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Fiona Hill's Testimony; Scrapped Interview with Ukraine President; Karaoke with Police Officers; House Dems Move Closer to Impeachment. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 22, 2019 - 08:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I have a feeling America met Fiona Hill yesterday for the first time. I'm sure you have dealt with her, or people like her, a lot. She represents people who work in diplomacy, in some cases, in the military, the thousands of people who want to work for America for all the right reasons.

When you heard her yesterday talking about how she's an American by choice, what message do you think that sent?

FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST, "FAREED ZAKARIA GPS": Well, I like that phrase, because I'm an immigrant as well. And when sometimes people tell you, you know, you're -- you're -- there's a certain sense in which particularly in today's climate that is sometimes viewed as a second class citizen. You know, I -- I once said this to a Fox host, I said, you're -- you -- you're an American by accident of birth. Some of us actually made the decision to leave our countries and to come to America. I mean that's in some ways a greater act of loyalty, not that one is better than the other.

But Fiona Hill is actually a fascinating person because I've known her for a while. She's incredibly smart, incredibly honorable. Generally was considered more of a Republican than a Democrat. Partly because she's very tough on Russia and if you go back, you know, 20 years ago, that was a -- historically that was the association. But more than anything else, I think what Americans have seen is that these foreign policy bureaucrats, so-called, you know, bureaucrats sometimes has a negative connotation --

BERMAN: Right. You're not saying that with a negative connotation.

ZAKARIA: These are incredibly smart, incredibly honorable people trying to do the right thing. And what they were most upset about was just that the whole foreign policy of the United States had been taken over, captured for a personal, political interest. They -- they completely understand that the president gets to set policy, and they would execute any policy that was plausibly in the national interests in the United States. Their problem was the policy was not about the United States, it was about Donald Trump's re-election.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: You have figured into this entire impeachment inquiry in that you were the person that President Zelensky was going to grant the interview to, where he was going to announce the investigation into the Bidens. And then is it your impression that it just felt -- once the whistleblower came forward, that's why it all just fell apart? Because they didn't really want to do it. Is that the -- the upshot of all of this?

ZAKARIA: Look, I think so. We're -- we're -- we're getting here. A lot of what we are -- we don't have the Ukrainian side of the story because they're being very -- very quiet, properly so. If I were them, why the hell would you want to get involved? But we had been negotiating with them, you know, ever since Zelensky came into office in the sense we had made our -- we make offers like this normally, it picks up steam. We're trying to get something. We get very close to it. There was -- there was never from to us a complete confirmation, but that rarely happens. There's always a little bit, you're going back and forth.

We had gotten to the point where we were discussing logistics. So it seems it was confirmed and President Zelensky, when I met him on the 13th of September said basically again, without explicitly saying it, seemed to be confirming it, and we were talking about time and place and then, as you say, the whistleblower report comes out and as far as I can tell, everything changes once the whistleblower report gets to Congress, or Congress knows they're going to get it because if you look at the timeline, the whistleblower report comes out, the aid gets released. Sondland calls Trump and Trump says there's no -- I want nothing, I want nothing.

BERMAN: Probably has never spoken Latin in his life.


ZAKARIA: Right. Right.

BERMAN: All of a sudden quid pro quo is his favorite word.


BERMAN: No quid pro quo. No quid pro quo.

ZAKARIA: And then as part of that, the Ukrainians essentially stops, you know, stopped returning our phone calls for a while and then tell us the interview is off.

BERMAN: Wow. All right, Fareed. Fareed Zakaria, great to have you on with us this morning. The backstory there is fascinating. I hope you do get your interview with President Zelensky because I think he'd have a lot to say now to you.

ZAKARIA: We are trying. We are -- we keep trying.

BERMAN: All right, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thanks, Fareed.

BERMAN: So cops and karaoke. It's a musical take on community policing. See how some officers are using some of their hidden talents to go "Beyond the Call of Duty."

You know, "Cop Rock" was an actual show.

CAMEROTA: I like this.



BERMAN: So, two beat cops in Philadelphia are going "Beyond the Call of Duty" using karaoke to break down barriers in their community.

CNN's Alexandra Field has the story.


ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): West Philadelphia doesn't always look like this. But it's a good look for one of the toughest parts of the city, and it's the police who are behind it.

OFFICER SHAMSSADEEN NUR ALI BAUKMAN, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: Today I'll be starting Karaoke with a Cop. Anybody heard of Karaoke with a Cop before?

I suggested that maybe we should do karaoke. And the rest is pretty much history.

FIELD: On Friday afternoons, a block party at a busy intersection with, yes, karaoke, and dancing. But there's more to it.


