tv Inside Politics CNN October 22, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PDT
credit cards and cameras. and people inside from accidentally visiting sites that aren't secure. and if someone trys we'll let you know. xfi advanced security. if it's connected, it's protected. call, click, or visit a store today. welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king. thank you for sharing your day with us. president trump calls the house impeachment inquiry a lynching and the timing is no coincidence. critical witnesses on capitol hill, a veteran diplomat says it was crazy to hold aid to ukraine until it agreed to pursue the president's political vendettas. support for impeaching the
president and removing him from office hits 50%. only 6% of republicans, for example, back impeachment. and the backlash, instant. african-american lawmakers said the president's use of the word lynching is deeply offensive, yet not surprising given the source. >> i think it was just an egregious statement. >> it's beneath the dignity of the office of the president of the united states. >> the president should not compare a constitutionally mandated impeachment inquiry to such a dangerous and dark chapter of american history. it's irresponsible for him to do so, and i hope that he will apologize. >> back to that a bit later. but we begin the hour with a very big day in the trump impeachment inquiry. a diplomat complained that the president was putting his personal politics ahead of smart ukraine policy.
this testing on a day when support for impeaching the president and removing him from office is on the rise. now at 50% for the first time. it is trademark trump to turn up the volume when he wants to distract you from something important, like today's witness or today's numbers. so this morning the president deploying a word with historic meaning, calling the democratic investigation, quote, a lynching. bill taylor is the crucial witness behind closed doors this hour. taylor is a career foreign policy hand who the trump administration pulled out of retirement to take the top diplomatic job in ukraine. he's the one who told another trump diplomatic appointee that freezing military aid and investigation into the president's political opponents was, quote, crazy. today cnn told taylor they plan to walk through those text messages and provide them a clear timeline in his five months as acting ambassador to ukraine. expect those questions to cover
interactions with ambassador gordon sondland who called the president in the middle of a text exchange with taylor and his texting with rudy giuliani. giuliani was running a policy way outside the lines. manu raju is with us. manu, what more do we know? >> reporter: one democrat from michigan emerged and talked to reporters and said, all i have to say is in my ten short months of congress, it's my most disturbing day in congress so far. of course, what democrats are trying to drill down on is exactly why that military aid was withheld to ukraine, the aid that was approved by congress and whether it had anything to do with the president's push by rudy giuliani's push to investigate the president's political rival joe biden, his son hunter biden, as well as to push for an investigation to the
democratic national committee, what happened in 2016, things that were in that rough transcript of the president's conversation with zelensky. he didn't say why that military aid was withheld. he said he talked to the president in a brief phone call and the president insisted there was no quid pro quo but didn't say he was able to verify that in any way. that's what he later told the top diplomat bill taylor, saying there was no quid pro quo, so we're told he did deliver a detailed chronology of events, what happened from the time he assumed the post in june, up until now laying out exactly what happened, laying out the rationale behind those text messages where he raised serious concerns that there could be a quid pro quo, calling it crazy and the like. we're getting some more details, john, but of course this is expected to go all day, and it could be one of the most critical days as part of the democratic push to impeach this president. john? >> critical to say the least.
