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President Trump In Meltdown Mode; A Reporter Was Insulted While Throwing A Question To President Trump; Rudy Giuliani Claims Documents Came From Him; Allies Listed To Help A.G. Bill Barr; Whistleblower Went To House Intel Committee For Guidance Before Filing Complaint; Giuliani Documents Were Given To Mike Pompeo Via White House; Sources Say Trump Told Advisers He Could Get Leaders Of U.K., Australia, To Work With Barr On Russia Investigation. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired October 2, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: This is about the president. He says the market is falling because of impeachment. There is no proof of that. You see no analyst on the street who are respected saying that.
America's factories just suffered their worst month in a decade due, in part, to the ongoing trade war with China. Keep an eye on this. It's of the president's making.
"CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, this is what we need right now. This is what the president needs right now. You know what that is?
CUOMO: Sound of silence?
LEMON: He needs to sit in a room and just be quiet, and just be quiet because he is -- what's the word I want to -- I'm not a psychiatrist. I'm not going to say anything that has anything to do with medical --
CUOMO: You're not?
CUOMO: Why have I been calling you doctor all this --
LEMON: He's running in circles. Let's put it that way. He's just running. He's just running. His mind is just going. He's spinning and spinning and spinning and spinning, and he doesn't know what to do.
And I think if he just sat and used his quiet for just a couple moments every day, he might have some sort of epiphany or at least some sort of clarity about what he should do and where he should go from here because I don't think he realizes the gravity of what he is facing. And he keeps spinning himself in, digging himself in deeper and deeper
and deeper. The erratic behavior that I saw today, if I -- if you did anything close to that, I'd be on the phone with Ms. Matilda and Ms. Christina, and I would say, we need to have a talk with Chris. He should not be on television anymore. What are we going to do about it? Do you disagree with me?
CUOMO: I think they feel like that already. I think he is doing exactly what he knows how to do, what he was taught how to do.
LEMON: That doesn't mean it's right.
CUOMO: No, no, no. There's no question about whether or not it's a proper mode for him to be in as anybody, let alone president of the United States. But you're only going to see more of this, not less.
What he said to Brian Karem back a little while ago about impeachment is who he is. Compartmentalize, no. You come at me, that's it. That's who he is. He will attack everybody who he sees as a threat just like Roy Cohn told him to do, just like he's done his entire life. He doesn't always win, but this is what he does.
And we know one thing for sure. There is no man or woman around him that can make him do anything different. All we'll see is who decides to fall in line and get in step with what he is going to launch, which is going to be a war on anybody who says he did anything wrong.
LEMON: What he did today with Jeff -- forgive me, Jeff. What's his last name from Reuters? He was having --
CUOMO: Weaver, Mason? What was that guy's name?
LEMON: That guy's a saint because had he said, no, no, stop talking to me. Ask him a question. Like who do you think you are? The president. But who do you think you are? Seriously. You don't tell reporters which question to ask and who to ask a question to.
And on top of that, when I -- when I -- today I just -- I cannot believe every single day how we are devolving into insanity, and there are people who are making excuses for it and who are trying to normalize it.
Did you ever think you would hear the president of the United States in the White House, in the West Wing, refer to an athletic supporter -- I'm not talking about a person, but a strap? It's not a bad word. It's not a bad word.
CUOMO: Of all the things you said on TV, jock strap? LEMON: A jock strap. That was -- right.
CUOMO: Of all the things you've called me on television --
LEMON: I didn't call you a word one day.
CUOMO: -- that is too far.
LEMON: But refer to a jock strap in the Oval Office? Like, come on, man.
CUOMO: Are you kidding? You remember what he said about Megyn Kelly and women when he was --
LEMON: Yes. He was on the show when he said it. He said it on the show.
CUOMO: This is who he is, and he is rewarded for it by those who believe.
LEMON: I hope they're proud.
CUOMO: Listen, it's not about proud. You know why? They don't expect anything better from politics. You know, that is the irony here is that this president is acting in a way that anybody would think is completely terrible if he weren't in politics.
But because it's politics and people are so low -- but I don't see it as trying to make sanity out of crazy. I think that people need to see this for what it is, and I think that ultimately the hope is that it brings out the best.
LEMON: I don't --
CUOMO: It has to bring out the best because that's what this process is supposed to recognize.
