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THE SITUATION ROOM
Interview With Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA; Trump Trying To Find Out Whistleblower's Identity; Congress Subpoenas Rudy Giuliani; Elizabeth Warren and Husband Give Rare Joint Interview. Aired 6-7p ET
Aired September 30, 2019 - 18:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: And paying college athletes. California's governor signs a new law that opens the door to paydays for players. Will student athletes soon be signing endorsement deals?
We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
KEILAR: We're following breaking news.
House Democrats are demanding Rudy Giuliani turn over documents related to Ukraine. The new subpoena is a key moment in this rapidly intensifying impeachment probe.
In an ominous tweet, President Trump warned against causing a civil war-like fracture in the country and told reporters was determined to uncover the identity of the whistle-blower.
But an exclusive new CNN poll shows public support for the investigation is growing. Nearly half of Americans in the poll now say they want the president impeached and removed from office.
We're going to talk about this breaking news with Congressman Gerry Connolly of the Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees. And our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.
We begin on Capitol Hill, where CNN congressional correspondent Sunlen Serfaty is tracking the latest developments.
Sunlen, what are lawmakers demanding from Rudy Giuliani?
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brianna, they want information and documents from Rudy Giuliani related to Ukraine, which, of course, is now the center of the House Democrats' impeachment probe.
Now, specifically, these very powerful House committees, they are referencing Rudy Giuliani's own admission on CNN that he indeed had asked Ukraine for information on Biden, also the fact that Rudy Giuliani recently said that he was not acting alone, that he had some text messages from State Department officials where they knew about his efforts in Ukraine.
So, essentially, the committee asking for all of that, the text messages, information, phone calls, any other communications to show what and who else was involved in this effort. And they want that handed over to the committee in two weeks, by October 15.
As part of this today, they also sent letters to three of Giuliani's business associates also asking for documents and for asking them to schedule depositions. Unclear, of course, at this point how Giuliani will respond, but, again, another indication of the escalation of the House Democrats going very quickly, Brianna, in this impeachment probe.
KEILAR: All right, Sunlen, thank you so much for that report.
For more on President Trump's reaction to the late-breaking developments, let's get to our chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, there on the North Lawn.
And, Jim, the president says his team is working to find out more about this whistle-blower, which is pretty odd.
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 whistle-blower whose complaint launched the Ukraine investigation.
The president is on the attack, warning the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, 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 now.
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: Well, we're trying to find out about a whistle-blower, when you have a whistle-blower 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. It was perfect.
ACOSTA: That drew a quick response from the whistle-blower's attorney, who tweeted: "The intel community whistle-blower 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."
Lobbing 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 station. Arrest for treason?" TRUMP: It is 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. There has been corruption like you have never seen.
ACOSTA: White House aides have grown frustrated with Mr. Trump's clinging to a bogus conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that meddled in the 2016 election, a false claim former counterterrorism expert Tom Bossert says he's tried to ask the president to abandon.
TOM BOSSERT, FORMER WHITE HOUSE HOMELAND SECURITY ADVISER: And 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: Over the weekend, the president warned his removal from office would cause a civil war-like fracture.
That prompted one House Republican to tweet: "I have visited nations ravaged by civil war. I have never imagined such a quote to be repeated by a president. This is beyond repugnant."
Mr. Trump's 2016 foe summed it up by calling the president a distinctive force of nature.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: A corrupt human tornado.
ACOSTA: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says 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 will follow the Senate rules. it's a Senate rule related to impeachment. It would take 67 votes to change, so I would have no choice but to take it up.
ACOSTA: Even the president's top surrogates are struggling to spin the investigation.
QUESTION: President Trump replies, "I would like you to do us a favor, though."
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): You just added another word.
QUESTION: No. It's in the transcript.
MCCARTHY: You said, "I would like you to do a favor, though"?
QUESTION: Yes, it's in -- it's in the White House transcript. ACOSTA: One top White House official strangely insisted it is the president who is blowing the whistle.
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: The president is the whistle-blower here? The president of the United States is the whistle-blower! And this individual is a saboteur trying to undermine a democratically elected government!
