tv Inside Politics CNN December 31, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST
he's not doing it so we have to leave it there. thank you for joining me. >> thank you. thank you for joining me . "inside politics" with nia-malika henderson starts right now. welcome to a special holi y holiday edition of "inside politics." i'm nia-malika henderson. john is off. we'll have an update for you on what to expect from tonight's celebrations in the u.s. plus the u.s. military showing a display of force after attackers descended on baghdad. a deadline for presidential candidates looking for an advantage and staying power going into 2020. >> exactly a year ago today, i got in the race for president.
one year into this campaign, and you've never found me behind closed doors with corporate executives or spending hours on the phone sucking up to donors to fund my campaign. one year into this campaign and i'm still listening and learning from people all across this nation. >> we begin the hour with fires, teargas, a show of force and a burning question. how much longer can u.s. diplomats stay in iraq? shock video out of baghdad today. shocking video, angry crowds, tripping alarms, and a chance for america out. protesters aligned with iran made it inside the outer perimeter of the most expensive and supposedly the most secure compound in the world, the american embassy in iraq. the u.s. military dispatching two apache helicopters to fly over the embassy in response. the u.s. defense chief says
reinforcements are en route to the embassy. the embassy right now is on lockdown. the state department says there is no current plan to evacuate. the iraqi prime minister demanded the protesters leave. no evidence this hour that they have or that they will, and the protesters, they stormed the embassy in response to the u.s. airstrikes targeting iranian proxies and promised to stay until the u.s. leaves the country. the american president, donald trump, blaming iran for orchestrating the attack and vowing they will be held fully responsible. cnn's arwa damon is monitoring the situation from istanbul. arwa, is the iraqi government actually capable of ending this protest? >> reporter: not on its own, no, nia-malika, and that is perhaps one of the many issues that are at the crux of all of this. look, this group of protesters
is not your ordinary protester. these are mostly members of what's known as the popular mobilization force, the pmf. this is an umbrella paramilitary unit that was established back in 2014 in response to isis' takeover of huge chunks of iraq that is largely made up of former members of what once were very prominent, very powerful, very tied to iran shia militias. kitaeb hezbollah, the group that targeted them, is one of them that heads this force. they marched straight through the checkpoints, along with other members of this paramilitary force and right up to the gates of the u.s. embassy. from the iraqi government's perspective, very complicated relationship with this force,
because on the one hand, ostensibly, they are an official part of the iraqi security forces. on the other hand, they don't necessarily obey balancing dad -- baghdad or the american government. they were chanting anti-american slogans, chanting they need to leave. they broke into the american embassy, set a lot of fires. what is being closely watched right now understandably and obviously is whether or not the system escalates and what these protesters plan on doing next. >> arwa, thank you so much for that report on the volatile situation there. here with me to share their reporting and their insights, cnn global affairs analyst kimberly dozier, daniel moth with the "washington post," mcclatchy and phil mattingly.
this is part of the campaign the administration wanted to exert on iran. does trump look to escalate this situation even further, or is there some sort of offramp from here? >> i think the trump administration has been counting on building friction to create some sort of change within the iranian government and eventually bring some members of that government to the negotiating table. at this point i don't hear from middle east officials, anyone who thinks that's going to happen any time soon. so you see the maximum pressure tension playing out on the streets of iraq, and you see iraqi protesters in a particular protest against baghdad. azhar s arwa mentioned, these a iranian aligned. iraqi forces had warned against the u.s. strikes, and they warned there would be some sort of blowback from it. they allowed this protest to
happen, but it was also very controlled. those protesters did reach the embassy. they could have kept going, but their organizers, including at least one senior iraqi military leader that has been sanctioned by the u.s., they called their people back. so this got a lot of attention. they've camped outside. but at this point it's more of a rhetorical standoff. >> we have action, obviously, from politicians who are watching this. marco ruby o'oio out of florida, pray for these young americans who remain at their post at the embassy in baghdad while an iranian directed mob attacks the embassy. the u.s. should employ whatever it takes to secure their safety and the safety of all americans inside the compound. they've dispatched the apache helicopters for this situation. one thing we've seen in previous
situations with iran is essentially not to respond, right? you think about what happened this summer when the drone was shot down. in this instance, it's very different. is there a kind of red line that he's drawing where it comes to americans who are killed? is that the sort of red line this president is going to employ going forward? >> they've been very hesitant to use that phrase for a lot of very politically charged reasons. but they have signalled pretty clearly over the past six, eight, ten weeks that the death of an american would be a problem for them and that they would respond in some sense. now, the response sunday was a handful of airstrikes on particular targets that had no doubt been selected way in advance, but you're left to wonder how else does the iranian-backed militia respond, and what does that leave the u.s. military to do in response to that? it's kind of a potential chain reaction scenario.
