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INSIDE POLITICS

House Democrats Move Closer To Impeaching Trump; Giuliani In The Spotlight Over His Role In Ukraine Scandal; Michael Bloomberg To Launch Massive $37 Million TV Ad Buy; 2020 Rivals Criticize Bloomberg's $37M Advertising Blitz; Biden: I'm Angered And Embarrassed For Lindsey Graham; Impeachment Collides With An Election Year. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired November 24, 2019 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[08:00:22]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JOHN KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): The testimony is clear.

GORDON SONDLAND, U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes.

DR. FIONA HILL, FORMER WHITE HOUSE ADVISOR ON RUSSIA: He was being involved in a domestic political errand.

KING: Now, the president braces for a House rebuke, and a Senate trial.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a hoax. It's a disgrace. It's an embarrassment to our country.

KING: Plus, impeachment tests the 2020 contenders.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is impeachable conduct.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have to establish the principle, no one is above the law.

KING: That shatters a long friendship.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And Lindsey is about to go down in a way that I think he's going to regret his whole life.

KING: INSIDE POLITICS, the biggest stories sourced by the best reporters, now.

(MUSIC)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KING: Welcome to INSIDE POLITICS. I'm John King. To our viewers in the United States and around the world, thank you for sharing your Sunday. The Trump impeachment process now in a new chapter. Democrats must

decide the specific charges they will present to the full House and there is a debate among them about how many articles of impeachment should be drafted, about whether to make it a broad or more narrow case, alleging presidential corruption and abuse of power.

This is Thanksgiving week here in the United States and the current plan is to finish the House impeachment process by Christmas, so giant decisions and giant votes loom in the next 30 days. The current math not in dispute. House Democrats have the votes to impeach. The president has the votes to avoid Senate conviction.

The basic facts also are not in dispute. Twelve witnesses over two weeks of public hearings painted a very damning picture. President Trump wanted Ukraine to announce two investigations that had nothing to do with U.S. national security and everything to do with his domestic political interests. Until Ukraine complied, no White House meeting for its new president. And later, a delay in sending vital U.S. military aid.

The policy experts complained it was wrong and playing into Russia's hand. The president, though, prefers the Ukraine advice of his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and would not be swayed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. COL. ALEXANDER VINDMAN, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL OFFICIAL: I was concerned by the call. What I heard was inappropriate. It is improper for the president of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and a political opponent.

DAVID HOLMES, STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL WITH U.S. EMBASSY IN KIEV: I then heard President Trump ask, so he's going to do the investigation? Ambassador Sondland replied that he's going to do it, adding that President Zelensky will do anything you ask him to do.

SONDLAND: Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and the White House meeting, the answer is yes.

HILL: He was being involved in a domestic political errand, and we were being involved in national security foreign policy and those two things had just diverged.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: With us this Sunday to share their reporting and their insights, Rachael of "The Washington Post," CNN's Phil Mattingly, Michael Shear of "The New York Times", and "Politico's" Laura Barron- Lopez.

So, now, it's decision time. We've had these public hearings and the Democrats believe they made a compelling case. What now? We're back in a private phase where they have to meet and decide how many articles of impeachment, what specifically are we going to say, how quickly are we going to move? RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, Democrats, we

talked to about 20 lawmakers on Thursday before they all left town on Friday morning, and basically the notion that we heard from a lot of these Democrats is that they feel like they've heard enough.

They feel like they have enough evidence that they can charge the president with obstruction of justice -- or, I'm sorry, abuse of power, potentially obstruction of Congress for ignoring subpoenas, and they're basically putting together a report in the Intelligence Committee that's going to go to the House Judiciary Committee, where they're going to basically be drafting and marking up the articles of impeachment for the next few days.

I think there are questions about, are there more people they should trying to be talking to. For instance, right now, Rudy Giuliani's former associate, Lev Parnas, who has been indicted and is being investigated for trying to get foreign interference in the 2020 election and 2016 election, he actually has been trying to get Congress's attention, saying call me in. I have information that could be helpful to this investigation.

But this is again one example where Congress wants to move forward right now and so far, they haven't shown any interest in calling him in. So, we'll just have to see what they do next.

KING: You also have Mick Mulvaney, the acting chief of staff, who has said, no, John Bolton who has popped back up on Twitter saying, I have things to say. We don't know what they are.

"The New York Times," which leans in favor of the Democrats, its editorial board, says this: It's essential for the House to conduct a thorough inquiry, including hearing testimony from critical players who have yet to appear. No matter is more urgent, but it should not be rushed -- for the future of the nation's security and for the integrity of the presidency and for the future of the republic.

