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Key Impeachment Witnesses Closed-Door Testimony Released; Not All From The Nationals Team Like President Trump; Rudy Giuliani's Associate, Lev Parnas, In Talks With Impeachment Investigators; Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) Is Interviewed About What The House Investigators Will Do On Defying Congressional Subpoenas; All Four White House Officials Scheduled To Testify Today Are No-Shows; Buffalo Wild Wings Employees Fired After Alleged Racist Incident. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired November 4, 2019 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: -- for Sean Spicer in Dancing with the Stars. He is a great and very loyal guy who is working very hard. Hash tag MAGA.
What more can you say? The news continues. Let's turn things over to Don Lemon and "CNN TONIGHT."
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon. Thank you so much for joining us.
Tonight, House Democrats are handing -- are handing Republicans exactly what they claim that they wanted publicly, to publicly release the closed-door testimony from two big witnesses in the impeachment inquiry.
Well, the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, who was abruptly recalled in May, and Michael McKinley, a former top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who quit last month, and what they have to say tells a story of the ambassador booted -- how she got booted from her job, because she was getting in the way of what the president wanted.
That was a deliverable, a public announcement by Ukraine of investigations of the Bidens and the DNC. At times the testimony sounds like what you'd hear in an organized crime case honestly.
The ambassador asked what the president meant when he said, on that infamous Ukraine call, she's going to go through some things.
Quote, "I don't know what it meant. I was very concerned. I still am. Question. Did you feel threatened? Answer. Yes."
The ambassador feel threatened, and it probably didn't help when she heard from a top foreign service official that there was a lot of concern for her security and she needed to be on the next plane out of Ukraine.
But it turns out what she needed to be protected from was the president's favorite weapon, and that is a tweet.
Quote, "The reason they pulled me back is that they were worried that if I wasn't, you know, physically out of Ukraine, that there would be, you know, some sort of public either tweet or something else from the White House."
And the president still seems to have a grudge against Ambassador Yovanovitch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I really don't know her, but if you look at the transcripts, the president of Ukraine was not a fan of hers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But it wasn't just warnings from her State Department colleagues that had the ambassador spooked. She also testified that she was warned by the Ukrainians that something was up and that Rudy Giuliani was in deep.
Question. "Did you ever have any conversations after November -- December 2018 with Ukrainian officials about Mr. Giuliani up until the time that you left in May? Answer. I think perhaps in the February time period, I did where one of the senior Ukrainian officials was very concerned and told me I really need to watch my back."
And when Ambassador Yovanovitch called E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland for advice, he told her, go big or go home. You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the president and that all these are lies and everything else.
Going on to say, you know the president. Well, maybe you don't know him personally, but you know. You know the sorts of things that he likes. You know, go out there battling aggressively, and, you know, praise him or support him.
Advice that any foreign career service officer would be pretty reluctant to take. And this is really amazing, even for a president who spends his mornings in executive time watching TV, who seems to believe if it's not on TV, it didn't happen.
Ambassador Yovanovitch testifying that when she was told she was losing her post, she was told that someone, perhaps the secretary of state, would call up Sean Hannity to figure out what was going on.
Yes, that Sean Hannity, the one on fox news. The secretary or perhaps somebody around him was going to place a call to Mr. Hannity on Fox News to say, you know what is going on? I mean do you have proof of these kinds of allegations or not? And if you have proof, you know, tell me, and if not, stop.
Hannity saying tonight on his show the ambassador was barely mentioned. Then a few seconds later saying her name came up a few times, but he denies talking to anyone at the State Department about her.
And speaking of Secretary Pompeo, he seems to be up to his neck in all of this Michael McKinley stuff. His former top adviser testifying that he went to the secretary of state three separate times trying to convince him to put out a statement defending Ambassador Yovanovitch.
And not only did Pompeo not issue a statement defending the ambassador, he didn't react at all to the request. Here's the exchange between intel chairman Adam Schiff and McKinley, and I quote.
"In the first conversation you had with the secretary, you essentially got no response to the request for a statement. Is that accurate? McKinley. That's accurate.
And in the final conversations with the secretary where you raised the matter again, you again got no specific response to that issue when you raised it to the secretary. Is that correct? McKinley. That is correct, yes. And was there a third conversation? McKinley. Yes.
