Return to Transcripts main page
THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
Public Support Rising For Impeachment; Congress Subpoenas Rudy Giuliani. Aired 4-4:30p ET
Aired September 30, 2019 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: And that is what they want to learn about.
They want to know what the State Department was specifically doing with Rudy Giuliani. He has said a lot. He had said that they ordered him to be meeting with Ukrainian officials.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Kylie, we have got to go. I'm up against "THE LEAD."
ATWOOD: The State Department hasn't answered questions.
BALDWIN: I'm sure -- I know they will be talking about this.
Kylie Atwood, thank you very much.
"THE LEAD" start now.
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Breaking news: Rudy Giuliani just slapped with a subpoena.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Also breaking, fresh CNN polls coming out right now on THE LEAD, asking the nation, should Congress impeach the president?
President Trump today firing off tweets heavy on insults, short on facts, warning of a civil war-like divide and saying he wants to meet a protected whistle-blower who blew the cover on his call with Ukraine.
Plus, the investigation escalating by the minute. Key hearings and depositions coming this week, as Speaker Pelosi tries to keep her party from looking too hungry to kick the president out of office.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
HILL: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Erica Hill, in for Jake today.
And we begin with breaking news.
President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani subpoenaed by House Democrats for documents related to Ukraine and to the impeachment inquiry.
More on that in just a moment, but first we have brand-new CNN polling breaking right now, which shows nearly half of Americans support the impeachment of President Trump; 47 percent say President Trump should be removed from office; 45 percent are opposed to impeachment.
Now, that is the highest level of support for impeachment we have seen in a CNN poll in a year, including after the Mueller report was released.
And as CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports from Washington, the poll shows an increasing number of Republicans and independents now support impeaching President Trump.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Americans are now evenly divided on impeachment, with a notable rise among independents and Republicans supporting President Trump's removal from office.
A new CNN poll just released finds 47 percent of Americans believe the president should be impeached, up from 41 percent in May. The change is not fueled by Democrats. Roughly, three-quarters favor impeachment, as they did during our poll four months ago. But the support among independents has grown by 11 points and by eight points among Republicans.
For now, public sentiments is shifting; 45 percent of Americans oppose the historic move, down from 54 percent in May. A week after Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened an impeachment inquiry, she said Democrats would build their case on patriotism, not partisan politics.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Let us try not to make it further divisive, but we cannot ignore our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
ZELENY: The call for impeachment is resonating among younger Americans, the poll found, with 60 percent of those under 35 now in favor of removing Trump from office, compared to 43 percent who felt that way in May.
The shift comes within his own party. Among Republicans and GOP- leaning independents under age 50, support for impeachment has climbed from 9 percent in may to 22 percent now.
As the House is set to begin hearings and depositions this week, the poll finds that 48 percent of Americans say the president abused his power to gain political advantage against his rival Joe Biden in his conversations with the Ukrainian president; 39 percent say Trump did not improperly use his office. And 10 percent say they need to learn more.
While the poll shows unmistakable movement, Democrats still have a case to make to the broader American public.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wants to mount a defense, I'm certainly willing to listen to it, but that is the evidence that is in front of us right now.
ZELENY: Convicting the president remains an extraordinarily high bar, needing a vote of two-thirds of the Republican-controlled Senate.
But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying today the Senate will consider any impeachment articles.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, under the Senate rules, we're required to take it up if the House does go down that path. And we will follow the Senate rules.
ZELENY: So the bottom line is this. One week into this historic moment of impeachment, public sentiment is clearly shifting, because of independents, Republicans and particularly among younger Republicans.
This new poll also shows that Democrats must still make their case to the American public. Despite everything we have learned over the last week, Erica, 45 percent still oppose impeachment. The question is whether that number keeps falling as the proceedings intensify -- Erica.
HILL: Jeff Zeleny with the latest on the numbers for us -- Jeff, thank you.
Also want to go now to CNN's Manu Raju for more on our other breaking news, Rudy Giuliani subpoenaed by House Democrats.
So, Manu, what more do we know about the subpoena?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right.
The subpoena is demanding documents by October 15, going very close to the president's inner circle, the most direct move to try to get more information about exactly what happened in this effort by Trump and Trump's associates to apparently urge Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe Biden and Joe Biden's son.
Giuliani, of course, has publicly admitted urging the Ukrainians to go forward, even saying as much on CNN just a couple of weeks ago. That is cited in this letter from three key House Democratic chairmen who are demanding these documents.
