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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Source: Trump Suggested Firing Impeachment Witnesses As Nine More Set To Testify Publicly This Week; Source: Trump Suggested Firing Impeachment Witnesses; Aides Warn This Could Be Perceived As Retaliation; Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) Discuss About President Trump And His Aides Respond To Witnesses Coming Forward To Testify; GOP Lawmakers "Shaken" By Testimony Of Aide Who Overheard Trump Ask About Ukraine Investigation; Trump's Unannounced Hospital Visit Raising Questions; Source: Hospital Visit "Not Protocol" For Routine Exam. Aired 7-8p ET
Aired November 18, 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: You can always tweet the show @CNNSITROOM. Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, sources tell CNN the President suggesting people who have testified against him be let go as aides close to the President are now pushing back. Plus, Republicans said to be shaken by the testimony of a State Department aide who overheard Trump's phone call to his EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, why some fear it was the most convincing testimony yet? And 2020 candidate Andrew Yang taking on Joe Biden and what the former VP calls a gateway drug. Yang is my guest. Let's go out front.
And good evening. I'm Erin Burnett. OUTFRONT tonight the breaking news, President Trump retaliating, CNN learning tonight that Trump wants to get rid of impeachment witnesses who are still working at the White House. We're talking about witnesses like Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman who will be talking testifying publicly before the nation tomorrow. He's the White House's top Ukraine expert and he was on the call between Trump and the Ukraine President Zelensky.
Vindman testifying that he was so concerned by Trump's behavior regarding Ukraine that he reported it to lawyers twice. Trump has already tried to smear Vindman's reputation calling him a never Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sir, what evidence do you have that Colonel Vindman is a never Trumper?
TRUMP: We'll be showing that to you real soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Well, so far, of course, the President has shown us nothing. Vindman is not though the only witness still working at the White House that Trump wants sent back to the State Department. The President slamming Jennifer Williams, a Special Adviser to Vice President Mike Pence. Trump calling her a never Trumper too even though, of course, she was handpicked by Pence's National Security Adviser.
Now, Williams and Vindman are among nine witnesses who will be will be testifying publicly this week. It is a crucial week. You can't understate it. It is make or break for Democrats. If Williams upcoming testimony televised is consistent though with what she said under oath behind closed doors in her deposition, she'll say of Trump's call with the Ukrainian president, "I would say that it struck me as unusual and inappropriate."
A word that directly contradicts what Trump has said again, and again and again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: ... a perfect call and highly appropriate.
Totally appropriate. Absolutely totally appropriate.
Totally perfect and appropriate.
Highly appropriate and perfect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. We have a lot to get to tonight. I want to start with Pamela Brown out front live outside the White House. And Pamela, this is your reporting on the President wanting to send some of these people detailed to the White House away. How are the President's aide responding to this?
PAMELA BROWN, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's right, Erin. Me and my colleague, Kevin Liptak have learned that White House aides have actually explored moving some impeachment witnesses on loan to the White House from other agencies such as Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, who will be testifying tomorrow back to their home agencies ahead of schedule.
One source tells me that even includes Vindman's twin brother who hasn't testified, but was a key witness as an NSC lawyer. And Trump is asking a new how witnesses such as Vindman and Ambassador Bill Taylor came to work for his administration sources say he had suggested again that they'd be dismissed. But White House advisors, Erin, have warned that any such move could be viewed as retaliation.
In fact, I'm told early on when administration officials began testifying, the White House had decided that would not fire them because of those retaliation concerns. But that, of course, is being tested as of late as these public hearings breathe new life into the allegations.
Over the weekend, a GOP talking point emerged, Erin, that Trump is well within his rights to choose his own team. That was a response to career diplomat, the former ambassador who testified on Friday. Her public recounting of the smear campaign orchestrated by Trump's allies to push her from her post in Ukraine. And then there was a day later, Trump himself, Erin, suggested on Twitter he'd already fired the three State Department employees who have appeared in public impeachment hearings.
He quoted that conservative radio host, Rush Limbaugh. Now, that has not happened but the uncertainty has created a thorny situation here at the White House ahead of several public hearings this week involving administration officials, Erin.
