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Trump Sticks To Message That Impeachment Is A Hoax; President Pitches Fireside Chat To Read Ukraine Call Transcript; Democratic Presidential Candidates Barnstorm Iowa; Two Democrats Voted Against Impeachment Resolution; Impeachment Resolution Sets Rules For Public Hearings; No Republicans Voted To Back House Impeachment Resolution; Police: Teen Tried To Hire Hitman To Kill School Employee. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 2, 2019 - 20:00   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thank you for being here.

The impeachment inquiry may be moving ahead but the president's defense is sticking with his usual playbook, himself. And the president, once again, proving to be the sole architect of his messaging, talking to reporters about the impeachment inquiry just moments ago on the White House lawn.

CNN White House Correspondent, Jeremy Diamond is there now. He is joining us.

Jeremy, you asked the president about that inquiry and whether administration officials would be allowed to testify. What did the president have to say?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. Well, we know that the White House has already made attempts to block some current and former administration officials from testifying in this impeachment inquiry and so next week, as we see more witnesses coming forward, I asked the president whether he would allow those White House officials to go to the Hill and testify. Here is his response.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: You'll have to speak to the lawyers. Nancy Pelosi has become unhinged. There is something wrong with her. If you look at what's happening, if you look at the poll numbers, if you look at the poll numbers in the swing states, they're saying, don't do this. Don't do it. I'm fine with it. We did absolutely nothing wrong. We had a totally appropriate -- I even say perfect conversation with the president of Ukraine. Everybody knows it.

The Republicans have never been this unified. I'm at the highest level I've ever been at, but the Republicans have never been this unified and this whole impeachment scam, that's exactly what it is, it's a scam, it's a hoax. The Democrats are using it for political purposes to try and win an election that they're not going to win.


DIAMOND: And, Ana, beyond those comments, the president also directed me to speak with White House lawyers about whether those White House officials will be testifying. Two of the witnesses set to testify on Monday are White House lawyers actually, John Eisenberg and Michael Ellis. They have already been subpoenaed by the House in this inquiry. It's not clear yet if they will appear for those depositions.

CABRERA: And, Jeremy, the president's call with President Zelensky of Ukraine, of course, started all of this. The president was also asked about whether he'd meet with Zelensky, right?

DIAMOND: That's right. The president was asked and, look, this is something that the Ukrainians have been seeking from the beginning. It was part of this quid pro quo, in fact. It was the fact the White House was holding up a White House meeting, according to numerous current and former officials.

Here is the president tonight when he was asked whether Zelensky would be coming to the White House.


TRUMP: I think he'll probably come, but I would certainly say I'd invite him. He is a nice man. I spoke to him twice. I think I spoke to him two times. I would love to have him come to the White House if he'd like to come, and I think he'd like to come. I think he'd be here very quickly. He is a good man. He was elected on the basis of corruption. Corruption is incredible in Ukraine, which bothered me a lot. And it also bothered me very, very much that Germany, France and all of these other countries aren't putting up money.


DIAMOND: Ana, of course, the question is what is indeed the hold up? The president has the ability to invite the president of Ukraine. We know that the Ukrainian president has been seeking a White House meeting since he was inaugurated last spring. And, in fact, he pressed the president when he met with him in person at the United Nations General Assembly back in September for a White House meeting. And yet it seems there is no meeting so far on the schedule. Ana?

CABRERA: Okay, Jeremy Diamond at the White House for us.

Let's get some expert analysis now. CNN Legal Analyst, Renato Mariotti is a former federal prosecutor and hosts the On Topic podcast, and CNN Senior Political Analyst, Ron Brownstein is a Senior Editor for The Atlantic.

Ron, the White House press secretary tweeted this tonight, marketing President Trump is getting things done and Democrats as doing nothing because of the focus on impeachment. Do you see that resonating beyond Trump's base?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it is hard to make that case, right? I mean, the House Democrats have had extraordinary unity in passing a pretty ambitious agenda, a sweeping political reform measure, probably the most sweeping they have ever passed, gun control legislation, LGBTQ equality legislation, they're working on prescription drug legislation. And all of this has passed with virtual unanimity among House Democrats. And Mitch McConnell has refused to even bring any of it to the floor.

