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How Chief Justice Roberts Might Handle A Senate Trial; GOP House Leader Surprised by Actual Trump "Favor" Quote; Flake Tells GOP Not to Support Trump, Not to Risk Careers; CNN Tracks Down 2 Ukrainians Mentioned in Whistleblower Complaint; House Intel Subpoenas Giuliani for Ukraine Documents. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired September 30, 2019 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: And you, of course, are the person to ask of it because of your book on the Chief Justice. What would a Senate trial with John Roberts presiding look like?
JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN SUPREME COURT ANALYST: Well, first of all, no gold stripes, OK. He's not going to embellish his black robe. You know, I think this chief is going to be a little more skittish about coming over to the Senate side. Chief Justice Rehnquist was an amateur historian who had written a book on impeachments as a matter of fact. And even though Chief Justice John Roberts is a real student of history, he has increasingly tried to separate the Supreme Court from politics. But Brooke, it's right there in the Constitution, that it's the Chief Justice who presides over any Senate trial of a President.
In fact, it's the only duty of the Chief Justice that's actually mentioned in the Constitution. So John Roberts, if it comes to an impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, will cross the street, come over, probably be all business and try to follow his mentor's role in presiding in an efficient, smooth, noncontroversial manner over the Senate trial.
BALDWIN: Joan Biskupic, thank you so much for all of that.
Coming up next, I will talk to a Republican strategist who says his party deserves what it gets if it doesn't stand up to President Trump now. You will hear his case for impeachment.
BALDWIN: As Republicans currently serving in Washington stand firmly in their support of President Trump, a growing number of former Republican operatives are breaking ranks. Check out this headline in today's "Daily Beast." We'll deserve what we get if Republicans can't say Trump's wrong. And the author, Rory Cooper, served as communications director for Eric Cantor when Cantor was the Republican House Majority Leader.
And Cooper writes, quote, if this is a witch hunt, it's one coming from inside the White House. If this all doesn't warrant a serious Congressional investigation and impeachment inquiry, nothing does.
Rory Cooper is now the managing director of Purple Strategies. So Rory, nice to have you on. Welcome.
RORY COOPER, MANAGING DIRECTOR, PURPLE STRATEGIES: Good to be here, Brooke. Hi.
BALDWIN: So you get through your whole piece. And at the end you basically say that the Republican Party would be a shell of itself moving forward, if it cannot say as much, if it can't call this out. You know, Mitt Romney called the Ukraine call transcript, quote, deeply troubling. You had Tom Bossert, the former Trump aide saying that he was disturbed by the whistleblower complaint. But what exactly do you want to hear from these Republicans?
COOPER: Well, I want them to take the investigation seriously. If you look at the report from the DNI Inspector General. Who is the Trump appointee, by the way? The DNI, a Trump appointee, the people who corroborated the material were all Trump hired staffers at the White House. This is not -- if this is the deep state, it's not very deep, right. These are Republican operatives within the Trump administration who are saying something smells wrong. If you just look at what President Trump has already admitted publicly, if you look at the corroborating material, the investigation should be taken seriously.
Now, I'm not expecting many Republicans to jump out and say he should be removed from office. He's got a 90 plus percent approval rating within the party, that's not going to change overnight. But I would like to see somebody say that this is wrong. It deserves investigation, and we're going to take it seriously in the Congress.
BALDWIN: But you have folks like Kevin McCarthy, the current House Minority Leader and one of his deputies essentially shrugging this off or denying what took place. Listen to McCarthy on 60 Minutes last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): When I read the transcript, I see two leaders having admiration, not intimidation.
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS, REPORTER: What do you make of this exchange? President Zelensky says we're almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes and President Trump replies, I would like you to do us a favor, though.
MCCARTHY: You just added another word.
PELLEY: No, it's in the transcript.
MCCARTHY: You said, I'd like you to do us a favor though.
PELLEY: Yes, it's in the White House transcript.
MCCARTHY: When I read the transcript --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: I mean, how can you say the Republican Party, you came to love and respect, is still intact with comments like that?
COOPER: Well, the Republican Party that I came to grow and respect does not exist really, right, anymore. But what I would like to see is a Republican Party that returns a little bit to responsibility and to the rule of law origins that it once had. Now listen I think we are kidding ourselves we think that Republicans are going to come out and make the case for impeachment of a Republican President. What I would hope that Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer do is understand that for this to be successful on their part, and for them to actually make a compelling case to the American people, they have to move Republican numbers.
