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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Damning Testimony Reveals Giuliani's Influence Over Trump; Kent Testifies Trump Wanted To Pressure Ukraine To Commit To Probes Of Biden; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) Discuss About Kent's Deposition And The Role Of Rudy Giuliani In The Foreign Policy; House On Track To Wrap Up Impeachment By Christmas; Pence Aide: Trump's Ukraine Call Was Political, Not Normal; Michael Bloomberg Laying Groundwork for Presidential Run. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 7, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: ... very much for that report. Thanks to our viewers very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, damning words from a career diplomat. A key witness who's about to testify publicly calling Trump's actions on Ukraine injurious to the rule of law saying Rudy Giuliani was 'full of lies'. Plus, breaking news, Michael Bloomberg making a move taking a swipe at the current Democratic field. The former New York City Mayor, is he about - is he really now in? And he's one of two Democrats who voted against moving forward with impeachment. Is he a hero or a villain to his constituents? Let's go out front.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight, injurious to the rule of law, campaign of lies, you scratch my back, I scratch yours, all words under oath from a key witness in the impeachment investigation, words used to describe the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani's role in the Ukraine scandal.
Today, we are getting the first look at the transcript from the closed door deposition of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. He is an important witness for Democrats and he will be one of their first witnesses to testify publicly next week in the impeachment inquiry.
Kent paint the damning picture of a quid pro quo on Ukraine. According to the transcript, Kent telling lawmakers, "POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to the microphone and say investigations, Biden, and Clinton."
And according to Kent, this was all being orchestrated behind the scenes by Giuliani. Kent telling lawmakers, "I had concerns that there was an effort to initiate politically motivated prosecutions that were injurious to the rule of law, both in Ukraine and the U.S."
And if there was any doubt what he was talking about or who he was talking about, Kent also said, "It was clear that the investigation that were being suggested were the ones that Rudy Giuliani had been tweeting about, meaning Biden, Burisma, and 2016."
And Kent didn't just take issue with Giuliani's role in those investigations, he said Giuliani launched that 'campaign of lies'. And he said that that campaign of lies was against the then Ambassador to Ukraine, the woman that Giuliani was trying to get rid of and of course Trump did get rid of Ambassador Yovanovitch.
And while republicans are now trying to put distance between Giuliani and the President, the fact of the matter remains the fact of the matter. the President was close to Giuliani, extremely close. Trump has a lot of faith in Giuliani. I mean, just listen to Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's always looking for corruption, which is what more people should be doing. He's a good man.
He looks for corruption wherever he goes. Everybody understands. Ukraine has big problems in that regard.
Rudy Giuliani was seeking out corruption.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Corruption. And when it came to Ukraine, corruption was code. What for? Well, again, just listen to Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are looking for corruption. When you look at what Biden and his son did and when you look at other people what they've done and I believe there was tremendous corruption with Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Kaitlan Collins is out front at the White House. Kaitlan, what is the White House saying tonight about the revelations from Kent's closed door testimony now that we have the full transcript?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So far they haven't commented on this yet. But we know this is the kind of testimony that White House officials were concerned about, because they know Democrats see this as something that is going to help them make their case against the President and his political motivations in Ukraine, because here you've got a senior State Department official on the record talking about this pressure campaign that he and other senior officials felt not only from the President's allies, but including the President's own attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who other officials had said had been put in charge of all of this.
And as you can see from the transcript, that was who the President was saying that people should go to when they had questions about this. Now, what we've also reported is that White House is essentially bracing for those public testimonies to happen starting next week. But don't forget, it's not just Bill Taylor going on Wednesday, George Kent is also going to be there.
And if it's the same level of detail as what we saw in this released transcript today, that's something that the White House is not wanting to deal with as well as the new questions that are going to be raised about the role that Rudy Giuliani has in the President space, the role he has not only the State Department in this shadow foreign policy as well and those are questions the White House has not welcomed so far, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Kaitlan, thank you very much. And I want to go out front now to Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell who sits on both the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees and was inside the room for the Kent deposition. So I appreciate your time, Congressman.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Good evening, Erin.
BURNETT: So, look, Kent paint a damning picture of Giuliani's role here. Do you have definitive proof that Rudy Giuliani was indeed acting at the direct behest of President Trump?
SWALWELL: We do and it's a great question and we have established a straight sharp line between the President and Rudy Giuliani.
We have multiple witnesses who have told us that the President told them in the Oval Office on Ukraine, "Talk to Rudy." We have the establishment of Rudy Giuliani as the President's lawyer, so there's an agency relationship there.
