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President Trump In Panic; Interview With Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA); Fox News Latest Poll Not Good News For Trump; Democrats Issued For Subpoenas; Biden, Trump Shooting Holes In The Constitution; Fox News Polls Finds More Than Half Of Voters Want President Trump Impeached And Removed; The White House In Crisis; Democrats Plot Next Phase In Impeachment, Including New Wave Of Subpoenas; Defense Secretary Mark Esper Criticized For Photo Showing Lack Of Diversity. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired October 9, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: So be on the lookout to see if this president leads by example and pays up.
Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: What do you expect him to pay from that? What are you talking about? Are you expecting him to pay up? Aren't you a New Yorker?
CUOMO: I am a New Yorker.
LEMON: You're expecting him to pay up?
CUOMO: I'm expecting the country to pay up.
CUOMO: See, that's the problem. He is not the country. He doesn't get to hold aid back from another country because they don't do what he wants.
CUOMO: He doesn't get to not pay things because he doesn't think people have been nice enough to him. Doesn't work like that.
LEMON: Well, I have before me the thing that I think is the most interesting thing of the day. There's lots going on, as you know, including your interview with Matt Schlapp. That's for a whole other time.
But this new Fox News poll, which is very interesting to me, 51 percent of registered voters want Donald Trump to be impeached and moved from office, up nine points since July. That is something the White House and the president should certainly be troubled about.
And as far as his business with Joe Biden, it says only 36 percent find it deeply troubling about the president bringing up his son's dealings with the Ukraine and China.
CUOMO: Thirty-six puts it at just about a little shy of the Trump base. It being Fox News, it's a little bit relevant. Good for them for having the gumption to put out a number like that. But it still keeps a high bar on the Democrats. This is a good play for Trumpets to say, what's the crime, what's the crime? I can argue all day that it's not what impeachment was contemplating.
LEMON: It's not about a crime.
CUOMO: But it still sounds good.
CUOMO: And you need bipartisan buy-in, and that could be enough to keep from getting it.
LEMON: There's also nothing in the Constitution that says they have to do what Matt Schlapp is saying and what other Republicans are saying.
CUOMO: No, Schlapp was a little Schlappy tonight, you know, a little sloppy with the arguing. I like to have him on the show. It's important to have that voice.
But the Republicans changed the rule that guide how subpoenas are done, and the House has to do nothing. And the rights that he wants are present in a trial, not in the investigatory phase.
LEMON: Yes. Well, you got it. Listen, I got to tell you, this poll for me, especially coming from Fox News and from Republicans, registered voters which includes Republicans, that is a very big deal. I'm not sure if the tide is turning, but this poll, I think people are watching the polls to see exactly what happens.
CUOMO: Look, politicians do that. I would argue they should not. I would argue they're not just an echo, but it does show that it's getting traction. You will see the president respond to that. He's very responsive to feedback. But it still keeps pressure --
CUOMO: -- on the Democrats. Impeachment was not supposed to be a majority push-through.
LEMON: Yes. Well, it may be the only time, though, that Fox News viewers or conservative viewers see anything that has to do with what is actually going on when it comes to the situation with Ukraine and this president.
CUOMO: I'll tell you something to watch.
CUOMO: He made his party so angry with what he did in Syria but for good reason. I wonder if it doesn't bleed over into their reckoning of how he uses or abuses his office. Turkey meets with Russia. Then he gets a call from the head of Turkey, and all of a sudden, he changes policy.
LEMON: Well, there you go. There's a lot going on. We're going to talk about all of it. See you, Chris. Nice show. See you tomorrow.
This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
Here is our breaking news right now. The president's new impeachment strategy -- you ready? -- seems to be lashing out at his own party.
A source telling CNN he is going after Republican senators that he sees as disloyal or even he may see them as insufficiently supportive. He's calling Leader Mitch McConnell up to three times a day with panicked demands to rally the troops. McConnell has reportedly told a handful of people about the president's call. Though, his spokesman categorically denies the whole thing.
