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Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) Is Interviewed About Their Party's Next Move Now That They've Got The Vote For The Impeachment Process; President Trump With His Cool Offer; Senate Majority Leader Gave Trump A Warning; Trump's Russia Adviser Backs Up Quid Pro Quo Claim; No Republicans Voted To Advanced Impeachment Process; Top Trump Aide Stammers, Says POTUS Is Not Above The Constitution; Are Americans Living In Two Different Political Worlds Heading Into 2020? Aired 10- 11p ET
Aired October 31, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Be on the lookout. Mr. Giuliani. Because this president believes in filthy, not loyalty.
Thank you for watching. "CNN TONIGHT" with D. Lemon starts right now. Happy Halloween, my brother. Let me see what you have on.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I came dressed as, someone ask me tonight when I went to --
CUOMO: Don't tell me. Dazed and confused. Before pictures from a fitness catalogue.
LEMON: Projection. I'm going to start calling you Kodak.
CUOMO: I'll take it. Better than Kojak.
LEMON: Because you're projecting (Ph). No. Tonight someone said I went to grab dinner and they said, my God, it's you. And I said yes, I'm dressed as Don Lemon tonight. And he laughed. That's fun. That's --
CUOMO: That's a good one.
LEMON: That was corny. I was laughing when you came to me because I had the picture of Air Force One backing up over Rudy of the president throwing him under Air Force One.
Listen, if someone said to me, hey, Don, is Chris still your friend? And I said, I don't know. I haven't spoken to him.
CUOMO: That's tough.
LEMON: What does that mean?
CUOMO: It's nothing good. It doesn't mean anything good.
LEMON: Can I say something? People are going to get mad at me. CUOMO: Nobody will hear.
LEMON: Can we please have a fireside chat? I want a fireside chat. So, that's --
CUOMO: What is the president's ability to read the whole transcript without pausing to comment?
LEMON: You're reading my mind. It would be so amazing. I'm laughing, but --
CUOMO: And I say, I would like you to do us a favor. You know a favor. A favor. I didn't expect anything, just a favor. Let me go up.
LEMON: Yes. And then what I meant there, when I wrote this book, by the way, I wrote 12 books and they were all really good and in some way number one. He losses, fell. It would be really amazing. We're laughing but it's serious. Listen, when FDR did it, they would just talk about fascism and all kinds of things.
CUOMO: Yes. It was about galvanizing the country --
LEMON: The country not about --
CUOMO: -- or rather the collective pursuit of justice.
LEMON: Gosh. This is where we are right now. It's crazy.
CUOMO: I can hear it now though. So, I said to him, Z. Because I call him that because he loves me. They all love me. They hated Obama. They love me. And I said Z.
LEMON: I said Z.
CUOMO: You know, you don't do much for us. We do a lot for you. You don't do much for us. But now you should root out, you know, you got bad problems there. Never says --
LEMON: So, I said to myself -- I said, self, that was like Patti LaBelle.
CUOMO: I love these guys though.
LEMON: Remember Patti LaBelle did, if you don't know me by now, she said, so I said to myself, self? In the mirror. Anyway, we're laughing but this is serious.
CUOMO: Anderson was with Bannon tonight. And Anderson was in high dungeon with Bannon.
CUOMO: Yes. Because he was trying to get him to answer whether or not he thinks it's wrong for a president to ask for help in an election from a foreign president.
CUOMO: He wouldn't touch it like it was white hot. And then I had this Republican part of the Gaetz gang. Kelly Armstrong, a guy out of North Dakota who told me when I said, but the procedures you rejected today just like the ones with Clinton. He said I wasn't alive during Nixon and Clinton. I don't know about Nixon, and Clinton I wasn't here.
LEMON: I saw that guy. I'm just laughing because who was it? Sean Spicer? Was he dancing like Sean Spicer? Bannon is going to be on "Dancing With the Stars" next? Because he danced around the questions so much?
CUOMO: Danced, I love better than your voice.
LEMON: All right, my friend. Happy Halloween.
CUOMO: Happy Halloween. I love you. Have a great show.
