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Rivals Take Aim at Sanders; Markets Rattled as Coronavirus Fears Grow; Weinstein Accuser Speaks Out after Conviction; Aired 8:30- 9a ET

Aired February 25, 2020 - 08:30   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:32:59]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We are just hours now from tonight's high- stakes Democratic debate in South Carolina.

Joining us, CNN political commentator Karen Finney, she was a senior spokesperson for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali, he's a contributing opinion writer for "The New York Times."

And, Waj, I have to say, both of you, I mean it's fully on. We know that tonight on that stage Senator Sanders is going to get incoming. We saw it right here earlier or NEW DAY with Tim O'Brien --

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Tim O'Brien, yes.

BERMAN: Senior adviser to Michael Bloomberg --

KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.

BERMAN: Talking about Bernie Sanders' past writings, talking about his positions on guns and other things.

Waj, what do you expect to see?

WAJAHAT ALI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it's going to be like John Wick the sequel. I mean they're going to go after Bernie Sanders. He's going to be like Neo from the end of "Matrix" trying to block all the bullets. It's do or die for Joe Biden specifically because he has promised that he can rally black voters. And if he's going to lose to Bernie Sanders in South Carolina, that's going to spell the end of his campaign.

And Bloomberg is going to aggressively go after Biden. You had Tim O'Brien, his adviser, on about a half hour ago. He's going to say, yes, I'm a billionaire. I am a capitalist. Guess what, I'm going up against this Democratic socialist who just praised Castro. So, yes, I pulled myself up from the boot straps and I've used my money to help, you know, climate change and gun control. And so you're going to see everyone pile on Bernie.

And it remains to be seen whether or not Bernie is hurt by this. I don't think he will because for five years he has weathered these critiques and his attacks and he's going to be Bernie, for better or for worse.

So it's do or die for Biden and I think for Klobuchar. And it's going to be very spicy tonight, guys.

CAMEROTA: Yes, it sounds like it is because, again, as you say, Tim O'Brien gave us a bit of a sneak peek.

And, Karen, it's more than just saying that Bernie has praised Castro. I mean Tim O'Brien, what he was bringing up --

FINNEY: Right.

CAMEROTA: Were old writings from decades ago with all sorts of --

FINNEY: Right.

CAMEROTA: You know, scandalous things in there.

So how -- how far back are they going to go, and how deep are they going to go in terms of attacking Bernie?

[08:35:00]

FINNEY: Well, if my memory serves correctly from 2016, there's still quite a bit that they have not talked about yet that's about 10, 20, maybe even 30 years farther back than that. So hold on to your hats.

I agree with Waj, I mean, bring your hot sauce. It is definitely going to be a hot night tonight.

But a couple of things I would say. Bloomberg should be careful to not have all of his focus be on taking -- trying to take down Bernie Sanders and make him, you know, the boogie man in this instance because he's got plenty of things to account for on his own and he did a terrible job of that at the last debate.

I mean we are in Charleston, South Carolina. We know we will talk about the horrible shooter -- shooting at Mother Emmanuel Baptist Church. This is an issue that he cares about. He's got to show some heart and compassion on that issue.

I also think if you -- if we end up with a Bernie/Bloomberg fight, the -- that opens up a great opportunity for Elizabeth Warren, who, as you guys remember, is very popular, particularly with black women. And black women vote in high numbers, and particularly here in South Carolina. So that could provide a real opening for her.

BERMAN: I am curious, Waj, you brought up "The Matrix." You know, "The Matrix," they say there is no spoon.

ALI: Yes.

BERMAN: When it comes to Bernie Sanders, there is a spoon. The record is the record. And typically he doesn't apologize for it. And I'm just wondering if that's the most effective way going forward.

ALI: Yes, and so this is Bernie Sanders, right? His strength and his weakness, I would say, is that he is who he is. He doesn't apologize. And his base doesn't care. And right now he has the energy. He has the momentum. And what he has that the others don't is a base that he's built out for the last five years that came out as a multigenerational and multiracial base in Nevada and gave him a whopping victory.

Now, I believe he could be smarter about this, right? Like you can easily criticize Castro, call him an authoritarian, lead with that and then say, by the way, guys, you know, even Castro had literacy programs and, by the way, it works in Europe and why can't the United States government give free education and free health care, right? That would be a smarter way of framing that answer. But he doesn't do that, for better and for worse for Bernie. And that's -- it remains to be seen whether or not it will actually hurt him in Florida, which is a winnable state, by the way.

I think if he was smart, he can and should lead with that and then he makes that really good pivot, but he should make that pivot quickly. By the way, guys, Trump is praising Kim Jong-un and receiving love letters. He's praising Putin. He just called Modi a tough guy and praised him. I, at least, am condemning the authoritarianism. But expect he to be opening -- he opens himself up to these attacks and people will exploit it. Everyone's going to exploit it on that stage today.

