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New CNN Poll: Sanders Soars Past Clinton in Iowa; D.C. In Crosshair Of Huge Snowstorm; 3,000+ Flights Canceled Ahead Of Major Storm; 75 Million In Path Of Powerful Winter Storm; Blizzard Warning For Baltimore, D.C. Area; EPA Officials Resigns Over Flint Toxic Water Crisis; Toxic Water Fallout; EPA Official Resigns Over Flint Toxic Water Crisis; Inside Flint's Lead Poisoning Disaster

Aired January 21, 2016 - 20:00   ET


[20:00:18] JOHN BERMAN, ANDERSON COOPER 360 HOST: Good evening, John Berman here in for Anderson. Breaking news tonight on two fronts, new polling reveals the makings of a political avalanche in Iowa in a very real, very dangerous blizzard.

Let's begin with the blizzard and believe it or not, these pictures you're looking at right now just a preview. A single inch of snow did that in Washington overnight and if the forecast holds, gets ready for two more feet on top of that in some parts.

Take a look at the map. Late computer models show as much as 30 inches or more in the Washington D.C. area. Blizzard warnings there and in Baltimore, 30 million people right now, 30 million facing warnings and watches about 75 million from Kentucky to Maine in the storm's expected path.

They could be facing in addition to snow, gale force winds, tornados, coastal flooding, airlines cancelling flights the Amtrak is scaling back service. Norret (ph) -- New York is already taking steps to make sure that what happened during Sandy does not happen again.

Public transit in Washington shutting down the only bright, now came late today. Police there say they will not stop kids from sliding on the capital grounds. We'll get the latest from Chad Myers shortly tonight.

But first, the political avalanche. New polling in Iowa that shows big leads for Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders is big. However, as you will also see, they also come with a big catch. Tom Foreman has been running the numbers and joins us now, Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, John. This is the big news from the cold fields of Iowa out there. Look at this, among Republicans who say they are likely to caucus, Donald Trump is now at 37 percent, that pull 11 points ahead of Ted Cruz. And for the Democrats among those who are likely to caucus, Bernie Sanders, look at that, 51 percent. That's an eight point lead over Hillary Clinton, a big jump for him and a significant decline for her. Why is this happening?

On the Republican side, it is simply a matter of asking the voters, who do you trust to handle the economy? Donald trump by a big margin there. What about in illegal immigration? Donald Trump by a huge margin. And what about the best chance for winning in November against the Democrat? Again, Donald Trump with the big numbers there, John.

BERMAN: All right. Tom, what about the Democrats? What's happening on that side?

FOREMAN: Same sort of things. Bernie Sanders has managed to grab some of the issues in his favor. Same question, who you trust to handle the economy? Look at that, 58 percent to 36 percent for her. What about the question of health care? Fifty one percent in favor of him despite her experience in this field and despite her very vocal support of ObamaCare.

She beats him in foreign policy and look at this. She also beats him when you ask the Democrats in Iowa who can beat the Republican in November? But Democrats there think he represents their values better and according to this poll and will help the middle class more, John.

BERMAN: All right, Tom. Both Trump and Sanders seem to be drawing large numbers from people who've either never voted or don't vote all the time. How does that play into this equation?

FOREMAN: Let's go back to that first big tally and talk about that for a minute. Remember, we said likely Iowa caucus goers. But if you look at these numbers and you change this from likely to who actually showed up the last time that there was a contested election there for the Republicans. Watch how it changes.

Look at those people suddenly, it's a dead heat with Cruz with the tiny edge there and if you go to the Democrats, same effect. Likely, Iowa caucus goers, he's got a big lead but if you go to the people who actually showed up last time, Hillary Clinton gets up even bigger lead.

So, the question is going to be in that cold Iowa snowy weather, will all those people who say they're going to show up actually show up? If they do, it will be a very big exciting night no question, John.

BERMAN: That is a huge discrepancy though in those numbers. Tom Foreman, thanks so much.

Clearly, major potential for upheaval in these races which seems fitting for this campaign season it only gets -- keeps getting wilder. We're going to dig deeper into the shifting stands of both parties. Tonight chart is starting with the Republicans.

I can bring in Chief National Correspondent, John King in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Senior Political Reporter, Nia-Malika Henderson in Des Moines and Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash in Washington.

John, I want to start with you here on this likely voter screen. Again, there's the issue of likely caucus goers and the issue of people who've actually showed up to caucus before and there is a huge difference in this case. It gets to the issue of the ground game. What do you seeing in terms of the ground game when it comes to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz?

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR, INSIDE POLITICS: It's a fascinating question, John. When you go from campaign to campaign, the Trump people think you will have record turnout for the Republican caucuses.

[20:04:59] And if that is the case, if there are people who come out of the wood work in caucus, many of them would be there for the first time as you are just discussing with Tom Foreman, many of them would have to register to vote as Republican that night at the caucus.

