Return to Transcripts main page
U.S. aide Confirms Phone Call between Trump and Sondland; Trump Pardons Two Military Officers, Reinstates a Third; Prince Andrew Opens Up about Relationship with Jeffrey Epstein; Yellow Vest Movement One Year On; Trump Associate Roger Stone Found Guilty of Lying to Congress; Venice Flooding; On Board the World's Longest Passenger Flight. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired November 16, 2019 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Donald Trump tweets insults about an impeachment hearing witness while she was testifying before Congress.
Meanwhile, the president's long-time adviser could wind up in prison after being found guilty of lying and obstructing Congress.
Plus, Britain's Prince Andrew speaks out about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and allegations he had sex with an underage girl.
Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
HOLMES: Friday's testimony from two U.S. diplomats paints a vivid picture of the U.S. president's direct involvement in the Ukraine scandal. First up was former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Literally as she was outlining how she became the target of a smear campaign, the president went after her on Twitter. More about that in a moment.
The other witness was David Holmes, a U.S. State Department aide at the American embassy in Kiev. Holmes said he was told the president did not care about Ukraine, only in getting dirt on Democratic rival Joe Biden and Biden's son, Hunter.
He said the person who told him, that was the U.S. ambassador to the E.U., Gordon Sondland. Holmes said he was with Sondland in a restaurant as Sondland spoke with Mr. Trump on the phone.
Quote, "I heard Ambassador Sondland greet the president and explain he was calling from Kiev. I heard President Trump then clarify that the ambassador was in Ukraine.
"Ambassador Sondland replied, yes, he was in Ukraine, and went on to state that President Zelensky, quote, 'loves your ass.'
"I then heard President Trump ask, 'So he's going to do the investigation?'
"Ambassador Sondland replied, 'He's going to do it,' adding that President Zelensky will, quote, 'do anything you ask him to.'"
As we mentioned, Marie Yovanovitch was telling U.S. lawmakers how she had been treated by the Trump administration when the president himself attacked her on Twitter. CNN's Jessica Schneider with the details.
JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president is facing accusations he crossed the line, sending a tweet Democrats allege amounts to witness intimidation against career diplomat Marie Yovanovitch as she testified on Capitol Hill.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Ambassador Yovanovitch, as we sit here testifying, the president is attacking you on Twitter.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: I mean, I can't speak to what the president is trying to do. But I think the effect is to be intimidating.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Despite the White House saying the president would not watch the proceedings beyond Congressman Nunes' opening statement, the president sent this tweet an hour into the hearing.
"Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? It is a U.S. president's absolute right to appoint ambassadors."
Chairman Schiff read that tweet to Yovanovitch and Democrats warn that the president's online rant could prompt repercussions, including a new article of impeachment.
SCHIFF: Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Yovanovitch recounted how she's felt threatened by the president and his associates before.
YOVANOVITCH: The person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face. I think I even had a physical reaction.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Especially after the release of the July 25th phone call transcript between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky.
DANIEL GOLDMAN, ATTORNEY AND DIRECTOR OF INVESTIGATIONS, HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: President Trump says, "The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news. And the people she was dealing with in the Ukraine were bad news. So I just want to let you know."
What was your reaction when you heard the president of the United States refer to you as bad news?
YOVANOVITCH: I couldn't believe it. I mean, again, shocked, appalled, devastated that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state. And it was me. I mean, I couldn't believe it.
GOLDMAN: What did you think when President Trump told President Zelensky, and you read, that you were "going to go through some things?"
YOVANOVITCH: I didn't know what to think but I was very concerned.
GOLDMAN: What were you concerned about?
YOVANOVITCH: "She's going to go through some things."
YOVANOVITCH: It didn't sound good. It sounded like a threat.
GOLDMAN: Did you feel threatened?
YOVANOVITCH: I did.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Yovanovitch was ousted from her post as ambassador to Ukraine in May after a campaign to remove her that she says was led by Rudy Giuliani and his circulation of rumors that she was undermining the president.
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.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): Yovanovitch then went point by point to rebut the allegations against her.
YOVANOVITCH: I want to reiterate first that the allegation that I disseminated a do not prosecute list was a fabrication. I did not tell Mr. Lutsenko or other Ukrainian officials who they should or should not prosecute.
