Return to Transcripts main page
ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Source: Pompeo Was On President Trump's Ukraine Phone Call; Freewheeling Trump Was Often Unprepared For Foreign Leader Calls; Elizabeth Warren And Her Husband Give First Joint Interview Of Campaign. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired September 30, 2019 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Chris Cuomo is off tonight. Topping this special hour of 360, enough breaking news to write a week's worth of headlines!
Rudy Giuliani's subpoenaed for his role in the Ukraine affairs.
Secretary of State Pompeo revealed belatedly to have been on the phone call with Ukraine's President.
Attorney General Barr was tied to wider efforts to discredit the Mueller account of the 2016 election interference.
Also, the President calling for the man investigating him, Congressman Adam Schiff, suggesting he might be - should be arrested for treason.
That, and new reporting, from CNN's Jamie Gangel and Maegan Vazquez, on how deeply concerned that people close to the President were, and perhaps still are, about his conduct on phone calls with foreign leaders.
There's new reporting as well on a President who, according to people around him, simply does not grasp the impeachment jeopardy that he is so clearly in.
More on all of this now, starting with CNN's Kaitlan Collins, who joins us from the White House.
First of all, I'm wondering what the mood is at the White House tonight. The President invoked the prospect of a - a Civil War, raised the specter of it on Twitter.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And that tweet, Anderson, kind of gives you an insight into how the President is viewing all of this. He feels embattled. He feels under fire.
And that's why you're seeing the President lash out, like the way he is, on Twitter, quoting people who are saying that it could leave a Civil War like fracture in this nation.
But, on the other side of things, aides inside the White House are saying, "OK. Impeachment is likely coming our way. We need to be ready for this." And they don't feel that the President is taking it seriously enough or realizes the implications that are facing him.
They want the President to form a defense strategy that is they can latch on to that they can actually use, and that can be something that's aggressive that actually works. Right now, they don't feel like they found that. And they're frustrated that it's been six days almost.
And what we're being told by sources essentially, Anderson, is they feel like they're squandering this opportunity, to shape the public message, because the President himself is resisting their calls, their suggestions and ways that he can mount that - aggressive strategy.
COOPER: So, explain what we learned today about who was on that call on July 25th.
COLLINS: Yes. This is interesting. We learned that the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, was on that call with President Trump, and the Ukrainian President, Zelensky.
That's something inter - interesting because you've seen Mike Pompeo come out, say that State Department officials, in his mind, are acted appropriately in this.
But just eight days ago, he was interviewed on ABC. He was asked about the President pushing the Ukrainian President to investigate the Bidens. And, Anderson, he acted like he was caught off guard by it.
He said he hadn't seen the complaint from the whistleblower yet, something he repeated a few days later. But, of course, he was on the call. He heard the President push the Ukrainian President to investigate the Bidens. And obviously, that is something that's come under high scrutiny.
So, he acted like he hadn't heard about it, which of course is just going to further entangle the Secretary of State in this, more than he already was.
COOPER: And the new reporting about how prepared or not prepared how the President has been in the past for some calls with world leaders, what - what are the details of that?
COLLINS: Yes. Now that this call is coming under scrutiny, so are the President's past calls with world leaders.
And essentially what you're learning is that despite aides preparing a wealth of materials to get the President ready for these calls, he kind of goes into them unprepared. A lot of that has to do with his freewheeling approach that he's really taken to this.
He doesn't feel like he needs to read those materials. And it's led to, during calls, with aides in the room, including former Chief of Staff, John Kelly, at times, having to try to mute the phone, to tell the President, "Hey, you should say this. You shouldn't say that." But, of course, we're hearing from people saying, "This is how the President operates. This is how he does. And he doesn't feel like he needs the advice of those other staffers when he's on those calls with world leaders."
COOPER: Yes. Kaitlan Collins, at the White House. Appreciate it, Kaitlan.
Again, a tweet late last night set the stage for some of the fireworks today, the President invoking the Civil War with this tweet, quoting Conservative Pastor, Robert Jeffress.
[21:05:00] Reading from it now, "If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office, which they will never be, it will cause a Civil War like fracture in this Nation from which our Country will never heal. Pastor Robert Jeffress, @FoxNews."
That's actually a slight misquote of what Jeffress actually tweeted out.
Perspective now from Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, Ralph Peters, who's both a student of the Civil War, and the author of a number of historical novels about it.
Colonel Peters, when you see the President tweet about Civil War, re- tweeting somebody else, misquoting them even, I'm wondering what your reaction is.
