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THE SITUATION ROOM

Interview With Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN); Interview With Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley; Trump Asks Supreme Court To Block Subpoena For Tax Returns; Bill Clinton's Message To Trump, You Got Hired To Do A Job; At Least Two Dead In California School Shooting; Budget Official Expected to Testify in Impeachment Probe. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired November 14, 2019 - 18:00   ET

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


[18:00:03]

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Verdict watch. Roger Stone's case is now in the hands of jurors, who will decide whether the longtime Trump ally lied to Congress and tampered with witnesses.

And deadly school shooting. Shots ring out in a Southern California high school, leaving at least two people dead and three wounded -- tonight, new details on the student gunman.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

Let's get straight to Capitol Hill right now.

Our congressional correspondent, Phil Mattingly, is on the scene for us.

Phil, Republicans have argued that everything revealed so far is simply hearsay. How significant will tomorrow's impeachment proceedings be for Democrats to cut into that argument?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it could be enormously significant.

It will be a day of split-screen significance. The first will take place in public, the second impeachment inquiry hearing, featuring Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to the Ukraine, someone who was pushed out, removed from her position by President Trump with what other officials who have testified called a smear campaign, a smear campaign they say was led by the president's outside attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Now, Democrats working on the impeachment inquiry say that this will represent the first chapter, laying out kind of how this all happened on the U.S.-Ukraine policy and how, to some degree, they believe it went rogue throughout this process.

That's one element of this. The second and perhaps most important element of this is what will be happening behind closed doors. That's where the closed-door deposition of David Holmes, the U.S. political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, will be sitting in front of lawmakers for the first time for a closed-door deposition.

Why David Holmes matters is this. He was the unnamed official mentioned by Ambassador William Taylor on Wednesday and that bombshell in his testimony that no one was aware was coming, that he overheard a conversation between U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland and President Trump where -- quote, unquote -- "investigations" were specifically brought up.

He then asked Sondland what Trump thought of Ukraine. And Sondland responded: "He cares more about the Bidens than Ukraine."

This will be lawmakers' first opportunity to speak today to David Holmes. And this will certainly be an important closed-door event -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Today, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, she went further in her accusations against the president.

What does that signal, Phil?

MATTINGLY: Yes, Nancy Pelosi today, the speaker, laying out the full scope of scope and scale of the investigation, what she believes they found, but also one very important word.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): What President Trump has done on the record, in terms of acting to advantage his -- a foreign power to help him in his own election and the obstruction of information about that, the cover-up, makes what Nixon did look almost small, almost small.

The president has admitted to and says it's perfect. I said it's perfectly wrong. It's bribery.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Now, Wolf, it's that last word, "It is bribery," that has significance, potentially legal significance.

Bribery is one of two specific offenses listed in the Constitution as impeachable conduct. That is an increase, a raise in the rhetoric from Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying, according to her, he has reached the threshold of one of those impeachable offenses, something that could factor into an article of impeachment.

Now, Pelosi has made clear no decisions have been made. They're still in the inquiry process. But there's no question about it, Wolf. When you talk to Democrats, they fully expect articles of impeachment are coming when the hearings are done, and there will likely be a vote to impeach President Trump

Perhaps bribery, at least according to what Pelosi said today, will be one of those articles -- Wolf.

BLITZER: CNN's Phil Mattingly, thanks very much.

And joining us now, the former ambassador to the United Nations, the author of a brand-new book entitled "With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace," the ambassador, Nikki Haley.

Ambassador, thanks very much coming in.

NIKKI HALEY, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS: Thanks, Wolf. It's great to be with you again.

BLITZER: I could call you governor. I could call you ambassador.

HALEY: Just Nikki.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: I will call you ambassador.

All right, let's start with the news of the day. We have got a lot to discuss. We will get to the book shortly.

I want to play a key moment from yesterday's testimony, open-door impeachment hearing testimony, this from Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM TAYLOR, ACTING U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: In the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kiev.

The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations. Ambassador Sondland told President Trump the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.

Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right, so, if this is true -- and we're going to hear more testimony in the coming days -- if it's true, the president was directly involved in following up in his phone calls with the Ukrainian leadership.

