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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  April 2, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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i'm brooke baldwin. thank you so much for being with me. let's go to washington. "the lead with jake tapper" starts right now. president trump says the doctor will see you, in 2021. "the lead" starts right now. president trump retreating from the battle he started over health care, and he now says if you want to see his health care plan, you're going to have to re-elect him. money talks. senator bernie sanders cementing his position as the 2020 democratic front-runner with a major fund-raising haul, as a different guy many didn't even know two months ago, turns a lot of heads. outburst. president trump unloads on puerto rico with some inaccurate tweets over hurricane disaster aid and he seems to paint the american commonwealth as not as american as the rest of us. welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. we begin with the politics lead and a major retreat from
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president trump after republicans on capitol hill objected to his push to make health care and the repeal of obamacare a major issue for the 2020 presidential election. president trump had been claiming that the republicans were developing a health care plan to replace obamacare and the trump administration just joined a lawsuit to try to end obamacare immediately, though they had no plan in place for the 20 million americans who would immediately lose access to their health insurance. but, after hearing from allies in congress, the president is now backing off, announcing that republicans will not hold a vote on any new health care plan until after the 2020 election. >> if we get back the house and on the assumption we keep the senate and we keep the presidency, which i hope are two good assumptions, we're going to have a phenomenal health care. >> notwithstanding, the president's attempted punt of the issue, of course, his raising it to begin with guarantees that democrats are going to attempt to make health care the issue of the 2020 campaign.
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a fight that many republicans in congress do not want, after they suffered huge losses in the 2018 midterms, which focused in large part on health care. and as cnn's kaitlan collins now reports, multiple white house officials are not even promising that president trump is actually going to release any sort of proposal before the election. >> reporter: president trump on the retreat. >> no, i wanted to delay it myself. i wanted to put it after the election. >> reporter: after promising for days that republicans would replace the affordable care act with something better -- >> we're going to get rid of obamacare. >> reporter: -- the president put that promise in fine print. tweeting that republicans will now wait until after next year's presidential election, 19 months away, when trump claims that republicans hold the senate and win back the house. >> obamacare has been such a catastrophe -- >> reporter: trump seemed to be heeding warnings from republican lawmakers, who were sent scrambling last week after the justice department threw its weight behind a lawsuit that would invalidate obamacare,
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despite having no gop backup. >> we'll vote in the best health care package we've ever had. >> reporter: sources tell cnn republicans spent the last several days talking trump down. and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and house minority leader kevin mccarthy called him directly to say this was not a fight the gop wanted. a source adding mcconnell advised trump to focus on attacking democrats for their medicare for all idea and wait for the election before attempting any legislative efforts. a strategy laid bare on the president's twitter feed. white house aides attempted to explain the president's deferral today. >> was there actually a plan or was the president exaggerating? >> we've been working on a plan. >> does he have a plan? >> he is working on pieces with members of congress. they want to have something in place. but again, he was talking on a vote on it, and that most likely would not come until after -- >> reporter: trump's latest move guarantees that health care will dominate the upcoming presidential election.
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and democrats who won back the house last fall in part because of the issue say they're more than happy to have this fight. >> and now what is he saying today? it's like nixon's secret plan. nixon had a secret plan in vietnam. this is his secret plan. they're not going to pass it until after the 2020 election. >> reporter: now, jake, when the senate majority leader mitch mcconnell was asked this afternoon if he and president trump are still in a different place on health care, he responded with a chuckle and said, quote, not any longer. jake? >> kaitlan collins at the white house, thanks so much. joining me now is senator joe manchin, a moderate democrat from west virginia who was recently elere-elected in that trump-friendly state in a race focused largely on health care. senator, good to see you. congratulations on your re-election. you've said over 800,000 west
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virgin virgin virginians wi s with pre-exist conditions are at risk of losing their health coverage sp. have you seen any plans that would prohibit them from charging them higher premiums? >> jake, not at all. and first of all, it's good to be with you and i'm glad the election is over. they're all brutal anymore and i'm sure 2020 cycle will be just as ferocious as our 2018 cycle. speaking about health care, yes, my race was predominantly about pre-existing conditions, taking health care away from people or making it so unaffordable that they could not make a decision to buy it. in west virginia, you would have people say, you know, i don't want to be a burden to my family. they used to say that, you know, i don't want to be a burden to my family, they say, you know i can't afford, if i get sick again, they will not insure me, i'll let my hands -- my life is in the hands of the good lord.
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and whatever will be will be. what they're saying is the family can't be afforded to put into bankruptcy. we're not going back to nap and i think the president knows that people don't want to go back. my republican friends and colleagues can't come up with a plan better than what we have, why can't they just work with this and let's fix it. the only thing i've said about health care. i said, mr. president, why don't you call this repaircare. we'll call it trump repaircare. but the bottom line, jake, we have two bills have been sitting on mitch's desk for over a year or a year and a half. when john mccain voted it down not to repeal it, he knew that we could fix it if we worked together. and that's what john wanted done. lamar zlaralexander and patty my started meetings at 8:00 the next day. every day we would meet and brought people all over the country in, looked at every type of health care plan, we came up with a fix, we looked at the re-insurance, we looked at basically holding people accountable and responsible for the newfound wealth. we can fix what we have if we'll just work together. but it just doesn't -- just
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throwing it out and trying to start over, it's going to be absolutely horrific for people. >> and especially when democrats control the house, also. the president and republicans don't seem to have any plan right now, at least ready in the hopper. what happens if the supreme court strikes down obamacare, what happens to those 800,000 west virginians with pre-existing conditions. >> well, they become basically at the mercy of the insurance companies where we were before. and we thought that was inhumane. most democrats and republicans think it's inhumane to throw it back and say, okay, i'm sorry, this is your cap and your limit. you get any sicker than this or if it costs more than this, we cut you off. i'm sorry, you've had a pre-existing condition, i'll cover you for everything except the pre-existing condition. i'll cover that, but it's going to be a much higher price. that's where we came from, jake. and i don't know why we just can't sit down. if we had the backing of the
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president and the lamar alexander and some of our republican friends sat down with some democrats that are pragmatic about fixing this. and we could do it. but now if the president is insere about not getting rid of it now, not trying to repeal it now, then, please, mr. president, have your department of justice support the law, the affordable care act law, that basically 20 million people are getting insurance. >> so while the president is trying to get rid of obamacare, through his justice department and other means, many of the 2020 democratic presidential candidates are embracing medicare for all. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell told the president that he thinks that medicare for all is a, quote, ripe target, and that should be the focus for republicans. does that worry you? >> well, here's the thing. i'm hearing people talking about medicare for all or all type of single-payer system. i'm trying to fix the system we have in front of us. i have people depending on getting what they're getting now. i have people getting opioid
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addiction treatment for the first time. right now if we do nothing, medicare will become insolvent by 2026. don't you think that ought to concern us? we can't even pay for the medicare for some at 65 years of age and older that have it right now and guarantee they're going to have it. i just -- i look at what's in front of me. i can i fix it? yes, i can. i need to work together with my friends on both sides of the aisle. i don't know why we can't put america first. health care is the most important all of us have. jake, we gave 20 million people health care coverage. right, wrong, or indifferent, these people never had anything before. i was a governor -- you know what they were using before? emergency room. highest cost of delivery, no preventative care. no way to maintain yourself, no way to monitor what was happening and fix it. so they want to go back to that? that didn't work. and now you're saying, with 20 million people, we gave you the greatest wealth card you could ever have, which is a health card. jake, we never gave them one
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sentence of instructions. you can buy a box of cracker jacks, get the prize inside and it will tell you how to use it. we gave you health care and never told you how to use it. and there's so much savings to be had. there's so much more as far as increasing the quality of health to all individuals, starting with children all the way up. we should be working on that and we're not. >> i do want to ask you one presidential question, if i can, sir. >> okay. >> two democratic women have come forward on the record and said that the former vice president biden touched them in ways they found demeaning. not sexually or violently, but in their view, inappropriately. do you believe these women and could this hurt the former vice president biden as a presidential candidate? >> well, first of all, i believe anybody that thinks that their space has been violated, their whole demeanor, they felt comfortable, then they must have. i can tell you, i've been around joe biden for many, many years. i have been in many political events with joe biden. i have never seen joe biden intentionally make anybody uncomfortable.
