A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, October 13, 2019 on ABC News is below. This copy may not be in its final form, may be updated and may contain minor transcription errors. For previous show transcripts, visit the "This Week" transcript archive.
ANNOUNCER: THIS WEEK with George Stephanopoulos starts right now.
JONATHAN KARL, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Delay and deny.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: How many people can they talk to?
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We are determined to find the answers.
KARL: Democrats issued nearly a dozen subpoenas as the White House stonewalls the impeachment inquiry. The president's personal lawyers now part of a growing investigation as a key witness defies the White House and testifies before Congress. Just a handful of lawmakers were in the room. We'll talk to two of them live. And --
TRUMP: I campaigned on ending endless wars.
KARL: President Trump pulls troops from Syria’s border, abandoning Kurdish allies, who are now under attack from Turkey. The region has been thrust into chaos. Is the president damaging America's credibility? Plus President Trump claims a big breakthrough with China. Is it real? We'll talk to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. And -- You ready for the debate? You ready to get back out there? Bernie Sanders on his health scare, the campaign and a little baseball. All in our exclusive interview this morning.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News it's THIS WEEK. Here now, Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.
KARL: Good morning and welcome to THIS WEEK. From the impeachment inquiry to a possible breakthrough with China, there is a lot to get to this morning. But first we turn to the breaking news out of Syria. A senior U.S. official tells ABC News at least 23 ISIS prisoners are believed to have escaped since Turkey began its military offensive against the Kurds in Syria last week. Over 200,000 people have been displaced. And civilians in Northern Syria are now going to U.S. bases seeking protection. It's a crisis that began after President Trump announced he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria's border. ABC News senior foreign correspondent Ian Pannell is on the ground in Northern Syria and joins us with the latest. Ian?
IAN PANNELL, SENIOR FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: Yes, good morning, Jon. Fast moving events here in Syria, particularly this morning. Two key events that we have to bring you up to date on. One is this breakout of ISIS brides from this refugee camp just south of here. We now believe that there were over 250 ISIS brides together with their families. That’s 700 people who broke out of a camp in an area called Ain Issa. Now, U.S. troops were based in the area. We now understand that Turkish-backed radical Islamist militants are also in that area and we’re hearing that U.S. troops have now withdrawn from that particular site. This of course will raise key questions about the future face of the U.S. mission inside Syria. The president has said that he believes that ISIS has been defeated. But the reality on the ground is that the U.S. forces together with the SDF have been working together to try and defeat ISIS, and that battle still goes on, but it’s overtaken by events with Turkey now invading. And this leads to the broader consequences, the unintended but predictable consequences of that decision to pull back U.S. troops that then led to the Turkish invasion. We're seeing a number of events. The ISIS brides have obviously left, we’ve seen ISIS prisoners flee their jails, the possibility of ISIS reemerging, we’ve got hundreds of thousands of people now on the move, and the consequences for U.N. -- U.S. foreign policy and its relationship and its status here in the Middle East is pretty disastrous. Jon?
KARL: All right, Ian Pannell on the ground in Syria. Thank you, Ian. Joining us now, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. So Secretary Mnuchin, you announced Friday that you now have the authority to impose sanctions on Turkey for what we're seeing unfold. Given that we've already seen 100,000 people reportedly displaced, these ISIS prisoners out, set loose, execution of some of America's Kurdish allies, what -- what -- what's the hold up? Why don't you just impose these sanctions?
MNUCHIN: Well let me just say, this is a complicated developing situation on one hand, fighting against the Kurds who are helping us with the fight against ISIS. We are in daily communications with Turkey, both at the Defense Department, the State Department on very specific issues. We are ready to go on a moment’s notice to put on sanctions. And as I’ve said, these sanctions could be starting small, they could be maximum pressure, which would destroy the Turkish economy. So the president is very focused on this, he’s offered to mediate this situation. It is a developing situation.
KARL: But -- but what are you waiting for? Look at what we’ve just seen on the ground this is a rapidly deteriorating situation.
MNUCHIN: Well you are correct, it is moving quickly. We will be meeting at the NSC today, again to monitor the situation. We’ll be taking in new information and we’re ready to go at a moment’s notice to put on sanctions. Now, we have warned the Turks. I spoke to the finance minister on Friday, the State Department has also had conversations -- they know what we will do if they don’t stop these activities.
KARL: They don’t seem to be listening to those warnings. Do we have an obligation -- does the United States have an obligation to defend U.S. allies -- the Kurds who have fought with us against ISIS?
MNUCHIN: Well let me just, again, explain U.S. allies.
KARL: I understand Turkey’s in the NATO --
MNUCHIN: They like this or not, Turkey is -- Turkey is a NATO ally. So you know, our traditional major alliance is NATO. We have two people that we have support with who are fighting against each other. The president has also said --
KARL: Well one has invaded the other, to be clear.
MNUCHIN: He wants -- he wants to get these troops out of Syria, and determined to get out of these long-standing wars. And we’re being very clear with Turkey what’s going on. The president was very clear on making sure that ISIS prisoners are not escaping, as I’ve seen you’re reporting, this is obviously a big issue we are on top of.
KARL: So let’s take a look at what Lindsey Graham just had to say about this. He tells AXIOS, “I think he,” the president, “is putting the nation at risk. If I hear the president say one more time, ‘I made a campaign promise to get out of Syria’, I’m going to throw up.” Your reaction?
