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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Witness: Sondland Said Trump Didn't Care About Ukraine, Just "Big Stuff" Like Biden Investigation; Witness: EU Ambassador Said Trump Did Not "Give A S**t About Ukraine"; Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) Discuss About David Holme's Deposition; New Witness Testimony Appear To Contradict Trump's Claim That He Hardly Knows Sondland; Witness: Sondland Told Trump That Ukraine President Zelensky "Loves Your Ass"; Ousted U.S. Ambassador To Ukraine: Trump's Attacks During Testimony "Very Intimidating"'; Witness: Sondland Said Trump Didn't Care About Ukraine, Just "Big Stuff" Like Biden Investigation; Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) is Interviewed About the Trump Impeachment Investigation; Longtime Trump Adviser Roger Stone Found Guilty. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 15, 2019 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Yes. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador of the E.U., he could be in big trouble with the president of the United States and his aides, but also in big trouble potentially legally, as well.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely.
BLITZER: Jim Acosta at the White House. Thanks very much. We're going to continue our special coverage of all of the breaking news right now with Erin Burnett OUTFRONT.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, a State Department aide testifying behind closed doors that Trump asked about Ukraine launching investigations and said he cared about big stuff like the Biden investigation. Plus, the former Ukraine Ambassador testifies about fake smears against her, the President meantime tweeting another smear at her. Was it witness intimidation? And Roger Stone guilty, the message to his verdict descending to a key impeachment witness about to testify. Let's go out front.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, damning new evidence that ties Trump to the investigations into Joe Biden. This evidence is firsthand. CNN has just obtained the opening statement. This is from David Holmes, an aide to top Ukrainian Diplomat Bill Taylor.
This is an incredible document, OK. Holmes is telling lawmakers behind closed doors about a July lunch that he had with the Ambassador of the European Union, Gordon Sondland, and this lunch happened in Kiev. It was at that lunch that Sondland announced he was going to call President Trump and then this is what happened according to Holmes.
So let me just read this crucial part, we're going to read as much of this as we can to you, but I want to read this part to you. He says, "I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelensky 'loves your ass'. I then heard President Trump ask, 'So he's going to do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replies, 'He's going to do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"
Holmes continues, "After the call ended, Ambassador Sondland remarked that the President was in a bad mood, as Ambassador Sondland stated was often the case early in the morning. I then took the opportunity to ask Ambassador Sondland for his candid impression of the President's views in Ukraine. In particular, I asked Ambassador Sondland if it was true that the President did not 'give a blank about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland agree that the President did not 'give a blank about Ukraine'. I asked why not, and Ambassador Sondland stated that the President only cares about 'big stuff'. I noted that there was 'big stuff' going on in Ukraine like a war with Russia, and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant 'big stuff' that benefits the President, like the 'Biden investigation' that Mr. Giuliani was pushing.
This is all in black and white and I just want to be clear on this call between the President of the United States and Gordon Sondland. Gordon Sondland was holding the phone away from his ear because the President was speaking so loudly and that is how David Holmes was able to so directly hear the words of the President of the United States.
And I also want to be clear on this call. There were others at that lunch also who heard this call between Trump and Sondland. This development is now making Sondland's public testimony next week if anything more important. It already was central, but now this is it. Manu Raju is out front live tonight on Capitol Hill.
Manu, this is pretty incredible. I am reading here literally what you were able to take a picture of on your cell phone. This is the opening statement that you obtained and it is incredible. What more are you learning from David Holmes testimony today?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and he's alarmed. He says in this sworn testimony about the President's push for the Ukrainians to investigate his political rivals and he makes clear there are other witnesses too to this phone call between President Trump and the Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland.
He says that there were four people at this lunch in Ukraine in which the President was speaking apparently so loudly that he pulled the phone, Gordon Sondland did, away from his ear. So other people around the table good hear what the President said. And the President made it very clear in that phone call that he wanted to see investigations happening.
Gordon Sondland made it sound like they were going to happen and the President was clearly happy with that, because that's what he wanted to do. And, of course, this came in the date after the President made that asked directly to Ukraine to investigate the President's political rival, Joe Biden, as well as this theory about the Ukraine may have been involved in the 2016 election interference here in the United States.
