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Trump Says Whistleblower Must Testify Live, Not Written Answers; Trump Demands Identity Of Whistleblower Be Made Public; FBI Says White Supremacist Allegedly Plotted To Bomb Synagogue; NYC Police Commissioner Resigns, Mayor Names Replacement; Transcripts Of Key Testimony Released In Impeachment Probe. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 4, 2019 - 14:30   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: As Republicans continuing to cry foul over the House's handling of impeachment witnesses, the whistleblower, who ignited this inquiry, is making Republicans an offer. Lawyers say their client is willing to answer written questions from Republicans.

But today, President Trump says that's not enough. tweeting, the whistleblower, quote, "must be brought forward to testify, written answers not acceptable."

CNN's Politics Reporter and Editor-at-Large, Chris Cillizza, is with me.

Chris, I seem to remember the president provided written answers to investigators.



CILLIZZA: Yet, another example, Brooke, of what's good for the goose is not good for the gander in Donald Trump's world.

Let's play all the time Donald Trump talked about written statements being more than enough when he dealt with his own interests. Play that.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My lawyers aren't working on it. I'm working on it. I write the answers. My lawyers don't write answers. I write answers. I was asked a series of questions. I've answered them very easily, very easily. I'm sure they're tricked up because they like to catch people. The questions were very routinely answered by me.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Is that your final position, there's going to be no sit-down interview and nothing written or in person on obstruction?

TRUMP: I would say probably. Probably, I mean, I can change my mind but probably. I think --


WALLACE: No answer --

TRUMP: I think we've wasted enough time on this witch hunt.

We gave very, very complete answers to a lot of questions I shouldn't have been asked, and I think that should solve the problem. I hope it solves the problem.

The written answers to the witch hunt that's been going on forever. No collusion, no nothing. They've been finished. Finished them yesterday. The lawyers have them. I assume they'll turn them in today or soon.


CILLIZZA: So, yet again, Brooke, I feel like we do this a couple times a week every week. Donald Trump, in his own words, contradicting Donald Trump in his own words.

The conclusion here is simple. Donald Trump has, throughout his life, including as president, seen the rules as needing to be strictly enforced against everyone not named Donald Trump and not related by blood to Donald Trump.

This is yet -- I mean, chapter 562 of an unending book in that very theme.

BALDWIN: The thing about the goose and gander you said at the top is exactly it.

Chris Cillizza, thank you very much.

CILLIZZA: Thank you.

BALDWIN: On top of all of this, President Trump is now doubling down on his call for the whistleblower's identity to be exposed.


TRUMP: The whistleblower should be revealed. Because the whistleblower gave false stories.

There have been stories written about a certain individual, a male, and they say he's the whistleblower. If he's the whistleblower, he has no credibility. Because he's a Brennan guy, he's a Susan Rice guy, he's an Obama guy, and he hates Trump.


BALDWIN: Let me remind you, this country has federal laws that protect whistleblowers who wish to remain anonymous.

Patrick Eddington is a former CIA analyst who became a whistleblower. He revealed that U.S. troops were exposed to chemical agents during the Gulf War.

Patrick, thank you so much for coming back. I really enjoyed our conversation.


BALDWIN: We chatted a little while ago. My question to you, all these weeks later, what do you make of how this person is being treated?

PATRICK EDDINGTON, FORMER WHISTLEBLOWER & FORMER CIA ANALYST: The president is clearly trying to engage in whistleblower intimidation. I think that's clear.

In a way, I can kind of understand it. It's been a lousy 72 hours for this president.

It started on Friday afternoon when "BuzzFeed" news announced that a federal judge had moved against the Justice Department and ordered them to begin releasing the FBI background interviews from the Mueller investigation, at a rate of not less than 500 pages a month.


Some of the stuff that's come out so far is sensational. Rick Gates basically saying, Trump said get the emails, referring to Senator Clinton, Secretary Clinton's e-mails. And it just kind of goes on and on.

And then, of course, we have the whole tax return issue, which will almost certainly go to the Supreme Court. That's bad news.

Now finally, the House Intelligence Committee is beginning to release these transcripts of depositions of the witnesses.

Of course, the president wants to try to change the conversation again. That's just typical Trump.

