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tv   MTP Daily  MSNBC  September 26, 2019 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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will be in a fantastic position and everybody who makes this vote will feel confident. doomsday clock of 2018 is set. >> does it help or hurt with gets republicans on board? >> i think that a bipartisan investigation in the senate intelligence committee which the chairman has launched will force some real truth telling soon. >> can't wait. my thanks to jason, claire, amy and rick and to you for watching. i'm nicolle wallace. "mtp daily" with chuck todd starts right now. ♪ welcome to thursday. "meet the press dale elizabeth warren. i'm chuck todd in washington. now that we've seen the whistle-blower complaint, it may very well turn into the democratic -- house democrats' road map for impeachment.
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how potentially damaging and detailed it is. it describes a wide-ranging and long-running scheme by the president and his associates to try to pressure ukraine to investigate a political rival. also including new allegations of an effort to cover up some of the evidence. there are many leads and witnesses and questions outlined in the seven-page document. the president is, of course, the central figure here but also potentially implicated at least in this whistle-blower report vice president pence, attorney general bill barr, the president's personal attorney rudy giuliani, multiple white house officials and many others. now, the whistle-blower also details evidence of a potential cover-up. the complaint claims that white house officials knew that that infamous july phone call between the president and ukraine's president was a problem. and then tried to, quote, lock down all records of the phone call especially the official word for word transcript of the call which meant improperly moving it to a server reserved for the most sensitive of classified secrets.
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whistle-blower notes that action and in and of itself could be a violation of the law. the president is going after the whistle-blower complaint and the whistle-blower. we'll show you that in a moment. but this morning in a public hearing his spy chief, the acting director of national intelligence joseph maguire defended the whistle-blower and confirmed that the notes released by the white house yesterday corroborate some of his allegations. >> i think the whistle-blower did the right thing. it was urgent and important. >> you don't have any reason to accuse them of disloyalty to our country or -- >> sir, absolutely not. i would say that the whistle-blower's complaint is in alignment with what was released by the president. >> do i have your assurance that the whistle-blower will be able to testify fully and freely and enjoy the protections of the law? >> yes, congressman. >> our white house team reports that there appears to be rising
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anxiety on these and concern inside the white house. shell shocked is how one person described the mood. the president is lashing out. in fact, newly obtained audio from the president addressing a group of diplomats earlier today in new york city. >> i want to know who's the person who gave the whistle-blower -- who's the person who gave the whistle-blower the information? because that's close to a spy. you know what we used to do in the old days, when we were smart? right? the spies and treason. we used to handle it a little differently than we do now. >> well, okay then. let's get to the latest from our team of nbc reporters all over this story and it has tentacles and multiple parts of the city and in all parts. kelly o'donnell at the white house. jeff bennett on capitol hill with me, nbc chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell in new york, and our justice correspondent pete williams. pete, i'm going to start with you. the whistle-blower complaint.
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and what it does detail, it seems to be raising and the whistle-blower seems to almost be a reporter or their own investigator of sorts, gathered a set of facts, reported it to the inspector general and then this is where we are. >> well, that's a good way to put it because what is completely clear the whistle-blower says in his or her own letter to the inspector general which is the thing that was made public today that this person had no firsthand information of any of this. this was all related to the whistle-blower -- no n >> not any of it but on much of it i think is what they said. >> the other stuff is things the whistle-blower found out through his own research but in terms of firsthand accounts of what happened at the white house, that came from white house officials, from intelligence officials about how the call was classified and all of that so, yes, that's a good way to put it. sort of like a person gathering all this information and, of course, what the justice
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department said when the inspector general passed this along is, well, because it doesn't involve any function of the intelligence agency or of any intelligence entity or any intelligence agency employee, it didn't fit the very narrow standards for what's called an urgent action to pass it along immediately to congress and that's why instead, the director today said the acting director said it was referred to the justice department which concluded there wasn't a crime. >> we've learned that there were two referrals actually that the ig seemed to make, there was a separate refer made to the fbi. there was some confusion with director maguire today, justice, fbi and everybody seemed confused. can you clear this up? is there they're both right. it's two in one. what happened is we were told yesterday by a senior justice department official that in late august the referral was made one to the justice department and one to the criminal division and two to the fbi but we were told that the fbi basically deferred to justice to make this legal
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call about whether this call by the president assuming all these facts were true would amount to a violation of the campaign financial -- campaign finance laws and concludes it was no because there wasn't a thing of value involved. >> just to clarify, when we kept hearing the words investigate thrown around today, the type of investigation the inspector general does versus the type of investigation the fbi would have done with this, the inspector general's job was simply to investigate what here? >> the inspector general's job really was to take this letter, determine whether it was credible. >> that's the investigation aspect for this person, correct? >> correct. that's it and then -- >> this is an investigation in the details of the investigation -- just that the chief allegations are credible and are worthy potentially of more investigation. >> well, in this case in the very narrow case here involving this letter was whether this should go to congress or not. that was really the inspector general's job alt that point was
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to -- because the letter from the whistle-blower says i am making an urgent report. this is an urgent action so that triggers an immediate statutory checklist and the inspector general's job at that point was to say is it credible and if it is pass it along to his boss, the director of national intelligence who then would pass it along to congress but there was a circuit breaker in here because we now know the dni went to the white house and said, wait a minute, is there executive privilege? can i do this? >> let me go to jeff on capitol hill. i want to put up full screen one right now. this is every single individual person that basically could be a witness list if you will. of names that were name checked in the report from obviously president trump, pence, giuliani, barr, a dozen white house official, white house lawyer, rick perry, the former u.s. ambassador to the ukraine, the number two at the state department, special representative kurt volker.