They wanted -- the president wanted a formal investigation of his political rivals in exchange for the release of U.S. security assistance to Ukraine.

[18:05:03]

Are you comfortable with that? HALEY: Well, I -- the first is, I'm looking for something new, Wolf,

because, if you look at the situation, there isn't anything new that wasn't in the transcript.

The president wanted to know about the investigations. That was in the transcript. What you have here and from the testimony yesterday, it's perception on one side and hearsay on the other.

I think we have to stick with the facts. And the facts are, was he interested in an investigation? Yes. Did he stop the aid? No.

Did the Ukrainians go through with an investigation? No.

So it's really hard to find where this rises to the level of impeachment.

BLITZER: But he did stop the aid from going. That was U.S. military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated and authorized by the House and the Senate, signed into law by the president, and he withheld it.

He had the OMB, the Office of Management and Budget, simply inform the State Department and others, it's not going. They never even provided an explanation for it.

HALEY: I mean, the money flowed.

BLITZER: Eventually, but only after the whistle-blower's report came out, and there were a lot of Republicans in the Senate and in the House calling the White House, complaining about what was going on.

And, as a result, the president decided to let the aid go.

HALEY: But we don't know what the whistle-blower's role in that was.

The senators were calling for the aid to be released to Ukraine. He released the aid. That's what we wanted. At the end of the day, it was the right thing to do to release the aid.

So it's -- it's hard for me to impeach a president. It is the highest level of punishment that you can possibly do.

When an investigation didn't happen and the aid flowed, I just don't see how that rises to the worst possible crime --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: Do you agree with the president that the whistle-blower should be named and identified?

HALEY: I mean, I believe in whistle-blower laws. I think you have to protect a whistle-blower.

And then I think, in turn, the whistle-blower has to abide by those laws and the fact that they don't allow any sort of partisan leaking or anything like that to have happened. We don't know that that's happened either.

But, until then, I do think we should always protect whistle-blowers.

BLITZER: So, on this -- on this issue, you disagree with the president?

HALEY: Oh, you can call it disagreeing.

I think whistle-blowers should be protected, as long as they are in --

BLITZER: Because he wants -- he wants the whistle-blower to be named.

HALEY: I understand, yes.

BLITZER: But you -- in this area, you believe in the law, which is to protect the whistle-blower -- whistle-blowers.

HALEY: I do believe in the law, yes.

BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about the allegation. And we're going to hear from Ambassador Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, next Wednesday in open televised sessions.

He revised his original statement. He now agrees with the others that, yes, the president was pressuring the Ukrainian president, Zelensky, for political help, in effect, in dealing with the Bidens.

This is -- this is important, because if, in fact, the president was soliciting foreign assistance, soliciting a foreign national to help in a U.S. political campaign, that's against the law.

HALEY: I don't think it's ever good practice for us to ask a foreign entity to investigate an American. I have said that multiple times. I don't think that's good practice.

BLITZER: Was that what the president was doing?

HALEY: At the end of the day, it didn't happen.

So, I think that a lot of people say that the president was doing this with Ukraine. I can tell you that Ukraine -- the Ukrainian ambassador was my number one ally on the Security Council. I mean, the president was very adamant about making sure Ukraine had everything they needed.

That's why they got the anti-tank missiles. That's why they got the military training. That's why he kept the sanctions on Russia and expelled diplomats and has increased our military and our energy component.

So, I think, to look at the history, I can tell you, at least from my standpoint, he was always very adamant to help Ukraine. And I think he always has.

I think what you saw were two presidents having a conversation. The president said that he would like to have an investigation. It didn't happen. The money flowed. BLITZER: But, for a few months, he suspended that aid. He didn't let it go through.

HALEY: It was like less than two months that was held.

I mean, those things can happen. But, for some reason -- and we don't know whether it was senators, whether he decided to do it -- but he didn't demand an investigation.

BLITZER: If Ambassador Sondland --

HALEY: That's the point, is, he didn't threaten or demand an investigation.

