Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Wash. Post: President Trump Wanted Barr To Hold News Conference Saying The President Broke No Laws During Ukraine Phone Call; Taylor Blames Ukraine Quid Pro Quo On Giuliani And President Trump; Giuliani Hires Legal Team Amid Impeachment Inquiry; Election Day Results Show Significant Dem Gains In Suburban Areas Of Kentucky, Virginia; White House Beefs Up Staff to Fight Impeachment; Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) is Interviewed About the Ongoing Impeachment Investigation; Washington Post: President Trump Wanted Barr To Hold News Conference Saying the President Broke No Laws During Ukraine Phone Call. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired November 6, 2019 - 20:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[20:00:10]

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.

Tonight, impeachment testimony from the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. Before you think you've heard all this before, because it's the third straight day of transcripts, we advise you to sit up and listen closely to what William Taylor said to investigators.

Because what he said, it could have huge implications for investigators, for Rudy Giuliani and for the president. Because this long-serving career diplomat who's also a West Point graduate and Vietnam War veteran who was called back to service by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told lawmakers it was his clear understanding -- his words -- his clear understanding that U.S. security aid was being withheld from Ukraine until Ukraine did for President Trump what would amount to personal political favors, for, quote, domestic political gain, as Taylor put it.

And though he says he did not hear direct orders from the president himself, Ambassador Taylor does draw a straight line to Donald Trump, running, according to his testimony, right through the president's private attorney and apparent bag man Rudy Giuliani. The same Giuliani whose name came up 480 times in the transcripts that we saw yesterday, 480 times. He is all over the testimony again tonight.

And in a twist, Giuliani today said he was acting solely in the interests of his client, the president, setting the stage some legal experts believe for claiming attorney/client privilege rather than answering what could be some very serious questions -- questions which will no doubt come up a second time when Ambassador Taylor testifies again next week in public, on camera, in person.

Congressman Adam Schiff made that announcement this morning. Taylor will testify Wednesday along with top State Department official George Kent. Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, forced out, will testify two days later on Friday. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We are getting an increasing appreciation for what just took place during the course of the last year and the degree to which the president enlisted the whole departments of government in the illicit aim of trying to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political opponent, as well as further conspiracy theory from the 2016 election that he believed would be beneficial to his reelection campaign. So, those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also learn firsthand about the facts of the president's misconduct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, that's a week from today.

For now, the transcript of what Ambassador Taylor said behind closed doors is doing the speaking for him and it's clear from it he said plenty. He says he took detailed contemporaneous notes which the State Department has of all the key moments he took part in. He told lawmakers he warned Secretary Pompeo back in May that he would resign if the long-standing U.S. policy of support for Ukraine were to change.

And when it seemed to him that it was changing, he sent what is for the Foreign Service a rare first-person cable back to Secretary Pompeo. And I'm quoting now from his testimony. I wrote and transmitted such a cable on August 29th describing the folly I saw in withholding military aid to Ukraine at a time when hostilities were still active in the east and when Russia was watching closely to gauge the level of American support for the Ukrainian government. I told the secretary that I could not and would not defend such a policy.

So what he was seeing by that time was what he testified he first heard about on a national security conference call on the 18th of July. A staffer at the Office of Management and Budget saying there was a hold on security assistance to Ukraine but couldn't say why.

Ambassador Taylor then picks up the story. I and the others on the call sat in astonishment. The Ukrainians were fighting the Russians and counted on not only the training and weapons but also the assurance of U.S. support. All that the OMB staff person said was that the directive had come from the president to the chief of staff to OMB. In an instant, I realized that one of the key pillars of our strong support for Ukraine was threatened.

A week later, as you know, President Trump spoke with Ukraine's President Zelensky and explicitly said what he wanted in exchange for the support that was, as ambassador Taylor observed, being threatened. On the 1st of September, Gordon Sondland met with Zelensky, adviser Andriy Yermak, and now recalls he told him plainly no military favors, no U.S. aid.

Ambassador Taylor says he was told about it by the National Security Council official Tim Morrison, something that Committee Chairman Adam Schiff questioned him about. I'm quoting now.

Chairman Schiff said: At that point, did you understand that unless the Ukrainians did this for President Trump, that is committed to these investigations, they were not going to get that military assistance or that meeting?

Ambassador Taylor responded: Mr. Chairman, what I know for sure is what Mr. Morrison told me that he must have heard Ambassador Sondland tell Yermak.

