tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC September 25, 2019 6:00am-7:00am PDT
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 details in the accusations of the president
who at this hour is just blocks away from where i am, getting ready to leave trump tower and getting ready to head to a meeting with world leaders including the man at the center of this unfolding drama. the ukrainian president. it was a phone call between those two men, donald trump and volodymyr zelensky that pushed for nancy pelosi to call for an impeachment inquiry, one that promises to draw the country into a contentious battle by a somber pelosi. >> the actions to date taken by the president have seriously violated the constitution. the president must be held account aboutle. no one is above the law. >> the good news is the voters get it. this is why they say it's good for the election, but, you know what? it's bad for the country. if it's true. i can't even believe that it's true. >> the stakes couldn't be higher. the fate of the president, the future of both parties, the direction of the country rest on
a single question. can democrats convince the american people that president trump in the speaker's words betray the country he swore to protect. back to the catalyst of all this, the conversation that democrats allege was about getting zelensky to do research by investigating the family of joe biden. we will learn a lot more about that in just the next couple of days. at some point today the white house has promised to release the full unredacted transcript of the phone call between president trump and president zelensky, and in a nearly unbelievable coincidence, the two leaders will be meeting face-to-face at 2:15 this afternoon in a hotel in midtown manhattan close to the united nations. the whistle-blower complaint that was triggered by their phone call is expected to be turned over tomorrow. one of three significant events
because tomorrow morning joseph maguire, who, of course, has refused to hand over the whistle-blower complaint will testify publicly before the house intelligence committee. tomorrow afternoon there will be testimony privately before the senate intel committee. we're bringing the global resources of nbc news to cover every angle of this. geoff bennett and jarrett headachaig are on capitol hill. and peter alexander is at trump tower for us. anna, it seems like in the last 24 hours everything has change and maybe also nothing has changed, but there is no getting around the fact that democrats have made this huge historic move. >> yeah, absolutely. it was a seismic shift. in the process, you're right. the democrats were already going along the way figuring out at the judiciary level how they were going to proceed with the
articles of impeachment. now you have nancy pelosi. she's the most important person in the building and the one donald trump is most nervous about. you're going to see democrats coming out and supporting this. there's really going to be a process. it's not just go be jerry nadler and other the democrats wanting this. you have the speaker behind this. >> you have the president repeatedly tweeteding witch hunt garbage and talking about it in similar terms. now we're going to be looking at the whistle-blower come plaunlt being turned over and the releasing of a phone call. we keep saying it's a transcript. it's not verbatim. but certainly here's why. >> look. president trump at the time he made the announcement of the releasing of the transcript. he said it would clear him.
the critics say, how do we know this transcript won't be like the nixon transcripts? many remember it was complete and inaccurate. even though the white house at one point signaled they would turn this over, they might not. we might get clarity in the next couple of hours. that is why you have hthis voluntary complying. it's the instructive document, not at the transcript or summary that president trump seems to be pointing to, chris. >> garrett, we know -- and anna pointed this out -- speaker pelosi is someone who's lived this history, been through impeachment before, she's a constant politician.
