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CNN NEWSROOM

Trump Facing Impeachment Inquiry for Ukraine Contacts; White House Restricted Access to Trump's Calls with Saudi Crown Prince and Russian President; Pompeo Faces Congressional Subpoena over Ukraine; Afghanistan Votes Despite Taliban Threat; Giuliani Says His Outreach Backed by State Department; Prince Harry Retraces Mother's Footsteps in Angola; Warren: Trump Believed He Could Break the Law; Japan Stuns Ireland at Rugby World Cup. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired September 28, 2019 - 05:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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GEORGE HOWELL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Phone calls kept secret, a resignation and the growing demand for more information. Every angle of this historic time in Washington, we'll have it for you.

Plus the polls are open in Afghanistan but fears of terror loom large. CNN is following the story live in Kabul this hour.

Also ahead this hour, retracing footsteps. Prince Harry walks in Diana's path while visiting a minefield in Angola.

We're live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta and we want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm George Howell. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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HOWELL: At 5:00 am here on the U.S. East Coast, questions continue to grow about what the U.S. president Donald Trump said to his Ukrainian counterpart, igniting calls for impeachment.

Make no mistake about it, the Trump White House is facing its biggest crisis yet. Here are the key developments that we're following.

First "The Washington Post" is reporting new details about this meeting that happened in 2017 with Russian officials and how the U.S. officials tried to keep it quiet.

CNN has also learned that strict secrecy was enforced at the White House on other occasions, including Mr. Trump's phone calls with these two world leaders. We have a live report from Moscow on that for you. And the fallout is already apparent.

Sources tell CNN one of the key players, the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine resigned after being named in a whistleblower complaint that sparked this crisis. This is the latest from Kiev. We'll have that for you. The U.S. secretary of state is now receiving end of three

congressional -- on the receiving end of three congressional subpoenas for failing to turn over documents to congressional investigators. Our Manu Raju has details on that for you.

First the reporting from that "Washington Post" report. It focuses on the meeting that happened in 2017 with Russian officials a day after FBI director James Comey was fired. According to "The Post," the president told them he wasn't concerned about Moscow's interference in the 2016 U.S. election.

My colleague, Anderson Cooper, spoke with one of the reporters who broke that story.

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SHANE HARRIS, "THE WASHINGTON POST": In 2017, when President Trump met in the Oval Office with the Russian foreign minister and the ambassador to the United States, he told them that he was not concerned about Moscow's interference in our recent election because the United States does the same things in other countries.

This alarmed senior White House officials, who believed first of all, that the president was sort of falsely equating what happened in 2016 but also that he might be giving some kind of a green light or a kind of acquiescence to the Russians to try this again in other countries.

And the memo of that conversation was then highly restricted so only very few people were allowed to see it, which was also very unusual at the time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: CNN has also learned that some phone calls between President Trump and other world leaders were held to a higher level of secrecy than usual; in particular, his conversations with the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Russia. CNN's Pamela Brown has this.

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PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Well, we have learned the White House efforts to limit access to President Trump's conversations with foreign leaders extended to phone calls with Saudi crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian leader Vladimir Putin. This is according to several people familiar with the matter.

Now those, calls both with leaders who maintain controversial relationships with Trump, were among the presidential conversations that aides took remarkable steps to keep from becoming public.

In the case of Trump's call with Prince Mohammed, officials who ordinarily would have been given access to a rough transcript of the conversation, never saw, one according to one of the sources. Instead, the transcript was never circulated at all, which the source said was highly unusual, particularly after a high-profile conversation.

The call, which the person said contained no especially sensitive national security secrets, came as the White House was confronting the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which a U.S. intelligence assessment said came at the hand of the Saudi government.

Now with Putin, access to the transcript of at least one of Trump's conversation was also highly restricted according to a former Trump administration official. It is not clear if aides took the additional step of placing the Saudi Arabian-Russia phone calls in that same highly secured codeword operated system that held that now infamous phone call with Ukraine's president and which helped spark the whistleblower complaint made public this week.