BAUKMAN: I grew up in West Philadelphia, where we are now, and I've seen so many people get hurt by violence. So I wanted to kind of be the answer to that solution, be that local neighborhood hero. And that was my goal.

FIELD: The party is the brainchild of two beat cops from the neighborhood who are trying to stop violence.

They believe the police need to get more people on their side in order to do it.

OFFICER JUSTIN HARRIS, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: We always see police officers using too much force or abusing their power, but we rarely see incidents where you see police officers in a positive light.

FIELD: This is how they're changing that. A deejay volunteers his time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It started off small, and then it grew.

FIELD: People just keep showing up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was on the bus and I dropped off. It was fun. Released the stress. FIELD: And often they really are surprised by what they see.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And one time I was like getting nervous around the cops. But I feel real comfortable. I'm real, real comfortable.

FIELD (on camera): Are you seeing signs that it's making a real difference?

HARRIS: Yes, people feel more comfortable approaching us. They feel more comfortable giving us information, because they know we're going to do the right things with it.

BAUKMAN: Anybody else want to sing with us?

FIELD (voice over): The hope is that what's working on this corner could work on more streets, even in more cities.

FIELD: This seems so simple.

DENNIS JOHNSON, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Yes, it sounds simple, but you have to start simple to get the attention of the folks, because this is something that's never been done. And I guarantee you, once it get out there, they'll be doing it in North Philly, Germantown, up Frankfort, and all the other areas, because they're -- this is a model. This is a new model, a new approach.

FIELD: Officer Baukman and Officer Harris say it's just their way of breaking barriers.

HARRIS: All we need is a conversation. A conversation can change a lot.

FIELD: And this is the language everyone here seems to speak.

Alexandra Field, CNN, West Philadelphia.


CAMEROTA: That is so beautiful! I mean, singing and dancing is the answer to so much.

BERMAN: It is! And I will say, cop rock is working out much better for them than it did for Steven Bochco.

CAMEROTA: How long did that last?

BERMAN: I think it was like three episodes.

CAMEROTA: OK. Well, I would watch that forever.

BERMAN: Yes, that's a much better show.

CAMEROTA: OK, there you have it.

Detroit, meanwhile, remains the poorest big city in America. The Census Bureau says more than one-third of the city's residents and nearly half of its children live in poverty. So top ten CNN Hero Najah Bazzy has made it her mission to take care of her neighborhood.


NAJAH BAZZY: 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's your apprenticeship going?


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


CAMEROTA: Najah has helped more than 250,000 women and children in need in Detroit.

Go to to vote for her or any of our other top ten heroes for CNN Hero of the Year.

BERMAN: Just a few more weeks for that.

So, the United States is on the verge of impeaching a president for the third time in history. And for now it looks like this vote could be completely along party lines. What's the significance of that? We'll get "The Bottom Line," next.



BERMAN: So lawmakers in the House Intelligence Committee have wrapped up two weeks of impeachment hearings. House Democrats are now moving toward an impeachment vote by Christmas.

Let's get "The Bottom Line" with CNN global affairs analyst Susan Glasser. She's a staff writer at "The New Yorker."

And, Susan, a dramatic reading from a Susan Glasser tweet from yesterday, if you will. You write, one clear takeaway from impeachment hearing this a.m., John Bolton is a key witness. Where is he today?

CAMEROTA: Well done, John. Well done.

BERMAN: I have an answer for you, Susan Glasser.


BERMAN: No, I thought it was fantastic. Much more succinct than a lot of the articles in "The New Yorker." One of the -- let me read you from John Bolton this morning. He says,

glad to be back on Twitter after more than two months. For the backstory, stay tuned.

Why, in your mind, is John Bolton so essentially and what the blank is he doing this morning with this tweet?

GLASSER: Well, it sure does feel like we're being trolled, doesn't it, or maybe it's an epic book promotion effort on his part. He's reportedly signed a book deal for $2 million while leaving his former subordinates, his employees, Fiona Hill and Alex Vindman, among others, to do the difficult work of facing the cameras in front of the House, having been subpoenaed and doing what Fiona Hill yesterday described as her legal and moral obligation. John Bolton apparently doesn't have the same legal and moral obligation as his own employees.

No, I actually -- I find this to be unbelievable and really quite unprecedented, even in the Nixon era, in the Clinton era, you know, administration officials were required to testify. And in this case, he's absolutely a crucial witness. First of all, he was apparently a deep skeptic. So he has a story, a public story, to tell that presumably is one in which he comes out well. According to Fiona Hill's incredible testimony yesterday, it was John Bolton who was the one trying to sound the alarm inside the White House and saying, this is a drug deal that they're cooking up.