But Speaker Pelosi making clear, Phil, again, this week -- no, maybe the Senate will bring in additional witnesses, but here in the House, we're going.

[08:05:04]

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, head down, moving forward. And I think Adam Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman, has said the same thing. The next stage is going to be a report and drafting articles of impeachment, public hearings in the Judiciary Committee.

But, look, there are some rank-and-file Democrats who are saying, there are very important people out here that court cases may decide we can hear from in the next couple of weeks, maybe as soon as the second week in December. Should we wait?

I think the reason why is this. Rachael makes a great point. Democrats who you talk to across the board feel like the case has been made, feel like they've got plenty to move forward, but there's a hole here. And that hole is, did the president directly order the hold on the security assistance and was it particularly -- specifically because of the same reason the White House meeting was held up, because of the investigations.

And the people that can speak to that are John Bolton, are Mick Mulvaney, are Russ Vought from OMB, are Michael Duffey, the political at OMB, and they haven't heard from them yet.

I would note, though, as Pelosi has said repeatedly, they're not going to play rope-a-dope and as Rachael notes, every person who doesn't come in finds their name in an article of impeachment related to obstruction. So, that's the piece of that that they're moving forward.

KING: And to that point, Ambassador Sondland said the president new, he was acting on the president's orders, everyone was in the loop, and he was including the secretary of state and the acting chief of staff.

But Republicans tried to make that point consistently and you can hear it that a lot of this sounds bad, but none of you heard it directly from the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Did the president of the United States ever say to you that he was not going to allow aid from the United States to go to the Ukraine unless there were investigations into Burisma, the Bidens or the 2016 elections?

KURT VOLKER, AMERICAN DIPLOMAT: No, he did not.

STEVE CASTOR, GOP COUNSEL: Did the president ever tell you personally about any preconditions for anything?

SONDLAND: No.

CASTOR: OK. So the president never told you about any preconditions for the aid to be released?

SONDLAND: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That is the -- the Republicans say, sure, this was messy, maybe Rudy Giuliani shouldn't have been involved here. But no one can say the president told me to do this.

MICHAEL SHEAR, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, and look, the math that you put up at the beginning of the show suggesting both that the Democrats have the votes for impeachment and that the Republicans have the votes to avoid the president being removed from office. The reality of that math means that what both sides are playing for is less the kind of voting that's going to be happening over the course of the next two months and more the voting that's going to be happening a year from now, right? Everybody is looking to affect public opinion as we head toward the 2020 campaign, and so they're searching for the sound bites. And if the Democrats think they have the sound bites they need without John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney, they'll do that. The Republicans obviously think they have some of the sound bites that they need.

And so, I think part of the motivation on everybody's side to move this more quickly is to get past this and to the sort of appeals court, which is the American public.

KING: And to back up the point, as the hearings wound down, everyone is watching the retiring House Republicans to see, will one, will two break, will three break? We still don't know the answer to that. There are still several weeks left in that process.

But one on the committee is Will Hurd of Texas, who is not a fan of the president when it comes to immigration and not a fan of the president's constant attacks on the intelligence community which Will Hurd served before he came to Congress. But at the end of the hearing, he said this is bungle, this is a mess, I don't see a case to impeach.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. WILL HURD (R-TX): The American people have learned about a series of events that in my view have undermined our national security and undercut Ukraine. An impeachable offense should be compelling, overwhelmingly clear and unambiguous, and it's not something to be rushed or taken lightly. I've not heard evidence proving the president committed bribery or extortion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: The president is never happy when he's criticized, especially by Republicans and, you know, Will Hurd right there, he called it bungling, he said it let down Ukraine, it was no the interest of the national security, but the president has to be happy that a Republican who could have been a beacon, if you will in the committee, if he broke, other Republicans might follow, seems to be in line.

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, POLITICO: He does seem to be in line, and when I watch that, I also wonder if Will Hurd is thinking about his political ambitions for eight years from now, because he has telegraphed that he's interested in running for the presidency eventually. And if he does do that, then he will definitely want Republican votes. And as we all know, the Republican Party is very much with Trump, the base very much supports him, and that has not wavered throughout this impeachment process.

KING: And the president viewing impeachment, no president wants to be impeached. But he sees it as inevitable, so he's largely working the Senate right now, bringing senators in for lunch.

