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Impeachment Battle; Bloomberg Gears Up For Potential Presidential Run; President Trump Heads To Alabama For College Football Showdown; Dems Flipped GA's 6th District, Republicans Expect To Re-Flip It; Referee Accuses Jim Jordan of Covering Up Sexual Abuse at OSU. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired November 9, 2019 - 11:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. And welcome this Saturday.

I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

With the impeachment inquiry about to enter a new phase with public testimony starting Wednesday, the White House is fighting back like never before.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is now attempting to join a lawsuit which asks a federal judge to determine if he should testify in the probe. And newly released transcripts of witnesses who testified before house committees behind closed doors put Mulvaney right at the center of the Ukraine scandal.

This as another key figure, former national security advisor John Bolton is teasing that he may have information crucial to the impeachment case. He is also awaiting a court ruling on whether he should testify.

Meanwhile, President Trump is now distancing himself from Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union. His revised earlier testimony now inform the investigators that he told a Ukrainian military aid was likely conditional on Ukraine opening investigations into Joe Biden.

President Trump, who had called Sondland a great American, now claiming that he and the diplomat are not that close.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hardly know the gentleman. But this is the man who said there was no quid pro quo. And he still says that.


WHITFIELD: And in just the last hour, House Republicans have submitted their list of witnesses that they would like to testify as part of the impeachment inquiry. And some of the names will not go over well with Democrats.

We have team coverage now. Arlette Saenz is with the Biden campaign. But first let's bring in CNN's Kevin Liptak who has more information on the Republicans' witness list. So Kevin -- who is it that Republicans want to hear from?

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE PRODUCER: Yes. This list is really indicative of where the Republicans want to go in their strategy in this impeachment inquiry. Their big name on this list is Hunter Biden himself. They want to know more about his dealings in Ukraine on that board of that Ukrainian natural gas company. They also want to hear from another person who sat on that board.

They also want to hear from the whistleblower and some of the sources that the whistleblower talked to, clearly looking to puncture some of the whistleblower's complaint, find some vulnerabilities in that.

The list also includes three people who have testified behind closed doors already to lawmakers. They want to hear from Tim Morrison, his former NSC senior director. They want to hear from Kurt Volker -- he's the former special envoy to Ukraine, U.S. special envoy. And David Hale, he's the undersecretary of State for political affairs.

Now these three witnesses were considered in their closed door depositions to provide a more favorable account of what was going on behind the scenes in the Ukraine policy.

There's two names on this list that also indicate that the Republicans want to probe this unfounded theory about Ukraine's involvement in the 2016 election. They want to hear from Nellie Ohr who works for Fusion GPS, and that's the opposition research firm. They also want to hear from a DNC staffer.

So clearly, their direction heading very different from the Democrats' direction. The likelihood that we'll hear from any of these witnesses that they want to hear from is pretty slim. Democrats have to approve the names who come before the committee and it doesn't appear like they will.

They want to focus more on what the President was doing on Ukraine. His involvement in all of this. And you'll start to see that next week when these public hearings begin on Wednesday.

We'll hear first from Bill Taylor. He's the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine. He's described his concerns about what was going on in the policies there. George Kent -- he's the State Department official who expressed concerns about what Rudy Giuliani was doing over there. And on Friday we hear from Marie Yovanovitch. She is the ousted former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who described her shock at being recalled back to Washington -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Kevin Liptak -- it is going to be a potentially pivotal week. And of course, we can't wait to hear the kind of response coming from the Republicans' new list. Kevin Liptak -- thank you so much.

All right. Let's get to CNN Political Reporter, Arlette Saenz who is currently in New Hampshire with the Biden team. So Arlette -- is the campaign responding as yet to this Republicans' list of witnesses they want to see, and that would include Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son?

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, Fred -- so far the Biden campaign is not commenting on this move from house Republicans. We've also reached out to a representative from Hunter Biden but have yet to hear back just yet.

But Joe Biden has really been very vocal throughout this entire process, insistent that neither he nor his son were involved in any wrongdoing when it came to Ukraine, despite President Trump's insistence that they did.

[11:05:01] And while this witness list is being developed by House Republicans, yesterday Joe Biden was asked whether he would testify if there was -- there were senate hearings into this and he really turned this back around on President Trump, saying the focus needs to be on him.