I don't want to be part of it. Sending her to the lawyers, repeatedly expressing concern that what President Trump, his boss, was doing was outside the boundaries of his power.

CAMEROTA: So instead of saying all of that, instead of coming -- going public and doing this in the process that is prescribed and doing it under oath, he's doing this tease, as you know. And there's no other way to explain it than when you get a $2 million advance, you have a lot of book sales that you have to make up. There's no other explanation that I can see, Susan. I mean, unless we're missing something, he has an opportunity to come forward and tell his story. It would be valuable for the country. But he's playing this cat and mouse game.

GLASSER: Well, it does appear that way. And, you know, that -- this, though, does raise the broader issue that, of course, House Democrats face with this impeachment. You know, I've just watched just about every minute of the hearings over the last two weeks. I've read not all -- almost 4,000 pages. But, you know, hundreds and hundreds of pages of the depositions. And it's a strong case, but it does feels like we're sort of in the middle of the movie and not the end of it and yet this appears to be the conclusion of the public investigative phase of this impeachment and now is moving to the Judiciary Committee. It appears that House Democratic leaders are planning to bring a vote on articles of impeachment -- we don't know what they'll say -- but a vote on articles of impeachment before Christmas. And so, you know, that's a controversial decision they've made to move ahead essentially without fighting harder to get the testimony of people like Bolton.

BERMAN: Another thing you asked, Susan, and I think this is a great question, you asked, can facts break through the fog? So I what you to explain what you mean by that question and answer it this morning.

GLASSER: Well, you guys watched, as did I. And, you know, it really -- it's like there are two parallel, nonintersecting processes, right? There's the sort of investigation courtroom drama in which you had a dozen public witnesses, 17 overall witnesses, appearing. They are adding facts to the record, all of which, by the way, tend to supplement and confirm the original deep serious questions around the president's conduct in pressuring Ukraine.

But -- so you have this factual process. And then you have this very performance-driven situation with the Republicans on the House committee and I think it suggests where Republicans overall are at, which is a defense that's almost immune to facts. The new information isn't being processed, or where it is, you saw the other day, Gordon Sondland said, was there a quid pro quo? Yes. That's a direct quote. If you looked at the chyron on Fox News, if you looked at many members of Congress from that committee, many Republicans, they're actually saying, Gordon Sondland testified there was no quid pro quo. So that's the opposite of facts.

CAMEROTA: Yes, and the opposite of what you heard with your own ears.

This morning the president is talking about Gordon Sondland in not glowing terms. He's basically -- I mean to paraphrase the president, he's basically saying that Gordon Sondland didn't tell the truth. So it does make you wonder how long Gordon Sondland is in that position of ambassador to the EU.

GLASSER: It's pretty unsustainable.

And, remember, you know, it's many current administration officials who have appeared here. This isn't some, you know, Democratic series of witnesses. These are, for the most part, career foreign service employees, diplomats, career Pentagon officials, career OMB officials. They have appeared before this because they believe that it is their constitutional obligation and duty.

But they still work for the president, most of the key witnesses. And, you know, this is, as from the beginning of the Trump administration, the call is coming from inside the room.

BERMAN: Susan Glasser, great to have you on with us this morning. Thanks for watching the hearings so carefully, because I think the questions you're asking about it are terrific. Appreciate it.

GLASSER: Thank you both.

CAMEROTA: Here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: 10:30 a.m. ET, Pompeo at State Department. 11:00 am ET, NCAA Collegiate National Champions Day.

1:45 p.m. ET, White House vaping roundtable.


BERMAN: "The Good Stuff" is next.

CAMEROTA: Oh, good.

BERMAN: Oh, good.



BERMAN: Time now for "The Good Stuff."

The Flynn family from Tewksbury, Massachusetts, wanted to donate the 30-foot spruce in front of their home. So they posted it on FaceBook. And then 40,000 shares later, the city of Everett, about 20 miles away, won out.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They were the first ones to reach out, so they got the tree.


BERMAN: First of all, you know that I love Massachusetts geography.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I do too.

BERMAN: This is wonderful in and of itself.

It turns out the Flynns have a poignant connection to Everett. They knew Everett Police Officer Glenn Bradley (ph), who died of a heart attack four years ago. So they dedicated the tree in his memory and his sister was so moved by the gesture.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tugs on the heart strings, I have to say. Can't thank the Flynn family enough.


BERMAN: The tree will be used in Everett's annual Christmas tree lighting on December 6th. It will make it that much more poignant, I think.

CAMEROTA: OK, that's a heck of a good looking tree right there.

BERMAN: It really is, isn't it.


CAMEROTA: That's a beautiful tree.

All right, thank you very much for joining us for all of our special coverage all week.

Time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto.