tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN October 4, 2019 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
we are learning is that essentially he argued against any of this information on the bidens saying that it probably was not credibility. but we also know that the administration had a negative view of ukraine and that's what he was working against. in his opening statement yesterday he said, quote, in the course of that conversation, he referenced conversations with mayor giuliani. it was clear to me that despite the positive knew and is the recommendations being conveyed by this delegation about the new president. president trump had deeply rooted negative view on ukraine rooted in the past. he was receiving other information from other sources including giuliani that was more negative causing him to retain this negative view. that gives you a sense of what volker said he was working against when it came to giuliani and the president of the united states directly. brooke? >> of course also how he spoke so highly of joe biden a second ago. you also have some new reporting
about today's closed door testimony by the inspector general, michael atkinson. this is the same guy who deemed the whistle-blower complaint credible and of urgent concern. what has he told lawmakers? >> reporter: what he's telling lawmakers is that essentially he's walking them through the process of how he handled this complaint and how he went about corroborating it. we have now learned from two sources that what was turned over last night were documents related to how the icig went about corroborating that complaint. i think that's one of the key takeaways from today. but sources are telling me this is mostly about process and so far there aren't these big explosive, you know, moments in this hearing but of course it's still ongoing. we'll still keep you posted, brooke, on exactly what comes out of this meeting. >> we know you will. thank you very much. let's get you back to those text messages now and the people involved. former u.s. special envoy kurt
volker handed them over to congress. he resigned from his job after the whistle-blower complaint. there's this man by the name of gordon sondland. and before that, he donated a million dollars to president trump's inaugural committee. the third name is bill taylor. he's running the u.s. embassy in ukraine since there is no permanent ambassador at this moment, but he has served in that role before. you know the players. let's bring in these two, a federal prosecutor and samantha vinograd, and she is also a cnn national security analyst. shall we? let's start with these text messages and just from a legal perspective, the woording of these texts, let's roll through each one. you can tell me what they show
us. >> this is the most fun part of being a prosecutor when you get a great batch of evidence and get to reinstruct who's who and what are they saying. this one, people talk about a quid pro quo which means this for that in exchange. and here they spell it out. the quid is to investigate. and you know they're connected because of that word assuming. assuming means if they do this, assuming that they investigate, then they will get the reward, which is is the trip to the white house that is about as close to a quid pro quo as you will see in your life. >> the chief of staff and the national security adviser normally have policy requirements for inviting someone to the white house not political or personal ones. >> not used as leverage. >> and so what this means, if this quid pro quo was offered to the ukrainians or to the chinese or anyone else, the wrong kind of leaders are probably showing up at the white house. you have to be willing to help
president trump aid and abet him in conducting a crime if you're going to walk through the white house door. >> next, what's the next -- do we have another text? here we go. >> this is the cover story in action. the first slide talking about they understand there's a need. make sure i advise the president correctly as to what he should be saying. and what follows in the next text is a draft, here's what the cover story is going to be and we were just talking about it, it's this idea that donald trump, he's a corruption buster and he wants to clean everything up. but the reality is, there's only two cases he's ever had any interest in which is biden and hillary clinton. >> at this point soliciting rudy giuliani's advice, he's replaced the press secretary months after she started. i drafted a lot of white house statements. you go to the experts, like your acting ambassador in ukraine. you don't ask the president's personal lawyer for advice on a
statement with a foreign leader. that's corruption unto itself because rudy giuliani has a conflict of interest here. >> i don't know if we have another text, or else i'm going to roll onto my next question. >> this is the best one. >> this is the call me. bill taylor has this moment of candor where he just lays it all out, are we saying that it's conditioned on investigations? conditioned meaning you only get it if you do the investigations? and the response is call me. which is, of course, but we don't put it writing on text. >> aren't these encrypted, on encrypted lines of communication. >> sure. law enforcement has ways to deincrypt things which happened here. whenever you see people involved in in this someone is going to take
it offline. >> sondland was appointed by president trump. his portfolio is the european union. here we have him delving into anti-corruption. >> he's not in his lane. >> he's not in his lane. he's working on something at the president's behest and clearly not doing his day job. and, again, what he already has in those text messages, the quid pro quo, the conversations with giuliani are damning onto themselves. bill taylor is a career diplomat and he's the only one who said he would quit if security assistance did not move forward. we have not heard that from any other official. >> let's get to this. we heard zelensky say that he felt no pressure on the call. that's when he was sitting next to trump. and this is to your point from bill taylor, the acting -- this is bill taylor the acting u.s. ambassador to ukraine. president zelensky is sensitive about ukraine being taken
seriously, no in washington domestic re-election politics. does that sound like pressure to you? >> i think they want to promote an image of independence. zelensky is newly elected and wants to show he's making progress on real issues like ending the war in eastern ukraine. and establishing his administration is not malleable by foreign forces. he knows he's cut off security assistance to ukraine previously. he's cut off foreign assistance to central american countries and he needs us. he's between a rock and a hard place when it comes to keeping president trump happy but not looking like a puppet of the president's political agenda. >> exactly what sam was saying. i've dealt with dozens of victims of extortions and almost never do they say, yes, i felt scared. they're often too scared to say that.
