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Nancy Pelosi to Make Statement on Impeachment This Morning; Giuliani Refuses to Confirm Report He Traveled to Ukraine. Aired 6- 6:30a ET
Aired December 5, 2019 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, December 5th, 6 a.m. in New York. And we do have some breaking news just in.
CNN has just learned that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will deliver a statement at 9 a.m. Eastern on the status of the impeachment investigation. Now, this comes ahead of her exclusive town hall with CNN tonight.
Sources say that the speaker has been quietly taking the pulse of Democrats been the scenes about the time frame and the scope of the potential articles of impeachment. Is that will she will announce at 9 a.m.?
The White House has until tomorrow to decide whether to participate in the House investigation. If everything stays on schedule, a full House vote on impeachment could come the week before Christmas.
BERMAN: Yes. This 9 a.m. statement from Pelosi is a big deal. This is not the regularly-scheduled weekly briefing. This is scheduled to talk about impeachment. We have not seen this before from her. So we are waiting to hear what she will say.
Luckily, we do have the No. 2 Democrat in the House, Steny Hoyer, in just a little bit. We will ask him what they plan to say and maybe what their schedule is for impeachment. That comes up shortly.
We're also getting new information this morning about how the White House wants to handle the likely Senate impeachment trial. White House lawyers met behind closed doors with Republican senators, and the bottom line, they want to call witnesses in the Senate. We're going to talk about how that might work.
This all follows a day when the House heard from legal scholars, three making the case that these are the epitome of impeachable offenses, what the president did. One asking, if this isn't impeachable, what is? A fourth academic suggested, basically, maybe it's impeachable, but Democrats are rushing things. Let's begin with the breaking news on Capitol Hill. CNN's Suzanne
Malveaux is there, and in three hours, we're going to hear something from the House speaker, Suzanne.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, John. And as a matter of fact, we just learned about this at 5:30 this morning. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi's, office actually announcing that, yes, it's going to be 9 a.m. She is going to make a statement on the state of the impeachment inquiry. It is going to happen on the House balcony, on the speaker's balcony.
The last time that happened is when she officially announced the impeachment inquiry. So it could indicate the next phase of all of this.
And all of it comes at the same time while there is a robust debate within Democrats about whether or not they're moving too quickly.
MALVEAUX (voice-over): Democrats are measuring just how quickly they want to expedite the impeachment process.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): We will receive the report next week from the Intelligence Committee. So a presentation will be made to the Judiciary Committee. And then we have a make a decision.
MALVEAUX: A full vote on the House floor on impeachment could come before Christmas, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will ultimately decide Democrats' final timeline, is staying quiet.
Multiple sources tell CNN she's meeting privately with her party members, asking if they're ready to impeach President Trump. House Democrats are looking at what potential articles of impeachment could be, including abuse of power and bribery, obstruction of justice, and obstruction of Congress.
REP. TED LIEU (D-CA): We're not rushing it. We're at day 71 right now. And we've had extensive hearings, extensive witness transcripts. And then the most damning evidence came out first.
MALVEAUX: Republican allies of the president hammering the issue of speed at Wednesday's hearing.
REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): The clock and the calendar was driving impeachment, not the facts.
MALVEAUX: Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler stressing they had no choice.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): If we do not act to hold him in check now, President Trump will almost certainly try again to solicit interference in the election for his personal political gain.
MALVEAUX: As House Democrats weigh the next steps towards impeachment, the White House is preparing for the likely Senate trial. White House counsel Pat Cipollone meeting with Republican senators telling them they're ready to play defense without getting into details of a strategy, one senator tells CNN. But on Capitol Hill, four scholars testified about impeachable conduct.
MICHAEL GERHARDT, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF LAW: If what we're talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable.
MALVEAUX: All three of the Democrats' witnesses saying Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine into investigating his political rivals amounts to impeachable behavior.
NORM EISEN, DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL: Did President Trump commit the impeachable high crime and misdemeanor of abuse of power?
GERHARDT: We three are unanimous.
MALVEAUX: The Republicans' witness, Jonathan Turley, says it's premature to move forward.
JONATHAN TURLEY, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: I'm concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger.
MALVEAUX: And it was yesterday I asked Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee about that anger, and she said she has faith that the country will get over that anger if there is impeachment.
In the meantime, the White House faces another critical deadline tomorrow. Whether or not the president and White House counsel will participate in any future impeachment hearings. So far, they have been uninterested.
BERMAN: All right. Suzanne Malveaux on Capitol Hill, keep us posted. Because this announcement just moments ago that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will deliver a statement on the status of the impeachment inquiry at 9 a.m. This is a formal statement, the likes of which she has not made since this whole inquiry began. What will she say? We'll discuss next.
