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House Judiciary Committee Begins Impeachment Hearing; Phone Records Show Extent of Giuliani's Role in Ukraine Scheme; Video Appears to Show World Leaders Laughing at Trump. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired December 4, 2019 - 06:00   ET


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right. So a big day in Washington and on the world stage. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The House Judiciary Committee will hear from constitutional law experts, setting the stage for the potential writing of articles of impeachment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democrats essentially stacked the deck in their favor. They now have come out of this and failed to prove their case.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should be looking also at obstruction of justice by the president.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron sparred with the cameras rolling.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?

Let me say, that was one of the nicest non-answers I've heard.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: President Trump has hijacked the meetings and, no doubt, Angela Merkel may be girding herself for something similar.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, December 4, 6 p.m. here in New York.

You're looking at live pictures -- you're about to right there. That is the room where the House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing this morning. You can see some crews setting up for what promises to be a very big day.

The scathing impeachment report will serve as a road map for the next stage of this inquiry. And that report alleges that the president of the United States undermined our democracy and endangered national security by placing his own personal and political interests above those of the country. It also details what Democrats call the unprecedented efforts by the president to conceal his misconduct from Congress.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This morning President Trump is 3,600 miles away. He is in the United Kingdom for meetings with NATO leaders. These meetings will be interesting today after a new video appeared overnight that seems to show the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau; French President Emmanuel Macron; and the British prime minister, Boris Johnson. It appears they might be laughing at the president and how he conducted himself yesterday.




JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: He was late because he takes a four -- forty-minute press conference off the top every time. Oh, yes, yes, forty minutes. He announced --


TRUDEAU: I just watched, I watched his team's jaws just drop to the floor.


BERMAN: You see the laughing. You can hear Justin Trudeau saying, you see his team's jaws drop to the floor.

We will cover the president over in the United Kingdom shortly. But first, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux live on Capitol Hill, where these hearings, getting ready to begin, Suzanne.


Well, this is a 300-plus-page document that the members of the House Judiciary Committee will be using as their guide to determine whether or not to impeach the president with articles of impeachment. The hearing will begin in just four hours.

A Democratic aide saying trying to keep the tone academic and serious. But if history is any guide, there will be fireworks from this committee as the 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 Committee, 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 misdemeanor 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 interests above the national interests 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), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE: 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 show 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 were members of Congress that were also part of that domestic political 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 all my records, but it seems very unlikely that I would be taking 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 knowledgeable of or active participants 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 the team, Republican and Democratic, that sought to restore the integrity of our democracy?

(END VIDEOTAPE) MALVEAUX: Democrats will have three constitutional scholars who will argue for the case for impeach -- impeaching the president. The Republicans will have one scholar arguing the opposite.

All eyes are going to be on the chair of Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler, and his performance. He'd been criticized before for losing control of the hearings from the Mueller probe. We're also going to be watching for possible theatrics from the president's most ardent supporters, who will be trying to derail the process, John.

BERMAN: Yes. Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill.

The hearing today promises to be so different than the ones we have seen before. One of the words we have heard used this morning is "circus," though the makeup of this committee could lead to serious fireworks. We'll tell you why next.



CAMEROTA: All right. We are just hours away from the House Judiciary Committee's first impeachment hearing. You can see people in the room doing mic checks, sound checks, getting ready there.

How will President Trump's Republican allies and some of the more combative members of that committee handle today's hearing?

Joining us now, CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart. He was President Clinton's press secretary during that impeachment trial. And CNN legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers. Great to have both of you.

So today's going to be interesting, Joe. Because -- I mean, as John, I think, has said, the hall of fame of the passionate, vocal supporters of the president -- and I mean Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan --

BERMAN: Louie Gohmert.

CAMEROTA: Louie Gohmert --

BERMAN: Andy Biggs.

CAMEROTA: -- are in this -- are on this committee. And they'll have five minutes to opine or yell or whatever they want to do.

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, even Doug Collins, who's the ranking member, is more articulate and fiery than Devin Nunes was. Devin Nunes was pretty monotone in the stuff he was doing.

I think it's really the clash or the collision of two strategies. The Democrats are just about the evidence. Just about the evidence. The Republicans are trying to create a circus.

And, you know, I think it's going to resemble, you know, a bunch of nerds on one side and a frat party on the other side. And the Republicans will do whatever they can to disrupt it and -- CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, if that's the case, which one do you think is

more compelling?

