Return to Transcripts main page


Sondland Revises Testimony; Mexico Announces Arrest in Ambush Attack; Dems Win at Polls; Pompeo under Scrutiny; Johnson Meets to Dissolve Parliament. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired November 6, 2019 - 06:30   ET



ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: All of these transcripts is that everybody is basically telling the same -- the same stories. Rogue foreign policy led by Giuliani. The president has antipathy toward Ukraine. And aid is being held up in what -- what seems to be clearly at this point a quid pro quo.

So what Sondland doesn't do here, though, is he doesn't say that President Trump told him to do that. And I think that's going to be a key sort of open question that continues to be out there as we look to some of these other transcripts and other witnesses that come forward.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, there was so much that happened yesterday -- what a news day -- that I think it's hard to process the fact that this key witness, who said there wasn't a quid pro quo, reversed himself and said, oh, yes, when I said there wasn't a quid pro quo, I meant there was. There was.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Now, come to think of it, yes, there was.

BERMAN: Now come to think of it. And it's only one of the most important things involved in this impeachment inquiry.

So, Rachael, again, the Republicans have been calling for the release of these transcripts. Are they happy with that decision this morning? How does this change the politics of this moving forward?

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, memory is a funny thing. I think that, as Abby just mentioned there, we're already seeing the White House sort of latch onto a piece of Sondland's testimony where he admits he kind of just assumed this military aid was being held up. It's not like he heard it from the president's lips or from Mulvaney's lips. He just sort of saw the money was being held and assumed that it was part of this pressure on Ukraine. So that is definitely a potential weakness for the Democrats that the Republicans are going to try to extract.

I do think it's interesting that in the past 24 hours, Sondland has gone from a witness that Democrats perhaps liked the least to one of their top favorites. I remember when he testified all these Democrats coming out of the room and scoffing that he was trying to cover his you know what and he was saying he can't remember anything and it was really frustrating for them. Now, a couple of weeks later, him coming forward to correct and amend his testimony saying not only do I remember a quid pro quo, but I was the one who actually delivered this message to the Ukrainians. That's significant. And it's -- he's now the third Trump official to say that this money was held up for the investigation of Trump's rivals.

CAMEROTA: And now, as you point out, he's the toast of the town, but -- among Democrats.

BERMAN: It is interesting. And that's a really good point to make right there.

CAMEROTA: It is a really good point.

And then what -- the other interesting thing is that after Republicans -- I mean this is what Rachael was saying, Abby -- after republicans had been, you know, agitating for these transcripts to be released, don't do this in secret, we need to see the transcripts, the full transcripts are being released and then Senator Lindsey Graham said yesterday, well, no, of course I'm not reading the transcripts.

PHILLIP: Yes, I mean, it seems to be just, at this point, Republicans are just like, this whole process is tainted. I don't want to have anything to do with it. It doesn't matter what's being said behind closed doors.

But, obviously, I'm not sure really how long they can continue to do that. The transcripts are going to be followed by public testimony. We're going to get to the stage of all of this where some of these people are going to come forward and they're going to have potentially televised testimony that's really going to bring all of this back to life in a way.

And so, you know, maybe the argument here is that, well, all of these things happened. There was a quid pro quo. We held up the money in order to push Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. But as long as the president himself didn't use the words quid pro quo and the president himself didn't direct all of these people potentially to do this, that it doesn't matter. I mean that's kind of where we are ending up with the Republican argument here. And it's just not clear to me that that's going to be sufficient given the body of evidence that we have at this point all pointing to exactly the same thing.

BERMAN: All right, Abby, Rachael, thank you very much.

And Rachael's got some terrific reporting in "The Post" everyone should go check out later this morning.

Thank you both.

BADE: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, breaking news, Mexican authorities have arrested their first suspect in the horrific ambush attack that killed nine American members of one family. CNN has obtained new video of some of the children who have survived the ambush as they waited in a hospital to be transported to Arizona for treatment.