BLITZER: If Ambassador Sondland says next Wednesday, before the television cameras, what he said in his revised addendum, in his statement, that this was done to force the Ukrainians into engaging in a political investigation on behalf of the president for political purposes, what would you say?

HALEY: Show me the proof, because I don't see anywhere where the president heavy-handed the president of Ukraine and said, you have to do this, or else

BLITZER: Well, he did --

HALEY: And that's what everybody's going to come back and say.

I mean, honestly, that's the nature of the defense here, is, look, I know that you all want there to be something wrong, but, at the end of the day, there's nothing that shows he threatened or he held their hand, saying, we're not going to release until you do this. And that's -- that's the issue.

And that's -- obviously, that's the problem in Congress and why they can't come to a resolution on this.

BLITZER: I don't want to -- I just want to point out that, when you say "you all," we just want to report the news. We just want to report the facts.

HALEY: Appreciate that.

BLITZER: We want to see where this leads.

HALEY: I appreciate that.

BLITZER: We don't have a political position here in THE SITUATION ROOM.

If the president did absolutely nothing wrong, if the phone conversation was perfect, couldn't have been better, as the president says, why not let, for example, the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, or the former national security adviser, John Bolton, come before the American people and tell us what happened?

[18:10:11]

HALEY: You know, I mean, I think that -- look, I was governor.

And I know the political games back and forth. I think, if the president thought there was a genuine investigation, he would have no problem with them testifying.

I think he feels like this truly is a witch-hunt. And so he has back up. And he thinks that this is all a way to you all -- for you all to trick everybody into saying something.

I just know how he thinks. And so, from that standpoint, he's going to have his guard up. He's going to have his back up and think that you're trying to pull his people in, so that you can interrogate them, humiliate them, or do something else.

BLITZER: But why would they be tricked, if they just have to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Why would they be tricked?

HALEY: I know, but you have to look at the fact we have got an impeachment going on, when there's less than a year for an election.

I mean, it screams politics. It screams all kinds of political gamesmanship. That's just the reality of it. And I think that you have to look at the situation that he's going to say, why would I send them there when I see what they're trying to do for political gain?

BLITZER: But the House of Representatives has that constitutional authority. If they want to launch an impeachment inquiry, they can do that.

HALEY: And they are.

BLITZER: They certainly can.

All right, let's talk a little bit about the book, "With All Due Respect."

HALEY: Yes.

BLITZER: The subtitle, "Defending America with Grit and Grace."

You write in the book about your role as the United States ambassador to the United Nations.

Was it appropriate, based on everything you experienced in the world of diplomacy, for Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, someone who had no security clearances, to be engaged in what is being described as this shadow diplomacy, this U.S.-Ukrainian shadow diplomacy?

Was that appropriate?

HALEY: I have -- during my time at the United Nations, I never saw Rudy engaged in that way. It is best practice if you have a special envoy to handle certain

areas. And we do that all the time. These are part-time people that come in, and they just give them the title of being the special envoy.

They probably should have done that, so that there wasn't any confusion.

BLITZER: Yes, but, based on everything we know right now, was it appropriate for months and months for Rudy Giuliani to be so deeply involved in this Ukrainian policy, with a purpose, specific purposes -- and he makes it clear -- to get dirt on the Bidens?

HALEY: I think it could have been handled better.

BLITZER: What does that mean?

HALEY: I mean, I think they should have named him the special envoy, so that everyone within the administration knew what his role was.

BLITZER: Tomorrow, we're going to be hearing -- we're going to be hearing from Marie Yovanovitch, the U.S. -- former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

First of all, did you -- did you know her? Did you ever work with her?

HALEY: I don't think I was ever in any meetings with her, no.

BLITZER: Was it fair for the ambassador, a career diplomat, more than 30 years, highly respected, to be pushed out by a long campaign targeting her, that campaign led by Rudy Giuliani?

HALEY: Well, I will tell you, I worked with multiple Foreign Service officers. And we had fantastic ones. They are patriots. They go out there regardless of who the president is, and they do fight the good fight.

And I was always grateful for them. And I know many other people have appreciated their expertise as well. So, I want to make sure that we say that about our Foreign Service officers.

