which i believe according to the laws of physics is impossible, and of course driven by ill motives. the story broke land wednesday. we are six days into this and the speed -- >> i guess we knew there was a whistleblower complaint coming out of the dni. >> one of the defining features of the trump era is the incredible speed, ferocity with which information happens. it was apt that we would end up here after all these months of waiting around, that the thing that turned out to be the trigger could turn it this quickly. >> it's a great point, it was last wednesday "the washington post" broke the story about the whistleblower complaint being tied to the president's conduct with ukraine. >> it snapped everyone square in the face. >> there's nancy pelosi. >> tuesday we observed the anniversary of the adoption of the constitution on september
17th. sadly, on that day, the intelligence community inspector general formally notified the congress that the administration was forbidding him from turning over a whistleblower complaint. on constitution day. this is a violation of law. shortly thereafter, press reports began to break of a phone call by the president of the united states calling upon a foreign power to intervene in his election. this is a breach of his constitutional responsibilities. the facts are these. the intelligence community inspector general, who was appointed by president trump, determined that the complaint is both of urgent concern and credible. its disclosure, he want on to say, relates to the director of national intelligence's responsibility to the american people. on thursday, the inspector
general testified before the house intelligence committee, stating that the acting director of national intelligence barred him from disclosing the whistleblower complaint. this is a violation of law. the law is unequivocal. it says the dni, director of national intelligence, shall provide congress the full whistleblower complaint. for more than 25 years i've served on the intelligence committee as a member, a ranking member, as part of the gaining four, when i was in the leadership. i was there when we created the office of the director of national intelligence. that did not exist before 2004. i was there earlier in the '90s when we wrote the whistleblower laws and continued to write them and improve them to secure the security of our intelligence and the safety of our
whistleblowers. i know what their purpose was. and we proceeded with balance and caution as we wrote the laws. i can say with authority that the trump administration's actions undermine both our national security and our intelligence and our protections of whistleblowers, more than both. this thursday, the acting dni will appear before the house intelligence committee. at that time he must turn over the whistleblower's full complaint to the committee. he will have to choose whether to break the law or honor his responsibility to the constitution. on the final day of the constitutional convention in 1787, when our constitution was adopted, americans gathered on the steps of the independence hall to await the news of the government our founders had crafted. they asked benjamin franklin, what do we have, a republic or a monarchy? franklin replied, a republic, if
we can keep it. our responsibility is to keep it. o because of the wisdom of the constitution enshrined in three co-equal branches of government serving as checks and balances on each other. the actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the constitution especially when the president says article ii says i can do whatever i want. for the past several months we have been investigating in the committees and litigating in the courts whether congress can exercise its full article i powers including the constitutional power of approval of articles of impeachment. and this week the president has admitted to asking the president of ukraine to take actions which would benefit him politically, the actions of the trump
presidency revealed the dishonorable fact of the president's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections. therefore, today i'm announcing the house of representatives is 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. getting back to our founders, in the darkest days of the american revolution, thomas payne wrote the times have found us. the times found them to fight for the establishment of our democracy. the times have found us today, not to place ourselves in the same category of greatness as our founders but to place us in the urgency of protecting our constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic.
in the words of ben franklin, to keep our republic. i thank our chairmen, chairman nadler, chairman schiff, chairman nadler of judiciary, chairman schiff of intelligence, chairman engel of foreign affairs, chairman cummings of oversight. chairman cummings is a master of so much but including inspectors general and whistleblowers. congresswoman richie neal of the ways and means committee. congresswoman maxine waters of the financial services committee. and i commend all of our members, our colleagues, for their thoughtful, thoughtful approach to all of this, for their careful statements. god bless them and god bless america. thank you all. >> reporter: in what was a formal address to the nation, the speaker of the house
announcing with some gravity there the formal i guess you could call it opening of impeachment inquiry, saying that the six committees of intel, oversight, judiciary, financial services, foreign affairs, and ways and means, are all now conducting investigations under the umbrella of an official impeachment inquiry which does have some legal standing. still a few things we're not sure of on the technicalities of all this. she was trying to underscore the seriousness of all this. one of our capitol hill correspondents, leanne hill, joins us. leanne, the decision to make this an address to the nation, i don't think we fully comprehended what they were thinking about until we saw what
she just did. this is not a press release. >> reporter: no. >> this is her taking this -- trying to send a message that this is an extraordinary step, one that you almost never see in a lifetime. >> reporter: chuck, that was my takeaway sas well. the fact that the speaker of the house talked about a formal impeachment inquiry, that was gravity. that was something that was the most apparent to me. and what has really changed in this whole scenario. chairman nadler has been talking about conducting an impeachment inquiry for months now. as far as the semantics is concerned, it leaves us wondering what has actually really changed here. but what has changed is the speaker came, standing with a backdrop of american flags behind her, prepared remarks, talking about a formal