[20:05:01]

And as I said, this was the first time I had heard those two put together, those connected.

Schiff: And when you say that, this was the first time I heard that the security assistance, not just the White House meeting was conditioned on the investigation, when you talk about conditioned, did you mean that if they didn't do this, the investigations, they weren't going to get that, the meeting and the military assistance?

Taylor: That was my clear understanding. Security assistance money would not come until the president committed to pursue the investigation.

Then Schiff said: So if they don't do this, they're not going to get that was your understanding? Taylor: Yes, sir.

Then Chairman Schiff asked him: Are you aware that quid pro quo literally means this for that? Ambassador Taylor replies: I am.

This is, of course, the very thing in the very word that the president and his defenders have been saying did not happen. And today, one of those defenders gave an especially novel reason why, why not? You might call the incompetent crook theory.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine, it was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to. They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: So, essentially, he's saying the president's policy was too incoherent to effectively blackmail Ukraine. You just got to look at mob boss bosses. As a general rule, they aren't brain surgeons but they seem to do a pretty effective job of blackmail and extortion, quid pro quos.

Keeping them honest, when you look at all the testimony so far, including now, Gordon Sondland's revised remarks, which we saw yesterday, what Graham said just doesn't ring true. The witnesses paint a clear picture of a systematic pressure campaign unfolding over several months, either bypassing normal channels or compromising them to get the job done. If this didn't all stem from the president of the United States, then this is essentially a coup because the levers of government were working at the behest of the president to get a quid pro quo from Ukraine.

Military aid is put on hold. Demands were made, including directly by the president himself in that phone call, and even frankly on television, on camera, also to China. The screws were turned on Ukraine, and people like Ambassador Taylor and others begin to see or suspect what's going on.

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton did. He called it a drug deal, literally. That's what he called it. The national security adviser said those words.

In his testimony, Ambassador Taylor was asked about that comment. Question to Taylor: And so let me ask you, who was responsible for the drug deal? Who was responsible for setting all this into motion? Was it Mr. Sondland? Was it ambassador Sondland?

Taylor says: I don't think so. I think the origin of the idea to get President Zelensky to say out loud he's going to investigate Burisma and 2016 election, I think the originator, the person who came up with that was Mr. Giuliani.

Question: And he was representing whose interests? Taylor: President Trump.

More now on how this is being received at the White House, and how they're building a team to counter it with the addition, we've just learned, of a former treasury official, and Pam Bondi, former attorney general of Florida.

CNN's Pamela Brown joins us now with the latest.

So, how concerned is the White House about Ambassador Taylor's public testimony next week?

PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Anderson, sources say the White House views Bill Taylor's testimony on this explicit quid pro quo you just laid out as the most damaging so far for the president's case. And there was heightened concern among aides, Anderson, ahead of his public testimony next week.

One reason why is his credibility. As you pointed out, he's a former West Point grad, Vietnam vet. He's still in his government post. He was handpicked by one of the president's favorite cabinet members, Mike Pompeo.

And the White House has been told by Republican allies that he could be the hardest witness to discount. In fact, White House officials were under the impression that Democrats would wait until the end to have Bill Taylor testify. Instead, he's first up in a week from today. And the White House realizes that the public testimony will bring to life, make more real what has so far been conveyed through these written statements, transcripts, and reporting from private testimony. And for Bill Taylor, that means sound bites of him describing

President Trump wanting President Zelensky of Ukraine to announce these politically beneficial investigations in exchange for the release of military aid. But at the same time, Anderson, White House aides and allies are quick to point out that Taylor didn't speak to the president directly. They say his accounts are several degrees removed -- Anderson.

COOPER: So, Pam, for a long time there's been questions about is the White House going to add people to their PR machine, to actually get some people in the press office who will appear on camera for instance, which would be a change from like Stephanie Grisham, who runs it?

So they've made now adds to the impeachment messaging team. Pam Bondi is one of them?

BROWN: Yes, that's right. So they're bringing on two people to help with the messaging ahead of phase two starting next week. That would be Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida, and Tony Sayegh, a former Treasury Department spokesperson. So, they're going to play a role in crafting the response to the public hearings, rapid response.

[20:10:02]

They're going to go on television to defend the president.