[05:05:00]

BROWN: Though officials did confirm calls aside from the Ukraine conversation were placed there.

And those calls did not also reach the threshold, similar to the Ukraine conversation. But these attempts to conceal information about Trump's discussions with Prince Mohammed and Putin further illustrate the extraordinary efforts taken by Trump's aides to strictly limit the number of people with access to his conversations with foreign leaders.

I am told this practice really went into place more than a year ago after there were conversations leaked between the leaders of President Trump and Mexico as well as Australia. We should note the White House did not comment about the limiting of access to calls with the Russian and Saudi leaders -- Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.

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HOWELL: Pamela, thank you.

Now our Moscow bureau chief Nathan Hodge is following developments, live for us in Russia.

Good to have you with us.

First of all, what reaction are you hearing to any of this?

There are so many different angles that are at play.

NATHAN HODGE, CNN MOSCOW BUREAU CHIEF: Well, George, first, we've heard from the Kremlin yesterday that they were also concerned about the possible -- the possibility of following the conversation and the release of the transcript of the conversation between Ukrainian President Zelensky with President Trump back in July, that they were concerned that the White House would be releasing transcripts of conversations between Trump and Russian President Putin.

So certainly some concern on the Russian side as they watch this scandal and this story unfold in Washington. As well we're starting to get the first responses on the Russian side

to the news of the resignation of Kurt Volker. That's the administration's point person for Ukraine policy.

Not long ago on Facebook, a prominent Russian lawmaker commented about Volker's resignation, saying that he thought it would be a disservice to Kiev and this was just a way for him to, in other words, take a swipe at U.S. policy towards Ukraine.

The United States, of course, has been a strong supporter of Ukraine. Russian has backed separatists in Russia's east. United States and Russia have long been at odds over Ukraine policy.

So I think the sense that we're getting is that there's a little bit of glee, if you want to put it that way, about this chaos that seems to be unfolding in Washington that all centers around Ukraine and Ukraine policy.

Certainly it's very interesting to think back to what's been a pattern of secrecy from the Trump administration about President Trump's conversations.

For instance, with Vladimir Putin, we know for instance in 2017 that President Trump had taken the notes of a translator following a meeting with President Putin and instructed the translator not to discuss the content of those discussions.

So certainly these questions have been going on for some time and now "The Post" report has surfaced all the concerns that came up about that key meeting at the White House between President Trump and the Russian foreign minister and Ambassador Kislyak.

So certainly this is fast-moving story both on the Russian side as well as in Washington, George.

HOWELL: Live in Moscow, Nathan, thank you.

The U.S. special envoy to Ukraine is the first administration figure to resign after the whistleblower's complaint came to light this week. Kurt Volker reportedly decided he could no longer be effective in his post. The whistleblower writes Volker advised Ukrainian officials on how to deal with President Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has announced Volker will be questioned next week.

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is headed to Ukraine. Their main goal is to see the effect of the U.S. withholding military aid. That happened just before president Donald Trump reportedly asked Ukraine's president to look into allegations against the former vice president of the U.S., Joe Biden.

The nearly $400 million in aid was eventually released to Ukraine. One of those lawmakers making the trip spoke with CNN about it. Listen.

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REP. JOHN GARAMENDI (D-CA): We're going to have to be very, very careful. One, because of the task that the six of us have in the impeachment inquiry itself. We'll be voting yes or no on that impeachment resolution, should that come to pass and I suspect it will.

But so yes, we'll have to be very careful. With the military, those are just straightforward questions. We don't have to dance around it.

Do you have the equipment you need?

Have there been delays?

What's the implications of the delay caused by the president withholding those funds for nearly 60 days?

And it's nearly half a billion dollars of critical military equipment as well as the money to pay for the American trainers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: Let's get a look on what's playing out in Ukraine.

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HOWELL: How this story is being considered with our Matthew Chance. Matthew live for us in Kiev.

Matthew, what is the reaction given that we hear, we see rather, what Zelensky had to say to the president.

