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CNN TONIGHT

Democrats Had a Good Night in Iowa; President Trump Moving to Florida; Rudy Giuliani with a New Title; The 2020 Presidential Race; Rudy Giuliani Finds Himself at the Center of Impeachment Inquiry; News or Not?; CNN Hero Roger Montoya. Aired 11p-12a ET

Aired November 1, 2019 - 23:00   ET

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


[23:00:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN Tonight. I'm Don Lemon.

There's a lot going on tonight and we're going to catch you up on five big headlines.

Sources telling CNN that Tim Morrison, President Trump's top adviser on Russia testified he tried to find out if the U.S. ambassador to the European Union went rogue or acted at the president's direction to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden.

And a source saying that Colonel Alexander Vindman testified he was told by a White House lawyer not to discuss President Trump's phone call where he pressured Ukraine president to look into Biden.

Also, a big night for the Democratic candidates in Iowa. As a new poll is released. Who's leading? We've got news on the race for the nomination.

Time magazine labeling Rudy Giuliani the 'secretary of offense.' The president's personal attorney who was supposed to protect him may now be one of the main reasons President Trump might be impeached. One of the authors of that article, here tonight.

And with the impeachment inquiry intensifying President Trump announces he's officially chare his -- change his residency from New York to Florida. Tweets a fake photo of him awarding a hero's medal to a dog.

And then there is Rudy Giuliani locking himself out of his smartphone. And these stories -- are these stories news are meant to distract or deflect or both. We're going to talk about it later on in this hour.

But I want to bring in now Ron Brownstein, the senior editor at the Atlantic and Toluse Olorunnipa, White House reporter for The Washington Post. Gentlemen, good evening. Ron, you first.

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. LEMON: CNN has new reporting tonight that Trump's top Russia adviser, Tim Morrison, testified that he wanted to find out if Sondland was going rogue on wanting Ukraine to investigate the Bidens.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes.

LEMON: But kept finding out that he was having conversations with President Trump. For one thing it shows a level of concern about what was going on at the White House. No?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, absolutely. And you noted at the end there what maybe the most important point. According to the reporting he testified that every time he tried to find out whether Sondland was talking to Trump, Sondland was talking to Trump.

And look, the overall story, Don, I mean, this week after the testimony of Morrison and Vindland, I mean, the overall story is being pulled tighter and tighter.

I was part of a group of columnists earlier this week that we interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And she said unequivocally we have enough. We have enough information about what he did. I also -- she believed they have enough support in polls. The Washington Post poll today up to 49 percent supporting removal. That they feel they can move forward.

And, you know, along the way this week, probably the most important thing that happened was the 29 of the 31 Democrats, House Democrats in districts that Trump carried who earlier had been the brake on impeachment all voted to authorize kind of the next stage of this inquiry and likely signal where they're heading on the ultimate impeachment vote itself.

LEMON: It's interesting. Well, two of them defected. Right?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. Two of the 31.

LEMON: Yes, two of the 31. Toluse, let me bring you in here. Because Morrison went as far as asking President Trump's executive secretary if the president had talked with Ambassador Sondland. The ambassadors claims -- claims checked out. Sondland tried to downplay the president's involvement during testimony. So, he's going to have to come back to clarify a few things. Don't you think?

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There's a lot about Sondland's testimony that in hindsight is starting to look little bit more suspect now that we have heard from other witnesses who, in some cases, directly contradict what Sondland said about trying to protect the president, trying to say that the president was not that much involved that there was no quid pro quo.

Now that we've heard from other witnesses under oath that corroborate one another but contradict Sondland, there are a number of members of Congress that want to hear from Sondland again, want him to clarify the record and maybe give him another chance to say what actually happened. You have to remember he was the one that texted with Ambassador Taylor

and then talked to the president and then responded with another text that was very legalistic, saying that, you know, the president had -- has not involved himself in quid pro quo.

LEMON: Call me.

OLORUNNIPA: So, yes. He did not want to put a lot in writing. He is a political appointee of the president, a donor to the president who has been trying to protect the president, but in some cases it seems that if he tried to carry that protection into the hall of Congress and testifying under oath he may have run afoul of the facts, and now that he's been contradicted by other witnesses he may have to clarify what he said.