LEMON: You're eating was too much candy. You're like, energy is off the chain. yes, you don't need that.
CUOMO: Reese's only.
LEMON: Those are awesome. Especially like at midnight when I get off work. See you.
CUOMO: See you.
LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
And again, we've got breaking news. It comes quickly and often. The president is speaking out tonight in a new interview on the day Congress held a vote on his impeachment inquiry. He's talking of course about his infamous Ukraine call. The one he says was so perfect.
He has a new proposal about the transcript of that call. You'll remember, that's when the call transcript was first released. He thought it would be clear -- it would clear him of accusations that he held off lawfully to U.S. allies in exchange for investigations of his political opponents.
Well, instead, that whistleblower complaint and the release of that transcript, it kicked off a series of very damaging revelations and testimony from his own administration officials and aides. So, the president is proposing a fireside chat. I'm serious. A fireside chat on live television. Please. Can this
happen? Where he will read the transcript of the call. That is according to an interview in the Washington Examiner.
And he says, quote, "At some point I'm going to sit down. Perhaps as a fireside chat on live television and I will read the transcript of the call because people have to hear it. When you read it, it is a straight call."
OK. That is the same call that led to a momentous day on Capitol Hill today. For only the third time, think about this, for only the third time in modern American history, Congress voting on an impeachment inquiry of this president. President Trump whether they should impeach him.
Taking the process to the next level. And landing this president deep, deep in the next level crisis really, all but guaranteeing that he will be impeached.
The House voting 232 to 196 for rules to take the impeachment inquiry public. Giving the president's defenders exactly what they want. That's what they said they wanted at least. They said they wanted public hearings.
Yet every single Republican along with two Democrats from districts Trump won in 2016, by the way, voting against the resolution today. Just to take it to the next level. Not to impeach him but just to take the inquiry to the next level. They say they wanted that vote. Now they're saying OK, something out.
A united front? Even though sources tell CNN behind the scenes, some Republicans are worried about what comes next. But let's remember, today's vote is about the investigation, about asking questions and getting to the truth.
Nancy Pelosi is the house speaker. You know her. She said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D), UNITED STATES SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I don't know why the Republicans are afraid of the truth. Every member should support allowing the American people to hear the facts for themselves. This -- that is really what this vote is about. It's about the truth. And what is at stake? What is at stake in all of this is nothing less than our democracy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Steve Scalise is the House minority whip and he is doubling down on process. Process is favorite Republican talking point, blasting what he calls, and this is a quote from him, "Soviet style rules." Possibly forgetting that the Soviet Union is dead and gone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): This is unprecedented. It's not only
unprecedented. This is Soviet style rules. Maybe in the Soviet Union you do things like this where only you make the rules.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Process, no substance. Only you make the rules. It seems to me that's how Congress works. The majority makes the rules. And that didn't seem to bother the Republicans when they were in the majority. And Jim Jordan. Well, this is happening. Jim Jordan uses his time in what sounds an awful lot like an attempt to out the whistleblower.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Democrats are trying to impeach the President of the United States 13 months before an election based on an anonymous whistleblower with no firsthand knowledge who is bias against the president who worked with senator -- excuse me -- Vice President Biden. Only one individual, one member of this body who knows this person is who started this whole darn crazy process. Chairman Schiff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, what is congressman is forgetting there or maybe he just doesn't want to admit, the inspector general of the intel community said, the whistleblower's complaint was credible. Whether or not there was any political bias. Jordan also blasting Adam Schiff. So, let's hear what he has to say about all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I do not take any pleasure in the events that have made this process necessary. I rise in strong support of the resolution but do I so with an understanding that the task before us is a solemn one.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, you've heard Republicans complaining about depositions behind closed doors. Well, wait until you hear who is defending those secret depositions. None other than Fox News Judge Andrew Napolitano.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST: Ken Starr handed a tremendous amount of evidence to the House judiciary committee. How did he generate that evidence? In secret. Congressman Schiff is, in my opinion, following the rules of the House of Representatives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Judge Napolitano on Fox News right there demolishing that GOP talking point saying closed door depositions, he says, follow the rules.
