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tv   Morning Joe  MSNBC  September 25, 2019 3:00am-6:00am PDT

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i talked to him about, particularly at a time like this. it's attorney/client privilege. you know who i did it at the request of? the state department. i never talked to a ukraine official until the state department called me and asked me to do it. >> he can't make up his mind. by the way, hey, rudy you're doing that in public. >> that's the outside voice. >> you're claiming -- >> it's not inside your head. >> you're thinking should i go with the attorney/client privilege thing or should i go with the state department thing. you're saying both of them, so. >> so swinging wildly between two different positions. is rudy giuliani the president's private lawyer? >> says he is. >> or someone tasked by the state department to conduct government business? boy, that changes the equation. >> both of them changed the equation. >> kind of an important detail as the house of representatives launches an official impeachment inquiry into donald trump's growing ukraine scandal, both
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rudy and the president having a hard time keeping the story straight as to what happened and when and why. >> well, their stories keep moving, and at some point. >> shifting. >> in an impeachment inquiry, it really does matter. >> the facts matter. >> where they fall. >> and the facts actually do matter. >> like you can't say ukraine, you know, other countries weren't paying their weight toward ukraine when they actually were and then some, and you can't use that excuse. >> actually given twice as much in foreign assistance to the ukraine as the united states. >> that one doesn't work. we'll find another. >> we'll tell you more about that, but no doubt yesterday was a monumental day. good morning, welcome to "morning joe." it's wednesday, september 25th. along with mika, willie and me we have national affairs analyst for nbc news, john heilemann, a co-host and the executive producer of show time's "the circ circus". >> also with us, the author of the book a world in disarray
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richard haass. heidi prison bi heidi prisbilla is with us, jake sherm sherman, an msnbc contributor. and historian at vanderbilt university john meacham, what a big day we have today. >> yeah, a big day yesterday and today, and before we get into the news, willie, it happened -- all of this happened very quickly, but then again so did the president's admissions. it's -- i'm going to say, it was a little exasperated yesterday hearing one talking head and news analyst and news host after another going well, we don't know if there are going to be any revelations in the transcript or any revelations in the, you know, they're saying it may be anticlimactic.
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the bank robber already told you he robbed the bank. >> this is not the mueller report. >> i heard some people last night who i have respect for saying, well, this is really going to blow up in the democrat's face if the whistleblower complaint is not that huge. what do you mean? we already know. we already know the president of the united states reached out and pushed the ukrainian government to go and investigate a domestic political rival eight times according to "the wall street journal." one time would have been enough. what else do we know? the president also told us that he held up military aid to a country in a hot war against vladimir putin and russia until he had a chance to pressure this foreign leader eight times, and
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so all of that information that has come out already from newspapers has pushed donald trump to admit things that, my god, over the past 240 years would have been seen as impeachable offenses in themselves, and now we've got news people once again playing into donald trump's hand by going, well, we don't know if this transcript's going to tell us anything new. what new do we need to know know that an inquiry should start? >> he just says it out loud. time and again, he did it with russia. he's doing it again now. he's said it out loud that he called up the president of ukraine and talked to him about joe biden and looking into joe biden's alleged krupgcorruption. yesterday the president changed as he walked into the u.n. before he made his speech to the general assembly, the rationale for talking to the president of ukraine. remember, he was very deeply concerned about corruption. that's why he talked to him. >> yes. >> well now he's saying he's deeply concerned that europe's
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not paying enough in military aid to ukraine, which also is not true. he's all over the place. rudy giuliani's all over the place. remember rudy giuliani said last week on cnn, quote, of course i did talked to ukraine about joe biden. there's something else, though, that i want to bring richard haass on in, and that is this question of the transcript. it turns out there may not be a transcript. in fact, there probably is not a transcript. so the whistleblower complaint becomes all the more important, but as someone who's listened in on some of these calls from a president to a world leader, how does it work exactly, and what kind of a document? what kind of a quote, transcript will we see out of the conversation? >> the word transcript suggests a stenographer or someone working from a recording, in my experience and i worked in the bush 41 white house, that never happened. you would normally have a national security counsel staff person on the line listening in and he or she would write down the salient points. the foreign leader said the
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following things. out of a half hour phone call you might have a one, one and a half page memorandum. very rarely did it highlight the fact that the president might have misspoke about something. these are interpretive memoranda produced by a staff member. they are not absolute records of what transpired. it never captures things like tone of voice, doesn't capture facial expression. it's just in isolation. >> this from an administration that manipulates weather maps with sharpies. the idea that you would trust the account of a phone call that's produced by the white house makes you look elsewhere for evidence. >> this was just too much in the wake of a growing scandal involving president trump and ukraine, house speaker nancy pelosi has announced plans to launch a formal impeachment inquiry against the president. pelosi who has resisted calls for impeachment for months argued yesterday that trump's
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actions reveal a betrayal of his oath of aufoffice. >> the actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the constitution, especially when the president says article 2 says i can do whatever i want. i'm announcing the house of represent tatives moving forwar with an official impeachment inquiry. i'm directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry. the president must be held accountable. no one is above the law. >> so to keep in mind everyone at this point, including the speaker of the house here staying behind the story, not jumping in front of it. we have the story. the president has said what he has done and even lied about it, and that is the information we're working with, and that is the information in which there are many questions to ask. pelosi's announcement came after a meatieting with the caucus wh
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187 house democrats have voiced support for some kind of impeachment action. according to a democrat aide who was in the room, pelosi said quote, we have to strike while the iron is hot. this is a national security issue, a national security issue, and we cannot let him think that this is a casual thing. pelosi also told members about a phone call she had with president trump yesterday morning. three sources tell nbc news that president trump asked pelosi, quote, hey, can we do something about this whistleblower complaint? can we work something out? she responded saying, yes, you can tell your people to obey the law. >> john meacham as a presidential historian, your thoughts as you take in the extraordinary events rapidly changing over the past 24 hours. >> well, it was a day where the system began to work, and i think a lot of us have thought that, in fact, the system would
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ultimately prevail, and it's still early, but what we saw from the very beginning of the republic from writing about divisions of power and madison translating that into the american vernacular and reaching a point where for 243 years we've had this remarkable experiment where it's fallen out of balance here and there, but by and large has pressed forward, that is required people of character in the congress to say that this is what we want. there's a line over which you cannot go. a lot of folks would have drawn that line earlier, but the line has been drawn now. it's very clear that in terms of framers' intent of the foreign influence and that sort of thing, this is in that zone. it's not even in the zip code. it's in the house. >> oh, yeah. >> and i think that ultimately
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we're going to see a test right now of whether facts and truth matter. will president trump's base look at this and accept the facts, or will they accept whatever story, next story he's going to tell? >> you know, john heilemann, so many, including us, talk about donald trump's base, talked about how those that have stayed with donald trump all along, whether they will remain with him, but i found compelling about this story over the past 24 hours is that you had a group of moderate members of congress from swing districts, many of whom represent voters who voted actually for donald trump in 2016 that weren't sticking their finger up in the wind trying to figure out which way things were moving. they were saying we have no
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choice now. as david ignatius said in a "washington post" must read op-ed this morning, this is more than partisanship. this is about a commander in chief who actually is meddling with america's national security for political interests. >> right. and you know, i think, joe and mika, we've spend for the last at least six months and maybe longer asking the question what will it take to get democrats to put political calculus and calculations aside and focus on their institutional responsibility and take this step, which is really what this is. it's a crap shoot on the politics, but it's clear what the institutional prerogatives here are and responsibilities are. it's clear that the president has committed -- here has admitted to as you pointed out an impeachable offense. there were others in the mueller report that were listed, but that wasn't enough. we found out what was enough. what was enough was the president by making this phone call to the president of ukraine
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trying to do the exact same thing in 2020 that he did in 2016. this was -- believing that he could behave not just with impunity but with such impunity that he could then importune a foreign power as president of the united states to get involved in an american presidential election in a way that would benefit him and disadvantage at this point his most likely primary political opponent, and that apparently was the thing where people said, okay, we cannot -- history will not allow us to acquiesce in that. letting the president do this twice, the exact same thing two elections in a row. yes, i think it's obviously nancy pelosi who is -- mike allen said in the previous hour -- a numbers girl, a source said that to him. she obviously has been canv canvassing the same 40 or so house democrats who are vulnerable, and she's been asking them throughout, you
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know, is this impeachable, what's the situation with this impeachment inquiry, how do you feel about it? i don't want to do anything that will imperil you politically. that changed over the course of the last seven days. those members to say either it's fine for our politics or we don't care about our politics. we just think that this is intolerable. we must go forward. that's where we are, and i think john meacham's right. i think there's a decent chunk of the trump base that will not be moved by this regardless of what the facts are. the president's clearly going to try to turn this whistleblower into andy mccabe and is going to demonize and shame this person whether they become public or t not and some amount of the trump base will just believe that. there is a large question about the weaker part of the trump support in the republican party and whether they will be moved by the plain facts here. >> right, and you know, willie you have the president, of course, changing alibis every day. >> yep. >> he, of course, was talking about europe not cooperating,
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not contributing, when in fact, when it comes to assistance they've paid more than double what the united states has paid in 2016 and 2017. but you go back to the first reason the president admitted to holding up that military audit, it was because he wanted to talk about, quote, corruption, specifically joe biden. he has admitted it, so that actually goes well beyond 2016 and russia. this has to do with america's national security about russian aggression, military aggression, holding up funding in a hot war. >> yeah. >> where putin has invaded from the east, and donald trump is holding up that money again until he can get assurances that his political domestic rival will be slineed, that dirt will
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be dug up on him. >> i want to show the shifting explanation about why president trump chose to freeze $400 million in that military aid joe's talking about to ukraine. on monday the president said this. >> it's very important to talk about corruption. if you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt? >> less than 24 hours later, the president said this, i'll continue to withhold until such time as europe and other nations contribute to ukraine. whey is it only the united states putting up the money? and by the way, we paid that money. i think it's unfair that we put up the money. then people call me. they say oh, r let it go, and i let it go. >> according to "washington post" fact checker analysis, europe has been a major funder to ukraine since russia annexed its crimean peninsula in 2014, often providing more aid than does the united states. in fact, according to the organization for economic
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cooperation and development, among the top ten donors in gross overseas development assistance for ukraine in 2016, 2017 they were european institutions, germany, poland, sweden and britain. it's also important to note -- >> wow. >> yeah. >> so willie, can we go back to that chart for a second? lets look at the numbers for one second. donald trump said yesterday sport sports fans that europe needed to contribute, that the united states was contributing assistance and nobody else was. if you added european institutions, germany, poland, sweden, britain, and switzerland, just the european countries, just the european countries, they actually have contributed in gross overseas development assistance for ukraine in '16 and '17 at least three times as much as the united states so willie, another excuse, another lie. >> it did feel like he was reaching into the bag of
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greatest hits. remember this is an argument for nato as well, that europe's not paying enough, so we're going to withhold for them. kind of feels like he made it up on the fly at the u.n. >> burden sharing has been a staple of the argument for 50 years. the problem is the facts don't support it. let's come back to the bases. this is qualitatively different and more serious than 2016. it's not simply inviting a foreign government to get involved in the process. it's also something he could do now that he couldn't in 2016. he has the powers of the presidency at his disposal. haes the commander in chief. to me what is decisively different about this is the ability to leverage the availability of u.s. security assistance. that is something no candidate can do. it's only something an incumbent president can do. that is where a line is crossed. >> let's go to heidi and jake now for more on that extraordinary address speaker pelosi made yesterday. heidi, i'll start with you. i guess my question this morning
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is what is different procedur procedurally now? there was not a special committee appointed. inside that meeting with the caucus, speaker pelosi is quoted as saying it doesn't change much from what's already going on besides the fact that i'm now with you on this. >> what will happen is that thursday will be another inflection point. tomorrow, when we get that whistleblower complaint. we've seen a big shift here in the way that republicans have responded to this in that the republican senate voted unanimously to release that whistleblower complaint, the house is going to do the same and then from there we will see how the speaker proceeds and whether the judiciary committee is going to actually move on forming some type of articles. i imagine that they're going to want to not only see the complaint but they're also going to want to speak to the whistleblower and have the whistleblower testify. now, in my discussions yesterday with lawmakers who were leaving that caucus meeting, there's a
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broader question here. on the one hand speaker pelosi says she wants them to move expeditiously. on the other hand, given that all of these six committees are now operating under this umbrella of impeachment inquiry, it is the legal theory of the democrats that they're going to have greater tools at their disposal to move their request through the court system, to compel witnesses, to compel testimony, and they're making clear that they are not at all backing off on all of these other investigations that are running on various tracks. and so you could see more information popping, for example, on emoluments or hush money. so all of these things will come into play. but the one thing that -- among many, actually, that richard mentioned about the lines that have been crossed here and how this is different from 2016. based on my reporting, speaker pelosi also said in the meeting to members, look, this is not just the president asking a foreign country to provide or
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using assistance from a foreign country, opposition research on their opponent, but this is the president demanding that a foreign country actually cook up, actually manufacture this evidence because we've already reported, as have numerous outlets that the ukrainians themselves dispute the facts in this case, that this case regarding this prosecutor who trump alleges there was something nefarious with biden's involvement in firing him was accused of corruption himself and that the case itself had been dormant for about a year. that's yet another way this distinguishing from 2016. >> jake as you know very well, speaker pelosi has held off the impeachment caucus among democrats for a couple of years now. it's really intensified in the last few months. she's held the line, she thinks it's good for the president. what broke the dam for her? what was the moment where she said i'm with you now, i'm going
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to go out and address the country? >> i'm going to play devil's advocate, and i'm going to answer your question in the form of answering a larger question. nothing changed. nancy pelosi put a name on this. impeachment inquiry is not a legal standard. it's a phony deal. it's a political title that she's giving to a process as heidi noted she is now behind. that's important because for many months, jerry nadler and nancy pelosi were working against each other. they were clashing. jerry nadler was way far out. nancy pelosi as of last week, a week and a half ago said impeachment is divisive, and she declined to even answer questions about it. so what happened was she started to see that these front line vulnerable democrats who had flipped republican seats were beginning to come out in favor of impeachment. so the argument that she was protecting them was peeled away. that was incredibly important, and you know what's interesting, i try at the end of the day to talk to people in leadership and ask what we're missing.