this is not an equal bargaining relationship here. ukraine needs this money that we have. we have the upper hand. there's no way the president was going to say i was scared. that's not how things work in reality. the power dynamic and the words used rule here. >> i like this team. thank you, guys, very much. the key witness in the middle of the scandal says he does not believe joe biden did anything wrong and his testimony doesn't stop there. we have the transcript -- part of the transcript that we'll read for you. a former ambassador to ukraine who once praised joe biden for his anti-corruption efforts weighs in on today's fast-moving developments and what he reads in all of these text messages. and a closer look at how this is all being covered on conservative outlets like fox and how that may play into the silence from so many republicans. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. we'll be right back.
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biden. volker's opening statement was just released citing kurt volker who testified before the house committees leading the impeachment inquiry. this is what he said, i have known joe biden for 24 years and the suggestion that he would be influenced in his duties as vice president by money for his son has no credibility to me. i know him as a man of integrity expert dedication to our country. he served as u.s. ambassador to ukraine during the bush 43 administration. he's now with the atlantic council. a pleasure, sir, thank you. willi to his defense of joe biden, he cautioned ukrainians from doing anything that could be seen as impacting u.s. elections and he explained his involvement in the text this way, as trying to, quote, fix the situation. you know -- i don't know if you know positions exactly like
this, but, you know, you could relate, what does that tell you? >> okay. i've been following ukraine for closely for over five years. and so i've been watching what kurt's been doing very closely since he took the job. i don't have any doubt what he was trying to do was to remove an obstacle, an obstacle to america pursuing its own interest in ukraine, one by providing the military aid that congress allowed and by arranging a meeting between zelensky and trump for further cooperation. that's what motivated him. >> what would you have done if you were in volker's shoes and you were getting pressured by the administration. >> i don't think volker was pressured by the administration. i think he understand that america has an interest in stopping moscow's aggression, to provide weapons and improve the relationship is essential for that. and he understood that an obstacle to this was being placed by a very senior official
in the united states who is holding up sending the assistance until he got the agreement of the ukrainian authorities to pursue an investigation which no investigation was needed. >> what about the text messages between the diplomats and this senior ukrainian aide. you can read the alarm from ambassador bill taylor when he wrote, i think it's crazy to with hold assistance for the help of a campaign. sondland implies he has the president's intentions wrong. back to the point on pressure. >> yes, i understand what you're saying. >> yeah. >> i believe the texts all by themselves suggest what you're suggesting. >> which is what? >> in other words, that this looks like an effort to have the ukrainian government do the bidding of the president to look into vice president biden, which is completely unacceptable, that
request. i illegitimate. but i don't think that's the whole of kurt's activities. >> you testified about the problem of corruption in ukraine and how joe biden was this outspoken advocate for change. so let's watch a short clip. >> that's correct. >> the administration also understands the way reform of ukraine. vice president biden has been for reform in ukraine. >> so what do you make of all of these stories? >> that's false. and it's disgraceful that this was being pursued. anyone who knows ukraine would know it's false, completely. and i think kurt's testimony acknowledged that. so i have no defense of this and the only people who could defend it must be ignorant of what's going on in ukraine. >> you know this because you lived it, but there was bipartisan support for biden's
anti-corruption actions back in -- >> there was and is, correct. >> what do you make, though, of those same republicans now silent in the wake of trump's attacks on biden? >> well, i'm an expert on foreign policy. i do obviously pay attention to our own politics. i understand the reason for your question and i think it would be good if people spoke out, but my understanding is -- >> people being republicans? >> all those who were involved in our policy process. i would simply add something that's very important. my understanding is that republicans, especially in the senate, were in touch with the white house saying release that military assistance. and it's also true that when president trump was toying with the notion of easing sanctions in 2017, mitch mcconnell came down very strong and the republicans helped the democrats pass the sanctions legislation
in july of '17. >> we'll check on that. thank you so much for coming on and offering your expertise. thank you. >> my pleasure. any time. coming up next, dirk durbin joins me live in new york. his take on the text messages and where this investigation goes from here. >> woman: what's my safelite story?