What's the feedback about his part in this?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There's a significant amount of concern in Ukraine about what this means for Ukraine's relationship, which is a crucial strategic relationship with the United States. This country, remember, is at war with pro Russian rebels in the east of the country, Russian backed rebels.

It's engaged in a diplomatic campaign to try to regain its territory in Crimea which was annexed by Russia in 2014. In its battles to do those things, it enjoys bipartisan support in the United States and is dependent on that kind of cross-party support.

So any kind of crisis like this crisis that threatens to undermine that and to put Ukraine on one side of the political debate or the other or to drag Ukraine into a political crisis, like it has been dragged into, sort of threatens that core national security interest of Ukraine.

All of this, that's unfolding in the United States, the impeachment inquiry, the whistleblower report, the transcript, the White House transcript of a telephone call, it's all seen here through the prism of what this means for Ukraine's all-important relationship with the United States. We've seen a complete crackdown, I suppose, on official comments from

Ukrainian officials. No one of any official capacity is giving any further statements about this or keeping to it a minimum. They've apparently taken a strategic decision they shouldn't say anything in fear it might make things worse.

They are stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are trying to walk that very narrow tightrope between keeping a good relationship with this current Trump administration, the incumbent U.S. president, but also casting forward as well.

They've got an eye on the fact that in 2020 there's another presidential election in the U.S. and it could well be Joe Biden that becomes the next U.S. president. They are very mindful of that. They need to keep good relations with this administration and the next administration as well, whoever it is led by.

HOWELL: Matthew, thank you.

The impeachment inquiry could get under way in the coming week but already three House committees have subpoenaed the secretary of state after he missed a deadline to turn over documents on Ukraine.

Now he has until Friday to produce those documents. They are part of the inquiry. Democrats say Mike Pompeo's defiance is typical of the Trump administration. Listen.

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REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D), N.Y.: They turned a blind eye to whatever we ask for. We asked for information, we asked for documents and we were stonewalled. Not even so much as an answer. This administration thinks --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ignored you?

ENGEL: Ignored us. This administration thinks Congress doesn't have the right, the checks and balances we all learned when we were as kids in grade school, this administration seems to feel it doesn't apply to them.

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HOWELL: The question, a closer look at what's in those documents. What they may contain. Manu Raju has that.

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MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Now in the first batch of subpoenas that have come out since Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an official impeachment inquiry, the secretary of state Mike Pompeo has been subpoenaed by the House chairman, asking for information regarding what the State Department did in trying to facilitate apparent meetings and discussions with Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, and Ukrainian officials, as Giuliani was pushing Ukraine to investigate the president's political rival, former vice president Joe Biden.

Now the Democrats had demanded for several weeks that the State Department turn over this information. They have not gotten that information, which led them to this point.

Now at the same time Democrats say if they do not get this information from this subpoena or other subpoenas, it will only strengthen their case for impeachment. They say, I am being told by Democratic sources, that, in fact, if the administration does not comply with a number of their requests, they will cite that as an article of impeachment, saying that the president sought to obstruct Congress, similar to what happened with Richard Nixon during one of the articles of impeachment that was drafted for him before he ultimately resigned.

Now at the same, time Democrats are planning a very aggressive few weeks here on the Intelligence Committee, which is taking the lead on the impeachment probe. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the committee, telling me that he plans to issue subpoenas as soon as the coming week, also planning to hold a hearing next Friday with the inspector general of the Intelligence Committee, Michael Atkinson.

A committee source tells me that, Schiff tells me more generally that other hearings could also take place in the coming weeks.

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RAJU: Expect that whistleblower, who drew all the attention about the president's conduct with the Ukrainian president, asking for an apparent investigation into the Bidens, that whistleblower could also come before the House Intelligence Committee.

Now this is all happening expeditiously because Democrats want this all wrapped up potentially by Thanksgiving, if not sooner, to have a vote on the House floor through the Judiciary Committee to make President Trump just the third president in history to get impeached -- Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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HOWELL: To talk more about this now we have David Katz with us, a former federal prosecutor, joining us at this hour from Los Angeles.

