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tv   S. E. Cupp Unfiltered  CNN  January 11, 2020 3:00pm-4:00pm PST

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rk... only with xfinity xfi. download the xfi app today. ♪ welcome to unfiltered, here is tonight's headline. it's go time. nearly one month after the house voted to impeach president trump, house speaker nancy pelosi will finally send the impeachment articles to the senate next week to kick off the trial over there in the senate. republican sources involved in planning say that with this
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development, they think trump could be acquitted by his february 4th state of the union address. something pelosi, according to sources was hoping to avoid. so, as to hang a cloud over his televised speech. don't let anyone tell you impeachment is not a political act. but, as i have said, many times right here, it's also meant to be a disciplineact. it's meant to constrain a president, at the least to keep him from doing more bad things. well, there's been little evidence so far that trump has felt chastened at all by his own impeachment. in fact, he may have even been embold emboldened, if you need proof, take a look at the debate on the house floor over the war powers act. the measure to limit trump's use of military power passed by a
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vote of 224-194. with the rare help of three republicans. one of those republicans, the quote trumpiest in trump's washington. the need for congress to approve or disapprove of war is something that i deeply believe in. with a senior white house official calling it super uncool. okay, on the senate side, a bernie sanders sponsored bill that freezes funding for hostilities with iran unless congress approves, has drawn the support of mike lead, he along with his fellow republican rand paul, has lashed out at the administration for side stepping the constitution and the congress. so, why the sudden bipartisan concern? well, for starters, trump didn't tell most of congress.
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not even the four democrats and the gang of eight, a group of top congressional leaders including nancy pelosi that he was going to strike soleimani. here is why, he said. >> they want me to call up, maybe go over there, let me go over the to congress. we had to make a decision. we didn't have time to call up nancy, who is not operating with a full deck. >> and just last night, in a berzerk can interview with fox's laura -- that is redundant, he said that he does not trust congress to not leak information. but another trouble thing sign that trump is unbowed by his own impeachment. he said out right that he will continue to ignore and go around congress on future strikes. >> would you seek congressional
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approval? >> it would depend on the circumstance. i don't have to. >> finally, there's his ever shifting narrative on what the heck actually happened in iraq? despite bipartisan requests to explain the justification of soleimani's killing, he has changed the story repeatedly. this was the story on thursday. >> we did it because they were looking to blow up our embassy and we also do it for other reasons that were very obvious. somebody died, one of our military people died, people were badly wounded a week before. >> then a day later, the imminet threat grew for grave. >> i can reveal that i believe it would have been four embassies. >> okay. but, secretary of state mike pompeo was more than happy to provide no real answers at all. >> there's no doubt that there
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were a series of eminent attacks that were being plotted by soleimani, we don't know precisely where or when but it was real. >> well the president said that soleimani wanted to blow up the embassy. >> it was his forces that penetrated the embassy a handful of days before that. >> here's the deal. trump might be impeached but he also seems unleashed. and it's only going to get worse guys. i don't mean a war with iran, although it's a possibility. but more and more going it alone. more and more ignoring congress. the constitution. the constraints meant to keep a president from acting like a king. expect more of this defiance in foreign affairs and domestic agenda. even when the republicans break ranks, there's never enough of
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them to pass anything that would meaningfully restrain trump's unbrideled power grab. what happens when some members of the legislative branch won't do their jobs and others can't do their jobs and the president of the united states wants to do everybody's job? well then you have a president on a dangerous power trip. here to discuss bob casey. wm, senator, i want to talk about the president increasingly ignoring congress, you guys and what you can do about it. first, nains pel nancy pelosi i send articles of impeachment to you and your greeg -- and your colleagues next week. do you feel that pelosi's gamesmanship for a better word with the articles, got you anything to set the arena in which the trial is conducted? >> well, let's see, i think
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there's no question that if you look at what happened since the articles of impeachment were voted on in the house, that we have seen a number of things transpire. new information about e-mails that were sent in connection with the aide to ukraine. other developments like john bolton, indicating that he would testify pursuant to a subpoena. so, i think, speaker pelosi's initial position on this which was to seek more information in her deliberation about the managers because the managers are the prosecutors. they are going t ining -- they g to do most of the work in the trial in addition to what the defense lawyers do. so, i think her, her position was reasonable. and i think it's yielded more information about this question of witnesses. now, we are seeing even republican senators saying, that we should at least consider a proposal to have witnesses.