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even u.s. attorney john durham. where does this go next, jeff? >> it's an astounding list. chairman -- intelligence chairman richard -- adam schiff, excuse me today after the hearing ended told us reporters that this investigation, the whistle-blower complaint really provides his team with many avenues and he says probably investigate any number of those material witnesses but here is the thing, chuck. i think in politics as you well know and we've talked before about how impeachment is a political remedy here, timing and messaging account for a lot. and the takeaway that we're getting from house democrats, they believe this ukraine controversy provides the best case as they try to quickly build their public argument against president trump. and they say that even as these six committees will continue their investigative work looking into things like emoluments
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violation, the president's tax returns, the findings of the mueller probe, the intelligence committee, the house intelligence committee under the leadership of adam schiff is now really positioned to take center stage here. really positions him as in many ways public spokesperson of the impeachment effort second to house speaker nancy pelosi, of course. even as the judiciary committee will retain that responsibility for making an ultimate decision, to vote articles of impeachment out of a committee that would go to the full house, really the heavy lifting will remain with adam schiff and his committee right now. i think that's the biggest sea change we've seen in just the last 24 to 48 hours and democrats feel that coming off this hearing today that they've made a lot of headway. >> so that the chief investigation of this incident, that is going to be adam schiff, not jerry nadler. >> that's right on this specific discreet question of ukraine, of the president trying to press a foreign official into the service of his political
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campaign to dig up discredited dirt on a political rival that's the case that democrats are going to make and that work will be investigated by the intelligence committee. >> all right. i want to go -- kelly, i'm going to -- i want to -- i want you to help describe sort of how when you hear the phrase white house officials, guys, i'll do full screen five and full screen six from the whistle-blower complaint but, kelly, let's start with five. the white house officials who told me this information were deeply disturbed by what had transpired in the phone call and there was a discussion ongoing with white house lawyers about how to treat the call because of the likelihood in this official's retelling that they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain. what i'd like you to sort of share with viewers is, the mix of both political and professional inside the white house and how because as we know people will hear the words white house officials are these political people, nonpolitical people? help us out here. >> if you think, for example, people who work in the situation
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room who would have been the note takers who would have originally heard this phone call, the president was in the residence when he called the ukraine president. the people taking the notes were in the situation room. they're not political appointees. people who work for the national security council are a mix of capitol hill appointees and what we often refer to as detailees. people who come from various departments around government who often cross between administrations who have specific expertise in different areas of the world. they know about asia when we're talking about north korea. they know about europe when we're talking about ukraine and so forth. there are people who are not directly trump loyalists or trump appointees. they're white house officials in this case. that could be part of it. also people who work in the white house counsel's office would be people who might be very sensitive to things that might be a trip wire when it comes to matters of law. also just to give you a sense if
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i may, chuck, right as you were beginning your program the president did one of those call an audible moments where he had the pool rush out to the lawn and surround himself with law enforcement in town for their own meeting and those are supporters typically of the president. he again did not take questions so that's twice today where a president normally loquacious and eager to tangle with reporters and so forth did not take questions. so we might be seeing a mark turn in how the president is interacting with reporters so we've seen that change from the president today instead basking in their support. that's something that happened just a few minutes ago. >> you can see an evolving reaction over the last few days. andrea, the most -- i would say the newest accusation in here has to do with the inauguration of the new ukrainian president. pull up full screen 8 guys. i learned from u.s. officials on
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or around the 14th of may the president instructed vice president pence to cancel his planned travel to ukraine to attend president zelensky's inauguration on 20th of may. rick perry led it instead. it was also made clear to them that the president did not want to meet with mr. zelensky until he saw how zelensky chose to act in office. that was a new allegation. we didn't know that perry led that delegation but apparently that was a message, ironically i believe rt, the kremlin's propaganda arm noted the snub in their reporting at the time which other people had labeled as fake news. anyway, andrea, explain that. >> well, this is part of a time line that came out in this complaint. there was an april call by the president to zelensky. we don't know -- we don't have notes or a transcript or any kind of reconstruction of that. that has been requested by