LEMON: I hope so. I just -- I don't see it. And he is so -- he's so aggrieved. and do you realize he's putting that whole like aggrievement out into society, and there's people who should have no reason to be aggrieved, he's making them feel they're aggrieved in some way and that they owed in some way.
CUOMO: Look, it's true.
LEMON: But let me just say this.
CUOMO: It's true.
LEMON: But he's so aggrieved because he's the president of the United States and people are covering him fairly and putting his own words out there, exactly what he said on the phone call, which by the way is not -- you know, it's not exact. He says, it's comment for comment. It's not that. But does he remember how many subpoenas Darrell Issa and his group issued --
LEMON: There's hundreds.
CUOMO: He does not.
LEMON: Does he remember the Benghazi investigations?
CUOMO: No, he does not.
LEMON: But he thinks he's the only person, the only president in the history of this country who has had criticism from the media and from the opposing party.
CUOMO: No. He's just the only one he's ever cared about. I mean that's what -- you know, I'm not saying that as a criticism. I'm saying it as a point of fact.
LEMON: Yes, you're right.
CUOMO: About who the president is as a person. He cares about himself first and last. And we see like tonight I had one of his supporters debating tonight. She was like, you know, you got to give him the benefit of context. The way he uses that phrase, he uses it differently.
LEMON: No, I saw her.
CUOMO: I said give me one example. No examples. So that's his big problem here. It's not just style. It's substance. He couldn't answer a question today from Mason about what he wanted Ukraine to do with Biden, and he knows why he can't answer it, because any answer is bad for him.
So, he's not going to answer the question. And the people who are trying to defend him, they've got themselves into an impossible position where they want people to believe that Biden is bad for doing exactly what we know this president did.
LEMON: What everybody want -- but Biden did what everybody in the western world wanted him to do.
CUOMO: Look, 100 percent. I had one of the guys, part of the administration on last night who said, you know, all due respect to the V.P, he's taking all this credit for what he did. He was just like one part of our whole --
CUOMO: -- thing that we wanted to do along with -- I'm saying taken at its best, if you're a Trump supporter, you want to believe Biden's bad, you must also believe this president is bad because he did exactly what you're accusing Biden of.
And I think that the mistake for him is to fight all the people. It makes him look worse and worse. And that's why the argument tonight, if he took a page from the Clinton book and went to them and said you want to do guns, fine, let's do it. Let's do it right now. And he meant it, not just like what he said to Pelosi just to try to avoid impeachment.
I think that would start him on a better path. And it worked for Clinton. It could work for him as well.
LEMON: Yes. Well, don't hold your breath.
CUOMO: Really? But you think he's going to take a moment of calm and meditate? That you as a logical thing of where we should go.
LEMON: OK. Well, I'm tired. I need some coffee or something. OK. Thank you, Chris. See you later.
I got a lot to talk about. We have some breaking news that we needed to discuss tonight and it's about the impeachment inquiry, the one that has the president of the United States in full meltdown mode.
Tonight, just tonight's latest headlines, OK, there is of course Rudy Giuliani telling CNN that he was the source for some of the documents that the State Department's inspector general gave to Congress today.
The source says that Giuliani gave those documents with unproven allegations about Joe Biden and his son to the White House, and then the White House passed them along to the office of the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Giuliani says Pompeo called him and said they would investigate.
And there's some breaking news tonight on more of the president's calls with foreign leaders. More.
Sources are telling CNN he told his advisers that he thought that he could enlist Britain's Boris Johnson and Australia's Scott Morrison to work with Bill Barr as the attorney general looks for information on the origins of the Russia investigation.
That as a source is telling CNN TONIGHT that the president's Ukraine mess is worrying the vice president's team and causing concern over exactly where he stands with his boss, who has reportedly been cagey and private about keeping Pence on the ticket. Trouble in paradise maybe.
All that as the special envoy -- the former special envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, a diplomat who was reportedly never fully on the Trump train, is set to appear tomorrow before the congressional -- three congressional committees.
Now, remember, he resigned just last week. A State Department source tells CNN that they know that they can't stop him from testifying. However much they want to, they can't do it.
And as the impeachment inquiry spreads here and around the world, there is deep concern over all this in Trump world. Aides say the president hasn't grasped the enormity, the enormity of what he could be facing, what's ahead for him in this impeachment inquiry.
But if you have any doubt about how much trouble this president is in right now, how threatened he feels, his multiple meltdowns today in the Oval Office, in the east room, and on Twitter, they tell you everything you need to know.
