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tv   Anderson Cooper 360  CNN  October 8, 2019 9:00pm-9:51pm PDT

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good evening. tonight a stone wall goes up. lawyers for president trump tell congress there will be no cooperation with the house impeachmt inquiry. also public opinion coming into focus with new polling on impeachment. it shows republican support rising for the impeachment inquiry, now at 28%. it's up 2 pointsin july. perhaps most importantly the story itself, what happened, is coming into focus. we have extensive new reporting tonight about how problematic the people close to the president thought his phone call with ukraine's president was. multiple sources detailing the scramble just moments after the president hung up to assess and coai damage. new reporting as well on a memo written by the whistle-blower who first raised the alarm in which we're learning tonight a white house official used the
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words crazy and frightening to describe that call. and after that july 25th call, according to multiple sources, a freakout ensues. national security officials began talking about whether president had crossed a line. white house lawyers were notified and a transcript of the call was later put onto that highly classified server. again, this is new reporting that fleshes out what we know about the call and the efforts that followed to secure what the key players either seemed to know or had reason to fear was a quid pro quo with ukraine. reporting that adds context to those text messages among the american players and their ukrainian counterparts over what was eected of ukraine, namely investigating the bidens and a conspiracy theory about the 2016 campaign. and now tonight we know more about what went on at a crucial moment, which began playing out on the 1st of september, shortly after -- more than a month after that july 25th call. bill taylor, the top diplomat,
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messaging gordon sondland, the ambassador to the european union and a major trump campaign donor, not a career foreign service officer. taylor says, quote, are we now saying that security assistance and white house meeting are conditioned on investigations? ambassador sondland reporting, quote, call me. about a week later, ambassador taylor tries again. quote, as i said on the phone, i think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign. and then, importantly, there is a gap of nearly five hours in the conversation after which ambassador gordon sondland replies, quote, bill, i believe you are incorrect about president trump's intentions. the president has been crystal clear. no quid pro quos of any kind. the president is trying to evaluate whether ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that president zelensky promised during his campaign, end quote. he then adds, quote, i suggest we stop the back and forth by text. tonight a source with knowledge
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tells cnn that before he sent that text, which sounds a lot like the president's talking points, sondland in fact spoke with the president, who told him exactly that. no quid pro quo, which ironically today the president suggested somehow exonerates him, tweeting, ambassador sondland's tweet, which few reports stated, i believe you are incorrect about president trump's intention. the president has been crystal clear. no quid pro quos of any kind. that says it all. it certainly says something that the president is citing the restatement of his own talking points which he gave ambassador sondland as evidence. in addition, he blocked sondland's testimony before congress today which also says something. cnn's jim acosta starts us off tonight at the white house. jim, clearly the white house thinks they have a political argument. does the president's team really think this letter has legal merit? >> reporter: they do, anderson. i just talked to a source close to the impeachment deliberations inside the white house, and the president's legal team, who says that the president's legal team is prepared to take this battle to the courts, that, quote, all
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options are on the table. they're declining to describe this at this point as a war in terms of the letter that was fired off to the house speaker nancy pelosi earlier today. but the source did agree that this is an escalating skirmish. anderson, we are now approaching the way life was during the bill clinton impeachment saga and watergate. remember during watergate, a federal judge forced the nixon administration to cooperate with that investigation. we're nearing that kind of constitutional crisis at this point. >> if in fact the full house does vote on authorizing the impeachment inquiry, is there any reason to think the white house would cooperate, because the letter from the white house counsel calls on house democrats to, quote, abandon the entire thing? >> reporter: right. there is no indication that the white house will cooperate. as a matter of fact, senior administration officials held a conference call with reporters earlier this evening to talk about this letter after it was fired off up to capitol hill and one administration official was asked, well, what criteria would house democrats have to meet in order to trigger white house
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cooperation in this matter? and this official responded by saying that they're not going to get into hypotheticals or a hypothetical situation. that is a clear signal at this point, anderson, that they are ready to fight this out. and so the question becomes, as it always has been with president trump, is who is willing in this nation's capital to try to curb his behavior? as we saw during the mueller investigation, the special counsel robert mueller wasn't willing to insist the president sit down for a live, in-person interview. they took written answers from the president instead. you get the sense once again that the president's legal team is trying to box in the opposition in terms of what kind of options they'll agree to. and at this point they're not agreeing to anything. anderson? >> jim acosta, thanks very much. one item the white house is not raising objections to, senate judiciary committee chairman lindsey graham says he plans to invite rudy giuliani to speak to the committee about, in his words, corruption in ukraine. perspective on a big day. cory booker, i spoke with him just before air.
