Return to Transcripts main page

AT THIS HOUR

Trump Meets with Canadian P.M. Justin Trudeau; Trump Clashes with Macron at Tense Meeting; Trump Answers Questions on Impeachment as New Phrase of Hearings Kicks In; Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) Discusses Impeachment & His Decision to Endorse Biden. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired December 3, 2019 - 11:00   ET

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


[11:00:00]

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And we get one. OK. Now, none of us know anything about constitutional law. But they get three and we get one. That doesn't sound too good but that's the way it is.

For the hearings, we don't get a lawyer. We don't get any witnesses. We want Biden. We want the son, Hunter. Where is hunter? We want the son. We want Schiff. We want to interview these people. Well, they said no. You can't do it. We want to do it.

So when it's fair -- and it will be fair in the Senate -- I would love to have Mike Pompeo. I'd love to have Mick. I'd love to have Rick Perry and many other people testify. But I don't want them to testify when this is a total fix. You know what a fix is? It's a fix.

Just think of it. Tomorrow, I don't think anybody will watch. I'm not going to watch but I'm going to be doing this. It's much more exciting.

Tomorrow, think of it, they get three constitutional lawyers and we get one. That's not even smart. Because it's not going to matter. And they take three and they give us one. Whoever heard of anything like that? Nobody.

I want them to testify but I want them to testify in the Senate where they'll get a fair trial.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What do we want to learn from Adam Schiff's testimony?

TRUMP: From which?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: From Adam Schiff.

TRUMP: I learn nothing from them. I think he's a maniac.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What would you want to learn --

TRUMP: I think he is a deranged human being. I think he grew up with a complex for lots of reasons that are obvious. I think he's a very sick man.

And he lies. Adam Schiff made up my conversation with the president of Ukraine.

And one of the reasons people keep talking about it is that's what they saw. We have a perfectly beautiful three or four-page transcription and in the other case a two-page transcription of the conversation.

But a lot of people didn't read that. How many people called you? A friend of mine called up, a top person in New York called up, great friend of mine, very successful, gee, I didn't like what was said. I said, oh, where did you see it. Did you read it. No, I didn't read it. I heard Adam Schiff give it. Well, that's not what was said and I sent him a copy of what was said. He said this is like -- this is great. This isn't what he said.

This guy is sick. He made up the conversation. He lied. If he didn't do that in the halls of Congress, he'd be thrown in a jail. But he did it in the halls of Congress and he's given immunity. This is a sick person. He's a liar.

And by the way, Nancy Pelosi knew he was lying and she went on a show, Stephanopoulos, and said he told the truth. So she was lying, too. These people are deranged.

OK. Anybody else?

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Prime minister, the president suggested that Canada might pull out of USMCA. Have you ever made that suggestion directly to the president?

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: We've had lots of great conversations about how we'll keep moving forward to benefit workers in all three of our countries. And we are very confident that we're going to be able to get there.

I know Ambassador Lighthizer and Deputy Prime Minister Friedland (ph) and the Mexican negotiators are engaged closely on this issue. We're very hopeful we'll have good news -- news soon.

(CROSSTALK)

Mr. Prime Minister - (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)

Mr. Prime Minister, is it your plan to have discussions about Turkey and its role in NATO with your meeting with the president?

TRUDEAU: I think that's a range of discussions that we're going to have during this meeting. I look forward to having an opportunity to chat with the president.

TRUMP: That will come up in the meeting. TRUDEAU: But including, including the various challenges and reflects

we had to have on how we move forward as theta and how to make sure we're responding to the real challenges the world sees right now.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you have any plan to talk about the extradition of --

(CROSSTALK)

TRUDEAU: We will absolutely be bringing up the issue of China and the detained Canadians.

TRUMP: OK? Thank you very much, everybody.

TRUDEAU: Thank you.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. President Trump there finishing another meeting at the NATO summit. That with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me.

President Trump is on the world stage once again and it has been a morning of rapid-fire press conferences, quite frankly, with the president and other world leaders. First, with the secretary-general of NATO, then with the president of France, and just now, as you saw with the prime minister of Canada.