BURNETT: So Pam in terms of what happens here, do you have any sense or is this sort of a everybody a wait and see what the President decides to do with his often Mercurial attitude?
BROWN: There is sort of a wait and see attitude. Right now there are these discussions happening here at the White House about moving these NSC staffers. Some of them back to their home agencies ahead of schedule. One official I spoke to said that there has been some pushback internally though because of that concern that that could look like retaliation, even just that moving them back to their home agency.
BROWN: And as you know the National Security Adviser of the President is doing an aggressive restructuring of the NSC.
So that could potentially folded into that. We're just going to have to wait and see how all of this plays out, Erin.
BURNETT: All right. Pamela, thank you very much reporting live from the White House. Let's go now to Democratic Congressman David Cicilline who sits on the House Judiciary Committee which, of course, will be drafting articles of impeachment. Congressman, I appreciate your time.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): My Pleasure.
So you hear this reporting that the President is considering getting rid of people who are detailed the White House. That could include Mr. Vindman, Ms. Williams, people and sending them back, in those cases, to the State Department. Would you have a problem with the White House doing that?
CICILLINE: Of course. Look, these are extraordinary patriots who came forward, who told the truth, who described the President, his effort to essentially bribe the Ukrainians to begin an investigation against his chief political rival and holding up military assistance that was approved by Congress to add additional leverage to that demand. This is shocking behavior of the President. These witnesses have served their country both as military leaders, as leaders in the foreign service. They're incredible patriots.
They provided credible and damning testimony about the President's grave misconduct. And the idea that the President focused on trying to punish them for coming forward and telling the truth about this very, very disturbing behavior is really appalling. I mean, these individuals should be celebrated. They are patriots. They came forward and testified honestly about the very serious misconduct of this president.
BURNETT: So the President, obviously, when talking about Jennifer Williams who, of course, is detailed to Vice President Pence's staff. She's going to testify tomorrow. Trump tweeted about her today, "Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls, & see the just released statement from Ukraine. Then she should meet with the other never Trumpers, who I don't know & mostly have never even heard of, & work out a better presidential attack."
Obviously, when Ambassador Yovanovitch was testifying, he came out and disparaged her. You call that witness tampering and a crime. Do you consider what he did to Jennifer Williams today also witness tampering and A crime?
CICILLINE: Well, this is President of the United States clearly trying to discourage witnesses from coming forward and testifying truthfully before the Congress of the United States. He initially tried to prevent witnesses from complying with subpoenas at all. He's persuaded witnesses not to produce documents, but the dam is broken because great patriots have defied his direction and come forward and responded to lawful subpoenas or request to appear before Congress and to testify.
And I think this is a president who is very concerned about what these witnesses are saying. They're credible. They're testifying under oath. They're providing very clear evidence that the President of the United States pressured a foreign leader to begin an investigation, a phony investigation against his chief political rival and interfere with American presidential election.
The President's behavior is wrong. It is illegal to try to intimidate a witness from coming forward. And the good news is despite his best efforts, these great patriots are continuing to come forward and testify truthfully.
BURNETT: Here's the question I have though, when you say it's illegal and it's a crime, and you're making that clear, you're in the Judiciary Committee, you're going to be drafting articles of impeachment, are you going to put things like this in there? Do they strengthen your case or do they water it down because they are separate from the core issue with which you are concerned, i.e. the call with Ukraine.
CICILLINE: Well, look, I think we have a responsibility as members of the Judiciary Committee to take all of the evidence, both the evidence we've collected and the evidence that's been collected by the Intelligence Committee as it relates to the Ukraine scandal and then make judgments about whether or not articles of impeachment should be filed and what they should be.
But you're way ahead of us, we're still awaiting the final report from the Intelligence Committee. I think we'll look at all of the conduct of the President, all of the facts and then decide what's appropriate in terms of articles of impeachment should we get to that point? BURNETT: And do you expect that they're working on that document that
they'll need to give you that report concurrently with the testimony that we're hearing as in once they're done this week, they should be to get you all something pretty quickly?
I hope so, but obviously this is a busy week. There are nine witnesses that will be testifying this week. The Chairman and the members of the committee and the staff have been hard at work, so I know they're going to move forward expeditiously. But we want them, of course, to be thorough and careful and be complete.