We did, however, encounter at times at the U.N. Foreign Service officers who had a political bias. And that became a problem in them stalling or trying to get something else done.

I'm not saying that about this ambassador.

What I will tell you about this is, every ambassador serves at the privilege of the president. And so, if the president did not want her to stay, he had that right to do it.

We don't necessarily know exactly why he didn't want her to stay, but, I mean, every ambassador knows they can be pulled at any given time.

BLITZER: Well, was it -- were you comfortable when you read the rough transcript of the president's July 25 phone conversation with President Zelensky, the way he spoke, the way the president spoke about her?

HALEY: I mean, that's how he speaks.

You know, it's not my style. It's not the way I speak, but that is how he speaks.

BLITZER: Let me play the -- we all saw your interview with -- on NBC, "The Today Show," with Savannah Guthrie.

And this exchange jumped out at me. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, CO-HOST, "THE TODAY SHOW": Did you ever have any doubt about the fitness of this president to serve?

HALEY: I never did.

GUTHRIE: Any doubt about his mental acuity?

HALEY: I never did.

GUTHRIE: Any question about his truthfulness, his ability to tell the truth?

HALEY: Savannah, I talked to him multiple times. And when I had issues, he always heard me out. I never had any concern on whether he could handle the job ever.

GUTHRIE: What about his truthfulness? Did you think he was a truthful person?

HALEY: Yes. In every instance that I dealt with him, he was truthful, he listened, and he was great to work with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: All right now, according to CNN's count, the president has made about 1,200 false claims since this past July.

[18:15:03]

He makes false claims even about things that don't even look good for him, like saying he won in Alabama, for example, by 42 points, when he actually won by a very solid 28 points. Obviously, 28 points is great, but he said 42 points. It looks very good for him.

Can you really say that he's been truthful to the American people?

HALEY: My comment to Savannah was, in every instance that I dealt with him and every situation in which I worked with him over those two years, he was always truthful in all of those situations.

And I stand by that.

BLITZER: Well, what about to the American people? HALEY: You know, I think that he is -- I know, from being a public

official and being around lots of elected officials, you can slip up and -- at times and get things wrong, and that can happen.

But I think, overall, everyone tries to be truthful. Everyone tries to do the right thing. And -- you know, but all I can tell you is from my experience. And in my experience, he was always truthful with me and always truthful in the issues that we were working on.

BLITZER: I went -- I went through the book, your book, and, once again, "With All Due Respect."

And I will say this with all due -- in the book, you describe, especially during the campaign, very, very serious controversies, very serious disagreements you had with the president during the campaign, when you were supporting Marco Rubio.

He tweeted: "The people of South Carolina are embarrassed by Nikki Haley."

HALEY: Right.

BLITZER: To which you respond: "Bless your heart."

Here are some of the things you were saying during the campaign:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALEY: Donald Trump is everything I taught my children not to do in kindergarten.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HALEY: I taught my two little ones, you don't lie and make things up.

During anxious times, it can be tempting to follow the siren call of the angriest voices. We must resist that temptation.

QUESTION: When you were talking about those loudest voices, those angriest voices, in that context, you were referring to Donald Trump, correct?

HALEY: He was one of them, yes.

We're talking about a man --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Liar!

HALEY: -- who has filed for bankruptcy four times.

I will not stop until we fight a man that chooses not to disavow the KKK. That is not a part of our party. That's not who we want as president.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

HALEY: We will not allow that in our country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: I see you smiling.

HALEY: Yes.

BLITZER: You were very serious in those days.

HALEY: Yes, it was good. That was a fun time.

BLITZER: So what happened since then?

HALEY: Nothing happened since then.

I mean, what I can tell you is, those issues that I had with him then, I did have with him. And the issues that I have had with him since then, I have talked to him about.

So, a lot of people want to know how I got through the process. I told him the truth. If I saw something wrong, I said that I thought it was wrong, and gave options on how we could make it right.

If I saw him doing well, I'd cheer him on and support him.