Great to have you with us, David.

DAVID KATZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Great to be here.

HOWELL: The impeachment process has moved quite quickly this week you could say. There's even talk that a vote in the House could come by Thanksgiving.

What do you think about how quickly things are moving right now?

KATZ: Well, I think Speaker Pelosi wants it to move along and I think that, during the recess, House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff will continue with the investigation, calling witnesses. And I think the country couldn't have a better attorney, better Congress person in charge of the investigation.

I had the privilege to work with Adam Schiff when he was in the U.S. attorney's office here in Los Angeles. It was under the Reagan administration. We were both completely nonpartisan.

He's a very fair minded prosecutor. I think that he'll look at both sides of this.

But from what we've seen so far, the whistleblower has great sources. The whistleblower is a patriot who has been able to tell us, George, that there is this up-classification. These documents are being classified at a higher level than they ought to be as a way to hide them.

Now we are finding there are documents and conversations of Trump with Putin and the Saudi Arabia prince which are highly embarrassing but not sensitive. They are being put at a higher sensitivity level, secrecy level, as a way to hide them. I think Chairman Schiff will get to the bottom of this promptly.

HOWELL: You talk about working in the past with Congressman Schiff. But this is more of a political setting.

So given that, how do you see him moving forward?

KATZ: Well, I think he'll move forward, not hastily but deliberately and call these witnesses. Like I say, he and his committee are working over these next two weeks. They are not taking a recess. I think that these other committees will also act speedily, even the two that are recess have issued subpoenas to the State Department to Pompeo.

Because, first Giuliani has been running this foreign affairs of the country. He's not a government official at all. But he's made it clear today he's not going to take the fall. He's not going to go to jail for President Trump.

He says, look, the State Department was involved in setting up those meetings. That's the fellow who resigned today, the day after this phone call, which I believe was an implicit quid pro quo and very incriminating of Trump the day after these couple of people were sent out from the State Department, these two ambassadors, including the one who resigned today to quote, "navigate," the -- basically the attempt to have the Ukrainians gin up a political prosecution of Biden and his son so that Trump could say in the 2020 election, oh, I'm running against crooked Joe like I ran against crooked Hillary.

That was the purpose of this. Then it was hidden. All the people that defended Trump and said, oh, he didn't do anything wrong, why did they go to such pain to hide it? Just like in Ukrainegate and Watergate why did Nixon and his cronies go to such trouble to hide the evidence except these tapes were explosively incriminating. And that's why I think this one is, read in context.

I want a favor. Here's what the favor is. And there's the holding up of about $400 million in aid for Ukraine.

What was the purpose of that?

The timing was extremely suspicious.

HOWELL: The theme of impeachment is nothing new for the 45th president. Critics have been calling for impeachment for some time now. Most loudly over that question of collusion with Russia.

What makes this different?

KATZ: Well, it was always possible for Trump to say he wasn't involved, other people were involved, it wasn't out of his mouth, he didn't know.

But as I say, I think he had the hubris the day after that tepid testimony of Mueller that, from Trump's point of view didn't really put him away. He got away with it. So Trump made this call the very next day.

And it was, you know, like the mafia don who doesn't say I'll burn your house down if you don't pay me, he says, nice house you have here. Wouldn't it be terrible thing if something happened to it?

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KATZ: And when you look at this in context, I think what will happen is there will be a vote on the articles of impeachment and the case will be sent over to the Senate. You asked about timing. I think that's likely to happen right about after Thanksgiving, maybe December or January.

People think, well, McConnell will just, you know, bury that like he buried the hearings on Merrick Garland to be on the Supreme Court. But he can't do that. This is going to be handled by the chief justice, by Roberts. And McConnell will be just another juror.

There basically will be 100 jurors sworn. They will be the senators. And I guess we'll see.

Will the public -- will we have televised impeachment hearings and impeachment trial in the Senate led by the chief justice?

