Return to Transcripts main page
State of the Union
Interview With Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC); Interview With Trump Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway; Interview With Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang and Evelyn Yang; ; In Iowa, Polls Show Democrats Have No Clear Frontrunner; Democrats Spar Over Warren's Plan To Pay For Health Care. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired November 03, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Going public. Democrats announce open impeachment hearings, as President Trump fights back in his own way.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We got to impeach him because we can't beat him.
BASH: How far are Republicans willing to bend?
We will ask counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway and the number three House Democrat, Jim Clyburn, next.
Plus, Iowa show of force. As a policy divide deepens...
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Where does she get the money?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think they're running in the wrong presidential primary.
BASH: ... Democrats test strength in Iowa. Why are the early states so up for grabs?
And inside of the Yang Gang. From social media curiosity to cash- flush contender, how the Yang family story fuels the candidate's message.
ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It would never occur to me not to talk about our son.
BASH: The exclusive first interview with Andrew Yang and his wife, Evelyn, in moments.
BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash, in for Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is in fighting mode. President Trump spent Saturday night at a UFC fight in New York City,
perhaps fitting for a president whose own fight here in Washington is escalating to a new public phase.
Thursday, the House of Representatives voted along party lines to advance the impeachment inquiry. On his way to the arena, the president slammed House Speaker Pelosi as -- quote -- "unhinged" and called the impeachment inquiry -- quoting again -- "a scam and a hoax."
The president also said he would invite Ukrainian President Zelensky to the White House, this as Speaker Pelosi delivered a forceful blow of her own, writing a new letter to her caucus that the president will be held accountable, saying -- quote -- "The president's actions undermined national security, jeopardized the integrity of our elections, and violated his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution."
BASH: Joining me now to give the view from inside the White House is counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.
Thank you so much for being here this morning.
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, Dana.
BASH: Let's just start with the basics.
The president of the United States asked a foreign power to investigate a top political rival. We read it the summary in the July 25 call.
We also saw him do it in public. Was that appropriate?
CONWAY: Well, I have the transcript of the call right here.
And I'd like you to show me where that is. I mean, you can circle where there's a quid pro quo. You can circle where he asked him to...
BASH: No, I'm not asking about...
CONWAY: Excuse me -- where he mentions 2020, where he mentions -- where the president mentions holding up aid.
The Ukrainian president has said he didn't realize any aid was being held up -- quote -- "He felt no pressure."
And this entire phone call is about two presidents of respective countries talking about how they got elected. The president of Ukraine says, I modeled it after you...
BASH: So, Kellyanne...
CONWAY: ... draining the swamp.
Well, but then let's be clear.
CONWAY: We don't need Ukraine's help to beat Joe Biden, anymore than we needed help to help beat Hillary Clinton.
BASH: I'm not asking about that right now.
I'm going to ask about the quid pro quo in a second.
CONWAY: But that's important.
BASH: No, what is important is -- the question I'm focusing on right now...
CONWAY: Who needs Ukraine's help to beat Joe Biden?
BASH: ... is the substance of the call.
You mentioned the transcript. So, let me read the part that I'm referring to and that, frankly, sparked this -- this impeachment inquiry.
This is the president: "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution. And a lot of people want to find out about that. So, whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution. So, if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me."
This is the president asking another foreign leader to look into a man who is the leading candidate to be his political rival.
BASH: You don't have to say 2020 for it to be...
CONWAY: No, that's -- that -- I have to push back on all of that.
CONWAY: First of all, he -- look what he asked him to do.
He asked him to investigate what happened when Joe Biden, as vice president of the United States, Dana, stopped the prosecution of a company where his -- his son, who, as his son has admitted, only got those jobs because of his last name, only got those contracts because of his last name.
He's talking about 2016, not 2020. And, respectfully, Joe Biden is not his main political rival. Joe Biden was in Iowa yesterday and said he was in Ohio...
BASH: Then why does the president tweet about Joe Biden all the time? But -- but...
CONWAY: He tweets about many things, but...
CONWAY: Excuse me. CNN itself...
BASH: Let me talk about...
CONWAY: I'm not attacking CNN.
CNN itself was talking about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. On May 12, CNN's own John King reported on his show that Hunter Biden worked for a natural gas company in Ukraine, that it's totally fair game to ask whether he made money...
BASH: So, because you brought that up, I want to tell you that -- a couple things.
Current and former Ukrainian prosecutors general have publicly said that Ukraine does not have any information about any wrongdoing by Hunter Biden, OK? That's number one.
Number two, the U.S. government, the E.U., the IMF all wanted this prosecutor that you're talking about fired, because he was not pursuing corruption.
CONWAY: Right. We had these conversations six weeks ago, when Nancy Pelosi jumped the gun before she read the transcript of the call, believed the false reporting that there were eight quid pro quo requests in the transcript -- they're not there -- believed that the president said he was holding up aid. Not there.
Believed that the president said he wanted to have a 2020 rival investigated. Not there. Joe Biden is not insulated from his past actions just because he's running for president.
BASH: OK. You know what?
CONWAY: If anything, this scrutiny should be higher if you want to be president of the United States.
BASH: So what I think -- OK, so what you're -- what I hearing you saying -- and you tell me if this is correct -- is that what the president said in his call, which is all I'm trying to ask about right now, asking the Ukrainian leader to look into Joe Biden, that was appropriate?