The big headlines really coming out of the president's meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. Whereas these meetings typically include pleasantries between world leaders, statements about the strength of relationships between nations, this morning, we did not really see that. Their interaction, Macron and Trump was tense to say the very least.

[11:05:04]

President Trump accusing Emmanuel Macron of giving a non-answer on the question of taking back ISIS fighters into France. And this is just hours after President Trump called previous comments from Macron about NATO nasty.

Macron defended his remark that the world is facing the, quote/unquote, "brain death" of NATO when they were sitting right next to each other.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRIME MINISTER: I know that my statements created some reaction. A lot of people -- I do stand by them. When we speak about NATO, it's not just about money. We have to be respectful.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: At the very same time as all of that is going on, the president is dealing with continued trouble at home. He was actually talking about it, impeachment, when he was sitting there with Justin Trudeau.

The impeachment inquiry now in a new phase. Any moment now, the House Intelligence Committee will release its report ahead of a vote this evening and that report is to be used by another committee, House Judiciary, as the basis of what they would use to draw up articles of impeachment against the president.

A lot to get to. Let's go to London. CNN White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, is there traveling with the president.

Kaitlan, it's been an extraordinary afternoon for you, morning for everyone here, especially with regard to the back and forth between Trump and French President Macron.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, rapid-fire is what you described it. That's certainly one way to put it.

Every meeting the president has had ever since his first one has come with question-and-answer sessions that are pretty lengthy.

Of course, the president set the tone at his first one where he said those comments by the French leader I believed were nasty and disrespectful.

But, Kate, those were not criticisms he repeated later on when in the room with Macron. An interesting view between the two of them as they were sitting there in this brutal back and forth going after one another.

And listen to this one exchange they had where they were talking about ISIS fighters, the president seemed to be saying somewhat jokingly and the French president responded in a way that made clear he did not find it funny.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP; Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I could give them to you. You can take everyone you want somewhere --

(CROSSTALK)

MACRON: Let's be serious. There are a number of fighters you have on the ground. Fighters coming from Syria, from Iraq, your number one problem are not the foreign fighters. This is the ISIS fighters. And you ask more and more of these fighters due to the situation today.

TRUMP: This is why he's a great politician because that was one of the greatest non-answers I've ever heard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COLLINS: And that was just one of several instances between the two of them where they were pushing back and forth.

Kate, the broader point you saw them disagreeing on was the president was saying he criticized NATO because he wants everyone to be contributing more to their defense, raising that perjury that he so long ago talked about, and Macron was saying, no, it's not just about money, arguing he doesn't get it, as they were arguing about ISIS, immigration and whatnot.

I do want to note during this meeting just now with the Canadian prime minister, at the beginning, Trump clarified a comment he made earlier when he was asked about supporting those protesters in Iran.

He said he didn't want to comment on it earlier, but, no, he did not, which raised a lot of eyebrows since, just the other day, the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, said, yes, they did.

Trump clarified and said he thought the reporter was asking about financial support, material support, providing that, but he said, yes, they do stand by them and tweeted a correction of that as well -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Good to have that correction. I would like to see if there are more corrections that will be coming from the back and forth.

Kaitlan, stick with me.

We'll also have a conversation with CNN national security analyst, former adviser to the National Security Council under President Obama, Samantha Vinograd, and CNN global affairs analyst, staff writer for the "New Yorker," Susan Glasser.

Susan, Macron in there, standing by his comments that NATO is facing, "brain death" is how he put it in a previous interview. The two leaders clashing, as Kaitlan is pointing out, in full view of reporters, on ISIS, on Turkey's purchase of a weapons system from Russia, what do you take from that?

SUSAN GLASSER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, first of all this, has got to be one of Vladimir Putin's best day this is a long time. I can't think of a goal of Russian foreign policy that would be more to the point than having NATO's leaders meet for, by the way, a historic 70th anniversary of NATO gathering in London.

The queen is about to fete this anniversary right now as we speak, and here it is you have NATO's leaders squabbling with each other.

