Return to Transcripts main page
Live Coverage Of Impeachment Hearing Set Next Week; Bill Barr Says No To His Boss; GOP Takes Note Of Their Defeat In Two States; Election Day Brings Gains For Democrats In Suburbs; Pompeo Has Lost Confidence At State Amid Impeachment Probe; Safiya Khalid Pulls Off Historic Election Victory In Spite Of Hate From Racist Online Trolls. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired November 6, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is CNN TONIGHT. I'm Don Lemon.
A lot going on tonight. We're going to catch you up on all the big headlines.
We have breaking news. A report tonight in the Washington Post that President Trump wanted Attorney General Bill Barr to hold a news conference saying Trump didn't break any laws on his Ukraine call, but Barr declined to do that.
The White House nervous about the testimony from Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine who testified about the shakedown military aid in return for an investigation of the Bidens.
Taylor will be the first witness to testify in public hearings beginning next Wednesday, and the White House is said to be bracing for their impact.
We'll also look at the Democrats' big wins in yesterday's elections and how suburban voters in key states could be deciding factors in 2020.
We're going to see how a young immigrant, a refugee from Somalia beat back racist trolls on social media who tried to derail her campaign. She won election to a city council seat in Lewiston, Maine. We're going to hear from her tonight.
Plus, crisis of confidence in the State Department. Multiple sources saying that the Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, has damaged his own reputation by failing to defend career diplomats caught up in the Ukraine scandal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MELVILLE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ESTONIA: It's very clear that Mr. Pompeo's need to be close to President Trump and support him in every way has caused him to give up the integrity that I think is an essential element to being a successful leader. I'm afraid that Secretary Pompeo has abrogated any claim that he has to being a leader of integrity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: A lot to get to in the hour ahead. I want to begin with the breaking news in the impeachment inquiry. I want to bring in Max Boot, Guy Smith, and Frank Bruni. Good evening, gentlemen. So good to have you on.
GUY SMITH, FORMER CLINTON IMPEACHMENT ADVISER: Thank you.
LEMON: Max, I want to start with you because I want to get your reaction to this breaking news that's in the Washington Post saying that the President Trump -- that President Trump wanted Bill Barr to hold a press conference saying that he broke no laws when it came to this Ukraine call but Barr declined. What do you think and what was he thinking?
MAX BOOT, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, when you get to the point, Don, where Bill Barr will not defend Donald Trump, that's a sign the situation is really, really bad because if there's one thing that Bill Barr has done since taking over as attorney general, it is defend Donald Trump.
And we saw him carrying Trump's water when the Mueller report came out and offering a very untruthful and deceitful summary of what was in the -- what was in the Mueller report.
We've seen Barr flying around the world in recent months trying to substantiate this crazy conspiracy theory that would let the Russians off the hook for the 2016 hacking.
We've seen Barr directing an investigation of the investigators who looked into Trump campaign.
So, he has been 110 percent partisan in his defense of Donald Trump, and the fact that he's not willing to do that here I think is an indication of what an open and shut case it actually is against Donald Trump.
LEMON: Well, you mentioned how he framed, right, when he came out and framed this is what the Mueller report and what it shows when it actually wasn't what it showed. But he already gave him cover when it comes to this.
Because as that transcript rolled out, the criminal division prosecutors announced that they found no wrongdoing as it relates to campaign finance law. They released a legal memo on why the intelligence community inspector general didn't need to hand over the whistleblower's complaint to Congress, So Trump got a lot of what he wanted already from Bill Barr.
BOOT: Right. Now, there's no question that Barr is still trying to help him out in, you know, dismissing any attempt to look into criminal wrongdoing in the Ukraine case, although that is very helpful to Trump, but he doesn't -- he's apparently not willing to go the extra mile here and actually, you know, exonerate Trump when the fact pattern is that Trump is guilty as sin.
LEMON: Yes. I see a lot -- I see a lot of heads.
