Return to Transcripts main page
CUOMO PRIME TIME
Pelosi: Articles of Impeachment Must be Drafted; Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine Meeting with Lawmakers; Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) is Interviewed About the Impeachment and Giuliani; Rep. Mike Quigley (D- IL) is Interviewed About the Articles of Impeachment and Giuliani; Tensions High as Trump Heads for Impeachment. Aired 11p-12a ET
Aired December 5, 2019 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: But from time to time my anger and my frustration I think was rightly directed at people that were accusing you of doing things that you didn't do and I think that's OK. I mean, as long as you're being fully human and authentic about it, you know, swinging every now and then doesn't hurt.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Mitch Landrieu, thank you sir. Appreciate it.
LANDRIEU: Thank you, Don. Good talking to you.
LEMON: See you next time. And thank you everybody for watching. Chris Cuomo is up with "Cuomo Prime Time." BOLO -- be on the lookout.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Sorry, I got a packed show. I got to go. Sorry, I got a packed show. I got to go. Yes, how's that for you. You don't like that much. Do you?
LEMON: I can't see you. I don't know why I can't see you.
CUOMO: I look good. Guess what I'm wearing.
LEMON: You're wearing a black tie, a white shirt, and a black suit.
CUOMO: That's right.
LEMON: But you know what, I was trying to remember. I'm mad as hell. I'm not going to take it anymore. Howard Beale.
LEMON: Peter Finch from --
CUOMO: From "Network."
LEMON: -- "Network." Great movie. Now I can see you.
CUOMO: I'm mad as hell. I'm not going to take it anymore. And it round up ringing true as a madman's rant that wound up resonating with people's actual discontent at the time. See, and that's the point. The answer to the question you were having with the good mayor there
is it's about whether or not the anger is harnessing a collective feeling. When you tap into that, which I would argue President Trump did, whether he meant to or not, then it's very powerful. There is a difference between anger and indignation.
CUOMO: Indignation is when you're upset at something that's perceived to be unfair. Just anger because you don't like being questioned because you think it's disrespectful, is a mistake in politics. It shows weakness. When somebody returns an argument with anger or hostility, it's weakness in politics.
LEMON: But I think Nancy Pelosi was righteous indignation I think. She --
CUOMO: I think that somebody asked a question to a pre-Vatican 1 Catholic who does not like the idea of having (inaudible) towards others.
CUOMO: Now, I have known Nancy Pelosi most of my life. She is very similar to my parents in that regard. They don't talk about hateful feelings about other human beings. And in truth, I have never heard her say anything different.
LEMON: But do you agree that people think with the Joe Biden thing. I've heard people say all day, it's about time, it's about time. Yes, go, keep going.
CUOMO: Yes, I don't like that.
LEMON: Yes, but that's what they're saying. I'm just asking you.
CUOMO: Well, they are saying it because what's the concern with (inaudible)? Not tonight. This is what --
LEMON: Role reversal.
CUOMO: I know. Where am I going?
LEMON: Now you know how I feel.
CUOMO: It's 11:00 at night. We've got time. The idea of what's the problem with Biden. They keep calling him a weak front runner, which is rare in politics. I have never heard of anybody --
LEMON: Yet he's ahead of the polls. He's steady in the polls.
CUOMO: -- being a frontrunner as long as he's been and called weak. Why? Optics. Does he have the edge to go against a perceived dragon in Donald Trump? When Donald Trump denigrates him and calls him stupid names and says angry things and has people echoing his anger, what will Joe Biden do? Now, it's not easy thing to answer, but I'll tell you what, if you
think you're going to match tone and that's what's going to take you home. That's a wrong analysis. People want normal and normal isn't hostile and yelling your name calling.
LEMON: Instead of him, yes.
CUOMO: You know, the strongest man in the room -- you ever hear the expression lions are not bothered by the complaints of the sheep.
LEMON: Right. That's true.
CUOMO: Are you a lion or you a sheep? That's the test.
LEMON: Yes. Are you an eagle or you're, you know.
CUOMO: I don't know. I don't know where you're going with that.
LEMON: Eagles soar over everything. They're not concerned about the people who are or the animals who are crawling on the ground.
CUOMO: I'd rather be an airplane than an eagle. That's me though. All right, Don Lemon, I have to go. I've got a packed show. Thank you very much. Have a good night.
LEMON: Now you know.