>> lots of reaction we read from marco rubio, and you think of how they're reacting with the "washington post" reporting, saying, we are very angry with iran. they are the driving force behind the misery we are suffering. the iran-backed militias are controlling the entire economy here. no one can get a job contract unless he is affiliated with them. >> you can say the iraqi sanction campaign has increased iranian-backed groups' maligned activity. the force used to be funding them. had to stop funding them, and they had to find a way to make payroll for all of their armed troops. and one of the things they've done is this increased predatory behavior against iraqi people. that helped spur the protest,
the protests that continue. the problem is the iranian officials and iranian-backed groups are very organized. so while the protesters aren't happy with what they're offering, they haven't been able to kco coe -- coalesce around a agreement. >> what about american forces on the ground there? there are about 45,000 on the ground there now. >> you talked about friction between the united states and iran, but there has also been increased friction between the united states and the iraqi leaders. just last month they weren't notified before 24 hours before he got there. vice president pence did not meet with anyone in iraqi leadership while he was in the country, and this is anecdotal, but it shows the disconnect. at one point when he was supposed to be calling the prime minister on the phone, he
couldn't get him on the line and he had to try three different times, and reporters were brought out of the room, in and out multiple times. that speaks again to the broader disconnect. even if you look at just this week, it's secretary of state mike pompeo who made the call to the iraqis. >> you obviously cover congress. we mentioned before this is an expensive and well-guarded compound. you look at how much iraq has spent on american forces since 2016, more than $4 billion. the budget request is $745 million. what are you expecting to hear from folks, particularly the president's republican allies in terms of this very frought relationship with iraq? >> look, the money that has gone to iraq, particularly for the defense forces, underscores mike pompeo and his call from the president, making it clear you have an obligation to some degree to defend our agency and make sure our people are okay.
in an ideal world, if you're giving a country $4 billion, their defense forces would pretty much line up with you in any way, shape or form that you request or at least desire to some degree. i think what arwa laid out is the key issue here, which is that the pmf exists. the pmf has legitimate juice inside the country. they have a dozen parliamentary seats. you are dealing with a prime minister that's an emplty chair to some degree. even though they've tried to bring them under the umbrella of the defense forces. they haven't necessarily succeeded on that front and they haven't tried to crack down because there is a recognition that the pmf is a valid and very real force inside the country. so you're dealing right now with a situation on the ground that just isn't clean. i think lawmakers understand that, and i think when you talk to democrats, they're frustrated because they believe this all has roots and pulling out of the nuclear deal and the effort to have imposed so many restrictions on iran ended up
causing this to some degree, then you talk to senators like marco rubio and tom cotton and they say you should move faster and harder to some degree. so i don't think that split should change, but there is a recognition that this just isn't clean on the ground right now. >> dan, you know this region quite well. 2020 coming up, the president obviously up for reelection. what do you see happening? you talked about this not being a clean situation, it's been a complicated situation in the middle east for years. what do you see happening in 2020? >> i think it's important to remember that it's not just an iraq situation. we've seen, in the last few months, attacks on shipping, we've seen the mining of ships, we've seen additional navy assets get moved into the region as a response to that. this could flare up in any number of different ways. it's not going to be neat and clean, it's not going to be the way they necessarily expect, so they're going to have to be ready on multiple fronts. >> well, thanks for that. up next, are we really getting tea leaves from moderate senators when it comes to
impeachment? but as we go to break, we're closing in on the end of 2019 and the end of a decade. here's the 2010s through the eyes of president donald trump. >> there's a lot of great things happening in the so-called tea party movement, and i'll tell you, it's got people thinking. >> we are going to continue onward with "celebrity apprentice." we're going to continue making lots and lots of money for charity. i will not be running for president, as much as i'd like to. >> you're fired. >> we need a president that has business ability. we also need a president who has heart. mitt romney has a lot of heart. >> marilu, do you remember when you got fired? >> yes, i do. >> the next election is going to be tough. i really believe it's going to be hillary. but hillary can be beaten. >> politicians are all talk and no action. it's true. all talk, it's all talk and it's
no action. they talk and talk and you go crazy and blah, blah, blah. ♪ >> i am officially running for president of the united states. >> to be really historic, we have to do a great job. and i promise you that i will not let you down. mr. president, it was a great honor being with you, and i look forward to being with you many, many more times in the future. >> this moment is your moment, it belongs to you. >> north korea best not make any more threats to the united states. they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. >> mia love gave me no love, and she lost. too bad. sorry about that, mia. >> for years you watched as your politicians apologized, remember?