CNN's Patrick Oppmann, in Mexico City, live for us with the very latest on this.

And we are learning more, again, just horrific details, Patrick.

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it really is chilling. And this morning members of a Mormon community here in Mexico are grieving and planning the funerals of nine family members who died apparently at the hands of a drug cartel. And family members tell us they're beginning the fight for justice.


OPPMANN (voice over): Mexican authorities announcing their first arrest in the ambush attack that killed nine Americans in northern Mexico.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This was for the record. Nita and four of my grandchildren are burnt and shot up.

OPPMANN: The victims, three mothers and six children, including two infants, were all dual citizens of the United States and Mexico and members of the Mormon community. The family was traveling in a convoy of three vehicles when they were attacked.

Rhonita Miller was driving one of the cars with four of her children, including her nearly eight-month-old twins.


KENDRA MILLER, FAMILY MEMBER: Nita was one of the most vibrant, happy souls that I've ever met. She was -- just had so much spark and life in her.

OPPMANN: The car was shot at and set ablaze.

KENNETH MILLER, FAMILY MEMBER: None of my grandchildren made it out. They burnt to a crisp. And my daughter-in-law. And they're about as innocent as they come.

OPPMANN: The two other vehicles were attacked about ten miles down the road. Each riddled with bullet holes. Dawna Langford was killed in one of those cars, along with two of the nine children with her.

And Christina Johnson was killed while traveling with Faith, her seven-month old baby, who miraculously survived.

KENDRA MILLER: We don't know how she survived it because around the door in front of where she was, was full of bullet holes. Her car seat base had bullets. And somehow this baby escaped unscathed.

OPPMANN: Thirteen-year-old Devin Langford survived the attack and hid six siblings in brush on the side of the road. A family member tells CNN that he then walked 14 miles for six hours to find help. His nine- year-old sister also left the group to find help and went missing. Relatives and soldiers found the girl alive hours later.

Mexican authorities say the family may have been targeted after standing up to drug cartels in the past. Family members say they had been threatened recently.

KENDRA MILLER: Our family was picked to be the ones to stir up trouble and to start a war.


OPPMANN: And the FBI has offered to the Mexican government assistance in the investigation an FBI officials told CNN but yesterday Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that Mexico's investigation needs to be independent. So, guys, it's still not clear yet if he is going to accept that offer of help from the FBI.


CAMEROTA: Patrick, it's just all so shocking and so horrible. It's hard to even understand what happened there. But we will have one of the -- well, we'll have many of the victims' family member with us later in the program.

Thank you very much, Patrick.

OK, now to politics.

Joe Biden is rolling out a new line of attack against fellow frontrunner Elizabeth Warren. What he's saying, next.



BERMAN: So there was this suburban revolt overnight with a Democrat poised to pick up the governor's mansion in Kentucky. Democrats winning control of Virginia's legislature. Both chambers for the first time in decades.

Joining us now, CNN political commentators and Democratic strategists Aisha Moodie-Mills and Paul Begala.

Paul, I want to start with you.

I'm wondering what message the results overnight send to the president and to the Democratic Party going forward. And I guess specifically I'm talking about Kentucky, where you had a candidate in Andy Beshear who was seen perhaps as more moderate, more centrist.

So what do you take away?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, first, for the White House -- Good morning, John.

For the White House, you know, when I worked in the White House we had a belief that the House and the Senate, they know two things, what you can do for them and what you can do to them, OK? In Virginia, the Democrats have picked up over 20 seats since Trump won in the general assembly, in part a backlash against Trump in the suburbs.

And what can he do for them, Donald Trump? Well, he can't save them. In a red state, the reddest of states, he could not save Matt Bevin, even though he came in and campaigned hard for him. If you're the -- there's a guy, a young man, who runs the Republican cloak room in the Senate. He's up early. He's watching this show, John. I have a tip for him. On the way to work, buddy, stop at Costco and buy a case of industrial strength Depends because you're going to have a lot of people soiling themselves in that Senate Republican cloak room.