So any act that Rudy takes on behalf of the President is an act for the President. Lawyers do not act outside of their client's wishes. But also what Rudy Giuliani was doing for the President is corroborated by the presidential call record.
And what's interesting is in that call record for all of the concerns that Republicans have raised that this was really about bigger issues like corruption, the President never use the word corruption. He used the word Biden and he said that word three times. And so there is an inseparable line between the two of them.
BURNETT: All right. So this is really important. You're saying that you have the direct line from the President of the United States to Rudy Giuliani, loud and clear.
SWALWELL: And also that ...
BURNETT: Go ahead.
SWALWELL: ... people acting out for the President understood that, so people at the State Department knew that Rudy Giuliani was carrying out the President's policy.
BURNETT: So Kent in the testimony, the transcript that we are all now seeing today, Congressman, you, of course, were there, he described receiving a WhatsApp message from the top diplomat in Ukraine, Bill Taylor.
And I want to quote from the testimony according to what Kent says, "Taylor indicated that he had talked to Tim Morrison and Tim indicated that he had talked to Gordon Sondland. And Gordon had told him, Tim, and Tim told Bill Taylor, that he, Gordon, had talked to the President, and POTUS wanted nothing less than President Zelensky to go to the microphone and say investigations, Biden, and Clinton."
BURNETT: And the reason I quote this to you is because this sounds like a giant game of telephone, right?
BURNETT: This is what this person said, this person said, this person, who this person said, he talked to the President said. But you are saying you've got it directly from the President.
SWALWELL: And we also have it directly from Tim Morrison's opening statement, which was released. And it's pretty clear now that and this was established by Ambassador Sondland's addendum that you released yesterday that the President told Ambassador Sondland there's no quid pro quo. But Zelensky has to investigate the Bidens and so the President can say there's no quid pro quo, but if it looks like a duck, if it quacks like a duck, you can say it's not a duck, but it looks a lot like extortion.
BURNETT: So the first two witnesses that I know you all planned to call next week publicly, George Kent and Bill Taylor, obviously, who I just mentioned the top diplomat in Ukraine, and we've seen the transcript of his testimony as you referenced. He does say directly, he didn't have a conversation with President Trump directly, and certainly not one about a quid pro quo, because he didn't talk to him directly.
What has made you decide, Congressman, that these are the best two witnesses to come out on your first day publicly? Is it just a matter of scheduling or is it that you do indeed believe that what they have to say, even though they didn't have direct conversations themselves with the President is the most powerful stuff you've got?
SWALWELL: There's serious evidence of a defense dollars for dirt scheme that was being run here and George Kent saw one part of that scheme and then Bill Taylor on the ground in Ukraine saw the other part of that scheme. But Bill Taylor also saw how desperately the Ukrainians needed these dollars and he'll provide a human element to this.
He went to Donbass in Eastern Ukraine. He saw the Ukrainians mourning their dead and he testifies to what it means to have radar equipment, medical equipment, anti-tank systems that can stop the Russians from killing Ukrainians and every second that this President selfishly held up that aid, those were Ukrainians who were losing their lives.
BURNETT: And, of course, we do know the Department of Defense was asked and delivered within a day their analysis, which was that this aid should be released and given and then it added up in their perspective.
SWALWELL: That's right.
BURNETT: Now, Congressman, one person who was in direct contact with the President is the former National Security Adviser John Bolton. I know you've all asked him to testify. He hasn't yet been subpoenaed. The Washington Post is reporting tonight, Congressman, that Bolton is willing to defy the White House, he's willing to testify if a federal court clears the way.
And I know you're waiting for a decision in a test case on this issue involving the former White House Counsel Don McGahn, which could come at the end of the month. But, obviously, you're talking about public hearings next week. The end of the month could put this a couple weeks beyond that and completely change your timeline.
SWALWELL: With or without Bolton.
BURNETT: Is John Bolton necessary?
SWALWELL: Yes, with or without Bolton, we're moving along. We would, of course, welcome his cooperation in this investigation. But we're not going to chase people into the courts any longer. We have very sufficient evidence, but we also have three people who worked under Ambassador Bolton who have shown the courage to come forward to defy the President and to provide truthful testimony.
And so we will move forward with what we have and we believe right now that that's sufficient.
BURNETT: And you have enough from what you've had behind closed doors already. You can cherry-pick (inaudible) ...