So, I presented my resignation on September 30th. I spoke with the secretary again when he was called from Europe to discuss my resignation. "
Going on to say, "Again, I didn't get a reaction on that point."
So, McKinley goes to Pompeo three times. He resigns specifically because the State Department failed to defend its own people caught up in the impeachment inquiry, and he gets precisely nowhere. And there's more. Pompeo claims that McKinley never talked to him about the ambassador.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: From the time that Ambassador Yovanovitch departed Ukraine till the time that he came to tell me that he was departing, I never heard him say a single thing about his concerns with respect to the decision --
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, CHIEF ANCHOR, ABC NEWS: So, you were never asked to --
POMPEO: Not once. Not once, George, did Ambassador McKinley say something to me during that entire time period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, someone is lying. Is it the person testifying under oath he went to Pompeo three times? We will find out considering that the secretary has been that -- he's been candid on this story before. He was busted. Remember he said this about the Ukraine call. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What do you know about those conversations?
PPOMPEO: So, you just gave me a report about a -- a whistleblower complaint, none of which I've seen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Now even if he hadn't seen the whistleblower's complaint, he was on the call himself. He knew plenty about that conversation. He said so himself a week and a half later.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: As for was I on the phone call, I was on the phone call.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Pompeo versus Pompeo. From McKinley's testimony, Adam Schiff. "At the time you spoke with Secretary Pompeo, were you aware that Secretary Pompeo had been on the call? McKinley. No, not at all. Schiff. And when you raised the issue with him, did he give any indication that, in fact, he was on the call? No."
A lot more tonight on the testimony from Michael McKinley and the Ambassador Yovanovitch but I've said it before. You've got to wonder if the president's defenders really want all of this testimony out in public.
That as the president tried to take his mind off of his impeachment troubles, welcoming the world champion Washington Nationals to the White House today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Throughout this season, the Nationals captured the hearts of baseball fans across the region and across the country. America fell in love with the Nats baseball. They just fell in love with Nats baseball. That's all they wanted to talk about -- that and impeachment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Well, it turns out his mind is on impeachment. The president spending a lot of time at sporting events lately with varied results. You remember the crowd reaction at game five of the World Series.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're joined by the President and First Lady of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: There were some cheers mixed with boos for the president at the UFC bout at Madison Square Garden over the weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: But the president got plenty of love from the Nats who went to the White House today. There were some notable exceptions including reliever Sean Doolittle, who told the Washington Post why he declined to go to the White House.
"There's a lot of things -- policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and the widening of the divide in this country.
My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the shit-hole countries."
Doolittle also talked about his strong feelings on race, mentioning the president's both sides comments after Charlottesville. At the time he tweeted, it's 2017. Actual Nazis just marched on Charlottesville. We have to come together and drive this hatred and domestic terrorism from our country.
And this. There is only one side. Doolittle also told the Post this about his support for the LGBTQ and his wife's two moms, as well as his brother-in-law, who has autism.
He said, "I want to show support for them. I think an important part of allyship, and I don't want to turn my back on them. I have a brother who has autism, and Trump is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How can I explain that to him? That I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff."
Standing up for Americans with disabilities, LGBTQ folks, and people of color -- that is real strength. That's what makes America great.
Why was the president so intent on getting rid of Ambassador Yovanovitch? Is it all about letting Russia off the hook for interfering in the 2016 election?
James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, weighs in next.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: We're getting lots of new details tonight in the impeachment inquiry. House Democrats releasing closed-door depositions from two key witnesses, Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who was fired by President Trump, and Michael McKinley. Michael McKinley is a former top official in the State Department.
I want to bring in James Clapper, who is the Director of National Intelligence, former Director of National Intelligence. Thank you so much, director. I appreciate you joining us.
I want to start with the big picture, OK, because people at home might be thinking so what if Trump fired an ambassador. His administration, his choice. But what we're seeing is Giuliani, the president -- they were fixated on advancing this conspiracy that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. Is that why Yovanovitch was targeted? She was in their way, you think?
JAMES CLAPPER, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, my impression is that I think the real reason is that she was not willing to join in on this corruption and was promoting anti-corruption in Ukraine, which has always been an issue there.
And I think she got in the way of this sort of second channel, if you will, that was trying to do something else than what has been traditionally our policy towards Ukraine.
LEMON: Yovanovitch described the rogue Ukraine policy led by Giuliani as a, quote here, "a kind of partisan game" in that Giuliani and the former Ukrainian prosecutor, quote, "that they had plans and that they were going to, you know, do things, including to me."
