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CNN TONIGHT

Joe Biden Laying Out His Plan For 2020; People Now Await The First Public Impeachment Hearing This Week; New Contender To Enter The 2020 Race; Don's Take On The Impeachment Inquiry On Live TV; Giuliani's Former Attorney Weighs In On What To Expect From This Week's Hearings. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired November 11, 2019 - 22:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Thank you very much, Erin and Mr. Vice President. You see the vice president still on the stage there.

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This is CNN TONIGHT as Erin said. I'm Don Lemon.

And you just watched the CNN presidential town hall with the former Vice President Joe Biden answering question after question from the audience, arguing that if the evidence is convincing, the Senate should vote to remove the president from office, warning that the future of our democracy is at stake.

Talking very personally about the family tragedies he's faced and how he found meaning. Explaining why he doesn't support Medicare for All. And talking about what he would do to fight the climate crisis.

So, did he make his case to voters? That's the question. Let's bring in David Chalian, Kirsten Powers, as well. Good evening to both of you. We've watched that. It was a big night for the vice president, David -- for the former vice president, I should say. Give me your main takeaways, please.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. Well, I think this is one of the stronger performances we've seen from Vice President Biden. I would say in the entirety of this campaign, Don.

I think you pointed out at the top there in your remarks, this is certainly the most aggressive argument I've heard him make for the case of impeachment. And I thought it was really intriguing that when he was making that case, he said, no, no, no, this is not a fait accompli in the Senate votes. Don't just assume that if the House passes articles of impeachment, that it is a sure loser in the Senate.

He understands the reality of the politics but he was making the point that if there was a compelling case made, he was encouraging Republicans to call their senators if indeed they feel that it's clear that the evidence is out there that the president violated the Constitution.

If it was just interesting how he sort of joined the fight there. As you know, he was one of the more reluctant members of this Democratic field to actually get onboard with impeachment to begin with, but he was clearly there tonight.

LEMON: We want to remind our viewers of some of what he said. Listen, and we'll come back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is Trump's modus operandi. Whenever it happens, whenever anything comes down on him, what does he do? He tries to find a scapegoat to avoid focus on him. That's what this is all about.

And I'll be darned if I'm going to let us take our eye off the ball. Did Trump commit impeachable offenses? He's indicted himself on the White House Lawn saying he did invite these people.

And by the way -- and he said he wants to deal with corruption. That's what it's all about. Well, Mr. President, release your tax returns. Show us what you've done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So that was him being asked about the impeachment inquiry and really the way Republicans have responded and the president as well, trying to call his son Hunter as a witness. Was that an effective answer, Kirsten?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I think it was a very effective answer. I think he was very strong and very clear, and the fact that he made both the case -- the substantive case for impeachment and also the political case for impeachment because those are two different questions.

I mean I think the question he was asked actually was, you know, even -- even if Trump did this, isn't it -- isn't it too risky basically for Democrats to do this? And Biden made a very strong argument that it wasn't risky and this was not a foregone conclusion at all.

LEMON: Listen, I got to -- you know, David, the former vice president has certainly suffered a lot of personal loss. Erin asked him about that tonight and how he communicates and empathizes with people on the campaign trail who have had similar losses. It's the strength of his and also something that separates him from the person we have in office right now, the current president. CHALIAN: Yes. I would not say that empathy is something that Donald

Trump displays all that much of out in public, Don. And clearly this is sort of one of the primary daily experiences that Vice President Biden has. He had it when he was in the White House. He has it on the campaign trail.

And when Erin asked him about what that was for him, that others shared their stories of grief to get some solace from him, he saw that as a really purposeful way for him to deal with his own grief, that it gives him purpose to hear those stories and relieve some of that burden from people.

I mean, you know that we have talked often about at times when there's a national tragedy or an event happens and we talk about the role as president to be sort of the consoler in chief for the country. Obviously, of all the roles the commander in chief has to play, that's one that Joe Biden feels quite comfortable playing.