If that happens, if you see turnout numbers around 170,000 anywhere approaching 200,000, guess what? We're going to have a good night for Donald Trump during the Iowa caucuses.

The other campaigns, most of them Ted Cruz, things turnout will go up because he thinks he's going to turn out at least 30,000 evangelical voters. The other campaigns think we're going to have a much more traditional turnout.

Let me give you two numbers, Mitt Romney just shy of 30,000, two times in Iowa. One time, it was good for 25 percent. Mike Huckabee won though in 2008 with 40,000 votes. That's all it took, John, 40,000 votes for Huckabee to win in 2008 when the turnout for the caucuses was right around 120,000 people.

So if you get 120 to 135, then Rand Paul thinks he'll surprise the pollsters and maybe come in third. If you get a bigger turnout, they expect Donald Trump. So, what are we going to look for and what are we trying to gauge is through on the ground here. Are the younger voters really going to turn out? Are the older voters going to come? If it's a cold night, you have to drive on icy roads and then stay at the caucus for at least 30 minutes, maybe 45 minutes or an hour.

On the Republican side, are they going to show up? These are the unvariables, if you will. The unknown is Donald Rumsfeld might put in the final days of a campaign and some of the campaigns are saying, "We don't believe that turnout is going to be that high. We're going to run a traditional operation like 2008, like 2012." That's certainly the Rubio campaign calculation.

The Trump campaign thinks we'll be surprised and guess what, John? We're not going to know until caucus night.

BERMAN: No. We got a week and a few days. All right, John.

Dana, but there seems to be an optic (ph) in prominent Republican notably most recently, Bob Dole criticizing Donald Trump, I'm so sorry, criticizing Ted Cruz. There are a lot of people quote in "The New York Times", as well.

Donald Trump spoke about this a little bit. Donald Trump spoke about the fact that there are people out there saying he is now a better option than Ted Cruz. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Cruz is going down. He's going down. No, he's having a hard time. He looks like a nervous wreck. He's going down. He had his moment. He had his moment.

He had his moment and he blew it. Here is a United States senator, Republican, doesn't have support of one other Republican senator. There's something wrong there and I can tell you they like me, those guys, and there is nothing wrong with that folks. We got to make deals.


BERMAN: Now Dana, you have spoken to Ted Cruz about this issue a lot. About the issue that he isn't seen as widely liked on Capitol Hill among senators, but you also know, we both know from talking to the campaign, they see this a little differently.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, they're trying to wear it as a badge of honor. It is a big part of his stump speech, a big part of how he is trying to appeal to voters.

I was on the ground in Iowa with him a couple of weeks ago and he sort of took great comfort in saying that he needs a food tester when he is with his fellow Republicans in the senate. That is something that he says, that is important as a guy who is going to break the Washington cartel. He says that over and over again.

He's not wrong. Donald Trump is not wrong that Ted Cruz is not well- liked among fellow Republicans. He does not have one single senate supporter or endorsement. That is all true.

But again, if you are the Cruz campaign, trying to appeal to people who are so angry at Washington, even and especially their own party, they think that this whole idea that Donald Trump is saying well, maybe not OK -- it's not so bad to be a kind of establishment. They think he is walking into a trap. We'll see if that's true.

BERMAN: They say low favorability in the U.S. senate but high favorability ...

BASH: Exactly.

BERMAN: ... among Republican voters. So Nia, Senator Cruz keeps hitting Donald Trump on the so-called establishment issue. I want to play you some sound of what Cruz said today in New Hampshire.


TED CRUZ, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I would know perhaps one of the reasons that the Washington establishment is rushing so quickly behind Donald Trump is that Donald has been an active supporter. He gave $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. He's actively supported Hillary Clinton as a political candidate. He supported Chuck Schumer. He supported Andrew Cuomo. He supported Rahm Emanuel. So, they know he will cut the deal.


BERMAN: So Nia, I remember in the very first Republican debate Rand Paul going after Donald Trump on this issue that Donald Trump supported Democrats. It's been out there for months and months. Will it work for Ted Cruz now when it has to seem to work for this other guys?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: I think he's probably a much better position to actually make this argument. I mean, he flubbed in some ways in that debate because he made it as a part of that New York values or argument. Of course, you saw Donald Trump on one of his best moments in the debate really come back at him but I do think this could work for him.

If you look at the polls in Iowa for instance, essentially 70 percent of Iowa caucus goers in the GOP side like people from the anti- establishment be it Donald Trump, be it Ted Cruz or be it Carson.

So, he knows if he tags a Trump as sort of a figure of the establishment, of a New York figure, I mean, most of those people he listed were from New York that this could ding some of his standing among this people who really want change.