impeachment inquiry. she's saying the president has to be held accountable, chuck. >> leanne, there were two things said that we weren't anticipating. one, are they going to formalize this with a vote in the house, essentially putting it out there to put republicans on the record and maybe giving any democrats that would like the ability to say they didn't vote to open an inquiry the ability to do that? are we going to see some sort of roll call that sort of affirms what she announced tonight? >> reporter: two things. there's going to be a roll call vote as early as tomorrow condemning the president. it's going to be nonbinding. so they are saying it's an opportunity for republicans to join them on this condemnation. as far as a formal vote on an impeachment inquiry, we haven't heard those details yet. it sounds like they're trying to
get as much information as possible from the director of national intelligence. they of course want those transcripts that the president says he's going to release. they want the whistleblower's report, the entire unredacted report. as far as a vote on impeachment, we don't know those details yet but it does seem that nancy pelosi is fully behind what she's endorsed. >> all day, leanne, there have been whispers of a special select committee, instead of picking one person or chairperson to lead this, that, all right, she would start up a separate thing, that way she could just have a little bit more control of what members are on there, what members are asking questions. that didn't happen. any explanation? >> reporter: no, it didn't happen. but i was talking to members throughout the day and almost unanimously they were saying this is a bad idea, it will slow down the approve, it's too cumbersome. they already have a process in place, let's use the judiciary
committee and the committees we already have. so i think that argument went out, chuck. >> very interesting. leigh ann caldwell, i will let you go for minute so you can stop talking to me and continue reporting. our guest is one of the latest democrats who now say they will support the impeachment inquiry nancy pelosi just announced. congressman, let me ask the question this way for the public. they've been hearing about the committees doing oversight over this presidency for quite some time. they've been hearing about the idea that they've been thinking about opening an impeachment inquiry for some time. what should the public hear from speaker pelosi now that's different? >> these are new allegations and they could not be more serious. we have only learned about them in the last few days. and we still don't know the full facts. but we know that the president has admitted to egregious conduct and it relates to the
very basic concepts of national security, of putting the public interest bottom of above your own personal interest. the idea of going to a public leader and dredge up a false smear campaign against a political rival and withhold aid from the ukraine which is being threatened by the russians, this has nothing to do with the mueller report or the 2016 election, although there are familiar echoes. this is new information and it could not be more serious. >> tell me about the caucus meeting you just came out of. it felt like all day long was a slow rollout to where we got to today. here is what it looked like to me. she let people know she's moved on this and she essentially gave everybody the day to announce that they were in. tell me about the caucus meeting
by 4:00. >>i iv have to tell you, the mo is really somber. none of us are happy about where we find themselves. when you come into this building every day, you feel the full weight of the responsibilities and the oath you take. there's a plaque that says, abraham lincoln, he served one term in the house and lost his seat. what happened today is less of the particulticky tack, who's u down. it's that the president has engaged in conduct that cannot be okay, this cannot be allowed. if it's true, we need the whistleblower complaint, we need the transcripts and recordings of that's phone calls. there's no basis under the law for withholding them. they should have had them up here two weeks ago. he has left us no choice but to begin an impeachment inquiry
unless he dispels these allegations. i think the members feel that responsibility. >> is there a timetable in your mind about how long this should take? on the one hand, the right answer obviously is you take as long as you need, and i get that. but let's be realistic here, you know there's a political calendar, there's a finite amount of time. is there a window that you think this investigation needs to fit itself into? >> bear in mind the president could have released all this information yesterday. i see he's agreed to release the transcript, that's great, but if there are audio recordings, the whistleblower complaint, that would speed it up. but to your point, we have an obligation to move expeditiously. part of that is if we're stonewalled by the administration. but it's important to give the american people the facts of what's going on before the next election, not to politicize it
but to make it fair and follow the facts. the administration he's has a role to play. >> this may be unlike the only other two impeachment inquiries in the modern era that we've seen. we had opposiiton parties that basically believed in the premise of the institutions. it might not be the case that this opposition party, that everybody will believe in the premise of, hey, this is part of the constitution, it's part of the process. how do you get even the basic level of cooperation in order to get this investigation completed? >> listen, these things don't always move in a straight line. sometimes a dam breaks. sometimes the american people make pretty clear that they want the truth to get out. and somehow the politicians somehow catch up to that. in the senate just today you had
a unanimous resolution that the whistleblower complaint should be up here, no ifs, ands, or buts. you had a bunch of republicans covering their rear end, and that's a good thing. no president, democratic or republican, can be allowed to do what is alleged the president did. >> do you want a formal role call vote to essentially -- that formalizes the impeachment inquiry, put everybody on the record? >> look, there's going to be a time to stand up and be counted. it's above my pay grade. we'll see this move forward in the way that makes the most sense. there will be a moment when we look in our souls and say what's right for the country. i hope that's informed by the facts and has something bigger in mind than just our political
