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Washington Nationals Win First World Series Title; House to Vote on Impeachment Process, Call Key Witnesses to Testify; New Wildfire Engulfs Homes Near San Bernardino, California; One Woman's Journey Inside White Supremacist Movement. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired October 31, 2019 - 07:00   ET





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Morrison is key. He was, again, another official who was on that now-famous phone call on July 25.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First, the Republicans talked about wanting this resolution, this vote. Then when it's being offered, they're saying, oh, it's not enough.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Only in Nancy's House do we write all new laws, and you get no due process.

REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D-MA): No one runs for Congress to impeach a president. We are here today, because the facts compel us to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three-two. There it is! The Washington Nationals are world champions for the first time in franchise history.



ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in Washington, the United States, and around the world. This is NEW DAY. We have major developments in the impeachment investigation that will play out before our eyes this hour.

But for many people in Washington, they will be playing out before bleary eyes, perhaps even bloodshot eyes. The Washington Nationals celebrating their first ever World Series title. This is so exciting.

CAMEROTA: Yes. They look excited.

BERMAN: They looked excited. They're also -- well done. They are the first team -- they are the first team to take a seven-game series by winning all four on the road. We're going to have much more on this celebration in just a moment, including an exclusive interview with Washington's most important fan, who we'll manage to get on the phone somehow. We will talk to him shortly.

CAMEROTA: Never heard before 9 a.m.

BERMAN: Yes, never.

CAMEROTA: This will be a first. OK?

BERMAN: First.

CAMEROTA: Meanwhile --

BERMAN: First though, before that, we expect to see Tim Morrison, President Trump's top adviser on Russia, arrive on Capitol Hill very shortly. He will testify behind closed doors. He is expected to corroborate key elements of witness testimony alleging a quid pro quo in which President Trump pressed Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into the Bidens and use military aid as leverage.

Also this morning, the House will have its first formal vote on the impeachment process as Democrats prepare to take their investigation public.

CAMEROTA: And then later today, a federal judge will hear arguments on whether former deputy national security advisor Charles Kupperman must comply with a subpoena to testify. That will have consequences for the president's former national security adviser, John Bolton. Bolton's lawyer has been cagey about whether Bolton would comply with a subpoena.

So joining us now to talk about all of this very big day, we have CNN political analyst Maggie Haberman. She's the White House correspondent for "The New York Times." And CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. Great to have both of you guys.

So Maggie, Tim Morrison, who will be testifying today, he was recruited by John Bolton. He also just announced that he is leaving his post at the White House. How do you think that changes what he says today?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: We've seen other witnesses who have announced that they are stepping down from their posts. Kurt Volker comes to mind, who clearly felt freer to testify as to what they had seen and what they knew. I suspect that's going to be at play today.

Morrison is a witness who some people close to the president -- they generally at the White House have not expressed a high level of concern about most of these witnesses. But I do think Tim Morrison is someone who they recognize could fill in a lot of blanks, could corroborate other testimony about what the president was doing, what he was doing with Ambassador Sondland, what his hopes were in terms of trying to extract some public pledge from Ukraine to do this investigation that would relate to the Bidens. So this could be an important day. BERMAN: He makes them nervous.

HABERMAN: He makes some of them nervous. He doesn't make everybody nervous, but he makes enough of them concerned that he is going to just further corroborate pieces that they knew and, because he had so much visibility into what was happening, he could fill in some key holes.

BERMAN: It is interesting to me. One, they say he was going to leave the job anyway, but choosing to make it public within 24 hours of testimony is glaring to me.

It's also interesting to me, Jeffrey, he's going. We believe he is going to show up. He may get a subpoena like everyone else has to testify, but he's going by choice. And the CNN reporting is he will corroborate much of what Bill Taylor said.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, and what's important -- one of the many things that's important about Morrison's testimony is that, unlike Ambassador --

CAMEROTA: Sondland?

TOOBIN: -- Taylor, he worked in the White House. I mean, he is there.