Take a listen to what he had to say.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, number one this is about Donald Trump, not about me. There's not a single, solitary thing that anybody has demonstrated that I didn't do my job as representative of the United States of America.

The question is, did the President of the United States violate the constitution, violate the constitution, and did he profit from his office?


SAENZ: So, Joe Biden there hammering away at what he believes is President Trump's wrongdoing. In just a short while he's going to be here in Concord for a canvas kickoff and later on in the day holding a town hall. So we'll see if we get any further reaction later today -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Arlette Saenz -- we'll check back with you. Thank you so much.

All right. In the meantime, the White House is fighting House subpoenas for some of their top officials.

CNN's Kristen Holmes joining us now from the White House. So Kristen -- Mick Mulvaney wants to join in on this lawsuit. What are you hearing about that?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right -- Fred. Well, we learned about this late last night. This followed a day of key events. The first thing happening was Mulvaney not showing up despite being subpoenaed by House committees to testify.

Following that there was almost a sort of document dump here. We saw the transcripts of several important White House figures being released from their testimony. This of course included the White House Russia advisor, former White House Russia advisor, Fiona Hill, as well as the current National Security Council Ukraine advisor, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman.

Now both of them had these testimonies that really mirrored each other and put Mick Mulvaney at the center of this Ukrainian pressure campaign.

Now, is that surprising? Not entirely, given what we know of the past. We have heard President Trump talk about this quid pro quo in the past as well as the acting chief of staff. Take a listen to how they described it then, despite denying it now.


TRUMP: China just started an investigation into the Bidens. Because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine.

MICK MULVANEY, ACTING WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I have news for everybody, get over it. Elections do have consequences and they should. Your foreign policy is going to change.


HOLMES: So essentially now what he has done is he has said that he wants a federal court to decide who essentially he has to defy. Is he going to defy the White House, who has told him not to testify? Or is he going to defy these House subpoenas?

And as we know, Bolton, the former national security advisor is also in that boat. But what makes him so interesting is that the House committees had decided not to subpoena Bolton, knowing that he would take that to court. So they decided they want his testimony but not a lot enough to drag out this impeachment process.

But why this is interesting. Yesterday the House committees received a letter from Bolton's attorney saying that he knew information that had not been revealed by any of these transcripts. Now this sets up a hard position for these Democrats, because he'll only testify if he's taken to court and they make him, which will prolong the process. But of course they're going to want to know what information he has.

WHITFIELD: All right. Kristen Holmes -- thank you so much from the White House. We'll check back with you.

All right. Let's talk further on all of this. With me now David Swerdlick, assistant editor for the "Washington Post" and CNN political commentator. And Paul Callan is a former New York City homicide prosecutor and a CNN legal analyst. Good to see both of you.

All right. So Paul, let me begin with you. House Republicans now say, you know, they have a list of people that they want to see testify and that includes Joe Biden's son, Hunter. How likely is it that this list will be entertained? And what -- I guess, does it have to solidify in order for Democrats to say yes, we'll call some of these witnesses on the list?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: You know, Fred -- I think that some of the witnesses will be called. I think others will simply not be called because, remember, the process is controlled by the Democratic majority. And under the rules, if they think that Republicans are just peppering their list with irrelevant witnesses who can just embarrass the Democrats or embarrass the Bidens, they can say no, we're not going to permit you to call it.

And this is kind of really a battle for the public's support on this issue because if Republicans make it look like they're being closed out of the process and the President is being treated unfairly, they could in fact, you know, swing public opinion in their favor.


So it's not really like a court of law where even if you have only the slightest relevance to a criminal case sometimes you can be called as a witness. This is a political court. And it's a political court where the Democrats control the agenda.

WHITFIELD: All right. And so David -- if Democrats, you know, dispute some of those witnesses, and the list of witnesses also include the whistleblower, who filed the original complaint, will Republicans be able to make a political argument that this

impeachment inquiry is not fair?

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Good morning -- Fred. So I think it depends on the witness. I'm right there with Paul's analysis of what Democrats will try and do. They did pass a set of rules where they have final say on which witnesses are called.

