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Soon: House Judiciary Committee Begins Impeachment Hearing; Phone Records Show Extent of Giuliani's Role in Ukraine Scheme. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired December 4, 2019 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new report from the Intelligence Committee --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Expected to serve as the framework for articles of impeachment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The impeachment process slowly drags on. They're having one big problem, the president did nothing wrong.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the result of a president who believes that he is beyond impeachment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In London, Mr. Trump was locking horns with French President Emmanuel Macron who said the NATO alliance suffered a brain death.
TRUMP: That is a very, very nasty statement.
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: I hear my statements created some reactions. I do stand by.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People call it a bromance.
It's been a power play from the get-go.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world.
It is Wednesday, December 4th, 5:00 here in New York.
This is a special edition of NEW DAY. So much going on, we had to start early.
This morning, Congress moves one step closer to impeaching the president of the United States -- the first public impeachment hearings in the House Judiciary Committee. They begin in just a few hours.
This could be a drama-filled hearing in one of the most chaotic committees in Congress. It follows a sweeping, scathing report from the Intelligence Committee that included startling revelations not only does it make the case that the president abused his power, putting his personal and political interest above the national interest, not only does it outline an effort to obstruct justice, but it revealed the existence of an intriguing web of phone records that might suggest coordination between the president's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, the White House, an individual who has already been indicted, Lev Parnas, and one of the key Republicans in Congress who's been defending the president.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All of this unfolding as President Trump is on the world stage for meetings with NATO leaders who are convening now or very shortly for this group photo called the family photo. So, we'll bring that to you when it happens.
It could be a bit awkward after new video surfaced overnight showing French President Emmanuel Macron, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appearing to laugh at the President Trump's unorthodox ways, although they did not mention him by name.
So, here's that moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Is that why you were late?
EMMANUEL MACRON, FRENCH PRESIDENT: (INAUDIBLE).
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: He was late because he takes four -- forty minute press conference off the top every time. Oh, yes, yes, forty minutes. He announced --
I just watched, I watched his team's jaws just drop to the floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Well, it will be a busy and historic day ahead.
So, let's begin with Suzanne Malveaux. She is live for us on Capitol Hill.
What are we expecting, Suzanne?
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
Well, already, the bank of cameras have lined up outside the hearing room, the international media descended at Longworth Building inside the Capitol. We're just hours away from the House Judiciary Committee's first public hearing. It starts at 10:00.
And, Alisyn, if history is any indication, we expect potential fireworks from this committee as Democrats make their case for impeaching the president.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): After ten weeks of investigating President Trump, House Intelligence Democrats have now turned over the impeachment inquiry to the House Judiciary which is holding its first hearing today, to begin the process of drafting the articles of impeachment.
REP. DAVID CICILLINE (D-RI): Well, our hearing focuses really on the legal standard that is what do the terms, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors mean?
MALVEAUX: Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler has a starting point with the Intelligence Committee's 300-page report, outlining their case for impeaching President Trump, writing: The president placed his own personal and political interest above the national interest of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process and endangered U.S. national security.
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D-IL): We thought that the evidence is so overwhelming with regard to the wrongdoing at issue, we had to forward this particular report.
MALVEAUX: The report providing new phone records. Which Democrats say showed the president's allies' efforts to push out false narratives. Among them, calls between Rudy Giuliani, his associate Lev Parnas, the White House Budget Office and the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): If there are members of Congress that were also part of that political domestic errand for the president and using taxpayer resources to accomplish it, that's a problem.
MALVEAUX: Nunes stopping short of denying he spoke with Parnas.
REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): I'll go back and check on my records, but it seems very unlikely that I would be taking phone calls from random people.
MALVEAUX: The report also alleging top members of the Trump administration, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney were acknowledgeable of or active participant in Trump's pressure campaign.
The White House dismissing the impeachment report's finding, and again, attacking the process. And Trump's allies agree.
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): They're having one big problem and the big problem is the president did nothing wrong and they can't prove it.
MALVEAUX: Meanwhile, House Judiciary Democrats calling on their Republican colleagues to take this morning's session seriously.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): It's time to take a hard beat and ask yourself, do you want to go down that way or do you want to be a part of a team, Republican and Democratic, that sought to restore the integrity of our democracy?
