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House Rules Committee Posts Text of Impeachment Resolution; Trump Announces Baghdadi's Likely Successor Killed by U.S. Forces; Kurds Say Spy Stole Leader's Underwear to Get DNA; Biden Amplifies Rhetoric Against Trump as Primaries Get Closer; New Round of Dangerous Winds Expected to Make Fires Worse. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 29, 2019 - 15:30   ET

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


[15:30:00]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We are back with breaking news this afternoon. The House Rules Committee just posted the text of this eight-page impeachment resolution ahead of the big vote on Thursday. So let's just -- let's run through what exactly this means. Of course, ahead of the big day. Jamie Gangel, Paul Callan, we didn't let them go too far. So, Jamie, just starting with you. What is this?

JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So a couple of things we're just reading through it now, but something that I noticed right away. The resolution states the minority, meaning the Republicans, may request witnesses to be called and issued subpoenas, but, very large but, those subpoenas can only be issued with the concurrence of the chair. So the Democrats will have to sign off. They're not going to let them go too far afield.

BALDWIN: OK.

GANGEL: The one thing I haven't gotten to yet is whether this means underlying evidence is going to be released. So in these private depositions, there have been witness testimony, maybe there have been documents, notes. Will that be released as part of it? That's one question we have to find out. And the other question is will witnesses be recalled? So in this private time we're seeing all kinds of testimony and deposition. We're not seeing it. It's behind closed doors.

BALDWIN: Right, right.

GANGEL: Will that just be released? Will some of those witnesses be called back so they can be questioned in public?

BALDWIN: Paul.

GANGEL: You go. I'm going to read.

BALDWIN: OK. PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, I think this resolution, this is a resolution of the House of Representatives, as a whole. Voting essentially to turn this in to, I think, an official impeachment proceeding. And one of the things, of course, that has come up in the past, that the Trump administration has said is, this is an illegal proceeding. And the three prior impeachment proceedings that have taken place have taken place after a full vote of the House. This resolution seeks approval of the entire House. And to follow the procedures that have been used in prior impeachment proceedings.

You will have a majority counsel and a minority counsel. Both of those counsels will have the right to question witnesses. Minority members will have the right to question witnesses, and with the approval of the chair to subpoena witnesses.

BALDWIN: And everyone will have a certain amount of time.

CALLAN: That's right.

BALDWIN: For each question.

CALLAN: And there's transparency as well. Depositions are going to be released to the public after they've been redacted to exclude classified material and possibly other kinds of material. But I think what I'm looking at quickly here is an impeachment process that's been very, very similar to what's gone on in the past. This I think is critically important, because one thing the administration has been saying is, this is a rogue proceeding, they have no right to be calling these witnesses. And the witnesses themselves could shield themselves with the defense that the President and his counsel is saying I don't have to testify.

Well now that the rules are being followed as pretty much have done previously in the past, it's going to be very hard for a witness now to refuse to come in under subpoena.

BALDWIN: OK.

GANGEL: The Republicans just as we know have been complaining about process. This opens that up now.

BALDWIN: Right. They've been saying it's behind closed doors, private, and that will shift perhaps their argument on moving forward. Thank you both very much for that.

Coming up next here on CNN, a former special operations soldier joins me to talk about the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a man who -- he was on a mission to track down and kill for years and what it all means for the future of the terror group.

[15:35:00]

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BALDWIN: Today President Trump confirming what senior State Department officials previously announced, that the number one replacement for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was killed in a weekend raid is in fact dead. The man an ISIS spokesperson described by those officials as kind of the number two to Baghdadi was also killed by U.S. forces in northeast Syria.

So let me bring in Brett Velicovich. He is a former U.S. Army Special Ops member, he is also the co-author of "Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier's Inside Account of The Hunt for America's Most Dangerous Enemies." So Brett, welcome.

BRETT VELICOVICH, HUNTED BAGHDADI AS PART OF SPECIAL OPS TEAM: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: Thank you for your service. You know what this Delta Force team went through. In 2010 your special ops team killed Baghdadi's predecessor. You then, went on the hunt for Baghdadi himself but before that you actually used Baghdadi to get to the original two leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq. Tell me about your experience.

VELICOVICH: Well. I think at that time Baghdadi was really not well known to the public. But we knew him very well within our special operations team back in the spring of 2010. We were tasked with hunting down and finding the number one and two at the time. Baghdadi was number three. And once we were able to conduct that mission and successfully kill the number one and number two, we immediately knew that Baghdadi was going to take over. And so it kind of is relevant to what's going on now with the current raid that just took place.

