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Public Hearings In Impeachment Inquiry Kick Off Tomorrow; New Poll Shows Biden Holds Slight Lead In New Hampshire; Former President Carter Recovering After Brain Operation. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired November 12, 2019 - 10:00   ET

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


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: -- and petition the Supreme Court, saying, we need emergency relief here, take up this case.

[10:00:04]

So the court decided to take up the case deciding on this. So it's possible that the Trump administration could go back, redraft this executive order and still wind down DACA, but this case, it won't be the same avenue here. Guys?

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Right.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the courts gave the administration multiple tries as it were on the Muslim ban, for instance, actually aversion through. Jessica Schneider, Thanks very much.

HARLOW: All right. Top of the hour. Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

Starting in just 24 hours, something that has only happened three other times in the nearly 250-year history of our country, public impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill right there.

We know who will be questioned first, Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine and a U.S. army veteran.

HARLOW: And we now know how Republicans plan to undercut his testimony by saying that he was out of the loop, unsure of exactly what the president wanted after Taylor testified that the president wanted Ukraine aid held up.

For more, let's go to Capitol Hill. Our Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju, joins us again now this morning.

Take us through exactly what is expected when it comes to the process and the key players tomorrow?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is going to be unlike most congressional hearings in which members all have five minutes to speak. That's not exactly how tomorrow is going to play out. It's going to begin with 45 minutes each given to both the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, followed by the ranking Republican, Devin Nunes. And staff attorneys will be doing a key portion of the questioning in that 45-minute period. And after that, then there will be the five-minute opening -- five minutes for each member of the committee.

And then expect public hearings to play out both this week and potentially next week. And then at that point, this committee, the House Intelligence Committee along with the two others that have been leading this investigation will put together their own public report and provide it to the House Judiciary Committee, which would start to move forward on articles of impeachment assuming Democrats are going down that road. And by all indications, they most certainly are.

And watch for two people in particular in tomorrow's hearing and on Friday hearing to do the questioning, the Democratic attorney and the Republican attorney, Dan Goldman on the House Democratic side, Steve Castor on the House Republican side. So that will be much different. And part of the reason why they want to do this is so get into the substance, the meat of what has happened in this -- throughout their investigation, what Bill Taylor has to say. And, of course, oftentimes, those five-minute round of questioning does not lead to that. A lot of members give speeches instead. So we'll see how the staff members do at drawing out information from these key witnesses.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Some of them ask long questions. We have experience on that.

So House GOP, they released their defense on impeachment. And one interesting point is they're trying to zero in on whether these witnesses really knew what the president wanted or intended here. Of course, we should note at the same time, the president has prevented witnesses who would know that from testifying at all. But tell us how they plan to make that argument.

RAJU: Yes. Because Bill Taylor, the diplomat from Ukraine who is testifying tomorrow, did testify, in fact, that he had been told by the ambassador to the European Union that President Trump had withheld everything, aid to Ukraine nearly $400 million, as well as a meeting between Trump and the Ukrainians until that public declaration of investigations was announced, those investigations that could help the president politically.

But I'm told from a source who's involved in the Republican game plan here is that they want to try to make the case that he doesn't have a direct knowledge of what the president said. They're going to contend. It's essentially a game of telephone of sorts, where the president -- information from the president came from various channels.

And we do know what Gordon Sondland said. He did testify that he told the Ukrainians that aid was likely held up because of this ask for investigations until that happened. Although in his addendum, of course, he said he didn't recall exactly how he knew that. So Republicans will try to make the case there's no linkage to the president. We'll see if they're able to succeed. SCIUTTO: And Americans will have to decide if they believe that all of this happened without the president's knowledge and independent of him. Manu Raju, thanks very much.

Joining us now to this discuss this, CNN political analyst Carl Bernstein. He's author and legendary Watergate journalist. And David Stewart, he's a constitutional lawyer and author as well of Impeached, the Trial of President Andrew Johnson. Thanks to both of you.

Carl, let me begin with you. Just take a moment for us and for folks at home who have been inundated with information these last few weeks, and we're starting a big day tomorrow. Tell us where we stand as a country on this question.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Where we stand as a country in the middle of a cold civil war. And everything is going to be judged politically in the context of that cold civil war. But in terms of the facts, we have some overwhelming evidence that the president of the United States conspired with his lawyer to undermine the electoral process in this country through the intervention of a foreign power.