I mean, so they have a case. They can go back to their voters and say, we have been working on what we were sent here to do but this arose. I mean, I think the point that's missing in all of this argument from the White House is the Democratic leadership at least did not want to go down the road of impeachment. And then the evidence emerged about what happened in Ukraine. And they felt that it was unavoidable at that point.

CABRERA: And now, impeachment is sucking up all of this oxygen, Ron.


We have an ABC News/Washington Post poll found the country really divided evenly pretty much over whether President Trump should be impeached and removed from office with 49 percent saying yes, 47 percent saying no. Are Democrats playing a dangerous game here by putting so much stock into this inquiry and so much focus on the inquiry and not focusing more on those so-called kitchen table issues?

BROWNSTEIN: Right. First, for some perspective. With Bill Clinton's support for his removal from office never reached above about 35 percent. For Richard Nixon, it only got as high as it is now for Donald Trump in the very last Gallup Poll before he left office in August 1974. So a 49/47 split is actually, given the magnitude of what you're talking about, removing a president from office, is a pretty big number in support of that.

If you look inside that poll, there is a warning sign though for Democrats. The groups that they rely on most, young people, college educated white women and minorities, they are there on impeachment. 60 percent or more of them say Trump should be removed. If you look at the groups where they're hoping to improve in 2020, those blue collar white women, those college white men, white Catholics in particular, all of those groups are around 40 percent on impeachment. This is not without political risk, Ana.

But I would say the fact that all but two of the House Democrats from districts that Trump carried in 2016 voting for the inquiry this week is probably a pretty good sign that they now feel that the evidence is sufficient that they can defend this move, because as you know, it was precisely those members who were reluctant to go forward on the Mueller charges and that was part of the reason why the Democratic leadership did not.

CABRERA: Right, and let me ask about that coming up in just a bit. But, first, Renato, about the White House stonewalling efforts, Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman says he is now seeking, quote, judicial clarity between following Congress' subpoena or a White House order not to testify. A judge now setting a hearing for December, that's like a month out. So if this next hearing isn't until December, Renato, is this an effective strategy now to block certain testimonies, stall until it is perhaps too late?

RENATO MARIOTTI, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think so. And, frankly, Ana, we've seen this strategy unfolding for quite some time, and I think it has been effective for the White House to delay. In this case, Kupperman brought that suit and the judge said, I'm going to do this as fast as possible.

This is an urgent matter. And then he set a hearing for early December. And so I think that gives you a sense of even when the courts are acting quickly, it may not be quickly enough for our political calendar. And so I would regard all of the stonewalling strategies right now by the White House as a stall tactic.

CABRERA: Congress also wants to hear from John Bolton, right? He shares an attorney with Kupperman. We don't know yet if he will show or follow Kupperman's lead. But, Renato, how crucial are Kupperman's and Bolton's testimony?

MARIOTTI: Well, Bolton's testimony, I think, has the potential to blow this whole thing wide open. I mean, Bolton was a very senior official, obviously, National Security Adviser. He has a very substantial reputation in his home. And I think that if he came forward and decided to go negative on the president, that could really change the direction of the inquiry.

As it is now, I think the Democrats have very substantial evidence, if not, overwhelming evidence, that there was a quid pro quo. And that's why you're seeing some Republicans start to acknowledge that publicly and say, well, it's not impeachable but there was a quid pro quo.

CABRERA: And now we are moving into this public hearing phase where the American public will be able to hear from these witnesses. Donald Trump Jr. has a new book coming out. And in it, he criticizes Robert Mueller, saying Democrats put Mueller before Congress and the public, quote, so he could stutter and babble his way through five hours of testimony. This is according to an excerpt obtained by the New York Times. CNN has not obtained a copy of this book.

Ron, bottom line, public hearings did not move the needle on public opinion after the Mueller hearing. Do you expect it would be different this time?

BROWNSTEIN: I think it could be a little different but I don't think it's going to be vastly different. I mean, look, a support for removal or keeping Trump in office is largely converging with his approval rating, right? And so -- and given that, that probably that the highest support for removing, he can get is somewhere in the low to mid 50s at the absolute best. I was part of a group of columnists that interviewed Nancy Pelosi earlier this week. And she said to us, this is no longer a 70 percent country. I mean, we're never going to get to that point. We are so polarized that it's never going to happen.

And I think the interesting question here is, really, what do Senate Republicans ultimately do? Because the overall public opinion is less important in some ways to them than what it is among Republicans. Republicans are now sticking with the president.

