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THE SITUATION ROOM
Giuliani Subpoenaed By House Democrats; White House Looking For The Whistleblower's Identity; Australia Prime Minister Pressured By Trump To Investigate Mueller Probe?; Report Says Mike Pompeo Was Part Of The Ukraine Call; Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) Is Interviewed About Australia, Ukraine And Trump Impeachment; Source: Trump Staff Would Babysit His Phone Calls And Frequently Had To Reel Him In; GOP Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) Resigns, Will Plead Guilty In Insider Trading Case; Bolton Blasts Trump's Policy On North Korea, Says Kim Will Never Give Up Nuclear Weapons. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired September 30, 2019 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. Giuliani gets subpoenaed. The impeachment inquiry picks up more steam as House Democrats subpoena the president's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for documents pertaining to Ukraine following a similar subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
No good treason. President Trump ratchets up his rhetoric on the impeachment inquiry accusing his chief congressional investigator of treason. Tonight, our exclusive new poll shows a growing number of Americans favor impeaching the president.
Quitting and pleading, President Trump's first supporter in the House of Representatives Chris Collins agrees to resign from Congress and plead guilty to insider trading.
And grave and growing, former National Security adviser John Bolton warns of North Korea's threat just weeks after leaving the White House. Bolton slams President Trump's North Korea policy saying Kim Jong-un will never give up his nuclear weapons. Wolf Blitzer is off today, I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in "The Situation Room."
We're following breaking news. Three House committees investigating President Trump have just issued a subpoena to his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, for documents that are related to Ukraine which is at the center of this impeachment inquiry.
Also, President Trump now says his team is trying to identify the whistleblower whose complaint about his Ukraine call helped launch the impeachment inquiry. In our exclusive new CNN poll that's just been released shows support for impeaching President Trump growing notably among independents and Republicans.
We're going to talk about the breaking news and more with Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of the Intelligence and Oversight Committees and our correspondents and analysts are also standing by. First, let's go to CNN senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju.
He is on Capitol Hill. And Manu, the chairman of the Intel, Oversight and Foreign Affairs Committees are jointly demanding documents from the president's personal lawyer. Tell us about this.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The latest development in a rapidly-escalating impeachment investigation, a subpoena sent to Rudy Giuliani, the president's attorney, demanding documents he turn over by October 15th.
This is after comments that Rudy Giuliani made on CNN saying that he did, in fact, urge the Ukrainians to investigate Joe Biden and Joe Biden's son. What the Democrats are asking for are documents stemming from the time that the president came into office up until now and they want those in the next two weeks.
Now, at the same time, the Democrats are demanding three Giuliani business associates come forward for depositions as well and this comes after these same committees have asked for information from the State Department, subpoenaing the State Department for documents as part of the Ukraine investigation saying that any efforts to obstruct that will be viewed as obstruction of Congress.
Now, at the same time, Democrats are pushing back against the president's attacks against the whistleblower who both the House and Senate intelligence committee want to interview in the coming days. I spoke to Senator Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee who raised alarms the president's threats against the whistleblower.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): Any rational person would be concerned about the whistleblower's safety after the president's comments. This is an effort to undermine the protections of the whistleblower program. I believe it falls into the category of reprisal, these kind of threats.
And I think he needs to stop and I would hope that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will speak out in a unified voice because what this -- what the chilling effect it will have not only on this individual whoever he or she talked to, but what it will have in terms of the overall effect on people in the intelligence community being able to speak truth to power.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RAJU: Now, the whistleblower has not been scheduled to testify either before the House or Senate Intelligence Committee yet, but Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, still is optimistic that will happen.
Now, at the same time, Democrats on the Senate side and the Senate Judiciary Committee have -- they are demanding that Bill Barr, the attorney general and others come before their panel to testify about their knowledge of the whistleblower complaint. The whistleblower him or herself alleged that Bill Barr for one played
a role in this, something that Bill Barr and the Justice Department have denied, but nevertheless, Lindsey Graham, as the chairman of the committee, has said that there is nothing wrong that he sees in the whistleblower complaint contending it is all a smear job.
So expect the Senate Republicans not to move much on this but Democrats of course believe this is just the latest evidence of wrongdoing and say this is all going to be part of an impeachment inquiry that they hope to wrap up in just a matter of months here, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right. We'll see if they can stick to that timeline. Thank you so much Manu.
And there is also breaking news at the White House. CNN Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta has the latest on this for us. And Jim, the president talked about the whistleblower just a short time ago.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Brianna. President Trump suggested to reporters the White House is trying to discover the identity of the whistleblower whose complaint launched the Ukraine investigation.