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>> yeah, i think, i think you are absolutely right. we learned a lot more information. but when it comes to setting the terms, the rules, do you think that mitch mcconnell sort of, i mean, he kind of won this battle. >> well, we will see. look, look, this trial will start rather soon. the earliest possible time it could have started was a couple of days ago. so, it will be starting very soon. but i think the most important thing here in terms of the process is, republican senators have to ask themselves whether or not they are going to fulfill their oath of office and put our country -- above poll i c-- abo politics, they have to answer that question and fulfill that oath. >> i want to go on to iran. you said in the senate briefing that you did not get an answer
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to the basic question of what evidence showed an imminent threat from soleimani. the secretary of state said you were given the evidence. what is your response to him? he is essentially calling you a liar? >> well, see, i think now we know from information that transpired after the briefing on both sides of the aisle, democratic and republican senators, including me, indicating that we did not get information specifically and detailed information about the nature of the imminent threat. that's number one. and for the life of me, i cannot understand why secretary pompeo and the administration didn't anticipate, should have anticipated, that that was a major question for virtually every senator. secondly, what i did not hear enough about was what was in front of the president when he was making this decision? not only in terms of whether the intelligence supported the strike and whether the threat
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was imminent. and whether it was legal, but also, was the president briefed and did he consider a series of adverse consequences if you conducted the strike? because, every president should consider those before they make this decision. so, they are going to give us another briefing. and i hope by the end of that briefing, a lot of the fundamental questions will be answered. not just for senators and house members, but for the american people. >> i want to ask you about the role that congress must and should play in our constitutional republic. trump enjoys defying congress. he stone walls the investigations and defied your subpoena and ignored members of his own party on domestic legislation. what if anything can you do about that? >> well, i think there's two things that are happening right now, they are, we are in the middle of them right now. one is the question of impeachment which is a way to check the abuse of power by an
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executive. in this case, you have findings of fact now in the house intelligence committee that said, that the president solicited the interference of a foreign government in the next election and requested that that government dig up dirt about his political opponent and then secondly to investigate a debunked theory about the last election. so, the impeachment is proceeding, the impeachment process and the trial in the senate is proceeding, because of the president's inability to constrain his behavior. >> no, senator, i understand the goal is to check the president. does it seem to you that he feels constrained at all by having been impeached? >> well, i think there's some evidence already that he is feeling the pressure of peachment. -- the pressure of impeachment, at the minimum, when he has a phone call with a foreign
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leader, maybe he will think twice when he engages in political conduct. >> i hope you are right. >> i think the second thing that i would say, in this war power resolution, we are seeing a process that helps to constrain his actions with regard to going to war with iran. i think -- >> how, if he vetoes, if he vetoes it, how will it do that? >> well, at a -- even if he does veto, if we were to pass it and he vetoes it, the debate that leads up to the passage and the debate that flows from it, not only in washington but around the country, creates its own momentum and pressure. you are right, ultimately, we need not just war powers resolution, but we need a full debate on the grave question of war, and the authorization for the use of force. >> well, i am glad to hear that you are more sanguine that i am,
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senator, thanks for coming on. iran is admitting human error in shooting down civilian aircraft, does that make them rational or irrational actors, i will explain what i mean by that next [♪]
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. since the iranian revolution of 1979, foreign policy experts have been asking this question. is iran a rational or irrational actor. there's competing views. it's not black or white. on one side, it's hard to see a regime that wants to wipe a country it of existence, as rational. but on the other, they are a democratically elected government and the current president is considered a moderate for the reason. so the rational verse irrational argument is usually centered on nukes and whether a country would use them even if it meant its own destruction. trump promised that iran will never have nukes and they wanted nukes for a long time and they are well on their way to getting them. what about us? of course, we have nukes and hope we never have to use them.