Phil, you were part of some reporting this week, that for Republican senators meeting with the president say, the case being made is that a full trial provides the president with the ability to clear his name and the lawmaker notes cutting off the process early could make it look like he has something to hide.

Have they convinced the president of this? There was talk early on and a lot of the president's allies have been pushing reporters, writing op-eds, saying the Senate could just vote to dismiss, not hold the trial. The majority leader has said no way.

MATTINGLY: Yes. Look, there's a point that seems to be missed in the motion to dismiss debate. The trial is coming. Mitch McConnell has said as much.

The length of the trial is up for debate and the length of the trial will be negotiated and will be negotiated between McConnell and Schumer, and not necessarily the White House. I think the point that has been made by Republican senators who have met with the president and Pat Cipollone, his White House counsel, has been this is coming, you need to prepare for it and you need to decide how you would like us to at least attempt to structure it in those negotiations.

And they have made the point that you will have an opportunity to defend yourself, and if that comes, then perhaps you should take the opportunity to have a robust defense of yourself. Be ready for what's coming. And the White House has fixated more on who you can call to testify and those sorts of things. I think the Republicans want the White House to be prepared.

A trial is coming and you need to be prepared to defend the president, because we're not all with you necessarily on dismissing this out of hand early on.

KING: Right, and the reflex tells you the witnesses they've withheld could clear the president, we would have heard this them. That's what makes the calculations about who does the president -- who does the president have as witnesses in his own defense, if you will? Interesting, especially -- we'll talk more about this later as it collides with the early part of the 2020 campaign.

Up next for us, Rudy Giuliani's central role in this impeachment drama. As we go to break, a small dose of bipartisan friendship in a yes, highly partisan time. Here's to Georgia Congressman John Lewis paying tribute to retiring Georgia Republican Senator Johnny Isakson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D-GA); Senator, you not only supported the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2006, but a few years later, even co-led the congressional delegation to Selma, Alabama, and I want to say thank you for all of your good and great work.

I'm lucky enough and just blessed really to call you a friend and a brother.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:15:22] KING: Rudy Giuliani's controversial Ukraine role came up repeatedly in the public impeachment hearings and there's fresh evidence this weekend of White House support for that role. Documents released by the State Department Friday night detail two conversations in March between Giuliani and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The documents show the second call was arranged with the help of the president's personal assistant at the request of a Giuliani aid.

The documents are clear, but the former New York mayor insists it didn't happen that way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL ATTORNEY: No, I'm capable of making my own calls. I actually know how to use the phone. Mike's -- of course, I'm not going to discuss my conversations with the secretary of state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Those calls came in the same week Giuliani shared with the State Department a packet of documents that includes unproven allegations against the Bidens and against then U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

Giuliani not only led the smear campaign against Yovanovitch, he also was a driving force in pushing a long debunked conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine, not Russia, that hacked into the emails in the 2016 election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TERRI SEWELL (D-AL): Did your boss, Ambassador Bolton, tell you that Giuliani was, quote, a hand grenade?

HILL: He did, yes.

SEWELL: What do you think he meant by his characterization of Giuliani as a hand grenade?

HILL: What he meant by this was pretty clear to me in the context of all of the statements that Mr. Giuliani was making publicly about the investigations that he was promoting, that the story line he was promoting, the narrative of -- he was promoting was going to back backfire. I think it was backfired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: She was scathing in her criticism of Giuliani, making the point she believes he was just peddling crazy stuff to the president, conspiracy theories about 2016, dirt from corrupt people in Ukraine, about the ambassador, about the Bidens, and that U.S. foreign policy was undermined, essentially taken over, taken prisoner, hijacked was a word used by Ambassador Yovanovitch by Rudy Giuliani.

SHEAR: I mean, the thing that's remarkable about the Giuliani situation and notwithstanding documents and emails that sort of people are looking at in the last 24 hours, Rudy's role played out in public. This isn't the case of a sort of presidential aide secretly going about doing something that we're all having to piece together. He was out on television, he was on this network however many times he was on there.

He was quoted in news articles saying exactly what he wanted. He wanted the investigations, he connected them to the Bidens. And, of course, the president connected to Rudy in real time as well, in tweets and in comments, embracing Rudy as well.

So, I mean, in some ways, it's the scandal that sort of has played out right in front of our faces.

BADE: Yes, I think the really interesting thing there is that a lot of people when they were hearing Rudy Giuliani talk about this on TV, they sort of dismissed it. This is crazy Rudy. I mean, it has nothing to do with what we're talking about here in Washington. That just shows how we've gone from the conspiracy theories that he's been talking about being from the outside edge, far right, what have you, so the main mainstream, because it's not just Rudy Giuliani anymore.