LEMON: Mr. Brownstein, there's also this. The president's NSC lawyer John Eisenberg told Lieutenant Colonel Vindman not to talk about Trump's Ukraine call. Don't talk about it.

[23:05:04]

What does this mean as Democrats continue to build their case?

BROWNSTEIN: Well, first, I mean, it is one of many indications of how many people in this inside the administration recognize that this was explosive what the president did. And there was concern about it, about it getting out. And it does raise the possibility that in addition to any articles of impeachment that are drawn up about the actual substance here. The months long campaign.

Really the most important point of all the depositions have been that the phone call in July was not a one-time event or something off the cuff. It was part of a sustained effort by the president by all evidence to force Ukraine to do something that would benefit him in 2020. You know, that's one thing.

This kind of language and this kind of indication that they're told not to talk about it could be part of another which is obstruction. And their refusal to, you know, respond to many of these subpoenas can be part of that. I think that's the direction.

Speaker Pelosi did say we talked to her earlier this week. She did suggest it will be narrower than broader, Don. She said one very interesting thing. She said, just because we move something out of impeachment doesn't mean we're sanctioning it. Right? So, like, what she was saying was everything we have believe that is wrong about the way Trump has conducted the presidency does not have to be included in what they ultimately do.

LEMON: There's also this new reporting from Toluse Olorunnipa's colleagues at the Washington Post. That a group of senate Republicans are ready to acknowledge a quid pro quo. That it happened on the Ukraine call, but doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. I mean, Toluse, isn't this the definition of moving the goal post?

OLORUNNIPA: Yes. The goal posts have shifted so much over the past five weeks that it's hard to see where the Republicans are going to go next. They did first start saying no quid pro quo. The president did nothing wrong. Then you had some people saying maybe it was a quid pro quo but it's OK because he wasn't trying to do anything illegal.

Now it seems like some Senate Republicans are distancing themselves from the president's defense and going for what they believe is the more practical defense saying yes, there was quid pro quo, yes, the president did leverage a meeting at the White House and $400 million in aid for these investigations that was beneficial to him politically. But it wasn't illegal. He didn't have any corrupt intent. Maybe some are going to say that he was just following the advice of his lawyer Rudy Giuliani who was going on all of these. Chasing all of these conspiracy theories.

So, if the president didn't have a corrupt intent then it's not impeachable. It does seem like they are moving, just because there's been so much evidence that has come out that it's hard for them to stick to the president's line which is in contradiction to all the evidence the president saying I did nothing wrong. There was no quid pro quo. I didn't put any pressure on the Ukrainians.

We've seen a lot of evidence from members of his own administration who have contradicted him. So now we're seeing some Senate Republicans start to shift and say yes, we believe some of this testimony that's been done under oath but we just don't think it's impeachable. Even though there was a quid pro quo we don't think it was illegal. And for that reason, we're going to stick with the president. That seems to be where they're moving now.

LEMON: I've got to run, Ron. If you can do it in five seconds.

BROWNSTEIN: Yes. One thing that he reminds us, is that even as we talk about half the country saying he should be impeached and removed. The share that says what he did is wrong is always higher. It's somewhere around 60 percent or more in almost all polls. And that is the risk for the Senate Republicans saying yes, he did it, so what.

LEMON: Toluse, Ron, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

The impeachment inquiry has taken on a new sense of urgency now that the House has voted to formalize procedures. Setting the stage for public hearings and the release of deposition transcripts. The historic vote capping an intense week in the expanding investigation.

More tonight from CNN's Alex Marquardt.

ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A roller coaster of a week. One that took the impeachment inquiry to new heights and set the stage for a historic show down on Capitol Hill.

Democrats and Republicans in lockstep with their parties as the deeply divided House of Representatives voted on Thursday to make the inquiry official. Two Democrats joined the Republican minority in voting against it. Which the GOP claimed as a bipartisan victory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): The only bipartisan vote on that floor

was against.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: The Democrats who won the vote struck a somber tone and argued they had no choice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): This is a solemn day in the history of our country. When the president's misconduct has compelled us to continue to move forward with an impeachment inquiry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: That will mean open televised hearings and transcripts from the dozen closed-door testimonies released to the public beginning as early as next week. One person ready to testify in public is the most senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Ambassador Bill Taylor.