So, this is a tacit acknowledgement that the White House needed help in its communications strategy, that Republicans on Capitol Hill have expressed frustration with. This White House is no stranger to high- profile public hearings, but what happens next week is different because of what's at stake, Anderson. Possible impeachment.

This White House is fully well-versed on how public hearings can have a far greater impact on both this president, who pays close attention typically, and the public than what has transpired so far in this impeachment inquiry with these closed-door testimonies. And so, that is a big reason why you're seeing the White House bring on two people ahead of the public testimony next week to help with the communication strategy.

COOPER: Right, I was surprised Pam Bondi. Pam Bondi, as you said, the former attorney general of Florida, she's the one who after the Pulse Nightclub was pretending to a champion of the gay community and so caring, when in fact it was her office which actually went to court to say that gay people in Florida getting married was actually a threat --

BROWN: Right.

COOPER: -- to the people of Florida. So she's --

BROWN: I remember that interview well that you did her at the time where you pressed her on that. COOPER: I mean, she's got talking -- you know, she likes to stick to

talking points so I guess why the White House is bringing her on to a communications team. But the idea she's going to be crafting the strategy is going to be fascinating to watch.

Pamela Brown, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

BROWN: Thanks.

COOPER: One other late breaking item. Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence, will testify tomorrow if subpoenaed according to her attorney. She was on the July 25th phone call.

David Hale, undersecretary of state for political affairs testified today. He told investigators that Secretary of State Pompeo was reluctant to defend Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch because of concerns it would hurt efforts to get Ukraine military aid.

Joining us now, Illinois Democratic congressman and House Intelligence Committee member, Mike Quigley.

Congressman Quigley, I appreciate you being with us.

So, the announcement that Taylor will testify on the first day of public hearings, do Democrats consider him to be their most important witness at this point?

REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): Well, put it this way: he is clear, credible, and compelling. I did criminal defense trials for about ten years. I'd go to trial with him any day of the week.

I think he's credible and very difficult to attack as you talked about previous, but I don't think it's beyond this White House to attempt to do that. And with the other bright people who have testified so far.

He is also the best single source for describing this scheme as you've started to talk about with his testimony to someone who hasn't paid attention yet. So, if you want an initial hit someone to describe exactly what took place, I don't know if anyone's better than Ambassador Taylor.

COOPER: So, it seems like now Republicans are focusing on two things to basically kind of not pay attention to any of this or say this all means nothing. They're seizing on the fact that Taylor, according to his own testimony, never spoke directly with either President Trump or Giuliani about the quid pro quo, and they're also focusing on Ambassador Volker, who, you know, though he said a lot of different things that could be interpreted a lot of different ways, the Republicans are saying he said there wasn't a quid pro quo even though all these others have.

QUIGLEY: Sure. I think the best way to counter that is to tell the American public, when you're watching this, let's begin with the Mulvaney admission just a couple weeks ago. Let's begin with the president's transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president and the whistle-blower complaints. What these witnesses do is reinforce that. They corroborate that.

You know, you don't leave your common sense at the door when you're at a trial. I also think it's important that at trials we don't ask people to read depositions, jurors. We look at these witnesses. And I think what they're going to see with these ambassadors and the bright people who have testified so far is the fact that they're very credible.

You believe them. So if it's just a question of reading transcripts and whether or not they feel like there's a gap in the testimony, I don't think the Republicans will get that far.

COOPER: The thing I don't understand about the argument of Republican defenders of the president on this, who say there was no quid pro quo, is how -- how do they believe this policy drive was initiated? It seems like what they are saying is there's no evidence it was the president, you know, cutting off the aid and orchestrating all of this. But if it wasn't the president, I mean, it's clear there was this effort, and it was quite a widespread, long-term effort. Giuliani was back in Ukraine in February.

[20:15:00]

I don't understand if the Republicans -- if you believe their argument, it seems they'd be saying that the president -- you know, this cabal of Giuliani and Sondland and other Trump supporters initiated this campaign. The president had nothing to do with it. That's hard to believe.

QUIGLEY: Yes, again, we don't leave our common sense at the door. And the fact of the matter is that the defense has shifted depending on what's working. And so far, what eyewitnesses, a bunch of them running into the room and screaming at us, also nationally saying nothing bad happened here despite the fact they've done everything they can to cover it up and block the investigation.

