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House Votes To Advance Trump Impeachment Investigation; Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY) Discusses Impeachment, Testimony On Ukraine Call; Rep. Kate Hill Is Expected Gives A Final Floor Speech Before Her Resignation Over Inappropriate Relationships & Revenge Porn Pictures; Washington Nationals Bring Divided City Together. Aired 1:30-2p ET
Aired October 31, 2019 - 13:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Putting the pieces together. That has been the focus of the closed-door depositions in the House of Representatives so far.
Several people inside President Trump's orbit have already provided important details. Among them, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, who spoke personally with the president about the investigations by Ukraine and an aid to Ukraine.
Also Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who testimony was called a, quote, "game changer." He talked about quid pro quos and Rudy Giuliani's involvement on U.S. policy on Ukraine.
Then this week, Congress heard more voices, like Lieutenant Colonel Alex Vindman, a top Ukraine adviser at the National Security Council, who the first person actually on the call between President Trump and the Ukrainian President Zelensky to testify before Congress.
Tim Morrison, who is testifying today, is the second.
And still to come, John Eisenberg. He's the deputy counsel to President Trump. He can appear on Monday.
Then John Bolton, the former national security adviser to the president, who was invited but says he will only appear under subpoena.
I want to bring in New York Congressman Gregory Meeks. He joins me from Capitol Hill. He is a Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, one of the committees involved in the depositions.
Sir, thank you so much for joining us.
REP. GREGORY MEEKS (D-NY): Good to be with you.
KEILAR: You voted yes on the House impeachment resolution today, setting up the process for public hearings. When you see these names, you know the folks who have testified behind closed doors, who do you think it's imperative that the American people hear from in the public phase of these hearings?
MEEKS: I think most of them. Look, I've been in the SCIF. I've been listening to some of the testimony. I think this move that we're making now so that the American public will gets an opportunity to hear them will be very beneficial.
Because then you can get rid of the some of the chatter you hear coming from some of my Republican colleagues. You can see the credibility of these witnesses.
And we've been calling in those close to the administration and those who are either have been in the military or the State Department and our intelligence agencies, those who have signed up because they love our country.
So I think that, as we move forward, you'll get to hear, the American people will get to hear the credibility of these witnesses that both Democrats and Republicans have the opportunity to question when we're doing the impeachment inquiry that has been led thus far.
KEILAR: So everyone who has been deposed behind closed doors is going to testify publicly?
MEEKS: I think that there's opportunities. Of course, there's going to be key individuals. Clearly. Ambassador Taylor's remarks are very important.
I think what you will find is that a lot of what the whistleblower had said has been corroborated by all the witnesses who have come to testify.
In fact, you've heard from the mouth of the president. And you've heard from the mouth of Mick Mulvaney, as indicated from some of the testimony that came in the opening statement of Ambassador Taylor, that it was a quid pro quo that was going on. We heard Mick Mulvaney say that.
So I think as this testimony comes out, the American people get a chance to see how the president betrayed the people of the United States, how he put our national security in jeopardy, and how he also betrayed the trust in playing around with our elections with a foreign power.
I think that's what will come out when we begin to do this in a public way. That's definitely some of the conversation that we're hearing now in our hearings.
KEILAR: We saw this vote. Republicans reunited. There were two Democrats who voted with Republicans. What's your reaction to that?
MEEKS: The reaction is, again, as this thing starts to unwind, if you look at the numbers already, either a plurality or, you know, a majority are saying -- the American people are saying that we need to have this impeachment inquiry.
This is a drive for the truth. There's no need to hide or cover up the truth. Now some --
KEILAR: But if you're going to have -- I guess my question is, Democrats have a heavy lift here. They have to convince voters to see things their way, or at least enough voters. And if all Democrats didn't stick together, what does that say about how much convincing is ahead of your party?
MEEKS: What I will say is that the best reference that I can give you is the Nixon impeachment. There are a not a lot of individuals, even Republicans, were not for impeaching Nixon initially until they started hearing all the information. That is what turned things around.
I think that's what's going to start to take place here.