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congress. we don't know if we'll get that. call has not been explained. four days after that call and he had just won the runoff election. four days later, the president went on fox news and was talking very favorably about a former prosecutor who had been talking to giuliani and had been meeting with him and about evidence against the bidens and that it was evidence against hunter biden. it was big. it was incredible. so he was following this narrative which was all over fox and the president was following it and then four days after that, the very highly regarded u.s. ambassador to ukraine was recalled. this was april 29th. re-called back to washington with no explanation. she had been doing a great job by all accounts but she had been pushing back against all these back channeling by giuliani and others and then may 6th i believe she was basically removed from office. so pushed out, a career person
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with -- a veteran of european and ukraine politics and it's right in that time frame in may that you get this real snub by not downgrading the delegation that was to be led by the vice president. so already the pressure points through giuliani and others were being communicated loud and clear to zelensky long before this call in july. >> very quickly, andrea, is the state department at all nervous about how much foreign policy giuliani pay or may not have been doing? >> so nervous but mike pompeo at a news conference in new york today was asked that very question and he said, well, i haven't had a chance to read it. the complaint, i've just seen the top lines about it. i've been pretty busy but there's nothing that the state department dm did in any of in that is of concern but he had to know why his veteran ambassador was being pushed out so now pompeo is implicated in at
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least -- we know mike pence is by this inaugural snub and, of course, william barr even though he says he never did anything. he certainly is one of the people named in the complaint. >> hey, pete williams, very quickly, should we be -- will we -- do you expect the inspector general at least investigations into barr's behavior and pompeo's behavior just given that there's really almost no other choice that sometimes an agency has to do when thrown into this situation? >> well, only if they get a complaint and only if they consider it credible. the justice department's position is that barr had no involvement with this call or any of the follow-up or the decision not to prosecute. >> it may be an inspector general that decides whether barr, whether that is an -- >> i would be surprised if there was. >> kelly, jeff, andrea, pete. our nbc news team kicking it off. thank you very much. big day here. up ahead, we got a lot more on the whistle-blower complaint. that's at the center of this growing scandal that could lead to the president's impeachment as democrats are accusing the white house of a cover-up and trying to focus this impeachment
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welcome back. we've got a lot of breaking news to unpack from the public release of this whistle-blower complaint which all but gives congressional investigators fairly simple road map to do their own investigation to figure out what is behind the president's obsession with ukraine politics and joe biden and was he trying to get ukraine help him in the 020 election. joining me carol lee, msnbc foreign policy contributor and form ter deputy assistant secretary of defense evelyn factor cuss. a bush appointee back in the bush days -- and msnbc national security analyst and former chief of staff for both the cia and pentagon, jeremy bash during
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the obama years. we have a lot covered here. i want to start with we have a truncated time line. here's the time line we've built here at nbc but we have a truncated time line i wart to start with carol lee. the president has been talking about the phone call that it's the center but the phone call sort of stretches things out. in january, rudy giuliani, the first known meeting with at the time the prosecutor in ukraine. and let's see, april and may giuliani begins lobbying ukraine to open an inquiry on hunter biden and/or joe biden. in early july is when the aid is suspended when omb sends out that notice. july 25th is the trump/zelensky phone call. right after that almost the next day we have meetings between the envoy, the president's special envoy and all of that. this is not just a beautiful, perfect phone call the president said and it's not just one phone call anymore, is it? >> no, it's also not just what's
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contained in the whistle-blower complaint or in or the contents of the phone call this. is something clearly building. if you look at that time line they were building up to this as joe biden was considering getting in the race and really ramps up after the former vice president gets into the race at the end of april. and so you have this whole public road map. >> we have to add biden's announcement into -- >> add biden's announcement into the time line. lauren, add that. anyway, go ahead. >> have you this whole public narrative and then have you what we learned today and yesterday of the phone call, details of the phone call and what's in the whistle-blower complaint and when you put them together it's a really pretty damaging thing for the president. what we know is that this completely caught the white house off guard. that they're currently in
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scramble mode. i spoke to someone who said there's nothing but anxiety, unease and concern and there's a real growing sense that there -- it's hard to believe there is no there there. and on top of that, they don't have a plan. >> evelyn, your job was basically you are -- america's in-house expert on the politics of russia and ukraine in some ways. explain -- it seems as if the more you look here, so juul's meeting with the prosecutor in january to try to do this. the presidential election does seem to -- the victory of zelensky that takes place in april seems to shock a lot of people including rudy giuliani. walk us through sort of what happened to ukrainian politics in the last six months that may have rattled trump and giuliani. >> yeah, so rudy giuliani is talking to the prosecutor general, not the one that got booted out earlier because he wasn't doing his job but under