The president is on the attack warning the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee could be arrested for treason and that the country could be drawn into a civil war if he's impeached. I'm told aides to the president have cautioned him just in the last few days he faces the real likelihood of impeachment.
ACOSTA (voice-over): In a sign of growing frustration that he faces the real prospect of impeachment, President Trump is demanding to find out the identity of the administration official who blew the whistle on his phone call with the leader of Ukraine about Joe Biden.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're trying to find out about a whistleblower. When you have a whistleblower that reports things that were incorrect, as you know, and you probably now have figured it out, the statement I made to the president of Ukraine, a good man, a nice man, new, was perfect.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Natural quick response from the whistleblower's attorney who tweeted, "The intel community whistleblower is entitled to anonymity. Law and policy support this and the individual is not to be retaliated against. Doing so is a violation of federal law."
Lobbying grenades from his social media bunker, the president tore into House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff for mocking Mr. Trump's call at a hearing last week, tweeting, "Adam Schiff illegally made up a fake and terrible statement. Arrest for treason?" TRUMP: It's a disgrace. This whole thing is a disgrace. There has
been tremendous corruption and we're seeking it. It is called drain the swamp. There has been corruption on the other side. It has been corruption like you've never seen.
ACOSTA (voice-over): White House aides have grown frustrated with Mr. Trump's clinging to a bogus conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine and not Russia that meddled in the 2016 election, a false claim former counter-terrorism adviser Tom Bossert says he's tried to ask the president to abandon.
TOM BOSSERT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: At this point, I am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again and for clarity here, George, let me just again repeat that it has no validity.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Over the weekend, the president warned his removal from office would cause a civil war-like fracture and that prompted one House Republican to tweet, "I have visited nations ravaged by civil war. I've never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a president. This is beyond repugnant."
Mr. Trump's 2016 foe summed up it by calling the president a destructive force of nature.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A corrupt human tornado.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his chamber would have to consider removing the president if the House votes to impeach.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Under the Senate rules, we're required to take it up if the House does go down that path. And we'll follow the Senate rules. If the Senate rule related to impeachment that would take 67 votes to change, so I would have no choice but to take it up.
ACOSTA (voice-over): Even the president's top surrogates are struggling to spin the Ukraine investigation.
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS HOST: President Trump replies, I would like you to do us a favor, though.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): You just added another word.
PELLEY: No. It is in the transcript.
MCCARTHY: You said I would like you to do a favor though.
PELLEY: Yes. It is in the --
MCCARTHY: When I read the --
PELLEY: Yes. It is in the White House transcript.
ACOSTA (voice-over): One top White House official strangely insisted it is the president who is blowing the whistle.
STEPHEN MILLER, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER: The president is the whistleblower here. The president of the United States is the whistleblower. And this individual is a saboteur trying to undermine a democratically elected government.
ACOSTA (on camera): Now, sources familiar with internal deliberations over the last few days involving Mr. Trump and top advisers about his call with Ukraine's leaders say aides to the president have warned him he faces the real likelihood of being impeached, but a source said aides are divided over the subject as some are reassuring the president that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is just placating Democrats and won't ultimately drive the process toward an impeachment vote.
Now, as for the subject of impeachment, we should put this up on screen, a new CNN poll shows the public is becoming more open to the idea with 47 percent saying they support impeaching and removing the president from office. Contrast that with 41 percent back in May.
And some late-breaking new information, Brianna, the "Wall Street Journal" reported earlier this afternoon and our colleague Jamie Gangel is confirming that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on that phone call that the president had with the president of Ukraine back in July, Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Jim Acosta, thank you so much for that.
And there is more breaking news just coming into "The Situation Room." A source is now telling CNN that President Trump pressed Australia's prime minister to help Attorney General Bill Barr Investigate the origins of the Mueller probe.
Mark Mazzetti first broke the story for "The New York Times." He is also a CNN national security analyst.
Mark, this story is pretty stunning. Tell us what you're learning.
MARK MAZZETTI, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, President Trump called the Australian prime minister in recent weeks and he initiated the call for one purpose, and that was to get the Australian government's help in this ongoing Justice Department investigation, which is examining all of the intelligence and law enforcement activity that was leading up to the Mueller investigation.
Now, why would he ask Australia? Well, because Australia was effectively the reason why the whole thing began. Australia government gave the FBI in 2016 information about possible Russian interference and about contacts with the Trump campaign.