[10:05:11]

It's a very grave charge and there are a lot of facts that support the charge.

Where this is going to go, I think we all need to take a step back, particularly journalists. We don't know where this is going to go because a lot of it is going to have to do with how the American people process this information and particularly on Capitol Hill, not so much how the House processes the Information but how senators look at this information. The conventional wisdom is that he would be acquitted, the president, in the Senate. I think it's a time to put conventional wisdom aside. We don't know.

Senators are very sensitive to the will of the people. And if the people in this country turn on these facts and this president, I think the Senate might as well, the Republicans in the Senate. The senators also understand this case.

HARLOW: And haven't we learned from Watergate, Carl, that a lot can change in just a matter of months?

BERNSTEIN: Yes.

HARLOW: If you look at the first house floor vote on initiating an impeachment inquiry into Nixon, you had no Republicans voting for it. Fast forward four months and you only had four Republicans voting against it.

BERNSTEIN: We don't know the dynamic. That's what I'm saying. But we also know talking privately with some of these senators, it's a shame that they're so craven and won't speak publicly, a lot of Republican senators are deeply disturbed at these charges. They understand the Constitution talks about only two specific high crimes, bribery and treason. This is bribery. And the facts show so far real evidence that the president tried to bribe the president of another foreign country to intervene in our election. That's a high crime.

SCIUTTO: I'm so glad you brought up that word bribery. Because quid pro quo, David Stewart, unless you were born studying Latin for four years in high school like myself, it's not something that kind of rolls off the tongue of most Americans. But the bribery, one, it's cited in the Constitution.

To Carl's point, can you, as a lawyer, constitutional lawyer, to describe this holding, dangling military aid in exchange for a political favor as it were as bribery?

DAVID STEWART, CONSTITUTIONAL LAWYER: Well, absolutely. It's a pretty simple thing, something to see it as an abuse of power. And I think that's a simpler way to get at it. And it's important to keep in Mind that the parts of this case that are coming together all converge on the president. And that's the issue that I think the American people and the senators and the congressman are going to have to try to figure out. They're trying to build a firewall around him and I just -- and I'm going to be fascinated to see how that sorts out.

Frankly, some of the -- like Mr. Mulvaney's testimony or statement has suggested that that firewall really -- it doesn't exist.

HARLOW: David, given that you wrote the book on impeachment and Andrew Johnson, I mean, if you look at history here, he escaped by one vote but he was so tainted by the process that, of course, he didn't win his party's support for nomination, the next year. Things are very different this time around.

STEWART: Well, I would actually reinforce what Carl said. You have to wait for this to play out.

HARLOW: Fair enough.

STEWART: Public opinion is going to drive this. This is a political process.

And what people hear and what they think about it after they hear is going to make a huge difference and it can move.

With Andrew Johnson, he really was already damaged goods. The impeachment process -- he had been a very controversial president, he had been a very difficult man to like. And I think that the impeachment process further damaged him. He still came close to getting the Democratic nomination for president. So these are complicated issues. And I think you're going to find that what we expect today may not happen.

SCIUTTO: Yes. It's good advice, step back and wait.

Carl Bernstein, beyond the existence of Fox News today, the increased divisiveness and partisanship on the Hill, the lack of moderates in the middle who have more history going with the other party, you also have much lower approval for President Trump than, for instance, Bill Clinton I think it was around two-thirds approval at the start of his impeachment hearing. It made a difference. Trump's approval is down in the low 40s. Does that, in your view -- and, again, I'm not asking you to play prognosticator, but what is the relevance of that in terms of the needle shifting?

BERNSTEIN: Well, I think the relevance you've got to look at the other side, and that is that they are also -- there's not great approval for Democrats either in this country. Right now, I'll come back to this cold civil war.

[10:10:01]

That is the dynamic.

But I think one thing you've got to look at, first of all, if it were held today, sure, he would be acquitted in the Senate. But in terms of not knowing where it's going to go, these senators also are looking at the president's mental state. There is concern among these senators about his temperament, his stability. It's no secret to any of us who talk to people in the Senate.

And that dynamic too goes to the people of the United States. What are they going to regard as a tipping point, if there is one? And if there is a tipping point, I would speculate, and here I would, it's going to be a combination of powerful fact and powerful context about the president's conduct and stability.