And let me tell you, just one day after the White House declared war on the impeachment inquiry, Democrats are launching their own. They're launching a counteroffensive with what could be an avalanche of subpoenas, multiple Rudy Giuliani associates are in Congress' sights tonight along with State Department officials including that ex- ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. She is scheduled to appear for an interview. That's supposed to happen on Friday.
But there are real questions about whether she'll be allowed to testify. Remember the last person wasn't allowed to go and testify or give depositions. Questions that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is continuing to just dodge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Secretary, will Ambassador Yovanovitch be allowed to appear at her deposition on Friday?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: So, this is happening as sources tell CNN a few influential Democrats, a few of them, well, they think it makes sense to hold a formal vote on the impeachment inquiry, something that speaker -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been avoiding.
The president today definitely speaking out. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Pelosi holds a vote on the floor on impeachment and commits to the rules of previous impeachment proceedings, you'll participate in that investigation?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Yes, if the rules are fair because I don't know -- I don't know exactly your definition. (END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: If the rules are fair. Funny, that letter from the White House counsel yesterday didn't mention that. It didn't mention anything about the president cooperating if the House takes a vote. Well, maybe it's not so funny.
After all, this is the president who told us time and time and time again that he was looking forward to speaking with Robert Mueller and then said it was up to his attorneys. Then he didn't do it. I've said it before. He sure has learned lessons from the Mueller investigation.
This is happening as CBS News is reporting that Rudy Giuliani is attacking the source who told the whistleblower about that Ukraine call. Remember that source is a White House official, OK? Giuliani calling that official a, quote, "poor little sissy."
A poor little sissy for being shaken by the president's call and adding, I hope he is in a mental hospital.
Ladies and gentlemen, the attorney for the president of the United States. A poor little sissy. I hope he's in a mental hospital.
And there's new impeachment poll tonight to tell you about that is really bad news for the president of the United States. I just talked about it with Chris. This one is from Fox News. Yes, it's from Fox News. This may be the only way that viewers of the president's favorite network get a dose of reality.
The poll finds that just over half of the voters, 51 percent, they want President Trump not only impeached but removed from office. That's a new high for this poll, up from 42 percent in July.
And at a time when the president needs all the allies he can get, he is infuriating Republicans by allowing Turkey to attack U.S. allies in Syria, trying to defend his actions by saying the Kurds didn't help us during World War II.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The Kurds are fighting for their land just so you understand. They're fighting for their land. And as somebody wrote in a very, very powerful article today, they didn't help us in the Second World War. They didn't help us with Normandy as an example. They mentioned names of different battles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: OK. Just so you know, a little history lesson here. The Kurds didn't help us fight World War II, didn't help us with Normandy. For starters, they didn't live in Europe. You know where they do live? They live in Syria, among other places in the Middle East.
You know who they do help us fight? They help us fight ISIS. They help us fight ISIS on the ground, and they do it very successfully at the cost of thousands and thousands of Kurdish lives. And then this president just abandons them. It's disgraceful.
And in the face of all this, the president of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, is repeatedly playing the victim here, the victim in chief, the victim in chief, interrupting himself multiple times today while reading an executive order to joke/not joke about how unfairly he thinks he's being treated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Guidance has frequently been used to subject U.S. citizens and businesses to arbitrary and sometimes abusive enforcement actions. Huh, it sounds like they're talking about me. I think they're talking about me. I think you might be speaking about me or to me.
No American should ever face such persecution from their own government, except perhaps your president. Don't feel bad, Kevin. They treated you better than they treat me. I do believe that's true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: The man can't even read from an executive order without making it all about himself. I said he's playing the victim, but this is really no game. This is a president of the United States reacting to congressional oversight, which is mandated by the Constitution. Reacting to that oversight is as if it was a personal insult is what he's doing.
This is a president who really doesn't seem to believe in the separation of powers, the foundation of our democracy. He thinks all the power rests with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Then I have an article two where I have the right to do whatever I want as president, but I don't even talk about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: You know, part of playing the victim, the victim in chief, is this president's obsession with his predecessor, President Barack Obama. He did it again today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I want to thank President Obama for leaving us 138 empty slots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, he's talking about judicial vacancies left over from the Obama administration, a number that he can't quite get a handle on. So, he's actually trying to blame his predecessor for leaving vacancies on the bench when, let's remember, it was Mitch McConnell who refused to even consider Barack Obama's supreme court nomination of Merrick Garland, insisting on waiting until after the election.
