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Acting White House Chief Of Staff Gives Rare Briefing Amid Scandal; Mick Mulvaney Confirms President Trump Asked Officials To Work With Rudy Giuliani To Pressure Ukraine; Mulvaney: Ukraine Aid Was Tied To Investigation Of Politicial Opponent. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired October 17, 2019 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: You've heard the president say this that we give them tanks and the other countries give them pillows. That's absolutely right, that -- as vocal as the Europeans are about supporting Ukraine, they are really, really stingy when it comes to lethal aid. And they weren't helping Ukraine and that's still, to this day, are not. And the president did not like that.
I know this is a long answer to your question but I'm still going. Those were the driving factors.
Did he also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely, no question about that. But that's it, and that's why we held up the money.
Now, there was a report --
REPORTER: So the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he was ordered to withhold funding to Ukraine?
MULVANEY: The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation. And that is absolutely appropriate.
MULVANEY: Yes, and which ultimately then flowed.
By the way, there was a report that we worried that the money wouldn't -- if we didn't pay out the money, it would be illegal, okay, it would be unlawful. That is one of those things that has a little shred of truth in it that makes it look a lot worse than it really is.
We were concerned about -- over at OMB about an impoundment. And I know I just put half of you folks to bed, but there is the Budget Control and Impoundment act of '74 that says if Congress appropriates, money, you have to spend it. Okay. At least that's how it's interpreted by some folks.
And we knew that that money either had to go out the door by the end of September or we had to have a really, really good reason not to do it. And that was the legality of the issue.
REPORTER: And just to be clear, what you've just described is a quid pro quo. It is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democrats' server happened as well.
MULVANEY: We do that all the time with foreign policy. We were holding up money at the same time for, what was it, northern triangle countries. We're holding up aid at northern triangle countries so that they would change their policies on immigration.
By the way, and this speaks to -- I'm sorry? This speaks to an important point because I heard this yesterday and I can never remember the gentleman who testified. Was it McKinley, the guy? Was that his name?
I don't know him. He testified yesterday. And if you -- and if you believe the news reports, okay, because we've not seen any transcripts of this -- the only transcript I've seen was Sondland's testimony this morning.
If you read the news reports and you believed it, what did McKinley yesterday? McKinley said yesterday that he was really upset with the political influence in foreign policy. That was one of the reasons he was so upset about this. And I have news for everybody. Get over it.
There is going to political influence in foreign policy -- I'm talking to Mr. Carl (ph). That is going to happen. Elections have consequences and foreign policy is going to change from the Obama administration to the Trump administration.
And what you're seeing now, I believe, is a group of mostly career bureaucrats who are saying, you know, what, I don't like President Trump's politics, so I'm going to participate in this witch hunt that they're undertaking on the Hill.
Elections do have consequences, and they should. And your foreign policy is going to change. Obama did it in one way, we're doing it in a different way, and there's no problem with that.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: (INAUDIBLE) Mr. Mulvaney. Does that come into consideration when that is --
MULVANEY: So I don't know your name, and he's being very rude, so if you go ahead and ask your question?
REPORTER: Just to clarify and just to follow-up on that question, so when you're saying that politics is going to be involved, the question here is not just about a political decision about how you want to run the government, this is about investigating political opponent. Are you saying that it's okay for the U.S. government to hold up aid and require a foreign government to investigate political opponents of the president?
MULVANEY: Now, you're talking about looking forward to the next election.
REPORTER: Even the DNC, the DNC is still involved in this next election. Is that not correct?
MULVANEY: So wait a second. So there's -- hold on a second, let me ask you --
REPORTER: Is the DNC political also --
MULVANEY: There is an ongoing investigation by our Department of Justice into the 2016 election. I can't remember the person's name. Durham, okay? That's an ongoing investigation, right? So you're saying the president of the United States, the chief law enforcement person, cannot ask somebody to cooperate with an ongoing public investigation into wrongdoing? That's just bizarre to me that you would think that you can't do that.
REPORTER: And so you would say that it's fine to ask about the DNC but not about Biden? So Biden is now -- Biden is running for the Democratic nomination, right? That's for 2020.
MULVANEY: That's a hypothetical because that did not happen here. But I would ask you --
REPORTER: No, no, on the call, the president did ask about investigating the Bidens. Are you saying that the money that was held up, that had nothing to do with the Bidens?