CONWAY: Joe Biden as a vice president stopping a prosecution that would have affected his son...
BASH: But he's also a political rival.
CONWAY: ... and the president -- no, the president mentioned 2016. He mentioned investigating...
BASH: So, that's OK? Regardless of when, it's OK...
CONWAY: ... and let's give...
BASH: It is OK for the president of the United States to ask a...
CONWAY: It's not impeachable.
CONWAY: Is that where we are now?
BASH: We're going to get to that.
CONWAY: Is it impeachable? Is it a high crime or misdemeanor?
BASH: We're going to get to that in a second, but I just want to stay on this.
What -- just to be clear, you are saying it is appropriate for the president to have had this conversation?
CONWAY: What -- what I have said is everything we're being told about this call, including by -- excuse me -- including by the investigators who are selectively leaking from...
BASH: I'm talking about the transcript...
BASH: ... the summary of the call. I'm talking about what the president said...
CONWAY: Right. Again and again...
BASH: ... in the summary of the call that you all at the White House put out.
Do you feel comfortable with what the president said?
CONWAY: I feel comfortable saying that he never mentioned 2020, quid pro quo, holding up aid, Joe Biden, his political rival.
What the president said -- you just quoted it, Dana. People are talking about Joe Biden and his son.
You're darn right they were. "The New York Times" on May 1. CNN's John King on May 12. ABC News' Tom Llamas on June 20, calling into question...
BASH: But it's one thing for a reporter to talk about it. It's another thing for a president to ask about it of another foreign leader.
BASH: It's not? So, that's what I'm asking. Is it OK?
CONWAY: He said looking into Joe Biden stopping the prosecution.
And, Dana, let's be fair. Ukraine got the aid. As you and I sit here, there -- one presumes they're using that aid. The Ukrainian president said he felt no pressure, he never knew aid was being held up.
And but for President Trump, there would be no kind of aid going to Ukraine right now. Under President Obama, he was like the MyPillow guy for Ukraine.
BASH: All right.
CONWAY: He was sending pillows and blankets.
BASH: All right. So let's talk about...
BASH: So let's talk about the aid.
You have -- you have said and -- I believe, that what the president said on that call was OK, just to -- just to...
CONWAY: What I said was, we have to be honest with America as to what is not there.
What is not there is saying, I'm holding up the aid.
BASH: But what is...
BASH: That's not what I'm asking about. That's not what I'm asking about.
CONWAY: He's asking him to...
BASH: He's asking him to look into...
CONWAY: ... investigate what happened...
BASH: He's asking him to look into something...
CONWAY: To 2016.
BASH: It doesn't matter.
BASH: He's also ask...
CONWAY: It matters. It is the central focus. It matters very much.
But it is about -- it is about his political rival. And it is...
BASH: ... at its core, regardless of when it happened...
CONWAY: How is he...
BASH: He is asking...
CONWAY: ... his political rival?
BASH: He is asking another leader to look into an American politician. That is OK with you?
CONWAY: Former vice president...
BASH: That is OK with you?
CONWAY: ... who we know -- what is fine with me is, the day after Bob Mueller's testimony, which was as big of a bomb as the Mueller report, despite the fact that for two-plus years, everyone in this town talked about nothing but.
We spent $35 million taxpayer dollars. The very next day after Mueller testifies, the president of the United States is saying to the president of the Ukraine ,I'd like you to look back at 2016. I heard about CrowdStrike, 2016. And I want you -- and people are talking about this prosecutor.
Had nothing to do...
CONWAY: He doesn't mention 2020.
CONWAY: It does matter, Dana..
BASH: ... the word -- the word... Biden...
CONWAY: ... because you can't get more protection just because you're running for president. And we have seen Joe Biden...
BASH: But I'm saying it doesn't matter if he was running...
BASH: My point is, it's not about 2020.
I'm saying, even if -- even if Joe Biden were not running for president, if he were still a private citizen going off into the sunset, would it be OK for the president of the United States, yes or no, to ask another foreign leader to investigate...
CONWAY: To look into corruption?
BASH: To investigate an American citizen?
CONWAY: That's not -- that's not -- that sounds like a very oversimplified presentation of what is happening here.
What is happening here is, the president of the United States says, people are talking about this prosecutor...
CONWAY: ... and how they saw things -- excuse me -- in this investigation.
We have Joe Biden bragging on tape in January of 2018, Dana, saying, and I said I'd be on the ground 90 more minutes, and, if you don't believe me, call Barack.
BASH: There's no evidence -- I just...
BASH: For the record, there is no evidence...
CONWAY: Then why did he brag about that?
BASH: ... that Joe or Hunter Biden did anything wrong.
CONWAY: And what...
BASH: Let's move on. Let's move on to the...
CONWAY: And what evidence...
CONWAY: There's no evidence that Donald Trump did anything wrong. So let's go there.
BASH: I'm not saying he did.
BASH: I'm asking you that very question.
CONWAY: Why are we about to have public hearings...
BASH: OK. So let's talk about that.
CONWAY: ... trying to impeach a president, rather than voting on...
BASH: Let's talk about that.
CONWAY: ... the USMCA, reducing drug prices, improving health care for the 28 million...
BASH: Because the...
BASH: Because the Democrats won the House...
CONWAY: ... Biden...
