Bernie Sanders at CNN town hall: live coverage

Bernie Sanders at CNN town hall: live coverage
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Sanders closes with call to action 

Wrapping up, Sanders touts the upcoming "Day of Action" rallies for Medicare and urges Democrats to focus less on who's running for president next and more on becoming politically active.

One thing Sanders likes about Trump 

Asked by a George Washington student to name one thing he likes about Trump, Sanders comes up with an answer: 



Sanders won't commit to presidential run

Asked by a young man who called Sanders an inspiration whether he'll run for president in 2020 to rally progressives and liberals, Sanders won't commit.

 "It is much too early to be talking about that," Sanders says. 



Addressing Muslims' concerns

Following the teacher’s question, Osama Alsaleh—a Muslim student who attends the George Washington University—noted that many Muslims have experienced a “silence prejudice” in the wake of the presidential election.

Sanders said America is about judging people on who they are and denounced the divisive nature of Trump’s campaign.

“We judge people one who they are and not where their grandfather came from or their religion,” Sanders said. “We judge people on who they are and not on their religion.”

Sanders mum on SCOTUS plans

Just like he wouldn't commit to voting for or against EPA nominee Scott Pruitt and attorney general nominee Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE, Sanders won't say he'll automatically vote against a Trump Supreme Court nominee as payback for Republicans' refusal to consider Obama's replacement for Antonin Scalia. 

But at the same time, Sanders wouldn't rule out a block and said Democrats are considering it, especially if Trump doesn't nominate a moderate. 

“I do think that Republicans treated President Obama shamefully," Sanders says.
Sanders: protect "beautiful children" from deportation
A high school teacher from Maryland who voted for Clinton said that many of her students are undocumented or have parents who are undocumented and are concerned about the current political climate and possible deportations.

When asked if he could deliver her students a message of hope, Sanders responded, “Please tell your students, many of us in the Congress...will do everything that we can to protect these beautiful children,” Sanders said.

Sanders, business owner get testy over regulation

A small business owner asks Sanders why, as the business owner sees it, Obama has hampered small businesses with regulation. Sanders counters that, if he had anything to say about it, he would have raised taxes far higher on millionaires and billionaires. 

The business owner shoots back that Sanders hasn't "lived until you've had a payroll on your credit card."

Praise for (the other) Cuomo

Sanders praises New York governor (and Chris Cuomo brother) Andrew Cuomo for his plan to make state college free, depending on income. Still, both Sanders and CNN's Cuomo joked that the other Cuomo is "funny-looking."

As for how to pay for it...


Sanders won't rule out backing EPA nominee—sort of

Sanders won't say yet that he won't vote for EPA nominee and Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt. Pressed by Chris Cuomo, though, Sanders concedes he's leaning against it. 



Sanders has "grave concerns" about Sessions

A Harvard Law student asks Sanders if he'll vote for Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions's attorney general nomination. Sanders says he has "grave concerns" about Sessions on voting rights, but says he'll wait to hear what Sessions says at his hearing this week. 

Sanders face-off with GW student

A George Washington University student who describes himself as a moderate Democrat wants to know whether Sanders fears he's alienating and demonizing wealthy voters.

Sanders counters that he's not—but still thinks "corporate greed" is destroying the country.

Then Sanders and the student start parrying questions: does the student think tax cuts for the wealthy make sense if they come at the expense of education funding? (No). Then the student asks Sanders why he wants to tear up NAFTA (Sanders says he's for changing the terms). 

"I think you and I have a disagreement about trade policies, but that's what democracy is about," Sanders says. 

Working with Trump on jobs

A corrections employee from Appalachia, a longtime Democrat who voted for Trump, wants to know how Sanders will work with Trump to bring back rural jobs.

Sanders says he'll support Trump on trade deals if they involve telling corporations to "control their greed."   



Sanders backs intel agencies on alleged Russia hacks


Sanders: Trump a "pathological liar"

Sanders doesn't buy incoming White House counselor Kellyanne Conway's call for Americans—and the media—to take Trump not by what he says, but by what's in his "heart."

"That may be true, but think about that statement for a moment," Sanders told Cuomo. "You're not a heart surgeon, you can't know what's in someone's heart."

Instead, Sanders called Trump a "pathological liar" over issues like saying thousands of New Jersey Muslims cheered the 9/11 attacks.

Democrats as opposition party

Sanders says he accepts the Democrats' new role as the "opposition" party—but rejected mirroring what he described as Republicans' kneejerk obstruction to President Obama's policies. 

Sanders's summed up the GOP's reaction to Obama:“OK, our strategy is going to be that we will obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. We will do everything we can to make sure he accomplishes as little as possible."

Instead, Sanders promises "constructive criticism when we disagree" and alternative ideas.



Sanders talks "questions" in town hall op-ed

Updated 8:45 p.m.

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Pelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill top line higher than Senate's Groups push lawmakers to use defense bill to end support for Saudis in Yemen civil war MORE (I-Vt.) will sit down for a one-on-one interview moderated by CNN’s Chris Cuomo Monday night, with Congress readying for Cabinet hearings and President-elect Donald TrumpDonald TrumpUN meeting with US, France canceled over scheduling issue Trump sues NYT, Mary Trump over story on tax history McConnell, Shelby offer government funding bill without debt ceiling MORE poised to assume office next week.

The hour-long town hall will stream live on CNN starting at 9 PM ET. 

In an op-ed previewing the broadcast, Sanders called for the media to stop acting like politics is a "baseball game," focusing instead on issues like income inequality, the power of money in politics, and healthcare affordability.

Sanders, a progressive stalwart, unsuccessfully challenged Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 Clinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty MORE in the Democratic presidential primary. Since the election, he’s been one of the most vocal lawmakers opposed to President-elect Trump.

The primetime town hall coincides with Senate Democrats’ late-night talkathon to protest the GOP’s plans to repeal ObamaCare. Sanders, a supporter of a “Medicare-for-all" healthcare plan, has called for a national day of rallies to protect ObamaCare and has ripped GOP efforts to defund Planned Parenthood.


The interview also comes ahead of a busy week in Congress where the Senate will conduct confirmation hearings for nine of Trump’s Cabinet picks.

Sanders has criticized several of Trump's nominees, including former Goldman Sachs executive Steven Mnuchin for Treasury secretary, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of State and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Vermont senator was integral in shaping the Democratic Party’s 2016 platform and pushing Clinton to the left on issues like free college tuition. He was also an outspoken opponent of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the then-chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who stepped down from the position after emails allegedly obtained by Russian hackers showed DNC officials tipping the scales for Clinton.

The Democratic Party is still dealing with the aftermath of Sanders's candidacy, as Sanders-backing Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison competes with White House-favored Labor secretary Tom Perez, along with other hopefuls, to chair the DNC.