Return to Transcripts main page


Interview with Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM); Interview with Matthew Mauser; State Department Evacuates Americans from Wuhan as Coronavirus Spreads. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired January 29, 2020 - 10:30   ET


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): -- pertinent to the evidence or to the trial, then absolutely.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What do you think about that divide?

SEN. TOM UDALL (D-NM): Dana, I -- well, I don't think he has much to offer here because that's not focusing on the central issue. But one of the things I always try to do over here is figure out how to get beyond the partisanship because it seems like --

BASH: It's not easy these days.

UDALL: Yes. Well, you go back and forth on these witnesses. Why don't we let the chief justice rule on relevancy and materiality? That's in the rules for the --

BASH: So you agree with --

UDALL: -- Senate.

BASH: -- Senator Manchin on that?

UDALL: Oh, yes, yes. And -- and I've been working with Chris Van Hollen we had a motion to that effect. I think we should put that motion up, number one, right behind the vote on the witnesses. And we should say, let's let the chief justice rule. He's very familiar with what's relevant in a legal proceeding like this, so that's what I would do. So I would --

BASH: That's rolling the dice because it could mean that -- he could decide that Hunter Biden, for whatever reason, is relevant.

UDALL: Absolutely. It would --

BASH: And you'd be OK with that?

UDALL: -- I would be OK, him making the decision on relevancy. It's a lot better than us fighting on these partisan things, of this witness, that witness, back and forth. Should there be a trade, all of those kinds of things. BASH: One last question. A big discussion in the hallways yesterday

and even this morning was Senator Lankford's idea to bring the Bolton manuscript to Capitol Hill.

We've been talking to some experts who have been saying, well, wait a minute, that might not even be allowed. How can the president and the White House even be allowed to give over a manuscript that maybe is protected by executive privilege? You're an attorney, what do you think?

UDALL: Well, I think the president's attorneys have already argued this is inadmissible. And the reason it would be inadmissible would be, is because the best testimony is to bring the live witness. And so that's what we should be doing.

And, clearly, if they're arguing, over and over again, that we haven't heard firsthand, the president doing what we say he's doing here, which is really awful, the two witnesses, Mulvaney and Bolton, talked to him every day. They know what he was doing in these circumstances.

BASH: Senator, thank you so much for your time --

UDALL: Thank you.

BASH: -- appreciate it.

UDALL: Dana, thank you.

BASH: Thank you.

UDALL: You bet.

BASH: Wolf and Jake, back to you.

WOLD BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You know, it's interesting, you know, Jake, that probably at least two, maybe three Republicans will go ahead and vote for witnesses, but they've got to get to four. And Lamar Alexander, you know, I suspect he's going to go along, in the end, with his old friend Mitch McConnell.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: There is a -- look, we know this. Tribalism, party affiliation, partisan politics are very strong in this city. And people vote against things that they feel because they need to stay loyal to the party. One of the reasons they do that is because they need the party to be loyal to them. They need money when they run for re-election, they need support and staffing when they run for re- election.

One of the calculations going on right now is, President Trump, in the view of the Republicans, needs to be strong, he needs to be successful and he needs to win re-election. And they think that because many of their jobs depend upon President Trump winning in November, in addition to the fact that they obviously agree with a lot of his policies, if not all of his policies.

So there is a degree of self-preservation in this decision. It's not necessarily, should we hear from John Bolton? It's, do I want to get re-elected, do I want President Trump to be writing nasty tweets about me?

For people who are retiring, do I want to have a good relationship with my former colleagues? Do I want Republicans at the country club, my friends, to think that I'm disloyal, to look at me the way that a lot of Republicans look at Jeff Flake.

It's not just about the -- and I'm not saying this is how it should be, I'm just saying, in practical terms, this is how it is -- it's not just about the decision in front of them. Does what John Bolton have to say, is it relevant, should we hear from it, do the American people want to hear from it.

There's -- there's a question of what is going to make my life easiest. And without question, for most Republicans, it will make their life easiest to do what Trump and McConnell want them to do.

BLITZER: And McConnell also believes the longer this goes on, the more vulnerable some of those Senate Republicans up for re-election become, if it drags on and on and on.

There's also developing news emerging right now. More airlines are starting to suspend flights to and from China as cases of the coronavirus soar there.


TAPPER: Plus, new details on that deadly tragic crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter and seven other innocent people: what investigators say was missing that could have given the pilot a crucial warning. Stay with us.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All nine people have been recovered in Sunday's tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his 13-year- old daughter and seven others including a mother and her daughter, as well as a couple and their daughter.

NTSB investigators, trying to figure out what caused the crash but say the chopper had no terrain warning system that could have alerted the pilot about any hillsides. They also said the pilot missed clearing the hillside by just 20 to 30 feet.

