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GOP Witness Request List In The Public Impeachment Inquiry; Billionaire Michael Bloomberg May Be Jumping Into The Democratic Primary Race; First Step Act Raising Concerns About Safety; Police Say Roommate & Her Boyfriend Suspects In College Student's Death; Pennsylvania Voters In Swing Districts Speak Out On Impeachment. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired November 9, 2019 - 16:00   ET





ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks so much for being here.

President Trump saying today that we all need to see what he and the President of Ukraine talked about weeks before that now infamous phone call when he allegedly committed an impeachable offense. The President today on his way to Alabama told reporters that he will likely release the transcript of that earlier call on Tuesday. It's a conversation he calls very important.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now, they want to have a transcript of the other call, the second call, and I'm willing to provide that. We will probably give it to you on Tuesday, Monday being a holiday. We will probably give it to you Tuesday, but we have another transcript coming out, which is very important. They asked for it, and I gladly give it.


CABRERA: CNN White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond is here with us. So Jeremy, what do we know about that earlier call, the one the President is referencing that happened before the July 25th phone call? And how does it fit into this impeachment inquiry?

JEREMEY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: We don't know a whole lot about the call. We know that it took place right after President Zelensky won a landslide election in Ukraine to become Ukraine's president.

According to the White House, they did discuss corruption. We don't know to what extent. And we also know that this was not a call that provoked a whole lot of concern in the White House, unlike this July call where you had national security council officials, intelligence officials raising -- sounding the alarm essentially about that call and the President's conduct on that call. We don't see anything here.

And so I think the timing of the President deciding to release this now is interesting. Because of course, this all comes as we are learning that this is about -- so much more than just one concerning call between these two leaders. It's about a whole of government effort here, it appears, by the President, directed by the President to pressure Ukraine's government into carrying out these politically charged investigations and potentially as a quid pro quo holding up this security aid to Ukraine.

CABRERA: The other interesting thing about timing, if he's going to release that call transcript on Tuesday, it's the day before the public hearings begin.

DIAMOND: Exactly.

CABRERA: And now the GOP has put out its list of witnesses it wants to have come forward and testify publicly. And among the people on the list is the anonymous whistleblower, of course we don't know who that is, and Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son. And just a reminder to everybody, there's no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden. Any response yet to these requests?

DIAMOND: You know, it's so interesting. And clearly what Republicans are trying to do here is deflect attention from the main allegations that involve the conduct by the President of the United States, instead trying to deflect to this Biden issue, to the questions of the whistleblower and who this individual is.

The House chairman, Adam Schiff -- House intelligence committee chairman Adam Schiff, who must agree to actually bring these witnesses forward, he has released a statement saying this inquiry is not and will not serve as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit or to facilitate the President's effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistleblower, who courageously raised the initial alarm.

You also mentioned, of course, that whistleblower, who Republicans are also seeking for testimony. One of the whistleblower's attorneys Andrew Bakaj, has responded in a statement, making clear that this public testimony is not going to happen. He say, my client's complaint has largely been corroborated.

Nonetheless, I have offered to have my client respond in writing under oath and under penalty of perjury to Republican questions. And that is of course referencing this whistleblower's offer to Republicans actually answer questions directly to them in writing, not just to the committee as a whole but to the republican directly because of their complaints, of course, of not having had access to this whistleblower.

CABRERA: But again, everything in that whistle-blower complaint has been corroborated by multiple witnesses as well as the President's own words.

Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much for that reporting. Let's talk more about this impeachment inquiry and the strategy before

the Democrats move this inquiry into the public realm next week.

Joining us now with more is CNN Political Commentator, Matt Lewis, senior columnist for the "Daily Beast," and CNN political analyst Molly Ball, national political correspondent for "Time" magazine.

Matt, what do you think of the GOP witness request list?

