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House Prepares for Public Hearings in Impeachment Inquiry; Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney Joins Lawsuit to Determine If He Must Testify in Impeachment Hearings; Associate of Rudy Giuliani Reportedly has Information on Traveling to Ukraine to Press for Investigation into Bidens. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired November 11, 2019 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Monday, November 11th, Veterans Day. Its' 8:00 in the east.
Historic public impeachment hearings begin this week. The televised hearings get underway on Wednesday. Three key State Department officials are set to testify this week. Their testimony will be make or break for the Democrats who are trying to make their case that President Trump abused his power by attempting to coerce Ukraine into investigating the Bidens. Meanwhile, the president's Republican allies are pushing for their own set of witnesses to be included.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: As of now, two key White House figures will not testify, acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Advisor John Bolton. Later today, though, a judge is going to hear arguments on a last-minute effort from Mulvaney to determine whether he has to show up. Witness after witness has alleged that Mulvaney was a key broker pushing for Ukraine to announce investigations that could benefit the president politically.
And also new this morning, reports that one of the men who worked for Rudy Giuliani, one of the men under indictment, traveled to Ukraine in May with an ultimatum to investigate the Bidens, and this guy is prepared to tell investigators his story.
CAMEROTA: Joining us Maggie Haberman, White House correspondent for "The New York Times" and a CNN political analyst, and Kaitlan Collins, CNN's White House correspondent. Great to have both of you. Maggie, for this historic week, is the feeling inside of the White House one of anxiousness or one of we have successfully gotten Republicans in line to say that this is all just a Democratic partisan process?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: They know they haven't gotten Republicans successfully in line with a coherent message that they're all sticking to, and that is of concern to them. There are some Republicans who are saying, look, the facts really aren't in dispute. The question is whether you think this was corrupt or not. There are others who the president has been pressing and has been for weeks to try to say there was nothing wrong at all. Nothing.
CAMEROTA: It was perfect.
HABERMAN: Essentially to dispute the facts. The president has made clear he doesn't want this argued on process grounds. Republicans, many of them don't think they have a choice.
The bigger concern within the White House is twofold. One is that television is obviously visual medium in this role here, they know that it could be powerful to see these witnesses testifying in public. That has not been the case for these other hearings the House Democrats have done. Bob Mueller obviously did not go the way they wanted. Corey Lewandowski didn't go the way they wanted. But they know and the president knows that this could be compelling. They are already, House Democrats, handling this differently than they handled the previous ones. Staff attorneys are supposed to be doing the questioning. That is going to, I think, make a big difference. So there is anxiety as we head into this week.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And the format of the hearings is so different. It's not just going to be the five minutes. They're going to have a really extended chunk of time to have those staff members questioning these people, so that does factor into it. That's something that people inside the White House have been talking about as well.
BERMAN: It is interesting. Both of you talked about the argument that the president doesn't want to hear, which is that his actions were bad, but not impeachable. But that is the argument that some Republicans want to fall back on, including senior Republicans, like Mac Thornberry, who was on TV this weekend. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RE. MAC THORNBERRY, (R-TX): I believe that it is inappropriate for a president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival. It leads to a question, if there's a political rival with a family member who is involved in questionable activity, what do you do, just let them alone? But set that aside. I believe it was inappropriate. I do not believe it was impeachable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That is not good enough -- wait. My microphone needs to be fixed here.
CAMEROTA: Who is this. Where did he come from?
BERMAN: Pay no attention to the man behind my back. Let me continue here. The president responded to Mac Thornberry over the weekend saying "There was nothing said that was in any way wrong. Republicans, don't be led into the fool's trap of saying it was not perfect but is not impeachable. No. It is much stronger than that. Nothing was done wrong."
COLLINS: And remember, Mac Thornberry spent a lot of time with the president recently because he was in the box game five during the World Series where the president was there for seven innings. So Mac Thornberry knows very well what the president's position is on this. but when these members, despite what the White House and the president tell them to say, when they're in front of the camera, they don't really know a defense other than saying something like that.