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what is being reported that is not right? what do you think is not getting across of what you're trying to do, and almost to a person last night everyone kind of said this is just all a big kind of hull baloo over something we were already doing. don't underestimate the significance of pelosi getting behind it. now she will have control over this process which is for democrats a hopeful sign she's going to wrangle control of a process that almost all democrats think has gotten out of hand. one more note here, democrats desperately need to find a message. how are they going to talk about what they're doing? if they talk about process they are going to lose, and they are going to drop in the polls, and it could impact them negatively. a lot of democrats are urging pelosi and house democrats to talk about this as a national security issue. the president is playing games with national security. that's how they want them to talk about this. i do not anticipate that this will go beyond the ukraine
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story. i don't think we're going to get into the hotel and the mueller report. there's a reason that this happened now, and the reason is this is easy to understand, and it's easy to explain to the american people should democrats want to. >> you look at the people that actually were out talking yesterday, mika, the democrats and you had a lot of women, of course, from swing districts who served in the military, who served in the intel committee who were former prosecutors, they had a very compelling message all day yesterday following up on what jake sherman just said that this was not about politics. it was not about partisanship. this was about national security, and how compelling when you have a democrat saying, you know, i fought in iraq, or i fought in afghanistan. i fought in hot wars. the idea that somebody would withhold badly needed weaponry for political reasons is beyond
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the pale. jake's exactly right. if this continues to be about national security and the president actually undermining america's national security across the world, undermining allies who are invaded by vladimir putin and russia for his own political gain, that is a message that will have resonance with a lot of americans. >> and of course we all remember he told george stephanopoulos that he would do something like this, that he would get dirt on political opponent from a foreign entity. everyone was gob smacked at the thought of it. little did we know it could happen in realtime. still ahead on "morning joe," rudy giuliani's melt down. and democrat chris coons and republican john kennedy join our conversation. brand new polling has just published in the last few minutes, and elizabeth warren has not only caught but passed joe biden in the race for the white house. we'll break down the numbers
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straight ahead. and as we go to break, a reminder of just what's at stake in ukraine. here is nbc's bill neely back in february. >> unfrozen ground, a hot war, ukraine fighting to survive, its troops take us to the front line where they're battling russian backed separatists. >> russian made? yep. >> reporter: we sprint across open ground and into trench war fai fare, an extraordinary vision of world war i in today's europe, a five-year war almost forgotten by the world. they worry russian troops will invade. >> it's my country. it's my earth. it's mine. >> you don't want to live under russian rule? >> no. >> never? >> never. there's the amped-up, over-tuned,
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now you can take control of your home wifi and get a notification the instant someone new joins your network... only with xfinity xfi. download the xfi app today. . do you think the president understands right from wrong? do you think based on your now
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significant two and a half year plus exposure to him that he understands right from wrong in the way that other -- >> two years and nine months. it's 13 1/2 months until, you know. let me say that the president is responsible for his actions, whether he has any scruples or understands right from wrong. he certainly has made some decisions that would call that into question. >> that was house speaker nancy pelosi speaking with our next guest at the atlantic festival kicking off in washington, d.c. shortly before she announced the formal impeachment inquiry into president trump. editor in chief of the atlantic magazine jeffrey goldberg joins us now. the atlantic festival is underway in washington, d.c.,
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ask and boy did you have the number one guest to start off your festival. >> what a day. jeffrey, i'm curious, you know, we went through impeachment before. actually, nancy and i were in the house back in the late 1990s, and i had a very -- i was surprised at my gut reaction seeing her talk yesterday, and it was -- i felt like the breath was taken out of me. i'm not suggesting she shouldn't have moved forward with it, but it was just -- it's a tragedy. it's in the constitution. this is part of the process, but i was filled with a profound sense of sadness that the country is where we are. again, not passing judgments on whether we should be here or not, i think what the president did was grievous. i'm just curious, did you sense that at all in nancy pelosi, someone who loves the institution and has been through this before? >> i felt the same exact thing sitting with her on stage.
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i felt, obviously, a couple of hours after we did our interview, she met with the committee chair people and then announced. but she walked right up to the line with me, but she was not gleeful about it. she was not happy about it, i think she's quite sad about it. i got that strong sense. she spoke to me a lot about national unity and almost illusions to our better angels, and we talked a lot about abraham lincoln. it came up because abraham lincoln was one of our earlier sub skr subscri subscribers, it felt natural in the conversation of the atlantic festival. she is, i think, saddened at what she knows is coming, which more division, more anger, more obfuscatio obfuscation, more fracturing, more regional division. she knows her ideas for prescription drugs and
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immigration and all the rest that everything now is going to take a backseat to this impeachment process. and so there might be joy in some quarters of the democratic party, but there's no joy, i think, in nancy pelosi. you could say there's duty but there's no joy. >> i'm curious about this, you know, she is obviously a master tactician, and some would say strategist, and one of the things the most kind of clearing quotes i heard yesterday was some democratic members saying that the impeachment team has a new captain now, right? that whether she has joined the team reluctantly or energetically, and i think you're right, more reluctantly than energetically. it's now hers. my question for you is do you think given her qualms about it, now that she's leading it, whether she will approach it with the same kind of voracity
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and vigor that she approaches pretty much everything that falls in her purview and whether it's right for those democrats to look at her now as being a fully engainingged leader of te impeachment. >> it's an excellent question. we are talking about one of the most effective politicians in modern american history. >> right. >> and when she's in, she's in. she's above all a head counter. she knew which way the tide was turning inside her caucus. by the time we spoke at about 2:00, 2:30 yesterday, i think the numbers were up to 160, 170 in her caucus. she knew what was coming. that said, i think she wants to -- now that it's engaged, now that the battle is engaged, you know, it reminds me a lot of american top generals in iraq and other wars, sometimes they disagree with the decision of a president to go to war, but when the president says take fa lieu
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ja, you don't wring your hands about it. this is kind of a similar non-military situation. this is why by the way, the discussion is really going to shift to whether the head of the judiciary committee jerry nadler is up to the job. there's a lot of pressure on nancy pelosi, and i think she's probably closer to this position, to give adam schiff a much bigger role, to form a select committee rather than leave it in the judiciary committee. once you're engaged, you've got to go do the thing. you can't hand wring, and you can't sit there and express your ambivalen ambivalence. >> jeff, do you sense that there's a genuine shift unfolding in the senate? i think we can sort of stipulate that the house drama is pretty straightforward, but you got a huge mountain to climb if you're the democratic party in the
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senate. the unanimous resolution yesterday suggests at least that the resistance is not entirely reflexive, but you live in washington, which is perhaps the oddest place to do it, but what do you feel? what do you think? >> thanks. we're regular americans here in washington, too, in many aspects of our lives. the -- well, we have mitt romney coming to the atlantic festival today. that's one of the questions that's going to go to mitt romney. he's an outlier in the republican caucus. if you mean do democrats feel like they're going to have such a compelling case to present to the senate that the senate is going to convict? i don't think anybody's thinking that right now. i mean, that's one of the reasons nancy pelosi being a very practical person is sitting there going, you know, there's no chance we're actually going to impeach him, remove him from office, convict during the
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impeachment process, and people are saying yes, but this is the right thing to do. this is a national security issue. this is an issue about behavior in judgment and all the rest. i think there is some hope, and we should also as american citizens hope for this that if the weight of the evidence -- remember, this is a discovery process that we're about to enter. think of it as a judicial process in which massive amounts of evidence are supposed to come forward. if the evidence is so compelling people would like to think there would be 15 or 20 republicans in the senate who would go, you know what? the evidence is the evidence. and that brings us to the actual real store are you y of e age, which is not trump's behavior, right, but the behavior of republicans who we all know -- i mean, literally know in a lot of cases here -- who are behaving in ways that we would not expect, who are lining up with donald trump even though they have his number. and so the big question is will
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the evidence be so strong as to move some people away from the trump camp, and i don't think anybody in washington is believing that that's an easy task. >> the guy you're talking to today senator romney is really the only one who's approached any level of concern over this ukraine story. we'll see what he says today. "the washington post" is reporting on division within the white house that reveals the president's personal lawyer rudy giuliani inserted himself in the trump administration's foreign policy to pursue a shadow ukraine agenda. according to the post the sequence which began earlier this year, involved the abrupt removal of the u.s. ambassador to the ukraine, the circumvention of senior officials on the national security council and the suspension of hundreds of millions of dollars of aid administered by the defense and state departments all as key officials from these agencies struggle to piece together giuliani's activities from news reports. >> wow. >> a u.s. official tells the paper, quote, rudy did all of
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this. this blank show that we're in, it's him injecting himself into the process. giuliani last night responded to that report saying he was directed by the state department to contact ukrainian officials about evidence on the president's political opponent. >> you know who i did it at the request of? the state department. i never talked to a ukraine official until the state department called me and asked me to do it, and then i reported every conversation back to them. i'm a pretty good lawyer, just a country lawyer, but it's all here. right here. the first call from the state department. i always thought joe biden was intellectually challenged but a nice guy. i never knew the depth of his corruption. it's massive. it's shocking and if i played a role in getting that out, i did a service to my country, and i'm proud of it, and everything i did is defensible, and everything i did is legal, and most of what they're doing is to cover up for a crime. >> okay, we're going to dig through that.