It is worth noting though that even at the very end of Watergate, when Senate Republicans went to Nixon and said, your support is crumbling, at that point, 60 percent of Republicans, voters still opposed his removal. So if Senate Republicans are going to break from Trump, they probably are going to have to do so against the dominant view of their party.


CABRERA: Renato, final thought?

MARIOTTI: Yes. I have to say in the weeks to come, I think what will be interesting to see is whether or not the White House shifts its strategy, acknowledges a quid pro quo, and essentially says, well, this can't be punished anyway. I think if that -- that move might, you know, potentially change the entire debate and we might see potentially Republican support for a censure resolution.

CABRERA: All right. Renato Mariotti, Ron Brownstein, gentlemen, thank you both.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

CABRERA: Just as the impeachment inquiry is entering a new public phase, we are getting new major details on the Trump-Russia probe. Yes, flashback to the Russia probe now.

For nearly two years, the Special Counsel's team held a tight grip on its investigation with no leaks. And now, we're seeing what former Trump campaign officials actually said to investigators and to each other in e-mails. One exchange showed that Trump's own people feared an election victory would be tied to Russia.

A mere three days before the 2016 election, Steve Bannon, Trump's campaign CEO, sent an e-mail about Paul Manafort, Trump's ex-campaign chairman, later convicted for criminal financial crimes. Bannon says, quote, we need to avoid this guy. That's Manafort. Like the plague. They are going to try and say the Russians worked with WikiLeaks to give this victory to us.

The new information comes from a freedom of information request. From it, CNN obtained more than 270 pages of interview notes, e-mails, and other documents from the team who did the investigation under Robert Mueller. He stepped down after finishing the report back in May. It's hard to believe it's been that many months.

Let me bring in our CNN Crime and Justice Reporter, Shimon Prokupecz.

Shimon, you've been reading through all of these documents. What else are you finding?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. It's really fascinating to just see how much Donald Trump, but also his family, meetings with family members and his campaign staff, how obsessed they were with trying to learn what was in these WikiLeaks e-mails and how, in some cases, they, themselves, may be able to get their hands on it for political gain.

And then what we learn is that very early on, even, there's a lot of talk about Ukraine right now, and what we find is that Paul Manafort, according to Rick Gates, when he is talking to the FBI agents, he says Paul Manafort, very early on, suggested that perhaps it wasn't Russia that did this hacking and obtained some of the DNC e-mails, that it may actually have been Ukraine.

And what exactly he says, Gates, what the FBI says is that Gates recalled Manafort saying that the hack was likely carried out by the Ukrainians, not the Russians.

CABRERA: And, hence, the seed planted for that conspiracy theory.

PROKUPECZ: That was one of the seeds of many perhaps that was planted inside the president's head, where he started believing that it wasn't the Russians who were behind this hack and obviously it helped him. It would help him politically if he can say, or somehow find, which we see he has been trying to do in some of the conversations, certainly, in the conversation with the Ukrainian president where he brings this up. He brings up this issue of CrowdStrike, the server. CrowdStrike was the company that was hired to go through the DNC servers and find out about this hack.

And so we see this back in 2016 that perhaps Ukraine was behind this hack that some of the seeds were planted as far back as that. And now, we're still seeing some of that go on in some of these conversations that the president is having with world leaders.

CABRERA: And it all comes full circle. Thank you, Shimon Prokupecz, for bringing us that reporting.

President Trump says he wants to try his hand at a fireside chat. The topic? He wants to read the Ukraine call transcript to the public on live T.V. Could it backfire?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: President Trump saying he might take a page from one of his predecessors, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and hold a televised fireside chat to read the transcript of his phone call with Ukraine's president to the American people on live television. He talked about the phone call again at a rally in Mississippi last night.


TRUMP: So I made this call. I had this wonderful call. And the transcript proves it was, as I said, perfect. It was perfect. It wasn't like almost, but it was perfect. It was totally appropriate.

So my phone call, which was totally perfect and appropriate, and if you want to read the transcript, you'll see how perfect it was, but they don't quit. But what you should do is take a look at the behavior of sleepy Joe.


CABRERA: CNN Presidential Historian, Douglas Brinkley is joining us now.