MNUCHIN: Well I like Lindsey Graham a lot, I respect Lindsey -- Lindsey and the president are close. This is obviously an issue that they don’t agree on, and again these are complicated issues. You can’t have one minute soundbytes -- I can assure you the president and the national security staff are on top of this situation, our number one issue is making sure that ISIS is defeated, and we will make sure that occurs.
KARL: And Lindsey Graham and others, bipartisan really reaction to the sanctions -- or the proposed sanctions you announced, they’re saying this is simply not enough. Here’s what Graham said on that, “we are witnessing ethnic cleansing in Syria by Turkey. The destruction of a reliable ally in the Kurds and the reemergence of ISIS. The conditional sanctions announced today,” the sanctions you announced, “will be viewed by Turkey as a tepid response and will embolden Erdogan even more.”
MNUCHIN: Well let me explain, this is a multistep process. The first was making sure we have the proper authorizations. If we go to maximum pressure, which we have the right to do -- at a moment’s notice the president calls me up and tells me -- we will do this. We could shut down all U.S. dollar transactions with the entire government of Turkey, if we --
KARL: Is that something you may do?
MNUCHIN: That is something we may do, absolutely. There is that full authority with the E.O. and that is something at a moment’s notice the president can tell me to do.
KARL: OK, I want to have you explain something to me that the president said about this this week, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now the Kurds are fighting for their land, just so you understand. They’re fighting for their land, and as somebody wrote in a very, very powerful article today they didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy as an example.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: So what is he talking about? I mean, why would -- first the Kurds obviously don’t have a state -- didn’t have a state back then, why did he expect the Kurds would have been on Omaha Beach with --
MNUCHIN: No, but I think --
KARL: What’s he saying?
MNUCHIN: I think the analogy that everybody’s saying is we’re abandoning the Kurds like the Kurds are these long standing allies. Our -- our role in Syria was not to defend land for the Kurds in historical issues. Our focus was to defeat ISIS so you have a longstanding conflict between people that have been helping us with ISIS and Turkey which is a NATO ally. So I don’t think this is as simple as, this isn’t Russia attacking the Kurds -- this is a NATO ally. And again, we’ve put them on warning, the president has authorized me to effectively shut down the entire Turkey economy and we can do that at a moment’s notice, on his command.
KARL: So let me ask you on China, the president announced what he called a phase one deal with the Chinese, went on to say it could be the largest deal ever. It’s obviously not a done deal yet, do you think this actually happens by next month as he suggested?
MNUCHIN: Well we have a lot of work to do, but I am confident that both sides are going to work very hard and anticipate we will be closing this. And phase one includes very substantial issues. I think people originally thought oh this was just going to be about agriculture purchases. There are multiple chapters -- the intellectual property rights chapter will be included in its entirety. Financial services which are very important to U.S. companies, foreign exchange chapter, agricultural structural issues which isn’t just selling things --
KARL: Not just buying soybeans, clearly --
MNUCHIN: This isn’t just buying soybeans. These are structural issues around biotech and other things at the Agricultural Department for years and an enforcement chapter. Now, along with it, it includes substantial purchases of agriculture and other issues. Forty to $50 billion, as the president has said. I hope our farmers can deliver this, it is a gigantic amount.
KARL: So, one last question on China before you go. I want to play you something the president said last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: China should start an investigation into the Biden's, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with -- with Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Could you just settle something for me, because some of the president's allies have suggested he was joking there, that he wasn't being serious. Was he serious? Does he think that China should investigate the Bidens?
MNUCHIN: I can't comment on whether he was serious or not, but what I can comment on is that, one, we have never had any discussions in the trade meetings, the president has -- have never had --
KARL: The Bidens have never come up?
MNUCHIN: -- any discussions with us. That's absolutely correct. And in the Oval Office, when the president was asked about this in front of the Vice Premier, the president made very clear, they can do what they want. So, again, people who are trying to imply that the president is asking for things or quid pro quos, I think this is ridiculous.
KARL: OK, Secretary Mnuchin, thank you for coming in to talk to us.
MNUCHIN: Thank you.
KARL: I really appreciate it. Coming up, two key members of Congress face off on the latest developments in the impeachment inquiry. And later, my conversation with Senator Bernie Sanders, and how for the first time he is taking on Elizabeth Warren.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT) 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are differences between Elizabeth and myself, while Elizabeth, I think as you know, has said that she is a capitalist through her bones. I'm not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A vote in the full House and the vote were to authorize, would you -- would you cooperate?
TRUMP: Well, we would if they give us our rights.
REP. JOHN GARAMENDI, (D-CA): I do think that it’s time for us to put a vote on the floor, a resolution for the inquiry. They want a fight, OK. Then let’s -- let us arm ourselves completely and totally with the full power of Congress.
KARL: President Trump and Democrat John Garamendi weigh in on whether the House should formal vote to start the impeachment inquiry. I’m joined now by Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin of the Foreign Affairs Committee and Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Himes, let’s start with you. We heard from Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, somebody who testified or talked to -- to your committee despite the fact that the White House and the administration had ordered her not to do so. Tell us how important is she to this inquiry?
REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): Well, she’s very important to one of the parts of this inquiry. Of course a part from the president holding up aide to Ukraine, expecting to get a commitment that there would be an investigation of his political opponent, you know the moving of that transcript to the secret server. The third piece of this that is deeply concerning is a United States Ambassador who mere weeks after she was asked to extend her tour for a month -- for a year is then summarily told to get on the next plan back to Washington and then removed from her post for what appears to be Giuliani’s effort with his various minions to achieve whatever aims Giuliani was trying to achieve Ukraine. This had, of course, nothing to do with the United States foreign policy interest or national security interest. It had to do with the President’s personal interest and Rudy Giuliani’s interest. So she was very, very important because she is an example of abusing the American public trust in favor of narrow objectives.
