'This Week' Transcript 2-2-20: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Andrew Yang
This is a rush transcript of "This Week" airing Sunday, February 2.
A rush transcript of "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" airing on Sunday, February 2, 2020 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.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: The first votes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Are you ready for caucus night?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It all begins in Iowa.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is our moment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: A tight race in Iowa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's basically a dead heat.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Who will break from the pack?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm asking you for to caucus for me.
ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm the ideal candidate for this job.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Just one day away from the Iowa kickoff, it's anyone's race, as voters weigh which Democrat will run best against President Trump.
Candidates Pete Buttigieg and Andrew Yang joins us live this morning. And:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE U.S. SUPREME COURT: The yeas are 49. The nays are 51.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: Impeachment endgame.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): No witnesses, no documents. It's a grand tragedy.
PAT CIPOLLONE, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Acquittal would be the best thing for our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: After a furious debate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK PHILBIN, DEPUTY WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: The Senate is not here to do the investigatory work that the House didn't do.
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): The truth will come out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: We will analyze the fallout from Trump's certain acquittal, plus all the week's politics, with Rahm Emanuel and Chris Christie on our powerhouse roundtable.
We will break down the politics, smoke out the spin, the facts that matter this week.
ANNOUNCER: From ABC News, it's "This Week." Here now, chief anchor George Stephanopoulos.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: Good morning, and welcome to "This Week," the most consequential week yet of this hyper-political year, Wednesday, the Senate's final votes in the trial of President Trump, Tuesday, the State of the Union, certain to be unlike any we have seen before, Trump the first president in America history to face voters after impeachment. Monday, the Democrats taking him on face their first voters, the Iowa caucuses that night. And, as we come on the air this morning, that race even harder to read, thanks to a surprise twist, the premier Iowa poll from "The Des Moines Register" canceled at the very last minute, after a supporter of Mayor Pete Buttigieg reported that, in at least one case, Buttigieg was not included in the survey. So let’s get right to the Mayor. Pete Buttigieg joins us from Des Moines this morning. Mayor thanks for joining us this morning. You have any sense of what happened here and what it means?PETE BUTTIGIEG, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Not completely but my understanding is that there was an issue, it was raised and they decided to respond by withdrawing the release of the poll and -- I do think at a moment like this where you got a president routinely attacking the press, it’s worth remembering the integrity and the seriousness with which reporters and press take the work that they do and wanting to make absolutely sure that it’s accurate and strong.STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, the polling this month has showed a pretty tight bunch at the top but they also show you slipping in the national polls. Given that dynamic, do you need to crack the top three there in Iowa to be viable for this nomination? BUTTIGIEG: We certainly need to have a strong finish here in Iowa. You know, I think a lot of voters across the country understand that across the candidates we share largely similar values and are focused, more than anything else, on making sure we have the nominee to defeat Donald Trump. I believe that I have the campaign best positioned to do that, the message best positioned to do that. But of course the first opportunity to actually prove it is to turn people out in the caucuses tomorrow evening and that’s why I’m getting in front of every caucus go-er that I can. We’re firing up our precinct captains in the great ground organization that we have, making sure that we leave it all on the field. And of course asking anybody who supports this campaign to take a moment to go to peteforamerica.com and chip in so that we can finish strong. Tomorrow is going to be a big night and it will propel us into the states ahead.STEPHANOPOULOS: No surprise your competitors disagree with your assessment that you have the best chance. I know you’ve been making the case -- the direct case for generational change, saying we can’t go back to the old Washington playbook. I asked Vice-President Biden about that on GMA on Friday, let’s take a look.(BEGIN CLIP)JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT: The next president, day one, is going to have to stand in that world (ph) space storage (ph) and not have any time for on-the-job training. I’m running because of the fact that I have this experience, not in spite of the fact that I have this experience.STEPHANOPOULOS: On-the-job training.BUTTIGIEG: Look, if you want the candidate with the most time spent in Washington of course I’m not going to be your choice, but the next president on day one will be facing challenges that are different in kind than what we saw just a few years, and certainly decades, ago. I mean, think about where we are with global security -- global health security challenges, looking at what’s happening in China, cyber security challenges happening. And then here at home, we’ve got an economy that is being profoundly and swiftly reshaped by forces from a gig economy to what’s going on with tech companies. In order to make sure that we have a strong future, that we do well here at home and internationally, we’re going to have to have that look to the future that the presidency requires -- not only in order to govern by the way, but this is also very important in order to win. Remember every single time in the last half-century -- every single time that my party has won the White House-- it’s been with a candidate who was new to national politics, opening the door to a new generation focused on the future.STEPHANOPOULOS: The candidate -- for the Democrats to win they’re also going to have to be a unified party going into 2020. And we’re seeing echoes of the divisions of 2016 and the challenges faced in unifying the party -- just this weekend, that continuing clash between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. She’s had some pretty harsh words about Sanders. And his supporters have been pretty harsh back. Here was the scene Friday night at a Sanders rally with Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.