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but more than any other modern president, trump is very fond of bragging about our nuclear capabilities and his actions in foreign policy over the past few years have seemed at times far from rational. a former u.s. ambassador in the middle east compared iran's actions to trump's saying, from a political standpoint, they have behaved a hell of a lot more rationally and predictably than we have. look, i'm here to tell you can rest assured it's safe to say that america is a rational actor. but, in light of recent events, is our president? here to discuss is cnn national security analyst and author of "trump and his generals the cost of chaos," pete bergen and peter i start with you. iran, look, it's a state sanctioner of terrorism, it's a proxy for iran's president.
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and i'm sure -- these are bad people with bad intentions. but, are they had in your view rational actors? >> short answer, yes. henry kissinger was asked is iran a cause or a nation? they have a desire to be more than a nation that sticks to its own borders. to the list of countries, yemen, we can add in the list. they are looking to exploit their ideology. we saw the response they did on the air force base. it was well calibrated in the sense that they warned the iraqis who worn e-- who warned united states and was intended to be a signal. >> you called the strike by the administration a burn of bu-- ah
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of bull. do you believe trump is acting rationally when it comes to foreign policy? >> let me say first, i have been dealing with iran first as a military professional for 17 years. four years as a diplomat and teaching it for 15 years at the college of william and mary. they are very rational. they are one of the most rational on the face of the earth, given their circumstances and what they have been able to do. as to your question about soleimani and what that represents, i have to say irrational. let's start with the condition of immanence, it does not meet the parameters of the self defense argument. the argument, whether it's article 51 or the deeper explanation of it in international law, said it has to be somebody setting up a rocket and they are shootingity ate and you know with certainty that it's shooting at you.
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that's not the condition we have had. and what the president and his minions have been doing, particularly mike pompeo, is destroying any credibility they have had with the argument. so, it was illegal. >> peter you write about it in your book. people like general mattis were a counterbalance to trump's impulses and many of the people left the administration. what affect has it had on his foreign policy do you think? >> well, secretary of defense jim mattis refused to provide military options on iran and north korea. i will disagree on the question of immanence the administration would serve itself well to go back to the obama administration's justification for the killing of an american city by drone strike and they said that, he posed an imminent threat because he was constantly
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plotting against the united states and it's-- it's pointed to that, and they would be on better ground instead of getting bogged down on when the attack happened and when. >> it's fair to look back at the obama administration and a legal drone program as peter said. striking american citizens. extra judicial killings. did some of that pave the way for trump's beligerence in the theater? >> it's fair. and precedent is precedent. when it's made by the president of the united states. it's a powerful president. i would -- i would accuse president obama and have in that respect for violating the law. >> one more question, do you think iran is done retaliating or will we see more? >> i hope so, if they are really
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a rational government they should be done, but their proxies might not be. starting with hezbullah and going through other characters throughout the region, that could with or without iran's direction try to take action against u.s. forces. we made the region a lot more dangerous. >> peter bergen and colonel lawrence wilkerson, thank you for coming on tonight. a new tight 2020 race. new polls, and one last debate before iowa and democratic voter anxiety. why not? stay wait there. who's peter? well sweetie, he's your great-great grandfather. here, does he look like me? yeah. your family's story is waiting to be shared. at
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and the day off my floor. try wet jet with a moneyback guarantee it's still anyone's game if you needed any more evidence that nothing is certain, in the 2020 race, the latest cnn poll from iowa, shows a tight race. that follows the latest polling out of new hampshire, showing in essence the same thing. as they prepare for the last debate before the votes are cast. which airs on tuesday. what do the polls say about the current state of play within the primary. right now, with me, political writer and analyst, harry. harry, what are your biggest take aways from the polls? >> my take away is what a freaking mess this race is. oh, my goodness gracious. i love looking at history and let me tell you, four people, at
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15% or great, i don't remember the last time i have ever seen that. it's truly a jump ball in the situation. even if it were the polling on the day before the caucuses, i have no idea who would win. >> i love weekend terry and he is extra. and i love it. what does the poll show about what voters want that candidate? >> yeah, i think it's important, right? it has been a cycle in which voters have said overwhelmingly they prefer something that is electable rather than somebody they agree with on the issues. this is a key trend line. what do we see? we see that even though the electablity argument is showing out, that margin is shrinking between the two of them. that is coincidental, and bernie sanders is rising in the polls, his voters prefer somebody that shares the positions on the issues. so the fact that they are going together, that makes a lot of sense and helps to explain part
