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tv   The Lead With Jake Tapper  CNN  April 11, 2019 1:00pm-2:00pm PDT

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brook? >> tom foreman, thank you you. i'm brooke baldwin. see you back here tomorrow. in the meantime, "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. from i love wikileaks to i know nothing about wikileaks, "the lead" starts right now. a bearded and blindsided julian assange hauled out of the ecuadorian embassy in london ditd by trump's justice department. facing extradition and now possibly even facing more charges as president trump keeps his distance. then -- it's not every day you hear a president say he's, quote, pleased to hear the attorney general claim there was spying into him and his campaign. we have president trump's interpretation of william barr's confusing testimony. plus -- making moves. two new polls in two key early primary states, and it looks like voters are starting to learn how to say buttigieg.
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welcome to "the lead." i'm jake tapper. wikileaks founder julian assange under arrest in the uk. now he's been charged by the united states. and he's facing extradition. police in london dragged out a disheveled assange. they were invited into the ecuadorian embassy where assange has been hiding out for seven years. suddenly ecuador withdrew its protection of assange. the u.s. justice department has charged him with a charge filed a year ago but kept under seal for a crime that occurred in 2010. authorities are accusing assange of conspiring to crack a password in order to obtain classified government documents. today president trump is claiming he knows, quote, nothing about wikileaks, nothing. he said it's not his thing. but on the campaign trail in 2016 back when wikileaks was
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providing a nonstop stream of stolen documents related to democrats and hillary clinton, well, back then wikileaks was very much his thing. maybe even one of his favorite things. >> this just came out. wikileaks, i love wikileaks. this wikileaks stuff is unbelievable. another one came in today. this wikileaks is like a treasure trove. i love reading those wikileaks. >> today's charge dates back to 2010 but it's worth noting the u.s. intelligence community under obama and under trump concluded that russian military intelligence relayed material to wikileaks in russia's attempt to influence the 2016 election in favor of president trump. assange denies all of that. but as cnn's alex marquardt explains, there could be more charges to come. >> reporter: a dramatic end to julian assange's nearly seven years at the ecuadorian embassy in london. resisting arrest and refusing to come out. he was dragged out by officers. his signature gray hair now long
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in a ponytail. a new bushy beard, shouting at the crowd. assange now faces possible extradition to the united states where he is charged with conspiring to help former intelligence analyst chelsea manning who is now in prison, for breaking into defense department computers and leaking secret documents in 2010. his lawyer claims assange, who started wikileaks, was simply acting as a journalist and is protected under the first amendment. >> this sets a dangerous precedent for all media organizations and journalists in europe and elsewhere around the world. this precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the united states for having published truthful information about the united states. >> reporter: but u.s. prosecutors charge assange's role in the leak went much farther, agreeing to help manning in cracking a password to gain access to the classified information. u.s. officials and assange critics accuse him of putting american national security at risk, as well as threatening
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military forces, diplomats and covert sources. >> the wheels of justice are finally turning. he's never been a hero. he released classified information that put our troops in danger. >> reporter: the justice department says more charges could be on the way. assange has so far not been charged in relation to the russian hacking of the democrats during the 2016 presidential race. a race that saw then-candidate trump publicly praising and encouraging the wikileaks dumps. >> this wikileaks is like a treasure trove. wikileaks, i love wikileaks. >> reporter: today the president singing a different tune. >> do you still love wikileaks? >> i know nothing about wikileaks. it's not my thing. i know nothing really about them. i don't really have any opinion. >> reporter: long time trump friend and associate roger stone is now facing charges of working with wikileaks to gain access to the stolen emails, while coordinating with the trump campaign. today's arrest coming after ecuador decided to revoke his asylum.
