tv CNN Tonight With Don Lemon CNN September 26, 2019 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
i do think, though, this is a tough one. there is so much flagsti rancy that phone call. i think it's also false equivalents. the idea to hear them at all i think is a reflection of how wild that phone call is and the suggestions of how long they worked with how many different tentacles to get to that point of that call to begin with. >> i saw your interview with i can't remember the congressman -- >> chris stewart? >> yes, chris stewart. earlier. it's just shocking to me -- listen, nothing personal against him, but how he can condone one and not condone the other and saying one is worse than the other when the investigation wasn't even going on when hunter biden was part of the company and then it was done by the time it was -- i mean, it's just -- i -- i don't understand it. >> you see the clips of lindsey
graham back during clinton and now? >> of course. of course. >> that's how you understand it. same guy, totally different supply in terms of what they're on that's motivating their arguments. we've seen it work both ways. that's why people are so frustrated. that's why they expect so little and that's why the truth matters so much. >> the concern, though, is that can we, even in the face of all the evidence in the phone call and you see the whistle-blower report and up see the report and the call and i don't know if people see two different things or they want to see two different things, regardless of however those metrics work, we still live in a country that is extremely divided. in my 27 years on this planet, i have never seen us this -- you didn't catch that did you? you heard me. i've always seen a division between right and left but not this divide, this crevasse that
we're seeing right now. you come from a political family. you know this. it's never been like this. >> it depends on what period you're talking about. we've gone through so much worse but in recent history, this president has really pulled at the fabric of what holds us together in this country. he just has. he's playing to advantage in ways we haven't seen before. but, look, the rules still have to apply. i think the democrats, some of them are in a hurry right now and i don't understand why. you have to get the answers to the questions that we outlined in the closing. if you can show that this president had people from the state department working with rudy and people were working with ukraine and giving them certain expectations for how they would get meetings and friendship from the president of the united states and you had people lying to congress about why they were holding up money and people secreting the transcripts into a different directory so they couldn't be discovered easily, now you're talking about a systemic abuse of power over months that is
flagrant and egregious and i think you're in a different place. i don't know that you're there right now. >> but let me tell you one thing before i go is that during the election before this president became president, i would hear people all the time talking about, hey, i like him, i like him and i would say he's got a chance, got a chance. liberals would get mad at me, hillary supporters would get mad at he saying what are you nuts, are you nuts? here's what i'm feeling about democrats now. democrats now feel that the people who they put in office in washington now has some you know what, cojones and they're at least trying to do something. they feel like finally somebody is standing up for us. they feel like this has some momentum. so i think that motivation they may take into the voting booth. so the whole calculus about people saying it's going to help trump, i don't know if i'm feeling that way now. at first i did. i thought if you want to win,
then maybe you shouldn't do what they did to bill clinton back in the 90s but i think democrats are feeling empowered. regardless of what side you're on. that's the feeling i'm getting from the street with people i'm talking to. >> if people put you there to hold the president to account, they don't want you to become what they oppose. don't do what this president would do in terms of what his basis of proof is in most of the suggestions that he makes. it's a big responsibility if i put you in control of looking out for my interests. i think they have to carry it forward with integrity and make a really compelling case. >> enjoy your night in d.c. you still have time to go out and have a good dinner after the show. >> this place is crazy! >> who are you telling? we saw it all playing out on tv today. let me know what the mood is like there. thank you, chris. see you later. this is "cnn tonight." thank you for joining me. we have got to talk about this,
about how incredible, how shocking this day has been. today, just today we learned about the explosive whistle-blower accusations that the president of the united states not only abused the power of his office to pressure a foreign country to interfere in the 2020 election, allegations that senior members of his administration then tried to cover up evidence of the president's actions. and then the president himself pretty blatantly threatened anyone who talked to that whistle-blower. you go the to listen to this because it was all caught on tape. >> i want to know who is the person that gave the whistle-blower -- who's the person that gave the whistle-blower the information? because that's close to a spy. you know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, right, with spies and treason, right? we used to handle it a little differently than we do now. >> we all know the president's -- this president's first impulse always seems to be