But this shows, Erin, the depth of the President's interest and ensuring that Ukraine would investigate his political rivals and it undercuts the defense, that the President was merely interested in rooting out corruption in Ukraine.
Well, according to this testimony, what the President was dead set on was Ukraine investigating Joe Biden. Now, also in this testimony, Erin, David Holmes testifies about this aid, the roughly $400 million in security aid that had been withheld. And he says that President Zelensky of Ukraine was supposed to go on CNN and make an announcement that this investigation was going to happen.
He makes clear here, Erin, that he was concerned that the President Zelensky would go on it on national television and personally commit to a specific investigation of President Trump's political rival. And, of course, a couple days later, that didn't happen, but a couple days later, the aid was eventually released and sent to Ukraine, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Manu. Look, this is pretty stunning stuff as we've said. I want to go now to Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, a member of both the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. He just attended David Holmes' deposition and Congressman I understand that there's not much you can say obviously because that is ongoing.
But I just want to give you a chance to say when you were sitting in that room and you heard him deliver this opening statement. What was the feeling you had?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): Good evening, Erin. We're still interviewing Mr. Holmes. We're on a break. But gratitude is the feeling that I and others had that Mr. Holmes flew across the world to honor his subpoena. The President has told people to not cooperate. The Secretary of State will not give us any documents for this investigation.
And Mr. Holmes, like so many career foreign service officers like Ambassador Yovanovitch today, like George Kent, like Ambassador Taylor has decided to cooperate. And when these witnesses cooperate, as we have seen with every witness interview, we learn more.
BURNETT: And I want to just be clear here, we understand that at this lunch and the way, of course, that Holmes is describing it, he's saying that there was a meeting Sondland had, he wanted it to be one on one with Ukrainian officials. So afterwards he takes out Mr. Holmes and others to a launch, they sit on the outside terrace, they order a bottle of wine which they share between the four of them and then all of this happens.
The point that I'm making here is that he's saying, presumably, because the President of the United States was speaking so loudly, Gordon Sondland held the phone away from his ear a little bit, and that is how Mr. Holmes and others at the table were able to overhear what the President said. Is it your understanding from all of the information you're getting now that there are, at least, three others who heard the President of the United States talk on that phone call who are at that table?
SWALWELL: Well, Ambassador Sondland is coming next week, Erin. And what I can tell you because Ambassador Taylor testified to this earlier this week is he was told by one of the State Department employees about the phone call you just described. And I think if we all take a step back and we think about what we know about President Trump, there's no one in the world who has a hard time believing the account that Ambassador Taylor gave that the President, a day after asking the Ukrainian president to investigate his opponents, called the EU Ambassador or connected with the EU Ambassador and said, "Where are we with these investigations?"
That sounds exactly like all of the evidence we have in this case. Next week is going to be a big week. This was a big week today. I'm very much looking forward to presenting this case even more to the American people.
BURNETT: In the opening testimony here, the word Biden investigation is put in quotes by Mr. Holmes. So Ambassador Sondland says the President only cares about big stuff. David Holmes takes that to me and - oh, right, because there's a war going on here. And he goes, "No, no, no, I mean, big stuff like the Biden investigation."
So it's very clear here that that's what was meant. I mean, this is put in quotes, the Biden investigation. Biden being the operative adjective, correct?
SWALWELL: The evidence we have so far, Erin, from the witnesses who have testified publicly is an obsession that this President had on investigating Joe Biden and his son, not for America's interest but for his own selfish interest. And what is so appalling about that and the reason it's an abuse of power is not only did it benefit the President of the United States. It harmed Ukrainians because security assistance was not coming, people died.
BURNETT: I want to ask you about the other hearing you were in today, of course.
SWALWELL: Oh, yes, there's another one.
BURNETT: I mean, look, this opening statement, I can't emphasize how significant it could be. But what we heard from Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch today moved many Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill. The President was, I want to just, ask you about that testimony.