ACOSTA: Now, sources familiar with internal deliberations over the last few days involving Mr. Trump and top advisers about his call with Ukraine's leader say aides to the president have warned him he faces the real likelihood of being impeached before the end of the year.
One source said, though, that aides are divided over this subject, as some are reassuring the president that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is just placating Democrats and won't ultimately drive this effort up on Capitol Hill towards an impeachment vote.
As for the impeachment question itself, a new CNN poll has just come out -- and we can put this up on screen. It 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, a big move in those numbers.
And one thing we should also point out, "The Wall Street Journal" reported earlier this afternoon and CNN has confirmed that the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, was on that July 25 phone call that the president had with Ukraine's president -- Brianna.
KEILAR: All right, Jim Acosta, thank you so much.
We have more breaking news tonight. CNN has learned that President Trump also leaned on Australia prime minister for assistance. A source telling our Evan Perez that the president wanted the Australians to help with the Justice Department probe into the origins of the Mueller investigation.
And, Evan, you are joining us now.
We talk about the Ukraine call. That is about a future election. This is about discrediting the origins of the Mueller report, which looked into the past election.
EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Right, exactly.
And this is why certainly the Justice Department now is openly acknowledging that this happened. They say that this has to do with the attorney general's investigation that is being done to look at what happened in 2016.
And they look at it as certainly looking at what may have been foreign election interference in the 2016 election. And that includes intelligence that may have come from Ukraine and from other countries that was used essentially against candidate Trump and that that became obviously the Mueller investigation.
And so we're told that the attorney general has asked the president to help essentially prod other governments to cooperate with this investigation, and it is not just Australia, but there are a number of other countries that we know of that provided intelligence to what became the Mueller investigation.
That includes the United Kingdom. That includes the Netherlands. That includes Italy, Cyprus, any number of countries that provided information that ended up in that -- that ended up in the Mueller probe. You can bet those are the countries that they're targeting.
And so we have a statement now from Kerri Kupec, the spokesperson for Attorney General Barr. And she says: "At Attorney General Barr's request, the president has contacted other countries to ask them to introduce the attorney general and Mr. Durham" -- that's John Durham, the prosecutor who is doing this investigation" -- "to appropriate officials."
They are pretty open about it.
KEILAR: And so I think what people might be surprised to learn is that there is sort of some latitude, right, for the U.S. government to ask for help from the allies when it comes to investigations.
The Ukraine thing is different, though.
PEREZ: It is.
KEILAR: People -- observers, the DOJ, they see that differently?
PEREZ: They do see the difference, obviously, because the president on that -- on the call, the transcript of which was released last week, you hear the president saying to the Ukrainian president that he wants help essentially for dirt on his prospective possible rival in the 2020 election.
That makes that is a huge difference, because everybody -- I think the Democrats are looking at it as you are trying to get foreign help on a future election, which is exactly what they say happened in 2016 as well.
KEILAR: Still a little stinky, right, the idea of going to a foreign government to discredit this -- what seems to be a valid origin of an investigation.
Even people around President Trump defend the origins of this investigation. But, look, I think you have a different crew at the Justice Department now. Attorney General Barr had skepticism about this and he's been very open about that.
KEILAR: He has been. All right, Evan Perez, thanks so much for the reporting and breaking that down for us.
Let's discuss all of the latest news with Congressman Gerry Connolly of Virginia. He's a key member of the Oversight Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.
Sir, thanks for being with us.
REP. GERRY CONNOLLY (D-VA): Great to be with you, Brianna.
KEILAR: So you heard this reporting from "The Washington Post" that the attorney general has held private meetings overseas with foreign intelligence officials looking for their help in this effort to investigate the beginnings of the Russia probe, which turned into the Mueller probe.
How do you think foreign officials are viewing this effort? What would your concerns be?
CONNOLLY: I hope they would view it with horror and would not cooperate, would try to stay out of it.
The last thing in the world we need is more foreign interference with our domestic political situation. This is unprecedented. The attorney general of the United States investigating a special prosecutor who reported to him on the origins of his special report, that is unheard of and it is improper.