to hurl insults and wild accusations. but this is not just trump being trump. this is different. this is the president of the united states straight up saying that officials from his own white house who expressed their concerns to the whistle-blower are like spies. think about that. he's accusing them of treason. and with a nod and a wink talking about how we handled spies and treason when we were, his word, smart. prison? execution? i don't know. what do we do with spies? hanging? what does that mean? i'm just going to say that if you're being accused of sounding like a gangster in a movie, maybe don't talk about killing people you think of as your enemies. it just shows you how threatened this president must feel by the whistle-blower's complaint and what it alleges about his actions and the attempt to cover
them up. and a lot of what we've learned today from the whistle-blower's complaint matches what we've already learned and what we saw in the rough transcript the white house released of the president's call with the president of ukraine. house intel chairman adam schiff says this -- >> what this whistle-blower said about the nature of that call has been borne out in great detail by the call record that has now been released. so in a very substantial part, this whistle-blower has already been found to be credible. >> so let's go through this. in the very first paragraph of the complaint, the whistle-blower lays out the main allegations and they are shocking, saying the president used the power of his office -- used the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 election, including, quote, pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the
president's main domestic political rivals. in the rough transcript of the president's call with the president of ukraine, remember that transcript was released by the white house itself, there is this, and i quote, "there's a lot of talk about biden's son, that biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that. so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it, it sound horrible to me. let's please remember this, okay? there's no evidence of wrong doing by either the former vice president or his son. but let's continue on here. in the same paragraph the whistle-blower says, quote, the president's personal lawyer, mr. rudolph giuliani, is a central figure in this effort. attorney general barr appears to be involved as well.
so i want to go back to this call now because it says, quote, mr. giuliani is a highly respected man. he was the mayor of new york city, a great mayor, and i would like him to call you. i will ask him along with the attorney general. see the connection? and there is much more. the whistle-blower going on to say that according to the white house officials with direct knowledge of the call, the president in the course of pressing ukraine's leader on the bidens and dnc servers wanted him to, quote, meet or speak with two people the president named explicitly as his personal envoys on these matters, mr. giuliani and the attorney general william barr, to whom the president referred multiple times in tandem. be sure to refer to them
multiple times. it says, quote, i will have mr. giuliani give you a call and i'll also have attorney general barr call and we will get to the bottom of it. and under the heading of the coverup is worse than the crime part, the whistle-blower goes on to say that in the days following the president's ukraine call, senior white house officials intervened to lock down all records of the call, including a word-for-word transcript, moving that into a system for especially sensitive information, what you might call a coverup server. here's the quote. one white house official described this act as an abuse of this electronic system because the call did not contain anything remotely sensitive from a national security perspective. speaker of the house nancy pelosi now. >> this is a coverup. this is a coverup.
>> just look at all of high-level people in this administration who are tied to this story, whether in the complaint, the transcript, the congressional testimony or mentioned in news reports or by the president and mr. giuliani. of course at the center of it all is none other than the president. then there is the vice president, mike pence. according to the complaint, he was ordered by the president to cancel his planned trip to ukraine for president zel zelensky's -- secretary of state mike pompeo. those officials who tried to lock down the record of the
call, mike mulvaney, ordered by the president to hold back nearly $400 million in aid for the ukraine, white house counsel pat cipollone whose office testified he went to dni first. and rudy giuliani stating today it's impossible that the whistle-blower is the hero and i'm not and i will be the hero. these morons when this is over, i will be the hero. that from the former mayor of new york city, rudy giuliani. kurt volcker, the special representative for ukraine and gordon sandler, ambassador to the eu who according to the complaint spoke with giuliani in an attempt to contain the damage. all of them, you saw them up on your screen. see how that worked out?
and tonight we're really just at the very beginning of all of this. the house speak aer nancy pelos says he wants a fast impeachment inquiry focused on the president of ukraine. so we may get an answer very soon. stay tuned. abuse of power. a coverup. serious accusations against this president. where does the investigation go from here? that's the question. mike rodgers is here, susan hennessey, sean turner. they will answer next. ♪ it's the easiest because it's the cheesiest. kraft for the win win. but allstate actually helps you drive safely... with drivewise. it lets you know when you go too fast... ...and brake too hard.