MATT LEWIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: So I think part of this is just trying to create a diversion, right. If it's O.J. Simpson, O.J. Simpson trial, you want to talk Mark Furman and the LAPD. If it's Bill Clinton, you want to talk about how bad Kenn Starr is and this whistleblower named Linda Tripp. So I think that's part of it.

But some of it could also be just foreshadowing what Republicans are going to do in the Senate when they -- if they were to control a lot more in a Senate trial. Right now I don't think -- I think this is really a sham and sort of a diversion. But actually, we may end up seeing some of these people called when this gets to the Senate.


CABRERA: That's an interesting thought. I hadn't gone there yet, that far ahead.

But Molly, we have this response from Adam Schiff now. He does control who ultimately ends up testifying public because he is the chair of the House intelligence committee. And of course, it's a Democratic majority. He is saying he won't let the Republicans hijack the impeachment inquiry with what he calls sham investigations.

Can Schiff possibly find a happy medium between maintaining this focus on whether President Trump committed an impeachable offense and not having Republicans feel like they have been left out of the process?

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, the Democrats are obviously walking a bit of a tight rope here because they want to convey -- you know, these hearings are about putting on a show to the public, trying to make a case to the public that this impeachment is warranted.

And so they do want to create the impression that this process is fair, is bipartisan to the extent that it can be, despite the party line vote to open the impeachment. And so they do -- they do want to seem to be giving Republicans some say in this process.

But as Schiff said in that statement, that's not -- they are not going to let the Republicans have license to turn this to a completely different subject than the main thing that they are investigating here, whether it's these deranged conspiracy theories about the server or whatever or trying to go down the Hunter Biden rabbit hole. And so they have got to find a way to keep the inquiry focused while not having it seem like a merely partisan affair. And that's going to be very, very difficult to do, particularly because of the way that the Republicans have chosen to approach it. CABRERA: Yes, Matt, with so much partisan acrimony going into this,

how is either side going to come across as fair?

LEWIS: No, that's one of the really big problems that Democrats have is that ideally, something like this would be bipartisan. And you know, sometimes when things aren't bipartisan, it's because the party in power doesn't reach out, doesn't build a coalition, doesn't extend an olive branch. Other times it's because the minority simply decides they are not going to cooperate no matter what. And I think that what we have here is essentially jury nullification.

Republicans have decided, a t least for now, that they are going to circle the wagons and not actually participate in good conscience in impeachment of their President. So Democrats are going to have to really go the extra mile to keep this from looking like it is a sham. That's what Republicans want to portray it as, this witch hunt. So Democrats have a big job there.

CABRERA: There's also this, the Republicans, led by Lindsey Graham, are now maintaining that Trump's team was incompetent and thus incapable of forming a quid pro quo.

And Matt, I'm going to come back to you because you actually wrote about this specifically and just how many of the President's 2016 competitors are now his most, you call them, House-trained defenders, these men who have gone from rivals into die-hard supporters. Would anything get them to support impeachment?

LEWIS: I just -- I love this theory that you are too stupid to collude or, you know, too stupid to do something impeachable. I actually give the President more credit. I think he is smart enough to do a quid pro quo. So maybe I'm more of a believer in Trump than Lindsey Graham actually is.

But no, it's interesting. I think there are a lot of people in the Republican party who have become -- who have sold out, I would say, some of their principles to defend their President. It's happened before. The Democrats, I think, have done it before. Republicans are doing it now.

But nobody is more egregious than the people who ran against him, the people like Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, who ran against him in 2016 and lost. And I think there is some sort of a Stockholm syndrome there. Once he tamed them in 2016, they had to come back to the Senate with their tail between their legs, and man, have they decided to batten down the hatches and defend him now.

CABRERA: Now they have gone all in behind him.

Let me get to this because this happened moments ago, guys. President Trump was introduced to the crowd in Tuscaloosa at the Alabama versus LSU football game. And the reaction quite different than the one he received when he attended the world series near the White House. Listen.


CABRERA: People were chanting "USA, USA."