Taylor has already told lawmakers that he understood U.S. military aid for Ukraine was tied to so called investigations. He was told that in order for the new Ukrainian president to get a meeting with President Trump, President Zelensky would have to go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference.

[23:10:00]

That was confirmed on Thursday by top National Security Council official Tim Morrison who was on the infamous July 25th call between the two presidents in which Trump asked for a favor.

Morrison was told by his boss to stay away from the shadowy parallel Ukraine policy led in part by Rudy Giuliani.

However, Morrison told lawmakers that nothing was wrong with the call. Saying, "I want to be clear. I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed."

The White House is already looking ahead. Saying impeachment by the House is all by a foregone conclusion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANIE GRISHAM, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This has been set up to make the impeachment of the president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUARDT: Democrats are more fired up than ever after a parade of long-time apolitical career officials have given damming testimony. Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the top White House expert on Ukraine who was on the July call saying this week he was so convinced that the president was blocking $400 million in aid for political reasons. That Vindman went to the National Security Council's lawyers twice.

The top lawyer, John Eisenberg who has been called in to testify quickly ordered the transcript of the call be placed in a highly classified server, restricting access. And Vindman, according to a source testified he was told not to talk to anyone about the call.

It was Colonel Vindman along with Ambassador Taylor who contradicted one of the president's main envoys to Ukraine, Gordon Sondland who was appointed by Trump to be ambassador to the European Union. Sondland has denied, pushing investigations into Joe Biden and his son in a July 10th meeting with Ukrainian officials.

But Vindman and his then boss, Fiona Hill both understood that he was. Vindman said Hill even shut down a meeting over it.

Witness after witness compounding the evidence that the president had linked aid for Ukraine to investigations into his political opponent.

Alex Marquardt, CNN, New York.

LEMON: All right. Alex, I appreciate that. 13 Democrats vying to run against the president making their cases at a big event in Iowa, hoping to super-charge their campaigns. You'll hear what they had to say next.

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LEMON: Twenty-twenty Democratic presidential candidates setting their sights tonight on the critical first in the nation state in the race for the White House. And that's Iowa. More than a dozen of the candidates giving speeches at a dinner that have often had historic implications.

Joining me now, Chris Cillizza and Arlette Saenz. Hello to both of you.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Hello, Don.

LEMON: Arlette, I'm going to start with you, OK? It is an event known for historic moments that super-charged campaigns really. You were in the crowd. You seem to get the best -- you were there. So, who seemed to get the best reception?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes. Well, there was certainly a number of candidates who got very warm rowdy receptions from the crowd here. As you can see right behind me Julian Castro is actually still on stage. We still have a few more candidates who are going to be speaking here tonight.

But you had Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg all in that top tier of candidates right now here in Iowa. And take a listen to the message that they had for these Iowa Democrats tonight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Tonight, all of us no matter what candidate we are supporting are in agreement that we must defeat the most dangerous president in the history of our country.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The first thing we have to do is get rid of Donald Trump. Get him out of office and once that happens, the road is clear for significant change.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm not running some consultant driven campaign with some vague ideas that are designed not to offend anyone. I'm running a campaign based on a lifetime of fighting for working families.

MAYOR PETE BUTTIGIEG (D-IN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And if talking about hope and belonging sounds optimistic to you for a time like this. Fine. Call it optimistic but do not call it naive. Because I believe these things not based on my age but based on my experience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAENZ: Now it's not just the message that was important at this event. But this event is also an opportunity for these candidates to show off their organizing strength. How many people they can turn out, how loud they can actually get here at this dinner. Among the loudest are probably Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

This is all giving the chance for these candidates to not only show off their messages but also, they are organizing strength as we are now 94 days from the caucuses. Don?

LEMON: We can hear the applause and cheers right there around you, Arlette.

