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Transcript Shows Trump Pushed Ukraine to Investigate Biden; DOJ Declined to Open Criminal Probe into Whether Trump Broke Campaign Law in Ukraine Call after Intel I.C. Referred Complaint; Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) Discusses the Trump/Zelensky Transcript on Investigating the Bidens, Whistleblower Complaint & Impeachment. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired September 25, 2019 - 11:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Bill Barr, leading the Justice Department, saying nothing to see here.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Bill Barr who pushed for this letter and this transcript to be out.


Thank you, Kaitlan. Great reporting.

Thank you all for being with me. I'm Poppy Harlow, in New York.

Jim and I will see in D.C. for special coverage tomorrow morning.

My colleague, Kate Bolduan, continues our special coverage right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks so much for joining me.

As you can see, it has been a morning of breaking news. There's more yet to come. The White House just released its account of the July phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. The first details we have of what led to the whistleblower complaint against the president.

The call is only part of the allegations laid out in this complaint. The rest of it we have -- we do not know. The White House account though does reveal President Trump said the following to the Ukrainian president, "If you could look into it, it sounds horrible to me." That's just a bit.

Trump there explicitly talking about former Vice President Joe Biden. Much more on this throughout the hour.

Remember, this is just the first step in what is now history making, a formal impeachment inquiry underway. Soon, the White House says it will be releasing the whistleblower

complaint. How much, what it looks like, we don't know, which the White House had previously been withholding from Congress, a complaint that's now at the center of the House Democrat's impeachment investigation.

Let's go to Washington right now. Pamela Brown is standing by.

Pam, the president just said he did not -- from this call, that he did not apply any pressure, absolutely no pressure to the Ukrainian president. Can you layout please what are the details that they released of the call?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We will go ahead and just let the viewers decide if the president is accurate with that because we now have the conversation in this memorandum that is provided by the White House of the president's call with President Zelensky in Ukraine.

We should start off with, after the pleasantries, the president made reference to all of the help that the U.S. has given Ukraine. Here is what he said: "A lot of the European countries are the same way, so I think it is something you want to look at. But the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine. I wouldn't say that it is reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good, but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine."

Now, he doesn't explicitly say here that we will, you know, withdraw some of that help if you don't investigate Joe Biden, but he is certainly teeing up what he says is a favor later on in the conversation.

We should also note that President Zelensky thanked President Trump for U.S. support of defense, which would be military aid. It was after that when the president followed up to say, "I would like you to do us a favor though."

From there, on page four of the five-page transcript, Kate, the president says -- and after Zelensky, President Zelensky, of Ukraine, brought up Rudy Giuliani, the president said, "The other thing, there's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that. So, whatever you could do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution. So if you could look into that, it sounds horrible to me."

There's no direct evidence to back up the president's allegation that Joe Biden, the president's political rival, Democratic presidential candidate, had the prosecutor in Ukraine fired in order to end the investigation into a company tied to his son, Hunter Biden.

Joe Biden has publicly talked about the fact that he wanted that prosecutor fired and pushed for it because he didn't do enough to combat corruption.

In response to this, President Zelensky, of Ukraine, said, "Since we have won the absolute majority in our parliament, the next prosecutor general will be 100 percent my person, my candidate, who will be approved by the parliament and will start as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look into the situation, specifically to the company that you mentioned in this issue."

That prosecutor, Kate, we're told is actually in office. You are having President Zelensky saying, OK, yes, once my new prosecutor is in place we are going to reopen this and look at this.

It is notable, even though President Trump mentioned Biden's name one time during the conversation, he referred to this investigation, his desire for it to be reopened multiple times, saying that his own Attorney General Bill Barr and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, would be reaching out to the Ukrainians on the matter. So he made it very clear there that this was a top priority for him.

Now, Republicans are saying -- and we heard Lindsey Graham say it -- that there's no explicit quid pro quo. But we know the president talks, Kate. He won't come out and say something. We learned that with the Mueller report, and his intent to fire Robert Mueller. He rarely comes out and explicitly says it.

