DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Rachel and I are sitting with the morning crowd at Smokey Row – actually cool espresso store in Des Moines, Iowa. Good morning, everybody.
GREENE: We’re right here as a result of within the state of Iowa, it’s caucus day.
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PETE BUTTIGIEG: Each time that my get together has earned the White Home within the final 50 years, it has been with a candidate who’s new to nationwide politics…
JOE BIDEN: There isn’t any time for on-the-job coaching…
ELIZABETH WARREN: I am operating a marketing campaign primarily based on a lifetime of preventing for working individuals…
BERNIE SANDERS: We’re taking over all the political institution, each the Republican institution and the Democratic institution.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Voices of a number of the contenders within the Democratic main. It’s actually beginning out tonight. The Iowa caucuses are the primary contest within the 2020 election. Not a lot suspense on the Republican facet, however a slew of Democratic candidates hoping to tackle President Trump in November. Tonight, Iowa caucus-goers collect in faculties, gyms, church buildings. They are going to discuss, debate and choose their picks. One query right here and elsewhere – will Democratic voters favor a candidate from the get together’s progressive wing or somebody extra average?
GREENE: Nicely, NPR’s Scott Detrow is right here with us at Smokey Row. He is been driving throughout Iowa chasing candidates, speaking to plenty of individuals. Hello there, Scott.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Hey.
GREENE: OK. The previous few days, what have you ever been listening to?
DETROW: You understand, I made my approach across the state seeing all of the top-polling candidates. And one factor that was actually putting to me is that hardly anybody was speaking concerning the different Democrats within the race. It has been an unusually pleasant race to this point between the Democrats. And I feel that additionally underscores that for the candidates, for therefore many citizens and caucus-goers, it is a contest all about defeating President Trump.
So Joe Biden spends a few half hour speaking about Trump’s choices, his character, his fears for the soul of the nation – as he places it – earlier than he pivots to what he would do as president. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are very completely different. They discuss lots concerning the massive plans they’ve for his or her presidency – growing taxes on the ultra-wealthy, making schooling extra inexpensive, pivoting to single-payer well being care, issues like that.
It was notable – Pete Buttigieg is the one candidate making distinction to different Democrats in his closing argument. Not likely assaults – he did it in a respectful, considerate approach. However he is telling Iowans Joe Biden actually needs to simply sort of hit reset and return to how issues have been earlier than. Bernie Sanders actually needs a revolution. And Buttigieg is saying there is a massive center floor in between the 2 of these, and that is what he is attempting to occupy.
MARTIN: How many individuals actually, at this level, have not made up their minds? Did you get a way of that?
DETROW: So many individuals…
DETROW: …So many individuals. This has been the theme of this yr, this contest in Iowa and elsewhere. My colleague Danielle Kurtzleben calls it evaluation paralysis. And I feel that is…
DETROW: It is the right technique to put it as a result of so many citizens are dwelling on, how will we defeat President Trump? And they do not know what metric to measure it by. And this fixed theme of speaking to individuals is, I need to get this proper. I need to again the candidate who can win. I need to make the appropriate alternative. So I noticed individuals this weekend leaving occasions. Whenever you go away an occasion, the marketing campaign says, hey, have you ever determined? Are you able to decide to caucus? And other people have been saying, oh, I’ve received a couple of extra stops to make. I am nonetheless buying. I am nonetheless attempting to verify…
GREENE: I am nonetheless buying (unintelligible). Get again to me.
DETROW: Yeah. So I imply this – and that actually underscores, we might see an entire vary of outcomes tonight.
GREENE: Nicely, I imply, it is such an Iowa factor, too. You’ll be able to go into the room tonight and sort of get a way for what your neighbors and folks in your neighborhood are considering and saying and the way they’re articulating a message. Simply remind us – this isn’t voting; that is caucusing – how does this work?