Will the senators, including the Republican senators, put their fingers in their ears?

Will the public say it doesn't matter to me at all?

When they see this -- and you think to yourself what if President Obama -- can you imagine if he had done this, if he had called a foreign leader and said, why don't you gin up a case against Trump abroad, can you imagine how these same Republican senators would be howling?

Imagine even Lindsey Graham, who howled about the private sexual conduct of Clinton and was one of the impeachment managers, how he would have howled if that happened?

And the hypocrisy of not doing something about this phone call, which is obvious obstruction of justice, obvious abuse of power, I think it's going to come back to roost on the Republican senators.

I think their poll numbers will fall. Just like Giuliani doesn't want to go jail for Trump, those Republican senators don't want to lose their six-year terms over Trump. And we'll have President Pence, I think that's really a possibility as we go forward.

HOWELL: So we'll see how this plays out. Again, pointing out this will be a political situation rather than a legal situation. So how these senators feel about it, to your point, will be key. Thank you.

KATZ: Thank you, George.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Still ahead, Afghan voters are braving the threats of violence from the Taliban by heading out to the polls. Ahead what's at stake in the vote on CNN NEWSROOM live.

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HOWELL: In the run-up to the Afghan election, dozens of people have been killed in that country. Our Nick Paton Walsh explains why people are deciding to vote anyway.

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NICK PATON WALSH, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the election few thought would ever happen.

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WALSH (voice-over): Whose success may be measured in the death toll, not the turnout.

High hopes for a peace deal were dashed by President Trump earlier this month, who cancelled talks with the Taliban in a barrage of tweets. That sent Afghanistan hurtling towards a presidential vote many felt might have been postponed as peace talks progressed.

Instead, the vote will be rushed, its campaign hobbled by huge security concerns amid some of the worst violence the country has seen.

There is one likely winner from all this, President Ashraf Ghani. He was uncomfortable with the U.S.' direct talks with the Taliban. He had always insisted the vote go ahead and now may well win a clean endorsement, rare in Afghanistan's recent politics.

This remains America's longest war with no immediate end in sight. Yet the suffering has been more acute for Afghans, whose daily losses and intensifying violence often go unnoticed by outsiders.

Elections are opposed by the Taliban, who Thursday said they would block all roads on Election Day, adding, "This is the umpteenth time that this fraudulent process is undertaken to mislead the people."

So voters must risk the violence that has closed about a quarter of polling stations or having the thumb that's inked when you vote cut off entirely, as some Taliban have done in elections past.

Failed peace talks fomenting the violence here.

MOHAMMAD HAIDAR, STUDENT: More violence in this election because Taliban want to take on government and put on them pressure so they can convince America and the Afghan government to come back.

WALSH (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) political situation, he said, shows that Afghans can't make decisions on their own and what happens is only because of a single tweet all (INAUDIBLE) changed.

If Ghani gets over 50 percent, he can avoid a second round in November. But even that clean result won't provide a path after the brutality holding life hostage here -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN.

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HOWELL: Let's bring in journalist Jennifer Glass, live by phone with us in Kabul, Afghanistan.

First of all, tell us about what you're seeing. We do understand these voters, as they head to the polls, they head there with great threat and risk.

JENNIFER GLASS, JOURNALIST: Absolutely, the Taliban has threatened this election from the start. The campaign started off with a big attack here in Kabul and they really ramped up threats as the election has gone on.

The latest on Thursday saying they would cut off roads and calling on their Taliban fighters to do whatever they can, use whatever means they have, to keep this election from going forward.

What we've seen is very, very low voter turnout. Here in Kabul and around the country, from what I'm hearing reported -- I was at a polling station all morning and of the f5,000 voters registered there, only a small fraction have trickled in. There's only about a little over 1.5 hours before the polls are scheduled to close.

There were two real problems with this election, two real concerns. Security was one. Corruption was another.

Whatever the reason, it seems to have kept Afghans away from the polls and the real question is, what that will mean for this fledgling democracy. This is only the fifth presidential election Afghan had in its history and it's difficult to know what this means for the people who have confidence in the election and any results.

