tv CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin CNN October 25, 2019 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
eabrking news. hi there. i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn on this friday afternoon. thank you for being here. we have breaking news out of washington, d.c. where a month now into this impeachment inquiry president trump is sounding a familiar tune when it comes to that july 25th phone call with ukraine's leader defending his actions while blasting the democrats. >> the level of unfairness for a perfect conversation with the president of ukraine. this was a perfect conversation, and, frankly, had they known what the conversation was they wouldn't have even wasted everybody's time. president of ukraine and the foreign minister came out, said there was no -- anything. there was no -- he used the word no blackmail. they said there was no pressure. there was nothing done wrong. this is a hoax. >> we just heard the president saying there was no pressure on ukraine despite testimony from
multiple diplomats to that country but cnn is just now learning when it came to his decision to block the millions of dollars in critical aid to ukraine the president of the united states was the one under pressure from within the white house and far beyond. cnn global correspondent sara murray and jeremy diamond have the new reporting. let's dig in. jeremy first for you. what are you learning about when the president actually finally decided to release this aid to ukraine? >> reporter: well, brooke, it came down to a phone call between the president and ohio senator rob portman on september 11th. in the afternoon, we're told, according to six sources familiar with the call, that ohio senator rob portman repeatedly urged the president once again to release these funds. the president, we're told, put up his usual defenses blaming european allies for not providing enough funding to ukraine. what happened after the call is unusual in terms what happened for months before.
the president withholding funds, withholding, resisting pressure from congress and others. after the call we're told the president directed his aides to release that funding to ukraine. brooke, we don't know exactly what played into the president's thinking and why he decided at that moment after months of resisting doing so releasing that funding but we do know several other key circumstances were happening around that time. there was this congressional pressure. the vice president mike pence who was also in the room, i'm told, for this phone call with rob portman recently returned from a trip to poland, where he also came back and urged the president to release these funds, but there were also other factors playing out at the white house. top white house officials were beginning to learn about some of those concerns from national security council officials and also learning about this whistle-blower complaint that had been percolating several weeks from an intelligence official. so we don't know whether those factors played into the president's decision. certainly he, just two days before that decision, learned
from the ambassador to the european union gordon sondland that there were concerns, that what he was doing amounted to a quid pro quo. brooke? >> so let me go over quickly what you're saying. there was this pressure mounting. what i'm hearing from you it was within the white house, it was members of congress, you point out rob portman made the final phone call, a republican. another republican senator alarmed early september. he also called the president. so several levels of government, people were wondering what is going on? is that right? >> reporter: that's exactly right. there were numerous concerns inside and outside the white house about this. interesting is the timing of the president's decision. because it didn't just begin a couple days before that those members of congress were urging the president on this front. this had been going on for weeks and even months. >> okay. sara, to you. how has the white house explained trump's decision, then, to release the funds? >> reporter: brooke, obviously the white house knew they were under pressure to release the
money by the time the president decided to release it and under more pressure now. this is one of the things impeachment investigators are looking at. why the president ultimately decided to release this money. the white house didn't comment for our story today, but in the past offered sort of shifting explanations. they said a national security review. that was the reason that these funds were held up a while. that review actually had been done by the pentagon and the state department before the president had even frozen the aid. mick mulvaney went on fox news and said there was actually a review at the office of management and budget that needed to be cleared before the money could be released, but sources say there was no extensive review done at omb. they're not in charge of these policy processes. instead basically had to pull a sheet of numbers what these various countries were contributing to help out with ukraine and provide that to others who were conducting these assessments. none of these explanations really explain why these funds continued to languish for weeks
and wyche weeks even though the department, pentagon, president's advisers, lawmakers all saying ukraine need this money. what is going on here? >> all right. so then do you think in addition to obviously trump being at the center of this and end of the day whose decision it is, jeremy points out that at one point what was it? mike pence was in the room for the rob portman phone call. sara, i'm wondering, are there other members of this administration who now may be, should be, questioned by congressional investigators? >> reporter: look, that's a big question. one of the other curious things that happened around this time was ambassador john bolton left the white house. it's easier i think congressional investigators found to talk to people who left the administration than people still there and he may have insights. the other big question is whether vice president mike pence is ultimately going to be asked to appear before congressional investigators. i think they wanted to be deliberate on the hill who they're bringing up and i think in ways looking to save some of