Now, this subpoena was actually issued by the House Intelligence Committee. And also these same chairmen also want to talk to some of Giuliani's close business associates to understand exactly what happened here. Now, Erica, this is just the latest in a rapidly moving impeachment
investigation. This Intelligence Committee wants to speak -- plans to speak this Friday with the intelligence community's inspector general. This will be the second time that they have spoken to that -- to Michael Atkinson.
Also, the three committees plan to have depositions with five State Department officials. One -- at least we know of that is coming on Thursday is the president's former envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, who is mentioned in that whistle-blower complaint.
But now the question is whether or not they want to bring in Rudy Giuliani to talk to him. But, at the moment, he's subpoenaed for documents. We will see if Giuliani complies -- Erica.
HILL: That is what we will be watching for. Manu, thank you.
John Avlon, I'm going to go straight to you on this, because you are my, as always, my Rudy Giuliani expert, given your history.
JOHN AVLON, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: That is true.
HILL: In all seriousness, though, as Manu pointed out, these are for the documents. This is not at this moment for Rudy Giuliani.
Do you think he will comply on the documents?
AVLON: He has been on both sides of that question in recent interviews.
I think he's liable to try to say there is attorney-client privilege with the president and he would only testify in public at any length if the president approved it.
That said, look, I worked for Rudy Giuliani for years. I think he did an extraordinary job as mayor of New York and I was proud to work for him. The last few months have not been his finest hour.
And I think he's put himself in real jeopardy. And I think you're going to see a lot of folks in the administration, particularly the State Department, try to scapegoat him. And I think that is going to be profoundly awkward to watch.
HILL: It will be interesting too how this question of attorney-client privilege plays out, right?
HILL: Because he also told "The Atlantic" last week, I'm not doing this as a lawyer, I'm doing this as someone who is looking to stand up for a better government.
AVLON: You're going to be able to find Rudy quotes on all sides of every issue.
HILL: You can find the one that works for you, can't you? As we look at the polling, though, that is coming out here and what we're looking at, all of this coming to a head right at 4:00 just for us. Looking at this polling, support for and against impeachment really hovers right around 50 percent, when you figure in the margin of error here.
And Jeff Zeleny brought up the point, Keith, about whether Democrats still have some work to do, because 45 percent say, I do not support this.
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is actually kind of an astonishingly high number. It has actually increased since the last CNN poll.
But if you go back and look at history, in 1973, when the Watergate impeachment proceedings began, only 19 percent of Americans supported impeaching or removing the president. A year later, it was 57 percent, and Nixon resigned from office.
We're starting from a higher bar here. We're almost at 50 percent. We're only one week into this. That is kind of amazing, not to mention the fact that Nixon was an incredibly popular president who had just been reelected and in a landslide election.
AVLON: Forty-nine states.
BOYKIN: Exactly, in a landslide election.
This guy, Donald Trump, barely got elected. He lost the popular vote and he's unpopular. He's never been above 50 percent in the public opinion polls, the poll averages.
So I think Democrats are in a strong position going into this. The public still has to be educated more, but that is the purpose of the impeachment inquiry.
S.E. CUPP, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
And I would -- I'm really struck by that number, that movement among Republicans, that 9 percent movement among Republicans. That is significant. That is the number I'm actually going to be paying more attention to.
And what I would caution to Democrats is, in the interest of educating the public, and letting this investigation bear out facts, not to appear as though you are just trying to move poll numbers.
And Nancy Pelosi's caution to Donald Trump, let's not try to make this worse, I think it should also be heard by Democrats who are making T- shirts about impeaching the president. I don't think that is actually going to help.
CUPP: And I think there should be a sobriety around what is a very sad, dark moment in American history. (CROSSTALK)
HILL: And that is what the speaker is calling for, right? The speaker of the House is saying, this should be solemn, this should be a sober moment.
When we look at these numbers, though -- and, Rich, I will throw to you. When we look at the shift in support among Republicans and independents, and now we see the subpoena for Rudy Giuliani, how do those things all work together?
How does this polling, if at all, influence not just how the president looks at this, but how Rudy Giuliani looks at his role?
RICH LOWRY, EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": Well, I think we're going to need to wait and see how the polling settles out.
And the CNN poll, the top line is basically the same as you're seeing in other polls, basically, even split, just below 50 percent support. But in a lot of the other polling, what you have seen is what you would expect, which is Democrats picking up that 20 percent of Democrats or so who weren't yet they're on impeachment.
What makes the CNN poll different is the Democrats line is the same and you have picked up some Republican and independent support. Now, if that's accurate, that's a big deal.
But I think we have to see how it settles down, as I say, over time.