And there's more of this President's Obama obsession, tweeting, quote, "Why is someone a good or great president if they needed to spy on someone else's campaign in order to win," even though there's absolutely no evidence that the Obama administration ever spied on the Trump campaign.
In that same tweet, he is harping on judgeships again, this time claiming there were 142. The Brooking Institution says that number was actually 104.
And you got to hear this. The man the president wanted Ukraine to dig up dirt on, setting off the impeachment inquiry, is fighting back, his Democratic front-runner, Joe Biden. He's fighting back for the first time, calling the president -- calling for the president, I should say, to be impeached.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With his words and his actions, President Trump has indicted himself by obstructing justice, refusing to comply with the congressional inquiry. He's already convicted himself in full view of the world and the American people.
Donald Trump has violated his oath of office, betrayed this nation, and committed impeachable acts. You know
BIDEN: -- to preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: I told you about this president's increasingly frantic efforts to get his party in line. Will it work? Let's dig in. Kirsten Powers, Max Boot, next.
LEMON: Well, President Trump clearly feeling the heat from the expanding impeachment inquiry and leaning on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to keep his party in lockstep.
I want to bring in now Kirsten Powers and Max Boot. Max is the author of "The Corrosion of Conservatism: Why I Left the Right." Good evening to both of you. Good to see you.
KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Nice to see you.
LEMON: Good to see you.
So, he's calling Mitch McConnell, Max, reportedly as many as three times a day, tweeting all night. He is consumed by this impeachment inquiry even though when he talks to the media, he pretends like it's no big deal.
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Right. Which in some ways might be for the best, Don, because you think what he does when he actually focuses on policy. He creates disasters wherever he goes. I mean, I wish he were more consumed with impeachment on Sunday night rather than having a phone call with Erdogan which led him to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria and allow the slaughter of our Kurdish allies.
But there is no question that Trump is consumed with impeachment. Which is why I think that refutes the argument we sometimes hear. We were actually discussing this in the green room earlier. Some people suggest well maybe Trump actually wants impeachment because he thinks it will rally his base.
Now it's true it may actually rally his base, but I don't think he wants to go down in history as only the third president in 230 years to be impeached. He is flipping out over impeachment. He does not want this to happen. That's why he's calling Mitch McConnell so incessantly.
LEMON: And keeping GOP senators in line is what he wants to do. I think the end game, he knows if he's going to be removed from office, Kirsten, he's going to have, you know, those are people --
POWERS: He's not going to be removed from office.
LEMON: He's not going to be removed.
LEMON: But he -- what's the strategy here?
POWERS: So, we actually disagree on this because I actually think -- you know, whether it's -- you know, maybe he goes back and forth and starts to freak out like if he sees this Fox News poll, for example, although most Republicans still don't support impeach and remove. It was only 13 percent in the Fox News poll. You know, he is losing some independents.
But I think that he thrives in chaos, and he likes to create chaos. And I think that he believes that they wouldn't be pushing -- they wouldn't be pushing for this vote if they didn't think it was going to work to their benefit. Right? There's just no reason to do that.
And so, I think on some level he does believe that it will work against the Democrats. They particularly want to get them on the record, right, so that the Democrats who are in districts that Trump won could be in peril.
And so, I'm not saying that he's right that it works to his advantage, but I do think on some level, there's part of him that thinks that it works and then maybe he kind of freaks out because he feels like he's losing control. But I also -- we just disagree. I don't think -- I don't think he thinks about what's going to be in my obituary. I don't think that's how Trump thinks.