Also untrue are unsourced allegations that I told unidentified embassy employees or Ukrainian officials that President Trump's orders should be ignored because he was going to be impeached or for any other reason. I did not and I would not say such a thing.
The Obama administration did not ask me to help the Clinton campaign or harm the Trump campaign.
GOLDMAN: Was the allegation that you were badmouthing President Trump true?
YOVANOVITCH: No. What I can say is that Mr. Giuliani should have known those claims were suspect, coming as they reportedly did from individuals with questionable motives and with reason to believe that their political and financial ambitions would be stymied by our anti- corruption policy in Ukraine.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): The former ambassador warning it sends the wrong message to countries like Russia.
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.
SCHNEIDER (voice-over): And as Yovanovitch's approximately six hours of testimony ended, people in the hearing room applauded the former ambassador, who has spent 33 years in the Foreign Service.
SCHNEIDER: Maria Yovanovitch wasn't the only key voice testifying on Capitol Hill Friday. David Holmes also talked behind closed doors. We've learned that he is the aide Bill Taylor referenced in his testimony Wednesday, who overheard that phone call E.U. ambassador Gordon Sondland took at a Kiev restaurant on July 26th from President Trump, where the president allegedly asked about investigations.
It is just the latest in the rapid succession of closed door and public testimony that will continue next week, with eight witnesses giving public testimony -- Jessica Schneider, CNN, Washington.
HOLMES: And President Trump brushed off the suggestion his tweet was intimidating. He said he was exercising his constitutional rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I have the right to speak. I have freedom of speech just as other people do.
QUESTION: Sir, with your freedom, were you trying to intimidate Ambassador Yovanovitch?
TRUMP: I just want to have a total -- I want freedom of speech. That's a political process. The Republicans have been treated very badly.
QUESTION: Do you believe your (INAUDIBLE) words can be intimidating?
TRUMP: I don't think so at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: And Greg Swenson is with Republicans Overseas U.K. and a founding partner of Brigg Macadam.
Thanks for being with us. Let's start with the evidence of David Holmes. Those words, "I heard the president say," they're key words for Democrats, who face criticism from Republicans for second-hand evidence. How significant do you think the Holmes testimony is when it comes to
GREG SWENSON, REPUBLICANS OVERSEAS U.K.: I don't think it's particularly meaningful. Nothing is really new in the last few days. We've heard a lot of testimony. I think it was coming from reputable people, for sure. They really are.
But none of the testimony had any kind of bombshells or so-called bombshells that the Democrats talk about. So I think it was pretty much another day in the saga of the impeachment drama. I don't think it's going to move the needle.
HOLMES: Donald Trump denied this week knowing anything about that July 26th call, never heard of it, he said and he said he hardly knew Sondland, yet Ambassador Sondland can apparently pick up the cell phone and get the president on the line and, according to Holmes, there were two others at the table that might testify about what was said. That is a pretty direct link.
Is that not new?
SWENSON: Look, there is always going to be people that can brag about being close to the president and any powerful --
HOLMES: The people at the table heard the president.
SWENSON: Sure, they overheard the phone call. And that's fine. I think there's plenty of people who can reach the president. This is a president who is very unconventional. I think it's one of the reasons he was elected and might very well be re-elected next year. He doesn't do things by the book. He's not very diplomatic.
SWENSON: I think it was a tactical mistake but he's not a conventional president by any means.
HOLMES: Is being unconventional asking for a foreign government to investigate a political rival?
SWENSON: I think it shows some of the double standard and the hypocrisy on the Left in much of the media where when this has been done in the past by the Obama administration and by the Clinton campaign it was overlooked.
HOLMES: How so?
Give me an example.
SWENSON: I could give a few. When first even going back to 2012, when the press on the Left were critical of Mitt Romney for calling out the Russians, you saw it in 2016 when the Obama administration was asking the Ukrainians to investigate the Trump campaign. And that a lot of that, you know, shows the double standard. So it's happened many times and I think even when Vice President Biden
threatened to withhold aid and bragged about it when he returned to Washington.
HOLMES: That was nothing about investigating a political rival.
SWENSON: Sure, I mean, I think --
HOLMES: You know that.
SWENSON: Of course the E.U. did.
