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CNN "Erin Burnett Outfront" - Transcript: Interview with Senator Amy Klobuchar



BURNETT: Well, all right, Barbara. And obviously the implication of what Barbara is saying there that such thoughts are even going through people's mind is a pretty stunning thing to even contemplate. OUTFRONT now, Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, also former presidential candidate. Sen. Klobuchar, two top Pentagon officials resigning today after Esper was fired. So you've got four now in 30 hours. Your reaction to this sudden exodus?

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): My first reaction is that it's Veterans Day tomorrow and in our military as much as we can have differences on policy, when our soldiers sign up to serve, they don't ask the guy or woman next to him is a Republican or a Democrat. And I just can't stand that this is happening at the end, when administration and sure some people leave at the end of December, something like this, but he literally fired the Defense Secretary by tweet and now you have these top officials dealing with intelligence policy, that chief of staff to Esper leaving.

And I guess my second reaction is this, you can't have a better contrast with Joe Biden, Erin. You've got Donald Trump firing his Defense Secretary by tweet and then you have Joe Biden announcing a 13-member distinguished panel of experts to deal with a pandemic, the issue of our time. And to get through this, I think it's very important that President-elect Biden do what he did today and that is show his plans, show the calm and the competence and get us through this time.

He can't be the President right now, but he sure acting like one.

BURNETT: So sources are telling CNN they expect Trump to fire CIA director Gina Haspel, that's what he wants to do. We'll see what he does. But we know sources say he's angry, because he said that she didn't help with his desire to investigate the origin of the FBI Russia investigation. She did meet with the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell today who has long been a backer of hers. Do you think she really could be fired next? Do you think the President can be stopped?

KLOBUCHAR: Perhaps, Mitch McConnell is stepping in as a backer of hers. I just don't think you want to lose these career people right now. Democrats may have had issues with a number of these officials in the past, but the point is you want some people that are still in charge. It makes the transition so much better.

As Laurence Tribe and Sec. Napolitano pointed out, Joe Biden's coming in with a lot of National Security experience, so that's a good thing. But to make this transition better, you need a transition team that is talking to the past administration as we have done so often in the past. And remember, what's been stopped right now is things like space and funding for the transition and being able to vet people and get National Security clearances and the like.

And so it really, really it's heartbreaking to me for our nation after Joe Biden - this incredible speech Saturday night talking about how the grim era of demonization should be behind us and how addressing directly Trump voters and saying to them, look, I've lost before.


I know it's disappointing. But I'll give you a chance, if you give me a chance.

I still think that's where a lot of people are right now, regardless of how Republican officials are acting in Washington for their own personal reasons.


KLOBUCHAR: So -- go ahead.

BURNETT: So, I wanted to get -- I want to ask you one other thing today, Senator, while I have you, though. And that is the Supreme Court, which appears to be ready to uphold much of the Affordable Care Act, which, of course, is facing a challenge.

The president-elect forcefully defended the healthcare law today. Here is President-elect Biden.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: This argument will determine whether health care coverage of more than 20 million Americans who are covered will be ripped away in the middle of the nation's worst pandemic in a century. We're going to do everything in our power to ease the burden of health care on you and your families. I promise you that.


BURNETT: So, today, the chief justice, John Roberts, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh have signaled they will not strike down the Affordable Care Act.

I mean, what's your reaction to that? Does that prove a nonpartisanship that many alleged was not there in the court?

KLOBUCHAR: Well, I sure hope that that's the result. That's my first reaction to this. We can't afford in a middle of a pandemic to do what this administration wants right now.

I'm talking about the Trump administration. They're the ones bringing the case to throw people off of their insurance if they have pre- existing conditions, and throw out the Affordable Care Act.

So, it doesn't surprise me, only because I have said this before, there are some real issues with that case. That being said, we know there's a number of other cases coming down the pike right now, about LGBTQ parents adopting kids, about the census, about voting.


KLOBUCHAR: As we've seen in number of cases come down. So I don't think simply about because of the words of two justices, you see -- think that the world is going to suddenly see a change in this very conservative court, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Senator Klobuchar, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

KLOBUCHAR: Very good. Thank you.