So, Mr. Trump has been fixated on the Australian government's role, the Ukrainian government's role as we know from the other call. And so this is yet another significant call the president made at a
high level using the Justice Department investigation kind of his leverage over American close allies.
KEILAR: Explain this because wasn't it actually -- it was an Australian official who was concerned, right, by what they were hearing from an American about what was going on. I mean, just explain the context of this because the way we've previously understood this is that this Australian official was raising a red flag for something that was not right and reporting this.
MAZZETTI: You're absolutely right. So this was in 2016. He has contacts with a Trump foreign policy adviser and he sends it through official channels to the Australian government which brings it up to the FBI, and again this is during the Obama administration.
So, flash forward three years later, President Trump is furious about this and he blames the Australian government for setting this whole thing in motion. So, in making this request to the Australian prime minister, in effect, he's having the Australian government investigate itself because they were the ones who brought this forward.
And so, one would have to wonder just how this is received in Australia and how it is going to actually proceed, whether they are going to carry out the president's request.
KEILAR: Very, very much. All right Mark Mazzetti, thank you so much for that. Let's get more on all of this now with Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois. He's a member of the Intelligence Committee as well as the Oversight Committee.
Sir, first, could you react to this story about Australia that the president asked Australia to get involved in this investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. I mean, what is your expectation for what he was soliciting?
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): Well, first of all, this investigation seems misplaced at the start. But the fact that basically Bill Barr would somehow have the president be such an important part of this investigation which appears to be a self- serving one, and then calling a foreign leader to assist is very concerning.
I think that Bill Barr initially asked Mr. Durham, a U.S. attorney, to lead this investigation and now it appears that the president has commandeered it and he's calling on foreign leader to help and who knows what he's using as leverage in the process.
KEILAR: And, you know, recently I think we all watched as the president had a meeting with the Australian prime minister and --
KEILAR: -- I mean, just to put into context, Australia is an important partner. Australia clearly for the U.S. Australia clearly wanted to stay on the right side of the U.S. KRISHNAMOOORTHI: Correct.
KEILAR: That was very clear from this meeting that we saw part of it on camera. So with that expectation, what kind of position do you worry that puts Australia in?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: It's not as bad as Ukraine, but it is on another vulnerable position. Obviously the Australians do reply on the U.S., you know, as part of our Five Eyes arrangement with them and others, to basically have a collective defense and share intelligence with each other.
But I just -- going back to what you talked about before with Bill Barr and President Trump, again, it's yet another example of the Justice Department basically losing all of its independence in this administration where basically Bill Barr, you know, looks to the president for, you know, basically leadership as to how the Justice Department should be doing its job.
KEILAR: We also just confirmed, CNN did, that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on this phone call, July 25th between President Trump and the Ukrainian president.
KEILAR: What do you think of that? What is your reaction?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, the fact that, you know, Mike Pompeo would be part of this call where essentially the president is asking a foreign leader to interfere in our 2020 elections and, you know, he doesn't say anything about it, he doesn't do anything about it, he doesn't interject himself or he doesn't bring it to anyone's attention in Congress is problematic.
I think that we'll have to ask him more questions. Apparently, one of his aides was also part of this call, Mr. Brechbuhl, according to the complaint. But one thing to point out, Brianna, in my questioning of acting DNI Maguire last week, he said that more than a dozen people were on the phone call. And so we're going to have to talk to them as well.
KEILAR: Your committees have just subpoenaed not Rudy Giuliani but documents from Rudy Giuliani. What happens if he doesn't comply with this?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Well, we're going to have to see what happens. I think probably we're going to have to hold him in contempt and look to remedies to compel production of these documents. But the reason why he's the object of the subpoena is that he's all over the transcript of the phone call on July 25th of this year as well as in the complaint.
The question is, you know, is he conducting our foreign policy, despite the fact that he's the president's personal attorney? Is he talking about withholding aid to the Ukraine that was promised to them and is he also actively seeking their interference in the 2020 election? All of these things are questions that we need answers to.
KEILAR: Your committees could subpoena actually him to come in and testify. Are you interested in that or are you worried that it would just turn into a circus, akin to what we saw with Corey Lewandowski?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Rudy Giuliani and a circus, I don't know what you're talking about, Brianna. But look, I think that first we got to get the documents. We have to examine the documents and probably talk to other people who are familiar with them. I suspect that Chairman Schiff would probably call him in at some point, but, you know, the chairman is going to have to make that decision and we'll be very supportive.