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senator booker, what happens now? i feimean if the white house continues to stonewall congress, what are democrats going to be able to do about it, if anything? >> i think we're heading towards a constitutional showdown, and some of the reasons that tahey'e talking about make no sense to me. it seems not like stonewalling but slow-walking or slow tactics. the american public deserves to learn the truth, and i'm sure we will push for that, and god willing, the courts will be on our side. starting an impeachment inquiry gives us a higher constitutional standard to get information from the president of the united states. but he has to answer to the checks and balances of the constitution, or else he is undermining the very foundations of our government that no one is above the law, above oversight. and his behavior right now, to me, is unacceptable. it's reckless, and it's undermining what i believe our country -- the foundations of our country stands on. >> there are a lot of democrats who had hoped to sort of try to finish this by the end of october. if this does go to courts, as
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seems likely based on -- i mean if stonewalling is their idea, then dragging it through the courts is the way to go. that could take months, couldn't it? >> it absolutely could. again, these are tactics that are not like somebody who should be the leader of the free world. he's acting more like an authoritarian figure that does not think that they're subject to oversight, to checks and balances designed by our constitution. so this is a very troubling moment. but we must persist in holding him accountable, and i think the public deserves to know the truth. it will only come from a thorough investigation. >> is there enough evidence in your mind already out there based on the partial transcript, the president's statements, whatever other testimony may be possible, or the testimony that folks in congress have already heard? is there enough for the house to actually move forward with an impeachment if they decided to? >> well, i believe there is, but i think that they have to go
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through their processes. they're a large body wit many different members, republican and democrat, that have a lot of different views on this. and i think the more information comes out, the more people who will stand firmly on moving forward and writing up articles of impeachment. >> if a formal impeachment inquiry -- if a vote in the house would prompt more cooperation from the white house, which is what they're -- you know, one of the things that they are claiming from the entire house, should speaker pelosi go ahead and do that? >> well, again, i've been really respectful of the leadership of speaker pelosi. i think she is dealing with a lot of the challenges that they're facing in the house in an incredible manner, and i know that this is something that she's talking about. so far be it from me to direct her. clearly i think they need to take as strong steps possible to get compliance from the executive. we are the article 1 branch of
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government. we all swore an oath to uphold and defend the constitution. that means the constitutional mandates to provide oversight of the executive. if he's not cooperating with that, we must do everything necessary to make sure he does because he is not the dictator in chief. he's not the authoritarian in charge of our government. he is the president. that is an office of the people, and he is subject to the people's house, the house of representatives. >> you're a member of the judiciary committee. do you think rudy giuliani should, in fact, come and testify in front of your committee? and if so, what would you want to hear from him? >> first of all, i would savor the opportunity. i would, especially if it's done publicly. and i know rudy giuliani is, you know, from new york, very close to broadway. he loves the theatrics, but there are real things he has to answer for, and the conduct that he's been doing, the direction he's been taking from the
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president, his intervention in areas where there are critical national security interests -- yeah, there's a lot i'd like to know from him, and i believe his behavior has been despicable and the lies and half-truths, the deception that he's been doing at the direction of this president and beyond is unbecoming, and he should stand before congress and answer for it. so, again, i would be happy to, as a member of the judiciary committee, to ask him publicly to answer for it. and it may end up being -- you know, he may not be cooperative. he may not -- he may be obstructionist, but i do not see a problem with having a public hearing with him. >> senator booker, i appreciate your time. thank you. >> thank you, anderson. >> senator booker will be among the nine democrats at a cnn town hall this week focused on equality in america. i'll be one of the interviewers for the town hall.
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the event kicks off at 7:30 p.m. this thursday night. much more ahead tonight including some late new reporting on what we're now learning about who else was working with rudy giuliani on the ukrainians. also our legal and political team join us next to talk about the white house letter, all the new reporting, and more. and later, a republican senator who is trying hard not to say much about all of this, like many republicans. we'll see what happens when we ask her the same question her constituents are about where she really stands.