FRANK BRUNI, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: When I read the Washington Post story, I was nodding my head and thinking this is inevitable. Because what he's saying is gee, Barr did this for me with the Mueller report, why wouldn't he do the exact same thing again.
And it almost makes you wonder if Trump who's always saying I did nothing wrong, I did nothing wrong knows that he did something wrong that Barr's characterization of the Mueller report in real-time was cover for him that he didn't deserve because he's asking again for cover and exoneration that he doesn't --
LEMON: Frank, we're going to talk a lot about the testimony today as well. But I just want you all to listen to something that we heard from President Trump at his rally tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: You saw last week the monstrous animal known as Al-Baghdadi is dead.
TRUMP: You know, if somebody else did that, they'd be talking about it for months. Me, I got about a day out of it from these people, but that's OK. That's OK.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: He's feeling sorry for himself he got one day, like what?
BRUNI: Because, Don, just so you know it's all about him, you know, it's not about the nation being safer. It's not about anything else. It's not about the people who actually did the work of getting him, it's about Donald Trump.
And the hilarious thing is as he's saying this. But we now know that he invented, hallucinated, just riffed half of the stuff he said about how Al-Baghdadi was actually killed because he wanted that time at the microphone.
SMITH: And he --
LEMON: And we laugh because it's so ridiculous. But I mean, I'm tired of laughing at him. It's not -- it's not funny, you know.
SMITH: No, it's very sad actually.
LEMON: And people sit there yuck, yuck, yucking it up and none of it most of what he's saying is not true.
SMITH: Well, and he hasn't been for -- since before he took office, he hasn't been saying anything that's true. I mean, think about all the Baghdadi thing, he tries to dog credit, and now he won't even let the dog have any credit for it. This is how absurd this has gotten.
BOOT: Well, it's his competition with Obama because he's jealous of all the credit that Obama got for Bin Laden and he wants to one up Obama and that's not happening. And so, he's frustrated.
BRUNI: That's exactly right. This is Obama envy pure and simple.
LEMON: And then there is new tonight. This is Senator Lindsey Graham. I want you to listen to what he is saying about Trump's ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland who amended his original testimony and now admits to a quid pro quo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Now here's a question, why did Sondland change his testimony? Was there a connection between Sondland and Democratic operatives on the committee? Did he talk to Schiff? Did he talk to Schiff staffers?
I've been a lawyer for a very long time, when somebody changes their testimony, they suddenly recall something they didn't know before, it makes me incredibly suspicious. Why did Sondland change his mind? What prompted him to change his mind about maybe there was a quid pro quo when I said there wasn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: What is next, the dog ate my homework? I mean, it's pretty crazy. I mean, Sondland donated a million dollars.
SMITH: The million dollars man.
LEMON: To the president's inaugural committee and now he's floating some conspiracy theory, he's tying himself to defend this president about maybe there's an operative. I mean, operatives don't donate a million dollars. But go on, Guy. Sorry.
SMITH: Lindsey Graham has been doing this. He was a House manager in the Clinton impeachment, and he was as strange and out there then as he is today. It makes you wonder about the people of South Carolina that elect him.
But the thing about Sondland is he's trying to avoid perjury, all this other testimony comes out, and his lawyer says, my God. You got to do something. We've got to come back in here, and say, well, we recall we have a better recollection now and all of a sudden there's the million dollars man is agreeing there's a quid pro quo.
LEMON: No, but he's an operative from the Democrats.
SMITH: Well. Yes, but he's a secret operative.
LEMON: Where do they come up with this? Where do they come up with this stuff?
BOOT: I thought George -- I thought George Conway had a good line on Twitter where he said by that same logic, it won't be long before Lindsey Graham is accusing Donald Trump of being a Democratic operative because nobody is doing more to make impeachment inevitable than Donald Trump.
BRUNI: But Don, you say where do they come up with it? They come up with it from the president. They're all taking their -- I mean, we're hearing in Lindsey Graham exactly the kind of thing as Donald Trump does.