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president po the president there -- he wasn't completely up to the job and our ambassador, the one that we talked about earlier who got fired sidelined, she was putting pressure on behalf of the u.s. government. i mean, again, all these decision, what the u.s. ambassador says in kiev is the result of an interagency meeting and she's putting pressure on that guy. you got to do more about corruption. because he still wasn't -- even though he was the new more democratic less corrupt government, he still wasn't doing enough. then the elections come and nobody thought that this guy who was an entertainer -- zelensky, who had a show where he was a schoolteacher and accidentally became the president of ukraine would then subsequently in real life become the president of ukraine. >> they haven't watched our politics. that would never happen in this country. >> our embassy wasn't calling. we were all talking about it. we ukraine watchers who, is going to win. was it going to be poreshenko not leading forward enough on
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corruption or this guy an unknown entity and the unknown entity won. he called for slap elections of the parliament so he would be able to actually enact all the things he needs to enact to get rid of corruption. it's a new ball game. >> so, jeeremy, let's pick up te story. so that gets us to this role that rudy giuliani has played and i think this is the most -- what is his role and if you were still in government, what would you think his role was? >> well, he's not a government official. he doesn't work for the state department nor the justice department nor the white house. he's a private citizen. in some respects he's the president's lawyer but let's be honest. he's really the president's political fixer and his cable tv talking head, talking points spewer and has a job to help the president be re-elected. he goes to ukraine to help try to dig up dirt on joe biden. now, how does he do that? what leverage does rudy giuliani have over the ukrainian
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officials? nothing except his client, the president has a lot of leverage because lo and behold the office the presidency conveys a lot of clout and the united states is considering a massive military aid package and that's exactly what the president laid on the table on july 25th in that phone call and notably in the whistle-blower's complaint we saw this morning, chuck, on august 2nd a week later giuliani went for the follow-up meeting to have direct follow-up on the july 25th phone call. >> so, larry, apparently according to one report that the -- we know the whistle-blower was -- was a deta detailee from the cia. we won't name the person at all here so this -- how much danger do you think this person is in? >> well, the person took a lot of courage to go to the icig and lay out this fairly compelling analytic case for this corrupt
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behavior. i'm sure they went into it hoping to remain anonymous but i think in today's world the likelihood one can remain anonymous in these situations is slim so i think there's some danger to his career. the president of the united states today is standing in front of -- >> i was just going to say. what would you do right now, chief of staff at cia and hear the commander in chief talk -- speak of government officials this way. >> you know, it would be alarming. it would be shocking. i think your first course of action to reassure employees they have the protection of the director and that now is the time to really redouble your efforts working these intelligence missions so that we can ensure the american people remain safe. but it is a disheartening thing. >> larry was my predecessor at the agency. wouldn't we have gone to the director and say go down to the white house and tell -- have absolutely. >> if they're going to out a whistle-blower we're out of here. >> absolutely. >> there's no way you can stand if your employees are being exposed. >> how much is this going to --
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i mean what kind of impact is this going to have on the senior intelligence officials who on one hand are obligated to inform the chief executive of what's happening and at the same time now the more you read the whistle-blower complains and see the time line, if you've got important intelligence involving russia or ukraine, it's only human nature for some of these folks that they'll be concerned. >> there have been reports for some time the intel community has been pulling its punches a bit in the level of detail that they've been providing to this white house. that, however, is -- >> how danger -- >> is a dangerous thing for america that we have a president who is not as fully as informed as one president should. >> let me ask the three security professionals here. evelyn, who has the ability to investigate -- get to the bottom of this? what agency or agencies would be best equipped to try to get to the bottom of what is going on wean rudy giuliani and the
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president? what entity? is it congress? >> i think jeremy and i would agree maybe because we're kind of legislative rats. we spent a long time on the hill and that is the branch of government that needs to hold the entire executive accountable so i would say that the hill should do it. it would be a special investigation. the problem is that those tend to take time. >> this seems like you need a deep investigation. i mean you've got to go -- we have a witness list here but you may have to go to ukraine. >> and it's -- the ability to go the special counsel route now i think the credibility of that is harmed given the way the department of justice has been acting under attorney general barr. >> i think the only downside to a massive sprawling investigation with all these leads that we now have thanks to this document is that that could take months and i think nancy pelosi' calculus is, look, we have enough people in the house of representatives who want to vote for impeachment. i think they're going to keep it narrowly tailored and say the transcript speaks for itself.