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there's more. giuliani later returned to that show with an explosive response to comments by a panelist, democrat chris hahn who challenged giuliani's account and said giuliani's remarks would be libellous. >> i should sue you for libel because you irresponsibly said -- >> oh, please. >> you actually usually say incredibly stupid things. >> you're a public figure. >> yeah, and by the way, do you have any idea that the state department -- >> so then you know the libel law. >> shut up, shut up. >> shut up. you don't know what you're talking about. >> chris, chris, chris. >> you don't know what you're talking about idiot. he said about me that i was asked by the state department to go dig up political dirt on trump's opponent, totally false. the state department asked me -- >> you just said it. >> no, i didn't. you did, you liar. you did. >> just let him finish, then you can respond. >> turn him off so i can speak. i do not want to be interrupted
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by that -- >> let's just let rudy speak and then we can -- >> that serial liar. >> turn him off was the argument, joe. >> oh, my god. you know, it's unbelievable that during the transition donald trump determined that rudy giuliani was not -- was not -- what's the best way to put this? was not suited temperamentally. >> he had different words. >> or in other ways to be secretary of state. he finally came to that determination, and so now here we have donald trump facing impeachment because rudy giuliani as you read circumvented one agency after another, played de facto secretary of state, tried to dig up dirt on joe biden, has changed his story repeatedly on
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air and is clearly a man who is lost as donald trump said in 2016, willie, has lost several steps, and that was three years ago. >> to say the least lost several steps. what's also interesting in that washington piece, richard haass, "the washington post" piece is that you effectively had giuliani and trump working on what the post calls this shadow ukraine policy and national security council staffers trying to prevent any phone call at all between president trump and the president of ukraine, trying to put that off as long as they could because they feared what would happen was exactly what happened, which was that donald trump would talk to the president of ukraine about getting dirt on joe biden because rudy giuliani had fed him that story. >> not a lot -- we've all reached a point where we're kind of numb. it's hard to be speechless. this is stunning, and this
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matters. this is the national security of the united states. this is how we represent ourselves to the world. this is what other governments make of us. ukraine is a country at war with russia, so this is not some side show. this is actually consequential stuff, and the idea -- so either someone like rudy giuliani is doing this on his own, in which case it's a violation of the logan act and everything else, or even worse he's not doing it on his own and he's doing it at the behest of the president of the united states essentially doing an inrun on his own administration. we have a state department. we have a national security council. we have embassies in place because we believe the process matters, that we believe that foreign policy ought to be conduct insteaded in a way where think about our interest, execute it, and so forth. this is -- this puts the president at risk. it puts the country at risk because this is not done anything remotely like a considered way. >> joe, think about what we're
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talking about here, again, in "the washington post" piece, you have senior officials inside the white house trying to prevent donald trump from getting on the phone with a foreign leader because they're worried he's going to try to get dirt on joe biden at the direction of rudy giuliani. >> this has been happening for three years. remember gary cohn rushing in, grabbing a document off the desk, hiding it. you remember people trying to distract donald trump and taking things off of the call list because they knew that he would embarrass himself, hurt himself politically and by extension hurt the united states of america. >> it's all part of a pattern. >> this is part of an ongoing pattern where white house staffers where you'll read other books about donald trump's out of office how i won the war. it's what staffers have been doing. >> i said mr. president i won't do it, but they all stayed in there. >> mr. president, no, at that moment i knew i could go to bed with the republic safe and
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secure. >> thanks a lot. you never did that. >> we'll read those books after they don't do that and leave office. heidi, you know, yesterday i heard in the afternoon after nancy pelosi's speech, i heard people already gaming this out saying what the house was going to do, and then what the senate was going to do, and i understand that the republicans blindly follow donald trump. i understand all of that, but you can go back and you can look at watergate, and you can look at the mueller report and see, these investigations don't always go the way the politicians and the pundits plan. nobody expected watergate to end up where it did, and here i go back to david drucker's story in ""vanity fai "vanity fair," we talked to him yesterday, and he uncovered a truth we know. republicans on the hill loathe, loathe, i can't say it enough,
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they loathe donald trump personally. they blame him for the chaos that's going on in washington and stopping them from getting more things done. we don't know what's going to happen, do we? i mean, maybe evidence comes out we don't know what happens when the levee breaks. but that is a possibility, and the fact that nobody on the hill is actually personally loyal to donald trump means we don't know how any of this ends up. >> i will used words of senator chris coons who said that his republican colleagues were unusually circumspect, that while there were a few in the house who were willing to speak out and call this yet another witch hunt, in the senate they were very quiet, and senate intelligence committee chairman richard burr urged people to just wait for the facts to come out because it sounds like in this case there are a number of documents that are going to come forward, and they might come
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forward pretty quickly in addition to the whistleblower complaint and his testimony. now you have the question of whether congress is going to subpoena the state department to back up or disqualify, frankly, a lot of the things that rudy giuliani was -- and the claims that he was making, and you'll have the prospect of rudy giuliani possibly getting hauled before congress, but in this case it sounds like -- >> oh, good lord . >> -- congress may have its hands on an actual piece of paper and an actual whistleblower here who is supported be iy a trump appoint who said that this is a grave matter and that it needs to come forward. >> and you know, jake, if you are in a swing district, if you are jody ernst in iowa, or if
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you're tom tillis in north carolina where tom is upside down. if your susan collins in maine, are you really comfortable defending the madness, the the erratic behavior, the crazed words of rudy giuliani to your constituents? do you really want to plant your flag on planet giuliani and defend that for the next year? >> yeah, it's a good point. i don't think many people will defend giuliani, and i've heard so many republicans wonder what you said, whether something is going on, whether he's an effective surrogate for the president anymore, and i think the answer objectively is he's not as effective as he might have once been. i will say this, though. there's one theory that these swing state republicans have to distance themselves from the president because he's upside down, and there's some truth to that, but the other, especially north carolina, the other truth, the other theory is as long as donald trump is in office, the
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republican base is going to be 100% with him and they need to stick with him and tie themselves to him until he's gone and then figure out what the republican party's going to look like after that. i don't have the answer to this. i don't know what the answer is. i think we saw a miniature version of that in this north carolina special election in the house a couple of weeks ago where the now congressman dan bishop tied himself 100% to trump and just got all the trump voters out and won that election. so you're seeing those two theories but i do take your point. we don't know how this is going to go in the senate. yesterday chuck schumer had a sense of the senate resolution to release the whistleblower transcript. mitch mcconnell hot lined it, got it on the floor and it passed by unanimous consent. we didn't expect that. that's strange. that's not what we've seen from mitch mcconnell and republicans so far. it's good to not make predictions and just report what's going on. >> there's so much the president has said that he has done,
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that's the thing. this isn't an episode of "the apprentice." this isn't the mueller report, this isn't waiting for some big huge revelation. there may be more, but what is already out there is very hard to defend if you're a republican. >> he's admitted it. >> he has admitted to -- >> i re-tweeted nole rothman after donald trump talked about moving on the ukrainian call talking about corruption and talking about looking into joe biden, and noah rothman simply said he did it. >> right. >> yes. we don't have to -- >> thank you, rudy. >> we don't have to worry about secret conversations. >> nope, there's no -- >> it's all out. >> -- drum beat to something. there may be more. "politico"'s jake sherman thank you. heidi przybyla thank you as well. yesterday was a very bad day for president trump, you know who else had a bad day?
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boris johnson. whose day was worse. joining me editorial board chair jillian tep joins us. >> i must say, i followed this and i really expected the supreme court not to follow the scottish court and to simply say, you know what? this is a political matter. we're not going to get involved. that's usually what american courts do. if they can say it's a political matter, it's a political process, lever ave us alone, th will. yesterday was really surprised they basically said it in effect, according to "the financial times" greatest paper in the world, of course, boris johnson lied to the queen. >> yeah, i mean, yesterday was an astonishing day, not just for boris johnson and the story about brexit, but the whole british parliamentary and political system because it's actually the u.k. does not have a constitution as anyone who's done 101 history will know
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unlikely america, and until now it's been very unclear whether a lower court, a supreme court could actually essentially overrule parliament or rather a sitting government, and that's what happened yesterday. it's astonishing. we now have our own version of rbj called lady hale, lady brenda hale who's the president of the supreme court in the u.k., and she came out and said that what happened with boris johnson suspending parliament was unlawful. he essentially lied to the queen, which within the british system is a pretty bad sin, and has now been recalled in a hurry, and boris johnson has had to fly back in the mother of all red eye hells to land back in the u.k. this morning and try and deal with the fallout. >> let's talk about the fallout. parliament comes back, but then what? boris johnson is still there. jeremy corbyn is still the wildly unpopular controversial head of the principal opposition party. even though boris johnson keeps
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getting knocked down on vote after vote after vote, decision after decision, he also seems like the energizer bunny, and he's still there. isn't it possible that despite everything he prevails? >> i'd say it's not like an energizer bunny right now, he's like a zombie leader. he now is effectively a political zombie. i sometimes think that americans should be grateful to british politics right now because it makes the american political scene in washington look positively normal. i'm not sure we ever intended that. we have a zombie prime minister who has lost the parliamentary majority, sacked 23 members of his own party, essentially had his attempt to railroad a hard brexitresuspended and now he's lost in the supreme court as well. the issue is, although the british conservative party wanted to have a general election to clear out the whole
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matter and potentially strengthen boris johnson's hand, the opposition party, the labor party have said no. now, the other issue is all the parties right now are in chaos. the british political system is effectively imploding and it's going to be like a zombie situation for the next month which would be almost funny were it not for the fact that brexit is supposed to be approaching. >> gillian, both of us, both countries have a highly charismatic, eccentric leader at the top who is really the manifestation of an underlying nay tufist and populitivist and populist sentiment to what extent has that changed? >> well, i think that people like steve bannon have been looking at what's been happening in the u.k. and the rest of continental europe and saying what you're seeing is an uprising by people looking for
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populist candidates who essentially can speak to the public's popular mood, and that's exactly what you have with boris johnson. he really is the same version of donald trump, not least because we're having all these scandals about his friends who happen to be young attractive blonds as well. that's another issue that's erupted in the last 48 hours. you really are seeing, if you like, populism. if you believe in the swing theory of history, eventually we'll end up with someone really boring and technocratic next because voters will be fed one having these slightly chaotic populist leaders. let's look for an accountant who's going to be prime minister. we had one a few years ago called john major who was about as boring and bland as you can get. suddenly he's looking like a hero right now on the british political scene because he was a person who actually started the whole legal action or rather was at the forefront of the legal action against boris johnson.
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as i say, it is extraordinary. it would be like a rather amusing reality tv show if it wasn't so deadly important in the consequences. >> deadly important but a really bad day for two populist posers on both sides of the atlantic. >> just another day in the office, if that's his concept of a day in office, heaven help us. >> exactly. "the financial times" gilli gillian tett and john meacham, thank you as well. coming up, new polls appear to show joe biden's once dominant lead slipping. we're digging into some brand new numbers. plus, house speaker nancy pelosi tells her caucus she wants the trump impeachment inquiry to be done, quote expeditiously. we'll discuss next steps with two members of the house leadership, the chair of the democratic caucus, hakeem jeffries and vice chair katherine clark, and from the senate democrat chris coons and republican john kennedy. "morning joe" is back in a moment. like this,
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- [woman] with my shark, i deep clean messes like this, this, and even this. but i don't have to clean this, because the self-cleaning brush roll removes hair while i clean. - [announcer] shark, the vacuum that deep cleans now cleans itself. the actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the constitution, especially when the president says article 2 says i can do whatever i want. i'm announcing the house of representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. i'm directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry.
