tv The Impeachment Inquiry White House in Crisis CNN October 27, 2019 5:00pm-6:00pm PDT
evidence. "white house in crisis: the impeachment inquiry" starts right now. good evening welcome to cnn special coverage "white house in crisis: the impeachment inquiry." i'm erin burnett. it has been 33 days since nancy pelosi announced a formal impeachment information into president trump. since that day, congress has heard neerlly 75 hours of testimony. from nine key witnesses. nine witnesses who have painted a damming picture of a president who was willing to with hold military aid to ukraine until that country launched investigations into his political enemy. including former vice president joe biden. through the course of the two hours we'll take a close look at the piece es of the puzzle that are becoming clearer.
we'll tackle the lingering and very important questions, what more do democrats need? before they can begin writing articles of impeachment that will stick. have we seen only the tip of the ice burg when it comes to the testimony. will the president's own party stick with him? that is of course a crucial question. and we begin tonight our special coverage with erica hill. >> reporter: shock waving rippling through the white house. >> bomb shell in the impeachment. >> before the bomb shell, there was a phone call. >> it was a per perfect call. >> with a foreign leader. that left some officials so concerned. it's record was moved to a secure server. the whistleblower filed a complaint. then, a picture painted by career dlats and officials in closed door sessions suggest there was much more to learn.
>> for the better part of three weeks the secure room behind me has played host to testimony described as explosive. damming and disturbing. only lawmakers on the committees and staff are allowed inside. no one else. and no devices. we're not allowed to film the door. journalists camped out here for 20 hours a day. waiting for information to trickle out. details that have filled in some gaps while raising new questions and avenues of investigation. october 3, volker. the first official to testify in the impeachment inquiry. he was named in the whistleblower report. one day after it was made public, he resigned. a special enjoy to ukraine. volker arrived on capitol hill with text messages that show u.s. official dangling a white house meeting. on july 25, just before the controversial phone call, volker writes assuming president zelensky convinces trump he will
investigate and get to the bottom of what happened in 2016. we'll nail down a date for the visit to washington. good luck. on august 9, a text from ambassador sondland to volker. i think potus want the deliverable. going onto suggest volker should ask ukraine for a draft statement. so that we can see exactly what they propose to cover. >> it basically substantiated every aspect of the whistleblower's complaint. that the president of the united states cohearsed a foreign power to help himself politically. >> republicans hear something different. >> there was no quid pro quo. >> in more than nine hours of closed door testimony. volker also raise concerns about the role of rudy giuliani. october 11, yovanovitch. the former ukraine ambassador. removed from her post in may. defying orders from the administration not to appear. a career diplomat with more than
three decades of service. she is hoping to clear her name. >> i juts sat through eight hours that went like a new york second. >> lawmakers riveted by her account. it was president trump who pressured top state department officials to remove her. even though one told her she had done nothing wrong. >> that shed a new light on the president's effort to remove this key diplomat from a post at a time personal attorney is seeking investigations into his rival. >> october 14, hill. the president's former top russia adviser worked under john bolton. she left before the july 25 phone call, hill testified she was witnessed to other moments leading up to this that concerned her. including rudy giuliani. who she says bolton referred to as a hand grenade who is going to blow everybody up. and wrong doing related to u.s.
policy many ukraine. which she tried to report. >> i have been in congress seven years and i have never had a witness that came across as a substantiate as she did. >> details one meeting with sondland but left her so concerned she says bolton urged her to tell the white house lawyers about quote whatever drug dreel deal these guys are cooking up. republicans meantime shifting focus to the close door process. >> the tragedy here in the crime here is that the american people don't get to see what's going on in the sessions. >> october 15, george kent. the state department official testifying he raised concerns about hunter biden in ukraine. in 2015. more recently, kent who was posted to the embassy in kooef. focusing on giuliani's targeting of yovanovitch. and effort to kir null vent.
