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Trump Defiant after Historic Impeachment Probe Vote; Two Court Hearings Test White House Efforts to Defy Subpoenas. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired November 1, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The House takes the next step forward, so that the public can see the facts for themselves.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): It is a sad day. It really is, for this country. What the Democrats have put our nation through.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (via phone): They gave us absolutely no rights. I didn't have one negative Republican vote.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): There's a pretty consistent narrative hear about what took place.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did sit in the hearing, and Tim Morrison absolutely did not say that there was quid pro quo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He confirms Ambassador Taylor's version of the events. That's extremely damning for the president.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: My gosh, look at that beautiful sunrise there over the Manhattan sky -- city skyscrape [SIC]. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, November 1, 6 a.m. here in New York.
John Berman is off. John Avlon joins me. Thank you for being here.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST/ANCHOR: Good morning, on a big day.
CAMEROTA: Great to have you.
AVLON: Happy post-Halloween.
CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. I'm still in a candy coma. We begin with President Trump's response to that historic vote in the
House to take the impeachment inquiry public. In a new interview, the president signals he will not cooperate with the impeachment proceedings, probably not a surprise. And he now says his conversation with Ukraine's president was, quote, "a good call." And even says he might read that transcript to the American people in a televised fireside chat.
The president also expressed satisfaction with the testimony of his former top adviser on Russia, Tim Morrison, who backed up the notion of a quid pro quo. However, he did not think there was anything illegal about the Trump Ukraine call.
AVLON: Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also speaking out in a new interview and defending the investigation, saying that President Trump's alleged wrongdoing is something Democrats cannot ignore.
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff says they plan to make transcripts of the closed-door depositions public as early as next week.
While House Dems have a full witness list next week, although it's unclear who's actually going to show up, especially since the court case that will decide if subpoenaed White House officials are required to appear is not expected to be resolved until after the public hearings in November.
Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux, live on Capitol Hill. Suzanne, what's the latest?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, it was just moments after the House voted to move the impeachment inquiry into the public domain that I asked the chairs of those committees, whether or not they're ready to announce who they want as witnesses and just how soon. They said they are not yet ready to do that.
But President Trump making it very clear that he is fighting this process all the way, starting with wooing and unifying Senate Republicans.
PELOSI: The yeas are 232. The nays are 196.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): With a strike of her gavel, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats' impeachment inquiry moving into its next phase.
PELOSI: What are we fighting for? Defending our democracy for the people.
MALVEAUX: Moving the impeachment investigation to public hearings for the American people to see. Democrats expressing concerns as they move forward.
SCHIFF: We take no joy in having to move down this road and proceed with the impeachment inquiry. But neither do we shrink from it.
PELOSI: He's not worth impeaching, because it's even going to divide the country further than he has already divided it. But this was something that you could not ignore.
MALVEAUX: A defiant President Trump signaling he will not cooperate with the inquiry, telling "The Washington Examiner," he wants to do a fireside chat on live television, where he will read the transcript of the call. Adding, "Everybody knows I did nothing wrong."
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): I think this is just more, you know, stunt, and showmanship from the president, at a time that I think he and my Republican colleagues in Congress need to get serious about what's at stake.
MALVEAUX: The vote happening at the same time investigators were questioning Tim Morrison for more than eight hours behind closed doors. President Trump's former top adviser on Russia telling lawmakers he was told Trump wanted a top Ukrainian official to publicly announce investigations that would stand to benefit the president politically before he would unfreeze nearly $400 million in military aid.
Morrison corroborating key elements of Ambassador Bill Taylor's testimony. Morrison, who listened in on Trump's July 25 phone call, said, "I want to be clear, I was not concerned that anything illegal was discussed."
Still, he did have concerns, such as a potential leak, and "how it would play out in Washington's polarized environment."
The White House claiming Morrison's testimony as a victory for President Trump, according to a senior official. House Republicans echoing that statement.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Morrison's testimony is very damaging to the Democrat narrative.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tim Morrison absolutely did not say there was quid pro quo.