KARL: Congressman, let me ask you though, why is all of this happening behind closed doors? Why the secrecy? This was not a classified deposition. Why not do this out in the open?
HIMES: Well, so first of all, all transcripts will eventually be scrubbed for classified information and made available for the American public to see. But there’s two reasons why these depositions are happening behind closed doors. One reason is that when you’re talking to ambassadors and other U.S. government officials who have regularly had access to classified information, you need to be able to talk about that information and then go back and say hey, this conversation has to be redacted because it involves classified information. That’s the most important reason. The second reason for this is that when you’re interviewing people who are around the president, political supporters of the president, you don’t want them to be able to look at each other’s testimony in order to coordinate testimony. These are a group of people who have shown that they have no problem what so ever lying if they think it serves their interest. And so you don’t want to give them the opportunity to look at what they are saying and -- and therefore coordinate their stories.
KARL: But -- but this is an impeachment inquiry. There’s so much at stake here. Why shouldn’t the president, why shouldn’t the White House have a representative in there able to cross examine these witnesses?
HIMES: Well I -- John, that’s not the way this process works, right. And I understand that’s the Republican line because they can’t defend the president’s behavior and won’t defend the president’s behavior they’re trying to throw up all this procedural stuff. The reality is that what happens in the House is akin to a -- an indictment. Right. The trial happens in the Senate and in the Senate there are opposing parties with the right to cross examining -- to cross examine witnesses. The Supreme Court chief justice presides over that trial-like proceeding. Impeachment is more akin to a grand jury indictment, and in a grand jury indictment, it happens behind closed doors, there aren’t cross-examinations, evidence is presented. So this -- what -- what you’re -- the question you’re asking is what the Republicans are incorrectly saying should be occurring. The trial happens in the Senate --
KARL: But -- but -- but Congressman, this much is entirely true. In the -- in the previous impeachment inquiries, with Richard Nixon, with Bill Clinton, the House did hold a vote, there were rights that were afforded to the -- to the president's side and -- and -- and to the minority party. Why don’t you go forward and hold a vote to formally launch this -- this -- this impeachment inquiry and get the entire House on the record?
HIMES: Yes, and -- and -- and we may. Remember, again, there's no requirement that that occur. The Republicans sort of want --
KARL: But that's the way it's been done.
HIMES: -- want people to believe that that's true. Well, twice in our history when we’ve actually had impeachment inquires.
KARL: Three times, if you count Johnson.
HIMES: -- but you know, we’ve done impeachment -- OK. You know, we’ve regularly impeached federal judges, impeached other officials without a vote on the floor. I don't much care about the vote on the floor. Look, if there's a vote on the floor, I’ll vote for it. The point is that it's not required under the rules and there is absolutely no right being denied to the Republicans. When we interviewed the ambassador and interview anybody else, the Republicans get exactly equal time to ask their questions, their accounts will ask the questions, and if there is a trial in the Senate, they will be afforded all of the other due process that -- that they have and will always be entitled to. So this idea that the process is somehow not -- is not fair is just a fiction designed to avoid the question of whether the conduct of the president is good or not.
KARL: Just to be clear before you go, so you would be OK seeing a vote -- a formal vote on the floor of the House?
HIMES: I would be OK seeing a formal -- look, my own opinion is we ought to just take this off the table --
KARL: The vote .
HIMES: -- because it's such a non-issue. And there's no doubt in my mind, that of course, if Nancy Pelosi does that, that she will have the votes and that will pass. But it’s not required.
KARL: All right. Congressman Himes, thank you for joining us. Appreciate it.
HIMES: Thank you, Jon.
KARL: So Congressman Zeldin, let me get to you. A lot of your Republican colleagues have had a hard time answering a very simple question. Do you believe that it was appropriate for President Trump to ask the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden? Do you think that was an appropriate request?
REP. LEE ZELDIN (R-NY): I absolutely believe that our countries should be working together to get to the bottom of what happened, whether it's Burisma, it’s Joe Biden, it’s Zlochevsky, it’s Hunter Biden, that there shouldn't be an immunity from scrutiny just because Joe Biden is running for president.
KARL: Well we're not talking about immunity from -- so let me -- so would you -- would you ask a foreign leader to investigate one of your political opponents?
ZELDIN: Well you have to answer in this particular -- I haven't but in this particular case, the threshold question is what did Burisma, Zlochevsky, Joe Biden and Hunter Biden do? And in this case, I have a huge issue with the fact that Hunter Biden, with no energy experience, with no Ukraine experience gets paid at least $50,000 a month from a corrupt company run by a corrupt oligarch solely because he is the vice president's son. The vice president, who literally was the most conflicted guy out in the Obama administration --
KARL: And -- and this issue’s been raised, it was raised before the president brought it up, but again, it’s about the president going to a -- a foreign leader and asking them to investigate a -- a rival. How --
ZELDIN There is -- I -- I am also --
KARL: That's OK?
ZELDIN: -- just like -- just like President Trump, I am greatly concerned by that arrangement. It is either illegal or it should be illegal, what they did. We might have a policy conversation --
KARL: The president’s -- the president's request of great concern?
