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Pompeo, Democrats Accuse Each Other of Witness Intimidation, as Secretary of State Stalls Letting Officials Talk to Congress; Sources: Trump's Former Ukraine Envoy Still Plans to Appear at Deposition Thursday, Despite Pompeo Letter; Top GOP Senator Breaks With Trump to Support Whistleblower, Says "Uninformed Speculation" By Politicians "Doesn't Serve the Country. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired October 1, 2019 - 17:00   ET


[17:00:15] BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news, Pompeo stonewalls. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is refusing to let state department officials mentioned in the whistleblower complaint talk to Congress, saying they're being intimidated, bullied, and treated improperly.

Tonight, democratic house committee chairs are firing back saying it's Pompeo who was intimidating witnesses. But we just learned one key official is set to be deposed this week.

Rudy's representation. The President's personal attorney lawyers up, Rudy Giuliani hiring a former Watergate prosecutor after being subpoenaed but he won't say if he's going to comply with Democrats' demands for documents arguing attorney/client privilege.

Uninformed speculation. The powerful former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee comes out swinging against President Trump and others attacking the whistleblower. Republican Chuck Grassley saying the person needs to be protected and the "uninformed speculation" by politicians doesn't serve the country.

And under the surface. As the U.S. and North Korea commit to reopen talks next week, new images show what appears to be a giant new North Korean submarine capable of carrying nuclear missiles. Is this Kim Jong-un's secret weapon? Wolf Blitzer is off today. I'm Brianna Keilar, you're in The Situation Room.

We have breaking news this hour in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. His secretary of state and the House panel investigating the President are locked in a standoff over depositions of key state department officials mentioned in the whistleblower complaint against Mr. Trump.

The Secretary Mike Pompeo and the Democratic Committee Chairman each accuse the other of witness intimidation but CNN has learned one key official who resigned last week former U.S. special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker is still planning to appear at his deposition Thursday possibly shedding new light on the administration's efforts to have Ukraine look for dirt on President Trump's political opponent Joe Biden and his son. We're going to talk about this breaking news and more with Congressman Ro Khanna of the oversight and Armed Services Committee and our correspondents and analysts are also standing by.

First let's go to CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins. And Kaitlan, the Secretary of State suggests he won't let several state department officials be deposed by Congress right now but CNN's learned that one of them who resigned Friday is planning to talk anyway.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Pompeo delivering that broadside to House Democrats but what we're learning is that someone who at the certainty of all of this is expected to give his deposition this week, that is Kurt Volker. He's the former special envoy to Ukraine but he resigned last week after he got caught in the middle of the scandal over the President's phone call with the Ukrainian president. He still is expected to go on Thursday but now, Brianna, the question is going to be how much he'll say and whether or not the White House will try to limit or block it.



COLLINS: Tonight Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is following President Trump's lead. Accusing Democrats with questions about Ukraine of trying to intimidate and bully state department officials into giving rushed depositions. The Secretary of State writing in a letter, I will not tolerate such tactics.

The three democratic chairs fired back quickly. Saying Pompeo should immediately cease intimidating department witnesses in order to protect himself and the President. Secretary Pompeo's actions also coming under scrutiny from someone who once held his job.

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The Secretary of State's job is to make sure that he knows, number one, what the president's going to say on those calls.

COLLINS: CNN has confirmed Pompeo was listening in when Trump pressured Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, even though he seemed surprised by a question about those conversations just days ago.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: So you just gave me a report about a -- a whistleblower complaint, none of which I've seen.

COLLINS: As Trump maintains his call was perfect, the Ukrainian President is distancing himself from the man at the center of it all.


COLLINS: As the impeachment inquiry heats up, Trump is keeping his focus on the whistleblower insisting he's entitled to interview the person who started the investigation. The President is questioning the identity of the whistleblower and his allies are questioning their motives.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: What is going on here? Why did they change the rules about a whistleblower, you can use hearsay when you could not just weeks before the complaint.

[17:05:00] REP. JIM JORDAN (R), OHIO: He had no firsthand knowledge --

RUDY GIULIANI, TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: He is giving them hearsay evidence.

COLLINS: But none of what they said is true. According to Trump's own intelligence community inspector general, who in a rare pushback said the official had some firsthand knowledge and none of the rules to be a whistleblower have changed.

Republican Senator Chuck Grassley chairs the whistleblower protection caucus and he broke with Trump today when he said the official ought to be heard and protected.

