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2 Suspects Identified in Spy Poisoning in England; The Democrat Candidate Trump is Likely to Face in 2020; Schumer Responds to White House Saying Trump "Disagrees" with Russia Questioning Americans; Rep. Jason Lewis Defends Past Comments on "Sluts". Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired July 19, 2018 - 14:30   ET


[14:30:00] GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, I think you'd expect stronger language from a president whose election had been hacked, and it is continuing. And I think that, you know, the cover is just one more example of showing that Donald Trump really got outwitted by Vladimir Putin in a big way. He just wasn't up to having that conversation.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Maybe not one of the "Time" magazine covers to be framed and hang in the golf club.

BORGER: In the golf club.

BALDWIN: Gloria, Bob, Michael, thank you so much for that conversation today.

Coming up here, unraveling the mystery in the U.K. How police I.D.'d two suspects months after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy and his daughter.

And rating his rivals. President Trump says Joe Biden says he would be his dream opponent in 2020. Chris Cillizza reveals his Democratic power ranking on who Trump is likely to face head on in the next election.


[14:35:23] BALDWIN: A source tells CNN police in the U.K. identified two suspects in the nerve agent poisoning of a former Russian double agent and his daughter. Investigators were able to comb through months of surveillance video, using facial recognition technology. Police believe a deadly Soviet-era poison was placed on the door handle of their home.

Let's go to our senior international diplomatic editor, Nic Robertson, there in Salisbury.

Nic, we know the suspects are identified, but they're not in custody yet, is that correct?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They're not in custody. In fact, they're believed to be in Russia at the moment. That's the best information the authorities have. Look, the house behind me, that's the house, the door handle was contaminated. This is ground zero for the investigation. The property is still under active investigation. It is potentially a danger to the public as well. That's why it is cordoned off. That gives you an indication how important the new development is.

What we understand from a source is that British authorities through a listening post in the island of Cypress in the Mediterranean were able to intercept a coded Russian message sent to Moscow, saying the pair of attackers had left. This came just a couple days after Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, were poisoned in March. Then, as you say, what the police were able to do was back reference from there, go through those thousands of hours of closed-circuit security camera video from Salisbury and the airports, like Heathrow, video from other airports, and narrow it down to those two people. What they believe they discovered is that these two were traveling under aliases. No big surprise there, that they've also not been known or recognized to British intelligence officials. So again, it fits that M.O. of a clean skinned operation, coming in from outside of the country, doing the poisoning, the attack, and leaving quickly. The Russians, who denied involvement, denying it again. This is what their ambassador to the U.K. said today.


ALEXANDER YAKOVENKO, RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.K.: This is the reports of the media. Unfortunately, we don't have official statements from the British. So I want to hear that from the foreign office. A lot of versus we're hearing in the newspaper are not supported by statements of the foreign office.


ROBERTSON: So far, no comment from the British government or metropolitan police leading the investigation here. Clearly, whatever they say can give important details away to the Russians.

BALDWIN: Nic Robertson, at the Novichok ground zero. Thank you so much.

Back here at home, coming up, 838 days and counting. The next presidential election may seem a tad far away, but the buzz around the Democrats who could challenge Trump is building. Chris Cillizza has your power rankings coming up.


[14:42:30] BALDWIN: If you are counting along with Chris Cillizza, there are 838 days until the 2020 presidential election. But President Trump is already taunting his possible Democratic challengers.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Who do you think your Democratic opponent will be? Joe Biden says he will make a decision by January.


TRUMP: I dream -- I dream about Biden. That's a dream. Look, Joe Biden ran three times. He never got more than 1 percent. And President Obama took him out of the garbage heap and everybody was shocked that he did.


BALDWIN: So clearly, President Trump wants the former vice president, but who is he most likely to face?

Chris Cillizza is here with us with a definitive power list of the 10 possible challengers.

Not that you're counting how many days to the next election. Tell me who's on the list.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER & CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: What two years, three months and 15 days. Who know? It could be any amount.

OK, let's run through them. Let's show the first, 10 through six. We're going least likely to be the nominee to most likely to be the nominee.

BALDWIN: Got it.

CILLIZZA: I want to pick Eric Holder, the former attorney general, not the most likely candidate at the start of 2017, but he has been to early primary states, talked about it, talked about running against Trump, and he is somebody that can carry that Obama legacy.

Another person we could figure, Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts.

Let's go to five and four, build up the suspense. You'll see here Bernie Sanders, which might be odd to folks. Why is Bernie Sanders, the runner-up to Hillary Clinton in 2016, why is he fifth on the list? Here's why. I think a lot of people want to not relive 2016, Democrats especially. I think that Bernie Sanders in some way may be seen as a little of the past. Maybe a younger voice. You're going to have a lot of liberal voices in the conversation. Does he get crowded in or not.

Let's go to the big three, the top three. At number three, Kamala Harris. The California Senator is new to the Senate. Elected in 2016. She's the first Indian-American and African-American woman to the Senate. Was the attorney general of California before she was elected. Great law-and-order credentials. She's writing a memoir that comes out in 2019. Wink, wink. I wonder why she's doing that. Very serious contender.