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mike, you say this whistle-blower complaint is a pretty damning document, but be specific to us. is it the threats, the coverup, the abuse of power? tell our viewers why. >> well, i think it's a damning document because it lays out the case in great detail and then also cites legal references along the way, including, by the way, the charge that if someone tries to declassify certain parts of it afterward, they should have to justify. it tells me that somebody in the chain of getting that information legally and normally as a part of their course of business got this information. and i think that's exactly why the i.g. said i'm taking a look at the person because they didn't do a full investigation. remember, they had to do a precursory view of the material and see is it credible and is it of concern. i think that's why the i.g. came to the conclusion, probably a good person, a person that would have access to this information. it's certainly laid out very,
very clearly and in great detail. i've never seen as somebody who has taken whistle-blower complaints, i've never seen one this detail, every i and every t dotted. tells me somebody knows what they're doing. >> you think it's a good, credible and very well-written complaint. >> i do. >> there's criticism on the other side from the trump supporters and others saying it's fiction. >> here as the one thing, from the other side it's all hearsay. i was surprised they released this document. you never -- i never would have ever released a whistle-blower complaint. i would have done the investigation, you may have referenced it but they released it and it just gives fodder to republicans who are saying, listen, nobody had direct access, they got it third hand and why would you release the whistle-blower complaint? i thought this was a little bit sophomoric in something as
serious as the possibility of removing and undoing a legal election. my argument is if you're going to do this, do it right. make sure that all of the information of that whistle-blower is confirmed before you even do something like this. >> i've got some ideas on this. let's get the other guys in. susan, let's bring you in. if the whistle-blower ultimately testifies, it seems like one of the first questions will be who are these white house officials who told him about the call and who say they were directed by the white house lawyers to remove the transcript from its proper server, correct? >> yes. this is actually one of the things i think is so damning about this document, that the whistle-blower is up front about the fact he does not have firsthand information, but he points to people who do have firsthand information. he is quite explicitly and directly and in some cases by name addressing investigators to individuals he believes has firsthand knowledge to related,
contextual activity. certainly investigators are going to want to talk to this person. ultimately, as much as republicans are sort of saying this is just hearsay, second-hand information, the rejoinder is you're right, we need to bring in people with firsthand information, get them speaking with congressional investigators and have the white house agree to that process, participate in that process because it is such an incredibly serious not just allegation at this point but even from the most serious allegations in that whistle-blower complaint have already been confirmed by the white house themselves whenever they release that transcript. >> shawn, you find out something new every time one of these thanks happens. this whole coverup server people are learning about, according to white house officials in the complaint, the transcript of this ukraine call was not the first time conversations were put into this coverup servers.
what other conversations with world leaders might be hidden away? >> that's an important question. don, there's an argument to be made here for the white house taking steps to protect information. if you recall early on in this administration, you had lots of leaks of information from calls that the president had with other world leaders. you have leaks about information from a call he had with the mexican president and with others. and so one of the key questions here is going to be was this a kind of holistic effort to protect calls that the president had with world leaders? in other words, were they moving all of these calls or most of these calls into some space so they were more protected or were they cherry picking particular calls that had information that people in the white house thought might have been political embarrassing or damaging to the president and putting those calls in another system? if it's the latter, then that is completely consistent with what we're seeing in this complaint in terms of this being an effort
to protect this information. that's where we get into the space of coverup. we don't know what other calls were put there but i think it's very interesting that it says that these are not the only ones and we should find out what they a are. >> what do you think about the president calling the sources spies. could this be witness intimidation? what's going on here? >> this is exasperating at any rate. the president should never even have engaged in that conversation. when he does that, it gives the group americans who already believe he's guilty, it enrages them and then folks in the middle of saying why is he attacking this person? remember, this is going to cause a big divide in the united states, and we shouldn't walk into this thinking it's going to do anything else and he encourages this bad behavior. i'm sorry. >> if he's so innocent, why do the witnesses need to be pointed out?