Molly, looks like an example of Trump getting quite a different reaction on the road versus within the Washington beltway. What's your response or reaction to that?

BALL: Well, it's obviously a much more friendly crowd than the one that greeted him at the world series in D.C., which is a 90 percent some Democratic city. So really no surprise that in a red state and in the atmosphere of college football, which I think also draws a certain demographic, that the President would be cheered there.

I mean, I personally think it's too bad we now have entertainment for liberals and entertainment for conservatives and there can't be, you know, sporting events where just Democrats and Republicans and a President, you know, hypothetically could get a neutral reaction. But I think this President in particular is so polarizing that -- but hey, now that he has found a place where he's going to get those kind of cheers, maybe he will go to a lot more college football games in the south.

CABRERA: We'll see. Real quick for you, Molly. The President now saying he's going to release this other call transcript with the Ukrainian President. Do you think that's a smart move given what happened with the last call in which he released and now it's led to where we are in this impeachment inquiry?

BALL: That is a good point. That the last time he thought it was a smart move to release a transcript, it didn't go so well for him. Although, we still have not seen the full transcript, if you remember. The colonel Vindman testified there were some significant omissions from the partial transcript with those ellipses that were in it.

That being said, I have no idea what's in this transcript or what happened in this call. So we will have to see whether it does get released, whether it does show something different. If it is just a normal call between two foreign leaders, the fact that he was able to do that once does not in any way vindicate what happened on the other call. Just because you have one good call doesn't make the other call less bad. But it'll be interesting to see what exactly it is he's talking about.

CABRERA: Molly Ball and Matt Lewis, good to have you here. Thank you.

LEWIS: Thank you.

CABRERA: Attorneys for former national security advisor John Bolton say he has relevant information related to the impeachment inquiry. And they are asking House Democrats now to try harder to get him to testify. So why won't they?

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: We are just days away now from the very first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump. Up first on Wednesday, we will hear from Democrats Bill Taylor and George Kent. Both men have given damning closed-door testimony detailing an explicit quid pro quo between the White House and Ukraine. And on Friday, we will hear from the former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. She was fired following an alleged smear campaign led by the President's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is one of the lawmakers overseeing the hearing.

Congresswoman, good to have you with us.


CABRERA: Why is Bill Taylor the person you want the American people to hear from first?

HOLMES NORTON: Bill Taylor had the conversation with Sondland. Perhaps that was one of the very first public indications we had that there was pressure on national security people. When he asked the question straight out, why are you asking me this question about Biden with respect to this matter. Why is this coming up?

So in a real sense, he kind of started off the public understanding because that statement has been out here for so long. And everything that has followed has tended to reinforce his question. Why in the world are you asking me this? This question that has nothing to do with anything except Ukraine and the vice President.

CABRERA: OK. So you think he will be able to paint a picture for the American people that sets the stage for the rest of the testimony to follow?

HOLMES NORTON: Yes. It does seem this is being orchestrated. You see, we are not yet to those who were on the phone call. And this high-level ambassador was not on the phone call. It looks like we are leading up to those who were on the phone call, so we start with him, who was the -- it was the big chief in charge.

CABRERA: OK. Your Republican colleagues have a list of witnesses they want to hear from. Let me read this list to you. It includes the whistleblower, Hunter Biden, Kurt Volker, David Hale, who is a top state department official, Tim Morrison, a former Trump aide, Nellie Ohr, the wife of justice department official Bruce Orh and Alexandra Chalupa, former DNC contractor.

I'm interested to get your thoughts on this. Anyone here you would agree to hear from?

HOLMES NORTON: I would have to look at all of those. I must say when you say the whistleblower, whom we don't need anymore -- you know, we never disclose --

CABRERA: Say why you don't need him or her anymore.

HOLMES NORTON: Everything the whistleblower could tell us we now have firsthand accounts of. The whistleblower was telling us what we heard. Now we bare hearing from the people who heard, including the phone call with the President himself that now is public knowledge. So we don't need him anymore. And I think his identity should be kept secret for another reason.