Let's bring in Chris now. Chris, President Obama's speech in 2007 at that Iowa dinner it helped to catapult him to the White House. Did any candidate tonight have a moment like that?

CILLIZZA: No. And that's because there's no candidate with the rhetorical gifts of Barack Obama. I would say to people you can think Barack Obama was a good president or a bad president. He's an incredibly gifted naturally talented candidate and speaker.

I think the most important thing that happened tonight is in that package that you guys just played, Elizabeth Warren adding a line to her normal stump speech about I'm not -- I'm not a consultant driven candidate with some vague ideas designed not to offend anyone. She didn't say Pete Buttigieg's name but she didn't have to. That's who that is aimed at. And the reality is --

(CROSSTALK)

LEMON: Chris, I would say when she -- when that sound bite played, I looked at the guys in the studio and I said, is she talking about Pete Buttigieg right there?

CILLIZZA: Yes.

LEMON: Yes.

CILLIZZA: I mean, you can -- it's a not so subtle vailed hit. And I think the key there in why that's important, Don, is because I think Elizabeth Warren is the favorite right now. Organizationally and otherwise, polling wise in Iowa. And I think she probably sees her main threat -- and I can't believe it, I think she's probably right. As Pete Buttigieg.

[23:20:03]

And that those two may wind up weirdly because you know in this race started you probably thought Biden-Sanders. It maybe Warren-Buttigieg. And throw Sanders in there and Biden too just because their sort of name I.D. and their money who are fighting for this thing. And I think that's the key. Warren thinks Buttigieg is her biggest threat.

LEMON: Arlette, Beto O'Rourke announced that he is suddenly dropping out of the race hours before the dinner. Who benefits from him dropping out do you think?

SAENZ: Well, Don, it also came as a huge surprise. I think to the Beto support -- O'Rourke supporters who were here in Iowa. They were actually yard signs that were outside of this event. I walk by a concession stand that was still displaying a Beto O'Rourke advertisements hours before he had drop out of the race.

But I think right now it still remains to be seen who is going to benefit from O'Rourke being out of this race. He certainly occupied a more moderate centrist lane. So, could some of those supporters potentially go over to Joe Biden or Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar. That's certainly something those candidates are going to be hoping for in the coming weeks.

LEMON: Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Arlette.

CILLIZZA: Don, just to --

LEMON: Quickly, Chris, please.

CILLIZZA: Just to add very quickly, Don. Let's not over estimate it. The reason that Beto O'Rourke dropped out is because he couldn't raise any money and he couldn't get any support. So, he's 1, 2, or 3 percent that he was getting in these places, you know, probably get split around. But this is not a 20 percent candidate dropping out.

LEMON: Thank you both. I appreciate it. We got much more on the candidate storming Iowa tonight. Is this Mayor Pete Buttigieg's moment?

[23:25:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Democratic presidential hopefuls descending on Iowa tonight to make their case to caucus goers there.

Let's discuss now. Keith Boykin, Hilary Rosen, Bakari Sellers. I know this is going to be a fiery conversation. I can just feel it. So, Keith, I'm going to start with you. Because Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a big day. That new poll puts him in the top tier in Iowa. He got a big reception in tonight's dinner there. Should other candidates be worried?

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think he's doing well. He's having a surge moment. This happens in a cycle like this where candidates go through periods when they go up and they go down. I don't think though that he's overcome the biggest obstacle that he's got to face.

He has -- he is polling it above zero or 1 percent with black voters. You cannot win the Democratic primary with zero or 1 percent of black voters.

And I just heard Chris Cillizza on a minute ago on the previous panel saying he thought it might come down to a race between Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg. I don't see that being anywhere plausible at this point. I mean, anything could change. But where the numbers are right now, that's impossible. Neither one of them are beyond double digits with the black community.

But I like Elizabeth Warren. I have OK opinion about Pete Buttigieg, but I don't see either one of them yet at that place. They've got to reach out to black voters if you want to win the nomination.

I know they're in Iowa, there's not a large black community in Iowa.

LEMON: Yes.

BOYKIN: But you got to be able to do it if you want to win the nomination.