BALDWIN: Perhaps in his attempts to do so, he says this whistleblower is politically motivated. This person, quote, unquote, "hates Trump." In the Intelligence Community, Patrick, are political views usually discussed or included in these types of cases?

EDDINGTON: As a general rule, in the Intelligence Community, you're covered by the Hatch Act, which means you're not supposed to even be involved in politics as a general rule. That doesn't mean they don't have an opinion. All of us carry around political opinions.

The real question, at the end of the day, is, has the whistleblower's allegations, have they been validated by a stream of other witnesses? Clearly, they have been. It's going to go on and on and on and on. It's only going to get worse for the president. The longer he keeps

up this trope about bringing the whistleblower forward, it's going to decrease his credibility beyond its already low level as it is.

BALDWIN: What about the conversation I was having with Chris Cillizza, about the written answers? The attorney for the whistleblower says his client is offering written answers to Republicans. The president and some Republicans say the answers are not sufficient. What do you think?

EDDINGTON: I think your colleague explained this pretty well there. But the plain fact of the matter is, I would not have advised them to play that kind of game, because I think, in essence, it plays into the hands of Republicans.


BALDWIN: To play the game of what?


BALDWIN: Giving them the written answers?

EDDINGTON: Yes, exactly. You have a process here. And again, when we were together the last time, I was extremely critical of how Democrats handled it. I'm still critical. But at least we've now had a vote on the House floor to begin moving this process forward in a more structured and, hopefully, much more open fashion.

With respect to the whistleblower itself, I'll come back to the basics, here. This person's allegations have been validated by a dozen people. It'll probably grow well beyond that. So whether this person provides written answers or not, at the end of the day, I think it's relevant. The president is certainly there.

But I think, again, it was a gracious offer. I wouldn't play that game. I wouldn't give the Republicans this kind of ammunition.

We have a process. It's not a perfect process by any stretch of the imagination. But we now have a formal inquiry resolution. That should be followed. We should have extensive open hearings going forward.

If we get to a trial in the Senate, that's when the issue of whether this person is required to come forward will get revisited. I don't think there's any double about that.

BALDWIN: Got it.

In your case, as discussed last time, you and your wife decided to sacrifice your anonymity. How do you see this case going? Do you think the whistleblower, if this gets to the Senate, will be able to maintain his anonymity while giving lawmakers what they're requesting?

EDDINGTON: I think it will depend so much on all the other evidence that the House winds up accumulating between now and any time a trial would take place in the Senate.

I'll say this. There's one date on my calendar I have circled, and that's November 21st. That's when the current continuing resolution expires.


EDDINGTON: That's when the federal government shuts down. Is this president going to sign another C.R. that funds the House and Senate when the House is engaged in an impeachment inquiry?

I would be surprised if that happens. I would be very surprised if that happens.

If we go into a shutdown and it affects the ability of Congress to function, it may well delay the process. At the same time, it could also give Chairman Schiff the most powerful weapon you could ask for, which is a direct unambiguous obstructive act by the president.

BALDWIN: We are in incredible extraordinary times.

Patrick Eddington, thank you for all you have done to this country. And thank you for coming on. I have a feeling you and I will be chatting again. Appreciate it.

EDDINGTON: Thank you. My pleasure. Thank you.


BALDWIN: We're getting breaking news now. Getting word of a plot by a white supremacist to bomb a synagogue. Details on this FBI bust, next.


BALDWIN: Breaking news now. Federal authorities have arrested a 27- year-old accused white supremacist who they say planned to bomb a synagogue in Colorado over the weekend.

Josh Campbell is a former FBI supervisory special agent and a CNN law enforcement analyst.

Josh, what do you know about what was planned and who this young man is?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: What we're learning, Brooke, is a chilling portrait of a suspect living freely in Colorado, espousing disgusting hatred of Jews.

I want to describe what federal officials are saying about this person. I think it's important, because, in 2019, there were people living among us espousing such hatred.

According to the FBI, he spoke about Jews and the Holocaust. He said Jews needed to die. Describing them as cancer and ants. At one point, bragging to an associate that he had told a member of the Jewish community to "F" off or he would kill them.


What got him on the attention of federal officials is, in trolling through Facebook, FBI undercover employees made contact with this suspect. Began a conversation with him, where he described his desires of white supremacy and Nazi beliefs and the like.

