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Pompeo And Barr Have Become Latest High Profile Names To Be Entangled In President Trump's Attempts To Get Foreign Governments To Act On His Behalf; Donald Trump "Trying To Find Out" Who Whistleblower Is; Giuliani Lawyers Up. Aired 2-2:30p ET
Aired October 1, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Here's the story today. In Washington, the phrase congressional recess seems to be code for anything but a break as this Impeachment Inquiry launched by House Democrats intensifies, along with the pushback from the Trump White House.
And now, two top officials -- you have Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr, these two have become the latest high profile names to be entangled in President Trump's attempts to get foreign governments to act on his behalf.
Today, Secretary Pompeo is taking aim at Democrats who wants to depose his staff in the wake of that July phone call where President Trump repeatedly urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate both Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. And again, just a reminder to everyone, there is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.
Pompeo tweeted a letter that he sent to the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, where he wrote the depositions are an attempt to -- these are his words, intimidate and bully State Department officials adding that he would quote "prevent any attempts to do so."
Now the Secretary's defiance comes as sources tell CNN that Pompeo was one of the people actually listening in on that phone call. And just contrast that with a little over a week ago when Pompeo claimed he hadn't even read the whistleblower complain about that conversation.
And then there is Bill Barr, the nation's top law enforcement official who reportedly has been meeting with his counterparts in Australia and elsewhere, in this bid to persuade several foreign governments to help discredit the Mueller probe.
All of that is happening as an important week plays out for House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff and his committee, high profile appearances including Kurt Volker, the former Ukraine Special Envoy, who quit the day after that whistleblower complaint went public, along with President Trump's handpicked Intelligence Community Inspector General.
And we should also just note that the Intelligence Community IG's office issued a sharp rebuke to conspiracy theories that have been spun by the President, spun by his allies who insist that the whistleblowers concerns are hearsay, and that laws were changed over the last year to allow secondhand information to be used.
In a statement, the IG debunked, all of that, saying that the whistleblower had direct knowledge of some of the alleged conduct, and that just as important, secondhand knowledge is permitted as part of any complaint.
And just finally, the IG said no laws were changed to accommodate the report.
Let's turn out to CNN's Jessica Schneider to talk about all the President's men. Jessica, it seems each new development in this Ukraine firestorm engulfs yet another person in Trump's inner orbit.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: And they all seem to be garnering questions, Brooke and really sharing center stage in this. So let's start first with the Attorney General.
Now, this is a separate issue from the Ukraine issue. But we have now learned that AG Barr did ask the President to request the help of several countries, including Australia in what is this ongoing and previously announced Justice Department review of the early stages of the Russia investigation.
Now, D.O.J. officials say that this ask for foreign assistance, it is perfectly appropriate. But there are some who are expressing concerns that the Attorney General is really pushing the President's agenda here.
So now on to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, we now know that he was on that July 25th phone call where President Trump pushed the President of Ukraine to investigate the Biden's. That's according to a source familiar, but in an interview more than a week ago, the Secretary of State indicated he knew nothing about that phone call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you know about those conversations?
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: So you just gave me a report about IC -- whistleblower complaint, none of which I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: And Secretary Pompeo has been tweeting this morning seemingly defiant against the subpoena he was issued for Ukraine- related documents from the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Secretary of State saying the committee is quote, in his words, "bullying and intimidating" the State Department officials they've also called for deposition.
Then to Lindsey Graham, he is also lashing out, really echoing the President's intense questioning of the whistleblower's knowledge and motives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Here's my question. 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?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHNEIDER: On top of that, there are questions about the Vice President, Mike Pence and why he was suddenly pulled from a previously scheduled trip back in May to attend the inauguration of the Ukrainian President, was that intended as a signal to Ukraine to put more pressure on them? That was just two months before the President's phone call request for a favor.
And then finally, there's the President's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. Top House Democrats yesterday subpoenaed Giuliani for documents related to his communications with Ukrainians trying to dig up that dirt on the Biden's and also any documents related to efforts by the President to press Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election.
SCHNEIDER: The Democratic Chairman warning that if Rudy Giuliani does not comply, it will amount to obstruction. So Brooke, that is the swirl of questions and controversy around the President's closest confidants as the Democrats now push full steam ahead with their Impeachment Inquiry -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Appreciate the diagram, all the President's men, Jessica, thank you so much for that. Let's have a conversation about all of this.