HOWELL: Jennifer Glass, following the election there in Afghanistan, joining us by phone, Jennifer, thank you. We'll keep in touch with you as voters head to the polls amid great threat from the Taliban.

The former mayor of New York City and attorney for the president, Rudy Giuliani, said the State Department asked him to reach out to the Ukraine but the State Department tells a different story.

Plus Democratic lawmakers rally behind the impeachment inquiry. Why one says the president's actions may be worse than Watergate. Stand by live in the U.S. and around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

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HOWELL: Live coast to coast on CNN USA and around the world on CNN International. I'm George Howell with the headlines we're following for you this hour.

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Congress was informed on September 9th that there was a whistleblower complaint and we're learning now what the administration officials knew about it and when they knew about it. CNN's Justice correspondent Jessica Schneider has this for you.

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JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officials now say the Department of Justice and the White House knew about the whistleblower's concerns more than one week before they were formally alerted by the acting director of national intelligence and the intelligence community inspector general, the last week of August.

Here's the timeline we know so far. August 12, the inspector general for the intelligence community receives the whistleblower's seven- page complaint. Two days later, on August 14, attorneys at the DOJ's National Security Division are alerted about the whistleblower's concerns during a routine conference call.

[05:35:00]

SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The next day, the head of the division goes to the White House to review the transcript of the call between President Trump and Ukraine's president, where the president pressed the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son. The head of the DOJ's Criminal Division and the deputy attorney general are notified afterward that the attorney general was mentioned in that call. For at least the next 10 days, the DOJ deliberated about how to handle the matter.

It's unclear how much the attorney general learned during that time or on which day, but he was made generally aware of the situation.

JOSEPH MAGUIRE, ACTING DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: The inspector general, in consultation with my office, referred this matter to the Department of Justice for investigation. I think the whistleblower did the right thing. I think he followed the law every step of the way.

SCHNEIDER: And there is major scrutiny over the DOJ's decision not to open a full-fledged criminal investigation into potential campaign finance violations stemming from that July 25th phone call.

The DOJ came to its conclusion despite the inspector general for the intelligence community concluding that the whistleblower's complaint was, in fact, credible -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: The reaction to the impeachment inquiry has largely been split among partisan lines. Here's what some Democratic and Republican lawmakers are saying about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D-NJ): We have the president of the United States, you know, perverting and corrupting the use of his power, to get a foreign government involved once again in our election.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You go back to Watergate, Allison, it's just a newfangled version of that. That was a president involved in a break-in to get dirt for a campaign and then there was a cover-up.

What do we have here?

Worse; a president using levers of national security to get dirt on an opponent from a foreign power that is dependent on us and then there's a cover-up in terms of where they put the information.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: This is not a cause for any joy that we have to go down this path. It is a difficult decision to make. But we have that obligation because the actions that were taken undermine the Constitution and the oath we take to protect and defend, including the oath that the president takes.

REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), MINORITY LEADER: What in this case rises to impeachment?

This is a president of the United States that had a conversation with a leader in another country. REP. MIKE CONAWAY (R-TX), MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Third, fourth hand information. Based on the report, the inspector general --

RAJU: It was urgent.

CONAWAY: Your definition of your again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOWELL: President Trump's high-profile personal attorney is featured prominently in the whistleblower complaint. And now Rudy Giuliani is fighting back and says that he had the State Department's blessing to reach out to Ukraine. Our Tom Foreman takes a closer look now.

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RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP ATTORNEY: Let me tell you the facts. They called me.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Rudy Giuliani is fighting back.

GIULIANI: I was not operating on my own.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Insisting his talks with Ukrainian officials were proper, important and encouraged by the U.S. State Department.

GIULIANI: In fact, I am a legitimate whistleblower.

FOREMAN (voice-over): So why is President Trump's personal lawyer so worked up?

