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Impeachment Investigation Enters Consequential Day. Aired 6- 6:30a ET
Aired October 31, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In just a few hours, the House committee will be hearing from another key witness, Tim Morrison, a top adviser on the president's National Security Council. And Morrison is also expected to step down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If this was in a court of law, there would be a mistrial right now, based upon what these Democrats have done.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to show the American people, in real- time, exactly what happened.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There it is. The Washington Nationals are world champions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm so happy for the organization, for the city. I hope they're ready for a party.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Very exciting win for the Nationals.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It was amazing. A come-from-behind World Series victory to give Washington its first World Series in --
CAMEROTA: A hundred --
BERMAN: I know you remember it well.
CAMEROTA: Yes, I do.
BERMAN: Ninety-five years.
CAMEROTA: Yes, yes. It's -- Look at this. BERMAN: Look, it was amazing. They were down 2-0 until the seventh
inning. They came back. You know, back in May, they had a 1.5 percent chance of winning the World Series. They were 19 and 31. They lost 31 of their first 50 games.
CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh.
BERMAN: Everyone counted them out. But this team kept on fighting and fighting and fighting. And last night, winning the fourth game on the road, in the World Series. That has never been done before.
CAMEROTA: Miracles do happen, including that Wolf Blitzer is going to be live on our air, very shortly.
BERMAN: We have teams going to check on him to make sure -- to make sure that he made it through the night, that his excitement didn't get the better of him.
CAMEROTA: Because that didn't happen until, what, midnight?
BERMAN: It was around midnight, yes.
CAMEROTA: All right. So we have much more on that.
Meanwhile, welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, October 31, Halloween, 6 a.m. here in New York.
I know we often say it's a big day in the impeachment inquiry. But today, we've hit what could be the most consequential one yet. In just hours, Tim Morrison, President Trump's top adviser on Russia, will testify behind closed doors.
He is expected to corroborate key elements of witness testimony that alleges a quid pro quo in which President Trump pressed for Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into the Bidens and use military aid as leverage.
And then, this morning, the House of Representatives will hold its first vote on the impeachment procedures, as Democrats prepare to take this investigation public.
BERMAN: So there's major action in court, as well. At 4 p.m., a federal judge will hear arguments about whether former deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman must comply with congressional subpoenas to testify.
Now, the real impact here might be on John Bolton, the president's former national security adviser. Bolton has now been invited to testify next week. Witnesses have said that Bolton was alarmed by Rudy Giuliani's backchannel work with Ukraine, describing the alleged quid pro quo as a drug deal.
But Bolton's lawyer has been cagey about whether he will comply with the subpoena, or testify without being forced. So we have action everywhere today. Let's begin with CNN's Suzanne
Malveaux, live on Capitol Hill, where we are awaiting, not long from now, the arrival of Tim Morrison.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, we have a big, big day, as you would say. I mean, we're talking about just hours away from the first vote on the impeachment inquiry. That is scheduled to happen at 10:30 this morning. It has dramatic consequences for this president.
It really is an escalation of the process, if you will. Really raising the stakes for both sides. At the same time in just a few hours, we also have a critical testimony from the first White House appointee to go behind closed doors, and we expect to corroborate much of the stories from previous testimony.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Another key witness testifies on Capitol Hill. And the House will vote on the rules for the impeachment inquiry.
Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on President Trump's National Security Council, will be the second White House official who listened in on Trump's phone call with Ukraine's leader to testify.
Sources tell CNN that he's also expected to corroborate key elements of top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor's testimony last week, including President Trump repeatedly pressuring Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son and using military aid as leverage.
Trump has denied that the two were explicitly linked.
On the eve of the hearing, Morrison has told colleagues that he is planning to leave the Trump administration soon. House Democrats have now summoned former national security adviser John Bolton to a closed- door session.
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): I'm hoping that he really wants to testify, to show the courage that the others have so far.