BASH: ... and they believe that it is appropriate to look into impeachment
CONWAY: No, no, no, but you are saying poor Hunter Biden and Joe Biden did nothing wrong. BASH: I'm not -- I never said that.
I never said that. I'm just trying to correct the record.
CONWAY: But what did Donald Trump do wrong?
BASH: I want to move on to what you were saying, Kellyanne, about the quid pro quo, because what we have seen are opening statements from House testimony from three U.S. officials describing quid pro quo.
The top diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, said the following: "Ambassador Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelensky was dependent on a public announcement of investigations. In fact, Ambassador Sondland said everything was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance."
Everything was dependent on an announcement of those investigations.
CONWAY: And then he presented the texts he received from...
BASH: Was -- was -- was the administration holding up military aid in exchange for this investigation into Joe Biden?
CONWAY: They have the aid. They're using the aid.
BASH: No, but was it being held up at the time, not now, then?
CONWAY: I think -- I think if you're going to do, respectfully, what Adam Schiff does, is just come out and cherry-pick the 10 seconds or 10 minutes of 10 hours worth of testimony, the -- the -- we have no access to the full testimony because everything's been done in the dark in secret.
That process has been flawed from the beginning. We cannot unscramble the egg, put the toothpaste back in the tube now, even now that...
BASH: But I'm not talking about the process. I'm talking about the substance.
CONWAY: But what does Taylor say later?
BASH: Was military aid...
BASH: I'm asking you just broadly.
CONWAY: They have got their aid. BASH: Now. I'm talking about then.
CONWAY: And -- and the president never says...
BASH: Was -- was there a time when military aid was held up because the president wanted Ukraine to look into the Bidens?
CONWAY: I don't know. But I know they've got their aid. And I know that...
BASH: So it's possible that that happened?
CONWAY: Here's what's -- here's what's absolutely, unimpeachably true.
Ukraine has that aid. They have more aid than they had under the previous administration.
BASH: But it is possible that it was held up at the time?
CONWAY: They are using the aid. The Ukrainian president said he had no idea aid was being held up. He felt no such pressure.
He's speaking in that call about draining the swamp. He's complaining about Macron and Merkel, not Trump and the U.S.
And to be fair to everybody who's watching and listening, Dana, Gordon Sondland then sends a text to Bill Taylor that says, I think you're wrong about this. There was no quid pro quo.
So we have to...
BASH: But this is...
CONWAY: ... make sure people get the full picture. And we've all been deprived.
BASH: This is testimony...
CONWAY: CNN, the White House, we've all been deprived and denied...
BASH: There will be -- there will be public hearings, but I'm really...
CONWAY: ... the full -- well, too late, isn't it?
BASH: But I'm not here to defend or talk about the process.
I really -- because you are the counselor to the president, I want to talk about the substance of this, because that's really what at the core...
CONWAY: Sure. Well, let's talk about the substance. What is impeachable? (CROSSTALK)
BASH: What you are telling me is that you don't...
CONWAY: Where is it? I want to see it.
BASH: It is possible that military aid was held up as president asked for investigations into Joe Biden?
CONWAY: What I'm telling you is, Ukraine has the aid. And if we're going to impeach a president over...
CONWAY: ... different people's -- quote -- "interpretations" who the last time I checked weren't elected to be the president of the United States and the commander in chief...
BASH: Can you say definitively...
CONWAY: Respectfully, you have spent more time at this network this week talking about a fantastically and -- a fantasy of impeaching the president than we got -- then we got al-Baghdadi and he's gone, that we put out a brand-new treatment locator.
BASH: That's not fair.
But I want to focus on what I'm -- what we're talking about right now.
CONWAY: It's going to save lives. And we just can't talk about it.
BASH: Can you say definitively no quid pro quo for this military aid?
CONWAY: No quid pro quo in this call in terms of the president...
BASH: In terms of what actually happened, beyond the call.
CONWAY: CNN reported that there were eight of them. Where are they?
BASH: Beyond the call, in general, in general, as a matter of policy and as a matter of events, was there a quid pro quo?
CONWAY: Where was the quid quid pro quo?
BASH: I'm asking you, was there one?
CONWAY: President Trump never said to the Ukrainian president, do this and you'll get your aid. It's simply not here. BASH: So it didn't happen?
CONWAY: Nobody ever thought we'd release the transcript. Ladies and gentlemen, you can all see it. Go read it.
BASH: So you feel...
CONWAY: Everybody has access to it. What we don't have access to, Dana, is what has happened over the last five or six...
CONWAY: ... secret.
BASH: So you feel totally confident that, at the core of this, the heart of this...
CONWAY: Here's what I feel confident about.
BASH: ... there was no quid pro quo?
CONWAY: I feel confident about the fact that Ukraine has that aid and is using it right now, that it's because of this president that they have it.
The last president -- the last administration...
BASH: Kellyanne, you very notably won't say yes or no.
CONWAY: It doesn't...
BASH: Quid pro quo, yes or no?
CONWAY: First of all, I just said to you I don't know whether aid was being held up and for how long.
I know that there were two senators, a Democrat and a Republican, who called over from Ukraine and inquired about the aid. But we're trying to impeach a president here now in this town, across this country.
Why? Because nothing in this conversation so far resonates to the country, especially in the 17 swing states, that would lead to a high crime or misdemeanor.
That's why Nancy Pelosi has also said she's not sure that we'll get there. She promised us -- six short months ago, Dana, she said impeachment would have to be overwhelmingly bipartisan.
