tv Inside Politics CNN September 12, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT
welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. it is debate night for the 2020 candidates, the first time joe biden and elizabeth warren will share the same stage, and perhaps the last time to convince voters that they deserve to stick around. the president has allowed his tough new asylum rules to be enforced while a legal challenge makes its way through the lower courts. and the house matters, except maybe when it comes to house democrats.
do they have an impeachment investigation coming up, or just a lower lefvel to determine whether they move to an impeachment investigation. it depends who you ask. >> an impeachment is underway. >> have you not been paying attention to what we've been talking about? for months we're legislating, we're investigating, as six committees have been doing for four months. six committees have been working four months, and therefore, we are litigating. >> are you uncomfortable with the term "impeachment inquiry"? is there another term we should be using? is it the right term? >> field goal, right? field goal. we'll come back to that story in a little while. it was confusing, that's why she was annoyed. round 3 of the 2020 contenders, and also a very important first. joe biden and elizabeth warren on the same stage just a few
feet apart debating for the first time. for three hours. with them in the showdown, bernie sanders, the more modern biden bookended by the two closest contenders to biden in the leading polls. the latest poll shows joe biden at 24%, sanders at 18%, sanders at 17%. for these ten candidates a chance to build upon or gain momentum as the leaves turn. we move from the long-a waited 2020 phase. joining me from houston, jeff and asala.
what's the buzz in houston? >> there is so much talk about joe biden and elizabeth warren being in the same space. they have so much of an interesting history, john, going back to when elizabeth warren was appearing. even before she came to the senate, she was going after senator biden on democracy, bills and so much else. the biden campaign has already been telegraphing that they are going to go after her plans. they're going to say, how can you pay for these plans? is that realistic? that is the central argument, the central plan of the biden campaign. i'm curious to see if he'll be as tough as some of his advisers have been. >> that's a great point. and on behalf of senator warren, i think she's increasingly shown she's a really tactile politici politician, and we've seen how she handles joe biden.
it hasn't necessarily been dealt with well by other candidates. the other thing i'm really interested in is that senator warren has been increasingly presenting this electability environment on the campaign trail. she made the announcement in new hampshire over the weekend that voters shouldn't just choose the candidate they feel is the safe choice. they need to choose who they believe in, and i venture to say this is an argument she'll present today, but it will be an attack on former vice president joe biden. >> on the ground in houston. i'm a little envus. interested in your thoughts when it's over. we're in the studio. cnn's kaitlan collins. the media expectation is biden and warren together for the first time. he's the median candidate, she is the growth stock of the
summer. joe biden says, sure, plans are great, but can you get things done? >> what we have to do is we have to understand that you need to be able to bring people and countries and interests together to get anything done. plans are great, but executing those plans are another thing. >> i believe we start with a plan and then we get out there and fight for it. to me that's what being president is all about. it's about laying those plans out and showing the direction for this country and then getting in the fight. leading the fight and bringing people along. >> candidates, not just those two, but candidates don't always bring to the debate stage what they say when you're one on one or at the events. will you get a clash here? >> i think that's currently the big question, are they actually going to directly engage. the two have avoided direct
clashes over the course of the summer. you had elizabeth warren when joe biden just got into the race criticizing him for cozieying u she says, to credit card companies. i think for right now it's unclear whether biden is going to deliver that punch against warren when it comes to the plan. his argument may be a little more implicit than it is explicit, but you've seen his advisers who i've spoken with who are trying to make this contrast clear. you have other idols of biden who are very vocal in their criticism of warren, but it's unclear whether biden will do that. >> for those of you who don't know, the former mayor of philadelphia, a long-time outspoken democrat. he likes to mix it up. he says warren is a hypocrite. yes, in this campaign she's decided to swear off big money, but in the past she's taken and loved that money. former governor of big state,
big biden surrogate. is he speaking for the candidate when he says warren is a hypocrite? >> is biden going to use that information? and on the other hand, is elizabeth warren going to attack biden because of what reynolds said and the time they had. just to the earlier point as to whether there will be fireworks between them, i think there's no question there will be somehow. also from other candidates. frankly, warren has been so much on the rise, somebody has to put a stop to it. people are running out of money. >> she's been shielded from that criticism from other candidates so far. that hasn't really been their method of attack yet. they haven't focused in on her. that could happen tonight not just from joe biden but other candidates on the stage. what will be interesting is howie lizbeho how elizabeth warren and bernie sanders handle it. they've had this alliance together, but one of them wants to beat the other.
