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President Trump Attacks Republican Senator Mitt Romney on Twitter after Senator Romney Criticizes President Trump's Call with Ukrainian President; State Department Misses Deadline for Providing Requested Documents to Congress; President Trump Criticizes Reporting on His Comments on Border Wall; Adam Schiff Targeted by Republicans for Criticism while Leading Impeachment Inquiry into President Trump; Moderate House Democrats Hold Townhalls after Supporting Impeachment of President Trump; Protests Turn Violent in Iraq; Four Homeless Men Found Beaten to Death in New York; Democratic Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders Released from Hospital after Suffering Heart Attack. Aired 2-3p ET.

Aired October 5, 2019 - 14:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:00:13]

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with brand new developments in the impeachment standoff between House Democrats and President Trump in what has been a whirlwind of 24 hours in this impeachment inquiry. Democrats for first time have subpoenaed the White House for documents on Ukraine, but President Trump has said he will not comply with their investigation until speaker House -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds a formal vote on the impeachment inquiry in the House.

Meantime, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo missed his Friday's subpoena deadline, and House Democrats are demanding the Vice President Mike Pence hand over documents on Ukraine. He has 10 days to respond.

And now "The New York Times" is reporting a second potential whistleblower is considering filing a separate formal complaint. "The Times" says it's an intelligence official with more direct knowledge of Trump's dealing with Ukraine than the original whistleblower, whose complaint sparked the impeachment inquiry.

Let's go straight to CNN's Jeremy Diamond at the White House. So Jeremy, President Trump now targeting Senator Mitt Romney for speaking out against him, and this while the president is enjoying a day at his golf course in Virginia, right?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Fredricka. Senator Mitt Romney has proven himself so far to be one of the only Republicans to be willing to publicly criticize the president's actions and it relates to this call with the Ukrainian president, and his request not only of Ukraine but also of China to investigate his political rival Joe Biden. Mitt Romney in a tweet called the president's actions wrong and appalling, and the president this morning is firing back. He wrote on Twitter, "Mitt Romney never knew how to win. He is a pompous ass who has been fighting me from the beginning, except when he begged me for my endorsement for his Senate run. I gave it to him, and when he begged me to be secretary of state, I didn't give it to him. He is so bad for R's," that is, Republicans.

Now, beyond the president's ad hominem attacks on the Republican senator, and the fact that he is the former most recent Republican standard bearer for the party, this is also a sign of the president's strategy here. And we are going to see this play out if there are other Republicans who also criticize the president. The president is sending a clear message here that anybody who criticizes him from within the party on his actions in Ukraine, asks questions about it, is going to face these kinds of attacks as well. Fred?

WHITFIELD: And then Jeremy, what more can you tell us about the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who commented? He did miss his subpoena deadline, but trying to also say that they all want to do what's right.

DIAMOND: That's right. The State Department yesterday missed the deadline from these House committees that are leading this impeachment inquiry. The House Committees had requested a range of documents surrounding this Ukraine matter, and the secretary of state is essentially suggesting that they may comply eventually, but he wouldn't exactly give an explanation for why. Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: The State Department sent a letter last night to Congress, which is our initial response to the document request. We'll obviously do all the things we're required to do by law. I was a member of Congress once. Article One has a certain set of articles. And Article Two had an obligation to make sure that we protect officials at the State Department.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DIAMOND: And now this is also coming, of course, as House Democrats are continuing to step up their impeachment inquiry, yesterday also issuing subpoenas for Vice President Mike Pence and for the White House. So far we don't know if the White House intends to comply, but the president has said he intends to send a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and we do know that White House lawyers have drafted a letter saying that they are not compelled to comply with these document requests until House Democrats take a vote on the floor of the House to indeed formally start this impeachment inquiry. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right, Jeremy Diamond at the White House, thank you.

Let's discuss further now, and with right now White House correspondent Michael Shear and Congressional editor Julie Hirschfeld Davis. Michael, to you first. What's your reaction to this "New York Times" reporting that there is a second whistleblower that could come forward and file a formal complaint?