Rudy, one thing that's interesting is the conventional wisdom, he's sort of been his worst enemy in some of these media appearances. The final paragraph of this letter telling him he's being subpoenaed for this document cites media appearances, and say, you have said that you called for an investigation of Joe Biden, which just goes to a typical lawyer is very cautious, very careful, doesn't get out there creating new problems for himself or his client.
And that's not what Rudy...
AVLON: That's not the story of our times, Rich.
AVLON: But I want to point out one thing about the CNN poll that I think it's really significant.
The phrasing of the question is, should he be impeached and removed from office? That's not open-ended, should there be an impeachment inquiry, impeached and removed from office, the highest standard, something that has happened to no president, because, both, obviously, Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were not convicted by the Senate and Richard Nixon resigned before being impeached and convicted. The fact that, with that question, that wording, that the number in CNN's poll is up among Republicans and independents, is significant.
LOWRY: But I wonder, if you just said, should Donald Trump be removed from office, what the number would be? because I wonder if impeachment is caught up in the question of just whether there should be an inquiry or not.
HILL: Which way do you think it would go?
LOWRY: I think it would probably go lower.
BOYKIN: It's also interesting that 60 percent of young people support removing the president from office.
I mean, for the Republicans, that's got to be a scary number. You can't...
CUPP: Not surprising, though.
BOYKIN: Well, it may not be surprising, but you can't build a political party, a future of a political party, when the base, the potential base in the future is never -- is not even there for you.
CUPP: To put it mildly, no crap.
BOYKIN: Well, yes. And that's the problem.
CUPP: This is what Republicans who didn't support this president were in part worried about, also stuff like this happening. We were worried about stuff like this.
But a lot of Republicans, especially who -- those of us who were involved in the 2020 autopsy, in trying to reach out to new kinds of voters, women, gays, millennials, and really started to see some progress, we were worried about this very thing, the collapse and crumbling of the Republican Party to a lot of these important voters, because my dad won't be around forever to keep voting for Republicans like Donald Trump.
HILL: All right, we will have more on our breaking news.
CUPP: Love you, dad.
BOYKIN: To be clear.
HILL: We love you too.
More on our breaking news, President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, just subpoenaed for documents related to Ukraine.
Next, what happens if he chooses not to comply?
ERICA HILL, CNN HOST: Breaking news. President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani subpoenaed. House Democrats seeking documents related to Ukraine, the basis of this fast-moving impeachment inquiry. And all of this comes as the new CNN polling just released unveils that 47 percent of Americans say President Trump should be impeached and removed from office.
CNN's Evan Perez joining us live.
So, Evan, what more are you learning about this subpoena?
EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Erica, this is something that certainly people close to the president were anticipating. They expected that this moment was going to come. And so, they've been kind of preparing as to what to answer the question of is this privilege? Is this something that the president -- is the president's personal attorney, are they going to declare some kind of privilege? And so, you could expect that is where this conversation is going to go next.
But I should point out that there is a couple of complications. Rudy Giuliani last week in an appearance on Fox News shared some information, some text messages he says that were -- with Kurt Volker who was at the time the envoy, the administration's envoy to Ukraine and he showed what he says were communications, internal communications that showed that, you know, he wasn't just operating on his own. That he was operating with the blessing, the full blessing of the United States government.
So you could bet that that is going to complicate their efforts to try to keep all of this information from Congress because he's already publicly shared what he says were communications ongoing and I think a judge was going to -- may end up having to look at this and will have to decide whether or not Rudy Giuliani essentially pierced that privilege by sharing that information publicly. And, of course, you know, it might take a little time before they can do that but I do think it makes it difficult for him to claim everything is protected by privilege.
HILL: We will be watching for that. Evan, appreciate it. Thank you.
HILL: I want to bring in now, Preet Bharara. He is, of course, U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York. He was fired by President Trump.
And I just want to play a little bit of what Rudy Giuliani had to say yesterday on ABC. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC ANCHOR: Will you cooperate with the House Intelligence Committee?
RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: I wouldn't cooperate with Adam Schiff. I think Adam Schiff should be removed.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So that's your answer, you're not going to cooperate?
GIULIANI: I didn't say that. I said I will consider it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HILL: So two answers there. But bottom line, does he need to cooperate?
PREET BHARARA, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I think he does. I don't see the privilege is here that prevents him from providing information that is lawfully and appropriately subpoenaed by these three different committees. Look, there is also -- before we get to the legal aspect of it, there's a pragmatic aspect here. You know, Rudy Giuliani and others in support of the president have gone on television day after day after day saying as the thrust of their argument here that the whistle-blower relies on hearsay information, second-hand information, thereby begging people to do exactly what has been done here, to get direct information and direct evidence.