SWENSON: So then the question is should the vice president, you know, receive a pass --
SWENSON: -- just because he's running for president doesn't mean he should necessarily have a pass.
HOLMES: But he didn't do anything wrong. I'm trying to get your analogy there.
SWENSON: Yes, I think there's -- at the very least, a perception of wrongdoing, even if it wasn't proved.
But I think there was definitely that appearance of conflict of interest and can, in fact, that was well known to the vice president and to his administration. You saw that in the preparation that the former ambassador had prior to her Senate hearing.
So look, this isn't news, either. I think the double standard is there. The voters understand that. That's why there's not much movement in the polls. You saw a bump when Ms. Pelosi announced the impeachment hearings a month ago. Other than that, it really hasn't moved the needle.
You have 8 percent of Americans that might be swayed one way or the other.
HOLMES: Well, the majority of the people are supportive of the impeachment process. I was going to ask you, though, Ambassador Sondland is going to appear before Congress next Wednesday. He might be feeling pretty vulnerable now and perhaps feels he needs to come clean on version number three.
SWENSON: No, I think -- Michael, first of all, you mentioned the majority of people favor the impeachment. The majority of Democrats favor the impeachment.
HOLMES: No, people. SWENSON: But the majority of Republicans are opposed to it. Only 8 percent can be swayed either way. Most of the people have sort of dug in on their views. That's -- and Ms. Pelosi argued for months against impeachment and she said, if we were to do it, it would have to be bipartisan and it's clearly not.
So look, I think the president is probably not -- he's probably not worried about anything next week. There wasn't really any big surprises this week and it will be more of the same.
They've been at this for 3.5 years. Perhaps if they hadn't tried it from the day after the election or at the very least talking about impeachment since January 2017, if that wasn't the case, maybe there would be some credibility to Adam Schiff right now.
HOLMES: Another eight witnesses next week, including somebody from the Office of Management and Budget.
SWENSON: While unseemly, it won't be anything that says this is an impeachable offense.
HOLMES: We shall see. Greg, appreciate it. We're out of time. Thanks.
SWENSON: Thank you.
HOLMES: While the president faces those impeachment hearings, one of his longtime advisers has been found guilty of lying to and obstructing Congress. A federal jury convicting Roger Stone on seven counts Friday in a case stemming from the Russia probe.
Now those include lying during testimony and failing to turn over documents about his attempted contacts with WikiLeaks. For the most serious of his crimes, witness tampering, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years.
Prosecutors wanted Stone taken into custody immediately. The judge declined that. But he's still under a gag order while he awaits sentencing February 6th. We'll have more on that story a little later on the program.
President Trump has ignored advice from his military and absolved three U.S. service members accused of war crimes.
HOLMES: Mr. Trump pardoning 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, who was convicted for ordering his troops to open fire on three people in Afghanistan.
The president pardoned Army Major Matthew Golsteyn, who was charged with the murder of an Afghan bomb maker.
Mr. Trump reinstated Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher to the rank of chief petty officer after he was convicted of posing with the corpse of an ISIS detainee he was earlier cleared of murdering.
When we come back, Prince Andrew breaks his silence. He says he doesn't ever remember meeting a woman who accused him of sexual abuse when he was a minor. Just ahead, hear what his accuser described what it was like to share her story.
Plus Paris on alert as Yellow Vest protesters mark one year since they first took to the streets. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: Welcome back. Britain's Prince Andrew speaking out about his links to the late disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein. Prince Andrew telling the BBC he let the royal family down by meeting with Epstein even after he was convicted as a sex offender.
HOLMES: The royal also says he has no recollection of meeting one of Epstein's accusers, who said, when she was minor, she was forced to have sex with the prince. Hadas Gold with more.
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This sit-down is the first time Prince Andrew has been interviewed about his relationship with Jeffrey Epstein and the allegations the senior royal had inappropriate sexual relations with young women.
In 2015, one of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said in a federal court filing that Epstein forced her to have sex with the prince while under age. This past August, Epstein was found dead in his jail cell in New York while he awaited trial on charges he was running a sex trafficking ring of underage girls, some as young as 14.