The base is with them, all right. They're going to get the votes in the House to impeach him. It's going to go to the Senate. If they want to make this trial across the nation count, they need to make persuadable arguments that independent or center right leaning voters say, you know what, that is conduct unbecoming of the President and it does deserve that he should be removed from office. I think getting 20 Republican Senators to vote that way is wishful thinking.
But I am a Detroit Lions' fan so I grew up with wishful thinking. But I do think that anybody can look at this material and understand that this is not what a President of the United States should be doing. At the very least he is helping himself. At the very worst, he is holding military aid to a war-torn country hostage in order to extract political demands.
BALDWIN: Well, I don't know if Jeff Flake is a Detroit Lions guy. But he actually numbered 35, I'm going to get to that in just a second. We know Jeff Flake, he's a vocal Trump critic, former Arizona Senator, he wrote this Op-Ed today in "The Washington Post". Saying that Republican lawmakers should not back Trump's re-election. And this is what he wants to write that I wanted to highlight. He says, trust me when I say you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul, Rory.
So that's from Jeff Flake. He is also the same guy who said that just last week, you know, if the vote were held privately, he said 35 Republican Senators, so that's 15 above your 20, that he thinks would vote to remove Trump from office.
And you think back to Nixon, and it was that Oval Office recording of the President, right, ordering the cover-up that forced Republicans to ultimately abandon him. So Rory, what do you think it's going to have to take for these Republicans to stand up against this President?
COOPER: Well, I think that we're going to have to get some new information. Right now the information that's out there is enough to convince me that there have been serious wrongdoings that have occurred. But clearly it has not convinced everybody within the Congress or with their primary electorates who are the people they are looking to for cues on whether or not they should move away from this President.
BALDWIN: So the transcript, everything this President has admitted to publicly, that's not enough.
COOPER: It's enough for me, but it's not enough for Republican members of the House and Senate who are facing re-election. What we need to do is be able to lay out a compelling clear case of what the President of the United States' responsibilities are in phone calls like that. Why he stepped over the line and why conservatives -- limited government conservatives who used to value national security should look at those things and say, we can find a better nominee. We can find a better party leader. I'm going to take this investigation seriously. That this is not who we are.
BALDWIN: Yes. Rory Cooper, let's keep this conversation going, we'll have you back, thank you so much for --
COOPER: Thank you.
BALDWIN: -- for your own thoughts and opinions as a Republican.
Coming up next, CNN tracks down two of the Ukrainians mentioned in that whistleblower complaint. What they said about their meetings with Rudy Giuliani.
BALDWIN: There are new reports that Ukraine's President says that he is, quote, unlikely to release his own transcript of that controversial phone call with President Trump from end of July. And moments ago he spoke out once again saying he is feeling no pressure to investigate Biden or the DNC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT, UKRAINE (through translator): I'll be honest with you. We are not doing anything by command. I can say it again, we are an independent country. We are not following any commands, and we have only one command to serve Ukraine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Other Ukrainian officials have declined to discuss any of this but CNN's Clarissa Ward caught up with two Ukrainians mentioned in that whistleblower complaint and got them to talk to her.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ukraine is struggling with the fallout of America's political crisis. Officials here aren't talking, but we tracked down two of those mentioned in the whistleblower's complaint each with a very different perspective. Former diplomat Andriy Telizhenko says President Trump's personal
lawyer Rudy Giuliani approached him in May for a meeting. Telizhenko is known for his claims that Democrats colluded with Ukrainian officials against Trump in 2016. He says the two men spent six hours discussing a range of issues.
ANDRIY TELIZHENKO, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: My insights on what's happening in the U.S./Ukrainian relationship and the DNC Ukrainian collusion was also mentioned. Mr. Giuliani also asked me about Vice President Biden, what my thought was, what my insights were on him?
WARD (on camera): So you had the sense that this was a priority for Mr. Giuliani?
TELIZHENKO: Yes. He doesn't hide it. It's his work. That's what he was hired to do, to represent the President of the United States and his personal interests.
WARD: By trying to further conspiracy theories about the President's political opponents?
TELIZHENKO No, there is no conspiracy theories on that. We need to investigate this properly.
WARD (voice-over): Serhiy Leshchenko disagrees. He was an adviser to Ukrainian President Zelensky's campaign and says Giuliani began applying pressure to investigate the Bidens shortly after the election.
SERHIY LESHCHENKO, FORMER CAMPAIGN AIDE TO PRESIDENT ZELENSKY: I knew it for sure. Because for Giuliani it was the only interest in Ukraine to get this information about Biden and to use this information in the U.S.
