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Sources Say Democrats Could Begin Holding Public Hearings By Mid-November; Congressman Elijah Cummings Lying In State At The Capitol Today; Joe Walsh Reacts To Donald Trump And White House Calling Never Trumpers "Human Scum." Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired October 24, 2019 - 14:00   ET

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


[14:00:05]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Hi, there. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you for being with me. Good news for House Republicans who are outraged at the closed door hearings taking place as part of the Impeachment Inquiry into President Trump because soon, all Americans could see what only lawmakers have up to this point.

Sources tell CNN, the Democrats could begin holding public hearings by mid-November and the lineup could include witnesses that have poked serious holes in the White House's argument that there was nothing wrong with Trump's call with his Ukrainian counterpart. People like former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch and top U.S. diplomat, Bill Taylor.

That news coming just a day after the U.S. government looked -- you see this more like a circus after about two dozen Republicans barged into this deposition.

They argue: Everything should be out in the open. Even though Republicans sit on every single one of the Committees involved in those hearings, just keep that in mind.

But while the Republicans are angry at how Democrats are handling this investigation, they were totally fine with the process when it came to the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. You don't believe me? Listen to this 2015 interview with Trey Gowdy, who serves as the Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TREY GOWDY, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: I could just tell you, that of the 50 some odd interviews we have done thus far, the vast majority of them have been private and you don't see the bickering among the Members of Congress in private interviews.

The private ones always produce better results.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So it'll be interesting to see if the former Congressman still holds firm to that belief. Gowdy, who resigned from Congress in January is now serving as outside counsel to President Trump on impeachment.

Let's go to our senior congressional correspondent, Manu Raju who is with me now. And Manu, I know you have caught up with several Republicans. What are they telling you today about Bill Taylor's testimony on Ukraine?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Republicans today are starting to coalesce around a new strategy to push back against what Bill Taylor revealed, which is rather damning testimony about the President's conduct as it came to this vital aid to Ukraine.

According to Bill Taylor's testimony that the President, he had been told that the President wanted to withhold that aid that the country needed to fight back against Russia, until the Ukrainian government had publicly announced investigations into the company that employed the former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, as well as another investigation into the 2016 elections.

Of course, those investigations could help the President politically. Now, over the last couple of days, Republicans have been sidestepping questions about it, but today, they've been pushing back saying instead of being concerned about what Bill Taylor has said, they said that they can't necessarily trust what Taylor said, because it was not firsthand.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): You don't just take pieces of trial and take them out of context.

RAJU: Is that out of context?

KENNEDY: Yes, they do.

SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): There's a lot of secondhand information a lot -- a lot of sort of hearsay and not hearsay, but in the sense that it was passed on. It wasn't a direct conversation.

SEN JOHN CORNYN, (R-TX): I know that sometimes when you hear testimony, you go, oh, well, I guess that's the end of it until you hear the other side.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): You give me 15 pages of testimony that's never been subject to cross examination and you want me to comment on it. Forget that.

RAJU: But you know, I mean, this --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: And Lindsey Graham in just a matter of moments is going to author a resolution co-sponsored by Mitch McConnell to condemn the House Democrats' impeachment process.

So they'll continue to focus on the process, downplaying this testimony as the President's allies are circling the wagons here on the Capitol Hill.

So if Democrats hope that they could see some Republican defections, they're getting very few of them, despite this testimony from earlier this week -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Okay, Manu, thank you very much. Let's analyze. CNN senior political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson is with us, as is CNN special correspondent Jamie Gangel.

And so Jamie, let's just start with some of those Republicans that Manu managed to round up and the phrases I heard was, oh, that was secondhand information or hearsay. But behind closed doors, you're hearing a different story.

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. So they have to say that. President Trump is watching and the White House has been lobbying for them. But what's really going on is, I'm told from a senior Republican source on Capitol Hill, that Bill Taylor's statement was a game changer.

That it is, quote, "reverberating" among members, because there was so much deal -- detail, and nobody was saying it was secondhand. He was part of the process. And he is so well-respected that they are really worried about it.

And you have to wonder when you hear that something is reverberating. What does that mean? Do they really want to carry water for the White House? How far are they going to go out to defend them?

[14:05:10]

GANGEL: And we have all --

BALDWIN: What's the answer? We don't know yet.

GANGEL: We don't know yet, but they know there's a lineup of more witnesses to come and Bill Taylor is very well-respected.