LEMON: Interesting. You don't think he thinks what is his legacy going to be. He reportedly, Max, he's saying he's going to -- we've seen the last shot at GOP, right, people who don't support him. But supposedly he's going to amp that up. That's what he reportedly told Mitch McConnell. How much will the GOP continue to allow this sort of attacks on their members? Are they just that, sort of feckless and they don't --
BOOT: Yes, they -- I would say, yes, they are that feckless and craven. They have no backbones. They have long ago given up any pretense of political courage or principle. They occasionally will kick back at Trump over something like Syria but that's only because they know it's basically a cost-free sound bite because, you know, attacking Trump on Syria policy is not going to lead to any blowback in their districts.
It's not going to lead to Trump creating primary challenges against them. They can get away with that. But they're not going to go against Trump on the existential issue whether he should remain in office or not, and that's very sad because the evidence is overwhelming that Trump has violated his oath of office.
He has invited foreign election interference. He has misused his power for personal political gain. If any Democrat had done this, every single Republican would be calling not just for impeachment but for capital punishment, but they just have no principles when it comes to Trump.
And you know, I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised, and I would be pleasantly surprised if you see even a handful of Republican members in either chamber voting for impeachment. But I think the vast majority of Republicans are just utterly spineless in standing up for the rule of law. They're just going to give Trump whatever he wants.
LEMON: Which is why you left the right. Because of the corrosion of conservatism
BOOT: That's why I left -- exactly. That's it. They have no principles.
LEMON: Why do you think the former vice president now, who is also running for president, why is he now saying, OK, he should be impeached because he held off for a long time.
POWERS: Well, I mean I think, look, for one thing the public seems to be in support of this.
POWERS: If you have 51 percent of people in a Fox News poll supporting this, then that shows that the polls are moving against the president. And so, I think it's a fairly safe position to take. It's also just fundamentally the right position to take, right? I think that this is such an open and shut case. It's so obviously,
and that's why what you're saying about Republicans is so accurate but also so concerning because it's just something that there's just no question that Trump did something absolutely outside the bounds of what a president should be doing. And it's absolutely an impeachable offense. There's just no question.
BOOT: Right. And if they don't impeach him for this, you got to ask, what would they consider to be impeachable conduct?
LEMON: Well, I was going to -- I wanted to ask, as I see the apologists for the president, especially on conservative media, they seem gleeful in their ignorance.
BOOT: Yes, that's a great way to put it.
LEMON: What is -- what is so gleeful about being ignorant or about misleading the public?
BOOT: Well, that's -- I mean that's the reason why they're promulgating these crazy conspiracy theories and just saying things that are flat-out untrue. Like they're repeating Trump's claim that the transcript of the phone call refutes the whistleblower's account, which is false. It actually confirms the whistleblower's account in every point.
They can't argue on the facts because the facts are against them, and so they're just making things up. They're just making things up out of thin air just to say stuff and basically, you know, trying these schoolyard taunts like, you're not going to impeach me. I'm going to impeach you.
LEMON: But what they do is they make things up and they continue. They don't let the interviewer get the question out --
BOOT: Right. Right.
LEMON: -- and they continue to make things up and just go on to the next thing. What about this, and what about this, and what about the FBI?
LEMON: And you're like, that has nothing to do with anything.
BOOT: Because they have no -- they have no argument.
LEMON: They have no --
BOOT: But they need to say something to convince their rabid base --
BOOT: -- to stick with the president. POWERS: I mean, even this, you know, the underlying claim by Trump
about Biden is so easily disprovable, right? I mean it's not -- there's a letter from bipartisan senators, --
POWERS: -- Republicans and Democrats, having the same position that Biden had.
LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it.
Joe Biden blasting President Trump tonight and making his first public call for impeachment. I'm going to ask the co-chair of the Biden campaign, Congressman Cedric Richmond, why now?
LEMON: The former Vice President Joe Biden for the first time calling for President Trump to be impeached.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: To preserve our Constitution, our democracy, our basic integrity, he should be impeached.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Let's discuss now. Congressman Cedric Richmond is here. He is the co-chair of Joe Biden's presidential campaign and serves in the House judiciary committee. Congressman, I appreciate you coming on. Thank you so much. What changed for Joe Biden? Why today?
