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Backlash over Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Supreme Court Comments; Elizabeth Warren to End Presidential Campaign; Interview with Symone Sanders. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired March 5, 2020 - 10:30   ET

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


REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): And also, when it comes to student loan debt, as somebody who has it personally myself, that we're going to have a plan to lift a whole generation out of it. I'm considering the candidates as we move forward, and expect to make that decision soon.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: OK. So you are up for re-election in a state where Bernie Sanders is widely popular.

SWALWELL: Yes.

HARLOW: But you said something yesterday, again in this interview on this network, that was striking, about 2020 voters and what you discovered on the trail.

SWALWELL: Yes.

HARLOW: Because obviously, in that early debate, you went after Biden, saying you know, he's not for this moment, essentially, time to pass the torch, right? And --

SWALWELL: Yes that's right, Poppy.

HARLOW: -- then -- but just let me just finish the question. Because then yesterday, when you were asked about that, you said, in the wake of President Trump, quote, "People want to be normal again."

SWALWELL: Yes.

HARLOW: Bernie Sanders is promising a revolution. Do you feel like that is not normalcy, do you not want a revolution?

SWALWELL: Well, I wanted to also shake things up in my own way --

HARLOW: Right.

SWALWELL: -- with some of the proposals that I had. But as I went across the country, I just found that I was essentially going to people and saying, you know, look, we need to redevelop, reinvigorate, renovate America.

And people would look at me and be like, yes, but the building's burning down and we need to put out the fire first before we do any of that. So this was not a time for a generational case.

And I think as Vice President Biden has said, people right now want results more than they want a revolution. And that was hard to accept because I, you know, wagered that that was what people were looking for, but --

HARLOW: OK.

SWALWELL: -- I do accept that people just want to go back to living their lives and not worrying about the job that the president is doing every single second.

HARLOW: OK. It sounds like you're for Biden, but you make your endorsement in your own time --

SWALWELL: I will, I will. Thank you, thank you --

HARLOW: -- Congressman Eric Swalwell, appreciate your time.

SWALWELL: Thanks, Poppy.

HARLOW: And good luck to everyone in your state, dealing with this.

SWALWELL: Yes, we need that. Thank you.

HARLOW: Yes.

All right, ahead, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell launches new attacks on the top Democrat in the Senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who is facing some major backlash from his comments about two sitting Supreme Court justices, just yesterday.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:36:39]

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Battle Royale on the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer just wrapped up on the Senate floor, moments ago. He was defending himself after facing Republican backlash over his comments on two Supreme Court justices.

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, unleashed moments ago on Schumer -- we're going to get to that in a moment. First, here is what Schumer first said at an abortion rights rally on Thursday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: I want to tell you, Gorsuch; I want to tell you Kavanaugh: You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: That, of course, took place Wednesday, we should say. HARLOW: Right. Our Ariane de Vogue is back with us for the latest.

Now, we've heard the condemnation from Mitch McConnell and the response from Chuck Schumer.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right. You know, Mitch McConnell, he is the man who pushed all of President Trump's nominees, not only the Supreme Court, but also the lower court justices. So he's seizing the moment here. He wants to show that you can't have these kind of attacks. And his statement was pretty fiery. Take a listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: We can talk about attacks on the Office of the Presidency, on the electoral college, on the First Amendment, on the Senate itself. But most striking of all have been the shameless efforts to bully our nation's independent judiciary.

There is nothing to call this except a threat, and there's absolutely no question to whom -- to whom it was directed, contrary to what the Democratic leader has since tried to claim, he very, very clearly was not addressing Republican lawmakers or anyone else. He literally directed the statement to the justices by name.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DE VOGUE: Well, and keep in mind, there was already a lot of tension at the Supreme Court yesterday. It was the first time they were hearing this explosive abortion case, the first time that Trump's two nominees, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, were going to hear and decide this case.

But while we were inside listening to arguments, Schumer made those comments outside, and I think that's one of the reasons that the chief justice was so triggered by them, because Schumer was coming to the Supreme Court. It wasn't as if he was staying in his branch of government and making the comments.

So the chief justice issued this rare statement. He said, "Justices know that criticism comes with the territory, but threatening statements of this sort from the highest levels of government are not only inappropriate, they are dangerous. All Members of the Court will continue to do their job, without fear or favor, from whatever quarter."

And it is worth nothing that Senator Schumer's spokesman came back and said that he wasn't targeting the justices, he was targeting the Republicans who had voted for the justices. But that wasn't clear from that Schumer sound (ph) --

(CROSSTALK)

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: No. DE VOGUE: -- that we heard.

SCIUTTO: Well, let's play briefly, then, Schumer's response just a moment ago on the Senate floor. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHUMER: To the Republican leader -- and there was a glaring omission in his speech, he did not mention what the rally yesterday, my speech or the case before the court was about: a woman's constitutional right to choose.