CNN learning tonight that the White House is reaching out to Republicans in the s Senate. They'll decide his fate if the House impeaches him. So, he has to keep them in line. The Republicans having a few of those senators over to lunch at the White House today.
A source saying that he told them how pleased he is that no House Republicans defected today. The president still trying to convince the world that the Ukraine call was, his word, perfect. It's a perfect call. Listen to what he tells Brexit party leader Nigel Farage.
(BEGIN VOICE CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I know knew people were on the call. I knew it was probably being transcribed or stenographers, you know, doing all that. I know all these things. I know when I speak to a foreign leader, people are on the call and they do that and they transcribe the call. So, what happened is, if you know that, if I know, Boris. No, I'm a straight shooter anyway.
(END VOICE CLIP)
LEMON: And as the House voted to advance the impeachment inquiry, the latest Trump administration official was testifying for more than eight hours today. Sources telling CNN that Tim Morrison, Tim Morrison is a top NSC official who coincidentally or not is leaving his job, he told investigators that he was advised by then White House official Fiona Hill to steer clear of Rudy Giuliani and his rouge Ukraine policy.
Another source telling CNN TONIGHT that when Morrison was pressed by lawmakers asking whether the president is above the law that he stammered and said he's not above the Constitution. Which is really the central question in all of this. Is the president above the law?
From the impeachment inquiry vote to the president's idea for a fireside chat to read the transcript of his Ukraine call, we've got a lot of news ahead for you tonight. Lots to talk about. Congressman Eric Swalwell is here and he's next.
LEMON: On the day the House votes to move the impeachment inquiry to a new public phase, on the day another White House official testifies, the president has a new idea to defend his so-called perfect Ukraine call. The one that set off the whole inquiry in the first place.
So, joining me now is Congressman Eric Swalwell of California. He is a Democrat who sits on both the intel and judiciary committees. Congressman, I appreciate you joining us. I know it's been a very busy day for you.
President Trump in a new interview tonight --
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Thanks, Don.
LEMON: -- with the Washington Examiner says that he wants to read the Ukraine call transcript like a fireside chat on live television. He very much wants to convince everyone of his believe that this call that it was a perfect call.
SWALWELL: Well, Don, we've already read his confession. So, if he wants us to hear his confession, sure. But I think he's missing the seriousness of this inquiry. And if he was serious, he would allow us to interview every single person who also heard him make these confessions to the Ukrainian president.
He's blocking people from coming to Congress. Again, I think this is just more, you know, stunt and showmanship from the president at a time that I think he and my Republican colleagues in Congress need to get serious about what is at stake and what's next.
LEMON: You don't think they're serious?
SWALWELL: You know, Don, he said he would sit down with Bob Mueller and he never did that. So, --
LEMON: But I mean, your colleagues, you said it's time for the president and your Republican colleagues to get serious. You don't think the Republican colleagues are serious? Nor he?
SWALWELL: Well, most of them so far have not been. They've spent a lot of time attacking process. They stormed a secure room at the behest of the president to intimidate a witness. It didn't work. And the American people in very short order are going to see witnesses raising their right hand and laying out this defense dollars for dirt scheme that the president was running.
And they're going to want to know, are Republicans Donald Trump's public defenders or are they objective lawmakers who are going to weigh the fate of this president?
LEMON: Let's talk about what else happened. Tim Morrison's testimony, Congressman. He corroborated Bill Taylor's quid pro quo claim, really, I call it a shake down, right? But he also didn't think that there was anything wrong legally with the Trump-Zelensky call. Your Republican colleagues in the White House claiming that Morrison's testimony was good for them. Was it?
SWALWELL: No. It was not. And if you read that opening statement that has been released. Again, you see that people like Bill Taylor and others who have characterized the president's conduct, their testimony has been corroborated and they describe a this for that situation where Donald Trump was asking the Ukrainians to investigate his opponent in exchange for defense dollars.
I don't see how that's good for the president. And it's also really not for Mr. Morrison to say whether what Donald Trump did was right or wrong. And regardless of what anyone says, just putting Mr. Morrison outside of this, Donald Trump and none of us are above the law.
