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Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-PA) is Interviewed about Impeachment Probe; Comparing Ukraine Situation with Watergate; Ex-Officer Murder Trail in Dallas. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired September 30, 2019 - 09:30   ET

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


[09:30:00]

REP. BRENDAN BOYLE (D-PA): We have to push forward with impeachment because the facts demand it.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So, Congressman, Eric Swalwell, your fellow Democrat in the House, told my colleague, John Berman, on Friday that he believes that witness intimidation in and of itself could be an article of impeachment.

And the reason I bring this up is because subsequently over the weekend we've seen the president call for Adam Schiff, of course chair of the House Intel Committee, to be investigated for potential treason. This morning he called for him to possibly be arrested. He accused another U.S. official of spying on him.

Listen to how Congressman Swalwell put it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): This national nightmare continues. The president's comments, those are comments intended to intimidate future witnesses. And I do think it should be considered when we draw up articles of impeachment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: He's talking about the comments the president made about how this country used to treat quote/unquote spies. He made nose comments at the U.N.

Do you agree with Swalwell, that these alone, this alone could be an article of impeachment against the president?

BOYLE: What the president has said and done and tweeted over last week and including the last 24 hours is deeply disturbing. I think probably the single most disturbing report that I've seen as a "60 Minutes" report last night that states the actual whistleblower, he or she, is now under federal protection because this whistleblower has legitimate reason to fear for his or her life. The president is endangering the whistleblower, as well as others, with his rhetoric. It's completely irresponsibility. Now, as far as whether or not witness intimidation would be one of the

articles or whether or not there would be three articles of impeachment or seven, that I don't know. I -- I think that's really the work of the relevant committees to determine. I think there are a number of legitimate ways process wise you could go down that road. But I'll leave that to the committee work themselves.

HARLOW: So here is what a number of the president's defenders are pointing to. It is what the Ukrainian president said while he was in New York at the U.N. last week. Let's listen to it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, UKRAINE: We had, I think, good phone call. It was normal. We spoke about many things. And I -- so I think, and you read it, that nobody pushed it -- pushed me, yes.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In other words, no pressure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Lindsey Graham, you know, in response to that says this is a political setup. It's hearsay. The whistleblower didn't hear the phone call.

What's your reaction in terms of what will sway Americans? What are you hearing, you're home, from your constituents?

BOYLE: Yes. So two points on this.

First, I feel a great deal of sympathy for Zelensky. Right now he is the leader of a country that is part of it under foreign occupation. The Russian takeover of Crimea, the continual fighting and occupation in eastern Ukraine, isn't something that happened years and years ago. That's the day-to-day existence for the people of Ukraine.

I have tens of thousands of Ukrainian-American constituents who have family members who are living there and are in real peril. So for Zelensky, he and his country, they need this hundreds of millions of dollars of aid. He's doing the best he can, frankly, to stay out of U.S. domestic politics. So that's point number one.

Point number two, because I keep hearing one of the many falsehoods that's being spewed by Trump's defenders is this charge that it's somehow hearsay. The White House released their own summary of the call.

HARLOW: Which is -- which is five pages.

BOYLE: That is what most of this is being based on, not the whistleblower report.

HARLOW: Right.

BOYLE: Not the whistleblower report. It's a very short summary. It's not even the whole thing, by the way. I would really like to know, in those two instances where there are ellipses, I would really like to see the rest of those sentences.

HARLOW: Well --

BOYLE: But by the White House's own admission, the very next sentence after the discussion of Ukraine buying more missiles was, I would like you to do us a favor though. That is quite clear.

HARLOW: I should note that it's five pages. Every American should read it.

BOYLE: Yes.

HARLOW: The White House did come out and comment on the ellipsises. I'd encourage people to look at their comment on that. They said that was not cutting out anything substantive.

But let me end on this, because Lindsey Graham also called on you guys in the House, he said, look, the House of Representatives should take a vote to formally open an impeachment inquiry. Should the House do that? Should there be a formal vote?

BOYLE: It's interesting. I've looked back at the three previous examples that happened in a couple of them, it didn't happen in one other. It's actually not called for in the Constitution or the House rules.

HARLOW: Yes, I know it's not called for --

BOYLE: Yes. So, no, -- so, I mean, I don't --

HARLOW: But the reason that I ask is just, do you think that it would be appropriate given this is such a consequential move?

[09:35:03]

BOYLE: I'm not sure what it would achieve at this point. I think we're actually many innings into this process. A lot of the underlying facts are now already known because the information has been released. So at this point I'm not sure what purpose it would -- it would achieve.