RALPH PETERS, RETIRED U.S. ARMY LIEUTENANT COLONEL, STRATEGIC ANALYST & AUTHOR: One word, sedition. Trump is inciting violence against the legitimate government of the United States, and the Constitutional order. And, Anderson, that is a grave crime.
You can argue about the meaning of treason, what constitutes, and what doesn't, sedition is very clear-cut. And you can ask your lawyers. But, to me, this is as - as bald and plain as it could be.
But also I have to say that there's not going to be a Civil War, so everybody says (ph) knock that off. I've been hearing people on the extreme-Right saying it for years.
COOPER: Even it were Hornet's nest situation, where the President of the United States is invoking the notion of a Civil War if, you know, he - if he is not - if he is impeached, or if he is not, you know, re- elected or - or whatever the parameter is, he believes, you know, this might happen, or this might break out, I mean anybody who even in - not even going back in U.S. history, in modern times, has seen Civil Wars in countries around the world up close.
There's no responsible leader who would ever kind of raise that, especially in a tweet, it's a - I mean it is a horrific thing to witness. It is countrymen turning against countrymen.
PETERS: Well indeed. And you have the irony of a draft dodger talking up war. But yes, there have been horrible Civil War, some are ongoing right now, around the world, and they are utterly horrible, and very, very cruel.
But Trump is very much in the situation of a developing world dictator. And that he's got to stay on the throne to stay out of prison or, in many cases, worse.
And Trump, he's afraid. He's a frightened, frightened man, because if he loses the election and it's not a foregone conclusion that he will, but if he does, he's going to face the rest of his life in courtrooms, knotted legal bills, perhaps in prison.
COOPER: The - the last time that - that we spoke, you talked about how you - you feel the Founding Fathers could never have imagined someone like President Trump.
COOPER: Do you have faith in their institutions to mete out justice what - whatever that may be, however that justice is - is defined?
PETERS: I hope so. The - the Republican Party is a - is a terrible disappointment to me. That was always the constant - the party of law and order of the Constitution, of patriotism.
And now, with rare exceptions, you see Republicans on Capitol Hill just cowering, just cowering, afraid of Donald Trump, this bloated old charlatan who - who never served his country in any capacity, and all these Republican Patriots are running to make excuses for him, cringing.
And yes, I know my views are strong on this. But Anderson, I love this country. I don't love it like Donald Trump, just for what I can get. I love this country. It's as good as life gets on this earth. And we are an ungrateful people. And Donald Trump is an - an embarrassment that cannot be measured.
COOPER: With this President, I mean it's often been said that - that everything is transactional with him. Relationships are transactional. Clearly, foreign policy is. And he, you know, he seems to extend what he did in real estate into the Oval Office.
You know, Ukraine, it's not a country that is an ally to the United States, battling an aggressor to the United States, Russia, and in need of aid. It's a young leader who may be able to bend to the will and, you know, come up with dirt on the Bidens or on Clinton or whoever.
PETERS: Yes. And you were certainly right. It's - Trump is all about - Trump is all about Trump. And I really feel sorry for the people who voted for him, who convinced themselves that this man is a patriot.
But I also have to say that in defense of Trump supporters, they were abandoned by both political parties, as the Republican Party became the party of high finance, the Democrats became the party of high society. And where I come from, the coal regions of Pennsylvania, people went ignored, utterly ignored. And Trump, yes, I'm sure he's never read a page of Hegel, the German
philosopher. But he got the - he instinctively gets the gist of Hegel, and the idea of recognition. All human beings want recognition.
And what Trump did was give recognition to the people of the electorate that had been ignored by both parties. And I feel sorry for the people in there.
[21:10:00] I know a lot of Trump voters who, even now, can't give up, they can't admit they were wrong, because their pride's caught up in it. So, we're in for an interesting election year.
COOPER: Yes. Colonel Ralph Peters, appreciate it, thank you.
PETERS: Thank you.
COOPER: Next, a former senior diplomat weighs in on the Secretary of State, and the news that he is making tonight.
Later, the first joint interview with Presidential Candidate, Elizabeth Warren, and a man you might not know too much about, her husband.
COOPER: All right, we're finding (ph) a reporting from the top-of-the- hour source telling us that Secretary of State Pompeo was on the phone call with Ukraine's President.
Two Sundays ago, as CNN's Kaitlan Collins said, he gave an elliptical answer on the subject, and I want to read you exactly what he said.
When asked by ABC News' Martha Raddatz, about some reporting, at the time, on alleged details of the call, he said, and I quote, "So you just gave me a report about an IC whistleblower complaint, none of which I've seen."
Well tonight we know he had direct knowledge of the call because he was on it.