LEMON: Yes. Do you buy this argument that he turned over the call transcript to the lawyers because of how politically divisive Washington is? I mean, he says he was worried about it leaking.
SWALWELL: Well, I don't doubt that some people at the White House may have been worried about what this call record would mean for Donald Trump's political future or, you know, for anyone who supports Donald Trump. And if that's why he did it, you know, thank you for being so nakedly transparent about why you did it.
That doesn't make it right and that doesn't get Donald Trump off the hook for what he was asking the Ukrainians to do. But again, I'm not going to jump to conclusions yet. Evidence is not a conclusion. We're going to move to a public phase now where the evidence will be tested. Republicans will have an opportunity to test the evidence and we will determine whether this conduct warrants impeachment.
LEMON: Listen, today's vote was historic but not a single Republican member voted for impeachment proceedings. Do you think today's partisan vote, that it makes impeachment more difficult to sell to the American people?
SWALWELL: I'm not going to write them off. It is frustrating that we are laying out the exact same process that President Clinton and President Nixon were afforded for their impeachment inquiries process in Congress.
And so, Republicans will be allowed to participate. The president and his counsel will also have due process here and I hope that as the evidence continues to be put forward for the American people, my colleagues understand the national security risk if we allow a president to ask a foreign power to help him, and also the betrayal to our duties to the Constitution if we look the other way and allow a president to do this.
So, I'm not going to write them off. I hope they keep an open mind. And if I see exonerating evidence that shows the president did not intend to do this, I too will keep an open mind.
LEMON: OK. So, if no Republicans voted just to allow the proceedings, right, this doesn't mean the president is being impeached, but even considering all the evidence that have come out, all the credible witnesses, if they won't even vote to allow the proceeding, what makes you think a Republican led Senate would vote to convict?
SWALWELL: The power of the people. You know, at the end of the day, we answer to the constituents. In our job title in the House, it's representative. Representative to the people. And you know, will be heard. And once they see, you know, a lieutenant colonel raises his right hand and describe what he heard, or people like him, they're not going to feel too good about what our president is doing with our taxpayer dollars solely to benefit himself.
And they will be making phone calls, they'll be showing up at the Capitol. And I imagine if Republicans thought that their storming of the SCIF, you know, was a show of protest, imagine what constituents are going to do with town halls to show up and demand that a lawless president, if that's the case, be held accountable.
LEMON: Interesting times we're living in. Interesting times. Thank you, Congressman. I appreciate your time.
SWALWELL: Of course, no --
LEMON: Absolutely. The White House now focusing on rallying Senate Republicans around the president. But to do that, the Senate majority leader had to give the president some pretty basic advice. What Mitch McConnell told the president about insulting Republicans. That's next.
LEMON: As the House votes to advance the impeachment inquiry which will include public hearings, the White House not unexpectedly slams what it calls sham proceedings.
I want to bring Jamie Gangel and Kaitlan Collins. Good evening to both of you. Thank you so much. Kaitlan, you first. The White House demanded today's vote, right, and they got the vote. But they're still complaining about the process. So, what gives?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They're essentially saying that the votes that happened today is still unfair to them. A lot of their criticism has been focused privately on one point, which is that the House intelligence chairman Adam Schiff gets so much leverage in these resolutions, in these rules that the Democrats laid out this week. And of course, the president does not like Adam Schiff. Doesn't want him at the White House.
So that really has been something a sticking point for them behind the scenes. But they've been making this argument. They don't think this affords the president due process.
But Don, privately, sides are saying that essentially with this vote today, they recognize that Democrats have undercut this argument that they've have that until Democrats vote, this isn't a real inquiry.
So, look at the next few days for them to start focusing on other things like they were doing today, saying that when Nancy Pelosi said several months ago, if it came down to impeachment, it would have to be bipartisan. Something they were focusing on today. Because of course, two Democrats actually voted against the resolution. No Republicans voted for it. That's something they've been focusing on as they're trying to figure out essentially how they're going to move forward here. LEMON: Yes. And one independent Justin Amash who was a Republican
voted for it.