the bigger fish for last, but we'll see if that ever becomes an issue. if they ever want to speak to the vice president about any conversations he may have had directly with trump. brooke, you've seen the protests from the white house and can imagine all the different ways they would block a request from that coming from capitol hill. >> with incredible reporting, thank you both very much. analyze it all. gloria borger, cnn chief political analyst and ryan lissa, politico's chief correspondent and cnn senior analyst. welcome to both of you and a lot to go through. gloria start with you, again to underscore to everyone keeping up, right? there's a lot. a lot happening. so many people, my takeaway from the reporting, so many people expressed concern about trump holding up these millions of dollars in funds, in aid to ukraine. you have republican senators, the pentagon, omb, former ambassador bill taylor and other diplomats. what do you think when you look at the totality of this? >> i think that donald trump was
the one making the decisions. period. end of paragraph. that's it. in consultation, of course, perhaps with rudy giuliani, his personal attorney, and the person who was so involved in crafting this alternate ukraine policy, because he represented clients there and because he wanted to get the political payback the president thought he was due from ukraine to investigate his political enemies. there seems to be no other reason. the question that i have is, what pushed him? what pushed him to make this sudden change? because it was reversed in a day. >> right. >> so what was it that pushed him? was it bolton quitting that pushed him? was that a part of it? was it he knew there was a whistle-blower out there, perhaps? that he knew this would unfold? did he want to approve the aid before publicity caught up with him? >> uh-huh. >> was it because he thought it was the right thing to do overnight and suddenly?
so we need to answer that question of why he changed his mind. >> yes. the mystery. the mystery. and also just, when you look at the pressure coming in, ryan, especially in this era of president trump. bipartisanship is a four-letter word in washington. but this was actually one of the few things that seemed to get the ds and rs on the same page. >> yes. look, gloria has asked the correct question, and hit on all the issues here. if you look at the timeline, i think we have the answer to what pressured him. so september 11th is a really important date in this scandal, because you have three things that are happening simultaneously on that day. the first, really four things. the first is that the whistle-blower complaint has already been through the system and adam schiff is publicly talking about it. number two, you had bill taylor
saying, this is crazy that we're doing this, holding up funding. remember, taylor originally didn't know funding was a part of this quid pro quo. he finds out about it, and sort of, he has that famous text exchange with ambassador sondland who talks to the president and comes back the next morning and said, oh, i talked to the president. it's not a quid pro quo. then you have bolton resigning. then the day after september 12th the day after trump makes this decision you have a very important committee hearing in the senate where republicans and democrats are going to go on the record saying release this money. so i think portman is, what he calls trump, according to cnn reporting here, he's probably telling trump, look, congress -- the appropriations committee hearing tomorrow. lindsey graham and democrats are teaming up to smack you on this issue. release the money. meanwhile, trump personally
knows that this has become a very fraught issue with bill taylor no longer on the reservation. so the timeline really makes sense in terms of trump timely having to say, okay. the cat's out of the bag and things could get worse. i better release the money. >> yeah. maybe the phone call with rob portman was this accumulation of things you just outlined that was the tipping point. gloria, what do we know about trump's relationship with senator portman? >> we know that portman is from a very important state. important state to the president. we know he's more moderate than the president of the united states but he hasn't been, kind of walked a fine line, and we also know one thing about portman. which is, he told the president one more thing, which is, if you don't approve this aid it's going to vaporize. it's going to go away, because we go into another year and the ukrainians are never going to be
able to get this money back and there's going to be hell to pay. the role portman made is sort of the truth teller to the president saying you'll have big problems on your hands and all roads lead to you. i think somebody who kind of called him out of frustration, perhaps, and because he understood as ryan is saying that there was bipartisan support for this money being released and that nobody could understand exactly why it was being held up. >> yep. we'll keep chipping away with our reporting to understand what it was, why that, why did president trump finally release the money and maybe gloria to your point, it was about getting ahead of the bad publicity to come with this whistle-blower complaint filed. we'll continue that conversation. thank you both so much for that. we are also getting breaking news from capitol hill. new subpoenas in this
impeachment inquiry. three more trump administration officials called to testify. we'll tell you who, and the justice department is now opening a criminal investigation into its own russia investigation. we'll tell you where that might be heading, and the crisis in syria. the situation there is unraveling. tears positive be unraveling as president trump said, "it's going very well." got a lot to talk about this afternoon. i'm brooke baldwin. you're watching cnn. we'll be right back. i need a ride. here hold this. follow that spud. [ tires screech ] the big idaho potato truck is touring america telling folks about idaho potatoes. and i want it back. what is it with you and that truck? my body is truly powerful. i have the power to lower my blood sugar and a1c. because i can still make my own insulin. and trulicity activates my body to release it like it's supposed to. trulicity is for people with type 2 diabetes. it's not insulin.