[20:10:11] The voters I talked to today, they want a disrupter. If you look at Burlington's at those Des Moines register polls, that's what they want. They want a disrupter. They want a leader as well. And so, this play -- I think, as Dana said right into Cruz's hands in a lot of ways because if he's able to -- in some ways, paint Donald Trump as part of the New York liberal establishment even which is what he seems to be trying to do. I think this does him some good.

The problem is, he's got so short of time to do this. I mean, this caucus is coming up on Monday. And as you've seen from Trump so far, he's been so anti-establishment that's going to be hard, I think to reverse that in voters' minds.

BERMAN: So John, now, some establishment folks, though were also lashing out at Donald Trump. Katie Packer who was the Deputy Campaign Manager for Mitt Romney, he's apparently running some group that's putting out some mailers and might do some T.V.

The national review is coming out with this special issue, which basically says "God help us, not Donald Trump". You know, will this have any effect on him?

KING: It's a great question. Now, you have a lot of conservatives who are mad at their own establishment would seems to be, if not embracing Trump, at least preparing to embrace Trump. And these conservatives are saying, wait a minute to all the points me and Dana have made. This is a guy who said Hillary Clinton was great at one point. And he said single parent health care was great at one point. You know, he said that he put his sister on the Supreme Court and she supported abortion, right.

So a lot of these -- the conservatives, especially the conservative media (ph) or say, "Wait a minute. We're not ready for Donald Trump and we're going to fight Donald Trump." Will it have an impact? This is such an unconventional year. Trump supporters in particular aren't those who look to endorsements although, perhaps to Sarah Palin endorsement helps.

If it's a very close race, John, and it moves just a few people, it will help but look for this to be the tone. You mentioned Katie Packer, you mentioned the national review, also look for Ted Cruz and his evangelical pastors to get tougher in the last week because they have the same conclusion. Why are our guys following this guy when he has this past history of being way left to senator when he has this history of, you know, flip-flopping and changing his mind on issues, don't they want a consistent concern? So, look for this to play out in the final ten days here.

But the big question we've had about Trump since day one, did the attacks work? So far, not so much. We'll find out.

BERMAN: And he could say "I've got Sarah Palin. You can take the national review."

John King, Nia-Malika Henderson, Dana Bash, thanks so much.

Just ahead, they are some of the loudest voices when it comes to politics, the ones with the widest reach, the most loyal followers and now, they, too, are starting to take sides.

We'll hear what Rush Limbaugh and rest of conservative radio has to say about Donald Trump and the other contenders, next.

And later, Bernie Sanders, surging Hillary Clinton launches her most forceful attacks against him so far. Question is, does this just prove he's rattled?


[20:16:38] BERMAN: By many measures, it has been a good week for Donald Trump with Tea Party Darling, Sarah Palin endorsing him, new polling from Iowa, New Hampshire showing him with leads and in some cases, big leads.

Donald Trump is ramping up attacks on his closes competitor Ted Cruz and Senator Cruz now at last hitting back hard. Cruz also got a big endorsement recently or he heard that Glenn Beck will be appearing with him this weekend on "The Stump" which brings up a storm cloud that is forming on Donald Trump's horizon and all over conservative talk radio. Here again, Tom Foreman.


TRUMP: You know, we won't wait. We'll go ahead, right?

FOREMAN: Surrounded by adoring fans and roaring rallies, Donald Trump has enjoyed oceans of praise on conservative radio.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: The last ten minutes of what trump did last night sealed the deal. I mean the sincerity, the appreciation for the audience had showed up.

TRUMP: Great to be here.

FOREMAN: But now that he's taking on his closest challenger Tea Party favorite Ted Cruz. The tide is turning.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: A genuine conservative, even in the Republican field would not go after Cruz this way.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: The attack on Cruz in many ways is an attack on us. That's the problem.

UNINDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you Senator Cruz.

FOREMAN: When Trump and Cruz were playing nice, it was a different story. Last summer conservative radio gushed over the big city businessman.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I'm for Trump. Point blank, best choice we have.

FOREMAN: But as the months passed and the battle with Cruz became inevitable, the conservative talkers sharpened their words.

UNINDENTIFIED MALE: I know there's a lot of people in the GOP who are like look, he's better than Hillary Clinton. Maybe, I don't know.

TRUMP: Laurence Tribe and numerous from Harvard, of Harvard said that there is a serious question as to whether or not Ted can do this, OK? There are other attorneys that feel and very, very fine constitutional attorneys that feel that because he was not born on the land, he cannot run for us.

FOREMAN: Trump's challenge to Cruz's his citizenship brought a brutal response from radio Host, Mark Levin who posted on Facebook. "New York City bully tactics.", adding, "Friendly advice, Donald, either cut the crap or you will lose lots and lots of conservatives." And the Dean of conservative talked, Rush Limbaugh.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, DEAN OF CONSERVATIVE: I think Trump is making a strategic error in the way he criticizes Cruz. But, folks, it's unrealistic to expect they're not going to after each other.