SWALWELL: We have enough to have public hearings, Erin. And again, evidence is not a conclusion. It has to be tested before the public and what we've learned so far warrants going forward to the public in this inquiry.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Congressman Swalwell.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
BURNETT: I appreciate your time tonight. And OUTFRONT next, she was on the Ukraine phone call and an aide to Vice President Pence testifies today that it was a not normal, so what did she mean by that? That was behind closed doors and we know a lot about what she said.
Plus, breaking news, Michael Bloomberg, preparing to jump in the 2020 race. He says the current field can't beat Trump. And the Roger Stone-Trump connection, a dramatic day in court, phone calls painting a revealing picture. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BURNETT: New testimony tonight from someone in the White House. One of the few people on Trump's call with the President of Ukraine. Jennifer Williams, and aide to Vice President Mike Pence testified under oath today. She said she had concerns about the call saying it was unusual, specifically. What does that mean?
Well, she said it was political, not a normal diplomatic call. There she is arriving for her testimony. It comes as we're learning the House could vote to impeach Trump within weeks. Manu Raju is out front on Capitol Hill.
So Manu, how realistic of a timeline is this?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Democrats think it's certainly realistic particularly in light of the steps that they took in recent days that show that they are on track to get this done. If they were to pursue impeachment, it could happen before Christmas.
Look at what happened just this week, not only did Adam Schiff announced hearings, public hearings next week, but there's expectation that those hearings, those witnesses could be limited, and the dozen or so witnesses who came behind closed doors, they're not going to all come and testify publicly. There's expectation that could only last a couple of weeks and also after that then the committee's will draft a report detailing the recommendations about how to proceed going forward.
And assuming they do move on articles of impeachment, that essentially would be taken up by the House Judiciary Committee and hearings in those in the first two weeks of December, before it could be taken up by the full House by the third week of December. Now, what was also a significant decision this week was by Adam Schiff deciding not to pursue a subpoena for John Bolton, the former National Security Adviser who said he would not come and testify without a subpoena.
But then warned they would fight this in court. They do not want this drag out into the court and they also would do a separate subpoena for another witness because that witness had already been fighting the matter in court and that could delay the proceedings further.
So when you add all of these steps together, Democrats are making it very clear that they want to move quickly, that impeachment could happen before Christmas and that would be historic, the third time in American history that that would happen. And it could happen about 21 years after the time that Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 in late December, that could be the same timeframe we're looking at here.
But still at the moment, Erin, Nancy Pelosi has not finally announced exactly what she plans to do. So it certainly can change, but Christmas is certainly a possibility, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Manu, thank you very much. And out front now former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Elliot Williams, former Counsel to the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Carrie Cordero and Greg Brower who was an assistant FBI Director and Republican State Senator in Nevada.
So Greg, let me start with you. Look, Jennifer Williams is current aide to Vice President Pence. She was on that phone call with the President of Ukraine and President Trump, said she was worried about it. A source says she suggested to House impeachment investigators today that she does believe, and this is crucial, U.S.A. to Ukraine could have been held up because of what she heard President Trump talk about on that call, right, Joe Biden in the favor.
She's the first person on the Vice President's National Security team to testify and she's saying there could have been a quid pro quo. How significant is this, Greg?
GREG BROWER, CNN COMMENTATOR: I think it's very significant, Erin. I'm a little surprised, frankly, that she was allowed to testify being a current employee of the White House and in fact working for the Vice President. But she's a foreign service officer, as I understand it, detailed to the Vice President staff.
BURNETT: Right. It was the State Department, I think, that enabled her to -- but she did defy the White House, obviously, but a State Department employee.
BROWER: Right. And so no surprise that a career professional like her, having heard the call, would find it to be surprising and political and without putting words in her mouth, I assume she thought it was inappropriate. And so the question remains though what did the Vice President know.
He may have been out of the loop. He apparently has maintained that he didn't know about this, but more interestingly, I think he has maintained that having seen the record of the call, he doesn't think that there was a quid pro quo, doesn't think the President did anything wrong. That's hard to square with everyone else's observations and opinions about this call.
BURNETT: So Elliot, one White House official called Williams, again, Jennifer Williams, I'm referring to testified today 'the most professional person in this building'. And let's just be honest, she's a current employee, right, so for all practical purposes she's risen to being detailed at the White House for the vice president. She's now risking her job, her entire career, everything in defying the White House's wishes to testify today.
ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. And in fact, what we've seen time and again is that the President and others are willing to go after people who do risk it all in speaking out against White House. It's because so much loyalty is prized as something in the White House. What I found so remarkable there in her testimony is sort of this
idea, when she calls it unusual and I think a lot of people are struck by the fact that she or many people are political appointees, I'm not certain if she's classified as a political appointee. But this question of, can people behave in a political manner in the White House and even though the President is elected, even though he installs political appointees around him, there's still a standard of conduct that people have to follow and even at the highest levels of the White House.