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we're back. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. president trump attacking the top diplomat in ukraine bill taylor when asked by cnn if he believed about a quid pro quo directed towards ukraine's president trump did not directly answer the question. instead he said this -- >> here's the problem. he's a never toucher and his lawyer's a never trumper and the other problem is -- hey, everybody makes mistakes. mike pompeo. everybody makes mistakes. >> we are also learning more about several other trump administration officials who may be compelled to testify on capitol hill. for that go to manu raju our
rednose senior congressional correspondent. there are, what, now? three officials who are being issed ais subpoenaed and why are they important? yes, three. two from the white house office of management and budget including the acting director as well as the associate director of national security programs michael duffy and a senior state department official mr. brechbuhl all served with subpoenas by this democratic-led impeachment effort. democrats are trying to understand why the aid for ukraine was withheld. the reasoning behind the decision for it to be withheld and the discussions that may have existed within the white house to the extent to which it was tied to the president's efforts to investigate joe biden and joe biden's son and seek investigations into the 2016 elections. now, there's uncertain whether they will comply, but as was tweeted in the past he wasn't
going to comply with the request to testify, but now served with subpoenas we'll see what they decide to do. it's also interesting this is scheduled for the first week of november. we're expecting closed-door depositions to take place over the next couple of weeks and next week expect significant testimony at the white house security council expected to corroborate key elements from testimony from this week from a top u.s. diplomat in ukraine who said he had been told that the president did seek to withhold that aid from ukraine in exchange for seeking a public declaration to ukraine, of seeking those investigations that could help the president politically and, brooke, another key development. what will happen with the whistle-blower? will the committees on capitol hill get a chance to interview the whistle-blower and we're seeing some signs that it's growing increasingly unlikely that lawmakers will have an in-person interview with the whistle-blower. the whistle-blower's attorney
put out an op-ed today in the "washington post" saying that essentially everything that has been devuivulged is more than t whistle-blower knows. interestingly in a letter to the senate intelligence committee just released saying the attorneys say an interview is a "non-starter." an in-person meeting a non-starter citing the need to protect the whistle-blower's safety. >> what he thinks to that point so much is corroborated and if he thinks this whistle-blower should be testifying. manu, thank you. now i want to talk about the investigating the investigators of this whole trump rush probe. remember this from attorney general bill barr six months ago. >> i think a spy did occur. yes, i think spying did occur. >> that was followed by the appointment of this career federal prosecutor john durham to lead a review inside the
justice department in how the trump russia investigation actually began. we learn from a source durham the review is now a criminal investigation. the criminal investigation goes along with a crime grievance from the president he was a victim of a quote/unquote deep state. >> there's been a long term look at, look-see. looks look it's becoming very serious what what i'm hearing. investigate the investigators, whether it's struck and page or clapper and comey and all of these people. i can't tell you what's happening. i will tell you this. i think you're going to see a lot of really bad things. >> but andrew mccabe defends the work that led to the russia investigation and ultimately special counsel robert mueller's 300-plus page report. and our cnn contributor. >> i know, i was in the room when the decisions were made.
