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Democrats Build Abuse of Power Case Against Trump; Sen. Rand Paul Demands Media Reveal Whistle-Blower's Identity; Elections in U.S. Test Voter Enthusiasm Ahead of 2020. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired November 5, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A significant day on Capitol Hill as we saw the release of the first transcripts.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ambassador McKinley expressed his concern about Pompeo not having the backs of foreign service officers.
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Officers at the State Department have had to testify without counsel.
I regret that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's a coward and, frankly, has disqualified himself from continued service as secretary of state.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Virginia, Kentucky, and Mississippi are the states to watch.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You will vote to reelect Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was a way to rally troops for these candidates.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: That's -- That was beautiful.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Isn't the sun supposed to be up? Isn't it supposed to be morning? What happened?
CAMEROTA: Well, now, the time changed. That is a bummer, but it's beautiful. It's like we decorated that in Technicolor.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, November 5, 6 a.m. here in New York, and we have reached the public phase of the impeachment inquiry with some fascinating transcripts now being released from the closed-door interviews with diplomats like Marie Yovanovitch.
Transcripts of testimony from two key witnesses, former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker and U.S. ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland could be released at any moment. We, of course, will go through them and bring you the highlights.
Text messages established that both men, along with Rudy Giuliani, were directly involved in these back-channel efforts by the Trump administration to get Ukraine to publicly announce investigations into the Bidens and Democrats.
BERMAN: This morning we're pouring over the testimony just released of two key State Department employees: former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Michael McKinley, a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Yovanovitch reports being concerned about her safety because of statements from the president.
And McKinley's testimony suggested in bright neon flashing lights that if Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was not flat-out lying in public about the dismissal of Yovanovitch, he is, at a minimum, parsing language in a grossly misleading way.
Also new this morning, you will hear new efforts by the president and his key allies to out the identity of the whistle-blower, which is against the law. And I want you to pay particular attention to the language of Senator Rand Paul overnight, which is specific and, some might argue, cowardly.
There's a lot to get to this morning. Let's begin on Capitol Hill with CNN's Suzanne Malveaux. These transcripts, some are out. Some could be coming any minute, Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. And John, as promised, House Democrats releasing these transcripts, hundreds and hundreds of pages. And if you go through it, you get a chance to see Republicans as well as Democrats participating in this process, questioning these witnesses and piecing together this story as this process becomes public.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): With the first transcripts from the impeachment inquiry going public, President Trump's intensifying his attacks against the whistle-blower who started it all.
TRUMP: The whistle-blower said lots of things that weren't so good, folks.
MALVEAUX: House investigators releasing hundreds of pages of testimony from the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
The career diplomat saying behind closed doors she was warned to "watch my back" because of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his associates. According to the rough transcript of the July 25 phone call, President Trump told Ukraine's new president that Yovanovitch was bad news and warned, "She's going to go through some things."
Yovanovitch telling lawmakers, "I didn't know what it meant. I was very concerned. I still am."
When asked, "Did you feel threatened?" Her answer simply, "Yes."
REP. JAMIE RASKIN (D-MD): Obviously, she was the object of a tremendous smear campaign. We want to know how deep that went.
MALVEAUX: Under pressure from the president's allies, Yovanovitch says she sought advice from U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. His suggestion: "Go big or go home. You need to, you know, tweet out there that you support the President."
Yovanovitch also at the center of Michael McKinley's testimony, the former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explaining why he abruptly resigned just days before his deposition. He says the State Department did not support career civil servants caught up in the inquiry, and he was troubled by, quote, "what appears to be the utilization of our ambassadors overseas to advance domestic political objectives."
McKinley says he repeatedly raised concerns, according to the transcript of his testimony, and asked Pompeo to publicly state his support for Yovanovitch. That directly contradicts Pompeo's account in an interview last month.
POMPEO: I never heard him say a single thing about his concerns with respect to the decision --
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: So you were never asked to put out --
POMPEO: Not once.
MALVEAUX: And also, we are waiting, of course, for two more transcripts to be released later today. Former special U.S. Envoy Kurt Volker, as well as the testimony from E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, both who provided explosive stories behind the scenes. We are waiting for more details on that.