During that testimony, the President of the United States tweets, "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then, fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her and my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President's absolute right to appoint ambassadors." By the way, just looking at that phone call, it was the President of
the United States who spoke unfavorably about her. What do you make of the President's attack on Marie Yovanovitch?
SWALWELL: It didn't work. Ambassador Yovanovitch proved herself to be fearless, committed and a tough, tough anti-corruption diplomat working on all of our behalves. But the President smeared her through his agent, Rudy Giuliani, when she was in Ukraine, smeared her on that July 25 phone call and even smeared her while she was testifying.
We view that as witness intimidation intended to chill her testimony and chill the testimony of others. But more importantly, this is what guilty people do. Innocent people don't worry about what anyone says, because they figure I'm innocent. Like the process will work. I'll get off.
This is how guilty people act and it didn't shake this ambassador and it didn't shake Mr. Holmes. He's talking to us right now and it's not going to shake anyone and just come forward.
BURNETT: Just to be clear, Congressman, because you are on the Judiciary Committee, is this something you would consider adding as a formal article of impeachment, this intimidation as you see it or is it just a point that you're making?
SWALWELL: Possibly, but Erin, our primary focus is the use of taxpayer dollars to have the Ukrainians investigate the President's political opponent. Again, in the Nixon investigation, in the Clinton investigation, it was almost as if the cover up and the obstruction of Congress and justice were bigger than the underlying crime.
Here, the underlying crime is very, very big, very offensive to our values. But yes, of course, intimidating the witness is obstruction of justice and there's strong evidence that occurred today.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Congressman. I appreciate your time.
SWALWELL: My pleasure. Thanks, Erin, of course.
BURNETT: All right. And as we said they're on a break going back into that Holmes deposition right now as it continues, more on that breaking news. We have much more on the damning testimony of the State Department aide as we have it right now. Tonight he is proving this, Trump's statement, was not true.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hardly know the gentleman. But this is the man who said there was no quid pro quo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And guilty on all counts. Trump ally, Roger Stone, paying the price for lying to protect President Trump. What message does this send to Trump ally, Gordon Sondland, who will testify under oath on television for all of us to see next week?
BURNETT: Breaking news, David Holmes, an aide to the top U.S. Diplomat to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, confirming in his opening statement to Congress that he overheard President Trump talking about possible probe of the Bidens by Ukraine with the EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland. It is a call, of course, President Trump says he does not recall.
It also appears to contradict Trump on how well he knows Sondland. So in this testimony, Holmes says, "After the call ended, Ambassador Sondland remarked that the President was in a bad mood, as Ambassador Sondland stated was often the case early in the morning, which is very odd considering Trump has claimed he hardly knew Sondland once Sondland changed his testimony to say that there was a quid pro on Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Let me just say I hardly know the gentlemen. But this is the man who said there was no quid pro quo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Out front now, our National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto, former Federal Prosecutor Laura Coates and David Axelrod who was a Senior Adviser to President Obama and is now the host of THE AXE FILES on CNN.
So Jim, let's just start with this basic thing because it's basic but yet significant. The President of the United States says I hardly know the gentleman.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
BURNETT: We're hearing testimony today that back in July, Ambassador Sondland is put through to the President when he's sitting at a restaurant outside in Kiev early in the morning and he remarks the President was in a bad mood, as Ambassador Sondland stated was often the case early in the morning.
SCIUTTO: Yes. Listen ...
BURNETT: They spoke frequently.
SCIUTTO: The President's claim is not credible. He gave a million dollars to his inauguration. The President appointed him to a significant position. And by the way entrusted him to run this alternate track foreign policy on Ukraine, outside of his purview in EU because the Ukraine is not a member.
We know from this transcript that he spoke more than once with the President by telephone if Sondland is not lying to say that he knows his habits, he knows his moods in those phone calls.
SCIUTTO: And clearly Sondland, again, from Holmes' testimony here had a very familiar way of talking to the sitting U.S. President. That phrase, the Ukrainian President loves your ass is not language you use with someone unfamiliar when you're having a conversation with them.
