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Pelosi: Democrats Moving Forward With Articles Of Impeachment; Giuliani: 'I Didn't Do A Darn Thing Wrong'; High-Profile Harris Supporter To 2020 Rivals: Stop Trying To Poach Her Staff. Aired 12:30- 1p ET

Aired December 5, 2019 - 12:30   ET




JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The big takeaway in Washington this hour. Articles of impeachment are moving forward. That also raises a big debate. How big of a case should the Democrats bring against the President? Speaker Pelosi offering a hint this morning with a single word again.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The President leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt once again the election for his own benefit. The President has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections. His actions are in defiance of the vision of our founders and the oath of office that he takes.


KING: CNN Legal Analyst Carrie Cordero and Shan Wu join our conversation. The stress among the Democrats is two articles of impeachment all about Ukraine or add a third, add a fourth to bring in Mueller stuff. Do you read anything into that? Do you take a clue from what she does? She does note that in her view this is part of a pattern, the President inviting election interference help?

CARRIE CORDERO, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I tend to think that they should include something from the Mueller investigation. There were perhaps up to 10 potential acts of obstruction detailed in the Mueller report. They could take the four or five strongest of those and include them, and that would go some distance in addressing one of the, what I think were complaints of Professor Turley yesterday in the hearing, which is that there's not been an insufficient record.

Nobody can dispute the extensive record that's been -- that was compiled throughout the course of the Mueller investigation. So that would be one way to edge off part of that complaint a little bit if they broadened it somewhat.

KING: All right. She will settle this based on political math. It's not really a legal argument. Impeachment is more of a political process. But the chairman of the committee yesterday also seemed to think -- express the view, at least during the hearing that this is not just about Ukraine.


REP. JERROLD NADLER (D-NY): President Trump welcomed foreign interference in the 2016 election. He demanded it with the 2020 election. In both cases, he got caught. And in both cases, he did everything in his power to prevent the American people from learning the truth about his conduct.


KING: If you're advising them behind closed doors, should you include 2016, inviting Russia to hack the e-mails, the obstruction in the Mueller report, or do you say, you know what, let's not confuse people. Let's keep this very tight. One or two charges, boom.

SHAN WU, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I agree with Carrie. I think they should go a little bit wider. Prosecutors are very risk averse. If it's a criminal prosecution, you go very narrow. You want very few charges, the strongest evidence possible because you're afraid of the domino effect if you present one weak charge.

But here I think it makes sense for them to go a bit broader. And also the Mueller report is extensively documented. And so it was kind of laid out for them to do that, although Mueller was a little too timid to actually say that too.

KING: And you mentioned Jonathan Turley. He was the one Republican witness at the hearing yesterday. And he said the President's call was far from perfect. He did not say the President did nothing wrong here. But to your point, he said why stop now.


You want more witnesses, you should fight this out in the courts.


PROF. JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: The abbreviated period of this investigation which is problematic and puzzling. This is officially incomplete and inadequate record in order to impeach a president. We have a record of conflicts, defenses that have not been fully considered, unsubpoenaed witnesses with material evidence. To impeach a president on this record would expose every future president to the same type of inchoate impeachment.


KING: Do you believe that?

WU: No, I've -- with all due respect to Turley's credentials, I thought his analysis was very weak yesterday. This idea -- I mean, he's kind of ambivalent. Like he says, we should wait for the courts to weigh in, which of course timetable wise is certain a possibility, and yet he also seem to walk that back to say, no, no, Congress has the sole power of impeachment. Similarly, his comments about the public opinion, I mean, last time I checked, the framers didn't have public opinion polls.

KING: Right.

CORDERO: Well, and I would just add as well. I didn't find it puzzling at all in terms of the reason why a record -- a more expansive record hasn't been established. The irony, and where I disagree with Professor Turley analysis on that, is the fact that the reason that there is not more of an extensive record of documents of witnesses is precisely because of the obstructive acts on the part of the President by preventing documents from being disclosed and preventing witnesses from appearing.

JULIE PACE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST Which then of course could lead to the creation of an article of impeachment in of itself, so it's sort of a cycle that we're in here.

KING: Right. It's a key point. If Democrats had not asked for those witnesses, he would have a stronger point as opposed to, we've asked them, we'd actually should subpoenas in several cases, and the administration says go away.