The president tweeting this, this morning, OK? And before anybody objects to the language, let me remind you this is exactly what the president is saying, OK? And I quote here. "The do-nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our country, not wasting everybody's time and energy on bullshit, which is what they have been doing ever since I got overwhelmingly elected in 2016, 223 to 306. Get a better candidate this time. You'll need it."
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the president of the United States.
Remember when we were told by none other than Sean Spicer that the president's tweets are official White House statements? So that's his statement on the extremely serious impeachment inquiry that he is facing.
And for the record, that electoral college number is wrong too. Shocking, right? There are a dozen fact checks about that that we've been over them over and over before. We've done it before. So, let's just get back -- those numbers are wrong.
Let's get back to the impeachment, though. He's also doubling down on his attacks on intel committee chairman Adam Schiff, and the language here is shocking too, all right? Because he's claiming that the congressman should be investigated for treason.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: He should resign from office in disgrace, and frankly, they should look at him for treason.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Treason. That is a really incendiary word. And there is more from the president today, OK? Before we play this one, though, I just want to remind you again this is the president of the United States in the Oval Office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We don't call him shifty Schiff for nothing. He's a shifty, dishonest guy, who by the way was critical of one of the great secretaries of state. He can't -- you know, there's an expression. He couldn't carry his
blank strap. I won't say it because they'll say it was so terrible to say. But that guy couldn't carry his blank strap. You understand that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Did you all hear that at home? The President of the United States. Yes. We understand that. We understand that in the Oval Office with the country and the world watching, that the President of the United States resorted to a crude insult.
And there is so much more from this president today. He lied repeatedly about the manuscript of his infamous Ukraine call. That said -- he said it was perfect, right? He said it was perfect. The manuscript didn't say that, but he did. The transcript, I should say. He knows it wasn't. We know it wasn't, but he keeps saying it. We all read it for ourselves.
He claimed it was a word-for-word transcript even though it is labeled, quote, "not a verbatim transcript." He claimed the whistleblower was totally wrong about his call. We know the chief allegations so far -- all of them check out.
He made a completely unsubstantiated claim that the whistleblower's complaint was written by Adam Schiff. Stand by. We're going to have more on that in a moment. And again, he called himself a stable genius. You can decide for yourself if that one is true.
But I want to go deep on this exchange because it shows you that a president is in meltdown. This is a presidential meltdown in realtime, right out in the open in the east room. It starts with Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason asking a pretty simple question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEFF MASON, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, REUTERS: Mr. President, can you just make clear right here what do you or what did you want President Zelensky to do with regard to Joe and Hunter Biden?
TRUMP: If you look at what he said, OK? And he brought it up. I think he brought up the name Rudy Giuliani. What I want is the following, and I've said this loud and clear. We have our ambassadors here. We have mike pence here.
Why are we the only ones that give the big money to the Ukraine? We give money to Ukraine, and it's bothered me from day one. And you have plenty of people just here. I say, how come it's always the United States that gets ripped?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, he didn't really answer. So, the president is trying to dodge the question, which was what did he want Ukraine to do with regard to the Bidens. That was the real question. He's rambling on and on about who's in the room and then claiming what he really wanted was to get other countries to pony up for Ukraine. That claim is absurd. Don't fall for that old OK-doke here.
The U.S. is not the only country giving aid to Ukraine. The European Union has provided more than $16.5 billion in grants and loans to Ukraine since 2014. The International Monetary Fund approved a $3.9 billion loan agreement for Ukraine. And that's not the question anyway.
So, Jeff Mason tries again, and this time instead of answering, the president insults the reporter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MASON: The question, sir, was what did you want President Zelensky to do about Vice President Biden and his son, Hunter.
TRUMP: Are you talking to me?
MASON: Yes. It was just a follow-up of what I just asked you, sir.
TRUMP: Listen, listen, you ready? We have the president of Finland. Ask him a question.
MASON: I have one for him. I just wanted to follow up on the one I asked you which was what did you want --
TRUMP: Did you hear me?
MASON: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: Did you hear me? Ask him a question.
MASON: I will. But --
TRUMP: I've given you a long answer. Ask this gentleman a question. Don't be rude.
MASON: No, sir. I don't want to be rude. I just wanted you to have a chance to answer the question that I asked you.
