Return to Transcripts main page


House Intelligence Committee Subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani; Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Defender Of Trump; Interview With Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX); Sen. Graham Now Calls Impeachment Inquiry A Joke; Key Impeachment Inquiry Deposition Rescheduled; Ambassador Volker To Appear This Thursday; Candidates Attack Trump As Impeachment Inquiry Ramps Up And New Fundraising Totals Roll In. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired October 1, 2019 - 16:30   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Welcome back.

It's a huge week for the House Intelligence Committee. The committee subpoenaed the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, demanding documents related to his talks with Ukraine.

The U.S. special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, is planning to appear before the committee Thursday for a deposition, a source tells CNN. He has since resigned.

And as President Trump aggressively attacks the Intelligence Committee's Chairman, Adam Schiff, he's also vowing to find out who the whistleblower is.

Joining me now to discuss this and more is Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro. He sits on the House Intelligence Committee. His brother, Julian is running for president.

Congressman, thank you so much for joining us.

The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani for documents. What are you hoping to learn exactly? And are you expecting that he will comply?

REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): I expect that he will comply eventually.

And if it means that we have to go to court to get him to comply, then, of course, I'm confident that will do that. But, hopefully, he will voluntarily come forward and sit for an interview with the House Intelligence Committee.

In terms of what we'd like to know from him, I'd like to know what his role was in meeting with these Ukrainians, what he was pressing them for, what the president asked him to do. He has said that the State Department asked him to go there.

In fact, he showed text messages from Kurt Volker. So we need to know who asked him to do what and also what the responses were from the Ukrainians. TAPPER: Giuliani responded to the subpoena, saying -- quote -- "It

raises significant issues concerning legitimacy and constitutional and legal issues, including, inter alia, attorney-client and other privileges. It will be given appropriate consideration."

Let's just talk about attorney-client privilege. He has said that he was the president's attorney.

CASTRO: You're right. And he has acted as the president's personal attorney.

But at one point in this process, as he was doing one of his interviews or tweeting, I believe that he said that he didn't go over there as the president's attorney, or at least on one of the trips, he didn't go as the president's attorney.


So it's not clear that he would be protected by attorney-client privilege. But, certainly, that's something that may have to be worked out in the courts.

TAPPER: The president says he's trying to find out who the whistleblower is. And he has been attacking this person.

Is the president getting close to violating the Whistleblower Protection Act? And what do you and your colleagues intend to do to try to keep the whistleblower's identity from becoming public?

CASTRO: You're right.

I mean, that's been one of our top priorities. Fortunately, that's been a priority for the DNI, for Mr. Maguire, is to keep the anonymity of this person intact.

The president at this point has been very abusive of the Whistleblower Protection Act, and really is basically on the verge of not only revealing the identity or getting somebody else to reveal the identity of the whistleblower, but also bringing harm to that person.

It is getting quite scary, the president's behavior and his words, and what that could conjure up.

TAPPER: What is being done to preserve the security and safety of this whistleblower?

CASTRO: Well, as I understand, the person is under protection.

I expect that that's full federal protection 24 hours a day, as it should be. And as long as, to the larger public, the person is anonymous, then I think that that will probably suffice.

Now, we don't know exactly what's going to happen. We don't know if somebody in the White House is -- who may know the person's identity is going to leak it.

But the federal government should be committed to keeping this person safe, wherever he or she is.

TAPPER: I want to get your response to a tweet from Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California.

She tweeted: "Impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned and placed in solitary confinement. But, for now, impeachment is the imperative."

With all due respect, that does not seem to be in keeping with what Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said should be the tone when it comes to impeachment, that it should be done with regret and prayerful and respectful and solemn.

That seems to be something else.

CASTRO: Yes, look, I have a lot of respect for Maxine Waters. And she's a very passionate person and has felt very strongly for a long time that the president has broken the law.

And so you see those -- you see that in her words? I think a lot of Americans have been very upset and outraged about the president's conduct. I think all of us want to make sure that this process is a fair one, that there is due process for the president and all the other witnesses that are going to come forward.

But we're committed to getting to the bottom of what happened.

TAPPER: This inquiry is fast-growing and already fairly complicated, with the web of people involved.

Do House Democrats have a strategy to explain this scandal to the American people? Because it is already, as we learn more information -- and now that it branches out to Attorney General Barr and Secretary Mike Pompeo, Vice President Pence, Rudy Giuliani -- to explain it in a way that is clear that the American people can understand what exactly happened, so they can assess whether or not they think President Trump deserves to be impeached?

CASTRO: Yes, you're right.

It is important that we explain it and that we explain it simply. And if you look at the whistleblower's complaint and the transcript of that phone call, it's starting to become clear that there was an attempted cover-up by the White House of a president abusing his power, betraying his oath of office.

And in this investigation every day, it seems like there is a new basically path that we need to follow, a new trail to follow. And so we're going to do that.