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case closed. it's the most important impeachment allegation against any president in our history. this isn't lying about sex under president clinton. national security and elections. it's one count. it's one and done. it's on the noor before thanksgiving and it's before the iowa caucuses and it's out of the way. >> carol, a lot of this is going to depend -- a lot of these witnesses work at the white house. i mean, the white house will have -- will be able to cite executive privilege here probably successfully which seems i don't know if they can get to the bottom of it. >> yes, and, you know, to the point about whether the whistle-blower is in some sort of danger or jeopardy or being at risk of being outed publicly, there's real fear -- there were white house officials who talked to the whistle-blower who are -- >> you think they'll get outed? >> there's fear and there's also, you know, i know from my own experience in trying to report in the last couple of days that there are people who have just shut down.
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and this is the -- this is what happens when you have a president who not only the president but his allies are make a point to go after these folks and the whistle-blower and really anybody who tries to in their eyes get in his way. >> larry, when i read this thing it does feel like the whistle-blower like i said felt like a reporter. well, i had my sources and i talked to everybody. a lot of people chose to cooperate with this whistle-blower. >> correct. >> do you get the sense that -- it almost is like, okay, we're going to do this. who draws the short straw? i mean -- >> that's the sense i have as well. you perhaps had an interagency process, perhaps something at the policy coordinating committee level being -- a group of people being frustrated by what is happening and what they're seeing and what they don't know and you're right, i think somebody said, i'll be the person. >> i'll do it. you guys help me. >> yes, and i can't imagine this was not a coordinated document amongst many of these people. >> and i think the time line
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matters because there's another element of it, chuck, the money, the 391 million was going to expire on september 30th and the people who care about ukraine wanted that money spent to help ukraine. >> all right. good news you're going to stick around. the bad news i'll sneak in a break. how democrats plan to follow this road map that's been laid out for them by this whistle-blower. you've had quite the career. i like working. what if my retirement plan is i don't want to retire? then let's not create a retirement plan. let's create a plan for what's next. i like that. get a plan that's right for you. td ameritrade. ♪
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impeachment inquiry is going to be narrowed and focused specifically to ukraine and what the committees directed to focus on? >> the committee -- the inquiry and consensus is that our focus is on this allegation. everything that relates to abuse of power, ignoring subpoenas of congress, abuse -- contempt of congress by him, those things will be considered later. >> welcome back. that was house speaker nancy pelosi answering a question from my colleague leann caldwell and confirming they want to make the allegations the focus of this impeachment inquiry. the decision comes earlier after charging six house committees to proceed with their investigations under the umbrella of the impeachment i but as former congressman edwards points out, if all were doing it it would mean half of
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the democratic caucus would have a foot in the impeachment room. is that what you want? joining me now is someone who knows a little about house committees, julian epstein a former democratic side chief counsel for the house judiciary committee and went through during the clinton impeachment. julian, good to see you. you heard what speaker pelosi said about the six committees, but you also heard that they want to narrow it to one essentially this incident although as we see the incident has a lot of tentacles. is that the best way to proceed here? is there an ideal that you would like to see? >> there isn't an ideal and i think she's got it right by having the intelligence committee do the primary investigation on the ukraine matter and then at the conclusion of that investigation turn that over to the judiciary committee. other committees can report in as well but i think those will be the two principal committees. it's very important for democrats to be very careful at this point. i think while the white house is in a very, very deep hole, a
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hole i think they may be unlikely to be able to climb out of, this looks like a crime or at least an abuse of power, gross abuse of power, impeachable abuse of power. and you have witnesses in the white house and elsewhere that look like they may be willing to flip on this white house. so that makes this very, very different. i think what pelosi and the democrats have to do is, one, tamp down the rhetoric and say to the president and the white house, we're willing to give you an open and fair hearing. we're willing to keep open mights on this. but we are going to insist on access to every single witness and every single piece of paper and document and if we don't get it within two weeks, say, we will draw a negative inference on all of the information that is already public and plenty to draw negative inferences and criminal inferences on and we will move to impeachment right away on the basis of obstruction of justice if you don't cooperate. and i think the white house i think a lot of people around the