so the question is does that start tonight or do they try to stretch that alliance out as long as possible? >> you have biden. he's right here in the center. he's leading in the polls. i don't even like to use the term frontrunner because he's below 30. that's not disrespect, he's just below 30. but he's the leading candidate without a doubt, and he has proven after dipping in the first debate, he's rallied a little bit and he's been persistent. a lot of people question whether it's deep. and these are the three who right now hold 60% of the democratic vote if you look at our poll. that means there's 40% in those other seven, so as candidates drop out, the math can rejig gege gge ger. how does this play out? >> remember the cameras, first of all. we'll be transfixed on those three, and is biden going to
point out his opponents by trying to point out they're too liberal and his way is better, or will he land on sanders and warren and be defensive? people have really not attacked him in these debates. presumably they're all planning for any contingency situation because the moderator's questions will kind of dictate who gets the first turn. but they are going to be having to have that reckoning on the stage and we'll see if any of the other people who are more on the fringes are able to try to take advantage of that situation and try to promote themselves in the midst of any argument that may develop. >> it's a great point and we'll come back to this a little later. it's a third round for these candidates. you feel shut out in the debates, it depends on the amount of time they get. do they learn, do they grow and figure out how to make their mark? if you do have a question about tonight's debate, tweet us.
use the inside politics hash tag and we'll try to answer your questions at the end of the show. the hus con crouston chroni reminds us the last time joe biden was in houston for a political debate. >> it's not fun to say, but my time is up. >> you haven't use time. >> i saw a sign that said your time is up. working with top airlines to turn their unsold seats into amazing deals, family reunion attendance is up. we're all related! yeah, i see it. and because priceline offers great deals by comparing thousands of prices in real time, sports fans are seeing more away games. various: yeah-h-h! is that safe? oh, y... ahh! not at all. no, ma'am. nope. and more people than ever are enjoying romantic getaways. (romantic music) that's gross priceline. every trip is a big deal.
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on capitol hill today, a turbulent press conference with reporters. it was just in the last hour, house speaker nancy pelosi swatting away questions about whether democrats were now having an impeachment investigation. >> look, i travel the entire country. come with me sometime and you'll hear what the american people are saying. they understand that impeachment is a very divisive measure, but if we have to go there, we'll have to go there. but we can't go there unless we have the facts. i'm not answering any more questions on possible inquiries, investigations and what i'm goi. >> that's the speaker. those questions, legitimate questions, come after the house judiciary committee just this morning approved parameters for an impeachment investigation.