KEILAR: You expect you will call him in at some point?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: I suspect that he would be a witness at some point. I'm not sure whether it would be an open or a closed hearing. But I think that we would probably want to examine the documents and talk to other people before calling Giuliani in.
KEILAR: If you had him closed in a closed hearing you would run into criticism that you're not doing this in a transparent way. If you have him in an open hearing you run into the possibility that it does turn into a lot of drama. So, how do you weigh those things?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Right. I think all things being equal, I personally -- I'm just speaking for myself, I would like to have maximum transparency because there is so much public interest in what's going on now and I think that we want the American people to know exactly how the proceedings are being conducted and to hear from themselves -- hear for themselves from the witnesses.
KEILAR: All right, Congressman, thank you so much. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi with us.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you. Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: Stay with us for more on all of our breaking news. Three House committees subpoena Rudy Giuliani demanding documents for the Trump impeachment probe.
Plus, new revelations, the president asked Australia's prime minister for help investigating the origins of the Mueller probe.
KEILAR: We're following multiple breaking stories right now including three House committees subpoenaing President Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani for documents for their impeachment inquiry. This is coming as we're learning that President Trump asked Australia's prime minister to help investigate the origins of the Mueller probe.
So let's get the insights now of our correspondents and our analysts here. OK Chris, let's start with the Australia piece.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes.
KEILAR: Because the president pressured Australia's prime minister to get involved in this. The DOJ investigation into the origins of the Mueller investigation, the point being that it was an Australian official who actually in a way told on a Trump official.
CILLIZZA: That is exactly right. OK, so important though the timing is crazy, but important. This is separate from all of the Ukraine stuff and being on the phone with Ukraine. This is to your point, a probe into that Donald Trump has pushed very strongly for, that Bill Barr has been executing through U.S. attorney.
KEILAR: But first, could we just say why he is doing that. It is a DOJ investigation.
KEILAR: Why is he even getting involved?
CILLIZZA: Exactly. But, I mean, in this presidency --
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: He's Donald Trump.
CILLIZZA: -- in this presidency --
CILLIZZA: -- that's a minor fault comparatively.
KEILAR: This is a bad idea in general though, for any president to do this.
CILLIZZA: Yes, you shouldn't do this.
APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Any president is not supposed to go into justice, it's supposed to be independent.
CILLIZZA: That's right.
CILLIZZA: But he's long -- he's long -- I mean, look at the way in which he treated Jeff Sessions and the pressure he tried to put on Jeff Sessions as attorney general. He doesn't -- to April's point, other presidents understand that he does it. OK, Australia.
KEILAR: Carry on, Chris.
CILLIZZA: He -- what you're dealing with here is as you point out, the reason that the probe began in the FBI, the counter intelligence probe about the 2016 election and Russian interference, according to many people including James Comey, including Robert Mueller support, is an Australian diplomat was in London talking to George Papadopoulos, a Trump adviser at that time. Papadopoulos mentioned that there was going to be dirt coming about
Hillary Clinton. They didn't think anything of it, but then when WikiLeaks posted a lot of these things, DNC hack, the Australians got in touch with the Americans and said, hey FYI, we had this conversation. That is the origin story there.
So, you sort of understand why Australia. It is not as random as a lot of people think. That said, I think we have to go back to where we started. This is highly unusual for a president to do. And it is of a piece, though not the same thing, of a piece is what we have in the Ukraine transcript that I remind people, was released by the White House. So there is no debate over it.
KEILAR: And what the point of this be, that's really the question we don't have the answer to, but you can see where some bread crumbs lead, right, which is the president it trying to impugn the origins of this investigation.
GANGEL: It is not only that. It goes beyond it though. I spoke to a source who has been in the Oval Office for many of these phone calls. And the source said this is what Trump does all the time. He would get on the phone and go on and on about the Mueller investigation and go off on tangents.
It didn't have to be just this. And the source said that chief of staff John Kelly was conducting these calls, he would have seven or eight different people from the staff in the Oval Office to, "babysit."
And if there was a long translation going on back and forth, General Kelly would hit the mute button on the phone and they would jump in to give him advice, to steer him off of things, to tell him not to say these things.
This was the way Trump did business on these calls. He did not prepare ahead of time. It was very much fly by the seat of his pants and he would talk about whatever he wanted to.
KEILAR: And those training wheels, April, those training wheels are gone.
RYAN: Three years in, the training wheels -- there are no training wheels. He's riding rogue. Bottom line, this is Donald Trump who has learned this practice from when he was a ruthless businessman, okay. He has taken that and put it into practice in the Oval Office.