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA): Well, look, I think that look at the circumstances over the last 15 days, and I think there are four reasons that stand out. One, the transcripts. Two, the text messages. Three, the open call in public for a foreign country to interfere in our elections. And now number four, which is his ignoring the separation of powers and not adhering to congressional oversight and refusing to comply.
I think when you combine all of those things, enough is enough. And all of those things add up to one thing, which is Congress is going to have to exercise its constitutional responsibility to protect the Constitution, and that leads to impeachment.
LEMON: So, the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was him ignoring, you said, the separation of powers?
RICHMOND: Well, yes. If you -- the House is doing a legitimate inquiry into impeachment, and if the president is not going to comply with turning over documents, telling people to ignore subpoenas, then you are obstructing a legitimate investigation of Congress. You're abusing your power. And so, at that point I think that you leave us no choice. LEMON: They say they want you guys to vote, though. What do you think
of that? They want you guys to vote and make it official so to speak.
RICHMOND: Look, that's their talking point this week. The Constitution nor the House rules require us to take a vote before we open an impeachment inquiry. And so, this is what usually happens.
President Trump will give the talking points. We know that he and facts don't live on the same universe. And once he says it, all of the Republicans, like a choir, will just repeat it no matter how absurd it is, no matter how untrue it is.
They are just going to repeat those facts over and over again. And I'm just looking forward to the day that in a bipartisan manner both Republicans and Democrats look at it for what it is, and that is just lies and untruth.
LEMON: Well, he says, he's going to cooperate earlier if the Democrats would authorize a vote. Watch this. Do we have it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We would if they give us our rights. It depends. If they vote and say you can't have lawyers. You can't ask questions. You can't have anybody present, all of these crazy things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Do you believe that this White House is going to start cooperating if, you know, cooperating, meaningfully with Congress?
RICHMOND: Absolutely not. This White House and all of the cabinet secretaries that are still there know one thing deep down in their heart. That they broke the law, that the evidence is there to prove it, and under no circumstances is this president going to turn over the evidence that clearly shows he broke the law.
For example, the transcript of the telephone call, a 30-minute telephone call, and they only turn over 2,000 words. Where's the word- for-word transcript? Hidden in a vault somewhere so that people will never see it. So I don't trust this administration. I'm not even sure if Republicans trust this administration. They're just too scared to buck their president because he wields so much power within the Republican Party.
LEMON: I want to get a quick answer before we run out of time. I recently asked President Obama's 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe, his thoughts on how Biden should handle Trump's attacks on him and his son Hunter. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID PLOUFFE, PRESIDENT OBAMA'S 2008 CAMPAIGN MANAGER: So, I would take advantage of that. Even if you're going to get tough questions, you know, about your son, I think those are easily handled. This is a phony, you know, scandal that Trump's trying to create, and just say that he's afraid of me. So go toe for toe, I'd be out there even more than he is and trying to seize this moment, which doesn't come along very often in a crowded primary field. You've got the opportunity, I think, to elevate. So I would seize it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What do you think of that? Is that what Joe Biden is doing today?
RICHMOND: I think David has a legitimate point, and then at the same time, you have to realize that this vice president hates bullies. And I think that President Trump has finally crossed that line, and so Vice President Biden is going to square off with him. And I think it is because Donald Trump is afraid.
All of this stuff started when the polls started showing Joe Biden beating Trump by over 10 points. That is when the telephone calls started and all the other things. So, yes, we're going to take him straight on. We're going to do exactly what you do with a bully, and that is punch him in the mouth and expose him for what he is, a weak and scared person.
And I think that Vice President Biden is prepared to do that and today started a very direct confrontation with a guy who abuses his power and picks on people.
LEMON: Congressman Richmond, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
RICHMOND: Thank you.
LEMON: President Trump panicking over the impeachment inquiry with one source telling CNN that he is calling Mitch McConnell up to three times a day to lock down loyalty from Republicans, but will all this lead to a GOP backlash?
LEMON: A new Fox News poll spelling trouble for President Trump, showing just over half of voters support his impeachment and removal from office. That as a source is telling CNN the president is calling Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as often as three times a day, complaining about Republican Senators he sees as disloyal.