manu raju, we appreciate the live reporting and fresh reporting on capitol hill. to share their insights, julie hirschfeld davis with the washington times. worked in democratic and republican administrations. the trump administration brought him back in, trusted by the white house and yet he is the person that started to raise serious alarms about what the president was asking and what rudy giuliani was doing. >> yeah, he was yanked out of retirement for this job and now he is in the spotlight. i talked to a source familiar with his testimony today who said he's not looking to make a splash. there's a reason we haven't seen the full text of his opening remarks released today by sources close to him. he really want to go there and lay out the chronology of events. he got there on the ground as u.s. ambassador to ukraine in june, and he's still been there. he's still the u.s. ambassador to ukraine. he's going back tomorrow. so he wanted to lay out this
timeline and then go back to his job. but the reality is that he's the person who has been there from the beginning, from when this assistance was delayed and reviewed until the time they eventually decided to let it go. so even though he doesn't want to make a splash, i think these details, and clearly what we're hearing from lawmakers coming out of the room, could be the most damning to date on this impeachment inquiry. >> and sometimes a reluctant witness is a more powerful witness, if you will. this is perhaps the biggest day so far, i would argue it is the biggest day so far in that they have gathered evidence from other players. some democrats say it's a quid pro quo. others say put that term aside. it's an abuse of power and it's corruption in foreign policy. bill taylor texting gordon sondland. gordon sondland is the european ambassador to the european union. bill taylor texted him back in september. are we now saying security
assistance and white house meetings are procured on investigations? it looks like a quid pro quo, but it's certainly official business or the aide hung up on doing what the president wants. gordon sondland, call me. which shows a sensitivity to let's not text about this. >> clearly ambassador taylor is one of those in the administration who was alarmed early on at what he saw developing in this relationship. that he is an experienced diplomat, he understands how these give and takes work, and contrary to what we've heard in the white house and people saying in recent days, this is not the normal channel and it's not the normal back and forth between a leader of a country in the united states president. he seemed to raise alarms pretty consistently with sondland and the special envoy kurt volker in this text chain, and that's going to be something investigators really want to drill down on, not only to know what was the full context of that exchange, but what was prompting you to ask those questions, right? what else had you seen, what
other conversations or memos had you been privy to that led you to actually lay it out like that? is this what we're saying, that the one is contingent on the other. >> and to that point, we showed you the "call me." that's september 1st. a week later, september 9, taylor to sondland. as i said on the phone, i think it's crazy to withhold security at assistance to help with a political campaign. that is the abuse of power, the corruption the democrats are building their impeachment case on. here's what ambassador sondland said back after four and a half hours. i believe you're incorrect about the president's intentions. the president is very clear no quid pro quo of any kind. ambassador sondland testified he called the president. and the president -- that's essentially what the president told him to say. >> i thought one of the important clauses in that text is, as i said on the phone, and i think that's part of what he's going to be describing, those conversation,s as julie said,
that were happening outside this text chain. the text chain, according to democrats, is enough to prosecute the president. there was enough evidence of quid pro quo that were appointed by the president, appointed by the administration that were concerned they were withholding aid at the same time the president was pressuring ukraine to investigate joe biden, and if there are conversations we haven't heard about in these text messages, that's what the democrats want to get to the bottom of in these closed door hearings to find out what conversations were happening. you saw all those different instances where sondland was saying, call me, let's not put this in writing, let's not put this in texts. so there was more conversation about this, and if these hearings are happening in a way that allows taylor to explain what was happening on the phone, it could be very damaging for the white house and very damaging for the administration. >> and that text chain is where
parties are clearly putting verbal conversations on the record here. it feels like they're both aware these conversations are going to come out so they're each trying to document their position. i do agree, though, the question is what triggered taylor's concerns? how did the administration respond? and ultimately did he find sondland's last text credible and why? was he serious when he said, if x happens, i will quit. these are all questions i suspect they're trying to get at behind closed doors. >> and if they get at them, the democrats might need a little bit more time. they never set a firm deadline, but originally they were saying, whispering, anyway, we hope to get this done by thanksgiving. and they said, if that happens, we'll have a trial and a senate before christmas. now the democrats are trying to put the building blocks together. one of the leading democrats saying, that's okay, as long as we get it right. >> i think about the old adage,
haste makes waste is one of them. let's not be hasty here. let's do what's necessary to lay the foundation, and i really believe we ought to have the american people satisfied with the product once it's produced. >> reporter: does that mean before christmas, congressman? >> i hope it's before christmas, but it might be after thanksgiving as well. i'm not going to put a timeline on it, but that's kind of where i feel. >> on the one hand, whatever you're doing, if it's something so important, and there's little more important than impeachment if you read the constitution, you want to take your time and get it right. it's also a political process and we're about to bookend in a campaign year. >> i think they want to strike while the iron is hot and that is something the public seems to understand. that's why these witnesses come up, taylor today and others still scheduled to go.
