Return to Transcripts main page

ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump Loses 5 Court Cases On The Same Day Ex-Ukraine Ambassador Says Trump Pushed For Her Removal; Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) Discuss The Closed Door Testimony Of Marie Yovanovitch Against President Trump; Source: Giuliani No Longer Dealing With Ukraine Issues After Trump Dodges If He Is Still His Personal Lawyer; Trump Holding Rally in Louisiana As Impeachment Inquiry Ramps Up; Kevin McAleenan Resigns As Homeland Security Secretary; Fox News Anchor Shepard Smith Abruptly Leaves Network. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired October 11, 2019 - 19:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: ... and behind the scenes and we wish him, of course, only the best for him and his wonderful family as he moves on. Thank you, Jay. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

[19:00:00]

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, Trump's day. Well, pretty bad. The President losing five major court cases including one that could give Democrats his tax returns. Plus, the former Ambassador to Ukraine unleashing a devastating attack on the President's involvement in the Ukraine scandal. Tonight, she's still behind closed doors talking. And President Trump refusing tonight to say if Rudy Giuliani is still his personal attorney. Whoa, is Trump turning on his long time fall guy? Let's go out front.

Good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, the breaking news. It is a brutal day for President Trump from Congress to the courts. First, explosive testimony from a key witness in the impeachment inquiry. The former Ambassador to Ukraine defying Trump and the State Department's order to stay silent.

And as I speak, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch is still meeting with Members of Congress behind closed doors. We expect her to come out this hour and the committee chair and ranking member to speak live here on CNN. So as we await that, here is what we now.

The Ambassador pointed the finger directly at Trump, accusing the President of the United States of targeting her, because she stood up for the rule of law. And, of course, remember she refused to push team Trump's conspiracy theories about Joe Biden.

Well, today Trump tried to act like this was all nothing. He said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: She may be a wonderful woman. I don't know her, but she may be very much a wonderful woman. I just don't know her. She may be a wonderful woman. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: He doesn't know her. She may be a wonderful woman. Well, unfortunately, according to the very transcript that Trump calls perfect professional and word for word, he talked about Yovanovitch to the President of Ukraine saying, "The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news."

And it isn't just in the transcript, he went off the wonderful script today, actually contradicting himself at the same question and answer session. Here he is at another point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you recall the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine? Was she a problem? Why did you recall her?

TRUMP: I heard very bad things about her and I don't know, if I recalled or somebody recalled her, but I heard very, very bad things about her for a long period of time. Not good.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: OK. So Trump's stumbling around there from one version to another comes after five setbacks today coming within hours of each other. Democrats and could be within reach of Trump's tax returns, so this was a crucial court ruling. A federal judge ruling against Trump's lawsuit to keep those taxes under wraps.

Another federal judge yet another lawsuit ruling against Trump's signature pet project, the wall. And then another loss in court, three other federal judges just blocking Trump's rule, making it harder for immigrants to obtain legal status. Trump response, pretending he knows nothing about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We lost on immigration, I haven't heard that. We'll win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Perhaps the best thing you can put on what was a very bad day for his presidency is I hadn't heard that. Pamela Brown is out front live outside the White House. And, Pamela, look, this was not a good day for the President.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. He is ending this week with a barrage of more negative headlines. First, a move viewed in this White House as an act of defiance. The former Ukrainian Ambassador testified on Capitol Hill today that the President directly campaigned for her to be fired for political purposes.

Now, Democrats claimed the White House tried to block her from testifying, but she showed up anyway. Now, the President addressed her testimony. He said that she may be a 'wonderful woman', but that he doesn't know her and then deflected saying it was the Ukrainian president who did not like her.

And then a devastating blow, Erin, the President also lost several high profile court cases today. Earlier today, he lost that court battle turning over several years of his tax returns to Congress. His lawyer say that they are weighing an appeal on that decision by the D.C. Appeals Court. And then he lost some court battles on his signature policy focus, immigration.

A federal judge in Texas ruling the President's national emergency declaration to build a border wall is unlawful. And there's another defeat, Erin, a federal judge today blocked a Trump administration rule that makes it more difficult for immigrants to rely on public assistance to obtain legal status.