Doug, the fireside chat was great for FDR during a turbulent time in America. Is this a good or bad idea for President Trump?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY, CNN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORICAN: It's a horrific analogy for starters. I mean, Franklin Roosevelt used fireside chats to beam his voice directly into homes that were combating the great depression from 1933 all the way to 1944 into World War II. It was a way of uplifting spirits, making people feel good, exuding optimism.

What President Trump is talking about is kind of a stunt. It's a little more like filibustering in Congress when someone reads The Lorax of Dr. Seuss, like Ted Cruz once did. I don't see much of an upshot for him doing it. It will look bad on film. It's just really, to me, seems just like something he babbled to The Washington Examiner.

CABRERA: Could it backfire?

BRINKLEY: I think it has the potential. I mean, what is it? It's going to look like a hostage film if it's just him trying to read a transcript like that. You know, this idea of fireside chats, people like to steal from history, Jimmy Carter tried to do fireside chats and he wore a cardigan sweater and he got booed and hissed off of the telecast because taking things from the past, claiming it for today, really, this is just what Trump wants to do is defend himself. And he thinks that perhaps him reading it might help. But I'm doubtful.

CABRERA: Let me ask you about the vote on Thursday, where the House voted almost along perfect party lines in that resolution to formalize impeachment rules.


Back in 1998, more than 30 Democrats actually voted with Republicans to move forward in the investigation of Bill Clinton. Critics say the vote here shows that the process is purely political. Is it fair to compare those two results? BRINKLEY: I think it is fair in this regard. I mean, it used to be the so-called establishment, the government of the United States, people that put country above party, above money was bipartisan. So in the 1960s and 1970s, '80s, even into the '90s, we had a much more robust possibility of people doing things in unity for the best of the country.

We have become deeply polarized since 2000. It really began with George W. Bush, versus Al Gore when Gore won the popular vote and Bush wasn't seen as the real president. And so for the 21st century, people are just digging their heels into their corner.

And it is kind of mindboggling to think that what I think is a very clear case for Congress to move forward with the impeachment inquiry, you have no Republicans willing to stand up in Congress because to do so would be to just get drummed basically out of the GOP. We've seen other weekly heroes that criticized Trump and they end up disappearing without a job before too long.

So each side now, this is going to develop into a very partisan affair, until it gets to the senate trial and you have Mitt Romney, and you might start having some senators think in more historic terms of what this means for their own legacies.

CABRERA: Yes. Doug, during the World Series, game seven, the Trump campaign read a 30-second ad that listed his accomplishments on terrorism, the economy, on immigration. Watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Trump is changing Washington, creating 6 million new jobs, 500,000 new manufacturing jobs, cutting illegal immigration in half, obliterating ISIS, their caliphate destroyed, their terrorist leader dead.

But the Democrats would rather focus on impeachment and phony investigations.


CABRERA: And the tag line here being he's no Mr. Nice Guy. Does that foreshadow perhaps the tone of the next year of campaigning?

BRINKLEY: Without question. The no Mr. Nice Guy, Donald Trump is going to use it to his favor, that's what Richard Nixon did when he sought re-election in 1972. Nobody really loved Nixon. People understood that there was a dark persona operating. But the country was comfortable enough with Nixon, meaning they didn't want to tilt too far to the left. And Donald Trump is going to say, I may not be great but the economy is doing well, we're not in a recession, historic lows of unemployment, you might as well stick with me instead of taking a chance.

So the word here though that Donald Trump fears most is recession. He could perhaps survive impeachment, maybe even get empowered out of it, but he only has a 40 percent approval rating. And if the economy goes sideways on him in any way, shape, or form, that's when Trump gets vulnerable. And, incidentally, Ana, it takes a lot of money to buy a commercial in the seventh game of a World Series. It tells you that Donald Trump has a war chest and they're already starting to use it.

CABRERA: Yes, speaking loud and clear with that as well.

Douglas Brinkley, thank you. It's good to have your perspective.

BRINKLEY: Thank you.

CABRERA: Beto O'Rourke is no longer a 2020 contender. This as CNN is learning Julian Castro staffers are also leaving, and he is not standing in their way. We're live to Iowa, next.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: The nation's first presidential nominating contest takes place in just over 90 days, the Iowa caucuses on February 3rd. Leading Democratic candidates are campaigning there this weekend. And we just heard from a few, it comes amid significant developments in the race, Beto O'Rourke ending his candidacy, Julian Castro down but not out, at least not yet. As for the top tier, new polling shows a very tight race in Iowa. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg are all within six points of each other.