CAMEROTA: We do have breaking news. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will make a statement at 9 a.m. Eastern on the impeachment investigation. What will she say?
Joining us now is CNN political commentator Joe Lockhart. He was President Clinton's press secretary during that impeachment trial. And CNN legal analyst Elie Honig.
OK. So she's going to be speaking from the speaker's balcony. That sounds important, Joe. That seems like more than just a status report. What are we to expect?
JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: My guess is at the end of the day yesterday, I think Republicans scored a few points by saying, Hey, where are we going, what's going to happen next. That's what she's going to talk about.
And again, she's doing the CNN town hall tonight, so I think she's got to, you know, set some things up so that she's able to talk about other issues tonight.
Wild speculation? There -- you know, there is some rumblings that they may try to make a deal with the White House. You know, pause and say, you know, maybe the -- if you come and you'll testify, you know, White House aides will provide documents, you know, I doubt that will happen.
CAMEROTA: But there are rumblings about that?
LOCKHART: Well, there's rumblings because Elie and I were talking about them in the green room.
CAMEROTA: They're green room rumblings.
BERMAN: It's the worst kind of rumblings to report on the TV.
CAMEROTA: So that -- I mean, that seems like days of old. They're like days of yore a deal would be made, but no longer.
LOCKHART: Yes, yes. Again, I think it's just wild -- but I think what she'll do is she'll lay out what's going to happen next week, the week after. And -- and in some ways address some of the things that the Republicans and Professor Turley talked about yesterday.
BERMAN: Look, I was saying to you, as we were coming in there, not in the green room but on the set, that Nancy Pelosi is the most important person in the world right now. Because it is Nancy Pelosi who will decide what happens next with this impeachment schedule.
CAMEROTA: And I was pushing back, but I'll spare you the debate that we had before the show.
BERMAN: But suffice it to say that I won this discussion.
Look, Nancy Pelosi, what she wants to do is the only question that matters right now in regards to impeachment. Because she controls 100 percent of it.
And our Manu Raju has reporting on this. You know, Pelosi is having this steady stream of private conversations with her colleagues to get their input about whether they're ready to impeach Donald Trump and what they think should be included in articles of impeachment. That's according to multiple Democrats familiar with the matter. That was late last night from Manu.
I don't know if something has changed since then, Elie, but if Manu's reporting holds, then what we could hear from her is the calendar. Which is, you know, we'll vote on articles of impeachment next Friday, and a full vote in the House the week after. And maybe what will be in those articles of impeachment.
ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, I think one of the big goals of yesterday's hearing was let's take some of the mystery and wonder out of impeachment. This is something that happens once a generation at most.
And I think what Nancy Pelosi needs to do is let's be clear about what's going to happen. Everyone knows something big is going to happen between now and Christmas. That's what's been said publicly. We will get this done. But how, when? What's next?
I think next step, first of all, the Judiciary Committee is going to have to draft up those articles. And then they're going to have to go to the full House.
And as to the question of are they ready? Is there enough? Professor Turley's question yesterday. I think there is. I don't think they should be deterred or cowed by anything he said yesterday. I don't -- I don't buy that argument that there's not enough or they haven't dwelled on this long enough.
CAMEROTA: I know you don't, but I'm just curious about that, Elie. Why couldn't they have subpoenaed Giuliani and Bolton and Mulvaney? And I understand that -- not wait -- not wait for the entire court system to play out, which could take a year. But just do it. Just do it so -- to take away that argument.
HONIG: I agree with you. I think in an ideal world, with unlimited resources, you would do both. You would have the hearings that we've seen over the last two weeks and be in court fighting for all those witnesses.
I think they've made just a tactical decision. They don't want to -- they don't want to divert resources and attention into court battles. I think they've made the decision, we have enough with the call. We have enough with the Taylors, the Vindmans, Fiona Hill, et cetera, and we're going with that. That's just a tactical decision they've made. Perhaps open to be second-guessed.
You know, Joe, the CNN reporting is that Nancy Pelosi held a meeting with the caucus yesterday. She walks in and says, Are you ready? And the response was yes. There was a roar then.
From a political standpoint, what are you hearing now from Democrats about what House Democrats, people connected to this directly, what they want to see?
LOCKHART: I think they -- they all want to move forward. They think the case has been made, and they've made the case about how this is important not only for our national security but for our democracy. And you can't, then, walk that back. So I think they're going for it.