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, I think one of the things that's significant is that the report in our paper suggested that this potential second whistleblower might have more direct knowledge of the events surrounding the telephone call and the president's communications with Ukraine than the first whistleblower. That was, of course, one of the things that the president had zeroed in on initially to try to undermine the credibility of the initial whistleblower was that he didn't have direct knowledge, didn't have firsthand knowledge of what had happened.

[14:05:05]

Now, that being said, the president is likely to attack the credibility of whoever comes forward in other ways simply by arguing that they're a traitor or treasonous, as he has already done. So it will have to be seen how much more information a potential second whistleblower can bring forward and whether and how much that adds to the Democratic firepower as they pursue impeachment.

WHITFIELD: And Julie, most GOP lawmakers have stayed very silent on this issue. Listen to what Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst had to say when she was confronted by her district voter, or at least a constituent, as far as we know, at a townhall this week about the lack of GOP action.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of our allies, he's pushing aside, he's making fun of them on Twitter.

SEN. JONI ERNST, (R-IA): Well, and, ma'am --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We end up with, oh, we love people from North Korea, or we love Russia. But where -- I understand it's a non-answer answer, and I understand. I get it. I know what you're saying.

ERNST: I can't speak for him. I'll just say that. I can't speak for him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know you can't speak for him, but you can speak for yourself.

ERNST: And I do. And I have said this time and time again. North Korea, not our friend. Russia, not our friend. I have made that very, very clear, and the president knows where I stand on those issues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about whistleblowers?

ERNST: And I've already said that, too. Whistleblowers should be protected. I stand with Chuck Grassley on this. We have laws in place. Again, laws need to be enforced.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: So, Julie, for how long are Republicans going to be able to carry on with that kind of narrative of either dismissing the question that is being asked by the woman, or explaining it away by taking a left turn?

JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, they've been sustaining it now for more than two years, and obviously now that we're in the context of an impeachment inquiry, it may become more awkward for them, but I don't really expect to hear that tone to change very much. What you did not hear from Senator Ernst right there, what you haven't heard from many Republicans on Capitol Hill, is really a vigorous defense of what the president has said and done, particularly as it relates to Ukraine and his dealings with Ukraine, that call publicly last week for Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens.

So they're trying to strike this very delicate balance between not defending him and not drawing the kind of angry response that Mitt Romney has by outright criticizing him.

WHITFIELD: And, Michael, among the Republicans, or elected officials, Mitt Romney, he is speaking out against the president for sign- posting, inviting now China to investigate the Bidens. And the president is targeting Romney today. Will Romney's tweets invite, give license to other Republicans who might be torn about saying something publicly? Might they be inspired by what Romney and his technique?

SHEAR: I doubt it.

(LAUGHTER)

SHEAR: There's a special relationship between President Trump and Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney has the ability to launch those kinds of criticisms, and he seems not to be worried about the potential implications of an election impact on his own chances down the road, which are a while down the road for him.

I don't see other Republicans making that same calculation. They understand that for themselves, the president is incredibly popular with the Republican -- the Republican base around the country, and that to take the kind of approach that Mitt Romney is taking puts their own elections at risk. And so I think that you're likely to see Mitt Romney be something of an island of one in a sea of Republicans who are really either, if not embracing the president, then as Julie said, trying to awkwardly find a way not to cross him.

WHITFIELD: And Michael, you have a new book out, getting a little extra attention, "Border Wars." The president responding to your book. Let's listen to what he has to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My comms people came to me, and they said, sir, there's a book or something being written. It's written by "Washington Post" people, so you know it's inaccurate. So these two reporters wrote this book, and they said I want a moat with alligators, snakes, electrified fences so people get electrocuted if the so much as tough the fence, and spikes on top. Never said it. Never thought of it. And I actually put out something on social media today. I said, I'm tough on the border, but I'm not that tough. OK, it was a lie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[14:10:00]

WHITFIELD: All right, you two reporters, Michael and Julie. So Julie, when the president says he never said this stuff, you're sourcing is that he did say it, and publicly he's made references to moats and spikes and all that. So what was your response, or what is your response to the way in which the president is responding to your all's book?