(BEGIN CLIP)MODERATOR: Last week when someone by the name of Hillary Clinton said that nobody -- we’re not going to boo. We’re not going to boo. We’re classy here.RASHIDA TLAIB, U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: No, no. I’ll boo. Boo. (Laughter).You all know I can’t be quiet. No, we’re going to boo. That’s all right. The haters -- the haters will shut up on Monday when we win. (END CLIP)STEPHANOPOULOS: It was a real challenge to get the Democratic Party together in 2016. Is it going to be even harder this time around?BUTTIGIEG: Well I think that’s up to us. Today’s Groundhog Day, but tomorrow’s the day after and it’s our first chance to start to make sure that as a party we have 2020 look as little like 2016 as possible. Look, it is healthy that we have vigorous, honest and I hope respectful disagreements about approaches and about some of the details of what we believe in. But, at the end of the day, not only the majority of the Democratic Party, but the majority of the country believes in the things that we've got to do to do move -- to move forward, to have higher wages, to make sure that workers are protected, to make sure corporations pay their fair share in taxes, to end endless war, do something about climate change. Even the issues that were tougher for my party in the past, like immigration or acting on gun violence, right now there is a strong American majority that wants to see these things happen. So there's an even bigger unity around what we're for than around what we're against when it comes to the need to defeat this president. And that's my focus and I'm seeing it in the faces of Iowans as I travel to counties across this state, many of which voted for President Obama, then voted for Trump, and are now looking for a better way. We have got to energize and galvanize, not polarize that American majority. And it starts tomorrow.STEPHANOPOULOS: If you do well in these early states, you'll go to Super Tuesday, where you could face another mayor, the former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, who's already blanketing the airwaves with his ads right there. Why is the former mayor of South Bend a stronger candidate than the former mayor of New York City? BUTTIGIEG: Well, I come from a community in the middle of the country facing a high level of poverty and economic shocks and feeling left behind. They got on our feet. I know what it means to transform a place that is beginning to question whether it has a future. And it's just a fundamentally different perspective. I belong to the middle class. I live in a middle class neighborhood in the industrial Midwest, the exact part of the country that my party has maybe struggled recently to connect with politically, but where many people have the most to gain from better policies and the most to lose from even one more day spent under Donald Trump and the approach that this White House is taking. So, I'll stack up my approach against that of anyone. And I think it's the winning message that's what's carried us to the point that we're now at in Iowa and looking forward on the heels of a strong finish in Iowa to sharing that message across the country. STEPHANOPOULOS: And eventually you'd like to face President Trump. He's got a Super Bowl ad airing tonight. Let's take a look. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNKNOWN: America demanded change. UNKNOWN: Donald Trump wins the presidency.UNKNOWN: And change is what we got. Under President Trump, America is stronger, safer and more prosperous than ever before.DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And, ladies and gentlemen, the best is yet to come. (END VIDEO CLIP)STEPHANOPOULOS: The economy has been doing well -- pretty well. What's your 30-second pitch against that? BUTTIGIEG: Well, first of all, let's ask what it means to have a good economy. If one job is not enough, if wages, even when they go up, aren't going up as fast as the cost of long term care and prescription drugs and retirement and education and the cost of housing, something is wrong. When I'm president, we're not going to measure the performance of the economy by how the Dow Jones is doing. I get that if you have a building with your name on it not far from Wall Street, maybe the Dow Jones and the economy seem like one in the same. But, here in Iowa, and in South Bend, Indiana, where I live, and in most neighborhoods in big cities and small towns across this country, folks want to know when this good economy is actually going to start making their lives better. And we're going to measure the performance of the economy by the income growth of the 90 percent. And when it comes to keeping this country safe, I think our troops and our families deserve a president who's not going to throw himself a military parade and then pardon war criminals, act like TBI is no big deal when he claimed that bone spurs were disqualifying him from being able to serve when it was his turn. I'm ready to take this president on when it comes to keeping this country safe and when it comes to having an economy that doesn't just look good on paper, but actually works for us. STEPHANOPOULOS: Mayor, thanks for your time. BUTTIGIEG: Good to be with you.STEPHANOPOULOS: Also joining us from Iowa this morning, Andrew Yang. Mr. Yang, thank you for joining us this morning. Let me start where I just left off with Pete Buttigieg right there. You got 30 seconds at the Super Bowl tonight to respond to President Trump, what's your pitch?ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We’re living in a country, there are 78 percent of us are living paycheck to paycheck. Almost half can’t afford an unexpected $500 bill. Too many Americans are being left behind in the 21st century economy. We need to put the gains of this economy directly into our hands, into families' hands around the country, through a dividend of $1,000 a month. It’d be a game-changer for tens of millions of Americans, and get this economy working for us again, not the big corporations.STEPHANOPOULOS: That has been your signature proposal this whole way, but right now you've been in a pretty consistent sixth place in Iowa, never hit double digits in that state. That kind of finish means no delegates out of Iowa. After a big investment of time and money, I think you spent the last 17 days on a bus tour -- can you go on with a finish like that?YANG: Well, we think we're going to surprise a lot of people on Monday night, George, and we've got a ton of support in New Hampshire. I can't wait to take this vision to the rest of the country starting here in Iowa on Monday night. But we'll be in New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, Super Tuesday. You know that the Yang Gang will be here the entire way.STEPHANOPOULOS: OK. Well, the Yang Gang has been fairly strong throughout this process. But, you know, the Iowa caucuses, as you know, have a pretty unique way of voting. You’re actually going to see four different results coming out of tomorrow night. The first round, the second round after realignment, and any candidate who doesn't get 15 percent in a certain precinct, your supporters have a chance then to go and back someone else on the second ballot. Where do you expect most of your supporters to go in those precincts where you don't get 15 percent? And are you going to encourage them towards a particular candidate?YANG: Well, first, we plan to exceed 15 percent in the vast majority of locations. And as to what our supporters might do if we don’t reach that threshold in a particular place, we have a very, very diverse group of supporters. I can't speak for where they would head. I do have a sense that many of them have supported Bernie in the past, but many of them supported President Trump, and they might just leave. So, there are a whole range of possibilities and I can't speak to the minds of literally thousands of Iowans.STEPHANOPOULOS: And you’re not going to give them any kind of direction or encouragement in that way?YANG: Well, right now, we have no plans to do so.STEPHANOPOULOS: Michael Bloomberg, I talked to Mayor Pete about that as well, he’s starting to eclipse you in some of the states coming up. And he’s going to be -- for the debates after New Hampshire, the DNC has changed the rules. They’ve dropped that donor requirement, something