FOREMAN: The conservative talkers will almost certainly hurt Trump if they keep hitting him this way but if he looks like he could win the nomination and the White House, they could change their tune again. After all they have been mad at the Democrats a whole lot longer. John?

BERMAN: All right. Tom Foreman, thanks so much. A lot to talk about here.

Joining me now a familiar voice on Consecutive radio, Hugh Hewitt, host of the Hugh Hewitt Show. Hugh, thanks for being here. I want to start with your thoughts on Donald Trump's reaction to Glenn Beck appearing with Ted Cruz this weekend. Donald Trump tweeted, "Wacko Glen Beck is a sad answer to the Sarah Palin endorsement that Cruz so desperately wanted. Glenn is failing crying lost soul." So what's your reaction to that Hugh?

HUGH HEWITT, HOST, THE HUGH HEWITT SHOW: What's he really think about Glenn Beck.


HEWITT: Look I am Switzerland in this for the Republican Candidates like Chris Christi today, John Kasich this week, Carly Fiorina this week, Marco Rubio tomorrow.

[20:20:02] Donald is coming back next week. Jeb Bush will be back next week. So I have them all on after the moral platform. And I will vote for whomever the party nominates, right, I'll endorse them. But I have stayed Switzerland.

What I think is going on right now is that those who are not obliged by virtue of doing the debates like I am with CNN the state far away from endorsing are picking up sides and telling you what they really think. That's what Conservative talk radio has always done is that they eventually shift through everything and tell you what they really think and they amplify their audiences' voice that way.

And, so Glenn clearly believes in Ted Cruz, Mark Levin is a good friend of Ted Cruz. Now Senator Cruz, good friend of mine but I like all these people. They are all my good friend. But I will say this, do not underestimate talk radio especially in South Carolina where, you know, after New Hampshire were independents get to vote and Iowa where it's pretty easy to go into any caucus, and you can have soldiers of turning out. It doesn't work that way in South Carolina that doesn't work that way in a lot of the SCC, ACC primaries. You're going to get a lot of closed primaries where Conservative's talkers amplify their audience voice.

So, I -- remind people of the Shy Tory effect in 1992 John Major won in England. No one saw it coming because a bunch of people were too embarrassed to say they're going to vote for the dull and boring John Major. I remind the audience that's Matt Bevin, now, the Kentucky governor was supposed to lose that raise in November by four points. He won by nine.

Tom Cotton was supposed to lose by a lot in Arkansas and won by 17 in 2014. The British election, the Israeli, these polls, you know, CNN ORG polls are very well done but it's all turnout model with John King painstakingly went through. And I think for us, we -- it's best for people like me and like you and like John and like Dana to just sit back and wait and see what happens and then try and figure out how will impact the next.

BERMAN: No question about that but Hugh for you Switzerland might be getting smaller, let me just throw that out there.

HEWITT: It's true. BERMAN: Glen Mark, Mark Levin they are petty clear, they're on the Ted Cruz side. They're going pretty hard after Donald Trump. But it's not universal. I mean Rush Limbaugh for instance, and when some people will consider the Dean of Conservative Talk Radio, he's kind of gone back and forth and in some cases, given Donald Trump cover.

HEWITT: Rush is Donald's friend. And Rush in fact the big Calhoun and he is the maker of the feast as scrooge was referred to alters conversion on Christmas. So he always makes the market for talk radio and so everyone knows that Rush matters a lot more than pretty much anybody else and he does like Ted Cruz a lot.

I was listening to his show today and so maybe there's a tilt there, maybe there isn't. I don't think he's declared obviously but Laura Ingraham is a big Trump factor on my network. I think you see Michael Medved trying very hard to keep some of the other candidates up and buoyant and I think you'll see people like Dennis Prager and Bill Bennett and Mike Gallagher torn and obviously so.

So it's very much, you know, the Republican party has been awakened. Donald Trump came out of the ocean like Godzilla did in Japan in those all 1950s movies and took down the power structure, you know, all -- it's just completely evaporated. And -- is there a matter out there? We'll wait and see.

BERMAN: In Switzerland to Godzilla only you, Hugh Hewitt, thank you so much.

HEWITT: Thank you John.

BERMAN: Just ahead for us, Hillary Clinton attacks Bernie Sanders on foreign policy. Clinton says sometime it sounds like he, "hasn't really thought it through".

We'll hear what else she saying and talk about whether it will work that's next. And later, a different kind of storm ready to hit the nation's capital. Washington could get up to 2 feet of snow or more.

Now considering the problems, just an inches snow caused last night, can D.C. handle a blizzard? Beyond that, nearly 30 million people now under blizzard watches and warnings tonight. The latest when 360 continues.