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of the reason that bernie sanders is rising right now. >> the iowa poll is mirroring a four-way race in new hampshire. what is your take away from the poll? >> same thing. look at this, basically, they are the same thing going on there. you know, no clear leader all within the margin of error and i think the key thing here, though, right? we have looked at the national polls that have shown joe biden and continuing to lead. all along, right? ten point leads. around 30%, what happens to the national lead if joe biden comes in fourth place in both iowa and new hampshire. a distinct possibility, he may not be a i believe to hold on, so, iowa and new hampshire this year, and particularly iowa could set the course for a different primary than i think we a all thought was going to happen. >> harry, thank you so much for joining me tonight. i think you will have a great wherever you are at. >> i will try and you do as well. >> thanks, hon, i want to turn to my panel now, former white house press secretary for president clinton, joe lockhart
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and speakers for paul ryan and john boehner. joe, democratic chair woman in iowa told the "washington post" just this morning that voters are pa-- are paralyzed by the fr of picking the wrong person to take on trump. so i think electability is still a vote tating factor in this -- voting factor in this. >> the numbers, if you push hard democrats all over the country, it's beating trump. and i do think there's some anxiety around who's the best person -- >> to do that. >> -- to do that. and i think biden started at the odds on favorite as the best candidate. he stumbled. he a couple of bad debates. i think he has done much better recently, and i think, the world, i think the more we are in a situation of crisis in the world, the more experience matters and that helps biden.
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but by no means has he sealed the deal. >> and another way to look at this is this field is consolidated. i mean, democrat voters have not chosen their guy or gal yet. but they have eliminated a whole bunch of people. like a hundred of them. >> a hundred. >> right. >> exactly. >> i mean, obviously the story out of iowa, for the first time, bernie sanders is in the lead and i think, that, that hopefully should start a conversation about his electability and also, the vetting of him. i know joe was talking about it previously. i think a lot of people have sort of had a hands off view, nobody is throwing punches at him. the people thought he would generally fade away. particularly after the heart attack. maybe now is a time to have a conversation about that. and it seems like, everyone to me is a, all of the other democrats are afraid to go after bernie sanders, largely because his voters are so important. we saw it in 2016, they did not transfer to hilary clinton well. so, i think everyone wants it to be somebody else's problem to take out bernie sanders and
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nobody wants to throw the punch. >> the flip side is joe biden. everyone is real willing to go after joe biden, even though he is the front-runner and may be the best placed to take on trump and yet, they are completely happy to shift him. >> well, to make it crazier, everyone that goes after him hurts themselves. >> biden? >> yes. kamala hei -- there's shades s media did not take trump seriously. so they didn't vet him and say, does your plan add up? and you know, what about your plan on iran? and getting sno-- and getting o? nobody asked him that. until now, the media has not taken bernie sanders seriously. >> he has said the same thing. >> he and has been right. i do think that one of the things that will happen with the poll or with a victory in iowa,
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is we will begin to look at. bernie sanders and elizabeth war ea -- >> he has admitted we will have to pay for it. >> he has admitted i don't know how we will pay for it, i will just raise taxes. i think there's a bit of a reckoning. but, you know, as, as someone told me yesterday, just like trump, sanders has a hard floor of supporters. it does not matter what he says. but he has a limited ceiling of supporters also. so, once, you know, if this narrows down further. when you get to a more diverse population. blacks, hispanics, it's more tough. and even the latest poll yesterday on african-americans showed he was at 20%. which is way higher than last time. >> so, brendan to the point about elizabeth warren, what does she need to do to pull
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herself out in front of the pack? >> she is the perfect person that took bernie sanders sliding away for granted. she was going to -- >> she thought she was going to out bernie, bernie. >> and be the progressive champion. there's two lanes, one i'm here to beat donald trump and i'm going to make it a progressive moment and change the country forever. she was clearly in that lane and now, she is trying to flirt with i'm not s-- i'm not scary, i'm electable. and you make nobody happy when you do that. bernie has been able to get people fired up and he is leading in iowa with four weeks to go. >> you both held the title of press secretary. i want to talk to you about the next story. it's been 300 days since the white house held an official press briefing that is starting to get attention, and not in a good wampt stay put. -- and not in a good way. stay put. to be honest a little dust it never bothered me.