So they'll finish it when they finish it and the Judiciary Committee awaits that report.
BURNETT: So I also want to ask you about the other testimony. This is going to be Colonel Vindman and I mentioned him, he was also on the call. He's one of the people that the President may want to be obviously send back to the State Department. He had reported his concerns about the call and the President's dealings with Ukraine at least twice to lawyers.
His boss, Tim Morrison, who is the top Ukraine official on the National Security Council was also on the call and the transcript of Morrison's closed door deposition was released over the weekend. And I just wanted to read to you the operative line of what he said about Colonel Vindman.
He says of Vindman, "I had concerns about Lieutenant Colonel Vindman's judgment and Fiona Hill and others had raised concerns about Alex's judgment."
Obviously, Vindman is a crucial witness for Democrats. Does this give you pause?
CICILLINE: No, not at all. No, not at all. I had the opportunity to see Lieutenant Colonel Vindman testify. The American people will have the same opportunity this week. This is a man who has served his country in extraordinary ways. A decorated military officer. Someone who is credible and trustworthy who provided very, very important evidence during the course of his deposition. The American people will see that.
I think there has been an effort by some of my Republican colleagues to attack this war hero. I think it's disgraceful. This is a man who was served his country, who had the courage to come forward when he saw something that was wrong and reported it.
We should remember, Ukraine is a country that was under attack, in an active war with the Russians. Military aid from the United States was really their lifeline and the President of the United States held that up until he could get a promise for a meeting and a promise to open a phony investigation. This is deadly serious.
Colonel Vindman is an extraordinary witness and I think the American people will find him very credible.
BURNETT: Thank you very much, Congressman Cicilline. I appreciate your time tonight.
CICILLINE: My pleasure, Erin.
BURNETT: And next breaking news, Republicans, the quote from the reporting tonight shaken by a State Department aide's testimony that he heard Trump directly, heard his voice, asking about investigations in Ukraine. That aide now scheduled to testify publicly that late breaking news tonight. Plus, new questions about President Trump's health this evening. Is the White House hiding something? President Obama's former doctor is out front and we'll travel to a state that Trump won by less than 1 percentage point and ask how voters there feel about the impeachment investigation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether I like the man or not is immaterial. Impeachment is - it's pretty drastic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Breaking news, Republicans tonight shaken. That's the word and quotes by the testimony of State Department official David Holmes. All right. Holmes worked in the United States Embassy in Ukraine and he is the one who overheard President Trump's phone call with the EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
Holmes described the call in his under oath testimony saying, "Ambassador Sondland 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 replied, 'He's going to do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"
Now, that was behind closed doors and that's the latest we heard until tonight when Democrats have just announced moments ago that Holmes will be testifying publicly and that will be on Thursday of this week.
Out front now former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean, CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel and David Urban, an Advisor to President Trump's 2020 campaign and a Washington Corporate Lobbyist.
Jamie, let me start with you. This is your reporting. Shaken is the word that you are using of how some Republicans feel about David Holmes' testimony. What exactly are you hearing?
JAMIE GANGEL, CNN SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT: So this is reporting also with my colleague Kristen Holmes. And what we're hearing is according to one congressional GOP source, several GOP lawmakers were 'more shaken' by David Holmes' testimony than that they have publicly let on. That behind closed doors they expressed a lot of frustration about Sondland's testimony in light of what David Holmes said.
And that we're also hearing that they're now very worried about Sondland's testimony. We've been told by multiple sources that he was ill-fitted to being a diplomat, that multiple sources in the diplomatic community thought that he was in over his head and they're really worried about what he's going to say on Wednesday and how far he will go.
BURNETT: I mean look, obviously, Sondland's testimony is now going to be crucial. I mean, David, look some Republicans, you heard Jamie talking about this, say Holmes has made the most convincing argument yet and obviously a big part of that is that he heard Trump's voice, that's what he testified under oath. He heard Trump's voice through the phone because it was so loud that Gordon Sondland had to take it away from his ear and he was able to very clearly hear the President of the United States.