Prince Andrew has strenuously denied the allegations. He told the BBC he just does not recall ever meeting Giuffre, even though a photograph of the duke with his arm around Giuffre's waist allegedly taken in 2001 first surfaced in Britain's "Mail" on Sunday in 2011.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of Epstein's accusers, Virginia Roberts, has made allegations against you. She says she met you in 2001. She says she dined with you, danced with you at Tramp nightclub in London. She went on to have sex with you in a house in Belgravia belonging to Ghislaine Maxwell, your friend.
PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK: I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady. None whatsoever. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don't remember meeting her?
GOLD (voice-over): Prince Andrew has previously said he met Epstein in 1999 and saw him infrequently and probably no more than only once or twice a year. The prince also said that he stayed at a number of Epstein's residences.
But the third child of Queen Elizabeth continued seeing him, staying at Epstein's home in New York even after the financier first pleaded guilty to sex crimes.
ANDREW: The problem was the fact that, once he had been convicted...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You stayed with him.
ANDREW: -- I stayed with him. And that's the bit that, as if where I kick myself for on a daily basis because it was not something that was becoming of a member of the royal family. And we try and uphold the highest standards and practices. And I let the side down, simple as that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOLD: The BBC says the no-holds-barred interview, recorded Thursday at Buckingham Palace, will air on Saturday evening -- Hadas Gold, CNN, London.
HOLMES: Now the woman accusing Prince Andrew of assaulting her when she was 17 years old spoke to CNN's Vicky Ward last month. Here is what she said about coming forward with the allegations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICKY WARD, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: You begin to realize the enormity of what you alone basically were trying to do, because it's what, as it was, Jeffrey Epstein was very rich and seemingly untouchable.
Now you've got a member of the British royal family. I mean, you're going after two of the best connected, seemingly untouchable targets in the world.
I mean, what did that feel like?
VIRGINIA ROBERTS GIUFFRE, EPSTEIN VICTIM: There's a lot of feelings, again, that go through it. It's a very scary feeling because I know how powerful they are. And Epstein had always told me, he'll never go to jail for this. He owns the Palm Beach Police Department. He's blackmailed tons of his very wealthy friends.
In terms of Prince Andrew, he hides under Mommy's skirt.
So will there ever be a day that he's held accountable?
Probably not. But it doesn't stop me from saying the truth and telling people out there that, just because you're rich and powerful or you have a great name attached to the last name of you, it doesn't mean that you can get away with hurting people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Vicky Ward has reported on Jeffrey Epstein for almost two decades. Her CNN podcast, "The Jeffrey Epstein I Knew," will have new episodes starting November 26th.
One year on and the Yellow Vest protests are no longer grinding Paris to a halt. The movement began over a now canceled fuel tax hike. It then evolved into other grievances like cost of living and inequality.
Protests have dwindled in recent months but there is still fear the violent unrest could disrupt France. Melissa Bell joins me now from Paris on this anniversary.
Give us a sense of how Paris is feeling.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, bracing itself, really, you can see a lot of police men and women out there, making sure that the streets will stay safe or at least violence-free this Saturday.
You're right, Michael, what we had seen over the course of the last year after those massive figures of Yellow Vests on the street, not just of Paris but other French cities Saturday after Saturday starting a year ago and lasting for several weeks after that.
BELL: We have seen in these last few months the numbers really dwindle. Some Yellow Vests continued two-man roadblocks up and down the country here and there. But really the numbers that turned out to demonstrate were significantly down. So the movement seemed to have lost its momentum.
But this, the anniversary, has led to a number of calls on social media for them to come out massively. So once again, we'll look at how many people do make it out on the streets, how much trouble they can cause.
Where we are, this part of the Champs-Elysees has been blocked off to them and the authorities have said no to their requests to hold demonstrations here, so they've been gathering in other parts of Paris; 16 have been arrested so far.
Will they manage to get enough numbers on the streets to cause problems in Paris and all around the country?
HOLMES: And despite all that, French president Macron is also facing problems on pension reforms. So his problems haven't gone away.
BELL: That's right. I suspect that is probably the more worrying for the French government at this stage. In a sense, the strength of the Yellow Vest movement has remained leaderless. It has rather led to its leaving its momentum. It's never managed to structure itself and take any significant power.
In the European elections, for instance, in which they stood, what is changing now?