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anything, he goes out of his way trying to make people comfortable, he thinks that might be in a difficult situation, that might have had some concerns, and has a lot on them. i've seen that compassion in joe. now, what joe has said and i accept that the same as i hope everybody does, if he's made anybody uncomfortable, he's extremely sorry for that. i would hope they would accept that. there's been no type of charges, except i felt very uncomfortable or uneasy. and i'm concerned and i'm about women and anybody that feels that way. i can tell you that was not joe biden's intent. i do not believe he would ever do anything that would make someone feel uneasy or uncomfortable. so he's made an apology. i think we should accept that. and by no way should that have exclude him or prevent him from making a decision to run for president. >> i think technically, he hasn't apologized, although he said he thinks it's important that people listen and he's listening. do you think this is disqualifying? do you think if he's the nominee, he could win west virginia?
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>> well, i think joe biden makes a terrific appearance everywhere he goes. he understands working people, coming from scranton, pennsylvania, he understands miners, he understands factory workers, he understands people that have all different types of jobs. joe can talk with the average person with understanding he represents. he has empathy for everyone i've ever been around him. he's had a lot of tragedy in his life and understands the hardship that people go through. i think he would be an absolutely formidable candidate that should be given, based on his commitment, his service, public service, his knowledge of government should be given that type of consideration if he runs. >> all right, democratic senator joe manchin of west virginia, good to see you again, sir. thank you so much zp. >> you too, jake. a mad scramble inside the west wing . and a u.s. fighter jet, a russian missile system that could shoot it down. and the american ally that could soon have both of them.
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i'm ready to close it if i have to close it. if we don't make a deal with congress, the border is going to be closed. a hundred percent. >> president trump warning just a few minutes ago that he is prepared to shut down the border with mexico. and today, a leading automobile industry expert issued a dire warning that the entire industry will collapse within a week if the president shuts down the border, because nearly every carmaker in the u.s. depends upon mexican companies for parts, seat belts, engine components, wiring. will the president carry out this threat? it's a dynamic we've become used to. the president proposes a stark extreme action and in reality tv style, he leaves the world in suspense as to whether he will carry it out.
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cnn's kaitlan collins is back with us from the white house. and kaitlan, sources are now telling you there's a mad scramble inside the west wing to figure out if and when the president follows through on this threat. >> reporter: yeah, there was a sense of panic that started to set in the west wing yesterday, when people realized that the president might be serious about closing the border. and i'm told by sources that aides essentially spent the day huddling, figuring out two things. one, how to convince the president not to close the southern border. and two, if he did, what the logistics of what that were going to be. president trump is being told by multiple advisers that closing the border is just not a good idea. it's not sustainable, it's going to disrupt the economy, and it's going to anger those local officials down there on the border. but the president has pushed back on this, telling them though he thinks the u.s. can actually save money by doing this. and even people like mick mulvaney, his chief of staff, saying that the base will support him if he does this move as they did with the national emergency declaration. now, one of the strategies that we've seen the white house start to take, even the president today in the oval office is to
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shift the blame to congress. aides yesterday were coming up with ways that they could present essentially new immigration laws to congress, including potentially tightening restrictions on asylum seekers, and they want to shift that blame to congress, so then there's not as much blame on the white house and the trump administration when there are those record-breaking immigration numbers. now, jake, as far as closing the border, i'm told the president has not made a final decision, but they do expect him to do so by the time he goes to the border on friday. >> all right, kaitlan collins, thanks so much for that update. let's chew over this with our experts. david urban, take a listen to president trump when he was asked if he was worried about the economic impact of shutting down the border. >> sure, it's going to have a negative impact on the economy. to me, trading is very important, the borders are very important, but security is what is most important. >> the security imperative here, is it actually worth more than damaging the american economy? >> and i think that's what will carry the day.