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former ohio governor and 2016 republican presidential candidate john kasich. jeff, when it comes to this white house letter saying essentially that they will not cooperate unless a formal vote is taken in the house, from a legal perspective, is there anything to that, or is this just a political move and a stalling take tick? >> you know, that letter is eight pages single-spaced, but it could be summed up in a single hand gesture, which i will not demonstrate. i mean the breadth of the objections is so extraordinary. it's not "we won't provide this witness." it's not that executive privilege covers this document. it's that "we're not cooperating at all." and the argument that, well, you haven't voted a full impeachment inquiry, the letter very carefully does not say they will cooperate if there is such a vote. so, i mean, this seems to me an act of complete defiance to the house of representatives, and the majority in the house is
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going to have to decide are they going to fight in court, which could take months, or are they simply going to add this as another article of impeachment? >> governor, in the letter, the white house claims the president's due process rights have been circumvented without a vote and that he has no choice but to not cooperate. do you buy that at all? >> anderson, trump started all this with this outrageous call, this terrible call. and think about this for a second. we know for sure that he was pressuring the leader of another nation, in fact, one that was weak and beleaguered, to start an investigation. we know that. there's no question about that. so this all started with donald trump. now, today we were supposed to hear from this ambassador sondland, who had a series of text messages with this gentleman, taylor, from the embassy, and i think volker -- >> right. >> the former ambassador also involved. and this was very interesting because it began to look as though there could have been
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some quid pro quo. in fact, that's what one of the text messages said. that's why i was so interested in this testimony. anderson, what this gets down to is this. trump made a terrible call. it needs to be investigated. i fully support the impeachment inquiry, and all of these facts need to come out. and delay and obfuscation isn't going to solve this problem. in fact, i just noticed this "washington post" poll that says that like 58% of americans now support this inquiry. so they're going to delay and, you know, it's going to work against, you know, their favor. this is not a good thing to do, and frankly i'm pretty outraged that they're trying to delay this like this. this isn't right. let's get to the bottom line and let the people know what really happened. >> pamela, i know you have some new reporting that former congressman trey gowdy is going to assist the president as an outside counsel. >> it's really interesting, anderson, because in this letter the white house released, it makes the case that this isn't a
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formal impeachment process. it's illegitimate. but the white house is gearing up for an impeachment fight, bringing in outside counsel, including trey gowdy, the former republican congressman from south carolina. he was at the white house today and met with chief of staff mick mulvaney, and we're told he is expected to help president trump in a private capacity as counsel. he's expected to work with jay sekulow, other outside lawyers as well. but i you look back at what he has said in the past in similar situations, it's very interesting because you'll recall in 2012 during the house oversight hearing with eric holder when doj didn't turn over documents, trey gowdy criticized doj saying that they should hand over documents in that proceeding. here's what he said. >> the notion that you can withhold information and documents from congress no matter whether you're the party in power or not in power is wrong. respect for the rule of law must mean something irrespective of
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the vicissitudes of political cycles. >> and so now trey gowdy is expected to help the white house in their efforts as we've seen to essentially stonewall congressional requests, anderson. >> jeff, what a difference a couple of years and, you know, going into private practice make. >> well, and who's ox is gored? i mean the core argument made in this letter is that, you know, an impeachment inquiry can only take place if the full house votes for it. there was such a vote regarding the nixon inquiry and the clinton inquiry, but no court that i am aware of has ever held that that's required before the house starts an investigation. these are duly authorized committees, the intelligence committee, judiciary committee, foreign affairs. they are making these document requests, and the idea that the white house can simply refuse to produce all documents, can refuse to produce all witnesses
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in the entire executive branch, i just can't imagine any court will give that the time of day although it could succeed in delaying. >> right. >> proceedings for quite a few weeks if not months. >> so, governor, what would you recommend? >> i was going to say the question on that is if the full house were to vote for an inquiry, maybe, you know, my sense is it would provide more weight to the courts. so the courts wouldn't just sit on this. maybe that's a strategy that ought to be pursued. but the bottom line, there's a lot of other witnesses to come forward now. we've got at least two whistle-blowers, and it's amazing. we've got to try to protect their identity like they were somehow in the mafia reporting. i mean it's just crazy. and there are other people, this former ambassador. but these folks who are not being presented, let's try to remove. you got some legal mumbo jumbo you want to pursue? fine. let's get it resolved, okay? let's do it quickly. let's have some rules for the
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minority in the house. let's have some rules for the white house. if they don't want to have any rules, then you move forward because the house can make its own rules. and there are plenty of witnesses yet to hear. but these witnesses, sondland that was withdrawn today, i think is a critical witness in terms of getting to this whole issue of quid pro quo. >> because clearly sondland had a phone conversation with the president in that five-hour gap in which he didn't respond to the charges da fair, and then he responded essentially quoting the president. stick around. speaking of witnesses, we just got even more breaking news to talk about. next there's new reporting, first on cnn, on how the president pushed top officials to go around the normal channels on ukraine and deal instead with, guess who, his tv lawyer, rudy giuliani. also tonight, an update on bernie sanders, how he is changing his campaign as he recovers from a heart attack. saturdays happen. pain happens. aleve it. aleve is proven better on pain than tylenol.