I've also heard an anonymous source can't allow a prosecution, which is absolutely contrary to how a lot of criminal investigations begin. And it's also the backbone of the whistle-blower law. And that's what's most disturbing of all -- the fact that one of their attacks seems to be endangering the life of the very brave person, the whistle-blower.

All the whistle-blower did was pull the alarm. These folks, they're attitude seems to be if they were investigating an arson, they'd go after the person who pulled the fire alarm. It makes absolutely no sense. I think the American people will figure that out.

COOPER: And just finally, is there any chance Bolton will be subpoenaed to testify?

QUIGLEY: You know, I'd like to think he would want to. If he thought that Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade, if he was repulsed by this, if he suddenly stopped this meeting, he's called it a drug deal, in the final analysis, the real challenge here and the real danger was we're changing longstanding U.S. policy, a policy he strongly agreed with. He ought to come forward. He ought to be willing to be at least as

brave as the people who have come so far and tell the American people what happened, why it matters, and why it should never, ever happen again.

COOPER: Congressman Quigley, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

Coming up next, our legal and political team weighs in on the testimony, and there's late reporting on efforts the president made to get the nation's top law enforcement officer, Attorney General Barr, to publicly give him a clean bill of legal health.

And later, the red state Democrat who came out on top in Kentucky's race for governor. What his performance with certain key voters could predict about the 2020 presidential election and what some other big races add to the picture.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:21:45]

COOPER: Just got a striking new piece of reporting on the Ukraine affair and the president's frame of mind. It just went up on "The Washington Post" website.

I want to read you the lead. Quote: President Trump wanted Attorney General William P. Barr to hold a news conference declaring the commander-in-chief had broken no laws during a phone call in which he pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate a political rival, though Barr ultimately declined to do so, people familiar with the matter said.

CNN political analyst and "Washington Post" White House reporter Josh Dawsey shares a byline in the story, and he joins us now by phone.

So, Josh, just tell us more about what you've learned, what the president asked the attorney general to do.

JOSH DAWSEY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST (via telephone): So, in the immediate aftermath of a transcript being released on September 25th, Anderson, the president was looking for key defenders to go out and say the president did nothing wrong, the president broke no law, the president behaved properly. As you've seen repeatedly, he said this was a, quote, unquote, perfect phone call.

One of the things he wanted was the attorney general to have a public appearance analogous to the one he had before the Mueller report, where he essentially said the president had done nothing wrong there. The president loved that news conference, kind of well into the Mueller eventually coming out entirely, thought that he was a very good defender, thought Barr was a credible voice and wanted him to do that again.

This time, Bill Barr declined. As you saw at the time, the Justice Department put out a statement, writing which said, without comments, that he did nothing wrong, (INAUDIBLE) that was criminal, but Barr did not want to appear in public.

If you remember correctly, during the call, Barr was very frustrated. People around him were frustrated because Trump (INAUDIBLE) Zelensky to talk to Barr, and they said no contact ever happens.

COOPER: Do you have any sense of the president's reaction? Was he upset that Barr didn't make that statement?

DAWSEY: Well, he certainly mentioned to others, that he wanted Barr to have the press conference that he didn't. That said, several officials told me today that Barr remains in good graces with the president unlike Jeff sessions, his former A.G. I think all things considered, the president still sees Barr as a big positive for him, but he certainly wanted him to do more than he did here.

COOPER: I'm going to read something else in your article. Quote, in recent weeks, the Justice Department has sought some distance from the White House, particularly on matters relating to the burgeoning controversy over Trump's dealings on Ukraine and the impeachment inquiry they sparked.

Do you have any sense -- I mean, if the DOJ is just playing it safe? What accounts for the distance?

DAWSEY: Well, several things. DOJ certainly was frustrated and taken aback by Mick Mulvaney's press conference that day where he essentially said political calculations were part of the decision, and DOJ had nothing to do with it, they quickly put out statement saying, no, we didn't know what he was talking about.

Barr has been frustrated by Giuliani and his many appearances and the things that he has said about the Justice Department and Ukraine. And they were frustrated by the president's phone call where the president intimated that Barr should be on the phone with Ukraine's Zelensky. Those were several pivotal moments where the president and the Justice Department were not on the same page, or those around the president, the Justice Department were not on the same page.

COOPER: Josh Dawsey, appreciate it. Thanks very much.

[20:25:00]

The story, again, in "The Washington Post." It's online right now.

Joining us now, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, CNN senior political analyst and West Wing veteran, David Gergen, and CNN legal analyst Carrie Cordero.