It comes in the wake of news about the now infamous call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. In that call, Giuliani's name comes up repeatedly as Trump asked for foreign help investigating Democrat Joe Biden.

"Rudy very much knows what happening," Trump says, "if you could speak to him, that would be great."

That has raised accusations that Giuliani was acting as an improper action of the State Department, arranging up a little hit job from afar in the name of official business. Giuliani says, no way.

He was helping investigate corruption and he says he has a paper trail that proves it, including this text message from a State Department official arranging a meeting.

GIULIANI: I went to meet Mr. Zelensky's aide at the request of the State Department, 15 memos make that clear.

The State Department says, "Mr. Giuliani is a private citizen and acts in a personal capacity as a lawyer for President Trump. He does not speak on behalf of the U.S. government."

But he has spoken for Trump many times.

GIULIANI: What you just said is totally erroneous.

It is not a crime.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Attacking his foes, dismissing his critics.

GIULIANI: It depends on where it came from.

He didn't obstruct.

FOREMAN (voice-over): The president calls him a loyal ally.

TRUMP: Rudy's a very straight shooter.

FOREMAN (voice-over): His critics call him something else.

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA), MEMBER, OVERSIGHT AND INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEES: He is the political henchman for the president.

[05:40:00]

FOREMAN (voice-over): And Giuliani is clearly hedging his bets against another potential title he could be saddled with if the Ukraine affair gets much messier: fall guy.

FOREMAN: Giuliani is pledging to defend himself as vigorously as he has defended Donald Trump.

The question is, will the president stand by him as strongly if the going gets tough?

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Tom, thank you for the reporting. We'll be right back after this.

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HOWELL: Prince Harry in southern Africa, his 10-day tour continued with a deeply personal trip to Angola. He honored the legacy of his late mother, Princess Diana, by visiting what used to be a minefield. It was the same path she took during her landmark trip back in 1987. Our Max Foster was there and has the details.

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MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): An iconic image and one that drew world attention to the plight of landmines in Angola. Diana's son, Prince Harry, now literally retracing his mother's footsteps from 1997, pondering a moment in history.

The mines cleared from here but more than 1,000 minefields are still estimated to be riddling the landscape beyond. Earlier in a town in southeastern Angola, Harry, like his mother before him, remotely detonated a mine, reminding everyone how deadly they still are.

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HENRY, PRINCE OF WALES: Without question, if she had not have campaigned the way she did 22 years ago, this could arguably still be a minefield.

FOSTER: Huambo was the scene of some of the fiercest fighting in the Angolan civil war. The transformation of this street really speaks to how much progress has been made in the clearance of land mines. Still a long way to go, though, and Harry hopes that by coming here he can raise awareness around the issue to the levels that his mother created in exactly the same spot.

The prince then recreating these other memorable images of Diana, comforting the most innocent of landmine victims at an orthopedic center now bearing her name.

PRINCE HARRY: It has been an honor to retrace my mother's steps today. I lost her 22 years ago but the memory of her is with me daily. And her legacy lives on, which is why I am so happy to name this center the Princess Diana Orthopaedic Centre.

FOSTER: Sandra Tagica, who was 13 when she famously sat for this image with Diana, now meeting her son. Demining groups operating here say Diana's visit was pivotal in creating the momentum needed for an international ban on land mines.

The treaty was signed shortly after she died, her son now continuing to fight in her name -- Max Foster, CNN, Huambo, Angola.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Again, we'll be right back after this break.

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(WORLD SPORTS)

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HOWELL: A live image this hour in Hong Kong. A protest taking the form of a Lennon wall. This is the 17th straight week of demonstrations that began with anger at a bill that would allow extradition of suspects to Mainland China. That proposal was withdrawn but now the protest is focused on broader pro democracy demands.

In case you're wondering about that reference to a Lennon wall, that's when people express discontent through messages and signs that are plastered in a public area, inspired by The Beatles' John Lennon, better than the clashes we see with police that play out from time to time. But this live image of what's happening there on the streets of Hong Kong at this hour.

