Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

Schiff Announces 1st Open Hearings in Impeachment Next Week; Democrats Win Control in Virginia, Claim Win in Kentucky Governor's Race; Biden Sharpens His Attacks on Warren; Biden Communications Director & Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield Discusses Biden's Attacks on Warren, Presidential Race; Medicare for All. Aired 11:30a- 12p ET

Aired November 6, 2019 - 11:30   ET

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


[11:30:00]

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course, that would be absolutely historic, the third time in history that would happen.

But Schiff indicating here, Kate, three public hearings next week with these key individuals who witnessed all of these events. And he says there will be more witnesses to come -- Kate?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: And that's also an important note, Manu -- great reporting -- is that this is three very big witnesses that have really driven the direction of kind of where the investigation has gone because of their testimonies. That's happening next week and that's not the end of it.

Manu, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

We will have much more on this breaking news. Public hearings now scheduled in the impeachment inquiry. Much more after break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:35:33]

BOLDUAN: All right. We are keeping our eye on that make-shift podium, if you will, on Capitol Hill where House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff could be coming to camera shortly to make a statement. We will bring you the news when he does.

Because he just announced the breaking news of the next public phase of the impeachment hearing will begin next week. Three witnesses will be testifying publicly. Bill Taylor, George Kent, Marie Yovanovitch, all three of those have key testimony behind closed doors, testifying for hours before lawmakers, and now they will be facing questioning from Democrats and Republicans publicly next week.

And as Manu Raju reported, that is just the beginning. But the public phase now begins.

Joining me now is former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania, Charlie Dent.

Congressman, thank you for coming in.

Just -- you've sat in many a hearing on Capitol Hill. What is next week going to look like?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, it's going to be quite a show, Kate. First, I think we have Ambassador Taylor and Yovanovitch. I think Taylor's public performance will probably be very impressive. We all read his opening statement, which was powerful. Now let's see what he says on television.

Same with Yovanovitch, who I think comes off as the victim here. She was horribly treated. I think she is also very credible.

What happened behind closed doors is going to come out for the public to see. I think this transparency, my Republican friends say they want this out in the open. I don't think this will help their case. All three of these folks are very credible witnesses.

BOLDUAN: Seriously, is there a way to avoid this becoming a complete show?

DENT: Yes, I mean, well, I don't know, what do you do to Bill Taylor? Do you attack him? He went to West Point. He's got a distinguished service record serving Republican presidents. I don't know how you attack him.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

DENT: Or even Ambassador Yovanovitch. I'm not sure about George Kent. I don't see easy attacks on any of these folks. And --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: So you've seen -- you've seen the reaction from your Republican colleagues throughout the process and since that big revision from Sondland last night, some of their reaction. Do you see a universal possibility where what is said publicly changes, changes, sways opinion of your former Republican colleagues?

DENT: Well, I think what will happen is my former Republican colleagues will be forced to acknowledge that the president's conduct as it relates to Ukraine was simply awful. They can't defend him. They can't try to defend it. Even bashing the process isn't doing them any good. So they have to acknowledge the behavior was terrible.

Now, whether or not this rises to the level of impeachable defense is another debate they may want to have. But I think they cannot simply defend the conduct.

BOLDUAN: That's exactly right. So we will keep our eye on this picture. Cameras are up. So I'm assuming Adam Schiff might be walking out -- there he is. Let's listen.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): We are in the middle of a deposition involving Ambassador Hale, who is the third most-senior official at the State Department and a top career official at the State Department. So I'm going to have to keep this brief.

But first of all, I want to thank Ambassador Hale for being here, for obeying the law, for following the lawful subpoena that we issued. We wish others would show the same courage and dedication to the law that Ambassador Hale is demonstrating here today.

I want to let you know, as you may know already, that we will begin our open hearings in the impeachment inquiry next week. We will be beginning with testimony of Ambassador Taylor and Ambassador Kent on Wednesday and we will have Ambassador Yovanovitch testify on Friday. These will be the first of the open hearings.

And I think you will see, throughout the course of the testimony, not only their testimony but many others, the most important facts are largely not contested.