MALVEAUX: But House Democrats seeing Morrison's deposition differently.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's hard to see how they interpreted it that way. He really confirmed the facts of what has been testified to by people like Ambassador Taylor.
MALVEAUX: While most lawmakers are out of Washington, they're going back to their home states for a week-long recess to explain to the constituents what was behind their votes. It is going to be a very busy week for the impeachment inquiry.
The hope is, is that the former national security adviser, John Bolton, will testify on Thursday. That, of course, depends on a court ruling in the federal court. Whether or not it rules that the White House does and has the authority to block former White House officials from testifying -- John.
BERMAN: Thank you, Suzanne.
AVLON: Meanwhile President Trump insists in a new interview that the impeachment investigation will backfire on Democrats. What are the risks, as the inquiry moves to a new public phase? We're going to discuss that and more, next.
CAMEROTA: In a new interview, President Trump insists that the impeachment investigation will backfire on Democrats. The investigation is now entering a new public phase after lawmakers voted largely along party lines to authorize the inquiry, though two Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the probe.
Joining us now to talk about it, we have CNN senior global affairs analyst Bianna Golodryga; and Rachael Bade, congressional reporter for "The Washington Post." Great to have you guys here in studio.
OK. So let's talk about this "Washington Examiner" interview that President Trump gave after the vote, so that we can sense how he's responding to this historic vote. He says that it was a good call. He continues to say -- he didn't say a perfect call yesterday.
AVLON: He's downgraded it from perfect to good.
CAMEROTA: From perfect to good. He said it was a good call with President Zelensky. He stands by that. And he says that he wants to bring it to life for the American people.
Here's his plan: "At some point, I'm going to sit down, perhaps as a fireside chat, on live television, and I will read the transcript of the call, because people have to hear it."
That would be awesome. No. 1. You know, I like a good dramatic reading.
AVLON: A good dramatic reading.
CAMEROTA: But I don't know who -- if he would play both parts, Rachael, or just one part?
AVLON: That's an audition opportunity.
CAMEROTA: Here's another opportunity for "Saturday Night Live" this weekend.
AVLON: Please, if you're listening. RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No. I mean, what planet is he
living on that he thinks reading this transcript for the American people, it's going to help him in any way. There are a lot of Republicans who say the transcript is bad, and sure, they're saying it's not impeachable.
But if he thinks this is a good defense, somebody needs to get to him and say, we have to have a chat here. There's another take-away I would have from this "Washington Examiner: story, and that is he says he's not going to cooperate with the House investigation, even though they have this vote. I mean, for weeks the White House and Republicans were just pummeling Pelosi and the Democrats saying this is a fraud. This is not a real impeachment. They've got to have the vote. They have the vote.
He's still not going to cooperate. And he has this plan to read this transcript. And he's -- he's also saying this Trump appointee, who testified yesterday that there was a quid pro quo, is going to be his star witness. I mean, clearly --
CAMEROTA: And we will get to that.
BADE: -- if that's their defense, they're really in trouble.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: That's where the bar is so low, just because Tim Morrison said he didn't think anything illegal happened gives the president time to say this is a great day.
And thank you, Tim Morrison, for clearing my name. In fact, you do know that he said, yes. He corroborated that there was, in fact, a quid pro quo in his opinion and that it could do damage to U.S. foreign policy in particular, regard -- regarding national security and Ukraine.
But are we going to hear the president talk about the transcript and read it the way he sent it out or with the ellipses? And which version are we going to hear from the president?
AVLON: Do you get the remix? Do you get the unedited, uncut?
So the other key point about this, is look, the fourth time in American history that a president is brought up on impeachment charges. The last two times, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, there were bipartisan margins. Not so yesterday. And this is a political problem, as well as potentially a practical problem.
Let's take a listen to Nancy Pelosi address the fact. In the past, she said she wanted a bipartisan vote before going forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, CBS'S "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Back in March, you said you would go forward if it was bipartisan.
PELOSI: No, I hoped. COLBERT: Kevin McCarthy said why -- what's changed about that?
PELOSI: No, no, I didn't say I would go for it if it's bipartisan. I said I would hope that it would be bipartisan. But if they're not going to honor their oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, I cannot be held up by that, whether it's in the House or in the Senate.