[20:27:49] BERMAN: With the Iowa caucuses, just a little more than a week away in the new CNN/ORC Poll showing Bernie Sanders now ahead in the polls. Hillary Clinton, on the attack. Taking Bernie Sanders' attacks on everything, from health care to foreign policy.

CNN Senior Washington Correspondent Jeff Zeleny has been following Clinton's campaign, saw it all first hand. He joins us now from Des Moines. So Jeff, exactly what did Secretary Clinton say today?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well John, usually it's Trump, Trump, Trump. Today, that was not the case. It was Sanders, Sanders, Sanders. I was struck sitting in the audience how intently she was going after Senator Sanders. We got a bit of a hint this was coming, she had teleprompters. Something she does usually have in her speeches.

Her campaign was filming the speech as a potential ad. She'll be running next week. But she went after Senator Sanders on everything as you said from health care, to his big liberal ideas but she's zeroed in on foreign policy.

Listen to what she said.


HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Sanders doesn't talk very much about foreign policy, but when he does, it raises concerns because sometimes it can sound like he hasn't really thought it through.

For example, he suggested we invite Iranian troops into Syria. That is like asking the arsonist to be the firefighter.


ZELENY: So essentially she was saying, "Listen folks, he's not fit to be commander in chief." What they're trying to do here is stop his growth anymore. You know, obviously, she realizes that his supporters are true believers here. But John, it was a very strong language to a crowd of fellow Democrats.

BERMAN: You know, Clinton is trying to show her tougher side maybe. Bernie Sanders is what trying to show his musical side? He's got this new ad that a lot of people are talking about.

ZELENY: It was an optimistic ad. It's going to start actually start running tomorrow here in Iowa and in New Hampshire as well. A 60 second ad set to the Simon and Garfunkel 1968 anthem "America". It's very optimistic. It looks like hope and change. Sort of reminds me of an Obama type ad.

Now, Senator Sanders has had his fair share of shots against Secretary Clinton in terms of her speaking fees and other things. But he is closing this campaign at least right now on an optimistic tone trying to make some of those true believers believe again.

[20:30:04] He all but ignored her today as he campaign in New Hampshire. I don't expect that to continue though as they both return to Iowa over the weekend, things are so close here. She's leading of course, in our CNN poll. But things -- both campaigns tell me they believe are deadlocked here, so this final week of campaigning is so, so important.

BERMAN: Yeah, I doubt they will ignore each other in CNN's town meeting on Monday night, either. All right, Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.

ZELENY: That's right. BERMAN: Joining me now, CNN Political Commentator Peter Beinart, and Contributing Editor for the Atlantic and CNN Political Commentator and Democratic Strategist Donna Brazile, Vice Chair of the DNC Voter Project.

And, you know, Donna, look, Hillary Clinton not holding back when it comes to Bernie Sanders today, especially on the issue of readiness to serve as commander in chief. Is this what Hillary Clinton on the ropes looks like? Hillary Clinton, the fighter.

DONNA BRAZILE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first of all, I think from day one she's been willing to not only raise her voice and talk about how she will champion issues facing the middle class. She talked about kitchen table issues, the economy of course. This is not really at the end of the day just about these very important issues facing this country. You have two distinct personalities who are running for the Democratic Party nomination.

Hillary Clinton, who in my judgment, came in first place with voters in 2008 but didn't have enough delegates to get over the threshold. And Bernie Sanders who caucused with the Democrats in the United States Senate but now running as a Democratic as you know, a democrat for the presidency of the United States.

So this is a very spirited debate. I'm just glad that they are not talking about birth -- their birth certificates. They are not hitting each other in a personal way. It is going to come down to those closing arguments. And, look, as a Democrat, I'm excited that these two candidates are out there and along with Martin O'Malley and they are taking into voters in Iowa and who knows, we might see some surprises come Monday, February 1st.

BERMAN: Peter, but, you know, she's doing more than talking about herself. I mean, now she talking pretty directly about Bernie Sanders and his readiness to serve, particularly on issues of foreign policy. We've seen this before. I mean, eight years ago, didn't we see this? Wasn't this the 3:00 A.M. phone call? It didn't work for her then.

PETER BEINART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. I mean, if Bernie Sanders could exploit this, I think she is very vulnerable to exactly what she said, which is to say, "Wait a second, this is the same line you tried on Barack Obama." And on the biggest foreign policy decision of this century, the decision to support the Iraq War, Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders were against it and Hillary Clinton was for it.

Now, I think the problem is that Bernie Sanders doesn't have the same comfort level on foreign policy that Barack Obama did. Barack Obama felt confident enough to hit back very effectively. Sanders seems to avoid the issue.

BERMAN: But - and Iraq is not the biggest issue in the world right now as it was in 2008. It's, you know, its international terrorism right now so maybe Hillary Clinton argue will have more residence.