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have you asked foreign leaders for any investigation that don't involve your political opponents? >> we would have to look. what i asked for and what i always will ask for is anything having to do with corruption with respect to our country. >> we would have to look. there you have it. president trump really put on the spot. and not able to name a single other instance where he has demanded corruption investigations into anyone other than his 2020 rivals but still insisting that a corruption crusade was the main motivation with his call back in july. dick durbin is here with me now. you heard the president. your reaction to saying he is simply fighting corruption? >> he's had three strikes now. and we ignored the first one
when he said, russia, if you're listening, go after hillary's emails and then came the one he released to the american people, the declassified telephone conversation with president zelensky, let me ask you for a favor. >> and now china if you're listening. >> and he says, china, come get the bidens. you think to yourself, has he -- it wouldn't make any difference. has he read the basic law which says it's illegal for anyone to accept anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a u.s. election. you don't have to be a law professor to understand that is very clear and he's ignoring it. he's breaching his oath of office, endangering national security and making a mockery of the law. >> if the house votes to impeach, all eyes will be on the senate, are there republican senators who you think will
stand up and speak up against this president, and if so, who? >> i could count them on one hand. >> who? >> mitt romney. he's picked a place in history here and i say to my fellow republicans and friends and i have many of them, reflect on history. which side of the ledger will you be on in terms of really saying what is obvious about this president's conduct. there will come a moment, there will be the end of trump and many who claim, i was after him all along, now is the moment for many of them. mitt romney has led in terms of the statements that are being made -- >> who else, senator? >> the senators from alaska, maine, they have spoken out. i'm glad they have. senator sass of nebraska made a statement a week ago, but that's it. that is it. when you look at it, you think i know there are people of real integrity and character on the other side who are quiet, silent, maybe even afraid. >> what are they really
thinking? what are the whispers on capitol hill? >> until he's gone, he can take them out in a primary. and i think they're holding back. if they spoke up now for the country first, but for their own party, it would be the right thing for this country. >> in 2016 you signed a bipartisan letter praising then vice president joe biden for his efforts to end corruption in ukraine. it was signed by your colleague ron johnson who's saying nothing improper about what the president did yesterday on the lawn of the white house to investigate the bidens. what has changed between just a short few years ago and now? >> i can't explain it other than to say when that letter was signed by three democrats, three republicans in support of ukraine and wanting to end real corruption, we thought the prosecutor who was there was not doing his job and that's why we joined together in this letter and released it to the public. this is no secret communication. and now, even ron johnson from
wisconsin, when he returned from kiev, he said, we got to get this money released, they're waiting for this money -- >> the 400 million. >> and i put the amendment in the appropriations committee the night before the white house released it. they saw this amendment coming and they were probably going to lose it. but the sentiment, i really believe my colleagues need to step back and look at this in the most direct and simple terms. what the president has done is in violation with this statute. every american can read it. >> at this point, part of the reason, perhaps, trump keeps doing it, is he's getting away with it. do you think trump will continue to have these conversations with foreign leaders if he feels there's no consequences. >> i do. we know there's some secret place now -- >> the vault. >> the vault in the white house. and we don't know what's in there. my guess is similar