is there a sense from her and other democrats you've been able to talk to on the hill that they have the message that you have to get the public behind any move toward impeachment? >> well, chris, that's exactly right. pelosi has been very cautious through this saying you don't have to necessarily bring every republican along but you have to bring the public along. i think that's why you're going to see these six committees are being allowed to do so. encouraged to in the open as much as possible, so the public can see as much of the homework as humanly possible to bring folks along on this argument. the other thing nancy pelosi has in her bag of tricks is the vast majority o the caucus, up to 200 democrats calling for impeachment. pelosi as we have seen in other fights is much stronger when she
has their support behind her. that gives her a little bit more lee ray, room to work. the other thing we need to watch is pelosi saying it's important that this expert move expeditiously. the more this slows down and drags out, i think potentially the more difficult it gets for democrats to keep the country focused on i. that's what they say she needs. >> peter, you cover the white house much of the time. we saw a lot of analysts coming out of it saying he looked sapped of energy. peter baker said in his article in "the new york times," first, we know now, which we didn't know during the speech yesterday, that he had had an hour-long phone call with nancy pelosi and three sources tell nbc, hey, can we do something about this whistle-blower complaint. but it seems to me, peter, it sets up conflicting narratives
here. one is he's terribly worried. the other is that it's good for em them. they're fund-raising off of this already. what can you tell us, peter? >> the president is clearly irritated and frustrated by his lashing out on twitter almost immediately after nancy pelosi wrapped up his remarks. it was strikes as we got notes of the president and the reporter pool follows him as he came back to the trump tower where he could warp. he said this should not be allowed to happen to any other president. rerecognizes there's a real frustration and anger that his internal nair active will include the idea only four presidents have faced the prospect of impeachment no matter what happens over the course of time. if you speak to the friends
andand allibies. there may be a few details they latch onto, but they don't think it's in any way the type of smoking gun some have suggested. they think it will alienate some of those sun ber ban voters, who may be less inkriened to vote for the democrats this time around as a result. so inside there is certainly a sense of optimism and the president has seen that as well. >> during the course of this we've said, peter, you can't make this stuff up, but in the midst of this unfolding, he's actually among the meetings he has, he's going to be meeting with the president of ukraine. >> reporter: no. you're exactly right. that meeting is supposed to
happen in the 2:00 hour today. in fact, the ukrainian president spoke this morning. what's so striking about this meeting that will take place today and our colleague hallie jackson will be representing the television pool going into that meeting with a chance to throw questions at the two, it's the first time. the president app his allies have insisted, hey,'ve the ukrainians have said there's nothing wrong with this call. it will be a remarkable backdrop on the series of events. >> also in the middle of all this, we saw it last night, early today, rudy giuliani. this morning he says he knows about the phone call between
trump and play that. >> there ee no mention of military aid, no quid pro quo. >> this is the transcript? >> did you say you read this? >> it was red to me. >> was the whole thing read to you. >> i don't know. e hope. >> he says he hopes. again, a transcript is a transcript is a transcript. the president actually tweeted about this when he was defending himself. he said, i know there are people listens this on this call. as you started to point out earlier, it's not just about this transcript. it's about the investigation going forward and the other people who are going to be able to say what they heard on that call. >> that's right. one of the things the house speaker told her colleagues yesterday an she sort of alluded this to her statement to the
nation is that what president trump has already admitted to, she says, is enough. the second that president trump said those words, joe biden said he really crossed the line. he invited a foreign power to clute. that is a breach of his october of office. so today the house is still moving forward. they're going to take a vote on the resolution expressing their displeasure that the white house hasn't yet fully turned it over. full steam ahead on this impeachment inquiry, regardless of what republicans on the hill ooh i'd. what we heard from nancy pelosi. okay. we're jumping in. we're in this. how much could our view change over the next 48 hours or so, do you think? >> there's so much unknown right
now. what's in the whistle-blower complaint. what does it? does the whibs making them feel uncomfortable with the decision to go down this road or whether or no they're going to go down the base that's all right gone public. >> i want to bring in john. help us step back and get the big picture context. this has only happened three other times in american history and i think nancy pelosi femme the way of it. you absolutely could see it in your face. this morning as you wake up as a historian, what were you thinking? >> it's tricky sometimes to
bring the framers into the present and say what do you think about robotics? you can't do that historic chlg it's very clear from the documents we i had from the 1970 and '80ers they were concerned. there's a specific contribution you can't accept a foreign title of mobility. we know how the last two years have gone. we've been an independent country and we've endured. they had no idea if we would last so they were trying to build a wall of politics around. that would keep then. it would turn it into a european like zone.
it's very much on their minds that the officers should be e focused on the sovereignty of the united states. in that, they deshieds checks and balances, frmg it it's why to fwu do that. it's divided. it's tricky to do things, but the plus side of that, it's also hard for bad things to happen very quickly. and i think where we are historically is our other impeachments have all come at moments of immense national stress when we were confronting seemingly existential questions. andrew johnson in the 1860s was about what was the verdict of the civil war? what did it really mean.
