tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN February 10, 2020 3:00pm-4:00pm PST
welcome to our viewers in united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." we're following major stories including a shake up in the race for the white house on the eve of the new hampshire primary. a poll shows bernie sanders at the front of the democratic pack taking the lead from joe biden. new york mayor, michael bloomberg nearly doubling his support to come in third. also, this. the attorney general william barr is now confirmed the justice department has been getting information from president trump's personal lawyer rudy giuliani about his operation to dig up dirt on the former vice president joe biden
and his son hunter in ukraine. house yjudiciary chairman sent barr a letter serious concern and demanding know about what barr is calling an intake process for rudy giuliani information. our correspondents and analysts are standing by. let's get straight to the white house. boris is joining us. we know that rudy giuliani does have a channel to the justice department. >> reporter: that's right. we learned the attorney general has this review process that he's developed to try to verify some of the information that rudy giuliani has gathered. the dirt on joe and hunter biden. the attorney general acknowledges he is skeptical about all of this happening as president trump is still attacking those that he feels betrayed him during the impeachment saga. tonight attorney general william
barr confirms the justice department has been receiving information from the president's attorney, rudy giuliani about his ongoing operation to dig up dirt on joe and hunter biden. >> the doj has an open door to anybody who wishes to provide us information that they think is relevant. >> reporter: barr explaining there's a process to try to verify that information. >> we have to be very careful with respect to any information coming from the ukraine. >> reporter: william barr responding to lindsey graham who is distancing himself from rudy giuliani's claims saying it may be russian propaganda. >> all i can tell rudy and anybody else, if you have information connected to the ukraine against anybody go to the intel committee, not me. any documents coming out of the ukraine against any american, republican or democrat need to be looking at by the
intelligence services because russia is playing us all like a fiddle. >> reporter: graham also backing trump's controversial decision to fire two key witnesses in his impeachment trial. lieutenant colonel vindman and gordon sondland. >> we're not going to live in a world where the department of justice, the cia and fbi can cut corners, go after trump and nobody cares. >> reporter: both sondland and vindman were quietly planning to leaf the administration on their own. trump wanted their exits to be anything but quiet and publicly fired them friday while dismissing vindman's brother that as advisers and several gop senators warned the president about the optics of firing witnesses. >> mr. romney, guilty.
>> reporter: trump today also ramping up criticism of those who turned on him during the impeachment trial. >> how is mitt romney? you keep him. we don't want him. >> reporter: trump also tweeting angrily at democratic senator joe mansion multiple times. at one point saying quote, they are really mad at senator joe munchkin in west virginia. facing a touch re-election in a ruby red state telling c nrks nrn the criticism. >> i don't know where he got the munchkin. i'm a little bigger than him. i'm not going to call him name. i have respect for the president. i want marylay president to do >> reporter: we tried asking trump about all of this news as he departed the white house. he just landed in new hampshire a short time ago. his event tonight takes place a few miles away from where joe biden will be campaigning as
well. >> thank you. let's get some more on rudy giuliani. our senior justice correspondent evan perez is joining us. is this what they describe as a back channel. >> it's a channel that's as far as away from justice department headquarters as bill barr can make it. i think it's very clear that this is something that the president and rudy giuliani have been trying for the justice department to take a look at. now, according to the justice department, they have established a procedure by some of this information will be looked at out in the field away from headquarters. i'll read you the concerns being raided by chairman nadler. he says to bill barr in which he raises some concerns about this channel. he says the department has formal established channels by which to receive information and begin investigations. this new channel for mr. rudy giuliani would seem to be a significant departure from these
traditional channels. he goes onto add any official relationship between mr. rudy giuliani and the department raises serious questions about conflicts of interests. he's asking whether bill barr should recuse himself because of the fact he is so involved in some of this. >> it's interesting because when he was asked the attorney general, bill barr, seemed to down play it suggesting, you know what, you got to be very careful in anything that comes out of ukraine because there's so much disinformation. >> exactly. i think that's one reason they have established a procedure that's away from the main headquarters of the justice department. it's very clear that the department and bill barr himself view this information very skeptic skeptically. this kind of raises an awkward situation for the attorney general who has been very vocal in not trying to diverge from the white house's talking points from the president. this puts him in sort of a position of conflict.