So in that case it's not hearsay, that takes away that argument. How big of a deal could Holmes' testimony be?
DAVID URBAN, TRUMP 2020 CAMPAIGN ADVISER: So, Erin, let's ask point is Holmes' making, right? So Holmes heard, this is the day after the 25th call, this is the 26th.
BURNETT: (Inaudible), yes.
URBAN: He's listening to one end of the call and he says he hears the President say, "So they're going to do the investigations?" That's what his alleged testimony is. So I'm not quite sure what's so earth shattering about that, that's been reported. He heard it in a cafe.
OK. Let's assume that his hearing was correct. I still don't see what's groundbreaking about that or is the cause for all of this breathless reporting.
BURNETT: So just to make the simple point. I don't know, David, what you've been saying, but many Republicans had been saying it's hearsay, no one had heard the United States say it. So Holmes, obviously, if indeed he heard what he says he heard, it's no longer hearsay. That's the President of the United States. So, John, on that point ...
URBAN: But Gordon Sondland said it too, doesn't he?
BURNETT: Well, Gordon Sondland is going to - I want to ask you about that, because he is going to testify publicly and he's obviously changed his testimony. Originally, there was no quid pro quo and then there was. John, in Holmes' testimony and, again, this is the part that's been publicly released, because we did get the opening statement.
He said, "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 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."
So Holmes is now going to testify to this publicly. How significant do you think that will be, John, that this is going to be public, that we can all hear it not just read it?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: I think there are a couple things here, Erin, that are happening. First of all, there is some significance in what he overheard. I think there's more significance in the position that places Sondland who has not been a forthcoming witness, who is now surrounded by not only Holmes but others who were present for that meeting, as well as Holmes taking it back to the embassy and contemporaneously sharing it with others, which is further corroboration.
This thrusts Holmes in a position where he really is in the forefront of all of this and it could either show him not being forthcoming with the Congress or even been incorrect in his congressional testimony. We don't know it all. So I think this makes, not Holmes, but Sondland, the star witness and Holmes is pushing him out there in front and putting him right at the right at the center of all this.
BURNETT: I mean, David, it's hard to argue anything else. I mean, everybody will be watching Gordon Sondland incredibly closely, right?
BURNETT: This is the person who was talking to the President regularly about all this.
URBAN: I agree. And what Sondland's characterization that you just read is just that. It's his characterization, his belief about what the President wanted and liked and believed in Ukraine. I mean, Sondland doesn't say I've spoken with the President directly and he told me X, Y and Z. He said, oh, come on, he doesn't believe that this is important. He only cares about the big stuff.
I'd like to ask Ambassador Sondland, how does he know that? What does he base that upon?
BURNETT: Do you think though that Ambassador Sondland, David, by the way who says whenever he talks to the President in the morning, he's in a bad mood. It happened regularly. Literally would just make up the Joe Biden part without having talked to President of the United States. I mean, that's the part that just defies the reason.
URBAN: I think we have to watch and see what Ambassador Sondland testifies to. It is clear that he had some problems in his testimony. He had to go and clean it up, so I think that Ambassador Sondland is going to be very, very careful and very measured about what he says when he appears before Congress this time.
GANGEL: Erin, can I just add ...
BURNETT: Go ahead, yes.
GANGEL: ... two things? First of all, there were other people at the table and there are some reporting that they also overheard this conversation. So it may go beyond David Holmes. But another thing that Republicans are very concerned about that we talked to is where this call happened.
It happened in a restaurant. It was on a phone that was not secure and we've had multiple National Security experts say on our air in the last couple of days that very likely means that Russia has a recording of it. Ukraine has a recording of it. Other intelligence services have a recording of it.
So it's not just David Holmes' word. It's Gordon Sondland was on that call. He now has - though he's never admitted that call happened before.
GANGEL: David Holmes heard it and it sounds as if there was one other person at the table who heard it.
BURNETT: We understand, there may have been at least one other and there were, I believe, four of them total. All right, thank you all ...
URBAN: It was clearly a bad judgment to do a call like that in public.
BURNETT: ... yes. Yes, I think everybody can agree on that. Thank you all very much.