CUOMO: I hope tomorrow night your tie matches. I am Chris Cuomo and welcome to "Prime Time," special edition tonight. Donald J. Trump has been fast tracked to becoming the third impeached American president and says he does want it to be fast. Do you believe that?
Big questions are now coming up about what will be the articles of impeachment. What are high crimes and misdemeanor? What are procedural flaws of obstruction? Do you go back to Mueller?
We have a leader with us tonight of the Republican resistance on this historic night, along with a main driver of the impeachment bus. So let's test both. We have some new facts in the mix.
Rudy Giuliani, did he really just say Ukraine is not going to get American help if they don't do what we want when it comes to these corruption investigations? Now, did he just say that? What do you say? Let's get after it.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi tells CNN tonight that the president's Ukraine actions "removed all doubt that he violated his oath of office and that's why articles of impeachment must be drafted." What will they include?
Pelosi says Democrats are working collectively on determining that and she is not ruling out drawing charges from Mueller's findings. What's the calculus on that? Well, if you go too broad and include things, you already had two Democrats that didn't want to move forward with this. If you don't get all the votes, does it weaken the position? That's the question. [23:04:59]
The speaker is also accusing Republicans of failing to meet the standard of honoring their oath. How? By not being the part of a process that is Congressional oversight and instead being the president's proxies. How do they like that on the other side? You know
We have a man who wants to make his voice known and that this is his fight. Matt Gaetz, Congressman, Florida. Good to see you.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): Thanks for having me back on "Prime Time," Chris.
CUOMO: Let's deal with the new facts. Rudy Giuliani, we presumptively know, in Ukraine meeting with people. You can talk about the company that he's keeping. I'm not really that interested in it, but he puts out a tweet that says what's on the screen. If you can't see it I'll read it right now.
He says, "Schiff's impeachment is a farce because one, there was no military aid withheld. Two, the conversation about corruption in Ukraine was based on compelling evidence of criminal conduct by then V.P. Biden in 2016 that has not been resolved and until it is, will be a major obstacle to the U.S. assisting Ukraine with its anticorruption reforms."
Congressman, is Rudy Giuliani saying if it wasn't clear enough already, if Ukraine doesn't do what we want on corruption, which is Biden as is clear in his tweet, you're not getting help from the U.S.
GAETZ: I think it's fair to say that you've got to engage in anticorruption efforts to get anticorruption assistance. But I'll be honest with you, Chris. I think it's a little weird that Rudy Giuliani is over in the Ukraine right now.
And I'm not here to defend Rudy Giuliani. You know, there's apparently an investigation going on and that will go where it goes. But the Rudy Giuliani I know is the Rudy Giuliani who, like, fought the mob when it wasn't a popular thing to do.
He is someone who put his life on the line in 9/11. And so if there's anyone that ought to maybe get the benefit of the doubt, it would probably be Mayor Giuliani.
CUOMO: I don't think Giuliani's the problem. It's who sent him, Congressman. Who's paying him? Why is he there? If this is just a logical extension of foreign policy as you guys argue all this was about, then why is Mayor Giuliani involved at all?
GAETZ: I don't know. I can say that I take good comfort --
CUOMO: You must though because you need to argue to defend the president. You must know.
GAETZ: Well, no, actually what I can do is I can point to the testimony of NSC official, Mr. Morrison, who said when asked about Giuliani's involvement, that he wasn't concerned, that he didn't think it was anything inappropriate or unlawful --
CUOMO: He was the only one.
GAETZ: -- it was simply unusual. And of course our country does have a -- our country has a history of using people in a non-traditional way to engage in foreign policy. Heck, the president has even encouraged me to go meet with foreign leaders and carry a message now and then outside of the official channel.
And so I think there's nothing wrong with that inherently. Now, if Mayor Giuliani did something wrong, which I haven't seen evidence of, then of course there's a process to deal with that.
CUOMO: Well, there are a couple of investigations going on. We'll see what they yield about the mayor's exposure. But the great theory here is that it's one thing to ask a Congressman to go and do something.
We don't know if this man is the president's lawyer. If he was a proxy for the State Department or he was just acting as a concerned citizen. But it really matters which answer is correct because if he wasn't acting as the president's personal lawyer and we don't really know that that's true because I don't know how he was getting paid.
And if it was pro bono did he file it as such because we can't find any record of it. Did the president reported it as such because we don't find any record of it.
GAETZ: Yes, but there's no obligate, Chris. That's a red herring. It doesn't matter whether he's getting paid or not.