self-interest or our next big election, and think about the country. that's what i plan to do. >> i want to close with something you did at the top of our conversation. you almost completely separated this from the mueller report. and i don't know if you were doing that because you don't want it to so easily get conflated. but explain why you think it's important for people to view this separate and distinct from the mueller report. >> i guess what i'm saying is that while they were echoes here and similarities, soliciting foreign assistance to help win an american election, obviously that's a theme, but the critical events happened in the last couple of months. the president has admitted to all of them. they don't have anything to do with bob mueller, this was after he testified to congress. the question is whether you will allow a president to run roughshod over the laws and the constitution when you know what the facts are and they're
happening in front of your eyes. this is a new game today and everybody in congress, republican and democratic, needs to look in the mirror and do the right thing. >> congressman, this will be one of those days you never forget. thanks for coming out and sharing your views so soon after the meeting. >> my pleasure. >> kristen welker, steve kornacki, and john podhoretz, and cornell belcher, who is the guy stuck in washington while all of us are up here in new york. thank you all. kristen welker, the president has already tweeted. the most of the interesting decision today, besides what the house democrats did, was the fact that the president, after being -- after treasury secretary mnuchin on "meet the press" and mike pompeo and other
shows, said the last thing they were going to do was release the transcripts of this phone call, boom, they're releasing them. the white house is nervous. >> it is. and talking to officials as they had that internal debate, will this transcript be a bit gray, will the lines be -- >> how confident are they that this transcript is going to give them some better talking points than they have now? >> i'm not sure that they are very confident. i think some of them are, some of them are hopeful. >> they're just like, well, we've got the trump twitter feed, let's count on that. >> and the president said, "they never saw the transcript, witch hunt." part of the argument that nancy pelosi is making is that we need to see the entire complaint, the transcript is not enough. and you're not turning over the complaint. that's one of the reasons why you see these more establishment
democrats piling on. >> i would like to go back to the hill, geoff bennett he's pullaside with jackie speier, democrat from california. >> reporter: congressman speier, is this impeachment times six, with the six different committees continuing their work under the impeachment umbrella or is this impeachment light, given that there's no one select committee handling this work independently? >> this is full-blown impeachment inquiry. the conduct of the president, going to a foreign leader and asking him to drum up dirt on his opponent and holding back money as part of that deal is a corrupting form of conduct. we don't use foreign nationals to engage in our campaigns, although the president has a pattern of doing so. that is what we are focused on. >> reporter: so how will this look and feel different?
how will this next investigation, whether it's the house judiciary or house ways and means, how will this look different as an impeachment inquiry as opposed to what we saw last week with corey lewandowski and the bit of a circus that unfolded? >> this is about national security and this is about patriotism. this is about protecting the constitution of the united states. if foreign countries can somehow have an impact on how we conduct our business in the united states, we have lost this democracy. >> reporter: are you confident you'll be able to build a public case against the president in the way that you hope? >> i think that we will allow the facts to show us the road forward. >> reporter: congresswoman, thank you for your time, we appreciate it. chuck,i iv have to tell you, it hasn't been easy to talk to the members coming out of this room, they've been very disciplined. the question remains how this process unfolds, how it looks
different than all the investigations that have happened heretofore even though it has the full embrace of house leadership and nancy pelosi under this umbrella of an impeachment inquiry, chuck. >> geoff bennett in the basement of the capitol, keep finding more members, let us know who you got. we appreciate that. steve kornacki, what changed, what is it that happened today? because geoff's right, to the day to day operations on some things, the investigations simply continue but with a different imprimatur. >> it looks like pelosi was giving more of a formal address to the nation, i assume that's by design, because one of the challenges here for pelosi and democrats is public opinion. the most of the recent polling on impeachment says there is majority opposition to it. >> the divide is more among democrats. >> correct. they're not unified. >> the most recent poll i saw among republicans was 94-2 against. among democrats, though, it was
60-25. so one in four democrats were saying, we're not ready to impeach. maybe they were picking up on the hesitation of nancy pelosi, the hesitation of battleground democrats who pretty much all of them in the last 24, 36 hours, have changed. the first thing i'm looking for in the next week or so, when we get polling on this, is impeachment a 50/50 question now? that would change the battle on this. the other possibility that's raised by that is, are there a certain number of voters out there that look at this? this is different than clinton, this is different than nixon. this is a first term president. are there a certain number of voters who say, it should not be up to congress to adjudicate the fate of this presidency? >> i wish -- that's the federalist paper that wasn't written, because we never believed, we had the two-term limit, that is the voice, what would you guys have done, madison, if you knew x and y, would you have said impeachment or wait until the second term?