But he teed up the conversation, talking about U.S. support to Ukrainians and then put in what he said, I would like you to do me a favor, and then bringing up Joe Biden.


Also in the bigger context, it is not the first time that President Trump has pushed for a political rival to be investigated. We reported previously, Kate, that the president pushed his then-White House counsel and acting Department of Justice attorney general to investigate Hillary Clinton. He would often bring it up, push for DOJ to investigate Hillary Clinton.

And now, we have this clear example of the president pushing the president of Ukraine to reopen an investigation that he believes would be damaging to his political rival, Joe Biden. So this is really significant.

And now we are learning there was a criminal complaint from the I.C. I.G. to DOJ out of concern it could be a violation of campaign finance laws. And DOJ declined to move forward with that.

Of course, Bill Barr is mentioned several times in the transcript. He is the attorney general. It raises all sorts of questions about how it has been handled -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Pamela, thank you so much for laying it out.

There's a lot going on here today.

Jeffrey Toobin laughs at me off camera, it is the understatement of the year.

But first, you talk about the criminal complaint going to the Department of Justice.

Let me bring in Evan Perez.

Evan, this has been your reporting, that the I.G. also reached out to DOJ over this. What are you learning?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kate. The referral from the inspector general for the Intelligence Community came over to this building, to the Justice Department, at the end of August. Both the criminal division here at the Justice Department and the FBI received these referrals. Now, they looked at this and they determined that there was not a crime here.

I will read you just a part of a statement from the Justice Department spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec. She says, "The Criminal Division reviewed the official record of the call" -- the call between the presidents - "and determined, based on the facts and applicable law, that there was no campaign finance violation and no further action was warranted."

This is a closed matter as far as the Justice Department is concerned. They looked at whether or not, because the inspector general sent it over seeking an opinion whether it was a campaign finance violation. Under federal law, it is illegal for a campaign to accept a thing of value from a foreigner. That's one of the questions that was presented to the prosecutors

They looked at this. They went over to the White House, talked to the people that produced the transcript of the call, and determined it was evidence that they could look at, and that's how they arrived at the conclusion.

The big question, as Pamela raised, was the role of Attorney General Bill Barr. Now, he is mentioned in the call. Multiple times the president says, I want you to talk to my attorney general, in addition to Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney.

According to the Justice Department, no such communication ever happened. Bill Barr never talked to the Ukrainians, never talked to the president about this.

The first time he learned about this was when the referral came over to the Justice Department. There was no recusal by the attorney general. There was no consideration of a recusal. So he was overseeing all of this.

We know that under the rules, the final determination here was made by Brian Benczkowski, the head of the Criminal Division, according to the Justice Department.

Now, of course, the questions will continue. The president -- I'm sorry. I'm sure the Democrats on the Hill will be asking questions about Bill Barr and whether or not he should have played a role overseeing any of this given the fact that his name is raised in the call by the president of the United States.

BOLDUAN: This transcript, if you call it that, definitely raises questions about that and many other things.

Evan, great reporting. Thank you so much.

With me, let me bring in Gloria Borger, CNN's chief political analyst.

Gloria, in terms of response, we heard what the president said and how he is reacting to it. Elizabeth Warren called it a smoking gun. Lindsey Graham today says that he doesn't see anything concerning here. He says the ask is not and ask and the ask -- and ask isn't enough.

That means what when you are looking at this this broadly, which we need to keep perspective here?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: This is kind of a Rorschach test and people are retreating into their corners here. The president calls it a nothing call. And Lindsey Graham says there wasn't an ask.

But as Pamela just outlined to you in great detail, the president has a way of asking without asking. In fact, he did say -- he did say, I would like you to do me a favor. I think that's kind of an ask, don't you? So everybody is looking at this differently.

We know from covering the Russia investigation and the whole Mueller story that, when Michael Cohen testified he said, you know, the president doesn't just come out and tell you when he wants you to do something. You know when he wants you to do something. He doesn't have to say it.


In the context of the conversation, Kate, we are having here, you have Zelensky saying, we want to Cooperate -- by the way, Zelensky is so unctuous and so cooperative and so complimentary of the president and saying, we want to buy more Javelins.

Then the president says, I would like you to do me a favor. And he talks about the conspiracy narratives we have been hearing from Rudy Giuliani, among others, about the stolen Democratic e-mails. That's one point where there's an ellipsis in this transcript, I might add.

Then he goes on later to talk about investigating Joe Biden. Before he says, it sounds horrible to me, referring to Biden and Hunter Biden, there's another ellipsis in this transcript. I think the Democrats would want to flesh that out.

But to go back to your question, is it surprising that people are retreating into their own corners here, I don't think so. I think what the Democrats see as an abuse of power, some Republicans will just shrug and say, you know, Donald Trump didn't have a firm ask, and say, in exchange for this will you do this.

I think the question they have to answer is how he made it appear as if the full force of the United States government was behind him in everything he was asking. He said, well, talk to the attorney general, and the attorney general is now saying, I didn't know anything about this.

So the president was representing something to the president of Ukraine that, in fact, was not the case if you listen -- if you listen to Bill Barr. And then ask the question, who is Rudy Giuliani, and why is he doing these things for the president of the United States.

BOLDUAN: Gloria raised some really interesting points.

Jeffrey Toobin is here with me, Kaitlan Collins, Samantha Vinograd as well.

Jeffrey, to the point -- my question is, how explicit does a quid pro quo need to be.

The point on the transcript on page two in a couple of different places, "I will have to say we do a lot for Ukraine, we expend a lot of effort, we spend a lot of effort and a lot of time, much more than the European countries are doing and they should be helping more. I wouldn't say it is reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not good, but the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine."

What is your take here?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: First of all, let's be clear that quid pro quo is not necessary for this phone call to be wildly inappropriate and potentially impeachable.


TOOBIN: The very notion of asking a foreign leader for dirt on a political opponent, independent of the issue of quid pro quo, is troubling to many, many people.

But there's also enormous evidence that there was a quid pro quo. If you read this transcript in its entirety -- you know, I have been speaking English since I was a little boy. I know all of the words in English.

BOLDUAN: You know lots of words.

TOOBIN: When someone says, "I want you to do me a favor," that means, I want you to do me a favor. That means I want you to do something for me. What he is asking for is political -- the dirt on Joe Biden. That's what he is asking for.

And as Kaitlan pointed out earlier, as Kaitlan pointed out earlier, erases that at the precise moment after Zelensky raises the issue of, we need money for our defense. Money, favor. Quid pro quo.

BOLDUAN: Real quick, Kaitlan -- because I will forget I want to ask this if it goes any further.


BOLDUAN: And ask if it didn't happen -- if the ask happens and what the ask was does not occur, right? If he asked Ukraine, Ukraine doesn't investigate, doesn't provide the thing of value then in return, is that still a problem?

TOOBIN: It is a bit -- remember, this call is only July. This is happening in real time. The problem for Donald Trump is that he got caught --


BOLDUAN: A meeting in three hours, by the way. And Zelensky and Trump are meeting in three hours, so --

TOOBIN: Right. And Donald Trump's problem is that he got caught, and that's why this is stopping.



TOOBIN: If he hadn't gotten caught, who knows what would have happened.

BOLDUAN: OK. So, Kaitlan, on the most basic level then -- I know a lot of people are wondering this as I have been wondering since this was released, why did the White House release it?

COLLINS: They thought it would clear the president and make him look good, dispel the drama surrounding the call and whether or not he tied the military aid to an investigation for Joe Biden, which they said didn't happen.

The people we talked to said the president didn't make any remarks about aid, and he doesn't. But Ukraine's president brings up military aid here.


Which we should note days before the call, that is when the president directed Mick Mulvaney, chief of staff, to call the Pentagon, freeze the military aid going to Ukraine because they were reviewing it. They didn't provide a reason to the Pentagon why they were doing so. Pentagon officials were confused why.