Donald Trump as conspiracy theories galore, no regard for the truth. And that's like a viral thing that gets caught by all the people around him. It's the way they show their love for him, is by being as loose with the truth and as fast with conspiracy theories as he is.
LEMON: They're just going to say, yes, that's what -- OK, that's what we're going to say, OK.
BRUNI: Because Trump is clapping and nodding as he listens to Graham.
LEMON: Let's -- I want to do some testimony, Taylor's testimony, he explains how the shakedown was established. OK? So, let me read this exchange.
Committee member, "who was responsible for setting all this into motion? Was it Mr. Sondland? Was it Ambassador Sondland? Taylor, 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 in 2016 and 2016 election, I think the originator, the person who came up with that was Mr. Giuliani."
Does anybody hear the bus rolling up behind? It was Mr. Giuliani. Committee member, "and he was representing whose interests? Taylor, President Trump."
Taylor draws a straight line to this president.
BRUNI: Well, it's a line that goes through Giuliani, yes, but.
SMITH: And Giuliani just today is putting out a tweet that he's doing only things for the president directly -- that's the only person I'm working for. And here we have Giuliani is going to jail.
BRUNI: But let's say for the sake of argument --
LEMON: Wait, wait, wait, why do you say that? There's no, I mean, he's still innocent until proven guilty, but go on. Why do you say that?
SMITH: Well, look at everything that he's done. I mean, in his --
LEMON: What he's accused of doing. What are you saying? He's telling --
SMITH: Well, he's -- but on Chris Cuomo's show he admitted it. I mean --
LEMON: But then two sentences later he didn't, but.
SMITH: He didn't first and then he did.
LEMON: And then he did.
BRUNI: But let's just say for the sake of argument that what we just saw there that that says that Giuliani was the one who originated the idea of the quid pro quo. It doesn't matter because by July 25th Donald Trump is on the phone saying I need a favor, dangling things in front of him.
So, wherever it originated Donald Trump was a participant in it after the fact at best, but I also find it hard to believe that his personal lawyer, the little babbling Beelzebub, Rudy Giuliani --
LEMON: But Taylor -- Taylor also talked about a September 8th text message to Sondland and Volker describing this nightmare -- his nightmare scenario where Zelensky would announce investigations and the money still wouldn't be released and Russia would love it. I'm just wondering if all this shows the president's interests were different than U.S. national security interests?
BOOT: Completely, Don. I mean, the president had no interest in actually promoting U.S. national security, which would have necessitated giving the aid to Ukraine because Ukraine is fighting against Russian aggression.
Donald Trump couldn't care less about the fate of Ukraine. In fact, we now know he actually hated Ukraine because he bizarrely blamed Ukraine for intervening against him in the 2016 election. He bad mouthed Ukraine. He didn't want to help them out. All he cared about was helping himself out.
So, I mean, it's laughable to see these Republicans say he was really worried about corruption and helping Ukraine. That's ridiculous because that July 25th phone call there was no mention of corruption. All he cared about was Joe Biden, getting dirt on Joe Biden and also supporting his bizarre conspiracy theory about the DNC server winding up in Ukraine.
So, it's all about it's not about putting America first, it's putting Donald Trump first.
LEMON: I got to go, but quickly, Guy.
SMITH: And inviting a foreign power into a U.S. election, specifically that is exactly what he did. It's in the transcript that the White House put out. All of the witnesses have spoken to that. Bill Barr won't defend it even. I mean, if Bill Barr -- as Max said, if Bill Barr won't defend it, whoa, there's a problem.
LEMON: Now here's the question, why did Sondland change his testimony? Was there a connection between Sondland and the Democratic operatives --
SMITH: That's Lindsey. That's Lindsey.
LEMON: Wow, wow.
SMITH: He just wanted to get out of perjury.