he's now sort of doubting this information from rudy giuliani where the president is saying you should investigate this. this legitimate and it's clear the justice department and the fbi don't view it that way. >> thanks very much. evan perez giving us some perspective. let's get more on this. senator bob menendez of new jers jersey. thanks so much for joining us. let me get your response that rudy giuliani is feeding information from ukraine, supposedly on the bidens to the justice department. >> well, look, i don't understand why rudy giuliani actually needs a special channel of any sort whether it's close to the department, not close to the department. it's still the department at the end of the day. why does he need a channel of any sort to specifically vet what he has to say at the end of the day. i mean, this is the same rudy
giuliani whose list of conflicts is as long in inconsistency is as long as the list of foreign clients. this is the same rudy giuliani who was peddling false information at the state department against ambassador j yovanovit yovanovitch. i don't know why he rises to the level he has a special channel to the department of justice to supply his dirt to be vetted. >> you heard this new letter that's been released from jerry nadler seeking answers from the attorney general about this arrangement with rudy giuliani. should the senate, that's the house of representatives judiciary chairman but should the senate be doing something about this as well? >> absolutely. listen, the senate should be doing a whole host of things. number one is, that the political firings, the
retribution against lieutenant colonel vindman who should have gotten a promotion, not a firing, is outrageous. this is what i see in authoritarian countries in the world that we try to promote democracy and human rights. that type of action that the president took is what i see. it's not what i see in the united states of america. that's not the rule of law. that's not democracy. that's not what we promote throughout the world. it happened here. this is also the person and the president of the united states who ultimately all of is republican enablers enabled hill. all of those who said he was going to learn a lesson, he learned a lesson. no. from the prayer breakfast to the white house to what happened with vindman and ambassador sondland. he's not learned any lesson. republicans, particularly, everybody needs to but republicans particularlily, those who have been his enabler,
those who have been complicit need to be speaking up. >> you heard republican senator cornyn of texas say we hope the president learn add leed a less. you don't think the president learned any lesson? >> no. he comes out after his acquittal and goes to the national prayer breakfast which is the annual event that brings people together across faith, across parties and he's vicious -- vin dict tidictive at the p breakfast. the firings of lieutenant colonel vindman along with his
brother who didn't do anything in this regard. these are the things we see in dictatorships. they are not the things we see in democracies. my colleagues have enabled him and in my mind they are co complicit. >> you heard the attorney general say they are taking step to ensure that rudy giuliani information is carefully scrutinized. does that give you confidence? >> no. first of all, why does he need a special avenue? i assume that any citizen that has information, if citizens have information about president trump, they have a special venue at the department of justice to bring that information, no. this is created for rudy giuliani because the president insists upon it. whatever veneer you want to put on it, whatever face you want to put on it about that we're going to do the impartial review to make sure that this is legitimate information, if it is legitimate at all, is ultimately
exactly that. a vee neneer. it's not what the department of justice should be in midst of. we already have a proven track record with rudy giuliani of him spreading false lies. who is his client? who's paying him? i don't know. shouldn't we know that before we allow him to peddle anything. >> we know that one of his clients is the president of the united states. >> well, you know, he says it's his client. sometimes the president says he is his lawyer. sometimes he says he isn't his, but who's paying him? is the president paying him? is a campaign committee paying him or is a foreign client paying him to do all of the ukraine dirty work? we should know. that goes to the truth and credibility of whatever he's trying to peddle. >> the fbi won't say whether it has actually opened an investigation into joe or hunter biden. does that concern you at all? >> well, look, the reality is
that what concerns me is that it seems that rudy giuliani has a special track to bring his dirt and whatever fabricated information he has into the department of justice in the first instance. whether or not the department will confirm whether they have an investigation or not is not reassuring to me especially when you've created a special track for rudy giuliani to bring his dirt into the department of justice. that can never be viewed as clean at the end of the day. >> the senate minority leader, chuck schumer is calling on all federal inspectors general to inve investigate witness retailuation in the aftermath of firing of white house officials friday night. what power does the senate have to protect those who speak out,