ZELDIN: No, I -- I believe that we should be working with our governments with regards to these allegations, with regards to Burisma, which has been corrupt for a long time with regards to this oligarch the fact that they would hire Hunter Biden, the fact that Joe Biden would be selected to run point to be in charge of the grants to Ukraine, be in charge of the loans and so much more, and then go to Ukraine and threaten to withhold $1 billion from Ukraine unless they immediately fire the state prosecutor, who by the way, happened to be investigating Burisma and Zlochevsky. But the way, those are all facts. There are people out in the media saying it's been debunked, it's not true. Everything I said is 100 percent accurate. I have a problem with that as well.
KARL: Let me ask you about the -- the former ambassador. Did you find her to be a -- to Ukraine. Did you find her to be a credible witness?
ZELDIN: Sure, and I wish that over the -- I mean there’s some issues where she contradicted herself during her testimony. I -- I believe that every single word in real time should have been in front of the American public so that you knew exactly everything that she said. Instead there was --
KARL: So you’re OK with all -- all the transcripts coming out? You want to see Fiona Hill, who’s testifying next week, you want to see all -- all the people that the administration does not want to testify, you want those transcripts to be out?
ZELDIN: No, the president wants there to be a process. The president is saying that there should be a vote for an impeachment inquiry, as you just pointed out with Congressman Himes, there should be a process. The minority parties should have subpoena power. The president should have counsel present. He should be able to cross-exam witnesses; he should be able to present evidence. There should be a process, but instead what Adam Schiff wants is to get United States of America drunk on his favorite cocktail. There's three ingredients. One is cherry-picking leaks, second is withholding facts, and three is just outright lying. I mean he is -- he lied about his whistleblower contact, he lied when he gave his opening statement in front of the Acting Director of National Intelligence, he lied when he said that President Trump requested President Zelensky to, quote, manufacture dirt. Now, if we all had Ambassador Volker's testimony, we would know that that's not true. We would also know that it obliterated the quid pro quo charge, that fairytale, that President Trump supposedly demanded that there would be an investigation open against the Bidens in order to get aide from the United States to Ukraine.
KARL: It's clear that he brought this up exactly when the issue with aide to Ukraine was raised.
ZELDIN: No -- well let's -- this, what Ambassador Volker's transcript would show you substantively.
KARL: I mean do -- do -- the president -- let me just ask you. The president says that was a perfect phone call. Do you think that was a perfect phone call?
ZELDIN: I think that there was a lot of really important, great things that were discussed in that call.
KARL: Do you think that was a perfect call?
ZELDIN: I -- you, again, I believe that that conversation -- the only thing that's being criticized, which, by the way, definitely isn't impeachable conduct, the fact that we're tearing the country in half, trying to bring down a sitting president, because we've pledged -- many in the House to resist, oppose, impeach and obstruct everything and anything --
KARL: All right.
ZELDIN: -- I have a problem with that. We should be passing USMCA, we should be lowering the cost of prescription drug prices.
KARL: All right, Congressman, unfortunately we are out of time. Thank you for joining us here.
ZELDIN: Happy to be with you, thank you.
KARL: Coming up, my conversation with Senator Bernie Sanders following his recent heart attack. We'll talk about the state of his campaign and play a little baseball in Berlington. I'll be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned at all, sir though, that this could be in the bank of voter’s minds -- your age, the fact that you’ve had a heart attack now, that this may weigh in to their decision as to whether or not they should vote for you?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT., AND 2020 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, you know, everything that happens every day weighs on how people feel about you. And my own view is that -- and I think it’s the voter’s view -- you look at the totality of who a candidate is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: The top 12 Democratic presidential candidates return to the debate stage Tuesday, including Senator Bernie Sanders who has been off the campaign trail since having a heart attack last week. At 78 years old Sanders is the oldest candidate in the field, and one of three in their 70s. So will age be a major factor in determining the Democratic nominee? We asked 538’s Nate Silver, do you buy that?
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
SILVER: So age is a sensitive topic, so let’s start with something really easy to prove. The leading Democrats are really old by presidential standards. If elected Elizabeth Warren would be 71 on inauguration day, Joe Biden would be 78 and Bernie Sanders would be 79.
Historically 55 is the median age for presidents at inauguration. Of course, age doesn’t appear to be that big of a concern with the three oldest candidates currently one, two and three in Democratic polls.
Biden has stayed at the top of the polls in the 30 percent range all year, Warren’s numbers have only gone up in recent months and Sanders continues to rake in cash from his diehard supporters, many of whom actually are quite young.
But there’s a difference between Warren on the one hand, in Biden and Sanders on the other hand. President Reagan was 77 when he finished his second term. Both Biden and Bernie would be older than that on their first day in-office.
Do voters see a difference between the early 70s and late 70s? Actually, they might. One poll earlier this year found 62 percent of voters had reservations about voting for someone older than 75. That compares to only 48 percent of voters in another poll who said they’d be less likely to vote for someone over the age of 70.
Now, how age plays out in practice is harder to say if a candidate makes a gaff or has a bad debate, or even has a medical problem, voters may or may not attribute that to age.
In polling by YOUGOV this week, perceptions about whether Sanders could beat Trump declined after his heart attack. But his overall standing in the polls has been roughly unchanged.
And just one more thing, it may be obvious but it’s important to remember that the current president is pretty old too. Any Democratic nominee will likely be facing President Trump who at 74 would be the oldest president ever elected to a second term.
So my bottom line is this, age won’t necessarily cause Biden and Bernie’s current supporters to abandon them but it may make it hard for them to expand their coalitions later on.
KARL: Our thanks to Nate. Yesterday I traveled to Vermont and talked to Senator Sanders at his home in Burlington.