MALVEAUX: But Bolton's attorney says he won't appear without a subpoena.
Multiple administration officials have testified Bolton was concerned about Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, pushing Ukraine for political favors, including Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, who according to two sources at his deposition Tuesday, said Bolton told him to prepare a memo to the president by August 15, saying military aid needed to be released to Ukraine as soon as possible, but Vindman testified the president refused to give up the money, even after meeting with Bolton and other cabinet officials.
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): We're going to continue to learn more about what Mister -- Colonel Vindman said, for instance, from Mr. Morrison. Everything I've seen has been consistent with the whistle-blower's
MALVEAUX: Today's impeachment vote will formalize the next steps, including permission for public impeachment hearings and the release of deposition transcripts. Democrats also giving Republicans the ability to subpoena witnesses, only if the Democratic chairman agrees, or a majority of the committee approves.
REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D-MA): No one runs for Congress to impeach a president. But we are here today, because the facts compel us to be.
MALVEAUX: House Republicans are still not satisfied.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): It is shameful. And they will be punished for this by Americans in the next election.
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): We will continue to fight every step of the way.
MALVEAUX: Also happening today, a federal judge is going to take the case of deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman, whether or not to determine if he has to testify. He has been subpoenaed by the impeachment inquiry committees. The White House has ordered him not to show up. He has now tossed it to this federal judge who will make the determination.
And, of course, that is also important for his boss, the former national security adviser John Bolton. That will determine whether or not, very likely, if he will cooperate, as well -- John.
BERMAN: All right. Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill for us again, a lot happening this morning we will come back to you shortly.
The Washington Nationals, they are World Series champs for the first time in their history, after beating the Astros in a classic game seven.
Andy Scholes, sad Astros fan, was at the champagne celebration and has more in "The Bleacher Report."
I'm sorry for your loss.
CAMEROTA: He does look sad.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS: You know, guys, it's definitely a disappointing morning here in Houston for Astros fans, but if any team was going to win it and it not be the Astros, I'm happy it is the Nationals. They are just such an incredible team. They had their backs against the wall so many times this year. They started this season 19-31. They were down to the Brewers in a wild card game, down to to the Dodgers in the division series. Then of course, down to the Astros in this World Series. But every time, they just found a way. They stayed in the fight,
which has been their post-season slogan all October long. And they stayed in the fight in game seven of this World Series.
They were down 2-1 in the seventh inning. Howie Kendrick coming through once again for the team. The clutch, two-run homerun to give Washington the lead.
Then 21-year-old Dominican Juan Soto would add to that lead in the eighth with an RBI single. Soto, one of the ten Latino players on the Nationals roster, he was awesome all series long. Washington pours it on late to take game seven 6-2. Road team wins all seven games in the series. First time that's happened in pro sports in the U.S.
And after all these post-season failures for the Nationals, they're champs for the first time. Stephen Strasburg, your MVP, and I saw just an awesome moment between Strasburg and Max Scherzer in the clubhouse after this game, and it was with Scherzer telling Strasburg over and over again, we did it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAX SCHERZER, WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER: We did it. We did it.
STEPHEN STRASBURG, WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER: Yes, there was some heartbreak in the past but nothing but love here, and we're just enjoying the ride.
SCHOLES: What do you guys say to the fans waiting in D.C. for you?
STRASBURG: Oh, man, I hope to see them -- I hope to see them loud and excited, just like we are.
RYAN ZIMMERMAN, WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER: I'm so happy for -- for the organization, for the city. I hope they're ready for a party, because we're coming home.
TREA TURNER, WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER: We couldn't be happier. I think the fans have been behind us all year. We showed them that we were going to continue to fight for them and -- and give it our own, and I'm just happy we got it done for them.
JUAN SOTO, WASHINGTON NATIONALS PLAYER: This is amazing. Amazing. This is amazing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is amazing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCHOLES: And Soto 21 now, so he can really party. Check out the scene outside Nationals park in D.C. The fans there, just going bonkers after the final out.