TRUMP: I've answered everything. It's a whole hoax. And you know who's playing into the hoax. People like you. Ask the president of Finland a question.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Jeff Mason, you're a saint. You talking to me? I'm looking at you, aren't I? You talking to me? What the hell -- what the hell was that? Haven't you with the president to ask the question to the president of Finland. He said ask the president of Finland the question. Mason does. He asks the question. Actually, two questions, only to have President Trump jump in and answer when he sees an opportunity to brag.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MASON: OK. I'll move on now. Mr. President, in your opening remarks, you said to President Trump that you had been to some museums today and that you respected the U.S. democracy and encouraged him to continue it. Are you concerned that that's not happening? And my second question to you, sir, is the WTO ruled today in favor of the United States.
SAULI NIINISTO, PRESIDENT OF FINLAND: Yes.
MASON: Of saying that the United States can now impose tariffs on European goods because of illegal subsidies against airbus.
TRUMP: That was a big win for the United States, right?
TRUMP: You never had wins with other presidents, did you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You're supposed to let the other guy answer. But anyway, the president of Finland is determined to answer the question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NIINISTO: But I think the question is for me.
MASON: So, the question, sir is if you're concerned that the president will impose those tariffs and the effect that that may have on the economy.
NIINISTO: Yes. First of all, when I referred to your democracy, I just wanted to tell that I'm impressed what American people have gained during these decades, 100 or so years, building up a very impressive democracy. So, keep it going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Keep democracy going on. A message maybe. But you know what they say. A picture is worth a thousand words. Look at that. And these pictures of an unhinged president lashing out in the Oval Office, having one very public meltdown after another, they tell you everything you need to know about just how much trouble he is in right now.
You've seen the president reacting with rage to the growing impeachment inquiry, but the Republicans on the Hill mostly trying to keep their heads down. Just how worried are they? That's the question. Kaitlan Collins is here, David Gergen, "Washington Post's" Greg Jaffe as well. They'll answer next.
LEMON: The president -- the president exploding in rage over the impeachment inquiry today, railing against Democrats and the news media.
Kaitlan Collins is here, David Gergen, and Greg Jaffe. He's the national security reporter for the Washington Post. I'm so glad to have all of you here. It's definitely been a very interesting day. More interesting, I think, more unusual, if you can say that.
Kaitlan, I'm going to start with you. President Trump is lashing out over this thing. He's using crude language. He's peddling lies and conspiracies. Are your sources telling you anything about the president's public meltdown? What is going on here?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, basically, Don, what they said is what you saw from the president today in the Oval Office and during that press conference where the president was extremely combative is what they've been seeing behind the scenes for the past 48 hours or so.
This went from a president who was incredulous that Nancy Pelosi launched this impeachment inquiry. Then they felt he was in denial over the last several days, didn't really realize the implications of what was facing him.
But they say over the last few days, he's been lashing out, saying basically what he said publicly. The Democrats are out to get him no matter what.
He's referring to all of this as B.S., and he's singling out people like Adam Schiff, focusing on things like how Adam Schiff read that fictionalized version of his call rather than on the fact that there are not a lot of people defending what he said during that call. But essentially what they've said is he's angry and he's combative and it's more so than usual. That's what we should note to our viewers.
COLLINS: It's not just exactly what we've seen from the president in the past.
LEMON: Yes. I think they can see that. David, forgive me. I called you David Gregory. David Gergen, as you know I know your name --
DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's an insult to David Gregory.
LEMON: I've known you for years. So, listen, you've advised four U.S. presidents. Have you ever seen a president publicly lash out like this while standing alongside a world leader on an international stage like this?
GERGEN: Never, including Nixon. And Richard Nixon toward the end was drinking very heavily. He was talking to portraits on the wall, you know, inside the residence at the White House. Sometimes he thought they were talking back to him. So, he was unhinged. But it was in private, not in public.
And this, I must tell you the way the president is acting now is very -- it really raises serious questions about his fitness for office. Millions of Americans tune in and watch the president very, very closely when there's trouble facing the Oval Office. They want to see what their president is like in a crisis. How well does he handle pressure? Is he stable? Is he reliable? Is he someone who will calmly get us through this without throwing a lot of thunderbolts?
And right now, when the president is coming off the tracks, that really erodes confidence in him. He could talk himself out of a job if he's not careful. Ukraine is a very important issue. Increasingly the president's fitness is even more important.
LEMON: Yes. You said it more articulately than I did when I was talking to Chris. He just keeps spinning and digging himself in deeper.