there's widespread confusion among ranking democrats about whether an impeachment investigation is happening now, happening later or happening at all. it also follows that democrats have discussed in private how to draft areas of impeachment. i'm confused. are you? >> a lot of democrats are when you talk to them because some democrats say, look, they're simply doing what they're actually doing, which is what the speaker said. this is just a continuation of their ongoing investigation to potential obstruction of justice, russian interference, and perhaps down the line maybe they'll decide on impeachment. but that's not the message coming from the house judiciary committee today. jerry nadler indicated this is a clear designation of their investigation. starting next week with corwin lewandowski, he calls it an impeachment investigation. when i had a chance to ask the
chairman about the speaker's refusal to call it an impeachment inquiry, he didn't respond. >> what are the implications of the leadership not calling this an impeachment inquiry? are there concerns the speaker won't call an impeachment inquiry? >> reporter: so there's probably a reason for the different messages here, john, one being that a number of democrats, particularly freshmen from districts in which president trump carry, are not there yet. i just talked to a couple moderate democratic freshmen, neither of them support moving forward with an impeachment probe at this point. they don't support, certainly, articles of impeachment, but a lot of democrats, a majority of democrats, believe it is time to move forward with an impeachment investigation. that's why they say what they're doing is exactly that. in the ic because what the democrats on that
committee are saying, look, if we decide to recommend articles of impeachment, that could be decided by the end of the year. so whatever we call this investigation, it doesn't really matter, because the end result could be just the third to be impeached by the house. john? >> manu raju, confusing, but thank you. it's an important day on the hill. whatever your party at home, whatever you think of the president at home, impeachment is a pretty significant, loaded, weighted word in our life, in our politics, in our constitution. so this idea that democrats -- if you're a liberal, you can go home and say the judiciary committee is moving forward on impeaching the president. if you're a moderate, you say there are no articles of impeachment, there's no impeachment inquiry, we're just looking around and if something comes up, we'll deal with it down the road. is that the way to deal with this? >> it kind of makes you wonder how dumb members of congress think the american voters are.
to the extent they are watching what their members of congress are doing, they're saying, this is a mess. you guys do not have a plan. you do not know what y issue, and frankly, that's how it's been. they were expecting the mueller report to come skpoout and ther being a clear way to move forward and say, this is what the president did wrong, he should be removed from office. as a result, they got a more mixed review and they have basically been stumbling over themselves ever since. >> you can run out of fingers if you're raising one for the quite legitimate areas of oversight. is the president making money by using his properties around the world, steering the air force and other people to save them? it's a legitimate question. look at it responsibly. was there a cover-up? was there an obstruction of justice? you can look at that. but you have to clearly explain to the american people, especially in a polarized country, what you're doing.
you heard manu talk about this in his own reporting. this is from "politico" on tuesday. we ever be we have been in the midst of an impeachment investigation. no, we're not in an impeachment investigation. that's two. we're vefrting whether or not there should be an impeachment investigation. that's three. three members of the majority in the house. >> obviously there's a problem. part of the problem is as sara was just saying, they were putting so much stock in the mueller report, giving them something to go on. by the time the mueller report came out, so many democrats already made their opinions known what they wanted to do vis-a-vis impeachment, they couldn't put the genie back in the bottle at that point. there were never clear marching orders given from the top saying, this is exactly what we're going to say and this is what we're doing and this is how we're going to do it. that's why you end up with this
gobbledy-gook, this dancing around the term that they're not comfortable using. it has consequences with what they're saying. >> the republicans i talk to are loving this gobbledy-gook. they love the disarray. one said it's comical seeing the frustration. pelosi is in a hard place to deal with that. she can't oppose people who want impeachment, and she can't approve it, either. they said, look, the administration just blocks us. there is so much obstruction that impeachment may be the only answer. >> if you lay that case out plainly as opposed to having a semantic debate, i don't know the word for it, but then it's long gone, have the
investigation first. don't drop the conclusion until you get there. there is a way to do this. to your point about republicans, republicans deserve no gold stars from when they were in charge and they had oversight hearings, either. those often became a circus in and of themselves. but you're right, this is doug collins, the ranking republican on the judiciary committee who finds this kind of funny. >> what's happened today is great. the judiciary committee has become a giant instagram filter to make you appear that something is happening that's not. >> you're using your snapchat over here. you went to basically say -- >> instagram. >> snapchat. >> i missed it. we're so in fantasy land here, nobody knows what's going on. instagram, snapchat, twitter, it doesn't matter, we're not in an impeachment inquiry. it doesn't matter what we're doing here.