And I think when a senior employee is that troubled by it, you've crossed the line and it's just clear, once again, what we're seeing is a number of folks even political appointees, at times, raising concerns with the conduct of the President and people around him.
It's just, yes, stepping up to and over the line.
BURNETT: Carrie, Williams testified today that she did make a note of the call. Now, she didn't raise her concerns to superiors, which I think is important to note but she said she did have those concerns. She then put the transcript of the call, which we have now all seen, top of the military aid comes up and the President says first a favor.
She puts it in Pence's daily briefing binder that night, so here's Pence last night being asked about that transcript what he put in his binder. Here's his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm told that it was delivered to me, but I've received literally hundreds of scripts over the time. I don't recall ever reading it. It's specific.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Do you buy that? Does that make sense?
CARRIE CORDERO, CNN ANALYST: It's plausible. So if it goes in his daily briefing binder, it depends on what his practice is. So different senior executive leaders in government have different practices. They often take a big briefing binder, it could be thick. I'm not quite sure what the size is of Vice President Pence's on a daily basis.
So I think it's plausible that he maybe did or maybe didn't read that specific transcript that night. I think it does raise a question as to if she thought it was significant is the only thing that happened that she marked the transcript and put it in a binder or did something - anybody mentioned it to him.
CORDERO: It certainly doesn't seem like the Vice President's office was - they weren't frozen out. They certainly were aware. BURNETT: No.
CORDERO: She was on the call so he would have been told about it.
BURNETT: Right. And to your point, OK, there's the transcript, but his involvement with Ukraine went beyond he wasn't on the call and passively handed a transcript. I mean, he spoke on the phone with President Zelensky himself. He met with him face-to-face in September, right, when President Trump was staying home for the hurricane, he went to the phone and he met with Zelensky and now he's very careful with his words.
He says the only focus was on corruption in Ukraine. So here's what Pence has said about all of these calls and meeting that he had.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: The President's focus has been as my focus was in my meetings with President Zelensky. On supporting President Zelensky's efforts to deal with a historic pattern of corruption in Ukraine and also to enlist more European support.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OK, it's all fine and good, except for the word corruption when it comes to Ukraine for President Trump has a meaning and that meaning is Joe Biden. And now I'm going to play again President Trump because he says what it means. Here he is talking about Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We are looking for corruption. When you look at what Biden and his son did and when you look at other people what they've done, and I believe there was tremendous corruption with Biden.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Is it possible Pence didn't know corruption meant Biden?
CORDERO: Again, Vice President Pence is being very specific with his words and his talking point that this was about "only just corruption." That talking point maybe worked eight weeks ago, but it doesn't work anymore when now we have the summary of the phone call and we have witness after witness after witness people who are incredibly credible and serious and public servants for their entire career, all saying that the corruption that Rudy Giuliani, the President's proxy, was discussing with Ukraine and what multiple individuals in the State Department were being directed to discuss with Ukraine was conducting an investigation of the Bidens and that was the political investigation.
And Vice President Pence is being very careful with his words, but the question is, did he know that this greater really conspiracy to extort information from the Ukrainian government was going on?
BURNETT: Is that up to you, Greg? BROWER: Yes. Well, look, the U.S. government does and has for a long
time spends a lot of time and effort and money helping foreign allies fight corruption. It's in our best interest to do so when we do that.
But nobody really thinks that President Trump cares about corruption in other countries, generally. All of the, as Carrie pointed out, all of the witnesses seem to be focused on the same version of events, which is the President was focused on ginning up, getting the Ukrainians to gin up so called corruption investigations with respect to particular Americans who happened to have the last name Biden.
BROWER: Whether or not Vice President Pence knew about that specific effort on the President's part, that's the big question.
BURNETT: Right. And it is a very big question, of course, as we said, the impeachment vote could come within weeks. Thank you all very much. And next, breaking news, Michael Bloomberg with a big move. It's looking like the former New York City Mayor could be in the race for the White House.
And the Democrat who opposes the impeachment probe draw support from Trump voters in his district.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you more likely to support him in this upcoming election now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Probably. Yes, I think I would, just for that, probably, for that reason.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Breaking news, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is laying the groundwork for a 2020 run for president. He's expected to file paperwork for the Alabama presidential primary. The deadline to file is tomorrow, so he's got to get in now or never. And his spokesperson telling CNN, "We need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated, but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that." Ouch.