And CNN's Leyla Santiago joins us now from Iowa.

Fill us in on what the candidates are saying there and how voters are reacting.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Listen, the candidates are all over Iowa. You have some of the NAACP Economic Forum, you have some doing town halls, Pete Buttigieg launching his bus tour and even a fish fry. So, yes, you get my point, right? It's a busy weekend here in Iowa.

And all of those candidates are trying to distinguish themselves because they are very well aware of the latest poll that shows four people in that top tier, as you mentioned, it is Warren, Buttigieg, Sanders, as well as Biden. And they're trying to either connect with voters through personal stories and pitches on policy that they care about or they're trying to distinguish themselves from each other on where they stand on those issues.

Take a look at healthcare. You've got Warren and Biden really disagreeing. Warren is saying, look, I can fund Medicare-for-all and do it without raising taxes on the middle class. Biden is saying, I don't think so. And then you have Biden and Buttigieg also talking about age. Last night, in Des Moines, Biden said, my age comes with experience. I'm ready on day one in the White House. And Buttigieg is saying, I'm optimistic but it has nothing to do with my age. That is just because of my experience. And he really cited his veteran service there.

So as I mentioned earlier, there was a fish fry. I am there. So I talked to voters who were eating that fried fish and asked them what they made of all the candidates. Here are their responses.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My head is for Biden and my heart is for Amy Klobuchar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Booker here, he really had an inspiring, informative on his platform, which really, you know, really undecided.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm kind of somewhere between Biden and Warren.


I like the moderates of Biden, but I like the thought-out, well- planned proposals that Warren talks about, so.


LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This field is changing, however. Yesterday, Congressman Beto O'Rourke dropped out of the race. We reported on that as it was happening. And then my colleague, Dan Merica, today, reporting on Julian Castro and how he is refocusing his campaign not only here in Iowa but also in Nevada and Texas and also encouraging staff members who were looking to move to other campaigns to do so. Ana?

CABRERA: That is telling.

Leyla Santiago, thank you for the recap there in Iowa for us tonight.

Now, when the impeachment vote was counted, 232 Democrats voted yes, but two voted no. Now, their constituents are asking, why?

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: It's the journey that Republicans say is not fair, and top Democrats say they never wanted to go on in the first place. This was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in March of this year.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): -- it's a question when I say what isn't worth our time. I don't think we should impeach a president for political reasons and I don't think we should not impeach a president for political reasons.


CABRERA: That was a firm no on impeachment just eight months ago and here we are now.


PELOSI: This is a sad day. It's a sad day because nobody comes to Congress to impeach a president of the United States, no one.


CABRERA: The sad day as she calls it was Thursday when the full House voted on a bill to formalize the process they'll use to possibly impeach the president. And even though every single Republican voted against, it passed. The GOP is, after all, the minority in the House outnumbered by the Democrats by more than 30.

And while Republicans stayed entirely united, the Democrats were not completely unanimous in pushing the procedure bill ahead. Two House Democrats voted no with the Republicans. One said, he didn't want to further divide the country without more support from the GOP. The other said he wanted to see more facts before he decided.

Both of them are from districts which supported President Trump in the 2016 election. Keep that in mind.

Now, the top Republican in the House says that left/right party divide proves that this process is purely political.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Today, the country just witnessed the only bipartisan vote on that floor was against. The question to the speaker are the same questions I provided in a letter about the unfair process that we had. What has changed since March? In all the hearings, there's nothing compelling, nothing overwhelming. So the speaker should follow her own words on what bipartisan vote on that floor and in the sham that has been putting this country through this nightmare.


CABRERA: Up until now, Republicans in the House have been most outwardly against the process of impeachment proceedings so far. Focusing on how this investigation is being conducted rather than on the impeachable accusations that President Trump misused the power of his office in pressing a foreign leader to conduct investigations that could impact American elections.

Many House Republicans are adamantly against hearings behind closed doors. Here is how they've been reacting to the depositions taking place in secrecy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a sham and it's time for it to end.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): What is happening here is not fair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is Adam Schiff trying to hide?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a total political hit job on the president of the United States.


CABRERA: But the House resolution that passed on Thursday set new rules for future public transparent hearings. Intelligence committee chairman, Adam Schiff, saying, quote, the American people will hear firsthand about the president's misconduct.