Let's be clear here. Yovanovitch was known to be championing anti- corruption in Ukraine. So, if that's really what the president cared about, why was she removed?
CLAPPER: Well, a great question. Well, to me, it's pretty obvious that, again, she got in the way of this second agenda that the president was trying to work via Rudy Giuliani, and her position as ambassador, you know, she had obvious access and connections with senior Ukrainian officials.
So, you had this sort of two voices coming from the United States which were not at all consistent. And, you know, to use the president's phrase, even though he said he didn't know her, he knew her well enough to feel that she was, quote, "bad news" as revealed in the memo of the conversation that the White House released itself.
LEMON: Director Clapper, I just want to read this. It's from one of Rudy Giuliani's recent tweets. "Frenzied Dems proposed impeachment based on at real Donald Trump's acting under article 2, section 3 of the Constitution, asking for an investigation of serious crime committed in 2016 that did great damage to U.S. and Ukraine. Dems are covering up because it's bigger than you think."
Giuliani wanted Ukraine to investigate this discredited conspiracy theory about 2016. He's admitting to all of it right there, isn't he?
CLAPPER: Well, exactly. And of course, this gets to this conspiracy theory that Ukraine was the source of the meddling or at least some meddling. And, you know, at the time when our original intelligence community assessment came out in early January '17 and briefed president -- then President-elect Trump on January 6th at Trump tower, and he said, well, you know, it could have been China. It could have been a 400-pound guy in his bed in New Jersey.
And now we have another theory already debunked and discredited that it was Ukraine. And it wasn't. I can tell you that contemporaneously there was no intelligence whatsoever that the interference was coming from Ukraine. It was coming from Russia, which was validated, at least on a bipartisan basis, by the Senate intelligence committee and in exhausting detail by volume one of Mueller.
LEMON: So again and again, director, then this whole shows that this president still does not believe Russia attacked the United States in the 2016 election despite the intelligence community's conclusions, despite all the briefings that he's had about it and all of the notes and the briefing books that have been written about it. That is a huge problem.
CLAPPER: It is a huge problem, and of course the reason is that if he were to accept it or agree with it, embrace it, well, that casts doubt on the legitimacy of his election because, you know, it was acknowledging he got help from Russia, which he did.
LEMON: Can we talk about this Mike Pompeo angle here and Michael McKinley testified that he raised the idea of sending a statement of support for Yovanovitch three separate times with Pompeo. Pompeo denied that to ABC, but McKinley ended up resigning. Which one of them do you think is telling the truth?
CLAPPER: Well, I know Ambassador McKinley, who is a distinguished foreign service officer. He's served as an ambassador in several different posts, notably and when I interacted with him was when he was the ambassador in Afghanistan, which by any measure is one of the most challenging posts for any ambassador. And he is superb. And so, for me, I believe every word he said.
LEMON: There is also the time where 10 days after evading questions on his involvement with Pompeo confirmed that he was on the Trump- Zelensky call, Pompeo does not come out looking good in any of this. Don't you think?
CLAPPER: Yes, I agree. You know, I actually feel bad about him. Here he is, and I say as a military academy graduate, you know, duty, honor to country and all that, and it reminds me of the metaphor about the moth that flies too close to the burning candle. And that's kind of what has happened here, I think. For me, it's sad.
LEMON: Director Clapper, one other thing before we end our conversation here. CNN obtained some of Mueller's interview notes. Manafort pushed a conspiracy theory blaming Ukrainians for the 2016 election DNC hack along the same lines as Julie -- Rudy Giuliani's fixation. I mean this is a conspiracy that President Trump still wants investigated, and it shows you how long they have been pushing this nonsense.
CLAPPER: Yes. It's ridiculous. And this whole business about, you know, the DNC server, which is ridiculous because when you do a forensic investigation, you don't physically move or seize the server. And that would be a great disincentive to companies to appeal to the FBI for help if, by the way, you've got to go out of business while we seize your server.
So, what is done is an electronic image, which was done in this case. So, this whole business about the server is bogus. And let's assume for the sake of discussion that the Ukraine -- Ukrainians did hack the DNC system, which they did not. This was clearly -- and we have very solid on this. This was from Russia.