Andrew McCabe is a CNN Contributor and former F.B.I. Deputy Director, so Andy McCabe, a pleasure, sir. Welcome back.
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks Brooke.
BALDWIN: Hang on -- we've got Andy. There we go. Just like the magical television, love it.
MCCABE: Yes, I hear you.
BALDWIN: Here's my first question to you. You were one of the top officials who made sure the Russia investigation was opened. You were at the top levels. They're investigating you and your colleagues. Do you find Bill Barr's travels problematic? And in your decades with the agency, have you ever heard of anything like this?
MCCABE: No, no, I sure haven't heard of anything like this. There's two primary questions that I think you have to ask here. The first is, why is he doing this at all? The circumstances behind the opening of the Russia case are not a mystery.
I have testified under oath about them as early as December of 2017. Jim Comey has made comments about them publicly. I have. We've both written books that touched on the issues. So the circumstances behind the case are widely known. They were
entirely validated by the Special Counsel investigation. We now know that Russia did try to attack our elections, and that the President did engage in numerous acts of potentially obstructive conduct. So it raises that question of what are we doing here?
The second question is not the propriety of the Attorney General talking to foreign colleagues because that happens all the time. But these are foreign colleagues who are very, very familiar with working with U.S. investigators and prosecutors.
We cooperate with those folks and have on investigations and prosecutions for many, many years. So the question becomes, why does the Attorney General feel it's necessary to personally interact with those folks, and make this introduction to Prosecutor Durham? And what is taking place in those conversations? What sort of assistance or objectives is he actually advocating for here?
BALDWIN: To add to your two examples, something that we are wondering also is, is Bill Barr doing this for the sole purpose of pursuing Trump's conspiracies? Because it's just worth reminding everyone, that this is the guy who wrote that, you know, unsolicited memo to the D.O.J. just last year, saying that he thought the Mueller investigation was, quote, "fatally misconceived." And that was before he was nominated for the job.
MCCABE: You know, that's a great question, Brooke. It's not one we know the answer to, but I think it is undeniable that the Attorney General's personal involvement in this investigation, his prioritization of it, which is indicated by his own travel, is entirely consistent with the President's obsession of undermining the root cause and the impact of the Russia investigation.
So we don't -- we can't say right now exactly why the Attorney General is doing what he is doing. But we do know that what he is doing is entirely consistent with the President's goals.
BALDWIN: And you think about how many times the President brought up the AG and that phone conversation with Zelensky, you know, Barr has not recused himself at this point. We know how well that went or not with Jeff Sessions.
Andy, what would have to happen for him to do so? And who would make him?
MCCABE: Well, there's nobody that can make the Attorney General recuse himself from any matter. That is a decision that's entirely up to him. He usually would make a decision like that based upon his consulting with professional -- ethics professionals within the Department of Justice.
But a very valid question there, Brooke to think, has he even considered doing so? Has he requested that sort of guidance from the ethics professionals in the department? And if so, what sort of advice has he been given? There is no question at least in terms of the whistleblower complaint
that the Attorney General is right-square in the middle of that complaint as someone who would be certainly a relevant witness, and someone whose testimony would be essential to getting to the bottom of those claims.
BALDWIN: And then I pointed this out off the top, you know, in this rare in public response, the Office of Inspector General, the I.C.I.G., again, a Trump appointing debunked multiple conspiracy theories being spread by this President and his allies and the right- wing media and when we use this word unprecedented, it feels like on a daily basis.
BALDWIN: But tell us, Andy, I mean, seriously, how extraordinary is this?
MCCABE: It is. I'm running out of words here as well, Brooke. It is truly extraordinary. The opinion or the statement that he released yesterday is remarkable for its candor; and the legal analysis to my estimation is bulletproof.
And I would say, it is another act of courage by this Intelligence Community Inspector General who is a Trump appointee, and who no doubt knows that the things that he is saying, the positions he is taking, are probably being looked upon very negatively by the President and his supporters in the administration.
But you know, when you go through that statement, he makes it absolutely clear that it is not necessary for the complainant to come forward with a complaint based only on first person information, but that the complainant in this case, indicated that they had both firsthand information and secondhand information.
And then he says in a very kind of deft way that his own analysis is preliminary review of the credibility of the complaint involved talking to people with firsthand knowledge.