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the president must be held accountable. no one is above the law. >> welcome back to "morning joe." it is wednesday, september 25th. still with joe, willie and me we have national affairs analyst for nbc news and msnbc john heilemann, the president of the council on foreign relations, richard haass, editor in chief of the atlantic magazine, jeffrey goldberg, and joining the conversation msnbc contributor mike barnicle, white house respondent for pbs news hour, ya mischa alcindor and professor of history at tulane university walter isaacson. >> give us your take on this momentum 24 hours we've seen? >> i think there was a real sense that we've crossed a line. for the fourth time in our history we have a president facing an impeachment that's serious and i think it's because
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it was pretty clear you don't need more evidence, you don't need more transcripts. you have a president of the united states who sacrificed u.s. security for his own political purposes and also you have this weirdness of an unhinged sort of rattled crazed, rudy giuliani, sort of working for the state department, not working for the state department, you know, conducting foreign policy that way. so it's both a clown show but most importantly it's an historic moment with people finally saying we don't -- you know, we're not talking about details here. we're talking about someone who's trying to get a foreign government to interfere in our political process having hard hardly -- already been involved in that with the russians years ago. >> the clown show has global implications. it also has implications for donald trump as he has somebody that he claimed to be his personal lawyer claiming that he was not his personal lawyer, that he was actually working for
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the state department bouncing back and forth just like donald trump. john heilemann, i want to bring you in here for a minute. one thing we didn't talk about last hour was the scope of this investigation. bh what's the scope going to look like, and do democrats go down what i would consider to be rabbit trails going back into some of the details dredged up by the mueller report or things that happened after the mueller report, or do they just stay focused on the facts before them? >> right, i think those are both -- that's a huge question to me, joe, and as of yesterday, there were a lot of questions outstanding on this matter. it's not a question of process. i think it's a question of strategy. as jeff goldberg was saying earlier nancy pelosi is all in. she's not straddling any lines now. she's now the captain of team impeachment inquiry, if not full blown impeachment. so the questions i think before the democrats are two. one of them is to your point, i'm interested to hear what you
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would do if you were the impeachment manager, right? do you just say we are going to focus -- this ukraine whistleblower issue is enough. it's a high crime. it's a misdemeanor. it's an impeachable offense. let's investigate that and then decide whether we're going to vote to impeach the president, or are we going to talk about emoluments, hush money payments in the southern district of new york, all the mueller questions related to obstruction of justice. there are going to be players in the democratic caucus, especially on the left who are going to want to make this an om any vous process. . i think that's a huge strategic question. then the tactical question which is amazingly because they've only been back in session for a few weeks, the house is scheduled to go on a two-week recess starting at 3:00 p.m. on friday. is nancy pelosi having just built up to this moment, all this speed, all this momentum, are democrats now going to have a very busy couple of days between now and friday and then go on vacation for two weeks? is that really what's going to
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happen? again, in both matters i ask european mr. scarborough, if you were running this matter, what would you do? >> you keep it in early focus. one thing i learned during the clinton era, i was on government reform and oversight, and the blizzard of scandals that were always coming out of the clinton white house numbed americans. so everything that came up, again, they just glazed over it and said, oh, it's just democrats and republicans fighting each other. it's just a republican congress that doesn't like bill clinton fighting a democratic president. we would actually have hearings on bill clinton transferring missile technology to the chinese that profited his -- the biggest contributor to the democratic national committee. the pentagon told him not to do it. the state department told him not to do it. everybody told him not to do it. he did it anyway. no american could focus on that because there had been so many investigations throughout the
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clinton administration. we find ourselves there again. that's why i think it's critically important that the scope of this impeachment inquiry stays narrowly focused on national. the democrats do what they keep doing, what they've been doing over the past 24 hours, sending out one member after another who served in the military, who served in the intel community, who were former prosecutors who could tell you why a commander in chief withholding military aid to democratic ally who was under attack from vladimir putin's russia while holding that money up that had already been approved, that had already been appropriated by congress, but it was holding it up to get dirt on his 2020 political rival, why that was not only dangerous for american politics but also dangerous for america's
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national security. mika, i think that needs to be the very narrow focus of this inquiry. >> well, the president has helped with this. i think most members of congress, whether democrats or republicans that they listen to the president would be deeply concerned about our national security at this point, not just what he said on george stephanopoulos to george stephanopoulos about that he would do this but now announcing everything that he has done. i think it has helped focus this because the president himself with the help of rudy giuliani, has kind of put everybody on alert as to what is fgoing on. he has told us what he has done. nancy pelosi is approaching this with a solemn sort of duty really that this has to be done. she's been holding back up and to this point, but after what has come out in the past few days, i would think it's pretty clear that this is about
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national security. >> right. i think just to add on to what you're saying and what joe is saying, you know, at the core of this and probably the most effective argument they can make is, look, the president takes an -- swears an oath of office, right, to support, uphold, and defend the constitution, right? if you can prove that the president has subordinated national securiinterests of thed states to his personal desires and needs, right, that he has cast aside national security interests, the bestie interestsf the u.s., this is the national security interests of the united states, vis-a-vis russia ultimately. if he has subordinated those needs to his own needs, then he's not fit to be president. i mean, we understand that. when you become president you are basically telling the country, it's not about me anymore. i am going to do what's in the best interests of this collective, of this unit, and if
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you keep it focused on that, and as joe says, when you have very effective people in congress who have served in iraq and afghanistan and the cia and so on making these arguments, it's a lot better than sort of the kitchen sink approach i would imagine. >> so yamiche, let's talk about the information that we may learn over the next 24, 48 hours. the president has said the white house will release transcript isn't the right word as richard pointed out, but some account of the phone call between the president and the president of ukraine. the whistleblower complaint, nbc news and others reporting will be provided a redacted version to congress sometime this week tomorrow before the intel committee adam schiff's panel will hear testimony from the acting director of national intelligence joseph mcguire. there will be more grist added to this. the conventional wisdom is that president trump and the white house welcomes an impeachment inquiry. they think it's good for his re-election hopes. they say it's not popular with the american public.
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did that change at all yesterday when he actually was confronted with the speaker of the house saying yes, i now support an impeachment inquiry? >> everything changed yesterday. this is a complete 180 from the trump administration. before they were saying you don't need the complaint. we're not going to provide anything to you. i was pushing back on really to asking the white house what are you going to do now that nancy pelosi has said she's going to impeach the president and open this formal impeachment inquiry, and their response was we're going to release the call. that in itself is a big turn. it shows that this white house is really taking this seriously and they're backed up against a corner. nancy pelosi told her caucus, according to my sources, that we need to strike while the iron is hot. this is now the president betraying the united states, and this is a national security issue. what you have is democrats saying we know that right now when this specific issue that the president is vulnerable here and the white house obviously feels that because they're providing all that they can in the hopes of slowing this down. but essentially this cannot be slowed down in the fact that the president has already been very
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clear and admitted to the fact that he's brought up both bidens to the ukrainian president. so i think what we're going to see now is the president kind of hedging and seeing whether or not this is a double e-edged s d sword. publicly he's saying come on, i doubt they'll do this. it's going to be positive for me. his campaign manager said it's going to lead to a landslide victo victory. privately they're very worried about the president who has not seen consequences on other controversies has talked himself into something he can't get out of. >> you know, mika, one of the most dramatic aspects of this story, and i think it's one you can identify with more than most here this morning, is nancy pelosi, born nancy delesandro. for months she has been drawn reluctantly to where we are today. her background played an important role in her decision yesterday, and her background is faith in and devotion to this
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country of ours, and on saturday she attended a funeral mass in washington, d.c. for cokie roberts, and she was really moved during that funeral service she was telling me monday night. on sunday she flew to south carolina and attended a funeral service for jim clyburn's wife emily, and she was deeply moved even further at that service. and she returned to washington, d.c. knowing that the president of the united states, who she has always known last humility, she know suspects that he lacks even a conscience because of what he has done to rupture part of the fabric of the united states of america. today, yesterday we saw nancy pelosi speaker of the house standing up not only for her faith in the country but her faith in the process of democracy, and i just think the human element here of this drama is just almost equally important
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to the act that she set in motion yesterday. >> well, in so many ways i don't disagree with you at all. i mean, nancy pelosi is the woman of the moment right now at this moment in history, and i was watching yesterday and just found myself really caught up in it having interviewed her for documentaries and also for my books, it is true that nancy pelosi is driven first by her faith. she's also extremely disciplined. she's extremely experienced at what she does, and if you ask her what the value is that she brings to the table, she will say i have supreme knowledge of the subject. she brings her knowledge to the table. she knows what she's doing, and as a result she's a leader in this moment, and is able to really raise the questions and bring together people and push this forward in a way that actually could have a measure of success in terms of being
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focused and being all about our country's national security. it really is incredible to watch. she had such a huge day yesterday, and she just keeps going. she's got unbelievable energy. >> i know she surprised so many people over the past year who always knew she was an effective leader but just how effective she's been, how nimble she's been, how she's been so concerned to protect her moderate members from swing districts and the way she's played all of this. you know, walter another reason why mika, why this may resonate with her is because she had a dad who escaped poland and a mother who escaped czechoslovakia when hitler came to power, came to the crites, and dr. brezynski spent his
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entire life trying to work the best he could to free countries like ukraine from the grip of soviet totalitarianism, from russian expansionism. there's a battle going on right now for the heart and soul of europe between those who are ill lib ral wliberal who don't belin western democracy and scoff at the foundations of western democracy, and those who like dr. bryzenski do. it's what ronald reagan did, it's what pope john paul ii did, what margaret thatcher did. they devoted their hearts and souls, along with a lot of good democrats, along with a lot of good allies in west germany and across the world in fighting for freedom, fighting for western democracy. it is staggering. i can't even imagine what he
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would say if he heard that an american president had the opportunity to deliver defensive weapons to ukraine to defend them against further russian invasion, but it was held up because the american commander in chief was not willing to release that until the ukrainian president promised to play opo research man for his upcoming domestic presidential campaign. >> you've had 70 years of bipartisan american policy that was designed to keep freedom alive in europe and to show we were closely allied. the winner in this whole thing as he has been for the past four years is vladimir putin, who's just got to be rubbing his hands at the discord he sowed but also the fact that his invasion of crimea and his undermining of
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ukraine has now been aided and abetted by a president of the united states at the behest, it seems, of interests of russia and others. dr. bryzenski spent his entire career fighting against that type of activity, so did by the way, john bolton. i never thought i'd be making a hero out of john bolton, but that's where he ran into this administration watching rudy giuliani go off unhinged and try to undermine -- try to undermain an independent ukraine, i think dr. bryzenski is a symbol of the bipartisan policies that have always said when in doubt we stand for freedom and this is not what's been happening under this administration. >> let's bring in somebody who was in the room yesterday, joining us vice chair of the house democratic caucus, congresswoman katherine clark of massachusetts.
