders with going after Donald Trump? Is that -- is that something that Democratic voters -- sorry, the Democratic candidates should be doing in this debate, really zeroing in on Donald Trump to remind voters that even if you don't support me as a candidate, that there is a much bigger objective?

GRAHAM: Yes and no. I mean, obviously, it's good to attack Donald Trump. It's been playing well in all the debates. But that doesn't necessarily help you out.

Now let me give you an example that most people didn't really see coming. It was -- Elizabeth Warren, in the previous debate. Remember, there's always two questions to the topic in any debate. And these debates, the topic is, who should be president?

Elizabeth Warren was on point in half of that. She was basically pointing around the stage at everyone and saying you shouldn't be president, gave a good reason why. You should give -- and she -- her attacks were excellent.

But what she didn't focus on was the second part of the question, which is why should I be president? And I think those attacks that she had on that debate actually helped Bernie Sanders the most, because she attacked the people around stage but didn't get enough support for herself.

So, there's two parts. If you choose to attack Donald Trump, you still have to say here is why I should be the president. If you choose to attack Bernie Sanders, you still have to say, and here is the difference and here is why I should be president. So, there's two parts of that.

But I think they're going to have a little bit of trouble attacking Bernie Sanders. He's been doing this for four years. He's been in these debates. He's heard all the attacks. He's not going to shrink like Michael Bloomberg did.

MARQUARDT: All right. So many dynamics at play. Fascinating. Aisha Moodie-Mills, Todd Graham, we've got to leave it there. Thanks very much.

Now which candidate does Russia want to win the 2020 election, Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders or is all of this being blown out of proportion? We'll be breaking that down next. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

[17:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: President Trump is leaving today for India amid a growing controversy back home over what Russia plans to do in terms of interfering in the upcoming U.S. election.

So, let's bring in CNN White House Correspondent, Jeremy Diamond. Jeremy has got brand-new reporting on this story. Jeremy, we need to put a fine point on this because it is complex. It is nuanced. We know that the top intelligence official for election security, her name is Shelby Pierson, she told lawmakers just over a week ago on a briefing on Capitol Hill that the Russians have a preference for the president in the 2020 race. Now your sources are telling you that it's not as simple as that. Why?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Look, none of this is cut and dry, Alex. And it is complicated. And it is nuanced. What we are hearing from three national security officials is that Pierson may have overstated the extent of the U.S. intelligence as it relates to Russian interference.

She said that Russia was interfering in the 2020 election with the goal of trying to help President Trump's re-election campaign. Now those three national security officials tell us that this is actually what the intelligence says.

On the one hand, that Russia is, indeed, interfering in the 2020 election and secondly that Russia used Trump as a leader that it can work with. But the U.S. doesn't yet have the evidence to actually conclude that Russia is interfering in the election because of the fact that they view Trump as a leader he can -- they can work with, because they have a preference for President Trump.

Now one official said that Pierson's characterization of the intelligence was misleading. Another official said that it lacks nuance. Now we know, Alex, that after the 2016 election, the U.S. intelligence community definitively concluded that Russia did, indeed, interfere in the 2016 election in order to help Trump get elected.

But that information, we should note, was based in particular on a high-level Kremlin source that the United States actually relied on and the United States doesn't have that source there anymore. That source was extracted and brought back to the United States.

And so, now the United States doesn't have that information as of yet to conclude conclusively that Russia is interfering to help the United States. It's not a stretch of course to say that perhaps that is ultimately what Russia will be doing as it looks to interfere in the 2020 election.

But as of yet, the U.S. intelligence community has not made that conclusion according to those three national security officials who me and my colleague spoke with. [17:30:02]

MARQUARDT: And that's also what Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien is saying. He spoke earlier today, saying that Russia in fact wants to support a Democrat in this 2020 race. What's he saying?

DIAMOND: Yes. So, this is what's interesting, is while he's conclusively denying the reporting and the information about Russia interfering in order to help Trump in the 2020 election, he is giving credence to another line of reporting and actually mischaracterizing it himself. When he talks about Russia interfering to help Bernie Sanders win the presidency. Listen to what he says and then we can talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: How is Russia interfering in the 2020 election?