[21:15:00] Joining us now, a career diplomat in every way, Nicholas Burns has served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Ambassador to NATO, and before that, Greece. He's currently at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. And we should note he's an outside adviser to the Biden campaign.
Ambassador Burns, when you hear that the Secretary of State was on the phone call with Ukrainian President and - and President Trump, and has thus far kept quiet, I'm wondering is that appropriate?
NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER U.S. UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO NATO: Well I think it's a little bit unusual, at least in my experience, Anderson, for the Secretary of State to be listening in on a Presidential phone call.
It's just too time-consuming. There's lots of calls. And usually, the Secretary can get an instant readout from the White House Situation Room or the NSC's, National Security Council's, staffer on the call.
I can't explain why the Secretary was on the call. But I do think this. There's a crisis brewing in the State Department.
And Secretary Pompeo now needs to lead his men and women, because the firing of Masha Yovanovitch by President Trump, he - President Trump's repudiation of her, this is our American Ambassador to Ukraine, on the July 25th phone call with President Zelensky, the comments that Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani made to vilify our Ambassador, and then the President's comments last week to the American diplomats at The U.S. Mission to the U.N., when he said that those people who helped the whistleblower were spies, and we know how to deal with spies, I mean it cascades down the ranks of the State Department.
I can tell you that morale is plummeted. And I - I respect Secretary Pompeo in many ways. I disagree with him on the issues.
It's time for him to stand up and protect the men and women of the State Department from this vilification campaign being run out of the Oval Office against our career officers. It's shameful behavior.
And, Anderson, there is no antecedent in American history when the President has done so much damage to our State Department, and our Foreign Services.
COOPER: Is it appropriate for the Secretary of State, who is the Head of the State Department, as you said, represents the men and women, the for - career Foreign Service Officers, and others, who work for the State Department, to have knowledge of the President having this sort of off-the-books, you know, program with Rudy Giuliani, going around in Ukraine, trying to get the Ukrainians to, you know, investigate the Bidens, invest - you know, investigate this phony conspiracy theory that the President knew isn't true, or at least had been told repeatedly that there was no validity to it about the Ukrainians being actually behind hacking, and having the servers.
I mean is that appropriate that the Secretary of State would have that knowledge, given the fact that that runs counter to the instruments of government, which he himself oversees?
BURNS: Well the Secretary of State is the nation's Chief Diplomat.
And if Rudy - Rudy Giuliani had effectively hijacked our policy towards Ukraine, and had taken it over, and seems to be the most active American, and he's not even a government official, dealing with the President of Ukraine, and his staff, on one issue, "Go after Vice President Biden and his son," if that was the case, then of course the Secretary of State should have known about it, and of course should have done something about it.
And because it was wrong of both, President Trump and Rudy Giuliani, to ask the President of Ukraine to investigate a former - a distinguished former Vice President of the United States, the main political rival of President Trump. That was wrong.
It was an abuse of the President's power. And the Secretary of State should have shut that down, and should have taken over the real policy towards Ukraine, which is to defend Ukraine, at least to give it the $391 million worth of military assistance, so they could fend off Vladimir Putin.
That was the real American interest. But the most surprising thing that came out of the phone call between the President and Zelensky, the President never mentioned that.
The President never mentioned the American interest, which was to contain Putin. All the President cared about was his personal interest to go after Joe Biden.
So, of course, the State Department, the Secretary of State should have stepped in, and stopped Rudy Giuliani.
COOPER: So, when you hear defenders of the President say on television repeatedly, "Well, you know, the - the President has every right to be concerned about corruption in Ukraine, and he was talking about corruption in Ukraine, and that there's nothing wrong with him, you know, pushing the President on - of Ukraine on that," is - is there any explanation that that supports that?
Because, from my understanding, there's probably a lot of reasons - like current acts of corruption that could be focused on, and I'm sure the President has access to intelligence about ongoing corruption in a country like Ukraine, or anywhere else, but he's talking very specifically about his political opponent.
BURNS: It just doesn't - it just doesn't hold water. This President has not been concerned with corruption in Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman, or in Turkey, President Erdogan, or in Russia, President Putin. He doesn't speak out against corruption.
It's very clear. And if you look at the lead New York Times story in the Sunday edition, it's just chapter and verse, for the last nine months, President Trump and Rudy Giuliani have been interested in one thing, "Go after the Bidens."
[21:20:00] "Do us a favor," said President Trump to President Zelensky, "Go after the Bidens." That's not the American national interest.
And if the President is singularly putting forward his own political interest, for 2020, ahead of our national interest, and what's more important than containing Russian power in Eastern Europe, then the President has abused the power of his office.