One official still in the President's corner is attorney General Bill Barr who in recent months has pressed multiple foreign leaders for help as he investigates the origins of the Russia investigation, following Trump's orders from May.

TRUMP: And I hope he looks at the U.K, and I hope he looks at Australia, and I hope he looks at Ukraine. I hope he looks at everything.


COLLINS: Now, Brianna, we should note that Pompeo's clash with the Democrats is coming while he's overseas in Italy today where he was refusing to answer questions from reporters about the role he's played in all of this.

KEILAR: Kaitlan Collins at the White House. Thank you so much for that report.

And now let's get to Capitol Hill and CNN's Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju. And Manu, despite what we heard today from Secretary Pompeo, Congress could still hear from key players outlined in the whistleblower complaint?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Yeah, because there were five individuals who were scheduled to testify under the Democrats' schedule for the individuals about this week and next week, current and former officials and already, yeah, we're hear and expect a very significant development with Kurt Volker, the Former U.S. Envoy to Ukraine going to come on Thursday to be deposed, expected to be behind closed doors.

Now this is significant because he is mentioned by that whistleblower about having knowledge about what Rudy Giuliani was involved with in trying to urge Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens and in a development just moments ago, I was told by committee sources that they did reach a deal for the former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to come before the House Committee next week. Thus, she was supposed to come tomorrow.

So by that it also could potentially be a significant development depending on what they are ultimately able to divulge but nevertheless while this standoff is occurring, while Democrats are warning that any efforts to obstruct the investigation could be used as cited in the articles of impeachment as impeachable offense at least are getting some level of cooperation from at least current and former officials. We'll see what role the state department had behind the scenes in facilitating at least one of this interview requests but ultimately Democrats were trying to get information, we'll see if they learn anything new here, Brianna.

KEILAR: And Manu, as you heard Kaitlan report, Senator Grassley is breaking with the President here. He says, the whistleblower deserves to be heard. This is pretty significant.

RAJU: Yeah, this is the most senior Republicans in the Senate and the former judiciary chairman and senior member of that committee, someone who is advocated for whistleblower protections for some time. I asked him about this actually last week and last week he said that he wanted the whistleblower to talk to him. He wanted to review the situation further but after reviewing this and hearing the President continually going after this whistleblower, enough was enough for this chairman, the former chairman of the judiciary committee issuing that lengthy statement rebuking attacks against the whistleblower, and being careful not to go after the President himself, not naming the President in that name but defending the whistleblower and that is going much further, Brianna, than most Republicans who have criticized the whistleblower contending this is all hearsay and secondhand information which is been disputed by the intelligence community's inspector general but Grassley siding with a lot of Democrats and saying the whistleblower did the right thing, spoke -- did follow the proper protocol and of course the President's acting director of national intelligence also has agreed with that assessment as well, Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, Manu Raju, thank you. And let's get more now on all of this with Ro Khanna, Democratic Congressman and a member of the house oversight committee and the armed services committee. Sir, thanks for being with us.

REP. RO KHANNA (D), OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Thanks for having me on, Brianna.

KEILAR: Democrats are accusing Secretary Pompeo of trying to shield some of the potential witnesses at the State Department. He said that doing so would be illegal and will constitute evidence of obstruction. How far are Democrats willing to go to force Pompeo's cooperation here?

KHANNA: Well Secretary Pompeo is just stonewalling and delaying and we aren't going to put up with those tactics. I mean he was on the phone call where Trump compromised our national security. Democrats are going to move ahead with getting the State Department witnesses and frankly we should subpoena Secretary Pompeo to understand why he didn't speak up or sound the alarm after the inappropriate conversation with Zelensky.

KEILAR: So what does that entail moving ahead?

KHANNA: Well, as you have already reported, we're going to be having the deposition for one of the witnesses, the special envoy to Ukraine, we'll get his understanding of why Rudy Giuliani was involved in sensitive national security negotiations with Ukraine. And we're going to continue to enforce the deposition requests on the State Department employees. They will be in violation of the law if they do not comply.

[17:10:19] KEILAR: Pompeo is saying that you, Congress, Democrats, you're rushing the process and these officials need more time to prepare. You seem pretty skeptical. Do you think they're running out the clock?