LEMON: As we say, lordy, lordy, lordy, where have we gone to? All right. Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it.
Public testimony in the impeachment investigation begins next week, and you'll see it all live on TV. So, will there be a John Dean moment? Who better to ask than John Dean himself. Next.
LEMON: Well, as the House prepares to hold televised hearings next week in the impeachment inquiry, we're learning tonight that President Trump wanted Bill Barr to publicly say that Trump did nothing wrong on this July phone call with Ukraine's president, but Barr declined.
Let's bring in John Dean. John, good evening. I just want to get your take on --
JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Good evening.
LEMON: -- the Post reporting that Barr, you know, he's helped the president a lot by misleading the public on the Mueller report. Then the DOJ wouldn't pursue the inspector general's referring on the whistleblower, so why stop now?
DEAN: You know, I read that story, and the only thing that surprised me about it was that Barr didn't do it. You know, it looks like he went a little of the distance with the criminal division turning down any campaign act violation problem, gave a soft press response out of the department.
Apparently issued a memo, but that isn't -- you know, that isn't what Trump wanted, and Trump's now grumbling amongst his kitchen cabinet that he would like Barr to have done more, but he still doesn't want to mess with Barr I don't think.
LEMON: Yes. We have the transcript, John, of Bill Taylor's explosive testimony, reading it on paper, you know, is really one thing, but now the world will hear exactly how this shakedown played out live on TV. What are you expecting next week?
DEAN: We're going to a different phase that's going to be the television phase. It's going to be the very public phase of this. I think it's going to be much different than anything we've experienced before. It will be different than Mueller.
These witnesses are fact witnesses. He was a reluctant prosecutor summarizing who didn't even want to appear and talk about his report.
So, I think it's going to be very different, and I think they know how these witnesses will handle themselves in public. They've had them in executive session.
Interestingly enough, the Watergate hearings were all done first in executive session as well before the Senate and then in the House impeachment inquiry, so there was a -- this is not an unusual procedure to have them in executive session first. It gives them a basis for questioning, too.
LEMON: Right, so this whole behind closed door nonsense is just that nonsense.
DEAN: It is nonsense, yes.
LEMON: Yes. So, Taylor has notebooks. Do you think he'll bring them?
DEAN: I don't know if he will. He might be asked to bring them or at least the relevant pages of them. He's obviously turned them over to the State Department he said in his testimony. He's got three ways he keeps records.
One was electronically with his messaging, and the other two apparently were handwritten where he had a small notebook, he carried with him, and he had a spiral notebook on his desk, so I don't know the quality of the notes, but they could be very helpful.
If he's been subpoenaed, I think he has to bring those with him because they may want to question him on those notes to see if there are any conflicts between his notes and his testimony.
LEMON: As you know, John, these public hearings have the power to shift public opinion, but they can also fall flat. We saw that with Mueller's testimony. What do Democrats need to do to tell the story of -- DEAN: Yes.
MACCALLUM: -- what really happened?
DEAN: Just let the witnesses unfold the story. The first thing they've done that is really smart, very smart, is to open up the questioning where there is not this five-minute back and forth by members. Rather open it up for council to ask questions, both majority and minority council. That will give a different flow to the hearings than is normal.
But Don, I can tell you something, just the dynamics change. I never understood after Watergate why people came up to me and said we enjoyed your show. I didn't know what the hell they were talking about, and it wasn't until the Iran-Contra hearings that I realized the theatrical aspect of these kinds of hearings.
They really are theater. They really are a show. Television understands that. Trump obviously understands that, so I think that's one of the reasons he's worried.
LEMON: John Dean, thank you, sir.
DEAN: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: Some Republican senators are warning last night's election should be a quote, "wake-up call for their party." We're going to take a closer look at who won what and what it could mean for 2020.
LEMON: Democrats are celebrating last night's election win in Kentucky, while President Trump and Republicans are trying to explain why they lost in one of the reddest states in the nation. Maybe they should look to the suburbs.