So how are you feeling? You ready for the debate? You’re ready to get back out there?
SANDERS: I am. I’m feeling very well. I look forward to the debate. I look forward to getting back to a very vigorous campaign.
KARL: Are your doctors OK with that?
SANDERS: Well, let me be very clear and backtrack, and tell you that, probably, there’s nobody who has run a more vigorous campaign than I did. And we’re talking about three or four rallies a day and town meetings and so forth and so on, but I think after a short period of time, we’ll probably be able to return to that. Not the first day back.
KARL: And your doctors are OK with that?
KARL: So, are you going to release all of your medical records to put …
SANDERS: Absolutely. Absolutely, yes.
KARL: When do you plan to do that?
SANDERS: As soon as we can. And we -- we -- we intended to do that before the heart attack and we’ll certainly do it with all the information that’s available.
KARL: What do you think the standard should be for medical records? I mean should all your -- should Joe Biden release all his medical records …
SANDERS: Yeah, I think when you’re running for President of the United States, the American people have a right to know the condition of your health. I -- I -- I think that is a standard that should be applicable to all candidates.
KARL: And you said that you didn’t think for a minute about dropping out when you had the heart attack. Is that true? Not even for a second?
SANDERS: Well, as soon as learned what the situation was and was able to talk to the doctors, yes that’s correct.
KARL: How -- how …
SANDERS: Well look, here’s the story, you know, heart attack is a scary word. What I had was a 45-50 minute procedure, two stents were placed in my heart which had a blocked artery. This is a procedure, as I understand it, done many, many hundreds of thousands of times a year. It’s a fairly common procedure, and people are back on their feet pretty soon, as is the case with me. I think you got to watch yourself, you got to watch your diet, you got to better at exercising, you got to be more aware. If there’s a lesson I’ve learned here -- let me tell you, Jonathan, is there were symptoms that I should have picked up on. I was more fatigue, despite a heavy schedule, than I should have been. I wasn’t sleeping as well as I should have been. Occasionally, I was a little bit wobbly. And I should have put two and two together, and I didn’t, and I’m sorry about that. And I hope anybody watching it does that. Go to the doctor if you think you have symptoms and take care of the situation.
KARL: Now you may come back now stronger than you were before. I mean …
SANDERS: I’ve got an artery that’s not blocked. That’s a good thing, yes.
KARL: That’s -- that’s a good thing. But -- but if -- if you had significant serious concerns going forward, would you drop out of the race? I mean would you …
SANDERS: Well look, I don’t want to speculate about what is, what might have been. I am where I am, but I’ll -- do tell you this. Let me be very clear about this. You’re asking me what I thought about, and what I thought about is, I was aware that when I was in pain and we went to the hospital, I had a good Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance program. I had Medicare on top of that. And what I did think, and I thought about a lot, is what happens to the many millions of people who don’t have good health insurance who get sick and who don’t go to the doctor when they should. Or in fact, leave the hospital with tens and tens of thousands of dollars in debt. So maybe one of the lessons that I have to tell you I learned, is that I’m going to fight even harder than I have for Medicare for All. I am more committed to that struggle than I was a few weeks ago.
KARL: So -- so let me ask you, you and Elizabeth Warren have pretty close to identical positions on -- on -- on the big issues.
SANDERS: Somewhat (ph). Not quite.
KARL: What -- what do you say to those who say that they would pick her because she’s eight years younger than you. She didn’t just come through this -- you know didn’t just have a heart attack. And -- and look, on the positions you’re pretty much the same.
SANDERS: Well look, everybody, every American is going to make his or her own choice about the candidate that they want. And Elizabeth Warren has been a friend of mine for some 25 years. And I think she is a very, very good senator. But there are differences between Elizabeth and myself. Elizabeth I think, as you know, has said that she is a capitalist through her bones. I’m not. I think the situation today that we face in this country of the greed and the corruption that is existing in Washington, that is existing at the corporate elite level. Where you have massive amounts of price fixing going on in the drug companies. Where we’re the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people. Where we have right now as we speak in the fossil fuel industry, you got companies making billions of dollars a year in profit doing what? Oh, by the way, they’re destroying the planet. All right. And I think business as usual, and doing it the old fashioned way is not good enough. It’s not regulation. Now what we need is, in fact, I don't want to get people too nervous, we need a political revolution. I am, I believe, the only candidate who's going to say to the ruling class of this country, the corporate elite, enough, enough with your greed and with your corruption. We need real change in this country.
KARL: So, you don’t think that's what Elizabeth Warren is saying?
SANDERS: Well, look, Elizabeth is a friend of mine. She will speak for herself. I've just told you my view.
KARL: But -- but -- but, you have said there are difference and you --
SANDERS: Well, the difference is --
KARL: -- and you just mentioned a label (ph).
SANDERS: -- well, I just -- well, it's not a label. I mean, Elizabeth considers herself, if I got the quote correctly, to be a capitalist to her bones, I don't. And the reason I am not, is because I will not tolerate for one second the kind of greed and corruption and income and wealth inequality and so much suffering that is going on in this country today, which is unnecessary.
KARL: She's built her campaign about having a plan for everything, but she hasn't put out a healthcare plan yet.
SANDERS: Again, you -- Elizabeth is a friend of mine. Talk to her. I have put out a healthcare plan. It's called Medicare for All. We're going to tell the insurance companies and the drug companies that we will not continue this current dysfunctional and cruel system.
KARL: I want to turn to this week’s news, the president's sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. You were very critical of this.