The bottom line is when you look at this president, one, people didn't read the Mueller report. If they read the Mueller report you would see some of this. So we have to go back to that to understand why he's so upset.
But all of the chickens are coming home to roast for this president. These are national security issues. He has got all of this hanging over his head. Any foreign leader now could hold this over his head and use it to blackmail him or whatever. This is a national security issue. We're in a constitutional crisis. This is a hot, steamy, stinky mess.
KEILAR: Jamie, you have when it comes to this call, the Ukrainian president call. Mike Pompeo, you just confirmed this, Mike Pompeo was on this call, which is very interesting considering that there was no indication and he danced around it this weekend about being on this call or knowing much about this call?
GANGEL: Right. And what we're going to hear from their talking points from the White House and from the Republicans was, well, there was nothing wrong with the call. We didn't think that there was anything wrong, but there is no question the State Department waited a long time to confirm that Mike Pompeo was on that call.
We still do not know whether he will be testifying this week or giving up documents. I just want to point out one thing. Mitch McConnell made a decision to have a unanimous vote to have the Ukrainian call memo released. I think we're going to look back and that will set an important precedent. There are other calls.
CILLIZZAL: By the way, just quickly on the spin, Brianna, it doesn't make sense.
KEILAR: That is not believable.
CILLIZZA: If they didn't think it was a big deal, then why did the lawyers classify it or push to have it classified or moved into a server that wasn't -- which they've confirmed happened. I mean, give me a break.
KEILAR: No, it doesn't -- it does not --
CILLIZZA: Don't curve it out.
KEILAR: It doesn't smell -- pass the sniff test, right? It doesn't smell good. OK, Joey, House Democrats are subpoenaing not Rudy Giuliani himself to testify, but they're subpoenaing his documents. They want him to provide documents related to Ukraine. What happens here if Giuliani doesn't comply and can you imagine a situation where he comes and we see him testify?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So, listen, under normal times, Brianna, I would tell you that the documents would be produced. He would testify. If he didn't testify, he'd be held in contempt and it would be that simple.
We're not in normal times. Norms are being changed every single day. And you know what, it is an open question. Let me tell you why. Congress absolutely has subpoena power. They're issuing subpoenas for legitimate legislative purposes. Those documents should be produced.
Number one, you look to the inherent power of Congress to hold someone in contempt. They never use it in modern times so therefore under inherent powers, nothing will happen. You look to statutory powers, right? In a statutory situation, you
need the U.S. attorney, Brianna, in order to force a contempt citation. Well guess who controls the U.S. attorney? The executive branch controls it. And Giuliani is the private attorney to the president.
So guess what happens if you try to issue a statutory contempt? That leads us to the civil contempt citation in which you need a judge.
I will just tell you when they look to do the citation involving the fast and furious, it took six years.
So who knows what will happen ultimately? That's the honest answer.
GANGEL: To go to Joey's point and April's point, I can't tell you the number of Republicans who have said to me, we are in a constitutional crisis now.
KEILAR: And, I mean, you can -- you can -- it is not normal times, to quote Joey Jackson here. You spoke with a source who has been in this room, who knows that these are just the way calls go. You were talking about that.
That said, this is not how calls go under any other president. So with the checks and balances, in a way, sort of getting out of whack here, I mean, where does that leave us, Jamie?
GANGEL: So I think there are going to be some questions coming up that we're already hearing. Where are the calls with the Saudis? Where are the calls with the Russians? What is the pressure going to be from Russia to the White House not to release those calls?
GANGEL: Those would be very sensitive ones. My source was not on any calls with the MBS, the Saudis, or with the Russians but said that there was talk in the White House that it -- those calls were, quote, problematic.
CILLIZZA: And just -- it shouldn't surprise us, right? Let's think back. Donald Trump, day after he fires Jim Comey, in the Oval Office with two top Russian officials, and he tells them, I -- a lot of pressure has been relieved from me. If he's doing that in that setting, what is he doing when he's just on the phone?
I mean, this is -- I think Jamie's point is just one we have to keep harping on. This is who he is. Everything -- if he behaves that way semi-publicly and publicly, why would we think he would --
RYAN: He thinks it's patriotic but -- CILLIZZA: Well, that's a different question. But why wouldn't we think he would not --
RYAN: But is it patriotic for him to be who he is? That is the problem.
CILLIZZA: Well, I think it's -- we have so long described it as not normal, right?
RYAN: It's not patriotic in principle.
CILLIZZA: -- but then the question is, do you go beyond that when we're discussing a foreign leader?