[10:40:11]

To the women of America, what we're talking about here, what I am fighting for here, is your right to choose, an issue, of course, Leader McConnell completely ignored in his speech.

I feel so passionately about this issue, and I feel so deeply the anger of women all across America, about Senate Republicans and the courts, working hand-in-glove to take down Roe v. Wade.

I just read about a women in Shreveport who, under the Louisiana law, now before the Supreme Court, would have to travel over 300 miles to exercise her constitutional freedoms --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCIUTTO: All right, that's Senator Schumer responding. And, Ariane, you heard his answer there, you've been covering this. Has he effectively answered what he's been -- what's been alleged about this comment?

DE VOGUE: Well, it seems like he's shifting the focus, right? He's shifting the focus to the agenda before the court, what's happening in the court. But he's not directly talking about the comments that he made that target them.

But keep in mind, Poppy and Jim, this comes -- this was one explosive case, but it comes in the middle of this blockbuster term. The court's going to decide not only abortion, DACA, Second Amendment, President Trump's bid to shield his tax records.

So already, we're seeing these tensions, we've seen this rare statement from Chief Justice John Roberts. And you get a sense, now, that some of the rancor that we've seen in the other branches of government is beginning to bleed toward --

SCIUTTO: OK.

DE VOGUE: -- the Supreme Court.

SCIUTTO: Yes. No question, Ariane. And sorry to cut you off there briefly, because we just got some breaking news in to CNN.

HARLOW: We did, we did. We've just learned that Senator Elizabeth Warren will end her presidential bid. Again, Elizabeth Warren, ending her campaign, a long campaign -- she's taken the last 36 hours after disappointing Super Tuesday results to decide.

SCIUTTO: Yes. And, listen, it shows how quickly this moved. I mean, a week ago, folks were saying that Joe Biden's campaign was over, but it was only a few weeks ago --

HARLOW: Yes.

SCIUTTO: -- when Elizabeth Warren was considered a possible frontrunner in this race.

HARLOW: It's -- so right.

SCIUTTO: It changes very quickly. M.J. Lee has been covering this campaign since the beginning. Tell us about the decision here, and the reaction from the campaign.

M.J. LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. This news is just coming in to CNN. According to a source familiar, Senator Elizabeth Warren will hold a call with campaign staff later today, and she will announce that she is suspending her White House campaign, again confirming what has been widely assumed over the last 36 hours, that Senator Elizabeth Warren will be suspending her 2020 campaign for the White House.

CNN can also report, interestingly, that she is planning on holding a media availability here in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She will be speaking to reporters later in the day, when it is official, when she has officially shared with staff on this call that will happen, that she is ending her presidential campaign.

That, of course, is notable because if you rewind some -- to 14 months ago, this is where her presidential campaign officially began. It was on New Year's Eve of 2018 that she announced, here, that she was forming an exploratory committee for the presidency. And on that day, too, she came out with her husband Bruce and took questions from reporters

Our understanding, again, is that she will do exactly that today, after this staff call happens and she officially tells her campaign that she is suspending her White House run, she will come out of her house and speak to reporters. So that is what we --

HARLOW: OK.

LEE: -- are hearing right now.

HARLOW: M.J., before you go, the next obvious question is, is she going to endorse --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: -- do we know?

LEE: That is the huge, huge question. And we have nothing to share that is --

HARLOW: OK.

LEE: -- reportable right now on whether she is going to make an endorsement. If she does, who that endorsement might be for. Obviously, as we have talked about a lot over the last few days, we have seen some major endorsements going to former Vice President Joe Biden.

We have no idea if she plans on -- either on this call, or when reporters speak to her later today and she is asked, will you make an endorsement, whether she has a decision to share. So, again, no news on that front but it is now official, she is ending her presidential campaign today -- Jim and Poppy.

SCIUTTO: M.J. Lee, thanks very much.

we'll go to David Chalian now, CNN's political director. So we don't know the endorsement answer yet, but who in your view are Warren's supporters most likely to migrate to after her exit from the race?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, you know, it's a really interesting thing when you look at Elizabeth Warren's support. It's not just easily, oh, she's a progressive and it all goes to Bernie Sanders.

[10:45:04]

Some of her support comes from white college-educated women. She does really well with those voters, and who's doing well with those voters in the Sanders versus Biden battle? Well, it's Joe Biden.

So you could imagine that the supporters of Elizabeth Warren, who are ideologically bound to her, will maybe find their way drifting to Bernie Sanders --

HARLOW: Right.

CHALIAN: -- but there is a whole swathe of her support that is perhaps going to find Joe Biden more in line with where they want to be in this race. It's not a neat split, which is why her endorsement is going to be one of the most interesting elements, whether we get that today --

HARLOW: Sure.

CHALIAN: -- or in the days ahead.