KHANNA: They are. They know that the facts aren't on their side. They know that there has been an abuse of power and so they're trying to delay. They're trying to obfuscate and they're trying to attack anyone else to deflect attention. The problem is that there is a smoking gun here. And that smoking gun is that the President himself has admitted that he sought political dirt from Zelensky. He doesn't think there is anything wrong with it. He calls it perfect. But the reality is most Americans think it is a gross abuse of power in the constitution.

KEILAR: When you do hear from Kurt Volker, the former Special Envoy to Ukraine, he's still planning to appear at this deposition despite this letter from Pompeo, I know there is a lot, you just talked about what you wanted to learn from him, how forthcoming do you think he's going to be as a witness?

KHANNA: I think it's in his interest to be as forthcoming as possible to save his own reputation, career and to avoid criminal exposure. The question he has to answer to the American people is why was he subverting the process, why is he allowing the President's personal lawyer to have meetings with senior advisers to the President of Ukraine? We have these processes for a reason. And that is because we have a president of the United States, not a king. These processes are to check any president's power. And here you have allegations that the envoy was subverting all of the processes and he owes the American people an explanation why he did that.

KEILAR: What should he have done?

KHANNA: Well, he should have pushed back and said I don't understand why the President's personal lawyer is involved in foreign policy and why don't we go through the process and talk to Secretary Pompeo and have the appropriate process for diplomacy and he apparently didn't do that. I mean, or maybe he'll testify that he did push back and he was overruled in which case he would have evidence to exonerate him but further implicate the administration. KEILAR: There are these other witnesses, there's four other witnesses who were inside of the State Department that Congress wants to talk to. You are going to get Volker, you're not going to get the other four at this point in time, is there information that you think you'll be missing because you're not speaking to these other four?

KHANNA: Well, I don't think there is information missing about the President's conduct. It's pretty clear that he sought political dirt from a foreign leader and that that's an abuse of office. What we will be missing is who else was involved. Was there a cover-up? Who decided that the President's conversation should be put in a secure classified recorder and took that step? So those are the things that we still need to find out.

KEILAR: All right, Congressman Ro Khanna, thank you for joining us. We really appreciate it.

KHANNA: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: And stay with us for more on our breaking news. The Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo and congressional Democrats trade accusations of witness intimidation and bullying. Will a former special envoy to Ukraine honor his commitment to answer questions Thursday?


[17:18:21] KEILAR: We have some breaking news. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and House Democrats feud over this request for testimony from State Department officials in the Trump impeachment inquiry. CNN has learned the President's former Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker still plans to appear for questioning on Thursday. So let's talk all of this over with our political and national security experts.

OK. So, Jim Baker, Democrats are saying that Secretary Pompeo's attempts here to shield the State Department officials from depositions are "illegal" and will constitute evidence of obstruction. What do you say?

JIM BAKER, FORMER FBI GENERAL COUNSEL: I think that's a little strong. I mean, just reading the four corners of the Secretary's letter from yesterday or today, that seems a bit much to me. He -- I think they opened the door by making some significant demands on timeliness and how things are going to happen in trying to exclude agency counsel from these depositions, and it opened the door for him to make claims that there were something wrong with the process and he's trying to comply but you're being unreasonable.

So I think it's -- look, I think Congress has to be diligent. I think they shouldn't be alarmist yet about what the Secretary is doing, but they need to keep the pressure on and get the information that they need. And he's going to, I would expect, resist at every turn.

KEILAR: So you've seen Democrats open the door for some of this?

BAKER: I think so. Yes, I think so. And allowing him to make some of these procedural arguments that he's been able to make.

KEILAR: Gloria, what do you make of this aggressive tone that House Democrats have struck in response?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, he's pushing right back. I mean, he's just going to push them right back. He accused them in words using intimidate, bully, and treat improperly the distinguished professionals at the State Department. So -- and then they respond and say, well, we're not trying to do that, you're trying to intimidate us and the more you do this, the more we're going to say this is obstruction. And so, they have to figure out a way to deal with this because they want to get the information. I think that's your point, too.

[17:20:18] BAKER: That's what they need.

BORGER: You know --

BAKER: They need the information.

BORGER: They need the information. So having these kinds of fights, really, these are initial skirmishes and hopefully they'll get beyond that and be able to get people up there. But they are pushing because they want to get this done really quickly.

