Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

Former Vice President Joe Biden Sits Down With CNN; Trump on Biden, Border, Jobs, Census Controversy. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 05, 2019 - 11:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN AT THIS HOUR: Hello, everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks so much for joining us for a special edition of At This Hour.

President Trump is speaking right now from the White House. He's on his way out of town for the weekend. We are waiting for the tape to come in. When we do get it in, we will bring it to you as soon as we wet it. Because you can be sure he's talking on an array of topics this morning.

But first, former Vice President Joe Biden, he's taken many a hit from President Trump, he was taking hits on the debate stage and he took a hit in the polls after that debate stage. But he's still the democratic frontrunner and he's still projecting confidence.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: If you notice, I'm the guy everybody is talking about.

REPORTER: What do you make of the polls where you've been dropping since that debate performance? And what do you say to the people --

BIDEN: I'm still way ahead.

REPORTER: But what do you say to the people who think you might be --


BIDEN: All right. Thanks, everybody.


BOLDUAN: And now, in an exclusive interview with CNN, Biden takes it all on, saying he was surprised by the attack from Senator Kamala Harris on his record on race, laying out why he thinks he's the best to take on President Trump, and he's oredicting the death of a major international alliance if Trump is re-elected.

And then in the interview, Biden took on the left flank of the Democratic Party. Here he is, with Chris Cuomo.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: You versus the rest of the field on the economy, they're all going big, 70 percent tax rates, free college, re-architecture of the economy, a forgiving debt for college, which happens to be the biggest asset on the American government's balance sheet. You do not believe in those things?

BIDEN: I don't believe in the way they're doing that. For example, I think there should be healthcare for everyone. I have a plan how to do that. That's rational and will cost a hell of a lot less and will work. In terms of the --

CUOMO: Too incremental?

BIDEN: No, it's not incremental. No.

CUOMO: Would you bring back the individual mandate?

BIDEN: Pardon me?

CUOMO: Would you bring back the individual mandate?

BIDEN: Yes, I would bring back the individual mandate.

CUOMO: Do you think that would be popular?

BIDEN: Yes. Now, it would be compared to what's being offered.

And here's the deal, Chris. We're in a situation where if you provide an option for anybody who, in fact, wants to buy into Medicare for all, they can buy in. They buy in and they can do it. But if they like their employer-based insurance, which a lot of unions broke their neck to get and a lot of people like them, they shouldn't have to give it up. The flip of that is, if you don't go my way and you go their way, you have to give up all of that.

And what's going to happen when you have 300 million people landing on a healthcare plan? How long is that going to take? What's it going to do? And in the meantime, a lot of people are going to be in trouble.

In terms of the economy, Chris, I've been proposing for a long time and I -- look, I know I'm Middle Class Joe, I get that part. It's not meant I'm sophisticated. It means, I'm -- you know, the middle class built this country. You didn't have Wall Street build this country. And how did they do it? You gave people a chance and allowed them to maintain their dignity.

And how did they do it? How can you have dignity without having healthcare? How can you have dignity without having access to an education? How can you have dignity unless you can live in a neighborhood that's not fouled by the environment and what's going on?

CUOMO: How do you convince the party that these more advanced ideas, like all in on Medicare for all, that matter to them --

BIDEN: I'm not calling it advanced. CUOMO: But they're popular in the party.

BIDEN: Well, by the way, watch. That's what this election is about. I'm really -- I'm happy to debate that issue and all those issues with my friends. Because guess what, again, look who won the races. Look who won last time out. We have -- and by the way, I think Ocasio- Cortez is a brilliant, bright woman, but she won the primary.

In the general election fights, who won? Mainstream democrats who are very progressive on social issues and very strong on education, healthcare.

Look, my north star is the middle class. When the middle class does well, everybody does well.

CUOMO: How do you do better for them, economically, if not with these 70 percent tax rates?

BIDEN: Well, three things, one, I do raise the tax rate to 39.5 percent. I do, in fact, eliminate the ability for them to write-off capital gains the way to do it. And I would raise the -- and raise billions of dollars, rise the corporate tax rate from 20 percent to 28 percent. It was 36 to 28 percent. I'd raise billions of dollars.