those who are subpoenaed, come before congress, testify honestly as best as they can but then have to pay a price? >> well, this is part of what i'm doing. i'll be giving a speech later this week about action that we need to take to guarantee that civil servants who honor the constitution of the united states, who follow the rule of law, who follow the procedures don't get retaliated against. both at the state department or the nsc or any other government official. i'm just afraid while the whistle-blower act does have some protections for individual who is designated as a whistle-blower, these other individuals were not whistle-blowers. vindman was not the whistle-blower. he was someone who righteously came forward and said i see
something wrong. i believe something is wrong and i need to speak to it. that should be honored and protected not crucified as the president has. >> thanks as usual for joining us. appreciate it. just ahead, a shake up in the democratic race for the white house. a new national poll shows a new front-runner on the eve of the new hampshire primary. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ wherever we want to go, we just have to start. autosave your way there with chase. chase. make more of what's yours.
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biden. ryan, there poll shows a rather changing race. >> reporter: no doubt about that. it shows momentum behind the kpanl campaign of bernie sanders after his strong performance in iowa. you see sanders surging to the lead for the first time nationally at 25%. joe biden falling to second place with 17%. michael bloomberg doubling his support from the last time the survey was taken at 15% and elizabeth warren at 14%. there's no doubt this is good sign for bernie sanders. we're at an event that's set to take place at the university of new hampshire. a massive line of folks waiting to go in and see the senator speak and also take in the popular band of strokes that will perform here as well. this all taking place on the eve of the big primary in new hampshire. the sprint is on in new hampshire. >> we're going to have to bring
our party together in order to beat donald trump. >> reporter: the democratic candidates in a mad dash across the state. making their final pitch to voters in opening new lines of takes on their rooifrarrivals. >> he's a good guy. he was a great mayor. >> reporter: down playing the experience of pete buttigieg. >> come on, man. this guy is not a barack obama. >> reporter: buttigieg quickly firing back on cnn state of the union. >> he's right. i'm not. neither is he. >> reporter: it's not just biden. >> the message of this campaign is us. >> reporter: senator bernie sanders is attempting to hold off a buttigieg surge by knocking the wealthy donors funding the campaign. >> you want my donors. we don't go to rich people's homes and get advice from millionaires and billionaires. >> reporter: for his part,
buttigieg knocking sanders. >> the picture where your only choices are between revelation or the status quo is a picture where most of us don't see ourselves. >> reporter: the sanders-buttigieg match upcoming on the heel oss of their razor n contest in iowa that remains unresolved. today both the sanders and buttigieg campaign each filed a formal request for the state party for a partial recanvas of precincts they believe was calculated incorrectly. >> we have a new comingcomer in white house and look where that got us. i think you need experience. >> reporter: amy klobuchar hoping to capitalize on her strong debate performance. raking in more than $3 million o since friday night. >> if you have to make the decision about filling your
refrigerator or filling your prescription, i know you and i will fight for you. >> reporter: while there's no doubt that bernie sanders feels like he's in a strong position here in new hampshire, it's clear they are worried about the surging momentum of pete buttigieg, the former south bend mayor. repeatedly on the campaign trail over the last 48 hours. sanders made a specific point about the wealthy donors to the buttigieg campaign saying that's a big distinction between his campaign and his online army of fund raisers. sanders believers that's one of the big differences between he and buttigieg as we go here into the final hours of the new hampshire primary. >> i want you to stand by. i want to bring in former obama senior adviser david axelrod. this new poll shows bernie sanders in the lead but michael bloomberg is up to 15%. biden at 17%. what do you think of this? >> i think $300 million of
television. >> 350. >> bloomberg has done something no one has ever done and we're testing the theory that media can vault you into the race. something else happened which was iowa. joe biden who had been running as the guy who is best suited to take on donald trump had a very bad night there. i think it's hurt him. you can see it in this poll. it's less than sanders has surged. i think he was at 24% in the last poll. he's at 25% in this poll but joe biden has lost nine points in this poll. >> he's only at 17% right there. >> one of the things that's most concerning for him, i would think, is his support among african-american voters which he has considered his firewall dropped by half in this poll. that would be a number that would deeply concern me if i were over in the biden headquarters especially because he seems to be headed for another bad night tomorrow night. >> if he comes in third or fourth and some suggest me might come in fifth. >> depending on klobuchar. >> what will happen?
