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STATE OF THE UNION
White House in Crisis; Interview With Presidential Candidate Mark Sanford; Interview With Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Interview With Presidential Candidate Joe Walsh (R-IL). Aired 9-10a ET
Aired October 6, 2019 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Evidence mounts.
Forget drip, dripping drip. A torrent of new revelations backs up the case against President Trump, as he openly urges another country to investigate his political rival.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They should investigate the Bidens.
TAPPER: Will the impeachment probe reveal even more troubling conduct?
And closing ranks. Confronted with the president's own words, prominent Republicans struggle to come up with ways to dismiss them.
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R-FL): I don't know if that is a real request or him just needling the press.
TAPPER: After the president attacked one GOP critic, will the bulk of his party toe the line?
Republican presidential candidates former Congressman Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh join me to discuss next.
Plus: Democrats respond. Senator Bernie Sanders recovers from a health scare, as the impeachment uproar threatens to drown out the Democratic primary.
JOSEPH BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Focus on this man, what he's doing.
TAPPER: With months left in the primary campaign, who is standing out? I will speak to presidential candidate Senator Amy Klobuchar next.
TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is watching the evidence pile up.
We begin this morning with some breaking news.
The lawyer for the first whistle-blower now tells me he is also representing a second whistle-blower who has spoken to the intelligence community inspector general.
The news, first reported by ABC, is another development that could play into the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. And it is just the latest in a stream of new evidence this week backing up the original whistle-blower complaint against President Trump, including, notably, the president's own public call for not only Ukraine, but for China to investigate his potential 2020 rival.
But perhaps most damning, House Democrats have obtained text messages between three senior U.S. officials discussing what looks like a quid pro quo, an office (sic) of X in exchange for Y with Ukraine, including this exchange.
Quote: "Heard from White House. Assuming President Zelensky convinces Trump he will investigate -- quote -- 'get to the bottom of what happened in 2016,' we will nail down date for visit to Washington."
Or this text from a senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine -- quote -- "As I said on the phone, I think it's crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."
We should note, we invited the White House on to answer questions on the show this morning. They did not offer a guest. We also invited both of the president's personal lawyers, Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow. They declined to appear.
We invited every member of Senate leadership and the top House Republicans. They all declined or did not even respond.
The Trump White House no longer holds regular press briefings or any press briefings at all.
And so, on one of the most critical news weeks of the last three years, here are just three of many questions that we feel need to be answered.
One, why did senior U.S. diplomats believe that U.S. military aid was being withheld as a tool to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens and into attempts to undermine the Mueller investigation?
Two, can this White House name another instance, just one, in which President Trump personally pushed a foreign leader to investigate an American citizen who was not one of his political opponents?
Three, would you think it entirely appropriate for a Democratic president to use the power of his or her office to demand foreign governments conduct investigations into Republicans and their families?
As always, the invitation for an official to answer these questions stands. Here with me now to talk about this are two Republicans who are
speaking out and challenging President Trump for the Republican presidential nomination, former Congressman Mark Sanford and former Congressman Joe Walsh.
Congressman Sanford, let me start with you.
The president called for both Ukraine and China to investigate Biden. He did that publicly. We saw new texts showing U.S. diplomats pushing the Ukrainians to announce a probe if they wanted a White House meeting.
A U.S. diplomat expressed concerns that military aid was being withheld awaiting that announcement for an investigation into the Bidens.
You have said the impeachment inquiry is justified. Would you vote to support such an inquiry if you were in the House of Representatives?
MARK SANFORD (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, I don't know. I suspect so.
Again, I think we need to take this incrementally. I mean, I think, to your point, there ought to be a vote before we go into the inquiry. If you look at the last three impeachments -- and, in fact, one in which I actually took the vote -- you formalize the process, as opposed to having an open-ended process, which is the route that Pelosi is taking right now.
TAPPER: But you're not sure that you would vote for it?
SANFORD: ... in terms of inquiry?
TAPPER: Yes, the inquiry.
SANFORD: Which -- I would take the vote in terms of inquiry.
I would ultimately, as I have said previously, I don't know that, ultimately, impeachment is the best way to go. I think probably censure is, given the fact that we're this close to an election. But that's a larger conversation.