And Rudy Giuliani is this, you know, agent, this agent who - who's roaming throughout American foreign policy on that one question. It wasn't about corruption in Ukraine. It was about going after the Bidens.
COOPER: Also, I mean the - correct me if I'm wrong. Secretary Pompeo has sworn an oath to the Constitution.
Rudy Giuliani as for - I mean I don't know what last time he, you know, put his hand on a Bible, and swore an oath to - to defend the United States, but he is representing the interests of Donald Trump, not the American interest. That's not an oath he has taken in this regard.
BURNS: But - I don't know if he has a security clearance, Rudy Giuliani. I don't think he should be the most active American citizen talking to the President of Ukraine. President Trump should be, and Secretary Pompeo should be.
And look, Anderson, I want to say, I think Secretary Pompeo is an honorable person. He has served his country well. This is a decisive time for him, as Secretary of State, in my judgment.
There's only one thing he can do this week and next. Stand up publicly and defend the non-partisan role that our career diplomats have always played in our system, and have to - played.
And, right now, the Trump Administration is targeting the State Department, reducing this - the bud - trying to reduce the budget of the State Department.
And, as you know, just in the last 24 hours, we've learned that 150 currently-serving State Department and retired officers are now being said that they had - they were involved in security violations on the Clinton email problem, going back to 2011, '12 and '13.
If you're in the State Department, and you have all this incoming barrage, from the President, and the White House, I think you'd feel paranoid too that the Commander-in-Chief is not leading the men and women of the State Department. That's what Mike Pompeo has to stand up against.
COOPER: Ambassador Nicholas Burns, I appreciate your time, thank you.
BURNS: Thank you.
COOPER: Just ahead, President Trump's biggest defenders tied into knots over impeachment, we'll play you what one said about President Bill Clinton versus what they are saying now about President Trump.
[21:25:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: One of President Trump's fiercest defender, Senator Lindsey Graham said this weekend that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should have held a vote on whether to begin an impeachment inquiry, something that, according to The New York Times, is not strictly necessary.
She did not, and Graham suggesting the reason was because she did not have the votes. It was basically politics, he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): We need a John Hancock moment from House Democrats. Quit hiding behind Nancy Pelosi. If you think the President did something wrong in this phone call, then vote to open up an article of impeachment inquiry. And a lot of House Democrats won't, because they are afraid.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Graham also said he didn't see anything impeachable in the transcript. In 1999, he seemed to be a little more concerned with another President's conduct.
Shortly after he helped impeach President Clinton, as a Member of the House, he stood on the House floor, and the video that was referred to last hour, by my guest, Ana Navarro, said that impeachment was a remedy to maintain the dignity of the office of the President.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: You don't even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this Constitutional Republic.
Because impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the Office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Joining us now is former Trump Campaign Strategist and CNN Political Commentator, David Urban, who's a Washington Corporate Lobbyist, and USA Today Columnist, and CNN Political Analyst, Kirsten Powers.
Kirsten, obviously, you know, folks make statements 20 years apart, clearly with Lindsey Graham, the difference here is striking.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean there's - well there's a lot of - about Lindsey Graham, I think, that we've watched even in a very short period of time, where he's - he's sort of flip- flopped all over the place on his views.
But this on - on this issue, in particular, I mean it's - it's complete hypocrisy. And I think we've seen that across the board with the way Republicans talk about impeachment, when it comes to actions of Donald Trump, and the way they talked about impeachment with - with Bill Clinton.
COOPER: David, Senator Graham said this week and also that he has zero problem with the President's July 25th phone call with the President of Ukraine. I'm just wondering, from your standpoint, do you have any problem with it?
DAVID URBAN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. No. And - and just let me make something clear, Anderson. I - I worked in the Senate during the impeachment of Bill Clinton. I thought it was a bad idea. I think this current foray is a bad idea as well.
I worked, as you may recall, for Senator Arlen Specter, who was one of the more serious members of Senate. I thought it - it was an overreach by Republicans then, and I think it's an over-political reach here by Democrats now. I don't see, reading the transcript, I don't see anything wrong what the President did.
And listening to House Judiciary Member, Hakeem Jeffries, was on - on Sunday with the State of the Union, in advance of me, and he said there are three things that are going to take the President down on.
One, withholding the money from the Ukraine's, holding it, you know, hostage. Two, intimidating the - the Ukrainian President. And then, three, trying to cover it up.
Well all three of those pillars of their - of their inquiry fall flat because in - in the first instance, the money was not being held hostage. The money was actually legitimately being held up while debate was being held about the proper contribution to Ukraine.
