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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

CNN: Vindman Testified He Believed President Trump Demanded Quid Pro Quo From Ukraine; Lawyer Says Bolton Not Appear Without Subpoena; Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) is Interviewed About the Ongoing Impeachment Inquiry; House Rules Committee Advances Impeachment Inquiry Resolution; CNN: Vindman Testified He Was Convinced Of Quid Pro Quo During A July 10 W.H. Meeting With Ukrainian Officials; Gold Star Father Khizr Khan Reacts To President Trump Attacking White House Official, Decorated Soldier, As "Never Trumper"; Pentagon Releases First Images From Raid On ISIS Leader; Meet The Top 10 CNN Heroes Of 2019. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired October 30, 2019 - 20:00   ET

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


[20:00:23]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

Given what we learned in just the last few hours, it's hard not to see this as another pivotal day in impeachment inquiry. The headlines alone speak volumes. CNN has learned what Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman said yesterday in secret testimony.

Sources present at the deposition telling "THE LEAD's" Jake Tapper that White House NSC official testified he was convinced that President Trump was personally blocking military aid to Ukraine to get the country to announce a probe into the Bidens. In other words, pressure designed to force a quid pro quo, leading up to that July 25th phone call with Ukraine's president, which the president still maintains was completely proper.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a perfect call, an absolutely perfect phone conversation. It was perfect. That was perfect.

I made a perfect call. Not a good call. A perfect call.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, keeping him honest, what Colonel Vindman, a decorated combat veteran described does not spell perfection. That's not all he said. When a Republican congressman asked him why he had not carried out the president's order to pressure Ukrainians, Colonel Vindman said he thought the order was improper, adding he believed it would be improper coming from a general as well. So, that's one headline.

Additionally today, another star witness, Bill Taylor, top U.S. diplomat in Kiev sent to Ukraine by the Trump administration, by Secretary Pompeo said he would testify willingly to end the public phase of the hearings. As you know, he has already told lawmakers he, too, saw quid pro quo and described how it worked.

On top of that, former national security adviser John Bolton got the call to testify and just before air time, his lawyers told CNN that his client will not appear without a subpoena.

And if that weren't enough, a Bolton hire who will be testifying tomorrow announced he will be leaving his job soon. Tim Morrison is his name, and he, like, Colonel Vindman, was on the July 25th call with Ukraine's president. Now, take alone any one of these items is significant. Taken together, they all speak to what the president said today he apparently wants to talk about.

Quoting now from his tweet, Republicans, and, yes, that's how he spelled it, go with substance and close it out. In a sense, he's right, Republicans have not been talking substance. They've been crashing hearings that many of them were entitled to be at anyway, bringing cell phones into secure facilities, ordering pizza and arguing process or avoiding questions about the evidence so far or the central question, do they believe it's right or wrong for a president to demand, in his official capacity on the global stage, political favors from a foreign country?

It's unclear whether this is precisely the type of substance the president wants to discuss. However, we'll take him literally and seriously and talk substance tonight.

We begin with one of the lawmakers who'd been hearing the testimony behind closed doors. I spoke with Democratic Congressman Jim Himes right before air.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Congressman Himes, CNN's new reporting that Lieutenant Colonel Vindman testified that he was concerned -- or he was convinced there was in fact a quid pro quo, how consequential is that confirmation from him given his firsthand knowledge of so many pieces of this puzzle?

REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): Yes. Anderson, I don't want to get into what was said behind closed doors, but obviously Colonel Vindman's opening statement was made available. You know, I want to sort of downplay the importance of this so-called quid pro quo. Quid pro quo is what the defenders of the president are saying is essential for the president to have been guilty of something. It's not.

And, you know, people have read the transcript. We know that the president tried to pressure a foreign new and vulnerable president to do his political dirty work. So, no quid pro quo is required.

Obviously, a quid pro quo makes the situation more serious, but I would also point out, Anderson, that the chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, two weeks ago, went before the cameras and basically admitted to a quid pro quo. And, of course, many of the witnesses -- and I say this based on the opening statements that have been made public by those witnesses. Many of those witnesses have certainly pointed in the direction of the notion that military aid, a meeting in the White House were held up as a way of exerting leverage on the new president of the Ukraine. That is a very serious issue.

COOPER: Also, part of Vindman's testimony -- I know you can't really go into details on what he said -- he believes came fro a July 10th meet between American and Ukrainian officials. It seems like of all the witnesses who testified about that meeting, the only person whose account doesn't seem to match up is Ambassador Sondland's.

Is his testimony something -- do you want to hear from him again?

[20:05:01]

HIMES: I do personally, and I don't speak for the committee on this. But my guess is, as you know, Anderson, there will be public and open hearings. My guess is that Ambassador Sondland would be one of those individuals that we would want to hear from because -- and, again, just referring to the opening statement which was made public by Ambassador Sondland or by someone, if you read that, there is a bizarre level of being tuned out to what was going on.

And there's also some contradiction in that opening statement. On the one hand, you know, he was the one who sent that famous text saying no quid pro quo. And I want to emphasize a quid pro quo is not necessary for there to have been an abuse of power. He then turns around and describes something that looks an awful lot like using the resources of the United States, military aid and an Oval Office meeting, to pressure the new president to do what President Trump thought was in his own political interest.

COOPER: And John Bolton, his lawyers now saying he will not appear without a subpoena. Is it clear to you that he would cooperate if a subpoena is issued?

HIMES: Well, hard to know, Anderson. And I'm not current on all of the conversations that are occurring with respect to John Bolton. But I would just point out that the watching public may think that a subpoena is something that is used to drag people in.

Oftentimes, a subpoena is just used because in a very polarized and political moment, the one that we live in today, a witness who may want to come testify may also want to be compelled to do so for whatever reason. And who knows? Certainly people who have sort of future aspirations to work in Washington, they may want to be able to say in the future that, look, I didn't cooperate. I didn't voluntarily go in, but I was forced to by the Congress.

So I wouldn't read too much into this question of subpoena or no subpoena.

COOPER: Do you think, then, tomorrow the ruling when a judge decides whether or not Bolton's top aides or one of his top aides has to comply with the subpoena? I mean, if the court rules the White House can block their people from appearing, what might that mean for the investigation moving forward?

HIMES: Well, I would be shocked if that happened, particularly given the vote that's occurring tomorrow. Remember, the vote tomorrow here in the Congress will be one to essentially establish procedures and to formalize what has been happening absent the vote that the Republicans have demanded, even though of course as everyone knows a vote is not required by either the constitution or the rules. After tomorrow, there will be no ability to say, oh, I'm sorry, Congress isn't actually doing an impeachment proceeding here.

Courts have ruled time and time again, including the Supreme Court, that impeachment is sort of Congress at its most powerful. Nobody, not the courts, and certainly not the subject of an impeachment, gets to say, oh, gosh, sorry. I don't want to go along with that any more than an average citizen in this country gets to say, golly, I know the police are doing an investigation about whether I was doing X, Y, or Z. I don't want to participate.

You know, if you have a congressional subpoena, you show up, full stop. And that's going to be the end point here regardless of what the circumstances are around it.

COOPER: Congressman Himes, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

HIMES: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, today's late developments put so much more on the table, which already had a lot of stuff on it what with tomorrow's House vote and what it says about the next phase of the impeachment inquiry. As we reported, it will likely include public testimony from Bill Taylor. It may also feature Lieutenant Colonel Vindman who, of course, saw what he saw up close.

And then hanging over all of it is the question of what John Bolton will do. Will he break with his old boss as White House counsel John Dean during Watergate?