HARLOW: Just -- David, just to step back for a moment and talk about this campaign, of a woman with a plan for everything, right? Bumper stickers were made about this.

It shouldn't be lost on anyone that with the exception of Tulsi Gabbard -- who is still in the race but has not made it to the debate stage this year -- she's the last -- you know, she's the last woman to get out. There are no other women running except for Tulsi Gabbard at this point.

CHALIAN: Yes. And I have little doubt that that was weighing on Elizabeth Warren's mind also. When you talked to people around her familiar with her campaign, as she was assessing this campaign, the idea of being this -- and you note Tulsi Gabbard of course, but --

HARLOW: Sure.

CHALIAN: -- totally different kind of candidacy -- that being the last real contender -- last female contender in this nomination battle was something that was no doubt part of her consideration here, Poppy.

And you just have to look at the arc of her campaign as well. I mean, with Elizabeth Warren, when she first got into this race, there was a lot of assessment that she may already have been damaged goods. The president, using a racist nickname for her, how she handled her Native American heritage and the rollout of that DNA test.

All of that had this assessment, when she got in, that she may have already peaked. And that proved not to be the case at all. She was the candidate in 2019 who was -- whose trajectory was just complete rise, for the most part.

SCIUTTO: Yes.

CHALIAN: She surprised people with how much money she was raising, she swore off the big-dollar donations and did the grassroots funding, part by necessity but then turning it into part of her message as well.

And she spent much of the spring, the summer and the beginning of fall 2019, really building. And that all changed in October basically, when she just faced a ton of pressure about how she was going to pay for her version of Medicare for All, how she was going to pay for that. And she said without raising taxes, she separated herself from Sanders --

HARLOW: Yes.

CHALIAN: -- in a way that, when she defended that policy, didn't quite add up for people. And that became the beginning of some decline for her that she never fully recovered from.

SCIUTTO: No question. Listen -- and it's just a reminder, how quickly this race has moved to -- just --

HARLOW: Oh, yes.

SCIUTTO: -- remarkable, and early story lines that did not pan out.

Kyung Lah, she's in Phoenix, she's been following the Sanders campaign. Kyung, you've been covering the campaign from the beginning here. To our knowledge, has there been any communication between the Warren and Sanders campaign about endorsement, trying to bring the supporters over --

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: To our knowledge, nothing --

SCIUTTO: -- what do we know?

LAH: -- to our knowledge, no conversations as of yet that have become public. From what we heard from Bernie Sanders, from Senator Sanders, they are absolutely hoping and coveting this endorsement because, as you were just talking about there, Jim, what Senator Warren brings with her with any sort of endorsement is the people who Bernie Sanders would like in his category.

Some of those women, some of the suburbanites, some of the college- educated, especially those women who backed Senator Warren. And Bernie Sanders would absolutely like them in his tent. So the question will be, can he expand his range of voters to include the people who have supported Senator Warren? That is what the Bernie Sanders world is looking at. They want those voters to come over to him.

Now, we are expecting him to speak here in Phoenix, Arizona. Certainly, this is not unexpected from Senator Sanders' perspective, that Warren would be dropping out. They did have a phone conversation; the details of that private conversation were not shared beyond the fact that they did have that conversation.

So --

HARLOW: OK.

LAH: -- the piece that we're looking for today from the Sanders perspective is, if she endorses, does she endorse --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

LAH: -- Senator Sanders?

HARLOW: We don't know, but we'll know more soon, Kyung. Thank you for that reporting.

Because, as M.J. Lee reported --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: -- she's going to talk to the press. This is, you know, not what we've seen from other candidates when they've dropped out, she's going to have a press conference essentially, today.

[10:50:00]

SCIUTTO: Yes. And maybe we'll get an answer on endorsement. We'll be right back, and get reaction from the Biden campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: Major development, Senator Elizabeth Warren has ended her bid for the White House, she is suspending her campaign. And she'll talk to the media later today and answer some questions.

SCIUTTO: Joining us now, Biden campaign senior advisor Symone Sanders. Symone, your reaction to Warren's exit?

SYMONE SANDERS, SENIOR ADVISOR, JOE BIDEN CAMPAIGN: Well, we have not heard officially yet from Senator Warren, so I think what's most appropriate for her and her campaign staff is to allow them to hear from their candidate first, and so.

[10:55:01]

But, you know, I will say I know Senator Warren personally. She is someone who is formidable in this party. And if she is in fact suspending her campaign, I know this isn't the last that we will see from her.

HARLOW: OK. We will let them do that in their time. It is our reporting from our M.J. Lee that she is suspending her campaign.

Let me ask you about your candidate, and that is former Vice President Joe Biden. And strong showing, obviously, pretty much across the board on Tuesday night.