LEMON: Kirsten, you know what Democratic voters say they want more than anything. They say they want a candidate who can beat Donald Trump. Did Biden make the case tonight that he is the best candidate to do that?

POWERS: I think that he had a very strong night. This is definitely he was in his element. He is much better in this format than he is in the format -- the debate format, I would say.

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He seemed very comfortable. He seems like he was connecting with the people that he was talking to. The empathy factor was huge. It was throughout the entire night actually at different points, not just when he was talking about his own personal tragedy, but when he was talking about even, you know, health care and why he supports having a tax credit for people who stay home and take care of their loved ones and how important that is to be with people with people that you care about and take care of them in a way that another person just can't do, that a person that you would pay to do that just can't do.

It was very empathetic, and I think you can say, yes, Donald Trump isn't empathetic in the way that Joe Biden is. I'd argue that very few other candidates are. I think that is borne out of such severe suffering and that you can really see the side of him that is different. And I think that does really matter to voters.

I think voters do really want to have somebody who feels -- who they feel understands what they're going through, understands the struggles that they're facing, and can help them sort of navigate that.

LEMON: Let's talk about the horse race now, David, really what they're doing. What's going to resonate out on the campaign trail, what the other candidates will be talking about, and that is Joe Biden addressing the war of words he's been in with Senator Elizabeth Warren. He seemed to turn that to his advantage, don't you think?

CHALIAN: Well, listen, Joe Biden has gotten a lot more comfortable in the last couple weeks mostly through the whole Medicare for All conversation about standing his ground in the center here, of defending his position to not go where Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have gone in terms of supporting Medicare for All.

And he's trying to own that more to conservative to moderate Democrats, how they identify themselves, which by the way is a larger share than those that identify themselves as liberal.

And his point is he still says that he's got a progressive plan to get people the option to buy into a Medicare-like system, but that Medicare for All is simply an unaffordable. This is the Biden argument, and I think he's getting so much more comfortable making it.

And we're seeing, I think, some of his resiliency in this race may very well be tied to just that because it goes back to what you're saying, Don, about the desire among Democrats to find somebody that they can back that they think, above all else, can defeat Donald Trump.

And Medicare for All is now being treated by these candidates as a bit of an electability test. That's how Joe Biden is using it. That's how Pete Buttigieg is using it. So, I do think we are seeing it become central to his argument as to why he thinks he's the best equipped to beat Trump. Part of that reason is he doesn't support Medicare for All.

LEMON: I got to ask you another question about something a possibility. Because we're hearing that there are signs tonight that Deval Patrick may be gearing up to enter this race. What do you know, David?

CHALIAN: Yes. I mean, The New York Times reported this first, that he's starting to have conversations. Our team also reported phone calls coming in and going out. What we know is no final decision has been made yet, but it comes on the heels obviously, the former Massachusetts governor weighing this just a few days after Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor has made clear that he is also considering getting into this race.

I think you have to separate out whether these two late entrants would actually have big impact with voters versus what they just mean for the state of the race in terms of their consideration of it, which is the establishment donor class inside the Democratic Party still seems to be a little bit wringing its hands, concerned that they don't have one candidate that unifies everybody and is the one that can totally take down Trump.

I'm not sure Michael Bloomberg or Deval Patrick are the answer for that. I do think it's pretty late to be getting in here. I think the path forward is really tough for folks getting in this late. But we'll hear I think by Thursday what his final determination is. The deadline to get on the New Hampshire primary ballot, Don, is Friday.

LEMON: All right. Kirsten and David, thank you very much. I appreciate that. We're going to get -- we're going to talk more about all of this coming up. Well, tonight, though, I need to tell you that 2020 is looming. We're

at the start of the biggest week so far in the Trump presidency. Let me tell you why. Because the impeachment inquiry moves into a new and dramatic phase.