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well, there's more breaking news to report this hour. first on cnn, another top member of the trump administration embroiled in the ukraine controversy in large part because of conversations sources say the president directed him to have with rudy giuliani. cnn's alex marquardt is here with the story. so what's the crux of this new reporting? >> reporter: well, anderson, it just shows to what extent rudy giuliani really is the gatekeeper for trump on ukraine, how intertwined the u.s./ukraine policy was with the president's interest in rudy giuliani fueling this conspiracy theory about joe biden. anderson, what we're learning is before this now infamous phone call between zelensky and president trump, there was a
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meeting between president trump and his three top aides on ukraine. they are kurt volker, the special envoy for ukraine gordon sondland, who is of course the eu ambassador, and rick perry, the energy secretary. these three men had just come back from the inauguration of president zelensky and were pushing for a meeting between the president and president zelensky. and what president trump made clear at the time was they would have to go through rudy giuliani in order for this meeting to happen. he was very much the gatekeeper and a person familiar with this meeting said if they can satisfy rudy, they can satisfy the president. then you fast-forward two months. we now know from the transcript of that phone call that the president did speak with zelensky, that president zelensky said he wanted to move the relationship forward with military aid. that's when the president asked for a favor and asked that the ukrainians work with rudy. so this is just more confirmation, anderson, that rudy giuliani was very much the gatekeeper when it comes to
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ukraine policy. of course he is not an official u.s. diplomat. he is the personal lawyer for the president. >> rudy was out there looking at all corruption in ukraine -- he was looking for dirt and investigation on the bidens and on this conspiracy theory about the election. i mean is it clear if the secretary of state pompeo was aware of this or how people made sense of this arrangement? >> reporter: well, we do know that the secretary of state was well aware of rudy giuliani's role. that is from the transcript of the july 25th call. now, what's interesting is you would think that when these three top envoys came back from this inauguration, that that would be the kind of meeting that the secretary of state would be in. he was not in that meeting. we do not know if he was aware of that. but, again, when you look at the transcript of that july 25th call -- and it is littered with references to rudy giuliani and the president's requests that the ukrainians work with him -- we do know that secretary pompeo was on that call.