And, quite frankly, I think the attorney general needs to resign. He is no longer even pretending to be objective in the meting out of justice in the United States. He is nothing but a private investigator and attorney for Donald J. Trump. And that is not his constitutional role.
KEILAR: Let's talk about the latest information that we have on this call with Ukraine's president, which is the subject of this whistle- blower complaint, as the president, according to the memo of the call, asked the president of Ukraine essentially to dig up dirt on Joe Biden as the president was freezing aid to the nation.
What questions does this raise for you about Mike Pompeo? Because we have just learned that he was actually on the call.
CONNOLLY: Well, I think, when you look at the juxtaposition of conversation, right after the Ukrainian president says, we need that military aid you have suspended and cited specific kinds of military aid to be able to protect themselves against Russian incursion in the eastern part of the country, Donald Trump says, well, we need your help on something, though.
In other words, before we get to that, which I have suspended, that military aid, you need to do me a favor. And the fact that the secretary of state overheard that and did not act on it and thought apparently it was OK is very troubling, because that constitutes extortion.
The president was clearly extorting something, a private, personal partisan request to dig up dirt on a prospective political opponent, and is willing to suspend military aid desperately needed by a country trying to establish democracy and fight the Russian incursion, is deeply troubling.
And the fact that it was overheard by the secretary of state really is something I don't think any American would countenance.
KEILAR: So, on the flip side, you suggested, if he heard it, maybe he thinks that was OK.
What if he heard it, and Mike Pompeo does not, did not think that it was OK?
CONNOLLY: Then he needs to come forward.
An impeachment inquiry is under way. This is serious business. This is about protecting the interests of the United States, our national security, and, frankly, our diplomatic our democratic norms and institutions. Where is Mike Pompeo, if he heard that and has so far done nothing?
At least one brave individual has come forward, the whistle-blower. He needs to be protected, not ferreted out, not unveiled, not put at risk. The president has threatened to do all of that. That is wrong. And it is also illegal.
KEILAR: Your committees, Oversight and Foreign Affairs, have joined with the intel committee to subpoena Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, for documents that have to do with Ukraine.
What happens next if Rudy Giuliani doesn't comply? When we look at past lessons from, say, the Obama administration Justice Department, where dealing with issues like this can take years in court, what do you do if he just ignores you guys?
CONNOLLY: I am a passionate advocate for reviving what is called inherit contempt, where Congress can enforce its own subpoenas.
And in doing that, we can fine Mr. Giuliani. We can to the bar and have him request that he be disbarred, so he can't practice law anymore. And, ultimately, we could even put him in jail.
I think Mr. Giuliani is putting himself at grave risk if he defies these subpoenas, which are very specific and very detailed. They go back over two-year period. And if he doesn't cooperate with those subpoenas, I think he's going to find himself in grave legal jeopardy.
KEILAR: Does Speaker Pelosi share your view when it comes to Congress enforcing its own subpoenas?
CONNOLLY: She does not, as far as I know. She has kind of dismissed that out of hand.
But I believe there is a growing chorus among Democrats, both in rank- and-file Democrat voters and also members of the caucus, who believe. But we're not getting cooperation on the enforcement of subpoenas.
And, as you said, Brianna, judicial enforcement could take a long time. We don't have a long time. And so I think we have to look at other remedies at our command.
KEILAR: The president says he's now trying to find out who this whistle-blower is, this whistle-blower, who is supposed to be protected, their identity is supposed to be protected by law.
Are you worried about the safety of this whistle-blower?
CONNOLLY: I am.
For the president of the United States -- and, remember, what preceded that tweeter was the president saying, this is like a spy, and you know what we did with spies. We executed them.
That is really reckless language. That puts this whistle-blower at risk. Given the climate in the country, the fact that some people are on edge anyhow, he has deliberately chosen to put the life and security of this whistle-blower at risk.
Under the law, whistle-blowers are protected. They're protected in terms of their identity and certainly their security. And the president has violated that law with that tweet. And I think it is a new low for a president that seems to have no bottom in terms of new lows.
KEILAR: Congressman Connolly, thank you for joining us. We appreciate it.
CONNOLLY: My pleasure, Brianna.