TAPPER: The White House trade adviser, Peter Navarro, today on FOX Business said that this is an attempted coup. And he said he didn't know who was more dangerous, House Democrats or the Iranians or the Chinese.

Your response? CASTRO: I did. I saw that clip.

And that language is really obscene, that Peter Navarro would make those comments. Those are the kind -- that's the kind of language that can lead to civil unrest in this country. And it's highly irresponsible for an adviser to the president of the United States to be speaking like that.

Those are false claims. But for him to be talking like that is highly irresponsible.

TAPPER: Congressman Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas, thank you so much. Appreciate your time, sir.

CASTRO: Thank you.

TAPPER: He once called Donald Trump a -- quote -- "race-baiting, xenophobic bigot" -- unquote -- but now Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is one of the president's strongest defenders.

What changed? That's next.



TAPPER: Only the most loyal Trump allies appeared on the Sunday shows last weekend to try to defend the president in the wake of the whistleblower complaint, Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, White House senior adviser Stephen Miller.

Republican Congressman Jim Jordan was here at "STATE OF THE UNION." House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, someone who, until a few years ago, was leading the pack of Trump critics in the Senate.

So, how did Graham go from calling Mr. Trump unfit for office to becoming one of his most loyal defenders?

CNN's Sunlen Serfaty reports.


SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With blind devotion to President Trump, Senator Lindsey Graham again proving himself as one of the president's most reliable front men.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Is this whistleblower, whoever he or she may be, do they have any connection to the Intelligence Community, the old Intelligence Community that was corrupt as hell.

SERFATY: Graham has fallen in line behind President Trump and become the face of Trump's defense on Capitol Hill.

GRAHAM: To impeach any president over a phone call like this would be insane.

SERFATY: That stands a stunning about-face given his position on impeachment during the Clinton years.

GRAHAM: You don't even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.

SERFATY: It hasn't always been this way. The Graham of today --

GRAHAM: I have the President's back because I think this is a setup.

SERFATY: -- is a far cry from the Graham of just a few years ago.

GRAHAM: You know how you make America great again, tell Donald Trump to go to hell.

SERFATY: Known then for slamming Trump during the campaign.

GRAHAM: He's a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot. He doesn't represent my party.

SERFATY: And at times going against him even emitting he urged Senator McCain to turn over the controversial Steele dossier of Trump Russia allegations to the FBI. But in the last year, Graham has strategically cozied up to the president. The two golf and speak on the phone often.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have a man who has become a friend of mine. It's shocking, isn't it?

GRAHAM: I like him and he likes him.

SERFATY: Graham has a lot to gain politically in hitching his wagon to Trump. The Senator is up for re-election in South Carolina in 2020 where standing with the president only stands to help his own political future.


SERFATY: And Graham in the past has attempted to justify his own transformation in very raw political terms telling the New York Times Magazine earlier this year that his friendship with Trump helps him. It helps him influence Trump on issues that he cares about.

And Graham says that anyone who knows him would think it's odd if he did not do this. And asked to follow up by the reporter what this means, Graham replied to try to be relevant. Jake?

TAPPER: Try to be relevant. Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill, thanks so much. Dana Bash, you know Senator Graham pretty well. Is that in? Is that what it's about, being relevant, staying relevant even if it means sacrificing many things that a lot of people thought he stood for? DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a big part of it, and he is very open about it. He wants to be relevant. He wants to be part of the conversation. He wants to try to influence the conversation. But for so many years when we covered him on the Straight Talk Express and in post-John McCain elections and events, being relevant at being part of the conversation was standing in the opposite corner of the Republican Party.

But what he has slowly but very surely come to realize and the way that he is acting and behaving right now is that the Republican Party is Donald Trump. And he wants to stay a Republican and so he is going to be a major part of the Trump Republican Party. The other Lindsey Graham, the Lindsey Graham who was you know, part of the three amigos with John McCain be damned.

And one other thing I just want to point out is that it's not just that, it is that as someone talked about it, it is South Carolina. He calls South Carolina Trump's stand. As much as he gets you know, guff from people who say wait a minute, what happened to you, when he goes home to South Carolina he is greeted as a hero because they, for the most part, love Donald Trump and love him standing next to him.

TAPPER: You can go back to the 90s, to the Clinton impeachment, and find clips of people like Jerrold Nadler and Nancy Pelosi saying the exact opposite thing about impeachment that they're saying today, but we can also do that on the Republican side. And since we're talking about Lindsey Graham, take a listen to Lindsey Graham's definition of impeachment when it applied to Bill Clinton and he was a House impeachment manager.


GRAHAM: Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.

TAPPER: It's kind of what people hate about politics, right? That principles only apply when they want to apply them to the other party.

PHIL MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Yes, you know, to pick up on what we were just talking about a moment ago, I mean, this is an advertisement for term limits. This guy comes from a place of -- that is South Carolina. Dana Bash says this is Trump's stand. That is Lindsey Graham it's not necessarily sitting around -- a lot of us know him from the green room.