>> we used to have a saying when i was an fbi agent in chicago when we were doing interviews, if you don't want us to treat you like you're guilty stop acting like you're guilty. it doesn't look good for the president to attack individuals who are legally participating in a system designed to protect someone who believes they are right. >> i got it. i got it. i got it. i just want to ask you this. we have to go but do you think because everyone is saying it's secondhand knowledge or third-hand knowledge, maybe this whistle-blower is taking the information from somebody so close to the president they don't want to be revealed. has anybody thought about that and the whistle-blower is the messenger and the person who has the information is feeding the whistle-blower the information that they're so close they don't want the president or anyone that's close to him to know about it. is that possible? mike? >> it's possible but the way i read this, don, is somebody in the chain of receipt of this
information tells me that they are already in that stream of information. what they were doing is these people they probably worked with for a long time came forward and said, gosh, i'm concerned about this and through the process of t their job, they kept coming forward and saying i got something, i got something. >> you're the perfect group to have this conversation. thank you so. we got to talk about mike rogers. mike rogers is going to host an all-new season of declassified, untold stories of american spies this sunday night at 9:00 only on cnn. thanks to everyone. thanks to susan, shawn and mike. we'll be right back. that books their own vacation. a booker. scootin' through life at seven miles an hour. awesome. you see, bookers just go for it. they book a surfside resort, order a fourth taco even though three was plenty...
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complaint dominated washington today. as soon as it was declassified, people rushed to read it, people except senate republicans who were dodging questions about it, claiming they just haven't gotten around to reading it. "the wall street journal" with the headline "everyone in washington is reading the whistle-blower complaint -- except senate republicans." that's from "the wall street journal." joining me presidential candidate mr. cory booker. thank you for joining us. i appreciate it. the last few days have been very momentous in this country. joanie ernst is saying i just need to take a look at it. rob portman is saying i've been running around this morning. mike braun is saying i'm going to read it thoroughly. just haven't had the chance.
>> willful ignorance? >> look, i don't know what's going on. i'm sure they'll get a chance to read it as they said they would. i think this is one of those moments where a lot of folks are going to have to make a decision as this investigation goes on. you saw this with the nixon investigation where immediately people fell into their defense of partisan positioning but as time went on and more evidence came out, you saw profiles in courage. republicans broke with their short-term partisan interests and showed a level of patriotism that ultimately forced nixon to resign because he knew he had lost their support. >> you think that will happen this time? >> this is pretty extraordinary. i used to say regularly when people would say isn't this shocking? i'd say trump has lost his ability to surprise me. but this is really surprising and shocking. i've been to the ukraine. i sat with their soldiers who are under attack and i saw how desperately they needed support.
and we chose in congress in a bipartisan way to get them the aid that they needed. and here's a president who didn't deliver that aid, actively held it up and used that leverage he had to pursue a personal end. that's pretty dramatic and pretty much a betrayal of your office. >> i want to lead some passages from the complaint that directly name the attorney general william barr here. it says this interference includes among other things pressuring a foreign country to investigate one of the president's main domestic political rivals. rudy giuliani is a central figure. attorney general barr appears to be as well. as a member of the senate judiciary committee, are you going to investigate barr's role in all this? >> he has to answer. in other words, he was pointed to or implicated even in this report. he needs to be einvestigated. this is the job of congress. this is what i called for impeachment proceedings before this because the president of the united states was
undermining congress in performing its role, which is to provide oversight. so here you have a whistle-blower report that credibly implicates the role of the attorney general. we must investigate the attorney general's actions in this case. >> the complaint says that multiple white house officials listened to the ukraine call and thought that they were witnessing an abuse of office for personal gain. they said that some were directed to move the transcript to it's called a code word server, a level server. if the information got to foreign intelligence, could this be used to blackmail those officials, maybe even the president? >> remember the coverup in the case of irey iran-contra, worse the crime. here are people recognizing something is wrong, instead of doing what this courageous whistle-blower did, they took
action to cover it up. that implicates them. hillary clinton called the president a corrupt human tornado. then there was this. watch. >> one of the dangers we face is impeachment, having it now firmly in the house where it belongs under our constitution blocking out everything else that's been done and all of the other issues that are at stake. we have to talk about what's at stake with impeachment, and we have to advocate for what's at stake in the next election. >> is that the key, focusing on what's next instead of having impeachment down out the election? >> look, i take it very seriously. on the floor of the senate i swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution. this president it seems is undermining the constitution, putting our ideals of checks and
balances and lack of abuse of office at risk. politics be damned, it's time to do what is right. in this moment we must continue these impeachment proceedings. >> if you can give me a quick answer. republicans, the president's supporters are counting on you guys to start attacking the former president over what is considered a conspiracy theory about ukraine, him and his son. are you going to do that? is that something you guys are going to use on the campaign trail? they're saying when will his -- >> this is absolutely outrageous attack on joe biden. there is no evidence whatsoever that he's done anything wrong. this is them trying to distract from the improper behavior, possib possibly impeachment behavior or criminal behavior and the president around him. it's outrageous. i'm not going to allow the besmirching of the vice
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what a day of huge breaking news. the explosive whistle-blower complaint revealed and the acting dni testified before the committee and a preview of how it might work. let's discuss it now. congressman, i appreciate your time. i know it's been a very busy day for you. we're very grateful that you're on. the reporting is that the house speaker nancy pelosi is tasking your committee to take the lead on the impeachment inquiry.