A lot wish the president would concede that the call wasn't perfect, say, you know what, what I did, maybe wasn't the best way to handle that, I didn't realize the implications of what I was saying. That is not something the president is likely to do. He truly insists, even privately, that what he said wasn't wrong.
CAMEROTA: Let's move on to Rudy Giuliani, who continues to be a fascinating character in all of this. Lev Parnas, one of these Soviet born-guys who has been charged now with illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. elections, he is apparently willing to speak to investigators. And what he wants to tell them is that in May he traveled to Kiev under the auspices of Rudy Giuliani, it sounds like, with the instruction to talk to Zelensky's -- one of Zelensky's aides and say, basically, there would be no meeting with Mike Pence, which they were hoping for -- which the Ukrainians were hoping for, unless -- he wouldn't come to the swearing in unless they would investigate the Bidens. And there would also be a holding up of military aid.
HABERMAN: Right. So this is a classic he said/she said that we have seen ourselves having to cover many times over the last three years, where it's not as if Lev Parnas is somebody with an enormous amount of credibility. He has been indicted. He is under investigation. He obviously has a reason to try to look as if he's cooperating. You have that on the one hand.
On the other, you have people around the president and some of his advisors and Giuliani who have clearly been pursuing this for a long time, and at least some of them, not necessarily Giuliani, but others have said things that have not quite held up to be true, including what we were all told, which was that there was not going to be any evidence of anything problematic once the White House released the transcript of the president's call with President Zelensky. So I think that all of us can do is just lay out the facts and people can make their choice about who they believe. If what Parnas says is true, and I think this is through his lawyer, I don't think this is him directly, but if what they are claiming is true, and if investigators find it credible, that could open up a huge can of worms.
BERMAN: It is interesting in and of itself that his lawyer is talking to your paper, "The New York Times," in such extensive detail. That's what struck me about all this, that Lev Parnas is basically volunteering to be a witness in the impeachment inquiry.
HABERMAN: Yes. I think he wants to show that he is cooperating in one way or another, and I think it's for two reasons. I think one is he may actually genuinely have information that he wants to share. And I think the other is that we're seeing a number of people getting concerned that they are going to be left holding the bag if the fact set shifts or it becomes clearer that there were specific people involved in this who were doing inappropriate or possibly unlawful things. And I think that people are trying to protect themselves. He's one of them.
CAMEROTA: Should we move on to Charles Kupperman?
COLLINS: Yes. This is a big, significant development.
CAMEROTA: But Charles Kupperman and John Bolton have the same attorney, and they are trying to figure out, I suppose, if they are supposed to actually talk to congressional investigators because the White House has said no. Interestingly, over the weekend, Mick Mulvaney, who is no friend of John Bolton, it doesn't appear, they appear to be on different sides, somehow tried to piggyback onto this legal --
COLLINS: This lawsuit where essentially he's saying I'm stuck between House Democrats and the White House. The White House is telling me not to testify, the House Democrats are subpoenaing me to come testify. This is essentially telling the courts to decide who he has to listen to here. He's deputy national security adviser, former deputy national security adviser and not that close to the president. So he's essentially telling the courts do decide who he has to listen to here.
He's deputy national security adviser, former deputy national security adviser. He's not that close to the president. He essentially doesn't want to leave his fate in Donald Trump's hands. What's interesting to see Mulvaney piggyback, attempt to get on this lawsuit, is that he could listen to the White House. He's one official involved in this that's actually still in the White House, and he could listen to their direction not to go testify. But instead he's trying to also leave it up to the court to decide what he has to do.
And it's interesting because he also is not using White House counsel to make this argument. He has his attorney who is helping make this argument. They will have a conference call today to see what exactly this is going to do. But it's notable that Mick Mulvaney, the chief of staff, is saying I'm going to let the courts decide instead of me following what Donald Trump has told me to do.
BERMAN: You're nodding like you understand this.
HABERMAN: I understand what Kaitlan is saying.
BERMAN: I understand what Kaitlan is saying, but it's all very confusing to me, for nothing else, because no one has to testify at this point because the Democrats aren't necessarily pushing it anymore. They're going forward with their impeachment proceedings at this point, whether or not these folks show up. So it's unclear to me what Mulvaney is doing.