We never disclose the identity of whistleblowers, never. Because we want more whistle-lowers to come forward. All they do is give us a tip. Then we go from there. They don't give us the evidence. This run down of witnesses seems to me to be full of witnesses that do not go to the central question before the inquiry.

And that goes, of course, to Ukraine itself. And that phone call seems to me that what is going to be important is to do exactly what a judge would do, to declare what's relevant and what's not relevant to keep this from becoming a political circus.


CABRERA: OK. What about former national security adviser John Bolton? Seems he would be important because so much of the testimony and the transcripts we saw this week, his name was mentioned. Democrats, I know, announced they weren't going to subpoena him earlier this week. But now his attorney says his client has relevant information that has not yet been revealed. So what's your plan with Bolton?

HOLMES NORTON: Look at what Bolton has done. If he wanted to testify, he could come forward because we have already subpoenaed him.

CABRERA: No, he wasn't subpoenaed. He wasn't subpoenaed, remember, because I think he chose not to voluntarily come forward, but that's what his attorney is saying. He wasn't ever subpoenaed.

HOLMES NORTON: Actually, you are right. A formal subpoena did not come to him. He did say he was not going to testify. Now he says he wants to testify. Let's look at Bolton. First of all, he's seen everybody under him testify. He is the national security adviser. He has seen all those who were reporting to him testify. And you must remember he was fired.

So I think he wants to get back in the game and not get back into the game. He wants the President to know he was the one in charge of this. He was the one who could have kept him from being in trouble. He was the one that called this out first and said we should not be doing this. And yet, he does not in any way want to be -- want to come forward.

He would not come forward. He would not obey a subpoena, I believe, if one were issued. And as it turns out, since all of those who reported to him have, in fact, told us what they know, he would be icing on the cake, but that's icing we don't need to begin to eat the cake.

CABRERA: OK. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes-Norton, (INAUDIBLE). Thank you very much for being here.


CABRERA: Surprise news on the campaign trail. Another billionaire is thinking about entering the race. How Michael Bloomberg would change the game, especially for one contender in particular.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



CABRERA: This just in to CNN. Presidential candidate Joe Biden expressing genuine shock when a campaign reporter tells him President Trump is considering accepting an invitation from Vladimir Putin to attend Russia's May 9th victory day parade in Moscow, an event where Russia shows off its military might.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have an idea of President Trump going to Moscow for the May day parade?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has been invited and is considering it.

BIDEN: You are kidding me. Whoa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, House Republicans want your son hunter --

BIDEN: Are you joking?



CABRERA: Another thing Biden is reacting to, the news that billionaire Michael Bloomberg may be jumping into the democratic primary race.

CNN's Arlette Saenz has more.


ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN POLITICAL REPORTER (voice-over): Joe Biden filing papers, placing his name on New Hampshire's primary ballot as he faces the threat of a new challenger. Michael Bloomberg taking steps to make a late entry into the 2020 race, but Biden saying he is not worried.

BIDEN: I welcome him in the race. Michael's a solid guy. Let's see where it goes. I have no problem with him getting in the race.

SAENZ: Bloomberg, seen in New York city early Friday, not answering questions as his team later filed primary paperwork in Alabama. The former New York City mayor originally ruled out a 2020 bid in March as he saw a narrow path to victory with Biden in the race. As recently as September, Bloomberg said he was comfortable with his decision.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG, FORMER NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: When you look at the layout of who is going to vote and where the country is, I would be very unlikely to get re-elected.

SAENZ: In fact, Bloomberg was among the lower polling candidates in early surveys. A CNN national poll last December showed him registering at just two percent. Recent polling has shown the overwhelming majority of potential Democratic voters are satisfied with their options in the current field.

