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Giuliani: May Testify If Congress Allows Me To Use "Videotapes"; GOP's Grassley Rebukes Trump Over Whistleblower Attacks; Rep. Marc Veasey (D-TX) Discusses Whistleblower Case; Trump On Twitter Tirade, Feeling The Heat On Impeachment Push; Kamala Harris Calls On Twitter To Suspend Trump's Account. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired October 1, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Yesterday, though, he told FOX News, he may testify if Congress allows him to use, quote, "videotapes."
And just last week, Giuliani told "The Atlantic" magazine, quote, "I'm not acting as a lawyer. I'm acting as someone who has devoted most of his life to straightening out the government. Anything I did should be praised.
Sarah Isgur is here. She's a former spokesperson for the Justice Department under President Trump. She's a CNN political analyst. And we also have former federal prosecutor, Laura Coates.
Videotapes, you guys. Videotapes. What is he talking about? What does he mean?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Is it criteria or are just throwing things out there now. It seems like we are. What you mean.
And the '90s called and they want their videotapes back.
KEILAR: So Rudy Giuliani is making this argument that he's the personal lawyer. Sometimes he's not. Is he governed, Laura, by either executive privilege or attorney/client privilege?
COATES: It doesn't sound like he is because of his own quote to "The Atlantic." Remember, the privilege only extends - Giuliani happens to be a lawyer. You are I are having a conversation, everything we talk about is suddenly privileged conversation. If it wasn't made to give legal advice or consultation, if we're not acting in the capacity in that respect. He's saying he's not.
Also, congressional testimony that be compelled without privilege. By the way, he can wait by doing things like going on FOX News, showing text messages about communications or bringing in VHS video tapes, whatever he has on this incident. He can waive these things.
KEILAR: Sarah, it seems like he's blurring the lines between being the president's personal attorney and then being sort of a servant of the government. What do you make of this?
SARAH ISGUR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. Well, there are laws about that. The Anti-Deficiency Act says you can't provide free services to the government. I'm not sure that's going to stop Rudy Giuliani. Laura's right. If something falls to attorney/client privilege is narrow.
Don't the crime/fraud exception. If the House could make a probable- cause claim that anything Giuliani did during the course of his representation was potentially illegal, that blows up attorney/client privilege entirely.
KEILAR: We're not sure what Giuliani is going to do, right? At this point, he's not been called to testify. He's been subpoenaed for documents. If he doesn't comply, Laura, where does this go, how long does it take? Do Democrats have quick recourse?
COATES: Technically, if it doesn't comply, they can use the courts as a recourse. They could go to the DOJ and use the U.S. attorney in D.C. to this. The problem is Barr has been put implicated in some way, shape or form in the whistleblower complaint. They work with the president.
You have the recourse of the courts to say you cannot simply thumb your nose at Congress. We have recourse in the courts. If can be very long and extended thing.
However, he has streamlined a process by providing some tidbits of it, by saying I'm going to systemically chose, instead of going what he gives you, instead, gives the courts, your argument of privilege has gone away because you're already given us information. You can't come back and say, we've protected this bucket, I'll give you this and not the other.
He may have inadvertently expedited the entire thing.
ISGUR: Whether it's worth it or not to House Democrats, he's on TV every day. I'm not sure there is some secret Giuliano off camera we're not seeing on camera. The "SNL" skit seems kind of right to me. Take what you are getting from the TV hits and don't pick that fight.
KEILAR: You wrote an op-ed for CNN today saying this isn't the "Access Hollywood" tapes all over again when it comes to Republican voters. Why?
ISGUR: What we've seen over and over again, the "Access Hollywood" tapes were the first good example, but the Mueller investigation and other ones. Republican electives were quick to distance themselves from the president.
Remember after the "Access Hollywood" tape, Paul Ryan cancels an event with the president, 16 Republican Senators unendorsed him. But polling didn't move at all. Republican voters stayed with him. Paul Ryan gets heckled at that event when he cancels the president. They start chanting Trump's name and saying, stick with him. This feels different because Republican electives not really saying
much or doing much. And yet voters are moving a little bit more. One in four in one poll of Republican voters said they approved of the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry.