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president are tremoring in their boots right now. i think they're very scared, that this is different from before and the white house buckled on the question of the ig, releasing the ig information and the transcript. i think the white house will be likely to buckle if pelosi has the votes to say if you try to obstruct this investigation and i mean within two weeks, date certain, we'll move to immediate impeachment. >> but it's important -- >> the set the right tone. >> if adam schiff calls you up tonight and says, all right, i got -- i got to put together a major investigative team, you know, this is not going to be an easy investigation. it may mean traveling to ukraine, you know, how would you go about building this investigative team in order to handle this? >> well, it's a good question because you've got -- this is a -- this is a sprawling matter. as you pointed out in your time line this started in january so this has gone on for eight or nine months at this point and it
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is trance continental and would need expertise in a whole host of areas. what i would demand to start with and build a team around is getting access to the white house officials that cooperated with the whistle-blower. i think they're going to have a lot of information. i would insist on the state department employees that had some window into this and -- >> you start low. you're starting low, right? low to high. >> look, the thing that is different here, there are a bunch of things different. i think republicans are watching this. poll numbers are shifting. rasmussen came out with a poll that showed 44-41 in favor of impeachment. republicans look at those kind of things. republicans look at the fact that you've got witnesses inside the white house and the intelligence agencies that look like they may be willing to talk. that's very different. republicans and others are looking at the fact that, hey, whether there's a quid pro quo or not and i think there certainly was this was an unarguable abuse of power. >> go ahead. finish that thought. >> no, no, no. i just -- so i think -- i think
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moderate republicans and a lot of voters are looking -- this is a much easier story to tell the public than the mueller report ever was. so -- >> technical question. technical question for you. how do you -- how do you have the power of law enforcement with you during this investigation? i'm just -- how can schiff get that? how does that work? can you explain that? >> if he wants to get the power of law enforcement to go over to the ukraine? >> yeah or having -- does he want fbi detailed to him or -- is that how this would work? would you want the counterintelligence -- you would want counterintelligence expert, i would assume. >> you would get the intelligence agencies and the fbi and the fbi works closely with the intelligence agencies on these things to detail experts in the area to the committee and work for the committee. now, the white house can block that if they want to but, again, i think the point where nancy pelosi has to draw the line. >> interesting? >> if the white house tries to obstruct anything whatsoever and
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give them a very short leash and a very short time line, they move to impeachment proceedings on obstruction on that basis alone. >> very interesting. could be a first test to see how hard the executive branch is going to make this on congress. >> she's got to have the votes to do that. that's what she's doing right now, rounding those up. >> appreciate having you on. thank you very much. good to see you. let me bring in the political side of this argument. doug and john. two creatures of capitol hill at times. >> at times. doug, in some ways the hearing today felt like less necessary once we saw the whistle-blower report. >> right. right. well, the report came out just before -- >> it almost felt odd -- it didn't reflect the report right away. >> i think schiff did a good job. look, he went after and the committee went after the vulnerabilities of the dni in term of wondering why he didn't
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refer this matter to congress in the seven days he was supposed to and -- >> do you think they treated him a bit too hostile? >> i don't think so. i think it was important to show that they were going to be tough on this and it was important to show particularly to the administration and i think that schiff has the confidence of the speaker. he has the confidence of the caucus and they have been talking for the last few days in terms of what is the right approach here and i think they're all united whether you're progressive, whether you're a blue dog, front liner around this focusing on ukraine, pausing some of the other stuff for now and having schiff lead it in the intel committee. and really zeroing in on this matter. >> michael, we know what some of the public statements are coming from capitol hill. what is the -- is there suddenly like i don't know how much i'll put myself on the line for this. capitol hill republicans trying to find something that they can make it look like they're defending him without defending him too much? >> i think that you're -- i think you're going to see two
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different things. one is the people who are 100% in the tank for the president. they are going to be deep state conspiracy, investigate the investigators. >> we know those guys. >> i think there's going to be a middle ground of people who are, you know, there is corruption in the story of the president's son. looks really bad. should have been investigated. there are legitimate questions here. and then there's going to be a camp that is very, very cautious. they keep their powder dry. i want the facts to come out. pro-trance sarns pr pro-transparency. some in the swingiest of states were people who have their own issues with the president like senator romney are going to be -- let all the facts come out territory. >> would you do the recess? >> i don't think so. >> you would cancel recess. >> i think right now i would move forward. look, i think this is about -- >> right now they're supposed to go out starting monday, i think. go into recess. >> on friday, come out october 15th. >> cover the jewish holidays and columbus day all in one fell