CUOMO: Trump will say, but that's what brought the economy up to where it is, is those tax cuts.

BIDEN: Ask these people who work in this restaurant how that economy came up for them. Ask them how good they feel about them. Ask them how the stock market is really helping. Ask how driving $2 trillion greater in debt has done anything for them?

CUOMO: On healthcare, do you believe that undocumented people should have healthcare in this country?

BIDEN: I think undocumented people need to have a means by which they can be covered when they're sick. And so the idea is that's what I think we should be doing, by building more clinics around the country not just for the undocumented but for other people, when they're ill, when they're sick.


People need -- this is just common decency. You're not going to let somebody --

CUOMO: It's unpopular.

BIDEN: Well, I know it is.

CUOMO: Well over 50 percent polled say, undocumented people here should not have healthcare on our dime.

BIDEN: Well, let me tell you something. In an emergency, they should have healthcare. Everybody should, anybody here in the country. How do you say, you're undocumented. I'm going to let you die, man? What are you going to do?

I mean, the idea I hear this stuff about how they're killing Social Security, et cetera. Those who have jobs, guess what, they've increased the life-span of Social Security by close to a dozen years. I mean, we got this -- this is part of what Trump is playing on. He's playing --

CUOMO: It works for him, this issue, the idea of law and order versus a left that seems like it's open borders because it means it's lawless. You have people who are running close to you now who are saying, decriminalize coming into the country illegally. Do you believe that should be decriminalized?

BIDEN: No, I don't. No, I don't. I think people should have to get in line. But if people are coming because they're actually seeking asylum, they should have a chance to make their case.

I would be surging, as we did, and Barack and I did, surging folks to the border to make those concrete decisions.

Look, the other thing, Chris, is why are they coming? The reason a vast majority of these people are coming from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador is because they're in trouble. Crime rates are high, education is terrible. In Guatemala, you can't turn on a light switch and help them out (ph).

And so, what do we do? I've put together a $74 million program with republicans, I might add, at the very end and say, we'll make a deal with you. You do the follow things to make your country better so people don't leave, and we will help you do that, just like we did in Colombia.

What did we do in Colombia? We went down and said, okay, and I was one of the architects of Plan Colombia. I said, here's the deal. If you have all these crooked cops, all these federal police, we're sending our FBI down, you let us put them through a lie detector test, let us tell you who you should fire and tell you the kind of people you should hire. They did and began to change. We can do so much if we're committed.

CUOMO: What do you say to the people in party right now when polled who say, yes, I like Joe Biden but I think his ideas are the old ideas. The new ideas, I see a Warren, I see a Sanders, I see a Harris. You poll lower than them.

BIDEN: I have not seen that.

CUOMO: You poll lower than them on ideas for the future. What do you say to them?

BIDEN: I say to them, take a look at my ideas. Take a look at my ideas. I've been seeing those polls. I've been seeing where people say, what I've seen around the country is the vast majority of democrats where I am on the issues. We've got to be aggressive.

And the big ideas, the big idea on education, on healthcare, on dealing with the environment. I mean, it's just -- I love how, you know, all of a sudden, I wish I had been labeled as moderate when I was running in Delaware back in the days when it was --

CUOMO: 80 percent of your party says it's center-left.

BIDEN: No, I am center left.

CUOMO: You know, farther left is getting more attention. It's getting amplified. It's a disconnect.

BIDEN: Look, it's center-left, that's where I am. Where it's not is way left.

Now, look, but that's what we can find out. That's what this debate is about.

CUOMO: Do you think you need, if you went the nomination, to have a female V.P.?

BIDEN: I think it'd be great to have a female V.P. And if I don't, well, it'd be great to have a female president. But the question is whose issues are best prepared in their wheel house they've demonstrated they know deal with them?

CUOMO: Would you consider not having a woman as a V.P.?

BIDEN: Look, here's the first thing about being a V.P. I've learned. And that is in today's environment. there's so much a president has on his or her plate. They need someone they completely trust, that they're simpatico with, have the same approach, political approach, and you can delegate significant authority.