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the president accusing assange of hostile and threatening behavior against the country which also says the 47-year-old australian was a terrible guest, even putting feces on the embassy walls. on top of that, jake, ecuador's foreign minister said that assange's mental and physical state were seriously declining. assange was aggressive. he'd ride scooters in the embassy, play soccer indoors and blast loud music late into the night. assange apparently tried to block the embassy security cameras as well, and then install his own. all behavior that only made it far easier for ecuador to kick him out. >> alex marquardt, thanks so much. let's chew over this. phil mud, a former fbi and cia official. what do you make of the news? >> what a complete fraud this is going to be. this is going to be portrayed as a freedom of speech issue. there are legitimate issues related to freedom of speech in this country that go back to the vietnam war and before. note what the indictment says.
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it doesn't talk necessarily about publication of classified material. it talks about hacking with a password into classified websites. so we want to translate hacking into publication of material. would you like it if somebody hacked into your email information and said this is about learning about cnn, but i illegally hacked into jake tapper? let's make no mistake about what wikileaks is going to do. they're going to misportray this as first amendment. this is about hacking. >> they're clearly saying this is a first amendment issue. the lawyers for assange are saying that. the factual allegations against mr. assange boil down to encouraging a source to provide them information and taking efforts to protect the identity of that course. journalists should be deeply troubled by these unprecedented criminal charges. does that argument hold up? >> i'm as much of a shill for our prosecutorial apparatus. >> the charges stand? >> there's a statement of, where
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assange says curious eyes never run dry in my experience. he's expressing a desire to help, but in terms of forming a conspiracy to violate the law, to be honest, this is one step above what we saw donald trump jr. do recently. we didn't charge that. this is the same type of -- >> what did donald trump do? >> with the dirt on hillary clinton. >> it's a desire to assist in the receipt of information, but it's just a little thin. and i think to go through the process of extraditing someone for a statute that carries a five-year maximum, which means that under the sentencing guidelines, it's like 18 minutes in jail, it's just not worth the effort given all of the risk and some of the first amendment issues phil talked about. it's just not a lot here. >> is this like going after al capone on tax evasion charges like they can't get him for what they want to get him on but they go after him for something smaller? >> some of my friends on the
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left who have been defending this guy. i certainly care about the first amendment issues. he's also facing a rape charge. it has really disgusted me how people have tried to make him this hero of getting information out which maybe in the beginning that's how it started, but he was very clear in 2016 about the grudge he had against hillary clinton. those were stolen emails from the dnc. the connections with the russians is something that will be explored. but going all the way back to where we started, he is -- and i just read before we came on the air, the woman who initially charged him with sexual assault in sweden, she would like to reinstate those charges. i hope she gets her day in court. >> he's a rotten guy. i think we're all in agreement about that. and a little creepy and weird and so on. >> and disgusting. >>. >> but creepiness and a grudge are not crimes. >> sexual assault is. >> mary kathryn, glen greenwald summarized a point, if the u.s. can force an arrest and
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extradite foreigners on foreign soil for publishing documents what prevents china or iran for doing the same? obviously it wasn't for publishing documents that is in the charging documents, although that's what people in the u.s. government are mad, about the publication, not just of the hillary clinton documents but the things related to iraq and afghanistan. >> is it next door to that and just the sort of process by which they're going to nail him because they can't nail him for what they want to nail him for. >> i don't like where they include his near sentence as like a experience. he says curious eyes, blah, blah, blah. that's just him talking to a source. my libertarian sensibilities do think that in the beginning wikileaks was something of an interesting anarco libertarian experiment and what information should be out there. but this guy is fairly clearly a bad actor pretty early in about two or three years in maybe. and so i'm not terribly mad about him or manning being in trouble.