Would I want to investigate this? Yes.
TAPPER: Congressman Walsh, what do you say?
JOE WALSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't understand that, with all due respect, Mark. This president deserves to be impeached.
Jake, nobody from the White House and no high-level Republicans are on this show today because there is nothing to defend. This president betrayed his country again this week. Would I vote if
I were in Congress on the inquiry? There is enough we know now to vote to impeach this president.
He stood on the White House lawn this week, Jake, and told two additional foreign governments to interfere in our election. That alone is impeachable.
This is a strong term I'm going to use, but I'm going to say it on purpose: Donald Trump is a traitor.
Now, I know there is a lot of talk about treason, right? People on both sides, Jake, have been irresponsible using that word treason. I'm not accusing this president of treason.
Our founders were very specific as to what treason is. But when you look at traitor more broadly defined, this president betrayed our country again this week. And it is not the first time he did it.
Excuse me. I don't know that we should move forward incrementally. This president needs to be impeached, Jake, just based on what he himself has said. And Republicans better get behind that.
TAPPER: Congressman Sanford?
SANFORD: I respectfully disagree.
In other words, the nature of the process is not to come to the conclusion at the beginning of it. And for people to just step out and say he needs to be impeached is to actually diminish and discard with the very process that is laid out by our founding fathers.
And so I do think we ought to be incremental. Are there very troubling charges out there? Yes. Do they need to be investigated? Yes.
But to jump to conclusions and say, he needs to be impeached, what he's done is treasonous, is to say, we're not going through the very process that the founding fathers laid out.
WALSH: Well, you -- Jake, you go through the process.
But again, Mark, with all due respect, the president of the United States -- and this is not the first time he's done it -- is telling foreign governments to interfere in our election.
And here is another thing. He asked China this week to investigate his fellow Americans? If that alone -- and that is what our founders feared, Jake.
Mark, if that alone isn't impeachable, then nothing is. Yes, begin the process.
SANFORD: But let's -- but let's -- let's begin -- let's go with -- begin with the end in mind, which is, again, are there troubling charges? Yes. Could you make the argument that you are making? Yes. But do you think you could get 20 Republican senators to go along with
that argument? The answer is no.
That is why David Brooks wrote an eloquent column last week saying that, while there was certainly reason to move forward, it didn't make it politically prudent, because, ultimately, an impeachment inquiry is not a legal inquiry. It's not in the judiciary. It is a political move.
And so the question in this political season is, do we want to completely wipe out the Democratic debate that is taking place amongst the Democrats and some degree of Republican debate that we're trying to have, Joe, as to what we believe as a country, where we want to go, what is important to us, because the giant sucking sound will be this impeachment inquiry sucking every other piece of debate, both in Washington and outside of Washington, out the door?
And the question is, from an elitist standpoint, should 100 senators make the call on whether or not this president stays in office, or should we, in fact, have that query come -- come next November?
I think that is legitimate. And I think that there is precedent here. Andrew Jackson in 1834 was censured. And, again, it said, we're not going to say nothing, but we don't know that we can actually pull off a change. Therefore, we are going to let the people decide.
TAPPER: Let me just -- I just want to get some clarity.
Congressman Sanford, do you worry at all about a precedent where it is acceptable for a president to use the power of his office to pressure foreign leaders, especially of countries that really need U.S. help, like Ukraine, to pressure them to investigate rivals?
Because if that precedent is acceptable -- and I hear people in the president's camp saying that is OK.
TAPPER: Do you worry about that?
TAPPER: Because that doesn't just end with the Trump presidency.
SANFORD: Completely. Completely. Jake...
TAPPER: It goes on forever, right?
SANFORD: Right. I -- I -- I completely agree with you.
Let me be 100 percent clear. I don't think it is right, end of story.
The question is, what do you do about it? And that is a more complex question, which is, do you look at censure? Do you look at impeachment?
What does impeachment entail? This is where it is worth everybody reading David Brooks' column of last week, because, again, he argues articulately that what is done here is wrong, but the question is, what do you do about it?
And that is where it does become more complex.