It's Republicans who are defending the president in the House, who -- Fiona Hill specifically said, you are playing into Russia's hands right now by saying that Ukraine interfered --

KING: Let's listen to that, because the president did say, candidate Trump said during the campaign, maybe Russia can just keep Crimea, which infuriated Ukrainians. So, they wrote op-eds. There was public criticism.

There was nothing, nothing. That was a small criticism game. Russia had this systematic from Putin on down, multimillion dollar, coordinated, systematic campaign to hack emails, spread propaganda, try to hack into machines around the country. They just don't compare. It's a small -- it's a squirt gun versus a big army here.

Fiona Hill told Republicans on the committee, stop listening to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia security services did not conduct against our country, and that perhaps somehow, for some reason, Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that is being perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves. And the cost of this investigation, I would just ask that you please not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was her appeal, but it was ignored. A lot of Republicans afterwards saying, well, they both did it.

And I just want to read the headline as we continue our conversation. This is from "The Associated Press" on Wednesday. Putin says U.S. political drama is diverting focus from Russia. Thank God, he told an economic forum in Russian capital on Wednesday, no one is accusing us of interfering in the U.S. elections anymore. Now they're accusing Ukraine.

One result of this has been a big gift to Vladimir Putin.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes, and Hill also said that Russia has been engaged in a long pattern of deflection, trying to pin the blame on Ukraine for, actually, they're the ones that interfered, we didn't interfere.

[08:20:09]

And, of course, Trump and Republicans, as you mentioned, John, have given them a gift by going along with the conspiracy theory. And we also find out that senators have been briefed from the intel community and the intel community has told them that all of this is a conspiracy theory, that Ukraine did not interfere in the way that Trump is saying and that it's dangerous to push this narrative.

KING: It's dangerous and wrong and not factual to push it. But they believe if you just dust everything up, as I call the pig pen strategy, it's hard to see straight when you got all, oh, could have been this, could have been this, could have been that, could have been this, in front of you. One of the questions is will the president bail on Rudy Giuliani here and say he went too far? In the "Fox and Friends" interview the other day, no indication of that at all.

MATTINGLY: No, there's no indication of that. And I think to your point, one of the things we've seen over the last four years that's been effective for the president and his allies is take threads of something, combine them into something much bigger and pitch this as the major defense of yourself. That's what's happening in Ukraine.

Look, there were individuals in Ukraine who were frustrated about the president's comments about Crimea, we frustrated about certain elements of what the Trump campaign was talking about really to Ukraine, and made those concerns public. That is not the same thing. That is apples to oranges of what Russia was doing.

And yet that's kind of the defense here. I think on Rudy's point, the one thing I took away -- look, there were a lot of details in the testimony, is that across the board, regardless of who came in, Kurt Volker, who Republican said was one of their best witnesses, Tim Morrison, same thing, every single person said what Rudy Giuliani was doing was problematic and undermining national security and Rudy Giuliani was not operating as a rogue. Rudy Giuliani was connected across the board with everybody.

That is what Gordon Sondland made more clear than anything else. And the idea that Rudy Giuliani is going to disengage or be removed from the president's orbit, I think it's been made clear in the last 48 to 72 hours, simply is not going to happen. Even though everyone who testified said what he was pushing was wrong, said what he was pushing was problematic and said what he was pushing undermined national security for the United States.

KING: And that the people he was dealing with were corrupt actors inside Ukraine.

Up next, we switch gears, more than 30 million reasons not to write off Michael Bloomberg's presidential ambition.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[08:26:08]

KING: The Democratic race for president is getting a $37 million jolt this week, courtesy of Michael Bloomberg. The former New York City mayor has purchased at least $37 million of air time for ads coast to coast. If you take billionaire Tom Steyer out of the equation, that is more TV ad spending just this week than the other candidates have spent in the entire campaign so far.

Mayor Bloomberg barely registers in Democratic polling and late entry is risky to say the least. But his resources not unnoticed by his rivals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Elections should not be for sale. Not to billionaires, not to corporate executives.

SEN. KAMALA HARRIS (D-CA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are billionaires who are either in the race or thinking about getting in the race, and it gives them a competitive advantage. Literally, money gives people a competitive advantage.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's decided because he's worth $55 billion that he can run for president of the United States and spend more money on TV ads, I suspect, than any candidate in the history of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You get why they're unhappy, because even the ones like Senator Sanders who can raise a ton of money cannot compete. The question is, and we won't know the answer for maybe two weeks, is spending $37 million in a week, is that going to do it for Michael Bloomberg? Will it bring him up in the polls?