And a big question on Capitol Hill, again, whether or not former national security advisor John Bolton will testify as scheduled on Thursday, John.
BERMAN: Right. We're waiting on that. Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill, thank you very much.
We're going to give you the key moments from the testimony we've already seen, and we're going to play you the shocking comment overnight from Senator Rand Paul that, as we said, is frankly cowardly. Stick around. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CAMEROTA: President Trump and his allies are ramping up their efforts to unmask the whistle-blower, whose report you know sparked the impeachment inquiry. Here is Republican Senator Rand Paul with President Trump last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): The whistle-blower needs to come before Congress as a material witness, because he worked for Joe Biden at the same time Hunter Biden was getting money from corrupt oligarchs. I say tonight to the media, do your job and print his name.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Joining us now, Joe Lockhart, CNN political commentator and former Clinton White House press secretary; and Margaret Talev, CNN political analyst, and politics and White House editor for "Axios."
Ooh, that sneaky, sneaky senator, Joe.
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
CAMEROTA: He's trying to get us to do his dirty work and say the name of the whistle-blower, which is illegal. He -- if he knows the name, if he thinks he knows the background, I mean, he's giving all this information that is not proven. There's no evidence of anything he's saying. If he knows it, why doesn't he say it? Because -- I'll tell you why he doesn't say it. Don't answer that. Because it's illegal, and he knows that.
BERMAN: He's a small man. I have to tell you, what he just did there is small and cowardly right there. If he's got something to say, if he wants to break the law, do it. But to sit there on that stage and say oh, others should do it right now. I'm not going to say it. I'm not going to say it. Others should do my work for me.
That's small. That's small.
LOCKHART: But I think it's part of a broader Republican strategy, particularly this week, when you've got all of this testimony coming out, which really just nails down, you know, what happened with Ukraine and all the different players. They are desperate every day to light a bonfire someplace to say, look over here. Don't look at the substance, look over here. And that was last night's edition.
You know, I don't know what we'll get today today, but that is their strategy. Their strategy is every day to take any norm, any law. They'll do anything to make sure that we don't stay focused on what's in this testimony.
CAMEROTA: Yes. BERMAN: I mean, I will say, Margaret, there are consequences, though,
to this, and those consequences include the safety of the whistle- blower. Those consequences include the sanctity of whistle-blowers in general --
BERMAN: -- going forward. And the law.
MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. John and Alisyn, good morning. I mean, my news organization decided at the outset that the whistle-blower has legitimate protections and we weren't going to be in the business of attempting to oust this person. I think most major mainstream news organizations obviously feel the same way. That's --
CAMEROTA: CNN does, as well.
TALEV: Yes. So there is -- There are laws protecting whistle- blowers. There's not as strong as the lawyers for whistle-blowers want those laws to be. But the laws are in place for a reason.
And the whistle-blower has been found to have not only used legitimate avenues to bring these concerns forward but to have done it in an appropriate way.
And the other thing I'd note is that the whistle-blower's sort of initial raising of the flag has kind of been bypassed by all the other people who have come forward in these depositions and some of whom are volunteering to speak publicly as the investigation moves into the next phases.
So I think you can also question how crucial the whistle-blower's initial complaint really was.
One last bit. Rand Paul, you heard him talking about how the whistle- blower supposedly worked for Joe Biden. Obviously, it's complicated, because in order to put that in context, one would have to say who the whistle-blower was. But there are thousands of people who work in the federal government, and many of them have worked across multiple administrations from both parties. So I think that's where we are.
CAMEROTA: Yes. You could say the whistle-blower works for Donald Trump.
CAMEROTA: The whistle-blower is in the government. You could say, well, the whistle-blower works for Donald Trump. Clearly, he's a partisan. He works for Donald Trump, if you were going to make such an intellectually dishonest argument.
But to your point, the whistle-blower's information has been corroborated seven times over. We see the transcript ourselves now. It's been released of the phone call. And there are all sorts of diplomats who have come forward to corroborate. The whistle-blower is a red herring at this point. And so you don't need that whistle- blower anymore.