ROBERT O'BRIEN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: Well, there are these reports that they want Bernie Sanders to get elected president. That's no surprise. He honeymooned in Moscow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: Now the U.S. intelligence's assessment on that front is actually that Russia is interfering to help Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, not necessarily that they want him to be president.

And it should also be noted that that line that O'Brien is using there about Sanders honeymooning in the Soviet Union, well it appears to have been cribbed from the president's campaign rally on Friday. Alex?

MARQUARDT: Yes. And important to note that supporting the president and Bernie Sanders are not mutually exclusive goals when it comes to the Russians.

Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thanks so much.

Now the president's name isn't the only one coming up when discussing who Russia is getting behind in 2020, as we just mentioned. There is Bernie Sanders, who is a self-declared Democratic socialist who stands on the polar opposite political end spectrum of President Trump on so many issues.

Why would Russia want to support Bernie Sanders? My next guest Julia Ioffe has answered that question in her new piece for GQ magazine.

She writes in part, "Some observers point to Sanders's foreign policy positions like his commitment to non-interventionism as being potentially beneficial to Moscow. After all, Russia, which loves to intervene abroad, has a far easier time doing so when the U.S. withdraws from the world stage."

Julia joins me now.

Julia, thanks so much for being with me.

JULIA IOFFE, CORRESPONDENT, GQ MAGAZINE: Thanks for having me, Alex.

MARQUARDT: So, let's start where Jeremy left off there. He was talking about Russia seeing Trump as someone that they can work with. You have a really powerful quote in your piece where you quote a former Putin adviser who says, that the ideal scenario is to maintain the schism and uncertainty in the United States till the end. Our candidate is chaos.

So, Julia, which is it? Do the Russians want someone they can work with, or are they just getting involve to muddy the waters and fuel division?

IOFFE: Well, I don't think they're mutually exclusive, as you said. You know, I think the Russians always start with kind of maximalist position. Right? They'll take everything they can get, but if they can't get everything that they want they'll take what they can get.

So, you know, if it's somebody they can work with and it's somebody who sows chaos internally so that the U.S. is looking inward, and chasing its own tail and, you know, having the spasms of partisan in- fighting and, therefore, cannot effectively push back on Russia when it, let's say, bombs aid convoys in Syria or gets more and more involved in Africa, the Middle East, or name your issue, all the better.

So, I think especially what we're seeing this weekend, you know, these conflicting reports and the president's advisers spinning the intelligence, and members of the national security community or the intelligence community not getting this as right as they should --

MARQUARDT: Right.

IOFFE: -- this is all so perfect for Putin.

MARQUARDT: What about Bernie Sanders? We do -- we did just hear from the national security adviser Robert O'Brien there. We do know that according to Sanders himself, that he was briefed by intelligence officials about a month ago, saying that they're working to get, to get him elected. So, what do you make of this Russian support for Sanders?

IOFFE: Well, I think we still need confirmation of that, but it would make sense, right? I think the Russians I spoke to, first of all, see a scenario in which if Bernie Sanders becomes the nominee, they believe that he will be crushed in the general by Donald Trump, which is great for them.

But more globally, the more -- you know, if Sanders is the nominee and he's running against Trump it's going to be a very divisive, vicious, vitriolic campaign, the U.S. will continue to be looking inward and dealing with its own problems and therefore unable to provide much of a counterbalance to Russia abroad. So that's perfect. Also, I think what's worth pointing out is the more that the U.S. does

Russia's job for of discrediting elected democracy, the better.

[17:34:52]

So, earlier this morning, you guys had a wonderful guest from Ukraine on. One of the -- before we started doing all this and helping the Russians unintentionally, the best shot that the Russians had was a scene from the Ukrainian parliament where the parliamentarians are fighting, throwing fists at each other and dragging.

MARQUARDT: Right.

IOFFE: So, it was perfect to show to Russians at home who wanted democracy and who wanted Putin to step down to say, OK, this is the alternative. This is democracy. It's a circus. Is this what you want?

MARQUARDT: And you make an important point. A lot of this still does need to be confirmed. What we do know from the intelligence community assessing the 2016 race that there was Russian support both for Bernie and Trump back then.

What do we know about the evolution, if they haven't evolved in their support for those two candidates, what do we know about the evolution of the actual tactics that they're going to roll out in this upcoming election?