MULVANEY: Yes. The money held up had absolutely nothing to do with Biden, and that was the point I made to you.
REPORTER: And you're drawing a distinction. You're saying that it would wrong to --
MULVANEY: Three factors -- again, I was involved with the process by which the money was held up temporarily, okay?
Three issues for that. The corruption in the country, whether or not other countries were participating in support of Ukraine and whether or not they were cooperating with an ongoing investigation with our Department of Justice. That's completely legitimate.
REPORTER: Regarding the secretary over at the State Department, the deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affair, George Kent, reportedly testified that you asked him to step down from any issues regarding Ukraine. Is that true?
MULVANEY: Who said that?
REPORTER: It was George Kent.
MULVANEY: I'm sorry, I don't know who that is. Is that someone who testified this week?
MULVANEY: I don't believe I've ever talked to anybody named George Kent in my life, nor have I asked anybody to resign their position over this.
REPORTER: Also, another thing is that there have been reports that you had been conducting a review of the phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky, the Ukrainian president. And the question is what are you -- is that true? Do you acknowledge that you've been conducting that review, or, certainly, was the call just perfect, as the president --
MULVANEY: Again, no one here had any difficulty with the call. We do think the call is perfect. We don't think there is any difficulty with the call at all. I read it several times.
By the way, I was not on the call. Someone with my office was on the call. No one raised any difficulty with me on the call at all. I understand that, in fact, no one on the call in here thought there was any difficulty with it.
Let's get to your point about what we're doing inside.
REPORTER: So was this an attempt to actually uncover the whistleblower --
MULVANEY: No. Here's what it is. It's like, look, if you get -- if you're having the House do what they're going to do, doesn't it simply make sense for us to sort of try and find out what happened.
This is one of the questions I don't understand for you folks that we get all the time, which is, some of you have criticized us for having a war room, okay, which we don't, by the way. You don't have war room when you haven't done anything wrong. Clinton certainly had a war room. I think Nixon did. But they actually did something wrong. We didn't. So we don't have a war room.
But at the same time, when we say that, you say, well, you're not taking it seriously. Yes, we are. We do. It's part of what we do. Look, when you work for the Trump administration, you're used to this kind of attention, right? We know how to do this, and we do this and we're preparing for it.
Yes, we're having lawyers look at it. Yes, we're having our P.R. people looking at it. If we weren't doing that, we would be committing malpractice. But I don't think there's anything extraordinary that we're doing.
We've been dealing with oversight from the Democrats since they took office. In fact, it's all we've been dealing with the Democrats since they took office because we certainly haven't been doing much legislating since they've been here.
Yes, ma'am? I'm trying to get folks to have them ask a question here.
REPORTER: In light of the depositions that we've heard, do you believe that Rudy Giuliani's role as an outside adviser to the president is problematic?
MULVANEY: That's the president's call. I mean, Steve Scalise got asked this similar question today on television. I thought his answer was great, which was, look, you may not like the fact, in fact, that they understand from reading his opening testimony that Gordon Sondland didn't like the fact that Giuliani was involved and said so in his testimony.
Okay, that's great. You may not like the fact that Giuliani was involved. That's great, that's fine. It's not illegal, it's not impeachable, the president gets to use who he wants to use. If the president wants to fire me today and hire somebody else, he can.
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) from the actual like --
MULVANEY: The president gets to set foreign policy and he gets to choose who to do so. As long as he doesn't violate any law, okay, he doesn't violate any laws regarding confidential information or classified material or anything like that, the president gets to use who he wants to.
REPORTE:R Did the president direct you or anyone else to work with Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine?
MULVANEY: Yes. The -- when was it? There was the May meeting, and I think this has been widely reported. In fact, I think Sondland mentioned it in his testimony. And I'm pretty that Rick Perry mentioned this in his interview yesterday with The Wall Street Journal, that in the May meeting in the Oval Office that I was in, I think Senator Johnson was there as well as Mr. Volker was there, the president asked Rick Perry to work with Mr. Giuliani.
REPORTER: And did you think that that was appropriate when you were asked as well?
MULVANEY: I wasn't asked.
REPORTER: You were not asked, that was my question, were you or anyone else was asked?