he had been sidelined. october 17, sondland. >> president trump has not only honored me with the job of being the abs but given me other special assignments including ukraine. >> sondland who initially was blocked from testifying. did appear on october 17. >> we were not expecting him necessarily to throw the president under the bus, in a way he kind of did. the fact he did raise concerns about the president's push back on the effort to strengthen the alliance. to get the meeting with zelensky and trump. a public donor and close to the president. >> i was just trying to do my job and get a meeting. didn't know what giuliani was up to. >> the most jaw dropping testimony was still to come. october 22, bill taylor. called out of retirement to help
in ukraine. taylor began the day with a 15 page opening statement. in which he detailed a quote irregular, informal channel of u.s. policy making with respect to ukraine. and highlighted efforts to tie congressional approved military aid for ukraine to investigations into biden and the 2016 election. >> you could hear a pin drop as the ambassador has laid out in he has opening statement. >> on july 18, i heard a staff person for the office of management and budget say there was a hold on security assistance to ukraine. a directive had come from the president. taylor also explaining this text exchange with ambassador sondland. are we saying security assistance and white house meeting are conditioned on investigation? to which sondland responded call me. taylor says in that call, sondland said everything was
dependent on zelensky publicly announcing investigations. >> this is the most disturbing day in congress. so far. >> it means more people will come back in and reanswer questions. >> the president quick to dismiss the testimony. >> here's the problem. he's a never trumper and his lawyers a never trumper. >> joining me now. january dean former nixon counsel. the state department for 31 years under both republican and democrat presidents. she's known bill taylor. for 25 years. david gergen and elliot williams. former assistant attorney general. know now the testimony that we - have seen. you heard ambassadors taylor testimony. he laid out evidence of a quid
pro quo. what more do investigators need to know? what's left to know before they would move ahead with articles of impeachment? >> i think that the abuse of power is a clear article. it's already been laid out by the conversation that the president reported himself, by the witnesses. and there is no set standard of proof in need of the house or senate one to impeach and two to later convict and remove. this is in the conscious of each member who votes. i think clear and convincing evidence if not evidence beyond a reasonable doubt always does the job. >> what more than do we need? the transcript itself of the phone call was the ukraine president brings up aid. trump says first i need a favor. and since then it's gotten much more detailed about the level of specificity of the president asked for. in terms of investigations into joe biden. what more is needed?
>> you can file articles of impeachment today. but what you're doing now is filling in the gaps. prosecutors lawyers do this all the time. this involves the state department. on diplomacy parties. and witnesses from the defense department and white house. we'll hear from the seven more over the course of the week. at that point, they can file an article of impeachment. and vote on it. the one thing even prior to that, what you would have is public hearings. you have to get the public behind this. this testimony happened in private. that's okay it's part of the process. you put it on the record ambassador sondland, bill taylor and let the american people hear from them directly. >> we have zen more people that we know of. scheduled to be deposed. they do that behind closed doors that's the process. the democrats and republicans in the committee are allowed to be in the room and ask questions. sondland is likely to come back. the u.s. ambassador to the european union.
john bolton. they're working on that now. who do they need to hear from from here? before they would put a public schedule out of the people they're going to bring back? >> well, i think elliot is right. they need it fill in the gaps. there are documents the people have been witnesses have not turned over because they have been blocked by the state department. or others. we need those documents in order to continue building the case. or the democrats do. i think it's extremely important that they move fairly soon to give the republicans what seems to be a more of a role. so that the republican argument this is a totally unfair process diminishes. by giving republicans chance to interview people in the open for example. will really help by putting the transcripts out will help. ultimately, i have to go back to
elliot, the most important thing they have to do is build and more evidence to bring the country around. bring the population around. especially people in the middle that this is serious. it's consequential. it may have started out seeming like what's the point. why is this a big deal. it was central to the president's reelection efforts. he turned things upside down in the administration to dpet the dirt on joe biden. people have to understand they just how big a deal that is. >> ambassador, bill taylor testimony as we know was reresh rating among republicans. this is moment we realize something happened that is unacceptable. what else do lawmakers need to hear? to verify that what ambassador taylor said is 100% true. i don't say that to imply he would have misled. obviously that is not the case. some of the things he did say came from other people.
sondland talked to the president. sondland tells bill taylor. in order to confirm what the president told sondland obviously we need more information. what more is needed? >> i think the basic facts have been laid out. we have the transcript of the president's phone call. we have seen what ambassador taylor did in terms of his opening statement. for the deposition. thereto are a number of players who can come forward and offer some important information. i think it will be very important to next week from people who worked as the nsc. morrison, cupperman. on the phone call. so it's not secondhand people. but it's also important when you look at the role the state department has been thrust into. and that rudy giuliani is running some sort of shadow foreign policy. that we hear from people like mike pompeo. and his deputy.
so people who have been involved throughout the process. so that they can also bring forward evidence about what really was going on in u.s. foreign policy. >> all right. please stay with me. with us for the special coverage. next, putting the squeeze on ukraine. so it was more than just a phone call from president trump. it was a lot more. it's important to understand that. we will be live from kooef. the rules of impeachment. what exactly are they? two people who wrote the books on it, on american history joining me. a handful of republicans have spoken out against the president. is it just the beginning or not? man: how can i deliver superior long-term results? it begins with a distinctive approach to managing money. that for over 85 years has focused on keeping confidence up when markets are down. an approach where portfolio managers work well independently. and even better together. who don't just invest, but are personally invested.