Now, I asked the President directly about this today. He said he hadn't heard about the rulings on immigration when I asked him. This had been several hours after the rulings came out. But he did express confidence that he would win and he pivoted to focusing on all of the judges he has put on the bench, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much. And I want to go now to Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings who sits on both the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. Congresswoman, thanks so much for being with me.

[19:04:57]

So as far as I understand it, the deposition with the former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, is still ongoing and we expect it to end momentarily. Mr. Schiff, Mr. Jordan to come out and address cameras live, so we're awaiting that.

But I know, obviously, your staff is in that room. You have been briefed on what has happened so far. So as far as you know, did she say anything that furthers your impeachment case against President Trump?

REP. VAL DEMINGS (D-FL): Well, hi, Erin. It's great to be with you. And let me just say this, it may have been a bad day for the President, but it's actually been a good day for those of us who are in pursuit of justice, in pursuit of the facts and who are involved in this impeachment inquiry.

My hat's off to Ambassador Yovanovitch who, number one, appear today and as you've already stated, has been behind closed doors testifying all day long. And there is no doubt that this is a career foreign service officer who took her oath very, very seriously. She's served admirably for our country, committed to her duty and that really demonstrated itself today in her testimony. She's very courageous and today was no exception.

BURNETT: Has she spoken directly or how direct has she been about what she was explicitly asked to do in terms of getting Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son? DEMINGS: Well, I can't get, as you well know, into the details of her

testimony. What I can tell you is that she's been behind closed doors, giving her deposition all day long and she certainly added very valuable testimony. We would consider her a critical witness in our impeachment inquiry and I think she's added value and there's more to come.

BURNETT: So which is important that you would call her a critical witness in terms of what you see as her importance thus far. Some Republicans, Congresswoman, as you know, have been complaining to CNN about the leak of Yovanovitch's opening statement, which they say, "Look, that shouldn't have leaked out." It goes against the Committee's secrecy rules for depositions.

And they point out, as I'm sure you would if the shoe was on the other foot, that selective leaks can be very misleading. Are you concerned that it leaked? I know, obviously, it furthers your side of things but on principle, is it a problem?

DEMINGS: Well, what I can say is it's great to hear my Republican colleagues complain about the rules in their minds not being followed. That's great to hear and I think it's different from what they were saying last week.

Actually, we all should play by the rules. This is very serious business. IT'S a serious historical time for our country. And we are about interview, in fact, witnesses were about protecting the identity of the whistleblower who kind of started all of this and we are interested in getting into the truth. And I hope that my Republican colleagues on the other side of the aisle share those views.

BURNETT: Well, I will say you do point out, they're now saying it goes against the secrecy rules, which of course they have pointed to as being evidence of Democrats' unwillingness to be forthright with the American people on impeachment. So they are trying to play both sides of that coin. That is fair.

According to the democratic Chairman leading the impeachment inquiry, Congresswoman, the White House and State Department actually told Marie Yovanovitch not testify, they told her not to do it. She defied that. She got a subpoena, she testified, she showed up.

Are you concern the State Department could retaliate against her? I mean there was some talk that they might say, Oh, well, if you said one thing that we could find that was classified, then we could prosecute you.

DEMINGS: Well, I'd tell you what's disappointing and what I'm concerned about is the White House failure to cooperate with this inquiry to acknowledge the oversight that is given to Congress in this impeachment inquiry. I'm disappointed that the State Department would try to block someone who can provide critical information in this investigation.

Look, as I've said earlier, Ambassador Yovanovitch is a career foreign service officer who's taken her oath very seriously. She has been described as courageous and tough, and today is no exception.

I'm delighted that she is committed to getting to the truth and uncovering corruption wherever it may exist. And I'm delighted that she was willing to cooperate with us today.

BURNETT: I don't know if you heard this, Congresswoman, but it just happens. I want to make sure you get a chance to respond. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked about his cooperation with the impeachment inquiry today, right?

He had obviously told Yovanovitch not to go and he responded, here's what he said, "We're going to do everything we're lawfully required to do. Period. Full stop. It's my duty. I raised - rose - raised my right-hand, said I'll faithfully execute and I will.