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in the red file tonight, do you deserve to hear from your government? it's pretty big part of being a constitutional republic like america, our government is answerable to us, the people. and not the other way around. and one of the primary mechanisms by which we hold our government accountable is the press. it's been 300 days since the white house press secretary is has given an official press briefing. today, 13 former white house press secretaries foreign service and military officials wrote an open letter published on, calling for the return of regular white house press briefings. an informed public strengthens the nation. the public has a right to know
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what its government is doing and the government has a duty to explain what they are doing. and more than that, it's an obligation to those men and women risking their lives overseas for us. the briefings have a great benefit of giving information to our soldiers around the world. talk to any military family here at home or a family with a diplomat serving over sea, how much they rely on information from home. scott mclellan, former white house press secretary under george w. bush. joining me now to discuss, back with us, former white house press secretary. >> okay, joe, i think a lot of people think that the job of the white house press secretary is
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to spin on behalf of the president. but, what are in your mind the other more important responsibilities? well, you know, one of the things you have to do in the white house is be the advocate for the press. there's no advocate inside the building. you have to push, you have to push to make sure that the press has access to the president and to senior administration officials. you are also a, a referee in the policy process. the briefings force a discipline in any white house on getting decisions made and then communicating that information out to the rest of the government. you saw this week with the shifting stories on iran. they are not coordinated, when you have a briefing, you have to kwo -- coordinator. and the last one is that was added in the letter the idea that there's, there are about a million people who work for the u.s. military and the oppone--
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pentagon. they live on for what is going on in my job and my families, what is going on with my loved ones who are deployed. so there's so many good reasons to do this. and i think, if you know, it was the easiest thing to in the world to get people to sign on for. >> brendan, i don't know if viewers know who this person is. i will put up a picture of stephanie grisham, the current white house press secretary. we have not seen her, she is refusing the have press briefings. >> there's a lot of reasons for the briefings. it's transparency and accountability and one of the arguments the white house makes, and it's legitimate, there's more access to this president than any president that we have seen in modern history. he is constantly available, taking questions. what he says is sometimes off the wall. he is available. i don't understand, the reason
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people do press briefings is that it helps them. it helps to put your side of the story out there. that is why i think they will ultimately come back. whoever the next it's to your best to do it. they have made a decision that being the enemy of the press works for trump. that fires up their voters. they see up side to it and you know, frankly if you are someone standing up there and you know that donald trump is going to chak his position any moment -- change his position any moment. i would not want to stand there and explain what he is coming from. >> that's a point that you made, it helps the administration. gives more voters to get on board with your agenda. to brendan's point, we know trump is hostile to the press and he used it to his advantage and there's talk from trump that fox news is not loyal enough to trump. there's been talk that his allies are getting together to
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maybe turn oann in to a trumpian, fox competitor. should fox be worried? >> i don't know if fox should be worried. they have a strong franchise of republicans. there's a problem with a president who believes that he only needs to communicate with those who voted for him. that's his strategy. stephanie grisham is known to fox viewers because she sits on the couch of fox and friends. she does fox and the president did another interview. i think he has done 60, or 65 with fox news since being president. he has done zero with cnn, and that tells you something. you have to, to governing is different than campaigns. you are governing for the whole country. not just for the people who voted for you. >> yeah. >> and you know, and to brendan's point on, he does have a point that trump is more accessible than any president