The president, when he delegated authority to me, from the moon shot to Ukraine, he gave me the authority to make this because he knew I knew where he was, he knew that I knew something about it and he knew we are simpatico. And so that's what I'm looking for.

CUOMO: Do you think the democrat ticket can win without a woman in one of the two slots?

BIDEN: Yes. Well, the answer is yes, but I don't think that -- I think it helps having a woman on the executive (ph), and there's a lot of really qualified women out there.

CUOMO: Is Kamala Harris, assuming she doesn't win outright, is she still somebody you would consider a running mate?

BIDEN: Look, one of the things I'm not going to into because it got used before is when I was asked -- I don't even have the nomination and I'm presuming who I might pick as the Vice President. That's easily flipped on me in saying, well, Biden is being arrogant. Biden thinks I'll have him as my Vice President. So I'm not going to comment on any individual.

A woman came up to me. I guess it was, I don't know, a month ago, I guess, I was in New Hampshire, said -- [11:10:02]

CUOMO: All right, I'm almost done.

BIDEN: -- why shouldn't I vote for a woman? And I said, you should, if you think that person is most qualified at the moment right now to deal with our problem. Well, I'm not suggesting you vote for a woman.

Look, I have spent my career from writing the Violence Against Women Act before that to say, my daughters and granddaughters can do anything, and I mean anything, anything that a man can do, anything. And so I don't have a doubt in my mind.

And if I started naming some of the people around the country, women who are not running for president as well, who are fully qualified to be vice president, again, with these awful presumptions, man, awful presumption. So there's a lot of really qualified women out there.

CUOMO: In terms of the last question, in terms of what we haven't seen from Joe Biden yet, I remember your -- hey, Jill, last question. Last question, I promise. Okay.

BIDEN: Okay, I will be there in a second.

CUOMO: Last question I promise.

The last thing I remember talking to him about politically with you, Beau, was you know, what is the quality, you know, because he was asking me about what do you take from your father and this, what your take? Beau Biden said to me, nobody fights like my father.

What does that mean to you, to fight harder than anybody else?

BIDEN: It means two things. One, to fight without being personal, to fight and convince. The role of a president is to persuade, persuade, not just go out and fight. If they want someone to clench fists, bare-knuckled fight, closed hand, closed heart, they got one of those guys right now. That's not me. I have been pretty good bringing people together.

The whole idea of America is that when we're together, there's not a damn thing we can't do. And it's -- look, the most incredible response I always get for the last three years is when I talk about how optimistic am I about the future. People know it. They feel it. They know it. They understand it. And we can't stay in this state.

What are we going to do? What are we going to do if we can't get along better? And part of it is persuasion.

And people looking at you say, I know what he means, he'll stay with what he says and he'll do what he says he's going to do. And I think that's part of leading. We'll soon find out.

CUOMO: Thank you for the time.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BOLDUAN: And that is just part of CNN's exclusive interview with former Vice President Biden. You can see much more tonight at 8:00 P.M. Eastern.

Coming up for us, President Trump is speaking out right now from the South Lawn of the White House. That tape is coming in. He is reacting, according to the notes that are coming into me, reacting to the Biden interview, talking about the border crisis and also the continued chaos and confusion over his renewed fight over the census, and more. We'll bring that to you in a moment.



BOLDUAN: Any moment now, we're going to hear from President Donald Trump, who just spoke to reporters as he was leaving the White House for the weekend.

We are told he took on everything from Joe Biden to the border crisis and also the new jobs numbers that are out this morning. That tape is about to feed in. We will bring you those big moments when they come in any moment.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden speaking out in an exclusive interview with CNN, during which he took on -- I'm just being told by the control room that tape of President Trump speaking on the South Lawn is right here. Let's listen.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: -- fantastic evening for our country.

We have a lot of people being recruited. I think based on that, we're going to have a lot of people joining our military and we really needed that.

Our job numbers are so good that the military has a hard time getting people, and I think. really that you're going have to -- you're going to see a big spike. I've already heard it, a lot of people calling in. No place like our military. I think we showed that last night.