BARRON-LOPEZ: Right. I mean, the issue with Michael Bloomberg is that he already is missing out on Iowa, New Hampshire, Alabama, I think also Michigan, he didn't file in time in those states. Whether or not, even with the amount of money he can pour into this, he can somehow put together the delegates and the coalition that he needs to win is another question.

But this ad buy, finance experts said it could be like one of the biggest ever. It's larger than ones that Obama placed.

KING: The last week of the general election campaign, Obama spent close to $30 million or $25 million and this blows that out of the water and it's the first week. SHEAR: And ultimately I think the answer to your question of will

this really be the thing to move the needle, is really a question of whether it's sustained, right? I mean, he has the money. If he wanted to put $30 million in every week for the next 10 weeks, he could probably do that, right?

But will he -- is this more of sort of a vanity play where you sort of make an effort, but then don't really sustain?

KING: But, look, rich people -- no one likes to waste their money. They're doing this because they think they can build.

They're also doing this, not going to compete in Iowa, New Hampshire. Normally someone gets momentum, there are some surprise, somebody takes off. Bloomberg is counting on the fact that no, there will be a mixed verdict and people will be looking for someone to step in. He's also counting on a Joe Biden collapse. He's counting the party will suddenly look like, oh, no, we need a more moderate.

Joe Biden says wishful thinking.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BIDEN: Why am I so far ahead in the national polls? Why am I so far ahead here? Why am I so far ahead in Nevada? Tell me why.

If everybody says the people are thinking, people are thinking, OK, the pundits may be thinking, but that's not where the people are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That's what he hopes. That's what he hopes. But some of the early state pools show signs of Biden weakness.

The interesting thing is if he starts to fall a little bit, he does not have the resources right now to compete with Bloomberg.

MATTINGLY: That's the Bloomberg play, right, and it's a gamble. But it's a gamble that a lot of campaigns to be predicting, that there's a softness in Biden's numbers and he'll be exposed in Iowa, or New Hampshire, or some triumvirate of the first couple of states and that will create an opening, whether it's for Pete Buttigieg, or whether it's for other people. And Bloomberg sees himself in that lane.

Look, to Mike's point, there's rich and there's Bloomberg rich. He has the money to do this for the next 10 weeks, he could do this through the election, and it's a drop in the bucket for him.

[08:29:52]

I think the real question is this will be the baseline. Let's see what the numbers do after the $37 million ad buy, plus. And then after that, let's keep an eye on Joe Biden to see how real this actually becomes in the weeks.

BADE: It's interesting that he thinks that if there is sort of a situation where nobody -- there's not a contender that really pushes through, not a clear winner, that he can be the one to sort of fill that void.

I mean Michael Bloomberg is not exactly a charismatic figure. How many times have we heard that Democrats want to fall in love with their candidate. They're not going to take somebody who can't, you know, win over voters.

And so, you know, by pouring all this money in, I would imagine a lot of Democratic primary voters are probably not happy with this. It makes it feel bigger, it confuses voters and you know, that just doesn't help their case in terms of finding that Democratic --

KING: His hope -- this is a 60-second ad -- we're going to show you a snippet of it here. His hope is that Democrats say, you know what, we want to beat Trump. We want to beat Trump. We're worried about this field. We're not sure.

If this guy says these things and is willing to spend this kind of money, maybe he can actually beat him. Let's take a peak.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He has just been the middle-class kid who made good. Mike Bloomberg became the guy who did good. And now he's taking on him to rebuild the country and restore faith in the dream that defines us, where the wealthy will pay more in taxes and the middle class get their fair share. And then all of those things Mike Bloomberg intends to make good.

Job creator, leader, problem solver. Mike Bloomberg for President.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BARRON-LOPEZ: Ad buys like that -- I mean he's saturating ad buys in all the states -- in the majority of the states but -- and they could potentially sway voters. But I was just on the trail the last week and the number of primary voters that said that they just want the field to shrink, they don't want any more to jump in.

They weren't interested in Deval Patrick. They were hearing whispers about Bloomberg and were just like please, no, because they want to be able to decide on a candidate.

And so far they feel like they could vote for three of the -- they have the top three and they're still deciding between them. So there appeared to be no appetite for anyone else.