Here's where the American people are on the possibility of impeachment right now. This new poll was released after the House voted. Almost exactly along party lines. The question, should Congress impeach and remove President Trump? The results? Almost even nationally.

But broken down by party, the poll shows support for removing the president at 82 percent among Democrats. Forty seven percent among Republicans, rather independents. And just 18 percent of Republicans here responded support ousting the president from office.

Now, the Democrat controlled House, at least, appears more likely to impeach the president. And some advice he got a few days ago looks more practical. Senator Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican controlled Senate reportedly suggested to the president he toned down his attacks on GOP senators. If he is impeached by the House, the Senate, and its relatively thin Republican majority, will then decide if he stays or has to go.

Meantime, two of President Trump's closest allies, Congressman Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows who've had access to the closed door depositions, have been quietly offering guidance to White House lawyers responsible for crafting the president's defense strategy.

And I asked a Congressman Adriano Espaillat, whether he takes issue with this. He also sat through impeachment depositions all week.


REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D-NY): The fact of the matter is that much of this testimony will be open in public very soon. And so they want to advise the president, that's their choice. We were concerned about leaking information. We were concerned about the whistleblower and, whether or not, he was exposed or she was exposed to the general public.


But this is closing soon and that the open process will begin very soon and the American people will then have access to all the testimony, the depositions, the questions were asked of the witnesses, the evidence that we need to have before we push this forward to the judiciary committee.

CABRERA: Right. And that's what the vote was all about this week, it was voting on a resolution --

ESPAILLAT: That's correct. CABRERA: -- when it came to the procedures of this next phase of investigation, including the public hearings and allowing transcripts to be made public as well.

On the day of this vote, the president's campaign says it was their biggest fundraising day in October. Pair that with what we're seeing in the polls and that is Americans are very split right now.

In fact, you can see there, 49 percent support, 47 percent are against impeachment and removal from office. How confident are you that the public is going to get behind this?

ESPAILLAT: This is not a political process. This is not a Republican versus Democratic process. This is a constitutional process. This is about balance of power. This is about whether or not a president of the United States could intimidate a foreign government to investigate one of his political opponents, thereby influencing the results of the next election.

This is about your vote, Ana, and my vote. This is not about Democrats versus Republicans. The majority of the people still feel that there should be an impeachment process and he should be removed, by the way, according to that poll.

But I think as more evidence comes out, as we hear from the lieutenant colonel, as we hear from Taylor, and all those that have refused to come forward, further creating a condition where they could be subject to additional articles of impeachment on obstruction of government. Because if the White House is instructing people not to come forward, and they want to hide information, financial information that we need access to, if they want to continue to cover this up, very often, the cover up is worse than the crime itself.

So they're engaged in this kind of behavior right now, very slippery slope. And I think that the American people will hear, the lieutenant colonel will hear Taylor and others and they will be convinced.

CABRERA: When you say it's not about politics though, you look at the vote and it was completely divided. There was no bipartisanship when it came to those who voted for.

In fact, two Democrats defected. They voted with Republicans against it.

Congressman, does the lack of bipartisanship in that vote concern you?

ESPAILLAT: Well, the Republicans were in the room so this was an open process if you want to consider partisanship. It wasn't just a Democratic impeachment process. It was both parties. Both legal counsels. I'm sure that McCarthy had access to the information that I found to be compelling and credible. And that I'm sure the American people would also find to be compelling and credible.

Even in the Nixon impeachment process, the support for the impeachment process at this stage was much lower than the current impeachment process. I think that once Republicans of good will listen to the evidence, listen to the testimony, they will be compelled, their constituencies will force them to be compelled to be on the side -- the right side of history.


CABRERA: CNN's Fareed Zakaria investigates impeachment and its role in our democracy. CNN's Special Report, "On The Brink: When a President Faces Impeachment," airs next at 9:00 p.m. Eastern here on CNN.



CABRERA: Breaking away from party lines during a sharply divided House vote this week to formalize the impeachment inquiry into President Trump, all voting Republicans opposed the historic resolution in every voting Democrat, except two supported it.

CNN's Alison Kosik has more.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Ana. There were two Democrats who broke from party lines and voted no in the first full vote in the House on impeachment. Congressman Jeff Van Drew who represents the second congressional district of New Jersey and Congressman Collin Peterson who represents the seventh district of Minnesota, they were the only two Democrats to vote against formalizing the procedures for the House impeachment rules.