HARLOW: Carl Bernstein, David Stewart, I think you'll both be back a lot in the next few weeks. We appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

HARLOW: All right. We're getting more details about Republicans' strategy starting tomorrow in these public hearings. What about the Democrats' strategy? We'll talk to one.

SCIUTTO: Plus, the president has reportedly made more than 13,000, I'm not misreading that, false claims since taking office. The former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley insisted this morning on national television that President Trump is truthful.

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[10:15:00]

HARLOW: All right. So we've just learned that House Democrats right now holding a series of meetings ahead of the public impeachment hearings that begin tomorrow. Tonight, they will convene in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, leadership will be there. Obviously, we saw the Republican strategy this morning. What will the Democratic strategy be?

Let's talk about that and a lot more, including 2020. With me now is Democratic Congressman Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania. Thank you so much for being here, sir.

Obviously you're a member of the congressional Ukraine caucus. Do you believe that leadership and the House Intel Committee should call any of the eight witnesses that Republicans have asked to be called in these hearings?

REP. BRENDAN BOYLE (D-PA): In a word, no. Frankly, the Republican effort throughout this has been to attempt to distract from the facts, attempt to have a hyper focus on process because they really don't want us to talk about the underlying issue at stake, which is the president's behavior and apparently a multi-month effort to pressure the Ukrainian government into getting involved into our 2020 presidential election, and using the hundreds of millions of dollars of aid that Congress approved on a bipartisan basis as the carrot to get them to do that.

HARLOW: Let me just ask you, because fairness is important. Life is not fair, but fairness does matter, especially, optically, for American voters. And among these eight witnesses on the wish list, if you will, from Republicans, David Hale, Tim Morrison and Kurt Volker, but they've all privately testified. Why oppose them from testifying in public?

BOYLE: When it comes to this, because I'm not on the committees of jurisdiction, so I wasn't there when they gave their deposition, I would really yield to the judgment of Chairman Schiff. My point is that the people who testify --

HARLOW: I hear you but you -- like we could have read their entire transcripts of their testimony, and you just said none of them should be called.

BOYLE: No, what I've said is that I'm more than happy to yield to the judgment of Chairman Schiff.

We do have a bit of a challenge here in that on the one hand, you know, the other side has called for public hearings and called for public hearings. Now that we bring this out into the public, there's a different complaint. If we then end up calling everybody and their mother, the complaint will be that it's taking too long.

HARLOW: Okay.

BOYLE: So I think that there's a balance that has to be struck and I'm pretty confident that the witness list that has been presented on our side does present and strike that right balance.

HARLOW: Okay, let's move on.

So you recently tweeted this. Quote, the evidence is overwhelming, Trump must be impeached.

But interesting twist in all of this on Friday, you know, we heard from the lawyer representing former National Security Adviser John Bolton who said that he has stuff to say, relevant stuff in meetings about Ukraine that has not been testified to in the depositions behind closed doors so far. Do you think it would be prudent for Democrats to wait for the courts to decide if Bolton should go forward and testify before moving forward, before wrapping this thing up?

BOYLE: I would love to hear Bolton's testimony. Nothing is preventing him right now from coming forward and testifying. The key, again, is, and I go back to striking that right balance, if this is going to take six to nine months to play out in the courts, frankly, part of the strategy on the other side has always been to run out the clock. We see that when it comes to the matter of the tax returns that the president has gone through all sorts --

HARLOW: I ask you, sir --

BOYLE: Go ahead.

HARLOW: I ask you specifically because I was struck in your interview with my friend and colleague Kate Bolduan last week -- or last month rather, when you said, and quote, I called not for a rush to vote on impeachment. So you seem to be one who has been saying, let's not rush. So I guess I'm just asking, is getting all of the facts, is hearing from someone like Bolton more important than sticking to a timeline?

[10:20:09]

BOYLE: Well, what I was attempting to say is that it's about striking a right balance. I would love to have Bolton testify. But if it's going to take six to nine months playing out in the courts, you really do have to balance the need to, on the one hand, have an expeditious proceeding, and on the other hand, make sure you have all the facts available.

HARLOW: So what if it took one or two months? That's what the judge is looking at.