One of the Republican responses, I think with some justification, about some of these witnesses, is that they were at some remove from the president. They were -- their evidence is hearsay about what the president did and said.

Someone in the NSC just geographically -- I mean, the NSC is in the White House complex -- he is likely to have much more firsthand knowledge of what the president did and thought about Ukraine. Not as much as John Bolton, his boss, but certainly closer than Ambassador Taylor and some of the other ones.

CAMEROTA: Yes. He was on the call. He was in the meetings, as you point out. Now, some of our sources say that he will today express that he didn't necessarily think that there was anything wrong with the phone call when he heard it.


But it doesn't matter what he thinks. It matters what the Constitution, and it matters what the investigators and what the Democrats in Congress at this point think.

I mean, in other words, it's less -- somebody's judgment about whether it was wrong or not is less, I think, critical to investigators than what they actually heard.

HABERMAN: I do think it's -- it actually -- I think it matters more than -- more than that, honestly. Because I think that the facts are not really in dispute anymore. Right? I think that he is going to further underscore it. What's in dispute is how people feel about it. And for the most part, we have seen this play along party lines.

We've seen House Democrats say, for the most part, this is problematic; this is part of a broader quid pro quo effort that the president was engaged in over a course of months, not just this call.

You've had Republicans say, sure, this is what happened, but that it doesn't really matter.

And this is all taking place at a time where the president, I'm told, is getting increasingly frustrated. He even voiced some of it publicly the other day before he got on Air Force One, that he's upset that the Republicans are not litigating the facts themselves, that they're litigating the process. He would like to see the facts get argued.

So I do think that, if you have somebody who says, yes, I heard this, but it didn't strike me, I do think for the president's defenders, that is going to be important.

BERMAN: And again --

TOOBIN: If he says that --


TOOBIN: -- that will be a very interesting contrast to Colonel Vindman, who heard the -- who also heard the phone call and was so outraged that he went to the lawyers and said, this is not right.

CAMEROTA: And then they put it in a code-word-protected computer as a result of going to those lawyers.

TOOBIN: Again, you know, one of the things that is -- the Democrats have to decide is how much of this they want to investigate. Because you know, there's so -- every time they get witnesses, they have new tentacles. I mean, Robert Livingston, the former congressman, he was lobbying, apparently --

BERMAN: What an incredible tie, by the way, to the last impeachment inquiry, that Bob Livingston's name is in any way attached to this.

TOOBIN: But again, you know, the Democrats want to wrap this up. But how many more witnesses are they going to call? The lawyers who were involved, will they be able to be called to testify? Will they agree to testify?

CAMEROTA: Some are being called. Yes.

TOOBIN: Will they agree? I mean, all of that -- you know, again, there's the timing issue.

BERMAN: Let me just put a button on what we were just talking about and then move on to a different subject.

But this is Jake Tapper's reporting on what Vindman, Colonel Vindman testified to. He said, "Vindman told congressional investigators he was convinced Donald Trump was personally blocking 400 million in military aid to Ukraine to force that country to publicly announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his family. Vindman believed the existence of a quid pro quo was clear during a July 10 meeting between American and Ukrainian officials." That was yesterday.

Today, Tim Morrison shows up, could show up in the next hour. We'll bring that to you live when it happens. That's only ring one of a three-ring circus today. Because ring two is the floor vote in the House of Representatives to verify the process going forward in the House of representatives.

This is a big moment. There hasn't been a vote on impeachment yet. This is a big moment, Maggie.

HABERMAN: There hasn't been a vote on impeachment, so we're going to have members of the House vote on where they are on this. I think that Democrats were hoping they would get more Republican converts to it. That doesn't seem likely. So it's going to be mostly party line.

But it's not just that they're recording support for it and taking that argument away from Republicans, who have focused on that, on the process pretty heavily. They're taking away another argument, which is that we're going to move to a public phase. This is going to move to open hearings, open testimony.