DETROW: It is extremely completely different. Yeah. Everyone seems to be in the identical room. Marketing campaign surrogates make their pitch, after which individuals kind themselves into group, backing the candidate they need. Now, the foundations modified just a little bit this yr, and that is going to be vital. So as soon as that occurs – if at your location your candidate doesn’t hit that viability threshold of 15%, then you could choose a brand new candidate. It is an 11-person area. And despite the fact that all 11 are usually not severely contesting Iowa, that is going to return into play.
That is what’s new. It will solely go two rounds. And for the primary time, when the outcomes come out, we’re going to be taught the vote totals of the primary spherical, which implies there could possibly be a situation the place one candidate will get essentially the most votes within the first spherical and after that reallocation, any person else finally ends up with essentially the most help and essentially the most delegates. And you will have two candidates saying, I received the Iowa caucuses.
However this is what issues. The delegates is what will get you the nomination, and that’s what issues. And that is what we will concentrate on once we get outcomes.
MARTIN: Something specifically you are going to be in search of tonight?
DETROW: I feel that indecision and the way it performs out. We talked concerning the 4 candidates. Amy Klobuchar has been gaining help; Andrew Yang has actually carved out a novel area for himself. They could possibly be elements, too. There’s numerous outcomes that would come. And you already know what? It is thrilling to have an actual consequence to have a look at after a yr of questioning what it could be (laughter).
MARTIN: (Laughter) OK. Scott Detrow for us. Thanks, Scott. We admire it.
DETROW: Positive factor.
GREENE: All proper. So lots taking place right here in Iowa we will be protecting. We additionally produce other vital tales that we’re protecting, and that features the damaging coronavirus. That outbreak is getting extra widespread on this planet. Authorities within the state of California yesterday confirmed three extra circumstances. Which means there at the moment are 11 confirmed circumstances in america, together with two confirmed cases of person-to-person transmission.
MARTIN: The Division of Homeland Safety put journey restrictions on all U.S.-bound passengers who’ve been to China within the final 14 days. China reported greater than 2,800 new circumstances, bringing the overall variety of confirmed circumstances to greater than 17,000 in that nation. At the very least 360 individuals have died. The Philippines noticed its first virus-related demise; that’s the first demise outdoors of China.
GREENE: All proper. We now have NPR Well being correspondent Rob Stein with the newest right here. And Rob, simply carry us updated. I imply, it feels like this outbreak actually is spreading shortly.
DETROW: Yeah. And as of 5 p.m. final night time Japanese time, the federal authorities began banning anybody touring from China who is not a U.S. citizen or a direct member of the family of an American from coming into america. And along with that, any Individuals returning to the U.S. from China’s Hubei province – that is the epicenter of the outbreak – are being quarantined for 14 days at army bases across the nation. A planeload of people that got here again final week are already quarantined at an Air Pressure base in California.
That is the primary time in 50 years the federal authorities is utilizing its quarantine authority. And any U.S. residents who’ve been in every other elements of China prior to now two weeks are being topic to screening at airports and shut monitoring for 14 days. And as of early this morning, all flights from China at the moment are being rerouted via 11 airports. So that is all fairly aggressive – unprecedented stuff.
GREENE: Yeah. I imply, a quarantine is a large deal – proper? – I imply, for U.S. well being officers to take that step. What are consultants saying about that response?
ROB STEIN, BYLINE: Yeah. So you already know, many of the public well being consultants I’ve talked to over the previous few days say a few of these steps do make sense given what number of uncertainties there are about this virus and the way harmful it is likely to be – that, you already know, quarantining people who find themselves at excessive danger of getting been uncovered to the virus, that is likely to be a wise concept, though they quibble about a number of the logistics and the way it’s being performed. However many are actually frightened about a few of these steps, notably the journey ban – that it would, you already know, simply go too far and really be counterproductive. This is Lawrence Gostin from Georgetown College.
LAWRENCE GOSTIN: I feel that the Trump administration is sliding from complacency and overconfidence to panic and overreaction to some extent the place we will instill panic and concern within the American public. We now have to maintain our head right here and stay calm.