you’ve actually been pushing for for an awful long time -- so that Mayor Bloomberg will be able to participate. Bernie Sanders argues that that's rigging the system for a billionaire. What's your response?YANG: It's so interesting, George, because the fact is, Mike Bloomberg could have gotten himself on the debate stage any time he wanted. It’s pretty straightforward to meet the donor requirement. He could have just made that happen through online spending. So, I’m not sure this is a development he's going to welcome, frankly. I think the DNC looked at this and said, we need to get Bloomberg on the debate stage. This change is clearly tailor made to deliver him to the debate stage. And the question is, whether this is a move that Mike's excited about it or whether Mike’s indifferent to or even negative towards.STEPHANOPOULOS: Are you excited about debating him?YANG: I’m excited. I’m thrilled that I’ll be back on the debate stage next week in New Hampshire. And we plan to be on the debate stage the entire way. So, I expect to see Mike on the stage in Nevada the following -- I think it’s a week or two.STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, we are going to see you Friday night in New Hampshire. Let me ask you a question coming out of impeachment. One of your competitors, Elizabeth Warren, has said that she’ll -- if she's elected president--she's going to appoint a task force to investigate President Trump's wrongdoing if she’s elected. You suggested, though, that a President Yang might pardon President Trump, why?YANG: Well, you have to see what the facts on the ground are. And, certainly, I’d listen to the guidance of my Attorney General. But if you look, George, at history around the world, it's a very, very nasty pattern that developing countries have fallen into where a new president ends up throwing the president before them in jail and that pattern, unfortunately, makes it very hard for any party to govern sustainably moving forward with a sense of unity among their people. And so, to me, America should try to avoid that pattern if at all possible.STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask you a final question, you've been one of the most improbable candidates of this cycle-- you’ve had a lot of success, you made it onto the debate stage so many times. Let me -- let me ask you a question. Take some truth serum. Did you believe at the start you'd get this far?YANG: I genuinely did, George, because I know that the American people realize our government has been decades behind in addressing these challenges that are growing stronger and stronger all the time. We are 25 years behind on technology at a time when technology is transforming our way of life before our eyes. I knew there were millions of Americans just like me who wanted a different approach to solving our problems and leading us forward in the 21st century. The -- my biggest surprise is how much I enjoy a bus with my face on it. My -- my kids love it too. I feel like I became a cooler dad as a result.STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that's a real bonus. That's pretty great. Look forward to seeing you Friday night at the debate. Thanks for joining us this morning.YANG: See you on Friday, George. Thank you.GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: Candidates making their final Iowa pitches. And FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver here to analyze where things stand one day out. Thanks for coming back -- NATE SILVER, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Definitely.STEPHANOPOULOS: -- this morning. So, tell us about your FiveThirtyEight forecast model for Iowa. SILVER: So, we take an average of all the polls, but account for the considerable uncertainty you have in Iowa as well, and the awkward -- well, not awkward, but the process where you can actually realign your vote after you initially get in the room. But, anyway, we have Sanders as the tentative frontrunner with about a 40 percent chance of winning. Biden who has led some polls is next, at about a one-in-three chance. But it really is like at least a four-way race. Both Buttigieg and Warren have a strong game in Iowa. They both have a lot of second choice voters, which actually matters the way process works there. Even Klobuchar, we’ve seen crazier things, she may be gaining in polls a bit. But, yes, all (INAUDIBLE) about how it’s Biden versus Bernie. I mean, Iowa is sometimes about a dark horse candidate making a last-second surge. The polls can shift a lot from the weekend before the caucus to the caucus itself. And so, don't reduce it to a two-way race yet. We may end up there tomorrow night, but it’s a little premature to say that right now.STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes. And why is there so much uncertainty right now, especially this year? SILVER: I mean, for one thing, we actually have had a lot of news come out in the past week that might not be fully reflected in the polls yet right? None of these polls actually reflect the impact of the impeachment trial reaching an inevitable conclusion now and how Democrats might react to that. They don’t really reflect the closing pitches of the different candidates, for example. And the fact that in the caucus, it's not a secret ballot, you're actually there literally with your neighbors, they can try to persuade you, they can try to offer you incentives to come over their way.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And you can switch if your first choice can’t get 15 percent. (CROSSTALK)SILVER: -- doesn’t get there, right? And the ground game matters a lot. Having a precinct captain everywhere. And just kind of empirically, we’ve seen candidates here polling at 12 percent and got 20 percent and the reverse. It’s actually very common there. And so, therefore, like, if you're anywhere close to the top four, you have to look at that as any permutation of like, you know, Biden can finish from first to fifth, for example. STEPHANOPOULOS: That’s -- I wanted to press on that a little bit, because a lot of -- a lot of the polling differences depend on whether you think people who have never come to a caucus before are actually going to come to a caucus this time. SILVER: I think the combination of the fact that Bernie has lot of upside potential as far as getting younger voters to turn out, and he has a lot of money invested in Iowa. He's been there before, good ground game in Iowa. So, you know, it’s not a pollster's job to look at -- to look at turnout per se. But yes, I think the more bigger turnout scenarios, more younger voters could help -- could help Bernie. But also, there’s also kind of middle scenario where you get like a lot of college educated voters, high information voters, and they tend to like Warren, and Pete and even Klobuchar. STEPHANOPOULOS: Who have got very strong ground games as well.SILVER: And they do, right? And also, it matters -- it's helpful the way the rules work to be strong in rural parts of the state, and Buttigieg has, you know, has offices open everywhere and Klobuchar is strong, for example, in Western Iowa, which is less populous. And so, all those things matter given the rather arcane rules of how the process works. And so, you know -- so, again, be prepared for like any order of finish, at least from one to four, maybe one to five. STEPHANOPOULOS: And the question is, what does that mean this time around? There are always so many debates about how much Iowa really means. SILVER: Yes. STEPHANOPOULOS: What’s your guess this year?SILVER: So, if you're one of the frontrunners, meaning Biden or Bernie, then Iowa is a big deal because they have robust enough polling in other states where they could really gain some momentum. I mean, I think Sanders, in his backyard so to speak in New Hampshire, would probably would go two for two.