BASH: Let me...
CONWAY: Not a single Republican followed her down there. In fact two Democrats voted with Republicans. They can't justify this.
And she said the public would have to be there. The public is not there. There is poll after poll...
BASH: OK. We're going to -- we have a Democrat on next, and we're going to ask about that very thing.
CONWAY: ... national polls that matter about it. It's state polls.
BASH: The president -- the president has called Taylor and also the Lieutenant Colonel Vindman -- quote -- "never-Trumpers."
These are two people who have -- who have testified in the past couple of weeks.
This is how he described never-Trumpers in a tweet recently: "The never-Trumper Republicans, though on respirators, with not many left, are in certain ways worse and more dangerous for our country than do- nothing Democrats. Watch out for them. They are human scum."
These are both service members who have devoted...
CONWAY: He didn't mention them by name when he said...
BASH: No, no, no. I'm talking about...
CONWAY: He may be talking about other people.
BASH: OK. So he talked about never-Trumpers.
But then he also called Vindman a never-Trumper, which, if you connect those dots, which he is doing, he is saying that they are human scum.
Is that appropriate?
CONWAY: He didn't call them -- he didn't call those gentlemen...
BASH: He called them never-Trumpers, who he -- what he considers human scum.
CONWAY: Well, I don't know how they voted, so here's what I will say.
I would never disparage the patriotism or the public service of Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. That's a given for Kellyanne Conway.
What I do call into question is -- and so did "The New York Times" and "Washington Post" apparently -- his -- Mr. Vindman's interpretation of the phone call. That's apparently what he wanted correct in the transcript.
That was rejected, because even "The New York Times" admitted this week and "The Washington Post" that what he wanted to correct had nothing to do with the ellipsis and, number two, Dana, would not have changed the fundamental understanding of the lawmakers as goes that call.
So that's very key. So I -- look, many people have testified, many people will testify,
but we literally have Adam Schiff with zero creditability. Why you give him a platform, I will never know.
He's lied to CNN. He's lied to the American people. He -- we...
CONWAY: No, he comes out and he tells us after eight or 10 hours of testimony...
CONWAY: ... the 10 minutes he wants the country to know about. That is not the way...
BASH: OK. I want to...
CONWAY: ... a democracy that is centered on the rule of law works.
They're so upset. We're in the third-year anniversary this week, Dana, of the biggest political upset in modern political history. They still can't get over it.
BASH: I need to move on to one other question before we run out of time.
CONWAY: We're not going to allow them to uproot the democratically...
CONWAY: Yes, but why don't they admit what this is really about? Stop -- let's stop pretending this is about...
BASH: This is not...
CONWAY: ... Ukrainian aid.
BASH: We have a Democrat on next. We are going to talk about...
CONWAY: But let's not...
BASH: I want to ask you about something...
CONWAY: Once and for all...
BASH: ... that happened this weekend.
CONWAY: A reasonable person sitting across from me whom I respect greatly, let's stop pretending this is about Ukrainian aid and a couple-minute call between the presidents of the Ukraine...
CONWAY: ... and the United States. This is...
BASH: Kellyanne, I want to ask...
CONWAY: ... about red ties, red hats...
BASH: Thank you.
CONWAY: ... and rednecks.
BASH: You made...
BASH: You made...
BASH: You made your point. I want to ask about...
BASH: ... something that happened this, weekend which is, there are newly released memos that obtain -- obtained by CNN from the Mueller investigation.
They show that President -- the president's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort blamed Ukrainians for hacking into DNC servers, even though U.S. intelligence had long concluded that Russia was responsible.
As you know, the president is still echoing this conspiracy. So do you think that it was Russia or Ukraine that is responsible for the DNC hack?
CONWAY: Well, I trust our intelligence offices, certainly.
Let me just tell you...
BASH: So, Russia?
CONWAY: Who cares? Everybody...
CONWAY: A lot of people in this country wanted to know...
BASH: Your boss cares.
CONWAY: ... about Hillary e-mails.
Well, hold on. But my boss won. He became the president, even though people predicted that he couldn't do it or that he wouldn't last or that she can have a recount or that we're going to have Mueller. Then we're going to have Ukraine.
BASH: Does he accept that it was Russia and not Ukraine?
CONWAY: Wait. We will throw other stuff in there.
Well, first of all, what he accepts is the election results. And the person that he defeated still won't.
BASH: But I'm not asking about the election results. I'm asking about the U.S.'...
CONWAY: Oh, no, no, no. Let's talk about the election results.
BASH: No, no, no. That's not what I'm asking.
CONWAY: What Manafort, who had been fired, and others...
BASH: Kellyanne, I'm asking...
BASH: I'm asking about the U.S. Intelligence conclusion that it was Russia not Ukraine. I just want to know from you given these newly released memos that Paul Manafort was saying that it was actually...
CONWAY: Paul Manafort has long been fired...
BASH: Yes, but the president...
BASH: ... apparently repeats that conspiracy.
CONWAY: And, respectfully...
BASH: Do you believe that...
CONWAY: ... I was the campaign manager going on TV every single day...
BASH: I'm talking about earlier.
CONWAY: ... not talking about...
BASH: Does the president of the United States... CONWAY: Talking about how we were going to win.