WARD (on camera): Do you think that he was focused on it for the President or --
LESHCHENKO: For sure. Not for his private purposes. We know who is Giuliani. We know what is his role. We know that he is acting not just a private person but on behalf of his client.
WARD: So this wasn't a secret.
LESHCHENKO: It was a clear fact.
BALDWIN: And Clarissa Ward joins us now from Kiev. Clarissa, how is this controversy being received there in Ukraine and what do you see as the next move from President Zelensky?
WARD: Well, Brooke, quite frankly this is very, very awkward for Ukraine. Ukraine does not want to get involved in America's domestic political turmoil. Because they know that if they pick a side or if they are even seen to be picking a side at this stage, that that could really hurt them along the line. President Trump may win the next election in 2020. He may not win. Ukraine has to be able to do business with whoever wins. And don't forget, Brooke, just how reliant Ukraine is in the U.S.'s largess, we're talking about $1.4 billion in military aid since 2015, 400 million U.S. dollars this year alone.
This is a country that is fighting a war with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. It simply cannot afford to alienate any administration in the U.S. and that puts Ukrainian President Zelensky in a very difficult position. I think what you saw earlier when you heard him come out and say, listen, if someone's violated the law, we'll try to punish it. But so far, we're not going to be taking orders from anyone about who we go after. This will come from within Ukraine.
It is really basically him trying to show that Ukraine will be independent, autonomous and not making these decisions based on any partisan pressure from either side. But make no mistake, Brooke, this is a tight rope that Ukraine is walking. They desperately want this crisis to be over and as we all know, there is no evidence that will happen any time soon -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: A tight rope indeed. Clarissa in Kiev, thank you very much.
Also minutes from now, a new poll released showing where the American people stand on impeachment now. You will see it first right here on CNN.
BALDWIN: Breaking news. We have just learned that the House Intelligence Committee has now subpoenaed or issued a subpoena for the President's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Let's go straight to Manu Raju up on Capitol Hill with the breaking news. Manu, tell me more.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we had been expecting this move. A dramatic move escalating this impeachment inquiry by the House, led by the House Intelligence Committee. Just moments ago they announced they'd issued a subpoena to the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani demanding he turn over documents as part of their investigation by October 15th.
Now what the Democrats are asking for are communications and other efforts that Giuliani was involved with to urge Ukraine officials to launch an investigation into the President's political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. They say in the letter that -- citing comments that Giuliani even made on CNN telling our colleague Chris Cuomo when he acknowledged saying, of course I did ask Ukraine to look into Joe Biden. Now in this letter, they break down a number of different categories of documents that they want to -- Giuliani to turn over. Documents from over the last couple of more than two years. So that is why they're giving him two weeks to provide all of this documentation. Now in addition to that, the Chairman of the three committees, it is
House Intelligence Committee led by Adam Schiff, but also the House Foreign Affairs Committee led by Elliot Engel, and House Oversight Committee led by Elijah Cummings, they've sent letters to three of Giuliani's business associates seeking depositions of these individuals.
So what we're seeing more broadly here, Brooke, is an escalation by this Committee -- these Committees which have already sent subpoenas over to the State Department asking to turn over documents relating to this effort to apparently urge the Ukraine government to investigate the Bidens. Also seeking depositions from former State Department Officials. The House Intelligence Committee separately wants to talk to the intelligence community's Inspector General once again.
So we're starting to see the pieces come together of a rapidly escalating impeachment probe and the latest example going very close to the President's inner orbit. This Committee sending a subpoena to the President's personal attorney telling him to turn over these documents and the question now is, will Rudy Giuliani cooperate? He said mixed things about whether he would do just that and whether the Committee will seek his testimony. It's unclear if they take that route. But at the moment, they want documents and they want those documents within the next two weeks -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Manu Raju breaking the news on Giuliani and the subpoena. Manu, thank you.
Kylie Atwood is at the State Department for us, and Kylie, I've got less than 60 seconds. We know that Rudy Giuliani's name was mentioned in the same breath as the Attorney General when you read the transcript of the call between Zelensky and Trump. Just remind us how integral he was in these relations with the Ukraine.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, Rudy Giuliani is arguably the integral player here. He is the one who's connected President Trump on the political side. He has encouraged the investigation by Ukrainian officials into Joe Biden, into his son Hunter Biden. And then of course we have the formal government side, the Trump administration, the Trump White House. And the question is, where do those two areas conflict with one another, and that's 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 has said --