But let's just assume for the moment it was from Ukraine. Well, it is -- that is a very small part of the total -- the totality of what the Russians did to interfere in the election in 2016. So, on its face, to me, it's nutty.
LEMON: Director, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.
CLAPPER: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: We've learned a lot about Rudy Giuliani's role at the center of the Ukraine scandal, but does Ambassador Yovanovitch's testimony point to even more trouble for the president's personal attorney?
LEMON: Breaking news tonight. Rudy Giuliani's associate, Lev Parnas is in talk with impeachment investigators.
Let's discuss now. Shimon Prokupecz is here, and also Jennifer Rodgers. Hello to one and all. Shimon, I'm going to start with you. New reporting tonight on Lev Parnas, the Giuliani associate who is under SDNY indictment. What's going on with him?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Yes. So, this is a big reversal here, Don. Lev Parnas, of course, is that Giuliani associate. He was subpoenaed before he was indicted, before he was arrested to appear before members of Congress. They wanted documents from him.
Keep in mind this is the guy who paid Rudy Giuliani $500,000 for work he was doing; said he was not going to comply with members of Congress. In fact, it was days after the subpoena was issued that they were leaving the country, which caused them to be arrested by the FBI.
His attorney now says he's going to comply with some of the requests from members of Congress. Big thing for me here is what does this mean for Rudy Giuliani. You know, could this potentially bring some problems for him?
And the other thing here is are they trying to signal something to prosecutors in the Southern District of New York by offering this cooperation or that they're willing to comply with some of the requests from the members of Congress?
LEMON: Jennifer, this is from "The New York Times." It says, "The turnabout occurred after Mr. Trump denied Mr. Parnas when he was arrested. Mr. Parnas was very upset by President Trump's plainly false statement that he did not know him, said Mr. Bondy, whose client has maintained that he has had extensive dealings with the president."
What could Parnas tell investigators about Giuliani and the president?
JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, we don't exactly know the nature of the relationship and the business connections that they had. But we heard from the released transcript of Yovanovitch's testimony today that they were looking to do business in Ukraine, and she thought one of the reasons that Rudy Giuliani was so keen to remove her was that they wanted to do business in the Ukraine that she wouldn't support, and she said, listen, I was the ambassador. I would support any legitimate U.S. business interests in the Ukraine.
So that all, when you put it together, suggests that maybe they were looking to do business that wasn't necessarily on the legitimate side. And if that's true, then Lev Parnas, of course, can tell investigators everything from a to z about whatever business things that they were pursuing in the Ukraine and elsewhere and any other things they know about Giuliani.
LEMON: This is what Parnas' attorney told the Washington Post now, Jennifer. "Any sentiment being looking at the public record of the president and Parnas together during intimate dinners, waving to each other at rallies, taking pictures together, and Parnas' alleged involvement with the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, could divine that the president and Parnas knew each other, he said."
So, we see the pictures. Does this sound like what happened after President Trump distanced himself from Michael Cohen?
RODGERS: Yes, you know, it's always the petty stuff, right? The same thing with Michael Cohen. One day he's on team Trump. The next day he's off, and then he goes in to investigators. Maybe the same thing here. If Parnas is upset that he feels he's been getting the stiff arm from the president and his team, maybe he feels like it's time to get off team Trump.
LEMON: Because he -- I mean, could he have, in his mind, thought he had a closer relationship with the president than he did? Because lots of people have pictures like that with the president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not a lot of people have pictures not only with the president but Don Jr., but in small, small groups, not just in a photo line, but small groups and lots of time with Rudy Giuliani, who of course is very close to Trump.
LEMON: Shimon, so, we now have this ex-ambassador to the Ukraine's testimony, and you point to this excerpt from Yovanovitch. Ukrainians were wondering whether I was going to be leaving, whether we really represented the president, U.S. policy, et cetera. And so, I think it was, you know -- it really kind of cut the ground out from under us. You read that, and you thought this is why the SNDY is involved. So, explain the connection between what's happening with New York, with Giuliani and what we're seeing in this testimony.
PROKUPECZ: Look, I think all of this, when you read her testimony -- and keep in mind, prosecutors in New York, in the Southern District of New York have read this today as well. So, they're going through this, and they're trying to look for clues in all of this for their investigation. It is centered around the removal of Yovanovitch. And so they're looking at what was going on here.