But they will have a decision to make about whether they want to shield Hunter Biden, not probably from any questions about legal wrongdoing but just the political question of whether or not it was right for Hunter Biden to essentially buck rake off of his father's name. If it doesn't come out in a hearing, it's going to come out in the November Democratic debate or even the December Democratic debate so they have to figure out how they want to play that.

In terms of some of those other witnesses, though, like Nellie Ohr or Bruce Ohr, they probably recognize that Republicans want to relitigate this question of how the so-called Steele dossier got into the hands of a FISA court, et cetera, et cetera, and I suspect, as Paul just said, that they will probably stall out some of the witnesses on that side of the ledger because we already went through the whole Mueller report and this is really about Ukraine.

WHITFIELD: Yes. But, David -- follow-up to that, you know, won't it also be argued, I guess, the relevancy of a Hunter Biden testimony if the inquiry, if this inquiry is primarily about the alleged abuse of power, potential abuse of power of the sitting president. How would Hunter Biden's testimony assist in that?

SWERDLICK: Yes, Fred. So if this were a federal criminal trial, I think, right, relevance -- Hunter Biden is not really relevant to that. The sitting president of the United States is facing potential impeachment. Vice president Biden, you played that clip where he was saying, look, I did nothing wrong in executing my duties as vice president of the United States and I think he can make a pretty good case of that. There's no evidence out there in the reporting or on the record that he did anything in any way to break the law. We've said that over and over.

But politically, again, if Democrats are trying to make this big picture argument that President Trump essentially abused his power and that's a high crime and misdemeanor that's impeachable, their case is not defeated, but I think it's slightly undercut by this idea that something was going on with Hunter Biden that was not illegal but maybe inappropriate or unseemly.

WHITFIELD: Gentlemen -- I also want to bring in Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief of the "Chicago Sun-Times". So Lynn -- you know,, this has been a week of bombshell testimony with the release of the transcripts, you know, of top White House officials, State Department officials, White House officials, NSA, including Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert who was on the Trump call with Ukraine's president and expressed alarm about the call.

And now the President, you know, says he's not concerned at all about a lot of that testimony and the release of those transcripts. In fact he's even said he doesn't know a lot of those witnesses. Listen.


TRUMP: I'm not concerned about anything. The testimony has all been fine. I mean for the most part I never even heard of these people. I have no idea who they are. They're some very fine people. You have some never Trumpers. It seems that nobody has any firsthand knowledge. There is no firsthand knowledge. And all that matters is one thing, the transcript. And the transcript is perfect.


WHITFIELD: So, Lynn -- Gordon Sondland, we know the President knows that person because he was a big donor and, of course, now the U.S. Ambassador to the EU. And at the very least, Lynn, shouldn't the President know the NSA office officials? I mean they work in the White House. How familiar should he be with say Vindman and other NSA people?

LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, "CHICAGO SUN TIMES": Well, in a perfect world, of course you should know anybody. But I think when -- especially if we just look at the clip that we just saw, what Trump is doing is creating a distinction with no difference. Just in the part when he says he doesn't know these people.

On the other hand some of them are never Trumpers, which would seem to mean he would know them. But he does this as a foil. It doesn't -- it is a distinction without a difference because President Trump is a master of distraction.

Everyone who is listening to us right now, we don't know them but they could verify that we are saying what we said and we had this conversation. That's what's important.

There are many people who work in a White House. It is not a requirement of the President to know everyone by name. So this is not relevant.


What is relevant is that once people establish they were on a call, and they listened and they reported what they heard and they are deemed to be credible, the facts and the conversations they have are there.

What President Trump is trying to do is limit the conversation to what he thinks is important and it isn't in a word-for-word transcript. I always want to remind people it is a reconstructed conversation.

So the thing to watch as this investigation unfolds in real time is how the President uses the art of deflection to try and make a case for himself while at the same time holding people who are saying things that could be damning for him, saying that he doesn't know them as if that's a defense.

WHITFIELD: And Paul -- you know, the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, is claiming, you know, that he has absolute immunity when it comes to testifying in the impeachment probe. Again, he's trying to join the lawsuit, asking the court to decide whether, you know, he can refuse any kind of subpoena.

This issue of absolute immunity or executive privilege, how would that be applicable -- Paul?

CALLAN: Well, Fred -- he doesn't have absolute immunity. There's really no witness in this situation would get absolute immunity.

The executive privilege claim, it could have some legitimate basis. And as a matter of fact, Mulvaney more than anybody else would have an executive privilege claim because the President's discussions with his own acting chief of staff generally the court would view those as protected conversations, except in one situation.

If the conversation has to do with planning the commission of a crime, then there is no executive privilege protection. And I think the Democrats are going to be claiming here and in court of course there will be a claim made that this conspiracy to withhold military aid from the Ukraine in addition -- in exchange for a promise that Hunter Biden would be investigated was an attempted bribery or an attempted extortion. There are a lot of crimes you could fit it into a category of.

So that's why maybe executive privilege won't apply in this case.

WHITFIELD: All right. Paul Callan -- thank you so much. David and Lynn -- I know you're going to be sticking around. We'll see you in a little bit.

All right. Still ahead, from Mayor Bloomberg to President Bloomberg? The New York City billionaire is taking new steps toward a potential Democratic run. How the leading candidates are reacting.

Plus, Jeff Sessions -- remember him? The former attorney general entering the race for Alabama senate, a seat he once had.


JEFF SESSIONS, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Have I said a cross word about our president? Not one time.


WHITFIELD: But will the fired U.S. Attorney General get the President's support?

And the President is headed to Alabama to see the big game between Bama and LSU, but after being booed at other sporting events, how will the crowd receive him this time around?



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.

We've got the latest on the 2020 race now. And with less than a year out to election day, the Democratic field seems like it's about to get a little bit more crowded. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is one step closer to running for president. The former New York mayor has filed paperwork to get on Alabama's Democratic primary ballot. However, Bloomberg's advisor tells CNN that the candidate does not plan on running in the first four early contests.

Lynn Sweet and David Swerdlick are back with me. So, Lynn -- you first. So what do you make of this timing of Bloomberg's decision to at least file for the paperwork in Alabama, but then his office saying he's not competing in the early state primaries?

SWEET: Well, some of this is just -- has to do with the timing of the state of Alabama where you have to file your papers now in order to get on the ballot. So Bloomberg had to show his hand in order to give himself options down the road.

And what this means by skipping the first four primary and caucus states is that a big gamble has become even bigger because this will let Bloomberg pursue perhaps a narrow path to being the nominee, but it puts him out of the main battle and out of the main discussion with the other nominees, where he could maybe use the experience of finding his place.

He is a big city mayor, and I would think the one who would have the most to worry about is Mayor Pete, whose South Bend, Indiana population is the size of a few wards in Chicago or even less than Manhattan.

The thing is, as Bloomberg wants to carve out a road as a centrist, he has to do it by still figuring out where he is in the group of front- runners who are running to his left, even Vice President Biden who is far more battle tested in this arena than Michael Bloomberg.

WHITFIELD: And then David -- listen how some of the Democratic candidates have been responding to a possible Bloomberg contention.


SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's not enough just to have somebody come in, anybody, and say they're going to buy this election. It's not enough when billionaires and millionaires and corporate executives get their PACs and get their fortunes and say we want a bigger piece of democracy.

BIDEN: Every single poll that's run, I beat him like a drum, as I said, and states in the south and states I the Midwest and states around the world.

So look -- I look, if he wants to run, he should just get in and run.


WHITFIELD: So David -- what do you interpret from those other candidates, you know? Do they think it would be disruptive, helpful, or is there even, you know, concern being expressed?

SWERDLICK: Yes, Fred. So, I mean Mayor Bloomberg is a long shot, no question. And vice president Biden and Senator Warren are right at least that at least going into the November and December debates, Bloomberg doesn't have the polling yet and he doesn't have aggregate number of donors, small dollar donors particularly to qualify for these debates.

So like Lynn said he's going to take a few months to get his footing here. But what those candidates also see is that Bloomberg has unlimited money himself and probably unlimited access to money.


So even if he skips those first few small states, which are absolutely crucial, he can make a play for the air war. And by that I mean buying television time in California, which has moved its primary up to one of the relatively early ones and it's a huge electoral vote or primary vote rich state. And I would suspect that that's part of his strategy.

