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Hill: "Running Out of Time to Stop Russian Interference in 2020; Philadelphia Voters Weigh in on Impeachment Inquiry; Tesla's Unveiling of "Unbreakable" Cyber Truck Doesn't Go as Planned. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired November 22, 2019 - 11:30   ET





FIONA HILL, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL OFFICIAL: Right now, Russia Security Services and their proxies have geared up to repeat their interference in the 2020 election. We are running out of time to stop them. In the course of this investigation, I would ask that you please not promote duplicities and falsehoods so clearly pushed by certain interests.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: That was Dr. Fiona Hill, formerly the top Russia expert at White House, issuing, as you heard, a stark about Russia's intentions to disrupt next year's election, and unequivocally rejecting the conspiracy theory being pushed by Devin Nunes and other Republicans that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election in order to prevent Donald Trump's presidency.

Joining me now is Steve Hall, CNN national security analyst, former CIA chief of Russia and Ukraine operations.

Steve, despite this clear message from Fiona Hill, we continued to hear pushback in the public hearing yesterday from lawmakers. Once and for all -- and also from the president, I should point out, on "FOX & Friends." Is there any truth to the idea that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election because they were out to get Donald Trump and they did not want him to become president?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Erica, absolutely not. Fiona Hill is an incredibly impressive person who -- I served at the same time she did at CIA. She was the national intelligence officer for Russia.

In that job, she saw not just press clippings, not just gossip. She saw the most sensitive intelligence that the CIA and the Intelligence Community was able to provide on the plans and intentions of Vladimir Putin, and what he was up to vis-a-vis trying to attack and influence the 2016 elections.


The very idea that she somehow, I don't know, missed it, somehow wasn't paying attention or didn't have the right expertise is absolutely ludicrous.

There's a lot of people who will say she's a liberal elite. She's literally a coal miner's daughter from northern England who came over here and she made her way to the top. Here expertise is unquestioned.

There's no doubt when Fiona Hill says, look, it's Russia. And furthermore, if you look at anything else that's been thrown out there, you're doing a disservice to the country and, indeed, helping Vladimir Putin pull the country apart. She is dead right.

HILL: Helping Vladimir Putin pull the country part. The president has said no one has been tougher on Russia than he has. Does anything you heard this week undercut that argument for the president?

HALL: No, absolutely not. What I heard this week were guys that the Russians would refer to in their famous Leninist term, (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE), which is a useful idiot. Guys like Jim Jordan, guys like Nunes throwing up smoke in the air, talking about, well, we need to look at guys like Hunter Biden and Burisma.

This is precisely not just Vladimir Putin's talking points, but precisely what he wants to do to further drive wedges and weaken U.S. democracy, which is the biggest threat that Vladimir Putin faces.

So for him, you know, he wakes up every morning clapping his hands with glee saying, look at how well this is working. We have American senior politicians getting on national television propagating his own propaganda, which weakens the United States worldwide, allows Russia to basically run roughshod over the United States and our geopolitical goals and advances his own at the same time.

It's just fabulous for Putin when people do stuff like that.

HILL: What does it say -- where are we, I should say, in terms of the 2020 elections? We learned a lot from 2016, but these genuine concern about what's coming.

HALL: As well there should be, Erica. First, we're fools if we think that Vladimir Putin will say, you know, it worked well for me in 2016. I got Donald Trump elected. And look how well that is working out for me.

And is he just going to sit back on his laurels and say, OK, let's see what happens? Of course no not. He was going to use his special services, the intelligence services to get out there and do it again.

They've learned from 2016, not just here in the U.S. but in other elections they've been meddling in across the West. So they're going to be more subtle about it.

But they're going to attack. There's no doubt about that. I don't think that Vladimir Putin has a greater hope in his mind for the United States of America than to have a second term for Donald Trump. Again, because it's worked really well for him the first four year.

HILL: Steve Hall, five seconds, who would you like to hear from that you didn't hear from this week?

HALL: Bolton. I think Bolton could clear up a lot of stuff as to what was going on. He would be my number one.

HILL: Steve, always appreciate your insight. Thank you.

HALL: My pleasure.

HILL: Lots of information this week for voters to digest. So what do voters think about the impeachment investigation? We're talking to people in the Philadelphia suburbs, an area that could be crucial in the 2020 election.



HILL: As House Democrats move closer to impeaching the president, sources tell CNN there could be a vote by Christmas. How do voters feel about all of this?

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich traveled to the Philadelphia suburbs, in the key state in Pennsylvania, to ask them.


DOUG STIRLING, RADIO HOST, WCHE: And good morning, everybody. Talking a little politics. We want to know what you think about the impeachment hearings.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): The morning rush to Philadelphia with impeachment on the mind.

STEPHEN DIBONAVENTURA, PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN: It's a big show and I think they're just wasting taxpayers' money.

YURKEVICH: No matter their political party, voters here in the suburbs are paying attention from the airwaves --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It would be thrown out in any courtroom, put it that way.

STIRLING: Nothing "there" there, huh?


YURKEVICH: -- to the railways.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm totally convinced that he's committed a crime.

YURKEVICH: A narrow victory in Pennsylvania helped deliver the White House to Donald Trump in 2016. Democrats here now on offense with strong voter turnout in local elections earlier this month, helping them score victories in three suburban Philadelphia counties.