Let's discuss. Matt Lewis, Ana Navarro, good evening one and all -- or both. I could easily say that. Ana, I'm going to start with you. Let's start with this new poll. I find it really striking, 51 percent of registered voters say the president should be impeached and removed from office, and that comes from President Trump's favorite TV network. If you're a Republican in Congress, tell me what you're really thinking when you see that and the direction these numbers are moving.
ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think you're between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, you are seeing some movement on this. You also have your constitutional duties. On the other, you've got a President Trump who still has a very firm control over the Republican base, and if you are a Republican in Congress, you have got to get past a primary.
But, you know, Don, there's two things that I think are going on here. One is the evidence that's come out. It's very simple to understand. That transcript is not legalese. It's not hundreds of pages. It is a few lines, and it is easy to understand. The president of the United States asked a foreign government to interfere in investigating a political opponent.
The other thing that is going on, though, I think, is the reaction of Donald Trump. Look, people who never talk politics to me have been coming up to me, here in Miami. Remember, I don't live in Washington. I don't live in New York. And saying to me, sheesh, he is really unhinged. He really seems unstable. I think people are unsettled and nervous by the idea that somebody that is this unstable and unhinged has the nuclear codes.
LEMON: Matt, listen, Fox prime-time viewers would only know about the Fox News poll tonight from one guest who just brought it up. His name is Chris Hahn. He is a Democrat. None of their prime-time anchors mentioned it. What do you think? What's your reaction to that?
MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think there's a huge difference between the news part of Fox News like Brett Baer and Chris Wallace, who I think are very good. And the prime-time shows, which apparently don't report on the polling that Fox News does, which by the way, is also quite good.
That is part of the story here. We really live in a world now where there are certain people who don't actually get information. You know, you could -- if you only watched Fox News, you might be unaware of a lot of things. I haven't --
LEMON: Well, Matt, do you remember -- hold on. You remember the woman from the interview who was at the town hall, and she didn't know there was anything negative about the president in the Mueller report. Remember? Because she said she watches Fox News.
LEWIS: I mean, I haven't flipped over there tonight, but, you know, the big story today has been how Donald Trump has abandoned the Kurds and Fox News on Twitter has done some really good reporting from some of their foreign policy experts, talking to American soldiers and people in special forces who are very demoralized and saying that we've hung these allies out to dry. I don't know if Fox is --
LEMON: On Twitter?
LEWIS: -- is covering that or not on their prime time shows. LEMON: Oh, you said you saw it on Twitter, but -- OK. Yes. So, I
don't know, I haven't paid attention this evening, the full evening, because I'm actually in here.
LEWIS: And by the way, that is part of what Ana was just saying. It's not just the Ukraine story that was a huge story, and I think worthy of impeachment in my personal opinion, but then it turns out he had a conversation like this with China. Turns out there's diplomats who were texting about this. And then it turns out he abandons our allies, the Kurds, and hangs them out to dry to be massacred by Turkey.
So if you're a Republican, it's like maybe you could sustain the Ukraine story, but every day Trump does something else or there's another shoe to drop.
LEMON: Ana, you know the one place that the poll is featured in conservative media? That is the front page of the Drudge report. CNN is learning that the influential conservative Matt Drudge is souring on the president. Another crack in the teflon armor, you think?
NAVARRO: Look, I think they want to send him a message. I think that finally after three years of complicit silence and cowardice, some Republicans have found their spine, reacquainted themselves with their conscience and traditional Republican values and are actually speaking out against Trump.
The problem is Trump thinks he owns them. He thinks he owns them the way I own my four-pound poodle, who can't live without me, who won't eat without me. So he thinks he can get away with doing anything he wants with or without Republicans and Congress approving of it or not, because they need him to win their primaries, and they need him to win their elections, and because they've let him get away with it for three years.
This is a guy who boasted of sexual assault and they supported him, who paid hush money to a stripper and they supported him, who has enriched himself and violated an emoluments clause, and they've supported him, who has a $1 trillion deficit, raised it to a $1 trillion deficit, and they've said nothing about it.