president trump is spending at least part of his new year's eve fuming about the impeachment process. he says, in part, the democrats will do anything to avoid a trial in the senate in order to protect sleepy joe biden. meanwhile, one key senator watch is giving us a glimpse of where she stands. senator susan collins offers this critique to both sides of public radio. >> it is inappropriate, in my judgment, for senators on either side of the aisle to prejudge the evidence. i have heard democrats like elizabeth warren saying that the president should be impeached,
found guilty and removed from office. i've heard the senate majority leaders saying that he's taking his cues from the white house. >> and speaking of senator elizabeth warren, just moments ago she had sharp words of her foe own for her republican colleagues. take a listen. >> the idea that the republicans would block access to important information about donald trump's breaking the law is just one more sign that their loyalty seems badly misplaced, and that they are more interested in protecting a president politically than they are upholding the constitution of the united states. it's fundamentally wrong and a violation of their oath of office. >> joining our conversation, we've got julie pace with the associated press and molly ball with "time." thank you for joining us and happy new year to both of you.
you see the back and forth there, right, with collins and elizabeth warren. elizabeth warren in some ways articulating a bit of a bind that some of these moderate senators, particularly the ones up for reelection in a tough race like susan collins are in. they don't want to be in a position of seeming to rubber stamp the president's bad behavior, which i think many of them do think it was bad behavior, so they are in a tough spot. we heard from susan collins as well as lisa murkowski on this kind of weighing their options. >> i think it matters what susan collins and lisa murkowski follow up that rhetoric with. are they saying we don't want to rubber stamp what the president does and then rubber stamp it, or do they ask for john bolton to testify, ask for mick mulvaney to testify. there is a big gap on what they actually say when they take over the white house. >> particularly susan collins, because she's sort of the queen
on both sides, had this to say about nancy pelosi. >> what i don't understand is why the house, having issued subpoenas to secretary pompeo, for example, did not seek to enforce those subpoenas in court, and instead rushed to get the articles of impeachment passed before christmas and yet have not transmitted them to us in the senate. so that seems an odd way to operate. >> an odd way to operate. we had murkowski who did criticize pelosi, essentially, for putting this timeline on when to submit the articles or vote on the articles of impeachment. murkowski, collins in this same boat. i feel like it's sort of like waiting for godeau for these two, often, lucy and the football. to julie's point, it does seem
like what they want to see from mcconnell, right, in terms of what this trial looks like? are there going to be witnesses? what do you make of collins and murkowski? >> like julie said, it's going to determine if they're only saying this for public consumption or if they'll put mcconnell behind the scenes. when the senate get back and the republicans have their first lunch, is there sentiment in that room, like, yeah, we kind of don't agree with the president on this and we're uneasy where this is going, or will they all be on board with making this as easy as possible, which has been what mcconnell wants to do, get through this with as little pain as possible, even if that means taking an unpopular position himself. that's what he views as his role as the leader. he often takes unpopular positions to protect his caucus. so if the caucus is in there saying, you know, we might say we don't like what you're doing, but u oyou have our permission
go out there and do it, rip off the band-aid and make this as painless as possible. >> we also heard from doug jones, up for reelection, very tough state, alabama. here's what he had to say to the "washington post" on monday. the evidence we do have may be sufficient to make a judgment, but it's clearly incomplete. there are four witnesses who could help fill those gaps. let me be clear, i don't know what those answers would be, but i want to hear from them and so should every senator and every american. we cannot allow the full truth to evade this trial only to be revealed in some future memoir or committee hearing. the folks he's talking about, mick mulvaney, john bolton, robert blair and michael duffey, some of these folks came up in this very lengthy piece in the "new york times," very instrumental in terms of what happened in ukraine. this is the big question, will there be witnesses? >> absolutely. the beauty of what's about to happen here is if you have 51 votes, whether you're chuck schumer or mitch mcconnell, you're going to get what you