il it's a pretty complicated story here and they'll need to hold public hearings to get this to a point where they have articles of impeachment. that could take a while, and i think there is acknowledgment now with another recess coming up in a couple weeks, they probably can't get there by thanksgiving. they don't want to do a botched job. they want to make this as strong a case as they can. next up, president trump says republicans need to be loyal. sometimes, though, he makes that very difficult. you think this is love? this is a billion years of tiger dna just ready to pounce. and if you have the wrong home insurance coverage, you could be coughing up the cash for this. so get allstate and be better protected from mayhem, like me-ow.
house republicans tonight are doing just as the president asked, giving a series of floor speeches bashing the government impeachment inquiry. but as the president urges community, he is full of jitters. they've seen the president call impeachment a lynching, as he did in that tweet today, for example, but they don't see the facts of rebuttal that the democrats are building. instead they hear an angry and rambling president say things they know aren't true. they counted at least 20 false statements yesterday at the cabinet meeting, including this piece of fiction. >> president kim of north korea, i like him, he likes me. i respect him, he respects me. you could end up in a war. president obama told me that.
he said, the biggest problem, i don't know how to solve that. i said, did you ever call him? actually, he tried 11 times but the gentleman on the other side did not take his call, okay? lack of respect. but he takes my call. >> obama administration officials say they never tried to place any such call. and then on the impeachment inquiry, also fiction. >> what happened to the whistleblowers? they're gone because they've been discredited. the whistleblower gave a false account. the whistleblower's account of my conversation was totally wrong. >> the whistleblower had second and thirdhand information. you remember that. it was a big problem. they released the conversation and that threw shifty schiff off. >> catherine lucie of the "wall street journal" joins our conversation. just to close that up, the whistleblower's account has been largely confirmed. the parts we've been able to
corroborate that the president talks about and the president's own actions. this is a fascinating moment. conservative districts, most of them say for republican districts. it will be interesting to hear how many actually defend what the president has done as opposed to bashing the democratic process. publicly, but mostly quietly, a lot of republicans looking to the white house and saying, if he keeps acting like that and they don't seem to have a defense team together, it makes the party nervous. >> this is something i've heard from a lot of republicans outside the white house is that they keep looking to the president and his advisers to come up with some sort of coherent strategy. we talked before how they haven't set up any kind of war room internally, they haven't added counsel from outside, there is not a clear message they've landed on, and the president is really driving this as a lone wolf in a lot of ways day to day, and that makes these members nervous. they don't know exactly where they need to be landing, and you
don't want to go in one direction and the president go somewhere else. >> number one, they'll be asked about what does bill taylor say? what about the texts? what about the witnesses last week? maybe this isn't impeachable, sir, but isn't this wrong? then the other day they had to answer for this. sometimes when the democrats want to impeach the president, they can impeach the president, without a due process or fairness in any legal rights. all republicans must remember what they are witnessing here -- a lynching. >> it's not fair in the process, it's not something this house has done ever in the past. i don't agree with that language. it's reprehensible language that the president used, and it's hard for these republicans to defend it. you did see a couple of them try to defend it, including lindsey
graham of south carolina, and now he's in hot water over the word lynching, and he tried to walk it back to say what he was trying to say. but there is a coherent message on the impeachment hearings, feeling like the president is not getting due process. instead every day it's something new they have to defend. the doral g7 location decision or syria or the president's charges that the ukraine call was perfect, he's not making it easy for his defenders try to defend him. instead he's throwing out new accusations that they have to defend on a daily basis, and we hear they're getting exhausted with the lack of strategy, lack of coherence coming out of the white house, and it seems like every day the president is adding to that, and the fact there it is no war room makes it easier for the president to make his point. >> he's now an independent, more of a libertarian guy from michigan, he's feuded with the president many times, but he's
pretty well liked among republican house members. he says this. >> i think mick was telling the truth there, that there was a quid pro quo, and then he went back and realized, well, that's not what the president wants to hear. they wish they weren't trapped in this position, and i hear that from my colleagues on the house floor. frankly, i think a lot of the retirmr retirements bewe're hearing abo is just trying to ride out the president and they might try to come back later on once the president is gone. >> he's right in terms of trump exhau exhaustion and trump fatigue. >> that's true, but i underline his point that this president backs down on the doral question. he certainly had a bunch of differe different issues on the turkey stuff. how unsettled they actually are
in the white house. >> and he's not used to blowback. >> right, and the republicans tried this argument there was no quid pro quo, and then mick mulvaney said, get over it, there was. now he's obviously walked that back, but it's hard for the president whose instinct is to get louder and more sort of extreme, the more under attack he feels. that makes republicans who are willing to step up and try to defend him, it makes their job even more difficult. >> it's hard to keep your footing if the ground keeps shifting. up next for us, more americans than ever now say they support impeaching the president. but he says it's actually a good thing. gimme one minute... and i'll tell you some important things to know about medicare. first, it doesn't pay for everything. say this pizza is your part b medical expenses. this much - about 80% - medicare will pay for. what's left is on you. that's where an aarp medicare supplement insurance plan, insured by unitedhealthcare insurance company comes in.