GREENE: I imply, panic, concern – what different issues are there precisely with implementing such a strict journey restriction?
STEIN: So you already know, critics say, traditionally, journey restrictions merely simply, you already know, have not labored. That is why the World Well being Group is advising towards banning journey. I imply, the critics say that it might truly make it lots more durable to get this factor below management if nations begin closing borders. With – China might cease, you already know, cooperating with the remainder of the world to get this outbreak below management. And it could possibly be more durable to do issues like get individuals and provides out and in of nations to combat the outbreak. And the place might this lead? You understand, if the U.S. begins banning individuals from different nations, the concern is they may begin hiding circumstances.
GREENE: That is NPR’s Well being correspondent Rob Stein. Rob, thanks lots.
STEIN: You wager.
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MARTIN: OK. The impeachment trial of President Trump is nearing its finish after senators voted towards permitting witness testimony final week.
GREENE: Proper. So closing arguments within the impeachment trial are going to be delivered immediately. And there is little doubt the Senate, on Wednesday, will vote to acquit the president on two articles of impeachment. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander from Tennessee was certainly one of his get together’s swing voters who introduced that he is not going to help further witnesses. And he defined his reasoning to our co-host Steve Inskeep on Friday.
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LAMAR ALEXANDER: I needn’t hear any extra proof to resolve that the president did what he is charged with doing. So in the event you’ve received eight witnesses saying that you just left the scene of an accident, you do not want 9.
GREENE: Now, we must always say the president may not have to attend till Wednesday to proclaim exoneration. (Inaudible) delivering his State of the Union speech tomorrow earlier than that remaining Senate vote.
MARTIN: All proper. We will flip now to NPR’s Tim Mak. He is becoming a member of us from our studios in Washington, D.C. Good morning, Tim.
TIM MAK, BYLINE: Good morning.
MARTIN: So the trial begins once more immediately. At this level, it looks like a foregone conclusion. Clarify what is going on to occur subsequent.
MAK: Nicely, the Home impeachment managers and the president’s protection crew will likely be given two hours every to make closing arguments beginning at 11 o’clock Japanese immediately. Then senators will likely be given till Wednesday to offer speeches. And so they could need to lay out the best way they voted on witnesses or clarify their views on the trial extra broadly. On Wednesday at four o’clock, we anticipate that the schedule will – the Senate will vote on whether or not to convict or acquit the president on these two articles of impeachment. And since 67 votes are required to convict and take away the president and there is not any signal of numerous Republicans turning towards the president, the result appears all however sure.
MARTIN: So that is all taking place as Iowa has its caucuses tonight. David and I are right here in Des Moines. I imply, is there any sense at this level as to how a doable acquittal for Trump may have an effect on the election?
MAK: Nicely, it’ll imply a few issues. It would imply that the 4 2020 candidates within the Senate are free to return to the marketing campaign path. And the trial will nonetheless be ongoing, nonetheless, when the president delivers his State of the Union Tackle on Tuesday. And it’ll give him a primetime stage to speak about impeachment – if he needs to – and an opportunity, as you talked about, to speak about what he sees as an exoneration.
MARTIN: Is anybody speaking about what kind of precedent that is going to set for future impeachment circumstances?
MAK: Nicely, each side have talked about that repeatedly via the trial. The president’s crew says that the impeachment course of was introduced in a partisan method and lowers the bar for future circumstances of impeachment sooner or later. However the Home impeachment managers argue that the president – that if the president is just not convicted and eliminated, he’ll proceed to hinder Congress, refuse to answer their reliable investigations and even may even see the acquittal as a inexperienced mild to proceed the identical sort of alleged misconduct that received the president impeached to start with.
MARTIN: All proper. NPR’s Tim Mak. We admire it. Thanks, Tim.
MAK: Thanks. Transcript offered by NPR, Copyright NPR.