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now, the state department has repeatedly denied that they set up -- or that they worked with -- they were asked by rudy giuliani to set up meetings there. we do know that kurt volker and sondland were working with the ukrainians to set up those meetings, but there's no indication, anderson, that mike pompeo was part of that. but he wasertainly aware of the role that rudy giuliani was playing in essentially this parallel policy with ukraine. >> yeah. alex marquardt, thank you very much for the new reporting. back with us, pamela brown, jeff toobin, and john kasich. jeff, what do you make of this apparently -- i mean, again, the idea that rudy giuliani is the gatekeeper here to all foreign service people to, you know, secretary rick perry, again, it's just bizarre because we know what giuliani's focus was. it wasn't legitimate investigations of ongoing corruption in ukraine. it was biden and the, you know, 2016 conspiracy theory. >> right. i mean the core question of this
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whole investigation is whether american foreign policy was in the interest of the united states and united states taxpayers, or was it designed around getting dirt on joe biden? and if, in fact, rudy giuliani is, as you say, the gatekeeper, the person who has to be satisfied before any further dealings with ukraine take place, i mean that just suggests that the foreign policy here is something that is completely different from anything we've been led to expect american presidents are supposed to do. >> pamela, it's also fascinating when you read those text messages between ambassador sondland and, you know, the others, that five-hour gap in which now we know sondland did talk to the president, and then basically suddenly writes out this text that, i mean, compared to all the other texts that he's been sending in this exchange,
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it is as if it's been read out to him or he wrote it down, and it's clearly, you know, the same verbiage that the white house has been using, the president has been using about no quid pro quo. and then, you know, let's take this conversation offline. >> yeah, it's really an interesting development in this story, anderson, that we're learning during those hours, that five-hour gap, he spoke to the president, then went back on the text exchange to say there was no quid pro quo, but let's take this offline. as we piece together all of this happening, including what alex just laid out, it really does raise more questions about why the president withheld that ukraine aid because what we have learned through alex's reporting is that perry and his other government officials came back from zelensky's inauguration saying, we believe he's going to be a trusted ally and that you should meet with zelensky. and yet the president really didn't buy it. he didn't believe them because he was putting more stock into what his outside attorney, rudy giuliani, had been telling him
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in that negative information. then we know following that, anderson, the decision was made at the direction of the president to withhold ukraine aid, and then eventually it was released. so all of this raises even more questions about that connection, anderson. >> governor kasich, what's it going to take for other republicans on the hill to actually speak their minds on this? i mean assuming that there are some who, you know, believe what the president did was wrong and that it was wrong to ask china to investigate the bidens, a repressive regime like china not known for their fair and impartial investigations at the very least, i mean is it going to take just them sensing a groundswell among republican voters? >> i think so. i think so, anderson. and, look, this is the thing that i have a hard time understanding. we know how bad this is. we know what the president did was wrong. why wouldn't everybody want to get to the bottom of this?
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i mean you think about if the united states -- if the united states was withholding something that was critical to ukraine, who had russians located inside of their country and gobbling up pieces of territory, you would think that they would say, of course we should have an inquiry. of course we should get to the bottom of this. you know, as we see here, as every report every day, there's just more and more connections that are so troubling. but at the end of the day, you've got to have this inquiry, and frankly these republicans ought to be calling for it. it's the fair and right thing to do for america. >> yeah. governor kasich, thank you. jeffrey toobin, pamela brown as well. just ahead, i'll talk with two members of the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry. tailored recommendations, tax-efficient investing strategies, and a dedicated advisor to help you grow and protect your wealth.
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house speaker nancy pelosi has just issued a sharp statement about today's show of defiance by the white house. the key sentence reads, and i quote, the white house should be warned that continued efforts to hide the truth of the president's abuse of power from the american people will be regarded as further evidence of obstruction. earlier i spoke with two members
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of those house committees leading the impeachment inquiry about today's events. eleanor holmes norton was on the oversight committee, and raj na krista murthy sits on the intelligence committee. >> congresswoman norton, the white house is clearly refusing to cooperate, stonewalling at the very least. what now? what are you and your fellow democrats going to do in response to this letter? >> this is unexpected, anderson. when the white house stonewalls, they commit a grievous error. you'll notice that in an ordinary trial, if you subpoena somebody or if you call f're car a trial and you don't appear, then the presumption is against you, and you could be found guilty. it is the president's prerogative not to appear, but it's not our prerogative to say because he doesn't appear, there must be nothing here. remember, anderson, we already have a great deal.