LEMON: So, Jamie, let me bring you here. Because I know you have some new reporting tonight that Mitch McConnell, the leader, advising Trump to stop insulting Republicans because this is probably going to end up in the Senate for a trial. So how did that unfold?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So, they have a one-on-one meeting in the White House. And you know what, this is common sense. The senators are going to be your jurors. Don't get them angry.
LEMON: Don't poke the bears.
GANGEL: Do not insult them.
GANGEL: However, what do we know about Donald Trump? Discipline is not his strong suit. So, will he listen? But the most interesting thing is Mitch McConnell had to tell him that. Now if the Republicans in the Senate are going to hold firm, and they're not going to remove him from office, then why did Mitch McConnell give him that warning?
LEMON: Interesting. I wonder if the senators and -- I mean, I wonder how the people all the people who voted against him, what have you, I'm just wondering how history is going to portray this. Right? Because when you look back through history there are a lot of people who go, my gosh, I was on the wrong side of history now. So, I understand that's in the Republicans side. They had lunch at the White House.
LEMON: What was discussed? What was the mood?
GANGEL: So, I understand they had chicken. If that tells you anything. They talked about foreign policy. But what's interesting here I think is that they're not getting guidance from the White House. And this is very frustrating for both Republicans in the House and the Senate. This is a one-man war room and they don't know where it's going.
LEMON: He's giving them nothing to work with?
LEMON: No. Kaitlan, let's -- talk to me about the White House reaction to Tim Morrison's testimony. What do you know? COLLINS: The president did an interview with the Washington Examiner today. It went for about 80 minutes. And during that interview he pulled out the opening statement from Tim Morrison. He had it printed out on his dask in a stack of papers according to those reporters who were in the room.
The president said he viewed it as fantastic. Essentially said that Democrats in his opinion thought that Tim Morrison was going to be their star witness and they believed that Tim Morrison was actually helpful for them because he didn't make any conclusions about the president's involvement with this.
But we should note, that while Tim Morrison was up on the Hill today, he's one of the few staffers, who's testified how the deposition that's actually interacted with the president multiple times, was deeply involved in this and he confirmed a lot of what Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine said when he testified last week.
So, of course, the question is going to come down to when the transcript comes out. But the White House is sitting here trying to figure out which one is going to be positive for them. And apparently the president thinks that Tim Morrison is one of those.
LEMON: He backed up the other people's testimony. That they thought it was a quid pro quo and he was concerned about it. So, it's not really up for him to decide whether it is legal or not. Because he said he didn't think it was illegal. That's his opinion. But as to what happened on the phone call, that's really where the substance is. Jamie, listen, you're also reporting tonight about Trump's message to Republicans. Particularly vulnerable Republicans who need money. And it is?
GANGEL: I think we have another quid pro quo here. Trump has a lot of money. He's raising plenty of money at the White House. Not so much for Republicans up on the Hill. So what is he saying to them? If you don't defend me, if you don't sign this resolution that this impeachment isn't fair, guess what? You don't get money.
If you do, I'll give you money. That can make the difference for a lot of these people. Susan Collins, not getting any money right now. So, you know, another quid pro quo and another sign of, I'm going to use the B word. It's a little bit of bullying at a time when he needs their support.
LEMON: Yes. Republicans held the line for the president today on the vote. But how do they -- how are Republicans really feeling behind the scenes? Are they worried?
GANGEL: Yes, they are. They are exhausted. They are anxious and they don't know what's coming next. They had that vote today, where they were all disciplined and they all, you know, stayed on the same side. But that's because they've been arguing about process.
LEMON: Right. GANGEL: They do not know what is coming. Very few have defended him.
And several have said to me, we don't know what is coming next and it is hard to defend him on the substance of what we've seen as far.
LEMON: Hey, Kaitlan, I have to go. Sorry, I don't want to, I mean, to give short -- we know you told the Washington Examiner that he wants to do this fireside chat. It appears that there's really no strategy, but his own. So, there is no -- despite the inquiry, there's no war room coming for this president? Is it just him?