KING: The question is can Bloomberg create it. Can Bloomberg and the performance of the other candidates -- it's very depended on the performance of the other candidates.

You mentioned Mayor Buttigieg. He's leading in Iowa right now. A lot of people think, you know, he's got a moment there -- a mayor from small town Indiana. Wins Iowa, maybe he gets a second look then. But the calendar then does move on and he has had a consistent problem. Joe Biden is hoping this is his salvation. If you have a moderate choice between Buttigieg and Biden, for example, look at South Carolina. New poll out, Quinnipiac poll out last week, Joe Biden on top with 33 percent overall. The basis of that is that 44 percent among African-American, black voters there.

Look at Pete Buttigieg -- 6 percent overall in this poll. Still does not register in a state where 50 percent or 60 percent of the voters will be black voters in this primary. Still does not register. He has been promising for months he'll fix this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PETE BUTTIGIEG (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When you're not somebody that people feel like they've known for a long time, nor are yourself a person of color, you've got to work extra hard to get to know folks. So that's exactly what we're doing.

There's a lot of voters I need to get to know and who need to get to know me.

There are a lot of voters, especially black voters in South Carolina, who haven't really formed an opinion about me at all.

I welcome the challenge of connecting with black voters in America who don't yet know me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It's the same answer for month after month after month. It's hard. It's hard to get known, especially when you have people like Biden, when you have two black candidates in the race. But --

BARRON-LOPEZ: But he still, yes, has consistently registered at zero percent among black voters. Also he isn't doing well with Latino voters and he was just in California and Nevada. And in Nevada, he registers at about one percent with Latinos.

So his campaign definitely needs to make up a lot of ground there. And they say that they're doing more outreach, but there hasn't been any uptick in the polls at all.

KING: All right.

When we come back, our "Sunday Trail Mix" is next.

Joe Biden likes to promise he can revive bipartisan cooperation here in Washington if elected president but at the moment he's in a nasty impeachment battle with a long-time Republican friend.

[08:33:54]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is hospitalized this morning after seeking treatment for chills and a fever. The 86-year- old justice was first treated at a Washington hospital Friday then transferred to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. A Court spokeswoman says Justice Ginsburg though responded well to treatment and is expected to be released from the hospital some time today.

Let's turn now to the "Sunday Trail Mix" for a taste of the 2020 campaign.

Joe Biden unloading on his former colleague and one-time friend Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. As chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham this week opened an investigation into the Bidens and Ukraine, asking the State Department for records related to then Vice President Biden's calls and meetings with the Ukrainian leader at the time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am disappointed, and quite frankly, I'm angered by the fact. He knows me, he knows my son. He knows there's nothing to this.

Trump is now essentially holding power over him that even the Ukrainians wouldn't yield to.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: What do you say to him?

BIDEN: I say Lindsey, I just -- I'm just embarrassed by what you're doing for you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Senator Graham has, shall we say, evolved in his feelings about the former vice president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If you can't admire Joe Biden as a person, then probably you've got a problem. He's the nicest person I think I've ever met in politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that right?

GRAHAM: He is as good a man as God ever created.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How did as good a man as God ever created become let's get some documents?

BADE: It's all because of the pressure from the White House. I mean I had colleagues who talked to Graham just -- less than three weeks ago and asked him point blank are you going to be investigating the Bidens? This was when Trump allies were saying we have to go after Hunter Biden, potentially use another witness in a Senate trial to try to divert the attention from the accusations on Trump and focus on potentially hurting the Bidens. And Graham's response to both of them was there's no way I'm going to do this in my committee. My committee doesn't have jurisdiction. This is just not something I'm interested in.

And now all of a sudden he's taking up this mantle, subpoenaing documents -- or not subpoenaing yet but asking for documents. And, you know, there's been -- he even admitted at the time he was getting a lot of pressure from Trump allies to move forward. So he's caving on that.

KING: Biden also said in the interview, give him the documents. You won't find anything. You'll find that the entire world wanted me to do what I was doing, trying to get a corrupt prosecutor fired. But you see Biden get his Irish up there a little bit.

MATTINGLY: Yes.

First off, everybody knows -- it's now very well known -- that if you go after Biden's family, Biden is going to get his Irish up. And that might be the least of what he does in this case.

I think that for some -- one thing that will be really interesting to find out is how does Biden utilize what's going on right now? And I understand that he thinks it's absurd. And I understand that he thinks that they're all conspiracy theories, but what can you actually do to utilize this to help your campaign, to make a point of who you are and what you bring to the table?