MULVANEY: And the answer to your question is that the president told Rick Perry, who I think was sort of -- he was -- the issue -- one of the reasons they were in there was to talk about energy. We're very interested in trying to get Ukraine as an energy partner. That's why Mr. Perry, Secretary Perry, was so heavily involved. And that's when the president said to Mr. Perry, go ahead and talk to Rudy.
REPORTER: Isn't that a shadow foreign policy?
MULVANEY: Shadow foreign policy. Look, that's a term you're using. That's a pejorative. That's -- what is a shadow foreign policy? The president asked --
REPORTER: Operate outside the normal channels.
MULVANEY: Who else is in the room? Who's in the room when the president is having this conversation, okay? It's Gordon Sondland, our ambassador to the E.U., Kurt Volker, who is our special designated envoy to the Ukraine.
I sat next to Mike Pompeo yesterday at the meeting with the congressional leaders, and I said, look, I understand I coordinated a coup against you by putting Sondland and Volker in charge of Ukraine policy. He leans back to me and he goes, you know they both work for me.
There's not a shadow policy here. The president is entitled to have whoever he wants to work. I'm 100 percent comfortable with it.
And so I did. I did. Yes, I'm sorry. I'm sorry.
REPORTER: No problem. Just to follow on that question, can you describe the role that you played in pressuring Ukraine to investigate the Bidens? And secondly, can you walk us through the meeting that President Trump was dangling over Volodymyr Zelensky to happen right here at the White House? What were the preconditions of that meeting and was investigating Burisma one of them?
MULVANEY: The first question to your -- the first answer to your question is none. I mean -- what was your question, what did I do Ukraine or something? Nothing.
REPORTER: Did you anything to pressure Ukraine to investigate the Bidens?
MULVANEY: No. What's the second question?
REPORTER: The second question was about the meeting you were supposed to have in here at the White house between the two presidents. Can you walk us through the discussions for that meeting? What was on the table for a pre-condition and was the investigation of Burisma ever brought up as a condition to meet with President Trump?
MULVANEY: No, not to me, and not to anybody I know of. I was never in a conversation that had the word Burisma in it. But as to --
REPORTER: Or investigating the Bidens then?
MULVANEY: Or the Bidens. That never happened with me in there.
But to the larger point about the meeting, I think one of the things you all have missed is the president didn't want to take the meeting. First, they want to have the phone call. That was -- Rick Perry was pushing for that.
REPORTER: So on the call, he said, I'll see you here at the White House, didn't he?
MULVANEY: At the end, yes. But that's -- I think that was a courtesy that he was extending at the time. And he's not been here yet but --
REPORTEER: So he was never realistically entertaining a meeting with President Zelensky?
MULVANEY: I mean, we get asked by foreign leaders all the time to either come visit their country to have them come visit here. And we would try to be (INAUDIBLE) and say, yes, and some of them were able to accommodate and some of them, we are not.
But I do not remember -- let me answer here question -- that I don't remember a serious conversation about setting up an actual meeting. There were no dates discussed. There was not -- I saw that as more than typical pleasantries that we have and I don't think it was dangling a meeting or anything like that.
REPORTER: Is the president (INAUDIBLE) to welcome President Erdogan to the White House November 13th?
MULVANEY: Yes. I think that depends on how the next couple days go. It's still on the schedule. And I understand that Vice President Pence's meeting is going much longer than it's expected today. I hope it's not going -- that they're having a press conference right now. But I think that's one of those wait and see things.
The president has been very clear about what he wants to see out of President Erdogan. He wants a ceasefire now. He wants (INAUDIBLE) protected. He -- I think if you go down the long list of the things the president has mentioned to President Erdogan. And if we're able to get that, and I think that meeting will go forward. If not, then I think the president will review that possibility.
REPORTER: You just said you were involved in the process in which the money being held up temporarily, you named three issues for that in the country, whether or not the country, they were assisting with an ongoing investigation. How is that not an establishment of an exchange, of a quid pro quo?
MULVANEY: Those are the terms that you used. I mean, go look at what Gordon Sondland said today in his testimony, was that I think in his opening statement, he said something along the lines of they were trying to get the deliverable. And the deliverable was a statement by Ukraine about how they were going to deal with corruption, okay. Go read his testimony if you haven't already.
Now, what he says is, and he's right, that's absolutely the ordinary course of business. This is what you do when you have someone come to the White House, you either arrange a visit for the president, you have a phone call with the president.