CAMEROTA: Karen, quickly, 10 seconds.

FINNEY: But, Waj, the -- the thing that I had -- the problem that I have with that, though, is, it's a little disingenuous. Castro taught people to read and write and he sort of oversimplified in his answer last night on our town hall. He taught people to read and write so that they could be steeped in the propaganda of the communist system that he was putting into place and then shut down access to everything else.

So, it wasn't exactly just a, hey, let's make sure everybody can read and write.

ALI: Right. Right.

FINNEY: But, look, I do -- I will say, for Senator Sanders, he has been -- watching him last night and over the last several weeks, he has improved dramatically as a candidate. He was funny. He was warm. He had great answers to, you know, different tough questions and he did -- without getting sort of his back up when people said, you know, what do you say to people who say, you know, Democratic socialism. So he, as a candidate, I think part of the reason that this movement is really continues to keep growing steam is that he's gotten better. And I think he -- we deserve -- he deserves for us to recognize that as well.

BERMAN: Yes. And when you know who you are and you're consistent, it is easier to be a candidate for sure.

FINNEY: That's right.

BERMAN: Wajahat Ali, Karen Finney, great to have you with us. I really appreciate it.

We do have a quick programing note. CNN will host four town halls tomorrow night live in Charleston. You can watch beginning at 7:00 p.m. Eastern only on CNN.

CAMEROTA: Also, the deadly coronavirus outbreak has disrupted global supply lines, leaving businesses high and dry. How that affects all of us, next.

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[08:43:03]

BERMAN: Watching the markets very closely. Will Wall Street rebound today after suffering the worst losses in two years?

Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans joins us now with the impact the coronavirus is having on the markets around the world.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is really a reckoning, you guys, on Wall Street and in business. Investors had underestimated coronavirus. U.S. stocks open up again in less than an hour and futures are now struggling to rebound a little bit from that wreck that was yesterday. Investors fled stocks and rushed to the safety of gold and bonds on Monday. The Dow tumbled more than 1,000 points, worst day in two years. New outbreaks in Italy and South Korea mean four of the 12 largest economies in the world have outbreaks.

And companies are warning the outbreak will hurt them. We've heard from Apple. In a rare move, United Airlines withdrew its guidance for the year. Near-term demand for flights to China has fallen to near zero. MasterCard said the outbreak will slash its sales growth 2 to 3 percentage points. Disney fell 4 percent yesterday.

Carnival tanking 9 percent. Carnival has canceled all of its ships to mainland China through mid-March. Now, those cancelations so far won't hurt it too much, but if routes are canceled through the end of April, it's another story.

Disney properties in Hong Kong and Shanghai are closed indefinitely. Disney said it could take a $280 million hit if the parks remain closed for two months.

Now, oil prices fell sharply. The idea here, guys, a world that runs on oil will need less of it as the crisis spreads. Ships are sitting in ports. Goods are in floating quarantines. From autos to computer chips to lobsters and wedding dresses, supply chains are strained. Flights are grounded. Cruise ships, docked. Business trips, cancelled. You get the picture here.

Investors really hadn't factored all of that in. Watch really closely to see if this bounce back can hold. But, guys, this morning, I'm still seeing the bond market telling us it's worried about global growth because of this.

CAMEROTA: OK, Christine, thank you very much for keeping an eye on it all morning for us.

Harvey Weinstein could spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of rape yesterday.

[08:45:02]

One of the women who testified against him joins us next.

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CAMEROTA: Prosecutors are praising the women who spoke out against disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. He was convicted of rape yesterday thanks to the testimony of six women.

Joining us now is one of those women, Dawn Dunning. She's accompanied by her attorney, Debra Katz.

Ladies, great to have you here in studio.

Dawn, where were you when you heard the verdict yesterday?

DAWN DUNNING, TESTIFIED AGAINST FILM MOGUL HARVEY WEINSTEIN: I was at my hotel.

CAMEROTA: And what -- what was your reaction?

DUNNING: I mean, he's a convicted rapist, and that's something that's going to follow him for the rest of his life. I think this is a huge victory for women. And hopefully the start of a larger culture movement.

CAMEROTA: During the trial, the jury had a lot of questions. And, in fact, they deliberated for five days. They deliberated, I think, for 26 hours.

[08:50:00]

It felt, to some observers, as though it was sort of touch and go there and that they couldn't be -- there were many points where at least our observers -- legal analysts thought that he was going to be acquitted.

What did you think?

DUNNING: I mean it was a very complicated case, and one of the first of its kind. So I think there was a lot of confusion, a lot of back and forth. I was not sure what the outcome would be. You know, I was, obviously, hoping for the best, but also bracing for the worst.

CAMEROTA: Did you see him handcuffed yesterday?

DUNNING: I didn't. But, you know, thinking back to when he was first taken to trial two years ago and seeing the photo of him handcuffed and, you know, leaving court, it brought me to tears. So yesterday it was, you know, kind of a similar sentiment.