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coverage "white house in crisis: the impeachment inquiry." tonight a dleerer picture of how long president trump and his allies put the squeeze on ukraine to carry out investigations linked to the president's political rivals. trump and his team have maintained that they didn't pressure the president of ukraine. they cite the ukrainian president himself. >> we spoke about many things. and so i think and you that nobody push it. pushed me. >> in other words. no pressure. >> there was no pressure. no nothing. >> the most important reaction. is from president zelensky himself. who said i didn't feel pushed. i didn't feel pressure. >> president zelensky said there was no pressure. >> so they're hanging it on president zelensky. so it is important to notice this, zelensky needs trump and his american aid. what he says publicly doesn't
matter. what matters is what he really thinks and feels. and there's reporting on that. we understand that cnn from a source the ukrainian president zelensky and team felt pressure from the administration and rudy giuliani back in may. in early may. they felt pressure to publicly launch investigations that would benefit trump personally. this is huge for many reasons. including the fact that date early may is before zelensky efb formally took office. he knew what he had to do to be in trumps favor. after all trump and the united states were keeping ukraine out of russian hands. he was a crucial patron. and zelensky knew he needed to do what he needed to do to make president trump happy. everyone is back with me. what does it tell you what the ukraine president, obviously says something next to trump. which gets recited by pence and pompeo and trump. and on and on. the reporting obviously shows
the opposite. that he felt pressure. all the way back before he even formally took office. he knew what trump wanted. wla does that say to you? >> it says to many e he's under pressure. and was under pressure before that call. the call may not have been direct pressure. he said he wasn't pushed. trump was the one who said he wasn't pressured. i don't think there's no question this man is between a rock and a hard place and couldn't do more than say he was not pressured. or not pushed. >> obviously they say look what he says. i would expect him to say nothing otherwise. after all, trump is still president. and he is getting the aid. >> regardless of what he think, the impeachable offense is committed based on the intent. if he intends to with hold the aid and intends to violate his oath of office by self-dealing or going after a political rival, that's the problem.
regardless of whether zelensky felt pressured or -- that's indicative and of whether the president committed the offense. again what we're paying attention the fact the president intended to do? >> all signs show it to be the case. ambassador, you have been there. you have been in the situations. can you put the context around this? why would the ukraine -- republicans out there say i want to hear from the ukrainian president. so we know what the ukrainian president will say publicly. which is what he said next to president trump. we know the reporting shows that is false. why would the ukrainian president say he was never pushed to launch the investigation if that is not true? >> well, it's clear. first of all he was on the world stage sitting directly next to the president who is providing crucial assistance to his country. his country is occupied by russia. there is an active war that is under way. so he is he's absolute i in an
impossible situation. we know the ukrainians had said previously if you want an investigation, file an official request. go through the justice at the embassy. work through official channels. for months before there had been an informal pressure. that is what was driving him. and he is trying to navigate through. >> david. >> when the most powerful person in the world the person who holds your future in their hands calls you and asks for a favor, you know what that message is. you must do this. i want this is serious. he called him up. to ask for a favor. there's no doubt that he was under pressure. and all the reporting supports that proposition. this is a very weak read for the republicans to hang their hats on. >> certainly we'll see if they drop it. it's certainly obviously the truth appears clear.
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subject. author of american dialogue the founder and us. joseph ellis. who won the pulzer prize. and the author of the impeachers the trial of andrew johnson and the dream of a just nation. and i appreciate both of you taking the time. and this is the perspective that so many people around the world want to have. republican senator tells cnn that he is now reading your book. about andrew johnson. on his kindle. this shows a level of this is a sitting senator, someone who often staunchly defended the president. he wants to read this and understand the import of this moment. what should the take away from your book be for him? >> well, among other things it's one of the take aways is that president cannot and should not abuse power. and obstruct justice and will not get away with it.