Well, OUTFRONT now, Patrick Healy, "New York Times" politics editor, Joe Lockhart, former Clinton White House secretary, and Keith Boykin, Democratic strategist and former Clinton White House aide.
So, Patrick, let me start with you. Look, from, you know, even hearing and talking to people close to Bloomberg over the summer, there was always this -- oh, he sort of would love to do it. He's always thought about it, but he's only going to do it if he thinks the field that's out is going to fail and simply cannot beat Trump.
So, in that context, is this -- that's what is being said here, that he thinks no one running right now on the Democratic side can beat Trump.
HEALY: That is his concern, Erin. The sources told my reporter Alex Burns, who broke the story, that Joe -- that Mike Bloomberg is very concerned that Joe Biden may not have the strength, may not have sufficient support to win the Democratic nomination and that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders may not be strong enough to win the general election.
So, the reality is, as we know, Mike Bloomberg has had a formidable political operation around him for years.
HEALY: They have done polling for years on presidential races and they've looked at the strengths and weaknesses of the field and they clearly see an opening here. We reported a little while ago, Mike Bloomberg spoke today to former Senator Harry Reid, his aides have reached out to leaders like Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. So, there's definitely a seriousness here.
But, look, we all know sort of where Mike Bloomberg has been before. He thought about it in 2016, and he thought about it earlier this year. Ultimately, he did not run. So, the reality is we may not believe it until we really hear the words come from his lips because --
HEALY: Because he has sort of toyed with this and pulled back before.
BURNETT: Right, and obviously, he has this deadline, Joe, which -- you know, it's extremely significant, but, you know, he's not fully jumping in, right? He's putting a leg in.
Look, David Axelrod, obviously, formerly with President Obama, just tweeted, quote, this is a thunderclap and not exactly a vote of confidence from leading moderate and durability of Joe Biden campaign. Joe, what do you think this is more about? This is more about Bloomberg's fear that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders won't win the general election in his view, or is this really him saying, he doesn't think Joe Biden can even be the nominee?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it's really about Mike Bloomberg thinking that he'd be the best president, and if not the best candidate. You know, he's flirted with this before. He's never gotten fully in. He's explored it.
I think Patrick's right, he's got a good, political team around him and I think he senses an opportunity here that if Biden falters, there will be -- that vacuum will get filled by Warren and Sanders and he doesn't think they're electable, and that's -- you know, that's not a crazy theory.
But the reality is we'll have to wait and see if he gets in. You know, he's not a great campaigner. He's not a retail politician.
LOCKHART: On the other hand, he's built an organization that hits on two very important issues for Democrats: gun control and climate change. That's been his focus for the last five years.
So while he doesn't have a grassroots constituency, he does have sort of an issue-based constituency.
BURNETT: OK. Keith, here's the thing. He's a billionaire and Elizabeth Warren right now is in a battle with billionaires. There's only 600 of them, and she's been picking on them individually, right, saying that, you know, they're not paying taxes and they need to pay more and that's been her message, right?
Bernie Sanders also, he loves him getting in, the billionaire class is scared and they should be scared -- that's his response to Bloomberg today. Elizabeth Warren meantime, very quick with a link to her tax calculator for billionaires, pointing out, welcome to the race Mike Bloomberg and pointing out how much money he would -- he would pay next year, I believe it's $3 billion under her plan.
So, is this good for her? She think -- does she think that this is great, hey, another billionaire in this race?
KEITH BOYKIN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think it's probably a good message for Elizabeth Warren and for Bernie Sanders. I think it's a really bad move for Mike Bloomberg. I don't know if I'm on the same page with Patrick and with Joe here, but I'm not sure what their opinion is on whether he should run.
I just think there's no possible calculus that I can think of that the Democratic Party is going to embrace Mike Bloomberg as the presidential nominee in 2020. I see less than zero chance of this happening.
I think it's a colossal waste of money, time and energy on his part. There's a lot of better things he can do with his money than jumping in this race. We already have Tom Steyer in the race. He's a billionaire. Trump himself is a billionaire and Howard Schultz is a billionaire and he dropped out because he didn't see a path forward. What makes --
BURNETT: The percentage of billionaires in this country who had flirted with a run is pretty high.
BOYKIN: They're all running for president. I mean --
BURNETT: It's not high, but you get my point. Yes, out of 600, you have four you can name. What do you say, Joe, though? Is this a colossal waste of money and
time? Is this, just -- you know, I don't know, an ego move?
