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Damning Text Messages Detail Trump Administration Pressure on Ukraine; Interview with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), China Tariffs, Hong Kong; House Democrats Demand Documents from Pence in Ukraine Probe; What Happened to Giulani. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 4, 2019 - 15:30   ET



SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): -- I can my state, the farmers first, but businesses as well, very hard. And consumers are paying higher prices who may not have noticed it but it's happening. They are paying for this tariff war. There's no end in sight. I don't know if he reached out to China yesterday because he heard that Joe Biden's son was involved in something with the Chinese.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We just don't know.

DURBIN: We just don't know.

BALDWIN: Lastly, CNN has learned that in this conversation with President Xi that Trump essentially promised that the U.S. would stay silent on all of those Hong Kong protests, right, that he wouldn't speak up. Do you think he sold out those pro-democracy protestors?

DURBIN: Well, I will tell you how I feel personally. I'm on the side of these protestors in Hong Kong. What they're trying to do is to preserve a political approach that is much different than Beijing, particularly when it means to being held accountable for crime. That's what initiated this and it really has been a moment of definition for the future of Hong Kong. And if you think -- if we are against corruption, if we are for American values, I would say we'd be joining at least in spirit the people in the street who are speaking out. This President has been strangely silent.

BALDWIN: Last question, I have you here, and just you're seeing family this weekend in New York, this topic of impeachment and what President Trump is doing is on the tongue of everyone. And I'm just wondering from you perch, this seems like a moment of inflection in this country and we've had historians on talking about how a nation survives. What advice would you tell anyone watching just about all of this?

DURBIN: Read history. Listen and read to what happened with Richard Nixon as the impeachment proceedings were just starting to get underway. A handful of Senators, Barry Goldwater, Hugh Scott, and others went down to the White House, private meeting with Nixon and said, it's finished. We're not going to stand with you any longer. And he decided for the good of his country and the good of his party, he had to step down. It takes men and woman of that kind of courage at this moment to tell this President, we've had it. The way you've treated this presidency is not a credit to the United States. We deserve more, our children deserve more.

BALDWIN: Be courageous, Senator Dick Durbin, thank you very much.

DURBIN: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Nice to see you.

Still ahead here on CNN, what happened to Rudy Giuliani, a man who made a film about the former New York mayor's political rise and fall will join me live to explain how we got here.

Plus a senior White House adviser gets heated, when CNN presses him on President Trump's request to have foreign governments to investigate his political rivals. You will see that next. You're watching CNN.



BALDWIN: More breaking news this afternoon. We have just learned that House Democrats have just requested documents from Vice President Mike Pence. Sam Vinograd is back with me. And so first and foremost, what exactly are they looking for?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: What they're looking for is any indication that Vice President Pence was knowledgeable about President Trump's private efforts to put pressure on President Trump. Leave aside any public indications, these documents are geared at getting information that Pence was in the know with respect to these phone calls. These private channels, like Ambassador Sondland and Ambassador Volker. And that's what these 3 committees are trying to establish. Pence has been playing the ignorance is bliss card ever since he came into office.

BALDWIN: Remind us. Give us examples.

VINOGRAD: His defense right now is he didn't do his job well, remember he went and met with Zelensky, President Trump stayed home, and any basic prep for a Vice President would include finding out what happened on the last Presidential phone call with the leader. Speaking to the State Department, speaking with the Special Envoy for Ukraine. Pence's defense so far has been that he frankly stinks at his job and didn't do any of that.

Let's remember, Pence also played the ignorance is bliss card with respect to the illegal activities that then former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn was up to.


VINOGRAD: With respect to working, to do illegal things that he ultimately resigned for. Pence's defense is that he didn't know what was going on. Now these committees have a real way of finding out. They can subpoena information related to whether Pence had a staffer on this call with Zelensky, they can subpoena information with respect to a readout of Pence's meeting with Zelensky when he travelled to see him. They can subpoena information with respect to his talking points and he prepped that he did before he arrived for that meeting itself.

So there's a trail of paper that they can try to get at and they can also subpoena Zelensky's own staff to find out what they briefed him on before he engaged with the Ukrainians.

BALDWIN: So Elie Honig, as the legal voice in all of this, her point over and over of this whole Pence playing the ignorance is bliss card, is that going to fly with this Congress?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I don't think so. First of all, I don't know that it's going to prove out to be true as a matter of fact. But second of all, what I think we're seeing here, we're setting the table for a major legal battle over executive privilege. What I would expect is the White House is not going to just comply.

BALDWIN: They'll stone wall again.

HONIG: Exactly. Especially, Sam laid out exactly what the request will and should be. But the White House is not going to say, here you go, Congress. I expect them to invoke executive privilege. This is going to be a showdown. And what we could end up seeing is similar with to what we saw with the Richard Nixon tapes case in 1974, that case went directly to the Supreme Court. It's very rare that that happens. But it happened there. It could happen again here. We could see Congress in a lawsuit with the White House over executive privilege going directly to the Supreme Court.