His perspective is unique, especially welcome tonight. He joins along with Obama White House communications director Jen Psaki. Also tonight, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

Jeff, what do you make of Congressman Himes saying that a quid pro quo isn't the be-all and end of all here?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, ultimately that's going to be a political judgment for Congress. They're the ones who define what an impeachable offense is. It's worth noting that Colonel Vindman was so outraged by the president's conduct before he knew about whether there was a quid pro quo at all, he went to his superiors to express his concerns about that phone call, saying only that the president is asking a leader of a foreign country for political favors.

That's all he was concerned about. That's not a quid pro quo, but it is a very disturbing thing. It was to him, and it may be to Congress as well.

So, I -- the issue of quid pro quo is one that, you know, has evolved from the evidence, but there is certainly no law that says you can't impeach a president unless you find a quid pro quo. That's going to be up to Congress.

COOPER: John Dean, I mean, we don't know what Bolton would testify to.

[20:10:04]

There's no way of knowing exactly other than reports of things he had said in the White House, describing some of Giuliani's stuff as a drug deal.

Do you think Bolton, though, is looking for either legal or political cover by his attorneys insisting that there be a subpoena in order for him to testify?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I think he's probably looking for some kind of political cover here where he didn't voluntarily walk in and he can keep his credentials with the Republican establishment, that he wasn't necessarily a voluntary witness. A subpoena would resolve that issue for him.

But as to the scope of his testimony, Anderson, what he can do is very unique. He can place this in an overall context of the National Security Council's policy and positions and his disquiet as to what was happening.

TOOBIN: But there is also another issue with Bolton, which is there could be a legitimate claim of executive privilege for some of his interactions with the president. I mean, we often talk about executive privilege, and the court has never precisely defined what's covered. But interactions between the president's top foreign policy adviser and the president about foreign policy, you could see a court saying, you know what? If the president doesn't want that disclosed, I, judge, am not going to disclose it.

COOPER: So then, Jeff --

DEAN: Jeffrey --

COOPER: -- do you think he might not then testify at all even if he was given a subpoena?

TOOBIN: See, I don't think -- the executive privilege is always defined narrowly, and certainly his conversations with the other aides, not the president -- I don't think there's any way those would be covered by executive privilege. So I can't imagine a blanket prohibition on his testimony, but there could be some questions where there would be a legitimate invocation of the privilege.

COOPER: Jen, the reporting from Jake Tapper that Lieutenant Colonel Vindman told congressional investigators that he believed the president was attempting a quid pro quo with military aid for Ukraine in exchange for dirt on the Biden family, I mean, that certainly comports with what other witnesses have said.

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: That's right. It's been remarkably consistent from Colonel Vindman to almost every official who has testified except for perhaps Ambassador Sondland. What struck me about his testimony, having spent a lot of time with officials similar to him, is that, you know, he's probably sat in dozens if not hundreds of these type of meetings, bilateral meetings with officials of several different levels from other countries.

And he knows and probably had a sense that something was off. As was -- you know, obviously, he included the very specific reference to the ask for an announcement about investigations. So even not knowing the specifics about the military assistance, he knew that wasn't aligned with the briefing paper, with the meetings that he'd been attending through the interagency with the traditional process that had been discussing Ukraine for months if not years.

COOPER: John, you know, you mentioned the idea of Bolton sort of maintaining his credentials with Republicans. That -- if that is a large motivating factor for him or a giant concern kind of hanging over him, it might influence what he says, how far he's willing to go in what he says. I mean, if he wants to be re-embraced by the Fox News crowd, that might color what he remembers.

DEAN: It gives him some cover in even appearing. But once he gets up there, I disagree with Jeffrey on the fact that executive privilege is really not at play here. Any witness who appears in front of the committee, unless he's employed at the White House, there is just no way to invoke executive privilege unless that witness wants to use it as a shield to not testify.