COLLINS: The president has resisted calls to have any kind of war room. It's been over a month since Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry and our sources say, the White House still hasn't hired any kind of a communications professional to spearhead this. They haven't added any attorneys to the legal team. And he said something interesting to the Examiner tonight, when he was asked, what is his strategy going to be? He said he's going to rely on telling people to read the transcript.
And the only thing he mentioned, Don, was to printing out t-shirts that say, read the transcript on him as part of that effort. But he didn't detail anything else. That's not what people inside the White House think they should do. They think it is a big error -- a serious error in judgment to not try to take this seriously.
LEMON: And Kaitlan, has there been a briefing from the White House press secretary, the new one? She's not so new now.
COLLINS: Still no briefing. She's been there since over the summer. She has done several interviews with Fox News. But one interesting about that, that White House reporters have notice, in the past when Sarah Sanders did her Fox News interview, or when the deputy press secretary, (Inaudible), does this, they do them from the north lawn of the White House. So when they come back down, they're going back to their offices inside the West Wing. Reporters can stop and talk to them. They have cameras out there, microphones. Stephanie Grisham has been doing most of her interviews, if not all of them from inside the Fox studio, denying reporters that chance to ask her questions on (inaudible).
LEMON: Yes. Interesting. That is a strategy. You don't really get follow-ups when you are on the lawn with the helicopter going, not only he would in the press room and the briefing room. Thank you very much.
Is the president above the law? Sources say a top aide testifying in the impeachment inquiry was asked just that today. His answers to that, next.
LEMON: Eight hours of testimony on Capitol Hill today as National Security Council Official, Tim Morrison, backs up claims of Ukraine quid pro quo from President Trump. Joining me now, Guy Smith and Michael Gerhardt. So good to have both of you on this evening, gentlemen. Thank you so much. Michael, I'm going to start with you.
Here's the bottom line. A top White House national security official testified today that a top diplomat told him that U.S. aide for Ukraine was put on hold in order to compel an investigation into the Bidens. So, we have another official directly tying President Trump to a shakedown in the Ukraine government.
MICHAEL GERHARDT, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: That's right. The evidence is coming in. It's not completely consistent but it is demonstrating, I think, or something that we've studied impeachment think is sort of a classic impeachable offense. Asking a foreign government to intervene in an American election. It doesn't matter whether it is a crime or not. Mr. Morrison got confused over that point.
The concern here is whether it is an abuse of power. And the framers were very concerned about presidential abuse of power. They used examples like this when they were describing impeachable offenses. It's not a hard question about whether or not this going to be impeachable.
LEMON: OK. Great. Thank you for answering that. Because, Guy, I just want to ask you about Morrison. He was on the July 25th call, he testified that he didn't think that there was anything discuss that was illegal, right? That's his opinion. Is he right? Was there any crime committed here?
GUY SMITH, FORMER CLINTON IMPEACHMENT ADVISER: Well, remember, impeachment is like we just said, is not about a crime. But yes. He violated the campaign finance act, because -- it says very clearly, you can't invite any foreigner to help in an election. And here he is, shaking down the president of Ukraine. Looking for dirt on his political opponent in a U.S. election. So, yes, he violated -- not only did he violate the constitution in a sense of abuse of power, and he violated the law in the sense of campaign finance.
LEMON: Republicans are seizing on this part, right, on this. But from an impeachment standpoint, Michael, does it matter if the president committed a crime or not? I mean, Guy is saying --
GERHARDT: Not at all.
LEMON: OK. Go on.
GERHARDT: I'm sorry. It is actually very clear. If you look for the meaning of other high crimes and misdemeanors, that was a British term. It's a British phrase. The colonist used it. The framers adopted that language. It refers to political crimes and political crimes as British and framers understood them, were not indictable offenses. They were not the kinds of things that people to go jail for.
The political crimes refers to abuses of power. The kinds of things you cannot get at through a normal trial. And presidents are in a unique position. They have unique powers. And when they abuse them, we have a process for addressing it, that's the impeachment process. LEMON: Well, Michael, then what do you think of the whole, there was
nothing illegal talking points coming from the Republicans then?
GERHARDT: I think it's -- I understand this defense merely to distract and essentially to keep saying, 100,000 times, it's not legal. That doesn't make it legal. It's just that they want to convince people that this is normal and it's not normal.