>> i think the biggest, immediate problem is how do you raise the money. he wants to get to south carolina where he think that black support will vault him to victory but it's hard to get there without the money that you need. i suspect he will go but he's going be crippled in terms of his fund raise cising which has laggard. >> you need a ton of money for march 3rd, super tuesday. 14 states. you need money to compete in those. >> mike bloomberg is taking some of those votes away from joe biden. you can see it. he's almost even with votersbidh african-american voters. all that spending that bloomberg is doing in those super tuesday states are going to make a big impact. >> let me go back to ryan. he's covering bernie sanders out in new hampshire right now. what does it look like if you're sanders supporter following iowa and he's going to do well tomorrow in new hampshire.
>> reporter: well, i think if you're a bernie sanders supporter, the thing you would take the most heart from in this poll is the increasing belief among democratic primary voters that in a head to head match up against donald trump, bernie sanders can win. when you talk to democratic voters and i've talked to a lot of democratic voters over the past year, for the most part they say they like bernie sanders but they are just worried that when they get to november in the head to head match up he may fall short. now that we see sanders starting to do very well in these early primary states, it's clear that voters are now starting to believe that he can win. that's reflected in this national poll and that's really been the big impediment to him capturing the democratic votership. if he can convince them he's the strongest candidate to take on donald trump, that's overwhelmingly the number one priority of democratic primary voters and seems as though bernie sanders is starting to convince them he can do it. >> let me get david axelrod's
reaction to what david carvel have been saying. he said we got to decide what we want to be. do we want to be an ideological cult or do we want to have a majority instingts to be a party. he says if we nominee sanders, it's over. >> there's a great deal of fear about what this socialist -- >> democratic socialist. >> that's what bernie sanders would say. i think the president will shorten it a bit and use socialist. >> he'll call him a communist. >> he's call of them as that. bernie sanders is actually just a no, ma'am btch better than jo. he's beating them by eight
points in this particular poll. that doesn't measure what happens when the president turns his machine on on sanders but it will give some push back to the argument that james is making. >> you're making a point. this is one poll. let's see what some other respected polls show. just ahead, democrat lawmakers demand answers after the attorney general confirms rudy giuliani is feeding information about ukraine to the justice department. plus, more than a thousands deaths from the coronavirus now reported around the world. we'll get the latest on efforts to try to contain the outbreak.