And then there was this guy. He would jump on the dugout and rip off his shirt. And then try to slide across the dugout. It looks like he's been waiting to do this for a long, long time. The team is going to return to the nation's capital later today. The
party continues with a parade on Saturday. Here with the hat, the shirt that the players were wearing after the game. It's pretty -- pretty nice here. I think I'm going to send this to Wolf Blitzer. He's been a Nationals team since they came to this city in 2005. Big congrats to him. I know he's very happy this morning.
CAMEROTA: He'll love that. Also, I like that you were using champagne as hair products, like his mousse last night. It was really holding your hair into place, I felt.
SCHOLES: I kept doing this. Yes, it was all over me. We were right in the thick of it.
BERMAN: That was spectacular.
Andy, thank you very much for being there for us. Appreciate it.
CAMEROTA: All right. Much more on that.
Meanwhile, in a matter of hours, the House of Representatives will vote in the impeachment inquiry. So we will preview this pivotal day ahead, next.
CAMEROTA: This morning, President Trump's top National Security Council official for Europe, Tim Morrison, will testify behind closed doors.
Then, later this morning, House Democrats will hold their much- anticipated first impeachment vote. This is a crucial step, of course, towards moving the process forward.
So let's bring in Rachael Bade, congressional reporter for "The Washington Post" and a CNN political analyst; and Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary under President Clinton and a CNN political commentator.
Joe, this is the much-anticipated, much-demanded by Republicans. This will be the first vote. It sounds as though Nancy Pelosi, who was, as we all remember, reluctant to do this at the beginning, has shored up support among her caucus for doing this.
It also sounds like Republicans are going to be aggravated by some of the stated rules. For instance, they will have to get permission from Adam Schiff on the intel community, for the witnesses that they want to call. Is that commonplace?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It is commonplace. And, you know, as Trump and his allies like to say, elections have consequences; and Democrats winning in 2018 has set the stage here. He doesn't have to get Adam Schiff's approval. He has to get the full
committees. So he has to get, I think, it's you know, that they have about a six-person majority. So I expect all of these to go on party lines, unless for some reason they have someone that, you know, adds something that the Democrats want. That's just the rules.
And you know, I think Pelosi, as we've been talking about over the last month or so, has set this up very well. And it's almost like she's walked them into a couple of traps, and we are where we are.
BERMAN: This is a big moment.
It's going to play out on TV today, where people see this first vote in the impeachment inquiry. It's not authorized in the inquiry, Rachael, Democrats insist, but it's pushing it forward.
And Democrats say they're only going to lose somewhere around two to four votes. The Republican side of it is interesting. Because it isn't clear that a single Republican will vote in favor of the inquiry process.
And I know you've been reporting Republicans are going over to the White House today.
RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's right. Yes, so this is a big moment. And I mean, it's pretty much a test vote on impeachment.
And regarding the pressure, Republicans are very much feeling that they need to stay in line on this. I mean, we've talked to a number of Republicans who have come out publicly and said what they're hearing. And some of these depositions, they're disturbed by it, and they think it was wrong.
But those Republicans, which include Francis Rooney, who is a retiring Republican from Florida, even don't know if they're willing to vote for this impeachment inquiry. And for these rules.
So they are basically being called by the White House right now, my understanding is that the White House legislative affairs team has been reaching out to them since the day Pelosi announced this vote, sort of preparing for this moment, and eager to show sort of a unified front with Republicans.
There's going to be a group of folks going over to the White House today, to talk with Trump in person. Otherwise, the leadership is still with people behind the scenes. Republicans do think they can stay unified. At least that's what they're telling me right now.
But we do think there's going to be some Democrats who split off, Democrats who think that they're going to see political blowback and that, ultimately, this is only going to embolden Trump for his re- election in 2020.