And I think that was really the first time I saw him kind of seize on something, and show emotion, very real emotion and maybe be able to transfer it into what's going on right now. But this is going to continue and I think that gives him opportunity as much as it gives him headaches, based on what we've seen at least.

[08:40:00]

KING: We shall see.

Up next for us, impeachment and the election year collide. It's unprecedented and very unpredictable.

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KING: Predicting how the impeachment debate will play politically is risky business especially because we're still a long way from the finish line. The headlines at the moment, not good for the President including in places critical to his 2020 map. Take a look.

Ambassador Sondland's quid pro quo testimony, for example, was front- page news in Arizona, North Carolina, Florida and more. But, an important but, Republican voters remain loyal and some recent polling suggests independents are perhaps growing more wary of impeachment.

Lawmakers are home on a break right now and that allows them to get a local pulse. For many House Democrats that means testing the effectiveness of Republican impeachment attack ads. [08:44:57]

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Their partisan impeachment is a politically- motivated charade. Joe Cunningham promised to be different, but he's not. Instead of working to secure our border, fix health care and pass a new trade deal with our neighbors that creates real jobs, he supported the partisan impeachment investigation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: It is fascinating for both sides here. The politics are risky for both sides here. And the thing is we just don't know where we are today versus where we're going to be come the early nominating contest (ph) in the Democratic presidential race and then come -- almost a year from now -- November.

BARRON-LOPEZ: And so far Republican outside (ph) groups have spent $8 million or more on these impeachment ads -- these anti-impeachment ads and compare that to Democrats which have only spent about $3 million or so. So these vulnerable House Democrats have expressed concern to leadership this week ahead of the Thanksgiving break saying we don't want to be playing catchup. We're worried about our reelection bid.

SHEAR: You know, it's an interesting note -- that ad that you just played is an interesting kind of echo of what the Democrats did two years ago in the midterms when they were the ones arguing that the President is obsessed with the border and invasion and the caravans coming up and what we should be talking about is health care and, you know, the issues that sort of really matter to people.

And so the Republicans in this sense are turning that on its head and saying, no, no, no, this time it's the Democrats who are obsessed when we should be sort of moving on to other issues.

BADE: I think what we're starting to see is, you know, when the impeachment inquiry was first announced and they started to do these depositions, a lot of people were asking can Nancy Pelosi peel off any Republicans, and I think -- in this final impeachment vote.

But I think increasingly the question is becoming does she lose more Democrats. Because Republicans have really sort of unified behind the President. And although two Democrats voted against the impeachment inquiry rules that they voted on a couple of weeks ago, you know, we are hearing behind-the-scenes there are more moderates who are getting cold feet and it all comes back to these ads and people being afraid for being punished for voting to impeach the President.

KING: And it's going to come down too, to the effectiveness. Democrats felt happy with the Intelligence Committee public hearings. Now, they moved first to a private phase (ph) of drafting then to the Judiciary Committee, and then to the full House. Though some of those more moderate members are going to watch to see if the politics change. But it's clear -- look, the President feels good right now. Republican support here in Washington seems rock solid. As I said, there's some indication in some polling, it's only one -- let's see how this goes over the next several weeks, that Independents' are at least, reluctance rising.

He tweeted more than a hundred times -- a hundred times since Tuesday on this. Thanks to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican leader Mitch McConnell, for the great leadership. Never been so much unity in the Republican Party.

A hundred tweets since Tuesday tells you he may think the politics are good for him right now but he's going to do everything he can to keep them that way.

MATTINGLY: You count all those tweets?

No. And it's not just the tweets. It's having met with more than 40 Republican Senators over at the White House, doing that every Thursday, having his legislative (ph) team very involved right now.

And at these meetings, they're not just talking about impeachment, they're talking about pet issues for various Republicans senators, whether it's Susan Collins or Mitt Romney. They are working and outside/inside game to the degree that we haven't really seen the White House expected would do over the course of the last couple of years. And I think there's a reason for that.

KING: Imagine if they had done that on health care policy, for example. The way -- you make a great point -- the way they're working inside/outside now, they never did that on policy issues.

Our reporters share from their notebooks next, including how the White House is turning Camp David into a playground for Republican lawmakers.

[08:48:13]

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KING: Let's head one last time around the INSIDE POLITICS table, ask our great reporters to share a little something from their notebooks to help get you out ahead of the big political news just around the corner.

Rachel.