KEILAR: And just ahead, we have more on our top story: new document demands from Democrats. Will Rudy Giuliani cooperate with lawmakers digging into his dealings with Ukraine?
Plus, more pressure from the president, as he leans on yet another foreign leader for help with a politically convenient investigation.
KEILAR: We have breaking news.
CNN has learned that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on that July phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine, where President Trump spoke.
And this is the center of the whistle-blower complaint, alleging that the president abused his power to ask Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden and his family.
We have our political and our national security experts joining us with more analysis on this. OK. So, Phil Mudd...
PHILIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Yes.
KEILAR: ... Pompeo is on the call, but, like, let's listen to what he said about this a little over a week ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: "The Wall Street Journal" is reporting that President Trump pressed the president of Ukraine eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani to investigate Joe Biden's son.
What do you know about those conversations?
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: So you just gave me a report about an I.C. whistle-blower complaint, none of which I have seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: OK. The correct answer is, well, I was on that call.
I mean, you could see why it is such an awkward response, because he was on the call, but he wasn't asked about it directly. So he's sort of tap-dancing around it.
This is what he said before it was public that he was on the call. What do you think?
MUDD: Yes, I would have said the same thing.
Look, he knows -- he is a smart guy. He knows this is going south. Here is the problem he's got. The problem is not just the phone call. The phone call has what we call in Washington a do-out.
That is, the president asked somebody to do something. Staff, in this case diplomats dealing with Ukraine, have a do-out. They are supposed to now to deal with the Ukrainians on the president's request.
The question for Pompeo is, when your staff dealt with the Ukrainians after this, what was the guidance they got? Yes or no, did you ask them to follow up based on the president's orders on the Biden investigation? And the $64,000 question, was there money linked to it?
I think he is going to have to show up at the Hill or his people at some point.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And this may also explain, Brianna, why our reporting is that Pompeo was one of the voices arguing against releasing the transcript of this call.
So it could help explain why he was one of the people saying, maybe this is not a good idea to have the actual word-for-word, or as close to it as we have been able to see, text of this call being released, even while others, like Attorney General Barr, were saying, let's just put it out there to sort of tamp down on this fervor.
And, clearly, Pompeo was probably right, because, ultimately, it did not tamp down on the fervor and I think it only increased the scrutiny on the call.
KEILAR: There's some new news out that I want to...
SHAWN TURNER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: But, Brianna -- Brianna, can...
KEILAR: Yes, go on. Go on real quick, Shawn.
TURNER: Brianna, can we just go ahead and say what we're not saying out loud?
Mike Pompeo lied. He was on the call. He knows exactly what the president said and what was talked about. So when he answered that question, he was not being honest. And I think that I heard Phil. He is saying he would do the same thing. I get that.
But we have to understand, this is a very important moment for Mike Pompeo. He needs to come forward. He needs to correct this. He needs to say that he was less than honest with people, because, ultimately, it will come out.
KEILAR: He was technically correct in the way he sidestepped, but no way with that answer would you ever have thought that he was on the phone call. And it is stunning to be surprised by that.
So you think that is -- you still think that is lying?
TURNER: I do.
Look, it is just too cute by a half. Mike Pompeo was well aware of what he was being asked and what the implications were. And what he tried to do is, he tried to mislead us and make sure that people did not know that he was -- that he was aware of it.
And then, as been said, he tried to prevent this transcript from coming out. So, look, I this was -- if there was nothing to see here, as people keep saying, then there is absolutely no reason to either sidestep this or be technically right or try to prevent the transcript from coming out.
KEILAR: He was certainly misleading.
I want to ask you guys about some other news we have that is very interesting.
The inspector general for the intelligence community, which is sort of part of the beginning of where this whistle-blower complaint came from, appointed by Trump, this is supposed to be the independent inspector, right, independent watchdog, has now forcefully pushed back on this talking point put out by the president and some Republicans that the whistle-blower's account is just hearsay.
This is what the inspector general is saying -- quote -- "As part of his determination that the urgent concern appeared credible, the inspector general of the intelligence community determined that the complainant had official and authorized access to the information and sources referenced in the complaint's letter and classified appendix, including direct knowledge of certain alleged conduct.