that's what happened in 1868. the house eventually impeached johnson in whatever you think of hm in the fact he was finally acquitted. the house did do that. that's one thing to take away from it. the other to take away is the there were men of they were men at the time. men of probity and solemn and serious about what they were doing. and wanted to do the best for the country. they trying to act in the best way possible. even going beyond partisan ship and think about the fate and the future of the nation. >> which is perhaps an important thing. for people who are taking this seriously. to note. the constitution says of impeachment. i want to read it here. i cite the constitution. the president vice president, and all civil officers of the united states shall be removed from office on impeachment. for and conviction of treason,
bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. and then there's hamilton and federal paper number 65. he talks about the grounds for impeachment including those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men. or in other words from the abuse or violation of some public trust. do you think there are grounds to impeach trump from what you know now? >> short answer yes. the term high crimes and misdemeanors is confusing to a lot of americans for good reason. high crime is treason, murder, and misdemeanor is like jay walking. what he's saying in the federalist papers and the founders were saying the framers during the three times they debated it. executive power in the convention. was that republics were vulnerable to leaders who played to the prejudices and the passions and the motions of
emotions of the lek tort. and the executive branch was dangerous. the monarchy was the ghost at the banquet throughout the philadelphia convention and wanted to reassure themss they would be able to remove a chief executive. if he violated certain values. that put the republic at risk. through themselves not crimes. they didn't think impeachment should happen often. it should be a last resort. it was a kind of nuclear option. but you didn't have to commit a crime you had to violate principles that let's say unbalance the constitution or expanded executive power in a dangerous state kicktorial direction. >> it's also about value. in your book you write in 1868 the highly unlikable president was impeached and brought to
trial in the senate who could no longer toll rat the abuse of power. and the violation of the law. you then wrote johnson was not a statesman. he had a fear of lose b ground with the need to be recognized on session to be right. he baited congress and bullied men believes his enemies were enemies of the people. you started working on this book six years ago. obviously there are many republicans who would substitute names in those sentences and wonder what it means for the big decision in front of them. >> what it means is that it seems like we're going forward in a very clear way. because almost i didn't intend to write it this way. we have gone from abuse of power or bullying men in bullying ideas. to the violation of a law. in he just explained you don't need to violate a law. to have an impeachable offense.
it's finally the violation of law called the tenure of office that got the house of representatives to vote overwhelmingly to impeach him. when before that there had been many reluctant. even though they thought that he was unfit for office. >> president trump invoked the founding fathers this week. he was asked about the possible impeachment. he went to the founding fathers. here's what he said. >> i think they want to any democrats wants to. they won't beat me in the election. of course they want to impeach. it's so illegitimate. it cannot be the way the founders our great founders meant this to be. >> just to reiterate. you won the prize for your book on the founding fathers. is the president right?
>> no. of course, impeachment -- jerry ford when he was republican head of the minority in the senate said impeachment is whatever a majority of the members of the house decide it to be. it's a political category. and not a legal category. there's some true to that. that overstates it. that there has to be a sufficient preponderance of evidence. the person is violates principles central to the growth and the stability of the republic. and i think there's enough evidence on the table beyond the ukraine matter. the especially the obstruction of justice not allowing witnesses to testify. not allowing his tax records to be obtained. remember ronald reagan said
trust but verify. so why doesn't he turn tax records over. there are all kind of reasons that add up to a bill of indictment. which is what i think the house is going to deliver. remember however a sitting president has never been successfully removed from office. that is nixon left on purpose. on his own will. the vote against johnson lost by one. >> right. that eventually acquitted. that shows the hurdle in front of them. even if they of course successfully do so in the house. a with clinton. the senate doesn't look it would go the same way. we'll see what happens. i appreciate you taking the time. i hope this added values for the viewers who had questions about what the founding fathersment and what the constitution says. the thank you both. next much more of the special
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welcome back to "white house in crisis: the impeachment inquiry." impeachment n. house grows more likely the big question has now become whether the senate will vote to remove trump from office. here are the numbers there tr 47 democrats and independents and 53 republicans. the numbers are important. to remove a president from
office, you need 67 senators voting for. which means all the democrats the independents and at least 20 of the republicans. right now we don't formally have one of them on board. joining me now is a former ohio governor a republican. the author of the new book it's up to us. ten ways to bring about change. i appreciate your time. so here's the thing, the president has already dismissed people criticizing him in the republican party as never trumpers. you have been a long time critic of the president. you didn't come out in favor of impeachment through a week ago. you waited for mueller and facts on ukraine and a week ago did you come out in favor. do you think others are like you and on the edge the verge or not? >> i don't think at this point, to be honest. i think what's going to move republicans first of all are