But -- I know you have dug into these numbers, and that's the Latino vote, he is not doing nearly as well in terms of Latino voters than Bernie Sanders had done in key states like Texas for example, which he did win. Why do you think that is? And what are you going to do about it?

SANDERS: Well, look, one, yes, we had an amazingly great showing on Super Tuesday. I don't think the name "Super" does the day justice for our campaign actually. I'm trying to find a new word, Poppy, because it was just truly an amazing showing.

But I'll say that, you know, we would -- we have not done as well with Latino voters in some of these nominating contests.

But, look, we're looking to close the gap and so I think what's important about Vice President Biden's campaign, what we've seen from South Carolina, what we've seen from Super Tuesday and I would bet, what we will see in nominating contests coming up on March 10th, is that we are increasing turnout, that there is enthusiasm for our campaign, and truly bringing people into this process.

And Vice President Biden's support is not just support amongst African-American voters. While we didn't overwhelmingly win Latino voters, our coalition is Latino voters, it is suburban voters, it is white voters, it is Asian American, Pacific Islander. It is rural and city.

And I think that's what's important here, because we are going to need a nominee who can, one, bring enthusiasm. But, two, bring people to the polls --

SCIUTTO: OK.

HARLOW: OK.

SCIUTTO: OK. SANDERS: -- and (INAUDIBLE) expand this space.

SCIUTTO: Short time, so want to get through a couple things here. With Warren particularly out of the race, as it's confirmed, this is down to most likely a two-person race, with Sanders. To avoid a contested convention, Joe Biden's going to have to appeal to some of the Warren-Sanders voters, progressive voters, with more ambitious plans. What is his message to them?

SANDERS: Look, our campaign is for anyone who has been knocked down or counted out. Our campaign is about bringing people together. We do need to unite this Democratic Party.

And I think what we've seen from other candidates in this race -- previous presidential candidates who have dropped out and since endorsed Vice President Biden, is he is in fact the person that can help bring people together.

And so, again, Vice President Biden and Senator Warren have spoken. I am not going to get into the details of their conversation, but we believe that we are the campaign that can absolutely --

HARLOW: OK.

SANDERS: -- bring those folks together.

HARLOW: So --

SANDERS: While other people -- I would just note, Poppy -- you know, have been very divisive in this primary, Vice President Biden has been clear that this is about all of us as Democrats.

HARLOW: OK, so they have spoken you're confirming --

SANDERS: Yes.

HARLOW: -- "Washington Post," reporting that Vice President Biden and Elizabeth Warren have spoken since Tuesday night, got it.

Michigan -- Michigan's big, and Bernie Sanders won it last time around, he beat Clinton in Michigan --

SCIUTTO: Yes.

HARLOW: -- and the advantage to him was those white working-class voters. Are you going to win Michigan?

SANDERS: We believe we are going to be very competitive in Michigan, and we think we can win. We have the support of two of Michigan's governors, their current governor, Governor Whitmer, who is also joining us as a campaign co-chair today; and their former governor, Jennifer Granholm.

So we think we're going to wage a very competitive race. I'll be in Michigan, I think we're coming up there next week so looking forward to it. SCIUTTO: Final question. As I'm sure you're aware, Senator Ron

Johnson, Republican, has -- is now subpoenaing someone connected to the Ukrainian gas company Burisma that Hunter Biden worked for. This had quieted down a bit. Of course, seems to be bubbling up again. Do you believe these investigations are politically motivated?

SANDERS: Yes, I believe they're politically motivated and I believe this is a test for the media, for reporters and the political space as a whole. This is a conspiracy theory, concocted by the Trump campaign and Republicans because they are scared of facing Joe Biden at the ballot box in November. Folks should not take the bait, these are debunked conspiracy theories. And frankly, it's despicable that anyone would even give this any air.

So we are going to continue to beat back these lies and speak truth to power and facts, but we implore the media and folks all across this country to not take the Trump campaign's bait.

SCIUTTO: Well -- I mean, will Biden say that my son should not have been working for that company?

SANDERS: Jim, this isn't -- this -- to be clear, this is a nonstarter. There is nothing -- Hunter -- there is nothing wrong that Vice President Biden did. This is not about Hunter Biden or Joe Biden, this is about Donald Trump.

Let's remind folks that Donald Trump got himself impeached because of his overtures to Ukraine, not just Ukrainians. I would also argue China, to investigate, to -- to try to find dirt on Joe Biden to take him down. So this is about Donald Trump's conduct, about what he did. Joe Biden did nothing wrong, and those are in fact the facts.

HARLOW: Symone Sanders, good to have you. We're out of time, top of the hour.

SANDERS: Good to be here (ph).

HARLOW: Thank you.

SANDERS: Thank you.

[11:00:00]

HARLOW: Thanks to all of you. We'll see you back here tomorrow. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto. "AT THIS HOUR" with Kate Bolduan starts right now.