BEINART: But she's more hawkish than the Democratic base on that too. It's a pattern work there. If he was deft (ph), he could exploit that.

BERMAN: All right. But, Donna, I want to talk about Hillary Clinton, her interview with Wolf Blitzer this afternoon. Wolf Blitzer bring interesting question. He asked, if she was the establishment, listen to how she responded.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN: But are you establishment?

HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just don't understand what that means. He's been in Congress. He's been elected to office a lot longer than I have. I was in the Senate for eight wonderful years representing New York. He's been in the Congress for 25. And so I'll let your viewers make their own judgment.


BERMAN: So, I mean, she's not wrong. Bernie Sanders has been in Congress since 1991, before that he was a mayor of a city. He's been a politician for a long time. But she lived in the White House for eight years. I mean, is it hard for her to make the case she's not part of the Democratic establishment? In some ways, there's a generation of the Democratic establishment that is based on the Clintons.

BRAZILE: Absolutely. You're looking at one and guess what? I own my, you know what, credentials as a member of the Democratic Party, the Vice Chair of the party. I'm proud of it. I'm an activist like Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. I've spent many, many of my formative years and they have spent -- that's am I both are politicians.

They have been fighters for equality and champion for children. And the -- under privilege in this society, I'm proud of both of them. I'm proud that they have been members of the establishment. But they are not running because of who they are. They are running to help to level the playing field. That's what this election is about.

So if Hillary doesn't feel comfortable telling Wolf, you know, that she's X, Y and Z, you know what, so what. She's Hillary Clinton and she's been a fighter for the underdog all her life and so has Bernie Sanders.

BERMAN: So, Peter, you talk to many Democratic insiders, they'll sort of whisper to you that he has Bernie Sanders may win New Hampshire, may win Iowa, it's getting very close.

[12:35:00] But at the end of the day, they think Hillary Clinton is going to win the nomination?

The question then though is, does this leave a mark? Is there lasting harm to her brand? If Bernie Sander, Democratic socialist in Vermont, can beat her in key states, do that make her a weaker candidate?

BEINART: No. Primaries are candidates want primary opponents bring up something that people, the opponent in the general election can pick up on, but Bernie Sanders not doing that, primarily because he's not attacking her on character.

Now, he maybe had moved her to the left ideologically a little bit, maybe on domestic policy, not on foreign policy. Maybe Republicans will try to exploit that a little bit, she's gone further left on guns in order to try to exploit that against him.

But in general, he's not really going after her in the kind of way that I think will hurt her in the general.

BERMAN: All right, Peter Beinart and Donna Brazile, thank you so much.

Again, a quick reminder, the Democrats will get together Monday night for a CNN town hall in Des Moines. They will face the voters and their questions, Chris Cuomo moderates, should be fascinating. It gets underway at 9:00 P.M. right here on CNN.

A lot more ahead tonight including the latest on the blizzard, new information coming in. We're checking in with Chad Myers, also, why the Washington area has already virtually skidded to a halt in the face of the storm. How a thin coating of snow and ice overnight did so much damage to the roads, the expectation that the storm response may not be up to the challenge.


[12:40:20] BERMAN: Late developments tonight in our breaking weather news. Airlines have now canceled more than 3,000 flights tomorrow and Saturday, 3,000.

Here is another staggering number. 75 million people tonight from the Mississippi to Maine are facing what could be record-breaking winter storm conditions. Chad Myers bringing together the very latest computer models of who may get hit and how hard. He joins us momentarily.

First though, Rene Marsh with more Washington's damaging and embarrassing sneak preview overnight.


RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When cars could move, tires spun on black ice. But for hours last night, this is what much of the D.C. area looks like, a parking lot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm on my way to work. It usually takes me about 20 to 25 minutes. I've been on the road close to five hours now.

MARSH: Some just gave up and decided to walk, making the situation go from bad to worse as abandoned vehicles blocked oncoming traffic.

Emergency personnel also brought to a standstill a fire truck and two ambulances here in Fairfax County stuck for hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Please go ahead and I'm going to have them move over there.

MARSH: Virginia State Police responded to 767 accidents. In Maryland, at least one person died, a pedestrian hit by a snowplow in a D.C. suburb.

Even the president couldn't breakthrough the gridlock. His motorcade at points completely stopped in traffic, slipped and hit curves on the usually short ride from Andrews Air Force Base back to the White House. How is all of this possible from one-inch of snow?

MAYOR MUREIL BOWSER, (D) WASHINGTON: We're very sorry for inadequate response. We believe that we did not provide adequate resources at a time where it could make a difference.

MARSH: Officials in D.C. and its surrounding suburbs did not pretreat the roads with salt. The snow quickly turned the entire beltway into one big ice slick as daylight broke, all of those abandoned cars made the morning commute as painful as last night's.