In Nevada, a lot of union endorsements, we’ve had him doing well in our model there, right? So, that could become three for three. That would put him in a very strong position. Biden still leads narrowly in most national polls. If he were to win, get a further boost then-- although Bernie could come back in New Hampshire -- Biden would be in an enviable position. And so, you know -- but the other ones, they need to kind of get back in the game here. If Warren or Buttigieg were to win Iowa, then all of the sudden they would probably get back on the lead lap. Whether they're the actual co-front-runner or the front-runner or maybe a close second place would depend on the exact order of finish. It would depend on -- as you mentioned earlier--there are actually different ways to count who the winner is in Iowa. You could actually have a split verdict, potentially. But, yes, look, there are two tiers in the primary right now. There's kind of Bernie and Biden on one tier and then everybody else. Everyone else needs the bounce, so-called, out of Iowa from -- from a very strong finish there.STEPHANOPOULOS: And, tomorrow night, it could be completely different. SILVER: For sure.STEPHANOPOULOS: Nate Silver, thanks for joining us this morning. The roundtable is up next. We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)STEPHANOPOULOS: The roundtable wants to get through this countdown and start to talk.(LAUGHTER) STEPHANOPOULOS: We will be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: We had a strong of impeachment of the President of the United States. No matter what the senators have the courage or not to do, he will be impeached forever.TRUMP: Why am I not worried? I should be worried. You know, remember Nixon, it was like a dark period, right, a very dark period. It was like, oh, you think about it, right. And with Clinton, it was not good. They say that with Johnson, it was a long time ago, none of us remember, but they say it was a very dark period. This is a happy period for us.(END VIDEO CLIP)STEPHANOPOULOS: President and Speaker Pelosi talking about impeachment, let's talk about it now on our roundtable. I'm joined by Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, our Chief Political Analyst Matthew Dowd, Republican strategist Sara Fagen, who served as White House political affairs director under George W. Bush, and Yvette Simpson, CEO of Democracy for America. So, acquittal certain to come up on Wednesday. Rahm, what does it mean? RAHM EMANUEL, FORMER CHICAGO MAYOR (D) AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, here’s what I think the big challenge is, and what happened. In 1998, the Republicans looked like they politicized impeachment, and so they suffered something that had never happened in 100 years in six years of a presidency, they lost six seats, Newt Gingrich was thrown out. I think the Republicans now, having overshot '98, are going to play the penalty for undershooting it this time and playing politics. The Democrats get credit for actually once in their lifetime laser-like focus on a singular message -- witness and documents and that worked with the public. And I think for the five U.S. senators who said no to that, and said basically, they politicized the process, that doesn't look legitimate, they back home will look like they enabled and exonerated Donald Trump. He is going to get a license -- a get out of jail card, and he is going to use it, and one thing that we know with absolute certainty over the next nine months their vote has to stand the test of time as more information comes out, and that's going to be a problem for the nine Republicans.STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are the senators...EMANUEL: Five Republicans.STEPHANOPOULOS: ...up for re-election. Even though Lamar Alexander and some of the other senators when they came out with their votes on Friday said they didn't think what the president did was right, we can expect him to claim complete exoneration maybe as early as Tuesday night.CHRIS CHRISTIE, FORMER NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR (R) AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. He'll claim complete exoneration, and the one thing that I'll disagree with Rahm on is the politicization started during the impeachment, and what the democrats and Nancy Pelosi in particular understood a long time ago was that if you don't finish the deal, um, the American people are going to wonder, what was this all about? And so I think it will not be a factor in the election one way or the other. I think it marginally helps the president right now, but over the long haul, I don't think those votes are going to matter nearly as much as what's going to happen over the next nine months, because people are going to forget about this. Our news cycle is so short, people aren't going to care about this come November. STEPHANOPOULOS: You think it's an issue in November?YVETTE SIMPSON, DEMOCRACY FOR AMERICA CEO: Oh, absolutely. I mean one of the things about the politics of this is, the Democrats at least showed witnesses. They showed that they were actually doing the work to have the Senate follow in no witnesses, no documents, Bolton comes forward with this testimony, they ignore it, they say they know he did something wrong but they're not going to do anything about it. People are upset and they're going to continue to get upset because this is about a bigger picture, about whether the president should have more power than the average person, whether they should have more power than the Senate. And executive power is something that people are really, really worried about right now. What I'm hearing from people is that they think our democracy, our republic is at stake and they're going to continue to be worried about that as that goes on. Every single time this president does something wrong, every single time a new piece of evidence comes forward, Bolton's book comes out, people are going to be really, really upset with these senators because they hadthe power -- guess what, if you had presented documents and witnesses and ultimately voted for against removal --SARA FAGEN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: But voters --SIMPSON: It would have been fine. It would have been fine. CHRISTIE: No, it wouldn't have. FAGEN: Voters --CHRISTIE: You would have said the same thing and you would have criticized them for that.SIMPSON: But the -- no, no, no, because it takes 67 votes. And I -- and no president has ever been removed before. I think people would have been like, OK, they at least went through the trial. We couldn't get to 67. OK. FAGEN: But --SIMPSON: The