RYAN: But it's not patriotic.
KEILAR: All right, I --
RYAN: You're putting national security at risk. You're putting people at risk. You can't trust what he's saying. Is he undercutting America to get what he wants, not for America but for him to clear his name?
KEILAR: And can we talk about this whistleblower? Because the whole point of this whistleblower going through this official formal process is this whistleblower is doing it the right way, right?
This is affording or supposed to afford the whistleblower protections, and yet listen to what the President said when he was asked if he knows this person's identity.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're trying to find out about a whistleblower. We have a whistleblower that reports things that were incorrect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: All right, Joey Jackson.
KEILAR: Keeping --
RYAN: We're with you, Joey.
KEILAR: Keeping in mind, I mean, this is the President.
KEILAR: But if you even -- just take that piece out of your -- you know, as a lawyer, you know what this looks like when it comes to dealing with, say, witnesses.
JACKSON: Yes. You know, it's highly problematic. Let's understand that the whole purpose of the whistleblower is not to have any policy dispute.
We could debate night and day about policy, but if there is a lawful violation, so that you can come forward and legitimately tell of the lawful violation without disclosing your identity, without being retaliated against, and without the presidents making suggestions about this is what we do with whistleblowers.
And so, look, the bottom line is, then it gets to the point, Brianna, is will the whistleblower get to tell their story? Will their identity be protected? Will it be leaked? Where will it occur?
And there are so many outstanding questions, but you got to protect whistleblowers because it sets a dangerous precedent if you don't.
GANGEL: It goes way beyond problematic. It is outrageous --
GANGEL: -- when you have the President of the United States implying that he's going to go after the whistleblower.
CILLIZZA: And he called them --
RYAN: And that's what he does.
CILLIZZA: He called this person -- he called this person a potential spy.
GANGEL: A spy.
CILLIZZA: Stephen Miller, his -- one of this top advisers said it's probably a deep state spy. I mean, it's beyond the just we're going to find out who it is. You are having the whistleblower --
RYAN: Well, so --
CILLIZZA: -- impugned over and over again for, again, following the rules that are set up to keep the government honest.
RYAN: But this is -- but why are we acting surprised? This is -- this is what this President does. If he doesn't like journalists, he says he's going to get them. We have to have bodyguards.
There are so many people -- congressional leaders who have to have bodyguards because he doesn't like them. But at the same time, I talked to Congresswoman Val Demings over the weekend, and she said they're going to do everything in their power to protect this whistleblower.
She sits on three of the committees that are -- three of the six committees that are dealing with the impeachment inquiry. She says they're going to do everything, come hell and high water, to protect the identity and to protect this whistleblower.
KEILAR: I want to ask --
KEILAR: I want to ask all of you, guys, about something that you just said, April. Because I understand you're saying why should we be surprised. What if we were not surprised by the --
RYAN: I'm not.
KEILAR: I know you were not surprised, but there's a difference between being surprised or shocked and paying attention to something, right? Like --
CILLIZZA: I think you should be -- I think you should -- you can -- I think there's a difference between being surprised which, to April's point, I really don't think we should be and being shocked.
You should be shocked in that this continues to be an absolute walking away from the idea of what the U.S. is in the world, the idea of the presidency as a moral leader, the -- so you should be shocked. You should not be surprised, but you can't give up being shocked --
RYAN: No, but then --
KEILAR: No, let me -- I want Joey --
RYAN: But there is more shock --
RYAN: But there is more shock about the Republicans who are enabling this president and who are spinning this when this is about patriotism, not about a person but about this country. That's what I'm shocked about.
KEILAR: Joey, I'm curious, especially as someone who's had to convince people over time of things, you are familiar with what happens if someone just sort of normalizes or associates or allows a certain kind of behavior from some person.
KEILAR: They may be deemed by a group of people, whether it's voters or a jury, to let something slide.
JACKSON: Yes. You know what, Brianna, but it's just -- we're living in such polarizing times, and I think what the President constantly attempts to do is to ensure his base and to come up with conspiracy theories and to otherwise throw out information whether it's about corrupt Biden's son, right?
And mind you, no corruption found. Prosecutor -- doesn't matter, right? Facts don't matter. It just matters what the President spins, what the President throws out there.
And so, it's nice if we can have a legal discussion but the President moves it from a legal discussion to a political discussion to say, look at those Democrats, look what they're doing. They want to bring up this impeachment issue for that.