BALDWIN: Nia, to you, because sources tell CNN that President Trump had a heads up about the House Republicans plan yesterday and I just want to play this down. This is what Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said about all of this just this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm glad they did it. You know, again, these Dems have been doing everything behind closed doors and in secret. And so it's about time that somebody made a very bold stand, which is I guess, a sit-in, which is what they did, and it was great. And the point was well taken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: So, you know, Stephanie Grisham says that the House Republicans action shows full support of the President. Last week, Trump said, you know, Republicans need to -- his words

were, get tougher and fight on impeachment. So is this just a little preview of what we can expect in the coming weeks?

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes, I think it is. And it's certainly what we've seen in the preceding weeks as well, attacking process. They did it very theatrically.

You know what, just honestly, yesterday, right, the claim there even from Grisham, is that somehow Democrats are doing something in secret. Republicans are in those depositions as well.

And Stephanie Grisham certainly knows that, all of those people --

BALDWIN: Forty of them.

HENDERSON: Exactly.

BALDWIN: Forty eight Republicans.

HENDERSON: And some of those people who were sort of staging this sit in-as she calls it could have just been in there on their own because some of those folks are part of the Committee. So yes, this is theater. The President likes this, I'm sure.

And it gets them away from talking about the substance, which is -- Jamie talked about there -- is reverberating among House Republicans and Senate Republicans because it was so damaging and so detailed.

What else is to come is public hearings, right, a public sort of airing of what they're learning behind closed doors, and that's going to put I think, these Republic in a very difficult position and in that position when everything is aired, these sort of sit-ins and theatrics will certainly be kind of less welcome, I think.

BALDWIN: But what about, Nia, let me just stay with you because Manu, you know, gave us the heads up that Senator Graham will be making this big announcement next hour. He is expected to unveil this resolution condemning how the House has handled the Impeachment Inquiry.

Just last week, Graham got pushback over plans to send a letter to Speaker Pelosi that echoed a similar sentiment. But then you fast forward now to today, the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is apparently co-sponsoring this resolution. So what's going on?

HENDERSON: You know, I think they are getting messages from this White House. And remember, this is sort of an event, this Impeachment Inquiry that the President is watching on television, right? That is what he is doing probably most of the day and seeing how it is playing.

He is also looking to see who is talking on his behalf, right? It's one thing to have House Republicans from Trump districts talking for him and staging these sit-ins, but it's another to really sort of hear silence from a lot of the senior Republicans. I imagine, if you're Mitch McConnell, when the past couple of days has

parted ways with Donald Trump, in some ways, essentially said, listen, Donald Trump didn't know what he was talking about when he said that Mitch McConnell apparently said the phone call was fine.

Mitch McConnell said, no, that's not what actually happened. So if you're Mitch McConnell, I think you are basically thinking about this audience of one, the President who wants some backing from more senior folks in the Republican Party on the Senate side.

So I think that's what mitch McConnell was doing. Does it matter? Really? I don't really think so in terms of what we'll continue to learn about the President's alleged behavior in regards to Ukraine.

BALDWIN: Speaking of this audience of one, how could we forget? Last week, Mick Mulvaney, his performance at the podium during the press- avail, this is the Acting Chief of Staff and basically the bomb he dropped, which went against everything that Trump and everyone at the White House had been saying about a quid pro quo. Is he on thin I.C.E.?

GANGEL: We are hearing that he is on shaky ground.

BALDWIN: Okay.

GANGEL: And I want to read you exactly what I was told today. This is from a source familiar with White House thinking on the future of Acting White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. And this source said to me, quote, " ... that it's not imminent, but it could happen." Ultimately it's up to the President.

And the source went on to say, " ... this is not one of those times when I could wave you off and say it's not true," which is what happens when we call the White House and say, look, we're hearing that the Chief of Staff -- this is not the first time we've seen a Chief of Staff on shaky ground.

BALDWIN: Sure.

GANGEL: They'll say no, absolutely not. Not true. That's not the answer that I heard today. And it also speaks as Nia-Malika said, what is the White House impeachment strategy?

Up to now it's been one person, Donald Trump. Now you see him pushing for the Hill to come out, but he clearly was not happy with Mick Mulvaney's performance.