KEILAR: But can they get beyond it to the information, Sabrina, because we've seen this time and again with the Trump administration stonewalling and it's quite effective for them?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: It was certainly effective when it came to the Russia investigation and the Mueller report. I think it's of little doubt that the White House is going to similarly try and stonewall a lot of these requests from Congressional Democrats. And as you pointed out, the argument that you've heard from Democrats is, well, this strengthens our case for obstruction of justice. But that's more of a political messaging point. It doesn't really get at the underlying issue, which is that they want to get their hands on these witnesses and these documents.

I think much like the Russia investigation, some of this may well wind up in the courts, but that's a very long and drawn out process and Democrats still have an appetite to try and wrap up this inquiry fairly quickly so that it doesn't loom over the upcoming election. But I do think there's a possibility because, clearly, this has struck a very different cord within the administration. And as far as the President's conduct is concerned that there may be other officials who might be willing to be forthcoming because this is in, as it was with the Russia investigation, just the President's inner circle.

You mentioned Kurt Volker, for example, who resigned and is still poised to appear before members of Congress. There may be other officials who decide that this is a tipping point or that they simply can't just put their head down and ignore it, that they may well want to tell their story because without these -- without being able to reach these witnesses, Democrats also want to have a clear picture of who was involved and perhaps trying to cover up the allegations. KEILAR: And --

BORGER: How about Pompeo being on the call?

KEILAR: I know. Well, that was pretty stunning.


KEILAR: But, Bianna, I wonder if you think -- you're saying they want to get to the underlying issue but they'll say there's obstruction if they are held off, right? I wonder if it's enough just to claim obstruction. Look at where House leadership was on the Mueller report. There was an open question about obstruction. I mean, Bill Barr shut that down, but clearly the Mueller report left that open.

On the issue of cooperation, there wasn't. And that was shut down. And that wasn't compelling enough for Democratic leadership to say, yes, this really works. I wonder without kind of that piece which they're probably hoping Kurt Volker may provide some insight on, I wonder if this is really that effective to convince voters?

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, it will be interesting to hear from Kurt Volker. He was a career diplomat. I was actually surprised, like many others that have followed his career, to see that he was involved in this whistle-blower memo throughout this process trying to facilitate meetings for Rudy Giuliani with Ukrainian officials.

Now obviously, we're going to hear more from him tomorrow if he does testify behind closed doors. He's got a career long reputation. He has been respected by members of Congress and diplomats from both sides of the aisle. So whatever his role in this, we'll going to hear more about it tomorrow. Maybe it was just hoping that whatever it is, even if it's something that he believed to be untoward, if it would help facilitate what the Ukrainians needed maybe he thought that was worth doing. Perhaps he did speak out and said something to Mike Pompeo.

I don't want to put words into his mouth. We're going to find out more from him tomorrow, but it's clear that he is now a private citizen. He resigned. He hasn't objected to speaking out, and it's interesting to see Mike Pompeo seemingly defend these five officials saying that they are being harassed in and intimidated. We don't seem to be hearing that from someone like Kurt Volker who right now, as we mentioned, is a private citizen and is willing and wanting to testify perhaps to protect his own reputation.

KEILAR: How worried should Rudy Giuliani be about this Kurt Volker testimony, do you think?

BAKER: It seems like he's worried enough to hire an attorney just to represent him, so that was something we learned just in the last day or so. And so I think he has exposed himself in very strange ways to a lot of different potential investigative avenues, just because of the volume of his activities in Ukraine and the number of times he's appeared on the media. So I think he's probably nervous about it. KEILAR: His exposure is broad at this point in time. All right. We have a whole lot to talk about, including some Republicans who are not siding with President Trump. We'll discuss that when we get back.


[17:29:52] KEILAR: And we are back now with our political and national security experts. Let's talk about Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

He didn't attack the President by name, right, but he had some tough words, clearly, for Trump in a new statement.

He said, no one should be making judgments or pronouncements without hearing from the whistleblower first and carefully following up on the facts. Uninformed speculation wielded by politicians or media commentators as a partisan weapon is counterproductive and doesn't serve the country.

He also said that the whistleblower appears to have followed protection laws ought to be heard, so -- and he -- and he also was saying -- he was also debunking this idea of --


KEILAR: -- hearsay, right? And saying, this has nothing to do with this. This is basically just a terrible argument they're making. How significant is this from him?

BORGER: I think it's really significant. This is the man who is most responsible for the whistleblower laws and for fine-tuning those laws over the years. And he made it very clear the distinctions being drawn between first and secondhand knowledge are not legal ones. It's not just a part of whistleblower protection law or any agency policy, period.