CAMEROTA: All right. Let's talk about what is happening in the actual impeachment inquiry itself today. Another big day. So Tim Morrison will be testifying behind closed doors. Let's just
put up who he is for everybody. He's the top Russia and Europe adviser on the NSC. He has announced that he will be stepping down.
Apparently, this was already in the works. It's not because he's going to be testifying today. It's because he was recruited by John Bolton. So John Bolton left. John Bolton's people left, as well.
He was on that July 25 phone call, so he heard it with his own ears. He'll be testifying about that, between Trump and Zelensky. He was mentioned 15 times in Bill Taylor's opening statement.
But what our reporting is, is that he's a bit of a wildcard, Joe. Some of the reporting is, is that he may testify that he did hear that favor, that the president wanted, the deal that he wanted struck with Ukraine, in terms of getting some dirt on the Bidens, but that he wasn't necessarily, he didn't necessarily immediately hear it as wrong. So we just don't know, of course, what he'll say behind closed doors.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. We don't know until, actually, we see the deposition what his point of view is.
But I think he remains a very valuable witness here. Taking a step back, the NSC, the National Security Council, is in effect, a coordinating council. They work -- it was created to coordinate between state, between defense, between the intelligence agencies.
So he was in a unique position to know what everyone was doing. Not only what Bill Taylor was doing and what Mike Pompeo was doing but what Rudy Giuliani was doing.
So I think the Democrats will be interested in his point of view about what went on in this call. But they'll be much more interested about trying to fill in the gaps of who knew what when, what was the president's direct involvement.
For, instance, most of the -- you know, Bill Taylor wouldn't have been in a meeting with the president. He's -- he's in Ukraine. Sondland is in Brussels.
But Morrison is actually in the White House. And he is coordinating and talking to all of these people and putting the meetings together, probably putting together the talking points for the phone call, so he's a very valuable witness here.
Even if he says, I didn't really have a problem with what the president did, that's not -- I don't think that's a big problem for the investigation.
BERMAN: And again, Rachael, CNN's initial reporting on this is he will corroborate Bill Taylor's testimony here, and Taylor's testimony has been among the most explosive so far. BADE: That's right. I think that that's why his testimony today is
so significant. I mean, if you remember back to Bill Taylor, he was the first State Department official, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, who actually said there was a quid pro quo for military aid.
Now, granted, he doesn't use the phrase "quid pro quo," but he described what his understanding, was that the White House, the president wanted that $400 billion in military aid to Ukraine to be held up until President Zelensky of Ukraine actually made a public commitment to investigating his political foes.
And Bill Taylor testified that he learned that information from Timothy Morrison, the man who's going to be coming in today. Timothy Morrison will be a first-hand account, somebody who was listening in on these conversations and has, you know, information that he was hearing from the president, and from Ambassador Sondland. He's going to be able to talk about that.
And one other thing to keep in mind, this is a guy who was very supportive of Trump, somebody who's been working for years on Capitol Hill as a Republican aide. This is not someone that Republicans are going to be easily able to dismiss.
BERMAN: No. It cuts both ways, though. Maybe he'd be reluctant to be critical of Trump, because he's, you know, a lifelong Republican.
On the other hand, if he is critical of him, it carries that much more weight.
I wouldn't so easily dismiss the fact that he decided to announce his departure 24 hours before the testimony here.
CAMEROTA: Yes. But the timing was really --
BERMAN: It may have been leaving every way -- anyway. But you choose when you announce you're leaving.
All right. One of the key players in the impeachment inquiry, President Trump's former deputy national security adviser, Charles Kupperman. There's a key hearing on that today. And what does this mean for John Bolton's potential testimony? Next.
[06:26:16] BERMAN: All right. Big questions this morning about whether impeachment investigators will get to hear from President Trump's former national curious adviser, John Bolton. He was asked to appear next week.
CAMEROTA: It would be impolite to turn down an invite.