I think there's still a debate about how many articles of impeachment. And I think that's what they spent some time talking about yesterday. There's a very good argument for bringing in Mueller and obstruction, because that case is already made. All they have to do is cut and paste from the Mueller report.
But I think there's also a very good case being made by some members, let's just keep it to Ukraine. When you bring back Mueller, it brings back the bad memories of the fights and Bill Barr and all that. My guess is that's what -- I don't agree with it, but I think that's what will win the day.
CAMEROTA: Which one, the bringing it back or not bringing it back?
LOCKHART: Not bringing it back. That they'll go, as Elie has introduced to my lexicon, thin to win.
HONIG: You can use that any time.
BERMAN: It's like a Peloton ad.
HONIG: Oh, gosh. But I actually think Mueller -- the Mueller report will play into this either as its own article or as necessary background to Ukraine, which immediately followed on it.
CAMEROTA: Gentlemen, thank you very much. We await 9 a.m. To hear what she's going to say.
Also tonight CNN's town hall with Nancy Pelosi could not come at a more pressing time. So tune in tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern. Jake Tapper moderates right here on CNN.
And stay tuned for 9 a.m. Eastern.
BERMAN: Yes, whatever she says this morning, we'll be able to follow up extensively.
CAMEROTA: Don't change the channel, is basically what we're -- ever.
BERMAN: Ever. Ever.
There is other breaking news this morning. Rudy Giuliani, the president's attorney, is reportedly back in Ukraine. Yes, you heard that right. Meeting with some of the same cast of characters that set this stage for the whole impeachment inquiry. What's he getting at here? We have a new interview with Giuliani, next.
BERMAN: New questions this morning about Rudy Giuliani, as if there were not enough already, and whether he's continuing his back-channel efforts in Ukraine, even as the impeachment investigation intensifies.
"The New York Times" reports that Giuliani met with several Ukrainian prosecutors in Budapest and Kyiv this week.
Giuliani was asked about this in a new interview. Listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC BOLLING, HOST, WJLA'S "AMERICA THIS WEEK": You're in Ukraine now. We speak, you and I. We've known each other for a long time. I didn't know you were going. What's the Ukraine trip all about?
RUDY GIULIANI, ATTORNEY FOR DONALD TRUMP: 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)
BERMAN: Can't confirm it or describe it.
CAMEROTA: Why not?
BERMAN: What's going on here?
Back with us Joe Lockhart and Elie Honig. And Alisyn Camerota is here, as well, luckily --
CAMEROTA: Thank you.
BERMAN: -- right next to me.
This is really interesting on many levels, Elie. Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine meeting with some of the same people. This whole impeachment investigation is largely, in part, due to Rudy Giuliani messing around with Ukrainians, trying to get them to investigate Joe Biden. The fact that he is there on the eve of impeachment shows you that perhaps he's not cowed by this. That he just doesn't care.
HONIG: He's not easily deterred, I think we can safely say.
My mind goes back to the piece of testimony from Gordon Sondland when he said everyone was in the loop. So many different people were involved in this. And Rudy has shown no ability to back off. Maybe it's part of his strategy. Maybe his strategy is if I keep on doing it and don't blink, then it will seem like nothing's wrong, and how could anyone impeach for this? But boy, he's really pushing his luck.
CAMEROTA: He's also, I guess looking for more evidence or propaganda, depending upon which side you're on. He's -- I mean, reportedly, he's there with OAN. That is a -- what has been described as a propaganda network, basically. It's very fact-challenged. They run baseless conspiracy theories. But they do have viewers. They're getting a lot of viewers. And that's why it's important, I think
So he's doing something sort of special for them about all of this stuff that he's been peddling. And so -- I mean, the brazenness of going back is just one of the angles of this story.
LOCKHART: Yes. My guess is the OAN thing may just be a cover and a way to, you know, fuel conspiracy theories. I think the significance of him being in Ukraine is it -- it
underlines and underscores and makes the Democrats' argument yesterday real. Which is, why do we have to do this now? Why can't we wait?
Because Rudy Giuliani is in Ukraine today, doing exactly what we're impeaching the president for. And he's doing it and saying, I'm doing it on behalf of the president. I'm in Ukraine. I'm meeting with former corrupt prosecutors, trying to dig up dirt on Joe Biden.
And I think, you know -- Democrats, I think, struggled a little bit to say why they couldn't wait. Rudy Giuliani has answered it for them.
BERMAN: There are new photos, apparently, being posted on Facebook now. Reuters is reporting that Giuliani met with a Ukrainian lawmaker. There are a couple of parliamentary officials who have been pushing all this conspiracy stuff. So this is who Rudy's been meeting with the last few days.