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>> can i say one thing in defense of wikileaks. among the material -- among the material that wikileaks published is this 2007 u.s. air strike in iraq that killed a dozen people, including two reuters journalists. we would not know about that if chelsea manning hadn't leaked it and wikileaks hadn't published it. i'm just talking about that one item, not all the actions related to it. but that, i think, is in the public interest to know. >> absolutely. you just hit the nail on the head. this is not about wikileaks and not about an interesting idea that should we expose wrongdoing by sorting through tens of thousands of documents and determining where the u.s. government, for example, did something wrong in an air strike. what this is about, in addition to the indictment is taking masses of information, not bothering to look if that information has stuff in it that might expose a foreign agent to death, and putting it all out there and claiming you're doing it for the public interest. what you're talking about is in
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the public interest. not reviewing tens of thousands of items and saying read them and tell me what you think, that's dangerous. >> a guy that runs wikileaks is almost always going to be a sloppy narcissist and not somebody who is like, let me make sure i get all this correct. there's going to be collateral damage. that's real. >> that's part of what makes this so complicated. you have to separate out this guy is a bad actor, a sloppy narts cyst from what could have been a noble goal to say here's what's in the public interest. that's not what's happening here. i guess the problem that i also have with the role that wikileaks played in 2016 is, i don't think it's okay if you -- maybe it's not illegal. maybe it should be if you have a grudge you take information, you weaponize it to the assistance of a hostile foreign government against a candidate. >> this is exactly why all of this complicated stuff is why the justice department i worked in under eric holder chose not to bring espionage charges. you start getting to the line of criminalizing reporting. i'm not calling wikileaks
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journalists and so on but these are complicated legal issues, and it just starts getting really broad. it's better sometimes just to stay away. rotten, shady sex offender, but -- >> our laws are not keeping up with -- >> it's hard. >> the pace of change and pace of technology. >> that's definitely true. stick harnd. our next guest served twice in the middle east and is a major in the army. how does tulsi gabbard feel about the arrest of julian assange. and joe biden in his own words. where he's side with some hard-core segregationists in the 1970s. stay with us. next thing i know, i hit the ground. completely shattered my pelvis, in the middle of the woods. i called my wife, she thought i was jokin'. i said, "man, i'm not... i'm not." i was so lucky that day... saved my life. (vo) there for you when it matters most. get unlimited on the best network, with apple music included.
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dyou asked for something aground-breaking.avour. something epic. so, we took all our engineering experience... a hundred years-worth of learning from impossible projects all over the planet... the heart and soul of a cat... and found a way to fit it all... ...right through that gate. this could be huge. julian assange arrested in london on charges of conspiracy to hack u.s. government computers which contain classified information. a u.s. official tells cnn more charges could be forthcoming as the justice department awaits extradition of assange. joining me to talk about this, congresswoman tulsi gabbard of hawaii. congresswoman, aloha.
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>> aloha, jake. >> you served two tours of duty in the middle east. currently a major in the army national guard. assange along with chelsea manning spread classified information that prosecutors at manning's trial claimed could have brought harm to u.s. service members in iraq and afghanistan. do you agree with that, and what do you think about assange's extradition and prosecution in the u.s.? >> look, over time there hasn't been any proof that that has been brought to bear and what we have seen is that so much of the information that's been released has informed the american people about actions that were taking place that they should be aware of. it provided transparency around issues both related to civil liberties and actions that our military was taking in the middle east that they should not have been. so, really, i think what's happening here is unfortunately, it is some form of retaliation coming from the government saying, hey, this is what
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happens when you release information that we don't want you to release. and i think that's why this is such a dangerous and slippery slope not only for journalists, not only for those in the media but also for every american that our government can and has the power to kind of lay down the hammer to say be careful, be quiet and fall in line. otherwise, we have the means to be able to come after you. >> so you don't think that he should have been extradited, and you don't support his prosecution in the u.s.? >> i think the charges about hacking, those can and should be worked out in the court of law. my point is that i think there's a bigger issue at play here. there's a reason why the obama administration chose not to extradite and prosecute assange because they understood the danger. they understood the danger of the government coming in and controlling essentially what information is and is not being
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released. we can go back to the release of the pentagon papers as an example. we can look to how the american people have benefited from some of this information being released. so i think we've got to look at it within this larger context here and make sure that we understand what's at stake and actually the danger of what happens when we have people in government, whether it's this administration or a future administration basically saying, hey, look. we can call you. we can call wikileaks a foreign intelligence agency. we can designate them as a foreign asset because they don't like the information being published or the things you are saying. >> he's not being charged with publishing information the government didn't like or classified information. he's being charged with an attempted hack on the u.s. government. i want to ask about something you said in your first answer which was that you thought there