[19:10:02]

Does he really believe what he's saying or do you think that is a giant lie?

DEMINGS: Well, what I'll say is this, my I'll say is this my husband likes to say that you can make your mouth say anything and the best indication of future performance is to look at past performance. Today, Secretary Pompeo has not been a willing participant. It appears he has supported the White House efforts to obstruct our investigation.

As we all know now Secretary Pompeo was on the call on July 25th which makes him a fact witness. I hope he remembers what he said in that statement, because we look forward to hearing his testimony and seeing whatever relevant documents that exists within the State Department.

BURNETT: All right. Congresswoman Demings, thanks so much for your time tonight.

DEMINGS: Thank you. Take care.

BURNETT: And next, is Trump turning on his personal attorney, the guy who has taken the fall so many times he's broken his face, Rudy Giuliani?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Rudy Giuliani still your personal attorney:

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I haven't spoken to Rudy yet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Plus, the former Ambassador to Ukraine's testimony was damaging, but my next guest thinks this is just the tip of the iceberg. And the Chief News Anchor of Fox News, Shep Smith, abruptly quitting, why?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEP SMITH, FOX NEWS, CHIEF NEWS ANCHOR: It's my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:15:39]

BURNETT: Breaking news, a source telling CNN that Rudy Giuliani is still President Trump's lawyer but will no longer deal with matters involving Ukraine. OK. Well, this comes after Trump refused to say if Giuliani was still his attorney.

After two of Giuliani's associates who were trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in Ukraine were arrested, let me just play exactly how this question and answer went.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Rudy Giuliani still your personal attorney:

TRUMP: Well, I don't know. I haven't spoken to Rudy yet. I spoke to him yesterday briefly. He's a very good attorney and he has been my attorney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I don't know? I mean, you are the person who decides so that's absurd. Out front now Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Carl Bernstein, CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel, former FBI Assistant Director and former Republican State Senator in Nevada Greg Brower and former Associate Independent Counsel in the Whitewater investigation, Kim Wehle, also the author of the new book How to Read the Constitution and Why.

So Kim, let me start with you. The guy who hires his attorney says I don't know if he's still my attorney. Wow.

KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY: Well, I think we have to put attorney in quotes. We saw this with his last personal attorney, Michael Cohen. And it's important to understand we hear a lot about privileges, but the attorney-client privilege itself that is that would protect communications between the President and Giuliani only applies if they're actually getting or receiving legal advice.

So just because Mr. Giuliani is an attorney certainly doesn't mean all of that is protected from disclosure, but it certainly looks like Mr. Trump is distancing himself from Giuliani who's clearly in some potential criminal legal liability in this moment.

BURNETT: Well, I hope he's not looking at Michael Cohen as the model of how things can turn out. And I don't even say it's a laugh, but I mean, Carl, this is what has happened to the last person who was the personal attorney of the President.

Look, Trump took Rudy out by the knees by saying I don't know. I mean that was not what you would say about somebody you're defending. And Giuliani had no idea, so this happens. The Washington Post Josh Dawsey tweets, "Yes," Giuliani just texted me when I asked if he was still representing Trump and then, "I am still his attorney," Giuliani says, when asked again.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: You said something about knees. Well, the fact is that the President and Giuliani are joined at the hip and they're going to remain joined at the hip wherever what we're witnessing goes and that's a great liability for Donald Trump. Because he is not only Giuliani in the midst of this apparent conspiracy with these two gentlemen who were arrested today, but also what happened in Ukraine is a conspiracy.

That is the allegation. And if there is a high crime and if there is, as it appears, a grave abuse of power, it has to do with a conspiracy in which the President of the United States and Rudy Giuliani have conspired. They are joined and they are going to be joined.

The other thing is that now Republicans are starting to look at Giuliani not as an asset in terms of even ginning up the base, but as a real liability in this conjoinment that can sink the President if things keep going south.

BURNETT: I mean, and Jamie, the difference, there are many, but on a very simplistic level Michael Cohen and Trump, we've never seen the exchanges.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Right.

BURNETT: OK? But we have the transcript here where the President says the President of Ukraine talked to Rudy Giuliani.