"In short, the ICIG did not find that the complainant could -- quote -- 'provide nothing more than secondhand or unsubstantiated assertions.'"
You now have the inspector general, Jackie, pushing back on the president's key claim to try to discredit this whistle-blower.
JACKIE ALEMANY, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Yes, there have been very few officials throughout the past few years of the Trump administration that have actually rebuked some of the president's false assertions.
But this is an important one. And I think what differentiates the inspector general from the rest of the GOP is, he's not an elected official. And so he's not going to get excoriated by conservative media and then -- which would lead to sort of the president's base then turning their backs on it and sort of this...
KEILAR: Well, he might be excoriated, but maybe the consequences are different, right?
PHILLIP: He's not running for something.
ALEMANY: Yes, exactly.
I was listening to Rush Limbaugh today, who was critiquing Mitch McConnell for just recognizing the fact that the president is actually facing a legitimate impeachment inquiry.
And so it is -- I guess it is surprising, potentially, that the inspector general came out against the president. But I'm not sure that it is necessarily going to sway Republicans one way or the other.
KEILAR: But it is stunning, what the president is doing.
Just to be clear, this is a whistle-blower, Abby, who has gone through the appropriate process.
KEILAR: This is a whistle-blower who followed the formal protocol for reporting a complaint that they have. And that affords this whistle- blower protection under the law. PHILLIP: There is a concerted effort on the part of the president and
his aides, because of what we saw yesterday on the Sunday talk show, with Stephen Miller going out there and saying this person is not a whistle-blower.
They are trying to undermine that protection by saying this person doesn't deserve to be called a whistle-blower, and thus doesn't deserve the protection that whistle-blowers have, which is both anonymity and also protection from retaliation.
The president has spent a lot of today trying to say that the whistle- blower needs to be found out and that he needs to be punished for what he wrote in that complaint.
I don't know whether or not this is going to be successful or not, but there is no mistaking it. They are trying to sort of change the narrative around this and, in doing so, trying to undermine the actual system that exists to protect people like this from coming forward.
And I thought it was very interesting that the inspector general says this person actually does have firsthand knowledge. We focused a lot on the complaint itself. But in -- about the call, the transcript of the call.
But in the complaint, there is actually a lot of other information in there. So it remains to be seen, what exactly was that firsthand knowledge? I think that tells you about what kind of position this person was in.
KEILAR: Yes, there is information we are not yet privy to, but certainly some members of Congress are.
KEILAR: All right, let's stand by, all of you, because we have much more to talk about, including the fact that a Democratic congressman just said here on THE SITUATION ROOM he's actually worried, because of what the president has been saying, for the safety of this whistle- blower.
So what can be done? We will discuss.
KEILAR: We're back now with our panel. And, Phil Mudd, I wonder what you think about what could be done to protect this whistleblower. We just had a congressman on, Gerry Connolly, who is actually worried for the safety of this whistleblower. We know from the whistleblower's lawyer that that concern exists for the actual whistleblower as well. What can be done?
MUDD: They should worry that the likelihood, I think, that the identity never comes out has got to be -- you assume that people -- that the individual worked with with at the White House knows somewhere in the Intelligence Community this person works, they know the person is going to go down to Capitol Hill at some point, presumably, they would know.
So in this town, nobody is going to learn the identity.
Let me give you some of the characteristics of what you've got to do because people are just saying, why don't we provide security. I want to relocate the family. I want to ensure if there's a spouse and kids that have security, including kids at school.
Who is going to screen the email to ensure you have the forensic capability to follow-up on all the threat emails? Who is going to do the screening of the family's mail to ensure nobody is sending death threats through the physical mail or devices through the mail? And who is potentially going to do this for years?
That's not simply an effort to secure somebody for a couple of weeks while they go down and give testimony on the Hill. This is, I think, in today's environment, this is a big deal.
KEILAR: For years, wow.
I want to talk about what we saw over this weekend, because the president is in a tough spot and his defenders were out in full force and this is what they said yesterday.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY: I've asked you a specific question. I'd like a specific answer. The president has the State Department, he's got the CIA, he's got the Pentagon, he's got a number of other agencies. Why did he use three private lawyers to get information on Biden from the -- from the Ukrainian government rather than go through all of the agencies of this government?