LEMON: Bakari, you want to weigh in on that? Because we had a similar discussion off air earlier. And he's just really parodying what a lot of people around the country are saying.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No. Pete had an amazing night tonight. He had an amazing closing tonight. But Keith is right. I mean, the fact of the matter is you have Elizabeth, Pete, and Bernie Sanders which all have the same problem.

I mean, the fact is, my mom and her friends said (Ph) the Democratic nominee, until you can actually show that you can sustain a portion larger than zero, 5, 10 percent of the African-American vote you're not going to be the Democratic nominee. And that's just the fact.

And Pete is having trouble with that because Pete has to learn one lesson, is that he has to meet black voters where they are. And until this point his campaign has not done that. I've said that to Pete, I've said that to his campaign over and over again. It's one thing to have a rally on a HBCU campus or in South Carolina

but you just cannot assume that black folk are going to show up at that rally. In fact, he has rallies at HBCUs a lot like Elizabeth, a lot like Bernie Sanders and many haven't seen, they've never seen that many white people on HBCU campuses.

So, he has to meet people where they are. And I would be remised if I didn't mention that tonight not only was it a great night for people like Pete Buttigieg. Kamala Harris has a great night. And as you can hear behind me there are a lot of people who are in Iowa who are betting on Amy Klobuchar. And she's having a great night even as we talk right now.

LEMON: Well, listen, we know you support Kamala Harris. I know, and you mentioned Amy Klobuchar. So, Hilary, to you now, I spoke with Mark McKinnon. He told that Amy Klobuchar is getting a lot of buzz. He says that she's well organized on the ground there in Iowa. She is only polling at 4 percent. But also, she's pushing a more moderate message.

HILARY ROSEN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, she is. You know, I frame what Keith and Bakari said sort of in a different way, which is, really Iowa is the only place Pete Buttigieg can move his presidential campaign right now. When you look at those first four big primary states, Iowa is the place where he's got the best chance.

You know, under the theory that Bakari says, I mean, you know, he'd bid for Joe Biden because Joe Biden has more African-American support than any of the candidates including, you know, lead in Kamala and Cory. But I think when we look at what Pete Buttigieg can do in Iowa, that is the place he has to surge. If he doesn't succeed in Iowa think he falters in the next two states.

And you know, the other thing is, we're going to have this top tier with a lot of money for several months.

[23:30:00]

And so they're all going to split a lot of delegates. And I think that is something we haven't had in the Democratic Party for a long time.

LEMON: Yes. I want to know what happens --

ROSEN: -- winning those first two states and then keep going with momentum and crash everybody else down. I don't think so. I think that these top four candidates are going to split votes for a long time and whether Amy Klobuchar can get into the top tier as an alternative to Joe Biden, I think the jury is out, but I think she's got the best shot at it.

LEMON: Just real quick, let me ask you this. Bakari, I can see you want to jump in as well. To Bakari's point, he said people like his mom and her friends decide who the Democratic nominee is going to be. The same thing, I always use my mom as my personal -- she is still with Joe Biden, regardless of what the polls say.

So then what happens if you never had or in a long time you haven't had a sort of split this way or someone one person can come in and just take it all away? What happens?

ROSEN: Let's remember what happened -- I'll say this quickly. Bakari, I know you have a point -- let's remember what happened in Iowa. A lot of African-Americans were with Hillary Clinton until they saw Barack Obama could win. Then it was like, oh, my God, we can hope, we can dream.

LEMON: Right.

ROSEN: We can be with this guy. And then it shifted around.

LEMON: Got it.

ROSEN: So I don't know that we're going to see that with Kamala Harris or Cory Booker in Iowa or New Hampshire before --

LEMON: Quickly, Bakari. You and then I want to get Keith in. I don't have a lot of time. Go on, please.

SELLERS: Let me just say this really quickly. If Kamala Harris does well in Iowa, the game changes. People will tell you this. I believe Hilary will agree with this. Because Joe Biden has this relationship with the black community throughout the south, he has the legitimate change to be the nominee.