Let's go to two. Elizabeth Warren, a name a lot of people know. Some people wanted the Massachusetts Senator to run in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. She decided not to do it. Giving every indication she will run now. If Democrats are looking for a liberal voice that fought the establishment, it is probably Elizabeth Warren.

Number one, my Vanna White reveal, Joe Biden. You say Joe Biden? Yes. Joe Biden. Here's why. If you look at all past nominations, particularly crowded ones, the person that starts in front in polling is almost always in the end mix there. Joe Biden is in front. He's ahead in national polling of the Democratic primary, ahead in polls in New Hampshire, and in a recent poll they had him 17 points ahead of Donald Trump. Joe Biden's problem here is he is 74 years old. He is the former vice president of the United States. He is not exactly a new, fresh face. But very strongly well regarded by Barack Obama and those that work for Barack Obama, and that does matter in the Democratic primary.

That's them. 838 days from now it may look a little different. That's who we've got as of now.

Back to you.

[14:45:59] BALDWIN: There's the top 10.

Vanna, thank you.


All right, back to breaking news. The White House putting out a statement just now saying President Trump now opposes this proposal by Putin that would turn over some American diplomats for Russian questioning.

Moments ago, on the Senate floor, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said this.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Mr. President, now I'm hopeful we'll come together on this resolution, which I introduced with the Senator from New Jersey and the Senator from Hawaii, that is neither the policy nor the practice of the United States to submit our citizens, let alone our ambassadors, to the interrogation of a foreign adversary. Let this resolution be a warning to the administration that Congress will not allow this to happen.

I call on President Trump to say once and for all, not through his spokespeople, that the lopsided disgraceful trade he called an incredible offer is now off the table. There should be no --



[14:51:31] BALDWIN: New today, Republican Congressman Jason Lewis firing back, defending his past comments about women and his use of the word "slut."

CNN's "K File" dug up some audio of Lewis back in 2012 on his radio talk show.


REP. JASON LEWIS, (R), MINNESOTA (voice-over): The thing is, can we call anybody a slut? This is what begs the question. Take this woman out of it, take Russia out of it for a moment. Does a woman now have the right to behave? I know there's a double standard between the way men chase women and running around, you know, I'm not going to get there. You know what I'm talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Yes.

LEWIS: But it used to be women were held to a little bit of a higher standard. We required modesty from women. Now, are we beyond the ways women can behave as a slut but you can't call her a slut?


BALDWIN: Are you serious? I know. I know.

Congressman Lewis responded with a video today.


LEWIS (on camera): You know, I was a broadcaster over two decades, candidate for office, now elected office holder, I've had to answer a lot of questions over the years, good ones and silly ones. You know what? It comes with the territory. Not only do I like answering the questions, I enjoy a good debate. That's what politics is all about.


BALDWIN: Let's talk it over with Andrew Kaczynski, CNN "K File" senior editor, with me now.

We know he is running for re-election. He is blaming his political opponent, a Democrat and woman, for the audio release, and he's calling B.S. on your reporting. To him, you say what?

ANDREW KACZYNSKI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR, "K FILE": It is interesting how these guys do not tell the truth when they feel under siege. He claimed that his opponent basically fed us audio, which is not true. He claimed there's nothing new in our reporting, which is also not true. None of these comments had be previously reported. And he's claimed that we were fed audio by the blogger who we obtained it from, which is basically not what happened. I was looking into his radio show and saw that this man had, you know, reported him before, and I reached out, he said I have 1500 hours of his radio show, I wat you to take a look through it.

BALDWIN: Let's do a couple of things. I watched the entirety of the video response from today, where he is essentially throwing the media under the bus, shock face, and saying the media is not questioning his opponent enough on her issues and that these were comments he made on women years ago. Although, he doubled down this morning on the radio. KACZYNSKI: Yes. This afternoon, he basically doubled down. He said,

"I would not have a problem going into the same discussion today." He said his comments made for an interesting hour of radio. And he said it was his job to be provocative. He is defending the "sluts" comments basically.

BALDWIN: As a sitting congressman?

KACZYNSKI: As a sitting congressman, yes.

[14:54:24] BALDWIN: OK. Andrew Kaczynski, stay on that for me. Thank you so much.

Coming up, the director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, set to speak over backlash of the president's praise of Vladimir Putin. We're standing by for that.

Also, how Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg is doing damage control today after saying some Holocaust deniers that post online aren't intentionally getting it wrong.


BALDWIN: You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thanks for being with me.

Breaking news, off the top, that the White House has now issued another clarification today or cleanup for comments the president made at his summit with Vladimir Putin, comments that led to severe backlash from both sides of the aisle. Remember, the two men met this past Monday. Now the Trump administration is saying it does oppose the ludicrous proposal by the Russian leader. Putin had suggested his people be allowed to interrogate Americans in exchange for the special counsel, Robert Mueller, getting access to 12 Russians indicted for attacking U.S. elections. The White House now, quote, unquote, "disagrees" with this idea.

But just yesterday, the administration showed literally two minds about it, with the White House saying one thing and the State Department saying another.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Does President Trump support that idea --