andrew johnson was trying to indoor that verdict. nixon in the 19 p 7 po. divided us ads ps ferociously. the cold war, '60s, '70s, is that was part of what was going on. the clinton impeachment that now seems less specific it was about the general life. baby boomers, public angst about the position she seemed to be taking in the crip tan. now we have our populist reaction in 2016, globalization, its challenges, the pressures on the middle class, the pressures on the working class have all
found presentation and. so there's a big issue here. you have a president who's come forward and said, yes, i did these things, yes, i can shoot someone. the question is going to be will the line speaker pelosi has drawn, will the majority of americans expect that should be the line? >> you mentioned that during the nixon years there was this huge devry. there was a huge divide over the vietnam war and the man at the time they carled tricky dim p. we're in a different time. you have the man who occupies the oval office. in 2019, john, do you believe even as prescient as the founds
fathers were, can impeachment be seen as a legitimate process in this environment? can it play out as an impeachment process. >> that's the grateful hope. the other part of it is what percentage of americans have to see it as it. we're at a big disputatious complicated country. 50%? 55%? 60%? it's a serious number. watergate unfolded over 25 1/2 mons from the watergate break n break-in. nixon left office in 1974. they were trying to impeach johnson from the end of '65 to
when they finally did in '78, '68. let's let the facts speak. let's see what the facts say and then make a rational decision. you can do nothing more to the founding principles of this country by making a sound and rational decision. >> i wasn't kidle. jon meacham, such a great voice this morning. we have a lot more to get to in this hour. any minute president trump is expected to leave trump towers. what happens next? we have the new england sentence. next up, the impeachment and
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we have some breaking news for you right now. more democrats just this morning putting their support behind this impeachment process. the new number, 211 of 235 house democrats. to understand the gravity of the impeachment process, we go back to the federalist papers which describe an impeachable crime
this way, quote. those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men or the abuse or violation of some public cost that relate chiefly to injuries done immediately to the society itself. now, of course, impeachment is a word house speaker nancy pelosi has tiptoed around for months as the more progresive members of her party have pushed her to make the move we saw yesterday. but what does impeachment mean and how does the process work? charlie savage. break it down for us. nancy pelosi says she's got six committees working largely under this inquiry umbrella. how does it play out. >> thank you, chris. normally a president has a four-year term. impeachment is a way to remove the president before the term is up. essentially if the house votes by a sim pal pa jort for one or
more articles of impeachment, that's kind of like indicting the president. and then this will be a trial of the senate overseen by the supreme justice of the supreme court. there will be prosecutors managed by the house of representatives, the president could have defense attorneys, and in the end of the pro sisd. you would move them. >> how clearly defined is this? for example if mitch mcconnell decides he doesn't see this as an impeachable offense and this is making a presumption about something going through the house, does he say i gavel this into order? when we say there will be a trial, are we guaranteed that would be the next step? >> no because this is a place where the constitution clearly contemplates there will be a trial, but there's no enforcement mechanism. just like the constitution most
people think ensures there should be a vote on the supreme court nominee. the president refused to hold a hearing on merrick gardner. there's a system ligamented. but if somebody violates that, nothing can be done about that. that's part of where we are in this polarized america right now. i should hasten to add most people think at least as they stand now, there's zero things that would break with the president in suv emt numbers to get to that two third majority. it's about the sanction of impeachment ran than the removal. >> joining me now is a professor at harvard law school and was in the obama administration.