You don't agree with a person 100 percent of the time. What you try and do is improve the situation to the best of your ability. That's always what I tried to do. I always tried to be honest. I always tried to be fair, and I always tried to fight for America.

And, sometimes, that was disagreeing with him and, sometimes, that was agreeing with him.

BLITZER: You believe he's a good example for children today?

HALEY: I have talked to him, and I have said very openly that his tone and his way of speaking is not something that I do. I have a different style of speaking.

And there have been times where I would call him and say, did you have to say that? Did you have to do that? And he would be like: "I know. I know."

You know, so, I mean, I always talked to him about it. And I would tell him.

But, at his age, I -- we're not going to change him. That is who he is.

BLITZER: And you're comfortable with that?

HALEY: He is the president.

BLITZER: But are you comfortable with that?

HALEY: When I wasn't comfortable, I called him. BLITZER: If he asked you to be his running mate in 2020, what would you say?

HALEY: It's not going to happen. That's not an issue.

BLITZER: It's a hypothetical question.

HALEY: But there are no hypotheticals.

He and Mike Pence work very well together. They're very strong together. I will be supporting both of them together. That -- it's just -- I know people like to talk about that. That's a nonissue. It just --

(CROSSTALK)

BLITZER: A lot of people are talking about that.

You close the book with these words: "To all my brothers and sisters in our great country, thank you for the privilege and honor to serve the best country in the world. You made this small-town girl dream of something bigger than herself."

Tell us about the dreams you have right now. Specifically, would you like to be president of the United States?

HALEY: You know, no one wants to believe this, but I don't think out that far.

And you know this, Wolf. A year is a lifetime in politics. Why would I think about something five years down the road? It would be a waste of energy.

What I want to do is continue fighting in some way, continue being relevant in some way. I wanted to take a break after eight years of full-time public service work and checking my phone in the middle of the night. I wanted to take a break from that and spend time with our son, who's a senior in high school and going on college tours. I wanted to spend time with our daughter, who's a senior in college.

And Michael and I take care of my parents. They're both in their 80s. And my mom has Parkinson's. Be able to spend time with them. And I'm doing that.

[18:20:07]

But I will always be out there trying to do what I can to make life better.

BLITZER: Well, thank you so much for your service as governor of South Carolina. Thank you for your service at the United Nations. Thank you for writing this book and, of course, coming into THE SITUATION ROOM.

The book, once again -- we will put it up on the screen -- "With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace." Ambassador Haley, we appreciate it very much.

HALEY: Great to see you again. Thank you.

BLITZER: And coming up: Could the Russians have intercepted that previously unreported cell phone conversation about Ukraine between President Trump and his ambassador, who was in a restaurant?

Plus, we have new details of the deadly school shooting in Southern California and the gunman who opened fire on fellow students.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:25:37]

BLITZER: Highly anticipated impeachment testimony coming up, including a public appearance by President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland.

Democratic Congressman Andre Carson of Indiana will be at that hearing. He's a member of the Intelligence Committee.

Congressman, thanks so much for joining us.

REP. ANDRE CARSON (D-IN): What a pleasure. Thank you for having me, Wolf.

BLITZER: As you learn more about Ambassador Sondland's conversations with President Trump, does it appear you, Congressman, that Sondland was truthful to your committee?

CARSON: Well, I think we're going to get a chance for the American people to make that determination next week.

And my hope is that, once the American people hear what Ambassador Sondland has to say, they will be able to contact their representatives and senators and make informed decisions about who they want to represent them next year.

BLITZER: Ambassador Gordon Sondland already updated his testimony once. And it was sworn testimony. He filed an addendum through his attorney.

What are the consequences if he's not forthcoming in his public hearing next Wednesday?

CARSON: Well, I think the consequences could be grave for him.

I think what is clear is that the Democrats are making the case, and we have made the case -- and I think even my Republican colleagues who quietly are embarrassed about the way this administration is representing our country -- or misrepresenting our country, for that matter -- they too want to seek change.

And so the Democrats will have to carry the mantle and do the job that they refuse to do. BLITZER: Tomorrow, you're going to hear from the American diplomat in

Ukraine who overheard that phone call between Ambassador Sondland and the president. They were in a restaurant. He was -- Ambassador Sondland had a cell phone.