We've seen an 8 percent movement in the latest CNN poll on Republicans supporting impeachment.
That is exactly the reverse of what we saw with "Access Hollywood" and Mueller.
On the other side, approval numbers haven't moved at all. So are voters distinguishing between Trump, as president, as a person, versus his job? And when asked about job approval, they're pretty much staying the same.
It's a pretty nuanced take. I've always been of the view that voters are smarter than we give them credit for. But, yes, job approval the same. Impeachment inquiry going up among Republicans.
KEILAR: Very interesting.
Sarah Isgur, Laura Coates, thank you.
Just in, significant development. A top Republican rebukes Trump over his attacks on the whistleblower in the complaint over Ukraine and dealings looking to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
Plus, a historian sounds the alarm on the president, warning of a civil war if he is impeached..
KEILAR: Powerful Republican Senator Chuck Grassley is breaking with President Trump in saying the person behind the whistleblower complaint should be heard out and protected.
Grassley is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He released a statement just a short time ago. And across Twitter on the Sunday talk shows, President Trump and his defenders have been pushing that the whistleblower doesn't legitimately deserve protection under the law.
Grassley disagreed in his statement. Quote, "When it comes to whether someone qualifies as a whistleblower, the distinctions drawn between first and secondhand aren't legal ones. It's not just part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy."
Trump has said the whistleblower has no private knowledge. Their repeated claims led the independent watch dog for the Intelligence Community, the inspector general to issue a rare rebuke yesterday saying the whistleblower, quote, "had direct knowledge of certain alleged comment.
Congress Marc Veasey is with me, a Democrat from Texas. Last week announced his support for an impeachment inquiry.
Sir, thank you so much for joining us.
REP. MARC VEASEY (D-TX): Hey, Brianna..
KEILAR: I want to ask you about this whistleblower.
First, though, tell us about this decision you made to support impeachment. What was the thing that pushed you over the line?
VEASEY: I was very disturbed when I initially heard the reports that Trump may have, you know, tried to set up a quid pro quo with the Ukrainian government so sort of advance his own political career and make it easier for him to get reelected in 2020.
I thought that was reprehensible. I think he knowingly -- if this is true, I think he did it on purpose. Ifs I was in Ukraine probably three years ago, four years ago and one of the elected officials told us this is one of the most corrupt places in the world.
And surely Trump has been given security breaches and knew if he made that sort of deal with the Ukrainians, maybe they would bite on it because of the level of corruption there.
I'm very disturbed by that, and I thought personally just from what, again, I read and heard on Capitol Hill that it warranted an impeachment inquiry, and I stand by that.
KEILAR: Now to this whistleblower. The president is attacking the whistleblower, his supporters are attacking the whistleblower. Do you worry about the safety of the whistleblower?
VEASEY: Yes, I do worry about the safety of the whistleblower. You know, I worry about the mental stability of the president. He should know better than to try to attack a witness. He has called this whistleblower a spy. He said that they should be executed.
I'm like, really, Donald Trump, you think this person should be executed like you're a member of the mafia, like these are people that provided cement for your Trump tower back in the 1980s?
You shouldn't be taking a cue from the people that provided cement for Your Trump Tower. You should be upholding the Constitution of the United States of America. and we don't intimidate people and say they should be executed or killed because you think that it could cause you some sort of harm.
I think it's very dangerous. And regardless if you're a Democrat or Republican, that is the type of thing we should all collectively push back on. And I know Senator Grassley is apparently saying this whistleblower needs to be heard, and I'm glad that he is. That should be easy. KEILAR: Your colleague, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who is running
for president, says they should not be fundraising off of impeachment. Do you worry that their fundraising off of impeachment brings politics too much into what you all are trying to do in the House that might undercut the credibility of it?
VEASEY: I think that the Donald Trump campaign is running impeachment videos on Facebook nonstop. I think they've raised -- as soon as they put their 90-second video out, I want to say they raised about $8 million and they're looking on other social media platforms to do the same thing.