he's also the author of "impeachment: a citizen's guide, "so picking up on that, the average person sitting out there, if you think you're undecided but have open minds, what should they be looking for and watching as things are happening over the next 48 hours? >> i think the major thing to focus on is the constitutional standard, high crimes and misdemeanors. that means there has to be egregious use of presidential authority. if you think president trump is terrible and a danger to the public, that's not a legitimate basis for impeaching him. if you think he's wonderful, that's not a basis for not impeaching him as relates to high crimes and misdemeanors. what you have to look at is was
there pressure that would be recognized as such by the ukrainian president, praet to investigate a political opponent. if that happened, that would be very important. the facts are on the people and the focus shouldn't be on the majesty or beauty that automatically puts sovereignty in our court. >> let's look at some possible examples here as this is going to start to unfield. unfold. i want you to look at things we believe we know. the "washington post" reports extensively how officials at the nsc, state department, pentagon couldn't get an answer why hundreds of millions of money to
crew crane were being held up. insiders were worried there would be a call because they were conditicerned. then the call happens. the whistle-blower filing his report and a few days later the aid is released. does all that start to add up to an impeachn't naableimpeachn'ta? >> i wouldn't say so. it's the basis of an impeachment inquiry. but the fact that they didn't know why they head a red flag up, some people live in the executive branch apparatus and will be concerned about the president's conversation and things might go astray. so i would think these are concerns and legitimate bases
for inquiring as to what was going on in that conversationing but we're not talking about impeachth branch. if the account really shows the president saying we need you to do this, then we have an impeachable offense. no doubt about it. >> if you wham to go back to the federal papers and say impeachment is involved in public trust and you pointed out high crimes and misdemeanors. it can sound to the nonexpert as a pretty broad brush. >> yeah. that's how it would sound to us now but actually the words were like motor vehicle for us. that is if you don't know anything about motor vehicle, that word sounds like it could mean bicycles or airplanes.
historically high crimes and misdemeanors are like, it meant things like violations of civil liberties. that would clearly be that. using foreign governments to interfere with our elections. that would clearly be a high crime or misdemeanor. abusing the high pardon power would be a misdemeanor and the examples of. . it is not a grnlt of discretion too f to future demonstrations. if the president did what speaker pelosi thinks he did, sad to say we're in the domain of the impeachable. >> thank you so much. president trump said to meet in just moments with world leaders in new york just hours after the house launched its
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we'll see the motorcade inclu including the beast with the president. we're also waiting for the account of their july phone call. that could be released any minute now. president trump has already admitted he spoke with zelensky about joe biden and his son hunter. hunter biden as you may know served on the board of ukraine's largest private gas company whose owner was investigated for possible corruption. hunter biden was not accused of any wrongdoing in this investigation. joining me now, the former ambassador michael fall. also ted price. it's great to see both of you. ambassador, for anybody who might not be clear on why it's a big deal, if an opponent were asked to investigate a political opponent, can you explain the
significance of that? >> it's the president of the united states, a leader of the free world, vital to the ukraine's national security interest. asking the president, the newly elected president, by the way, brand-new president zelensky, to do a political favor not to advance america's national interest but to advance the president's personal political interest. that's wrong and it puts president zelensky in an extremely precarious position. remember they rely on us to deter russia, which occupies part of their country right now, is helping to fight a war in eastern ukraine. so it's a very difficult conversation for the newly elected president of ukraine to say, hey, no, i don't want to do that, i want to talk about u.s./ukrainian relations. that's going to be difficult to do on the phone and difficult to do today when they meet. he's going to have to stand next to the president and say a lot
of laudatory things about the ukrainian president because they need us. >> now, the president's personal lawyer has been making the rounds on tv, and we see particularly from some reporting, i think, in the "washington post" just how involved he was in the ukraine situation, virtually every step of the way. last night's interview on fox was really jaw dropping. let's take a listen. >> i should sue you for libel because you irresponsibly said -- >> please. >> you usually say incredibly stupid things. >> you're a public figure. >> by the way, do you have any idea that the public -- >> so you -- >> 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 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 about you can respond. >> turn him off so i can speak. i do not want to be interrupted. >> let's let rudy speak. >> from that serial liar. >> ned, can you explain how highly irregular it is that the state department would ask a private citizen, rudy giuliani, to do this kind of work? does this make any sense? >> it doesn't make any sense in this case, chris. it's highly unusual that the state department or any other didn't or agency would turn to a private citizen, especially rudy giuliani who, of course, is no longer just the former mayor of new york city. he's also president trump's personal attorney. i think what we're seeing here is an attempt at least on the part of some to turn rudy giuliani into a scapegoat. and while i have no sympathy for
mr. giuliani, i think that's too simplistic. what mr. giuliani has said in the past few days paints a very ominous picture of the amount of support for his efforts that was found within the executive bran. he told fox news just the other night he has always been following orders from the state department. the fact that they sent him on a mission last night, i believe it was. he also very helpfully for those who are aware of the freedom of information act, he held up his phone and said's all here. we know he's backed other u.s. ambassadors. what's more interesting is secretary of state mike pompeo hasn't distanced himself from this. when asked about it, he almost defended it. i think the question is how high up within the trump state
department was giuliani's efforts and was that something president trump himself actually lended his endorsement to? >> i want to read part of what the "washington post" reported. it says, quote, several officials described tense meetings on ukraine leading up to the president's phone call on july 25th. sessions that led some participants to fear that trump and those close to him appeared prepared to use u.s. leverage with the new leader of ukraine for trump's political gain. and now we're going to see actually at least the report on what actually happened in that call. we have piano who listened in on the call who will talk to various committees in congress. what do you make of that? >> well, i think, number one, it underscores how broken the interagency is, the process that the national security council usually runs.