BERMAN: Rachael, you've done some amazing reporting on it. Here's the big question. There are 18 Republicans who are retiring rather than run again for their House seats coming up.
None of them moved over, despite some of them being critics of Donald Trump. What does that say about the path going forward?
BADE: I mean, it doesn't bode well for Democrats in terms of peeling off Republicans for this big impeachment vote that they're going to have in a couple of weeks.
I mean, just think about it. As they were out there voting on the floor, Morrison was testifying that the quid pro quo -- and, yes, he didn't use that phrase -- was real and that military aid was withheld specifically for an investigative purpose.
I mean, if Republicans are seeing these headlines right now, and they're still willing to vote against an impeachment inquiry, just imagine how much pressure they're going to be under from the president not to break on an impeachment vote.
On that clip that you just played on Pelosi, she did say it needed to be bipartisan. She also said she needed a majority of voter support to move forward with impeachment. She didn't have either of those.
But she was really -- felt like this is something that was different, and she had no choice but to move forward. And the polls are showing it's paying off right now, and that the polls are moving in her direction. But I mean, clearly, she --
CAMEROTA: Well, yes and no. I mean, the national polls are moving in his direction, but as we've seen the battleground state polls are not. They are opposed to the impeachment inquiry.
And just a fact checker. I mean, just to prove your point in "The Washington Post," here is exactly what she said, in March. This is what Nancy Pelosi said: "Impeachment is so divisive to the country that, unless there's something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don't think we should go down that path, because it divides the country and he's just not worth it. And so I mean, it's not bipartisan.
GOLODRYGA: No. But look at the date. That was prior to knowing anything we now know about Ukraine. Right? This was just something that we've been learning about in the past two months. This has been happening behind closed doors.
[06:15:03] And I agree with you that we haven't seen any Republicans change their view thus far, but these have been closed-door hearings. What happens when we start to hear these witnesses come out for public testimony, if the American public, if their constituents, I know that they're now under the pressure of the president, if they're starting to be under pressure from their constituents, which we haven't quite seen yet. But if we have public hearings, that may change.
CAMEROTA: Ladies, thank you very much.
AVLON: Thank you, guys.
CAMEROTA: Democrats have been negotiating for former national security adviser John Bolton's testimony. But that might not happen. We'll explain why.
AVLON: Impeachment investigators have a busy week lined up next week with at least eight hearings on the books, including one for national security adviser John Bolton. But it's unlikely that Bolton will show up, especially since the court cases that will decide if subpoenaed White House officials are required to appear won't be resolved for at least another month.
Joining us now to discuss that more, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig was in the courtroom during the hearings yesterday.
CAMEROTA: That's helpful.
AVLON: Yes. I like the first-person experience there. In addition to Bianna Golodryga joining us again.
All right. Elie, let's start. You were there where it happened in the courtroom, two dueling hearings, one regarding Don McGahn, the other regarding Kupperman, which has an impact, as he was Bolton's deputy.
They set the next hearing date for December 10. And you say this is the courts at warp speed. That's probably too late to impact impeachment. Is this really the fastest courts can go, and impeachment's at stake?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: It's a sobering reality check that I'm used to from practicing in the federal courts, that even when the courts are pushing at max speed, it may not be fast enough for impeachment because of the short schedule we're on here.
There was a moment when the judge was setting the briefing schedule in the Kupperman case, having already gone out of his way to say this is of utmost national importance. We have to push as fast as we can. And one of the lawyers said, Judge, one of the deadlines that you gave us for a briefing is really close to Thanksgiving. Can we have a couple of extra days? And the judge said in a matter of this consequence, you need to roll
up your sleeves and get the job done. And with all that, we're going back on December 10.
CAMEROTA: Ay, yi, yi.
AVLON: And by the way, it's November 1, people.
CAMEROTA: But -- but was the judge inclined to force Kupperman and Bolton to go and testify to congressional investigators or not?