what's the plan? how quickly will this move? >> well, thanks for having me on. i don't know how long it's going to take, but it makes sense that we are conducting this part of the investigation because the whistle-blower's complaint went to the inspector general of the intelligence community. and so we have jurisdiction over the intelligence community so i think this is the roo ight placo start. >> the house intel chairman adam schiff told my colleague wolf blitzer earlier he's hoping witnesses will cooperate voluntarily. what if it doesn't happen? could we see subpoenas? >> we could. you know that the acting dni maguire today technically appeared under a subpoena. he wasn't willing to necessarily comply immediately, so we may have to resort to subpoenas, but hopefully others will volunteer. certainly the whistle-blower we hope will voluntarily come
before our committee sooner rather than later. >> do you think you could ultimately subpoena rudy giuliani? i mean, he told cnn today that he has five or six text messages showing the state department was encouraging his work in ukraine. i'm guessing you'd want to get your hands on these records. >> i think his booker already called us. >> no, i'm kidding. >> that was a little shady, congressman, but go on. >> no, i don't know how it's going to go down. obviously it's just so unusual to see mr. giuliani's name all over the complaint and then in the transcript. you know, it's just bizarre that the president in an official communication with a foreign leader is saying to meet one of my people, you know, my personal attorney, rudy giuliani, out of the blue. so i'm sure that he's going to be called as a witness at some point. >> i want to read you something here from peter baker's piece
that's just posted in "the new york times" tonight. "moreover, others amplified the narrative on thursday with details that were not in the complaint. for instance, at one point an order was given to not deconstruct the transcript of mr. trump as would be typical. instead copies were printed out and hand delivered to a select group. >> i'm concerned about whether the trump white house may be holding back with certain details associated with that conversation. one very interesting part of the complaint is the first paragraph of the appendix, where the whistle-blower alleges that the initial transcript of the call was actually loaded on to a secret server, a code word level server that's otherwise used for covert action programs.
and so we don't know what that more verbatim transcript might have held in terms of details and certainly we don't know what the editing process was after that. >> congressman, thank you for your time. >> thank you. thank you, don. >> is president trump outnixoning nixon? i'm going to ask two people who have seen it all, dan rather and sam donaldson next. otezla is not a cream. it's a pill that treats plaque psoriasis differently. with otezla, 75% clearer skin is achievable. don't use if you're allergic to otezla. it may cause severe diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. otezla is associated with an increased risk of depression. tell your doctor if you have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or if these feelings develop. some people taking otezla reported weight loss. your doctor should monitor your weight and may stop treatment. upper respiratory tract infection and headache may occur. tell your doctor about your medicines and if you're pregnant or planning to be.