HABERMAN: It's confusing. There can be one of two options. One could be that he actually is trying to not necessarily help the president, but basically push this into an area where it's going to be delayed, because this case is going to go on, it's going to drag out. The timetable seems likely, even though the subpoena for Kupperman was withdrawn, it seems likely that the subpoena for Mulvaney has not, and this could drag out past the House Democrats' timeframe for impeachment. So that's in one corner.
On the other, it could be Mulvaney sending a signal that he is separating out from the president something that his lawyer emphatically denied, but at the end of the day I was told a couple weeks ago Mulvaney didn't see a reason to have his own attorney, and now he does. And that is coming at a time when you're seeing Republicans increasingly focusing on Mulvaney and a couple other aides as the possible people to offload responsibility for what happened with Ukraine on. So we'll see.
CAMEROTA: That one is interesting, that latter scenario of Mick Mulvaney separating himself from the president.
COLLINS: And he also brought a lot of this on himself when he went out and did that press briefing where he laid out essentially the circumstances here, said yes, actually the fact that the president did want this investigation into this debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine was behind interference in the 2016 election. So that's essentially why investigators and Republicans and Democrats are talking about his role in this.
Also, his standing in the White House is not guaranteed. There is a lot of questions about whether or not he's going to remain chief of staff. People think he will throughout impeachment, but you never really know in this White House. So I think he's also trying to have backup for if something does happen to him and he no longer has that guaranteed protection.
BERMAN: This week starting on Wednesday we will hear from Ambassador William Taylor and George Kent, a State Department official, and the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Any sense going into this whom the White House fears most, or what they're most focused on?
HABERMAN: Bill Taylor has been somebody who they've been focused quite a bit on. I think in terms of the president's own reaction, I think the Ukrainian ambassador is going to be somebody who he could be provoked by watching her testimony, because she's emphatic and direct from what we've seen from the transcripts about how she was treated, how aggressively she was targeted by Rudy Giuliani, and by extension by the president, but certainly by Rudy Giuliani, and that they had problems with how she was doing her job.
I think in general it's the whole collective. I don't think that there is one particular person who they are looking at right now who they see as problematic. Frankly I think that Lieutenant Colonel Vindman who testified, NSC official who on the call and who testified behind closed doors wearing his dress uniform, that would be a potentially problematic visual for them.
BERMAN: That's not schedule yet. COLLINS: As the president is watching these, it's interesting who
he's also considering who is in the room on his side from the Republicans, and you're seeing them move certain members who better at questioning in their minds more aggressive there, because the president watches this closely. He's not only watching the Democrats and the witnesses. He always, as he did during Mueller, watches the Republicans to see who is the most aggressive, who can embarrass and undermine these witnesses the most. That's another thing that he's keeping an eye on.
BERMAN: Maggie, Kaitlan, thank you very much. Kaitlan, I know it's a difficult morning for you to be here after Alabama's defeat. So we appreciate you.
COLLINS: I'm in mourning still. I should be wearing all black. Thank you for your condolences.
CAMEROTA: Thank you, guys.
High stakes public impeachment hearings begin in just a matter of days. So we hear from both sides of the aisle as a House Democrat and House Republican join us.
CAMEROTA: This is a live look at the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. Of course it is Veterans Day and today, we honor all the men and women who have served this country.
New this morning, a bipartisan effort to recognize veterans from the Global War on Terror, giving them their own Memorial on the National Wall.
Joining us now to discuss, we have Congressman Jason Crow, Democrat from Colorado and Congressman Mike Gallagher, Republican from Wisconsin, both are combat veterans, both serve on the Armed Services Committee.
Great to see both of you this morning. Thanks so much for taking time to talk to us about this. So congressman Gallagher, tell us about why it was important to have this memorial for the veterans of the global War on Terror in the reserve section on the National Mall. Why does this matter to you?
REP. MIKE GALLAGHER (R-WI): Well, first of all, I want to say to my colleague and friend, Jason Crowe, I want to thank him for his efforts. You know, it pains me to have to work with an Army guy and stuff like this. But this is just an example of a divided time in D.C., we're still committed to working together to get stuff done.