john, you've g jon, you have to say, she made it so her members brought her to impeachment. she didn't bring her members to impeachment. >> not at all. this raises two questions to me. it seems a little weird to go this step before the release of the transcript and before the testimony of acting director of national intelligence joseph maguire on thursday. there is a lot of guessing going on about what's in the transcript and what the president has admitted to and whether or not that is enough to go this length, which raises the question to me, do they know more than they're saying? does adam schiff, the head of the intelligence committee, know more about what is in the whistleblower report than he can say? because it would right now be
technically either illegal for him to look at -- because i just don't understand why you do it today, when the transcript theoretically, i'm not saying -- could be somewhat exculpatory of trump. and then you've had this whole -- you've had this whole thing today and tomorrow the transcript comes out and then a bunch of people go, wait a minute, this doesn't quite -- i thought it was going to be him saying i'm putting a gun to your head, to zelensky of ukraine, unless they know he did. >> i think as a practical matter also, what's changed is it will make it harder for the white house to block congress from getting the information they're seeking, and that's part of what's behind this as well. the question, why today and not tomorrow, after they see the transcript, but again, i think it goes back to the complaint and understanding that there's so much more to the complaint. andic te ii iic i can tell you,
tacit acknowledgement that we can continue to stonewall until there is a formal impeachment inquiry. >> cornell, what was the worst position that democrats were finding themselves in that they would not have done it, more comes out, and it looks like, oy, nothing stops this guy's behavior? or is there risk in doing this? what was riskier, not doing this or doing this? i do think we were getting to the point where there was almost equal risk on both sides of this equation. >> a couple of things, chuck. we've got to knock down the transcript as a strong man. the president has already said on record things that, quite frin frankly, are impeachable. so the transcript is a straw man. i'm amazed how disciplined the
democrats are at this time. but at the same time, nancy pelosi's hand was clearly forced by congress's historical inaction here. this is someone who has been able to get away with almost anything he wants. and congress finally had to step in and put a check on him. this is such a brazen abuse of power that what choice does nancy pelosi have? it's very interesting that those freshmen came out today and talked about sort of this in terms of national security. the president has left them no choice. from a political standpoint, i don't think democrats ought to be defensive about this at all. i think we should have the republicans on record on whether they support a president who has asked a foreign power to interfere in our elections. i think democrats quite frankly from a political standpoint can go on the offensive. >> let me pause the conversation between the four of you and bring in republican senator from louisiana john kennedy who earlier today said he was tired
of impeachment threats and that democrats should, quote, go hard or go home. senator kennedy, nancy pelosi took your advice. it is now a formal impeachment inquiry. let me ask you this. how troubled are you by the president admitting that in a conversation with a foreign leader he asked about joe biden? >> well, let me say first, chuck, i'm not sure what the speaker has done today. i did say go hard or go home. and i say it again to my democratic friends. either impeach or stop talking about it. all i heard the speaker say today was that the impeachment investigation continues. she didn't say it's beginning. i mean, chairman nadler hasn't been playing candy crush for the last year. he's been conducting an investigation, for god's sakes.
if she's talking about bringing articles of impeachment, that's very newsworthy. to say that the investigation continues, i get that it's news, but i don't think it's as newsworthy as some have -- some have argued. now -- >> we'll find out. >> we'll find out. >> it is news that she was endorsing it. for what it's worth, she kept denying that jerry nadler was doing -- >> i think she's always endorsed it. do you think jerry nadler would have been conducting this investigation if nancy pelosi had told him not to? of course not. she rules in the house. now, but let me answer your question. i don't know what happened in the conversation between president trump and president zelensky. we're going to find out tomorrow. he's agreed to release the transcript. i hope the president and the
white house has gotten the consent of president zelle encan i zelensky because i think that's a slippery slope, i think that's a good way to have foreign leaders talk to you. bear with me, may think this is a strange analogy but it's how my mind works. i think we're headed toward two investigations here. here's how i think of it. guy robs a bank. on the way to jail, the cops beat the living hades out of him. the cops should be investigated. should you beat a criminal suspect? no. should there be investigations? yes. but you also have to go investigate the alleged bank robbery. and i think what you're going to see is an investigation of the whistleblower complaint and you're going to see an investigation of the allegations about vice president biden's son. here's what we know about that and if you're going to be fair you have to look at both.
>> let me ask you this. >> let me answer. >> senator, i will give you a second to respond here, but here is where i find all this stuff a bunch of -- it's hard to believe on hunter, it's hard to believe the concern about hunter biden by some of these folks making this case. if they were so serious about this, i'm trying to figure out why nobody from the fbi has been contacted. not a single person. i don't understand why rudy giuliani thinks it's better to investigate an american by outsourcing it to a country that apparently they also didn't trust. do you see why i'm skeptical that the hunter biden stuff is really that serious? if they were serious about it, you go to the fbi, you don't go to an oligarch in ukraine. >> well, number one, chuck, you don't know that the fbi hasn't been contacted. >> and if there were an investigation, senator, don't you think that our friends in
the white house would let you know publicly that there was sort of inquiry going on? >> you don't know whether the fbi has been contacted or not or if the fbi follows protocol, they wouldn't tell us, point one. point two, and i hope you'll let me finish, what we do know is this. a russian oligarch hired hunter biden, paid him $50,000 a month, gave a bucket load of money to his law firm. it may turn out that the -- i said russia, i meant ukrainian oligarch. it may turn out that the ukrainian oligarch got mr. biden's name off zip recruiter. but i doubt it. if you go to mr. biden's wikipedia page, there are other similar allegations. i'm not making an allegation of impropriety. but i am saying that's going to be investigated. if not at the instigation or the
suggestion of republicans, by mr. biden's co-candidates. >> you do realize, senator, a lot of people have attempted to look into this and they haven't found a "there" there to look into. >> who has? >> that's the point here, you brought up the fbi. >> who's looked into it, chuck? >> apparently the ukrainian government. apparently every ukrainian journalist. >> has nbc looked into it? >> yes, sir. you realize you're looking for outcome, not the facts. >> no. >> there have been four or five different entities who found nothing. >> who? >> i just told you. >> wait. >> i said ukrainian journalists have, the ukrainian government has. if the fbi is contacted, the fbi can't seem to open an investigation either because they haven't found enough.