HONIG: That judge didn't give -- that judge kept a pretty good poker face, the judge in the Kupperman case. Now, the two cases were -- were related. One was in Courtroom 17. One was in Courtroom 18. And the judges kept cross-referencing each other. In fact, some of the lawyers who started off in the McGahn hearing, when 4 p.m. came for the Kupperman hearing, left and walked down to the hall and did the Kupperman hearing.
Now, the McGahn judge, I think, clearly showed an inclination that she was going to order McGahn to testify. I think she was very skeptical of this absolute immunity argument that the DOJ was raising. She's essentially said how can you take this position, given our constitutional checks and balances that Congress has just no ability to compel executive branch witnesses?
I think she's going to rule that McGahn has to testify. The judge in the Kupperman case did note, however, that the Bolton issue, he said if John Bolton may become part of this case, he said I think it raises the exact same issue as Kupperman. So we could see sort of a two-fer over there.
AVLON: There's a high likelihood he will. We should read a quote from the district Judge Jackson directly related to this, said, quote, "We don't live in a world where your status as a former executive branch official somehow shields you or prevents you from giving information."
I mean, Bianna, this goes to the heart of the issue of sort of absolute immunity they seem to be arguing, which one might say they're also sort of making up.
GOLODRYGA: Well, making up and buying time with, right? Which is, even if it is warp speed, we're talking about December 10. For the American public, that seems like light ages from now, right?
So you talk about what we're going to hear next week, and I think the bar for hearing John Bolton is very low right now. I think we're probably not going to hear from him for that very reason.
He could have said, listen, if you subpoena me, I will show up like so many other witnesses did. He did not. He let the ground work put on the table, a record of his objecting to what he saw transpire, which is why he told many of those who had testified to go to White House counsel. Right? There is a record of where he stood.
And he has not spoken out, through many of these sources that we know he has in the media about what we have heard through this testimony, which is that he objected to Rudy Giuliani's role throughout all of this, so that he wasn't going to be a part of this drug deal. That is clear that he wanted out there and he hasn't objected to it. The question is will we hear from him going forward?
CAMEROTA: OK. Now, let's talk about this news item, courtesy of our friend Maggie Haberman. President Trump and first lady Melania are apparently moving. They are leaving New York, which has been their primary residence. They have filed the paperwork, Elie, to move to Florida, and I guess, live at Mar-a-Lago? Is that the deal?
AVLON: Yes, I mean, you know, as many New Yorkers often do at a certain stage of life.
CAMEROTA: Snow birds.
AVLON: Move to Florida.
CAMEROTA: So that, I guess, makes sense for tax purposes.
HONIG: It could be for tax purposes. It could be, look, the local authorities here have been giving him a hard time. I mean not that you can escape the reach of the D.A. or the A.G. by moving to Florida. If only it was that easy.
But they're going after him. Cy Vance is subpoenaing the tax records and is investigating the Trump Organization. The New York A.G. essentially ran on a platform of I'm going to get this guy.
CAMEROTA: And the mayor and governor haven't been, I would say, fans.
GOLODRYGA: What did the governor say? He's yours, Florida.
AVLON: Take him, he's yours.
CAMEROTA: Don't let the door help you on your --
AVLON: Here, we got it right here. "Good riddance. It is not like Mr. Trump paid taxes here anyway. He's all yours, Florida." That's your Governor Andrew Cuomo.
But OK, you know, in his statement, President Trump really kind of played the victim card about this but, Bianna, is this about being harassed by local officials? Is this about taxes? Is this about re- election politics? Florida, swing state. Because this is unprecedented, for a president to switch his residence.
GOLODRYGA: Well, what isn't unprecedented about the president and the situation we're in now? And it could well be all three. Right? We know how he is viewed here in New York by a majority of New Yorkers, and he spends the majority of his time in Florida to begin with.
So from a tax purposes standpoint, from an appeals standpoint, from a popularity standpoint, it would make more sense.
CAMEROTA: And reelection --
GOLODRYGA: And he said he'd spend the next five years at the White House, his favorite residence.
AVLON: Well, hey, President Trump, Florida man.
OK. Another new fire breaking out overnight in Southern California. We've got a live report from the area, on this dangerous situation. That's next.