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was transparency in the documents provided by chelsea manning and published by wikileaks and julian assange you thought was healthy. can you be more specific? what's something you think the wikileaks documents revealed that you think was helpful? obviously, in 2016, you notably resigned from the dnc. you were vice chair when there were documents that were released suggesting that there were very hostile forces against bernie sanders within the dnc. is that what you're talking about or talking about something relating to iraq and afghanistan or both? >> i'm actually talking about some of the things released regarding the nsa and overreach into our privacy, our fourth amendment rights being violated because of some of the practices of the nsa and gathering sweeping data on everyday -- on all of us. on americans across this country, whether it's, about you know, the phone calls that we make or other things. these are things that even i as a member of congress were not aware was happening until this
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information was released. and as a result of that, i and others in congress have been able to take action to protect our privacy. to protect our civil liberties and try to shut down these avenues that some of our intelligence agencies have abused and violated our constitutional fourth amendment rights. >> so the edward snowden documents is more what you're referring to? >> right. exactly. but this is the overarching issue that i'm talking about. >> let me ask you because you're running for president, you just recently tweeted that 65,000 individuals have now donated to your campaign. that would mean you'd likely qualify for the democratic debates. how much money did you raise in the first quarter, if you don't mind my asking? >> we'll be releasing those numbers soon. we're gathering all of our information. i just want to say i'm really grateful for all the support we've got from folks in every state across the country who recognize the importance of having our voice on that debate stage. where i'll have the opportunity to bring up some really important issues that are not
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being focused on enough in my view. the issues of why it's so important to end regime change wars, to work to end this new cold war and nuclear arms race, take the trillions of dollars that we're spending on these wars and weapons and invest it into serving the needs, the urgent needs that we, the american people have, here at home. things like health care, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, protecting our environment. investing in education. the needs are great. we need to fix our priorities and get them straight. >> the latest polls find your level of support is at or below 1%. i'm wondering why you think your message is not yet resonating? i recognize it's early. but why -- >> it is early. >> why do you think you haven't caught on yet? >> it's early. it's early. you know, there are different polls that say different things. what we are focused on, what i'm focused on is bringing this important message to the american people about how this
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change, making this change in our foreign policy, ending regime change wars and this nuclear arms race and new cold war is central to every other issue that we care about. every other issue that's being raised. unless we deal with this cost of war and investing the peace dividend that would come about by making this policy change, unless we do that, then we will not have the resources that we need to make sure we have health care for all to make sure that we have the funds to invest in our infrastructure and education and affordable housing and so on. >> democratic presidential candidate tulsi gabbard, always good to see you. it seems everyone but president trump is confused by william barr's claim there was spying on the trump campaign in 2016. that's next.
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the question is, what exactly did the attorney general mean when he said spying? did he mean lawful, court-approved surveillance? did he mean unauthorized, illegal surveillance? the confusion has democrats on the hill furious and fuming accusing barr of bolstering a right wing conspiracy theory. abby phillip has more on the fallout over barr's testimony. >> i think what he said was absolutely true. >> reporter: president trump today latching on to comments by his attorney general that the fbi and other intelligence agencies under president obama may have spied on his campaign. >> it was absolutely spying into my campaign. >> reporter: trump the comments coming after william barr told lawmakers he will investigate the origins of the probe into russian meddling. >> i think spying did occur, yes. >> reporter: something trump says is way past due. >> i'll go a step further. in my opinion it was illegal spying, unprecedented spying,
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and something that should never be allowed to happen in our country again. >> reporter: breathing new life into trump's assertion that the probe was a witch hunt. >> hard to believe it could have happened, but it did. >> reporter: and while barr declined to provide any concrete evidence -- >> i believe there is a basis for my concern, but i'm not going to discuss the basis. >> reporter: he added to the confusion by later backing off the word spying. >> i want to give you a chance to rephrase something you said because i think when the attorney general of the united states uses the word spy, it's rather provocative. and in my view, unnecessarily inflammatory. >> i'm not sure of all the connotations of that word that you're referring to, but unauthorized surveillance. i'm going to make sure there was no unauthorized surveillance. >> reporter: on capitol hill, democrats are furious. >> let me just say how very, very dismaying and disappointing that the chief law enforcement