BOYLE: I believe -- excuse me, if I could just finish, I believe that it is crucial that we already -- and let's be clear about this, we already have enough evidence to know that the president committed bribery. That's already public. This is sort of an odd investigation in the sense that we already knew the end at the very beginning when the White House rough transcript was released. The rest has been sort of filling in the details about how we got to that point.

HARLOW: Let me move on to 2020 because we have limited time and you have endorsed, obviously, Joe Biden. You've talked about that on this program before. You're also interestingly a co-sponsor of Medicare- for-all. Listen to what Joe Biden said last night in the CNN town hall with Erin Burnett about Elizabeth Warren and what he believes is an elitist attitude as she pushes Medicare-for-all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The attitude is elitist, that people can't make up their own minds. You like your health insurance but you shouldn't like your health insurance, you should have to give that up. I'm going to demand you not have that. We're going to give you something better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: Is Joe Biden right?

BOYLE: First of all, I'm very proud to support Vice President Biden. I've known him a long time. He's sort of the hometown choice here in Pennsylvania, and especially for those of us in the Philadelphia area. That, of course, doesn't mean necessarily mean that we're going to agree on 100 percent of the issues. I don't think there's any candidate running on the Democratic side with whom I agree on 100 percent of the issues.

One thing that I'm also committed to, Poppy, throughout this process having lived through the nightmare of 2016, is not going negative on any of the other primary candidates. So I look at my role as an elected official, as a Democrat, really, as an effort, even though I've made an endorsement in this race, whoever you support, whoever is the nominee, we need to come together at the end. That stakes are too high. I believe Vice President Biden gives us the best chance to win in Pennsylvania. I believe he will be a great president and get us the best chance to get to 270.

At the same time, I believe there are also a lot of other candidates running who would also give us a great chance to win in the run (ph).

HARLOW: Better for Americans, Biden care or Medicare-for-all?

BOYLE: Well, I am a supporter of Medicare-for-all. But what I find -- I happen to think, and I mentioned this last night to a friend, I think the debate on the Democratic side right now is very healthy. All of the candidates are committed to universal healthcare coverage. That's actually something that's truly remarkable and we should take a second to recognize just how historic that is.

Now, the other campaigns are going debate about the best way to get there. I think it's a very healthy debate and this will continue to play out. If we have a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic House and the Senate, we'll actually have the opportunity to get together and forge the best plan possible.

Keep in mind that in 2008, Barack Obama didn't campaign on what ultimately became Obamacare. So the process of making legislation in real life often looks a little bit different than the campaign.

HARLOW: And a lot harder to do, right? You didn't say. Congressman, thank you.

BOYLE: And much harder. Yes, much harder.

HARLOW: Thank you for your time.

BOYLE: All right, thank you.

HARLOW: I appreciate it. SCIUTTO: We have this news just into CNN that former President Jimmy Carter is out of surgery. He's recovering at Emery University Hospital in Atlanta. He underwent an operation earlier this morning to relieve pressure on his brain following a series of falls.

Let's go straight to Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, what are we hearing from the hospital and given your own expertise as someone who knows something about the brain, what's the prognosis?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, we know that this went just as intended, Jim. The operation started this morning, it's typically, you know, an hour or two to complete this operation, so just on schedule, and we know that President Carter is recovering well.

Prognosis-wise, what we can say is that the operation did exactly what it was designed to do. We're talking about an amount of pressure that was put on the brain from a blood collection known as subdural hematoma.

Let me just show you an image real quick of what that means. Picture's worth a thousand words here. If you look at the image, you'll see there is blood that's actually pushing on the brain, that blood has sort become liquid and it was removed within this operation.

[10:25:01]

I guess we don't have the image yet.

But let me show you on the skull model here on what I'm talking about. The skull on this side of the brain, if there's a collection of blood, often it just involves putting a couple of small holes in the skull to basically allow that fluid to come out. That's what was done.

It's a little bit tougher to say, he's 95 years old, so my guess is it's going to be a question of making sure that he is doing well, is taking care of himself on his own before he leaves the hospital. Sometimes patients go home within a day. It might be a few days before President Carter and then some recovery at home.

SCIUTTO: That's good to hear. I had a subdural hematoma in college. It's not fun. But I was not 95 at the time so obviously circumstances are different. We know you're going to stay on top of it. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks very much.

GUPTA: You got it.

SCIUTTO: And we'll be right back.

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