LOCKHART: Well, I expect that frat parties are generally more interesting than people arguing about the constitutional merits of high crimes and misdemeanors.

CAMEROTA: Bingo. I mean, bingo. Doesn't that tell you all you need to know about how the Democrats, not are misplaying this but are maybe not reading the room right?

LOCKHART: No, I don't think so. I think it's important for them to get this on the record. Of how do you define a high crime and misdemeanor? And how this one, in particular, was exactly what Alexander Hamilton was worried about. So they -- you know, they're going to have to take the circus atmosphere to get this on the record. And it sets up the rest of the process.

BERMAN: I will say, he just perfectly described the plot of "Revenge of the Nerds," the film.

CAMEROTA: Versus "Animal House."

BERMAN: "Revenge of the Nerds," the nerds do. And I'm not suggesting that's what's going to happen here. Anthony Edwards from "E.R.," he was in it.

CAMEROTA: They get all of it in "Revenge of the Nerds."

BERMAN: It happened -- it happened then.

Jennifer Rodgers, let's put up on the screen so we can see these law professors who will be testifying today. The circus aside, right, that aside, if it goes as the Democrats have planned or want, what will they provide this morning?

JENNIFER RODGERS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they're going to provide us with the historical and legal underpinnings of impeachment. So one point is, as Joe said, to get things on the record.

The other thing is one of the president's talking points here has been that this whole inquiry is a hoax, right? It's a witch hunt. It's not appropriate or proper. And in fact, it is the only appropriate way that the House, the Congress can remove a corrupt president.

And so I think it's important for the American people to hear from these law professors. And what they're going to say is, you know, here's what the Constitution said. Here's what the Founders had in mind. Here's some historical examples of what has risen to the level of a high crime and misdemeanor in the past. And then you leave it to the House to say, we have our facts here. Do they fit or do they not fit?

BERMAN: And as we look at this giant report, I'm holding up just half of it right now.

CAMEROTA: I know. That's Chapter 1.

BERMAN: Because it's too heavy for me to hold up the whole thing. Do you expect the Democrats on the committee to make direct reference to this and say, Hey, on page 200 here, it says the president did "X." Where does that fit into the historical context?

RODGERS: I think that they will try to extract, as they always do with witnesses, a conclusion about whether the president's conduct here was impeachable. But I think these witnesses will hesitate to draw that final conclusion.

I think instead they'll talk about, you know, bribery. Is bribery itself -- if you can prove a scheme to exchange one thing for the other thing, is that the kind of bribery the founders had in mind? And you will hear, yes, it is.

But I don't think they'll take that final step to say page 73, it says "X," "Y," and "Z." Is that impeachable?

CAMEROTA: Joe, some of these constitutional experts that we'll hear from today have contributed to Democratic candidates. Should the Democrats in Congress have worked harder to find some that hadn't?

LOCKHART: No, I think these are people with -- with great reputations. You're going to find people anywhere that have either contributed to Republicans or Democrats. And these are people whose background and expertise is constitutional law.


So again, you can't -- there's nothing pure. There'll be nothing lofty or bipartisan about this hearing. Except for the four people sitting there testifying.

BERMAN: All right. Stand by. We have a lot more to discuss. Because inside this report that I'm not going to hold up again, because I'm still sore.

CAMEROTA: No, it's too heavy.

BERMAN: Inside this report, these phone records reveal for the first time -- we didn't know anything about this. Showing all kinds of calls between Rudy Giuliani and mysterious No. 1. But also -- also Devin Nunes, the Republican ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. What is that all about?



BERMAN: This morning the dramatic revelation inside the impeachment report from the House Intelligence Committee, phone records, lots of them, that tied Rudy Giuliani to the White House; that tie him to his associate, Lev Parnas, who has been indicted; that tie him to Devin Nunes, the key Republican in Congress who ran the House Intelligence Committee hearings; and also tie Rudy Giuliani to some mysterious number, listed only as one --

CAMEROTA: Minus one.

BERMAN: Minus one. Dash one. Inside the phone records. And all of these calls were made on key dates during the Ukraine controversy.

Back with us, Joe Lockhart and Jennifer Rodgers.

Let's put up on the screen some of these phone records. From April 24, which is the day that the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was recalled from Kyiv. I think we have that. There you go.