CUOMO: How so?
GAETZ: What matter is whether or not Giuliani was acting --
CUOMO: Well, hold on a second. It does if you want privilege. It does if you want privilege.
GAETZ: No it doesn't.
CUOMO: Of course it does.
GAETZ: That is not true.
CUOMO: You can't be my attorney if we don't --
GAETZ: I've represented (inaudible) pro bono before and the things that they've said to me.
CUOMO: No, no, no.
GAETZ: Yes, you could -- I can be your attorney and I cannot charge you and you could still maintain privilege with me. That's absolutely the case.
CUOMO: But then it's still a contribution. You see what I'm saying. We need to know the answer and it's not penny-ante because it goes to privilege because at some point he's going to have to figure out what he wants his exposure to be. We'll leave it for another day.
Here's the question. The question is the theory here is you are pressuring Ukraine that if they don't give you the Bidens you're not giving them the money.
Now, you have the president's whatever saying I'm in Ukraine, looking for dirt on the Bidens and if Ukraine doesn't help they're not going to get money. Doesn't he prove that the theory about the president is 100 percent accurate?
GAETZ: Well, first of all, as you point out, there is some ambiguity about the role that Rudy Giuliani is playing. And I think it probably would be helpful if Rudy clarified the role that he was playing in these different circumstances and if he's acting for other clients or other entities, that would be helpful information to have.
But when it comes to the president, which is what this impeachment is about, you have a long held criticism and concern about foreign aid. You have a legitimate concern about Ukraine -- the third most corrupt country in the world -- and you also have specific legitimate concern about Burisma.
It was in fact, Mr. Kent, who testified that there was such substantial concern about Burisma that our own embassy had to pull out of a public private partnership with them out of fear that we would be smeared with this type of corrupt (ph) behaviour --
CUOMO: And in fact, Democrat senators asked for --
GAETZ: So with all that being a legitimate question, the president should never be impeached on it.
CUOMO: Well, but, hold on -- if you have your facts right. I mean, let's be very clear. There's no question that there were concerns about investigating Burisma. In fact, the idea of --
GAETZ: Those facts are all right (ph). Challenge me on them. What's wrong about those facts?
CUOMO: I'm about to. You cut me off. Give me some time, brother. Give some time.
CUOMO: What I'm saying is that --
GAETZ: I got you.
CUOMO: -- if the idea is that this is what Biden wanted, well, it was Democratic senators that told Ukraine you need to investigate the following people including the person who was atop of Burisma.
So, there's no question that there was question about it. But the president asked for Biden. In his perfect phone call, he asked for Biden. What concerned every one of those diplomats except Mr. Morrison to a certain extent was this penchant --
GAETZ: And Mr. Volker.
CUOMO: No, because Mr. Volker too thought it was really weird that this was becoming about an American election. And they thought it was dangerous. It's unusual.
GAETZ: When Volker was asked whether or not there was an impeachable offense that he observed, he said no. When Volker was asked did he observe bribery, he said no.
CUOMO: Congressman, have you ever heard of a fact witness being asked to draw a legal conclusion in any trial? Do you remember the lady who said and then he hit me over --
GAETZ: All the time.
CUOMO: Really? You remember a witness ever being asked? So, by the way, did you think that was robbery or do you think it was burglary?
GAETZ: I remember being asked -- look, these are people who interface with the national security apparatus regularly. Ambassador Volker is a pro and if he is able to --
CUOMO: It's not their job to decide when a (inaudible). It is your job.
GAETZ: -- observe the circumstance. Yes, but they have an ability to provide some context for the circumstances that have arisen. And if given the context, there was a severe concern on the part of everyone involved.
CUOMO: There was. That's why they came forward.
GAETZ: Then you would hear those concerns from Morrison, from Volker.
CUOMO: That's why they were testifying.
GAETZ: Look -- yes, but all of the people coming forward, I think you can kind of break down into three categories. It was either hearsay, conjecture and speculation or a legitimate policy disagreement. You had people like Lieutenant Colonel Vindman who I think sincerely believe --
CUOMO: How many homicide cases are made on circumstantial evidence?
GAETZ: -- that there is no basis.
CUOMO: How many homicide cases are made on circumstantial evidence?
GAETZ: I don't know, Chris.
CUOMO: The overwhelming majority.
GAETZ: But look, I mean, this isn't a homicide case. This is overdoing the presidential election. CUOMO: That's the point. That's the point.