The U.S. president may be seeking help from the gun lobby organization. He met Friday with the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, Wayne La Pierre. "The New York Times" reports they discussed NRA support for Mr. Trump, both in his reelection bid and during a possible impeachment.

La Pierre reportedly wants the White House to, quote, "stop the games over gun control legislation," end quote. The NRA is denying it has special arrangements with the president.

Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says she wants a Senate vote on impeachment before the Iowa caucuses. The Senate Democrat is running close to Joe Biden at the top of the polls. She spoke exclusively to my colleague, MJ Lee.

[05:50:00]

HOWELL: And says she worries about the whistleblower safety.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I do. And I worry about this whole investigation as it unfolds. Donald Trump and his administration have made clear not just that Donald Trump is willing to break the law but that they are doing their best to try to cover this up and discredit anyone who is trying to get to the truth.

MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And as this process unfolds, do you have any reason to believe that any of your Senate Republican colleagues will vote to convict the president?

WARREN: I don't know. But I see this as a lot more important than politics. Donald Trump has admitted -- and it is right there in the documentation -- that he has solicited a foreign country to interfere in our 2020 elections.

That is not right. It is a violation of the law. No one is above the law in this country. And that is why it is so important that Congress bring impeachment proceedings to hold him accountable.

It is not just about this president, it is about the next president and the one after that and the one after that. This is our constitutional responsibility, whether you are Democrat or Republican.

LEE: Do you think that impeachment investigation should be narrowly focused on just the Ukraine issue or everything else about the president and his conduct while in office?

WARREN: Right now, I would like to just see us do the Ukraine issue because it is so clear and it is such a clear violation of law. The president is asking for help against one of his political rivals and asking a foreign government for a thing of value for himself personally. That is against the law.

After all that happened in 2016 and the Mueller investigation, the president of the United States knows that. This is not he somehow stumbled into it and did not think about the consequences.

No, he knew. He believed he could break the law and get away with it and so did his administration. They did not leave that transcript in the regular course of transcripts of phone calls with foreign leaders.

Why?

Because it was not a regular call. It was a call that violated the law. And so they're immediate instinct is, let's lock it up. Let's make sure no one can see it, let's cover it up so no one is there. And that is why it is that this impeachment proceeding is so important on this issue.

LEE: Do you think it is important at all of this be wrapped up before voting begins in February?

WARREN: I hope that it is. I would like to see us get to the bottom of this as quickly as possible.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOWELL: Elizabeth Warren there speaking with MJ Lee.

Before we wrap this hour, a quick update from the world of sport and a huge upset in the Rugby World Cup. Our Alex Thomas is following the story in Japan and joins us with more.

Alex, what more can you tell us?

[05:30:00]

ALEX THOMAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: George, four years after shocking the rugby world and actually the wider sporting world, too, by beating two-time rugby world champions South Africa, on a sunny day in Brighton, Japan, now host nation, the first Asian country to host the Rugby World Cup, has repeated the feat, this time beating Ireland who, although they never got past the World Cup quarterfinals before, came in to this event as the world number one ranked team.

Japan trailing at halftime but scoring 10 unanswered points after the break to win by 19-12 and to make the chance of them reaching the knockout stage of this World Cup would go from pool, group games to quarterfinals, a very realistic prospect indeed.

We're watching in a bar here in Tokyo where I'm talking to you from. I can tell you there were young women there along with what you might consider more traditional rugby fans, big burly guys. And it didn't matter what gender, age or how you looked, they were all celebrating together.

This is a win that will energize this country every bit as much as it did four years ago. Thrilling stuff for Japan, beating Ireland at the Rugby World Cup, the biggest shock of this tournament so far -- George.

HOWELL: Alex Thomas on the phone with us from Japan. Good to have you on this. We'll continue to watch it.

Thank you for being with us for CNN NEWSROOM at this hour. I'm George Howell at the CNN Center in Atlanta. For our viewers in the U.S., "NEW DAY" is next. For our viewers around the world, "INNOVATE: AFRICA" is next.

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