IOFFE: I think we still don't know a lot about that but as you point out it's very important to mention the support that Bernie Sanders got from the Russians in 2016, probably unsolicited by Sanders himself, but the Russians hacked into the Democratic Party's servers and released a bunch of e-mails on the eve of the Democratic national convention that showed that the Democratic Party was trying to halt Bernie's rise.

So, this, you know, inflamed Bernie Sanders supporters it made the nomination of Hillary Clinton much harder, and people speculate that a lot of Bernie's supporters stayed home in November as a result of that. So that's very important, that was very clear Russian support for his campaign.

This time around we don't know yet. We have to see the details. But you know, if it is not broke, don't fix it, right? If Facebook ads work, if Twitter bots work, why not? And honestly, if the president himself keeps muddying the waters, the American president himself keeps muddying the waters, there's not even all that much the Russians have to do. Just drop a little something in and let us chase and fight over it.

MARQUARDT: Yes. And we should note that back in 2016, so much of it, of what the Russians were doing was less about promoting Bernie or promoting Trump, it was about taking down Hillary who had been so critical of Putin and the Russian government.

Julia Ioffe, as always, thank you so much for your expertise.

IOFFE: Thank you.

MARQUARDT: All right. Still ahead, with no cure in sight, officials are trying to contain the coronavirus, but some of the measures that are being taken are putting healthy people in danger.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

[17:40:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MARQUARDT: Newly announced today White House officials are expected to ask Congress for emergency funding this week to battle the deadly coronavirus amid growing fears of a larger outbreak here in the United States.

A source familiar with the plan says that the government -- the governmental aides are working throughout the weekend on the request, which could be sent to Capitol Hill as soon as tomorrow.

The U.S. now has 36 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 14 Americans who tested positive for the disease have returned to the U.S. after spending weeks in isolation on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was docked in Japan.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus is spiking in countries outside of Asia, but in China officials are saying that most new cases are limited to Hubei province, where the virus originated in the city of Wuhan.

Worldwide, more than 2,400 people, that's 2,400 people have died from coronavirus, 23 of those deaths have happened outside of mainland China. More than 79,000 people worldwide are infected with the virus. The biggest outbreak outside Asia is in Italy, where confirmed cases have risen from three to more than 100 over this weekend.

CNN's David Culver is in Shanghai, where even healthy people who tested negative for the virus are being quarantined.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You are walking through one of several Wuhan field hospitals. This one a converted exhibition hall. It is aimed to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Notice, bed after bed after bed, people crammed in, just feet apart from one another, portable toilets, a bit messy inside, and trash cans overflowing.

You can see the piles of used face masks. The woman who toured CNN via video chat through this field hospital tells us the conditions worry her. Fearing repercussions she asked we call her Lisa Wang, not her real name.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There's a great danger of cross infection and there are people who were healthy and got taken care by mistake.

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CULVER: Chinese state media aired images of the same field hospital before it opened, much cleaner inside. Wang says she and others here are recovered and healthy and were still forced into the facility.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm very angry. Because I feel I shouldn't have come here. I'm very anxious. I want to be back home soon.

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CULVER: Wang contracted the virus in late January but fully recovered within a couple of weeks. Both her CT scan and swab test results show that she twice tested negative. But officials still bussed Wang and several others to the field hospital for further treatment despite her negative test results

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They told me if I refuse, they would force me to go.

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CULVER: Bo Hanlin face a similar rounding up in Wuhan. His wife was a confirmed case so he was listed as a close contact person but his first two tests came back negative. The neighborhood committee tried to hospitalize him nonetheless.

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BO HANLIN, WUHAN RESIDENT (through translator): I felt quite angry about this, because there are so many people who have now been hospitalized at the moment. Why would they quarantine the healthy people?

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CULVER: CNN reached out to the Wuhan health commission to better understand how the field hospitals are being used and to ask why people whose medical records show they're recovered were taken here. We've not yet heard back.

People in all kinds of circumstances are getting rounded up in multiple parts of Hubei province, the epicenter of this outbreak.

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In Tiananmen City, the local government said they picked up people who were disobeying police orders to remain off the streets and have to confine them to a gymnasium. All part of the strict lock down policies.

After Wang complained to local health officials Wednesday, she acknowledges they responded swiftly. The next morning, she says she and six others who had likewise had already recovered were transferred back to the hotel quarantine. She still is bothered by how officials initially handled the matter.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): They couldn't provide me with a hospital when I was sick. Now when I'm recovered, they forced me into one.