So take that, Lindsey Graham. When Lindsey Graham is saying, oh, this is all hearsay. And, first of all, the Inspector General said, by the way, that it wasn't all hearsay.

But even if you put that aside, what you have this Republican Committee Chairman saying is, even if it were all hearsay, you still have to listen to this whistleblower, and you have to protect this whistleblower. So take that, Donald Trump.

KEILAR: Jim, you are former general counsel of the FBI. And this comes as no surprise for you because you have had a little experience dealing with Senator Grassley.

JIM BAKER, FORMER GENERAL COUNSEL, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Plenty of experience at the FBI and the DOJ, dealing with letters -- very sharp and harsh letters from Senator Grassley on a number of different topic -- different topics, especially on whistleblowers.

He's always been a strong advocate of whistleblowers and conducting very aggressive oversight of agencies in terms of how they handled individual cases, policies, procedures, so I give him full credit for putting out what I thought was a very strong statement today to sort of clear the air. And to me, this is completely consistent with his philosophy with respect to whistleblowers, and I'm glad he did it.

KEILAR: Bianna, you have Grassley, but, I mean, Grassley is just one of really a few Republicans who has either just not come out and supported the President -- you have some people who are just -- they're not saying anything yet. I think they're -- they want to see which way the wind blows. But there's only a few Republicans who've come out and broken with the President. Is that enough?

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Not yet, Brianna, but it also -- it's also telling to see where we are as a nation, where you only have someone like Senator Grassley come out and say what all senators should say regardless of where they feel about whether or not they have seen enough evidence, that the whistleblower deserves to have his or her protection served.

And this is something that, clearly, you don't want to see a precedent being set going forward for future whistleblowers who might see what's playing out right now and say, you know what, I have a legitimate concern that I was going to follow the proper channels as well but seeing what's playing out right now, I may have second thoughts about that.

You've seen the fallout from Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning. You've seen, throughout all of that period, officials say, had they followed the proper whistleblower statutes, that we wouldn't be in a situation where we were with Snowden and Manning.

And yet, now, we're in a situation where the whistleblower did follow the proper procedures, and you have the President, seemingly every few hours, coming out, talking about the whistleblower in a very intimidating fashion. So something that we heard from Senator Grassley is something one would expect during normal times that we hear from all senators.

KEILAR: Does he sway other Republicans, Sabrina?

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: Well, he's the senior-most Republican in the Senate. And I do think that it undermines the talking points that you're seeing perpetuated by the President and some of his allies trying to dismiss, outright, the whistleblower's complaint as hearsay because the obvious follow-up question is, well, what about what Senator Chuck Grassley had to say about it?

And you also heard Senator Susan Collins, who is one of the more vulnerable Republican incumbents, speak out against the President's attacks on those who spoke to the whistleblower and his efforts to undermine them or criticize them as spies.

And so, I do think you're hearing from a growing number of Republicans who are concerned with the ways in which the President has responded to the allegations and particularly tried to intimidate the whistleblower and possibly other witnesses. I think we're a long way -- ways away, though, from, you know, a

significant number of Republicans who would actually vote to remove the President from office.


SIDDIQUI: And right now, they're simply asking questions, but you do see somewhat of a divide in how the people have decided to treat the President's tone.

KEILAR: What would it take for Republicans to be swayed? Or have they looked back at sort of the Clinton impeachment versus Nixon deciding not to ride it out and they have said, actually, you know, if you just hang in there, you're probably going to be OK, even though you weather a major storm?


BORGER: Right.

KEILAR: You're probably going to be able to stay in the White House.

BORGER: Right. And we don't know. I think if -- you know, not to be too cynical about this, but I think if the President's popularity goes down and down and down, I think that could sway --

KEILAR: Or the economy drags.

BORGER: Yes, or the economy. I think that could sway some Republicans. Look, this is a story that's really unraveling in real- time, and I think there are a lot of senators, and House members, too, who want to sort of sit back and say, OK, what's the testimony of these State Department officials?

Were there other documents that were kind of deep-sixed in this special file that -- what else did the President say that maybe he shouldn't have said? I mean, we don't know -- yes, we don't know the answers to these questions. What did Mike Pence know about this? So there's a whole lot more questions.

And so, I think the senators don't get the first bite of the apple here, so they're sitting -- you know, they're sitting back. And there are some of them who have come out and said, yes, yes, this is troubling, like Mitt Romney. But do I expect there to be some kind of a stampede of Republicans, all of a sudden, taking on Donald Trump? No, I don't.