LEMON: Morrison also testified today, Guy, that he was involved in the discussion to move the transcript to that secret server, because he was afraid that it was going to leak. So, if this call was perfect as the president says, then why the fear? Why take such a drastic step, because you're worried it's going to leak?
SMITH: Because they tried to hide it. The code word server in the White House is a big deal. There are very few people who have code word access. And he probably doesn't even have code word access. So, they are just trying to hide it and then, one of the reasons they tried to hide it, and they also, we now know that it was apparently altered.
The ellipsis, the magical ellipsis. What was behind them? This will come out as things comes public. It came out with the Colonel and his testimony, and we going to see more of this sort of thing as it becomes public. As the live TV starts and then you are going to see some serious squirming from today, the Democrats -- I mean, the Republicans were all, oh, it's an unfair process and the Democrats are being mean to us. What was passed by the House today is exactly what the Republicans passed for the Clinton impeachment. Almost the same words.
LEMON: So then why the double standard? I'm sorry. Oh, let's move on. You say that abuse of power is staring us all right in the face.
SMITH: It is staring us right in the face and it was release by the White House and all this -- think about this. Not a single witness in all these closed door witnesses are Democrats. They're either Republicans or they're public servants, all of whom are appointed -- were appointed by the Trump administration. And the Republicans are all --
LEMON: It's a deep state, don't you know? That we appointed.
SMITH: You and I do, yes, right.
LEMON: No, I mean the Republicans are saying that it is a deep state. But somehow it is a deep state but they're appointed by Republicans, by the Trump administration. Very interesting. Michael, we have been here three times before. Let's see. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton impeached. Richard Nixon resigned before the House could vote. Articles of impeachment had been drawn up. I just want to ask you about Johnson first. He faced 11 articles of impeachment, were this were specific crimes or broader abuses of power?
GERHARDT: They were not for any crimes. No crimes you could go to jail for. They were, the articles were addressing the ways in which Johnson was trying to interfere with reconstruction. So, there was some illegality that was charge. He was charged with violating the tenure office act by firing the secretary of war without getting Senate approval. He thought that act was unconstitutional, but that's not a felony. And they're great examples of abuses of power. Were they obvious concern to the framers that are not again, technically illegal, but they do hurt the republic and they breached the public trust.
LEMON: Yes. And if there was a crime, the argument is that it can't be tried anyway, right? Is that what their argument is?
GERHARDT: Well, it depends, of course on what somebody did. And occasionally it is a felony and may have to have a criminal trial at some point. But the kinds of things the president can do are only the kinds of things the president can do. And therefor, if he abuses power like Nixon did, then we draw up impeachment articles. Nixon was charged with obstruction and going after political enemies. We may well be witnessing in front of us some kind of obstruction with the constant efforts to keep people from testifying and putting this on a special server is highly unusual.
LEMON: I really enjoyed having you, Michael and Guy, of course, as always, we'll see you here occasionally. Thank you so much. Washington focus on the impeachment inquiry, but what is Trump's America think? The divided state of the country, next.
LEMON: So what do you think about the -- today House vote? Whatever you think about that vote to advance the impeachment inquiry might have a lot to do with where America and America you live. So, here to discuss now is Brendan Buck, he is a former aid to Paul Ryan and John Boehner. And also with us is Hunter Walker, White House correspondent for Yahoo News. Gentlemen, thank you so much. This is important and I can't wait to hear to what you have to say about his. Brendan, we are going to start with you. Trump's reelection campaign ran an ad on last night's World Series and it caught everyone's attention. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Democrats would rather focus on impeachment and phony investigation. Ignoring the real issue. But that's not stopping Donald Trump. He's no Mr. Nice guy. But sometimes it takes a Donald Trump to change Washington.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He has certain word ran on the stadium. He got a lot of boos, but listen, I got to ask you, what does that ad tell you about who the campaign is targeting?