Joining me now is Brendan Buck and Amanda Carpenter. It's so good to have both of you on. Let's see, Brendan, starting with Kentucky, OK? Suburban voters were key to Democrats' victory, and you can see the blue around the big cities like Lexington and even in some areas around coal country where Trump did really well in 2016. One year from 2020, the warning light is flashing blue and not red. Do you agree?
BRENDAN BUCK, FORMER TOP AIDE TO PAUL RYAN & JOHN BOEHNER: Yes, I mean, I think the situation in Kentucky is sort of unique. Matt Bevin is a uniquely unpopular figure in the state. Every other Republican that won statewide won, so you know, I don't want to extrapolate too much out of Kentucky. But the suburbs, those areas that you're talking about absolutely are a flashing warning sign for Republicans, not just there but across the country, and it's a continuation of what we saw in 2018.
When we got wiped out, it was in the suburbs of Atlanta and Dallas and Houston, and Philadelphia and Minneapolis, and it's because these more educated suburban, particularly women voters are just totally turned off by the president's politics, and it hurt us bad in 2018, and they've done no course correction, and it looks like that's where this is headed going into 2020 and that's going to be the battleground.
LEMON: You know, I had a thought that a lot of the folks are, you know, who support the president, meaning lawmakers are afraid to be primaried by him, right? They're afraid of a tweet. But I'm wondering -- I'm wondering if they would be doing the party a better service if they actually stood up to him and said stop it with the shenanigans, what do you think, Brendan?
BUCK: I think privately a lot of them have said stop it with the shenanigans. Yes, I mean, there is a -- at the leadership level, there is a real understanding of the bleeding that is going on in the party.
You know, there was once a coalition that largely was rural voters and suburban voters. That was the Republican Party. The Republican Party in the suburbs was sort of that softer kinder version of it, and that's been swallowed whole by Donald Trump.
BUCK: Yes. And so, it's really becoming a rural party, and that is not a national party.
LEMON: They're in a --
BUCK: Most members particularly in the House of Representatives they're in safe bright red districts where the only election that matters to them is the primary. And so, they have no real political incentive to get out and speak against the president because then personally it hurts them.
LEMON: Got it. I want to bring Amanda now. Amanda, let's zoom in now on north Kentucky, the suburbs near Cincinnati. OK? Democrat won both Kenton and Campbell County which are traditionally been Republican. Trump won those counties in 2016. Romney in 2012.
In Campbell County, Andy Beshear won by six points, and then back in 2016 Trump won that county by 25 points. I mean, this means voters there are OK with a moderate Democrat, right?
AMANDA CARPENTER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, yes, they're willing to accept a moderate Democrat, probably because of the overriding anti-Trump sentiment that's there. I mean, there's just a lot of fatigue and chaos that's been going on, and I know a lot of Republicans are trying to isolate Bevin from the larger trends that are going on.
But what I see is that Bevin picked fights on suburban issues in a very Trumpy way. He went afternoon teacher's union. He went after health care without real answers, and these are things that suburban voters care about. I don't care where you are, health care, education and increasingly gun violence. These are three major issues that Republicans don't have answers for.
Meanwhile, the Democrats can't stop talking about those issues. And so, another reason why Republicans are losing so badly in the suburbs is that the Democrats are getting out the vote big time with women, millennials, and minorities. And the GOP has no inroads into those places.
And so the suburbs are -- we're losing them for a generation, Republicans are, and there is no plan to get them back. And I get really frustrated when I hear Republicans say, oh, we can't win cities because, you know, there's minorities there. We can't get those votes. We can't get suburbs.
What can you win? You are isolating yourself to only getting rural white voters and you see the president's agenda kind of fit towards that, and everyone else is just getting left behind.
LEMON: Again, last night as we were watching, you know, the returns come in, Amanda. We -- you know, John King kept saying, well, you know, the counties that are out are -- they're red counties but it's rural. And I kept thinking, I think he said it well, there aren't enough people in those counties to make up the difference and put Bevin ahead.