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congresswoman, good to have you with us this morning. take us inside that caucus meeting yesterday led by speaker pelosi. what was it like in the room, and what do you believe was the tipping point on impeachment for nancy pelosi? the tipping point is clear. it was national security full stop, and i can tell you that in that room we were somber. what has occurred here is weighing on us and our responsibilities not only as members of congress but as patriots and as americans, but we are unified that what this president has admitted to to putting his political gain over the country and our issues of national security is corruption that must be checked. >> nancy pelosi is quoted as having said in the meeting it doesn't change much from what's already going on, which is to say you already have six committees looking into the possibility of impeachment of donald trump. as you look at this, what's
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different today than it was if i'd asked you yesterday? >> it is the acknowledgment by this president that he was willing to go to a foreign country, ask them to dig up and manufacture dirt on an opponent, and that he was willing to withhold military aid that had been approved in a bipartisan way. it is putting those politics, our election of 2020, over the american people and the integrity of the fundamentals of our democracy, which is our elections, and what happened yesterday was congress, the house democrats stood together and said we will not stand for this. we will use the constitutional tools that we have to check a reckless president. >> so congresswoman clark,
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you've got six different committees funneling information and data to perhaps one committee, the judiciary committee. when are we going to arrive at what we're looking at? is it going to be a buffet charges or are we going to have one or two that the party is going to go with here? >> i think what we are feeling is the urgency. we have a whistleblower complaint that we're hoping to be able to see over the next few days in its entirety, but that complaint was lodged because there is urgency to this issue. we're very cognizant of that, and we are going to be moving forward as expeditiously as possible, and the process we will know as we go forward, but the key thing that happened yesterday was the opening of these impeachment proceedings. and reaching out to the american
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salespeople and saying we heard you. we heard you in the midterms when you said we care about health care, we care about infrastructure, but right up there as i travel the country, people care about corruption. they want to know this government is working for them, and that is what we said to them yesterdayme yesterday. we hear you and we're with you, and we want to support the integrity of this government and what it means to be the president of the united states. >> congresswoman katherine clark, thank you very much for being on the show this morning. we'll be following this. and we'll have more on the opening of the impeachment inquiry just ahead, but now to new numbers out this morning in the 2020 presidential race. according to the latest quinnipiac university national poll, senator elizabeth warren is essentially tied with former vice president joe biden. warren now leads the 2020 democratic field with 27%, up
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eight points since last month followed by joe biden who is down seven points now sitting at 25%. within the margin of error, it is the first time a candidate other than biden has held the numerical lead nationally. senator bernie sanders comes in third with 16% followed by south bend mayor pete buttigieg with 7%. senator kamala harris gets 3%. no other candidate tops 2% on the state level. the latest monmouth poll shows senator elizabeth warren and former vice president joe biden running neck in neck in new hampshire, just two points apart. r warren stands at 27% of support among those early state voters, up 19 points since may. biden is down 11 points to 25%, vermont senator bernie sanders also saw his polling slide over the summer down six points to 12%. the poll also shows
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congresswoman tulsi gabbard at 2% earning her a spot on next month's debate stage, and in nevada, biden narrowly leads the democratic field by four points at 23%. warren follows in second place with 19% of likely democratic caucus goers support. and sanders rounds out the top three with 14%. what do you make of this? >> i'll tell you what, when i was running for office and had polls taken, i usually didn't look at the bottom line. i looked at trend lines, was i going up? was i going down? i always told my staff i didn't care about the sample size. what i cared about is how did i look from one month to the next or one year to the next? and john heilemann, but that measurements, the biden campaign has to be very concerned. we showed the new hampshire poll that showed elizabeth warren up 19 points, joe biden down 11 points. you can look at the national polls that showed also elizabeth
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warren going to first place, joe biden dropping as well, and just about everything poll joe biden has dropped precipitously and elizabeth warren is on an uptick. what are your reads on the polls? >> the first point is the point you just made, joe, it is a consistent trend at the national level and in the early states that if you start from when joe biden got into the race until today, he had been the front runner on every level until just the last few days but had been gradually i'd say, not so much precipitously, but gradually declining over months to the point where now he has dipped below, although this is all within the margin of error, you could argue right now given the numbers and given the trajectories that is now the case elizabeth warren's the front runner. she's the front runner nationally, i think, and most importantly you look at the gold standard poll, the iowa, the register poll from the weekend that put her in first place in iowa for the first time and this
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new hampshire poll, which i think are going to be reconfirmed by a lot of polling over the course of the next few weeks. you think about the theory of the case for joe biden's nomination. he is the inevitable candidate and the electable candidate. they've got to win early or else the sheen of winner of electability and inev tablt gets stripped off. the biggest problem joe biden has is the calendar. the place where he has the core strength with african-american voters is the fourth contest in south carolina. he's got to get to iowa, new hampshire, and nevada. you know better than anybody, joe, what happens in these races is that there's a whole precampaign up until the iowa caucuses happened, and then you wake up the next day and the amount of free media that gets generated by the winner of those caucuses, who comes in second and third overwhelms everything that's happened for the last
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year and a half. joe biden doesn't win the iowa caucuses and then is looking at new hampshire where he's got elizabeth warren and bernie sanders as home state, home field neighboring state advantages, it's a very, very tough road if joe biden does not win one of those first two states, and the dynamics that will be unleashed upon him are going to be punishing if that happens, and i know the biden campaign is as aware of this as anybody. >> jeffrey goldberg in her speech at washington square park last week in new york city, elizabeth warren made implicit criticism of joe biden and the argument for joe biden is that we can't play it safe and cross our fingers and hope that person wins. we've got to have energy, we've got to have ideas and be out there. you can't call these polls outliers anymore. we're seeing senator warren suf surging and catching up to joe biden. i think even the closest friends of joe biden would tell you he's been uneven to put it mildly in
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the debate performances. is this the accumulation of all that combined with elizabeth warren just running a really strong campaign? >> right, and taking 1 million selfies with prospective voters. i was talking to a couple of senators yesterday about this, senators who are not necessarily to elizabeth warren, but they said there's a cruel double standard being applied to biden. it is what it is, and that is donald trump has somehow succeeded in politics so far by saying whatever pops to mind, total indiscipline, playing this character, the eccentric uncle character. biden is punished for verbal indiscipline in a way that donald trump isn't, and so i think -- and this is what these two senators were saying -- if he cannot maintain or improve his discipline on that front and
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not to put it in the vernacular, not step in it quite so frequently, he has a fighting chance, but it plays into this -- it plays into this notion that he's not disciplined. and for whatever reason, we could sit here all day and analyze why culturelally he doesn't get away with it. >> everything that has happened in the past 24, 48 hours, the past week, has actually -- and there is debate here as to whether or not this is going to be politically perilous -- has actually played into biden's strengths. yamiche, joe biden can talk about this ukraine issue. he can talk about why it's wrong, what the president is doing. he can talk about his work that he's done in the foreign policy field. it shows his strengths, and it shows this need for sanity again, need for things to be back in place in washington and
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for things to be done right. biden's message is that he can give people the comfort level that things are going to run well in washington and perhaps appeal to voters who might not vote for elizabeth warren. what are the risks and the gains of this ukraine story for the joe biden campaign? >> the risks, of course, are that people are going to be looking more into hunter biden and looking more into the relationship between him and his father and really dissecting his relationship with ukraine while his father was vice president. the gains of course are that joe biden now is at the center of what could be an impeachment, actual impeachment hearing, an impeachment proceeding of president trump. what he has is something that he can talk about over and over again and be at the top of the news cycles and the top of mind of voters. i was down in south carolina talking to a lot of voters. that's going to be a critical state for democrats in this primary. the electorate is majority african-american. joe biden has strong numbers there. when i was talking to voters, they said, look, we're not going
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to hold the democratic candidate to the same standards as donald trump. we don't want somebody who says whatever comes to mind. we don't want someone who's also having gaffes. we want someone who's going to be clear minded. who's going to make us all feel like the country's back to being normal, and joe biden seems a little off. these are people who are joe biden supporters. then they told me that woman, elizabeth warren, she seems really feisty. she seems like somebody who if she's on the debate stage with president trump, she could go toe to toe with him. i talked to senator harris about this, she's someone who a lot of people are looking at in south carolina, but a lot of people simply did not know her name and simply did not know pete buttigieg's name. i have all sorts of interviews where i talked to people and said let me name the people running for president. half the people they were like i don't know who that is. i don't know who cory booker is. it was surprising to me. in washington we know who all these people are. most voters know about three people, and senator harris and pete buttigieg they're not people we're looking at.
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>> when do you think the resentment factor might, if it will kick in with bernie sanders towards elizabeth warren? >> well, i think it will kick in, but i think bernie sanders is starting to go down, which gives great upside potential for elizabeth warren. i'm somewhat surprised i'm down here in my oklahoma in louisiana and been traveling around and a more diverse crew than i usually do sometimes traveling around, and it's somewhat interesting that people are so fed one everything happening in washington that that's weirdly playing to elizabeth warren's advantage, which is that all this sort of craziness, can't we now get beyond it, and also the populous resentment that you feel in a state like louisiana, that populous resentment is not necessarily all on the right. it's sort of a vague populism like all those people in washington, and all those people
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who have been skimming off the cream from a good economy, and all of those people who have been exporting our jobs, i'm not surf perus surprised to see the rise of elizabeth warren in places you don't expect it. >> joe and mika, president trump has a 40% approval rating. if you look at him over this entire year, he just doesn't move. the floor is 38% in this poll. the ceiling is 42%. he's a 40% president right in there, from january forward through the mueller report, the mueller testimony, and also a 32% approval rating for president trump, 32% among independent voters. >> all right, walter isaacson, thank you so much, and jeffrey goldberg thank you as well. the atlantic fest vaival is goi on right now in washington, d.c., and you can still get a couple of tickets left at theatlanticfestiv
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theatlanticfestival.com. thank you. still ahead on "morning joe," senator chris coons says trump's allegations against joe biden are like the clinton e-mail saga all over again, but that issue didn't exactly work out for democrats in 2016. is there a power lull this time around? the senator joins our conversation next on "morning joe." conversation next on "morning joe. ♪ ♪ let's get down to business.
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the united states after having spent over 2$2.5 trillio since my election is also the world's most powerful nation. americans know that in a world where others seek conquest and domination our nation must be strong in wealth, in might, and
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in spirit. the free world must embrace its national foundations. wise leaders always put the good of their own people and their own country first. the future does not belong to globalists. the future belongs to patriots. the future belongs to sovereign and independent nations who protect their citizens, respect their neighbors, and honor the differences that make each country special and unique. >> hearing a lot of questions about this speech yesterday, just his demeanor, his delivery, and seeming like he didn't want to be there or something was wrong. joining us now, member of the foreign relations and judiciary committees, democratic senator chris coons of delaware. he is backing joe biden's candidacy for president. i'm going to bring in the president of the council on
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foreign relations for the first question, because richard we haven't even gotten to the president's address yesterday, that one. >> that speech was a real throwback. it was an appeal to nationalism, sovereignty, aimed at a lot of domestic audience, but it seemed to ignore the uncomfortable reality that the united states is in the world. we may be surrounded by oceans, but what happens in the world affects us. we learned that the hard way on 9/11. we learn it every day because of trade. we're learning it and going to learn it a lot more in the future because of climate change, and there was no connection between the speech and this reality. i'd be curious the senator sits on the senate foreign relations committee what he heard the president say, and was there anything in the speech that he heard which would appeal to anyone sitting in that room or in any capital around the world? >> richard, it was a really striking speech to deliver at the united nations. it was really a repeat of america first, and as i've said many times, my concern is that
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increasingly that leads to america alone. president trump in the clip you just played there was referencing what makes nations great and strong, and what i think has made america secure and prosperous for seven decades is a very strong global network of allies, of countries that share our values and share our priorities, and president trump has distanced us from those central allies and our shared partnerships. as you mentioned, richard, the only way we're going to tackle real global challenges from climate change to nuclear proliferation threats from iran and north korea is by working in close cooperation with our allies and our partners. and frankly, even at times with our adversaries such as china and russia if we're going to contain both climate change and nuclear proliferation. >> so senator coons, on climate change the president apparently showed up for about ten minutes at the climate change meeting at the u.n. and left quite abruptly. i keep asking people about the
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national security aspect of climate change. i mean, people leave places like guatemala and el salvador, some of the reasons is they can no longer make a living because of what climate change has done to the land around them. in africa, in the northern african countries, i mean, people leave for the same reasons. they cannot make a living because the land has been raped by temperature rises and things like that. what are the national security implications of climate change for the united states of america vis-a-vis the world? >> mike, they're potentially huge. by some estimates there may be as many as a billion people dislocated between now and 2050 by cloimate change, exactly the forces you're citing, desertification, where the desert is encroaching on countries and destabilizing a whole belt of countries where there is increasing conflict. changes in climate that make it
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harder to earn a living and harder for farmers to succeed in the northern triangle in central america, which is contributing to migration up to america's southern border. you're absolutely right to point to the long-term challenges that migration will pose. let me just for all of us ask you for a second to think how different that address at the united nations would have been yesterday if it were instead delivered by president joe biden, the most seasoned leader in foreign policy we have currently running for president on the democratic side. i think it would have been a very sharp contrast, and i think a president biden would have delivered a strikingly different, more engaging, more positive message that would make us more secure. >> hey, senator, i want to ask you about speaker pelosi's announcement that she backs the impeachment inquiry in the house of representatives and what changed for you, what you saw yesterday, but i also want to ask you about your concerns. the administration has said it will release an account of the phone call between president trump and the ukrainian
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president. it has said it will release a redacted account, the whistleblower complaint will be released and given to congress. it also -- we know tomorrow we will see the acting director of national intelligence testify before the house intel committee, but this administration has not done a whole lot to earn the trust of congress as you know very well, and the way it presents information, in the way it prevents people from testifying before you. so how are you proceeding now with this game changer potentially of nancy pelosi backing impeachment inquiry? >> willie, i have a lot of confidence in speaker pelosi's ability to focus on this inquiry and to get it moving appropriately and quickly. there's a lot of facts that we need to get that we don't yet have available to congress or to the public. what was the president's personal attorney, rudy giuliani, doing meeting with representatives of the ukrainian government if as president trump has offered his real reason for a conversation with ukrainian president zelensky in which he was talking about slow walking
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hundreds of millions of dollars in badly needed military aid, if his real motivation was a concern about corruption or a concern about contributions from other european allies? that should have been haendled y the state department or defense department, not someone who is affiliated with president trump's political interests and re-election campaign. we ought to know more about that meeting. we ought to get the full and unredacted transcript of his conversation with zelensky and the whistleblower, the individual who persuaded the intelligence community's inspector general that this was an urgent matter. he should testify in person to the intelligence committees. >> hey, senator john heilemann here, just following up on that. one of the things that happened yesterday was that maybe not as historic as the opening of this impeachment inquiry but was as shocking in some ways, was to see this unanimous consent resolution in your body where suddenly mitch mcconnell, for i think the first time in my memory did something that donald
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trump would not approve of and joined with chuck schumer and said yes, we must hear, we must see the report from the whistleblower and we must hear from the ig and so on. what happened there? what is -- what's your explanation for why suddenly there was a unanimous vote and we had bipartisanship that broke out suddenly and mitch mcconnell siding with chuck schumer on this issue? >> i'm going to push aside my cynicism about the motivations of lots of folks in public life and simply choose to be encouraged by it and to see that this was a moment where the legislative branch, the senate, acted in harmony, in unison to say to the executive branch this is absolutely urgent. you have to release this information. just to be clear, what's going to happen if they follow up on what the senate unanimously urged the executive branch to do is release the whistleblower complaint to the intelligence committee, which means it will remain shielded from public view. it will be considered in a classified setting.