GAETZ: Yes, but in a real court of law --
CUOMO: -- Turley was right done by this all the time.
GAETZ: -- stick the landing on quid pro quo and they didn't do it.
CUOMO: That's not -- how is that even close to --
GAETZ: We're having this discussion because Democrats don't have the relevant witnesses to be able to come forward and linger --
CUOMO: You have your own ambassador who was a wealthy donor friend. Mr. Sondland said there was a quid pro quo. Everybody knew it. I was in the loop on it and I delivered it. And he's the guy who paid his way into the position, who's the president's (inaudible) made up a phone call about it maybe.
GAETZ: Yes, but I think you lost this argument last night with Mike Johnson because he pointed out that if you want the Sondland, you've got take the full Sondland --
CUOMO: Yes. And what is the full Sondland?
GAETZ: -- in which you -- this is the only person -- the full Sondland is that when he spoke to the president, the only direct evidence about what the president said, no quid pro quo --
CUOMO: On what phone call?
GAETZ: -- I want nothing. I just want Zelensky to do the right thing.
CUOMO: What phone call?
GAETZ: A phone call with Sondland and the president.
CUOMO: When? September 9th. No record of the call. And the only other call that people knew about between --
GAETZ: Oh, Come on. That was also -- so wait a second, is Sondland a credible witness or not a credible witness?
CUOMO: We don't want any proof anymore?
GAETZ: Because if Sondland is not a credible witness --
CUOMO: I think he's got pockets of credibility and not. He forgot --
GAETZ: -- then you're invoking him to setup a quid pro quo --
CUOMO: He forgot that he's the one who offered the quid pro quo.
GAETZ: -- when he says something that you like, but he's not credible when he doesn't --
CUOMO: No, no, no.
GAETZ: Here's another reason he takes --
CUOMO: Hold on Matt. This is a good point.
GAETZ: -- let me just get this in and I'll yield back to you.
CUOMO: Get it in. Go ahead.
GAETZ: But hold on. There's a critical point here and that is that there's a contemporaneous account. You have Sondland also telling other people he spoke with Volker about the specific call.
CUOMO: Not from the September 9th call. Thank you very much for making that point.
GAETZ: No with the no quid pro quo.
CUOMO: I'll take the ball back. Yes, but not on September 9th. And he did not explain it that way to the other people. And Taylor and Volker -- hold on, I gave you your shot.
GAETZ: He did. That's their testament.
CUOMO: Taylor and Volker said that they thought the call was crazy and they thought what came out of it was unusual and dangerous. This September 9th call of which there's no record of.
And the State Department you would think seeing how it is to what you said, which is 100 percent right. It is the only piece of testimony that gives the president any clearance on this, that one call. And they won't even produce any, you know, any sufficient evidence that it ever happened.
Now, if instead of September 9th, it was the September 7th call that he did tell the two men about, he didn't say any of the things that the president says he said. He never told Mr. Sondland that it was no quid pro quo.
The same phrase, by the way, that who said? The whistleblower, which hadn't become public yet, but had been taken to the White House. How odd that the president used the same phrase as the whistleblower, but we don't know that he ever said those things, Matt.
We known that Sondland says he did in a phone call that has never been proven to exist. Aren't you a little curious?
GAETZ: So, to believe that version of events is to believe that Ambassador Sondland perjured himself before the Congress multiple times.
CUOMO: Or he misremembered --
GAETZ: We have no evidence that he did. The only record -- CUOMO: Or he misremembered and he embellished to help his buddy.
GAETZ: -- you're a good lawyer. You understand this. But there's no evidence. The only record evidence -- the only record evidence is the Sondland testimony saying no quid pro quo. The president wants nothing. So with that being the only evidence --
CUOMO: But he didn't relay it that way to the two other men in their testimony. And there's no proof that the phone call ever happened.
GAETZ: -- the State Department has -- you make a relevant point that the State Department has these records, why is the administration not complying with Congressional subpoenas and provide records.
And I think the reason is that if you waive some of the privileges and some circumstances, you would limit your ability to protect the executive and the decision making process, not just for this president but future president.
Don't we want presidents to be able to meet with advisers, think outside the box, come up with some crazy ideas, reject those ideas --
GAETZ: -- and hone their intellect around would help our country
CUOMO: There should be executive --
GAETZ: That's the reason they --
CUOMO: There should be executive immunity. There should be executive privilege. I would argue. We'll leave it on this. I don't think that's why he's doing it. They went to court to argue absolute immunity. They got kicked out of court on it.