But now advisers to Bloomberg say he is concerned the current crop of democratic candidates is not well positioned to beat President Trump. His potential rivals firing back. Bernie Sanders tweeting, the billionaire class is scared and they should be scared.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It's not enough just to have somebody come in, anybody, and say they are going to buy this election.

SAENZ: For years, the billionaire Bloomberg was a registered Republican, later becoming an Independent before registering as a Democrat last year. He has poured millions into progressive causes like combatting climate change and gun control.

BLOOMBERG: We have got to send a message to elected officials. Vote for common sense gun laws or we will throw you out. Enough!

SAENZ: As Bloomberg gets closer to jumping into the 2020 race, President Trump predicts a Bloomberg candidacy will fail.

TRUMP: He will not do very well, and if he did, I would be happy. There's nobody I'd rather run against.

SAENZ: If Bloomberg decides to enter the race, an advisor to the former New York city mayor says he won't compete in the first four early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina. The adviser says that other candidates have a head start in those states but that they believe Bloomberg can compete in super Tuesday states and beyond.

Arlette Saenz, New Hampshire.



CABRERA: Don't forget, former vice President Joe Biden takes questions from voters live from Iowa in a CNN Democratic Presidential town hall. CNN's Erin Burnett moderates it. Tune in Monday night at 9:00 here on CNN.

Life after prison starts early for some after one of the most sweeping overhauls to the criminal justice system was signed into law. But now the First Step Act is raising serious concerns about safety.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: It is the most sweeping overhaul of the federal criminal justice system in a generation. I'm talking about the First Step Act. Since its passage nearly a year ago, it's led to the release of nearly 3,000 inmates. But as President Trump boasts about this landmark law, the Justice Department is raising red flags on it.

Here's CNN's Jason Carroll.


JAY CHATTELLE, VICTIM'S NEPHEW: It doesn't feel real. It just doesn't -- nothing -- it feels like a bad movie.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jay Chattelle and his family are devastated. They're mourning the loss of Troy Pine, Chattelle's uncle, who was stabbed to death the night of October 2nd.


It happened at this popular lounge in Providence, Rhode Island. The motive still unclear. The suspect, 41-year-old Joel Francisco, now behind bars.

CHATTELLE: My family wants answers. My cousins want answers.

CARROLL: This past February, Francisco was released from federal prison. He had served 14 years of a life sentence for selling drugs like crack cocaine, but his sentence was reduced to time served, and he was let out.

Why? Francisco was released under the First Step Act, a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill signed into law by President Trump last December.

Many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle calling the act a way to address those nonviolent offenders serving unduly harsh penalties.

According to the Department of Justice, more than 4,700 federal inmates have been released early since the First Step Act was ushered in late last year.

Federal officials say it appears Francisco's case is the first example of someone released under the act going on to be accused of murder.

CHATTELLE: It's a flawed system. It's a beautiful program to get people to come home that don't need to be dying in jail. There's got to be more steps. Some people have to be held accountable. CARROLL: Nearly three months before Pine's murder, police in

Providence had a run-in with Francisco. This police report shows he was arrested and charged with domestic violence and attempted breaking and entering.

This, after police say Francisco, armed with a knife, attempted to break into his ex-girlfriend's home.

An attorney representing Francisco in that case has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

(on camera): Francisco's ex-girlfriend says she has concerns about her safety and did not want to speak on camera. She went on to say that Francisco should not have been released. And she says that anyone who's been incarcerated and then released should then have to check in with mental health experts.

(voice-over): Francisco was scheduled for a court appearance on October 15th regarding that incident involving his ex-girlfriend. Nearly two weeks before that date, Pine was killed.

Republican Senator Tom Cotton, an outspoken critic of the First Step Act, said this case is upsetting, but it's not a surprise, letting violent felons out of prison early as the First Step Act did, leads to more crim and more victims.

But other lawmakers who helped pass the law stood by it in the wake of Pine's death.

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): The bill doesn't attempt to address all the ills within our system.