KEILAR: It doesn't bother you if Democrats do it?
VEASEY: My personal opinion is when you send things out on your campaign Web site or your campaign email that it can actually be used as a tool to inform people. They go to find knowledge.
So I think what members have been doing is fine. I haven't seen anything that would make me say it's inappropriate. I think things have been on par and informing our assistants with what is happening around the country.
KEILAR: Congressman Veasey, thank you for joining us today.
VEASEY: Thank you, Brianna.
KEILAR: Of course. Thanks for coming on.
Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, says Twitter should suspend the president's account. Can they even do that? We're going to take a look, next.
KEILAR: The pressure is mounting on President Trump as Democrats continue their speedy push for impeachment. And if his Twitter feed is a judge, the president is feeling the heat. He's on a Twitter tirade to rival previous tweets.
We have Daniel Dale to break it down.
You went through this, Daniel. What makes this unprecedented?
DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Brianna, just so many tweets. The president is spending more time talking to reporters. This is generally an unleashed version of Trump. and as part of the unleashedness, we've seen a dramatic increase of tweets he is tweeting. You see it here. One interesting thing is a lot of these are retweets. Trump
explicitly said retweets get him in trouble, but that hasn't stopped him. Up to about 800 tweets last month. About 300 of those were retweets.
His number two month was in May of this year. What happened just before that? Release of the Mueller report. It's always hard to get in the president's head, but it seems to be the case when feeling threatened or besieged he tweets a lot. Just a record, 240.
All top-five top weeks were this year. The number keeps rising and rising.
The number one day was May 1st. I went back and looked. What was happening May 1st? Why tweeting so much? Almost all were retweets, angry a fire fighter's union endorsed Joe Biden. So he retweeted more than 50 people criticizing that decision.
That's how we got our record
Daniel Dale, thank you for looking at that.
Meantime, Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Kamala Harris, said it may be time to get him off Twitter altogether following his tweets about the whistleblower.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA): His Twitter account should be suspended. I think there's plenty of now evidence to suggest that he is irresponsible with his words in a way that could result in harm to other people. So the privilege of using those words in that way should probably be taken from him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Let's talk about this now. Joining me is former federal prosecutor, Laura Coates.
Laura, could Twitter legally suspend the president's account on this basis that Harris is laying out?
COATES: They're a private company and can do what they like. They're not beholden to the First Amendment principles, give it and take it the way they see fit.
The thing about it, consistency. Twitter is under attack because of guidelines and rules, how to use the different streams and boards. They're able to do so in a way not consistent.
Remember last year Trump was under assault about Twitter. Talked about a nuclear button bigger than Kim Jong-Un's. This is advocating for a balance. Look in context what world leaders are talking about in the medium,
the president is politically impactful, about public opinion, and it's a concern that we'll give him latitude.
It may cross the line. They are a forum with a clear threat made to a particular person, not a theoretical or hypothetical, not one you have to look into semantics and innuendo about. A clear threat made, violation of their guidelines.
Again, they're the ultimate judge whether to take it off or not. Courts look at that issue, as a president you can't block people. You are the president, use it as your own podium to use.
KEILAR: Would be unbelievable for Twitter to block him just because of how this is his mouthpiece. Right? It would effectively be, he could go somewhere else. It's shutting down the way he communicates constantly.
COATES: The courts made it clear. The reason you can't block people, Mr. President, is because you have used this tool as a way to communicate with the people of the United States of America and entire globe and can't cut off that particular vein to some but not others. You are the federal government, head of the executive branch.
The same thought process used to say, why Twitter would say, listen, I can't cut off the president. It is his actual vehicle. Unfortunately, we all must follow it in a form or fashion because it is so impactful, and as do other nations.
KEILAR: Laura Coates, thank you.
New reporting just in on the whistleblower scandal. The secretary of state playing hardball with Democrats handing out subpoenas to State Department officials.
Also, the anatomy of a Trump conspiracy theory. We've noticed a pattern in all of his conspiracies.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi, there. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me.
The story today, in Washington, the congressional recess seems to be code for anything.