MALVEAUX: So, the Democrats have three constitutional scholars who will make the case for impeaching the president.
The Republicans have one scholar, who will make the opposite case. All eyes are going to be on the chair of the Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler. He was sidelined for several weeks by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. We're also going to be looking at the potential theatrics from the president's greatest supporters who are going to be trying to derail the process -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: Suzanne, thank you very much for that preview.
We're just getting our first look at the so-called family photo of the world leaders.
BERMAN: This isn't them. They made them all dressed up as drum majors.
CAMEROTA: Maybe it is them, John. And they're doing a little musical performance for us. No, actually, as the camera --
BERMAN: There it is.
CAMEROTA: -- widens out, you see the family photo. I'm a fan of body language. I get from this, nothing.
BERMAN: The president hasn't looked happy on that stage, I mean, barely cracked a smile.
CAMEROTA: I don't see broad smiles from many of the leaders there. I think they are just doing this pro forma group photo. There's president Trump as you can see.
BERMAN: Is that a smile?
CAMEROTA: Well, none of the leaders are smiling at the moment. Obviously, we'll get into everything that's happening overseas and here in the U.S. because the house judiciary committee takes over the impeachment inquiry this morning and things are about to get even more interesting. We have a preview, next.
BERMAN: Welcome back to CNN special live coverage. We're just hours away from the House Judiciary Committee. The first time it's convening a public impeachment panel. They're going to have professors in to talk about the meaning of impeachment and what the framers intended when they wrote about it.
Joining us now, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig, and CNN senior political analyst John Avlon.
And, John, first off, what people will notice today is this committee is very different than the House Intelligence Committee. There are what 41 members on judiciary, it's big as opposed to 22 members on Intel and it's got -- it's got some of the Hall of Fame members of Congress, shall we say.
JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's got personality.
BERMAN: It has personality, no, it has the people who want to wreck things on it. We could see some drama today.
AVLON: That's right. So, look, Jerry Nadler is the Democratic chair of the Judiciary Committee.
It's going to be a real challenge, and some folks on the Democratic side have had questions about whether you can keep this train on the rail, so to speak, because there's going to be a lot of incoming. Whether it's from Doug Collins, who's going to throw a lot of parliamentary moves on the Republican side. He'll try to jam up the works.
To some of those Hall of Fame distractions that you just mentioned and referenced. I would say that Louis Gohmert, Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan are in that category. They're going to be throwing a lot of fire to try to simply destroy the credibility of the process.
The interesting thing is, you're going to have these law professors and they're going to bring some perspective on this. And it's going to be difficult to attack and dismiss them entirely.
Jonathan Turley is the one that Republicans are expected the most backup from. Noah Feldman and Michael Gerhardt, these are people with deep historic perspectives. And there's the thing folks got to keep in mind, for a second.
Four times this has happened in our past. Andrew Johnson's impeachment was purely political from founders' standards. Bill Clinton's impeachment was nothing the founders imagined a president would be impeached for. Nixon, closer.
This is very close to what the Founders anticipated an impeachment being used for because it involves a foreign power and domestic politics. And this was a major focus and fear of the founders from Washington to Hamilton on down.
CAMEROTA: Elie, I like the split screen that John has set up of these sort of academic ivory tower of these constitutional experts will be talking about the Founders wanted and then the mud-slinging of our current-day Congress with in particular these colorful characters as John just laid out.
But aren't they still subject to time constraints and rules? I mean, can this run off the rails?
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Sure, there will be restraints on the questioning. And I think the big question is, is Jerry Nadler up to managing this potential circus that John laid out.
Look, Jerry has a poor record thus far in my book. I think when he was handed the ball last time on the Mueller case, he fumbled it.
CAMEROTA: Why? What happened? Remind us, how did he fumble it?
HONIG: So, it was seven months ago in April that Mueller's report became public, and in those seven months, what did Jerry Nadler accomplished on advancing the ball of Mueller? He subpoenaed one witness which is in court, Don McGahn. It took him four months to even get that case in the court. We just now have the first ruling from a district court.
