“What?” Sanders asked.
What, exactly, the pair talked about wasn’t clear.
Billionaire activist and philanthropist Tom Steyer approached shortly after Warren did and appeared surprised by the content of the discussion.
The decision not to shake hands came after Sanders and Warren clashed again over their recollection of a 2018 meeting.
Sanders was questioned whether he’d told Warren that a woman can’t win the presidency.
“Anybody who knows me knows it is incomprehensible that I wouldn’t think that a woman could be president of the United States,” he said, referencing a video circulating this week showing him saying decades ago that a woman should be president.
But Abby Phillip, a CNN moderator, appeared to assume Sanders was lying.
“You’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?” Phillip asked.
“That is correct,” Sanders said.
Phillip then turned to Warren.
“Senator Warren, what did you think when Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?” Phillip asked.
The camera showed Sanders laughing in disbelief while Warren answered: “I disagreed” before calling Sanders her friend.
CNN didn’t respond to a request for comment.
After the debate, during a CNN panel at the venue in Iowa, former Hillary Clinton communications director Jess McIntosh, a CNN contributor, weighed in on the issue.
“I think what Bernie forgot is that this *isn’t* a he said she said story, this is a reported out story that CNN was part of breaking,” she claimed.
“So to have him just flat-out say ‘no’ wasn’t enough for the women watching.”
CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, who was another debate moderator, pushed back against the claim.
“IT is essentially a ‘he-said, she-said, I mean there’s two people in a room, so we only know—”
“It started with reporters finding other sources,” McIntosh interjected.
“It was people, from what I understand, it was four sources, two of them had been spoken to by Warren, anyways, it was only two in the room,” Cooper added.
“That’s true,” McIntosh admitted.
The four sources CNN cited originally included two people who were “familiar with the meeting” and two people who “Warren spoke with directly soon after the encounter.”