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>> you said no? >> no, i think that's what ultimately will carry the day. i was watching chris cuomo's show last night and he was interviewing some of the focus down there, some of the patrol agents and saying, look, there's a humanitarian crisis caused by a security crisis. but at the end of the day, you're doing close to $2 trillion worth of commerce across the border. you're not going to have it closed down because of that. the economy has been humming along. the president likes to point to all of these positive numbers with the economy which will quickly go south if the southern border is closed. there's a likelihood of shifting and reallocating resources along the border in places where they need -- you know, there may be some border crossings that aren't having as many people going through to some places there's a shortage, but i don't think you'll see the border closed completely. >> but again, this is the same kind of short-sighted thinking i think we saw with the shutdown, right? as you pointed out in your opening, it's this rash idea that nobody really knew about, scrambling in the white house to try to figure out, you know, what are the implications of
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that. and the implications are, you know, not just around people at the border, but throughout our country, there will be, you know, sort of ramifications in many communities that will have sort of ripping effects. >> the auto industry is shutting down. that's pretty stark. >> yeah. >> $1.7 billion worth of goods flow between the u.s. and mexico daily. take a listen to what president trump said about your party, the democrats. >> congress has to meet quickly. and make a deal. i could do it in 45 minutes. the democrats could change it with one meeting, everybody would agree. but they don't want to change it, because they don't want to give the republicans a victory. i think the democrats -- today i spoke to a couple of them, and all of a sudden, they're changing. >> i don't know who these democrats are, but is it -- is it true at all that democrats could be doing more -- that there is a humanitarian crisis at the border. i mean, according to people down there, it has to do with all of these migrant families coming and declaring asylum, asylum seekers, and there just isn't the room for them in the american system.
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>> that's true. but i think when we've talked about a crisis, there has been kind of different definitions of that. democrats have always defined that as the humanitarian crisis, as you've said, and many republicans, not all, i should say, trump defenders, have kind of twisted the words and made it sound like, you know, there's a crisis, like a national security crisis at the border. so there is a lot more that can be done for these migrants, including, of course, not putting them in cages. including making sure we're fully funding these countries where the root causes and the root problems. that's something i certainly lived through in the obama administration. and you know, it wasn't perfect then, either. but one of the things we knew and people knew who had long served in the state department and department of defense and other national security agencies, if we could address the root causes, we could address it. that's been working. so certainly, democrats support keeping the funding. that's one clear thing that could be done. >> funding for foreign aid to the northern triangle. >> yes. >> it is odd, because there are so many experts in the trump administration, who say that
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that aid to el salvador and honduras, et cetera, is actually helping. it's actually making the countries, it's bringing down the homicide rate in el salvador, which means that there are few peeer people fleeing, a the president is talking about cutting it. >> and that goes to david's point earlier. what he's doing is balancing the security and the need to be clear to his base or offer some sort of, you know, posture of strength to his base that i'm going to shut the border down. and he's balancing that against a potential economic and political crisis. the advisers inside the white house, they have to be on like defcon one now, trying to get as much information before the president about what the ramifications of this closure would be, for him politically, not only economically. and when they close the border down late last year in san diego, just one outpost, it cost about $5 million worth of economic activity, in just a few hours. can you imagine what would happen if it went on for longer. and not only that, the political instability that would come because of the supply chains in
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north america, in the auto industry shutting down. this would not only have an impact on the border, this would have an impact all the way to suburban shopping malls. >> sure. >> around the country. they've got to get that information to the president. and reframe his -- reframe his options on this. >> and there's an interesting theme that keeps recurring in this reporting about mick mulvaney's role in giving political advice, which obviously, you know, i'm not inside the white house, but he is a tea party foreign member of congress, who advised the president to go all the way on health care, to dismantle obamacare, obviously, the bad political choice. he advised him this was the right choice to shut down the border. i mean, that's kind of fascinating. >> he's a member of the president's base. >> so, real quickly, also, just the president is keeping this in the public narrative, you know, this is something they obviously have deemed that's going to be really important to talk about immigration and the border, and every day, it's still dominating the media. >> and we're still talking about it. we're going to take a quick
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of vermont leads the pack, announcing today he raised $18.2 million in the first quarter. that tops the $12 million that california senator kamala harris pulled in for her campaign and the $7 million of south bend indiana mayor pete buttigieg. fund-raising, of course, is not the only measure of a candidate's success, but as cnn's jessica dean now reports, such figures are significant for campaign viability and in terms of the number of contributors. how widespread his or her appeal may be. >> thank you all very much! >> reporter: let the numbers game begin. today, senator bernie sanders announced he raised $18.2 million from 525,000 unique donors since entering the 2020 democratic primary in february. the average contribution, $20. that haul topping two rivals, who released their first quarter totals monday. california senator kamala harris raised $12 million from her 138,000 unique donors. her average donation, $55.