So they have stood by a guy who has eviscerated traditional Republican values for three years, and finally they find their voice, and he doesn't care. He doesn't care because he doesn't need them.
LEMON: Interesting. Matt, just before we go, I just want to talk about the other big story. Right now CNN is reporting the president is telling Mitch McConnell that he is going to amplify his attacks on Republicans who criticize him. You say if President Trump's behavior isn't impeachable, then nothing is impeachable. Why do you say that?
LEWIS: Well, I just -- I'd like to know -- so right now -- by the way, I'm one of the few people you'll meet who thinks there's a chance that there will be 20 Republicans. I'm not predicting it. I wouldn't bet on it, but I think there's a chance. We can go down the list.
LEMON: So you're saying there's a chance? LEWIS: I'm saying there's a chance like Jim Carrey. I wrote about
this at the Daily Beast. So, but, I think Donald Trump is obviously very, very nervous about this, and he is doing everything he can to push back against it. But, you know, you go through. There are people retiring like Lamar Alexander. You've got people like Mitt Romney who actually might do this because of principle. You've got people like Mike Lee, who live in Utah. He can get away with it, and he is a constitutional conservative.
You know, you've got people like Lisa Murkowski, who won a write-in campaign in Alaska. She can do whatever she wants. So, I actually think there's a shot that Republicans can get their act together. And, look, if the vote was held today, maybe not, but every day something else comes out. Donald Trump is the chaos candidate as I think Jeb Bush once said. And you know what? In 2016, we maybe -- may be we wanted a little chaos. We wanted some excitement. I think after three years, you know, maybe we want to calm things down a little bit.
LEMON: It's called the Republican Senators most likely to turn on Trump. Thank you.
LEMON: By Matt Lewis. I appreciate it.
NAVARRO: Yes, and who he doesn't have on the list are some of the ones that are in swing states with really tough races.
LEMON: I've got to run, Ana. Thank you very much. I appreciate both of you. I'll see you soon.
Guess whose back? Laura Coates is here right now. She is hosting a special hour tonight, the White House in Crisis: The Impeachment Inquiry, coming up right after this show at 11:00. What do you have for us?
LAURA COATES, CNN INTERNATIONAL LEGAL ANALYST: Don, I am very excited. We're going to have Preet Bharara on tonight. He is got an exclusive interview with George Conway for his podcast called stay tuned with Preet.
And of course, you know, Conway is both one of the president's harshest critics, but he is also the husband of White House counsel to the president, Kellyanne Conway, and he's got some, let's just say, really interesting things to say about the president's fitness for office and also how he thinks Democrats should be responding to the president's stonewalling. So, I cannot wait for that.
LEMON: I can't wait to see it as well. We'll see you right at the top of the hour in just a few minutes here, Laura, thanks.
House Democrats planning a new wave of subpoenas, but how do they get around the White House that won't comply? We'll break it down just ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
LEMON: House Democrats launching their impeachment counter attack tonight. Sources tell CNN, they are planning a new wave of subpoenas, but will it make a difference? Let's discuss now, Elie Honig, is here, he is a former assistant U.S. attorney. Julian Epstein is here as well, who is a chief counsel for Judiciary Committee Democrats during the Clinton impeachment.
So good to have both of you on. Julian, in a new interview tonight, Secretary Pompeo said that the administration's lawyers are directing the response to the impeachment inquiry and the State Department is going to take its cues from the White House. If the State Department gets subpoena, but the White House orders them to refuse to comply with it, who bears responsibility for that? Is it the president or the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo?
JULIAN EPSTEIN, DEM HOUSE COUNSEL, CLINTON IMPEACHMENT: Well, it depends the basis on which the White House directs them to executive privilege, which is a very thinly veiled reason, it would be the White House. If it is the Secretary of State, he would have to come up with a reason. In either case, they're not going to have a very good argument. And I think the big tell here is that the White House has made the decision that obstruction is a better strategy than cooperation. Why?
Because if they cooperate, I think the White House and the administration realizes that there is all the appearances here of a massive cover-up involving not just the White House, the State Department, the intelligence agencies, the Foreign Service. If they cooperate, things are going to get much worse for them. Poll numbers are probably going to go down and the plot is going to thicken.