we've looked into it. "the new york times" has looked into it. maybe you're right, maybe there's magical missing information here. but at some point, do you not accept all of these entities looking into it to have found the answer? if what hunter biden did was wrong, boy, there are a lot of people with the last name of trump that have some answering to do about their foreign work and their foreign entanglements. >> i'm going to have to disagree with you, chuck, i don't think there's been an investigation of this. >> who would have to conduct this investigation for you to accept there's nothing there? do we have to conduct investigations basically based on partisan fairness? if we do this, we have to do that? that isn't how the rule of law works, sir. >> if you want to be fair, steams in my example that you need to investigate both the alleged bank robber and the alleged violation by the policeman who beat the bank
robber suspect. now, you have said there have been investigations. i'm saying who. you're telling me msnbc has investigated this and concluded that there was nothing wrong with hunter biden being picked -- >> no. the allegation is this. that somehow the vice president was acting on his own behalf, not on the behalf of essentially the entire western world, in calling for a corrupt investigator to get fired. the allegation is that somehow he was doing it at the behest of his son. there is no evidence that anything like that exists. it's an allegation that you're simply making -- it's sort of the old lbj, we have no idea if it's true but make them deny it. that's not how politics is supposed to work. i understand in louisiana and texas it can work that way sometimes. but we were trying to create a fair rule of law here standpoint. >> i agree, chuck, and if you were right, i would agree with you.
if you were right, i would agree with you. but you're wrong, this hasn't been investigated. just because you think that the -- i'm not alleging the vice president did anything wrong. but i'm just telling you the american people are looking at this and going, okay, umm, mr. biden -- >> okay. and how does that have anything to do with the president of the united states going to another world leader and saying, open an investigation up on my chief political rival? >> because it has to do with ukrainian corruption which is what all of this is about. >> the ukrainian corruption, it depends on what you view as corruption. what one side is corrupt, i am trying to be fair here, but you can't gaslight us, sir. don't gaslight us. >> i'm not gaslighting you. i'm telling you the facts. do you deny those facts, do you think they got hunter biden's name off zip recruiter? i don't. i don't think the american
people do. i'm not alleging impropriety. i'm saying we need to look into it. >> the president of the united states is the one who violated the constitution, perhaps, not hunter biden. we don't know if hunter biden even -- >> "perhaps" is the operative term, because you don't know and i don't know because we haven't seen the transcript, chuck. >> do you know all the financial affairs of all of your children? >> i have one child and i do know most of his financial affairs, i know every penny he gets. >> do you think he tells you everything he does in his business life? >> i hope not, i sincerely hope not, some things we're better off not knowing. >> that's right. >> chuck, you're a fair guy. if you're going to be fair here, you're going to have to investigate everybody. the president, and the former vice president. >> it's been done. >> no, it hasn't, chuck. >> we're going to have to leave
it. i'm not going to sit here and defend hunter biden and defend lobbying and defend any of that stuff. >> maybe he should hire you, you're doing a good job. >> no, i'm not here to allow a false eequivalency to take over. that's the problem with our politics. >> tell me why it's a falsie gi -- a false equivalency. there have been allegations that the vice president's son was -- >> if the president would go to the fbi -- >> how do you know he hasn't? >> have you? why don't you ask the fbi ifi d. >> do you think it's important for an american to somehow get their due approve from the ukraine? >> you're saying hunter biden got his process from the ukraine, you just said he did. i don't agree with that. >> but you also seem to think that it is okay for what rudy
giuliani and the president did. >> no. no, no, no. i can't speak for mr. giuliani. he's wild as a march hare. i do not speak for mr. giuliani. >> that's a smart move. i think we're in a cul-de-sac here. >> chuck, one of us is right and the other one is you. >> sir, i don't here to lay judgment. i'm just trying to present this fairly without gaslighting the nation. but senator, i will leave it there. as you can see, i gave you plenty of time to talk. you're an honorable individual. >> you're a fine american and you pay your taxes. >> i always do. thank you, sir. with me now. wow. i have to digest that a minute. let me check in with the joe biden campaign, mike memoli has been in wilmington with the biden campaign. you know, it's interesting,
mike. >> reporter: chuck, you want me to follow that? >> yes, you have to follow that. john kennedy is example "a" of the challenge joe biden has in dealing with this story and dealing with however we cover it. the facts don't matter to some people. it is just simply creating "be fair" or "be this." this is going to be the challenge i think that team biden has to deal with. >> reporter: chuck, before the former vice president got into this race, you and i talked about the concern among the vice president himself and his team about the fact that they knew this was coming. we've all known this discussion about hunter biden was going to come at some point in the campaign. i don't think even the biden campaign expected it to come up in this way, with the president of the united states speaking to a new president of the ukraine and asking him potentially with the threat of withholding federally allocated money to