Gloria, what do you make that apparently this particular request was a bridge too far for the attorney general, at least something he wasn't comfortable with right now?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. I think probably the attorney general was frustrated that his name kept coming up in a situation in which he had nothing to do with. And they did put out a statement, you will recall, after the whistle-blower report saying they didn't see any campaign finance laws that had been broken, and they ended it there.

And then they later said, well, by the way, we never had anything to do with Ukraine. We've never spoken about the Ukrainian issue after the release of the transcript. I think that it gives us a real inside look, though, Anderson into how the president views Barr. And the way the president views Barr is as his personal attorney.

And he doesn't like his personal attorney not to go out there and represent him, and that's why he was so upset with Jeff Sessions. It's the same kind of attitude towards the Department of Justice, which is you work for me and not the American people.

COOPER: David, I mean you worked through Watergate. The attorney general is obviously not supposed to be operating on behalf of the president. He's supposed to be operating on behalf of the Constitution, the American people as Gloria was saying. I mean, President Trump clearly does not appreciate that or just didn't believe in that.

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Absolutely. You know, he wants to have a John Mitchell-type figure who is, of course, attorney general for Richard Nixon, and did his bidding on a lot of things even though Mitchell grumbled about it, didn't like it, but he did it.

In this case, you know, Gloria is absolutely right. The president has a dismissive attitude. He wants people to report to him. What I find equally interesting is that even though the president clearly wanted something and was denied, he usually gets angry at the person who denies him what he thinks is his. The reporting here in "The Post" says he's expressed continuing confidence in Barr.

What that suggests to me is the president still needs Barr. Barr is working on his own separate investigation that the president very much hopes is going to smash up what's coming out here on this impeachment thing. You know, that is the question of whether, you know, that all of this started way back in Ukraine and it wasn't the Russians, and the Biden stuff and everything else. He's got a whole separate inquiry. He's been to Italy twice over that.

So, he's still doing the president's bidding on that, and the president is leaning on him heavily to get the right result, I'm sure.

COOPER: Carrie, as someone who works in the Justice Department, how unusual would something like this be? What signal would it have sent if the attorney general decided to go out and make a statement on the president's behalf?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, that would be unusual under normal circumstances although having seen how the Attorney General did go out and make that very important and significant statement after the Mueller report, one can understand why the president might think that he would do it again in other circumstance where the president appears to be in political, if not legal jeopardy.

I do think, you know, I've always been curious how the attorney general reacted when the summary of the July 25th call between the president and Ukrainian President Zelensky was released. And the attorney general's name was invoked in the same sentence by the president along with Rudy Giuliani. I've always wondered how Attorney General Barr reacted to that, whether it was something that was going on that Giuliani was doing that he was unaware of, whether he knew that the president was invoking his name the same way he was invoking his personal attorney, or whether that was surprising.

If that was surprising to him, then it makes sense why the Justice Department might be backing off of this a little bit and not be so willing to go out and defend the president until they really understand what has transpired.

COOPER: Yes. I mean, Gloria, "The Post" mentioning that the DOJ has been putting some distance between itself and the White House amid the impeachment inquiry. I mean, there's really been no outward sign from the president that he's displeased with Barr. If there was, it's not like he's great at keeping secrets particularly of his animosity.

BORGER: Right. We would see it. But I think David's absolutely right. The president is juggling a lot of plates right now. One of them is impeachment and Ukraine. The other one Barr is investigating, which is the origins of the Mueller investigation. And the president wants to prove that the FBI and the CIA ran amok and they were targeting him unfairly because they don't like him.

And Barr is in charge of that investigation. He's appointed someone to take it on. But he's been personally involved in it. And Barr was very important to Trump when the Mueller report came out. And when he had his press conference and said there was no obstruction and created a whole narrative that when we read the Mueller report seemed to be very different from what Mueller had said.

[20:30:00]

So, I think the President still believes Barr is his friend but he hasn't done everything he wanted. If this continues a few more times, who knows. You know, Trump is not known for his loyalty.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Yes. Stand by everybody. We got to take a quick break. Coming up more on what we referred to earlier in the program just how often Rudy Giuliani keeps popping up in this Ukraine affair, nearly 500 times according to witness testimony so far. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:35:07] COOPER: As far as we know tonight, Rudy Giuliani is still one of President Trump's attorneys, but Giuliani now says he has a new attorneys of his own as the impeachment inquiry kicks into gear and his name repeatedly cited in House testimony released so far. The question is, how badly will he need them? I want to talk about it with our legal and political team.