LOCKHART: Yes. You'll remember the first Republican reaction to the whistle-blower was it was hearsay. You can't pay attention to what he's saying because -- he or she is saying, because they weren't firsthand.
And then when all the firsthand information came in, and it was more devastating than they thought it could be, they all of a sudden had to go back and change their attack on the whistle-blower.
And you know, the laws are the laws. The intent is clear. The intent is to allow people in the government to, without fear of retribution, without fear of having their lives disrupted, to come forward and pass on information. There's no doubt about that.
BERMAN: And Rand Paul knows the law.
BERMAN: He knows the law, and that's why he did. And that's why I said he was small right there, because he's trying to get others to do the dirty work for him.
The transcripts yesterday that we poured through had some really interesting developments. No. 1, Marie Yovanovitch saying she was pressured to send out tweets praising the president to save her job.
And then Michael McKinley, who was seen as working closely with Mike Pompeo for a long time, explained why he quit. He said he was disgusted with the politicization of the State Department, and also said that he had asked three times-- three times -- before Marie Yovanovitch was pulled from her ambassadorship in Ukraine for a statement of public support to her, which flies in the face of this careful gymnastics language that Mike Pompeo used, not under oath but in an interview about that. So listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POMPEO: From the time that Ambassador Yovanovitch departed Ukraine until 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 that was made.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you were never asked to put out --
POMPEO: Not once, not once, George, did Ambassador McKinley say something to me during that entire time period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: You know why Mike Pompeo was saying during that time period? Because McKinley talked to him before that time period. And when George Stephanopoulos asked a follow-up, you were never asked to put out a statement in support of Ambassador Yovanovitch, there was a word salad, Margaret, right there.
So what we have, again, from Pompeo here is misleading. I think misleading statements about an episode that he clearly knows about. Why is the dismissal of Yovanovitch a sensitive subject for Mike Pompeo?
TALEV: Well, that's a complicated question, because in part, Mike Pompeo would like to have a future beyond the White House, and his handling of this situation may affect that.
But it is also because it is one of those sort of pivotal building blocks that goes to the question of what was the sort of state of mind, not just in the White House but throughout the administration? As testimony continues we know increasingly that there are a number -- a number of officials who complained, both to Pompeo and to Gordon Sondland about her treatment, about Rudy Giuliani's involvement, about the president's behavior.
And -- and we're seeing emerge a picture that a lot of those concerns were sort of tamped down or said, well, you know what? This is up to the president. And so this is more evidence of that.
I think in Mr. Sondland's case, we are also seeing some contradictions between the testimony that we believe that he gave and what others experienced. And so as that transcript comes out also, there's going to be a real scrutiny to compare what has already been said from various people.
CAMEROTA: I mean, and luckily, people who want to read more can go online, CNN.com. There are the top takeaways from all of this boiled down.
Because it's really important, I think, to understand that Yovanovitch knew that Rudy Giuliani saw her as an impediment, and she was an impediment to him getting what he wants, though he's not in the State Department.
Margaret, Joe, thank you very much.
It is election day here in the U.S. OK, not presidential election, but there are some crucial votes, and some of these races will perhaps tell us how voters are feeling heading into the 2020 race. So we have reporters in several of these pivotal states, next.
BERMAN: It is on, election day 2019. It is here. Several major contests across the country today that really will test voter enthusiasm ahead of 2020.
We have reporters in Mississippi, Virginia, and Kentucky. We want to begin with Kentucky, where President Trump was last night attending a rally for the state's incumbent and embattled governor, Matt Bevin. Bevin is locked in a tight race with the state's Democratic attorney general.
And CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro live in Louisville with a look there -- Evan.
EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, good morning. We sure do get up early here at CNN, don't we?
Voting has begun here in Kentucky, which is one of two red states voting today that Trump won big in back in 2016.
Here in Kentucky back in May, this looked like a really close race, where incumbent Governor Matt Bevin might actually really struggle. He's had a lot of nasty fights with the teachers here. He's gone after Medicaid expansion, things that a lot of voters like.