The backdrop here, of course, is not Emmanuel Macron's criticism of NATO but Donald Trump's not only his criticism of NATO but really serious questions about his ongoing support for the organization. Many leaders worried that were Trump to win a second term, he might follow through on his own threats against the organization.

[11:10:03]

Listening to him both with Emmanuel Macron and again just now with Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada, going on and on in the most inaccurate way possible -- we've gotten used to it, so tend to forget Donald Trump still, three years into his presidency, cannot accurately describe the issue of the NATO defense spending that he's been harping on for three years.

He makes it seem as though Germany is ripping off the United States and we're somehow having to pay to make up for their arrears. None of that could be, of course, farther from the truth of how it works.

The tension normally you might see behind closed doors has spilled out into the open publicly today, I think.

BOLDUAN: Yes.

And, Sam, jump in on this.

Something of what Susan is getting to right there came up in the meeting with Justin Trudeau that sparked -- caught your attention and caught a lot of folks' attention.

When the president is asked, something he has been asked many times before about the United States' commitment to NATO, one of the most central portions of the treaty, Article V, an attack on one is an attack on all.

Because he seemed to indicate at one point in this back and forth that if a country is, quote/unquote, "delinquent" on their financial payments, their contributions to their own defense budgets, that he might question if he, the United States, would stand up and support a country if they were under attack.

And asked about it for clarification, the president says, well, you know, I'm going to be discussing that today. What do you take from that?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, Kate, this is not new for President Trump. He's not a big fan of upholding the law, whether it be international or domestic.

And in this case, since 2017, he has obfuscated on the core tenet of the signed treaty, Article V, which basically says an attack on one is an attack on all.

And let's remember, NATO has invoked Article V one time in defense of the United States on 9/11.

So today, what he is saying is that countries that don't meet their financial obligations to NATO, their commitments he may not come to their defense. Obviously, that opens them up to attack.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: And that's what I'm wondering, Sam. Is this a situation where Donald Trump plays coy because he doesn't want to give an answer to a question coming from a reporter?

I mean he was asked, would you commit if there's a country that is delinquent on these payments, would you commit to defend them if they were attacked. His answer being, I'm going to be discussing that today. It's an interest -- it's a very interesting question, isn't it, he says to the reporter.

If it is just him being coy and this isn't a major statement, would be, we might not, what does it do?

VINOGRAD: Well, Kate, again, this is a softball question. This is a signed treaty and this is the basis of our collective defense arrangement.

When he makes this kind of noncommittal answer, he is opening up countries to threat, countries that don't meet their 2 percent obligations. He's obfuscating on his adherence to the core tenets and on whether he'll come to other countries' aid that does make them more vulnerable and shakens the alliance.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Even short of facing an attack.

VINOGRAD: Even short of facing an attack.

Briefly, on the question you asked about Macron and Trump, it is interesting, they agree on thing, which is dialogue with Russia. That means two different things to both presidents. But Macron and Trump have said they want to talk to Russia. Macron is different from Trump because he has not been afraid to call out Russian misbehavior.

But both leaders have taken criticism for saying that they want to get along better with Russia. And Trump, of course, unlike Macron, has not pointed out where Russia has engaged in wrongdoing.

BOLDUAN: Kaitlan, I'm kind of struck at the posture of the two leaders between Macron and Trump today. It was not so long ago that Trump -- we all remember him like picking lint off Macron's lapel in the Oval Office because they were such close friends, kind of how Trump was trying to play it at the time.

What is the status of their relationship right now?

COLLINS: Yes. And used to talk about how good looking he thought Macron was and what an emerging leader he is. The relationship is so different today.

And that was really noticeable today as you were watching them push back and forth with each other. The president trying to joke and Macron saying, no, let's get serious.

A really stunning reversal of what that relationship used to be like and how chummy it used to be given -- remember the fact that the president hosted the president of France for a state dinner. His first big state dinner at the White House. And that has changed so much. And you saw that dynamic starting this morning and on display there. And it's really notable. But I think a lot has to do with how the French are -- how they're handling President Trump. Because at the beginning, President Macron wanted to be on this charm offensive because he thought that was the way to navigate the relationship. And clearly, he's changed his mind now that they disagree over so much.