HARLOW: Congressman Brendan Boyle, thank you for being here. I know you have a number of Ukrainian-Americans in your district as well watching this very closely.

BOYLE: Yes.

HARLOW: Appreciate your time this morning. Thanks.

BOYLE: All right.

HARLOW: Up next, joining me, an attorney who was on the prosecution team during Watergate. What does he make of the comparison between this investigation and that, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:40:27]

HARLOW: All right, so now that the president is officially under investigation, it is important to know what this impeachment process is going to look like going forward and this inquiry. The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has until Friday to hand over documents to Congress related to Ukraine. Obviously we heard Schiff say he's going to subpoena documents from Giuliani. How is this going to go forward? How will it be different from Watergate?

With me now is someone who has specific experience with that investigation. Nick Akerman. He's a former assistant special Watergate prosecutor and former assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

Good to be with you, Nick. Thanks for coming in.

NICK AKERMAN, FORMER ASSISTANT SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: Good to be here.

HARLOW: You -- one thing you do caution Democrats on is you say you've got to be very, very cautious about relying solely on a transcript.

AKERMAN: Well, that's correct.

HARLOW: Why?

AKERMAN: Well, because transcript aren't always reliable. The best evidence is always the underlying tape, if such a tape exists. But we don't --

HARLOW: So as far as we understand, it doesn't for this one.

AKERMAN: Right. And we don't think it does.

So one of the things that the House Judiciary Committee -- the House Intelligence Committee absolutely has to do is really button down whatever versions of this memo exist, whatever notes exist. They have to get all of the witnesses to the conversation in and make sure that they actually button down that what is represented there is the conversation.

HARLOW: You bring up something very interest that differentiates this investigation, specifically the more narrow Ukraine probe that Pelosi has, you know, is saying let's keep this focused on Ukraine --

AKERMAN: Right.

HARLOW: With Watergate and the origins of that?

AKERMAN: Well, what's really different this time is that this investigation starts in Congress. It doesn't start with a prosecutor or special prosecutor that then has to get permission to give grand jury material to a congressional committee. This is something that the congressional committee is starting from scratch and all of the investigation here is being done initially by Congress. And that is unusual compared to what has happened in the past.

HARLOW: How much of this investigation, hearings, et cetera, do you believe will be public, and does that matter? For example, the whistleblower, obviously that's not going to be public testimony.

AKERMAN: I would hope not because the whistleblower, all he does at this point is give a road map as to other evidence and other people that can be investigated by the committee. But I think, as an initial matter, most of this will be done in secret, behind closed doors, but I think it's extremely important at some point that certain of this evidence, certain of this testimony be presented to the public because part of what they're trying to do here is to put together a package, a case, that is not like a prosecutor proving a case beyond a reasonable doubt, but putting together a case that will get two-thirds of the United States Senate to move off the dime and remove this president from office.

HARLOW: The reason I say that is because to do that, all of these members of Congress, we're speaking to two this show, are home now in their congressional districts talking to their voters, right, and they need a majority of the Americans behind them. They need that push.

AKERMAN: They do and --

HARLOW: The polling is changing a little bit, but I ask, if a lot of this isn't in public, does that matter?

AKERMAN: It does matter because I think the public has to be behind this. I mean what you're talking about is removing a president that was elected under our normal procedures through the Electoral College. So if we're going to do this -- and, again, it's not just -- it's not a legal sort of proceedings like a criminal prosecution, this is also very political. And to be political means that you have to have a public buy-in. People have to accept --

HARLOW: Sure.

AKERMAN: Yes, that the evidence justifies an impeachment and justifies removing this president from office.

HARLOW: You note people think of Mark Flet (ph) or "Deepthroat" as the only whistleblower in Watergate. Many people do. And you say that -- that is not the case.

So I'm interested in your take on that and the president tweeting last night, I deserve to meet my accuser.

AKERMAN: Well, first of all, in Watergate, the initial whistleblower, this has never been revealed before, was a man by the name of Manuel Jiberga (ph), who was the head of Hispanic outreach in the Nixon White House. He, the day after the Watergate burglary, he called a "New York Times" reporter, Tadd Schultz (ph), and basically told him that the break-in was orchestrated right up at the top in the Nixon White House.

"The New York Times" didn't run with that story because they had no way to corroborate that information. They needed at least two sources to print the story.

[09:45:01]

Now, today, we have a whistleblower statute. We didn't have a whistleblower statute then. If we had, that person could have gone through the normal channels and basically filled out the forms and written a memo, just like this whistleblower has done. And what's interesting here is that this information came out about five months before the election in 1972 when Nixon was re-elected. You have to wonder if we had a whistleblower statute back then, and this information had come out in June of 1972, would Nixon have been re- elected for a second term?