investigate his opponent. what makes this difficult for the biden campaign of course is hunter, should he have been taking these positions with both a ukrainian gas company, should he have been traveling and meeting with people in china, and that's the next phase of this, while his father was vice president? no. but anybody who's looked into it, all the reporting that we've done and that our colleagues have done is that there's no official action that the former vice president took that in any way would have benefitted his son, in fact if anything, by seeking the ouster of the prosecutor, as biden himself talked about this year, he may have been acting against his son's interests in doing so. the biden campaign has been, as you know, in overdrive, trying to, a, make sure the facts of biden's role are clear here, but what they don't necessarily have an answer for is, should hunter himself be more forthright. i asked his advisers over the weekend about this, is the
answer for him to come forward and lay out his business relationships. the answer for now is they're not going to play on the president's turf here. >> i'm going to ask you the question that jon podhoretz is jumping out of his seat to ask. has the former vice president watched the "checkers" speech, as he thought about a formal response, almost in a nixon-like setting, almost the way nancy pelosi did, an address to the nation, maybe it's a five-minute video, have they contemplated that? >> reporter: chuck, i think the speech that he gave behind me today was their initial stab at that. in talking to biden advisers, biden comes to the question of impeachment different than a lot of the other democratic 2020 contenders. the first reason is of course
his whole campaign in some ways is premised on the idea that this unique threat that democrats see in president trump, biden is the only real obvious solution to doing that. impeachment is a tricky road. the senate won't take care of it. but you can vote and biden is the strongest candidate to take him on. the second, he's almost pelosi-like in how biden views this, he campaigned for a lot of these front line democrats who are now coming out for impeachment but he didn't want to put verbdemocrats to be in a difficult position. what makes this discussion difficult is, speaking with the vice president about his son, it has always been difficult even for his own team. so getting him to the point where he would have a more forthright conversation about what his son was doing is a difficult one and not one that they're ready to have yet. >> he's a father who has already lost two children to death and now a third child has been weaponized politically. i challenge any parent to deal
with that circumstance. mike memoli in wilmington for us, thank you very much. a few minutes we got footage of the president's reaction of the democratic push to impeachment. here he is speaking at the u.n.
just before nancy pelosi formally announced the impeachment inquiry. >> reporter: you're reaction to nancy pelosi saying she's moving toward an impeachment announcement. >> it's just a continuation of a witch hunt, the worst witch hunt in political history. if she does that, they all say that's a positive for me, for the election. you could also say who needs it. schiff has been doing this stuff for 3 1/2 years, the craziest thing we've ever seen. the voters get it. this is why they say it's good for the election. but it's bad for the country, if it's true, i can't even believe that it's true. how can you do this and you haven't even seen the phone call? we have the whole transcript of the call, which will be released
tomorrow, and comments will be put with respect to -- it was
a perfect call. there was no quid pro quo, unlike biden. >> and joining me now is michigan democratic congresswoman elissa slotkin, one of the seven democratic congresspeople who called for an impeachment inquiry in an op-ed last night. she formerly worked for the cia and in the offense of the former director of national intelligence. congresswoman slotkin, you were listening to my back and forth with senator kennedy. and to me, he actually -- this is the challenge. i asked it before to congressman sean patrick maloney, if we are living on two different planets, on facts and where this is, it's very difficult to conduct an investigation under those circumstances. >> sure. but i think the important thing
is we have to remain steady and focused. we can't take away our leave the main central point of the story, which is why myself and six others came out now, after many, many months of, frankly, not coming out on impeachment, is that the president of the united states used his leverage to seek dirt on a political opponent in an american election. that's all, right? it's very simple. if you ask anyone, democrat, republican, independent, is that okay, should that be okay, should another president, maybe a democratic president, be able to ask china or iran or north korea to get him dirt or her dirt on his opponent, the answer is no, we don't want that, we have to preserve the little process. i know the senator has a lot of really colorful language which i actually appreciate, but the truth is it's all a distraction from that very basic essential point. >> let me ask you this. why did this move by the president to do what he did, ask
a foreign leader for dirt, move you on this, but the instances of obstruction of justice in the mueller report, that that didn't? and i ask it that way because obviously this feels as if you're trying to -- look, there has to be some queens here for violating the constitution. and it's sort of -- it's like a parent, you keep saying, don't do it, don't do it, now i have to push you somehow. you guys are there. he did violate the law and the constitution, arguably, obstructing justice, what is it, 11 instances? >> so the thing for me is, impeachment is not just a legal process. it's a political process. what has been missing for me the whole time is a couple of things. one, the ability to bring the country along with us. and i'm talking about my district in this case. we haven't been making as clear a case as we could have to explain to people why this stuff is important.