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recess. >> terrible idea. >> they have momentum. democrats have momentum on this. you don't want to lose it. two weeks in trump world is a lifetime. and not only -- >> two weeks ago we were buying greenland. >> things change fast. >> i think alabama was in the process of a hurricane. >> remember, we have -- this is about public opinion which nancy pelosi is very, you know, aware of. she's trying to obviously get the public behind her. and she has to figure out if this is going to go all the way. she's got to figure out how to create a permission structure for senate republicans to remove him from office. >> michael, what is the downside of the select committee? you went select committee with benghazi because you were -- from i'm not mistaken because there were certain people you didn't want to be the face. >> there's also we went through the committee's jurisdiction first which is regular order and new information came out as a result of a lawsuit and so we had to revisit that decision. the problem with the select committee it takes time to stand it up and time to staff and time to budget it and if they have
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momentum, if they want to -- >> you understand why. >> i think this is -- i don't necessarily agree with shutting down the other investigations while turning the focus on ukraine simply because things move so fast in this new cycle and trump world. you could have something on his tax returns next week and you'll be sitting there kicking yourself for telling ways and means to stop looking. >> i've heard there's mueller lawyers wondering. >> she's not telling the committees to shut it down. i think the focus. we want to focus on this matter. it's an urgent matter and -- >> nothing says urgent matter like a two-week vacation. >> you both are also political operatives on the presidential level. what would you tell a presidential candidate right now as washington is going through this. you're working with a guy trying to get to, you know, out of a doldrums. how would you take advantage -- but jeb bush could have been that same way. when washington is on fire. >> if i'm running a republican primary opposition in primary
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opposition to the president, nothing. when you are your opponent is drowning, you don't need to throw him an anvil. >> what would you do if you're warren or biden and if you're not? >> this pauses the race for a little while and if you're warren you got to like that you're looking at a lot of polls and she is now tied or ahead in the number of key straights and some national polls. biden also, you know, look, i think -- this helps him too. >> a little rally around -- we'll see. >> i think so. >> i don't know. >> creates a level of sympathy and also, look, any time he can talk about ukraine and the foreign -- foreign policy that's a strength so those two it helps. for the other it pauses the race and that's a problem for them. >> yeah. should biden give a speech? >> i think, yes, because -- the problem is not the vice president's actions. everyone seems to say they were in compliance with u.s. policy, et cetera, the problem is his son was clearly profiting from
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his father's position. >> have to figure out -- >> there is a way not be disloyal but explain. >> but they're attacking my kid unfairly. >> and because of his family history of tragedy -- it's an impossible decision. >> michael, doug, thank you. so many damaging stuff we're going to have more time to get into it. we'll do that next. i've been diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, which could lead to vision loss. so today i made a plan with my doctor, which includes preservision. because it's my vision, my morning walk, my sunday drive, my grandson's beautiful face. only preservision areds 2 contains the exact nutrient formula recommended by the national eye institute to help reduce the risk of moderate to advanced amd progression. because it's my sunset, it's how i see my life. it's my vision. preservision
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in the days informing the whistleblower call, there was an effort to lock down all records of the phone call. specially official word for word transcript of the call. according to multiple white house officials the transcript was placed into a file. i have a good group of people to explain all this. you dealt with this document, handling this a lot with the cia. explain the idea that's there's
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a lockdown server. >> at the director of intelligence programs, they have an enclave able to protect the most sensitive secret city intelligence community. this includes covert action programs. detailed information about things like the bin laden raid. some of the spooky satellites we have or collection platforms. it is not a good place to put telephone calls unless they involved one of those calls. >> that's about the only time you can envision a phone call between two leaders showing up in that database? >> with one exception. the very, very secret initiative in the obama administration where senator kerry was talking with barack obama and the omani leadership in the beginning that led to the iran nuclear agreement. that we did put on to that enclave to keep it from prying