[14:10:06]

BALDWIN: Can we just throw all these conversations I just want to cut through all of what's happening in Washington through the partisanship and the tension. I just want to pause and take a moment to remember the life and legacy of Congressman Elijah Cummings, who is lying in state at the Capitol today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Our distinguished colleague truly has

gone home, home to his Father's house.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Those gathered here today have lost a dear friend and our country has lost a giant.

REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): The man that -- the man that we will miss.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): May Elijah rest in peace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Nia, can you just remind us what Congressman Elijah Cummings meant for bipartisanship?

HENDERSON: You know, he was a giant of bipartisanship. He is someone who spoke with moral clarity. He got in the well of Congress there.

And you listen, you wanted to hear from Elijah Cummings. He took seriously his role as someone who wanted to be a kind of a caretaker of what Congress is supposed to be about, right, which is about checks and balances, which is about of the people.

He, of course represented a parts of Baltimore folks who have often been on the sort of negative side of racial inequities and economic inequities as well.

So he -- what a giant -- I mean, in watching this, you kind of tear up and you remember sort of the Christian tradition, right? He was a man of faith, somebody who embodied really the American Dream.

His parents were from the South. They migrated, of course up north and he became a graduate of Howard University, a lawyer and of course, a Congressman, and he is going to be so missed, I think, by this country, what he meant to that institution, on you know, on the Hill there, and just reminds us what it's about.

You know, he was in the Michael Cohen hearing and one of the things he said in his closing statements was, you know, the country needs to get back to normal, right? Be more bipartisan.

BALDWIN: Yes.

HENDERSON: Really think about what the Founding Fathers meant for Congress to be and sort of remind the country of their better angels.

And so you know, this -- I'm glad we have been playing some of this, the real traditions there, the Christian traditions and sort of going home traditions of the African-American faith as well.

So listen, he is going to be missed widely by his constituents, by folks on the Hill and the country more generally.

BALDWIN: Now, may his legacy live on. May he rest in peace. Nia and Jamie, thank you both very much. Let's continue on more on the Republican fight against the Impeachment

Inquiry. Republican candidate, Joe Walsh joins me next. We'll talk to him about how much more the party can take.

Plus, President Trump says the U.S. is building a wall in Colorado. Let's talk to the Colorado Governor and get his response, live.

And new reporting today, how two businessmen hustled to profit from access to Rudy Giuliani and the Trump administration.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:18:01]

BALDWIN: We're back. You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. And today, the White House Press Secretary said, never Trumpers, those Republicans who don't support the President deserve to be called human scum. That's the line that the President recently tweeted.

Stephanie Grisham said that the President should have no regrets for using the term.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRISHAM: No. No, he shouldn't. The people who are against him and who have been against him and working against him since the day that he took office are just that.

It is horrible that people are working against a President who is delivering results for this country and has been since day one.

And the fact that people continue to try to negate anything that he is doing and take away from the good work he is doing on behalf of the American people, they deserve strong language like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: As President tries to rein in outliers in his party, it appears, this pressure on Republican supporters is working. Just two days after he said that they need to be quote, "tougher" in fighting against impeachment.

You saw the scene on Capitol Hill, about two dozen House Republican stormed this closed door secure testimony to protest what they call secret hearings.

Former Congressman Joe Walsh is challenging President Trump for the 2020 Republican nomination. Congressman, good to see you, in person.

JOE WALSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Great to be here, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Let's talk about this Republican stunt up on Capitol Hill because that's what it was, led by Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida. These are some of the quotes we've seen from him in the last 24 hours. "We were like the 300, you know, standing in the briefs to try and

stop the radical left from storming over our democracy." And he said, " ... I love the President so much I may never love another President again." What's your reaction to that?

WALSH: Good God, look how Trump corrodes. Look, that's -- that kind of silliness, Brooke, is what you do when you cannot defend a President who has betrayed this country. You pull stunts like this.

It's going to get worse. I mean --

BALDWIN: Define worse. Define worse.

WALSH: Trump is going to get worse. Yesterday, he called me and Republicans like me who oppose him human scum.

By the way, Stephanie Grisham, his spokesperson called you, anybody who opposes his agenda, anybody, Brooke as human scum.

[14:20:10]

WALSH: It's going to get worse. Look, not only is Trump a child, and not only is he a coward, and not only is he a traitor, Brooke, here's the thing, he is a monster.

He doesn't care about anything, but Trump. I wish my fellow Republicans got this.