for a lot of people, they've tuned out. to be honest with you, the specter of what's gone on in the last qualification is quality tatively different. it's looking at 2020 as opposed to retroactive. it's not as though i condone all the president's behavior until earlier this week. it's that at a certain point you have to take a stand and say we cannot for posterity allow this kind of thing to go on in our political progression. >> it's interesting the way you put that, that this is about the future election. kristen dahlgren needs to go give an emmy to someone, so that means we get beth fouhy had join us, cornell belcher in washington is still with us as
well, but beth, first shot at this. i want to pick up on something elissa slotkin said. i thought her answer about why this is different from mueller is the best i've heard yesterday from anyone, which is, hey, that was about '16, this is about '20. that's probably the simplest way to say it to the voter. >> simple and smart. she also laid out the fact that because it's a political process and not just a legal process, she said the voters in my district are not ready for this. she's calculating, i don't mean that percentage pejoratively, she voters will be able to see these facts in a different light than the constant drip, drip, drip about what happened in the mueller report, a lot of trump cronies, not necessarily trump himself. this is so clear, it's so obvious. >> it is him personally. >> it was him personally. and she made that case. in a very simple and smart way.
and as you say, pointing it forward rather than backward. >> cornell, i thought that was the first time i heard a democrat articulate the difference between mueller in this and what i thought was a very this. >> i think that's absolutely right. and, chuck, i got to tell you, message discipline and democrats is not something you usually hear go hand in hand, but if you listen to what the speaker had to say and you listen to the next two democratic members of congress had to say, they were very much on zblej john kennedy was on message, no? >> chuck, some day at your alma mater gw their communications course will spin an entire semester dissecting that interview. because it is -- for the next, you know, couple of minutes -- we spent the entire time talking about joe biden. it was skillful but it was also diabolical. i was in focus groups about a week or so ago, and withing
swing women voters and they're talking about how everything in washington seems to be a game. everyone's playing a political game. when you listen to what senator kennedy was saying and you know he knows better, you understand hoo playi he's playing a game and that's what people don't like about washington. that's why our politics is broken. >> i think i said this to you before. i feel like democrats are caught in this trap they had to do this because they felt it was necessary. even as they know it might be few tile, as f futile, as far as getting him out of office. >> there are a few questions with behunter hunter biden. he said hunter biden deserved the electric chair. >> no, no he's right. >> weld said trump might have -- weld went into another direction on trump. john's right. >> trump said biden did something so bad he deserves the electric chair. >> weld had treason and death.
>> accused by trump of something that is by all accounts false. which is that he intervened in some way to help his son by insisting on the firing of a prosecutor. said prosecutor did not investigate his son. >> right. >> therefore, if he was going to help his son, he should want that prosecutor to sit there forever and not investigate his son. so therefore -- >> that's another way of putting it. >> however, the hunter biden story, as mike memoli said, that's a real story but it's not a criminal story. it's a story about the swamp. this is trump's swamp, right? the son of the vice president obviously getting work and getting jobs because he is the son of the vice president. >> right. >> because people, particularly people outside the country think this is how you do business. you hire the vice president's son then they're nice to you. >> because in other countries that's how it's done. >> by the way, it appears it may be going on right now with as you mentioned the president's family and his businesses, right? so that is a real story, but
it's not a criminal justice story about politicians interfering to help their children. it is trump's the best part of trump's attack in 2016 on washington, and he was going to come in and clean -- >> we have a nancy pelosi on a hot mic, apparently. so let's take a listen. >> -- passing a resolution for the release of the information. i hope the republicans will join us in doing that tomorrow if they're on the floor. but this is a sad day, but it is, again, focussed and, accelerated as we go forward. >> how would you describe the differences procedurally? >> all right. we got a quick -- we were surprised that she stopped at some mics. there you go. then all of a sudden she realized she was getting more questions. steve, i go back to this challenge of the democrats have -- i do think they have some discipline here. they know, as i believe it was
chris murphy who tweeted over the weekend, don't get creative with this one, right? he called a foreign leader. "x" -- you know, one plus one does equal two here. but there is going to be this biden hangover over here. and it's one of these things that i'm convinced impeachment freezes the democratic primary race where it's at, and the question is, does this help or hurt biden? >> it's interesting, too, because play out the calender a little bit here. the last time there was an impeachment inquiry was 1998/'99. republicans that year made the decision to go forward this same week, end of september, '98. what was the calender from there. october 8, october 9, they had the full house vote to launch the impeachment inquiry. they took a break for the election that year. wrapped early keys. house vote, december 19th. senate trial began in january, acquittal. february 12th. that was as compact as you could probably make it. and that would put you right between nevada and iowa. >> i would assume -- while it
funny, i would assume that you try to get it done before iowa. >> can i just say one thing, chuck? you know, joe biden for months has wanted this to be a man owe mano y mano race with trump. it is going to get so ugly. calling on biden to release the transcripts of all his calls with the uniqkrainian governmen the chinese government. they are going to play this so hard. joe biden has not shown us he's ready for that kind of combat. >> go ahead. >> it's not just policy. this is when you asked about the checker speech. this is his son. >> yes. >> if he acts like this is happening to somebody else. >> he won't do that and i agree with you. >> but if he doesn't, it's going to seem like he's covering or hiding or that he doesn't feel it right. so it's a tricky moment, but it's a serious moment for him. >> let me sneak in a presidential candidate. because we were just talking about it.