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and south bend, indiana, mayor pete buttigieg brought in $7 million from his 158,550 unique donors. his average donation, about $36. while the full fund-raising picture continues to shape up for democrats, president trump's election bid, which has benefitted from a two-year head start, has raised $130 million so far, spending most of those funds leaving $19 million in the bank. as the money piles up, so do the policy proposals. >> buenos dias! >> reporter: today, former housing and urban development secretary julian castro became the first democratic candidate to unveil a detailed immigration plan. castro proposes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in the united states as well as dreamers. those brought to the u.s. as children. castro would also reverse trump-era policies like the muslim travel ban and funding
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for a wall on the southern border. >> we need to, of course, ensure that we have secure borders, but we need to demonstrate compassion and humanity to the people who are already here, who are undocumented, and people who are seeking asylum. >> reporter: meantime, he's still not an official candidate, but former vice president joe biden continues to find himself in the spotlight, after two women accused him of unwanted touching. biden issued a statement saying it was, quote, never my intention to act inappropriately. house speaker nancy pelosi today addressed the allegations. >> i don't think it's disqualifying. it's important for the vice president and others to understand this. it isn't what you intended, it's how it was received. >> reporter: a source tells me team biden is not denying the seriousness of the moment, but that they are, quote, very much full speed ahead in the process of considering his potential 2020 campaign. jake? >> all right, jessica dean with a nice phillies jacket there, i appreciate that. thank you so much. let's dive into this. first of all, let me just say,
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jen psaki, bernie sanders, of declared candidates, overwhelmingly leading in fund-raising, leading in polls nationally and in key states, the largest number of individual donors and small dollar amounts, i think it's just -- you can't even deny it, he is the democratic presidential fund-raiser, of declared candidates. >> on april 3rd of 2019. >> april 2nd, yes. >> april 2nd of 2019. i also think 20% of his donors were new. and that's an incredibly impressive number, and one that i think exceeds most people's expectations of what would happen here. i think many democrats thought that he hit his high water point in 2016, that he'd come back in the race, be leading in the beginning, and kind of fizzle out. that hasn't happened. there's a reality about the strength of his candidacy, the amount of money he raised, $28 million cash on hand. he's going to be in this through the long haul, no doubt about it. >> can i make one more point to
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you. he has one other asset, too, experience. he's actually run a presidential campaign before. joe biden might get in and he'll have that same experience. but when you're on capitol hill like a lot of these other folks, your worst day up on capitol hill is like every day on a presidential campaign. >> yeah! >> and so when you run for a second time, like, things slow down. you don't sweat, like, a lot of the little bumps that will ultimately come cup during the course of a campaign. and that experience is really another asset that he has. >> and both biden and sanders did not win their campaigns, but sanders came a whole lot closer than biden did. >> i was going to say, just to put the money thing in context, kevin mccarthy, the minority leader, not running for president, raised 23 million bucks first quarter. to put the dollar chase in context. >> for his re-election or for the nrcc. >> for the nrcc. but my point is, he's out. >> the sanders campaign said 99.5% of their donations were
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$100 or less. the average donation, around $20. most donors were younger than 39 years old. those are great numbers for bernie sanders. >> they're fantastic numbers, because those numbers also represent volunteers, they represent voters, they represent people who have their own networks that you can ask them to tap into to bring in more dollars and more volunteers. i think one of the stories, frankly, of this first fund-raising round is that, actually, i think both kamala and mayor pete also had a relatively small size donation, which means these are people you can go back to, more than once or twice, and that's really important, right? because you want to also, as jen pointed out, you want to continue to grow the number of people who are giving, but you also want to make sure that you can continue to get some money out of those original donors. >> they're now investing -- >> they are investing. >> campaigns never run out of reasons to run, they only run out of money. >> right. >> and when you have these small donors you can mine all the way through it, no matter what, no matter who else is winning or trying to consolidate the
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democratic field, bernie sanders is going to have the resources and probably the enthusiasm from these small donors to stay in. >> we should point out, only three of the 16 candidates, democratic candidates have given their fund-raising totals. we're still waiting to hear from beto o'rourke and we still don't know if joe biden is going to run. the campaign manager for senator elizabeth warren said that her campaign has met its fund-raising goal. that's the only information. >> do we put air quotes around that? >> that's called managing expectation zplps a expectations. and the campaign of kirsten gillibrand touting that she's done more public events than any other candidate. what do those statements from those two campaigns say to you? >> that is all about as kevin just said, managing expectations. the only thing that's important, really, about fund-raising numbers at this point is kind of where you fall and what people expect you're going to raise. so, mayor pete, that's big news, because he raised a lot more than people thought he would raise. kirsten gillibrand, i would say, elizabeth warren, even more so. she came into this race as somebody who was perceived as a major front-runner. >> a national figure.