We are getting an increasing appreciation for just what took place during the course of the last year and the degree to which the president enlisted the whole departments of government in the elicit aim of trying to get Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political opponent as well as further conspiracy theory of the 2016 election that he believed would be beneficial to his re-election campaign.

[11:40:04]

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 to learn firsthand about the facts of the president's misconduct.

Along those lines, today, we will be releasing the deposition transcript of Ambassador Taylor, so people will have the opportunity to read about that deposition as well.

And what Americans will see from that transcript is what they have seen from the others, that the GOP claims to be locked out, prohibitive from participating, unable to ask questions, are simply false. In Ambassador Taylor's deposition, as indeed every deposition, the Republican member have had equal opportunity to Democratic members to ask any questions they would like.

I think you will see in the transcript what a dedicated public servant Ambassador Taylor is. Someone who graduated from West Point, someone who served in Vietnam, someone who I think is performing another vital service for the country in relating the facts that came to his attention, the very disturbing facts that came to his attention.

So we move forward with the open phase of the impeachment inquiry. We still have some remaining depositions to do, which we'll be conduct over the next couple of days.

And with that, we are going to head back.

Thank you. (CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: And there you have the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee not taking questions, heading back into the interview continues with the top State Department official, David Hale. But giving all -- repeating the breaking news we have announced on Twitter.

With me still is the political analyst CNN political analyst, Margaret Talev, and Charlie Dent still here with me.

Thank you so much, Congressman, for sticking around. I appreciate it.

Congressman, we know about Bill Taylor and we also learned that his testimony is going to be released today. So there will be much more to come.

But we do know from Bill Taylor's opening statement that had been released when he testified, that they, the Ukraine, U.S. aid to Ukraine was explicitly tied to the country's kind of willing ins to announce an investigation into President Trump's political rivals.

That is one of the big headlines that came from that testimony. And I'm sitting here wondering, it's one thing to read it in a testimony, in a transcript. What is that going to feel like and will it be different when he says that publicly next week?

DENT: Yes, I think he's - absolutely. I think it's going to be very powerful. This man, will you see this guy with decades worth of service. He'll talk about his military record as well as his foreign service. He's going to lay it out.

He's going to talk about, there was an explicit it quid pro quo. And now people are going to judge their man. They're going to see him in the flesh. And they're probably going to find out this man is quite credible. He's got a powerful presentation.

So I think this is simply reinforce what is he said behind closed doors and in that opening statement. I think it's very detrimental to the president's cause.

BOLDUAN: It's also unclear kind of as this now announced, Margaret, that it's going into this public phase, does that mean that the desire to have Mick Mulvaney come testify, the desire to have John Bolton testify, does that now all go away when they move into public testimony? That's unclear, but this is definitely moving into a very important next phase.

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And I would not expect any of that pressure to go away. The Democrats have made pretty clear that they, this new phase will exist on two tracks. It will begin, the public testimony part, while continuing to try to take deposition or talk with people behind the scenes.

But there's a couple things I would flag. Number one, this will be the first big test of whether putting some of these people on camera can permeate American consciousness outside the Beltway and make this issue more understandable --

BOLDUAN: Great point.

TALEV: -- or more of something of concern for voters across the country.

To Republicans in Congress who have been critical of the Democrat's process until now, have been saying, let's have this out in the open, this shouldn't be happening behind closed doors. They will get what they asked for. I'm not sure it's what they want.

Schiff and Pelosi have chosen two of the most prophetic figures they can to present in this initial rollout. These are people that want to speak publicly.

We know from Bill Taylor he was leaving breadcrumbs in those text chains, knowing it would be a record that could be released, flagging it, saying this is wrong, is this what's happening, is this a quid pro quo, why is it happening. He will get to tell that story that he has obviously wanted to start telling. That will start happening next week.

[11:45:07]

BOLDUAN: Absolutely.

Margaret, thank you so much.

Congressman, while I still have you, taking a left turn, but always relate it because this is all wrapped up in politics, but so as everything is.