I think Jennifer there said it right. The fact that there were people in the Ukraine who were not willing to do what she wanted to do, felt that she was getting in the way, you have people with potential business interests trying to get involved in different aspects of the Ukrainian government. Perhaps there's a corrupt motive here. They wanted to get rid of her.
There was a plot. Very clearly it says when you read this, when you read the indictment, Southern District of New York, when they indicted the two associates of Rudy Giuliani, they talked about this. There was this effort by the Ukrainians, by corrupt Ukrainians to get her out of there. And they used -- some of the help came from, according to the indictment, from these two individuals, these two associates of Rudy Giuliani. So it is at the center of some of what the Southern District of New York is doing here, what they are looking at.
And when you think about it, if she is getting in the way of potential corrupt business interests and you have people in the Ukrainian government using people in the United States to try and get her out so they can continue their corruption, that's a potential crime, and that is something that prosecutors in the Southern District of New York would look at.
LEMON: It's interesting because Rudy Giuliani, Jennifer, is trying to get -- is saying that Joe Biden and his son did something untoward in Ukraine, right? But yet he is a friend of the president's and people know he has access to the president. And so, it would seem that they would maybe want to hire him or create some sort of business with him, so that they could have access to the president.
It's kind of essentially a similar thing of what he's accusing Hunter Biden of doing with this president. And when you read these transcripts, you say that you believe that there's more trouble coming for Rudy Giuliani?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I think there may be. I mean, who knows where this investigation is going to go. But particularly if Lev Parnas starts to cooperate, they will then know all of what's going on there. I think Lev Parnas will know a lot about Rudy's business interests even possibly aside from what they were doing together. I mean he was making millions of dollars from sources. We don't know who they are. We don't know what they wanted from him. But you better believe it was about access to the president. So then you have to ask what are they paying for and what did they get?
LEMON: Did you get my point? Isn't that what they're accusing Hunter Biden of doing, having access to his father by putting him on a board? And that Rudy Giuliani -- they're trying to get access to the president through Rudy Giuliani and this Parnas person.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, exactly right. So, Rudy Giuliani is using through Trump the power of the presidency, the power of the U.S. Government to put money in his pocket. And that's what he said Joe Biden did to put money in his son's pocket. So, you know -- but you can't be logical with people like Rudy Giuliani, Don. That is the problem here.
LEMON: Logic, hmm. Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you, Shimon, I appreciate it.
All four White House officials scheduled to testify in the impeachment inquiry today were no-shows. What will House investigators do? I'm going to ask Congressman Jamie Raskin next.
LEMON: Four witnesses called to testify in the House impeachment inquiry today were no-shows, defying Congressional subpoenas. The White House directed all of them to stay away. Joining me now is Congressman Jamie Raskin, who serves on the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman, I appreciate you joining us. Thank you so much. What's the next step to compel testimony from these witnesses?
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Well, they've been compelled to come and testify. You get a subpoena from the United States Congress, you got to show up. So, essentially their failure to testify and their bowing down to the White House becomes evidence of further obstruction of justice by the White House.
We don't have time to go off and prosecute people criminally, which the Department of Justice won't do, or civilly or to even hold an internal trial with contempt of Congress. We're on a pathway here investigating high crimes and misdemeanors of the president. If they don't participate, we will treat that as an implicit confession to everything we're looking into because they don't want it to be heard, and we will treat it -- the White House's involvement in blockading witnesses as a form of obstruction of justice, which itself is an impeachable offense.
LEMON: So then, you won't go to court. You said you don't have time to go and prosecute everyone. So you won't go to court. They just won't come in, and you'll add it to the articles of impeachment.
RASKIN: Yes, I mean, look, if we could get the Department of Justice under William Barr to prosecute people for obstructing justice, the first person we would get them to prosecute is William Barr himself. So that's a cul-de-sac for us. That's a dead end. That's not going to work.
And civil prosecution takes too long. We could exercise the inherent powers of contempt that we have in Congress, but at this point that would allow for another circus diversion and distraction by Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows and we're not going to do it.
We've got the essential heart of the case, the gravamen of the case as they say in the law. We know exactly what happened here. There was a shakedown of the Ukrainian government for political dirt on the president's opponents. They withheld $391 million in money that we voted in Congress for a besieged ally resisting Russian aggression.
LEMON: I understand.
RASKIN: You know?
LEMON: I understand.
RASKIN: And so, we know what's going on here.
LEMON: OK. I get it. I just want to get to -- I just want to sort of get to the bottom of what's happening now because one of the other people who didn't show up today was John Eisenberg. He's a Deputy Counsel to the president for national security affairs. According to Vindman's testimony, Eisenberg is the person who decided to move that call, Trump's call -- the president to the top, or the Ukraine president to that top secret server. Do you need to hear from him?
RASKIN: Yep. Absolutely. He's a relevant witness with material testimony. You know, he has a lot of important things to say to corroborate certain details, and we want to know exactly, you know, was there a cover-up? Was there a deliberate effort to suppress the existence of the phone call and the whole Giuliani underground operation to sabotage the U.S. Ambassador Yovanovitch, whose deposition was released today?
Obviously she was the object of a tremendous smear campaign and a lot of propaganda, and we want to know how deep that went and who was involved in it and who authorized it. You know, we had another hero revealed today in his testimony, Ambassador McKinley, who just said in his 37 years serving Republican presidents and Democratic presidents, he'd been ambassador in Afghanistan, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, he'd never seen anything like what had taken place toward Ambassador Yovanovitch, and he had never seen a Secretary of State essentially abandon his own employees, his own workers, his own frontline diplomatic personnel and ambassadors the way that Pompeo abandoned Yovanovitch.
And so he urged him to make a statement on behalf of the ambassador, and Pompeo didn't do it despite the support of high-ranking State Department people. And he said, I've had enough. I'm out of here. I'm not going to, you know, participate in turning the State Department into an instrument of the president's campaign for political purposes.
LEMON: And I've read a lot of his -- what he said in my opening statement. Witness transcripts are starting to be released. And you just mentioned Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who is out today, her testimony -- her transcript. A number of your Republican colleagues like Congressman Lee Zeldin, Mark Meadows, Jim Jordan, complained about not having access to witnesses, yet the transcripts, Congressman, show that they all actively interviewed Ambassador Yovanovitch. Was the whole storming of the SCIF based on a lie?
RASKIN: It was a complete fraud. I mean there were people who had to leave the room where they were about to question the witnesses to go out and join the fake freedom riders to come back in to have their pepperoni pizza sit-in. It was absurd. But what's interesting when you actually read the transcripts was they had the opportunity to ask whatever questions they want, and they didn't lay a glove on Yovanovitch. They didn't lay a glove on McKinley, because they're not able to discredit or impeach their testimony in any way.
These are upright, honorable civil servants, Foreign Service officers, professionals of the first degree and rank, and they couldn't lay a glove on them in terms of what their story was, in terms of their credibility, the authenticity of what they brought to the impeachment investigation. It's a remarkable thing. So out in front of the microphones in front of the media, they talk a big game in order to impress the president. But behind closed doors, they've got nothing to say.
Right now there's only one story, and all of the witnesses, a dozen witnesses corroborate the story. And there's no alternative theory out there. This is not an Agatha Christie novel. We know exactly who did what, and the president betrayed his oath of office, the constitution, the people, and our election in 2020. This was on an effort to alter our election by fabricating this phony case against the Bidens.
LEMON: Congressman Raskin, thank you for your time.
RASKIN: Thanks for having me, Don.
LEMON: Absolutely. A basketball team full of kids celebrating at a Buffalo Wild Wings only to be asked by staff at that restaurant to move tables because another customer didn't, quote, want black people sitting near them. I'll speak to one of the people who were asked to move next.
LEMON: A disturbing incident in a Buffalo Wild Wings in Illinois going viral. A group of mostly African American adults and young kids from a youth basketball team say they were asked to move, because another customer didn't and I quote here, want black people sitting near him. One of the women in the group Mary (inaudible), wrote about it on a Facebook post, that has been shared more than 5,000 times and now Buffalo Wild Wings has said they have fired the employees involved.
Joining me now. One of the men -- who was asked to move, Marcus Riley and his attorney Cannon Lambert.
Gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us. I appreciate it. Marcus, I'm going to start with you, this is a terrible story. The trouble started before you and the team were even seated at the Buffalo Wild Wings. What happened?
MARCUS RILEY, ASKED TO MOVE AWAY FROM RACIST CUSTOMERS AT RESTAURANT: As we walked in, my boy, Justin was greeted by the host and right away he was asked after he told what size our party was he was asked what ethnicity was our party. And it really just started from there.