What is this? Why now?
LOCKHART: Yes, I don't disagree completely with Keith's thesis. I think it is very, very difficult to see him getting the nomination. But I also think there's been sort of a mischaracterization of what the Democratic base is, that it somehow is ultra progressive.
The Democratic base is fairly moderate. That's who -- that's why we won the midterms in 2018. It's African-Americans, it's women and not just women with college educations.
So, you know, there is a constituency there. And I just don't see Bloomberg being able to capture that. I think he very much wants to be president and I think he might be a good president. He just doesn't really want to go through the process of getting elected.
BURNETT: Well, I mean, that kind of wanting to go and be on the ground, you know, at least, you know, historically has not shown that he has that desire.
Patrick, what he's doing which is the slam here on the current crop of candidates, right, that Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well-positioned to win, right? His own adviser is saying that tonight.
Your newspaper, "The New York Times", published a story a few weeks ago with a headline, quote: Anxious Democrat establishments ask, is there anybody else?
Now, establishment may be the keyword in that headline, right? I mean, is this sort of the case of the establishment and that the kind of insiders being completely out of touch with the base who seem to be quite energized by people like Elizabeth Warren?
HEALY: Yes, great question. I think it's the establishment sort of center left Democrats who may be out of touch with part of the base. You know, as Joe said the base is not entirely a, you know, a young, liberal sort of progressive movement.
But the reality is you don't hear prominent liberals saying, boy, we need another liberal candidate to get in the race, we don't really like Senator Warren or Senator Sanders. We're talking to liberal voters around the country, there's a lot of enthusiasm -- a lot of enthusiasm for Warren and for Sanders.
So, you know, what you are seeing with those establishment Democrats is, you know, they look at Joe Biden and they hear the word salad, you know, when he gives answers and, you know, does not -- the kind of sharpness they want and they look at Pete Buttigieg and Klobuchar and they don't quite see a president there, at least not yet. You know, Iowans will be the ones who decide this first with the
caucuses, and they might have a different -- they might have a different take and Buttigieg is doing well out there, but we'll see.
BURNETT: And a quick final word.
BOYKIN: And Gallup did a poll not long ago, in the past week or two, and they found that three-fourths of Democratic voters were actually satisfied with the choice, Democratic voters satisfied with the choices they have to the presidential race, and "The New York Times"/Siena poll that we just referenced a moment ago, I think, that poll shows that Joe Biden is actually winning in four of those -- or five, I think, of those six battleground states.
So, I don't understand that Bloomberg says there is some sort of need for a crisis.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much. Obviously, potentially a very big development. Thank you.
And next, a Democrat speaks out about why he opposes the impeachment inquiry, but what do his constituents think?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Do you understand why he in particular would not support the inquiry?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's a political decision on his part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And phone calls, lots of them, between team Trump and Roger Stone who is currently on trial for obstruction. What do those calls reveal?
BURNETT: Tonight, breaking ranks on impeachment. One of two Democrats who voted against the impeachment resolution speaking out for the first time about why.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REP. COLLIN PETERSON (D-MN): I don't believe that we should be doing this if there isn't Republican support. I think it's a mistake. I just don't like the way things were handled and I didn't want to be part of it. And if it keeps going like this, I don't want to have my vote behind whatever they end up doing. The word that I hear everybody is thank you for voting against this B.S.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BURNETT: So, that's what he's hearing from everybody. We wanted to know what people think in that crucial district. It is in Minnesota. So, we went there to find out what they think.
Kyung Lah is OUTFRONT.
JIM FALK, FARMER, DEMOCRAT: It's a tough district for him. You know, it's a more conservative district than it was in the past.
LAH (voice-over): Minnesota's 7th congressional district, a land of crop, cattle and conservatives. But with Democratic roots still showing signs of strength.
FALK: I think I voted for him every time. You know, I've been a pretty loyal Democrat.
LAH: Farmer Jim Falk is talking about his longtime Democratic Congressman Collin Peterson. Peterson is one of only two Democrats in the House to break ranks in their party to vote against an impeachment resolution.
FALK: I don't understand why we would not vote to at least examine that.
LAH (on camera): Do you understand why he in particular would not support the inquiry?
FALK: I think it's a political decision on his part.
LAH (voice-over): Peterson is in a unique position. He narrowly held on to a seat by four points in 2018, two years after Trump dominated this rural district by 30 points.
Organic beef farmer Luverne Forbord, already unhappy about the trade wars' impact by farmers. This Democrat believes Peterson is out to save his political hide.