We had great numbers this morning. I think it was 224,000 jobs. Those were really unexpectedly good. And our country continues to do really well, really, really well. So we're very happy about it.

I think we're going to -- we're going to be breaking records. If we had a fed that will lower interest rates, we'd be like a rocket ship. But we're paying a lot of interest and it's unnecessary, but we don't have a fed that knows what they're doing, so it's one of those little things.

But if we had a fed that will lower rates, you would have a rocket ship. When Obama, President Obama was here, he paid close to zero interest rates. I'm paying real interest, and yet our economy is much better than it's ever been.

From election day, we're over 50 percent increase, and we've made trillions and trillions of dollars, with a T, trillions. So we're doing very well.

But last night was spectacular.


REPORTER: Mr. President, can you talk to me about infrastructure? Now that we have (INAUDIBLE), are you willing to bring democrats back to the table and talk about infrastructure?


And (INAUDIBLE), when it comes to rural broadband, what do you think?

TRUMP: Yes. I would love rural broadband, we're working on it. And I would love to have the democrats come back and talk about infrastructure, talk about drug pricing. We're going to be announcing something very shortly, a favored nations laws.

As you know, for years and years, other nations paid less for drugs than we do, sometimes by 60, 70 percent. We're going to be and we're working on it right now, we're working on a favored nations laws, where we pay whatever the lowest nation's price is.

Why should other nations, like Canada -- but why should other nations pay much less than us? They've taken advantage of the system for a long time, pharma. So we're working on right now a favored nations law so that whatever the lowest nation is anywhere in the world, or company, but the lowest nation or company, then what happens is we will pay that amount. And that's being worked on right now. We're going to do it in the form of an executive order.

REPOTER: Are you going to issue an executive order on the census?

TRUMP: We're thinking about doing that. It's one of the ways -- we have four or five ways we can do it. It's one of the ways that we're thinking about doing it very seriously. We're doing well on the census.


TRUMP: No, he made a statement. He wrote something out. The judge didn't like it. I have a lot of respect for Justice Roberts, but he didn't like it. But he did say, come back. Essentially, he said come back. That's what he was saying. So we'll see what happens.

We can also add an addition, so we can start the printing now and maybe do an addendum after we get a positive decision. So we're working on a lot of things, including an executive order.

REPORTER: Joe Biden called you a bully in an interview last night. What do you think of that?

TRUMP: I don't think I'm a bully at all. I just don't like being taken advantage of by other countries, by pharmaceutical companies, by all of the people that have taken advantage of this country.

You look at what Joe Biden has done with China. We've lost our shirts with China and now China is dying to make a deal.

So -- and we're taking, by the way, billions and billions of dollars in tariffs are coming in and China is paying for it, not our people.

So if you look at what we've done and if you look at what we've straightened out, I call it the Ibama/Biden mess. We're straightening it out, whether it's North Korea. You were going to end up with a war with North Korea as sure as you're standing there. And now, the relationship is a good relationship. We'll see what happens.

But as sure as you're there, you were going to end up in a war with North Korea.


TRUMP: Well, I don't call them raids. I say they came in illegally and we're bringing them out legally. These are people where we have the papers, we've gone through the court system. They'll be starting fairly soon. I don't call them raids.

We're removing people that have come in, all of these people over the years that have come in illegally, we are removing them and bringing them back to their country.


TRUMP: Well, I don't think of it in terms of that. We're just celebrating our country. But there's nobody stronger, there's nobody that has a military anywhere close to ours. As you know, we spent $700 billion when I took over the military. It was absolutely depleted. We had old planes. We had old jets. We had bad -- I mean, just stuff that was tired.

Now, we have the finest jets in the world, the F-35, the F-18s, the new ones, we have military equipment the likes of which we've never had, building submarines, building aircraft carriers all made in the USA. So it's the devil (ph). it's all made now. I'm all about jobs. We had great job numbers today. But when it comes to the military, it's not about jobs. We have to have the greatest in the world.

There's nobody that comes close and our military now is just about the top, just about the best it's ever been. There's nobody that comes close to the power we have in our military, what we have.