He's a decent guy. He's thoughtful. He's not exactly sitting around saying what's the perfect thing to do. He's sitting around saying what do people in my state say and how do I get reelected in my judgment. He doesn't have to campaign in New York, he doesn't have to campaign in California, he's got to campaign in South Carolina.

So I look at this and say, Lindsey Graham looked at the documents, the polling documents from South Carolina and said, I know where to line up if I want a job forever and that's what he's got.


TAPPER: Is this --

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: The Republican Party as Dana was saying earlier is the Trump party. If you think about the people who have spoken out against President Trump even if they have really strong conservative credentials -- think about Justin Amash who was basically kicked out of the party even though he has been conservative, has been libertarian, scores very high on all of these various outside groups report cards, he was kicked out of the party because he said negative things about President Trump.

So anybody in the Republican Party who's not willing to defend the president, who's not willing to go along with the President's even the most vulgar attributes, they're going to be kicked out of the party. And Lindsey Graham knows that and that's part of the reason --

BASH: It is a very, very different thing to go along with the President because you want to be relevant and because it is politically viable for you in your home state. Still, again, back to the Lindsay Graham with John McCain that we knew, especially on this issue of Ukraine, I mean how many times did we listen to John McCain and Lindsey Graham talk about how critical it is to prop up Ukraine and to not play politics with it because Ukraine was the way to fight Putin. And the fact that this is the issue yeah is stunning.

TAPPER: Kim, I want to get your legal take on something that Lindsey Graham has been pushing which is this whole argument. It's been discredited by the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community that the whistleblower only has hearsay. The Inspector General said he has first-hand information as well as second and third-hand information. But Lindsey Graham has been pushing the hearsay argument. Take a listen.


GRAHAM: This seems to me like a political setup. It's all hearsay. You can't get a parking ticket conviction based on hearsay.


TAPPER: Is that true?

KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSOCIATE INDEPENDENT COUNSEL: No, that's not true. Hearsay is admissible on evidence under the federals of evidence or some exceptions that get it admissible. But in this instance, the statute itself doesn't require first-hand knowledge. We know from the Inspector General that there was first-hand knowledge. And in any event, this is handed off in this moment to the Congress.

So the whistleblower, the credibility that this whistleblower was evaluated by the Inspector General, a Trump appointee, and is really not an issue anymore. The whistleblower is not the issue. The issue is President Trump. So clearly his political team wants to divert American attention to other issues. But in this moment I would take one issue with this idea that Lindsey Graham is supporting his back -- his base and that falsehoods are not good for anyone regardless of where you are politically.

TAPPER: A good reminder. Thank you so much. Everyone, stick around. We got more to talk about. We have breaking news on the impeachment inquiry. That's coming up next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: We've got some breaking news on the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. We have just learned that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch who has who was previously scheduled for a deposition before Congress tomorrow has had that deposition rescheduled to next week according to a source.

The source also says that former U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker confirmed that he will appear before the committee this Thursday.

In our "2020 LEAD" today, Democrats are reporting new fundraising numbers today. So far, Senator Bernie Sanders leads the way raking in more than $25 million in the last quarter. And as CNN's Ryan Nobles reports, Democrats are also ramping up their attacks on President Trump.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Impeachment Inquiry into Donald Trump adding additional of uncertainty into the 2020 Democratic primary.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think he has ever understood the gravity of the job, period.

NOBLES: As the candidates try to keep their focus on the issues, they're also ratcheting up their attacks on the President. Senator Kamala Harris blasting President Trump's response to the whistleblower report, including his barrage of tweets.

Harris taking to Twitter herself writing, "Look, let's be honest, Real Donald Trump's Twitter account should be suspended." But while impeachment is front and center, the campaign keeps moving forward.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that the United States Congress is capable of walking and chewing bubble gum at the same time.

NOBLES: Third-quarter fundraising reports are beginning to roll in. Bernie Sanders posting a $25.3 million haul, $7 million more than he raised in the second quarter. The Vermont senator already putting that cash to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need a fighter, Bernie Sanders.

NOBLES: Launching his first T.V. ads of the 20th Racing Iowa where polls show him falling behind Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden. Second-quarter pacesetter, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced he brought in more than $19 million in the past three months, about $6 million less than the previous quarter.

And Senator Cory Booker who just 10 days ago, warned his campaign would likely be over without a big infusion of cash --

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's been the best sort of period of fundraising we've had for the campaign.

NOBLES: -- raised roughly $6 million in the third quarter, boosted by more than $2 million in the final 10 days.


NOBLES: And in just the last hour, we received the new numbers for Kamala Harris' campaign. She raised $11.6 million, which is consistent with her efforts in the first two quarters. Harris now has $10 million cash on hand, which will allow her campaign to continue, but she is still trailing many of the candidates that she's also behind in the polls, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Ryan, thank you so much. I appreciate that update. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @JAKETAPPER. You can tweet the show @THELEADCNN. Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thank you so much for watching this special edition of THE LEAD The White House in Crisis. We'll see you tomorrow.