But once he goes as far as to go up there, to invoke executive privilege -- first of all, he can't do it. Only the president can do it, and it has to be very specific. So he'd have to review his testimony in advance with the White House. Is that going to happen? I don't think with Bolton it's going to happen.

TOOBIN: I mean, I -- John has one theory about how this would work. And remember, you know, everything that -- let's say he does invoke executive privilege. Let's say it's improper. It would still have to go through the courts, and it would be -- and that would take time.

I mean, Bolton has a lot of control here. And if he doesn't want to testify, even if he invokes executive privilege in a way that's ultimately seen as improper, that could delay things so long that his testimony would wind up just being not used in any case.

(CROSSTALK)

COOPER: Yes. I mean, we've certainly seen a lot of people from this administration invoking executive privilege in ways that make no sense and, you know, and it seems to have worked for them thus far. We've got to -- sorry, Jen. Very quickly.

PSAKI: I was just going to add.

[20:15:01]

I mean, there's another factor here with Bolton. He's long been an advocate for military assistance to Ukraine. He has a huge policy bone to pick here. He has a lot of fellow Republicans who have long been advocates of that as well. I'm not saying that's the only factor but I think that's probably in his mind here too.

COOPER: All right. Well, we'll see. We'll take a quick break. Coming up next, new details on what exactly happened on July 10th in the White House that, as we mentioned, led to John Bolton reportedly likening it to, quote, a drug deal.

Later, the president's attack on Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and his habit of going after decorated war heroes. We'll be joined by Gold Star parent Khizr Khan, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Breaking news on tomorrow's action in the House. The Rules Committee just now advancing a resolution to establish procedures for the impeachment inquiry. Now, the measure, which was unveiled earlier this week, establishes procedures for public impeachment hearings.

[20:20:05]

The release of deposition transcripts, and outlines the Judiciary Committee's role.

Republicans on the panel offered a number of amendments to the resolution, all of which failed on party line votes. Much of the rest of the breaking news tonight paints a picture of the run-up to President Trump's phone call with Ukraine's President Zelensky to the pressure National Security staffer Alexander Vindman says he believed was being applied at he president's behest.

Sources telling CNN's Jake Tapper that Lieutenant Colonel Vindman was convinced the president was holding up military aid to force Ukraine to announce a probe with the Bidens. He said this quid pro quo was clear during a July 10th meeting which has been described as a clash between those who were leaning on Ukraine and those such as then- national security adviser John Bolton, who wanted no part of it.

More now from CNN's Sara Murray.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Weeks ahead of President Trump's controversial July 25th phone call with the Ukrainian president that sparked the impeachment inquiry, the rift over Ukraine spilled out in a series of dramatic White House meetings.

On July 10th, Ukraine's secretary of national security and defense counsel travelled to Washington to meet with then national security adviser John Bolton, then special envoy to Ukraine, Kurt Volker, ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland, and Energy Secretary Rick Perry. U.S. career national security officials who are experts on Ukraine and

Russia, Fiona Hill and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, were also there.

In public, it was all smiles. Perry tweeted a picture of the delegation. The Americans heaped praise on their Ukrainian counterparts, tweeting: Great discussion. Good team work. We stand with Ukraine.

Privately, though, things were going sour. The Ukrainians were angling for an in-person meeting between President Zelensky and President Trump, an important sign of solidarity between the U.S. and Ukraine as the country continued to face threats from Russia.

Ambassador Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the president, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

Vindman, the White House expert on Ukraine, testified Tuesday.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I want to thank Colonel Vindman for his courage in coming forward.

MURRAY: After Bolton cut the meeting short, Sondland continued the meeting in another room, where he talked with the Ukrainians and pressed once again for the political investigations President Trump was demanding.

Vindman testified: Ambassador Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens and Burisma.

Then Vindman and Hill confronted Sondland. I stated to Ambassador Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push, Vindman testified. Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Ambassador Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.

REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): He heard Ambassador Sondland tell the Ukrainians that to get a White House meeting that they needed to deliver on investigations into Vice President Biden. That, Anderson, is a "this for that", in other words, a quid pro quo.

MURRAY: But when Sondland testified before congressional investigators, he offered investigators a different version of events, saying: If Ambassador Bolton, Dr. Hill or others harbored any misgivings about the propriety of what we were doing, they never shared those misgivings with me then or later.

He also said he was not aware that Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company Hunter Biden served on the board of, was connected to the Bidens until much later.

Bolton encouraged Hill to report what he had seen to the National Security Council lawyer. Hill told investigators that Bolton explained he wasn't going to get involved in whatever drug deal Sondland and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney were cooking up, sources told CNN.

SCHIFF: John Bolton is a very important witness. He has relevant information and we do want him to come in to testify.

MURRAY: Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And, again, as of late this evening, his attorney says he will not testify without a subpoena. Unclear, though, whether he will fight a subpoena if it comes.

Back now with John Dean, Jen Psaki and Jeff Toobin.

Jen, I mean, hearing the details of that July 10th meeting, it is really startling, especially given Ambassador Sondland, whose testimony -- I mean, he either seems to have forgotten about a lot of things that occurred, because there was a bunch of stuff he also said he just didn't remember, or he was flat-out not telling the truth. I mean, someone here is not being accurate.

PSAKI: Right. And clearly, at this point it appears that Ambassador Sondland is on one side of this in terms of his story line, and everybody else who has testified is on the other.

COOPER: And it just so happens that Ambassador Sondland is a Trump supporter and a donor to the president, and that's how he got the job of ambassador. He's not actually a career diplomat.

PSAKI: That's true. And I would also add that Foreign Service officers, career diplomats, and we're seeing this with Bill Taylor, they take meticulous notes. And they see it as part of their job to protect the institution and also stand between political movements, political appointees, and bad actions.

[20:25:02]

This is obviously a terrible case of that, and the national security of the United States.

So that's what we're seeing play out here. As Congressman Himes said, I would expect the Democrats will want to see Ambassador Sondland again and hear from him publicly to clear up some of the confusion here, we'll call it.

COOPER: And, John, just the fact that Bolton quickly ended the meeting as soon as Sondland starts putting the screws in to the Ukrainians is fascinating.

DEAN: It's very telling. The only reason he would do that is because his discomfort with what was going on. This is the sort of thing that makes his testimony before the committee important, and it also could later evolve into a criminal inquiry. Whether that would happen while Trump is still president or not is questionable, but it is certainly something that's got to be in his mind. So he might want to go in and clean up his testimony.

COOPER: Jeff, what about the testimony of Rick Perry? I mean is that something -- you know, it seems like he is involved in a number of these meetings, in this effort.

TOOBIN: It is. I think, you know, we have to judge like what would you do if you had all the time in the world and you could interview anyone you want? You would certainly interview Rick Perry.

But the Democrats are dealing with a largely self-imposed, but a real calendar where they want to get impeachment resolved basically by the end of the year. They have to decide which witnesses they can get who will not fight them in court and who they can just get right away under oath.

Sondland, I think, is almost certain to be called back. I wouldn't want to call him a perjurer at this point. You know, there are often divergent memories, and we haven't even seen the full transcripts of his testimony yet. But certainly, it seems like Sondland should be given another chance to refresh his recollection and maybe testify more expansively than he did before.

COOPER: Yes. Everyone, stick around. Much more to discuss about the events on Capitol Hill today and tomorrow where another big day of testimony will coincide with that big vote on the impeachment resolution.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:31:36] ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Again, the breaking news tonight, the House Rules Committee just moments ago approving the guidelines and procedures for the next public face of the impeachment hearings, full House to vote on it tomorrow.

Back with John Dean, Jen Psaki and Jeffrey Toobin. Jen, the House vote tomorrow, how much of an upper hand does it give Democrats moving forward, if any? Because it -- I mean, it's certainly not going to change, you know, the White House's level of cooperation.