SANFORD: Do I want to set this precedent? No.
WALSH: And, again, politics be damned. Being politically prudent be damned, Jake.
WALSH: We have a president who stood in front of his country and said, I want a foreign government interfering in our election.
That can't be accepted. That is wrong. That is impeachable on its face.
TAPPER: I want you to respond. I want to play some sound.
SANFORD: No, but what you don't -- what you -- but wait, wait, wait.
TAPPER: Go ahead. Go ahead, Congressman. OK. Mm-hmm.
SANFORD: What you don't want to do -- what -- what you don't want to do is give Trump the reason to be able to say, I was absolved of guilt.
That will set more precedent going forward than doing something like a censure, because if you don't come up with the 20 Republican senators on the -- on the Senate side, guess what? He's not impeached.
And, therefore, you do set precedent going forward on, again, what he did, and guess it must be OK. He got cleared by the Senate. He wasn't impeached.
TAPPER: Let me just...
SANFORD: I think it is worse politically.
WALSH: Mark, that is Washington, D.C., gobbledygook. That's Washington -- either the Republican Party stands up now and says...
Either the Republican Party stands up now and says, we oppose this, we oppose collusion, we oppose foreign governments interfering in our election, either we stand up with one unifying voice with that right now, Mark, and we don't get involved in the gobbledygook of censure or impeachment or is it politically prudent?
How about we Republicans do what is right, sir?
SANFORD: I completely agree.
But you know what? We have process in this democratic form of government that we own for a reason...
WALSH: Begin the process.
SANFORD: ... which is to say, you can call it gobbledygook, but process matters.
SANFORD: That's why I think it's important they actually begin the process with an impeachment vote, which is what has taken place on the three previous impeachment queries.
WALSH: Is that impeachable, Mark? Mark, is that impeachable?
SANFORD: What's that?
WALSH: If a president tells a foreign government to interfere in our election, uses the power of his office to benefit him politically, is that impeachable or not?
SANFORD: In other words, is it wrong? Yes.
WALSH: No, is it impeachable?
SANFORD: But the question, though, is it impeachable, is, again, a political call, based on the construct of...
WALSH: Make your political call now. Do you think it is impeachable? I do.
Do you think that alone is impeachable?
SANFORD: Again, but what you and I think is irrelevant to the larger process that is in play and what is going to happen next.
And I'm simply saying, let's look at, what are the costs? The costs in this case, if we proceed, are, there is going to be no focus by CNN, FOX, and everybody else on what the Democrats are talking about and what the Republicans are talking about.
We are going to supersede this national election that is before us with an impeachment inquiry.
And we have to say, as we weigh these things, what is better?
WALSH: The focus is this president, who is a threat to the country. The focus is this president.
TAPPER: So, I just -- we only have about a minute left. This has been a great debate just to sit here and watch.
WALSH: Yes. Sure.
TAPPER: Congressman Walsh has said he's not voting for President Trump no matter what, period, end of story.
Congressman Sanford, you said in August that you would vote for President Trump over former Vice President Joe Biden in 2020. Do you still feel that way today, if those end up being the choices?
SANFORD: I don't know.
Again, what I have said is, I'm an issue guy.
And so, for instance, Elizabeth Warren, I just read in this morning's paper, is proposing to tack on another $2,300 of additional spending for Social Security, even though the system is already bankrupt.
I'm going to base my decision based on who is closest to me with particular regard to debt and deficit and government spending, where I think we have gone off the tracks in Washington, D.C.
TAPPER: Congressman Walsh, the final word.
WALSH: Jake, I'm running against President Trump because he's unfit and he's a clear and present danger to this country.
There is no way in hell I would vote for him in November. The election is about Trump, period.
TAPPER: All right, thanks to both of you for the spirited debate. We appreciate it. Thanks for being here.
And we will have you both on again.
Coming up: Democrats say that they have found the smoking gun in the case against President Trump. So, are they ready to convict the president now?
Senator Amy Klobuchar will join me next.
And, in 2008, Vice President Mike Pence explained his thinking on impeachment. Safe to say he's changed his mind.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is taking on President Trump directly this morning, calling him -- quote -- "wholly unfit to lead."