And next, President Trump making a mysterious trip to Walter Reed Hospital. The White House says that there's no issue at all, so does it add up? And it's a state that Trump barely won. Now voters there are weighing in on this crucial question facing the nation, whether or not he should be impeached.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't think it's a witch-hunt. I don't think it's a waste of taxpayer dollars. I think we need to go through this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Tonight, no public events on President Trump's schedule for the second day in a row after his mysterious trip to Walter Reed Hospital on Saturday. The White House says Trump was getting a head start on his annual physical exam which would be a year in February. But the trip to Walter Reed was not scheduled and as source says it did not follow the protocol for a routine presidential exam.
Pamela Brown is back with us from the White House. So Pamela, what more do you know about the President's visit to Walter Reed this weekend?
BROWN: Well, Erin, the President's mysterious visit to Walter Reed Medical Center over the weekend had a series of anomalies. For context, Erin, the President had his annual physical this past February during the work week and it was announced ahead of time that was going to be happening.
Now, by contrast, Erin, the President went to Walter Reed over the weekend, unannounced. He went by motorcade, not Marine One as a standard practice, weather permitting. In fact, an official familiar says that medical staff at Walter Reed didn't even get any advance notice about this presidential visit.
Typically, medical staff would get a general notice about a VIP visit to the center, notifying them of certain closures at the facility consistent with security protocols for a presidential visit. Now, Trump can get lab work done here at the White House, but a Walter Reed visit would indicate he may have needed certain testing like imaging. But the White House Press Secretary, Erin, Stephanie Grisham, she is denying this had anything other to do than Trump just wanting to get ahead of the busy 2020 election year.
That he wanted to do a partial physical exam, get that out of the way. He was there for a couple of hours. She says that he just had a free day and so that's why he wanted to do it.
And she also says that he has been working since early this morning. That he looks great, feels great.
Now, we should note that following that visit, he did have people over at the White House to watch a movie. But, certainly, all of these circumstances that I just pointed out have raised questions about that visit -- Erin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right. Thank you very much, Pamela. And those details obviously are very important.
OUTFRONT now, Dr. David Scheiner, President Obama's former doctor.
So, Dr. Scheiner, does it -- I guess, you know, they're saying everything is fine, he wanted to get ahead of things because it's going to be a busy, busy election year. And so, does it sound plausible to you that this would be part of his routine physical?
DR. DAVID SCHEINER, PRESIDENT OBAMA'S FORMER DOCTOR: Not at all. Absolute nonsense. You don't take a part of your physical one time and a month or two later take another part. I never heard of anything like that.
And also, his physical for the kinds of things he needs, the whole thing could have been done at the White House. There's no reason. Blood tests, electrocardiogram, everything could have -- he's had stress tests done before. He's had -- there's no procedure other than it was part of a routine exam that could not have been done in the White House. So, that's absolute balderdash.
I think he had, not an emergency necessarily, but an urgency, something went wrong. Now, maybe he had chest pain. Maybe he had some neurologic -- I think he is someone who has some neurological issues which no one has ever really addressed. I think it's quite possible that his physician did not feel that he could handle it himself. Maybe his physician is not an internist as is usually the case in primary care.
His physician is a trained ER physician. So, it may be he sent him to Walter Reed for a problem that he did not feel that he could handle as well as was necessary.
BURNETT: So, the White House, of course, says that this is -- this is routine. Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham was on Fox this weekend. Here's what she said.
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STEPHANIE GRISHAM, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He is healthy as can be. I put a statement out about that. He's got more energy than anybody in the White House. That man works from 6:00 a.m. until, you know, very, very late at night. He's doing just fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: You know, she pointed out, Dr. Scheiner, you know, that he's going to all these rallies, he's working these long works, and, of course, you know, one day last week, Trump's account tweeted before 7:00 a.m. and almost midnight. I mean, the guy certainly does not sleep very much.
Does she have a valid point, that he has a lot of energy?
SCHEINER: Well, you know, he may have energy, but on the other hand, when he plays golf which is his physical exercise, he always uses a cart. So the only exercise he gets is swinging a golf club.