LEMON: He asked what ethnicity. And then what happened? It just went -- what did you say? What did they say?
RILEY: So, we were seated. We weren't really accommodate that type of behavior. We didn't really want to let it bother us. We were seated and we were going to eat anyway. So we just went ahead and sat down and tried to enjoy the meal.
LEMON: OK, so, you coach these kids, right. And so, what did they ask you while you were leaving before even after you started to order?
RILEY: Absolutely. While we were leaving on the way out they asked, you know, they immediately thought that we had done something wrong. Right? They assumed that we were in the wrong. Because we decided to leave. I had to say to them, like, you know, we're not wrong. What we're doing is -- we are choosing to spend our money elsewhere. Because we're not appreciated here. One of the most difficult conversations I had to have, but to get them understand, you know, what I was saying in that moment was troubling for them and for myself to be honest.
LEMON: Did they seem to understand the gravity of it? Because -- it seems like especially in this day and age a really just outrageous request from anyone and any business. Did they think that they were in trouble for doing something wrong?
RILEY: Well, not per se trouble. But they knew that they see me having that conversation. And they knew when they felt it was difficult at that moment. So, you know, as kids they were concerned. Obviously they knew that something wasn't going right. And not exactly what at the moment, but it was just a bunch of confusion on their behalf to figure out, hey, what's really going on.
And then once me getting that message across to them was even more difficult because it's like why, what, how? Is this happening. And you know, for me to explain as a coach. I explain everything else to them, right. If life, on the basketball court. But I never thought I would have to explain something about race and color. To a body of 10 and 12 year-olds. LEMON: Just real quick, before I move on to Cannon, because I want to
ask him about the legal ramifications to this. But did you see the person that they were talking about? Was the person in the restaurant? You pointed out you have no idea who it was.
RILEY: Yes, I saw the person. Actually he before I was asked to move, because of the color of my skin. The person was actually the table right in front of us. And what struck me the worst was after we were asked to move because who we are as people, the two managers at Buffalo Wild Wings sat with that couple. Right in front of our face after we had this conversation.
LEMON: Wow. Cannon, let me bring you in. And this -- I want to read this statement from Buffalo Wild Wings today. And it says we take this incident very seriously and after conducting a thorough internal investigation, we have terminated the employees involved, further we have banned the customer who exhibited the inappropriate behavior from all Buffalo Wild Wings sports bar for life. Buffalo Wild Wings values an inclusive environment and has zero tolerance for discrimination of any kind. They also say that they'll have sensitivity training in the Chicago area bars. Do you think that's enough, Cannon?
CANNON LAMBERT, ATTORNEY FOR MARCUS RILEY: I don't. But I hope that we can continue to dialogue with them. So that a better solution can be achieved. At the end of the day, if they're now talking about instituting training programs the fear that I have is that it's suggest that there weren't programs in place before. Or if they were they clearly were not sufficient.
So, the hope is that we can talk about those things. And we know that this is the type of thing that violates the Illinois human rights act. And we know that this is something that should never happen. What we need to do is make sure that in terms of corporate citizenry, the corporate citizens do everything they can to honor and respect those who they invite into their establishments.
LEMON: What change are you hoping to see come out of this?
LAMBERT: Well, you know, you hope that five, six, seven, 11 year-old kids all the way up to 11 year-old kids would never be exposed to this. But we certainly would hope that it wouldn't be perpetuated by business in the way it was today or a week ago.
LEMON: It's interesting that they wouldn't ask that customer to leave. And they sat with the customer allegedly. And you see -- say you saw them do it. Then why wouldn't they ask him to leave? And say, if you don't want to sit next to black people, then you need to leave the establishment, because we serve all people here.
LAMBERT: It would have been a really nice situation where if they were aware of the unfortunate views of this particular couple, that instead of supporting them in their conduct they would have said publicly, listen, everyone is welcome here. And we invite all people into this establishment. We cannot wait to see them serviced or glad they're here and we are going to show everyone HANKS: we're glad they're here.
LEMON: Cannon, Marcus, thank you so much. Keep us updated. OK?
LAMBERT: You bet. Thank you.
LEMON: All right.
RILEY: Thank you.
LEMON: Flattery, bullying, threats. This is the behavior Trump administration officials are testifying about in the impeachment inquiry. We are going to dig into what they're saying and how it's affecting the country, next.