'Something is wrong with the system': Sen. Cory Booker on 'barriers' in 2020 race

George Stephanopoulos interviews presidential candidate Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., on "This Week."
7:19 | 12/08/19

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Transcript for 'Something is wrong with the system': Sen. Cory Booker on 'barriers' in 2020 race
Now let's bring in senator Cory booker from Iowa this morning. Senator, I heart you listen to Nate. You had analysis this week of senator Harris dropping out. You said the fact she had to drop out shows that something about the system is not fair. Unpack that for me a little bit. She started out with a bang. Had 20,000 at her rally at first and raised a lot of money early on and performed pretty well in the early debates and only fell back when she stumbled in the campaign. What is it about the system that caused her campaign to fail? Let's compare it to candidates. John Kerry polling like her at 4%, John Kerry pulled out all of his other campaign places and folded it all into Iowa like kamala Harris. John Kerry had problems in his campaign. I think he fired staff just like people reported there was turmoil in kamala Harris' campaign but John Kerry made it to Iowa because he loaned himself $5 million. Kamala Harris cannot loan herself $5 million and so the democratic party which makes a right critique that this -- we should be stopping the influence of big money in politics, that kamala Harris stopped her campaign because of the campaign finance rules and the fact that she couldn't do what we see billionaires doing in this race which is flooding ads to jack up their poll numbers and get in, so there are a lot of people hurt this week including members of my family and friends who are supporting me who just saw this incredibly talented African-American woman who has done things that broken glass ceilings at every point of her career and now somehow the Iowa voters can't make the decision I will remind you John Kerry -- Let me push back. Let me just remind you John Kerry polling at 4% goes back, comes into Iowa and finishes number one in the Iowa caucus. Right, but let me push back on that a little bit. Joe Biden is not a wealthy man. Pete buttigieg is not wealthy. Bernie Sanders is not that wealthy. Senator Warren is not that wealthy. They're all staying in and doing better. So that doesn't explain it and the billionaires in the race, the billionaires competing in Iowa, Tom Steyer is pretty far back right now. That's not really determining what's happening in Iowa right now. But, George, it's not just billionaire, it's the fact that Iowa voters should have the right to choose and that's the issue because Iowa belies with a lot of respect for Nate silver, belies polls in just about every time. There is never in the Democrat party someone a front-runner at this point that's ever gone on to the white house. Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama around this time was 20 points behind Hillary Clinton. But Iowa voters where you have to come out here and actually meet folk, you see people polling at low numbers end up finishing first. It wasn't just John Kerry ha year. John Edwards was polling at 2% and number 7 and finished number in Iowa so I'm just at a point at this campaign in Iowa, let voters decide. The debate stage, we're running a campaign where in Iowa and new Hampshire we're in the top in endorsements. We have literally one of the top net favorabilities in the race. We're called by local media as one of the top field organizations and they've even -- you had press people coming out in Iowa and saying this is ridiculous. If the pollsters call you choose Cory booker because he should be on that debate stage. We have been excited. Since the last debate we've been experiencing our biggest surge in online donations and have sums of people coming out just yesterday more elected officials in the state are endoring my campaign and are frustrated that we are putting artificial barriers which often can be overcome by people with money determining who Iowa gets to choose from. Something is wrong with the system. What's your strategy going forward? It looks like and unless you get four polls in the next four days it looks like you're not going to make the next debate stage either. Can you go all in on Iowa? Just go camp there for the next several weeks and does the fact that you have to serve as a likely juror in the senate trial of president trump make that strategy almost impossible for you? No, look, this country is a testimony to the constant achievement of the impossible, so we're doing like a lot of candidates have done in the past that were discounted by national media and press, we're running our campaign and we're having a great result, and I've been so grateful to the American people because folks are going to corybooker.com and making contributions to our campaign and helping us overcome these artificial barrierses. This is one of the best trips to Iowa I've had. Our crowds so big we're having overflow rooms and we'll keep running our campaign. As far as being a United States senator I take my oath very seriously even if the president is going to violate his. Imam going to be in the senate and do my job and trust that here in Iowa we'll continue to build on this momentum we're feeling right now and I'm really grateful that at this moment in our campaign we're breaking records in our campaign because Americans are saying, your choice is important in this race and we're going to do everything we can to keep you there because our online small dollar contributions are going up and I hope that Americans will continue to support us in this last -- In that role in the senate you'll be voting on witnesses. Do you think Rudy Giuliani especially in the wake of his trip to Ukraine this week should appear before the senate and what was your reaction to the president saying he expects Rudy Giuliani to send a report on that trip to the attorney general? Look, this is just a disappointing chapter in American history that a president's private lawyer should also be engaging in -- with the president's consent in foreign policy interference. At the end of the day we are one nation and we have real threats and Russia, we know, I read the intelligence reports is a real threat to our country, and what's going on right now is just unacceptable to anybody who is going to be a fair observer of fact and the fact that we can't get to the truth of this matter because Giuliani is not willing to testify and the president of the United States is holding back witnesses that can give the American people insights into the true breadth and depth of this corruption is just -- should be frustrating to everyone. Finally let me ask you the question I asked the other members earlier. In the wake of the shooting in Pensacola on Friday, what should be done with the United States' relationship with Saudi Arabia? How should it be reviewed? Reviewed, I mean, this is a relationship we have that's unacceptable from our military planes refueling their military planes to drop American made bombs on Yemen when we've given no authorization for the use of military force and the tragedies it's causing with tens of thousands of children dying to what was mentioned earlier in your show, the murder of -- the outrageous killing of khashoggi. This is a relationship that has serious problems. And the fact that this president seems in a very transactional way doubling down on the relationship and telling us it's because of financial interests is unacceptable. America is best when we lead with our values in a resolute manner, and this is a relationship that needs more than just an examination. In the senate we came together in a bipartisan way to rebuke what some of the things we've been doing with the Saudis like the engagement in Yemen. It's unacceptable and as president of the United States, I will change it. We will lead with our values again. Senator booker, thanks for joining us this morning. Thank you for having me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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