fact that they did no witnesses and no documents-- people saw a --FAGEN: Voters are so much more sophisticated than that. CHRISTIE: Yes.FAGEN: And Chris is right, voters see this for what it is. This is a political exercise. It was a political exercise in the House. It was a political exercise in the Senate. And the country is going to move on and it's possible some Republican candidates and incumbents will lose, but it's not going to be because whether they voted on -- for documents and witnesses. I don't think that is going to be a factor at all.SIMPSON: (INAUDIBLE) power is that?EMANUEL: I think, Sara -- Sara -- Sara, here's the thing I would say. In 2018, put all the other issues aside. The reason Democrats did very well is because it was seen as a Trump -- Donald Trump needed a checkmate. And the fact is, for the five Republican senators, they were seen as enablers and exonerators rather than a checkmate. And that will decouple these races. (CROSSTALK)EMANUEL: And they're going to look at 2020 for a checkmate on this president. MATHEW DOWD, ABC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: So I think that -- I think the bigger, broader issue with the political dynamics of this, we have no idea. We've spent now three years like where everything changes so suddenly and the information's going to come out. I think it's still going to be problematic.But I think the bigger concern is going to something that's mentioned here today, which is, is that, what is the constitutional checks and balances? SIMPSON: Right.DOWD: What are the constitutional checks and balances and the guardrails that were put in place by our founders that no longer seem to be in place anymore. Now, most of the Republicans admit the president did something wrong, but they're unwilling to hold --STEPHANOPOULOS: In the Senate, not the House. DOWD: Yes, well, in the House -- well, even if you talk to Republicans in the House, they will say he shouldn't have done this (ph) but he shouldn't have been -- shouldn't be impeached.EMANUEL: I think it was whispered in the House. STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes, no so much. Correct.DOWD: So -- so we now -- that we've now advocated our responsibility to have a checks and balances, a co-equal branch of government, which is really a -- a huge constitutional concern. I don't think it's a crisis. I think it's actually constitutional -- let me -- one other thing that I want to put on voters is that the framers not only put these guardrails in place, but they basically said, we can put all these in place but unless the virtue of the public, unless the public decides on their own that this is the kind of country we want that puts the public interests ahead of personal interests, if we want leaders that put the public interest ahead of the personal interest, if voters who start looking at this politics like they're all corrupt, they're all bad, they're all this, then I think we really have a huge constitutional republic problem. SIMPSON: And we're there. FAGEN: Well, I think the -- SIMPSON: We are there.FAGEN: Well, I think the -- the issue here is that Democrats and Republicans just don't agree. Democrats act like, you know, how dare you not have witnesses and documents, you know, we're altruistic, we're saving the republic and you guys are being partisan. When, in fact, this whole thing is partisan. And the reality is we are ten months away from an election and voters are going to get to decide whether this was important or not. And people -- people don't give, I think, Senator Alexander enough credit. I thought his statement was incredibly thoughtful, which is to say, I didn't agree with what Trump did, I thought it was wrong, but it's not impeachable. And so --SIMPSON: That's a copout. FAGEN: No, it's not a copout. SIMPSON: That's a copout.FAGEN: It's actually a harder decision to -- it would have been easier for him to vote for witnesses and documents. DOWD: I think if we get to the point -- if we get to the point where we basically say, we're in an election year -- we're in an election year. If a president is cheating in order to win an election, which he would do in an election year, we should wait until the public say-- is to me akin to this. This about this. If a guy -- a person cheats on exam in college, right, they cheated on --FAGEN: But he didn't cheat. DOWD: Wait, wait, wait, he cheats on an exam in college --EMANUEL: Yes, he did.DOWD: He cheats on an exam in college and then you find out he's trying to cheat on the next exam, he's not sorry for cheating on the exam and you know what the solution is, let's see how he does on the next -- STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to bring -- I want to bring -- wait, wait, hold on a second, because I want to bring this question in to Chris. One of the things we've seen a pattern with President Trump, the day after he fires James Comey he's in the Oval Office with the Russian foreign minister basically bragging about it. The day after Mueller finishes his testimony in July of 2019 he has the phone call with President Zelensky. What message is he going to take away from it and could it lead to more problematic behavior? CHRISTIE: Listen, it's not going to lead to any different behavior than has happened all along. And I've said this --SIMPSON: Which is bad behavior.CHRISTIE: I understand. Let me -- let me finish, pal, all right.(CROSSTALK)CHRISTIE: Listen. I understand it’s concerning to you, but don’t worry about it. You should be concerned about Bernie Sanders, not about -- not about Donald Trump.So, here's thing, I said this a dozen times on the show, this is who Donald Trump is. This is people who voted for. He acted this way during the campaign. I was on that stage campaigning against him. This is the way he acts. This is what he says, and what he does and who he is, and who -- and who the American people elected in 2016. And, you know, if people are so concerned about this, as Yvette is hearing, why is he now ahead in every one of the important states, over every Democrat, in Wisconsin, in Michigan, in Ohio?STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, that depends on the polls. CHRISTIE: But the most recent polls, George, show him ahead. If this was such a crisis, he’d be losing and losing by a lot. It wouldn’t be close. The American people don't see it that way. Now, I understand that there's a lot of people who see it differently. That’s what elections are about. So, let's have the election and get it done. And we’ll find out how people -- concerned they are.EMANUEL: Two things. One is, I don't think impeachment just goes into the rearview