BEGALA: This is a terrible day for Donald Trump.

CAMEROTA: And good morning, everyone. Over your breakfast. Paul has a greeting for you.

Aisha, is it possible that Democrats, like Paul, and maybe you, are celebrating a little too much winning against the least popular governor in America? I mean Matt Bevin --


CAMEROTA: Was really not -- I mean Republicans didn't like him. He admitted that.

MOODIE-MILLS: Yes, because he's a nasty man. I think this is a cautionary tale for Donald Trump because you have literally Trump like -- little Trump who just got bumped out of the governor's mansion.

The way that Matt Bevin, campaigned, ran, look, he's a -- he's a billionaire blowhard, if you will. A millionaire guy comes in and he bullies everybody. He says nasty things about people. He insults them. He talks bad about teachers. His entire brash brand of politics is Trump-lite. And for people to revolt and say this is not what we want in our state, I think it's a cautionary tale for the president because he's been running around thinking that this big, you know, kind of macho bullying, name calling brand of politics is what his supporters like. But what we're seeing is that maybe that doesn't quite work. Maybe just being nasty and hostile to people isn't really the way that you win folks over.

So I don't think that Democrats are prematurely celebrating. I think that we are running a strategy that is highlighting the fact that there is a temperament and a tone and a way that you, as a public servant, should be engaging with people. And for those who don't show up, well --

CAMEROTA: It does. I mean it -- it does works for Trump. Maybe it only works for Trump.

MOODIE-MILLS: We'll see if it's going to works for Trump because 2020 is coming, right, and I -- and I think that that's why -- I think that this is a real, you know, kind of -- what Trump is doing is he's looking and he's saying, wait a minute, if he can get tossed, then maybe I can too.

BERMAN: I was very interested in something that former Vice President Joe Biden published yesterday. I think it may have been coincidental to the election yesterday, but it is notable it happened again the same day that Andy Beshear, a more moderate candidate, won in Kentucky or is leading in Kentucky.


Joe Biden wrote this essay I think in response to what he sees as some of the progressives calling for a purity test, or what he would call a purity test in the Democratic primary.

Biden wrote, some call it the my way or the highway approach to politics, but it's worse than that. It's condescending to the millions of Democrats who have a different view. It's representative of an elitism that working and middle class people do not share. We know best, you know nothing.

Paul, what do you think of that message?

BEGALA: Well, first, I hadn't had time to get drunk to celebrate the Democrats' victory and now you're already making me get to the middle of Democratic divisions. Berman, that's not fair.

I think he has a point. Look, the heart -- we always talk about the Democratic base. And I think a lot of people in the media get this wrong. They think the Democratic base is the white liberals. And I love white -- I -- if you can see, I am one. It's not -- the heart of the Democratic Party, the heart and soul, people of color, and frankly women of color, I think Aisha would back me up on this --


BEGALA: Right now Joe Biden has the stronger claim on them. And so when Elizabeth Warren says, Joe Biden, you're not really a Democrat, what in the world? That's a -- that's a really tough insult to say to a Democrat, particularly a guy who was Barack Obama's running mate and has been a Democrat I think since the Coolidge administration. So I do think that Warren is off -- kind of off kilter here. I don't think it's wise to go after Joe. You can fight over health care. But if you don't support outlawing private insurance, if you don't support Medicare for all, if you don't support socialism, you're still a good Democrat. And I think Andy Bashear and those Virginia Democrats could tell you that that's -- that's how they won.

CAMEROTA: Isn't it cute that Paul wants us to believe he's not drunk?

Oh, Paul.

MOODIE-MILLS: He actually went to sleep (ph).

CAMEROTA: Paul. Paul.

BERMAN: I know I'm never shopping at Costco with you ever again.