Why do you think he didn't raise his concerns about that conversation earlier? We only learned it about -- yesterday.

CARSON: Well, hopefully, we will find out tomorrow.

It's difficult to say. I think what is clear is that what he witnessed and what he overheard, I think it reaffirms what we already know, that President Trump attempted to use Congress-approved taxpayer dollars to hang over the head of the Ukrainian government, in an attempt to get them to get information on a political rival, i.e., Joe Biden.

BLITZER: Looking ahead to tomorrow, what sort of context do you think Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch can provide to your committee?

CARSON: Well, hopefully, we will get affirmation and confirmation from what was disclosed in the secret hearing a few weeks ago.

But I think this is very important, Wolf, this public setting, this very public setting. It's important to bring the American people in on this exchange, in on this hearing, in on this conversation, because you're seeing the president's popularity decline very rapidly, especially amongst independents.

And I think the rapidity that we're seeing with his decline has to speak to the fact that the people are losing confidence in his leadership.

BLITZER: We will see what happens tomorrow.

Congressman Andre Carson, as usual, thank you so much for joining us.

CARSON: What a pleasure, Wolf. Thank you.

BLITZER: Just ahead: Did Russia intercept a call about Ukraine between President Trump and his E.U. ambassador?

Plus, the latest on the school shooting that's left at least two students dead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:30:00]

BLITZER: Lawyers for President Trump are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block a Manhattan grand jury subpoena for copies of his financial records, including his tax returns. Let's dig deeper into all of this with our correspondents and our analysts.

And, Pamela Brown, it's going to the Supreme Court. What do you think? PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This is a huge development with the president's personal lawyers asking the Supreme Court, Wolf, to block the subpoena looking for the president's tax returns, financial records over several years. This is a subpoena from the Manhattan D.A.'s office.

And the lawyers for the president are arguing that he is immune. They're making a broad immunity argument that he immune from such a subpoena. He is immune from criminal prosecution while he is in office. So if the Supreme Court decides to take this up and makes a decision, it would be a landmark ruling, Wolf, and it would certainly settle this issue that has dogged the president since the day he took office, dogged him on the campaign, about releasing his tax returns.

BLITZER: What do you think? You went to law school.

DAVID SWERDLICK, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes. So, I mean, I think immunity is actually the weaker argument. I think if I were the president's legal team, I would be making the argument that this is a fishing expedition, that this is politically motivated. Because even if the court says, look, the State of New York can't get it, they still have to address the issue of the House ways and Means Committee chair asking for the president's tax returns. And there is federal a statute there, 26 U.S. 6103, that say that the House Ways and Means chair, the Senate Finance chair can get those.

[18:35:07]

I think if you make one argument, it will make it harder, Wolf, to make the other legal argument later.

BLITZER: Phil, let me get you to react. Jake Tapper interviewed former President Bill Clinton earlier today. And the former president gave the current president some advice on dealing with Congress during an impeachment crisis, something that Bill Clinton knows a lot about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My message was -- would be, look, you got hired to do a job. You don't get the days back before. Every day is an opportunity to make something good happen.

And I would say I've got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry and they should have at it. Meanwhile, I'm going to work for the American people. That's what I would do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: So far, the president hasn't done that. He tweets, he speaks, he talks about the hoax, the witch hunt and all of that.

PHILLIP MUDD, CNN COUNTERTERRORISM ANALYST: Yes. But, I mean, I'm halfway there with President Clinton. Look, that's the advice you would give any president. You work for us, you don't work for you. It doesn't matter. We're 11 1/2 months before we go to the polls. I think that Speaker Pelosi is right to say, let's move this along quickly. This will get moved along in the next month or two.

Ten months from now, the American people don't exactly have the longest memory. People are going to forget about this. If I'm the president, I'm saying, look, I know the Senate is not going to vote for this. In ten months, the American people won't remember it. So what's the big deal anyway if it doesn't lead to any effect on my term in office? I think the president is going to win this one.