The day before the fatal crash, a 13-year-old boy took this selfie, which may be one of the last photos of Kobe Bryant, at the Mamba Sports Academy.


I spoke, last night, with Matt Mauser. He's the husband of Christina Mauser, who was on the helicopter. She used to coach girls' basketball at Gianna Bryant's school, and she was hand-picked by Kobe Bryant to coach at his academy.


COOPER: First of all, just how -- where are you in terms of -- how are you getting -- how are you dealing with this?

MATTHEW MAUSER, WIDOWER OF CHRISTINA MAUSER: Well, emotionally, I'm torn. It's like a roller coaster ride in a lot of ways. You know, I'm up, I'm down. I cry for no reason whatsoever, and then I'm OK. Like, I woke up this morning and I said -- I mean, I hadn't slept for two days, and so I woke up this morning and I said, I'm OK. I think I'm OK.

And then I walked out and I started to cry. So, and then I saw my kids and I started to cry. But I'm just trying to be open to not judging myself if I'm hurting or if the kids are hurting, not judging them. Just loving them and loving other people around me that are hurting as well, because I know a lot of people are hurting, so.

And can I be honest with you, that having other people feel grief along kind of really helps because there was a lot of people that are in pain right now. And they may not have lost somebody that they loved like I did, that wasn't their family, but they're still hurting.

COOPER: I was in, actually, in Orange County last night and speaking in front of a group, several thousand --

MAUSER: You could have stopped by.

COOPER: -- people -- well, I would -- I mean, had I known, I would have. But it was a group of probably 3,000 people and I can't tell you how many of those people came up to me and talked to me about your family and all the other families.

And I can tell you, there was a room of 3,000 people who you and your kids and Christina and everybody else on board that helicopter was foremost in their minds. And everybody was talking and thinking about you.

MAUSER: Thank you.

COOPER: That's -- there's millions of people around the world who are thinking that as well.

Can you tell me a little bit about Christina?

MAUSER: Thank you. Thank you.

COOPER: How did you meet?

MAUSER: Oh, man. Well, we met in the most wholesome of places, a bar, here in Huntington Beach. And she walked up and she knew who I was -- I'm in a band. And she asked me when I was going back up. And we started talking and she asked me what was her type -- what was my type and I looked at her and I said, you're my type, and that was it.

COOPER: I read that you --

MAUSER: And I --

COOPER: -- that you played one-on-one basketball with her, like early on, on a date? Is that true?

MAUSER: Oh, man. So when we started dating, you know, I have a basketball hoop in my front yard, practiced -- I played basketball almost every other day and I thought I was pretty good. And I got on the driveway with her and, man, I had never experienced anything like Christina.

She was quick, strong, powerful. She could dribble in, penetrate, come back and shoot, lay it up. I mean, hit from anywhere, anywhere. She was a deadly three-pointer, unstoppable with her pivot moves. She could hit -- she'd never miss. I think she had like a record at her high school for a free throw percentage, free throw percentage. She was just a stud.

And I didn't know how I felt about it at first. I was like, do I really want to date a girl that's better than me at basketball? And then I thought and I went, oh, man, I liked her even more. I just fell in love with her.

COOPER: And you coached together and I guess that's how, and correct me if I'm wrong, that's how you came across -- met Kobe Bryant. His daughter was at the school. I understand they used to call Christina the mother of defense, as a coach.

MAUSER: MOD, that's what they called her on the team, MOD. Yes, the girls came up on the Mamba team. The girls came up with her, you know, code name, MOD, mother of defense, yes.

COOPER: And Kobe Bryant, he saw that -- he saw her skill. He knew -- he identified that right away.

MAUSER: Boom. Oh, God. So, Kobe was incredible at recognizing talent. And he called me and he said, I want to offer Christina a job. And I said, she can't do that. She's running my music. She's running -- she's got three kids. She's teaching full-time. I go, she can't. He goes, OK, I'll call her. So, he was pretty persuasive. And --

COOPER: And you have three kids. I think you have a 3-year-old, 9- year-old and 11-year-old. Is that right?


MAUSER: Yes, 3, 9, 11.

COOPER: My dad died when I was 10 and I'll never forget the night my mom came in to tell me that he was gone. How do you -- I mean, how are your kids? I mean, it sounds like even a dumb question to ask.

MAUSER: Yes, no, but it's the ultimate question. They're doing OK. My little one, her birthday is next week, that's the hard part. She's going to be 4. And so her birthday is on the 4th. And so I'm trying to navigate that. And she's kind of doesn't understand, but she does know. She used to -- I mean, I'd walk in and she would call for mom. Where's mom? I want mom, mommy, mommy. And now I walk in, she doesn't call for her. So, it's bittersweet because I want her to still call for her mom, but it's hard to put her down when she's calling for mom, so I think she gets it. She knows we're grieving. She says, don't cry.