conversations have taken place with other world leaders and the people around the president thought, oh, my goodness, if this ever gets to the public, we're fixed, we're finished. i don't know what's in there. i hope the day comes when america can see it. >> how about the quid pro quo with ukraine? you were talking about the 400 million in military aid that the u.s. gives to ukraine and the next question then is about china, right? we know that there have been these conversations with president xi from back in june. we know that the u.s. is embroiled in this trade war that affects every single american. do you think this is all connected with regard to investigatoring the bidens? >> hard to say. when he came to ukraine, the president was anxious to be invited -- >> to the white house? >> to the white house. it must be -- i'm sure it is a very honor to have the president of the united states welcome this new president personally. but when it comes to the china situation, it is such a complex situation at this moment. this trade war the president has
initiated, the tariff battle is striking my state, the farmers first, but businesses as well, very hard, and consumers are paying higher prices and may not have noticed it, but it's happening. there's no end in sight. i don't know if he reached out to china yesterday because he heard that joe biden's son was involved in something with the chinese. >> we just don't know. >> we just don't know. >> lastly, cnn has learned that in this conversation with president xi that trump promised that the u.s. would stay silent on all of those hong kong protests, that he wouldn't speak up. do you think he sold out those pro democracy protestors? >> i will tell you how i feel personally, i'm on the side of these protestors in hong kong. what they're trying to do is to preserve a political approach that is much different than beijing, particularly when it means to being held accountable for crime. that's what initiated this and it's been a moment of definition for the future of hong kong. if you think -- if we are
against corruption, if we are for american values, i would say we'd be joining in spirit the people in the street who are speaking out. this president has been strangely silent. >> last question, i have you here, you're seeing family in new york, this topic of impeachment and what president trump is doing is on the tongue of everyone. this seems like a moment of inflection in this country and we've had historians on talking about how a nation survives, what advice would you tell anyone watching this? >> read history. listen to read what happened to richard nixon as the proceedings were just starting to get away. a handful of senators went down to the white house private meeting with nixon and said, it's finished. we're not going to stand with you any longer. and he decided for the good of his country the good of his party, he had to step down. it takes men and woman of that
encourage to tell the president, we've had it. the way you've treated this presidency is not a credit to the united states. we deserve more, our children deserve more. >> thank you very much. nice to see you. still ahead on cnn, what happens to rudy giuliani, a man who made a film about the former new york mayor's political rise and fall will join me to explain how we got here. plus a senior white house adviser gets heated, you will see that next. you're watching cnn. (door bell rings) it's open! hey. this is amazing. with moderate to severe ulcerative colitis, are you okay? even when i was there, i never knew when my symptoms would keep us apart.