I want to bring in Greg Jaffe. Greg, your latest reporting on how the president involved Pence in his efforts to pressure Ukraine. I just want to read a detail from it. You said, "Perhaps most significantly, one of Pence's top advisers was on the July 25th call, and the vice president should have had access to the transcript within hours, officials said."
So, Pompeo admitted today that he was on the call. One of Pence's top aides was also on the call. And a little over a month later, Pence went and met with Zelensky. What's going on here?
GREG JAFFE, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: You know, I think in this particular case, Pence was like highly incurious or poorly staffed. They just didn't prepare him for that meeting on September 1st. I think his top aide who listened to the call just didn't hear anything unusual or different.
It may just be a product of listening to a lot of those presidential calls, which as we know from the transcripts that have come out can be a little bit unhinged. And so, it just didn't jump out at him that -- the staffer, that this was something unusual.
And as a result, he didn't convey it to Pence. And then Pence didn't seem to prepare especially well for this meeting on September 1st when the basic things to do would be to read this five-page, you know, transcript of the call, and he doesn't appear to have done that, or if he does, he does not recall it according to the folks we talked to.
LEMON: Interesting. Kaitlan, I understand you have some new reporting tonight about how the president sought to use new allies to help discredit the Russia investigation. What have you learned?
COLLINS: Yes. We learned earlier that the president reached out to the Australian prime minister, wanting him to help the Attorney General Bill Barr in this investigation into how the Russia investigation started.
But now what we've learned is that it's not just the Australian prime minister. He also reached out to the new British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, wanting his help in all of this as well.
When these two guys came into office, the president saw this not, Don, as a diplomatic opening, but as a political one because he thought maybe they would be more cooperative in this investigation where the president essentially wants people to discredit the Russia investigation.
He thought these two guys were going to be able to help him do it and a lot has to do with how he did not trust their predecessors because he thought they were essentially responsible in part for the Russia investigation.
LEMON: David, there's also this, of course. Rudy Giuliani telling CNN that he provided the White House with some of the information the State Department's inspector general gave to lawmakers. Those documents include claims against the Bidens that form the basis of Trump's accusations. Trump's call with Zelensky -- in that call with Zelensky, what is going on with this?
GERGEN: Well, I think we don't fully know, Don. What we do know is that there were a great number of documents given to the congressional staff today by the inspector general at the State Department. Apparently, that stash includes a number of e-mails from Giuliani. The word has it that essentially that Giuliani is trying to get them interested in some conspiracy theories, that he's also been impressing upon the president and trying to get the State Department allied.
What we don't know is what the motive behind the I.G. was in giving over those documents. Was it a CYA? Was it a cover your ass moment, or was it something more? We simply don't know at this point.
What I do think is central is the question, how do you measure on how importantly the president took getting the dirt on his political opponents. Well, so far, he's ensnared in that hunt his vice president, his Secretary of State, his Attorney General, his energy secretary as well as his personal lawyer. That suggests he took it pretty darn seriously.
LEMON: That's got to be the last word. Thank you, David. Thank you, Kaitlan. Greg, thank you so much. We'll have you back. We really appreciate it. We'll be right back.
LEMON: President Trump pushing another unsupported allegation today about the Ukraine scandal. This time about the origin of the blockbuster whistleblower complaint that has kicked off this impeachment inquiry. Instead of starting with the president's lie, let's start with the facts first, OK? Remember, facts first here.
The New York Times reports that the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will learn about the outlines of the whistleblower's concerns before the complaint was officially filed. How did that go down? Well, the Times reports that the whistleblower contacted the committee after initial efforts to raise concerns to the CIA's top lawyer, left him or her concerned about the response.
So, committee staffers advised the whistleblower to hire a lawyer and reach out to the Intel Community Inspector General. And then at that time, an official whistleblower complaint could be filed. An official says that the whistleblower's identity was never shared with Congressman Schiff.
Also the Times reports that the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and his Democratic vice chairman both say standard procedure was followed by the House Intel staff in referring the whistleblower to the I.G. Schiff's spokesman says that the Congressman never saw any part of the complaint or knew precisely what the whistleblower was alleging. Yet in his news conference today, President Trump made this accusation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's a scandal that he knew before. I'd go a step further. I think he probably helped write it. He knew long before, and he helped write it too. It's a scam.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, again, facts first. The House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff did not help write the complaint, and his spokesman says, quote, at no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance. In addition, today CNN contacted an attorney for the whistleblower, who was asked if Schiff or anyone connected to the Intel Committee helped write the complaint. His two-word answer, quote, absolutely not. Again, facts first.