Here's the thing with Bloomberg. There is a job opening, as Lynn said, for a moderate in this race because a lot of the moderates have stumbled. VP Biden has not been great, Congressman Ryan, Congressman Delaney, Senator Klobuchar have never really caught fire. Even Senator Harris who's sort of a natural moderate tried on to be more progressive, hasn't worked that well

So now what's different than was nine months ago is that there's still a question of who will carry the banner for the centrist part of the Democratic Party.

WHITFIELD: All right. And then Trump and Bloomberg -- they're not friends. But listen to how the President responded to a potential run by Bloomberg.


TRUMP: I've known Michael Bloomberg for a long time. If you go back early on, he said a lot of great things about Trump. But I know Michael. He became just a nothing. He was really a nothing. He's not going to do well, but I think he's going to hurt Biden actually. But he doesn't have the magic to do well. Little Michael will fail.


WHITFIELD: Ok. So, Lynn -- I mean does it sound like the president sees him as a threat? I mean while they don't necessarily like each other, they do have a few things in common, you know. Their business backgrounds, financial success, New Yorkers.

SWEET: Ok. So Michael Bloomberg is a self-made billionaire, unlike Donald Trump.


SWEET: It will be interesting to see if he gets in the race if he releases his income tax returns. But the point is if we talk about the political psychology here, Michael Bloomberg is more rooted and more secure by what we know than Donald Trump. What is both true though for both of them is that they have a New York moxie that will probably impact how they deal with each other if by a long shot Bloomberg became the nominee.

Bloomberg is still useful being on the sidelines because he could get in Trump's head. Just as we saw it the only way Trump really knows how to deal with critics and adversaries is to go into his school boy taunt -- Little Michael.

Yes, Michael Bloomberg is shorter than Donald Trump and somehow this thing -- you know, the physical appearances, stature, is the diminutive tactic that Trump takes, which I think probably is more of a comfort to him than to the people who hear it.

But the personal animosity will work against Trump because Bloomberg doesn't have that -- doesn't have an issue, so it's something for Trump to overcome and not Bloomberg. Long way of saying it -- he gets in his head.


WHITFIELD: More of that sticks and stones. We'll see how it resonates and how it impacts if at all.

All right. Thank you so much. Lynn Sweet, David Swerdlick -- thank you so much. Appreciate that.

SWEET: Thank you.

SWERDLICK: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. A quick programming note, billionaire businessman Tom Steyer makes his case to the American people in a CNN Democratic presidential town hall live from Iowa. Tune in tomorrow night 7:00 Eastern right here on CNN.



WHITFIELD: All right. The biggest matchup in college football could have some drama in the stands today. In just a few hours, Alabama and Louisiana State University will face off in the battle of the unbeatens. President Trump will attend the big game.

It is his third appearance at a major sporting event in the past two weeks. And at each one, there's been mixed reaction -- a little bit of dust-up, shall we say.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins has the story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Donald J. Trump.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: For a president who enjoys keeping score, Saturday's matchup between Alabama and Louisiana State University is another chance to prove he's still a fan favorite.

TRUMP: I love Alabama. I'm going to go watch a very good football game on Saturday.

COLLINS: President Trump travels to his third major sporting event in recent weeks.

TRUMP: I think I won by 42 points.

COLLINS: In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a state he won easily in 2016, he's hoping for a friendlier crowd than the one that greeted him in his home state last week.

As Trump sat ringside at an Ultimate Fighting championship match, a mix of boos and cheers echoed throughout Madison Square Garden, though he said it was a little bit like walking into a Trump rally. Those boos, not as loud as the ones that boomed inside Nationals Park in Washington during game five of the World Series as Trump was shown on the jumbotron. Surrounded by his Republican allies in a (INAUDIBLE) fleet, Trump was said not to have noticed. Even when the players come to him, the visits haven't always gone smoothly.

TRUMP: I love athletics. I love sports. But they shouldn't get the politics involved.

COLLINS: star athletes from championship teams are often missing from White House celebrations. And some teams have declined the invitation to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue altogether.

TRUMP: If they don't want to be here, I don't want them.

COLLINS: So when Washington Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki brought a MAGA hat to the White House, they had what some deemed a titanic moment.

TRUMP: I love him.

COLLINS: Even before he was in office, Trump had a complicated relationship with sports.

TRUMP: The whole game is all screwed up. You say, wow, what a tackle. Bing, flag. Football has become soft.