Then this call happened and, in it, Volodymyr Zelensky said, we look forward to your great support in the area of defense, they look forward to buying more military equipment. And that's when Trump's next line is, "I would like for you to do me a favor though."

The White House says Trump didn't bring up the aid, but Zelensky brought up the aid and, immediately after that, is when the president makes his request.

The questions going forward here will be, why did they release this. And in particular, we know that the Attorney General Bill Barr was pushing for release of the letter against people like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who warned the president, don't release this transcript, it is going to set a bad precedent going forward.

The question is why Barr would want it released since his name is essentially all over it and you see how the president sees Rudy Giuliani and Bill Barr through the same lens.

BOLDUAN: That may be the least surprising thing.


BOLDUAN: Sam, first, what is your point?


SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Obviously, to your point, Pompeo wouldn't want this released. The president trashes a U.S. ally, Germany. He trashes the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. And it is detrimental from a national security perspective.

Any foreign leader that meets with the president or just talks to him has to expect that, because of the president's own recklessness, their communications will end up on the front page of the "New York Times" and being talked about on CNN.

This call is deeply damaging to President Trump and to President Zelensky as well. He is an active participant in this, what I see as a quid pro quo.

At this point, from a national security perspective, Kate, we have to assume every communication the president has, all of the work the State Department and others are doing on Ukraine going forward will be subject to congressional scrutiny.

All of the work that should be done, countering Russia, having regular communications with Ukraine, will now likely will be evidence, including the meeting happening in three hours between President Trump and President Zelensky. You can kind of see them wanting to get in there and compare notes about how to handle it.

BOLDUAN: I can't even believe the news some days. I can't believe it is happening on this day.

VINOGRAD: It is happening in real time. These two leaders are talking about investigating a rival of President Trump. Zelensky is asking for aid and they're getting together. Let's hope a note taker is in that room in three hours.

BOLDUAN: OK, let me ask you this. Sam, can you gut check me on this. The dot, dot, dot, kind of that important place --


VINOGRAD: The ellipses.

BOLDUAN: I call them dot, dot, dot. If you can look into it, dot, dot, dot, it sounds horrible to me. Do you question the completeness and the accuracy of what you see here? VINOGRAD: I think we have to be a little careful. You know, I think

the White House released the transcript not only because they want us to focus on the ellipses, the commas, pauses, et cetera. Ellipses are used often used if there's a pause in conversation in these transcripts.

Taking out aspects of the transcript purposefully would violate the Presidential Records Act. I know it is a minor offense in light of the other things we are discussing, but there are explanations for these ellipses.

Kate, we have to keep these transcripts in perspective. If we spend so much time focusing on dot, dot, dot, rather than on the full transcript or the whistleblower complaint, we will fall into the president's trap.

BOLDUAN: I think it is important to state one more time that this is important regardless, because it is more information, but this, the details of this call are one piece of the story.

While it might be overwhelming or it feels to me sometimes the drip, drip, drip that might be coming out, what is -- all along, we have known that the call, this call was only part of the complaint from the whistleblower that was deemed urgent and credible from the inspector general who is appointed by the president of the United States.

So it truly is -- we've been with this news. It is still standby to standby because we have a whistleblower complaint that is what is the core and center of this and we don't know the fullness of it.

COLLINS: No, we don't. What is also interesting is that the president, when you are listening to the president talk about impeachment earlier and you can see he is clearly frustrated, yesterday morning, he is a call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They wanted to discuss that whistleblower's complaint. They talked about it. It is unclear where they got in the conversation.

But they left it with Trump feeling confident. That's when he made the decision to authorize the release of the transcript we are talking about now.

Then later, administration officials started working with the Intelligence Community about how to release that whistleblower's complaint, which we're still told is in the works, because Trump thought doing that was going to de-escalate the tensions you are see ramping up on Capitol Hill calling for his impeachment.

Then, when Nancy Pelosi came out yesterday and made her announcement, the president was incredulous. He couldn't believe he wasn't able to change her mind because he walked into the conversation thinking that was how it would end.

It will be interesting, that the president thought it was going to clear him and make Democrats look silly, not only for calling for impeachment but especially now that they were launching a formal inquiry and whether or not that changes is -- (CROSSTALK)


BOLDUAN: Stand by a second, Jeffrey.

Let me get to Capitol Hill. CNN's Manu Raju is there where this impeachment inquiry is unfolding.

Manu, you just caught up with the top Republican in the House, Kevin McCarthy. What did he tell you?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, House Republicans are defending the president in the aftermath of the release of this transcript saying it backs up what he says. There are some questions about exactly how they're defending him as well.

Kevin McCarthy told me this moments ago.

RAJU: He talked about Bidens in the call. Is that OK, Mr. Leader?

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): How many times did he mention Biden in the call?

RAJU: He --


MCCARTHY: He mentioned him one time.

RAJU: Is that a problem?

MCCARTHY: Who brought it up?


MCCARTHY: No. You watch the presidents, the president of Ukraine brought it up.

RAJU: You are OK with it? Are you OK with the president's call?


RAJU: So actually, the transcript, Kate, shows that it was not the president of Ukraine that brought up the Bidens. It was the president of the United States that brought up the Bidens.

In fact, it says -- this is what President Trump says according to the transcript: "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, a lot of people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me."

So President Trump is the one who brought it up, not the Ukrainian president. McCarthy said he hadn't made the transcript but he was making that


Other Republicans who have read the transcript, including Mike Conaway, a Republican who led the House Intelligence Committee's Russian investigation last Congress, told me there's nothing wrong with the conversations about the Bidens, saying that both presidents were simply talking about draining the swamp. That's their view.

Democrats, not surprisingly have a different view, including the House speaker, who said she hasn't read the transcript but she says it backs up her call yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: The transcript is out. Do you think the Congress needs to talk to Attorney General Barr? The president seemed to offer his cooperation.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I haven't seen it. I have just come from my own meeting. But the transcript -- the fact is that the president of the United States, in breach of his constitutional responsibilities, has asked a foreign government to help him in his political campaign at the expense of our national security as well as undermining the integrity of our elections. That cannot stand. He will be held accountable. No one is above the law.


RAJU: And you are hearing Democrats also call for the recusal of the attorney general, Bill Barr. As the investigation continues, we will see how that ultimately turns out.

Clearly, it is not tamping down on the calls for impeachment from Democrats as they feel emboldened in the release of the transcript -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Yes, and the focus returning to Capitol Hill once again.

Thanks, Manu.

Manu will have much more reporting as he chases more members of Congress around.

We really appreciate it, Manu.

Let me bring in Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. She is a member of the House Judiciary Committee, of course, one of the committees that will be part of this investigation, this impeachment investigation.

I want to ask you, Congressman, have you had a chance to read the details of the call released this morning?

REP. DEBBIE MUCARSEL-POWELL (D-FL): Good morning, Kate. I have only reviewed it very briefly. We are actually conducting an

important hearing in the Judiciary Committee today, which is the assault weapons ban law. So, you know, this is all breaking so quickly and I haven't had a chance to review it fully.

BOLDUAN: I will just read you one of the key portions because I do want to get your reaction.

In this phone call with Ukrainian president, President Trump says, at one point, "The other thing, there's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution, and a lot of people want to find out about that. So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it, it sounds horrible to me."

When you hear that, what is your reaction?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Look, I don't think anything has changed with the release of this memorandum from the White House. I think that it is extremely concerning that we have a president that's using the power of his office to put pressure on a foreign leader to try to get information on his political opponent.

I have heard some comments from some of my colleagues in the minority party, the Republican Party, who are trying to politicize this and turn it around. I think that this cannot be a political issue.

We have to protect the Constitution. We have to protect the institutions that make this country a democratic and free country. I'm concerned that my colleagues are politicizing it.

It is about protecting the Constitution. It is about abuse of power. We have a president betraying his office and the American people, and we need to continue to investigate.