worked with the team that opened and initiated these cases approved their work. i know that nothing improper was done. what you had was not, you know, political operatives planning a coup. no improper purpose to the decisions we made. you had a room full of career government officials with a very serious responsibility about investigating potential threats to national security and that's exactly what we did. >> go to our cnn crime and justice reporter and so, a criminal investigation. why criminal? what's the objective? >> so the objective here is to really gain more information. what escalated this? not entirely clear to us. one thing we've been told by doing this, by making this a criminal probe, it allows john durham, that man you mentioned, who's now leading this investigation, with the attorney general, who are working both hand in hand in this, allows them to use powers like subpoena
to compel testimony. we've been told there are people they've been wanting to talk to that have not been willing to voluntarily come in and speak with them. this now allows them to use subpoena powers, possibly a grand jury to put people before a grand jury if they're not willing to come in and share information. that could be one part of it. the other part is just not entirely clear. was there something they've seen that has said now we're going to turn this into a criminal probe. it's not entirely clear but certainly is an escalation, brooke, in this investigation. >> do we know on your first point, do we know who they're trying to talk to? who clearly has not been talking? >> we don't know who in this group of people that they've been wanting to talk to, former fbi officials, former intelligence officials. they haven't been able to talk to. but as we've reported, there's been some extraordinary measures here undertaken by investigators
and certainly by the attorney general who himself with john durham have traveled to italy, they reviewed information. of course, that professor who had contact with george papadopolos during the campaign that started a lot of this investigation. there's a lot of questions about him, and they're looking at that. that is an aspect, a big aspect of this investigation, and, of course, the former cia director john brennan, james comey, james clapper. all of these people that really the president railed against. that's is what's going on now. also keep in mind we have the inspector general's report coming on the entire fisa issue and the fbi investigation. that's due to come out in the next several weeks. >> shimon, i know we'll talk about that when it drops. thank you, sir, very much. and you know, just what a week. it may be the most dramatic yet in this impeachment inquiry from
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by turkey. >> we're doing very well in syria. with turkey and everybody else that we're dealing with. we have secured the oil bep valuate we have a lot of oil. secured the oil. a couple people came knocking. we said, don't knock. i think i would say things are going very well. >> cnn's senior international correspondent nick paton walsh is live in erbil, iraq. nick, is the u.s. getting oil out of the cease-fire deal with turkey? >> reporter: no. in the shortest word. you hear president trump each time talk with such passion about how he feels the situation in syria is going but it is often so distant to anything approaching the reality of events. i didn't quite know what he meant again when he said we had a couple of people come knocking but that didn't quite work out. this reminds, the oil in syria
is tiny. it is not a strategic region for the u.s. to continue having a presence there. many think, in fact, what's actually occurred pence advisers sold to donald trump that is a reason to keep soldiers there and to keep isis at bay. keeping themselves in the southern eastern part of syria to defend them is keeping up the mission doing before. the problem essentially is this is not an american solution. this is an american problem created by the phone call between donald trump and president erdogan of turkey that led to withdrawal of american troops under hasty conditions and means they have to prosecute half their mission seems in the days ahead with extra armor going to defend them in the south of syria around the oil fields which are not strategic value to the united states. can't find anybody to tell you they are. certainly having troops there blocking iran through movement
through there is a valuable thought but the oil is not and the rest of the troops in iraq where i'm sanding the iraqi government said they're passing through and not welcome to stay. the long run of this is essentially the u.s.' continued mission, split between two countries with a major problem. russia and turk around the syrian regime and now major powers in the area where the u.s. used to be kind of the big boy influence and facing major issues in terms of working out how much russia patrol, turkey patrols and where this leaves america's allies, kurds who feel massively betray and now find the turkish and russians around them and dividing up the territory. >> and we don't know who trump is referring to on the people who came knocking. we said, don't knock. thank you very much nick paton walsh. harvey weinstein make as rare public appearance and