DAVIS: Well, I can't say I'm that surprised. He obviously doesn't want to publicly embrace some of these ideas. But as you point out, some of the other things that are mentioned in our story, such as using guns to shoot at migrants at the border, he's actually talked about it. He said publicly last summer that he wanted people to treat migrants throwing rocks at the border as if that was a rifle, which is essentially, basically shoot back at them. We've seen him tweet out images of the wall with spikes on top.

So these are clearly things he says privately. I think when they burst into the open and draw a shocked response from the public, he tries to backpedal as you saw him do in the Oval Office last week. But what he said in that Oval Office spray was no more accurate about our reporting than about where we work. We actually work for the "New York Times", not the "Washington Post."

WHITFIELD: Thank you for that.

(LAUGHTER)

WHITFIELD: Yes. Michael Shear, Julie Hirschfeld Davis, thank you so much.

DAVIS: Thanks, Fred.

SHEAR: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, impeachment still very much a hot topic on the campaign trail. Democratic candidates are voicing their opinions, but what do voters think.

Plus, House Intel Chairman Congressman Adam Schiff is taking the brunt of President Trump's backlash over the impeachment inquiry. How is he handling the intense scrutiny from his Republican colleagues?

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[14:15:16] WHITFIELD: Right now, impeachment on top of the minds as several 2020 Democrats take part in the Service Employees International's Union For All Summit in Los Angeles. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is among the candidates at today's event. While she isn't rushing to convict the president, she says she and her 2020 colleagues believe the evidence is stacking up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR, (D-MN) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that all of us believe that the evidence is there, and so I just think it's nuance of how you answer this. But for me and my colleagues, we've got to look at all the evidence. You may decide on five counts it's impeachable and one it isn't. You just have to look at everything. But the point is that as a former prosecutor, when I look at this, I consider these documents smoking guns. I've said that many times. And it just keeps on getting worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago joins me from that summit in Los Angeles. So Leyla, Klobuchar is saying she thinks her colleagues are aligned on this. Is that what you're hearing?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Listen, Senator Elizabeth Warren actually took it one step further, saying there is enough evidence today to convict in the Senate. Vice President Biden also getting pretty worked up in talking about Trump and impeachment yesterday, saying that Trump is unhinged, and really, really using strong words in defending that he doesn't believe it's a conflict of interest for his son to serve on a board in the Ukraine.

So they know their audience here. We are another the SEIU summit where there are a lot of engaged workers here, and whether they're being asked about it or not, when Trump is brought up, when the impeachment issue is pushed, this is an audience that will applaud that. So I took the opportunity to ask voters here, how does that play out in their decision-making for 2020?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAWRENCE REYES, SOCIAL WORKER: It's about time. They should show a spine. One thing the Republicans do is they may be wrong, and they may be way out there in left field -- right field, but they have a spine.

ANNA YAP, EMERGENCY MEDICINE RESIDENT: I'm worried that impeachment is going to suck all the air out of the room, and it's just going to be focused on that instead of really dealing with the big issues that are pressing on us in the room. And my concern with impeachment is I don't know if the impeachment proceedings and actually getting him impeached will be done by the time the election rolls around. So is it worth wasting our time on impeachment if it doesn't actually get the job done?

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANTIAGO: But, listen, it's not just the Democrats that are talking impeachment on the campaign trail. This week as I have floored Senator Warren in San Diego as well as Carson City, we saw Trump protesters that are focusing on impeachment. When she landed in Carson City, protesters actually followed here and were chanting "don't impeach, don't impeach." When I've talked to protestors, Trump supporters, that are standing in front of these rallies to have their voices heard, many of them will use the same argument that the president and some Republicans use in saying that Democrats are just sore losers and haven't gotten over the win in 2016, something that the Democrats will say those are just talking points and the evidence is damning. Fredricka?

WHITFIELD: All right, Leyla Santiago in Los Angeles, thank you.

CNN partners with a human rights campaign to present a groundbreaking CNN townhall event, "Equality in America." Join 2020 candidates as they discuss issues facing the LGBTQ community in a night of back-to- back townhalls. That's Thursday night starting at 7:00 eastern right here on CNN.

Coming up, with Congress in recess, many lawmakers are facing tough questions from voters over the impeachment inquiry of President Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN, (D-MI): And I wanted you to know from me -- I wanted you to know from me --

(BOOS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: We'll hear from some of these contentious townhalls.