[15:40:00]

These guys down range right now they're focused primarily on actionable intelligence for what we call follow-on targets right now. Because this special operations team hasn't stopped for even a second just with the death of Baghdadi. They know how critical it is the next 48 to 72 hours for the ISIS network that's in a state of confusion and that timeline begins once he was killed.

The ISIS network leaders are dropping phones. They're dropping communications. They're confused. They don't know who's in charge. They don't know who was killed on this raid and the special operations team now is sifting through a variety of different intelligence to conduct more raids. That time in 2010 when we killed the original leaders of the Islamic State, that same evening we conducted over 16 other raids that same night designed to find Baghdadi and designed to find other parts of the leadership.

BALDWIN: Tell me why I read you that called Baghdadi the smartest terrorist you ever hunted? Why?

VELICOVICH: I think he was pretty clever. You have to understand the complexities involved in some of the operations that took place against him. And for someone like him to be able to survive literally the greatest counterterrorism unit in the history of mankind hunting him down the last ten years, that -- it takes a pretty impressive mind to be able to do that. You've got to understand thousands of raids have taken place designed to uncover his whereabouts. And so he learned a lot from 2006 to 2010 timeframe when he was part of setting up these courier network for some of the other leadership there. So he's clever.

He's more than just symbolic. The death here is significant because he was an operational leader. He was part of the day-to-day operations. He was hands on. He was in the trenches with his fighters. The fighters saw him as almost immortal. Which the irony is not lost now that he's been killed. But he was significant to this organization and although there's going to be another leader of ISIS.

Well, first of all, you know they might as well already be dead because they're death warrant is signed. Special operations guys are going to be hunting that person down over the long term. But at the same time, there's going to be another leader of ISIS and the organization is going to persist. But I think in terms of just his role in that, this is more significant in my opinion than bin Laden.

BALDWIN: Wow. Wow. How about just a question on how they initially knew they had their guy? So the Syrian Democratic Forces tell CNN that they had this informant inside ISIS who helped confirm Baghdadi's identity before the raid took place, in part by obtaining a piece of his underwear, Brett, and a blood sample?

VELICOVICH: Right.

BALDWIN: Obviously, DNA testing critical. You need to make sure you've got the right guy, right before sending in the troops. Is this how that sort of testing is typically conducted?

VELICOVICH: So, there's a lot of different ways. And it's almost a bit like the news. You're Looking for multiple sources of reporting. It's not good enough for us to be able to follow --

BALDWIN: You need to corroborate.

VELICOVICH: Corroborate the sources. That's what you're doing. You're corroborating your information. So they wanted to know if what they were watching, more than like from the air from drones was in fact Baghdadi and to do that they needed proof of that through DNA. And so it sounds like whoever the individual was that, or group of individuals, that provided that information had access to Baghdadi's DNA.

On top of that, we've had a number of different missions where we've arrested Baghdadi's family members. So there was some access there. And then on top of that, when the guys go on to target and they conduct that operation, they have tools there that allow them to very quickly look at the fingerprints on site and look at other pieces of DNA to quickly confirm or deny whether or not this was the case here.

But it was pretty impressive, the mission, in general. And the fact they were even able to watch him for two weeks. I mean that's a very rare chance to be able to even find the leader of these groups and then to watch him a couple weeks. They had some serious intel and some incredible people behind them to be able to do that.

BALDWIN: It is incredible and a huge victory for the United States military. Brett Velicovich, you are excellent. Thank you. VELICOVICH: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: A new CNN poll is out today showing the former Vice President Joe Biden is in third place among Democratic voters in New Hampshire. I'll talk to a reporter who's been following him for months about why he's struggling to stay on top of the pack?

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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: A new CNN-University of New Hampshire poll shows Joe Biden is now trailing behind Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, among likely Democratic primary voters in New Hampshire. So, that said, Olivia Nuzzi is with me, Washington correspondent with "New York" magazine who has been basically embedded with the Biden campaign. She just wrote this profile piece in the magazine called "The Zombie Campaign. Joe Biden is the Least Formidable Front-Runner Ever, Will It Matter?" So, Olivia good to have you on.

You are quite critical of team Biden. In fact, let me just give everyone a taste of your words. For political reporters marveling every day at just how well this isn't going watching Biden can feel like being at the rodeo. You're there because on some level you know you might see someone get killed.

Olivia. I mean, tell me about your experience. Why do you say that? What surprised you the most?

[15:50:00]

OLIVIA NUZZI, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: When you read it like that, Brooke, it sounds a lot meaner than I intended. Look, I think that the Biden campaign, from the beginning I started following the campaign back when he announced. I've been traveling throughout the early voting states with the campaign going to a lot of his events. And there is a sense among reporters that your kind of waiting for something bad to happen. You're waiting for the inevitable. You're waiting for this to result as his previous two presidential campaigns resulted which is in him dropping out.