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eyes. >> so the fact that this would raise an alarm with people, why is that phone call going on there? >> the phone call was barely classified. if you read it, there is no sensitive information. they margd it secret which is a low level classification so it wouldn't be published. however, it would allow it to be distributed broadly. what putting on it this sensitive enclave achieved was it limited the distribution. it said the state department officials, even other intelligence community professionals who cover ukraine could not see this. they were worried about this document leaking out. they knew it showed wrongdoing. >> in your position, you wouldn't have seen that document? you were deputy assistant secretary of defense. that phone call readout would not have made it to you if it had got put in that database? >> it depends how quickly. in theory, i would not have seen it then. i might have had a phone call with someone in the room and
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took notes. >> hey, let me tell you what happened. >> and i would have found out what happened. i would have had a sense of why the aid was being held back. i can't imagine the officials at the political level did not know. >> the other thing to note is this transcript was being processed in normal channels and it was stopped. i don't know of any essential i have the phone call that was not handled in a sensitive manner in the original gins of the phone call so this was made after the fact. >> here it was that the woun lawyer which had white house counsel took control of it. >> to me this is the most significant thing out of a lot of significant things. in this whistleblower complain is that not only did this happen on this occasion, but the whistleblower says this was not the first time that white house officials said something like this has happened. specifically to protect the president's political interests. not national security.
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>> considering he was a victim of all these leaks early on, is that not a plausible response? >> if you talk to obama administration officials, they will say they were giving out the transcripts like candy. that was clearly the case in the trump administration and they reined that in. so the number of eyes on it was already curtailed. what the whistleblower is saying is this was a very concerted effort that involves white house lawyers and other white house officials to try to bury something they thought was politically damaging to the president. >> what do you make of the fact that the, joseph mcguire's first day of acting, do you think it is a coincidence? >> i think it's possible. >> folks said he was not aware. he was asked yesterday.
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>> and it wasn't in his hands. >> but it had not gone to coats. at least according to coats. >> i think this showed actually the inexperience of a joe mcguire on the job. he had a decorated military career. led an intelligence component. you're hit with this in the first week on the jock. i felt kind of bad for him. no one can be trained for this squeeze play between executive privilege and wrongdoing and the whistleblower statute. so i think he was trying to navigate this. but i think at the end he kind of made the wrong call. teeing this up for the justice department to review when bill barr was one of the people alleged to have participated in this inappropriate conspiracy was manifestly bad judgment. >> in hindsight, the bar thing is going to raise a lot of alarm bells on capitol hill. >> so i'm sympathetic at one level to this notion of a division of legal authority interpretation. when i was at the cia with general hayden, we had our
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statutory general coin there to advise on all the activities. but the i.g. is allowed to have his own independent counsel working for him and there were many instances where they would have different interpretations of the law surrounding covert action. and where does one take that? in our system, a dispute like that. you take it to the office of legal counsel. so i can't argue with him doing that. >> this is not happening president zelensky. he's saying, it was 100% with the normal thing any president should say sitting next to the
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ukrainian president who is fighting a hot war with russia. >> why does he keep saying, they're going to sit down and talk. >> all this started because of president trump's like or desire to please vladimir putin and it is still going on. and ukraine is now dragged into this. it was part of it because it is fighting a hot war with rusch. now ukraine is interfering in our elections even though they don't want to. you heard president zelensky say i don't want to be involved in american politics. it has really strained the relationship. >> i think zelensky has shown himself to be the most nimble politician in a week. i thought he handled it as well as he could. >> as a politician for about a week. he?
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i may be a comedian but he walked that tight rope too well. thank you for bringing some explanations for what we're doing here. we will continue to debrief this whistleblower report. // we get right to the breaking news stunning washington. >> today for the first time ever, the congress and america has now processed and heard what exactly has just upended american politics in government as we know it. the whistleblower complain about president trump's plot and call with the president of ukraine. this is damning stuff. it lays out in detail allegations that the president abused his power for his own personal gain in re-election, pressing a foreign government in ukraine to go after his domestic rivals. joan and his


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