remember, i also worked at nsc for the first three years in the obama administration, and any time you had a call with a foreign leader, you read this. many foreign policy officials, you know, professionalsdy agreed with what was happening. they probably knew -- they most certainly knew about what mr. giuliani was doing, and i just want to underscore what ned said. this is crazy that he is somehow intervening in these affairs. they were trying to clear it up, and it didn't work. >> gentlemen, thank you very much. it was great having you on this very important day as this process gets under way. we're still waiting for president trump to leave trump tower. >> at this hour. over 200 have expressed their
action for support for impeachment. this is a telling number. several have changed their minds in the last 48 hours. one democrat congresswoman changed her mind. yours was the knowledge that the polls showed american people did not back it and there was not bipartisan support. so now at least on the public opinion part of it, can you mail your case for why impeachment? >> i think that with what're seeing now is the president engaging in contact that we have never seen before with the past 44 presidents, and we cannot allow this president, president number 45, to betray his office, the lawnd and the machinery people. i think at this point it's clear
he's undermining national security? on what grounds. they have grounds for russia, hush money payments. as i pointed out, you were on board with the impeachment long before the phone call. there are others who have said the only way to move forward is be very pointed, very focused on exactly where this is as we see the president's motorcade coming out of trump tower. so is that what you essentially signed on for, that this will be a fairly clear impeachment process as opposed to a laundry list of what democrats consider are impeachable offenses? >> i think the committees are going to continue to look into this. only the judiciary committee was investigating based on an impeachment inquiry. now all six committees are going
to continue their investigation. the house intelligence committee is taking on the whistle-blower case. there are so many incidents that are so trumt sore. they must produce the full complaint and they have not done so. >> do you believe you could make a case to the american people that impeachment is legitimate if you're going to, again, go through any number of reasons why? what do you say unless you're clear and focused the american people will not get on board. do you dispute that? >> i fully agree we need to be clear. it's a very serious issue and it should not be partisan. when you read the mueller report -- >> so you're willing to go back to the mueller report as far as
impeachment. >> we're not going back. we're still continuing our investigation. there were eight incidences of obstruction of justice. what we're doing, all six committees will continue to investigate. the whistle-blower is a tipping point for americans. i think when you have a president that's using the power of his office to encourage a foreign government to use it for his political advantage for the election for 2020, that is not only dangerous, but it's a clear violation of the constitution and the law. that is clear. it's a person we've been seeing in this president for months which is why it came out early in june. being part of the judiciary committee, believe me, i have seen that pattern from the very beginning when we took office in january. >> congresswoman, we appreciate you taking the time on a busy day. >> thank you. coming up, how the impeachment inquiry could drastically shape up the 2020 election. lly shape up the 2020 election
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by donald trump want him to be gone, we need to take a sober pause and understand that this must be seen with the lens of patriotism. >> we are prepared to take action to require accountability and consequence for the abuse of power by this president. >> on the other side, president trump's camp hasn't wasted any time, immediately flooding supporters with emails, mocking impeachment efforts and the whistle-blower claims, announcing this morning they raised $1 million in the first three hours following pelosi's announcement. joining me now nbc news jonathan allen and former assistant to president obama, former white house secretary and council for the oversite committee chris lu, he worked in 1998 and he's currently an adviser for the bullet campaign, author of piety and power and political analyst