BASH: That's what matters here -- believe -- does he believe that it was Russia who hacked the DNC, and not Ukraine?
CONWAY: You know what the president believes.
BASH: I don't.
CONWAY: He said it and tweeted about it many times. He's said it could be Russia, could be Ukraine. It could be a guy in New Jersey.
BASH: So, he doesn't -- that means he doesn't accept that it's Russia?
CONWAY: But he's talking about -- he's talking about interference overall. In other words, we don't want anyone to interfere in these elections. We don't want Russia, Ukraine, the media to put their thumbs on the scale, Adam Schiff, these people working in secret.
Let the people decide who their president is.
BASH: So, Kellyanne, yes or no, one more time, before we wrap this up...
CONWAY: But you -- but you...
BASH: ... does the president believe, as the U.S. intelligence community has concluded, that it was Russia?
CONWAY: The president has great faith in the U.S. intelligence community.
And let me just say this about those e-mails. They didn't matter. He won because he took his message directly to the people. He went to Wisconsin and Michigan, and she didn't.
BASH: I know. I know. I know you're saying -- I know the president want to hear that, but that's -- but that's not...
CONWAY: And, by the way, you don't see me on those e-mails, for a very simple reason. I was busy...
BASH: Thank you so much.
CONWAY: ... running around, including on CNN daily, talking about where we were going and...
BASH: Thank you.
CONWAY: ... which states we were going to win.
BASH: We are out of time. Thank you.
CONWAY: Thank you for having me, Dana.
BASH: Thank you. Thank you very much.
BASH: House Democratic leaders have long said support for impeachment should be bipartisan. So, what changed?
I'll talk with the number three House Democrat next.
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.
Democrats will accelerate their efforts this week to take the impeachment probe public, after a procedural vote in the House that saw no Republican support.
Joining me now is the number three Democrat in the House, South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn.
Thank you so much for joining me, sir.
I want to start by reading you something that the speaker said back in March. Here's what she said.
She said: "Impeachment is so divisive to the country that, unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path, because it divides the country and it's just not worth it."
So, this week, as you're well aware, the House voted to approve the procedures on impeachment with zero Republican support.
So, my question is, would you move forward with a vote on articles of impeachment if that remains true, that you have no Republican support?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): Well, thank you so much for having me, Dana.
But we would, absolutely. I think that, when we talk about bipartisan support, we are not limiting that to -- to the Congress. I have been watching the polls all over the country. There is rising support within Republican voters in favor of moving forward.
Independents seem to be -- a majority of them seem to be in favor of moving forward, and certainly overwhelmingly Democrats.
So, I think what the speaker was saying, that there needs to be bipartisanship. I don't think she was limiting that to the Congress. She knows the Congress very well, and she knows how our Republican colleagues are prone to vote on these issues within the -- our body. [09:25:05]
BASH: But -- but -- but a vast...
CLYBURN: That is not reflective of the country.
BASH: A vast majority of Republicans...
CLYBURN: I'm sorry?
BASH: A vast majority of Republicans in these polls still very much oppose impeachment.
And wouldn't it be true that, if the polls change that much, that the people who represent them would change along with it?
CLYBURN: Well, that may be true, but what's that level that we have to get to for them to change?
I think that there are calculations here. The impeachment process itself is a political process. And political calculations are being made inside the House, in the Senate and around the country.
So, I do believe that there's a lot of smoke that all of us see. There should be some fire somewhere, and we should find the source of that fire and find the level of it to see what needs to be done to extinguish it.
And that's exactly what we're doing here, if I might use that as a metaphor.
BASH: So, Congressman, some Republicans argue that, while they consider the president's interactions with Ukraine to be inappropriate, they say that they're not impeachable.
The Constitution says, as you know, that the president must be impeached for -- quote -- "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
Which of those did the president commit?
CLYBURN: Well, I have no idea. And that's why we're doing this investigation.
What I'm saying is, there seems to be an indication that something was going on here? There could be high crimes and misdemeanors taking place. There might even be bribery taking place.
That's why you have an investigation. And that's what we're doing here. And starting this week, we are going to release these transcripts for people to see and read for themselves. We're going to have public hearings starting maybe this week or next.
And we will get to the bottom of this, and then we will be able to make a determination at that time whether or not something happened that was treasonous. I have talked to a lot of people since I have been home who believe
that it's treasonous on the part of this president. They certainly believe some crimes have been committed.
BASH: So I want to talk about polling, since you mentioned polling.
There is new polling from "The New York Times" that show a majority of voters in key swing states that helped elect Donald Trump, like Michigan, like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, they oppose impeaching the president and removing him from office.
I know that you believe moving forward with impeachment is important, or at least the inquiry, regardless of political consequences. But is it possible that this could have a negative impact on your party's prospects in 2020?
CLYBURN: Sure, it could. And that would make this whole process much more political than I would like for it to be.
I believe that this whole process, to me, is about preserving this republic, protecting the democracy that we hold dear. And I do not believe that we ought to allow our political feelings to get in the middle of this.
This country is worth saving. And I do believe that we are in a crisis, much like that Thomas Paine wrote about back in 1776, when he talked about summer soldiers and sunshine patriots.
We are seeing a lot of sunshine patriots who are challenging the authority of real, brave soldiers and real patriots.
For Lieutenant Colonel Vindman to be eviscerated the way this White House is -- a real patriot, he is. And we have got so many sunshine patriots sitting in this White House. We ought to expose them.