In a new "Washington Post" op-ed, Biden writes -- quote -- "Trump is frantically pushing flat-out lies, debunked conspiracy theories and smears against me and my family, no doubt hoping to undermine my candidacy for the presidency. But it won't work, because the American people know me and they know him" -- unquote.
To be clear, the Ukrainian prosecutor general says that he has seen no evidence of any wrongdoing by Hunter Biden, the vice president's son.
Joining me now, 2020 presidential candidate and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Senators, thanks for joining us.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: I want to ask you.
Your fellow Democratic Senator and 2020 opponent Elizabeth Warren said on Friday that she had seen enough evidence to convict President Trump at an impeachment trial in the Senate.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: You have seen enough evidence to convict, yourself?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes.
QUESTION: So you would vote right now to remove the president?
WARREN: Look, I think the evidence is clear.
When Donald Trump released the transcript in which he solicited a foreign government to interfere in the 2020 elections, he broke the law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Senator, would you vote to convict President Trump right now?
KLOBUCHAR: Jake, I have been very clear, I think this is impeachable, that the case should be heard by the House, and it should come over to the Senate.
Now, I don't know what counts they're going to have or how they are going to do this, but my focus is on the fact that you have got a president that is acting like a global gangster. He is basically going to one leader after another trying to get dirt on his political opponent.
I consider that a violation of our laws. I consider it a violation of the election laws. You have got the smoking gun document, but now you're getting even reports of another whistle-blower that is going to back up what the first whistle-blower said.
So, I am really, really focused on getting the evidence out for the American people and really calling on our Republican colleagues to take this on in the serious matter, to put the country in front of their own partisanship, as we get this very serious case that I believe will come over from the House.
TAPPER: That's right.
And just to reiterate for those just tuning in, the whistle-blower attorney Mark Zaid, who represents the first whistle-blower, has confirmed that he's now representing a second whistle-blower, somebody who has spoken to the intelligence community inspector general and has firsthand accounts that back up the first whistle-blower.
But let me ask you.
Your answer there sounded like you were saying the impeachment process should go forward, this is impeachable, but you didn't say that you would be ready to convict right now.
I understand that you're a believer in the process. Do you think it's irresponsible for senators who will be essentially jurors to say right now that they would vote to convict? Is that irresponsible?
KLOBUCHAR: I think people will say different things.
I personally, as a former prosecutor, like to look at all the evidence, because you might convict on a number of counts, and not another one.
That's not really the point here, Jake. The point is that we have some of our Republican colleagues that are basically treating this as a joke, with very few exceptions. And they are the ones that's going to matter, because we're going to need something like 20 Republican votes to get up to 67.
You look at the fact that we have had a few glimmers of people trying to look at this differently, Senator Grassley defending the whistle- blower after President Trump attacked the whistle-blower as a spy, basically implying that he should be executed.
You had Senator Romney just this last weekend being willing to come out and say what was very, very wrong about making these kinds of threats when you're in the middle trade negotiations with China, using the leverage that should be used to help our farmers and our workers, and instead trying to use it to get dirt on an opponent or the fledgling democracy of Ukraine.
So I'm waiting for more of them to basically -- like that old kid's story, the emperor has no clothes. You have got a president that's cloaking himself in the pageantry of this office, while literally violating the law on a daily basis.
We need more Republicans to point out this emperor has no clothes.
KLOBUCHAR: And, pretty soon, one by one by one, I think the truth will come out.
TAPPER: The White House has asserted that it does not need to comply with congressional subpoenas for documents because the House of Representatives has not held a formal vote to open an impeachment inquiry.
Regardless of that legal position, you argue there's a process to follow here. Why shouldn't the process include a vote on the House floor to open a formal impeachment inquiry?
KLOBUCHAR: I don't think that's necessary, I think, because we know, by the House rules, that the speaker can do that herself.
To me, again, these are a bunch of the nuances of this, but what really matters to me is that people come forward and testify. You already have those texts which are very damning, where you have high- level diplomats trying to deal with the fact about the White House pushing for this investigation while foreign aid, security is on the line.