BALDWIN: Wow. Stay with me. We're going to take a quick commercial break and we'll talk to these two on the other side. We'll be right back.



BALDWIN: More on our breaking news. The House Democrats have just requested documents from Vice President Mike Pence. Let's go to our correspondent up on Capitol Hill, Lauren Fox. Lauren, tell me what you're learning.


LAUREN FOX, CNN POLITICS CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, Brooke, we've learned that three committees have requested information from the Vice President related to their impeachment inquiry. That inquiry comes from the House Oversight Committee, Intel and Foreign Relations. And in this letter, sent by the chairman it says, recently public reports have raised questions about the role that you may have played in conveying and reinforcing the President's stark message to Ukraine's President. That's what the chairman wrote.

Then they said, the report includes specific references to a member of your staff who may have participated directly in the July 25th, 2019 call, documents you may have obtained, received, including the record of the call and your September 1, 2019, meeting, visit, with the Ukrainian President in Warsaw.

So here they are requesting more documents, this comes as the deadline is today for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to turn over documents. And as we are waiting for a briefing from the ICIG, Michael Atkinson, to break up here before the House Intelligence Committee -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: OK, Lauren, we'll stand by for that. Lauren Fox, thank you. Sam Vinograd, Elie Honig are here with me. And actually let's pause for just a moment. Let's play that sound. Let's just remind everyone what President Trump is saying essentially to Nancy Pelosi on him giving up any documents to Congress. Listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The way they're doing it, they've taken away our rights. So if they proceed, and, you know, they'll just get their people -- they're all in line because even though many of them don't want to vote, they have no choice. They have to follow their leadership. And then we'll get it to the Senate and we're going to win. The Republicans have been very unified. This is the greatest witch-hunt in the history of your country.


BALDWIN: So basically, President Trump, and I would presume that the Vice President would fall under this umbrella of we're not giving you, House Democrats, any of our documents unless you hold this, this full House vote on impeachment. There are all of these ramifications regarding that.

But Elie, just, you know, speaking on that and also you were mentioning a second ago that this may be an executive privilege case, and is that merited here?

HONIG: So first of all this whole idea of it's not an impeachment inquiry until the whole House votes on it, is creative. It's nowhere in the law. But what they're trying to do is force the Democrats' hand, force them to have to vote yes or no, to put the people who are in swing districts I think in a little bit of danger. By the way, even if the House does that, I still don't think that the President and the White House are going to say, OK, now you get everything. I think they're still going to go with we're fighting all the subpoenas approach that Trump has laid about before.

But an interesting wrinkle here on executive privilege, in the Nixon case, what the Supreme Court said, unanimously, was executive privilege is fairly narrow. But what it does apply to is to protect national security secrets, military secrets, diplomatic secrets. And so the administration may have an argument here, that's what we're talking about. And so these documents remain secret under executive privilege.

VINOGRAD: There is a wrinkle, though. I mean he did release the transcript of the Ukraine call and I just briefly looked through the documents that have been requested from Vice President Pence. He released a transcript or read out of this call. We don't know if it was a word for word readout as he said. Several of the documents that have been requested relate to prep for this call, talking points, memoranda and communications that directly relate to that call.

So at leas with that chunk of documents, Elie, you're the legal expert here, the executive privilege argument holds less water. At the same time, I think we can expect to see this document request go around to other cabinet officials that may have been involved.

Mick Mulvaney should probably expect a subpoena, he was directly related to all of these activities, the litany of abuses of power. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thus far has not provided the documents, and I believe it was a similar request that the committees requested. So we will probably see this list, Brooke, make the rounds --


VINOGRAD: -- while the White House stonewalls.

BALDWIN: OK, Elie and Sam. Thanks again.

HONIG: Thank you.

BALDWIN: And stand by for more of our breaking news just ahead.



BALDWIN: Want to take a moment to honor this week's CNN Hero. Robbin Carroll was tired of seeing news about shootings and violence in Chicago so she set out to help people regain a sense of community and she started in West Englewood, one of Chicago's the most turbulent neighborhoods.


ROBBIN CARROLL, CNN HERO, FOUNDER, I GROW CHICAGO: I started coming out to the community. The lots were all empty. The houses were getting boarded up. People were not coming outside. I stood on the corner and just asked anyone that walked by, are you interested in taking back your community? And everyone said absolutely yes. We are really brave space and courageous space.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to get there.

CARROLL: We will work through all of what is holding you back to becoming the person and the potential that you have to be.