In the next few days, we're going to hear directly from three star witnesses, answering questions, and they're going to do it on live TV. They're going to do it with millions of people across the country watching and listening as it all happens.

For the first time we're going to hear their testimony under oath about what they heard and saw from the president and his administration and why they were so disturbed by it.

We'll finally hear live from Bill Taylor. Bill Taylor is the top diplomat in Ukraine, whose testimony has been some of the most explosive so far. He's going to lay out what he knows about the president's alleged shakedown, trying to force Ukraine into investigations that could help him in 2020.

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Also, the State Department official George Kent. He's going to detail Rudy Giuliani's campaign to undermine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. Taylor and Kent set to testify Wednesday, 10 a.m. Yovanovitch is scheduled for Friday morning.

And House Democrats say they expect to hold at least one more week of public hearings though we don't know yet who those witnesses will be.

And then there are the transcripts, OK? Two thousand six hundred seventy-seven pages released last week full of detailed witness accounts. Well, tonight there are more, and we've got new details including testimony from Pentagon official Laura Cooper. Laura Cooper visited Ukraine just last week.

And let's not forget Republicans tried to distract her from her testimony with an empty political stunt. Remember that storming of the SCIF, forcing her to cool her heels for five hours while they put on a show, even though a dozen of those Republicans were already perfectly free to sit in on all the closed-door depositions.

The stunt delayed Cooper's testimony, but did didn't stop here. Here's a key quote that she explains, that the Ukrainians knew in August about that $400 million in military aid that was being withheld.

Quote, "I knew from my Kurt Volker conversation and also from sort of the alarm bells that were coming from Ambassador Taylor and his team that there were Ukrainians who knew about this."

So, the president's defenders who are claiming the Ukraine shakedown wasn't really a shakedown because Ukraine didn't know about it, busted.

Laura Cooper testifying under oath that they did know in August, and that's not the only distraction the president and his defenders will throw at you. All in an effort to keep you from zeroing in on the one thing that really matters. But don't fall for the old OK-doke, OK? I always tell you that.

The one question that matters is this. Did the president abuse his power? And is it worthy of impeachment or removal from office? That is the substance. Keep your focus on the substance. That's what we all need to focus on in this impeachment inquiry.

Anything else is a distraction like the president tweeting just tonight that he'll release what he calls a tantalizing transcript of his first call with the Ukraine president. OK. Tantalizing. You know what that is? That's just the master showman, the first reality TV president at work, teasing you, trying to get you to take your eye off the ball.

After all, if the president wants to release transcripts, what about the transcripts that's reportedly locked down in that secure server? What about that one? What about filing in those ellipses, filling in, I should say, those ellipses that Colonel Vindman, who was on the call, testified were references to Biden and Burisma? How about that?

And what about the transcript of Vice President Pence's call with Ukraine's president? We've been waiting weeks to see that one.

But when it comes to the transcripts, all this president wants you to think is that his Ukraine call was perfect, tweeting it again tonight. Here's the fact. The call is far from perfect. It is the most serious threat to the Trump presidency, the most serious threat to the Trump presidency.

Let's remember right after the president of Ukraine says that he'd like to buy more anti-tank missiles from the United States, President Trump says this, and I quote, "I would like you to do us a favor, though." And goes on to ask him to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine was behind the 2016 election interference, not Russia.

It's right there in black and white in the rough transcript released by the White House. Don't be distracted from that. Don't follow red herrings like the president demanding to out the whistleblower. Don't follow red herrings like that. Parroted by his number one defender, Lindsey Graham.

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SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): I consider any impeachment in the House that doesn't allow us to know who the whistleblower is to be invalid because without the whistleblower complaint, we wouldn't be talking about any of this.