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officer of our country is going off the rails. >> reporter: and accusing barr of doing trump's bidding. >> the president wanted his own roy cohn and apparently has one, but it's deeply concerning. >> reporter: barr also said yesterday he wasn't going to redact the robert mueller report for any information that may be personally damaging to president trump. i asked president trump whether he was concerned about that today. and he said he wasn't. he went on to call the investigation treasonist. jake? >> abby phillip, thanks so much. so there's some confusion here. we're joined by jamal simmons and amanda carpenter. barr said, quote, spying did occur. yes, i think spying did occur. he also said i want to make sure there was no unauthorized surveillance. so i think it's still kind of up in the air, what did he mean when he said spying bid occur. what do you think he meant? >> was he trying, to as we -- as the piece suggested, buy into or
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give a little credence to the conspiracy theories, maybe a little red meat for trump for being good for not tweeting the first weekend that the mueller report was supposedly out. or is it that barr is not understanding -- this is a very different time than the last fin time he was attorney general in terms of social media and the connotations. he even said i'm not sure of all the connotations which made me wonder, does he understand the weight of what he's saying that we think of spying in a very different way than the vietnam era, which i would argue is all the morn reason if you are thinking about vietnam to make the report public. >> take a listen to james comey when trump was running for office during that period. listen to his reaction to barr's comments. >> with respect to barr's comments, i really don't know what he's talking about when he talks about spying on the campaign. it's concerning because the fbi, the department of justice conduct court-ordered electronic
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surveillance. i have never thought of that as spying. >> i think that barr is talking about whatever donald trump wants him to be talking about. it just feels like he was told to use the word spying and he was looking for a way to work it into the conversation that was sort of, you know, inoffensive and then got called on it and his initial reaction was, well, well, i guess -- yeah, okay. there was spying and listening. then when he got called the second time, he backed up into the surveillance point. it just feels like he's -- the thing is happening to him that happens to everybody that goes in this administration is responsible which is the president sort of walks you out on a pier and leaves you there. >> spying, surveillance, tomato, tomato. this wouldn't be the first time a trump appointee has looked into conspiracy therapy. when mike pompeo was cia director, he took a meeting with someone that claimed the dnc
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hacking was an inside job. maybe sometimes you have to do stuff to make your boss happy. but barr is being very deliberate, very careful. he's saying spying did occur. surveillance did occur. we already know that. they released the fisa memo of carter page. we know what happened to papadopoulos and manafort because court documents told us so. if they want to go back over that, go ahead. even barr said in his testimony there may have been adequate legalal avenues -- >> what about surveillance instead of spying. >> because they're synonyms. if you're going to the fisa court and you're surveilling someone without their knowledge, you are spying on them. whether it is authorized or not. the question is, whether this was appropriate. now i have always been more than willing to be convinced there was enough there, there that they needed to get this warrant specifically for carter page, but the bar should be extremely high for using fisa court warrants to go after american
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citizens, and the doj inspector general is already doing investigation into this to determine whether that was the case. which i think is good for all private american citizens who would like not to be spied on if there is not good cause. and i am not interested in pretending that words don't mean what they mean just because trump uses them sometimes. and spy means this. i'm sorry. it does. >> but that's not the world we're living in. trump uses certain words very deliberately to -- as dog whistles, to send signals to the alt-right. >> so spy doesn't mean what it means anymore? >> it may mean it to us, but -- >> i was very capable of explaining the difference. >> does spy mean authorized or unauthorized? >> i think it means both. we're now determining whether this was appropriate or not. >> so it means surveillance and now -- >> when you are surveilling a person without their knowledge, you are spying on them, yes. >> democrats not happy with your explanation or that type of explanation. >> it's just words. >> take a listen to some of the
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democrats starting with senator joe manchin of west virginia. >> i think that was a horrible choice of language. and it was a horrible statement to come from our attorney general. >> barr opens his mouth, trump's words come popping out. >> for an attorney general to just blurt out something as serious as spying by our own government on -- without due process is a very serious accusation. >> and here's the thing, you know, that i would challenge you on. he also referenced the vietnam era and spying and the connotation that it had back then. and that was a time, i'm old enough to remember the initial post-vietnam era, spying was a very negative, bad thing. and it meant that you were surveilling americans without any kind of the proper -- having gone through any proper channels. >> for political reasons. >> surveilling americans is indeed a very large and scary deal. i agree with you on that. and it remains one now just as it was then.