So what that tells us, Brooke, is that the I.C. I.G. is kind of telegraphing here that there are witnesses that he spoke to with firsthand knowledge who confirmed the allegations in this complaint, and that is a -- that's a very substantial revelation.
BALDWIN: Yes. Your point about being bulletproof. Great insight, Andy McCabe. Thank you so much. Good to have you on.
MCCABE: Thanks, Brooke.
BALDWIN: You know, as for whistleblowers, while they may be considered heroes by some, they do not always fair well after making such a sacrifice, a life changing choice. We will talk to a former C.I.A. whistleblower about the risks he took.
And new questions today after a second potential whistleblower comes forward. This is happening over the President's taxes. And you know, we were just discussing all these conspiracy theories
swirling, many of which have been spread by the President of the United States of America. So we'll break down the way Trump takes bogus information and spins it into a counter narrative.
You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.
BALDWIN: We're back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. At the center of this impeachment investigation is of course the unnamed whistleblower. The President has made it quite clear that he wants to know who this whistleblower is.
Let me just remind you that this country has Federal laws that are in place to protect whistleblowers, particularly from retaliation.
My next guest knows what it's like to make the choice to come forward.
Back in 1994, former C.I.A. analyst, Patrick Eddington and his wife found documents that they say proved that American soldiers were exposed to Iraqi chemical weapons during the Gulf War and they tried to sound the alarm within the C.I.A.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PATRICK EDDINGTON, EX-C.I.A. ANALYST AND WHISTLEBLOWER DURING GULF WAR: The attitude that I took going into this was that if Saddam Hussein had used chemical or biological agents against our forces, and that had not been properly reported or dealt with during the war and after the war. The C.I.A. had a responsibility to raise those particular issues and ensure that they were addressed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BALDWIN: Patrick Eddington is now a policy analyst at the Cato Institute. Patrick, I'm sure you're grateful we went into the archives to find that of you from many years ago, but we just wanted to remind everyone what you did.
And you know, you spent years trying to raise this issue within your department. You decided to go public. How important was it for you and your wife to remain anonymous at first? And how painstaking was that decision to ultimately come public?
EDDINGTON: Well, Brooke, thanks for having me on. And thanks for reminding me that I haven't exactly aged entirely gracefully.
BALDWIN: Yes, you have.
EDDINGTON: You know, the reality is whether you're talking about a Daniel Ellsberg with the Pentagon Papers or a Thomas Tamm with the Stellarwind program, or the N.S.A. 5 with Trailblazer and ThinThread, or this between individual.
Making the decision to do something like this is not something you do lightly. You know, I didn't wake up one morning and say, you know what? I think I'll just kind of go public with what I feel about my particular employer. It's one of those things that you really do have to think about very carefully.
And you mentioned my wife and I really appreciate it. My wife Robin is my rock and she has been for almost 30 years now that we've been together and I will tell you that there were three distinct phases between July 1994 and about a year later when I asked her, do you want to quit? Do you want to just -- you know, let's forget about this. And every time to her eternal credit, she said there's no way we're going to stop. If we if we go along with this we're no better than they are.
So that's the kind of woman that I married.
EDDINGTON: And I think that --
BALDWIN: Lucky you.
EDDINGTON: Yes, well, yes, no kidding. And I think that's something that I hope this particular person has in their life. I hope they have the kind of support network that is necessary to sustain them through this ordeal.
BALDWIN: I want to talk about -- and I'm sure, what I know it sounds like you and your wife endured through all of this, but just back to your December '96 congressional hearing. Your complaints were met with contempt and hostility you said because quote, "We were giving them a message they didn't want to hear."
BALDWIN: And so then Patrick, you fast forward to today, and this whistleblower, and the President continues to attack him or her, as this person prepares to testify behind closed doors, what might be going through his or her mind now?
EDDINGTON: Well, I'm sure that you know, even as they were accumulating this data over the course of several months, and if you look carefully at the nine-page memos that they prepared, this is something they spent a lot of time documenting. There's really no question in my mind.
I've seen that there were some individuals apparently over at the Federal Society who made the mistake of trying to write on whistleblower issues and whistleblower law issues without really having the facts.
And I'm glad the I.C. I.G. came out yesterday and knocked down this nonsense.
BALDWIN: They rebuked.