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LEMON: It doesn't matter who the whistleblower is. We've moved way beyond that. What matters is the substance of the complaint and whether it matches the testimony of witness after witness after witness after witness. It does. What matters is protecting the whistleblower, who has already been threatened, including the president with a nod and a wink.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Who's the person that gave the whistleblower the information because that's close to a spy. You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart, right? The spies and treason. We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: So, in the face of that, it's pretty predictable that this president is misleading you on Twitter, and apparently thinks that he signed the Whistleblower Protection Act. That's what he thinks. Here's a spoiler alert for you, OK? He didn't.

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What he signed was the V.A. accountability whistleblower protection act which only applies to veterans administrations staffers, it's right there in the name, V.A. Don't fall for it. Don't fall for the okey-doke. Don't follow low red herrings like the GOP demand that Hunter Biden testify which would give the president exactly what he wanted from Ukraine in the first place, a chance to publicly smear the former vice president and his son? Here's Lindsey Graham again.

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SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): And I also see the need for Hunter Biden to be called to adequately defend the president. And if he don't do those two things, it's a complete joke.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: It is no joke. Nobody's laughing. The impeachment of a president is about as serious as it gets. So, when you sit down to watch and listen to Bill Taylor and George Kent, Marie Yovanovitch and you do it this week, and you listen to witness after witness come forward, don't follow the red herrings. Don't chase the shiny object. Don't fall for the okey-doke. Don't be distracted. Focus on the substance, on the facts.

Who better to weigh in on what to expect from this week's hearings than a Watergate prosecutor who also just happens to be -- happens to briefly have represented Rudy Giuliani at the start of this impeachment inquiry. There's Jon Sale. He weighs in next.

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LEMON: Well, the first public hearings in the impeachment inquiry on live TV begin in the House, Wednesday morning. Millions of people all across this country will be watching. Here to talk about what to expect is Jon Sale. He was a Watergate assistant special prosecutor and is also a former personal attorney for Rudy Giuliani who represented him early in the impeachment inquiry.

Jon, so good to have you on. Thank you so much. Listen, I want to be totally transparent here, because you are limited as to what you can say about your former client, Rudy Giuliani. So what can you tell us about representing him?

JON SALE, FORMER SPECIAL ASSISTANT COUNSEL AT THE WATERGATE TRIAL: Well, what I can tell you is, he's an old friend, and he asked me to represent him in connection with the Congressional subpoena. I was happy to do that. I did it to the best of my ability. I completed my task, and that's the end of it. And because of ethical considerations and privilege, I really can't say anything beyond that.

LEMON: OK. So no falling out or nothing. You just feel like you completed your task.

SALE: Oh, no. Exactly.

LEMON: OK. Let's move on. You've been part of this impeachment proceeding yourself. You're a former Watergate prosecutor. What are you going to be looking for in these televised hearings starting on Wednesday?

SALE: Well, 80 million. That is a number when John Dean testified for five days, it was estimated that 80 million people watched. So I don't think we're going to reach 80 million tomorrow, Wednesday, but this is an opportunity for public opinion to go one way or the other. And it's the first time we're going to see real live people.

The Mueller report was like 400 pages, and it was too technical to read, so the public is not going to read these transcripts. I think they're going to watch these witnesses, and what I really hope is that it's not a foregone conclusion. I'm not defending the president, but I hope that if the evidence justifies impeachment, it's a sad day no matter what president it is.

On the other hand, if it doesn't, but my regret is it's a foregone conclusion. I think the president will be impeached, and then I think it's going to be dead on arrival at the Senate. And we're not learning the lesson from Alexander Hamilton, who said make this bipartisan. As long as it's partisan, I don't think people are going to have faith in the system.

LEMON: And you think no matter what the evidence shows, that it's dead on arrival in the Senate?

SALE: Well, we heard Lindsey Graham. I'm an equal opportunity critic. I mean, I think that before the evidence has been heard by the public, I think the House has already decided they're going to impeach. Likewise I think for the same partisan reasons, we're not going to get 20 Republicans to break ranks. Simple arithmetic. Three or four maybe. But anyone who thinks we're going to get 20 -- in Watergate, Peter Rodino, who was a very decent man, he brought the other side in. He gradually shared the evidence with them, and it became a bipartisan revelation that the evidence justified impeachment.