The only person who appears to be able to challenge that if she does well in Iowa is Kamala Harris. But everybody is having a good night tonight and I'm actually enjoying (INAUDIBLE) referred to Des Moines, Iowa.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Go ahead. I'll give you the last word, Keith.

KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I agree with what Bakari said and what Hilary said. I just think that the important part here is that Iowa is not representative of the rest of the country. It is not a representative of the Democratic Party.

Yes, it's an important state, it's the first state, and it's a good opportunity for Amy Klobuchar, it's a good opportunity for Pete Buttigieg, but you got to be able to expand your base beyond that in order to win the primary and the Democratic Party.

LEMON: Thank you all. I appreciate it.

ROSEN: The three of us rather get rid of Iowa --

(LAUGHTER)

ROSEN: Really. Let's just admit.

SELLERS: Oh, I got to leave Iowa before you say that, Hilary. I got to get out of here first.

(LAUGHTER) LEMON: Thank you guys. Have a great weekend. Don't enjoy yourself too much, Bakari. I'm going to be checking on you. What's going on with Rudy Giuliani? My next guest talked to people close to the former New York City mayor about what's behind his erratic behavior.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[23:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: The parade of testimony from multiple Trump administration officials is shedding light on Rudy Giuliani's role in the pressure campaign against Ukraine. Now, the president's personal attorney finds himself under a microscope as prosecutors are looking at possible financial crimes connected to Giuliani's Ukraine work.

Joining me to discuss now is Brian Bennett, who co-wrote Time magazine's cover story about the former mayor. It is entitled "The Secretary of Offense." And also joining us is Jennifer Rodgers, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York.

Good evening. I'm so glad to have both of you on. This is -- it is an important conversation considering how Rudy Giuliani is involved in so many things when it comes to this president.

Brian, you first. All the Trump administration's roads to Ukraine seem to pass through Giuliani. He pushed this unfounded story about the Bidens and corruption to the president. His associates are under indictment for being middlemen between the mayor and Ukraine officials. And it's Giuliani back channel with Ukrainian government that keeps coming up in the impeachment inquiry. Is he in more trouble than the president of the United States?

BRIAN BENNETT, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "TIME" MAGAZINE: Well, we have been reporting that it's possible the Southern District of New York and in their case against these two other associates of Rudy is looking at him and some of these other activities.

It's possible there's some legal vulnerability there. We're going to have to wait and see what the -- it's early on in the investigation. We'll wait and see what the prosecutors decide to make public about that.

But certainly Rudy Giuliani has created liability for President Trump and it goes back to Rudy's work last year when he was a vocal defender of Trump against the Mueller investigation, and he started to dig into Ukraine to offer a counter theory to the Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

It was through that that many people I talked to in the White House around Trump believe that he established a -- he had this direct line to Trump and was feeding President Trump all of these theories about the Ukraine, what happened in 2016 election, and then eventually by this year started to get more information that he felt was worth telling the president about the Bidens. That took the president down that trail and fast forward to the July 25 call. You have the president on the phone with the Ukraine president asking for a favor.

[23:39:55]

BENNETT: He wants him to investigate the 2016 elections and the Bidens. And all of that goes back to Rudy Giuliani and the things he had been doing for the president and in the president's defense. What concerns the people around Trump is that they're not sure the president knows about Rudy's other business interests and other things that Rudy Giuliani has been working on.

LEMON: If he doesn't, then he should now, and someone should inform him about it. Jennifer, here is a little of Giuliani's public defense of the president. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And when you tell me that, you know, he should testify because he's going to tell the truth and shouldn't worry, well, that's so silly because it's somebody's version of the truth, not the truth. He didn't have a conversation --

CHUCK TODD, MSNBC HOST: Truth is truth. I don't need to go like --

GIULIANI: No, it isn't truth. Truth isn't truth. The reality is that the president of the United States, whoever he is, has every right to tell the president of another country, you better straighten out the corruption in your country if you want me to give you a lot of money.

Shut up, moron. Shut up. Shut up. You don't know what you're talking about. You don't know about, idiot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: I mean, that behavior from the -- you got the contradicting and insults. Does it benefit this president at all to be so closely tied to Rudy Giuliani at this point?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I don't think so. For a long time, I thought he hasn't done a good job as the president's mouthpiece for sure. But now --

LEMON: Great television.