I have been to Ukraine. I was there with Senator McCain and Senator Graham and saw for myself how much they need our country by their side as they deal with a foreign entity, as in Russia, that shot planes down over their country, that's annexed Crimea in their own country.
They need us. And President Trump knows that.
So, I think what really matters is, OK, we have got these courageous whistle-blowers coming forward. Now we have got to see the courage from some of the people that used to work in that White House that were directly in the room with him, that heard when he talked about these things. Those people have to come forward.
And then, of course, we need to see the same level of courage that we see from these line CIA agencies, as has been reported. We need to see that from the Congress, because, to me, this is just like Watergate.
You had a president that was paranoid. An election was coming up. He wanted to get dirt on his political opponent. And he sent out a group to break into a file cabinet in the DNC headquarters.
Instead, this guy, he's decided to use his clout with world leaders and try to do it on a global basis. And then, when they get caught, what do they do? They try to hide it on a super secret server and have the information there.
They didn't have those back then in Watergate, but it is the same kind of thing.
TAPPER: Let me ask...
KLOBUCHAR: That's what we're dealing with here. And people need to think of it that way.
TAPPER: Let me ask you.
Vice President Biden defended himself when he was asked about Hunter Biden's involvement with a Ukrainian company and whether it was a conflict interests.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: It's not a conflict of interests.
There's been no indication of any conflict of interests from Ukraine or anywhere else, period. I'm not going to -- I'm not going to respond to that.
Let's focus on the problem. Focus on this man, what he's doing, that no president has ever done, no president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: And to be clear, as I said earlier in the show, the Ukrainian prosecutor general says he has no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.
But I want to ask you. Senator Harris and Congressman O'Rourke have both suggested that they would not be comfortable with the child of their vice president sitting on the board of a foreign company. Would you?
KLOBUCHAR: No, I wouldn't.
And I can promise you right now, my own daughter, who's only 24, does not sit on the board of a foreign company.
But that is not the issue. The issue here is what the president is doing, because we have the Ukrainian prosecutors saying that there's no evidence. There has -- as you have said on your show, multiple people looking at this, that there's no evidence that the vice president did something wrong here.
And so what really matters is that the president was repeatedly trying to get dirt on a political opponent. That is the issue here. And we have seen this. We have seen this president. He does not know the line, from the moment he stood in front of that wall of stars of the deceased CIA agents, stood there on that sacred wall, and gave a partisan speech.
He believed Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence directors, Jake.
KLOBUCHAR: Time and time again, this guy goes with the dictators, goes with Kim Jong-un, over the interests of America.
And I think we need a president that's going to put the interest of the people of this country, those workers, the farmers in Iowa, the people I'm here with right now in New Hampshire, the veterans I'm going to be meeting with in an hour, to put their interest in front of his own or her own political and business and partisan interests.
This guy hasn't done that. That is why the House is looking into this, because it is a security interest for our country, a violation of the law. It is very straightforward.
And to not do it would be to shirk our constitutional duties. It was James Madison that said at the Constitutional Convention that the reason that these provisions for impeachment should have been and were included in the Constitution was because they feared that a president could betray the trust of the American people to a foreign power.
Those were the words of one of our founders. And that's what's happening here.
TAPPER: All right, Senator Klobuchar, thanks so much.
You should learn some Daniel Webster for the New Hampshire crowd you're about to talk to. But I appreciate your references.
KLOBUCHAR: OK, I will beef up on that on the way to the -- on the way to the American Legion.
TAPPER: All right.
KLOBUCHAR: Thank you very much, Jake.
TAPPER: Thanks so much. Appreciate it, Senator Klobuchar.
Coming up: As Democrats pursue an impeachment inquiry, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is looking to the past, reminding the president of a rule from his casino days.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Donald, you used to own a casino. You know the House always wins.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP 2008)
REP. MIKE PENCE (R-IN): This business of high crimes and misdemeanors goes to the question of whether or not the person serving as president of the United States put their own interests, their personal interests, ahead of public service.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Then Congressman Mike Pence on impeachment talking about that in 2008 in the House Judiciary Committee. I think he has changed his mind on that subject now. Let's discuss.