And then my son is a little more quiet. He has outbursts. He's very sensitive. So I try to do physical activities with him. I let him hit a pillow. I kind of let him get it out when I hold him, when I hug him, when I kiss him, when I tell him mom loves you and I love you. I give him a hug from mom and give him a hug from me and move on.

And then my daughter is -- she's 11 and her friends are really important, so that's nice, because she played on Kobe's smaller team, the Little Mambas. So she knows the whole -- she knows everybody as well. And Kobe absolutely loved my daughter. They had a secret handshake. He called her Pen-Pen.

He came -- her seventh grade team -- she's in sixth grade for the school she plays and they won the championship this year. They hadn't won it in -- since -- I believe, since the '80s. And we made a big bobblehead for my daughter and Kobe said give me that bobblehead. He stood up and started waving the bobblehead. And they came from behind and they had a last-minute victory. It was like the last -- you know, it was one of the happiest moments of my life, having him there and my wife and watching my daughter. It was very surreal.

But I just cope, Anderson, day by day, you know? I had a friend of mine, a fellow person who lost her husband a few years back. She has three kids, where I taught. She was here yesterday. I just came home from a walk and she's there -- she's sitting there and I said, what do I do? And the advice she gave to me was wake up, just wake up. I guess that's all you can do, huh?

COOPER: Yes. My mom used to say that sometimes all you can do is just, you know, put one foot in front of the other. Or you know, if you're not feeling like doing that, you just, you know, just keep breathing, minute by minute or even second by second.

MAUSER: Yes. Yes. I tell you, the thing that hurts me the most, the thing that gets me the most are the -- you know, it's not the big things. It's not how good she was at basketball, you know, although those things were wonderful. The things that I miss the most are the little -- the tiny little things.

My wife was not just focused on the big things. My wife was focused on the little things and the attention to detail, you know, about what kind of foods to give our kids, doctors, you know. How she would research every disease that was out there. She was, you know, she was relentless. And she was organized and detailed.

And how she'd treat people that weren't important, that was -- my wife would always treat the person who you wouldn't expect anybody to treat well, she would always treat them the best. She was kind. She was funny. Our goal was to make each other laugh every day. And my wife, she liked me because I made her laugh every day. And I was like, why do you like me, you know?

Our first date, she -- I made her laugh so hard. We were listening to "I Can't Go for That," by Hall and Oates, and I was goofing on the song and she just started rolling. And I remember the first time I said I never heard anybody laugh this hard. She would laugh so hard and she couldn't stop and I miss that. I miss those -- just the little things.


MAUSER: That's the hardest.

COOPER: Matt, I'm just so sorry. And I hope you have family and friends around you. And you know, the one thing I always think about grief is that it feels really lonely and isolating, and it's actually, you know, it's a bond that unfortunately a lot of people share, a lot of people have experienced.


And I know it's easy to feel very alone in this right now, but it's -- there's a lot of other people out there who have gone through it and are going through it. And I hope you are surrounded by people who you can talk to about it.


BLITZER: Airlines are starting to cancel flights to and from China due to the deadly coronavirus. This comes as the number of confirmed cases jumped more than 30 percent in a single day. Authorities report the fast-moving virus has now infected more than 6,000 people in mainland China and killed 132 others.


TAPPER: The U.S. State Department chartered a flight to evacuate Americans from Wuhan, China, which is the epicenter of the outbreak. The flight is bringing some 200 Americans to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California.

CNN's Stephanie Elam is there. And, Stephanie, the government- chartered jet was redirected from a civilian airport to that military base, where you are right now. Do you know if it has landed yet? And why did they change?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right, Jake. Well, this is the question that a lot of people have. We're actually standing along the runway right now. It's supposed to land in about two minutes or so, so it's on its way in, it has not touched down here yet.

But what we understand is that this may have been a precaution, just to make sure that this plane is isolated, away from the rest of the population.

At this point, though, there's no concern of that so far. They've been testing the people on this plane, the 201 people that landed in Anchorage, they've been testing them before they left China, they -- monitoring them throughout the flight. They also tested them twice while they were in Anchorage, before all 201 of those passengers then got back on the plane and are now expected to land here.

They're saying that once they get here, they will be monitoring them for some time and testing them for some time before they're eventually able to travel on to their homes, wherever that may be. But we're hoping to get more information from that press conference that's going to come up later on.

But we do know that the plane is going to land here, at this Air Force base, in Riverside County, where about 30 or so, 40 or so miles east of Los Angeles. So that is where the plane will land, so we're keeping our eyes on this here -- Jake and Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Stephanie Elam, thank you very much.

Just a short time from now, the question-and-answer phase of the impeachment trial will begin as the president blasts the man who may become a witness before the Senate. You're watching CNN's special coverage.