[21:30:00] The Republican Senators will testify to that, I believe, when it comes time. There is some - some question as to legitimacy of - of the Ukrainian President. Was he pro-Western? Was there corruption still going on? So - so that's all - that's all there.
Number two, was the - was the Ukrainian President intimidated? You don't - you don't have to take anybody else's word, but the Ukrainian President. He said, "No." He felt no intimidation. And, at the time of the call, Ukrainian President didn't even know the money was - was being held in advance.
COOPER: So, OK, before--
URBAN: And then three, that somehow - wait and then three, that somehow this was covered up. This wasn't covered up.
This - this was - this document, this transcript was stored in a secure place, just like many other calls are in the normal course of business, because of incredible leaks surrounding this President.
URBAN: So, all three of--
URBAN: --the - the pillars are going to fall flat.
COOPER: OK. Well - but I mean, first of all, I don't think - I mean, a codeword-level server is really not the place for non-codeword level things.
URBAN: Well it is - it is - it is White House, Anderson, when things leak--
COOPER: Well - well that--
URBAN: --with people - where things leak out.
COOPER: But the President hires the best people. So, I don't know why things--
URBAN: It is in this White House.
COOPER: --why - why things are leaking if the President's hiring best people.
URBAN: Anderson, I'm just making - I'm making a factual--
URBAN: --I'm making a factual statement.
URBAN: Things are stored in there in the normal course of business.
URBAN: This wasn't being hidden. And you heard Susan Rice--
COOPER: Right. I'm not sure the normal course of business--
URBAN: --this week talk about how the--
COOPER: --though is to hide--
URBAN: --Obama Administration, they did it.
COOPER: Right. They're - they're hiding it in there. Normal course of business is not all these leaks coming - coming out. But you also said the Ukrainian President--
URBAN: Well that's right, it's - it's unfortunate.
COOPER: --you also said the Ukrainian President--
URBAN: It's unfortunate.
COOPER: --you said the Ukrainian President isn't intimidated. I don't know how you get into his head and know what he actually thinks.
URBAN: No. He said--
COOPER: But I don't think - well yes I know.
URBAN: Anderson, he said it. He said it.
COOPER: But I think you know plenty of people--
URBAN: He felt no pressure.
COOPER: --say things that are not true or say things if they're a politician that are not representative of their actual thoughts.
URBAN: So, Anderson, this guy--
COOPER: If you're President of Ukraine, and you got to deal with President Trump--
URBAN: --this guy is a reformer. He's a reformer.
COOPER: He's a comedian who is a--
URBAN: He ran on a reform platform.
COOPER: --a President in a country that is desperate for U.S. aid. You think there's not a - an anvil hanging over his head for future relationship with Donald Trump?
POWERS: I mean all you--
POWERS: --all you have to do is read the transcript there. I mean--
URBAN: I don't, Anderson. I think that this - this guy--
POWERS: --the guy is groveling.
URBAN: --take his own words.
COOPER: OK. Kirsten?
POWERS: No. He's groveling in the transcript, if you read it. I mean it's just him absolutely groveling and pandering to Trump.
And he is completely dependent on the United States for this aid. There - I mean there's no question they need this - this aid to, you know, to protect themselves from--
URBAN: I don't think the Ukrainian President feels that way.
POWERS: --from Russia. So--
POWERS: --you just have to read the transcript. I mean it's very clear.
COOPER: It wasn't that just "I love you a 100 percent." "I love you a 1000 percent."
POWERS: A 1000 percent.
COOPER: I mean it was like America's--
COOPER: --not just a 100 percent great. It's a 1000 percent great. I mean that - that's--
POWERS: Yes. And it's just like the idea though that this is - I mean I think one of the problems to, you know--
URBAN: So just because you don't - just because you don't like this President--
POWERS: Wait. Can - can I just finish what I'm saying?
COOPER: Wait, let her finish.
URBAN: --doesn't mean you can impeach him.
POWERS: Yes. So - so I - I even think the comparing the Clinton impeachment to this is, is very - it's apples and oranges because that's great, David, that you were against it, because it was ridiculous. You know, I mean it really truly was about--
URBAN: Just like this is ridiculous.
POWERS: No. No. No. It really was truly about something that there was private behavior that - that could be condemned.
And if you go back, and you look at the - the CNN poll that came out today about how people feel about what the motivations are of Democrats versus Republicans, it's interesting because if you look at how it was with, in 1998, the overwhelming majority felt that they were just out to get Clinton.
COOPER: Wait but - but--
POWERS: That's not what people think today.
POWERS: They don't actually think the Democrats are out to get Trump.