LEMON: Jon, what do you think is the most damaging piece of testimony for the president of what you've heard so far?

SALE: The most damaging testimony is that of decent Americans like Ambassador Taylor, who are going to risk their career and are going to just say the truth. And it's putting pieces of a puzzle together. And either it fits or it doesn't.

And I think that the problem with taking one piece of evidence over another is I think everyone should keep an open mind. And we all have our biases. I mean who are we kidding? But I would try to keep an open mind, and I would hope the Senators if he's impeached, as jurors would keep an open mind and not single out one piece of evidence or another.

LEMON: Multiple witnesses have testified that there was a shakedown, Jon, and when top diplomat to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, testifies publicly on Wednesday, we're going to hear it on live TV. The public has not gotten to see that, but they will.

SALE: If the difference is going to be public cross-examination, that is usually the leveler that enables like in a jury with a trial, it enables people to determine I believe it or I don't. After we see that without the spin from the Congressmen on either side, I think the people have to decide. You cannot impeach a president and convict him and remove an elected president unless there is overwhelming public support for doing it. It's only an ultimate remedy, and it's a sad thing if it happens, no matter who the president is.

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LEMON: You said unless there is overwhelming support from the public, you said to do it?

SALE: Yes, because the people who are voting in the Congress, they want to be re-elected, and they are going to do what I think their constituents want. I don't think we're going to have too many chapters and profiles in courage in this day and age from our representatives or Senators of either Party.

LEMON: You mean in the Congress, meaning both chambers, the House and the Senate?

SALE: Absolutely.

LEMON: Yes.

SALE: And what I would prefer, if I had my druthers is that none of us today had an opinion and we watched the evidence. And after we heard the evidence, we would regroup, and at that point we'd say whether or not, as you said, not only did the president abuse his power, but even if he did, does it rise to the level of an impeachable offense. I don't know that we can say it until we hear all of it, not bits and pieces or selected portions from transcripts. So I'm open minded.

LEMON: I'm glad you mentioned that. Let's talk about some of the evidence and the partial transcript as they call it. President Trump says that his call with Ukraine was perfect despite aides raising the red flags. That's the whole reason, you know, the whistleblower came forward, despite the transcript being put on a secret server. He said the whistleblower's complaint is false when it's largely been corroborated. What do you make of the president's defense so far -- defense is?

SALE: Well, only because you put it that way and as a trained lawyer, let me just say a couple things on the other side. Without suggesting that I believe it one way or the other. The president, as I recall -- and it's not a transcript, but in the summary.

LEMON: Right.

SALE: He says, would you please do me a favor. Now, both as a prosecutor and as a defense lawyer, I've seen a lot of cases that are shakedowns, threats. I've never seen any of them say, would you please do me a favor. It's more like I'm going to break your legs and you're going to be at the bottom of the river.

And the other thing about the secret server was on, if the tape or the transcript of the phone conversation was deleted, if it was destroyed, that would be evidence of consciousness of guilt. But when it's just put in a place where it can be retrieved, maybe it's just national security. So, I'm just being devil's advocate and responding to your question.

LEMON: I completely understand that.

But, do you -- I have to push back there and say, do you really think a president of the United States or someone in a position of power like that, a public office would say I'm going to break your legs or you're going to be at the bottom of a river. Do you think it would be a more subtle ask?

SALE: Absolutely, but what we have to say --

LEMON: And he didn't say please. He said, I would love you to do me a favor though.

SALE: OK. Well, I stand corrected. But usually in a shakedown case, you don't say do me a favor. But more importantly, do we want to remove a president? James Madison said -- I'm sorry to go back to the federalist papers.

LEMON: Not at all.

SALE: James Madison said, we do not remove a president for malfeasance. So, if we think a president is doing a bad job or malfeasance is worse than doing a bad job. If that's the case and in the debates and the constitutional convention, they talked about, if that's the case, you do not elect him. You elect somebody else.