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: Two different points. Number one --
WALLACE: How about answering my question?
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: The president is pushing the president of Ukraine to investigate a political rival. I cannot believe that that is okay with you. I can't believe it's okay. If this is a principle --
REP. JIM JORDAN (D-OH): It is not okay because he didn't -- but he didn't that.
TAPPER: It's in the transcript. We all read it.
JORDAN: I read the transcript.
SCOTT PELLEY, CBS NEWS HOST: President Zelensky says, we are 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.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): You just added another word.
PELLEY: No. It's in the transcript.
MCCARTHY: You, said I would like to you do a favor though?
PELLEY: Yes, it's in the transcript.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: I mean, that was kind of disastrous when you look at these attempts because it's a difficult position to defend.
PHILLIP: Yes. I mean, they did not attempt to defend what was being said and done on that call. Everyone, almost to the person, tried to basically just change the subject to deflect to Democrats trying to undermine President Trump from the beginning, to say that the whistleblower really wasn't a whistleblower. There is not much out there in the way of defense of what was actually said on the call.
And it's very telling because it's very hard to explain that. It seems that Kevin McCarthy hadn't even read the transcript. He wasn't familiar with the key points of the call. And it's not the first time that when he's faced with questions about what's in the black and white on that piece of paper, he hasn't been able to answer for it.
JACKIE ALEMANY, HOST, THE WASHINGTON POST POWER UP: And McCarthy notably was part of the group that advocated for the White House releasing the call notes, which was interesting.
But in that -- in the I.G. statement that was just released, the inspector general's statement, we have to note again the whistleblower says that they had firsthand knowledge of the complaints that were listed. And that is something really important to keep in mind here as the GOP rallies around the president and relies on these talking points.
The most recent talking point being, okay, maybe the president, his call with the Ukrainian president was improper but it's not an impeachable offense.
KEILAR: What do you think, Phil?
MUDD: These conversations are ridiculous. Let's go to a world of a 12-year-old who might be more mature than what we're seeing on T.V. You tell that 12-year-old, you're grounded, the equivalent of telling the Ukrainians, you can't have your money. And the 12-year-old says, I'll help you with a favor, I'll do a yard work tomorrow. What do you think the implicit agreement is there, the 12-year-old saying, I hope by doing the favor, maybe I'm not grounded anymore? What do you the Ukrainians think? Wow, if we buy this stuff where if we help the investigation, it won't have anything to do with releasing funds? We must be stupid. This is not that complicated, except for Washington.
KEILAR: Shawn? TURNER: Yes, Brianna. I think just to add to Phil's point, I think there is really a very clear reason as to why the president is going to Ukraine, to Australia, to others. He's kind of shopping around the international community to see who will help him in going after his political foes.
And one of those interviews that we played, you had someone saying, the president has got the CIA, he's got Defense Department, he's got other agencies, the truth is that he doesn't. The president has the Department of Justice because he's put acolytes at the top of the Department of Justice.
But the president knows that the most effective, the most talented intelligence community on earth, he knows that he can't go to that Intelligence Community and use the tools the authorities that the I.C. has in order to do what he's asking other nations to do. So that's why he's going outside of the United States and inviting others to come into the United States and to interfere in our democratic process, interfere in our elections.
And what they really have to be careful about is that it's the job of the Intelligence Community to monitor what all of those other foreign nations are doing.
And that's why the president has found himself in this situation. This is a very dangerous thing for a president to be doing and I think that when the facts come out, this is to use an overused word, this is unprecedented set of circumstances.
KEILAR: Thank you so much to all of you, Shawn, Phil, Jackie, Abby. I really appreciate this panel.
And just ahead, an exclusive interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren and a man that we rarely see on the campaign trail, her husband. Could he ride the surging Warren Campaign and become the first male spouse in presidential history?
KEILAR: Tonight a CNN exclusive. We have a look inside of the marriage of Senator Elizabeth Warren and the man who might become the first male spouse in White House history.