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[14:23:15]

WHITFIELD: As the list of House Democrats supporting impeachment grows, most Republican lawmakers remain silent on President Trump's recent actions, and some voters are fed up. On Thursday a voter confronted Iowa Republican Senator Joni Ernst for not standing up to Trump, her words, a claim Ernst denies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JONI ERNST, (R-IA): I can't speak for him. I'll just say that. I can't speak for him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know you can't speak for him, but you can speak for yourself.

ERNST: And I do. And I have said this time and time again. North Korea, not our friend. Russia, not our friend. I have made that very, very clear, and the president knows where I stand on those issues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about whistleblowers?

ERNST: And I've already said that too. Whistle-lowers should be protected. I stand with Chuck Grassley on this. We have laws in place. Again, laws need to be enforced.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: On the flipside, Michigan Democratic Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin made her case for supporting an impeachment inquiry at a townhall, and constituents did not seem so happy. Watch what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN, (D-MI): A week ago Monday, myself and six other members of the freshman class in Congress, all former military or former CIA, wrote a joint op-ed and came out in support of an impeachment inquiry. And I wanted you to know from me --

(BOOS)

SLOTKIN: I wanted you to know from me --

(APPLAUSE)

(BOOS)

SLOTKIN: I wanted you to hear from me directly on why it was I made that decision. I know that, clearly, there is lots of disagreement in the room, but what I owe you as your representative is to be open and transparent about how I made this decision, so I wanted to tell you about it.

[14:25:03]

As you know, there have been people who have been calling for impeachment for a long time, even before I got into Congress in January, and I have not been supportive of an impeachment inquiry up until now. That includes after April when the Mueller report came out and when Robert Mueller came and testified. For many, many months, frankly, probably some folks in this room have been calling my office and asking me to call for an impeachment inquiry, and I did not feel like it was the right thing for the country.

But I will tell you that for me it did change, and it changed based on the information that came out in the past couple of weeks. Very specifically, the issue that got to me was this idea that the president, the most powerful man in the world, reached out to a foreigner, a foreign leader, and asked him to dig up dirt on an American.

CROWD: Not true! Not true!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They knew. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's still our president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't hear and listen.

SLOTKIN: So this is something the president himself acknowledged. This is something that the president's lawyer acknowledged. This is something -- he's not disputing that fact. What he is disputing, and I acknowledge it completely, is whether there was a quid pro quo, a trade for our military assistance in exchange for information and dirt. And that is to be determined.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There wasn't.

SLOTKIN: OK, that is to be determined. But I'm telling you from my perspective that that idea, that we would reach out to a foreigner, which again, the president acknowledged, and we would ask for dirt in an American political election was too much for me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nope. He's looking into corruption.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's your job.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Words matter, words matter.

SLOTKIN: So I made the decision because, for me, I can't allow that idea, as someone who served in the CIA, who has a husband who served 30 years in the military, a daughter, stepdaughter in the military now, that idea that we would go out to a foreigner and ask for information for help in an election in the United States, the next step is a --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not true.

SLOTKIN: -- a Republican or Democratic president --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Foreign leaders exchange that all the time. Foreign leaders help each other all the time.

SLOTKIN: I'm sorry, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They helped Biden!

SLOTKIN: For me, for me it was extremely --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's our representative.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's our representative and we want answers!

SLOTKIN: OK. I'm going to continue talking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't want lies.

SLOTKIN: I'm going to take questions at the end, so if we could all just give me a second, I'm happy to take your questions.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WHITFIELD: You heard an impassioned mixed bag there. One of the constituents, in fact, went as far as to call the inquiry a coup to undermine the president. The congresswoman reiterated the inquiry is appropriate at this time and emphasized that she would not race to conclusions until she has all the facts.

Straight ahead, one of the Democrats leading the impeachment inquiry now finds himself squarely in President Trump's crosshairs. How is Congressman Adam Schiff handling the intense pressure?

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[14:32:34]

WHITFIELD: As Democrats charge forward with their impeachment inquiry, one man has found himself at the center of the president's ire, House Intel Chairman and Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff. CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash has more.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll work together with shifty Schiff.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump thrives on creating political foils, especially in a crisis.

