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Rudy Giuliani Refuses To Confirm Report He Traveled To Ukraine; Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) Discusses Impeachment; Where Do Americans Stand On Impeachment? Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired December 5, 2019 - 07:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[07:30:00]

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: -- and he is a friend of Bill Barr. That's just for context here. No, he did not vote for Donald Trump.

And I will also add one other thing. Who you vote for doesn't necessarily make you right or wrong, so just because those other --

SEAN DUFFY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Who you support does matter and he's -- so he's --

BERMAN: It doesn't necessarily -- it really doesn't necessarily affect your view on the Constitution if you are a professor of many things.

But, Congressman Duffy, I want to go back to Rudy Giuliani because I think this is very interesting. Do you feel -- or do you -- because I have talked to Republicans in both the House and the Senate who say that Rudy Giuliani is a problem here. That they do not like what he is doing -- that he is a liability for the president.

Do you have concerns about Rudy Giuliani?

DUFFY: In all honesty, I don't know what Rudy is doing, right -- so, I mean, I can't -- I can't comment on whether it's going to be a problem, not a problem.

Again, he's doing this top-secret work, which you and I don't know what it is. We might -- we might think it doesn't sound great or look awesome, but --

BERMAN: You know what he did before and you told me moments ago -- to review the record -- that you literally -- the one thing that was wrong with the president's phone call, in your mind, was he brought up Rudy Giuliani. So clearly, you think Giuliani's a problem.

DUFFY: That was in the phone call. So look -- listen, in the phone call, I had no problem with the president saying listen, you know, you -- we want your participation in these investigations. You should help us out. I thought that was fine.

I thought the part that gave me some concern was when he brought in his personal lawyer -- when he brought in Rudy Giuliani, who wasn't part of the official American delegation, right -- he's not part of the government -- on an official call. That's what concerned me.

Do I think it's impeachable? Not at all.

BERMAN: What are your concerns about former Mayor Giuliani who, by the way, you endorsed for president in 2008?

CHARLIE DENT, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, (R) FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Yes, I did -- yes. I was -- this is -- this is a very different Rudy Giuliani than the one I knew several years ago.

But look, I don't think Rudy Giuliani is really the issue here. He is the president's lawyer. I would think the President of the United States should pick up the phone and call Rudy and say hey, you're my lawyer -- what are you doing? Get back home. I mean, I just don't think Rudy is the issue.

Did the president direct Rudy to go back over to Europe? I don't know.

And by the way, what I find so astounding about this whole conversation, I think there's plenty of evidence here -- lots of evidence. It's not just about Rudy. In fact, I would argue that the White House doesn't realize that they're doing things wrong.

Take Doral when they were going to self-deal. You know, not only did they realize they were not doing anything wrong, they thought they were doing us a favor.

Same thing on this whole Ukraine matter. They think -- they think this phone call is perfect.

Well, of course, it's not perfect. Of course, there was a quid pro quo. Of course, they were misusing their office to investigate an opponent. I mean, this is so blatantly obvious to anybody who can see.

DUFFY: But, you know, this is a political endeavor, right? This is -- this is all about politics and --

DENT: Sure.

DUFFY: -- can you get the American people behind impeachment.

And I would tell you, you've been saying for months that the dam is going to break, Republicans are all going to be on the president and so was our House members.

The bottom line is I got home and Republicans are more angry than ever, more motivated than ever to actually go out and support President Trump. I'm seeing Independents who are frustrated about the process and they say well, they were talking about Rudy Giuliani or these lawyers that have come in or the witnesses over the past three weeks.

DENT: Sean --

DUFFY: They're not buying into the fact that Donald Trump's --

DENT: Sean --

DUFFY: -- is going to be impeached. They may say I don't like the call but he shouldn't be impeached over a phone call.

DENT: Sean, you and I -- you and I both -- you and I -- you and I both know that most people don't care about the process. And I can't tell you --

DUFFY: Yes, they do.

DENT: If I had a nickel for every one of my Republican friends -- for every one of my Republican friends who have told me they abhor the president's behavior, he's terrible, he's awful but we have to support him for the judges. A lot of that support is kind of soft.

DUFFY: No, it's not.

DENT: They are -- many of them are very frustrated, they are very angry, they are very upset about the president's conduct. I mean, just the way he carries on routinely.

I mean, he just calls the Canadian prime minister two-faced. I mean, all this kind of name-calling and insults, they're upset by it. The country's exhausted.