Really? I'm talking about a foreign leader getting involved in this country's elections, that -- you know, it doesn't matter. It's insane what's happening now. And it's the spinning and spinning that we're hearing in the polarization and that becomes a problem.
GANGEL: I think there's a great danger we -- we talk often about how he's become normalized and what he does is normal. I think there is a great danger when people say to me on the phone, well, he acted that way in these calls because that's Donald Trump.
CILLIZZA: That's right.
RYAN: But that's not.
GANGEL: There is --
CILLIZZA: That's right.
GANGEL: There is a line.
KEILAR: And that's --
RYAN: It's not OK.
KEILAR: And that's sort of what I'm asking because you're right, the surprise factor is definitely diminished over time severely.
RYAN: If Barack Obama -- he likes to bring up Barack Obama a lot. But if Barack Obama had done one-tenth of what he's done, Barack Obama would've been out the first day.
CILLIZZA: And there's a difference between doing things in an unorthodox way, which is what he promised --
CILLIZZA: -- and doing things that are actually detrimental both to our society and the global community.
RYAN: Yes. Yes.
CILLIZZA: Huge difference.
JACKSON: But the problem -- but the problem, Brianna, very quickly is that, look, but he gets his protection. It doesn't matter what the House wants to do.
RYAN: That's right.
JACKSON: He'll be protected in the Senate. You can impeach the President, I don't care. You're going to get, what, two-thirds of the votes, 67 senators? It will never happen.
KEILAR: Jamie --
JACKSON: And so, he feels he can act with impunity, and it continues to happen. And not only that, but gets worse.
KEILAR: Jamie, final word?
GANGEL: I just want to say I know everyone keeps saying that the Senate will not remove him -- and we are a long way, we don't even have articles of impeachment. But watch the polls today.
GANGEL: Watch them in the next week.
GANGEL: Let's see what else comes out. There are many Republicans I talked to who would be relieved not to have him in office anymore.
KEILAR: Jamie --
CILLIZZA: Twenty-three Republicans, by the way, up for re-election in 2020.
CILLIZZA: Including five or six in real targeted races.
KEILAR: Chris, Jamie --
KEILAR: What Jamie said, April.
RYAN: What Jamie said.
KEILAR: Joey Jackson -- what Joey said, too.
JACKSON: Thank you.
KEILAR: Thank you, guys, so much.
GANGEL: Thank you.
KEILAR: We have some more breaking news. The first Republican congressman to endorse Donald Trump's run for president abruptly resigned today and is going to be in federal court tomorrow in an insider trading case.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KEILAR: Breaking news, New York Republican Representative Chris
Collins resigned from Congress today. Court papers show he'll plead guilty tomorrow to federal charges arising from an insider trading investigation.
Let's go to CNN's Brynn Gingras. She is in New York. Tell us about what's happening here.
GINGRAS: Yes, Brianna. A spokesperson for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office says they did receive a resignation letter from Collins, and it will be effective tomorrow when it's addressed on the House floor.
And as to the criminal case, it's unclear what charges Collins will plead guilty to tomorrow. But if you remember, in August 2018, federal prosecutors accused him of giving inside trading information about an Australian biopharmaceutical company.
Collins served on the board of that company and essentially gave a heads up to his son and an associate when the drug failed an important drug trial, allowing them to dump stock according to prosecutors.
And even when the charges came down against Collins, his son and an associate, Collins was defiant. He even held a press conference, if you remember, with his wife by his side, saying he was going to fight the charges. He pleaded not guilty twice to the original indictment.
And then when the charges were recently advised -- revised, rather, Collins remained adamant that he was going to win his congressional district again in the 2018 election, which he did win re-election even with the indictment hanging over his head.
And keep in mind, as you said, Brianna, before, Collins represents a district in upstate New York. It's a heavily red district. Collins was the first sitting congressman to endorse President Trump during the 2016 election.
But clearly, he's having a change of heart now about this case. He's set to plead guilty tomorrow. His son and an associate are expected to follow suit later this week, Brianna.
KEILAR: Wow. Brynn Gingras, thank you so much for that.
And coming up, John Bolton, unvarnished. That is how President Trump's fired national security adviser labeled his first public speech today since leaving the White House.
KEILAR: Former National Security Adviser, John Bolton has some sharp criticism for President Trump on North Korea. CNN's Brian Todd is here with details. And, Brian, Bolton used his first speech since leaving the White House
to say that the President is basically wrong about Kim Jong-un.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, Bolton said the President is wrong, misguided and naive without really saying that directly and without even mentioning Trump by name. But the message was clear -- John Bolton believes his old boss is getting hoodwinked by the Supreme Leader in Pyongyang.