Let me start with you. Because you actually served as a staffer on the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate. I think that then Congressman Pence had it right and Vice President Pence maybe not so much.
LINDA CHAVEZ, DIRECTOR, BECOMING AMERICAN INITIATIVE: Absolutely. It is like the invasion of the body snatchers. I don't know who these people are. I mean, they have so changed their tune.
This is really serious. One of the reasons I became a conservative.
I was a Democrat back in those days when I was on Judiciary Committee. One of the reasons I became a conservative was that I really believed that the Republican Party was devoted to the truth, that we believed in ideals, that we were devoted to the constitution. And what I see happening now is people who are absolutely abrogating their duty, they are putting politics first and they're scared -- they're scared of Donald Trump.
TAPPER: Do you have any concerns that as somebody from a red state, if a blue town, that Democrats are going too far, too fast?
MITCH LANDRIEU (D), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: No, I think it was a little bit hard for people to get to the impeachment, past the Rubicon but I think the president made it impossible for the country to look away and through all of the noise essentially I just think everybody has got to do their duty.
If you go back and look at the minutes from the constitutional convention and listen to what Madison say, if you read the Federalist Paper 65 and you listen to what Hamilton wrote it is clear that this is one of the exact reasons they put the impeachment clause in the constitution. It's a very sobering, serious moment for the country that I think we ought to look at very squarely and simply, I think, people just need to do their duty and let the chips fall where they may.
TAPPER: Amanda, the president and his team are saying, hey, he has a responsible to ferret out corruption wherever it might be. When asked by the reporter Eamon Javers, I think, on Friday about whether or not he could name another time that he called for such an investigation by a foreign leader into somebody who wasn't a political rival. Well, listen to his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you asked foreign leaders for any corruption investigations that don't involve your political opponents? That is are there other cases where --
TRUMP: You know, we would have to look.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: "We would have to look." I think they're still looking. Because I'm pretty sure he hasn't.
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, if he wants some information on this, there is someone he could ask. His former campaign chairman Paul Manafort who sits in jail right now for meddling in Ukrainian elections and taking a lots of money from pro- Russian forces in the area and not reporting it. So there is some corruption he might be interested in.
But here is the thing, we're all on Fifth Avenue right now. He did the deed in broad daylight. He called for foreign adversaries to interfere in the election after he did it with Russia, after he did the transcript and then he did it on the White House lawn. And so this is something you can't look away from.
There's a lot of Republicans ducking, covering, they're in alleyways, they don't want to come out in the street, but you will have to line up on one street on the other -- or the other on this question. Behind Donald Trump who supports cheating to win elections because that is what really this boils down to or do you oppose it and these Republican senators really should engage in self reflection.
Do you want China, Ukraine, you name it coming after you, your family, your campaign? Because if you don't stand up to it, fair game.
TAPPER: And the secretary of state said in Greece just yesterday, I believe, that this was all normal. Take a listen.
KAREN FINNEY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Of course.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Look, nations do this. Nations work together and they say, boy, goodness gracious if you can help me with X, we'll help you achieve Y.
This is what partnerships do. It is win-win. It is better for each of us. I'm not offended when your prime minister asked me, can you help us with X? Right? It doesn't bother me a lick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: By the way, that is him confirming a quid pro quo. If you could help me with X, we'll help you achieve Y.
FINNEY: Yes. We already know there was a quid pro quo. We already know exactly what Trump was trying to do. And I keep thinking about that part of the Mueller report where Bob Mueller kept saying that a lot of the obstruction happened out in the open.
I mean -- so of course Trump said the other day, China, imagine if I said to my teacher, I cheated on my test but I'm telling you that I cheated on my test so it is OK, right? I mean, it is outrageous.
And the fact that the Republicans are hiding in the background as you point out, Amanda, it is shameful. And I have to say, we've talked a lot about -- everybody assumes Trump will get away with it and it is bad for the Democrats. I hope it is bad for the Republicans.
Shame on you and I say to my Democratic friends we have to raise the temperature and make sure that we take out anybody who decides that they think it is OK to protect this president when he's willing to completely shred our constitution.