CAMEROTA: Paul, Aisha, thank you both very much.

MOODIE-MILLS: Thank you, guys.

CAMEROTA: So, how has the impeachment inquiry affected President Trump's support in key swing districts? We speak to six swing voters to find out.


CAMEROTA: If he shot someone on 5th Avenue, would you vote for him?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you'd have to know why he shot him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, why did he shoot him?


CAMEROTA: Oh, and there's much more ahead for you.

BERMAN: I'm not sure I can wait to find out the resolution of that.

But first, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is facing criticism for his involvement in the Ukraine controversy. We will speak with a former ambassador who recently quit, next.



BERMAN: This morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is under fire after multiple witnesses have testified that he ignored pleas to defend then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, against attacks from President Trump and Rudy Giuliani. The ambassador was pushed out earlier this year for allegedly standing in the way of the effort to encourage Ukraine to open investigations that would benefit the president politically.

Joining me now is the former U.S. ambassador to Estonia, James Melville. He resigned last year in protest of the president's treatment of European allies.

Ambassador, thank you so much for being with us.

I want to read to you a just released section of the transcript of Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony where he describes a conversation with Mike Pompeo about Rudy Giuliani, because I think it's pertinent and I think you'll have something interesting to say about this.

So Sondland was asked, did you ever discuss Rudy Giuliani with Secretary Pompeo? Sondland says, only in general terms. Question, and what did you discuss? Answer, that he's involved in affairs. And Pompeo rolled his eyes and said, yes, it's something we have to deal with. Sondland went on to say, listen, the State Department was fully aware of the issues and there was very little they could do about it if the president decided he wanted his lawyer involved. Sondland described Pompeo rolling his eyes. So what's your assessment

of how Secretary Pompeo handled Rudy Giuliani and his machinations?

JAMES MELVILLE, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO ESTONIA: Well, good morning, John. And thank you for having me on.

You know, when I was still in the service, the transition from Secretary Tillerson to Secretary Pompeo was taken as a very good sign that we would have a leader who would stand up for the foreign service. And that was the sort of thing that Mr. Pompeo said when he first took office.

But if you read the transcripts, and I haven't had a chance to read Mr. Sondland's yet, but I did read Mike McKinley's. And 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. And, you know, I think this whole rolling his eyes and trying to manipulate everything that is said in ways that will flatter the president is antithetical to the best national security interests of the United States, which, you know, that is the fundamental function of the State Department and the foreign service is as a national security institution.

And this is the most serious sort of business that the United States has. Everything is at stake in regarding our reputation, our effectiveness, our power, our influence, what we can get done in the world. And, you know, 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.

BERMAN: Is there one word you would use to describe his behavior in regards to Sondland here in this transcript and also Ambassador Yovanovitch?


BERMAN: Wow. Why?

MELVILLE: Well, because, you know, the first responsibility of a leader is to stand up for the leader's team. And he has deliberately chosen not to do that.

The whole idea that he would now be claiming that there's some element of truth to the idea that Ukraine had something to do with the 2016 election interference, as far as I remember, there are still 12 Russians who are under indictment for their role in the election. And when Mr. Pompeo; was director of the CIA, he had a completely different tune. And, in that job, he certainly saw the facts.

BERMAN: Can I ask --

MELVILLE: And that's really what -- what we should be looking at is the facts, John.

BERMAN: I want to end with this. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who's the ambassador to the EU, is also this central player in dealing with Ukraine apparently. What do you make of his role in all of this?


MELVILLE: Well, I mean, the man is not a professional diplomat. He's a bit of a dilatant. That's not so terribly unusual, unfortunately, in the way we staff some of our diplomatic missions. But in -- in giving him this role in Ukraine, I think it was clearly because he was somebody who could be manipulated.

BERMAN: Ambassador James Melville, we appreciate you coming on this morning and talking to us about this. We look forward to more conversations in the future.