SANDERS: It's an outrage. You know, the Kurds have lost, as I recall, about 11,000 soldiers in the fight against ISIS, some 20,000 have been wounded. Now, what does it say to the entire world that you have a president who gets off the phone with Erdogan of Turkey and then sends (inaudible). We're deserting these people who have put their lives on the line to work with us in fighting against some of the worst terrorists in the world. Sends a message to the entire world, you cannot trust the United States of America anymore in foreign affairs. Doesn’t matter what the president says, because tomorrow he may reverse himself. It is outrageous. Now, how you deal with Turkey, how you deal with that whole region is a whole other issue, it’s no great secret, but I am a strong opponent of endless wars. You're looking at a candidate who opposed vigorously the War in Iraq, because I knew exactly the kind of destabilization --
KARL: I mean he sounded -- he sounded a little bit like Bernie Sanders when he was talking --
SANDERS: Except, he lies. A difference between --
KARL: -- about endless wars.
SANDERS: Yes, I know. But the difference between Trump and me is he lies, I don't. And, again, you don't turn your back on an ally that lost 11,000 troops fighting against terrorism through a tweet and a discussion with Erdogan.
KARL: So, I want to ask you about the impeachment inquiry. What do you think about Nancy Pelosi's decision not to hold a vote to move forward with the impeachment inquiry?
SANDERS: I don't think that's the major issue. I think -- I'm glad that impeachment -- I have called for an impeachment inquiry I think since May. And I think it's proper that it's going forward. I want it to go forward as expeditiously as it possibly can. I think at the end of the day the evidence is there to impeach Trump.
Now, here is the real issue that we should be talking about. That is, what happens if, and, as I expect, will be the case Trump is impeached in the House, the Constitution tells us the trial comes to the Senate.
SANDERS: Will Mitch McConnell do the right thing? Will he have a full trial, where the American people and Senators, I'll be one of them, can hear the evidence regarding what Trump did? I am nervous that McConnell will put Party in front of country and not do that. But I think, no matter what your view is, you think Trump is innocent, fine, he will have strong defense there. You think he's guilty; there'll be strong prosecutorial evidence there. And the Senate will make up its decision. It will make its decision as will the American people. That has to take place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: Our thanks to Senator Sanders.
Coming up, the Round Table debates another busy week. We'll be right back.
KARL: Let’s bring in the Powerhouse Roundtable, ABC News Political Director Rick Klein, Washington Post Congressional Reporter Rachael Bade, Editor and Chief of The Dispatch Jonah Goldberg and Democratic Strategist Stefanie Brown James -- thank you all for joining us. All right, let me start with what we just saw Bernie Sanders took a shot at Elizabeth Warren, I think that’s the first time we’ve seen that.
RICK KLEIN, ABC NEWS POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Bernie is here to play. That was an unmistakable message to me, John. That Bernie Sanders recognizes, not just the concerns that are raised by his health issues over the last couple weeks, but by this growing consensus in the Democratic Party that is buttressed by polls that says Elizabeth Warren is going to be candidate to beat -- she’s beating Joe Biden in a range of national polls that say nothing of Bernie Sanders. Sanders needs to make that distinction, and this debate on Tuesday is critical for him if he is going to say, hey I am here to stick around -- it has to be those contrasts. By the way, those contrasts -- if this is a debate over capitalism versus socialism that’s going to make a lot of Democrats, also on that stage, pretty uncomfortable.
KARL: Yeah who wins that -- who wins that battle?
KLEIN: Well it depends on where the party wants to go with it. I mean, it may be that Joe Biden wins that battle, because Joe Biden is the one that’s able to say, look we have to be careful where we go with things like Medicare for All.
KARL: So Rachael, we saw the fundraising numbers come out for the third quarter. Sanders at the top, followed by Warren $25 million, $24 million -- Buttigieg number three, Joe Biden forth in fundraising. That does not sound like a campaign -- I mean, he still leads a lot of the polls, not all of them. A lot of the polls, but I mean, what does that mean for Biden?
RACHAEL BADE, WASHINGTON POST CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER AND CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, I mean obviously people are going to start to question whether this whole Ukraine controversy is starting to hurt him, right? I mean, Joe Biden the campaign has said that this is not something they’re worried about, they think it sort of puts him at the front to make it look like actually he’s the top candidate whose going up against Trump, and that it’s better for him because it looks like him and Trump, and all the other Democratic candidates are sort of on the side. But clearly, perhaps this is going to be a problem for him, and I think Tuesday’s going to be interesting to watch the debate stage to see if other Democratic decides to go after him on Ukraine. I mean, do they say, why didn’t you tell your son not to, you know, take $50,000 from a company that, you know, some people said had connections to corrupt figures -- I mean, why did you let this happen? You were sloppy.
KLEIN: John, the Biden campaign tells me just this morning that they’ve got a boost in online fundraising since the story broke -- even since the quarter began --
KARL: They’d better hope they did, I guess (ph).
KLEIN: I guess that’s right. But the big number there too is if you add Sanders and Warren together that’s $50 million in progressive grassroots money that’s pouring in. That is not money right now that’s available to Joe Biden.