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>> there was a difference between -- again, in using the word spying, he was trying to throw a negative connotation on -- >> there's a negative connotation on spying on american citizens. >> one other thing i want to bring up. if you follow president trump on twitter, you might have seen him celebrating this, which is a fox business graphic that shows his approval rating at 55%. here's the problem. that's incorrect. that's his unfavorable rating from that poll. that poll found his favorable rating was 41%. fox business has issued an on-air correction. the president has not deleted that tweet. coming up -- one 2020 candidate went from long shot to the top tier. the two key polls in the top states, next. 3-point rib bloom, topped with cheese fries and barbecue ribs. and if you want outback at home, order now! so, every day, we put our latest technology and unrivaled network to work.
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the 2020 lead. let the countdown begin. 297 days on the calendar until the iowa caucused. a new monmouth university poll shows former vice president joe biden who hasn't even declared with 27%. that's a double-digit lead over senator bernie sanders. 16%. in third place with 9% is south bend, indiana, mayor pete buttigieg. kamala harris and elizabeth warren rounding it out. pete buttigieg has come out of nee nowhere in the last polls. last month he barely cracked 1%. now he's way up in the number three spot in iowa. where is the momentum coming from? is he soaking up the beto buzz? what beto o'rourke thought he was going to have? >> it's yet to be seen what happens to beto in this contest, but i think mayor pete is doing something nobody expected.
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he is the youngest person in the race, yet he often sounds like the most mature person running for president. he talks about things from values perspective, even when you feel like he doesn't know the entire answer. he's saying things democrats can relate to because he's talking about it from his values. and i think people are responding to that. i've been getting phone calls from people who are not in washington who don't pay attention to politics asking me, is mayor pete real? and so i think that he has something that's not just an inside the beltway. >> it's not just iowa. buttigieg made the top five in a brand-new new hampshire poll out today. so far there hasn't been any damaging headlines out on mayor pete. are the knives going to start coming out, now that he's rising in the polls? >> i'm sure people will try. and you know, all the politeness on the surface. you know underneath there's plenty of opposition research from one campaign being sent around against the other. the thing about mayor pete, i'm not surprised to see him doing so well. a lot of people forget he ran to
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be the chair of the dnc about two years ago. and people were blown away by him. he came in at the last moment and a lot of people thought if he started his candidacy early, he may have end uppd u end uppe chair. he was a rising star and had something special akin to the way we saw barack obama early on. that's going to upset -- i'm not saying he's barack obama. i'm just suggesting -- >> or jimmy carter. >> he's been surprising to people. and fresh. >> i just think it's so incredible that he has the ability to put anyone who comes with his presence into a trance. we've never heard someone talk so elkwenoquently or from value. life is good from mayor pete. he is running a very effective media strategy. he's putting himself out there. i read about him in the cut. learned what kind of socks he likes. his team is being creative. where there's a mismatch, there's not a grassroots movement to match that greenroom appeal.