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brand new cnn poll released today shows support for impeachment continuing to grow. this poll marking the first time support for impeachment and removal from office has significantly outpaced the opposition to that. let's take a look at the numbers. here we go. 50% of americans now say the president should be impeached and removed from office. 36% said yes back in march 2019. see the trajectory. that's want gonot good for the president. it's a short demographic along party lines here. women tend to favor impeachment, men only 44% favor it. non-white off the charts, 7 out
of 10 favor impeachment, only 40% of whites do. 80% of democrats say impeach this president, remove him from office. only 6%, a tiny percentage of republicans say that, the number worth watching given the policy of impeachment is 50%. that's moved up in recent months. here's another example of that. about ukraine, is it false or true? mostly false, half of the country. mostly true, 44% of the country. but again, 86% of republicans say what the president says is mostly true, 83% of democrats say what the president says is mostly false. a partisan sharp divide there. one of the interesting things is even though support for impeachment is going up, this is a trend line that has continued pretty much throughout the trump presidency, his approval rating essentially a flat line. it was 42% back in march, 41% now. does it hover there? does it go up and down? that will have a heavyweight on the lawmakers who have to make the big decisions. no president wants to be
impeached. but as this president talks about it, he sees a political opportunity for himself and his party. >> everybody tells me it's going to be great for us as a republican party if they actually impeach me because the 40 seats -- and there are many more than the 32 -- it's 45 seats where i won or did very well or it was really close that those people will get hammered, meaning running in congress. i don't know if that's true or not. i do say this. i can see it, look at our fuc d fundraising. the money has never come in like this. my poll numbers have been like the highest. >> his poll numbers have not been like the highest. not at all. it's still early, but if you look, democrats beat him consistently. if you look at some polls, they don't mean this much so far from the election. the president says they're great. no, they're not. does he believe that, that this could be great for republicans,
or is that just an optimistic talking point to keep his party in line? >> i think he actually does. he has viewed some of this through the prism of the brett kavanaugh fight which she thought originally was going to be a bad thing for him, but then the people around him believed and thought this came true that it actually backfired very badly on democrats, and i believe when he talks about democrats in the districts that he won, they are among the most worried about the potential sort of spillover effects. but i think what he isn't reckoning with and people around him both on capitol hill and the white house are lamenting this privately, this is bad for him in many ways. even though it might be decent politically for some republicans, it's his office on the line here. this is a policy he cannot control, and i think that's what has him so angry and frustrated recently. >> and we don't have a clue what this will look like a month from now, let alone a year from now when people are getting ready to vote.
i just want to show the trend line. the trend line is not good for the president. should the president be impeached and removed from office? back in march, 68% of democrats say that, only 4% of republicans. now today it's up to 87% of democrats, only 6% of republicans. that stayed pretty constant. but look at the independent number. 40% in march, 60% now. if you're a republican house member, whoop-de-do. if you're a senator who has to iran statewide in a reasonably competitive state, you're watching that number. the republican number gives you some solace, but that independent number doesn't. >> people all along see this as a reason to get rid of him. if that number starts ticking above 50%, that could be an issue if those folks are motivated to move the needle.