COLLINS: Now on college football gamedays, the President can often be found on the golf course. This Saturday in Bryant-Denny stadium, he's hoping for a warmer welcome.

[11:34:56] TRUMP: Look, Alabama is always tough. You guys have really become tough. It's great.

COLLINS: The University of Alabama's student government found itself at the center of the Trump-fueled controversy after warning students they'd lose their stadium seating privileges if there was disruptive behavior. They later walked the statement back.

But another group is already planning a disruption of its own, bringing the helium-filled Baby Trump balloon to town.


WHITFIELD: All right. Thank you so much for that reporting.

In 2018 the Democrats flipped a Georgia congressional seat that has been in Republican hands for more than 40 years. The Democrats think they can hang on to it, but Republicans say they're confident they can flip it back. Why both parties think the impeachment inquiry is their path to victory, next.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. In 2018, Democrat Lucy McBath won a stunning victory in Georgia's 6th congressional district, a seat that once belonged to Newt Gingrich, Republican, and had been reliably red for decades.

And now in 2020 Democrats believe McBath can win again. But Republicans are hoping to flip again that district and both parties feel the impeachment inquiry against the President is the path to victory.

CNN's Martin Savidge spoke with Georgia voters about how they are thinking heading into this election season.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Democrat Lucy McBath's victory last fall in Georgia's 6th congressional district wasn't just significant, it was seismic.

How do I know? Because this is my district. I've lived in the 6th for over 20 years.

Located in Atlanta's northern suburbs, decades ago it brought America Newt Gingrich. Mitt Romney and John McCain carried the 6th comfortably, President Trump by only a single point. McBath is the first Democrat to win here in 40 years, and her victory helped Democrats win back the House.

TAMARA STEVENS, GEORGIA 6TH DISTRICT VOTER: Electing Lucy, that was just the beginning.

SAVIDGE: Driving that historic flip, a growing army of activists, college educated mostly mothers, some Georgia natives, others transplants, some even from other parties.

STEVENS: My husband tells everyone I am a gun -- I was a gun-toting Limbaugh-listening Republican.

SAVIDGE: But like the district, Tamara Stevens has changed.

STEVENS: Honestly, I do not recognize the Republican Party of today.

SAVIDGE: Stevens actively campaigned for McBath and she definitely believes the President should be impeached. Even though she knows it will energize Republican voters, she's not worried.

STEVENS: We are on a roll and there's a whole wave of women that have been activated, even since Lucy's election.

SAVIDGE: Impeachment looms large here because Lucy McBath is one of those House Democrats elected in a Trump-voting district where impeachment is a tight rope walk, especially since McBath serves on the House Judiciary Committee.

STEVENS: She has kept her head down and she has continued to work. And that is -- and that's the thing that Republicans, they can't -- they can't -- they can't argue with that. SAVIDGE: Actually, they do.

DEBBIE FISHER, GEORGIA VOTER: I think it is a sham. And it's not as much the impeachment itself as the process that they are going to that is unprecedented in the history of this country.

SAVIDGE: Debbie Fisher is also a politically active 6th district suburbanite and she sees the impeachment issue completely different.

Joining protesters outside McBath's local congressional office.

FISHER: She doesn't want to hear from people.

SAVIDGE: She believes Americans are suffering from Trump investigation fatigue and the impeachment inquiry will backfire on Democrats, hurting McBath's re-election hopes.

FISHER: I see more Democrats, more moderates in the Democrat Party coming this way and more Independents coming Trump's way because of the tactics that have been used in trying to unseat our president.


WHITFIELD: Martin Savidge with me now. So McBath is -- her approach has been interesting and maybe very strategic. She voted for the inquiry, but she has refrained from saying she's an advocate of impeachment. And might that make a difference on being able to maintain that Democratic, I guess, direction of her district?

SAVIDGE: Well -- and that's right. As we mentioned in the piece, you know, she is elected in a Trump-voting district so, of course, she has to walk that line very carefully. And so far she's, you know, doing a job that satisfies the Democrats, doesn't satisfy the Republicans.

Many Trump supporters say she should be much more outspoken and critical of the whole impeachment process. And it comes down to really who's going to be more impassioned about impeachment when it comes to the polls. In other words, are Republicans and those who support the President so angry that they'll turn out in great numbers.