Gloria, Ambassador Taylor's testimony certainly lines up with much of what other witnesses have said in terms of Giuliani's central role and a pushback from Republicans that Taylor never spoke to President Trump.

BORGER: Right.

COOPER: Is that a big problem for Democrats do you think?

BORGER: I think what the Republicans are doing here -- the short answer is, no. They'll get around that because what the Republicans are doing here is changing their excuses for Donald Trump all the time. You know, first of all, there was no quid pro quo. Now, he could organize a quid pro quo if he wanted to from Lindsey Graham, as you pointed out.

And now as well, Taylor never spoke to Donald Trump, but then look at Donald Trump's own words from other testimony. May 23rd, he had a meeting in the Oval Office with three people. Two of whom had testified that the President said when asked about Ukraine policy, talk to Rudy.

So, was the President telling Rudy what he wanted to do with Ukraine policy or was Rudy directing American foreign policy? I mean, that's very frightening if that in fact were the case and they were, perhaps, doing it together, but the President's own words on the phone call also tell you what the President was offering. So, to say that Taylor never spoke directly -- never spoke directly to the President I think is a red herring.

COOPER: Right. I mean, David, again, I don't understand. The Republicans argument seems to be that Rudy -- you know, I guess they're saying that Rudy Giuliani was conducting, as Gloria, you know, alluded to, you know, his own reversal of U.S. policy and somehow got aid the cut off. I mean, if it didn't come from the President, it's not like -- I mean, who else would it come from?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, we know in that May meeting as Gloria said that the President told these three people, go talk to Rudy, and after that Rudy became the driving force behind the whole effort to cut this deal. And we also know that the OMB when they said, we're parting hold -- the White House called OMB and said we're putting a hold on the money. Where did that come from? It came from the President, you know.

So when Rudy -- when they say -- the President said talk to Rudy, there's one guy who's telling Rudy what to do and that's the President. Well, there's just no doubt about it. We don't speculate. That's how this system works.

BORGER: Right.

GERGEN: Rudy wouldn't be out there, wouldn't be clothed all of this authority unless people thought he was speaking for the President. That's why it's so essential to have Rudy Giuliani to testify.

Right now he's under a subpoena. He's thumbing his nose at the government, at the investigators. The investigators need to crack down on that. You know, he's so central.

COOPER: Yes.

GERGEN: 500 times he's mentioned in this. He got to get him before they -- and by the way, the defense that Lindsey Graham offered today, they're too incompetent to do this.

COOPER: It's ridiculous.

BORGER: It's ridiculous.

GERGEN: Unbelievable.

COOPER: Yes.

GERGEN: Unbelievable.

COOPER: Yes. Carrie, I mean, is there any chance of getting Giuliani? I mean, it would take -- it takes going to court and that, you know, that hits the Democrats' timeline, no?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. I mean, they'll -- he'll challenge it and he's going to claim that it's attorney/client protected information, which is amazing, because actually what Rudy Giuliani tweeted today is Rudy Giuliani admitting that the President committed impeachable offenses.

COOPER: Right. He's saying everything he did was at the behest of the President.

CORDERO: So in his effort to try to get out of testifying or delay testifying by claiming that he is conducting activities solely as a defense attorney and, therefore, then he could make arguments about privilege --

COOPER: Right.

CORDERO: -- he just admitted that there are impeachable offenses, which is that he's not doing what people are describing that he's doing. He's not conducting U.S. foreign policy.

COOPER: Yes.

CORDERO: He's doing the personal business of Donald Trump -- not President Trump, Donald Trump. And that is an abuse of the office then.

COOPER: Yes. Too bad Giuliani is not his attorney. He would know these kinds of things. Gloria Borger, David Gergen, Carrie Cordero, thank you very much.

Democrat is neither basking the apparent narrow win for their candidate in the Kentucky governor's race and their gains in areas of the state that are up until now had gone two Republicans. Coming up, what the evidence points to as the main reason for that success.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [20:43:06] COOPER: The dust settled a bit from last night's elections. It's on apparent narrow victory by Democrat Andy Beasher in the Kentucky governor's race. His opponent, Matt Bevin, hasn't conceded. Democrats in Virginia meantime took control of both Houses of the state legislature.