And I think the American people ought to have an opportunity to read what Mr. Vindman, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, had to say, and make their own judgments.
BASH: And they will, because, as you said, the transcripts will be released.
You have your finger on the pulse of that very important state where you are right now, South Carolina, in a key way.
And I want to ask you about 2020. A new poll out of Iowa places South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg firmly within the top four contenders. That's not the case where you are in South Carolina, where he remains in low single digits.
A local South Carolina paper obtained a memo from inside the campaign, the Buttigieg campaign, detailing a focus group with black voters, some of whom didn't like that he was living with his husband.
And the report concluded that -- quote -- "Being gay was a barrier for these voters." Is Mayor Buttigieg -- Buttigieg's struggle with black voters in your state of South Carolina because he's gay?
CLYBURN: Well, that's a generational issue. I know of a lot of people my age who feel that way.
But I will say this, Dana. My own grandson, who is 20 -- I think is 25 years old. That guy is a big Buttigieg guy. And, of course, he does it because he believes in the guy, not because he's gay.
My grandson tells me...
BASH: But for older African-Americans, it is an issue?
CLYBURN: I'm sorry?
BASH: Are you saying, for older African-Americans, it is an issue?
CLYBURN: Yes, it is. There's no question about that.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you otherwise, because I think everybody knows that's an issue.
But I'm saying it's an issue not the way it used to be. My own grandson is very much for him. He is a paid staffer working on the campaign...
BASH: All right.
CLYBURN: ... working on the campus of HBCUs throughout South Carolina.
And, so, he doesn't care what anybody my age thinks.
BASH: Thank you, Mr. Clyburn. Thank you so much for the -- for your time this morning. Appreciate it.
CLYBURN: Thank you.
BASH: And Democratic candidate Andrew Yang has a plan to pay stay-at- home parents for their work. And his message is resonating.
I will talk to Yang and his wife, Evelyn, in their very first joint interview.
It's a CNN exclusive next.
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash.
One of the most hyped presidential candidates is ending his White House bid, and another who was completely unknown a year ago is hitting his stride.
Andrew Yang raised an impressive $10 million last quarter, and his polling has kept him firmly on the debate stage.
We sat down with the candidate and his wife, Evelyn, in Iowa for their very first joint interview.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you for saving our country.
A. YANG: Working on it, brother. We can do it together.
BASH (voice-over): Andrew Yang couldn't wait for his warmup act to finish.
A. YANG: I think I'm going to go up there before the song is over just to, like, rock out a little bit.
BASH: He called this Iowa gathering Yangapalooza.
And the rain-soaked crowd knows his core message, as well as their favorite songs.
A. YANG: That is not left. It's not right. It's forward.
BASH: This businessman and political newcomer has become a contender by feeling the pain of workers and young people watching automation take human jobs.
(on camera): Do you think you're being taken seriously enough?
A. YANG: Well, one of the things I tweeted was, it's all fun and games until Andrew Yang passes you in the polls.
BASH (voice-over): With staying power comes scrutiny, like on his health care plan.
(on camera): You told reporters in New Hampshire last week that you think -- quote -- "Outlawing private insurance in a very short period of time is a bit too disruptive, and I would not do it."
So how do you support Medicare for all and not outlaw private insurance?
A. YANG: Well, there is a way to provide Medicare for all that does not prohibit private insurance.
And the goal has to be to demonstrate to the American people that this Medicare plan is superior to your current insurance without pulling the rug out from under you and saying that the insurance no longer exists.
BASH: Bernie Sanders own campaign manager said about your stance on this: "Come on. You either take on corporate greed that rots the system, or you don't," that you're calling this Medicare for all, but when you ask about the substance, you still want to keep private insurance, which is not Medicare for all.
How do you explain...
A. YANG: Well, you know, it's funny, because we had an internal debate about this, like, what does Medicare for all mean?
If you look at it, what does it say? Medicare for all, which means that you have a Medicare program that everyone can be enrolled in.
BASH: So you're adopting the label, but not the bill?
A. YANG: That's correct.
BASH: Is that a little disingenuous to people looking for that -- that flavor of a Democratic candidate, but with -- if they don't know the substance of your plan?
A. YANG: Well, we're clear about the substance of our plan in various places, and we're going to have a more detailed rollout of the full plan in the days to come.
BASH (voice-over): Yang is on board with impeachment, but says fellow Democrats spend too much time talking about it and Donald Trump in general.
A. YANG: Well, the downsides are that the entire country just gets engrossed in this impeachment process, and then we're going to look up and be facing Donald Trump in the general election, and we will not have made a real case to the American people.
BASH (on camera): Is it going to hurt the Democratic nominee?
A. YANG: There is a chance that it will.
And I just saw that it seems like a significant number of candidates may be actually called to D.C. for the bulk of January, which would definitely take the focus away from the campaign.
BASH: Wouldn't be bad for you, though.
A. YANG: Well, I would be right here in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina or Nevada or someplace else campaigning. It's true.
BASH (voice-over): By his side more and more will be his wife, Evelyn, who made her first campaign appearance here.
A. YANG: Let's give a warm Yang Gang welcome to my wife, Evelyn Yang!
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
EVELYN YANG, WIFE OF ANDREW YANG: Thank you, guys, so, so, so much. I love the Yang Gang.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
BASH: In her first television interview, she describes her businessman husband's decision to run for president.