It's always going to be done on a case by case basis, even question by question with a judge sometimes. But this was done because he doesn't want the exposure.
GAETZ: That's OK.
CUOMO: If this was me or you, Matt, and we knew that we had guys at the top of the food chain that could clear us and prove that we did nothing wrong. We'd do it. But let's leave it there tonight. Congressman, you are always welcome wherever I am.
GAETZ: It'd be a tough (inaudible).
CUOMO: At 9:00, at 11:00, whenever.
GAETZ: Thanks Sean -- thanks Chris. I appreciate it.
CUOMO: Did you just call me Sean? Did you just call me Sean?
GAETZ: You know what.
CUOMO: That's high praise. High praise.
GAETZ: Yes, well, he's got a few more million viewers, but I know he's a good friend of yours.
CUOMO: He's got a few more million everything. Probably even hairs on his head. Say hello to him and you take care.
There are some numbers that are now in doubt in that House impeachment report. I've never been called Sean Hannity. I'll take it. Maybe I'll get home a little bit safer. Did intel investigators get phone records right? You got to keep the facts straight. Not just when they're convenient. We got a Democrat on that committee here next.
CUOMO: All right. We have new information tonight. And it is casting doubt on whether or not Rudy Giuliani contacted the White House Budget Office. But why? We saw the logs. It says on 1B (ph). Hold on.
A source tells us the number listed in the Democrats impeachment report associated with OMB -- that was the chart we all saw -- but that number could go to multiple officials within the White House complex. So why the discrepancy? House Intel Committee Democrat Mike Quigley joins us now. Thank you congressman, good to have you on. Appreciate it. Significance of this discrepancy?
REP. MIKE QUIGLEY (D-IL): I think that what we said at the beginning is don't read too much into all of this. What I think what we learned from the call records is that it was a whole of the administration effort.
Ambassador Sondland says everyone was in on the loop. They were all engaged in this. Clearly, this was the administration and the White House working in its entirety to move this scheme forward. I don't know that I can say exactly who each number is attached to that isn't identified.
QUIGLEY: And I think it's -- I think I tell people don't jump to the conclusion until we learn more.
CUOMO: Well, to be fair --
QUIGLEY: The chairman said just the other day --
CUOMO: Go ahead. Finish your point.
QUIGLEY: Yes, the chairman said just the other day, while judiciary moves forward our investigations continues. We're going to continue to learn more.
CUOMO: So, there were some Democrats who were jumping up and down that this was an important linkage that's going to have to be re- calibrated if it doesn't come through. The mayor has been very clear that he doesn't know why he would have been calling OMB. He doesn't remember the phone call. He never spoke about Ukraine aid. He didn't know anything about it.
Now, his tweets tonight may create another problem because he seems to be connecting Ukraine efforts to help with the Bidens to whether or not they'll get any help from the United States. I don't know why he'd want to be outing out that message right now.
But, here's why it mattered Congressman. You guys need to show that the aid was held up as a matter of fact because it was used as leverage to get the announcement of the investigation. Do you think you can do that right now?
QUIGLEY: Sure. People ask me who our best witness is, so far, the president of the United States. And second after that, Mick Mulvaney. You read into this, nothing these witnesses did, did anything but corroborate what the president said. Back to as you mentioned earlier, the whistleblowers complaint.
The call record of the White House Mick Mulvaney and the consistent testimony of the cream of our diplomatic corps all lead to the same conclusion. The president -- we know that they withheld this aid. It wasn't released until after there was public congressional pressure that it became public. Clearly, Ukrainians were aware of this.
QUIGLEY: So, look, we can get lost in the weeds here and lose the nuance of the most obvious fact. They talk so much and you and I have talked about Latin phrases, a quid pro quo. I think the other one you and I reference raise up the loquitur, it's speaks for itself.
In this case, the law that the president violated, the harm he did speaks for itself. I just caution against reading too much into people thinking they know what this number might mean.
CUOMO: The more proof, the less you have to listen to the prattle. Let me ask you something, when it comes to articles of impeachment, you guys have the task of tailoring now and there are some concern that if you go back to Mueller. Although I guess you could dovetail on obstruction an article of impeachment that's obstruction then and now.
But you may lose votes. Are you worried that if you reach back to Mueller as we're hearing from some moderate Democrats you may lose votes?