GANGEL: Look, the Republican sources that I'm talking to on the Hill to Carl's point are very concerned about Rudy Giuliani. That's where they think the next shoe to drop is. And I think what you're seeing from Trump is classic Donald Trump.

As Kim said, he's distancing himself, but it's always interesting to watch Trump do this for the man who demands so much loyalty. As soon as he gets nervous that you're not in his best interest, you're gone.

BURNETT: I mean, and Greg, does Trump's distancing himself from Giuliani mean he thinks he could be in trouble himself, to Carl's point, about they are joined at the hip?

GREG BROWER, FORMER DEPUTY GENERAL COUNSEL, FBI: I think that's right, Erin, and I would suggest that Giuliani has been a liability to the President for quite some time. It's been building recently and now it appears that Rudy Giuliani is the subject of a criminal investigation if not the target.

And so he has some serious legal jeopardy and the President certainly senses that, but it's going to be awfully difficult for the President even if he pretends not to know him in the coming days which I predict will happen.

[19:20:09] It's going to be awfully difficult, to Carl's point, for the President

to actually distance himself in a real way from Giuliani. It's too late for that.

BURNETT: I mean, Carl, Rudy Giuliani has changed the entire narrative of his career for Donald Trump, OK? He was America's mayor, he is now Trump's man. That is what he is. That is what people are going to remember him by.

On the eve of the election when the tape came out about grab him by the P, right? No one would defend Trump. Chris Christie dead to Trump, wouldn't go out on Sunday shows. Rudy Giuliani jumped in, "Hey, hey, I'll go." Took his spot and he said stuff like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: First of all, I don't know that he did it to anyone. This is talk and gosh almighty he who hasn't seen throw the first stone here, the fact is that men at times talk like that, not all men but men do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERNSTEIN: What would you like me to say?

BURNETT: OK. So here's my question from this, if Trump is selling out Rudy which he's doing publicly now, who is it that won't jump off Trump's ship? I mean why is it that anybody would give a person loyalty, when the person who did that for Trump is still dispensable?

BERNSTEIN: Trump has a lot of people around him who agree with what Trump does and what he says and there are a lot of those people who were going to stay through no matter where this goes.

BURNETT: And they just think it won't happen to me.

BERNSTEIN: I think there are some it won't happen to, in fact, but I think we got to step back here for a second and look at this conjoined apparat which is Giuliani and the President. And the absolute unraveling and out-of-control nature of both conjoined parties here, how this is looking in retrospect in terms of, again, Republicans taking a look and watching your video and looking at old video of Rudy Giuliani flapping and also Donald Trump and what he has said.

We are talking about a matter of decorum between the two of them that is so extraordinarily out of anything we have seen before and now it might have helped with the base before now that decorum itself is playing against both of them and makes the legal problems look bigger.

BURNETT: So Kim, a federal judge in Texas, you've got this issue with obviously Yovanovitch and now Trump and this Rudy Giuliani situation. A federal judge in Texas also rules Trump national emergency declaration on the wall is unlawful, one of several major court hits the President took today.

And so when he was asked about it, the President said he was not aware of it. Here's what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We lost on immigration, I haven't heard that. We'll win. You know how many cases I've lost and then we win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: Kim, do you buy he hadn't heard that?

WEHLE: Well, I don't, but he's also not a student of the Constitution. He also recently said that Members of Congress can be impeached. Listen, federal courts understand that in this moment it's about having checks and balances on the office of the presidency, not even this particular man. They're running a roughshod over all of them.

The lawyers in the White House are making legally indefensible arguments that are really stunning from my point of view having been in the Justice Department. And I disagree with him, the courts are going to make it clear that there are limits on the President's power. He's wrong on that and I think every American should brush up on why we have this kind of three branch system of government.

The framers did not want a monarchy and Donald Trump does not understand that. And I think he's going to be surprised even at the Supreme Court level with the judges, conservative judges who will also disagree with him.

BURNETT: It would be interesting whether they go the conservative Bill Barr route who obviously seems to see it as part of his responsibility here to increase the power of the executive branch. Jamie, another court case, one of five today, blocking his taxes.

GANGEL: Right.