And evidently not only when talking about NATO but Turkey, especially where the president was saying, I've got a good relationship with President Erdogan, it's very good, and immediately, Macron rips Turkey for purchasing that Russian missile defense system, saying it's not compliant with NATO.

[11:15:11]

And pushing back on the president who said twice today that if the Obama administration wasn't going to let them buy the American defense system, they could -- that's why they had to buy the Russian one. Macron said, no, that's not true. They could have bought a European one if they wanted to. They chose not to. They are going against what NATO's standards are here.

And it was pretty stunning to see him pushing back so quickly on what the president was saying about leaders he says he has a good relationship with.

BOLDUAN: It really was extraordinary. Remember, we're talking about this is a meeting of the NATO alliance and they're sitting there and -- I mean, Macron like fact-checking the president in real time, especially with regard to the weapon system you're talking about. It really was extraordinary.

Kaitlan, Sam, Susan, thank you, guys. Really appreciate it.

Coming up for us, the House Intelligence Committee is about to release a report that the Democrats hope will be making their case for impeachment of the president of the United States. Republican lawmakers are already -- have already put out their own 100-plus-page report rebutting what the Democrats are going to be putting out.

I know this probably comes as no surprise to any of you watching the show. Regardless, these are important developments as they lay the groundwork for the steps ahead. We're live on Capitol Hill with the latest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:21:20]

BOLDUAN: While President Trump is on the world stage and overseas, he did not deny there's a cloud hanging over his NATO visit. That cloud being the impeachment inquiry moving full steam ahead.

And any moment, the House Intelligence Committee will release a report of its findings after two months of investigation, hours upon hours of testimony, and two weeks of public hearings. Even before that happens, Republican versus put out their own rebuttal, 123 pages worth of a rebuttal.

To Capitol Hill. Phil Mattingly is there with all of it and there's a lot.

Phil, what is expected to happen today with regard to the report coming out ahead of the big hearing tomorrow?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, Kate, I think what you're see something kind of two tracts about to converge in a sharp manner over the next 24 hours.

You have the Intelligence Committee report as it stands right now. It's behind closed doors. It's being reviewed by lawmakers on the Intelligence Committee, a select group of staff. They're keeping it very close.

But what I'm told, it's a lengthy report. It's largely a narrative of what we saw publicly in those hearings, kind of laying out the Democratic case for impeachment. Laying out the case that the president abused his power when he withheld that U.N. security assistance to Ukraine in order to target a political opponent.

As you mentioned, I wouldn't call it a rebuttal. It is a prebuttal report. That's an important correction there, Kate.

Republicans putting out their own report, laying out the backbone of their defense of the president, you'll see over the course of the next couple of weeks, saying, "The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations, that none of the Democrats' witnesses testified to having evidence of bribery, extortion or any high crime and misdemeanor."

A lengthy recitation of defense of the president. It does not cede any ground that the president did anything wrong, despite what we heard from career diplomats, from Trump administration officials during the public hearings.

Where this is going to lead, the Intelligence Committee report will be voted on tonight and be released and, at the same time, transmitted over the Judiciary Committee.

Why that matters? That's where the articles of impeachment will be drafted. Obviously, there's the hearing tomorrow. Obviously, there will be a couple of hearings in the Judiciary Committee, we expect, over the course of the next week or so.

Why it matters it this is the starting gun to the final sprint to impeachment. Over the course of the next couple of weeks, based on the Intelligence Committee product, based on the articles of impeachment they're drafting, the president of the United States is likely to be impeached before Christmas.

How that actually happens, what the articles look like, that's still being debated. But this is happening and it's happening fast -- Kate?

BOLDUAN: Rebuttal, prebuttal. Phil, one important rule, you never correct me.

MATTINGLY: I'm sorry.

BOLDUAN: We're leaving it there. I'm now cutting your mic.