Let me also just say that sound we heard --
CAMEROTA: I mean, we assume this is the last few days. We just don't know when these photos are from.
BERMAN: Look, I think that the actual content of what he's doing is more or less irrelevant. We know what he's been at there. We also know that that line he gave -- you know, on the interview is bull. I can't even confirm. And what is he playing at? Secret agent man, Rudy Giuliani?
CAMEROTA: He is secret agent man.
BERMAN: It's ridiculous. He's the president's person -- he's either the secret agent man working on behalf of America or he's the president's lawyer.
CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, he says he's doing it at the behest of the president, but the president keeps saying, like, you know, Rudy has his own business there.
BERMAN: Well --
CAMEROTA: This is -- herein lies, I think, some of the answers that Democrats are looking for.
BERMAN: And we also know that Giuliani made these phone calls that came out in the intelligence committee's impeachment report. We saw the phone logs, the calls. Several calls to OMB, the Office of Management and Budget. What's that about, if he's the president's personal lawyer?
A call to dash one, or minus one, as you like to say. Is that a call to the president of the United States? This was all around the time that the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine was recalled.
So Dana Bash was texting with Rudy in Ukraine, even though he refuses to acknowledge it yesterday. And Giuliani said, "I don't remember calling OMB and not about military aid. Never knew anything about it."
Does his memory matter here if there are the call logs?
HONIG: I've seen a lot of phone records in my time as a prosecutor. In my experience, phone logs tend to not lie. They tend to be very reliable. If you made a call, if that connection happened, it will be reflected on the charge.
So he can deny it now, but I mean, he made these calls, and a lot of them, and during key times in this whole Ukraine timeline. So ultimately, are investigators going to be able to figure out what exactly was said during those calls? That might require testimony from Rudy or from Mick Mulvaney, or perhaps from Lev Parnas, who's a party in some of these calls, too.
But that's the next big question. And just simply saying didn't happen holds no water.
CAMEROTA: You've been in the White House. Why would a president's personal lawyer be calling the OMB?
LOCKHART: Well, yes. I mean, again, I think a lot of people are focused on was he talking to the president? That's not remarkable, as far as I'm concerned, because he's his the president's lawyer. It's the calls to OMB that are significant. It's putting someone who's outside government, the president's personal lawyer, whose self- professed profession right now is to dig up dirt on the president's political opponents, injecting himself into the -- the budget process.
I mean, OMB is -- is an organization that basically counts the money. They get it from Congress, they disperse it. And if Rudy Giuliani's in there saying, Don't. Don't, don't. Hold onto it, hold onto it. Then -- then it is a -- it is a very valuable piece of information for the Democrats and impeachment.
BERMAN: One other key development yesterday, which is that White House lawyers and officials, the guy who runs legislative affairs, were up on Capitol Hill meeting with senators.
CAMEROTA: GOP senators.
BERMAN: Republican senators, thank you. To talk about what will happen during the likely Senate impeachment trial, Elie.
The one thing we know is that the White House now is saying they want witnesses. They want to be able to mount an active defense, which they really haven't done yet. What do you see as the significance of this?
HONIG: It'll be interesting to see what that defense is. Are they -- I suspect they're not going to actually address the interactions with Ukraine. I think they're going to go with the divisionary tactics. They're going to try to drag in Hunter Biden. They're going to try to drag in the whistle-blower. They're going to try to drag in Adam Schiff.
I think what they want to do is shift the focus from the exchange, the deal with Ukraine, onto all the other rationales. But ultimately, that could backfire.
I think one of the advantages of being the majority in the Senate is, if they acquit, they can claim victory. This all amounted to nothing. But if they put on a circus of their own, I think they will lose that political high ground.
LOCKHART: I think it -- I think it's a negotiating position. It's like when Richard Burr went out and said this could take six to eight weeks. I think they want -- they want to tell the Democrats, we can make this a circus. So when they sit down to do the rules, they have some leverage in that conversation.
Now, remember in 1998, Trent Lott and Tom Daschle sat down, worked it out and then sold it to the Senate; and the House managers, the Republicans, were furious.
BERMAN: That meeting hasn't happened yet.
LOCKHART: It has not.
BERMAN: It has not happened between Schumer and McConnell. But both sides believe it will and probably within the next few weeks.
Joe Lockhart, Elie Honig, thank you.
CAMEROTA: Now to this story. A murder/suicide at the Pearl Harbor Navy shipyard -- naval shipyard -- just days before ceremonies to commemorate the 1941 attack. We have a live report on what happened, next.