CARPENTER: Yeah. I think Republicans really need to reflect. A lot of the news coverage, oh, Republicans are losing suburban voters. What does that really mean? That means the Republican Party has a problem connecting to the middle class. It has a problem connecting to people who live among different demographics where old and young, black, white, Hispanic all live together in the same place.
It is -- it's just devastating to think that Republicans are willing to write that off and just say, well, we're just going to go for rural white voters. I mean, it's just not a winning viable coalition.
LEMON: Brendan, can we talk about this moment from Trump's rally tonight? Louisiana Senator John Kennedy is talking about the speaker of the house. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): don't mean any disrespect, but it must suck to be that dumb!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: And I'm from Louisiana.
LEMON: Sorry, world. Look, there's no doubt that Speaker Pelosi makes a great target for Republicans to fire up their base, but I mean, what do you think when you hear Senator Kennedy say something like that? I mean, our colleague here at CNN, Matt Lewis, tweeted, these guys are growing a whole new generation of bullies and punks.
BUCK: And keep in mind, those rallies are actually -- they serve as the president's focus groups. When he hears people react to stuff like that, that only encourages him to do it more. It sounds so silly and childish, but I know from our work on the Hill working with the president, he would say, you know, I said this line at the rally and they went nuts, and that encourages him to do it more.
That's the feedback that he gets. He surrounds himself only with people that, you know, are in that bubble and it creates this cycle where he doubles down on it over and over and over again. This is not going to change any time soon. That's the most troubling part about it.
LEMON: Mm-hmm. Brendan, I love having you on. Amanda, you know we love having you as well. Thank you. I appreciate it.
Morale in the State Department is plummeting, according to a senior official there, and a lot of it has to do with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
LEMON: Revelations from the impeachment inquiry that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was unwilling to defend career State Department officials have damaged his standing within the department and devastated morale there. That's according to multiple sources.
Joining me now with the details is CNN's Michael Warren. Michael, good evening to you. What do you hear from the State Department sources?
MICHAEL WARREN, CNN REPORTER: That's right, Don. Multiple people with knowledge have been saying that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's standing in the department has diminished for many reasons, but primarily because of the developments of the impeachment inquiry, which we know has involved several State Department officials and of course the foreign policy of the United States.
One senior administration official who has been defending Pompeo for the last several months said this whole Ukraine saga has been a real game changer in hurting morale and hurting Pompeo's standing. We have to ask why that is.
Well, we can look at what's happened this week, the release of the these transcripts from several senior State Department officials who testified to Congress behind closed doors, which are really put into black and white this concern that was growing in the State Department that Pompeo was not going to be backing up his officials when their interests pressed up against and conflicted with the political interests of the president. We know Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and a former top adviser to Mike Pompeo both testified they tried to get the State Department and Mike Pompeo specifically to defend Yovanovitch against attacks from the president's allies including Rudy Giuliani and those went nowhere. That's been a real devastating -- had a real devastating effect within the department.
LEMON: Are career State Department officials worried about backlash, Michael, from the administration?
WARREN: I think they're watching what happened to Yovanovitch who was pushed out of her role in Ukraine just a few months ago. They are concerned. They're seeing the way that the president has talked about the whistleblower, for instance. They're worried if some of these other officials who have been cooperating with the congressional investigators that Pompeo might in fact involve himself in retaliating.
WARREN: That's a real concern and a real fear within the department.
LEMON: Michael Warren, I appreciate your time. Thank you very much. Joining me now to discuss is Nicholas Burns, a former ambassador to NATO and Greece. Ambassador, thank you. I appreciate your time as well.
NICHOLAS BURNS, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO NATO AND GREECE, FORMER UNDER SECRETARY FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS: Thanks, Don.
LEMON: You just heard our reporting about tensions at the State Department. What do you hear from your former colleagues?