>> this counteracts some democratic concerns that he'll be seen for impeachment and not work on the bread and butter issues. the independents are really important, and the fact this isn't over. we don't know what will come out of the testimony this week, we don't know what these poll numbers will do to public opinion. 98, republicans do impeachment, they take the white house under unusual circumstances but they take the white house in 2020. >> it's not talked about a lot, i think a lot of republicans would like to talk about it more, but that's an underlying thing when you talk to voters. i don't like this, i don't like the tweets, i'm not sure. there are jobs, there are lots of employment and economic activity right now. >> that's the one thing that holds him up. you have to keep an eye on the economy as well, but republicans would prefer to talk more about that and not lynchings.
i want to look at some historical numbers here. some go back to the impeachment of bill clinton. some talked about impeaching him after the iraq war, some talked about impeaching obama after benghazi. if you look at the numbers, 50% say trump should be removed. it never got higher than 33% in the obama years, never higher than 30% in the george bush years, 29% for clinton and he was actually impeached. >> you're going to have an impeachment process that goes through the house, and if it's passed by the house, it will go to the senate. there are a number of senate republicans that are in vulnerable races that are going to have to make a decision as to whether or not they side with the popular opinion in their states, a growing number of states, a majority of citizens in those states support impeachment and removal, and they're going to have a tough vote. right now the president may see this as a positive thing for
some republicans maybe in the house, but for a lot of senate republicans that are facing tough races in 2020, they'll have tough votes coming up if this impeachment process moves over to the senate. sdplz he's the president and is able to keep the republican number very low so far. a quick update to us as we go to break now on the former president jimmy carter. he had a minor pelvic fracture after falling in his home in plains, georgia. he had another fall earlier this month and needed 14 stitches near his eye. but he was back to building habitat for humanity homes just days later. we wish him another speedy recovery. trucks... and suvs. four years in a row. since more than 32,000 real people... just like me. and me. and me. took the survey that decided these awards. it was only right that you hear the good news from real people... like us. i'm daniel. i'm casey. i'm julio.
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meanwhile, benjamin netanyahu failed to form a new government. he is going to open the door to his rival. if he fails, they could be looking at their third election in a year. mitch mcconnell gives prerequisites for a syria withdrawal. he condemned the president's action in syria. one key resolution? a session for the president to certify they are defeated before he can withdraw any more troops to the region. he said we're acting too quickly to punish turkey. >> sanctions may play a political role in this process and i'm open to the senate considering them.
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he could possibly make a late entry. those conversations happen mostly in new york, mind you, in the context of a joe biden collapse, which is a big hypothetical. they also happen as candidates actually in the race and doing the work try to make the case they are gaining steam. amy klobuchar, for example, has raised more than $2 million since last week's cnn debate, resources she hopes help her become this campaign's iowa surprise. >> if we're going to win, we have to win what i call the blue wall state. we're going to build a blue wall around them and make donald trump pay for it. and you need a candidate that can win those states. i'm the only one with a track record that was on that stage of actually winning the red congressional district. i think this calls for a time where we build trust with people. not by promising them everything for free, and i know that's appealing. i would love to have everything for free, you would love to have everything for free. but i think people know that's not going to happen.
>> cnn's jeff zeleny joins the conversation. he spent the weekend in iowa with the candidate. let's start with the candidates actually in the race and then we'll get to the other conversation about candidates looking for afar. she did have a strong debate. she did raise more money. she is not qualified for the next debate. i believe if even sanders, biden and warren stay where they are, we'll get at least one out of iowa. does she really think it can be her? >> she hopes the proximity will help. she calls herself the senator from next door, and that's the title of her book. look, she's been campaigning for a long time since february there, but this weekend she had big crowds. it's a message that's resonating. do democrats really want to nominate someone so far to the left? i was struck by people saying, we can't afford this free stuff. that's kind of become a thing.