Well, that's not that date. But on the 24th, which is another date that we have --

CAMEROTA: There were a flurry of phone calls on that day.

BERMAN: A flurry of phone calls. Rudy Giuliani talking to a number from OMB. Could that have been Mick Mulvaney?

Rudy Giuliani talking to the White House six times. Rudy Giuliani talking to Lev Parnas, his associate who's been indicted. And then this mysterious No. 1, which we'll get to in a minute.

As a legal matter here, Jennifer, what do these phone records show you?

RODGERS: Well, this was a conspiracy. All of these people who were doing this smear campaign on Yovanovitch, withholding the aid, this is a conspiracy, a bribery conspiracy and extortion conspiracy. People who talked to one another a lot during the key time periods of a conspiracy are often involved in the conspiracy.

So what you're looking at, if you're a prosecutor, is what are these communications about? Can we put this person now, who was previously outside or questionable, like a Devin Nunes, inside of this conspiracy? And that's what folks, I think, are looking to do now.

CAMEROTA: It sure looks like it. Here's Devin Nunes' own call log. Or here are the ones that have been put into the report. Four times on April 12, he talked to Lev Parnas.

BERMAN: Yes, those are Rudy Giuliani calls up there, but he's talking to Giuliani a lot on the 10th. And on the 12th, he's also talking to Lev Parnas, who has been indicted.

CAMEROTA: I mean, indicted for funneling Russian money into U.S. campaigns contributing to a Trump super PAC and to a congressman's campaign. Why is Congressman Devin Nunes, in April, before we knew Lev Parnas' name, talking to Lev Parnas?

LOCKHART: Well, at the risk of quoting Hillary Clinton and the vast right-wing conspiracy, we're finding out that this conspiracy is more vast than we thought and involves Devin Nunes. You know, I think these -- in some ways, these calls are not

surprising. Because all of the fact witnesses laid out that Rudy was running this operation.

But what it does is it teases, you know, what they would be able to -- to prove and the evidence they'd be able to uncover if the president doesn't -- isn't stonewalling.

So I think these calls, as much as anything, really bolsters the obstruction of Congress articles as they go forward. As in, look at these calls. If we could get all of the calls, we'd be able to put all of these pieces together on what this conspiracy was made up of, who is involved, who did what, when.

BERMAN: I'd say, they're surprising to many in that they're only now appearing when the report comes out. That we did not know about them beforehand. And apparently, the members of the committee, or at least the Democrats on the committee -- maybe Dan Goldman, the counsel -- they did. So why not release that fact before doing this questioning, Jen?

RODGERS: I think it's because they didn't have any witnesses to question about, right? So it wouldn't have been putting them into evidence as part of the testimony.

And I think they were smart, actually, to hold it back. Because now people are interested in the report. If it was just a rehashing of what happened over the last two or three weeks, you wouldn't have the interest that we're now seeing with people saying, wait a minute. There's new information. I'm interested in this, and they're tuning in more than they would otherwise.

So I actually think it was smart. And again, you know, if you can't question anyone about them, you know, there's not really a great way to get it out other than just releasing them or leaking them. And I think this has a bigger impact.

CAMEROTA: Jennifer, Joe, thank you both very much.

All right. So new video appears to show world leaders laughing about their interactions, or at least what they've witnessed from President Trump. So how will this affect today's meetings? We'll tell you what they were saying here.






JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: He was late because he takes a four -- forty-minute press conference off the top every time. Oh, yes, yes, forty minutes. He announced --


TRUDEAU: I just watched, I watched his team's jaws just drop to the floor.


CAMEROTA: That video you've been watching has gone viral overnight. That's basically world leaders caught on camera, apparently laughing about President Trump at a reception at Buckingham Palace.

You see Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, saying he -- this is what he was saying. He was late, because he takes a 40-minute press conference at the top. That was to a small group of leaders there, including France's president, Emmanuel Macron, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Trudeau also says, you just watch his team's jaws drop to the floor.

Now no body mentions Trump by name. And they don't seem to be aware that cameras are recording all of this.

BERMAN: You see Emmanuel Macron there. He's gesticulating, seems to be laughing. And Princess Anne is also sitting there, observing also, which the president might not like.

CAMEROTA: All right. So in the next hour, President Trump will meet with the German chancellor.