Our political correspondent MJ Lee sat down with Senator Warren and his husband Bruce Mann, and she's joining us now.
So, MJ, this is the first time they've actually done a joint interview since Elizabeth Warren launched her campaign. Tell us about this.
MJ LEE, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.
And, you know, Brianna, Elizabeth Warren's candidacy has been on the rise and tonight for the first time since she announced her 2020 campaign on New Year's Eve, her husband Bruce Mann is speaking out. We sat down exclusively with Senator Warren and Bruce at their home in Cambridge, first with her husband and then the two of them together.
The couple opened up to CNN about how they met 40 years ago, Warren's decision to jump into the 2020 race, and how they're handling attacks from the critics, including from President Trump.
LEE: How did you two meet?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh, in a pink hotel.
BRUCE MANN, SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN'S HUSBAND: Yes, yes. A pink hotel in Key Biscayne.
LEE (voice-over): Meet Bruce Mann, a Harvard Law School professor better known as Elizabeth Warren's husband.
(on camera): So, 1979 --
LEE: -- you met Senator Warren. What was she like?
MANN: Oh, the -- first, let me set the scene. Because --
MANN: Yes, it's completely improbable.
LEE: The two met when they were 29 years old, attending a law conference in Florida. Warren had recently separated from her first husband Jim Warren.
MANN: As I approached the reception, I looked across the lawn and from about, oh, I don't know, 25 yards away the -- I saw Elizabeth talking to a couple of people and the -- and even from that distance I was just -- I was drawn to her. She was so lively, so animated, so engaged.
I just fell for her from 25 yards out before even meeting.
LEE: Love at first sight?
MANN: For me. Yes, it took -- it took her a couple of days.
LEE: For you?
WARREN: I was much slower. That was a Sunday late afternoon --
MANN: That's right, yes.
WARREN: -- when we met. I wasn't completely in love with him until sometime mid-morning on Monday. He was in the row ahead of me, down at the other end of the row and it was on Monday when I actually saw him in shorts and -- and good looking legs and --
WARREN: Yes. That's when -- that is when I was all in.
MANN: That's right. I was -- she completely objectified me.
WARREN: It's true.
LEE (voice-over): As the couple tells it, it was a whirlwind romance built on a shared love of teaching and academia and a bond over their similar upbringings. Just months after they first met, it was Warren who popped the question.
WARREN: It was in the fall. And I watched him teach a class which I never done before. So I'm sitting in the back of the room, while he's teaching and with the class, a really good class and students and lots of interaction, students asking questions afterwards, and they all leave.
And he walks back in this big empty classroom and he looks down at me and he says, well, what did you think? And I said, great. Will you marry me? And he said --
WARREN: -- yes. And that was it.
LEE (on camera): That was it.
WARREN: That was it.
MANN: That's right, yes.
WARREN: That was it. Yes, I got to see him in one -- got to see him in shorts. Got to watch him play tennis, got to do all of that when we were in Miami for three weeks, and then got to see him teach. And thought that's it.
WARREN: I'm marrying this one. When you find a good one, grab them and hang on.
I really am glad to see all of you here.
LEE (voice-over): Warren is now one of the leading candidates for the Democratic nomination for president. If she wins, her husband would be the first male presidential spouse in history. He says it's not a role he ever imagined himself playing.
(on camera): When you first met the senator, she was a Republican. MANN: I'm not -- I don't think I knew that at the time. However
conservative she might have been at the time, the -- it was not particularly apparent. And we really didn't discuss politics.
LEE (voice-over): Friends and colleagues describe Mann as the quieter of the couple, devoted to his scholarship and even more devoted to his wife. He's been by Warren's side as her political career has taken off rapidly, beginning with a Senate campaign in 2012 and a presidential run announced on the last day of 2018.
(on camera): So, that conversation between the two of you, where you decide, OK, we're going to do this, I'm going to run for president.
What does that conversation like?
WARREN: I don't think of it as a single conversation.
MANN: No, not really.
WARREN: It was the bits and piece kind of thing that people who live together do.
I did have conversations w other people, real conversations that I told him I was going to have and I wanted them to think of that, so I could get good advice. I mean, this is an important decision.