>> this is politically helpful for republicans because they can say, look at the democrats, they don't know what they're doing. but it helps in the white house as the government is fighting subpoenas and the white house is going to court over this and they can't say, yes, we are in an impeachment inquiry, that's why this is so important that you do let us subpoena whoever this former aide, staffer, what have you. that also is going to help the white house make those arguments that they don't need to have those aides go to capitol hill and testify. >> and they let that word getaway out in front of them and now they can't get around it, is what's happened. there are many legitimate issues to look at, they're just caught up with trying to get to the end before they have the information. up next for us, more on the democratic debate and what the candidates not on center stage need to get done tonight. one of them, andrew yang, has his own pre-debate ritual. >> basketball is very much a part of my pre-debate ritual.
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you get to everyone else. seven of the low tier democrats met tonight's debate criteria, but raising money gets more and more and more difficult if they can't claim some sort of debate breakup. and momentum swings do happen. kamala harris, for example, had a boost after her debate fireworks with joe biden. he had a spark early on but he, too, is a polling flatliner as of late. pete buttigieg now struggles. there's time, yes, 144 days until the first votes in iowa, but -- and it's the but -- it does get hard. no disrespect, it's hard to run for president. these men and women, they give hours. their staff give hours. but it's hard to pay the staff and you can't keep traveling if you can't raise money. if you can't raise money, you have to make a decision. if you want to stay in, do you just run in iowa, just run in nevada? tonight is important for the
seven on stage, never mind the ten that didn't make it. but if you're one of the seven, how do you do it? >> it's 140 days, but when you're talking to donors and trying to raise money, that money translates into this. if you're not getting the money, you're not going to stay in the race. you're going to fall out. and guys like buttigieg who has raised a lot of money is realizing that, well, you also need to get support. he's got a lot of money but that doesn't necessarily translate into votes. >> that's interesting because he's suddenly spending gangbus te gangbusters on ads. just in the last week, buttigieg -- he's already in the debates. buttigieg was trying -- he understands at some point it gets in the mind of donors that this is a three-way race, or this is a five-way race, or i got to make a choice. the donors feel pressure to make a choice. what's that about? >> he's still in the top half of the ten on the debate stage
tonight, but he's number five in that top half so he has a chance of slipping, especially if the focus is on the higher polling candidates and he starts to lose the attention of others. i think that all the lower polling candidates do need to break out or they need to find their issue that is the thing they can speak for that will propel them into the next few months of this campaign and give them a reason to stick around rather than just trying to grab at votes everybody else has better claim to. buttigieg hasn't stated what that position is. >> amy klobuchar, democrat from georgia, kind of pushed out by biden. he's the leading candidate, the frontrunner, pick your term. she's had a hard time breaking through. she gets asked about other plans, oh, you're too liberal. shets she said, i had to give the mom
answer. i had to give the mom idea. why isn't this a good idea is that that would be a nice framing. a lot of questions have been 30-second responses to other people's ideas. >> amy klobuchar is trying to turn the tables, trying to make her message the central focus. but you do have the top three who are going to suck up a lot of oxygen in this debate. i think the question for these lower polling candidates is can they land a punch against one of those candidates, or can they have some type of breakthrough defining moment of their campaign. then the question after that, can they sustain that momentum? kamala harris, she had a great moment against joe biden in that first debate, dipped in the polls. cory booker had a strong debate last time around, but he really wasn't able to sustain that heading out of that debate, so i think that's going to be key for these candidates. >> you have two texans on stage tonight in their home state.