This is about pension reform. Emmanuel Macron is determined to push it through. But it could be his toughest battle with the unions yet. Those rail unions are calling for everyone to go on strike.
And the danger for the government is the Yellow Vests combine their forces with the unions for that date and that could cause massive trouble here in France.
HOLMES: Melissa Bell in Paris, thanks, Melissa.
Now the Russia investigation produces another conviction. Roger Stone becomes the latest Trump associate to be found guilty of a crime. Ahead, the impact the verdict could have on the president.
Also, floodwaters force businesses and iconic landmarks to close in Venice.
What's next for the lagoon city?
A live report on that coming up after the break.
HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world.
HOLMES: As we have reported, Roger Stone, the U.S. president's longtime adviser, has become the latest Trump associate to be convicted in a case stemming from the Russia probe.
A jury has found Stone guilty of seven counts, including witness tampering, obstructing a congressional committee proceeding and lying during testimony. CNN's Sara Murray with more on the case.
SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A jury in Washington agreed with prosecutors that truth still matters and found Roger Stone guilty on Friday of several criminal counts, including lying to Congress. Stone, a longtime friend and political adviser to President Trump, was
convicted of five counts of lying to Congress, one of witness tampering and one of obstructing a congressional committee proceeding.
Prosecutor argued that Stone lied about his contact with Trump and other campaign officials about WikiLeaks 2016 release of hacked Democratic emails because "it would look really bad for his longtime associate Donald Trump."
They told the jury "truth still matters."
After two days of deliberations, the jury agreed.
Stone, a veteran of public and political operative known for his flamboyant style, offered no audible reaction as the verdict was delivered. His wife let out a sign of relief when the judge announced Stone could await his February sentencing from home rather than behind bars.
The verdict marks the conclusion of one of Robert Mueller's highest profile prosecutions. Stone was arrested in a predawn raid at his Florida home in January as Mueller's team was winding down its investigation. The trial revealed new details that had been redacted from the Mueller report, like how eager the Trump campaign was to get dirt from WikiLeaks in 2016.
TRUMP: WikiLeaks. I love WikiLeaks.
MURRAY (voice-over): And a number of phone calls between Stone and Trump at a time when Stone was claiming he had direct contact with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
ROGER STONE, LONG-TIME TRUMP ALLY: I actually have communicated with Assange.
MURRAY (voice-over): A claim Stone now denies. On one call in July 2016, Trump and Stone apparently spoke about the upcoming release of hacked Democratic emails, according to testimony from former Trump campaign official Rick Gates earlier this week.
Trump told Mueller's team, "I do not recall discussing WikiLeaks with him."
President Trump, who has weighed whether to pardon Stone in recent months, slammed the verdict, tweeting, "So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come."
He called Stone's conviction "a double standard," claiming Hillary Clinton, Adam Schiff and even Robert Mueller had lied.
MURRAY (voice-over): Stone declined to comment on a possible pardon.
QUESTION: Mr. Stone, what's your reaction to the verdict?
STONE: No comment.
QUESTION: Will you be seeking a pardon from President Trump?
STONE: No comment.
MURRAY (voice-over): Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.
HOLMES: And joining me now is David Katz, former U.S. assistant attorney.
Thank you so much for doing so. Let's talk about the seven felony charges, seven guilty verdicts, lying to Congress, witness tampering, could mean 20 years in jail.
How does this hurt Donald Trump and the Trump narrative?
It certainly sends a message.
DAVID KATZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, it hurts terribly, really, because something happened with WikiLeaks that was very, very vicious. And as your piece showed, Stone took credit for it.
But Stone didn't take credit to know it so he could publish it. He took credit for it so he could use it and he bragged about the fact of how much he was helping Trump. It will be pretty ironic if he ends up in prison during the Trump presidency, which it looks like he will because he was one of the two or three people who really encouraged Trump to run for president.
But then he didn't end up being campaign chairman or really being part of the campaign because he had such a controversial dirty trickster past. So he tried to make himself valuable. And he knows a lot about it.
That is why Mueller wanted to talk with him. That's why the House investigators wanted to talk to him. And the charge was that he lied to all of those people and he also intimidated a witness in a rather comical way.