Another big thing that's going to happen on Monday is the release of the long-awaited inspector general's report to Department of Justice looking into the seeds, if you will, of the Russia investigation which ultimately became the Mueller investigation but at first was an FBI counterintelligence investigation. And there is more and more evidence that the President is not going to get what he wants. He wants a report that says the FBI spied on me, the FBI was out to get me, the deep state was after me.

This is from CNN reporting, "Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department Inspector General, consulted U.S. intelligence agencies as well as John Durham, the prosecutor conducting a broad investigation into the intelligence used to start the Russia investigation, to ask whether they could provide any evidence to back up the spy claim. Durham and the intelligence agencies responded they couldn't provide any such evidence".

This was -- This is the President wants this report to be his impeachment distraction. The deep state spied on me. The FBI spied on me. They failed there that's why they're trying to impeach me. That's why he wants to connect the dots there. These sounds like, God forbid, that the case for facts is going to be made by the Trump Justice Department.

PACE: And, in fact, holds up. It's a double whammy for the President because not only does he want the I.G. report to be a distraction next week, he keeps -- he and Barr and others keep pointing toward the Durham investigation to say, just even wait and see what happens there. But this suggest that Durham with an investigation that has had really broad range, he's been traveling all over the world, interviewing officials in all kind of countries may ultimately not give the President what he wants, either.

KING: And where does that put the attorney general who, in his own confirmation hearing, made clear he believes there was spying. Does he say, I accept the opinion of these two very well qualified people who work for me at one of whom he appointed to do this investigation or this -- what happens then?

CORDERO: Well, it puts him in a difficult position because he did really go out on a limb, and I viewed it as inappropriate at the time for him to confirm that there was, quote, unquote, spying on the campaign.

Look, I've never seen an inspector general report come out that doesn't find something that went wrong. There will be things in this inspector general report that look bad, that were perhaps individual instances of things that were either done wrong or should have been done better. That is guaranteed. What it doesn't sound like there is, is any evidence that the report is going to demonstrate systematic abuse of the system. And I think that's going to be the important takeaway.

KING: Monday we'll be here. You guys should come back in. It's going to be an interesting day.

As we go to break, the former President Jimmy Carter back home in Plains, Georgia after his latest trip the hospital. The President was admitted over the weekend for treatment of a urinary tract infection. Ninety-five-year old former president remember -- you will remember was hospitalized last month after an operation to relieve pressure on his brain. That was related to recent falls. We send, of course, the former president our best wishes.


We'll be right back.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, big legal news. President Trump's lawyers want the Supreme Court to block a Congressional subpoena for the President's financial records, the President's attorney making that official request this morning. The justices have already put a pause on the subpoena while they consider whether to take up the case.

A big 2020 endorsement today, the former Secretary of State John Kerry backing Joe Biden for president, Kerry, of course, a former Democratic presidential nominee himself, also a former Senate colleague of Joe Biden saying, quote, I believe Joe Biden is the President our country desperately needs right now, not because I've known Joe so long but because I know Joe so well.


Kerry says, he's heading to Iowa tomorrow to campaign with his friend Joe. And today, Rudy Giuliani, the President's personal attorney, is in Ukraine. Of course that's in the middle in the impeach inquiry back here. The "New York Times" reporting that the President's friend met with several corrupt Ukrainian prosecutors that have been peddling claims about the 2020 Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden.

Giuliani confirms, he did make a visit to key but he wouldn't say what he was doing there.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are in Ukraine also gathering, you know, evidence to support your own defense?

RUDY GIULIANI, PRESIDENT TRUMP'S PERSONAL LAWYER: I am not here -- I don't have to defend myself. I didn't do anything wrong.


GIULIANI: I didn't do anything wrong.


KING: Help me.

PACE: It is quite the provocative move in the middle of impeachment for Rudy Giuliani who was at the center of this, in a lot of ways to go back to the place that is also at the center of this. At the same time he's under investigation for some of his actions in SDNY. But Rudy appears to be taking a page out of the Trump playbook which is basically no shame, apologize for nothing, and plow forward.