TAPPER: I just want to play a sound from a different Republican secretary of state. Here is former joint chiefs chairman Colin Powell talking about the state of the Republican Party with my colleague Fareed Zakaria.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: The Republican Party has got to get a grip on itself. Right now the Republican leaders and members of the Congress in both Senate and the House are holding back because they're terrified of what will happen to any one of them if they speak out. But will they lose a primary?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: You can watch more of that interview on Fareed Zakaria coming up next. You wanted to respond.
LANDRIEU: He was talking about the nature of sacrifice and sometimes people are called to do their duty irrespective of the consequences is going to be. This is a very serious moment. Stated really simply the president of the United States worked with a foreign government to undermine our elections. That is against the law.
And the simple question for the country is, is the president above the law? If our union is going to stand the answer has to be no. Nobody is above the law.
TAPPER: Everyone, stick around. We're going to keep talking about this. Pardon me.
Coming up, Senator Bernie Sanders reveals that he suffered a heart attack this week. What are his next steps in the next step to the presidential campaign? Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a guy that is unhinged. He is unhinged.
I worry about what he's going to do. Not about me or my family. I worried about what he'll do in the next year in the presidency. As this thing continues to rock on his watch.
This guy like all bullies is a coward. He does not want to run against me. That is what this is about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Former Vice President Biden changing his strategy this week with a very fiery response to President Trump. Let's discuss.
Karen, let me start with you. Do you see impeachment as hurting the Democratic presidential candidates in any way in the sense that this is really going to be the big story in Washington going forward at least until it is over?
FINNEY: I don't. And I'll tell you a couple of reasons.
Number one, if it wasn't impeachment, if it wasn't this situation it would be something else because this is the way Trump plays this game, right? Having been in the middle of it in 2016, if it wasn't Joe Biden it would be Elizabeth Warren and it would be some other -- trying to throw out a shiny object that we would be fighting about, that we would be -- he would be trying to create a false equivalence around.
And I also think these candidates have done a pretty good job of trying -- there was a panel last week on gun safety in Las Vegas. I think on the trail voters are still talking to them about other issues that they care about. And I think that the most important thing.
I think the challenge that the Biden team has had and I personally think they've done a good job. It is a hard place to be when you are fighting against the Trump machine.
FINNEY: To both push back on the substance and to push back also on, you know, you've got to have Biden out there in some moments standing up for his family and showing how angry he is because there is -- people will say -- well when you don't show your anger I think voters get questioning.
TAPPER: So let's talk about the substance for a second. Because Biden has been very aggressively pushing back and again for the third time the prosecutor in Ukraine has said that there is no evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden.
But there is the question of the appearance of impropriator, an appearance of a potential conflict of interest at least according to "Washington Post" columnist David Ignatius who writes, "Biden deserves some blame, too. Putting aside the false Trump conspiracy theories about him, Biden used poor judgment in playing a role on Ukraine policy while his son Hunter was working for Ukrainian gas company Burisma. Denying this obvious fact only weakens the Democrats' case against Trump."
Again, talking about this is not to undermine the fact that what the president is doing is something we've never seen before and it is the main topic of the show. But does David Ignatius have a point?
LANDRIEU: I think he does. But it is just -- it's a strange point in the context of the fact that the president's children are both working in the White House, is still doing business with foreign governments as well. And so, yes, I think -- I think that is a reasonable point to be made. However, it should never take focus away from what the president did which is to work with foreign governments to undermine our elections.
CHAVEZ: I think that is right. But I want to get back to the question of whether impeachment is going to hurt the Democrats.
CHAVEZ: And I do believe, because I was in Judiciary Committee at the time and during the Nixon impeachment, it could hurt the Democrats depending on how they play it. And one of the things that I think is really dangerous is if you have a bunch of Democrats who want to see, you know, want to see their face on cable television and decide to give speeches and this is what they've done so far in the hearings all year rather than hiring somebody and -- during the impeachment time was John Doar who was the attorney who asked most of the questions. You've got to have a professional there getting to the bottom of what happened and you cannot have people grandstanding and Chairman Schiff caused himself a lot of problems by his behavior during the first hearing.