KEILAR: Is this --


KEILAR: Yes, go on, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Well, I was just going to say what could be a tactic, and Gloria sort of alluded to it, for the Republicans is the stonewalling, is the stalling. It seemed to work during the Mueller investigation, the Russia investigation.

We would get a daily barrage of breaking news where you would seem to hear relentlessly from Democrats, Republicans' backs were against the wall. And yet, as time went on, other news entered the fold and the temperature lowered for the President and for Republicans.

And perhaps that's what they're doing right now, especially with the letter that we saw from Mike Pompeo pushing some of these testimonies next week or sometime down the future, hoping that, once other news may enter the mix, that the Democrats won't be on top of the situation seemingly as they are right now.

KEILAR: Bianna, Jim, Gloria, Sabrina, thank you so much to all of you for this discussion.

And coming up, a verdict in the racially charged murder trial of a White policewoman who says she mistakenly walked into her Black neighbor's apartment, thought the neighbor was an intruder in her own apartment and shot and killed him.



KEILAR: A Dallas jury convicted a White ex-policewoman today of murder in the shooting death of her Black neighbor. There were stifled cheers and applause in the courtroom when the judge read the verdict.


JUDGE TAMMY KEMP, DALLAS COUNTY 204TH DISTRICT COURT, TEXAS: We, the jury, unanimously find the defendant, Amber Guyger, guilty of murder as charged in the indictment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oops, no outbursts.

KEMP: No outbursts.


KEILAR: Now, Amber Guyger says she walked into her neighbor's apartment by mistake and shot him to death in the dark without asking questions because she thought he was an intruder.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is joining us from Dallas where the case has drawn national attention. This was surprising, and tell us about it.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Brianna. Well, it was a stunning verdict. Even those people who had been calling for the murder charge in this case admit that they -- they were stunned by this verdict.

And Botham Jean's family -- the 26-year-old accountant who was murdered by his neighbor, a former Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, his family and his mother threw her arms up in relief. Family members were sobbing inside the courtroom. Outside the courtroom, there were cheers that could be heard inside, Amber Guyger convicted of murder.

And one of the things that really played into all of this was Amber Guyger's demeanor the night of the shooting and the moments right after. Prosecutors really hammered away at the fact that she did not do enough to try to save Botham Jean's life, that she simply could have retreated in that situation.

She says she heard someone's loud shuffling behind the doorway as she started opening -- to open the door and that she feared for her life. They still maintain this is all a mistake.

But the sentencing phase now begins here in Dallas and Amber Guyger faces anywhere between five years and life in prison. The sentencing phase started just a few hours ago. And the first person to testify before this jury was Botham Jean's mother who was very emotional.


ALISON JEAN, MOTHER OF BOTHAM JEAN: My life has not been the same. It's just been like a rollercoaster. I cannot sleep. I cannot eat. It's just been the most terrible time. He died a few days before his 27th birthday.


LAVANDERA: And really, the prosecutors here putting family members up there to paint Botham Jean as a beacon of light in his community. They highlighted the charity work and the people that he helped, the surprise visits that he had made to visit his mother in various places that she would come and visit here in the United States. They described in detail that emotional loss that they are still grappling with.

And what, Brianna, is really still very stunning about all this is that the jury could have convicted on a lesser charge of manslaughter. And if you ask a lot of lawyers and people who have been following this case, I think many people anticipated that that's what might have been the more likely outcome if Amber Guyger hadn't been acquitted. But the shocking news here today is that this former Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, convicted of murder -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Ed Lavandera, thank you so much for that report.

Coming up, new satellite images raise disturbing questions about Kim Jong-un's military capabilities. Is the North Korean dictator about to deploy a submarine capable of launching nuclear weapons?




KEILAR: After an eight-month stall, denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea are set to resume next week. This comes amid new concerns about North Korea's nuclear threat and a new addition to its arsenal.

CNN's Brian Todd is working this story for us. And, Brian, the Kim regime appears to be working on a new secret project.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brian, they are obsessed with secrecy over this project. Tonight, we have some new information, new satellite pictures of a facility where Kim could be on the verge of launching a weapon that he believes will give him an edge over his adversaries.


TODD (voice-over): Tonight, there are chilling new indications that Kim Jong-un could soon deploy a nuclear-capable submarine, one that would pose a significant new threat to the United States. Just as American and North Korean diplomats announce they are poised to reopen talks, setting the stage for another possible summit between Kim Jong- un and Donald Trump.