A lot of times, we use that as the opportunity to get them to make a statement of their policy or to announce something that they're going to do. It's one of the reasons we -- you can sort of announce that on the phone call or at the meeting. This is the ordinary course of foreign policy.
REPORTER: Is it appropriate for any president or this president to pressure a foreign country to investigate a political opponent?
MULVANEY: Every time I get that question, it's one of those things about -- it is, but so is -- when did you stop beating your wife? It assumes the president has done that. We haven't done.
REPORTER: The president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said he sees his work as the president's personal attorney as intertwined with the president's national agenda when it comes to Ukraine. Do you see those issues as intertwined? Is his political interest as a president, as a political candidate, is that intertwined with the national interest?
MULVANEY: Yes. I don't know how to answer that Ukraine, except that Mr. Giuliani is his personal lawyer, the president wants to use him.
REPORTER: Is it appropriate for a personal attorney to be working in Ukraine on issues that are supposed to be national issues? Mr. Giuliani says there's an attorney/client privilege issue because he was working on the president's interest. Is that appropriate for his personal attorney to working in --
MULVANEY: I don't know of anything inappropriate about that.
Yes, sir? Oh, yes, I'm sorry, the lady on the back. Yes, ma'am?
REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. Mulvaney. You said that the U.S. foreign policy will (INAUDIBLE) unlike in the previous administrations, how does the president respond about North Korea's break-off talks with the U.S.?
MULVANEY: The question is responding to breaking off talks. Is there news in the last couple of days on that?
REPORTER: Yes, (INAUDIBLE).
MULVANEY: Okay. I'm sorry. I've not -- I'm just not briefed on that. I apologize.
REPORTER: Thank you, Mr. Mulvaney.
MULVANEY: Yes. And I'll take one more after this.
REPORTER: There have been published reports that you were objecting within the president's official family to the appointment of Ken Cuccinelli as the head of the Department of Homeland Security. Is that so, and if so, what is your objection to his possible appointment?
MULVANEY: I have none and I think Ken would do at the good job.
Yes, ma'am? Sorry, did I really ignore you the whole time of staying in the front row and I haven't answered your question yet? REPORTER: So if there was no quid pro quo on the call, if it was routine, if he didn't even want to do it and it's all on the up and up, why did it have to go into this more restricted server? Why was it moved from one server to the other?
MULVANEY: All right. That's -- I'm glad we got that. It's a good one to finish on. I'm not going to answer your question the way you want me to, but I'm going to answer your question, so give me just a second. I am not going to sit here and talk about how we handle classified information in this building. I got a couple of questions before about my private conversations with the president. I don't talk about those either.
I'm not going to talk about that, but I do want to address it, and here's why. There's only one reason people care about that, right? That's because they think there's a cover-up.
They hope there is because some of them hope there was a cover-up, that, oh, goodness gracious, there must have been something really, really (INAUDIBLE), there's something really underhanded about how they handled this document, because there was to be a cover-up, because there's always a good cover-up when we've got an impeachment, right?
Nixon had a cover-up with the tapes. Clinton had a cover-up of the relationship of Lewinski. There must be a cover-up here, right? Let me ask you this. If we wanted to cover this up, would we have called the Department of Justice almost immediately and had them look at the transcript of the tape, which we did, by the way, right? If we wanted to cover this up, would we have released it to the public?
And by the way, I'm glad that now all of this concern about how the document has been edited and what do these ellipses stand for, because I heard Adam Schiff go on television yesterday, and so -- or yesterday or the day before, and say, we don't need to hear from the whistleblower anymore because now we have the transcript, a memorandum of communication, a memorandum or a document, okay?
Everyone wants to believe there's a cover-up. You don't give stuff to the public and say, here it is, if you're trying to cover something up. So I'm not going to answer your question by explaining who we handle documents in this building. All I'm telling you is that you can stop asking the questions there because there's no cover-up, and I can prove it to you by our actions.
Look, I know that you do this all night so I'm not going to take anymore. So it's nice to see to everybody. Thanks again. Bye.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Wow. The acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, giving a rare briefing there as the impeachment inquiry is escalating. And aside from claiming not to remember a lot of names in this scandal that he names that are giving very important data points about just how broad this effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden was.
Mick Mulvaney confirmed that president asked officials to work with his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, on the Ukraine pressure campaign and he also said that aid was tied to the investigation of a political opponent. Certainly, he said the DNC.