And here unlike with Bill Clinton and unlike with Richard Nixon, who both of them, the impeachment proceedings were in their second term, here by the time the trial in the Senate, if there's an impeachment is over, we're going to be right in the middle of primary and an election time. So, I really think the question is if we think this president is not up to the standards that a president should hold and stand up for our children, then maybe we should just elect somebody else.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I just wanted to make -- you just -- clarify the essence of the question was, what do you think of the president's defenses so far, not whether he should be impeached or not by either House, either chamber of Congress, the House or the Senate -- of the Congress, I should say. But what do you think of his defenses so far when it comes to this summary as you said?

SALE: Well, I think that as you pointed out, many of them are diversions. And if it was a court of law, a judge would instruct the jury disregard this. Only focus on what's before you. But I keep coming back to they're playing to public opinion.

LEMON: Right.

SALE: They're playing to the president's base. And our politicians are going to vote in the House according to how they think their constituents. The president, for better or for worse, can fill a stadium out in Middle America. This is going to be a popularity contest.

LEMON: It's the court of public opinion, not necessarily a court of law. Jon Sale --

SALE: Well, that's right.

LEMON: -- yes, I appreciate your time.

SALE: No, I don't mean it should be that way. I mean that's what I'm saying.

LEMON: You're saying that that's the way it is, yeah.

SALE: Right, in my opinion. Right.

LEMON: Thank you, Jon Sale. I appreciate your time.

SALE: Thanks for having me, Don.

LEMON: Absolutely.

Well, we have a huge week ahead -- you know, ahead of us in this impeachment inquiry. So, who's in the impeachment -- who in the impeachment inquiry hearing and who's in it and what should we be looking out for on live TV in that testimony as it begins? We'll talk about that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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LEMON: It is a huge week in the impeachment inquiry. For the first time the public will hear directly from key witnesses live, on TV, under oath. I'm going to break down everything that you need to know, all of us need to know about who is who. Let's discuss now. Chris Cillizza is here, John Dean as well.

Gentlemen, good evening, thank you so much. I appreciate it. It's going to be a momentous week in this country. Chris, you're up first. We're going to hear from Bill Taylor, the man who confirmed there was a quid pro quo.

CHRIS CILLIZZA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right.

LEMON: Or a shakedown if you will with the Ukraine. What can we expect from him? Is he going to be able to lay out a clear case of a shakedown?

[22:50:07]

CILLIZZA: So, what we're going to -- with Bill Taylor and I think all of these witnesses, what's important is that they are going to talk from their personal experience here which makes sense. They are not going to say, yes, for sure I can see the whole picture. They are going to paint us a piece and you are going to get another piece and another piece and another piece. But the important thing here, I think to remember with Bill Taylor, with Alexander Vindman, people we'll get to.

The story all of these people have told in according to the transcript of their closed door testimony, I would say it's remarkably consistent. Yes, it's told from their perspective. Right? But it confirms and only the whistleblower account contrary to Donald Trump who says the whistleblower is wrong. Which there's no evidence of.

But it also confirms other concurrent experiences in there where people said yes, I did think that that's what was happening here. Yes, I was concerned about the nature of this call. Are all these people part of the never Trump movement? Are all these -- these are -- Bill Taylor is an example. This is somebody who is long time official within the government. What motivation would he have to suddenly lie? And lying with a -- by the way, it's consistent with all the other people who testified.

LEMON: Yes. John Taylor is going to be ask about Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who admitted in his amended testimony that he told top Ukrainian official that they wouldn't get U.S. aid unless -- unless Zelensky announced the investigations into the Bidens. The one that Trump wanted. How significant is Sondland's role in this impeachment do you think?

JOHN DEAN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: It's important in a number of ways. First of all, I don't think he's been frank with the committee. And I think that's going to be emphasized in the public session. There are gaps in his testimony, Don.