TODD (voice-over): Experts say these satellite pictures suggest North Korea could be on the verge of launching this, a hulking, missile- ready sub, which Kim was recently photographed inspecting. The new photos come from the Middlebury Institute, which says it observed the North Koreans building a tent longer than a football field at the Sinpo South Naval Shipyard, near where the sub is being built.

DAVID SCHMERLER, SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES AT MONTEREY: If they want to load it with a ballistic missile, if they need to do minor deck alterations, all this activity can happen under this netting, and we won't be able to see it.

TODD (voice-over): Kim successfully test-fired a ballistic missile from a smaller submarine in 2016, a ship that, expert says, could hold one nuclear-tipped missile. This larger sub, they say, is more dangerous.

ANKIT PANDA, SENIOR EDITOR, THE DIPLOMAT: This submarine does appear to be capable of carrying multiple ballistic missiles, possibly as many as three or four. And once they build this and they build it out, I fully expect that they'll continue building submarines like this.

TODD (voice-over): CNN and outside experts have been tracking the development of the new submarine and the activity at the shipyard for months. A top Pentagon official recently told CNN North Korea is continuing to modernize its military.

TODD (on camera): What concerns you about the development of that submarine?

RANDALL SCHRIVER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR ASIAN AND PACIFIC SECURITY AFFAIRS: Well, you know, if you -- if you extrapolate far enough, they're looking to -- for a capability that makes them a more potent adversary.

TODD (voice-over): Analysts say Kim has about 70 submarines, most of which are old, slow, and loud, but the regime has used the fleet to deadly effect. In 2010, a North Korean submarine torpedoed the South Korean Navy ship, the Cheonan, killing more than 40 sailors.

Experts say these new subs give Kim the ability to launch nuclear missiles that would be harder to detect in advance and which could threaten American bases and change the dictator's behavior.

ADAM MOUNT, SENIOR FELLOW AND THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEFENSE POSTURE PROJECT, FEDERATION OF AMERICAN SCIENTISTS: North Korea's nuclear forces are advancing very rapidly now. They're providing Kim Jong-un with an additional measure of security and may cause him to behave more assertively relative to his neighbors.

TODD (voice-over): Tonight, that concern doesn't seem to be stopping the U.S. or North Korea, which announced today that so-called working- level talks between officials just under Trump and Kim will restart within days. Something Donald Trump's former national security adviser who left the White House just three weeks ago has warned about, saying the North Korean dictator is secretly building his weapons stockpile at the same time he's talking peace.

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Every day that goes by makes North Korea a more dangerous country.


TODD: Neither the White House nor the Pentagon are commenting on these new satellite photos of that shipyard. Tonight, experts say there are other indications that Kim Jong-un is taking steps to develop that submarine threat. They say, very close to this shipyard and the facility where the new sub was being built, Kim's regime is constructing a new training center for a new generation of North Korean submariners -- Brianna.

KEILAR: And so, how can the U.S. immediately counter this new submarine threat?

TODD: Not easy, Brianna. Military analysts telling us the allies are going to have to put more spy planes in the air, more ships and other underwater sensors in the Pacific Ocean to try to detect and intercept those North Korean submarines. That's going to be difficult, expensive. It could provoke China and Russia into being more aggressive in the Pacific Ocean, but the allies really may have no choice at this point. They're going to have to deploy more assets out there.

KEILAR: All right. Brian Todd, thank you so much.

We have our breaking news continuing next. A standoff in the impeachment inquiry as the Secretary of State stonewalls House Democrats trying to depose key State Department officials. And now, we're learning one former official is expected to appear before lawmakers this week.



KEILAR: Happening now, who is intimidating whom? The Secretary of State pushes back at impeachment investigators, claiming they're trying to bully State Department officials into testifying about the Ukraine scandal. Tonight, Democrats say it's Mike Pompeo who is trying to intimidate witnesses as we're learning one key figure still plans to answer questions.

Lawyering up. Rudy Giuliani just hired a former Watergate prosecutor to represent him as the impeachment probe heats up. Will Mr. Trump's personal attorney comply with or defy a House subpoena?


Counterproductive. The Senate's most senior Republican rebukes the President for attacking the whistleblower who exposed the Ukraine scandal. Will other GOP lawmakers focus -- or, pardon me, follow Chuck Grassley's lead?