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more breaking news this afternoon. we have just learned that house democrats have just requested documents from justice department mike pence. sam vinograd is back with me. what are they looking for? >> they're looking for any indication that vice president pence was knowledgeable about president trump's private efforts to put pressure on president trump. leave aside any publications, these documents are geared at getting information that pence was in the know with respect to their phone calls. these private channels, like ambassador sondland and ambassador volker. and that's what the committees are trying to establish. pence has been playing the ignorance is bliss card -- >> give us examples. >> he didn't do advertise jhis . any basic prep for a vice president would include finding out what happened on the last
presidential phone call with a leader. speaking with the special envoy for ukraine. pence's defense has been that he stinks at his job and didn't do any of that. pence also played the ignorance is bliss card in regard to the illegal activities with michael flynn, to do illegal things that he ultimately resigned for. pence's defense is that he didn't know what was going on. now these committees have a way of finding out. they can subpoena information related to whether pence had a staffer on this call, they can subpoena information with respect to a readout at pence's meeting, they can subpoena information with respect to his talking points and he prepped that he did before he arrived for that meeting. so there's a trail of paper that they can try to get at and they can also subpoena zelensky's own staff to find out what they briefed him on before he engaged with the ukrainians. >> as the legal voice in all of
this, her point over and over of this whole pence playing the ignorance is bliss card, is that going to fly with this congress? >> i don't think so. we're setting the table for a major legal battle over executive privilege. i would expect the white house is not going to comply. >> they're stone wall again. >> sam laid out what the request will and should be. but the white house is not going to be here you go congress. this is going to be a showdown. and what we could see is similar with what we saw with the richard nixon tapes case. that case went to the supreme court. it's very rare that this happens. it could happen again we're. we could see congress in a lawsuit with the white house going directly to the supreme court. >> stay with me. we're going to take a quick commercial break and we'll talk to these two on the other side. we'll be right back. welcome to the place where people go to learn about
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>> reporter: well, brooke, we've learned that three committees have requested information from the vice president related to their impeachment inquiry. that inquiry comes from the house oversight committee, intel and foreign relations. and in this letter it says recently public reports have raised questions about the role that you may have played in conveying and reinforcing the president's stark message to ukraine's president. that's what the chairman wrote. then they said the report includes specific references to a member of your staff who may have participated directly in the july 25th, 2019 call, documents you may have obtained, received, including the record of the call and your september 1st, 2019, meeting, visit, with the ukrainian president. this comes as the deadline is today for secretary of state mike pompeo to turn over documents. and as we're waiting for a
briefing for michael atkinson to break up here before the house intelligence committee. >> thank you. let's pause for just a moment. let's play the sound. let's remind everyone what president trump is saying to nancy pelosi on him giving up any documents to congress. listen. >> the way they're doing it, they've taken away our rights. so if they proceed, and, you know, they'll just get their people -- they're all in line because even though many of them don't want to vote, they have no choice. they have to follow their leadership. and then we'll get it to the senate and we're going to win. the republicans have been very unified. this is the greatest witch-hunt in the history of your country. >> president trump and i would presume that the vice president would fall under this umbrella that we're not giving you any of our documents unless you hold this, this full house vote on impeachment. there are all of these ramifications regarding that. but speaking on that and also
you were mentioning a second ago that this may be an executive privilege case, and is that merited here? >> so first of all this whole idea of it's not an impeachment inquiry until the house votes on it, is creative. what they're trying to do is force the democrats' hand, force them to vote yes or no to put the people who are in swing districts in danger. i still don't think the president and the white house are going to say, now you get everything. they're going to go with the we're fighting all the subpoenas approach. but an interesting wrinkle, in the nixon case, what the supreme court said was executive privilege is narrow. but what it does apply to is to protect national security secrets, military secrets, diplomatic secrets. that's what we're talking about. these documents remain secret under executive privilege. >> there's a wrinkle, though. he did release the transcript of the ukraine call and i looked through the documents that have been requested from vice
president pence. he released a transcript of this call. we don't know if it was a word for word readout. several of the documents relate to prep for this call, talking points, memorandum and communications that relate to that call. with that chunk of documents, you're the legal expert here, the executive privilege argument holds less water. at the same time i think we can expect to see this request go to other cabinet officials that may have been involved. mick mulvaney should probably expect a subpoena, he was related to all of these activities. secretary of state mike pompeo has not provided the documents and i believe it was a similar request that the committees requested. we will probably see this list, brooke, make the rounds while the white house stone walls. >> thanks again. and stand by for more of our breaking news just ahead. so i can buy from