A lot of the argument from Republicans has been this is all taking place behind closed doors, being cherry picked. Some Republicans are involved in the interviews but they are arguing this is not painting a full picture when information comes out.

All of that is aimed at swaying public opinion. This is a key moment for Democrats in this investigation. This is going to be where they really have to see if they can move the dial. Some of it has moved on support for the impeachment inquiry.

But what they're attempting to do with these public hearings is an open question. And remember, the public hearings have not always gone the way Republicans wanted them to go. Robert Mueller comes to mind. Corey Lewandowski comes to mind. And they're very aware of that.

CAMEROTA: And also --

TOOBIN: Just one thing about how those public hearings will unfold --


TOOBIN: -- that will be different from Mueller and Corey Lewandowski. Is that they have set up a structure so that the lawyers can ask the questions for 45 minutes at a time, as opposed to this maddening, incompetent, blowhard congressmen asking questions for five minutes at a time.

BERMAN: How do you really feel about this?

CAMEROTA: Yes, who would be a blowhard. TOOBIN: Bipartisan criticism. They're all awful at asking questions. And the fact that they will have competent people allowing witnesses to tell a story the way a good prosecutor allows a witness to tell a story on direct examination, that could have a big -- that could make the hearings go very differently.

CAMEROTA: They've also done a dress rehearsal for the public hearings with the closed-door hearings, where they know exactly what somebody said in a closed-door and get to repeat it.

TOOBIN: That's how you prepare a witness. I mean, you never -- if you possibly can as a witness in a courtroom, meet the witness for the first time on the day they testify. You spend hours with them.

CAMEROTA: The Corey Lewandowski thing, though, you know, they didn't do that. They didn't soften up that witness.

TOOBIN: That's for sure.

BERMAN: We're out of time, but Maggie, I've got to ask, because I'm moderately obsessed with this. There's a court hearing today on Charles Kupperman, who was deputy national security advisor, which could indicate whether John Bolton will testify or not. Does Bolton want to talk? Do we know any indication if he wants to?

CAMEROTA: What does John Bolton want?

HABERMAN: I don't have visibility into John Bolton's, you know, closest of hearts. I think that John Bolton is a story that he is hoping gets told. It is not so clear to me that he wants to be the person to tell that story. And that is what a lot of this comes down to. There's a big difference between hearing about, you know, background quotes from what Bolton told other people and him actually going to Congress and saying it himself.

BERMAN: All right.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys, very much.

Now we have to get to the big news.

BERMAN: Happening now. Breaking news.

CAMEROTA: They've been up all night in the nation's capital as Washington Nationals fans celebrate their team's first World Series title in 95 years, you told me.

BERMAN: The first title for Washington, the city of Washington in 95 years.

CAMEROTA: Since they've been Washington Nationals.

Nats super-fan Wolf Blitzer joins us live on the phone. Wolf, have you been up all night?

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR (via phone): I slept for a few hours. Did not sleep great, but I'm so excited. I'm still very excited, as you can probably tell from my voice. This is great news. This is fabulous breaking news. So I'm thrilled, as you can only imagine.

BERMAN: This is quite a situation, as you might say, Wolf. And I want to talk about your role in the victory. Because we just put a picture of you up in a sweatshirt that you wore yesterday -- two days ago during the game six victory. Did you wear that sweatshirt last night in game seven, and how effective did you find it?

BLITZER: The answer is, yes, I wore the exact same sweatshirt last night that I wore during game six. Not only that, I had the exact same meal during the course of the game that I had the night before.

CAMEROTA: Which was what? What did you have?

BLITZER: It was Chinese food. It was Mu Shu Chicken. It was delicious. With some green beans and some water. And I was ready to go.

So everything I did during game six, when we came back in Houston and won, I did yesterday. And clearly, it must have had some sort of impact.

CAMEROTA: I mean, do you feel that's why they won?

BLITZER: I've got to give the Washington Nationals a lot of credit.