The other thing is the cardiologist after his last physical exam said he was in the upper 20 percent in terms of cardiovascular risk. So, he's got some real risk factors.
His inability to say words sometimes worries me tremendously. He is having trouble word finding, when he said united shush instead of the United States. These are words, he can't find them. This is happening over and over again.
Comedians joke about it. But it's not a joking matter. I think there's a neurological issue that's not being addressed. If he had an MRI of his head over there, I would be very pleased because I think he needs it. I think he may possibly --
BURNETT: Is that something that could have happened in the two-hour time that he was there?
SCHEINER: Yes, it certainly could. The worry that I have is that maybe he's having small strokes. You know, we had that once before in the White House when Woodrow Wilson was president. His inability to find words is peculiar and has not been explained and I think one has to think of it as a possible neurological issue.
BURNETT: Now, you have expressed -- obviously, you have expressed concern about this president, but also with the ages of several of the leading candidates, right? He's a septuagenarian as are -- well, if Michael Bloomberg gets in the race, at least three others, right? Three other -- four others, I'm sorry, that would make it on the Democratic side.
Does this concern you in general?
SCHEINER: Well, I'm expert since I'm an octogenarian. I don't -- you lose things when you get older. There's no question. Your creativity, your ability to handle problems, your innovative skills.
Yes, it worries me tremendously. Sanders -- even Warren, Trump is 73 now. He'd be 74. He'd finish his presidency if he has a seconds term at 78.
Things happen and the brain does not function as well when you reach these kinds of ages. So, yes, I'm tremendously worried about that.
BURNETT: All right. Well, I appreciate your time. Dr. Scheiner, thank you very much.
SCHEINER: You're welcome.
BURNETT: And next, has anything in the impeachment hearings moved the needle for voters?
We're going to go to the all-important swing state of Wisconsin to find out.
Plus, 2020 candidate Andrew Yang is my guest. He's a successful businessman. So, what does he think about some Democrats attacking the wealthy?
BURNETT: Tonight, President Trump lashing out at the impeachment inquiry, calling it a fraud. Trump tweeting in part, quote, never has the Republican Party been so united as it is now. This is a great fraud being played out against the American people.
But it's on the minds of voters in key swing states like Wisconsin. Trump won the state by less than one point in 2016. So, Miguel Marquez is there talking to voters about what impeachment is having in terms of the impact on how they'll vote.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Third generation farmer Greg Lore (ph) on the fence.
(on camera): In 2020, what are you going to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Still undecided.
MARQUEZ: Dairy cows and harvesting an already late crop, a bigger worry than impeachment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think they should just forget about that and just worry about the issues at hand and try to help people.
I mean, they're just -- there's going to be a new election in another year I guess.
MARQUEZ: On impeachment, Sauk County, Wisconsin, northwest of Madison, divided as ever. Farmland and picture postcard towns where the Ringling Brothers got their start.
In 2016, candidate Trump won this rural county by 109 votes.
Doris Lore (ph) is an independent who supported Hillary Clinton. She dislikes the president but isn't sure there's enough to remove him from office.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We need to be unified. We need to -- we're not making progress in America. We're going downhill.
MARQUEZ: The county's divisions obvious at a regular Democratic protest of the president, they get support as much as thumbs down among other less polite gestures.
Mike and Kari Walker, co-owners of the Touchdown Tavern, both describe themselves as moderate conservatives, both voted third party in 2016. She's opposed to abortion rights but is considering a Democrat.
(on camera): Can either of you see yourselves voting for a Democratic in 2020, and which one if so? Boy, that was a pained expression.
KARI WALKER, CO-OWNER, TOUCHDOWN TAVERN: It is pained. I will tell you, I love Andrew Yang.
MIKE WALKER, CO-OWNER, TOUCHDOWN TAVERN: Obviously he's very smart.
K. WALKER: And he's funny.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): On impeachment, they haven't decided whether the president crossed the line.
K. WALKER: I don't think it's a witch hunt. I don't think it's a waste of taxpayer dollars. I don't -- I think we need to go through this. MARQUEZ: Veteran business owner and independent voter Gregg Snell
says he doesn't like Trump, but impeachment?