STIRLING: Now that we are a thoroughly blue county for the first time 150 years, that may portend trouble for the president next year.


YURKEVICH: Jane Young and her friends have been glued to the hearings for the past two weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the opening statements, we're not talking.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, that's not going to happen. You invited the wrong person.


YURKEVICH: At her watch party in Delaware County, four Democrats and one Independent all believe the president has committed a crime.

ADRIAN MILLER, PENNSYLVANIA INDEPENDENT: And we're talking about what -- acceptance of law and we're determining what our laws are now.


MILLER: So are we going to accept that this is practice now or are we not going to accept this is practice now?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And that's -- I think that we're ahead of the congressional hearings. We believed it before they walked in the room and produced the witnesses.

YURKEVICH: Twenty-five miles away, in Chester County, Ken Tesh watches the hearings every morning.

KEN TESH, PENNSYLVANIA DEMOCRAT: I think it's a defining moment for Republicans.

YURKEVICH: While his wife Sandi is more focused on the morning crossword.

DANI TESH, PENNSYLVANIA INDEPENDENT: You know, whatever's going on that is big gets him stirred up. I'm not going to let him spend energy on it.

YURKEVICH: Ken, a Republican-turned-Democrat, wants to see Trump removed from office but he doesn't think it will happen.

KEN TESH: The longer it goes on, the more names you've got to keep track of. Who was this and who said what? It sort of loses its urgency I think.

ALEXO BELL, PENNSYLVANIA REPUBLICAN: Thank you. YURKEVICH: Across town, Alexo and Valerie Bell.

VALERIE MORGAN BELL, PENNSYLVANIA INDEPENDENT: It's not supposed to be a few people picking your leaders of the country.

A. BELL: Right.

YURKEVICH: Alexo, a staunch Trump supporter. His wife, Valerie, an Independent, who is not a fan of the president.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Have you discussed the impeachment inquiry?

A. BELL: I know where she stands, you know what I mean? She would like to see him get the boot, you know, and I wouldn't. So it's kind of a moot point to even talk about it.

YURKEVICH (voice-over): While respecting each other's opinions is key to their marriage, there's no love lost on their distinct views on impeachment.

A. BELL: I think the Democrats are grasping at straws wherever they can.

V. BELL: I just think you have to hold the president to a higher standard and I think it doesn't look good. It doesn't have good optics.


YURKEVICH: The vast majority of voters we spoke to in Pennsylvania say they don't think the president will be removed from office, but they see the election in 2020 as deciding his fate.

Now, Erica, this has been the big question, who does this benefit, Republicans or Democrats. We only found one voter in Pennsylvania who knows who they're voting for. It's a Republican voting for President Trump.

But the Democrats and Independents still very much up in the air. They're looking for that frontrunner they think can take on the president. As of now, they told us they're undecided.

HILL: Interesting. Always important to hear from people and what they say.

Vanessa, thank you.

YURKEVICH: Thank you.

HILL: Still to come, Tesla unveils its new cyber truck that actually looks a lot like a futuristic tank. Could it live up to its unbreakable billing?


[11:50:02] HILL: In Detroit, more than a third of the city's residents and nearly half of the city's children live in poverty. One of this year's top-10 "CNN Heroes" is working to change that. She's a nurse who found her mission while making a house call more than 20 years ago.


UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: Working as a nurse, I went to visit this Iraqi refugee family and an infant that was dying. And there at the house, they absolutely had nothing. There was no refrigerator, there was no stove, there was no crib. The baby was in a laundry basket.

I decided that this wasn't going to happen on my watch.

How is your apprenticeship going?


UNIDENTIFIED CNN HERO: Nurses are supposed to fix things. We are healers. And this is just a place that heals the world.


HILL: For more, log on to

We'll be right back.


HILL: Tesla rolling out its new cyber truck along with its innovative design. There's this claim that the glass windows are unbreakable. And then came the demonstration.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) god. Maybe that was a little too hard.



HILL: Probably not the way they wanted it to go but, boy, that's one way to get people talking about your cyber truck.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Unfortunately for Tesla, the headlines were entirely driven by that failed unbreakable glass demo.

But the other reaction has been, who would actually buy this thing? It looks like something out of a comic book rather than the traditional --

HILL: Mad Max? I'm not sure what it is.

ALESCI: Yes. It doesn't seem like the traditional pickup truck buyer that would go out and buy this thing.

To Elon Musk's credit, however, he has said this is not going to be the volume products that a traditional carmaker would put out there.

The impact of unveiling this for Tesla is threefold. One is that it basically proves to the world that electric vehicles can do the same thing conventional vehicles could. They put out stats saying this vehicle can haul and tow as much as a conventional pickup truck.

Also, Tesla is the leader in electric vehicles and this is yet another example of them coming out in front and maintaining that moniker.


Also, it stirs the competitive spirits because it provokes G.M. and Ford to really get into electric pickups. And they will be unveiling those cars and trucks over the next couple of years, too.

So there's a purpose here beyond the stunt.

HILL: Beyond just the stunt and beyond not being unbreakable glass.


HILL: Cristina, thank you.

ALESCI: Thank you.

HILL: Thank to all of you for joining us today. The Democrats closer to impeachment. Did they hear enough, though, to sway the Republicans and the American voters? We're live on Capitol Hill, next.