And I think there's no more fitting place and on the National Mall to honor our generation of veterans and so that they can be honored right next to veterans from World War Two, Korea and Vietnam. And hopefully, one day when they take an honor flight to D.C., they can go to the National Mall and see that Memorial in honor of their service.
CAMEROTA: You both served in Iraq. Congressman Crow, you also were in Afghanistan. And was there a feeling among veterans of those wars that they were somehow being overlooked without a memorial there on the National Mall?
REP. JASON CROW (D-CO): Well, thanks for having us on. And I know you had to give the Marine the first shot at things. That's okay. It's really good to be here.
You know, as Mike just said, you know, this is a really important opportunity for us to recognize now multiple generations of Americans who have served in this war, thousands have sacrificed their lives. Tens of thousands have been wounded, millions have served. And it's important that we provide a sense of place for these folks.
I mean, both Mike and I have seen over the last couple of years the transformative power of space, and the ability to bring people together for reunion, for contemplation, for kind of understanding that service experience and that's what this is about. It is providing now, two generations of Americans whose lives have been defined by these conflicts; that sense of place, that opportunity to come together to think about what that experience meant to them.
CAMEROTA: And congressman Gallagher, I know that you mentioned that this is bipartisan. I think this is really important that you two did this together, spearheaded this. And why -- how did you -- just tell us a little bit about the process about how you decided to make this effort together?
GALLAGHER: Well, in the last Congress, I was fortunate enough to work with a Democrat, my friend Representative Seth Moulton to get the initial piece of legislation which made the Global War on Terrorism Memorial exempt from restrictive language in the 1996 Commemorative Works Act, and we were able to build an incredibly large group of bipartisan co-sponsors.
And so when we encountered this snag in terms of, you know, requiring a legislative vehicle in order to get this memorial place on the National Mall, it was only fitting to kind of repeat that process and find a Democrat who served, a younger veteran to work with. And, I don't know if this played in that part of the process, but Jason and my office are right next to each other. So I often accidentally walk into his front office and so why not, given the proximity work together to get this done.
CAMEROTA: That's a great lucky accident it sounds like, proximity really helps. I do want to move on and talk to you guys about this being a historic week on Capitol Hill in Washington, this as you know, the public phase of this impeachment hearing is beginning.
And let me stick with you for a second Congressman Gallagher, because I know that you've been outspoken in saying that you felt that up until now the process had lacked transparency. Are you pleased today that it is moving to this public phase of the inquiry?
GALLAGHER: Well, I think it's fair enough given you know, all the complaints about it being conducted in secrecy. We will see. My broader concern, which goes beyond impeachment in which I've been voicing for my last three years in Congress is that as an institution, Congress is no longer really designed to get stuff done.
And if you look at the variety of things we have an opportunity to get done in this Congress whether it's passing USMCA, improving our workforce, I worry that this will further make an already sclerotic institution, even more sclerotic, but we'll see.
And that's why I think it's even more important that you have newer members, younger generations, particularly those who served in uniform, willing to reach across the aisle like Jason and I are trying to do and work on legislation like this notwithstanding what's happening on impeachment.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Crow, your thoughts as the public phase of this begins?
CROW: Yeas, you know, Mike, and I actually approach our service from very similar perspectives. We, you know, served in the military and I think having that background was really helpful because we understand that we have two choices. We can either spend all of our time, you know, beating each other up and debating the areas where we disagree on. And there are certainly areas where we disagree, plenty of them.
Or we can spend our time trying to focus on areas where we agree, where we can find common ground and move the country forward. That's the decision we've made. It is to try to figure out how we can get the business of the country done, how we can show the government can still work, how we can do something to honor our fellow veterans and move the country forward.
And you know, we will certainly have our debates, I know that. But today is a day on Veterans Day of all days for us to focus on what we do have in common, what brings us together, both of us agree that you know, as Americans, we have far more in common than some of our differences might suggest. And it's time to, you know, focus on that.
CAMEROTA: Yes, you don't often hear that, I mean, out of Capitol Hill right now. And so Congressman Gallagher, I just want to ask you because this is something that the President has said that he feels very -- he feels is important for Republicans to echo. Do you feel that the call with President Zelensky and President Trump was a perfect call?