But it's not very funny if you're the person who is told you're going to die and I'm going to take your dog and you should clam up like they did in "The Godfather." It's not very comical if it's happening to you as the victim.
HOLMES: And you make this point. Former Trump aide Rick Gates testified in the trial about a conversation he had between -- about a conversation between Stone and Donald Trump regarding WikiLeaks.
Gates said Trump told him more information would be coming and so on. This contradicts what Trump told Mueller in his written testimony. He said he didn't recall conversations about WikiLeaks with Stone.
Does that complicate life for the president?
KATZ: It certainly complicates life because now Stone is another person that he's scared may roll over on him. And you might think, well, these people aren't going to roll over on him because Manafort didn't. Remember, Manafort turned out to be not really helping the prosecution but a spy on the prosecution, trying to help Trump.
And other people that you would think would turn on the president, because they know so much. But this Stone conversation, if Stone decides to tell it, would be very revealing because Gates, as you say, testified that there was a conversation in July 2016, a critical time, when Trump was on the phone with Stone.
After that conversation, which unfortunately Gates was not privy to, Trump turned to him and said, there would be more WikiLeaks stuff coming.
Remember they predicted the date awfully well, Stone and the Trump team did. So as you say, there's a lot of grounds for suspicion. It's one more person that Trump may be worrying about and maybe should be worrying about and he may start tweeting about him like he did about Michael Cohen.
He may be another rat and another snitch in Trump's book because he knows a lot, Stone. People who are 67 -- I'm a criminal defense attorney. They really don't want to go to prison.
It's one thing to clown around the way that he did. It's another thing to go to trial. It's another thing to really be looking at federal prison when you're 67, 68 years old. He's facing 20 years. He won't get 20 years. But he's facing a big -- a chunk of time and he went to trial. And I don't think any of it made a good impression on the sentencing judge.
HOLMES: And, of course, six associates of the president have been convicted of crimes since he took office, too.
It was interesting, though, talking about spending time in jail, pretty much immediately after the verdict, you had the president tweeting about the conviction by a jury of his peers, saying it was unfair.
And, of course, in recent months, he has reportedly weighed pardoning Roger Stone if he was convicted.
What would that look like, though, optics wise?
KATZ: Optics, it would look terrible because it would look like he was giving him a pardon just to shut his mouth. If Trump loses or gets impeached and removed, one of his last acts certainly this year or next year, if he's leaving office, will be to pardon a whole bunch of people.
But it's a big thing to do and it's also possible that Trump might get re-elected and not be removed in the impeachment. Those pardons are very hard to do when you're actually in office. The famous ones were done while people were leaving office. George Bush, Clinton, the controversial pardons, Cap Weinberger, just as the president was leaving office.
So I think Stone may be very disappointed when it all shakes out and at the point he gets really disappointed, he could turn around and be another Michael Cohen because he really knows a lot.
KATZ: And he was really disrespected by the president.
If he sits down and thinks about it, what did he ever get out of any of this, Stone?
HOLMES: Well, the president has pardoned several people, including war criminals today. So he has done some pardoning. David Katz, former assistant U.S. attorney, appreciate it. Thanks so much.
KATZ: Great to be with you.
HOLMES: We'll take a short break. When we come back, floodwaters crippling Venice for a fourth consecutive day as damages soar into the hundreds of millions of dollars. This is a live picture coming to you from Venice.
Is there any relief in sight?
We'll be live in the lagoon city.
Also, CNN was on board the historic nonstop flight from London to Sydney. Now Richard Quest shows us what it was like to be part of the long-haul experiment.
HOLMES: Venice is hoping for some relief from that, the flooding, the rising water crippling the lagoon city, forcing businesses and historic landmarks to close. This is the worst flooding the area has seen in more than 50 years, the second worst ever, causing hundreds of millions in damages. Scott McLean joins me now from Venice.
The tide was out earlier as I saw you.
What are they expecting there?
So much damage to monuments, shops and homes.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, today is a brief bit of respite here. Venice seems more like itself. The souvenir stalls are out, people are milling about. A lot of the restaurants are starting to reopen that were affected by this. But the tide is starting to come up. The peak will be in the next
hour or so. And so some of this might actually be wet. As we move into St. Mark's Square, this is the basilica here, just the side of it. The officials have put these tables or these platforms for people to walk on.