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help people gain a sense of community and started in west englewood, one of the most turbulent neighborhoods. >> i started coming out to the community. the lots were all empty. the houses were getting boarded up. people were not coming outside. i stood on the corner and just asked anyone that walked by, are you interested in taking back your community? and everyone said absolutely yes. we are really brave space and courageous space. we're going to get there. we will work through all of what is holding you back to becoming the person and the potential that you have to be. arks and you could see how they have transformed the block. please go to cnnheroes.com. since the scandal broke over president trump's phone call with his ukrainian counterpart, rudy giuliani has been in the center and here is one sample of
giuliani lashing out publicly against his critics. >> by the way, do you have any idea that the state department -- >> so then you know the liability- >> shut up. >> hold on -- >> shut up, you don't know what you're talking about. >> you don't know what you're talking about, idiot. >> yes, i do. >> mr. mayor, i wish you would stop. >> you're lying -- >> why don't you tell them -- >> i wish you would stop. >> tell him to keep his mouth shut so we can tell the truth. >> i don't want to do this with mr. giuliani and i admired everything you did at that point -- >> i don't have anything -- >> and it saddens me and most new yorkers because you are ruining your reputation, mr. mayor and it is time for you to take a step back and maybe stop going on like this. >> john fellp is with me, he wrote a documentary about rudy giuliani chronicling the fall
and rise the former mayor of new york and penned a cnn piece and asked what happened to rudy giuliani. so, john, thank you so much for being here. you see it in the clip. rudy giuliani was american hero and calling out 9/11 and leading new york city out of such devastation and then people look at him now and think what happened to this guy? your response is nothing. >> not very much, no. it is the same rudy we're seeing that kind of show-stopping mix of of incoherence and conviction and that is the same rudy we've always had. >> how do you mean? >> for new yorks this is a familiar feeling to see this rudy. rudy is a big opera fan and so i think of his time -- well his time on the political stage in general as opera, it is one long opera of him having these
incoherent fits and as well as being incredibly detail-oriented and kind of crazy about a lot of things. but when he was mayor of new york city, around 9/11 i think is the most instructive example, the rudy that came before 9/11 and the rudy that came after, that was the same guy. he went into 9/11 with this sort of paranoid feeling about the city. but after 9/11, our feelings about him changed and that came to be seen as preparedness. his dog mattism felt like resolve but it was the same guy, the same rudy. so we're not seeing a different man. >> how did he get to know donald trump? i know they are new yorkers. they go back. >> it is a relationship probably over 30 years. it is not clear when exactly they got together but rudy -- trump supported rudy's 1989 run for mayor and again in 1993. rudy wasn't successful in 1999 but was in 1993 and trump
supported him during his -- called him the best mayor that the city has ever had. he supported him in his 2008 senate -- presidential bid which did not end very well. and then in 2016 as we've seen rudy came to trump's side to be a surrogate essentially when president trump's presidential bid seemed like a long shot. >> why do you think they are loyal. >> i think they are similar guys, tough new york talking tough cartoonish guys and i think they both see -- have this law and order persona and they both love the limelight and they have long marital and personal histories that are quite complex but mostly they are extremely consistent. you could count on trump to mangle the english language, to run for the spotlight and you can count on rudy to also bend
the rules, to ignore the law if it doesn't suit him. so i think they both have that trait of consistency. >> 60 seconds left. there is a quote from the open of your documentary where rudy giuliani said i jut see myself as me and then everybody else has to figure out what my image is. >> i think it is always worked for rudy to have other people defining him. and it allows him to play in the shadows a little bit. so right now we see him -- is he operating as trump's personal attorney, well, yes, he is, but also running his own security firm still and at the same time he seems to be running this rogue foreign policy operation. so i think he didn't ever get to be trump's secretary of state and instead he's become something like the secretary of shadows. >> something like that. >> same old rudy. >> everything we've been reporting on the last ten days. john phillips thank you retch. it is called rudy land and thank
you for being with me. i'm brooke baldwin. "the lead" with jake tapper starts right now. seems like president trump is all but daring the house to impeach him. "the lead" started right now. breaking today, the president responding to a house subpoena with a quid pro quo of his own telling speaker pelosi she'll get nothing until the full house goes on the record with a vote on impeachment. this drama unfolding as the man who handled the whistle-blower complaint that started this all, the inspector general, returns to capitol hill. i'll speak to a lawmaker coming up. someone who was behind closed doors with him. plus, kro -- scroll up. the damning text messages and now impeachment evidence and a potential smoking gun of quid pro quo that the president held up military aid and a ukrainian visit to the white house for