I want to bring in Dana Bash and Gloria Borger to talk about this.
What did you make of this that he said, yes, aid was tied to an investigation, and he said elections have consequences and get over it?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: He tried to portray this as business as usual. There is nothing wrong with this. He made the case. What's wrong with asking a leader to cooperate with the Justice Department in investigating corruption in our own country?
He didn't care that it was about the 2016 election. On every single point, he made the case nothing wrong. We do business that way, business has always been done that way, and there is nothing nefarious, there was no cover-up, business as usual.
And what was very telling was that before they released the summary of the call, they called the Justice Department, he said, and had them look at it, and I guess the Justice Department thought that it was just fine.
So he keeps saying, we do this all the time regarding foreign policy, nothing wrong. If Rudy Giuliani is going to be working on this for the president, so be it, we all work for the president, it's his call.
KEILAR: Go on, yes.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: And just to pick up on that, Evan Perez was talking about this yesterday. He was hearing it from his sources. And we just saw it confirmed in a big way from the podium of the White House, the Chief of Staff of the president is trying to reframe this, as Gloria just mentioned, reframe this as, yes, so what, we did it.
But the -- they are saying, is we asked the Ukrainian government to look into allegations of past corruption with regard to an American election. That's what they're saying. And that was tied to America giving aid to them.
Here's the problem with that. First of all, that may or may not be illegal. That's kind of irrelevant. The problem with that is that the president himself in that phone call, according to that summary that they released, was asking prospectively, was saying, I want you to look into my next opponent, which is very different from looking in the past.
Never mind what they were allegedly asking the Ukrainians to look into as a debunked conspiracy theory. Put that aside. They were trying to parse this very carefully. They have been sort of moving down that road, and Mick Mulvaney just tried to put the flag down on this defense. BORGER: Right, and it's sort of -- it's the president's defense and it's always been, I did that, so what? I had this phone conversation, so what? We're having the G7 at the Doral, as Mulvaney announced, the president's resort, so what? It was the best place that we could come up with in the entire United States that a previous G7 was at Camp David, well that was lousy.
And so it's this sort of this doubling down, tripling down, as Donald Trump always does. And what we saw today was a performance made for Donald Trump who I'm sure was watching and he's doubling and tripling down that what we did was legitimate, correct, legal, and why would you think we would do anything else?
KEILAR: I want to bring in Jim Acosta. He was there in the briefing room.
Something that stands out to me, Jim, is he made the case for why this was so normal and there is nothing to see here, and yet simultaneously, Mick Mulvaney tried to completely distance himself personally from what went on. He was asked if he had a role in pressuring Ukraine. He was asked about if he had a role in kind of dangling a meeting with President Zelensky.
We know that John Bolton, the former National Security Adviser, referred to a drug deal that Mick Mulvaney was cooking up here, but Mick Mulvaney was trying to stay very far away from that.
ACOSTA: Brianna, this has become the Catch Us If You Can administration. What you heard from Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, a few moments ago was pretty mind-blowing. What he said to this room full of reporters is that it is legal, it is appropriate for the White House to withhold foreign aid from a country unless they investigate the opposing political party in this country.
Mick Mulvaney denied after we tried to follow up with him that holding up -- or tried to deny that investigating Joe Biden was at the heart of this, but he did acknowledge that, yes, part of the deal, in order for Ukraine to get this money that was being held up, was to investigate what had happened in 2016, this unproven, baseless conspiracy theory that the Democratic Party was somehow behind this plot to deny Donald Trump from becoming president in 2016.
And, you know, one of the other things that you heard from Mick Mulvaney is, well, if the president wants to put Rudy Giuliani in charge of it, that's okay too, that there's nothing wrong with that, nothing to see her with at as well.
And I think the Catch Me If You Can aspect of this even applies to the selection of Doral, the president's golf resort, for the 2020 G7. They seem to saying if the president decides that he's doing this, it's appropriate and it's legal, and that is why it is now up to Democrats on Capitol Hill, and it sounds like a growing number of Republicans to decide whether or not all of this is going to be held accountable.
But make no mistake, this was a bit of a movement here that we saw in the briefing room, Brianna, and that the acting chief of staff, they were saying, well, the president was just trolling everybody, he is just joking around about asking for China's and so on, that he acknowledged during this briefing today that part of the reason why that money was being held up to Ukraine was because they wanted cooperation into this investigation, into the DNC and what happened in 2016. I think that's a pretty remarkable admission from the acting chief of staff.