So with all this, mostly in the books, the big question, of course, is what does it mean for 2020? Who voted and from where? Something that's hard to tell because we don't have exit polling from either Kentucky or Virginia. We do know one potential key thing that Democrats won into suburbs.

I want to talk about it with Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, a CNN Political Commentator and former governor of Virginia, and former Republican presidential candidate, former Senator Rick Santorum. He's a CNN Senior political Commentator.

Senator Santorum, when you see the gains Democrats made last night, particularly in the suburbs, does it tell us anything? Do Republicans have a suburban problem? Were these local elections that have no national message for Democrats?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, look, I think Republicans have a suburban problem before this election and we're going to have a suburban problem after this election. I look at my state of Pennsylvania and clearly the suburbs there are turning and they're not turning in our direction and Donald Trump is not a help in that regard, particularly amongst suburban women.

That's just -- that's apparent. The numbers from Virginia don't lie. You know, Matt Bevin getting crushed in Louisville in the suburban areas and in Lexington, those don't lie either. That's a problem, and it's a broader problem, that is exacerbated by Donald Trump. So, that's just a given.

We've got to do a better job. And frankly, Trump is not the best messenger for that based on his, frankly, his personality and his demeanor. It just turns a lot of suburbanites off and he try -- he appeals to blue collar working folks and that's overwhelmingly not suburban voters and that a problem.

COOPER: Governor McAuliffe, is there something that Democrats, you know, nationally should take away from what happened last night?

TERRY MCAULIFFE, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think there is a big revolt going on in suburban communities across the country. You saw in Virginia last night, for the first time in 26 years the Democrats won both the House and the Senate, and now they have the governor's mansion.

[20:45:10] What was also a big news in Virginia last night, two of our biggest, fastest growing counties which in traditionally had become Republican both went Democratic last night, both wards (ph) and supervisors, Prince William and Loudoun went in the Democratic town. We won the county chairs in both of those counties. So, I think it's a huge problem for the Republicans that you saw it in Kentucky, but you saw it all over the country. As a center side (ph) in Pennsylvania, in Delaware County last night, we won the town council first time since the civil war. We won in Bucks County, we won in Chester, we won in Ohio, we won in Missouri last night, in suburban communities.

And the turnout last night in Virginia, let me say this, Anderson, in 2015, the last comparable election, the turnout was 29 percent. Last night was 40 percent.

COOPER: So what does that mean for Democrats, I mean, in the presidential race and elsewhere? I mean, is it -- is there something that these candidates had in common or -- I mean, because it sounds like what you're saying is Democrats can rest easy, things are moving in their direction.

MCAULIFFE: No. Democrats can't rest easy, but what it does say is Democrats are fired up. And if I'm Donald Trump, I'm very nervous. I mean, he went to Kentucky the night before the election. That is a state he carried by 30 points. They lost the governor's race there. Mississippi was very close.

The point is the Democrats are fired up. They've had it with Trump and people are now paying attention to these issues and they sent a message last night and they're set up to send a message in 2020.

COOPER: Senator Santorum?

SANTORUM: And I want to -- yes, I want to make a comment on that because, look, you have to -- I made a very clear statement that I did not think it was a good night and that Republicans have problems, but I don't think you can look at the Mississippi and Kentucky governor's race and take too much solace if you're a Democrat from those two races.

They ran two conservative Democratic candidates. In fact, the Democratic candidate in Mississippi probably won't be a Democratic candidate anywhere else in the country, would win a nomination in the Democratic Party. And, you know, he was a very popular elected state- wide official and, you know, the lieutenant governor was not, let's just say our strongest candidate out there. So, that's one thing.

And then Matt Bevin, look, I love Matt Bevin. He's a friend of mine. He's -- I thought he was a great governor, but Matt is combative. Matt is not the best politician in the world. He's combative even with people he agrees with. And he was a very unpopular guy as a result of that.

And so I think actually the President helped him and brought him into the race. He was way behind. So, again, I would look at those two races and say that's -- those are particular. The broader story of -- problem with suburban voters is absolutely true, but don't read too much into those two races.

COOPER: Governor is that true? MCAULIFFE: Listen, I think what you're seeing all over the country, Anderson, is the Democrats are fired up. They're unhappy with the President. They're unhappy on health care. They're unhappy on so many different issues and they're riled up and they want to come out and vote. To go from 29 percent to 40 percent is extraordinary. We have never in Virginia seen anything like that before.