KING: Does that, does it cause any jitters among Republicans who were trying to defend the President, to release vote with the President in this impeachment debate that Rudy Giuliani is over there, most of the people he's meeting with are pro-Russian labeled by all interested parties, other western nations, other organizations as corrupt people, and there he pops up.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I don't expect when this goes over to the Senate to hear many Republican senators defending Rudy Giuliani or even taking up some of his messages about, you know, corruption in Ukraine or election meddling or, you know, this idea that Ukraine and not Russia was actually responsible for getting involved in the 2016 election.

So, the fact that he's over there does make it a little harder for them to kind of distance themselves from him and for the fact that the president continues to stand up for Rudy Giuliani, at least for now, says, you know, he's a good guy, he's a crime fighter. We'll see if that changes over time.

But Republicans, especially in the Senate, are not big fans of what he's doing, especially the people he's getting involved with, including a couple people who are already been indicted. KING: The President says, Rudy finds corruption wherever he goes, that's what he said recently you can kind of read that anyway you want.

Before we go to break, a new digital ad from the Biden campaign trying to capitalize on the President's combative meetings with NATO allies this week.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: World leaders caught on camera laughing about President Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world sees Trump for what he is, insincere, ill-informed, corrupt, dangerously incompetent, and incapable, in my view, of world leadership.




KING: All right, before we go today, a little lightning rounds, some developments in the 2020 campaign. One of them being the fallout from the Senator Kamala Harris departure from the race, the other campaigns trying to get her supporters, trying to get some of her staffers, she had some good staffers in some of the key states. I want to read this from CNN reporting. This is great.

This is it. The outreach was so swift that Sue Dvorsky, a former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Iowa and one of the Harris campaign's most high-profile supporters in the state, tweeted her condemnation of the other campaigns, quote, I don't know who needs to hear this but stay the -- away from the Harris field. She wrote, of course you want them to work for you. They're freaking amazing. And sad. And grieving. Sit all the way down. They know where you live. They'll get back to. Or not."

JONATHAN MARTIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Iowa lies, it's not. Sue -- Sue lets it fly a gag level for it. But let's -- there is nothing subtle in politics, and especially in a primary when Kamala drops out, and they have staff and donors that get the other campaigns want. Because they want to be, yes, respectful for a few minutes, but they also want to get those folks signed up. Because --

PACE: And there is not a lot of time left. This is the window.

MARTIN: Yes and also it's flattering for those people even going to bid this to get the call fast. Because that says to them, you're important, donor X or endorser Y, we need you and we need you now. So, look I'll say it in love of war, they're not going to wait too long. They're going to swoop in and pick up her supporters.

KING: And she was at 3 percent, only 3 percent on national polls which is one of promise with raising money. But listen here, to your point, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, all of the candidates, but here's Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren saying, she's awesome, trying to send a signal.

MARTIN: Right.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Senator Harris has the capacity to be anything she wants to be. She is solid, she is -- she can be a president someday herself, she can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice, she can be attorney general. I mean she has enormous capability.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She's smart, she's confident. She's got this terrific voice.


KING: They don't say those things about you when you're still in the race.


KING: When you're still in the race they don't say those things about you. But Cory Booker in a fundraising e-mail also trying to take advantage of this given, he says, as the current Democratic debate lineup stands for December, not a single one of the candidates will appear on stage is a person of color. Our party is better than this. It's time we show it.

PACE: Booker is on a top spot right now. He is somebody who has a lot of potential. Has a really good team in the ground on the early states and just kind of hasn't had his moment. His time is running out right now. He sees this as an opportunity to say, hey, Democrats, we are a diverse party and we're going to depend on a diverse group of voters, we should have a diverse group of candidate on the debate stage.


OLORUNNIPA: Yeah, and the fact that Kamala Harris dropped out is an opening for other candidates to make that argument. She was seen when she first came into the race as sort of the antidote to President Trump because she was a person of color, she was a woman, she had been a formal prosecutor, and the fact that she had to exit the stage early as a -- give a sense to several other candidates that something needs to change about the process in order to get more diverse candidates up to the top tier of the primary.

KING: I love Sue Dvorsky.

MARTIN: And Booker by the way fast gave a speech today in Iowa about just that.

KING: Thanks for joining us on "INSIDE POLITICS". See you back here this time tomorrow. Jim Sciutto is in for Brianna Keilar. He'll start after a quick break.