BURNETT: Right. I mean, Laura, I think that is the significant point here. What's overheard about this conversation is two people who are familiar with each other, friendly with each other, have a quick code in terms of - that they've talked about something so often it doesn't have to be spelled out.
And yes, he says he loves your ass. That that's what Sondland said.
LAURA COATES, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, of course. Think about this, last night we're talking about the idea of somebody who had so little discretion as to hold a public phone call essentially with the President of the United States in an area where it could be intercepted, it could be overheard, it could be compromised in some way and make the president of any country vulnerable.
Now, we're learning this person was so apparently intoxicated with the proximity to power, essentially, it was showing off who he can get on the phone and that person actually took the call. I mean, imagine the very limited scope of people you all have in your lives right now that you would actually have a public call, put it on speakerphone for the entire world to hear not having discretion.
And this is about an issue involving national security, a $400 million worth of military aid that was already appropriated, that's not from a political slush fund, Erin, that's from a U.S. taxpayer dollars. You think about all of this contextually about the idea of this was something that was so in the works.
It had been put into foundations for so long and they didn't even think to have a discrete enough conversation, they were that embolden. That speaks volumes and so much for that non-hearsay argument, huh?
BURNETT: Well, I mean, and David Axelrod, I mean, when he's sitting at a restaurant I suppose whatever with the connection, he even describes it. He places a call on his mobile phone. I heard him announced himself several times along the lines of Gordon Sondland holding for the President.
It appeared he was being transferred through several layers of switchboards and assistance. Then, they proceed to have this conversation in which the President of the United States for whatever reason is speaking loudly or the connection is such that he holds it away from his ear and has no problem with everyone else at the table hearing which we understand was indeed the case.
Can I just quote for you, David, because I think we need to do it again these key lines. All right. Holmes testifies, "I heard President Trump then clarify that Ambassador Sondland was in Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelensky 'loves your ass'. I then heard President Trump ask, 'So he's going to do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replies, 'He's going to do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"
This is as we say not hearsay anymore.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No, it's not. First of all, note to file, so if you're going to shake down a foreign leader don't send an amateur to do it, OK. That's one of the lessons here. Gordon Sondland, there's a reason why he was using Sondland. Sondland was not a career diplomat. He was not part of the professional foreign service and he knew that if he went through those people, as we've seen, they would object to what he was doing.
So he went through Sondland instead, because Sondland was not a diplomat. In truth, he is a political donor who was kissed into this position by the President and he was running a political errand for the President. And now they're paying a price for it. And you've got to believe that tonight at the White House. They are banging their head heads against the wall about how Sondland handled all of this, because he's kind of blown their cover.
BURNETT: I mean, because, Jim, then it continues, Holmes testifies, "I asked Ambassador Sondland," so this is after Sondland hangs up with President Trump and then they talk about the call at the table. So Holmes says," I asked Ambassador Sondland if it was true that the President did not 'give a blank about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland agrees that the President did not 'give a blank about Ukraine'. I asked why not, and Ambassador Sondland stated that the President only cares about 'big stuff'. I noted that there was 'big stuff' going on in Ukraine like a war with Russia, and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant 'big stuff' that benefits the President, like the 'Biden investigation' that Mr. Giuliani was pushing."
The reality of this is that this is in black and white.
SCIUTTO: It is and this is the central crux of the story, it's why it matters. The President was willing to let loose a U.S. ally Ukraine at war with Russia, invaded by Russia for five years, 13,000 people killed in this war, relying on U.S. military aid just to have a chance in that fight against a much bigger rival.
And the President was willing to take that away for the pure intention as described by his appointed Ambassador to the EU, as described by him as being his real focus, which is an investigation of a political rival. It's right there. I mean, this was the question at the start of this, was the President willing to sacrifice an ally to his own personal interest. You have one of the President's own appointees saying that's exactly the case.
BURNETT: David, is there any room for question here after this?
AXELROD: Well, I mean, it depends who's asking. I think the Republicans will find room for question. They'll probably question - no notes were taken, Holmes said they'll question that. I mean, they will go at what they can go at. I don't know whether it changes the dynamic. I don't expect that Republicans are going to march out now and say, "Well, now that I got this evidence, clearly we were wrong all along."