BURNETT: OK. Now, he says this obviously could go to the Supreme Court, but this is huge. It's been a seven-month battle with Congress and a big loss tonight.

GANGEL: Donald Trump likes wins, we know that. This was a loss. It's a big loss and he may decide they're reviewing it about going to the Supreme Court and they may do that, because there is a tactic here to delay as long as possible, get closer and closer to the election.

But that court made very clear, once again, it is not going to interfere with the House. The House has the right to send out these subpoenas. So he may delay but from everything we've seen, he's going to lose that one.

BURNETT: He has not won on that one yet.

GANGEL: Correct.

BURNETT: All right. All of you stay with me. Next, the former Ambassador to Ukraine, she's moments away from wrapping up her testimony. Our understanding from what's going on in that room is she's going to come out and we're going to hear live from some of the people there exactly what happened. So that's going to be this hour.

[19:24:59]

And we travel to the crucial swing state of Florida to find out what Republicans think about the impeachment investigation. And you may be surprised to learn what they are telling us off camera.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:29:36]

BURNETT: Breaking news, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine is testifying behind closed doors. As I said, we believe this is wrapping up momentarily and that the Chairman and the ranking member, Adam Schiff, obviously, the Chairman, are going to be coming to cameras momentarily. We're going to give that to you live.

But the reason she's so important is she's at the center of this. Trump talked about her in the transcript about how he wanted her out of there. She was very bad.

[19:30:01]

According to The New York Times and The Washington Post in her appearance today, she blasted what she called a 'concerted campaign' to remove her as ambassador. She said it was tied directly to President Trump who has admitted it as such.

And she said, quote: Although I understand that I served at the pleasure of the president, I was nevertheless incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an ambassador based, as best as I could tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives, which, obviously, is a clear reference to Rudy Giuliani, Trump's then lawyer who was leading a push to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.

OK. Everybody is back with me.

So, Greg, how damaging do you think Yovanovitch's testimony was today? I don't know if you heard Congresswoman Val Demings, but she said she viewed her as a critical witness after what she said today,

GREG BROWER, FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FORMER GOP STATE LAWMAKER: Well, Congresswoman Demings was right, of course. From what we have seen so far, and heard what has been reported, she seems to be right at the center of this and absolutely critical witness and a whistle- blower in effect is the way I would describe her.

Obviously, this is not an easy thing for a current State Department official to do, but she clearly feels strongly that she has information that the Congress and the American people need to know. I assume she believes that her situation and the Ukraine situation has been mischaracterized and she needs to set the record straight.

And so, it will be fascinating to see exactly what she said today when the details come out.

BURNETT: And, obviously, we'll hear the spin of both sides momentarily here live.

Kim, though, you know, what does it say to you that she did testify? That he didn't want her to, right? She's technically a current employee at the State Department even though she was removed from her position. But she defied that and she went and showed up today.

What does that say to you? What risks is she taking?

KIM WEHLE, FORMER ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEY: Well, I think it's showing a sort of trend that we have career professionals inside the federal government who are saying, enough is enough, even if that means putting their own professional futures in jeopardy or even their own potentially reputation, safety on the internet, so to speak. There's a lot of Trump supporters that would not be happy with someone like this.

Just to be clear, though, she's right. This is completely within the president's prerogative to pull her back. He has full authority to that. The issue is, however, that the narrative appears to be that the reason she was pulled back was potentially that she had an objection to the efforts to get the Ukrainian prosecution team to investigate American citizens. That is Joe Biden and his son. That's an illegal act.

So, that's really what is at issue here. People need to understand that within the government, we hear conspiracy theories, but I was in the government. These people are public servants who really care.

And I think what she is saying is America, this is serious. This is not only serious for the integrity of the presidency and our separation of powers, but it's serious for purposes of national security and the State Department's ability to function, to keep America safe.

BURNETT: Jamie, what do you make of, I guess in a sense she's been part of this but she had been silenced until now? Obviously, her removal happened in May, ostensibly over her refusal to, you know, try to further investigation into Joe Biden on the deal.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, we're hearing her testimony was scathing but we just received a letter that comes former high ranking State Department, Defense, National Security officials, 27 of them signed it. These are people like former deputy secretary of state, Tony Blinken, former Undersecretary of Defense Eric Edelman, former Undersecretary of State Nick Burns.