colorado senator michael bennet. he's a member of the intelligence committee. he's also a presidential candidate. which means we're going to see him here thursday -- washington thursday when the -- and possibly will be among the first people to question the whistle-blower. senator bennet, i know where you stand on this these days. how do you want to see this play out? how long should this inquiry take? >> well, nancy pelosi just mentioned something -- i don't know if you guys caught it or have had a chance to report it yet, but she was -- what she was talking about was trying to get a bipartisan statement out of the house tomorrow that the white house should send over the whistle-blower's complaint. just before i came over here, we voted on the floor of the senate in unanimous consent to tell the administration that we want to see -- >> no republican objection, correct? >> not a republican -- they did not object to it. now, you need to wonder about that because i guarantee you they have more access to the substance of what's in that
complaint than we do right now. it would be interesting to know what mitch mcconnell knows about that. but they did not object, which means that we have now said as a body that our expectation is they need to send that stuff over here. and by the way, that's not some transcript of a call -- >> right. >> -- that's not an actual transcript. it's the real complaint. whether the administration will comply with that is a question. how long should this take? i heard you say you hoped that this would be completed before iowa, and i certainly would hope that that would be when it was completed. >> and i don't mean to be, like, look, this is a serious matter of policy, but it is a political matter and we have a political calender. and, you know, we were just debating this, the founders didn't have -- we didn't know we were going to go to term limits. the founders didn't believe we were going to take our presidential elections this serious in the way that we've done it and i don't think we know what the founders would have thought. is there a time you use impeachment or a time you don't if the voters have a say? you're kind of -- you're a
scholarly guy. you think about these things. what do you think the founders would have said? we've got an election in 18 months and you've got this. >> they would say that there is a reason why we designed the separation of powers the way we designed it. there is the reason why we gave the legislative branch the kind of oversight that we're giving them, and by the way, the only remedy for a president who does something like this, and you should be exercising that remedy in a -- in a judicious and thoughtful way. that is what i think we should do. i think we need to see what's in this complaint. we need to understand what's in them. that the intelligence committee so far is working in a bipartisan way on this, which is gratifying. and above all else what they'd say is we shouldn't have a president who doesn't believe in democracy, who doesn't believe in the rule of law, who doesn't believe in freedom of the press, who doesn't believe in independence of the judiciary, who thinks it's all right to talk to foreign governments about how they can help him get
re-elected. i think they'd have very strong feelings about all of those things as well, which is why it's really important for us to get through this moment, not just with donald trump as a one-term president, but with an opportunity to reintroduce to the american people to why our institutions are so important and why donald trump and donald trumpism generally has been so destructive to this country. >> do you think -- >> profoundly destructive. >> do you think the institutions would be more stabilized if mike pence were president right now? >> well, i don't think they could be any -- >> because that's what would happen, right, if we go through all of this. >> i don't think -- that point, i'm not sure i'd like him to be president. i'm sure i wouldn't want him to be president. i don't think they could be more unstable than with donald trump as president of the united states. i mean, he is -- he is grinding our institutions into smithereens. i don't know how anybody conservative can support him. listen to this, chuck. tomorrow we're having a vote on the emergency powers stuff again. here's a guy who takes money that was appropriated by congress for the department of defense and he's stealing it for
his wall, having said the mexicans would pay for it, to use the money to take land away from farmers and ranchers on the border of the united states. how can any conservative support this guy? >> senator, the definition of conservative has changed so fast in our lifetime -- >> it's unbelievable. >> we need a dictionary to keep up with it. senator michael bennet, democrat from colorado. thank you, sir. stay safe on the trail. that's all we have for tonight. we'll be back tomorrow with more "meet the press daily." ari melber is picking it up. good evening to you. we begin here with breaking news rocking washington. moment of truth. house speaker nancy pelosi says that is what faces the nation tonight. right now as she stepped out and made this announcement just within the last hour. >> i'm announcing the house of representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry. i'm directing our six