BLITZER: Well, do you think, Bianna, the president is going to accept the advice from former President Clinton?

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Who knows? What you can say though is looking back to when President Clinton was going through his impeachment trial, he, in fact, had a separate legal team that was focused solely on that while he was able to focus on policy. And you can even argue that he had more of an incentive to focus on policy to prove to the American people that he was doing his job.

What you don't see from this president is much of an effort to move for any sort of cooperation with Democrats as far as pursuing any policy goals. So that's going to be his big challenge going into an election year. Remember, he would be the only president who'd be impeached running for re-election.

And so going into an election, when he's trying to prove to the American people that he's seen so much policy put forward that he's committed to as president, without seeing that, the only thing he has going for him is the economy, and that's a big if.

BLITZER: Pamela, I will put a graphic on. President Trump joined a very, very exclusive club. You see there's only four American presidents who have had to face the prospect of an impeachment inquiry, Andrew Johnson, Nixon, Clinton and now Trump. He sees that group over there and I'm sure he's saying to himself he doesn't want to be associated with it.

BROWN: No. He is very much concerned it's going to be a stain on his legacy. And I was just talking to a White House official tonight, Wolf, who was saying the president wants this over with as quickly as possible. There is some talk or reporting out there that maybe the senators may want to drag it out longer to hurt the Democrats and so forth, and the president wants this over with. This is not good for him. He is concerned about it.

He brings it up at just about every meeting he has at the White House, according to sources. Even if it's a totally different topic, the president will bring it up. We know he is sort of the chief messenger on this. So this idea too that he would follow this advice from Bill Clinton is very unlikely from what we know.

SWERDLICK: Yes, he wants it over with and he does want to be in the clear. I agree.

On the other hand, I do think that part of that verbal combat on Twitter and then all of his gaggles on White House lawn, it's because that's in part what his core supporters like. They like that sticking it to us in the media, sticking it to the Democrats. It's a performance in some ways.

MUDD: November 14th, I love David Swerdlick. It's the first day ever. I think you're dead on. Look, the president might hate this now, but in ten months, he gets to say, you electing me to after the deep state, they tried to take me down with Russia and with this impeachment thing, I won. Elect me again I'll keep working for you.

BROWN: And the thing is that the campaign has been fundraising off of it. I think they announced $3 million.

BLITZER: They've raised a lot of money. Go ahead, Bianna.

GOLODRYGA: Yes. He will also be able to say that I was the first president who was impeached and won re-election. So there's another first for him.

BLITZER: If that happens. Let's see what happens. Everybody stick around. There's more news we're following, including some sad news out of California, the scene of a deadly school shooting. We're learning new details tonight.

Plus, we'll have the latest on the trial of President Trump's long- time ally, Roger Stone. His case is now in the hands of the jury.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:40:00]

BLITZER: There's more news we're following tonight, a deadly school shooting in Southern California. CNN's Nick Watt is joining us from Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles.

Nick, there are new details emerging now. What are you learning?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, one tragic detail, a second death this afternoon, a 14-year-old boy. We already had a 16-year-old girl who died within a couple of hours of the shooting this morning.

And meanwhile, authorities are combing through social media.

[18:45:02]

They have already taken the shooter's mother and girlfriend in for questioning. Still no word yet if there was a motive or an ideology behind this.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was absolutely terrifying.

WATT (voice-over): At least two students, dead, others injured.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Active shooter at Saugus High School. All schools in the vicinity are on lockdown.

WATT: Around 7:30 a.m. at a high school about 30 miles northwest of Los Angeles, students were arriving, starting their days.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we heard the first gunshot, we thought it was not something serious, then we heard two more.

CAPT. KENT WEGENER, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Detectives have reviewed the video at the scene which clearly show the subject in the quad withdraw a handgun from his backpack, shoot, and wound five people, and then shoot himself in the head.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard the gunshots and we just were like, let's go. Let's run. We had to go underneath the pipeline. So we literally crawled underneath the pipeline.

WATT: Six injured students were triaged and rushed to local hospitals. It turns out one of them was the shooter.