CARROLL: Congresswoman Karen Bass cited the Pine case during an oversight hearing on the new law.

BASS: I hope this does not detract from the need in our country to really examine our criminal justice system.

CARROLL: Rhode Island State Senator Sam Bell, who represents the district where Pine was killed, says the problem is not with the new law but a failure to reintegrate Francisco.

(on camera): Was it a failure to reintegrate him into society, or was it a failure in terms of he never should have been out in society?

STATE SEN. SAM BELL, (D-RI): Look, I mean, once you've served your time and served for a fair period of time, we should give people second chances.

CHATTELLE: Look at that smile. That's him.

CARROLL (voice-over): Jay Chattelle says, despite all that's happened, he still supports the idea behind the First Step Act, but he also says more steps should have been taken to stop the man who is charged with the murder of his uncle.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Providence, Rhode Island.


CABRERA: On this week's episode of "DECLASSIFIED," we take you inside the international manhunt to capture one of the most prolific Russian arms dealers in the world. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To arrest Booth, we had to establish probable cause that there was a conspiracy, that he knew who the FARC was, that he was entering into a weapons deal with them.

He knew these weapons were going to be used to kill Americans and kill officers and other officials in the U.S. government, that he knew he was going to be acquiring and using surface-to-air missiles. Those were the guidelines of what we had to establish.

So Commandante (ph) explained he was fighting against the Americans. The Americans were killing his people. They were helping the Colombian government. And Booth said this is my fight, too. They're my enemy also.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Commandante (ph) really brought it home. They talked about how they needed these surface-to-air missiles to shoot down the American Apache helicopters, how they needed to kill these Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They explained that they needed sniper rifles with sights so that the FARC, as they described, blow the heads off the American pilots.


CABRERA: Be sure to tune in. An all-new episode of "DECLASSIFIED: UNTOLD STORIES OF AMERICAN SPIES" airs tomorrow at 11:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific.


We'll be right back.


CABRERA: Atlanta police say they have found the body of a missing college student. They say her roommate and the roommate's boyfriend are suspects in her death.

And 21-year-old Alexis Crawford was a student at Clark Atlanta University. She went missing from her off-campus apartment more than a week ago. Her body was found in a nearby park.

CNN's Natasha Chen joins us now.

You're getting new details from police about how she died. What are you hearing? NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ana. In the last

couple hours, police say the medical examiner determined that Alexis Crawford died of asphyxiation. Remember, he was found dead in a park in DeKalb County. That's after one of the two suspects led police there.

As of today, both suspects are in custody, the roommate of Crawford and the roommate's boyfriend. The roommate is Jordyn Jones. The roommate's boyfriend is Barron Brantley. He's being held with no bond.

Police originally had a missing person's report from Crawford's family, who said they talked to her last on October 30th but reported her missing on November 1st after they didn't hear from her.

At that point, in the missing person's report, the roommate told police they weren't on speaking terms.

Here's what the police chief said that could be crucial to the investigation.



ERIKA SHIELDS, CHIEF, ATLANTA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Alexis described unwanted kissing and touching from Barron Brantley. Barron, who is the boyfriend of Jordyn Jones. Jordyn Jones, who is Alexis' roommate and friend.

The case has come to one of the saddest conclusions possible and has been absolutely heartbreaking.


CHEN: Right, Ana, so we are hearing now from police. There's a redacted police report that Crawford gave them before she disappeared just days before. It was taken from her at Grady Memorial Hospital, where she was taken to have a rape kit administered.

You can imagine this has something to do with her roommate and her roommate's boyfriend. She reported that he was touching and kissing her, that he had followed her into her bedroom.

She says to police that she went into the restroom by herself and closed the door, but the roommate found the restroom door locked and found that the boyfriend was in there with her. When the roommate knocked, he came out of there with no shirt on, and Crawford was there also with just a bra on.

So there's something very troubling there in that report, Ana, that I'm sure police will be looking at in connection to what then happened to Crawford just days later.