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any moment to now president trump takes part in a criminal justice forum in south carolina. it's been a low-key ending to what has been yet another staggering week of developments in this whole impeachment inquiry and more unconventional moments in his presidency. before leaving washington the president continued a week-long assault on the impeachment inquiry, assault on democrats and continued the word lynching to describe impeachment. >> well, it's a word that many democrats have used. it's a word many people have used over the year it's, but that a word that has been used many times, and let me tell you something. the level of unfairness for a perfect conversation with the president of ukraine. this was a perfect conversation. this is a hoax just like there
was no collusion after two years they found out and wasted $45 billion. this is a disgrace this could happen in our country. >> with me now, michael deantonio, a donald trump biographer and author of "the truth about trump" and a cnn contributor and always a pleasure. good to have you on. >> great to be with you. >> you wrote another piece for cnn.com this week. this one is called "expect trump to fight as if his life depends on it." in this piece, michael, you talk about trump's history of being an illusionist as a businessman. so how do you mean, and do you think that it translates as president of the united states? >> well i think we just heard a great example of it. we heard the president use the word "hoax"'s we heard him talk about it being a disgrace. we weheard him use the no
collusion line. also, the line about it being a perfect call. so all of these are bits and pieces of the illusion that he's building around this impeachment crisis. prior to the presidency the illusion was about him being a billionaire many times over, when it was often not the case. in fact, there was a while there where he didn't have $1 billion let alone $10 billion. he promoted this idea of him being perhaps the most sexually magnetic man in america. that never was the case. there's so many things that he did to create this illusion of perfection and of greatness that i think he came to believe it, and that's why this crisis now is so threatening to him. it's threatening his image, but the image is more important to him, i think, than his soul. >> the reality is that he is facing a very serious impeachment inquiry and now our
reporting as of this week is that people very close to him are basically saying to him, mr. president, you need to prepare and accept the reality that you will be impeached. maybe minimalize is it the guidance he's getting. of all the things that the president has said or tweeted or whatever this month, michael, what's the moment that is most telling for how trump is really feeling behind the scenes? >> well i think his response to nancy pelosi when they met and she rose and shook her finger at him, and he, then, tried to get the upper hand by saying that she had lost it. that somehow she had a meltdown. and she had the last laugh, because she posted the picture on her website and told everyone that she had been telling the president, all roads lead to putin with you. you know, i think that that tactic on trump, that trump used, betrayed the fact that he
doesn't think strategically. tactics are what we can use in the moment to fight back when we think we're threatened. strategy is what we yao u.s. to g -- use to get ahead in the long run. he's not a tactical puncher as he said, the moment calls for strategy. not tactics. >> nancy pelosi said what do you think you were saying with your finger staring president trump down, she said something to the effect of, no. the road does not end with putin or something to that effect. i want to ask one more question. i read this piece by a writer at the "daily beast." he writes about trump in the white house, and lying, and what they're doing really actually goes way beyond that. hang with me. a long quote but incredible i thought. "a direct nuclear assault on the truth. it's not. i didn't r didn't break the
figurine. like saying, mom, i didn't broke it, suzy broke it i painstakingly glued it back together and facts say suzy was away at camp and b. you're looking at it on the dining room table until a million pieces, orchestrated by suzy and at donna, met together recently." i know, i know. "met on more than one occasion and people say aunt donna box two boxes of samoas and one tagalong from suzy and that, dear mother, is proof of the cabal." is that not the quote to end all quotes? >> it really is the essence of donald trump. the more troubles aspect, though, i think is when we saw those members of congress invade the scif. violate the security of that facility. they indicated that they had
caught this fever. that they are now, like that little boy who's spreading the delusion, because donald trump has shown them that sometimes you get away with it. now we've got everybody smashing figurines all over the place, and blaming everyone else. >> exactly. michael deantonio. thank you very much. good to have you on. a programming note for all of you. cnn special report "on the brink" when a president faces impeachment. the role in our democracy. tune in tonight at 9:00 eastern here on cnn. you know i don't have to remind you of this. history is being made right now because five women are running for president and even more women than ever are running campaigns. we'll talk to the reporter who spent time on the trail with the power players behind the scenes. . "have you lost weight?" of course i have- ever since i started renting from national. because national lets me lose the wait at the counter...