TRUMP: Shifty, dishonest guy.

BASH: Now that's Adam Schiff, the man spearheading the impeachment inquiry. What this means for Schiff is that there is no room for error. Every move he makes, every word he utters, scrutinized by Republicans and combed for mistakes, like this last month.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D-CA) CHAIRMAN, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.

BASH: Schiff now says, quote, "I regret that I wasn't much more clear," because he may not have spoken to the whistleblower, but it turns out his staff did. The whistleblower contacted his committee for guidance and was told to file the complaint with the Intelligence Community Inspector General, which is what happened. An aide to the Republican run Senate Intelligence Committee said Schiff followed protocol, but that nuance is irrelevant to a president eager to discredit him.

TRUMP: He knew long before, and he helped write it too. It's a scam.

BASH: Schiff aides and the whistleblower's attorney say that is not true. The committee had no role in writing the whistleblower's complaint. But that did not stop Trump's campaign and conservative media from pushing the false claim.

SCHIFF: I have a favor I want from you.

BASH: The president is also pummeling Schiff from reading a parody of his call with Ukraine's leader instead of the actual White House summary, though Schiff did introduce it this way.

SCHIFF: This is the essence of what the president communicates. You'd better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand, lots of it, on this and on that. I'm going to put you in touch with people, and not just any people.

TRUMP: He actually made it up. It should be criminal. It should be treasonous. He made it up, every word of it, made up and read to Congress as though I said it.

BASH: The president's hyperbole aside, CNN is told by Democratic sources that Schiff realizes it opened him up to criticism, despite telling Wolf this.

SCHIFF: I was mocking the president's comment.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE SPEAKER: Good morning, everyone.

BASH: The House speaker, a big Schiff champion, backs them up.

PELOSI: I want them to hear it, so, yes, it's fair. It's sad, but it's using the president's own words.

[14:35:03]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was an interpretation of the president's words.

PELOSI: He did not make it up.

BASH: Many House Democratic sources say Pelosi was eager to put Schiff in charge of the impeachment inquiry because of his intellect, savvy, and background as a prosecutor, which, opening statement aside, came across during Q and A with the acting DNI last week.

SCHIFF: Is that not an issue of interference in our --

BASH: Now more than ever, some colleagues tell CNN, he us is well aware he's under the biggest microscope of his life.

I'm told Schiff is also keenly aware of the pitfalls of leading an impeachment inquiry because he was first elected to the House almost 20 years ago in a race against Republican James Rogan, an impeachment manager who argued the case against Bill Clinton in that Senate trial. Voter backlash against Rogan for going overboard, that helped Schiff win. And I'm told lessons from that and what he thinks Republicans did wrong are helping guide him now.

Dana Bash, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: For more now I want to bring in Mieke Eoyang. She is a Democratic strategist who served as the staff director on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Mieke, good to see you. So in your view, did that mocking that Schiff admits to, did that undermine his credibility, give the president an opening for this kind of unrelenting attack?

MIEKE EOYANG, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think the president is looking for any kind of opening he can get against Schiff given how credible the chairman has been at eliciting the evidence of what the president did. I think, really, it's hard for him because the Republicans are trying to make it about his conduct, about the whistleblower process, and not focus on the president's own actions. So I think it is a challenge to manage in this kind of environment where even the slightest thing is going to be turned into an attack.

WHITFIELD: So clearly the president, then, in your view, and his allies, are going to great lengths to discredit Schiff and this committee leading this inquiry. But is it your view that this strategy is backfiring, because it seems like the president is just digging in his heals and his supporters are, too?

EOYANG: I think the president's really grasping at straws, and you can tell because Republicans have increasingly refused to come out to defend him. So even though he may fill the airways with this kind of attack, he's not winning any allies. He's not winning any support, which he will need as these issues come to a vote in the Congress.

WHITFIELD: So Mieke, as someone who has helped lead this committee, what does this process of impeachment inquiry look like behind the scenes, especially when you have the president who is saying to a House Speaker, put it to a vote, put this inquiry to a House vote? So what are the machinations happening?