Because when you start hearing out of the mouths of individuals who are patriots, and they start to talk about a quid pro quo that took place, they start talking about the abbreviation of trust that the president has caused and the unconstitutionality of what he has, and when they start to talk about the acts the president has basically confessed to already, that then makes all the difference.
That's extremely important and it's what's coming.
KEILAR: Congressman Gregory Meeks, thank you for joining us.
MEEKS: Good to be with you.
KEILAR: Very good to have you, sir.
We have new reporting on Rudy Giuliani and the investigations into the president's personal lawyer. We'll have that coming up.
Plus, Congresswoman Katie Hill giving her final floor speech before she resigns over inappropriate relationships and revenge porn pictures. Stand by for that.
KEILAR: Any moment, California Congresswoman Katie Hill is expected to give her last floor speech in front of Congress before she resigns today.
Hill announced Sunday that she was stepping down after allegations surfaced that she had an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer before taking office, and then with a congressional staffer.
In a statement, she said, "This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents, my community, and our country. For the mistakes made along the way and the people who have been hurt, I am so sorry and I am learning."
Let's bring in CNN National Political Reporter, Maeve Reston.
Maeve, what are you thinking Hill is going to say?
MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: It's interesting. I think today she will focus on some of the accomplishments that she had over her brief time in the House, focusing on health care, talking a little about the impeachment inquiry.
But obviously her resignation raises, you know, huge issues, not just about the conduct of someone who is running for office but also this issue of revenge porn.
As we know, there's a patchwork of laws around the country. And she may, in the coming weeks, we expect her to address that and really try to be a champion for women who feel exploited by people putting very personal images of them up online.
And, in fact, Brianna, two of the presidential candidates have signed on to this piece of legislation, the Shield Act, that would address exactly this issue, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris.
KEILAR: Maeve, you've been doing great reporting on this. Thank you so much.
And we'll be awaiting Congressman Hill's comments.
Maeve, thank you.
KEILAR: Ahead, what former national security adviser, John Bolton, says needs to happen before he testifies.
This is CNN's special live coverage.
Plus, the historic World Series win. The one thing that can unite this divided town.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Three, two.
ANNOUNCER: There it is! The Washington Nationals are world champions for the first time in franchise history!
(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: The Washington Nationals are World Series champions after beating the Houston Astros in a classic seven-game series. For six innings, the Astros were in totally control but the Nats came from behind and took the lead in the 7th inning.
We also have some very enthusiastic fans right here --
KEILAR: -- in the D.C. bureau.
None other than our Wolf Blitzer, along with our senior Washington bureau chief and senior vice president, Sam Feist.
All of us were up past our bedtimes, right?
KEILAR: What time did you guys go to sleep?
UNIDENTIFIED CNN EMPLOYEE: Three o'clock.
KEILAR: Three? I was 2:00, but I'm a little tired.
All right, I do --
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: I was close to 2:00.
KEILAR: How do you wind down after that? You're so excited.
What does this mean, Wolf, for this town?
BLITZER: I think it means we can always come back, we can always fight, we can always finish the fight. We did what we needed to do.
I really give a lot of credit to the players, the coaches, the manager of the executives, the owners. They really did an amazing job and I'm so proud of our Washington Nationals.
KEILAR: I went to the game Friday night, and then I watched them play Saturday and I watched them play Sunday, and I thought -- to be honest, I had doubts.
I thought, Sam, at least we made it to the World Series. That's what I was trying to tell myself, but that was a disappointing feeling.
SAM FEIST, CNN WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF & CNN SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT: Yes. This was the first World Series where the home team lost every single game. But at the game on Friday night, if you looked around that stadium at people you know, there were Democrats, there were Republicans, there were Independents.
KEILAR: That's right.
FEIST: I can't remember the last time that Washington came together for anything. And this is a pretty guide divided time for Washington right now.
KEILAR: It was really an amazing sight. I was at all the games we lost, the home games.
You did see liberals and conservatives. We all had one thing in common, we love our Washington Nationals.
KEILAR: I want -- I mean, these are exuberant fans, but the most exuberant fan -- well, you probably remember him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BLITZER: He's sliding.
FEIST: There he goes, there he goes.