I do want to ask you because of the big results last night from the governor's race in Kentucky and what happened in Virginia, you know, I think there's a very important question to be asked and, from your perspective, what do you think the lesson is or should be for Republicans after those losses last night?

DENT: Sure. What happened last night is simply a continuation of what happened in 2017 and 2018, where Republicans are experiencing enormous losses, a bloodletting, a wipeout in suburban and, to a certain extent, in urban communities.

Look at northern Virginia alone. In Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington, there are 26 statehouse seats there. The Republican have zero. Zero. And in Loudoun County, they're doing marginally better. They were wiped out. I saw the same thing in suburban Philadelphia.

One other lesson I learned last night, too, the Democrats are not talking Medicare-for-All or decriminalizing illegal border crossing or Green New Deal. They're talking about Medicaid.

Republican have to learn a lesson there, too. Medicaid was a very big issue in Kentucky and will be in this Louisiana gubernatorial race in a few weeks. So I think that's a lesson that Republicans better learn that this

simply willy-nilly trying to take away Medicaid from people will not necessarily help you in a state like Kentucky or even Louisiana. So there are plenty of lessons.

Also, oh, Donald Trump's endorsement --

BOLDUAN: Yes.

DENT: -- did not help in those suburban communities in Kentucky.

I mean, why bring Trump in? If you need to improve yourself in the suburbs, why would you bring Trump in for that? OK, he will do well in the rural areas. But that endorsement didn't help.

Bevin was extremely unpopular to be sure. The Trump endorsement probably hurt him in those suburban communities, where he needed to do better.

BOLDUAN: Fascinating.

I am having de javu from conversations in 2017 and 2018 after the midterms. It's really remarkable. We'll continue to have them.

Thank you very much, Congressman. I really appreciate it.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:52:09]

BOLDUAN: Breaking news in the impeachment inquiry. House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff announcing just now that the first public hearings in the inquiry will begin next week.

Three witnesses will be called to testify before Congress publicly, Ambassador Bill Taylor, Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, and State Department official, George Kent.

Also, the transcript of Bill Taylor's closed-door testimony, Adam Schiff announced, will be released today. That was announced just moments ago.

Manu Raju just caught up with Republican Congressman Jim Jordan and here was his reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RAJU: Both testified that Sondland was told by the president that this is the reason why the Ukraine aid was held up.

REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): He said there was no quid pro quo. And I want Zelensky to do what he said. What did Zelensky say he wanted to do? It's on the call. He said, I want to drain the swamp in Kiev just like they're doing in Washington. So that's what Sondland -- when he talked to the president, the

president was very clear, no quid pro quo. I want Zelensky to do what he said. And what did Zelensky say on the call he wanted to do? He, Zelensky is the one that brought it up. He said I want to drain the swamp in Ukraine just like the president is doing.

RAJU: He amended his testimony --

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That from Jim Jordan just now. You can be sure there'll be much more reaction coming in on that breaking news. We'll continue to bring that to you.

Back to 2020 politics, real quick. "Condescending and elitism." Former Vice President Joe Biden is right now sharpening his attack against Senator Elizabeth Warren with some of his harshest words yet.

First, writing this in a pretty biting post about Warren accusing him of repeating Republican talking points. Let me read a bit: "It's representative of an elitism that working- and middle-class people do not share. We know best, you know nothing. If you were only as smart as I am you would agree with me."

And this morning, he doubled down. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (voice-over): If you don't agree with Elizabeth Warren, you must somehow be not a Democrat. You must somehow be corrupt. You must not be as smart as she is.

That's not who we are. The elitist attitude about either my way or the highway, you mustn't know what you're talking about if you disagree with me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Joining me now, the communications director and deputy campaign manager for the Joe Biden's campaign, Kate Bedingfield.

Kate, thanks for coming in.

KATE BEDINGFIELD, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR & DEPUTY CAMPAIGN MANAGER, JOE BIDEN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN: Thanks for having me.

BOLDUAN: Thanks for sticking around.

The vice president has been sharpening his attack against Elizabeth Warren, really in the last week especially. Why does the campaign feel the need to go this direction right now? It's harsh.