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that was leader mcconnell's preferred path for any investigation of the mueller matter, of the allegations that president trump invited russian interference in our last election, and i do think it's a step forward because i do think the senate intelligence committee has demonstrated an ability to work in a bipartisan way, but it concerns me that we may not yet get to the bottom of this in a way that all senators will know about. >> senator chris coons, thank you very, very much. coming up, we'll be joined by another member of the judiciary committee when republican senator john kennedy joins the conversation. as we go to break, a look at what's happening at knowyourvalue.com. we've got the best companies for working moms. what should working moms ask for to make for a long-lasting career? also we have a piece on why women are more financially stressed than men and what we should do about it. a full report on our fantastic event in philadelphia with employees from independent blue cross.
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51 past. back in 2014 when barack obama was president donald trump tweeted: are you allowed to impeach a president for gross incompetence? interesting. joining us now on the actual legal aspects of the current impeachment inquiry launched against president trump, state attorney for palm beach county, dave arenberg. dave, bottom line, did the president commit any crimes pressuring the ukrainians to dig up dirt on joe biden? >> well, we will know more when the facts come out but it is possible because under the federal bribery and extortion
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laws you just need a public official who demands something of value to benefit himself to which he is not entitled in exchange for the performance of an official act. there could be a violation of the foreign corrupt practices act and campaign finance crimes. if you are asking whether crimes occurred here, i think that should be the last question because under the constitution you don't need the violation of a criminal statute to warrant impeachment. it could just be an abuse of power, as there was under richard nixon which led to his resignation. so when you are talking about abuse of power, you don't need to wait for a lengthy criminal investigation by a special prosecutor like robert mueller, you don't need to worry about the internal policy within the department of justice not to indict a sitting president, you just need an abuse of power and his personal attorney sometimes to have admitted to the facts here. if the president shot someone on fifth avenue then you would call a cop and a prosecutor, but if the president shoots the constitution on fifth avenue, you would call a member of congress because the proper remedy would be impeachment.
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>> i'm getting nervous because the president has said that he would take help from a foreign government and he said it as if he, you know, wouldn't do t but then it appears that has happened. the shooting on fifth avenue, let's just hope he is not serious at this point because the president said, dave, that he spoke to the ukrainian leader about corruption and then linked that corruption to joe biden. the president has said that he has spoken to a foreign leader about bad information about a political opponent. the president has already said he has done this. is that a crime? >> well, his own statements will come back to haunt him because it doesn't have to be a crime to warrant impeachment. as far as whether it is a crime, as the facts come out it could be a crime, but remember, the president is subject to the internal doj policy not to indict a sitting president. so i don't think you have to even get that far, but i think it is important as you correctly note that this is not the first
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time we have been going through collusion and obstruction of justice. he is already on notice that those are forbidden, you can't do it. when the mueller report and mueller testified, when that happened, he seemed emboldened by all this and the next day after mueller testified he called up the ukrainian president. so all of that will be taken into account for a possible article of impeachment involving the abuse of power. but you don't even need to get to the question of whether a crime occurred, even though it may. >> dave, i don't know whether you've caught any of the rudy giuliani show over the past few days but he has made several appearances on tv, on fox tv, in which he sounds like an outpatient from some institution. he is just rambling and assertive in a crazy way. so my question to you is when he speaks, he's speaking as a lawyer for an individual, donald trump, as well as its tinged with politics. isn't there a cannon of ethics that lawyers have to adhere to when speaking about others
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because he has spoken about the biden family, he has indicted them actually verbally on tv. does a cannon of ethics ever apply to teach like this? >> yes, and i think the sanction that rudy giuliani could face would be a sanction by the new york bar for his misleading statements as an attorney against the biden family, but don't expect rudy giuliani to be indicted for conspiracy to commit extortion or bribery because, remember, the attorney general is william barr who was appointed to be the president's protector and i cannot imagine that he would allow one of his federal prosecutors to indict the president's personal lawyer. so you've got it right, mike, i think the more likely result is that he receives condemnation in the court of public opinion and possibly a sanction by the new york bar. >> all right. state attorney for palm beach county dave aronberg, thank you very much. and still ahead, the president says he will release the transcript of the phone call at the center of this ukraine
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scandal, but does a transcript even exist? see, this is where we are at here with this president. richard haass weighs in on that. ♪ - [woman] with my shark, i deep clean messes like this, this, and even this. but i don't have to clean this, because the self-cleaning brush roll removes hair while i clean. - [announcer] shark, the vacuum that deep cleans now cleans itself. >> vo: my car is my after-work de♪ music ion zone. >> vo: so when my windshield broke... i found the experts at safelite autoglass. they have exclusive technology and service i can trust. >> singers: ♪ safelite repair, safelite replace. ♪ yeah, i've had some prettyeer. prestigious jobs over the years. news producer, executive transport manager, and a beverage distribution supervisor. now i'm a director at a security software firm. wow, you've been at it a long time. thing is, i like working. what if my retirement plan is i don't want to retire?
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official until the state department called me and asked me to do it. >> he can't -- he can't make up his mind. by the way, rudy, you are doing that in public, by the way. >> that's the outside voice. >> yeah, your outside voice. you're thinking should i go with the attorney/client privilege thing or should i go with the state department thing? you're saying both of them. >> so swinging wildly between two different positions. is rudy giuliani the president's private lawyer? >> says he is. >> or someone tasked by the state department to conduct government business? boy, that would change the equation. >> both of them change the equation. >> kind of an important detail as the house of representatives launches an official impeachment inquiry into donald trump's growing ukraine scandal, both rudy and the president having a hard time keeping the story straight as to what happened and when and why. >> well, their stories keep moving around at some point --
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>> shifting. >> -- in an impeachment inquiry it really does matter. >> the facts matter. >> where they fall in the facts actually do matter. >> you can't say ukraine, other countries weren't paying their weight towards ukraine when they were and then some. >> was actually giving twice as much in foreign assistance than the united states. >> that one doesn't work. let's find another. >> we will talk more about that, but no doubt yesterday was with a monumental day. good morning, welcome to "morning joe." along with mika, willie and me we have national affairs analyst for nbc john heilemann, executive producer of show time's "the circus." >> also with us the author of the book "a world in disarray" richard haass. nbc news correspondent heidi przybyla is with us this
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morning. jake sherman, an msnbc political contributor and wrist lien author of "soul of america" and jon meachum an nbc news and msnbc contributor as well. what a big day we have today. >> a big day yesterday and today. before we get into the news, willie, it happened -- all of this happened very quickly but then again so did the president's admissions. can i say i was a little exasperated yesterday hearing one talking head and news analyst and news host after another going, well, we don't know if there are going to be any revelations in the transcript or any revelations in the -- they're saying it may be anti-climactic. the bank robber already told you he robbed the bank. >> this is not the mueller
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report. >> i heard some people last night who i have respect for saying, well, this is really going to blow up in the democrats face if the whistle-blower complaint is not that huge. what do you mean? we already know -- we already know the president of the united states reached out and pushed the ukrainian government to go and investigate a domestic political rival. eight times according to the "wall street journal." one time would have been enough. what else do we know? the president also told us that he held up military aid to a country in a hot war against vladimir putin and russia until he had a chance to pressure this foreign leader eight times. and so all of that information that has come out already from newspapers has pushed donald trump to admit things that, my
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god, over the past 240 years would have been seen as impeachable offenses in themselves and now we've got news people once again playing into donald trump's hand by going, well, we don't know if this transcript is going to tell us anything new. what new do we need to know to know that an inquiry should start? >> he just says it out loud time and again, he did it with russia, he's doing it again now. he said it out loud that he called up the president of ukraine and talked to him about joe biden and looking into joe biden's alleged corruption. yesterday now -- i know we will get into this, but the president changed as he walked into the u.n. before he made his speech to the general assembly, the rationale for talking to the president of ukraine. remember he was very deeply concerned about corruption, that's why he talked to him. >> yes. >> well now he's saying i'm deeply concerned that europe is not paying enough in military aid to ukraine, which also is not true, by the way. he's all over the place. rudy giuliani is all over the place. remember, rudy giuliani said
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last week on cnn, quote, of course i did, talked to ukraine about joe biden. there's something else that i want to bring richard haass on quickly here and that is this question of the transcript. it turns out there may not be a transcript. in fact, there probably is not a transcript. so the whistle-blower complaint becomes all the more important. as someone who has listened in on some of these calls from a president to a world leader how does it work exactly and what kind of a document, what kind of a, quote, transcript will we see out of the consideration? >> the word transcript suggests a stenographer in court or someone working from a recording in my experience and i worked in the bush 41 white house that never happened. you would normally have a national security council staff person would be on the line listening in and he or she would write down what they thought were the salient points, the foreign leader said the following things. so out of a half hour phone call you may have a one, one and a half page memorandum of conversation that would essentially give you the highlights. very rarely did it highlight the
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fact that the president might have misspoke about something. so these are interpretive memoranda produced by a staff member. they are not absolute records of what transpired. plus, it never captures things like tone of voice, doesn't capture facial expression, doesn't capture larger context. it's just in isolation. >> this from an administration that manipulates weather maps by a sharpie. the fact that you would trust a phone call produced by the white house makes you look elsewhere for evidence. >> this was just too much in the wake of a growing scandal involving president trump and ukraine, house speaker nancy pelosi has announced plans to launch a formal impeachment inquiry against the president. pelosi, who has resisted calls for impeachment for months, argued yesterday that trump's actions reveal a betrayal of his oath of office. >> the actions taken to date by the president have seriously
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violated the constitution, especially when the president says article 2 says i can do whatever i want. i'm announcing the house of representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. i'm directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella of impeachment inquiry. the president must be held accountable. no one is above the law. >> so to keep in mind everyone at this point, including the speaker here staying behind the story not jumping in front of it. we have the story. the president has said what he has done and even lied about it, and that is the information we're working with and that is the information in which there are many questions to ask. pelosi's announcement came after a meeting with the caucus yesterday where 187 house democrats have voiced support for some kind of impeachment action. according to a democratic aide
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who was in the room, pelosi said, quote, we have to strike while the iron is hot. this is a national security issue. a national security issue. and we cannot let him think that this is a casual thing. closy also told members about a phone call she had with president trump yesterday morning. three sources tell nbc news that president trump asked pelosi, quote, hey, can we do something about this whistle-blower complaint? can we work something out? she responded saying, yes, you can tell your people to obey the law. >> jon meachum, as a presidential historian, your thoughts as you take in the extraordinary events rapidly changing over the past 24 hours. >> well, it was a day where the system began to work and i think a lot of us have thought that, in fact, the system would ultimately prevail and it's still early, but what we saw from the very beginning of the
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republic, from writing about divisions of power and madison translating that into the american vernacular and reaching a point where for 243 years we have had this remarkable experiment where it's fallen out of balance here and there, but by and large has pressed forward, that has required people of character in the congress to say that this is what we want and there is a line over which you cannot go. a lot of folks would have drawn that line earlier, but the line has been drawn now. it's very clear that in terms of framers' intent of the foreign influence and that sort of thing, this is in that zone. it's not even in the zip code, it's in the house. >> oh, yeah. >> and i think that ultimately we're going to see a test right now of whether facts and truth
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matter. will president trump's base look at this and accept the facts or will they accept whatever story -- next story he is going to tell? >> john heilemann, so many, including us, talk about donald trump's base, talk about how those that have stayed with donald trump all along, whether they will remain with him, but what i found compelling about this story over the past 24 hours is that you had a group of moderate members of congress from swing districts, many of whom represent voters who voted actually for donald trump in 2016 that weren't sticking their finger up in the wind trying to figure out which way things were moving. they were saying, we have no choice now. as david ignatius said in a "washington post" must read op-ed this morning, this is more than partisanship, this is about
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a commander in chief who actually a meddling with america's national security for political interests. >> right. and, you know, i think joe and mika, we've spent for the last at least six months and maybe longer asking the question what will it take to get democrats to put political calculus and calculations aside and focus on their institutional responsibility and take this step, which is really what this is. it's a crapshoot on the politics, but it's clear what the institutional prerogatives are here and responsibilities are, it's clear that the president has committed -- here has admitted to as you pointed out an impeachable offense. there are others in the mueller report that were listed, but that wasn't enough. we found out what was enough. what was enough was the president by making this phone call to the president of ukraine tried to do the exact same thing in 2020 that he did in 2016.