BERMAN: He was asked nicely. Please come. But his lawyer says he will not show up without a subpoena, and to be clear, the lawyer wasn't making clear that he would show up even with a subpoena.
So later this afternoon, a federal judge will hear arguments from a different administration official who has already been subpoenaed and is asking the court to decide if he is required to testify. And that decision could determine if John Bolton goes. Follow the bouncing balls there.
Joining us now is CNN legal analyst Elie Honig. He's a former federal prosecutor.
So three giant things happening today. One, the House floor vote on impeachment. No. 2, Tim Morrison hearing behind closed doors. And No. 3, in this courtroom, Charles Kupperman is asking if he has to comply with a subpoena. What will the judge say? How will that be considered, Elie?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think the judge will say yes. And the stakes are so high here, John, because as Kupperman goes, I think so, too, will go many of the other important witnesses at stake here, including Bolton but also, potentially, down the line Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo, Rick Perry, maybe even Rudy Giuliani.
Ultimately, if this judge says, as I think he should, look the whole point of a subpoena, is as Alisyn was saying, this is not an optional invite. The whole reason a subpoena is more than a piece of paper is that it's mandatory. And so if the judge says Kupperman, you need to get in there and testify, I don't see any way for Bolton and the others to dodge subpoenas, either.
CAMEROTA: Elie, you know, there was some feeling, when we were talking on -- I don't remember Monday or Tuesday, about how, well, this will be tied up in the courts now. Kupperman has dodged this bullet, because now it's in the court system, and we know how long that takes. This looks like it's being fast-tracked. I mean, this is going before a judge today.
HONIG: This is a great example of how quickly courts can move if they want. But litigation takes time. But on the other hand, judges can move, often, as fast as they need to. They have resources. They can move cases up and down their docket.
And they got this case on for Kupperman real quick. It was a matter of maybe a week or a couple of days. And so if and when this goes to the court of appeals -- and I fully suspect that whichever side loses today will take it right to the court of appeals -- I hope the court of appeals follows this example. And ordinarily court of appeals litigation takes months, but if the court of appeals wants to -- and they should, because they should understand the magnitude of this -- they can get this done in a couple of weeks, and I think they need to.
BERMAN: I think the Bolton parlor game is fascinating, Elie, and I can't figure out what he wants to do here. Because if he wanted, he could walk in today.
CAMEROTA: But it's better with a subpoena.
BERMAN: But he's not saying he'll go with a subpoena. The thing is, is yes, it is better with a subpoena.
CAMEROTA: It gives you cover, is my point.
BERMAN: He could decide to go when subpoenaed. But if he waits for the judge to decide, that's a whole different thing. So if he wants to talk, if he really wanted to talk, he could do it now. He could do it after the subpoena.
CAMEROTA: Well, November 7. They're calling for November 7.
BERMAN: But my point is -- my point is, he doesn't have to wait for the judge to decide. He doesn't. So why force a judge to make a decision here? I don't get it.
HONIG: It is legitimate for a subject to say, I understand you've asked me to come in voluntarily, but I'd prefer to be served with a subpoena. That does happen fairly frequently. Because it's sort of like giving someone a receipt. Like, we officially want you to come in. And it gives a person an official vehicle to go into court and potentially challenge it.
BERMAN: But Kupperman isn't even going with the subpoena. That's what I'm saying here.
HONIG: Right, and that -- Exactly.
BERMAN: He's going to take it to court. That's a choice.
HONIG: Exactly. And that's my question. The big question for Bolton is, OK, Mr. Bolton, when we give you the subpoena, will you then obey it, or will you then turn around and take us to court?
And again, I don't know when subpoenas became optional. They're supposed to be mandatory. And that's sort of big picture. This is all about separation of powers. This is all about checks and balances.
Thus far, House Democrats have succeeded. They've won these lawsuits. On the Mueller grand jury materials. On the Trump tax returns. Because thus far, the courts have been clear Congress does have the right, within reasonable --