EDDINGTON: Exactly, you know, secondhand, obviously, is not as good as directly participating in the event as myself or Ellsberg or Snowden, for that matter and the others. But the reality is, this person, to me, at least, is clearly almost certainly an Intelligence Community analyst. They are almost certainly somebody who is very meticulous in documenting things.
And that's what really creates a problem here. What's going through their mind right now, I'm sure is, you know, how am I going to get through this? You know, what's going to happen to me afterwards?
And the reality, unfortunately, is, even in a best case scenario, you'll always look at your life in a before and after kind of way, and it won't be entirely the same for this person, no matter what happens.
BALDWIN: Well, let's talk about how you and your wife got through this, because I had read that through this process, you lost friends. You were forced to sell your home. How did your choice, your sacrifice, change your life?
EDDINGTON: Well, you know, obviously, if we'd been willing to keep our mouths shut and go along with the nonsense that was happening back then, you know, I would have been retired probably two or three years ago and have a lot in retirement account and be working for some beltway bandit and so on and so forth.
But neither one of us were put together that way. You know, I mean, we believe that the oath that we took, and I've taken that same oath five times in my life to uphold, preserve and protect the Constitution. We took it deadly seriously. I still take it deadly seriously.
And at the end of the day, you have to be able to get up in the morning and look yourself in the mirror and know that you're an honest person. And there was no way that either one of us could go along with this and still do that.
So yes, I mean, it's a huge financial hit. We will never completely recoup that. But that's peanuts compared to what this generation of Desert Storm veterans went through.
And I'll tell you, Brooke, to this day -- to this day -- I get e-mails and letters from veterans from that war, thanking us for what we did. And for me, at least, that makes it all worth it. You know, I mean, they knew that we stood with them when their government basically stabbed them in the back. And it's the kind of thing that no American should tolerate.
And however you might feel about President Trump, I'm certainly no fan. We have a situation here that is absolutely unique as your previous guest, former Deputy Director of the F.B.I., Mr. McCabe noted, this person has made allegations against the President of the United States. There are allegations that to me, on the surface, at least appear to be a criminal conspiracy. And that's something that I hope, Mr. Schiff, who, to be blunt with you, is a newcomer to caring about whistleblower issues.
I hope that he and his staff do in fact, actually take these things seriously and do run it to ground with the level of detail that Senator Feinstein did with the torture investigation, or the Church Committee did with all those allegations about government spying 40 years ago.
BALDWIN: You have been excellent. Patrick Eddington, thank you so much for just shedding a little bit of light on what you and your wife went through. And what did you say? Thirty years married? Is that what you said?
EDDINGTON: It will be 29 this October, yes, as soon as she doesn't kill me between now and then, yes.
BALDWIN: Happy early anniversary. And thank you so much for coming on. And good on you.
EDDINGTON: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Thank you.
EDDINGTON: Thank you.
BALDWIN: Just in to us here at CNN, Rudy Giuliani has lawyered up, hiring a former Watergate prosecutor as his attorney. Standby.
BALDWIN: Breaking News. Rudy Giuliani has lawyered up as the spotlight on his actions in this whistleblower scandal gets brighter and brighter. Let's go to CNN's Michael Warren. Michael, who is his attorney.
MICHAEL WARREN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, we're learning Brooke that Jon Sale is Rudy Giuliani's new attorney. Sale and Giuliani have both confirmed that this attorney who is a law school classmate of Rudy Giuliani, as well as a former Assistant Special Prosecutor during Watergate is representing Giuliani in these matters of the subpoenas from these three congressional committees that are investigating impeachment of the President.
The New York Times first reporting this. Giuliani has not said whether or not he is going to comply with those requests.
When I asked Jon Sale whether or not he has made a decision on that, he told me I really have to study it. He has just started working on this so that question is still out there -- Brooke.
BALDWIN: Got it. Michael Warren, thank you for the update on Rudy Giuliani here.
Top White House officials are growing frustrated with President Trump because he will not give up this debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine -- not Russia -- the Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential election. This is a theory he discussed on that July phone call with his
counterpart in Ukraine and something that has now snowballed into a controversy that could get him impeached.
But this is not his first dive into wild conspiracy theories and that is where CNN Politics Reporter and Editor-at-Large, Chris Cillizza comes in and Chris, you know, the interesting thing in the cycle, Trump just -- he keep spreading this false information.
CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes. He keeps spreading and because of the size of particularly his social media microphone, Brooke.