COOPER: But just yes, David, just - David, let's not argue about what people--
URBAN: Yes, they do. Yes, they do. In the poll, the polls say it's--
URBAN: --overwhelmingly political.
COOPER: Just I don't want to - I don't like arguing--
POWERS: No, it didn't.
COOPER: --what all Americans think because it's hard to actually figure out what people think.
But - but - but - we got to go. But just very briefly, David, is it OK for a President of the United States to pressure a world leader to interfere in an upcoming election by going after his candidate? URBAN: You know, I--
COOPER: His - his leading opponent?
URBAN: Well it's not - so number one - number one, I think that - I think that Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris, and the rest of the Democrats who run for President--
URBAN: --would take umbrage--
COOPER: Right. Just yes or no. Is it OK--
URBAN: --that - that Joe Biden is the main - is the main opponent.
COOPER: Is it - OK well, OK is it--
URBAN: No. Listen, I don't--
COOPER: Is it OK, yes or no?
URBAN: No. But I don't think that's what occurred, Anderson.
COOPER: OK. Fine, nothing--
URBAN: No. No. It isn't. And I don't think--
URBAN: But I don't think that's what occurred.
URBAN: I don't think that's what occurred. I think this President was asking for an investing - for - for the Ukrainians to go back and investigate what happened in the 2016 elections.
COOPER: Right, OK.
URBAN: And, oh by the way, a lot of questions remain out there about Biden so--
COOPER: OK. All right, I got to go.
URBAN: --that's what we'll say.
COOPER: I'm just out of time.
URBAN: 30-minute conversation.
POWERS: Biden's position on this.
COOPER: There's a lot should talk about here. David Urban, thank you, Kirsten Powers.
Still to come, as the White House--
POWERS: Thank you.
COOPER: --and Capitol Hill debate the way forward in this controversy, we'll check in with a former Ambassador who left the Trump Administration, his thoughts on the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine attacked by President Trump, and fired early, and attacked by the President in that transcript. We'll be right back.
[21:35:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: The Whistleblower at the center of this new investigation is not the only person under attack by President Trump.
During his July call with the Ukrainian President, the President also attacked his then recently recalled Ambassador there, Maria Yovanovitch. Ambassador Yovanovitch is now scheduled to appear for deposition before three House Committees on Wednesday.
Here with more, someone who not only knew the Ambassador. He resigned as a diplomat last year because he could no longer support President Trump's policies, the former U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, James Melville.
Ambassador Melville, why do you think the - the Trump Administration's Ambassador to Ukraine was - was pushed out?
JAMES MELVILLE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ESTONIA: It's almost a Badge of Honor for Ambassador Yovanovitch to be pushed out under these circumstances. She was doing her job.
Ambassador Yovanovitch is one of our most experienced diplomats, and one of - one of the most successful Foreign Service Officers that I knew in my whole career.
And the political and economic circumstances in Ukraine are so fraught now that it's a really hard job to do, and to do well, and that's what Ambassador Yovanovitch was doing.
COOPER: Is - I - I assume it's made harder when there seems to be sort of a bifurcation between with the President running his own foreign policy through Rudy Giuliani, and the actual established levers of, you know, diplomatic representation in the Embassy, which is what the Ambassador does.
Have you - I mean you have an extraordinary career going back to 1986, in - in - in East Germany. Do you - or in - in GDR, do you - have you ever seen, in your entire career, anything like this operation that was going on in Ukraine?
MELVILLE: Never! Never!
[21:40:00] But, in a way, it sort of mirrors what's going on everywhere in the way this Administration conducts its - its policy and - and - and governs, which is to divide. And, you know, whether it's in foreign policy or it's the way we
relate to each other, as Americans, for some reason, they see inflaming those divisions as being in their best interests.
So, it doesn't surprise me that this is the way that they would expect that foreign policy should be conducted as well.
COOPER: It's interesting though because - because you worked, you know, from - since 1986, you worked for Democratic administrations, you worked for Republican administrations. You were a career Foreign Service Officer. It says a lot to me that--
COOPER: --you can work for Republicans and you can work for Democrats. But this President, you resigned.
MELVILLE: Well I resigned so that I could talk to you, Anderson. The restrictions that are on an Ambassador, in terms of expressing their own opinion, as a citizen, are fundamental to the non-partisan nature of the work of the Foreign Service and diplomacy.
And as long as I was an active-duty Foreign Service Officer, I was happy to live with those rules. And it was my internal feeling that I could no longer square my - my conscience, and my life, with being the Ambassador of the Trump Administration at that time that caused me to decide to - to retire.