HARLOW: Thank you so much, Nick. Good to have you.

AKERMAN: Thank you.

HARLOW: I know we will have you back as this process plays out. I appreciate it very much.

So, ahead for us, lawyers for that former Dallas police officer could get one final chance today to try to convince a jury that although their client killed her upstairs neighbor, they say it was a mistake, not murder. We're live outside that courtroom in Dallas, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:50:42]

HARLOW: All right. Welcome back. I'm Poppy Hallow in New York.

And the trial for the former Dallas police officer who shot and killed her neighbor, that resumes this morning. Closing arguments could come as soon as today. She testified in her own defense on Friday and said on the stand she, quote, feels like a terrible person.

Our Ed Lavandera is outside the Dallas courthouse this morning.

Ed, good morning to you.

We saw her cry on the stand. She said she hates herself every day for what happened. But she also admitted that she did not radio in for help.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy.

Well, how the jury reacts to that nearly three hours of testimony from Amber Gugyer on Friday will, obviously, go a long way in determining her fate. And it was a mixed bag, if you will. At times very emotional, recounting the moments where she pulled the trigger twice to shoot Botham Jean in his own apartment. As you mentioned, she expressed remorse for all of that, at one point saying she wished that Botham Jean had been the one with the gun and had killed her.

But also prosecutors were scathing in their questioning of her, pointing out several time that she could have simply retreated, following her police training, retreated, conceal at -- called for backup and that Botham Jean would have been alive.

So a lot for the jury to chew on there and exactly how they react to her demeanor on the witness stand will obviously go a long way in determining her fate.

HARLOW: Yes.

Who will we hear from today, Ed? I mean I know closing arguments can come as soon as today. Any other witnesses to be called?

LAVANDERA: Well, we're waiting to see that. The court was supposed to start at 8:30 Central Time. We're waiting for the -- for everyone to reconvene inside there of the courtroom. They held court on Saturday for just a couple of hours before ending quite early. So it is possible that both sides have finished calling all of their witnesses and that they can prepare the instructions for the jury, which obviously includes the murder charge, which she face life in prison for, but there could be the possibility that the jury is allowed to consider some lesser charges, but we don't know exactly how that will happen, if that will happen. So we're waiting to hear on all that.

So here in the next couple of hours, I think, Poppy, we'll get a better sense of how quickly this will go to the jury and when they will begin their deliberations.

HARLOW: OK.

Ed Lavandera, let us know. Thank you so much. Live from Dallas for us.

So, President Trump said last night that he deserves to meet his accuser. Of course he's talking about the whistleblower. This as the House Intelligence Committee prepares for a potential closed door testimony from the whistleblower. Stay with us for more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[09:58:03]

HARLOW: All right, if you can believe it, until just a year ago, no NBA team had ever been led by an African-American woman. Well, Cynthia Marshall changed all of that and she has made history as the first black female CEO of an NBA team. She was hired by the Dallas Maverick's owner, Mark Cuban, to try to turn around the organization after all of those reports of sexual misconduct by leadership. I sat down with her for my latest episode of "Boss Files." She's remarkable. Here's a clip.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CYNTHIA MARSHALL, CEO, DALLAS MAVERICKS: I walked into a bad culture. I walked into a place where the women were not valued or treated the way I would like to see them treated. So we had a problem with how we treated women. Frankly, I think we had a problem with how we respected and treated people of color.

HARLOW: You, as an African-American, saw a real issue here with how minorities were being treated.

MARSHALL: Right. Well, and part of it was the absence. The absence of people of color at the leadership table, the absence of what I perceive to be people of color in middle management. So there was just a culture that catered white man. And that leadership team that was all white man, which, of course, now is 50 percent women and 47 percent people of color.

We also look at gender parody in terms of pay. But then we looked at everybody's pay.

HARLOW: Was there -- was there a disparity? Was there a discrepancy? I mean was -- were men getting paid more than women doing equal work?

MARSHALL: Yes, there was a -- yes, there was a discrepancy, but not -- I expected bigger discrepancies. So we fix those really quick.

HARLOW: You right-sized the women -- I'm assuming it was the women who were under paid.

MARSHALL: That's exactly right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: She is fascinating. You can listen to our full conversation with Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall on my podcast "Boss Files."

All right, it's the top of the hour. Good Monday morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York.

[09:59:55]

As White House staffers and Republican leaders are on the defense over the president's actions, the president himself is going on the offensive this morning, launching attack on Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff, hinting that the House Intelligence Committee.

END