Or is it that Democrats are so inspired that they see an opportunity to take a president out of office they consider illegitimate. We'll have to see what happens.

WHITFIELD: And it's very evident that the President's repetition of vernacular is working, because supporters, voters are using the same language.

SAVIDGE: You can hear it right there, couldn't you?


SAVIDGE: The woman who supports the President was speaking just like the President speaks.

WHITFIELD: All right. Martin Savidge -- good to see you. Thank you so much.

SAVIDGE: You too. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead, a new lawsuit accusing a former Ohio State University doctor of sexual misconduct. What a referee says happened when he told Congressman Jim Jordan, then an assistant wrestling coach at the school, about the alleged misconduct.



WHITFIELD: A college wrestling referee says he complained to Ohio State University's wrestling coaches about sexual misconduct by one of the team doctors, but they did nothing about it. One of the assistant coaches at the time was current Congressman Jim Jordan. The claims are part of a lawsuit filed this week by 43 men, who say they were sexually assaulted, abused, molested or harassed by Dr. Richard Strauss.

Congressman Jordan has repeatedly denied knowing about the abuse allegations.

Jean Casarez joining us now with the very latest on this. Jean -- this ref says he told Jordan directly about the alleged sexual misconduct way back when?.

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes he does. And he is one of 43 alleged victims from so many different sports, it is a 165-page lawsuit. One defendant, Ohio State University -- they are alleging Title IX violations.

And all of the alleged victims virtually say the same thing, that at the time they didn't think they were abused. Their mind just didn't believe that it was sexual abuse or assault. The modus operandi of Dr. Strauss who is now deceased seemed to be the same with every alleged victim that say suffered the abuse.

They would be a patient of Dr. Strauss. Maybe they had a head injury, a shoulder injury, but he would examine their private parts and go from there. And just everyone knew.


And the amount of medical professionals that they list by name over the 20-year period -- the physicians, physician assistants, at least one nurse in the medical department for the athletics -- they said that those doctors knew and did nothing about it.

And then you get to the level of the coaches of all of the sports and the assistant coaches of the many sports at Ohio State University. And that is where one accuser, and he was not a student, he was a paid referee, he said it happened in '94-'95.

Jim Jordan was a coaching from 1986 through 1994, not 1995, but he alleges that after he refereed a wrestling match he was in the public shower and that Dr. Strauss pleasured himself in that public shower. And he went to the head coach for the wrestlers and then also Jim Jordan was there too and he explained what he saw and what he witnessed, and they both said, yes, that's Dr. Strauss.

Now, I want to tell you that the spokesperson -- the attorney for the alleged victims has said to CNN, "This is a political issue in our estimation. This is an issue about Ohio State. This isn't about Jim Jordan. He happens to be a witness. He just happens to be a name of a person who was present."

And spokesman for Congressman Jim Jordan has told us that Congressman Jim Jordan never saw or heard of any kind of sexual abuse and if he had, he would have dealt with it. Multiple investigations have confirmed this simple fact.

And the ramifications for these alleged victims in this suit are just amazing. One soccer player tried to commit suicide. He was so traumatized and dealt with it his whole life. And he just told his wife very recently and Ohio State has told CNN that they are dealing with this. They have dealt with this. That they have participated in independent investigations. And they do have a fund for therapy for all of the alleged victims.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jean Casarez, thank you so much.

We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: -- story.

Police have made an arrest in the disappearance and death of a college student in Atlanta. Baron Brantley is charged with the murder of 21- year-old Alexis Crawford. Brantley is the boyfriend of Crawford's roommate, Jordan Jones, who has also been named a suspect.

Crawford's body was found in a park yesterday just over a week after she was reported missing from her off-campus apartment at Clark Atlanta University. Police have not given a motive for the killing, but they say Crawford accused Brantley of sexual assault a few days before she vanished.

And San Diego State University has suspended all 14 of its fraternities following an incident this week that sent a student to the hospital. The student required medical attention after reportedly attending a fraternity event Wednesday night. And in a statement, the university says that given the severity of the incident, quote, "the safety and well-being of the students is a primary concern", end quote. University police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the incident.

All right. Still ahead, Republican House lawmakers know exactly who they want to testify in the President's Ukraine scandal -- Hunter Biden and the whistleblower, but will that actually happen? That's next.