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>> as a major national figure. she was somebody in the democratic party two years ago, she was the person you would go to, to sign off on your email to go out email marketing, to raise money. that's no longer the case. and i think the reason she pulled back from doing high-dollar fund-raisers is because she wasn't having success with that group of people and she could use it as a messaging ploy. so, you know, she's in a tricky place. if she doesn't come close to kamala harris, that's going to be an expectations issue for her. if kirsten gillibrand raises less than mayor pete, that's an expectations issue for her. >> but in fairness, at this point, it is about just raising enough money to get yourself to the first debate, or better yet, the second debate, which happens to be the cnn debate. >> july 30th, watching. >> thank you so much. >> and i fully expect they will. and i think all of those candidates will. >> i want to talk about candidate who has not yet declared but we all expect him to. that is joe biden. today, nancy pelosi talked about these women who have come
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forward and said that he got in their space too much. not -- again, not sexual harassment, not sexual assault, not violence, but invading their space and inappropriate. she said, it's not disqualifying, but she did also say this. >> i do think this about communication in general, beyond -- i'm a member of the straight-arm club. i'm a straight armer. just pretend you have a cold and i have a cold. but i think that it's important for the vice president and others to understand is, it isn't what you intended. it's how it was received. >> what's fascinating about that is, joe biden, even though he hasn't declared, he's still a front-runner and people expect he's going to do well when he comes into race. that's actually, even though she's saying it's not disqualifying and she said a whole lot of really nice stuff about him, that's actually kind of harsh, like in a way, that she was saying like, you know, learn to respect women's boundaries. that's what she said. >> it is. and they -- a lot of these other
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democratic officials all have to say this, right, particularly given the environment. but i think the main thing here is joe biden has made a huge tactical mistake by waiting this long. because what he's done is he's created a void about his reasons for running, how he would run, and having it being a campaign that's much more focused on the substance of what he would do. and instead, it's on his past, on his personality. and a lot of the criticism of his past and his personality. and that is, you know, that -- he needs to get in the conversation and reshape people's views of him, because right now, it's only critics and pundits that are doing it. >> he's bleeding out right now in front of our eyes. every day he's not in talking about issues and they're having these debates about him giving eskimo kisses to campaign staffers and putting hands on people, it's not good for him. >> but it is, i think, for him and his potential campaign to be understanding this is the dynamic that you will enter, that running the presidency -- >> this was always a guarantee. >> but also running for president in 2020 is nothing like 2012.