DUFFY: But, I -- I don't know if you talked to our former colleagues --

DENT: Don't you see that, Sean?

DUFFY: Charlie, if you talk to our former colleagues --

DENT: I do talk to our former --

DUFFY: -- they are angry about impeachment. They have -- you and I both understand in the Republican conference, like the Democrat conference, there's a wide range of viewpoints -- conservatives and moderates --

DENT: Talk to the ones who just lost their elections.

DUFFY: -- or liberals and conservative -- liberals and moderates in the Democrat side. The Republican conference has never been more unified and energized in opposition to impeachment. And that was never happening when you and I were serving --

DENT: Sean --

DUFFY: -- over the last three years in the Congress.

BERMAN: Charlie, go ahead.

DUFFY: So, what the Democrats have done with Donald Trump is unify all -- DENT: When it's easier to be --

DUFFY: -- of us around the president.

DENT: It's easier to be unified when you're in the minority -- that's the first thing.

The second thing is, Sean, we ought to be talking to some of our former colleagues who lost their elections last time. Ask them how this Trump presidency helped them in their reelections. It didn't.

DUFFY: And, Charlie --

DENT: Many of them lost because of him, entirely.

DUFFY: -- what you should do is ask the --

DENT: I could point that out to you.

And if the party wants to grow -- if the party wants to grow we have to figure out a way to win back voters in the suburbs.

[07:35:01]

DUFFY: Hey, Charlie, ask the --

DENT: What is the president doing to help? He's not.

We're not even --

DUFFY: -- ask the -- ask the Democrats who run Republican House seats how they're doing with impeachment. How do those Democrat members who took the majority from us -- how do they go back home in a Trump- winning state and say the best thing for America is to impeach Donald Trump? That dog doesn't hunt, as Turley said yesterday.

DENT: Sean, Sean --

DUFFY: And I think they're going --

DENT: -- the politics -- the politics --

DUFFY: I think the House majority for Democrats is in jeopardy because America hasn't bought into this.

DENT: Oh, come on.

DUFFY: Look at the poll numbers, Charlie. I mean, you should see a cascade of --

BERMAN: Hang on, hang on, I've got to --

DENT: Look at the retirees --

BERMAN: I'll tell America the poll numbers. Right now, the latest CNN poll -- the latest CNN poll, Charlie, and then I'll let you jump in, is 50 percent of Americans in the latest CNN poll -- this was last week -- support impeaching and removing the president -- 50 percent.

Now, Republicans know that when you add up all Americans -- and this is an American process here -- it's 50 percent impeachment and removing.

Charlie, go ahead. Go ahead, Charlie.

DENT: Look, Sean, if things are going so well why are so many members retiring under these circumstances? They are not going well -- we know this.

And the politics of impeachment cuts both ways. Yes, there are Democrats in swing districts who are going to feel some heat on this, just as Senate -- swing state Senate Republicans are going to feel a helluva lot of heat, too. Our friend, Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, others --

DUFFY: But --

DENT -- they're going to feel the heat.

DUFFY: But, Charlie --

DENT: There's politics all over the place. I'm not -- we don't know how this is going to play out politically.

DUFFY: Well, you --

DENT: We all think we do but we don't.

Yes, sure, the Democrat in Oklahoma and South Carolina, and Utah -- and this is a real --

DUFFY: What --

DENT: -- problem for them, no doubt.

DUFFY: It is a real problem and what you know is --

DENT: But, we'll see.

DUFFY: -- in swing states -- not the -- so, if you take the number as a whole and say look, we're going to look at the America polling on impeachment, that's one thing. But if you look at swing states, like in my state of Wisconsin, Democrats are underwater by 13 points on impeachment.

And, Independents voters are the ones that are breaking away from Democrats toward Republicans. And it's these voters that new Democrat members of Congress who won Republican seats need to actually keep their seats and Nancy Pelosi needs for the majority, and Democrats need to win back the House.

DENT: Sean, Sean --

DUFFY: And they're losing them, Charlie. If -- you can't deny that this -- there's not a groundswell --

DENT: Sean, what --

DUFFY: -- of American support for impeachment. It's not there because the evidence isn't there.

BERMAN: Charlie, go ahead.

DENT: Sean, what part of 2017, '18, and '19 have you missed? I looked at the elections these last three years since Donald Trump won. These have been killing -- these have --

DUFFY: I mean, the economy is great. People have jobs. Their salaries are up, Charlie.