a lot of them want o'rourke to come home with it. do you think it's possible, especially given the beto o'rourke run against ted cruz. the first rule of being a shark, stay moving and find something to eat. they have to stay relevant, they have to stay in the discussion and they have to hope that is enough to give them enough fundraising, give enough money to the campaigns to keep moving. you can say that applies to castro, you can say it applies to others tonight. be a shark. bite something. >> this isn't a three-way race yet but it's close to becoming one, so that's the goal of the others on stage tonight, to make sure that elizabeth warren, bernie sanders and joe biden are not sucking all the energy out of the room. i think it will be interesting to see how much that plays into the debate tonight. texas has been the site of two recent mass shootings which have ignited this debate on gun control that is still facing lawmakers when they return to
washington. and the white house, they're still grappling what to do going forward with this. it will be interesting to see how they utilize texas and the gun debate tonight. >> you mentioned harris a moment ago. she was an early favorite with the media. she got a lot of attention. she moved up in the polls after the first debate. it's interesting to see a number of reports saying, quote, if she doesn't have a pull on this debate, the money is going to dry up. what does she need to do tonight? or is that overhyped? >> she entered this race with a lot of high expectations. she had a big rally that attracted a lot of attention, and her campaign is now saying, oh, she's going to try to make this a little more personal, that she wants to highlight those elements of her personality that she see play out on the campaign trail, that she also wants to paint herself a unifyer. but i think kamala harris does need to come out of this debate
with a strong message to voters to bring them over to her column, but also to excite and maintain that database. we're coming to the end of the fundraising quarter, and that will be a big test for these candidates. will they be able to sustain the fundraising that keeps them in the race? >> i'm just going to say the three in the middle have about 60% of the democratic vote right now. that means there's 40% of the eventually start to go. it's inevitable. there is another debate next month. they're not going to leave that fast, but by the end of the year, the math will change as the field shifts as well. a lot of fun tonight. up next, the supreme court sides with the trump administration in a big move that will make it much harder to request asylum at the u.s.-mexico border.
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proceeds in lower courts. they are requiring any migrant to pass through any country en route to the united states to stop and make the asylum request there. justices ruth bader ginsberg and sotomayor said they should afford the public a chance to weigh in. let's go first to the policies. the trump administration gets a green light in the meantime as the challenge continues through the lower court. this is a conservative court telling a republican white house -- go ahead. >> yeah, this really was a big win for the administration. and it shows another example of this supreme court ruling favorably in this order on immigration and asylum matters for the administration and brushing back lower court judges who tried to rein in the administration. now, this was not a decision on the merits, but the justices
will to weigh the harm to each side when it decided, should this policy take effect? and challengers had said this is going to upend four decades of asylum policy to do this. it would affect unaccompanied children at the border and it was done so hastily, according to the challengers, and only justices sotomayor and ginsberg picked up that arg um. >> on this particular rule, you mentioned ginsburg and sotomayor. granting an appeal should be an extraordinary act. unfortunately it appears the government has treated this exceptional mechanism as a new
normal. historically the government has made this kind of request rarely, now it does so reflectively. is this the court that's backing it up? >> why wouldn't they come to this court? mainly the courts sort of had the welcome mat out for this. and on immigration asylum policies, you remember just in july this supreme court allowed the trump administration to go ahead and use pentagon money to build a wall, and last year 5-4 conservative liberal ruling upheld the president's travel ban. >> upheld the travel ban, upheld religious freedom in colorado, struck down stopping the abortion policy. you point out the examples because if anyone out there thought, you know, that this was going to move any other way, the president has had two new appointees in federal court.
>> and who is the voice in the liberal side? in this ruling, the two justices on the far left were the only ones who made their voices heard, justices sotomayor and ginsburg. kagan, if he asented, he didn't want to let anyone know. up next, mike pompeo in the running for another job. we're not talking about a senate seat in kansas. ♪ ♪ introducing a razor that works differently. the gillette skinguard. designed with a guard between the blades that helps protect skin. it guards against razor burn on the neck and irritation on the face. get the shave you've been waiting for.