TAPPER: Yes. With that parody dialogue that wasn't real.
CHAVEZ: Yes. Yes, that and -- but it isn't just that it's everybody trying to hug the camera. This is not about face time on television, this is about something very serious in our constitution.
CARPENTER: Yes. I think we need to zoom out a little bit because there is going to dueling story lines. The impeachment is going to happen in the House and the Republicans will take any opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities if the Democrats make mistakes.
But with this question of Joe Biden, he is going to have to absorb the attacks from Trump and one of the startles things is one of the stories he told his friend Senator Chris Coons from Delaware, I can't believe he's going after my family. Really? Where have you been, Joe?
Of course President Trump is going to go after your family and this isn't a new story that has been around. This has been in the Clinton cache book, this has been floating among Republican circles for a long time. If you zoom out a little bit more there is a lot of suspicion in the electorate that people are unfairly profiting off the political system.
This was the same light of argument against Hillary Clinton and the global foundation when she was raking in big speech money and people didn't know what she was doing with the Iranian -- Uranium One. It is the same thing. So Joe Biden absolutely should have seen this coming.
CARPENTER: Why is it taking him so long? He says, I'm going to beat Trump like a drum, well, what are you waiting for? Where are you? Where is he on Sunday?
FINNEY: That's not fair. I think -- but he -- but he has been. I mean, look --
TAPPER: He hasn't done any Sunday show interviews is I think what --
FINNEY: True. But -- OK. At the same time you just played a clip, he was perfectly happy several times to go in front of the press and talk to the press that are traveling with him and make his statements. He put out on op-ed today. And again this is the thing you have to realize about this you guys. Again, having been through it, it is not just about the candidate. It is about how the campaign handles it, right. Because it is how -- because the Trump machine just puts it out --
CARPENTER: They've been slow to respond.
FINNEY: No, they have not. The very first weekend this came out --
FINNEY: -- a whole memo
TAPPER: Last word.
LANDRIEU: It is easy to be on the vice president but interestingly enough he's had the kitchen sink thrown at him by everybody that's running on both sides and he's still standing --
FINNEY: That's right. LANDRIEU: -- and pushing back. So, maybe he hasn't handled everything perfectly but he's still there. And I think that's pretty instructive.
TAPPER: Great panel. Thank you so much every one of you for being here. Really appreciate it.
Coming up, just imagine about five or 10 years in the future, how will Republican lawmakers be judged for the way they responded to President Trump today? History does give us a clue and that's next. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome back.
From the moment that Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy began his smear campaign in February 1950 up until his censure by the U.S. Senate in 1954. The story of McCarthy was not just the story of indecency, and lies, and law breaking. It was also the story about just how much Republican lawmakers were willing to take. After all, many of them knew that what McCarthy was doing wasn't just wrong, it was corrupting the nation, but they were afraid of him turning his sights on them. They feared the wrath of his political power.
You know, when you go back and read about that period, what really stands out is how much McCarthy's contemporaries are judged today by how they handled him. Senator Margaret Chase Smith, Republican of Maine, a hero of the current Senator Susan Collins of Maine, had a long trailblazing career but her obituary in "The Washington Post" referred to her moment standing up to McCarthy, her Declaration of Conscience in 1950 as her finest moments in politics.
Conversely stands the example of Ohio Senator Bob Taft, the Senate majority leader who knew better. He ones called McCarthy reckless and McCarthy's charges bunked, but Taft essential ended up casting his lot in with the smear artist from Wisconsin.
Taft no doubt hoped that the political calculation would all pay off when he ran for president again and then began truly writing his own legacy. The problem is Taft dropped dead in 1953. And we don't get to write out own obituaries or judge our own legacies. Cowardice is now part of his.
There are empirical wrongs in the world. Smearing innocent people is one of them. Using your political office to force foreign nations to dig up dirt on your political opponents is another one. That is not what foreign policy is for.
You know this. I know this. And I would bet that most Republicans on Capitol Hill know this. They would do well to remember the lessons of Senators Smith and Taft, because history will one day come looking for them, too. She will want to know what they said and did during this time. She will likely not be in a forgiving mood.
Fareed Zakaria is next.