QUIGLEY: Yes, I don't know how listing more crimes loses votes. Under the Nixon's articles of impeachment, article number three, it lists four instances in which he obstructed.
QUIGLEY: This president has obstructed four times in one day by withholding documents. To some people, that's a --
CUOMO: But have you heard from any Democrats, keep it to Ukraine. Don't go beyond that, Mike, or you're going to lose me?
QUIGLEY: I haven't heard people tell me that personally. I think it's pretty easy to add into an article that includes obstruction, the one that special counsel Mueller referenced. He rarely talked to the press, but he came back and said in a press conference that he did not exonerate the president.
He said he is leaving specifically the articles involving obstruction to the Congress to react. I read into that, that if it wasn't for the fact that he wasn't allowed to indict the president, he thought that those obstruction instances were something in which a president could be indicted or any other individual could.
So, I don't think it hurts the case to dovetail into an article 10 or 11 other instances in which the president of the United States violated the law and obstructed justice.
CUOMO: As long as it's not something that loses you votes because I was talking to Parmila Jayapal today, obviously a Democrat out of Washington State, and she was saying no, we got to be with one voice. We can't have less than all of them.
Now, obviously that's the tactic of the Republicans, right, which is to speak all with one voice and have unanimity. In 1998 with Clinton, you had 31 Democrats go against the president in whether or not to proceed and five voted against him on the actual article of impeachment. But Mike Quigley, I appreciate you reading us into this process. Going to be a very important couple of weeks. You're always welcome here to give us the state of play. Congressman, thank you.
QUIGLEY: And we'll get our names straight. Thank you.
CUOMO: Take care.
What names? All right. Why would the lynch pin of this whole Ukraine shake down go to Ukraine right now. Obviously, I'm talking about Rudy Giuliani. Of all places to be, what's the play? Let's look through the investigative lens. FBI vet Andrew McCabe, can he make sense of it? Don't shake your head with an answer yet, next.
CUOMO: All right. So open up the file of you can't make this up and tuck this bad boy in there. Rudy Giuliani is back in Ukraine, meeting with a fringe Ukrainian lawmaker, who is not only part of a pro- Russian party, the man is known to have publicly pushed for investigations into the Biden family himself. No surprise at the meeting. Pressed on the trip, Mr. Giuliani remains coyish.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): What's the Ukraine trip all about?
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP (voice-over): Well, I can't really describe it. I can't even confirm it. All I can tell you is that I am doing today, all day, and all night maybe, what I've been doing for a year and a half. I'm representing my client.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Andrew McCabe is here. You know how I feel about the issue of what client? Are you paying -- are you working pro bono? Did you report it? Did you record it? Because I think that it's going to matter in terms of privilege and in terms of understanding his role in this and what he was really doing.
How if -- if you could put Rudy Giuliani in a worse place and saying worse things right now, vis-a-vis his client's interests, could you come up with a worse combination?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: You could not. If you are at all engaged in trying to help this president navigate what is, you know, an existential crisis to his presidency, getting through this impeachment process, the one place on earth that you don't want Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine taking documents from a known corrupt Ukrainian politician likely about Joe Biden and then having those pictures posted on the internet. It's unbelievable.
CUOMO: And tweeting. Ukraine is to better get its act together and help with these Biden efforts or it is not going to get United States -- United States assistance in its anticorruption effort. He's speaking for the United States as the president's lawyer but maybe not because he also said he's working for the State Department, or maybe not because he also said he's just working as a corruption buster.
Nevertheless, let's say he's wildly successful and comes back on this show and says, this is proof that Biden did it, this is proof that Biden did it, and this is proof that Biden did it, all lines up, how does it change the case against the president? It still wasn't the right way to adduce those claims from Ukraine.
MCCABE: And nobody knows that better than a former prosecutor, a former United States attorney in the Southern District of New York. He knows that if he is in possession of evidence of corruption, of misdeed, of law breaking on a part of a U.S. citizen, much less a former vice president of the United States, the proper place for that evidence is -- sorry to say not your show, but actually the Department of Justice.
We have laws that prohibit American citizens from going overseas and engaging in corrupt practices with foreign officials. If, in fact, that ever happened and to this day we don't have any indication that it did, that information should be given to the Department of Justice to be handled through our criminal justice system.
CUOMO: So, when you're looking through the lens of what this means and Rudy comes up on the call sheet with OMB, now they're saying that may have been a bounced number, could have gone to different places, he may never have called OMB, how strong a case do the Democrats have that we can prove that Trump held the money up?