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this was believing that he could behave not just with impunity but with such impunity that he could again importune a foreign power as the president of the united states as opposed to just the republican nominee to get involved in an american presidential election in a way that would benefit him and disadvantage at this point his most likely primary political opponent. and that apparently was the thing where people said, okay, we cannot -- history will not allow us to acquiesce in that. letting the president do this twice, the exact same thing two elections in a row. so, yes, i think obviously nancy pelosi who is mike allen said in the previous hour that she is a numbers girl, a source of his said that to him. she obviously has been canvassing the same 40 or so house democrats who are vulnerable and she's been asking them throughout, you know, what's the situation with this impeachment inquiry, how do you feel about it? i don't want to do anything that will i'm peril you politically.
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that changed over the course of the last seven days. those members started sometimes publicly and sometimes privately to say either it's fine for our politics or we don't care about our politics we just think that this is intolerable we must go forward. that's where we are and i think jon meachum is right. i think there is a decent chunk of the trump base that will not be moved by this because the president is going to try to turn this whistle-blower into andy mccabe and is trying to demonize and shame this person whether they come public or not and part of the trump base will believe that. there is a bigger question about the weaker part of the trump support in the republican party and whether they will be moved by the plain facts here. still ahead on "morning joe," if the ukrainian government is so corrupt why would president trump want europe to give it more money? his devolving explanations on why he withheld funding next on "morning joe." ♪
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welcome back to "morning joe." let's show you the president's shifting explanation on why he chose to freeze the nearly $400 million in military aid to ukraine. on monday he said this -- >> it's very important to talk about corruption. if you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt? >> less than 24 hours later the president said this -- >> i will continue to withhold until such time as europe and other nations contribute to ukraine. why is it only the united states putting up the money? and, by the way, we paid that money. i think it's unfair that we put up the money. then people called me they said, let it go, and i let it go. >> according to "washington post" europe has been a major funder to ukraine since russia annexed it's crippmea peninsula.
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among the top ten donors in gross overseas development assistance for ukraine in 2016-2017 they were european institutions, germany, poland, sweden and britain. >> wow. >> yeah. >> so, willie, can we go back to that chart for a second. donald trump just said yesterday, sports fans, that europe needed to contribute, that the united states was contributing assistance and nobody else was. if you add up european institutions, germany, poland, sweden, britain and switzerland, just the european countries, just the european countries, they actually have contributed in gross overseas development assistance for ukraine in '16 and '17 at least three times as much as the united states. so, willie, another excuse,
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another lie. >> it did feel like he was reaching into the bag of greatest hits. remember this is an argument for nato as well, that europe is not paying enough, nato membership is not paying enough so we're going to withheld for them. feels like he made it up on the fly at the u.n. >> burden sharing has been the staple of the argument for 50 years, the problem is the facts don't support it. let's come back to the basics here. i think this is qualitatively different and more serious than 2016. it's not simply inviting a foreign government to get involved in the american political process, but it's also something he can do now that he couldn't do in 2016. he has the powers of the presidency at his disposal. he's the commander in chief. he has the foreign affairs power. so to me what is decisively different about this is the ability to leverage the availability of u.s. security assistance. that is something no candidate can do, it's only something an incumbent president can do. that to me is where a line is crossed. >> let's go to heidi and jake for more on that extraordinary
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address that speaker pelosi made yesterday. heidi, i guess my question this morning is what is different procedurally now? there was not a special committee appointed, in fact, inside that meeting with the caucus speaker pelosi is quoted as saying it doesn't change much from what's already going on beside the fact that i'm now with you on this. >> what will happen is that thursday will be another inflection point. tomorrow when we get that whistleblower complaint we have seen a big shift here in the way that republicans have responded to this in that the republican senate voted unanimously to release that whistle-blower complaint, the house is going to do the same and then from there we will see how the speaker proceeds and whether the judiciary committee is going to actually move on forming some type of articles. i imagine that they are going to want to not only see the complaint but they are also going to want to speak to the whistle-blower and have the whistle-blower testify.
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now, in my discussions yesterday with lawmakers who were leaving that caucus meeting there is a broader question here. on the one hand speaker pelosi says she wants them to move expeditiously, on the other hand given that all of these six committees are now operating under this umbrella of impeachment inquiry, it is the legal theory of the democrats that they are going to have greater tools at their disposal to move their requests through the court system, to compel witnesses, to compel testimony and they are making clear that they are not at all backing off on all of these other investigations that are running on various tracks. so you could see more information popping, for example, on emoluments or hush money. so all of these things will come into play, but the one thing that, among many actually, you know, that richard mentioned about the lines that have been crossed here and how this is different from 2016 based on my reporting, speaker mosey also said in the meeting to members, look, this is not just the
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president asking a foreign country to provide -- or using assistance from a foreign country opposition research on their opponent, but this is at the president demanding that a foreign country actually cook up, actually manufacture this evidence because we've already reported, as have numerous outlets, that the ukrainians themselves dispute the facts in this case. that this case regarding this prosecutor who trump alleges there was something nefarious with biden's involvement in firing him, was accused of corruption himself and that the case itself had been dormant for about a year. that's yet another way in which this distinguishes from 2016. coming up on "morning joe," from the democrats house leadership, congressman hakeem jeffries joins the conversation, plus senate republican john kennedy is our guest straight ahead. "morning joe" is back in a moment. ahead. "morning joe" is back in a moment ♪
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i'll make an offer on
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television to the whistle-blower. if you want to testify under oath to the senate josé diaz-balart -- judiciary committee you are welcome to do so because i want to find the truth. >> well welcome back to "morning joe." let's now bring in senator john kennedy from louisiana. senator, thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you. thank you, joe. >> it's very interesting yesterday about ten minutes after nancy pelosi had given her speech i turned on the tv and i heard analysts predicting what was going to happen in the senate and, of course, the senate would vote down any impeachment move. we hadn't even gotten five minutes past an inquiry, everybody is already jumping to conclusions. so let's just take this one step at a time. i'm just curious what are your thoughts about what happened yesterday, what are your concerns? what is the best way for the
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senate, the house, the institution of congress to move forward at this point? >> well, the short answer is with facts. here is where we are right now, president trump contends he did absolutely nothing wrong, president trump's opponents say what he did was outrageous and it marks the end of western order. today we're going to start getting some of the facts. i understand the transcript is going to be released. i understand that president zelensky has agreed to the release of that transcript, which is very important as a president. the whistle-blower is going to come in front of the intelligence committee knowing senators his identity or her identity will probably leak. that's not a criticism of the intelligence committee, i just have learned how the way this place works. here is what i think the american people are looking at,
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they're saying, well, we don't know what happened. is this just a continuation of the -- of the d.c. soap opera, or is this something important? they would like to know what trump said to president zelen y zelensky, why did he say it. they're probably asking themselves what is this stuff about vice president biden and his son, and i think over time probably up until the election, this will unfold. >> senator kennedy, do you have any particular concerns now regarding the conversations that donald trump had with the president of the ukraine? i know a few of your colleagues have said i have concerns, but i want more information before passing any judgment. is that where you are at this point? >> i'd like to see the transcript. look, the -- president trump asks for investigations all the
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time. i think he has asked twice for "saturday night live" to be investigated. so before i knew we were going to get the transcript, i was saying, well, could he have said this or could he have done that. now we're going to find out. i think this conversation is probably privileged. he's going to waive that privilege, and president zelensky is okay, that's paramount that he's okay with releasing it, and now we're going to get the facts and i suspect that for the next year and a half up until the election we are going to be talking about what the president said to whom, why he said it and about the allegations against the vice president -- former vice president. >> he may have said that about "saturday night live," of course, he could not hold up funding for lauren michaels' show. he admitted to holding up funding for ukraine. is there any concern there? are you curious about the nexus
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between the holding up the funds and according to the "wall street journal" at least the president asking the president of the ukraine to investigate hunter biden eight times? >> well, sure i'm concerned about it and that's why i want to get the facts. in terms of ukraine, under the last two, not the current president, but the last two presidents of ukraine, ukraine has had rampant corruption. >> right. >> the previous president did better than the one before him, but they were both nothing to be proud of now, president zelensky is new, he ran on an anti-corruption campaign. i'm optimistic, i hope he sticks by his guns. i think we ought to support him. so am i concerned about all of this? sure. but i think it's important we learned in the russian investigation and all the other investigations it's important to
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wait on the facts, joe. >> yes. exactly. >> senator kennedy, it's willie geist. good to see you this morning. >> hey, willie. >> do you just have concerns, just put this moment in a vacuum, president trump has admitted that he talked to president zelensky about joe biden and encouraged him to look into joe biden. >> right. >> joe biden is, if you look at the polls, he could be the opponent of president trump in 2020. >> right. >> so that's donald trump looking for information on a political opponent. does that fact concern you? >> well, all this concerns me. it concerns the conversation with president zelensky concerns me, the allegations about vice president biden and his son concern me. that's why we need to get to the bottom of it. >> but what about the president of the united states asking a foreign leader to look into a political opponent. that concerns you? >> when you put it that way, of course. >> that's the way the president put it, yeah. >> i understand. of course. i mean, anybody would be concerned, but we're going to
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get the transcript. i want to see the words that were used, i want to see the context in which the words were used and i want to try to get the facts. and, willie, if you set aside the crank wings, i think that's what most americans right now to the extent people are interested yet, are trying to figure out. >> what do you make of the ukrainian prosecutor saying in may of hunter biden, quote, hunter biden did not violate any ukrainian laws. we do not see any wrongdoing. that's from the prosecutor in ukraine. do you take him at his word? >> i would have to know more about the prosecutor. let me say it again, my experience with ukraine -- and i have been to the country -- is that the two previous presidents were on the scarce side of honest and the most recent one before the current one was a little better, but not much. president zelensky i have high hopes for him, i want to do
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everything i can to help him, but well done is better than well said. he needs to clean up the corruption in ukraine and i think there was a lot of corruption there and maybe still is. >> do you have any concerns, senator, about a private attorney in rudy giuliani pursuing this story outside the state department, pursuing it outside the national security council? in other words, someone who does not work for the administration working on behalf of the president talking foreign policy with a foreign government? >> well, i did -- i was -- i was with chuck todd yesterday and chuck asked me about mr. giuliani and my response was i don't really want to go there. i mean no disrespect, i have never met mr. giuliani, but i think i said and i meant it, he is wild as a march hare. i can't be responsible -- he is a smart guy, but he's -- he's a free range chicken. i mean, he kind of gets on out there. >> he is a free range chicken who if you read the "washington post" this morning is sort of
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running a shadow policy towards ukraine, taking orders from the president outside the state department and asking a foreign government to look into a political opponent of the president, does that bother you? >> well, if it's true, sure, but there are going to be al kind of allegations. >> you don't think that rudy giuliani has been talking with ukraine about this story? >> i'm not going there, willie. >> he is the one who talks about. he was on this morning on a different network talking about it. >> i know. i know. i only watch your network, willie, i don't know about the other one. >> oh, come on. >> i'm not going there. look, there are going to be so many allegations before this is over about the president, about vice president biden, and i mention this to chuck yesterday, for whom i have great respect, i don't always agree with his politics but i enjoyed our conversation. look, letting the cat out of the bag is a lot easier than putting it back in. we are in the middle of a presidential campaign, not just republican versus democrat, but if you think president -- or vice president biden's democratic opponents aren't going to be all over this kind of stuff, the allegations about
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him as well as the allegations about trump, i mean, politics is not beanbag. everybody has an opposition research. >> so if the facts play out the way democrats believe they may, which is that this whistle-blower report which you want to see obviously and a lot of people want to see show that there was some can kind of a quid pro quo. that the trump administration says we're holding back almost $400 million worth of military aid unless you look into joe biden and his son, do you believe that is an impeachable offense? >> i'm not going to answer that, willie, let me tell you why. if the president is impeached i'm going to do my job. my job is to be a juror and to listen to all sides and to make a dispassionate decision. i'm not naive, i know impeachment is a political process. impeachment by definition says we don't like the president or the president did something so bad, whoever the president is, that we can't wait until the next election. i get that. >> right. >> but i don't want to pre judge
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these facts now that we are going to get the transcript. i don't want to pre judge them for president trump, i don't want to pre judge them for vice president biden. i hope both gentlemen have full disclosure and say, here it is, i'm out here, i'm putting it in front of the american people and i trust the american people to decide and i really mean that. >> senator, i'm going to spread it around here. noah rothman of commentary magazine is here. >> senator, i also have been to ukraine, i've sat down across from the prosecutor. >> it's a beautiful country. >> it's a gorgeous country with a robust effort to create a series of legitimate institutions but it's not there yet. i share your concern about the conduct of justice in that country and the president's concern. so what leads you to believe that the conduct of justice can be done impartially in this case in ukraine against a citizen who has not been accused of a crime when tossing that over to ukrainian institutions which we understand to be corruptible be an invitation for corruption?