public hearings. i have been urging the house to vote on impeachment inquiry which they haven't done. it's a big mistake. setting rules up for the minority. it's important, it's relates to fairness. secondly at some point they'll have public hearings so people can hear witnesses talk about what's happened. and right now it's sort of selected leaks and stories here and there. ultimately i really believe it's going to require republicans. not just democrats. and some independents. but republicans to say there's enough here that we think the president should be impeached and go to the trial. and that's going to depend. i also believe on where the bulk of republicans are. it doesn't have to have them. it you have to have some in the republican party saying this is bad. >> some of them indicated that. they haven't gone so far to say it's impeachable. you have heard criticism from collins and murkowski and
romney. and sass. cornen is reading up on impeachment. at least he's reading a book. the president does what he always does. he comes out and slams people who criticize him. mitt romney is in the his sights right now. he's what he said recently about mitt romney. >> they don't have a mitt romney in the their miftd. they don't have the mitt romney of the world. they don't have people like that. they stick together. you never see them break off. >> you don't have the mitt romney's of the world. people that will go against the party. >> he's obviously talking about democrats. saying the republicans the democrats are all together. they don't have a mitt romney. do you think that mitt romney who has been vocal will follow through and put his career and legacy on the line and vote to impeach? >> first of all, this is what
everybody says when the democrats were in charge. the republicans stick together. and republicans say the democrats stick together. in terms of what mitt romney will do i don't have a clue. nobody does. i think he'll look at the evidence. this is clearly something that bothered him. that has gotten inside of his conscious. i don't think he'll put his career on the line if he votes this. it's not there's no profile courage here. by looking at information that a president of the united states held up military aid. so the leader of the another country would investigate his political opponent. it's cut and dry. it's simple. and we saw the chief of staff say it. we saw the ambassador taylor who had a very powerful testimony. i believe republicans will probably pivot to say maybe there was a quid pro quo. but, we're a year out. why don't we we have an election. that's where they're going
unless the public says no. that's not acceptable. >> the public hearings. today the president announces al-baghdadi. the isis leader is dead. he killed himself when he was cornered and the president is excited about this. his president slammed him over syria. >> we're all excited about it. >> but is this politically going to help him with his party? >> oh yeah. any time something like this happens. when a major victory in terms of taking care of somebody who is the force of evil. it's always going to play to the fwen f benefit of the person in charge. i don't think it's lasting. what it gets down to is the question i raised. do you think this raises to the level that a president should stop should not do that. do members of the republican party when hearin about this and making it clear and crystallize they say it's enough we can't toll rat that. that's not good for the
president or the next one. that's what we have to keep our eye on. it's been shifting in terms of where people are. there's a long way to go. >> all right. i appreciate your time. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> just ahead in the special coverage. we are going to go live to ukraine. where the media is not holding back on the coverage of the trump impeachment inquiry. t-mobile's newest signal reaches farther than ever before... with more engineers, more towers, more coverage.
>> ukraine is still front and center in the u.s.'s political crisis more than a month after the impeachment inquiry began. ukrainian president, zelensky admits it is an uncomfortable position to be in. he joked to journalists he wants to be world famous but not for this. the political scandal is very much front page news. the paper recently made waves with this headline that quickly went viral. >> this one is so striking to me. you are talking about the shady cast s of characters and here they all are and here is the president of the united states. did you know it would create such waves online when it came out? >> no. >> did you have a moment at all thinking are we going to get in trouble at all for having
pictures of president trump under the word shady? >> not really. we are not making anything upper hooch here is his personal attorney and it is not farfetched. it is all very clearly connected. >> reporter: activist darya has spent years on the ukraine side and was dib tsturbed to see the white house's dealing with such dubious characters. >> it is outrageous. >> reporter: outrageous? >> it is disappointing. i could never believe something like that could happen. >> reporter: on the streets of kiev few have strong opinions of america's turmoil. >> don't care so much of the story.
>> a problem of the president of the united states is not about us. we have our own problems. >> reporter: the war against russian back separatists in the east country. ukraine depends on u.s. military aide in that fight. those who understands what's at stakes here are uneasy. >> reporter: do you think people are angry? >> absolutely, people are angry and scared. i will explain why people are scared. it is existential need for ukraine. in order to resist the pressure from russia, we need to rely on support of our partners. leaving ukraine with fewer
options to ride out the storm. >> reporter: people here who are following this closely do understand that america's political turmoil is directly connected to the war that's going on against those russian back separatists because it is important to remember nearly $400 million in military aide was withheld for months. that could have had a devastating impact on the conflict if it had gone much longer. that's why political leaders here feel it is crucial for them not to be in the middle of america's crisis. >> clarissa, thank you very much. >> that's so powerful that the woman says it is an existential need for americans. coming up, tonight you will hear and see them about rudy giuliani and find out what you don't know yet about trump's appoint person from ukraine. questions for mike pompeo who
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