Maybe through a proxy, maybe Mulvaney, but it has got to be one step away to be politically convincing because this is not court of law, it's fundamentally a court of public opinion, that they can prove you held up the aid for the announcement.
MCCABE: So you don't have perfect direct evidence to that. There is no note signed by Donald Trump saying please hold up aid to Ukraine. I don't think the Rudy Giuliani phone call gets you closer to that even if we can prove that the number is in fact some person at OMB or maybe Mick Mulvaney or somebody else is connected to OMB.
But what we do have is numerous, numerous witnesses who will testify credibly and consistently that their understanding from the comments of other people was that the order to hold up the military aid came directly from the president through Mick Mulvaney to OMB. You have Ambassador Taylor who heard that related from an OMB official on the teleconference, I thin, on the 18th of July, maybe.
So, in addition to Taylor, there are several witnesses that corroborate not only that teleconference but other interactions with folks who say, yes, this was coming direct from on high at the White House.
CUOMO: Andrew McCabe, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
MCCABE: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: Times are tense. No question about that. But it is rare to see Nancy Pelosi or Joe Biden do what they did today. Did you hear their quotes? You see them in context? You see what Nancy Pelosi is doing right now? You don't want to be on the other end of that finger. I know what that's like. We'll take you through what happened. Let's talk about why, next.
CUOMO: Did you see jolting Joe Biden going at it with a voter about his son? Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you on the other hand sent your son over there to get a job and work for a gas company that he had no experience with gas or nothing in order to get access for the public for the president. So, you're selling access to the president just like he was.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You're a damn liar, man. That's not true. And no one has ever said that. No one has proved that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see it on the TV.
BIDEN: You've seen it on the TV. No, I know you do. By the way, that's why you're -- I'm not sedentary. I don't, I get up and -- no, let him go. Let him go. Look, the reason I'm running is because I've been around a long time and I know more than most people know. And I get things done. That's why I'm running. If you want to check my shape on, let's do push ups together, man. Let's run. Let's do whatever you want to do. Let's take an IQ test.
BIDEN: Number two, no one has said that my son has done anything wrong, and I did not on any occasion, and no one has ever said, not once.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't say you were doing anything wrong.
BIDEN: You said I set up my son to work in an oil company. Isn't that what you said? Get your words straight, Jack.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard it on MSNBC.
BIDEN: You don't hear that on MSNBC. Look, I don't want to get in an argument here, man. Look, here's the deal. Here's the deal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like you don't have any more backbone than Trump does.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let him talk.
BIDEN: Any other questions?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not voting for you.
BIDEN: I know you weren't, man. You think I thought you'd stand up and vote for me? You're too old to vote for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: All right. Now, on Capitol Hill, this was Speaker Pelosi's response to a reporter who asked her if she hated President Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES ROSEN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, SINCLAIR BROADCASTING: Do you hate the president, Madame Speaker?
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don't hate anybody. ROSEN: Representative Collins --
PELOSI: I don't -- I was raised in a Catholic house. We don't hate anybody. Not anybody in the world. So don't accuse me --
ROSEN (voice-over): I did not accuse you.
PELOSI: You did. You did.
ROSEN: I asked a question. Representative Collins yesterday suggested that the Democrats are doing this simply because they don't like the guy.
PELOSI: That has nothing to do with it.
ROSEN: I think it's an important point.
PELOSI: I think the president is a coward when it comes to helping our kids who are afraid of gun violence. I think he is cruel when he doesn't deal with helping our dreamers of which we're very proud. I think he's in denial about the climate crisis. However, that's about the election. This is about taking up in the election. This is about the Constitution of the United States and the facts that lead to president's violation of his oath of office.
As a Catholic, I resent your using the word hate in a sentence that addresses me. I don't hate anyone. I was raised in a way that is full -- a heart full of love and always pray for the president. And I still pray for the president. I pray for the president all the time. So don't mess with me when it comes to words like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CUOMO: Comedian Tony Baker would call these the skippity paps that Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi were given these people.
CUOMO: How do we read? Is this a new tactic? Is this just a reflection of heated times? Let's take it to the professor, one of the great minds who wrote the book on polarization in America, liberally. We have Dr. Brownstein. He is going to come with us and help us understand. Ron, thanks for being with us tonight.