COOPER: But if the two Democratic candidates and you're talking about in Mississippi and in Kentucky are essentially as conservatives, as you can get, as Democrats, what does that say to presidential candidates who are trying to win over states that they, you know, traditionally have not gotten before?

MCAULIFFE: All these candidates are going to have a different message, Anderson. Everybody is running and we have a big field in the presidential. It's going to narrow down now. Some of the candidates are running out of money. But listen, you've got to appeal to the whole country.

But candidates running in the south are going to be different from candidates running other parts of the country. But we clearly had a message last night in Virginia that resonated. We're now going to get common sense gun restrictions in Virginia. We're going to raise the minimum wage in Virginia. We're going to be able to do issues as relates to the environment.

These are issues that Republicans of Virginia were obstructionist for years and they paid a dear price last night in Virginia. It was the message of health care, education, common sense gun restrictions. They're motivating voters.

COOPER: Terry McAuliffe -- sorry, Rick, quickly.

SANTORUM: Yes. The only problem with that is that's not what anybody in Congress is talking about. The only thing that's being talked about in Congress right now by any Democrats for over a year has been impeaching the President and that's the big problem the Democrats are going to have. They have no message on national issues right now. It's all about beating up Donald Trump. That will motivate voters, but I'm not too sure it's going to win you the majority.

COOPER: Senator Santorum, thank you.

MCAULIFFE: That's why I was a governor and you were a senator. I agree with you.

COOPER: Governor Terry McAuliffe, thanks very much.

Still ahead, how the President suffered to purchase Greenland briefly factored into the Ukraine affair.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:53:43] COOPER: Let's check in with Chris to see what he's working on for "Cuomo Prime Time" at the top of the hour. Chris? CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: My 16-year-old is here. She's too cool to come on the camera, but she thought it was amazing that I get to be on your show. So, thank you for that, my brother.

We're going to unpack a lot of the evidence tonight that came out in the transcripts. What is it mean? What do we see contextually? Where does it leave us? We have one of the President's friends and advisers, the head of Newsmax -- he's a friend, not adviser, Chris Ruddy. You know him. He's here tonight. We want to talk about the state of impeachment with him. What's right? What's wrong? What should be the consequence?

We also have Sean Duffy on. We remember the moment he set off by apparently going after Vindman. Was that part of some plan? Is that really how he wants us to be playing this game right now? We're going to have him on as well. We got McCabe and Baker to take us through forensically what matters in the case as it stands.

COOPER: All right, let's see you in about five minutes from now.

CUOMO: All right, cool guy.

COOPER: All right. Thanks, dad. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[20:58:44] COOPER: Quick reminder, don't miss "Full Circle." It's our new daily digital news show. It gives us chance to dig in some great topics, in-depth conversations. Today, I talked to best selling author, Mitch Albom. You know him from "Tuesdays with Morrie," or "Five People You Meet in Heaven."

His new book, "Finding Chika" is where a young girl from Haiti, five years old, who he took in after the earthquake when she got sick, she eventually died but it is a beautiful story about how they became a family, Mitch and his wife, Janine, and Chika.

All the money from the book goes to an orphanage in Haiti that Mitch and his wife oversee. Here's a portion of our conversation from "Full Circle."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: The grief that you and your wife experience and experienced and experience, how do you get -- how do you live -- how do you move through that? How do you live with it? How do you --

MITCH ALBOM, AUTHOR, "FINDING CHIKA": Well, you don't ever get past it.

COOPER: Right.

ALBOM: And I think anyone who's watching this who's ever lost a child knows it.

COOPER: I hate the word closure that people used, because I just think it's such a stupid word.

ALBOM: It's open and it stays open and it's a festering wound your whole life. But, you have to get to a philosophy with it. So for us, you know, we realized, well, there are children with DIPG who died four, she lived up to seven. Her children with DIPG died three, she lived up to seven.

Seven was her amount of years. That's what she was given. We had that and that's what we had with her and there is -- no matter how families are put together and no matter how families come apart, this, I have come to believe is true, you cannot lose a child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: If you want to watch the full interview, go to cnn.com/fullcircle. You can watch "Full Circle" every weekdays streaming live at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Let's go to Chris for "Cuomo Prime Time." Chris?

END