RODGERS: But now it is getting much worse because now we actually have him, you know, seeming to get the president involved in what is clearly an abuse of power and is likely to lead to his impeachment. Worse than that for Rudy, the thing about this is Rudy is not a public official. So he doesn't file disclosure form. He is not limited in where he gets his income. He doesn't have to comply with conflicts of interest so as an ethics rule. So, we don't know where he gets his money. We don't know how much he's getting paid. We don't know what those people want for the money they're giving Rudy Giuliani. So, he's not even acting in the best interest of the American people when he's out there with these conspiracy theories trying to get the president re-elected in the face of what is totally contradictory U.S. policy.

We don't know what he's doing with respect to acting contrary to American interest on behalf of people in foreign countries. So, it just gets worse and worse and worse for Rudy Giuliani and by extension for the president.

LEMON: Brian, you write about Mayor Giuliani's two main jobs. You said, "In the 18 months since Trump hired him as his personal lawyer in April 2018, Giuliani has become a kind of shadow Secretary of State even as he has maintained his foreign consulting business. He has often been treated as a de facto envoy of the U.S. government while abroad, at the same time receiving lucrative consulting and speaking fees from foreign officials and businessmen."

If you can in a short amount of time here because we don't have much time left, who are some of Giuliani's foreign clients? Do you have a sense of what kind of money he is earning from them?

BENNETT: Well, he represented an Iranian-Turkish gold trader named Reza Zarrab, who is facing legal trouble in New York for sanctions- busting. He raised that with administration officials while he was representing Trump as his personal lawyer and telegraphing his influence in that situation.

He went to Armenia for a speech. He gets paid more than $100,000 for speeches. While he was there, they had an official meeting with the secretary of defense of Armenia. They did a formal readout. He was treated like an emissary of the president even though he was there on his personal business.

This is the core of the problem which is he is representing the president as personal lawyer while at the same time keeping his consulting business going. And he told me when I talked to him for the story, he never mixes the two. But his clients seem to mix the two. And the places when he goes to foreign countries, they seem to mix the two.

That is the issue here with Rudy Giuliani and the president, and whether Rudy Giuliani was using his access to the president to enrich himself and make the president vulnerable to these accusations.

LEMON: I think this would not be stood for in any other administration. I don't know why the American people are standing for it in this administration. Thank you, Brian. Thank you, Jennifer. I appreciate it. We'll be right back.

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[23:45:00]

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LEMON: Lots of challenges covering the news in the Trump era especially with the impeachment inquiry heating up. Lifelong New Yorker President Trump is making Florida his permanent residence. The president touted a hero dog from the al-Baghdadi raid and then complained that the dog got more attention than he did. And reportedly he commented at a fundraiser that his wife, first lady Melania Trump, wouldn't cry if he got shot. Let's hope that doesn't happen, by the way.

With all these stories flying by, sometimes you just have to ask yourself, is it news or not? Here to discuss is Catherine Rampell and Philip Bump. Hello to both of you. Good evening. There's a lot to talk about this week.

We got the hero dog, al-Baghdadi. Her name is Conan. I like the name. Trump tweeted a photo of her getting a medal of honor and then bringing her to the White House. All of this while continuing to make up details about the actual raid. He even talked about Conan, the dog, at his rally tonight.

[23:50:00]

LEMON: Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With me, they don't even want -- you know, they actually played it down. And actually I'm happy about this. Conan, the dog, got more publicity than me. I'm very happy about that.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: At one point, the dog's name was classified. He is known for -- not known for liking dogs. So -- but he likes this one.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I mean, not apparently enough to be in the same room as the dog, right? That was Photoshop. The photo, so --

LEMON: Yes. It was funny. It obviously wasn't even -- it was a fake medal.

RAMPELL: Yes. Well, look, is it news that Trump is afraid to be in the same room as a dog given that he uses a dog as an epithet for anyone he dislikes? Probably not. Is it news that the most powerful man in the world can't find a decent Photoshop editor? I don't know. I guess that's significant.