But Republicans say it's that tone of voice that actually makes Bevin likely to win today. And it's not just Republican operatives saying it here. The Republican president said it here last night with Matt Bevin at a rally.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When he needs something for Kentucky like money, like aid, like he wants me to call one of the many manufacturers now that are coming into Kentucky, he's such a pain in the ass, but that's what you want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So I talked to a Republican close to the campaign last night, the Bevin campaign last night, and they said, Look, a lot of people say, at least the press says a lot of people say, that people want politicians to be nicer and get along better and build bridges, but he's like, I've never seen that. And here in Kentucky he doesn't think that that's what's going to determine the election.
Basically, what he says if this election, if is about Trump, social issues and the economy, Bevin's got it.
Democrats say, Look, we've kept this pretty close, which shows that we actually have some -- some motivation, as well.
So we're going at the end of the day today. Polls close at 6, and we'll see which one of these strategies -- Democrats focus on local issues, Republicans focus on national issues -- wins the race here in Kentucky.
CAMEROTA: Hey, Evan, John and I have been up since 3, so cry us a river, OK? But great to have you. Great to have you, and we really look forward to working with you.
MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Thank you.
CAMEROTA: OK. Talk to you soon. Mississippi voters are also electing a governor today. Both President
Trump and Vice President Pence have campaigned for the Republican nominee, Tate Reeves. He's the current lieutenant governor. Reeves is running against the state's Democratic attorney general.
CNN's Dianne Gallagher is live in Jackson for us with more.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Alisyn.
And yes, we're seeing something here in Mississippi very similar to what Evan described in Kentucky. Republicans trying to run this national race with Democrats focused on the local and state issues.
Now, look, Jim Hood is the only statewide-elected Democrat in the state of Mississippi and is running for what many consider a surprisingly competitive race here in Mississippi.
Now, Tate Reeves has closely aligned himself with the president, having President Trump and Vice President Pence come in in the last minutes before this election, do some campaigning for him here.
There's one little issue, though. If you were -- if you were Jim Hood and we were looking at this, even though it's a competitive race, Mississippi does things differently. In order to win the governorship, he has to win not just the popular vote, but also the majority of state House districts.
And John, Republicans have every single office, the majority here in both houses and the governorship, of course, making that one bit more difficult for Hood to overcome in this election.
BERMAN: It makes it very difficult for a Democrat. Dianne Gallagher, thank you very much.
The political stakes high in Virginia today, as well, Republicans in danger of losing control of both houses of the state legislature. CNN Ryan Nobles live in Washington with a preview -- Ryan.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, these off-year elections in Virginia usually pretty sleepy. Not too many Virginians pay attention. Voter turnout usually pretty low. This year, though, could be different.
Democrats came within one race that ended in a tie two years ago from taking back the House of Delegates. Today every single legislative seat is up for re-election, and Democrats believe they can take control of both the House and Senate for the first time in two decades.
The state legislature, the last bastion of power for Republicans, who have yet to win a statewide race since 2009. And this purple state continues to trend blue, especially in the Trump era. Democrats have also been helped by a Supreme Court decision that
upheld a lower court decision that tossed out district mats [SIC] -- maps that were much more favorable to Republicans.
Republicans, though, still have hope for two reasons. One, there's not a statewide race driving turnout today. So each race will have its own unique local issues that could influence the results.
And second, the three most prominent Democrats in the state -- the governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general -- have all been a part of big scandals that Republicans have attempted to tie the local candidates to.
But of course, the Republican candidates are being tied to President Trump, and national Democrats believe the results tonight could be the front edge of a big wave that could sweep into 2020, part of the reason why you've seen several presidential candidates, including Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, all make their way to Virginia.
Polls close tonight 7 p.m. Eastern -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK. Very interesting, Ryan. Thank you so much for the preview.
OK. Coming up, we have some breaking news for you out of Syria, where al-Baghdadi's sister has just been captured. An exclusive report from a CNN reporter who is embedded with Turkish troops. Next.