BOLDUAN: Let me ask you. You came out in support of impeachment proceedings in June, well before this whistleblower complaint came to light. Speaker Pelosi was not there until now. If the actual whistleblower complaint could be headed to Congress still, could this formal proceeding still be premature?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Look, what we're seeing from this president is a pattern of abuse of power, obstruction of justice. He has continued to obstruct our investigative efforts in Congress and the Judiciary Committee. And I think that this has been a tipping point not only for the speaker but for many of my colleagues that are seeing this this seeing that this president is undermining our national security. It is a clear-cut case.

We need to wait to see what the director of National Intelligence will -- what information he is going to provide on Thursday in front of the House Intelligence Committee.

But I do believe that it is clear that now we have a sitting president that is using his power to put pressure on a foreign leader.

I would ask that we don't politicize it. I would ask my Republican colleagues to not politicize this. We would not -- we haven't allowed this behavior from the past 44 presidents. We shouldn't allow it now.


MUCARSEL-POWELL: No one is above the law.

BOLDUAN: The important part about it is getting information out and getting the most -- getting fact out. That's what I'm talking about.

It still could be premature because you don't have the whistleblower report, which is what the motivation is at the core, the impetus of bringing -- of bringing impeachment proceedings to begin from Nancy Pelosi.

Let me ask you, because of the path forward, and I think it is critical and I want to ask you this. CNN is also reporting -- CNN is also reporting that one of the -- that some members believe part of the reason behind Pelosi's effort to seize on the whistleblower complaint as the impetus for whistleblower, was to give more power to the House Intelligence Committee rather than your committee, the House Judiciary Committee.

One person put it this way to my colleague, Laruen Fox: "I have not met one member of the Democratic caucus who thinks Jerry Nadler has handled this right." He's the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Do you think it is part of what is happening here?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: Look, it is unfortunate that we have a colleague that is criticizing the work of the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. We have been full-force working very hard to hold this president accountable.

And I do believe that the speaker has made it very clear that she has full faith and trust that the chairmen of the six committees need to continue to do their work to hold the president accountable.

This is a very dangerous situation that we're seeing. I do believe that we are entering a constitutional crisis. And our unity, as the speaker always says, is our strength.

I would call all of us to be united, including, again, my colleagues from the minority party because this shouldn't be political. This is about the future of our country, the future of our democracy, and protecting our Constitution.

BOLDUAN: So last night, the Republican-led Senate adopted by unanimous consent a resolution calling for the Trump administration to provide the full whistleblower complaint to Congress, something I was skeptical of when I was talking about it yesterday. Does that fact give you hope?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: It does actually. I do think -- and I have heard from some of my colleagues that they have been speaking with their Senators who are Republican Senators, that this definitely changes the calculus for them.

If they get full evidence and the information from the whistleblower complaint where they confirm that this president was using the aid that had been appropriated by Congress as a leverage point to put influence, to exert influence on a foreign leader to get information on a political opponent, that that crosses that red line.

I have heard actually from --

BOLDUAN: But, Congresswoman --


MUCARSEL-POWELL: -- a lot of my constituents that feel the same way.

BOLDUAN: I'm sorry. Are you saying that you have heard from Republican Senators, if these facts bear out, that is the tipping point for them?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: I do think -- yes, yes, that's correct.

BOLDUAN: You have heard from Republican Senators that? Because that's a very big deal.


BOLDUAN: You want to name names?

MUCARSEL-POWELL: What is happening in our country is a very, very serious situation. I think that we do have patriots in both Congress, here in the House and in the Senate. And I am hopeful that they will put the country before their political interests.

BOLDUAN: Do you want to tell us who has told you that?


BOLDUAN: I had to ask.


BOLDUAN: Thank you very much, Congresswoman. Much more to come. Thank you. Appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: That's very interesting.

Let's go back to the White House right now. Pamela Brown is standing by.


Pamela, what are you learning about how the White House came up with this memo, came up with the transcript, these details that are released now?