He should have -- he should have had subpoenaed Don McGahn on day two, as soon as he realized, he was not going to comply with it. Taken it to court, force the issue. Instead, he got slow played.
Here we are, we're seven months out. There's one firsthand fact witness in the whole Mueller follow-up. It was Corey Lewandowski and that was a circus.
So, Jerry Nadler has got a lot of management he's got to take care of today. We'll see if he's up to the task.
BERMAN: The format of the hearing is this, 45 minutes for each counsel. We'll see lawyers do questioning again, which works well in the Intelligence Committee hearing. But then each member gets five minutes. And that is where I suspect you will see not so many questions as performance art I think from some of the members there.
AVLON: Right, Louie Gohmert's performance art is really --
CAMEROTA: Interpretative dance.
AVLON: That's Matt Gaetz --
BERMAN: And you said -- and, John, you said they won't try to impeach this witnesses, no pun intended, they already have. I mean, the White House has put out talking points talking about three of the lawyers, the ones called by Democrats, commenting that some of them have given to Democrats before, basically calling them liberals.
AVLON: Yes, and that's both predictable and unfortunate.
But it will be -- it will up to us to see whether they stick to the history, the precedent, the case law or whether they act as partisans.
[05:15:07] I don't imagine they'll do that. I mean, Noah Feldman has written columns for years, and he wrote well-respected books.
You know, if you got a paper trail, you're going to have an opinion that you can put your finger on. It's not ideal when folks who've given the candidates because it can be said, well, you're a partisan and it will undermine your credibility.
But at the end of the day, this is going to be about, can they elevate the game? Can they give us valuable perspective about the intent of impeachment, and how it might relate to the current situation we're facing as a country? And then can that be twisted and demonize, or it can be? Or will it rise above simply because of its historic weight?
ROMANS: I mean, Elie, of course, we're living in this time where anyone who has an opinion or who has ever given to a candidate or has ever voted is accused of not being able to do their jobs properly, as we know.
However, couldn't the Democrats have chosen people who weren't so, I don't know, overtly Democratic?
HONIG: Right, presumably, they had their pick of almost constitutional law professor in the country. I think anyone would want to do this. And I think they might have erred, if these people are subject to attack for being partisan.
I think that the bottom line goal for today for Democrats and for the witnesses is to take some of the mystery out of the impeachment and let's set the record straight on a couple of things. Number one, impeachment is not a coup. It's become a very popular --
HONIG: -- talking point, right?
Impeachment is in the Constitution. It's there by design. The Founders put it there to address the kind of abuses of power that John talked about before.
So I know impeachment is a scary thing. It's grave power. It's only used once in a generation. But there's nothing to be afraid of. It's not an overthrow of our government.
BERMAN: I mean, literally, it's not a coup. I mean, Benjamin Franklin and others --
BERMAN: -- want it created because the other way it was handled, you know, when you had kings and queens --
BERMAN: -- was assassinations.
HONIG: The alternative is way, way worse.
All right. Stand by. There is much more to discuss.
CAMEROTA: Also, new phone records show that Rudy Giuliani made a number of calls to, well, a mystery number, throughout the campaign to pressure Ukraine. What do we know about that number? Who does it belong to?
And what about some of these other calls? There was a -- I haven't seen a phone trail like this since "Bye Bye Birdie."
CAMEROTA: New insight this morning into Rudy Giuliani's deep involvement in trying to get Ukraine to do President Trump's bidding. Phone records cited in the House Intelligence impeachment report show Rudy Giuliani calling the White House and calling a mysterious number designated as dash one. It's not clear who that number belongs to, but House Democrats are trying to figure it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Well, we can't confirm yet who that number belongs to, certainly indications in the trial of Roger Stone that when he was communicating with the president it showed up in phone records as a dash one number.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: How do you get a dash one number?
BERMAN: You got to run for president. You got to run for president.
I don't think it's a primary reason to run for president, but it's one of the --
AVLON: It's one of the perks.
CAMEROTA: If called by my country.
Back with Elie Honig and John Avlon.