While he did come back and clean up in a very loose way, the quid pro quo issue. He still hanging right now on the fact the president used the words quid pro quo. And what Trump did is he told everybody use quid -- that I don't want a quid pro quo, while insists on a quid pro quo. A lot of Latin on a lot of Latin.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: Listen, I'm wearing a blue jacket. But I'm not wearing a blue jacket.

DEAN: Right.

LEMON: Listen, Chris, Taylor complained to the former National Security Adviser John Bolton, right, former, right? National Security Adviser John Bolton about the hold up for U.S. aid. Bolton's lawyer says that he has significant insight about the impeachment investigation. What is he getting at?

CILLIZZA: Golly, when I heard that last week, you've got to perk your ears up. John Bolton, hey guys, I got something I want to maybe tell you. I mean, Bolton is in a position where there's a lot of these people honestly, they are not junior level people, but they are not the heads of this organizations.

Bolton is in a position to connect a bunch of dots, let's say, yes this happened and Mulvaney said this and you know, yes, Rudy Giuliani and yes, quid pro quo. So, I think he's dangling it out there. Now to what end I don't know. Obviously he is signed a book deal. I don't know, you know, how much of it's to gin up interest in that. I don't if he wants to testify. Obviously he's part of the lawsuit about, does he have to comply, should he comply with the Congressional subpoena.

So, I don't totally know his motive. But I will tell you if I'm Trump and his allies. John Bolton and Donald Trump did not part on the best of terms --

LEMON: Right.

CILLIZZA: -- and I don't think John Bolton has any love lost nor that John Bolton is necessarily care. I think all that much about what Donald Trump might do to his future. This is the guy who has a long time and by the way, not an uncontroversial time, in and out of government.

LEMON: It's -- I mean, look, this is -- you have to keep the names of people who testified.

(CROSSTALK)

CILLIZZA: It is. But Don, can we just make one really quick point, it is complicated. It is important that we know Bill Taylor from Alexander Vindman from Marie Yovanovitch --

LEMON: Right.

CILLIZZA: -- the former Ukrainian ambassador.

LEMON: Michael Ellis (ph) to Jon Eisenberg and Mick Mulvaney to Charles --

CILLIZZA: Right. But at the same time, I think, it is also important to remember that the broader story here is consistent. It's not about one person's view. We're talking about, you know, that's a half dozen or more people. All telling a similar story. Ask yourself why unless it's true.

DEAN: These hearings put faces on them to. The names that we are talking about suddenly come alive when they appear on television. I have a friend who is something of an expert on Watergate, but was too young to see the hearings. He's actually going through the PBS website right now and going through all the hearings. And he said, I now better understand the story, now that I see the faces on these people and actually hear their testimony. This is going to make a big difference.

LEMON: Let's talk about one other person here. This is George Kent. Someone else's who is on the card here that we have, right?

CILLIZZA: Yes.

LEMON: The second witness on Wednesday. Testified that Rudy Giuliani influence on top Trump administration Ukraine policy the undue, right, influence that Rudy Giuliani had on that. Undeserved is probably a better way putting it. The saga seems to come back to Giuliani.

[22:55:08]

CILLIZZA: Yes, so, I think there's -- right -- if there's a lot of spokes in this wheel, all of the people here many of whom are unwitting at Sondland, I think is the one potentially exception, maybe a witting spoke in the wheel. But -- in my mind, right now, you know, Giuliani is the hub. He's the one that all of the strands attach to. The fact that he has contemplating starting a podcast as we reported today. I can't imagine his lawyer thinks that's a good decision.

LEMON: Quickly, John, last word.

DEAN: He is key. If there's a conspiracy, he's the key co- conspirator.

LEMON: Interesting. Thank you gentlemen. I appreciate it.

More closed-door testimony from the impeachment inquiry are released today. And we are learning about another time that aid was withheld from Ukraine, because Putin might get mad, really?

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