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Trump Rages as House Dems Threaten to Subpoena White House; Ex-Diplomat to Testify on Trump's Ukraine Dealings; Washington Post: Trump Involved Pence in Efforts to Pressure Ukraine. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired October 3, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a fraudulent crime on the American people, but we'll work together with Shifty Schiff and Pelosi and all of them.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We're not fooling around here. We don't want this to drag on months and months and months.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Adam Schiff needs to tell us what did he know, when did he know it, and how many times did he lie to us in the process?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Potentially, a huge moment. The president's former special envoy to the Ukraine, Kurt Volker, he is set to appear behind closed doors later today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pompeo and President Trump don't want officials to testify. I think it's a great thing that he is actually going to speak openly about this.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, October 3. It's 6 a.m. here in New York.
And this morning, a White House in crisis as a potentially key witness speaks for the first time. Here are the major headlines in the impeachment investigation of the president.
This morning Congress will hear from a long-time foreign policy expert who quit last week as the U.S. special envoy to Ukraine. Kurt Volker's name is all over the whistle-blower complaint about the president. What does he know about the efforts of President Trump and Rudy Giuliani to lean on Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden?
We've learned that House Democrats will issue subpoenas to the White House tomorrow. Now, if the White House doesn't hand over records related to the president's efforts to pressure Ukraine, Democrats are warning that that, in and of itself, could end up as an article of impeachment, as it was with Richard Nixon.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: The president has not taken all of this calmly. He raged and cursed on Twitter. He also expressed anger while standing beside a foreign leader at a White House press conference. Mr. Trump lashed out at a journalist who was trying to ask a seemingly simple question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 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?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it was just a follow-up of what I just asked you, sir.
TRUMP: Listen, are you ready? We have the president of Finland. Ask him a question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have one for him. I just wanted to follow up on the one that I asked you, which was what did you want --
TRUMP: Did you hear me? Did you hear me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TRUMP: Ask him a question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will. But --
TRUMP: I've given you a long answer. Ask this gentleman a question. Don't be rude.
CAMEROTA: Are you talking to me? That sounds familiar from somewhere.
BERMAN: You must be talking to me. I don't see anyone else here.
CAMEROTA: We begin our coverage with CNN'S Suzanne Malveaux. She is live on Capitol Hill. What a day, Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An incredible day, Alisyn and John. House Democrats are answering Trump's rage by the threat of a White House subpoena if they don't comply by tomorrow.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): House Democrats eager to begin depositions as President Trump appears increasingly furious over their impeachment inquiry. In just hours, Kurt Volker, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, will be deposed by three House committees about the whistle- blower complaint, which alleges President Trump repeatedly pressured Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son.
REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN): I hope that he will be truthful, and I hope that he will give those questioners and investigators the tools that they need to get to the bottom of this very pressing matter.
MALVEAUX: Intelligence community inspector general Michael Atkinson will appear at a closed-door briefing tomorrow, which is also the deadline House Democrats have given the White House to submit documents related to the Ukraine phone call, or face subpoenas.
SCHIFF: We're not fooling around here, though. We don't want this to drag on months and months and months, which appears to be the administration's strategy.
MALVEAUX: It comes after the State Department inspector general gave lawmakers dozens of pages of documents that make many of the same unproven claims about the Bidens that Trump allies have been making.
Congressman Jamie Raskin was the lone lawmaker to attend the briefing.
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): It's essentially a packet of propaganda and disinformation, spreading conspiracy theories. Those conspiracy theories have been widely debunked and discredited.
MALVEAUX: The documents attempt to smear Joe Biden and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, told CNN some of the documents originated with him, and he then gave them to the White House, a source telling CNN the White House then passed them to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
RASKIN: Why was Secretary of State Pompeo in possession of this packet of disinformation? It raises more questions than it answers.
MALVEAUX: The president continuing to show his rage, sending this profane tweet, writing, "The Do Nothing Democrats should be focused on building up our Country, not wasting everyone's time and energy on BULLSHIT."
Trump's tirade continuing offline, too.
TRUMP: You look at the whistle-blower statement, and it's vicious. Vicious.
To impeach a president over a fraud that was committed by other people that want to win an election in 2020? Which they won't. Is incredible.
MALVEAUX: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying she thinks it's part of President Trump's strategy to divert attention.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I think the president knows the argument that can be made against him, and he's scared.
MALVEAUX: Now, Volker will be up here on the Hill for the next three hours behind closed doors. He is the first diplomat to testify in this expanding impeachment probe -- John, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Suzanne, thank you very much.
Are you pro-B.S.? Or anti- saying "B.S." on television?
BERMAN: I think if the president says it, I think there's absolutely no reason to make clear how he feels about something, because it's a window.