DENT: Yes, but you know what? Hey -- but, Sean, at least in the most critical areas of Pennsylvania for Republicans, Republicans have been getting wiped out in the suburban counties of Philadelphia.

And up in my area, we have seen heavy losses. We are bleeding badly. We are losing areas we have always won.

DUFFY: That was a midterm election, Charlie.

DENT: In 2018, you lost your -- you lost -- 2019, I'm just talking about what happened three weeks ago. Look at the Philadelphia suburbs -- wiped out. Bigger story than Virginia, bigger story than Kentucky. It doesn't get covered because it's not that interesting, I guess.

But the point is it's been a tough three years. And you seem to think hey, it's all going to be better in 2020?

DUFFY: True (ph).

DENT: The president is a base motivator --

DUFFY: You know what --

DENT: -- for the Democrats. Their turnouts have been so elevated.

DUFFY: Charlie, I give you this.

DENT: I mean, don't you see that?

DUFFY: Does Wisconsin and Pennsylvania probably love every tweet?

DENT: The governor lost.

DUFFY: Do they -- do they -- do they love the tone the president always uses? I don't think they do. But the results have been remarkable.

I mean, again, people's salaries are going up in Wisconsin. There are more jobs than people to fill the jobs, so the salaries increase. Everybody is moving up the economic ladder. In my hometown in Wausau, I go down to our main shopping area. In October, it's like it's Christmas in December. Everybody feels confident, everybody has money, everybody is shopping.

And that is powerful for the president when people's lives get better because of the economic policies that you and I implemented in Congress and the president helped us make happen. That is a great argument for success in the election in 2020.

BERMAN: Charlie, it's got to be a quick last word from you.

DENT: What -- look, the economy is doing well. It's probably going to slow a little bit.

DUFFY: Thank you.

DENT: It's doing well.

Bottom line, though, is if the economy is doing this well, the president ought to be winning by big numbers. He's not. This is a good economy and it's not --

DUFFY: It's the people --

BERMAN: We've got to --

DUFFY: People have been attacking him every day.

BERMAN: Sean, Sean, we've got to -- Charlie, are you don't? I didn't want to cut you off.

DENT: I'm done.

BERMAN: OK, all right.

Congressmen Charlie Dent, Sean Duffy --

DENT: No, just the economy is --

BERMAN: -- thank you both for being with us.

DENT: Thanks.

BERMAN: This has been inside the Republican caucus on NEW DAY. Appreciate you both being with us this morning.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: I get the impression that debate could have gone on longer.

BERMAN: Yes. No -- well, there was a lot to say.

CAMEROTA: This was really interesting. Great to hear from both of them. All right.

Meanwhile, the House appears to be moving quickly on their time line for impeachment, so what's being planned over in the Senate? Sen. Chris Coons gives us his view, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:43:42]

CAMEROTA: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will make an announcement about the impeachment investigation at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. This comes as Democrats move closer to drafting articles of impeachment against President Trump, setting the stage for a Senate trial as soon as next month.

Joining us now is Democratic Sen. Chris Coons. He serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senator, great to have you this morning.

I know you're on the Senate side, but have you heard any rumblings about what Speaker Pelosi is going to say in this announcement at 9:00 a.m.?

SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): Alisyn, I don't know what Speaker Pelosi is going to say this morning.

But I must say I have been impressed over the last few months as she has handled this very difficult challenging issue of impeachment and how to continue passing meaningful bills that actually speak to the real issues facing Americans month in and month out after President Trump was revealed by a whistleblower to have --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

COONS: -- demonstrably interfered in our upcoming elections by asking a vulnerable ally, Ukraine, to do him a favor.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

COONS: I believe Speaker Pelosi did the right thing in opening an impeachment inquiry. And I think following the conclusion of the House Intelligence Committee hearings over the last couple of weeks -- it's now been referred to House Judiciary --

CAMEROTA: Yes.

COONS: -- I strongly suspect that Speaker Pelosi will announce a time line for an impeachment vote by the end of the year. But I think we'll all have to stay tuned for her 9:00 a.m. announcement.

[07:45:04]

CAMEROTA: OK. It's only an hour and 15 minutes, so we can wait for that.

Meanwhile, let's talk about what's going on on the Senate side because something very interesting happened yesterday.

So, as the House Judiciary Committee was having this eight-hour hearing with these legal scholars, over on the Senate side four top White House officials were meeting with Republican senators. So, the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, was meeting with them to talk about what it sounds like will be their aggressive strategy and response to any Senate trial.