Joining me now, Matthew Rosenberg, who first broke the story for The New York Times, he joins us live. Appreciate that, Matthew. You heard the president seize on your report in the press conference today and his accusation about Chairman Schiff, but that is not what your reporting says, correct?
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Not at all. I mean, look, our story was really clear. We wrote this carefully. As you said, whistleblower goes to his own agency races through a colleague. Has a colleague go to the top lawyer at his own intelligence agency. Raises concerns, but they grow concerned about how that internal investigation there is unfolding.
So, he goes to somebody he knows on the intelligence committee, a staffer. He gives them a vague version of what this all is. He doesn't give him all the details. In short, there's no written complaint to give them. He also doesn't have a lawyer at this point as far as we know. This person advises him get yourself a lawyer. Go file it through the I.G. Do the proper channels.
And then this person, one of the staffers at the intelligence committee, tells Schiff what's gone on here, but doesn't tell Schiff the identity. Now, look, we report this in the course of maybe an hour or two, you know, you get this press conference and suddenly its Adam Schiff wrote it, which is absolutely what we did not report.
LEMON: Listen, on the DNI website, it says making a protected disclosure may be as informal as a conversation with your direct supervisor to a formal submission to an I.G. hotline or even a disclosure to an intelligence committee of Congress. It directs whistleblowers through the steps of filing a complaint on the House side, and an official tells us that all procedures were properly followed here.
ROSENBERG: I mean, that is what it looks like. And like you pointed out, we contacted the two, the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate, Intelligence Committee, Republican and Democrat, and you know, they said, look, we don't know the exact details of this case, but we know that the proper procedure is, if we get a whistleblower in here, we say, look, you should go to the I.G. first. That is what we usually do. Now the whistleblower can stay with Congress, you know. This is up to them, but in this case they really do appear to have followed the rules.
LEMON: Matthew Rosenberg, I appreciate it. Thank you, sir.
ROSENBERG: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: Here's our breaking news. CNN's Jamie Gangel confirms that some of the documents provided at what was called an urgent briefing by the State Department Inspector General came initially from Rudy Giuliani, who gave them to the White House, which passed them to the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo. Some of those documents made unproven claims against Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
Joining me now to discuss this is Ambassador Nicholas Burns. Thank you, sir. So, we're living in some very interesting times here. Why is the State Department Inspector General dumping documents from the president's attorney via the White House and the Secretary of State at what was supposed to be an urgent briefing?
NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER AMBASSADOR OF NATO: Well, I simply don't know the answer to that question, but it is interesting that the State Department has been very defensive in responding to these subpoenas. They're not allowing their people to testify yet.
And, you know, I understand obviously that people need time to get their papers and testimony together, and the State Department is right to say that, but this is an impeachment inquiry. This is as serious as it gets. It's simply not going to be tenable, Don, for Secretary Pompeo to say that the State Department is not going to cooperate with the Congress.
LEMON: Today the Secretary of State confirms that he was listening on Trump's Ukraine call. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: As for what's on the phone call, I was on the phone call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Compare that to what he said on Sunday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you know about those conversations?
POMPEO: So you just gave me a report about a whistleblower complaint, none of which I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So what does it mean that the Secretary of State had full knowledge of the president's attempts to force a foreign power to get dirt on a political opponent?
BURNS: Well, it wasn't improper for him to be on the call. It's unusual, though, Don. Secretaries of States are too busy in my experience. I've worked for many of them. They don't listen in on presidential phone calls because they've got other things to do. Somebody briefs them afterwards. The real question here -- and I think it's going to set up the hearings tomorrow in the House when Ambassador Kurt Volker goes up.
How is it possible that a private citizen, Rudy Giuliani, essentially hijacked United States policy towards Ukraine and time after time, the message the Ukrainians heard from the United States through Giuliani was this. Go after Joe Biden and Hunter Biden, when the real issue that the Ukrainians wanted to talk about was the real American interest, and that is fending off Vladimir Putin, helping Ukraine to defend itself. So the president's personal interests here got way ahead of the national interest.
LEMON: So, answer your own question, then. How is it possible? How do you think it's possible that that happened?