BURNS: I think Secretary Pompeo has lost the confidence of a great, great many people in the State Department because he hasn't stood up for these four people who have done so much to tell the story of what happened in the Ukraine scandal. He hasn't stood up for them.
In fact, when the White House called Masha Yovanovitch -- Ambassador Yovanovitch, Ambassador Bill Taylor, Ambassador Mike McKinley, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, the four principal Foreign Service officers, the White House called them radical, unelected bureaucrats.
President Trump refers to these people and others as human scum. The secretary of state did not stand up for them. Secretary Pompeo put a large poster in the lobby of the State Department reminding officers some months ago about the need for honor and dignity and duty and to defend each other.
And yet he couldn't even support his own people. These people who, you know, they take an oath to the Constitution. All federal employees do. Not to the president. They honored the subpoena. They told the truth.
And I think in a lot of ways, Don, for me at least, these are all friends of mine, I know them very, very well, we're so proud of them because I think they've shown the American people there are good people in our government, people who tell the truth, people who are nonpartisan.
And Secretary Pompeo has not said a single good word in support of them. So it's a stain on his tenure as secretary of state.
LEMON: I want to get your reaction to what the former U.S. ambassador to Estonia had to say about Secretary of State Pompeo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES MELVILLE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ESTONIA: Integrity is essential to being successful. And I'm afraid -- I'm afraid that Secretary Pompeo has abrogated any claim that he has to being a leader of integrity.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Is there one word you would use to describe his behavior in regards to Sondland here in this transcript and also Ambassador Yovanovitch?
MELVILLE: Craven. The first responsibility of a leader is to stand up for the leader's team, and he has deliberately chosen not to do that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON: Craven? I mean, that's a pretty strong word. Do you share Ambassador Melville's assessment?
BURNS: Well, I think the tragedy here, Don, is that when Secretary Pompeo came in, he was well-regarded by the State Department rank and file because they'd had a disastrous experience in the first year of the Trump presidency when their budget was cut, when there were mass resignations. You'll remember that.
And Pompeo was considered someone who had a military background so he understood the federal government. He had done well at the CIA. And I think his opening moves were very positive in trying to reassure people that he believed in them. He reached out to all sorts of people in the building. He reached out to me and many of other retired people, former officials to ask for advice.
But when the chips were down, when this impeachment drama began, when these four State Department people testified, Secretary Pompeo chose sides and it was to support blindly and I think wrongly President Trump, and that's a failure of leadership in one of our cabinet agencies.
LEMON: The transcripts released today show senior U.S. diplomat Bill Taylor that he had to be talked into going back to Ukraine. I mean, he also was clear about Rudy Giuliani's role in dealing with Ukraine.
This is from the transcript, he says, "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 in." Ambassador Taylor, "President Trump." How can a diplomat effectively do their job while the president's personal attorney is basically in charge? I mean someone who is not an elected official, has not been appointed in any official capacity. What gives?
BURNS: This is extremely unusual in American diplomatic history. There are times when there are special envoys and the ambassador has to share responsibility with that person, but it's always someone appointed officially with a government title and salary and rank by the president.
In this case, the president's personal lawyer, who I'm not even sure had a security clearance, was able to effectively hijack the policy, and then you had the ambassador of the European Union playing a major role, Ambassador Sondland in Ukraine, and poor Ambassador Yovanovitch and Ambassador Bill Taylor.
They had all these people who were interfering with their work and we know now conspiring to force the Ukrainian government to do something to investigate Vice President Biden.
And so you can imagine the frustration in these two great career officials, Bill Taylor and Masha Yovanovitch. And they were treated very, very poorly, especially Ambassador Yovanovitch, who was fired unjustly.
BURNS: And then the State Department did not stand up for her.
LEMON: Yeah. Ambassador Burns, thank you, sir.
BURNS: Thank you, Don.