So I don't see how you prevent that from coming forward if your whole argument has been, there is nothing to see here and as Evan said in the preview, Rudy has gone on television time and time again perhaps waiving privileges and talking about the other evidence that he has so I don't see how you get around it without looking like you are blocking a legitimate effort to do a legitimate impeachment inquiry before you make a decision about impeachment itself.
And then on the legal issues, it is unclear to me what legal representation Rudy Giuliani was engaging in. There's no deliberative process or executive privilege that I could think of given that he's outside of the government. He was operating as a free, you know, private citizen and not providing legal help.
So, pragmatically, politically and legally, I don't see what leg he has to stand on just because he doesn't like Adam Schiff.
HILL: And just to follow up on that. He said last week to "The Atlantic", quote, I'm not acting as a lawyer. I'm acting as someone who is devoted most of his life to straightening out government, in talking about what he was doing. And again, as we know, we hear different things from Rudy Giuliani based on the moment. We just saw it in the ABC interview.
But the fact that he said that I'm not acting as a lawyer and then he went and said you'll have to ask my clients if I can talk or not, referring to President Trump. I mean, where does it stand?
BHARARA: So, look, his words will come back to haunt him. I read the letter quickly, the cover letter to the subpoenas. It makes references specifically to Rudy Giuliani's appearance on television, including the notorious appearance of last week on CNN's own Chris Cuomo show where he says, of course, I looked into whether or not the Ukrainian president could pursue an investigation of Joe Biden. So, he keeps saying things that puts on the table basically what the committees are asking for.
The other thing that is interesting about the letter, the cover letter sent to Rudy Giuliani, some of his associates, it has pretty stark language. There is a sentence in there, I'm paraphrasing and I don't have it in front of me, but it essentially suggests that Rudy Giuliani is part of and they use this word, part of a scheme to bring pressure to bear for aid to Donald Trump's campaign with respect to Joe Biden. And so, you know, they are not accusing him of anything yet but by putting that language in the letter and also asking for -- I think it is four single spaced pages of documents relating to all aspects of Rudy Giuliani's business in Ukraine and conversations with the State Department and with the U.S. attorney general, you know, they're biting off a lot here and they're suggesting some pretty strong things about Rudy Giuliani also.
HILL: What happens if he doesn't comply?
BHARARA: Well, there is general political pressure, which takes whatever course it takes. And you've got to fight it in the courts and depending on how quickly a judge can decide these things, it can take a while.
For these things to have proper momentum, I do think the public pressure matters a lot. You know, depending on how Rudy decides to go and he's begging folks to get direct information, I don't think that makes him look particularly good. And I think public sentiment will turn sour, especially since as an initial matter, the administration contrary to some predictions produced the whistle-blower complaint unredacted, mostly unredacted, and the transcript, for summary transcript of that phone call very quickly saying there is nothing to see here. It's all transparent.
How do you now say now it's actually sunk into the minds of some people or something that's inappropriate, how do you now say, well, we gave you those things and that is not enough to impeach anyone because it's indirect and it's hearsay, but we're not going to give you let any more? I don't see how that argument works and I think it hurts them.
HILL: Well, but I will say, it wouldn't be the first time that we would hear the similar argument, though, from the administration.
BHARARA: It would not.
HILL: Well, there may be, well, there's nothing to see here, but, oh, by the way, we're not going to give you anything to see because we just decided that we're not going to do it. I do just want to get your take, though, on -- I mean, you said you
don't see anything that would amount to executive privilege. I would also point out that that has not stopped this administration in the past, the president from saying that I want to invoke executive privilege even if this person may not directly be connected to me and may not be working in the White House. That, too, can delay this.
BHARARA: Look, if the question is, does the president and his supporters, do they make outrageous and outlandish claims and allegations based on no law whatsoever or no actual basis in law whatsoever, yes, they do that all of the time. I mean, most notably in the last 24 hours the president of the United States has suggested that Adam Schiff, the chair of the Intel Committee, should be arrested for treason.
So, yes, they make outlandish claims all of the time. I think their ability to get away with making those claims both with the courts and also with the public is running thin.
HILL: Preet Bharara, always appreciate your insight. Thank you.
BHARARA: Thank you. Sure, my pleasure.
HILL: How will President Trump respond to the news that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has been subpoenaed? That's next.
HILL: Back with lots of breaking news for you on this Monday.
President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani subpoenaed by House Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry, as our new CNN poll shows 47 percent of Americans say the president should be impeached and removed from office.
And as Kaitlan Collins reports, President Trump is lashing out amid all of this, even promoting the idea that impeachment could lead to civil war.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This whole thing is a disgrace.