And, in fact, if you look, our nuclear now is in great shape. We've renovated, we've fixed, we're buying some new, never want to use it. We never want to use it, but we have to be in a position that -- we have to be in a position. But our nuclear is in great shape. Our military now is in great shape.


TRUMP: Well, I can just tell you those people that you see, there are a lot of people in front of the White House, every one of them loved it.

I would actually say, and I want to sort of give a little appreciation, the media, generally speaking, loved it.


They loved the evening. We had a lot of rain. I stood in the rain. The teleprompter went out. So I had to --


TRUMP: Yes, the teleprompter went out. It kept going on. And then at the end, it just went out. It went kaput. So I could have said -- and actually right in the middle of that sentence, it went out.

And that's not a good feeling. When you're standing in front of millions and millions of people on television and I don't know what the final count was, but that went all the way back to the Washington Monument, and I guess the rain knocked out the teleprompter.

So -- but, no, it's not that. I knew the speech very well. So I was able to do it without a teleprompter. But the teleprompter did go out and it was actually hard to look at it anyway because there was rain all over it.

But despite the rain, that was just a fantastic evening. I think a lot of people really had it. And I think a lot of people -- you know, it was really a recruitment situation. A lot of people are going to be joining our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard.


TRUMP: What she campaigned on I'm going to get Trump. I'm going to get Trump. She never knew me. I never met her. I don't know who she is. But her whole campaign was that, and that's illegal. You're not allowed to do that. She knew nothing about me.

She campaigned, oh, I'm going to get Trump. I'm -- we have a hundred clips, and so do you, and you can't do that. Our system isn't about that. Our system isn't about let's see if we can find something. You can't do that. But her whole campaign was I'm going to get Trump, I'm going to get him. You can't do that.


TRUMP: It would have to be a long time. You know what, it's very interesting. After 500 witnesses, 2,500 subpoenas, every single person I know practically was called in one form or another, nothing.

And I'll tell you what. Even with you people, you're honest people, none of you could have withstood that. They would have found something. If there was a comma put in the wrong place, if there was a period in the wrong location, they would have grabbed it. No collusion, no obstruction. After that, it's almost -- it's amazing.

You know what it shows? It shows I'm a very honest guy.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE)? TRUMP: So, China, so we'll see what happens. They're talking to us, they want to make a deal. But we had a deal and they broke it. They broke the deal. They shouldn't have broken it. I think if they had it to do again, they wouldn't. Because right now, we put very big tariffs on and we have a lot more to put on if we want. But China broke a deal. We are talking to them and we'll see what happens.


TRUMP: We'll see what happens with Iran. Iran has to be very, very careful.


TRUMP: Say again?

REPORTER: Why did the Vice President cancel his trip the other day to New Hampshire?

TRUMP: You'll know it in about two weeks. It was a very interesting problem that they had in New Hampshire, but I can't tell you about it. It had nothing to do with the White House. There was a problem up there and I won't go into what the problem was. But you'll see in about a week or two.

REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) the crisis on the southern border?

TRUMP: The southern border is being policed very well by Mexico. Mexico is doing far more than the democrats, we all know it, because of tariffs, but they've been great. They put 6,000 people. They have many of them there now on the southern border, their southern border.

On our southern border, which is the main border that you think of, they're going to have anywhere between 16,000 and 21,000 troops. It's had a big impact. They've only been there for about a week where they actually had the troops. But it's had a tremendous effect, a tremendous impact, and you'll see the numbers starting to come in very well. Guatemala is going to be signing an agreement. We're talking to Mexico.

But Mexico is really doing a good job. I have very big -- but here's the thing. When people come in illegally and then it's crowded -- and I've seen some of those places and they are run beautifully, they're clean, they're good. They do a great job. They do a great job. They're crowded because the democrats will not give us any relief from these loopholes. We have loopholes that are so bad. We have asylum that's so bad.

So these places are -- many of them, not all of them, but many of them, they're incredible. They're really well run.

I'll tell you why, and I said it yesterday. Border Patrol did not train to be doctors and nurses and janitors.


That's not what they trained to be. They trained to be Border Patrol. And that's what they're doing. And they're doing a phenomenal job.