LEMON: A woman running for city council in Maine gets trolled online by people as far away as Alabama. Why? Well, she's the first Somali refugee elected to that city council, and that might have something to do with it. Well, guess what? Best response was winning. She's next.
LEMON: Lewiston, Maine made history yesterday electing 23-year-old Safiya Khalid to a seat on the city council. She is the youngest person and the first Somali-American to win a seat there. She did it in spite of hate from racist online trolls as far away as Alabama and Mississippi. Guess what? Safiya Khalid joins me now. Congratulations!
SAFIYA KHALID, LEWISTON, MAINE CITY COUNCIL MEMBER-ELECT: Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me tonight.
LEMON: Absolutely so but nearly 70 percent of the vote. It was not even close. What was your initial reaction to winning by such a wide margin?
KHALID: I'm still in shock. I've been in shock for the last 24 hours.
KHALID: But, you know, I'm so, so honored that the people of Lewiston put their faith in me.
LEMON: Yeah. It's really unbelievable that you were running locally, right, yet you were repeatedly trolled online all over the country for being black, being a Muslim, a woman, and a refugee, much like the treatment of Congresswoman Omar of Minnesota and Representative Tlaib in Michigan, that they received. Can you tell me some of the things that people said to you and how it affected you?
KHALID: Yeah. They are the most hateful, terrible comments that I've, you know, ever seen before. And honestly, I couldn't take it. So -- and it was like the last minute of the election. It was a week before the election that everything, you know, started -- like the entire race turned into a negative campaign.
So, what I, you know, decided was, I can't really focus on all the negative things that's going on social media, so I had to temporarily delete my Facebook, you know, my social media accounts and focus on my --
LEMON: Listen, I thought that your family had come as refugees and that you were born here, but that's not the case. You came to this country at the age of seven having fled Somalia with your mother and two younger brothers. Tell us your story and what the ideal of America means to you and your family.
KHALID: Yeah. So my family and I, when I was the age of seven, came into the country. We came to New Jersey first but later on we came to Lewiston. And here in Lewiston, you know, we lived here for more than a decade and we found the love, the comfort, and the safety that we were looking for, especially the safety where we, you know, fled a war-torn country, you know, full of violence. And we made home here.
So it's just been completely incredible. Lewiston has welcomed my family and I. And I am who I am because of Lewiston and because, you know, I learned to write my name here in Lewiston at the age of seven. At the age of seven, I was put in fourth grade. I always felt like, you know, just always catching up with other people and other students.
So, you know, from the first person graduating high school to college to, you know, buying a car, the first of everything in my family. And now the first to be a Somali representative on the city council is wonderful.
LEMON: And your mom, you said that she's been watching all the news stories.
LEMON: She's really proud of you, right? Hi, mom, by the way.
KHALID: Oh, yeah.
LEMON: You can say hi to her if you want.
KHALID: Yeah. She's just incredibly, incredibly brave. You know, my mom is -- you know, my dad and my mom have been through so much trauma, you know, from Somalia to even in America, and always caring for us. So, this is for her and this is for -- just everyone in Lewiston.
LEMON: What message do you think you sent those internet trolls last night?
KHALID: Anything is possible, right? Like we all have a place here in America, and that's exactly what I, you know, showed last night to all the haters out there. People continue to harass me, people continue to bully me, even put my address on social media for bad intention, to incite fear in me, and they did not win. I didn't let them win. I persisted.
LEMON: Yeah. You did persist. Listen, an overwhelming 70 percent of the vote. It was not even close. Listen, you're the embodiment of America and what can be achieved here. We are really, really proud of you. Thank you so much for joining us.
KHALID: Thank you so much for having me tonight.
LEMON: Good luck.
KHALID: Thank you so much. Have a wonderful night.
LEMON: Yeah. You, too. You know what? The former wife of the president used to have this thing. Remember when Obama Trump used to say the best revenge is success?
LEMON: Thanks for watching.