GALLAGHER: I've seen nothing in the transcript of the call to warrant an impeachable offense. But again, I just want to echo everything Jason said, I could not have said it better.
I just attended a number of incredible events across Northeast Wisconsin, honoring our nation's veterans. I'm going to do more today. At each of these events, the concerns I heard from my constituents
were, you know, about practical things, about making their lives better. And as Jason put it very eloquently, moving the country forward.
I vowed when I ran for office for the first time I run for anything three years ago, that I was going to treat it like a deployment, not a career. And I'm proud to serve like with people like Jason who are approaching it in a similar manner.
CAMEROTA: Congressman Crow, I want to ask you about something that former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley has written in her book, because you both put so much emphasis on military service and public service, what do you think about what she has written in her book about John Kelly and Rex Tillerson, I'll read you a quick excerpt.
She says "Kelly and Tillerson confided in me that when they resisted the President, they were not being insubordinate, they were trying to save the country. It was their decisions, not the President's that were in the best interests of America, they said. The President didn't know what he was doing."
Can you just tell me your thoughts on the fact that they felt that they were somehow guardrails and she feels that they were being, I think, her take is that they were being insubordinate?
CROW: Well, I haven't read Nikki Haley's book. I mean, I don't know Nikki Haley, I can't get inside of her mind. It's probably because I've been too busy working with Mike Gallagher to try to get this global war on terror memorial done and to honor our veterans.
So you know, I can't -- I can't pretend to try to understand what's going on inside of her mind and what she's thinking and certainly there's going to be a debate. We're going to see a debate in the coming weeks and months about what happened, and how do we get to the facts because more important than anything, we just have to get the facts so that young people like Mike and I and others and the American people can understand what happened and what the right thing to do to move our country forward is going to have to be.
CAMEROTA: But do you think, Congressman Crow that it would be honorable if somebody thinks that the President isn't doing something that is in the public good? Do you think it would be -- have been honorable of those two men to have tried to resist?
CROW: Well, I've been very clear that you know, the oath means a lot to me and that to, you know, execute your oath and fulfill it, you have to make sure that you do what's in the best interest of the country, and not your personal interests and not your career interest.
And that's been where I've been very consistent about that and the last year, as a variety of things have happened and, you know, I will call on anybody, whoever it is, whether they're a Republican or whether they're a Democrat, whether they're serving in the administration or outside of the administration, to always go back to that oath. You know, that oath is your North Star to do what's right, to fulfill
your obligation and your duty to the country.
CAMEROTA: And Congressman Gallagher, what about you? Do you see a way in which resistance could be honorable inside the White House?
GALLAGHER: I think that's a dangerous road to go down. If you serve in the Executive Branch, you work for the President. If you truly come across something that you feel violates your duty, if you feel like you've been given unlawful order, you can resign, as others have in the past.
But the minute we start allowing unelected bureaucrats to think that they have a power that goes beyond the elected representatives of the American people, particularly the President, it is a minute we go down a very dangerous path.
That being said, I just worry and I worry that this is evidence of the fact that on Veterans Day, if we spend all our time talking about impeachment, I understand it's important. I understand people want to know about it. I think it's just going to further divide the country.
And so for one day, one day, I hope we can come together and just celebrate what unites us as Americans, and this is one thing and again, what Jason and I are trying to do maybe in a very, very small way, is find something we can bring the country together on.
And so we're hoping we can move this forward regardless of what happens with impeachment.
CAMEROTA: It doesn't feel small. And we really appreciate you both taking time this morning and coming on to tell us your bipartisan effort about this.
Congressman Gallagher, Congressman Crow, thank you very much for your service. We really appreciate you.
CROW: Thank you.
GALLAGHER: Thank you.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: And I love them putting their inter-service rivalries, Marine and Army rivalry above the partisan conflict.
CAMEROTA: They got right to it.
BERMAN: That's the way -- that's the way to get beyond the partisan rancor. Find a new fight. Great. Thank you to both those men for what they're doing.
So Rudy Giuliani has been given unprecedented access to foreign leaders as the President's personal attorney. How does this complicate U.S. foreign policy? That's next.