This is an open letter that we have just gotten addressed to Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, because they are so concerned about the ambassador's safety that they are asking Pompeo to defend and support her.

Just line, we are particularly concerned by President Trump's reported statement that she's quote, she's going to go through some things. Such language could be interpreted as a threat of some kind.

So, they are putting this out there and they are calling on Secretary of State Pompeo to support, defend and protect her. That's how concerned they are.

BURNETT: So, we hear she's critical, Carl, and yet we also from the latest "Washington Post" reporting are learning that John Bolton, OK, after this phone call, or actually before the phone call, right, is -- goes ballistic when Gordon Sondland who showed up and was pulled back by the White House and may show up or not now, but certainly a Trump -- so far, a Trump supporter suggests doing all this subterfuge to investigate Joe Biden.

But, apparently, John Bolton goes ballistic.

[19:35:00]

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, and there are witnesses to John Bolton going ballistic, and they are going to testify and Bolton will make known what he witnessed. He did not leave this administration walking out the door a happy camper. The president, he disagreed really strenuously with what the president's foreign policy objectives were in Afghanistan and he left not on good terms.

He's a real -- a real threat, more than anyone else. He's in a position to say out loud what Mattis, McMaster, Kelly, others said sotto voce, under the table a little bit. That the president of the United States and Bolton said this to others is a danger to the national security of this country. We have never had a president before whose principal national security adviser thinks he's a danger to the national security.

BURNETT: Greg, will we hear from someone like John Bolton? I mean, is there going to be a moment where the country hears this? I mean, the other day, we heard from H.R. McMaster, right, where he said the phone call was completely inappropriate, right?

That's a sound bite out of think tank conference. It gets out there and doesn't get amplified. But testimony from someone like John Bolton could be a game changer for this country. Will it happen?

BROWER: It could. I mean, hell hath no fury like a former national security adviser scorned, right? I mean, if he feels as though his maybe mischaracterized and disrespected by the president and he has a need to set the record straight, he may come forward and do that.

Look, John Bolton is not universally loved in Washington. He's been part of the conservative establishment. He can be very aggressive and hawkish in his views. But I don't think anybody would dispute the fact that he's a serious foreign policy and national security thinker. He generally knows what he's talking about, even though some people in town may think he's wrong.

And so, for him to have observed what he thought, clearly, was what he thought was amateurish effort at foreign diplomacy and national security, that may be enough to have him -- to convince him to come forward and set the record straight for his own sake and for the country's.

BURNETT: Kim, though, we're about to see happen and we're awaiting, right, would be Jim Jordan and Adam Schiff coming out and look at the cameras. So, what we expect to hear is one person saying this is putting the nail in coffin of an impeachment case, or one of the nails, and the other one saying that she had nothing new to say and she's just a partisan hack.

You're just going to hear this political partisanship is how it's going to sound to so many Americans. Is that ever going to change? Is there ever going to be a time when you do have Republicans in positions of authority on these committees who say what we're hearing is bad?

WEHLE: That is a political judgment. We saw in the Nixon administration that at some point enough was enough, when the tapes came out. But I would say that really, it's not a either or in this moment from a legal perspective, from impeachment perspective.

I think this witness is an important witness but there's many, many more. There are a lot of facts that still need to come out. I worked on the Whitewater investigation. That was case in which Ken Starr handed the entire dossier of evidence to the Congress, with the Mueller report, all of that was done by prosecutors.

We now have the Congress that in real time is trying to actually do the investigation and it's going to take time if they do it properly.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. I should point out, as Greg Brower has pointed out in the show, that when you do that in the House, it's like a grand jury. You don't have a chance to have your representation if you're on the other side. It is done in secrecy. Those are the rules. It's not subterfuge. It's the rules.

Thanks to all.

And next, we travel to Florida to see if Trump's base will stick with him no matter what the impeachment investigation uncovers.