MELVILLE: Sure, John.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, campaigning for the December 12th general election in the U.K. kicks off today. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace moments ago to formally dissolve parliament. Curiously, there were no images of their meeting.

CNN's Max Foster is live outside the palace to explain.

That's unusual, Max.

MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is unusual, isn't it? And when you consider this is a big moment, really, that will define the future of this country, parliament being dissolved. Boris Johnson coming down here informing the queen and her signing a document to confirm the process taking place. It is the starting gun for a general election in the middle of December.

But I think the lack of fanfare around this really speaks to the disillusionment the British public really have about British politics right now. We've spoken about it on the show before. This Brexit deadlock. People are fed up with politicians and there's not that much engagement. That's going to be the big challenge for the political leaders going into this general election campaign.

We'll be hearing from Boris Johnson in Downing Street in a couple of hours. We've been hearing from Jeremy Corbyn today. But it really feels like they're both on a war footing.

Look at this in "The Daily Telegraph" today, Boris Johnson speaking to the newspaper, comparing, would you believe, Jeremy Corbyn and his very leftist policies, as are seen in this country, to Stalin, widely regarded as a mass murderer. Has he gone too far there? Actually, Jeremy Corbyn, being very pragmatic about it, saying this is about rich people undoing the poor. That's his theme of this election. He's staying away from Brexit, to a large extent, while Boris Johnson is going in very hard on it. We don't know whether this election will even resolve anything. Will it resolve Brexit? We hope it will, but it's not entirely clear.

BERMAN: All right, but it's only a month there, where here in the United States the elections last 17 or 18 years each (ph).

Max Foster, thank you very much for being with us.

A u-turn by the U.S. ambassador to the European Union in the impeachment inquiry --

CAMEROTA: A 180 degree u-turn.

BERMAN: Yes, a complete --

CAMEROTA: That's a u-turn, I guess.

BERMAN: A complete and utter reversal.

CAMEROTA: Yes, 180 digress.

BERMAN: Most u-turns are 180 degrees. Thank you for clarifying that.

And the comedians think it's really funny. Here are your "Late Night Laughs."

It's a u-turn.


STEPHEN COLBERT, HOST, "THE LATE SHOW WITH STEPHEN COLBERT": Sondland amended his testimony, much the same way that Sherman amended Atlanta. And it turns out, yes, quid pro quo. Now, why did Sondland decide to revise his statements to Congress? According to him, incriminating testimony from other witnesses like Bill Taylor refreshed my recollection about certain conversations. Huh, you know what, that testimony I just heard really refreshed the old noodle here. You know, it made me remember one important detail that I don't want to go to jail for perjury.

SETH MEYERS, HOST, "LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MEYERS: If that's something you just remembered, just think of all the small stuff you're forgetting. Somewhere there's a 40-year-old man still waiting to be picked up from soccer. Timmy, I am so sorry. I'm so sorry, bud.


CAMEROTA: OK, a big election day for Democrats.

NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voters in Kentucky sent a message loud and clear for everyone to hear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a very, very close race, but it's a Democratic victory in a state that has been trending more red.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is another sign that Virginia has gone way blue. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump thinks he can win Virginia in 2020. It

looks like that will be a very uphill battle.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These transcripts are actually good for the president.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sondland now confirming his involvement in laying out a quid pro quo scenario to Ukrainian officials.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): How do you have a quid pro quo when the person who is the subject of the pro said it didn't happen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe it is a smoking gun. Sondland is a credible witness.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And we do begin with breaking, political news.

It's not just the glass that's blue in Kentucky.

BERMAN: Oh, yeah, baby.

CAMEROTA: This morning Republicans are wondering how they appeared to have lost a state that President Trump won in 2016 by 30 points. The Democrat, Andy Beshear, declaring victory over the incumbent Republican governor, Matt Bevin.


The president held a rally for Governor Bevin on the eve of the election.