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tonight sources are telling cnn that the former u.s. ambassador to the eu were quietly, quietly planning to leave the administration on their own when the president publicly fired them friday in the wake of the president's impeachment trial in the senate and their testimony during the course of the investigation. let's get some more with our experts and analysts. what do you think the president's intention was, to
humiliate lieutenant colonel vindman. he couldn't have a chance to say good-bye to his friends and colleagues. >> it's disgraceful the way that he's been treated. i think there are two things that the president is trying to accomplish here. first, he's sending a loud and clear message to every one else still in his administration that if you stand up against the president, you will be punished. that's absolute. the second thing he's doing is this president attacks personally those people who stand up and tell the truth. it gives him a way to undermine the truth. it's not just enough to say i agree. he'd rather be able to say andrew mccabe is a liar or robert mueller is a democrat. therefore everything they said is not true. it's strategy that he employs to undermine the narrative. >> it's not just one thing to tarnish someone's reputation but to also question the law
enforcement community, the intelligence community, stuff like that. >> that's right. >> suggested there's a deep state working against him. >> that's right he uses this strategy or personal humiliation to tar the entire community be it law enforcement or intelligence because he knows those are places that are likely to tell a truth in way that is not productive for him. >> do you worry, laura, that now that he's been acquitted in the impeachment trial this is just the beginning of what some call vindictive action by the president? >> i think he feels totally em boldened and entitled to conduct himself in this way. he's always believed this is a witch hunt. of course it's true that vindman and sondland serve at the pleasure of the president. neither were serving at the pleasure of congress. they were compelled via a subpoena to appear. to have now the track record being somebody who is having to respond to a subpoena issued by congress in hearing is also now punished not because they were
performing poorly at the job but they did not demonstrate the level of loyalty. it will have a bit of a freezing effect, a chilling effect on others who come forward and say i have to testify. i was asked a question. what do you say? the president is the head of the branch that's supposed to enforce the law. this is a problem. >> when you testify as a result of a subpoena, you go before congress. you have to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. otherwise you could wind up in jail. jeffrey, let's talk a bit about lindsey graham, the chairman of senate judiciary committee. i'll play a clip of what he said and we'll discuss. >> as much as i support our military people telling the truth when asked, it's important they do. what have i learned in the last two years. cia agents, department of justice lawyers, fbi agents have a political agenda and they acted on it. >> what's your response to that? >> it's like right wing fantasy
talk. the vast majority of fbi agents, cia employees, department of justice employees have done nothing but their jobs. taking a few text exchange between two fbi employees that the president obsesses about and turning that into a conspiracy of the deep state is just part of the story you've been talking about that this is about sending the message that if you deviate from the trump line on anything, your job is toast. that's the real message that the president sent with vindman and sond land. that's what senator graham is talking about. >> are you surprised to hear this kind of talk from senator lindsey graham? >> no because he's part of the
team. it's just so obviously shocking and inappropriate that the next day these two witnesses who responded to subpoenas and told the truth got fired. it's just so obviously outrageous. the fact that it's being defended at all is really indicative of the hold the president has on his party far more than the ethics of this particular decision which are so obviously wrong. >> let me get andrew mccabe's response. >> i completely agree with jeff. it's outrageous what's happened to these two americans who to do up and told the truth under penalty of subpoena that comes along with it. it's not surprising to see senator graham speak in this way but it's disspiriting. it's one again watching him completely mischaracterize the results of the several now ig reports that investigations into the way the fbi did the business in the clinton e-mail investigation and in the russia
investigation. it's just -- it's sickening but it's a repeated ef eed effort t construct a narrative they prefer to live with. >> let's not forget that they also fired vindman's brother which is north korean style punishment of the whole family, which is particularly nauseating. >> his twin brother also an officer. very serious. let me get your thoughts. >> it's not shocking to me that lindsey graham continues but the turn about what he was three or four years ago and how he viewed the president of the united states. what is shocking is the conflags of all these things. the mueller report, the lisa page. the idea the witch hunt being brought into this new context. it was the president's july 25th phone call that launched all of these ships and to suggest it's aulg pa all part of a pats earn of behavior is wrong. >> everybody stick around. there's more news we're
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troo troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury. barbara starr is working the story for us. 109 troops have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries. what's going on? >> reporter: that's right. 109 american troops now diagnosed with what is believed to be mild traumatic brain injury following that iranian missile attack on january 8th over a month ago. 76 have been able to return to duty. the others all in various stages of being treated. this all occurred when the iranians launched ballistic missiles sending massive blast waves. even though troops were in bunkers, the blast waves was so significant that basically their brains got jarred and moved
around, essentially bruised and dr traumatic brain injury resulting. the symptoms can linger for weeks, if not months. they will be under observation, we're told. what happens if the iranians or other add ver sars were to do this again. the u.s. is trying to get the iraqis to approve putting patriot missile batteries into these areas and trying to figure out how to harden these bunkers so when troops are trying to shelter they may have shelter from future missile attacks. wolf. >> very disturbing indeed. thank you. just ahead, the global death toll from the coronavirus virus outbreak tops 1,000. why some experts say health officials aren't doing enough to halt the spread.