(on camera): What would you have liked to seen him do?
LUVERNE FORBORD, FARMER, DEMOCRAT: Vote for impeachment for one thing. We need someone that's good for the country and not just for the Republicans or the Democrats.
LAH (voice-over): So turned off that in 2020, Forbord says --
FORBORD: If it's a young Republican with progressive ideas, I'd be fine with that.
LAH: The voters happy with the Democrat? Trump voters.
JAMES DEHNE, FARMER, REPUBLICAN: Very impressed. I'm happy he did it.
LAH (on camera): Are you more likely to support him in the upcoming election now?
DEHNE: Probably. Yeah. I think I would. You know, just probably for that reason.
LAH (voice-over): Swift County, part of Minnesota's 7th district, voted for Barack Obama twice and then flipped for Donald Trump. Those swing voters on their congressman.
GLORIA GIESE, MODERATE VOTER: Brave man. It takes guts to break away from your party.
LAH (on camera): How many years would you vote for him?
GIESE: How many years has he run?
LAH (voice-over): A political gamble in rural America that Jim Falk says may pay off.
(on camera): Would you vote for him again?
FALK: I would probably vote for him again just because of my association with the party.
LAH: Democrats we spoke with say they understand why Representative Peterson had to oppose the impeachment inquiry. And they also add this, if you were somehow voted out of office, they're not sure if another Democrat could ever win in this congressional district again -- Erin.
BURNETT: Really significant. Thank you so much, Kyung Lah in Minnesota.
And next, phone records revealed in Roger Stone's obstruction trial. Why so many calls on crucial days when data leaked between Stone and Trump? Stone's close friend, Kristen Davis, is OUTFRONT.
And the president's staunch defender in chief, Lindsey Graham, has an odd way of showing support.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine, it was incoherent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, drama in the courtroom. Day two of testimony in Roger Stone's trial. Federal prosecutors stressing the extent to which Stone and Donald Trump communicated in 2016, including the say three times on the day the news broke that the DNC had been hacked. So, he's on trial for charges, which include lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing charges in the case that stems from the Mueller investigation.
OUTFRONT now, Kristin Davis, a close friend and confidant of Roger Stone.
Kristin, good to have you with me and it's good to have you here in person.
So, on this phone calls, OK, the prosecutors are laying out, as you know, all of these details on the president's conversations with Roger Stone and others in the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and others. But when it comes to Trump himself on the day the news broke the DNC had been hacked, they laid out three calls between Stone and Trump.
They said, first, Stone called Trump's home number, got no answer, Trump calls him back on his cell phone twice and then they have another conversation on the same day Guccifer 2.0 posted online about the hack.
Is there any way those conversations were not about that?
KRISTIN DAVIS, CLOSE FRIEND AND CONFIDANT OF ROGER STONE: Of course, they're running a presidential campaign. It could be about anything. There's a lot going on in that time period. So I don't think we know the context of what they are and I don't think we'll ever know that.
BURNETT: Right, because they are admitting they don't know, right? They're trying to lay out, look, look at the time line, look at the thing. You're saying there's no record of exactly what they were about.
DAVIS: There are only two people that know that. I don't think that we will ever know. But it's a fruitless effort.
BURNETT: OK. So, also today, prosecutors are revealing some of the messages Stone sent to Randy Credico, who of course was a former associate of his.
In one of ones they presented in court today, Stone writes to Credico: You are a rat, a stoolie. You backstab your friends. I am so ready. Let's get it on. Prepare to die.
BURNETT: How do you think that's going to go with the jury? Prepare to die. Stone texts Randy Credico.
DAVIS: Well, I've seen the other side of those text messages, and Randy Credico is saying the same thing, liar, liar, liars die, you know? So I think we need to see both sides of the communication.
They were frenemies. This is something they've been for 20 years. They both -- since 2007 with the phony Bernard Spitzer telephone call, they've been at war, and then they make up and they go to lunch the next week.
BURNETT: So, obviously, this is coming down to -- there is obstruction witness tampering. There are several things at stake here.
Witness tampering comes down to Randy Credico as well whom I just mentioned. Prosecutors say Stone was basically trying get Credico to stonewall the House investigation when he testified to not be honest to Congress. And he repeatedly referenced Frankie Pentangeli, a character in "Godfather Part II" that lies to Congress.
And I want to play the clip of what happens in "Godfather" because it is very specific. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE GODFATHER PART II"/PARAMOUNT PICTURES/1974)
FRANKIE PENTANGELI: I was in the olive oil business with his father, but that was a long time ago. That's all.