want. we know what mitch mcconnell wants, he wants both sides to be able to present and then the right to acquit, which they very clearly have the votes to do, or they can listen to senators. the vote will likely happen. i think the big question right now, it kind of gets to the basics of how are moderate republicans going to vote, how are democra are republican senators going to vote? the reality remains the same, no matter what the first two weeks of the trial is going to be, if you have 51 votes, you can get your witnesses, whoever they may be. whether it's rhetoric or what mcconnell wants or what schumer wants, can you get 51 votes? that will be the main question. >> we'll have to see when this trial starts, when nancy pelosi sends those articles of impeachment over to the senate. lots to look forward to in 2020. can the democrats take the
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dnc donor requirement to make the january 14th debate stage. just remember, that's the final debate before the all-important iowa caucuses, so time and opportunity are starting to shrink for these candidates. for some of these candidates, today's deadline is just one more way to feel like they've ended the year strong. take a listen at bernie sanders, for example. >> in terms of fundraising, our campaign has done what no campaign in the history of the united states of america has done up to this moment in a campaign. and i believe that within the next day, by tomorrow, we will have for this campaign received 5 million contributions from over 1.3 million americans. >> in bernie sanders' campaign,
quite strong numbers. ee he's at the top, 25.2 million, elizabeth warren 24.6, buttigieg 19.1, biden 15.7. bernie sanders has certainly rebounded. he's in the top two. and s >> and he has the money to remain in this campaign regardless of what his polling is. and elizabeth warren is in. that's critical as you turn past these four critical states and go into super tuesday. it's unlikely in these media markets. i think the same applies to elizabeth warren, is because these are often small dollar donors, they're able to keep tapping the same people over and over again, whereas these other candidates who are mostly doing
these big dollar donors and fundraisers have to keep replenishing those funds, and as it goes along, it will get tougher and tougher for them to do that. >> and warren sounding the alarms in her statements about where her funding will be in this quarter, and here's what she had to say. >> it looks like we're closing in on about a million people who have pitched in 2 bucks, 5 bucks, 25 bucks, even people with stretched budgets. they are giving money, they are contributing time, they are making phone calls, and i really appreciate it because i think that's the way we should run a democratic primary. >> of course, she's been making the comparison with pete buttigieg and the wine cave saying she doesn't spend time with those big dollar donors. of course, in previous campaigns she did, but details, details, details. we'll see where she falls this time, right? she was at 24.6. does she top that? does she tie it? does she fall a little bit
behind? >> there is a reason why candidates historically don't fundraise the way warren and sanders are fundraising, because it's really hard to rely on these small dollar donors. if you do it successsuccessfull has a lot of advantages, but you have to keep up a huge momentum. with warren, she had this big burst over the summer where she talked about talking with real people, and that with big donors really seemed to resonate, and what connects is the question. she's been trying to ride that same message in the fall into the winter. it's been taken over by other candidates. bernie has a movement, really, that he talks about that he started in 2016 and that has proven sustainable, i think we'll see, in these numbers going into iowa and new hampshire whether warren can compete with that. it's a real question of whether you can sustain that organic energy that we saw from her over the summer. >> and pivoting to this next dedate, january 14th, we saw that booker wasn't on the stage