JONAH GOLDBERG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE DISPATCH AND LOS ANGELES TIMES COLUMNIST: Yeah, so I think it’s very difficult for the Democrats to go after -- the other Democrats to go after Biden on the debate stage, in part because the case for impeachment really rests on the idea that the Bidens may have done something that appeared bad, but didn’t really do anything wrong and certainly not what the Trump White House is saying they did. And so it’s -- we’ve already seen sort of a rally around Biden effect. I think that the Ukraine story, it’s not so much that that’s hurt Biden. It’s that Biden doesn’t seem to know how to respond to it, how to take advantage of it. He should have a big boost in online money raising from the grassroots because everyone wants to sort of take his side against Trump in this polarized thing, and he just doesn’t seem to have the game to do -- to exploit it as effectively as you would think he would.
KARL: But Stefanie, is it a legitimate issue? Is it an issue that should be part of this campaign that the then Vice President’s son had this business arrangement with a Ukrainian energy company at the time when Biden was the point person on Ukraine? I mean, at the very least, it is a, you know, a blatant appearance of conflict of interests.
STEFANIE BROWN JAMES, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST AND EMILY’S LIST VP OF TRAINING & OUTREACH: Well I think it’s a conversation that actually will come up on the debate stage on Tuesday. I think -- I mean, if you have Tulsi Gabbard -- I think Tulsi Gabbard is going to go right in to it. I mean, I believe that this is going to be a topic that comes up because we’re at a point now where -- especially those who are in the lower tiers have made the debate stage where they have to set themselves apart and now anyone is fair game, especially Vice President Biden, is fair game for them to say, hey look, we have to question his judgment here. I don’t think it should be as big of an issue on the stage that it’s going to be, because we need to figure out where do these candidates stand when it comes to Medicare for All? Where do they stand on healthcare? But I do think it is going to come up on Tuesday.
KARL: And what’s your take on Sanders? Do you think he comes back from this?
BROWN JAMES: I think he --
KARL: I mean, he looks pretty good, I’ve got to say -- (inaudible) --
BROWN JAMES: He -- I mean, he looks, well, how he’s been looking, you know?
KARL: Yeah, right.
BROWN JAMES: So if that’s good, then that’s fine. But I mean, I think that for him to be back out here is really, kind of -- to me, questionable. Like, I just think his family must be having heart attacks that he’s back here on the trail. But look, he says he’s in it all the way now -- and you know, I thought he was in it all the way before, but you know, it’s a situation where we have to have more conversations like this, where people are saying I am different from this candidate because of this. And I think that he kicked it off today by saying his difference against Senator Warren and I think we’re going to hear a lot more of the differences played out on Tuesday.
KARL: So I want to turn to something -- I want to turn to impeachment and something the president said last night. Take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Impeachment, I never thought I see or hear that word with regard to me. Impeachment, very ugly word. It means so much. It means horrible, horrible crimes and things. I can't even believe it. It's a witch hunt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KARL: And he also told me on Friday that he thinks it's helped him, he’s -- you know, his rallies are bigger now. But Rick, what's your sense? This does seem to really be getting under the president's skin.
RICK KLEIN, POLITICAL DIRECTOR, ABC NEWS: This has changed, I think, the nature of how the president has to respond to things. And it -- and it looms large, and I feel like it has gotten to him and his supporters. They recognize that this is a serious moment. This is not something that can be laughed off, as much as the president will do that. It’s not just about legacy either, it's about the practical nature of how this president transacts business over the next coming months. He is effectively handcuffed by this process. It’s -- you can -- you can forget about other things happening on Capitol Hill. And I think he has to be careful in any kind of relationship he has, and especially as this gets broader, potentially, as more people are involved, as his inner circle gets more involved, with Rudy Giuliani's involvement. This is just an awkward situation for him to be in. It is not ideal.
RACHEL BADE, WASHINGTON POST CONGRESSIONAL REPORTED AND CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: And just to just in very quickly, it seems like this is -- you know, the frustration is really building in him as, you know, the Democrats have really hit a stride over the past couple weeks and the White House has really hit a snag. I mean, the House Democrats have been fighting for 10 months to try to investigate this president, and move poll numbers against him, increase support for impeachment, they have not been able to do it, until this controversy broke. And in the past three weeks, they've been able to get witnesses in to testify, to turnover text messages that are very damaging to this president and that they're going to try to use to, you know, end their impeachment inquiry. And at the same time, you know, Giuliani, as he's making this case against Biden and his -- Biden's son Hunter, you know, his two associates that were his right hand on this whole Biden investigation were just arrested. And so, you know, the Democrats are really sort of moving ahead right now and the White House is having a problem. And you -- I think you can see that reflected in the frustration with the president lashing out.
KARL: So why is Speaker Pelosi not holding a vote on this?
BADE: She thinks that by doing that, she’s going to be giving into sort of a Trump talking point, and that it will sort of take the conversation away from the substance at hand. I mean, this week, they're going to have Gordon Sondland coming in to testify. This is a former ambassador who was part of a text change where basically state officials were working with Ukrainians to set up --
KARL: And somebody that --
BADE: -- to set up --
KARL: -- the White House has said don’t testify, and he’s going to testify anyway.
BADE: Yes. Correct. And there -- he’s going to testify anyway. This is somebody who knew about, you know, the White House was trying to get Ukraine to promise publicly to investigate the Bidens in order for them to come to the White House for this heads of state meeting. I mean, he was really in the thick of it. This is where Speaker Pelosi wants the focus right now, and if she holds the vote, a lot of people will start to pivot to that.
KLEIN: They're also worried about moving goal posts, right? If you do this, then does that actually change anything in terms of how the White House reacts?
JONAH GOLDBERG, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF OF THE DISPATCH AND LOS ANGELES TIMES COLUMNIST: But there’s -- there's a real chance for a rope-a-dope thing going on here, right? I mean, more and more they’re saying -- the White House is saying, if you just do the process the way it's been done before, if you hold this vote, then we would cooperate with you. And at some point Nancy Pelosi could just call the bluff, and then the White House has basically no talking points left.