GREGG SNELL, OWNER, "IT COULD BE YOURS": But i believe it's a pretty drastic step, whether I like the man or not is immaterial. Impeachment is -- that's pretty drastic.
MARQUEZ: Dan Shay lives paycheck to paycheck. He voted for Trump, now so disillusioned, he switched parties.
(on camera): Where is Sauk County right now?
DAN SHAY, VOTER, SWITCHED PARTIES: A toss-up. He's going to come here, work his butt off and try to win the state back.
BURNETT: So, Miguel, I mean, Trump won Wisconsin by a small margin, but there are many who believe that could be the most crucial state coming up. He won the county by where you are tonight by an even smaller margin than he won the state.
How hard fought will Wisconsin be?
MARQUEZ: This state, it is the new Ohio essentially. It's going to be ground zero. Both parties are going to pour everything into it. The Democrats have their convention here. Republicans say it's trending more conservative, so they think they can keep it in their column. The way the Electoral College stacks up and the way it could break in some of these states, ten little votes, ten little electoral votes here in Wisconsin could make the difference of winning the White House or being out -- Erin.
BURNETT: Pretty incredible how every vote counts so much.
Thank you, Miguel, live from Wisconsin tonight.
And next, you just heard a voter in Miguel's piece say that she likes Andrew Yang. Well, Yang is OUTFRONT next.
And forget, I'm not a crook, Jeanne on what has become the most famous impeachment line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do us a favor though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do us a favor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do us a favor though.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[19:47:27] BURNETT: New tonight, legalizing pot, Andrew Yang references the iconic series "Breaking Bad" with a tweet you see there of him surrounding by drugs and a hazmat suit. He did it to highlight his support for legalizing marijuana. Now, the tweet after these comments about marijuana by one of the Democratic front-runners for 2020, here is Joe Biden.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The truth of the matter is, there's not nearly been enough evidence that has been acquired as to whether or not it is a gateway drug. It's a debate. I want a lot more, before I legalize it nationally, I want to make sure we know a lot more about the science behind it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: OUTFRONT now, Democratic candidate for President Andrew Yang.
So, Andrew, you think marijuana should be legalized nationwide. And you heard Joe Biden. He says he wants more evidence. He's concerned it could be a gateway drug. Are you sure Biden is wrong?
ANDREW YANG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes. Most Americans agree we should be legalizing marijuana at the federal level, in part because it's already legal in several states. Many Americans are already using it for pain relief, and it's safer than prescription opiates in most every case. We also know that when we administer these marijuana laws, we're deeply uneven and even racist in the way we administer these laws.
So, most Americans agree that we should legalize marijuana. That's where I am. I believe that Joe actually will end up evolving on this issue over time if he sees the same evidence that I have.
BURNETT: So, on that front, there are a lot of confusing studies on pot as we all know, right? You've got cannabis-related ER visits in Colorado tripled since it was legalized. But then another one saying essentially no impact in violent crime or Washington. So, you know, you can get different outcomes depending which study you look at.
Are you -- what makes you so sure that full legalization won't open the door to a Pandora's box we may deeply regret just because there's a lot we don't know?
YANG: Well, Erin, there's a difference between legalization and complete lack of regulation. I mean, there are legal substances in this country like tobacco that there are strict rules around. For example, you can't advertise on school grounds.
So, marijuana is not something we should just have out there completely free and easy, but it should be legal so that we can regulate it properly, make it safer and more standard for Americans and also have some of the tax revenues that can help us counteract any of the negative effects. [19:50:05]
BURNETT: So, in addition to marijuana, you obviously are at odds with some others, different others on another issue. Senators Sanders and Warren are in favor of a wealth tax which you have said could be -- your words -- a disaster in practice.
Obviously some who would be affected by it are speaking out. They're saying they're being vilified which has led to these comments from Senator Sanders and Senator Warren. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I just want to point out to you all, you may have noticed, I hurt some billionaires' feelings lately.
Boohoo. So sad. So sad that they might have to pay two cents out of their bazillion dollars?
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They're worth a hundred billion, they're worth 50 billion, suddenly they're in tears. Oh, my God, we're going to have to pay more in taxes. How do we get by on $30 billion? Such a stress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: Of course, it's more complicated than that. Do you think they are vilifying the wealthy?