And when he's so gaffe-prone and something always seems to be going wrong and there is a sense, fair or unfair, that it will inevitably happen again. But you know, you bring up the poll and I will say something in defense of the Biden campaign. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are from neighboring states to New Hampshire and I think they have a real hometown advantage when it comes to the results of polling there and probably the results of the primary in the end as well.

BALDWIN: No. I'm sure team Biden appreciates you pointing that point out and this is how they responded --

NUZZI: I want to be clear. But I want to be clear. You know, it's not my opinion. A lot of this is my perception of how things are going. But this is what the polls say. This is what my reporting shows. I talked to a lot of people on the Biden campaign, a lot of people outside of it who influence it ,and this is what the reporting shows, that it is not going well that Joe Biden knows it is not going well and a lot of people internally know that as well.

BALDWIN: I would be remiss not to at least include this message from Kate Bedingfield, the deputy campaign manager, Olivia, of comms on team Biden. If "New York" magazine thinks we are doing it wrong, we're definitely doing it right. Every single actual voter in this story talks about how they love Joe Biden only to be mocked and sneered at by "New York" magazine for feeling that way. We'll take the voters. Thanks.

How would you respond to her?

NUZZI: I responded to her. I don't know what story she's reading. I certainly don't think that that's an accurate depiction of what I wrote. I went out of my way to try to be fair to Joe Biden to talk about his skills as a retail politician. The incredible empathy that he displays for others. And I certainly don't think I sneered at any voters in this story. I mean, if I'm sneering or mocking anyone, it's Kate Bedingfield for that response, which I think is totally unprofessional and really quite ridiculous. I mean the polls say what they say. It's not as though its my polling. You know, it is the average of polls that anyone could take a look at in any of these statistical round ups.

BALDWIN: We'll let the viewers, the readers, be the judge. It is clear you are with this, you know -- you are covering this campaign for months. We'll let them judge. It is "New York "magazine, Olivia Nuzzi, thank you so much.

NUZZI: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Just in, a major development from the sports world, the NCAA has opened the door to allowing college athletes to profit from endorsements and their fame. Keep many in my mind this comes after years of backlash over universities making millions and millions form sports, but athletes not getting paid -- now getting paid. Plus, a waging wildfire is threatening homes, businesses and a renowned art museum. We'll take you live to LA where the winds are expected to make it a whole lot worse.

[15:55:00]

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BALDWIN: The worst of the Getty fire may be just hours away for firefighters in Southern California. Those gusty Santa Ana winds are expected to move in later tonight making their job that much more difficult. Flames have already burned nearly 700 acres and destroyed multiple million-dollar homes. But the crown jewel of this area, the landmark Getty Center has not been harmed. In fact, officials say they will not move the center's historic art collections because it's actually safer to keep them in the building. The buildings are protected by state-of-the-art technology, stone, concrete and steel.

With that, let's go to Stephanie Elam who is there with an update on the conditions. So Stephanie, tell me what you're hearing.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now, Brooke, we're sort of the calm or the bridge between the two weather events that have officials concerned. We saw what happened Monday early in the night when we saw the Getty fire begin. Things seem under control now but they're very concerned about the winds that are going to pick up tonight. Somewhere could be around 70 miles per hour, some of those wind gusts. That's also why you'll see firefighters out here today trying to tamp down any hot spots because they don't want any of the embers to catch on the wind and start other fires and start other homes on fire.

To that end we just saw the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, who was just right here touring what it looks like here in the middle of the Getty fire where the homes were lost on this street where I'm standing. He was accompanied by the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, to see what it looks like here. They're saying that they want people to evacuate and I spoke to a man who's lived in this neighborhood since 1967. He said that he didn't leave, he woke up because he smelled the smoke on Monday morning. He got up to the fire line. Decided that the winds were in his favor and so he decided to stay.

But when I talked to him today and called him today, he was going to leave. He was on his way out to go stay with his daughter, not taking chances with the fact that these winds tonight could be strong. And since there are still some hot spots there is concern that this fire could reinvigorate itself and this 5 percent containment could change overnight. But obviously, right now they're asking everyone to heed these directions from fire officials and to leave the area because they're very concerned about what could happen tonight with the fires -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: We'll be looking to your crew and your reporting through what could be some of the worst of it this evening in LA. Stephanie Elam, for now, thank you very much.

And thank you for being with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin, we'll see you back here tomorrow. Let's go to Washington. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.

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