s . >> could trump supporters be right that this plays into donald trump's hands? >> this is the base of donald trump that if he did shoot someone on fifth avenue, they will still be behind him or send him $50. the question is what do they find out, how do they play it and it's critical that the democrats use professional investigators to lay out the facts. that's how you're going to sway republicans who aren't just completely in the camp. >> speaking of the republicans, tom, what are you hearing? you're very plugged in on the president's side. are they nervous? do they believe that this plays into their hands? >> let me give you two takes. one is what we heard in the fund-raising email, they're ready for war. they see this as -- >> and they've been preparing for this for a while? >> exactly. they see this as pelosi out over her skis and she's forced into it. let me give you another take, though. they're worried about inside the white house, they're worried about the same worries that you had with trump/russia where they don't have a good political
operation the way that the clintons did. the white house does not have a carvill in place. i've heard words about jared kushner and his ability to handle this. >> so chris, we've talked a lot this morning about process, but what we haven't talked a lot about is strategy, kind of to susan's point. you've been in the middle of it. i'm just thinking, for example, at the end of the week is house is supposed to go home for two weeks. i don't know if they're going to decide that now that we've launched this impeachment inquiry, we shouldn't do that. talk to me about the strategy on both sides and ultimately is the way this plays out about who is more thoughtful and better organized? >> it's also important to understand when you talk about the politics of impeachment where public opinion is at the outset may not be where it is at the end. and part of that depends on the weight of the evidence and your ability to present it. you'll wall back in the watergate hearings when they started back in 1973, only 19%
of americans supported removing richard nixon. that eventually rose to about 57% in part because of the weight of evidence. so it's going to be important for people on the house judiciary committee as well as house leadership to make a clear and convincing case, not only based on these allegations on ukraine, but how this feeds into a broader sense of abuse of process, obstruction of justice by this president. but it's also important when you look at the politics of this, democrats are trying to do the right thing. we're trying to uphold the role of law. i look at the op ed that the seven house freshmen put out yesterday. they flip republicans seats, so they know that there's a political danger in this, but they're willing to do that to up hold the constitution. >> we only have a minute left, but what are the 2020 consequences of this, as we see a new q poll showing a tight race between elizabeth warren and joe biden? >> we have an amazing situation here where president trump and
joe biden are both involved in this ukraine mess, in this affair, and both of their names could be dragged through the mud for many months here. obviously that's the intent of the trump folks, to get joe biden dragged through the mud. but if there's an impeachment process, the president also takes that damage. if you're elizabeth warren, you probably keep your mouth shut as much as you can and enjoy the benefit of it. >> jonathan, tom, chris, susan, i wish we had more time. coming up, president trump set to meet with world leaders here in new york just minutes away as we await the release of the transcript of president trump's call with the ukrainian president. that could literally come any minute now. so don't go anywhere.
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we are back at what is really a historic moment, the morning after the day that house democrats said that they were going to start an impeachment inquiry against the president of the united states. he is here in new york not far from where i am. he is about to meet with venezuela's leader. as we await the release of the transcript of his call with the ukrainian leader, which is of course at the heart of what finally moved so many democrats. now there are 211, to say that they are behind impeachment, at least on some level. hallie jackson is here. worth noting that as we wait for this phone call as we saw yesterday with all the u.n. meetings, we will have multiple opportunities to hear from president trump today. >> including at the top of the
hour. you mentioned his meeting with the leader of venezuela, this is one of several one on ones that the president has today. msnbc happens to be able to be in the room, interacting with the president. one of our team's producers is there. i'll be in the room for the meeting with the president and the leader of ukraine in just a bit. it is now 10:00 and we're going to get to breaking news. as this moment is trump administration is releasing what the president describes as the transcript of that phone call that launched the democrats' impeachment investigation. what we now know, it was a 30-minute call with the president of ukraine two months ago. we've got a team of reporters covering the story and let's get to julia at the justice department. what are we learning so far? >> we went over the transcript of the call and we also went over why the justice department is not going to release the whistle-blower complaint. what stood out to me about the transcript is that the presi