BALDWIN: I've got to say, I mean, it's one thing for you to be able to sit here on national TV and say that, but where are the other Republicans on this?

WALSH: Well, they're afraid, but they're going to start poking their heads out, I think. Once they realize this President, he will tear down and destroy the Republican Party, he'll tear down and destroy Congress and the Executive Branch. He will tear down and destroy our democracy because he only cares about himself.

Republicans, Brooke, and I have told you this before, you know this, they don't like him up on Capitol Hill. They can't stand him.

So when Republican voters keep moving away from the President, I think you'll see more Mitt Romney's.

BALDWIN: Maybe we will and we will replay this clip when and if that happens and say you were right. But in the meantime, you had Matt Gaetz and all of those House Republicans storming this skiff, this secure room, which by the way, like foreign governments would love to target and there they are with their electronic devices breaking all the rules and live tweeting.

There are 48 Republicans, including the House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, who sit on those committees. So if they maintain that it's, you know, private it's not because members of their own parties are behind closed doors, and their argument is all about process.

Do you notice that? It's not about substance. Where are they on substance?

WALSH: They can't defend what the President did. The President betrayed this country. He colluded with another foreign government to interfere in our elections.

Brooke, they don't want to go near that. They don't want to touch that, so they go after the process. But think about this, in another couple of weeks, these hearings are going to be open.

So now they're condemning the closed door hearings. Are they going condemned the open door hearings in another couple of weeks? They've got nothing to stand on right now.

BALDWIN: You mentioned the human scum tweet from the President. What does that tell you about his mindset?

WALSH: He is a horrible human being, and we've talked about Nixon and Clinton and some of the other Presidents who, at least when they were caught doing something wrong or bad, they exhibited some human shame.

We've got a guy in the White House, Brooke, who is incapable of shame. And that's why, again, a warning to my fellow Republicans, this is going to get uglier and worse --

BALDWIN: If you can look into that camera and tell them.

WALSH: Brooke, it's human scum today. Republicans, he is going to turn on you. He will turn on you. He will turn on anybody to save his skin. And I hope Republicans wake up to that.

BALDWIN: Former Congressman Joe Walsh, thank you very much.

WALSH: Thanks, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Good to have you on. President Trump makes a surprise claim about building a big, beautiful wall but in Colorado. We will talk to the State's Governor about the tweets. One zinger of a geography lesson.

And a confusing follow up from President Trump today suggesting that the Kurds should just leave their homeland. Response to the surprise moves in Syria from Senator Tammy Duckworth. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:28:00]

BALDWIN: We're building a wall. It's not anything new from President Trump, but where it's being built, that's got a whole new take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we're building a wall on the border of New Mexico and we're building a wall in Colorado. We're building a beautiful wall. A big one that really works that you can't get over. You can't get under -- (END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: The Great State of Colorado -- for a brief time was apparently getting a wall. Where you might ask? Well, it most certainly isn't a wall with Mexico. Maybe Colorado was trying to stop New Mexicans from coming in?

Even Democratic Senator Patrick Lee, he tried to lend the President a hand with those pesky state lines.

The President attempted to clarify his statement later, he was kidding, quote, "(Kiddingly), we're building a wall in Colorado, then stated, we're not building a wall in Kansas, but they get the benefit of the wall we're building on the border, referred to people in the very packed auditorium from Colorado and Kansas getting the benefit of the border wall."

All right, here now to discuss, the Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis. Governor, welcome.

GOVERNOR JARED POLIS (D-CO): Pleasure to be here.

BALDWIN: Now, why do you think that the President of the United States mentioned your state when talking about the wall?

POLIS: Well, it could be a matter of poor geographic knowledge, it could be a gaffe. Colorado is a very welcoming state. We -- there is no wall being constructed here. We don't want a wall between us and Kansas or Oklahoma or New Mexico.

We are very welcoming to people from across the world and in the country and we hope that people come to ski here and enjoy our great outdoors.

BALDWIN: Love -- love skiing in Colorado. It is indeed a welcoming place. But hang on, because when you -- take me back, when you first heard, I imagine your phone blew up. What was your first reaction when you heard the President say that?

POLIS: Well, you know, when the President says something, even this President your first reaction is well, you better take it seriously. You better make sure there's not a wall being built in Colorado.

So I got confirmed, of course, that in fact there is no wall being built here..

[14:30:09]

END