mirror. It’s going to be a shadow over the election and the biggest shadow is over the five Republican senators. Number two, here's what I would say for Trump, which is still the opportunity for Democrats, if we seize it, open question. The fact is, if you look at the polling on consumer sentiment, it is going up, his numbers haven't moved. There is -- there's a basically -- those two numbers have basically dislodged from each other. And every president in history, we all have done this election, the economy is the key factor and what's happened -- (CROSSTALK)EMANUEL: Wait a second -- what has happened to him is his numbers about being trustworthy (ph) and a character has actually tanked. And he is going to pay a price if we offer -- in this period, he has frightened the voters, we have to reassure voters. And who we nominate will determine whether we reassure ‘em or frighten them even more. STEPHANOPOULOS: I want to get to Iowa in second. But another question for Sara, though, because on this point, right now, impeachment is what it is. What’s going to come out in the next several months? We're going to hear from John Bolton. Whether that matters or not, we'll find out. Just on Friday night, midnight filing from the Justice Department, 24 e-mails about what the president believed about this military aid and the condition. You got court cases with Don McGahn. You got a Southern District investigating Rudy Giuliani. One of the things I was most surprised at is how unconcerned about what's coming next a lot of these senators who are facing re-election turned out to be. FAGEN: Well, look, I think it’s possible you could have things come out that would be problematic in the context of this election. I think there’s also another investigation that’s happening which is the Durham investigation, which may take us all the way back to the Mueller report and the origination of it. So, I think this could work both ways. Democrats find (ph) -- have to be so frustrated to be sitting in the position they are today, which is you have a president who went through the Mueller investigation, who’s been impeached, whose job approval has never hit 50 percent, who’s about to stand and give a State of the Union Address, where he is going to be able to talk about trade deals, a strong economy, and success in -- across the globe, actually. He has a very strong record to go on, and here we are on the face of potentially a Bernie Sanders' nomination for their party? They have to be exhausted by those things. STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about this. One person who does seem pretty concerned about a Bernie Sanders' nomination for the party is Hillary Clinton. She's been speaking out a lot in the last several days. Let’s take a look.(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: His campaign and his principal supporters were just very difficult, and really, constantly, not just attacking me, but my supporters. We get to the convention, they're booing Michelle Obama, John Lewis. I mean, it was very distressing. (END AUDIO CLIP)STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, I know you're excited about -- about Bernie Sanders. But one of the things that Nick Merrill, Hillary Clinton’s former spokesperson, made last night in response to booing we saw on Friday night, is Bernie Sanders, whoever gets the Democratic nomination, is going to need those 66 million voters that Hillary Clinton got. SIMPSON: Who needs enemies with friends like this, George?I mean, we -- we're talking about Donald Trump. Maybe, arguably in 2016, we didn't know what we were getting. Anybody who is attacking -- particularly someone who's not running and as far as I can tell is not acting as a surrogate for any other candidates, who is attacking an active presidential candidate, rather than attacking Donald Trump, is a distraction. We have all committed as a progressive movement that if Joe Biden is the nominee, if Mickey Mouse is a nominee, we're going to all come together and kick Donald Trump's butt.
So, help me understand why Hillary Rodham Clinton is talking about an election that already happened and disparaging a candidate who right now is our frontrunner. And let’s be clear, the DNC sets the process. So, he has to go through the process, and if he comes out our nominee, he should be supported by all of us. That’s the commitment we have to make. EMANUEL: Yes. Well, here's what I think is a real challenge for Democrats on the eve of Iowa. What is the bigger threat for our party? And I come to this point, which is, are we going to nominate somebody that can't win? Or are we going to risk a rupture in the party that is irreparable? And the real question in front of us is those two questions. Now, in 1992, '96, 2008, 2012, and in 2018, the Democrats showed a formula for winning nationally. And the question is, are we going to follow that formula, or throw the playbook out and try something different? And I'll say one thing about Bernie Sanders. His playbook is no different than Donald Trump's. Both rely on the fact that you don't need fickle swing voters, that, if you just talk to your base and energize the people that should vote for you, you can win.And I just say to all those who tattoo, put the number of your tattoo 270 electoral votes. I don't want to win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote one more time. DOWD: I think a couple of things on this.First, you can disagree with Bernie on issues or how his supporters act or all of that. But one of the things that drives his support is, he's viewed as authentic, right, some -- similar way actually what happened...STEPHANOPOULOS: Consistent for 30 years. DOWD: Yes, and similar with what Donald Trump. You could hate what he says, and he says all kinds of stuff and all of that, but people thought, he speaks from his gut, even though, sometimes, they wish he wouldn't. Bernie is viewed as authentic. And it's a contrast with many members of the field. But one of the things that Nate -- I'm going to emphasize one of the things that Nate Silver said earlier, George, with you -- is that we have no idea. We have no idea what's going to happen, because any order of finish with any margin in Iowa is -- could change the entirety of this race quickly. And then New Hampshire comes, and then Nevada comes, and then South Carolina comes, which I think all of that, we have the end result of this at the convention in July, which looks increasingly like it's not going to be a first ballot for anybody because of how divided this field is. And then we have -- we have a convention in July. And so I actually think one of the parts of the news this week is the opening that's being provided more and more for somebody like Michael Bloomberg, that the -- as the opening increases for a Democratic race in disarray, with one candidate winning each of the first, or a couple of the first, or Bernie emerging at some point, Mayor Bloomberg has an unlimited checkbook and could emerge.