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topping our political radar today, does mike pompeo want a second job? sources telling cnn that administration officials are discussing whether to tap the secretary of state to also serve as the president's national security adviser. pompeo would be the second person to occupy both roles at the same time. the first, henry kissinger, did it back in the nixon and ford administrations. a big slice of america picking sides in the gun debate, asking congress today and ceo of reddit, twitter and others saying lawmakers should expand background checks to cover all firearm sales and red flag laws. they wrote about doing nothing about america's gun violence
crisis and unacceptable and it's time to stand with the american public on gun safety. and offering a temporary offramp in its trade war with china today. the president deciding to delay another round of tariffs on chinese goods. his secretary steve mnuchin disputing the idea that pressing the pause button means the president would take some kind of moderate deal because of 2020 pressures. christine roman takes us inside. christine? >> an olive branch in the next set of tariffs he will delay on ports from china. tariffs on $250 billion worth of chinese goods is delayed until october 5th. there will be pomp and parade with chinese president xi jinping presiding.
il it's a birthday present of sorts. trump called it a sign of goodwill and pushed the tariffs back to october 15. but yesterday he waived some of those. experts say less is a concession to the u.s. and more really to protect its own consumers. it waived tariffs for a year on cancer treatment medicine and feed supplies for its ag sector. but it kept tariffs on soybeans and meat. whatever the reason, it's the first offramp we've seen in this trade battle with key talks in washington in october. john? up next for us, a little bit of a lightning round. the president heads to baltimore. remember what he called it. and joe biden sent a tweet saying that somebody important compares to a screen door on a submarine. and fidelity's rate is higher than e*trade's,
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>> the news. the president is heading for baltimore. there is a retreat there. you might remember he called baltimore rat infested and worse. this from the president back in july saying, they should still love me. >> those people are living in hell in baltimore. they're largely african-american, you have a large african-american population, and they really appreciate what i'm doing. >> his beef was with the democratic congressman elijah cummings who said he hopes the
president has a good time. he's going to a hotel room to speak to a retreat. i'm not sure he'll be wandering the streets, will he? >> he's choppering in and choppering back out again. not only did he call it rat and rodent-infested and disgusting, he also talked about going there for a rally. the president and his administration has been guided by the house committee. >> joe biden is at the center stage because he's the leading candidate. funny, remember the last time some democrats criticized obama? there's a little video of him with obama.
he said, his biden tribute is about as subtle as a screen door on a submarine. yeah. >> joe biden is constantly on the campaign trail and his number one go-to topic is reminding everyone that he served president obama. they remember that time and the support that he had. it's not going to stop. the last time around, candidates went after president obama or criticized elements of his record and joe biden kind of emerged as the defender. i think they're thirnking that' going to be the same. >> you mentioned real voters. we were in detroit for the debate a couple months back, we met aaron keefe. a lot of the democratic conversation has been about who can beat donald trump. she's fine with that part of it, but the debate often excludes candidates. >> this idea that if a person is not electable then somehow they
aren't worthy of votes. i've really been wanting to question where that idea comes from. is it trump's presidency that makes us question, quote, unquote, a candidate's elect ability? is it sexism? most often you hear that in the context of women candidates. >> it's an interesting point, because even after hillary clinton lost, you heard people at democratic events saying, i like senator harris, i like senator warren, i just worry, can they win? this is the time for klobuchar and harris to try to puncture that, isn't it? >> all the candidates are going to have to try to buck this argument, the safe position being maybe the country is not ready to elect a woman, maybe the country is not ready to elect a black woman, maybe the country isn't ready to elect a hispanic president, all these different arguments people take out of fear of who can beat donald trump.
so if they take those positions, they need to prove what the common going wisdom is which is based on preconjecture and trying to win. >> i think it's about concern, but it's a tough position for the democrats to be in. you want to vote for something, not against someone else. brianna keilar is up next. see you tomorrow. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now it may be the third debate, but finally the front runners will all be on one stage and joe biden already taking shots at elizabeth warren. america's ceos taking action on guns when lawmakers won't. see their new demand. plus some democrats call it impeachment proceedings. some democrats call it not impeachment proceedings. so who is telling the truth on capitol hill? and the president goes to baltimore after trashing