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so that's where the fighting might come in. >> this is where raising money, and he raised a fair amount of money. >> third place, yeah. >> this is where raising money helps because now he can go out and hire the staff he didn't have. i talked to people in iowa who said two weeks ago he didn't really have people on the ground who knew what they were doing. i wonder if that's changed in the last couple of days. >> what about the fact both of these polls, new hampshire and iowa, showed joe biden in the lead, even though he hasn't declared? both of these polls were taken after this round of allegations from women that he makes some women feel uncomfortable, a little too touchy-feely. did democrats not care about that? not enough? >> i think they're willing to make peace with it. this is not an allegation of sexual assault, per se, which would be a different ball game. many of willing to forgive those on their side versus those on another side when it comes to the political allegations. i also think, as i always say, note of caution for democrats, it really matters that he's at the top. i was looking back at polling from june 2015 right after trump pops the top a little bit, right
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after he announced. and everybody was like, don't get too excited. it's just name i.d. this isn't going to last. and then around august, when it really started snowballing for trump and he started taking the lead, what was his percentage? 23% of the field, which is right about where biden sits right now. >> and the democratic primary, it's a little different. >> only three times a person leading at this point actually won the nomination. walter mondale in '84, al gore in 20000, hillary clinton in 2016. >> you can win with 23%. >> elizabeth warren rolled out a plan to tax big corporations that use loopholes. amazon shouldn't be able to get away with paying zero dollars in federal corporate income taxes. her line of attack sounds a bit like someone else in the 2020 race. take a listen. >> so that amazon doesn't pay taxes so that amazon doesn't get accused of mopalistic practices
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because, frankly, they're putting all the retailers out of business. >> what's the difference? >> the difference is elizabeth warren is proposing doing something about it. but there's that same populism. >> just because trump said it doesn't mean that it's wrong. these are some big companies that are having a chilling effect when you talk to people in silicon valley who are worried about the fact the small mom and pop, you know, entrepreneur, building something in the garage might have a tough time breaking through with google and facebook and amazon. so elizabeth warren has a theory about what she wants to do on the economy. one of the few candidates who does have one and a strategy about what to do. >> i think also she's smart in that, this is her sweet spot. this is how she became the darling of the democratic party. talking about basic economic fairness and fairness in general. that's been part of her message to the black community. so it has broader appeal. >> former vice president joe biden has run for president twice before, unsuccessfully. he's never before been the
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front-runner. now that he is towering over all the other declared democratic candidates, his almost five decades in public life are getting scrutiny. his record on civil rights during his younger days as a senator. jeff zeleny has exclusively obtained some letters written by biden himself. >> everybody asked, what kind of democrat. i'm an obama/biden democrat. >> reporter: after eight years longside president obama -- joe biden is coming back as a solo act. >> i'm ready to go. >> reporter: with his long record facing a new look under the spotlight of the 2020 campaign. >> gentlemen and ladies of the senate. >> reporter: one chapter receiving fresh scrutiny comes from his earliest years in the senate when he opposed mandatory school bussing. designed to achieve integration in a more equitable education. it was the mid-1970s. he favored desegregation but not through bussing. what's less known is how he followed the lead of some of the
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most federal reserrvent segrega. it comes into sharper focus. on march 25th, 1977, biden wrote, my bill strikes at the heart of the injustice of court-ordered bussing. it prohibits the federal courts from disrupting our educational system. biden sought and received support from mississippi senator james eastland, the democratic chairman of the judiciary committee and a leading symbol of southern resistance to desegregation. he spoke of blacks as, quote, an inferior race. biden reflected on that era earlier this year. >> there were a bunch of racists. there was james o. east, strom thurmond and so on. there were nine guys who were in the caucus that were, you know, i ran against in the civil rights movement. >> but he did not see that eastland and others were partners on several of biden's anti-bussing bills. on june 30th he wrote, dear mr. chairman, i very much appreciate your help during this week's
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committee meeting in attempting to bring my anti-bussing legislation to a vote. in 1978, biden again asked eastland to put his anti-bussing bill before the full senate. your participation in floor debate would be welcome. four decades later, biden stands by his opposition to bussing, arguing it did not address institutional racism. most bussing programs in america were later abandoned. after bringing more hardship than equal opportunity to all students. biden's spokesman telling cnn joe biden is today and has been for more than 40 years in public life one of the strongest and most powerful voices for civil rights in america. ronnie dunn is a professor at cleveland state university who wrote "boycotts, bussing and beyond." he says biden's opposition to bussing is not disqualifying but warrants explanation. >> those letters i find somewhat surprising given senator biden's or vice president biden's current position and potential candidacy for the presidency.