CABRERA: Natasha Chen, thank you for that reporting.

Up next, an eye-opening conversation with voters in a battleground state that was crucial to President Trump's win three years ago.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Is there anything that he could do or anything that could happen that would make you not vote for him?


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

LISA MARIE HALECKY, PENNSYLVANIA SWING VOTER: Well, you'd have to know why he shot them.

ARLINGTON: Yes, why did he shoot them?




CABRERA: It was part of Hillary Clinton's blue wall that crumbled for Trump in 2016, and you can bet Pennsylvania will once again be a big battleground again in the next year.

CNN's Alisyn Camerota recently sat down with six voters from swing counties to get their take on the impeachment inquiry.

Just a quick editorial note, you'll hear some rather long, pregnant pauses in this segment. We did not tighten those up in the edit room so you could get a sense of the hesitation as Americans struggle with this difficult issue.


CAMEROTA: How many of you -- show of hands -- support the impeachment investigation that is beginning?

Four of you support that?


GAYLYNN BLASKI, PENNSYLVANIA SWING VOTER: Well, for the simple fact it's never, ever, ever going to pass through the Senate. Congress isn't doing anything but inquiries and hearings and inquiries and hearings.


CAMEROTA: What they would say is that there's new information and that's the Ukraine call.

ALISON GREEN, PENNSYLVANIA SWING VOTER: Oh yes, there's consistently evolving information.

ANDREA CAPWILL, PENNSYLVANIA SWING VOTER: Yes. CAMEROTA: And so how many of you are comfortable with what President Trump asked for in terms of withholding military aid for an investigation of the Bidens?

MARIAN TAYLOR, PENNSYLVANIA SWING VOTER: Well, as a business owner, I wouldn't give up that kind of money if I thought something was going on. He -- I think he had every right to ask that.

BLASKI: Because it was a new president.

Why are we giving Ukraine so much money anyway when we have homeless veterans on the streets? Like, really? Go to San Diego, go to Los Angeles and you'll see them and it's pitiful. Those people are --

ARLINGTON: That's where Congress should be working.

BLASKI: Exactly.

ARLINGTON: That's where they should be working.

BLASKI: Yes, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Just so I'm clear on that, so you're comfortable with withholding military aid to Ukraine -- they're fighting Russia -- because you don't like the idea that those -- that that money goes there anyway.

BLASKI: Well, I don't know why it's going there. But I'm saying if they have money to keep giving to everybody, why not help our own people first?


CAMEROTA: Are you comfortable -- show of hands -- with asking a foreign entity for help with dirt on a political opponent?

Nobody is comfortable with that?



CAMEROTA: You are comfortable with it, Crystal? Why are you -- why do you think it's OK to ask a foreign power?

ARLINGTON: He's the President of the United States. He should be allowed to ask for military information.

CAMEROTA: Well, this is political information.

ARLINGTON: Oh, even political information.

CAMEROTA: Does that bother you?

ARLINGTON: Didn't every other president do it?

CAMEROTA: I can't speak for any other president, but I know that --

ARLINGTON: They all do it.

CAMEROTA: I don't know that to be true.

ARLINGTON: I don't know that to be true, either.

CAMEROTA: So why are you resting -- hanging your hat on it?

ARLINGTON: I'm just saying -- I'm just saying. I mean --

CAMEROTA: But you're comfortable with it because that's how you think it works?


TAYLOR: As a business owner.

ARLINGTON: As a business owner, yes, it's --

CAMEROTA: So you just see this as a business transaction.


GREEN: His business is this country, so getting dirt to benefit him does not benefit this country. That benefits him.


GREEN: He's not a business leader.

HALECKY: Yes, there's no accountability. And no matter what business you're in or what you're doing, you need accountability. You just --


HALECKY: It's bad practice.

CAMEROTA: Show of hands -- how many would like the identity of the whistleblower to be revealed and think it should be?