BERMAN: The players?

BLITZER: I don't know if it helped. I don't know if it hurt. But the Nationals did a great job. It's a great team.

You know, we were a wildcard team. We weren't expecting any of this. And if you look at the first half of the season, we were not doing well at all. We were doing pretty poorly, but we came back. We never gave up.

You've got to give the team a lot of -- a lot of credit. The players, of course, first and foremost; you know, the coaches, the managers, the owners. Everybody was just so, so perfect in this -- in this environment. So all of us Washington Nationals fans are thrilled.

And it's so special for all of us here in Washington at a time when there's so much division, political discourse going on. Everybody comes together. You go to a Nationals game, you see liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. People don't care about politics at all. Everybody goes. They're all Nats fans. We have something in common. It brings this whole community -- D.C., northern Virginia suburbs, Maryland suburbs -- it brings everybody together. It's really a special time.

BERMAN: I have to say, it is magnanimous of you to give the players some credit for the victory.

BLITZER: Yes, they did a good job.

CAMEROTA: Not just the Mu Shu Chicken.

BERMAN: But I do want to know, I do want to know, in the sixth inning last night, going into the seventh, you were still down.

BLITZER: Oh, yes.

BERMAN: The Nationals were still down 2-0, facing Zack Greinke, who was lights out. So how did you feel? How -- what was, you know -- What was your emotional state going into the 7th?

BLITZER: Terrible. I kept saying there's still several innings to go. We could still come back. It's only 2-0. You know, we've got some great players. We've got great hitters. This is going to change. And in the 8th inning who knew? It was -- it changed. It changed dramatically. And we hung in there. And it was just amazing. So it's really an exciting moment for all of us.

CAMEROTA: Now, Wolf, you were so concerned about how this would play out that nine days ago, you asked Alexa for her prediction on what would happen.


CAMEROTA: And let me -- I actually have a clip of that. Let me play what Alexa told you. Listen to this.


BLITZER: Alexa, who's going to win the World Series?

ROBOTIC VOICE: Statistically, the Astros are favored to win it. However, the Nationals are peaking at the perfect time. My prediction -- I'm picking my home away from home base team -- the Washington Nationals. All righty, play ball!


CAMEROTA: Unexpected response from Alexa.

BLITZER: I -- it's really -- Alexa, I guess she knows everything. She knew. She knew the -- she knew the Nationals were going to win. She picked it. She was really great.

And you know, I tweeted it, Instagrammed it, the whole nine yards. So it's on -- We have a record that Alexa predicted the Washington Nationals will win the World Series. And that's a fact.


CAMEROTA: That little minx, Alexa, she knew what she was doing.

BLITZER: She certainly did. She's -- she's perfect.

BERMAN: You can feel the joy bursting out of Wolf right now. I think he can hardly contain himself. I'm so happy for you, Wolf, and the people of Washington. I know this

is a big, big deal. Can't wait to see your wall-to-wall coverage this afternoon on "THE SITUATION ROOM," and I also know you've offered to anchor CNN's rolling coverage of the victory parade this weekend.

BLITZER: The parade will be Saturday here in D.C. It's going to be historic. And I suspect that, you know, all of our big bosses will want special live coverage. I can only imagine.

CAMEROTA: OK. I'm sure they're listening right now and taking that note.

Wolf, thank you very much for joining us this morning. Congratulations.

BLITZER: It's only -- and I'll leave you with this. It's only -- I think you know this -- the second time in this city that a Washington team has won the World Series. The last time, 1924. The then- Washington Senators, who later became the Minnesota Twins, defeated the New York Giants four games to three.

CAMEROTA: It's a big day there. We're super excited for all the celebrating you will do before we see you on "THE SITUATION ROOM."

BLITZER: Yes, I thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Wolf.

All right. We do have some breaking news to get to now, because at this hour, homes are burning in San Bernardino, California. These are live pictures on your screen. We have a live report from southern California, next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CAMEROTA: Very dangerous situation unfolding at this hour. You are looking at live pictures of homes burning in San Bernardino, California.