CAMEROTA: It definitely is a window. I just don't know if, on morning TV, we should be mimicking the profanity.
BERMAN: The idea that you think -- that you have pure thoughts and language --
CAMEROTA: John, what are you suggesting?
BERMAN: I know you. I've met you.
CAMEROTA: What are you suggesting?
BERMAN: All right. What will this first witness say today about the president's Ukraine dealings? We will discuss next.
CAMEROTA: Also, anger and forgiveness at this incredible sentencing in the murder trial of that former Dallas police officer. We'll show you what happened. This powerful, life-changing moment.
BERMAN: All right. Just hours from now, the first witness in the impeachment investigation into the president answers questions to members of Congress. Kurt Volker, former special envoy to Ukraine, he will be speaking.
Let's bring in CNN White House correspondent -- no, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip and former White House communications director and CNN political commentator Jen Psaki.
Jen, talk to me about Kurt Volker. He resigned last week -- We can put this up on the screen -- as the former special envoy to Ukraine. He's mentioned in the whistle-blower complaint. He was somehow involved in connecting Rudy Giuliani with a political adviser to the Ukrainian president. What are the key questions you think he will face?
JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first I would say it's important to know a little about his history. I mean, he's a long- time seasoned diplomat. He was the former ambassador to NATO. He served in the foreign service and the State Department for many years. I mean, he spent time in the private sector, as well, though. But he's somebody who's very well-connected in Washington. He's very
savvy. We haven't seen that yet. And he also knows what it's like to be representing the United States overseas.
I would expect he's going to defend his own reputation today and tell as much of the story as he's -- as he's asked about.
So I think the key questions are, you know, did anyone direct you to set up these meetings for Giuliani? From the White House, from the State Department, Secretary Pompeo or others in his inner circle? What did they know? It hasn't completely made sense, I think, to those of us who have spent time in national security and the State Department to suggest that he kind of directed this and set this all up himself.
So it will be interesting to learn more from these meetings.
Also, it will be interesting to learn more about what he heard from his contacts and connections and the leaders he spoke with on the ground in Ukraine about what the White House and other officials from this administration were pushing in terms of dirt on Biden or other kind of stories that they were trying to get the Ukrainian government to get them information on.
CAMEROTA: And Jen, what if he says that the request for -- to be the liaison came from the Ukrainian side? Because again, we hear it in that phone call with the president of Ukraine and President Trump, that the president of Ukraine is saying, "And we're very eager to meet your man Rudy Giuliani, and we look forward to talking to your man, Rudy Giuliani."
So obviously, there had been a previous phone call, as we know, that we don't have the transcript to. And so is it untoward if -- if Kurt Volker says, I did it at the behest of the Ukrainians. They wanted to meet somebody who has the president's ear. Then -- then what?
PSAKI: Well, I think there's -- to your point, Alisyn, there's a lot about other calls. Because the White House, as Abby knows well, doesn't put out these -- ever put out calls that the president does. I mean, even just that he's done them at all. So we don't know the kind of whole train of different calls or engagements the White house or other officials have had.
You know, I think Volker, if he was asked by the Ukrainians to set up engagements with Giuliani, you know, Giuliani is seen as sort of a close proxy for President Trump. That's odd and certainly out of the norm of what typically would happen from a State Department official or somebody representing the United States overseas.
But what is most untoward about this all, of course, is Giuliani or others from the White House trying to extract from the Ukrainians information about Joe Biden.
Now, there's a question here for his own reputation about what he knew about those efforts. Did he entirely shut it down? Did he look the other way? Those are questions I expect that members will certainly ask him and they should ask him today, as well.
BERMAN: Simply what did you think when the president asked the Ukrainian leader? So whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great in terms of digging up dirt on Joe Biden.
Abby, what we saw -- what we have seen over the last 24 hours from this president is different. Literally, his face was different in this series of public events yesterday and the level of his rhetoric, his attacks on Reuters reporter Jeff Mason. What do you think it all means?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, a picture paints a thousand words in this case. And I think the president's demeanor yesterday really just brings to the public space what he is like in private and what he has been like in private over the last several days.
This is how he actually feels about this situation. You don't need to read between the lines here. He is telling you pretty explicitly he's angry about this. He feels like he's being treated unfairly, like this is a redux of the Mueller investigation.
And even the profanity, frankly, John and Alisyn, is something that the president does in private and is now coming out in public on his social media feed.
So, you know, it is a sign that the White House has really deferred to the president in terms of how to respond to this. They decided in the last week that they are not going to do a war room and that the president is going to be the war room. This is the consequence of that.
President Trump literally telling the entire world what is on his mind at any given time. And it is not planned. There is no, you know, 3-D chess happening here. This is just how he feels.