There's been plenty of evidence leading up to this that makes this not that much of a surprise.
BURNETT: No. I suppose that is true. I will again note that we do understand that there could be other people at the table. There could have been up to three people who heard this because he was holding away from his ear when there were four people including himself at that table.
All right. OUTFRONT next, blistering testimony tonight from the President's former Ambassador to Ukraine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: And another member of Trump's inner circle guilty tonight, Roger Stone lied and he lied to project President Trump. He's now guilty, convicted. Is Trump about to pardon him?
BURNETT: Tonight President Trump giving Democrats new ammunition. The President attacking former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, during her public testimony, tweeting in part, "Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him."
Immediately following that tweet, Yovanovitch was asked to respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): What effect do you think that has on other witnesses' willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?
YOVANOVITCH: Well, it's very intimidating.
SCHIFF: It's designed to intimidate, is it not?
YOVANOVITCH: I mean, I can't speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.
SCHIFF: Well, I want to let you know, Ambassador, that some of us here, take witness intimidation very, very seriously.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Alex Marquardt has more on Ambassador Yovanovitch's hearing.
YOVANOVITCH: Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want.
ALEXANDER MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A blistering opening statement by Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch highlighting her often dangerous decades of service as she took aim at the smear campaign to oust her from her post.
YOVANOVITCH: I mean, there is a question as to why the kind of campaign to get me out of Ukraine happened because all the president has to do is say he wants a different ambassador, and in my line of work and perhaps in your line of work as well, all we have is our reputation, and so this has been a very painful period.
MARQUARDT: The president has criticized Yovanovitch repeatedly, including on the July 25th call with President Zelensky, calling her bad news and saying she would go through some things.
YOVANOVITCH: I was shocked and devastated that I would feature in a phone call between two heads of state in such a manner where President Trump said I was bad news to another world leader and that I would be going through some things. So, I was -- it was -- it was a terrible moment.
MARQUARDT: Terrible and threatening.
YOVANOVITCH: It sounded like a threat.
DANIEL GOLDMAN, DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: Did you feel threatened?
YOVANOVITCH: I did.
MARQUARDT: Yovanovitch quickly called out Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer for leading the smear campaign against her.
YOVANOVITCH: I do not understand Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me.
MARQUARDT: Republicans didn't defend Giuliani's role or his parallel policy in Ukraine.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): I'm not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today. This is the House Intelligence Committee that's now turned into the house impeachment committee.
MARQUARDT: They argued that the president has the right to recall any ambassador he like, but Yovanovitch said the way she was attacked with no defense from her bosses and suddenly pulled out has created a chilling effect.
YOVANOVITCH: Not only in embassy in Kiev, but throughout the State Department because people don't know kind of whether their efforts to pursue our stated policy are going to be supported and that is a -- that is a dangerous place to be.
MARQUARDT: What was clear in this hearing today was how profoundly disturbing this experience has been for Yovanovitch -- a 33-year career coming to a crashing halt after she had been asked to extend her tenure in Kiev, then yanked out of her post by a 1:00 a.m. phone call and told to get on the next plane home. And then when she read the transcript of that July 25th call when the president talked about her going to go through some things, she said the color drained from her face and she had a physical reaction and it's no surprise, Erin, that Yovanovitch thinks there's been a chilling effect.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Alex.
And everyone is back with me. So, Laura, the tweet from the president attacking Yovanovitch which he sent while she testified and the sitting president watching today and sending this, is this witness intimidation?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it falls into the category, absolutely, Erin, and here's why. The president of the United States, remember, his job is to fully and faithfully execute the laws. One of the laws in the books is not to either try to change the testimony of the witness and not retaliate against them for doing so, and here you have the president of the United States using language to discredit this witness and to every other witness on the docket next week, from the whistle-blower and beyond, the president has a very clear message -- do not testify and if you do you will have the same behavior done to you.