And you can also see the ferocious Santa Ana winds fanning -- fanning the flames there. You can see just how fast the smoke there is moving. Of course, this is making it so challenging for firefighters who are trying to contain this and so many wildfires there. Mandatory evacuations are under way.

CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in southern California with all of the breaking details -- Omar.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And with that hillside fire that we have been seeing, that's the new one that's popped up in San Bernardino. I mean, those images of literal homes on fire this morning are the exact images that bring so much fear to these fire officials here.

When you talk about the main factor that we've been seeing over the course of this week, and that is those winds. And it's exactly why officials didn't feel OK just giving a red flag warning. They wanted, for the first time ever, to give an extreme red flag warning to highlight just how combustible these conditions were going to be over the course of this week.

And as you can see, this hillside fire, the newest one, one of more than ten fires burning across the state of California, wreaking havoc on southern California, at the very least.

With this one, the first reports of this fire in San Bernardino came in two hours ago. It was being described as a vegetation fire at that point.

A literal hour later was when we got an update from officials, saying that this was now burning more than 200 acres, to give you an idea of how quickly these fires are expanding here, and that they had deployed their four prepositioned strike teams to try and get in this and prevent it from expanding even further. Mandatory evacuations already ordered. It's just past 4 a.m. in the morning here on the West Coast.

So you can imagine, this is a fire that came out of nowhere. People got woken up in the middle of the night and are now scrambling for their lives to get themselves and their families back out.

BERMAN: And these fires just keep an popping up in location after location. Omar, thank you very much for your reporting. Stay safe. Please keep us posted.

So we have a CNN exclusive investigation. The hidden threat in communities across the country. Yes, violent white supremacist group. But it's not only men who are allowing this hatred to grow. We have a rare look at the role women play.




KEVIN MCALEENAN, ACTING HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: One of the most significant emerging threats over the past years have been domestic actors' adoption of terrorist techniques to inspire and direct individuals, often via the Internet, to carry out acts of terrorism and targeted violence. Of specific concern has been an increase in racially and ethnically-motivated violence, particularly the threat posed by violent, white supremacist extremists.


BERMAN: That is acting homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan, warning lawmakers about the troubling rise of hate in America.

CAMEROTA: So this morning, we have a rare look inside the world of white supremacist extremists. CNN's Elle Reeve is here with the story.

Great to have you here.


Samantha, the woman in the -- in our story, went from being a liberal who didn't vote to being what she calls a productive racist in just six months. She's one of a very small number of women who joined the alt-right and an even smaller number willing to share their story after leaving it.


REEVE (voice-over): The face of America's white power movement is screaming young white men.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One people, one nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One people, one nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One people, one nation.

REEVE: But there are a very small number of women who joined. Samantha was one of them.

SAMANTHA, FORMER WHITE SUPREMACIST: This I wore to the last alt-right party that I ever went to.

REEVE: The 29-year-old tells new friends she spent a year in a cult, a cult of racism. After she left, she feared being exposed for what she'd done.

Now, she wants to come forward on her own terms and warn others about the power of online radicalization.

She welcomes us into her home. We agreed not to show its surroundings or share her last name due to safety concerns.

(on camera): How important do you think that sense of alienation is in attracting people?

SAMANTHA: One hundred percent. I think alienation is, like, the No. 1 reason that people joined.

I was seeing this guy, and I was going through a lot of turbulent, like, emotional and just personal mental things where my sense of self was pretty damaged.

It was just this immersion into the culture of it with someone that I so badly wanted the affection of and the approval of. Just -- it didn't take much. It's not as if this person was, like, strapping me down. Like, I was hungry to learn. I was hungry to figure this out.

REEVE: On January 1, 2017, you became a member of Identity Europa. Can you explain what that is?

SAMANTHA: It was a white civil rights group or a white advocacy group, I believe was the term.