E. YANG: And I thought to myself, this will pass. This is not...
BASH (on camera): Just a phase?
E. YANG: Yes.
It was after the last election. And it seemed like he had a really bleak outlook of the future, based on all the research he was doing.
When I realized that he was serious was when he said he was going to quit his job.
The Freedom Dividend and Humanity First is the reason why I let him run for president.
A. YANG: She said: "Andrew, there's no reason for you to do this because someone else is going to run like on universal basic income and the automation of jobs."
And I was like, "I'm not sure that's truly happening."
BASH (voice-over): Yang discusses his family a lot, especially their 7-year-old son, Christopher, who is autistic.
(on camera): Why is it so important to you both to talk about your son?
A. YANG: It would never occur to me not to talk about our son, and just that no -- we love him dearly. We want to share his story with the world.
E. YANG: And, at first, I was actually sheepish about being -- having our family in the public at all.
But I do think that it's really important to talk about, because there's all this stigma around special needs and autism specifically. And there really shouldn't be, because all our children have something special to offer. And our son has made our family better.
BASH (voice-over): Evelyn Yang stopped working outside the home in 2012, after Christopher was born.
E. YANG: I just never went back to work, because motherhood being -- ended up being a lot harder than I expected.
BASH (on camera): And that's the whole core of your campaign, right, is universal basic income.
A. YANG: Yes.
BASH: How much of that is not just people who are going to get automated out of a job, but people who are working at home?
A. YANG: Yes. It's stay-at-home parents. It's caregivers. It's nurturers.
It's also even volunteers and artists and people that do things that help move society forward, but right now don't get any recognition.
BASH (voice-over): It's the message of this new campaign video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
E. YANG: Andrew has said that women do the hardest, most unrecognized work in our society.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH (on camera): I have to ask you about your relationship.
When you met, you have said that he had no game.
A. YANG: Yes, she did say that.
BASH: So, what does no game...
A. YANG: Yet here we are.
BASH: So, what does no-game Andrew Yang look like?
E. YANG: No game. Why did I say that?
It's because it was just so clear...
A. YANG: It was on the opposite of...
E. YANG: But I liked that. I really liked that about him.
He just -- he wore his heart on his sleeve from the very beginning.
It's a lot, but it's fun. BASH (voice-over): Now she's marching in the rain with a husband she never thought would run for anything, much less president.
A. YANG: Seeing the people that have just taken this campaign up on their shoulders and elevated it at every turn, it's...
E. YANG: The man that -- one of the supporters who tattooed your face...
A. YANG: On his calf, yes.
You can't see that coming. But there's also...
BASH (on camera): Have you done that?
E. YANG: No.
A. YANG: Her calves are tattoo-free.
E. YANG: And I have said, Andrew, I think he loves you more than I do, because I would never tattoo your face on my body.
But it's that kind of passion, it's that kind of love, that kind of support that has been, I mean, shocking to me.
BASH: The Democratic candidates drew big cheers from the supporters in Iowa this weekend. But the field is still fractured and Democratic voters' voices are still fluid. We're going to talk about that next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm here to launch the era that must come next.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The first thing we have to do is get rid of Donald Trump. Get him out of office. And once that happens, the road is clear.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Fear and complacency does not win elections.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Real change never takes place without struggle.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BASH: Today marks exactly one year until Election Day 2020. And candidates as you heard are making their pitches to Iowa voters as a new poll this week shows a top heavy race in the first caucus state with no clear leader.
Take a look at this. Warren, 22 percent. Bernie Sanders, 19 percent. Buttigieg, 18 percent. Biden, 17 percent. Let's discuss.
I was there on Friday night for this Iowa Democratic dinner where all of the candidates came and showed their stuff. And it was really a note worthy I thought that the Buttigieg campaign made it such a big effort to show force. They had -- they filled probably more -- definitely more seats than anybody else, flew in a lot of people who are not from Iowa.
What does that tell you and what does it tell you about where he is in the polls in Iowa?
TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, that is the oldest trick flying a lot of people.
BASH: Yes. I'm not saying it means a caucus win.
MCAULIFFE: No. That's right. Listen, we're now at the final stage. I remind you that in 2004 it was Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt that were far out front in Iowa caucus and it all shifted in the last two months and that clearly could happen again. Anybody can win the Iowa caucus but now you will see the winnowing process.
You saw Beto pull out. Candidates are beginning to run out of money. Candidates are beginning to close offices. So, we're going to get down to five or six now and then we're going to get to a real discussion on issues, on health care and all the issues that the Americans public care about, reducing prescription drugs. So, this is when it's really going to get exciting. It's going to get winnow down here very quickly, but Iowa -- having been there for many years it has got a long way to go. Anybody could win Iowa.
REP. ROBIN KELLY (D-IL): He has a lot of money so that helps -- anytime you have a lot of resources, you can buy people in.
But I also will say, I know Mayor Pete. And I hear from many people they like what he's saying. When they meet him they do really like him. I'm not saying they're going to vote for him, but he is appealing.
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: My people in Iowa tell me he's got something going on, and he also has possibly a calendar advantage. You look at the polls you just showed the two people leading, two senators. If (INAUDIBLE) win we have an impeachment trial. They got to gavel in every morning at 10:00 a.m. six days a week trapping all those Democrat senators in Washington, D.C. while Mayor Pete gets to run wild through the Iowa countryside. So he's going to have the campaign advantage when they trap these two leading opponents in Washington.