BURNETT: You know, David, a Trump campaign source is telling CNN tonight that that tweet was, quote, idiotic and saying that it made Yovanovitch more sympathetic.
DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes.
BURNETT: It was very clear that many Republicans felt she was and found her to be entirely credible. Could his tweet backfire?
AXELROD: Oh, without question, and I think it did today. I think the Republicans had to spend half their time paying tribute to her illustrious history and credentials to try and compensate for what the president did. They also talked, by the way, about the fact that the president was very interested in getting the javelin missiles to the Ukrainians and the president was interested in fighting corruption. [19:35:09]
And she was a -- she was all for the missiles, and she was a renowned corruption fighter.
So why was she yanked out of there summarily and one suspects is because she was a corruption fighter and he was plotting what she would view as a potentially corrupt act.
BURNETT: Yes. I mean, we should note, Jim, right, she fought for a law establishing the independent anti-corruption court in Ukraine. I mean, there was no one who fought more against corruption than Marie Yovanovitch. Trump is denying it was witness intimidation, and, of course, his loyal lieutenants are, as well. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do.
REP. MICHAEL ZELDIN (R-NY): President Trump is right to want to defend himself.
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): I don't know that it was an attack on the witness. It was -- it was really a characterization of her resume.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: I don't know if he's trying to actually buy into the president blaming an ambassador for the disaster of Somalia, but it appears --
SCIUTTO: Well, take this in line with all we know about the president's treatment of this ambassador, beyond the tweet today, he endorsed a campaign to remove her, right? He said in a call, we have the transcript, things are going to happen to her, bad things which the ambassador took as meaning -- threatening things were going to happen to her and that's exactly what happened.
We all have freedom of expression. Can you intimidate a public witness in the midst of an impeachment trial? That's for the American people to decide.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you all very much.
And next, I'm going to talk to a Republican who was in the room and has been in the room with David Holmes who is testifying now. What does he make of this new testimony?
And Roger Stone found guilty of lying to protect Donald Trump. He is the sixth person in Trump's inner circle to be convicted.
[19:40:50] BURNETT: Breaking news: Anything you ask him to. That's what David Holmes, a career foreign service officer who served in the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, testified that Gordon Sondland told President Trump on a call about what Ukrainian President Zelensky was willing to do for Trump, and the president of the United States was talking so loudly on this phone call that Sondland held the phone away from his ear at a restaurant and Holmes along with others at the table heard President Trump's replies.
Trump saying, according to Holmes, quote, so they'll do the investigation. After the call which again, we understand at least three others at the table may have overheard, Holmes says, quote, I asked Ambassador Sondland if it was true that the president did not give a blank about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland agreed that the president did not give a blank about Ukraine.
I asked, why not? And Ambassador Sondland said that the president only cares about, quote, big stuff. I noted there was big stuff going on in Ukraine like the war with Russia and Ambassador Sondland replied that he meant, quote, big stuff that benefits the president like the, quote, Biden investigation.
Republican congressman from Ohio, Mike Turner, has been in the room with David Holmes. He was also in today's hearing with Ambassador Yovanovitch.
I know this has been a very important and busy day for you, Congressman.
Let me start with Holmes. You were in the room for his testimony. What was your reaction?
REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): You know, Erin, what is so important about the testimony of Holmes today is that it also occurred in secret. You shouldn't be on television reading a script of Holmes testimony. You should have it up on the screen.
You should have been able to be there. There was nothing classified that's happening and it's continuing Schiff's process of going in secret and having these witnesses testify and having a dress rehearsal, if you will, and then bringing them out in the public.
Now, I can't -- because he had it in secret, I can't confirm or deny that the transcript or opening statement that you have is in fact the hoping statement, and I can say this. There was no new information that Mr. Holmes brought forward and everything he has is second hand.
BURNETT: How is it secondhand if he heard the president of the United States say it?
TURNER: Well, if you keep going on your show to say is, further what Holmes says about Ukraine, about the money being withheld. So, all of that is secondhand and he has no real knowledge of anything with respect --
(CROSSTALK) BURNETT: Well, he heard the president of the United States that he's going to do the investigation, end quote. That's from President Trump's mouth.