At Regan National Airport, many changed their flights to get out of town before the blizzard hit. This man opted for a last-minute get away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going somewhere hot. I'm not going to be stuck in two feet of snow paralyzed for two or three days.

MARSH: Oh, so you made a last-minute trip?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Last-minute trip.

MARSH: American Airlines has already announced, they are canceling all Saturday flights out of D.C. and other airlines are preparing to do the same. As far as the rest of the city, officials are urging people to stay off the roads, to allow crews to deal with up to 30 inches of snow, residents in our nation's capital fearing if one inch of snow can do all this, what will 30 inches do?


All right, well, the mayor of D.C. was on CNN earlier today a she said, while the snow did catch them off guard yesterday, they will be well prepared for tomorrow. They plan on being out in full force. 6:00 A.M. just in case the snow comes early and they say that they will be pretreating the roads this time around. Back to you, John.

BERMAN: Probably a good idea. Rene Marsh, thank you so much.

Let's turn to Chad Myers who's with me in New York tonight. Chad, that was an inch of snow and ice that did that to D.C. last night. That is nothing compared to what they are facing now.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METROLOGIST: Correct. But there will be nowhere near the number of cars on the road when this hits, right? I mean, they weren't prepared for it because they were looking at the big football which is this. They weren't looking at the one inch last night. So they took their eye off the ball and they drop the ball like running backs do when they try to do a screen pass. Here is what we have in D.C. on a normal year, 15 inches. Here is last year. Here is what may come down in the next 48 hours, John. Significant snow and this is and could be of course historic. There you go.

28 inches, the greatest D.C. has even picked up in one storm, not one day but one storm because this is a multi-day storm and it's coming to New York City as well.

BERMAN: So history being made in D.C. potentially. You mentioned New York City. Where is this going to hit? How broad are we talking about and what is going to happen here, asking for a friend.

MYERS: Asking for me, too, because now I'm up here. D.C., Charlottesville, B-WI, Baltimore, those are for sure going to pick up a foot of snow probably two feet of snow, maybe more west ...

BERMAN: That's a lot.

[12:45:00] For Baltimore a foot of snow is a lot.

MYERS: And there's a tremendous amount of snow and heavy snow, too. So east of there, there's going to be sleet mixing in but it's going to be just as hard to move. So let's zoom in here, the D.C. Charlottesville along the I-95 that is two feet of snow. Right there, up and down, Babies-W Parkway I-95.

New York City, I'm not sure because I have another model that's painting somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 inches of snow right there. That is not the forecast but it's possible. All I can guarantee you is that someone is going to get surprised by this storm and maybe Richmond, Virginia, if they don't get much, I think they are going to get 20 inches. It could be New York City. Right now only six to ten, it could be more.

BERMAN: Yes. The line there is the difference between like millions, and millions, and millions of people or, you know, thousands of people. All right, Chad, thank you so much, I appreciate it.

Just ahead, breaking news, a federal official resigning over charges she did not do enough to prevent Flint's residents from being poisoned by tap water. Plus, Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes us inside the public health crisis that still unfolding in Flint, a family with 4-year-old twin boys on the front lines.


BERMAN: Breaking news in the public health crisis in Flint, Michigan. Susan Hedman, the EPA's top official is resigning over charges that she did not do enough to prevent the poison drinking water crisis in Flint.

Last week Hedman admitted that her department knew back in April that the city's residents were at risk for lead poisoning and knew about the risk but did not alert the public. [12:50:003] For 18 months, state officials ignored complaints about the nasty looking and foul-smelling water and belittled a local doctors' concerns. This man-made disaster started began when the city's emergency manager who was appointed by the state switched to Flint water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us the consequences.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Look right at me. Look right at me.

When her son Gavin started to become ill, it was subtle. So subtle the end waters wouldn't have been blamed for missing it.

GUPTA: Look right at me. Keep your head straight. Look over here, how many fingers?


GUPTA: OK, good job. Look up. Look down. Do your fingers feel numb at all?

One day she looked at Gavin and then looked at his twin brother Garrett side by side, the differences was staggering.

LEEANNE WALTERS, MOTHER OF GAVIN: The size he was right now is pretty much the size he was last February, February 5th of 2015.

GUPTA: So almost a year ago.

L. WALTERS: Almost a year ago, yes.

GUPTA: How much does he weigh versus his twin?

L. WALTERS: He's 35.8 pounds and his twin is 5 pounds.

GUPTA: For months, they have drinking the same water. But Gavin (ph) was showing the effects of being poisoned by lead and such is the nature of lead poisoning, it can affect people very differently, even twins. Do you remember the number was?

L. WALTERS: 6.5.

GUPTA: And what is normal?