And it's led to some concerns among the president's advisers that this is not a strategy. And it's not a strategy in the face of something that is different from the Mueller investigation.
This impeachment inquiry is moving very, very quickly. And as we've just been discussing, someone who actually, really, has a lot to say, Kurt Volker, is going to be speaking to the committees today. And that's going to really change the dynamic.
And that's a real phenomenon that the White House has not gotten their arms around. And President Trump leading the war room, frankly, I don't think it's really helping the situation.
CAMEROTA: Every day is a new and different dynamic. And today will be no different.
Abby, Jen, thank you both very much. There's also new reporting this morning that says President Trump
involved Vice President Pence in the attempt to pressure Ukraine -- Ukraine. Could this implicate the vice president? How does he feel about this?
CAMEROTA: "The Washington Post" reports that President Trump repeatedly involved Vice President Pence in his efforts to pressure Ukraine's leader to investigate Joe Biden and his son. "The Post" reports that Mr. Trump had the vice president tell the Ukrainian leader hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid was going to be withheld.
Joining us now is CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart. He was President Clinton's press secretary and he ran the war room for President Clinton's impeachment. So once again, you're the perfect person to talk to.
Vice President Pence can't be pleased about being in this position of having to deliver news like that. And, you know, Vice President Pence is perceived as being more of a boy scout than President Trump. So what now?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think the -- there's a split between the president's aides and the vice president's aides. And that is always a sign of impending disaster.
The vice president's aides were putting out yesterday that he had nothing to do with this. He didn't know anything about it. He wasn't aware of anything.
And then the president's aides put out that not only was his guy on the call, he had the transcript within 24 hours, and he was given the briefing when he did go over to Poland, you know, as part of the mission to meet with Ukraine's president.
So it's a bit of a circular firing squad right now at the White House as people try to position their principles and settle some scores in the -- you know, in the process.
BERMAN: Look, I might get struck by lightning for suggesting this is some grand strategy here. But if you look at the big picture, there are those who suggest that the White House, the president's team, is bringing up the word "Mike Pence" or the words, I suppose, "Mike Pence." Because what they're doing is sending the message, everyone's involved here. If you come after me, it's everyone who's going down. So take this seriously.
LOCKHART: Yes. I think, again, I think the Pence people, you know, tried to put out a line that, you know, insulated him; and the Trump White House sent a message, saying if I'm going down, you're coming down with me. There's only one story coming out of this White House. And it's not one that protects you. It goes to the White House strategy, though. I mean, look at what
Trump and the team did when Mitt Romney came out and said he was troubled by this.
They put out a video that was designed to embarrass him. That wasn't a message to Romney. It was a message to the other 52 senators in the Senate, saying, if you say something negative about us, we will come after you with all of the might of the $300 million we have in the bank at the campaign and the pulpit we have here at the White House.
You wrote a piece for "The Washington Post" op-ed where you talked about what goes on behind the scenes during an impeachment. I don't know if you can liken this White House to any in history, but if anybody can, you can. Because you know all of the anxiety and stress that gets ratcheted up just by definition during something like this.
So what is likely happening with all of the people around the president?
LOCKHART: Well, you know, there's -- there's very little comparison between the Clinton White House and any normal White House. And I would put every president, you know, sort of in my lifetime with the exception of Nixon, as a normal, you know --
BERMAN: You're saying no comparison to the Trump White House?
LOCKHART: That's right. Yes, to what Trump is. So it is hard to compare.
But I'll tell you the one thing that is comparable, is you know, most of the people in the White House don't know what's going on. And the Clinton White House, we were very careful about keeping the group of people who worked on this separated from everyone else. And when everyone else was told to go and do their work.
But the people every day were just like American news consumers. They were hanging on every word. They were watching TV. They didn't know. And that's the case here.
The difference is the president is the chief's spokesperson for the president here. And he's out there every single day, ratcheting this thing up.
And, you know, the press conference performance was embarrassing but also troubling. You know, given that he started lecturing the media on here's what you'll cover, here's what you'll ask.
But that's the sense of anxiety in the White House has to be incredibly high. Just because they don't know any more than we know and our viewers know. And they find out the same way, which is from a tweet that they're given no warning of. And then people run into the press office and say, what's this all about? And they have to say, we don't know. CAMEROTA: That is anxiety-provoking. And of course, then that does
end up clouding the work that they're trying to do. So it all gets complicated.
And everybody should read your op-ed about how -- what it looks like when something like that's going on. Thank you for your expertise, as always.
BERMAN: All right. It was a dramatic scene at the sentencing of a former Dallas police officer who was convicted of murdering an unarmed black man in his apartment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRANDT JEAN, BROTHER OF BOTHAM JEAN: I don't know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: As we said, very emotional. That man is embracing his brother's killer. We'll play you this whole moment next.