TURNER: Well, that's what he says and he says it three months later and he says he took copious notes about everything else that happened except that.
But even so, Erin, let's take everything he said it's true and there's a question as to its accuracy, but let's take it as true. He's not saying anything that the president didn't say with Zelensky with the telephone call notes that we have that the president himself has said. There's no new information here.
There's not one thing that he says that the president said to Sondland that you don't have in the transcript --
BURNETT: So the president did ask -- you now -- you're saying the president did ask for an investigation into the Bidens by Zelensky?
TURNER: In the telephone notes that we all have, he asked him to take a look at it and that's no different than what Holmes is saying that he supposedly overheard a day later. We'll have to find out if that's true, and we'll have to see what Sondland says.
But even if we take it as true, he didn't say anything that the president said anything that goes beyond from what we already know and from the president's own release of the transcript of the notes of his telephone conversation with Zelensky.
BURNETT: So when Ambassador Sondland, when he will obviously testify next week in front of all of us and supposing as you say, let's suppose that he's going to come out and say indeed, this is true that he did call the president of the United States and the president says are you in Kiev and he says yes, and the president said, OK, so -- and Sondland tells the president that Zelensky loves your ass and the president says great, is he going to do the investigations and Sondland says yes, and he says, I know that meant Biden. You're OK with all of that?
TURNER: No, I'm not OK with any of that. But what I'm saying, because you said, what is the difference? Holmes isn't coming forward and saying anything different than what the notes that had been released that you already know of the conversation between President Trump and President Zelensky. There is no new information there.
BURNETT: I hear you. I guess I'm just confused because I keep hearing that there's hearsay and it's secondhand, but now you're saying, OK, it's not hearsay and it is the president and he said it before. It says are sounds like the defense is completely changing.
TURNER: No, what I said was that you are reporting additional things that Holmes supposedly said in secret testimony that's happening that should be happening in public. BURNETT: Uh-huh.
TURNER: That relate to the funds that are being withheld from the Ukraine or they were held from Ukraine with the intention of the president and all of that hearsay.
With respect to the telephone itself, if it did happen, and the way that he reports it happened, there's no new information other than the information you already have. So, it's not some bombshell and it's exactly just a day later the exact same information.
So I -- I don't know that this changes much. And by the way, they can parade out 20 other people who can say the same thing and unless they get some either direct knowledge or direct testimony from people who have new information, this is just the same thing.
BURNETT: Yes. I guess -- I guess, first of all, the president of the United States is -- he heard his voice and Sondland will be direct. So let me just cut to the very bottom of this because you and I know each other a long time --
BURNETT: -- let's just say that Ambassador Sondland comes out next week and says, yes, the president did tell me to do this, I was directed to get an investigation into Joe Biden and I was and we were holding up the aid.
TURNER: OK. That's not what Holmes said, though. I mean, that's not what Holmes says.
BURNETT: No, but hold on. But Holmes is giving what he heard. I'm saying you're going to talk to Sondland next week and let's say Sondland says that, that's what everybody says happened.
TURNER: Well, Erin --
BURNETT: Hold on, but, Congressman, if he says that, what are you going to do? Are you going to say it's bad and I don't like it, but it's not impeachable or would you consider it being impeachable?
TURNER: I'm not going to speculate on something that's not happened and that -- there's probably ten other things that Sondland could say that could be damaging or devastating, but what I'm saying, which you know to be the case, the testimony that you are currently reporting of what Holmes says supposedly happened on this conversation that he overheard of the president of the United States with Sondland, there's no new information in that. Everything he's saying that he supposedly overheard the president say while he was on the phone with Sondland and it wasn't on speaker phone.
BURNETT: No, no, he was holding it away from his ear. TURNER: Right, but you had a person on before he who said he was on
TURNER: There's nothing different than what the president himself has released from the White House in his conversation with Zelensky. There's nothing new. It's the same, and if Sondland confirms that that occurred, it's still -- I mean, it's a day later and it's the same phone call.