EOYANG: So what you see happening in the House, and you can see this from the letters that have been released, you've got many committees working together to gather evidence. They're talking to witnesses beyond just what the whistleblower said and beyond the transcript that the White House released, people who witnessed what was happening, who can tell you what was the tone when the president said things to the president of Ukraine, what were the side conversations that helped the Ukrainians understand what was going on. And also looking at where is the money. How did money flow around in this circumstance? And Chairman Schiff hired a bunch of investigators who specialize in this area. So I think you can see them very carefully and methodically building a case about the president's actions here.

WHITFIELD: But in order to get this information, you need cooperating witnesses, you need cooperation of subpoenas for documents, and this White House is already conveying, by missing some deadlines already, that perhaps they're not so willful. So then what for the committees leading up these investigations?

EOYANG: Yes. So you see the White House trying to resist the oversight of the committee, and the committee has been very clear that these steps are evidence of further obstruction. But what you also see is that lower levels, many, many people were witness to this conduct, and many, many people were really concerned about what the president was doing. You already have the president's special representative to Ukraine Kurt Volker come before the committee, give testimony, release very damning text messages of what was happening inside the administration as they were having communications leading up to the president's phone calls with President Zelensky. So you're going to see lots and lots of people coming forward as they realize they can be protected as whistleblowers with inspectors general to provide information to the committees about what the president did.

WHITFIELD: Are you at all concerned about the whistleblower complaint and the process of filing that complaint when reportedly the whistleblower went to the intel community and said, essentially, how do I do this? They said, reportedly, get an attorney to help file the complaint, versus the White House is saying that this whistleblower did not follow protocol, therefore the complaint is moot. It's been undermined. What's your view on this?

[14:40:10]

EOYANG: Yes, so I've seen many whistleblower complaints come into Congress all the time, and what I see here is a whistleblower who has gone to great lengths to follow the rules as best they can. And frankly, it's textbook in terms of following the rules that the intelligence committee has laid out here.

I actually think these process concerns that Republicans are trying to raise, a, they aren't relative to this whistleblower complaint, but, b, it is trying to distract you from the underlying questions of the president's conduct here. The issue here is not how the whistleblower found out or how the committee found out, but what the president did and what his aides did on his behalf in terms of bringing pressure to bear on a foreign government to advance his own political interests. And that's really the question before Congress.

WHITFIELD: And quickly, back to the issue of cooperation or lack thereof, what will this committee -- what will Congressman Schiff do, how will it respond if the White House does stonewall on every over request, whether it's the vice president's documents that have been requested, whether it's testimony of a Mike Pompeo?

EOYANG: So what you'll see is them gathering information from lower- level sources who are horrified by this conduct, as we've seen reports of today. And so there will be lots of other evidence of other people who were in the room even if those high-level officials themselves will not provide testimony. And those high-level officials in refusing to comply with the congressional requests will then see themselves accused of obstruction of a congressional inquiry. And that could be really serious. That was one of the articles in the Nixon impeachment was obstructing congressional inquiry. So they could see themselves on the hook for wrongdoing.

WHITFIELD: Mieke Eoyang, thank you so much, appreciate it, your time.

EOYANG: Thanks.

WHITFIELD: Still ahead, a nation in turmoil. Dozens are dead as violent protests erupt all over Iraq. More on the unfolding situation, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:46:09]

WHITFIELD: Iraq is in chaos as anti-government protests continued, and a curfew shut down the city for much of the week. More than 70 people have been killed and thousands injured as demonstrators demand jobs and call for an end to government corruption. The government said it is setting up a committee to address the demands. As Arwa Damon explains from Baghdad, that may not be enough.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The curfew has been lifted, although large parts of the country do still remain under an Internet blackout, and people are enraged at the way that the government has been handling these demonstrations. The death toll is rising as is the number of those wounded up in the thousands.

The protesters' demands are ones that many in this population have been making for years now -- an end to corruption, improvement of basic services, and employment opportunities, especially for the youth. People here with a university degree struggle to find adequate jobs. Demonstrators have been attempting to take to the streets, quite often being met with lethal force.