MCLEAN: This is common here in Venice when the high water comes up. So they're prepared for some water, they're just not prepared for the amount of water that they got on Tuesday, when the level peaked at 187 centimeters above sea level. That is a lot more than they're used to dealing with.
This square will start to flood at just 80 centimeters. So that was an entire meter above that.
It was a perfect storm of things that had come together. A storm moved through south Europe, it was strong winds pushing the waves on shore. And it was a full moon, as well, which exacerbated things here, making it the worst flooding in 50 years.
The problem is, while things seem more normal today, even though the square is flooded it will be a whole other disaster tomorrow. They've upgraded the tidal forecast now to 160 centimeters, only 27 centimeters off from where we were at the peak on Tuesday.
So you see a lot of the places here in Venice, they have some flood production. They have floodgates on the bottom of their storefronts or on their homes to try to keep some water out. But they only work up to a certain point.
So what we saw on Tuesday and the fear is that wind and waves could push the water even beyond those barriers and cause some flooding. So this is a real big headache for people here, Michael.
HOLMES: Scott McLean, stay dry. Appreciate that in Venice.
HOLMES: See what it was like on board the world's longest ever commercial flight when we come back.
HOLMES: Qantas Airlines has pushed the frontier of modern aircraft capabilities after successfully completing the world's longest nonstop commercial flight from London to Sydney. It lasted a record 19 hours and 19 minutes. That's a long way if you're not at the pointy end.
Our Richard Quest was one of a handful of journalists to get to experience it all.
RICHARD QUEST, CNNMONEY EDITOR AT LARGE (voice-over): 4:30 in the morning when check-in begins.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you checking any packages?
QUEST (voice-over): For QF-7879, the flight from London to Sydney.
QUEST (voice-over): We lift off before dawn and head east and our first sunrise on this double sunrise flight. It's a rare aviation event for the same flight to see two sunrises across different days.
Even the Qantas CEO takes time to capture the moment.
This flight is all about research for both crew and passengers, learning how our bodies handle ultra-long haul.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It really gives us an indication of their sleep behavior at different times.
QUEST (voice-over): That means exercise. Luckily, the plane is empty.
QUEST: This flight is an airline CEO's nightmare. Rows and rows of empty seats. They have to be empty. If they were filled with passengers, we would never get to Sydney.
QUEST (voice-over): The flight is also about research, with the pilots and their brain patterns.
QUEST (voice-over): Qantas will need to convince regulators to allow pilots to be on duty for up to 24 hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm wearing an EEG monitor to monitor the alertness level while I'm sitting in the flight deck and operating. And I'll switch to a different one at night.
QUEST (voice-over): Our first meal is crafted to promote sleep.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So the way we've designed the menu is to support the sleep cycles and awake cycles throughout the flight. We've got a high (INAUDIBLE) fridge (ph) and we're carrying dishes that have good quality protein and that helps to encourage the production of serotonin and melatonin. QUEST (voice-over): Halfway there and over China, some are sleeping, others are not. I'm just enjoying the experience. Our second sunrise comes as we pass the Philippines. It's thought less than a thousand passengers in total have experienced the double sunrise.
QUEST: We're flying over the South China Sea and we've been airborne for some 12 hours and we still have the equivalent of London to New York to do.
QUEST (voice-over): Qantas has put a lot of money and effort into ultra-long haul research, far more than other airlines who have similar routes. Alan Joyce joins explains why.
ALAN JOYCE, QANTAS CEO: You can't do the type of studying that we're doing on regular flights. The pilot is going to be wearing headgear. They're going to be testing urine. And you can't do that on regular flights that you can do on these delivery flights.
QUEST (voice-over): Before long, we're on final approach. This flight has gone much faster than I expected. Not exactly sure what I've done for all these hours. We land in Sydney.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations on (INAUDIBLE).
QUEST (voice-over): Have we broken the record?
Yes, we've made history.
QUEST: So it looks like we've done it, the longest flight in the world in both time, at over 19 hours, 19 minutes, and distance, well over 10,000 miles; two records, one flight.
HOLMES: Richard Quest there. He would be at the pointy end.
Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes. CNN NEWSROOM continues after the break.