And Fox News chief anchor Shepard Smith, he has not been afraid to speak the truth, and he's suddenly quitting today. Why?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:42:43]

BURNETT: Breaking news, President Trump about to arrive to a rally in Louisiana tonight. Trump surrounding himself with supporters, railing against the House impeachment inquiry in a 90-minute-long screed last night.

But we want to go to crucial Florida first, a state President Trump won by 1 percent in 2016, to see if that message is resonating. He's got to win that state again.

Martin Savidge is OUTFRONT. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to Orlando, Florida. Not the land of make believe but where people really live and vote and we're talking to Trump voters about impeachment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think he's get fair deal. I think it's very political.

SAVIDGE: Nearly three weeks into the formal congressional inquiry, polling shows a noticeable shift in the public attitude toward impeachment. A Fox News poll released this week found 51 percent of registered voters supported President Trump's impeachment and removal from office. We wanted to see if shifting polls suggest Trump vulnerability among his base in the swing region of a key state.

For most, the short answer is no.

(on camera): Doesn't change your opinion of this president?

BRIAN BAINES, TRUMP VOTER: No, in this case, no. No.

SAVIDGE: And you don't believer he's done anything wrong or broken any sort of oath of office?

BAINES: In this case, no.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): On camera, no Trump voter would tell us the president should be impeached.

(on camera): Do you believe that this president has used his office for political gain?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In this particular case?

SAVIDGE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't think so.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Most Trump voters called the impeachment a sham, put on by Democrats, full of unsubstantiated claims. They downplayed the president's phone call with the president of Ukraine, that seems to seek dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.

(on camera): You seen the transcript of the phone call. I'd like you to do us a favor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've seen the transcript. I haven't read the whole thing.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): But off camera, we did find Trump voters troubled by the president's action. In fact, two admitted it was wrong but stopped short of calling for the president's removal.

At a Latinos for Trump rally outside Orlando, we found something that should concern the Trump administration. Though these Trump voters say they've heard nothing so far in the impeachment inquiry to change their support --

(on camera): Has any of this caused you to second guess your vote in '16?

[19:45:02]

NANCY ACEVEDO, TRUMP VOTER: Never, ever. We need Trump to reelected to four more years to make sure that, you know, his agenda is completed.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): All we spoke with said the inquiry should continue.

(on camera): Do you want the process to go forward?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want the process to go through the whole shebang.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Even as they work for Trump's reelection, these Trump voters say they reserve the right to change their mind.

(on camera): Is it something that come to light that would change your feelings?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe. It depends what it is. What is truth?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SAVIDGE: There's no question that this impeachment inquiry has raised a level of political tension in this country to a whole new realm. We have been talking to Trump voters for years on all kinds of topics in all kinds of places never before have we had so much difficulty getting Trump voters to talk to us on camera than on this particular issue, impeachment. Most are so angry or so over it they don't want to talk -- Erin.

BURNETT: Really fascinating and sobering. Martin, thank you.

And next, one of Fox's leading anchors is out, leading news anchor. Is it because of reporting like this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Our reporting begins this Monday with President Trump's latest misleading and xenophobic eruption of distraction and division.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And Jeanne on the protester who made his way to the top of a jet only to realize he was scared of heights.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:50:39]

BURNETT: Breaking news. So, President Trump has tweeted that the Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has -- well, he is out.

Kevin McAleenan has done an outstanding job as acting secretary of homeland security. We have worked well together with border crossings being down. Kevin now after many years wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector. Congratulations, Kevin, on a job well done. I will be announcing the new acting second next week. Many wonderful candidates.

Well, that list is shorter than it was four times ago, because McAleenan is the fourth person to head the Department of Homeland Security under President Trump. And he's only been there since April.

Pamela Brown live outside the White House.

So, Pamela, you know, the old I'm going to spend more time with my family -- what are you learning?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, a source is telling my colleague Jake Tapper tonight, Erin, that Kevin McAleenan turned in his resignation today at White House. And a source says that actually White House officials tried to tell him not to resign, but he did so because according to the source speaking to my colleague Jake Tapper, it was something he wanted to do because he felt like he had done the job he was set out to do, border crossings are down. He had done a lot of the work that he had hoped to accomplish. He wants to spend more time with his family.