COOPER: How difficult does having Rudy Giuliani skulking about Ukraine, meeting with officials, what does that do to the diplomatic efforts in Ukraine to the Foreign Service Officers, to people who are working in the Embassy?
I mean it makes it more difficult--
MELVILLE: It sows--
COOPER: --I would imagine.
MELVILLE: Oh, Anderson, it makes it extremely difficult. It - it - it sows confusion, not only within the U.S. government, and within the State Department, and the Embassy.
And the Embassy, of course, is a platform for all of the agencies of the U.S. government, who have a presence overseas, work through the Embassy, and coordinate through the Ambassador.
But Mr. Giuliani, as far as I know, hasn't taken an oath to the Constitution, and is not in the chain of command of Secretary Pompeo, or anyone else, who's - who's actually acting on behalf of the United States.
He is a - Mr. Giuliani is the President's lawyer, and is acting on behalf of Donald Trump, as his client, and the possibility of conflicts of interests are self-evident. And it's probably why we're in this terrible situation. COOPER: Ambassador James Melville, I appreciate your time, thank you.
MELVILLE: My pleasure! Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: Well more ahead, including a CNN Exclusive, Democratic Presidential Candidate, Elizabeth Warren, and her husband, Bruce Mann, give a rare joint interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUCE MANN, ELIZABETH WARREN'S HUSBAND: --program in economics--
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[21:45:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: Senator Elizabeth Warren's campaign for the Democratic Presidential nomination has, of course, put her in the national spotlight. But her husband, Bruce Mann, has pretty much stayed away from that kind of attention until now.
CNN's MJ Lee went to the couple's home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for an - an exclusive interview.
MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So, let's talk about the two of you. This is your first joint interview of the campaign.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is.
LEE: How did you two meet?
WARREN: Oh, at a pink hotel.
MANN: Yes, yes, yes. Pink Hotel in Key Biscayne.
LEE: Meet Bruce Mann, a Harvard Law School professor, better known these days as Elizabeth Warren's husband.
LEE: --you meet Senator Warren. What was she like?
MANN: The - first, let me set the scene because - because--
MANN: Yes because it's - it's completely improbable.
LEE: The two met when they were 29 years old, attending a law conference in Florida. Warren had recently separated from her first husband, Jim Warren. MANN: As I approached the reception, I looked across the lawn, and the - from about, oh I don't know, 25 yards away, the - I saw Elizabeth talking to - to a couple of people.
And the - and even from that distance, the - I was just - I was just drawn to her. I mean she was so lively, so animated, so engaged. I - I just fell for her from 25 - 25 yards out before even meeting.
LEE: Love at first sight?
MANN: For me. Yes, it took - it took her a couple of days.
LEE: For you?
WARREN: That was much slower. That was a Sunday late afternoon.
MANN: That's right, yes.
WARREN: When we met.
WARREN: I wasn't completely in love with him until sometime mid- morning on Monday. He was in the row ahead of me, down at the other end of the row, and it was on Monday, when I actually saw him in shorts. And good-looking legs. And--
WARREN: Yes. That's when - that's when I was all in.
MANN: Yes. That's right. That's right. I was in - she completely objectified me.
WARREN: It's true.
LEE: As the couple tells it, it was a whirlwind romance, built on a shared love of teaching in academia, and a bond over their similar upbringings. Just months after they first met, it was Warren who popped the question.
WARREN: It was in the fall. And I watched him teach a class, which I've never done before.
So, I'm sitting in the back of the room, while he's teaching, and where the class is all - he taught a really good class, and students, lots of interactions, students asked him questions, afterwards they all leave.
And he walks back in this big empty classroom, he looks down at me, and he says, "Well, what did you think?" And I said, "Great! Will you marry me?" And he said--
MANN: "Yes." WARREN: "Yes." And that was it.
LEE: That was it.
MANN: That's right, yes.
[21:50:00] WARREN: That was it. Yes. I got to see him in one - you know, got to see him in shorts, got to watch him play tennis, got to do all that--
WARREN: --when we were in Miami for three weeks. And then got to see him teach. And - but that's it.
WARREN: I'm marrying this one. You know when you find a good one, grab him and hang on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: I really am glad to see all of you here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEE: Warren is now one of the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for President. If she wins, her husband would be the first male Presidential spouse in history. He says it's not a role he ever imagined himself playing.
When you first met the Senator, she was a Republican.
MANN: I'm not - I don't think I knew that at the time. However Conservative she might have been at the time, the - it was not particularly apparent, and we really didn't discuss politics.