MANN: And so, the conversations she mentioned were asking people to give her three reasons why she should run, three reasons why she shouldn't. She saved me for last.
And so, finally, she asked me for three reasons, pro and con. And I said, no. I'm not going to do it.
I said you're going to run any ways. So, it just doesn't matter because if you don't run, and Democrats lose, you'll feel guilty because that means there will be no one to fight for the people and the issues that you care about.
WARREN: It just became clearer and clearer.
WARREN: In this fight that you're right. I couldn't not do it.
LEE: So, we fast forward ten months.
LEE: You know that your wife has been leading the polls lately. As the person who knows her the best, why do you think she's leading polls right now?
MANN: Because she's the best person to do the job.
WARREN: I'm glad you feel that way.
MANN: Yes, I do. I do. I do.
MANN: It's an entirely unbiased opinion.
WARREN: That's right. That's right.
MANN: Absolutely. The --
WARREN: And you remember we don't do polls.
MANN: That's right. We do not do polls.
LEE: And if she does become the nominee, she will go up against President Trump. Are you ready for that?
MANN: The -- I'm not sure if anyone -- how anyone trains for it. You just jump into the deep end and you swim.
LEE (voice-over): As his wife is running for president, Mann is continuing to teach at Harvard Law School. He has spent limited time on the campaign trail so far, but says he already has one of the most important jobs on the Warren campaign.
MANN: My principal role has been Bailey's handler.
WARREN: That's right.
MANN: I help Bailey manage his photo lines.
LEE: The couple's 16-month-old golden retriever has following of his own.
(on camera): So, what are the things that you two are doing to try to keep any sense of normalcy when you're home?
WARREN: Oh, yes. We try to get out to fresh pond. And it's a really good day, we actually do doubles at fresh pond. We go early in the morning and again just before it's dark, if we can make that work in the schedule.
LEE: Is there anything you can tell us about senator that we don't know about?
WARREN: There's a lot. Just admit it.
MANN: That's right, no --
LEE: Just something the average person wouldn't know about Senator Warren.
MANN: Oh, gosh --
WARREN: Oh --
LEE: Oh, my goodness.
MANN: Oh, to the rescue, to the rescue.
LEE (voice-over): Bailey is also the reason for Mann's recent visit to the emergency room.
MANN: He was playing with another dog until the play stop and other dog attacked him. Bailey was handling himself fine but nonetheless, I waded in, and my hand caught on his harness and broke a bone.
LEE: Warren and her husband both used the same word to describe the campaign.
(on camera): The day you announced your campaign, it was New Year's Eve.
LEE: You had a press conference, right, outside this house --
WARREN: Right outside, uh-huh.
LEE: -- with Bailey. At the very end, I think a reporter turned to you, asked for a comment and you said, we've been married a long time and it's always been an adventure, so this is just another one. How is that adventure going?
MANN: Really extraordinarily well. And it's even more of an adventure.
Back then, I had no idea what it would look like. Only we would do it. And so, the -- every part of it remains an adventure. I stand by that statement.
WARREN: Oh, yes. I can do this adventure because we do it together. It's true.
LEE: As you saw, Bruce does join his wife out on the campaign trail every now and again. And the senator tells us that she would be happy to have him out on the road with her more often -- Brianna.
KEILAR: And he's front row, which is very important. You have to be front row as the spouse. Very supportive.
LEE: That's right.
KEILAR: MJ Lee, thank you for that. That was pretty cool.
KEILAR: So, just ahead, a new law in California means college athletes in the state could soon be raking in cash.
KEILAR: California's Democratic governor has just signed a new law allowing college athletes to make money off of their own name and image. And this move could mean big money for some student athletes opening the door for lucrative endorsement deals typically seen only in professional sports.
Governor Gavin Newsom says California is at the forefront of a national movement and chided colleges for profiting off of their players.
In a statement, the NCAA is actually slamming this law for, quote, creating confusion. The NCAA says it's looking into next steps. What will those be? We do not know.
But the new rules will take effect in 2023 if they survive the expected legal challenge.
I'm Brianna Keilar. Thank you so much for watching.
"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts now.