TODD (voice-over): John Bolton, the top Trump adviser who North Korea once called a warmonger and a human defect, is firing back tonight, giving what he calls his own unvarnished view of North Korea's Kim Jong-un and his relationship with Trump.
JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Under current circumstances, he will never give up the nuclear weapons voluntarily.
TODD (voice-over): In his first public speech since getting axed by the President about three weeks ago, Trump's former national security adviser had no problem contradicting his old boss's optimism about Kim's intentions.
TRUMP: He wants to denuclearization.
BOLTON: In fact, I think the contrary is true. I think the strategic decision that Kim Jong-un is operating through is that he will do whatever he can to keep a deliverable nuclear weapons capability.
TODD (voice-over): In candid comments and stark terms, Bolton made no bones about his belief that North Korea is a rogue regime led by a man who can't be trusted. Something that put him in conflict with the President.
TRUMP: We like each other. Good relationship.
TODD (voice-over): As for the fact that Trump continues to brag that North Korea has stopped testing nuclear weapons --
TRUMP: There's been no ballistic missile tests, and there has been no nuclear tests.
TODD (voice-over): -- Bolton suggested that's not a sign of capitulation. It's evidence Kim Jong-un believes his program is ready.
BOLTON: North Korea has, in its judgment, for well or ill, finished testing and can produce nuclear warheads and long-range ballistic missiles. That's not an encouraging sign; that's a sign to be worried about.
TODD (voice-over): And Bolton had a warning for the President regarding one of Trump's signature refrains on the pace of nuclear talks. TRUMP: I'm in no rush. I'm in no rush.
BOLTON: When we say, well, we're in no rush for negotiations, we're in no rush for resolution of this, we're saying, to North Korea and Iran, take your time. Keep going. You've got more time to plan, to test, to produce, to deploy these capabilities.
TODD (voice-over): The White House isn't commenting tonight on Bolton's criticisms, but Bolton is drawing criticism from other quarters. Some North Korea analysts say Bolton is looking at the nuclear talks too much in black and white terms, that he's ignoring a middle ground that President Trump could reach with the young dictator.
PATRICK CRONIN, ASIA-PACIFIC SECURITY CHAIR, HUDSON INSTITUTE: He's a 30-something-year-old who wants to get his friends rich and be as rich as the rich people around the world, and he may be willing to sell off some parts of his arsenal to get that.
TODD (voice-over): Meantime, other analysts say Bolton went too far today by suggesting the U.S. should consider getting rid of Kim Jong- un.
BOLTON: There are things we should look to and have serious discussions about. One is the possibility, limited though it may be, of regime change in North Korea.
TODD (voice-over): That's something the President and his top aides say they're not pursuing.
BRUCE KLINGNER, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW FOR NORTHEAST ASIA, THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION: Regime change can open the door to a lot of very disastrous end results. If you fail, clearly, North Korea may lash out at the South and our forces there and even the continental U.S. Even if we succeed, we could have a quagmire there that is very hard to get out of.
TODD: As if to illustrate himself how difficult regime change would be in North Korea, John Bolton, when asked what Kim Jong-un is really like, said the dictator is thoroughly in charge of his country. He makes all the decisions and is not a puppet of his family, the military, or anyone else -- Brianna.
KEILAR: And it wasn't like Bolton just said there was one way in which he thinks Trump has capitulated to Kim Jong-un.
TODD: Right, Brianna. Bolton said that when President Trump promised that -- promised Kim Jong-un that he would scale back those joint U.S. military exercises with South Korea, well, he believes Trump made a mistake there.
Bolton said, and some analysts agree, that scaling back those drills will take away the readiness of American forces to fight North Korea if there is a crisis. KEILAR: All right. CNN's Brian Todd, thank you so much for that
And we have our breaking news continuing. Next, CNN has learned that President Trump pressured another foreign leader to help the Attorney General investigate the Mueller probe.
KEILAR: Happening now, breaking news. Rudy document demand. House Democrats push the impeachment inquiry forward with a subpoena for documents from the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.
Blowing his cover. President Trump says the White House is trying to find out more about the whistleblower who set off the impeachment investigation. He's also tweeting demands to meet his accuser and warning House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff that he could be arrested for treason.
Growing support. A new CNN poll shows a growing number of independents and Republicans supporting impeachment for President Trump and removing him from office, but the country is still closely divided on this crucial question.
And paying college athletes, California's Governor signs a new law that opens the door to paydays for players.