LARRY EVERHART, SANTA CLARITA RESIDENT: I saw all kinds of kids running up the street, screaming, crying, yelling. They were saying, can we go in your house? And there was like, I don't know, there must have been 20 of them went in my house. I wanted to make sure they are safe.

WATT: Students have prepared for this, trained for just such a terrifying active shooter situation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We heard from our friends who were still stuck in school that they're hiding in closets. They're just trying to find anything --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're texting us that they're scared to die and they're hiding in closets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's very sad.

WATT: This mom had just dropped off her 16-year-old son when the gunfire started.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was just panicked the whole entire morning until I heard from him again. And he said that he was OK.

WATT: The panic is over. The gunman no longer a threat to others. He is in grave condition in the hospital.

WEGENER: The weapon that he used was recovered at the scene. It's a .45 caliber semiautomatic pistol which had no more rounds in it, had no more bullets in it.

WATT: But the grief remains. So, too, the fear for those injured and the shock. We all know these shootings happen, but when it happens in your community --

REPORTER: You won't let go of your daughter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I'm scared.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was very scary. We ran -- we heard the one shot and then four after and we just started running. And just all I heard was all of these kids running and just screaming and calling their parents and it was just very sad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: two horrific details. Today is the shooter's 16th birthday. Also, he must have been counting the shots. His weapon was empty at the end, shot five of his schoolmates and saved the last round for himself.

Amazing to watch the authorities and kids go through the lockdown and evacuation. It went like clockwork. It was amazing to see that. But also tragic to think, Wolf, that such events are now so common in this country that everybody knows the drill -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So sad, so sad indeed. Nick Watt, thanks for that report.

Just ahead, a pivotal day of the trial of President Trump's long-time ally, Roger Stone.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[18:52:50]

BLITZER: We have some breaking news coming in on the Trump impeachment inquiry. Let's go straight to our congressional correspondent Phil Mattingly.

Phil, a Trump official now expected to break ranks and talk to House investigators?

MATTINGLY: That's exactly right, Wolf. We are just learning, Mark Sandy, who's a career official at the Office of Management and Budget, will attend a scheduled deposition on Saturday if he is subpoenaed. That's according to his lawyer.

Now, to be clear most witnesses have been subpoenaed. The expectation is he will be subpoenaed and therefore, he will show up. Here's why this matters. One of the primary blind spots in the Democratic investigation up to this point has been what actually occurred in the Office of Management and Budget.

The acting director and two other political appointees have thus far refused to comply in any way, with document requests or witness testimony requests, as well. And therefore, at the center of the allegations here, the idea that $400 -- nearly $400 million in U.S. assistance to Ukraine was withheld at the direction of the president, through the acting chief of staff, through the Office of Management and Budget, there's been no insight or really view or window into what OMB was actually doing during that time period.

Why Mark Sandy matters is this, as a career official, he's worked for, over the course of the last 10 years, several times inside the OMB, rising to a pretty senior position -- at this point in time, deputy associate director for national security programs. In that role, he would have insight into this process. Now, it's worth noting, we've reported before that career officials

inside the OMB were uneasy with the process that was taking place to the point they were cut out we've reported a few weeks ago because of political appointees had come in to push this directive out, that the aid had to be held. So, it's unclear how much Mark Sandy knows, how much visibility he had into the actual directive from the president, to the chief of staff, to the acting OMB director.

But the difference here is that he is the first OMB official to break ranks, to come in, he's a career official, career officials had problems with what was going on. Now, Democrats are going to get a first-person witness and testimony into what was seen at least by this individual -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, it could be very, very significant.

Phil Mattingly, thanks for the breaking news. Appreciate it very much.

We'll take a quick break, much more of our special coverage right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: Tonight, CNN has obtained a letter showing the Pentagon pushed back against President Trump's request to build a trench along the southern border with Mexico to deter illegal immigration. The Pentagon told the president a trench would be more expensive and take longer to build than other options. "The New York Times" previously reported that Mr. Trump was considering a water-filled trench full of snakes or alligators, a report the president denied.

To our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @wolfblitzer. Tweet the show @cnnsitroom.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.