Here's how "The Washington Post" categorized it.

"Eric Ueland, the White House director of legislative affairs, told reporters that Trump 'wants his case made fully in the Senate,' previewing a strategy that would include live witnesses on the floor rather than the videotaped depositions that were entered into evidence during President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial in 1999."

So, will there be live witnesses? What have you heard your GOP colleagues planning?

COONS: Well, Alisyn, I think there is a vigorous debate going on within the Republican caucus between those who think they should simply allow the House managers to come over and make their case and a representative for the president to briefly make his case and then simply vote to dismiss it, which would take all of a week perhaps.

Or those who agree with the president that he should engage in a full- on vigorous defense on the floor of the Senate that could take weeks and would involve calling a series of live witnesses.

I think it is ridiculous that they're suggesting calling the former vice president, who is the leading opponent of President Trump for the 2020 presidential election, in order to grill him about his alleged role in Ukraine. There's been no evidence offered by any person who testified in the House or by any credible news source that there would be a reason to call the former vice president.

And I suspect Republicans would quickly come to regret giving him the opportunity to speak up about President Trump's role in interfering with Ukraine in such an unprecedented way.

CAMEROTA: Well, what happens if they do -- I mean, they have talked a lot about wanting to call the Bidens? So what happens if they do call him?

COONS: Well, bluntly, because the Republicans have the majority in the Senate and they ultimately could set the rules for this impeachment trial by a bare majority, there's very little Democrats in the Senate could do to stop them.

We will be relying on a small number of Republicans who are pushing back against this idea and who recognize that impeachment is a serious and significant constitutional moment. There are, I believe, a few Republicans who recognize that what President Trump did here was demonstrably impeachable, but who are very concerned about the political consequences for them and their party.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean --

COONS: Those of us who were watching just heard Charlie Dent, former House Republican member and former chairman of the House Ethics Committee who is a well-regarded long-serving centrist Republican, say that it's obvious that President Trump did something seriously wrong here.

And so I think a full-bore, full-blown defense that says this is a hoax and there's absolutely nothing to it will be difficult for them to sustain. When you're guilty, the last thing you want is a long trial with lots of witnesses because inevitably, your defense falls apart.

CAMEROTA: I think we heard the former V.P. on the campaign trail say yesterday that he would not go voluntarily if he were called, so we'll see how that plays out.

COONS: We will.

CAMEROTA: But in the meantime, how are Democrats preparing for whatever strategy the Republicans have up their sleeve?

COONS: Well first, we continue to legislate.

Later this morning, a bipartisan group of six senators is coming to the floor. I believe we're going to be passing a significant bill for higher education, for funding historically black colleges, and fixing the federal aid for student assistance -- the FAFSA form. This is something that will be significant for thousands of Americans.

And I'm joining with a bipartisan group in calling for an inspector general inquiry into how the Department of Education is failing in their mission to provide student loan relief for hundreds of thousands of Americans who are totally and permanently disabled -- something I've worked with Sen. Portman on now for several years.

So, frankly, we're continuing to do work to get bills passed.

And we are having conversations about how we'll respond but there hasn't been a serious beginning of negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate about what the rules will be.

I'll remind you that during the Clinton impeachment, ultimately, the rules for proceeding were adopted unanimously after a meeting in the old Senate chamber of the entire Senate.

CAMEROTA: Yes.

COONS: It's my hope that after this morning's announcement by Speaker Pelosi if it's clear that the trial is likely to be moving forward that we'll see prompt negotiations between majority leader McConnell and minority leader Schumer. But we should be setting fair and serious ground rules for us to conduct this important constitutional role for the Senate.

[07:50:06]

CAMEROTA: Sen. Chris Coons, thank you very much --

COONS: Thank you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: -- for sharing your perspective with us this morning. COONS: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: John.

BERMAN: So, the American people -- where do they stand this morning on impeachment after weeks of public hearings? A closer look at what's going on inside the polling, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:55:00]

BERMAN: So as we stand here this morning, where exactly do the American people stand on impeaching and removing the president from office? This, after weeks of hearings.

Let's get "The Forecast" with CNN senior politics writer and analyst, Harry Enten.

Harry, we keep on being told the polls haven't moved here but I think there's much more going on behind the scenes.

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICS WRITER AND ANALYST: Yes. So, you know, let's just sort of lay the groundwork.