GREEN: That's not how it's supposed to work. The whole point is it's supposed to be one of those checks and balances where you can come forward and say this is going on and people don't know and it's wrong.

BLASKI: It's like going to your human resources department. That's supposed to be confidential.

GREEN: Exactly. That's what it's supposed to be. It's supposed to be a confidential thing.

CAMEROTA: What's your response, Andrea?

CAPWILL: I don't think that it should be revealed right now. I think that for, like, historical purposes that yes, it would be nice for the American people to know what happened. Who saw this? Like -- CAMEROTA: You're curious?


CAMEROTA: You're saying you're curious.

BLASKI: Yes, but that could get that person shot.

CAMEROTA: The point of the whistleblower is anonymity, so are you uncomfortable that President Trump calls for their identity to be unmasked?

TAYLOR: I don't think it should be unmasked publicly.

CAMEROTA: But what if President Trump knows about it?

BLASKI: Then it would be public.

GREEN: That's wrong.

BLASKI: It'll be public. I mean, it'll be on Twitter, I assume, like in five minutes.

CAMEROTA: How many people think the impeachment process will hurt President Trump?

GREEN: I think it's going to hurt everyone.

CAMEROTA: OK, so you think it will hurt President Trump. Is that to say that the other five of you think it will hurt the Democrats?

GREEN: I think it's going to hurt everyone.



GREEN: I think when you splash mud it hits everyone.

BLASKI: Yes. And again, they're not going to get nothing done because they're doing all this -- worried about these hearings and impeachment.

CAMEROTA: To be fair, 490 bills have been passed by the House.

BLASKI: And, Senate?

CAMEROTA: Sixty-five pieces of legislation.

BLASKI: How many are sitting in the Senate?

GREEN: Sixty-five.

CAMEROTA: So, 65 pieces of legislation have come --

GREEN: I say because a lot of things are coming out of the House and then dying in the Senate.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.


BLASKI: Because they won't work together.

GREEN: There's literally no compromising.


TAYLOR: Right.

CAMEROTA: Do you guys want compromise?


GREEN: No one's supposed to win all the time.

BLASKI: Right.

GREEN: Everyone -- from a business perspective, you compromise. You don't walk away every time.

TAYLOR: Why --

TAYLOR: Most of us are mothers and we want everyone to work together.




GREEN: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: You're tired of the divisiveness.


BLASKI: Yes, absolutely.



TAYLOR: I think most people in the country are.


CAMEROTA: Do you think that President Trump plays any role in that divisiveness?




CAMEROTA: Do you think he's being helpful?

ARLINGTON: I think he's being helpful, yes.

CAMEROTA: How? How is he bringing the country together?

ARLINGTON: I'm not sure how he's bringing the Democrats and Republicans together. However, I do think he's trying to get stuff done.

CAMEROTA: Let's go around and one word for these past three years -- how you would describe the Trump presidency.

Go ahead, Alison.

GREEN: Divisive.

BLASKI: Entertaining. You never know what you're going to get every day.

HALECKY: One long one -- one of a kind. One of a kind, definitely.

TAYLOR: I believe he's for the people.

CAMEROTA: So you believe the Trump presidency -- for the people means selfless?


CAMEROTA: Just for the people.

TAYLOR: He's making a change.

CAPWILL: Embarrassing.

BLASKI: Oh, that's a good one.

GREEN: That is a good one.

ARLINGTON: Fantabulous.


CAMEROTA: And so, Crystal, is there anything that he could do or anything that could happen that would make you not vote for him?


CAMEROTA: If he shot someone on Fifth Avenue would you vote for him?

HALECKY: Well, you'd have to know why he shot them.

ARLINGTON: Yes, why did he shoot them?


CABRERA: All right. Our thanks to Alisyn for bringing those interesting perspectives from swing voters.

As the country prepares to sit through live televised public testimony in the impeachment inquiry, President Trump is now talking about releasing a second transcript. How does that fit into the investigation?

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.