LEMON: Yes.

RAMPELL: But in the grand scheme of things, not the most important.

LEMON: News or not? Are we making too much of this? I should say we because I think it was actually kind of funny and whatever, you know.

PHILIP BUMP, NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON POST": Yes.

LEMON: Except that the dog's name wasn't supposed to be out there. But the whole medal thing was -- you know, who cares, really?

BUMP: The medal thing, who cares, really? I think it is interesting that Donald Trump has seized upon this dog because he recognizes people like dogs, even people who don't like President Trump or tweeting pictures of the dog. I think that he recognizes that he has something that is marketable.

LEMON: Yes. He announced that he has plans to make Palm Beach, Florida his permanent residence after leaving the White House instead of returning to Trump Tower in New York City. He complains that -- Trump complains that he has been -- this is a quote -- "treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state." What is that about, Philip?

BUMP: Well, that's in part about the investigations that have been opened by prosecutors in New York and in New York State that are looking at President Trump and looking at the Trump Organization. But I think it's sort of fascinating that he's going to go and make Mar-a- Lago his permanent home.

He has spent almost one out of every 10 days of his presidency, he has been at Mar-a-Lago for some portion of that, so he has spent a lot of time at Mar-a-Lago even as president. In light of that, this isn't terrible surprise.

LEMON: I think that's an excuse. Did he talk about taxes or something?

RAMPELL: Yes. He complained about --

LEMON: But he changed the tax code.

RAMPELL: He did change the tax code to make it less favorable to him, if you think he's even paying any taxes, which we'd love to see his tax returns so I could fact check that myself and we can't at the moment.

LEMON: Yes.

RAMPELL: He also complained about how the governor of New York is weaponizing his prosecutors to go after political enemies, which sounds a little bit like projection to me.

LEMON: So he moved to --

RAMPELL: To flee the jurisdiction? I don't know. I mean, we have extradition from Florida. So, if that's the strategy, I don't think it's going to work.

LEMON: The Washington Post has a piece out that is called "Trump's exit from New York for Florida highlights America's growing urban- rural divide."

It says, "Among the various culture wars dividing the country, one that has become increasingly visible under a Trump presidency is the urban-rural divide. Perhaps no election in recent history has shed more light than the 2016 race on how differently people in America's more remote areas see issues from residents of metropolitan areas. And despite having been born and raised in arguably America's most iconic city, the president's worldview is most often associated with those far from his urban core."

So, he used to present himself as the ultimate New Yorker, the power that New Yorker represents. I wouldn't say it's arguably America's most iconic city. It is America's most iconic city. So, not anymore. What's going on?

BUMP: Well, I mean, look, this is a guy who is well into his 70s. I think all of us here who live in and around New York are familiar with New Yorkers who in their 70s moved down to Florida. This isn't a new --

LEMON: He's old and he wants to move to Florida.

RAMPELL: I'm from down there. I can confirm a lot of old people.

(LAUGHTER)

RAMPELL: A lot of old New Yorkers.

BUMP: From that aspect, you know.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, everybody wants to live here. Even those who say they don't want to live here, they want to live here. Fact. We'll be right back. Thank you both.

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[23:55:00]

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LEMON: Northern New Mexico's Rio Arriba County has long struggled with the opioid epidemic. Earlier this year, it received $2 million federal grant to help reduce the region's drug overdose death rates, which are nearly four times the current national average.

In this rural area where almost a third of the population lives in poverty, children don't have a lot of options, and that's where Roger Montoya steps in. His community arts center gives young people a safe haven where they can find their talents and a sense of hope. Meet one of this year's top 10 CNN heroes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROGER MONTOYA, CNN HERO: Many of our kids come to us traumatized. We create a healthy environment where young people can discover themselves and a way to contribute. Long neck. Just find the length.

When I see a child's face and spirit come to life, I don't need any more evidence. I know that that kind of joy is what will save them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Roger's program, Moving Arts Espanola, has helped more than 5,000 children and youth. Go to cnnheroes.com right now to vote for him for CNN hero of the year or any of your favorite top 10 heroes. You can vote --

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