YANG: No. To me, Erin, it is about what's going to work in practice? And it is true that we're in the midst of the most extreme winner take all economy in our nation's history and we need big measures to help solve for that. But when France, Germany, Denmark, and Sweden all tried a wealth tax, they ended up repealing it because it had massive implementation problems and it did not generate anywhere near the revenue they had hoped for.
So if it hasn't worked in these other countries, I think it would not work here for some of the same reasons. To me, it's less about the emotions of certain people who are being called out. It's more about what's going to work in practice and how we can actually rebalance this economy and rewrite the rules so it works for us.
BURNETT: Miguel Marquez was just in Wisconsin, and people here watching the program heard his show, another key state, of course, which President Trump won in 2016. So, Miguel was talking to them about what people there think about impeachment and he spoke to a couple who owns a tavern. They say they are moderate conservatives. They both voted for third-party candidates in 2016.
I want to play the exchange for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUEZ: Can either of you see yourselves voting for a Democrat in 2020? And which one if so?
MARQUEZ: Boy, that was a pained expression.
K. WALKER: It is pained. I will tell you, I love Andrew Yang.
M. WALKER: Obviously, he is very smart.
K. WALKER: Oh, and he's funny.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BURNETT: All right. So what do you do? What do you do to get people like that, moderate conservatives, again, is how they describe themselves, to support you?
YANG: Well, Erin, I'm laser-focused on solving the problems that got Donald Trump elected. If they're working in a small business, they're seeing their foot traffic might be going down. Some of the businesses around them are closing. These are the problems that got Trump elected. And if we put money, buying power into the customers of that bar's hands, then you're going to see more business, they might have to hire more servers.
I'm so glad that they're open to my message and it's not just them. I have met with individually and seen on the road, hundreds even thousands of disaffected Trump voters who say they are excited about me and my campaign because it seems like I'm solutions-oriented and I just want to try and improve Americans' lives.
BURNETT: All right. Thank you very much, Andrew Yang. Good to talk to you, sir.
YANG: Erin, always. Thank you. See you soon.
BURNETT: And next, Jeanne on the history-making moments from the impeachment investigation thus far.
BURNETT: Tonight, the lines that may go down in history.
Here's Jeanne Moos.
JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Every impeachment has its most memorable lines, from the guy being impeached --
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Well, I'm not a crook.
MOOS: -- from staffers caught on the Watergate tapes. JOHN DEAN, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: We have a cancer within, close
to the presidency. It's growing.
MOOS: But that's Watergate under the bridge. We now have Ukraine- gate and already it has a famous line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like you to do us a favor though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like you to do us a favor.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): I would like you to do us a favor -- though.
MOOS: The Democrats sure know how to give it that sinister twist.
Back in Nixon's time, there were no tweets.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president just sent a tweet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A tweet?
MOOS: Now, impeachment tweets end up as testimony.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.
SCHIFF: She started off in Somalia. How did that go?
MARIE YAVONOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: It's very intimidating.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump started off in Atlantic City. How did that go?
MOOS: Some things never change. The Watergate tapes were littered with expletives deleted. And now, President Trump --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did not give a expletive about Ukraine.
MOOS: Back then we had -- Tricky Dick. Now we have --
TRUMP: Shifty Schiff.
Little Shifty Schiff.
MOOS: We may be watching history, but sometimes, it's the little things that stick.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Representative Jackie Speier had something in her hair. It's a paper clip.
MOOS: Little things like that big bottle from which a witness chugged. George Kent stays hydrated. Saving democracy one gulp at a time.
With all of that liquid intake, you'd think he would have been less ambivalent about a break.
SCHIFF: Would you gentlemen like a brief recess? Well, let's take a five-minute recess.
MOOS: We're all going to need a recess from these expletive not deleted hearings.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And went on to state, that President Zelensky loves your ass.
MOOS: Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.
BURNETT: I'm sorry.
OK, thanks for joining us. Don't forget, you can watch OUTFRONT anytime, anywhere. Just go to CNN Go.
"AC360" with Anderson starts now.