BURNETT: I think saying he loves your ass and he'll do anything you want him to do, and the president saying so there will be investigations is very significant. I think it's hard to argue that isn't significant, Congressman.
TURNER: That's -- well, no, let's unpack that for a second. First off, he apparently won't do anything that he wants him to because there were no investigations that were opened. None. Zero. So it didn't happen and he didn't do anything that the conversations were happening.
TURNER: And the second thing is that you're supposing that, like, that there's some other conversations that have happened which we don't have any information about.
BURNETT: All right. I will leave it there and I appreciate your time as always, Congressman. Thanks for being with me.
TURNER: Thank you.
BURNETT: And next, now there are six. Roger Stone is the latest Trump associate convicted for breaking the law tonight.
BURNETT: Another major story we're following tonight. Roger Stone found guilty. Longtime Trump friend found guilty on all seven counts, including lying to Congress and witness tampering. Stone is the sixth member of Trump's inner circle to be convicted in Mueller-related investigations. Five of the six convicted for lying.
Brynn Gingras is OUTFRONT.
REPORTER: Mr. Stone, what's your reaction to the verdict?
ROGER STONE, LONGTIME TRUMP ADVISER: No comment.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Roger Stone, long time Donald Trump confidant found guilty of seven federal charges including lying to Congress about his communications with WikiLeaks, the group who released hacked Democratic emails prior to the 2016 election.
Stone who is no stranger to the cameras has denied the charges numerous times publicly.
STONE: Never had any direct contact with Julian Assange or WikiLeaks. I had no advanced notice of the actual content or source of their material.
GINGRAS: Stone's trial was as much about President Trump and his campaign as it was about Stone. In court, prosecutors revealing new details previously redacted by special counsel, like the efforts Stone made to keep Trump's campaign informed of WikiLeaks plans and how the president's people even Trump himself allegedly welcomed that Intel.
STONE: WikiLeaks, I love WikiLeaks.
GINGRAS: Those emails and text messages would also show that he was communicating with the Trump campaign about WikiLeaks plans every chance he got, prosecutors told jurors, including calls with Trump himself. They show jurors a line graph of Stone's communications with top Trump campaign officials, highlighting spikes that prosecutors say were key moments in the release of stolen data.
Jurors also seeing evidence of communication from witnesses.
REPORTER: How are you doing this afternoon?
GINGRAS: Former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon who said Stone would be considered a, quote, access point to WikiLeaks and Julian Assange if the campaign wanted it, and former Trump aide Rick Gates who testified about a 2016 conversation between Trump and Stone regarding one WikiLeaks plan to reveal that fall.
He indicated more information would becoming, Gates told prosecutors Trump told him, adding it was, in a way, a gift we had not sought but was coming out.
The testimony directly contradicts what the president told Mueller in written answers to questions posed during the special counsel's investigation. Trump said he didn't recall his conversations with Stone and his discussions about WikiLeaks and the Democratic hack, a fact in the report now clearer from the Stone trial that Democrats jumped on when questioning Mueller this summer.
REP. MARY GAY SCANLON (D-PA): Is it fair then that the president denied knowledge of himself or anyone else discussing WikiLeaks dumps with Mr. Stone?
ROBERT MUELLER, FORMER SPECIAL COUNSEL: Yes, yes.
(END VIDEOTAPE) GINGRAS: And the question of whether Trump will pardon his friend still remains. Multiple sources actually told my colleague Kaitlan Collins that this is something he's been weighing, Erin, for the last several months and didn't take long after the verdict for Trump to get on Twitter and say it was unfair. But listen, he has some time. It's not going to be sentenced Stone until February.
BURNETT: Wow, but convicted on all counts.
Thank you so much, Brynn.
And we'll be right back.
BURNETT: Tonight marks the end of an historic week with three witnesses testifying publicly in the impeachment investigation of President Trump.
Next week, we'll be packed. Eight witnesses including the key testimony of E.U. Ambassador Gordon Sondland, the million dollar Trump donor at the center of the investigation.
Thank you for joining us. Stay with CNN for the latest developments. Anderson's next.