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the coronavirus infections around the world are rising as authorities struggle to try to contain the deadly outbreaks. cnn's will ripley is in japan. joining us in japan. over 3,000 people, will, are under quarantine aboard a luxury cruise ship where you are. tell our viewers what you're learning. >> reporter: yeah, more than 3500 people, wolf, still on the ship and 135 are off the ship but there are hospitals like this one here in tokyo and sitting in the middle of a quiet
residential neighborhood. you wouldn't know that coronavirus patients were here unless you saw what we did last night, they rolled by a team bringing people into the quarantine ward. you can see the driver in the ambulance in full hazmat gear. they're in rooms sealed off with plastic. yet, when we talk to people who are actually, you know, inside experiencing all of this, they say in many cases it feels kind of like the flu or a cold. not as bad as they expected. >> so they just announced 66 more passengers being taken off the ship. >> reporter: tonight the number of coronavirus cases on a luxury cruise ship off japan has nearly doubled in the last three days. at least 24 americans now among 135 people infected aboard the diamond princess off japan. among them, rebecca frazier. rebecca and her husband kent had been together confined to their cabin on the ship but friday she tested positive and was taken to
this tokyo hospital. there she is. she's standing in the hospital. rebecca, here we are. hi. she waived to us from her hospital window telling us she's doing well. like other patients, rebecca said her time in the hospital quarantine does not include specific treatment. >> they have not given me any actual medication or any fluids or anything for the virus. >> reporter: so far rebecca's husband kent is not showing any symptoms. he's been tested twice. both times negative. >> here is a ton of activity going on today. >> reporter: today he took this new video from the balcony of his cabin. you can see rows upon rows of ambulances waiting to transport sick passengers to nearby hospitals and medical staff to help those on the ship. the diamond princess in the middle of a 14-day gaur an teen at a harbor south of tokyo. it now has the largest outbreak outside of mainland china. overall it's killed more than
1,000 people and infected more than 40,000 worldwide. some believe health officials are not doing enough to stop the spread. >> i fear they're too late. everybody is dragging their feet getting ready for this. i think this is going to really explode. it's out of control in china. >> reporter: in the u.s. the centers for disease control and prevention says nearly 400 americans are being monitored for the coronavirus in 37 states. of those 12 have tested positive. >> it could change because unless china gets their really rather difficult situation under control and not seed other countries, then it's going to be difficult to keep cases out of the country. >> reporter: more than 3,000 people remain on the diamond princess including kent who keeps in contact with his wife and family by phone, text message and video chat. rebecca said she was told she would be at the hospital for at least 14 days. kent is pushing for japanese officials to be more proactive
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pamela brown. she weighs in at 7 pounds and is getting a lot of love from her older brother, benny. both families are doing very well and all of us at cnn share in their joy and wish them nothing but the very best. erin burnett "out front" starts right now. "out front" next voting about to begin next in new hampshire. the mayor of dover has correctly predicted the top four finishers in the last four primaries is "out front." plus, trump gets revenge targeting anyone he believes is an enemy including doug jones. the senator responds live. trapped on a cruise ship as the number of passengers infected with the coronavirus nearly doubles overnight. we're going live to an american author who is on that ship right now. let's go "out front." good evening. i'm erin burnett.