JEN PSAKI, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: You know, I think, Anderson, it sets the rules for moving forward. And as Jeffrey kind of talked about briefly earlier in the show, you know, Democrats have a self- imposed timeline here. They have done a lot of the behind the door -- behind-the-scenes depositions, but moving it to the public is also in their interest. So, this puts in place some rules.

They don't expect Republican votes. That would certainly be a surprise. They know they could lose some Democrats, but it kind of moves the process forward and that's certainly is in their interest to the public at this point in time.

COOPER: Jeff, it's interesting to hear the President urging Republicans to "go with substance." It's almost like he's been watching news reports and people pointing out that the Republicans have been going with process because they can't really argue substance or seem unwilling to or it's more complicated for them to do that.

Is there any reason you believe substance is actually on the President's side? It reminds me when he was saying he really wants to go and testify in front of Mueller when, in fact, there was no way he was going to testify in front of Mueller.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, I mean, he -- the Republicans can argue substance any time they want. The President has said over and over again the phone call with the President of Ukraine was perfect. He always uses that word, it was perfect.

I haven't heard a single member of Congress, any Republican, agree with him about that. I mean, you can argue substance if there is an argument to be made. The President's argument is just not persuasive to anyone, even in his own party. So, yes, sure, you can argue substance, but you have to have a substantive argument and so far the President hasn't put out any that even persuade Republicans, much less Democrats.

PSAKI: But he wants Republicans to be with him on the substance even though they're not. This is where it becomes very difficult for them, because the process argument for them is much more comfortable.

TOOBIN: Absolutely.

COOPER: John, I mean, from your experience during Watergate, how much do things change, especially in terms of the public's attention, the stakes of everything, when an inquiry goes into open hearings?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: They're highly escalated when they go into open hearings, and particularly when the White House doesn't want a witness to appear, that only increases public interest.

I had that personal experience when they canceled my testimony for a week when Brezhnev was coming to the United States and thought it inappropriate I'd be testifying while a foreign visitor was here. That just served to increase the size of the audience and as a result 80 million people tuned in for a week of my testimony.

Same thing -- sort of things are going to happen here if they get fidgety about a particular witness. The public picks that up. The media, of course, picks it up and that will only increase interest in the proceedings.

COOPER: But, you know, Jeff, it's also interesting because with, you know, the Mueller testimony, there was a lot of hype going into it and, obviously, you know, certainly a lot of Democrats I think were surprised at sort of the tone and the tenor of it.

TOOBIN: Well, it's going to be a very different scenario because Mueller was an investigator. He wasn't a personal witness to anything he described.

[20:35:03] Here -- I mean, the two most likely witnesses so far are Colonel Kinman (ph) and the -- and Ambassador Taylor. COOPER: Vindman.

TOOBIN: Vindman, I'm sorry. Both of them are eyewitnesses to events that are extremely dramatic and extremely important. It's one thing to hear the colonel -- you know, to have the phone call described by others. The colonel can say this is what I heard. And that's going to be very powerful stuff, to say nothing of seeing him there in his, you know, in his uniform.

COOPER: Yes.

TOOBIN: That's going to be some must-see T.V. as they used to say on NBC.

COOPER: Jeff Toobin, Jen Psaki, John Dean, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

PSAKI: Thank you.

COOPER: Still ahead tonight, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman is not the first veteran, of course, to be smeared by the President or his allies. We'll talk to Gold Start father, Khizr Khan, who experienced it personally, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: We've been talking tonight impart about attacks on those Republican or Democrat who cross President Trump. A national security aide, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman is the latest. The President has without any evidence called him a never Trumper, which the President says means he's human scum.

There's also no evidence that the top diplomat in Ukraine who's also testified Vietnam vet Bill Taylor is a never Trumper. These are just two of the latest vets and public servants the President has attacked.