BRENDAN BUCK, FMR, CHIEF COMMUNICATION ADVISER TO FMR. SPEAKER PAUL RYAN: Well, I think that ad is exactly what Nancy Pelosi was fearing when she was a little skeptical about going down this route. I actually think that's a really effective ad and if you are concerned about the president getting re-elected that ad should scare you. Not just because of the content, because the amount of money that he has to put behind it.
The Republicans right now have priorities. One, is to sort of create a firewall among Republican voters and the second is to make this as painful as possible for sort of moderate Democrats. And I think, that's what this ad was all about. You know, as important as this debate is, you know, when you talk to voters, it's relatively low on their priority list. They're more concerned about things that are more practical to their lives.
Whether its drug prices or the economy and things like that. And if you frame it as though, you are ignoring those issues in pursuit of an impeachment inquiry. And I think that's actually pretty powerful for the people that they're trying to win over. Those people who may not love everything that Donald Trump does. I mean, the ad goes on to say that, you know, he's not Mr. Nice Guy and they're owning that, but they're saying --
LEMON: He's not Mr. Nice Guy, but that's not what you need right now.
LEMON: You need someone who is like him, but you said, you know, for Democrats it's also for Republicans who may peel off. If you see that ad they would be concerned about, you know, moving those support away from this president. So, I think you're right on that. And I do think that ad is very effective. Let me bring in Hunter here, Hunter, listen, the (inaudible) who talks about promises made and promises kept. Having new jobs, defeating ISIS and the false claim that illegal immigration has been cut in half. Is that the Trump message minus the Trump drama that we are seeing there?
HUNTER WALKER, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT FOR YAHOO NEWS: You know a lot of people close to the president think that he would have a great, great record to run on if he wasn't getting caught up in all these various controversies and you know, those things you just pointed to are a lot of the things he could lean on. But, you know, it's not just the immigration thing that's false.
I mean, the notion that ISIS is defeated. I don't think there's any expert who would sit here and tell you that's the case. One man died. You know, there's been a lot of concern that due to this recent moves we have made in northern Syria that ISIS could actually rebound a little bit. And when I talked to Trump supporters what's really interesting is no matter what proven falsehoods are, you know, uncovered. No matter what holes are shown in these claims the president makes, they just don't see that.
I was at an event last night with Trump supporters and they were saying, one of the biggest thing they like about the president is they view his promises as having been 100 percent kept. I think the question is whether outside the Trump bubble anyone will buy that argument.
LEMON: Yes. Brendon, you've been speaking to GOP House members after their recent two week recess. What are they hearing from constituents?
BUCK: Yes, so, you know, when Nancy Pelosi first announced that they were going to start looking into impeachment, members went home for a two week recess. And so, I was really curious when they came back was the conversation going to be we're they nervous, we're they trying to figure how are they going to get away from the president. What I heard was that members really were wanting to defend the president more. And that sentiment has only grown over the past few weeks.
Now, this will sound crazy to a lot or reviewers. But today, the day that the president was potentially set up for impeachment. Was one of the best days House Republicans have had this Congress. That's the way that they feel. And the reason that is, it is because now they are fighting. They had a vote on the floor. They got to stick together and now they are fighting for the president. And that's important for them. Whether it's for showing the president that they're sticking with them.
But the voters back home in the Republican districts you have to understand are demanding that their representatives defend the president. Stick by the president. They are hearing a lot of different pressures and the conversations that are happening in some of these Republican districts where people are getting their news from a lot of different places, sounds a lot different than the conversation that's taking place in Washington. And that creates a lot of pressure and that's why they fight.
LEMON: I got it. Listen, before we ran out of time, and I am now, but Hunter, I just want to -- you look at latest polls. Democrats have a lot of work to do to build support for impeachment. If you can give a short answer, I really appreciate it.
WALKER: Well, support for impeachment is rising. And one thing that's interesting is 10 percent of Republicans do support it. So, I know, you know, House members will always say they're winning, but, you know, it does seem to be a little bit shaky.
LEMON: Great conversation. Hunter, Brendan, thank you both so much. I'll see you soon.
WALKER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: A huge day in Washington and the House voting to advance a Trump impeachment inquiry as another witness ties the president to quid pro quo. All the big impeachment developments next.
LEMON: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.