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these women in a new piece called "the president makers." a look at their lives and distinct perspective each woman brings. the article makes clear these women play to win. the author joins me to talk about the women who are the president makers. laura, awesome piece first and foremost. thank you so much. read this for everyone. presidential campaigns used to be a boys' club now filled with women like liz smith, talk about and surveys found women for the first time make up more than half of the senior staff on the campaigns of all of the top polling candidates. first, can we get just an amen. >> whew. >> and kudos to the men for bringing women into the fold. why has it taken so long jthts politics has been a boys' club forever. never had a woman president before. there's a reason for that. congress full of men as long as we know. i talked to liz smith works for pete buttigieg one of the women i feature in the piece.
she said when i grew up i always wanteded to work on campaigns. all i saw georgehanopoulstephan, james carville and this is not your grandmother's presidential prime ma primar primary. politicians see women get the job dub and women are fired up to get trump out of office. more than men. what all polls say. more women are running for congress and more women running presidential campaigns, because they're the ones willing to drop everything, not have the most high-paying job. >> sleep three hours a night. keep the cell phone under the pillow. >> have irregular meals. leave their apartment and pet and go try to get trump out of office. what they're trying to do. >> awesome. anecdotes julian castro's campaign manager a crazy story getting to an event.
somebody saying, who are you? what was the story? >> mya rupert is julian castro's campaign manager. third black woman ever to hold that position. amazing. she's had trouble with people not believing that she's in the role she's in. so she had, told me one story. a man delivering water to her san antonio campaign office and came up to her and asked if anyone could sign for it. she was like, yeah. i'll sign for. it h was like, i guess anyone can do it. she's like. i literally am the person that signs. >> i make the decisions. >> the decision-maker here and held back, walking next to julian, let him in and say only he and his staff can come in. she's like, i'm running his campaign. people are not used to see a woman in this role or a black woman. >> who are the other power houses and three hours sleep
with the phone under the pillow. could have a 9:00 to 5:00 on capitol hill. why choose this life? >> an adrenaline rush or the campaign trail. a lot of addicted to the highs of it. when they have a moment, symone sanders works for joe biden. high of a win after a rough -- he's taken it on the chin a lot this cycle. has an event that he smashes it, they get in the car together. she calls herself his hype woman. screaming, high fiving hill. yes! you gave the public what they want. so i think there's something really exciting about being in this kind of heavy competition, potentially landing this person in the white house. it's more exciting than a 9:00 to 5:00 sitting on the hill with a senator already there. >> laura basset, thank you so much for just showing everyone else how these women are kicking, you know, behind the scenes for all of these presidential campaigns. >> thank you for having me. more on our breaking news.
major gaffes in the white house explanation for why president trump withheld the money, the military aid, to ukraine. military aid, to ukraine. we'll be right back. rememb, the annual enrollment period is here. the time to choose your medicare coverage... begins october 15th and ends december 7th. so call unitedhealthcare and take advantage of a wide range of plans with a variety of benefits... including an aarp medicare advantage plan from unitedhealthcare. it can combine medicare parts a and b, which is your hospital and doctor coverage... with part d prescription drug coverage, and more, all in one simple plan... for a low monthly premium or in some areas, no plan premium at all. take advantage of primary care doctor visits... preventive dental care and an eye exam... all for a $0 copay. plus, earn rewards for completing other preventive care activities, like flu shots and annual physicals. you could also get over $150
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>> and as we know from the old testament there is a tradition to leave a seat at the table for elijah who might show up, but our elijah always made a seat at the table for others. >> like the prophet, our elijah could call down fire from heaven. >> secretary clinton, oh, my goodness. he spent many and hour defending you. against furious claims! and now he had to go on to actually work to fight for the soul of our democracy against very real corruption. >> i was sitting here just noticing the honorable elijah e. cummings, and, you know, this is
a title that we confer on all kinds of people who get elected to public office. but -- but elijah cummings was honorable before he was elected to office. >> elijah. >> eleitch jaciceitch e. cummin peace. you're watching cnn. i'm brooke baldwin. al raising flags among diplomats, republicans and conger and staffer as the pentagon and the white house budget office. the question, why was president trump blocking nearly $400 million in aid to ukraine? while that decision was ultimately reversed, the weeks leading up