(CROSSTALK)STEPHANOPOULOS: Sara, let me bring that to you, because I think there are two -- two paths that really open the door to Mike Bloomberg.Either Bernie sweeps the table in the first three, which makes Joe Biden not all that viable in South Carolina. You get to Super Tuesday, and Mike Bloomberg, with all that money, could be the moderate alternative. The other could be if there is just a muddle, and he's got those hundreds of millions of dollars to spend. FAGEN: I think that's right.And Matt is right. I mean, the Iowa caucus is going to be muddled no matter what happens. I think you're likely to have potentially two or three winners out of it. And so, in a scenario where we split votes in these upcoming caucuses and primaries, you get to Super Tuesday, and you have split delegate counts, Mike Bloomberg becomes a very attractive candidate, because of part of what I said earlier, which is, Democrats are freaking out right now because of those facts. I mean, Trump has had all these issues during his presidency and appears today to be poised for reelection. And Bernie Sanders isn't going to beat him. Pete Buttigieg is not going to beat him. It's possible Michael Bloomberg could beat him. It's possible Joe Biden could beat him. Joe Biden, though, has the least amount of money of anyone in the field. And I don't see him emerging as their nominee.(CROSSTALK)STEPHANOPOULOS: Yvette, I see you shaking your head. SIMPSON: I'm sleeping just fine, George. I am not freaking out.FAGEN: Because of what he's building.STEPHANOPOULOS: But it's near -- it's a near certainty -- I shouldn't say certainty, but he did it last year -- we're going to hear the word socialism on Tuesday night from President Trump.Socialism still is not popular in the United States. Is that a liability for Bernie Sanders? If so, how does he overcome it?SIMPSON: I still don't think it is. And here's why. The reality is, is, if you take Elizabeth Warren and you take Bernie Sanders and what they're building, they're talking to a part of our base that we should be talking to all the time, and we rarely do. And he's getting them fired up. He's talking about the things that matter. He's not Donald Trump. He's not talking about separating us. He's about bringing us together, providing health care. Oh, let's hate the guy who wants to provide health care for everybody. He's trying to provide education at a cost -- for free for everyone. And so I think that message is going to resonate. And his base is very diverse, actually.(CROSSTALK)FAGEN: But he has no plan for how to pay for any of it. And he is a grumpy, angry person on the stump, and he will not be elected president of the United States.(CROSSTALK)SIMPSON: Donald Trump was elected on much worse. STEPHANOPOULOS: First of all, Chris, will you take the bet on whether socialism comes up on Tuesday night?CHRISTIE: No, it's a done deal. I mean, forget it.(LAUGHTER)STEPHANOPOULOS: OK.EMANUEL: No, the question is, will it come up in the first five minutes?(CROSSTALK)CHRISTIE: It's a done deal.SIMPSON: He keeps saying that, but this guy is leading the polls right now.STEPHANOPOULOS: But on top of that -- and respond to this as well -- the last several tweets from the president all going after Mike Bloomberg. CHRISTIE: Yes. Listen, I -- I disagree on that one with the president. I don't think there's any chance, any chance that Mike Bloomberg is the Democratic nominee.SIMPSON: I agree with that.CHRISTIE: Because, let me tell you something, Bernie Sanders is a lot of things. He's not stupid. And if it comes down to Sanders emerging from these first three, let me tell you what you're going to see on TV from Sanders, you're going to see -- Mike Bloomberg endorsing Rudy Giuliani, you're going to see him endorsing George W. Bush, you're going to see him endorsing John McCain, and not lukewarm, enthusiastic.If you're telling me that the energized part of the Democratic Party is going to go, oh, hell, we can trust Mike Bloomberg, we can trust Mike Bloomberg, no one trusts Mike Bloomberg, OK, because Mike Bloomberg is for Mike Bloomberg. He was Republican when it was convenient, and was cuddled up to Rudy Giuliani. And then when it was not so great to be a Republican during the Iraq War, he becomes an independent.And then when he's not an independent anymore, because that doesn't work,. he becomes a Democrat. So...(CROSSTALK)SIMPSON: The stars have aligned again and I agree with you twice. Holy crap--(CROSSTALK)CHRISTIE: Bloomberg's consultants. They're the only winners here. Get them to buy you dinner every day.EMANUEL: You just seem upset that you're not one of them.(LAUGHTER)CHRISTIE: Believe me, I don't consult for people without principles, Rahm.EMANUEL: Here's the one thing, but to get this point about the rupture, Bernie Sanders isn't a Democrat, never joined the Democratic Party, and Mike Bloomberg is just so moves parties. And if you're talking about thing as a savior, I think one of the challenges for the party is this possibility, and if it's threat of a rupture in the party, which is what played really out in 2016 -- and I will talk one other thing. SIMPSON: That our party is going to vote for Trump?EMANUEL: Yvette...SIMPSON: Over Bernie Sanders.EMANUEL: No, so whether there's an energy to it in Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan. I would just make this point, I do think people are angry about what happened in the Senate in the party, and the irony of this whole situation is that Bernie Sanders is probably the beneficiary of that. Because if you're angry and frustrated, you don't go, you know what I need now? A moderate. CHRISTIE: Go Joe Biden.EMANUEL: You go with the angry voice. DOWD: What's fascinating about this -- the anger in the party, in the Democratic Party on this issue of Donald Trump and usurping powers and all of that, I would like the Democrats to answer this question, because they've been in conflict on this, are they going to roll back the power of the chief executive when they're trying to put policies in place?CHRISTIE: No shot.DOWD: Right, because that's the problem today. The problem today is an over-exerted executive, under-exerted congressional branch. And what I've heard from a lot of Democrats in this time is we're going to use the power for whatever we want to do for whatever...STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, we know that Bernie Sanders is writing up a list of executive orders.SIMPSON: I mean, you've got to match, the Republicans...DOWD: But that's the opposite -- that's -- you're making an argument Donald Trump is taking too much power...SIMPSON: To benefit most Americans, benefit most Americans.