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CULVER: The World Health Organization has repeatedly has supported the Chinese government in its containment effort and we reached out to them with regards to this new information that our sources there in Wuhan relayed to us.

This is what they had to say in part of their response here. China is facing an unprecedented crisis, they say, and is responding in an unprecedented manner. They go on to say, we need to acknowledge that the relatively low number of cases of the virus detected outside of China is as a result of the intensive efforts that the Chinese government is taking to contain the emergency and protect other countries.

David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.

MARQUARDT: All right. Thanks to David Culver in Shanghai on that hugely important story.

Now coming up, India is pulling out all the stops for Donald Trump's first visit. We've got a preview just ahead.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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MARQUARDT: Aboard Air Force One right now are President Trump and the first lady heading to India, it's the president's first official trip to the world's second most populous country. There is going to be a huge rally for him when he arrives but he's not expected to make any major trade or policy deals. He is however working on a vital relationship that U.S. officials hope will pay off in the long run.

CNN's Sam Kiley reports from New Delhi.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump and Narendra Modi will take to the stage in Ahmedabad on Monday to celebrate what is a close personal relationship, notwithstanding the frictions that the two countries have between one another in terms of trade.

In many respects, Mr. Modi could be seen as Donald Trump's Indian guru since he pioneered the sort of populist politics that swept Donald Trump to power and has reinforced Mr. Modi's own power as prime minister with dominance over India's national assembly in elections last summer.

Mr. Modi has been criticized for excessive levels of Hindu nationalism, for recent legislation which its critics say discriminates against Muslim refugees here in terms of applying for citizenship, and also for a creation of what many describe as a level of nationalism that's contributing to toxic masculinity.

And a wave of sex crimes that have been reported across the country in a context of particularly people known as the elites or what used to be known as the untouchables falling victim to this sort of crimes and a sense of impunity among many within the Hindu nationalist establishment.

Critics saying that too many senior politicians are involved in corruption and sex crimes and getting away with it. That may, for Donald Trump's critics, of course, have echoes of his recent pardoning of a number of his supporters for crimes committed inside the United States.

Sam Kiley, CNN, in Delhi.

MARQUARDT: Our thanks to Sam Kiley in India.

Back here in the United States, preparations are underway for a special tribute to honor Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. We'll have a live preview, next. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.

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MARQUARDT: NBA legend Kobe Bryant was honored at the NAACP Image Awards last night, nearly a month after he and his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash. The special tribute coming as thousands will be honoring Kobe and Gianna at the Staples Center, the home of the L.A. Lakers, tomorrow.

CNN's Omar Jimenez joins me right now outside the Staples Center in L.A. Omar, we understand it's going to be a mix of family, of celebrities, and fans. What can we expect to see?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Alex. It's going to be a mix of so many people, likely coming from far and wide, even from here of course in the Los Angeles area, to pay homage to the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gigi.

For starters, there was a game going on right now where they have been honoring and of course playing in the name of Kobe on the eve of the celebration of life ceremony as it's been dubbed, set to happen here tomorrow morning.

And while officials have stayed pretty tight-lipped about the exact proceedings in the ceremony, we do know there won't be a procession, there won't be a burial as that happened earlier in this month as part of a private ceremony.

Thousands are expected to attend. And the limited number of tickets that did go out all the proceeds going to Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation which of course comes from the Kobe Bryant family.

Now, one thing that is different based on when I was here last, which is in the immediate aftermath of the crash. Outside Staples Center, you almost couldn't walk without almost stepping on some form of memorabilia, signed jerseys, pictures. Things of that nature. That's all gone. Because part of what the family has asked is for people who want to show their support to instead do so through some of those charitable donations that I mentioned before.

Now, another thing officials have tried to hone in on and really focus on is simply logistics. Now Staples Center is a very busy place, I mentioned there's a game going on right now, they have a hockey game happening later this evening. Tomorrow morning of course is the celebration of life ceremony and then they're trying to get that wrap up before another basketball game happening later that evening.

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So, it's part of why they've ask anyone who doesn't have tickets to not only stay home but to stay out of the area entirely basically just to keep things moving smoothly.