You're correct, right -- impeach and remove Trump from office. We have a fairly steady sort of jigamaju going on here with 50 percent support in late November. In late October, it was 51; late September, 48.

The opposed side, same exact thing, right, hovering right in this mid- 40s. So a slight plurality and maybe a majority support impeaching and removing Trump from office.

BERMAN: Which is interesting in and of itself, but not what we're talking about today.

ENTEN: Right -- I think it's very important. Why are these numbers so steady? Why are they not moving? And I think that this gives you an inclination as to why -- an indication as to why.

So, in our poll we asked do you strongly feel you should impeach and remove the president from office or is your feelings more weak than that. And among those who have a strong opinion on impeach and removing Trump from office, 47 percent strongly support impeach and remove from office, 41 percent oppose it.

But look at that. The net of that category is 88 percent. So, 88 percent of the public feels strongly one way or the other versus just this category -- do you weakly feel or you have no opinion.

Look at this -- only four percent weakly feel that they should be supporting removing Trump from office, four percent weakly oppose that, and four percent have no opinion. That's only -- if I can draw this -- let's see if I can get a two. It kind of looks like a 12 there. This essentially says that 88 percent already feel so strongly versus just 12 percent who are really weak or no opinion. That's a very small group of just 12 percent of the public that really can be moved on this issue.

CAMEROTA: And what does the thingamajig say about people who are following closely?

ENTEN: Right. So this is rather important, right?

So, among those who have a weak or no opinion about impeaching and removing Trump from office, how are they following the impeachment proceedings? Just 12 percent of those in that weak group -- that potentially movable group -- say they're following the impeachment proceedings very closely versus 51 percent of those who have a strong opinion.

So the people who are paying the most attention are those who already feel strongly one way or the other versus that group -- that potentially movable group. They're not watching.

BERMAN: Is there any way to change this? You've got some things in the numbers here which might indicate where that might come from.

ENTEN: Right. So, again, where might that come from? There is that -- there is that eight percent who have -- or, that should be 12 -- 12 percent who have weak or no opinions about impeaching and removing Trump from office.

And then, I think this is even more important here. Twelve percent of Americans think Trump committed an impeachable offense but voters should decide his fate.

So basically, you have this 12 percent -- this 12 percent of the audience right there that's potentially movable. And if you add that 12 percent, right, where you essentially say OK, add that 12 percent to, say, the 47 percent who feel strongly about impeaching Trump office, that gets you to near 60 percent.

That's the sort of group that you really want to move and you basically see, OK, that could get you to a vast majority of voters.

CAMEROTA: What do you see as the importance of all this?

ENTEN: Yes, and I think this is just what we were talking about last week -- extremely or very important in your 2020 vote. Again, an impeachment inquiry -- we spoke about this last week -- right near the bottom. So this is why this really -- this is another reason why the numbers on Trump overall aren't moving. It's just not that important in the American people's eyes.

BERMAN: It is baked in. To a certain extent, though, the reason it might be so low is it's baked in. Because if you are a Democrat you're for it, and if you are Republican you're against it.

ENTEN: That's exactly right. I just go back to this, right, where you're essentially saying you already have this 88 percent of the public right here who feel strongly one way or another. There's only 12 percent of the public that doesn't feel so good.

BERMAN: Harry, you've been so good we want to give you a chance to talk about the Buffalo Bills.

ENTEN: Oh, that's very, very kind of you. I just want to say look at this, a 95 percent chance of making the playoffs. They move to 10 and three if they beat the Baltimore Ravens this weekend. I'm hopeful.

BERMAN: They could still win the AFC East. They could do it.

ENTEN: Maybe, maybe -- we'll see.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, Harry. Great stuff.

And thanks to all our international viewers for watching. For you, "CNN NEWSROOM" is next.

For our U.S. viewers, a major announcement from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. NEW DAY continues right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Three legal scholars invited by Democrats told lawmakers the president's conduct is worthy of impeachment.

NOAH FELDMAN, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: On the basis of the testimony and the evidence before the House, President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors.

JONATHAN TURLEY, PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY LAW SCHOOL: Fast and narrow is not a good recipe for impeachment.

REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): The facts, even by Democrats and Republicans, were not really disputed. There are no set facts here. They're not anything that presents an impeachment here.

MICHAEL GERHARDT, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL OF LAW: If what we're talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

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

CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Thursday, December fifth, 8:00 now in the East.

And we do begin with some breaking news for you. In one hour, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will give the American people an update on the impeachment inquiry.

END