BEDINGFIELD: Look, he believes that we are in a really damaging place in our politics if we can't disagree on the details about how to get to a shared goal, universal coverage, without dismissing those who disagree as small thinkers or not willing to fight big fights or not willing to take on a challenge.

[11:55:06]

I think Medicare-for-All is a perfect example. You know, the fact is the vast majority of Democratic voters believe that protecting and defending the Affordable Care Act is the best way to expand health coverage in this country.

I think the election results last night bore that out too. You had a candidate in Kentucky who made an aggressive case for expanding the Affordable Care Act. Joe Biden makes the argument to expanding Medicare for the middle class and passing sensible gun reform.

He believes this is a real fundamental question that we're going to grapple with in this primary, which is, do we put forward a candidate who believes that bringing people in is the way to get things done, or do we put forward a candidate who believes that pushing people out is the way to get things done.

He's spent his entire career fighting for Democratic progressive policies and getting them done. The way to get it done is bring people in. You've got to be able to bring people around to your point of view. And you have to be able to win elections in order to get change done.

He believes this is a fundamental question we're going to need to answer in this primary.

BOLDUAN: Biden calls Warren's approach "condescending to the millions of Democrats who have a different view." What you're getting at right there. Also, he said a couple times that basically her politics smacks of "elitism." Does Joe Biden think Elizabeth Warren is elitist?

BEDINGFIELD: Look, he thinks and has said for a long time that the Democratic Party cannot forget its roots, that we have to talk to working class, middle-class families from all corners of the country, that we have to be open to hearing them, to hearing their concerns the way that the Democratic Party always historically has.

That's something he feels strongly about. It's part of the reason he can build such a broad coalition. It's why he gets more support across the breadth of the Democratic Party than other candidates. And it's really core to him and who he is.

Again, he spent his entire career fighting for an incredibly progressive agenda that benefits working people. I think, again, you saw last night that candidates who were echoing that kind of message in the election last night were successful. It's a reminder --

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: So I take that as a yes. I mean, they're in the place of basically name calling at this point. I take that as a yes that Joe Biden thinks Elizabeth Warren is elitist.

Does this tit for tat that's going back and forth now, she saying he uses Republican talking points, he says she's elitist, does this help Democratic voters?

BEDINGFIELD: It's not name calling. It's a fundamental question that I think most Democratic voters want to see somebody who can get things done, who can make change. We have a president now in Donald Trump who doesn't get things done for people, who's incredibly divisive.

A big piece of why Democratic voters are responding so well to Joe Biden's message is that he's talking about bringing the country together. He's talking about a sense of unity. He's talking about a common purpose.

It doesn't mean we're going to agree on every detail. And it doesn't mean that fights aren't important and worth having that he's not going to have them. You've seen that throughout his career.

There's a fundamental question here that I think is really important, that is at the center of this campaign, which is, you know, are we going to put somebody forward who is going to bring people in, who is going to be able to win some of these key battleground states that are critical for a Democrat to win in 2020. Joe Biden is that candidate.

And the reason that he's that candidate, the reason that -- we saw this polling this week showing that he beats Trump in some of these key battleground states. And the reason for that is because he appeals to what people want, which is a sense that their elected officials are fighting for them, are going to be able to make real change. He has a track record of doing that.

I think he's the only candidate in this primary who can say, I took on the NRA and won. I got the Affordable Care Act along with President Obama over the finish line. I got the Recovery Act done because I was able to flip Republican Senators to vote for it.

That's the way democracy works. That's the way politics work. That's why voters are so responsive to his message, because he knows he's going to be the person to get it done for them.

BOLDUAN: Kate, thanks so much for coming in. We'll see this fight continue on the campaign trail. There are a lot of messages and lessons that came out of those results last night.

Thanks so much for coming in. I really appreciate it.

Thank you all so much for joining me. A wild day here on "AT THIS HOUR."

"INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.

[12:00:01]

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Thank you, Kate.

And welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. Thank you for sharing your day with us.

Big impeachment inquiry news. Democrats announce public hearings beginning next week.