That transpired to him declaring he wanted to start a holy war with the Jewish community. And throughout the conversation, which was controlled by the FBI.

They introduced additional undercover agents who asked the target, well, what is the target of your belief. What are you trying to do? He said he wanted to bomb a synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado. Going so far as to conduct reconnaissance on this target. He wanted to bomb it in the middle of the night.

As by an undercover agent, what if there were people inside, and he said, I don't care if they die, they're Jews.

He was taken into custody Friday night by federal officials as he attempted to inspect pipe bombs and other devices the FBI had provided for use in this attack.

Taken into -- under arrest by federal officials. He's charged with impeding the exercise of free religion as well as explosive charges. He's in federal custody now.

We expect to hear from officials at 2:30 p.m. local time in Denver for additional information on this case -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Good on the FBI. These are the cases you want to report on. This thwarted attacks.

Josh Campbell, thanks for the intel.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

BALDWIN: More on our news from Capitol Hill this afternoon. We're reading through these transcripts today, testimony from key witnesses in this impeachment investigation.

Listen to this. The former ambassador to Ukraine had testified that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wanted Ukraine information from, of all people, FOX News host, Sean Hannity. We have more on that coming up.



BALDWIN: This just in. New York police commissioner, James O'Neill, has stepped down. Moments ago, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio announced the departure of James O'Neill and named his replacement.

CNN's Brynn Gingras is live at New York city hall. Brynn, why did the commissioner leave?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is big news, Brooke. A change in leadership for the biggest police department in the entire country. He said that he is leaving the police department, a job he held for more than three decades, but as commissioner for the last three years or so, for a job in the private sector. Wouldn't exactly get into details. Says that's to come.

He had some memorable moments in his thank-you speech. He thanked every single family of the police officers that were killed in the line of duty here at NYPD. That coming at a time when we all know the NYPD admitted to a mental health crisis with 10 officer suicides happening this year.

The police commissioner, O'Neill, a former police commissioner has always been known a cop's cop. He said this is the right time.

He said the right guy, is who is replacing him, and that was former chief of detectives, Dermot Shea. He will now be the police commissioner, appoint by the mayor, Bill De Blasio. He says that he wants to continue on the legacy of Commissioner O'Neill, and that is strengthening community policing, neighborhood policing, which is what Mayor De Blasio said Commissioner O'Neill was the architect of, neighborhood policing.

He has his own resume there. The former chief of the department. Dermot Shea, he's been with the department for several decades as well. His family members, as we pointed out, have all been a part of this department at some point. He's certainly a cop's cop as well.

So we'll learn more about him I'm sure in the future months -- Brooke?

BALDWIN: Brynn, thank you.

Our coverage continues this afternoon. New details from these transcripts from Capitol Hill just released by the U.S. House. Why Rudy Giuliani's shadow foreign policy operation started earlier than previously thought. And why one former diplomat was warned that she needed to, quote, unquote, "watch her back."

Plus, the columnist accusing the president of rape is now suing him for defamation. Does she have a case?


We'll be right back.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BALDWIN: Top of the hour. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Go big or go home -- five words you may not expect to hear from top U.S. diplomats. Especially when one of those is being attacked by people close to the president of the United States. But that is exactly what former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch says she was told to do, to fight back against the criticisms by Gordon Sondland, the E.U. ambassador, who is also a Trump inaugural donor.

He advised Yovanovitch to tweet her praise and support of President Trump. There was one thing, Yovanovitch noted, as a career foreign service officer, it was her job to remain apolitical.

That's a piece of what we're learning today from these newly released transcripts today in Yovanovitch's testimony to Congress. Testimony where she claimed Rudy Giuliani's efforts in Ukraine, quote, "cut the ground out from underneath her and the embassy."

House Democrats also released transcripts from Mike McKinley, the former top adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. In them, McKinley said he was, in his word, "disturbed" that foreign governments were being asked by the Trump White House to dig up dirt on the president's political opponents.

Evan Perez, we're back with you at the top of the hour.

What more can you tell me about the former ambassador's deposition?


EVAN PEREZ, CNN JUSTICE REPORTER: Brooke, the importance of Marie Yovanovitch, if there was a crime committed in any of this, she is one of the key witnesses. She is at the center of it.