(LAUGHTER)

BOLDUAN: Good to see you. Thanks, man.

Joining me to discuss on a much more serious note, is Democratic Congressman Ami Bera, of California, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Congressman, thanks for coming.

REP. AMI BERA (D-CA): Kate, thanks for having me on.

BOLDUAN: Appreciate it.

So you think -- let's talk about the House Intel hearings really quick. You think the House Intel hearings that took place successfully made the case that the president tried to extort Ukraine, money for investigation. But you see what has come out of the Republican report that they put out.

Why then -- they're not conceding a single. Why do you think then the Judiciary hearing tomorrow will do anything to move the needle at all?

BERA: I don't know that the Republicans were watching the same hearings we were watching, that the public was watching.

But I think the Intelligence Committee Chairman Schiff put out, you know, a pretty good case here that there's an abuse of power. I think when we see that report, he'll lay out the facts.

You saw fact-based witnesses corroborate those charges. So at least on the abuse of power charge, I think you'll see that in the report laid out pretty clearly.

I also think you likely will see obstruction of justice. You know, the president's pretty much done that by denying certain witnesses showing up, by denying and not allowing us to see lots of documentation, et cetera. So I think there's a pretty strong case for obstruction of justice,

[11:25:12]

And I think the Intelligence Committee will debate that report, probably approve that report, and send it over to Judiciary for the next phase of this.

BOLDUAN: And you talk about the charges. And there's an interesting debate that seems to be going on behind the scenes, we're told, about how narrow or how broad charges against the president should be.

Do you want to see the charges drawn up by the House to focus only on the Ukraine episode, if you will, or do you want to see it expanded, to include, let's say, charges of obstruction coming from the Russia investigation?

BERA: You know, I think based on the public hearings that we've had over the last couple of weeks, based off of what we'll see in the Intelligence report that goes over to Judiciary, I'm going to guess that Judiciary drafts articles that are pretty narrowly focused on, you know, the facts that came out in the past few weeks.

Now, any one of us -- and I've read the Mueller report in the redacted form, there's plenty of evidence of obstruction of justice in there.

(CROSSTALK)

BOLDUAN: Which would you like to see?

BERA: You know, I think we keep it narrow. I think we keep it towards articles of impeachment based off of what we've seen in the last few weeks.

BOLDUAN: Democratic Congressman, one of your colleagues, John Yarmuth, he was on with me yesterday and he said that while he thinks that President Trump should be impeached and removed from office, he also said he doesn't necessarily think that, politically, it is the smartest move for Democrats.

Do you agree with that?

BERA: You know, I think we've got to do our job and uphold the Constitution.

That said, you'll see in the hearing tomorrow in Judiciary where they have constitutional experts come out and discuss what constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors.

And I think it'll be up to that committee as they debate whether the charges that have been laid out in the Intelligence Committee report constitute high crimes and misdemeanors. And then we'll go forward from there.

You know, politically, we then just have to make the case -- if we choose to go down the path of impeachment, we have to make the case to our constituents why we chose to do that.

BOLDUAN: I want to ask you, because it happened just this morning, you just announced this morning that when it comes to the presidential race, you are endorsing Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination for president.

And why Joe Biden? Why versus, let's say, a Senator from your home state, Kamala Harris?

BERA: You know, I think Kamala has a lot of promise. I'm friends with Pete Buttigieg.

But as a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, looking at the devastation that President Trump has wreaked on the State Department, our diplomacy, our standing around the world, watching what's happening at the NATO meeting, there's one person who is ready on day one to repair America's standing in the world, to rebuild our diplomatic and development tools, and that's Joe Biden.

The 26 years in the Senate, the eight years as vice president imminently qualifies him to start on day one to repair the damage of Donald Trump.

BOLDUAN: Congressman, thanks for coming.

BERA: Thanks, Kate. Be well.

BOLDUAN: Appreciate it.

Coming up for us, a major setback for President Trump. Another setback in the courtroom. An appeals court ruling that lawmakers can subpoena his financial records, that Trump cannot block those subpoenas. The details next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[11:30:00]