a voter in davenport was very -- so happy to see senator klobuchar's performance, saying, she's showing me what i've been waiting for. but it's a general election message, not a primary election message, so that's the problem. joe biden is such a strong candidate. everybody is looking to be the alternative. the field is as big as it is and is preventing that from happening. the messages we've seen, she's more confident than she was a few months ago. >> the point about -- there are all these people saying, will biden hold since he's a former vice president, the stature of that loses in iowa, does the steam come out because he can't win in an early state? you have these conversations. they're pulled together very nicely in the "new york times." mrs. clinton and mr. bloomberg
have both told people privately in recent weeks that if they thought they could win, they would enter the democratic primary. but that they were skeptical there would be no opening, according to democrats who have spoken. they say the chances that another major contender decides to run are remote. it's a car on the track that generally takes advantage of that and surprises. can somebody outside the race get in late? is the party really clamoring for hillary clinton or michael bloomberg or michelle obama at this point? >> it's hard to imagine that could happen, but i think in the era of president trump and donald trump having been counted out of his primary by so many people, there is legitimate conversation about anything could happen. >> you made the point before we came on the air that he was winning. >> he is running and he's
winning in major states. but what jeff said is true. this is a conversation, let's be honest, that happens every four years. there comes a point in the primary process where the party says, oh, my gosh, do we need to call in some reinforcements, do we need something totally different? i think it has to do with the fact that biden has not really broken out and taken control of this race as early as some people thought he might or hoped he might, so there is a sense of what will we do for a plan b? >> it happens most every four years, but we were talking about robert toner from the "new york times" who wrote this lead. this these are jittery days for the campaign as they look for another candidate. >> the democrats were saying, please, please, please. you're right, we do go through this sometimes. but to your point about biden making the case, buttigieg
making the case, klobuchar making the case. voters you talk to in iowa, it does seem to sink in with some. >> what do you think will happen if one of the more progressive candidates like warren or sanders wins the nomination? >> i'm very afraid they'll lose and we'll have four more years of trump, which i hope doesn't happen. >> reporter: elaborate who you're talking about when you say free stuff? >> i'm talking about bernie, i'm talking about elizabeth warren and how college is going to be free, how health care is going to be free. i'm sorry. we can't do that. >> it is a reminder that the democratic party is larger than -- no offense to the twitter democratic party which is more vocal and aggressive and good for them, that's how they make their case, but we don't know the answer to this question yet. >> no, and i've heard, as jeff has, from voters in iowa and
michigan and pennsylvania, all saying they want a democratic moderate option, they don't like the idea of socialized medicine, they're concerned about orders, so i think what we're seeing with klobuchar is this real hunger they think can go the distance. >> when it comes to bwinning th presidency, it's not necessarily about who is winning in the polls now. before we go to break, mayor buttigieg gives his critique of the "snl" impression. >> i went to harvard but they don't teach you where to put your arms. >> do you like it? >> it's not bad. >> i'm very comfortable with my own body, i know exactly what to do with my arms. >> you know what to do with your arms? >> i'm wondering, are they too far out? with drivewise. it lets you know when you go too fast... ...and brake too hard. with feedback to help you drive safer.
all right. a little lightning round to get a couple quick political stories in. mike pompeo is pretty busy right now but there are rumors he'll go to kansas and run for senate. he's going back this week. >> i understand that you get to go home to kansas for the first time in how many weeks? >> it's been too long. >> too long. >> it's been too long. >> he says too long. it's been six weeks. hello. >> these reporters get dinged for treating kansas and other parts of the country as a foreign country. but we have a secretary of state
there. hillary clinton raised a lot of eyebrows this week suggesting a democratic candidate in the race, she meant tulsi gabbard, is somehow a russian asset. bernie sanders weighing in yesterday saying on twitter, tulsi gabbard has put her life on the line to defend this country. people can disagree on issues but it is outrageous for anyone to suggest that tulsi is a foreign asset. coming to the defense of a rival. number two, he waited a few days. what's that about? >> obviously she's not beloved within this field, but he did feel the need -- it cost him nothing. she's not exactly challenging him for his voters to come to her defense. i think the fact this claim was brought up against her by hillary clinton has gotten a lot more attention on hillary clinton, frankly, than it has on tul tulsi gabbard. thanks for joining me on "inside politics."
brianna keilar starts right now. have a great afternoon. i'm brianna keilar live from cnn's washington headquarters. underway right now, he's considered the most important witness to testify so far in the impeachment scandal, and at this poi moment a career diplomat is revealing why he called the president's ukraine policy crazy. and as half the americans want the president impeached, a new high, democrats are saying the timeline to do so is getting longer. why that poses a risk for both parties. plus the president under fire for comparing the impeachment efforts to a