BURNS: Well, the president sidelined the state department. He fired a highly respected career ambassador, Marie Yovanovitch, is a friend, and a friend of a lot of us who served in the State Department. He listened to Rudy Giuliani. He pursued this wild theory that somehow the Ukrainians were involved in hacking Democratic National Committee in the 2016 election, which no one even on the president's staff believed. He didn't listen to our career diplomats, and he is disparaged our
career foreign service routinely. And so that is how presidents get into trouble, when they don't listen to people around them, when they're not adaptive. And the president has not adapted to the demands and the responsibilities of the presidency, and he's caused a lot of trouble now for our foreign policy towards Ukraine, but of course a lot of trouble for himself.
LEMON: Listen, the former envoy for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, is set to appear before a Congressional committee tomorrow -- three Congressional committees tomorrow. How important is Volker's testimony, ambassador?
BURNS: I think it's obviously going to be very important. Let me say, Don, I've known Ambassador Volker for a long time. I've worked with him. He's an honorable person. He's a patriot. He obviously, in his job as special envoy for Ukraine, was trying to help the Ukrainians on this issue of Russian annexation of Crimea.
But I think where the Congress needs to go in all of this is to look at the role of Rudy Giuliani and look at the offensive phone call that the president had with President Zelensky on July 25th. For the president of the United States to ask a foreign leader to interfere in our election -- and that is what he did when he asked him to investigate Vice President Biden -- that is a breach of the president's powers. You can't -- it's also against American law to ask another country to try to influence a Democratic election. That is where the Congress needs to investigate.
LEMON: Ambassador Nicholas Burns, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
BURNS: Thank you.
LEMON: We'll be right back.
LEMON: Lots of breaking news tonight on the impeachment inquiry to President Trump. Here to discuss is a former FBI Deputy Director, Mr. Andrew McCabe. Thank you for joining us, I really appreciate it.
ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER ACTING FBI DIRECTOR: Sure.
LEMON: CNN is learning tonight, Mr. McCabe, that Trump believed his counterparts in the U.K. and then Australia could help him discredit the Mueller investigation. Is he on an international mission to try to discredit the -- to undermine the facts here?
MCCABE: It certainly seems that way, Don. And he's utilizing cabinet official like the Attorney General to help him in that effort. It's quite striking though that they've chosen to kind of reach out to those foreign nations that are literally our closest allies in the war on terror, in the criminal investigations that we do. So, these are governments that are very familiar with working
cooperatively with law enforcement and prosecutors in the United States. They are not countries that you need to go to and try to coerce or convince to help us in a legitimate effort.
LEMON: All right. What do you think of this, because also tonight, we've learned that Lindsey Graham has announced that he sent letters to the leader of Australia, Italy, and the U.K. calling on them to cooperate with the Attorney General William Barr in this conspiracy investigation. Trump and his allies have claimed that the Mueller investigation, right? That it exonerated the president, the Mueller report. Why are they trying to discredit it if it exonerated the president? Can you square that circle?
MCCABE: I certainly cannot. It makes no sense. As you've pointed out, in my estimation, it is consistent with the president's strategy, time and time again, to simply go on the attack. Those attacks don't have to be based in fact. They don't have to be based in reality. The importance is that they create a narrative that will distract people from the facts and the reality that the president finds uncomfortable or unflattering.
LEMON: I want you to listen to the president's press conference today, part of it. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I've been looking at that long and hard for a long period of time. How it started, why it started. It should never happen to another president, ever. But I've been talking about it from the standpoint of bringing a major lawsuit. And I've been talking about it for a long time. We've been investigating, but corruption having to do with what they did to my people, they destroyed many people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Does that mean you?
MCCABE: Well, I can only assume that his frustration includes me. That is pretty normal for me these days, it has been for quite a while.
As far as his concern about the origins of the Russia investigation, they can investigate in any country they like. It's not a mystery, what we knew and what we thought about what we knew and why we made the decisions we made at that time. I've been very open about it, I testified about it, I wrote a book about it, Jim Comey has been open about it, and I'm certainly happy to discuss it with them at any time that they call.
But at the end of the day, Don, what we did was, our job. The FBI's job are to investigate. We don't prosecute people, we don't throw them in jail, we don't convict anyone, we decide when things need to be investigated and we had plenty of information that led us to believe it was time to start an investigation, and that is exactly what we did.
LEMON: Mr. McCabe, thank you. I appreciate your time.
MCCABE: Thanks very much.
LEMON: We'll be right back.