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we have two whistle-blowers whose comments have been seen by the i.g. as credible, and yet we're trying to abide by the process, trying to give the president every opportunity during the investigation. but he can't stop the investigation by refusing to cooperate with the investigation. >> congressman, the white house in this letter is essentially daring speaker pelosi to hold a vote to open a formal impeachment inquiry. do you think that should be the next step? i mean it's not required by law, but if that's what the white house says the sticking point is, would that make a difference, or do you think they would come up with something else? >> they'd come up with something else, and i don't think we should take directions from them as to how to investigate the actions of this president. that letter that you referred to started out with a very faulty
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premise. on the second page of that letter, it claims that this phone call that happened on july 25th between president trump and president zelensky of ukraine was, quote, unquote, completely appropriate. that's not what the majority of americans think, and that's why public sentiment has shifted so radically in favor of conducting this impeachment inquiry. now, we have to do it in as unbuy is a unbiased a fashion as possible, and we have to do it expeditiously. but any stalling or delay tactics in the face of what the majority of american people want, which is an inquiry to proceed, would be, in may opinion, very inadvisable at this point. >> congresswoman norton, if it comes down to a choice between going through the court process to try to enforce subpoenas, to try to get these people to testify or just going ahead with whatever evidence has already been gathered and what's out there based on the president's
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comments and the rough transcript, not even the full transcript of the conversation that took place between the president and the president of ukraine, going ahead and, you know, sticking to an end of october date to actually bring this to a vote in the house, which would you choose? i mean does a vote in the house that hasn't gone through the courts so that you haven't gotten other people's testimony -- is that legitimate enough for you? >> as expeditious as courts can be, they could not get through all the subpoenas that the white house is using as a delaying tactic. so i don't think we should fall for that. i think we should proceed with the evidence we have. now, if we didn't have good evidence, it seems to me a case could be made that you've just got to stop. but we have two whistle-blowers. we've got a lot of evidence from those who have come forward. now they're telling us they're not going to let anybody come forward, and i think it's because they see we have evidence. they don't want to contribute to it. i think that the house of representatives, which has an
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obligationo proceed with an impeachment inquiry, cannot let the party on the other side of the impeachment inquiry keep it from moving forward. so i think you're going to see us keeping that date. and another reason we need to keep that date is, anderson, we haven't been sent here just to do impeachment. we've been sent here because we have passed bills that are of great importance to the american people. and we intend to keep plowing ahead on those issues from gun control to climate change and not let impeachment be all we do in 2020. >> congressman, do you agree with that? house demrats tonight have issued a subpoena for documents and testimony from ambassador sondland, next monday for the documents, next wednesday for the testimony. assuming the white house doesn't let him testify, do you wait for this to go through courts, or do you stick with an end of october deadline or whatever the deadlineid, if anybody blocks testimony or refuses to
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produce documents, that should, one, count as evidence of obstruction of the inquiry and then, two, it should be almost an admission that the blocked testimony would actually corroborate the whistle-blower's allegations. and in this case it's easy to see why they don't want mr. sondland has that transcrip. >> and you were asking a generic is it okay for a president to -- >> simple yes or no. >> we know what she was doing. chris. >> we all know what's going on because we've been here before. i think the frustration for normal people, not us, is it seems tluk same game, different jerseys. it seems during theclipten impeachment, they were saying
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this is a misuse of the constitution. >> and now tray goudy looks like he's going to be an attorney for the president. >> captain benghazi as i like to call him. that's when the president were investigating everything they could. they never investigated biden. they knew about the ukrain situation. >> and calling state department people and raking them over the coals. >> look, they switched sides. we have a a before to this new that republicans are saying that they should have more supoona power. the reason they don't is them. i'll explain. >> up next breaking news from b bernie sanders campaign. saturdays happen. pain happens. aleve it. aleve is proven better on pain than tylenol. when pain happens, aleve it. all day strong.
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it more breaking news. this time for senator bernie sanders recovering from a heart attack last week. what's the latest on his health?
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>> reporter: we actually saw bernie sanders quite a bit today and he said he's feeling much betterer and he visited a cardiologist in burlington today. a follow oup after he spent more than two days in the hospital after suffering the heart attack in las vegas. this is going to have a pretty sniff can can't impact on his campaign. he said he's going to scale back his campaign schedule in a petty significant way in the wake of this heart attack. he's been proud of how busy he is, traveling asmany as six day as week, holding four events in a day. he said he's simply not go doing do that can anymore. he said this is going to put him in line more with his other democratic opponents. he was doing far more than they were up to this poupt. but he said he's still pushing forward in his campaign. he knows voters are going to look at him differently.
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he's a 78-year-old man who had a heart attack. but they hope they view him as a fighter. and he still believes he can win the race for president. >> wish him the best. chris. thank you, anderson. i am chris cuomo and welcome to primetime. and more proof comes out that this president had his personal attorney directing policy on ukrain. what happens now? let's get after it. so here's the latest. sources tell cnn when you chronchro ukrain's president sought to meet with president trump, the united states president directed his secretary energy, rick perry, and two top state department officials to go to giuliani for his blessing on the meeting. go to rudy for the president's blessing. the quote.