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since bill clinton. the problem is, trump doesn't tell the truth. >> right. >>, so briefings could be really important if you could go in and every day say, let me dial that back a bit. here's what the president meant. the president cannot live with someone saying -- >> it's not a good -- >> it's a big if. >> all right, all right, guys we have to go. joe, brendan, thank you for joining me tonight. great conversation. okay, up next, let's talk about the billionaire in the room, one of them anyway, it's mike bloomburg. hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood! geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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we may have been one of the last to jump in, but it's clear mike bloomberg is using his deep pockets to make up for lost time. he kicked off what he's calling day one of his campaign has spent a whopping $153 million on tv advertising since jumping into the race in november. $153 million. compare that to bernie sanders and pete buttigieg who pent about 11 million. senator warren slammed his tactic saying he was quote skipping the democratic part of the primary. is there another way? bloomberg will not be in the debates because he's not
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accepting donor money, he's pumping money into super tuesday states. if i'm a voter in iowa or fingerprint nancy pelos new hampshire i'm skeptical about whether he even wants my vote. >> he doesn't want votes in iowa and new hampshire and he doesn't want to be in the debates because he's going to be asked why did you support george w. bush in 2004, why were you against barack obama in 2008? >> or stop and frisk, policy questions too? >> right. what he's doing is in a way unprecedented because the conventional wisdom is that advertising is far less powerful in presidential campaign than a senator gubernatorial campaign because there's so much free media coverage and conversation. tom steyer has given us a little bit of indication that if you spend money you can advertise yourself on to the debate stage.
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but bloomberg is not the maesst of his own fate. his strategy assumes or hopes that the first four contests will either be a muddled mess or that bernie sanders can emerge and he can run as the progressive moderate alternative to sanders who he will picture as being further on the left. >> bob, you make a lot of sense. when you call this unprecedented i think you're right. but does warren have a point that this is -- this is bad. bloomberg's campaign is in a way undemocratic. >> i'm not sure i agree with that. it cuts both ways with voters. >> okay. >> some voters see it that way. other voters will say he's not taking money from any special interests so he won't owe anything to anyone except the people who elected him. and that's an appealing position for americans. >> so, there was a piece titled "maybe nominating bloomberg for president isn't a crazy idea"
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writing democrats would have a good cause to distrust his policies. some of these concerns would be resolved by dent of bloomberg running as a democrat. is that true? would they? would just running as a democrat kind of erase all of those otherwise, you know, problems for him? >> i think the other problem he would have to solve would be can he get the bernie sanders voters to vote for him against donald trump? donald trump is the great unwitting unifier of the democratic party. but bloomberg might put a little bit of pressure with that with people on the left. his whole strategy falls apart, by the way, if joe biden wins iowa, new hampshire, south carolina because at that point there's an acceptable moderate progressive alternative, and there's no room for bloomberg. >> right. thanks so much for coming on to
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break this down. we'll be following this campaign. we'll have you back on to discuss where it goes. thanks. >> thank you. it's the last debate before the first vote. the tom democrats will be in iowa for a live cnn presidential debate in partnership with "the des moines register" tuesday at 9:00 p.m. it's only on cnn so, please tune in. a ana cabrera is next with the latest headlines in the "cnn news room."
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you're live in the cnn newsroom. great to have you with us on this saturday evening. i'm ana cabrera in new york. president trump is now tweeting in farsi in show of support for iranians. many are protesting today not as a call for unity but as to condemn their leaders. after iran admitted to downing a ukrainian airliner due to, quote, human error. they're crying, shame, leave the country. in a warning now, this video we


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