Now, to try to appease the demonstrators, the government is acknowledging their grievances, saying that they will be establishing an independent committee to address these demands. Parliament is also needing focusing on these issues. But at the same time there are key political parties who are asking for more. Radical Shia Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, known for his anti-American perspective, he is calling on his parliament block to suspend its participation, going even further to demand that the government resign and that early elections be held because, he says, of the bloodshed that took place during these demonstrations.

This is a population that is quite simply fed up. They know that their country is making billions of dollars a month in oil revenues. They know that they sit on one of the world's largest oil reserves, and they have run out of patience when it comes to government and incompetence and corruption. What remains to be seen right now is whether or not they are willing to give their political leadership another chance.

Arwa Damon, CNN, Baghdad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WHITFIELD: And still ahead, just days after suffering a heart attack, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is ready to get back on the campaign trail. What he's saying to supporters, next.

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[14:52:25]

WHITFIELD: Welcome back. Police in New York are investigating a series of violent attacks that left four homeless men dead and a fifth seriously injured. It happened overnight around Manhattan's Chinatown neighborhood. Investigators believe the victims were attacked and beaten with a metal object as they slept.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is covering these troubling developments for us. So Polo, what more can you tell us?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Troubling indeed, Fred. Police here in New York City are confident they know what happened, but now the question is why did it happen. Investigators saying that those four individuals were beaten to death in New York City's Chinatown. This is in lower Manhattan. It's a neighborhood that usually bustling with activity in the day. However, at night, those streets, those sidewalks, they empty out, and many of the city's homeless will spend the night on sidewalks or in doorways.

And a disturbing detail here from authorities, they believe that many of these individuals, these victims were asleep when they were beaten, according to investigators, with a metal pipe within just a few blocks of each other early this morning.

Investigators do have a suspect in custody. He's been identified as a man in his 20s. Investigators speaking to him. Authorities also speaking to a fifth victim who survived the attack, a man who we believe is about 49-years-old, and investigators also speaking to. Everybody involved here, Fred, it appears, is in fact homeless, so as this investigate presses on, this certainly is a reminder that homelessness continues to be an issue in cities across the country. And then, of course, here in New York City it's certainly not the exception, where just yesterday morning about 60,000 individuals woke up in shelters. But as you can imagine, the number of actual homeless can be much higher, particularly for the unsheltered, those who sleep on the streets, and that is those, of course, who are most vulnerable to this kind of violence. Fred?

WHITFIELD: That's terribly troubling. Thank you so much, Polo Sandoval.

Checking our other top stories. A Florida woman is behind bars after allegedly making two dozen pipe bombs with the intent of using them to hurt people. Authorities say the woman's parents alerted them after they discovered what appeared to be a significant amount of pipe- bombs, other bomb-making materials, and numerous weapons, including 23 knives. Investigators also discovered dozens of books and DVDs about murder, mass killing, domestic terrorism, and bombmaking. The 27- year-old now faces 24 counts of making a destructive device with intent to harm.

Television actress and Broadway star Diahann Carroll has lost her battle to breast cancer. Carroll was beloved for her work in the 1968 series "Julia," which made her the first African-American woman to star in a network series profiling a black professional woman who was a widowed nurse and a mother. Carroll is survived by her daughter and her grandchildren. She was 84-years-old.

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A Houston area man lucky to be alive tonight after being struck by lightning as he walked his dogs. Surveillance video captured the frightening moment as the lightning bolt knocked the man, as you see right there, to the down. A worker at a nearby veterinary clinic witnesses the lightning strike and then rushed to perform CPR on the man. The victim's family says he is pain today, but, miraculously, he is expected to be OK.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is promising he'll return to the campaign trail despite doctor's confirming that he did in fact have a heart attack earlier in the week. Sanders left a Las Vegas hospital yesterday, and in a video posted online, he reassured his supporters that he is not going anywhere.

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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (D-VT) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hello, everybody. We're in Las Vegas. I just got out of the hospital a few hours ago, and I'm feeling so much better. I just want to thank all of you for the love and warm wishes that you sent to me. See you soon on the campaign trail.

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WHITFIELD: The senator's campaign says the senator will rest at his home in Vermont for several days, but that he does plan on taking part in the CNN Democratic debate on October 15th.

And thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. See you again here tomorrow. We have so much more straight ahead in the Newsroom with Ana Cabrera right after this.

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