So, why did they side with Republicans against this resolution? The Congressmen issued the following statements with Van Drew saying, quote, without bipartisan support, I believe this inquiry will further divide the country, tearing it apart at the seams, and will ultimately fail in the Senate.

However, now that the vote has taken place and we are moving forward, I will be making a judgment call based on all the evidence presented by these investigations. Peterson said this. "This impeachment process continues to be hopelessly partisan. I have been hearing from my constituents on both sides of this matter for months and an escalation of calls this past week just shows me how divided our country really is right now. Without support from Senate Republicans going down this path is a mistake."

Now, constituents of Congressman Van Drew are mixed on how they feel about this vote. Listen.


JILL MILES, NEW JERSEY RESIDENT: I think it was wrong. I think he should have voted to continue with the inquiry after hearing, you know, parts of what the conversation consisted of, I think it should be investigated for sure.

JOHN WALSH, NEW JERSEY RESIDENT: Behind him a hundred percent plus. He thought his mind and not the party. That's exactly it.


KOSIK: After Thursday's vote, Van Drew talked to reporters and we got a little more insight into why he voted no. Van Drew said he was sure there would be an impeachment in the House but if and when it goes to the Senate, he said, it would fail.

Van Drew said he didn't know what would be gained from the impeachment process since President Trump will remain in office and say he was exonerated. His concern is that the focus will be on impeachment and not on issues Americans care about like health care and veterans issues. Ana?

CABRERA: Alison Kosik, thank you.

A Florida student is facing charges for soliciting a hit on a staff member at his school. The chilling text that started it all, next.



CABRERA: This is just into CNN, details of two separate violent attacks in West Africa and ISIS is claiming responsibility. The attacks happened Friday in Mali, and details of what happened are just coming in.

And the biggest attack the government says terrorists attacked an army base and killed 53 soldiers and at least one civilian, making it one of the country's deadliest attacks in years.

ISIS fighters are using their social media channels now to claim responsibility. It's not the first violent attack claimed by ISIS since the death of the group's founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last weakened. ISIS says they killed an Iraqi soldier near Baghdad on Thursday.

Also just into CNN, a federal judge blocking another Trump administration program targeting people trying to enter the United States.

Today, a federal judge in Oregon put a temporary restraining order on a policy set to go into effect this weekend that would deny visas to immigrants who cannot afford U.S. health insurance. A group of U.S. citizens filed a lawsuit when the president announced the program last month. The lawsuit calls it a new form of family separation. No word yet on how long this restraining order delays the program or what exactly it means for the legal challenges to it.

Returning home to nothing is the reality. Thousands of families in California are up against as firefighters struggle to control more than a dozen fast-moving wildfires. The biggest fire right now is the Kincade fire. It has destroyed more than 77,000 acres in Sonoma County, since it started over a week ago.

Some good news though, most of the wildfires are more than half contained.


A Florida teen is now facing charges after authorities say he tried to find a hitman to kill a school employee. Investigators allegedly found incriminating private direct messages on an Instagram account registered to the 18-year-old suspect.

Police say he confessed to sending the messages. The Pasco County Sheriff read excerpts of the Instagram messages at a press conference. Listen.


SHERIFF CHRIS NOCCO, PASCO COUNTY, FLORIDA: I need a guy who could kill someone. Another quote was, "We have $100,000 for the victim's head. And the third quote was, no joke. I need him eliminated as soon as possible.


CABRERA: That suspect is facing a charge of first-degree attempt to solicit murder.

We'll be right back.


CABRERA: Women make up a small fraction of convicted killers. In fact, just 11 percent. So what accounts for this gender divide when it comes to the worst type of crime? CNN's Lisa Ling looks at that question in this week's episode of "THIS IS LIFE" where she talked to a woman who strangled her own infant daughter.


LISA LING, CNN HOST (voice-over): In her final weeks of pregnancy, Sara spent hours scouring the internet for the best diaper brands, paranoid about screwing anything up. Then, at long last, the baby arrived.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was my first time staying in a hospital.


CABRERA: Unfortunately, we don't have that video for some reason.

Just a reminder, though, you can catch Lisa Ling tomorrow, "THIS IS LIFE." It's tomorrow night at 10:00 Eastern here on CNN. That's going to do it for us tonight.