But, again, you could almost read between the lines here where the acting chief of staff was almost saying to everybody in the room here, catch us in you can.
KEILAR: It was remarkable, Jim. And stand by for us because we're going to be covering this for a little while here.
I want to talk to our legal analyst, Jim Baker. Jim, you listened to this with press avail with Mick Mulvaney. What did you think?
JIM BAKER, FORMER TOP FBI LAWYER: Oh, my goodness. So the idea that any of this is normal is just absurd. This is not normal. This is just not normal. The question, I think, for the country and for Congress is whether the activity here by a number of individuals was illegal and unconstitutional.
The president's -- Mulvaney was right, the president does have broad authority to conduct the foreign relations Of the United States under the Constitution. That is true. But that authority is not unlimited.
And so he has a lot of power but he cannot abuse that power, and he should not be able to abuse that power in order to investigate his political opponents, past and future, and certainly not the ones -- and not abuse his power in order to stay in power by investigating his most likely opponent in the upcoming 2020 election.
With respect to other people -- yes, sure.
KEILAR: Sorry, go on.
BAKER: No. I was just going to say, so the president -- the focus on the president's conduct should be whether his conduct was unconstitutional in the sense that it was an abuse of power. That's what Congress should be focused on.
With respect to all these other people involved in these activities, diplomats, Giuliani, all these other people, the chief of staff himself, the question there for them is whether their activities were unconstitutional but also whether they violated any criminal statutes, which the ones that come to mind are the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
And also, based on what I'm hearing, I'm concerned about violations of the -- something called the Anti-Deficiency Act, which prohibits expenditure of public moneys except as authorized by Congress and prohibits government employees from accepting voluntary activity -- voluntary services from other people. That's a criminal statute as well. And so I think that has to be investigated by the Justice Department, at the FBI at a minimum.
KEILAR: Because the president certainly -- his lawyer appears to be working pro-bono for him, even though he certainly can afford to pay his lawyer.
I want to ask you --
BAKER: But is he working for the people? Is he -- sorry, Brianna. But is he working for the people, is he working for --
KEILAR: That's the question that it raises, right? Who is paying him, who is he working for?
I do want to ask you about another point that Mulvaney made which was he likened holding up military aid to Ukraine to holding up aid to northern triangle companies for not doing something on immigration. Obviously, there is a huge influx of people coming to the U.S. border coming from the northern triangle countries. Why is that not the same thing?
BAKER: Because the president -- it was what the holdup was linked to, as we all know. The American people are people who have a lot of common sense and we can understand things, and we can differentiate things. And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the president trying to hold up money in pursuit of some legitimate national objective is different from him trying to hold up money or engage in any other government activity in order to serve his own personal, political interests in staying in power.
This is what the framers of the Constitution were worried about, people -- the president doing things to try to keep himself in power. That's one of the chief things that they were concerned about.
KEILAR: All right. Jim, I want to bring in Dana Bash --
BAKER: So that's the difference.
KEILAR: Yes, that is the difference. I want to bring Dana and Gloria back into this conversation. This was such an interesting piece of he's describing the meeting in the Oval Office. Like I'm giving you tons of details, everyone who was there, when the president said, yes, you can talk -- yes, you should talk to Rudy Giuliani about Ukraine.
I mean, we just heard what Jim said there about the legal issues here when it comes to Rudy Giuliani not being paid by the -- who is he being by? He was being by, in part, a Ukrainian-American business man who had $500,000, who had been paid much money from a Russian businessman, according to an indictment. So who is paying Rudy Giuliani to do this, as the president says, talk to him.
BASH: I mean, that's the issue which may or not be, and Jim can answer this better than I can, linked directly to the president and could potentially be used as part of the impeachment -- articles of impeachment, is did the president know that his lawyer, who, as far as we know, is not getting paid by the president, was --
KEILAR: He says he's not.
BASH: Okay, was at least working on getting paid by the Ukrainians or people linked to the Ukrainians, the very people that the president is directing him to make contact with to help create national/international policy.
KEILAR: Linked to Ukrainians who may be don't exactly like what the Ukrainian government is doing, maybe linked to Russia too.