If they don't cooperate, and this is their calculation, what they do is essentially they try to shut off the information flow and they try to call Nancy Pelosi's hand sooner rather than later on an impeachment vote, hoping that she hasn't rounded up the votes or that the numbers haven't -- the polling numbers haven't switched against them in a negative way. But we're at a tipping point on public opinion right now and the White House, I think, is starting to panic and feeling like this thing is getting away from them, and so their best strategy in their minds right now, is to obstruct and try to force a vote on impeachment as quickly as possible.
LEMON: Well, Ellie, I mean, it kind of goes to what you are saying, everyone wondering what happens next because you have zero expectations that the White House is going to comply with these subpoenas. They made it clear, of course, in that letter. So, how does this play out? How do they even enforce them?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, so, no chance, the White House complies with any of this. They made that crystal clear. They put it in writing in their letter. Even if Pelosi holds this vote and the House votes to open an impeachment inquiry, the White House isn't going to suddenly (inaudible) over, they are going to say, great. Next obstacle, executive privilege or what have you.
I think the Democrats needs to get real here. They need to play hardball. And that means, one or two things. Either A, get it right into the courts, as quickly as you can, get it expedited. Try to get it right to the Supreme Court. That is what happened in the Nixon case. The problem is that takes time and time is the enemy of the Democrats.
The other way, is to just do your investigations around whatever the White House is withholding base on the call, based on the text we saw last week.
LEMON: (Inaudible), doing right now?
HONIG: Yes, I mean, I think they are preparing to do that and say, fine, you're going to obstruct, we don't need you, we have enough to impeach and we are going to add an article for obstruction.
EPSTEIN: I think Ellie is exactly right. I think there are people inside the State Department and on the Foreign Service that want to talk, and I think that the committees right now are working to find people that are willing to talk. Because they are worried, there is a lot of exposure here with a lot of administration officials for obstruction of justice and all kinds of potential crimes.
So, I think what the committees are going to do is build the case with the material they have, and they have material. And I watched Chris Cuomo's show and he goes on every night about whether there were crimes involved here. There were clear crimes, that were committed, bribery statutes, Fraud against United States, 371, misappropriation of funds, obstruction of justice. I could name half a dozen statutes. Campaign finance laws. I could name half a dozen statutes here that were violated.
What the Democrats are going to have to do if the Republicans play this obstruction game is they're going to have to make this public case that not only was this corruption, this was illegal conduct. This, I think, perhaps one of the most unpatriotic things a U.S. President has ever done followed only by the unconstitutional thumb nosing at the United States Congress.
The Democrats have done a pretty good job making that case, but they are going to have to get these numbers up to 50 and 60 before they proceed with impeachment. But I think the numbers are moving that way right now.
LEMON: That's got to be the last word. Thank you gentlemen, I appreciate it. EPSTEIN: Thank you.
LEMON: The Defense Secretary under fire tweeting an image in support of the men and women who serve in the military. The only problem, one of those groups isn't in the photo at all.
LEMON: Take this. Take this image from the Oval Office. It's from a tweet posted by the Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper. Thank you POTUS and FLOTUS for hosting me and Department of Defense leadership for our dinner yesterday at the White House and for continued leadership and support for the incredible men and women who serve to defend the nation at home and abroad.
So, take another look at this picture. Do you see what's missing? For starters, women. Even though women make up 16 percent of the active duty military force, and they're not the only ones missing. What about a person of color? I know a picture can't tell us everything in everyone who is in the room, can't tell us if there was a white race or the ethnicity. It's not something that can be seen, but there is no doubt that the leadership in that photo does not represent the demographics of the men and women who serve our country.
The DOD says about 47 percent of active duty service members identify as a racial or ethnic minority. So, if nearly a fifth of our active duty military are women and almost half are minorities, would you know that by looking at this image? They should be represented.
Thanks for watching, everyone. Our live coverage continues now with the White House in Crisis: The Impeachment Inquiry with Laura Coates. Laura, tell us what you got tonight.