[20:40:03] Now, of course, he's done it many times before. There was John McCain. Even after the Arizona senator's death, President Trump called him "last in his class." Again, not true.

And then there's former Defense Secretary and General James Mattis who was, "one of the most effective generals," according to the President, until this month when he was, "the world's most overrated general."

Joining me now is Khizr Khan, a Gold Star father whose son died in Iraq. He and his wife were attacked by the President and his allies after speaking at the DNC in 2016. And about their son, Humayun Khan, he was 27-year-old. He was an army captain in Iraq when he was killed in 2004.

Taxi loaded with explosives barrel through the gates of his base. He went toward it. His action saved the lives of several others and for that he was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. One soldier who served with Captain Khan told CNN in 2016, "He didn't wear his heritage on his shoulder, he wore the American flag, like we all did." Mr. Khan, thanks for being with us. I'm wondering what you thought when you heard the President's attacks on Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, a decorated soldier who still carries shrapnel in his body from an IED attack in Iraq?

KHIZR KHAN, GOLD STAR FATHER: Thank you, Anderson. I was heartbroken yet one more time. This decorated war hero, Colonel Alexander Vindman, deserves our gratitude, our thanks. We stand with him in solidarity for his sacrifice, for his service to this nation. He served first when he joined the United States Armed Forces and then he serves one more time again at his peril.

It is unhinged, this President. He is beyond shameful. His attack, as you mentioned earlier on our hero, hero of this nation, John McCain, then General Mattis, distinguished military leaders and heroes of this nation, he continues to attack. And what is at the foundation of his attack? It's self-interest.

This President should take a lesson from Colonel Alexander Vindman in serving the nation, in putting the interest of the country above self- interest. And to those that continue to support this President, they should remember that irreparable damage is done to the nation when self-interest is placed above self-sacrifice. Colonel Vindman deserves our utmost thanks and gratitude and respect.

COOPER: Mr. Khan, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman came to the United States when he was 3 years old from the former Soviet Union. He's actually the same age of your son, Captain Humayun Khan, was when he came to the United States. You know, this again is an example of the President, not only going after a veteran, but the question is being raised about the allegiances of Colonel Vindman without any evidence, whatsoever. It seems like it's based on sort of old tropes against immigrants.

KHAN: Well, there is one similarity that Captain Humayun Khan and Colonel Vindman have, that both of them came to the United States when they were 3 years old. They both are made in America. They both are symbol of the goodness of this nation, goodness of this country. Both of them, best of America.

They were made here from the childhood. They learned the service, the valor, the self-sacrifice and serving other right here in this country. And anyone that doubts about their patriotism, about their sacrifice really does not understand what it takes to place the interest of the nation above self-interest.

This President has kowtowed to authoritarian governments to sway the elections, to make the mockery of our rule of law. He has pandered to other governments and he has compromised these values that enshrine in our constitution and our bill of rights, American values.

[20:45:01] COOPER: Yes.

KHAN: And he continues to do that. This is what -- and the nation is discovering this, that throughout his tenure in the White House, this nation has discovered that this person is nothing but selfish, failed four-time declared bankrupt businessman that is in the White House and now he is bankrupting the office of the presidency. But the nation has decided, and more and more people are discovering that he is not deserving of that high office of this nation.

COOPER: The military oath of enlistment, you know, soldiers do swear to obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of officers appointed over them. They also swear to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and to bear true faith and allegiance to the same. It certainly does seem like this President cares a lot about the first part of that, little regard for the second part.

KHAN: Well, he should take a lesson from Colonel Vindman in placing country first at the risk of his career, and at the risk, personal safety, family's comfort. Colonel Vindman has established yet one more time what the Armed Forces of this nation are made of, what the patriots of this nation are made of. In the history books, we will continue to pay tribute to the valor, and sacrifice, and service of Colonel Vindman and his family.