Now, this isn't a total shock. We have been reporting for a while he was not expected to remain in that job. He was -- he has been acting secretary, homeland security secretary since April. He was not expected to be given the permanent position. And a source telling my colleague Jake Tapper that also this has been in the works for weeks.

In fact just last week as you recall, McAleenan felt like he couldn't run his own department because there were other players within the department who had the president's ear. They would go around him. He felt like he didn't have full control.

And that was seen to many as a sign he wouldn't be in his position much longer. According to sources tonight, McAleenan is leaving on his own terms, turning in the resignation letter to the president. And the president just announcing this on Twitter moments ago.

BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much.

And next, the chief anchor of Fox News says good-bye on the air, completely shocking everybody he works with, not just viewers. What does Trump have to do with it?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:56:26] BURNETT: New tonight, chief Fox News anchor Shep Smith abruptly leaving the network.

Now, Shep was one of the first hires at Fox News more than two decades ago. He's been a consistent defender of the facts, clashing with the network's opinion hosts in recent years.

Here were his parting words.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Even in our currently polarized nation, it's my hope that the facts will win the day, that the truth will always matter, that journalism and journalists will thrive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: And he concluded by saying, I'm Shepard Smith, Fox News, New York. The next show rolled. It was a stunning moment.

Our chief media correspondent Brian Stelter is OUTFRONT.

Brian, what are you learning about why now for Shep, and why in a stunningly surprising way?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: He is one of the only news anchors left on Fox, and he left because he couldn't take it anymore. He was appalled by some of the opinion hosts' comments. He felt he had been marginalized. There wasn't room for him anymore.

And I think this is not just for Fox, it's a sign of what's happening to our country. That there isn't room for truth telling on a channel like Fox. He presents facts about president Trump, often the facts that others leave out. I have been working on a book about Fox for several months now, and sources there love Shep Smith. The journalists there praised Shep Smith. They say he was there trying to tell the truth in an environment where almost nobody else was. But now, he couldn't take it anymore.

BURNETT: And nobody expected it. Here is what happened when he said, I'm Shep Smith, Fox News, New York. Here is what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS HOST: Whoa. I'm Neil Cavuto, and like, you know, I'm a little stunned and a little heartbroken. I don't know what to say. John, I apologize of being a little shell shocked on this development here, but take it away.

JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I've been trying to compile my thoughts, too, Neil. I walked out here to do the hit, suddenly got hit by a subway train. Holy mackerel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: I mean, his good-bye, he put in the prompter but no one knew.

STELTER: And he heads straight to the elevator afterward, straight home, because he was so emotional about this. This was a hard decision for him. He thought he was doing something important by being on the air reporting the news. He was making $15 million a year.

Sources said to me, he wasn't in it for the money. He was in it to try to counter all of the nonsense the opinion hosts air all the time.

BURNETT: All right. So, when you talk about what he was doing, he was speaking truth to power. I remember a conversation I had with him on the train once. And he was a really -- he thought a lot about this and his role there. Here is some of the examples of times he spoke the truth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SMITH: Our reporting begins this Monday with president Trump's latest misleading and xenophobic eruption of distraction and division. He decries fake news that isn't and disseminates fake news that is.

Think China pays the tariffs. The wall is going up. Historic inauguration crowds. Russia probe is a witch hunt. You need an ID to buy cereal. Noise from windmills causes cancer. It's endless.

There's no known evidence to support President Trump's conspiracy theories about Biden's activities as we have reported here repeatedly.

The president also said in the tweet that the wall is going up rapidly. It is not. As we just reported, there is no new wall. The forecast showed east coast Dorian. The sharpie's magical addition added the coast of Alabama.

Why would the president of the United States do this?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BURNETT: That is the only time a lot of viewers at Fox News heard those facts.

STELTER: That's right. Yes, nobody else on the air consistently rebutting the president's lies.

Chris Wallace does it Sundays.

BURNETT: Yes, he does.

STELTER: Bret Baier does it once in a while. But Shep Smith is a unique voice on Fox. I think it's a loss for the country that he is suddenly leaving. I suspect there's more to come about why he left.

BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Thanks to you for joining us. Anderson starts now.

[20:00:00]