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>> well, i can be hopeful. president zelensky had no prior political experience. i thought that was a good thing. he ran on an anti-corruption platform. so far he's done exactly what he says and said he would do and until proven otherwise i think he's going to fight corruption and i want to try to help him. that's why the senate -- >> i'm sorry, senator. continue. >> i don't know if that answers your question. maybe i didn't understand it. >> let's phrase it another way. >> please. >> let's say that the president now is circumventing his foreign policy -- >> president trump? president trump? >> his personal attorney to ukraine in order to advocate for the prosecution or at least the investigation of this individual. you are a straight shooter, senator, you tell it like it is, you can understand how that sounds to the american ear not like the pursuit of justice but the pursuit of vengeance. >> well, and that's a legitimate point of view, i just don't know
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if it's accurate. i honestly want to get the facts. i didn't think we were going to be getting this transcript. i had concerns about releasing the transcript in the sense of foreign policy. i don't want to world leaders like presidents do, but i talk to some and i don't want my conversations transcribed and made public. do you know why? world leaders won't talk to me anymore. so i didn't expect this transcript to be released but it's going to be released and now that we are going to get more facts we will eventually find out who the whistle-blower is. this place leaks like the titanic. you guys will probably get it before i will, a copy of the affidavit, and i'm sure the allegations about vice president biden's son are going to be pursued, if not by republicans, by his democratic opponents in the race. so this is all going to come out. and the stuff about mayor giuliani. >> senator, it's mike barnicle. >> hey, mike. >> you just said a few seconds ago that you don't want to pre
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judge anyone on this. you don't want to pre judge vice president biden. >> right. >> what would you pre judge vice president on when his involvement with ukraine was quite active in 2016, late 2015, he was not flying solo. >> well, this is the way i think an average american to the extent that he or she is interested is looking at this about vice president biden right now. a ukrainian oligarch put the vice president's son on his board of directors, paid him $600,000 a year, hired his law firm and gave his law firm a boat load of money. how did the russian oligarch get the vice president's son's name? did he get it off zip recruiter or was he trying for some kind of connection? and if he was trying -- he meaning the oligarch -- was trying for some kind of connection, did it work?
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now, i think that's the way the average american looks at this. i'm not saying that the vice president or his son, neither of whom -- i have met the vice president once, never met his son. i'm not saying that they did anything wrong, but i think -- >> you're coming pretty close. >> no. no. "the new york times" wrote an editorial about this talking about -- it's been some time ago, talking about the conflict of interest. actually last month, i didn't know this until i went and did the research after all this came out, "politico" in august did a long story about all of this and the hunter biden connection. so i don't know if it's true, but it will all come out. >> senator, i suspect we will have you on to talk more about this. i do want to ask you about president's pick for a judge on the second circuit court of appeals in new york, that nominee steven minashi frustrated senators on both sides of the aisle in jude shall
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committee hearing earlier this month. let's listen. >> you are really a smart guy but i wish you would be more forthcoming. this isn't supposed to be a game. we are supposed to try to understand not how you're going to rule but how you're going to think. >> well, senator, i'm happy to be more forthcoming you had a follow-up. >> i'm out of time. you took a lot of it by not answering my questions. >> did you work on the administration's decision to end deferred deportation for undocumented immigrants who are receiving treatment for life-threatening illnesses? >> senator, again, consistent with my duties of confidentiality to the client if the -- >> i'm not asking for what advice you gave. i'm not asking you to disclose any confidence. i'm asking you if the worked on the issue of denying daca status to those who are receiving treatment for life-threatening illnesses. >> senator, again, i want to be as transparent as possible. >> then please be transparent.
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>> if i could, that's not an unfair question. did you work on the subject matter? >> senator, i worked on immigration -- >> no, the specific question. >> and it went on like that all day. senator kennedy, are you going to oppose president trump's nominee there? >> i don't know yet, which will yes. my problem is this, i don't know the gentleman, he may be oliver wendle scalia for all i know but he wouldn't answer the questions and i didn't like that. the president has made some good nominations but we have had to reject three or four of them and i have had a part in it and i talked to the president about it. i told him i'm going to do my job, i prepare for these hearings and i'm not going to vote to put somebody on the bench if he's not going to answer my questions. i've told chairman graham and i'm meeting today with white house counsel they're coming to see me probably not to talk about the weather but i said bring him back and with all due respect tell him the answer the questions. i don't want him to talk about
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attorney/client privileged information. i don't want him to predict how he's going to -- or tell us how he's going to vote in a case, but i asked him straight up questions to discern what his jude shall philosophy is. is he an originalist, is he a non-originalist, is he a textualist, is he a pragmatist. he is a smart guy, he knew what he was talking about. do you know his answer? he stalled and restalled an i don't like that. i've prepped witnesses before. i tell witnesses, look, don't lead with your chin, this is when i was in practice, but answer the question, man. answer the question. and he wouldn't answer the question. and that's happened before with these nominees and count me fed up. >> and we could hear in that hearing room the frustration was bipartisan between dick durbin, yourself and even the chairman. >> this isn't a game, willie. these guys and women they are for life, man. they are for life. you know, until death do us part. and we can't afford to make a mistake here. >> senator john kennedy of louisiana, we always appreciate
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your time. thanks so much. >> okay, guys. coming up next on "morning joe," we will talk to one of the top democrats in the house, congressman hakeem jeffries, he joins us. as we head to break we just heard from john kennedy so how would lindsey graham react if it's true donald trump pressured ukraine to investigate joe biden? as he put it he would be, quote, very disappointed in the president. >> the answer is yes, i will be on your show very disappointed with our president. >> we are not mad we are just disappointed. >> no, we are mad. >> yes, we are. we are livid, but we are going to let this one slide. livid, bg to let this one slide.
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and take your business beyond. comcast business. beyond fast. welcome back to "morning joe." joining us now a member of the judiciary committee congressman hakeem jeffries of new york. it's good to see you as always. first a practical question.
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what is different now that speaker pelosi has publicly come out and supported the impeachment inquiry. you can tell us more about it. she said effectively it doesn't change much. we're just giving it a name. she's telling the six committees to continue your business. is that your view of it? >> no. she didn't state any such thing. what she did make clear is the house with the full weight of the speaker and the caucus is now in a full-blown impeachment inquiry that will involve six different committees with the focus on this very troubling concern that president trump pressured the ukrainian president in order to acquire political dirt to increase hisables. that's textbook power.
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it undermines the integrity and the electoral system that's the hear and soul of our democracy. that's where the focus will be as we move forward. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> i want to followup on willie's question. what exactly is happening today that was not happening yesterday because there are some who think democrats are using impeachment inquiry as semantics but nothing else is changing. help people at home understand exactly what's changed. >> speaker northbouancy pelosi constitutional officer within the context of the united states constitution, running the house of representatives which is an article 1 branch which should be an arrival of the presidency. she's now behind this impeachment inquiry. we're going to proceed fairly, we're going to proceed comprehensively, we're going to proceed expeditiously.
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six committees are in the impeachment inquiry and they'll recommend different articles of impeachment moving forward. prior to this you had the judiciary committee who launched an impeachment investigation. now we have an umbrella to get to the truth of the american people, the undermining of our national security, the undermining of our law and the undermining of our democracy. >> i want to ask you about the politics of this. nancy pelosi said democrats need to strike while the iron is hot but the house is supposed to be on a two-week recess. how worried are you the house might lose momentum and how concerned are you that all of this might energize trump voters to re-elect him as president? >> it will be my expectation there will be committee activity that occurs during the first two weeks of october as it relates to undercovering the particulars for the ukrainian scandal. this week two important things
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are going to happen. today on the floor we're going to pass a dissolution of approval with respect to the unlawful withholding of the whistle-blower complaint. that is a problem, and the american people, the congress as their representatives, deserve to see that document so we can get an understanding of what exactly was the urgent concern that was raised and brought to the attention of the inspector general. on thursday, of course, the acting director of national intelligence will be before the intelligence committee where we can get further information about what took place. hundreds of millions of congressional appropriated funds appear to have been withheld from an american ally that's at war with rush and the enemy of the country to advance the president's political objectives. that is an urgent matter, and we're going to get to the bottom of it. >> let's fast forward to it. it wouldn't be the first time
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articles of impeachment with this president has reached the floor. there have been articles on his comments about charlottesville. illian omar, the firing of the attorney general, et cetera. are you concerned that it will water down these allegations with a series of other unrelated impeachment articles? >> well, we have a constitutional responsibility to get to the truth on be f of the american people and you have six different investigative committees that are going to proceed with the solemn responsibility to do just that. at the end of the day, there is this matter of your subsequent concern. it does relate to the ukrainian scandal and the undermining of our democracy and national security and that is going to take the lead. simultaneously, we're going to continue to work to get things done on behalf of the american people to drive down the high cost of life-saving costs of drugs and to try to improve upon the nafta agreement in a way that will save good-paying american jobs. >> so, congressman, let me ask
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you about one of those final points. the cost of prescription medicine continues to explode, something that's very personal to me, the cost of insulin. i read story after story about people that have to go across the border, go to canada to get cheaper insulin, people -- mothers making decisions about whether they pay their heating bills or get their child insulin. why can't we make progress on bringing down the cost of prescription medication in the united states? it is so much higher here than it is across the world. why. >> great question, joe. it's totally unacceptable that we pay more than canada and australia and great britain and japan and france and germany because of the anti-competitive practices of big pharma and they're prohibited by law to undernegotiate. >> why is that?
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i mean why is that? that is an outrachlgs provision. donald trump promised to bring down the cost of prescription medication, and still the government is not allowed to negotiate prices of prescription medication. why? >> it's completely outrageous. this is a market-based approach where we can use the bulk price purchasing power of the federal government to drive down the cost of medicationle and speaker pelosi last week introduced legislation to do just that. the president has indicated he's open to supporting that type of legislation. we should be able to come together to lower these health care costs. this is not a republican issue or democratic issue. it's an american issue and democrats are committed to getting it done. >> mr. chairman, thanks for being with us this morning. >> thank you, brother. we have been showing polls
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that elizabeth warren has sunday. and now enough one. a poll out just this hour showing senator warren with a significant lead in california's primary race. warren up 11 points. she's up 9 points, 11 since june. 29% support among california's likely democratic voters. joe biden is at a drop. at 20%. senator sanders up 2%. kamala harris drops 5%. we had the quinnipiac poll tied nationally with joe biden. same story in new hampshire. they all point to one thing, and that is a surge for elizabeth warren. >> we see a continued decline for joe biden. mike barnicle, if your argument
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from the beginning of the campaign is inevitability and you cease to be inevitable, what is the next step for joe biden in his campaign? >> the first step is to say elizabeth warren is running a spectacular campaign. she's soaring and soaring every day. she's a formidable candidate on the stump. i think the biden campaign has to say to themselves, okay, she won, she really beat us, and we have to have a sense of urgency. we have to start talking more about the future, what the vice president wants to do going forward rather than he's talking about the past and the obama administration. it's really now, basically, joe, i think after labor day, a whole new quarterly campaign from now through christmas and we'll see what happens, but the invincibility argument could totally disappear as you know better than most, in iowa and new hampshire. it could be gone. >> yep.
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it certainly was a tough summer not only for donald trump but a tough summer for joe biden as well, and i think one takeaway we can have from all of this, that debates matter, that the blocking and tackling of campaigns matter, that the fundamentals matter. in all three of those political points, joe biden did not -- he underperformed, and elizabeth warren had a great summer. that does it for us at "morning joe." thanks so much for watching us. stick around. chris jansing is next with the news. >> thanks so much. hello. i'm chris jansing in for stephanie ruhle. it's wednesday, september 25th, and here's what's happening. a political gamble with stakes we have rarely seen in our lifetime. over the course of the next 48 hours we'll be learning significant critical

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