KARL: So -- so Stephanie, why don't they do -- I mean, we heard Congressman Himes just tell us that -- I mean, he seemed to sound like bring it on, let’s have the vote. Why -- do you think she should?
JAMES: Well, you know, I think -- and I -- this is where I agree with Bernie Sanders, in saying that, look, at the end of the day, this is really about what's going to happen in the Senate. You know, I think it’s -- it’s kind of -- look, if -- if Nancy Pelosi holds the vote, or if she doesn't, at the end of the day this is about what happens in the Senate. I don't think that she's going to hold the vote, just for the reasons that you mentioned. But at the end of the day, will Mitch McConnell make sure that a fair process, that a transparent process emerges in an impeachment hearing in the Senate. I think that that is the real question at hand here, and not so much a focus on if Nancy Pelosi’s going to hold the vote, because I don’t think that she is.
BADE: I think that the only way that she would actually hold the vote is if a federal judge rules that the only way they could get this material that the White House is keeping from them -- I mean, remember, Democrats are fighting in court right now to get a whole bunch a subpoenaed material. If the federal judge rules you’re not in a real impeachment inquiry and you can’t get this material unless you vote, then I think they do it. But that is --
KARL: When does she want to get this done by? When does she want to see a final vote on articles of impeachment?
BADE: So when they decided that this was for real, three weeks ago, and they were going to, you know, speed ahead on this -- on this path, they were looking at the holidays to finish up an -- an impeachment inquiry. And so now they’re at this crossroads where they wanted to focus on Ukraine and they wanted to get it done quickly by the end of the year, but all these other scandals keep sort of popping up and there are threads that some of these Democrats want to pull, you know. Was he pressuring China to investigating Joe Biden? Was he pressuring Australia as one of the New York Times stories suggested that they need to do a counter investigation on the Mueller report. Do they look into these and if they do that would very much drag them into 2020, which would have a lot sort overlap with, you know, the presidential election.
KARL: Yes. Would that -- would that be the smartest strategy is to -- is to a more comprehensive investigation or get it done?
GOLDBERG: It’s somewhat fact -- it’s somewhat fact dependent. Right. I mean it depends on what they find. If they could get a clean shot, as it were, with the Ukraine stuff, then maybe that makes sense. I -- my suspicion -- and when you talk to people around Trump, they kind of see this as something to drag out. And the -- so the question you asked before about how this -- Trump thinks this is helping him but it also makes him upset, Nate Silver addressed this, I think last week on this show. The intensity of the extremely favorable support for Trump has increased. This is -- for the base this is great for Trump. And for Trump, in many ways, the base is pool of narcissist. Right. He sees his reflection in the base. The problem is it’s also intensified anti-Trump feelings among a majority of voters. And whether Trump can figure out that, you know, pleasing the base again, on -- on impeachment stuff is actually a bad electoral strategy, remains to be seen.
KARL: Well look -- look at the Fox News poll, and this was not the only poll, but this was on the station that the president watches. Fox News poll showed 51 percent saying the president should be impeached and removed from office.
BROWN: Yes. And a lot of these voters are independent voters who at the end of the day, Trump needs if he is going to win again in 2020. Well, if he’s still in office to win again in 2020. And so, you know, I think that for the Democrats this is a situation for them to win or lose. For them to get this done quickly and not have it sprawl out of control, I think, actually is a good strategy for them right now because it keeps the pressure on -- on information being concise or the White House being off kilter and not knowing what’s happening next. And -- and this is really a moment for Nancy Pelosi to continue to be the great conductor that -- that she’s been through this process so far.
GOLDBERG: But the White House has a point. If it does just look like a rush to judgment partisan thing, and that they’re not giving some (inaudible) of due process to the White House, I think that is bad for the Democrats and it’s a good talking point for the White House.
KLEIN: But the view among Democrats now is that -- that it’s working. They’re looking at the poll numbers and -- and Speaker Pelosi outlined for her members in another conference call this weekend, they’re staying narrow. They’re going to keep this as narrowly tailored as possible. They’re not going to give into -- to -- to any kind of faints and head dodges and false equivalencies. They’re just going to plow ahead with this because they believe that this strategy is working.
KARL: It’s interesting you’ve seen Republicans hammer the president on -- on what’s happening in Syria and -- and Turkey. But I mean Larry Hogan came out, the governor of Maryland, and said he’s in favor of an impeachment inquiry. You know Mitt Romney’s done his thing. But basically -- have you seen any Republican -- any signs of Republican weakness on -- on this stuff?
BLADE: I mean as far as they’re going and I mean I can count the number of Republicans who have said what he did was wrong but not impeachable on like one hand. Right. So clearly the party is sticking with the president. I think with the -- the frustration you’re seeing expressed about Syria is a lot of pent up frustration they’re feeling right now with the impeachment inquiry, which a lot of them again, they’re sticking with the president. They don’t feel like they can criticize him so they’re letting out their frustration in this outlet, specifically. Not to suggest that they don’t authentically and seriously care about, you know, what’s happening with the Kurds. But I think that, you know, the whole foreign policy issue …
KARL: We are out of time.
BLADE: We’re out of time.
KARL: Rachael, Jonah, Stefanie; thank you very much. We’ll be back. That is all the time we have. Thank you for sharing part of your Sunday with us. Check out World News tonight and have a great day.