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this story has coverups at the highest levels, a secret store system for transcripts, potential abuse of power for political gains. remind you anything? >> certainly it's reminiscent of the 1970s. but there is this big difference. we need to assess the gravity of the situation and at the same time remain calm. what's different between what richard nixon did and what donald trump has already admitted to is this -- it involves a foreign power. the whole scandal of watergate, the widespread criminal conspiracy led by the president of the united states had to do with this country, it was all domestic. there wasn't a foreign power involved. i think oscar wild said the truth is never pure and rarely simple. here on the basis of what we already know, we have a pure truth and it's pretty simple.
the president of the united states was conspiring with the leader of a foreign power to discredit one of the president's political opponents and then there was a concerted effort in the white house with others besides the president involved to cover it up. i do think president trump has outnixoned nixon. >> you have reported on every political scandal for decades. >> it's very significant. there is a big thing that's happened here. it took almost two years to find and after two years to find the evidence on richard nixon. the final piece was the smoking tape in which we heard them conspire. it was just a week ago that the whistleblower story came into public view. now we have the smoking
transcript of the presidential call. we have the evidence. you read the transcript and president trump is acknowledging what his opponents say he needs to be impeached for. that is that he conspired to set up a phony investigation of the bidens by the ukrainian government. and he urged them to do it and said we can help. my personal lawyer, rudy giuliani. the attorney general of the united states. we'll have him call you. we'll help you set it up. he didn't say and maybe we will release the $400 million of aid you so desperately say you need and we're with holding. the evidence is there. there has to be more investigation. we have to know some of the things direct lly from the horss mouth and the sources in the white house who told him. who told him about it. he has to do it right. when i say we, i mean the system has to do it right as the system
prosecuted richard nixon. >> when the house launched formal impeachment hearings, only 38% of americans supported it. now 49% of americans support launching formal impeachment hearings against trump. how important is public support? and what is key, you think, to moving the needle? >> first of all, public opinion in the end will decide whether there is an impeachment or not. this is moving very fast. it took a couple of years for the water gate scandal to reach its climax, if you will. we could have an impeachment vote in the house by thanksgiving. this is really moving quite fast, all the more reason for every individual, first of all, to read and think about what's happening, the gravity of the situation. remember, the country has been through a lot before.
what we don't know about this is a great deal more than what we do know. what we already know is what the president and rudy giuliani and others have admitted practically says we can start to roll the credits of a mob movie. >> this white house has had -- go on. i want to hear your thoughts. >> i was just going to say it is moving so rapidly because the smoking transcript is there, and also because president trump comes into this with a background for two years of problems that people think about. some excused the republicans, others say this guy doesn't belong there. it comes in badly. it is public opinion. if richard nixon had not been down to about 21% when he resigned, he wouldn't have resigned. the senate wouldn't have allowed
him to be president for much longer. in this case, i predict we will have an impeachment vote in the house. all democrats, maybe two or three republicans. look at the senate. many are up for re-election. they stick like a bug to the president at the moment. if public opinion moves against him, they'll discover he's a terrible man. mitch mcconnell said he will bring to the floor a bill he has been sitting on for two years, security money for our elections in 2020. he has now said i'll bring it to the floor. come on, mitch, keep going. >> does that mean -- and i have just a little bit of time left here. does that mean that if there are impeachable offenses that they shouldn't act upon if the public is not with them? >> no. >> do the right thing. but public opinion is moving in the direction. i know you're short of time. i would watch richard burr who
is republican head of the senate intelligence committee. if he has it then, he can play the role. he's a man to watch. a lot of senators will key off what he does with this. >> mr. rather, thank you. always appreciate it. really appreciate your time and your thoughts. >> we watch you, don. thanks very much. our live coverage continues with the cnn special report, the impeachment inquiry with anderson cooper and jake tapper. that's next. more towers. more coverage! it's a network that gives you ♪freedom from big cities, to small towns, we're with you. because life can take you almost anywhere, t-mobile is with you. no signal goes farther or is more reliable in keeping you connected.
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another day like nothing we have seen before, and it is not over yet. good evening. >> this is a cnn special report. the impeachment inquiry. tonight it includes the whistleblower complaint alleging that president trump abusz sed power of office. >> so there is all that and reaction to it from the president yudsing language more fitting for guys who answer to boss. the bizarre comment by the president's lawyer rudy giuliani who told a writer that when this was all over, he would be the hero, not the whistleblower. >> we have