CUOMO: Trump uses anger to make people angry. That's why I've argued some of his hateful rhetoric proves him to be a demagogue. So, what's up with former VP Biden and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi? Fighting fire with fire or just starting to tire of the BS? I'm joined by the ever Equanimeous Ron Brownstein. Professor, what's your take?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Fire, tire. I think it was -- look, I don't think this is like a strategic move by either of them. I don't think we're going to see angry Nancy Pelosi in the next few weeks as impeachment moves to its inevitable conclusion in the House. I don't think we're going to see angry Joe Biden on a daily basis.
But I do think that each of their reactions was kind of on brand for them. As you pointed out, there is a difference between indignation and anger. Indignation -- the indignation that Pelosi showed, I think, was very on brand for her. I mean, she is kind of steel -- especially in this go around as the speaker, steely is the one word that comes to mind for her.
I think for Biden, you know, his basic claim is that he's a straight shooter, you know. Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining. I think this was an episode of that today for him. So I don't think it was off brand really for either of them. I don't think it's going to be like a routine occurrence going forward.
CUOMO: All right. But let's move past brand into just what plays and how in terms of how it helps you win or not. We both know what the stink is on Biden. Oh, does he have the strength, the toughness to go against Trump when they're going toe-to-toe? Pelosi is not in that mix, but Biden is.
CUOMO: What is the right path there?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think -- I think on balance, more often than not for him, it is kind of a return to normalcy.
BROWNSTEIN: A president that is less volatile, less confrontational. That is essentially what I think he is selling. But Democrats, I think, very much want someone who is strong enough to stand up to Donald Trump, who after all -- let's keep in mind that while we're talking about this yesterday sitting across or two days ago sitting across from a world leader, he described Adam Schiff as a deranged, maniac, very sick individual.
He has accused Pelosi and Schiff of treason and being traitors. So, you know, there's a pretty high bar here for kind of outrageous language and behavior. But I think on balance, Biden more often than not is going to be a calming presence. But I think people want him to be able to stand up for himself when he feels that he's being unfairly accused. And certainly, you know, if he is the nominee, he's going to have plenty of opportunity to do that against Donald Trump.
CUOMO: I didn't have a long time to think about it. But, you know, Don brought up this segment in the last hour. Obviously, we're a little bit out of it tonight. Don is on at his normal time. I'm usually --
CUOMO: -- on at 9:00 or at 11:00. And I was thinking about it. You saw it (ph) with Mitch Landrieu, you know. And I really believe that maybe the best path for Biden -- I want your take on this -- is the Mike Wallace path.
Mike Wallace -- may he rest in peace -- wasn't somebody who got into shouting matches with his opponent. But what he was brilliant at doing with subjects was saying, wait, what did you just say? Did you just call them a brown menace?
I think that that may be the betwixt route for Biden. That when the president says his vulgar and profane things, you don't match it, you don't try to one-up it, you expose it for what it is because we both know what the president is going to do. He's going to be like, yes, that's right.
CUOMO: That's what I said. And Biden or anybody would be able to say that's the problem, you actually mean it. I wonder if that's the best path because you're not going to one-up him. You're not going to be the demagogue unless you're a demagogue.
BROWNSTEIN: And he's not going to. I mean, like I said, you know, this is not some strategic move that we're now going to see angry Joe Biden every day. But I think you're right.
I mean, look at the campaign ad video they put out yesterday on world leaders mocking Trump, which is one of the most, you know, kind of well received things they have done in this campaign and many Democrats had struck exactly the tone that you want to strike in dealing with Trump, kind of like almost bemusement at, you know, at the way he has transformed the presidency, not always the most strident and angry.
There's plenty to be angry about. Look at the tape that ProPublica released today on a 16-year-old die -- left alone to die in a cell in border patrol, you know, custody a day after we had this whole big debate about whether or not it was inappropriate for a law professor to mention the name of the president's son.
So, I mean, there is going to be no shortage of outrage on the democratic side. I don't think Biden feels like he has to stoke that on a regular basis.
CUOMO: The remaining question is how do the Democrats counter the anger and -- you talk about righteous indignation. It is by definition righteous indignation that people who follows this president, some are extreme thinkers, some are fringe political types, but there is righteous indignation.
CUOMO: How do you match that? How do you harness it? How do you create a home for it in your party? We'll see if they can figure it out. Ron Brownstein, thank you very much as always.
BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: All right. A little different tonight, but I thank you for watching very much CUOMO PRIME TIME at its special hour. The news continues on CNN right now.