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and his position as a liberal. those are issues that he's obviously going to have to answer for. >> you said surprising. surprising in what way? >> well, the fact that he would solicit the support of staunch segregationists, james eastland and jesse helms, introducing legislation as opposing bussing at that time. >> so the question facing biden is how he reconciles a half century in public life with today's democratic party. of course, jake, one of his biggest pieces of experience is that experience and long record. that also is one of his biggest challenges. >> jeff zeleny, thank you. tune in to cnn tonight for a town hall with julian castro. don lemon will host it at 10:00 p.m. eastern. one area where the united states is falling behind other countries, and it could impact every american.
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and snoring? how smart is that? smarter sleep. so you can come out swinging, maintain your inner focus, and wake up rested and ready for anything. sleep number is ranked #1 in customer satisfaction with mattresses by j. d. power. save $400 on select sleep number 360 smart beds. only for a limited time. in our health lead today, did you know the life expectancy in the united states is going down? in most developed countries, that's a figure that goes up every year. what are these other nations doing that the united states is not? cnn's chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta went to find out. >> my grandfather died very young of a heart attack. and my father had heart surgery when he was very young.
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my father and grandfather, i think, unwittingly really motivated me. we know there's remarkable things happening all over the world that can help us live longer, better, happier, more productive lives. >> i felt like the needle is almost to the bone. thought i was in pretty good shape. this takes it to a whole different level. >> is this what helps you live long? >> i can be arrested in the states for doing what i'm about to do. >> can i work here? >> i would work here. >> chasing life is an opportunity for us to travel the world looking for extraordinary health practices. experiencing them ourselves, that's my job. that's "chasing life" to find those things and bring them back. >> and dr. sanjay gupta joins me now. what did you learn about heart disease? >> well, i learned that there's this indigenous tribe in the middle of the amazon rain forest, jake, that doesn't have
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a health care system and they basically have no evidence of heart disease. very little evidence of heart disease at least. in the united states we spend about a billion dollars a day on heart disease. and somehow there's these cultures and communities around the world that with very few resources can do what we've been unable to do in this country. so that was pretty remarkable. >> how does that tribe ultimately keep their hearts healthy? >> that's the question. >> i want to know. >> part of it is the diet is, farmer/gatherers. they eat a lot of food that comes from the ground. 70% of their diet is carbs. they're active but not intensely active. about 17,000 steps a day they walk but they hardly ever sit. the human body wasn't designed to sit or lie for 23 hours a day and then go to the gym for an hour. they rest a lot because they don't stare at devices all night. and one of the big secret ingredients is that many of them live with some degree of infecti infection. they just live in the
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environment. and sometimes cohabitating with these parasites can sort of buffer our immune system. so one of the lessons that came out of a place like that, sometimes our self-imposed hygienic bubbles we live in in the pursuit of good health, may be doing more harm than good. so they don't have any -- hardly any evidence of heart disease and heart disease remains the biggest killer in the united states despite all our evidence. there were important lessons in there. >> what else did you learn? it sounds incredible. >> you talk about the united states being the only country that's gone down in life expectancy. other countries are very similar to the united states. similar social systems and financial systems, economic pressures, labor force pressures. so why do they continue to go up in life expectancy when we don't? what do they have we don't? one thing that comes up a lot is social cohesion. investing in social fabric and the safety net. that makes a difference not just for physical health but mental and emotional health as well.
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>> sounds incredible. congratulations on the new show. "chasing life with dr. sanjay gupta" premieres this saturday at 9:00 p.m. on cnn. follow me on facebook and twitter. tweet the show @thelead. our coverage continues on cnn right now. thanks so much for watching. happening now, wikileaks founder julian assange is dragged out of the london embassy where he'd taken refuge for years. he faces extradition to the u.s. where he's charged with conspiring to hack military secrets. are more charges ahead? i know nothing. president trump praised wikileaks dozens of times when it was publishing stolen democratic emails during his campaign. now he says i know nothing about wikileaks. backing barr. the president says he's pleased with attorney general william barr for saying there was spying on the trump campaign. but democrats are furious and some key republicans take issue with barr's remarks. and