(CROSSTALK)SIMPSON: We can set a precedent.FAGEN: In many ways Democrats find themselves in the situation that Republicans found themselves in '16, which is there is a candidate emerging that the mainline party establishment is not for. And, you know, Chris makes some very good points about Bloomberg, so taking your thesis that he is not going to be the nominee, and considering to me Biden looks very weak right now. Now, he could win South Carolina. He could have a flood of cash come in. There are scenarios where he is the nominee, but he looks weak now. And if Bloomberg can't win and Biden can't win, let me tell you something, Donald Trump is going to win.DOWD: You remember from 1992 in March or April of 1992...STEPHANOPOULOS: Clinton was in third. DOWD: Clinton was in third, Ross Perot was first. The field looked completely in disarray. They -- everybody thought there was no way this candidate, who is completely harmed can win this. They come out of convention. They're 17 points ahead at the convention. Lots of things can happen in this race.STEPHANOPOULOS: Lots of things can happen, and I do want to bring this, though, to Rahm, if the nominee is either Bloomberg or Sanders, the Trump parallel really holds, right, I mean, that's broken Democratic Party that's been taken over a non-Democrat.EMANUEL: I don't want to be a broken record, but we are right -- a broken clock, we are right twice a day. The fact is, one of the threats to the party right now is a rupture in the core. And it played out in 2016. And I do -- I want to say this, the reason Donald Trump is vulnerable in this economy is because the fact is he has frightened people over the last three years. Our goal is to have a nominee that reassures them. He is not getting the political benefit of this economy.He's going to run on three things -- he's going to run on 3.5 percent unemployment, 3 percent wage growth, and 3 percent equity growth in your homes. The Democrats are going to run on three Hs: housing, health care, higher education.And the fact is in this case we have an opening if we have a candidate who actually reassures people that they will actually govern without this -- the people don't want four years of this tweet chaos and conflict...STEPHANOPOULOS: Fatigue.EMANUEL: They are exhausted. They're not angry, which is where Democrats are, they're exhausted. And the fact is, we as a party to win Arizona, to win Wisconsin, to win in Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and to win, being viable in North Carolina need a candidate that moves those swing moderate voters to our camp. That is what happened for Clinton, Obama, and in 2018.STEPHANOPOULOS: And we may be see -- we showed part of one of the president's ads he's going to play -- another one deals with criminal justice issues. It does seem like his campaign is conscious of this issue right now, but is he? CHRISTIE: He is. Because let me tell you, I was -- I was at the rally that he had in New Jersey on Tuesday night and I'd never seen him stick so close to prompter in all the time I've known him. There was not, you know, where we've seen in most of his rallies, that extend from 60 minutes to 90 minutes, it's because he does 30 minutes of riffing on a whole bunch of other stuff. He enjoys doing that. He didn't do it Tuesday night in New Jersey. Why? One, because he was in New Jersey. He was in a blue state and he didn't go riffing on all these other things. Secondly, he understands what he's got to do to win. Now, it doesn't mean he's going to do it every day. STEPHANOPOULOS: Will he do it Tuesday night at the State of the Union?CHRISTIE: I think he'll do less than you expect. And I think he'll be closer to prompter than people would expect. But, remember, too, I saw him do this on Tuesday night. He was marking up the speech that was given to him on the plane on the way up to New Jersey and -- and he was crafting it to what he thought he wants the re-elect message to be.Remember something, this guy -- I've known him for 18 years. He's nothing if not practical. EMANUEL: George, the one thing --CHRISTIE: Practical. He wants to win. EMANUEL: One thing you've got to remember, in the last hundred years, four incumbents running for re-election have lost. Hoover, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and George Bush 41. They all had even a depression or a recession. This is a steep climb (ph). And if we're going to -- and we have the opportunity, though --STEPHANOPOULOS: The economy.EMANUEL: The economy is not an ally here, obviously, if you're trying to oust an incumbent. So the opportunity, though, because of who he is, is on character. And that who we nominate has to accentuate that strength.STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, and let -- Matt, let me bring that to you because two different metrics. EMANUEL: For opportunity.STEPHANOPOULOS: If you look at the economy, he wins. If you look at his approval rating, he loses.DOWD: Yes, well, that's the issue here and there's -- there's a delta between his approval on the economy, which is at 58 percent, and his approval on him overall is at 43 or 42 percent. If you just look at his approval rating overall, he can't win a re-election. If you look at his approval rating on the economy, he wins overwhelmingly.SIMPSON: That was -- FAGEN: If that was true --SIMPSON: Which is the best time to double down on your base and get people excited to come out. DOWD: You need swing voters. EMANUEL: No, you need swing -- you can't get 270 without swing voters. STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes. And that's going to have to be it, obviously. We might just keep going here.(COMMERCIAL BREAK) STEPHANOPOULOS: That is all for us today. Thanks for sharing part of your Sunday with us. We will be covering a lot of special events this week. Tune in 11:00 a.m. Monday for final arguments in the Senate impeachment trial. I'll begin coverage of the Iowa caucuses with our political team starting at 8:00 Eastern on Monday night. President Trump's State of the Union, 9:00 p.m. Tuesday. The final impeachment vote at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday. And I'll see you tomorrow on "GMA."
NY AG says she may seize Trump's buildings if he can't pay his $354M civil fraud fine
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