the last go-around. yang was on the stage, predicting that booker would get on the stage, but it looks like yang might have trouble getting on the stage. here's what he had to say, both yang and booker. >> all we want is for there to be polls in order for us to demonstrate that we would easily qualify by the dnc's own threshold. we're well over the donation threshold. we're looking to raise $1 million just today alone. >> we're seeing the signs of a surge. the problem is there hasn't been a poll in iowa since early november. since my last debate, kamala harris has dropped out. a lot has changed that's not being picked up. so i don't understand the dnc. >> they don't understand the dnc. what we do understand is they might not make the debate stage because of these rules that have been put in place by the dnc, because they're not going to meet the polling threshold. >> we'll see. i don't know how many more polls there are scheduled to be released between now and the debate or when the cutoff is. obviously the candidates are very sensitive to all of those
machinations, but the dnc is getting a contradictory message from their own members, the rank and file democrats, saying, this isn't fair, why isn't my favorite candidate up there. on the other hand, oh, there's so many candidates. why are we having these debates where no one gets to talk more than a minute. the last one was smaller, they could get into exchanges, get into it a little bit. i finally felt like there was some productive conflict that taught us something about the candidates. that's always been the dilemma for the dnc, trying to balance those two imperatives. they did not want to break it up into separate debates the way the rnc did a couple years ago. it's obviously frustrating for these candidates that are on the edge, but at some point there can only be one. and, you know, i think francesca made a very good point about the fundraising, which is the candidates who have the
fundraising can stay in past the early states, but that's really potentially a problem for joe biden who has fallen behind in the early states, even as he remains a national frontrunner, because we've already seen him really suffer in fundraising as his campaign seemed to falter earlier in the year. and so he's the one, i think, who could really have a problem with fundraising past those early states. >> and we'll see what his fundraising numbers are. he was lagging in these last quarters and he's surely been bombarding everyone's email in-box to please donate to his campaign. next up, corwin lewandowski calls his shot and then decides not to swing the bat.
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topping our political radar, corwin lewandowski says he won't run for senate even as he guarantees he would win. the former trump campaign manager announcing the decision on twitter this morning, citing family and working to reelect the president as the reasons he won't run. phil, i'm going to go to you on this one. what do you make of this decision? was it a surprise? was he ever really going to run or was this a publicity thing? what's your sense? >> i was definitely going to get into the nfl draft because i was going to be the number one overall pick, but i just don't feel like doing it right now.
i've got a family and a job and everything like that. i think i would have been a great bengals quarterback. the big part of this over the course of whenever this trial was raised by corwin lewandowski is everyone i talked to never really thought it was real. you talk to the folks in new hampshire and most of them didn't want him to run. they feel like they have a decent crop of candidates up there. it would be a tough race no matter what. and while some people like the idea of someone that close to the president perhaps hopping in there, i don't think most national republicans really thought that was a good idea, and certainly new hampshire republicans didn't. i never took it that seriously. it all felt like a ploy, but the good thing about corwin lewandowski, he's always going to be around, and we'll have time to ask him about this process in the days and weeks
we are barrelling toward the end of 2019, so we'll head to the cnn weather center for your new year's eve forecast. we have cnn's jennifer gray joining me right now. what's it look like? what do we think we're going to see this new year's eve in terms of weather across the country? >> weather is actually going to be pretty nice across much of the country, much different than years previous. we actually have really nice weather in times square right
now. 43 degrees in new york. nice, mild weather across much of the south, at least the southern two-thirds of the country. we do have some leftover snow from that system yesterday, but that's all going to break up before we make it to the big cities across the northeast. as we go forward in time, you can see it break up when we get to 8:30 tonight. all the folks in times square should remain dry for their time there. going through the night, 8:00 tonight, 44, 10:00, 42. the strike midnight temperatures at 41, feeling like 44 degrees. here we go, the rest of the country. this is for the midnight hour. 27 chicago, 14 minneapolis, 29 denver. ringing in the new year at dallas, temperatures will be around 42 degrees.
then your high temperatures tomorrow, really not bad. beautiful day across much of the country. 49 d.c., 57 atlanta, 55 in memphis, 49 in denver, 52 in seattle. nia? >> thanks, jennifer. i have to say, 43 degrees in new york, that sounds really cold to me, but we'll see how those people fare in new york. hundreds of thousands of people are heading to new york's times square tonight to ring in the new year. they are bold, they are brave and i'm really glad that i'm not one of them. one of the first partygoers to arrive is going to be cnn's own miguel marquez. miguel, give us a glimpse of the wild, crazy, amazing and cold celebration to come tonight. >> reporter: yeah, not quite that yet. you are utterly sensible and you have 2020 vision, let me say, nia. this is where it's all going to happen. that's where the ball will come down. a huge police presence here, and they will be protecting this area from the sky, from the rivers and all around this area.
and these people, how are you? [ screams ] >> they have the best seats in the house because they're right next to the main stage here. there are people from japan here, from nashville, from queens, new york. i thought new yorkers weren't supposed to come here, but it is going to be massive. they even have drones they will fly this year if the weather permits. they even have an anti-drone, rogue drone team, so if there are rogue drones up, there will be a way to bring them down. back to you. >> thank you for that, miguel, and a quick cnn programming note. ring in the new year tonight with best friends anderson cooper and andy cohen. i'm going to be on my couch watching this. all the new year's eve coverage starts live at 8:00 p.m. eastern right here on cnn. up next in our 2020 lightning round, michael bloomberg has a hot take on how to organize the office furniture at the white house.
in the show with a quick lightning round. francesca, i want to go to you on this first. bloomberg promises if he's president he's going to turn the east room into an open office plan where i'll sit with my team. i'll use the oval office for some official functions, never for tweeting, but the rest of the time i'll be where a leader should be, with the team. he was mocked heavily on twitter and on social media for this. my sense is secret things happen
at the white house, which is probably why an open office plan isn't a great idea. >> but from a practical standpoint, and i actually did speak to the bloomberg campaign for this, the oval office is used for medal of honor ceremonies. i asked where those things would take place, and he's an engineer by trade and has an electrical engineering degree, and they would use the diplomatic reception room. but it's not very large over the east room, and it would be difficult to have large amounts of people there. >> i didn't think it was strange at all. i saw the swetweet yesterday an was like, yeah, that's what he did as mayor of new york and that's what he did on lexington, the headquarters of bloomberg in new york. in his time as mayor, he came
back to the company, and he was literally sitting in the middle of the room. you're wandering around and you accidentally bump into mike bloomberg, which is a little uncomfortable when you're 97 rungs below him on the employment ladder. but if there's some point i presumed he would talk about is this. he's been a professional about this for his years of working, and it wouldn't surprise me that he would move it to the white house. >> i wonder if joe biden would consider choosing a republican as a running mate. >> the answer is, i would but i can't think of one now. no, no, no, no, no, no. no, i'm serious. here's what i mean. let me explain that. there are some really decent republicans that are out there, still. but here's the problem right now
of the well-known ones. they've got to step up. >> molly? >> well, it is important to put that in context, right? he's saying in theory he would consider a republican, but he can't think of any that in practice he would -- but this is a key part of his message and he's refused to back down from it, right? it's a continuation of the message that started when he was praising the segregation of senators that he used to work with earlier in the year, and he was criticized for that and said, look, the whole point of politics is you work with people you have vast differences with and you try to find compromise, and that's the part of the message that appeals to voters in that moderate lane. >> pete buttigieg said he would not want to see his son serve on the board, sort of going after joe biden there. >> jabbing at biden about the impeachment controversy, saying
there shouldn't be attention there but putting a little attention there. >> buttigieg going after biden. we'll see where this goes. thank you for joining us on "inside politics." happy new year. brianna keilar starts right now. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. welcome to this holiday edition of "cnn right now." protesters attacked the embassy in baghdad, setting fires and responding to airstrikes. they vowed to protect and defend its people. disturbing new details about the man who stabbed five people at a hanukkah celebration. the fbi pointing to anti-semitic statements in his journal and his numerous internet searches for hitler. plus, three months after suffering a heart attack, bernie sanders provides a doctor's note saying he's in good health, breaking his promise