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i can tell you even just from 2016, it's dramatically different. so can they understand -- and i think that's part of what pelosi was speaking to, right? the way we look at this sort of dynamic, this physical dynamic is different than maybe you might have even ten years ago, right? >> even two years ago. >> even two years ago. >> it's like the daytona 500, they get faster and faster every year. >> can you understand that and can you as a candidate adapt. that's why you've heard me say, i'm not just going to listen. >> and you worked in the obama white house, you were communications director, he was the vice president. what did you think about his touchy-feeliness and did you ever think this day would come that he would be called on it like this? >> i think it's so important that we're having this conversation, because the truth is, i worked around joe biden, the vice president, for ten years. i never worked directly for him. i am certain he kissed me on the back of the head. he would hold my hand in a meeting to make you feel comfortable. >> that's disconcerting. >> it wasn't disconcerting to
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me. and where that was coming from, i remember being nervous in a meeting with the economic team, and he kind of grabbed my hand and said, that's right, that's right. that's his style and that's who he is. that does not take away from the experience of the women. and this is an education for him at his age. and i think it's important we hear from him and i think we will. because he can also be a face for men who think this is okay. and they look at him and -- >> it's not okay, band he needs to get in and defend -- >> i understand, david. but i'm saying, he can be an important voice in this, because he's understanding in realtime that this is not okay. >> all right. everyone, stick around. we have some breaking news. a chinese national is being charged after officials say she illegally entered mar-a-lago and was carrying some really concerning items with her. that breaking story is next. there are people out there who see things others can't. they're the ones who see a city that can make those who live in it feel a little safer. who see cars that can talk to each other
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we have some breaking news for you now. a woman carrying two chinese passports has been charged after she allegedly entered the president's florida country club, mar-a-lago, illegally over the weekend. she was, according to law enforcement, carrying a thumb drive that contains malicious software. and we know president trump was staying at mar-a-lago that day. cnn's jessica schneider is bringing us this breaking story. what are you learning about the incident, jessica? >> well, jake, this woman now charged with false statements to the secret service, as well as gaining unlawful entry into mar-a-lago. this all happened the same weekend that president trump was at his property down in florida in palm beach. we know that it happened at about noon on saturday. we do know that the president was not at the property at that time, between the hours of 9:00
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and 4:30. that's when he was actually at his golf club, trump international. let me run down for you what actually happened, according to this criminal complaint. this woman, we don't know her age, but we know she was carrying two chinese passports. she gained entry through the perimeter of mar-a-lago. she got through the first checkpoint that was guarded by a secret service agent. she said her name. they allowed her entry after thinking that maybe she was a relative of one of the members of the club. but then when she actually got into the reception area of the mar-a-lago club, she was further questioned by a woman at reception. and that woman flagged that something was wrong here. this woman who's been arrested, she said that she was there for an event that wasn't actually happening. well, that's when special agents for the secret service finally intervened and they questioned her. they said that she actually got belligerent and quite angry. and jake, this is what that woman said upon questioning. she said that she claimed that her chinese friend charles told her to travel from shanghai,
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china, to palm beach, florida, to attend this event -- of course, that wasn't happening -- and attempt to speak with a member of the president's family about chinese and american foreign economic relations. so that was her cover story. she was questioned by the secret service. we know that she was arrested. interestingly, jake, she also had several things in her possession. they included a total of four cell phones, one laptop computer, an external hard drive-type device and one thumb drive. so a lot of questions here in this criminal complaint. it's about seven pages. it lays out the timeline of her gaining the entry to mar-a-lago, but we do know it doesn't appear that she was there for very long. they caught on to this pretty quickly. that's when secret service intervened. they questioned her, they detained her, and we know that she had her initial appearance in florida. but again, jake, the president, while he was there at mar-a-lago for the weekend, he was at his golf club at this exact time. jake? >> jessica schneider, thanks. cnn's kaitlan collins is back
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with us from the white house. you've been to mar-a-lago, the president was there on the same day as this incident. it's always seemed to me as an outsider that mar-a-lago is a place that is a little bit more free wheeling than any other place that president trump goes ton on a regular basis in terms of who can get access to them, if they go get access to mar-a-lago. >> right, it's not that easy to get into the club. typically the people who have the simple access to the president when he's there are the people who are members or invited by members to the club. so this notes that this woman came in, went through that secret service checkpoint, which is actually pretty far back from where the club is, and she told them that she was going to the pool, despite the fact that she had a number of devices on her. it's not that easy to get through a secret service checkpoint. typically, you go through a magnetometer, and they separately go through your belongings, check out your laptop, whatever type of devices are in there. that's pretty standard for any type of event you go to that the president is going to be at,