COOPER: Yes.

KHAN: This President has embarrassed us every step of the way. And one thing has come of this, as I mentioned earlier, that the nation has discovered that this person does not deserve the high office of the presidency.

COOPER: Mr. Khan, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much.

Coming up next, the Pentagon releases the first images of that two- hour raid that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi. We'll take you through them, ahead.

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[20:51:31] COOPER: There's new video tonight of that dramatic Special Forces raid into Syria over the weekend that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It's taken from an overhead drone. The video shows Special Forces soldiers approaching the large compound at night.

The pictures also show a series of explosions eliminating a tightly- bunched group of fighters. After the troops were withdrawn, American fighter jets along with weaponized drones destroyed the entire facility. Incidentally, no confirmation from the Pentagon that Baghdadi was "whimpering and crying in his final moments," as President Trump said on Sunday morning.

Time to check in with Chris, though, to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: The truth is never good enough for our commander in chief right now, Anderson. But one of the obvious missteps was going after this guy, Vindman. I don't know if you saw Ken Burns, the great documentarian, has a quote that is from Vindman at 10 years old about what it was like coming to this country when his family left Ukraine, he was only 3, really powerful stuff.

So, tonight, what we're going to do is talk about once again we're all in on the state of play here and showing how Rudy Giuliani has been awfully quiet lately and with good reason. We got Senator Chris Murphy here to talk about where Democrats heads are in the Senate on this situation. And we have the man at the center of one of the biggest hit jobs on Vindman that happened on Fox. It's going to be a big blow up of an attack this morning -- on this show tonight.

COOPER: All right, we'll be watching. Chris, thanks very much. Appreciate that, about seven minutes from now.

Coming up, meet 10 people whose work is definitely going to inspire you right now, the Top 10 CNN Heroes for 2019 have just been announced. We'll show you who they are and how your vote can give one of them $100,000 to continue their work, straight ahead.

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[20:57:33] COOPER: All year long here on CNN we've been introducing you some incredibly inspiring people who are changing the world, we call them CNN Heroes. We receive thousands of nominations from all over the world and today we announced Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2019. Now, they're chosen by CNN review panel and each person receives $10,000. Here they are.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER (voice-over): From Las Vegas, Nevada, Staci Alonzo is keeping women and their furry loved ones together at her inclusive domestic violence shelters.

Najah Bazzy is delivering hope in Detroit by giving basic necessities and job training to women and their children.

From Denver, Colorado, after seeing families lose their hopes to the California's worst wildfire, Woody Faircloth is providing refurbished RVs to displaced survivors.

In Ethiopia, Freweini Mebrahtu is changing the lives of women and girls. She's battling the stigma surrounding menstruation with her innovative work.

Donkeys across America suffer, neglect and abuse. Mark Meyers from San Angelo, Texas is saving these often overlooked animals by the thousands.

From Dallas, Texas, Richard Miles served 15 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Today, he's helping other former inmate to navigate the challenges of returning home.

In Espanola, New Mexico, an area devastated by the opioid crisis, Roger Montoya is giving young people hope and healing through the arts.

Mary Robinson from Mountainside, New Jersey, is helping families who are grieving to cope with the loss of their loved ones.

From Mumbai, India, Afroz Shah has inspired the world's largest beach clean up that sparked a volunteer movement to save the ocean.

And from Ann Arbor, Michigan, Zach Wigal has turned gaming into therapy for sick kids in hospitals.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We want to congratulate the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2019. Now, it's time for you to decide who should name the CNN Hero of the Year, and that person will receive an additional $100,000 to continue their work. You can go to cnnheroes.com right now to learn how to vote for the CNN Hero who inspires you the most.

And be sure to tune in to "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," as we celebrate all these year's honorees live from New York, Sunday, December 8th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

The news continues. I want to hand over to Chris right now for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

CUOMO: All right, thank you my friend. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "Prime Time."

END