BADE: So President Trump has never been a big fan of Camp David. Not exactly his style in terms of mountain lodge. He would rather go to Mar-A-Lago, right.

So acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has actually turned Camp David into this weekend retreat center for House Republicans where he's lobbying them on impeachment very softly, sort of in a wooing style.

They're hiking. They're making s'mores. They're shooting skeet. And they're talking about impeachment as well as other legislation. And it's all an effort to sort of make House Republicans feel like they're part of Trump's family.

He calls them during dinner, compliments lawmakers, so that they won't break on impeachment. And I'm told so far it is working that these weekend getaways are sort of the envy of the House conference.

KING: S'mores with Mick Mulvaney. What could you want.

Phil.

MATTINGLY: I'm not sure I can top that.

Some actual bipartisan good news this weekend. Over the weekend top appropriators in both the Senate and the House, Republican and Democrat, reached a deal on topline spending numbers.

Now, not to get too into the weeds but that is important because there are still 12 unpassed appropriations bills. There is a December 20th deadline to try and avoid a Christmas shutdown and reaching agreement on these topline numbers should spark the process to actually start moving forward.

They should move forward pretty quickly on some of the noncontroversial bills, and that's good news for anybody who remembers the history of long 38-day shutdown of last year.

There are still very contentious items outstanding. Obviously most notable the President's wall. There is a very real possibility of a shutdown come December but the fact that they were able to reach an agreement on Saturday, something they've been working on for months, is positive news and should kick start this process.

I would note both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have committed to getting this done before the end of the year. The big question outstanding -- where is the President in all this?

KING: Yes. We've got enough going on. We don't need a government shutdown right now.

Michael.

SHEAR: So President Trump is engaged in a real high-stakes face-off with two of his top military advisers, the Secretary of the Navy and the admiral in charge of the Navy SEALs have both reportedly threatened to resign if they are not allowed to expel a commando from the elite Navy SEALs unit.

That commando, Eddie Gallagher was acquitted of accusations that he committed misconduct other than posing for a photo with a dead ISIS soldier. He was demoted for that. President Trump reversed that demotion using the power of his office to do that and simply siding with conservatives who say that he was just sort of acting in the heat of battle. Now the conflict most recently came when the President tweeted that he didn't want the Navy to be able to go ahead and remove him from the Navy SEALs. That is what prompted the threats to resign.

Now the Secretary of the Navy has said he didn't. He's denied that threat to resign but they're moving ahead and they're not going treat President Trump's tweet as a formal order.

That's what I'm watching for in the days ahead. Does the President -- what does the President do when the Navy ignores what he said he wanted in his tweet.

KING: A lot of tension. We will watch it. As I said, there is a lot going on at moment.

Laura.

BARRON-LOPEZ: Yes. So on the 2020 trail this last week, the Democrats descended on Atlanta, a majority black city, and a lot of the candidates made race a focal point. Not so much ideology but minority voters that they are trying to woo as they get closer to the primary itself.

[08:54:56]

BARRON-LOPEZ: So Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker talked a lot about how they will be able to recreate the Obama coalition, it's a bit of digs at potentially Joe Biden if they think he can't make it across the finish line, or Pete Buttigieg but playing up the fact that as black Americans they can actually speak to voters in a way that Obama did and that the other candidates can't.

So it will be is interesting to see how their campaigns progress as we get closer to Iowa, how much they continue to hammer that point.

KING: Campaigns -- of course, campaigns getting lost in the impeachment conversation. The first vote's closer than you think.

I'll close with this. A bit like Phil said -- there might actually be bipartisanship in town. The public signs suggest other wise but watch the House Speaker in the week ahead to see if she finally gives a green light to the U.S./Mexico/Canada trade agreement. The USMCA is of course the top priority of President Trump.

But many moderate House Democrats also support it and many of them would like to prove back home that impeachment hasn't completely paralyzed Washington.

Just Thursday, Speaker Pelosi said she's worried it is getting too late to resolve the remaining issues in time for House action this year. But by late Friday, back (INAUDIBLE) were again confident the United States, Mexico and Canadian negotiators plan to meet this week. And if all goes well in those talks the expectation is that Speaker Pelosi will issue a pre-Thanksgiving statement embracing House action in December.

That is it for INSIDE POLITICS. Hope you can catch us week days as well. We'll be here at noon Eastern.

Don't go anywhere. A very important "STATE OF THE UNION" with Jake Tapper just ahead. His guests include the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff and Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin.

Thanks again for sharing your Sunday. Have a great day.

[08:56:30]

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