BALDWIN: And you can see how they have transformed the block. Please go to Ever since the scandal broke over President Trump's phone call with

his Ukrainian counterpart, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani has been at the center of everything and the text messages we have seen today and the wild cable news appearances he's been making, here is just one sample of Giuliani lashing out publicly against his critics.



RUDY GIULIANI, PERSONAL ATTORNEY TO THE PRESIDENT: By the way, do you have any idea that the State Department --


GIULIANI: Shut up, moron.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS HOST: OK, hold on, everybody. Chris, Chris.

GIULIANI: Shut up, you don't know what you're talking about, idiot.

HAHN: I do.

GIULIANI: No you don't. You just lied.

HAHN: Mr. Mayor I wish you would stop.

GIULIANI: You lied, my friend.

HAHN: I wish you would stop, Mr. Mayor.

GIULIANI: Well, why don't you tell them --

HAHN: New Yorkers remember you in your glory and I wish you would stop.

GIULIANI: Why don't you tell them to keep his mouth shut so we can tell the truth.

HAHN: I don't like getting into this fight with Mayor Giuliani. I had a lot of respect for him, we worked kind of near each other when I was a young aide to Senator Schumer right after 9/11. And I admired everything you did at that point, and what I see you doing now saddens me and it saddens most New Yorkers because you are ruining your reputation, Mr. Mayor. And it is time for you to take a ---


HAHN: -- step back and maybe stop going on like this.


BALDWIN: John Philip is with me. now He directed and co-wrote a documentary about Rudy Giuliani called "Rudy Land." It chronicles the fall and rise the former mayor of New York. And John also penned a CNN opinion piece that asked the question, "What Happened to Rudy Giuliani?" So, John, thank you so much for being here. I mean you see it in the clip. Rudy Giuliani was almost like an American hero coming out of 9/11 leading New York City out of such devastation, and then people look at him now, and they are like, happened to this guy? Your response is nothing.

JOHN PHILIP, DIRECTED AND CO-WROTE DOCUMENTARY ABOUT RUDY GIULIANI: Not very much, no. It is the same Rudy we're seeing that kind of show-stopping mix of incoherence and conviction that you see in those recent clips from Rudy. Well, that's the same Rudy we've always had.

BALDWIN: How do you mean?

PHILIP: Well, for New Yorkers this is probably a familiar feeling to see this Rudy. You know, Rudy is a big opera fan and so I often think of his mayoralty as time -- well his time on the political stage in general as operatic. It's been one long aria of, you know, him having these incoherent fits and as well as being incredibly detail-oriented and kind of crazy about a lot of things.

But when he was mayor of New York City, around 9/11, I think is the most instructive example, the Rudy that came before 9/11 and the Rudy that came after, that was the same guy. He went into 9/11 with this sort of paranoid feeling about the city. But after 9/11, our feelings about him changed and that came to be seen as preparedness. His dogmatism felt like resolve after 9/11 but really it was the same guy, the same Rudy. So we're not seeing a different man.

BALDWIN: How did he get to know Donald Trump? I mean obviously two New Yorkers, I know the go back years and years. How far back?

PHILIP: It's a long relationship, it's probably over 30 years.


PHILIP: It is not clear when exactly they got together but Rudy -- Trump supported Rudy's 1989 run for mayor and again in 1993. Rudy wasn't successful in 1999 but he was Mayor in 1993 and Trump supported him during his mayoralty. He called him the best mayor that the city has ever had. He supported him in his 2008 Senate -- Presidential bid which did not end very well. And then in 2016 as we've seen Rudy came to Trump's side to be a surrogate essentially when Trump's Presidential bid seemed like a real long shot. But --

BALDWIN: Why do you think he's so loyal?

PHILIP: I think they are kind of similar guys, I think they're sort of both New York talking tough cartoonish tough guys. I think they both see -- have this law and order persona. They both love the limelight and they've both got long marital and personal histories that are quite complex but I think mostly they are extremely consistent. You can count on Trump to mangle the English language, to run for the spotlight, and you can count on Rudy to also bend the rules, to ignore the law if it doesn't really suit him. So I think they both have that trait of consistency. BALDWIN: Sixty seconds left. There is a quote from the open of your

documentary where Rudy Giuliani says, I just see myself as me and then everybody else has to figure out what my image is.

PHILIP: I think it's always worked for Rudy to have other people defining him. And it allows him to play in the shadows a little bit. So I mean right now we see him -- is he operating as Trump's personal attorney? Well, yes, he is, but he's also running his own security firm still, and at the same time he seems to be running this rogue foreign policy operation. So I think you know he didn't ever get to be Trump's Secretary of State and instead he's become something like the secretary of shadows. So --

BALDWIN: Something like that it appears --

PHILIPS: Same old Rudy.

BALDWIN: -- given everything we've been reading and reporting on the last ten days. John Philips thank you so much. It is called "Rudy Land." Appreciate you coming on and thank you for being with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.