KEILAR: Let's listen to what he had to say. I just spoke with him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: Tell me what was going through your mind when this happened?
JASON TURNER, WASHINGTON NATIONALS FAN: I can't even tell you. I was so happy the Nats finally won a World Series.
KEILAR: Did you plan this?
TURNER: Yes. I planned it. They're in the game when Greinke was having our number kind of, I leaned over to my buddy, if we win this game I'm doing a slip and slide across the dugout. I already knew it.
KEILAR: Almost like a dare that you were doing for yourself?
TURNER: Yes. Kind of.
KEILAR: OK. So when you saw how much attention that moment got, what did you think?
TURNER: It blew my mind. Like, I was -- I looked on my phone and I was on barstool before I left Nats bar and I didn't think it would get a lot bigger than that.
KEILAR: You -- I think one of the reasons people love this moment was because you just embodied this unbridled exuberance and all of the excitement going on with Nats fans. What does it mean to have this win?
TURNER: It means everything. You know, like, D.C. sports, you know, our fans are the truest fans out there. We waited for a long time. But, like, with the Caps winning two years ago and Nats and the Mystics winning this year, it's a big deal. We don't win championships all the time. You know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KEILAR: That was Jason Turner. What a great moment of him sliding across the dugout, which a lot of people may not realize wasn't at the actual game. Right?
FEIST: There were tens of thousands of fans in the pouring rain at Nationals Park last night, including Jason, who were just watching the game on television from Houston. It was amazing.
KEILAR: It was totally amazing. And it was free. Right? That was like the place to be. Not to pay all the money for the tickets and games, to be honest if you're a Nats fan, that good.
Did you think, Wolf -- I mean, Sam mentioned this has been especially right now. This is a town very divided. There are divisive things going on. We're watching an impeachment vote today. Did you think the town kind of needed this?
BLITZER: Yes. It's not going to last a long time. It'll last about 50 days. There will be a big parade Saturday and everybody will be very excited.
But, eventually, I'm sure Sam will agree, we'll get back to politics as usual here in Washington, which is pretty divisive.
FEIST: But once every 95 years, if they're going to win a World Series --
KEILAR: And see you again in about a century.
All right. Everyone, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.
And baby shark over there, too.
We have much more on our breaking news. The House officially voting to advance the impeachment investigation of President Trump. New reporting on the votes and the advice Mitch McConnell gave the president. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
KEILAR: Right now, California Congresswoman Katie Hill is giving her last floor speech in front of Congress before she resigns today. Hill announced Sunday she was stepping down after allegations surfaced she had an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer before she took office.
Let's listen to part of what she said.
REP. KATIE HILL (D-CA): I'm leaving because I no longer want to be used as a bargaining chip.
I'm leaving because I didn't want to be peddled by papers and blogs and Web sites used by shameless operatives for the dirtiest gutter politics that I've ever seen and the right-wing media to drive clicks and expand their audience by distributing intimate photos of me, taken without my knowledge, let alone my consent, for the sexual satisfaction of millions.
I'm leaving because of the misogynistic culture that gleefully consumed my naked pictures, capitalized on my sexuality, and enabled my abusive ex to continue that abuse, this time with the entire country watching.
I am leaving because of the thousands of vile, threatening emails, calls and texts that made me fear for my life and the lives of the people that I care about.
Today is the first time I've left my apartment since the photos, taken without my consent, were released. And I'm scared.
I'm leaving because, for the sake of my community, my staff, my family and myself, I can't allow this to continue.
KEILAR: That is California Congresswoman Katie Hill, speaking on the House floor right now.
She resigned after it was revealed initially by a conservative blog that she had had an inappropriate relationship with a campaign staffer before she was elected. Not illegal by California law, but certainly something that's considered inappropriate.
And then there was also -- something she admitted to, she also said she was not having a relationship with a congressional staffer. She had been investigated by -- was being investigated by the Ethics Committee because of that.
But she stepped down illuminating this discussion over revenge porn after these intimate photos were published of her online.
And that is it for me.
"NEWSROOM" with Brooke Baldwin starts right now. [14:00:00]
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Brianna, we'll take it.
Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN on this Halloween Thursday. Thank you for being here.