Look, the FBI guys, they promised me a deal. So I made up a lot of stuff about Michael Corleone, because that's what they wanted. But it was all lies, everything. I kept saying Michael Corleone did this and Michael Corleone did that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: So he guess to Congress and lies for his boss. Stone mimics this scene in an email he sends to Randy Credico in which he says, sure, I know Roger Stone. He was in the olive oil business with my father, but that was a long, long time ago. So I told them Roger Stone this, Roger Stone that.
You should do Pentangeli on Erin Burnett.
So is he not telling Randy Credico to come on this show, specifically in this case, and lie?
DAVIS: Oh, I don't know about the reference to you, but I think Randy Credico is an impressionist. He offered to do Bernie Sanders today on the stand in front of a jury. Clearly not taking the case very seriously.
I think Stone just meant go into an impression if you don't feel comfortable. I don't believe he was trying to influence him.
BURNETT: He picked a person who lied to Congress, had nothing to do with it?
DAVIS: No, because I mean, there is constant "Godfather" references throughout their chain of communications, not just in this one instance. We're going see three or four.
BURNETT: So, Kristin, here is the thing. You and Roger Stone have known each other for a long time. You're very close. OK, Stone and Trump go way back. They were introduced all the way
back in 1979 by Roy Cohn, right? Trump's famous lawyer.
He tried to get Trump to run for president for decades. Look, because of what happened in this campaign, OK, the Trump campaign, Roger Stone could go to jail, and he could spend many years in jail.
You talk to him. Does he think it would have been worth it to have been part of this campaign if that happens?
DAVIS: Well, I think Roger Stone is on trial for his political association for Trump, but he also believes in Trump, and he has for decades. So, you know, I think that he could have maybe tried to cooperate like some of these other people have done, and he did not.
So, now he's towing the line. I think that's something he is going to continue to do.
BURNETT: And he knows he'll get a pardon?
DAVIS: I don't believe he thinks he'll get a pardon. I think he is taking this like a champ. From the minute he was arrested, I mean, everybody was saying he was going to get arrested. You guys were reporting every week, Roger Stone is going to be arrested next week, the pressure of that.
And he came out of that courthouse and flashed the victory sign because he was going to take this to trial. And I think he is determined to fight. He doesn't -- you know, he feels he has done nothing wrong.
I feel he has done nothing wrong. I feel like this is politically motivated hit, and, you know, I'm hoping that the outcome of this is in his favor.
BURNETT: All right, Kristin, thank you very much. It's good to see you.
DAVIS: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, Lindsey Graham's never wavering defense of the man he once called kook, President Trump.
BURNETT: So what's up with Lindsey Graham?
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump and Senator Lindsey Graham pretty much on the same page, but when Graham said he's not reading the pages of impeachment transcripts -- GRAHAM: I'm not going the read these transcripts. The whole process
is a joke.
MOOS: The jokes flew. La la la. It was compared to sticking fingers in your ears, especially since last month the senator said --
GRAHAM: If you could show me that Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.
MOOS: Hard to be disturbed if you won't read the transcripts.
STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: I will just summarize the transcripts in three little words, OK? Lindsey, don't look away, Lindsey. Don't -- don't look away. Don't look away. Lindsey! Don't look away, don't look away, Lindsey!
MOOS: Lindsey Graham these days was portrayed as off the rails.
GRAHAM: What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine, it was incoherent. They seemed to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo.
SETH MEYERS, COMEDIAN: Yes, the old "he couldn't have committed these crimes, he's too stupid" defense.
MOOS: On offense, an anti-Trump PAC put up a billboard in South Carolina, showcasing something Graham once said about Trump.
GRAHAM: I think he's a kook. I think he's not fit for office.
MOOS: Graham's anti-Trump zingers linger.
GRAHAM: He is a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot.
He is becoming a jackass.
MOOS: But now, Graham jokes about their rocky pass.
GRAHAM: And he says, I don't have your phone number, and I said, there is a reason for that.
MOOS: The reason being candidate Trump gave out Graham's number.
TRUMP: Let's try it, 202 --
MOOS: Graham responded with a cell phone-destroying video.
These days, they often talk on the phone, and now, Graham has joined Trump in his reluctance to read. The president wouldn't like reading those old quotes.
GRAHAM: And you know how you make America great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN --
GRAHAM: This is kook land.
MOOS: -- New York.
BURNETT: I'm sorry. I always love seeing that reaction of Trump.
OK. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a great night.
"AC360" with Anderson starts now.