CAMEROTA: Brought you to tears, why?

DUNNING: Just seeing someone so powerful taken down and being held accountable for his actions. It's a huge moment.

CAMEROTA: He looked broken throughout the whole trial, Debra. He walked with a walker. He seemed to have -- I mean the fall from -- fall from grace isn't even the right word. The fall from the powerful perch that he had and to see him look like that and then to know that yesterday he was taken into custody --

DEBRA KATZ, ATTORNEY FOR DAWN DUNNING: Yes.

CAMEROTA: But taken right to a medical facility because of chest pains. Your thoughts as you watched all of that yesterday.

KATZ: Well, I was in court when the verdict came in. And it was quite a moment. There was tremendous tension in the courtroom. And as you said, legal observers and those of us who sat through the trial understood it was a very complicated case and the results were uncertain. But the jury deliberated carefully and reached a good result.

But watching him be remanded to custody, which was after the verdict came down, officers of the court came and stood behind him, law enforcement, and took him into custody. That was a moment I will never forget.

CAMEROTA: What do you think his sentence will be? There's a big -- the guidelines are, correct me if I'm wrong, five to 25?

KATZ: Correct, with four years possible as another consecutive sentence.

CAMEROTA: Is there any way to tell how long he is going to prison for?

KATZ: We'll see. Sentencing is March 11th. But this is going to be a substantial sentence. I would think minimally 10 to 15 years.

CAMEROTA: I know, Dawn, that these past weeks of the trial have not been easy for you. I mean and these past months leading up to it haven't been easy for you.

DUNNING: The past two years.

CAMEROTA: Past two years haven't been easy for you. And so what does change today in your life and beyond?

DUNNING: I mean, like I said, he's a convicted rapist, and that is, you know, victory to all women, particularly the women who have come forward. I don't look at this as the end of a trial. It's the beginning of something bigger.

CAMEROTA: But in terms of -- I mean I was struck by how you have felt nervous during all of this. Not just nervous that he wasn't going to be convicted. I mean nervous for your own personal safety.

DUNNING: Yes.

CAMEROTA: What was happening during these weeks?

DUNNING: I mean, I -- at one point, you know, I was being followed. I was afraid --

CAMEROTA: By whom?

DUNNING: I don't know. I don't know if it was an intimidation tactic or what, but, yes, I was, you know, always looking over my shoulder. I was in fear, you know, for my safety.

CAMEROTA: And we know that those are his tactics. I mean all -- from the reporting you just saw Ronan Farrow on here, those are Harvey Weinstein's tactics of intimidation.

DUNNING: Yes.

CAMEROTA: But you're saying that you were subjected to them?

DUNNING: Yes, absolutely. And then, you know, obviously, testifying and the cross-examination was pretty brutal. So it has been an extremely intense process.

CAMEROTA: And I read that you said that yesterday you felt that you and the other women had taken your power back.

DUNNING: Yes, I do. I do. I feel like this is really a big moment. And, you know, all of -- one of the best things to come out of this whole thing is the other women that I've met that have come forward and creating this sisterhood. And, you know, this has been hard for all of us. So it was a big moment of us taking our power back yesterday.

CAMEROTA: I've seen those pictures of all of you with locked arms, the solidarity of that sisterhood.

DUNNING: Yes.

CAMEROTA: Women flying in from around the country. Even those who, unlike you, were not testifying.

DUNNING: Yes.

CAMEROTA: And you -- did you feel their support during this? Did you stay in touch with them?

DUNNING: Oh, 100 percent. I couldn't have done it without them. Leading up, they offered so much support. And, yes, it's -- it's been amazing.

CAMEROTA: He faces another sexual assault, and I believe rape charges in Los Angeles.

KATZ: He does.

CAMEROTA: How is that going to work?

KATZ: Well, we're -- Los Angeles has been waiting for the conclusion of this trial. And I assume they're going to go forward with their prosecution. They should. He should stand trial for those charges as well.

[08:55:01]

CAMEROTA: And so he won't be going to prison immediately?

KATZ: No, he is going to go to prison when he gets out of Bellevue. Yesterday his lawyers argued he should not be taken into custody because he has all these complicated medical problems and the judge said, no, Harvey Weinstein needs to get acclimated to the fact that his life is no longer his own. He is in custody. He is a convicted rapist. He's going to jail.

CAMEROTA: Debra Katz, Dawn Dunning, thank you both very much.

DUNNING: Thank you.

KATZ: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you for sharing your personal story and for being here this morning. Great to talk to you.

All right, President Trump making news overseas. CNN's coverage continues after this very quick break.

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JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Good Tuesday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Poppy Harlow. We're so glad you're with us.

Coronavirus cases surging around the world. Markets in the United States and certainly overseas rattled this morning.

[09:00:02]

SCIUTTO: But how about President Trump? He does not seem worried.