LEE: Friends and colleagues describe Mann as the quieter of the couple, devoted to his scholarship, and even more devoted to his wife. He's been by Warren's side as her political career has taken off rapidly, beginning with a Senate campaign in 2012, and a Presidential run, announced on the last day of 2018.
So that conversation between the two of you, where you decide, "OK, we're going to do this. I'm going to run for President," what is that conversation like?
WARREN: I don't think of it as a single conversation.
MANN: Oh, no, really, not really.
WARREN: It was the bits and piece kind of thing that people who live together do. A piece here about what's happening in our country--
MANN: Yes. WARREN: --a piece about a place we ought to be fighting back. And overtime, - now, I did have conversations with other people, real conversations that I told him I was going to have, and I wanted him to think about it, so I could get good advice. I mean this - this is an important decision.
MANN: And so the conversations she mentioned were asking people to give her three reasons why she should run, three reasons why she shouldn't. And she saved me for last.
And so, finally, she asked me for three reasons, pro and con, and I said "No, I'm not going to do it." And I said, "You're going to run anyways." The - so it just doesn't matter because if you don't run, and Democrats lose, you'll feel guilty because then that means there'd be no one to fight for the people and the issues that you care about.
WARREN: It just became clearer and clearer--
WARREN: --in this fight that--
WARREN: --you're right. I - I could not do it.
LEE: So, we fast forward 10 months.
LEE: You know that your wife has been leading the polls lately. As the person who knows her best, why do you think she is leading the polls right now?
MANN: Because she's the best person to do the job.
WARREN: I'm glad you feel that way.
MANN: Yes, I do, I do. I do. I do.
MANN: It's an entirely unbiased opinion.
WARREN: That's right.
WARREN: That's right.
MANN: Absolutely. The - the--
WARREN: And you remember, we don't do polls.
MANN: That's right. We - we - we do not do polls.
LEE: And if she does become the nominee, she will go up against President Trump.
LEE: Are you ready for that?
MANN: The - I'm not sure if anyone - how anyone trains for it. It's - it's you just jump into the deep-end, and you swim.
LEE: Do the two of you talk yet about what life could be like at the White House?
MANN: No. No. No. No. It's a bit early.
LEE: As his wife is running for President, Mann is continuing to teach at Harvard Law School. He has spent limited time on the campaign trail so far, but says he already has one of the most important jobs on the Warren campaign.
MANN: My - my principal role has been as - as Bailey's handler.
WARREN: That's right.
MANN: So, I - I help - I help him - I help Bailey manage his photo lines.
LEE: The couple's 16-month old Golden Retriever has developed a following of his own.
So, what are the things that you two are doing to try to keep any sense of normalcy when you're home?
LEE: It's Bailey.
WARREN: No, it is.
WARREN: We try to get out to Fresh Pond. And if it's a really good day, we actually do doubles at Fresh Pond. That means we go early in the morning, and again, just before it start, if we can make that work in the schedule.
MANN: Yes, right.
LEE: Is there anything you could tell us about the Senator that we don't know about?
WARREN: Oh, there's a lot. Wait, just a minute.
MANN: Oh, I think that's right, no, I would--
LEE: Just - just something the average person--
MANN: That's right.
LEE: --wouldn't know about Senator Warren.
MANN: Oh Gosh!
LEE: Oh my goodness!
WARREN: Somebody's down (ph).
MANN: Oh, to the rescue! To the rescue!
LEE: Bailey is also the reason for Mann's recent visit to the emergency room.
[21:55:00] MANN: He was playing with another dog until the play stopped and the other dog attacked him. Bailey was - was handling himself fine. But nonetheless, I waded in, and my hand caught on his harness, and broke a bone.
LEE: Warren and her husband both used the same word to describe the campaign.
The day that you announced your campaign--
LEE: --it was New Year's Eve.
LEE: You had a press conference right outside of this house.
WARREN: Right outside.
LEE: With Bailey. And at the very end, I think a reporter turned to you, asked for a comment, and you said, we've been married a long time, and it's always been an adventure, so this is just another one. How is that adventure going?
MANN: Really extraordinarily well. And it's even more of an adventure. Back then, I had no idea what it would look like, only that the - we would do it. And so, the - every part of it remains an adventure. So, the - I stand by that statement.
WARREN: Oh, yes, I can do this adventure because we do it together. It's true.
COOPER: That was MJ Lee reporting. We'll be right back.
COOPER: The news continues. Want to hand things over to Don Lemon and CNN TONIGHT.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us, everyone.
Our breaking news tonight is simply stunning. The President is absolutely freaking out right now, all over the - the breaking news, involving some of the top people on Team Trump.