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especially for reporters. but this woman not only got through this checkpoint, but she made it all the way to the receptionist who is the one who figured out that she wasn't on any kind of a list to be invited and what not. now, it is important to note that jessica said that the president wasn't there. he was actually about a ten-minute drive away at his golf club, which he left, i'm looking at the notes, around 9:30 that morning and returned around 10:00, so he wasn't there when this happened, but it does seem pretty striking that this woman got through the security perimeters so easily. >> all right, kaitlan collins, thanks so much. joining me on the phone is cnn law enforcement analyst, jonathan wakro, a former secret service agent. jonathan, first of all, what are your impressions upon hearing about the complaint and this woman apparently had some sort of thumb drive containing malicious malware, according to the secret service. >> yeah, well, actually, jake, that's really concerning to me. and you know, the forensic
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analysis of all of her devices, whether it's the cell phones, the thumb drive, the external drive are going to reveal a lot more information as to her intent for being there. but i think it's important to note and take a step back about, you know, the way that the security program is run at mar-a-lago. the secret service methodology is to operate in concentric rings of protection. so where the individual, she did access the most outer ring. at that point, she was screened for any physical security threats. so guns, explosives, et cetera. so i think it's important to note at no point in time was the president in any danger, whether or not he was there or not. so the physical security threat was reduced. again, i think that the methodology of the concentric rings of protection worked in this instance, because whereas she did get through the first and even up to the second level, which is the reception area, she -- her behavior was so anomalous that it triggered a
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u.s. secret service agent to go and basically conduct a field interview with her. upon that field interview, the agent made a determination that this individual does not belong here, that her statements were misleading, and that she, you know, actually had, you know, tried maliciously to -- with malicious intent to access the property and thus the arrest followed. and so i think in terms of the security planning, everything worked as accordingly. you know, that outer ring is not supposed to protect against national security threats. it's supposed to protect against physical security threats. so now the question is, why was she there? what was the means, opportunity, and intent for her to cause harm? what was, you know, the forensics. what do they look like on the thumb drive, the telephones, et cetera? and we're going to see this, you know, develop shortly. >> thanks, jonathan. really appreciate it. >> thank you. coming up next, many things have changed in the halls of congress, but there is one thing that has stayed the same and
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you might think with a record number of women serving in the house and senate, congress's old ways of doing things would be changing. but a handful of freshman congresswomen say that sexism actually remains alive and well on capitol hill. cnn's sunlen serfaty reports. >> and it's systemic and it has an impact. >> new freshman members of congress are pulling back the curtain on what many see as a pervasive culture of sexism on capitol hill. >> i guess i would say it's archaic system. you say hi to them and they say
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hey, beautiful, or hey, darling, and that's every day. >> reporter: california democrat katie hill revealing a conversation she had with a male member of congress about one-minute speeches on the house floor. he joked to her that he can be a mr. five-minuteman or mr. whatever-minuteman you want. >> and i was like, oh. he needs to know that you can't say that kind of thing. >> reporter: these women say they are confronting what needs to be changed by calling out the old ways directly. >> the only way it can be broken down is as by seeing women as your peers, over and over and over again, and having those kind of behaviors not be accepted. >> reporter: georgia democrat lucy mcbath facing comments from outside the capitol, sexist attacks from this conservative radio show. >> you're there to knock lucy mcbeth back into the kitchen. >> yeah, go back to sewing stuff, and you know, needlepoint and things like that! that'd be great. >> i laughed. i thought, you know, this is just so archaic, these kind of
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sentiments about women. >> reporter: mcbath firing back and raising money off of it online. zpl >> it just fuels the fire for me and for all the numbers of women and grassroots organizers that are women that have been standing up. >> new york democrat alexandria ocasio-cortez, too, has been no stranger to hitting back. when criticism of her work attire spread online like wildfire, within her first few days on capitol hill, she was quick to label pictures being taken of her clothes and backside as misogyny. >> just those little things kind of add up to a larger culture, but i do think that things are different now, because we feel empowered to call it out and say, hey, that's not cool. >> a huge part of that empowerment, their very powerful social media platforms, that these women are weaponizing, as they call out bias. >> highlighting a lot of the stuff that we've been dealing, that hasn't been okay, but we've just been told to grin and bear
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it. >> and all of this comes, of course, in the wake of the me too movement that has just been a wave hitting capitol hill, jake, over the course of the last year. >> sunlen serfaty on capitol hill, thank you so much. our coverage on cnn continues right now. thanks so much for watching. happening now, breaking news. house chairman respond as house democrats push forward with investigations and subpoenas, president trump is personally attacking intelligence committee chairman, adam schiff, and judiciary committee chairman, jerry nadler. i'll speak with both committee leaders this hour. benefit of the dow. in an exclusive interview with cnn, former fbi director james comey said attorney general bill barr deserves the benefit of the doubt for his handling of the mueller report, but questions barr's reasoning on whether president trump obstructed justice. mar-a-lago breach. federal prosecutors charge a woman with illegally entering president trump's mar-a-lago