L. WALTERS: Nothing. There is no safe exposure to lead.

GUPTA: It's a mantra repeated by doctors all over the world, no lead, not even a little bit is acceptable because we know more than ever what it does to the body.

When lead is ingested or inhaled, no organ in the body is spared. Lead even attacks the DNA, affecting not just you, but your future children. All of it essentially irreversible, equally frustrating, the symptoms could show up now or years from now.

L. WALTERS: Wait, watch and see, how do you live your life like that?

GUPTA: It's upsetting.

L. WALTERS: He's 4.

GUPTA: The lead was coming from the corroded pipes carrying water. The longer the water was in the pipes, the more hazardous it became. One of the problems is the Walter's house is one of the farthest away from the treatment facility, it probably explains why testing here was among the highest, 13,000 parts per billion.

To give you context, five parts per billion will be cost for concern, 5,000 parts per billion is associated with toxic waste, this home, 13,000 parts per billion. But, of course, it's not just one home. It's an entire community here in Flint. 100,000 people live here. 10 percent, 10,000 of whom are under the age of 6, they are the ones who are most at risk.

DR. MONA HANNA-ATTISHA, HURLEY PEDIATRICS PROGRAM DIRECTOR: When pediatricians hear anything about lead, we absolutely freak out.

GUPTA: It wasn't a freak out at first but doctors in Flint started hearing whispers about elevated lead levels in the water in 2014. So Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha started looking at lead levels in year patients, and what she found was shocking.

HANNA-ATTISHA: The percentage of children with lead poisoning doubled in the city of Flint. And in some neighborhoods it actually tripled.

GUPTA: She sounded the alarm to state officials, as loudly as she could but no one listened. Instead...

HANNA-ATTISHA: We were attacked. So I was called an unfortunate researcher that I was causing near hysteria and that the state numbers were not consistent with our findings.

GUPTA: Maybe denial was so easy because of this, Flint, a city surrounded by some of the largest fresh water lakes in the world was now delivering some of the world's most contaminated water to its citizens.

In October of 2014, General Motors you say stopped using the water because it was corroding their parts.


GUPTA: That seems like a pretty obvious clue.

HANNA-ATTISHA: Yeah. So red flags, sound loud alarms, sort of been going off from people's brains. If it's corroding engine parts, what is it doing to our plumbing that is predominantly lead-based?

GUPTA: Water that could corrode engine parts, just imagine what it was doing to the body and brain of Gavin Walters. HANNA-ATTISHA: These kids did nothing wrong. They did nothing wrong except being poor.


GOV. RICK SNYDER, (R) MICHIGAN: In May, Professor Mark Edwards from Virginia Tech and Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha sounded an alarm about lead in Flint's water.


GUPTA: Governor says look, you can having anything you want, anything, Mona?

HANNA-ATTISHA: I want a rewind button to April of 2014. That's what I want, because you can't undo this. You cannot undo this.

GUPTA: If there's ever been a U.S. city in need of a rewind button it's Flint, Michigan. More than a third of the people here are living in poverty. Life expectancy is 10 to 20 years shorter than the rest of the state. There is not a full scale grocery store anywhere in sight.

HANNA-ATTISHA: And then we got lead, like if you were to think of something to put in a population to keep them down for this generation and generations to come it would be lead.

[12:55:05] It's just a loss of words.

GUPTA: But they, Dr. Mona, LeeAnne, the hundred thousands of citizens of Flint, have to believe that clean water will return, one day soon.

Do you know why people have been putting you on T.V. lately?



L. WALTERS: Because they wanted to put us on T.V. so they can see us.

GUPTA: Because you're handsome.




BERMAN: Sanjay Gupta is with us right now, Sanjay, first of all, thank you for explaining this so clearly. The water was changed back to Detroit in October, right? So why is there still concern?

GUPTA: This is a really important point, John. So during the time that they were using the water from the Flint River, it was so corrosive, there weren't any anti corrosive agents mixed into the water, so a so corrosive that it essentially damaged the pipes.

Many pipes are leeching lead. So even if you put new water in there, water coming from Lake Huron or from Detroit, it still has this leeching of lead process going on, so you got the better water in there, the pipes are now the problem and that's why you hear this number of a billion dollars potentially needed, that's to replace the pipes, infrastructure here in Flint.

BERMAN: Got to put in new pipes. And there is no way to reverse the effects of lead poisoning, right? There are all these doctors now trying to treat it but you can't actually turn back the damage that's done.

GUPTA: No, that's the unfortunate part of this. This is a heavy metal that once it gets in the body, it just binds very, very strongly. It binds to things and it doesn't let go. So that's the real challenge here and you don't know if the symptoms are gonna appear now or years down the road, John.

BERMAN: This could last a long, long time, this crisis, again, a man- made crisis. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.

We'll be right back.


BERMAN: That does it for us. Thanks for watching.