Here are the phone records, they're really interesting. Let's pull them up. I mean, there's so many have been subpoenaed and have appeared if the House Intelligence report. So, you can see, Rudy Giuliani was working the phones, Elie. I mean, he was just working the phones. He was talking to Lev Parnas. He was talking to the OMB. These are all in the months leading up to the aid being frozen. BERMAN: Literally, that first thing you're looking literally on the
day that the ambassador was pulled back from Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and there are calls to OMB, there are calls to the White House, there are calls to Lev Parnas, and there are calls to the mysterious number one.
HONIG: This is why phone records are such powerful evidence, the prosecutors and investigation to prosecutors and investigators because you can try to minimize, you can try to distance all you want, but the phone records are what they are. Now, the second thing you need as a prosecutor when you get something like this, as highlight phone records, is someone who might be able to explain what was said during these calls and who might that be, it could be Lev Parnas. All indications he's trying to cooperate with Congress, potentially with the Southern District, where let's remember, he's under indictment right now.
And if he cooperates, you sit down and you go through those calls one at a time and you say, what did you discuss here? Why was this follow-up call made? So, there's a lot there, but I think House Intel and Judiciary still need to work on.
AVLON: And Lev Parnas' lawyers were very aggressive in making allegations, the counterclaim will be that Lev Parnas is an unreliable witness, especially where the fact pattern goes. Yes, this is the outline of the fact pattern. It's pretty clear.
I mean, Rudy Giuliani apparently called OMB eight times the day Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was recalled. That kind -- if you ever anyone eight times in a day, it's not say hi. There's usually an agenda.
And also, there's this apparent, you know, Devin Nunes' phone records with Lev Parnas which is a big deal because this was not disclosed the Intelligence Committee hearings.
CAMEROTA: Well, he says, I mean, personally, he said he didn't know Lev Parnas.
BERMAN: We have that sound. Let's play the sound of Devin Nunes trying to explain this away. We don't have that sound.
Devin was on Fox last night and basically says, well, maybe I spoke to him I'm not sure I remember. I know the name Lev Parnas came up, because he's been indicted.
Well, let's play it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NUNES: It's possible that I haven't gone through all my phone records. I don't really call that name. You know, I remember the name now because he's been indicted.
I'll go back and check on my records. But it seems very unlikely that I would be taking calls from random people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Well, unlikely except for the eight minutes you were on the phone with Lev Parnas.
I will say, when this information came out in this report yesterday, it struck me. It surprised me frankly on two different levels. Number one the fact that the Democrats in the committee apparently had this during the whole hearings, interesting. Also interesting the stage craft of this, knowing that they would get a bang out of this if they kept it until they put it in the report, that's interesting.
And then the contacts with Devin Nunes, between Devin Nunes and Lev Parnas. And Devin Nunes is the ranking member on the intelligence who was involved in running the Republican response during these hearings and in these phone records, it raises questions about whether he was involved with the thing that's being investigated.
HONIG: The hypocrisy of Devin Nunes sitting there throughout the last couple of weeks and his righteous dander about everything that was happening, about all these other people, it turns out he's a central fact witness, potentially. He's on the phone with players at key moments. And the fact that he never said anything, I'm not sure why Adam Schiff and his committee never brought it up, because it was to save face, maybe it was to make it hit harder when it finally did come out. I don't know, he's got real questions.
AVLON: He does.
First of all, point of righteous dander.
HONIG: Thank you.
AVLON: A phrase that's not done enough on television.
But I don't think that Devin Nunes' core problem is hypocrisy. I think it's a failure to disclose deep involvement which appears to be the ginning up a counter-narrative.
I mean, you know, John Solomon, the former reporter for "The Hill", we know was being fed information to create articles that were used as evidence for folks about why the investigation was so necessary. There may very well be dirty -- something dirty there.
And "The Hill" is now saying it's going to take a look at his articles in a very transparent way. But it's obviously much more serious with the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. And you can't get away from these phone records, to unlikely he says he'd spent time with a random person. Well, I would suggest that Lev Parnas was not a random person in this effort.
AVLON: John Avlon, Elie Honig, thank you very much for that.
BERMAN: All right. One of the president's favorite campaign lines used to be the world is laughing at the United States and now it seems that he's right. The world might be laughing at him. The new viral video that's certain to ruffle some feathers with the president, next.