BASH: That's exactly what I was talking about with Andrew Yang in Iowa in the last segment
You mentioned the substance and the policies. So, let's dig in because one of the big, big stories this week was Elizabeth Warren putting out a detailed "Medicare for All" plan. She said it's $20 trillion in cost, does not include -- she says, raising middle taxes. Some of her opponents disagree with that and one of them is the former Vice President Joe Biden.
Listen to what he said about that in her response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: Just get real with numbers. It's a very difficult way to get there, what she's talking about.
WARREN: If anyone wants to defend keeping those high profits for insurance companies, then I think they're running in the wrong presidential primary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARY KATHARINE HAM, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. First of all, as a conservative who watched the 2016 primary on our side, (INAUDIBLE) no clear frontrunner, everything should go fine.
HAM: But when it comes to the issues that they're talking about in the Democratic primary, to me they are issues that Democratic base wants to hear about that are very tricky if they're done within earshot of the rest of the electorate. Health care is one of those things.
There is not an easy -- or even a good answer to how you're going to pay for "Medicare for All." And if you look in the details of Warren's plan, you will find that -- the things like waste, fraud and abuse. She's using, I think, a different terminology for it. But the classic Washington way you claw back money that doesn't really exist is waste, fraud and abuse. And there's just not enough in any of the pots she's going to.
The other issue they're talking about is impeachment, which our own (INAUDIBLE) CNN has said is a little trickier in swing states than it is in the national polling or in this city where there is undoubtedly a feeling that this is inexorably and imminently happening.
BASH: So on "Medicare for All," you've been around a campaign or two, had your own, worked on others.
BASH: Is this a positive, what she put out this week if she is the nominee, or is it going to hurt her in the general if she is? MCAULIFFE: No. I think she had to put it out because everyone was asking, how are we going to pay for it. This will be a big issue in all of the debates. It's expensive.
My concern is we as Democrats are not focusing on reducing prescription drug costs and the things that Americans are dealing with every single day. When you get in the discussion "Medicare for All" in these debates, it's mind-numbing for folks. I think a lot of them turn off the TV.
We have got to deal with this issue of health care. It is key but, you know, we talk about impeachment I can tell you we have elections in Virginia in two days. This will be historic for us.
For the first time in 26 years the Democrats can win both chambers with the governorship. It looks like today we're going to be able to do. I think impeachment in Virginia has helped us. I'm not sure it has helped in Kentucky and Mississippi and other states, but it has got our base energized to come out on Tuesday.
Here we are -- the White House is one and a half miles from Virginia. Donald Trump can't come to Virginia and campaign. Now he'll go play golf there, but think about that. The incumbent president in a -- the only state where both chambers can switch, Donald Trump cannot come and campaign there. He's very unpopular. The poll has him at 27 percent approval rating.
So, when you talk about impeachment and the political implications in Virginia I can tell you it's reminding folks why we got to --
BASH: Well, I'm glad you brought it up because there are -- there are elections on Tuesday. We have Virginia and we have Kentucky represented here. I'm guessing what you're seeing in Kentucky is the opposite of what you're seeing in Virginia when it comes to the political implications of impeachment.
JENNINGS: Yes. Governor Matt Bevin, the Republican incumbent is locked in a close race with Andy Bashear whose dad was governor of Kentucky. And impeachment has helped Matt Bevin because it's nationalized the race and it has turned it more into a shirts and skins exercise. But on the same token if Donald Trump can't campaign in Virginia, not one of these Democrats -- these 20-something Democrats running for president can step foot in Kentucky and campaign for Andy Bashear who's in a close race and can probably use some help. But no Democratic presidential candidate can come there and campaign because the Democrats are so -- the national Democrats are so unpopular.
So, obviously we have a polarized environment, blue states and red states. So, the fact that Trump can't campaign in Virginia doesn't tell me all that much when the Democrats can't campaign in a lot of states.
BASH: We have a sitting Democratic congresswoman at the table -- (CROSSTALK)
MCAULIFFE: I wish I were running for president. They asked me to come down, I could have gone --
BASH: You have the option.
BASH: You have an announcement to make?
KELLY: As a sitting congresswoman at the table, I do want to say one thing. We are working on health care. We have HR3 now named Elijah Cummings Bill.
So we are working on lowering -- we are working on lowering prescription costs. I'm on the energy, commerce and health care committee, so we are focusing on that. Ways and means is having hearings about it, ed and labor, so we are doing those things.
And one of the thing that Nancy Pelosi has always said that we're investigating, litigating, but we're also legislating. We're doing it and passing a lot of bills at the --
MCAULIFFE: The house is doing it.
KELLY: The House. I said we are doing --
MCAULIFFE: You bet.
HAM: Yes. As Scott noted you can do all those things and then get too hampered by having folks in Washington, D.C. and being too focused on this. I do think there's an overwhelming sense in this town, as with the Russia investigation, that he will imminently, inexorably be impeached and removed, and that is just not the same feeling as people have in some place like Wisconsin.
BASH: Thank you --
BASH: -- for joining us this morning.
KELLY: -- we're doing our job.
BASH: Thank you, Congresswoman. Thank you all for this discussion. Thank you so much for spending your time with us this morning.
"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" is next.